FMF – Broken

Broken

This Lenten season has me seeing the days leading up to the Lord’s crucifixtion and His death and ressurection, with new eyes.

As i mentioned in a previous (much longer) post last week, i am not one who is good at seeing vivide movies. Thus I stayed away from the Passion of the Christ. i thought i knew the horror it contained and so i stayed away.

and yet in doing so I created a passion story that became clean, santized…much more according to my vision of what I could ‘handle’ then the brutal reality of what He endured for our sake. Our church rents a building so we are limited in when we can have services. Thus Palm sunday became Good Friday service for us…and it was brutal. And it should have been.

the last moments of the service were listening and seeing a movie representation of Christ’s final breaths on the cross. The previous week we had seen a clip of his body being scourged and of his hands being pierced and it made me sick to my stomach. almost detached like I was seeing the story for the first time and was repulsed by what was happening. And while it was a representation it still stood out to me that I haven’t allowed myself to KNOW the horror, to even contemplate the horror of that day.

there is a song that we sing at church that has a visual video that accompanies it…one of the verses says ‘Hallelujah, All i need is Christ, Hallelujah Jesus is my life.’ There is a part in the song where the song comes to reflect on Christ’s payment for our sins adn in the video there is a representation of all the sin and darkness of our seperation from God hitting the back of the cross and being absorbed in Christ. And i wept.

never before had I seen something that showed me so evidently what the Lord endured for me. I remember a friend sharing a poem that he had written about the passion and he spoke of everything, our past, present and future sins (of the entire world) upon the body of Christ. That shook me, but only lingered so long.

I pray that as I leave this Lenten season and move into the daily living of what I have learned that his broken (in so many ways that I can’t even fathom it) body will remain in my mind, as i recall the sacrifice and don’t take my salvation and subsequent relationship with my Lord for granted. There is HOPE found in His resurrection, there is HEART CHANGE found in the journey of the cross.

Joining with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday, in which we take five minutes to write on a specific prompt…unedited and fully present.

Five Minute Friday

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heavy hearted

Yesterday I found out that someone I work with is pregnant.

Normally, that would be cause for excitement. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

She is 19. She has a boyfriend. He seems like he wants to help her with this. originally he got angry because she was pregnant. Her dad is furious that she’s pregnant. Her mom wants her to keep it. some of her relatives want her to abort it.

When she told me it  with some trepidation. I didn’t know how to respond. I told her it was up to her to choose what to do. She said she was too young to take care of a baby, and I said I think that is a mature response.

However, she has some social and processing challenges. That is why i’m concerned. For a  teenager to get pregnant and figure out what to do about it, is quite a challenge. But when you don’t process things in the same manner as other people (and there isn’t anything wrong with that) I’m concerned about whether she will be able to make a choice herself about what happens. 

I do know that sometimes there are social workers involved. I’m not sure how or when that happens. She was placed in her job with us by a work agency, who found out about the same time as we did that she’s pregnant. Her doctor has advised that she not do any heavy lifting or working around chemicals…which pretty much means she can’t do her job with us. Her case worker was supposed to show up today, and he wasn’t there. Not sure how that will all pan out.

My heart is heavy. Someone at work today said ‘Don’t they teach safe sex and birth control anymore. She definitely shouldn’t be pregnant’ and I didn’t say anything because i couldn’t believe something like that would come out of an educated person’s mouth. First, safe sex isn’t a 100% guarantee as numerous teen pregnancies would attest. And second, if she is implying that individuals with social and processing challenges shouldn’t have children, I understand the thought, but I don’t believe we can dictate who and who doesn’t not have children. Perhaps this comes from a knowledge that Children’s Aid will be involved, whether people want them to be or not…and if they are not suitable they will be taken away from their parents. It happens to people who don’t have those particular challenges all the time. But don’t get me started on Children’s Aid..that’s another bone to pick later.

My heart is just so turned upside down. People were talking about it all yesterday at work and all today. She was telling everyone yesterday so I guess that’s expected, but it has been my experience that nothing nice or uplifting will come from these comments or conversations. I guess its my protective instinct coming out. And i’m learning about boundaries, and I know that i can’t protect her…but sometimes I just wish that people would have a lot more grace (but that’s expecting them to live Christ-like, which won’t happen if they don’t have his grace in their life).

The fact that abortion is on the table makes me ill. I know that its a solution that many have done, Christian or non-Christian. I hate that its an option. My brother told me once that he knew of several girls in his class in high-school that had gotten abortions and that hurt my heart. I have read fiction books involving abortions, and while there is a tremendous amount of research put into them, they do share the Christian perspective I guess. SO perhaps that is all that I know. But I wonder about what lingers in your body, in your soul, after a brutal procedure like that. I can imagine that your body is never quite the same, and I wonder if it becomes a blocked memory in many minds because its so awful. 

so all of that to say, so many choices that lay ahead for her, and while I’m glad that she knows she’s too young to be responsible for a child, I hope that she is able to make her own wise choices, and that I will be able to support her no matter the outcome.

Remember – FMF

Joining the wonderful writers over at Lisa-Jo’s blog as we spend five minutes writing all our unedited thoughts about one topic. the rules are simple. Grab the word of the week, write for 5 and only 5 minutes unedited on the topic. Publish and then link to the group. as well visit a few friends that show up around your link and give them some blog loving!!

Remember

GO

Remembering isn’t something that I find hard to do. Perhaps though it might be easier sometimes to come up with the memories that I’m not so fond of rather then that good ones, but I’m trying to work on that. I have a very vivid imagination as well as a visual memory and so there are a good many moment stored away in my brain.

I always find it interesting when stories of the past come up when talking with my parents. Sometimes they will tell me about their own experiences growing up or about something that happened when I was young. There are times when I have remembered something with the words that were said or perhaps a person I met and things will come back to me. Sometimes I’ll find myself saying, ‘that totally reminds me of this time…’ and i’ll remember a story from my life journey thus far.

Remembrance however is not always a good thing for me. i have a tendency to hold on to the past, instead of embracing the present and looking forward to the future. i know that the past has molded and shaped me, and looking back I’m thankful for most of it. But at the same time there are moments and memories that I just can’t seem to let go of. Generally these are things that perhaps would be be worked through with a counselor or journalling and it takes the most random events to set me off.

Lately i’ve been remembering the abusive patterns in my ex-boyfriend’s home. I have been remembering the disheartening experience it was to leave college when i realized that i just couldn’t be a teacher. I remember some of the good times we had on our trip this past summer in Algonquin. I remember the laughter shared with friends around a coffee table while playing games. and so the memories come fast and furious, sometimes they stop in an instance to fill my mind with their vibrancy and they are off again. other times i start to ruminate on them, which isn’t so good for my heart and soul.

I am thankful for my memory. There are times when the word that I want to say just can’t be found. or something that i only remember in part and i think…what a crazy place the brain is…and yet i’m thankful for the one that I’ve been given. I see signs of forgetfulness rising up in people I love and i know its frustrating to not remember the point and purpose of our conversation or even what was supposed to go on the store-list

END
Five Minute Friday

Writing Down your Soul Notes

Writing Down your Soul by Janet Conner

There is a Voice inside you. There is a Voice inside everyone. Whether you hear it or not, the Voice is there. Whether you ask it for help or ignore its guidance, the Voice is still there. Waiting. It is waiting for you to stop, if just for a moment, and listen. The Voice is always there, guiding you, encouraging you, loving you.

The Voice is right there, barely below the surface, waiting for you to pick up your pen and penetrate the thin wall of consciousness that keeps you apart.

Deep soul writing doesn’t replace anything; it enriches everything. Writing focuses your attention so clearly on the wisdom within that you cannot help but feel guided and loved.

Make no mistake, the practice of pouring your soul onto paper is profound, and in the way of all things profound, well, it can change your life.

Once you open that door in your soul, you can’t quite close it again. You can’t pretend that you don’t know where the door is or how easy it is to walk through. Once you start engaging in rich, deep conversations with something higher, bigger, deeper, and wiser than yourself, you’ll find yourself contemplating ideas you’ve never considered, saying things you’ve never said, and asking questions you’ve never asked.

Always, there are more questions. Because the answers, as you are about to discover, live deep inside the questions.

The best ideas are scary. We all want safety, but safety, it turns out is a paradox. To feel really safe, you first have to stop out into the unknown, experience the fear, and discover that all is well. I can tell you for ten pages or hours that you are safe and loved, but until you feel it – feel it in the deepest place in your soul – you don’t know it and you certainly don’t believe it.

Christina Baldwin (1990) Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest
Julia Cameron (1992) The Artist’s Way
Sarah ban Breathnach Simple Abundance Journal

Jack Canfield – ‘Most people have their greatest success accessing intuitive information through journal writing. Take any question that you need an answer to and just start writing about it. Write down the answers to your question(s) as quickly as they come to you. You will be amazed at the clarity that can emerge from this process.’

Writing down your soul is certainly profound. It is definitely a spiritual practice, and it is probably the deepest reflection you’ve ever experienced. And your mind is totally engaged, but so are your heart and soul and body.So this kind of writing is a kind of meditation. This kind of written meditation meets you where you are right now, no matter what’s on your mind. It is an intimate personal conversation that can’t be explained or even shared.

Writing down your soul can be an occasional relief valve or an ongoing conversation.

Your journals are sacred. They are a record of your most private conversations with yourself. Plan a place to keep your soul notebook private.

If you want to engage in a vibrant conversation with the wisdom that dwells just a hair below your conscious awareness, write.

Dr. James W Pennebaker Opening Up: the healing power of expressing emotion

These are the four steps to writing down your soul: 1) Show up, 2) Open up, 3) Listen Up and 4) Follow up.

SHOW UP – showing up marks the first creak of the door into the realm within…while this seems self-evident, if you don’t show up to have the conversation, the conversation won’t take place.

Michele Colt shares that writing is effective because it utilizes three senses: sight, hearing and touch.

the Voice’s favourite language is its only language – the language of truth

There are alot of suggestions on how to write down your soul…but there is no ONE way or RIGHT way. Instead I want you to have confidence to take the plunge and begin writing yourself, for yourself. In the course of writing itself, you will discover your own method, your own rituals, your own process. The key is simply to do it. Show up to HAVE the conversation, Open up and ENGAGE deeply and fully in the moment.

At first your writing might look like a monologue. Its supposed to be like that. you have a lot to say, and writing gives you a safe place to say it. Nothing can happen, until you tell your story. So tell it. But know that, although writing down your soul begins with and springs from the seed of your story, telling your story is not its purpose; receiving wisdom, guidance and grace is.

Spiritual listening, like all spiritual disciplines, gets deeper and richer with practice…at first just listen to the facts of your experience: what happened, who did what, who said what, and what happened next. Listen to how you felt when it all happened and how you feel now about writing it. Listen to your sorrows, joys, frustrations and fears.

As your story reverberates in your mind, you begin to notice details and hear subtle nuances. 

 

the Passion is not pretty – an epistle

I am a sensitive person. I also have a visual memory. I have learned over the years that there are images and words spoken that will stay in my mind for a long time. As I have grown up, I have tried to limit certain intake that I knew would bother me.

I did not see “The Passion of the Christ” when it was released. I was thankful that someone had tried to make something that represented the story of Christ’s death and resurrection for all to see. I knew that I couldn’t watch it…it would be too real for me. And so I saw a couple pictures and realized I was probably right.

This year Lent came into my radar. Perhaps not for the first time, but the first time that I gave any thought to making it part of my spiritual life. And so after reading some very challenging posts by Margaret Feinberg in which she asked us to consider not only “to ask God what He’s calling you toward” but also “What do you want to lay hold of during Lent?

In some sense I had a good heart going in, but didn’t really know what it would look like. I have not been devoted in my reading of Scripture or of seeking what God is calling me towards in this specific 40 days that have been set apart. I have seen God challenging me in my pride, showing me my brokenness and bringing new life to scriptures I have seen previously. I am thankful that despite my unfaithfulness (as usual) he is faithful.

My church is a ‘church in a box’ which means we rent a property and upack and pack up church every Sunday. We have been doing this for 10 years or more. As a result we have had to be creative with our services, especially when days like Christmas Eve and Christmas lay on days we don’t have access to the school. So this year we are doing Easter a little differently, ‘Good Friday’ service will be this Sunday and ‘Easter Sunday’ will be on actual Easter Sunday.

as a means of getting our hearts ready to understand the horror and grace on Good Friday (the crucifixion of our Lord) a short video was shown in church. It made my stomach twist. I wanted to throw up. Every whip stroke on the back of the depiction of our Lord made my eyes well up with tears. The nail strikes and agony cries tore something deep within me and i realized that I had painted a picture that was somewhat more ‘pretty’ that the horror that took place that day. One of the images was something like this…

Passion Flogging-closeup-colored-web

and I wanted to turn away in horror. And i wondered, if i had been in the midst of those in the crowd, if I had been one of the followers at that time, if I would have turned away. If I would have abandoned my Saviour as what he went through was just ‘too much’ for me.

We have been reading through Genesis and exploring it in sermons for the past several months and its come alive in ways like never before. But the one thing that has most recently struck me is the story of the flood. It was created as such a fun, sanitized story growing up that the complete devastation of the World and God’s wrathful judgement upon the world were never something that were brought to light. Noah and his family being saved was grace, but that story is not all fun and games and brightly colored pictures. there is horror.

the same is true of the passion of Christ. While perhaps it wasn’t written in such ‘fun’ terms, it was certainly sanitized for those who are perhaps ‘faint of heart’. Very little blood, agony erased from his face, the destruction of his bodily form not found in too many depictions. And yet i wonder, was it people like me, who didn’t want to ‘see’ the true picture, turned away because it was just too horrible, that made a way for these depictions to be qualified as being true to the experience?

I gave up something for Lent. 40 days has been a long time. but 40 days was spent in the desert, without food and drink for the Lord. I am not sure the purpose of this time in the wilderness but i do know that his purpose in coming to earth was never far from His mind and as the time drew near, it was even more of a wrestling that his soul encountered. i can’t imagine the soul and body weakness that 40 days of fasting entails. i can’t imagine the depth of the agony and pain that his soul bore previous to the wrath of God being poured out on him for our sins. I can’t imagine that night in the garden where he was in such agony that his sweat turned to blood as he poured out his desire ‘that is there is another way, let it be. if not, they will be done’.

and i think about how ‘hard’ its been for me to give up what i have in life. How i’ve given in every now and again and turned my back on what i ‘gave up’. I haven’t pursued more of the Lord in this time, and I haven’t really sought what he’d have for me. and in the midst of this Lenten journey i’ve made it more of a ‘pretty’ and fun thing then the precursor to the cross that it is. And it took something very heart convicting and stomach churning to remind me of the cost. of the journey. of the days before this journey.

DSC_1346

Ann Voskamp has shard this image of a tool her family has to remind them of the journey of the cross. It lies in circular form with candles for each of the 40 days…and as the days progress the image of the Christ and his journey with the cross is moved closer to the center. Such a vivid reminder that this weight was on him, even in the 40 days as he faced the true testing of his humanity and spirit form.

yesterday I heard a song by Chris Tomlin called ‘White Flag’ and it was a rousing called to surrender all to Him. at the end there is a chorus chant that states ‘we lift the cross, lift it high’ and it struck me. Do we KNOW what this looks like? Do we understand the significance of the cross? of the suffering? of the complete agony suffered? the song was catchy, and I’m sure an amazing anthem of change in the hearts of many, but i wondered in the hype of singing such a song, if we truly understand (other than that one passion and tearfilled moment of singing) what that means. Do we even comprehend what taking up our cross looks like? what it might entail?

would it entail the change that the 40 days of Lent would turn into a lifetime of living changed…of a life always turned towards and revolving around the horror and the gift of the cross and what Christ accomplished in being THE sacrifice for our sins, the ONE AND ONLY complete means of satisfying our God’s wrath towards sin in the hearts of his created ones.

Aside

the blog has been quiet for a bit now. I have much inside me…but it seems I am at a loss as to best express it.

i am reading a book called ‘i Quit’ and its making me realize how much I’ve been living for the approval of others and not spoken up and let my voice be heard but rather chosen to stay sitting in a spot of desolation and thinking that i can’t change anything or do anything different.

aaron and his family have been much on my mind. the frustration and anger of how they treated him overwhelms me to no end. i wish so much that he would see how oppressed he is at home and that he would break out and see his worth. i have a habit of trying to rescue people. it doesn’t work. and my heart hurts. but it just fills me with so much anger to have seen first hand what he goes through and how everyone in his family seems to see it as normal when its CLEARLY verbal and physical abuse. When you’ve been called all kinds of things except gifted and loved and talented, you will hide yourself away too. my heart races and my bile grows just thinking about it. that has been much on my mind.

as well, i continue to wonder about jumping tandem. i desperately want to be there. I desperately want to learn and grown. and there is a voice, whisphering that tells me that i’m not meant to go,that i’m an imposter and that i don’t have a voice. that has been a difficult thing to get over and believe that God has something for me. that there is a moment a word a session a God speaking that i will be and am privvy too

i have given this lent thing very little time in the past week or so. i mean what is it about anyway when i’m not taking time to actually seek the Lord about things that need to change in my life and ways in which i need to see how he loved and loves me and continues to desire me to know him and know that walking with him isn’t all roses and blue skies a the things of this world are stripped from me and i’m made more and more like him.

i’ve been having some really wierd dreams as of late. i’m not sure what i’m drinking before bed but man…some strange stuff going on in my imagination. only once have i woke up close to weeping and that was when i was dreaming about aaron. i need to work on self forgivness..since i still struggle so much with hurting him by breaking up with him and adding yet another rejection to his life. Lord, pelase heal his heart and help him come to know you. I did not do a good job of reflecting you to him. 

and we are starting a new study on evangelism in our small group and while i’m already struggling with our small group i’m really wary of this evangelism because there is homework and i think that while i need to be challenged i’m not sure that there are people i respect to see where my pride is leading me and challenge me on that. I know that sharing with others isn’t easy, it supposed to b hard because most of the world sees it as foolishness, but i also rebel at having a way in which one should learn to share the word.

so many things i’m attempting to work through and trying to learn and perhaps doing other things to avoid coming to terms with. i have been thinking on the topics that have been written about in the past weeks but haven’t felt that i could add much to the conversation.

“being time”

I sit on my favourite rock, looking over the brook, to take some time away from busy-ness, time to be. I’ve long since stopped feeling guilty about taking being time; its something we all need for our spiritual health, and often we don’t take enough of it…

When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening. I will never understand the silent dying of the green pie-apple tree if I do not slow down and listen to what the Spirit is telling me, telling me of the death of trees, the death of planets, of people, of what all these deaths mean in the light of love of the Creator who brought them all into being; who brought me into being, and you. This questioning of the meaning of being, and dying…is behind the telling of stories…it is part of the deepest longing of the human psyche, a recurrent ache in the hearts of all of God’s creatures.

I realized that the very vehemence of my reaction mean that perhaps I should, in fact, stop and listen. The Holy Spirit does not hesitate to use any method at hand to make a point to us reluctant creatures.

Plato spoke of the necessity for divine madness in the poet. It is a frightening thing to opn oneself to this strange and dark side of the divine; it means letting go of our sane self-control, that control which gives us the illusion of safety. But safety is only an illusion, and letting it go is part of listening to the silence, and to the Spirit. 

From [my reading of Coleridge] comes the phrase ‘the willing suspension of disbelief’, that ability to believe which is born firmly in all children, and which too often withers as we are taught that the world of faerie and imagination is not true.

Generally what is more important than getting water-tight answers is learning to ask the right questions.

But thinking about [Christian art] may open new questions, new insights. And as I listen to the silence, I learn that my feelings about art and my feelings about the Creator of the Universe are inseparable. To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory.

 

– Walking on Water: Reflections on Art and Faith (Madeleine l’Engle)