Monthly Archives: September 2012

Natural Vitality

We are in the autumn of our lives.  Our nest has long been empty.   Our children are growing older.  Our grandchildren are growing up.  We are retired and no longer punch a time clock.  Yet we find that dreams are as important now as ever for the well being of our souls and the vitality of our marriage.  Are dreams the stuff of natural vitality?   Scripture teaches that a people without vision perish.   Perhaps humans make bucket lists in order to live until they die.  We are going to keep pursuing God’s dreams for us for as long as he gives breath.  Dreams are Good.  Life is Good.  God is Good.

 

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What Is Intimacy?

I am right.  I need to change my spouse’s mind.  Once I convince him to see a matter as I see it, then our conflict will be resolved.    He believes he is right.  Neither of us convinces the other to change his or her mind, and an impasse charged with anger and hurt is reached.  We distance ourselves from one another.   How can peace and intimacy be restored?   What is peace, and what is intimacy?  Is intimacy knowing and being known?  Is peace an extension of compassion and mercy?

We are afraid and hide behind the dispute and the impasse, as a way to avoid the work of transparency.   He can’t hurt or disappoint me as deeply, if I don’t reveal my feelings, if I limit the communication to which one of us wins the debate.  When I risk sharing how I am feeling, when he does the same, we once again know the heart of the other.   Compassion and mercy are aroused.  In that atmosphere of peace, workable solutions can be designed.

 

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Treasure Reserved For Battle

There were two conversations at my table.  Each of the women made herself vulnerable, sharing with gut wrenching honesty.   One had been attacked and left with the symptoms of trauma.  The other, a mother, was feeling hopeless to help a foster son, reeling with maladaptive behaviors following abuse and neglect.  She wanted to feel compassion, but it was buried under the anger this child’s behavior arouses.

My heart ached for these women and this child.   I did the only thing I could do, the best thing to do.  I prayed, and as I prayed, God gave me a word of wisdom that I am still pondering.  “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?”  (Job 38:22-23)  Another translation used treasuries, instead of storehouses.

What treasure does God reserve in the cold and difficult circumstances of our lives?  How does this treasure help us as we fight the battles of our lives – battles to trust – battles to save relationships – battles for emotional wounds to be healed.   Quoting an old Scottish preacher ( forgive me for forgetting his name), there are only two kinds of prayers – birthing and battling.

I am reminded of Viktor Frankl, a survivor of a concentration camp, who wrote so compellingly in Man’s Search For Meaning that the one right, the one freedom that no one can ever strip away from us is our right to choose our own attitude, the meaning we give to our own pain.   Is our will to choose the way we will think about our heartaches, losses, and the injustices we suffer, the treasure God reserves for the day of battle?

May God give light to those we battle in prayer for.  May that light give them courage to believe that God is good and that he will give meaning to their suffering – to believe that he heals and re-creates – to believe that he can restore what the enemy plunders.

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A Knock At My Door

I  like old fashioned screen doors.   They are reminiscent of my childhood.  I recall running out ours, leaving it to close on it’s own with a bang, in too big a hurry to shut it quietly.  I can still hear Mom yelling, “Come in and stay in, or go out and stay out.”   I remember her locking the screen door, if I went in and out one more time after that ultimatum.

Mom was the door keeper of my childhood home, but I was always the door keeper of my heart.   One day I heard Jesus knocking.  (See Revelation 3:20)  He asked if he could come in and make my messy heart his home.   I am so thankful I opened the door and welcomed him in.  He brought light and life, love and laughter, peace and purpose.

Do you hear him knocking at your door?  He knocks, but never forces entry.   He waits for your invitation.

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