Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Challenged by a hymn

Here's a hymn I was reading this morning:

Norwegian Folk Melody

Behold, they stand in robes of white
Who out of tribulation came,
With songs of joy upon their heads,
They praise His holy name.
O these are they whose hearts are pure,
And free from sin or any stain,
They stand before the throne of light,
Their joy shall never wane.

They worship Him in spirit new,
God's messengers of Love and Life,
They do His will, they speak His Word,
That stills all pain and strife.
They show an ever clearer light,
Like stars they shall forever shine;
They witness truly to His Word,
And God saith, These are Mine.

I've loved this hymn for years. It was sung by a dear friend at my wedding 25 years ago. I felt at that time that my marriage represented the reorienting of my life from walking on the wild side to embracing righteousness, and this hymn said it all for me. I felt welcomed by God.

The marriage didn't last, however, and the wild side called to me again. And I came out of it again after many trials into righteousness. I was able to fulfill my responsibilities with the strength that righteousness gave me—I don't think I would have made it through otherwise.

Now I find my plate is clearing up, the responsibilities are finishing, and I'm again doing things like writing blistering fiction. I feel like the life coaching and other things are bringing me out of a self-imposed exile. I'm wondering if there's a middle ground somewhere where I can be both righteous and a little wild.

So the hymn is challenging me again with its message of purity. I know that lasting joy is spiritual, and that basking in God's glory is the highest reality. I mean, I've felt this. It's been a comfort and support through all the lonely years of fighting on my own. I owe my life and any achievements I've had to the spiritual truths that sustained me.

But I feel on the edge of my seat, like something's going to happen next when I turn the page on my own life. How will it all fit together?

Well, that's what's on my mind today. Thanks for listening! Any thoughts you have would be appreciated. How have you handled transitions in your own life?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 11/06/2007 09:50:00 AM, Blogger Janine said...

I appreciate your sharing. I'm in a time of transition too. we just moved to a big city from the suburbs, where i didn't feel like i really belonged. i have many things "to do": care for my two young children, renovate my new/old house, but i am hoping for more opportunities for self discovery too. what you said about life coaching and other things bringing you out of a self-imposed exile intrigues me, and i wonder if i will be braver and be more "myself" now that my home more closely suits my character.
thanks as always for your blog.

At 11/06/2007 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Gramme-Mom said...

Dear Laura,
This hymn tugs at my heart.
It always makes me think of you,that's why I love it.
Love you,

At 11/06/2007 09:16:00 PM, Blogger Kate said...


this hymn also has a bittersweet message for me...of hopes dashed and hope resurrected...of purity...but not the kind that is white from lack of use (like a linen table cloth), but white from the heat of the fire (like a white hot ember)...
for me transition seems to be a way of life rather than a milestone...like those fountains that have a color wheel under the water...just when you think it has come to its "best" color...a new shade starts to evolve and it's more glorious than the previous one...and on and on and on it goes....perhaps this is what is meant by eternal life...life that is eternally evolving, eternally new, eternally "in transition"...hugs and love to you dear friend...

At 11/07/2007 03:23:00 AM, Anonymous Veronika Wilcox said...

Transition. I like to remain in the absolute of God's never changing Love. If I get to entangled in the human scene, I start to feel fear. It may only be a small sense of worry, but it is fear just the same. But if I enter into His Presence, I smile again and know that all is well. There is in reality no transition, only an awakening to the Truth.
Love, Veronika

At 11/07/2007 07:38:00 AM, Blogger Laura Matthews said...

thanks everyone for your beautiful supportive comments.... I feel very loved!


At 11/07/2007 02:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Laura, Mind if I join in?

Many years back while studying a Unity book titled “Lessons in Truth,” I ran across this thought-provoking clause (inspiring for me, anyway) stuck on at the end of a sentence: “Learn first how to commune alone with the Creator of the universe, who is all-companionship.” Who is all-companionship? Hmmm, hadn’t thought of this before.

I now know, first-hand, through trusting in God’s good will, that God - through His power - can take away all loneliness from a person, so the thought of being lonely – whether with people or by yourself - will no longer enter your mind.

I think you are right to be thinking of purity at this time. As a single divorced person – like myself - celibacy is a peaceful option for a mind that is motivated by love for God to live this way.

I gather from reading your blogging entries for several months now that you are a religious person, Laura, with a spiritual calling that enjoys teaching. You love God. Your mind is still bright, your concentration is trained to be obedient; and it seems you are listening for a word of direction from your heavenly Father.

No doubt “old slue-foot,” that other father (father of lies), has some words for you too, if you’ll listen. A few things you’ve said today indicate error-thoughts - so-called - have been getting at least some of your attention. Nevertheless, you can discern the difference between right and wrong; and Something very precious in you does know the right course for you to be thinking about. Who is the boss?

I have a couple of verses to share. You’re probably well-familiar with them both, but I’ll put them out there anyway: “Before they call, I will answer,” and “I will never fail you, nor forsake you.” And a third, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

You have an inspirational ministry. Your openness is helpful for figuring our own way to go.

At 11/09/2007 11:04:00 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

I love transitions. They represent new opportunities, new vistas and new challenges.

The exile vs. "wild side" you mention I think is more about core values/needs. Jesus went to the mountain top and the market place. And that's a little like our natural tendency to turn inward and cling to our spiritual bulwarks when times are tough or we're feeling that burdens/responsibilities rest on us. That's a great place to be.

But when our lives are solid and we've set our children free to learn their own lessons, we shouldn't be afraid to step out into the world outside. We take our spirituality with us and let it shed its light in different hues. And we might just learn some fresh lessons along the way that enlighten our spiritual path.

Would you relinquish your past choices? Do you regret them?

Rightiousness sprinkled into the well of wildness is a great recipe for good clean fun, and affords opportunities for a full expression of joy and freedom. The poison is self-righteousness, a characteristic you've jettisoned, according to your posts.

Just trust your spiritual groundedness and go forth!

I'm embracing some of the same questions so appreciated your honesty and the questions posed.

At 11/26/2007 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

Transition - I aim with both feet first, clean slate, map, highlighter, a good dose of adventure and a bit of common sense. "Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise" it works out beautifully when I go in the strange directions He points me. Sometimes the direction seems a bit strange, but it all unfolds in wonderful ways.


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