Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lines from November, Part 1

Today was topsy-turvy, and all the better for it. Work in the morning here, shopping in the afternoon.
I love the rhythms of Tuesdays, though they're tiring. They have their customs.
I had a friendly interchange with a gentleman customer and lady cashier at Family Dollar. I saw B at Wegman's, in front of the parking lot waiting to be picked up. It was very uncomfortable, he tried to hug me and instead we recalculated and I pressed a few fingers into the palm of his outstretched hand, passing quickly, sounding bright and evasive.

What I hate is that I don't even think I can explain to him without opening the door for more expectation on his part. I don't completely ignore him, as J suggested, but I'm not sure what is worse. Help me be a healer, not a murderer. Help me be shrewd, kind, wise, blameless. Not simply absorbed in my own comfort/safety, but no gullible and pointless martyr, either.
I do not need to feign friendship with men I do not trust. I am not their savior. But show me what I am, and should be, and help me be that, unflinchingly.

Thank You for waking both Mom and Dad this morning, and timing things just right so Dad could make the early train.
I am NOT ready for the rest of this week. But You can make me so. Be my only comfort. Remind me that You are. Give me breathless bearhugs, give me courage.

Thank You for seeing me safely through today, all of today, in Your faithfulness.
Sweet notes from Mama to start off the early morning, sweet words from You, less than an hour's commute. The fog lifted in the parking lot as dawn broke, robins layered the world in song, fiery trees glowed in the grey.

And every class went well. I felt the most rapport with the 6th graders, had the most difficulty with the 10th +. But it was good. M & R helped me clean up, I left just before 4 and made it home just after 5! Miraculous!
Thank You.
So I made potato soup, and I'm chillin' in my room.
Oh Lord, I want You. And I need Your help to be faithful. Help me believe You, pray hard, pray free, pray joyously.

Well, Lord, I had hoped to be asleep right now. But help me believe in You, instead. Help me work through whatever needs to be worked through, here. As I pray, as I eat bread in bed (bliss- it's still that fleeting combo of soft & crusty).

I need to learn to love like a woman, not a girl.
And I need to be mature and circumspect in the relationships I really invest in right now - where they're headed, what they mean.
But, Lord, I'm not one who knows how to love better by loving wiser. I humanly respond with, "Well then, snuff the love!"
Show me, instead, what true, tough, tender love is like. Willing to cause pain if necessary for wholeness. Willing to hold fast in discomfort. Patient and faithful to the point of absurdity. But not naive.
I'm a real human being. I'm honey and dung.

I could get used to this. Succour days like this. Mom provided a "birthday" breakfast gratis, Dad shared pumpkin spice coffee. Paintings finished - !

Reading Alexander on the deck, in the sunlight, with cool traveling air. A thank-you card from the Ms, which I carried in my lips up the apple tree to read. Dinner with K and C at a fancy Tapas restaurant.

Thank You for Middlemarch while gessoing. For helping me decide how I will vote. Remind me of the preciousness of life. At the same time, help me let go of mine. Help me not count my life too precious to spend in service of others, or to sacrifice so that someone else can live.
I already have You. You are the flavor in any pleasure - even bread is anticlimactic. But I don't have anywhere near enough of You.
I need You tonight.

"But I want You more, I want You more, as if I'd never said before..."
(Jordan Klassen)
"I love you... like kick drums on your bedroom door."

I'm a bad Sabbather. I'm afraid of the deep end, I splash in and out of the shallows, and maybe float a bit, but I haven't learned to trust myself to dive, to let the air burn in my chest, and not panic.

Lord, I am still too distracted. And whenever I try to be mature and adult, I only notice how pathetically childish I am. If You are applauding me, I suspect it is the way we applaud children who are attempting a riddle, or a magic trick, or imitating an Olympic athlete: this is adorable - the concentration is so cute.
I can almost see me with my tongue sticking out, hands poised dramatically.

Thank You for a sense of humor, and thank You for saving me by grace, because otherwise I'd be awfully discouraged right now. I'm incapable of any real love or power or wisdom without You. I'm flighty, and self-absorbed, and ignorant.
Please take me in and train me, however You can, to be foolish for You, weak for You, unselfconscious for You. Just looking at You, thinking about You, in love with You.
Scrub out the fears and the persistent lies. Strap truth securely around me, Jesus.

It is so sweet to be alive again today, Lord. Help me live to the fullest. Help me worship You, whatever I feel.


Kiss You for today. A very productive, hopeful day. Finished off with the Advisors' Meeting and reading Sayers aloud to Mom and Dad, and reading "The High King" to myself.
Tomorrow is election day. Make us Christlike in our votes and in our attitudes.

Sustain us as the weather grows steeply cooler. As we prepare. Thank You so much for all the home time I've had recently. I've needed it. Be my nest.

We still don't know who won... I don't, anyway. Avoided news and social media. But it looks like it could be T-.
These verses You gave me the other day are coming to mind...

"The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most Hight is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men."
-Dan 4:17 NIV

Help me trust You in whatever happens. As Mom just said, if he wins, we have deserved it, and there are lessons we will have to learn. You will have to help me to be clear-eyed, and not a mocker. Prayerful and respectful and yet not avoiding the truth or making excuses. I still don't think he could last 4 years. Impeachment, if not something worse... but then again, You can humble the proudest heart. Let Nebuchadnezzar be the case study - and let me pray for humility, repentance, and kindness to the oppressed (v. 27).

Savior, help me. The future looks so bleak right now.
Somehow, turn us into a country that loves the world. That embraces the "other". Where the unwanted of every nation can find a home, and a new beginning. Can find You.
Bring us Syrian refugees. I didn't make that welcome sign for nothing. We haven't been praying for nothing.
But I know I haven't been praying enough. Or listening for You. Help me now, here in this lonely beautiful house, while salt clings on my eyelashes and my vitals ache.
You, Maker of everything that exists, are the only peacemaker. The only hope we ever can have. Give me Gospel, and nothing else. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Reap Your harvest.

"It is to me indeed 'Victoria'"! (Chesterton)

Best Friend, this was a plentid day, as I see now I am come to the end of it. Varied, rich, and sweet. Psalms. Paintings. Potato soup alone, by candlelight. Finishing "The High King" while pacing the back deck, in the golden glow, until my fingers and feet were numb with cold. Going to the S's and watching Fellowship, and munching and sipping goodness, and enjoying each other's company.
I glazed and painted. Listened to music and "Middlemarch", finished the Albania/Kosovo/Montenegro Dispatch over lunch. Responded to G's article. Mailed off C & S's recording. Called Papa. Didn't call E.

Oh... I don't know how to decide what matters, because You seem to take such precious care of details, and I don't want to miss anything. Like how You help me drive even when I'm off. Like making me uproariously gassy when I'm home alone, but politely controlled out with friends. Like no snow, after all. Like deviled eggs, spinning in the kitchen. Like F texting for prayer, and You answering. Like a few true words hitting their mark.

I can trust You beyond everything. Stir up our desire, our zeal, our love for You. Heedless of ourselves. Be my reputation. Love me out of this funk, into something wiser, kinder, bigger. Take me in Your arms and carry me that way, all tomorrow.

I'm thankful for this day. It began with a noble pheasant poking around under the pear tree. I began a new song on the piano. And tonight I re-recorded Psalm 10.

Although I wish they were more deeply connected to You, I was thankful for the times of rest I had, outside, flat on the deck while the sun was warm enough, and inside on my bed, listening to rich sad soundtracks. I ate supper to B's music. That was very good.
Please go before me this week, weave all the threads, make something beautiful and honoring to You. Guide me with bit and bridle; I must not be impetuous.
The LORD, the LORD, is King forever and ever.

Dear Jesus,
This is my last day home alone. It has been precious. I spent most of the daylight hours at S's, cleaning and baking a very little, and talking and eating and praying and being blessed much more.
I baked chicken, printed paintings, read and paced, ate. Worked out, ending with wonderful sweaty dancing and yoga. I showered and finished the movie, which is frustratingly difficult to skip through cleanly, but which is worth the struggle. I did cry.
I cried during Pastor B's prayer yesterday morning. These are good signs.
But something the tears tonight revealed to me is that I want to be wanted. Meaning that I long to give myself to a love that has waited and fought and trusted. I want to bring pleasure and joy and fulfillment, to love back fiercely and loyally. To be someone's answer to prayer.
I do appreciate Bathsheba's character in the movie, but most of the time she's only exasperating or convicting me. Gabriel Oak is the one I really want to see happy (ti voglio bene). So that's You. Because it's such a picture of You, and Hosea, and You again. I hate Gomer, but I will love her and be her if it means Your praise in the end. If it means Your inexorable love is displayed, resplendent.

But Jesus, help me now, to love You with all truth, purity and passion. With my whole howling heart, scandalously, recklessly, breaking my jar and pouring myself out to You.

Make me faithful to You from start to finish.

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