Indescribable Life

2014 Light behind Cloud copy 2013 Pink Sunset Sky copySince we moved homes I have taken a lot of pictures of sunsets.
There is something miraculous in the way the light illuminates the sky with reds, oranges and purples as it progresses towards the horizon. While my words are in adequate to describe a the beauty of a sunset and my limited camera unable to capture the dramatic nature of it, I stand in awe.

I feel His presence. I worship.

As a live my less-hurried, middle-years one of the things I am most grateful for is the fact that I have had the luxury of becoming more aware of everyday glory beyond His creation. Experiencing unexplainable peace in heartbreaking situations or noticing unpredictable magnificence in the midst of messy lives has become another way I see His glory.
Being alive in the story makes me worship.
N. D. Wilson says:
To exist in this poem is a greater gift then any finite creature can imagine. 
To be so insignificant and yet still be given a speaking part, to be given the scenes that are my own, and my own only, scenes where the audience is limited to the Author Himself…, to have been crafted with at least as much care as a snowflake…, 
and to hear and feel and see and taste and smell the heavy poetry of God, that is enough“.
‘Notes from Tilt-A-Whirl’ p.38
Why then, on a daily basis, do I choose the grey lifeless world of impressing people, being concerned about outward appearances, allowing insecurities to play a part in my decisions? How often do I look only at the instant gratification offered by the material world and move towards a disappointing lesser plot?
I have heard the whisper of another way, I have seen the value of walking the indescribable path which makes no sense in this world but always, always brings hope and restoration. What then is behind this tendency to move towards the temporal?
Micha Boyett expresses my frustration this way:
It’s all so complicated, I think. What we live our lives for. How we worship. Who and what we worship. There are so many unsaid things, so many reasons God becomes shadow, slips through our fingers
‘Simplicity, Complexity and Faith’ at  ‘Deeper Story’ (www.deeperstory.com)
2014 Full Sky Sunset  copy2013 Sunset over Sea 1 - Web
I am grateful that Jesus is patient with me and that I experience Him even in the midst of situations where my focus is selfish and self-serving. I am, however, especially thankful as He draws me back to Himself and reminds me that there is another way of doing life.
When I fall into my one true Life, which is “hidden with Christ in God” something miraculous takes place. The “indescribable” locks into focus. It is then that I again find myself without adequate words to label my awareness but it isn’t a dream.
God’s kingdom intersects with my experience of this world.
In Union with Him I know joy and stand in awe.
I worship.
2014 Sunset behind Apes Hill Palms copy

50 Years Loved

3. 2014 50 Years Loved - March 6th - 50th Napkin Ring 1

I believe that deep down most peoples’ worst fear is that we will live ordinary lives that have no significance.

Or perhaps it is just mine…

Nonetheless, I have come to realise that continually asking myself the question “what am I to with the rest of my life”? is a problem.

By relentlessly asking this of myself I essentially I become more self-focused – as I try harder to do things that make me ‘acceptable’ in the eyes of myself, God, my family and friends. I am sure there is more I need to do in order to have value and be considered significant in the world, in my community and in my family. I have fallen prey to the lie that God is expecting something more from me or with-holding something from me until I live up to a standard, give of myself enough, behave or perform in a certain way. Perhaps that is why this prayer of Robert Farrar Capon’s resounds with me and makes me smile:
Lord, please restore to us the comfort of merit and demerit. Show us that there is at least something we can do. Tell us that at the end of the day there will at least be one redeeming card of our very own. Lord, if it is not too much to ask, send us to bed with a few shreds of self-respect upon which we can congratulate ourselves. But whatever you do, do not preach grace. Give us something to do, anything; but spare us the indignity of this indiscriminate acceptance.”

Intellectually I believe in God’s unwavering acceptance but I have realised that this ever present question, as well as my daily actions, thought patterns and concerns mean that in my heart I don’t believe I am accepted and lovable unless I am doing something.

As I approach my 50th birthday I am asking that “as I received Christ, so may I now walk in Him” (My paraphrase – Colossians 2:6). I am asking to walk one step at a time in faith – not needing to figure out for myself what my future holds but trusting that His all-sufficient grace will lead me forward at the appropriate time. This is the Gospel I need to preach to myself daily as I embrace this time of space and rest is a gift.

Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted
Brennan Manning

3. 50 Years Loved  1 Leopard Creek Deck

View

A number of days after Friday I’m linking up again with the other writers at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday (a flashmob of writers who write for five minutes on a prompt without over editing, backtracking or worrying too much about getting it exactly right AND then go on to encourage others who have participated)
Unable to find time and a space to write I have thought frequently about this week’s word but nothing has ‘clicked’. I’m curious about what will come onto the “paper” when I start the clock: View….

Five Minute Friday

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“View” I have decided, is a matter of perspective…
While we may both be looking at the same scene, the view from my window is different from your view from yours – not just due to the angle but also due to the cleanliness of the glass. In addition our personal histories and our current situations shade the way we perceive what we see. What I see as beautiful may remind you of pain. The complexities of this world and our unreliable way of looking at it mean Grace is needed.

I am not very good at living, what Dan Stone calls, “above the line”. Most of my days I interpret the world through my temporal vision. This is illustrated for me when I exercise, especially when I run. Since I don’t enjoy exercise it remains a daily challenge to keep going the distance. Interestingly when I focus on me and my legs and my breathing and the weather beating down on me, I find myself slowing, very often to a stop. In contrast, when I run in wonder of the opportunity, my environment and any people I encounter I find that reaching my goal requires so much less effort!! You would think knowing this I wouldn’t allow my mind to become self focused, but its not that easy. Insidiously the thoughts creep up and my vision for the task comes under attack.

So it is with life. Even though it may look like I am currently in a race without purpose and direction, as He gives me Grace I am able to live in the wonder and see my life with eyes of faith. And as I look beyond myself and my immediate circumstances and live knowing that He is working all things for good according to His ultimate design – my days become full of glorious possibilities.

Living with the corrected vision of life above the line, every moment in my day has the potential to be much more like an adventure than a full stop.

Hear my Cry

Its Friday and so I’m linking up again with the other writers at Tales from a Gypsy Mama for Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday (a flashmob of writers who write for five minutes on a prompt without over editing, backtracking or worrying too much about getting it exactly right) …This week’s word is Comfort….

2012 Spring Blossom Linton

In order to deaden pain and cope with life, I have substituted many things for Comfort: I have stayed too busy to notice loss and sorrow, over-eaten to hide my loneliness, criticized life rather than engaged in it, eagerly helped myself to another glass of wine, endlessly looked for a ‘better’ experience, hidden for weeks while planning idyllic holidays and events, had too many coffee’s with friends listening to their stories and hearts and ignoring my own, I have spent too much time wondering what life would have been like if the “what if” had never occurred….

Even if, for a while, these techniques satisfied, in the end their respite has always been temporary. I have ended up disappointed in myself and frustrated with life. Avoiding pain isn’t synonymous with embracing life. A deeper sense of loss has been the result.

We all have hurt places that need comforting…
We all have longings and empty places…
Things we crave. We all want more….

Yet, there isn’t enough love, hope, friendship and intimacy on earth to completely satisfy us. Nor is there enough peace and hope in this world to comfort us in our grief. The problem is that while God designed us to want more out of life and we won’t be satisfied until we get it, only He completely satisfies. All my cravings and hungers, my disappointments and dreams all point the way to God, every single time. We are fooled that the thing we are looking for – the treasure – is really the… food, the cup of coffee, the chocolate, the outfit, the next business deal, being accepted in a friendship group, being acclaimed, living in a better house, being accepted by a certain crowd, an affair… not the Living God.

Father is showing me in this season of my life that I need to be honest about the places in my soul that ache to be filled, because only then can Father tenderly reach into my heart…
Only then will I know complete peace and comfort…….
Emilie Griffin says it this way: “This is the one intimacy of which we need not be afraid, for it will not disappoint or betray us. On God we can lose all the intensity of what we are, all the passion and longing we feel. This is the one surrender we can make in utter trust, knowing that we can rest our whole weight there and nothing will give way”.
Clinging: The Experience Of Prayer

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18: 2

Five Minute Friday

Brave

Once again Friday came and went but nonetheless I’m linking up with the other intrepid souls at Tales from a Gypsy Mama for last week’s Five Minute Friday, a group of writers who write for five minutes on a prompt without over editing, backtracking or worrying too much about getting it exactly right …This week’s word – Brave
Five Minute Friday

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I see you friend
Brave beyond the world’s view of you
Battling against those inner demons
Tackling life head on
Small moments of moving forward
Not allowing pain and hopelessness to define you
Staring defeat in the face and still fighting through
Pushing on
Your quiet war may be misunderstood
Misinterpreted
Ignored by this world
But I know you as Brave
My warrior child
Nothing escapes My eye
I watch over you and My courage is yours
My heart and eye is always inclined towards you
I Am
El Roi