Tuesday, May 17, 2011

RE Pilgrimage

Each morning I get a daily devotional from our friends in Ventura CA, Rex and Sherry Holt. Occasionally Sherry writes the devotional. Yesterday's was especially good and I'm reposting it here. I wrote Rex and Sherry and told Sherry that this settles it, she should write a book, and I said a book of her writings might rival Oswald Chambers' My Utmost... . I really mean that.

Sherry and Rex have a wonderful testimony that continues to work out even today as they are pastoring. I'm so grateful to call them my friends. They are true modern saints living out their beliefs in a fantastic way.
Sherry's Facebook Pic

Written by Sherry Holt on AWAKEN:
One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 84:5 "Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.”

Rex and I have moved a number of times and at each new location, our lives have been enriched greatly. This verse represents people we love at all the various places that we have called home.

Our home in Togo was in an African neighborhood on a dirt street. Our house had been built by Europeans and was a mansion compared to the homes around us. We had given our female neighbors the invitation to fill their water basins from the faucet in our yard. The neighborhood children were a constant presence in the yard too. They had given me a name, which I had gladly accepted. The name they called me was, "Snoopy-bayno.” In the Eve language, it means "the mother of Snoopy" and you probably guessed that Snoopy was our dog. We wanted to give our dog an humble American name. He had originally been the heir to the Poodle owned by the French Ambassador to the neighboring country of Benin. Friends from Benin had surprised us with this gift.

While in Togo, I had a dear friend named Julienne Makany who had moved there from Brazzaville, in the Congo. I still consider her one of my dearest friends on earth. Julienne and her husband Levi were 2nd generation believers. They had 7 children. We communicated in French, which was neither her mother tongue nor mine, but it certainly did not hinder us from becoming "forever friends.” She knew how much I wanted a baby and it hurt her deeply because that prayer had not been answered.

One night she was leaving our house and for her very first time heard the children refer to me as Snoopy-bayno. It greatly grieved her. She rushed home, and knelt by her bed, extremely frustrated. A serious prayer conversation began between my friend and her Lord. She questioned God, "How long are you going to allow my friend to be called the mother of a dog!" That night she began to labor in prayer for me to have a baby.

After our son John was born, she came every morning to help me bathe him as an act of gratitude for answered prayer. She said, "I never want another prayer burden like that. You know there are some things that only come about by much prayer and fasting!"

I cried when Rex said he felt we were called to Africa, and I cried even more after our goodbyes to our families at the Memphis Airport as we were leaving. My husband led the way, and we two pilgrims made our home in that faraway land. I am so grateful that God chose us for this great blessing. Julienne Makany and so many other precious saints became our family--our sisters and brothers.

Now you know why I love that verse, "...whose heart is set on pilgrimage."

From a pilgrim formerly known as Snoopy-bayno,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Yesterday we had a great day of working, eating, and singing around the piano at my Mom's house. I and several others of my family enjoyed the day as we celebrated my Mom.

This morning one of my daily devotionals by Richard Rohr was about the maternal face of God. Very apropro for this day of honoring our Mom's. Thought I would share:

One of the things that led me into male spirituality was that most people have experienced their God image by experiencing the image of their mother. They experienced unconditional love not through the image of a man, but through the image of their mother. I realized how wounded the father relationship is with so many people.

For much of the human race, the mother is the one who parts the veil for us. She gives us that experience of grounding, of intimacy, of tenderness, of safety that most of us associate with our image of God. However, many people operate from a toxic and negative image of God. Nothing wonderful is ever going to happen as long as that is true. Early growth in spirituality is often about healing that inner image, whether male or female.

Most of us know that God is beyond gender. When we look at the Book of Genesis, we see that the first thing God is looking for is quite simply "images."

Genesis 1:26-27: Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

God is not looking for servants, for slaves or for people who are going to pass loyalty tests. God is just looking for images–"images and likenesses" of who God is. God divided this one whole image and likeness into what we call masculine and feminine. Whoever God is, God is profoundly and essentially what it means to be male and female. We have to find and to trust the feminine face of God and the masculine face of God. Both are true and both are necessary for a full relationship with God. Up to now, we have strongly relied upon the masculine.

Adapted from The Maternal Face of God.