Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Clenched Fists or Open Hands?

Photo courtesy of PhotoBucket.com

Silence, Prayer and Meditation...

I've been thinking about these things lately as, during Lent, my church is hosting a day that will combine all three. First of all, that silence thing is for people needing a nap - mandatory silence drives me nuts. I have things to say, for crying out loud! Prayer and Meditation - OK, I'm thinking I'm going to find a room somewhere and take a much longed-for snooze until this portion of the program is over.

Seriously - Silence, Prayer and Meditation...Oh, My!

Intimacy with God - isn't that what prayer is really all about? Isn't it supposed to be a communion (holding in common) between His heart and mine? ONLY if I allow it to be. Intimacy requires two parties, right?

I like to believe I know how to pray. After all, I've been doing it since I was a kid. In fact, I remember learning my bedtime prayer when I was about four or five years old, "Now, I lay me down to sleep..." My Dad patiently worked with me until I had that prayer memorized and could say it by heart. Hmmm, say it "by heart", now, that's an interesting turn of phrase.

I was looking for some images of people praying and just about every picture shows the age-old posture of prayer: hands clasped or joined together and the head bowed. I got all flustered thinking about that. You see, I've learned, recently, that it is difficult to let go of the things I take to the Lord if I have my hands so tightly grasped around them. And, in turn, I cannot receive all that God longs for me when I don't have my hands and heart open to receive His gifts.

I want to run to God with open hands and outstretched arms reaching toward him and praying "by heart" - not a simple recitation - an honest offering to God of what and who I am, how I feel, who I believe Him to be. I want to cherish the silence so I am better able to hear His voice when he whispers "be still". And, I want to think on these things.. marveling at how God hears me, understands me and provides His will for me. Always.

Silence, a comfortable quiet where I may be able to hear His voice: Prayer, an intimate communion with the One who loves me most; and Meditation, time to think about All the ways He loves me.

Pretty sweet way to spend the day.  Maybe I won't take a nap after all.

In Preparation for Easter:

A Day of Silence, Prayer and Meditation

Saturday, April 2, 2011
10AM - 6PM
St. Michael's Episcopal Church
4000 Lee's Summit Road
Independence, MO 64055

Sunday, February 13, 2011

His Love Sings

I've redesigned my blog today and I'm just seeing how it fits. It's time for something fresh, new and with a little more creativity to spice up the page. I've been experiencing writer's block; so, it is my hope that this new "do", so to speak, will provide some much needed inspiration.

I've also changed the name of the blog to "His Love Sings". The new URL is www.hislovesings.blogspot.com. So, please update your info so you know where to find me. You will no longer be able to find the blog at the dipsydoodle-dipsydoodle address.

Transition. I think that is what I've been experiencing this past year. Transition with my body, my health, my outlook on life, my spirit, my heart. It's wonderful, though. Change is good and exciting - I never know what is around the bend. And,  even though I resist it with both feet spiked into the floor, I've been accepting it as it comes and it's been rewarding. Change scares me, though. I'm comfortable in my skin, my habits and my life. But, staying with the old can make me stale and I don't want to be that way. So, no more tight fists for me. I'm opening my hands to accept the changes that God is providing, trusting that He knows best.

I've been reading Ann Voskamp's beautiful new book, One Thousand Gifts. It has been life-changing for me. She accepted a challenge from a friend to write down 1,000 things she is thankful for; and so, she began a heart-transforming journey. And now, I'm going to begin my list of "1,000 Gifts" - and my heart's desire is to recognize God's love in the everyday things I so take for granted. And, maybe He will teach me to see His love more clearly.

Change, acceptance, gratitude,  love,  JOY! - I'm on my way to a happy heart. Want to join me?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wash in Warm Water - Gentle Cycle...

I believe I have been cold since 1960 - that is the year I was born. Seriously, in the past several years I struggle to stay warm - even in the summer. I have been to the Dr. and she has run all battery of tests to see if there is a medical issue causing this temperature mishap. To no avail. She finally determined I just have an internal thermostat that doesn't register correctly and, for whatever reason, the cause is still unclear. My husband tells me I am wired wrong. I've come to the same conclusion.

It's a chore for my body to try and keep itself warm. The body's natural response is to hold itself tightly and to shiver to create heat. This results in some fairly trussed-up muscles and some rickety and stiff bones - and, no heat. Throughout the day, I find myself yearning for a hot bath or shower. To sink into a hot bath is bliss. The muscles loosen up and I know I can hear my bones sigh.

Whenever I am so cold I have to retreat to the bath, I'm reminded of this story told by an old friend of mine.

Don was in Special Ops when he was in the Navy. He was a "frogman" - I believe that is what they call them - an amphibious unit that did special covert operations.

He said his unit used to train in the dark, in the cold and in freezing water. Even though he wore a wet suit and the only thing directly exposed to the elements was a bit of his face, it was still unbearably spine-rattling cold. The freezing temperature seemed to seep into every part of his being - sometimes making feeling and moving difficult.

Don told me that when he came out of the cold water - where he may have been for several hours, He would be freezing. Then, one of the guys in his unit would pour warm water over him to warm him up. He said it was indescribable the way his body felt as the water would start at the top of his head and trickle down and envelope every part of his body.

He was telling me this story one night when we were talking about how we came to Jesus and what a difference Christ has made in our lives. It's a story I have never forgotten.

Don told me that when He finally gave his life to Christ, after many years of running from Him, that it felt exactly like that warm water flowing from the top of his head and over his body. The warmth of the Holy Spirit completely consumed him, wrapped him up, warmed his heart and brought him to life.

I think about that story just about every day when I come home cold and I step into the shower or dip into a warm tub. That warmth touches my skin and it is nice and cozy, comforting and makes me feel comfortable and, finally, warm inside. God's love is like that, you know. He pours it over us like warm and gentle water and then wraps us tightly and keeps us safe. It allows us to feel and to move and to live God's grace.

Warm Water, Gentle Cycle...I love the way He loves me.