The Finely-Woven Tapestry of Life

Have you ever experienced a “suddenly” in life–a moment of sudden breakthrough when there is absolutely no doubt a Higher Power (God) was at work in your life?

Well today, I’m leaning into the “subtleties” of God. Those moments in life when God acts in a subtle way–a way that can be so easily ignored.

Subtle…the Latin root originally meant “finely woven”. I like that.

It takes some imagination, some creativity, some forgiveness and patience to see the subtle beauty in the finely-woven tapestry of life. Some layers gray, dull and threadbare; some vibrant with colorful purpose–but all wondrous and a bit magical when looked at with the right view.

The right view … usually through the reflection in my rear-view mirror.

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold

Carole King, Tapestry

The tapestry of life reveals itself in rear-view mirrors. Sometimes it takes a long, long distance–maybe even an eternity, I suppose. But eventually, I have to believe, I will see “a tapestry of rich and royal hue“.

Meditating upon the finely-woven subtleties of life today–the depths of purpose and layers of meaning that saturate everything He does (Psalm 92:5 TPT).

Love & Peace,

Untied Laces

I re-read the words—the words of the Baptizer, the wilderness reformer who eats locusts and wild honey… 

“…He whose shoe lace I am not worthy to untie”. 

He speaks of the Son of his mother’s cousin, Mary. 

Lost in thought, my fingers play with the leather bracelet on my wrist—a cherished gift made from the laces of the shoes of my dearly-departed father. 

The lace between my fingers, once rough and tough, now smooth and soft with age, reminds me of my father’s hands.  They bid me come.  There’s something I must know.

Flipping pages, I read again, and the words draw me into the story …

Jesus rises from the meal and removes his outer robe.  He takes a towel and wraps it about his waist, then fills the basin with water.  No one speaks. 

One by one, he unties laces, washes and dries feet.  He turns towards me with a look of pure love.  I am Peter.

“Oh, no, never!  Not my dirty feet.  How awkward, how embarrassing, how shameful! 

“If you don’t allow me to wash your feet, you cannot share life with me.”

The words hang heavy, along with my head and heart.  Tears rim my eyes.

“Friend, don’t you know that you are already clean?  You’ve been washed completely, only your feet need washed”.

Suddenly, a watercourse of understanding flows from my spirit headwaters within.  In Hebrew culture, shoes are often used in covenants of inheritance.  By allowing Jesus to untie my laces, and wash my feet, He unties me from the grime of this world, granting me a greater life–a greater inheritance than any natural inheritance.  Jesus offers me the new covenant inheritance of a shared life with Him.  I only need to offer Him my feet.

So I say yes, and place the soles of my feet in the Master’s hands and I receive the inheritance of life from Him whose shoe lace I am not worthy to untie.  And He washes the grime from between my toes with the watery grace that flows from His wounded side, bending low as one who has come not to be served, but to serve. 

* * * * * * * * *

I leave the story fully known—and yet still fully loved—by God.  Stunned into pure grace once again, I know that there’s nothing too dirty that He can’t make worthy.  

Grace & Peace,

Lois

 

What do I do now?


Having recently hiked in the North Woods of Maine, I’ve come to an important realization.  Life often leads me just a few steps beyond my own mental reservations and self-imposed limitations.  So the question now remains… what do I do with this illuminating information?


I guess I’ll just jump. Take the proverbial leap of faith. What do I have to lose, really? Except my attitude, my opinion, my plans, my reputation, my ego … all in exchange for the discovery of TRUE LIFE.

“For if you choose self-sacrifice and lose your lives for my glory,
you will continually discover true life.
But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves,
you will forfeit what you try to keep.”
~Jesus Christ

Don’t be a yawn

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“Cherish forever what makes you unique, ’cause you’re really a yawn if it goes.”  ~ Bette Midler

In honor of my daughter’s birthday, I re-post this mother-daughter heart-to-heart.  Happy Birthday, my darling girl…

To my daughter, and to her daughter,

And to all girls with messy hair and

Brave & adventurous hearts…

Your messy, wild and strong spirit

Is a BIG gift from God

That you get to unwrap each day

So don’t you dare compromise your

Original Beautiful Design

To fit some man-made religious & legalistic mold.

Stay far from those who try to mold you

Close to those who can help unfold you

And live your messy-hair life

With style and a smile

Knowing you were created in the Heart of God

And He does all things well.

 

 

Poetry on Fire, Part II

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The Psalms, a poetic masterpiece that guides me in my quest to know God more.

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Psalm 16, A Michtam of David.  Herein lies a beautiful hidden secret in the title of this psalm.  For the Hebrew word Michtam, rendered “a sculptured writing of gold” in the Septuagint, speaks of God’s divine nature permanently engraved upon David’s heart.  I am a living letter, sculpted in gold by my Creator God.

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Psalm 11, Song of the Steadfast.  “Lord, don’t you hear what my well-meaning friends keep saying to me:  “Run away while you can!” (v.1, TPT).  Sometimes I can be my own best “well-meaning friend”.  Today I remind myself to stand firm and not run from the enemies of my soul.  Lord, I will face each one with courage & grace for I have placed my trust in you.

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Psalm 3, Covered by the Glory.  A song written by David as he runs for his life from his own son, Absalom.  David sings out to God his Shield, translated in ancient Hebrew as Taker.  God, my Taker, shields me by taking me into Himself.  In challenging times, sometimes I just need to step back into God.

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Psalm 5, a song written by King David for the Chief Musician upon the Nehiloth.  As a flutist myself, I love that this song was written to be played upon the Nehiloth, or flute.  This same Hebrew word can also be translated inheritancesThe gift of music is a beautiful inheritance given by the Chief Musician Himself–a gift for which I am very grateful.

Today and always, may our wrap-around God surround you in favor and cover you under His canopy of kindness & joy.

Love & Peace.

Irreverent in the Reverent

Everytime that line is spoken....

I giggle from the pew of the conservative, mainline evangelical church in which I am seated. The president of our company just shared from the pulpit a joke our dearly-departed colleague told at a recent staff meeting.  I’m sure our friend is laughing from heaven’s balcony at the retelling…

And the Lord said unto John, “Come forth and receive eternal life”

              …but John came in fifth and won a toaster.

I glance at the minister seated behind the pulpit.  Stone faced.  Guess he doesn’t think it’s funny.

Was the joke inappropriate to tell at a memorial service—in a church setting?  Maybe … to some, anyway.

As for me, I’ve always been strangely drawn to just a tad of the irreverent in the reverent.  Love to kick over the proverbial sacred cow—those traditions of men that are believed to be good and necessary without ever questioning “the why”.  And often the kicking over comes about from a good dose of good-natured humor.

I like the way John Piper puts it,

“… the challenge in life, as in so many other traits, is to become a joyfully, holy, seriously happy kind of God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated person so that, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth laughs.”

So, in honor of my slightly irreverent colleague, whose life was taken way too soon, here’s to you, my friend …

Q:  Did you know they had automobiles in Jesus’ times? 

A:  Yes, the bible said the disciples were all of one accord.          

* * *

Several children found a dead robin. Feeling that a proper burial should be performed, they secured a small box and some cotton batting, dug a hole in the back yard, and made ready to dispose of the deceased. The minister’s 5-year-old son was chosen to say the prayer. And so with great dignity, he intoned, “Glory be to the Father…and unto the Son…and into the hole he goes.”

* * *

Father O’Malley answers the phone. “Hello, is this Father O’Malley?”
“It is”
“This is the IRS. Can you help us?”
“I can”
“Do you know a Ted Houlihan?”
“I do”
“Is he a member of your congregation?”
“He is”
“Did he donate $10,000 to the church?”
“He will”. 

* * *

:-)

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, …”  Proverbs 17:22.  Thanks, Craig, for bringing cheer to my heart.  You will be missed.

 

Poetry on fire

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The Psalms—a mirror into my soul.  A divine pathway into the presence of God.  Songs ablaze; poetry aflame.  Causing my spirit man to burn.

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Psalm 23, The Good Shepherd.  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  Do you know that the Hebrew word for shepherd can also be translated best friend?  The Lord is always looking for those he can call friends.

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Psalm 11, Song of the Steadfast.  “And with a glance, his eyes examine every heart.”  Do you know that the actual Hebrew word for eyes is eyelids?  Some believe the eyelid symbolizes the lid of the ark of covenant, called the mercy seat.  The Lord examines every heart with an eye of mercy.

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Psalm 32, Forgiven.  A poem written by King David after he had an affair with the wife of his most loyal soldier, then had him killed to try to keep her pregnancy a secret.  Yet, God still calls David a man after his own heart.  Forgiven & forgotten.

Today and always, may our wrap-around God surround you in favor and cover you under His canopy of kindness & joy.

Love & Peace.

Place a lawgiver over them

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The law of God is not a set of rules to test our obedience, but rather meant to reveal patterns of relationship that reflect God’s own nature.  

In the New Testament account of the woman caught in adultery, the law of the day required that both the man and the woman be accused.  The law also required that there be two witnesses to the act.  In this case, the requirements of the law were not being met and the woman, whether guilty or not, was being held unjustly.

Jesus responds to the unjust act by demonstrating his God-nature of faithfulness to the unfaithful woman.  He calls her up to a higher standard of life.  The only stones touching the woman that day were the foundation stones of God’s rule, attended by the witnesses of love and truth.

Jesus did not diminish the law but raised it to be representative of the very nature of God. 

Justice, most simply, means putting things right again.  Jesus is always interested in the wronged party.  He comes to make right that which is wrong.  He comes to restore relationship.

“…Place a lawgiver over them.”  Psalm 9:20 (TPT)

 

 

 

 

Have I ever felt persecuted when I’ve been contradicted?

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This statement has me thinking.   Have I ever felt persecuted when I’ve been contradicted?

Persecuted—a strong word.  Never has my life been threatened because of my political or religious beliefs.  There were a few times when I was treated unfairly by those who contradicted me—misunderstood and misrepresented by those who didn’t agree with my way of thinking.  Not sure I’d call that persecution, though—more like an opportunity for some needed character development on my part, I’d say.

And then there’s the flip side.  Have others ever felt persecuted when I’ve contradicted them?  My guess is yes, most likely.  I recall some strong reactions from others with whom I disagreed–involving words like close minded, judgmental, disloyal and deceived.

But I rather focus on those times of honest, direct and respectful heart-to-hearts, when we’ve come through to the other side with no bruises, no wounds and no battle scars.  Thankful for those precious times when two agree to disagree and still remain open to relationship for the sake of love.

The bible tells the story of two brothers named Jacob and Esau.  Jacob and Esau had a disagreement that led to a broken relationship lasting many years.

The evening before reuniting with his brother, Jacob wrestles all night with “a man” (who really is the Angel of the Lord).  Jacob calls the place “God’s face”, because he saw God face-to-face and lived.

At daybreak, Jacob leaves his wrestling match and moves on to meet his brother.  Upon seeing Esau, Jacob cries out, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God”!

Sometimes God hides Himself in our disagreements.  Sometimes He hides Himself in those who contradict us.  Sometimes we just need to keep wrestling through until we can see God’s face in the face of the contradiction.   That’s not persecution—that’s love.

Have you ever felt persecuted when you’ve been contradicted?  Try envisioning your brother, and your difference of opinion, coming right out of the heart of God.   It may give you a new perspective worth exploring.