Spiritual and Faith Thoughts

Time of Passing and Those Left Behind
Feburary 2018 has been a month of the passing of family members of several of my friends that include, son, mother, father, aunt, close friend, and several church women who welcomed me into the church we attend. In my morning meditation these words came to me: 
Where Does the Grief Go...by Mary Dixon
 Grief has no definition as it engulfs our sole 
 Grief makes us take in that which is undefinable
 Grief holds us close and will in its own time release us
 Grief changes us just as love does
 Love then takes over and we heal through our grief
 Love allows us to remember and embrace the grief 
 Love brings grief to us in a different way
 Love conquers all 
 Then grief is only our never ending love. 

  Thresholds 2015  Epiphany Jan 6th
 This is the day I start 
 Illuminating The Threshold "retreat" for Women's Christmas by Jan L. Richardson. (click here)  Illuminating The Threshold   

I am not sure what Thresholds this study will have for me but I am thinking on the Wise Men today before I start my own journey.  They came by a certain route to reach the child and after honoring him with gifts they knew their journey back could not be the same;    their lives were forever changed and they had to take a different path forward as they chose the route home. What they believed before they encountered The Child was forever changed. That for me, speaks to the child who they named Jesus and when we encounter Him on our journey it is changed from what we might have envisioned it to be and the Thresholds we cross will be different then the ones we might have crossed before.  Thresholds beckon us to come through and the other side may just lead us in journeys unknown.... led by the childThresholds 2015....doors to our soul, creativity, relationships.... and our peace are opened.    
Enter: Advent 2013
The first week of December is behind me and with being on the road Advent has not been as on my mind as usual.  Advent is the celebration of what is to come and I do have that type of anticipation as we travel.  What is to come?  Coming is touring places I have never been with the love of my life, my husband.  We had this trip planned to have me Enter:Retirement....It has done just as it was planned to do and I am ready to embrace a new time of life.  Mary must have felt this reality of embracing a new time of life, that of a mother; however, she knew it would be a special life.  I wonder as she first looked at him who she saw?  The face of God?  The face of her?  The face of the world?  Joseph too looked at the child he was given from God.  Did he see the face of God?  The face of Mary? The face of the world?  As we look at those around us, what face do we see?  The image of God?.....Come Lord Jesus we want to see your face, the face of God.

Enter: Easter
Easter is special for me as it is what I find in a belief that God made his presence in the world and left the mark of nails and a sunrise empty tomb to bring a peace in his love for us.  I find peace in God's world and it is my desire for all persons to find a peace they can embrace.  I know God loves all people and wants us to love all people too.  Easter for me is Love.

Enter: Easter
Sometime I forget I am really an optimist and live with a positive attitude.  I was reminded of this when at a meeting today on the new health care act (Obamacare) I sat next to a woman who I swear was THE most negative person I have encountered in a long time.  She started with me on how awful the new health care act was and how her world was coming to an end and her business was about to be ruined and other negative things...Really?  I gave her some encouragement in that we did not know all the implications of and what we would be asking of our companies and employees just yet...she looked at me and said "Someone as young as you are can know very little about all the bad government can do." " Really? and just how old are you?" I quizzed..."60" she responded.  I said,"Then my being 5 years older than you would make me wiser and  more informed about all the bad government can do?"  "Noway you are older than me".  "Well, I am.  I'm just an optimist at heart."  "I'm certainly NOT, I'm anything but an optimist" she said.  Could not have expressed it better myself I thought and so I just smiled and said "OK".
I lifted her in prayer in my car driving home wondering how it must feel to carry such a heavy dark cloud on one's head each day.  Lord, as  Easter is upon us may I ever be mindful of the resurrection of hope and the love of living given to me each day.  Thanks for everything I have.  Easter is the season to renew hope in all things.

"If you disagree, wait a few beats, let the thought finish and then explain why.  Don't challenge the speaker, challenge the idea."  Seth Godin

I so love this statement.  Great discussions are born of this from which change can begin to create new spaces to enter into and understanding begin to form.

Active listening can help all of us hear better.  Active listening actually stops interruption no matter what is being said and if we are actively listening we are not thinking about what we want to say, but what is being said.  If we take a moment to respond we just might not attack but open dialogue with a person and begin to bridge thoughts.  We cannot always change minds to match ours but we can delve into what is in their minds.  God gives us grace....we should be graceful also. 

I have to admit that Christmas is coming and I really have not gotten my head around it yet.  I know, I know, what is there to get around?  It comes every year at the exact same time/date, but this year just seems to be a bit slow mo in my mind.  My mind has it coming in slow mo and I know then it will speed up lightening fast.  I am still in slow mo with only hope I can get lightening fast.  My  Advent Thoughts:

First Sunday Advent ...Awaiting the birth. As a mother I can certainly understand the "count down" to the coming of a child. I know Mary as she rode a donkey to a land that was not her home must have been counting down the days before she gave birth. Praise you God for Mary's faith and trust, not only in You Lord, but a man named Joseph.
Come, Lord Jesus! Come and visit your people. We await your coming. Come, O Lord.

Second Sunday Advent...still waiting; still counting the days till her child is born Mary still holds faith with God and the man called Joseph. Mary can feel the life within her, feel her baby move, kick, hiccup, sleep...all those things women feel as they wait the birth. Men can put their hand on the stomach and feel it move as it grabs their heart with longing to see the baby. God has us waiting for the birth as we are asked to "feel" it coming in our body and our mind and our soul. Come, come Lord Jesus; we await.

Third Sunday of Advent.. Mary a young women in her last week of pregnancy was most likely uncomfortable and could have even been a bit quick to confront Joseph as to where they would stay and where their baby would be born…born with out midwife? Without the women of her family? In reality we do not know the details of who would be with her as she went into labor, as she cried out in the pangs of birth pains, as she first heard the baby’s cry…the cry of Jesus, a child’s cry, an infant breaking into a world to bring God into the world; joy to the world. It is hard with the events of the week to think there can ever be joy in the world as suffering and evil take it from us, but Mary waits, one more week for her time, our time. We wait one more week. Come, come Lord Jesus we are in desperate need of Joy. Give us this week hope, peace and comfort. 
Come, come Lord Jesus we are in desperate need of Joy.

The 4th and last Sunday of Advent, the big day of delivery is coming for Mary and Joseph, joy to the world is so near.  Mary, an unwed mother to be at age 14 (so scholars tell us) must be so tired and gosh knows the back is not feeling so great as the baby drops to ready for birth (I am reminded the gospels were written by men and I wonder what the gospels would read if written by women?) Yet in this story we do not see anything but wonder, majesty and love of God for his children and Mary will become blessed and given high status among women as we honor her commitment to her calling from God to bear a child in this way.  Joseph was brave, but Mary, my Mary was so brave.  How we respond to God’s calling for us makes us brave too.  We cannot deliver his Son as Mary, but we can deliver HIS Son - we can give hope to the world we live in, we can be there hearing the cries of babies wanting; we can give not as Mary and Joseph gave, but as we can give. We wait with Mary and Joseph, we wait with the world, we wait with GOD.  I can see God smiling in and around that day to come, the birth of his Son, the Savior of our world then and today.  Come, Come baby, bring joy to the world and peace.  COME, COME LORD JESUS.

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