25 February 2014

Anonymous + Winter

I am re-reading Anonymous for the {maybe?} third time.  I believe it is essential to the season I am walking through.  With our recent change of location has come an instant "Winter" for my soul.  Nearly everything that was a "leaf" to me, everything that comforted and nourished my soul, has been left behind.  Places I treasured are no longer easily accessible.  People I counted on to help fortify my days and weeks are now long distance.  Surroundings, relationships, and history have all been removed.  My branches are bare and I am in deep Winter.  Soul hibernation.

Chole speaks in Anonymous of the beauty and significance of Winter seasons.  She talks of roots growing deeper and stronger.  She says bare seasons hold value in our lives for shaping us.  Winter forges in us a core of perseverance, integrity, reliance on God, humility, and self-discipline.  She writes as though she hopes everyone will be able to experience Winter.  She's nearly enthusiastic about Winter.  

I can not say that I share her adoration of Winter.  The hard times, the loneliness, the stretching, the thinning, and the loss is so very painful.  However, I can say that I believe Chole is spot on.  When all is removed and your foundation is exposed...oh dear me...there is much exposed.  Only in the stillness of Winter can you see your shallow and misplaced roots.  

Winter brings a rebuilding of the soul, pruning of non-essentials, reordering of priorities, a rebirth of deep longings, and intensified passions.  I believe that Winter is reducing my frivolous baggage I have accumulated and is enlarging my heart to accept more of the eternal.  My heart is being tenderized as it relinquishes this bulky baggage.  

When  I've released comparison, I have picking up courage.  
As I've mourned the loss of dreams, I have found a renewed compassion. 
When I choose to walk away from what the culture demands of me, I gain freedom.  
As I give voice to truth, I slay lies about not having value.

Every exchange is making my heart healthier, solidifying my faith, teaching me to how to war against the sin and weights that easily tangle me up.  Oh Winter.  Bittersweet Winter.  Although I find Winter to be unfun...I take heart that after Winter comes the Spring.  

{am I ever looking forward to Spring!}

04 February 2014

Woman at the Well

I've been reading the Bible passage about the Women at the well and Jesus transforming interaction with her and her town.

This passage grips me.  I read it daily for a week, I try to read something else, I return, I cry each time.  The account is deeply moving.  Jesus, tired from traveling, sits at a well one evening.  A woman comes to draw water.  Their conversation is breathtakingly beautiful.

She's an outcast.  So is He.
She knows a religion.  A religion He's beginning to deconstruct.
She can see with her eyes, but not her heart.  He sees everything.
She has made choices that damage.  He is her healer.
She pulls the race card.  He blows it all away.
She's honest.  So is He.
She's reserving judgement on His claims.  He is patient with her unbelief.
She is thirsty.  He has living water.

All of these, and more, are speaking to my heart.  A woman that I never saw as someone I could learn from, is teaching me much.  I'm not a woman who's divorced 5 times, nor am I an outcast in a small town.  But, like her, I too plant myself firmly in man-made ways and miss the fresh work of God that is stirring right in front of me.  

God was in front of her.  He was face to face with her.  He spoke life to her.  But she was too distracted with cultural expectations to SEE anything else, even the Messiah.  This woman must have been greatly damaged by her community's unloving ways.  

Too fragile to boldly proclaim God's arrival in her town. 
Too broken to know acceptance.
Too trampled on to have her testimony believed.  
Too scorned to be vulnerable with her Redeemer.

I am seeing her with fresh eyes.  My heart breaks for her story.  I am learning lots about seeing and listening for God in all of my day.  And I am learning about letting go of religious ways and embracing the abiding presence of Christ.