Seeking Peace

Seeking peace….my friends…can be such a difficult thing to do in this crazy busy hustling world. But the truth is that even when we take five minutes with him, God has a way of showing up and showing us peace..of reminding us of the importance of Sabbath in our every day lives.

Just tonight, I found myself at a picnic. In the midst of the picnic, I found myself simply sitting taking in the cool air and was reminded of the beauty of creation as I watched the kids with smiles on their faces playing. Then I came to church to check on our community garden where they were busy building garden boxes. My colleague, her husband, another colleague and another friend were busy working on the boxes when I arrived. My colleagues two year old son was watching and playing outdoors. While my colleague was working with them on the boxes, I was hanging out with Mr. E. As I sat in the box of the pickup and listened to this sweet little boy chat with me. I couldn’t help but think about how being with him was bringing me peace…because it was causing me to pause and just simply sit with him.

Isn’t it funny how God has this way of reminding us of the importance of Sabbath and helping us to seek peace. Some of my favorite places have become places where I truly experience God’s peace. My favorite place in the world…the Bible camp I worked at for approximately seven summers helps me to exhale and take in the beauty of God’s creation. As my car turns onto the gravel road to that holy place, I find myself feeling much lighter. It is a place where I always am at peace.

On Sunday, I will be heading to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains for a continuing education class. This is the fifth summer that I have participated in this event. It is hard to explain but the minute I come around the bends and see the Rocky Mountains staring back at me, my whole body is at peace. It is as if my whole body exhales and peace immediately enters in. Sitting around Lily Lake or on the front porch at Meeker Park Lodge or wherever I might find myself, I don’t have to look far at all to find God’s peace because it is already there staring right back at me.

And as I think about how it is there along, I am reminded that it is in my every day too. I just have to stop and take the time to see it, to feel it and to hear it. God offers an everlasting peace that only God can provide. But we must take the time to seek it, to find it, and to let it enter in. Because when we do, God is right there painting  this beautiful masterpiece…like a golden sunset, or the golden wheat blowing in the fields of the prairies of North Dakota, or right in my own back yard.

And as God paints that beautiful masterpiece, we begin to see the beauty in the midst of the brokenness, the extraordinary in the midst of the ordinary and experience the everlasting peace that only God can provide us.

I am linking up with Holly for Testimony Tuesday, Kelly for the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer for Tell His Story and Holley for Coffee for your Heart:

“That They All May Be One”

Anytime I drive from Moorhead into Fargo or go home to Ashley for a holiday or vacation, I see a “Welcome to MN” sign as I take the first exit into Moorhead and to my apartment. For the most part, it is something that I know is there but don’t really pay that close of attention to it. However it was different this afternoon. Right as I was leaving work to go to Zumba, I saw that Minnesota passed the Freedom to Marry bill.(I’ll be honest I was ecstatic. I know not everyone feels that way but that was how I was feeling.) On my way home from Zumba, I came to my exit and saw that sign again. Yet today it was different. Today my heart was happy. Today I knew that those words were true…..more true than they had been an hour ago or even 24 hours or 6 years ago.

I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I turned onto that exit leading me home. Tears welling up for my dear friend L and her wife M and their beautiful son L. He has always been both of theirs and always will be. However because their marriage wasn’t legal, they could run into all sorts of obstacles. Because L didn’t carry their son, she had to legally adopt him. Today though they are and will truly be a family in the eyes of the law. What a beautiful step. I think of the members of their church family who stood with them today at the Capitol grounds. For them, there is and never will be a line between who is and who is out!

I think of my friend J who is going to marry his sweetheart next month in R’s home state. I met J after he graduated seminary and through mutual aquantances of both of ours. I’ve always respected and admired J for being honest with who he is. I mean that in the best possible light. What has saddened me throughout this whole journey is that J has been able to marry many others but has never been able to legally marry himself. There is just something totally not right with that picture. He deserves to marry as much as you and I do. Today J and R can now both get married in their home states.

I think of the many others who now will be able to legally be a family. I don’t know what Jesus will say when we all get to heaven, but what I do know is Jesus always chose love. Jesus was always the one crossing the line onto the other side. Yet I know there are people hurting tonight because of this decision…people who don’t understand. I keep coming back to Jesus’ words to his disciples that night in the upper room…”that they all may be one.” Jesus spoke these words to his disciples that last night in the upper room even though they were far from being one themselves. Today I’m proud to be a Minnesotan but I know that there are those who do not agree with this decision. In the end and despite our disagreements, may peace prevail…

So tonight as we lay our heads down for the night, may we pray for all….for all God’s people…for the people on both sides of the line…may we pray that peace; God’s peace will always prevail!

Spring has Sprung….FINALLY!

Spring has finally sprung here in the Red River Valley. I swear this has been the longest winter that I can think of. I mean just last week schools were closing near Minneapolis and surrounding areas because of snow. A snow day in May…crazy! But Spring finally has sprung which means that summer surely will soon be here. In Spring, I always find myself cleaning out my drawers and closets, getting out my summer furniture etc. There is just something so great about Spring cleaning. So I decided the blog needed a new look for the Spring too. I like it. I hope you do too!

In other news, my inner three year old seems to have decided to hide. At least for now. I don’t see her working her way out of my body…finding herself laying on the floor screaming that she hasn’t gotten her way yet. I think this space…this safe place…has brought me a sense of peace. Thank you for that my dear readers and friends. Peace is exactly what I need right now. Who knows what the future will hold? But I trust and have hope that God will make it happen for me when the time is right. That’s just not always easy to trust in though! There are times when I wish there were road signs telling me where to go, what is going to happen next, etc. Anyone else feel that way at times too?

So tonight filled with peace (and hope), I wait…wait for that moment to happen. And cling to this wonderful gift of you my dear readers and friends who have told me you are praying for me! Thank you! Jesus says “Do not let your hearts be troubled” and “Peace be with you” in the book of John. These words are words that are not easy to trust in either but having you all in my corner reminds me of this wonderful gift of grace, love, hope and peace!

Peace Be With You

“Peace be with you” These are the words we hear from Jesus as he comes to those behind locked doors. Jesus is the one who offers hope, healing, and peace. I don’t know about you but after this week, I know Jesus’ words are true yet I am having a hard time clinging to them tonight. A bombing in the midst of the Boston Marathon, a fertilizer plant explosion in West TX, lock-down in Watertown MA. And that’s only this week…….Sandy Hook, Aurora CO and so much more since this past year as well. And there is so much more….earthquakes, Malaria, and a lot more all over the world.

My heart is aching. I have a hard time watching the news or turning open a newspaper on most days. But this week it is even more difficult. My heart aches…aches for those who have lost loved ones, my heart aches for a freedom that has been lost and violated, my heart aches for all that is happening in the world. And even in the midst of what is happening around the world, there is much happening around here as well. Those aching for a lost friend or family member…those aching for the pain that life brings us..those aching as they find themselves behind locked doors tonight.

Yesterday, in the midst of a crazy week and gathered with beloved friends, I found myself shedding tears…tears that I needed to shed…tears that I didn’t even realize where there until that moment. I am thankful for those friends and that holy space for allowing the tears to just come and not to apologize for them (Thank you for that my friends!) Tears for me are my sighs when the world is happening and I don’t know or can’t find the words to express my thoughts.—With sighs too deep for words!”

The truth is that even as life happens around us, God sends Jesus as the one who brings peace even when we aren’t sure that peace can be brought about. Let us cling to those words that Jesus declared to the disciples behind locked doors and daily proclaims to us, “Peace be with you!” And may we also declare them to each other especially when we are afraid, when we arent sure what to say, and knowing that we are called and claimed children of God.

“Peace be with you….”

Why Won't The Tears Fall?

This afternoon I had the privilege of hanging out at church while the SS kids practiced for the SS Christmas program! As they sang the words “Peace to all the Earth,” I wanted to cry as I thought of the families in CT who won’t hear their babies voices again! Such a senseless act! I want to cry yet the tears simply won’t come! Why?!? Why won’t the tears fall from my face? Is it because I’ve cried too many tears over violent acts like this in my thirty years on this Earth? Is it because I’m numb and cannot understand why 20 innocent lives were taken way too soon from this Earth?

Yesterday and today I found myself thinking about and remembering all my friends who are parents! I can understand why you needed to hug and hold them last night and today! I found myself telling them to give their children an extra hug or cuddle just for me! I’m not a parent myself yet I yearn to be so deeply! And then I wonder do I really want to be? Of course I do!
But what world will my future child enter into? A world strewn with sinful people…a sinful world! Yet what I do know is that love….God’s love…always wins!

I understand that is hard to grasp in light of yesterday’s events! But what I do know and believe with every fiber of my being is that God was there yesterday! God didn’t allow the events to unfold but as they unfolded God was there…holding and embracing each precious victim. God sent Jesus into the world and Jesus proclaims “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these!”

As I write this blog post, I find myself typing as my fingers dance across the keyboard yet I still find that these words are inadequate! Why can I not find the words? Why won’t the tears fall? How do we know that God’s love always wins?

God sent God’s Son as this precious gift who is born in a manger in Bethlehem and then later dies the ultimate death for us and our sins! This child comes as the light in the midst of the darkness and now more than ever we need this light to come!

So even when my words are inadequate I find myself turning to Scripture and letting the sighs rise up to God. “With sighs too deep for words to express….”

Or in these words, Lord listen to your children praying, bring us love, bring us power, bring us peace!”

And finally, maybe, the tears I so deeply want to cry will fall from my face knowing we live in a sinful and sin-filled world but that God in Gods love for us all ALWAYS wins!! Perhaps that is a place for us to begin and cling to in the coming days!

When Enemies Fall…..

Tonight I was sitting watching one of my favorite Sunday night shows “Brothers and Sisters” when a national news report came in to interrupt the show. The news report was to announce that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I understand that many people have lost their lives and that Bin Laden probably didnt deserve to live on this earth. However I cannot help but think about what Jesus said in our gospel reading from John this morning. “My peace I give to you.” Tonight my fb feed is full of statuses about this news. But I cannot bring myself to celebrate death of any kind! Im uncomfortable celebrating anyone’s death; no matter who that person is! In the midst of moments like this, I find myself continuing to pray even more for shalom for God’s people! In the book of Proverbs, we hear these words, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles (Proverbs 24:17).” I know this is not easy for us to do but again I am reminded of those words we heard from Jesus, “My peace I give to you.” I could go on and on with other verses that will make us reflect on what happened tonight. Look up Romans 12:16-21 or Matthew 5:43-44!But in the midst of this historical event, I cant help but think about what Jesus says to us when our enemies fall. What example did Jesus set for us?

A friend had this quote on her fb status tonight and it seems so fitting. It was the words I was searching for as I listened and heard the news of Bin Laden’s death. “There are no good guys when it comes to hate. Our hope is not in death, our hope is in reconciliation through the life that is the light of the world!”

“Peace be with you, my friends!”

Moments that I Cant Seem to Shake or Forget

Our lives are made up of moments….moments that are forever captured in time. Sometimes those moments are happy moments, Sometimes those moments are sad moments, sometimes those moments are joyful moments etc. I remember the moment I was consecrated as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. There are the moments that I treasure spending with my friends and family. And then there are those moments that I can’t seem to forgot about, no matter how I try. I think of Representative Gabrielle Giffords as she and many others were shot yesterday in Arizona. But the one moment that I think of is last January and the Haiti earthquake, realizing I had friends there. As we remember the Haiti earthquake this week, may we remember all those who lost their lives there…the Haitian people, my friend Ben Larson, and so many others. This Wednesday Jan 12th, the one year anniversary of the earthquake, take time to tell those you love how much you love them. And in the words of Ben Larson,” God’s Peace to us We pray.”