Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. A lot of thinking. Even more than usual. I have been questioning things I’ve never questioned before. Questioning everything really. Around and round I go each day, the ground shaking beneath me, shifting and turning, keeping me from nailing much down. But as much as I’ve been questioning, as many things as I’ve been rethinking, there are these few that I keep coming back to.

It has been a year of change. But these things keep staying the same…

  • I believe in Creator God.
  • I believe Jesus lived, died on a cross and was who He said He was.
  • I believe that my husband and my children need me more than anyone else does and need me more than anyone else.
  • I know I feel so…alive when I am running (or otherwise active), writing, reading and experiencing this gorgeous planet (and that the purer I experience its form, the better). I believe all that has to mean something.
  • I believe Jesus is the answer to a lot of my questions.
  • I believe in real food. I believe it is the solution for much…maybe even most…of what ails us today.
  • I believe that being still, being quiet, truly simplifying, is the answer to finding the Holy Spirit. I believe it is through the Holy Spirit that we find peace, wisdom, clarity, direction, purpose, discernment, awareness, compassion, self control.
  • I believe in adoption. I believe it is on my heart and in my mind through out the day, every day, for a reason.
  • I believe in generosity and compassion.
  • I believe in green living. It makes so. much. sense.

These ten things I still believe.

And I would love to know, when your whole world is changing, what things do you still believe?


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I must confess, I went out of curiosity more than anything and with expectations of being an observer rather than a participant.

But I should have known.

I should have known that my walls would come crumbling down. Should have known that the shroud covering my heart would be gently pulled away.

They are just too good at what they do. And His spirit is too mighty. Especially in those moments where I am forced to be still. And quiet.

SPACE, they call it. SPACE. What is SPACE? Well, let me tell you what SPACE was for me…

When I walked in an immediate quiet surrounded me. Not just an audible quiet. A complete quiet. Instantly, without my even intending for it to, this caused my spirit to take a deep breath.

Dozens of candles flickered across the front of the room. They, along with a few strands of soft white lights that had been wrapped around some wooden beams were all that lit the space. Black curtains hung around the room’s edges. A small stage, an area rug, a few scattered chairs and four “stations” completed the gathering of items with which my eyes connected. Several dozen people had arrived before me. Some were sitting. Some were standing. A track of soothing music played very softly in the background. I grabbed a sheet of paper from the table by the door and settled onto a spot on the rug that had been layed in the middle of the floor. I glanced down at the words covering the paper that I held in my hand.

“SPACE is designed to be a soul environment – a sacred, reflective time for prayer and calibration. Our hope is that you experience the love story of Jesus through this environment and feel the freedom to journal, pray, reflect, or just rest at the feet of the Father. We are glad you are here. Be still. Listen. Reflect.”

After reading these words, curiosity about the four stations pulled me back to my feet and I began a slow walk around the outer edge of the room. A few minutes into this time Leslie, David and a woman who’s face I did not recognize, took the stage. I returned to my spot on the rug. Moments later Leslie’s soothing voice filled the room, inviting everyone to worship with them through music if we so desired, or just continue on with what we were already doing if that was where we needed to be.

And for the next hour, with Leslie on her guitar, David at the piano and the stranger accompanying with a violin, I was swept away. I couldn’t even sing. I could only sit and weep. Weep unexplained tears. Not tears of sadness. Or anger. Or disappointment. Not tears of regret or pain or fear. Not even tears of joy. Just tears from a soul overwhelmed to be sitting in the presence of my Father’s Spirit.  Soul environment. This is what they mean when they say soul environment.

After a half hour of tears, a half hour without a clear thought in my head, I received a message so penetrating,  I couldn’t’ve ignored it if I’d wanted to: My soul needs the white noise to be quieted. My soul is desperate for it. For several breaths I just sat in the clarity of that moment. But that wasn’t all that would come to me. Moments later a rush of words began running into my mind. I grabbed my paper and hastily wrote them all down.

– Get out of the city.

– Get rid of stuff.

– Get off of the computer.

– Turn off the t.v.

Rebuke the lies in your head.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

– Keep reading.

– Keep writing.

Love your children.

Love your husband.

Cherish your family and your true friends.

I am still meditating on these thoughts today. As well as a few more thoughts:

Our souls are longing to be fed. They are desperate for nourishment.

Everyday we feed our faces. Our egos. Our desires. Our impulses.

But how often do we feed our souls?

And how do we? What does this even look like? Sound like? Feel like?

We must begin this soul journey. Or continue it if it has already begun.

For truly, our very lives, our very souls depend on it.

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I hear my alarm on the nightstand beside me and quickly push snooze. I groggily check to see what time it is. Five a.m. And still dark outside. I lie in bed and debate. I could snuggle into the soft sheets and warm blankets of this bed, cuddled up to my sleeping husband for the next two and a half hours, and start the long day ahead of me with a solid five hours of sleep…

Or I could drag my tired body out of bed and spend my last morning on the island watching the sunrise.

My exhaustion tells me to stay.

But my hunger for the experience that awaits me, for the memories I will take home with me, speaks louder.

I roll out of bed.

I slip on my black stretch pants, pull a blue shirt over my head and slide my feet into a pair of  flip-flops. I grab my phone and car keys off the nightstand and tip-toe out the bedroom door.

The house contains an unfamiliar quiet.

I make my way down the tiled staircase, careful to keep my flip-flops from flip-flopping too loudly, unlock the side door and step out onto a wooden landing. I take my first breath of the cool, salty air and descend a second set of stairs. I glance at my surroundings. Every color is muted, a landscape made up of varying shades of gray. Houses that have been painted every color of the rainbow, bushes and palm trees usually a deep shade of green, flowers in their array of pinks and reds and purples: all muted. All gray.

I hop into my hubby’s xterra.

I drive three miles, passing a cluster of massive hotels, dozens of houses on stilts, one convenience store and acres and acres of sand, sidewalk and palm trees. I reach a giant sign. This sign marks the end of the developed stretch of the island and the beginning of paradise: the seven miles of uninterrupted sand and ocean that I found on my long run five days before.

One point four miles later I pull into a small parking lot, park the xterra facing east, and turn off the engine.

I roll down the windows. Immediately, my ears are filled with the sound of the ocean, the endless, soothing rhythm of the waves as they crash onto the sand. I inhale deeply. Close my eyes. Inhale again. Open my eyes and drink in my surroundings. Could there be a more magical place on earth? There is fifty feet of sand beside me, then ocean for as far as the eye can see. The gray water follows itself all the way to the horizon. For a while I get lost in its infiniteness. The rolling water is hypnotic and I find myself relaxing into this experience.

Eventually I turn my attention back to the scene that is unfolding in front of me. I sit facing east and watch as slowly, steadily, the coming light begins to touch the sky. The low-lying clouds hide the sun as it peeks out of the horizon.  I watch them evolve from their muted gray to a light pink, then to a deeper, reddish pink. The sky around them turns almost blue.

The landscape in my rearview mirror is still gray. The light has not yet reached the west.

The constantly changing colors filling the eastern sky keep me fascinated. Everything about this place, this moment, feels right. Contentedness runs through my veins.

An hour passes quickly.

Around six-thirty the sun’s rays burst through the low-lying cloud cover. The sight is glorious. They light up the entire sky, turn the water into a sea of blue diamonds, turn the sand into a radiant white. They color the eastern sky a deep gold, the western sky a deep blue.

And they leave me with three thoughts that I have taken home with me, that I am still thinking of today.

1) I serve a magnificent God. Who chose a grand creation. And when I take the time to stop and notice, His brilliant design always leaves me breathless.

2) It has never been more clear to me as it was that morning, as I witnessed the power of the sun’s light, how appropriate it is that we call our God and His Son, the Light. The earth was transformed that morning. Everything the light touched was changed. From a dark and colorless mass emerged a distinct landscape bursting with brilliance and color. What a beautiful metaphor for the shape our hearts and our lives can take when they are touched by the Light.

3) I need to experience a purer form of His creation more often. I want this. My spirit craves this. More often than every once in awhile, I must leave this busy city and get lost in His creation.

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I am continually amused and intrigued by my children and their perspectives. Wednesday night was a good example of this…

It is about 9:00pm and I am laying in Meadow’s bed, snuggled under the covers. I have just finished reading her our second Bible story (out of the “Beginner’s Bible” that we have been reading through every night for the last few months) when she tries, as she does every night, to read the title of tomorrow night’s story. Tonight, however, the title has two words in it that she is unfamiliar with and cannot read. So she asks:

Meadow: “What are those two words?”

(I answer hesitantly, knowing what the next question will be and feeling unprepared to answer it.)

Me: “Um…arrested and crucified.”

Meadow: “What does it mean?”

Me: Arrested? Arrested means they took Jesus to jail.”

Meadow: “And what does the other word mean?”

Me: “Crucified means that they killed Him.”

(With my second answer her expression darkens and she asks with wide eyes…)

Meadow: “You mean they killed Him and took Him to jail?!”

(At this, part of me is holding back a smile at the word order of her question and part of me is feeling emotion about her emotion…)

Me: “Yes. It’s very sad.”

Meadow: “You mean the man in the book!? Jesus, the man in the book, they killed Him!?”

Me: “Yes. It’s a sad story, isn’t it? But then it becomes a happy story!”

(She looks confused and incredulous by this answer and says…)

Meadow: “A sad story can’t become a happy story! How can a sad story become a happy story?”

Me: “Because after Jesus dies, God makes Him alive and brings Him to Heaven.”

(At this point she pauses, staring at a spot on the wall, frowning slightly. She stays quiet for a moment and her expression changes. Her furrowed brow softens and a small smile appears where her frown was and she states quietly…)

Meadow: “Yeah…because God has magical powers!”

(I smile at this unexpected answer and reply…)

Me: “Yeah, I guess He kind of does.”

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Christmas Eve

Christmas to me is eggnog and gingerbread cookies. Its a month of Christmas music on 92.9 and 93.7. Its my four year old and my one year old’s exclamations as we wonder through the aisles in ToysRus and dream up a wish list for Santa. Its Home Alone and Elf and White Christmas and Christmas Vacation (to name a few). Its the hot chocolate, hot coffee, hot anything really that is so much enjoyed and appreciated during these cold, cold months. Its blankets and sweaters and the warmth of cranberries and cinnamon heating on the stove. Its the lights on our eaves that I admire any night that I pull in our driveway. And our Christmas tree in the front window, its lights that I turn on every afternoon as the sun goes down. Its the lights and decor on our friends’ houses and our neighbors’ houses.

Christmas to me is the Christmas CDs that I grew up listening to -Amy Grant, Roger Whitaker, Celine Dion and more- each one reminding me of the safety and simplicity of being a child in my parents’ home. Its the tradition of seeing the lights at Opryland and the anticipation that begins with the trees and decor that go up in every store, every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is the comforting smell of holiday scented soaps and the soothing smell of a real Christmas tree.

Christmas to me is home, is family, is warmth. It is joy and excitement and anticipation.

And it is celebration. A celebration of the birth of a precious baby boy born in Bethlehem. A baby boy who’s birth changed everything. A baby boy who’s birth makes the joy, the excitement, the peace of the Christmas season possible for us all.

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Meadow Grace

It is Friday night. Our first Christmas movie of the season has just ended. I say goodnight to my family (Honey, Papa, Summer and Grandma watched it with us), walk them to the door and head upstairs to tuck Meadow into bed. Daddy and brother have already fallen asleep. The house is quiet and kind of chilly.
I enter Meadow’s room, turn on her fan and nightlight and climb under the covers with her. She asks if we can read a story. I pull out her kids Bible and find our bookmark. We read the story of John baptizing Jesus. She asks which one is John then argues with me that people don’t really eat bugs. I explain that yes, sometimes people do eat bugs. She tells me that that is silly. A few pages later our story ends. I ask her if she wants to pray first or if she wants mama to pray first. She says she wants mama to pray first. She always says she wants mama to pray first. I say a short prayer then listen and marvel as my four year old says hers.
“Dear God, Thank you for a beautiful day with friends and family. Thank you that we went to Alabama. Please give us peace and wisdom. And be with everyone who is sad and sick and lonely. Jesus name, Amen.”
I hold my daughter close. We talk for a few minutes. She asks me to sleep in her room tonight. I tell her that I am not going to sleep in her room but I will snuggle with her for a few minutes. She says ok, picks up her duckie and closes her eyes. She is asleep within moments.

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