A Long Obedience in the Same Direction? Start here. *SLOW Word*

Feel like you’re walking a long road and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier?

Yup, you’re not alone. Today we park in Ephesians for some strength and a whole lot of encouragement.  Let’s listen together.

Have someone else who may need a cup of water from this same well? Pass it along to a friend.  Subscribe on the right to receive these twice weekly little videos straight into your email.

 

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A Few of My Favorite Things and *SLOW Word*

{SLOW Word Lectio Divina is right here pasted onto the bottom of this post.  Remember, Lectio Divinas are posted right here every Monday and Thursday. Subscribe on the right to get them slipped into your inbox.}

Here are a few of my favorite things:

My bee earrings:

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It’s easy to feel lost in a world addicted to big. Big projects. Big success. You question your worth. You wonder if somehow BIG passed you by and if you should scrape and strive for it. I’m pretty sure that would be the death of my soul. My bee earrings remind me to celebrate my smallness and know that the essential work of pollination by tiny beings makes the world go round.

It’s my cheer for a mustard-seed life. I’ll tell you more another time. Go bees!

 

The quote from Pedro Arrupe I can’t get enough of. Pedro Arrupe was a missionary to the Japanese and a political prisoner during WW2. After WW2 he moved to the outskirts of Hiroshima and cared for people during the bombing and its aftermath. He was voted Superior General of the Jesuits in 1965 and served until 1983. This gorgeous quote came from that life.

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

From Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book © 2009 Marquette University Press.

 

I am undone by Elgar’s Lux Aeterna. Every. Single. Time.

 

Chatbooks – I adore these little square books that are so simple to put together. In fact, I’ve created four in the last two months. I’m NOT a scrapbook mom. This is totally worth every penny. Besides this video cracks. me. up:

 

 

This teaching. Want more of that same Exodus 33 passage from today’s SLOW Word Lectio Divina? Don’t miss this. If you’ve never been introduced to the beautiful ministry of Terry Wardle, you’re missing out. Terry’s one of my professors for the Spiritual Formation Spiritual Direction Certificate I’m attending. #blessed.

“What distinguishes our faith from all the other religions of the world?” The Presence.

Listen:

 

 

How to Survive a Shipwreck:  by Jonathan Martin

What a book. There aren’t many books written from the point of view of a Christian falling apart, in full acceptance of the free-fall. This book is vulnerable and beautiful with the gift of being given access of someone’s holy of holies.  You feel the need to talk softly, to take off your shoes. Jonathan Martin does some stunning theology as he listens to Scripture in the midst of the pain. He invites us to get comfortable with humiliation, grace and the love of God. It is tender and gorgeous, authentic and rich. I heartily recommend this book. Perhaps we will see the “shipwreck” seasons of our lives and others as not something to be judged, but a time to sit shiva, listen to the grief, and watch for the gentle movements of the Spirit. Resurrection is coming. The Resurrection and the Life is coming.

“Letting the storm and the night have their way with you, letting the Spirit come in with the wind to make you into something new, is much easier said than done. There are so many reasons not to be reborn. There are so many reasons to choose resuscitation over resurrection.” Jonathan Martin

 

 

These verses. Let’s savor the Word together:

 

Friend, what area of your life do you sense God inviting you to stop and invite His Presence in?

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Matthew 5: 3-9

Dear friends, every Monday and Thursday we gather right here to slow down and savor the word. Join us in the SLOW Word Movement nourishing us with the Word on four continents by subscribing on the right and receiving these Lectio Divinas by email.

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Key to Conquering Anxiety *SLOW Word video* Lectio Divina

 

We live our lives as orphans. We live impoverished and alone.  We walk out our front door, down the sidewalk and completely forget who our Daddy is.

 

At least that’s my story.  

 

When I was ten years old we moved across the country from Maine to Ohio. New neighborhood. New church. New Christian school.

 

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I pushed through the giant metal doors of that jr. high completely intimidated by the painted concrete walls, the dozens of blue eyes staring back. I breathed shallow. I learned to live as camouflage, an iguana that changed colors according to the background. I held my arms tight to my body and wished I could blend in.

 

It was an impossible task.

 

80% of the other children were family, first and second and third and fourth cousins of Dutch farm families who had ingeniously settled that land, drained the swamp and farmed the black topsoil that remained. Their trucks crisscross the country to WalMarts and Meijer stores filling our vegetable bins. The kids in my class picked the lettuce and carrots in the summer alongside their fathers’ migrant workers. They were on their home turf and were made of sturdier stuff.

 

I was a singer, a reader who ate, drank, and breathed Lucy Mond Montgomery, and had an anxiety disorder I would only come to understand after I birthed my first baby. That was decades away.

 

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As the kids teased, I took every arrow straight to the heart. I didn’t know how to deflect the pain, the fear that they might be right. I let them write my new name, carve it across my chest. The lies wormed their way into my blood system and it took years to erase the ink scrawled out: Rejected.

 

I walked through those metal doors into my jr. high stripped of truth. I walked in as an orphan. Abandoned. Devastatingly alone.

 

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This is my story, my fight for healing, and the long hard road of transformation. This was one of the essential keys on the journey right here in Psalm 139: 

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

   Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

   If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning

   and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,

   and your right hand shall hold me tight.

 

This is not just theory, all these lovely words. It’s David’s story, a shepherd boy, struggling with fear on the side of the mountain listening to a lion’s hunting growls. He must have wondered if he had wandered outside of the circle of His Presence. And it’s my story.

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Years later this matchstick girl has learned to cling tight. His Presence is no longer ethereal ideology, or some mystic’s fanaticism. Practicing the Presence of God is my life-line, especially during times of transition when my world has been emptied, tipped upside down like a bucket, my comfortable life tumbling out. I’ve learned to open up my awareness to His constant Presence and the Light of the World chases away anxiety’s clinging fog. I no longer walk into rooms alone, sit at tables alone, walk the edge of the water’s surf alone. The perfect love of God is always near, a banner over me. His love, no wait…His present love defines me. I AM adopted. The papers have been signed in blood. I walk with Jesus. It’s the with-God life, and my dears, it’s good.

 

After years of pressing close, years of this renewing of the mind, (Oh the tales of redemption that I could tell!) I no longer function as a practical orphan. I know who I am.

 

I’m His.

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Matthew 4:18-22 SLOW Word Lectio Divina

Friends, I’m hearing multiple questions in this Matthew 4:18-22 passage today, questions to stay present to this week.

It’s journaling time.

1. In what way am I divided and continue to go back to what’s familiar? The disciples fishing and mending their nets had already been following Jesus for at least a year. Yet, they didn’t have a vision for a total change of life, a vision which was profound enough to keep them focused. Do you think that maybe they didn’t know that the listening would be transformed into action…action they would be asked to take? So here’s another question: 2. In what way am I a passive follower of Christ?

3. What is Jesus asking me to set down in order to follow Him unencumbered? Fascinating, huh? We are weighted down by a to-do list that’s too long, expectations that are undesirable, an ego that is never satiated, fears which demand our obedience, and other people’s ideas of who and what we should be. No wonder we can’t answer His “Come Follow Me.” We’re a bit busy juggling our own heavy problems.

4 and 5. Where or to what is Christ asking me to follow Him? Perhaps you’ve been sensing a nudge into brand new territory. Perhaps you’ve seen something which you can’t unsee, something which demands you show up with intention to love, to fight, to humbly serve. Perhaps we can just simply ask the question, Jesus, what breaks Your heart? Then we follow Him there.

Finally, 6. Is there a person Jesus wants me to invite to meet this Christ? 

Lord, open our ears to hear Your voice and make us brave enough to follow. Amen.

 

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John 1: 29-34 SLOW Word Lectio Divina video

#MondaysAtJesusFeet

Every Monday and Thursday find a SLOW Word Lectio Divina video right here.  I’m an audible learner. You too? I’m finding there are lots of us out there. Subscribe on the right to have these slipped right into your email…and find other tidbits there as well. Perhaps you know someone else who may want to sit at Jesus’ feet with us?

 

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On the Journey toward Self-Acceptance + *SLOW Word video*

 

My holidays were straight up gluttonous.  Baked brie oozing out of its pastry crust.  Chilled mimosas for breakfast with crepes carefully folded over nutella and strawberries. Then later, Balsamic Roasted Beef, smashed potatoes, and peas and pancetta for Christmas dinner. With wine. Always with wine.

And that was just the first 24 hours. My people take feasting seriously.

Then gluttony took on a deeper level. I. DID. NOT. WANT. TO. STOP. for sleep, for exercise, for bathing (it’s getting real people!), for breathing. I wanted to bathe in joy, to seize it and ride it home. I sat Indian style with little ones on the floor, eating imaginary eggs from tiny hands and rolled onto my back to surge a curly headed nephew up into an airplane ride with my feet. I went on every excursion. I watched movies on the couch late into the night my brother reciting the lines of Chariots of Fire before they occurred. Then I stayed up later to journal. Each morning there was more coffee and less of me. Repeat for three more days.

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I tried to remember to stop and inhabit the present moment, to listen, to drink deep.

 

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Two days in, I slid into cruise control and held my breath.

Here’s the problem. I’m an introvert and a four on the enneagram. I only have so much energy, lots to process, and then I crash and push through until I hit a wall. Every year it happens. Every year I forget. In the past, I’ve shamed myself. Why don’t I have more to give? Why can’t I just be like_______ and dance my way through? Shame and I are close acquaintances.

But, it’s time to grow up, to slide into the wider spaces of self-acceptance.

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This quote by Parker Palmer curated by Leanna Tankersley on her Instagram whispered a kind of quiet truth that made me come back…and back to listen again:

“They decide to live “Divided No More.” They decide no longer to act on the outside in a way that contradicts some truth about themselves that they hold deeply on the inside.”

Palmer’s words echo this quote by Fr. Romano Guardini which I’ve come to circle so often these last few years.

“The act of self-acceptance is the root of all things. I must agree to be the person who I am. Agree to the qualifications which I have. Agree to live within my limits…The clarity and the courageousness of this acceptance is the foundation of all existence,” Fr. Romano Guardini.

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If Guardini’s words feel like an invitation to self-acceptance, my one-word for 2014, Parker Palmer’s words feel like a line in the sand. It whispers with a deep magic to this recovering people-pleaser.

Self-acceptance is a choice to be whole, not frayed. And no one else can make that choice for me. I’ve decided it’s time for me to grow up. It’s time to be “divided no more.”

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(Christmas morning selfie by my daughter. Love her.)

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He is doing a new thing *SLOW Word video*

Every Monday and Thursday we listen to the Word using a Lectio Divina. Subscribe on the right to get the word slipped into your inbox twice a week.

 

It’s now 2017. My witty sister-in-law Heather and I had a little New Year’s bubbly at midnight though our guys had to work for it…with power tools. Here’s the link to the video. After they went back to their game, we thought we’d put on pj’s and ring in the new year with a SLOW Word. Join us? I think you’ll discover as much hope as we did for our new year in Isaiah 43:19-21.

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