Off Duty

So, Lord, I think this new cloak of mine is going to take a lot of getting used to. I was just sitting here thinking I felt pretty good, had a decent day, because (drum roll) I got so much done! Sheesh. 

It’s not about doing versus not-doing. It is about with what attitude are you doing. How did you feel today, running your errands, doing your paperwork?

I felt fairly relaxed for the most part, except once or twice, when I looked at the clock and felt that sense of being rushed, or rather, not moving fast enough myself. I did try to think all day long about what You said yesterday. I wasn’t sure how to switch gears exactly, but now that I think back, for the most part I wasn’t revved up. I made a list so I wouldn’t forget anything, and actually did all but one thing–I would have done that too but it was raining too hard at that point for that particular errand.

So you can actually balance your life with your work and your chores. You see? You were able to reach out briefly to friends today. You did your errands. You made real progress preparing for your upcoming buying trip. And you did it all with much less anxiety. You even got a little extra sleep this morning! You tried to remember to drink more water and you took bathroom breaks. I would say, for your first day, you were a great success wearing your new cloak!

Thanks, God. I do feel good tonight. I do. I even noodled around with a new lyric, sort of, in the car. And Kaylee was more affectionate, more playful, than she has been in a while. I could almost believe she sensed the change too.

Almost? You know how sensitive animals are. If such a change makes such a difference in her behavior in just one day, imagine the benefits that await you long-term.

You know, God, at one point this morning, I caught myself slipping into those old familiar thought patterns and I literally interrupted myself to say, no, today is going to be an incredible day!

And was it?

I am sitting here right now, feeling–and I do mean that word, feeling, I can feel Quiet, I can feel Calm. Peaceful. I am feeling at peace. I am feeling at peace with myself. That’s huge. And yes, I would have to label that as pretty incredible.

And what is happening to the earth?

Ha, God, You are so funny. It is spinning, spinning on its axis, revolving around the sun, keeping its place in the Universe. And all without me having to worry about it, ha! 

I Am not making fun of you. But it is helpful for you to see for yourself how playful and joyous this life can once again be, as long as you are focused on Being, on Being your best self. Sure, go, do–but from a center of being. And what did I promise you? That you will be even more productive, accomplish even more, and operate from a position of even more energy. So how do you feel physically?

I know bedtime is coming and I think I will sleep, but I don’t feel that same overarching fatigue I have been having. AND…this is incredible…although I planned to drink coffee in the afternoon, I didn’t. Somehow I didn’t need it. I got along just fine without it.

And you are not feeling exhausted now?

No. I’m not. I am actually feeling pretty good. Guess that will go down on my gratitude list tonight. Thank You, Lord.

Yes, I guess it will. Thank you–for receiving My peace. You know, I have called you to be a peacemaker, and a peacekeeper. And that begins with days like today, days when you are at peace first with yourself.

I Heart…

In less than an hour, it’s my birthday. Although, if I am being precise, I really turn 61 somewhere around 8 a.m., not at midnight. Last year was the landmark/decade birthday, but I can’t help wondering about the year ahead. In Narnia Aslan told Lucy, no one can know about what will happen, but—

That is not what I said.

What?

As Aslan, in Narnia. That is not what I said. What Aslan actually said was, no one is told what would have happened if…And then what did Aslan say? Anyone can find out what will happen…

Oh, yes. Right, by taking action, by moving forward. Part of me wishes I could look ahead, have some foreknowledge, and part of me is afraid to ask for even a glimpse.

Here is all you really need to know. You will love the love of your life, for all of your life. And he will love you. When the road gets bumpier, you will have the ability and the circumstances to slow down, so the bumps don’t cause you to crash, emotionally, spiritually or financially. Instead of racing over or through the bumpy parts, you will walk hand in hand, each of you leaning on the other, and each of you both giving and receiving strength and comfort. At some point, I will call everyone on the planet Home. You will live through many Homegoings before you hear Me calling your name, and when I do, the joy that will rise up inside you will be so great, so powerful, your human body will not be able to contain it. In that moment, which you have labeled “death” you will become fully and eternally Alive and forever united to My Love and Life. It is hard for you to fully appreciate the joy, completely understand the risen life that awaits all of you on the other side of the veil you call Time.

When the day inevitably comes for Pete to come Home, although you cannot envision this now, you both will know, and you both will rejoice; he will rejoice because Joy itself will come for him, and you will rejoice, because you will realize that not even death can separate those who love one another.

You have asked in your heart a question that doubters asked Me, although your puzzlement comes not out of doubt but out of a sadness born from an anticipated loneliness. On earth, Pete has loved both Pat and you. So in heaven, whom will he love? And the answer is Love is All. Love is All encompassing, Love is All surrounding, Love is All infilling. In heaven, Love. There will be no more need for rank-ordering. When the glass is always full, there is no need for measurement. You will fully love, then, and you will be fully loved. Here, you cannot live without air, without breath. Then, you cannot live without Love. So much love, so much joy, so much peace, awaits you. And even those words are inadequate, for much invites a comparison to less-than-much, to little. That is why I so often Name Myself simply Am. Being. Love. Peace. These are synonymous in eternity.

So what does your 61st year hold? Wonder. Blessing. Strength. Resilience. Joy. Opportunity. Tenderness. What will be your part, your response? Gratitude. Peace. Serenity. Faith. Hope. Compassion. And yes, Joy.

Rest easy, little one. You have chapters yet to live, chapters yet to write. And you and Pete have pages yet to live together. Determine to write on every single page, happily ever after—and live that assurance, starting now. Keep sowing seeds of love, keep reaping a crop of love. Your entire existence together has been a loving journey. That will never change between you—never fear that.

Thank You, Lord. That is the best present I could ask for, tender, loving days together, however many there are.

I have told you before, don’t grieve in advance; don’t mortgage today to try to prepare for tomorrow. Be Here Now. Love Now. That is all any of you can really do, anyway. So purpose in your heart to do that, every day, and this really will be the kind of year you are always asking for others, your best year yet, overflowing with blessings.

Evidence

So I had a great day, getting to walk Pea Island not once, but twice! Morning light was sweeter than afternoon but honestly it just felt great to be outside. So I was walking and praying and singing like I do, when I have the beach to myself, and You challenged me to believe You for something simple and specific. You asked me if I believe what I say, when I say, I am in the right place at the right time. And I said yes.

And then I asked you, why? Why are you able to say that and really mean it, really believe it?

Because I know it is true. It has been proven over and over to me, in my experience. I have evidence, lots of evidence.

And then I reminded you about the verse, Faith is the evidence of things not seen.

Yes. And I think I struggle with that, as I told You today. Because You said, to Thomas, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed. So…which is it?

And I told you today, it is both. Sometimes, you are given the gift of faith to believe for something before that something is reality in your experience. But WHY can you believe? Because you have believed before! Because you have received before! Because you trust the process, or in this case, you trust the Person. Thomas needed the same evidence the rest of the disciples had already received–a personal encounter with Me, Risen. This was a huge leap, to believe after witnessing My Crucifixion that I was indeed alive. This required evidence. And what happened after the disciples received their evidence? They shook the world!

If you will consider carefully, any time I have asked you to stretch beyond your doubts, even your doubts about yourself, or your calling, or your gifts, or your hearing from Me, I am building on a framework of evidence you already have. It might be evidence from My speaking to you in the past. It might be testimony or affirmation you have received from someone close to you that you trust, sort of like corroborating evidence that yes, this is possible. Yes, you can do this. Yes, I Am Who I say I Am. Now you are becoming part of the body of evidence for others. Every experience you share of your life with Me, helps build not only your faith but the faith of those who look to you, who listen to you, who are wondering exactly how this connected life, this faith-life we have together actually works. So why don’t you go ahead and write down what it was I prompted you to believe for?

It sounds silly.

It didn’t sound so silly at the time.

No. No, it didn’t. I was walking, and looking for hearts, like I do, and picking up small ones, and You challenged me to believe for a large, white one, like a clam shell one.

And why did I challenge you to believe for that?

So that I could photograph it in a way that would show up in the picture, not straight down, but wide angle, showing the beach as well.

And why did you want to make a photograph like that?

I wanted to show how Your Love might seem small at times, when we are facing something so hard, so heavy, but it is really the central factor, the dominant piece, in the whole landscape of our lives. It anchors us, like an anchor point in a photograph. That is what was really in my thought, now that I have taken the time to put it into words. The shorthand I used with You on the beach was, the image I am meant to make today. 

And what happened?

Well, I found one! Not quite right, but it was there. And then another. And then You said, third time is a charm, and I took another couple of steps and there it was. Large, white, perfect. Just what I was looking for!

And didn’t I remind you then, now you have one more piece of evidence? Evidence that indeed we are connected, and that I Am interested in everything, no matter how seemingly small, how trivial, that touches your life?

Yes, yes You did.

And aren’t you forgetting one more thing?

Oh…yes. I moved the shell. I mean, I photographed it in place, and then picked it up to carry it down the beach to the tide pools, to make the image I had in my mind. Or in my heart, no pun intended.

And what did I tell you when you first had the thought?

You told me to follow that impulse, to create what I envisioned. I put a period there, but there wasn’t a period in real time, when we were talking on the beach, because (why is this so hard to write down, hard to share), because You said, follow my impulse, create the image, because I am an artist.

Indeed I did, and indeed you are. So now you have one more heart to share. One more tiny piece of the big puzzle that is My Love for everyone. I say big puzzle because a lot of folks view Me, view My Love, in that way. But that’s okay. At least they are viewing! At least they are questioning. At least they are searching–as I asked you to do, today, for your heart shells. Seek and you shall find. Seek and you shall find evidence! Evidence on which to build greater and greater faith, and a more deeply connected life.

Going Sane

Lord, You know those trust games people play at team-building retreats? You close your eyes and let yourself fall back, trusting your team partner will catch you. Well, I just realized, I am doing that here. I mean, this is a practice in trust. Every day I show up, trusting You will show up. And then, encapsulated in that, I am trusting You are You, You are good, You will speak truth. And that I am not crazy.

With all the evidence you have, from all your years with Me, you’d be crazier not to believe, not to trust. I want to talk to you about expectancy. 12-step recovery programs warn about expectations, about putting trust in others.

Yes, they say that sets a person up for disappointment, and resentments. 

But the very foundation of a successful program in recovery rests on a key assumption and expectation: that a “power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Yes.

So in this case, one particular expectation leads directly away from “crazy” — and that is trust and reliance outside oneself. When you rely on Me, you are relying on first, in the words of the program, a Power Greater. A Power Available. But I Am so much more, as you know, than a Power. I Am a Person, Who loves you. So you are not relying on a Power, you are relying on a Person.

Yes, right.

So let’s use this language for a minute. What in your life feels crazy right now?

Well, talking to You may seem crazy to others, but it is one place, sometimes the only place, that seems sane. The government shutdown, with lots of blame being shouted back and forth, seems crazy to me right now. It affects so many people!

Aren’t you glad My Kingdom, My Power, is not cut off?

Yes, Lord, I am. Thank you. It seems crazy to me the way women, a lot of women, are still being treated. It seems crazy to me that in our society we still have folks, right now, tonight, who are hungry and who are cold–right in this country, in this community. And I am talking about everybody from folks who should be in safe, caring institutions, who don’t have the mental or emotional resources to care for themselves; to people who are struggling with addictions; to those who simply need a break, who are eager and able to work, who can’t seem to make ends meet. God, we as a planet, we have so much need. And so much greed. That seems crazy to me. And You said, bring my burdens to You. So. There You go.

Do you remember the story you heard years ago? About how a person had a vision of heaven and hell? About how in hell all these people had long-handled spoons permanently affixed to their hands, and while surrounded by plenty of food, they were all starving, because the spoons were too long to reach their mouths? And then the person had a glimpse of heaven, and all the people there had the long-handled spoons, and how upsetting that was, because the people looked the same?

I remember. 

And what was different?

In the view of heaven, all the people were satisfied, because they fed one another. Their spoons could easily reach the mouths of their neighbors.

Yes. Now this is more a view of earth, than of the afterlife. It is a teaching vision, a teaching story.

So what is my part? Feed my neighbor, right?

You cannot do everything. But you can do something. The invitation you received today, to do a specific action to help ESL children in your community, the one you said yes to–that was well said. Everything in your heart leapt up to say yes to that opportunity. And then, you began to wonder how you would find the time, what others even in your own family might say in response, and you began to doubt the wisdom of your yes. But I Am here to say, thank you. You will receive so much joy from this yes, and you will give so much joy and so much hope.

Lord, it was wild! All those years ago, I had this thought, this “I wish I could” thought, and it was doing the exact same thing, only with Native American kids, out west!

And so it begins. Be at peace, little one. Every discerned yes only adds to the foundation of this life you so long to continue to build, in Me. Keep looking to Me for guidance, keep asking Me for direction, and I will guide you and bless you in paths that are perfect for you–perfectly fit to your longings and to your gifts. And remember, you cannot out-give God.

So I am not going crazy?

I would say you are going saner and saner–which may mean, you will look crazier and crazier to others, not all others, but to those who are farthest in outlook from Me.

Ok, Lord. And again, thank You.