One Shoe and the Queen

Last night, wearing one shoe, I spoke with the queen.20150703_200651

I was on my way home from a concert when somewhere in the shuffle of the crowd—I lost a shoe. I kept walking and ended up in a meadow overlooking the most beautiful expanse of water and forest I had ever seen. I sat down in order to capture the sight in my head. I never wanted to forget such a stunning place.

Breaking my solitude, an older woman appeared seemingly out of nowhere and sat down in the cool grass beside me.  A crown encircled her carefully tressed locks, and wisdom exuded from her eyes. Who was this extraordinary woman, I wondered.

I was trying to make sense of this whole dream-like situation when the tiara clad woman spoke to me. Clearly, she had a British accent. Upon closer study of her face I realized…Oh my word…

Yep, this was the Queen of England speaking to me–the peasant with one shoe.

What could I say to the Queen of England?  Nothing seemed fitting. What seemed like an eternity of silence followed. No appropriate conversation came to mind.

So, after an uncomfortable silence, I simply asked her if she knew the king. She looked confused.  I asked her if she would she like to join me in talking with him–that is–the King of Kings. I told her about my Savior, my Wonderful Counselor, my Almighty God, my Everlasting Father… my friend–and how much I loved talking with him. I looked up and began to pray. Her look portrayed her confusion, but as I was praying I noticed that her eyes filled with tears.

Maybe she was beginning to realize that the King of Kings to whom I was speaking was actually God Almighty…and that perhaps there was something more to “religion” than mere tradition. Her tears began flowing and her eyes filled with hope. I was guessing she was imagining that perhaps she could have a meaningful relationship with her creator, who was also my creator.

I truly did have something to offer her. Even wearing one shoe.

And then I woke up.

I’m not sure which part of this dream seems more strange to me. The concert? The queen?  The last concert I attended was several years ago with saxaphone crooning Kenny G.  And I have recently read about Kate Middleton, but seldom think about the Queen of England.

However, it is not strange to know that the grace given to me is something worth sharing–and something everyone needs. I reflected on Psalm 4:7-8

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Truly, the spiritual blessings from God far outweigh anything money or prestige can ever buy. I may have one shoe, no shoes, or a crown on my head. But in the end, the only thing that matters is my relationship with God.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

Woman on Fire

I smelled something funny and realized it was me—on fire. I’ve only literally been on fire three times.  The first was as a bridesmaid when my sleeve came too close to a candelabra.  Fortunately, the sleeve sizzled a bit…but the flame just sort of melted the fabric. I’m grateful, as this could have been quite the distraction if I’d had to start rolling down the aisle.

The second time happened when I was blowing out birthday candles…and forgot to pull back my hair. (Singed a few that day—one of the hazards of aging and more candles).

The third was (spoiler alert: Not for the faint of stomach) when I had a tubal ligation while under local anesthesia and inquired about the source of “that burning smell”—only to be told it was part of my anatomy. Special. Actually, I suppose my catheter ablation from a few years ago would qualify as a fourth “inner fire” experience.

So, Saturday night while at a concert listening to a song my friend Amy Black wrote (and sang) entitled “Woman on Fire”—the title caught my attention. While the song was actually about a swooning Elvis Presley fan, as I brought this thought into the spiritual realm I asked myself if I was (am), in fact, a woman on fire.

Ask yourself, along with me:

Do I live my life (yes, even doing good and right things) just habitually? Or do I live it with passion in my soul?

Do I look forward (in eager and faithful expectation) to seeing God work in ways that are beyond what I dare ask and imagine?
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Eph. 3:20-21)

And speaking of this, what exactly do I ask…and imagine—not to mention DARE to ask or imagine?

And, do those around me feel the heat (or see evidence of my faith)?

I’m reminded of a scripture that speaks to these questions.  A scripture written to Christians:

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Rev. 3:14-16

Yikes. What a challenging scripture.

I pray to be more and more a “woman on fire”.  I can too easily cool off.

So, how can we “catch on fire” spiritually?

  1. Stand close to the flame:  Just like my sleeve, I’ve got to stand close to the flame. If I don’t spend time with God, there is no way I can become or stay passionate and faithful. (2 Tim. 1:5-9)
  1. Don’t pull back: My hair caught fire because I didn’t carefully pull it back.  Likewise, I’ll catch fire if I don’t pull back my heart and my faith. And that’s a fire I need. It’s all too easy to become careful, safe, and comfortable—pulling back our hearts.  I must continually overcome fear and step out in new areas of faith to be a “woman on fire”. (Matthew 22:37-40)
  1. Let the Spirit’s fire penetrate and refine: Like the experience with my tubal and my heart cauterization, I must do more than “watch” the fire. I’ve got to let it go deep into my soul, allowing it to transform me. There will likely be fear and some pain for this to happen…but it’s necessary for growth.  (1 Peter 1:3-9)

How desperately we need to be fueled by the Spirit of God— and how desperately the world needs to see our fire.0001-27341311

There is a candle in every soul, some brightly burning, some dark and cold

There is a Spirit who brings a fire

Ignites his candle and makes His home…

So carry your candle, run to the darkness, seek out the helpless, confused and torn

Hold out your candle, for all to see it

Take your candle, and go light your world.

…Cause we’re a family whose hearts are blazing, So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky

Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus

Make us a beacon, in darkest times.   (from Go Light Your World by Chris Rice)