Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday and Thank you!

For nine years now, December has definitely become the busiest month of the entire year for me; yet it is the most wonderful and the most fun for me and my entire family. We enjoy the regular Christmas festivities along with my son’s birthday celebration just 9 days before Christmas. I know others also have December birthdays and have similar stories of the hustle and bustle and juggling of busy schedules; but I can only speak of my own juggling journey.
Today it is one week before Christmas, and as my son writes out his thank you cards to all those who wished him well this birthday, our hearts turn to another One celebrating a birthday in just a few short days.
My boys and I chatted on the way to school this morning about how different this is…we remember His birthday and we are saying, “Thank you!” For it is Christ’s birth that has changed our lives!
We read this morning in 1Sam 16:14 and our hearts were heavy; hearing of a man who made some bad choices and the Bible says, “The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul.” My boys know very well that God is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9) and they were heart sick to hear of how the Spirit had left this man and were prompted to ask why did God allow that to happen? Would God leave us now if we made bad choices like Saul did?
I cannot even begin to explain or claim to have the knowledge of God’s ways…but I do know that this story brought us to remember Jesus and say thank you! Before Jesus was born, people like Saul did not have the opportunity to live with God like we do now! The Spirit was upon others before Jesus was born when God had a particular task to complete for His great purposes—but ALL of us who accept Christ now are given this gift of the Holy Spirit. We have a Counselor that is with us forever because of Jesus (John 14:16) and nothing—not our choices or the choices that others make that effect our lives—can separate us from Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Hallelujah and THANK YOU JESUS!
As we pray and tell God and Jesus thank you…may our hearts be open and our minds quiet to hear Him also say, “Thank you!” In the business of this season as we are serving and doing our part to make joyous things happen for those we love; we may realize that our efforts go unnoticed by those around us. It’s in those times that God wants us to hear His voice—those times that we remember God notices everything and He wants to say, “Thank you.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009


A cluster of grapes?

As a family, we read last night in Number 13 about the HUGE cluster of grapes cut from the Promised Land. The grapes were so enormous that one man could not carry them alone; but 2 men carried them back to show the others the fruit growing in the Promised Land. As my boys hung the ornament of grapes on the tree I prayed that we would understand that these were not just any grapes! It’s so easy for us to read through so quickly and see that they picked fruit from the land…but this was not just any old fruit. These grapes were not just ordinary grapes…may we not overlook how unique they were.
A few years ago I may have read right over that but my heart and mind could not forget the LARGE GRAPES! So odd…why grapes? What do grapes represent? I sensed the Spirit moving in me to pause and remember. What HUGE GRAPES has God blessed us with these past years? What blessings have we overlooked and not taken time to rejoice and celebrate how HUGE they were?
Reading on in Numbers, Caleb stood out in ver 13:30; he had faith to BELIEVE that the Israelites could with God, conquer the land and enter the land God promised. On the other hand, there were 10 other men who were shaking in their boots (like so many of us do whether we admit it or not). The other 10 were scared and feared how HUGE the other men were and they disagreed with Caleb and thus were discouraging the idea and wallowing in their unbelief.
Oh that we would BELIEVE! It’s a popular one-word phrase this time of year…BELIEVE. I don’t want to be judged for my celebrating or not celebrating of ‘ol St. Nick…but I love the symbolism tied around this jolly red-suited man. Ho Ho Ho reminds me that there is the One to BELIEVE! I BELIEVE in God and all that He is and does for us! I pray that my boys will see God not only in the moments of this season; but every single day.
What about your heart? Do you see God in the moments of your day? Are you looking for those grapes? Do you speak like Caleb did or like the other 10 men who spoke about their fears of entering what God has promised?
I cannot help but think about those grapes and what happens to them when they are squeezed and beaten to a pulp. It becomes the juice we drink to remember Jesus and all that He did for us! Will we remember or will we go on with this season leaving God out? The first step in moving forward is to simply…BELIEVE! Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Wallah!" on the Wall

There are many mornings that I wake up with my mind spinning—like a Bingo cage spitting out the number of things that I must remember to do in just a few short hours. Then…”Wallah!” Something supernatural happens in the surroundings of my heart and I am able to see and hear differently.

I frankly despise the moments in my life when I hear someone else yell out, “Bingo,” and I am tempted to sulk in despair and defeat. I am one who rejoices with others crying out in celebratory joy and would be the first to dance in their joy; so determinedly, I CHOOSE differently. I admit the tempting thought but choose to lay down the sulking of my heart and choose love because I know the love of the Maker of this game!

Thankfully, today is not one of those tempting moments of defeat for me, but I am recognizing the antidote that God has graciously been pouring into my heart for many months now. I’m sitting still before my God and allowing Him to look over my days’ game pieces. Sip by sip from my warm mug and bit by bit from the words of truth and love digested from the pages of scripture the Bingo cage in my mind disappears.

As I gaze to the West avoiding the blinding morning rays, I’m reminded of the truth that I too am well planted like the trees along my fence line. He has hemmed me in and watered me perfectly. My Master’s hands were not afraid to get dirty and actually bled profusely so that I could abide.

Higher and higher the sun rises from the East casting rays of warmth onto the still quiet leaves. Oh, how brilliantly God’s love radiates off of His sweet precious creation. As I bask in the brilliance of our Maker it is not too long before I see His light casting a shadow of His precious creation. It’s like the trees have multiplied instantaneously. The wind begin to stir causing a chorus of rustling leaves around me, beckoning my heart and eyes to see and my ears to hear, “Go….let God’s light shine and cast a shadow on another today.”

Who will you be divinely planted next to today? Will someone need to rest in the shadow of the Almighty? Will someone need comfort found in the coolness of your shadow? Will someone feel comfortable in your shadow and then need you to strategically duck so that they can experience the Comforter? Whichever plans God has for you today may you first capture the warmth of His love in your heart and then enjoy fully the loving shadows He casts of you throughout the day.

John 15:1-17, Psalm 23:6, Psalm 34:5, Psalm 139:5, Psalm 91:1, 1John 4:19, Isaiah 60:5

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Before I went away for the weekend I was reminded of my youngest son’s obsession with band-aids and how he enjoys using the entire box of band-aids to create his own masterpiece…a football pad of sorts to prevent his oweeees from hurting any more. In chuckling at my son’s childish ways, I also sense God nudging me to realize how often I too want to reach for that box of band-aids. The hurts in my life seem to revolve more around my bleeding heart and it is not pleasant to have the same wound injured over and over again. Yet, I sense the Lover of my soul has some kind of redemption in mind every time this world fails me and my heart is crushed.
With my heart hurt again and again—I have come to the end of myself and realized that I cannot be the Protector of my heart. Without realizing it, I’ve tried to allow others to be the Protector—maybe they displayed some sort of physical or spiritual badge of honor and appeared wiser than I with no avail. Praise God no one has ever been able to take care of this heart…not even my own tender hands.
So, as I throw away yet another empty band-aid box I quietly pray to my God and surrender this heart of mine. Whether I bleed profusely or work through unbearable pain I will keep walking…or keep riding as my oldest son showed me he can do.
You see just yesterday on a bike ride with my boys I watched as my little lover of band-aids pointed out the fact that his older brother was in desperate need of a band-aid with blood running down his leg. My oldest son was not bothered with it one bit and just simply said to his little brother, “It’s okay, God will take care of it.” (He likely gathered we had no band-aids with us neither on the ride nor at home…but I also trust that God has a hold of his young heart and God wanted to speak to me too).
I couldn’t agree more—all of our hearts are capable of both experiencing and inflicting pain on those around us and if we just entrust our little hearts to God….He will take care of it! I'm gonna rip off these band-aids and ENTRUST my heart to the One who made won't be 'ouchless' but it will be a journey full of redemption and healing nonetheless.
I also know I won't be able to care 100% for the hearts around me--but I will give it my best effort with His love propelling me! Lord, please bless Johnson&Johnson's efforts but this heart needs SOMEONE bigger...more like GOD-AID! GOD-AID surely helps heal me!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Calling All Girlfriends...

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in the parameters of four walls? Maybe the weather is bad, or your kids are ill and you have no other choice but to stay home; or maybe a situation has you feeling like you are confined and trapped with no way out.
I was reading this morning and came across these words, “When they could not find a way…” It made me think of what we do when we cannot find a way. Do we sulk and pout and isolate ourselves? Do we act with determination and fight at all costs to find a way? Do we rely on our own strength or pray and ask God to help us find a way?
I guess a lot of our decisions would probably be determined by what is particularly standing in the way. I mean if I am driving along and there is debris in the road I usually steer around it and sometimes we just need to wait for the proper time to act. Like wait for the train to pass, or the weather to change or healing to come over an illness and the way is made clear again.
What about when it is a person or persons that is standing in the way? What do we do? Do we just stop and give up? Depending on what it is—if God allows a person to halt our progression forward in a particular circumstance it can sometimes be a sign of a detour needed; but other times God desires for us to know and rely on Him; for He is bigger than any person standing in the way. Sometimes God just wants us to be WOWed by Him and His awesome power!
I went back to what I read and realized that what was standing in the way in this situation was a crowd of people. You can read for yourself in Luke 5:17-26. This scripture tells of people finding a way to Jesus. They were determined to get to Him—they did not stop because people stood in their way. What about you? Are you able to get near Jesus and what He has for you or are you easily distracted because of what others have said to you? Are you waiting for the crowd of people to make a way for you? Are you sitting back and watching everyone else get near and thrive next to Jesus? Have you given up on His plans for you?
There have been times in my life when a person and/or a situation with people has distracted me from coming near Him and His plan for me—this life can rob of us many things and discourage us; but there is one thing that Jesus saw in this story that cannot be taken away from us…Hallelujah!! Praise you LORD! In verse 20, it says that “Jesus saw their faith.” Their conviction, their belief, their trust, their assurance, and their confidence propelled them forward and they not only thought of a way, but acted on this way and came near to Jesus and God’s plan for them!
Are you this determined? Do you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you? May we not allow any obstacle in our lives to stand in the way of experiencing what Jesus has for us. May we express our faith and think outside of the box and climb up on top of the problem with our faith living in the walls of our head, in the chambers of our hearts and in the grips of our hands. May God too find us faithful and say, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” (verse 20)
I love that Jesus in this story called these men friends. Isn’t that what we all desire…isn’t there something so special in drawing near to a friend and hearing that they see something great in us!! May we see the faithful friend that we have in Jesus and live our lives each day more and more like Him. Let us each tell a friend today the great and wonderful things that we see in them today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Love Realized

The next step…I’m sitting here feeling questions rise up in my head. It’s funny how when one chapter of our journey seems to come to a close as the seasons surely do come to an end and we wave “bye-bye.” (Girls…there is a plane flying overhead right this very minute!!!) It leaves us desiring the answer to “What’s next?”
I can easily at any one point in time make a list of things that may qualify for the next step but I often feel unsure of which item is THE one God desires for me to focus on. This happens in the simplest of ways each and every morning at times when I take my to -do list before my God. Is it just me or am I the only one who wrestles with what to do next?
Hmmm….then when I take a moment to be still I realize that I may be wrestling because I am stuck in my own agenda. Don’t we like to do things our own way??? Don’t we think about ourselves and our own situations way too much?? As I was praying this morning and even typing up my journal entry to my God this morning my kitty hopped up on the sofa (her new-found talent) and after exploring every crevice and dark hole around the cushions she nestled in next to me and has since fallen asleep.
Just as clear as I heard the airplane flying overhead a few minutes ago; I heard a click of a snapshot in my heart and a yearning to capture this moment. Just like the moments my boys first spoke “momma” and the moments they ventured out and took their first steps…it’s glorious moments like these that we choose to pause and capture deep within our hearts. I have a sense of realizing that God has moved everything in my surroundings to make it clear to me how much He loves me this particular moment!!!
HUSsssssssssssssHhhhhhh…it’s as if I hear my God nudging me to rest alongside Him nestled in His arms. Basking in His security and love and fully embracing that I am His daughter worthy of pure rest.
It’s as if He was right here speaking to me, ”You will know the next step when I speak it to you…and this next step is no step at all—just stay right here with me and rest.”
God surely gives us rest on every side of each step! (2 Chron 20:30)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Clumsy Steps Empowered by Comforting Arms

It is a delightful quiet morning. The only sound echoing in my living room is the tap of my fingers on the keyboard and the hum of my laptop. I’m sitting next to my adopted kitten nestled in a basket cuddling a borrowed teddy bear. After praying this morning I glanced over at her this morning sipping my coffee and tears inadvertently welled up in my eyes...
I recognize a bittersweet emotion rise up within me as I watched her clumsily sneak up on the not quite 2 foot tall canine member of our family comically named Zeus. These past weeks we have been so amused by our adopted kitten we named Princess Tiara because of the heart-shaped marking on her head. She was abandoned by her mother at about 3 weeks and missed out on so much rearing and modeling from her momma…especially the stealthy way of a cats’ playful pounce. She tries to lurk around the corner only to get scared of her own shadow and runs back into hiding. Then when she musters up enough gumption to venture out again she hears someone in the family cough and she stumbles over her own feet and rolls across the floor. She spends much of her time wearing herself out this way…striving to do what she was made to do.
Oh, how I feel that way…striving to do what I was made to do. It’s one thing not knowing what you were made to do and another to have an inkling and not follow it. I find it especially tough to follow this path of doing what you were made to do when you are stuck with feelings of being inadequate because your own childhood story may lack a bit of modeling or education or you fill in the blank.
Like my new little kitty, who is just so clumsy and fearful, I too find myself running to hide until I get the gumption to try again. The key I think is where we run to when life sends us stumbling over our own two feet. By something I cannot even explain…and a whole lot of God’s grace I realize it was He who reaches down every time with His loving arms and holds me! Our God loves us SO BIG! And He made us just the way we are…and everything about us He sees as perfect…perfect to do whatever we were made to do!
And just as my Princess Tiara runs to the basket to cuddle in the arms of a stuffed teddy bear to rest…I too have learned to run to my God’s arms to rest and just be. It is right here that I am learning that I am able to receive the courage and strength to take the next step.
My God rescues me and brings me to wide open places to run and play because He delights in me…AND fellow sojourner He delights in you too! I’m at a quiet state of just being this morning contemplating the next step God may have for me…I think Princess is ready to venture out again too…how about you?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Pot Is At the Well

This has been a long time coming...nudges from my God who has provided both private reminders and quiet thoughts of broken pots!

I've swept clean the garage of broken clay pots caused by my clumsy little hands and I think it’s funny that God has recently given me a picture of a broken pot and at the same time made me aware of my secret strives for perfection. God has freed me from so much of it; but there is still a side of me that desires for others not to see any of my junk, it’s just not something I want to run and do. You know, who doesn’t want to look good…or have their house tidied up before guests and if my heart were like a pot; I would want mine to be perfect, pristine and without blemish. I have a visual of some beautiful dishes my grandmother kept in her hutch that never saw a crumb of food on them and they were just so pretty!!
Frankly, I think it would be nice to just sit and be pretty at times—but really to have a whole pristine heart is more like my desire. Knowing my pot has been broken in numerous pieces and even though God has always glued it back together…it’s not perfect and remnants of the brokenness are evident with all of the cracks in my pot.
I do believe part of this is a God given desire…I have to believe this!!! For, He made me in His image and although not by my own ability, but by the Spirit who lives in me…I have to believe He has made me to yearn for holiness…the kind of holiness that only comes from being with Him in heaven.
But honestly, if it were up to me alone, I would have designed and protected my pot a bit differently. As I imagine how pristine and beautiful that I desire my pot to be…I am reminded in the depths of my Spirit that it is the cracks in my pot that have given me character and even have made me useful in this world—but only because God has gotten a hold of my cracked pot! With a cracked pot we may be tempted to hide our pot or even worse discard it naming it worthless…unless God gets a hold of our pot and gives us the strength to embrace the cracks!
Even thought I may struggle with embracing my own brokenness God gives me strength and my heart will fail in this world…but He is my strength and my portion (Psalm 73:26)!
As much as I may want to push my pot off to the side and hide it, maybe even at times, disown it…my God gently reminds me of His desire to REMEMBER what has made my pot—more specifically, REMEMBER what has caused it to crack and break at times and REMEMBER how effortlessly He put my pot back together. I gently feel His warm embrace and His gentle loving hands clasping mine as I run my fingers down the seams of my cracked pot. I’m fully aware that what I am feeling is evidence of my brokenness, my sin, my weaknesses and the weaknesses of others around my pot that have caused it to break into tiny pieces!!
During much of my young adult life and even in recent months I found myself getting stuck in the awareness of my brokenness and crying out that I must be an object that no one wants. (Jer 22:28) And I am very aware of the enemy of this human race who lives solely with this purpose in mind…trying to get me to believe that I am a shattered mess of a pot that no one wants. My enemy and frankly, yours too, tried to convince me of this back when I was just a young girl…memories are still fresh of the night my enemy almost succeeded! The thoughts that ran in my head at a very young age were much like the Psalmist David wrote “I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.” (Psalm 31:12)
How can I stand? How can I live knowing that I am all but broken pottery? I remember that night all alone with no one to save me…no one to stand with me and He heard my cry for mercy when I needed help that night overcome by the fear of encroaching shame, lies and threats… even when I did not know His name…my Jesus was there for me and He whispered my name and just with His bright presence my heart was eased and rest fell on my weary body.
Now, almost 30 years later, I see it…again on this very morning as the sun begins to rise and my eyes turn the corner along with my body as I continue my morning walk facing the rising sun. My eyes cannot bear to open because the light is so bright—just like that frightening night in my room, oh, so long ago. Even with my eyes just barely open with sun rays piercing through my eyelids…it is only the shape of the cross that He allows me to see. He draws my heart to REMEMBER that He came that night! He was and is my Rescuer and is always strong and I am weak.
Oh my heart still pounds remembering it and these words from Big Daddy Weave describe it so well:
When I saw a flash of light and I heard the sound
Of a voice like thunder shake the ground
It was the first time I remember ever feeling my heart beat
And the arms that gripped me felt like grace
And I realized in their embrace
To be held so tight
I’ve never felt so free!
Also known as…the day that You found me!

Oh yes, this is what GRACE is!!! His grace gripped me that night and continues to beckon my heart and enables my fingers to run along the seams of my broken pot! Be strong! Take heart! I have overcome and there is HOPE I remember Him saying this and so funny that He continually whispers similar words to me even though I am a grown woman and have children who are now becoming the age I first experienced brokenness.

Sometimes I get frustrated that I continually need to hear these words and words like them...I really do want to be past this for good and really in so many ways I do believe I am…

But wait, He has a specific purpose and place for me in this world and there is redemption found in Him and He beckons me to love…love…love! How can a broken pot love well? By dipping into the loving well!! Love…Love…Love!!! He has made me for love and calls me to love Him and love others! Because I was made in God’s image, this also means that if I love God, I must also love myself…even if my heart is like a broken pot.

Because it is only when I can embrace His love for me that I heal from my feelings of unworthiness…only to be brought to whole new feeling of unworthiness in His Presence so that HE alone can be glorified!!! Then and only then am I loving well!

And I just can’t help but picture this pot of mine; if it were perfectly put together without cracks it would be able to hold a candle or water inside. But without the cracks; the light would stay inside and without the cracks; the water would not seep out and sprinkle on other pots.

With my pot being full of cracks I am much more able to radiate His light and love. And then when I dip my pot into the loving well, I am forced to leave it there for a time, allowing Him to glue all of my pieces back together.

By His healing I can then hold water for just a short time, but I must make frequent trips back to His well to replenish my pot—or better yet just plant my pot right next to Him! He gently reminds me of my weaknesses and I’m convinced it all must be part of His plan to keep me close to love.

I think God must get a kick out of watching all of our broken pots full of His loving water…sprinkle out on other pots in need of His loving water.

Grace…pure sweet grace is what it is!!! The ability to embrace my broken pot and allow Him to shine and pour out on others around me…all the while I am weak…oh so very weak!!! My flesh and my heart will fail from time to time…but my God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26) May you be encouraged to embrace your own cracked pot and make frequent trips to the well of love or plant yourself right next to Him—for I know God loves your pot just the way it is!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


You gotta love reminders! Sometimes when I remind my boys to take out the trash or pick up their toys my oldest looks at me like he is not so pleased about my reminder…but when I remind him of how proud I am and how much I love him…I usually get a smile out of him.
Such was the same yesterday for me…and often God gets a smile out of me when He whispers sweet reminders to my soul. You see when I drove by those filters in my neighbors garbage can yesterday I felt God nudging me to notice and remember His love. I swear I heard God say, “I NEVER throw your dirty filters in the trash! I use it all!!! Whether your jar is full or empty due to your own insecurity, fear, resentment, bitterness, heartache, grief, shame, guilt…I have the power to heal you and I don’t need to get rid of what currently occupies or doesn’t occupy your heart to purify you and clean you up. You are already clean by my words spoken to you. Now remain in me .”
I could not resist responding with praise, a nod of agreement and a smile...for He has filled me with His love and with His joy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Freedom and Flying From a Jar

I was on a walk in my neighborhood this past weekend and saw a young boy helping with some apparent chores of the house and hosing clean what appeared to be water filters of some kind. It was obvious he had a tall order ahead of him with the filters a dingy gray color seeming to not budge loose the debris that entangled the fibers. I instantly had compassion for him and wondered if he thought about just throwing them away and asking his parents to purchase new ones.
I felt a caution in my heart and thought of how we tend to want to go the easy route in this life. We are not patient enough and even though our God is all mighty and powerful and create things just by speaking…He does not honor our requests that way…and being a parent I know full well what instant gratification brings our hearts.
As I am typing this my eyes are drawn to the many sparrows that are filling up my lawn right now. They appear to be resting in the shadows of the trees and eating the Lord’s provision. As a few come closer to my living room window I remember the last time I saw a sparrow so close was when I was a little girl. My aunt had walked me up to the park to play and on our jaunt home we came across a bird hobbling in the grass. It became apparent that the sparrow suffered a broken wing. We managed to find a box and scooped up the sparrow and I remember watching my aunt tend to that bird for weeks and what seemed like months even years before she was able to set it free. I remember being very antsy to see the bird flying and free.
The same kind of antsiness (I think I just made up a new word…hee hee) is what I am feeling in my heart right now. You see when I walked passed the young boy cleaning the filters I remembered what I read in scripture about what Jesus does with our hearts…our jars. I’ve connected in my mind that the source of my living water is in my heart…and my heart is a jar held in Jesus’s hands….in doing this I have connected two stories in scripture also, the story of Christ’s first miracle turning water into wine and also when Jesus talked to the woman at the well (John 2 and John 4). So my heart if my heart were a jar…
Jesus took the empty jars and had them filled full of water and turned them into only the best wine to be offered at the wedding celebration and then I love how the Bible tells us that the woman left her water jar when she encountered Jesus! You see I too feel like I came into this world with an empty heart that has been full of all kinds of things that easily flow when we live life alongside people who are human and sinful in nature. Sometimes my jar is full to the brim and other times my jar is rather empty due to either others sipping from my jar or by me recklessly spilling it or just by plain natural evaporation it is left empty.
Yet, all the while, Jesus is taking what my heart is and making it new. Nothing less and nothing more…just all that I am and all that is within me, He is taking and making it ONLY the BEST for preparation of the day I will partake in a HUGE wedding celebration with my God. And I too like the woman at the well, since coming to meet my Jesus have left my heart at His feet. Entrusting my heart to Him and Him alone because He is so trustworthy!
It is all so freeing…just as my aunt eventually freed that sparrow…my heart is free! So, when I see things in this life that may discourage me or remind me of our nature or evil in this world…like the filters which were being made clean by the boys’ hands, they ended up in my neighbor’s trash by afternoon after all…it is okay because God is trustworthy!
We too, like the woman at the well can be free and ever so encouraged to say…”Come see…” For my heart is held by Christ’s hands…It’s weird, I’m afraid I can’t explain it without seeming freaky in some way; but I almost feel Him physically reaching in and taking a hold of my delicate tender heart. Oh there is such beauty here and I remember my husband’s grandmother confirming me of my beauty…the best kind of inner beauty…she expressed noticing a restful quiet Spirit settling in my heart and when we are held the deepest questions of our heart are answered! (What a blessing, I cherish the words of a woman who bore no natural birth of my own family line…yet loved me with the love she received from God). I also treasure the truth in what Stasi and John Eldridge communicated in their book “Captivating.”
“Yes, Our God has been and will continue to pursue you. Our God finds you lovely. Jesus has moved heaven and earth to win you for Himself. He will not rest until are completely his. The King is enthralled by your beauty. He finds you captivating.”
My prayer is that in reading this some hearts in addition to mine have come alive!!! All the glory to you my mighty King!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009


I was chatting with my girlfriend on the phone treasuring the sounds of a new baby hungry and beckoning for milk. The sweet new bundle I could not see; but I heard the yearning noises and probably because it wasn’t my tired body needing to attend to the baby I pleasantly adored the sounds. My friend on the other hand was sharing her joys currently shadowed by exhaustion.
She was sharing with me the frustration inside of not going anywhere or doing anything but caring for this newborn with feedings and care needed day and night….I found myself picturing the beauty in what she was describing as I got off the phone with her and heard her murmur ‘Shhh…”
I recalled hearing the shhh early this week…and again earlier this month….I recently have been pondering the act of doing and how I tend to feel sometimes more sufficient when I can do something and check something off of my list. Having something to do definitely brings me satisfaction; yet I know my God beckons me to be still…more descriptively, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.
And I wish you could hear my LOL as I am hearing my boy right now making the “Shhh..” sound while playing with his trains (Normally I know it is choo choo…but at school they just learned the blending sounds of the letters S and H….)
Oh, how I love the reminders…they are no coincidence.
Just like the morning I was on the baseball field…I had just enjoyed some time of prayer with God prior and was asking Him to show me how to refrain from doing and rest when there was so much to do and to just ‘be.’ I really want to just be still and reflect; but I know He is also beckoning me to do some things too. I was aware that I needed God to help me figure out a balance.…I needed Him to show me.
When I got to the baseball field I sat my beach chair down on the clover filled field and gazed out at the boys warming up. My eyes were drawn ever so gently to a bee right in front of me as tears rolled down my cheek I knew God was whispering…JUST BEE!!! I smiled as I thought about the joy the bee finds in flying from flower to flower doing what God designed Him to do.
I felt a challenge and question arise in my heart, “Can I be like a bee and do what God designed me to do?” In a weird way I felt like I recommitted my days to Him…re-committed to BE STILL…re-committed to keep after knowing Him and shhh….bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….
It reminded me of another scripture, Jer 6:16 “Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.” What a treasure it is to talk to our God and listen to what He has to say…help us Father to choose the quiet moments before we start walking and lead us to the rest we know we need.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Muddy Steps of Faith

Do you ever have moments where you want to just do something a little risky…a little wild??? Now before your minds start running to all kinds of places; I am thinking a bit about getting dirty…but in the sense of REAL DIRT...the mud! We all have been told to stay out of it at some time or another and I’m sure we all have experienced walking in it too—or maybe not? Just last week on a field trip I watched some Kindergarteners obey their teacher and walk around it…but a handful of them just had to sink their shoes in it. And, honestly, there was an urge inside me too…but because I was aware of the impact my walking in the mud at that moment would have, I refrained. Yet, I remembered a time I allowed myself to experience this mud... glorious mud...
I’ve been meditating on the passage in scripture where Peter walked on water and thinking about just how awesome it would be to experience walking on water!! I am a bit goofy at times (God made me that way—it’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) and there were no Kindergarteners around to follow me. It was actually just after sunrise on Easter morning; and I was on a walk talking with God and praising Him for His powerful loving plan and the fact that my mind can grasp just a tiny bit of it exhilarates me and causes me to praise Him and yearn for more of Him! There was just some rain the previous day which allowed water to fill the school yard fields with ample amounts of water and I had the urge to do some walking. Yes, I thought I would try out my walking on water skills. I realized how much I was hesitant and couldn’t just get the umpff to walk across…I just tip toed over to the edge and put one foot in. After realizing my doubt and hesitation…I gave it a second try and almost ran across. And do you know what happened??? Can you believe it?? I SANK!!! I sank right into the mud. I glanced down to see my tennis shoes and a bit of the hem of my sweat pants covered in mud. Oh, I wish I could tell you of this great experience of walking on water…but I laughed at myself the entire rest of the walk home and was still smiling when I got home to rest my tired muddy feet. Why did I do such a thing??? I know I cannot walk on water…but it was the act of just trying and knowing that God is continuing calling me to get out of the boat a little everyday…not to do some HUGE thing but just take little muddy steps of faith. And let me tell you…walking in the mud felt good!!! I did realize how much of a scaredy cat I am; but that is okay…I am one loved scared cat!!! I recognized how full of hesitation I am and that only when I am full of Him am I able to overcome my fears!!! Yep, I’ll admit…He alone makes me want to be brave—but if left to myself, I am so prone to just stay in my own little bubble of status quo. I’m forever a scaredy cat and clinging to Him with every muddy step.
I love how parenting stretches me and encourages me to get out of the boat a little every day; probably partially because I have little eyes and feet watching me. While remembering my muddy feet I can’t help but think of my boys; in particular my eight year old who is facing his own out of the boat experiences right now playing baseball. He can tend to shy away from the ball and really isn’t all that eager to get out and hit the ball…yet still seems to enjoy the game. I watch him practice and play and I know that he is not unleashing his full potential because he is afraid (however, anyone would be afraid with those amateur eight year olds pitching for the first time). His poor little lips have been in a constant state of chapped since the season began because he is nervously licking and biting on his lips. Oh, there is a side to this momma that wants to just wrap my arms around him and rescue him and whisk him away to a safe corner of the world—yet praise God that He has a greater calling to conquer his fears. He is teaching me to keep walking and enjoy this life even when there are moments that just scare the bu jee bees out of you!!!
I remember watching the first time he was up to bat…his fearful eyes and quivering stance at home plate, but he does it—he is standing!!! He ended up getting walked and ran to first base (remember I told you this is the first year of them pitching…hardly see strikes thrown). Then after a couple more of his teammates are up to bat; he slides into home plate and scores for the team! All of that is etched in my memory; yet his words are carved on my heart forever…he made his way over to me and whispered, “I was afraid…but I did it!!!” I mustered up a teary-eyed ‘RIGHT ON…I’m so proud of you!!”
I sure wish we could grasp the fact that we all have fears! I mean, I know I don’t focus on what I am afraid of and I don’t think we need to dwell on them…but is it okay to be honest and say that I’m afraid. I’m afraid at times to let others know what I think; thinking I will be liked or loved less, I’m afraid to be rejected and abandoned, I’m afraid to watch a loved one die; I’m afraid to lose my health, I’m afraid of watching my children face heartaches which I know are bound to happen in this world; I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do something worthwhile in this life for my Savior, I’m afraid of being misunderstood, I’m afraid that I saying I’m afraid will make me vulnerable… oh ‘NO FEAR,’ that is not me!
I read once before that fear and growth go hand and hand…it is not about denying or praying the fear away but learning to grasp God’s hand in midst of my feelings of fear and persisting to still walk when I have feelings of fear. I’m learning to keep going even amid the fears that exist in my head and my little part of this world. So often I think we teach our children to cover up and not feel fear and oh aren’t we good at acting like we are fearless and just so confident.
I don’t know about you; but even if at first I’m afraid, I love living honestly and admitting my failures and fears…it is refreshing to be around those who love me just the way I am and who enable me to grow…which inevitably means they know my failures and my fears. God knows…He knows better than I know and He still loves me the same and that’s why He is my BFF! And thanks to Him I have others who know and love Him and love me too and I am able to show them my muddy shoes and they can smile and love me all the same.
Right now, my youngest is watching one of his favorite DVDs titled..”Mud, Glorious Mud” it’s all about some adventure trains take in the mud. I think I will choose to take some muddy steps of faith and walk with abandon towards a great adventure following my God. How about you, want to take a few muddy steps of faith with me? You never know when we might hit a home run and score one for the team!!!
And wouldn’t you know…the man who loves me most in this world took a picture of my muddy shoes. Gotta love it!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Oh, I have been journaling a lot these last three weeks short bits of God’s goodness. My thoughts have been frequent but brief…quiet and humble…vulnerable and private…God and me…just as it should be I have realized…spring cleaning for my heart, I guess.
Still I hope these ONE WORD WONDERS that have been painted on my heart; sort of tattooed in my own corner of the world…may they give HIM THE UTMOST GLORY!!!
His Word has a story, a history just as each of our journeys do…if you know Him and know me I think these words will speak for themselves. May we stay aware of His presence and our worth found in knowing, loving and living with Him.


Zeph 3:14

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Glory in the Gaps

It’s bubbling over…my heart that is…not gently…but almost exploding with emotion! I cannot contain it any longer!! These past two weeks have been different; busy but not…quiet still moments mixed with rushed hectic ones. Such is life at times; I’m gathering. It’s a bit perplexing with emotions seeming to be exploding and yet still feeling pent up at the same time. I’m trusting that God will answer my prayer as I write. Isn’t it bizarre how we can feel torn between two things…two emotions…two tasks…two choices…two loves…
I’ve been feeling a bit torn between choosing to be and choosing to do….choosing to be restful and choosing to do some work…choosing to be content with yes and choosing to do the unthinkable and say no…choosing to be true and speak and choosing to do what my heart beckons and remain silent…choosing to be honest and share and choosing to do what I was taught and keep private…choosing to be with my list and choosing to do with my list…
Do you have a to do list? Either a physical one on your fridge or in your computer; or maybe yours is kept inside your head? Are there things on your list that have been on there for a long while—way over do and nagging to be crossed off? I’ve been working on those things and plugging away and honestly I’m torn right now between choosing to go check something off of my list or sit here and reflect on my God’s kindness and care for me. My girlfriend used to have a bumper sticker that read “Love Wins!” And I’m picturing it right now…choosing to allow Love to win in my heart right now.
As much as I want to go get something done…my heart yearns to solidify and make concrete in my heart His love! I do treasure the moments I choose to remember His love…
Over spring break my boys and I went on several bike rides (sometimes several times in just one day). My young boys have so reminded me how fresh and new the things are around us. A desert can seem…well deserted and dreadful…yet still so full of life and beauty!! So much like my heart seems to be at times.
On one of the bike rides I spent a lot of time behind the boys and listened to their brotherly chatter…their conversations consist often about telling each other what is “cool!” I heard my oldest gearing the youngest up for the treck up ahead and said “Remember what we saw yesterday…let’s go see if it is still there!!!”
I felt God’s loving hands remind my heart that He so wishes for me to revisit and remember all the times I’ve shared with Him. I know now that all of my breathable moments have been spent with Him. Even times before I even knew about Him…He was there. Remembering the times with Him and reminiscing with Him brings me such joy!
Well…remember the moment He spoke to me about His grace through the wonderful Yucca plant? I had a breathtaking moment where I revisited with Him this past week. Remember the tall stalks in the plant don’t always grow and bud…they rely on the Yucca moth to do his/her thing. Just like we need to rely on God to fill us with His grace and do His thing in each one of us.
Well, on our way to school I noticed a landscaping crew cutting down the thick woody stems of some Yucca plants and dragging the tall stems full of budding flowers down the path and heard a gasp from the back seat; as my young boys who were noticing all of this with me. (My boys know all about the Yucca plant now you see…I couldn’t let my boys go as long as I did with not knowing about the Yucca plant AND most importantly God’s grace!!)
Being the inquisitive learner that God has wired me to be; I Googled the plant again when I got home. I found that the woody stems are cut down to enable the plants to focus on their root growth—especially if it is a young plant. My husband pointed out later too that in the wild the plants are likely to topple over and become uprooted if they grow too lofty. Hmmmm….such is so with us and our tender hearts.
We need not focus on our growth and measuring how tall we are becoming…just keep plugging away…keep digging…keep seeking…keep going!!!
As I am typing this…my BFF just whispered…”hmmm maybe the same is true with your to do list…stop measuring it…just keep going!!!” (Give me a second while I wipe the tears, and give my BFF a hug).
I think today I will allow my BFF to cut down anything He so desires in me in order that all my energy can be allocated for rooting in His Word…in His Truth…in His love. Help me Father to use both hands…both my head and my heart…my EVERYTHING to keep plugging…keep digging and keep going! And when I can’t get EVERYTHING to cooperate, (which is ALL OF THE TIME!!!) I’m going to rely on Him to fill in the gap; for I know my BFF is good at allowing His glory to fill in our gaps!
Okay…I think it is time to get on with this brand new day… off to “follow Him”…HOPE YOURS IS WONDERFUL TOO and that you hear His words, “Follow me” throughout your day too!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Swiss Cheese

I've been feeling a little bit like swiss cheese and also have been enjoying this time of rest and spring break with my kiddos. So many thoughts and illustrations are piling up in my brain and heart...I'm only eager to send the kids back to school so that I can write it all out for His glory.

Today I'm again reading in Isaiah 40 and realizing how much my Jesus has FREED me. Not only from a destiny of dread but daily He FREES my mind and my heart.

I'm realizing how much I need to schedule in times of rest so that I may experience fully the wholeness that comes from knowing Him and with that also comes the realization of the true wreck that I am.

We all have holes in our souls and without God filling them in daily we are simply trying to fill in all the holes ourselves. Or even sometimes doing everything we can to avoid noticing the depth of the holes! Stillness requires our attention and focus to just be.

BE...then, and only then can I acknowledge that I am:
Like a drop in a bucket…regarded as dust on the scales…not sufficient…not enough…less than nothing…

As a child I believed I was all of that because that's what my daddy communicated in every way possible and I thought I would spend my whole life trying to conquer those lies...

So twisted this world is in our thinking...hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my God in a way agrees with what my daddy communicated...but only a partial truth!! FOR HE MADE ME AND I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE!

My daddy only told me half truths because my daddy never knew the ONE TRUE GOD and the possibilities that he also had to hope in the Lord and renew his strength...he always wanted to air force pilot he was...the type of soaring I experience now with God...he never could fathom!!

Yes Daddy...we are all nothing WHEN compared to our God...and HALLELUJAH...because if I was SOMETHING WITHOUT GOD, I would be blinded and unaware of my desperate need of HIM--MY SAVIOR.

I want God to fill the holes...if anything...working and doing and trying to fill the holes myself is EXHAUSTING!!!

Father, you know it pains me so that my daddy did not teach me...yet I forgive him and his ways--YES I REALLY DO! Please continue to heal this heart of mine and give me strength...strength to be brave and acknowledge all of the holes inside of me and may I allow ONLY YOU to fill the holes found here and there.

For, I know you Father and I am okay with feeling a bit like swiss cheese!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Fever is Budding

Spring is such a wonderful time of year….and with the warmer days and buzz of spring fever, I can see that is is right around the corner. With the new buds beginning to form on the trees and fresh flowers pushing up from the soil…it’s both exciting and refreshing. Why then do I feel a battle of weariness? I cannot put my finger on it…but everyone I talk to is battling some sort of craziness and busy schedule. Does the warmer weather bring with it a fuller schedule? Or is everyone really in need of the upcoming break? I’m sensing the nudge to rest and take pause right this very moment.
Specifically, remembering earlier in the week my desire to shake a tree…yep…just shake it!! Shake it until my head hurt and made all of the dead leaves fall from the tree. There surely could be an easier way…like perhaps God causing a gust of wind to pluck the stubborn leech-like things to fall. I mean, don’t they know they are 2 seasons behind!!!
Maybe I was a bit frustrated about the happenings of my day…I’m not sure what I was feeling at the moment; but I noticed that the tree had tiny, green, new buds beginning to form on the tree and yet it still had dead leaves attached. It still bothers me!!
I realize I don’t like it when things are undone, or lingering unfinished! I desired to shake that tree so that the dead leaves would fall off and leave only what was fresh and newly budding remaining on that tree. Making it better in my eyes…not necessarily in God’s eyes and that might be the entire issue…hmmm.
Call me strange…I call myself strange at times…I never quite understood why people would use metaphors to explain things…but I’m grasping this the more I read the Bible. I believe God has been for a time calling my attention to trees and that I am one…a living breathing vessel…or tree for Him able to produce fruit when I remain in Him. (catch the metaphor?)
Just yesterday I was reminded of scripture in Gal 6 which talks about sowing the seed and the fact that the seed has to die and be buried in order to produce a harvest…Oh, could God be calling my attention to the things in my life right now—the things that frustrate me—the relationships that just seem to not be right—the to do list that just doesn’t seem to ever be completely checked off...the things that I actually want made right—yet not sure how? The busy schedule for a time which means that I may have to live with a mess in my study a bit longer?
Could God be beckoning me to remember that I have been called to die? To live for His purposes not my own? To surrender my desires for His desires? For, I know He has poured out his love into my heart (Rom 5:5) and He died for me before I even knew Him. I am called to be like Him.
But it is more than that because Jesus did more than die...HE ROSE AGAIN!! There is hope and mighty power found within the Spirit that dwells in me!!! I can’t help but say “Yes, I agree…in Your time Father, I surrender to your timing of shaking off all the things that I just can’t seem to make look right—like a perfect newly budding tree…I offer my sacrifice of praise and confess that I am nothing without You…help me to do good and to share with others…(Heb 13:15-16)…not for my glory—but FOR YOU ALONE!!
So, I attempt just this as I watch the wind blow the few leaves outside…
As we feel the spring breeze blow across our faces; may we feel God’s love and grace cleansing us—reminding us that we are holy and pure—not because of anything we have or will do in our lives…but because of what Christ has done for us!
As the wind blows the last of the stubborn dead leaves off of the trees may we remind ourselves to surrender to God and let loose anything that may be hindering our new growth. And also take some time to notice all the new buds that are already forming in and around us!!
May we encourage one another to not grow weary and may we continue to sow God’s seed of love in our lives; knowing that we will reap a harvest in due time. My family has adopted this scripture and my husband and I are meditating on this Word…”Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jer 6:16. Rest my dear friends is found in standing, looking, asking and walking with our good Lord!
I think it is time to go water the flowers…

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wherever the wind blows...

Last night I was watching a reality TV show last night. One contestant was waiting to partake in a challenge that consisted of gliding down a mountain slope with an instructor; however, the wind was not blowing in the right direction or a safe speed so the participant had to either wait it out or choose to hike by foot down the mountain.
This man chose to wait it out because of the steep hike down; and I was intrigued and a bit sadden at his words while waiting. The older gentleman said something to the effect that there was no bother asking God to help him out and change the wind, for God is so busy with other things in the world right now.
I don’t know how long the gentleman waited but the wind eventually died down and shifted, allowing the man to partake and complete the challenge; and the man failed to really acknowledge God but said, “It’s a miracle!”
This man’s sense that God was too busy to hear him saddened me; for I realized how much we do try to put God in the same category as maybe our humanly fathers, who are incapable of being omniscient, omnipresent and omnipowerful!! I don’t know how I lived life before I grasped the truth of God and His love for us. Praise God, I am becoming more and more aware of my God’s love for me and that I know God is so caring and compassionate and aware of my every need and that I can ask Him for anything!!! This encourages me daily and gives me hope in this life!!
Earlier that day I read Matthew 7:7-8…Ask, seek and knock…Oh our Lord desires to answer our hearts! And this scripture references one of my favorite scriptures, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:11-12)
All we need to do is ask…seek and knock! I witnessed someone like the man on the reality TV show asking for God to intervene with the wind recently. Just the night prior I attended a wedding that was performed outside and the judge performing the ceremony told the groom that the unity candle just doesn’t work outside and encouraged them to just walk through the motions. Well, the bride, had her heart set on lighting the candles and expressed to her husband, you’ve got to have faith! Just like God stopped the wind for that man on the reality tv show; God stopped the wind so the candles could be lit…just long enough!!! All the bride did was ask God with faith!
As I’m processing this, my eight year old son is intrigued by faith and reading in Hebrews…and he just piped up and said, “Mom, without faith it is impossible to please God.” I agree-I just have to believe that God wants us to ask Him…have faith…ask and have faith expecting Him to answer.
Now I think I need to ponder what I need to ask Him for today…

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Amazing Yucca!

God was proving a point to me today. I’ve been chewing on some thoughts about grace these past weeks and I have a feeling I will be basking in more of God’s infinite grace these next coming weeks. (Because His grace is not limited you know!!!) I have grasped the fact that God acted out His amazing extravagant love and grace when He conquered the grave and saved all sinners. In addition to knowing this, I feel a desire deep within my soul to dig deeper…how does this permeate and effect my soul and my daily journey in this life for Him.

While walking today my eyes were drawn to some birds flying around and parading about some yucca plants. I immediately felt a tug in my soul to pay attention and my eyes were drawn to the plants. They each were different; some with the stems growing 2-3 feet out of the plant and others with nothing! I was so intrigued! Even though growing up here in the desert they are everywhere; I just never really paid much attention to them.

Okay, I’ll admit I was more than intrigued…I was “geeking out” over this and went home to research the Yucca plant. Did you know this plant depends on something to grow and blossom??? Oh ya!!! There is such a thing as a Yucca moth and if it does not do “its thing’ there is no Yucca blossom!!!

Just the same…if I don’t surrender and let God do His thing in me…I don’t grow and blossom! And you too…you won’t grow and blossom if you don’t surrender and let God do what only He can do in your heart and life too!

Now, God I know has lots to do in this world…there are a lot of hurting people out there; but He took the time to help me grasp a picture of His grace….praise you Father, and may I never lose sight of my need for you—NEVER!!!

Thank you for not asking us to meet any of your requirements on our own. Thank you that when You command us, you also enable us and provide the way!

God knows that I and you cannot have humble, obedient journeys on our own; so He provided a way for us to ultimately be with Him but to also live like Him…hence His wonderful, magnificent provision of grace. Oh, there is joy and great beauty in recognizing all of my frailties and relying on God to fill in every wide gap of mine!

Like the Yucca plant I will wait on God’s provision to bloom. And take each moment as an opportunity to surrender and allow God’s grace to shine!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Days 27-28 Living on Purpose with Furby

I love knowing that there is always a way out…and recently our hamster found a way out of his cage. This totally makes me think of how we can easily cage ourselves in by dwelling on and trying to fix our lives by ourselves—but with God…there is always a way out and it is freeing!

What do we desire to find a way out of??? Oh, I’m guessing some may want a way out of their financial problems, a way out of depressing thoughts, a way out of a feeling of insignificance, a way out of a relationship that is toxic, a way out of chaos, a way out of destructive behavior or some sort of addiction, or a way out of some sefl-defeating behavior…

Yet, just like our hamster Furby, being outside the walls of our cage can be quite scary. Furby was a bit shaken up by his journey and I have to say I am often shaken up by my own journey in this life. It is such a journey that we are on…a journey to maturing and becoming more and more like Christ. A journey that requires much patience and persistency; much like the patience and persistency I had to possess in finding where Furby had run off to.

In this process (oooh…and our maturity is such a process) of finding Furby, my family and I moved out everything from the crevices of the house and dusted off things that have not been dusted in awhile. Isn’t this much how we grow ourselves…I mean, dusting out the crevices of our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. Getting real with ourselves and bringing everything out into the light and dealing with what God puts before us.

Oh, I know I have been through some seasons and think I may be coming out of one where I am doing some major house cleaning in this life of mine. Hence, my burning desire to write and reflect on what God is doing. I am never arriving--just forever striving and I don't want to forget what God has done because it brings me such joy knowing what He has done, is doing and will do in my life! I am content to be at a place where I know I am not where I want to be, but I know I am not where I used to be either.

For, I know that “God began doing a good work in me (I remember long ago as a little girl before I even knew Him…He was whispering my name) and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” Phil 1:6 NCV

I still have this under currant of a picture that I believe God has drawn my heart to that I want to share and will when I have more time…for now I am resting in the peace He has brought me. It is pretty cool that in the book Purpose Driven Life Warren is speaking so much of becoming like Christ and at the same time God has me studying the life of Christ…and I want to get out of the boat and meet Him—face to face! Into His marvelous light I'm running...oh yes I am!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Days 20-26 of Living on Purpose

These last four days of reading have been focusing on the importance of relationships and how we need to do all that we can to keep unity in our relationships. In addition, with the new week beginning on Sunday we are entering into a new theme of becoming like Christ.
I don’t think it is coincidence that some national headlines have come back to my mind as well as some very recent ones as I have been reading and studying.

I did just celebrate my 35th birthday; and my family tends to celebrate birthdays for a week,hence the lack of time to write in the morning. I have been embracing the celebratory state that has been in my home for not only my birthday but my being a princess for Valentine’s Day too. Can I just say I love how my husband loves me…he truly gives all his effort to love me like Christ loves the church and it is should be to no one’s surprise how instrumental he has been in allowing me to accept Christ’s love! I love thinking about how my husband and I came to choose each other…God made our lives inner-twine and just like I feel like God leaves me hanging on with bits of mysterious love to hang on too…so was really how Justin and I fell in love and continue to fall in love…I don’t know how else to describe it—God was clearly involved in bringing Justin into my life!

I think there are so many things we take for granted and don’t recognize God’s hand in—whether big or little—He is over it all! For instance, recently a miraculous landing of an airbus on Hudson River caught the attention of many. It occurred just last month prior to the inauguration of President Obama…really a freak thing occurred. How often do we hear of geese…flying into a jet engine? Not one but two engines were hit by geese!?! How often do we hear of a successful jet landing on water…just missing a bridge and everyone walking off of the plane safely? How often do we hear of an African American President?

God is in and over and through all of this…He allows and ordains things to happen and weeks go by and we forget the miracles and the powerful impact of what we “see” just like many move to a beautiful place like the beach or the Titan Mountains and before long take for granted of the beauty that may be in their backyard. I do believe that God has a purpose and specific plan in bringing Obama to be our 44th President and I will be praying for him even though I do not agree with him on every stance. Yet, still the same I am in awe of our God and His powerful demonstration…whether His beauty in nature, in allowing geese to take down a plane and covering the hands of a pilot to land the airbus safely, or orchestrating the US Presidency…or my marriage and other healthy God-centered relationships I have…I want to choose to see my God at work!

I also can’t overlook that just days ago I got reconnected with a former High School classmate on FB that shared a picture of herself with Obama and then I heard that Obama was scheduled to speak at my former High School. I feel a sense of either not ever leaving High School since reconnecting with so many from back in the day. But, also a sense in my heart to desire being young again…going back to a time where I maybe lived a little more care free…it is tempting…yet in the same breath I shutter and sense a nudging from God to keep going…keep growing…okay…grow up!

Rick Warren talks about this and shares three responsibilities that I have if I want to be more like Christ…and I do desire to be more like Him.
On page 175 Warren shares; first, we must let go of old ways; second, we must change the way we think; and third, we must develop new Godly habits.

I am forever a learner…forever growing up…forever sharing this journey with Christ and those around me as I embrace this life as one who is loved! I am choosing to surrender and trust more and more each moment.

I am meditating on a lot of truths this week, even though I have not been home much this week to process, reflect and write. One powerful picture and story found only in Matthew I hope to share tomorrow…until then I am basking in His love and my known inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (1Peter 1:4).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 19 of Living on Purpose

Today’s chapter is all about cultivating community…one full of authenticity, mutuality, sympathy, mercy, honesty, humility, confidentiality, courtesy and frequency.

Thank you Father for the community I live in which is full of all of this…please increase it!!! Make it more of what You desire…open my eyes and my heart to see and love what you love.

I read this verse also this morning and my heart echoed in prayer…”The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1John 2:17)…Oh Lord help me to live as You did.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 18 of Living on Purpose

Oh how good and pleasant it is when we live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
I read this verse along with chapter 18 before hiking with some girlfriends this morning and then realized that Psalm 133 was part of the Psalms of Ascent. So fitting for this morning to remember this and go back to my study notes and journal entries written while studying the Psalms of Ascent. My eyes and heart were drawn to Psalm 125…in particular as I read from my Bible before joining the girls on the hike…”Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forevermore.” I thought about God’s protection and knew this was powerful and thought about His love as I hiked up the mountain and saw the great number of other mountain ranges which were hidden in the distance.

Upon getting home from this wonderful morning hiking with my girlfriends I went back and studied further to find that the time I was initially studying these scriptures I was in Oregon on vacation with my family and spending time on Cannon Beach in front of haystack rock…which to me is no rock..but more like a mountain near the shore line. (My current FB profile pic is in front of this rock). During the time that we were there the tide was the farthest out that it is apparently all year and there were government workers with red coats patrolling and guarding the rock…while they allowed onlookers to walk around the base of the rock and observe the wildlife in the tide pools; they also made sure to educate the onlookers of which areas were protected and prohibited. It was really beautiful to walk around to see the starfish and various other living creatures butted up against the rock. I remember feeling God whisper to me that just as these people in redcoats are guarding, protecting and caring for this Rock….He is my Rock and I can be 100% sure, 100% confident and 100% secure with all of my trust being in the Lord…I can be like Mount Zion in Psalm 125:1 and sit unmoved forever! I so needed to hear that this past summer and you know I so needed to be reminded of God's truth right this very moment!

God is so good and speaks to my heart in so many different ways…ways that I cannot always express. I know that I am not ever arriving at some higher place of greater destination…but just like hiking that mountain today…each step…each moment in my life is an opportunity to go higher with Him…my best friend…my Savior…my Rock!

I am so thankful for girlfriends who share in this journey of mine; for they too are embracing and finding victory and freedom in their own journey and share a love for my BFF. And oh how good it is when God brings the dew from one mountain and allows it to fall on another mountain…thus bringing the two together in a remarkable…sort of mysterious way…there; oh there is where His blessings reside. (Psalm 133)

Thank you God for teaching me continually that I need just what Rick Warren states on page 140; courage and humility in order to be authentic and real with those around me, so that I may grow spiritually and remain emotionally healthy.

Thank you Lord, for blessing me with the relationships with those who know both You and me deeply. Thank you that through the years I have come to understand a bit more of what fellowship means to You and that I am continually growing in this area of my life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 14, 15, 16, & 17 of Living on Purpose

Between celebrating my birthday early with family and working at the school my time to reflect and write has been squished. I like that word…squished…especially right now because it kind of denotes a negative uncomfortable feeling yet it is also good to feel close and secure with something. And that is just how I feel about this…I am a bit frustrated that I have not had the time to reflect on His Word and write these last couple of days…yet my days have been full of comfy cozy moments with God and the one’s I love…I just haven’t been able to reflect on the moments like I have desired and get it on paper or on the computer where I definitely type faster than I handwrite.

And again, I do struggle with what is the purpose…who cares? But even if I write for my own children, my own heart, and one downcast spirit…just the simple act of responding to God’s love I believe He is pleased! And I too believe in what Rick Warren states on page 130, “My relationship with God…although it is personal…He never intended for it to be private.” Lord, please help me teach my children this and may I as an adult share Your love continually…both in cyberspace and in my daily interaction with others. I am remembering a Kindergartener who asked for a hug and reminded me of what he said on the playground the day prior, “You are beautiful! Did you know God made us and everything in the whole world?” This little boy was emphatic and truly desired for me to know…and I know because I know that my God also wants me to know…He wants all of us to know…We are beautifully and wonderfully made!!!

So, what have I been meditating on…
Point for Day #14: God is real no matter how I feel
Point for Day #15: I was made for God’s family.
Point for Day #16: Life is all about love.
Point for Day #17: I am called to belong, not just believe.

Today is my birthday and I am so excited to spend the day with friends and tonight with my family…first I know God has a plan for me to be my son’s teacher once again just for a couple of hours while his teacher is at an appointment.

I woke up with the first thoughts being on God and swear I heard Him say I love you…so glad you are mine…and I swear I felt His big arms around me. I am so desiring to fully grasp all that God is to me…just off of the top of my head I am thinking of Him as my Savior, my Redeemer, my Rescuer, my Father, my friend…Oh yes, I love what John 15:14 says, “you are my friends if you do what I command.”

Oh, this is my heart’s desire…not to just do what is right…but to without a doubt seek what God has for me to do in His Word…seek the truths about this life and act..not just to get a gold star at the end of day; not with an attitude that I am okay and secure when I do what is right…but truly I desire more and more to do what God desires because I love Him…

Praise you Father, that this is beyond my duty as a follower of You…Your love beckons me and has changed this heart of mine…I will never be perfect at this…but I move because I am responding to Your love today and everyday!! Please increase this love and my desire to respond to You!!

As a child my heart was full…but I don’t think full of what He desired!!! I praise You Lord that because You beckon the hearts of those You call children…I now know love!!! I know love because those around me know and love you, God…thank you!! We cannot love perfectly…but we definitely get parts right and receive glimpses of love when He is at center!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 13 of Living on Purpose

Today the focal point is knowing that God wants all of me...and I'm finding I want to know more of Him...
I found these names of Him that I want to study further....

Jehovah Jireh
El (the Strong One)
Jehovah-Mekaddishkem (Jehovah Mekaddishkem)
El Elohe Yisrael
Jehovah-Nissi (Jehovah Nissi)
El Elyon
Jehovah-Rapha (Jehovah Rapha)
Jehovah-Rohi (Jehovah Rohi)
El Olam
Jehovah- Sabaoth (Jehovah Sabaoth)
El Roi
Jehovah-Shalom (Jehovah Shalom)
El Shaddai
Jehovah-Shammah (Jehovah-Shammah)
Jehovah Tsidkenu
Yah or Jah

Off to enjoy the day with my family and will be thinking about Him.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Bike Ride Out of Zoom Mode

Oh isn’t it just hard not to respond to love? Justin prayed over me and my day this morning and he prayed specifically that I would feel God’s big hugs and I just have to tell you how much I have gotten hugged today. Not to brag or say “Nanner nanner…I’m loved” cuz that is so not me—but because I think it is easy for us to just zoom right by moments in our life where God wants to just say, “I love you!” And I never would have learned where or how to look without first hearing someone share their moments…so I share in response to the love He has lavished on me today…knowing He is just waiting to lavish you too.

The boys got home around Noon like they do every Friday from school (Gotta love Eduprize ½ days on Fridays); and we finished lunch and went for a bike ride in the neighborhood and to the pecan groves where the boys like to ride on what they call the “dirt track.”

Here is just a glimpse into this hour long ride which I pedaled along while God captivated my heart. First, I glanced up in the sky and God had painted a picture I think just for me. He used the white from the clouds to form an airplane because just yesterday He pointed out two airplanes which were obvious flying together like I often see; one right in front of the other and I swear I heard deep in my heart God whisper like only He does…”Follow me just like that…” So, I saw my Artist’s work in the sky and just below it were what first appeared like three people cheering…you know with their hands up in the air and almost appearing to be jumping up and down because they were kind of fuzzy. Then the three figures turned into XXX…just like the sign for hugs as in xoxo. Oh, my heart was full!

We rode on and stopped at a shady spot under a tree in the grass. I talked to the boys about their day and talked about our plans for the weekend; they always like to know what the family has planned. When the conversation and snack time was done we continued on until we reached the dirt track; where I found a quiet place to just sit and watch the boys tackle the small dirt hills and absorbed the warm sunshine. I didn’t feel God nudge me to think about anything except for focusing on enjoying the moment—so I did.

On the ride back, I noticed I had “The Star Spangled Banner “ in my head for no particular reason. And I was stuck on the first words, “Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light.” I’m a little embarrassed to admit this; I will be 35 next week and I was chuckling to myself to just now be getting that first phrase…I felt like God just showed me the words…the right words without even seeing them on paper. As a child singing that I never quite understood it…as a child I remember it going something like, “Oh say, can you see? By the Donserly light…” What is Donserly? I don’t know…I just sang it. I felt like God was just smiling and talking to me at this point while I was LOL and riding in my neighborhood (I don’t even want to know what people were thinking). While laughing I glanced up at the mountains and laughed even harder because it was just this summer that I understood “America the Beautiful.” While driving through the beautiful NW I finally understood what ‘amber waves of grain’ were and then put it together what the ‘purple mountain majesties’ was referring to. Oh, what beauty of these two historic American songs---one of them being our national anthem that I have missed out on…all this time!

And I felt my laughter cease and turn a bit somber…how often do you suppose that we might miss out on God’s expression of love—because we don’t know what love is and how easily we can twist the happenings of this life to fit our own scope of things…like I did the words ‘dawn’s early light.’

I found myself singing all kinds of praise music in my head and even out loud a bit. What a beautiful day and how precious I felt that God brought about this moment.

Just before getting back home we passed through the park and I watched as my boys sped down the hill and raced through the park and waited for me by the end of the trail. I noticed right up above in a tree that they just passed by was a hummingbird perched on a leafless branch. I called my boys over to see and told my boys how I rarely saw hummingbirds growing up unless they were by the feeders and I always just thought they were fast birds…so fast you rarely saw them. But, just like us children of God...when we choose to seek God we will find Him…and on almost every walk I take through the neighborhood now; I find a hummingbird somewhere. My boys zoomed right passed the tree and would’ve missed seeing the treasure perched on the tree branch if I hadn’t pointed it out…and you know I too would have missed out on so much in this life if it weren’t for God and His children pointing things out to me! We need each other. We need to be reminded of the great things God does in a world that is tainted right now with pain and hurts.

The next stop reminded me of why we need to slow down enough to capture the loving moments and respond to them… celebrate them! We stopped at the mailbox and there awaiting us was three packages from Grandma and Grandpa. The boys were elated and so excited to get home and open the packages. Inside the packages were expressions of love and reminders of “We love you!” Oh, Lord, help us to be so excited to open your packages of love that you place throughout our paths each and everyday. And a clincher…a message in one of the cards caught my eye and so fit with the recent bike ride journey I had with God and my boys…

One life will soon be past…
Only what’s done through Christ will last.

This is such a brief time on earth compared to eternity...the Bible and Rick Warren have reminded me of that this last week. May we get out of zoom mode and be aware of His love for us and all of humanity. May His love captivate our souls; draw us to respond in the particular ways that only He can lead us to respond!

Day 12 of Living on Purpose

Where’s the love? I recently read an email that was forwarded to me with a picture of this huge ship, the Emma Maersk. It is the largest container ship that was made in Denmark for the purpose of China shipping cargo into the USA. I was saddened to read at the very bottom of the email that the USA often sends the ship back EMPTY…the gloomy email was explaining the poor economic state of our country and I wonder if our hearts our just as poor and gloomy.

I’m talking about our relationship with God…I think we can tend to have our friendship with God just as lopsided as the trading economies of China and USA may be. Jesus offers His relationship to us and I think so many of us are falling short of our end of the bargain.

I love what Rick Warren says in the beginning of Chapter 12, “We are as close to God as we choose to be.” And that our “bitterness is the greatest barrier to friendship with God.” I know I am more passionate about my God now because I have overcome great pain in my life—with all the glory to Him—because getting over the pain was done by accepting His great love for me.

I realize I am still not and will never be perfect (perfection is my enemy as Francesca sings) in how I deal with pain and struggles in my life but I am growing and maturing more each day realizing that I have a God who loves me and can handle my full vent of emotion. I know that even in the darkest of situations He desires and will make good of it! I admit I used to blame God and even when I didn’t blame Him I thought He must have not been able to be powerful enough to change the circumstances…but I know better now. How and why? Because I began to seek Him and study His Word—daily. I had a desire to know Him and I began to be encouraged by reading about others in the Bible like Moses, David, Abraham, Sara, Ruth and Naomi…they all shared their time of doubts with God…just like I have…and in sharing such vulnerable feelings with God (or anyone else for that matter) we benefit by experiencing greater intimacy with God (or whoever we are sharing our life with)!!

Isn’t it just so true in our own relationships with people; when we honestly share with one another our fears and doubts or concerns we enter into a deeper level of friendship. And even in my marriage….we joke that face time together leads to intimacy…YEP!! Give me a few minutes alone to have some deep conversation with my husband and you know what happens next….(sorry—forgive me if that is just TMI). But, oh, it is soooooooooo TRUE...intimacy doesn’t wane if we choose to make time to communicate and share our feelings intimately in our marriages!!!

In the same way, our intimacy will not fade if we choose to make time for Him in our day and express our feelings. When we are a good friend or a spouse we are not lackadaisical…we act. Jesus asks us to love others and true friendships grow when we find ways to love one another. I try to teach my own boys these principles: sharing, helping, forgiving and encouraging. We also show that we are good friends by proving ourselves trustworthy and giving of our own resources to put someone else ahead of us. Bottom-line, we love others best when we are loving God first and doing what He is asking us to do—not as an act of duty—but an expression of our love! I know I a gravitate towards those who are giving and loving--not one of my friends would I characterize as selfish...I would think pretty selfish people are pretty lonely!!

One last thing, I wanted to point out that I am also just so passionate about this truth that Rick Warren pointed out and that is that the dearest thing to God’s heart is the death of His Son and the second is when we, God’s children, share this great news about Jesus with others. As I read these words on page 97 Warren’s book, tears welled up in my eyes because I felt like God was giving me a HUGE HUG!! You see, I think God was telling me that every time that I have had to endure pain, or hardship in my life He too knew about it and it was dear to His heart too! I think He desires to whisper the same to all of us…whatever has happened in your life…God was there and it hurt Him deeply to see you in pain…and He looks forward to living with us where there is no pain…and He is preparing that place for us right now!

You know, Jesus’ death does not take away or erase my pain, or your pain, but I find comfort and encouragement in knowing that my God knows, my God understands, and my God cares about every detail of my life and He has a great purpose in all of it.

There is so much love and joy to experience in this life and holding onto hurts and pain leaves no room for love and joy to be experienced through our friendships. I’ve experienced great pain…and not just once…but sadly, over and over again…but my best friend is someone who can heal and help you and me over and over again!!! PRAISE YOU ABBA FATHER!!!

Oh, I so desire to tell all about my best friend…He is truly marvelous and He has made everything glorious in my life…even when others would not think so!! Let me know when we can meet for coffee and I will gladly share all I know about Him!! I'd hate for anyone to miss what Rick Warren stated and I wholeheartedly believe is the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 11 of Living on Purpose

God wants to be my best friend. This means He desires for me to seek Him, think about Him, love Him and honor Him.

I remember my very first best friend, I was 6 years old and her name was Lisa. I can still picture her bright smile, shoulder length hair and brown eyes. I would walk home from school with her and we shared and talked about all kinds of stuff. She was the first real ‘girlfriend’ besides my sister who really seemed interested in getting to know me and the things I liked…you know the kind of friend you are comfortable about telling anything…and can laugh and feel giddy about the silliest things together. But, this friendship didn’t last very long; we were only friends for just a few short months because her family moved out of the neighborhood. I was so sad…devastated really. I also remember my mom talking about how depressed I was for weeks afterwards.

I remember being a little girl and thinking about spending time with Lisa constantly…we were inseparable at school and all the time our parents would allow afterschool. I have found memories of running to her house to share the littlest of things…and she was always ready to listen…ready to tell me just how special I was in her adolescent way.

I love how God reminded me of her this morning as I think about Him being my best friend. I do think about Him and His Word throughout the day and I just when I think I cannot be more intimate with God…He WOWs me—blows me away with His tenacious love…which He chooses to lavish on me daily!!!

When I first read this book almost 10 years ago…I admit my relationship with my BFF wasn’t nearly what it is today; I was just barely understanding that Jesus wanted to be my friend…I look forward to what it is going to be 10 years from now!!! And I give God the glory in the fact that my boys are growing up knowing that they too have a BFF (JD told me He just talked to Him yesterday and Joshua told me that knowing Him helped him make a good choice even when I wasn't around!!! Not, that both boys behaved perfectly and didn't make some bad choices yesterday too...but there were definite victories that occurred just yesterday and we praised Him for it!!! THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!) and their friend, Jesus is with them wherever they go. My boys are learning that God has a specific purpose for each of their lives and He is answering my prayers and is building a new generation in my family line who seeks, loves, serves and worships Him!

My first BFF moved away and I never saw her again…(hmmm maybe God will use Facebook to reconnect us???) I praise God for all of the friends He has brought into my life; but there is only one true BFF in my life…His name is Jesus, and there is nothing like this journey with my BFF!!

Thank you Jesus for all that You are to me and how you continually fill this delicate tender heart of mine!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 10 of Living on Purpose

If worship is an attitude or way of living that makes God smile what is at the heart of this? Rick Warren begins chapter 10 with this verse “Give yourselves to God…Surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” Rom 6:13 TEV.

I have to agree with Rick Warren too that surrender is not a popular word and the word has such a negative connotations attached to it…and it is scary sometimes to think about surrendering even a small part of our lives—let alone our whole beings.

And I’ll admit with my background of abuse and not at all understanding God’s desire for my body to be used for righteous purposes; I have had to rely on God and trust that He would both heal and transform my mind and enable me to grasp this idea (I’m still not sure I can completely wrap my mind around this). As I have learned to surrender and trust bit by bit, He has continually revealed His sweet love and made known things to me, in only ways that He can.
Yesterday, I had a girlfriend remind me of Psalm 123, she is studying Beth Moore’s Psalm of Ascent. Psalm 123:3 states, “Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt.” Beth Moore makes reference to Eph 1:18; a verse I have cherished, memorized, and prayed over myself and those I love “…that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which he has called us.”

I think this ties into this chapter today; we need to surrender; yet it is hard sometimes when we feel and may very well be justified because we have suffered like the Psalmist…endured much contempt…or in my words, endured feelings of being rejected, unloved, disrespected or devalued. I think this tied into what Rick Warren states, that “There are three barriers that block our total surrender to God; fear, pride and confusion because I know when I am hurt by someone it can bring up all kinds of emotions…leading to confusion in my mind.

I think we tend to hold onto these moments in our lives either intentionally or unintentionally where we have felt disrespected; first because we are often in shock (how can something happen to rock our beautiful wonderful world?)…since the majority of the time we are in relationships to some degree with the very people we feel disrespected by and then we try to rationalize it somehow. Desiring to either ignore the issue or want it to get fixed on its own and let the feelings fade away by not thinking about them—knowing it will take emotional effort to talk about our feelings in a constructive manner; and really sometimes just not knowing how to go about it. When has this been modeled for us in our lives???

Bottom-line; I think this is something that we all deal with at one time or another and the key here I think is taking all of our emotions to God first and allowing Him to heal and sort out and open our eyes to what is going on and then…and only then can we truly approach someone else with love, forgiveness and grace.

We need to embrace and allow God’s love and grace to fill us continually. I agree with Rick Warren in that our natural response to God’s love and mercy is to surrender our hearts, minds, souls…our entire bodies to worship. Isn’t this our natural tendency to love those that love us…we will love God because He first loved us—hallelujah!!!

I know I need to go to God and relinquish any hurts or pent up feelings of disrespect to Him and allow His love and mercy to enter into my heart. Just as I am going to fail…others are going to fail me and I need God to mend the gap and allow grace and forgiveness to cover the situation on both ends.

Praise God for His Word…in particularly Psalm 123 right now which gives us permission to come to Him when we feel disrespected and at our wits end…and God can so handle us coming to Him and hearing us cry out, “I’ve had enough; I feel so betrayed and hurt and disrespected…I’m surrendering to You…and I need You to help me walk through this.”
I’ve done this in recent years…even months and know I will continually need to be at the feet of my Savior…giving Him an earful of what He already knows. Then, and only then, can I give myself fully to God…not holding back anything—I don’t want to be a 95% girl!!!

Then maybe I can even love those He brings into my life that may be a little less than loving…because we all need people in our life that will encourage us to surrender and point us to Jesus...we all need a safe, loving place to surrender our whole being!!! We have that in Him!!!
Oh Lord, please continue to make me and my family, my friendships, my marriage…all that my heart entails a safe place for others to see You in some way…or in the least, may the see my whole being surrendering to You and give You Glory!

Help me Father, to surrender as often as I need to--surrendering 100% of my being, so that I may be used for Your righteous purposes….oh, this is the life I desire!