That Day (from Isaiah 25)

Rows and rows of tables, candles, seats, pottery, china. A table set with ancient wisdom, an ancient knowing of each story behind each guest.

Purified tables on an atomic level. Chairs, steady and leathery and woody.

Column candles, tea lights burning. Both on the tables and in the air, like the banquet hall in Harry Potter. The stars in the sky seem low, within reach finally.

The air is dry and fragrant with smells that we have never smelled, mixed with the roasted lamb and other choice meats, fragrant offerings to us, to God. A little breeze laced with chocolate. A larger breeze pregnant with expectation, chilling to our strong bones.

Time, coming together. The past, the present. Wedded at last.

Family members that have been long gone. Victims of tragedy, martyrs, raised.

Music, dancing. The way we will be able to dance. With no urge to please anyone else, with no shame.

Wine. Wine that gets into skin, not just heads.

A mingling, rowdy party. Earth, sweat, breeze, completion.

Seeing Him. His eyes full of the fire of love. His garments fragrant.

Lounging and reclining. Having a Nat Sherman. He knows us.

Those who have stared at the face of tragedy, of death, of darkness, of mental illness, of injustice, of not being known in this life. Who have felt the anger and rage in their gut.

He enjoys our company. He thrives off our conversation. Phrases are completed in minds before they are actually spoken. There is laughter, victory, peace.

When we drive home, there will be no accidents. No more dark nights.

Robin Williams, “A Centurion of the City”

I’m clunkily typing and retyping this first line.

I’m having a hard time finding words, words that aren’t too angry, words that aren’t laced in judgement toward the voices in the Christian community that have judged the recent tragedy of Robin William’s suicide. Words that aren’t saturated with anything else other than trying to wrestle with my own reaction.

Here’s the hard, cold, reality. It could have been me.

I urge us, each and everyone, to take this as an opportunity to look at ourselves.

This is a hard thing to do and I don’t say this lightly and I say it with the utmost respect and love. Love for the beauty in us. And compassion for the pain that each of us has had to endure.

Depression can strike anyone at anytime. Its victims know no rank. If you have the privilege of looking at your own shit and coming out alive, get on your knees and thank God for life and the new compassion you will have on others. It is in the surrender that we actually wake up.

I urge the church, we beautiful people, us, (in the non-organized sense and organized sense) to wake up. This is actually the place that I’ve personally experienced the most rejection. It is also the place (through its members) that I’ve found the most healing.

We, the church (not buildings), have great responsibility to care for the mentally ill. It is a messy, risky, job at times.

It is in hard times, times of questioning, that knowing our identities and functions are of utmost importance.

My son said the other day, “Mom, the mentally ill are the centurions of the City. They watch over and protect it.”

Robin Williams was a centurion. He battled, he fought, he brought us great joy along the way. He kept our humor up and our hearts and minds inspired. This is how he should be remembered. Not as a victim of tragedy.

This is turning out to be longer than I expected. I would like to remind the Church Universal today, (speaking to myself), who We are.

We are:

A house of lovers.
A house of prayer.
A house of forgiveness.
A lover of ourselves first, instead of beating up ourselves and those who attend.
A respite.
A haven for the weak.
A speaker of LIFE into others, not death.
The FIRST place where people go to receive grace.
A place of humility, not power and people shows.
A seat of service, not of judgement.
Prophets. Priests. Kings and Queeens.
People not a production.

Centurions of the city.

——————————-

Summer Birth

It has been the summer from Hell.

And from Heaven.

Let me say this. There is Hope. And not only Hope, but Expectation.

Expectation that the King is coming. When we give God our Yes, Hell follows closely. But it is nothing to fear. Because God is much stronger.

I am here typing this after feeling immense pain today. There has been pain on all fronts. Pain, though, is the very conduit of Heaven, if we let it be. And feel it and let it do its thing and not walk away from it.

If we will all just look deeply at ourselves. At our pain, but only nestled in the wings of the Divine Yes. The Yes that Jesus said over us when He came to die and the Yes He will say to us when we meet Him face to face.

I am thankful. Thankful for the deaths that we have all had to die this summer, in order that the King may first be enthroned in our hearts, then on this earth.

When I was talking to Him this morning, releasing, sitting looking at the trees and the chickens in my back yard, He gave me the image of a party. And of a wedding. We fight…and rest…and stand…so that we will lounge on the leather couches at the Feast. Where every tear will be wiped away. And with every sip of New Wine, the old wine skins will be shed. This is our inheritance. He is our inheritance. If we suffer well, we will be able to minister to the very heart of God both now and on that Day.

I sit here as both a broken woman and an expectant one. Feeling the pangs of the in between and the push of eternity. The birth of Summer is upon us.

Intimacy

Grace has found me.

Grace knows me. I know grace. Like in the most orgasmic way. Anything less than grace like this is counterfeit. We are meant for nothing short of Grace like the ocean. Washing us with its gentle caresses. Tossing us about with its masculine fierceness. It hones in on us…as if we were the only ones it knew.

The Motherload of Yes

It’s a rainy day here on Ladson. It reminds me of Ireland, as the rain is “soft” they say.

It’s the first time I’ve cooked breakfast in awhile for the family. There have been many do it yourself mornings this summer. Grab your own toast, cereal, milk.

But now it’s back to breakfasts, the Pandora Moby station and getting a minute to myself to write again.

——————

There’s been lots of talk about giving God your Yes. It’s true. It’s what He wants.

——————-

I gave God my Yes to what He has been saying over me for years at the beginning of the summer. There is certainly a grandness to what He says over us. It should feel a little scary to say Yes to God. We have small human dreams over ourselves at times. He has big huge ones…better than we could imagine.

The training ground for His glory in us, though, is the ancient path. A path that many have walked down before us. It is a path full of routines, immense pain, loneliness, suffering, but ALWAYS a good meal on the way, with unexpected companions. There are treasures in hidden places. We get to gaze into the very face of God as our reward.

He is our reward. Saying Yes to God unleashes the Motherload. The motherload of Glory, pain, intimacy and life in the Spirit.

There was a massive high dive at the hotel we used to stay at in Entebbe, Uganda. It was super scary. Your heart would beat itself right up into your throat right before jumping. I went to the edge. I had to put all reason and logic aside and just jump. Looking at the proud, expectant faces of my team members (there was also a tinge of “that girl is crazy” there too) was all I needed.

Wind in my hair, gravity pulling me down fast, the smack of the water and the relief of sinking down to come back up. It was much less scary than I thought and the cheers of my team members and feeling true to my nickname “Uganda Wanda” was worth it.

Saying Yes to God is like this. Looking into His proud, expectant, full of laughter face to find strength to risk.

And a bonus, although all hell has broken loose since I have said Yes, I do always get good parking spaces.

Peace.

White Truce.

To Gaza, I am saying this. My heart breaks for your innocents. Justice is not being done. Yet you have war in your hearts. I’ve lived in a war zone for two years. I can’t imagine the terror you’ve seen for centuries. I’ve seen terror. Don’t fight terror with terror.

Yet there is forgiveness in the eyes of some of your people. I see it. Let the God of Israel, who also is your God, love you.

To Israel. Some of you have rejected Jesus. He will fight for you, as He has always done and will continue to do. He has already forgiven you for killing Him and rejecting you. Receive His forgiveness. Allow yourselves to be forgiven. Forgive, and love your enemies.  You are beautiful in His sight.

“Love is the temple, love the higher law.” U2
“Soldier of Love” Sade

Crawling

Love is a temple, love the higher law.  You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl.  U2

Love is brutal at times.

It’s also as gentle as a summer rain.

—————–

For me, recently, I’ve tasted the crawling side of love.  You know, the kind of love that denies and shuts up.  The kind of love that sees no offense, and that rallies no defense.

Although painful, it’s utterly humanizing.  It makes us into who we are supposed to be.  Humans, ourselves.

Like Eustace in Narnia.  His crap turned him into a dragon.  And then Aslan had to rip him a new one, so he could be the boy he was always meant to be.

All I have to say is to keep going.  When the pain of love is too much to bear, crawl to get through it and to it if you have to.

Fear it. Feel it. Scream your way through it with the help of Evanescence.

And it will all get better.

6/21

Matthew 10

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Breathe:  Breathe in the Peace of Jesus, who also brings justice.

Read:  Read this slowly and carefully. 

Meditate:  Which words speak to you right now? How is family pain bringing in the kingdom?

Extend:  How does this effect your life?  The fact that you are a Chosen One.  What do you need to give up to be like Abraham and follow the course that God is calling you to, despite persecution from those closest to you?

Thankful.

Just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone who has donated.  We only need $1500 more in the next two days.  We have had around $500 donated. Be looking for promotional video that is coming out soon! You can donate here. Please download a copy of Dismantling Taboo and give it to someone who needs it if you make a donation. Your names will be included in gift baskets because we want the women to know that they are being blessed from around the country.

Peace.

Natalee

 

 

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