I’m tucked in, bundled in these layers; rumpled cotton sheets, off-white with this soft green leafy pattern like I’m swaddled in a spring garden. Comforter, and the fleecy blanket I swiped from my daughter’s room when she left for university, cover me. Everything’s warm in this nestling as I look across the room at the rocking chair, in the dim light, my clothes laid across the high back.

I’m not a morning person.

But this early morning is calling and I’m not sure what I’ll answer.

Yes, and push back this comfort or sink deeper and yield to another hour of oblivion?

Creativity is calling. I know I’m going to write this while I’m still deep in. I’m going to beat this.

What am I willing to trade for the moments of being weighted down, letting inertia win so my sleepy body can atrophy a bit longer? Which words will not find a page, thoughts succumb to the numbing, so that I and God and others won’t benefit from me being awake.

And I put it in that order on purpose.

I – because I benefit when I put my feet on the floor, grab those clothes and agree that morning is here and being awake is a good thing. Thoughts spark, spirit stretches to the Most High and that’s the next point.

God – not that He benefits from my getting up but I have to believe He’s pleased that I choose rising rather than sinking and has thoughts and plans about this day and all the resources I need in it, so is blessed in some fashion as I reach for Him on this still dawning day, but the blessing is all mine.

Others – because I don’t want the focus to be just on me, but on what God has planned to do through me and that is to bless others in some way, small or big and it’s not about trying but just showing up.

What do we trade all through the day for His glory and our good?

What little decisions press us into our comfort zones, lingering us there in repeating patterns, kaleidoscopes of same habits, stifling the God breathed invitation to wholeness shimmering around our souls daily.

It’s a conundrum as we lay in the beds we’ve made, covered in what’s familiar, safe feeling in some fashion, even if it’s not, yet around us is this sparkling more, this goodness calling us past the self-comfort into a galaxy of provision and we hesitate, I hesitate to step out, crawl out, leap out of the thing that binds me. And sheets, even pretty ones, sure can do that.

So this day…I’m up!

Early and writing. It’s good. Quiet, like no other time. Thoughts flow as I sip this cinnamon tea and anticipate.

And this offering is what the morning brings … so far.

Dog and I at the reservoir.

Crisp air.

Blackbird’s tinselly tune,

and the chickadee -dees dart (note to self: bring sunflower seeds next time).

An orgy of burgundies and ochre, paint-splattered across these autumn acres. Flaming sumacs arch into the path.

Then, this tributary and you grey and still against the rushes.

Reflected in shallow stream.

Standing.

Long.

I slip forward, trying not to disturb as your head moves, watching me and I you.

I turn for just a moment (where has dog gone),

And when I look back, you’ve disappeared.

I peer. Are you camouflaged in the reeds?

No.

I press through grass and weeds to my hips, closer,

And along the narrow, weaving corridor of this water, you are there.

Tiptoeing if I can call it that,

One long leg, one web foot after the other.

A graceful exit from my intrusion.

Your neck dips and head turns.

You look and I look as you saunter into the grey,

On this reddest of mornings.

on the anniversary of my salvation (part II)

It’s not all dry

In fact there’s this river winding it’s way through sometimes parched places.

Blood streaming river, grace river, provision river.

And even back then he (Moshe) struck a rock when told and the water gushed out.

He struck a Rock and Water gushed out?!

Water and blood when the Rock was struck, stricken.

I’m stricken that I don’t SEE it all bled out for me. FOR ME!!!

Why stand on the shore, rant about the dry land when there’s this frothing invitation right there.

Cascading

Deep

Filling

Satisfying

Never thirsty again

Stream

I lunge (lunged then and forgot then too when the sun stacked high, soul scorching life and I became an Israelite wandering, murmuring) in.

Immersed

Why not every. single. day?

There’s a river of life flowing out of ….. me.

I choose

this again.

Despite distractions, the vaunted bellowing about the state of things, everywhere.

There’s a river!

Ha ha! There’s a river. What am I doing?

Provision: cleansing, thirst quenching, re-creating, restful, irrigating everything, this river.

Yes. Still and again.

You?

on the anniversary of my salvation (part 1)

40 years in the desert (lacking an extra ‘s’ makes it the antithesis of a sweet finish to something filling, rather just a dry lack)

Trusting, not trusting

Learning and forgetting (am I James, forgetting what I look like in the veritable mirror?)

Provision and pain

Occasions of thankfulness and murmurs bookending

Will I learn and see the Promised Land?

Rest,

in the Everlasting Arms

Or keep making this life, my work, my way, my straining effort,

weary striving to get it right

There is only One right

I understand

Like a hole being dug, deeper, dirt scraped out until the truth hits bottom

It’s not about me

It’s about Him

Utter dependence my only work

Utter yielding the only position required

Therein lies the door

Revive Us

It’s everywhere.

The clarion cry to FREEDOM.

Convoys. Cardboard lawn signs in my subdivision. Canadian flags waving the red and white on trucks, buildings and hoisted high in the hands of the patriotic.

“Revive us LORD we plead. We need you!” we pray and shout.

I agree.

And I’m worried.

On a few levels.

I agree. Our leadership is compromised. I can’t imagine anyone not seeing this.

Revival coming because we succeed at convincing parliament of the corruption and bringing in a newly elected party and PM? Not so sure.

What are we crying out for, really?

We’ve been shuttered and bullied into compliance. Coerced into receiving questionable medical procedures and fear mongered into separating ourselves from those who need care and community. That’s all of us at varying levels.

The motivation behind all this has become clearly suspect, not well intentioned and the populace of the world is rising up. I’m so proud to call myself a Canadian in this time. Who woulda thought, eh, that our passive nation would raise such a noise around the globe and wake the people up!

However. I’m still concerned that we think that if this battle is won to our satisfaction, that will somehow equate with revival.

I’m concerned that my greatest concerns are about losing my comfort, the resources I own, the job I’m grateful for, the lifestyle I enjoy.

Revival does not mean I keep all that.

In fact it may mean the complete opposite. I hear that the church in China is thriving, and not because of great governance and freedoms.

This comes when we realize who we are and Who we serve and the rest of our attachments fall away.

God help us to see!

I’ve heard the ‘prophetic words’ of some (back in 2020) telling us that this will end in a short time on a given date. That God will set us free. It’s honestly a quick buzz and then it doesn’t happen and you go back to hoping something will bring this to an end.

This https://youtu.be/4O6x9JuXlnA however is about the best exhortation I’ve heard recently. It covers a bit about the convoy at the start then moves into the meat. It’s feisty but good.

And then there’s this:

13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV biblegateway.com)

And this…

Isaiah 58:1-12 (Amplified Version biblegateway.com)

“Cry aloud, do not hold back;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet,
And declare to My people their transgression
And to the house of Jacob their sins.

“Yet they seek Me day by day and delight [superficially] to know My ways,
As [if they were in reality] a nation that has done righteousness
And has not abandoned (turned away from) the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me righteous judgments,
They delight in the nearness of God.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You do not see it?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’
Hear this [O Israel], on the day of your fast [when you should be grieving for your sins] you find something you desire [to do],
And you force your hired servants to work [instead of stopping all work, as the law teaches].

“The facts are that you fast only for strife and brawling and to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You do not fast as you do today to make your voice heard on high.

“Is a fast such as this what I have chosen, a day for a man to humble himself [with sorrow in his soul]?
Is it only to bow down his head like a reed
And to make sackcloth and ashes as a bed [pretending to have a repentant heart]?
Do you call this a fast and a day pleasing to the Lord?

“[Rather] is this not the fast which I choose,
To undo the bonds of wickedness,
To tear to pieces the ropes of the yoke,
To let the oppressed go free
And break apart every [enslaving] yoke?

“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not to hide yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood?


“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth;
Your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity],
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away from your midst the yoke [of oppression],
The finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and [every form of] wicked (sinful, unjust) speech,
10 
And if you offer yourself to [assist] the hungry
And satisfy the [a]need of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.

11 
“And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail
.
12 
“And your people will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up and restore the age-old foundations [of buildings that have been laid waste];
You will be called Repairer of the Breach,
Restorer of Streets [b]with Dwellings.

And if you want to go further, look up verses 13-14.

Lots to consider as we hope things will return to a sense of normalcy. I’ve never been in favour of the words “new normal.” However based on the verses above, perhaps that’s what we need to be pressing towards.

~In Christ~

Useless

I reposted something the other day. I liked what it said, and meant, for me. But I neglected to think about what it could say to others.

Some vibrant conversation followed in the comments. I’m happy to say it was covered in grace. However the thoughts followed me around for a day and the next and I wondered deeply about why I posted it; what was the why for me behind the word that caused others grief.

Here it is.

I battle fear.

Daily.

I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. It’s not something I lay down into, though it does threaten to smother me with it’s scratchy thinking.

I fight and even more so these days. Mental health crises are a real and present fallout of the time we’re living in. Too many threatening programs up and running in the mind, clouding our judgement and general contentment. Right?

Layer that on top of the usual struggles, and safety becomes a nebulous thing.

Don’t we all want to be safe? I do. It’s an elusive quality at the best of times.

Yet.

I have to, and want to chose to say no to the fear. I can’t live under it. When I do it renders me ineffective at most things. My creativity dwindles, my relationships suffer, I stop working out and even dinner isn’t as tasty as it could be were I on my game.

So I repost this controversial item because it speaks to me. It challenges me to lurch out from under the pressing fear, live wide, because, for me, living safe can mean I’m yielding to what my anxiety shouts. So I cast it off and get out for hikes (even into the Rocky Mountains of Washington USA with a dear, adventuring friend and young son), write words on a page, cook something good and engage in some great conversation and gather (wisely) with believers to spend some time in God’s presence together. It’s not a heedless casting off of restraint and sanity in these crazy times but a living well as I can, holding the hand of the God who tells me not to be afraid.

Useless is a harmful word though.

The post said that choosing safety renders a person useless. I didn’t mean for this to be smeared on anyone but I can see how it could hurt.

I… feel useless when anxiety curbs me into a corner. So I choose to shake off the driving voices urging us to cower. And it’s not just during a pandemic. Everything is about safety these days. When I was a baby my ride in a car was a car bed in the backseat, untethered bed and untethered me. Dangerous? Yes!

But now our babies, our children, our teens, ourselves are so smothered with regulations and safety it’s almost impossible to breathe.

Don’t let the children climb trees or kick a ball at school. They might get hurt.

Golly! Yes they might. And they might live and breathe and grow and fall and get back up again and learn to deal with adversity in the process. And yes, there will be the ones that don’t get up again. I’m so sorry, with all of my heart!

But I can’t live trying to mitigate the risk of every. single. circumstance.

THIS causes anxiety. For heavens sake and for ours we must engage in critical, wide open thinking and cast off… yes cast off…. the fears that attempt to strangle us into this life of living inside, stuck in front of screens, living virtual adventures while our muscles and brains atrophy.

I must.

There is no judgement here towards anyone. We’re all trying to work it out the best way we know how. May God bless you and lead you as you sort through it all too.

Thank you for entertaining my attempt to clear up this muddle.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy 1:7.

I love C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe where, when Lucy asked if the Lion was safe she received this reply: “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Dare I Crack the Door?

I feel a bit unhinged, alone in the kitchen tonight. Young folks all out on this last day of a broken year and Frank upstairs resting, with a cold, not covid.

It’s surreal and I wonder if when I open the front door tomorrow morning, the world as I know it will still be there. Or perhaps it left a while ago.

Tonight it feels cold. A chill wanders the streets, seeping through the soul of our land, reaching its icy fingers into our unsure hearts.

There is this isolation. This gripping fear grasping at our throats. What’s to come as we bid adieu to the old and dare to crack the door of tomorrow open? No one knows. We’re living in times not seen by most any of us alive now.

Yet…

As I pause, there’s this Flame. This palpable Love. This understanding that I’m seen and known. And held. It banks a fire of courage and wraps me in a surety that whatever comes… I’m not alone.

There’s this Joy!

This strength.

This brightness that throws back the dark and melts the coldest ice.

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2Thessalonians 3:16)

Soft Night

I’ve never felt air so soft

The wind high and playful at 1am, and so warm

Elaine’s maple is writhing, waving it’s ample arms in great gross gestures

Lifting it’s skirts in a whirling, gyrating dance

More a comedian, than a monster

More a romance than a threat

I want to stay out here in my long nightie

Pitch a tent and sleep under the black, wind sky

Listen to the constant watery song of leaves rustling, rustling

I could but I know soon that canopy will break open

An ocean up there about to crash on my shore

But wouldn’t I want to be caught in the unleashing?

I bet it’ll be warmest rain

Just like the kiss of this air

Ode To Mary Oliver

Sometimes just a bite of chocolate

or whatever sweetest thing you desire.

Even making love has its rhythm and finish and rest.

I read this poem, then another.

Feel the sweet spark of thought,

the agony of understanding,

the pleasure of words weaving a thought, a picture.

I read another and find I simply can’t.

I’m satiated and will rest,

enjoying the morsel I’ve already bitten into,

the love I’ve already been filled with.

To have more would be greedy.

To have more would diminish the flavor

of what I’m still digesting.