Seedlings

Lord, thank You for growth. I just spent a few minutes reading this time of year from 15 years ago, and then 14 years ago. Fifteen years ago, I was still sick with pneumonia, gaining strength very slowly, and full of the same sorts of questions and drivenness I still sometimes am prey to. Fourteen years ago, Pete’s second sister, who had been ill for only a few weeks, died and that set off a whole storm of emotion, within and around us. What I realized, reading, is how my morning journaling times have changed. Now, I know to listen for Your Voice, Your input. Then, I craved it but I didn’t often stop long enough to hear You. But it was that practice, of taking that time in the morning, writing down everything I thought and felt for 30 minutes or so, that planted the seeds that eventually grew into the relationship I have with You now.

Yes, you were full then–full of grief, full of fatigue, full of fear about health in general, full of questions about your future. You needed to become emptier so that I could fill you with Myself.

I loved You then, as I love You now. But I think I had forgotten how much You love me, love us. And how personal Your Love is, how You really do enter into a relationship with us–if we will, with You. I had moved into focusing on social justice, on causes for peace in the human world and the natural world. I had zeal, and I had faith…but believing in something, even Someone, isn’t the same as nurturing a relationship with that person. 

You are a parent yourself. How do you feel when you hear from your son, or one of the grandkids, out of the blue, for no particular reason?

The feeling is joy, God. Big time joy.

You gladden My own heart with your attention, and with your commitment to staying open to My Presence. What would you say is your dominant emotion these days?

I guess I would have to say gratitude. Or maybe lovingkindness, although I can’t say I am always loving, especially when I am over-tired.

And what did you read as your dominant emotion in those journals from so long ago?

Gosh, God, sorrow, I guess. I was trying so hard to keep going, but there wasn’t any joy anywhere, really. I checked items off the must-get-done list, so there were flashes of satisfaction in tasks completed. There was genuine joy in the trip west to receive my college diploma, the degree Daddy’s life insurance paid for. His last gift.

So what do you think was the difference-maker?

I know gratitude as a practice helped, as I have shared over and over with folks. It really did change my life. But the real difference-maker, Lord, was You–this connection, like right now, knowing I can reach out with my mind, my thought, and You are here, right here. That changes everything in real time. Anytime I do get discouraged now, if I can just remember, I am not alone, You are here, God-with-us as a fact, it flips some switch in my consciousness. I mean, I can still be tired, or stiff and achy as I am tonight, or overloaded with more tasks than hours to do them, but I take just one breath thinking about You, about the immensity of the proposition that the God of the Universe is interested in us, in me, in this moment of what we call Time, and I smile, I can’t help it. It’s as if I am privy to the world’s greatest secret, only it is not a secret at all. It is hidden in plain sight, like the song says, Open the eyes of my heart. I just can’t get over all those pages from 2003 and 2004, and how different my journal reads now. Thank You.

I told you the other day, I want you to try to fast-forward in your thinking 20 or 25 years, as if you were as old as Pete is now, and what would be on your gratitude list from those years you have not lived yet. Why do you think I asked that?

I didn’t know–and I couldn’t come up with much. I mean, I couldn’t foresee anything in particular to add to a list. 

You just looked back at a snapshot of your life from 15 years ago. You are marveling most at your own growth in those years, your spiritual growth. Do you think your growing years are complete? What if I told you even more growth is coming, good growth, wonderful growth, and that you will look back at these conversations and marvel at how much closer You and I had grown during your 60’s and 70’s? What if you will look back with the same incredulity you are now experiencing, looking back, because our relationship will grow even stronger and deeper?

Lord, is that even possible? Is that what You are saying?

You are thinking of your life in Me now as a forest, in comparison with the tiny seedling it once was. I tell you, you will look back at these years and see a small grove in comparison to the mighty sequoias this connection, your connection with Me, your connection to this world you so love, will become. Mark My Words. So much growth awaits you. So rejoice in every day, every week, every month, and every year. Here is a little foretaste, a hint–this past summer, you were able to quit picking your fingers. No longer is that a stress response, after nearly 60 years. Now imagine no stress triggers, because you are essentially immune to them. Imagine no fear triggers, because they are no longer a part of your inner emotional or spiritual lexicon. You will grow into this life, just as you have grown into the woman you are now. And for every inch of growth, listen for Me saying, You are My daughter, I love You, and I Am so proud of you.

Blue Moonrise

God, tonight I want to talk about the moonrise, the Super Blue Moon moonrise.  I’ve already posted some photos on Facebook. But I want to talk to You about it. Second full moon of January, the first month of the year…lunar eclipse earlier today, making this Super Blue Blood Moon truly unique. The last time we had a US total eclipse (even though we couldn’t see it here) of a Super Blue Moon was (thank you Google) on March 31, 1866. The Civil War had ended not quite a year before. Some folks look for portents in the moon; blood moons hearken back to Old Testament verses folks interpret as the end of the world. Various cultures find meaning in eclipses generally, and lots of folks look at new moons as times of beginning and full moons as times of fulfillment, or letting go. You often speak to me through nature. So…is there some meaning beyond “gee that was neat” that I should receive from tonight’s full moon?

How did you feel when the moon came up?

Joyful. Excited. Grateful. I wasn’t sure if the cloud layer to the north would obscure its rising, but there it was! And as it rose higher in the sky it began to light up the wisps of clouds around it, and it shone so bright that the clouds in front of its face just faded. It looked like they were behind the moon! 

I want you, I want My world to experience wonder. Wonder is not just for children. Much of the world’s current spiritual hunger and thirst stems from a mindset that has replaced wonder with logic. Science is wonderful, and necessary; you humans like to solve riddles, figure everything out, find tidy explanations, and categorize experience. Those traits have served humanity well but some experiences aren’t always explainable or understandable to the finite human mind. A mindset that requires precise explanations and measurable and consistent results leaves no room for the miraculous. The rise in popular culture of fantasy and science fiction–notice that term, science fiction–is an attempt by your artists to reconcile the logical, scientific side of grown-up humanity with the wonder and awe and openness of children.

I have asked you this before but I need to ask you again: do you think Heaven will be boring? Do you think your loved ones are bored in My Presence now? Do you think that your eternal existence will be described by words such as static, stagnant, frozen, unmoving, or sameness? You read, I Am the Lord, I change not and you think of these sorts of words, as if Heaven’s existence is like the click of your shutter, freezing a moment, a nanosecond, of experience. But what happened tonight in real time, as you reckon time? The moon Rose. It literally grew before your eyes, becoming bigger, brighter, and higher in your field of vision. I Am Risen. That is not a static fact, that is an ongoing, eternal reality of growth and expansion in your experience of Me and My Life, both within you and in the world around you and in the eternity you have yet to grasp.

When I say, I change not, or I Am the Same, yesterday, today, and forever, what I mean is, I Am Always Who I Am. My character does not change. I Am not Love today and Ambivalence or Hatred tomorrow. I Am not Peace now and War later. I Am not Mercy here and Unmerciful there. I Am Always and Fully Myself. But (this will be hard for you to grasp at first), I Grow. With every human born, My Love grows, My Mercy grows, My Heaven grows. Your astrophysicists tell you, the Universe is ever-expanding. Listen to them. They are close to the realm where science and wonder meet. That meeting place is the Door to My Kingdom, and you yourself are closer to the Door than you imagine, much closer than you were even five years ago.

You have heard, so-and-so is so heavenly minded that she is no earthly good. That is spoken as an indictment. You have heard, get your head out of the clouds. I tell you, you will be increasingly so heavenly minded that you will be of much earthly good, much greater good than you could have been otherwise. The same is true of every human being who seeks to connect more deeply with Me, to experience My Presence in fresh ways, and to embrace this seeming paradox, of science and wonder united.

This is the lesson of this full moon for you: embrace your life. Embrace your ever-larger, ever-brighter, ever-rising-higher life.

 

Oh Very Young

Lord, I feel like I’m missing something, some lesson, some message. Young, transformation, over and over and over. Like a Native American message–look for new growth, give-away to the young so the young can grow. I sort of think it’s beyond that, even.  I mean, that all seems obvious. But what are You trying to say to me?

To the very young, everything is wonder. Every day, every experience is fresh and new. The very young are receptors–they take in everything and learn and grow from all of it. Everything has a lesson to teach. They have not yet learned to judge, to sort experience. They are curious but not yet wise. Their very openness and wonder are their gifts. True Wisdom retains this wonder. True Wisdom contains this enthusiasm. True Wisdom is not cynical, not jaded. True Wisdom retains the expectancy of Very Young. There is a big difference between “getting older” and “growing elder.”

The Very Young are wide-eyed. Some are timid by nature and some are bold, but all know they are in a larger world, full of possibilities.  Most adults reach a point where they stop. They settle. They stop growing, stop learning, stop expecting anything new or wonderful. Most adults assume, this is it, I’ve reached as high or as far as I can. And they quit there, and begin concentrating not on growing but on maintaining, on not-losing, on not-sliding-backwards. They may have an occasional moment or experience that is beyond the box they’ve constructed and labeled “real life” but those are few. I never asked My Children to “grow up” in this way. I never said, the day will come when I, your Father, will no longer have anything new to show you, give you, tell you, teach you.

Some–you call them visionaries, explorers, inventors–refuse to grow up into this settledness. If not for them, you would, all of you, still be living in the Stone Age.

You already know, which has shaped your believing, a little, a very little, about potential. Don’t stop here. That’s the message. Don’t stop now. Don’t stop, period. In many ways you are already an Elder. But in so many other ways you are a Beginner. You have received that word as a negative rather than as the positive it is, in Me. You are remembering emotions surrounding the phrase “starting over” as loss. Starting over–after losing a relationship, after losing a child, after losing a job…going backwards…you have tremendous sorrow, tremendous grief, tremendous energy of loss, of defeat, around the thought of beginning. That is the source of your mixed emotions right now.

There is a lot that no longer fits for you, a lot more than you’ve been willing to admit or acknowledge. I want you to explore that with Me. Be honest, here. What no longer fits? What relationships no longer fit? What beliefs? What patterns? If you were moving into “smaller to grow larger” emotional space, mental space, what thoughts and feelings do you not have room for? What programs do you want to purge from your hard drive so it will run faster?

If you knew you’d remain healthy, and have financial resources, what would you do then? What would change? What would you dare? What would you dream? What would you try? Your largest dreams, selling a few stock photos to an ad agency for a hospital, is so small, I could make that happen in one day! Then what? I Am saying to you, now what? Don’t become “older.” Don’t settle. Don’t “be adult about this.” Be Very Young. Be filled with wonder, be creative, let your imagination take wing. Be Bold.

New Moon, New Year Wishes

It’s Winter. It’s New Moon. It’s Year End. Shouldn’t New Year wishes be in the realm of possibility? Otherwise isn’t it just wishful thinking?

First, “wishful thinking”—thinking full of positive wishes and longings—is how anything new gets done, how anything gets invented.

Oh! The shadow on the tree out back is an A-OK symbol! I haven’t seen that in months.

Second, wishes are precisely for things or circumstances that seem, either a little or a lot, impossible or improbable or so difficult as to be unachievable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be wishes—they would be plans, or they would be goals.

The A –OK Symbol has what looks like an arrow up from the thumb, like flicking my forefinger, sending an arrow west. Lord, once upon a time I knew my fresh impact was west. Now? Flicking could also be sending it away, flicking something—a distraction—out of view, so I can concentrate.

That is what you have been doing, flicking your wishes out of the way. They keep resurfacing and you keep finding ways to say no, to ignore them, to deny their very existence.

Isn’t that what a Christian life is about? Denying yourself?

Not if what you are denying is what I’m trying to give you in the first place. Not if “denying yourself” means denying the Self I Am trying to bring forth in you and through your life.

Breathe In The Positive

Lord, I am scrolling through old journals, as You said I could, and I stop, astounded. I am reading entries from three years ago, and You said then words that are so fitting for today. Again and again I read something You said before the situation, preparing me for what was to come. And here You go. You have done it again. So I am going to share this, Lord. It is so timely, I am going to trust it will be as timely for someone else reading in the moment.

Every step of growth—personal and professional—is a leap. You feel unready and unprepared; that is what learning is for. I Am not asking you to be, yet. I Am asking you to become. To be, come. To Be, Come. Come, follow Me. Come with Me. Come, and see.

Today, Come to the Sea. Come to the Leaves. Come Outside to go Within. That is your personal paradox, the distinct definition of your calling. Outside to go Within. Then you fill the well to pour out, outside in your larger world, rippling beyond your circle. That is the breathe in, breathe out, of your life. Go out/breathe in; go in/breathe out. That’s the rhythm of it. Go out, take a deep breath; hold it in; release it out, transformed to nourish the very place you were nourished by. Take in the spiritual oxygen you need and trust that the carbon dioxide you release is exactly what you are meant to give.

You’ve been trying to do this backwards, to live as a tree: to take in the carbon dioxide and put out the oxygen. To absorb in your body the negative and push out the positive. I say to you, take in, be filled with the positive and you will release the negative, and your release of the negative will in turn create the transformation of negative-to-positive, just as the trees do. But you do your part by staying positive, absorbing the good, being on the lookout for the purest oxygen possible. Breathe that. Immerse in that. Let every word, every thought, every breath, be Love. You can change your world one breath at a time. Your love is changing the people around you. Don’t focus on change—just focus on staying in the flow of My Yes to you. Yes to opportunity. Yes to safety. Yes to health. Yes to peace. Yes to joy. Yes to love. Go outside and Be, Come—more of who you are.

Expansion

A little glimmer, a little shimmer, a little puff of wind. The day stretches and yawns into itself. I am quiet. Kaylee is scratching, restless. Lord, what would You say?

People think of expansion in many different ways. Your crop could yield more seeds, that is one way. The size of your fields could increase. You could have more outlets for your crop, so you waste less and store less. You could be more efficient in both planting and harvest.

Yes?

Another way to think about expansion is to diversify. You have fields AND an orchard. And you raise sheep for wool, say. In order to diversify, where the land produces a year-round, expanded offering, you need more help—help which I will provide. You are close to the limit of what you can provide in terms of cranking out product. The next big piece is the writing piece, and the workshop/speaking/teaching piece. Each will have a different audience and a bit of a different purpose, but it is all your land, all your territory. I do want you to dream again, and dream on paper. Dream on the page.

Lord, I write that down and I lean back. I lift my pen off the page. Why? What’s up with that, what’s up with me?

You think the very idea of having dreams and expressing them is selfish, self-centered, prideful. You forget about my planting seeds in you, seeds that sprout as your gifts and talents, as your inclinations and preferences, as your longings. All of these are My planting within you. So let’s examine those seeds, shall we?

 

 

 

 

Incubation

Dear God, before I jump into “do”—what would You say?

There is much within you, waiting to come forth. Some lies at great depth and some is just below the surface, awaiting only your attention to emerge. Incubation is all about waiting, but purposeful waiting. Waiting in the foreknowledge and assurance that powerful and wonderful changes are already underway and will soon be manifest, be visible. You are incubating now.

Incubation is not passive. A diligent mother turns her eggs, makes sure they are warm and sheltered. A diligent mother feeds herself so that when the babies hatch, she has the energy she needs to take care of both them and her. A diligent mother keeps knowledgeable about her own food sources. You are afraid that paying attention to the stirrings within will somehow harm them. This is a lie. You must heed the stirrings within in order to birth them, and in order to nurture them to their full potential.

Again I say, I did not give you this life to strip it from you How would you live each day differently if I told you that your nesting place would weather any storm and that you are destined for both wondrous migratory journeys and a stable home-base? That your calling is to combine word with image and bring hope and encouragement and healing to the broken-hearted, and encouraging vision to the newly emerging, and a sense of purpose to those seeking direction or lost in confusion? What if I said, beauty is your Bible? That your lens—your view of My world—is the Yes and Amen that I, the True Word, intend and need to speak through you?

Your eggs are hatching asynchronously: word gifts, visual gifts, and music gifts. And you have had earlier seasons of hatching, which you’ve assumed were to be your only times of bringing-forth. No, you have many seasons yet, many incubations to come. For now, pay attention to this season. Quit apologizing for what stirs within you, for those inner longings you keep trying to silence. They are trying to emerge—encourage them! They will soon have wings. Pay attention to every dream, every longing. If it is stirring within you, it is from Me. We are birthing together. Don’t let these become stillborn. Turn your eggs, feed yourself and incubate in joy.

Nurture your inner life

God, do You—You always do—have anything to say to me today?

Breathe. Being frantic or fretting won’t help you. It won’t help your body or your mind, and it won’t help you get more done. Consider the lilies. Consider the thought that I love you just as you are right now, even while drawing you on to greater growth. Every winter, underground, lilies multiply. The “more blooms” that appear above ground come from more bulbs underground. Nurture your inner life, your underground life.

How do you do that? Worship is one way, because you are focused on Me and all I Am in your life and in the universe. Not sermons, not fellowship—as good as they may be, they don’t multiply your bulbs. Random acts of kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness help multiply your outward fruit and influence. Intercession as long as it is not a disguised worry is a bulb-grower.

Notice the metaphors: bulb for flowers and growth; bulb for light; bulb for inspiration, for creative ideas, for epiphanies. Anticipate surprises. Live expectant as you used to, and let your expectation be filled with My Presence, for in My Presence, nothing is impossible, nothing is too hard. The only defeat in My Presence is defeat itself. Defeat is defeated, overcome by victory. Overtaken by Love. Begin to anticipate a healthy body, a healthy lifestyle, a healthy business season. Begin again to visualize thriving. Trust that in this winter, which you are seeing as time lost, trust that underground, within, beneath the surface, is tremendous growth, is a field of multiplied bulbs, all ready, all waiting for the signal to burst forth into glorious flower. “A crop so great you cannot contain it all” – that is My Promise to you, renewed. So much fruit you can easily share, easily Give-Away. Is any of this too hard for God? Am I not God for you? Focus on that.

Joy in Grief

God, I’m tired. Pete stayed for the vet, he came around 3 pm, and Mikey insisted on crawling into his lap instead of mine. Please, I want just a few minutes, here.

Rejoice, and again I say, rejoice. Sounds almost cruel, doesn’t it? But you can hold joy and grief in your heart at the same time, just as you can hold Love–or peace–and anger in your heart at the same time. Staying open to joy, to its appearance even if sudden or fleeting in your days will help keep your grief from overwhelming you. Holding to peace and love can help keep you from drowning in anger, being consumed by it. You’ve been very afraid of drowning in one or the other or both, for a very long time. But My Spirit lives in you, and its fruit of Love and Joy and Peace has grown deep roots in you. Don’t look for a banner crop right this second in your feelings–but do look for signs of flowering and growth even in this season. I promise you they are present and they will help you through these next days.

Thank You, God. I love You, Lord.

Growth in Heaven

Lord, I want to know about heaven. Do we still grow, there? I mean, we are somehow ageless, but do we still grow?

With every human born, heaven grows. “Heaven” in the collective grows in its capacity to love and care, just as an earthly family does when a new baby is born. Do you think brilliant ideas are limited to earth only? Do you think creativity dies when eternity begins? There is much you cannot understand or conceive until you arrive. But know this: Heaven is a shorthand word for Life. And where there is life, there is growth.