Tag Archives: creation

Drops of Grace

To be spiritually alive is to be awake. Scripture is full of reminders to wake up, watch, notice and be thankful. It’s easy to notice when wrong things are happening. It’s easy to see stress unfolding as well as injustice, anger, doubt and hardship. Cultivating an awareness of grace seems more difficult, kind of like a subtle art.

It helps if you can move more slowly or have time to reflect. It helps if you put down your phone for a while…something I find hard to do. I think it helps if you write down your grace moments.

Todd Agnew wrote the song “Grace Like Rain” which has the line, “Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me.” Can you picture tiny drops of grace falling in your life?

I started making note of a few of mine.

This weekend, I had a chance to talk to our 19-year-old son, face to face, in person, for a while, a rare thing since he’s been away at college. In the middle of one of my sentences he took my hand and kissed it. I’m not even making that up. A drop of grace.

Our middle son emails me articles he thinks I would like. Recently, one he sent was so on target that it quoted one of my favorite theologians right in the middle of it. He didn’t know my favorite theologian but he does know me. A drop of grace.

Our daughter nominated me in the sweetest way for a breast cancer survivor award coming up. Her words were like drops of grace

A couple of weeks ago our 1-year-old grandson’s nanny got sick. I quickly packed and headed 5 hours to their house to help that week. When I arrived, my grandson looked to see who was coming in. He toddled, then ran to me, arms straight up in that universal “hold me” gesture. When I picked him up he gave me a big boy hug with arms tight and head on my shoulder. Grace.

In writing a presentation for an upcoming event, I struggled for days with the ending. I prayed for God to help me see what to say. The next day, it came to me, so surprising and right that I laughed out loud. Drops of grace.

In addition to that, there are golden red leaves, cooler temperatures, pumpkins and nature’s grace all around us now.

Being alive spiritually means you see what might be unseen to others. You notice. You give thanks.

I wonder what kind of delicious grace is raining down on you right now?

Advertisements

Healing

After six weeks of not driving and wearing a boot on my broken right ankle, the doctor gave me good news. He said, “I can see on the x-ray that your ankle is healing. Your body is creating new bone.”  He released me to remove the boot to drive and told me only two more weeks in the boot for walking.

Then, he was funny. “No racquet ball, tennis or water skiing for you, though.” Since I’ve pretty much never done any of those three sports, I took that news quite well.

And then, I just felt proud. My body is creating new bone! How about that? I’ve been thanking God that bones and bodies and hearts can heal. Scientists don’t even quite know how it is that our bodies can heal or what exactly creates the just right condition for re-growth and new cell life in us.

In these past weeks, as I’ve poured over our new grandson, I can’t stop marveling at how the truth of scripture has come to life right before my eyes. Psalm 139:13-14,  For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Once there was nothing, and now there is baby Keller: his hands, his tiny fingers, his itty bitty finger nails, his sweet head and that kissable spot at the back of his neck. He is beautifully and wonderfully made, every inch of him. He arrived on this earth knowing how to cry, then nurse. His body somehow pre-programmed to grow and his personality all set to unfold. He is a miracle.

And imagine, if he ever falls and gets hurt or breaks his ankle, his body has been made somehow, to heal too. Or if someone breaks his heart some day or if life is hard on him, he has it within him to heal. He is fearfully and wonderfully made. We all are.

I had never broken anything except a toe before breaking my ankle. I’ve been surprised at how much it has hurt these past weeks. Without ever seeing the x-ray, I know exactly where the break is from the pain. I’ve felt the new bone growing. Healing hurts.  I guess that is true of all aspects of healing. You have to hurt to heal.

As a pastor and Christian, I have long celebrated and marveled at how we are made. I long ago surrendered to the mystery of life, healing and death, knowing I would never understand it all. Anne Lamott wrote, I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.  Plan B: Further Thoughts of Faith

I’m with her. I do not understand all mystery but I’m going to stick with the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb, so fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m betting my whole life on the One who heals broken bones and broken hearts.    

Pumpkin Joy

For the second year in a row, our church has sponsored a Pumpkin Patch to raise money for our church’s teenagers to go on summer mission trips.  Having a Pumpkin Patch is quite an endeavor, requiring a massive amount of volunteers to staff it daily for all of October. It takes a village.

We have a teenager who loves the summer mission trips, so we’ve been trying to do our part this fall by working multiple shifts at the Pumpkin Patch.  What I’ve re-discovered about myself is that I just love pumpkins.  How can a piece of produce actually produce joy?  I’m not sure.  It is one of those mysteries of life, I guess.  I love the color of pumpkins-the orange ones, the white ones, the multi-colored ones all delight me.  I love the size and shape of pumpkins.  I love the stems, the bigger, the better.  I love huge massive pumpkins and those little bitty tiny ones with the cool curved stems.

Every time I work at the Pumpkin Patch, I buy more pumpkins.  They are on my back porch, my front porch and now, on the mantel, nine of those adorable-sized curved stem pumpkins.  Every time I see my pumpkins, I feel a little surge of joy.

I think I feel such pumpkin joy because a pumpkin is just a sure sign of fall; of nature’s bounty and of God’s wildly varied, colorful, imaginative creation.  Pumpkins are just one of the countless ways God shows off.

In many ways our world is a scary place right now with Ebola, Isis and a few other threats.  People around me, including me, have experienced tough things and are a little bruised and battered.  Somehow, in the mystery of how God works, a little pumpkin joy makes up for that.  God is good, all the time.

Re-Entry

So, we arrived home last night.  My husband had to work first thing this morning.  I luckily, have a cushion day in which do buy groceries, do laundry and such.  I also took some time to answer a few emails, get a few things on the calendar for this week and next week.

My boys both left for other activities today so finally, back to silence.  What I learned from my silent time:

I really do need it.

It is really refreshing.

I like having long spans of time with nothing I have to do.

I really enjoy God’s handiwork out there.

Silence and solitude ought not to be a once every decade or so thing…it ought to be something I figure out a way to weave into the daily fabric of things. 

I have much to be grateful for…much.

Last Day

My family arrives late tonight. Solitude soon over. I’ve been sitting still so long the animals aren’t afraid of me. I’m like Dr. Doolittle or something.

This morning a tiny bird landed about three feet from me and started singing. He was so little but so loud, like surround sound. A giant brown shiny lizard made himself known. Yesterday I counted 10 light blue dragonflies using me as their mother ship as I lounged in the lake. I met a grasshopper as he smacked into my leg. I didn’t stay still for that. I met a turtle on my walk. He didn’t trust me and retreated into his shell. I wish we all had a retreat house on our backs.

i believe God really does speak to us in and through creation. In fact, I’m starting to think God enjoys showing off all those sights, sounds, colors and creatures. What a show!

I’m ready to see the human creatures who I share life with. Solitude is good. So is family-animal and human.

Silence Isn’t Silent

We have friends with a lakehouse. We were friends long before the lakehouse by the way. Recently they offered me a gift, “Come stay by yourself at the lakehouse for a few days before our families gather here.”

I could not resist. I crave quiet. I enjoy solitude. I think better, relax better, write better, pray better in the quiet.

As I packed up for my days alone, a tiny bit of anxiety emerged. What if I didn’t like silence as much as I thought? What if I’m not as enjoyable to be with as I think I am?

I reasoned with myself, that is the point of the spiritual discipline, to stick it out even when it isn’t comfortable.

I arrived last night. Temps are in the 70’s. I sat staring at the lake all evening; watched the sunset in pinks and blues. Just looking at a waterline is reported to reduce stress. I believe it.

This morning, I’m back to staring but also listening. Silence isn’t silent. I hear:

Birds singing all kinds of songs with a duck chiming in at awkward times.

WindImage

 

 

Hummingbirds gripe at each other as they fly.

Fishermen way down on the water, talking softly as they fish.

A woodpecker.

Squirrels arguing.

And this is funny, the only neighbor in the near vacinity, either learning to play the violin or listening to a cd of someone learning to play the violin. And I am struck by my ability to be annoyed by the one person within my hearing range.

Today’s  revelation: silence isn’t silent. It is layer after layer of God’s created ones doing their thing-singing, arguing, talking, playing the violin badly. Creation, noise, and in it and through it, God.

I’m blessed today to be able to listen for a change.

And my favorite sound, the gripey hummingbirds. Who knew?