We did it! The walls and floor were finished in time and some of the things moved back into place, enough so that we had the rooms and space for our son and granddaughter and my sister to come for a visit. Yeah!
We enjoyed a lovely visit and the weather was beautiful so we could be out in it everyday. It was a joy to spend the time relaxing and watching a 14-month-old explore her world. Family is important to me – and spending the time with them was precious.
Continuing the theme of abiding in Jesus and living in this moment, it was good to just take each day as it came while they were here. We could enjoy our time better and relax more, not worrying about the things that were coming up after the visit.
Babies live in the moment. We could re-learn how to live in the moment from them. Babies can trust their parents. Jade, my granddaughter, fearlessly jumps off high places into her daddy’s arms. When she needs comfort, she knows where to turn. She confidently explores her world.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God[l] and his[m]righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt 6: 25-34)
What will this day bring? Good and bad and ups and downs. If I remain “in the moment,” the crisis can be dealt with more calmly without panicking. It has helped to have my family tell me when I let the “panicky” actions or voice start taking over. I take a deep breath and get back to this moment. (This did happen a few times as we were finishing up our project.)
I have thought about other Bible stories that illustrate people walking and abiding in God. In the next few newsletters I will take a different one and we will walk through their story and see how they “abide in God.”
What is your favorite Bible story, or Bible character?
One weekend in early June, my sister and I camped in Jasper. I did some sketching, a painting and a lot of photography for future paintings. We traversed a mucky, slippery trail up to the first Geraldine lake, hoping to see the waterfall between the two lakes. Although we saw it in the distance, the river and lake had swollen to cover the trail. We bush whacked and crossed on rocks to get all the way to the lake as it was. We were disappointed that we couldn’t get to the falls, but I pulled out my watercolors and painted the essence of the lake before we headed back down the mountainside. I can work from it later or add more to it. My sister, Laura, did get a nice shot of the Geraldine Falls with her telephoto lens.
We drove to see some other waterfalls since we couldn’t get to that one. And they were beautiful. (You can see me sketching one of them in the picture above. The sketch is below. Tangle Falls, Jasper. We would not have driven all the way down to see this beautiful falls if we had continued bushwacking to the other falls.)
Not all of our plans turn out. We have a choice when we are faced with our plans falling through or not turning out as we anticipate. We can get angry, or upset, we can let the disappointment govern our actions, or we can acknowledge the feelings and look for what did happen and the new possibilities before us. Even little disappointments, can greatly affect us. It is in learning to deal well with the little disappointments, that we know how to face the major disappointments and trials when they come.
In the book of Ruth in the Bible, Naomi and her two daughters-in-law faced a major crises. They had lost their husbands. They start heading back to Naomi’s homeland, Israel. Although Naomi tried to send them back to their parents, Ruth chose to remain with Naomi. Ruth embraced Naomi’s God and the path she was going on. This speaks to me of who Naomi was that Ruth was willing to go wherever Naomi went. It also speaks of Naomi’s faith, that Ruth would embrace it for her own.
They embraced the moment, taking one moment at a time, even acknowledging the pain. Naomi said to the Israelite women, “Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara,“ which means bitter.
As we learn to live in the moment, abiding in Jesus today, then we can face what comes. He will give us what we need this day, this moment.
I have had a number of small disappointments lately from cancellations, to not getting as much done as I anticipated. When I am tired, the little disappointments seem bigger than they are.
(Below is the sketch of the view at our campground on the Athabasca River. Beautiful place to camp!!)
At the Art, Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat last weekend, we contemplated “Resting in Jesus” and responded with paintings, poetry, song writing and just being in community together. It was so beautiful! This group of eleven was great and we felt so blessed to have spent the weekend together.
We were also honored to have Rev. Larry Lindoff and his wife Colleen join us as special guests this time. Larry shared with us on Saturday his own journey of understanding “Resting in Jesus.” He reflected on the Mary and Martha story (Luke 10:38-42) ... Martha gets a lot of flak. Martha was distracted.
What if it wasn’t the doing that was the problem, but how she was “worried and distracted” as she was doing it. If she slowed down and was able to be present to Jesus’ teaching as she worked would it have been the same? What if we can restfully do our work, being present to the situation we are in; not going at the frantic, hectic pace our world seems to thrive on?
I appreciated that thought. I have been listening to Russ Hudson, a teacher of the Enneagram. He talks a lot about being present, and slowing down enough to feel present as we are “doing.”
But sometimes we do need to “just be,” like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus.
“When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening.”
― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
Several years ago, I took a personal retreat at King’s Fold. It had been a busy time and I was feeling exhausted. I found that all I could do was sit on the benches and look at the view. It was the first time I really understood what Madeleine L’Engle described as “being time.” No agenda, no thoughts, no books, no “should’s, or “have to”s, just being, just “here I am, resting.” I found that all I could do was just sit there and be quiet with God. I was too exhausted in my spirit to do anything else. It was an anomaly.
As we listened to the scriptures last weekend particularly the one about not worrying because God will provide as he does for the birds of the air and lilies of the field (Matt 6:25-34), I heard from God to “Just Be.” So, when we sent people out to listen, I went out on a bench and sat in the sunshine to just rest and sit in God’s presence and napped in the sunshine until lunchtime. It gave me the energy to be present to each of the people I was teaching and sharing with in the long afternoon session.
Later, as I was cleaning up, a simple melody came with simple praise words. I believe it came out of my content and joyful sense of being at rest that I was experiencing during the retreat. The song has been continuing to play in my mind as I work this week.
It is nice to feel at rest and not frantic while doing or being.
At our last art and faith retreat in June, the theme was Flourishing in the Unexpected. This flourishing is about staying present to the moment even when our instincts tell us to disengage, run in fear, tense up, or take control.
Take a breath, pause, and distance ourselves from the reaction we are feeling. Then letting it go to trust in God and walk through the situation with Him. This is abandonment to God as Madame Guyon talks about it.
Abandonment - it is not about doing so much as being still and receiving. The Interior is not a stronghold to be taken by storm and violence, but a kingdom of peace, which is to be gained only by love. ( p. 36, A Short Method of Prayer, Madame Guyon)
I have felt overwhelmed at times over the last few months. One day, after I had finished talking to two different clients and still needed to write up the quotes, I came out to the kitchen for lunch and my daughter was there. As we talked, I became aware of how tense my shoulders were. The conversations had not been tense or difficult in any way, but I had so many other tasks and appointments ahead that I was just feeling overwhelmed. My daughter started rubbing my shoulders and told me to just breathe. (which is what we have been encouraging her to do as she has dealt with her own issues)
As I breathed and allowed my body to relax, the tension eased. My perspective shifted. All the items on my to do list didn’t magically disappear. But as I distanced myself from my reaction by breathing, I could see that my fear of failure and worry about what others think of me had coloured my view, again. As I let it go, I could again trust God to walk with me through it, trusting that what needs to get done today, would get done.
The Enneagram has been helpful for me as I come to understand myself in these situations. The fears I have, the things that trigger my ego to panic/ survival mode, are not going to go away. I have been working on these patterns for 53 years. But as I breathe and separate myself from the reaction, I can sometimes let my ego go and trust God instead of myself.
Flourishing in the unexpected is not about great success or everything going great. Instead it is a willingness to trust God, let go of our hold/desire for control of the situation, just breathe and relax. It is learning to trust God with the process of our lives, walking forward on the journey into pain and suffering, joy and sorrow, fear and disappointment and hope.
Ways I Work on Listening
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What a great group to spend the weekend with!!
Friday night creating and getting to know one another:
Taking a walk, enjoying the views
We had a great time creating, listening and resting.
We filled the walls with our creations.
We even learned how to play the ukulele at a campfire with Linnea Good.
I want to say a BIG thank you to each one who came for the blessing they gave us of their presence, their time, and their creativity as we shared and created together.
Did you miss this retreat?...The next Art: Vocabulary For the Soul Retreat is in October and sign up has already begun. Early bird price through July 11, 2017.
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