Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Peace #OneWordCoffee

"Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ." 

I hear these words every week.  Peace. I have a hunger for this in my life.  It has been elusive for so many years.  God wants to save me from distress?  Really?  I get incredulous because people I have loved so often caused me distress and seemed to enjoy doing so.  I thought they loved me, but on reflection that is seriously called into question.  It makes a lot more sense that if you love someone you would wish them good things, like peace.

So this Easter we made a peaceful choice and lo!  I found not only peace but JOY - that other elusive friend.

I didn't have a very focused sacrifice in Lent, but a vague idea that I needed to let go of getting worked up about other people's issues and try to catch hold of that elusive peace.  It is a continuing work in progress but switching focus from others towards myself is something that is novel for me.  I had a moment of distress while on vacation when I wanted to simultaneously do the thing I wanted to do, but I didn't want to cause anyone else inconvenience.  But I can't fairly judge what is convenient or not for other people, in that moment I had to let it go and allow them to make their own choices.  It all worked out for my happiness in the end :)

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27

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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Mine #OneWordCoffee

“But now, says the Lord, he who created you…who formed you: 
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; 
I have called you by name; you are mine.” 
Isaiah 43:1

Do you remember the seagulls in 'Finding Nemo'?  They squawk "mine, mine, mine" as they fight over the fish.  It is often among the first words of little children who don't like sharing.  They clutch their teddy or toy close to them and declare "mine".  Even grown ups are protective of their things, or maybe their memories or experiences that they want only to belong to them and are not for sharing.

What would you claim for yours alone?  What makes you want to say "mine"?

For me, it is my husband and children that invoke this feeling so strongly.  At first with my children, it was with wonderment....'these beautiful little beings are really mine?'  I get to keep them??  How awesome!  Later, it's knowing that so many outside forces and people want to influence my children for gain or have untrustworthy motives, I want to say no to all of that and keep them close, for they are mine.  It is for me and my husband to make decisions about what they see/hear/do and the outside world is callous to their souls.

When my husband and I were in our long distance dating period, I would hear about how he'd be spending time with some girl from work and I'd get jealous and say to myself, "that's not fair, she shouldn't be with you, you're mine".  And even more fiercely after we were married and separated for four months thanks to international immigration bureaucracy; I show up in our new town and miss out on some friendship with lovely ladies because they had been feeling sorry for this helpless wifeless man and all I could think was "Hands off - HE'S MINE!!"

The idea that my husband would cheat on me, actually makes me chuckle if I think of it in terms of him trying to hit on some other woman! But the idea that some woman might entice him, is a little more plausible and makes me get my claws out.

Thinking that God might feel fiercely protective of his relationship with me in this way is amazing and comforting and beautiful.

I struggle with the feeling of 'belonging'.  It has always eluded me and an emigre's life hardly helps! To know that God claims me as HIS and he doesn't stumble over my name but calls it clearly is the kind of homecoming I need.  I want to be HIS.  When I meditate on this word it pushes back the pain of neglect and rejection and gathers me close to love Himself.

I am my beloveds and He is mine.  (Songs of Solomon 6:3)

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