Come, let’s sit and talk. Truth is waiting for us under this star studded sky. Listen to my words, but hear my heart. There is no blame here. Grace is spinning and swirling around our words and our hands. Hear it? Listen.
We have walked far together. We have trekked over mountain ranges and we have waded through swamps. Hands clasped and hearts cleaved.
You have been constant.
And often silent.
I know you have been present. I have come to know you as silence as much as I have as Lord.
My battered heart knows silence. And it has come to love the quiet.
My murkiness has often tainted our conversations. I have poured out mirth on your claims of mercy and grace. I have snapped at your unwavering kindness. Perhaps some of your goodness has seeped through?
I have a suggestion for you.
I require so little.
Will you hear me out and consider my simple request?
Here is what I offer you.
I offer my silence in return for yours. I offer you my contentment and my quiet heart in return for yours. Can we just sit, in stillness? I have no need of loud proclamations or fire.
Let’s meet amongst big skies and loud storms, dusty mornings and sweet winds. Amongst the wind and rain and Spring mornings, this is when your grace and goodness collides with my tainted heart. Just meet me here. That’s all I ask.
It is not so simple is it? Did you hear they slight desperation in my voice? Just meet me here.
And this is when I hear it. The rushing in of your heart. Your delight in chasing my tainted heart over the mountains, again and again. Your voice amidst the howling wind, ‘Mine. You are mine’. In silence and in heart stopping noise –‘You are mine’.
These last few weeks have felt slow.
Like trying to walk through honey.
Longs days tainted with impatience. Long nights punctured with sick girls and self-inflicted restlessness. There has been little time to indulge in books and words.
Energy has ebbed and flowed as easily as the tide, drawn in by giggling girls, drained out by tiredness.
There is little rest on the horizon. There is discord playing and chaos forming. But a dear friend reminded me today that out chaos harmony can flow. Just give it half a chance.
And the days have been pierced with startling moments of God’s goodness.
Isaiah, the truth teller, has weaved his words in and through my heart, planting hope and promising harmony.
Isaiah 58:9-12 (The Message)
If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.
AJ works in the welfare sector (is that vague enough for you?!). It would be easy for this to descend (ascend?) into a post on the wonders of AJ (which there are many), so let me just say that he is an extraordinary man with more gifts and depth than most realise, and he is very good at this job. AJ has an ability to be compassionate and pragmatic, empathetic but not effected.
He is also a great teacher. You didn’t know that, did you?
He may not get up on a Sunday morning and preach, he may not even say much in a small group setting. But sitting around the BBQ with his mates, having a beer, telling stories, that is when you will hear the riches of his experiences. That is when you will hear the Kingdom of God ride in on words of compassion and grief. That is when you will get to see the grandness of God’s justice and dignity – because my husband carries them in his hands. He has taught me that inequality comes in all shapes and forms. He has taught me, and to those close to him, that all people deserve dignity and compassion.
AJ is also a cyclist. AJ is not built like a cyclist. He is 6ft 3, broad shouldered and all torso. Often people will comment that he doesn’t look like a cyclist, to which he shrugs and smiles. He knows that most people don’t ‘look’ like who they are. He knows that most of us are carrying pain and grief just below the surface.
AJ reminded me again today that when God spoke of the homeless and loveless, He did so in the hope that we would know that there was never meant to be ‘the homeless’ or ‘the loveless’. That the great sorrow of this world is that there are those who know no home or love or dignity. When Scripture speaks of the widows and orphans, we are meant to grieve the reality that they walk among us. We are meant to understand that inequality in all its dark forms is as far removed from the Kingdom of God as east is from the west.
AJ has taught me to lay down my fear and anger and to pick up compassion and dignity instead. He knows there is little room or time for my raging at the unknown and unfixable. He is teaching me to lift my head, hold out my hand and walk with the widows, the homeless, the loveless and the broken. For that is reality of the Kingdom of God.
The holiest of days.
The days that mark the path You walked towards the greatest moment of mercy.
All is sharper this week. The sky is bluer, the rain sweeter, the air purer.
This week of remembering The Great Ransom.
Ransomed for our memories. Memories of pain, sadness, emptiness, shame and sin. We await the gift which wipes these shadows from our minds and hearts.
We anticipate the day when we will be gifted with forgetfulness.
Worth reading this week…
Micha Boyett at ‘Mama: Monk‘ has a week of reflections which are worth spending some time with.
Sarah Bessey has written a beautiful post, ‘In which we leave a little room‘. (You will also find in Sarah’s post the line, ‘And I think we need more theologians with a poet’s heart: a little imagination when we speak of God never hurts‘. Oh how this made my heart sing!)
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2, The Message)
Oh I had grand ideas for my ‘one word’ for 2013.
Such grand ideas.
I came up with a list of possibilities, of words I was willing to commit too.
I had a plan. It involved quite times and gentle music. It engendered all that was virtuous and pertinent to ‘going deeper’.
But all those great words felt heavy and tiresome. They spoke of chores to be done, jobs to tick of a list. These were not my words.
So I did what I should have done at the start.
Reclaim what has been lost to you.
Reclaim what I have spoken and you have ignored.
Reclaim what I have given you.
Reclaim time. Reclaim family. Reclaim hope. Reclaim direction. Reclaim justice. Reclaim expectation. Reclaim your sacred titles’.
It is grittier than I would have chosen. It involves more of my heart than I wanted to give. But it also feels like opening a window at the end of a hot day and smelling the rain that is about to be unleashed. It feels like hearing church bells in the early morning, proclaiming the Sabbath, a new day, a new start, a new moment.
I’m not sure what it will look like but I am eager to find out. I want to know what it means to live under reclaimed truth.
God is already nudging and whispering. This blog is part of that whispering. This book is as well.
This is a journey I am willing to take.
I am a creature of habit. I like stability and clarity. I like knowing where I am and where I am going.
I do not do well with unsaid expectations, uncertainty or high winds.
I am a mum to three small girls, wife to an adventurer and a follower of Jesus, who is often quiet and easily misunderstood.
The stability I crave is often thwarted by Barbie dolls and spontaneous decisions to go to the beach.
I know that I choose to trust my temperament over my knowledge of a generous God.
And daily I pay the price for that choice.
And so I must begin again, daily, hourly, to choose to trust that He is close and constant and reliable and whispers beauty and grace when I listen.