Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1st

Happy New Year!

My poor blog. I remember thinking, when I'm finally a mom, I'll have loads to blog about every day! All the cute mommy adventures! All the adorable baby milestones!

And those things happen, but I never have time to compose a blog about them. Weeks ago, I took a whole series of pictures from one normal day, dawn to dusk- the day Meri turned four months. I planned to sort through them and post a few here, but I have yet to do that. By the time I do, it's quite likely she'll be five months old!

I'm going to have to face facts- I just can't write as much as I could before- when I could write pages in my journal, and spend hours in whatever creative project I had going and finish a blog in one or two days and occasionally write an e-mail.

Now, I force myself to pick one writing project and spend the odd hours of the day working on it and it takes me a week or so to edit it, and even then I feel it's not very good.

I guess two or three blogs a month is my new normal for the new year. What will help is that I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be posting sections from my journals, starting with the first entry of my current journal.

I've been thinking about it and the way I relate to God is unconventional, perhaps even shocking sometimes- even more so if I simply describe how it is now, without showing how I got here. So I will share some of how I got to this point to hopefully provide perspective and context.

These will be from the second journal of this type that I have kept. The first journal was of the year before- 2011-2012, but after about a year of writing in it, I stopped.

I was starting to become legalistic in my spiritual life- trying to control and earn, which is impossible and in the end, shuts me off from receiving His love and presence, because I get too focused on controlling my thoughts, emotions, performance to even look at Him or to open myself to hearing Him- basically, a return to my legalistic upbringing. That way of thinking still trips me up sometimes; it's just my default place.

So I let everything rest, to learn to rest in His love at an even deeper level than before. Months later, I had to start writing again, to keep a private record and to try and process what was happening.

While reading Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, by Lois Tverberg, I came across this passage, which is now one of my favorite quotes and fits in well here:

"While Job's friends had a theoretical knowledge of God, Job knew God in this latter, Hebraic sense of the word. Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft writes:

     "'Job sticks to God, retains intimacy, passion and care, while the three friends are satisfied with correctness of words, "dead orthodoxy." Job's words do not accurately reflect God as Job's friends' do, but Job himself is in true relationship with God, as the three friends are not: a relationship of heart and soul, life-or-death passion... Job stays married to God and throws dishes at him; the three friends have a polite non-marriage, with separate bedrooms and separate vacations.'"

-Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, chapter 12, The Secrets that God Keeps


Written December 22nd, 2012

So I have to write about something lately.
I’ve been reading The Awakened Heart (by Gerald G. May) and in it, it talks about being awake to the present moment, no matter what it brings, without judgment, just to be in it. That is where one finds God.
I have found that to be true, and I have been practicing it.
Also, it talks about three ways of relating to God, and one is as His beloved.
I remembered of course, that kind of longing and I wondered where it went. I was pouring out my heart to Jesus a few nights ago, all my frustration over my confusion about faith and asking and receiving and my guilt about all that, not understanding it.
I mean, I was shouting at Jesus, bent over double, crying out. It was exhausting and risky, but I really have grown into Him, because I was able to do it.
He was there, tenderly listening and gracefully supporting. He didn’t give me an answer, except to remind me that I have asked Him about that before- because I had been feeling guilty that I hadn’t.
I asked Jesus about the longing, where did it go? And we remembered together all that longing and I couldn’t discern if it was Him or I that had tapered it away. But it seemed as though that was part of the journey, part of growth deeper into Him, a kind of give and take, rising and falling.
For some reason, I remembered Jesus all over again, how delicious He is. And I loved Him, I loved Him, I loved Him, without reserve, passionately. He received all this and gave back and I remembered all this kind of loving that is between us like that.
And Jesus said, you love Me even with all this? Which He could ask, because of the depth and trust of our relationship- all of the history between us, of arguing and risking on my side, and steady, faithful, good humored love on His side, even when He does not explain everything to my satisfaction. And it was as though He gestured back to all the unanswered questions and all the frustration and anger that I had about those unanswered questions and the discomfort of them.
And I said "Yes! Yes, yes, yes, with all that, no matter what, all the time, I love You with all that I am."
Because it’s true. It amazed me, even in that moment, and I said, "I can’t help it- it’s Your nature. I can’t help loving You. I can’t resist You."
A part of me thought this was unfair, that I couldn’t resist Him. And I thought, Jesus must be narcissistic or something, to be able to go around not answering questions, doing whatever He wants and still being loved.
I resented this ease.
I recognized this emotional honesty as part of the process- the very important part of being in the moment and not resisting what I would like to deny. So instead of squelching that thought, I let it flow up.
I reminded myself that C.S. Lewis struggled with a similar thought- that God is always demanding to be worshiped and glorified.
I reminded myself that God does not keep Himself aloof, demanding to be glorified, but that He put on humanity and is with us, and so feels all the suffering and humiliation and longing and deprivation that this life brings.
Also, Jesus loves us even more irretrievably that I could ever love Him. It is as though He makes Himself a captive of His love for us.

You are My beloved, He affirmed, quietly.

I was glad; I welcomed this reminder of who I was, even though I did not feel that way just then. But I did not stir it up. I let myself be who I was in the moment.
So, I’ve been doing this all along and I have had some extraordinary times of simply being in love, as Gerald May would call it. I am able, now, to allow everything to flow up in love as it will, and not to run from it.
This morning I made myself open to the present moment. When I do this, I feel and hear and see everything so clearly. Everything has this extraordinary beauty, even myself.
I am especially delighted by sounds. Everything makes a sound and I hardly ever notice it, unless I am in the moment, and then I am surrounded by them. The sound of the water is especially intoxicating.
Each moment I tell myself not to seek out the experience, but to be present to what is real and the beauty washes through me. I can’t describe what it is like, except that it is as though I am infused with Him, and everything around me is infused with Him and yet also itself and beautiful in itself.
I was doing this, and again I opened myself to the moment, to the present physical reality that surrounded me. I didn’t feel Him in any particular way- I felt Him in everything and I kept opening myself up to this and it was intoxicating, awakening, without definition or boundary and as much physical as it was spiritual and it was simple- as simple as breathing, as simple as my skin breathing in moisture and my eyes taking in the light.

Jesus kept reminding me that no matter what the next moment might be, He was always there, always with me, that this was always true. I didn’t have to make it true or to grasp at it, I just had to trust that it was always true in each moment as it came.
I have made some leaps and bounds in my spiritual growth.