Waiting with purpose, a long obedience in the same direction, and other musings…

This Easter season has been a significant one for me – it started with a Holy Spirit-directed rediscovery of the significance of Christ’s suffering & Good Friday, & it continued with the waiting, uncertainty, & anticipation for the coming Resurrection Sunday. Coming out of Easter Sunday, I have been asking the LORD what & where He would like to work in me (& at Hillside.) What has continually come to mind has been the time period between Easter (the Feast of Passover) & the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church (the Feast of Pentecost.) I was drawn to Acts 1:1-11.

In this passage, we see that the Risen Christ spent about 40 days, post-Resurrection, with His disciples. His followers, believing that the time had FINALLY come for Christ to overthrow their Roman oppressors, couldn’t wait to question Him about the details on His presumed intentions for declaring & advancing a physical, political kingdom. His instructions, however, took them completely by surprise, as He told them their next steps were not to prepare for battle, but rather to return to Jerusalem TO WAIT for the promise of the Father, which, He said, “you heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Go back to Jerusalem. Wait for the promise. And then, you will receive the Holy Spirit – & when you do, you will receive power to be witnesses for Christ.

And wait they did.


Over these next weeks until Pentecost Sunday, our Sunday studies will be exploring what it means to wait, as well as different facets of what it might look like, to us individually & as a church, to wait & then, when it’s time, to act in Holy Spirit empowered actions. I’m looking forward to it.


Perseverance. Faithfulness. Patient endurance. These are some of my favorite phrases – probably because, to me, they so clearly capture what most of life in Christ is about. One of my favorite books is “A Long Obedience In The Same Direction,” by Eugene Peterson. The book is based upon the Psalms of Ascent, (Psalm 120-134, 15 songs that Jewish pilgrims sang as they climbed the hills leading to Jerusalem for the 3 main feasts of the year,) & it deals with what is necessary to live the Christian life, over the long haul. The title of the book comes from a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche:

“The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

During this time where I’ve got ‘waiting’ on my mind & heart, I’m revisiting “A Long Obedience…” & inviting our Hillside Learning Community reading group to join me in reading through & pondering the book (& these Psalms, in depth,) & then join together to discuss what God has been speaking to & forming in us.

Free time & other musings on a cloudy Tuesday…

I have 40 minutes until I pick up my little big kids from school. Doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve chosen to steal time where I can get it – free time.

Life is beautiful, still. I will declare it. But it is also full. I have a dwindling yet still there built in margin that is constantly being threatened by the Pressing In. Life. Family happenings. Work responsibilities. Grad school. Bulletin board interactions. Forced reading & writing. Rinse. Repeat.

Free time. Time alotted for nothing but whatever I could find to give myself to. It is precious, & when i find it, like I have today, I treasure it, relish it like a teaspoon of crunchy peanut butter on a hot spoon, smothered in chocolate chips. Even if its just 40 minutes.


The Pasty Gangster called me just now – he had 10 minutes to kill, & thought of me. It has been 7 months, 9 days since we last interacted face to face. I’m hoping to be able to send theBean to see him soon; don’t know if it will work out for all of us to get there, but if anyone goes, its gotta be theBean. Mom’s gotta be able to see her son – where he lives, works, etc. Somehow, its enough for me to hear about it & let my mind paint pictures of what his life is like. Mom has gotta see it. I understand, I think. And wonder if I’m just in denial, telling myself it will be ok to send Just theBean to Knoxville, & that me, theWeez, & iDoey will hold down the fort. Cause if its ok, then the hurt & longing of missing the boy can be wrapped up in the joy of theBean getting to see him on our behalf.


I just want people to know Jesus. To know His love & acceptance, the transforming power of forgiveness and grace. The real freedom that comes with a Holy Spirit-led life.

So often, the familiarity of the life we know keeps us from moving forward into the life in all of its fullness.


Had coffee with a new potential friend today – a fellow laborer within the church in Reno. It was fun, truly, getting to talk & feel each other out & to talk about commonalities.

More on that later.

40. Again.

No, I’m not reminiscing about birthdays. I’m singing.

This morning, I was reading my “Psalms by the 30’s” (starting with today’s date, the 10th, I read the 10th, 40th, 70th, 100th & 130th Psalms – a little plan so that I can read through all 150 in the month.) When I got to the opening lines of Psalm 40, my mind took off, & I burst into U2’s “40”, their version of Psalm 40; it’s one of my favorite songs (NOTE: I only did this in my head. I couldn’t really be LOUD at 6:15. It is oh-so-wrong to be loud in the morning. For so many reasons. But I digress.)

I ponder the psalmist’s patience while he’s IN the miry clay. David knows that he has a Rescuer who will hear his cry for help. A Deliverer that will pull him from mire & set his feet upon the solid rock. And while he’s in it, rather than panic (which only sinks one deeper in the muck,) he waits. Patiently. On the Sure Thing, the One who will lift him.

I’m stuck there. Thinking on the discipline of practicing patience; patiently waiting while in the middle of the stuff.

Not so good at patience all the time am I. Complaining, (even if its just in my head, to the LORD,) comes easier. Panic wants to rise up in response to the initial fear of realization of my predicament. Like David, I want to reflect the calm assurance that my Rescuer, my Deliverer will come for me. That He’s with me. Active faith, exercised in the mud. Waiting. I want to get it. I’m on my way.

Not fully there.

But in process.

How long/how long/how long/how long/to sing this song?