Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hope born of disillusion

There's a competition running, and it's rumoured that the busiest person wins. I can subtly let you know all the things I'm working on or participating in. I can subtly let you know how important I am by a glimpse at my diary. But would it really impress you? Or would it just be another way to measure each other up, to find ourselves not good enough or not doing enough?

Sometimes I am busy because I have not taken the time to plan or choose priorities properly.
Sometimes I am busy because I want to feel indispensible.
Sometimes I am busy because I think that my plan is the best one and that I can change the world.

Sometimes I can be quite grandiose.
And then I am faced with reality. I can't maintain the pace. My plans are not as brilliant as I believed they were and I find the world curiously intractible.

This is where I need to be. Sometimes the bucket of cold water on my head makes me gasp, but I need the bracing cold to wake me up. To help me see how things really are.

I need to be over-reached, to be inadequate, to fall down, so I can look further for what is necessary. I need to get over myself. Because sometimes I get in the way of God working.

The fascination of my childish, flimsy plans is broken in the dawn light of God's artistry. The moment I will truly long for his power and his agenda is when I give up on my own. When I let my plans die, they will be the seed of God's work.

"Disillusionment births true hope in the same way that death is the context for resurrection. If our dreams don't die, then God-dreams won't be birthed." Leading with a Limp, Dan Allender, p.135.

I think this is a great book. So much to think about and I'm going to read it again. Slowly.

And this...(from the same book)

"The paradox of death leading to life requires that you disappoint many to please One."

This is the cross.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Easter confronts me with my weakness. Jesus begged his friends to stay awake and pray, but they kept falling into slumber. I can't even be at peace with people I love. Sometimes I don't want to bother trying.

Did Jesus ever think that Easter was too much effort, all too hard? Again and again I need to remember that reaching out to me was costly. It hurt.

That he is with me as I choose to pick up my cross. Not so I can pat myself on the back, but so I can know that I am not alone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Truth is hard

We're in the middle of a discussion. About leadership and how to have honest community amongst us. Someone shared his struggle, and the way its so easy to hide it. That sometimes we feel stretched so taut by life that we near ripping apart. And tears rise in me when I see him blinking hard. It's hard to say these things, that long to be said but stick in our throats. We don't want to be a bother but we wish someone would ask. If only they could know the hidden wish for comfort.

How can we build this family, this church, this team to be a place of comfort and guidance and honest meeting?

Can we speak the truth in love? Not share harshness or vengeance dressed as telling the truth, but the truth that points to shared brokeness and aspiration. The truth that shows my sin as much as it does yours.

It's a stumbling, faltering thing because blame or insincerity lurk just by our elbows. And real truth bruises me as it does you. No one always gets it right, but I don't want you to see that in me. Why do I have to be a reminder of imperfection?

Allender says,
"A leadership team is meant to be a community of friends who suffer and delight in one another. And to the degree there is a refusal to be friends, there will be hiding, game playing, politicizing power, and manipulating the process to achieve invulnerability." Leading with a Limp, p123.

How do I respond to questions that feel like an attack?
When someone asks if I am angry, the denial rises too quickly. It's defensive, dishonest. And the pause to shape honest, love words is painful. The pause to listen is more so.

And it can be just as hard to share my apology or my hurt. Authentic relationship, honest communion, real family is difficult, but I sense the reward each time a flash of humble truth is shared and weathered.

I thank God for these friends who share honest thoughts that challenge me.

Here's a challenge...
"The love of truth creates a deep hunger and humility to eat and drink more truth. And biblical truth is ultimately always about relationship, therefore the more we partake of truth, the more we are drawn to hunger for the kind of relationships that are marked by a passionate love of God." Leading with a Limp, Dan Allender , p121.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Boasts and Thankfulness

This is where I start keeping up with the best mommy blogs and show you my mothering triumphs. This is my latest birthday cake extravaganza.
Are you impressed?

Yes, those ninja turtles have been lurking at the bottom of a toy box for at least six months. Yes, those star candles have been lit many times before and no longer have five points.

My newly five-year-old loved it. "You're awesome mum!" (Actually he said that when I let him have 2 slices)
I love a happy birthday.

And I love a sunlit Autumn morning. Thankful.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Broken Marriages

Roadkill is ugly. A carcass splattered into the bitumen, or hurled onto the verge of the road is stark and lonely. Lifeless. Sometimes I see the wreckage and wonder what it was like alive.

Twice in the past few months I have seen marriages torn to a carcass. Not driven past them, but seen the death up close. Seen the carnage from different perspectives.

Relationships can only bear so much. There is within each of us a limited amount of patience, and continual criticism wears it away. Fearfulness kills love and threats exhaust grace. I have heard two women say that they could no longer find strength within themselves to endure the pain of their marriage. They felt unable to keep loving.

Because love takes from within us, when it feels ignored. When it lacks any power to transform. And they sounded just so tired. "It's too late", say their eyes, their weary, worn selves.

Why do we wait until it's too late to rescue? We desperately wish that it will get better, that transformation will come. Some of us pray and still its too late to act. If only I could fix the wrongs and faults and brokennesses I see. If only I could really see them and not turn away quickly, pretending they're not there. Why is it so safe and comfortable to deny the problem?

If only my helplessness were not so real. I cannot make you live the wise way, the loving way. I cannot even do it right myself. And the community we have, the place we are part of - we protect anonymity and secrets. We don't want to pry or interfere. But sometimes we just stand by to watch the carnage, with eyes barely averted.

I need courage, because I want to subvert the culture of nuclear family secrets, and stop protecting myself from harsh realities. It's time I sought to change the patterns of broken relationships earlier - and to do it with grace not judgement.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

If you met me...

it would give me a chance to explain a few things. That I speak with less fore-thought than I write. That I cannot find a space to take a photo at home. Well not the sort of photo that makes my house look neat and cosy. Somehow there's a pile of papers on every available surface - school notes, mail, preschool artworks, brochures, information sheets... Sometimes my brain feels this cluttered.

You might have a few issues to clear up, too.

We could share a meal, or a drink or just talk. I'd like to hear your story, sometimes that helps my feeling awkward when I can listen to you.

It's hypothetical, that's what stumps me here. If you could meet me, ... well... that would change things.

5 minutes of writing on today's topic "If you met me..."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm facing backwards as I ride. The train swings and I see clouds layered thousand-fold. It's the vastness of it all that grabs me. My bag is draped across my legs, full of 'maybe I'll need that today'.

And the God who layers clouds listens to my prayers. Mumbled, halting, inept prayers. Some forgotten in the midst. I am thankful that it doesn't rest on my shoulders to make it right.

I puzzle at the vastness (layered clouds) alongside the small (a little more breath, or a steady hand). He manages both, and does them carefully.

And I realise that we expect it will be the earthshaking, lifechanging events that will destroy us. But somehow we survive and we go on. We keep it together. Then the little incidental undoes us. A child's hand slipped in ours, a breath that faintly wheezes - the reality of that one moment brings a deep flash of emotion. Sadness that breaks us.And we can let it slip past barely noticed.

Or it can be the window to our very hearts. Sometimes a glimpse is all we can bear.

God has no such pretense. He does not need to mask his pain, nor his joy. He can bear it. He can layer clouds and soothe a breath.