A Spark

 

Sometimes it only takes a spark!

I haven’t posted for a while.  I don’t know why, it certainly isn’t because I have a shortage of thoughts or opinions, they always seem to flow.  But, this morning I received an email from someone who said, “Hoping that you are still writing.”

That was my spark, the spark that I needed to continue to post on this blog.

I believe that we all have these ‘sparks’ in our lives.  It may be the spark to ignite something new in our lives, perhaps to pursue a passion, take that trip, write that book, change a job, learn something new.

Or, it may be a ‘relationship spark.’  A gentle urge to reach out to someone who has hurt us, to befriend the person who needs someone to listen to them, to end a toxic relationship.

The sparks are always there, it’s our choice whether or not to use them to ignite a fire.  A fire which will bring about some real change.  Change that is good for ourselves, our relationships, our world.

Thanks Vicki for being my spark today!

More to come……

 

 

 

 

 

What If?

Sometimes my brain starts spinning and I begin to beat myself up internally.  I start to think about all the things that I have done wrong or times that I have hurt people, deliberately or not.  I think of being face-to-face with God and just lowering my head in shame because of missed opportunities.

As I began to go there again tonight, a question popped into my head…..

What If?

What if, instead of being confronted with all of my wrongs, God does the complete opposite?

What if God shows me all of the times when I have done right?  The times when I have been there for someone, times I have lifted others up and given them hope.  Times when I helped another in need or brought faith into someone’s life.

What if God doesn’t keep a record of my ‘wrongs,’ but has a beautiful volume of my ‘rights?’

Doesn’t that better match my idea of just who God is?

What if I stop dwelling on the negatives, and begin to accept and receive gracious love that God gives?

What if I relax in Grace?

Some Things are to Remain as Mysteries

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I consider myself a spiritual person.  I do belong to a specific religion, and while I believe in its Creed, I also see serious flaws in the establishment.  I think of it as one of my vehicles to God, not my only one.  And I respect all religions that teach love and peace.

I have spoken to people who have trouble with God/religion.  I have been asked, ‘how can a God who is supposed to be loving allow such suffering?’  I have one friend who says that she cannot believe because of the suffering.

I wish that I had answers.  I don’t.

There are so many questions that I can’t answer, so many things in this world that I can’t explain, and so many things that I would change (if I were God).

And yet…..

in those quiet moments, when my world is silent, I am filled with a knowing, a certainty that is so clear that all my doubts fade away.

I do know that someday our questions will be answered and our mysteries solved.  The question is, when the veil is lifted, will the questions matter anymore?

Some things are to remain as mysteries, at least for now.  But, I can choose to believe and trust and know. And it is in that choice that my peace is found.

God’s World of Opposites

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It is no wonder that so much of the world has no use for God.  Many of the things that we value in this world, money, power, ambition, strength, have no place in God’s world.  Our God is a God of opposites.  Here are a few examples:

‘Blessed are the poor, the meek, those who mourn’…….blessed? Matt 5: 3-10

‘For my strength is made perfect in weakness’ 2 Corin 12:9

‘….Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven’ Mark 10:21

‘So the last will be first, and the first will be last’ Matt 20:16

And, who would ever think

that forgiving someone who hurt you would set you free?

that even though we have dominion over all living things (Genesis 1:28),  there is so much to be learned from them

that the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator would enter our world as a helpless baby

that joy can dwell side-by-side with sorrow

that Love is as much a noun as it is a verb

and my favorite (at the moment):

When we are alone…..we are really least alone.

Mother’s Day: A Tribute to Moms


This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom.  It is a bittersweet day for me, because I’m sad that she is no longer within reach, so to speak, but I’m so grateful for the many years we shared together.

There are a few things that I have realized about moms throughout the years:

  • Yes, mom is a person too!  It is so easy to only see her as ‘Mom,’ but she is a woman who had a life before you were born.  She has feelings and hopes and dreams like we all do.
  • There are many things that moms want to say, but they don’t.  They are really good at putting themselves last, and hold back their opinions for the greater good.
  • They are excellent observers.  They see and hear things that are below the surface.  They often know how you’re feeling before you even are aware.
  • You can be sure that they always have your best interests in the forefront.  If they disagree with you or offer an opposing viewpoint, pay attention, because they are putting your happiness first.
  • They often hold back, even when they think that you are making an unwise opinion because they know that sometimes you have to fall in order to move forward.
  • They give you both wings and roots.  They are your anchor.

and when you tell them that you love them and they respond,
‘ I love you more,’ believe it because it is true!

I pray that each one of you has a mother in your life who loves, supports, nurtures and cares for you like my mom did.  For those who don’t, I gift you with my prayers.

 

Mosquitos and God


The other day a mosquito landed on me.  I thought, ugh, I can’t believe they are out already!  And then the thought occurred to me, ‘why would God ever create mosquitos?  They are such pests!’

And then I chuckled because I had a hazelnut moment (Julian of Norwich – but not so profound).

I thought about all the questions that I had for God…..Why is there suffering? Why did this happen? Why did this person hurt me? Why did this person have to die? and on and on and on.

I realized that if I couldn’t even figure out why God created mosquitos, then how could I ever comprehend and answer these theological questions!

I thought about God’s response to Job, which was basically, ‘until you can create a sunrise, mountain, ocean, etc. then how can you possible understand why I do things.’

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine,”  Isaiah: 55:8

So for now, I am at peace with the faith that tells me that I will never comprehend God’s ways (at least in this world), but of one thing I am certain, and that is God’s love for me (us) is total and unconditional.  Another concept that defies understanding. And I live believing that there is a reason for mosquitos.

 

 

Good Snakes???

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So, a friend sent me this pic of her neighbor’s backyard in South Carolina.  After my rapid heartbeat returned to normal and the screaming stopped, I said, “Are you kidding me?” – a few  expletives omitted!  She replied, “Oh, this is a good snake, you want these, they keep the bad snakes out!”

Let me begin by stating quite clearly that I do not want any snakes in my world.

Not good snakes
Not bad snakes
Not green snakes
Not black snakes
Not large snakes
Not small snakes

(Dr. Seuss has nothing to worry about from me!)

But…..it got me thinking.

How often do I rush to judgment based on someone’s appearance?  It could be the way they dress, how many tattoos they have, their manner of speech, their beliefs or anything else that triggers an opinion in my mind.  When I judge others I am no longer free.  I am bound to that judgement and that blinds me from seeing someone as they are.  It’s a tricky thing because most times our opinions are formed before we are even conscious of them, but oh, just imagine a judgement-free world.

Jesus didn’t judge the Samaritan woman or the rich young man, he didn’t even judge his accusers.  

Exercise for the week (and hopefully longer): love first!

And, maybe some of those ‘bad snakes’ in my life will become ‘good snakes.’

Life is a Spiral

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Yesterday I found myself saying (to myself), ‘how do I get myself involved with these things?’  I was put in a situation where I was asked to do something that I really didn’t want to do and now I have to find a way out of it – through honesty and kindness.

I have been here before, and truth be told, I have often done the task and then gotten angry with myself afterwards for not being stronger, more courageous, or forceful with my feelings.  

The fault doesn’t lie with the people asking, why not ask the person who never says no? The problem is with me, my quick ‘yes,’ and then my regret afterwards.  

So, why does this spiral keep happening?  Perhaps I should channel the energy that I use for beating myself up and use it for analyzing the situation.  

I’m trying very hard these days to become more self aware, more reflective.  Situations like these will always come up in life – yes, the spiral continues, but each time the circle comes round, we are at a higher place.  The spiral does continue upward (or downward – no).  So, with some inner work, I will be able to pause (so important to do), reflect – is this constricting or does it bring me freedom, and respond in a life giving way to all involved.

Kind of reminds me of this:

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’….  Matt 5:37

 

Easter Glow

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Yes, I am a Christian.  I follow, worship and love the God-Man who walked the earth 2,000+ years ago.

Yes, I believe that Jesus was is the long awaited Messiah that God promised.

Yes, I believe that Jesus suffered and died for me, for you, for us.

Yes, I believe that He rose from the dead – conquering sin and death.

Yes, I believe all Jesus’ promises, eternal life, peace, joy, love…..

This is the core of who I am.  I don’t judge you if your beliefs are different than mine. 

And, if you choose to judge me, that is your decision.  It does not change me, it does not influence me, it does not diminish me. 

Yesterday (and everyday) I celebrate my Lord who rose from the dead.  

I celebrate life. I celebrate love. I celebrate the happy ending to all of our life stories.

I bask in the Easter Glow.

Holy Week Prayers and a friend

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I’ve been so torn this week because I felt as though I should attend some of the Church Services and pray in community.  At this point in my life, I don’t have a church where I really feel at home.  I was hurt very badly in the one that I was a part of for many, many years, and it hurts too much to think about going back there.  

It is Holy Week, however, and I thought that I did want to attend the service on Holy Thursday even though I had a lot of angst about it all week.  I just needed to get over myself and go, because after all, it’s not about me and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be happy to see me and welcome me back.

And yet, there was this un-ease inside.  I decided to go. And then, I woke up this morning and in a moment of honesty, admitted that I really didn’t want to go back there.  Too much pain.

But, I felt guilty….couldn’t I just do this one thing for Jesus who died for me?

And then, I had a conversation with my best friend, an angel really, who reminded me of this Scripture passage,

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standingin the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  Matt 6: 5-6 (NIV)

And, I knew at that moment that it was ok to not go.  The tension began to ease up.

My friend reminded me what prayer is really all about.

So, this Thursday and Friday I will go into my room, close the door and pray.  

Pray for my friend

Pray for all of you

Pray for peace

Pray for the sick, sad and lonely

Pray for the children

and….pray for healing