Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Thoughts from London (Post 2)

I look back on my junior year of college - and I cringe. 

'Idiot' is the only word that comes to mind. 

Lazy, insecure, dependent, undisciplined, and foolish fit, too. 

But idiot sums it up best. 

I was a kid with an engagement ring on my left hand - and nothing much going on in my head or heart. 

And it’s so unfortunate. Those years… they are prim with possibilities and freedoms - and I let myself slug them right away. 

Because of this, I don’t remember all that much about my third year of university. I was too busy doing noble and important things like picking out wedding napkins, being the fiance at football games, and getting my hair dyed. 

But I do remember this one day…in this one class. 

It was mid-week, and the windows along the back wall of the classroom were allowing in all kinds of sunshine.

This particular course required each pupil to write in a journal at the start of each class meeting. 

After the instructor gave us a few minutes to scribble something out about some directed topic, she would ask for volunteers to read their writing aloud. 

I always did. 

Now at this point, I wasn’t writing regularly and wasn’t really all that interested in doing so. I didn’t have much of a desire to ponder and then pen things out. ( I was busy, remember.) 

My writing was forced, average (if that), and redundant. You may think it still is. And I'm okay with that. :)

But on this one particular afternoon, I again volunteered to read my writing out loud. It was a more spiritual topic this time, yet I can’t remember the exact theme. 

After my reading that day… 

This lovely Jordanian girl, a fellow class pupil, approached. 

What she said has stuck with me for over 11 years now. 

All fully covered in black, with only her shining face showing, she said… 

“When you read what you have written, I get chills.” 

And in that moment….even in my current state of mediocrity and immaturity….

I recognized that what caused her to get chills was God Himself.

His Spirit tinging whatever I had scratched out to fulfill an assignment each class period. 

Because it dang sure wasn’t me. 

What grace.

While I wasn’t fully walking with Christ at this time, I would stroll with Him whenever it suited me - and thankfully I at least had the ability to acknowledge the Lord in this event. 

Now fast forward a decade. 

I had not thought of this day for quite some time - when I found myself on the streets of swanky London last week. 

Walking along - on sidewalks and shop floors - I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming presence of people who were very clearly of different religions. 

Everywhere. 

Many places we were the only ones not dressed in garb revealing our beliefs.

London is where the world converges, it seems. People from all walks, continents, and religions coincide. 

When I saw all their faces, I remembered hers. 

And then I remembered the pen again.

Lord?

Monday, May 4, 2015

'Wilst' in the UK - Post One

It happened when I was taking a bath in Bournemouth.

Soaking in hot England water, listening to music, reading, praying.

All these spiking images began to fill my mind:

A friend’s infant losing her young sweet life to surgery complications.

Babies the world over growing, breathing, pulsing one minute - but being pulled, torn, punctured from the womb the next.

Children sound asleep in beds being suddenly awakened by sexual predators seeking a sick, twisted thrill.

Little ones being buried alive in avalanches of concrete from earthquakes and war.

All these images and more.

Something welled up in my chest that night as the movie in my mind displayed these scenes.

It wasn’t a normal, or even natural feeling of sorrow I was experiencing in that moment. I’ve felt sadness in my heart over events of this nature for years. 

This was different. This was a deep, guttural, devastation.

One that seems to come from a justice loving Lord.

As I felt this vast holy sadness fill up my throat to bursting - I envisioned Christ feeling the same way.

My tears flowed like streams into a hot ocean below.

And I had this overwhelming desire for it all to cease.

For the suffering and madness and torture to stop!

And for a split second I felt utterly helpless.

But then….


I remembered the pen.

I remembered the change and sway that can come for the world when people become advocates by carefully placing words on paper and setting them free to fly.

This was a defining moment for me.....a giving of orders, really.

A summons. 

A commission.




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Tuesday by the Sea

I have wind in my face and salted air in my nostrils.

There's pebble rocks underfoot and high reaching cliff mounds surround.

The water...

It's a blue-green till that matches the shade of my husband's eyes perfectly.

The sky is smeared and spotted with puffs of white.

I need the sun to poke through.

Warmth would be wonderful.

I've been drawn by maritime images as of late.

The past year maybe, has found me seeking out paintings of boats and anchors and shores.

Having it here and in person - is sweet.

Looking at this mass body of liquid - it makes me wonder why we spend so much of our lives on dirt.

Why? If we've been placed on a planet that's over 70% sea - why not live on it some? Why not take to adventurous waves more often?

I see more beach visits approaching.

God, is this a desire that comes from You?

I need the sun to poke through.

There's a lady and gent with a pup making their way along the shoreline - eyes earthward looking for goods washed up by the sea.

The waters are vast.

So, so wide and so very far reaching.

Like His love.

The hubs handed me a notebook and pen, directed me to a rock big enough for my bum to rest on...and suggested I write a little.

As I sit here on the coast - I feel I'm on the cusp.

And my mind wonders to the wordsmiths who have been inspired to jot and scribble and form characters on pages through the ages.

These waters here - have inspired many a poet to pick up the pen.

God, is this why I'm on the edge of England?

I need the sun to poke through.

So I set this ballpoint to modern papyrus - and I let creased feelings unfold there.



Monday Thoughts

I'm lounging here at the tail end of a good long day.

Our suitcases are all propped up before me, waiting to be zipped up again for another drive tomorrow.

The husband is tending to business back home.

I'm surrounded by wallpapered floral walls and matchy-matchy thick curtains. It's a floral print that sends you back to another century.

It's so English.

The days journey was a display of color.

The greens in the landscape here are so, so green.

The yellow fields of rapeseed are neon.

The lilac flowers that spill over old stone walls are solid and sure in their color.

And the tulips!

They look fake they're so fine.

It appears to me that God used a highlighter to create this place.

And the people....

I'm surprised by this thread of sweetness that runs through so many of the personalities I've encountered here.

It isn't loud.

It isn't giddy in your face.

It's calm and steady - this underlying warmth in the hearts of people... that I wasn't expecting.

Perhaps London will be a different experience on this front.

But the folks that are found out in the villages and towns of this island have been sincerely obliging.

There was a strange spirit about Oxford, and it's outskirts.

I still can't put my finger on it and call it a name.... but the gut feeling I got around that place was one I haven't felt before.

There was no eye contact. Very few lifted their eyes.

And there is somewhat of a void heaviness that surrounds.

But the buildings.....the structures that stand around that campus - they are breathtaking.

We took communion at Christ Church early, early in the A.M.

There wasn't much going on spiritually inside the building, if I'm being honest. At least not for me that morning.

But the architecture was alive and brilliant.

Standing inside....thinking about who all has stepped foot in that place....kings, prime ministers, religious leaders, literaries - it was moving.

We then headed out west - and the landscaping is prettier there than all the postcards I've ever seen put together.




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Our Sunday

I woke up wanting to worship.

Opening my eyes this morning - I longed to congregate with like-minded believers who would stand in awe and adoration and longing with me today.

And, thankfully, this was on the agenda.

Kingsgate Church in Peterborough welcomed us sweetly.

Their church is diverse. Sixty different nations are represented, and the age range is of the wide variety. 

Lots of grey hairs and glasses...
mixed with bellies blossoming with babies...
mixed with tots poking around waiting on mums to finish conversations.

Standing with these fellow believers this morning in worship and sitting in rows with them under teaching....it boosted me right where I needed it.

But at this current hour, I am bundled.

Bundled up tight under a B&B blanket.

It's a bit frigid in this musky old room here - and I'm glad I yielded to the nudge to pack my warm hat.

I'll be sleeping in it tonight.

We're in the Oxford area now.

I'm not sure what to make of it thus far. I'll get a better feel for it on the flip side.

Lord bring Your light and lightness here.

I'm tearing up a bit - just feeling like the Lord is saying...

"Wherever you are....I AM."

This brings me great comfort.

Tomorrow we plan to emerge early...before all the scholars rise for instruction and before the bustle of the university day begins.

There is a prayer service being offered just down the way at the crack of the day - and we want to catch it.

Therefore, I should catch some winks.

Lord, we're looking and listening around every corner and bend.



Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day One

England is old.

When you get in your 'hired car' and make your way down the opposite side of the road, nervously spin the roundabouts, and speed past fields of green and yellow - you spot quite a few very, very old structures.

Thatch roofed homes.
Tall grey office buildings.
Small aged pubs squeezed into downtown village areas.

America's buildings are young pups compared to these.

When you sit at dinner and face stone mortar walls built centuries and centuries ago - you feel a bit immature and you feel humble.

It's almost as if you sense you need to respect the area simply for it's oldness.

Simply because it has seen much and stayed standing.

There's a reverence that has seeped in since those hot rubber tires skid the runway.

And we have only been here for one day. There's more things to see and feelings to feel coming soon, I'm sure.

I'm here....to hear, Lord. 

And I'm on this soil to be stirred by You. 

We relax God, knowing that you have beckoned us over to Britain - and that you will begin to unfold why in your way and fine timing. Yes, God. Thank you.

The husband has already slipped into a good slumber.

His traveling companion here should do the same.

I'm shutting my eyes tonight bowed and impressed and expectant.

Love to you from the Old Country, friends.


Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Here

I'm up early, early today.

As soon as I land in England tomorrow, what is usually morning for me will be afternoon, suddenly.

So I sit here and write and pray and ponder and wonder in the budding hours of Friday - prepping for the fast forward.

Forging through the cobwebs that sleepiness brings, I'm attempting to rehash all the inklings.

All the crazy wild hunches and words and leadings - that have lead us to actually soar over seas of blue.

And it's comforting for me today.

This is when it is good and right to look back.

This is when it is wise to look in the rear view mirror and see Him clearly guiding, providing, steering.

It mounts up faith.

And it sturdies me... to hop continents and discover.

But if I'm being totally forthright - it confuses me a tad, too.

Why? When there are so many atrocities folding out as I type these very words here - would I be providentially guided and encouraged and led and indulged like I have when it comes to England?

Why? In a world that groans and aches for relief and justice even at this very hour - would I be so sweetly but almost sillily directed in such fashion?

Why? When there are people being ravaged for their faith choices, and children being enslaved and violated, and humans that are severely hungry?

Why am I here on the same watch - all giddy and inspired and filled with faith so joyfully over the fact that He has distinctly spoken and provided for me in this?

And He clearly has.

But I am mystified over the contrast.

I can't help but to think, however....

In all the inklings, and all the prophetic words, and all the divine guidance that has ever been given or seen in the history of the earth - that all of it....

...has at it's root the heart of God to bring salvation and restoration and healing to the whole wide wounded world.

Encouragements and encounters and holy leadings are not given to simply bless the person they are dealt to, alone. They are to somehow endow others as well. Or maybe even mostly.

Knowing the love of Christ, this is most certainly so.

As I wing away to the UK today - I trust that the plan and heart of God in all this runs deep and stretches wide and crosses class, cause, and continent.

Yes, Father.

As I have access, I plan to pen some things out while I am away. 

And I'm hoping that some of those words find their way here to the blog spot. 

I covet your prayers over it all.