Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15th

Last month, April 25, 2015

“Help me to die to myself willingly where You have put me,” I prayed to Jesus. I was sitting beside Him at the new brook that now runs through the grass of the front lawn. Seen closely, it was more beautiful than I had expected. Vibrant and unexpected shades of color from the bed of the brook appeared to waver and glimmer as the water ran swiftly over it.

As I had been sitting there with Him, I was remembering my discontent during the day, feeling ashamed of the small acts of love that were required of me.

I was seeing this attitude in a different perspective now that I was with Jesus. I can easily fall into envying other people's tests of faith and love, but doing this is doubly wrong, as it causes me to go through the whole day not seeing and being present to my own life, and passing over or feeling irritated at the things I'm actually called to do, when I could instead be doing them with all my conscious love, and putting them into the hands of Jesus with all my faith.

“May my daily death to self here where You have put me be a sweet fragrance of surrender in love to You. If my sisters and brothers have the courage and faith to take on their missions all over the world, may I also have the courage and reliance and willingness to trust You here, in the love and service of those beloved ones whom You’ve brought to me. Let me learn faith, obedience and sacrificial love humbly where You’ve put me.”

May 2, 2015

“I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night- but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day.”
-Psalm 139:11-12 NLT

I stood up, still in profound awe. Even in the confusion that had seemed like a darkness around me that morning, Jesus had known exactly where we were going and had led me straight along the path He intended all along. To Him, the night of my lack of sight shone bright as day and His purpose came through.

Standing in the room, I was caught up in the growing and deepening awareness that Jesus was with me. When I began slowly to move around the room, the feeling of His presence did not lessen; it grew only stronger.

In the weight of His presence, everything solid that I saw seemed to have a much lesser reality- that is, the things I was seeing seemed to be nothing but a curtain- to have only a borrowed, thin existence, but the presence of Jesus was infinite, superseding, filling, upholding and going far beyond those physical things.

The room was very still. It was filled by the thin electric light, and the wooden, glass and plastic objects, the walls and floors and ceilings felt as small as a closet, but also to be floating in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who is so vast that everything is held and coheres within Him and yet is also a Person, the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of Man.

I put my fingertips to the wall in wonder. I was aware of myself being small, fragile as a soap bubble, powerless and blind in myself, but also I was aware of being beloved, cherished, held, protected, seen and endowed and filled with and living in His eternal Life.

I was filled with both the profound awe and fear of Jesus, who was and is and is to come and is the Eternal Word of God, omnipotent and omnipresent, from whom and through whom and for whom are all things, and I was filled with an almost delicate or fragile love and trust in Him. Even loving Him with my whole heart was a breath of air before His vast presence and love, which is of God, and yet He cherished that love.

It’s like standing on air. It’s a delicate feeling to be standing where it is impossible to be standing. You know with certainty that it is not yourself who is keeping you there. You are afraid because you are caught up in heights far beyond your strength or ability, but you are not afraid, because you know Who is holding you there. Nothing else is holding you there, because there is no other God. There is no other power to hold.

I was standing there, caught up in this depthless sense and the weight of His presence and I prayed as though I were speaking face to face with Him, as if physical sight were the only barrier between us, a passing and flimsy barrier. I prayed as though that prayer were a stone I could turn upright to mark that spot in time, as Jacob did when he woke from the vision of the ladder- here is where the Eternal is! Here is where I have come so far by His help. Now I pray God sustain me and keep me and hold me all the way home, for His name's sake.

May 4, 2015

I was resting close to Jesus in the usual way, soaking in Him. “How are You?” I kept asking, concerned. I don’t know why I was so concerned, but I was.

My heart is soft, Jesus replied.

“I will pour love into Your heart, Your noble heart!" I replied, moved to compassion for His heart, softened by longing and grief. “You have been out seeking the lost ones.You have been out calling. It’s what You do. May they all hear Your voice. Let Your light shine on them and open their eyes to You. Let them know who they are in You.”

Tears were trickling from His eyes, I brushed them away with my fingers.

May 7, 2015

“Jesus, I am Your servant,” I prayed, filled with loving certainty. “I love to be Your servant! I love to be Yours! I love to belong to You! I know You will deal with me in Your unfailing love because I am Your servant and I know You will teach me Your words and principles, because I am Your servant and I must know Your decrees and words in order to serve You.

“I know You will give discernment to me, Your servant, so that I will understand Your decrees and commandments. You will show them to me and lead me in the way everlasting and guide me along Your paths for Your name’s sake. None who look to You will be ashamed. You will guide me in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.”

Your place in My heart is not only that of a servant, Jesus reminded me, full of love.

“Yes, I know,” I humbly acknowledged, because in that moment to do otherwise would have been impossible. “I accept. But while I am here, that’s how I will live.”

Last night, I talking to Him about the blog and how I wasn’t sure if He said I love you, or if I just felt His love, and I didn’t want to write down something that I couldn’t remember clearly.

“I don’t know for sure!” I complained.

Jenny, said Jesus, with loving reproach.

“Well, but I don’t know for sure,” I repeated, stubbornly, and I felt Jesus draw close, His loving presence surrounding me, and all my stubbornness melted away.

Don’t I love you? He asked.

“Yes, You do."

Don’t I always love you?


We live a hand's breath away from God. We are crowded around by eternity.

Next weekend is Pentecost. I think of the early disciples, waiting together and watching for something indescribable. They did not know how long they would wait, they only knew where to be, and they were there all together.

This week, I saw an advertisement. In it, vistas of the great outdoors flickered across the screen- sunsets, lakes, the Rocky Mountains, with bright thin tents and cozy fires and families gathered in the foreground.

As I watched, the picture pulled back and I saw that it was a young girl watching this wistfully all by herself, on the screen of her iphone in her darkened bedroom with the blinds drawn- the irony being that I was watching her watch the images of the outdoors on our huge television while I made dinner.

Are we awake?

Despite all the ads to the contrary, we are aging. Meaning and purpose are not bought. Our flickering artificial lamps are surrounded unseen by uncreated Light. We can  throw open the windows and turn our face toward Him or we can turn our back, but either way one day that Living Light will break into the room.


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver