How To Really Make a Memory

_DSC3114-268A memory is just a photograph, framed in that place where your mind overrides the rest of your body, that hair’s breadth of a second before ration or emotion get their bearings enough to have a say about what just happened.

It is half intuition and half discipline to see that passing moment and quickly line it up to get the impression as it really is. To be true to that impression, your ration and emotion have to be on a tight reign and know their place, and that takes a lifetime of wrangling for some of us.

_DSC3103-257

Taking a photograph and ordering a memory are both a process of experiencing first, then choosing what to hold on to about it.

_DSC3128-282

Sometimes ration says to wait for the pretty places, the pretty people. Trouble is, those run out right quick. Then emotion says it’s all a wash, press that shutter exactly where you’re at but don’t bother to change the settings on the camera because even though it’s dark here, what’s the use of trying anymore? Then the darkness makes you panic, but maybe your anxiety really began when you ran out of the pretty subjects and places that were your desired memories, your desired photographs.

_DSC3148-302

Then you hear that voice, the only one clear enough to discern through the ceaseless prattling of that ration and emotion, and He says:

“Wait for the light”.

The very best photographs are made by the light. 

Not by just the “right” subjects and compositions.

_DSC3155-309

The most ordinary subjects are transformed by it,

are made alive by that light. 

And so when things happen like they always do, and ration and emotion want to process (albeit skimping on truth) and ready themselves for the next thing, perhaps wait for just a bit. Wait for the light to expose what’s important and shade where it needs to be dark. Then package that photograph up, file it away, and when it comes out again someday, it will be something of joy, even if the subject was dark.

The light will make it worth seeing again.

Loving People For the First Time

Another post for another day is about the months when I asked God to help me to love Him.

_DSC2721-149-2

He broke me that year.

_DSC2712-140

And I love Him for it.

Because of that year, I’m learning with the slowness of a child learning how to sound letters into words-

We can’t love people fully if we don’t love God first.

There’s no room for both love and [laziness-jealousy-bitterness-self promotion to others-grasping at my thoughts and clutching them deep-fear].

And aren’t all of the things at the front of the brackets rooted at the bottom in fear?

Fear of running out, missing out, being left out, being found out.

_DSC2704-132

But here’s the connection: Perfect Love casts out fear.

_DSC2702-130

And God is Love.

And it was Perfect Love who cast out the fear, cast out demons, cast out the guilt of sin and said, “Your sins have been forgiven, go in peace.”

He casts out in order to fill up. 

So what about those days, years, and decades of making a mess of loving people? Where so many feeble tries at it were spiked with motives that we shut our eyes to at the time but now come back to us hard like a swallow of bad liquor at first tasteless, then burning hot and foul?

Trip Lee says, “… remind them of the gracious gospel of Jesus. You could have [sinned] every day for the last 500 days and Jesus has not run out of grace. That same cross that you heard about the first time is the same cross that can forgive you now.”

When He casts out the sin, and the guilt that sits right on top of it, He brings in Himself. And He is the very presence of Love.

It is only when we love Him first that we can begin to love people rightly.

 

How Can Humility and Introspection Co-exist?

CS Lewis said that “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

_DSC2659-87

What if you desire to be humble, but God made you introspective to begin with?

_DSC2660-88

What about darn introspective at that?

_DSC2658-86

How do you wake up one morning, not thinking of yourself a whit, and just begin to plunk away at your thing after a lifetime of explosive mulling and feeling every fleck of color and shade of shadow as deeply as your mind can feel it?

cropped-dsc2670-98.jpg

Deciding that today will be that day of humility is like sitting behind a team of horses that has run on wildly for years, and whether you feel exhilarated or exhausted or despairing, or even curious about why they go like they do, it doesn’t matter much and never has to them, because they are going to keep on running every which way no matter what. You don’t just decide to stop a team like that in one day and have anything come of it just because you wished for it.

_DSC2676-104

Nor do you just think of yourself less, all in one day.

Especially if you’ve been given a constant, run-amuck mind like I’ve been given.

_DSC2683-111

So what is the antidote?

How does an inner cave dweller like me turn my mind inside out?

Perhaps, just perhaps, the Sunday school answer, “Jesus“, finds a home in that question.

_DSC2690-118

Because if I think on Him, there isn’t room to think on myself at the same time.

I think about five things at once, all of the time.

There are five hundred thousand things to think on, anytime, when I turn my thoughts towards Christ.

_DSC2688-116

Feelings, curiosities, things that unbendingly are, colors and lights, stories, problems to be worked out, and remnants of lines I have read on those pages of His that flutter in and work around everything else, like a quilter’s thread making sense of it all.

Not basic linear sense, but useable sense of it all.

_DSC2684-112

If I think on Him, there is brute force behind that desire to think of myself less.

God’s Word is the only weapon I have, the only muscle behind the desperate whisper for change that has to begin with the interior structures of my mind.

Soundness of mind sometimes begins with disassembly of its parts so it can be built square this time, with the Cornerstone in the right spot.

For grace to meditate on You, to hold the line when I want to rest my head back into the familiar pillow of my own little thoughts and feelings…

Enough

Once upon a time, a little girl thought life somewhere as natural and wild as her oddly curled hair would make her happy.

DSC_9727-9

So she explored barefoot and hatless, feeling all that she could feel from the Louisiana sun hot on the top of her head, the sun and forests and pastures of Germany warm around her body, to some Ohio mud cold and slimy between her toes, to Virginia and Carolina and all the way to Montana.

DSC_9729-11.jpgBut still she wanted more.

Someone to explore with would make her happy, she thought.

DSC_9732-14So she married a man from Appalachia who was dark and ruddy, like an American gypsy.

DSC_9730-12He moved her all around like one too, loved her sweetly, and gave her blue-eyed baby girls, and she loved them and all the new places they would go.

But even together, still she wanted more.

DSC_9734-16So she prayed and searched for some brown-eyed boys, and the ones she found didn’t come home with her but two perfect ones did.

And she named them and loved them, but still…

DSC_9741-23she just had to have more.

It was like hunger, constantly whetted, but never filled.

DSC_9738-20More

Better

Wilder

Different…

more of something.

DSC_9743-25It wasn’t more land, more house, more critters, more people, more food, more skinny, more coffee, more time, more wild, more beautiful, more need, more calm.

DSC_9745-27She only had more,

when she had enough.

DSC_9744-26The day she realized she has enough

laid her flat and curled her tight and made her cry like something new was being born from a place deeper than her heart, mind, or gut knew was even there.

She has enough, and she is blessed among women for it.

.

that Black Hole

Is nothing but Fear,

DSC_9227-10

painting a tunnel onto a rock that looks so real,

DSC_9581-5.jpg

so dark and endlessly deep,

DSC_9587-11.jpg

that you dig in your heels hard and desperate and

DSC_9592-16.jpg

when that doesn’t work, you

DSC_9676-100.jpg

 thrash in your spirit thinking you’d rather face bodily death,

DSC_9711-135.jpg

even death, than go into that terror, that Black Hole just ahead.

DSC_9677-101.jpg

Open my eyes to see You between me and It.

DSC_9690-114.jpg

Your servant angels bearing me up on their pinions,

DSC_9383-10-2.jpg

gently staying my runaway train on

DSC_9579-3.jpg

the track where it rises up, higher and nearer 

DSC_9707-131.jpg

To the Light of Your everlasting presence.

Some Foolishness

Here’s some Montana-branded foolishness…

DSC_9165-102

that they call a ranch rodeo.

DSC_9150-87

God made people crazy creative, didn’t He?

DSC_9199-136

He made all these little pockets of people

DSC_9148-85

who collectively come up with the darndest ways to turn work into foolishness and fun.

DSC_9074-11

(and keep my doctor husband supplied with plenty of business as long as this rowdy, hard working culture carries on)

 DSC_9144-81

DSC_9145-82

DSC_9146-83

See the fourth photo down if you need to see the man up and smiling after his little encounter with that cow with a much more sour sense of humor than he had about it all:)

Feeling Like You’re About to Go Down?

At eye level on my fridge is a card with this little phrase from Amy Carmichael written on it:

DSC_7285-98

“If you would live in victory… you must refuse to be dominated by the seen and felt.”

Seeing and feeling blind us, don’t they?

We hardly notice the streetlights in town as we walk beneath them at night. The sky feels black and small around their yellow light, and we cannot see up and over to the sky above, nor do we even think to. We walk along as if the street is just another room in our world and sometimes those barely visible stars on the edges catch our eye, but they are drowned out by incandescent and so they should be, is how we behave.

And all the while, in the vast universe of reality, it is those streetlights that are mere glimmering flecks on a tiny planet, while the night sky is filled with billions and billions of stars!

Refuse to be dominated by the seen and felt this week. By God’s grace that life of victory is one that even you, and even I, can attain!

“Oh for grace to trust Him more…”

Prepared: No Eye Has Seen…

Nor ear has heard,

  DSC_8447-90

nor the heart of man imagined,

DSC_8408-51

what God has prepared for those who love Him... First Corinthians 2:9

DSC_8436-79

A future-  Hope!

But what is a body to do while we wait?

Why all this working, loving, creating, changing, suffering, relating, and laughing that we are in the middle of, right now?

DSC_8482-125

For we are His workmanship…

DSC_8452-95

created in Christ Jesus for good works,

DSC_8750-382Created for good works in a world subject to entropy.

DSC_8630-263

Able to do those good works in Christ.

DSC_8468-111

So the purpose, the point of the right now…

DSC_8430-73

is to work against the current of the world.

DSC_8459-102

which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:9-10

DSC_8384-27

A future prepared just for us.

A present prepared, just for us.

DSC_8389-32

Right now, grace to do those good works in Christ, because of Christ!

DSC_8438-81

And “some glad morning, when this life is over”,

a future too wonderful and good for words or any comparisons.