Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Indigo


It should be no surprise that I've decorated for Christmas using the color Blue.
My rooms are full of blue
year long
and every season.

But this year, Blue,
INDIGO,
has taken on a deeper meaning,
as I've looked at the Shepherds,
and felt the night watches
like never before.









Are you a blue person?  I think there are some of us who choose
the color blue as a favorite, for deeper reasons than we may have thought.  I usually pick "blue" whenever a random sampling of color faves is set before me. But it's not my only favorite. I waver between yellow and peach and lavendar, depending on my mood.

So where does this color feeling come from that is associated with blue?  

A friend sent me a link to this song by Fernando Ortega this week. It is a song that I sent to her several months ago.
And, it is a song that another friend had sent to me many
years ago, after I had my first glimpse of an
Indigo Bunting,
a beautiful blue bird that flashes like sapphire
if you are lucky enough to see him.



But the thing with this song is something I never realized until we moved into a house close to the woods, with a perfect setting for those beautiful birds. It really does take a stormy, cloudy day to see the full vividness of Indigo. On a sunny day, the color gets muted by the bright lights, but on those dark days, that flash of Indigo cuts through all of the surrounding gloom. 

And in the dark watches of the night,
what is the color of Hope that flashes through the gloom
in my heart?

I think God must have planned it this way.
Because even the ancient garment, the Ephod, worn by the
High Priest
was woven with that indigo blue.

"The three colors woven into the ephod were symbolic of Christ's incarnation, ministry, and second advent. The blue, probably indigo, was produced from a species of shellfish and speaks of Christ, who came down from heaven as the Son of God to do the Father's will."  


"They made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen."


This garment worn by the High Priest, and the dark blue of the night watches, where the Shepherds kept watch, they both point to this coming flash of light, a vivid awakening to HOPE where God met with the storms of mankind.

Jesus didn't come to a world that was bright and perfect and shining full of light.  No, He came right into a stormy mess, where a downtrodden people were crying out for justice, already having waited for what seemed like forever to find that clear patch of blue that was promised to them.

God opened the Heavens
and sent out His own dear gift of Indigo,
a patch of blue sky
to say 
"I love you"
to a world gone haywire.

In the night watches of these days
as my husband recovers from surgery,
and my weakened body
feels too overwhelmed
for a HOLIDAY,
my Lord parts the sky
and says
"I love you."

And Christmas is born again in me.

Is His Christmas born in you this year?
I pray that you will receive His gift
His
"I love you"
sent through the night.  






 




Monday, December 12, 2016

HANDS


There it was again, that old familiar wake-up call: a wave of nausea followed by a jolt of pain and then the rush of anxiety.  This journey through RA/Fibromyalgia has left me well acquainted with the Night Watches of Anxiety.  But this time, a word followed closely on the heels of the normal rush: HANDS, and it came so insistently that I felt there must be something my Lord wanted to uncover inside of my thoughts.  


And then it all came back in a flood: this is the week for my husband's hand surgeries. After all these months of the RA attacking MY hands, and the pain and swelling, and even the residual tendon damage left after my meds have begun to bring me relief, now we must face the surgeries to repair carpal tunnel damage in both of my HUSBAND'S wrists. Simultaneously.  


Are you asking me to examine my hands, Lord?
Or are you trying to teach me
more
about YOUR hands?


A few months ago, a dear blogging friend, Trudy Den Hoed, wrote a beautiful blogpost about looking up and trusting that God is holding us. As the pain and anxiety rushed through me, the words of her post and the song she had posted were also running through my mind, bringing great comfort in the middle of the night.


My mind and body found peace as the Lord brought STILLNESS to the night watch again. But when I woke this morning, the word HANDS was still echoing in my thoughts. 


Yes, Lord, I trust you.
You have us
and 
You hold us.

But where is the foundation
of my knowing that?
What is the reason
I know your hands
are safe?

I know that my hands
are weak.
Forever
I am left with a 
reminder
of what disease
has done to my body.

How can I hold onto
YOUR hands
when my hands
can not hold close
to anything?


And then I knew. This weakness left behind in me, forever keeps my gaze fixed upward. There is only ONE who has the strength, enough to win salvation for me. And this ONE left HIS HOME in Heaven to make HIS HOME in ME.
 

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.

Psalm 98:1 NIV 

 

My hands may be weak. My husband's hands may be damaged. But we were never meant to work the healing necessary on our own. Jesus is the only safe one to hold onto us. And Jesus is the only one who holds out God's Salvation 

for me

and for my husband

and for you.








I am linking this week over at these great sites:
#TellHisStory Jennifer Dukes Lee 
#TeaAndWordTuesday Meg Weyerbacher 





 



Monday, December 5, 2016

Stillness



The Stillness of the first Snow 
ushers in the Pause,
The Pause of Advent,
 When waiting hovers all around
And Mystery calls out to me. 



Yesterday I read the words of Bonnie Gray, The Faith Barista, again, and  remembered my first weeks as a blogger, when she began her #OneWordLent series. Only now, the months have passed, and she invited us to join her as she begins a new series for #OneWordAdvent. Find her first post  by clicking here where she shared her words at the (In)Courage Site.



Those first weeks as a blogger were so scary to me (not that I feel much braver now, 80 posts later,) and her words of invitation brought a stirring followed by a response in my heart that was hard to ignore. I knew that God was the one calling me out, and asking me to listen for HIS #OneWord. 


Could it be that He is still
asking me to seek out
the #OneWord He 
would speak today?



And the Ancient Words flutter
down through time,
words we memorize as children
become so familiar
that we miss the meaning
lose the mystery.

 

" And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.'"
Luke 2:8-11 NIV 


I wonder how dark the night was as they watched their sheep. The darkness seems very deep around my soul, around the souls of many that I love right now.  Who is keeping watch?  Who is guarding the sheep this night?  And how well were those shepherds trained to listen for the predator in the dark?

I have a feeling that no amount of training could have prepared them for the explosion of mystery that rang around them, and brought them to their knees on THAT NIGHT.  Who was watching the sheep then? And where was the BRAVE when the sky fell down around them?

My heart is heavy
for those who watch
the sky falling
and find their faces on the ground.

My prayers feel useless under a weight
that is full of my own fear as well.

Did the shepherds cry out for mercy
in that moment
before the 
Angels sang?

The angel's first words make so much more sense to me now. Unless the sky has fallen around you, you cannot feel the weight of those words:

"Do not be afraid"

And unless you have felt the weight being lifted off your shoulders
as the Mystery of God Coming to Earth envelops you, you cannot see the beauty:
 Grace in a Shepherd, 
Mercy for the sheep.

  
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:7, 9-10  


So what is my #OneWordAdvent
for this week?


STILLNESS

I will be still, and know that HE is God.

God come to earth
for me and for you

to be the perfect shepherd caring for us
the sheep of HIS fold. 

GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY for all the people. 




I am linking this week with:
#TellHisStory, Jennifer Dukes Lee 
#TeaAndWordTuesday, Meg Weyerbacher 
#LiveFreeThursday, Suzie Eller