whether you change or not

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“Jesus the risen Christ is with us this moment. Right here, right now loves you and accepts you just as you are.

You do not have to change to get his love. You do not have to give up your sin. You do not have to have a conversion experience. Obviously, Jesus wants you to change and yes he wants you to give up your sin and your selfishness… be converted and live, experience the freedom of the children of God but you don’t have to do that to get his love and acceptance. You have that already, before you decide to change and whether you decide to change or not.

Do you believe this?”

(part of a talk that I was watching given by Brennan Manning)

How absolutely scarily beautiful is that?!!

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Love running into our days

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“Over the mountains and the sea Your river runs with love for me, And I will open up my heart and let the Healer set me free.”

Words to an old Delirious song. I was singing it this morning. Haven’t thought of the song in ages, but the words were in my heart. Patrik had already left for work and Eli was still asleep so really that only left Jane the dog to look at me like I was a freak while I was singing away and getting ready for work.  Then I just started thinking about how the words are beautiful but how do they fit in to what I’m in – God and Shannon?

So I started singing (for real, I did): “Over the co-workers and attorney Your river runs with love for me”

That is SO where I need His love to run into during my days.

“Over the clients and the pain And even over my weight gain I will open up my heart and let my Healer set me free!”

Haha! I made it personal. My days, my silly and not so silly struggles. I needed it to be my prayer and my song about God’s love running into today. It lifted me out of the dread of the work day and there He was, as He always is. A guy I’m friends with on facebook recently posted:  “In the Psalms David didn’t write, ‘Where can I go to find Your Presence?’ He wrote ‘Where can I go to escape it?”  You don’t even know how many sermons or teachings I’ve heard in my life about how it is hard to come into God’s presence or how he hides from us… but that’s NOT what David said in the Psalms!!  Beautiful!!

Psalm 139 v. 7-12:

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I run away from where You are? If I go up to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in the place of the dead, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning or live in the farthest part of the sea, 10 even there Your hand will lead me and Your right hand will hold me. 11 If I say, “For sure the darkness will cover me and the light around me will be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to You. And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to You.

Just so great. How beautiful and strong is God? He will never leave you or me, not even if we are making our bed in the place of the dead. He loves us.

All covered up in Love

Laying here in bed just enjoying the love of God as I prayed in my heart after getting my little boy back to sleep. One of those moments where a sweet stillness has come and the heaviness has lifted off of your soul and Love has grabbed your attention with His sweetness. Then unbidden, in creeps the truth about what I have done – something I am guilty of – to try and ruin my joy.

Well tonight I wasn’t having any of that so I began to pray again, to get out of my own mind and keep enjoying Jesus and how much he loves me. And you know what happened? I heard His voice talking about Grace. I saw a picture of it. I was standing under the sky and because of my thoughts about my sin felt the acceptance and happiness draining away from me and God pulled the ripcord on a parachute that I didn’t even know I was wearing. And when the parachute launched into the sky above me it completely covered all that I saw. It was a big canopy of actual grace over me. As it began to fall it changed all it touched. It made a new sky over me – a new reality. God said, “Grace touches everything you are.” The truth of what happened is there but the reality of grace is that mercy triumphs over judgment and you are going from here all covered and loved and new. Grace even seeps into what you were and bad choices you’ve made and forgives them. Touches them with the new reality that is grace itself. Such a heavy weight lifted all because of Love!

Nope. Not going to steal my joy from me tonight.

I’m still enjoying being so loved so I’m going to end this here. 🙂

Goodnight.

the blue fence blog – starting again

When I photographed this fence back in 2008 I felt the need to get out the feelings inside of me graffiti-style (I was having a rough week).  Not wanting nor having the talent to spray paint the fence for real, I did it the way I knew how… on the computer.  After about a month I decided that I wanted to try to post more often. That lasted for awhile and my posting was sporadic, but now it just seems like the right time to pick it back up again. So, take a look at the blue fence blog  Sometimes it is written as a message to someone else, other times I write it as a reminder to myself.  And sometimes, I simply have to write it like a shout – to get it out, so that whether anyone ever reads it or not, it has been said and it matters.

 

Nicole Kidman & Conservative Readings of the Bible

I really love this post… such a good point is made about our perception and distance from God.

Jared Byas

I’m currently reading a biography on Nicole Kidman by a journalist who has never actually met Nicole Kidman. The best part of the book is the beginning where he explains some of the reasons we love celebrities: “…the most important thing in that vexed transaction is the way the actress and the spectator must remain strangers. That’s how the magic works…For their cannot be this pitch of irrational desire without that rigorous apartness.”

His point is that we desire what we do not have because we can recreate it in our own image. We love the idea of God because we can make God into our own image, making God into whatever we want or need God to be. So long as God remains “out there” as “that which fulfills all my desires,” we love God. This is I think what is so compelling about the conservative Evangelical view of…

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Honesty

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I think I need to start writing for those of us who feel unholy and overwhelmed. For those who believe in God but who have distanced themselves from him for  one reason or another. For those who wonder whether watching the Wiccans on True Blood say their chants will affect you or your family because after all, that is the type of beliefs we are programmed to believe… but were we taught that because we fear too much or because it’s true?

Honestly, I thought I was further along than this in my Christianity. I thought the whole leave the church building behind freedom from religion thing was dealt with. Yet I find myself a bit angry, find myself doing things that are potentially going to get me in trouble somewhere along the line, and feeling not as worried as I assume (from my years if Christian training) I ought too be.

Am I the only one? Is there anybody out there that can relate? Does this mean I am lukewarm or does this mean that I am awake and alive?

I wish I were good and could believe better. I wish I trusted God with my temper and to provide for me. I wish I could see what’s really going on behind that veil that separates us from a whole other good world because sometimes I really do sense God and heaven and life in nature, my awesome, precious family and laughter. If I could see behind that veil than maybe that would help me not want to do wrong so blatantly and so often and have some strong faith. I don’t know.

All I do know is if I am not honest, you might go on thinking you’re the only one and I might go on thinking I’m the only one.

I’m no Peter or Paul. My shadow has never healed anyone and maybe it never will. I can identify with Moses though. Moses who murdered and feared and fled. Moses who hid in a desert for 40 years. Moses who stuttered and asked if someone else could speak in his place.

I long to be the Moses who is in the middle of that desert in the older years of his life who is caught off guard by a bush burning with God himself. Just writing that sentence out makes me cry with something that comes from so deep within. To be singled out and saved… from myself, from the mediocre, from the broken actions of my life. And don’t tell me that Jesus has already singled me out and saved me. That will really irritate me. That’s a pre-packaged answer. I want him to come into my now and show me that he’s paying attention and that he loves me. I need him. Don’t try to fix my needing him with trite answers like that.

Just let them be, my honest questions. After all, I am wrestling here. With need and faith and with missing the mark so many times. With my own deficiencies and with fear. As a matter of fact, fear of karma and consequences is massively strong on me tonight. I actually think I am wrestling with God himself too.

Who was it that wrestled God? Was it Jacob? I don’t know and I’m not even going to stop to look it up on the internet. Whoever it was, why is it that we are ok preaching about his wrestling story but not our own? I think its because we feel safe telling his because we know the outcome. We can wrap it up nicely as a good story with good pointers for the Christian walk. However, with our own wrestling stories we don’t know the outcome and it’s very, very messy – will I triumph? Will I continue to go the way I am? It’s hard to feel comfortable when you’re in the fight, and we do love our comfort, even at the expense of others.

Honesty and love. I can be honest but I genuinely struggle with love. I do know enough to know that if I don’t have love, its all for nothing. I don’t want it to be for nothing and I don’t want to love my life without acknowledging God more than my life when it’s rich with his presence and fruit. So let’s see where this leads to next.

Goodnight.

Manufacturing Love

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“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” 1 Corinthians 13 vs. 1-7

I’ve not just been running on empty, I’ve been doing things that shock me. Things that I never would have done if I had been coming close to Jesus and His love.

I feel empty and tired. Funny thing is, I also feel enlightened. Seeing how I have always been taught and been driven by the “you need to love because God is love” teaching.

Well, I can’t love. I don’t have it in me. I don’t want to love because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I want to love because I’m contented in love.

My life isn’t going to get any better if I continue this way. It’s weighing me down. It’s making me a miserable person.

Pray for me. I’m trying to just curl up and be loved right now by Jesus so that all my walls can melt down and my ulterior motives and plans of how to survive the next few weeks can be lost in the reality of His love and provision.

Verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 13 says this: “12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.” That’s me. I’ve let the mist make my decisions. I’m tired of striving. How often we think we’re free of the striving!! I’m not, anyway. I just want to see clearly. The One who is the true Reality has to break through to me today, and I know He can. My only job today is to be still and let Him.

“We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” C.S. Lewis

Sleeping in the new year

I’m going to sleep now. We’re exhausted inside and out. We need to rest.

Going to sleep in 2012, waking up in 2013. I hope that’s a picture of this next 365 days. I really do. Enough of the building up, the waiting for one moment. I’m all for waking up, and finding something that I can’t see has changed. Life continues on, and there was no Big Bang, but something will have changed and brought us into different days. All without my effort. Or maybe – and this is what I really suspect – maybe my part is simply saying yes (obeying… what a concept), resting, and coming out on the other side of the rest different.

So, happy new year, people.

I can’t trust God

I can’t trust God. I don’t have the energy.

I can trust him for my son. I can teach my son about God’s intimate love for him. I hope I can show my son the love of God, but I can’t trust God.

I need some things and I want some things and I’m not really sure that if I put my belief in Him right now that He will come through. I’ve been here a lot of times before. I want to just throw in the doing it myself and let go to trust… But my numbness and my thoughts of how I can do it myself plague me and lead me away from that wanting.

I desperately need God to help me love and trust. I don’t know if I can conjure up the strength to psyche myself into believing Him again. I expect the worse. I expect that if I trust Him, I will lose the window of time to do it for myself.

What a struggle.

I don’t really want to hear from anyone how there is more to this than just struggling with trust. I know that. I just have made a deal with myself to be honest in my thoughts, in a safe way here, whether or not my thoughts sound unholy or immature. Whether or not I feel completely insecure in sharing something that other God followers will relate to or not. Whether or not it will make people pity me or judge me.

I don’t feel uh he’d in at all to all those soaking in the Presence of the Lord right now, although I do feel His presence deeply now and then.

I need God, but my “need” for Him right now sometimes feels as if its a conditional need. “I will trust you if you do what I say I need” and somehow, Biblical stories of God striking people down are all that are going through my head right now.

Sheesh.