The Limping Church Triumphant

L-ife is to be lived with love as our mandate; but too often,
I-maginations are soiled with the cares and constraints of bolstering up this
M-ansion here, rather than the one
P-prepared for us. Wishing to stay and wishing to go
I-s for those closest to heaven’s door and
N-ot for those distracted with position and purpose,
G-rounded, it seems, in earthly things. And we wound each other with

C-areless words; and we
H-arm the weak and disarm the strong, without
U-nderstanding we are servants one of another, chosen not by destiny but
R-edeemed and uniquely
C-hosen by Christ. He is the One we serve—not ourselves—with grace and
H-umility, forgiving one another, seeking each one’s best.

T-herefore, as God’s people, let us clothe ourselves with compassion; let peace
R-ule our hearts, forgiving all grievances, responding
I-n love as Christ has loved us,
U-nfettered by ambition and pride and blind passion.
M-aster of all, Lord of Your church, it would seem our faith
P-aralysis is not a reflection of You but our
H-alf-hearted devotion, our crippling sins.
A-rise in our hearts; revive your chosen ones that we might
N-ot be so earthbound, but set our hearts on
T-hings above. This is my broken prayer.

******************************
Colossians 3
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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This About That

I have finally discovered why rice cakes have fewer calories.

You leave half of it on the floor with each bite.

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Psalm 91:1-2 (Lilly’s Amplified)

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High,

look to Him as a definitive defense, a protecting shadow, planted, rooted, and

intentionally stuck,
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty,

find a peaceful sleep, a breathe-easy embrace in the threatening storm,

the coming chaos.

 
This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge,

my place to regroup, recoup, and take quiet, desperate respite,

 

my place of safety,

protection from threats without and disabling fears within;
He is my God,

Provider, Healer, Revealer, the One Who sees, Lover, my Abba Daddy,

 

and I trust him

because in this upside-down world, who have I but You.

Ps. 91:1-2 (NLB)

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I Miss My Father

I miss my father.
Not the last, lingering days when the ravages of Parkinson’s stripped his body of strength and dignity,
not the growing quiet and dimming light, the betrayal of senses with the ambush of age and degeneration,

not the loss of skill and purpose with increasing dependence.

I miss the stories, the laughter, the dropping of the false teeth to scare innocent children.

I miss the sawing afternoon naps in the recliner, the dirt between the fingernails, and the smelly old farm boots.

I miss him, dusty and weary, still willing to amaze his children at day’s end by playing a bit of softball in the failing light—and hitting that ball to kingdom come.

I miss stealing sips of his instant coffee and codependent sampling of forbidden pies.

It’s the wisdom, I miss most. The forgiveness and acceptance, the knowing that in my stupidest moments, he was still my rock, my shelter, my willing warrior.

I looked at his picture on my dresser today, and a tear caught in my throat because as long as it’s been and
as surely as life has gone on,
there are some days in this topsy-turvy world,
I really miss my father.

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I Miss My Mother

I miss my mother.

Not the pained days and her lonely, disorienting moments,
not the frontal lobe disintegration that turned a stable woman of integrity into a silly, flirting schoolgirl,
not the numbness and loss of dexterity that stole the pleasure of creativity from her busy fingers.

I miss the laughter, the sneaky tricks, the Scrabble games at midnight. I miss the hint of mischief behind those blue eyes. She saw it so clearly in us because it was self-diagnosis.

I miss her dedication to home and family that gifted us with pies and cookies, doilies and quilts, music and ministry, prayers by the bed and testimony in every routine act of living.

Discipline was not always pleasant, but forgiveness was metered out with hugs and affirmations. When I finally got caught stealing Daddy’s pocket change and hoarding it under my mattress in an old condom box, I got the just talking to, but my repayment plan was probably a third of what I stole and so much less of what I deserved. Perhaps part of my debt was paid in the moments of laughter behind her hand.

I miss her full mind, her surety, her security in faith tested. If she ever doubted, her passion and love for the lost washed over any questions she may have had.
I miss her determination to press on through bad memories and disappointments, betrayals and sorrows.

Her commitment to work in the church and community, to pour her energies out to bring along the weaker and the worn, kept her going past her physical strength and only faded with her fading mind.

On that day, your spirit soared as I flew homeward, and I like to think I met you in the air as you left this hard place, though whether heaven is up, down, or sideways, I don’t know; but I know
you are surely there, as surely as life has gone on.

There are some days in this topsy-turvy world,
I really miss my mother.

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Words Fall

Words, syllables, inflections,

breathed and yelled, soft and loud,

mouthed and thought,

heard and not,

written and spoken,

valued and ignored, but so weighty for the one who owns them, for that one desperate to be treasured.

When we begin, words tumble out in disjointed digraphs and stutters,

cheered and encouraged by proud parents who imagine brilliance with each blurb; but

with time and teaching, the excitement diminishes, and like with any drug, the content needs to be more potent to illicit the same reaction, from spelling bees to grad speeches to wedding toasts and dissertations.

The audiences change, and the stories get retold; successful soliloquies get notched on the belt of significance as the words ebb and flow with the rhythms of life. But then

those who are really listening grow fewer, and more and more voices fill the air, diluting, refuting, and polluting

the airwaves,

the pulsing megabytes,

the pixelated opinions that fill our moments, competing with our aging soul words. And it is that—soul. It is as if we start to live a little less, feel a little less, when our words fall to the ground just beyond our lips, buried in the myriad messages that surround and clutter the unnourished imagination.

And I wonder if all this noise will be forever the way of things—if loss and longing, poetry and song, description and discerning will lose their distinctiveness in the throes of hashtags, vlogs, and all the literary litter that swirls like gnats.

 

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Remembering a Friend

When there is the shock of loss–a sudden departure–and

you feel like you need to do something to fix things and to take the sting away; and yet,

there is nothing to be done in this shattered moment, but

you feel guilty doing anything else, all the  mundane things we do over and over in our life without remembering

that we are living on this fragile edge.

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As deep cries out to deep . . .

Blessed Christmas–

a time to remember how the present God became an intensified presence, donning our flesh to be one of us. The depths of my despair, loss, and dysfunction cry out to the depths of his love, accessibility, and resource and

that deep crying to deep is answered in Jesus.

Hallelujah.

——————————————-

(blog with photos http://www.apronheadlilly.wordpress.com)

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In You, O Lord (Lilly’s Amplified)

In You, O Lord, do I take refuge;
I run to You when the darkness closes in, when chaos comes, and
my own best ideas about shelter fail.
let me never be put to shame;
let me not be disappointed in You because I am all in;
let me not place my disappointment in others and myself
onto the constancy of Your love.
In Your righteousness,
not in my abilities or my determination, but
in the pure and solid goodness of Your character,
deliver me!
Incline Your ear to me;
listen to my words;
but just as much, hear the twisting and groanings of my soul,
prayers that have no sounds but wet sighs.
rescue me speedily,
because I do not wait well, and
my desperation would crush my spirit.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a place to hide, to rest, to feel safe enough to heal.
a strong fortress to save me!
I need saving from those without and
my weak and worn self.
Psalm 31:1-2

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And this is love . . . (Lilly’s Amplified)

My dear brothers and sisters,
you, me, everyone,
take note of this:
Are you listening?
Pay close attention!
Everyone should be quick to listen,
to the reasons, the evidence, and the
pain
on all sides,
slow to speak,
not jumping to conclusions,
not demanding center stage in the discussion,
and slow to become angry,
irritated, condemning, and disrespectful,
adjudicating without regard for each person’s
inestimable worth.

~~James 1:19

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