Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Columbia South Carolina is hot, but there are things that I quite like about it here. I never have to consider taking "warmer clothes," I swim everyday, there's no sign of cold weather, and things are still blooming strong. While I love cold weather, I am enjoying the beauty of this place and the privelege of being a minority. I picked up "Uncle Tom's Cabin" on Sunday and I'd recommend it for all. Here are some shots of the botanical gardens and zoo where my roommate took me the other day.
I have been incapable of relating my thoughts these days, and while little ah-ha's make their way into my mind, they seem to dissolve before time to record them comes. I've been wrestling with longings, and the desire of the human heart. When I pulled out of my Pennsylvania home, restrained tears fell, and for the first time I felt wearied of my coming and going's as a solo nomad. The thought seemed strange to me, and as I perused all of my wayward thinking, I deduced that I really did long for family and home. The years have lent themselves to questions in this, for reason of pragmatism and productivity (1 Cor. 7), but anymore it seemed all foolish, for at times I am very incapable in my singleness. I have reasoned that weakness is to display Christ's strengths, and pursued it no longer... This is true, but some things remain.

My last post was on the goodness of God, and the veracity of this element of His character. As I was considering this again, I thought last night of Psalm 73:25 that says, "whom have I in heaven but You, and besides You I desire nothing on earth." I bit my tongue to think of this, and how often I live apart from this truth. In the inner recesses where faith is distilled, this is true, but throughout passing days, I heave. The verse "for indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life" comes back to me, and I see my desire for any and all things on this earth are only indicative of my longings for the fare of my true home.

We looked through 1 Cor. 15 on Sunday night and talked about what is to come. I sat there in such a tension as I realized again how vaporous and fleeting is my existence, and how dogged I ought be in light of this. My captivation with creature comforts must subside as I draw inward and beg of my Master to give me His eyes to see, His hands to heal, and His words to speak as I seek to live most fully as a pilgrim in this land that is not my home. Please join me this day as we consider these things.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Greetings friends. Thank you for traveling along with me on this journey; I am quite glad you're along! I am thankful you've made your way here, Joyelle, and I hope your first wedded months have been bliss!

I am experiencing that kind of restful felicity that comes from delight in God, the unfolding of His will, and the charitable endowments of grace received from the savoring of His word. If possible, open and marvel at Psalm 84.

It is presumed that David penned this Psalm, and surely the ardency of his person is perceived in this work. Longingly, he considers the swallow (whose voice is always praising!), and reckons the nest which is afixed to the place of his love, and he yearns to be there. Surely, the building is not his love alone, but representative of all that is loveable and beautiful; God Himself and His holy presence amongst His people. The Psalmist longs to be there--to worship, and to be consumed with his praise and the presence of the godly. Verse five says, "How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion! "

Consider this with me, for the man in whose heart lie the highways to Zion is the man who, by dogged practice has rutted heartpaths that lead tirelessly to the Fount Everlasting. Continually that heart pants and rests never until it reaches and makes its praise in Zion, the holy habitation of God. He sees the duties of religion as the sweetest on earth, and to be perched in a nest on the eave of God's sanctuary would be sweeter than the head of the finest table at any king's court. His reflection turns also to those making pilgrammage to Zion for the yearly feast, and how their desert wandering is blessed with rains deposited into their hewn pits, and figuratively how the Lord causes the life of His followers to flourish in the covenant of His love.

The psalmist swells as he considers his longings and his repository of praise is amplified as he concludes. "The Lord is a sun (life-giver, sustainer, beautifier) and shield (protector, conqueror), the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withold from those who walk uprightly." Consider this lastly with me, for, these words are to crescendo in sweetest refrain to the heart that belongs to Him. "No good thing does He withold..." Child of God, grace is to be traded with grace, and greater good is given in plenty to the heart whose paths lead to Him.

"Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere..."

Monday, August 23, 2010


Much has transpired these days. I drove to South Carolina on Wednesday, and arrived at my destination through heavy rains at 2am. I acquired precious friends at the Charlotte airport and traveled the duration with their sweetness. They were arriving from Montana, and my mind was first filled with those sweet tales of jeans and sweats and misty mountains. Ugh, I do love that place! I spent the next few days with these dear one's before they headed home to Turkey. I tell you, transition is eased so sweetly in the presence of those you love. When I said goodbye to my friend I rolled along to my new residence, and the tears followed shortly thereafter. Those first days are hard, but they've mostly passed, and as orientation was today, the Lord is showing up all over the place. I am scheduled to take some insanely wonderful classes that begin tomorrow, and the community at this school is just incredible. I must share some verses from yesterday's sermon, but for now...
Lovingly yours,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Valley of Vision

(From the collection of Puritan writings)

The valley of vision
is the place of paradox.

Here, the one who wants to save his life
loses it for the sake of Another.

Here, strength is perfected in weakness,
and the greatest is the servant of all.

Living in the depths,
we see Him in the heights,

Learning that the way down
is the way up,

To be low
is to be high,

And to bear the cross
is to wear the crown.

Yeah, I needed to hear this :)
This morning I was awakened quite early by a dream. I've been grappling much with some things these last days, and they've all surfaced greatly this morning. My stomach has that dull sort of ache that comes from something I am incapable of resolving, so my Lord lead me to the stillness again this day.

When this blog began last December, silence had been placed upon me without my choosing. A very significant relationship was revoked without explanation, and only choice words were sprinkled that have burrowed like nettle in my mind. The months that followed were maddening in their confusion and dejection, and in the quiet of those colder months, Silhouettes on Silence was birthed. My soul was supported during those times by the saturation of grace that had been deposited lovingly by my Maker. I came to see much in this time, and it seemed I contemplated every last scenario, and every interaction humans might have. I concluded that the heart of man is unfathomably selfish and wicked, and that it is simply by an unknowably powerful grace that we might be saved from it. I purposed in my soul to live more according to this truth, and to not give to others what they deserve--what I deserve. I want to give grace.

This morning I was stirred again (intensely) because this ache is not gone, and a new one lies beside it. Imposed silence and a revoked explanation -- scenario two. I feel a bit of a heaving, and so I exhort you, as I do myself, to speak the truth, and of course with love. Any soul can weather truth, but what does a man do with silence?

All nature tells us of the value of cauterizing a wound; (searing it so that healing may occur) and I reiterate this for our speech and relationship. Ecclesiates 3:7b says there is "A time to be silent and a time to speak" and I pray we will labor to discern what might be the most loving, and least cowardly way of interacting with those of whom the Lord has given us.

I leave tomorrow for South Carolina and suppose this might be a downer post, and so I apologize. I crave in earnest that we might all attain to the standard which has been set, and so I grieve. Grace be with you all in uncharted measure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It's been a wild and unexpected go these last days; Wednesday my mom told me she was taking me out to eat, only to find my two other conspiring friends along on our way to the Wildflower Cafe. We supped on delicious Peanut Curry over live guitar worship music, and finished off on outstanding Euroyogurt. The next day I got a flat tire on my bike while trying to help out a friend, and then my car stopped dead in the road Friday on the way back. I rushed home to eek out an apple and peach pie, pack for Boston and head off for a picnic. It was a most lovely time with a grand group of folks. Friends were visiting from N.C with their newest of 11 chilluns. We had some wild games of duck-duck-goose and I scuttled home a little late for our 4am departure to Boston..

Boston is an interesting city, but I must say I have a much more interesting and entertaining brother living there. He is wonderful. Upon arrival we walked through town and got some barbeque, and made plans for our next day's fishing excursion on Boston harbor. We had a relaxing and incredibly unprofitable time fishing, but a wonderful time being with brother. We went to a most exquisite Argentinaean restaurant, and I was pleasantly entranced by the sensory delights of my skirt steak, squash and sweet potato mash, summer veggies and 2008 Malbec. The walls were pale yellow and brick with cobalt ceilings. The decor were tanned hides and glossed pottery plates, and the many beverages came in terracotta pitchers. (I love a lot of things, and I have eaten out more in the past week than all year--which has been special.) Mmmm...

Despite the glories, it seemed that conflict hung on the fringes of all interactions with my pa, and this morning as I was reviewing these things with my Lord, some verses came to mind. I've been considering much my role as a Biblical woman and my verbal communications with those in my life. All believers are called to have honest and gracious speech, (Ephesians 4:15), but it seems there is slant to this I must consider. God has graciously created females to be the bearers of life; in human females this ought apply to both physical offspring, and to the kind of gentle kindness that is uniquely life-giving and feminine. A few weeks back I heard a radio show with an Elizabeth Elliot recording, wherein she asserted that the role of women at most every age is specifically to mother and nurture the world. I was both challenged an excited by this, for my heart flutters to nurture--I was also supremely challenged, and bowed in humble ineptitude at my flawed speech, and unsubmissive spirit. Human nature innately points fingers without considering personal responsibility, and I am stuck here. I am called by God to be a gracious, kind, and truthful woman who honors all I meet, whether their conduct calls for it or not. These verses challenged me greatly: Proverbs 12:18 "There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

I often forget that my struggle with those closest to me is not a mere matter of our differences, but a struggle with the unseen agents against us. Each step of obedience disarms that stronghold, and by good works wrought by the Spirit evil is overturned. Perhaps you can relate?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It seems that there is a quota of social ills that land upon my ears that, once reached are no longer brushed aside. I have been spending time in the Old Testament, and have been amazed at the parallels addressed by the prophets of old. Similar issues are raised and the man of God is continually brushed aside and downright scorned for his "archaic" and "harsh" statements against the people's sin. As in times of old, as now, sin is deadly, and the allowance of it is fatal--not loving. My heart has broken over the pain of my friends, but I confess that within me has been festering a fire like Jeremiah's that wants to shout from the rooftops that Jesus is Lord. I see cracked pots of immorality that promise pleasure and deliver pain, the alleviation of anger that alienates friends, the glamour of riches that estranges and restricts the soul, and every other entanglement that ensnares, deceives, and sullies the soul that was created to radiate God. Jeremiah 2:13 says, "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." The world and its goods can be very convincing in its principles and modes of operating, but the truth is that more often than not, the masses are deceived and their attainments and aspirations are blossoms of dust, and plants without root.

I've been going basic again, and my heart has been revived as I consider the work already accomplished by our Lord at Calvary. I often dwell on the good done by the hands of my Master, and neglect that His good works were all preparation and the result of His connection with the Father, and His being God. Jesus came to this earth as a man, and exemplified the pinnacle of human existence, but he came as more than an example and a teacher. Jesus is Savior, and all other good terms, but He is firstly Savior, and the only One provided. Jesus came to accomplish the Redemption of a fallen race of humanity that was inextricably estranged from their Father--their Maker, because of the barrier of sin in their hearts. I hate the reality that Jesus came to die--(and because of humanity's hatred of Him), but thus reports the gospel of His grace. Indeed the gospel is "good news" today, as it was in day's past, and the temptation more than ever is to adulterate its contents to make it more palatable to its hearers, and more inviting than condemning. My lack of love can be a stumbling block for this message, and woe is me if I add offense to the cross because of my hard heart, but 2 Corinthians 5 says that it is the love of Christ that controls/compels us to speak the unpopular truths of the gospel, and to urge and persuade men because of the impending reality. Redemption is the sweetest song of the earth, and the reason my soul sings at Spring and can whistle in winter; purpose is breathed back into the Creation whose brand-mark is the Lord.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My time at the grandparents held more sorrow than joy, but the highlights shined so brightly that they almost occluded those less shimmery. Making peach jam with my grandma and taking long runs with my cousin were tops, but the pinnacles of my joy were times spent in the Word, and a visit to my dear, sweet friend Jane's.

Jane and company are on the road to organic certification, and that old plot of earth up Dingman Run is being restored to its former fruitful capacities. There are few places that bring me more joy, and few people to whom my soul is knit as so, so it must be shown...