Let God distract you (#BibleJournaling)

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In my devotions this year I’m reading through the Bible. A few days ago I came to Exodus 3 and noticed something I’d never seen before. It’s Moses, letting God distract him and God responding when He sees Moses’ receptivity. Here it is in Exodus 3:2-4 (emphases added):

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

A few quotes from my study Bible helped nail down the concept for me.

“God comes to Moses through the commonplace which becomes special and holy when touched by God” J. Tollett New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 79.

and

“Stay alert to see God working. It often comes in ways we do not expect” – Leslyn Musch, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 130.

 

Ex 3_2-4

Bible journal for Exodus 3:2-4 (Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

Today I want to be alert to God working in my commonplace, and to be open to His distractions.

Materials used: Pigma micron pen and colored pencils.

Surrounded by songs #BibleJournaling

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I’ve found several Bible verses to go along with my 2017 word LISTEN. One is Zephaniah 3:17:

“The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Isn’t that beautiful? I had to make an entry for it in my journaling Bible.

The image that comes to mind when I hear that verse is a mother singing to her baby. I decided to try doing a baby sketch, but in a tree. A google image search pulled up a graphic that I somewhat copied.

I found simple bird sketches in The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling and penciled them in freehand, then inked over all the pencil lines with Pigma Micron pens (I have three: .01, .03, .05). I used pencil crayons to do the coloring.

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Entry for Zephaniah 3:17 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

A little sequel:
Last week was my birthday. The morning after, as I lay in bed, the thought came to me: I forgot to spend some birthday time with the Lord yesterday.

As I breathed my “So sorry Lord” prayer, it was like He said to me, “That’s okay. I still have a present for you. It’s the music that I sing over you.”

About an hour later, hubby and I were in church at our early morning prayer meeting. We start that time with worship and this morning our leader, Joel, began with the beautiful song “No Longer Slaves” (Bethel Music). It starts:

“You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
All my fears are gone…”

{{Shivers}} What a birthday present! Thank you Lord!!

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Vena Cava

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Through Poetry Friday friend Ruth, I discovered the writings of Jan Richardson and her Women’s Christmas Retreat booklets. Last year I downloaded the one for 2015 (Illuminating the Threshold) and worked my way through part of it using its questions as writing prompts.

She ended the third chapter “The Cave of the Heart” with these questions:

“The ‘cave of the heart’ is a way of describing that place where, even for some small space of time, we can turn inward and pay attention to what is stirring within us. How do you find or create this kind of space? Are there practices, people, or places that help you listen to your life in a way that enables you to return to the world with renewed vision?” – p. 11.

My one little word for 2017 is LISTEN, and so the question: “Are there practices, people, or places that help you listen to your life…” popped out at me as I re-read these comments just now, and the poem I wrote in response last February:

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Vena Cava*

The vena cava of the psyche
also needs the in and out of breath
the in of distance—
a walk
a drive
a vacation
the out of spill
a journal
a pen
the in of a song
the out of tears
the in of an essay or poem
the out of conversation

So the blood of growth and change
pumps from the cave of the heart
to the head, the hands, and the feet.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

I’d love to know: How do you listen to your life?

You can find Jan Richardson’s Women’s Christmas Retreat booklets available for download on THIS page.

* The vena cava are either of two large veins discharging blood into the right atrium of the heart, one (superior vena cava) conveying blood from the head, chest, and upper extremities, the other  (inferior vena cava) conveying blood from all parts below the diaphragm – dictionary.com

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today Linda at Teacher Dance.

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Sounds

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By now you’ve probably switched calendars, thought about—maybe even listed—a few resolutions and goals for the year, and caught yourself writing 2016 instead of 2017 a time or two. Plus, you may have chosen your one-word for 2017.

The custom of choosing a word for the year has been around for a while. I’m not sure whose idea it was to begin with but memory and scrapbooking enthusiast Ali Edwards has been choosing a yearly word since 2006 and has even developed a One Little Word business, offering prompts and scrapbooking products to members. I like her definition of “one word”:

“… a word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon…”

My word for 2017 came to me in the early hours of December 18. I had just written a blog post about my 2016 word (“mindfulness”) and choosing a word for 2017 was on my mind as I snuggled under the covers for a few more winks.

Also around that time I had been noticing that many of the big-name bloggers and productivity specialists I sometimes read were trying to convince me that I needed to be more focused to accomplish more and thus make more money in 2017. To do that I would want to sign up for their webinars and courses, but hurry because the special price would go away soon. I felt so bombarded by voices, it was becoming hard to hear the voice I really wanted to hear. How could I listen above the noise?

That word LISTEN sparked a frisson of recognition in me. You could say that morning it woke me up. LISTEN would be my one-word for 2017!

Because I always choose a scripture to go along with my word, I knew just what that would be too—Jesus’ words from John 10:

“To him (the Good Shepherd) the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him for they know his voice” – John 10:3,4 (emphasis added).

I want 2017 to be a year of listening for, recognizing, and hearing to the extent of obeying the voice of my Shepherd above all other voices.

During 2017 I’ll explore many other facets of the word as well, such as listening to nature, to people, and to all the ways one hears and listens metaphorically—by reading, tuning in to my intuition, visually observing and hearing the unspoken communication of those around me—that sort of thing.

I’m planning to try some activities this year related to my word. You may want to join me:

  1. Find and collect quotes with 2017’s one-word in them.
  2. Find, collect, and memorize Bible verses that relate to my word.
  3. Make a playlist with songs that relate to my word.
  4. Look for and watch TED Talks about my word.
  5. Journal / blog about my word.
  6. Collect objects with my word on them to display around the house.
  7. Make a collage or other art project relating to my word.
  8. Write a creed or manifesto as an ideal for how attending to my word will affect my behavior.

And now to prove that hearing and listening have been on my mind for a long time, here’s a poem from my files. It’s one I wrote in 1980 when I was taking a summer writing course.  (In it you’ll hear sounds that you probably haven’t since that era of wooden clogs that we wore for a while).

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A Western Meadowlark–a frequent sight on the Canadian prairies but rarely seen here on Canada’s southwest coast. I photographed this one one January morning at Blackie Spit, Surrey, B.C.

Sounds

A foghorn groaning his pain in the bay,
Liquid notes of the lark on a new spring day
The gleeful ring of the telephone
Cutting the still of an evening alone
The tock, tock, Tock, TOCK, TOCK, Tock, tock, tock of feet
In wooden clogs on the concrete street
The fiendish howl of the winter wind
When I’m warm inside, and so is my friend
The raucous cawing of crows in spring
And the gentle plop, plop of the snow, melting
The hiccupy laugh of Brita at play
When she catches her ball, then flings it away
Crystal chimes in December, buzzing crickets in June
The shrill school bell—so welcome at noon…
Sounds there are without measure to feed our ears
To sharpen our pleasure and soothe our fears
To add to the riches of all our years
Wealthy the one who truly hears.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Do you choose a word for the year? Does your word choice have a story behind it? What ideas for activities could you add to the list above? I’d love to read your responses. Leave them in the comments, below.

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This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, the first Thursday of each month. Today it’s hosted by Carol Varsalona at her blog Beyond LiteracyLink.

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Selah

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I was intrigued by the word “Selah” when I first saw it on our list of one-little-words a few weeks ago. This will be interesting, I thought. When I started working on Michelle‘s one little word this week my initial intuition was confirmed. Selah doesn’t have a sure meaning.

“Selah” by the dictionary is: “An expression occurring frequently in the Psalms thought to be a liturgical or musical direction, probably a direction by the leader to raise the voice or indication of pause.” In the Amplified Bible, it’s transliterated “Pause and think of that.”

Despite or maybe because of this uncertain etymology it turns out to be a lovely word to take liberties with. I interpreted it as I would if it were my word and what it would say to me.

My real-life poet friend Laurel and I met yesterday and when I mentioned the subject of “Selah” she recalled she’d written about it too. She has given me permission to share her Selah poem with you. I love how we approached this differently—one as a seeker of Selah, the other as a serendipitous discoverer of it.

Picnic tables in the park

Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Selah (I)

Period. Don’t move
from this place till you’ve chewed
and swallowed the thought.
Delay. Mute the music.
Take a breathing space
a rest, lull, time out
maybe not as long as a coffee break
but at very least
a poet’s line break
or comma’s worth
of time.
Some lacuna in your life
will give it wholeness.
Take a hiatus
from your hurry.
Stop and listen.
Halt.
Hush.
Pause and think of that…
and then carry on.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Selah (II)

Where is it,
this place of rest I seek?
I never find it, but sometimes it finds me.
There I can hear my breath
and I know I am alive, still.
There, I am me, still,
with needs of my own.

I wait for the quiet to catch me

Surprise me with stillness,
sustain me with solitude,
only moments long but endless
in memory, cooling
the singed edges of my soul.

© 2005 by Laurel Archer (Used by Permission. All rights reserved)

(You can read more of Laurel’s wonderful poetry at her blog Four Parts Hope and her annual advent project Toward Christmas.)

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted each week by Holly at Reading, Teaching, Learning. We are currently writing about the one-little-word each of us has chosen as our “banner” for the year.