Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7th

"I'm asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
to live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I'll contemplate his beauty,
I'll study at his feet.

"Listen God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs:
"Be good to me! Answer me!"
When my heart whispered, "Seek God,"
my whole being replied,
"I'm seeking him!"
Don't hide from me now!"

-Psalm 27:4, 7-9, The Message

Written January 2, 2012, as an unpublished blog-

No matter how much of Jesus I have, I always end up wanting more. I have, for the most part, given up wondering why this is. It just is. I no longer question this longing, I just abandon myself to it.
Yesterday, after my exhausted day, I landed in bed, drained and miserable. I knew where I wanted to read- the last half of the psalms- the psalms of ascents, which are beautiful. I've been reading those a great deal, lately.
I read this:
"I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
With my voice I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him all my trouble."
Psalm 142:1-2
Reading this gave me the courage I needed to do the same. I poured out my heart before Him. I cried out to Jesus. I cried out His name, again and again.
I begged Him to be with me ever more closely, and to be able to hear His voice even more clearly. I told Him over and over again that I had no good thing apart from Him and that He was my God. I wanted nothing but Him, I wanted Him in everything.
"I can't do this life without You!" I complained to Him. "There's no point in being alive without You. I must have You. You are everything to me- my very breath, my being and all that is good. If I must be in this life, then I must have You."
I told Him that I wanted to go deeper into Him, to fall even further into my God and into knowledge of Him- for knowledge of the Father and of Jesus His Christ is, I reminded Him, life everlasting -is life itself- and He Himself said so.
You want to see Me, Jesus said.
The words just poured out of me; I pounded the bedspread- "Yes, yes, yes! I want to see You! To actually see You! But also to see You in everything around me, to see You in Your creation and in the people around me and in the Bible and in my life. I want to know You better, I want You!"
May 13, 2013
Jesus pointed out that I’m really focused on seeing clearly lately and that is true and He said that it’s work- my work. I’m not sure what He means by that, expect that maybe it’s like a spiritual exercise and the thing that I’m supposed to be doing, but from my perspective, it’s the thing that I long to be doing.
Looking back- as He prompted me to do- I could see how, in the beginning, I did not see Him clearly at all and accepted that and I did not feel very well, as if I were partially numb, and I accepted that, and things and movement were often messy and blurred and unfocused and I accepted and moved through all that.
Which was necessary. It was very necessary- I was learning to be. Leaning to be takes time.
Now, I want to be more clear. So, I can be more fully present in each moment and I remembered Him saying to me, to clarify my request- He said, you want more presence.
More presence. And it seems that I’m able to receive more of that, visually and texturally and audibly- with all my senses, in fact, I’m able to be more present.
At first, it seemed Jesus wore a simple robe, but now sometimes I am aware that He has a kind of silken sash that is wrapped around His ribs and an over robe that is embossed or quilted- it has a soft, raised texture to it and it has no sleeves- but His usual robe is underneath it.
 And I fall physically asleep often, with is so frustrating. But I guess being with Him and being that grounded and fully present is a deeply soothing thing!
May 19, 2013
Last night I was burdened with so much agony, guilt over not being enough, loving enough, doing enough, and how I am always giving away too much of myself and of course, those two things cannot both be true, and yet I felt guilt over both.
I kept curling into Him and putting my head in His chest and holding onto His shoulders. I couldn’t look at His face for a long time.
Jesus assured me that those things that I was meant to do, that the Father had planned for me to do, would be done through Him and also, that He loved me without reason, for no reason, for no doing of mine, except that He made me for Himself and so I need do nothing in order to have value to Him.
I thought this was excessive grace on Jesus' part, and I argued with Him for a little while- that it wasn't reasonable for Him to feel that way, but even though I did not understand this, after a while, I was willing to accept it. I let my angst go into Jesus and it was as though my hands were tingling because I had been holding on so tightly to my need to control, to define, to do. It was almost painful to let go.
Then I was able to relax into His presence and to look at Him. His face was tender and loving as usual, smiling a little.
Jesus gathered me up in His arms and carried me out to the grass and laid me down there and it was healing, to lie on the grass, in the deep peace of that steady ground and the tender living green.
In the morning, I woke to Him.
Then I saw another room, a room of warm honey colored stone with a low bench along one wall with a long, narrow window above and I had the impression that the room was half sunk into the earth, so it would be cool but full of light and that it opened up to a courtyard but also a corridor further away and He seemed to suggest that we could be in that room- that those were His rooms in another house- His house.
So we were in that room and it was as if I was both in that room and I was in the usual rooms. This was dizzying if I let myself see both, and I also kept confusing my place in time, but mostly I was simply present in His rooms. And I knew, through and through, that I was purely His, only for Him and all for Him.
As I was caught up in love and adoration, I remembered that in this life, I would betray Jesus, let Him down, fail Him and the shame of this, the sorrow was so great that I turned away and curled up in a tiny ball. I wanted to disappear, to be divorced from awareness of myself.
This caused Jesus a great deal of distress. Immediately, He attempted to pull me out of this way of seeing myself. It was as if it hurt Him. He held me close and assured me, strongly, again and again, that those things would or had passed away, they would not define me- He would not remember those things, but I was devastated.
I could hear what Jesus was saying, but I wasn’t able to let His words in. That is, I could hear Him, but hearing Him, I was not understanding- I was listening only to my self- condemnation. I couldn’t believe that I could let Him down so terribly - how could I bear that it happened? How could I live with myself?
And, still trying to comfort me, Jesus whispered to me that I would, in the end, be more beautiful to Him- that He would take those short comings, those failures that I saw in myself, the things that I was ashamed of, and turn them to something ever more beautiful than what might have been.
I understood this, and it did ease the pain, a little, but still! I was reeling still, from the understanding that I would/had failed the One that I loved so deeply, with all of myself. But I tried hard to stand in His own understanding of myself, and not my own and the shame eased away, slowly.
Then I turned to Him.
“I am of Your own life,” I whispered, with pleasure and relief. “An off shoot of Your own life,” because I was so aware of it. I could feel how His life was pouring through me, sustaining me, binding me to Him - the Life which flowed through Him and through me was the same life.
But you are your own little self, your own little life spark, Jesus replied, with just as much pleasure.
I understood how deeply this pleased Jesus, how it delighted Him, that I should be my own self- and how He is like this within Himself. Within the Trinity, They are One and yet also separate Persons having integrity of Their own selves and this, I thought then, must be the very ground of Their delight.
May 23, 2013
Last night I was shy to see Him because I had blogged about Him. I see Him so clearly now, it’s almost unnerving. I see expressions passing over His face. I said something to Him and in response, He shook His head- I was amazed that He was answering me by a gesture and that I could see the gesture.
We played together a lot- in the green, hidden lake- we played on the shore like children! Just like children.
He playfully pulled me into the water and I threw my arms back and pretended to howl and then He pulled me up and into His arms in this fierce gesture of love and protection- like He could not even pretend to be causing me distress.
I pointed out to Jesus that lately He was so often and so freely expressing His sense of humor, much more than I had ever known before. Jesus explained that there was enough trust, closeness and background to our relationship to provide the context for me to understand it, to take it in perspective and not take it literally and stumble over it, which I certainly would have done, earlier on.
He went into the water and all I could see was His head and I told Him that looked weird, just to see His head above the water, so He rose up, grandly and slowly, out of the water and lifted His arms to me and I laughed so much that I tipped over onto the mossy shore.

Then we were somewhere else- at the bank of a different river, sitting together. I was sitting cross legged, He had one knee drawn up and one leg in the river and I was tucked under His arm and we were talking. It seemed like He was chewing on a piece of grass, in a thoughtful way.
We talked about how people might wonder why I was spending all this time with Him and yet not asking Him the hard questions.
“It’s because the hard questions don’t have any answer expect the plan and purpose of the Father, which is mostly secret,” I told Him, which is as far as I myself know. “But even that answer is too mysterious.”
He agreed that the mystery of it was a difficult thing for each person to grasp and that each person has the freedom to wrestle with the mystery in their own timing, to come to an acceptance of mystery individually- that an understanding cannot be forced on someone- or it can be, but not to any good or lasting end.
I thought about how His parables allow for that mystery and space- a person must wrestle with the meaning- must draw the meaning out slowly, because it is not always immediately present.
We were swimming in the lake and we dove down deep where the stream tumbles down from the hill, and deep under there, I saw a subterranean tunnel of rock. The water was being sucked in a vortex through this dark opening, into the rock foundation of the hill.
Without hesitation, Jesus disappeared into this opening, and as I am accustomed to following Him, I did so before I could stop myself- which I would have done, if I had had a moment to consider.
We were caught up in the rushing darkness of the water, which was compressed by the rock. I was spun helplessly through the tunnel, which twisted and turned, caught up inextricably in the powerful current created by the compression. I was caught up in every single thing of which I am the most afraid- dark compressed water that is sucked down somewhere, from which there is no escape.
I was wondering about this and when it would end, when the water shot out into the dizzying light at the top of a terribly high cliff. The water shot out, but I couldn’t; I clung to the opening by my fingers and it was too much, so I dropped from the entire experience.
But later, I thought, I’m doing this! I went back to the tunnel and let myself get sucked into it and was spun through and when I came to the opening, I let myself be shot out by the force of the water and hung in the air and then let myself to drop slowly down the cliff face to the bubbling water that is at the base of the waterfall. Because of course, it’s not possible to fall to one’s death there and I don’t have to let myself drop at all; I could simply hang in the sky.
Written May 25, 2013-
Today, Jesus pointed out that I see Him- almost as if this was a part of my identity- as if He were identifying me by that. I remembered how He had said once that seeing clearly in that place was almost like my work- the thing that I practice or invest myself in.
I stifled the first impulse to deny the way in which Jesus had identified me, and instead considered it. I thought about how many times I had begged Him to let me see Him- how He had summed it up for me, you want to see Me, He had said, so quietly.
I thought about how it seemed that I was seeing Him much more clearly. In fact, today I saw His hand so clearly that it was as if His hands had texture- they were roughened and I realized in a new way that He is as much human as He is divine, because His hands and His face show some signs of wear and tear.
Weather beaten, He said to me once, recently, with self-depreciating humor- and I remembered that He must have spent nights outside and His days outside as well.
May 27, 2013-
Last night I was hurting so deeply from the anxiety of posting my last blog; I was regretting it so much and feeling as though I had failed Him so deeply and that He must be so embarrassed by me and that I must be the most blasphemous, ridiculous joke of a person.
He leaned over me and pulled me in and said, Jenny. He said it with such tender, quiet authority. Immediately I stopped everything I was doing and looked at Him, like oh my goodness, He just said my name.
Then I had to withdraw from the experience to consider it from all angles and then I returned to being with Him and focused on His face and I said tentatively, what?  What did You want to say to me?
And He said, so gently, just stop. By which He meant, stop hurting yourself. Stop doing this to yourself. Just stop.
And I tried.
May 28, 2013
Sunlit cotton gauze lifting
as I sit in the open windowsill
lost, my breath goes through
first and following after my
fingertips resting, breathing in
lighter than air falling warm
though the fabric. Life knit
into life, stitched by breath,
each layer air, flesh and blood and
soil- this life shot through
with roots and tendrils curling,
and you
weather beaten
by dusty wind and baking stone-
finished by that suffering,
all those marks
by which I know you.
In this present life I grew to sleep and
everything real became wrapped up
in a longing too much for hope.
Those dreams,
slipping away into my days
were stolen. One by one
I watched them shiver, shower
into glittering air and lose the light
that lit them from below, too
temporary to bear the weight
of your step
which I could feel trembling
all through me.
My hopes, too small to contain
you, were turned inside out
to greet you.
When I saw you,
I woke and remembered.
May 30, 2013
He says my name all the time now. We were walking along this dusty, almost Mediterranean path on these lovely hills that went down to the sea- there was so much light and warmth- and I was wanting to see Jesus better.

I had my hands on His shoulders and I was peering into His face and looking and looking and He said, with so much love and tender humor, Jenny, Jenny!
I said, "Am I too much for You?"
And He shook His head and said, no, not at all- never.
“You say my name so often lately! But before You did not.” And I remembered how much I wanted to hear Him say it.
He looked down at me with His dancing eyes and He said, before you didn’t see or hear a lot of things!
And I laughed! Oh my goodness. I said, “So true!”
“No matter how much of You I have, I always want more,” I admitted. “And there always is more. How much more is there?” I meant- from this point out, from here.
So much more, He said, soberly.
“I believe You,” I replied, equally solemn. “Jesus. I believe You."

Because there is no way that I ever, ever could have imagined how we are now, before- so there must be, now, no way that I can imagine how we will be farther on. But before, I used to actually worry that our best times were behind us! But that is because I hadn't really even begun to grasp how Jesus is- or the nature of relating to Him. I don't think I could ever worry about that now- even if I went through a dark night of the soul- I think I would always know that, when it ended, sooner or later, I would go deeper with Him.