Monday, February 28, 2011

Transformation Equation - God in the Yard Week 2

L.L. Barkat grabbed my attention this week with this sentence concerning spiritual practices:
"My job is not so much to practice a rigid set of disciplines as to pay attention."

I knew God would definitely have something in the Word that would speak to "paying attention". I opened up my Amplified Version of the Bible and looked up "Hearing from God". There were several verses listed but because I knew I had a short window of early morning cartoons before launching into preparation for a school day, I started with the first verse listed: Deuteronomy 28:1 (I kept reading to verse 13). I proceeded to make a list in my journal about the blessings that come from listening to Him and keeping His commandments. Add to those words the grace of the Cross - the New Testament living we enjoy today and it opens up so much hope and invigorates me for what is next!

Now, she has different assignments at the end of each section and week. This one was a little more intimidating than the others... it involved MATH... a nemesis of mine since my youth... BUT, feeling led to walk in a new place I asked God to show me what He had for me in this assignment.

She calls it "Transformation Math" and suggests that I "play with different combinations of math problems and figures to demonstrate your desires for change." So, with some hesitancy, this is what I came up with:

Listening to God + my acting on His Word = Blessings (based on Deut. 28:1 -13)

And then, a little more specific for me personally...





I will elaborate further on my Prism Progress blog about what those specific "new actions" are. But for now, I have stretched beyond myself doing math as a journaling exercise and I am blessed!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

God in the Yard - Week 2 - Question 1


“I believe it is my job (God’s job) to preserve my soul because…”

One sentence jumped off the page for me in this first section: 

“In other words, spiritual growth and health is complicated by the question of whose job it is to keep our lives form falling into nothing.”

I firmly believe it is a dance –

A pairing of human and the Divine. Each step is not choreographed but anticipated. God and I move together. He holds me with effortless finesse. Sometimes I glide with Him, secure in His arms, following each step as He leads and other times I pull away, my awkward steps squishing His toes and turning our smooth rotation across the dance floor of my life into a one-sided display of ineptitude. The time elapsed depends on the day or even the season of my life – but eventually I see the tender beckoning look in His eyes and remember the security of His embrace and I scamper back into the open arms of the Lover of my soul. And, after a few stumbling steps into repentance and receiving His forgiveness, we move fluidly together once again, like the long time lovers we are.

I have loved Him my entire life. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t. I have been temperamental, moody and even defiant in our relationship, but because He is God, He allows me to be who I am. He keeps loving me and covering me with His grace so I don’t have to reap all I have sown. He showers me with blessings I could never earn.

This is what causes me to believe that it is my job to preserve my soul AND His. My part is to reach for Him in whatever capacity I can on any given day. Whether it be a simple cry for help, an acknowledgment of His presence, or a long winded plea of desperation, I must choose Him and receive what He has for me.

Then the rest of the responsibility lies with Him. Once I receive what He has eternally offered to me (salvation) I can rest in Him. He will nourish me throughout the days and seasons, bringing conviction in the moments of choice, reminding me His arms are where I want to be – not spinning randomly and awkwardly across the dance floor of my life on my own.

That is why I am reading this book. The reminders to stop and consider the parts and pieces of my life and how they fit together – including the sounds of little boy voices, questions and excitement throughout the day, kisses from my Love as he heads off on an errand and the dance goes on…

Monday, February 14, 2011

God in the Yard - Week 1 - Question 2

"In order to grow I feel like I need..."

TIME and REST

I need TIME to think, to pray, to become who God is asking me to be.

When I consider all the moving parts of my life, I can't imagine how there could be TIME for me to grow (other than in patience) while brushing little boy teeth, folding little boy socks, cleaning dishes, and trying to consistently feed my family healthy quality meals that will grow us all into thriving people.

I feel like I am being stretched every day but I am not sure I'd call it growth!

The stretching is not like taking the rubber band off the broccoli and pulling one side apart from the other. It is more like being Plastic Girl without the super-hero powers. She decided when to stretch and it was always to rescue someone.

For me, randomly I find myself at some point in the day, feeling like someone has grabbed my leg, pulled it four feet away without my knowledge, and suddenly I am stumbling through my day wondering why I feel so strange.

That would be the reason I feel I need REST. It is exhausting being stretched without a break. It wears me out.

But, like mismatched long floppy arms, one flopping leg several feet past the one I stand on... you get the picture, my life is perfectly made for me, my Love, and my fellas. And, if I have to look a little silly for many years to come, and that is how God wants to grow me, as long as He provides some TIME with Him and a little REST in between growth spurts, I'm pretty sure I'll be okay.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

God in the Yard - Week 1 - Question 1

I am the fifth in a group of women who are reading God in the Yard, by L.L. Barkat, blogging on it and then passing it on to the next person. I finished Chapter 1 this week. I have written a lot based on several different prompts but this first one started my journey, so I figured I'd share it first. I will go through the rest of my journal from week one and decide if there is anything worth "publishing" here on my blog... but for now, here's my first entry in this series:


“When I was a child, I lived …”

When I was a child, I lived fully. I embraced life with zest, enthusiasm, and a sense of “ownership”. The places life took me seemed to call out and affirm that God created earth for me to enjoy it.

I remember looking out our big picture window at Mt. Rainer, in Western Washington KNOWING God put it there just for me. To this day I still call it “my mountain”. My sister and I loved that house. We played in the woods, had lots of space to play inside and the world seemed like our oyster. But things changed, we moved…

I found another place to embrace life, the beach. The waves crashing, sand between my toes, wind whipping through my hair; smelling the ocean even now transports me back to my childhood where so much of my youth was spent in that glorious place.

When I was a teenager, several summers were spent wandering the beach or baking in the sun. Every week the designated fireman dad (they were the only ones qualified to drive a bus, since they already drove fire trucks) would drive the church bus packed with kids over the hills to the beach for a mere $1 each. We’d spend the entire day soaking up the sun, enjoying our friends and then head home, tired, sand laden and happy.

We camped several times a year, but the best trip of the year was the church family campout where all of us would stay out late, wandering the beach, looking at the stars, and contemplating the big things in life. Yes, there were bits of “beach romance” but with parents or their friends wandering around and the peer pressure focused on being together and having fun, there were no temptations to leave appropriate boundaries.

At home, even in the ups and downs of my daily life as a child, I KNEW the oak trees outside my bedroom window were put there for me. At night, after watching too much Scooby Doo they seemed a little spooky when the lights hit them just right, but come morning they were a playground for our cats, my sister and I and our friends that dared climb out on a limb with us.

Today I live with two big maple trees in my front yard. Their presence blesses me like the oak trees of my youth, but they are different. The oak trees did get new leaves every year and there were acorns that fell, but in Southern California there were two seasons, fall and summer. Here in Northern Idaho, my maple trees better reflect the changing seasons of my adult life; barren winter, new growth spring, rich beauty summer, and fragrant colorful fall. All four bring significant changes to the trees reminding me that things are supposed to change, just like when I was a child.

I try to live fully now, though my "zest" for life and enthusiasm expresses itself somewhat differently, I still feel that sense of "ownership". I move forward into the experience of creation He has for me right now. That is what this journey is about for me. At least today.

Who am I?

My photo
I am a wife and mother of 3. I have been married to my best friend for over 25 years and our children are 12, 11 and 9 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost a dear friend to a tragic death. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for most of my life. The Bible and my relationship with Christ has been essential to my surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by joining me in this process of life. I thank you for showing up to read what I have written.