I am no longer my own,
Put me to what thou wilt,
rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing,
put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
Let me be full,
let me be empty.
Let me have all things,
let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
United Methodist Hymnal, 607
It has been a long week, made that way by anxiety, stress, and a subsequent lack of restful sleep. These weeks come along to me regularly for some reason. I suppose (perhaps) because my brain isn’t wired to always handle everything that comes my way; I mean, I look at other people and they appear to be handling the same amount of ‘life’ in a more effective way. So I wonder, what’s up with me?
“Life is turbulent. On that, we can all agree. Disappointed dreams, broken relationships, identity crises, vocational hang-ups, wounds from the past—there are so many ways life can send us crashing up against the rocks.
In this deeply personal book, Jonathan Martin draws from his own stories of failure and loss to find the love that can only be discovered on the bottom. How to Survive a Shipwreck is an invitation to trust the goodness of God and the resilience of your soul. Jonathan’s clarion call is this: No matter how hard you’ve fallen, no matter how much you’ve been hurt, help is on the way—just when you need it most.
With visionary artistry and pastoral wisdom, Jonathan Martin reveals what we’ll need to make it through those uncharted waters, how we can use these defining experiences to live out of our depths, and why it will then become impossible to go back to the half-life we once lived.”
© Kimberly Jasper 2016 All Rights Reserved
On a typical morning in the over-crowded slum of Annawadi located next to the Mumbai airport, the people wake early to begin another day of trying to secure their existence. Those with homes – extremely small, tenuous constructions of something once resembling fabric or cardboard – are thankful they have any shelter at all.
© Kimberly Jasper – All Rights Reserved 2016
Twenty-seven years ago today was my mother’s funeral. Simply put, I thought I was going to die, too. But I had a little one of my own that needed her mother, so I kept getting up and going on. Some days, that was the extent of it. But as time moved on, I discovered that I wasn’t quite so sad all the time. I found myself quoting some of my mother’s funniest sayings, cooking her old recipes, and telling some of her best stories. As soon as I was able to do all that without bawling, it seemed like she was back with me. After all these years, it’s still like she’s physically present at those moments when memory intersects with everyday life, and heaven is present on earth. I love you, Mom.
This past Sunday morning, I experienced one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard. I know that sounds trite and hyperbolic, but seriously – this one moved me. While listening to our minister’s powerful exegesis of the second chapter of Galatians, my brain made a connection to a book I’m currently reading: Simply Christian by N.T. Wright, Anglican Bishop and New Testament scholar.
It’s not possible for me to do complete justice to the sermon, but I have permission to use some of my minister’s main points in writing this entry and will do my best to convey the Spirit with which they were made.
As I was finishing The Bible Tells Me So, one of the most moving parts I read was Peter Enns’s description of the unfathomable size of the universe:
The known universe is 13.7 billion years old. Traveling at the speed of light, it would take about 100 billion years to get from one end of the universe to the other. Light travels at about 5.87 trillion miles a year…[that means] the approximate total number of miles across the universe is 587 sextillion (587,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)….This is what God laughing looks like. (p233-34)
How self-important I think I am until I consider the minuscule amount of space I occupy.
“You can forgive someone almost anything. But you cannot tolerate everything…We don’t have to tolerate what people do just because we forgive them for doing it. Forgiving heals us personally. To tolerate everything only hurts us all in the long run.”
Lewis B. Smedes
With a little time, and a little more insight, we begin to see both ourselves and our enemies in humbler profiles. We are not really as innocent as we felt when we were first hurt. And we do not usually have a gigantic monster to forgive; we have a weak, needy, and somewhat stupid human being. When you see your enemy and yourself in the weakness and silliness of the humanity you share, you will make the miracle of forgiving a little easier.
Lewis B. Smedes, author and theologian
This quote, of course, doesn’t fit every hurtful situation there ever was or will be. But it does shine a light on the reality of many disagreements, on that place where we hide love tucked up under indignation and resentment – both growing rapidly in the darkness of our soul.
After writing every day for the past 40 days of Lent, I feel a bit like Sarah Bessey at the end of Out of Sorts:
When I was 11 years old, I started the yearly tradition of spending two weeks every summer with my maternal grandmother in in the “city.” Having grown up on a farm without running water or phone service, staying with my grandmother was an adventure in more ways than one. At Grandmother’s house, you could use the restroom without going outside; taking a bath didn’t involve heating water on the stove; and, rather than sounds of cows and tractors coming from the window, there was a train whistle and the screen doors of other houses slapping closed – which leads me to the biggest difference of all: the presence of other people. Lots of people. Lots of different people.