Setting the Tone for Monday *SLOW Word video*

Welcome sweet friends! Every Monday and Thursday find a SLOW Word Lectio Divina right here. Together we’re being transformed in the listening. Join the community by subscribing on the right to receive small hints and special notes just to you. And no, I don’t get to choose these lovely photos, YouTube chooses for me {Face in hand}

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Weekend Love List

Welcome to the weekend love list.

Grab a cup of coffee. Sit out in the garden with your pj’s 

and choose rest

I wonder if there is a morsel or a meal hidden right here for you?

Perhaps you’d like to start with a Lectio Divina, an ancient way to rest WITH God this weekend. Here we do a new SLOW Word lectio divina every Monday and Thursday. Join us? Subscribe on the right to join a community of fellow listeners.

Here is Isaiah 30:15

“In returning and rest will be your salvation; In quietness and trust is your strength.”

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“Our most important work is accomplished by enjoying the Creator, not checking off a list.

~~Shelly Miller

Doesn’t that sentence invite a much-needed deep breath?

This post by Shelly Miller helped me to tweak my perspective when I was feeling all tied up with self-inflicted lists. Besides, she takes us on a trip to the Cotswolds to visit the most darling little stone cottage. *sigh*

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There is so much to fuel our meditation of the Psalms right here on this Fuller Seminary page. A conversation between Eugene Peterson and Bono would be thought-provoking enough but to take it over the edge, they included a curated spotify play list including Jon Foreman, Jon Michael Talbot, Cistercian monks, Matt Maher, and U2.  Treasure.

 

 

I keep coming back to this recipe year after year. One tray? Yes, please. The overnight brine creates the most moist chicken. Add sage, sweet potatoes, and a dash of cream and tons of grated parmesan before serving. Delicious. I’ll be making it for Sunday supper this weekend for a ton of cousins who are presently running around the house having nerf gun battles. Thank you again Jaime Oliver.

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I’ve picked up this book again and read a page at a time often stopping to revel in a profound quote : The Orthodox Way. What I love about the Orthodox theology revealed in this book is that it leads us to awe. We are reminded that God is full of mystery that the human mind cannot entirely comprehend Him but is invited up to the altar to worship.

Faith is not the supposition that something might be true, but the assurance that someone is there.”

~~Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

 

 

God is not surprised by our lack. He is moved by it.

~~ Tara Dickson

This beautiful post by Tara Dickson challenged my lack of trust and makes me want to lean in. I will be sitting with this question before the Lord: Is there somewhere that You want me to withdraw so that You can show Your power?

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Do you feel like you live permanently in the waiting room of your life? Perhaps these words of mine from Wednesday will bring hope.

 

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The Promise of Pentecost *SLOW Word video*

Welcome to this quiet corner of the noisy interwebs! These lectio divinas are a quiet listening to scripture as a doorway to prayer. As we slow and listen together we’re choosing spiritual whitespace over all the beeps and buzzes of our phones in order to carve out much-needed space for the Word.  So sit right on down on the front porch and let’s allow God through Acts 1:4-8 to have His way with us. {Oh, and friend, if this little time of lectio divina is a gift for you today, perhaps it would be a gift for a friend? Pass on the gift of SLOW.}

 

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John 14:1-6 Mondays @Jesus’ feet

Dear friends, it’s Monday. Some Mondays I drag myself into the week, willing myself into a tight schedule, other times I come to Monday morning aware of my need, holding out empty hands for Jesus to fill. This Monday I want to be Mary rather than Martha, sitting at Jesus’ feet in expectation, waiting for Him to provide for my every Monday-morning need.  You too?

 

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Learning to Follow the Shepherd

Hello dear ones, it’s time to sink into the word again, to allow the Scripture to wash over us and show us new revelations of Jesus. It’s time to do the SLOW Word Movement. Know anyone else who may need this gift?

 

A friend sent me this piece from the interwebs. It wrecked me a bit…then came the lectio divina. Here’s my response, a gathering of a story from last week:

 

I sat on the leather couch feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me and if I’m honest, a tad bit angry. Our Journey group which had traveled through this last year of a spiritual direction program was saying good-bye. But that’s not what had me angry. That was tender. We were passing out parting gifts, blessings really. One of our members has a prophetic gift and spoke the word he saw for me. But here’s the thing. It’s a word that’s been spoken over me three times in the past three years. Different metaphors. Same message. They feel like signposts, signposts which whisper of blessing but when I’m straining here in the seat of disappointment, these signposts sometimes scoff. Because today as a homeschool mom in a ministry setting that’s deeply humbling, I couldn’t feel farther away from that word. It’s as if I’m walking a labyrinth and the path has turned away from the center. Cold. Colder. Colder.

 

These days I feel completely hidden.

 

I received the word and then gave it back to the Lord. “You can have it. If this is Your will, You accomplish it. Please don’t let me place walls in the midst of the path You have for me, but I refuse to idolize the sign.”

 

Because it’s easy to walk out of shame, to fear that I’ve missed the trail somewhere back there. Shame feels like a second skin. And shame has always been easier for me to wear than freedom.

 

I exhale. Stay on the path, I hear. Deep inside I know that the true journey is a pilgrimage to the center of my soul where the war battles.  There’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s cleaning to do. Where do I find my value? There are gates to swing wide to the Spirit. There’s an infant trust that’s recently been born but still naked, fragile. A necessary humility has begun to spread my arms out cruciform, wide enough to love the broken. But, some days I still feel the fight. Like today.

 

If I’ve learned anything on this road, here’s the extravagant reward of the struggle: my Shepherd’s love is fierce and if I get silent a while, I can drink deep of that love. That’s when I remember that He Himself is completely worth the uphill trek I’m hiking. It’s the Via Dell’Amore, the hard road of love. When all is stripped, and we’re alone on the trail, there are no other voices. No other faces. Alone and listening to the Voice of Love I discover again that it’s Him I desire…not the thing, the ministry, the story, the sign.

 

The Shepherd.

 

And yes, every once in a while I notice, when I learn to follow the robes of the shepherd closely,

 

He fills the frame and I no longer need to look where He’s taking me.

 

Dear one, in your spiritual life are you in a season of hiddenness or adventure?

 

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A Deeper Lent & *SLOW Word Lectio Divina*

This Lent let’s not hold onto control quite so tight. This Lent let’s go deep instead of wide.

Some years we choose on Ash Wednesday to let go of something that has had a strangle hold on our life. Some days we wrestle it into submission. Other times it slams us to the ground and knocks our breath out.

What if we had a Lent where we gave God permission to shine His light into the corners and closets of our lives and do His own lovely spring cleaning. Romans says that He leads us to repentance with kindness. In repentance we’re surrendering to His vision of our lives.

 

What if we gave up the control over which direction our repentance would turn?  

 

Have you ever done a nightly examen? It’s simple really. You spend a quiet moment at the end of the day and ask the Holy Spirit to shine a flashlight on that day’s events, bringing up the luminous thanksgivings, and the deep shadows.

 

  1. What am I most thankful for?

  2. What am I least thankful for?

  3. Where was I a part of God’s Kingdom coming in?

  4. Where have I contributed to the brokenness of the earth with my own sin?

Stop and listen, but do not fear the shame. Surrender without fear to He who is the Light. His arms are open wide for his children coming home.

Let’s dive in deep together.

Praying courage for this 40 days,
Summer Joy

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Guest post by Ashley Larkin and *SLOW Word video*

Hello dear friends, it’s such a privilege for me to introduce you to one of my favorite people and fellow SLOW Word listeners, Ashley Larkin. Visit her on her blog, AshleyMLarkin.com. You won’t be sorry. Ashley, owner of a contagious smile and straight up raw vulnerability, the kind that invites others to tell their stories. She’s a writer/speaker who spins words effortlessly. Below was her beautiful response to Monday’s SLOW Word scripture, Matthew 17:1-8 and I couldn’t wait to share it with you all.  (By the way, I’d love to do this more! Do you have a response I could share with the others…a short quote or a story of sitting with the SLOW Word lectio divinas? I’d love to insert them into our emails or highlight them right here on AThirstforGod.com) And yes, remember, there’s a new SLOW Word every Monday and Thursday. Subscribe on the right to get them slipped into your inbox for time at rest in God’s presence. Find today’s SLOW Word of Isaiah 30:15-18 at the bottom of the post.

It is Wednesday.

Clementine sleeps on the edge of the blanket thrown across my lap, breathing out stinky salmon food breath in regular intervals.
As my mind runs its laps, the rise and fall of her full belly comforts me.

The meadow birds dance from tree limb to feeder, flit beside the windows along the north wall of our house, alight on the branches to the east. The white curtains are pulled to the side of the windows’ moldings, so I can see the birds’ path (and also that of the greedy squirrels) more clearly.

Their figure eights and frenetic darting awaken and calm me in a way only wild ones can. I need them.

The birds sing a plaintive song, and I presume these are calls to their kind about this food source in a front yard in the midst of a long February. I imagine trilled thank yous and notice the feeders are running low; I can’t seem to remember where I’ve put the seed.

Then I remember my family’s own need for food and our rapidly emptying refrigerator and plan the remainder of the week’s meals. I am not regular with this as I want to be, but when I prepare for and cook hot meals, I feel the gift of giver and receiver.

I am acutely aware of dependence today.

In Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy, I read that there is everything for us to receive. I remember the open hands I prayed for a sister the other night — that she might release her grip on control and let the freedom of God’s love touch her palms.

I think how mine can remain shut, then how I open hands and mouth wide like a desperately hungry hatchling.

I am giver and taker, bouncing branches and empty feeders. I am a child needing to be fed.

On the heels of a hard series of conversations with my youngest, she brought me a bouquet of flowers. Signs of springing life tucked into a shiny camellia leaf, plucked from the mostly dormant garden where the birds eat. I watch bird wings and finger the cluster of grown things.

This morning, I sit for a while in Matthew 17 and Jesus’ transfiguration. Jesus climbs to a high place with Peter, James and John, and suddenly becomes sun and light.

On the edge of such a miracle, Peter says rather plainly, “Lord, it is good for us to be here” and asks if he can put up shelter for not only Jesus, but also Moses and Elijah, who’ve suddenly joined them.

It is good for us to be here, Peter says. No recorded exclamation points, no enthusiasm that we can read.

The only exclamation noted here is from heaven when God says, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

This morning, I hear you, God; I am listening for you, Jesus.

You know that I forget and flit, close ears and seek to hear, hold out my hands and am fed.

Surrounded by miracle, we are utterly ordinary. Surrounded by the ordinary, we, too, are miracle.

 

Thank you Ashley for this beautiful gift!

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Praying to Heal our Land *SLOW Word Lectio video*

 

Right here every Monday and Thursday dear ones, we’re listening, we’re praying, and we’re being transformed by the word. Perhaps this is a gift you want to share, to set the feast for another weary pilgrim.

 

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

What if the land that you need healed is right under your own two feet?

We pour out our heart for the healing of our nation, for the daughters stolen as possessions, for the country whose children wear scars from their first breath.

But what if a fissure has appeared right through your home from the front door to the back and ever widening?

This, dear friends, is when we sit down, light our candle and determine to stay:

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will heal their land.”

We humble ourselves, pour out our uncensured prayers and seek the face of the only One who knows how to knit together land.

 

We turn and turn again from our sin when we look down and find that we are the ones holding the pick-axe that broke open the scar.

Tonight I’m staying right here: Seek my Face.  These are the words that dropped weighty in my hand and I’m turning them over like rocks at the beach. I’m listening to them chink against each other, feeling their shape, their coolness.

My boy used to lay his head in the crook of my arm on Sunday nights as we watched Extreme Makeover. His sister was asleep upstairs in her crib. He was the big boy. He would sometimes fall asleep right there before the reveal and I’d listen to him as he’d catch his breath and then breathe even again.

He’s growing too fast, so fast I can’t catch up. It’s this land between us which needs to be healed.

So I’m here to seek. I’m asking his Maker, the One who had a dream of him before I did, the One who placed him in my arms, to teach me how to mother a runner. I’m seeking to know how to celebrate the tender mystery that is a young boy stretching out.

 

What are you hearing in this SLOW Word, my friend? 

 

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