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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Smudged Mirrors

A backhanded slap from the end of fall teases festive leaves that have grown and turned color on the wiry twigs that sprout from the tree. It has no real branches. It’s a stumpy tree topped with a mess of twigs and garish leaves, and I think of this tree as a quirky old English woman. She wears red and orange leaves as a hat. It perches at a rakish angle and her sense of fashion is a bit loud among the statelier pecan trees.
There are other trees like her, but none wear their hats quite as well. To me, they are all like grand old ladies given to gossip. When the wind rustles through the wood, I hear them murmur. Their leafy hats bob outrageously and I amuse myself wondering how much of their gossip is about the lordly pecan tree standing at an aloof distance on this side of the fence.

This morning my breath comes out in a silver chill. I pull up my hood.
I have smudgy bathroom mirrors to clean today. Well, actually, I have the whole smudgy bathroom to clean. My bottle of multipurpose surface cleaner with vinegar is nearly empty; it just spits at the mirror and the window over the bath tub. Spit, spit, wipe. Spit, spit, wipe. It is what it is.
I can’t entirely blame the smudges I see on the lack of glass cleaning solution. Some of the blame is on my eyesight. It’s a little smudgy, too. I don’t mind blurry eyesight enough to go to the eye doctor, and apparently I’m not overly concerned about the glass in my bathroom.
But there is the matter of seeing truth. I care about this. 
I need to see truth, because there are matters that plead for hope.
I think about the blind man. Didn’t Jesus spit on him? He did, and the blind man saw people walking about like trees. 
I pull the trigger on my multipurpose cleaner. 
I don’t fancy being spit on, and I wonder why there was no other way for the blind man or for me. 
But there wasn’t and still isn’t. 
Life itself makes that clear enough.
My eyes have been wounded on the battlefield and I'm pressed to see my husband and myself as we truly are-as Christ sees us
He doesn’t see us as we are in the flesh, but as we are in Him. 
I don’t want to see my husband and myself as trees walking around; and not even like the trees in the autumn wood. Never mind that it’s hard for me to say that Jesus spits. He does. It seems so unclean. But my surface cleaner spits too, and it’s not unclean. 
I just want to see rightly.
Blindness is thick, kind of like the toothpaste blotch on the bathroom mirror. Jesus spit on the blind man once and wiped twice before he could see clearly. Spit, wipe, and wipe again and the blob of toothpaste is gone; and I wish it was that easy to see clearly.
“How?” I ask Him. “How can I see my husband and myself as smudge-free as truth is clear?”

I stare into the mirror and puzzle about us. “What about us? Oh Lord, please; what about my husband? What about me?” I want a straight up answer.  I’m not up to piecing a puzzle together because I’m like a puzzle that’s falling into pieces. I close my eyes, plead with Him, and the hard surfaces, the floor tiles, mirrors, windows, and glass shower stall add echo to my plea.
Aren’t echoes and reflections the same? They are. Sound reflects and it’s called an echo; light reflects and it’s called a reflection. 
I don’t hear anything from Him. 
“Okay, Lord. I don’t have anywhere to go."  I aim my multi-purpose cleaning solution at the mirror above the sink. Spit, spit, wipe. 
I spent time earlier just watching the woods, listening to the wind, and waiting to hear from God. He let me wait. He was silent. 
I used to become impatient in waiting, but now I choose to wait when He remains silent. We can be silent together. It's better than empty echos. It's not a waste of time. And there's something absorbent about waiting like this. 
Spit, spit, wipe. I watch as the cleaning solution dries, streak free, on the glass. 
I watch as my reflection becomes clearer as the mirror dries and, "Lord?"
He doesn't need to say a word.
I get it. Wait and see. 
And see.
Wait in the silence He gives. Absorb it.
Where hard things seem to echo restless, silence seems to absorb.
My cleaning solution absorbs into the cloth I'm using, and somehow this is hopeful to me. It's hopeful that the very silence He gives me is the solution. 
Absorb the silence He gives-just the pure brand silence He gives and not a substitute-and absorb what will bring clarity.

Wait and see.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cramped Knees and Giving Thanks-a Devojournal

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachminite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Do-do, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day.
—2 Samuel 23:8–10

What's a devojournal?? 
It's what I call the connection between my devotional (Bible reading, or Bible Study, or prayer time) and my journal. 
It's how I get the word of God from my eyes and ears to my brain where meditation happens till I can put it into my own words. Isn't this how thoughts get transformed by the renewing of the mind? Isn't is by meditating on God's thoughts? I think it is. 
It's how I get some transformed thinking from my brain, down my arms, to my fingers. That's where the connection is made on journal pages with my pen, not on the screen with my keyboard. 
I don't pray at my computer desk, but even if I did I would hand-write thoughts because there's just something about forming the letters and seeing my own handwriting. I'm sure there's some kind of neurological whatnot which happens when my knees, eyes, ears, brain, arms, hands and fingers all participate together to get some truth and transformation from God's heart into mine. It reminds me of the old, "the head-bone's connected to the neck-bone, the neck-bone's connected to the shoulder-bone" basic anatomy song! Well, my knee-bones are connected to my eye-bones, and my eye-bones are connected to my head-bone, and all the way down to my finger-bones connected to my devojournal!
So, it’s morning. My knee-bones are cramped, and my heart-bone's on the word of God kind of like David's mighty men and their hand-bones on their swords for so long that their muscles cramped and sort of froze there. 
I won’t let go of the Word of God. It's my sword. 
I won't take off my armor because it is saving righteousness and truth, peace and faith. And if my knee-bones get stuck on this yellow life preserver which cushions them, I'll just remember the mighty men.  It's real.
That’s what the life preserver is all about. First I knelt on carpet in front of the white couch. That was where I began to go heart to heart with God. The carpet was cushion enough, partly because my knees were two decades younger and partly because I was just learning to pray. “Teach me to pray.”
We don’t have that couch anymore. We moved and the floor by the bed was wood. I placed a rug there when my knees and my prayers were still young.
We moved again, and I used a rug and then a nice quaint “prayer pillow.” Then I needed the big guns because my knees were getting sore and my prayers were growing up. They had to. Life as I knew it hung in the balance, and all I could do about it was pray, pray, pray.
I learned to pray God’s own words right back at Him. The boomerang Bible is powerful and effective. It’s true that the prayers of a righteous man avail much. Such a man is made righteous through Christ, and only through Christ. And the righteous who pray God’s heart straight out until their own hearts know no other language are transformed. God Himself says it, and I know it’s true. Hear God’s heart. Learn God’s name. Speak His heart in His name. Now pray.
Do this and you’ll be going to Home Depot for a pair of gardener’s knee pads or searching your garage for a spare life preserver. Mine’s yellow and square.
Pray like this, using His Word, and you’ll be praying His name, and your prayers will be answered.

Connect with God’s Heart
 I have included excerpts from my prayer journal to help you get started with your own journal.
The Lord brings victory! He does! He has! He does what He says He's going to do. I have that
assurance. And I'm beyond grateful that He says good things. 
He said He will heal-and He has. 
He has given victory in the battle against this disease and has given me rest from the fear of it.

Thanksgiving is my “not forgotten,” my “remember truth,” my active amen. That’s because amen finds its root in aman, Hebrew for “truth.” And truth is a compound word in Greek, a-lethei, meaning “not forgotten.”
It’s odd to say that my thanksgiving is related to my “not forgotten.” But isn’t that what the holiday Thanksgiving celebrates? And isn’t that the meaning of “Do this in remembrance of Me”?
I don’t own a clothesline, and I don’t hang the wash, because my brand-new washing machine has an aged companion at its side: my trusty drier. It doesn’t stop on its own anymore. It just dries until someone opens the door and it pants to a stop. Sometimes I pull warm clothes from its old mouth and bring them to my nose. I remember doing this when my grown sons wore boy clothes and ran through grass and crawled through dirt. The sweaty scent of their T-shirts mingled with boyhood scent until grimy hands pulled the tops off. I remember the scent that never quite washed out, and I embrace it still. I hold it and fold it up, and sometimes my heart is like a dresser drawer. Is it okay to say “Thank You” and “Amen” in the laundry room? I do that with God because somehow in the little thank-yous I find an answer to the question, “How was trust in You strengthened in me today?” Sometimes the answer goes way back to things remembered.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig
(adapted from my devotional-PISTEUO!)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Broadside of Thanksgiving

As my soul has fingers, I relate to the washing machine's frozen grip on the spigot. I, too, grip. 

Grip at the source of Living Water. 

Hold firm to the Living Word of God. 

As David's mighty men gripped their swords till their hands were frozen to them, grip the Sword. 

Don't relinquish the Word of God. Hang on to it. He'll give you the strength to.

There is the belt of truth that stays firm even when trust on my part slips. He is truth, and the truth is that He won't let my trust in Him slip away. He keeps it secured in place.

And there is a breastplate of righteousness. Sometimes the wind gets knocked out of me, but the breastplate takes the brunt of the pounding. He is that breastplate.

He is righteous covering, and tells me I am His righteousness in Jesus Christ. Now that's in the realm of too good to be true-but it is true

It is mercy! 

Miraculous mercy and grace. Grace. Grace. 

"Is it true?" My knees are cramping in my warrior stance, and I hold the sword before me. Ready. 

"I promise rest. Enter My rest." He loosens my grip.
Tears wash soul wounds. Salt water is healing, and the healing is
sometimes in the tears.

"Thank You. Thank You!" I've unsheathed the Word of God
and battled against disease that 
aimed to destroy my husband-that big, strong
German of mine-one bottle at a time. 

The battle for hope is a mighty one.
This was my battle and it became glory.

Hope is glory unsheathed! 

Thanksgiving is my "not forgotten." 
My "remember truth." 
My active amen.

Hanging the Wash

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig
(from my book, PISTEUO!)