O soul who reads these lines

“Faith teaches that God loves us and that he loves us not as a group, but personally, individually: He loved me! Each of us can make these words of the Apostle Paul his own without fear of error. He knows my name; he has engraved my image in his heart. Still more, I can be assured that his heart is all mine, because our Lord cannot love as we do, by halves; when he loves, he loves with his whole heart, infinitely.

“Souls sometimes say, with a mixture of love and ignorance, ‘I wish our Lord would love me more.’ But is that possible? Can he who loves infinitely love any more? If nothing else existed in the world except God and you, O soul who reads these lines, he would not love you any more than he does right now. If you were the only object of his love, he would love you just as he loves you now.” (Luis Maria Martinez)

Have you trials?

Sorry to say I have been neglecting this blog for way too long.  Especially during these times we have need of witnesses to hope.  Here’s a pertinent quote from my old friend, Amy Carmichael.  May you find encouragement in her words. 

1 Thess 3.3. (Weymouth): That none of you might be unnerved by your present trials: for you yourselves know that they are our appointed lot.

Have you difficulties?  They are our appointed lot.  Have you trials?  They are our appointed lot. 

Those five words were written to people who might any day find themselves in prison, tortured, lonely, oppressed.  Her if we have to have a tooth out, we have an injection.  There was no injection for the Christians of Thessalonica.  Let us not forget that when we are tempted to fuss over trifles, and call things trials which are mere nothings.

Still, there are trials sometimes, and they may look very big.  But they are our appointed lot–we were never promised ease.  The early Christians were not taught to expect it.  Don’t let us slip into the expectation of the easy.  It isn’t our appointed lot.

But for us there is always another word (2 Cor 12.9): My grace is sufficient for you.

Upheld from Falling

Barnstorming

I had grasped God’s garment in the void 
but my hand slipped on the rich silk of it. 

The ‘everlasting arms’ my sister loved to remember 
must have upheld my leaden weight from falling, even so, 

for though I claw at empty air and feel nothing, no embrace, 
I have not plummetted.
~Denise Levertov “Suspended”

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for? 
~Robert Browning from “Andrea Del Sarto”

As richly dressed as the world is this time of year,
beauty abounds everywhere I look,
it slips through my fingers when I try to capture it and hold on,
I cannot save myself by my own grasp.

Yet I’m not allowed to plummet
despite my flailing panic
as the bottom drops out beneath my feet

The air around me is not empty~
it is full of His breath
and where God breathes,
He suspends the fallen.

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Someone’s right here holding us tonight

 

Sydney says that nothing is “just” anything
She doesn’t like to use the word when she prays
I guess trusting is the hardest part of having faith
It’s dangerous to hope that things will be okay
Well maybe fog and fear keep our eyes from seeing clear
I think Sydney could be right, she could be right
But if the stars that shine are in any way a sign
I think someone’s out there putting up a fight
Someone’s right here holding us tonight
Frederick rarely hears the voice of God
He says the silence is the answer most of all
When the world has explanations for every miracle
How else would we have ears to hear him call?
It’s not a steady rain, it’s more a longing or a pain
It’s in the aching that he knows there’s something more
Well I have never heard even a single spoken word except the rhythm of a wave upon the shore
Like watching dancers through a crack in the door
Well my grandpa says commitment is the key to love
Fifty years of sometimes twilight, sometimes dawn
He says there were the years he wasn’t sure about
But the love he chose was worth the pressing on
Well I’m a river’s flow, some days I’m fast some days I’m slow
I think Grandpa could be right, he could be right
Some days I fill the edges, then I’m shallow and pretentious
It all depends upon the rain I got that night
I should never base my faith upon my sight
I must decide where I am flowing, decide where I am going
So when I’m full of deep unknowing I’ll still see
When the silence gets accusing, when I’m winning or I’m losing
Does assurance come from choosing to believe?
If the stars that shine are in any way a sign
I think someone’s out there putting up a fight
Someone’s right here holding us tonight
Someone must be shining down that moonlight

It’s time

A good friend of mine who is an artist and says she never writes, sent this to me.  I think she should write more.  Don’t you? Thank you, Ellen!

Awaken
Ellen Erenberg (all rights reserved)

It’s Time

During the dark months of winter, plants and flowers keep busy monitoring the skies for signs of spring.  Only when the days are long enough do they send out word: It’s time!!

They begin to shrug off sleep, slowly rise, stems strong, heads held high and, looking up, they search out the guiding light above in preparation for their journey through the coming seasons.

Just as their petals unfurl and they celebrate and welcome all new life… it hits.  When they least expect it unwelcome frozen crystals arrive and invade their personal space.  They settle all around without asking permission.  It bites hard and cruel. It brings all of nature’s fragile life to its knees…yellow, rose, green, violet – it doesn’t discriminate.

Their stems bend, their yellow and rose bells hang in despair, while others seemingly bow in prayer pleading for help, waiting for the assault to pass.  Many tears fall as they lean frozen in place.  The sight of this abrupt interruption to their annual journey is shocking, their posture sad, their presence seemingly weakened.

But… No! A small voice whispers: “Do Not Be Afraid.  Upon you no evil shall fall, no plague approach where you dwell. For you has he commanded his angels to keep you in all your ways”.  They understand that deep in their soul is the miracle to come back.  They know a bigger truth.  They are compelled to push through weakness and confrontation of any sort.

As they hunker down in stillness and silence the rumour that circulates is that this hovering dark cloud is Frost.  They heard it was coming but even the old wise timber couldn’t prevent the bullying.  The insulating foliage blanket was not warm enough. The returning Canada Goose call not loud enough.  Every line of defence was insufficient.

And so, they wait in family clusters for what seems a very long time but as the day warms and the sun soothes they dig deep to recover the will to right their frames.  Slowly but surely they lift their chin in thanks and praise knowing that they alone cannot endure but rather the power surrounding them urges them on.  As they face day after unpredictable day they hold each other up, dearly and tenderly, sprouts and seasoned shoots, and remind each other that they are not alone, that they can persevere and weather storms, that they can adapt to new climate and blossom with all their divine might.  Now is the time!

–Ellen Erenberg
Honoured Mountain Studio

Locked doors

Witnesses to Hope

I always find this kind of reflection on the Easter appearances full of great hope for folks like me: “Jesus moves among men and women–even if it means passing through doors locked from within” (Jn 20.19-23). (Fr. William M. Joensen)  Many of us frequently–or continually–bolt the doors of our hearts from within, yet we long for Christ to come to us.  We can have great hope . . . for He is the One who can enter “through doors locked from within.”

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