Posts Tagged ‘devotional work’

When my husband died in December of 2014, one of the songs that resonated deeply within me during those initial months of grief, was “You Make me Brave.” I didn’t feel so very brave, but I believed God’s Presence was the core of whatever courage I could muster.

So it’s no mistake that I was drawn to the devotional book, Brave Faith : A 31 Day Devotional Journey, by Mary Geisen which I discovered at LifeLetterCafe.com.  It’s a year old or so, but I think I’m finding it now for a reason. You are welcome to join me in this journey, the first 31 days with the author, and the final days of Lent on my own.

What does it mean to be brave? Or How do we become brave? Can anyone be brave? Is brave faith Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Or normal?

One thing Mary G. prepares us to understand in this study, brave faith is not a one time deal, it’s ongoing. It is us. It is you and it is me. Let’s look and see.

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ash-wednesdayTonight our church entered Lent with two Ash Wednesday services. One of the themes was “keys” and how we can use those keys to unlock those places hidden away inside our hearts.

Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heartand not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. [Joel 2:12-13]

We mark the beginning of Lent with this day. It can become a mere ritual of ashes, bread, and wine, or it can be enriched with commitment and desire. Do I want more of God in my life? Do I want to surrender the secret places?

Lent is not just a time of “giving something up.” It’s a time of exchange. I will to exchange one time sucker, one habit, for something new, for devotion, for meditation, for prayer, for reading, for conversation with Spirit. I not taking away. I am adding. I am making a promise. That is the message of Ash Wednesday and Lent for me.

One of the stations we had was a cross where we could affix a simple post-it note with something (or someone) that is hindering our journey to the Cross. This roadblock we gave to Christ. As one of the organizers of the Ash Wednesday service, I feel compelled to treat these requests with respect. And so, as part of my devotion, I will be praying over and with these requests along with those who left them there. I will be their Aaron for these 40 days, as God reveals.


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prioritiesThis summer, I have moved most of my writing energy to a new online project called Bible Study Together. It started as a request from my pastor to experiment with creating a Bible Study through a Facebook group. That venue proved problematic because of the way the posts bounce around when a person comments on a particular post. As a result, I moved everything to the blog which has proved far more successful.

The process is quite different from devotional work and although the learning and appreciation I have for the book of Ephesians has grown immeasurably, I would not say it has enhanced my quiet time.

How do people balance all of the possibilities? I never seem able to get the percentages right. I enjoy new experiences but they come at a cost. My home environment has reached “chaos” standing, particularly the office. With the kids all in “adulthood” but still living at home, there is a scatteredness to our schedules that makes dinners or “family” time an anomaly. Church time now has additional responsibilities and it is rare to find time for reflection. Besides, our services aren’t even structured for that. I knew that going in.

I remember going on a personal retreat to a convent. It was a wonderful experience in the end, but it took a full day and a half before I really managed to settle into a routine of true contemplation and prayer. The first hours I slept heavily or made lists of all the things I needed to do when I got back. My mind whirred.

So, here I am, making myself another promise: two more weeks of the study and I’ll get back to my first love. But who knows, really, what the next two weeks will hold?


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