Sunday, October 27, 2013

names we're given: beloved

Fall torches the hills 
orange and gold
speed shakes up through my feet
creation shouts 
with the voice of glory

Curled up in the back seat, speeding home from my cousin's wedding, nose pressed against the glass drinking in the beauty.  "Holy Baptism and Contemporary Theology" by Herbert Vorgrimler, due for the class I didn't actually want to get back in time for, lay open on my lap, and I'm nerding out scrawling poems in the margins of my religious studies readings. 

For some reason, I really love this moment. I think I'm embracing the fact that I'm that nerd girl, scribbling fragmented sentences left over from the poems that occasionally hit me in the margins of my theology readings, teary eyed because God is just that beautiful. Also because I love roadtrips and speed and being with people I love, the coffee cup in my hand and the sweater cozy as I curled up. 

But the thing I truly love about that moment is that fact that I am learning to think of myself as beloved. I have struggled so much with my self-understanding, with how I identified at the core of who I am. And it is a beautiful miracle and I want to sing when I see what God has done, the change he's making in my heart. For so long the names I identified as were inadequate, flawed, unlovable, these whispers of hate and fear that I listened to over God's life shout of love. And I finally just begged him, around two years ago, to fight for my heart. 

And he did. And slowly and surely I have come to hear, see and touch his love, poured out in sunlight on water, in coffee cups and conversations with people who know my soul, in their love and their words of grace speaking God's great grace into my hungry heart, in fall leaves blazing scarlet and 730 graces counted, the mundane miraculous gifts that scream his love. And counting and hunting for these instances of his love has opened my eyes, and I count and count and how could all this love be for me? And how can I deny or talk down the power of this love? 

This love is redefining me. And I love that moment, the nerd girl curled up scribbling poetry, because her heart was singing with the love of God. Because this miracle where I'm not listening to the lies anymore, and I can finally hear behind all the grace and beauty God's voice, calling me, naming me, defining me.  Beloved. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Daily bread

Sometimes I wish there was a way to store joy, so I could hide away the smell of fall leaves, wind in my hair rushing through the countryside, dancing in my kitchen, the feeling of being known and loved anyway, save all this abundance of joy for days when it's harder to find. I'm home again, for a brief stint of grace-filled, grace abundant days and it's too short. And I'm back to school tomorrow, which I love but which wears me down with busy-ness, with too little room in my calendar and too much caring, too many causes. But the thing about this semester, which is somehow the hardest and the best I've had, is that I'm slowly learning the meaning of daily bread, that grace is for today, enough for today and not tomorrow.
I keep chanting "give us today our daily bread." And that bread is the daily grace that gets me through, the long list of everyday kindnesses showered on me, the pages and pages of numbered gifts in my gratitude journal, the fact that I fall into bed exhausted but fulfilled each night. Daily bread, Jesus' reminder of God's faithfulness in the desert wandering. Bread from heaven every morning, and Friday's enough for two, gathering for Sabbath. But most days we're forbidden to gather double, and I don't think that's because God likes rules, but because that is how grace works. Enough for today, and not tomorrow.
And worry is wormy manna, the sour taste of fear, hands clutching for control. When I try to gather for tomorrow, store up joys in fear of dry seasons I know will come, they turn wormy in my hands and I clutch at memories and compare the now to the past, which is always rosier in remembering. I cannot taste tomorrow's grace because it is today. 
And this is the character of God, and this is learning trust. I'll number my overflowing list of graces tonight, and without fail there will be more tomorrow morning, enough to get me through. And more than just through, enough to give me joy. Because that is God and God is good. I'll taste tonight's graces, full to bursting with joy (literally full to bursting with home-cooked goodness) and know that tomorrow I will taste the goodness of the Lord again.