Monday, October 26, 2009

a new assignment

we are at that time in the semester where self-evaluation is important. so, for practicum we had to write a one page experiential report. after some time spent in contemplation we were to answer some questions - what are some places in your soul that are good/beautiful/glorious? what are some places in your soul where there is sin and depravity? what do you feel could be God's calling for your life/soul?

this is what followed my time of meditation:

As I sat in meditation, I asked God for a visual of my soul. I imagined the likeness of a farm house. I noticed many characteristics about this house that gave me a nice metaphor for both the good and glorious in my soul as well as the depravity and blindness, and even a vision for its purpose.

Some of the descriptions of this house that tell of its beauty are that it is light and bright, warm and inviting. There is lemonade and sweet tea at the ready. The windows are original, their texture and character are beautiful. There is a large oak tree outside that provides shade and comfort and rest on the soft grass. The flower beds outside are small, but provide a simple exterior beauty. There are several places to rest – the couch with soft pillows and thick blankets, and the porch swing in the front that rocks and is right where the warm sun pours in. There is an invitation for nourishment, second helpings – plenty to go around. And the sounds ring of laughter and stories.

Also, there are plenty of things that could be fixed in this house that are very representative of the depravity of my soul. Though the windows have character, they let a lot of cold air in. There is always a subtle noise: wind blowing, stairs creaking, shingles flapping. It also seems unrealized just how hard it is to keep up this farm. While people are invited and encouraged to visit, many don’t stay long. The guest room seems to always be ready and never used.

The calling for this house doesn’t seem important. There are a lot of children around. It seems to always be available and open to others. And there are many places for people visiting to find rest. Whether they will come and stay remains to be seen.

k.

new experience with prayer

this was our reading week - a chance to catch up on all that's going to be due in the coming weeks as we round out the first semester. hard to believe i've already been in school 8 weeks!

a book that i finished this week is called Can You Hear Me by Brad Jersak. at first i thought perhaps the professor was using this book as a "what-not-to-do". some of the anecdotes of episodes with this kind of imaginative prayer seemed outlandish and hard to believe. but the more i read and the less ambivalent i became, i realized that what i wanted was exactly what he was talking about - a way to experience God new in prayer - a way to focus and be captured by him through prayer.

the premise of the book is to use our imaginations in order to visualize various ways to listen through prayer. the entire book is all about listening and hearing God's voice. at the back of the book there is a cheat sheet of sorts as to what questions to ask God, so after completing the book i tried one exercise. this is how it happened and what i gained from the experience.

the first idea is to go to a "meeting place" in your mind where you regularly visit with God. this could be a biblical location (like by a stream as in Psalm 23) or just a familiar place where you would like to be with God. my "meeting place" has been the same for a while - i imagine Jesus sitting in the heavens on lots of clouds on a giant throne. i picture him wearing a very comfortable robe (down, perhaps? it's my favorite) and i have a special place reserved for me on his lap. so, that's where i went. there were two questions i was supposed to ask him there and listen for the answers.

the first question was, "Jesus, how do you see me?" i heard a simple answer, like when a kid is playing hide-and-seek, "I see you."

the second question wasn't as easy. the question was, "How do you feel about me?"

i couldn't bring my face to look into his eyes. i was so afraid of what he would or wouldn't say. i had lots of fears. three in particular. one - i was afraid that there would be a "but" at the end of what he said - like, "i feel like you're a lovely woman, but..." with something that i need to work on. the second fear was that i wouldn't believe him. i was afraid that he would have some trite answer that i could see right through - you know the kind, like, "ahhhh - you're great!" hardly believable. then the third was the hardest for me to get over. i was afraid that i'd be disappointed in his answer - that he couldn't come up with something good enough for me to walk away happy that i had chosen to listen - that somehow, it wouldn't be "enough" for me.

i wrestled in tears with this last question for a long time. i couldn't look at his face - i was so afraid of his answer. then, almost as an interruption into my fear, i heard him say, "I want you." and that's how he felt about me. i couldn't argue it. there was no "but". i believed him completely. and it didn't leave me disappointed. he had the perfect way out of all my fears. he wants me! he really wants me!

it was a powerful moment and a beautiful voice in my ears. i'm so glad i kept on with a book that i thought was too over the top. i'm so glad i dared practice what the author encouraged. i'm so glad God penetrated through my loud fears with a simple, heart-felt truth. i'm so glad that for once in a long time, i listened to him speak.

k.

Friday, October 9, 2009

hiatus

if any of you are wondering where i've gone - it's to the depths of pages and pages of readings in books and articles trying desperately to crawl out and get on top of things...

between papers due, group projects, classes, practicum and weekly assignments - i'm in over my head - so the only writing i've been doing lately is homework.

i'd like to say that i've processed all this information and can jot it down in this blog format - but alas, i have not. i'm still just on the perimeter of understanding.

maybe once i've processed much, i will have much more to say. but until then, i bid my readers adieu for a while.

until we meet again.

krista.