I and Thou: Knock, Knock

Knock, Knock

Crying out to the Lord,
Where are you, Sir?

The Lord of the universe,
Hello, anybody out there?

Crying out again to the Lord,
Why must I suffer this profound loss?

Bowing head in reverence,
Asking to change hearts and minds.

The Lord of the universe,
Where are you, Sir?

Are you listening?
Can you hear me screaming?

Anguish, hallow, pit,
Drip, drip, drip.

Insides swirling and twirling,
Lamenting, questioning – a crisis of faith
.

Don’t you care?
Where are you, Sir?

My child, you are most precious to me,
I am right here, beside you.

Go ahead and put your head on my shoulder,
It is okay to cry and be heartbroken.

And, in all of this deep despair,
A gentle voice whispers, “I love you.”

Graphic Credit: The Perseus Galaxy Cluster greatbigcanvas.com

I and Thou: Keep it Short

Short & Pithy
Let it go.
Work at it.
Establish boundaries.
Keep it light.
Have fun.
Talk it out.
Be there.
Provide space.
Stay connected.
Together is better.

Let it go…

can you really let it go? I’m not sure. We can strive to let it go, and maybe asking God for help isn’t such a bad idea.

Work at it…

to me, anything worthwhile must be earned. For two people to have a relationship, work needs to be done. Whether the person is your Team Leader at work or your spouse. All relationships require work by two people.

Establish boundaries…

you hear about boundaries quite a bit. It seems to be a buzzword of the past few decades. For instance, the Boundaries book by Dr. Townsend & Dr. Cloud. The woman takes on so many church responsibilities that she is drowning because she doesn’t know how to say “no.” It is vital to one’s sanity to establish boundaries. I don’t think anyone would argue this point. Yet, setting limits to protect oneself and not thinking of the other person’s perspective doesn’t seem right to me.

Keep it light…

life is short, and I think I am way too serious, but it is my nature, and I have to work at having fun and keeping it light. For those who have the gift of being able to keep it light – what is your secret? I’d love to know.

Have fun…

to me, this is like keeping it light. To have fun, I try to surround myself with fun people. I find that fun people tend to spread the fun. I need to find more fun people!

Talk it out…

ah! This one is good. I love to talk, and I value communication. Communication is one of my strengths, so it is second nature for me to engage in a conversation unless a conflict is mixed in because that causes me to freeze up and shut down. I feel offended and sad when someone doesn’t want to talk to me. So, now that I know this about myself, I am responsible for letting those who love me understand this. Therefore, partners need to find out how important communication is and by what means it is most valued. Since I had spent so much of my work life on the phone, the phone is not my favorite. Text messages and short emails work best for me. What works best for you?

Be there…

just showing up is essential. Either in person, through a gift, or an email. Partners need to be there. Make time. Figure out your love languages and go from there. We all communicate differently. Find out what works for you and your partner. Being there…also reminds me of having someone’s back. This “have your back” is far more critical than I had ever realized. I’m glad I know how this feels.

Provide space…

who doesn’t need space? Provide space to develop separately, as a couple, or as a work team. The tricky part is knowing when to ebb and flow. Once you find people who know how to ebb and flow with and around you, you have a great circle of friends.

Stay connected…

it really doesn’t take much to stay in touch, especially in this day in age of social media. I’m not suggesting being online eight hours a day. Perhaps treating your family, friends, and coworkers as a garden that needs watering every so often might be nice. I promise you will reap rewards that you can’t even imagine. I met a colleague who told me she reaches out to five people on LinkedIn weekly. That is what works for her.

Together is better…

in most cases, I wholeheartedly agree! Together is better when two people wish to get to know each other and want the other person in their lives. Without grievous infractions, miscommunications can be resolved through authentic introspection and the willingness to accept different thoughts from yours. People create walls around themselves and find it challenging to peek through the cracks. But, once they do, I think they will be surprised by how much love they will receive. After all, love is everything – isn’t it?

I and Thou: A Parent’s Prayer




A Parent’s Prayer

Our Creator who art above the firmament,
hallow our inner spirit.
Thy wisdom come.
Thy will be done,
on the path we walk each day.
Give peace to our sons and daughters,
and forgive us for what we did not know,
as we forgive them for what they did not know,
and lead us not into a dark tunnel of gloom,
but deliver us from the stronghold of estrangement.
For you are the Creator of all wisdom, forgiveness, love,
and acceptance forever and ever. Amen

– Ruth E. Walton

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Image Credit: Pray for You: Found on Pinterest – Artist Unknown

I and Thou: Random Words for March

March

Awesome Aquamarine
Delicate Daffodil
Healthy Habits
March Madness
Mardi Gras
Perfect Pi
Require Reading
Sassy Saint Patrick’s
Snowy Spring
Wise Women

Art Credit: Irish Saint Patrick’s Day Shamrock and Beer Mandala Abstract 1 by
Rose Santuci-Sofranko http://www.fineartamerica.com

I and Thou: Random Words for January

January

Artist Credit: January Zion by Erin Hanson

Daily Diary
Delightful Discovery
Fast Focus
Fresh Faith
Fierce Flurries
Healthy Hobby
Hopeful Heart
Icy Icicles
Identify Improvement
Intense Intention
Immediate Impact
Radical Renewal
Religious Reflection
Sparkling Star
Ski Slope
Serious Spirituality
Sincere Start
Winter Wonderland
Wisdom Within

I and Thou: It’s All About Perspective

Fall into the Bible – Part 3


Artwork: Light on a Straight Path by Cynthia Jewell Pollett

In this blog post, I will look at these “fall” phrases in The Bible where the word “fall” and the personal pronoun “me” is used. Go ahead and read each of them.

Fall on me – Psalm 69:9

Fall on me and my family – 2 Sam. 24:17

Fall in behind me – 2 Kings 9:18

Fall away on account of me – Matt 26:31

Who or what is falling? In Fall into the Bible – Part 1: Three Spirit Pearls of Wisdom for You, posted on October 11, 2021, we read how we can choose to accept God’s love or not. We learned that the Spirit of God provides us with inner Wisdom when we tap into the depths of our soul when we are quiet and receptive. This blog post will focus on Spirit and choosing the path filled with grace.

The Bright Light Path

There certainly is a propensity to make good decisions and see the good in all things – don’t you think? Most of us like happy endings. The fairy tale. The underdog. The success story. Yet, in real life, we make decisions in situations where there is little information. Take dating. Do we go out with this new person? There is a choice. Trust and be positive or doubt and have anxiety. It does not need to be an either-or decision. We can be optimistic and still cautious as we enter into a new relationship.  

Now, let’s look at a relationship with God. We really have little information.  Right? God’s profile is not on a dating app. So, what exactly do we know?  We know that there is a force in this world that made the world what it is. Genesis 1:1-2:3 details The Creation Story for those of you who might need a refresher. Simply, let’s just say that God created every living, breathing creature that exists today in the world. Are you with me so far?  

Point 1. God created every living, breathing creature.

In Genesis 1:2, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Then, in Genesis 2:7, we read, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Then, fast forward a few thousand years, and we see in Matthew 3:16, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” Hmmm. So, here we have the Spirit of God from the Old Testament, making a debut in the New Testament.  

If you are like me, you might now be thinking, what is the difference between the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit? At first, having thought that the Holy Spirit was a New Testament construct, I was pretty surprised that the Holy Spirit was first mentioned in Psalm 51:11. It is when David lamented to God after he was rebuked by Nathan about his affair with Bathsheba and having her husband murdered, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. My theory was incorrect. After a bit of digging, most scholars believe there to be no difference between the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit. Whew! That’s a relief!

Point 2.  Spirit of God and Holy Spirit are used interchangeably.

 Back to the four verses above. Re-read them now.  

Fall on me – Psalm 69:9 | Fall on me and my family – 2 Sam. 24:17

Fall in behind me – 2 Kings 9:18 | Fall away on account of me – Matt 26:31

In the context of Psalm 69, David is crying out to God, and he is asking God to save him, and he is feeling like a foreigner in his own home.  Others’ insults of God “fall on him.” David is choosing to have faith and not let the insults get to him. David is choosing God.

From a different perspective, “fall on me” can be seen as a request that may sound something like this, “God, please have your spirit fall on me.” The same can be said about the second verse, “fall on me and my family.” We ask for the Spirit of God to shower us with love and blessings. We trust God in the hope that we “fall” toward the light. The light of the triune God. The light of Wisdom. The good. In other words, faith.  

In 2 Samuel, God is asking David to prepare for battle against Israel. God was angry toward Israel and sent an angel to strike down people.  When David saw what was going on, he begged God to punish him and his family to spare the innocent as he said to God, “Let your hand fall on me and my family.” So, here we see an angry God and a faithful David. In the end, David builds an altar and offers a burnt sacrifice, and God ends the battle.

Point 3. Faith is a choice.

Fall on me” can also be a plea, especially in times of trial and tribulation. We may cry out, “Help us!” as we ask for protection. So, if God created every living creature, wouldn’t it be only natural for us to want to find favor with God? 

The Deep Dark Path

As Christians, we all have strayed from time to time, and we have allowed Satan to influence us. Our decisions. Our friends. Our surroundings. Our entertainment. Fall in behind me is authoritative. It can refer to commanding Satan, or the Evil One, to “get behind me.” In this scenario, we exert our authority over Satan, and we begin to gain control of the situation. In other words, trying to turn a bad situation from spiraling out of control. If we don’t do that, evil can overcome us and separate us from God. We really don’t want to do that, do we? 

In 2 Kings 9:18, Jehu was anointed by the prophet Elijah, King of Israel. Elijah instructs him to destroy the house of Ahab. As his enemies approach, Jehu asks, “Do you come in peace?” And, when they do not answer, Jehu commands them to “fall in behind me.” Jehu ends up killing two kings and ordering eunuchs to throw Jezebel out the window to her death, as seen in verse 36, “…This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh.

So, the question is, does sin really separate us from God? From the 2 Kings story, murder is condoned, which certainly adds a bit of mystery to the whole sin concept. Yet, we must remember that Jehu was following God’s instruction. As we see in the New Testament, God emerges as a more loving and less angry deity.  

Sin does separate us from God; remember, there is grace. Grace to bring us back into harmony with God. When we feel God “falling away on account of me,” it is vital to recognize our shortcomings and ask God to help us overcome them. Not only when we strayed, but when we may have pushed God away.

Can you think of something or someone you may have lost or broken on account of something you said or did by pushing or pulling too hard? I know that I tried too hard with my children. To be completely different from my mother, I wanted to be the “involved” mother to my children. You know the type. The one who is the class parent. Then, the head of all the class parents. The parent who leads one of the segments of the annual school play and teaches Sunday School. The one that just goes over the top. Pushing too hard without even realizing that being involved with all the “parent” activities, there was very little time left to play that favorite video game. Or the patience to play the Monopoly game. Or the time to just be there when my child needed me the most. Even in the bad…there is good news! The good news is God loves us even when we push, pull, or fall away.  

The Path Filled With Grace

Separation from God may prevent us from blessings; yet, accepting God’s invitation of love and grace gets us back on track. The right track. The track to more blessings. The path that grants us the privilege and honor to be called a child of God. 

It’s Summertime – Part 4

Time for temperature checks
Time for thirst
Time for travel
Time for transparency
Time for transformation

Watercolor Art Credit: Kateryna Savchenko

Temperature Checks

Do you notice more people talk about the weather in the summertime? How warm will it be? Will it be 70 degrees? 80 degrees? Or, 90 degrees? Will we need to bring a light jacket? How about a breeze? Do we need to bring cooler bags for the groceries? Temperature seems to carry a bit more weight in the summertime. Which makes perfect sense since the temperature can help aid in the dressing department. Shorts or slacks? Sleeves or no sleeves? Bathing suit in the carry bag? A dip in a pool or a casual splash in a creek.

Summertime is fun!

Summertime is a time for unexpected adventures!

Temperature delights with unexpectedness.

Thirst

Thirst and sweat and summer all go hand in hand. The hotter it is – the sweatier it gets.  And that means to hydrate. The best way to hydrate is with water. Other favorite summertime beverages include iced tea and lemonade. Of course, there are alcoholic drink possibilities as well. Just remember, if your body is thirsty – it needs water, not alcohol. Add them to iced tea or lemonade to add a kick! If you do drink in the summertime, drink responsibly. 

Thirst signals a sensation for survival.

Travel

Summertime is time for travel. During a global pandemic, however, this becomes a bit tricky. Cars seem to be safe if traveling with the people in your household. Last summer, a one-hour boat ride on a lake was a vacation. This summer is renting a home with a pool. Driving by car, routinely now includes, more hand washing, hand sanitizing, and keeping a face mask within a moment’s reach. Masking up when at rest areas or other public indoor places is important.

Travel is tricky in a pandemic.

Transparency

Perhaps it is a good idea to ponder the concept of transparency. Interestingly, Wikipedia defines it as “implies openness, communication, and accountability.”   The summer is a great time to explore new ideas. To be open to new possibilities and think about the future. To communicate more openly and to share more often. To be accountable for yourself and your actions. Transparency is considering your authentic self. Being better.

More compassionate.

More giving. 

More passionate.

More loving.

Transparency inspires courage, grace, and strength.

Transformation

When people work on themselves, they set in motion the wheels of transformation. Transforming themselves to be able to help transform others. Summertime provides an opportunity to take a breath. To take a weekend. Go to the lake. Or the community pool. To read the book, you have been wanting to read. In this pandemic world, we live in right now – there is always time to transform yourself into the person you want to be. Keep striving for betterness. There, you will find the true treasures of life.

Transformation embraces change that is new and inviting.

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