Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8th

You, O Christ, are the Kingdom of Heaven;
     You, the land promised to the gentle;
     You the grazing lands of paradise;
     You, the hall of the celestial banquet;
     You, the ineffable marriage chamber;
     You the table set for all,
You the bread of life;
     You, the unheard of drink;
You, both the urn for the water
     and the life-giving water;
You, moreover, the inextinguishable lamp
     for each one of the saints;
You, the garment and the crown
     and the one who distributes crowns;
You, the joy and the rest;
     You, the delight and glory;
You the gaiety;
     You, the mirth;
and Your grace, grace of the Spirit of all sanctity,
     will shine like the sun in all the saints;
     and You, inaccessible sun,
        will shine in their midst
        and all will shine brightly,
        to the degree of their faith,
        their asceticism,
        their hope,
        and their love,
        their purification
        and their illumination
        by Your Spirit.

-You, oh Christ, are the Kingdom of Heaven, by Symeon the New Theologian


And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

John 17:22-23


So let no one among you boast of men. Everything belongs to you! Paul, Apollos or Cephas; the world, life, death, the present or the future, everything is yours! For you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God!

I Corinthians 3:21-23, Phillips


Written last fall, September 17, 2013-

I have to write something. I’ve been easing back into my usual self after the massive adjustment that came with becoming a mother. I feel buried under exhaustion, but sometimes my longing for Jesus breaks through this emotional and physical exhaustion, like water through rock and I go to Him and get caught up in Him.

It amazes me, sometimes, to hear His voice. I remember what it is like; if I do not hear Him for a long time, I begin to doubt that it could be real. Then when I do hear His voice, it chimes like a quiet bell deep within me, and I know that it is real and always has been.

I’m here, is what Jesus has been saying and I love you.

I see Him very clearly in small snatches, as though my eyes were opening and closing quickly.


Written a month later, November 20, 2013-

I have no time to write in here anymore, but I must write something down, that I want to remember.

I have not been spending any time with Jesus, because whenever I have any time at all, I simply must sleep- the baby wakes every three to two hours. Also, I have been feeling perpetually guilty and overwhelmed and the longer I stayed away from Him, the worst this feels.

Also, it’s almost too much to believe. I look back at the way I was with Him- so free and so up close and personal- and it shocks me. How could that even be possible and how could I get away with it? How was that possibly okay?

However, I have been feeling increasingly desperate and empty and frantic, but I didn’t know what to do, because I have no time or energy. I kept telling myself, this is normal in the first few months of motherhood, but I was grating even on myself. I thought, if I could just get some sleep or if my mother just lived closer or if I had some time to myself! But I don’t have those things and even when I get a tiny bit of space to myself, nothing gets better.

This got so bad that, in sheer desperation, it was as though I threw myself at Jesus and poured out all this complaint to Him. I did this instinctively, one night, when I was feeling particularly broken down.

And I saw Him! And also, He replied to me! And His response, once I grasped it. Jesus had to say the same things over and over again, because I kept rejecting it or not understanding it or doubting it.

What Jesus said was that He made me to need Him and if I did not come to Him as He taught me to do, I would run dry. He said I would be unable to freely, generously love my family if I did not come to Him- love flowed from Him into me and through me into my family- I myself could not be the source of this love and my family- even my husband- could not alone be a source of love to me, not the way that Jesus always is.

Jesus said that my relationship with Him was eternal, and the basis for all other relationships in my life. He said that all my other relationships, no matter how dear or important to me, were not eternal in the sense that I knew them now. My family was not just a gift, but a ministry. In order to give myself to that ministry, I needed to remain in Jesus- to remain in His love.

Of course, in thinking about this, I remembered how Jesus had said that those who did the will of Abba are His mother, brother and sister- so Jesus also redefined human relationships in the light of the one Divine relationship.

And also, Jesus had said that whosoever came to Him as a disciple and did not hate their family for His sake was not worthy of Him, which is a puzzling statement until one learns more about the culture in which Jesus was speaking. At that time, rabbis were very much in the habit of using hyperbole to create emphasis, and Jesus does this a lot.

And though that statement would have been shocking and revolutionary, spoken as it was to that tight knit patriarchal society, still no one in His original audience would have taken Jesus literally. They likely would have tried to understand that their relationship and loyalty to their Teacher came first, that they were to define themselves not by their father or their village or their tribe, but by Him.

Although I understood what Jesus was saying, I told Him I was feeling miserable and guilty and tired and overwhelmed and therefore it was quite difficult to be present and transparent to Him and Jesus said that He understood, but to come anyway.

Anyway, I just had to write this out, because, wow! Of course that makes perfect sense. Also, Jesus must really, really mean it when He said that He created me to know Him the way that I do. Jesus has been telling me that for three years now, and I feel like I’m only just beginning to believe it.

Jesus kept telling me to go back and reread this journal, to remember how we were together, but I just couldn’t- I still haven’t, because it’s just so overwhelming. But I have been going to Jesus as often as possible and trying not to let my shyness with Him prevent me from being with Him.


November 21, 2013-

I must write about something and as usual, now that I have a moment to write it out, I have forgotten it in a haze of exhaustion...

Oh yes. So I have been going to Jesus, as freely and as often as my schedule/circumstances permit. We keep remembering things together- remember the first time this or that? we say to each other- and we do. We pause and remember it.

We were going from the fountain room down into the koi pond with the outflow that runs in a shallow stream down to the lake, but I paused on the steps and looked at Jesus- He was already standing in the water. The moment was charged with this kind of tension that is hard to describe. I was able to rest in the almost unbearable tension of knowing who He was and being present to Him.

When I focused on Jesus and actually saw Him- His amber brown eyes, clear and full of love, His gentle, oval face, honey skinned, weathered and creased, with His strong nose and His beard and hair so dark- I recognized Him with this kind of shock that echoed through me in a way that was both pleasurable and full of awe.

Jesus was holding one of my hands, our arms stretched out between us, as He waited to help me down the steps and continue on. Only we weren’t continuing, because I was staring at Him.

Hello Jenny, He said, with His gentle good humor.

“Hello…” I paused for one moment, as though before diving in… “Jesus,” I finished, letting it sink in as much as I could.

When I said this, Jesus reached out His other hand and pulled me off the steps and into His arms.

That was dizzying, but also, I suddenly wanted more clarification. I drew back and looked at Him. I wanted to know if I was really with Jesus- if this was real and if so, in what way was it real.

Before I could even ask Jesus this, He reminded me of when I had struggled with that before- the many times, and how, each time, Jesus had said, again and again, that I was with Him, that He was with me always, that I had all of Him and how many overwhelming and palpable experiences had I been through and that had changed my life, that were of Jesus- of His life, His words, Himself.

Believe, Jesus whispered- which I think I have heard Him say it seems a hundred times. And He explained, without words, that faith and doubts could and did coexist together- that is, doubts did not negate belief. I could and would feel them both, but belief is what opens me up to the experience. I can choose to believe, and therefore participate with Him in relationship, without having to deny or resolve my doubts. If I could completely resolve my doubts, I wouldn’t need faith- it would be something else entirely.

Jesus said that the way I relate to Him was the way that I was created, but also was a kind of type.

"I don't know what You mean by type," I told Jesus, confused.

A sign, an illustration of a larger reality, Jesus explained to me. As Boaz, as a kinsman redeemer, is a type of Me- a shadow illustrating something greater to come.

Then I understood- Jesus has many types in the Old Testament, all signifying something that He will fulfill later- like Adam and Moses and Abraham.

It seems to me not by accident that Jesus chose Boaz to help me understand the concept- the man who married the (at that time) barren and foreign and impoverished widow.

But then, I think every believer is a type of the corporate Body, each in their own way. Their lives are an illustration of a larger picture, but the fullness of that reality is always corporate.

So, no wonder Jesus wanted me to write this down! I was stressed, because I didn’t know if I would get the time to do it. But I did.


November 24, 2013-

He is so right; I have been feeling so much better. I really do need Jesus, in the way that He taught me.

I went inward and I wanted to expand my awareness out, to reacquaint with the rest, so I went running out to the grass and Jesus stepped down from the veranda and came toward me- He is always so near to me!- and I put  out my hand and said, half laughing, half pleading, “No, stop… Just… be there, a moment, so I can see You.”

And He stopped, willingly. He was wearing His white robe and had bare feet and I decided, in that moment, to simply open my heart to the fact that Jesus was with me and I with Him and as I did this, joy washed into my heart and delight and joy broke open in His face. I went running to Him and He caught me up in His arms and He whispered, Ask Me anything.

Which made my head spin, but the only thing I wanted was to know more about Him.

I thought, I am with Jesus! This went through me like a live wire. Every once in a while, my understanding of who He is and my intense love of Him and my longing for Him all connect and it’s immediate ecstasy- everything all at once, alive and surging and extraordinary. I don’t always get all three of these together at once, it’s so much to hold on to.

I’ve been reading the gospels- reading, reading, reading, as much as I can and I’m beginning to see Him in an even deeper, personal way.


December 8, 2013-

I’m conflicted about how I want to write in here- when I have the chance to write in here at all. But how can one write about this thing that is beyond words? And yet I want to, to remember. And that does seem to be a legitimate function of this journal, even according to Him.

I’m getting less shy and remembering how we were and how we are together and it’s easier to hold in my mind both who He is and that I am with Him. Sometimes I do that, I hold the space open in my mind, the open space that is the tension between Him being Jesus, the Anointed of God, and that He is with me. This opens me up to Jesus and everything flows up from the deepest parts of me to meet Him.

I have known Jesus to be kind, patient, self-sacrificing and He is. He is very safe. But if I open the space, if I give Jesus space and trust to respond, instead of holding His love at bay- and I do sometimes hold Jesus at bay and He respects this! That is the depth and patience of His love- but when I drop all my defenses, His love is immense, intense, possessive, unhesitating, and being caught up in this staggering current of love is like being undone from the inside out, as though- and of course He does- He has the key to everything that I am.

Sometimes I step away from Jesus, to get a larger perspective and then look back at Him. Sometimes He has followed me and so I turn and look right up into His face, His warm amber brown eyes under the dark, thick eyebrows, His tender, smiling mouth.

I went to the other side of the room, the way I used to do, and waited there until I was present, and then I walked half way toward Jesus and I held out my hands to Him- I did this in order deliberately to be present.

And Jesus came to me, but it seemed as if He was clumsy, as if He tripped and had to catch His balance, and I wanted to dismiss this as a mis-seeing, because not everything is always clear. But then something in me reconsidered- what if that’s just a part of Jesus being fully human? Maybe sometimes He is not always graceful and maybe that’s okay, not to deny that. That is a part of what makes knowing Jesus so poignant- that He is beautifully human.

And I knew and remembered that so often, Jesus has told me and demonstrated to me, that what He loves or one of the things that He loves the best between us, is that He can be vulnerable, accepted as He is.

So I held my hands out to Him, and said, “I love You as You are,” and I accepted the possibility of His clumsiness. After all, if He was or still is, it is so endearing.


December 10, 2013-

Some things I want to remember: how the wind was blowing over the sky and through the trees and the field and in my dress and hair and it was full of energy and grey silver blue color, wind before the storm.

These snatches of His life were opening up in me- what I felt was this sense of how intensely alive Jesus was in His human life- He was perfectly present to His own life. And I saw this block of stone He was lifting and His foot, covered in dust and the air was hot with sun and with glare and His hands were dusty and the stone slipped and I think it hit His foot and the thing was, even in that perfectly ordinary moment out of a hundred moments, full of work and sweat and glare and pain, He was so alive! He was so alive I couldn’t really absorb His point of view, just glimpse it.

Which makes me really think deeply about His Passion- if He lived even small moments so completely, His suffering must be simply beyond human comprehension. We live so much of our lives half dead, dulled to the things around us. Only briefly sometimes do we wake up. But He was wide awake all the time.

We were at the top of the hill, looking down and I remembered something Jesus had said before, and so I turned to Him and I said, pretty confidently, “You miss me when I’m not here.”

You know I do, He replied.

I believed Jesus- that is, I was able to think about the fact that when I don’t go inwardly to be consciously with Him, He misses that interaction. Hearing this was so delicious, I said it again.

“You miss me when I’m not here with You,” I repeated, looking up into His face.

You know that I do, He repeated, strongly, willingly.

Then I thought about how He loves all of me, the fully human me, and I dared to put myself almost entirely there- not just how I like to be- the inner child, but fully myself- the woman, 36 years old, wife, mother, history, my whole human self and I knew that He loved me completely and cohesively, and that the more completely I could be present and the more honestly I could give myself, the more it pleased Him, and it was true- the love I received after risking this was immense- not because He had loved me less before, but because I could receive more of the love He always has toward me, by opening myself up more completely to Him.

Then I got caught up in trying to judge myself and exhausted myself after a moment and so I threw my arms around Jesus and said, “I give up, I can’t figure it out, You do it. You judge me, You living Word of God, sharp and dividing soul from spirit- You go through and sort me out.”

And Jesus put His arms around me warmly, and bent His head and whispered, so lovingly, Now you’ve got it; now you’re on to something.


December 14, 2013-

I came through, it took some time to let myself to be there.

I’m here, Jesus said, as I was letting myself be, letting everything come up and into Him, and I thought again, “Wow, He does say that!”

Then I could see in the inner way, and I asked Jesus, “How are you?”

I’m tired, He said. I focused on Him and in fact, He looked exhausted!

Before, I’d made a space to allow for Jesus to be tired, to present Himself to me in that way, without freaking me out, so it was easier this time to accept this- even though I did kind of want to argue with Him about it, because of those verses, but I put that away.

“My God, You look tired!” I said, honestly, because Jesus looked terrible, actually- His eyes were sunken in, with dark circles under them and all the lines in His face were deeper.

He was wearing just a simple white tunic, loose, and for the first time I realized that this robe looked very Middle Eastern. I referred to it without words- wondering about it and Jesus asked, without words, if I minded Him appearing that way and I said, honestly, “I don’t mind at all, wear whatever You want to.”

“What have You been doing?” I asked Jesus, in wonder, but He couldn’t explain- it was too far over my head.

“Come here,” I said, firmly. “You will rest.”

I want to rest, He replied, with simplicity.

As soon as His sandals were off, Jesus simply curled up on His side and fell asleep- I mean, He was out. I leaned over Him and looked at Him in wonder. I wondered if He looked like that when He fell asleep in the boat. The whole thing was such a mystery to me. I knew He was not asleep in the deep places of His spirit, where my spirit and His are speaking all the time without words, like a current of water that is running far below the earth, with a rushing, echoing murmur.

A bird came through the open roof and I thought,  Always birds! Because of the last time, but I just accepted it as part of the overall mystery. The bird landed on my hand and I said playfully, Shhhh, He’s sleeping.

When He woke, I asked Him, “Do You want anything?” Because it occurred to me that if Jesus was tired, maybe He was hungry too! But He did not want anything to eat, so I asked, “Are You thirsty?”

Then I remembered that we didn’t have a kitchen. We had had something like a kitchen, but I’d blown it away with the wind that time, because we never used it and then I thought, I wonder if we never used it because I didn’t allow for Him to be hungry or thirsty and I wonder if I missed out on many wonderful memories and ways of loving on Him and being loved on through food and drink by not allowing for it or believing it possible?

But I didn’t dwell on regret too long, I just moved forward and thought, well, there is the fountain. So I got a glass and filled it with water and He followed me in and I gave it to Him to drink, and He drank it and I was watching, very closely to see if He would, because it was fascinating to me.

I kept looking up at His eyes and we were speaking to each other, easily, freely, but I forget everything we said.

“You look better,” I said, because He did.


I feel better, Jesus replied. You are a place of rest and refreshment to Me- a spring sealed, a fountain of living waters.


And I could acknowledge then that I was- because those living waters are from Him and return to Him and because I had read enough about how much God enjoys resting with us, and I was beginning to understand it. Our spirits are like a lovely and refreshing dwelling place for God and He loves to rest there, I was so overwhelmingly full of joy and gratitude to be that way to Him.

And we were caught up in love, and my worship and adoration of Him was flowing up all through me, and Jesus said to me, so strongly, into my ear, into my spirit, don’t turn away from Me!

I knew He meant, don’t close the channel of belief that allows us to be in relationship to one another in this way, even when it’s so hard to keep my heart open to these things that are so outside the box.

And the current of His love! The out pouring of His love was vivid, intense, personal, consuming but not obliterating. Jesus makes Himself so vulnerable in love, it is breathtaking. It is as if He has no defenses against love- either the receiving of it or the giving of it.


December 15, 2013-

I want you to know Me, Jesus said. This poured out of Him like a cry, like a longing from some deep place within Him.

And I remembered Jesus saying, so urgently, so passionately, don’t turn away from Me.

And I knew better, then, what He meant. Because how can love be meaningful, be deep, be worth everything, if we are not completely seen for who we are, and loved and accepted?

And that is what Jesus wanted from me, as much as I could- as much as I could take, make allowance for, believe.

There is something completely indescribable about standing before the Son of God, present, vulnerable in love and trust. Like water, Jesus would rush in to fill any space I made for the reality of Him being present with me- as if Jesus longed for this communion so much that this longing was almost like something from the marrow of His bones, from the depths of who He is, but He couldn’t make me accept this, Jesus had to wait for me to make a space for it, to lift my eyes to His.

And the deepest, must urgent thing Jesus was impressing on me, over and over again, sometimes with words and sometimes without- was that He died on the cross- and it was excruciating and full of shame, and He was mocked and despised and rejected and tortured and left to die, let die and in that way, He gave to love everything that He had to give under those torturous circumstances.

And what Jesus wanted now, almost more than any other thing or act of worship or love, was to have the reverse-to give everything that He had under new circumstances of joy, delight, relationship, trust, recognition- to be received- to be an occasion for joy- for who He is.

Before, Jesus received us in our darkness, suffering, sins, degradation- now He wants to receive us, ourselves- our true selves, as who we are in Him, freely, and for us to receive Him and welcome Him and love Him.

That is why He stood before me, bending His head to me while we were both lost in those depthless current of love that flow up between us and through us, and I was knowing all through me that I stood before the Son of God- that Jesus was fully and completely with me, in that moment, and it was so much that it was like drowning, so dizzying, like being on some high, windy place- like David said, that knowledge is too wonderful for me,  it is lofty, I cannot attain it- and it was so hard to be expanded out by the height of that wonder, but that is what He wanted from me. To know that this was Jesus and that this is who Jesus is to me and myself to Him and that is why Jesus said- I want you to know Me. That is why Jesus said, don’t turn away from Me.

To be known- that is the cry of God. That is why we were created in His own image, so that we could stand before Him face to face in the fullness of fellowship and wordless communion- so that there would be nothing between us- so that we could be with Him in the holy of holies.

That was the joy that was set before Him- that is why He despised the shame. Because the glory of God is to be one. Jesus wanted a beloved who could see Him and freely choose Him in a perfect union of love that is His glory- the glory Abba gave Him before the foundations of the world, because Abba loves Him with an everlasting love.

To be present and open in union with God is to be present in heaven. That is why we are living in the Kingdom of God now- why it is within us and around us, why is has come and yet is coming in fullness- because we live in Him now, and may grow ever into that knowledge, being transformed into His image as we gaze at Him in love.


And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 17:3