Tuesday, November 27, 2012

crumbs

on sunday, a strong and heart-soft old man stood up to read psalm 23.  he told us what it meant to declare the Lord is my shepherd, i shall not want.

it's been a hard year for him.  for his wife.  his daughters.  we've been wrapping them in prayer week by week, and they've kept on, kept on.

and when he read those words, he broke down, broke open, spilled over tears and his heart was bare.

and it wasn't any longer a room full of individuals, but a unit, a unity, one body.  gathered around those tears, that love, that Shepherd.
one heart, broken, like the bread on the table.
one cup, sorrow, on every lip.

nourished by the broken body.
strengthened by the poured-out cup.

brokenness
is hard.
being bare before the body, heart bowed and tears flowing.

we want to cover, protect, hide.
pain and shame and loss and grief or any of the wounds that knife us deep.

but bandaids don't heal these kinds of hurts and Jesus told us and showed us to bear one another's burdens with the clothes torn off and the skin flayed.  this is my body. broken for you.

the burden baring.
the burden bearing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

quantum theory

driving through  a  starlit night, listening to a lecture on the radio, i found myself shot through with shivers.

the speaker was describing quantum theory, and describing it in a way that wasn't entirely (although still somewhat) over my head.  describing it in simple enough terms that i could follow, and with a mastery of english that made listening a pleasure.  yes, even to that convoluted and dusty thing, theory.

i hesitate to retell what i understood, because his lecture was brilliant, and my recollection is sure to be faulty and vague.

however, i'm going to try to share a bit of what struck me so deliciously.  forgive me for my clunky understanding.

when scientists were just beginning to understand the structure of atoms, electrons gave them pause.  because whenever they were detected they behaved like particles - measurable entities, single units.  but they way they behaved as they interacted with the world?  not a single unit at all, but a multiplicity - a wave that seeks out multiple possible actions and paths.

both a single unit, and a multiplicity.  that's what gripped my heart in bliss.

this articulate scientist wasn't just breaking down quantum theory - he was describing God.

the way we detect Him?  as a single unit, one person (Father, Son, Spirit) at a time.
the way He behaves as He interacts with the universe?  as a multiplicity, unbound.

the character of God trembles in electrons and physicists explore His fingerprint and we don't even know the aching billions of ways He has hidden Himself right before our eyes.


check out these mind-blowing excerpts from an interview with the speaker - neil turok - in a recent article about his lecture and book.

'Einstein and his colleagues were struggling to come to terms with evidence that nature is surreal, he writes.

Deep down, its basic constituents “don’t behave like particles or billiard balls or masses sliding down planes, or weights on springs or clouds or rivers or waves or anything anyone has ever seen in everyday life.”
...
“The world is not made up of particles and waves and beams of light with a definite existence. Instead, the world works in a much more exploratory way. It is aware of all the possibilities at once and trying them out all the time. That is a hard thing to picture.”'
doesn't it just echo deep, that word aware?

All things received being through him, and without him not one thing received being which has received being.  -John 1:3 (DBT)

the whole universe flares with the fullness of Him.

Friday, November 16, 2012

much more

loving the logic in romans 5 this morning :).

argument: death came to all humankind through one man, adam, because of one transgression.

in contrast, life is provided for all humankind, through Jesus, because of the effectiveness of his righteousness - in spite of our many, many transgressions.

what Jesus gives is stronger, bigger, and more effective ... so, if death ruled in humankind because of adam, life will rule SO MUCH MORE in all those who receive the gift of Jesus' righteousness.

and it really does.

eternal life doesn't just begin once death takes away temporal life.  it begins now, and it's beautiful.  i'm thinking of christians i know ... christians who love the unlovely - tirelessly, without thanks.  christians who trust God enough to make huge life changes when he nudges them.  christians who persist in daily doing good.  christians who pour out their hearts and paycheques for people in need.  christians who walk in the sort of love and joy and peace that makes you cry.  because they've been given the gift of righteousness, and they walk gladly in it - reigning in life.

'much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.'

Thursday, November 8, 2012

zosted

^ that's how my lulu-niece said exhausted when she was little.  and it's fitting, because i'm too tired to breathe out that extra syllable.

i couldn't understand how it's after 2pm and i got nothing done, but was busy all day.   then i looked at the numbers and realized that on any given day, i spend at least 7 full hours putting food into someone else's mouth.  that's not even counting the food-related activities: prep, cooking, clean up, grocery shopping, washing the food (and spit up) off clothes, or dealing with the output a few hours later.  7 full hours, just feeding other bellies.  (i'd expect my own to be smaller than it is, at this rate ;))

i'm so tired right now that i'm actually going to rediaper, dress, and bundle the kids up.  i'm going to haul the double stroller out of the basement (while avoiding the dog poop i discovered on the wheels when i brought it in yesterday), and push the kids around town for an hour, and undo it all when we get back.  because doing all that is less tiring than playing tag or dodgeball or anything with sam in the livingroom :S

zzzzzzz . . .

Monday, November 5, 2012

the long pain and forgiveness

i'm still hurting from the trauma of giving birth.

i thought it would be done by now, the suffering.  it's been more than three weeks, and does the body even still bear the agony of twenty tearing minutes?

apparently time and healing all wounds are not as closely linked as i'd like to believe.

i've learned this before.  but somehow it's easy to forget, and the way pain can linger comes each time as a stabbing surprise.

i fell for a guy when i was eighteen - fell right into his cavernous ego and hungered after him like a puppy.  and when his harshness sent me reeling, i felt that hurt for years.  four years.

it wasn't four years of constant sad love songs and tears, but whenever something would remind me, waves of owww-that-hurts would all but drown me.

i changed, in that long pain.  i used to be the kind of person who would rather be hurt than hurt someone else.  i could absorb it - just take it, when it was dished out, and not hit back.  but eighteen came and there wasn't any room left to absorb hurt, and i couldn't bear an ounce and it came spilling back out, and i would do almost anything to repel fresh pain.  i didn't care who i hurt on the way.  i was a big wound oozing bitterness, and i couldn't shake this long pain.

it was autumn - the nights were dark early, the highway lined with half-dressed trees and whipped with wind.  i was driving home from the airport, and had turned off the radio to just pray.  and i begged God to help me forgive, help me change, lift me out of the self-centred ugliness i was trapped in.  i needed freedom from this pain.

i didn't expect His response.

'truly, i say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'  (matthew 25:40).

here was a challenge.  if Jesus had hurt me - if he had broken my heart - would i forgive him?  (the cross was proof that he had forgiven me - everything.  forever.  how could i do less?)

yes.  i would.

then do it, he prompted, as unto me.

and i suddenly found that i could.  i could forgive - when forgiving as if i was forgiving Jesus.  i could take the pain, when taking it meant not hurting Jesus.

and bearing this pain for vava is the same - worth it, worth it, every second of three weeks and counting.  when she snuggles up on me and breathes her squeaky little snores against my neck, i am blissful with the worth-it-ness of it all.  pain?  what pain?  for the one i love?  bring it on.

tomorrow i have an appointment with my midwife.  ugh.  i've got all sorts of ugly feelings about it - after the birth being what it was, and her not remembering my name -

but Jesus reminded me of my old pain-lesson today.  can't i forgive her - as unto him?  because he'll take it, my forgiving her, as an offering to him.

of course i can.  forgive him, who has forgiven me everything?
in a glad heartbeat.

mean ol' midwife?  bring it on.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jesus and sleep training and the bigger lesson

patrick and i are big fans of sleep training.  (not mean or harsh sleep training, but wise and kind sleep training - giving our kids the confidence and security to sleep well alone.)  sam is an amazing sleeper, and usually wakes up happy and ready to greet the day with a big smile.  vava is already in a pretty amazing routine, and sleeps longer at night than sam did at her age.

the premise of sleep training is to build into your kids a sense of security when you're not present. so when sam was a tiny baby, we would sing and snuggle and pray, then put him into his crib and kiss him goodnight and leave him alone, awake, to fall asleep.  if and when he cried, we didn't respond to his first cry - which sounds horrible, right?  what kind of parents were we?

but we had a bigger and more joyful lesson in mind.

and i found that exact same lesson today in the book of john.  turns out, Jesus was a sleep trainer too.  weird, i know, but let me explain.

two of Jesus' friends sent him a message, because their brother was sick.  they knew Jesus could heal him - he'd been healing people all over the place!  but then he didn't come ... and the scripture says:

'Jesus loved martha and her sister [mary] and lazarus.  so, when he heard that lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.' (john 11:5-6)

that little word so caught my attention.  i had expected it to be but.

he stayed where he was because he loved them.

even when it meant lazarus would die? how come?

the answer was in verse 4.  '... Jesus said, 'this illness does not lead to death.  it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.'

because he loved them, he was going to reveal his glory through and to them.  so he didn't come running at their call, because he had more in mind.

(what, exactly? raising lazarus from the tomb.  death torn apart by life.  revealing his glory in the most spectacular way ever.  bringing joy rushing into their hearts, showing just how powerful he was - even over death.  worth it?  so worth it.)

it's the same with sleep training - we want sam and vava to be completely secure in our love, to trust that we are taking care of them even when we're not physically in their sight.  so we give them a little practice - they cry out for us, and don't see us right away.  but everything is okay, and after a little bit, we come in and kiss them and snuggle them and put them back down.  and they learn - we are there, we are watching out for them, and even when they don't see us, we're close and everything is okay.  we don't just want them to fall asleep (although of course we want that too) - we want them to learn the bigger rest-of-their-life lesson that we're here for them and are acting in their best interest whether they can see us or not.

i went to elementary school with a kid who hadn't yet learned that lesson.  every single morning, his mom would bring him right to his desk in our primary classroom, and he would kick and sob and wail.  he clung to her as long as he could, and some days she even stayed for a while, kneeling beside his desk, strangling under the tight arms of his insecurity while the teacher went through the lesson.  but no matter how long she stayed, he lost control when she left.  it was awful.

sometimes, i think i'm that kid.

as soon as i don't see exactly what God is doing in my life, i start to freak out.  'what's going on?' i cry.  'where are you?  augh!'  like mary and martha, who didn't understand Jesus' delay.  'if you had been here,' they told him, 'Lazarus wouldn't have died.'  the implication?  their security depended on his physical presence.  he needed to be there.

he gently reminds them that his care and presence transcend the physical by pointing them to his Father.  he lifts his face to heaven and prays to God.  'Father, i thank you that you have heard me.  i knew that you always hear me, but i said this on account of the people standing around ...'  (verses 41-42).

he hears.  he hears!  he always hears.

same with sam.  we've got the monitor on in his room, and when he cries, we hear.  and we're bent on providing for him everything that he needs.  it's just that sometimes, the thing that he needs is the unanswered cry, so we can bless him more.

because he loves me, sometimes Jesus stays out of sight.  he doesn't give me what i ask for.  he waits.

he's teaching me a bigger lesson.

he hears.  he's got this.  and i can rest in his love, even when i don't see him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

tricky treats!

we had a little bit of hallowe'en fun with samjam the other night.  

nothing creepy - my parents raised me to have a healthy disrespect of the occult - but we enjoyed the costumes and neighbourhood friendliness :).

squalling pumpkin ;)

vava stayed home with me to pass out treats and meet the kids.  sam dressed up as a blue bear, and patrick & chrissy took him to our 2 favourite neighbours who spoiled him royally.  it was fun :).  


wouldn't you love to give this little bear a treat?