weekends are for rising
3 Simple Ways to Live a Life of Simple Beauty

when it’s hard

A Holy Experience

Mama had the tea ready.

I had on the socks that the woman with the 5 kids and the stage 4 cancer knit me.

This is always first thing: to go right into the throne room of God wearing nothing less than your aching prayers.

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Anne’s on time for our early Saturday morning Bible study at Mama’s, sitting at the end of the living room, there in the wingback, there with her Bible long open, like a woman waiting for the Coming.

I, of course, come late. Like a foolish woman straight out of a 6 a.m. parable, still trying to trim her lamp, trying to remember her oil, trying to stay awake. Anne smiles grace.

The rain pounds steady on the windows, all the leaves coming down wet and clinging, yellow and red and sad in first gray light.

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I take the seat at the end of Mama’s couch. Curl my red socks up under me. Mama, she hands me a mug of steaming tea, apple cinnamon, and tells me it’s Ps. 107  this morning and could I just read the chapter right out loud?

Read it because it’s manna and and you’ve got nothing to give if you haven’t gathered, and you have to gather it at daybreak if you are going to gain from it the daylong.

Read it because it’s your very life and why live emaciated and I open it like a woman who needs to be cured of one wild and life-long eating disorder.

I read Psalm 107: ….

Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— …

Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress…

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love

Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains … they stumbled, and there was no one to help.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress…

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind…

Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.

He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.

And Anne looks over and Mama looks up and she asks it aloud, “Well?”

I pull at my socks and there is a one beautiful woman battling cancer and chemo– thousands– and mothers grieving over children gone and men broken over everything shattered and hadn’t Spurgeon said it:

There is no greater mercy that I know of on earth than good health except it be sickness; and that has often been a greater mercy to me than health…

It is a good thing to be without a trouble; but it is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to get grace enough to bear it.” ~Spurgeon

Know how to get grace enough.

It is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to get grace enough to bear it. And we get grace enough to bear it — when we run into the arms of Grace who bore it all, into Him Who is more than enough.

I run my hand across the page. Gather the manna up into hands, what really is, and all that feeds:

Our cries to the Lord — are what give us communion with the Lord. It’s the dire distress that drives us into the deep devotion.

It’s when all fails, His love never fails — and this is why we are a people who can always give thanks.

The lights in the early morning, lights reflecting in the window, in the dark and in the rain —  those lights look like tongues of fire.

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:

Mama murmurs the words again, “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble — Let them give thanks to the Lord.” The Word open before a trio of women, it burns.

What if I gave thanks in the trouble, for the trouble, because the trouble is is a gift that causes me to turn? What if I loved God not for His goods — but for His love itself that is goodness enough?

Mama fills our cups again with tea and the steam, it rises straight up, and I can see it in the window, the rising in burning lights. The reflection of those socks tucked up under me, the grief underlying. I drink down all this heat.

It’s only when grief and grace kindle us to the very same flame of gratitude to God — it’s only then that our love for God ignites in a pure blaze of glory.

It’s raining so hard.

We read and pray and offer up our tenacious thanks. Close our Bibles. Carry out our manna. I pull boots on, up over those socks, and cry out and into the communion. Step out into the morning storming.

Into the leaves falling in wind, the clinging in everything streaming straight down.

All these leaves, all this amber and scarlet — all this in pure flame.

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for the troubles, the hard eucharisteos… more of One Thousand Gifts that never end… the pure flame for the pure love…

#2760… for the troubles that cause me to turn towards You

#2761… for the winds and the clouds hanging low

#2762… for the sicknesses that invite me to bring a sacrifice of thanks

#2763… for the rain in the harvest

#2764… for the grief that bears gifts of its own

#2765… for the fear and the weakness that keeps me feeling for Your face

#2766… for the crises that draw me to Communion … straight into Christ

 

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Free Printables to wear the habit of Joy

October’s Free Gratitude Calendar

Picnik collage

Write down 7 gifts, 7 days of the week, 1 sheet of paper :

(folding instructions for booklet here)

Picnik collage

Will you join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post. Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!


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