Soul Writing

O must I follow the writing rules today?

Can I not brush stroke with words like an artist and his paint brush?

Can I please write from a place not yet unleashed? A place that remains boxed behind lines of sentence structure and grammar, holding me captive when words approaching are abstract and loose fitted within sentence?

Why can a visual artist create a masterpiece that begs contemplation to discover its meaning while a writer must follow the rules to appeal to understanding quickly?

Just wondering…

It is a deep soul day. Rain is gently falling on my fall blooming garden and its soothing sound is leading me to creative places filled with descriptive words… I desire to learn how to let these words come with ease.

And so I will do just that… I will draw a picture from soul words.

…..
Fire and cloud

One governs path by day

The other by night

Trust hanging like string from heaven

Awaiting grasp of hand

Temptation to murmur within a resting tent

sly voice of disbelief rolling upon restless tongue

Pursed lips serve bars of imprisonment

Against such whispering voice

The ear of God

Open to every sound

Must hear heart

And mind

Of recollection

And remembering

Upon paths lit

And direction given

Of life lived

And faithfulness found.

….

These few words today were stimulated by study of Deuteronomy 1:1-33 (and the sound of the rain).

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Manners!

My life is a product of my upbringing.

My childhood was a boot camp of training, and manners were a huge part of the daily regime.

My parents were amazing at teaching us kids respect and honor towards all, especially towards those older and in positions of authority. They also taught us manners; you know the words… “please” and “thank you”, particularly “thank you”.

If we received ANYTHING we HAD to say “thank you”, and in fact, we HAD to write and send a thank you cards.

I remember this driving me nuts as a kid; I hated it even, because there was always the check up to see if we had actually done what was asked of us, so the looming expectation never left until I had obeyed my parents.

However, now as a middle-aged mother I am so thankful for this early training and I admire deeply that my parents were so faithful in their constant, consistent training of us kids.

The term “thank you” carries profound acknowledgement of another’s kindness or outpouring of love and thoughtfulness.

The term thanksgiving carries deeper implication of an attitude of the heart and mind; it implies an action that I would give to another.

Yesterday as I was reading in Psalm 50; verse 23 jumped off the page;
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show my salvation”.

Right away questions were stirring within my heart…

What would it look like for me to offer thanksgiving as a sacrifice?

What am I giving up as I say “thank you” to God?

I pretended that I was a stranded child on an island who had only the Word of God and the Holy Spirit as my teacher and counselor as I pressed further into this one little verse…and more questions came…

The Word says “the one who OFFERS thanksgiving”; could this mean that the one who offers thanksgiving without being told to do so, that it would become a sacrifice?

And what is it about this particular action that glorifies God?

Does that mean that His glory will be seen in my life as I give up thanksgiving as an offering? Woah, that is incredible if that is the case! Does this also mean that the opposite is true? God’s glory is hidden when my life is not full of thanksgiving?

It really was the first part of verse 23 that kept my mind occupied for a while and my island girl conclusion was that my prayer life has been top-heavy in the petition department and very low in the thanksgiving department.

This discovery left me a little stunned as to how easily my heart is beckoned away from GIVING TO God.

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord MORE than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God let your hearts revive (Psalm 69:30-32).

I will magnify Him with THANKSGIVING and God will be glorified and He will be seen in my humanity as I learn to offer this sacrifice of a simple thank you.

And to think He was already preparing my heart for His words of truth through the training of my parents!

How wonderful! How glorious and amazing!

God THANK YOU for Your Word and thank you for parents who loved you enough to love me through simple training of manners!

A Noisy Bell-Ringer

I am lying low today after a visit to the walk-in clinic.

I am so thankful for Dr.’s and for prescriptive medicine that heals our bodies.

God has a way of getting my attention and time!
This very small curve ball has proven to be a great blessing to me today! I actually slept until 11:30 a.m and have remained in my P.J’s all day! I gave myself permission to listen to my body screaming at me to be still and take some time for reflection.

I am about to embark on another significant move and life change; it has the potential of creating a noisy heart and mind in preparation of its arrival.

I confess that there is much about my own future that remains uncertain and because of that I have looked behind at what has been.

I took some time this afternoon to watch Ruth Bell Graham’s DVD life memoir, (for those of you who may not know, Ruth Bell Graham was wife of Dr. Billy Graham, world evangelist).

I was deeply moved (again) by this woman’s strength and godliness. I listened to the biographer’s account, and the accounting of her children praising her for her quiet heart and keen, witty mind. Apparently she was a women who knew how to control her tongue. Even President Bush Sr.’s wife Barbara, said of her, “Ruth never preached AT you, she talked TO you”.

She was a woman who didn’t need words to love people.
These words of praise spoke deeply to me as personal reflection brought memory of countless times I have had too much to say, kinda like an annoying bell-ringer who doesn’t let go of the dang bell!

I have always had something to say, scripture to quote, advice to give… have I actually thought my words could or would make a difference every time I opened my mouth??!

As a reader you may wonder if I am over analyzing or taking myself too seriously… I don’t think so.

I am thinking of God’s word in 1Peter 3:4;

“…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

I am obviously not burying my voice as a woman, but rather have come to conviction about how I use it.

I believe that if my heart and mind is settled and satisfied in the hands of God then I will not be noisy, pushing or preachy. My words when used, will breathe love, gentleness and kindness; and more often than not, my ears will be busier than my mouth.

I am rambling today…and obviously using words! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am to grow at becoming a writer and that part of my future is doing this very thing. Perhaps this is why I now feel such deep conviction about this.

Love expressed through words is powerful; and even confronting at times, but it is never noisy,or rash; never the clanging bell in the tower, rather it compels and draws, never to self but rather to the greatest Lover of our souls.

I suppose that is why the Word of God is themed around just two words: God’s love.

So I end this rambling blog with a plea to God to quiet my noise and enable me to use words as Moses did in Deut. 32:2;

“May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb”.

Strokes of Identity

I am amazed some days at how quickly I can attach myself to fleeting forms of identity.

As I was driving to the gym this morning I was thinking through how many different things in life have served as a form of identity for me.

I thought about the mere exhaustion of carrying around a suitcase of proving papers, identification papers of worth.

How many of my dreams and passions have just been a rant to prove that Karolyn has value? Or a form of proof birthed from desire to know that I am desired and wanted?

How many times have I found myself attaching to accomplishment, talent, skill and  specific roles in relationships like wife, mother, mother-in-law, Nana, aunt, sister, daughter, friend, as though they each defined Karolyn.

True the above list is all part of my life fabric; ingredients if you will, but they do not identitfy, qualify or prove ME.

You may disagree with me, but my thinking behind this comes from painful discovery as a result of loss.

What happens to my life if one or more of those titles is removed, threatened or shredded? Do I become another woman? Who am I then if what I have been known by is no longer what I “do”? Who am I when divorce removes relationship of “mother-in-law?” Who am I when suddenly I am an “empty nester”? Who am I when my husband is no longer a “pastor?”

You may laugh at this, but anyone who has owned a Jeep will get me; what about when I sell my “Banks Powered” black Jeep? Is my identity in what I drive?

I could go on and on with a list of the silliest things I have found myself attaching my personnal identity to, but I would loose you half way through it!

….

I have done great battle attempting to start a writing career! Some of that battle has been because of my fear of not wanting it to become an identity, a form of proving my heart or my voice.

My daughter and I have a goal to publish my “blog book” by Christmas; in the process of editing I have been forced to look in the mirror and own my earlier published blog words; I have read words of ranting and passionate proving…I did not read love from those early words. I read a woman who was still finding herself and seeking identity from what she wrote instead of writing from her heart.

Strokes of identity…

Where do yours come from?

What if by tomorrow your strokes are removed or changed? Who then would you be? Where would you be left standing and in what condition?

Removal of the strokes from my life have equated brokenness.

And then I discovered Jesus…Again!

I discovered His faithfulness in my faithlessness…

His humility consuming my pride…

His beauty overwhelming my need for tangibility…

And His love satisfying my desperate thirst for meaning and purpose…

He became still more when I thought I had understood enough of Him…

I am a created being. God’s word tells me that. I, Karolyn was created in HIS IMAGE (Gen. 1:26; 5:1-2). Created in the image of God…the One who also created the moon and the sun, the stars, clouds and every river, sea and ocean, every mountain, hill and valley; he created the birds, animals, creatures, insects!

He created everything (Gen.1-2)! This is the One whose image my life was intended to glorify and magnify! There is no ending to Him, He is forever and He does not change.

Writing these words today bring fresh wonder to my existance, O may He ever remind me of whose image I carry! My identity is secure and as unchanging as a rock because of whose I am.

I pray as I press my little “publish” button today that someone out there draws encouragement from this truth.

You are beautiful, desired, seen and loved by the God of the universe; so take heart dear soul whatever your journey today…you are never alone…you are His.

Your identity is a result of strokes from the Master Artist of the universe; strokes of beauty, color and purposeful expressions of another world yet to come.

What Hour is it For You?

If you were to move the hour hand on a clock to resemble the life hour you find yourself in, what time would you choose?

Tough question eh?

I think for me I would have to say it is about noon, twelve o’clock p.m.

I choose that hour because it indicates to me that my life is just at its prime; poised for change, and free from the early years of insecurities and fear; it also carries a greater sense of responsibility for me to live with intention and on purpose, being far more “ever-present” in every day!

I think of a line my dear uncle used to say to me, “Karolyn, where ever you are, be all there!”

Most likely the clock will arrive at evening time sooner than what I expect, but for now I am a happy camper hanging out at the lunch hour.

My life is in the Potter’s Hand and though He is far from done His work of molding and shaping this lump of clay, today at this noon-time hour I can say that I no longer fear this process; in fact, I welcome it! Knowing by now that this process is part of becoming beautiful in His glory, evening can then arrive in a blanket of grace.

I marvel at God’s application of time to our lives through a wise earthly king, King Solomon:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…He has made everything beautiful in its time”
(Ecc.3:1,11).

So what beautiful hour would you choose to describe your life time right now?

For what it’s worth, I think it is good for our souls to take inventory next to the clock…

Peace Like A River

I was just sitting here and got to thinking about Isaiah 66:12, which says:

‘For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.”‘

God was speaking about Jerusalem, but what did He mean by “peace like a river?”

What would that look like I wonder? To have peace like a river?

I love watching rivers…they move as an unstoppable force and yet they are silent. It’s like power in quiet motion, constant motion, motion that will not be stopped.

I do not have time today for a word study, but do have time to relate to this beautiful word picture.

God desires that we have peace because it not only settles us into faith in Him but also speaks without words the evidence of His mighty power within a life.

He desires that we lead peaceful lives and that our hearts and minds know peace, and are filled with peace and are governed by peace.

Peace is also a fruit given by the Holy Spirit which proves itself through how I live my life, and in what my life produces (see Gal.5;22).

For assurance of of God’s peace read: Phil. 4:5-7; Is.26:3; Col.3:15; Jn14:27; Jn16:33.

Peace…

like a river…

That must be what it looks like to be fully alive in any and every situation and circumstance that comes my way…it must also kinda look like the eye of the storm.

Peace is powerful and life-giving and peace is a result of absolute trust in God.

Are you trusting Him today with whatever threatens peace?

Lost in Butternut Squash Soup

My Jeep stranded me in Vancouver today.

As I was parking on a small hill, I turned my steering wheel counterclock-wise so as to posistion my tires against the curb in case my black horse decided to roll backwards down the hill. I turned the ignition off, grabbed my backpack, sunglasses and jumped out to enjoy a sunny day in the city.

Thankfully I was parked in a “free zone” because when I returned to start up my vehicle, it refused my key. No way Hosay would that key turn in the ignition.

I read my vehicle’s manual determined to figure out what the problem was (this seems to be my life pattern lately), and so drew a conclusion that somehow my steering wheel had been cranked too far which locked it and froze the ignition.

I engaged my clutch, popped the gear into neutral and tried to move my steering wheel. I very quickly concluded I was goin no where too fast.

Long story short, my dear hubby drove all the way into Vancouver to rescue his non-mechanic wife.

He climbed into my Jeep, rocked his weight, cranked the steering wheel back and forth, put the key into the ignition and my black horse was rumbling again!

I am now at home, it is 8:30 p.m. and I’m hungry but am too lazy to cook, so I emptied a carton of organic Butternut Squash soup into a pot to heat it up, grabbed some crackers and cheese and sat down to write.

My first spoonful of my soup collided with my brain and suddenly it was “Fall” in my heart.

How I love the Fall! It is my favorite season of the year! It is a season of slowing, of prepartion, of strong earthy smells; it is a season of homemade soups and breads and garden harvesting; a season of candles and sitting by the fireplace in a cozy chair.

Fall is a season of colour; leaves changing from green to orange and yellow and red;  even the sky seems a deeper blue.

The days begin their journey to darkness sooner and the tempature begins to lower in preparation for Jack Frost.

These cooler days mean that I can pull on my favorite sweaters and go for long walks and breathe deeply that Fall crisp air.

All these memories of sight, smell and taste from one sip of Butternut Squash Soup!

How good of God to give me such a delightful simple pleasure this evening! And it  draws the perfect conclusion to my day that started with reading Psalm 19…

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words go to the end of the world (vs,1-4),

Isn’t this amazing?

Thank you dear Father in Heaven for a bowl of soup to remind me of so many good things that you have created for my pleasure and for me to hear your voice in the midst of life’s little frustrations!