January 10, 2014

Still Grateful

As I was preparing to blog again, I happened to look back at the very first post here in 2012.  Amazing….the theme is still the same.  Gratitude.  Today I am captured by Ann Voskamp’s words:

Gratitude is not only a response to God in good times — it’s ultimately the very will of God in hard times.

I have been captured by this spiritual discipline, and find my heart turning to the places of hard gratitude.  In ALL things…In EVERY situation…give thanks…it is the all of GOD that is his most defining attribute.

March 14, 2013

You, Eternal Tr…

You, Eternal Trinity, are my Creator, and I am the work of Your
hands, and I know through the new creation which You have given me in the blood of Your
Son, that You are enamored of the beauty of Your workmanship. Oh! Abyss, oh! Eternal
Godhead, oh! Sea Profound! what more could You give me than Yourself; You are the fire
which ever burns without being consumed; You consume in Your heat all the soul’s selflove;
You are the fire which takes away all cold; with Your light You do illuminate me so
that I may know all Your truth; You are that light above all light, which illuminates supernaturally the eye of my intellect, clarifying the light of faith so abundantly and so perfectly,
that I see that my soul is alive, and in this light receives You—the true light. By the Light of
faith I have acquired wisdom in the wisdom of the Word—Your only-begotten Son. In the
light of faith I am strong, constant, and persevering. In the light of faith I hope, suffer me
not to faint by the way. This light, without which I should still walk in darkness, teaches me
the road, and for this I said, Oh! Eternal Father, that You have illuminated me with the light
of holy faith. Of a truth this light is a sea, for the soul revels in You, Eternal Trinity, the Sea
Pacific. The water of the sea is not turbid, and causes no fear to the soul, for she knows the
truth; it is a deep which manifests sweet secrets, so that where the light of Your faith abounds,
the soul is certain of what she believes.
–Catharine of Siena from her Dialog (1347-1380)

Working through Catharin of Siena’s Dialog is an encouraging reminder to be passionate in our pursuit.

February 21, 2013

Tell Me The Story That Will Heal My Soul

wheat

I have been teaching an in depth course on the spiritual interpretation of the Song of Solomon for the past few months which has kept me happily immersed in the beautiful language of love, but as this season is winding down I am taking a Spring Sabbatical to flesh out the new inner workings of The Spirit stirring in my heart.  This beautiful message of the Indwelling Life of Christ.  I have found myself vacillating from anger ( why didn’t anyone teach this to me sooner) to a beautiful sense of the eyes of God upon my frame and his wonderful timing of things in my life.

As I find this message coming out in the strangest of places and conversations, I know it is time to put pen to pad and chronicle this journey…and so we begin with story.  Beautiful wonderful story.  Thank you to Major Ian Thomas who has passed on to be with the Lord for listening that day in your college dorm room, and receiving this message for the Body of Christ.  Thank you to my mentors and friends who have journeyed with me and ahead of me declaring the “truth” and nothing less than the truth.

In a recent article from Clarissa Pinkola Estes she makes the following statement about culture and narcissism that I find relevant and worth pondering:

“Narcissism is not falling in love with oneself; it is falling for ‘the false self”… the one which has no real heart, a cardboard self that can only mimic tenderness and toughness, but has no winged soul.

Thus a culture diagnosed with narcissism is not in love with itself, as suggested by the reductive epithet, ‘me-ism.’ A narcissistic culture is in love with a false self, one that is not real, one that is perceived to have no real issues, no reliable gifts, no real harms and thereby, no real solutions.

But, there is ever hope. Prognosis for an ill culture? It depends… mostly on cultura cura, how smaller healthier cultures within the ill culture will expand outward to heal the larger society.
One of the first ways to destroy a culture and a people, is to destroy their stories. One of the first ways a culture that has become ill can be restored is by adding back the stories that are sustaining to its people.

I have heard this challenge in my spirit.  To scribe the story that will heal the soul, and free the spirit and point the heart to the resurrected reality of the Living Christ and Savior who died, rose, ascended and is coming again.  Our Christian culture has lost the story in the midst of the madness of crafting our own life, planning our destinies, patenting our image, and demanding adherence to disciplines that are dead outside of the reality of the spirit of God at work in our mortality.

So I ask you, have you ever heard a grain of wheat talking to itself?

To be continued….

November 10, 2012

If I Sleep Too Long-An Ancient Cry

O lovely and lImageoving God‚
if I sleep too long and
am not aware of your many blessings‚
wake me.

Sing me an exuberant song of joy.
It is a song without sound or notes;
it is a song of love beyond all words.
Is a song of faith that no one can describe.
I hear it in my soul when you wake me
to become aware of your presence.
amen
(Mechthild van Magdeburg – 13th Centur
y)

October 21, 2012

Mystery Eaters

For forty years the Lord rained bread from heaven, and they ate what they didn’t know…Manna, literally translated:  What is it?  They ate the mystery and God said it was a test. Would they continue to eat what they didn’t understand?

Jesus said he was the bread from heaven-

The miracle of His birth-a mystery

The wisdom of His youth-a mystery

The power of His ministry-a mystery

The brutality of His death-a mystery

The wonder of His resurrection-a mystery

His indwelling life in the believer-a mystery

His bride-a mystery

His body- a mystery

Salvation to “all who believe” The mystery hidden from the ages

“Take Eat, this is my body…..broken for you….”

Are we taking?

Do we give thanks for the unknowing moments where we are left to wonder, as we are called to eat?

October 5, 2012

Corinthians Remix

A Musing From Corinthians…

If I can speak the eloquence of the ages

In tongues of angelic sound

But cannot hear the forlorn cry of the lonely heart

Desperate for a Word balm of kindness-

I am the worst noise of empty clash and gong

Tin, ear -ringing, cold, ego -pride fluster- in brass.

 If I can see the pathways of the depths of man

And hold the balance to the weight of every thought and intent

With calculating accuracy reduce actions to a set of predictable

Formulaic rhythms and reasons-

Bringing mountains to molehills-

But I cannot see hunger in front of me,

Withholding all crumbs from my table of insight,

As precious morsels from an enlightened existence-

I alone am the most pitiable, weak, and impoverished of souls.

 If I leave the world of men

To live upon the heights of ascent,

Deliver myself a sacrifice for the causes of greatest good

But do not live with my heart pierced by the wounds

Of the afflictions of those of earth-

And bear their life in my open, upraised hands-

To hold in love,

To receive in love,

 To give in love….

My own soul fire is but a dim flickering wick

 that profits the world-

Nothing.

© Christina Dammerman 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2012

Gardening Transition

As I was resting from the seemingly endless mound of boxes, bags and more boxes that needed sorted, put away, given away or delegated to the burn pile, I came across this article on the psychological effects of moving on a family.  Moving is frequently cited as one of the most stressful life events, after the death of a loved one, divorce or illness. According to Galen Tinder, senior consultant with relocation agency Ricklin-Echikson Associates, Inc., “selling a house, securing housing in the new location, packing and transporting family goods and the
endless tasks of ‘settling in,’” are all hard work, but perhaps the most stressful part of moving is the acceptance of permanent change.  “Nearly every aspect of common family life changes: daily routines, schools, community associations, friendships, even the physical landscape,” says Tinder. This disruption in everyday life can manifest itself in a range of reactions. “Shock, anger, anxiety, sadness, fear, confusion and disorientation” are a few of the common emotions felt by new movers, says William Bridges, Ph.D., an acclaimed expert
on transitional management and author of several books on the topic.  Add to these feelings the chaos of unpacking boxes-

In her book, Making the Big Move: How to Transform Relocation into a Creative Life Transition (New Harbinger Publications, 1999), Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., explains how moving is a significant life transition that forces people to reconsider their identities. “Most people recognize that marriage, divorce, graduation and childbirth are significant life transitions … marked by ceremonies and rituals, such as weddings, funerals and graduations. Moving can be an equally significant life transition, but there are no ceremonies to mark its passage.”

“No ceremonies to mark its passage” h-m-m-, considering how I am believing my return home to be THE LAST TIME I WILL EVER DO THIS…pardon the all caps, I have come up with my own version of a transition ceremony that celebrates my efforts of the past twenty years to bring life to each place I have lived.  I will plant various shrubs, flowers, trees etc. to commemorate the  places I have lived, and the people who have been so much a part of my life.    As I have pondered the different landscapes  I have raised my children through, beautiful, scented memories come flooding back to me:  Yellow roses, pine trees, deep purple lilacs, red clover, weeping willows, shaking aspens, Italian prunes, strawberries, french tarragon, lavender and spearmint. The joy of gardening these places of transition has given me a delightful  expectation that was once only dread, and weariness.

God commanded memorials and markers to be erected in the transitory life of the Israelites.  Commemorations of the pain and hope of transition.  From one life, to another.  Each time they passed by they were to speak of them to their children’s children’s children…I hope I can do the same, as I fill my generations arms and hearts with the scent of beauty from chaos, hope from loss, and a sense of home for their wanderings.

 

June 10, 2012

Putting The Pieces Back…

Returning to the old homestead, and putting the place in order after a renter of 11 years almost destroyed the intent and reason of the ranch has given me a new perspective of the cyclical nature of God, and our part in restoring the land, and partnering with the original intent of cultivating the garden to the non garden parts of earth.  I am weary, and ache with the amount of work that needs to be done, but there is a story evolving around every corner. As I pick up random objects, trash, and pieces of a life, I find the hint of what was, and the vision of what is to come. I am straining to listen to the heart of the Father for this season in my life.  The phrase:  “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” has taken on a new meaning.  This poem by Mary Oliver speaks to me during this time of transition. I thought I would share the “story” with you.

Breakage

By Mary Oliver

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.
Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.
May 16, 2012

The Turning

 I can feel the Earth tossing aside the blankets of her cool Spring bed as she moves to embrace the heat of Summer.  The Spring has been extravagant in its offerings of rain, the life giving hope poured into aquifers, and hidden places.  Will this be a thirsty Summer?  Will there be a cry for rain?  In the Earth?  In me?  I watch how nature doesn’t strive with the turning.  Obedient, and present with the days.  There is a quiet acceptance and a joyous celebration in the morning songs. It is here I discover the syllabus for this season.  There is a trust that though we change, and the turnings come to our lives, there is One who does not change. There is one whose love is constant, whose supply is constant, whose compassion is constant, whose care is constant, who neither slumbers nor sleeps as He watches over the work of His hand.  One who never ceases speaking us into being, and because he is, we are. 

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning.

So, I listen to the praise of sparrows, who can not fall without notice from their Maker, and join with the Psalmist of Israel and turn my face to the heat of a new season, while I trust as I sing:   “I will praise the name of God with a song, and magnify Him with Thanksgiving” Psalm 69:30

May 3, 2012

My Restless Heart

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord,
and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” ―St. Augustine

I have been pondering this reality for months.  We are made for our God. Not for any other endeavor but to worship the one who crafted us with his hands, his words, his breathe.  An object of His fascination and desire, we will stay in this state of discontent until our internal longings are satisfied with the beauty of His face. We have been torn from the purpose and meaning of our existence, and He is daily bringing us to a place of gazing, to discover our image.  To remind us of our reflection.  Often we catch a glimpse of our true selves in the kind face of strangers extending love to strangers, benevolent pauses as we consider one another in the hallways of life.  We hear our native tongue when healing syllables of life flow from lips that choose to bleed rather than hurl curses at the offender.  We are reminded for a moment that we belong “other” than this dysfunction of existence we tear our way through on any given day.  We belong to a kingdom ruled by a King of Righteousness who shall reign forever, and ever.  So, we comfort one another s restless hearts, as we gently lift chins to the horizon, and remind ourselves….we were made to gaze on beauty.