Come: I am a “Ragamuffin”

I did a book review on Brennan Manning’s “The Ragamuffin Gospel” and I would like to journey through his “19 Mercies: A Spiritual Retreat” which is a short devotional included at the end of the updated version of his book. Let’s look at each mercy one by one together.

Last week, I was just meditating on the first mercy, “Come” and sharing it with one of the five sisters. The reading that was included with this mercy was Psalm 139 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139).

Brennan then told the story of a ferocious lion chasing you and then you find a rope off a cliff where you can escape the lion. As you are dangling from the rope you see a beautiful strawberry. However, you were still distracted by the rocks below and the lion above as well as little mice already gnawing at the rope you are hanging from. He was talking about how the Spirit brings the beautiful strawberries in your life but if you are distracted with anxiety or things above (the lion and gnawing mice) or distractions or things below (the rocks) you will miss the strawberry in front of your face. You just need to “Come” in the midst of everything that you are experiencing, facing, living–just ‘come’.

This Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, I really want to stop and bask in God’s presence. I want to enjoy the strawberries that I often miss. I hope you will do that too. I hope that you will “Come” to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to be present in your life. The Christian walk is messy. It’s so difficult when we try to do it apart from Christ. If being a Christian is following Him, why do we try to do it apart from Him? We all desperately need Him. I am a Ragamuffin (see previous post for a definition:)). I’m grateful for the beautiful reminder of just how much God loves his “Ragamuffins.” I am thankful for His peace.

Please enjoy this quote that Brennan Manning included in his book:

“Calm thyself, O my soul, so that the divine can act in thee!

Calm thyself, O my soul, so that God is able to repose

in thee so that His peace may cover thee!”

-Soren Kierkegaard

(Posted by Anna)

Book Review: “The Ragamuffin Gospel” By Brennan Manning

This book is an awesome lens through which you can become acquainted or re-acquainted with God’s love and grace. Brennan gives powerful examples of how God meets us, “Ragamuffins”, right where we are and He loves us deeply and profoundly. In his book, he defined a Ragamuffin as “the poor, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the hungry, sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the persecuted, the downtrodden, the captives, those possessed by unclean spirits, all who labor and are heavy burdened, the rabble who know nothing of the law, the crowds, the little ones, the least, the last, and the lost sheep of the house of Israel” or “dirty, bedraggled and beat-up” which is pretty much everyone to sum it up.

This book is a great reminder that there is nothing that we can do to separate us from God’s love. It has been given to us, poured out on us, we just need to come and receive! If you need to be refreshed and reminded of God’s love, His personal, intimate and profound love for you…this is the book for you to enjoy.

I have been blown away by the many ways that this book has blessed me and spoken to the depths of my heart. It is a book that, in my case, reminded me of the depth of God’s love for me as well as the intimacy of a personal relationship with Jesus. In the midst of being a busy mommy of three, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a stylist, a server, an assistant TBall coach, a Growth Group host, a table leader…all of my intimacy with Jesus had been pushed out. My view of the depth of God’s love for me was cloudy. I had become a Pharisee, a To-Doer. I had forgotten all about God’s love and grace and had accepted that I was a failure and a poser trying to pretend while judging people for being posers and pretenders and pharisees. One valuable lesson was clear–the things that we see that we think are ugly in other people are most-likely things in our own hearts that we need to deal with. I was a plank-eye and needed to deal with my heart about that. Mostly, I needed to repent and bask in God’s presence and ask the Holy Spirit to be present in my life and to fill me again. I was tired of being a ‘To-Doer’ and trying to work my way through my faith, trying to earn God’s love and running out of it for others. It was already poured out on me through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. I just needed to believe it and rest in it.

Years ago, a friend from college told me about this book. I ordered it and have carried it around for the past decade. It was also recently assigned as a reading option for a study that I am doing. At this point, I knew that I had to read it. In my present life as a busy mom of three, etc., etc., it has been so difficult for me to read anything let alone sleep or keep my house cleaned. However, I knew that I needed to hunker down and make it happen. I believe that God’s timing is perfect.

My husband also decided to read this book as his selected reading for the study. I accidentally took his copy when I had some time to read and the newer version of the book includes a new section called, “19 Mercies: A Spiritual Retreat”. I’m going to journey through each one with you in addition to my review of this book (more to come on that:-)).

(Posted by Anna)

Entering Motherhood

When my first baby was born, I remember holding her and everything that I had gone through prior to her birth was forgotten. She was a major source of joy and blessing. Though the first few days were very difficult, those first few moments were precious. I’ll never forget her cry and how she was comforted when she heard my voice. I’ll never forget how fulfilled she was when she was able to nurse at my breast. The skin-to-skin closeness we experienced during that bonding period was so amazing. A quote that I have recently come across that sums it all up is this:

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous…it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside of your body.” -Elizabeth Stone

This is so true for me. So I pray for my children daily and pray for my husband and I to be the best parents that we can be. I pray for excellent relationships with my children and I try to listen to them as much as I can determine is wise. (Posted by Anna)