"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Exchanged Life

You gave us a garden, we chose the wilderness.
You offer us forgiveness, we choose bitterness.
You offer your heart, we play the harlot
You offer yourself, we bow before idols.
You offer relationship, we protect ourselves from You.
You offer us love, we choose to hate.
You offer us life, we choose death.
You offered us Jesus, we crucified Him.

But . . . . when

We call out to You, You answer.
We come in shame, You wash us clean.
We come with filthy rags, You give us a robe of righteousness.
We come with sorrow, You give us Joy.
We come with a heart of stone, You give us a heart of flesh.
We come laden with fear, You give us freedom to soar.
We give you our hearts, You give us everything we need.
We come with no hope, You give us all Eternity . . . .

Here's to a Journey made possible only with God.
Girl on a Journey

Friday, October 3, 2014

Who is like our God?

I have been struck lately by the fact that God is unique, that He is a God who gives.

He is like no other god that has ever been created.

He is the original Creator of everything that has ever or will ever be created.
In His love, mercy and grace He gave us Jesus and Holy Spirit.
He gives us every good gift, every spiritual gift,
He gives us new mercies every day, help in the time of trouble, comfort, joy and peace as nothing in this world can compare.
He rejoices over us with singing.
He hears us when we call
He is faithful.
He answers us, sometimes even before we call or ask.
He gives us a greater grace.
He gives us life.
He gives us laughter.
He equips us.
He sanctifies us.
He is our vindication.
He teaches us what we need to know.
He shows us what we need to know.
He opens our eyes and ears to see and hear spiritual truths 
He opens our hearts to love, goodness, kindness, peace, joy.
He changes us and gives us a new heart for the old one.
He gives us the gift of forgiveness.
He gives us grace/strength to face our lives.
He bears our burdens.
He exalts Himself to show mercy to us when we are undeserving.
He knows everything about us, even to the number of hairs on our heads.
He collects every tear we cry and saves them in a bottle, he knows us so intimately.
He gave us the universe, the sun, moon and stars and He created this earth to sustain our lives.
He gives us food and drink.
He gave His life for a ransom for us, for many.
He works for us when we wait for Him.
He delivers us from the domain of darkness and brings us into the light of His Kingdom.
He came to serve us, He did not come to make us His servants.
He is a just Judge
He will complete that which He has begun in our lives.

Most important of all He gives us Himself

Everything God does is FOR US because He loves us, for whom He has mercy and compassion.

There are probably more that I've not thought of, but when I started to realize how great is our God in comparison to the gods of this world, our God gives, the other gods take and give nothing back. 

And, if our God gives us everything, how do we dare to spend so much time on the idols in our lives when we have such an Awesome God? 

What are the idols in your life that steal your time and attention from this God, our Loving, One True God who is just waiting to lavish His love on us when we seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness (Matt.6:33-34).

God bless you on your Journey of discovery of the only & greatest God of all.

Girl on a Journey of falling into God, the Gospel of the Bible, the Good News of the whole Universe!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Changed, from the Inside/Out

I think David’s prayer in Psalm 51:10 didn’t ask so much that He change our hearts from lying, cheating, stealing, hating, criticizing and all the other basic human behavior we tend to default to. 

Rather, I am beginning to believe it’s that God changes our hearts so that,  wherever there is unbelief in our worthiness of love, acceptance & approval, we then believe we are how He sees us. 

In asking God to change our heart, I believe once God changes our hearts attitude, our wrong belief system, the lies we’ve come to believe based upon how the world sees things or how we were brought up to believe about this, that or the other thing, it will change our attitudes and behavior and we will no longer be so judgmental, biased, angry, bitter, critical or any of the other nasty stuff. 

I believe once God changes our hearts so we believe what He says about us, we will be changed from the inside out.

So here’s me asking along-side David, “change my heart O God, make me ever new”.

And, here’s to whatever journey you’re on as God changes you from the inside/out.

Girl on a Journey of Discovery

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A day in the life of a PSW

I accompanied an elderly woman to have routine blood taken. She had mild Alzheimer’s but we were able to have a conversation without her forgetting what we were talking about.

When we were sitting in the chair, she kept asking the technician, “what are you going to do to me?” and the tech would tell her, “just getting a bit of blood” and the woman would reply, “Ok”.

I held her other hand because I knew it was going to hurt and I tried to distract her but when the needle went in, she looked at me and her eyes filled up with tears and she said, “Oh, that hurts!” then turned to the tech and said, “You hurt me!”

I repeated one of the little ditties she told me beforehand and she said it along with me, but then she turned to the tech and said this,

“Somebody loves you and wants you to know, longs to be with you wherever you go. Somebody loves you and say, can’t you see, that somebody is me”.

You could have heard a pin drop.

The tech looked at me, her face flushing, eyes filling with tears. We were both a bit gob-smacked that this frail elderly woman could recite this little ditty to the one who had just hurt her.

Before I could say what I was thinking, the tech looked at the old woman and thanked her, then looked at me and said, “how to make me feel like shit for hurting her”.

That was one of my thoughts, the other thought I had was, “we all could learn a lot from this gentle old woman”.

It reminded me a little of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.

Oh, before I forget, the other little ditty was, "You never know, from where you sit, where the man in the balcony, is going to spit" LOL

God bless you on your own Journey!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crucifixion of Christ ~ A Play

Scene: a fallen tree log, a roughly built fire pit, backdrop of the 3 crosses, stars & moon in an otherwise dark night
(Scene opens with a Centurion sitting in front of a fire.  It’s night and he’s talking to a stranger who joined him, to warm himself.  The stranger noted the serious expression on the Centurions face and asked the cause of his distress. 
This is a first hand account of what the Centurion witnessed)
Stranger: You don’t seem to be enjoying the warmth of the fire my Friend. In fact you look quite distressed, what troubles you tonight?
Centurion:  You are right, I was just remembering the unsettling events up on the Hill. I will tell you if you wish to sit a bit. It isn’t an easy thing for me to speak of.

Well, you couldn’t say it was a dark and stormy day.  Everything started out all right, but no one could have known what disaster was about to happen. Pilate had arrived, and every year he let the people choose one prisoner to let out of prison.  This Jesus man had just been arrested and taken before Herod.  Guess what He said, He said He was the Messiah!  The Son of God!  (looking up at stranger)  Can you believe that?

Anyway, Jesus was sent from Herod to Pilate.  Someone had to decide what should be done with Him. After talking to Jesus, Pilate found nothing to accuse Him of and sent Him back to Herod.  We made fun of Him you know, dressed Him up a little. I mean, He was supposed to be a King.  Then Herod sent Him back to Pilate.  It seemed no one knew what to do with Him.  After Pilate consulted with the rulers and Priests, he went before the people and said,
“You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined Him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against Him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, He has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish Him and release Him.”
       It was obvious to me Pilate was a smart man. He knew what he was doing, but the crowd started shouting, “Instead of Jesus, let Barabbas go free!”  I mean, (looking up at stranger)  this Barabbas was in jail for an uprising in the city and murder!  Personally, I would much rather they had released Jesus.  (looking back down into fire, shrugs)  Anyway, Pilate tried to change their minds, but the chief priests and teachers stirred up the crowd till they shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” over and over. 
Pilate asked, “Why, what crime has this man committed?” He told them he could find no grounds for the death penalty, but the shouts and demands continued as they insisted Jesus be crucified.
Pilate finally released Barabbas and gave Jesus to the crowd. We took Him outside in chains and put a purple robe on Him to wear. Some soldiers twisted a crown of thorns together and set it on His head. We mocked and teased Him and beat Him more.
(pensive and ashamed) 
I don’t think we have ever been so cruel to a criminal before.  After we were done taunting Him, we gave him His old clothes back and started the whipping.  The whips we used on Jesus were not normal leather whips.  These ones had pieces of bone and glass tied into them so it would wrap around His flesh.  When we pulled it off, His skin came with it. When we were finished, He was barely alive. Skin hung in ribbons on His body, and blood poured down His face.  We led Him to Golgotha, which means the Skull.  He was so weak, yet every time He fell one of the guards beat Him again.
(looking to stranger with a pained & puzzled expression, but not expecting an answer) 
       Why would they keep beating a man who was so close to death?  They know the prisoners have to be kept alive. 
(speaking to himself in a soft voice)
       He was so near death already.

(back to narrative of events)
Then Jesus fell for the last time. It was decided to find someone else to carry His cross.  The wood wasn’t sanded or smooth, and when we took the cross from Jesus, splinters were shoved cruelly into His back.  We were mean. We didn’t need to be mean. He was going to die a cruel death anyway. (said with shame and regret)   
A man named Simon was grabbed to carry the cross. When he hesitated, a soldier grabbed his sword to kill the man, but he took the cross.  There were two other criminals marked for execution that day too.
I don’t think we’ve ever had so much trouble with a crucifixion before!  Jesus was quiet but the others were arrogant and loud.  You would think they would be quiet too, especially since they were about to be hung on a cross, you know, to die too.  The religious leaders were in an uproar, people were weeping and beating their breasts.  It was a noisy and confusing mess. (shaking his head)
(head down, contemplative, resume narrative)
A couple of the soldiers drove large nails into His feet and hands.
(looking up at stranger)
It’s not like you think, with regular nails.  These were huge spikes going through Him.  We stood His cross up and fixed it in the ground.  As we hung Him up, you could literally hear the bones popping out of joint.  The noise was awful.  We’ve heard this noise a thousand times before, but this time it seemed to be louder, and we all cringed when it happened.  That didn’t stop some of the guards from teasing and ridiculing Him more though.  The people jeered, He had saved others, why couldn’t He save Himself?  I wondered the same thing. 
Someone offered Him wine and vinegar but He refused.  The mocking continued, “If you are the King of the Jews, then save yourself!” they shouted.

(speaking to himself: questioning, almost angry with Jesus)
Why didn’t He get down?  If He was able, why didn’t He just get down?
(resuming the narrative)
It’s our custom you know, to put signs above the prisoners heads, which said what their crimes were.  Pilate said the one above Jesus was to read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS”. The priests were very angry with that. 
I stood watching Jesus as the other soldiers cast lots to see who got His clothes. 
As He hung there, we heard Him say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
I wondered about that.  Who was His Father, that He would ask such a thing? And why would He ask Him to forgive us?  I wouldn’t forgive anyone who treated me the way we treated Him.  And why did He say we didn’t know what we were doing?  We treated Him very badly, and we knew what we were doing.
Well, one of the criminals hanging beside Jesus said awful things to Him, even in the face of death.  He insulted Jesus yelling, “If you are the son of God, save yourself and us!”
The thief on the other side yelled back, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what we deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then the thief looked at Jesus and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
I wondered why he said that, but then Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
That really bothered me.  I mean, they were both being crucified, what did He mean ‘you will be with me in paradise’?   Who was He that He could promise anything?  
There was something else that was pretty bizarre about that day too. It was about the sixth hour, around mid day I guess, and the whole place was black. The sun had just begun to rise and then it . . . . it stopped!

(looking up at stranger, with a confused and disbelieving voice)
The sun just stopped shining! 
Someone came running up. He was out of breath, but he told us the curtain in the temple had been torn in two.  I didn’t know what he was talking about, but everyone seemed to think it was something pretty important.   The priests looked almost frightened and many in the crowd ran to see it. I didn’t go anywhere though, I just couldn’t stop looking up at Jesus’ face.  As I was watching, I saw His lips start to move.  I leaned forward and waited, then heard Him say in a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”  Then He breathed a last breath.  He was dead.  I started to cry for it was only then I realized . . . . this man surely was the Son of God.”

(The centurion stared into the fire and the stranger got up to leave.  As he spoke his thanks for the shared cup of wine and the warmth of the fire, the centurion continued staring into the fire.  He paid no attention to the stranger.  He was truly caught up in the past events and seemed totally undone by them.)

Slowly the Centurion became aware the Stranger was standing there, still and waiting. As the Centurion looked up into the face of the Stranger, he suddenly realized Who He was. The Stranger stretched out a hand and as the Centurion reached out to take it, he saw where the nail had been driven in. He dropped to his knees and cried out to Jesus, “Forgive me, I didn’t know Who you were.” Jesus reached down and drawing the Centurion up into His embrace, wiped the tears from his face and said, “You are forgiven.”

Girl on a Journey through the meaning of the Easter season. Blessings to you on your own Journey with God

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Living in Community

While we all spend so much of our time trying to be happy, the indesputible fact is, this world is really just a sad, sad place at times.

Being a PSW (Personal Support Worker) is a great job. I meet some amazing people, most are in the community living in their own homes, some are in Retirement Homes and others are in Long Term Nursing Homes. 

At the beginning of July I went to work at a local Retirement Home and I was looking forward to seeing all my little old ladies and men. 

The evening began in the usual way, I arrived, signed in, said hello to the staff and a few of the elderly who were lingering in the foyer. Then I entered the elevator to head up to the 2nd floor and there it was, a sign on the wall, a sign I really hate to see, the announcement of the death of a resident. While I expect to see them periodically, this one caught me off guard, it was the death of a grand lady I've known since I was 28 years old. So, I got back off the elevator and sat down with the staff to have my crying jag, then wiped the tears off my face and went about my job.

As I cared for each person on my task list, they all had something to say about Hannah. It was just as important for them to share their stories with me as it was for me to hear them.

A pastor friend of mine likes the saying "a problem shared is a problem halved" and tonight, at the end of my shift, I realized while we shared our stories, we shared our grief with each other and all felt the grief had been lifted, our grief had been 'halved'.

I've been learning about the importance of living in community, of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and transparent with others. This is one of those lessons. Being involved with people is messy at times and sometimes I would rather live alone on an island. But as my mind is awakened to the idea of living in community with others and sharing lives, in the midst of the messiness lies a wealth of caring that both make us stronger yet allows us to be weak. As we lean on one another in the mutual sharing of our lives in community, we give and receive strength when needed.

I have not figured this all out. Most take it for granted, it's what people do without even thinking about it. In truth, I have shied away from it, attributing my love of solitude to being an introvert. But, I'm beginning to be aware of the joy of being and living in community and how it outweighs the loneliness of sorrow, disappointment and betrayal when we bear the burden alone. Sharing life with others who experience the same pains is exactly 'a problem/grief shared is a problem/grief halved' and if ever we needed life's difficulties halved, now is the time.

It's what all the 'one another' verses in the Bible are about. Bearing one anothers burdens, being involved, living in community. We all have something to give others in their need and we all have need of receiving from others when we are in need.

God bless you on your own journey of living in community and sharing both the joys and sorrows.

Girl on a Journey of discovery . . . .