when Tuesday is heavy

heavy

Shrove Tuesday
Mardi Gras
Fat Tuesday

looking, searching for something
to fill
to replace
to satisfy
to dull
to numb

through

our eyes
our ears
our mouth
our hands

we become
heavy,
weighted down by things that never satisfy
we become
full of ourselves
we become
flat, our minds and hearts less clear
we become
indifferent.

what if this changes?
what if the time is now?

what if we crave
relationship
less of us
breath and life
rest
being present?

what if we
empty ourselves
of those things which
take our focus and
attention off of
what we know God
desires and wants
for us?

“The more Christ fulfills the cravings of our souls, the more he changes our taste capacities from the inside out. The more we walk with him, the more we want him. The more we taste of him, the more we enjoy him. And this transforms how we live and what we live for.” – David Platt

what if?

Fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – Philippians 4:8 (the Voice)

my friends, what if we enjoy Jesus for the next few weeks?
what if we desire to taste Him
to touch Him
to see Him
to smell Him
to hear Him
to know Him…

“Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t hear Christ’s voice more clearly is that he wants to draw us into such a close embrace that the slightest move of his hand against the small of our back tells us all we need to know.” ~Ken Gire, The Divine Embrace

seeking grace.

the advent of lent

manger-and-cross-plain

advent = in anticipation
lent = in preparation

as I am preparing to kind of turn Lent upside down in my own life
I have been thinking of the
journey from
the manger
to the cross

I have been thinking about
my own “celebration” of the manger
and my “celebration” of the cross…
and how they differ
how they might be the same.

incarnation

how does my life reflect the embodiment of Christ?

death

what needs to cease to exist in my own life?

resurrection

what needs to be reborn, reawakened, restored in me?

these are some of the thoughts that I hope to explore
along with…
questions like:

who’s there?

where are you?

what now?

why bother?

what’s your story?

and ideas such as:

when questions are answers

here’s how

journey
exploration
questions
anticipation
preparation

I think this season is sort of a mystery

and I am intrigued.

join me as we explore how the end is just the beginning…

all is grace.

 

on turning Lent upside down

lent

ok, so maybe that is a little extreme…
or is it??

turning Lent upside down…
not in the sense of chaos and disorder,
but of turning my current views kind of on their head
and looking at Lent differently.
just differently.

how so?
as a girl who didn’t really “grow up”
celebrating the Lenten season
until later in my life,
my notion of Lent was

giving up something I really liked
for 40 days
before Easter
and it wasn’t a “season” I particularly
looked forward to

I read recently about Lent not being
“a self-denial” Olympics   

https://thinkchristian.reframemedia.com/five-reasons-not-to-give-up-something-for-lent

in which we ultimately end up feeling better about ourselves
not really taking the focus off of who we are

funny how we kind of turn this into an endurance “game”
and almost find pleasure in seeing folks struggle
to not eat, or drink
or Facebook or Tweet or Instagram
or unplug from the internet totally
or not have chocolate, or drink coffee
or swing by the drive-thru
or not eat junk food or sweets, or carbs
or refrain from smoking or drinking

and we.totally.miss.the.point.

instead of taking the focus off of us
we turn it around
as if Lent is something that has been created for us to do
to achieve
to succeed
to almost compete in doing.

this kind of begs the question,
what is Lent, exactly?

Lent is a season of forty days which represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness
enduring the temptation of Satan and
preparing to begin his ministry – http:/www.umc.org

the pillars, the foundation upon which Lent is built, are
prayer, fasting, and almsgiving

but…is this what we, you and I, really do?
what is Lent to us?
do we spend time in prayer?
do we fast, truly fast?
and do we give to those less fortunate or in need?

maybe Lent, is and of itself, a way to kind of
turn our lives
upside down

what if…
becoming
doing
changing

or

resilience
redemption
hope

or

repentance
mystery
freedom

what if a combination of all of that?

prayer fasting giving becoming doing changing redemption
resilience hope repentance mystery freedom

what if we focus
are reflective
and are open to uncover and discover
how we can turn from (fill-in-the-blank)
and turn back to God
–which happens to be a definition of repentance, by the way

what if Lent is
not so much about
deprivation
sacrifice
and giving up

but of
anticipation
love
and what we receive?

join me in this 40-day adventure
as I explore some of my own
notions of Lent
and kind of break down
some insights and thoughts

who knows, we may all be turned upside down
and shaken up a little.
here’s hoping.

topsy-turvy grace

 

 

what are you thinking?

image found at worksafe.qld.gov.au

image found at worksafe.qld.gov.au

Mental health. It’s the way your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect your life. – American Psychological Association

what you think.
how you feel.
your actions and responses.

mental health.
one aspect in direct influence upon another.
our bodies – essentially our eyes, ears, mouths, hands, and feet

our 5 senses, right?
sight
hearing
tasting
feeling
smelling

complex
cyclical
intertwined
linked
connected
meshed
weaved
tangled

our minds
intermingled with our bodies
intertwined with our emotions
connected with what we do
what we think
how we act.

hmm.
pretty ingenious plan, don’t you think?

and yet…
which part do we give the most attention
pay the most money on “upkeep”
even alter?

what are you, we, me thinking?

comparison
appearance
the achievement of illusive perfection
what?
how?
why?
to what end?
at what cost?

our mental health
how our thoughts, actions, and emotions
affect our lives
becomes

dismissed
ignored
forgotten
isolated
and as a result
rots
decays
atrophies

and really hurts.

I really do wonder what we are thinking.

the miracle of life
the intricate details of our bodies

how every part works together 

…..I wonder why attention isn’t given
money isn’t spent
to maintain and ensure
proper mental health?

why is there such a stigma surrounding this?
let me be the one
maybe the only one
to tell you that

changes in feelings
fear
anger
sadness
anxiety
are all a normal part of life.

let me say that again.

changes in your feelings are a normal part of life.

it is when those feelings
the intensity
and
frequency of them
interfere with how you function on a daily basis
signals that there could be a problem

the squeaky wheel gets the grease

except…
we don’t oil this squeak
we

mask it
explain it away
suppress it
stuff it
minimize it
ignore it
are filled with shame about it

if we can’t see properly
we head over to Lenscrafters and get glasses in about an hour
if we have trouble with our hearing
I SAID IF WE HAVE TROUBLE WITH OUR HEARING
Miracle Ear can assist us
if we experience a broken bone
or paralysis
or numbness or tingling in an extremity
we see a doctor
and get help

there seems to be no stigma
with taking heart medication
or blood pressure medication
or insulin for diabetes
or chemotherapy
or radiation treatments
or even vitamins

but, my friends,
why is there such stigma
surrounding mental health
and issues such as

depression
anxiety
addiction
suicide
self-harm
eating disorders

not to mention
schizophrenia
borderline personality disorder
bipolar disorder

what makes these things
so shameful
so isolating
so scary??

these things are so squeaky
so in need of attention
of oil
of empathy
and yet
we choose to not even pay attention.

1 in 5 (that’s 20%)
of youth and young adults experience a mental health condition
– National Institute of Mental Health
75% of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 24
– National Institute of Mental Health

folks.
read that again.

what if we started to pay attention?
to set the example of self-care
to model proper mental health?

listen
empathy
support

listen – to understand, not to respond

empathy – feeling with someone; saying “me too”

support – without judgment

what if we paid this some attention?
what if, my friends, we actually gave this some thought?

do you think that, perhaps, if you and I start to change the
climate surrounding mental health
…that if we change our thoughts
that our
emotions – our moods
can change
that our actions, our behaviors, our attitudes
can be transformed
to dissipate the stigma surrounding
mental health??

I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship. Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. – Romans 12:1-2 (the Voice)

just a thought.

transforming grace…

 

 

 

 

God, friendship, and the clearance aisle

clearancebanner

what in the world do these 3 things have to do with each other?
from my perspective, kind of a lot.

do you ever think of yourself as being in the clearance aisle…
on sale
worth less than your Manufacturer’s suggested price
waiting to be cleared out and replaced?

I do.
just being honest.

I read recently in a Facebook post, that
#everyoneneedsaBetsy
hmmm…that is a pretty amazing compliment.
following that, was an inquiry about
“buying a Betsy” in the store.
this got me thinking…
what aisle would you find “me”?
produce?
dairy?
cookies or candy or baking? (always look for me here)
cleaning supplies?
health and beauty? (least likely to be here)
……and my first thought about myself was the “clearance” aisle

——————————————-

friendship.
what does that really look like?
what does that really mean?
I think of words like…
sacrifice
love
effort
forgiveness
grace
support
reliable
authentic
genuine
self-less.

what does friendship with God look like?
really – what does that look like?
does our view of God change if we see Him as a friend?

sometimes,
we have expectations of friends, right?
we take our friends for granted
we get frustrated, or annoyed
or need time away from them
or need time with them
or we view them through our lens of
selfishness and pride

do we view God through this same (or similar lens)?
with expectations?
with a sense of taking Him for granted?
are we often frustrated or annoyed
or do we need to be alone at times, or with Him at times?
are we selfish and prideful when we look at Him?

and then, what does it mean to fall in love with Jesus…??

———————————————–

Think higher.  Feel deeper. – Elie Wiesel

what has kind of spurred these thoughts is
a song by Natalie Grant, King of the World

I tried to fit you in the walls inside my mind
I try to keep you safely in between the lines
I try to put you in the box that I’ve designed
I try to pull you down so we are eye to eye

there has to be a balance, right?
falling in love with and friendship with Jesus
and remembering that He is the King of the world..
what does that truly look like?
have we often times put ourselves on the same level as God
in order to have a relationship with Him?
have we sort of brought him down to our level
so that we can relate to Him?

have we forgotten Who He really is?

_____________________________

so, God – Friendship – Clearance Aisle

working in reverse order…

although I might consider myself to be located in the clearance aisle
(even more likely in a clearance bin)
this is false.
created by the King of the World,
I am enough.  You are enough.
period.

friendship is a truly delicious thing
highly pleasing to the senses
I am going so far as to say that it is through
our friendships that we truly experience faith…
belief without the use of our senses
friendship hits us in the feels
and
friendship with God is possible
even necessary if we are to love others as ourselves
and be willing to die for them (see John 15)

so, the link, the golden thread if you will, that connects
these three things
is kind of simple, really.

our worth is not determined by
our family
our friends
our mistakes
our lens through which we look at ourselves
our careers
our gender
our education
our…(you fill in the blank)

we have been created, my friends,
by the King of the World
by the One who calls us friends

and He thinks that we are priceless

I am not sure that #everyoneneedsaBetsy
but
I do know that God has set all of my life in motion
that He’s got my back

and that He calls me friend.

priceless grace.

 

 

when my heart is silent

image by RoCafe

image by RoCafe

silent
completely quiet, still, hushed, noiseless

beating
working
pumping
loving
working

and yet…
silent.

peace
gentle
unhurried
hope

be still…and know (Psalm 46)

what if…

be still…and let Me work
be still…and hear Me
be still…and {re}discover
be still…and search for Me
be still…and feel
be still…and taste My goodness
be silent.
let God be God.

In You I rest, In You I found my hope.
In You I trust, You never let me go.
I place my life within Your hands alone.
Be still, my soul. – Kari Jobe, Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest)

maybe not what is first thought by a “silent heart”
lonely, isolated, fearful, anxious, deafness, sad, awkward
but, what if a silent heart is
a good
a very good
thing?
not to be confused with or confounded by the notion of
laziness
or lack of interest
or zero ambition and initiative
but
reliance
leaning on and into
vulnerability
strength
courage
bravery.
when my heart is silent…
then, maybe I can truly hear.
the silence of grace.

corrective lenses

corrective_glasses-viewpoint-nigeria

…this is a continuation of thoughts from common core

I have worn glasses since I was in grade school.
I mostly wear my contact lenses now, but need reading glasses to help
with the fine print and details.

corrective lenses.

a prescription specific to my need
one lens slightly different from the other;
one eye needing more correction than the other.

viewing through a lens…
all of my experiences
my gender
my race
my ethnicity
my opinions
my education
my Biblical interpretation
my relationships
my political views
my view of God…
are all influencing the image (thought, opinion, person, feeling) that I see

is it enhanced?
distorted?
enlarged?
still out of focus?

for example…
fact:  I am 43-year-old single white female
who lives with her dad
no husband
no boyfriend – current or prospective
no children
who is still figuring out who she wants to be when she grows up

lens:  still a 43-year-old single white female
who seemingly has more than 24 hours in her day because..

she has no “significant other” or no children and still lives at home

who is somehow “less than” because of those things
who is not taken as seriously because of those things
who is not seen as being “an adult” because of those things

—-that’s my lens.
through that, I view almost everything.
not only do I view outwardly (from my perspective)
my lens has been so attached that I reckon that is how I am viewed by others

does this lens need correcting??
absolutely!!
is there some truth in that perspective?
maybe, maybe not.

but…
if I take that example of truly how I see
and how I think I am seen,
how far does this go?

does it affect
how I view God
how He looks at me
how I view friendship
how friends look at me
how I view current events
how I think they impact me
how I view my job
how my job, and job performance, influence me
how I interpret what I read
how I interpret what I say
how I interpret what is said to me?

are you following what I am saying here?

corrective lenses…
to blur the lines that really do need blurred

the ways in which I don’t see myself as a princess of the King
how I often think that I am not enough, that I am indeed “less than”

(because honestly, those lines, those words, are often crystal clear)

corrective lenses…
to enhance the Truth

corrective lenses…
to enlarge the good and the positive in people

corrective lenses…
to focus on what is truly important

corrective lenses…
to clarify my misinterpretations

corrective lenses…
so that I may see with clarity

and meditate “on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” – Philippians 4:8 (MSG)

what if…
I looked at, viewed, saw
these things differently —

the same-sex couple
the woman who had an abortion
the person with a drug and/or alcohol addiction
the personal experiencing mental illness
those who are in physical bondage and slavery
the person who identifies as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer, or are questioning their sexuality
the person who does not respect their spouse
the person who is living on the streets
my neighbor who lives alone
my coworker who is being abused
the student who feels shame and rejection everyday
the church member who lives with depression and anxiety
my virtual Facebook friend who has a different opinion than me…

through a corrected lens?

what if I am not longer blinded by

biases
opinions
labels
stereotypes

what if the commonality of all of these things…me…
changes?

all of my life experiences
all of my notions of justice and fairness
and equality and inequality
of right and wrong
morality and immorality
all of my relationships
and loyalties
converge with those things above
through a corrected lens?

would
the image, the issue, the debate
look different to me?

would I see myself differently?

 

 

fresh eyes
open mind
soft heart
…could this be a prescription for corrective lenses?

grace, mercy, love.

 

 

earlier bits

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