Friday, November 27, 2015


October 21, 2011 Wings

I keep writing these blog posts that I don't post, because anyone reading them would think me crazy or bizarre or something. I don't think it's crazy because I've known the presence of Jesus all my life. But how could another person understand it?

For example, last night I went to get some milk from the fridge. I saw a shadow and it frightened me. I jumped, and then I reminded myself that I was kept safe by Jesus, under the shadow of His wings. I thought of that in particular because last night I read a lot of Psalms and they often use that imagery.

And I distinctly felt Jesus close behind me and lovingly and tenderly enclose me with wings- I felt it in my spirit. But a moment later, I thought, this can't be right, He doesn't have them!

Then I reminded myself that even if He doesn't literally have wings, what I was feeling wasn't literally wings either; it was a spiritual manifestation of a spiritual truth- that I'm kept safe under His loving, securing protection. I wouldn’t understand this so comprehensively if Jesus wasn't illustrating His love and care through these personal spiritual perceptions of His presence.

All last night, I felt that I was under the shadow of wings- as though I slept on one and one was over me. It was warm and cozy. I kept waking up and sensing this and then snuggling in to the sensation.

Why does Jesus continually touch my spirit in these ways? I keep wondering if He's preparing me for some massive amount of suffering or something. I feel apprehensive sometimes. Then I chide myself for thinking such a thing.

Can't Jesus pour out His love just because He loves? Though of course He can do as He likes with my life. Everything I have is His and from Him and goes back to Him anyway.  Whatever happens to me in this life, no one can take me out of His hand, and I’m His forever.

And I shouldn't worry, because I've been through so much already. If my love and connection to Jesus continues despite all that history, then what should I be afraid of? Anyway, it's morbid to worry like this.

I think the deeper truth is that I am this way because Jesus created me to be this way. He made me as I am because it pleased Him to do so, as an expression of His own creative instincts. I can't take any credit for how I’m made. My choice is to surrender to what's real and true, or to withhold. That's my choice.

October 22, 2011 First draft Songs 

Yesterday I wandered outside with an apple, and sat in the camp chair in the sun. My head was so full of the stuff I'd read.

A lot of the Old Testament is ancient and weird, but through it all, Jesus keeps impressing on me how much He values us. That's the ongoing theme, and I keep pushing back against this theme. Last night it occurred to me how much I argue with Him; I wonder where He finds the patience to put up with me. For example-

(I had a posted a blog about the following experience, describing it very briefly, but at this point, I began to write about it in more detail. I ended up doing this more than once, because I began to realize that I was going to have to write down everything in order to record it. Initially, I had assumed I would be able to keep everything in my memory, but that was because I had assumed that what I was experiencing was only going to last a short time.)

One night, two weeks ago, Jesus told me to read the Song of Songs.

"No way!" I replied. "There is no way I can read that with You right here. I can read that when I can pretend that You are up in heaven, attending to other business. But I just can't with You reading right over my shoulder like You do."

So I didn't. That night, Jesus said to me again, Read the Song of Songs. You're caught up in shame and reading it is the way out.

That morning, I forced myself to read it. I literally read it with my hand over my face, reading between my fingers. And I skimmed a lot of it.

But He was right- it did take away a lot of my shame, and then I read it a second time. That's when I remembered praying to Jesus that He keep me as a seal on His heart, when I was sixteen or seventeen, and as I was remembering this, Jesus said to me, I heard that prayer. I never forgot.

I was flabbergasted to remember how easily I used to read that book and how naturally I just claimed it for myself. At that time, it didn't seem presumptuous, it just felt natural.

As I was reading it lately, Jesus said, This is yours- this is who you are in Me.

"No way!" I argued. "I'm not Your bride; that would be absurd and arrogant. Anyway, the church as a whole is Your bride."

Yes,  Jesus agreed, but I'm not taking to Myself a building and I'm not in love with a faceless mob- I love people as individuals.

But there were still some phrases in there that I just couldn't accept, like "Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck."

I thought, there is no way that that could apply to Jesus!  I cannot believe that God could be overcome by His own creation, even in love and through metaphor and allegory.

I looked at that line in a dozen different translations and read a lot of commentary on it and surprise- other people tend to think it does mean that. So then I had to consider it.

He said, Would I have died for less? My bride is my reward.

I said, "Glory and honor and majesty are Your reward, a Kingdom that never ends is Your reward."

I had glory before and I have it now, and authority always belongs to God. That's not what I died for, Jesus said.

Because God so loved the world that He gave His only son, as the famous verse says. Jesus was sent as a sacrifice of love. He died to redeem us from sin and death and back to God. Jesus died so that, in the fullness of time, He could take His bride to Himself, so that she could be innocent before Him:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
-Ephesians 5:25-27

I kept thinking how His agony in the garden had brought Jesus down on His face before His Father. Could His joy and delight in us, the ones He redeemed, move Him less deeply than the agony of His Passion? His joy and delight could not be less than His suffering- it must be much, much greater.

I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I just keep thinking Jesus shouldn't be ravished by anything, even His own love for us, because He's God and He's untouchable.

But that's so wrong, when I think about it. Jesus is omnipotent, but He made Himself touchable- His wounds are clear proof of it. Considering the unspeakable agony of His cross, shouldn't Jesus, having risen again, be now overcome by the beauty in us that He created through His sacrifice?

The thing is, I keep assuming that Jesus prefers a formal and distant relationship with us, as opposed to a passionate, organic relationship. Even now I have trouble remembering this. I think because I keep mixing up holy with formal and they are not at all the same. Holy does not equal formal. He's holy and passionate at the same time, and what an intense combination that is!

I don't know why Jesus doesn't just throw His hands in the air and be all, "This woman! She argues with me at every turn! I tell her how much I love her, how much she means to Me- I back my point up with Scripture, and she still argues!"

Except that He's well used to it. That sort of thing happens a lot, I can't help but notice. Jesus talks to someone and their usual response is "Not me!" or "No way!" or "Come again?" At first, anyway.

Then they grow into it, because they love Jesus, are drawn to Him, overwhelmed by Jesus. And the other thing Jesus says to them is that He’ll be with them, and that is true. He is with me and He is teaching me all the way.

He purchases for us an identity and a place with Him through His death and resurrection, and we frequently say, "No, no, it can't be a free gift. That can't be for me. You must need something more than mere acceptance from me. I can't mean that much to You."

Yesterday, after I ate my apple, I came inside and watched some TV. I was watching Extreme Home Makeover and it was starting to make me cry, the way the show normally does.

I told Him, I have to change the channel, or I'm going to bawl my eyes out.

(Yes. I talk to Him even when I watch TV. It’s a little crazy.)

You can let go of your emotions, Jesus replied. You don't have to hold onto them so tightly; they don't bother Me. You don't have to try and hide them from Me.

That took me by surprise. I realized how tightly I do hold on to them, almost as if I were ashamed of them, or something. I also realized how He did not do the same with His own emotions.

I said, "That's so gracious of You. What a lovely invitation. I'll have to think about that. Let me get back to You on that... In the meantime, I'd better change the channel..."

Where would we be, if He wasn't as patient and gracious and merciful as He is? The fact of the matter is, the more I know Jesus, the more I love Him and the more I love Him, the more I want to know Him.

I just keep thinking, why wait until the next life to know Him? Why wait for some kind of earthly perfection, which will never come, to be close to Him?

I don't want to wait, and like Jacob, I'll wrestle with Jesus, if I have to, to keep Him with me. Except that I don't want to have just a blessing, I want to have Him. That story astounded me, by the way. What a story that is.

I told Jesus last night I was glad there were still places in me that I had yet to yield to Him, because I can look forward to the pleasure of that yielding when the time comes- eventually, I'll bawl my eyes out in His arms and it will be good.

In the meantime, I stay up whispering with Jesus in the dark, about everything that He has shown me that day. Sometimes in my spirit, I can hear His heart beating. In wonder, I put my head against it and listen. (This is a spiritual movement, though at first I did physically move my head in wonder.) I fall asleep in His arms. I get up in the night, and He is still with me. When I'm frightened, I feel myself enclosed by Him. I wake up in the morning, and He is with me. I look out at the dawn and I think, He is the Dayspring, and the Light of the world.

I sit down before the computer and think with pleasure and anticipation, what will Jesus show me today? What are the things I will do for Him today? And I am busy learning and doing and then He tells me, rest. And I rest.

And then I think in grateful wonder, as though seeing it for the first time- I live in this beautiful house and I have all these wonderful ingredients and what shall I make for dinner? It seems to me a joy to plan and to cook. Then Keith comes home and I think in wonder, this is my husband! This man is mine! What a good life I have! It is filled with good things.

Each night, I meditate on Jesus; I think, He is my Creator! I think, this is my Friend, my Redeemer, the Son of Man, the Son of David, Emmanuel. In the dark, I call forth all His names in wonder, and I think about what each of them means, to the best of my earthly ability.

October 25, 2011 Favorite Verses

I've begun making a little list of things that jumped out at me as I've been reading along:

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
-Psalm 63:1-8

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear;
forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty:
for He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him.
-Psalm 45:10-11

But the most amazing thing, by far, that I've found, I found in Hosea. When I read it, I stopped right there, amazed and deeply moved. I had to read it again and again, because it was such a powerful picture.

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
But the more I called to him,
the farther he moved from me,
offering sacrifices to the images of Baal
and burning incense to idols.
I myself taught Israel how to walk,
leading him along by the hand.
But he doesn’t know or even care
that it was I who took care of him.
I led Israel along
with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
and I myself stooped to feed him.

“But since my people refuse to return to me,
they will return to Egypt
and will be forced to serve Assyria.
War will swirl through their cities;
their enemies will crash through their gates.
They will destroy them,
trapping them in their own evil plans.
For my people are determined to desert me.
They call me the Most High,
but they don’t truly honor me.

“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?
How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah
or demolish you like Zeboiim?

My heart is torn within me,
and my compassion overflows.

No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
I will not completely destroy Israel,
for I am God and not a mere mortal.

I am the Holy One living among you,
and I will not come to destroy.
For some day the people will follow me.

I, the Lord, will roar like a lion.
And when I roar,
my people will return trembling from the west.
Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.
Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.
And I will bring them home again,”
says the Lord.

-Hosea 11:1-11, NKJV