W ell for anyone out there who might have wondered where I disappeared to over the past month, moving across an ocean within a weeks time with all that you can carry plus a cat in tow is quite the adventure!
I arrived safely in America to begin a two week Tour de Family that led me through Colorado, Utah, Texas, and finally to Arkansas. It was wonderful, but an exhausting whirlwind of a trip.
Now I am finally settled into my new home for the semester and into work.
With that, I am slowly but surely starting to feel normal again.
Except the daily occurrence, where I walk to the wrong side of my vehicle and remember I am in America, not Japan again.
I have decided that Culture reemergence is hard.
So, I am excited to be getting back to writing, but given my work schedule these days it is going to be a slower schedule than my summer fully devoted to writing. My goal is to keep up with Tues’ and Thurs’ posts, with one new series over the weekend coming out on Sunday. I am learning even with this though, to keep an open hand as life never stays as scheduled as I would like it to.
In the meantime, for today’s Townhall I have found some great reads for you all. I have been making a slow pass through the past few weeks of reading (given my normal perusing of blogs, sites, and news also fell by the wayside) and these are just some of the treasures I have found along the way.
From a Writer:
…And I would say that enlightenment is the ability to include, honor, and make use of every level of consciousness—both in yourself and in others. To be honest, such humility and patience is rather rare, yet it is at the heart of the mystery of forgiveness, inclusivity, and compassion.
This guest piece from Peter Enn’s blog spoke to me this week. It reminded me that my faith and this life is a journey, and that as I grow, change, or develop I carry pieces with me from each and every season.
I hold tight to the conviction that even if it doesn’t change the world, my faith changes me. Whatever way I come to express my faith in Jesus will be worth all of the stumble-steps, all of the discarded attempts, if I find God along the way. Because as flawed as a particular church or tradition or teaching may be, there are still parts worth clinging to. I won’t—and don’t have to—wrap my arms around the ideas that don’t work. But I do have to open my eyes in order to see the ones that do.
This guest post by Kelly O’Dell Stanley took my breath away. Kelly always has a way of pulling away the cobwebs with her gift of writing and speaking straight to my heart. Prayer was something that was natural for me, and was done often without a second thought. Now when I try to approach it genuinely, with all my shakiness, questions, and doubts I find it to be quite a different experience. So when someone can put that into words as eloquently as she has done on more than one occasion, it does my soul good to listen.
It’s because I feel called to be fully myself. It’s because I feel called to enter into whatever path God has for me. It’s because for years I understood that half of the population was just a little more confined. A hair or so less called. A wee bit less of a real leader. I didn’t know any different. Until she showed me.
Megan’s words echo my past. I remember well what it was like to always consider the female half of the population as always somewhat lesser than the other half. Those lens of hierarchy and patriarchy are hard to remove, after they have been given years to harden and sink in to your thoughts and every way of life. Taking those glasses off however, have given me the ability to see a world of grace, authentic beauty, strength, and harmony that I have never seen before.
This, perhaps, is the greatest gift of the diary — its capacity to stand as a living monument to our own fluidity, a reminder that our present selves are chronically unreliable predictors of our future values and that we change unrecognizably over the course of our lives.
This piece was a familiar call to a struggling journal keeper. I have kept a diary since I was nine years old. Through my teenage years and into college I often wrote faithfully every day. Now that has slowed considerably and I am doing good to write maybe once a month. This piece reminded me of its importance and gave me a new perspective on how it can continue to be a healthy practice in my life.
From a Preacher:
Love others well. Love authentically. Don’t hide behind a mask. Love from the very center of your being.
Jerusalem not only has a gift for writing, but also for preaching. I loved hearing her share through this sermon, and found peace that she was able to take a familiar passage of scripture and make it so applicable to my life today. This quote above stood out to me as the clarion call that I have been hearing for over a year now in my life, and am trying to completely relearn both its meaning and how to live it.
From an Author:
The Shack by William P. Young
[God speaking through the Holy Spirit form, named Sarayu]
For now I just want you to be with me and discover that our relationship is not about performance or you having to please me. I’m not a bully, not some self-centered little deity insisting on my own way. I am good and only desire what is best for you. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation or coercion, only through a relationship of love. And I do love you.
This book, no matter how many times I read it, always touches me deeply. It messes with those long established, preconceived notions of who God is, what God looks like, what a relationship with God looks like, and what my faith should look like. Today, even more it gives me hope that no matter how different my faith journey feels now and how distant and complicated to grasp I often find the spiritual aspects of life to be that relationship is still possible.
So given I am still catching up, please feel free to join in the conversation below. I want to hear from you all!
- What have you been writing lately? Share a link in the comments below.
- What writer or story do you want to honor today? Share a link to their words below.
- Do you ever struggle with prayer?
- Has it ever been difficult for you to understand, separate, and appreciate aspects of your life from past seasons, good or bad?
Hope this Tuesday finds you all well, and I look forward to hearing from you.