A Love that Lets Go

Part of me is jealous of Caralyn. Because she nails with such simplicity and tenderness what I struggle to describe. Unconditional love. And God. A real living relationship with something beyond my words.

Have a read and see what you think. And comments are open here. Because love is everwhere.

Thank you.

BeautyBeyondBones

I’ve spent a lot of time recently in my own head. Today marks the three month mark since my mom’s stroke, and there have been a lot of ups and a lot of downs.

And I’m learning a lot.

And honestly, I’m learning a lot about God’s love for us.

We’ve reached the stage in my mom’s recovery where…there’s a frustration within her about how things aren’t back to normal. And a gripping desperation for autonomy.

And I’m going to be really honest, being in my position, as her grown daughter, having come home to be her “sidekick” as I call it – there’s a really delicate balance of how much help is too much help. I want to assist her so that life runs smoothly, but I don’t want her to feel like a child or that I’m belitting her or discrediting her capabilities or contributions. And I’m finding…

View original post 656 more words

Making a Spiritual Retreat at home

20170115_083619

It never occurred to me that I could find Jesus at home. Not the flesh and blood but the spirit. My physical sense of longing has been active for years, searching in churches and temples, sacred spaces, parks, oceans and rivers for the God I loved and the God I let go of. There have been days I have found Him deeper in the waves of the ocean than on my knees in a church. In the rough terrain of spiritual travel, the inner divine sometimes gets caught up with the worldview of spirituality. With so many different ways to celebrate God, I have often become mired in the rules and opinions of others. The beauty of humans is their willingness to go to any length to find comfort in the seat of God’s lap, but the darkness creeps up in the judgment of where that lap is. God will always be God regardless of our thoughts or opinions. But the way we relate to God is similar to the way we relate to the world; a blade of grass that speaks to me may mean nothing to you while the sound of the highway may mean everything.

I have been bed bound for several days now and the kids and husband are away. Though the pain has been great, the clarity has been far-reaching. The depths of my heart have been crying out for a spiritual retreat, a time of silence, a time away. And although I have silently prayed for these things, almost an unconscious prayer if you will, I always thought it a bit selfish to ask God for a spiritual getaway. In any event, it would never happen. I have a job and three children, a husband and a full plate; that is until I was forced into bed by something I could not control. So when the family left for the weekend I was in pain and alone. It’s been ten years or so since the last time I ever remember being alone like this. Smack dab in the middle to end of Lent I found myself here, in a desert I prayed for but never saw coming. My first thought was to reluctantly give my pain up for someone who didn’t deserve it, my least favorite person, someone who had persecuted myself and many around me. I asked God to accept my pain as a sacrifice for this man’s salvation, his reconciliation with God and a second chance at mercy.

Heading into day two, the silence seemed uncomfortable. But I noticed the sunlight coming off the kitchen window, the beautiful color of the dark wood stairs and the sound of the highway that reminded me I was not far from the chaos of the world. I wanted to create a sacred space, get on my knees on a kneeler to Mary, look at an iconic picture and find myself surrounded by darkness and candlelight. But from a bed this was impossible, so I started to research retreats at home and found nothing. So I turned back to Jesus and his methodology and the idea of spiritual retreat.

Withdraw to deserted places to pray

I realized that it didn’t take a special set of prayers, or an icon or candles. I didn’t have to fall to my knees. The ocean didn’t have to be close and I didn’t have to sit amongst flowers in a perfectly manicured garden. The house was deserted, my heart was open and I simply had to be…

Many of us find ourselves in these situations. Hectic schedules, health problems, the inability to travel due to time or money constraints. We want bigger houses, bigger jobs and bigger lives.

But bathed in silence, the places that we are planted come to life. The light shines from the darkness

I am not saying that God may not move you, He may. But chances are the thing that you are searching for is right in front of you. We are missing the wood grain, the ray of sunlight, the sacred shrines in our hearts. What we are missing is silence…

I encourage you today to drop the thoughts in your head at the threshold, invite the Holy Spirit in, sit and do absolutely nothing. Like the magic of Beauty and the Beast, the things around you will suddenly start to come to life…

Are We Connecting On The Same Level?

There is a saying: “Preach the gospel always and where necessary use words.”

I think Agent X has given me and you a great example of this.

See what you think.

(and as (almost) always comments are disabled here, please let Agent X know what you think at his place, thank you)

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

Do you know that insurance ad where they show two people in two completely different scenarios using the exact same words to express almost opposite meanings?

What happens when we read the Bible (same words) and interpret it differently?

View original post

Tipsy Typing

Tipsy typing!

How many of us – me included – have the courage to type that at the top of a post?

So what follows was particularly touching and vulnerable – in the most wonderful way. And entwined within the vulnerability is God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit – whatever your name for your God.

And if you want topical – then Caralyn even links it to Lent.

Please read this. If you are unchanged afterwards, please let me know.

(which if why for the first time on adding a reblog – comments are left open here).

Thank you –

Paul

BeautyBeyondBones

I’m writing this post after two vodka/sodas.

And if you know anything about me, then you know…I am properly pissed.

#LightweightForLife

giphy-3.gif

I actually have never written a tipsy blog post before. Believe it or not, even the Feminism post was written stone cold sober.

Stone Cold Steve Austin…I wonder what that dude is up to now…

*Googles*…


Welp, apparently he’s doing a reality TV show now, called Redneck Island and just bought a mini mansion in Marina Del Ray. Shocker there…

Anyway. Enough about wrestling.

I just want to get married before I get smile lines.

I heard my three year old niece talk about her future husband today….that made me feel pretty…oh, I don’t know…like a spinster cat lady.

I looked at her and said, “Yeah, Aunt Caralyn needs to find a husband too.

It’s kind of the running joke in my family, actually. My sister-in-law is…

View original post 995 more words

What’s Your Story?

“We are all living a story.
I believe stories have power. I believe that a good story, well-told can change the world.
There are five basic elements that a story must contain:
characters
setting
plot
conflict
them”

Mark Myers writes stories of great power. Each time I read one I am changed. If I had to analyse why it would most likely prevent the goodness in each story seeping into mine.

I think we all need to know good story-tellers. I think we are all good story-tellers. We each have the power to change. How we change is down to each one of us.

Have a read of Mark’s story. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

(as always, comments disabled here – please let Mark know your thoughts, thank you)

A Generous Helping

When I was a boy, I was big. Despite my size, I had great hands and a good arm. But none of that mattered when I put on my helmet and shoulder pads because the coach only saw big. I got in line with the boys trying out for quarterback and wide receiver, but he moved me to the offensive line and told me that the only time I got to touch the ball was if there was a fumble. And if there was a fumble, I was only allowed to fall on the ball – never, ever, never, ever, never try to pick it up.

Note the discontented #63 who is not #12 or #88

I remember one game, we were losing late and the coach called a screen to my side of the field. The play developed and I ran ahead to block. I don’t know what happened behind me…

View original post 568 more words

Let go

This is what is meant by following Christ. In this way, disregarding earthly gains, Matthew attached himself to the band of followers of One who had no riches. For the Lord himself, who outwardly called Matthew by a word, inwardly bestowed upon him the gift of an invisible impulse so that he was able to follow-

excerpt from a quote by Bede the Venerable (673-735 AD), Anglo-Saxon monk

This was my Lenten meditation for today:

In a given situation, act as if everything will work out. Allow this to influence what you say to others and what you say to yourself.

This was both terrifying to me and freeing at the same time. This idea of freedom is what we strive for, but in the context of the contemplative life is a much different idea. This freedom exists from materialism and worry, from earthly wants for heavenly gains. This freedom exists in believing in the notion that God works all things for the good of those who love him. It exists in the freedom the trees experience, swaying to and fro, in the birds of the air who do not worry and in the hearts of men who long to be there.

Our words influence our steps. God moves our hearts but we are afraid. We then tell people that we are afraid. Then they are afraid. This is not freedom.

This type of spiritual freedom is jumping off a cliff type stuff, diving into a deep body of water, embarking on a mission to a place you’ve never been, selling every possession you’ve ever owned for something more…

It’s dropping the net when He tells you, following when He tells you, not looking back when He tells you. It’s a forward movement, an awareness of adventure, a trust, a not being afraid.

It’s living not on the surface but below it, it’s individualized, it calls you to be different, it tugs at you and will not let go…

God does not give us time to plan, He’s had eternity to do that for us.

When it’s time it’s time.

This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.

Exodus 12:11

Our lives are not our own, but we hold onto them with an undying and unrelenting grasp. Instead of holding onto Jesus for dear life, we are holding onto our own thoughts and ideals. We hold onto friends and houses, churches… we hold onto where we are and fight the forward movement. We don’t want to leave but we’re afraid to go. We’re not necessarily wrestling with God, we’re just telling Him not to move us…

But the spiritual life is forward movement, it’s a letting go of self, it’s a giving away and a taking on of a new life, it’s losing our tight grasp on things and grasping onto the cloak of the one who saves us from ourselves…

So ask yourself, what is it that you are holding onto, what is that you just can’t let go of? Release it, take your clenched hands and open them. Then turn around and clench onto Him.

Act as if everything will work out, because it will…