December 2- this and that

Reflections on Malcolm Guite’s Waiting on the Word December 2 excerpt:

Guite introduces us to Grevel Lindop’s poem, The Moon. As Guite discusses Lindop’s poem captures so beautifully in words the reality of time, memories. Something so valuable and precious like jewels but unable to quantify. These precious moments given to us first by our Creator and then by those we share the memories with cannot be fully captured so at best we poets and writers hope to take glimpses of the beauty and preserve it for others in verse or prose.

With the recent losses this past year including my Daddy and my dear Uncle Stevie the value of precious memories has been truly realized. I am thankful for some social media posts and some snapshots that captured some recent precious moments. I am very thankful my Uncle Stevie wrote some memoirs. We have his thoughts captured on paper to hold onto. These memories are likely underrated by the author at the time, but it is priceless to the author’s loved ones. My Uncle was not a writer by profession or hobby, but I am so glad he shared his thoughts. I encourage anyone reading this to do something similar. You have no idea the treasure it will be for your family some day. It has encouraged me to really stop putting my writing on the back burner or low on the priority list. There is always more to do.

I love to write so why would I deny myself the opportunity to do so? The aforementioned time issue, putting everyone and everything else first , and perfectionism. Yes, because I don’t have eloquent pearls of words strung together for the moment I feel I should say nothing. However all the advice from authors states the first and foremost thing to do is just write. Write often. In the process the jewels will come. There will be many diamonds in the rough and many a lump of coal. However you can’t get to the pearls without the rough stuff to smooth the edges.

Thus here I am absolutely exhausted, worried about a couple of sick family and overwhelmed by a full calendar, but I have chosen to write this. To reflect on this morning’s Advent reading, to just get these thoughts out and hopefully clear some space for some future beautiful work to blossom.

So let me conclude this therapeutic goulash with a prayer

Heavenly Father, Creator of Light and Order ,

I humbly beseech you to heal my nephew James, my brother Louis and all of those whom are on my prayer list. Lord Jesus, you are the Great Physician. Heal them. Meet all their needs according to your riches Christ Jesus. Give us peace as we wait for healing. Give wisdom to those entrusted with their care. Help me to lay my loved ones at your feet. As much as I love them, you love them more.

Lord helps us during this advent season not only to seek you for what you do and can do for us but just who you are. Let our communion with you , the Light of the World be enough

Thank you for overcoming the darkness, defeating death and offering life to your beloved. Help us use that life for your glory.

Lord Jesus heal baby James. Heal his foot. Protect him from side effects from his treat and let him grow strong in wisdom, stature and knowledge of you, our Lord so he may carry out your perfect will for his life. What the enemy meant for evil Lord use for good. Lord let James walk tall and strong all his days as he leads others to follow you.

Restore function and feeling to my brother’s face. Cast out the illness from his body. Heal his mind, body, and soul. Let him rise up so he may walk in renewed strength to continue the ministry you have called him to.

Lord thank you for the healing in Rhonda. Thank you for giving me and other friends of hers the story of Lazarus as she was on our hearts. Though she was intubated and her heart stopped for 6 minutes , you Lord Jesus told her Rise up , come out of your death clothes. Thank you and praise you that she is communicating again and will soon go from ICU to a rehabilitation unit to become stronger. Thank you for not letting Covid overcome her body.

Lord we pray for all those whose loved ones healing was not what they prayed for but the ultimate healing. Comfort them as they mourn. Lord help me and my family continue in our grief journey that we cling to our true hope, that we honor you and him as we carry on his legacy.

Lord help me to continue to prepare my heart for what you would have me learn and don’t this advent season. And since I have never asked this, Lord you gave me the passion and talent for writing now I pray that you bless it so I may fulfill my will and bring you glory.

In the powerful name of Y’shua Ha Mashiach- Amen

From Darkness to Light

Reflections after reading the December 1 excerpt from Malcolm Guite’s Waiting on the Word

I contemplate the paradox of our lives born into darkness and yet light. We are in darkness as we are void of knowledge or understanding about the world, our Maker, and even ourselves. We are in light as we are created in the Imago Dei. The Great Light is our Creator and we are made in His image and likeness. Enter in the will.

We are created on purpose, with a purpose and a divine plan for that purpose. We are created by a Maker that designed us for relationship with Him and our fellow creatures. Since we cannot be forced to love or else it is no love at all and because our Maker did not want mere robots we are given a will and the ability to choose. We choose wrongly thus darkness enters.

Despite the darkness of our sin there is that spark of the Imago Dei that was deposited within us at our creation and it seems that very spark seeks to draw itself to even more light until we are face to face with the Light of the World. This first spark is what I think of in reading George Herbert’s poem The Glance. The first glance from our Maker was at our creation. However the moment our will goes against God, it leads us into the hiding as Adam hid. In regard to this hiding as Guite notes in regards to Herbert’s poem there is this tension between hiding and seeking. There is this conflict between darkness and light.

The good news is this:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it

John 1:5

After reflecting upon Guite’s discussion of Herbert’s poem, I recalled a vivid image the Lord revealed to me that inspired the poem I penned below. The image was a dark canvas if you will that stretched as far as the eye could see. There were pin pricks of light breaking through. Then there were punches that allowed even more light. The pin pricks were glimpses of God and the punches were gazes. Discovering Herbert’s poem entitled The Glance thrilled my soul as I saw this common thread of Truth that predates the glimpses granted to me by the Holy Spirit.

Canvas of Truth

When I consider the stars
Dark infinite canvas
Glimpses of light
Glimpses of truth
Piercing the night

And then
Something is torn
Pain rips a hole
Yet through that pain
Greater light shines through
Not a glimpse, but a gaze
Of light
Of truth
Piercing the darkness

In time
Truth adds to truth
Even darkness becomes light
Basking in the truth
Of this canvas’ Creator

It is interesting and most consistent with what I know of our Lord that those gazes seem to accompany the hard seasons. In my youthful naivete I would likely have been tempted to forgo the gazes to prevent the accompanying pain. My flawed almost superstitious thinking was if I don’t see the gazes then nothing bad will happen to those I love. The reality is we live in a fallen world where pain and darkness exist, but our loving Creator gives us these gazes to sustain us through the pain.

This brings to mind a conversation I had with my Daddy about life and death. I thought it peculiar that every time a baby was born it was near a death in the family. I confessed my dear to my Dad. “I think babies are wonderful Daddy, but it makes you not want any to come so you don’t have to give up someone you love.”

Dad pointed out that my thinking was not in order. “No , Shelly it’s the other way around. Death will come. Those who pass on will leave, but God gives us new life in babies to show hope still lives.” [God is faithful as we bid Daddy farewell to his heavenly rest in July we welcomed my nephew James Knox this October. ]

Which brings us inadvertently to our advent theme. The darkness was in the world, but the light would not be overcome. So our Great Light, our Creator, Maker ,Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah, Heavenly Father, The Great I Am saw fit to send us a baby that would not only show us hope lives despite death and darkness, but this very baby would defeat death.

Oh Christ child what a glorious gaze of light. That we may gaze upon your face and you gaze into ours so we may fully know and understand how loved we are by you. So in the darkness of advent we wait expectantly for the Hope that is the Light of the World.

Come Lord Jesus, Come

Advent Prayer

It took an extra day, but I finally decided upon my Advent reading for this year. I chose this work of Malcolm Guite and look forward to diving in and see how the Lord chooses to teach me through this work. However, before I dive in I must offer up my own Advent prayer.

My advent prayer-
Most Holy Lord, I wait for you. As I wait I pray that you would return me to my first love of Christ Jesus. Awaken my soul as parts of it have lain dormant in the harsh cold of life, loss, and out of mere survival instinct in a season of tumultuous tempests. Yet now the fog has lifted, the waters are not raging ,though they are not fully calm. My soul had a little respite. It was a long hard stormy season, but you have sent your dove with the olive branch saying to me “come out. It is safe. The greatest of the storm is passed for now and there is work to do. ” Rebuilding and building and planting and sowing. Lord as I wait show me what fields are mine to tend as you know I am an eager worker and aim to please so when I am committed I tend to take on more than you would have me do which leads to weariness and limits my fruitfulness. You do not intend me to be complacent or slothful or stagnant and yet you do not intend me to bear a burden too great. I do not know my limits. I underestimate and overestimate my abilities. Maker of my soul, you know. Grant me O Lord the wisdom to discern which is my field to tend and strengthen me to get busy about your work so that I may by your grace cooperate and assist in your kingdom building. What a great God you are! You do not need us for your work, but so sweetly invite us into it so that we may grow and be fruitful.
Lord as I enter this season of reflection, slowing, contemplation, and penitence make your will for my life quite clear. Lord I seek you. Assist me with thy grace to seek you with my whole heart, mind, and soul.

In the powerful name of our risen Lord and Savior Y’shua, Emmanuel- Amen

Waiting for Rescue

The people were hoping to be restored, rescued, and redeemed. Their expectations were for a warrior who with might and power would overcome and free them from the temporal confines of daily life under Roman rule. Their Lord promised redemption, but his picture of what this rescue had an eternal perspective. He chose instead meekness and a sacrificial love.

We are restrained by time and a life of points of time in a linear movement. Our Creator is outside of space and time. Therefore His answer to our problem , prayer, or petition may have an eternal perspective. Let us lay down our expectations and be open to an answer that has eternal implications.

HOPE

Great Expectations

We sat on the pew awaiting the service to begin. My husband commented that Advent blue was his favorite color of all the seasons. Our daughter agreed. Each church season means new banners hung upon the altar and in the sanctuary. My husband looked up at the banner directly in front of us. “What does esperanza mean in Spanish, Shelly?” He asked. “Hope,” I replied, ” which is interesting because in Spanish esperar means to wait and this morning I looked up the definition of hope as a reminder and it means a feeling of expectation. Expecting, waiting. ”

In the season of advent we begin the church calendar with our Great Expectation of the birth of our newborn Savior. Heaven comes down and takes the form of a baby. The King of the Universe and Creator takes on the limitations of a newborn child. As we enter this season we prepare our hearts as we wait.

What great expectation do you have?

What are you waiting for?

Healing for a loved one?

A phone call ….

For a job, provision?

Reconciliation?

Deliverance?

Waiting is often hard. There is a tension, but there is also hope. However, sometimes if we wait for a while, worry and doubt can seep in.

What can we do while we wait? We can prepare our hearts. And oft we find no matter the answer to the prayer, the real transformation happens as we wait.

I am waiting:

For healing for my brother from Ramsay Hunt Syndrome where the shingles virus has attacked the nerves in the left side of his face. I am researching, the doctors have him on meds, I am seeking any possible treatments to help promote healing and despite all my healthcare expertise one essential part of the healing process is time. So I pray and I wait. I pray for full resolution from the palsy and fully restored health. It is so hard to see your little brother with an ailment. No matter how old he is , he will always be my kid brother that I fought and played hard with but always felt an innate desire to protect.

I wait for healing for a friend in ICU with a severe case of COVID. Things had been grim but we see signs of hope and improvement so we still wait with expectation of some continued miraculous healing.

I wait for my Uncle in the hospital. He is having a cardiac angiogram (heart Cath) today. I am waiting for good news and healing from the procedure and resolution of his symptoms that led him there.

I am waiting for healing for my husband’s back, a minor flare from a lumbar strain that limits his movement.

I am waiting for a diagnosis, the discovery of the underlying cause of my teen daughter’s orthostatic hypotension. And of course we want healing from all that ails my precious girl.

I am hoping for healing for a loved one’s dad to overcome a type of blood cancer a second time.

I am waiting and as I wait I pray , Lord heal them but guide, lead, and teach me as I wait.

As I wait, I hope, trust and believe as hard as this waiting is that the wait has purpose. I believe in an intelligent Creator that is also a loving, compassionate Creator that loves His creation. This Creator gave us free will or else we would be robots and forced love is not love. This in our free will to choose, the world is impacted both positively and adversely. Thus enters the problem of pain, loss, illness, evil.

But I also believe, hope, trust and know that light has overcome the darkness, the good does overcome evil and that our Creator God uses all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Lord, we wait for you.

In anticipation and expectancy we hope for greater things that we can conceive.

Transform me in the waiting to look more like you.