Mindfulness and Meditation.  Mindfulness is a catch-phrase these days and becoming a popular concept.  It means not just going through the motions, it means taking pause from busyness, it means being present in the moment. Meditation is focusing on a particular object or thought or teaching.
Why are these becoming increasingly more popular? I assert it’s because if we take a moment to pause and a moment to look up, we see our hearts ache for more.  Career, consumerism, accomplishment, and adventure are just a handful of the things we often wish would fill this void (but they just can’t completely do it).  People long for meaning, for attachment, for love in its deepest, purest form.   When people have opened up to me and shared what it has meant to them to learn of my diagnosis or when they have lost someone else to cancer I see the ache for “more”.  The questions spill out, “am I living as I truly wish to be living?” “Am I making the impact or difference that I want to be?” “Are my energies being poured out where I want them to be?” “Does x, y or z really matter?”.  And the biggest questions of all —- “how can I get through life when it falls apart?”  “What can I depend on?”  “What is this life all about – the ancient question of the meaning of life.”  These are universal questions.  They are inside you and I waiting to be heard, waiting to be answered.
My oncologist told me last week that research has shown that 30 minutes of daily meditation increases longevity.*  Meditation helps you live longer!  These are not just catch-phrase concepts, they MATTER.  I’m attending a workshop called “Hearing God”.  It is teaching me to spend half an hour daily pondering scriptures.  I read the bible, I bathe myself in the scripture and it becomes ALIVE.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “The word of God is alive and active…it penetrates.”  I testify to this scripture, the words of the bible have become alive to me.  The Holy Scriptures are my LIFELINE they call me to TRUST, they call me to BELIEVE.  Exodus 34 God says, “I can be trusted”.  Faith is trust.  I am trusting that the holy scripture of the bible is true.  Jesus asks repeatedly “Do you believe?”  In Matt 9:28 Jesus says, “Do you believe that I can do this?” then in John 16:31“Do you finally believe” that I came from God?
I read the scriptures and they speak into my life.  Exodus tells the story of Moses.  This man started off by asking God to please  send someone else to do his work, because he is not equipped. (Sound familiar? – it does to me).  But then this man leads the Israelite group of people out of slavery into freedom!  I’ve just read how Moses was on the mountain talking to God. “The Lord came down in a cloud and stood beside Moses.” (Exodux 34:5, CEV) And God’s light shone so brightly that when Moses came down from the mountain his face glowed! Moses encountered God firsthand.  Powerful!
In Matthew I’m reading about Jesus.  Jesus blows me away.  What I see at the end of Matthew is incredible.  Jesus is approaching his time to die on the cross.  He knows it.  He goes to the garden of Gethsemane to plead with God for his life (I’ve been there, I get it) he brings his buddies as support and they keep falling asleep.  I feel it, seriously, when Jesus needs you, so desparately needs you, you fall asleep?!  I feel Jesus’ loneliness.  His support has left him.  But it gets worse.  They deny they even know him! He is rejected not only by the Romans but by his closest friends!!!  He is humiliated, He is tortured and ridiculed.  He has to watch his mother watch him die.  This is the passion of Christ!  And He is separated from God himself as all the sins of the world fall on Jesus’ shoulders.  This is a weighty unfathomable burden. (And we haven’t even talked about his physical suffering.)  THIS IS WHAT JESUS EXPERIENCED FOR OUR REDEMPTION.  Take a moment to sit there.  Let it wash over you.  Let the cost of it soak in.  We sing about Amazing Grace.  Why is it so amazing? Because Jesus did this for me a wretched lowly human!
Oh my GOD!
Jesus endured the exact opposite of what I needed to keep going when I was diagnosed with cancer.  I needed to know I wasn’t alone, I needed to know I was loved, I needed to know I was cherished. Treasured.  That someone saw my desperation and brokenness.
I needed LOVE, penetrating love!
Jesus took on the loneliness, abandonment, humiliation, rejection so I don’t ever have to.
Jesus says “remain in my love” (John 15:9)
My experience:
My mom shared that she saw God’s love afresh when she had to face that her daughter might die and her heart longed for me to live.  She then encountered the magnitude of the God’s love for her.  My mom doesn’t want me to die; but God gave up his son to die for our sake.
My Dad has always loved me well.  Lately he has shared more tender words with me proclaiming his love for me.  He loves me immensely.
There is a song I learned in childhood which has lyrics “[God’s] love [is] like an ocean.”
As I was praying God communicated this to me:
“My love is an ocean.  OCEAN! An Ocean!
Cheryl, you know how much your Dad loves you?”
“Yes, he’s made it very clear and I feel it deeply.”
“I love you vastly more.  Your earthly father’s love for you is like a drop in the ocean.”
My God is LOVE.
God’s banner over me is love. (Song of Solomon 2:4)
In Exodus 17 Moses won an epic battle.  To commemorate the victory Moses build an altar and named it “The Lord is my banner!”.  Then he says “Hold high the banner of the Lord!”
In the preceding chapters you read about words like this: “The Lord will fight for you. You just keep still.”(14:14)  And “The Lord is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation; this is my God and I will praise Him, my father’s God and I will exalt him. “
And then I read in Psalms (27)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Do you feel it? God the Father fighting for you in love? Fighting for you to be able to have life to the full.
My response:
Oh Lord, You are my banner that I wave victoriously!!!
Lent is tomorrow. Historically and traditionally I do not practice lent.  But this year as I feast on what Jesus has done for me I am compelled to commit to keep meditating on the Holy Scriptures of the bible.  My life depends on this! (arguable yours does too. And remember there’s science behind meditation increasing longevity?)  I am choosing not to “give up” something for lent (this seems too reminiscent of the ‘rules’ Christianity seemed to historically teach).  No this lent I choose to ADD in to my life meditation on the bible in order to push out the less important.  What could be more lovely and worthy than meditating on Jesus?
This sort of mindfulness is absolutely vital.  Keep adding in exactly what you want your life to emulate and naturally you’ll find the junk or trivialness and all that which doesn’t fit will simply get pushed out.
Consider this with me:  What do you want more of in your life?
And if you love Jesus, take a fresh look at all he has done for you as we enter this season. 
Much love to all you readers who take the time to read my words.  I pray diligently that God will give me wisdom in my words, that I am not just sharing my heart but the heart of God as well.

(*I hope to track down this source to cite)