Oregon Shakespeare Festival And Porch Reflections

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, originally uploaded by carolfoasia.

I spent the weekend at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It was a celebration for Laura's (second row on the left) 40th birthday which will be in December. She invited ten friends from different eras of her life. I am the most recent "era" in that, while I have known her (and admired her from afar) for about three or four years, we just started really getting to know each other since last July when we started meeting for accountability. Laura is a deep and kind woman. So, of course, she has attracted deeply spiritual friends over the years. The weekend was overwhelming for me in that I would have loved to connect more deeply with each person, but there was no prior history other than with Laura and Cathi (standing at the top), and I probably won't see any of the rest of them again.

I was a bit lonely and depressed on Saturday night until I realized I could revel in the solitude of my own room even as I listened to the hushed murmurs of midnight conversations in all the rooms around the house. I realized that I have this healthy desire to connect deeply that always seems to be frustrated in large groups of women stuck in the same place for a limited amount of time (women's retreats, Trapdoor/Lamppost getaways, etc). That desire can easily become a demand if I am not careful.

I woke up very early Sunday morning really THANKFUL that I didn't have a roommate that I would disturb! I stole away to the deserted porch and had a long and wonderful time with God where I started out with this verse from Face to Face by Kenneth Boa:

"Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed,
Save me, and I will be saved,
For You are the One I praise" (Jeremiah 17:14).

So funny that this has been my healing verse since 2006, yet I never realized it is in the context of a teaching about a deceitful heart - something that God has been speaking to me about all summer!

"Cursed is the [woman] who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh her strength,
And whose heart turns away from the LORD" (17:5).

I wrote:

Oh Lord - my deceitful heart has turned away from you this
morning. Yesterday, I was making FLESH my strength. Deceitful heart - when will
you learn!?

What is my end if I am like that?

"For [s]he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness
A land of salt without inhabitant"(17:6).

Lord, a heart set on people will always be a heart dry and
longing for water because people were never meant to be my
lifespring even though my deceitful heart longs for it to be

"Blessed is the [woman] who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD" (17:7).

Lord, help me to trust in You. Become my trust. Wretched woman.
When will I learn to not make flesh my strength?

What is the biproduct of this blessed life?

"For she will be like a tree (then I drew a picture with my meditations)planted by the water,
that extends its roots by a stream.
And will not fear when the heat comes.
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought.
Nor cease to yield fruit"(17:8).

"The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desparately sick;
Who can understand it?" (17:9)

Lord, I am only beginning to really understand my deceitful heart.

"Lord, you search my heart
You test my mind" (17:10).

Lord, don't give to me according to my ways,
According to the results of my deeds
but remember mercy and Jesus,
and Holy Spirit, transform me.

LORD, our sanctuary is a glorious throne.
LORD, my hope.
LORD, help me not to forsake you, the fountain of living water.

Hope. Now the verse I started with:

"Heal me, O LORD, And I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved
For, You are my praise."

Lord, you have commanded Your lovingkindness
this morning. THANK YOU. You ALONE do wonderful things. Fill today with your
glory, LORD.

It ended up being a very glorious end to a wonderful weekend. I ended up loving it. My perspective was right once again. Praise God for course corrections in midstream.

I am a little down today, but again, I am having to learn the longing I have to connect is not always met in some friendships, and that was quite clear to me as I went out with two friends last night. So, today I am a bit empty again, but it has been good to be rereminded of what God taught me one Sunday morning on a porch in Ashland. Another course correction for my deceitful heart.

There is more to say about the plays, but I will stop for now.


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