Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dorothy Strickland

Based on Psalms 42, 43, 137 & 144

She came home from middle school that day in a mood. My wise, kind, confident, independent daughter didnt want to talk about it. Her mood lasted for several days.

Finally, after she had me (reluctantly) promise not to do anything about it, she was ready to talk. Her forever friend had told lies about her; made fun of her in public, apparently just for entertainment. She was angry, hurt, embarrassed, humiliated.  Immediately the momma bear in me roared to life, wanting to shred my cubs tormentor!

After years of skipping over all the horrifying Psalms about destroying enemies, I suddenly wanted to sing them all! Something instinctive inside me connected with the Israelites rage and powerlessness as the Babylonians trafficked their children into slavery. Finally, I understood the desire for vindication, the urge to smash the heads of the tormentors and their babies!

But, I had made a promise to my daughter. So I kept my promise and let her handle it while I secretly gave her ex-forever friend the stink-eye every chance I got.

A few months later I heard my daughter talking about her ex-forever friend in a way that sounded like they were friends again! I was shocked and frightened for her! Why would she ever trust that friend again? How could she forgive? My daughter had crossed a threshold into a place of forgiveness while I was still sitting outside composing new Vindication Psalms. And when I tried to follow my daughter over that forgiveness threshold, my nose got bent out of joint when I slammed into a locked door.

How could I forgive? Did I even want to go through that door? I had some soul-searching to do in order to find the keys I needed before I could cross over into forgiveness.

Every day we are given opportunities for spiritual growth. In her book Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self, Joyce Rupp calls these opportunities entrances to holiness.

Rupp writes:
Entrances to holiness are everywhere and all the time. Never doubt that each particle of life, no matter how mundane, dramatic, painful, pleasurable, or simple, has a door awaiting your opening. If we give due attention and do not run from what repels or brings us pain, we unearth a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. We find our way home.

I love these words! They give me assurance that every part of my life is a threshold to holiness, to communion with God. Christ invites me into silence where He is my guide, my companion, my teacher.

I quiet my mind, breathing in Gods Spirit, slowly, deeply; breathing out completely my thoughts, my control, my distractions. In Gods presence, I feel safe to honestly explore what is frightening, confusing, painful.

I am at peace. I am understood. I am loved.

My heart sings a new Psalm of Hope and together God and I are free to dance.

What entrances to holiness await your opening?

Dorothy Strickland is the Minister to Children and their Families.


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