Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I'm counting on it

"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome." (Jer. 29:11)

That's the way the Amplified Bible puts it. Words like welfare, peace, and hope sound good to me. They are a very warm bath on a cold night.

When my feet are freezing I can't get to sleep. My toes can ache for hours. A soak in hot water solves the problem. I'm toasty and relaxed and it doesn't even occur to me to worry about getting to sleep. It just happens.

Why should I worry when there are plans for my future and my hope? That's choosing to lie there aching in the cold. Soaking in his presence could warm me up and help me to relax (read Let go!) I must need it because it sounds so comforting to me at this moment. Can you feel it? Falling back into his arms, your dead weight easily supported, buoyed up, while the battle rages all around and you are fast asleep. You are safe, you are resting. He is fighting while singing you a lullabye.

Ahh, doesn't that feel better…?

Monday, June 20, 2005

What Up?

Torchwood was started as a group blog for a women's leadership team. This post is by Susan:

These days, the cool kids say, "What up." Not with a question mark. Not even expecting an answer.

I still ask "What's up?", but now I mean something completely different than when I was a (very) cool kid. I want to know, literally, what's up there! (Note the imperative.) What's up in the clouds, waiting to move forward into view?

Until recently, I always knew what was up in my clouds - ahead in the proverbial time line. I would just move right from one dot to another. Get the goal and move onto the next notch. Easy.

But what the ... ? Someone just stole my shades, and with the glare I can't see ... ah ... anything! Dula f'masli (that's quasi-phonetic Russian for "nothing with butter!") I don't like it.

I am sitting here, drumming my fingers, waiting to "get" my marching orders, but all I am getting is "the drift".

I know what you're thinking: "Get off your [katooey] and quit [complaining], you sorry [gal]!" (You know, it's so hard to be cool and keep a Disney mouth these days.)

But you don't know me. I'm a "take charge" girl (who speaks just a bit too parenthetically) and there's the rub. I suddenly don't get to know what I'm taking charge of until it drops out of the clouds right smack into my lap. And then I have to wing it, and of course that's fertile ground for "not doing my very best". Which I'm not.

I guess I asked for it. I said a little prayer to learn a little humility to manage my not-so-little opinion of myself and as you can expect, God is faithful. He said, "

1. Word.
2. I hold all the cards.
3. You look to Me.
4. I let you in on the game, but we use My time line.
5. You improvise.
6. You'll be fine (eventually).
7. I'm here."


Just let me get out of my own way.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

a strange comfort

Is it just me?

Or did you ever notice that the strangest things can be comforting? Like tomato cages? When I look over my fence and see that Alan, next door, is setting up his giant homemade Japanese lantern-like contraptions, I feel that things are a little more right with the world. It indicates we have come through another Colorado winter, another pseudo-spring (hey, I grew up with real springtime down south) and it's now time for planting the summer garden. Alan is still a Minnesota farm boy at heart. He knows about seasons, and weather, and patterns in life. He lost his wife a year ago, and yet he still sets up the tomato cages, because… it's time. That's just a really nice thing to me. Being reminded about patterns and life continuing on (pretty much on course) and knowing there are higher ways and higher thoughts involved (as per Isa. 55) kind of calms me down. Especially now, when there's lots of the new and unknown ahead in my life, and my kids' lives, my church (the pastoral shift,) etc. It would feel good to see some tomato cages in the spirit. Some funky little personal markers that say, "Season's changed. It's time to prepare for planting." Or, "Time to take the next step."

OK, God. I need for you to open my eyes. Open my ears. Thank you for the patterns. Let me learn from them. Let me be comforted and give me understanding.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Cosmos or Chaos?

I keep scoring as a cultural creative. This quiz is going around on the blogs I'm reading. Tweaking the answers changes the percentages a little bit.

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)

Just a little brain fun that brings more questions than answers. There are a lot of questions poking their bony fingers into my consciousness. I am in a weird place in processing emergent-traditional-contemporary-alternative worship, church, and faith issues. It all seems chaotic, unformed and disconnected. Not just my thoughts- but where the church at large is at. I feel like I'm flying without the security of a pressurized cabin, without the familiar discomforting noise- without a plane at all. More of a parachute jump. Neither here nor there, yet headed somewhere, with meaning, because God has set the course. I want to discover cosmos in the chaos (thank you Madeleine L'Engle for that wonderful idea found in Walking on Water.)

Emilie Griffin is speaking of the experience of prayer in her book, Clinging, but it has application here as well. I am being squeezed by what she writes. See my post Thinking About Lemons (May Archives.)

"…He asks us to cut loose, to be his, to be unbound, attached to nothing but heaven and him. He asks us to unravel everything that binds us, everything that holds us in the here and now, to come as we are, now without a change of clothing, without looking back, on a way from which there is no turning back: a strange and unconsoling path along a hidden and unglamorous way.

And so, by prayer, we gain the heights. We are not yet at the summit, nowhere near. The valley we have come from is long ago lost in fog, and the path has turned so often that there is no chance of turning back.
We cannot see a foot ahead or behind. And the figure on the path ahead, just glimpsed now and then, seems to be carrying a cross…

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

increased capacity

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Shape Up…or Down

Deepen. Stretch out. Hold fast. Let go. Stay flexible.

Our shape changes in the process of the squeezing, the extracting, and the giving out. We become vessel, not just a dried out empty skin. (As Susan said: "we have surely taken a new shape. Ready for the next pressing.") We are vessels ready for filling again. It is promised to us. What we give out will come back to us, even more so. I've been checking out verses which mention filling or being filled. So many wonderful things are talked about. Things which bring life and vigor come from Him who is the fullness of all.

I want to increasingly be able to embrace the new. The new that is real, and not just a distraction from the real. My capacity to grow in knowledge, experience, and understanding must and will expand as I become vigorous, inwardly and outwardly. Going deep with God, being strengthened to hold fast to truth about him, about life and his ways, somehow provides the framework for a broader, fuller way of doing life.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Torchwood was started as a group blog for a women's leadership team. This post is by Susan:

Lately I've been thinking alot about depth of experience. Skimming versus exploration. I've been thinking alot about vigor.

Vigor is defined by Merriam-Webster as "active healthy well-balanced growth" and "intensity of action or effect". It surprised me that the definition of vigor included "balance". In my off-the-cuff mind (in skimming mode, of course), vigor is all about strength and force. How intriguing to think about vigor in the context of balance, and, quite frankly, how efficient!

What is the use of strength without focus? There is waste without thoughtful direction. As one prone to impulsive outbursts of passion, I realize it's not just the passion that counts, but the planning and preparation of the landing spot.

I detest skimming, but it's been my mode of operation. I thought it had to be that way, after all, there is only so much time in a day. But I lie to myself because I am making a choice. I am the object of a thousand demands, intrigues, stimuli, emotional tugs. I feel it is a requirement - out of my control - that I must respond. I do not separate them and examine them in my own time, space and cadence. I am unwilling to be the captain of my own ship!

Count to ten, or two thousand and twenty-seven, and direct your passion. Go deep and test it out. You will learn something, a million things, new. Then go wide. Savor the experience by being vigorously present for every moment. There are worlds to be discovered if we can just be quietly intentional. We might even find humility, which waits undercover.

Hey! I'm doing it!