Ebb and Flow and Stillness

Recently I read the quote below and was blessed. We all know the many ways life can surge and churn about us. And then there is Christ, our Rock.

Trust God’s Word and His power more than you trust your own feelings and experiences. Remember, your Rock is Christ, and it is the sea that ebbs and flows with the tides, not Him.

Samuel Rutherford
The sea ebbs and flows with the tides.

“Rock of my salvation” includes the Hebrew word tsur. Tsur is the most common Hebrew word used in the names of God that describe Him as a rock. Tsur speaks of a rock that is massive, very safe, and virtually impenetrable”, says https://namesforgod.net/rock-of-my-salvation

In the quote there is that word, TRUST, again. I need to practice it and understand it more each time it comes up!

Jesus is my steady, unwavering, unchangeable rock. God’s Word and power are higher than anything I can know or understand. I choose to trust. I will be still in His Presence. If I understand correctly, the pronunciation for Tsur is like Sir. That will help me. As a soldier refers to it’s commander as “sir”, so I will refer to my Lord as “Sir, Tsur.”

 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior.’

Psalm 89:26 NIV

Only Then ©2014 Molly Lin Dutina

Finding it hard to get yourself willing to be quiet before the Lord? I have had that experience, too. I have used and written many images to talk myself into getting quiet. Here is one after my trip to the St. Lawrence Seaway to stay with a friend.

Here at Siesta Drive I have my island of responsibility.
Even here I find it difficult
to push off the dock
into the quiet river of Living Water
for the renewal of my soul
stilling of my heart, quieting of my mind
floating in Your love
awaiting Your instructions and anointing for this day.
 
I want to power up the boat
or maybe stay on the island
ordering about the mundane
resisting the holy and eternal.
Forgive me, again, my desiring
to be in charge and capable.
 
Take me to a quiet lagoon
            with jumping fish          
            elusive Great Blue Herons
            tree branches trialing their leaves at the water’s edge.
 
Anchor me in Your incredible center-down silence
wash over me with righteousness
grant me the kiss of peace
Your faithfulness and steadfast love
meeting me in holy embrace
of relinquishment to solitude.
 
Only then
            can I meet the mundane
            with correct vision
Your holy Kingdom first and foremost
            no matter what my activity might be.
 
So here at Siesta Drive if I will allow it
energy and solace I was hoping for at “The River”
may ebb and flow, around me, within, overflowing
washing glaring, gaudy colors of importance
off the mundane,
letting those things fall back
into their proper place as incidental
like spoons tossed into the silverware drawer.
 

Center in His quiet and find yourself renewed once more.

Tennessee and Decades Later

In 1975 we were expecting our first child. The photo below is from our first vacation to the Smoky Mountains. In 1982 we were learning about the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6) and starting to teach Bible study together at our local church.

I Loved You in That Creek Bed © 1982 Molly Lin Dutina

Oh I loved you in that creek bed
Full of gallantry and suave
My flashing debonair knight.

You didn’t even know
What holy armor was then.
And now my love for you
Far surpasses and encompasses
The emotions at that creek bed.

Father, show us how to flow together
To the glory of Your name.
You split the rocks with
A blade of grass and
A finger of ice.

Split our shells that we might
Merge in Your kingdom work.
1978 Before Kids

Now in 2020, our children are adults with children of their own. We are still learning more about how to walk together in the Spirit. As we celebrate our 50th year of being married by knight continues to court me, woo and win me with his humor and grace.

I love you more than ever, Robert Dutina!

Under or Atop?

One day when walking down the street,
On business bent, while thinking hard
About the “hundred cares” which seemed
Like thunder clouds about to break
In torrents, Self-pity said to me:
“You poor, poor thing, you have too much
To do. Your life is far too hard.
This heavy load will crush you soon.”
A swift response of sympathy
Welled up within. The burning sun
Seemed more intense. The dust and noise
Of puffing motors flying past
With rasping blast of blowing horn
Incensed still more the whining nerves,
The fabled last back-breaking straw
To weary, troubled, fretting mind.
“Ah, yes, ’twill break and crush my life;
I cannot bear this constant strain
Of endless, aggravating cares;
They are too great for such as I.”
So thus my heart condoled itself,
“Enjoying misery,” when lo!
A “still small voice” distinctly said,
“Twas sent to lift you—not to crush.”
I saw at once my great mistake.
My place was not beneath the load
But on the top! God meant it not
That I should carry it. He sent
It here to carry me. Full well
He knew my incapacity
Before the plan was made. He saw
A child of His in need of grace
And power to serve; a puny twig
Requiring sun and rain to grow;
An undeveloped chrysalis;
A weak soul lacking faith in God.
He could not help but see all this
And more. And then, with tender thought
He placed it where it had to grow—
Or die. To lie and cringe beneath
One’s load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace;

Without them we must roam for aye
On planes of undeveloped faith,
For faith grows but by exercise in circumstance impossible.

Oh, paradox of Heaven. The load
We think will crush was sent to lift us
Up to God! Then, soul of mine,
Climb up! for naught can e’er be crushed
Save what is underneath the weight.
How may we climb! By what ascent
Shall we surmount the carping cares
Of life! Within His word is found
The key which opes His secret stairs;
Alone with Christ, secluded there,
We mount our loads, and rest in Him.

—Miss Mary Butterfield

Trying to figure out how to express the recent struggles within my brain and emotions I came across this poem in Streams in the Desert. Could not discover anything about the author, but I do like her ideas!

“Alone with Christ, secluded there, we mount our loads and rest in Him.” That is the answer repeatedly in my journey. Go to Him. Rest and regain perspective for the next phase of the journey. Recently I read a book by Charles Martin about football. His character was living near a junkyard. He made it is his practice to run to the top of a pile of tires and other automobile debris as part of his conditioning. Make this our journey. To run to the top of the debris in our life. Make it the conditioning track that we need for victory in our hearts, minds and souls. When I am reminded to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength I often fail to realize that will take conditioning and practice. I must determine to do that – daily, hourly!

When Self-pity speaks to you I hope you will get up and get moving. Let those warped thoughts drop to the ground and travel on with His empowerment. You ARE able to do many things you never thought possible through Christ Who strengthens you.

Much of our suffering occurs between our ears. Was it Mark Twain who said “I’ve known many troubles in my life. And most of them never came to pass.” Stay on top!

Suscipe Me

The Beethoven Akademie 1808 presentation by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Sunday, March 1 was listed as occurring from 2:30-8:30 PM with a dinner break from 5-7 PM. What a surprise when we got tickets and decided to try this Beethoven marathon! The first performance during the first half is one of my favorite pieces, The Pastoral Symphony #6 in F Major. The Awakening (which I always think of as the awakening of Spring), the brook, Jolly Country Folk, THE THUNDERSTORM and the Shepherd’s Hymn are all in my memory bank. I promised my husband and the stranger sitting next to me that I would try to refrain from whistling the tunes!

The original production was the last public performance by Beethoven. One patron from 1808, Johann Reichardt, was quoted in the program as saying that he “found by experience that one might have too much even of a good thing.”

We were not certain we could last through all those hours of music. Thought we would try and agree not to shame each other if one of us wanted to leave. Each selection listed details including approximate duration. I was amazed the Pastoral was only listed for 39 minutes. It transports me in a way that I lose all track of time!

AH! Perfido borders on opera and I have no experience or interest in that. It was 15 minutes of interesting performance, but not as thrilling as my decades long friend, The Pastoral.

Then some sacred music. The Gloria interested me. Though sung in Latin, I am familiar with the words through my attendance at the Episcopal church. The Latin and the English were printed in the booklet side by side. The 11 minutes sent me scurrying to remember the prayer I had read by Ignatius, the concept of suscipe me….

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

Ignatius of Loyola

After the Concerto #4 featuring Inon Barnatan, who seemed to play effortlessly, we were ready to walk around and enjoy the dinner break. It was a lovely spring-like evening though the wind was a bit chilly. Back at the car we relished our homemade supper of favorite foods. After only a tiny discussion decided to return to Music Hall to find out how much more music we could endure in one day! We strolled the new park opposite Music Hall. Watched the city dwellers release their dogs in the dog park while they shared the latest with each other. It was such a delight to see sun in Cincinnati!

The #5 began with the lovely chords of duh duh duh duh https://youtu.be/_4IRMYuE1hI duh duh duh duh! Timed at 31 minutes. We decided we could stay for the Improvised Fantasia and then Fantasia for Piano Chorus and Orchestra (May Festival Chorus was terrific as were soloists!) The stranger next to me told me he would walk 5 miles to hear the last number. That was saying something since he also confided he was 80 years old!

To me, it was a once in a lifetime concert. No, I was not over immersed in Beethoven. Am still playing the 6th on my computer speakers as I write this!

I pray the Lord will Suscipe me into His arms one day with the melody of the Gloria or The Pastoral!

Visiting in Person

Life is too short to experience everything, but the human heart is big enough to resonate with everything that any other human heart has experienced.

BROTHER DAVID STEINDL-RAST

Seeing an old friend face-to-face was fun. We knew we only had a very short time to share, so we both cut to the chase and told what was most important to us. I was surprised when the first thing she shared was about my blog.

She is so inspired by what I write. She said it uplifts her and gives her a new point of view.

I was amazed. This gal is eleven years older than me. I have always thought of her as a better, stronger Christian.  Yet she felt my writing was useful to her walk. Who knew?

Some folks never comment. I see only how many people looked at it, but not who.

One fellow at church asked me recently if I was still writing. I could not remember his name or even having spoken with him before. He did look vaguely familiar. Our church has grown to about 800 people with opportunities to worship three times a week. No wonder I lost track of him. Yikes!

We just never know the impact we will have upon others. These comments help inspire me to keep on publishing this blog.

Please keep reading! Comment when you can. I love the encouragement to continue sharing my journey with the mostly unknown folks out there. May you be blessed with a renewed sense of His Presence with us in every circumstance.