The Seeing Glass

A cord of three strands,
You, me, the Word.
A gilded braid of furrowed infinity
Knit in Love,
Bound by Spirit and Light.

A weaving of silken roads,
You, me, the Word.
On journeys with stones and crosses,
Broken on myths
And inventions of pious hearts.

Our mortal feet stumble
To find the immutable way,
Always there,
Yet concealed by generations
Of odium and dread.

In lieu of a map
We find instead, a mirror
On the inside of you and me: the Word.
Then, like earthshine
We begin to see.

Flood

Last night, I was lounging on my bed, reading. The kids were asleep, Ben was in our bathroom brushing his teeth, and the gentle whir of the dryer was humming next door.

All of a sudden Ben bolted out of the bathroom, like a cat with it’s tail on fire. He ran to the laundry room beside our bedroom and flung open the door.

This erratic movement totally alarmed me (still lying in bed). Ben, after all, is a very measured and mellow guy and rarely moves with such panicked agitation.

“OH NO!!” He gasped.

I got up to go see the problem; the laundry room floor was an inch under water.

The dryer continued to hum happily.

The scene wasn’t lining up.

Turns out, he had left the tap to the laundry sink running, in order to fill the sink. Then, he had walked away for a moment to check on something… but got distracted and started brushing his teeth.

This is totally uncharacteristic of Ben; he does not make those kinds of mistakes (unlike me). He was baffled that he forgot about it. Well, welcome to my world.

After we mopped up the floor and mopped up the living room floor below, where the water had waterfalled through the drywall ceiling, we wondered what that was all about.

My mind went digging… seems like there’s a metaphor to uncover in this, but what? I let it go, but shortly it came to me, like wave, straight from the Father.

“Ben! I know what this is showing us!” I gasped enthusiastically.

“Water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. That sink represents us.  And even in spite our dumb behaviour (like leaving the tap running and walking away) God’s Spirit desires to overflow abundantly in our lives, even to the point of wrecking old structures (like our house!) to bring us to new places of trust and reliance on Him.”

Oh, how God loves to speak to His children! He loves to share His heart with us.

The impact of the experience only made the revelation of God’s goodness that much more concrete in our hearts, as we pondered the message.

In spite of what we do or don’t do, or don’t do well, none of it is a threat to God. His all-surpassing love is greater than any of our mistakes. In fact, He desires to overflow in us and through us despite appearances or our ‘worthiness’, in order to wreck the old structures we have built in our minds to ‘keep us safe’ and to keep life tidy and ‘manageable’.

God is not interested in our neatly ordered boxes of comfortable two-dimensional reality. He is allowing His Spirit to pour over the dying structures of this world, and the dying fortresses in our minds in order to establish new grids for exploring and understanding Him. The old patterns in our minds need to be transformed if we are to step into deeper experience of Him.

So, when you look around, and stuff looks wrecked, be of good cheer; this is a stepping stone to greater glory!

Power

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”. (Proverbs 18:21)

She ran up to me, out of breath, “Mommy, mommy, a bird just crashed into the window! It’s lying still on the ground and I think it might die. It looks like a female cardinal.”

Her 7-year-old face was flushed as she spilled out the news, her little heart pulsing with the grief of a life possibly over too soon.

I paused, where I lay on the couch with my book, and considered just letting it be, but then I remembered: His eye is on the sparrow. A cardinal is even bigger than a sparrow, so He can obviously see that too.

“Snowy, do you remember the stories about Jesus? About the power that he had inside of him that came from God’s love? You have power like that inside of you, too, because Jesus said his children would do even greater things than he did! Why don’t you go back to the bird -without touching it – and speak to it with God’s power that is inside of you. Tell it that it is time to get better and start to fly.”

Her eyes sparked and she ran back to the bird that was still laying placidly on the ground. She spoke to it and told it to “Get up and fly.”

She waited.

I waited in the other room on the couch, wondering what I had just done.

We both waited some more.

She came back and reported: “Mom, the bird is hopping a little now, what should I do?”

“Just remind it that God sees it and has given it the power to fly again.”

And she did.

Not two minutes later she came bolting back to me, “Mommy, it flew!”

Legends and Labels

It can be simple to weave a legend of ourselves in our own mind; our flesh has this knack for propping up the pieces of ourselves that we think matter and making an epic identity out of it. Sadly, propping up our personal legends means we can end up acting in self-protective and manipulative ways to keep the facade (or our favourite identity) intact.

One of the ways that we prop up our personal legends is by assuming labels connected with the groups that we feel we most identify with. This secures us with a feeling of belonging and authority that helps us to feel safe in our experience of ourselves.

We live in a climate that endorses labels and descriptors of every kind: Left, Right, Anti-this, Pro-that, Fruitarian, Home-birther, Vegetarian, Baptist, Attachment Parent, Messianic, Political, Workaholic, Rich, Simple Living, Successful, Teacher, Debt-Free, Organic, Charismatic, Spirit-Filled, Doctor, Adventurer, Hippie, Eco-Friendly, Party Animal, Vegan, Frugal, Homeschooler, Public Schooler, Business Person, Farmer, Visionary, etc.

What happens when we do this is subtly fracture our truer, God-designed connection with our fellow man, by choosing certain banners and not others; living under labels separates us from the greater banner that flies over us: Love.

What is core – what is essential – is that we are more similar than we are different in the eyes of God. Our hearts all pulse with the same life blood because God created us, our lungs breath because the Holy Spirit is infused between our atoms, keeping our bodies alive – the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

What matters is that each and every one of us gets our mark of approval, our ultimate and perfectly beautiful identity from God.

When we live from this place of secure connection and awareness we begin to see differences less and less between ourselves and others, which allows our love for them to expand.

Jesus did this: he loved Prostitutes and Tax Collectors and ‘dirty’ people, because he didn’t subscribe to labels.

He always looked at the heart.

We do not need to create and sustain legends of ourselves, we do not need labels and fleshly identities. Labels limit, cause division and rarely build bridges of consequence as they are more ‘religious’ in nature than truly helpful.

True freedom comes when we shed the need to ‘advertise’ who we are and simply live moment to moment from the divine life flow that exists inside of us because of Jesus! This may be confounding to the people around us, but it is a powerful step on the way to uncovering who we really are: a people who exists outside of all descriptors and ultimately are an expression of God in the earth.

Can God be confined, contained by our space/time labels and categories? Of course not! And, we are smaller by many degrees than God, of course, but we are no less remarkable as we were designed from the very genius of His mind!

When we leave room for the inevitable shifts that come from growth, discovery and exposure to the hearts of others, and live from the gentle place that Jesus did, and we taste a radical, new kind of life.

Jesus did not defend himself, or describe himself, or align himself with certain groups, he totally frustrated the people that tried to pigeon-hole him! Jesus walked in the Light, in a constant awareness of God’s presence in the world around Him, and loved all people.

I believe the future belongs to those who will step out beyond labels and live in the remarkable (and often confounding!) spaces of awareness that Love is the great bridge that will reveal God’s power in our midst.

As we live loved – our ultimate and perfect identity – we will change the world.

All Glory

It is difficult to be at peace when the tide of family chaos reaches it’s frequent mighty crescendoes: little ones melting down, big kids blasting music in the same room, middle kids talking your ear off, while someone washes pots loudly in the sink, and another wants to play a card game with you right. now.  The kitchen is a bomb, and someone put a library book on the counter (that is covered in maple syrup), and another needs a diaper change, and someone else just fell off their chair.

You don’t need me to paint the painful scene in much more detail for you, you know that of which I speak: the messy overflow, the sensory overload of a life lived together in all of it’s bristly, agitating, magnificent wonder.

The secret to thriving in these moments is to practice presence with your full heart and mind; to be aware of the gift of this space of time.

It’s like gratitude, but it’s also about noticing, being aware of what is going on, being the “experiencer” and the “observer” but not the victim.  

It is about dropping all analysis and simply being; being with those you love, right now.

This is not some rainbow-fairy-unicorn-fancy-pants-wishful-thinking-hippie-idea, this is a practical life skill that is built over time for the parent who knows there is treasure in the midst of the chaos.

This awareness is about meditating on what is true right now: that we live, completely and utterly victorious under the gaze of our loving Father, no matter how many Cheerios are crunching under our feet.

Mysteriously, it is in this being present that we find a peace that actually enables us to ride the wave of chaos in an almost miraculous way.

When we drop our unproductive mulling over what is past, refrain from critiquing every moment, and stop fretting over and obsessing about the future we find ourself in a most curious space…  the raw and complex beauty of this moment.

Now.

And when you awaken like this you notice how the baby on your hip is squeezing your arm with such pudgy fervour, and how your little girl’s lashes frame her eyes so gloriously, and you get lost in the rugged vigour of your big kids’ minds that just need to talk everything out and explore ideas ad nauseam.

And you find that it’s all glory, even the spilled milk.

A parent who is present is a gift to the world.  A gentle and patient observer changes reality; the chaos has miraculously morphed into heaven on earth.

Kingdom Come

If you were to all of a sudden discover that you were actually royalty, daughter of a King (you had unknowingly been duped into believing that you were the daughter of a pauper), how would you feel to discover that the King had been waiting to invite you into the Kingdom life the whole time?

How would you feel to find out that all the resources of the Kingdom were yours? The lands, the territories, the opportunities, the blessings you’d longed for your entire life were actually yours now?

Would you feel guilty and condemned that you had never experienced these fine gifts and good things because you mis-understood your identity, or would you be exited to begin exploring your territory, tasting the goodness of the King in the land of the living?