Deane's Blog

How To Find Direction (Via Narnia)

Deane WattersComment

I’m escaping into Narnia these days, eager to dwell elsewhere for a while. Not because my reality is unfavorable but rather because my imagination is crying for nourishment and expression. So I’ll feed it here, with Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy, and of course, Aslan.

In book #4 in the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, the siblings have been suddenly and unexpectedly called to Narnia because a battle is about to break out and the talking animals and dwarves need their help. The kids arrive and quickly learn why they have been summoned so they take off with Trumpkin, the dwarf sent to find them, to search for the quickest route before it is too late.

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They come to the edge of a small precipice and find themselves looking down into a gorge with a river at the bottom. On the far side there are cliffs that rise much higher. Standing there they are quite unsure whether to go up to the cliffs or down the side of the gorge, which looks so much easier from their viewpoint. Lucy looks up and who should she see but Aslan peering at her from the heights! She immediately understands that he wants them to take that upper route and she speaks out to the others her desire to follow him. But after a quick discussion and a vote, three of the four say no. They can’t see Aslan and it looks much clearer and easier the other way so they ignore Lucy’s imploring tears and she follows them, grieving the whole way.

You can imagine the outcome of their plan and the eventual turn around and the meeting up with Aslan at a later time.

When Lucy and Aslan finally get a chance to talk, Aslan challenges Lucy concerning her decision to follow the group rather than doing what she knew he wanted her to do. She hadn’t even thought of that! But, if she truly loved and trusted Aslan, she realized that she should have followed him even if the others refused.

This little piece of the plot makes me think back to my own desire to follow Jesus. I looked for signs and hoped for a face that would guide me securely in the direction I should go.

  • Which college should I go to after Waldorf, my wonderful two-year college?

  • Should I travel with an international Lutheran Youth Encounter team after my college graduation? Which one?

  • Which teaching offer should I take? The one in Minneapolis or the smaller one in Cedar Rapids?

  • Is this young man, the one who keeps calling me, the one I should marry? How can I know?

I can tell you that I never saw a lion in the clouds compelling me to follow him…or Jesus for that matter. But I did pray with all my heart that he would guide me in whichever direction I ended up going.

And He did. Looking back I see his face in every decision and in every next step.

The way I see it, he is always with me, even today he is right here holding my heart and helping me find my way.

  • The Psalmist claims in Psalm 121, “The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

  • After Moses died, the LORD told Joshua to to cross the Jordan River and head on in to the land he had promised them so many years before. He said these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”. God was with him wherever he went.

I believe the LORD who talked with Joshua and the one who the psalmist is speaking of is the same God who lives in us today. He is with me. He is with you. He guides in mysterious ways. He leads gently and quietly, but his presence is clearly seen when we look back on what he has done and where he has led.

What decision are you on the precipice of today? Are you looking for a sign? Do you wonder which way God wants you to go?

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Here’s my suggestion. Pray. Tell him that you need him. Wait for him. Open the door and invite him in. Silently sit with him and lay out the question on the table. Enjoy being with him. Rest with him. Trust that he is with you. You are not alone in the room. Do your best to make the best decision.

Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy and Trumpkin eventually come face to face with the Lion and each has to do business with their decision not to follow him earlier. But they are all met with love and grace as he continues to guide them in the direction they needed to go. I love the picture. It is for each of us as we make daily decisions. It may be in regard to our thoughts, our words, our attitudes or our actions. It may be a job decision, a house to buy, or to which college to send our kids. He wants to be sought, invited and followed.

The Holy Spirit is in us, leading and guiding, and yes, loving us all the way.

Faith And A Foggy Morning

Deane Watters4 Comments

On this spring morning, a fog has quietly slipped in and transformed my normal view. A ghostly grayness encloses everything and the tall dark trees stand quietly in contrast. The thick otherworldly mist clouds my reality while even the birds sound muffled and far away. I hear the lonely train whistle that offers an eerie quietness, not in a bad way, but like I’m being invited into a mystery. Perhaps there’s a secret wardrobe somewhere and if I happen upon it and step in, new possibilities await . Maybe there’s a secret gate into whatever is waiting for me. Wonder invites me to explore.

Naming Matters

Deane Watters1 Comment

Good morning, dear readers!

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I hope you are having a great day! I’ve experienced some excitement in the past couple of months and today I’m glad to be back to tell you about it. Read on if you’ve been wondering!

After being home alone for the month of February, while my husband paddled his way through wild river rapids on a fishing trip in Patagonia, it was my turn for adventures! The first escapade had me driving down the Ohio Turnpike (an 8-hour trip) to attend Refine {the retreat}, a unique getaway for writers and various artists. I found myself mesmerized by the experience, trying to take in all that was happening. I met many talented women whose hearts were on fire to express their gifting and to make space to meet with God. He did some gentle work in me in that remarkable place and I am still pondering its effect on me.

A few days after getting home from that amazing retreat, I boarded an airplane for my next adventure. This time I flew to Costa Rica to visit our son and his family who live there. They are working there with ECU in a ministry to college students.

Now, here I am, several days later, ready to write about parts of my wanderings. I’ll be drafting more over the next few weeks, so be sure to check back!

I flew to Costa Rica because our daughter-in-law was ready to give birth to their fourth child, our fifth grandchild! Hugging those darling little grandchildren was my first goal, but I was also there to stay with them when contractions became regular and it was time for their mom and dad to get to the hospital. Thankfully the timing was perfect and I arrived several days before the big event occurred.

She was born at 1:08 am on April 2nd. Since it was Costa Rica, and since there were no complications, they came home from the hospital that same afternoon. Joel walked into the house, handed me the baby, and said, “I’d like to introduce to you, Elsie Eve.” My eyes popped open and quickly filled with tears as I realized that they had named this little treasure after another precious gem, my mother, Eve Jane. Joel explained that Elsie means God is Abundant and Eve means life. Both of these held meaning for them, so when she was born, they took a look into that darling fresh face and it felt confirmed, her name would be Elsie Eve.

As I was reflecting on this, I couldn’t help but think about the importance of Naming. Throughout Elsie’s life, by knowing that God is Abundant, she will have a solid banner of truth to lift her eyes toward. I can imagine someday Joel and Rachel will tell Elsie how abundantly God has blessed their family by gifting them with her life. I have heard them tell Lucy what a light she is, and Charles, what a safe harbor he is, and Annie how much grace God has given them through her. By using their names, they are offering their children an identity, a place to find firm ground to guide and direct them.

In the Bible, God demonstrated the importance of Naming by often changing a person’s name to indicate an important reshaping in their role or to establish a new identity. In the same way, may we never forget that we also have been named.

We are called Beloved.

We are called Children of God.

We are called Adopted In and Part of the Family.

God is called Father and Jesus is called Immanuel, God with us.

Naming matters.

I will always treasure my time in Costa Rica with our cherished family. I am naming myself Blessed, Humbled, Delighted and “Lucky” to have been able to experience this spectacular event, one that is so monumental in the life and narrative of our family.

What are you naming yourself today? I pray it is Strong, Loved, and Beautiful.

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Open The Door

Deane Watters6 Comments

Have you chosen your word for this year? I’m a bit late but I’ve finally decided on mine. I’ll tell you all about it but first, let me open the door so you can peek into my life for the past month.

My husband is off adventuring with his brother and will be gone for twenty-seven days. It is highly unusual for us to be apart for so long! So to make sure I would not be too lonely, I invited people over. Some came for tea/ coffee and conversation. Others arrived in groups for meetings. In fact I just counted them up and I am amazed! During his absence, I will have opened the door of our house to fifty-four people! Granted, thirty-five of them came in response to my invitation to a women’s brunch. But still that is a lot of people!

In looking at these numbers, I am confirmed that the word I picked for 2019 is the very best one for me. In fact, it is the same as last year because I loved it so much and I feel it has more for me in the coming year. On one hand it refers to opening myself to people. On the other it refers to my relationship with God.

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My word/phrase open the door.

Revelation 3:20 is a verse that has come to mean much to me. In it, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (NIV)

Closing my eyes I realize Christ is right here with me and I sit silently leaning in and resting in His presence. He is the bread. I take Him in realizing His great love. He offers me His truth as I open His Word and listen for what He wants me to know. The time is sweet and I realize that I need no other nod, no other approval, no other yes. He has already given me everything I need to feel loved, accepted, and cherished. In turn I have love for others and especially for Him.

A few weeks ago, I came across an Instagram post from @gracelaced where she wrote about how her husband gets up early to spend time with God. As he is quietly reading his Bible and praying, one of their boys comes downstairs to join him. As her husband stands and fully embraces his son, @gracelaced realized that what he was doing is a picture of what it is to meet with the Lord each day.

She writes: “We meet with Him, go to the Word, linger in its pages, pour out our hearts to Him in praise and pleading…not to merely be more knowledgable…but to enter into our Father’s embrace of intimacy, freedom, trust, dependency - all of which we can’t know apart from KNOWING HIM and spending time with Him. Relationship will always be a greater motivator than ritual... God’s Word is a love letter and a hearty meal at your Father’s table…”

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My early morning verse this year will be from Matthew 22. When asked which was the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is a commandment but I hear it as an invitation to the heart of God. He lets me love Him. He allows me to have something to give others. He has opened my eyes to how much He loves me and how I can love me too.

I believe my WORD, open the door, encompasses all three reminding me to open the door to love Jesus, other people, and myself. I plan to come to the table in His presence ready for talk-that-matters and to build relationships with others that are rich in conversation, honest and full of life.

I have friends and family who have told me their 2019 WORD, and I often pray for them using their word. Joel picked “rooted”, Hannah chose “freedom”, Kerstin is embracing “give” and my friend, Beth, wants to be “unhindered”. I love each of these words because I know the people and I love their desire to have a focus and to be free to follow Christ in the way in which He is calling them.

Do you have a WORD? What are you doing to keep it in front of you? Have you added a verse to help bind it to your daily practice? Here in mid-February, is your WORD already opening you up to more of what God has for you?

I’d love for you to type your WORD in the comments because, as you know, I’ll pray for you using that word, if you like.