Wednesday, August 29, 2012

on My First Week of Seminary

It is an odd feeling, this feeling where what feel to be your fragmented selves seem to gather at last.

Theses selves are not lining up, there is no order or neatness to it, but they are for certain gathering. Bits and pieces of memories of thoughts and words throughout my adolescence and young adulthood come back to me. They have walked back into this space of my thoughts and my hopes and my questions and they have sat down at the table, looked me in the eye, and said, "This is not new for you. This is who you've always been. It's time now to talk with us."

I have long had this quiet, aching fear in the pit of my stomach that says, "You are a piece of driftwood, easily tossed to and fro. You are carried about by the winds and waves. You have no foundation." Even when I would have called myself a grounded, stable, conservative Christian who voted Republican, loved the "poor others," and shunned alcohol, recklessness, and bad words - even then I saw in myself the propensity to entertain the views of others and shift my views. I squashed it down and told myself to hold fast to the Truth, to place my feet on the solid rock, and to be unmoved by the emotional pleas of other views that swayed my heart and head towards another answer, but I always wondered if I was driftwood.

The girl who squirmed when her denomination-of-origin only ever referred to themselves when referring to "God's Work" is sitting with a different restlessness at this table.

That teenager who asked, with no irony, if it were really possible to legislate morality, is here in this space.

The young adult who read and read and read from glowing screens into the wee hours of the morning with open on one window and articles and arguments in the other and wondering at these people who loved Jesus and believed differently than she. That girl is here too.

And more recently the woman who wondered of her place. For if no babies, no husband, then where should she sit? Or should she stand? Is she allowed to stand? Who decides these allowances? And what of these women she has loved and sat knee-to-knee with over open Bibles and cups of coffee. And what of the women in those pages who stood and sat, who raised cries to the sky and who knelt and dropped tears on the feet of The Savior? These questions meet such loudness and clamor and it feels like, is, war.

And all these girls and women of my self who have gathered here together to sit at this table are comforting to me. I see them through these past three decades, with their questions and their uncertainties and their fears of driftwood and I can say to them:

No. You are not driftwood. You are a vine, curling and sprawling up the side of a trellis. You are grafted in to and weaving around a concert of vines in an ancient vineyard. You produce fragrant flowers and bountiful fruit. You have branches and leaves die, wither to brown and grow heavy with their dead weight before they are pruned in a painful, but ultimately satisfying, cut. You have always twisted and blossomed here. You, with your strong ancient roots and your tender new shoots are alive and growing. You are not dead wood.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Small Spaces

A blog I have recently started reading, Crimson to Wool, hosts a weekly link up on "small spaces" in our homes that remind us of the blessings of God. I love the idea. So, I plan to participate often. This space is no longer constructed in myhomee as everything I own is in either a suitcase or box, but for the last few years it was a moment in my room I loved.

This little space is full of memories!

The small wooden box is myrtle wood and I purchased it in Oregon when I spent a summer there. That summer was a blessing in that I learned a lot about the church that summer.

The bird is from an arrangement that was at the funeral home when my granddaddy died. My grandfather died when I was young and his playfulness, patience, love of nature, and kindness are brought to mind when I see that bird.

The top book is an old English grammar book that belonged to my grandmother - another memory of my heritage.

And, the jar. There are very few things I collect, but clear wire-hinged ball jars are one of them. They are easily found online, but I love the hunt of finding them tucked away in an antique store, noticing the mark/year, and imagining what it's held And who has held it in it's long life. They're useful too - craft supplies, office supplies, coins, cotton balls, clean it out and use it for food. Simple joys and beauty!

See other small spaces and share your own at Crimson to Wool!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Guest Post: Waiting to Taste the Miracle

I am in the midst of a busy month and I've asked some friends to share with you their thoughts on some women in the Bible. Today my dear friend Natasha Metzler shares with us about the prophetess Anna

It will soon be five years since I said my vows. Years that flutter away with the spinning of time. Years that I pray are simply the beginning of a lifetime.

Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher (i.e. a Jewish woman in the New Testament) was married for seven short years before laying her husband to rest. During a time-period when the average marrying age was fifteen, she would have become a widow about the age when I began my married life.

Translators are a bit undecided if Scripture says that she was then a widow until 84 years old or a widow for the next 84 years. (Luke 2:37 text and footnotes) Either way, she was a widow a very long time.

I’ve been writing about my personal journey lately. Inscribing the story of how God has taken my pain and redeemed it and how I believe that He will continue to redeem the broken pieces that are left.

It may simply be that my mind is wrapped up in this concept but when I read the few short verses about Anna—I am reminded again of the way that God redeems pain.

Scripture says that Anna never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. She had buried a husband while {probably} in her twenties and then spent dozens of years alone. I think I would have crumbled but Anna became a prophetess instead.

And God gave her the most wondrous of gifts. A taste of redemption so vivid, so breathtaking, that it makes me want to dance in joy for her. To this woman who bore her pain to the throne room of God—He gave the chance to see the ultimate redemption in flesh. Jesus. Born to save the world.

And she knew. It says that she “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38) She knew who it was. And the years of standing in the temple, worshiping and praying, were redeemed in a single moment.

Now my mind won’t let it go—the echo that her life leaves in the pages of my Bible. God hears every single cry. He is not ignorant of our pain and the miracle of His redemption is coming. I want to be faithful. I want to hold firm to Him. I want to know His voice like Anna knew His voice.

And even if it takes eighty-four years, I want to wait and taste the miracle.


I have known Natasha for about ten years. She is a constant source of encouragement to me and her writing beautifully captures the beauty of redemption. Read more from Natasha at her blog.

This is part of an ongoing series on Women and Female Imagery in the Bible. Click the "FeminineFridays" tag for more!