Friday, May 7, 2021

FMF: She

She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind.
(Proverbs 31:26, NCV)



She cleans the house with bleach each week
to take her back in time.
When things were simple and she swam
but hated the finish line.

She likes the smell of cigarettes
but has never smoked a cig.
It reminds her of her auntie's smell
she remembers as a kid.

She plants things in her garden
though she doubts that they will grow.
Because as a child a concrete yard
was all she had to know.

She'd still hide in a cowboy hat
if she thought that it could be
That she'd be invited.
She is trying. She is me.


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This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit fiveminutefriday.com.
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Monday, April 19, 2021

IDK

I've been in a funk lately. I'm not sleeping well, so I am tired and struggling to accomplish what I need to do. That fatigue increased by the discouragement I feel from multiple challenging situations in my life. Why did that person treat me that way? Why didn't that thing happen?  When will I hear back regarding this other situation? Why does that person keep doing that? Maybe you've asked yourself these kinds of questions also.  As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes the only answer is "I don't know."

In the book of Numbers, we read the account of the God's early believers trying to figure out what God wants from them.  They approach their leader, Moses, with a pressing issue regarding who should be allowed to participate in the Passover meal. The believers' desire was to celebrate Passover, but they were unclean because they had recently been near a dead body (not because they had sinned).

Moses then said to them, “Wait, and I will listen to what the Lord will command concerning you.”
(Numbers 9:8, NASB)

There's something comforting in learning that sometimes even Moses didn't know what to do. I create these stories in my head that really spiritual people have all the answers, that they never struggle. However, scripture makes it clear that Moses never claimed to have all the answers.  He only claimed to have access to the One who did.  Moses was closer to God than any believer at that time, and yet He dare not speak on His behalf without consulting Him first.

There were things that Moses didn't know, and there will be things that we don't know. The important part is that we turn to God, for He does.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Preparing for Passover

I have never celebrated a traditional Passover dinner. And that makes sense, primarily, because I am not Jewish. I have read about it in detail, and I have particiated in tasting events, but neither is the same as gathering in a family's house as they pray, eat, and remember a tradition that is thousands of years old.

I must admit a good portion of the information I have read about Passover has been in preparing for Holy Week services. Christians who don't have at least a rudimentary understanding of Passover miss out on much of the symbolism of the Last Supper, Christ's crucifiction, and the modern celebration of both Communion and Easter.

But long before I knew the term "cultural appropiation," I was sensitive to the idea that a Christian observing their own pseudo-Passover meal might be offensive to a Jewish person. That left a person like me - who earnestly wants to understand and experience the tradition - in a predicament.

This year that longing to participate has been stronger than ever, and I have been considering how to balance these conflicting desires for months. I woke up this morning dispirited, thinking I had missed Passover.  Then I realized it was not yesterday; today is Passover.  I knew in that moment I would like to honor the day, even if I could not fully participate.  I looked up a few recipes, and I headed to the grocery store.  As I shopped, these words echoed in my head:
Eat the meat while your coat is tucked into your belt. Put your sandals on your feet. Take your walking stick in your hand. Eat the food quickly. It is the Lord’s Passover. That same night I will pass through Egypt. I will strike down all those born first among the people and animals. And I will judge all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.  The blood on your houses will be a sign for you. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. No deadly plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
(Exodus 12:11-13, NIRV)
There is an urgency to Passover, reminding me of my urgent need of salvation.  My best efforts are "woefully insufficient," as I recently read. God is my only source of freedom. So though I won't be painting my doorway with lamb's blood tonight, I will be baking some unleavened bread.  

I might even tuck my shirt into my belt. But if my husband asks, I'm just going to just say it's a French tuck.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The People We Pray Quietly For

When I was a teenager, I loved attending Sunday night church. Sunday morning church services had a certain feeling. To me, there was a formality, a reverence to the gathering time. Sunday evenings, on the other hand, were more casual. I could wear jeans and a sweater. The format varied from week to week, and sometimes we had extended periods of prayer. As I think about it, I'm pretty confident that every week the pastor would call for people to share their prayer requests.

Figuratively, and sometimes literally, there were prayer requests shouted out. My neighbor is dying. My child is straying. I'm facing unemployment. My back is acting up.  Sometimes there was another kind of prayer request. This other kind was different.  For any number of reasons a person would not share the details of his or her prayer request. A person would just say: Unspoken.

I always struggled with unspoken prayer requests. Of course my teenage self wanted to know what gossip-worthy thing was happening in the person's life. Not that I intended to gossip. I just wanted to know. My adult self knows better. My adult self now understands.

The unspoken prayers were the ones that were most personal to you.

The unspoken prayers were the ones you didn't want to utter because it would make them true.

The unspoken prayers were the ones you couldn't even whisper.

But I thank God He knows our innermost thoughts.  He is the God who hears our prayers when the words come out as unintelligible screams and when they can't be whispered, when they come out unspoken.  Yes, He is the God of the whisper.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart
and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
(1 Kings 19:11-12, NIV)

Friday, March 12, 2021

FMF: Possible

"But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:22b-24, NIV)


The man presented his sick child to the disciples, and at first his case seemed futile.  Even the disciples could not call out the spirit that caused the child to convulse, sometimes even fall in the fire.  Enter Jesus.  The situation was admittedly tense.  First, He rebukes His disciples, calling them an "unbelieving generation."  Ouch.  But, then, oh blessed moment, He calls for the child to be brought to Him.

The father cries out to Jesus.  He wants Jesus to take pity on His son if there's any way to heal him.

Jesus confirms, "If?"  Jesus clarifies: Jesus can't just do anything. He can do everything.  It's a matter of the father's faith.

The word faith in the original language is used both sacredly (God given faith) and secularly (convincing oneself).  Linguists look to the context to understand what kind of faith is intended?

I am certainly no linguist, but it seems like the father addresses both of these faiths.  His cry to Jesus is this: I have done everything in my power to believe, so help me to believe with the faith that only God can give.

If that is what is required, than perhaps I should pray less to be fixed and pray more to be faithed.




* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit fiveminutefriday.com.
* * *