Hope Realigns

arrows - alignmentA pastor began his introduction into the Communion Service with a call for confession. “This is the time to realign our hearts,” he said, “to make sure we are ready to receive the bread and cup together.”

Realigning our hearts to God – I had never considered that viewpoint but I liked it. As I bowed my head and confessed sins and errors of judgment, prideful thoughts of the week and the taking of offenses that did not belong to me – I was grateful for moments of contemplative confession.

Sometimes phrases and words stay with me for a long time. I ponder them, journal about them, pray fervently for clarity.

As I thought about the topic of realignment and pondered this blog post, I saw the need for realignment in many areas of life.

My last post centered on the topic of release as I linger in God’s waiting room.

How can I realign my soul as I wait and release?

As I work on necessary patience, I realign my heart to accept whatever God’s answers might be. Bringing my heart back to the correct focus is a constant soul work and a spiritual discipline I want to conquer.

When we have struggles in relationships, we might consider the idea of realignment. How can we be mutually submissive so that compromise works and love scores a win?

How can we set healthy boundaries in our lives and realign our hearts with what is truly important? We might try less productivity for the sake of dollars; more reaching out to the needy.

As a writer, my creative mind constantly sparks with new ideas – another book I yearn to write, articles and blog posts to reach the masses through cyberspace, another website focused on my coaching outreach.

But in this season of active ministry, my time to construct paragraphs and plots, characters and resolutions is limited. The achievement of polished manuscripts lies dormant.


I must realign my goals with reality and wait for the time when ideas bring a harvest. God is glorified even in the waiting.


Especially during this Lenten season, I seek to realign my soul with the important rather than the urgent, to find my joy in the simple pleasure of God’s presence and the divine whisper that sings lullabies at night.

Then when resurrection comes – whether it is Easter Sunday, resolutions within relationships or the birth of a new book – I will know hope has preceded me.

Realignment will have succeeded and once again – I will journey on the right path.

©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

11 Insights from Sabbatical

Many of you who follow my blog have expressed that you were praying for me this week. Thank you.

20150320_111209To honor your kindness, I’d like to share with you the 11 insights God gave me during Sabbatical. Some of them are, of course, repeats – those marching-around-Mount-Sinai-truths we all know. But when God repeats something, it’s important to listen.

Some are from my own readings and journalings – truths my soul needed to savor, a salve to cover spiritual wounds.

Here then are the insights from my Sabbatical week:

1.Even when I am feeling discouraged and wonder where I belong, God never abandons me. I belong to Him. Some of you may be thinking, Well, duh! But again – a truth worth repeating and a treasure for soul memory.

2.When I take a break, my clients and the rest of the world will not fall apart. In fact, I am quite certain the world needed a break from me.

3.Sabbath rest is absolutely necessary to restore the soul. Although I rest every Sunday, my soul needs some extended times with God. Having the freedom to spend hours in his presence was – well – heavenly.

4.God is bigger than the ordinary. We really do focus most of life on ourselves, don’t we? The bills, the paycheck, the job, the weather, the car problems. God’s agenda is so much bigger.

5.To honor my passions is one of the most vital things I must do. Passion is at the heart of who we are, and so often we hide from our passions because they remind us of dreams unfulfilled. Even a little time with our passions helps to restore the soul. This is why King David composed music and Jesus held children on his lap.

6.In helping others, I must also find a way to help myself. As a coach, I ask the powerful questions that point my clients toward their passions. I must also learn to ask myself the same challenging questions, then find a way to push me forward.

7.Asking grace for myself requires that I be willing to give it to others – often and liberally. Grace is the first step toward forgiveness and reconciliation. God requires that we share it.

8.God is eager to spend time with us. The loneliness of the soul is often a clue that the Spirit within seeks time without distractions. We owe the Divine One our undivided attention.

9.It’s a good thing I’m not a bettin’ woman. My brackets are completely destroyed.

10.Quote for the week from Anne Lamott, I trust that when I wake up tomorrow morning, God will still like me.”

11.Tulips are always a happy idea.

So there you have them. Nothing earth-shattering, but insights that filled up half my journal while restoring my soul.

I wish for you a Sabbatical as well – a time to breathe in, to let your body truly rest and to rekindle love for your passions.

Peace be with you.

©2015 RJ Thesman – author of the Reverend G books – http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

 

Cheering for the Young

VF01Last weekend, I attended graduation receptions for two young women. I have followed these girls through the lives and prayers of their mothers – two of my friends. And when I see these girls on Facebook or at my church, I smile – even though I know they probably don’t realize who I am or that I have an interest in their lives.

But now they are embarking into the future, armed with one of the greatest treasures we all hope to possess: passion.

Each of these young women are passionate about who they are and what they want to accomplish. Each of them is unique with giftings that show how incredibly smart they are and how much potential they possess.

On one hand, I want to protect them from what is out there. I know they will experience losses and resulting griefs. That is just life. They will also be tempted to abandon their passions for lesser goals. I hope and pray that does not happen.

Generations of women have abandoned their passions for lesser goals. That is a travesty. Many women have even forgotten what it felt like to have a dream and feel energized to make that dream happen. So many women believe they are not enough and try to find artificial ways to make themselves measure up.

And so…within this blog platform…I wish to give you female graduates some advice. As an older woman, I’ve earned the right to do that and as a woman who has prayed for you, I believe it is my duty to share insights learned from long years on my knees and long hours trying to find the restorative keys to my own passion.

Dear Ones, please listen and heed this advice:

Always keep your passion alive. Whether you long to become an editor of an international publication or you yearn to join the Philharmonic Orchestra or you hope to run the Boston Marathon and beat the guys – keep your passion secure and alive. Without your passion, your soul will become stale and you will lose the energy and zest for life that is so necessary to not only survive, but also to thrive.

Never settle for what is merely good – whether in jobs, possessions or love. Instead, wait for and strive for what is best. Fifty years from now, you will look back and be glad that you waited for the best because that gives your life significance without regret. God created you as unique, and he wants the best for you. So never settle for only the good.

Be authentic. If you don’t want to join the crowd, if you don’t want to be part of the sorority, if you hate broccoli – just be yourself and stay authentic. Wearing a mask is more tiring than being yourself. And trust me on this – you are already incredible. You are beautiful and you are a treasure. You are already enough.

When life gets hard, remember that your parents raised you to embrace your passion. They have sacrificed much so that you could run toward your goals and every day, they think of you and pray for you.

Then also know this…if you listen very carefully, somewhere in the atmosphere you will hear the rest of us women who have gone before you. We are cheering for you and hoping that you will be the ones to break the barriers of gender abuse, so that all women everywhere will be embraced as the incredible creatures we are.

I love you both. I continue to pray for you. I believe in you.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

Tribute to Jewel

To find a lifetime friend who will pray faithfully is a rare gift. God granted me such a person about 30 years ago. We volunteered together at a pregnancy crisis center. I edited her books, and we prayed together. When I moved away from that town, she continued to pray for me and my son. Every couple of weeks, we exchanged letters.

“How is your son?” she always asked. “Have you published another book yet?” “How are your writings?”

She wrote about her family so that I could pray for them as well. Our mother hearts exchanged prayers, and we encouraged each other as we waited for God’s answers. I told her about my writing ideas, another conference where I taught or the rough draft of the latest book I worked on. She prayed and asked the same question in every letter.

“Have you published a book? How are your writings?”

She taught me so much about living in joy. Sparks of wisdom danced in her eyes, and every time I saw her – I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Even as she aged, she never forgot how to share God’s love with me. When her back hurt and she needed surgery on her eyes, she stayed in joy. Her faith never wavered. I wondered if her middle name was “Perseverance.”

Sometimes on my way to visit Oklahoma family, I stopped to see her. We hugged and laughed. We prayed together. I gave her one of my latest books and knew in a couple of weeks, she would write me again.

“Have you published a book? How are your writings?”

This Easter, I sent her a card with my letter inside. “I’m so excited,” I wrote. “Guest what? I signed a contract for my novel. It should be published this year. Thank you so much for your prayers.”

But she never opened the card. She never read the letter. Her family sent the card back with a note attached, “Jewel passed away March 19th.”

I wept and still grieve. My special friend and intercessor – the woman who prayed specifically for my words – gone. I will miss her letters and her friendship, but most of all – those prayers.

All I can do now is ask God to tell Jewel how much she meant to me. “Tell her, Jesus. Tell her, please, that my book will be published. Her prayers made a difference in my life.”