#fmfpartysnailmail Linkup – The Written Word

excerpt of written in slumber by matryshka on flikr

My dad usually walks in the door about 6pm carrying the mail. Most often its bills or prayer letters from people we support.

But sometimes, there are letters for me.

Usually letters from my Compassion children. They arrive quarterly and I anticipate them with great joy. Not only are they getting older, but their drawings are progressing and the questions they ask are showing their maturity. I’m so proud of the people they are becoming.

Both of them are still quite young so the world is still something they are trying to figure out (although truthfully that’s not something we ever stop with I don’t think).

And today…when my dad walked in the mail and handed me a beautiful envelope with some American stamps on it I squealed with joy because I had received one of my #fmfsnailmail letters. What a blessing it is to receive snail mail. I had forgotten about how personal and special it is to receive something that someone sat down to think through and actually put pen to paper for. What a blessing.

This snail mail gathering has inspired me to write small notes to many of my friends that I’ve not ever sent anything to before. Its really been a joy to think about what I’m going to share with them, what I’m going to encourage in them and to see how God will continue to use them. So each time I send out one of my letters for the snailmail group, I send out letters to other dear sisters as well.

I am thankful for the renewal of encouragement this has started in me. When I was in University I used to go down to the bookstore and buy a whole bunch of 1$ encouragement cards to share with people through the week as they came to mind or shared things with me. I used to buy those little encouragement cards you could stick in a Bible like a bookmark and stick a bit of a note on the back for them to ponder. But most of all, I was able to connect with people. To let them know that they were important. That they were chosen of God. That they were declared beautiful in His sight. That they were being tightly held in His palm in the midst of this circumstance.

I am so thankful for the written word, both written by hand and typed out for the world to read. I am thankful that there are those to whom God has gilded their pens and mouths and made such beautiful thoughts be released from them, ponderings and statements that thrill my heart or challenge it and I’m renewed in my desire to know more of Him and shine more of Him to others.

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A change in perspective

There are few things in this world that show me my rule following tendencies than a bicycle rider on my way to work.

There have been numerous times when I have seethed because they haven`t stopped at a sign, or are in the middle of the road taking up space and I think “If you want to be treated like a vehicle, than ACT like one“. I actually was so angry the other day, that I swerved in front of a guy who kept going through stop signs and gave him the finger. (indeed, I am that person)

I felt guilty for responding so badly, but I was so enraged that he didn`t have to follow the same rules I did. I thought i`d let him know what I thought of that. Indeed, because I`m always following the rules when I`m driving (not).

When I was visiting a friend a day or so later, I mentioned my incident with the biker and expressed my frustration for them not having to follow the same rules. I was also forgetting that she uses her bicycle to get around her town. So she patiently explained to me (or suggested) that perhaps there were a couple of things that I didn`t know about bike riding in a city.

And pretty much the things that I had done and the very things that I had been exasperated about where what she shared with me. And I realized that I didn`t knwo the whole story. and perspective is generally about the limited knowledge (or breadth of knowledge you THINK you have) and when you get some more facts than it seems to make a lot more sense…and I realize that most times, I`m the one not playing by the rules.

#FMF – Finish

Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the other wonderful writers over at the Five MInute Friday linkup. A flash mob of writing from the heart, for five minutes…no editing, no judging…just letting the words flow free. And then check out what the others have written on the same prompt. Always a blessing.

word: FINISH

GO

Her fingers touched the edge of the drying canvas.
Her eyes roving over the colors, swirled meticulously into hues that sprung from another world. She speaks quiet words of inspiration over her masterpiece…knowing that where ever this work will find its home, her gentle whispers will accompany it.

Laying that one down to try, she turns to the unfinished piece waiting for her. To the untrained eye it would look finished she knew, but there was still something about it that caused her to not declare it complete.

Standing up from the chair…she walked back and forth to clear her head. Breathing deep, she closed her eyes and imagined the colors and image in the painting…seeking to find the one thing that needed to be added or removed or changed to make it just right.

She stopped at the back of the room, turning to look at it in the distance. Again…there was just something.

As the sun set in the sky, splashes of gold lay haphazard upon the carpet. One of the beams glanced prism like from a glass of water in the corner splashing a ray of light across the painting. and in a moment it was all clear to her.

the light. She had forgotten to include THE light in her painting. He was always the central focus…that was why it seemed unfinished.

And as she lifted her paintbrush to add the light to her creation, she saw in her minds eye what it would look like complete, finished…full of light.

END

An Unblemished Offering

 It seems I have decided
to keep the very best from you
when all I have
is a gift from your hands
but i think
I’ve done this all myself.

And so the burnt loaves
and the unclean herd leader
is offered on the altar
and your offense knows no bounds

because you’ve required so little of me
and so much of your Son
in the very giving of His Life
He has rendered this sacrifice void
and yet I try to make do

with what I have to offer
with my gifts that are nothing apart from you
from the words of my mouth that are hot air when inspired only by me|
with my actions and doing that are about my gain and not sacrifice at all

and you are left at the altar
with my second best
the after-thoughts
the things I see no use in

and this is not what you’ve called me to
this is not what you’ve gifted me for

your anger sears and rages
the offering is burnt up
but not because its acceptable
but you seek to remove its despicable stench
from your presence

and I am ashamed

that with such great a gift
I think i’m justified
in bringing you less than the best.

by Janel Andrews written July 22/2014

 

 

 

Inspired by the following items:

Cori Drost’s blog post in which she mentions: “…the Israelites were not presenting their best offerings to the Lord. They were bringing blemished sacrifices to the altar and not the best as God had commanded. God wants the first fruits. ”

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10 ESV

“Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and olive oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites…” Nehemiah 10:37 NIV

Do Not Be Deceived

… they received the word
with all readiness of the mind,
examining the Scriptures daily
to see whether these things were so.  
Acts 17:11 WEB

In the midst of so many voices…it is important to test all things…through the lense of Scripture. There are some writings being produced (that many are embracing) that when I read them, I am appalled at how blatantly they reject so much of the truth of the Gospel.

May the following NOT be said of us:

Jesus told them,
“Are you not deceived
because you don’t know the Scriptures
or the power of God?
Mark 12:24 HCSB

The TRUTH of the Scriptures are of the utmost importance for us in both knowing HOW to walk, but knowing the One with WHOM we walk. Keep diving deep into the Word…it sustains through the work of the Holy Spirit.

do hard things

We journeyed there because we felt the calling. We didn’t know what the weekend would hold…but we believed.

My heart was full with the knowledge that God would speak that weekend. We just didn’t know the words would come streaming out of us…as doors flung open, burdens were released and broken things were made new.

It was early Saturday morning. I was looking up some terms for art-journalling. She said she was in the midst of a praise party and did I want to join her. I felt seen.

She asked me what I wanted to listen to, and while I wasn’t sure…we found some songs together, closed our eyes, held each other in a loose embrace and swayed in worship before Him…knowing that He held our hearts.

In that quiet moment I felt that I had to tell her. I had to tell her one of the reasons I was there. Something that had been laying heavy on my heart for some time.

You see…when the group started coming together for the retreat. We had a private group on Facebook so that we could better connect. And as names were added, I could see God at work.

and then her name popped up and I caught my breathe. There was a piercing through my soul…and I realized, I have a problem.

because of a snap judgement I had made when we were gathered together in another place. Words said. Panic evident on her face. And instead of understanding, instead of seeing her on her journey, I judged. And I labelled.

And it had been bothering me. And when I saw her name pop up on the list of attendee’s…I knew that it was a God moment. But I didn’t want to deal with it. Because, no one knew but me…and the Holy Spirit. Why not just let it go…why not ask for God’s forgiveness and just move on.

Because I knew that this was a God moment. That these things don’t happen simply by accident. And I knew that she had made the choice to come of her own accord, unknowing the need for forgiveness I was going to seek from her.

So it was in that quiet moment, as the sun came up and revealed the beauty of the parkland around us, as praise worship filled the room with its haunting strains of mercy and grace that I took a deep breathe and turned to my heart friend and shared what I thought  I must do…one o the reasons why I thought I was there. And my friend, she turned to me with knowing in her eyes…and met me where I was at, and shared her own need for forgiveness after a misunderstanding with someone else.

The other ladies began to trickle in…I ran back to my room to dress myself in proper clothes, after all while it was a retreat, pajama’s are only good for early morning worship…not necessarily wandering around with the others there at the park for their own getaway.

Upon returning, most of the woman were anticipating breakfast, we were gathering plates heaped high with wonderful breakfast and preparing for our keynote of the weekend. She spoke of quiet and coming int God’s presence. The night before, my heart friend had spoken of our hands wide open…full of surrender. and  I knew what needed to  be done, though my heart pounded at the thought.

I approached her, introduced myself (yes, she didn’t even know me, since we had only met in passing at the other gathering) and then poured out my heart to her. It was so difficult to acknowledge the darkness of my heart. THings that she hadn’t even known that I was thinking against her. And she listened and then spoke the backstory to what I had only glimpsed and I began to understand. She offered me forgiveness and a hug and in that moment…a piece of the dirt on my heart slipped free and crashed to the ground. I could breathe a bit better.

I am thankful for her presence in my life now. We were part of a very small gathering there in the midst of beauty and each of us continues to remain in touch. She has been a blessing in my life in so many ways. Its totally a God thing. And to think that I would have missed out on so much grace and beauty, if I had continued to live in that assumption.

thankful for the restoration of relationship, for the strength God alone bestowed on me to have that hard conversation, and for the beauty of what is now a growing sisterhood.

#FMF – Bloom

Joining up with dear Lisa-Jo and the others for our #FMF link up. Write bravely for five minutes, unedited and see what the SPirit prompts.

Always amazing to go and read other’s stories as well, which is part of the link up also

BeFunky_anemone-283789_1920.jpg

GO

Today as I was driving through the University as I usually do, I was struck by something when I stopped at the stop sign. There is construction on one of the buildings at this particular intersection. The fences that are up to keep people out of the work site have been there for quite some time. And i hadn’t known until that moment how fastidiously the University grounds keepers did their job until I saw the grass and the growth on the other side of the fence.

Sometimes it always looks better on the other side of the fence. Sometimes it doesn’t. And then I got to thinking about perspective.

Because when i think of ‘bloom’ where you are you planted…I think of something that I want to do. Something that I enjoy doing, and sinking my proverbial roots right down in. But that’s not always the case. In fact I’ve drawn that saying out a couple of times to remind me to be all there in what i’m involved with, sometimes when I’m not all that impressed that is where I find myself.

and in the end with this situation, its me that’s keeping my roots from going deep. From being groomed so that those things that are cut off will relinquish a greater bloom in the spring time. And as I ponder blooming, I think of joy, of good health, of a radiance that is truly given only by HIM.

I find myself in a work place that I’m not in love with, but I can do the job and I am blessed to be there, and blessed by my customers. I would love to be somewhere else, but I’ve no idea what that other looks like. And since I find myself there over time, because that seems to be where God wants me, it frustrates me…and at times I’ve refused to put down my roots, to seek any nourishment, to accept the pruning of my expectations and assumptions.

I see a bit of a bud starting to form. Perhaps this is the season for its blooming.

END