Approximately 30 years ago, I begged God plz, plz, plz, take me along in your wondrous, matchless work— set people free. 20 years ago, hands full of laundry and littles, I wrestled...hard came away limping. How??? "Absorb," He said "Who I Am." 10 years ago, I bartered. If you give me a spacious place (to fold laundry and care for not-so-littles) I will keep working on that. Apparently, God was unimpressed by my terms. He did set me in a spacious place. And then began to set me free. jfig thanksbetoGod Sometimes it is meaningful to look back; to see what God was doing...when. Compelled by Isaiah 61, so much angst I experienced, in trying to make a difference, with what felt like limited internal resources for a global moment. All the while, God kept pouring in, filling the reservoir bit by bit with what (I did not know) I needed. Father, Son, Spirit—present and alive—abundant, full, overflowing in goodness. These verses: Isaiah 61; Luke 4:18-19; Psalm 18:1-3 are especially meaningful to me in the context of life purpose.
Peaceful - Psalm 84:5 i enter your courts peaceful today buoyed by rest encountered here, and my small ration of hope. Vital... 'Zion' is worth the trek. Though the valley be dark it is, in fact shadow. Today's offering... Sometimes i am blinded by your light unwittingly linger; choose the dark— even Moses benefitted from the cleft in the rock. i enter your courts...quietly bathe in Your Light— choosing... Peaceful. jfig 8/21
Dear Reader, Choosing to follow Jesus on pilgrimage is a big deal. There are so many uNeXpecTeD places he wants to take us – adoption, service, submission, risk. Think about it – He shares his inheritance…! I am convinced that one of the greatest challenges the Messiah ever faced during his time on earth, was to preserve our freedom to choose—whether to follow him, or not. An alternative would have been so much easier. In the whole broad realm of mental and emotional health, the ability to choose ‘peace’ remains, at times, relative to one’s circumstances and well being. This poem is not intended as admonition – rather invitation, and admission: some moments are easier than others, to choose the goodness of Presence that God offers. Blessings…j
Straight and narrow: it seems we have been advised to stay. It should not surprise, then that life's journey braves the thicket and the swamp the deep, dark womb of forest where the seeds of living are formed. Straight and narrow climbs the cliffs hanging on in terror to feel oneself sustained again, and again by the wise, tenacious love of God. Do not skirt the thicket; its briers frame this fierce, improbable beauty: the God Who Loves' abiding embrace.
Dear Reading Friend,
A sharp contrast was drawn for me this week, between the orderly neatness of having it all figured out, and the messy struggle of ever-clambering to keep hold of the shirttails of God. I felt, deep in that place between stomach and gut, that I would rather choose messy; continue to sport all the scratches and mud splotches evident of the potentially infectious encounters of pursuing God wherever he leads, than wear the polished veneer of having stayed behind. I’m sharing these poems to invite your pondering, but perhaps also to bolster my resolve. Godspeed, Jfig
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
“Matthew 7 (ESV) – For the gate is narrow.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 27 Mar, 2021. https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/mat/7/14/s_936014.
Messy i did not anticipate messy mountains of laundry the stain of anguished tears for there are some that drip from a mother's heart that stain one's shirt forever. i did not anticipate seeing when we each vowed, "I do" sullen dark corners inside the hallways called me no solvent could touch, save grace messy, this creosote of banner borne, blood yet fresh on the beams of his cross my need sticky, with splinters and nails little did i imagine his agony of stretch nor such tedious debridement; things Creator would not have me (w)bear chafing - cautious dismantle to recover image; His Love emblazoned on my heart. messy. jfig 3/2021
Trajectory Persistent ripples scribe the surface of Bagley lake evidence that life breathes, expectant, beneath the season's fleeting veil. Painstaking intent flows along ages-old trajectory. The Foundation of the world stretches ancient fingers toward the fullness of time.* Beginning to the end; the end itself—endless. Float, if you must beneath this moment's sky her sun not wasted. Nor is winter's gloom, though we tend to hasten time. Who knows where our Spirit God hovers?** jfig 9/2020 *Ephesians 1:4-10; **Genesis 1:2 Ephe. 1:3,4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
In August, my Covid19 hiking buddy and I made it to the Mt. Baker Wilderness Area to circumnavigate the string called Bagley Lakes. Though not the most acclaimed hike in the area, its raw beauty still spoke volumes. Questions surfaced, just as they have in the past: are these really lakes, or just snowmelt puddles; and what is the difference? You can see right to the bottom – old logs and a dearth of fish. So what is the point, if you see the air for two of twelve months, with no trout nor tadpoles, and the rest of the time are covered up as if you didn’t exist by layers of ice and snow? Two things refuted my skepticism: Even though the water was crystal clear, the ripples were determined, not just from the wind, but from underneath. In its abbreviated season, the free-running water was determinedly going somewhere. And (2) in retrospect, we felt ourselves a part of the scenery, not merely observers. We could see where our footsteps had traced just 30 minutes prior; right there exactly. We were part of this day’s wilderness story, in a way that my companion visibly understood.
The reminder that any season, whether brief, seemingly benign, or harsh to the point of devastating, can still be part of God’s purposeful trajectory is hugely comforting to me. We don’t get to measure the seasons; they seem to take measure of us. But we can look across the valley to see where we have been; experience some surprise to see others who trudge there now. We can revisit the pages of story: how God’s triune company and unwavering intent have transformed us en route. I hope the thought that your story is not outside God’s trajectory, is comforting to you as well. Sincerely, jfig