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Twinning: Elijah & Elisha

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Elijah and Elisha.  At times their coupling in the Old Testament appears twin-like. Even down to the spelling and pronunciation of their names.Like the old DoubleMint gum, they resembled two prophets for the price of one.Elijah was Elisha’s mentor and they often traveled and ministered together.In 2 Kings chapter 2 (catching on to all the two’s??) we see the bittersweet and miraculous end of the Elijah/Elisha era as they quite literally part ways.
Elijah knew that his “time had come”. He makes 3 attempts to separate from his mentee, all of them unsuccessful.  Elijah tells Elisha to “stay here” but Elisha refuses.  He cannot conceive of not being with this man of God…”so the two of them went on (v. 6)."  However, Scripture states clearly in verse 1 that the Lord intended to part them and to take Elijah to his eternal home in heaven.  The two of them must be split. 
At the location of his third unsuccessful attempt at separation, Elijah stands at the bank of the Jordan River with El…

Finding joy even here

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The soil beneath my gloved hands felt loose, tender, and cool.  It felt good to turn over the dirt in that clay pot. I churned and aerated its contents.  The smell was earthy, its color black. It held moisture and promise.  I dug my hands in, filled my palms, lifted them up, and let the dark particles fall back into their container.  And instantly I remembered how much I look forward to this springtime ritual of sewing in soil.  There is nothing quite like the comfort and thrill of gardening. 
This spring season, my gardening efforts were small. They consisted of 2 small pots near our back door which I filled with flowers of varying and beautiful colors - not expensive but lovely still. Nothing like the raised bed gardens filled with herbs and vegetables I’ve had in the past.  Or the rose bushes I’ve tenderly nurtured.  Or the porches I’ve adorned with ferns and foliage.  Where we live now has no yard or porches. We have a stoop out back that holds my only hope for gardening of any sor…

Come and tune

Come thou Fount of every blessing-
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace...

Come, Lord - the one who is the source and creator of all the blessings we see and seek - come tune the off-key strings of my heart so they make a joyful song as they are played.  A song that sings beautifully of the riches you've given us at Christ's expense.  Repair those strings which have been overstretched beyond their tuning. Relax those that have been wound up tight by misuse.

Hearts were made to sing and worship.  My heart will sing a song - whether one of beauty, harmony, and joy or a dismal tune, focused on self and disappointment.  Father, I give you permission to enter my heart and tune the rusty, dusty strings so that what outpours rings out loud and clear of your melody of love.  Only you can change the tune.  Your love can change my song.

Stir the slumbering chords again.

In my heart there rings a melody.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it-
Prone to leave the God I love...

Like a once tuned pia…

Practice the presence of Jesus

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Practice the presence of Jesus.




Where this quote originated I’m not entirely sure.  And the internet was not much help in assigning it an author. Various versions of it seem to have flourished throughout the last several centuries.  But I know where it comes from in my life.  My Papa. These words could be heard rolling off the eloquent tongue of my grandfather quite often.  It was his “go to” phrase.  He was fond of it and had a keen awareness of exactly when to insert it where it would be most beneficial.  At a crucial time of stress and sorrow in my own life, he called all those in our proximity to prayer and he uttered these words: Let us practice the presence of Jesus.  I’m telling you, instant peace; instant calm.  
Practice the presence of Jesus.
In other words (as if it needs an explanation), if Jesus were here with you now, how would that change the challenge that you’re facing? How would that alter your perspective and therefore alter your thoughts and actions?  This results…

Rest

Rest R. E. S. T. It is 4:30 PM and my family is home with me from all the day’s activities. Each of us is in his or her own quiet corner of this apartment. The day is winding down and I am sitting down in my chair. My reading, thinking, “taking it easy” chair. This is new for me. A far cry from where I was a year ago, or in years’ past. The summer heat is still stifling outside this window, brightly blazing with the sun’s light and energy. But inside me, a new season has arrived.  A season of rest which I know not how long it will last but that it is definitely here.  
My feet are up on the beige ottoman I purchased at a discount price from Target - no doubt on one of those busy days from time past. My feet are up! I am winding down. This is new for me.  I feel anxious for nothing at this moment.  I find myself mindfully aware of the golden setting sunlight streaming in this room through my blinds - in the shape of long bars. The air circulating here is cool and the white noise is pleas…

Front Row Thoughts

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Our family is leaving the ministry. At least for a season.  The reasons that have led us to this place are both deeply personal and painful.I definitely feel it is what’s best for us for now but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still having to wrestle with this at a soul level.

I’m struggling as I grapple for a new identity outside one where we are formally laboring for Christ as a way of life - and a paying job.  As I searched for metaphors and reached for things of comparison to help me process and understand, this analogy came to mind.  It’s as if there’s this huge venue where God is on stage and the feature presentation is His Kingdom and its advancement.  As those who labor for him in full-time vocational ministry, it feels like we get a front row seat to what God is doing.  Like the first 3 rows at a concert that are reserved for certain individuals, we are front and center to Kingdom work.  
Stepping out of ministry feels like being asked to move from Row 2 Seat 8 to Row 8…

When trust is a must

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We’re getting ready to sign a lease on an apartment.  I realize that to some that might seem like an amazingly exciting thing.  And at previous points in my life I would have agreed with elated anticipation.  But deciding on this apartment has felt like deciding between something I don’t want and something else I don’t want.  


Backstory: I’m preparing for the 14th move in my life.  I am almost 40, but still - that’s a lot of moving around!  This move has a deeper sting to it and I feel myself growing even more resistant to its coming.  It is a product of the circumstances that result from poor choices plus the challenge of a major life transition, all rolled up and tied with the bow of unemployment.  Sounds less than desirable, eh?  
But even in the midst of this chaos and disappointment, I am being reminded and shown how the steadfast love of the Lord endures.  His mercies remain new each morning.  I am still being fed manna and quail daily by my heavenly Father.  And I feel much like …