Friday, December 23, 2016
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Leaves spin and twirl, pecan nuts plummet, squirrels race and the shadows on the fence do too. I watch as if it's an old black and white animated film.
A leaf strokes the pool water, and swims. The water ripples slightly, and I choose to watch it ripple across the rough surface of the fence in shadow form. If shadows made noise, this would sound like a stringed instrument. Water shadows ripple over fence boards as strings might vibrate over the sound board of the guitar my daughter plays.
Harmonious shadows play rippling strings as if plucked for song.
And why not? All is spinning, twirling, leaping, chattering, feasting, praising.
Morning sun projects the activity onto the fence where it's played out in shadows.
I had hoped for this in August heat. And now it's here, autumn song. It's here, clear and colorful. It fits both praise and fire.
Trees flame bright as fire yellow, orange, and red.
Leaves fly off like sparks.
Pecans hit the ground, pop-pop-popping in autumn flame. I see it in the fire that tries it.
And what about soul fire?
I felt it earlier on the staircase when morning sun shot flames through the upstairs window and ran down the stairs and skidded gold across the wood floor. Sparks splayed there, and I stood in them bravely. I felt them glance off the glass of framed photos on the wall.
The photos are wedding day photos.
My oldest son stands tall and suited and with a smile unlike any other I’ve ever seen him wear.
There’s a photo of his bride, too, in the bridal dressing room just before the ceremony.
There's also a photo of his brother and himself. The two grin into the camera, arms slung over each others’ shoulders.
I look into their faces.
One is smiling like a young man, moments from becoming a married man; the other is smiling like a young man, waiting to propose to his girl.
She’s in a photo on this wall, too. The image captures delight in her eyes because she caught the bridal bouquet tightly in her hands. When she caught the bouquet, maybe she got to feel what it's like to catch faith. To catch, and hold tight, to her own marriage hopes as she grins at my son. I know there's a ring; but she doesn't.
I squint against the sparkling glass frames. Today I do feel singe. I won’t say I don’t. God knows the depths of my heart right now and hears my thoughts-
When a groom buys a wedding ring for his bride, she rejoices in the hope of seeing it when he slips it on her finger. She anticipates the ring, the wedding, the marriage, the new life. Her hope is active and rejoicing as she prepares for the glory of new life. When trials come as she waits in hope, she glories in them and rejoices proudly because he has poured out into her heart his love for her. She rejoices proudly because he is her hope.
“Thank You, Lord. Yes. Amen.” I know Him well enough to recognize in my thoughts things He Himself has said.
His words are ointment, and here in autumn flame and staircase sparks, my “If this is how You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few” moan is gone. St. Theresa of Avila said it. Saints do moan sometimes. But today I do not.
Today I think, You must love me a lot to keep me in the flame so long.
I recognize God in the thought, but I don’t recognize myself in it. It's because He's changing the way I think.
I’m being changed somehow in this fire.
Silversmith over autumn fire means to see His image in me.
I hope for it. I burn for it. I endure for it.
It’s hope, plain and simple and splotchy, too, except for the shadow strings strumming harmoniously across the wood fence.
And across my soul’s walls.
There are so many hope shadows moving across my soul’s walls. “Show me faith, and, Jesus, help me get this straight!”
He does. “Look around you.”
I do. I approach the fence slats and touch the shadows there; and they break over the uneven surface of my knuckles. I lean my back against the fence and shadows play across my front. Face the right way and see hints of hope.
I watch a squirrel stuff its cheeks with pecan and pumpkin seeds and feast on autumn as sun's watery rays cast long shadows toward the season coming. A season of sharing food, warmth, den and isn't that something to look forward to? I find myself hoping for this on the scale of heaven.
Do I now nourish my soul with what I will feast on in heaven?
The things I do, desire, think about, talk about, have an appetite for-do they take on a different form while retaining the same Spirit when the Light of the World shines on them?
Are they more than illuminated when the Light shines on them?
Does the Light add another dimension to these things?
Are they cross-sectioned by the Light?
Light does this. It cross-sections, and the cross-section of a shadow casts the object into another dimension.
Seems to me a two-dimensional silhouette on this side of eternity hints at a shadow of things to come on the other side where the only light will be God Himself.
Maybe it's as impossible to lean on hope as it is to lean on a shadow-yet lean on the evidence which is and watch how the Light of the World adumbrates what is to come while shining on what is.
Crazy heights, nutty hunger, autumn glory-I praise the Light Himself, here.
Faith is my entrance.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig
(adapted from my book, PISTEUO! Connecting with God's Heart)
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
A comment made, a question asked, a tone interpreted, a misunderstanding or maybe not, I'm reminded of a past offense, and I feel the sting of tears and the bite of fear. “God, I thought I buried this all a long time ago,” I say as I wave my garden spade at Him.
I stand outside weeding among dry stalks fading in fall yellow.
A web is tangled in the stalks. I look at it clinging to what is dead and should be buried, but isn’t., and I feel how it looks-tangled tenacity, a wild weave.
I'm hanging tightly to life familiar; or maybe I'm caught in it. Sometimes life is sticky like that.
I understand the suffering in the web. I don’t know why troubles stick so hard; contention without, fears within, and crippling memories still cripple.
What is this web?
It clings to rambunctious disorder.
It clings to weedy, stalky life just twisted around itself in the wild and I feel the offense.
The web, it catches what stings and I'd like to sever it with my spade, wad it up, and bury it deep with the same spade that I waved at God. I would, except right at this moment I can't.
I can't, because how can I when sunshine catches the web in a cling of light? I see it happen. the strand the color of air. I see sunlight run up and down a thread of web the color of air like the spider that wove it. Sunlight spins on the web like that and I watch till I see what I didn’t know I was looking for.
Faith. That's what I'm looking for; and I know it when I see it.
The web, it catches the sunlight, too. And I hear God say something like, “This is what faith looks like."
I drop my spade to the ground.
I don’t want the weapon anymore, and I don’t want to bury anything.
I want to see more faith, to capture that run of glinting light, to wrap the faith web around that light and drink it in—to just drink light.
The strands of the web are invisible except where the sun runs a slender finger over the strands and points them out. Faith is like that. It goes unnoticed until God points it out.
Faith is a webby substance tested by sorrows. I don’t like it, but I know it must be this way.
I see it this way right in front of me.
Gold glint of light on gossamer strands shows me that faith is there.
Light drapes the jasmine vine which grows along my patio wall. The jasmine drapes flower and fragrance over patio brick.
Light cannot be touched, except by the soul. That's where I feel it real, and I'm certain my soul has fingers.
Surely the Holy Ghost-Spirit of Light-drapes white fragrance.
Surely His threads are gold as morning sunshine and may they drape me till I'm wrapped.
Doesn't the holy tangle with life and death just as surely as web is both lifeline and death row?
“You are lifeline and Redeemer for those on death row,” I say in wonder and truth and marvel.
I’ve been caught in webs before, just stuck in the sticky and unable to disentangle. Webs are too strong for me, but not too strong for light. Light conquers the web. And more. Light uses web to conduct more light-mercy of mercies!
It's been discovered that spider silk can not only propagate light but can also direct light.
I'ts been discovered that spider silk can carry light into the body for medical imaging. I have no idea how that works, but when I read it I felt as if I’d just uncovered one of God’s secrets tucked away in His creation.
I could have said, “Conquer the web!” and knocked it down with my spade. But if I did that, I would have messed with the Light which uses what tangles me up to shine into my soul.
Similar to medical imaging, the Light is the healer too, and web to a healed soul is a lifeline, not death row.
I Google “web.” How strong is it?
I read that spider silk is five times as strong as steel and that if a single strand of web breaks, the strength of the web actually increases. Also, web stretches 30 percent longer than its spun length without breaking. It vibrates an unheard frequency when an insect flies into it, and the alliterating poet in me thinks-a suffering struggle strums strands, resulting in strange hum in stretch.
I need tangible evidence to help me to believe. To trust.
Isn’t this what faith means?
Doesn't it mean death and resurrection evidence of hope for salvation?
Ark evidence of hope for deliverance?
Tent evidence of hope for a heavenly country?
Sacrificial evidence to gain testimony? To endure?
A lifetime of things hoped for?
Don’t trials show that faith is there just as surely as God points it out in a hallelujah glimmer?
May I look for faith everyday!
It will be found.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig
(adapted from my book, PISTEUO! Connecting with God's Heart)