Friday, July 27, 2012

what is saving my life right now: a synchroblog

this is me participating in sarah bessey's synchroblog

Right now Comensoli Gluten Free Muffin Mix (to which I added frozen, local blueberries, flax and sesame seeds) is saving me. I mixed it up, baked and presto! muffins appeared, just as it should be.

And today, I really need something to be just as it should.

I grew up in the church, Christian school etc. and so while I am forever grateful and in awe of Grace, I find myself daily most drawn to what we call "common grace" (little 'g'). And I have been corrected at times, told that common grace is not the focus and not what really matters, but you know what? I think that's false. We have bigger picture get it once and then it's there. And once it's there, it becomes easy to forget, to believe you're alone, slugging it out and salvation and heavenly rewards are so intangible, it starts to feel hollow, false, religious. Like receiving a LifeSavers candy book in your stocking and then, each roll turns out to be empty. You got the store display, not the real thing.

And so it can feel sometimes, when you've known Grace forever. I need something I can grab, unwrap, select, taste. I need me some LifeSavers (preferably the pineapple ones!)

These moments, yummy baked goods that are gluten free, sunshine in the trees, the breeze that hits you a few blocks before you actually see the ocean and a kitten snoring behind you, they point me to something greater. They are not saving me. Nor would I ever build my life about them, but they are life. These tiny, insignificant gifts point to a greater gift. And I need them. I am not just spirit, but also tangible, needy, broken flesh. So give me something I can know with my five sense and suddenly, I know, know, know, that Grace is real, that I am not alone and that this insignificant moment is nothing and everything.

So I guess it's true. I was saved by muffin mix.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

just up ahead

stand out

the beauty of peace
is acceptance
and there remain
i cannot accept
like hard-hearts
and injustice

the beauty of life
is grace
that abounds
in and through
and after
the mess
i cannot accept

and i sing-speak words
of acceptance
you give
and take away
hard words
i understand
the takeaway part

the beauty of jesus
is a mercy-shelter
from the mess
we make
and a hope
for shining days
of peace
just up ahead

This week has been (for those following certain bloggers and the Gospel Coalition) a week of stirred passions and fighting words. And we could go on. (Some still are.) However, today, I am arrested by the humility of some and graciousness of others who choose to put the gospel, people and the Church ahead of themselves. I want more of this.

I want peace. But at the same time, I have a feeling that I may never get it. I cannot ignore what is on my heart and will not be silenced. Brave people, and particularly brave women, must not give up when the stakes are this high. When justice, mercy and human dignity are on the line, we should all be fighting. Especially when the threat comes from within the Church itself.

Jesus was very clear about sin.  Sin lives in the heart and is seen in both our action and inaction. My prayer is that my sin through inaction becomes less and less and that my understanding of God's heart for the world increases.

To that end, I will always fight.

What I'm talking about:

Sarah Bessey
Rachel Held Evans
Gospel Coalition-Jared C. Wilson

Thursday, July 19, 2012

a conversation with myself

nicki, puppy and i christmas 1987

I write to a little girl with imagination busting out of her, lying under the Christmas tree making the Nutcracker talk to the Kitty who is hiding from the Carousel Horse. A rainbow-light glow falls on her freckled nose, shining in eyes inquiringly blue. No one knows she is not in bed. No one suspects that she has snuck downstairs to, surrounded by Christmas magic, tell stories to herself.

She is the youngest and often feels alone. She wants the big kids to like her, to notice her, to tell stories with her. But they never do. They have homework and friends, and long legs that even when she runs as fast as she can, she cannot keep up with. So she makes her own friends and plays her own games. There's Puppy of course and an ever-rotating host of Barbies. There is Anne (with an 'e') and Mandy and Jasmine and Belle. And in the sand-box she is using the hose that she didn't ask to use to make a swimming pool. When it is full, she will go swimming and she will probably be naked.

She doesn't know it yet, but soon she will know that mommies and daddies don't always live together. That sometimes brothers move out and don't seem like your brother anymore. Sometimes sisters choose to leave life and you'll never know why. And sometimes those who should protect you, won't. She will have questions and tears and secrets that only Puppy will ever hear about.

And she will never be alone.

I wish I could tell her that. I would smooth her mussed tangles and whisper, "You are awash in unexplained grace. You will experience heartbreak you cannot yet imagine, but you will be lifted, covered, carried. You will be weak and you will know strength. You will be scared to lose. You will lose. And you will learn to trust again. You are awash in grace, darling, simply dripping in it. And that, will make all the difference for you."

I would tell her to seek after God without fear. I would help her to understand grace sooner. I would tell her not to regret anything that wasn't a black mark on her soul, and for those black marks, to let herself cry, repent and then forgive.

I would tell her that life doesn't begin at any one point. You're already here, every moment, this right here, this is life. So live it. Relish the early morning, peaceful exhalation into a silent street, the hustle and rush of working for a living, the careful selection of food at the grocery store, the glueing and painting and making of crafts for yourself and friends, the crumpling to the floor in an agony you should never know.

This, right here, is life.

So don't wait. Don't worry, don't fear and don't hesitate. Do what is in your heart, follow the path where your feet find themselves, love the people on that path. Sing every day because it keeps you connected to who you are. Write and make things as often as you can. Live in grace and learn to give what you have already received.

I would tell her, every moment is precious and you don't know how many are left. I would also tell her, for heaven's sake! you're not yet thirty years old, what are you so damn worried about?

And then I would laugh. And it would take her a minute, but then her nose would scrunch and eyes crinkle and she would laugh too. Because she would know that I am right.

Inspired (as always) by Sarah Bessey and her recent participation in Preston Yancey's Conversation with Ourselves blog series.