Tag Archives: fellowship with God

Hush

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I love that word. It says so much more than quiet or still or silent.

It’s a breathless space. There is peace mingled with anticipation.

Yearning mixed with tranquility.

It’s calm.

There is no disturbance.

It’s a mood of the heart.

It’s part of inside-out weight loss.

Shedding of the hurry, at least for a moment.

I didn’t grow up in a tradition of Advent. Actually there was no Christmas worship of any kind.

I’ve come to treasure Advent’s hush. This year my quiet span has included a book of daily readings from a Celtic Advent tradition–which means 6 whole weeks instead of four.

Each week I lit a new candle symbolizing Father, Holy Spirit, hope, peace, joy, and love. In a few days the final candle will burn, signifying the light of the Christ child, my Lover and Best Friend, Jesus.

In this span of hush my heart is quieted, yearning without disturbance. And when the crush of struggles invade my peace, this restful space helps me realign with all that is Good and Holy.

With Him, the Three in One, the Creator of all.

There has been no moment as precious as these to me this season.

For a short time, at least, I am able to turn from the cares that invade my day and simply rest.

I light a candle, “Praise to You, Loving Father, Creator of All, Most Powerful.”

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And my heart kneels, submitting to One wiser than I.

I light a candle, “Praise You Holy Spirit. You are my Teacher, Guide, Counselor, and Friend.

I need Your direction today.”

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And my heart kneels, welcoming His Guiding Presence.

I light a candle, “Thank you for hope.”

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And my heart kneels, choosing belief over despair.

I light a candle, “Thank you for peace.”

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And my heart kneels, releasing worry, embracing calm.

I light a candle, “Thank you for joy.”

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And my heart kneels, claiming singing, dancing, swirling joy,

asking that He teach me to live like that.

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I light a candle, “Thank you for love.”

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And my heart kneels, receiving acceptance from the One.

Giving self permission for love. Allowing Love to permeate the parched places.

And soon I will light the last candle.

Breathless space, anticipating hush.

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Complete in Jesus.

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As the countdown to Christmas ticks away, my you embrace a quiet hush.

A Guest Post – Sweetly Broken

yellow rosesWhen I read this Joyvotion from my friend Robbie Iobst, I knew you had to see it to. I get her Joyvotions delivered to my inbox. You can too. Just follow the link.

Be blessed!

Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.” Psalm 94:12-13

Sunday at church we sang a song by Jeremy Riddle called “Sweetly Broken.” The chorus:

At the cross you beckon me

You draw me gently to my knees, and I am

Lost for words, so lost in love

I am sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.

You can hear it here.

I sat in worship and cried. Sometimes I do that. I wish I cried pretty and sniffed gently. I’m more like a loud Louis Armstrong blowfish, red and puffy and blowing a trumpet. But we are what we are and the Spirit was all over me.

Sweetly Broken.

Ever feel that way? I have. Lately, it feels like it will never end. And it won’t. Not ‘til I see Him face to face.

The adventure of living for Christ is full of epiphanies if we decide to keep growing and not just remain stagnant. This past week it occurred to me that as the fourth of four children I often got my way. (My siblings may cough loudly and obnoxiously at this point.) I wouldn’t call myself spoiled but I do believe I have lived my life getting my way most of the time.

At age 23, I met someone I thought I would marry. He didn’t want to marry me. I didn’t get my way and I remember very clearly turning to food. I could have my way with food. So began a pattern that has been deeply engrained in my life for 27 years.

Now, at 50, I have surrendered. I’ve thrown in the white flag and said “God, not my way with food anymore. Your way.”

Ergo, I am being sweetly broken.

Ouch.

In the last ten months I’ve lost 70 pounds and several dress sizes and a lot of inches.

But I’ve also lost a part of me that was extremely used to being in control. That part of me has stood in the way of going deeper with the Father. That part of me that still rears its ugly head and cries out, “This is too difficult.”

I am sweetly broken.

The breaking hurts, but there is a sweet side.

Physically I look and feel better.

Emotionally I find myself clinging to Christ in desperation and gratitude. And my compassion for other folks going through similar battles has quadrupled.

Mentally I am discovering that I have more room to think about other people or challenges where in the past, that space in my brain would have been crowded with “What am I going to eat later?”

Robbie

Beautiful, passionate Robbie Iobst. 70 pounds down and counting!

Spiritually I know I am tasting freedom. Last weekend I climbed a mountain. I kept thinking I would fall because it was steep, but the freedom to keep going, even if I fell, was exhilarating.

Sweetly broken. Wholly surrendered.

Christ did it first. He showed us the Way, the Truth and the Life that we can have simply by yielding our wills to God.

Today, join me and quit stomping your feet trying to get your way. Pray with me, “Your will, not mine, be done Lord.”

Note from Paula: Robbie’s first novel, Cecilia Jackson’s Last Chance, releases soon. It’s been a long time since I connected this deeply with a book’s characters. A long time since I’ve seen real, difficult issues tackled without making the reader wallow in the pain at the same time. It captured my heart, taught me about life and God, made me think about real stuff, but didn’t drag me down. I felt empowered and joyful at the end of the story. Watch for it!

Sweetly broken

Gotta Keep Walkin’ Day 66

tennis shoesAfter being disappointed in myself yesterday about eating dessert but not burning it off, I prioritized walking today. I also missed hanging out alone with God. I used to do that mostly with my journal and Bible in hand, but I’m not doing much reading or writing since the accident. I like this new thing the Lord is doing, though, connecting with me as I walk. 

I asked the Holy Spirit to direct my steps, then started walking with Matthew 1 on my Bible app on my phone. I think I listened to the first three chapters. (I’m doing the gospels right now. I started with John, my favorite, then moved onto Luke, my second favorite. Poor Mark. I always leave him until last . . .)

I felt drawn to walk up to where a friend of my son’s just moved into a condo. It was a bit of a trek, but not too far for my new lifestyle. I walked around the complex, praying for the people who lived there, but mostly for our friend.

After that I ended up walking the parking lot of my favorite coffee shop, praying for the owners to know God and asking Him to bless their business and send them customers. Then I circled the elementary school and prayed again for the kids and teachers there. At the empty strip mall I asked the Lord for a church there, one Jerry and I could attend and serve in that would know how to care for my failing neighborhood. By the time I reached home I’d walked four miles, burned 445 calories, and enjoyed sweet fellowship.

I tried to do a little running in the dry patches, but was interrupted often by unshoveled sidewalk spaces.  I told myself I could be grateful for the icy spots because they gave me an easy out from pushing too hard. That didn’t change my frustration level, and I wasn’t really grateful. Come on, people! Shovel in front of your house!

Once home I craved my BeFull shake, which I skipped due to all the holiday left-overs for the last couple of days. The shake was so good.

I did have half of one of my famous homemade cinnamon caramel rolls with a little coffee. But I still have lots of calories to spare today, so I’m not too worried about that.

The scale has been up and down this week, playing around with about thee pounds, with all this crazy holiday eating, but it has stayed between 186 and 188. I hope I never, ever see 190 again. Let me rephrase. I PLAN to never, ever see 190 again!!

Should have started the BEPure cleanse before Christmas, but decided to wait until after the holidays and get a fresh start.

Real Time Update:

It feels fantastic to be down another 20 pounds since I wrote the above entry in my weight loss diary. I’m tall for a woman, almost 5′ 9″, so even 170 looks relatively NORMAL. I still have a muffin top to work on, but I’m thinner than I’ve been in a long, long time. YAY!

Now for a confession. I’m walking about half as much as I did in December. The good news is I am finally feeling better and able to do more work on the computer. The hard part is prioritizing exercise now that I’ve picked up most of the balls I had to lay down last June. Lord, help me to keep my health, my exercise, my time alone with You as a top priority even as You return me to productivity.

What About You?

How do you balance exercise with responsibility?