Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Holy Darkness

My facebook messenger reminded me
that I hadn’t written for three weeks.
It was like telling the mother of a newborn
 that she hadn’t slept for a while.
I was well aware of that fact.

It used to be that writing was daily.
But slowly I am realizing that something
hasn’t been happening to my writing.
Something has been happening to me.

For a while now, I have been in one of those
transition seasons that stops the show.
Like, nothing is the same anymore.
While transitioning is a normal part of life,
sometimes they are precipitated by crisis.
Our first response is something like denial.
It’s not supposed to be like this.
I want things to look like they did before.
This isn’t the story I would have written.

At some point, it becomes clear that
we have to let go of what we thought.
And we just might enter a time of darkness.
I used to be clear about
what God was saying to me.
I wrote and lived as authentically as I knew.
When seasons change dramatically,
there is a struggle for authenticity.
Because you are not sure what you know.

Today, God seems quieter.
God, if You are light then
why do I feel darkness?
Because light and dark are not
always enemies of each other.
The resurrection took place in a cave.
The Father met His Son there,
in perfect holy darkness.
Alone in this cave, 
perhaps Jesus and His Father embraced
after the most painful experience of all.
It may be dark for a while,
but this darkness is not an enemy of His light.
 His love is meeting me in this holy darkness,
a place I am calling "Saturday," 
His embrace reminding me that
there is resurrection life just ahead.
He is teaching me something about His love,
that I may learn how to love others.
It is about authenticity,
 living a life centered around
the embrace of Jesus' love.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Taking Courage

Every time I perceive hurt, rejection, slight, or lack,
I have the opportunity to practice turning--
 turning away from those feelings
 and turning them into something
that isn’t natural.

Anger, frustration and hurt are natural responses.
Self is responding to the injustices
it perceives taking place.
Sometimes those are very real.
But the question isn’t whether
those feelings are valid or not.
The question is whether those feelings
are going to keep us in natural response
or whether they are going to lead us
to become kinder, more gentle,
more compassionate people.

It takes courage to choose compassion.
Because we have to trust that our God
cares about what has happened to us
and will make right—in His way—
what might have been wrong.
A supernatural response requires
turning from self and toward another.
We step away from our self-focus and
the judgment process attached.
Instead, our desire is to live
authentic lives, as Christ lived His—
to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I am finding that when I am hurting,
He asks me to go comfort another.
When I feel rejection,
He asks me to reach out to another.
When I think I have been treated wrongly,
He asks me to practice loving another.
It's not only the last thing I might want to do,
it's often the last thing I feel like I CAN do.

Jesus said, “Take courage. I am here.”
Matthew 14:27
When we "take courage," 
we can turn away from our natural responses
and exchange them for responses that 
represent His heart for others.

We tend to associate courage with bravery.
It is actually a heart response to His presence.
There is a divine connection between courage 
and compassion, kindness, and gentle patience.
It is a key that releases us from 
the natural realm of self-focus.