Longing for Kingdom Come

kingdom come

kingdom come

For Longing

(by John O’Donohue in his beautiful book of blessings To Bless the Space Between Us)

Blessed be the longing that brought t you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.

May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants to take.

May the forms of your belonging– in love, creativity, and friendship–
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

May the one you long for long for you.

May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

May your mind inhabit your life with sureness with which your body inhabits the world.

May your heart never be haunted by ghost structures of old damage.

May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.

May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

Music for the Weary Soul

Coming back from a retreat last weekend, I have had a hard time getting back into the routine of writing. That and I’m a million years behind on housework, meal planning, and it turned into a busy week quickly. So, I’m just posting this today.

One of the things that the retreat reminded me of is the beauty of worship.

So, here are a few songs of worship I keep returning to in this wild week.

 

A Life of Faithfulness

kingdom come

kingdom come

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.”
(Proverbs 3:3)

Following God moves us past glamour and trend and into the trenches of long-suffering.

I was in a yoga class recently and we were holding poses for longer periods of time. The instructor said that if there was a sharp pain, than we needed to move out of the position. But if it was a dull ache, then we were doing the right thing and we needed to just be present to that. That there was work being done there.

Life has a tendency to carry a dull ache sometimes. And leaning into that ache requires an uncommon faithfulness.

We are blessed with mobility. We can move anywhere in the world, and then move again. There are many church options within most of our communities. We are taught from a young age that we can “be anything” or “do anything.” And then when we tire of those options, we can move on in search of something else.

I am so grateful for the opportunities that we have today that people seventy five years ago wouldn’t have dreamed of.

But we also have a tendency to let our gift mobility get in the way of letting us really put roots down. Faithfulness is hard, and we have so many opportunities to get away.

When I think of faithfulness, I think of my friend Heather and the work she does through at Treehouse.

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Treehouse is an organization that works with “at-risk” youth, but as Heather says: “Really every teenager is at-risk. I hate putting that label on them. They are struggling with one or more of issues like depression, anxiety, suicidal, or oppression. But they are also normal teens.”

Heather and I started working at Treehouse as interns the 2007. We shared an office and debriefed together on the roughest of days.

dressup heather

(We also dressed really classy when invited to fancy dinners).

It was a wild year full of full schedules, long hours, and walking alongside kids carrying heavy emotional loads.

At the end of the year, I moved on to an organization that was more focused on elementary children.

But Heather has stayed on at Treehouse for the past seven and a half years. I know that in the grand scheme of a life that might stretch near one hundred years, seven years doesn’t sound that long. But knowing the work that is done and what is required of Heather, that’s seven and half years of an intense ministry and pace of life.

When I asked her what it was that kept her going strong.

“Well, the easy answer is Jesus. That this is a call on my life, and I have accepted it. But really, I feel like I couldn’t not be here. After knowing the kids and going through life with them for 7 years, and after seeing how their lives have changed. I know I’m where I need to be.”retreat and outdoors-13

Heather’s daily work gives the gift of showing up: “one-to-ones” (which is an opportunity to take one of the teens out for a snack or coffee and really talk about what’s going on in their lives), support groups, trips, and other structured parts of her schedule.

But she also shows up for emergencies, suicide attempts, families falling apart, and when pieces of life shatter for the youth.

“One thing I have learned of God from the kids is to see the greatness of God’s love, mercy, grace. That it covers everything. It’s not boxed in, it’s not too small. God’s love still extends to this kid who is a prostitute. And this kid who is socially awkward. If I could teach these kids just one thing, I would want them to know, first and foremost, their identity comes from God, from Christ. I think a lot of their problems stem from not knowing where their identity comes. And of course, as we always teach them they are each Lovable, capable and worthwhile, they are loved without strings, and they are never alone.”

retreat and outdoors-14

Small Things Grow

mustard seed

mustard seed

 

Matthew 13:

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Being the Beloved in Repentance and Rest, Quietness and Trust

kingdom come

kingdom come

isaiah 30-15
Sometimes the best thing I can do is pull away from it all, and bask in the gaze of the One who delights over me. To let all the noise fall away. To ignore the to do lists. To quiet everything else and listen to that still small voice.

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I spent this past weekend at a retreat. My phone was away in my purse. Social media wasn’t touched. And Saturday’s portion of the retreat was a whole day of quiet.

The world went on without me. Facebook, instagram, twitter, and everything else didn’t feel my absence. My house stayed in one piece. My kids were delighted for extra time with their grandparents.

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I remembered, I was loved. Broken and foolish one that I am, my deepest identity is Beloved.

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I remembered who God was. My All. My Healer. My Redeemer. My portion.

retreat and outdoors-21I forgot the clamoring of everyday life.

It was a reset button for my soul. A chance to see where I’ve been living compulsively instead of intentionally. Where I have been rushing and grabbing instead of trusting.

Truly, “in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. . .” (Isaiah 30:15)

 

Lord Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace

lakehouse-48

kingdom come

lakehouse-48

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much

seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

(Prayer of St. Francis)

 

Sunday Rest: Just Be.

fall rain-4

fall rain-4

Ann Voskamp wrote a beautiful post this week. Some of the lines within it that struck me were:

“Sometimes the most revolutionary thing that you can do is simply turn just for a moment from doing — and make space for being.”

“Maybe we don’t waste our lives only when we revive by hushing time and making time to Be?

Being present, being beloved, being still…

Maybe the world only contains three things that can never be destroyed– God and being and love.”

Read the rest of the post here.

May you find time and space to just be today.

Free iPhone Background

bird stripes colorful iphone5

 

“Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”” (Luke 17:20)

Over the next few days, I will be on a retreat. So I’ve created a few freebies in advance.

I am hoping to do more of this kind of thing on the blog, in the near future. (A whole set coming in November).

I love the reminder in the Luke that the Kingdom of heaven is in our midst, always.

To download, open this page in your iPhone web browser, (I am not sure how other smart phones work) and hold down on the image until the “save image” option pops up. Save the Image then, go into your photo albums to “Recently added.” Find the photo again and open it then click the button on the bottom left, then “use as wallpaper.” It will give you the option to use as Lock screen, Home screen or both. Make your choice and you’re done! 

If you have any problems, let me know in the comments and I will try to fix them when I get back!

Iphone 5:

bird stripes colorful iphone5 bird stripes goldiphone5

 

Iphone 4 (Will work better if you turn the reduce motion on in your settings. Settings–> General–>Accessibility—> Reduce Motion) bird stripes gold bird stripes colorful

 

Like A Treasure Hidden In A Field

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kingdom come

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it…” (Matthew 13:44)

I wonder if this same story exists as an invitation in our everyday.

Finding that field surely isn’t a one time grandiose experience.

Selling it all is minute-by-minute decisions.

It is an unfolding process, an unraveling.

An unclenching of our fists from what we thought would bring us life so that we can enter Life.

A quieting of the noise so we can listen and learn the sound of a Greater but often softer Voice.

In the moments where we wonder if we have messed up and missed it, maybe we can step toward the treasure right then and there.

Surrendering whatever is before us in love.