Midweek random ramble008

Bowl of Mott's Cinnamon Flavored Apple Sauce

Image via Wikipedia

1. Reflecting on a simulcast conference I attended yesterday. Are you like me… find yourself all fired up when you listen to inspiring ones who hold out a better way, and you find yourself longing for it? Well, yesterday was just like that for me. Beth Moore is an amazing speaker and teacher. She’s funny, open and honest, and smart. She knows her Bible, and has a way of explaining it that leaves me wanting more and more of what she is offering up of God.

I spent a couple of hours today reading over my ‘Living Proof Live conference notes, looking up references in my Bible, chatting to God, and thinking about the potential for change in me….

Beth taught on verse 26 from Proverbs chapter 31… which is;

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

I want to be that woman. I want my words to be full of wise counsel and loving kindness and life to those I speak to.

So, I’m inviting God to help me to do that. Be that. Specifically. Daily. Moment by moment.

2. Just picked some Mac apples from the orchard behind us. There’s something about apples… simple and wholesome. Fruit of the earth. Going to make some apple sauce. Going to enjoy the aromas that will soon permeate our home. Going to sink in and cocoon on this rainy Sunday afternoon at home. It’s lovely to just have a home day in the midst of what will be two very busy weeks. Hmmm… Sabbath rest… I can feel that today.

3.  Our life really is going to the birds! This morning we had Rock Doves, Chickadees, White Crowned Sparrows, Quail, and regular garden variety Sparrows outside our dining room window, dining at the various feeders that were just filled up by my son Graeme last week. What a delight to sit on the floor with the dog beside me and look out the dog smeared window at all the bird activity. Do you like birds? I remember my Grandfather was mesmerized by them. Just like he was mesmerized by flowers and plants and all living things. He would say, “Would you look at that!” incredulous, voice filled with wonder.

4. I’m deathly afraid of the dental chair. Saturday morning I bit down on a multi-grain bagel and a very tiny seed wedged it’s way into one of my molars and as I bit down a lurch my stomach type pain jammed it’s way down into my jaw. Ever since I’ve been worried about what that means. Because my dentist said we’d leave well enough alone with this tooth. It has a history and a hairline crack that we’ve been watching. Considering the need for a crown. My first crown. And thanks to that bagel my dental nightmare seems to be coming true.

Last time I was tipped back in the dental chair I became overwhelmed by anxiety, shallow breathing and tears. Over getting one of my wisdom teeth extracted. I may be a bit of a pansy because in all of my years I’ve only had one filling. Lack of experience results in my freaking out when I can’t close my mouth or swallow my saliva or sit up straight or be in control of my own head. Did I mention the fear?

So, after a tearful conversation with my husband regarding the pending crown vs. extracting said tooth (He thought pulling the tooth sounded a bit barbaric, while I thought grinding down for a crown sounded worse) I realized that my fear is just that… fear. And, without getting into the details of some other situations that I have trusted God with, let’s just say that God was with me in the sea and in a cave and he’ll be with me in the dental chair.

Just made an appointment!

5. Reinstating ‘Date Night’ with my husband. We want to do it, talk about it, plan to do it, forget to do it. So, we’re adding it to some things that are ingrained in our weekly calendar which will mean we will no longer forget. Looking forward to some face time with my main man!!!

6. Enjoyed a rousing rendition of ‘Jupiter’, and then ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’ thanks to Malcolm the DJ this morning. Bizarre mixing on my iMac… perhaps some tweaking of the playlists might help :)

Here’s ‘The Planets Op. 32 Jupiter’, by Gustav Holst, for your listening enjoyment.

Sol Deo Gloria,


Poetry Friday012

Old Growth

Driving through I couldn’t help but notice
how the forest flourished,
to the very edge of the asphalt.

As if, at any moment
the deer ferns might grow legs,
tumble down the loamy banks
and run, unhindered, with long lost cousins

on the other side.

As if the Sitkas waited, breath held,
for our transient passing
only to close in upon themselves
in an ancient prayer circle, and

again offer up forgiveness for our misguided intrusions.

Lesley-Anne Evans
July 2009

Forgiveness isn’t natural

A few days ago a friendly reader left a question in my comment box that has stuck with me, and inspired me to respond in a more studied way than I might usually do. Because the topic is so important and so foundational to who I am and what I profess, I want to be very careful how I approach it, and what I say.

Problem is, I haven’t said anything yet! Well, here goes.

As I begin writing on forgiveness I have to wonder whether this makes good blog or not? I’ve always experienced blogging to be something like a flood… a bit less constraining and more personal than well edited writing. Yet with this topic I feel the need to research, study, mull over, substantiate what I will say, rather than follow intuitive leadings. I want to dig in and unearth truth.  And, because the reader was looking for biblical examples, I will go to my Bible. This will take some time, so I’ve decided to being to write a series that will not just be off the top of my head. So I hope that’s all good.

I trust that you will continue to ask challenging questions, as that’s healthy for everyone and stimulates good dialogue.

First, the question;

Posted by Suzan on the blog, There’s just something about canceled debt.

“The debt of guilt! Now there’s a concept… I have to say guilt can really rule my life at times. I think more often than not guilt stems from our inability to forgive ourselves rather than someone else. I think for many people it’s the hardest forgiveness to achieve. Are there any stories in the bible that address this?

While the immediate question appears to have a straight forward yes or no answer, related questions require a deeper look at things. Questions like, “Can we forgive ourselves?” And even bigger, “Can we forgive God?”

The topic of forgiveness is HUGE! More questions pour into my mind. What does forgiveness mean? Is forgiveness necessary? Why is it so hard to do? What if we don’t forgive? What does the bible say on the topic? And, what do we do with that? What do I do with that?

Thankfully I will not be alone in unpacking the topic, but will be partnering with a friend and fellow blogger who is currently digging into forgiveness too. More on this future guest blogger later though, as today’s post is simply a starting place.

Who hasn’t struggled with forgiveness? I know I certainly have, and continue to do so almost on a daily basis. And anyone with children will be familiar with the need to teach this concept to them at a young age, because they don’t know how to do it on their own, nor do they naturally want to do it.

In our family the foundation of forgiveness is based on our faith. As God has forgiven us, so we forgive one another. The Lord’s prayer is a familiar place to find this bible concept where it says, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” For us, the ultimate expression of forgiveness is God’s forgiveness of our sins through the substitutionary death of his son Jesus, as I wrote about in ‘There’s just something about canceled debt’. This is what we hold out as our example and obligation when we consider who and what we are to forgive as God’s kids.

Just the other night I overheard our teens resolving a disagreement… and I heard these familiar words, ‘Please forgive me for ______”, followed by, “I forgive you.” Now they probably don’t always mean what they say at the time, but we’ve taught them that this is what they must say to one another. And, we’ve taught them to ask forgiveness of God for what they have done. While they’ve done something that hurt their relationship with one another, their actions have hurt their relationship with God. They need to make it right with him.

Sounds pretty simple and maybe even like a formula, but it’s not. Because asking of, and granting forgiveness to, another human being means a couple of pretty profound things… like thinking outside the universe of ‘me’ and humbling myself, accepting my mistake, and my responsibility, and my blame, and asking for something I don’t deserve from the other person. Similarly, asking for and receiving forgiveness from God is also profound, in that it requires me to admit that it’s not all about me, accept that I’m ultimately responsible to God, admit my sin (anything that goes against his ways), admit my need of his forgiveness even though I don’t deserve it.

And, in our human relationships, both the recipient and the giver of forgiveness find restored relationship after forgiveness is granted. Again, this might be much later, after the anger has subsided and the rational mind has thought things through. Then, it’s gone. For the most part it’s a fresh start. In perfect forgiveness there is no more blame, no feelings of lingering bitterness or resentment because it’s been dealt with right up front. In our experience, the feelings of forgiveness always follow the words and the choice to forgive.

With God it’s the same. The relationship is fully restored because of forgiveness. Bible says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

I’m just scraping the surface here. I haven’t begun to answer the question yet, but I believe there’s a lot of ground to cover first. Please bear with me.

My point is simply, forgiveness does not appear to come naturally to any of us. It goes against our human nature. Faith and forgiveness go hand in hand for me, for my family. The more I read and write and think on it, the more I’m convinced that forgiveness is a God thing, not a human thing at all.

I think that’s all for today. Next postings will look at the definition of the word, and what stories we can find in the Bible that exemplify it, as well as what God has to say about it.

And, I can hardly wait to introduce my blogging partner to you!

Please forgive me that today is not Poetry Friday003. Next week I’ll be back on track again.

Digging in,