talking to God

someone has asked me for my thoughts on prayer.

let me start by telling you that when i was young, i hated prayer time. i dreaded it. i lay in bed staring up into the darkness trying to ward off sleep so i wouldn’t have to pray. because once i did it would take forever, thanks to the sheet of paper tacked up on my wall crammed with names of people who needed praying for… and i would not allow myself to actually sleep until i’d prayed for every single one of them.

prayer back then was a one-sided ritual which had no impact upon my life except for the few fluttering minutes before i drifted off to sleep. back then i thought if i didn’t pray for all of those people, they were going to hell. but in fact, i can’t save anyone and no matter how fervant my prayers, God doesn’t care about the words or the names so much as he cares about the heart.

you see, God invented language for us to be able to communicate with each other. but language, as we well know, is so very limiting. and depending entirely on language to talk with the inventer of language is like trying to shove God into our concept of ‘time’ or ‘3-D’. he is beyond earthly confines; he exists within, around, without, above, below, and throughout eternity. he is in the past, the present and the future all at the same ‘time’ because for him, life holds no boundaries.

all this to say, i shouldn’t have cared so much what i prayed. the Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear.” i knew no love at that time; i was living in perpetual fear, thanks to a disease which ravaged my mind. but today i am finally learning the freedom of serving a God who expects nothing of me except a broken and a contrite spirit. in other words, he wants me AS I AM, pitiful prayers and all. and by ‘pitiful,’ i mean, REAL. he wants a conversation with us. he wants our silences, our moments of exclamation and praise, our spontaneous songs in the middle of the day, our thoughts in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep. he can hear it all. he doesn’t need a well-versed prayer which has been rehearsed and memorized. he can understand the heart’s language, the pounding pulsating needs of a bleeding heart.

for me, this explains how those with intellectual handicaps or infants or those whose minds have long since left due to alzheimers or schizophrenia can still commune with Christ. he wouldn’t stop listening simply because they forgot the words. because words don’t matter to him. it’s all about the state of the heart. and if you believe, and if you want to know him, and if you’re trying to find him with all of your strength, that’s the best prayer you could ever utter.

a wordless prayer, speaking right into the ears of our maker.

Oprah’s religion

I’ve been battling a terrible cough/fever for the past seven days and it’s sapped me of spiritual and physical strength. I’m so thankful for my husband whose integrity and steadfastness keeps me … leaning on him lol. No, in fact, he keeps me leaning on God and continually points me back towards  Him even when I’m feeling low.

When interviewing Phil Cann of Youth Unlimited this past week, I realized I’d fallen prey to one of North America’s fastest growing lies: Christianity is about me. But it’s not. As Phil said, he’s sick of the ‘me-gocentricity’ of the church. In many ways it’s an Oprah-esque philosophy; Oprah says she’s a Christian yet believes Jesus came to show us the way to our hearts… Um, excuse me? I thought he came to show us the way to the Father. But that could be my fault. After all, I got that from the Bible which, while it has many good points, cannot be completely accurate because, well, it doesn’t match up to my idea of who God is. And hello…. I created God, so I should know what He’s like. 🙂

Sadly, many of us do try and create Him in OUR image, when it’s very much the other way around. I’m working on re-evaluating who I believe God to be, and Why, and asking Him to make Himself painfully real to me no matter the cost. I’d encourage you to do the same!

irony

Waiting…
If I run too fast my feet will never leave a mark.
Praying…
If my knees refuse to bend, circumstances will, too.
Silence…
If I continue to break it, nothing will mend.
Hope…
If it doesn’t exist, why does any of this matter?

GOOD friday?

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i’m not so sure what was good about Good Friday.

we call it ‘good’ because of the resurrection. but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. Jesus didn’t rise until sunday morning.

friday was most definitely bad.

taking resurrection out of the equation (because friday precedes sunday, naturally), there’s nothing good about being stripped, beaten, spit upon, mocked by the same people whom you healed, loved and cared for, hung on a cross to die for, all while God turns a blind eye.

Jesus hung there completely and utterly alone, abandoned even by his own father. for the next two days his destiny was hell so that the same people who’d mistreated him would be able to sit with him in eternity.

there’s nothing good about it, except perhaps the state of Jesus’ heart. because only a good person would do that for a bad world.

i dream of Daia

ordinarily my dreams consist of boring incongruencies which hold no eternal or even temporary meaning.

last night, however, was different. i dreamed that trent and i had a baby: but it was no ordinary child. it was incredibly tiny, so tiny in fact it reminded me of a fish. we had to be ever so tender and careful with it. it had to be kept in an incubator of sorts. at one point (due to the dream’s potential to distort) this baby fell out of its incubator and we couldn’t find it… but when we did, she/he was miraculously okay.

this morning, while sweating profusely on the treadmill wondering why on earth i put myself through such torture :), i watched 100 huntley street (in anticipation of appearing on it in may!). appearing on the show was an anglican priest who told the story of a 1-pound, 12-inch baby who was kept for weeks in an incubator for weeks on end. her name was Daia. miraculously this baby survived and became a fiesty, petite young woman.

one day while Daia and her mother were at the playground, Daia turned to her mother and asked, ‘Do you smell that?’

her mother said, ‘Yes, it smells like rain.’

to which Daia shook her head. ‘No. It smells like Him. It smells like God when he’s holding you.’

at this moment Daia’s mother realized that it hadn’t been the medication or machines which had kept Daia alive. it had been the heartbeat of God.

when I heard this my feet slowed right down and my pupils dilated. i felt my heart seize up as i wondered Why? Why did I have that dream about the tiny baby, and why did I hear this story just now about a one-pound child who was miraculously saved?

all i know is that moments like this make me lean all the more on Jesus’ chest, trusting that life goes far beyond than what the naked eye can see.

veggie car

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we did it! we converted our car to veggie oil.

or to be more precise, my husband did it while i copied recipes from my friend sarah’s vegetarian cookbook and strummed guitar and went shopping at value village. 🙂

now when we toot along in our white volkswagon golf we smell like mcdonald’s — which i would ordinarly hate, except it’s the smell of affordability, of renewability, of efficiency… the best smell in the world 🙂

but when i really stop to think about it my head hurts, because i realize that even this isn’t the answer. not everyone can run their car off used vegetable oil; already we’re sparring against other local enviro-freaks for the veggie oil we do have, so what if more than two couples per 500-mile radius decided they wanted to spare the planet? what then?

what do you think? what is the answer? bio-fuel is eating up our earth, making food prices exhorbant and starving children obsolete. meanwhile i munch on my burger and smell the fries drifting through our radiator and think ‘ah, what a blessed smell’ — but who am i kidding? it’s the smell of denial, the smell of putting off for one more day the inevitability of a dying world…

or is it?

to spare you from another downer of a blog, i’m going to tack this at the end: at least we’re trying, right? that’s all we can do. but for the record, we should bike as much as possible, and walk whenever life permits it, for cars just aren’t the way to go. ever.

goodbye gaza

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It would appear that we’ve reached the point of no return.

The UN can no longer afford to feed the world; the Middle East is murdering itself, and Harper and Bush are conspiring to fix everyone’s problems at the gunpoint of democracy.

We’re growing food to fuel our cars, and throwing away peace to fuel a feud.

I think it’s time we went hungry for awhile.

I think it’s time we worked in a Palestinian camp.

Then maybe we’ll get our stories straight. Then maybe we’ll stop sitting on our sofas, flicking from one disaster to the next. Then maybe we’ll feel something.

I’ve stared into the faces of hungry Palestinian children. I’ve taught them English; watched them play on the dirt floor which they called a playground; seen the mothers walk around bare-footed, fatigue and poverty streaking their faces; I’ve seen the way the huts they call ‘home’ gasp for air they’re so tightly squeezed together; I’ve watched young men playing soccer in confined areas; seen the fences which keep them out of a life they’ve never known.

Now, the Hamas is driving down hard, hiding among civilians, slaughtering those beautiful children and their mothers. Now all of Palestine is waving goodbye as they drown in a downpour of blood.

Is it goodbye Gaza? Is it goodbye hungry world? Or can we still save the children?