Tag Archives: gifts

FILLING THE BOWL

Lent is about to begin.

Where has time gone? Wasn’t it just Christmas? New Year? Moving Day?

The days have been a blur of planning, executing, meeting obligations and wishing that it would go even faster, so that our new house would quickly become a home. From the time I get up in the morning until the time I fall into bed, I have not spent my day the way I really need to spend my day.

On my knees.

In continual awe.

Within holy prayer.

jan 29 2016cI am productive. The house is shaping up. Furniture will start to appear in their proper place this week. A kitchen should start to surround the stove and refrigerator. Hubby is planning an escape to warmer climes. I put up the bird feeder for the multitude of song birds that are hunting food in these wintry temperatures. We’ve found the rock upon which to build a garden around and bless with the Biblical covenant verse that we always use upon our properties. We’ve started to dream even more dreams for this land we have been lead to inhabit.

But –

I have not brought my gifts before My Father. I have not laid them at His feet. I have not even spent time in study. or quiet prayer. I have let the physical world eat up my time in the spiritual realm. I have taken too many steps backwards.

So –

As we approach Lent, I have been thinking more and more about what I need to do to enter the holiness of these 40 days. And – I have decided that I do not want nor need to give anything up. Instead, I need to gather my tiny stones and place them into my bowl, fill it to the brim and bring it carefully to My Father who loves me despite my short-comings.

Questioning.

Learning.

Singing.

Writing.

Reading.

Witnessing.

Creating..

Praying.

These are the beginning stone gifts with which I want to fill my bowl and carry into His presence during this Lenten season. Praying for others. Learning to sing a new song. Finding His wisdom. Absorbing His sacrifice into my life. Writing His WORD in my heart. Creating – dedicating all things I do to His glory. Entering my war room on my knees – beseeching and leaning into His teachings in all my ways.

This is the Lenten gift I want to bring to Him.

Rabbi Yeshua knew where His feet would lead has he turned towards Jerusalem. He understood the Rock upon which he stood would crack beneath the weight of the sin he carried A frightening storm would shake the earth to its deepest core. The curtain of the old covenant would be torn asunder and His people would cower in fear.

But –

He also knew that the Grace which would rise on the 3rd day would seal the crack forever. The Light of the world would shine more brightly upon all His creations. And – He would roll back the stone from the Path of Life that leads towards home. His children would be free to set their feet upon His path and follow.

Lent is coming. Shove Tuesday. Ash Wednesday. 40 days to choose once again.

Tonight, I am picking up my bowl. Washing it out. Polishing it. Preparing to fill it with meager, dirty, stone gifts, at least that is how I feel when I compare them to His gift. Where this Lenten path will lead, I have no idea. I never do. But – it always leads to something new and treasured. A step here. A step backwards there. Gifts gathered until I stand once again upon the Rock in this new year of GRACE.

“Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”~Josh 4:6-7

[Janet Searfoss art  http://janetsearfossbatiks.com/ ]


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Writer’s Block

writingWriter’s blocks are debilitating, demoralizing and just down-right depressing. Words get written, erased, re-written and erased again.  Sometimes the words don’t come at all, and the computer screen or paper remains blindingly white.  So after a week of Bronchitis – another week of “catch-up” (on all those things I ignored while I was curled in a ball coughing) and finally, a week of trying to get back on a  “normal” schedule, I decided the best thing to write about was the hidden gifts in all of this.

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.”  Prov 3:13 

Writing has been my outlet since I was little.  When I was little and upset with my mom and dad, I would write letters and stick them where I knew they would find them (a bathroom magazine/book rack was a favorite spot).  Being the intelligent, loving parents they were, they never openly acknowledged the venting of their youngest child in a head-on confrontation, but they always found indirect ways to let me know that they had, indeed, found these rambling, often emotional, poorly written outbursts.  All the same, they gave credence to these fledgling expressions.  Sometimes it was in the topics that we discussed around the supper table.  Sometimes it was in the songs that writing nikethey sang to me as we said our prayers at night.  And sometimes, it was just that extra special hug or time spent doing things together that let me know they heard.  Needless to say, writing became one of the primary ways for me to communicate with them when topics were too scary to approach in conversation.  That’s why the past couple of weeks have been hard.  Not writing is almost as bad as a tummy ache…maybe worse.  But not being able to write however reminds me that these dry spells can be a gift in disguise.  While gifts may be wrapped in our physical DNA and propensity of traits (mom and dad were both writers of poetry, song lyrics, speeches and long, long letters), it is Our Father’s blessing that enhances those gifts and weaves them into a tight package that blesses those around us.

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”  1 Chron 28:19

This time the gift was one of receiving.  I listened to lots of people talking via blogs, sermons, TED talks, books- even TV shows as I coughed my way back to health (thanks to the blessings science and the discovery of antibiotics). But mostly –  I spent a lot of time in quiet reflection.  It came at the perfect time (which is exactly the way God works in this crazy world), and while I didn’t realize it at the time (since I was coughing way too much for any kind of logical thought), I needed to be slowed down and reminded about the Author of our gifts.  Eventually, it also surfaced to the forefront of my spinning brain that Jewish month of Elul would start soon and in fact – starts yesterday (the 27th of August).  In Jewish tradition, this is the month of reflection – a looking back – a taking stock of the good and bad things/choices that have transpired over the past year.  The shofar echoes across the land as a physical reminder leading His people into the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

“Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.”  Deut 16:18  

mouth gateIn Hebrew this last verse is written in the singular tense.  Rabbis believe this is because it is not just written for the nation, but in fact, is written for the individual as well.  It is a reminder that as we reflect upon this past year, we should “appoint a judge” to evaluate our performance and also set “officials” over the gates that need protecting.  Common gates such as our thought processes, mouths, eyes, ears, etc. must be protected so that the next year will be much better than the previous year.  In other words, Our Father is encouraging us to “judge” ourselves and guard the gates to His temple that resides within each and everyone of us.

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Ps 132:3-5  

As usual, David – the shepherd, the warrior, the king, the husband, the father, the sinner, the passionate, creative poet – says it best, and I wonder if he wrote it during the month of Elul because it is so reflective.  What better goal could I set for the coming holy days than this?  I [will] find a place for the LORD,  a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob…  

Writing-writing-31277215-579-612Nothing is more important than this – NOTHING.