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Posts in Susan Disher
Lenten Baggage
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This Lent, I thought I was going to skate through it, my bag was packed with all the necessary stuff I thought I would need, but I emotionally packed for a different Lenten trip.

I packed compassion, love, concern, a focus for the hurting ones in my life.

I knew I was going to meet grief head-on, and for the first weeks of Lent I did, I met grief head on, but not my grief.

I was prepared to go into spiritual battle for the hearts of my “people” that had been crushed into a million pieces by death, diagnosis, abandonment, unbelief, major loss of hope.

I packed my Lenten suitcase with God’s love to pour out over everyone in my life that needed to be reminded that He never lets them go.

I didn’t pack my bag to be ambushed by God who scheduled a deep cleansing, a scrubbing away of that sore in my heart, a spring cleaning of my heart.

I hadn’t packed all the armor that was needed to soothe my wounded places.

I had forgotten to remember….

I had learned that Lent was not about giving up watermelon (which was my standard answer when asked “what are you giving up”).

It was a time of preparation and repentance, but what was I suppose to prepare for and was I suppose to repent for all my daily sins or just the BIG ones?

It became very confusing, so this year I was giving up ME, and focusing on everyone else.

I was going to dwell in the country of their grief, not my own, but the space that my dearest and best have been inhabiting.

Lent 2019 has seemed to be a slow heavy walk through sadness, hopelessness, and grief.  Too many close to me were slogging down that dark trail into a darker valley and I was their companion.

I was caught unaware when God gave me a HARD STOP, and forced me to look at my losses, grief that has been grieved well, but then stored in the deepest part of my heart.

It was time to scrape the scab off, expose the ugly to the life giving, healing light of God’s love.

It was time to allow God to pour over my heart His love and mercy and fill it with His peace

And it hurt.  The scab was deep, rooted in avoidance, denial, and too much pain, but it was necessary.

Kate Bowler wrote in her blog that, ‘To observe Lent is to prepare for loss.  We will hear in Scripture the story of a man, once active and strong enough to stride the length of the Holy Land, suddenly deprived of his freedom and friends and now rejected and despised, esteemed not.  We embark on a walk for this holy season that will end on Golgotha, where an innocent man in the midst of his agony will cry because he believes his Father has forgotten him.”

We prepare for the loss, we know that Sunday is coming!  And we know the end of the story.

So I continue towards Jerusalem, reminding myself not to forget to remember.

There are many walking beside me, some limping along, some struggling to keep up, some striding in great confidence, but we all need help carrying our burdens.

I am walking hesitantly with Jesus holding my heart tenderly as he applies the healing balm of his grace, but I am walking.

As we approached Jerusalem the crowd stood at the gate and cried in tear-choked voice: “ We are lost in his death.”  Upon the hill the angels sang:” We are found in his rising!”  Ann Weems “Lost and Found”

 Walking towards Jerusalem, my baggage adjusted, my load lightened, facing the rising Son!

 Susan Disher

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My Portion And My Inheritance

IMG_1947 Thursday February 14, 2019

Every morning I open a little book of daily scripture readings, and as I do so, I am asking God, “what do You want me to learn?”

Most days I have to dig into the words, using Bible Gateway to read the different Biblical translations, finding the words that speak into my heart.

Today, the words were crystal clear.

They were from Numbers 18:20: I am your portion and your inheritance.

 And they were echoed again in Psalms 6:5-6: YOU, O LORD, are the portion of my inheritance and my cup (my chosen portion).  YOU maintain, support, and hold my lot.

 And again in Lamentations 3:24, He once more reminds me: “The LORD is my portion and my inheritance” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!”  I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.

I have been following a reading plan to read through the Bible and have just finished Exodus.  I have been amazed at how many times the promise made to Abraham of the promised land 400 years before, was still being repeated over again.

The Israelite children had forgotten to remember the promise and covenant that had sustained them for 400 years in captivity, and once they had been set free, it never crossed their minds.

The words from Numbers 18 were being said directly to these people.  I am your portion and your inheritance, and still they would forget, and so would I.

He is my portion and my inheritance.  He is all I need.

Fifty years ago as an 18 year old high school senior, I went on a date with the boy who became my husband.

Fifty years later, we will return to that high school hang out to celebrate with our daughter and 2 grandchildren, our family whom we had no idea of having 50 years ago.

I pondered the last 50 years, and everywhere I looked I saw God’s fingerprints on our lives and our decisions and our mistakes and our victories.  He never left and He always provided. He has always been all we have needed.

Bob and I were not thinking of Bible verses and truth be known, we didn’t know this verse existed, but that night 50 years ago was the first tentative step in the journey of us.

We didn’t know His plans for us.  We didn’t know the mountain top highs and the dark valleys He would lead us through, but something was there because we took the first tentative steps to a commitment that would find fulfillment 4 years later.

This inheritance from Him was there that Valentine’s night 50 years ago.  It has always been there, sometimes in the far distance with only brief glimpses as we grew up in our faith, and sometimes it was the very life line we clung to when we saw no other way.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and what we could not see, or even fathom, is crystal clear to our aging eyes,

We now look toward our promised inheritance and cherish our portion, and three parts of that portion will celebrate the beginning of the story of us tonight.

“The Lord is my portion and my inheritance . . . therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly.”

I pray that part of our inheritance will be the passing of the hope, and the expectation of His return, to our children and grandchildren.

Fifty years ago two “kids” went on a double date.  Bob spent 50 cents for two sweet teas and an order of French fries. And our life together began and God was present.

God is the rock and the strength of my heart.  He is all I need. He is my portion.

Amen and amen and amen.

 

Lovingyougood…sd

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Every December

IMG_9653 Every December I know what I want and I make plans.

This is the year I will read an Advent devotional every day.

I will light the candles in order on the wreath.

I will stop and look at the night sky looking for that sometimes-elusive bright star leading the way through the darkness.

I will send out cards with our picture perfect and edited faces, all dressed in red and green finery.

I will make my shopping lists early and give thoughtful gifts wrapped in beautiful paper.

Christmas baking will fill my kitchen with the best of all smells: sugar and cinnamon and butter and yeasty Birthday Bread.

I will go to sleep thankful and expectant of the gifts of the coming day.

I will . . .

But . . ..

This year I am behind in my reading.

I have not found the Advent Wreath to place it on the table, much less lit a single candle.

On my nightly walks the sky has been cloudy and the weather so cold I can only bend my head down into the cold wind.

Our family cannot find the time in our schedules to be at one place together at any single time dressed and ready to smile when we don’t feel like smiling.

Online shopping is frustrating and I chose something that can be stuffed in a gift bag.

It is hard to fill the kitchen with aromas of butter and sugar and cinnamon when you are on a restricted diet.

I fall asleep exhausted before I am able to start my prayers.

Advent is more than the daily reading, candle lighting, star gazing, picture taking, gift giving, Christmas baking experiences.

Advent is a slowing, taking a deep breath, sweeping the cobwebs out of my heart that have gathered in the last 12 months.

I entered 2018 with a bright shiny heart filled with love and peace and much hope, but ...

I enter Advent with an almost empty heart having gone through this life in this dark world.

Advent is smearing the balm of peace and love over the scabbed pieces of my heart.

Advent is practicing hope, that elusive gift that for some of us, seems to be just out of reach.

Advent is examining my heart and discovering the thin places almost ready to tear, allowing doubt and fear in, allowing that peace of God to flood and fill those places.

Advent is accepting the gift of the Child, once more filling my heart.

In the words of Ann Weems,

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to kneel in Bethlehem,

the air thick with alleluias,

the angels singing

that God is born among us.

In the light of the Star,

the wise ones and the humble.

I want to see them come,

bearing whatever they treasure

to lay at the feet

of him who gives his life.

 

What do I want for Christmas?

To see in that stable

the whole world kneeling in thanks

for a promise kept:

new life.

For in his nativity

we find ours.

 

I want the whole experience, the angels, the singing, standing with the “wise ones” and humble”, bearing my own gift of my heart, my hopes, my fears and receiving his greatest gift, love.

 

Lovingyougood…sd

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