PNEUMA

 

 

 

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Lying on the space of rubber mat

Feet to the left and to the right

Both hands open at my sides

 

I breathe in His name

Keeper of my soul

Hold and absorb

He is the keeper of my soul

He does not need my help

 

Breathing out in prayer

I exhale

Help me to let go

 

Filling the the mercy seat between my cherubim hands and feet

 

Keeper of my soul

Help me to let go

Keeper of my soul

Help me to let go

 

Breathing in the physics of his name

Exhaling the disease of my lies

Treatments given by the Great Physician

 

Clear pneuma, no monia

Healthy breath, spirit, and soul

 

Namaste

ARE YOUR EYES OPEN?

By Lisa Huddleston

I listened on the radio (NPR, of course), and I watched off and on on television (C-Span, NPT, and the networks), and I can’t stand seeing what’s going on in America. Yes, I used to cheer the snide comments, the digs that hit right where I wanted them to. But now–I hate it all. Politics seems so stupid. Like–where did logic go? Did it die somewhere along the way? Is it suddenly okay to plagiarize? To shout slogans with no meaning behind them? To wildly applaud when nothing true has been said? Ugh.

I don’t know where I belong. Definitely not with the “gun-toting Republicans” and not with the “baby-killing Democrats.” Where is my place in this world?

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And I suppose that is the point. I have no place in this world.

I pray that you will have a beautiful day. That your eyes will be open to the lovely, natural vignettes of beauty that lie before you. Look. See. Rejoice.

Amen.

HUMP DAY ON TERRA INFIRMA

UnknownBy Lisa Huddleston

Wednesday morning. Hump Day! Woot woot! But I’m not really feeling it. Every day is about the same for me right now so I find it hard to celebrate being halfway to nowhere.

My younger son who is living with us for a few months since graduation would chastise me for being so negative, but I try to tell him he just doesn’t understand me. He thinks he knows what’s right and solid and unchanging. He reminds me that I taught him those things. And he’s right–I did.

But now I don’t feel so firm. (And that last sentence just makes me laugh–I’m infirm in more ways than one!) I remember a dream I’ve visited many times since childhood: I am walking and then running on ground that is either spongy soft like a swamp or falling away from my feet like a landslide or a crumbling earthquake. As I run, the land dissolves or falls apart just as my feet leave it, and I am terrified of tumbling into whatever lies below. That’s how it feels today.

I was reminded lately that perhaps I should keep these dark thoughts to myself rather than sharing them and possibly spreading the darkness. But truth has its share of darkness in it, doesn’t it? And isn’t sharing a load halving it?

I heard something Sunday morning–something that I also thought last week as my daily Bible reading led me to Ecclesiastes. “God gives respect and place to everything we feel.” Pastor Jim was referring to the Bible, but I figure what’s good for God’s book has to be okay for my little blog, too.

So this is my truth today. I feel empty. I feel lost. And I really just want to be alone.

But I am trying in long obedience form to keep moving in the right direction, striving to keep my feet on something solid. And that’s how it is today.

Woot woot!

A PERFECT DOOR MAT

A perfect door mat.

A perfect door mat.

By Lisa Huddleston

Sometimes it’s easy to confuse words that we have heard repeated as truth with the “capital-T Truth” we read in the Bible. Today those truths collided as I listened to my pastor teach from the Gospel of Mark (9:30-50 to be exact.) His points were as follows:
1. True greatness is self-giving not self-aggrandizing.
2. Holiness doesn’t just happen: sin must be avoided at all cost.
And … there was probably a third point, but it somehow didn’t get recorded in my notes. However, that’s okay because it is the first point that I really needed to ponder today. Yeah–that nasty one about serving.

Honestly now, do you really like being a servant? I know there are some of you reading this who genuinely do enjoy serving others, and I am so thankful that there are people like you. But me, oh boy, not so much. Okay, there are definitely some times when I love to help others; but there are definitely times when I don’t, and it’s those “don’t” times that are really giving me trouble. And God surely has been giving me a lot of good practice in those “don’t” kinds of service opportunities lately.

It’s probably because I’ve been in that kind of a cycle that today’s sermon hit me so hard. I kept wanting to say, “Yes, but, Pastor Jim, you don’t know how hard it is to …” or “But I haven’t had any time to …” and so on. And that’s when my “truths” collided: “Sure, we need to serve others as Jesus did, but that doesn’t mean we have to be door mats.”

Really, Lisa? Where do you read that exception in the Scriptures? Jesus just took your sin on His innocent, holy self and died on the cross for you. So what’s your definition of a “door mat?”

Ugh. Yes, Jesus took it upon Himself to suffer and die in my place–He chose to do it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t more difficult than I can ever imagine. Although He deserved all the glory, He took all the shame and derision instead. He came to serve rather than to be served, and that was exactly what He did.

AND He is my example! In spite of what nearly everyone says, maybe we are supposed to be door mats. Maybe we really are supposed to love others as ourselves, to turn the other cheek, truly to be salt and light in a decaying and darkened world. Yes! Truth hurts sometimes–especially when it crashes into my own self-centeredness–but that certainly doesn’t make it any less true.

Please, forgive me and help me, Lord, to serve as You serve–selflessly. Then, just maybe, I can become the same kind of door mat as You, one that proclaims, “Welcome!” to a hurting world.

DEO VOLENTE

Plan C or D or ... ?

Plan C or D or … ?

By Lisa Huddleston

I’m sitting here dressed and ready to go, but I just got the call that my literacy student can’t make it today. So now what? Don’t you hate it when you’re all psyched up for something and then your plans are wrecked? Sometimes I do, but, in this case, NO! Right now I feel free to enjoy this rainy, cozy day. Hallelujah!

Why such relief? Because no matter how many times I teach, I still get nervous about it. Someone is looking to me for answers that I should have (I do have the teacher’s manual after all), but that I’m always worried I won’t. And that’s a lot of pressure for a person who really cares about getting it right.

It’s hard for someone like me to admit that she doesn’t know the answer, and the older I get, the fewer answers I seem to have. It’s unsettling. Years ago, I foolishly believed that as I matured I would grow wise and know more not less. Well … surprise! The reverse seems to be more accurate.

As I ponder this surprising situation, I am glad to recall others who paved my way. A couple of older ladies at a LifeWay conference who made me cry by telling their audience that it only got harder as they aged (“it” being life). Several professors as I studied for my Master of Christian Studies at Union University who frequently reminded us that there were only a few non-negotiable truths to hang on to and that many of the other ideas we called “truth” were negotiable. Writers galore.

And now I find myself in agreement with them. My fifties appear to be the decade for “letting go.” I have let go of my children, and I have been blessed to see all three head out on their own good paths. I have let go of some goals that no longer matter to the older me. I have let go of some relationships as our directions have diverged. And I have let go of some “truths” I once fiercely believed.

I could spend the next few paragraphs listing these discarded beliefs, but that would be silly–who knows when I may drift their way again? I’d rather state a few of those truths that have remained and that I trust I will still believe tomorrow (or this afternoon).

1. GOD IS GOOD. Despite the evil that appears to grow daily in the world, this is a truth I cannot shake. It is embedded in my core–I guess the Holy Spirit put it there–and I am thankful everyday for its foundation.

2. JESUS AS GOD/MAN PAID THE PRICE FOR MY SINS. Grace is real, and for that grace I would give my all (but it’s free!)

3. RELATIONSHIPS MATTER. How I treat other people matters–it matters to them, it matters to me, and it matters to God.

I know there are more, but I have just gained some unexpected free time, and I think I’ll use it to read. There are still so many books and so little time! I’m currently reading Bad Religion by Ross Douthat, and I’m discovering that I’m a perfect example of my baby boomer demographic. What a relief–I’m not alone, and God is still in control of this day, of this girl, and of this world.