Forgiveness is for Real

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Forgiveness is for Real

Many years ago, God taught my husband and I a really valuable lesson about forgiveness. Through this lesson we experienced the substance and reality that is released when forgiveness is exercised.

Back in May of 2003, my husband and I attended the Northern California TheCall in San Francisco with some friends. (For those who would like to know more about TheCall, click on the link.) We had been there for most of the day when my husband realized he was missing his art bag he had packed to bring with him. We returned to our parked car to get it only to discover that the car had been broken into and the bag that my husband had unwittingly left in the back floor board had been stolen.

Having that particular bag stolen wouldn’t have been such a big deal except that on this one day he had put his wallet with ALL his banking and credit cards, his checkbook, his new passport and all the very important, personal paperwork we had assembled for our move abroad, which was scheduled a few days after TheCall. This was a really big bummer! Not only did this threaten our financial security at the time, but it threatened to interrupt our moving plans. We had already given away most everything we owned and had moved out of our home. We were packed and ready to go. We didn’t have the months it would take to reissue a new passport and replace the other items. What were we going to do?

We walked back to the stadium to our friends and told them what had happened. I was in a panic. I remember being so angry and frustrated, first at my husband for his carelessness, but especially at the person or people who had perpetrated the crime against us. We asked our friends to pray with us to ask God what we should do. There were about six of us standing in a circle together asking God for a miracle. I began to pray out, first from my frustration, but very quickly I began to sense God’s heart in the matter. I realized in that moment I needed to forgive the people who had done this to us, or nothing that I prayed would have any consequence. I actually didn’t want to forgive them, they were causing us so much trouble, but I asked God to help me forgive them, and then, as I prayed my heart was turned to really and truly forgive. As I declared forgiveness out loud with my mouth, my heart came into alignment with God’s heart in the matter. But then, I began to pray in a way I had never done before.

In that moment I remembered the scene from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in which the Bishop of Digne, M. Myriel, forgives Jean Valjean. Valjean had stolen a silver table service from the Bishop’s home. In his flight from the Bishop’s home he is apprehended by the police and drug back to the Parish residence. The police want the word of the Bishop to confirm what they suspect so they can condemn Valjean for his thievery. However, the Bishop does something wonderful, he not only forgives Valjean his trespass, but he created an alternate story of the incident which completely releases Valjean from the indictment against him. M. Myriel foists upon Valjean the silver candlesticks which he had left behind in his haste, reprimanding him for forgetting them and then declaring to him that he had bought his soul with that silver. M. Myriel says to Valjean, ““Do not forget, ever, that you have promised me to use this silver to become an honest man…you no longer belong to evil but to good. It is your soul I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!”

With that wonderful story in my mind and the revelation of the power that is found in true genuine forgiveness I prayed absolute release over the people who had stolen from us. They could not physically hear my prayer, but they had become tied to us through a debt they now owed us because of their thievery. In that moment I realized they belonged to me and that I could demand retribution upon them, could insist upon the judgment that was due them, or I could do something even more powerful than simply insisting upon what the law required. I could release them from their obligation to me, giving the debt to God and asking for their salvation in payment for the debt. I prayed, “These people owe us a debt. They took something of ours, something very valuable to us. I do not demand their condemnation, instead God, I forgive them and I release them to You. With this debt I buy back their souls from evil and give them to You. Go find them God. Go save them God. Make the things they have stolen from us like hot coals in their hands. Let conviction burn in their hearts.” With this prayer came an absolute release in my own heart and the assurance that God was on the job and that, somehow, everything was going to work out.

With an hour my husband got a phone call on his cell from the San Francisco police department asking if he was Scott Husted and was he missing some important papers, checkbook, passport, credit cards, etc. He confirmed to the officer that he was and did, and so we quickly made our way to the station. Once we were there, the police explained to us that in all the years on the force they had not once ever witnessed the return of goods from a stolen bag. They said that hundreds of bags are stolen every day around the city and never has there been anything recovered from those thefts. NOT ONCE. They said that a kid had come into the station with the contents of my husband’s bag, having found them discarded on a stoop. The bag, the cash and the art supplies were still missing, but everything that really mattered was returned to us. We told the police officers how we had prayed. They thought we were a little crazy, but couldn’t deny that something of a miracle had taken place. We left that police station in awe, not only that we had received back everything we needed to move forward with our plans, but we had this deep assurance that somewhere in San Francisco someone or someones were being drawn into the kingdom of God by our choice to absolutely forgive them.

The Bible says that our warfare in this world is not against flesh and blood. We are not at war with each other. There are forces of darkness that seek to blind us to the truth and keep us from experiencing the freedom Jesus won. We can bind each other in that darkness or we can free each other from that darkness. Forgiveness sets free and wins the victory in our lives. I have continued over the years to pray in this way, to absolutely and completely release forgiveness for the debts others have owed to me. I have seen some pretty incredible things happen in the lives of my friends and family directly as a result.

Today, I am grateful to God for the amazing power that is found in forgiveness. Today I am thankful that forgiveness is for real!

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Paper Heart Love

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Paper Heart Love

In my classroom on Friday, I found eight tiny paper hearts scattered on the floor. Most likely a student had been bored during an earlier class and had torn the heart-shaped pieces of pink and white paper, sketching in red ink on some. Each one was different in some small way, some were bigger than others, but each one distinctly unique. I was just beginning my 5th period class of first year students, sophomores whom I’ve barely had the chance to get to know so far in this new school year. I was speaking when I noticed the hearts; they completely arrested my attention, the instructions to my students were left unfinished on my lips. God spoke to me so clearly. “I love you!,” He said. His presence in my heart and the message of those paper hearts was undeniable.

I looked up at my students with tears in my eyes and told them what God had just said to me.

You see, on Wednesday, last week, there was a terrible accident that has grown into a huge tragedy here in Korea. A ferry capsized on its way to Jeju Island from Incheon. 323 students from Danwon High School in Ansan were among those aboard the vessel, 280 people were left trapped on the ferry as it overturned and sank. The students had been instructed to stay below decks in their rooms, while the crew and 170 others managed to escape. The students were doing what they had been told to do. It took two-and-a-half hours for the vessel to sink, plenty of time for the passengers to have been evacuated, but the crew did not act in accordance with common sense, let alone official protocol. Search and rescue teams have been working against the clock in bad weather on rough seas to try and reach the people that remain trapped in that ferry at the bottom of the ocean, really only about 100 meters down. But only a few bodies have been recovered so far.

My students are high school students. Our 2nd year Juniors take the very same trip to Jeju Island every year. I am a teacher in this culture. This accident has hit home in a very personal way. Hope has waned now and there is a great sadness that has settled over the nation. I can feel it in my spirit, see it on the faces of my students and the faculty and staff at my school. Everyone is so sad. Throughout these last days I have cried many times while in prayer or sharing with my students.

Those paper hearts, carelessly discarded on the floor, were a sweet reminder of God’s heart towards me. When I looked up to see my students staring at me, the love of God in my heart for them was overwhelming. I directed their attention to the hearts scattered on the floor. I told them how much they are loved, by God and by me. I told them that God’s own heart breaks for Korea, for the families who are stricken with unbearable grief, for those kids that are still trapped at the bottom of the ocean in that overturned ferry. I told them how God is with them, watching them, caring for them, loving them. How He loves to use many different ways to communicate His love to us, even scattering paper hearts on a dirty classroom floor. We all cried together.

Together we are mourning. The Korean word for ‘we,’ ‘us,’ ‘our,’ ‘ours,’ etc. is 우리 (pronounced oo-ri, with a little flip of the tongue when making the ‘r’ sound). The oo-ri spirit is strong in Korea. What effects one person effects all. Those students trapped on that ferry at the bottom of the sea, though not literally mine, are still my students. And though my actual students didn’t know any of the people on that ship, they were still Korean students just like them, their national brothers and sisters as it were. This tragedy is felt deeply by all. The loss of those lives, the shame of those in charge is everyone’s shame and loss. The nation of Korea is mourning, and I am mourning along with it, and the amazing part is that God hears all our cries. He hears the collective moan of our hearts. I didn’t find just one big heart on the floor last Friday, I found a collection of different sized hearts, unique, special, yet all the same in the message of love.

Today I am grateful for a God who loves us so completely. Who understands our suffering and cares, truly cares. He loves us. He loves us so much that He would speak through someone’s boredom, through someone’s carelessness, through tragedy and pain. He loves us so much, He sprinkled paper heart love on my classroom floor just to tell us so.

 

Eat MY Flesh…

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Eat MY Flesh…

Please note that this post is a very different kind of post from my others so far. It’s quite a bit darker, but, I feel, very important and necessary to share at this time.

I’m a dreamer.

Yes, I have lots of dreams of future plans and ideas and so many creative pursuits.

I’m also a big daydreamer and often find myself thinking about so many different things. I have done this my whole life.

But that is not the kind of dreaming I’m talking about.

I dream a lot, in my sleep at night. Actually I dream every night, but like most people, often don’t remember those dreams. When I do remember it is usually because God is speaking to me. Because of this, I exercise the discipline of writing down the dreams I do remember and then waiting on God to find out what they might mean.

I awoke this morning at 3:34, which is not uncommon for me. My first impression was Psalms 33:4, “For the word of Adonai is true and all His work is trustworthy.” This was confirmation that there was something true and trustworthy that God wanted to show me through this dream.

The dream itself, however, was rather disturbing on first awaking. It was actually a nightmare of sorts and I wouldn’t normally share it in so public a forum, but I feel very strongly that I should.

The Dream

In the dream it was night. Outside it was dark, but not simply the dark of night, but dark with darkness: a tangible, inky, blackness without any light. It felt like the night, “when no man can work.” (John 9:4)

I was in this building, much like a house but more industrial and so brightly lit. The artificial light of the place was painful and nearly blinding. There was another man with me and we were under constant supervision, with guards pacing about the house and grounds outside. We could move about fairly freely, though no one wanted to venture outside much.

As people we were each assigned an eating companion. The man with me was my eating companion. This was how we were expected to feed and sustain ourselves: each person was supposed to eat small portions of their eating partner each day. It hadn’t always been this way. This was a new phenomenon, but it was worldwide because food was scarce and people were plentiful.

The idea behind this order was that our bodies heal, so it would be okay. Even though we do not grow new parts, the small bits taken each day would heal over time, although eventually… well, you get the idea.

I was so grossed out by this and did not want to participate. The man with whom I was partnered didn’t like the policy either, although he lusted after the nourishment of my flesh. He was always looking at me with this jealous hunger, but he restrained himself.

We tried to find other ways to nourish ourselves, sneaking little bits of any vegetation we could find. There was no other meat available, there were no other animals in existence any longer.

My companion and I were very hungry. We had managed to find a carrot, which I ate and some other sundry vegetable pieces which he ate. We were both quite nervous about being discovered. Our bodies were remaining in tact, which was a sure sign that we were not in compliance with the law of the land.

When I first woke up I was pretty creeped out! But the dream was so real and I remembered everything in detail, which to me is a sign that I need to listen to what the dream may be saying to me.

A Possible Interpretation

This dream was shocking to me. It was grotesque. It was offensive, but I think that was part of the point.

Recently I had asked Jesus exactly what He meant when he told his disciples that they needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood. (John 6:54-58) Jesus, what is the deeper meaning behind these words?

But this dream wasn’t about eating Jesus, it was about the practice of eating each other. What could it all mean? What is this cannibalism found at the heart of this dream? What is this cannibalism found at the heart of man?

When Jesus told the people with Him at the time that they were to eat His flesh and drink His blood, it was pretty apparent that they were pretty grossed out by the statement because many left from following Him. Without spiritual eyes it was impossible to see the deeper meaning.

If one reads the entire chapter of John 6 the context brings a lot to light on this subject of eating Jesus. The first part of the chapter is the story of the feeding of the 5000+ with the 2 small fishes and 5 barley loaves. The crowds LOVED Jesus after this miracle. Their bellies had been filled and they loved that Jesus was able to bring the meat and bread in abundance to them, just as the Israelites had been sustained by the miracle of daily manna while in the desert. Jesus recognized that they were not after His message: the spiritual sustenance and substance, they were not after God Himself, but they were only after the physical food that temporarily fills the body.

When Jesus later put to the people that there was something more filling and satisfying found in eating His flesh and drinking His blood, they couldn’t get past the physical realm to see more deeply into the spiritual reality. They could only think from the perspective of the physical because that was all they wanted, all they ever obsessed about.

Jesus was not advocating for a cannibalistic practice, but was in fact bringing to light the nature of the heart and the truth necessary to set us free from our true cannibalistic tendencies. This cannibalism is better known as ‘idolatry’ in the Bible. It is anything to which we turn in adoration or upon which we rely other than God, and if it is a man-made construct it has its roots in idolatry and is a type of cannibalism.

We spend our lives consuming so many different things in so many different ways, not just in physical food, but in so many diversions and distractions. We eat from the media, we eat from literature, we eat from movies, music, books, magazines, newspapers, ideas, philosophies, ideologies, theologies, etc, etc, etc, none of which fills to satisfaction and most all of it produced by us humans. We consume that which is temporarily satisfying and then hunger for more. We consume each other.

There is something very real, very substantial about the reality of consuming Christ for our sustenance. He said that we would never hunger nor thirst again if we only ate and drank from Him.

I know I have spent WAY too much time letting the world’s ideas and entertainments feed my mind and soul. Even the ‘good’ things, the moral and right things can be distractions from the pure, unadulterated truth of God’s word and ways. Because we as cultures and societies have fed at troughs filled with things and ideas that are not from this pure truth, we have become satiated and darkened in ways that God never intended for His people. We are cannibalizing and being cannibalized by each other, and we are not substance enough to keep ourselves alive. Our idolatry is destroying us.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of restructuring of my eating habits, returning to real, whole, living, organic foods, the way they are produced in nature without chemicals and artificial additives.

Now God is challenging me to do the same with my time and how I spend it. It’s time, once-and-for-all, to put away all ‘foods’ which do not actually nourish, whether for the body, the mind, the soul or the spirit.

So now I am asking myself some questions:

“Where do I feed?”

“On what am I feeding? What is it that I am taking into myself? Is it proper nutrition for the soul? Am I eating what the body and soul were meant to eat?”

“Do I eat more from the temporary trough of humanity, or do I nourish myself with that which will satisfy me eternally?”

With that, I’m also asking myself, “Do I meditate upon those things and then think thoughts which encourage life and not death? What is it I’ve become now and I’m believing because of what I have consumed?”

Jesus says:

“Eat MY flesh and drink MY blood!”

“Let ME be your source, your sustenance, your strength and your life.”

“Let ME be your everything!”

Today I am grateful for scary dreams that cause me to dig deeper into the meaning behind the images. I am also thankful for a God Who is listening, Who speaks and Who loves to answer my questions, even if in unconventional ways.

And yes, Jesus, I will answer Your call to eat YOUR flesh and drink YOUR blood and stop consuming so much of that which does not satisfy.

Of Life and Death

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Of Life and Death

My younger sister died in November. As a teacher living abroad, I was unable to return to the United States for her memorial service at that time. My mother actually asked both my baby sister and I to not come because of the limitation of time and the distances we two would have to travel. That was so difficult.

My sister had had a very long battle with cancer. How common this kind of thing has become.

It is winter break in Korea and so I now have the time to travel. I just returned from a visit to California to be with my family for 2 weeks. My baby sister flew out as well and we were able to have a wonderful time of reminiscing with old photos and films of past family life. It was especially wonderful for my parents who realized in hindsight that they really did need my youngest sister and I to be there for them.

Today, as I think upon my last few weeks, I am grateful for family: for parents and sisters, for uncles, aunts and cousins, for good food, familiar places and the comfort of home. It is true, we can never go back, and really, I would never want to do so, but it is good to remember from where we have come and to appreciate the people who brought us into life and shared it with us as we grew into our own.

Thank you God for planting me right where I needed to be to become who I am today. Thank you for forgiveness and the love that covers a multitude of sins. Thank you for grace and mercy and kindness extended. Thank you for parents who, though never perfect, love me well.  Thank you for my sister who is gone and my sister who is still here. Thank you for family!

Even though life comes with so many difficulties and eventually death, gratitude can sustain us and enable us to remain free of bitterness and regret. “In everything give thanks!” Thank you for life and thank you for death and for everything between the two.

And God Rested…

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And God Rested…

 

I LOVE the Sabbath!

I love having one day a week on which I am required to do nothing but rest. Resting is the ‘job’ of this one special day. Every week is filled with days of work, days of study, days of ‘have to’ and ‘must do’ in order for life to function and work smoothly here on planet earth. But the Sabbath, this gift of God which demands that we must stop, actually gives us the permission we need to do so.

I am grateful for the Sabbath!

I don’t know about you, but I am the type of person who is always working on some kind of project or other. Besides my multiple creative pursuits I work full-time as a high school English teacher, I have the care of a family, and the interactions of community life. My schedule is full and then some. But the Sabbath allows me the space to breath, gives me the room to stretch out, yawn, nap, read, reflect, write if I want to, sing, dance, draw, paint, pray or even play. It is the day of ceasing from all that is demanding and compulsory. It’s the one day when it’s okay to have dirty dishes in the sink and the beds unmade. (Of course, that all happens more than just the Sabbath, but on the Sabbath it’s really okay!)

I need the Sabbath!

If is weren’t for God’s command to rest at least one day a week I would wear myself completely out. I know, because I use to do that very thing. Many years ago, before my family embraced this command to the fullest, we were involved in all of life’s demands including being part of the leadership team of our local Vineyard church: worship team, education, home group leaders, pastoral staff, etc. Sundays, (which have typically been the Sabbath of Christians since Constantine’s decree abolishing anything that smacked of Jewish practice), were way too busy with the work of ministry to ever feel restful to us. So we decided, with much prodding from God, to keep the Biblical Sabbath commanded by Him on the seventh day. So now, every Friday evening at sundown until sundown the next day, ALL work ceases and we enjoy each other and God in a blessed commanded feast of rest.

The Sabbath is Grace!

The Sabbath is the day of recharging. It is the day of empowerment. We regain all that has been drained from our beings by exertion and force. We are allowed the opportunity to be revived and refreshed without thought or actions that require anything of effort or obligation, except the obligation to rest. In Isaiah 58:13 it says, “If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, Adonai’s holy day, worth honoring; then [actually] honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or [even] speakieng about them, [then…]” (Complete Jewish Bible) I like this translation because it clearly points out the meaning behind the command. It says, “the usual things.” What are your “usual things”? What are the things that you have to do every other normal day? What are the things that require of you your time, talents and giftings? What are those things that drain from you your creative energy and life force in order to put food on the table, clothes on your back, a place in which to live and the care and maintenance of that space? Those are things from which you need to rest on this day.

Also note that the “ifs” and “thens” found scattered throughout the Bible are wonderful markers of what is our responsibility and what is God’s promise when we fulfill those responsibilities. Further in Isaiah 58:14 it says, “Then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (NASB) If we call the Sabbath a delight, then God Himself becomes our delight and this Delight opens doors that we couldn’t possibly open for ourselves: “the heights of the earth” and all the promises given to Jacob become ours too.

The Sabbath is our gift to God, not just His gift to us!

The Sabbath is also the tithe of our time, the opportunity to show trust to God, believing that everything is okay and will continue to go forward as it should under His watchful eye. We stop the action of work, but we also stop the worries, the chatter, and the obsessions that are associated with work. We set it all aside and focus all our mind and heart on the delight of this day. I should rather say the Delight of this day, because God Himself is that very delight. He is so beautiful and so wonderful and so worthy of all our time and attention, but, by observing the Sabbath as He originally intended allows us the chance to give Him that time so He can enjoy us while we enjoy Him. What a beautiful plan! What a beautiful gift we give to each other.

God set the example for Sabbath.

On the seventh day He rested. Why would God: eternal, unlimited, all-sufficient, wholly complete and wholly able, need or even simply want a day to rest? After the exertion of His six days of creation, He wanted to take the space and time to enjoy all that He had made. The Sabbath is the day we too can stop and enjoy all that has been produced through work on the other six days.

This day is so important to God that He included it in the Ten Commandments. We as Christians have not ceased from observing the other nine, why would we think we should not keep this holy, commanded day, as He intended it to be kept? Of course, Jesus took the commandments and expanded them further by telling us to not only not murder, but to not hate, to not commit adultery increased to include lusting. The Sabbath has actually grown from one day of observance to an all encompassing lifestyle, but that topic is for another post.

The Sabbath is also a new and different kind of creative day. 

While being recharged and refreshed, filled up and re-energized, new ideas and new creations begin to form and then gel into dreams and visions of what is possible and what will come in the days ahead. As we take the time to rest, setting aside the demands of life and quieting our minds and souls, a newness of life begins to sprout and spring up from our hearts ready to explode into the world. On the Sabbath our creativity is restored. We are made ready again and in so doing give our creativity the chance to renew itself as well. The Sabbath is the weekly winter of the week, allowing the roots of our creative energy to draw from the restful nourishment of this day.

I LOVE THE SABBATH!

Today, I’m grateful for this day and for the wisdom of God which is found in this command to take this day, make it a delight and enjoy it with all our hearts, minds, and souls while setting our strength to rest. Thank you God, for this beautiful gift!

The Shalom of God to everyone who chooses to enter this holy and blessed day of rest!

Cropped Mexican Embroidery

Real Life Possibilities

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Real Life Possibilities

When I started this blog last week, I was home from work with a few days break for the New Year holiday. I had a little extra time and starting a blog seemed like the perfect way to exercise my writing skills with space to begin and get the process all figured out. This week I’m back to work teaching, and increments of free time are so much smaller. But, I’m finding out that the beauty of a blog is the flexibility that allows me to redefine what is possible in those small increments.

Today I’m thankful for the possibilities hidden within these small bits of time that are nestled between the ‘have tos’ and ‘must dos’ of life. Living intentionally, with small, simple goals, causes me to focus my energies. I also love the grace that is extended through this medium to make this as big or as small as I need it and would like it to be. There is this huge space and freedom found within each of these small pieces of time. In this way I can make every moment have purpose and significance.

Thank you, God, for the real life possibilities that are hidden in and scattered throughout the day, calling us to stop, take a moment, breathe, write, pray, or sing a simple love song to You. I am grateful for the small spaces in between everything else we have to do in life.

Be Fruitful… Multiply…

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Be Fruitful… Multiply…

We are creative beings! We have been made in the image of a creative God.

I’ve often imagined God as this wild, wonderful, imaginative, crazy artist and/or mad scientist, full of ideas and dreams and visions. His mind just whirls with so many ideas for so many projects that He wants to do and make. Made in His image, I’m like that too. My mind too whirls with so many ideas: new songs, new poems, new books, new art projects, new sewing, knitting and quilting projects. There is just not enough time to accomplish all my heart desires to accomplish. I am limited by time and space, but God isn’t. The Bible says that He spoke and with a word He created. “Let there be light…” and “bang” there it was, created, pulsating, irradiating light. God smiled so big and said, “that’s good!” After He had created mankind, He must have smiled really big because He said, “that’s REALLY good!”

I remember when my son Jonah was born. Nothing in the world could eclipse the ecstatic revelation that His life was REALLY good. Here was this little guy, so cute, so wide-eyed and ready for life, created in the image of his dad and I, and he was REALLY, REALLY good!

And to think, God feels that way about each and everyone of us! There isn’t one conception, one beginning of life, one person no matter how big or how small that isn’t extremely unique, precious, and VERY, VERY good to Him.

But when God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” He was speaking about more than having lots of babies. (As a side note, lots of babies was Gods idea, and He never changed His mind on that one. There is no place in His word where He said, “be fruitful and multiply, but only until the population of the earth reaches 6 billion people.” God loves people! He wants a big family with whom He can share all His love and eternal goodness, and He made this world in such a way that if we care for it and one another properly, there is always enough for everyone.)

Being fruitful and multiplying encompasses so much more than physical fertility. It also includes the health and fertility of our minds, our emotions, our souls, our spirits and every other aspect of our humanity.

Everyday and each moment in that day is an opportunity to be fruitful, to increase, to multiply and bring something beautiful and good into this world. We can do this through physical, artistic production, we can do this by creating and sharing a really great meal, we can do this by having lots of wonderful babies, but we can also do this by speaking a word that releases that goodness into our earth.

Today I am thankful for my life, made in the image of God, endowed with the creative force and ability to multiply and increase. Not only am I told to be fruitful and multiply, but I have been given the ability, the power, the very grace to fulfill that injunction. Thank you God for life and the many different ways I have been given to know love and creatively express it and share it with others.

In the Beginning God Created…

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In the Beginning God Created…

That’s what I read this morning, first thing, and immediately I thought, “I want to start a blog.” What a strange thought to have right after reading, “In the beginning God created…” but actually it’s quite natural.

I can imagine God smiling and thinking to Himself, “Let’s make something new,” and with the words poised in His mouth, the thoughts already formed and patterned in His mind, He spoke and it all began.

Words are wonderful! (Such a gift!) With them God spoke creation into existence, with them He is still speaking today, and with them we can partner in the creative process.

Words are powerful! They have the means to harm or to heal, to pull down or to lift up, to destroy or to create.

When I started thinking about what kind of blog I would want to write I knew it would have to encompass gratitude. My first thought was, “365 Days of Thanks,” but that title was already taken and besides, a written commitment to 365 days of consecutive writing on thanks would probably only set me up for 360 days of consecutive nothing.

“In everything give thanks…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

That’s a good goal for 2014, but I’m going to need a little bit more than just a good goal. “How about writing about gratitude and grace? I’m certainly going to need grace to consistently live in gratitude and write about it.”

For what am I thankful today? I’m thankful for the “in the beginnings” of life that cycle around each new year, each new month, each new day. Heck, I’m grateful for the “beginnings” in each new breath and each new thought that gives me the opportunity to start again in the right direction. This is grace to me today: that I can always begin again. The creative process of making and shaping our lives is on-going and eternal. I just need to take a deep breath and just begin… again.

“In the beginning God created…” and here I am, in the beginning creating too, and so it begins, my bloggish journey and my Days of Thanks and Grace.