Grace Like Rain

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I slip my glasses on so I can see my way into the kitchen.  With pen and journal in hand, I click the brew switch on the coffee maker and take a seat at the table to wait for my first cup of morning brew.

As I flip open my journal, I notice the sound of gentle rain hitting the window.  My eyes land on the sliding door as beads of moisture glide down the glass.

Dawn is trying to break through the darkened clouds.

I hear the ready ring from the coffee pot.

The Italian roast flows into my mug.  The rich aroma wafts through the still air.

Taking my seat at the table once again, I sip and write.  Sip and write.  Ideas race through my mind and out the tip of my pen.  On the blank journal page, I scribble words leftover in my mind from the night before.

I’m always thinking, feeling, trying to sort out what I envision in my writer’s mind.  Whether I have a pen, journal, keyboard or not it’s the way I’m wired.  My brain is always creating.

I close my journal and listen to the patter of rain.

Sometimes we need a dark day.  It pulls us in, it quiets our souls, we are hidden and alone, away from any commotion or communication.

It’s a necessary place to be at times–small and hidden.

The electronics beckon but sometimes we need to tuck ourselves away from TV, phones, computers–away from the “Look at me” world that we are living in.  The false realities of our day make us believe that we’re not fully alive unless we’re seen.

So here alone I ponder.  In this space, in the dark cover of morning I’m embraced in solitude.

I stop striving, contemplating, thinking, being distracted by my own thoughts and I quiet my mind.  I empty myself and it’s here that I’m fully alive.

In this place there is no communication with others, except with the Lord my God.  Here there is no pretense.  I am fully seen, fully known and fully loved.

Like the rain that saturates the earth, my soul is saturated in grace.

And like Mary I know that I have picked the better thing.

 …but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

Written by:  Nancy Janiga ©2015

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Unplug to Plug in

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I made an effort to get up earlier than usual this morning.  It was quiet, still, peaceful.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  (Mark 1:35)

Just give me an hour with you, Lord.  That was my prayer.

Then came a ding from my cell phone.  A text.

Already?

Then the ring from our land line.  Those political phone calls start early.

Bob was up bright and early too.  He wanted to call our internet service company about our weak wifi connection.

So our day began with a service representative on speaker phone with all of us trying to trouble shoot our wifi problem.

After being on the phone for an hour, I still don’t think the problem has been solved

Life is loud.

It seems we stay connected 24/7.  Everything is instant and there’s more news and media coming at us than ever before.

We get pictures in real-time, see the events of friends happening right before our eyes, games, offers, advertisements, slogans, recipes and more come at us as we scroll down the news feed on facebook.  Then there’s instagram, pinterest, twitter and who knows what else that may keep us connected with others non stop.

We’re on high alert…always plugged in.

I read an article recently where the author (a psychologist) stated that social media is robbing people of their attention span.  One of the points she made is that we have re-trained our brains to want and need never-ending stimulation.  Being silent and still is foreign.  Settling down and being quiet is hard to do.  We have a whole nation that is becoming more and more ADHD.

Trying to turn our brains off seems harder and harder these days.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.  Luke 5:16

We don’t like lonely.  Solitude is becoming a lost experience.

Jesus taught us how to pray (and continues to do so as we follow him through the gospels)  Also, he shows us the value in finding a quiet spot, away from distractions where the only other person present is God the Father.

If our own Lord needed to pull away, we too need it and more than ever today.

Jesus was fully God and fully man.  His humanity knew how necessary it was to stay in complete communication with his father.  There was a dependence that he perfectly models for us.

Not only that, the trinity communicated with each other.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit had complete unity and interaction with one another.

The Holy Spirit leads us in prayer and interacts with God the Father as well and–teaches us how to pray.

That prayer I prayed earlier for an hour of time?  It’s being answered now.  It’s quiet in my house again.  My phone is off.  I’m unplugged from the internet.  I need this silent space, and feel compelled to focus on Jesus and his alone time.  What an example he is to me and a true leader in the blessing of solitude and prayer.

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Jesus would dismiss the crowds so he could be alone with his father.  (Mathew 14-22-23)

He would spend the night alone praying.  (Luke 6:12)

Jesus interceded for his followers.  (Luke 22: 31-32)

He petitioned God on behalf of others. (Luke 23:34)

He gave thanks to God for answered prayer.  (John 11:41-42)

Jesus was truthful about his emotions with God.  (John 12:27-28)

Jesus prayed for his disciples and for all believers.  (John 17: 6-26)

He cried out loudly to God to save him from death. (Hebrews 5:7)

I like the contact that I have with family and friends on facebook.  That’s my only social media connection.  I enjoy hearing from others, seeing their pictures, learning how I can pray for them…rejoicing through the good and mourning through the bad with them.

I don’t think I’ll be giving up that connection but I do need to unplug from our modern-day devices to plug into God who recharges me with his power and life.  That’s a connection that I can’t afford to lose.  If Jesus couldn’t live without communication with his father, I certainly can’t live without it.

Written by:  Nancy Janiga©2014