How Meditating on our Identity Gives Courage: *SLOW Word Lectio Divina*

Find a Lectio Divina video right here every Tuesday (Yup, Tuesday. Some weeks we’ll also have a bonus on Thursday or Friday).

Join the SLOW Word Movement by subscribing on the right or pass it on to a friend.

 

Want a short 3 minute video introduction to this passage? 

 

Join me in slowing down the word and praying the lectio divina (divine word) right here:

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Matthew 13:1-8 Lectio Divina *Slow Word*

Come sit on the dock with me?

We’re listening to the Parable of the Sower with a view of Bar Harbor, ME just down from this week’s vacation house.  *Pinch me!* Bar Island is over my right shoulder.

In order to amplify this scripture to the crowds, Jesus climbs into a boat to make a natural amphitheater of the hills around the Sea of Galilee. I’ll bet the boat rocked and swelled with Jesus’ words just like the dock does here.

 

 

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The Key to Real Refreshment & *SLOW Word*

Hello dear friends, I’ve packed up the SLOW Word lectio divinas in my suitcase and you’re coming on vacation with me! This scripture is the perfect place to start and happens to be Sunday’s lectionary. Bonus! Join me weekly for a feast of the word right here. Want more? Subscribe on the right to get them slipped right into your inbox and receive my intro to lectio divina welcome video.

 

Why is true refreshment so elusive?

 

As we point the minivan towards the Green Mountains of New Hampshire and our yearly family vacation, I’m reminded that on vacation we sometimes just relocate our frenetic pace. My sister coined this being stuck on high speed through life as doing “Cedar Point” after the amusement park perched on the shores of Lake Erie. These days we’re no longer an amusement park kind of family. We linger long at Italian restaurants with the antipasta and a glass of pinot. Now we use “Cedar Point” as a verb when we discuss being overwhelmed and cramming “just one more thing” into our schedule such as: “I’m going to have to say no. That sounds like Cedar Point” or “if we stop at one more store, it’ll be completely Cedar Point.” It’s our white flag that we need to listen to our need for rest and downsize into something small and quiet.

 

But how often do we listen? For years I lived full speed ahead. I’d only declare a sabbath after pushing towards an exhaustion which was more kin to illness. Sabbath had more to do with a crash than a rhythm. Later after a day of netflix bingeing, I’d be crawling from deep in overwhelm back up to Zero, but refreshment? I barely knew what that meant.

 

I’m learning to give myself time to push the pause button early, to allow myself to recognize my poverty before the Lord and ask: “Will You be my Teacher, to learn a rhythm of rest in a way that will truly refresh me?”

 

 

That’s the question I asked after a week of new faces and church services and the tightly cramped schedule of the Anglican Church of North America’s Provincial Assembly at Wheaton College. The answer came in the form of an unexpected detour and an errand, a task I took while grudgingly. Why would I want to leave? I was happily surrounded by family, three couples and seven kids at my in-law’s cottage in North Central Ohio. We were tucked deep in Amish country under a thick canopy of trees. I won’t even mention the full tins of homemade gingersnaps. Besides, I brought my watercolors.

 

When we’re at my in-laws, the rules for rest are graciously bent. We nap when we need to and curl up under one of mom’s handstitched quilts on a couch in the cool of the basement. We check into work occasionally but for the most part forget our computers and phones charging in a back bedroom. We spend the evenings in front of the campfire down the hill in surrounded by a crescent of tall pines. The fireflies blink their syncopated magic while we watch the children reach for the tiny hatches of light.

 

But in the midst of Grandparents’ Camp 2017 and an hour car ride to watch the July 4th fireworks, the check engine light began its long unwelcome glare. We were on a cross-country trip. We needed a mechanic sooner than later. This was only stop two of six. Mom and Dad’s personal garage mechanic came to the rescue which is to say that I would need to spend Monday in Mansfield stuck in never-ending-strip-mall-world (My Favorite.) just down the road from where my husband and I went to high school. The repair shop was smack dab between our favorite pizza shop and the paint store where I had my first job pretending I had expertise on paint colors and wallpaper patterns.

My sister-in-law came to the rescue and gave me a ride from the garage to the library in the adjacent town. I slid into a banquette beside a floor to ceiling window and sat in the slanted light. I spread out a new journal on the table and felt the promise of the empty pages. That morning, what had felt like a detour away from rest became permission for this mama to be alone and listen to the scrawl of pen on paper for a few solid hours.

 

The next day as I sat on the rough hewn picnic table next to the campfire ring and spent time with Matthew 11:28-30 in this lectio divina video, I heard Jesus’ invitation to rest from a slightly different angle.

 

I heard it with a new bent to trust.

 

That Monday I hadn’t needed to grasp at rest. It had been perfectly shaped for my refreshment. Those two long hours in Ashland Ohio’s library reminded me who holds those keys. As I read the end of Matthew 11 in our slow word and heard, “Come to Me,” I was being invited to stop pursuing own artificial version. No more self-provision. No more lurching speeds and then the steep crash of a Cedar Point.

 

Hi Friends, this summer I’m joining the Grace Table family and reading Shelly Miller‘s beautiful book, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World. This book is tall-glass-of-iced-tea good. It’s gentle and grace-filled for those of us just learning here and I think you’ll find that by sitting with Shelly’s words, you’ll begin saying yes to Sabbath in small ways. Join me?

 

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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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