Gomer to Hephzibah: Redemption Draws Near
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About: Short Answer:

"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them."
Hosea 14:9

Long Answer:

He has made me in His image. He has made me for Himself. He is making me more like Him. This, this is beauty. Not that I am beautiful, but that He is beautiful in me.

Who has a story that is not biblical? Mine certainly is.

Hosea tells the story of Gomer, a woman redeemed, who chooses to lead her old life again. How could she? What was better than love, unless it was unbelievable?

"Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord.

How long will you be incapable of purity?

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.

I will take back from her…
I will stop her…
I will ruin her…
I will punish her…
For ME, she has forgotten, declares the LORD"

How we each deserve what we have coming to us. He is mighty, he is powerful, he is just and righteous. And yet, he is also love.

"Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

"In that day, declares the LORD, you will call Me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.'"

How unbelievable is this love that redeems again the one who scorns it. And yet, must we not believe? Is this not our only option? Are we so prideful as to send ourselves to the grave?

"Come, let us return to the LORD.

He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us;
He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence.
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him.

As surely as the sun rises, He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rain,
like the spring rains that water the earth."

He is faithful to redeem the objects of His love. He is faithful to remember His promises. He is glad to redeem us by His power, to reveal the glory of His might, to prove His ability beyond the grave of our human hearts.

"The nations will see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God."

"No longer will they call you deserted, or name your land desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, for the LORD will take delight in you."

And I have decided that I will not turn back.

Before we turn to stone…

“The willingness to battle for your dream…qualifies you for its achievement.” —Mike Murdock (via thecitygates)

(via thecitygates-deactivated2012112)

Christ Is All

O Lover to the uttermost,

May I read the meltings of Thy heart to me
in the manger of Thy birth
in the garden of Thy agony,
in the cross of Thy suffering,
in the tomb of Thy resurrection,
in the heaven of Thy intercession.

If that were the end of this puritan prayer, it would be enough. To be able to look upon these events in the life of Christ without the callousness of familiarity, to truly see the heart of the deed, to know the meltings of His heart towards us in his every breath… my chest aches just to think of it.

But that’s not the end. It’s only the beginning.

Bold in this thought I defy my adversary,
tread down his temptations,
resist his schemings,
renounce the world,
am valiant for truth.

May we read of His love, a love that melts his heart towards us despite our waywardness, and may we be emboldened by it to defy the tempter. May we not only be bold, but valiant! Valiant for truth, he says. Let us be valiant, yes.

Deepen in me a sense of my holy relationship to Thee,
as spiritual Bridegroom,
as Jehovah’s Fellow,
as sinners’ Friend.

Once awakened, emboldened, and valiant for the truth, let us be aware. Teach us the strength of Your bond for our redemption.

I think of Thy glory and my vileness,
Thy majesty and my meanness,
Thy beauty and my deformity,
Thy purity and my filth,
Thy righteousness and my iniquity.

He reveals our deepest desires to be in His very nature. By showing us our own reflection, He shows us the vastness of His beauty and the glory of His grace.

Thou hast loved me everlastingly, unchangeably,
may I love Thee as I am loved;
Thou hast given Thyself for me,
may I give myself to Thee;
Thou hast died for me,
may I live to Thee,
in every moment of my time,
in every movement of my mind,
in every pulse of my heart.

May the greatness of His love and sacrifice inspire response in kind from our deepest of hearts. There is no more appropriate response than to relinquish every ounce of ourselves to His purposes.

May I never dally with the world and its allurements,
but walk by Thy side,
listen to Thy voice,
be clothed by Thy graces,
and adorned with Thy righteousness.

To be so consumed as to denounce the things of this worldly life and yearn for only Him….yes, here is contentment.

(Source: christianbook.com)

Artist: Shawn McDonald

The plea of a heart that knows anything of itself…

I need You.

(Source: youtu.be)

Abundance

There is so much swirling about my mind tonight.

It’s a dissonance of sound, this vast range of subjects and ideas. And yet, somehow beneath the initial din there begins to rise a harmony of rare proportions. There is not much truly connecting the subject of Indian roadways to the position of dance studio administrator, except in my head. Suddenly everything is connected and I feel larger rather than smaller. The connections are what make this a “small world after all.”

I’ve had half a pot of coffee across the past 6 hours, but that’s normal so I can’t see it’s relevance to my waking creativity.

Job possibilities and visions of the grand canyon trip across the edges of my shoulders, along with ice dancers and my recipe for cayenne cookies. It’s as if access is open to all and for ‘naught, being that nothing stays for long. Perhaps this is what a hacked computer looks like to a hacker, or the ADHD brain in a CAT scan….

There is a yearning that has been growing in my center, along with an accompanied disgust for it’s prior lack of occupation. The desire to be closer to my Lord, to cling to His fringes as my soul requires, to adhere to His deepest longings for my heart, oh it swells within me. As this great thing unfolds, as does my regret at it’s previous receding. How does one allow for such a great thing to slip away?? It turns my stomach to think of what I’ve lost.

I’m so tired of the politics of life. No matter where you go, people are trying to sell you, or to you. Profit is the aim. Ruthlessness replaces grace as the pursuit of riches overshadows the pursuit of righteousness. There is no good to come of it. Human trafficking finds it’s roots here.

A very good friend of mine once stated that lust was the first of all sins. I was not there, and by no means intend to declare to discern the heart of Eve, but I do think that I agree.

Which is the longest I can hold one train of thought….

Punk rock music now takes the stage, beginning with Thousand Foot Krutch which is followed by more of a ska band from my childhood…The Supertones. The last time I saw a ska band was in a bar in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I ended up talking with the lead singer for 3 hours about college, dance injuries, Nebraska, and life on the road. Fascinating night, really.

A host of dreams throughout my life have spent their time walking through the square of Saint Marco in Venice, Italy. I used to call it the pigeon’s square, back when it was only a fleeting memory and google had yet to surface with all of it’s fantasticness. Now I know better. Now I want to see it for real.

The rain outside was quite unexpected earlier this evening, but I’ve quite enjoyed the thunder throughout the evening. It’s deep rumblings are so soothing. The sound of strength rolls in the chests of Adam’s sons, subdued in social pursuits yet ever present…just beneath the surface, like the sea.

There is so much to do in small spans of time, and yet so much time that hangs open, yawning for lack of fullness. There is yet an exhale to come.

Hold on to what you believe and remember who you are.

Transference and the Misunderstanding…
Sometimes, it is nothing. Or it should be nothing. Instead, it is something, this feeling that is growing inside of me. Once free, now it is a defined thing, in a category, instead of a living thing in a casing of marrow and flesh.

That is how I feel about words. Words take the meaning of things that have life and breath and depth, and they cut those things down to script size, narrow their definitions, and present them to you in a neat sentence, grammar included (usually). The word dinosaur, for instance. It does not convey every bit of research conducted, every fossil recovered and painstakingly reassembled, every game or movie that inspired fear in the hearts of it’s viewers. It is inadequate for all of it’s possibilities.

There are those three little words. You know the ones. Anyone who speaks English knows them. They are famous. But to hear them for yourself…. What should one expect? Perhaps one may feel trapped by them. They’re quite heavy, you know. They carry the weight of their importance on the tip of the tongue, as if to teach you the impact of your actions in a “learn from your own mistakes” sort of way.

You see, it’s not in the common vernacular of our lives to watch this interaction take place. We don’t get the privilege of following another person through that experience the first time around before we test it out ourselves. We simply have what we have, which is our own. It is private, and it is serious, and I’m sure it holds so much more than imagined, and yet somehow… so. much. less.

I believe that those words, oh gibber jabber that words are, hold no candle to that which there are no words for. I suppose I had never thought this completely through, but I do not now think that I want those words. They are empty and meaningless without history, which is the substance of which we are compiled.

There is no word for the feeling that comes when you realize you have made a lifelong friend. You didn’t plan on it, and it wasn’t a goal, but it happened. And one day while you were sitting in your favorite chair, or perhaps you were waiting on a bus, or maybe even on the phone with your mother, it doesn’tmatter where you were (except to you, of course), it hit you. Like a flood of fresh to the wind butterflies, unsure of their direction and unable to avoid brushing up against the looming figure that is your intellect, you’re swarmed by the realization that this person will be your comrade regardless of where that wild and headstrong wind of life takes you. No, there is no word for that feeling.

I had a professor in college that used to hate on words, brilliant as she was. She liked to talk about the idea of communication as if it were a plate of spaghetti. The spaghetti looks one way on your plate, but when given to another, when poured onto their plate… Well, it looks entirely different. And not only does it look different, but there are now sauce splatters all over the edges of the plate (if not your white tablecloth as well). Her point was that emotions are difficult to transfer; feelings are hard to convey; and that we never really know whether we’re on the same page when words are required, because we define them differently. All of us.

So those three words, they are only so much. They are an attempt, only. There is so much more to be heard and felt and conveyed, without the three little words comprised of English letters. There is a hurricane of fresh to the wind butterflies awaiting those that would be willing to abandon their shelters of constructed space and let the rain of a new season ruin their new suit. There are no adequate words for that feeling of utter abandonment. Are there ever adequate words? I doubt it.

There is so. much. more.

Pomplamoose. Love them. And Christmas. It’s like happiness. Oh wait, it is happiness!

So very beautiful, and all in one take too.

(Source: youtu.be)

Gift of Gifts (from The Valley of Vision)

O Source of all good,

What shall I render to You for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,
His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
He came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to Him He draws near on
wings of grace,
to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
He united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to Him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
He came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and expand my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, donkey, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace Him with undying faith,
exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him, you have given me so much
that heaven can give no more.

…Only Paper Tigers

Carolyn Arends said that since everyday is a new opportunity, she would treat each one as new years day. There is something to that philosophy. Simply saying that each day is new, well that’s no big deal. But to use such a celebrated eve as the inspiration with which to begin the day….yes.

I often question my decision to dance. I wonder, being well versed in the written word, why I would choose to impart my two-pence through a temporary form of communication. What is the point of having much to say if few are to partake?

And then… Days like these arrive. They come swiftly as a bird upon it’s prey, striking with such precision and force that I am overcome. Claws of fear grip my ribs and I am carried under the beating wings of uncertainty through fierce winds with their sharp voices screeching in my ears. I quiver internally but make no move to escape, knowing that any attempt to do so would send me tumbling into further danger.

For a moment, I revel in the escape from the grounded reality of my life. I am flying. Everything is beyond my control and I am elevated beyond the initial breadth of my vision. The view is beautiful from up here. Very little is complicated, and fairly every thing is small from this perspective.

But then the wind changes and I am whipped about. Claws draw tighter, feathers fly, I can no longer draw breath. The cold reality of my predicament steals the breath from my lungs and I gasp in horror. How will I ever get back?

It is days like these that I have no words for. There is no adequate description for these feelings that accompany the flood of thoughts and emotions that rush through the foundations of my mind. I have no way to describe to you the insanity of it all. The jumble of colors, backflips, highways and impossibilities make a ferocious amount of sense in those moments, and none in the next.

For days like those, I dance. I find sanity in the ability to contain the parts of myself that others can most readily access. There is movement for that which is immutable, regardless of the fact that movement is the very nature of change.

Is not movement, after all, the Christians calling?

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