Friday, August 18, 2017

The Sowing of Meanings

March 31, 2013 Journal

It’s a rainy Easter morning. I didn’t sleep well. I got up early, to make breakfast. The house was full of the sound of an action movie, the light flaring against the living room walls like bomb flashes.

I went outside and sat on the patio in the dark. It was mild, misty and dark. One cicada was rasping from behind the wooden fence. I watched the sky grow lighter. It happened in slow degrees. The birds woke up, one by one.

I thought about Him, of course. I’d been thinking about Jesus all night, what it was like, His Passion, His death. I kept relaxing back into Him. Sometimes, when I'm with Jesus and thoughts come up, and I’m trying to explain them to Him or to me, Jesus stops my speaking by an outpouring of love. There's no point in trying to explain them; He knows far better than I all about them.

I’ve been reading a lot about the mystics, lately, wondering. I want to be able to give away something of value, to pass it on.

I keep ending up writing poetry, because I don’t have the patience for anything else. I want to reach right through to the heart of the matter and grab it, and possibly eat it. Heh.

March 31, 2013, published blog

The Sowing of Meanings

See the high birds! Is theirs the song
That dies among the wood-light
Wounding the listener with such bright arrows?
Or do they play in wheeling silences
Defining in the perfect sky
The bounds of (here below) our solitude,

Where spring has generated lights of green
To glow in clouds upon the sombre branches?
Ponds full of sky and stillnesses
What heavy summer songs still sleep
Under the tawny rushes at your brim?

More than a season will be born here, nature,
In your world of gravid mirrors!
The quiet air awaits one note,
One light, one ray and it will be the angels' spring:
One flash, one glance upon the shiny pond, and then
Asperges me! sweet wilderness, and lo! we are redeemed!

For, like a grain of fire
Smouldering in the heart of every living essence
God plants His undivided power --
Buries His thought too vast for worlds
In seed and root and blade and flower,
Until, in the amazing light of April,
Surcharging the religious silence of the spring,
Creation finds the pressure of His everlasting secret
Too terrible to bear.

Then every way we look, lo! rocks and trees
Pastures and hills and streams and birds and firmament
And our own souls within us flash, and shower us with light,
While the wild countryside, unknown, unvisited of men,
Bears sheaves of clean, transforming fire.

And then, oh then the written image, schooled in sacrifice,
The deep united threeness printed in our being,
Shot by the brilliant syllable of such an intuition, turns within,
And plants that light far down into the heart of darkness and oblivion,
Dives after, and discovers flame.

-Thomas Merton

April 2, 2013 Journal

Last night, I went to bed. I was exhausted from the party. I lay there, my face pressed into the pillow, hearing the dryer tumbling and the murmur of sound through the closed door, rimmed with light. I was exhausted. I did not feel Jesus anywhere, and I just rested in that. I knew He was there. I did not have to feel it. I could be fully in the physical world and yet completely known and held and kept by Him.

I remembered that He was my eternal Lord and Beloved, the One that had held me and known me and loved me and delighted in me before I’d been born. I could rest in the physical world with perfect confidence.

Then a feeling of melancholy crept in a little, as I lay there, cradled in the bare heart of the present world. I thought, I am thirty five years old, aging, childless, barren, uneducated, divorced once, now a military wife living in this random town in this random state, alone in this messy room on a Monday night in April.

Then I felt Jesus' hand rest on my shoulder. He bent down. He whispered, Not alone.

And I thought something like, Oh my word! He is so invested in my knowing that He is with me!

Then later, I spoke to Jesus. The last few evenings had been quiet and I had rested in the sleepy quietness of our being together. I had let it be, still processing that momentous experience of going out onto the grass and remembering Jesus again as my eternal Beloved, and holding Him while His sadness filled Him.

It was a lot.

But last night, I longed to be with Him again, so I said, I want You… and then I dared to say His name, even. I said, I want You, Jesus, I want You. You bright and morning Star, I said, smiling.

And He said, Come here. Just come here, then. He said it with such easy, loving confidence.

I thought, okay… and so I simply took myself there. I stepped right into the room, and Jesus was standing in front of me, and I was all, whoa. Then I went straight into His arms. I wanted just to rest my head against His heart and listen and feel how He is alive.

Then I poured out love and adoration and delight to Jesus, and we thought about what to do. I was curious about the room, so I turned around and there seemed to be an opening behind me, where I had come through and I went to take a step there, but He put His arm around my waist and pulled me lovingly back, so I didn’t pursue that fully, but I felt that if I passed through there, I would simply be in the physical room- I had a glimpse of how that would happen, in a quite natural way. It also seemed to be a hallway there, and the hallway went somewhere else.

Then we talked a little bit more about these experiences. I expressed all my doubts, which are many- am I receiving these images in my mind? My heart? My spirit? My imagination? How am I seeing this? How do I know they are genuine? Why aren't they clear? Why do they waver so much? Is it possible for me to effect them negatively? How would I do that? How can I not do that?

Jesus told me that I must rest and trust Him and not try and determine in my own understanding how the Holy Spirit is leading me into and through these experiences, but to give myself over to Him wholly in trust. I must rest my whole self in the hands of the Holy Spirit and trust Jesus. (This is the Scripture for this paragraph. It is to make clear that the apostles had a profound privilege of seeing with their own eyes the fulfillment of prophesy in Scripture, which is far away and above what I have known, and to confirm in Scripture what He said to me at this point- that trusting the Holy Spirit is vital when receiving something from Him. This is not to say that we should not test the spirits; of course we must be obedient to the Scriptures and take that warning seriously. But when we are in the hands of the Holy Spirit who is glorifying Jesus in harmony with His Word, I have learned that it's crucial then to trust to the goodness and wisdom of God, because often we are taken outside of the box of our expectations.)

Jesus said that He knew everything He created in thought first, before He brought it into being, and that while I was with Him, He enjoyed making a space for me to try doing that. So I understood that this being with Him was like an organic, living thing which Jesus was leading me into, but which I was also creating with Him, because Jesus wanted it to be that way- He wanted the experience of what I was seeing to reflect or support or grow out of the relationship that we had together.

In fact, it occurred to me that I was just learning to take baby steps in this kind of spiritual… way of being, like a child learning to walk, and not sure about balance and limits and weight, but learning these natural things by trying them, by participating, and also by trusting.

So then I thought, with freedom, what shall we do?

And I don’t know if it was Jesus or I, but suddenly, we were thinking of the sea and so I said is there one? Can there be one? And there was one- beyond the stream, there were some crumbling cliffs and a glimpse of a beach and shore line.

And I held back, I said, am I imagining this or is this a scene from a movie or a picture I’ve seen?- again, I questioned the experience, and Jesus said, have you seen that before?

And though it seemed familiar to me, I couldn’t say that I had ever seen that view before. It was its own view.

So I said, okay! And we went happily down the path, which was at first woodsy and then came to the cliff and we walked down it and He helped me over the hard parts and then I want running on ahead, and then I went back to Him, almost nervously- should I leave You behind? Did I hurt Your feelings? Should I stay by Your side and let You help me over the rocks?

But I felt only His overarching love, His gentle, steady presence. God is willing to be known, to be given and to be received- He makes Himself vulnerable. That is what it is like, to be present in love with Jesus. It’s like He holds Himself perfectly still, so He feels the slightest breath, the slightest breeze, the softest whispered the word, the speaking that has no words.

Jesus went out into the water and turned and I said, this is just like my story and He said, your story is just like Me and we thought that was funny, because it is too true. Those stories were the wrappings to hide Him in. He is the real thing.

I felt my fear of the ocean, so I hesitated and then I went running through the breakers and into His arms and we went out through the surf. I was carried, my arms trailing through the water.

We went out into the deep places, just off shore and the waves lifted and carried us. My love for Jesus was gentle as the water, but I was suddenly caught in the grip of so much love for Him I could not speak and or move.

When I could move, I looked at Jesus and His hair was soaking wet and His face was wet and His eyes were brilliant. I find it frequently shocking that Jesus loves me as much as I love Him. It seems like too much, and it offends me. I want to reject this extravagant love for the sake of His own dignity. But Jesus insists, so I accept, because I love Him.

April 3, 2013 Journal

So, again last night, I thought, I want to be with Jesus, and again He said, but without words, to simply come, just to come to Him.

And indeed, I did and it hit me, with this kind of awe- how simple it was, as though there were no division at all between the spiritual life and the physical life and-

Boom!

I was all, oh my goodness! That’s right, there isn’t. It’s both true at the same time.

Jesus was laughing, as though He loved me so much and I was so adorable and it pleased Him so much that I had made this connection.

For you are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, He reminded me, and I was all "Indeed! So true!"

And yet, we don’t have to just sit there- the main part is that we’re with Christ in the heavenly places. That’s the delicious part.

But the image of Jesus and the room kept wavering, which always is disturbing, but Jesus reminded me that I have never been able to see Him with perfect clarity, and to remain in Him in trust no matter what happens to the image, and not to let it effect my faith in Him.

So then I said, what shall we do? And we talked about it, without words, in a way I can’t describe, which is frustrating, but it’s quicker than words, because it’s just heart to heart, back and forth. I remembered how much I loved the moment of meeting, especially after a long time apart or after a misunderstanding that has been cleared up finally.

And the upshot of this wordless discussion, was yes, of course, we can practice meeting. Deciding this and how to do this was like making plans with your best, most trusted, most beloved, closest friend- the one you love, the one who knows all your secrets and shares your dreams and you have history together and secret passwords and all that. Only that person is Jesus.

So anyway, Jesus was all, shall I take my place here? I’ll wait here?- all without words, just heart to heart.

I said, "Okay, and I’m at the bottom of the stairs." I went there and I went up the stairs and whoa!

Because of course, that’s Jesus, actually Jesus.

Then we tried it again. I took my place at the bottom of the stairs, and was like, action!

If someone ever does read this, they are going to think that I am crazy. But trust me, if I was crazy, the two licensed therapists that I’ve seen in the course of my life would have diagnosed me that way. I understand that people might be more comfortable thinking I’m crazy than thinking that Jesus might be like this- or perhaps thinking that I’m making this all up. And that’s okay, I don’t blame them. I would think the same thing if it wasn't happening to me.

So anyway, I was all, action, and I went running up the stairs and at the top of the stairs was Jesus.

Jesus. Right there. Standing there, and looking at me and recognizing me and loving me, as Himself.

So I was overcome. I threw myself into His arms, clinging to His shoulders, and just started pouring out my adoration and relief and love, just over and over again, remembering who He was to me and who I was to Him.

I was all, "I’m never leaving You again, and I can’t believe I found You, and I love You, I love You, I love You, I’m Yours, oh my God, oh my God. My God, my God!"

And course He was holding me so tightly, and returning the love in this outpouring, and I knew that it meant just as much to Jesus that I had found Him, that I was there, in His arms, recognizing Him.

So that was just utterly delicious.

So I said, my goodness, what else should we do?

April 4, 2013 Unpublished blog

So I probably won't post this.

Last night I was with Jesus, in whatever way that happens. It seemed we were in that room, curled up upon the couch. My arm was dangling off the edge; I was touch with my fingertips the smooth floor just in reach.

We were talking and Jesus reminded me of all this writing I've been doing, the thing I've been working on lately. (A very large poem.)

You're getting to the good part, He reminded me. I knew Jesus was looking forward to this part of the poem.

"Yes," I replied softly.

I could see how the poem is beginning slowly to curve around a long, painful bend toward its destination. But the destination seemed even more difficult to write than the journey to get there.

"Yes, soon I will be describing the love of God," I continued, lost in thought. "I'm afraid of doing that. I don't think I will do it very well."

It will come through you, naturally, as the rest of it has come through you, He said, comfortingly.

"Mm. Yes, the rest has come naturally. So this should come naturally. I must simply let it out."

I drew my arm up and tucked it around Jesus and settled in closer, my head on His chest. I remembered that He was and is my forever beloved Lord, my companion closer than words, more dear than present life, and my best friend.

April 7, 2013 Journal

I’m falling behind on this journal, but I wrote a huge poem that I posted on the blog. It made me shy with Jesus all over again, so for the past few days I haven’t been able to let myself trust in such a way as being with Him there requires.

But this morning, I woke up serene and loving and Jesus had been close and loving all the day before, over and over and over again reassuring me and talking me through my fears and telling me to turn to Him and to give it over to Him, etc, etc.

So I went to Him, but I found myself walking through a beech wood and Jesus was there and I ran right to Him and I said, lovingly, “What are You doing in the beech wood?”

But He just caught me up close, filled with joyous, strong love, and I knew that He had missed me. That is the thing. The extraordinary thing. Jesus loves to be with me. He loves to rest in trustful, delightful love. He misses it.

And I always long for Jesus, so I gave myself over to the delight of being with Him. It was so delicious.

I remember looking over at my hand on the leaves, and He put His hand into mine and interlocked our fingers together and I turned my face to look at Him and I saw His eyes, so light, so full of  love, His face close enough to touch. It was very clear.

I asked, "How is it that I can sometimes see Your features so clearly, but I don’t know quite what You look like altogether?" The answer was a little bit beyond my current lessons, but it has something to do with love. It was as if, when I am resting in complete trust, then seeing Him is perfectly natural. But self-awareness sort of disturbs the natural flow. Not that that’s terrible- it’s only natural in the learning process. That happens.

I moved a little away from Him once and I looked at Jesus, a little ways across from me. Just resting there, just being there, looking at Him. I reached out my hand and He reached out His and we took hands. Then I went back to being curled up with Him.

And I realized something- Jesus meets me where I am. It’s that simple- that’s why I can simply go to Him- because He’s right where I am. So whatever setting happens to appear, He’s going to inhabit it. Because He inhabits me. It’s not complicated.

Then my father posted this article and it talked about how Christ is sometimes referred to as “the Second Adam” and I thought something like, Oh my goodness sake!!!

That explains everything. That explains the garden, in my poetry. It was the garden from the Song of songs and it was the healed Eden and He was the second Adam, and I am made new again. So it’s all brand new and He is my beloved Lord, not just the gardener.

So how about that? Extraordinary, yes? But everything is. It all is. And I’m very drunk on Him.

*

As usual in the afternoon the clouds rose up to play behind the pines
and the sun held me heavy in the chair,
the fan moving the air, barely.

My daughter played at the corner of the house,
sun washed limbs rosy against the grass-
she lives close to the ground and the heat hardly touches her.

The trickle of liquid that runs from under the fern,
just watered, is a gift she looks for each morning.
She stands under it until her hair glistens in strands.

She catches it in plastic cups,
sprinkles the concrete with water drops like a benediction,
singing softly in her own language.

Her hand prints mark the glass door where she leaned in,
confident, her eyes searching me out through the shadows
She knows I am there, somewhere in the kitchen-
all seeing, frustrating, the source of love and redirection.

The evening comes in with thunder before the rain,
the clouds have risen up right out of sight,
only silver seen below,
the trees showing the way the wind is blowing-
eastward, toward the middle school, as it happens,
hardly visible through the undergrowth.

I think of You.

I always think of You-

a glass tipped over the edge
where the clouds in secret form
into great white scallops piling up
within the blue leagues of the sky,
drawing unseen all the water from the air.

You, in the sun warmed earth holding fast my feet against the lawn
You, in the cold water rushing into the glass, melting the ice.

On my bedside table, the fading pen marks of my journal,
scrawled at inconvenient times in the night
waiting to be deciphered in the morning, when, nearsighted,
I hold the page to my face and squint.

All that You gave and could not be contained
in ink is what will remain

of us after the rest returns to dust,
when I see you for the first time,
at last beyond all words,
the Word made visible.

-May 31, 2015








Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11th

February 22, 2017

“All it is, is a learning curve,” I said, thinking of my prayers.

Yes, Jenny, I am teaching you, Jesus said. I had put my face against His and let the peace sink into me, releasing anxieties.

Coming to Jesus this morning has been a slow unfolding of this image and that image, none lasting long. I saw His hand, and His eyes, burning through to me, as soon as spiritually I looked up at Him. I saw Him seated in glory in the midst of the temple, His robe filling the rooms. The rooms were too small for Him and there was no ceiling to the temple, so that He was seated almost above it rather than in it. When I went running to Jesus, He opened His arms to me. Then I saw a corner of the tufted golden nest and Him and that is where I remained, settled in.

Sunk down into Jesus, seeing Him as though for the first time, drowning in the weight and substance of His presence, the tangible reality of Him, the relief and peace of reaching Him at the end and nothing to do but know Him and love Him and let my heart ease more and more into the knowledge that I am with Jesus fully and I will never leave Him. I know that I am just practicing this knowledge, but Jesus participates in it with me, so that, even though it isn’t the moment itself, Jesus gives Himself so much to me that I almost think it is. For long and longer moments, I forget that it isn’t.

Jesus hardly speaks at all, all His love is given through the warmth of His presence, His loving, gentle gestures, the fact that I can nestle down so deeply into His embrace. I hardly look at His face, but when I do, often I see His eyes open, without depth, full of gentleness and love. Such gentleness! I cannot image anyone wanting to hurt Him.


Fear went through me as I grasped the reality of appearing before the Father. It will happen. What if my harvest of fruits is very poor? I held Jesus tightly. No fear, Jesus said, so quietly and that verse lit into my head, perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment.

“Somehow it is done,” I agreed, releasing the fear that I hadn’t been able to do it. “Because of You, because of You,” I realized, clinging to Jesus in relief.

“And you show yourselves to be true followers of Mine,” the verse goes on, I remembering, still holding tightly Jesus. “All glory to You, all glory to You,” I said to Jesus- for, if I have showed myself to be a true disciple of Him, that is all His glory, for He is the One who gave me all I needed to do so.

“The taste of the wine,” I whispered to Jesus, thinking of the Last Supper, and I was with Jesus, who drank that wine in that room.

You are the wine.

February 28, 2017

Heard, Father, the time has come. Now is the time and now is the hour. Saw Jesus turn and look at me out of His eyes of deep gentleness, His face somber, and I went to rest with Him. Saw the tall grasses of a hillside in Nazareth waving in the breeze, went to Jesus there. Saw in particular His crucified hand lying palm up against the ground, picked it up and kissed His hand and curled up in His arms in the nest of the grass.

“Lord,” I breathed, resting against His chest, letting all of myself come to rest in His authority.

Jenny, He said, in His voice peaceful, quiet and still.

Who do you say I am? was echoing in my mind as I was nestled into His arms, and seeing the humanity and reality of Jesus, and also His divinity, the elect One, the anointed One, the Son of God.

“You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God,” I told Him, the wonder of those words striking me anew.

"Let Your Spirit flow, Lord,” I was asking Him as He was pouring love into me. “But I don’t want to ask at an importune time,” wondering if maybe at this time I should focus on myself on adoring Him and not on requests.

This is no importune time, Jesus replied, smiling.

Returned to Jesus in Nazareth, noticed in particular how strong Jesus is. “But You are strong for the work,” I acknowledged. What I cannot lift, He can easily, tipping it right over. It can never be in my strength, but His.

Jesus has laid the way out straight and clear for me to walk down, and there is simply no need for anxiety or stress. Those are useless, needless expenses of emotion that are going nowhere, are no help and actually hinder the perfect work the Lord is already doing.

How Jesus woke in the morning to the darkness before dawn, His eyes flying open, knowing Who and Whose He was and where He was and the work before Him that day, each day.

Oh My heart, Jesus whispered to me. Caught up so much in the drunken ecstasy of love that it was almost too much for my faith. Don’t stumble. My delicate one, Jesus said, turning my face back to His by His hand. Caught up in layers of amber light.

Cast aside the shame of annoying thoughts interrupted the fellowship. "It is finished," I stated, remembering that. Something like rapture washed right over His face like a wave of light, followed by the love and joy deeper, fiercer.

“You will give me all the direction I need, and I am willing to put in the work.”

Perfect arrangement, Jesus said, smiling at me.

March 7, 2017

“Here I am,” through the press of grocery shopping and thoughts on family, house cleaning, writing, guilt of imperfect motherhood, urgent questions. It’s the first time I’ve settled down to meet with Jesus in the midday. Precious Jenny, He says, His voice much quieter and still than these thoughts, and yet heard through them, or despite them.

Rising up like a scent, the memory of Nazareth in the sun, in the workshop of strong sun and shadow, Yeshua just returned with His first few disciples from Capernaum. On the Sabbath day, He will be rejected, but right now, He is welcomed home to His family with rejoicing and cooking and loud, cheerful, familiar voices.

Yeshua, seen in those times, is rough and shaggy looking, with a wind burned and sun darkened face, His beard thick and unkempt, His eyes clear and lit all the way through. They are lit with joy, with anticipation, but steady as still waters. He is still girded for travel and smells like sun and dust and sweat. His disciples are exuberant and starving. His family doesn’t know what to make of Him, but Mary is luminous with quiet joy and she goes on cooking, each movement a graceful dance of thanksgiving, a humming of contentment.

He says hardly anything, each word a living jewel, the quiet tones of His voice strikingly familiar to my ear. Sometimes I cannot even look at Him. Sometimes Jesus comes through the door and only glances at me and that one look is all that is needed. His certain, strong love cuts down to my heart like a blade, and I could not rise from the floor even if I wished. He is my Lord and I am belong entirely to Him. Sometimes He comes through the door dazzling with joy, the delight on His face sparkling like the sunlit spray, and He spreads His hands and looks at me with His dancing eyes and says, “Well?” That’s all He says, but He means, “Well, what do you think, beloved, aren’t you coming to greet Me? Here I am!"

Remembered the inner sanctuary, where He always waits. Saw my bare feet as I ran quickly to meet Him there. Turned inward again, felt His hand resting lightly on my physical shoulders, steadying and comforting. Saw the smoke from in the incense in the inner room rising up, because I am come to be with Him; I light them to tell Him so, before passing into the inmost chamber, but I see Jesus come through the curtain to meet me. Turned inward again, found myself breathing quietly with Jesus in the golden peace.

“Ah, cut down through, cut down through,” I breathed, soaking in both His peace and the fear of God that cuts down through every lesser thing and thought and distraction, leaving me only the Lord and all that is His, and eternal and true.

“What if it’s too much?” I asked, because of the torrent of my grateful, abandoned love.

You cannot be too much for Me, Jesus replied, firmly because He wants no second guessing to hinder the torrent of love that belongs to Him. He wants it all.

“Lord, may it be! May it be on earth as it is in Heaven!” I was praying passionately, my love for Jesus going up in holy flames of awe and adoration, remembering His prayer, and that I was with the One who had prayed it.

My heart.

Again, His longing, the intent of that prayer, the fact that those words were what He spoke aloud on the night of His Passion, filled my understanding and left me with an intense desire that those words should be seen, should be manifest, His prayer answered. “Lord, may it be so! Bring it to pass!”

Jesus should have His prayer answered! He deserves to have it answered! It is extremely important to Him. Jesus could have prayed about or for anything, but those were the words He spoke, those were the requests that filled His heart and directed His attention toward His Father.

March 12, 2017

Jesus showed me a glimpse of Himself before Pilot- laying out the truth before Pilot as an invitation and the man brushes it by in an impervious manner, too sophisticated, too arrogant, to consider the implications. Jesus gave even Pilot an invitation to believe in Him.

There is the otherworldly Son of God, seemingly as helpless as a Lamb, devout, flawless, wholly given over to God with a tested obedience that is leading Him to the cross, declaring the truth whatever the cost, the other is accomplished at the game of politics, playing with truth with a deck of cards, because to him, the main thing is to get the job done, and to get ahead in the process, because that to him is intelligent, is worth doing.

But Pilot was rattled. “Where are You from?” he asked Jesus. Jesus is a profoundly unsettling Person, even to an urbane Roman, who refuses to recognize the truth when he sees Him.

My Kingdom is not of this world- it has no such source or origin, Jesus had already told him.

While Jesus is still wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, he puts Jesus on display before the crowd. I had not realized that, the degree of shame and humiliation that Jesus was put through, to stand recently flogged and displayed in mocking array before an entire crowd of people- His people, and in that place of pain and vulnerability and humiliation, to the hear the crowd call out for His death. He looked for some to have pity, but He found none, neither found He any, as the verse reads. At the cross, there was His mother and John and the women to pity Him, but before Pilot, there was the crowd. They did not say, as Pilot was hoping, oh well, you have flogged Him, I suppose that is punishment enough, let the innocent One go, now that we see His pitiful estate.

Also, Jesus, knowing that all was accomplished, said in fulfillment of the Scriptures, I thirst. I never heard that verse in the same way before. John writes that Jesus was thirsty twice- once at the well and now here. Every detail of John's Gospel has great meaning. Jesus is the well of Living Water, and yet He thirsts.

With fervent desire have I desired to eat this supper with you, Jesus had said, because I tell you the truth, I will not eat of it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the wine, He said,  I will not drink of it again until it is new in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom of Heaven, for the Lord, the new wine is us in Him. It's a living, endless communion.

Jesus was longing even then, and was thirsting on the cross, fervently desiring to eat the Wedding supper, for the new wine of His Kingdom, but they gave Him vinegar- sour wine. They have it to Him on a sponge with a hyssop branch- that was all they could give Him and as close as they could come.

From the phone:

I'm holding You accountable to Your words!

I know you are, and I love it, Jesus replied.

I danced and sang for Him during the worship service. I remembered Pilot and my Lord standing there with such tattered dignity, such vulnerability but regardless, truth immovable, undisguised, though scorned, and I danced all the more for Him, willing also to be scorned with Him, to bear with Him His reproach, to adore Him in the press of His trial, before He ascends to the throne. My tongue was filled with rising notes of some other language trilling from my throat, my hands kept lifting like birds to take flight, joy poured out to Him.

March 18, 2017

Found Jesus resting within me- I remembered this was true, and I saw it with my inner eyes, He was resting quietly but turned to me with a quiet joy when I reached out to Him. “And lo, I am with you always,” I remembered.

“You are very generous,” I said, as He let me see Him bending tenderly over my chair, leaning down toward me. “And yet strict, because You never let me come to You without at least some measure of faith…” He never bends those rules entirely, always I must believe Jesus to be trustworthy and to be there and to be reliable.

Not yet, Jesus reminded me, because in heaven, no faith will be necessary. It will be open and full and complete.

“Not putting Him to the test, but worshiping Him,” I thought to myself, remembering how it was.

Yes, Jesus whispered.

March 27, 2017

“I want to drink from that cup in Your hand,” I had sung aloud to Jesus in the words of the song they had sung at the last of the Sunday service. It was a beautiful song, and I directed that line right at Jesus, with all my heart, with all my longing.

Then this morning He gave me to drink from it; I did not understand the intensity and insistence of His love until I remembered how I had sung to Him.

May Jesus Christ, by faith, actually settle down and dwell in your hearts through faith. When He dwells in our heart, He does not dwell at the far edges or in some corner or in some uncomfortable, formal chair. He dwells right in the warm, living heart, in the closest relationship to us.

I love you.

"You love me! You love me!" I repeated in wonder. Jesus who gave the Sermon on the Mount loves me. He holds me in His arms and loves me. “Your love does not make allowances for wrong doing, but it brings me up into right alignment with Your holiness and righteousness. Your love lifts me into right standing, Your right standing, which is perfect,” I said, realizing this. As I was saying this, Jesus tightened His arms and drew me against His heart.

“This is what He wanted,” I said to myself in contentment, held so close in His arms, my cheek against His beating heart, meaning in the ages past, before we ever came into being, when He was only thinking of us, it was the warm, living closeness, the intimacy of mutually chosen, pure and faithful love given, and receiving His love in return with joy and delight and gratitude. It was that which Jesus longed for and gave everything He had for, that was what Jesus wanted all along.

So much, Jesus said, His voice clear and certain, from above my head, because mine was tucked under His chin, and unexpected, because sometimes I forget that He reads all my thoughts.

March 29, 2017

Yesterday was the woman’s prayer meeting. We wrote down prayer needs on slips of paper, which I thought we would hand in to the leader, but we found a person to exchange them with and keep the other’s to pray over. The woman in front of me turned around and it was that lovely sister who also is in the prayer ministry, to whom I feel a strong and good connection. I was delighted and asked her if she would like to pray with me, and she said yes, she had been thinking of me as well.

Her prayer request hit me strongly, because Jesus has put a desire to pray for that deep within my heart, and so when it came time to pray, the prayer was taking hold of me even while she was still speaking and I said, “Can we get down on our knees?” Because I couldn't really dig in and follow the prayer until I was in that posture. We did and I put my hand on my head, which I can’t help doing somehow, and I began to pray. I realized that my voice was getting louder and louder, but I couldn’t help it, and I said Jesus' words that He had said in Nazareth- that the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon Him to break out the prisoners from captivity and to bind up the broken hearted and that this person we were praying for was His, His own creation and that He had a destiny for them and that even as He was right then seated at the right hand of God, His name above every other name that can be named, that He break them free and heal them in every way and exalt His name of life in their life and show forth His glory in the world and that He was arranging a pathway of light (which I could see as I was praying) a straight path of healing and that He was arranging people to come and to speak life and healing to them, to heal them in every way- emotionally, spiritually, physically- that He would restore their soul.

“So you’re gifted in warfare,” said my sister, as she was getting up from kneeling down. Her eyes were shining.

I was delighted to hear this, because I didn’t think that I was. “I don’t know,” I said honestly, spreading out my hands, palm up. “That’s just the way I pray.” But I treasured this confirmation, because it is rare that I receive this type, as I rarely ever speak aloud about my inner life, including my prayers, I only write about them. (I'm her prayer partner now.)

When I came home, I lifted the prayer requests up to God. Each time, the Holy Spirit came down over me so that I was gasping for air, and after each prayer, I went down on my face before my Lord Jesus in gratitude that He heard the prayer, that He answers, for His faithfulness, His love, His mercy, His attention to us.

“But now I want to love on You,” I confessed to Jesus, after recording the above, knowing myself to be in His arms as He rests in me. “I don’t want to be constantly barraging You with requests…”

“Lord, unstop the wells of their hearts, Lord and let their love for You gush up freely! Let their love flow up sweetly and freely for You…” I was standing in His arms on the upper court, when we had come to, after I had met Him at the one even above that. I had met Him on my knees, and He had dropped also to His knees and for a long time, I rested my head against His heart and delighted myself just in being close to Jesus. Then we dropped down a floor, because that higher place felt too formal to speak to Him very easily in.

“Lord, You are so good to let us love you, because we love to! It is so good of You to let us come close to you! Lord, if it is Your will, open the doors and let those who are consecrated to You come close to You and minister to You,” I was saying, and Jesus lifted one arm and pointed to something behind me, His face lit up. “If it is Your will, I don’t want to interfere in things of Heaven.”

Felt a great sense of weariness pass over me, tempted to think of everything that I must do as overwhelming, and pushed it aside, as I have been learning to do, and instead, accepting those things as good gifts, and saw Jesus sweep me up in His arms, so I wouldn’t have to walk, He would carry me.

"I will do all that I can, because this rest is coming,” I reaffirmed, my head resting back against the arms of Jesus, knowing that soon I will see Him and I will never afterward be parted from Him, but have Him and be with Him forever. All the work will be finished.

Ah, My Jenny, little offshoot, Jesus murmured in love. I saw myself, a tender little living branch, attached to and growing from the vine with great delight and rest and closeness.

"Ah, flawless Branch of Heaven,” I sighed, putting my cheek against His heart, knowing Jesus Himself lives in me and waits for my love, and I do not want to leave Him waiting, and as I said this, I saw a huge vine grow right up out of His heart, which I have seen several times before, but I still don’t know what it means.

I don’t think I’ve been recording this, but I have learned something really important and that is, that it is really true that we may flee at once to the Mercy Seat to ask for help in times of trouble- this is a specific kind of trouble that I've been learning about. It’s when we are being tempted. If at that time, we remember that we may go right into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as He sits on the throne, and throw oneself at His feet and beg for help to escape the temptation, Jesus moves and He moves with great power and immediately.

Sometimes, I throw myself at His feet and cry out, "Your holy work of long suffering love in Your own is being threatened, my Lord and they are too great for me! Don't let Your work be destroyed or hurt!" And I point backwards and pour out my heart without words against the corrupting influence, whether it is of atmosphere or thoughts, which can sometimes be like a cloud of awfulness through which I am passing. At those times, when I cry out to Jesus for His help, I know that I am most fiercely loved, most deeply treasured and that whatever troubles me, causes thunder of righteous indignation in my Lord and a lightening flash of fierce, swift answer.

It is very true that the Lord does not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, but He provides a way of escape so that we do not fall into sin. We can ask for this and expect the answer. This does not mean an escape from suffering or trials, but escape from that which would cause us to sin against God.

"Who is My mother and my sister and my brother? They are those that do the will of My Father,” I remembered Jesus saying.

“I like to please You so much, so much,” I was confessing, with burning heart, as I went back to Jesus, because it is true! I love to please the Lord, I love to fill His heart to overflowing, I love to delight Him, and He was pulling me strongly into His arms and into the torrent of His love as I was speaking.

And then after writing this, I felt tired and wondered when the music would end, letting me know an hour has passed! Such is my humanity. But Jesus is so faithful, so tender, so forgiving. He must be, for the flesh is weak. But Jesus reminds me that in weakness His strength is made perfect, and so that makes me a excellent vessel for Him.
*


Hillsong












Friday, August 4, 2017

Leap Into Love

March 27, 2013 Published blog

Then Shall I Leap Into Love

I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me.
If you want me to leap with abandon,
You must intone the song.
Then I shall leap into love,
From love into knowledge,
From knowledge into enjoyment,
And from enjoyment beyond all human sensations.
There I want to remain, yet want also to circle higher still.

-Mechthild of Magdeburg

March 28, 2013 Journal

I’m feeling nervous and anxious, because of sharing my experience with Jesus, and getting used to them, still myself. And also, because I keep asking Him things, and His answers are not what I expect and it takes me a while to process them.

I keep pausing, right where I am, and thinking, is this for real? I walked into the bedroom, the dresser drawers left wide open in the lamp light, the bed unmade and I thought, right here and right now, He loves me and I will simply be in it.

I felt nothing profound, only my tiredness, and so I was just that in the moment, and leaned against the footboard of the bed. As I did, I felt Jesus drape His arm around my shoulders, comfortingly, but I refused to be comforted and I persisted in thinking, how can this be? How can this be real?

I let that be in the moment as well- everything in the moment at once, what I felt from Him, my resistance to it, my exhaustion, confusion, yearning, everything together with the untidy room, leaning against the foot of the bed and Jesus poured His love into that moment- personal, kind and generous beyond all expectation.

I felt like laughing from the shock of it; how can Jesus be like this? How can this be true of Him? Will His love never run out?

Last night! Last night, I was very discontent. I wanted so much more than what I had. It was an ache deep inside. I am very glad for those others who write about this. If I didn’t know this was a common experience, I would feel very ungrateful.

I kept pestering Him about what it will really be like, in the greater life, in the wholeness of heaven. I did not pester Jesus about this before because it felt like bad manners in the face of everything else given. I guess I’m getting more comfortable, but asking all these questions is also, I’m sure, adding to my anxiety.

Anyway, I pestered Jesus and some of my questions He answered and some He did not.

I said, will You be a flesh and blood Person?

The answer was, Certainly, yes.

I asked, will I also be flesh and blood, a physical person?

The answer was yes.

I asked, What will you look like? Will I be able to recognize Your face?

Jesus said, you already know Me.

I asked, will we have that room and the couch and will we live there, really together?

And He said, I will always come home to you.

Which I thought was a wonderful thing for Jesus to say. He was gentle and kind about all my questions. I had the feeling that this whole thing was entirely beyond what I was able to know or wrap my mind around, currently. I acknowledged that this was true; that I could sense that this was true, that I lacked the basic vocabulary or concepts.

But Jesus said that certainly, absolutely, being with Him would be real and personal. It would be all those raw, powerful aspects that made it so intoxicating even now. The heart of it would be the same.

So I knew I would have to wait, and I tried to pull myself into the present moment, to not let my longing to know Him in wholeness pull me out of the life I must live now. Jesus reminded me of the child that is coming through the adoption and I said, lovingly, “Yes. I shall love that part.”

I remember these messy times from before. I guess my spiritual life is cyclical. I go from intense times of connectedness and learning, to chaotic times of doubt and questioning that once passed through, lead to greater levels of communion. I guess both times are necessary.

I sat in the car at the parking lot in Walmart, listening to the radio and feeling the sun warm on my face, and I felt the love of Jesus all around me, as though He were holding me close in His arms, His love comforting and familiar.

When the perception of His presence is briefly gone, I think, my goodness! It was real- I feel its absence. And then I feel it again and think, oh my goodness, this is real- I remember this.

Similar to if I constantly felt the sunshine- I would become inured to it. I would cease to notice it. But because it goes away, when it comes back, I remember how delicious it is all over again.

March 29, 2013 Journal

I saw a fraction of a verse on a blog, about how Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame…

My heart went all warm and gooey with anticipation and then it went on to say that the joy set before Jesus was His future exultation.

Not that the throne isn’t important, or that He isn’t exulted- He is, of course He is. His name is above every name and He is wholly worthy of exultation. But goodness! Dare I say, I don’t really think that’s what He was keeping His eyes on. I would think instead that the joy set before Jesus was full, open and loving relationship with us, His beloved ones. I think that was the joy He was looking at.

I keep longing and longing to write something, some allegory or metaphoric poem that would capture how I know God in some way that can be passed on.

March 29, 2013 published blog

Here is a stage:
enter the girl.

Dim the lights.

It would not be kind
this solitary figure
too harshly to illuminate.

She herself is unaware.

Let the backdrop unroll.

Now stretched behind her is
a depth of perception not realized.

She is presented against this
flat invitation, and our imaginations
lend it life not inherent
to its nature, too closely following
the form of our experience
but it will do.

We have yet no other.

Her story now enhanced by our expectation,
the girl paces back and forth before the backdrop,
animated, speaking, believing
her part.

When she turns to the painted canvass
she reaches out her arms as if she could
reach right through it.

Now the music should play.

Softly, I think. Hardly heard:
some violin strains
some wind and reed.

The sound should wreathe the stage
weaving audience into story
and story into girl-
whom we have momentarily forgotten.

In the absence of our attention,
her story has progressed.
She is not alone on the stage.

This figure is not the hired actor.

Flabbergasted, the director searches through the papers,
his hissing disturbing the silence that's descended
in this unexpected entrance,
but the girl isn't taking his cue.

She isn't looking at him.

We are urged to remain calm.
Our regularly scheduled program should resume shortly.

And touching the pulleys and cords
and equipment of mechanical service
this too present and captivating Person lifts them into air.

Breaking apart, our stage falls away,
leaving us hanging in some place
too real to be believed.

Clutch your program close,
but it won’t translate this language for you.
There’s only one word here,
in this place beyond the backdrop,
and it isn't a false front.

Again the girl has been forgotten
and is gone from view.

She's become real and is lost amid the landscape.
To follow her now, we can no longer be an audience.

March 30, 2013 Journal

Last night, I went to bed and I was drawn into love, by Jesus and by my longing and we were there in the room, only I was standing.

We were standing. It was interesting, to see the room from that perspective. I felt a sense of freedom and ability, like I could go explore, I could move around. I remember that the floor was stone and the couch was there, to the left of me, it seemed to be draped with a soft throw blanket and some pillows.

I stepped out onto the grass, but then I hesitated. I stepped back into the room, which is really like a pavilion, because of there being no walls, but Jesus kept assuring me that it was safe and okay for me to be out in that space, so I said something along the lines of, okay, fine!

I ran out into the grass in my bare feet, onto the gently sloping lawn and then I threw myself down on the grass with the joy of a child, and Jesus sat down cross legged near me, in the grass and I lay there, soaking in the peace and freshness and quietness and the nearness of Him.

And then I wanted Jesus nearer, so I moved the little way closer Him and nestled up to Him, my head on His chest. Jesus is welcoming, so open, happy and pleased to have me, that I can’t resist coming close to Him.

I lay there with my head on His chest, resting, connecting to His heart and Him. I moved my hand over the scar tissue on His hand from the nail, and Jesus said, you know who I am.

I thought, that’s astonishing and delicious- I must pause in the sheer enjoyment of being with Him, to mark this in my mind, because I never want to forget that. (Because I have to step out of the conscious flow of being with Jesus in order to stop and record or memorize what happened.)

After doing that, I wondered, can I re-enter that place? And I did, but how I can’t say, except that Jesus and my longing draw me there, and then I worried, how can this be real if it's that easy? But if I get hung up on my doubts and how exactly this is happening, I get stuck. It’s better just to let everything fall into Jesus and accept the gift and to go with it.

When I get stuck like that, I frequently hear Jesus whisper, believe, or do not be unbelieving, but believing. As if believing were the stream which allowed the experiences to run smoothly forward, belief was the thing that caught me up in it, a way in which I participate.

So then, I thought, let’s go down to the edge of the lawn. I paused and consulted without words and that was okay.

Down at the edge of the lawn, there was a wooded slope and then a little stream and it was exactly like the stream at my best friend’s home when I was a child. It was a shallow, rocky stream in upstate New York. I mentioned to Jesus that this was not a new stream, that I recognized this from my past, and Jesus said, but you like it.

As if, it was here again, now, because I liked it. I wonder if heaven is individually tailored like that, in some way, each person seeing or being in the things that they love.

I did like it. I squatted down and put my hand in the water and then I splashed my face with it and the fish came to nibble my fingers under the water. Jesus was kneeling next to me.

I stepped out into the water and I seemed to be younger, much younger and I turned to Jesus and He seemed to be younger, which puzzled me. But it was also delightful. I wonder if God enjoys sometimes to be childlike.

I held out my hand to small Jesus and He took my hand and wadded into the water with me. And it was so… so good. As if God and I were best friends, or companions, just exploring the world and enjoying it.

But then we crossed the river and the other side was some dense tangle and above it I kept seeing the road and thinking, that’s my memory, not this experience and I couldn’t seem to move away from the memory into the free flowing spiritual experience and I felt some kind of uneasiness, so I turned away and let it be whatever it was.

(I think it was a boundary. Never have I been able to go freely entirely in any direction in that place, even when with Jesus. Sometimes when I reach the limit, it looks like a blue sky with clouds. Sometimes it’s just an unclear jumble without form. Sometimes it’s a jumble of memories. Whatever it appears as, I know instinctively that the freedom to move on or through is closed, and it is best to respect that.)

We sat down on the other side of the stream together and we were our usual ages and we were resting. We were talking, but I forget about what.

We came up out of the bank and onto the lawn and indeed, there was the pavilion at the top of the lawn and I could see the blurry tops of trees and possibly hills beyond it and I had this feeling that the city lay there, somewhere in that direction. It was interesting, refreshing in some way, to see the room from the distance, from that new perspective.

Suddenly, my love for Jesus rose up bursting out of my chest and I threw my arms around Him and poured out my love to Him. It was intoxicating, headier than wine.

I was caught up in this surge of love, caught like a leaf in a flood tide, like a bush with every leaf lit on fire and not burnt away and I suddenly realized that I had known Jesus always- that He had always been my Beloved, my Lord. I had known Him before I had been born into this mortal life. (I'm including this because this happened, but this is my personal testimony, and by no means must a person believe this as doctrine.)

Like that verse, He choose us in Him before the foundations of the world. How could He choose us, if we weren’t already in some form, extant? We were in Him before the foundations of the world were laid.

This history that I had with Jesus, it moved me to the depths of my being. With all that I was, I cried out to Jesus again and again, “Oh my God, oh my God! Oh, it’s You! I know You!” As if I had found Jesus all over again, found the one thing that mattered most, the Source of my life and life itself, the foundation of my being, my breath, my heart, my everything worth having, the one irreplaceable, inexpressibly wonderful thing that I had lost, that gave the horizon all its aching beauty- He had been lost to me for a short while, and now recovered, recognized.

It moved Jesus deeply, He kept gathering me up, claiming me, assuring me, again and again, that I was His and He was mine and we belonged to each other.

It was so much, it beyond words; I couldn’t even find the words to speak how much I longed for Him, wanted beyond what I had, beyond what I could see, I wanted, badly, with a longing so intense it was almost painful, to return to that place and way of knowing Him completely, of being with Him with open sight and presence, as I had before the veil of this life.

I knew that I would know His face, that when I saw it, it would be as if I had never forgotten what He looked like, I would know Jesus from the marrow of my bones to the spark of divine life in the depths of my spirit, I would know Him through and through, my eternal Lord, my beginning and my end, my all in all and everything good.

And then, as I was in His arms, this intensity eased away of its own accord, and I felt this sorrow sweep up from inside Him. Jesus was sad, He was filled with sadness. Immediately I was filled with love and compassion and tenderness. I was not dismayed by His emotion, only inexpressibly moved by it, and I caught Jesus up tightly in my arms, as if to comfort Him, and I cradled Him in my arms, and I whispered in His ear, “What is wrong? What happened? What happened?”

He did not answer me in words, but I remembered, the thought drifted over me, that it was Good Friday and that so many countless people were remembering the crucifixion and not just that, but they were remembering and being in their own suffering, which was great and the two together were present, somehow, in that moment. For one moment, I saw as Jesus saw, or felt as He felt, to feel the yearning pain of this life, of the people lost in this life and the hurts they suffered, away from Him.

It was unbearable; it went sharp through me and I said, of course, of course, I understand, I see. But He only let me feel it that one moment, because I can’t handle all of it. Only He can. I wonder if Jesus feels that constantly, at a certain level in Himself, while at the same time, feeling joy and completion, because that is also true- but who knows how He is within Himself? That is a profound mystery.

I said to Jesus, almost as a confession, because the feeling has been so strong, “I love to comfort You.”

He replied immediately, I love to be comforted by you.

Jesus reminded me of what I had read earlier, something which talked about the degree to which our spirits can learn to grow in love- to be able to love God almost as God does. Jesus reminded me how much I had wanted that and I said, “Yes, Yes, I did want that. I want to love You are powerfully as You love me, I want to love you completely, to see and to love You as You are, and in order to do that, You must make me sturdy enough to face You- You must help me grow up to be as strong and loving as You, so that I can love You as You should be loved.”

This pleased Jesus. He liked that very much. He will lead me there, eventually. He will fashion me in that way. I couldn’t sleep very well, because I was so caught up in Him, thinking about Him, remembering what had happened, remembering the things He had said and most of all, remembering that He was my eternal, my always Beloved and Lord. Jesus kept reminding me of this, Himself.

I would wake and know Jesus was there, and He would take me into His arms with strong, jealous love and remind me, without words, that He was eternally my beloved Lord, that I had found in Him my Source, that I would always know Him, that I had found Him again. It was intoxicating, moving. When I woke up in the morning, I felt that again.

*

"We should trust in Him helplessly until the Holy Spirit exclaims, "Who is this that cometh... leaning upon her beloved?

"The Lord answers and says that she is none other than the once filthy sinner, who was seen by grace, called by grace and saved by grace. Her mother is God's grace. The grace of God does not refer just to God's forbearance. His forbearance is only a small part of His grace. God's grace also includes His plan and selection before the foundation of the world and His Son's redemption and the work of the Holy Spirit in time. All these are God's grace according to the Bible. When God's grace seeks and finds a chosen sinner, it puts him under the shadow of Christ. There he is fed with life, and there he is brought forth. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the love of Christ.


"The "apple" tree is the same bergamot orange is 2:3; it refers to Christ, who is full of affection. Who is this maiden? She is none other than a sinner saved by grace. Thank God that when she first opened her eyes to behold the world, the first thing she saw was the affectionate Christ. The first fact she discovered was that she was under the shadow of such an affectionate Christ. That was her origin. How fitting it is for her to remember this at the time of her spiritual maturity!"

-Watchman Nee, Commentary on the Songs, 8:5-14



-Hillsong United