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Relationship with God

But one day as I thought, “Oh, this story again!” and rolled my eyes, something dawned on me, the lost sheep wasn’t necessarily lost for long! The lost sheep had probably just wandered to the other side of a bush or a rock were he thought the grass would be yummier and the shepherd merely lost sight of him. The shepherd would have had to be counting constantly to even realize that ONE sheep was missing from so many in the first place, and once he realized this he simply, but frantically, began to search the other side of all the bluffs, rocks and bushes nearby.  He wasn’t actually abandoning the other sheep, rather, just looking for the one who was lost… probably not even really leaving earshot of the sheep he left in the pasture. In fact, he could probably even see the sheep he left most of the time because he was taller than the rocks and bushes and bluffs he was searching behind. However, he was worried enough about the dangers outside of the safety of the herd that he had to rush to search, heart racing, blood pounding in his ears. When he finds the poor, curious, little guy the relief is so great that it is uncontainable. This is why He carries him on his shoulders rejoicing.

The terror and joy that the shepherd feels would be akin to the terror and subsequent joy I feel when my 3-year-old wanders to the other side of the clothes rack in the mall. Because I cannot see her I begin to practically hyperventilate, imagining every possible horror story come true in my life in an instant, calling out her name and searching frantically. When I find her, even if it has only been a few minutes that she was lost, the moment is burned into my memory forever. I cannot contain my relief and for a week I tell everyone how happy I am to have all my children after my recent “kidnapping scare”. Because this happened, does it mean that somehow I am a bad mother or even that the child is bad? No!

Any of the sheep could have wandered away in search of greener grass to munch on without even realizing that they were leaving the herd. You or I may not have some kind of incredible conversion story like Scott Hahn or Jeff Cavins or even like my ex-atheist husband but then those people weren’t ones who wandered away from the herd, rather, they were acquired into the herd later in life. We are the lost sheep! We are the ones that the Shepherd worries about, We are the ones who wander when we are not paying attention. This is a story of the sheep who are GOOD, not like the prodigal son, and God does worry about us. He counts us constantly to make sure we are still there and comes running after us the moment he realizes he can’t see us anymore.

He loves you even if your story isn’t that “impressive”.  Maybe you were “born in the herd”. Maybe you’ve never known anything else, never run away, never been really horrible and yet you’re the one that the Shepherd is worrying about. He loves you more than He can express and knows that if anything ever happened to you no amount of money or other compensation could ever replace you.

Do you believe it?

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Identity, Other Relationships, Relationship with God

Cultivating Meaningful Interior and Exterior Silence

“It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking.” – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Despite the source, this quote can be life changing if taken to heart.

Relationship with God

9 practical steps to a deeper relationship with God 

We hear so often that we need to build a deeper relationship with God, that we should love Him with all our mind, all our heart and all our strength (Lk 10:27). But, it can seem, if you have never experienced it before, that a “deeper relationship with God” is a nebulous concept.

Identity, Relationship with Children, Relationship with God, Seasonal

In the Face of the Cross… A reflection on Psalm 22

Last week I was told to reflect on Psalm 22. I had been crying to my friend about the trials of bedtime with 4 littles and a tired mommy especially when daddy isn’t there to help…. and my prayer was a beautiful experience, not just, I think, for mothers but for anyone trying to live out any vocation or, simply, a truly Christian life.

The Psalm is meant to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s sufferings at Calvary and the biggest shock I had was how much I related to it – how we all can relate – how much it felt like the Psalmist was describing my own life at that moment (minus the melodramatic psalmist vocabulary choices – or maybe with them – I’ll let you decide – haha).

Relationship with God, Seasonal, The Human Struggle

What Your Lent should REALLY be about!

What is Lent all about?  Why do we have this season anyway? Is it about giving up candy, Netflix, Facebook and meat? Why all the focus on “sacrifice”? Why do we fast? How do we decide what to “give up”? Why do we pray? How do we pray? Why do we spend this time focusing on filling food banks and upping our tithe?  Is it just a good time of year to make us feel guilty about everyone less fortunate? Just a good time of year to make us feel guilty about being fortunate? a time of year to make us feel guilty about what we give up or don’t give up? about whether we meet or don’t meet our resolutions?

If we don’t experience the extreme levels of guilt often characteristic of this Season we might find ourselves experiencing other “non-lenten” emotions such as apathy or resistance. “I’m a good person, why should I have to do anything different”? or “I hate lent because I just can’t deal without my daily Starbucks” It is true that Lent encourages us to make sacrifices, to die to ourselves like Christ, to give more, to work harder, to move outside our comfort zone…. but the purpose often gets lost in the details. Let’s get back to what really matters!

Discernment, Relationship with God

How to Dance with God – Step 3 – Following

Being a dancer “is one of the most difficult jobs. It is like the life of an ephemeral, this specific butterfly. We’re ugly at the beginning, but someone can see through our shell and help us grow… To finally die after few hours enjoying our gorgeous wings and technique to fly. But it is also a beautiful way to spend your life. It is worth the very hard work. When you go on stage, you’re giving your emotions to the world, you can express your inner world, become a goddess, die and then kill, transform yourself over and over again. …Don’t be afraid to throw your soul to your audience, if you want this sort of life.'” – Charlotte Landreau,  Martha Graham Dance Company  (NYC Dance Project – Artists without Borders)  (see image below)

Discernment, Relationship with God

How to dance with God – Step 2 – Listening

In the finale dance scene from the movie Strictly Ballroom the music is cut in order to prevent the couple from continuing their dance. Scott, the male main character, remembers Fran’s (the female lead) grandmother encouraging him, “Listen to the Rhythm. Don’t be scared!” He pauses a moment to gather himself and, despite the lack of audible music, the two finish the dance and all those present are in an uproar at the sheer beauty of the performance. This ability to listen in our hearts is the key to being able to follow in the dance.

Relationship with God, The Human Struggle

Presence – How to Dance with God – Step 1

Nathan Greene ArtIn order to learn how to dance with God, we have to recognize that the ultimate key factor is learning to Follow. When we learn to follow we learn to recognize that, as obvious as it might seem, we are not in the lead,  that God is either our partner or our Instructor.  Either way, He is the one in charge.  He is the one who is displaying His strength by showing off our beauty (or, for you guys, the one showing you how to be strong). (See with God).

So, all these dance steps are essentially tips on teaching us how to follow, how to recognize cues, how to see them as beautiful and beneficial to us rather than controlling.

In this first practical post we will focus on the importance of presence.

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