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Seclusion December 25, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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I’ve had a couple of posts in mind over the last few weeks but have been too busy with exams and then Christmas preparations. One I was going to title ‘Isolated’. It was about how, during exams with my nose in the books and the world shut away, I can feel very alone. And exams are followed by Christmas which, while enjoyable, has an element of isolation for me, a single in a word of couples. But now that I’ve waited, the post I had in mind has been altered by recent thoughts and experiences.

Enhancing my feeling of isolation this year is a sense that God is calling me apart in a different way than in the past. As I’ve been recovering from a bout with overstress and the resulting insomnia, I’ve been finding myself in a quiet, reflective mood, observing the world as if from afar. God’s been speaking to me about the false props I have leaned on as far as my identity and security are concerned and he’s been bringing to my recogntion the aspects of the person he’s created me to be. One of the things he’s been speaking over and over again to me is that I am a writer and as such I must write. I’ve been sensing in myself a withdrawing in order to make time and space for my thoughts to percolate in order to give way to that expression.

Last week, I received an email newsletter. The author shared a dream she had in which the Lord had told her she was pregnant, not with a baby but with a vision he had placed within her. I can’t remember the details of what she shared, but something she said must have been unique enough to stick with me, ruminating in the back of my mind. Then two days ago, I went to see the movie ‘The Nativity Story’ which gives a more true-to-reality depiction than I’ve seen before of what Mary’s experience must have been like as the young woman impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the Son of God.

I’ve heard people talk before of how visions and dreams from God are like seeds planted in the womb and that, often, there is a time of labor and travail to bring forth his purposes in ther lives or ministries. I’ve thought that was a neat analogy but have never experienced anything I would class as such. But then this morning, my pastor shared the Christmas story and he spoke of how Elizabeth had gone into seclusion for a period of time before the birth of John. In many cultures of the past women withdrew from society during the latter stages of pregnancy. Somehow the word ‘seclusion’ resounded in my ears.

And so, I chose that as the title of this entry rather than ‘isolation’. I have the sense that there has been an inner withdrawing, a secluding myself from the hustle and bustle around me for the purpose of protecting, guarding, keeping hidden for a time, that which God is working in me. I’m not withdrawn as in refraining from participating in the celebrations and so forth. But inside, I’ve taken a step back. I think there is something God is doing within me…perhaps a setting free, perhaps a commissioning. I really don’t know. But like Mary this Christmas, I’m hiding these things in my heart and ponderng them. And obeying by writing them down.

I used to fear quiet seasons. I used to hate times of loneliness. I still don’t find them pleasant, but there is a growing recognition within me of the ebbs and flows of life and that the quiet places, the withdrawn seasons, are an important part of God’s timetable as he brings us to a place of stillness where he can speak, as he hides what he is doing in us from the world for a time, until the fruit of it has been established and gathered strength to withstand the gazes and speculations of others.

And so this Christmas, I am in seclusion. Be it unto me according to your will, O Lord.

Chamber Music December 10, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Life.
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I went to see a youth choir today with my brother. They sang Gloria along with several Christmas carols. They were very good (apparently they have won several awards and stuff). Anyways, the point is that neither my brother nor I realized the difference between a concert choir and a chamber choir, but this group had both.  Apparently a chamber choir sings without instrumental accompianment. I liked that the best. They did some really unique sounding pieces. Maybe my brother will make a cultural conossieur out of me yet.

What do you enjoy/participate in that you consider ‘cultured’? What does it really mean to be cultured?

Is God Kind? December 8, 2006

Posted by amybeth in God.
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I read a book today where the author described God as the kindest person he had ever met. Somehow that really struck me because I’m not sure I’ve ever viewed God that way. I certainly haven’t viewed him as ‘unkind’ per say, but ‘kind’ and ‘God’ have never quite gone together for me.

A friend of mine posted a blog entry about how being kind is more important than being right. I argued in a comment that being loving is more important that being right, but that sometimes, being loving doesn’t always come across as kind (think ‘tough love’). I think I’ve always viewed God as both loving and right but in a way that my character growth is more important than my feelings…and that would seem to go against one definition of kindness as being considerate . And yet, in Corinthians, one of the characteristics of love is kindness. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what ‘kind’ means.  What is kindness? And what does it mean for God to be kind?

Rhythms of Life December 8, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Uncategorized.
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I spontaneously wrote the byline to my blog “Waiting, cocooned and hidden…fluttering free, beautiful…rhythms of life” and then realized how apt it was. I have struggled to define myself…sometimes feeling invisible, hidden, waiting for God to do something…sometimes feeling as if I’m on a roll, moving forward, making progress. Somehow I’ve defined the first as bad and the second as good, the first as past and the second as where I’m to live from now on. But I’ve begun to realize that there are truly rhythms to life and each plays an important role. I need both the quiet, introspective moments, the moments where its just God and me, the moments of questions and doubts that drive me deeper in my search of truth along with the moments of breakthrough where I have the energy and the drive to apply the things I’ve learned, to move forward and see God’s kingdom established in areas of my own life and the lives of others where it was not able to penetrate before.

As Ecclesiastes says, there is a time:

to tear down and a time to build up

a time to weep and a time to laugh

a time to mourn and a time to dance

a time to embrace and a time to refrain

a time to search and a time to give up

a time to tear and a time to mend

a time to be silent and a time to speak

Do you have particular rhythms that characterize your life? Have you accepted and embraced them or do you struggle with thinking there’s a particular ‘happy, everything is okay’ place you have to achieve?