Testimonies of Nature

Now that the world is silent for a moment, may we again hear the cries of the wind, the whispers of the trees, and the cadence of the river, all, and at once, singing the song of their Creator, the source of trembling power and unexpected life.

Firestone Friday: Poem XXI

A powerful freedom

exists in knowing

that your identity,

your unchanging essence,

and your inextricable value,

do not rest

in production,

so whether you produce

triumphs or failures

or nothing at all,

you remain

as richly radiant

as you always have.

Ashes

It was

when I was

dust

that

I was

given the

embrace of life,

so I cry

into the wind,

“I can

scarcely

wait

to be

dust again.”

Firestone Friday: Poem XV

Consumed by deadlines.

Buried in unmet dreams.

Burdened by rejections

that press me farther downstream.

From beneath the water,

I greet the stones with a grin,

for it takes water in your ears,

to hear the voice within.

The Whisperer makes to speak,

and tells the wearied me,

that the things for which I labor

hold not my identity.

The essence, the potentialities,

the soul, and the heart,

your daily triumphs and your failures

hold not even part.

Ricochet

I ricochet

between

the feelings of

depravity

— the shame

of seeing God

yet still

choosing myself —

and the majesty

of there ever

being a moment

during which

self-interest

was conquered

at all.

How we

are irredeemable

and redeemed,

all at once.

Are You Suffering?

beach

That’s like me asking you if you’re staring, glossy-eyed into your phone. Of course you are, right?

We’re all suffering from something, because this world stubbornly refuses to pander to our needs — depression, arthritis, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, skin conditions, PTSD, digestive disorders, and sufferings unto infinity. We’re all burdened by physical, emotional, and spiritual frailty.

It’s good and bad, isn’t it, that all of those things are so deeply connected? When we struggle mentally, our bodies are without energy and health, and when we struggle physically, our minds just can’t operate. The good thing is this: healing and redemption, then, can flood all of our being. Making healthy choices, honoring our bodies, and pursuing a higher life washes over the full of us. When we pursue health, our entire being can’t help but to be redeemed.

Honoring our bodies

Sometimes, it feels like there isn’t much here to honor, right? Wrong! As frustrating (and disappointing) as they can be, our bodies are of incredible value. What else lets you consume an entire chocolate cake and somehow come out alive? Or who let’s you stay up all night, throwing back cold ones and then still wakes you up in the morning? Your body is your most loyal and forgiving companion.

And we can do better for it. Let’s make decisions a little better each day, choosing life over lethargy. Reach for the nutritious food, rewarding your body for getting you this far. Conquer your cravings by falling in love with new, super foods.

Yes, you know what’s next: exercise. Walk to the coffee shop to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Better yet, walk with a friend during lunchtime or after work. (Truly, you wouldn’t believe the health benefits of companionship. Here is a great Ted Talk about the incredible effects of companionship.)

Pursue health by making small, achievable steps each day to build a life that is both more uplifting and more fulfilling. You know it’s real, because you always feel better (and are better) after you exercise or go a full day eating according to plan. So let’s go.

Understanding health

What I hear most from people reluctant to embrace a healthier life is the misunderstanding of what it means to make healthy choices. It isn’t starving, it isn’t boring, and it isn’t a waste of time. It’s creating a menu of new, nutritious food, it’s self-care, and it’s rewarding.

Avoiding common offenders like gluten, dairy, preservatives, and chemicals and fueling your body with the nutrition it needs allows your body to overcome much of our suffering. When we’re burdened by physical and mental ailments, our bodies are crying out for relief. Let’s give it to them.

Here are some ideas to consider as you build a better, more fulfilling life:

  1. Eat healthy — no, I’m not talking about eating grass. I’m talking about local, farm-raised meats, eggs, and raw milk, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi.
  2. Exercise — get out there and explore a little.
  3. Sleep well — for probably the first time, make sleep a priority. It’s actually one of the most important parts of your day (yes, I mean night!).
  4. Relax and enjoy life — practice deep breathing, make time to read a book or watch your favorite TV show, eat slowly and savor your food, and cherish the people around you.

That sounds like a pretty good life, right? As our bodies heal, so too do our minds. May you find yourself more at peace.

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This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden.

Letting Go: Releasing Control

via Daily Prompt: Release

chains
Photo credit: wakingtimes.com

Even a title that suggests a discussion about relinquishing control is unsettling isn’t it? We want control, we crave control, we need control. We hold onto the details of our lives with white knuckles.

And what do we have to show for it? Strained relationships, stress, and regret? Our relationships are strained because we try to manipulate the other person to our whims and we resist when they try to do the same to us. We’re stressed because it’s exhausting and disappointing to manage everything (especially the unmanageable). We’re regretful because every disappointment is our fault, because we’re in control of everything, right?

The greatest irony is this: when we abandon control — in that very moment — we finally achieve freedom and triumph. How could we, though? How could we loosen our grip on our own lives? If we don’t obsessively monitor our lives, who’s going to take care of us? Enter: God.

Abandoning control only makes sense when we’re granting God the power. I don’t know about you, but there’s no one else I want to transfer control to — not to my boss, not to my parents, and not to the government. Only to God can we entrust our intentions every morning and dreams every night. And only He will honor us when we grant Him control.

Add up all of the love everyone has for us and it still can’t rival the providential love God has for us. He loves us even more purely and carefully than we love ourselves. That  sounds like someone who ought to hold the reigns.

Next time you’re stressed over deadlines, nervous about job opportunities, anxious about relationships, or overwhelmed by the vast details of life, offer your control to God: “Lord, I could try to anticipate and control everything, but I know that I’ll fail, because I have every time before this. Take the reigns on this one. Whatever you would do or wherever you would send me, let me follow your path. You work all things for my good. How could I help but to trust you with my life and heart?”

May The Lord bless you as you give more of yourself to Christ!

_________________

This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden. 

Covered by God’s Grace

via Daily Prompt: Cloaked

Well, that’s an intimidating title to write content for! How big, how unprecedented and life-altering God’s Grace is! But when I read the prompt “cloaked,” I cannot help but to reflect on the divine cloak I’ve been given.

That sounds a little odd (because it is a little odd). God is at the same time a just and a merciful God. According to justice, sin (smiting God) must receive its due punishment. According to mercy, the sinner is pardoned punishment. How, then, can the Almighty fashion such a contradiction? Enter: Jesus.

Really, in almost every moment you wonder about God’s contradictions, Jesus enters! Sinless but became sin, God but became man, God but not the Father — what a paradoxical man! Through Him, every contradiction and paradox is made possible and made perfect.

Because of my sin (I’ll just call it ‘my sin’ since listing the individual reasons I deserve judgment would overload this platform), I should expect to meet God’s judgment. There is nothing I can do. How could I squirm my way out of it? Divine laws that don’t change with the times. Divine wrath and judgment proportional to my faults. How could one get out without being noticed by the Enforcer? Enter: Jesus.

Jesus has covered me. Someone had to countenance the punishment, because justice requires it. So, instead of bending His own rules (which would be fickle and ‘un-God-like’), He came down to us to satisfy judgment himself. So, now, when The Lord looks upon me, He sees a radiant, white light — Jesus cloaking me. On that day, Jesus became me and I became as Him. I’ve made a lot of trades in my life — I haven’t regretted that one.

IMG_0645

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This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden. 

Rainbows & God’s Promises

Through every shadow, in every storm, under every burden, remember His promise.

bow

 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. – Genesis 9:13

Building a new lifestyle is a frustrating mission (which isn’t surprising, since getting out of bed in the morning is a frustrating mission!). One’s current living, though, can be so plagued with painful, embarrassing symptoms and burdens that you cannot help but to seek a better lifestyle. I guess I’m speaking about myself.

Covered in chronic acne and eczema, I found myself weary of my symptoms and frustrated with mainstream medicine’s dangerous fixes. Desperate, I prayed often. I prayed for divine healing, I prayed for new wisdom, and I prayed for strength. (You know I hate to acknowledge it, but our suffering does carry a pretty big purpose if it draws prayer out of us, doesn’t it?)

And with The Lord’s strength, I ventured on. To holistic doctors, to acupuncturists, and with unique teas and supplements, I fought for health. And I lost as much as I won. Some ideas brought breakthroughs and others brought broken hearts. I faced disappointment when attempts failed and enjoyed triumph when approaches worked.

On a particularly sunny, autumn day, I went into my acupuncture appointment as usual. When I left, though, I walked underneath a radiant rainbow (it truly was radiant, though the picture I captured wouldn’t demonstrate that, because I was the one holding the camera). I was inescapably reminded of the verse in Genesis in which God declares His covenant with the Earth. And I remembered how thankful I am to be a part of the Earth that has a covenant with God.

This world is filled with woes. A fallen world is a deadly one, and one that continuously disappoints our hearts without fail — it is physically, mentally, and spiritually burdensome. However, how radiantly beautiful it is to be in a world underneath God’s rainbow. Even as we lay in the trenches, we are honored as we look up to see God’s presence.

Through every shadow, in every storm, under every burden, remember His promise.

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This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden.