Little Blue Bird

An excerpt from  POPPY:  

TALES FROM THE HEART

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Tiny little blue bird

how sweet you sing to me

delicate and beautiful

as you spread your wings

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I watch you through my windowsill

and wonder of all you see

You rest awhile on a branch

In my magnolia tree

then off you go with no goodbye

to continue your day’s journey

I will see you again one day

But for now, you’re off exploring

 

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Zebra Strong- Chronically living

Having a chronic illness is a challenge in more areas than just a bad body day or remembering to take loads of daily meds.

There are days my body rebels against my will and on those days I may lay on my bed or in the living room on the sofa and groan with disappointment and pain. I may cry through words or tears, as I find my heart sinking from the weakness in my body. I have noticed when I reach the point of groaning its mostly due to the disappointment and sadness of spending another day horizontal. Another day of a schedule canceled or at the least severely disrupted yet again. There may also be a groan of fear for what is ahead for me in the temporal and a grumbling for dreams deferred. Lamenting a healthy body I once had… Sometimes I really just run out of words or am tired of thinking the same things and find there is nothing left but a groan.

I recently found there is an alternative groan, a better way. Paul shares in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 that the groaning I experience can be viewed from a different perspective that is of an encouraging nature rather than contributing to the potential for a negative mindset that will only drag me deep into the depths of despair. This groaning is the cry of expectation that overflows from a heart looking ahead to the eternal. My being, what makes me who I am knows that something is amiss. I was not made for this chronic illness. We, me AND you, may groan and become tearful over various types of pain but there is a deeper place of understanding in our spirit regarding the pain our temporal bodies feel.

Whether I am conscious of it, and now I will be more so than I have ever been… deep within my soul I am longing for home, for Heaven. In heaven, there will be no sickness or pain. There I, we, will have a trouble-free, pain-free, existence surrounded by eternal, unconditional love and light. My new body will work perfectly and my heart will be constantly overflowing with love and joy and my mind, well it will be free and clear of clutter and chaos.

I have decided, after reading Pauls words and chewing on them for a bit, that this challenge my body has here in this life does not have to be a period, it can be a comma. The comma can signify a breath taken in a sentence of a chapter of our life story that points toward the significance of pacing self as our story unfolds. My groan can now reflect a seeking of peace, restoration, wholeness, and redemption which fosters hope. I have despaired of hope and it’s a pain that burns just as deep as the fire of hope when I am able to turn the despair on its head! When I cannot His strength is sufficient for me to hold on until hopefulness returns! This is real life and I am just human and the Father knows this and I believe He is patient with me as I work all this out through Him and apply His word to my heart and life each day.

I now desire my groans and tears to point me toward Christ and eternal life rather than to despair. My suffering is but a moment incompatible to eternity. That isn’t to say I enjoy it or I just shrug it off because it is very real in moments of pain but I can now recently myself intentionally and seek refuge in that the Father has provided through His word. My tears depict there should be more. There is a heavenly body to look forward to, this mortal body is a brief shell. Someday soon I will have a new body forever and be home with Jesus and all of Heaven.

This brings me to HOPE! Enduring and persevering is found rooted in hope and we hope when we have a solid belief or even the smallest hope of something on the otherwise of the need to endure and preserve. We press forwards because something in us says “It’s worth it, press on!”. We can have a hope in Christ and our Heavenly reward that is secure. We as humans love security, seek security, and become distressed when we do not have security.

2 C’s

Spoiler alert, Jesus juke ahead: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (John chapter 7, verse 21) In my own conviction, I am reading this as the two great C’s The great commandment and the great commission.

Fulfilling Jesus’ “Great Commandment” loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Fulfilling Jesus’ “Great Commission” (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”) sharing the gospel with unbelievers, in the hopes that they’ll actually hear the message of Jesus, believe in Him, and become Christians.

What does this mean practically? 

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I don’t know exactly, but I have a few ideas. I have a few ideas of how I interpret this direction in my own life.  If my neighbor is without and I would provide for myself, I am to provide for my neighbor in a selfless way, not in a self-sacrificing way.  These are entirely my opinions and only worth well, I don’t know the answer to that either.

I want to take a moment to discuss what the Word has directed love to be to create a fuller picture of “loving” our neighbors as we love self.  The well-known love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. According to the writer, love is the following things:

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I have seen this displayed in word and offers of prayer, but I don’t believe that is what Jesus expects of us as His children. This is the action verb form of love, and I venture to believe all the love references the Bible holds for us is action not lip service. There are young people and older people alike leaving the church faster than fellow church members can ask them why…  What is our role when loving our neighbor.

I believe here is where we behave as Christ did. He did… He acted, He moved, and He loved through doing, acting, and moving. He could have spoken healing for the blind man who saw men as trees part way through his healing, but He did not… He chose to reach deeper into the man’s life through space invading and providing something more than healing but also connection. (Mark 8:23-25)

 “23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

Were Jesus’ actions necessary for the blind man’s healing? No. But, can we learn something from

Jesus’ choice to lead, touch, and heal a man in need? More than yes! 
how-jesus-crossed-all-boundaries-in-order-to-reach-a-single-hurting-person-940x629.jpgI believe Jesus took this moment and demonstrated the great commandment to love your neighbor.  He wants to connect with us in more than words, and as we are made in His image and charged to be a reflection of Christ, we are expected to connect to our neighbors. The man was not untouchable despite his obvious imperfections. Jesus made certain to demonstrate how we are to encounter others in need.

I am guilty of hurting others, and I have been stung in church both enough for my taste, but I am sure I will be hurt in the church again. I still go, I still gather with fellow believers… it’s not about “them,” it’s about me. I attend because I read “do not forsake the assembling of yourselves” and this is for a good reason. We need one another. “Church people” are wholly people with an advantage of the revelation of Christ and His unconditional love
and response to us as His children and followers. This means despite our mere humanity, we are charged with rising above the standards of societal expectations and community relations and do all Christ empowers us to do well, love well. …love with excellence and serve well- service with excellence.

I am not looking for a perfect church because my sin nature and continual failings will corrupt such a fantastical place. I am looking for other believers to behave as children of a Father who presented love as the only way of life. I never want it said of me I was in fear of touching another life due to the complications of distress and challenge neither do I want to be considered an untouchable.

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Popper, on truth and safety…

It is not just the opinion that is important but also learning how someone reached their conclusion. Karl Popper (1963), philosopher and a few other things, discussed the importance of knowing how we develop our beliefs and discovering motivations behind the thinking.  Public or societal opinion can be irrational and if allowed to go unchallenged can give rise to such movements as Hitlerism.  truthU.pngPopper (1963) determined in so many words, the moral framework of liberalism is a counterbalance to such structures as Nazism.  He believed the answer to public opinion is the western rationalist tradition of critical discussion.  He was pro-argument for truth’s sake for as Popper noted, “the truth is hard to come by.”   The great Winston Churchill (1940) stated:

“People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick up themselves and continue on.”

Rationalism supports social justice. Rationalism according to Popper (1963) essentially negates any formative thinking of utopia due to its implication to violence. Being an ideal state of society, Utopia does not allow for change or differences of opinion and ideology. A utopia is a form of rationalism, but according to Popper, it is the wrong form.  The correct way of rationalism is arguments and discussions of our own and others thoughts and opinions provoking refutation and conjecture.  Without rationalism, violence occurs to create the result thinking of utopias boundaries and parameters and the maintain them.  Nazism. Profoundly Popper (1963) states, intellectual development has outrun our moral development.  This requires attention.  He believed there has not been a time in history that humans have however been given the level of dignity that society has lent at the time of his contemplation.  According to his rationalistic belief system, men are equal and are to be respected as such.
The potential for over-analyzing and risk-taking when deciding on whether or not to report information is a present concern.  Being considered gate-keepers, is a challenging place to exist.  Reputation is paramount in the mental health world.  communitysafetypic.gifPeople rely on the ability of the clinician to create a safe space by which they open themselves up to vulnerable existences.  No one wants to be the individual bringing an accusation up to the licensing board, but in the end, the importance of the safety in our field weighs more heavily than that of whether or not the alleged offender continues to feel fond of the accuser.  Popper (1963) discusses the importance of truth and though he was not discussing the role of a therapist, in the mental health world truth is crucial.  Reporting an individual for doing wrong, being a gatekeeper for society or even the mental health world is a weighty responsibility, and one that each clinician takes on when accepting licensure and each person carries as a member of a community.  If clinicians do not hold truth and reporting of offenses in high regard, people get hurt.  If community members do not maintain safety and security of truth and accountability in high regard, people get hurt.  Responsibility, integrity, vulnerability, and gatekeeping are paramount frameworks for the care provided by humans for humans deserving of dignity and protection.  Society has an obligation to its members to care for and protect one another.  There is a guard for creating safety for those with wounds needing healing and clinicians that may prey either intentionally or unintentionally on them.


Popper, K. (1963). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. New York, NY: Routledge Classics.

 

He Weeps with Us

 

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Jesus wept. John 11:35

The shortest verse in all the Bible…  Obviously, the easiest to memorize as well.  This verse takes us back to a sorrowful time in the life of Jesus. In the small village of Bethany, we find Him weeping at the grave of his friend Lazarus.  The tears of our Lord conveys volumes to the reader.  I had not really thought of it before but actually, Jesus could have but did not speak healing from a distance like he did for the centurion’s servant. Matthew 8:13 Jesus had his reasons.  His reasoning did not negate the suffering, He did not take it lightly.  Instead, He was “greatly troubled” and wept.  The Son does what His Father’s, our Father’s will is even if it brings temporary sorrow He will be glorified and all He does is good and for good.

With poignant brevity, the gospel of John, took the most simplistic words to convey the mourners experience watching Jesus around the grave by stating,  “Jesus wept.” Don’t you know He did not weep because Lazarus was dead.  I believe Jesus wept when He saw Mary and Martha, Lazarus’s sisters crying.  He loved them and he loved him.  He knew what was coming, he knew in just a moment at a beckoning he would raise Lazarus from the dead and bring him out of the grave in his grave clothes.

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Tears touch the heart of our Father!

Mary’s heart was broken, she lost her brother.  I understand this heartache all too well.  She was hurting and had lost hope for help for her brother.  She had called for Jesus, she had believed in Him and she now believed He was too late to help.  Jesus wept with her knowing her heart and her sorrow.

There is no interpreter needed as tears speak much clearer than words.
In Psalm 56:8, the psalmist says the Father keeps tears in a bottle.  So… it’s okay to cry.

Compassion for suffering     The Calamity of Sin

The Calamity of Sin    The Cost of Redemption

The Cause of His Own Death

For all these things he wept…

I am grateful the Lord’s heart is broken when my heart is broken.  It’s hard for me to comprehend the nearness of the Father to me but I feel Him.  When I am filled with sorrow He is with me.

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). And when that morning comes, “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).