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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I have prayed for you"

I've been thinking about convictions and faith, and vows and love, lately. About altars and thresholds; new life and the threshing floor. No wonder, sitting as I am in the kiln (to reference a previous blog), leaves a lot of time for thinking.

I have been thinking about marriages, too. About the faith-filled convictions and love-filled vows I recently witnessed my son and new daughter pledge, and am remembering the same vows I made nearly 24 years ago. Saying them with faith and love and conviction stronger than death. And I am thinking about the apostle Peter proclaiming the same "I will go to the ends of the world for You-I will die for You" vows to his beloved Christ. He may as well have been standing at an altar. And I am relating as never before.

There is a wise qualifiction in some cirlces regarding our relationship to God. It is this- "God, as we have understood Him." I've been thinking about this, too, while sitting here, and the truth is that I don't understand Him like I did at the altar where I pledged my life to my Bridegroom over half an life-time ago, and to my husband over twenty-three years ago. Half a life-time and twenty-three years later, and still a newly wed! Not that it's always been bliss. No. Had it been, then I would not be in the kiln half baked. Or to identify with the analogy regarding Peter, I would not be on the threshing floor half sifted. 
Half sifted or half baked, it's where my understanding of God and the vows made to Him, where the convictions to live and die for them, (so strong is our faith and love for God), are sifted away. 

I've been holding onto the bridal bouquet...roses...feeling the thorns along the way, but the fragrance makes the pain worth it. I've been a newly wed for a long time, and have finally tossed the bouquet. The convictions, the thorns, the fragrance, faith, and my understanding of, and love for God, are no longer enough to keep me. Like Peter, the only love that keeps me is His love for me; and the only vow that keeps me is Christ's. "I have prayed for you... I have prayed for you, Carolyn...that when you have turned back to Me...." It's not that I have denied Him. The rooster hasn't crowed like that in my life. But I cannot promise any more than Peter could, that it won't happen. It is a dismal business to be humbled. To have my understanding of God humbled, and my life lived in accordance to that understanding, humbled. Life, faith, convictions, vows...all of it...humbled.

If you are tracking with me, then you are asking with me, "What now?" Let's simply know that He has prayed for us, and let's know the hope in the words,"when you have turned back to Me." We can't know what will transpire between His prayer for us and our turning back to Him, but we do know this- the chance to say to Him, "I love You," with the simplicity that is there only by humbling. And only by His prompting. "I love You. Not grandly, not fully, but I love You and You know it." And this, I am convinced, is the deeper love. No flesh, even this flesh, will boast in His presence. 

Is it right for me to say, "Don't live on the foundation of your understanding of God, and don't build your life on the srong convictions that come from that understanding. But live and build on the foundation of, "I do not understand You as I thought I did," and on the convictions faith affords you in the words, "I have prayed for you that you may not loose your faith." (??) Don't answer that. It's only where I'm at! :-)

written by: Carolyn Roehrig

Monday, June 10, 2013

"For wisdom is better than rubies"

Wisdom is also a "chain to adorn your neck."

I had once a ruby necklace on a fine gold chain. It's demise was a knot that developed in the chain. I brought the necklace into the laundry room where I have a florescent light. My intent was to use a couple of pins to loosen and eventually untangle the knot. It took too  long to do in one sitting, and by the time I returned to the laundry room, the necklace had disappeared. Probably lost in a pile of laundry...or the trash can...or that mysterious place where socks' mates go. I don't know, but what I do know is that the knot was too much for me to untangle.

That necklace came to mind the other day when I was trying to untangle a different knot. The one inside me. The one where there are fine links of joy and beauty...and links, just as fine, of sorrows and  things not so beautiful, like fear. I can follow a few links of joy and beauty until they get lost in the knot; and I can follow a few links of sorrow and fear until they, too, get lost in the knot. And I cannot separate the links enough to follow them all the way through to free the ruby.

There are so many links of joy in my life. Weddings, for one! So many links to thanksgiving and blessings beyond what I ever dreamed to ask my Father daughters-in-law I adore, and new extended family members that we are blessed beyond the beyond to become a limb on their family tree! What a beautiful, untangled chain I would have adorning my neck if these were the only links on it. But, no, there are other links that are very messy, scary, and knotted. A Master Craftsman is needed. A Jeweler who knows the real value of the chain and the ruby and who has unlimited time and patience to untangle the knot, one link at a time.

So, as I was saying, I was trying to untangle this knot. Praying through it. Bringing one link before the Lord, then another link, trying to understand how to undo it all. Then the picture of my ruby
necklace came to mind. And with it came this- "O you of little faith, why are you so afraid?"

"Afraid?" I asked.

"Yes. Afraid," He replied.

Quiet, on my end of the conversation. "Hmm...yes...sorrows. What if's. Messes. Knots. It's all scary. "

Then this from the Master Jeweler, who knows how to untangle the knot in me-"I never asked you, 'What are you afraid of.'"

Quiet, again, on my part. I had been trying to name each link. To understand the knot. The Master Jeweler gets to the center of the tangled mess, takes the pin from my hand, and points to faith. Pins it.

I don't have to name the links in the chain. He never asked me to. I don't have to follow a few links called joy only to loose them in the knot. Or a few links called fear. I only have to answer the question, "Why are you so afraid?'" (hint-it has something to do with little faith)

Wisdom is better than rubies.  It's a chain to adorn your neck. It's linked to faith. And the knots that keep us from wearing that ruby necklace? Do we not have a Master Jeweler? It may sound ridiculous, but I still expect one day to walk into my laundry room and find that necklace. It may still be in a knot...but then again, maybe not!

written by: Carolyn Roehrig

Thursday, June 6, 2013

All His Works

"The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works" (Psalm 145:9).

How many years has this Word lain so still in the womb of my soul that I have questioned it's life? I'm told it's living. The Living Word. But it lies so still. So long.

Yet, I wait. I can't help it. It's faith's fault! And hope may as well share the blame, too. Waiting is all the evidence I need for that! Faith and hope. Mischievous partners, those two! Working in tandem to keep me after what I don't see, but know is there and desperately need. I have a high need for God's goodness and tender mercy, (not just mercy), over all His works. Over me. In me.

He has worked this need. It wasn't my doing. It wasn't my husband's doing. It was God's doing. When I think how approved His works must be, how they must pass through Him, through Christ, down through generations before He lays a hand on me...presses this need into me... I realize that they must come with great plans and purpose. His works require His tender mercies. They require His goodness. And, since He sees fit to put me smack in the middle of His works, I require these things too. The requirement is unquestionable the minute you feel like a slab of clay slammed onto the Potter's wheel. "Lord have mercy! And while You're at it, make it tender...please!"

It's been said that we feel highest need in highest heat. Who has been pounded on the wheel? Who is waiting in the kiln at high fire. This is where I am. In the kiln. A living, breathing pot. And I'm needing to feel God's tender mercies right about now. May the need become more intense than the heat! May the need for His goodness and tender mercies manifested over all His works and over me and in me be more than the desire to escape the kiln!

I'm not there yet. I'm still feeling "all His works."  I do feel an occasional flutter within me of His goodness. His tender mercies. Happily, experience assures me that they will roll and kick and gain in strength within me. God's goodness and tender mercies will press down hard over all His works. Over the need He is creating in me. Over me. And I will bear the waiting more then than I am now until what He has worked breathes praises to Him. Delivered from the kiln to  praise! And until I breathe blessing upon blessing. Delivered from the kiln...(alive, thank you) bless!

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!"

written by : Carolyn Roehrig

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"I've got this, Carolyn..."

Sometime ago, when I was becoming anxious about a cloud I saw gathering on the horizon, I heard God whisper behind me, "I've got this, Carolyn. Go do what you were doing. I've got this." When the cloud became very dark? "I've got this." When there was lightening in the cloud? "I've got this." When a storm dropped out of it and carried on as if there was no tomorrow? "I've got this. Go do what you were doing. I've got this." 

So I did. I was actually about to cook a gourmet meal with my daughters. I visited with my household into the late hours. I laughed like someone who has not a care in the world. It's not that I didn't notice the storm. How could I not? But I didn't pay much attention to it, though it begged. 

The thing is, not so long ago I would have given it much attention, even would have abandoned what I was doing because of it, but this time was different. I remembered the storm, but abandoned very little to it and became increasingly abandoned to God. And what else can be expected if not increased abandon to God when we simply get back to what we were doing before the cloud gathered overhead? Whatever it is, He's got it. 

And there's more. He is also FOR us. The powers and principalities of the air that whirl about like a tasmanian devil can do nothing more than what God says. And GOD is FOR us! Kind of makes me want to say, regarding that dervishing devil "Is that all you've got?!?"