Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Napkin Holder?? Really?!

Very shortly after getting the shock of my life regarding my husband's "other" life with his "other" family, my daughter and I went to my son's restaurant for dinner.  Michael is a sous chef in a Southampton restaurant called Red Bar Brasserie.  

Sitting at the table, in non-function mode, I had to use the ladies' room. I could not budge from my seat.  Alece kept saying, "Go, Ma."  Unable to move, these words finally came out of my mouth, "I don't know how to do this."

"Do what, Ma?"

"Go to the bathroom."

"You don't know how to go to the bathroom?!" my perplexed daughter asked.

"No, not without your father."

I think the severity of my state of mind was clearly brought into focus for both of us.

Yesterday, almost two-and-a-half years later, I purchased a new napkin holder.  A simple little thing as that.  It was to replace the 42-year-old one that has serviced our family since we were first married.

I took the napkins out of the old and put them into the new.  And there I stood, with the old in hand.  It all seemed very symbolic.

Again, I couldn't move from my counter-top space.  I found myself saying, out loud, "I don't know how to do this" all over again. An eruption of emotion followed.  Ready as I was to purchase a NEW napkin holder (symbolic of my now NEW life), I realized I was not ready to throw the OLD out.  Not yet.

With water running and mixing with my salty tears, I most carefully cleaned my very old wooden napkin holder as if it were a precious artifact. It IS symbolic.  It was purchased as part of my new married life with my forever life's partner.  Yesterday, it was a symbol of both commitment and broken covenant.

Standing at the sink, I also found myself saying yesterday, "Diane, a napkin holder?? Really?!"

Really.  I know God's Word tells me that I cannot put new wine into old wineskins.  I know the time has come for my old, trusted, valued napkin holder to be replaced. And on the counter it is.

In my heart it is not.  I don't know that it ever will be.  For now, it's laying in the bottom drawer of my dresser where a portion of my heart resides. Closed off and hidden from view.

Agape doesn't throw people away like the trash.  Agape doesn't throw napkin holders into the trash. Not when they represent a family's lifetime.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Abiding In Agape's Shadow

May my heart be the Shadow of Your Agape  
  Stretching into the abyss of darkness
Reflecting Your Likeness and Image
Casting it’s darkened outline on the unsuspecting
  Healing the wounds inflicted by our humanness

May my heart be the Shadow of Your Agape
  Stretching into the abyss of darkness
Reflecting Your Likeness and Image
The brightness of Your Agape illuminating ambiguity 
  Radiating the brilliance of Your Joy upon our self-commiseration

May my heart be the Shadow of Your Agape
  Stretching into the abyss of darkness
Reflecting Your Likeness and Image
The iridescence of Your Glory fall first upon me
  Healing my wounds inflicted by others’ humanness

Then and only then, will my heart truly be the Shadow of Your Agape
  For the darkness in me will be enlightened
And I will be able to reflect Your Likeness and Image 
Casting it’s glowing outline on the unsuspecting
  Healing the wounds inflicted by our humanness

…Oh, to abide in Agape’s Shadow

And reflect His Likeness and Image

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We, the Red Roofers

Jon Ottosson's photo of the scarlet-roofed church that so spoke to my heart, is now more of a reality in my being.

Photo by Jon Ottosson

This is another view of the church captured by Jon Ottosson. I contacted him to find out more about this precious church that has stolen my heart.  Look how this church stands as a beacon of Light and Hope to this community.  It is the only color in this white-washed landscape.

Jon so graciously replied with info.  The church rests in the coastal village of Vik in the southern most part of Iceland with a community of about 300 people.  

In 1991 Vik was voted as one of the top ten beaches on planet Earth because of it's black basalt beach.  Basalt is sand from the ash and lava of volcanoes.  

The village of Vik sits directly beneath a glacier, which rests atop of the Katla volcano. The last eruption of Katla was in 1918.  Scientist believe another eruption is soon inevitable, which of course would melt the glacier that sits on top of the now dormant volcano.  As you can imagine, should Katla awaken from her slumber, the flooding that would occur would be catastrophic to this community.

The red-roofed church sits high on a hill and is believed to be the only structure to survive such a catastrophe.  The people periodically hold drills in case of such a thing happening and are trained to run to the church for safety.  This church truly is a beacon of Light and Hope to this community. You can see why this white building has a red roof - so it can be easily identified in case of an awakening. 

Isn't that what a church is supposed to be?  A safe haven?  A refuge? When I was a young no church ever locked its doors.  It was understood that anyone, at anytime of the day or night, could find refuge or a place to reach out to GOD; a place to go and pray and seek answers, solitude, and peace. Forgiveness even.

Can we be such a place?  We, The Church, should be a safe haven for others to run to.  We, The Church, should be people others can run to for help, answers, and to reach out to GOD in their desperate times.

We, The Church, have a scarlet covering over us - The Blood of our Lord Jesus, The Christ.  We, The Church, stand as a beacon of Light and Hope.  Don't we?  

Do we?

DO WE???

We better start ! because the slumbering "volcano" in our land will soon arouse, and We, The Church, who have the answers, better have our "doors" open and The Light on! 

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Monday, February 15, 2016

I've Learned to Kiss the Waves

Have you ever seen photographs of huge waves crashing into boulders or rock cliffs?  The power is almost electrifying and terrifying. 

There have been seasons in my life where I have been pounded into the cliffs by tsunami-strength waves.  Over and over.  

Wave in - CRASH!
Wave out - Breath  

Wave in - SLAM!  
Wave out - Breath

Wave out - Breath

And on and on life goes.  For each of us.  

The seasons of reprieve (wave out)  are for the purpose of getting built back up again in our most Holy faith. For surely another wave will eventually hit.  

I have grown as a woman of GOD and I've been changed - a tiny bit more into Christ-likeness - from each blow of the oppressive waves.  I no longer look at the crushing, powerful waves as something that is going to destroy me (although it may feel like it at the time). I've learned to kiss the waves.

I can kiss them because they have caused me to be more reliant on GOD in my life.

And they have:
~ Matured me in faith and faithfulness
~ Caused good things - positive things - to come about in my life
~ Taught me more of my Father's AGAPE for me
~ Allowed me the privilege of returning that AGAPE back unto Him
~ Shown me more of His awesome AGAPE-based Character
~ Caused me to see the Truth of His Holy Word proven out in my life

Thank You, Abba, for allowing me to see that these strong waves of life have ultimately thrown me up against The Rock of Ages.  And no other place would I rather be.  Oh, hallowed be Thy Name!

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The All Caps of Love

I am a romantic at heart.  I think this photo is soo romantic.  It just stirs my soul.

Recently, I had a conversation with a sister-in-The LORD about Love. She believes GOD's Word is true about His Love, but admitted, she herself, has never experienced GOD's Agape for herself. She has been a Christian for over 40 years.  Her confession astounded me and left me saddened for her.

I cannot imagine living one more day on planet Earth without GOD's Agape toward me.  Without giving my Agage back to Him.  And not just back to Him, but to others in my sphere of influence.

Agape in.
Agape out.

Yesterday was an overwhelmingly emotional day.  Every now and then the desire for human love comes over me like a wave. It seems to suddenly knock me over and hold me underneath the water where I can't breathe. I was fighting the turbulent waters to get back to the surface - to the surface of Agape, where I live and breathe, move and have my being (Acts 17:28a).

I resurfaced again. Straight up into the Arms of Apage. For no man or friend completes us or fulfills the need for unconditional love. No man or friend that I know of can fill the loneliness that sometimes overtakes my soul. Only GOD Almighty, my FATHER, fills that longing and need in my heart.

I do not even use the word "love" in reference to GOD anymore.  I cannot.  For "love" is used for everything from pizza and bungie-jumping to GOD, Himself.  No!  Absolutely not!  I cannot lump GOD in with pizza.

It's Agape.  His Divine Self.

So Holy.
So Pure.
So Joyful.
So Selfless.
So Sacrificial.
So Unconditional.
So Undemanding.
So Giving. Giving. Giving.
So Extravagant!

And oh, so Fulfilling.

Yes, that is God's "Love".  Since GOD IS Agape, then I should write Agape in all caps because when we talk of God's AGAPE we are talking about The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, Himself.  No ordinary word can be associated with GOD.

I'm blessed beyond measure because of the AGAPE my FATHER and I share, and for the bounty of AGAPE that overflows onto others.  It is a continuous well of goodness.

Did you see the "message" at the end of the Super Bowl half-time show?  BELIEVE IN LOVE.

I do.  I believe in AGAPE.  And should my FATHER bestow a human companion unto me to walk out this last portion of my lifetime, that man will have to be someone extraordinary!  Because he, too, will have to intimately and experientially know of our FATHER'S AGAPE, and he would have to be a continuous well of goodness onto others.

Having experienced the "real thing", how could I ever settle for less?

Because of Him and Unto Him,