Friday, April 19, 2013

Lord Have Mercy. Christ Have Mercy.

Stalwartly perched across the side street adjacent to Prenger's IGA and St. John's Lutheran Church in my childhood home of Brunswick, MO, stands St. Boniface Catholic Church, a red bricked edifice testifying to the strong 1840 German stock of both community and  Church membership.

St. Boniface intrigued me as a younger girl; especially on Saturday evenings. Church on Saturdays? It was an all-together unconventional consideration given my Methodist/Baptist denominational background. And yet I wanted nothing more than to go, to make my way into the Saturday mystery of St. Boniface.

My dad and mom, however, thought otherwise with their early junior-high aged daughter (i.e. "No mystery for you, Julie Ann, we're Protestant.")

And thus, I'd settle for an occasional Saturday evening grocery trip in which I'd wait outside my mother's car and gaze across the parking lot to the church. There I'd see well dressed school mates and parents milling about before Mass. I could spy with my junior-high eye school classmates (and twins) Mike and Mark Reichert decked out in dress slacks and button down shirts talking with my next door neighbor, our fellow classmate, and their first cousin, Lesa Reichert and her parents, Raymond and Mary Jane. Not far from them I'd see the all four Johnson girls--one being my best-friend forever, Cindy--and their sweet, kind, mother, Joan. Who were, by the way, directly related to Mike, Mark, and Lesa.

I'd while away the minutes watching interactions of countless other friends, classmates, parents, teachers, and community leaders and count down the time until I could enter through those tall white doors and discover for myself the Saturday evening mystery.

And so obliged the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles a few short years later as Cindy rode with me to that same IGA parking lot and then escorted me through those same doors. It's been far too long ago for me to accurately recall my initial responses, but this I remember, everything: the sounds, the feel, the process seemed entirely foreign and other until a portion of the liturgy when priest and worshippers engaged in the thoughtful response.

Priest: "Lord have mercy."
Members: "Christ have mercy."

Six words. Yet, something resonated deep within my 16-year old soul. Something drew me to the holiness of God--the presence of God--the mercy and kindness of God.

Six words. The same six words I've found my 47-year old soul repeating time and time and time again at the end of this an all-together unmerciful week.

International Terrorism Comes to America
Lord have Mercy.

AP: Surviving Boston bomb suspect identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass
Christ have Mercy. 

Texas Rocked By Fertilizer Plant Explosion
Lord have Mercy.

Gosnell Witness: 'I Heard Ten Babies Breathe'
Christ have Mercy. 

North Korea Missile Launch: Day 14
Lord have Mercy.

Galesburg teen dies after rollover crash
Christ have Mercy. 

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." 
~Psalm 34:18


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What a Girl Wants. What A Girl Needs.

If the Lord asked you, "What is it that you most want from Me so that you can serve Me the way you most want to serve Me," how would you respond?

This question, as posed by Pastor Ed Underwood in his book, When God Breaks Your Heart, brought me up short last night and I've yet to shake it.

"What is that you most want from Me...?"

When I awoke, I was thinking about it.

As I ambled through a local candle shop with a friend, I mulled it over.

While preparing Italian beef sandwiches smothered in Provolone cheese for The Husband the question begged to be answered.

Again and again throughout the day--and now into late evening, I've considered, unpacked, and pondered where I've been (or not been as has been the case more and more frequently) when it comes to serving Him and following Him in the totality of my life the past few years. Given said considerations, these wants--these desperate wants--seem most paramount in getting back to a place a serving.   

* ENERGY* (i.e. physically, mentally, spiritually, relational, creatively): However you choose to define it, be it "the doldrums," "finding oneself in a funk," or some hormonal "Oh! My Ovaries!" menopausal weariness, the truth is I've been one whooped estrogen puppy these past 3.5 years.

I've dealt with depression in years past and this hasn't been depression--it's been something entirely "other." A compilation, no doubt, of several life-change/family-change decisions which didn't necessarily work out the way I imagined they would, parenting demands & worries (yes, I worried) that knocked me on my rear, and the inability to complete a book manuscript resulting in its cancellation. 


One whooped estrogen puppy was I. 
Am I.

Jesus, I want energy--restorative energy which reaches the undone places of my body, mind, spirit, heart, relationships, and creativity. 

Creativity. Oh, Jesus! joy-robbing disappointments, weariness and loss, shriveling ovaries, aging parents and mid-speaking event phone calls from 'local authorities' have run the Creativity Ship aground but good. I'd love it if you'd do something about that--you being the Captain of my Soul and all.


It's probably not surprising given the energy matter; but boy-how-dee! where did my laser intensity run off to? (probably moored nearby that Creativity Ship.) A couple years back, a woman who knows me well asked, "Where's the Julie that used to call with book ideas and couldn't wait to teach the newest bits of scripture she had studied?" 

She gone. 

But here's the deal...
I don't think it'll stay that way.
In fact, I know it won't. 

Jesus, I want back the ability to see "The One Thing" that brings you pleasure in my writing and teaching. 

How 'bout you? What do you want most from Jesus in order to serve Him? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Snapshots of An iMperfect Life

The Leaning Lamp of G'burg 
Leaning Lamp Leveler 

The Kitchen Threw Up, Again

Every Thing Has Its Place...On the Dresser

No Comment. 

"What Not  To Dye" or, Channeling My Inner Stacey London