It’s a beautiful world of continual connections that we get to live and love and learn within. Some days that connectivity feels far away from our surfaces, out of reach, submerged even. To keep lights on for one another, speak truths to one another, remind each other of the obvious and not so obvious (to us…right now…) is so important.

“What is obvious to you, is amazing to others.” -Derek Sivers

I know the above quote cannot always be true, but I am astonished at how often it really is.

I’d like to share with you all more of what I’ve been learning about faithfulness because it is nurturing me and I pray it will you as well. Earlier this year I turned as much of me toward learning love as I could and wrote about it along the way. It began an important turn of events in my life and now I’m eager to continue onward by focusing on this particular facet of love, faithfulness.


In my last writing I spoke of how the word “emunah” means faithfulness in Hebrew. Since then, I’ve learned that “emunah” shares the same Hebrew letters as the word “uman”, a skilled craftsman or artisan. This was compelling to me, to see an immediate connection how skill, both in faithfulness and craftsmanship, calls for practice. In the very origination of the idea of what it means to be faithful I see a story was written there about what it requires, and what it doesn’t. By definition, faithfulness requires practice, not perfection.

We need not be afraid—nor ashamed—of the need to practice, every single day, all the days of our lives. Nor do we need to fear the way faithfulness asks of us to seek further by surrendering stiff, stale, stagnant places in our life in order to gain skill in steadfastness. It is a blessing that costs, and it is worthy.

If we have quit practicing somewhere along the way, it is common for grief or shame to be allowed the loudest voice, the most important seat. If that has happened in our life I pray we will find courage and comfort to allow instead for the companionships of mercy and loving kindness. I pray for us vision to see how the patience of practice writes into us the very meaning of the word faithfulness, a slow art, that we craft and are crafted within, that we can begin again.

The wonder of faithfulness, like all good things, is how we are imprinted with it even by simply dwelling upon it, the way we take in the truth and texture of another soul by looking into their eyes, beholding.

It’s a beautiful world of continual connections that we get to live and love and learn within.

A couple of decades ago a co-worker invited me to an event that would change my life. I almost didn’t go because I thought it sounded strange, but I decided to go for the very same reason. What I didn’t expect upon arriving, watching, and listening was to feel like I’d been watching life in black and white and it all of the sudden had turned to color. I didn’t expect to inhale and become so conscious of my breath that I wondered if I’d ever really inhaled oxygen like that before. I was born anew, at all of seventeen years, I knew everything had just changed.

Some weeks prior I had been driving through my hometown thinking it was an ordinary day, sitting at a stoplight, I read the tail end bumper of a truck in front of me, “My boss is a Jewish carpenter”. My first thought was that I had no idea why any of us needed to know who his boss was nor especially his ethnicity? My second thought, “Ohhh…he’s talking about Jesus, right…I guess that’s true…he was a carpenter, and Jewish.”

At the “strange” event my co-worker invited me to a few weeks later, I would come to learn his Jewish name, Yeshua. Such a seemingly insignificant moment prepared the ground of my heart for this event in the coming weeks, an occasion that would change my life, and I just thought I was reading bumper stickers, waiting impatiently at red lights.

At the art-infused event, my co-worker had invited me to, dancers bearing lanterns entered and their light filled me. There’s a thousand things to tell you about how this story continued to unfurl in the following days, months, and years, but for now I want to pause on that note, light.

Why would I tell you about something that happened to me decades ago? Because the light from that event has endured, and that is miraculous. There are so many reasons why these pieces of my life “should” be forgotten by now, extinguished. But instead, an ignition.

I’ve read twice this week, from different sources, how our eyes, our seeing, can be healed by looking upon light—beholding things that involve flame as a symbol of something real, something of depth. Each time I read this, I was gripped and hurled into thought of my own history, how flame especially has initiated, deepened, restored, and birthed me.

It’s a beautiful world of continual connections that we get to live and love and learn within.


I took this photo last night. Glow of the fire on one side, glow of the fish tank from the other, a few candles and a lot of quiet—this is a snapshot of my family’s hard fought for December. I say fight but it has looked like surrender, staying and slowing, arms open wide, more than doing, hands busy, defending.

We think so many things are strange at first hearing and sight, but there are things in our ordinary days that are stranger still that we don’t even see. It’s strange the things we spend our time defending ourselves from, like quiet spaces and loud feelings, until it isn’t strange anymore. Until light comes. Until we realize it’s not defending at all, it’s self-sabotage.

We had to prepare for our December this year starting all the way back in the summer. I told the kids I had heard of other ways of traveling through these holy days (holidays) than continuous busyness and sound and electricity. I asked them if they would consider trying a new thing together. We unplugged our t.v., set different time limits on devices, turned off lights earlier in the evenings, cleared our calendars, and read more books by fireside.

We need not be afraid, but we were a little, of the need to practice, every single day, all the days of our lives. We need not fear the way faithfulness asks of us to seek further by surrendering stiff, stale, stagnant places in our life in order to gain skill in steadfastness. It is a blessing that costs, and it is worthy.

I started calling it our “Dark December”, knowing all the while it would lead to tonight when we would light the first light of Hanukkah. We’re not Jewish but one of the things I learned a couple decades ago, at that artsy night my co-worker invited me to, is that Jesus is. You only find Hanukkah one place in the Bible, and it’s when Yeshua attended the celebration, the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22-23).

The wonder of faithfulness, like all good things, is how we are imprinted with it even by simply dwelling upon it, the way we take in the truth and texture of another soul by looking into their eyes, beholding. The Messiah, Yeshua, is called the Faithful One, so we’re setting our eyes on Him, hoping to learn Him by heart, hoping to heal.

“Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the match that burns in the heart’s secret places…”
-Hannah Senesh

In a season of darkness we’re watching for how even a tiny light changes everything, how even the treasures within shadow are to be gathered by tiny lights, by us, with faithfulness, with persistent practice not perfection. We’re remembering how sometimes miracles happen and lights that should never last, do and do and do.

Wanna light a candle, or nine, with us and thousands of others around the globe sometime in the next eight days? It might heal your eyes. It might invite breath and oxygen and color and faithfulness, that has more to do with the Faithful One, than a preoccupation with ourselves and our tendencies to need light to heal our eyes again and again and…

If you join us, here’s a blessing for you to join in,

Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who is Faithful and True and by Whose light we see light. Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for Your chosen people in those days at this time…and to Whom we look to in our days, again.

So much love to you, my friends. Thank you for traveling here with me. May your holy days burn bright with meaning and connections full of beauty that carries you into a renewed year of living, loving, and learning.

Raynna

I’m glad you’re here. Subscribe to receive my posts in your inbox, and I’ll send ya my poem, Bound by Light. To have a companion in prayer, check out my book, Pray, Like a Woman in Labor here.

P.S. A resource for you: One of my favorite teachers and beloved friends, with a heart that burns bright, Keren Hannah Pryor, is a Messianic Jew and she has created this thoughtful companion for Hanukkah this year.

Read, the first post in this series on faithfulness here: The Faithfulness Writings Begin