Help Me To Believe In Beginings

Have you ever been unable to pray what you need to pray? I know I have. Chaotic times often perplex us and leave us wordless or prayer-less, right when we need them most!

I have a number of books of prayers, meditations, and poems to ruminate through in those and other life moments. Today I was praying through a great collection of prayers written by Ted Loder. Ted is a spiritual poet, wordsmith, thinker, and writer that I read often and appreciate greatly. He has an uncanny knack at painting verbal poetry that hits the spot. One of my favorite collection of prayers written by Ted is called: Guerillas of Grace.

Today, In Guerilla’s of Grace, I prayed through one titled: Help Me To Believe In Beginnings

Take a moment and breathe through this prayer, it might be just what your soul needs…

 

 

 

 

God of history and of my heart,
so much has happened to me during these whirlwind days:
I’ve known death and birth;
I’ve been brave and scared;
I’ve hurt, I’ve helped;
I’ve been honest, I’ve lied;
I’ve destroyed, I’ve created;
I’ve been with people, I’ve been lonely;
I’ve been loyal, I’ve betrayed;
I’ve decided, I’ve waffled;
I’ve laughed and I’ve cried.
You know my frail heart and my frayed history –
and now another day begins.

O God, help me to believe in beginnings
and in my beginning again,
no matter how often I’ve failed before.

Help me to make beginnings:
to begin going out of my weary mind
into fresh dreams,
daring to make my own bold tracks
in the land of now;
to begin forgiving
that I may experience mercy;
to begin questioning the unquestionable
that I may know truth
to begin disciplining
that I may create beauty;
to begin sacrificing
that I may make peace;
to begin loving
that I may realize joy.

Help me to be a beginning to others,
to be a singer to the songless,
a storyteller to the aimless,
a befriender of the friendless;
to become a beginning of hope for the despairing,
of assurance for the doubting,
of reconciliation for the divided;
to become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,
of comfort for the sorrowing,
of friendship for the forgotten;
to become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,
of sweetness for the soured,
of gentleness for the angry,
of wholeness for the broken,
of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.

Help me to believe in beginnings,
to make a beginning,
to be a beginning,
so that I may not just grow old,
but grow new
each day of this wild, amazing life
you call me to live
with the passion of Jesus Christ.

Swallow Me Up


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Abba,
I long to abide in you
To dwell with you
To rest in you
But for some reason I can’t;
My mind wanders
My spirit is restless
My choices are divergent
My schedule unrelenting
Abba,
Sorrow and sadness cling to me
My soul is tired
I wonder if I’ve lost the story
But you remind me;
To be lost is to be found
To be known is to be loved
To wrestle with doubt is to find faith
To shed tears is to realize intimacy
Abba,
Pierce through my darkness so that I may see you
Forgive me
Re-align me
But most of all, don’t leave me;
You are all that is good
You are all that is true
You are all that I need
You are beauty painted with ash

Swallow me up in the ocean that is You.

God In The Doorway


God In The Doorway

One cold Christmas Eve I was up unnaturally late because we had all gone out to dinner-my parents, my baby sister, and I. We had come home to a warm living room, and Christmas Eve. Our stockings drooped from the mantle; beside them, a special table bore a bottle of ginger ale and a plate of cookies.

I had taken off my fancy winter coat and was standing on the heat register to bake my shoe soles and warm my bare legs. There was a commotion at the front door; it opened, and cold winter blew around my dress.

Everyone was calling me. “Look who’s here! Look who’s here!” I looked. It was Santa Claus. Whom I never-ever-wanted to meet. Santa Claus was looming in the doorway and looking around for me. My mother’s voice was thrilled: “Look who’s here!” I ran upstairs.

Like everyone in his right mind, I feared Santa Claus, thinking he was God. I was still thoughtless and brute, reactive. I knew right from wrong, but had barely tested the possibility of shaping my own behavior, and then only from fear, and not yet from love. Santa Claus was an old man whom you never saw, but who nevertheless saw you; he knew when you’d been bad or good. He knew when you’d been bad or good! And I had been bad.

My mother called and called, enthusiastic, pleading; I wouldn’t come down. My father encouraged me; my sister howled. I wouldn’t come down, but I could bend over the stairwell and see: Santa Claus stood in the doorway with night over his shoulder, letting in all the cold air of the sky. Santa Claus stood in the doorway monstrous and bright, powerless, ringing a loud bell and repeating Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas. I never came down. I don’t know who ate the cookies.

For so many years now I have known that this Santa Claus was actually a rigged-up Miss White, who lived across the street, that I confuse the dramatis personae in my mind, making Santa Claus, God, and Miss White an awesome, vulnerable trinity. This is really a story about Miss White.

Miss White was old; she lived alone in the big house across the street. She liked having me around; she plied me with cookies, taught me things about the world, and tried to interest me in finger painting, in which she herself took great pleasure. She would set up easels in her kitchen, tack enormous slick soaking papers to their frames, and paint undulating undersea scenes: horizontal smears of color sparked by occasional vertical streaks which were understood to be fixed kelp. I liked her. She meant no harm on earth, and yet half a year after her failed visit as Santa Claus, I ran from her again.

That day, a day of the following summer, Miss White and I knelt in her yard while she showed me a magnifying glass. It was a large, strong hand lens. She lifted my hand and, holding it very still, focused a dab of sunshine on my palm. The glowing crescent wobbled, spread, and finally contracted to a point. It burned; I was burned; I ripped my hand away and ran home crying. Miss White called after me, sorry, explaining, but I didn’t look back.

Even now I wonder: if I meet God, will he take and hold my bare hand in his, and focus his eye on my palm, and kindle that spot and let me burn?

But no. It is I who misunderstood everything and let everybody down. Miss White, God, I am sorry I ran from you. I am still running, running from that knowledge, that eye, that love from which there is no refuge. For you meant only love, and love, and I felt only fear, and pain. So once in Israel love came to us incarnate, stood in the doorway between two worlds, and we were all afraid.

*Taken from…”Teaching a Stone to Talk” by Annie Dillard

What’s Not In Heaven

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In Revelation 21-22 the apostle John is trying to describe the day that heaven and earth combine…when God once again becomes a permanent resident with humanity; A renewal of the Edenic reality, but even better. How do you describe that which you have never seen or known? When language exhausts her best expressions and you still haven’t even begun to reveal your experience, a new tactic is needed. This is what John does as he tries to describe the new heavenly reality. Instead of telling us what is there, he focuses more on what is not there. “No more tears, no more death, no more pain, etc.”  Here is my A-Z list of what won’t be in heaven to help us grasp the beauty of what will be there. Obviously my list is finite, incomplete, borrowed and missing items. That is where you come in. What else won’t be there that I have missed.  Continue this story in the comments…

What Won’t Be In Heaven

In Heaven there will be no more:

Acne, aches, addiction, anxiety, anxiety meds, amber alerts, amputations

Bad breath, body odor, broken hearts, broken homes, break ups, bills, bill collectors, bi-polar, bullying, battles

Cancer, coughs, catastrophes, conflict, crash diets, CPS, concussions, court rooms, corruption, crutches, casts, child abuse, chemo therapy, crosses along the side of the road, cutting,

Deception, depression, divorce, drama, doctors, disease, double chins, disco

Evil, erosion, embarrassing moments, enemies, elections, evictions, earth quakes

Fighting, fruitcake, foreclosures, flu-shots, fear, funeral homes, funerals,

Gossip, guilt, greed, graves,

Hospitals, hurricanes, hate, homelessness, hormones, human trafficking

Injustice, infertility, infidelity, insecurity, infomercials, inoperable tumors,

Junk mail, jealousy,

Kooks, k(c)anker sores, kombucha (that stuff is nasty), killjoys,

Legalism, life-support, lawyers, loneliness, labor camps, lines for the lady’s room, love handles,

Motionless ultra sounds, metal detectors, MRI’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Middle of the night phone calls, miscarriages, misunderstandings,

Neurosis, night sweats, nursing homes, negativity, needles,

Operations, orphanages, oppression , Obama Care

Pretending, plastic surgery, politicians, pacemakers, persecution, pain, prejudice, poverty, pink slips, potlucks

Quitting, queasiness, qualifying,

Racism, rejection, road rage, rape, revenge, radiation

Special weigh-loss plans, spanks, saddle bags, sox without a match , security systems, sleepless nights, slums, suicides, suicide bombers, school shootings, sadness, spandex, slander,

Treatment centers, tear stained divorce papers, tissue boxes, tornado, tsunamis, typhoons, trafficking, tiny caskets, taxes

Unibombers, unwanted, unloved,

Victims, violence, vindictiveness, vaccinations, vice

Waiting rooms, wheel chairs, waxing, wounds,

X-rays, Yelling, Zoos, Zero (because everything will have value)

Jesus says, “Look!, I am making everything new!”

Loosen My Grip: Loder

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I just found a quiet space to think, ponder and pray.
I’ve turned off the news…turned off my phone…and am trying to turn off my busy mind.

As I settled in to pray, I read a prayer by Ted Loder to center my tired soul.
I felt the refreshing Spirit fall as I was reminded to loosen my grip.

If your grip has been too tight, take a moment and pray it too…

Loosen My Grip-Ted Loder

O God, it is hard for me to let go,

most times,

and the squeeze I exert

garbles me and gnarls others.

So, loosen my grip a bit

on the good times,

on the moments of sunlight and star shine and joy,

that the thousand graces they scatter as they pass

may nurture growth in me

rather than turn to brittle memories.

Loosen my grip

on those grudges and grievances

I hold so closely,

that I may risk exposing myself

to the spirit of forgiveness

that changes things and resurrects dreams and courage.

Loosen my grip

on my fears

that I may be released a little into humility

and into an acceptance of my humanity.

Loosen my grip

on myself

that I may experience the freedom of a fool

who knows that to believe

is to see kingdoms, find power, sense glory;

to reach out

is to know myself held;

to laugh at myself

is to be in on the joke of your grace;

to attend to each moment

is to hear the faint melody of eternity;

to dare love

is to smell the wild flowers of heaven.

Loosen my grip

on my ways and words,

on my fears and fretfulness

that letting go

into the depths of silence

and my own uncharted longings,

I may find myself held by you

and linked anew to all life

in this wild and wonderous world

you love so much,

so I may take to heart

that you have taken me to heart.