Peace: Walking Through November

~ another day of week 1 ~

As I am reading through Mark, I read parable after parable.  God shares a parable with the multitudes and then He shares the meaning with a few.  The parables speak of natural things that can lead to supernatural understanding.  Back then, He spoke about planting seeds and candles under a basket.  Now, I think He would have talked about commuting to work and smart phones.  My mind doesn’t think in the way of parables.  I like the meaning Jesus shared with the few.  I like to skip ahead to the supernatural.  But the supernatural happens in the every day.  The supernatural happens in the every day.

After hours or days of sharing the unknown through messages of what was known, Jesus retreated with His few to the sea.  When I think of retreat, I think of peace.  Jesus often sought His retreat by getting into a boat to rest at sea.  This is also where Jesus revealed the deeper meaning of His parable messages.  At least it seems this was God’s plan.  But, frankly, I am not sure what is worse . . . on the land, Jesus has the multitudes seeking Him and constantly yearning for more.  On the sea (where He is seeking retreat and peace), He’s got Peter sinking, others freaking out every time the boat rocks in a storm and repeated lack of understanding of the deeper meaning of the parables (and everything else) He shares with them.  Peace at sea?

God, however, did keep His peace because He is peace.   He is our peace and He is our brother.  Because He was fully human for a time, we can connect with Him in a personal way.  When I think of Jesus at sea, I imagine that the Creator probably connected with the water, the flow of it, the open space all around Him.  The heavens up above Him.  I think He found His otherworldly community at sea.   I think out on the boat, He experienced the community of the Trinity.  Of course, God doesn’t have to find community or the Trinity because He is both.  But, in the way I understand, being out at sea for Him was what we call a prayer closet or quiet time with God.

The parables may continue to mystify me.  But, following God’s example makes sense to me.  I am Florida grown and when I look out into the blue ocean with lighter blue skies behind, with the warmth all around me, I experience peace.  My life and my circumstances sometimes mystify me, but when I get into a boat or a prayer closet for quiet time, I experience the Trinity.  I know that peace is present.  There is peace on land and peace at sea.  Supernatural peace happens in the every day. 

Jesus Girl v. The ‘Rest of Me’ Girl

By JMathis

I want to smell, see, touch, taste and hear the Holy Spirit in the everyday. I want to experience Christ authentically, richly and truly, and move beyond any and all of my childhood notions of “canned spirituality”.

I no longer want to compartmentalize my life into Jesus Girl v. The ‘Rest of Me’ Girl.

Instead, I want the dreams in my heart to be intertwined and inseparable from God’s vision and blueprint for my life.

As I smell cafecitos and fresh pastelitos waft through the hearth of my local Cuban bakery, I want that aroma to remind me that the scent of my life needs to change. That the aura and demeanor I project everyday is no longer something that is bitter, jaded and frustrated, but instead, a fragrance that is soothing, holy and pleasing to the Lord.

As I see how far the sand runs along to the left and right of me at the beach, and how the ocean knows no boundary or end, I want the expanse of the shoreline to reveal the endlessness and vastness of God’s love for me. I want to see how there is no limit to His mercy and forgiveness, despite my daily, minute-by-minute screw-ups and pettiness.

As I touch my daughter’s cheek as she sleeps, I want to imagine God touching my cheek as I sleep, as He prays blessings and speaks words of purpose and healing over my life. I want to take delight in my Father in the same way He delights in me—as His child worthy of love, redemption and forgiveness.

As I taste fresh, juicy strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, exploding on my tongue with the flavors and boldness of summer, I want to be thankful that God has created so much in nature to help heal and restore the damage I have done to my physical body over the years. I want to be the walking, tangible embodiment of the sweet-tasting fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

As I hear the hustle and bustle of the city, I want to listen for the stillness of the Holy Spirit, guiding me through the storms and insanity of my day. When the client is yelling, the car horns are angrily honking, and the baby’s cries are deafening, I just want to seek solitude in the voice of the Spirit, as He leads me back to a place of safety and peace.

I want my senses to be awakened with mad, passionate love for my Savior. I am ready to stop seeing Him as a faceless Sunday morning deity that has no relevance in my day-to-day.

I know there is probably a long, grueling road ahead of me in making this decision, with mountains of personal doubt, setbacks, failures and “I Told You So’s,” but I’m ready to say goodbye to The ‘Rest of Me’ Girl.

Are you?