Follow Me

river-595095_1280Life has me rafting on through calm river and at times rough, rushing water. In the easy flow of water the scenery so clear, my direction stretching ahead and full of beauty and joy. Then the river picks up speed, rocks begin to appear and no longer can I view the beauty of the river banks or rest in the flow of clear water. Focus is required, and fear is fought off while everything speeds by in the blur of movement.
When I began this years journey through the 40 days of Lent, I asked for God to lead me deeper into understanding Jesus journey to the cross. I heard “FOLLOW ME” and jumped in the raft.
I forgot a few things.

I remembered only the end relief, the joy of Easter and being able to see ahead on the journey.
After His baptism in the waters of the Jordan washed and identified as God’s beloved, Jesus walked right into the desert for 40 days. A trial of hunger, heat and temptation that I could never imagine but placed aside as Jesus being God and he could take it. But he came as a man, flesh and blood, heart beating and mind knowing the fate that would meet him on the cross. So my attempt to follow has me experiencing deep sorrow, great joy, a bit of fear and fatigue. God is blessing my journey. For just as Jesus heard God’s expression of love before he began the trip, I know God’s love and protection guide me and guard me through the rough waters, through the dry heat and temptation, to know that each step prepares me to follow him, because he asked.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29

The river of life will always have places of rough and calm. No matter where I am, even without a paddle, I am held safe being yoked to the teacher of Love. Paul said it best;

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39

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Dreaming is Listening

A hummingbird flits around me it’s wings creating music so beautiful, and words… ” begin something new” form from somewhere deep within me and all around me. Before it parts, the bird stops and offers a kiss…then flies away.

I have always been a dreamer in the literal sense, ever so vivid in colors and active it seemed like another life lived while I slept. It was often just pieces that would come to my awakened mind and dismissed as imagination. Now I know that my dreams are so much more. That when I rest and remember before feet touch the floor, I can hear my spirit speak to me and on wonderful occasion, God speaks as well to my soul which is so much more attentive when my mind and body are at rest. It is no mystery to me that God spoke, and still speaks to us through dreams.

I hear the message to begin something new and will keep listening. For then the path will clear and the journey grow full and rich with love and blessings. These blessings then glow to light life’s way and purpose.

I am thankful to Tilda Norberg who developed Gestalt Pastoral Care and as a part of the training discusses how to look at our dreams as guidance to lead us toward wholeness. visit the website at http://www.gestaltpastoralcare.org/ . Try a retreat and move toward healing and wholeness.

By Heart

HeartI know it by heart! My yoga practice has taught me many things but most recently during a “heart -opening” practice I have learned compassion. Now I have generally thought of myself as a compassionate person, after all, I went to nursing school and learned how to comfort the sick and their families. I learned about the psychology of the ill person and the effect of emotional stress on the body. But newly discovered (for me as I am surely not the first to notice) is that compassion is something you learn by heart, not by mind. That true empathy comes from experience.

As a Christian who practices and teaches yoga I am keenly aware of God’s presence and every now and then that joyous filling of the Holy One in Spirit through me. What I feel is not my mind being happy or my body being stronger,though these are positive side effects of practice and prayer. What I feel is my heart filling with love and compassion. A strange mix of joy and a reminder of suffering. The sacrifice made for me on a now empty cross was brutal and made by the One who taught love and compassion. I am to love God with all my heart, all my mind and all my strength and to love my neighbor as myself.

So my ego when left unchecked lives into the sin of me first, but when I open my heart to the healing love of God I can experience joy and peace that can be born from great suffering. That suffering of my own, though nothing to compare, has allowed me to know this by heart.

Compassionately,
Sue