Category Archives: WBF

Simple as a Drink of Water … Or Not

Worship Fully:  got to engage in song with wonderful women as we mourned and rejoiced as the physical passing of a friend.  So happy she’s dancing with the saints, but selfishly sad for our missing of her body in our midst.

Spend Less:  Today’s speaker at WBF shared her reflections on Luke 17 & 18.  So many stories packed into two chapters!  Christ doesn’t seem to be one to babble. 🙂   What stood out to me were stories regarding water.  First, she told of a time when she went to a pumpkin patch with her extended family.  She was about to buy a bottle of water, having forgot her water bottle at home.  She offered it to others, and her grown son said that he no longer drinks from bottled water:  much of it is bottled by Nestle, who has bought the rights to water in countries where people desperately need water and can no longer have access to it because of our consumerism.  She also shared how when hosting kids from an African choir they could not get over her washing machine:  “You mean water just comes in there?”

When I spend more, others have to spend less.  I heard someone recently define rich as “when I am rich, it means I am taking from others who can no longer have.”  When I drink water without thinking where it comes from, I am taking from others who don’t have; my need to be quenched creates a thirst in them.

Give More:  I’m not so much a baby person:  give me a teenager any day, and let’s have awesome conversations and go do stuff.  But babies:  they sure take a lot, and don’t give a lot, that is, if you’re a person who wants to go and do.  I’ve never been a sit & cuddle person as my folks can tell you – I held them at arms length pretty much since day one.  And when I have an infant of my own, I’m easily babied-out.  But today I actually wanted to hold someone else’s baby:  he was born one day after my daughter, and he reminds me of my boys – a bit more on the fussy side, active side, wearing his mama out side.  See, she had a girl first:  a cuddler.  Me, the opposite.  And now that I have little miss “let me smile at you to show you all the insides of my mouth:  see, this is how big I can get it!” girl, I don’t mind pacing with the active boy:  I have something of me to give.  Finally.  That sure is nice.

Love All:  Funny how I just talked about loving on my friend’s boy, and yet I had not a lot of love for my own boys this afternoon.  It’s too easy to whang on myself, so I’m just going to put this day away and look forward to a day tomorrow with new opportunities to create and play and love, or at least try to keep the tiredcrabbies to myself.  🙂

Rattle …. and Hum

Worship Fully:  Family attended Jason’s work Christmas extravaganza, minus the real worship aspect of it (too bloomin’ cold!).  But I think connecting with friends, watching kids decorate cookies and go bizerk, and reflecting on the season counts.

Spend Less:  Money – not so much.  After my grocery shopping trip, my husband asked, “What?  Did you buy out the whole baking section?”  To which I responded:  “Yeah.”  Cookie baking is my love language, and now is a great time to stock up the potential blessings.  🙂

Give More:  Normally I use the self check at the grocery store, but today I decided to take the baking isle, I mean, my cart to a “normal” checkout line.  I enjoy the self check because I can keep my ear buds in, listening to the word puzzles on A Way With Words while scanning to my heart’s content.  But today:  not so much.  Instead, I chatted with the clerk and found out that a) she has two daughters very close together, one that wants to bake cookies all the time, which she had a problem with (I had to share why that’s a good thing); 2) she makes an awesome homemade pizza (sometimes using a Pillsbury box mix marketed as cinnamon rolls – hmmm); iii) she’s eaten at the pizza shop that my husband worked at in high school – small world!  So, I gave of my free ears, and my attention, and I think that made the few minutes of shopping closure enjoyable for both.

Love All:  Instead of talking about how I did or did not love all today, I’d rather focus on a woman who is known for her love.

When I first attended Women’s Bible Fellowship, I hadn’t participated in a group activity for some time, and I’m certain I had spitup on my shoulder.  I was late, having to sneak in and take a seat up front at a table with women I didn’t know, which almost had me run for the hills, but then women started sharing about how their summers were.  One woman stood up and talked about her breast reconstructive surgery and how women had thrown her a party when it was done, complete with a cake shaped like a boob.  My two thoughts:  I can’t believe these pillars of the church community are talking about things like boobs – they must be real people after all! and if they can talk about boobs within five minutes of the gathering starting, then I can be okay here.

This wonderful woman had had cancer, fought it, won, and then had a relapse.  Recovery, and another relapse.  And now she’s within days of leaving us physically.  Our women have prayed over her, the church community has prayed over her, friends have experienced insomnia and deep soul groanings over her suffering and imminent passing.  She is a woman I did not know well personally, but she embodied warmth and acceptance and love that only comes from knowing Christ.  She persisted in praying for everyone, loving them even if they didn’t appear to want to be loved.  She walked with people through hard times, and she allowed us to walk with her through these past years of pain.

I’m sure I saw her as a tyke.  Her uncle was my childhood pastor, and her family was known for their musical abilities, so I’m sure they came to my church and performed.  Such beautiful harmonies I’ve heard her family blend together, most recently as they’ve sung hymns and songs of praise to her in her sun room to help ease her pain and do the thing they seem to love best:  worship the Lord together.

This evening an update was given stating that she now has the “death rattle”:  a sound in the chest present hours or days before passing.  To think that a body capable of creating such beautiful sounds is now involuntarily giving off that kind of noise:  I don’t want that to be the last thing her family hears!

But then I realize that it’s only for a short while, and hopefully their memories of her past songs, words, actions – the natural hum of her true self will reign dominant as she’ll be singing as she was created to with the other saints.  And I hope, oh I hope, her family and loved ones will feel that hum in their daily lives, because you know she’ll be interceding like nothing else.  Lord, transform that rattle into a hum; thank you for letting Christ love us through her; may we continue with the melody today and everyday.

Talk to My Face

Worship Fully – sang a few songs at Bible Study during worship time, but also whispered with my friend (face to face conversation is severely lacking in my life:  I steal it where I can)

Spend Less – short trip to the grocery store (probably not necessary, but more of a time killer); less time online; more time Christmas-ing the house with the kids

Give More – unplugged the headphones and conversed with adults; stopped talking and listened to others (some); let the kids help me decorate the house (this is giving for a perfectionist such as myself)

Love All – crabby times happened with the small tykes; found myself having more grace for strangers than for those closest to me – hmmm

Today was Pajama Day at my son’s school.  I’m not sure what Pajama Day entails other than wearing the comfy slumber wear out of the house, in the car, and in the classroom where tykes normally don “outdoor clothes”.  While this was a fine event last year, this year my son would have none of it.  He stormed around the house, making very declarative statements:  “I’m NOT going to school!”

I knew what was going on:  he was having a hard time adjusting to something new.  A few weeks ago he was invited to a birthday party, and while he was excited initially, suddenly he had a change of heart.  Instead of poo-pooing it, I let him talk; instead of dismissing him, I looked him in the face, just like I ask of him:  “If you want to talk to me, don’t holler from the other room – talk to my face.”  Finally he said, “There will be too many kids there, and we’ll get wild, and it will be too exciting, and I’ll get nervous.”

Oh, son, I’m so there with you.  And I was so happy that he recognized that about himself!  So I repeated it back to him and said it was fine if he didn’t want to go.  Then we talked through some scenarios, and he latched onto one, feeling that the excitement would be manageable.

So this morning I tried the same:  looking him in the face, listening, repeating back.  Except he didn’t come to a place where wearing pjs was okay, so he went to school with his regular clothes, knowing that his friends would ask questions.  I felt nervous dropping him off when he curled up at the first questions arose, and I felt similar when I picked him up, but he was okay.  The teacher said it sparked some good discussion in class, and I felt his choice was respected:  might not be fun, but it was his choice and not my desire.

While he was not wearing pajamas at school, I was at Bible Study, worshiping with wonderful women, making faces at my darling daughter who’s decided to respond to interactions in the world.  I’ve been having a hard time getting into the specific study element this semester:  my perfectionism kicks in, and I want to do all or nothing.  But I am reading the chapters of Luke for the week:  this week was all about the Lost (chapters 15-16).  When the facilitator asked if we had any thoughts, I almost dove into my typical babblings, rambling on, verbally processing stuff that doesn’t make much sense and probably leaves the group wondering if I know how to form coherent thoughts (the answer is:  seldom).

But today, I felt the Holy Clap Over the Mouth, and I listened.  People shared their anxiety over feeling secure, opening their lives to strangers, engaging the poor, protecting our children while letting them experience some of the darkness present in this world, speaking freedom to a friend whose time on earth is coming to an end when others aren’t ready to share in speaking that release.  How does the story of Lazarus and the rich man relate to us?  Someone mentioned cutting back on the food bill:  how just because we have access to abundance doesn’t mean we should partake of it.

I don’t have answers.  But it felt like a loving thing to simply shut up and listen:  not just listen, but look each person in the face.

Worry

The other week I had to take my daughter to a hearing appointment.  She didn’t pass her newborn hearing screening, so we were told to schedule another exam, this time with a specialist who works in a hospital in another town.  I scheduled it when my husband happened to be gone.  I had to try to find childcare for the second born.  When I called to verify with insurance, they told me they didn’t cover hearing screenings.  The doctor called the day of the appointment to say that we hadn’t been sent the right paperwork, that she needed to be asleep for the exam, and could I keep her awake and not feed her until the appointment?  You know, for the 30 minute + drive I’d be taking just the two of us?  And what if she really had a hearing problem?  I started to meltdown.

And then I chose to breath.  I called the doctor back who gave me billing numbers to give to insurance people:  they said, “Oh, these tests mean there’s some concern!  They’re covered” (as though I like to schedule inconvenient and expensive tests on my two month old for kicks – geez).  I met my dad for lunch, and even though neither one of us brought maps (because we thought the other one was going to), my husband navigated us to the hospital (while he was in Kansas City getting ready to eat BBQ).  We got an amazing parking space, we were seen forty minutes early, Josephine slept through the whole test, and she passed with flying colors.

I told Jason, “I should’ve known today would go like this:  I read in Luke where Christ was talking about not worrying.”

One of my children is having anger outbursts, and we don’t know what to do other than ride them out.  Another is reading up a storm, and I’m beginning to think that my plans for his schooling are yet in limbo again.  My littlest one is just that:  little.  How does one get the car in to get a potentially hazardous part (according to the letter from the dealer we received two days ago) replaced when one only has one car?  And last night, during a night feed, I discovered the cat to be licking himself excessively — because he had an oozing wound.  So many things to worry about.

And then I attended Bible Study this morning where we heard an update on a sainted lady who is finishing her last trip around the sun.  We’ve known this for some time, but a sense of urgency and seriousness and grief has descended upon all of us.  One of my friends finds herself awake for two hours at a time at night, thinking about our friend, praying for her and her family, struggling with the anger of “why her?  why like this?  why not fix this?” and the presence of the anger at all (can we be angry at God?  what does that mean?  and what will happen?).

The phrase keeps coming to mind:  “God allows in His wisdom what He could easily prevent by His power.”

`Think about the flowers. See how they grow. They do not work or make cloth. I tell you, King Solomon was a great man. But he was not dressed as fine as one of these flowers.

God dresses the grass in the fields so it looks nice. It is in the field one day and the next day it is burned. If God dresses the grass like that, he cares much more that you have clothes to wear. You do not believe in God very much!

`Do not keep asking, “What shall we eat?” and, “What shall we drink?” Do not be troubled about that.

All the people who are not Jews work for these things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need them.

But work for God’s kingdom. Then you will have all these things also.’

`Do not fear, little family. Your Father wants to give the kingdom to you.’

Our sister’s life and situation seems SO much more important, so much more worthy of true worry.  And yet, Christ tells us not to worry – about *anything*.  True, He’s talking in reference to daily needs … but her daily needs are almost gone, so I think it still applies …

Choosing to live out of fear/worry, or out of love/the Kingdom.  I know how I want to live, but my head and my heart don’t seem to match up in how it looks.  Perhaps a clue lies in Christ’s words that follow:

‘Sell what you have and give it to poor people. Make for yourselves money bags that will not wear out. Keep the things you like in heaven. They will not be lost there. People cannot go in and steal them, and insects cannot spoil them.

The place where you keep the things you like is where your heart will be also.’

Lord, cast out our fear!  Transform our fears into love and light!  You are with our sister; You are with us; may we carry that Love and Light, transformed from our fears and worries, to others.

We are singing for the Lord is Our Light

Yesterday at our gathering of Women’s Bible Fellowship we embarked in a newish venture:  worship through song.  We’ve done a little in the past, but this year a pressing sense of needing space and time dedicated to intentional worship practices was felt.  A special space was crafted with lower lights, chairs, cushions, elements:  ambiance.  The leaders selected a few praise songs projected on a projector (sometimes old school is the best option than the high-tech).

Standing in the back, I had to laugh a little.  Yes, it’s new which oftentimes means awkward.  Say you’re going on a date.  Most likely you’re not going to be singing along to that boy band song that comes on the radio, much less belting it out with the gusto you do with your college roommates (not that I speak from personal experience).  🙂  But still:  watching most women stand dead still, or doing the white evangelical woman’s shuffle while singing “We are dancing for the Lord is our Light” made me laugh as much as watching the exact same thing happen on Sunday mornings.

So yes:  I wasn’t fully focused on worship (totally outed myself there, eh?).  But the song stuck with me through the day, and I found myself dancing (as much as I can these days) while scrubbing the sink.

I also read Psalm 40 yesterday morning and realized I hadn’t loaded “War” or “October” onto my Ipod:  a mistake I remedied that afternoon.

Lord, thank you for giving us this new song:  may we learn how to dance in Your encompassing Light.

Why Do We Commune?

The weather is sunny, and I’ve found my typing fingers.  I know I should be out of doors enjoying the last of the rays for a bit, as clouds are rolling in even now, but I know the sun will return:  it *has* to.

I’ve been out and about in my neighborhood, taking walks, checking out the spring flowers, noticing which houses have sold and which one are on the market.  People are talking to each other, having barbeques, playing at the park.  I love the noises of hearing kids squeal as they slide down the corkscrew slides or get pushed just That Much Higher on the swings.  People are talking; people are communing.

My Bible study has switched topics as of last week.  We had been working through certain materials since our start in the fall, taking two weeks for each lesson to really get into the ideas presented.  Our groups was fairly large, and a number of folks were attending specifically because of the material we were using (they really enjoyed the author/presenter).  Now the attendence has changed.  True, the cold season is still upon us; work picks up; peoples’ schedules get busy.  But I also know that people aren’t present due to the topical change.  And it bothers me.

When I was in college, I had a roommate who was event-oriented.  A new movie was coming out, one that all the roommates wanted to see.  But something came up, and we had to postpone.  Except she still went:  found other people to go with.  This hurt my feelings, silly as it sounds, and as obstinate as I am, I didn’t even want to see the movie when the opportunity arose:  she already saw it and therefore ruined it.  Finally I realized why I was so cranky:  I’m *community*-oriented.  Many times I could care less about *what* we’re doing as long as we’re doing it *together*.  She’s not wired that way.  Realizing this, naming this, gave me freedom to be me and for her to be her, for my feelings not to be hurt, but to recognize that our expectations were different.  And this is something I have to remind myself of in situations like my bible study.

In Sunday School we had a new speaker (tis the season for change, apparently:  get out your white pants, your outdoor eating gear, and your new speakers) who is speaking for four weeks on the idea of Community and Spirituality:  that we often take an individualistic approach to spirituality, not a communal one.  Jesus is our personal savior.  I need to take care of my sins for my sake.  I attend which church I want to because it relates best to my needs.  He mentioned the idea of the parish church where one attended a church, or rather was *assigned*, due to location.  And you duked out all the joys and the muck that comes with community rather than leaving when things got uncomfortable or “didn’t relate.”

I’ve heard people speak on the topic at hand at Bible Study; I’ve heard it a number of times.  I’m still attending with the hopes that I’ll take away something new from this person’s individual experience in this area, but more so that I can come alongside others who haven’t heard these things, that are struggling, that need people to walk alongside them and strengthen and equip them in these areas.  This is my community, and as much as I complain about different things, I really don’t want to leave just because the topic doesn’t “totally” relate or connect with me:  I want to help, to be present, to commune because if/when the roles are reversed, I would want the same from them.  If others are called to leave, I want to have a heart that speaks peace and freedom to them as well.  Wherever we are called to be, I pray that we will simply be fully present.

Consuming Thoughts

Today at Bible Study we were present with an onslaught of Christmas gift opportunities that benefit others through purchase.

  • A group of women have created bracelets from beads made in Thailand:  the proceeds go to a house that rescues girls from the sex trade industry.
  • A dear friend’s young daughter wants to “buy the farm”:  Her parents turned a picture drawn by the amazing girl into a Christmas card with proceeds going to raise enough money to buy a farm for a village through World Vision.
  • A representative from F.I.S.H. shared a promotion sponsored by the Coffee Cottage:  purchase their Christmas Blend, and $2 of every pound purchased goes to F.I.S.H.
  • Another friend’s daughter is raising money to go on an orchestra tour by selling locally made jams and syrups.
  • NFC is hosting a Make It Yourself Workshop on December 6th.  By signing up for a time slot and paying a minimal fee, the participants are equipped with supplies and personal instruction from very knowledgable and crafty people on how to do things such as make candy, create gift boxes, make memory books, knit and crochet simple projects, etc.  This idea is coupled with our churches participation in The Advent Conspiracy:  spend less on Christmas, give more.  A statistic was given that if Americans put money spent at Christmas towards solving the world’s water crisis, that it would be fixed 45 times over.

The facilitator, one of the most tender-hearted people I know, commented, “Now, I know economic times are hard, and merchants want you to go out and shop, so I do feel a little bit bad about that.”  My wheels started turning (mind you, their idealistic wheels:  if I had realistic wheels, I’d probably be doing rather than yammering about it).

Random thoughts:  what if our way of life is unsustainable (I know:  it’s a fairly obvious answer)?  Why should we spend more and perpetuate an unhealthy system?  When you have those crisis moments, it’s an opportunity to change, or to ignore or make do and limp along until the next crisis.  Like transitioning my sons to sleep through the night:  yes, it stunk.  Yes, we had to get up repeatedly.  But by not giving in, by being consistent, by being committed to doing things differently, it got easier . . . better . . . healthier . . . eventually.  I remember reading in books about establishing healthy patterns with sleep that the author often said, “Just when you’re about to give up, if you stick with it, the tide will turn.”  And each time, that happened.

We’ve been given the gift of a crisis:  will we make do, or will we change?  What is that change we’re called towards?  How do we combat the black pit of consumption?

One thought:  live simply, so others might simply live.  And I’m thinking that living in such a manner requires community . . . .

Another friend and I were Facebook messaging about the food crisis.  She said that the Food Banks are in desperate need for the upcoming holiday and was discerning her call to help.  She mentioned that her family gives, but it’s hard to talk about what to do with others, because we’re supposed to keep our giving to ourselves, not to flaunt it to benefit ourselves. But if we don’t talk in community, however will we be able to act effectively?  What sorts of places or forums can we share such ideas and leadings, to gather together, to equip, to be the hands and feet of Christ?

I heard that Oregon is one of the top five hungriest states.  Where I live!!  Not in rural America, not in the South, but here.  Oregon.  My home state.

Consumption;  too much, not enough.

Again, Isaiah 58 was read today, at Bible Study in a talk on prejudice.

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Tears overwhelmed my eyes (i.e. The Spirit was present!)  The speaker said we need to learn to share the Truth in Love.  I thought about how that means to share the Truth in Christ, because Christ is Love.  But what does that look like?  How do we share the Truth in Love about our economy?  Our life styles?  Our consumption?

Words that come to mind:  Baby steps.  Intentionality.  Community.  Vulnerability.  Listening.  Humility.  Sitting with suffering.  Abiding.

May we be your hands and feet:  to create and further Your Kingdom.  Day by day.

How Do You *Do* When You’re Supposed to Receive?

Conversation a while ago with my Pappy, as I can remember (i.e. not word for word, which is okay, cause my dad probably won’t even remember it taking place):

Me:  Okay, so you’ve said that God is the initiator:  all things come from God.

Pappy:  Yep.

Me:  And we were created to be receivers:  all things come from God.

Pappy:  Yep.

Me:  And we spend most of our time falsely believing that we really are in control, but really we should be practicing a posture of receiving from God, of releasing the control stick, of saying “We got nuthin”?

Pappy:  That’s what I’ve found to be true.

Me:  So, what does that mean for prayer?

Pappy:  What do you mean?

Me:  Well, say a friend is sick.  Should I pray for them?  I mean, that’s like *my* idea to pray for them:  that’s initiating.

Pappy:  Who says that’s your idea?

Me:  Me.

Pappy:  What if your desire to pray for them really is a desire place in your heart by God to intercede?

Me:  . . . . Oh. . . . So, how do I pray, though?

Pappy:  You could ask for them to be healed:  that would be a nice thing to do.

Me:  But what if that’s not God’s will?  What if God’s allowed the illness to enter their lives for some redeeming purpose?  Then praying for them to be healed wouldn’t be the best thing to do.

Pappy:  Very true.

Me:  So what do I do?

Pappy:  Well, I’ve found that prayer is a lot about listening, on both sides.

Me:  So I could like visually hold them in the Light and pray for strength to endure?

Pappy:  That would be nice.

Me:  Huh. . . .

I’m still uncertain how to procede.  Today at Bible Fellowship we had a similar discussion:  someone was asking God to help them out with something and then realized that God was telling her that her desires were planted in her heart by God, so really it was her joining God’s process rather than the other way around.  So then:  what does that mean for prayer?

I think Madame Guyon has some insight:  “Our activity should consist in placing ourselves in a state of susceptibility to Divine impressions, and pliability to all the operations of the Eternal Word.”  If I can ever unpack what that means, or rather if I can receive the meaning of that statement as God unpacks it, I think I’ll really dig it. 🙂

Weavings of Notes on Sabbath Living

Yesterday while pulling onto our church’s street, we saw one of our worship gathering’s families trying to cross: a father with two girls.

“Guess I shouldn’t hit them, huh? That probably would not be in the spirit of SuperBowl Sunday.”
“No, but you could play the game where you get points for knocking off hats or Bibles.”

We laughed in a very non-violent Quaker way. I then mentioned to Jason about Bible Fellowship on Wednesday.

“We were talking about ways we observe the Sabbath. That family stays home all day, doesn’t shop, utilizes leftovers. One of the kids naps, the other will — get this — sit for over an hour and read.”
“That’s so not fair.”
“I know!”

This family really wanted to rest: to tread lightly on the earth. On Wednesday, another friend shared about how they as a family felt that the Sabbath was not for working but for communing and celebrating, so they tended to get takeout, use paper plates, and invite friends and family over for a time of fellowship. I told Jason I’d like to experiment with the later “because I’ve done the former as a kid, and it isn’t all that fun” (yes, Mom and Dad, someday I will have gone to enough Journey to Wholenesses to be healed of my scars of youth :)).

That morning I had been thinking about the Sabbath some, especially as I turned on my computer. At Womens Bible Fellowship Lisa McMinn has been facilitating a discussion of her book The Contented Soul. One element of it includes observing the Sabbath: “Sabbath rest invites us to pause, to reflect on where we have been and where we are going . . . People who uphold the sabbath cease from doing that which they perceive as work . . . The sabbath gives us permission to set aside whatever we feel is essential to accomplish and to remember that the God who sustains us is abundant and sufficient. Sabbath rest is one of God’s good gifts, a discipline intended to bless us” (118-120). She mentioned how one of her family’s Sabbath day observances is not turning their computers on, giving themselves permission not to work or respond to emails. That sounds appealing, but can I get my itchy trigger finger to agree with my idealism?

The Sunday message was titled: “Do What Jesus Did: Focus on the Essentials” from Luke 6: 1-11. Christ was getting busted for doing no-nos on the Sabbath: letting his disciples pick grain to eat, healing someone of a non-life threatening issue. The idea is that Christ was not to be ruled by the nit picky laws of the Sabbath (many which the Pharisees created or interpreted rather than being declared from On High), but that Christ was the *LORD* of the Sabbath. The message sharer noted that Christ’s life was not marked by having a Sabbath day, but having a Sabbath week – month – year: a Sabbath lifestyle. If we are to follow the essentials, that includes following the Lord of the Sabbath in having that sort of life as well: a life marked by doing what the Father tells us, abiding, taking our hands off of the control stick.

Did you know that the Lord’s Sabbath day never ended? At least, it certainly looks that way in Genesis. Every creation day is marked by a “so ended the day, and began the next day. And that marked the first/second/third/so on day.” Except for the seventh day. On the day when God rested, stepped back, and said, “This is good,” — well, that day is never concluded in Genesis. God is still living in that Sabbath rest, and we are called to that as well! Adam and Eve kinda biffed it up for us when they decided to take control, and then we were exiled from that rest. But then Christ came, redeemed the situation, and we are once again able to exist in that Sabbath rest – actually, *called* to live in that rest – with Him and God. Wow.

So what does that mean for our daily lives? During open worship I was drawn to verses mentioned in the article my dad gave me on living a life of praise and thanksgiving. I couldn’t remember the exact verses, but knew they were in Hebrews. Turning there, I found a section on a Sabbath rest for the People of God. Resting: turning to Christ: abiding with God: releasing control (work): good stuff.

Do you observe the Sabbath? Do you feel like it’s a once-a-week thing or a life-thing? How do you abide in God’s rest?

Toddlers Want To Know About Spiritual Formation, Too

Today was my first day teaching a class. Except I’m not really teaching: I’m “facilitating” which is just a way of saying I’m too scared to teach and too lazy to do all the work myself, so class, help me out here! And it’s not a class: it’s a course offered at Women’s Bible Fellowship at Newberg Friends. But it is my first time doing whatever I was doing. And I survived. I asked a friend why I was doing this when I’ve never done anything like this before, and it makes my stomach all knotty and my shoulders hunchy and my face scrunchy. I already knew the answer: “Because I’m crazy. I almost forgot. Crazy people tend to do forget things, you know.”

One of my friends is getting her masters in Theology. Her classmate is a mom of two or three boys on top of being a wife and a church leader and all sorts of other roles. Someone asked her how in the world she could get a masters while having two small kids. Her reply: “How could I *not*?’ I think that’s how it is with me: parenting is challenging; to maintain healthy levels of sanity, I need to balance the mama duties with other interests, such as exploring spiritual formation. I know: some folks do something like take up knitting. Which is a lot more low-key and less stressful (although I’ve seen some stressed out Type A knitters, and let me tell you, knitting needles can fly FAR across the room). But for me, I’ve got this bug to keep exploring spirituality and culture and God’s amazing, relentless pursuing of us simply to be in and bring others into an intimate relationship with God.

So I’m facilitating this course. A lovely group of women have agreed to journey together: sharing experiences, bearing with this newbie speaker. I felt like things went . . . well. I spoke too much, of course. I babbled. I wasn’t clear – I was clearly nervous, but not necessarily verbally clear. But we shared why God is great in our lives. And we prayed prayers of thanksgiving and adoration to God. And that was *good*.

I also got a workout. Apparently adult women are not the only folks interested in spiritual formation. Because we had guests. Underaged guests. One of which happened to bear the same last name as me. And the same big blue eyes. And then same tendency towards temper tantrums and sugar sensitivities. A few minutes into my talk, I heard my son who was “safely” stowed away in the nursery down the hall. I figured he was just being loud. But it sounded so clear. . . I asked folks to center down, spend some quiet time with God, and I’d close us in prayer. And that’s when we were graced with the presence of two guests: my son, and my friend’s son. I always knew if they hung out together, we’d be in trouble. My son, leading the way, was followed by my friend’s son, and they were both giggling – they knew they had busted out. And no nursery worker was coming after them. In my intro talk, I mentioned that my son was a little on the active side. After he broke out of the nursery THREE TIMES, I think the women believe me. Two of the times, the nursery workers had no clue, and I had to deposit the Little Man back in his prison. The third time, a nursery worker came after him after a while, except then Judah broke out in a run – boy howdy, he can move. Man, camp counselors are gonna have fun with this one.

So either my son really wants to learn about spiritual formation, or he really wants to be a grace grower for the nursery workers in the area of patience, vigilence, and preparedness. Either way, it’s gonna be a fun journey for all of us at Women’s Bible Fellowship. Pray for all of us – those in courses and those on border patrol.