Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.
Not too long ago I preached a sermon about prayer...prayer as a practice in listening.
Well....I happen to be failing as a listener right now. I am a 'doer' when there are things to be done. My prayer life feels like a woodpecker picking at a tree over and over again. Like I just keep shooting thoughts, worries, concerns up at God... peck, peck, peck.
This morning as I was doing this, I was so frustrated with myself. I felt like I was participating in everything that I feel prayer is not - basically 'telling' God what I think God should do....leaving no room for God to speak, act, or even breathe.
My prayers were making me more anxious. So - I began to pray about this. Pray about my anxious prayers. It was then that I realized that as much as I believe prayer is about listening, sometimes it's hard to get into a listening frame of mind when one is carrying around so much.
I was in a quandary. What to do? I needed to voice stuff, but I needed to slow down to do that, so that I could listen. What I needed most was not answers, but rest. I needed my brain to chew on something that wouldn't make me think of my 'to do' list.
Something (or someone) said, "Chant". Now...let me tell you, there's no way I could do Gregorian chant while running. Plus - gotta say, with a nod to the Church Fathers, that Gregorian chant is just not my thing. At least not normally, but there was something about the humidity, rain, and steam of the morning that felt a bit like a hot yoga studio, so I began to chant [in my head] the words to "Jesus Remember Me" in conjunction with my breathing. This was as close as I could get to a chant.
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom..." Over and over it went through my mind. I had heard it last week during the offertory during worship and it seemed so fitting now. An offering, a prayer, a chant, a plea, an acceptance.
Eventually, my brain did become occupied with these thoughts...I did feel a space open up between my temples. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom..."
Listening is so hard, when there's so much to say. But it's hard to listen if all we think about is what we have to say... Today was my very first realization of what a chant actually provides, beyond being 'traditional church music'. The chance to listen while speaking.
My name is Christine Stephan, although I answer mostly to Mom or Pastor.
I am a Lutheran pastor for an amazing group of Jesus' disciples just outside Washington DC AND a mom to 3 of the best boys in the universe.
I blog here about family and faith and frustrations....That thing we call 'life'.
My boys are passionate about all things legos, anything involving a ball, video games, and chocolate.
I am an avid runner, a lover of interesting books and deep conversation, a very amateur writer, and also a lover of chocolate.
I also love theology (which is weird, I know), but I don't love theology more than Jesus.
This blog is hardly ever profound, but it is real. As a pastor and I mom, I find 'real' to be more helpful in my journey with Jesus than crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.