Monday, February 4, 2013

Balance Pose

The life out of balance is a symptom. There's weakness and overwork and strain somewhere that you can't beat into shape, it needs to be restored.

The other night I was at a yoga class.

 I was rocking it, 

then came the balance poses.

All those little stabilizing muscles were worn out and I was swaying like a reed in the wind.

So, what should we do when our lives are out of whack and we can't hold it together?

First, we need to stop.  Halt.  Freeze. Desist. If I'm completely out of control, this is the hardest thing to do, but it is always the first step.  There is no course correcting when I'm at the end of my rope because there is no room to maneuver at the end of a rope!

Second, we listen.  Once we are at a full stop, then we start to listen for God's voice.  This doesn't mean we just wait for Him to hit us on the head with some heavenly message.  We ask Him to speak.  He waits for us to ask for bread.  It's part of the relationship, the asking.

Please.  Give me ears to hear.

Next, we receive His healing willingly and without putting any parameters on what we will and will not accept from Him.

I will take what You give me.

 This is often the hardest thing for me because too often I think that I'm going to be punished.  So I remind myself
Perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

God is our healer.  We take to Him our hurts and ask for help.  Frustration (really another word for anger) comes when we do not take our hurts to the Father.  We try to fix our wounds on our own and it never works.

Please, heal me.

God has used the most unlikely things to heal me.  Why?  I think because I ask Him to.  Because I ask Him to come into my life and to make it holy.  Little by little, spreading through the day until my whole life is spent walking with Him. 

And what about the yucky places?

Those icky sticky sin type places in my life?

I can't ask God to come there?

Yes.  You can.  That's exactly what I'm saying.  You invite Him into your messed up, rotten life and He goes around making it beautiful.  Fixing stuff.  Organizing things.  Getting rid of the junk.  Scrubbing that nasty spot in the corner that you've been hiding with furniture.  And when you see how He's doing it, you want to participate.  You want to go around making things just a little prettier, a little more beautiful, a little more wholesome.

So, what happens when you make a mess of things, again?  Easy. You go to Him again.  And once you've started doing it, you don't want to stop, because you see how much better your life is looking on the inside.   Your heart starts to clear up.  Your limp starts to go away.  That gash in your arm isn't gangrene anymore.  The Doctor is looking after you and soon you'll be on your feet again, good as new.

Why Motherhood is About Slowing Down

There are some things in life that I do quickly.  A desperate load of laundry on the 27 minute cycle.  Unloading the dishwasher in under 4 minutes.   From bed to car in under 10 minutes.

But there is an underlying rythym in my life and it is a slow as an old grandfather clock.  


And I think of the tortiose and take a deep breath and I suddenly do amazing things like-

Trust God to give me the energy I need to clean the house up later, because now my little boy wants to lay in bed and read Frog and Toad.  

Go to the soccer match happening on the pitch in the backyard. My box seat is waiting. Popcorn included. 

Pick up color crayons and a scrap of paper because one sad little girl needs to get a note from her Mama and another busy girl needs my love written down for her, too. 

Confess my unkindness and impatience to my little guy. His angels always behold the face of the Father, so who better to pray forgiveness over his Mama?

These are the moments that are heaven on earth.  When the difference between here and there isn't any difference at all.

Take Elizabeth Barrett Browning and put her in a board book and you come up with lines such as these

"How do I love you?  
Let me count the ways.
I love you on your very best and very worst of days.
I love to hear you singing. 
I love to see you smile.
I love the way you take each day in your own unhurried style."

This pace is slow and sometimes the beat is hard to find under the sound of my own selfish frustrations.

So we ask, please Lord, help us to find you.  Be with us.  Fix us and bind us together.  Let Your kingdom come. Amen.  And then we watch it happen right in front of us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I thought I'd share my hummus recipe and try to encourage you to try a batch on your own.

I promise, it's easy!  This recipe has been a staple at our house for, well, 13 years!

You'll need:

2 cans of garbanzo beans
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 generous tsp of salt
2 cloves of garlic 
1 tsp of cumin
1/4 scant cup of lemon juice
2-4 Tbs. of some form of seasame seeds.  I like to use oil or seeds (they grind up just great in my Vitamix), but most recipes call for seasame paste and that works, too.

Rinse the garbanzo beans and combine everything in the blender until smooth.  If you are having trouble with the consistency, you can add more liquid; sometimes I add a little water if I feel the fat content is getting out of hand.

Transfer to serving dish and drizzle with olive oil if desired.  We make pita "pizzas", which are really an open faced sandwich with hummus, cucumber, tomato, and olives. 

You can also add roasted bell pepper to hummus, which is delicious.  I roasted two peppers wrapped in foil in the toaster oven for about 40 minutes, added one to the hummus in the blender, and chopped the other for garnish.  Note that there is a lot of water in veggies, so in order to preserve the consistency of your hummus, you might want to cut down a little on the olive oil. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last One Picked

Once upon a time I was in high school.  It really doesn't seem that long ago, some of the memories and lessons still help me along my way today.  This is a High School story.  A time when I decided to do something daring, something, well, crazy.

I tried out for cheerleading. 

Now, a little back story.  I had thought about trying out in the middle of my freshman year when they needed more girls for JV.  Then I thought about it again in the Spring.  Nope.  I just couldn't do it.  The commitment scared me senseless and my parents weren't too excited about it either.

So I waited.

I watched.

I remember the first time I saw the varsity team perform their winning state routine at an assembly.  I watched one girl as they launched her high in the air and in that moment, I was hooked.  It was amazing.  Throwing people in the air?  I didn't know it was possible for a bunch of high schoolers to get together and do the things these girls did. They were amazing and they had gold medals to prove it.

So I dipped my toe in a little further and took a choreography class the cheerleading coach was teaching for spring term.  And with more than a little push from a friend, I tried out, hoping that there would be enough grace out there in the world to squeeze me onto the Junior Varsity team.

No such luck. 

As I rode the bus home with a sealed envelope, I got ready for the worst.  And the worst happened.  I didn't make JV.  Someone had decided that I needed to do something a little different.


I was shocked.

What in the world was the coach thinking, putting a girl with absolutely no experience on a State Championship team?

In that that moment it hit me: she must see something in me that I didn't even know was there. 

From then on, I ate and slept cheerleading.  I practiced two hours every day AFTER practice.  I hung on every correction, every pointer our coach gave, whether it was intended for me or not.  I still remember the first time my coach praised me and I will never forget those months of training.

The one thing that got me through, the thing I clung to when I thought about giving in to second best, was that I knew my coach had chosen me.   She had sat down at a kitchen table with a stack of tryout scores, interview notes, and teacher recommendations and she had put my packet on the Varsity stack.  She knew my flaws, my strengths, and my weaknesses and had decided to put me on this team, this year, for a reason.  That's why my little 16 year old heart did not give up.

That's the same reason my little 31 year old heart doesn't give up now.  I've been hand picked.  Chosen despite all the reasons why I should be left on the sidelines.  He sees something in me.  Something I can't see in myself no matter how hard I may try.  He knows how to make me stronger, make me someone I could never be if He left me to myself.  He is willing to train me.  To put the time and effort in to show me how to learn, how to practice, how to perform.  

The other day I sat down in the middle of the straight and narrow and threw a fit.  Shook my fist at the God of the Universe and told Him that He doesn't know who He's dealing with here.  That He picked the wrong girl! That His ideas really stink sometimes.  That I'm saying NO to what He wants me to do this time.  I've gone far enough, and what He's asking me to believe is too much!

I'm not Job, obviously he never did any fist shaking.  But, God's answer to Job and His answer to me were one and the same.  To paraphrase all of the beautiful poetry in those last few stanzas in the book of Job

I am God and you are not. 

(BTW, I knew you were going to throw this fit before you threw it and I still picked you)


And in no unkind way, He told me that He chose me, not because I am good, but because I am willing.

Suddenly I remembered that I have always have and always will choose to be willing.

That "Here I am LORD, send me."  is not just Isaiah speaking, it's me, too.

Down on my knees, face to the ground, undone and willing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Road Less Traveled By

For straight is the Gate and narrow is the Road that leads to life and few find it.


I've been thinking about parenting lately.  Probably because my sister is pregnant and I've been pelting her with advice and parenting tips, flinging book titles and podcasts at her that have helped me along the way.  

The truth is, that motherhood is a journey and no one can audit the class because you are especially well read.  

Now is the moment I am suppossed to say, BUT...and go into the lengthy how-to's of parenting.  However, someone once told me that using the word "but" automatically negates anything said beforehand.  

So instead, I shrug.  My mother gave me that shrug. It means, there is no way that I can do this for you, you become a mother entirely on your own, no shortcuts.  

When mothers look at me and ask me questions, sometimes I give lengthy all out answers and advice (like with my poor darling sister, bless her heart), but sometimes- I just give them the shrug.  

Motherhood is hard work, like grammar school, and it's the tool the Teacher is using to shape me.  My habits, the stucture of my life.  It's taking out the things that I let in in my young adulthood and bringing me back to a place of child-likeness.  And there the four of them are, the living models of childhood, right in front of me.  

Fighting. Forgiving. Laughing. 

Testing. Softening. Growing. 

Sinning. Repenting. Restoring.  

 And when I look at that list of words, I realize that it is really God that is working all those good things in us. 

...Following this worn down rabbit trail through life, sometimes I wonder if it really is the right one, but I know that He is the One who will make all the difference.   


Sunday, June 5, 2011

No Fool

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
-Jim Elliot

There once was a man born of high circumstance
Heir to advantage, He had every chance to succeed
But light from the cross made his dreams appear small
And to their surprise he went far--from it all
For the love of his Savior, for one priceless jewel
They could not understand so they called him a fool

He is no fool
If he would choose
To give the thing he cannot keep
To buy what he can never lose
To see a treasure in one soul
That far outshines the brightest gold
He is no fool, He is no fool

There once was a boy who could run like the wind
Given to lead, every man was his friend at the line
But light from the cross made his race appear small
And to their amazement, he followed the call
For the love of his Savior, for one priceless jewel
They could not understand so they called him a fool

Show me the fool who abandons his life
To walk in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ

-Twila Paris

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Unveiling the Bride

Brides wear them down the aisle, conservative Muslim women wear them in public, and each woman has worn one at one time or another over her heart.  Sometimes we put it on right before we walk out the door.  It's cover up, concealer, a pair of outrageously sized sunglasses, maybe completely invisible to the naked eye, but just as real as that translucent fabric that women wear on their wedding day.

The funny thing is that I started this post about two months ago and had completely forgotten about it.  Then last night I was reading a book called Unveiled and was prompted to write on my blog again.  Surprise, the introduction was already started for me and now I just need to pick up where I left off.  

So, I am reading this book about Islam last night. And, I am not really sure how to say this, but as I am reading the page after page of what Muslims believe I realize that much of it is what I have believed about God my entire life.  The references to to Koran read like something taken from my own mind.  I was raised as a Christian, yet my view of God as a child and young adult was more in line with what I was reading in the pages of this book.

This realization wasn't so much disturbing as it was demystifying. I've been afraid of God.  I've been afraid of losing my salvation.  I've followed all the rules.  I've been the good little Christian girl all my life and it never got me anywhere, really.  You may have heard the cliche that Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship.  It's not a crutch, but a cure.  Lord Almighty, it's true!  I was religious.  I was raised in the very heart of Christianity, but I never saw the reality that God wanted a real, and I really do mean real, relationship with me!   Now, I am just now getting pieces of this new reality, but I thought I would share a little with you:

1. I don't have to try.  "Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest."  Literally, I don't have to do anything for God, I just have to be willing to move when He tells me.  I told Him the other day concerning all the stuff a parent of school aged children is 'supposed' to do, "I just can't DO all of this.  If you want me to do anything, just tap me on the shoulder, but I just don't have anything left."  Jesus did just what His Father told Him to do.  That's the example I want to follow.

2.  Jesus really does love me. I am the Bride of Christ, a part of it and all of it.  If it were only me on this planet, He still would have come to get me.  I am His.