Fire from Heaven and Abby’s Baptism

Two totally unrelated but related things!

Last night at church we sang a song that almost knocked me over.  I’ll admit, during my worship time there are moments, days, months, or whatever..that I don’t necessarily ENGAGE in the worship completely.  BUT, Last night was a night that I began to engage my soul and I was shaken as I heard these words come out of my mouth:   

“Open up the sky, FALL DOWN LIKE FIRE, we don’t want anything but you”

Here’s the song:

Seriously!!!  Did I want God to open up the sky and fall down like fire?  I stopped singing and thought about it.  It was a moment I could not process completely.  It is a ‘hard to swallow’ word that, although I want to say I was singing the words from the deepest desire of my heart, I’m was not sure about it!

BAPTISM:

My baby got baptized in the Deschutes river today!

CIMG0130 CIMG0137 CIMG0139 As I heard her declare her love for Jesus out loud, as I watched her walk into the icy cold waters, as I watched her daddy pray with her and her Pastor lead her, as I saw her go under and come back up; Tears filled my eyes and I was shocked to find my self praying “Fall down like fire, Jesus, Fall down like fire!”.  I got it! It all made sense. The song came to life before my eyes and I was able to embrace it!  I want Jesus to fall down like fire into my children’s lives, I want them to be able to sing “We don’t want anything but you!” 

And, so, that is how fire from heaven is related to my beautiful daughter!  My greatest desire is that she would pray for God to open up the sky and fall down like fire in her life!

I love you Abby, you are my sunshine and you are MY GIRL!

Mommy

P.S. If you don’t know Abby, here is a story that explains her 100%.  She went to have her impressions done by her orthodontist last week.  I was concerned because she has a HUGE gage reflex and I just knew she’d end up throwing up all over the poor hygienist!  Abby had no idea what to expect, she had heard stories and yet that didn’t deter her from hopping on down the hallway.  Before I could finish signing the financial documents and giving my right arm for the impending bill for treatment, she was done!  I asked her if she gagged and she said NO!  I said, No?  why not, I don’t understand.  She just smiled and said, “I imagined it was pink frosting and I just relaxed and enjoyed it!”  Lemons to lemonade in one brilliant 8 year old mind!

Celebrating Diversity: The People of Holden Village

oooo….gotcha with the title didn’t I!  I know you were thinking, Tracy went liberal on us!  I guess I kinda did in ways that I can’t really explain.  They are good and you’ll just have to trust me on that….

Holden Village was a place that God arranged for me to just BE.  It is an ever changing community of believers(all walks of life and faith, mostly Christian, some seekers, some lost)  It is mostly volunteer driver and new people and staff arrive daily.  Each day is a different experience with different people.  You can participate fully and build relationship or sit on the outskirts and just BE.  I just sat and BE’d!

I hesitated to share with you all the uniqueness that I saw because I wanted to be sure that it glorified God.  I think it does as long as you understand that I share these people with you not to be judgmental or critical of who they are but to share with you the diversity I was able to CELEBRATE at Holden.  I know some of what I share may be abrasive to you but hang with me…there is a purpose.

Holden community:

Chipmunks that run around attacking peoples feet and running up their backs to sit on their heads.  I kid you not, the chipmunks are like the village pet, they are eerily cute and strangely cuddly.

Creation man: He was actually “jaded evolutionist” but I liked to call him Creation Man because it somehow made it easier to share space with him in the village. He appeared mostly cranky and hobbled to each destination because of  his bad hips and knees.  He had beautiful white hair and rarely wore a smile.  Until one night when he had a boisterous conversation with a little ol’ lady in the common area of the village.  I watched it all from my porch swing.

Jaded:  In general, there seemed to be a lot of ‘jaded’ people.  When we think of jaded, we mean apathetic or made cynical by experience.  It also means exhausted.  I think there was a little of both, but mostly those that were made cynical or apathetic.

Boy with a ball:  little boy, about 2, always carried a tennis ball.  His parents would throw it up a hill and as it rolled down the boy would chase it.  That was his Holden experience, all in that tennis ball.

Hat friend man:  This man had a knitted hat that was his friend.  He carried it everywhere, it ate with him, it worshiped with him.  All of the village community acknowledged the had as this man’s friend.

Queer:  This is where you may get uncomfortable.  Especially, if you live in a highly predominant middle class white America town:)  Queer is the term many of the ‘homosexual community’ identify with as the appropriate classification for them.  They seem to not fit into Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, or transsexual categories and therefore affectionately and boldly call themselves queer. (Just reporting what I saw)

Man with a story:  Yes, the man with the long white hair and long white beard.  Short and stocky, walked with a cane.  He had a story.  He seemed like a happy sailor or a pirate.  i would have loved to talk to him.

Griswold:  I kid you not, Clark Griswold, from that vacation movie, was there.  He had his shorts hiked up his Butt and his sun glasses on his head.  He had a large family and was always trying to engage them in something.  Favorite one-liner form Griswold to his daughter who was whining toward the dining hall.  “please, don’t embarrass yourself in front of the village.”

Bearded Girl: For some reason God gave this teenage girl a full beard and moustache. I didn’t ask any questions, I just observed how no on else minded either and how her friends just loved her and clearly didn’t let this outward appearance get in the way.  I personally think God created waxing for such things.

Ray”:  My Girlfriends husband’s name is Ray.  18 years ago, he surprised Andrea at camp, by dressing up in this crazy costume, ratted up his hair and road a crazy bicycle over the bridge honking his bike horn the entire way, yelling Andrea’s name.  HAHAHAHA.  “Ray”, the crazy one, was at camp.  Everytime he’d walk by with his fly-away hair and forlorn look on his face, I’d nudge Andrea and say, hey there’s your guy!”

Cry Baby:  Little, walking baby, not yet 2.  Never Happy!   I mean never!  Mostly throwing fits, seemed like a horrible existence. I pray for Cry baby often.

This is a rare community, all walks of life, all with their own completely unique story.  A place that I don’t belong at all but strangely I fit.  A place I can’t call home but is so familiar it is homey.

We don’t see this diversity here in Bend, OR.  Largely, the oddest people had me my coffee in the morning.  Other than that, what  you see is what  you get.  It was actually refreshing to see the diversity and to experience God’s deep love fore each of them.  My circle is forever widened and I am on a journey toward those outside my circle.  Where it will lead me I have no idea.  But as I said yesterday, Francis is my soul mate and this non-poor woman will reach beyond her comfort zone to see what could be.

You can call me Francis

My grandmother’s name was Francis, I never met her, but I know her.  Somehow we are soul mates, bound together for the same calling. 

Two of  my favorite authors are Francis Frangipane and Francis Chan.

Who was St. Francis?

Interestingly enough, the village I went to, had a library with multiple books on St. Francis.  What do you do when you are isolated from the world without a computer, phone, TV, etc?  You sit on the porch and watch people(more on that tomorrow)  or you go to the library and check out books on St. Francis:)

Here’s what I found:

~Francis steered clear of the poor until God set up a divine appointment that changed his heart forever and Francis began to seek out the poor and minister to them

~you and I are the non-poor

~If we, like Francis are seeking to follow Jesus, we must begin to find ways to journey to the margins of society, to encounter those on the other side of our ‘circle”.  You don’t encounter those outside your circle until you move toward them.  (I’m thinking, I’ll be moving TOWARD Africa…Passport papers turned in next week)

~Francis and I have the same philosophy.  Francis simply took the next RIGHT step, then the next…..

~St. Francis maintained that the safest remedy against the thousand snares and wiles of the enemy is spiritual JOY! (Thanks Bo, for teaching that to me this spring!)

~Francis moved through life in contemplation, in a fundamental attitude of receptiveness to the Spirit and a primary attunement to the reality around him at all times.  *I prayed for this same contemplative attitude and God delivered!

~His(and our) awareness of God’s presence, shaped how he lived every moment.

I love God in the Francis’s I know and I want a piece of what they have!  God grant me the heart of Francis.