The deeper the darkness, the deeper the awareness of grace.
From where has God brought you?
A writer, I often prefer stepping away from safely bubbled literature into something rawer, more tragic and real. Drawn to the psychological divergence of the night season, it's not quite the night season of temporary circumstances - but the powerful light near the end that beckons. Light appears brighter as you step from the shadows. Grasp that light tightly with newfound gratitude...I do every time.
There is a sacred purpose for everything, even literature bordering a darker side. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. What then? Within this framework, one can hear HIS voice distinctly calling, “Child, come home,” whispering, “child, be healed,” shouting, “Child, I forgive you.” This is the way, walk ye in it…
From where has God brought you?
The deeper the darkness, the deeper the awareness of Grace.
This season, I had the privilege of donning my ballet shoes to dance with the liturgical lyrical ballet group, Solum Deum, under the direction of my friend and gifted choreographer, Tess Dempsey (two named “Tess” in one group, imagine that!). It became an interesting contrast in my mind when, in one of the dances, we represented holy angels. Considering that one of the three novels I am currently working on has to do with the Nephilim, descendants of the fallen angels, and because of that research and the fact that, often, I have to dive into dark subject matter, the elements of this dance were refreshing. A refreshing experience on many levels! I continue looking upward and forward.
There is a natural order in the societal ring of life, even when it comes to purpose. When a person can rid themselves of a prideful heart and venture forward with a humble spirit, the journey becomes a little less arduous and a little more joyful. In my craft, I am better than a few others. Many more are better than me. Yet I shouldn’t fret about this pecking order, for my Creator said, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart….." (Jeremiah 1:5). In essence, he chose me for a particular task and to fulfill a specific role while on this earth. The Almighty knows what he’s doing. Yet at times, it’s also my human nature to be touched in varying degrees with inferiority or the idea that I’m not measuring up. If we put forth all our effort then leave the rest to Providence, he will fill us up the rest of the way thus enabling us to do exactly what we’re supposed to do. For me, while reaching out from a purpose-driven existence, I find in this thought process the ability to let go, relax about what everybody else is doing and be free to just be.
Once, during my early balletic days, a director appointed me to a challenging role, instructing me to dance, said, “With attitude, Darling.” What he meant – what I learned – was to dance with complete heart, sense, and purpose; to abandon myself in that role. Since flamenco is such an individualistic art form, yet this particular discipline is still fairly new to me, I often hear those words of early advice trickle up from the deep recesses of my memory. I’m finding my voice, so to speak, my stylistic language within the flamenco context: to mean what I say. What I’ve added to my Bucket List, however, and what I yearn to do, is express flamenco in a worshipful/liturgical/Christian piece and venue. I believe in possibilities and have a vision for that day. In the meantime, here are a few pictures of my continuing, enriching education toward a flamenco dream.
Full of allegories and metaphorical images, the Bible confers the Holy Spirit as a gentleman. I tend to think of him as such.
He might, at some point in our lives, implement something. I’m not saying he can’t. God is God. But for some reason, I see him more like somebody who waits quietly at the door, eager for the person on the other side to open. He may tap, but if that person doesn't want to open the door then he is respectfully silent, unconditionally loving, hopeful one day that individual will want him, and graciously waits to be invited before he draws near.
I adore this perceived aspect of the Holy Spirit and believe it’s a good model for many areas of life, the ins and outs, interactions, relationships, and career paths. Well mannered and considerate…a perfect gentleman.
I couldn't sleep. I guess my nerves were on edge. I felt unsettled about the condition of the world, the state of society, a broken political climate becoming sicker at an alarming rate. Peace, kindness, understanding…forgiveness; a culture without blatant double standards. Where had they gone? When had everything become so complicated within and without? Had a veil covered my vision all along and the unfavorable things existed yet were hidden from my eyes? Or have things, on the whole, truly made a turn for an all-time low?
Before sunrise I stepped outside of the house, consumed with restless thoughts, believing that a bit of fresh air might be good. Under the blanket of a night sky, I glanced up and was struck by the brilliance of the stars. Then it dawned on me that it had been a very long time since I had observed the stars. It used to be a bit of a pastime. What even happened to that diversion? Maybe the change occurred in me, went unnoticed. I had forgotten to appreciate the simple things.
I stood there outdoors, inhaling deeply over and again—I couldn't get enough!—and admired the infinite space, the sparkling lights, each a kind of promise, a reminder that out there, the heavens, is so much greater than anything in my little realm. The Maker of those stars is in control. If he can create and handle all of that and more, he can help me manage the issues of today - issues that seem transitory in the greater scheme of life. A gaze at the stars left me with the profound wish to return to the simple things. How effortless, and yet how beautiful and healing…one upward glance.
At times I've been asked why I dream and word-paint so much in metaphorical pictures. It’s the language I've known since I can remember! In some situations, times, or events, dreams are the only thing a person has, until “I have always been” knocks at your heart’s door with the proclamation, “I am here, seek no longer.” Open that door and things can happen.
There’s a saying, hope deferred makes the heart ache. Be it from a disappointing reality, a lost search for a part of one’s soul, an unfulfilled goal, or an indirect path.
I’m a whimsical dreamer and forever will I be. Because of hope. Because a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
“Come back to Jesus,” said the preacher man, to which I responded, “I never left. And why would you think that I had?” Is it because I’ve stretched my mind beyond religious din and traditional expectations more than once or twice? That I can sense God speaking in the wind through the trees?
“I'd rather be in the mountains thinking about God, then in church thinking about the mountains.” - Ace Kravhl
The preacher man’s comment, although made with good intentions, is a product of judgment and not the state of my heart or the condition of my soul.
Where-oh-where might I find my Creator, when it’s quiet enough that I might hear him speak? At times it is within four walls. Most often it’s while pondering the natural world. He guides and directs me still. Who is to say that he doesn’t?
“So I climbed, up and up and up. I went so high, tried to look at the sun straight on, and then fell and fell. God was there waiting for me, it turned out, exactly where I wasn’t looking for him.” - Peter Bebergal and Scott Korb, The Faith Between Us
*Photo Attribution: By John Spooner (flickr.com) [CC-BY-2.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
One Church, Many Tribes: Following Jesus the Way God Made You is a refreshing perspective written by Richard Twiss of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux tribe, who is the cofounder and president of Wiconi International, and a member of the International Reconciliation Coalition. Historical facts, Biblical truths, interesting accounts, and heartfelt passion, this book is a life-changer for many -should be read by all. A necessary message ripe for the time, it calls on Christians to work together as one to bridge age-old disparities—spiritually, mentally, denominationally, and culturally.
First Nations people strengthening drums, flutes, rattles, and dances in making a glorifying sound and anointed movement for the “Waymaker” is inspiring. And it’s so like God to commission Native Americans to graciously speak new life and vision to the church that largely suppressed and/or ignored them, doing so with deeply forgiving hearts, turning injustice into something beautiful. What a testimony!
God is a multiculturalist. Heritage is a gift, and differentiations of culture, music, skin color, etc., are a thing of beauty. One Church, Many Tribes is a prized and endless piece of literature introducing the launch of a vital
When people learn that I’m an equine enthusiast I’m sometimes asked what style of riding I do, Western or English? My response is often “kind of both and kind of neither.” To me the style is not as relevant as is my communication with the horse while I ride. This is how I see faith. Void of churchly styles, i.e., denominational claim—which, in my mind, is really more cultural or religious rather than spiritual—I choose to focus on the relationship and freedom of expression through open and honest communication. I’ll get on a horse bareback at times. In fact, I feel the response of the horse, and vice versa, better when it’s shed of manmade tack.
I have faith. It’s perhaps strong even. But it’s also unbridled.
Now, if someone really wants to know what literal style of riding I favor it is Endurance—but that’s also an implication.