blaze

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Sunday, it rained suddenly and briefly and made the most beautiful noise. These past incredible days, incredible for their warmth in late October – my body anticipates it colder – which it snapped for a bit and now has snapped back with the sun making surprise appearances.

Just as that cheeky sun was setting today, on my way out, I passed the most magnificent bright yellow tree. It was as if the leaves were all about to fall off, which – was because they are. Even if I caught it in a picture, (and I hope to try for it tomorrow) it wouldn’t do it justice, but – anyone who has been Midwest or East knows this phenomenon, it’s breathtaking. God’s fire without anything being consumed. All the more captivating because it’s so brief.

I didn’t know it, but that was the stage of my husband’s life when I met him again. He thought he had a few years, but the reality was that he only had several months. Taking in the tenuous beauty of that tree, made me realize that his outstanding love for me was the same.

Inside somewhere it hurt because the scale fell away that there is a person in my life now can love me like that. God loves me even more than he did, and I have history with people helps cultivate deep friendship that sustains, but that unique partnership – and perhaps God will get me to a place where I can do it again, but I’m not there. Nor has He given me the will to be there.

But all the unreality that goes with that – the projections, the false hopes, the comforts, have not actually convinced me that he can be replaced. And they just dropped. Like shedding skin. My unconscious mental coping wasn’t needed.

At the readings in small group for the Catholic church, we discussed from Wisdom “As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;”

It was written as if this happened after death, and maybe it does, but it seems to be happening to me after someone else’s death. And maybe a little of my own.

As painful as it is, it is an amazing relief to sit with the truth of the loss. This man who could make anyone and everyone laugh, had friends that would do anything for him because they knew he would do the same, and got me to love him for the rest of my life is not gone forever but the for now is still – after three years, shocking.

At the same time, just as I treasure the tree even though I wouldn’t dream of trying to keep its leaves on, I can’t say that I would want it any other way. Not that I have much choice in the matter and not that I always live that way, but the way it is is well with my soul tonight.

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trusting a just God and forgiveness

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“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” Mother Teresa

Some really ugly stuff will come up at the jail and, as I’ve blogged before, I don’t have trouble with it in those women, most are easy to love. With boundaries that they have for ministering, some of it is my not always good yet necessary ability to leave it there.

What is a dreaded learning experience for me is when their struggles touch my own failures, and it is much harder for me to forgive myself and those closest to me. But He’s working on me.

When my heart is turned in a good, life giving direction, its feels a bit like this image. Letting go and trusting our God to deal with all of it and prayers for a person who I perceive did the injury because, they are in a more miserable place with that on their conscience.

At the same time, when I need to appeal to our Advocate with repentance, I don’t often dwell there, at the place where He’s writing in the sand or asking a challenging question, that interim place where He is showing me, not just with the cross but ultimately there, that He loves me that much.

You son clears away wreckage I am tempted to pick back up but can walk and even dance in full freedom, unhindered. Grant that I spend more time with you soaking that in, maybe talking a little, but mostly just letting You love me in your spectacular truth.

faithful with small things

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The young woman who is having her journals published may be sending them to Random House through me now – we’ll see next week. It’s exciting to be a part of it.

More than once this week, He has reminded me to be faithful with every little thing. My work is very detailed and it is crucial that I pay close attention and give it my all or nothing will work, there’s a lot of precision involved.

That’s never been a strength but He has changed me and continues to, and it’s through praying with Luke 16:11 that I actively strive to work that spiritual muscle and have for awhile, but it’s still daily so tempting for me to skip over what’s right in front of me. He keeps after me though, despite my nuttiness.

It’s awesome to to see something big start to happen with the ministry. The (Reformed) church stepped up and bought a twin bed for the girl that just got to her godmother’s. I really hope and pray, (please pray too reader), for that kind of thing to continue. I also hope that it takes off through other people. (Lord, bring them! Grant others join me in this) – He already seems to be building interest. My load was halved today as far as names to see, thanks to a Catholic volunteer and as the Catholics ask me to take on a new facility, that same woman offered to come with me. It’s the prison for the mentally ill, called the Forensic Center. I’ve only seen one woman at the jail so far that has been in there.

I praise and thank You Lord that You keep watch over the sparrow and how much more do You look after me. Thank you that You give me little things to attend to and continue to bless me with that grace to see it. Whether it be a kind word, a letter in the mail, or an extra stop for a friend, thank You that you always lead us to the next right thing. I love You.

apples and the wedding banquet

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Today, before mass, I went apple picking with a dear and wonderful new friend. This is a new tradition I love to do each year that I’ve only started doing since my husband passed. On the east coast, it’s pretty wonderful. You drive to an orchard, there’s a stand there made of wood, and someone takes your cash and gives you a small bag.

In Michigan, its a totally different thing. It’s like apple picking turned into an amusement park. Most orchards seem to not even allow you to pick the apples, but they will sell you the cider, donuts, every kind of butter you can imagine, and of course, the apples. I’m not opposed that that stuff**, and have pumpkin butter in my fridge, but it made me realize that what I really love is the apples and picking them off a tree, simple as that.

I feel the same about church. What I really love, is the Father and hanging with His Son, which right now, while He’s ascended, means the Holy Spirit is involved. I’m in a weird limbo state – pardon the pun – where I have to let a door close but am not quite up to opening a new one. But I can see how, one of my – gages – is the focus of worship. My astute Christian sister made a point that one of the churches she visited, she couldn’t hear the congregation singing, because of how loud the worship band was.

What I love most about the (Messianic) Jewish service I’ve been attending Saturdays, in order to learn Hebrew, is how they worship God. The focus isn’t on the parishoners – I don’t know the right term for a synagogue member – so let me just say – or members’ experience, but on the characteristics of God; His mercy, His greatness, His justice.

The mass reading was on the banquet and the Jesuit preached a fantastic sermon about the garment not being about clothes but about whether or not we have been baptized and are we one with Christ?

As I wander around these tables, although I cannot rush the process, I realize I need to take a seat.

**At the orchard we went to there were those huge blow up slides and bouncy rooms and the local marching band. It felt a little like picking apples at the high school football game, just without the… football. Which was strangely fantastic an definitely memorable.