Your Brilliant Simple Plan to Create Calm in Chaos and SLOW Word

It’s no secret. I need quiet like I need water.  Perhaps we all do. Have you read this article yet? Our brains require ample amounts of silence in order to rebuild the brain cells stolen by noise and stress.

Because who can truly hear in the middle of all this crushing noise?

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). (By the way, this is the first verse of the SLOW Word lectio divina included below.)

 

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This afternoon I chatted with another homeschool mama in the corner of a kitchen as kids in costumes ran from one room to another playing hide and seek. We whispered about the need for quiet as if we were divulging a secret then we giggled at the extremes we go to guard our hours alone. But if this article or my (everyday!) experience are any indication, needing silence is just as essential to our mental and emotional health as our computer’s reboot button is to its continued functioning. And really, should we be surprised? My husband asks me the same question every time my computer seizes up: “When was the last time you rebooted?”

So, friends, it’s time to make a plan for rebooting our internal computer. It’s been necessary for women (and men!) throughout time. John Wesley’s mother, Susanna (1669-1742), used to take her long apron and place it over her head to signal the need for calm. Madeleine L’Engle’s children would recognize her irritability as a need for silence long before she ever did and beg her to take off to her writing tower at Crosswicks. Other women have written about their struggle to create spaces of silence. The introvert in me always smiles when I read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem The Art of Disappearing.

In the early 1950’s Anne Morrow Lindbergh penned A Gift from the Sea about the wrestle between motherhood and the need for quiet: “I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote these words before the hundreds of channels on the tv, the portable XBox, or the black hole of the interwebs.

 

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Into the age-old conversation I’m offering this simple little gem: #10MinutesofStillness. Sometimes simple can be embarrassing, but sometimes it can be brilliant. After years of practicing, this one, my friends, is brilliant simple. Of course, it’s not my brilliance. I’m just the beneficiary. I picked it up from my sister, who picked it up from a friend. You get the idea. Now here’s the prescription: Choose a quiet space, put the phone upside down and turn off any beeps and buzzes, and set an alarm for ten minutes. Full stop. It’s the mini-Sabbath in the middle of your busy Thursday.

(Secret: I’ve found #10MinutesofStillness are just as luxurious on family holidays as they are on a busy weekday. Here’s one of mine from family vacation last year.)

For just ten minutes you push away the incessant to-do list, and just settle into the gorgeous richness of the present moment. Listen for the birds. Scan your space for beauty. Be attentive to your breath. (Maybe you’re a shallow breather like I am?) Perhaps you can take a short phrase of scripture and do centering prayer. Most days I keep it simple. I make a cup of cinnamon tea, head out to the porch, shut the front door with all its crazy on the other side and sit in the swing. Ten minutes to hit the refresh button.

 

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Why #10MinutesofStillness? Here’s what I’ve found after a few years of the practice:

 

1. #10MinutesofStillness is the perfect transition.  Do you reach for a cereal bowl and a remote when the kids are finally in bed? Yup, some nights I do too.  Other nights I want to lean into something more creative. Scheduling a #10MinutesofStillness at the moment of transition helps me to be more mindful of my true desires and not just fall into an immediate Netflix hole. I did the same thing when the kids were young enough to nap.

 

2. #10MinutesofStillness gives us a moment of time to be attentive to emotions crowding under the surface. You know how it is. Your irritability is coming from somewhere. Nonjudgemental listening is the first step to untangling. Bring the emotion up into the air, look at it with compassionate curiosity and without trying to be a Fixer. Bring it up and out into the Presence of Christ.

 

3. #10MinutesofStillness is the creative’s best friend. When we’re mired in the tough of the making and the words refuse to flow, just ten minutes of no agenda silence will often unleash the dam and we’re on our way again.

 

4. #10MinutesofStillness is a gateway back to gratitude.  Practice opening up one sense at a time for sixty seconds each, without judging what you receive and without trying to create meaning. And then start thanking God for the simple gifts you are experiencing. Pretty soon the chaos is tinged with joy and you’re ready to love your people again.

 

5. #10MinutesofStillness can push the door open to God’s Presence. When our head is down and we’re leaning hard into hustle, we can forget to be aware of God-with-us.  Light a candle in your quiet space and sit without an agenda but with expectation, contemplatively present to He who is always present.

 

So, friend, I’m daring you: schedule a mini-Sabbath into your day. Cultivate a small corner of stillness then enter the conversation. What was it like for you? Was it a struggle? Was it a gift? We want to hear. And if you use the hashtag #10MinutesofStillness, let us know! I’d love to see the chorus of contemplatives rise!

 

Do you have another brilliant simple idea for creating calm in the chaos? Do share!

 

Today’s SLOW Word. (The scripture starts at 2:20):

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Six Things I learned this January 2016

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These pics above are from both December and January. You’ll forgive me. I loved the snow theme. We spent much of our January on the road. College of Bishops meeting in Florida. Reading, PA with family while Andrew was in Canterbury with the Archbishop of the ACNA. Washington DC with family connecting to the March for Life happenings. Then, we made a surprise re-visit back to Reading just in time to get snowed in for four happy days. Kids were ecstatic. Snowball fights. A massive snow cave, and yes, a snow bunny.

 

I’m joining Emily Freeman and loving this little ritual of looking back. I find that it’s a little bit like an Ignatian examen. It’s an exercise in gratitude and perhaps one day all of these “learnings” will make an awkward but charming diary of sorts.

 

So, here it is, what I learned in January:

 

1. I could be a truck driver. Give me audio books a smattering of podcasts and a wide open road. In my real life I have to fight to find time for reading. When I’m on the road, all I have to do is push play. Happiness.

 

This is what I’m currently “reading” on the road:

The Whole Brain Child. I love Daniel Siegel, a neuroscientist who gives us tips on how to build healthy brains. This is making me a better parent.

Chronicles of Narnia from Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. We listened to six of the seven books thanks to Andrew’s Aunt Nancy’s Christmas gift of the entire set. Every family should have their own copy. Period.

All the Light We do not See. A lovely book I’m savoring full of growing up during WWII. I haven’t finished it but love the splashes of reoccurring metaphors and finding seasons of joy in the midst of such intense suffering.

Essentialism: the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I’m happily jumping on the bandwagon. Too many people have said that this book is changing the way they order their life. And yes, I agree. There are nuggets here I’ll keep coming back to.

 

with Narnia

These are the podcasts I’m listening to:

The Allender Center from Dan Allender. I can’t recommend this podcast highly enough. The ending the year well/beginning the year well podcasts are still echoing around in my heart. I now have an expanded ritual for this time period and this month it enabled me to net truths from last year instead of allowing them to slip through my fingers.

I’m inspired to build a stronger family culture around books here: The Read-Aloud Revival by Sarah MacKenzie.

This has become my cotton candy:  Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin. Hilarious. Two high powered sisters from the Bronx doing exactly what my sister and I do: tweak small habits that make big differences in our quality of life.

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2. I have a new writing ritual lifted straight from Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. She is prolific and in one of her podcasts, she divulges to an interviewee that she writes in coffee shops in London to the sound of rain on her phone.  For two hours she writes to gentle rain and then packs up and takes a walk across a lovely London square to a new coffee shop and writes to the sound of thunderstorms. Hmmmm. As someone fascinated with neurology, I was intrigued. What fires together wires together, right? If you often snack on pringles while you drive on long trips, you are probably going to get a pringles craving during your next big trip. This works extremely well when we are developing habits. So, I’m writing again and now I experience an exceedingly strong creative urge every time I hear rain tap against window panes. Hmmm…I love rain.

 

3. Candlelight changes the atmosphere of a family meal. I found a few simple candlesticks under the credenza in the dining room and they are now permanent fixtures on our table. I light them to signal presence. This is when we put down phones and look into each others’ eyes. I think I’ll move to votives soon so I no longer have to scrape wax spots off the table.

 

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4. Candles are a big part of Hygge and Hygge is my new favorite winter word. Hygge is a Danish word which means more than just coziness, it means making beauty out of winter and creating a sense of belonging in the home, often with candles, a roaring fire, a warm drink, and a friend. Here was one of my favorite articles on creating Hygge at home.

 

5. My mother is a master at Hygge. Mom has big cable knit throws in every room, gas fireplace and candles always lit, and extra hot chocolate ready on the stove.  But, she wins on the Hygge rating scale with her breakfasts. She always makes the most delicious warm breakfasts with hot oatbran cereal. Stir nuts and then frozen blueberries, watching them plump up and become shiny and then when the steaming bowls come to the table, drizzle on a bit of honey. Healthy. Comforting. Hygge.

 

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6. This brings me to the January learning which is throwing open the sash on an extremely dusty room:

With gratitude there’s no room

for fear.

for perfectionism.

for pride.

for self-doubt.

for self-focus.

 

I’m pretty sure I knew this once but never understood that the same truth applied to writing. I’ve been mired in. Snowed in. Entirely stuck this past year. And the pit? I couldn’t get over the language of self-promotion tied to blog writing, book writing, social media writing. Build an audience? Those words make me feel slightly ill. Build a platform? Deeply ill. I remember sitting in on a talk at the Faith and Writing Conference at Calvin College on building an audience without losing your soul. They came up empty on the second part of the title. Don’t worry, you won’t, the publishing editors said after explaining what kind of self-marketing was needed to break into today’s market.

 

The truth is that my most rooted sins are related to approval addiction and get twanged whenever I do anything that smacks of self-promotion. I never want sharing content or searching for the perfect words to be about proving my self-worth.  You can see the conundrum. I’ve been frantically searching for divine answers for exactly one year.

 

The answer came oddly in the shape of a word from Drew Barrymore from the Happier Podcast I eluded to earlier. (I know. Cotton candy. But, stay with me here.) She was sharing about a new groundedness she had achieved with gratitude. This was the gist of what she said, or maybe of what I heard: Her creativity comes in response to deep gratitude of what she’s been given.   She knows that she’s just a normal person who’s been given extraordinary gifts. Talent honed by many? Gratitude. Years of fame which have given her the ability to direct her own film? Gratitude. Fans waiting to watch? Gratitude. Great staff to work with? Gratitude.

 

Gratitude connects us to the truth of grace:

I am but dust and yet I am allowed to be a kingdom bearer.

Thus, I’m building a new narrative around writing:

I get to play with words. I get to wrestle with meaning. I get to plunge deep into Word, allow it to transform me, then craft something new, and give it away.

Receive. Craft. Release. Worship.

 

How does gratitude change the light in your stuck rooms?

 

And you, Friend, what did you learn in January?

 

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Photo taken outside the most charming chapel of St. Brendan’s Anglican, Mount Desert Island Maine where I baptized my nephew and niece this August. Photo of open sketchbook taken from Death to Stock photos, all others, mine.

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Our 2014 Move: The Great Silence is Over

I can’t write while I’m moving.

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I can surf Zillow for our future, sketch plans of backyard gardens, move furniture in my mind. I jot down new recipes and pin color schemes. Before I can make sense of the rest of life, I have to know where I will slide my children between clean sheets at night, spoon up apple cinnamon oatmeal for their breakfast.  As soon as the newly-elected Anglican Church of North America Archbishop answered THAT question in front of the thousands at Provincial Assembly, the one about where the Province office would be located now that he was in charge, I could no longer scratch down words on paper. The plates underneath me shifted. My husband is blessed to be his Canon for Communications.

 

I could pray, plan, lament, and dream, but I could not write.

 

I was already creating. I was creating home.

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Madeleine L’Engle shared in a magazine article I no longer remember the name of, that she could not write while she was pregnant. She was already creating, a mass of twisting, brilliant cells becoming a person. It was like that.

 

We moved to a yellow house owned by a Vietnamese landlord in Loganville, GA. Yellow painted on the outside. Five shades of yellow on the inside: pale buttercream to mustard. Yellow everywhere. My mother’s vietnamese friend said that yellow makes them feel at home, where the sunshine was spread thick over their days.

 

It makes me feel at home too. Yellow makes me dream of hillside towns in Italy on the riviera where I was born. I’ve never been bold enough to fill a roller with liquid sunshine, paint the interior of my life pure light.

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Last year we moved from our Michigan parish of ten years the very same weekend as this year’s move, Labor Day. Last year I walked around Sewickley, PA off-center for months like I had an inner ear infection. The boxes stayed piled up in the basement unopened and I forgot to feed my children vegetables. This year I bought bottles of Green Goodness to pour into paper cups.

 

This move has been different.  This year I’ve learned to fall on Jesus. I’ve learned to lean back and ride the turbulence (more on that later). I’ve learned to ask for what I need. A friend. A prayer. An exercise center. I’ve learned that although I may still hear my voice echo in the emptiness of a life less full, He is faithful and He is ALWAYS GOOD. I was a witness. I watched Him rebuild a life, mine.

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Hi friends, I’m finally looking to the future. My dad and I have a book proposal sitting on an agent’s desk. Lord have mercy! Please pray with us? For a champion…for patience.

There will be an e-book coming out soon.

I need your help. I’m also looking to October and 31 Days to write on a single subject. Here are the two possibilities: The Kingdom of God in our home: House of Bread or 31 Days to Fall in Love with your Hometown. What do you think? Want to vote? The Kingdom of God at Home (This post fleshed out) or Loving Wildly Right Where You are (This post fleshed out).

 

Come along? Slip your email in the “connect” box on the front page and we’ll continue to journey together. 

 

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Encouragement 101: Don’t Give Up

I see it in their eyes, the fast deflate.

 

They had just pried opened their ribs and shown their blood-pulsing hearts to a primetime audience of millions…and they were not picked.

 

And it is here that a decision will be made. They will keep perfecting their craft, keep singing for their life, or let discouragement drown their dream.

 

And I think, don’t give up…for the love…don’t give up.

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Maddie and I, we curl up on the futon and watch the Voice with its hints of greatness, contestants struggling to emerge and fly.  And I wonder how many who weren’t quite ripe, who weren’t quite ready, will crumble and say that they tried but weren’t quite good enough for the stage. They give up and decide the fight isn’t worth it anymore.

 

But the truth is that they were So. Very. Close.  A year or two more of perfecting their craft, a pushing through and a little more experience and they could have brought a shining gift of beauty to the world.  It’s not that they didn’t have the talent, it’s just that they needed a bit more time gestating.

 

And I want to whisper into their hearts, “Don’t give up…for the love…don’t give up.”

What about you, dear one? Do you hear that same hiss, the one that whispers, “You are not enough, give up before you waste an afternoon, a year, a life?”

 

It’s a lie, that one, a lie that causes talents to be buried six feet under when they could at least be earning interest out in the open air.

 

It’s a lie that causes hearts to be buried under layers of fear. But do you know a secret? They don’t lie quiet down there. They whisper and sing and beg for the open air, and for the love, please dig them up and let them rise.

 

Keep pushing that candle into the darkness, whatever your love-fueled art might be.

Keep working on your craft.

Keep praying and listening and kneading and bringing goodness to the table.

Keep serving the world with your heart open wide.

Keep whispering truth into tiny ears.

Keep sitting down on the bench in front of those black and white keys.

Keep clicking the shutter, pushing “publish,” swirling colors.

Keep writing and listening to the music of the words marching down the page.

And keep flinging seeds…because when the time is ripe, a harvest will emerge.

For the love,

don’t give up.

(photo found here.)

Come along for the journey? Subscribe in the CONNECT box on the front page. Lets pilgrimage together.

Need more encouragement? Find it here.

here with Jennifer Dukes Lee

and here with Holley Gerth

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Sabbath playfulness

May you enjoy a Sabbath full of letting go of heavy things.  Play with color. Dance. Lie down on the carpet and listen to a gorgeous piece of music. Walk through the neighborhood feasting on the flowers pushing up. Perhaps this is what our creative play looks like to God?  Perhaps it is we who take it too seriously.

I dance and dance! Zephaniah 3:17 English Standard Version (ESV) 17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

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Advent: Days 7-8, Love-Fueled Courage

We need you fully present, fully awake.

 

We need light-bearers, God-bearers, Kingdom-bringers, hope-servers.

 

We are hungry for your glad tidings shouted from mountaintops, whispered into smartphones, wrapped around the shoulders of the widow sitting hands-folded in the pew. We need the Kingdom come and it is you, my friend, who will help bring it in.

 

Back in ancient days, the glad tidings proclaimer was a job, the one responsible for climbing mountains to bring the news.  Think ancient news anchor. Job description: trek up the switchbacks, catch your breath and loudly bellow the message.  The words, “The King is coming!” would project from up in the hills so sound waves could reverberate to women with baskets hustling around the market.

Isaiah 40:9 “0 thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain;O Jerusalem, that tellest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, “behold your God.”

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee”

 

It is fear, (oh ya, and narcissism, but sometimes aren’t they one in the same?) that keeps us planted down in our own square footage.

 

So here’s the secret to fearless proclaiming:

 

The greater the love, the less stage fright we have.  Fall in love with the Image-bearing, beautifully broken and we can’t help but weep over Jerusalem, walk straight into our callings.

 

Because we don’t want your love-less art (a quote from Emily Freeman’s inspiring book here), your narcissistic preaching, your light-less spouting, your love-less mothering, (friending, teaching, doctoring, self-promotion, etc.)

 

We need you fully engaged. We want your story metamorphosed by His story and projected by love.

 

But that kind of love…it can’t be bought, faked, counterfeit.

 

It has to be given and grown.

 

In seminary I found the longer I steeped in a story, the more it would come out as tight little bits of poetry.  Spend an internship researching the world of the Celts along with Hilda of Whitby from the 600’s? For a month I would dream and create and scratch down Hilda poems before sleep.

 

What we marinate in eventually comes out.  For better, for worse, it becomes the story we write, the art we make, the tidings, glad and otherwise, we project.

 

We have a dear friend who used to be an editor at Zondervan who would regale us with stories of the authors he supported. His unabashed favorite? Richard Foster. Why? Richard’s integrity.

 

Richard Foster, our friend told us, would spend seven years writing a book. He refused to put words on paper that didn’t come out of his soul, that were not written by his life.  Richard refused to get caught up in the publishing world’s demand for more titles. He would pray through his subject, live that subject and then, love the reader of that subject.

 

How do we project God’s coming into the world without fear?

 

Eugene Peterson transcribes Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine for your light has come” in this way, “Get out of bed Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God’s bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, but God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you.”

 

We, my friends, are solar powered.  Our light gets brighter when we dwell in strong light.

 

One Sabbath I was searching for direction and sat down for an hour in front of the altar. It’s a thin place, a kairos place, a place where God’s voice feels louder. This was one of those rare moments where His love broke over me and I sat for a long time just enjoying Him. But I’m no saint and soon hunger chased me out and I slid into a booth at Red Lobster. I know, a little extravagant and entirely institutional but I’m addicted to their coconut shrimp with pina colada sauce.  I found myself getting effusive all over the unsuspecting waitress.  “Do you know you have a beautiful smile?” I asked her. The mechanical eyes now turned soft and the smile brighter. I wrote “thank you” on my receipt and “I just want you to know God takes great delight in you” in the margin. And yes, I know, maybe we should have established more of a depth in our friendship before I went all glad tidings over her, but honestly, love was just seeping out.

 

This was me holding back.

 

When we soak in love, lap it up, we project love fearlessly.

 

We need you, dear one, to fearlessly Go Tell it on the Mountains.

 

We want your unique God-soaked story projected and inviting us to strain our eyes for the Coming One, to“Behold our God.”

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An Advent Get-Practical Spiritual Exercise:

Soaking in God’s Love–

1. The 3 R’s: Rest (take deep breaths), Receive (Receive His love), Respond (Love Him back, worship)

2. God on a hunt for Scripture about God’s love for you. Meditate, chew on them and then take them to bed.

3. Turn up the worship music, close your eyes and enjoy Him.

4. Use one phrase from Scripture and take deep breaths with it: “I am loved with an everlasting love.” Set a timer for ten or twenty minutes. Neuroscientists tell us that what we repeat, transforms and heals our brain.

 

We are on a journey to the manger, one Scripture, one stepping stone from Handel’s Messiah at a time. Join us?  Don’t miss a day.  Slip your email in the Connect box on the front page of this website. Let’s be pilgrims together.

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Linking with Laura Boggess who today shares about the unexpected wonder of winter-time worship,

Michelle DeRusha who talks about obedience and having a Joseph-sized faith

and Jen who is teaching us to pray for our sisters through the holiday push.

 

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Why I Write

It has tugged and pulled at me all day, that question Emily Wierenga was wrestling with: the why of writing. Why do I continue to push the Publish button and send out small earth-filled offerings.

 

Why DO I write?

 

I write to hand out small paper cups of water to a mama struggling through the morning, just enough encouragement for the next mile.

 

I write to strike a match, push out one small candle after another, an act of defiance to the darkness.

 

I write to pour words, deeply wishing I could look every reader in the eye over a cup of tea, to tell them that they are enough, that they are lovely just as they are and not to worry, we will walk this journey together.

 

I write to play, to dance with the rhythm of the words, because just like Eric Liddell explained the joy of running to his sister, “when I [write] I feel God’s pleasure”

 

I write because honestly, I think better through my fingers to the pen than straight from brain to mouth. It all gets a whole lot more clearer in black and white.  And honestly? I even take writing breaks when Andrew and I are arguing. “Sorry Love, I’ll get back with you on that in ten.”

 

I write to make people thirsty for intimacy with the God who is always holding out nail scarred hands, inviting us near enough to touch.

 

I write to LISTEN.  Mrs. Vigne taught journaling to our 4th grade class, giving us a glorious half hour a day huddled over a black and white composition notebook. It was there on my metal desk that I discovered that wide open spaces lead to stillness and then to prayer.

 

I write best rooted, telling the stories that form out of the crucible of community or at least a good girlfriend gab session. Then I have the privilege of becoming the fresh word-gatherer, the good-news teller for the Body.

 

I write to put my arm around the shoulders of the hurting, to open wide my story and point toward Healing.

 

I write to remember and give thanks, to pile one story on top of another so that as my children hike this way, they will be able to build stories of God-wonder to pile on my small stacks of stones.

 

I write to capture the ordinary joys, holding my son’s head in the bath and looking into his eyes, the flame of red leaves out the front door window, the feel of a freshly baked loaf of bread crusty in the hand. I write to take pictures of wonder and transfer it into typeface.

 

I write to be obedient. I write to say “yes” to the small calls of God so that I will always be open-womb ready for the Spirit to plant LIFE.

 

I write to give the burning WORD the air it needs
to either burn out slowly
or catch fire.

 

I write vulnerable, to lay my life flat on the stone floor like the full prostrations of the ordained that always leave me a hot wet mess.

 

I write knowing that to overcome evil
we are to use the blood of the Lamb
and the word of our testimony.

And you friend, why do you put words on paper, send it out vulnerable into the world?

Emily Freeman has written a book on small acts of art that I’m dying to read but just the intro here is encouragement enough to keep sending our small, hobbling pieces of art out into the world:

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The Practical Art of Being Renewed

Every Weekend at a Thirst for God we will be encouraging you, our fellow pilgrims,  to develop a practice of intentional Sabbath.  Both of us have learned rest and renewal doesn’t just happen, it is prayed for, invited, and planned for. 

Nothing, in my life,  really seems to completely die, but only to change or go dormant for a time.  Spring.  Summer.  Fall.  Winter. Me. Each has its’ time of full bloom and dormancy. No “thing” among us is active continually without Sabbath…without a soft landing before takeoff.

Take writing.  I stopped once.  For good. Quit.  Writing had lost its’ luster and changed. Technology roared, and ate me up a bite at a time. So I stopped.  I didn’t know “Sabbath” was what I needed….what writing needed.

Renewal happened as I let go of the demand that writing be perpetual.  I did let it go, and relaxed happily into creating notecards with fresh flowers from the field.  I stood back and loved them with my eyes. God saw that it was good, and blew fresh wind into my sails.

Writing waited.  Took root.  Sent out new shoots.  Finally, it re-emerged, flowered, and rose again from its’ early grave.  It shook off the dirt, removed the graveclothes, and came alive. What had lain quietly in a necessary sabbath had gathered strength and become new in the stillness. It now responded to the call to “Come forth!”

Just see….God does lean down and call “a thing” into service for a time. And then…………..not.  Now, the Spirit moves, and calls forth something else from us and for the Kingdom.  Spirit life is fluid and alive…a teeming river of God moving through us at the command of the King.

I dare not demand that a thing–anything– remain forever. Not classes, not service opportunities, not church programs, not youth.   Life itself is a river, and keeps moving always and swiftly.  Rather, I can press my ear to the heartbeat of God and hear where He chooses to work “now”. And I can join Him in His work.

My writing had lain as under a pile of autumn leaves.  Quietly and without movement. Sabbath did a good work.  Then, God bent down, struck a match, and life leapt–stretched high and wild.  In the silence, some things had “married”.  The new flavor surprised  and energized me.  It had become new: a flame lit by God.

Good Shepherd had entered my garden by the gate.  He held the key and knew when to come and when to leave.  He knew when the flavors would “marry” and how long it would take, and when to light the fire.

Sabbath had done its’ work even as I rested.  So it is.  So it will ever be.

“Friend, as you enter this weekend, may you allow it to marinate peace and joy into your imperfect world as you lay aside the unnecessary, and receive small draughts of sabbath renewal.”

Small Sabbath Sip
10 Min
Step onto your porch, lift your head to the heavens.  Allow them to speak of the presence of God and His everlasting faithfulness.  Breathe deeply.
Close your eyes.  Rest.

There is, after all, such a thing….as God….in me….hope of glory.

Linda Andersen

Check out Linda’s books on Sabbath:

The Too-Busy Book: Slowing Down to Catch Up with Life

and Interludes: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Personal and Spiritual Rest

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