Friday, September 26, 2014

en llamas arbusto

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!" Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am a Sagittarius. Astrologically it is a fire sign. While it may be selective observational bias, I find fire a reoccurring theme within my life. I am prone to fiery outburst of impassioned nature, I too frequently burn the candle at both ends (I crash and burn) rise from the pyre a phoenix to fly again. Perhaps that is why, already as a child, the story of Moses and the burning bush fascinated me, and why I still pray for burning bushes.

I remember the Sunday school paper and choosing just the right shade of Crayola® red-orange, streaking it with goldenrod crayon to "light" the bush on fire. As the story goes, Moses is out tending the sheep when he happens to notice a small shrub ON FIRE. His reaction surprises me, "I will go over and see this strange sight--why the bush does NOT burn up"(Ex.3:3) I would imagine that aside from a wild animal or two, there would not be such excitement as this event, while a shepherd was out tending the flock. However, Moses seems only mildly inquisitive. Then as if a burning bush were not enough, now there is a voice from within the bush.
As God calls his name from the bush, "Moses! Moses!" The response from Moses is straightforward, "Here I am Lord"(Ex.3:4b) God next instructs Moses to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground (Ex 3:5). This removal of the sandals is a sign of recognition and respect. God goes on to explain how He has witnessed the suffering of Israel and it is time to extract them from beneath the burden of Pharoh's entrapments. When God explains why He has come to talk to him, I can relate to Moses's response. "Who am I that I should go?" (Ex. 3:11)

One of my dearest PLN members put me to the task of expounding on my "burning bush" experience I mentioned in my first blog post. While I pray for burning bushes, if I were to actually encounter en llamas arbusto I do not think I would be so nonchalant. Likewise the prospect of Vietnam flabbergasted me. How did I know to go to Vietnam? How does anyone discern the voice of God or what direction they are to take? During a recent memoir writing conference with a grade 8 student I asked her this very question,"How do we know?" My question was prompted by a statement I read on her outline plan for the memoir that she had written, "God called my parents to Vietnam." Her first thought was, "My mom and dad said they just KNEW." I shared with her I was muddling through this very thought in crafting my blog post. The more we dialogued we decided that it is difficult to articulate "burning bushes" to others, and concluded that God knowing us individually, speaks to us in an intimate and individual way as well.  Moses, being a shepherd was surrounded by small shrubs and vegetation. God met Moses in his context and spoke to him organically (literally and figuratively). The form of our respective "bushes" may be people, circumstances, or still small voices. How did I know? How do WE know what it is we should do (or not do)?

Be observant. Pay attention. Moses was busy at another task overseeing and protecting sheep. I was busy within my learning with marvelous Michigan fifth graders. Either he, or I, could have attempted to go on business as usual.  However I am convinced that Almighty God will not be ignored, there is a need to heed His voice inherent to our souls.

Remove what stands in the way of correct posture to listen. Moses removed his sandals. I had to remove my apprehension of packing up my known life with my family and move to an unknown place.  I did those things, respectfully, even if at times I was reluctant. Like Moses I asked questions too. I asked, "Who am I that I should go?" (Ex.3:11) Certain days I am still asking. I am no one of distinguished appeal. There is a blessing and curse in this train of my thought. A curse that I do not find my skill set or myself adequate to meet the task, and can be prone to discouragement, but a blessing in that I, like Moses, am wise enough to know that God stands in the gaps. "And God said (to Moses and to us), "I will be with you." (Ex. 3:12) So while I may believe myself to be falling short; He will always be enough. This is the flame I must continue to fan within my thoughts.

Exodus 3


  1. Theresa,

    What a beautiful reflection on your calling from the Almighty. I am so grateful that you shared this, but even more so, that you responded to His call to go. I will continue to eagerly follow your journey, observing what He has in store for you and your family. How inspiring!

  2. Greg, I count it a blessing to be a member of your PLN tribe. I cannot thank you enough for your continued encouragements and well wishes!