Under the Tutelage of The King

psalm 25-4Before I could walk, my heart had already been imprinted with the words, “Jesus loves me.” Faithful nursery workers rocked and sang on Sundays the truths I heard at home all week.

I have always known I am a daughter of The King.

And like any princess of position, I enjoyed mostly comfortable days unfettered by the worries of the kingdom — and largely ignorant of the happenings outside its safety.

I flitted about carefree in the courtyard without fear of intruders. Or snakes. Or storms. I was blissfully confident in my Daddy’s ability to keep all things well.

And while this may be the proper place for a child, an heir must eventually invest herself in kingdom itself.

To step in the footsteps of His forgiveness in order to learn His gait.

To listen carefully to His words in order to speak in His dialect.

To receive His grace abundantly in order to cast its residue on others like He does.

It’s time to learn the family business.

Lord, tell me your ways.
    Show me how to live.
Guide me in your truth,
    and teach me, my God, my Savior. (Psalm 25:4-5)

I come close and study His moves. His words. His patterns. His rhythms.

I apprentice under the tutelage of The King. I Dwell.

Linking up with Kelli and the other lovelies at Unforced Rhythms.

One Word 2015: Dwell

logo by tracimichele.com
logo by tracimichele.com

It did not arrive in a gold envelope. Nor was it announced with a Hear Ye, Hear Ye.

It started as a whisper in my periphery. A wish from the middle of my soul. A slow drawing towards a fresh experience. A message repeated in my every day.

Until I knew it was a royal invitation.

Come sit with me, Beth.

Stay close. Learn from my ways. Hide in the shadow of my wing.

        Remain. Abide. Tarry. Nest.

                 Reside. Lodge. Settle. Rest.

                          DWELL.

I have started multiple blog posts intended to announce Dwell as my 2015 One Word. But nothing got further than a sentence or two. And I think that’s because I was trying to rush what I have found to be a slow unfolding of wonder over the course of a year. I cannot yet know all that Dwell will lead me to and through in the coming days.

It’s too soon to give you an event report when I have only now returned my RSVP.

But I can tell you what I hope for.

I hope to be more Mary and less Martha. And to know more of Him, not just more about Him.

I hope to discover rest in the midst of routine life. And magic in ordinary moments.

I hope to have long talks with Him. And to be refreshed in our brief meetings, too.

I hope to listen well. And learn to speak His dialect.

I hope to know what David knew when He sang:

              Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
                     will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
              I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
                    my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

 

If you are interested in meeting others who have selected One Word for 2015, head over to the One Word Link-up. Fellow One Word bloggers, please add your reveal post here so I can meet with and pray for you throughout the year.

If you are interested in my Words from previous years, check out these links … 2014: Grace; 2013: Fullness; 2012: Float; 2011: Courage

Grace is an Island (Unforced Rhythms Link-up)

digital art by nienor
island in a storm by nienor

I am pulled by the tides. Battered by the waves. Tossed about by circumstance. Worn down by the struggle.

Like Paul I cry out, “I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” (Romans 7:19-20, The Message)

I forget all that I have learned about floating. And I surrender to the flailing. The attempted saving of myself from what feels like drowning in a sea of stress. Never considering to check if my feet could touch the bottom of what might simply turn out to be only a momentary pool of pressure.

Gasping for breath. Thrashing my body from side to side. Reaching for an anchor. Settling instead for sugar.

And what I already knew about myself and my drug of choice was proven true again. It only takes a little to make me want a lot.

I allowed it for a day or two. It’s Christmas, I reasoned. Nothing more than I can handle, I pretended.

Knowing with each and every bite that I had awakened my addict persona. And that she would not go down easily.

So I braced for the storm. For the onslaught of shame and guilt. To be knocked back and forth against the stones of “shouldn’t have” and “how could you” and “you’ll never change.”

I set my jaw, tensed my muscles, and lowered my head for the coming punch.

But the punch did not come. The winds did not howl. The sea did not swallow me.

Because Grace came instead.

And where I expected to be pushed face-first into the sand, Grace lifted me.

Where my lungs had filled with salt-water, Grace replaced it with the Breath of Life.

Where Shame wanted to scream obscenities at my mistakes, Grace simply said, “Let’s start again.”

With a gentle hand, Grace set me on an island. A solid rock in the middle of the sea.

Here the tides only ebb and flow at the shore. The waves do not overtake me.

Here the breezes sing this song.

Grace. Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace. Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin.

p.s. I did not intentionally plan for my last post of 2014 to be focused on my Word of the Year: Grace. But it’s a fitting finale, indeed. I have found nothing anything close to comparable to selecting One Word each year to keep me focused. Partner it with a scripture, and the power multiplies. I’ll be announcing my 2015 Word soon, but I am spending these days praying that YOU would meet with The Spirit to come to agreement on One Word for the new year. And that you would have the courage to embrace it, then allow Him to unfold it in you over the coming days.

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The wonderful Kelli Woodford (Chronicles of Grace) is taking a well-deserved blogging break in December, but she has graciously let me borrow the Unforced Rhythm link-up community for the next few weeks. Your words are welcome here. So very welcome.

If you stopped by here for the link-up, would you consider to connecting with me as well. On the right of this page you’ll find lots of ways to keep in touch. Just pick your favorite method of communication, and I’ll see you again soon!



Love Comes Near (Unforced Rhythms Link-up)

Love word with Christmas decorations

I simply cannot get over the beautiful truth that God chooses to be WITH me. The lengths to which He went — to which He continues to go — to position us forever next to each other. It is the message that has been moving in me most strongly this Advent season.

That the promised One is coming. Indeed, that He HAS come. That Hope and Peace and Joy are fully satisfied in He who is Love. I know of no better version of love than this. God is WITH us.

She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ (Matt 1:23)

WITH is such a powerful, beautiful word.

Not God over us. Not God under us. Not God ahead. Nor behind. Not sleeping. Not tiring. WITH.

With means beside. In communion. Doing life together.

God could have come to Earth in any number of ways. Demanding His rightful place. Making sure He could not be ignored.

But he chose a baby named WITH. 

Because in spite of us being a rag-tag group of messy misfits, He just simply could not imagine NOT being with us. Not 2000 years ago. Not today.

So whether or not you are with the ones you love this Christmas. Whether or not the gifts fit or the tree gets lit. Even if the Bumpus’s dogs eat your turkey.

My fervent wish — my prayer — for you all this Christmas is that the WITH-NESS of God will overwhelm you. And His WITH-NESS will stay with you all through the year.

(Reposted and updated from December 25, 2013)

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The wonderful Kelli Woodford (Chronicles of Grace) is taking a well-deserved blogging break in December, but she has graciously let me borrow the Unforced Rhythm link-up community for the next few weeks. Your words are welcome here. So very welcome.

If you stopped by here for the link-up, would you consider to connecting with me as well. On the right of this page you’ll find lots of ways to keep in touch. Just pick your favorite method of communication, and I’ll see you again soon!


Joy that Creeps (Unforced Rhythms Link-up)

 

Christmas Joy BannerThe heat rises slowly. But the frost does not give way.

It can be stubborn like that.

Cold and unfeeling.

Eventually its crystals will succumb. The persistence of warmth provides no other option.

And the progress is small at first. The tiniest of clearings at the far south of the windshield.

My vision is still highly impaired.

I watch as one warm spot edges out the coldness. Then another and another. Until one quick motion erases the ice and clears my view.

Sometimes joy creeps like that, too.

It started for me in the thumbs.

I don’t know, really, how long my fingers rode in stillness. Months, I am sure. Maybe even years. Until the day I found myself tapping rhythmically to the radio.

And I did not make it stop. I let it creep.

Steering wheel drum solos. Head-bopping. Full-fledged car karaoke.

On some days the frost returns. That doesn’t surprise me anymore.

A permanent smile is worn only by the foolish. Or the liar.

So I do not curse the coldness.

For I know where to find the warmth.

Because an ice-covered windshield clears faster when you turn it towards the sun.

And my heart, in search of joy, is no different.

Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
    and will lift up your face to God. (Job 22:26)

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The wonderful Kelli Woodford (Chronicles of Grace) is taking a well-deserved blogging break in December, but she has graciously let me borrow the Unforced Rhythm link-up community for the next few weeks. Your words are welcome here. So very welcome.

If you stopped by here for the link-up, would you consider to connecting with me as well. On the right of this page you’ll find lots of ways to keep in touch. Just pick your favorite method of communication, and I’ll see you again soon!


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