Be Still, My Soul
Katharina von Schlegel (1752)
Be still, my soul: for God is on your side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Trust in your God, your savior and your guide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a peaceful end.
Be still, my soul: for God will undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
the voice that calmed them in this world below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall dwell with God forever more,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and bless-ed we shall meet at last.
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on March 11, 2013
You know what’s awesome? Having your 2 year old tell you he needs to potty…while you’re in the shower. All parents of toddlers know that when a potty-training child says pee-pee, you jump. Nothing like leaning over the toilet, helping direct a stream of pee, wrapped in a towel and dripping wet. That was me on Friday morning.
After last Friday, this silly situation along with all the other ridiculous things our kids do to drive us crazy, were seen in a new light. I saw friends on Facebook anxiously awaiting their kids return from school ready for a big hug. Parents who wanted to crawl in bed with their small ones that night just so they could hold them close. Joining in play time instead of turning on the TV. The grief of the parents in Connecticut has become our grief and opened our eyes to how quickly childhood slips by. Once again, our world is turned upside down and we take stock of what is really important. Once again we wonder how, why and where. How and why could God let this happen? Where was God when this horrific event took place?
We all have to answer our own questions to make sense of the senseless. After reflection and tears I have come up with the only answer that I can imagine to make any sense. God did not allow this to happen. It just did. Horrible things happen in this world because it’s an imperfect world. Where was God? God was there. We call God compassionate but have we ever thought about what that really means? Com (with) Passion (suffering). God is there/here suffering with us. God is not far away in the cosmos watching it all happen. God is experiencing all of it with us, knowing the pain of those parents, holding those children in His love, experiencing our confusion and grief. How bitterly ironic that the unthinkable happened 10 days before we celebrate God made flesh. Just as we are about to celebrate God’s best expression of love, we experience the darkest part of free will.
One thing I do know for sure is that what happened is not a result of God’s anger at our country. Horrible things happening, hurricanes or otherwise are not God’s punishment on the east coast for falling away from Christian doctrine. If I hear of any blogger out there trying to spread this hate filled message I’m going to scream. Hear me loud and clear, trying to justify hate and evil with the will of God is a big hot steaming pile of crap and I’m not going to stand back and let Christians be led down that destructive and divisive path. You know how I know this to be true? Get ready because I’m about to pull out every bible thumper’s trump card. John 3:16 AND 17. We all know it, say it with me. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Wait, there’s more and it’s really important. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. God made himself a part of this world to save it, not condemn it. He loved all the world, not just a select few who feel themselves worthy. All the world, the innocent babies, the beautiful heroes and the tormented souls. All that angry vengeful stuff went out the window when the cross entered the picture. There isn’t room for condemnation and revenge in compassion and unconditional love.
I can’t begin to imagine the sorrow and grief those families in Connecticut are experiencing. All I can do is hug my boys a little tighter, cherish their silly antics and open my heart to experience compassion for those that are suffering. Only when we can let go of hateful, angry rhetoric and the lie that God wants to punish us by allowing pain and destruction, can we begin to heal.
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on December 16, 2012
Anticipation. That is what comes to mind when I think about Advent. The excitement leading up the birth of our savior, counting down the days, singing songs of prophesies foretold and helping make Christmas miracles come true. Unchecked this anticipation can turn into anxiety. Checking off lists; did I get everything done? There are how many days left? I don’t have enough time! How much does that gift cost and how am I going to pay for it!? Anxiety invites in stress. One more present, one more pie, one more donation, one more ornament, one more office party, one more one more one more. Before we know it the presents have been ripped open and we’re already anticipating the New Year’s Day sale at Dillards. Where did the month go?
Thinking about Mary and her anticipation I can’t help but wonder, did she cherish every single day or did she feel a need to hurry it up? 9 months is a long time to anticipate God’s greatest gift. Did she worry about all she had to do to prepare, allowing the stress of such a responsibility weigh her down? Or did she take time each day to stop and meditate on the miracle that was a part of her and soon to be a part of our world.
During this Advent season lets not let the joy of anticipation slip through our fingers. Take time each day to cherish the wonder of God coming to dwell with us. It’s okay to be excited about presents and decorations, volunteering and baking. Sharing our time and talents are part of what the wonder of Christmas is all about. But don’t forget what we are preparing for. This should be the season to slow down and savor the days rather than race to the finish line.
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on December 10, 2012
(left: me. Right: published author, big time blogger, paid speaker. I’m not jealous or anything)
Several weeks ago I went to hear Jen Hatmaker (Christian author and blogger) speak. A friend of mine had told me about her book, 7, where she attempts to reduce the excess in seven areas of her life as an experiment. I thought the concept was pretty interesting but a little extreme. After I heard her speak I decided to read the book to see what this craziness was all about. (more…)
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on November 30, 2012
Wind who makes all winds that blow
gusts that bend the saplings low,
gales that heave the sea in waves,
stirrings in the mind’s deep caves
aim your breath with steady power
on your church this day, this hour.
Raise, renew the life we’ve lost,
Spirit God of Pentecost. (more…)
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on June 1, 2012
“Let the children come to me and do not hinder them; for to such as these belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” – Mark 10: 13-16
This past weekend, Mother’s Day weekend, was the semi-annual baby dedication at church. I’m pretty sure they orchestrate this event just to make me cry and start to think I want another baby. Oh wait. It’s not all about me. Plus, I’ve got my hands full with my two sweet boys so I quickly got over the ‘having another baby’ idea. (more…)
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on May 15, 2012
Several weeks ago at church I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. It all seemed to fall into place for one brief moment and I have been thinking about it ever since.
The scripture was from Matthew 25: 31-46, the parable of the sheep and goats. Like many parables it leaves you wondering what exactly Jesus was trying to say and knowing that there are many, many layers to meaning of the parable. In the parable the King separates the righteous from the unrighteous saying of the righteous (categorized as sheep) “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.“ The righteous ask when they ever saw their Lord in any of these situations and he replies ” I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Then he goes on to say that the goats, or unrighteous, did non of those things for him and are excused from his presence.
This is a difficult parable for me to digest. If taken at face value it suggests that come judgement time (whatever that is supposed to mean) those who did not do the right thing will be cast aside into “eternal punishment.” There has to be more to it than that. Our minister did a wonderful job of peeling back the layers of this onion…
Christ has not forgotten the least and the little and the lost; in fact not only has Christ not forgotten, but is so close to them that whenever something is done for them it is not LIKE doing something for Christ, it is doing something for Christ. The world may not see that – power structures being what they are – but Christ the King on the throne has become enthroned into that manger called hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, imprisoned.
Christ is all around us. In the beautiful and the awful. It’s easy to find him in the beauty of nature or the miracle of a newborn baby but he is just as present in the homeless bum under the overpass, just as present in an abused or malnourished child, just as present in the twisted soul of a convict on death row and even just as present in the annoying co-worker. He is also just as present in our own self. Whether we know it or not or even chose to recognize it…he is there. But wait. There is even more to this stinky onion…
The news that is good in the parable is that we have been given a point of reference from which to see life…Who are we really? Are we what so much of culture says we are – consumers whose objective purpose is acquiring? Are we conquerors whose purpose is to win and get our way? Are we objects of gratification for ourselves and for others – the measure and meaning of which is that insatiable standard called personal pleasure? Who are we really? Jesus lays down alongside this world obsessed by consumption, conquering, and acquisition another way – that way which has been prepared since the foundation of the world – that cruciform way of living and being called compassion and care, redemption and restoration. That’s who we really are, really.
Who we really are is Christ in us. Unlimited potential is there we just have to recognize it and tap into it. Finally an analogy was given of a medieval tale…
…the tiger cub whose mother dies and so he is subsequently raised by a pack of goats – taking on all the qualities of a goat and none of the tiger until that one day when the king tiger happens by and discovers this cub who is not living out what he is created to be. So the father tiger takes the cub to the river to see his reflection and then he lets him hear how a tiger is created to sound. The king tiger says, “Follow me little one, and I will help you become the grand thing you are created to be.”
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on December 8, 2011
Relationships take tender love and care for them to grow and mature. If you ignore a relationship with a loved one, never giving them attention, time and your heart then how can you expect that relationship to flourish. I would expect it to grow cold and die off. A spiritual relationship has similar qualities. A spiritual relationship with God has it’s ups and downs like our earthly ones but the difference is that God is always ready and waiting to make that relationship work regardless of our lack of interest or selfishness. (more…)
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on September 19, 2011