Friday, December 23, 2011

Glory to God in the Highest!

The song I have been listening to most recently - again and again - as I drive, and the chorus and melody that fill my head at other times, has been one that I discovered recently "by accident".  It is Glory to God in the Highest, by Downhere.  (Take a minute to listen, if you haven't heard it... it's OK, I'll wait... )

As is typical of a New Favorite Song, as it sinks deeper and deeper into my being, not only do I begin to feel it, but I begin to imagine myself within it.  I also start "seeing" it - in concept form - as the signs come forth, as if I were interpreting it in American Sign Language.

Now, I am sure it is helpful that most of my driving recently has been through the countryside of rural middle Tennessee.  I drive along and see the hillsides.  I see the livestock grazing.  I know the depth of the darkness that occurs there at night with only the moon and the stars as a source of light.

So, when I hear the guys of Downhere singing of "hillsides of moonlight and shooting stars", I see that.  I know that.  I remember spending a night on a hillside in Colorado years ago.  Nothing but "moonlight and [shooting] stars".  Quiet. Peaceful.

And I can imagine the shepherds, sitting there or standing there.... having a regular night at work.  What I can't imagine - and honestly get choked up and "chill bumps" every time I think of it - is sitting there, having a regular night at work, and having that darkness of "a crisp blue night" suddenly break "with full day light".  No WONDER the angels first words were "Fear not".  "Afraid" would not even begin to describe what I imagine I would have felt...

Seriously, "hosts of heaven's angels filling the sky".... I see that as I sign it.  It's amazing.  Indescribably incredible.  Words do not do it justice.  There are *not* words - only that deep stillness within. Wow.

So as I drive along, belting out the chorus, "Glory to God in the highest...", I am so grateful.  For His birth.... and His death, and His resurrection.  For the fact that, for me, Christmas is more than a tree and presents, and time with family.  Those are great, don't get me wrong.  They are just nothing compared to what else we have been given.  "The greatest [gift] of Light"

Luke 2:8-20 ESV
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Glory to God in the Highest ~ Downhere

On hillsides of moonlight and shooting stars,

Shepherds keep the late watch on a crisp blue night,
Suddenly the darkness, breaks with full day light,
With hosts of heavens angels filling the sky.

"Glory to God, in the highest! now here in Bethlehem,
Glory to God in the highest! the Child who will save all men!"

Rushing to the city, sandal slipping cobblestone,
Find they in the great story, for centuries we've now known,
Pouring out with wonder, the shepherds step outside,
and lift worn hands to heaven singing aloud...
"Glory to God, in the highest! now here in Bethlehem,
Glory to God in the highest! the Child who will save all men"
Now until He returns, remember this time;
When least of men where given the greatest of light,
That God chose not to glory in wealth, power, fame..
but with the simple and the small he came.

"Glory to God, in the highest! now here in Bethlehem,
Glory to God in the highest! the Child who will save all men!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Become a Human (dot org)

Driving to work today, listening to my new favorite song, I knew today would be the day I would return to the blog, and I knew exactly what I would write.


... I took a moment to check out my friend's new website.

I had been hearing about the idea and love the concept, and I had noticed the way God has (from my perspective) not only laid this on his heart, but woven it into his entire being. In our discussions about it, one question had piqued my curiousity... and I began some thoughful, introspective reflection.

"What does it mean to "be human" ?"

As I composed my response, I noted that several answers came from certain (especially trying) "seasons" in my life. Those growth valleys where God and I walked, together - me broken enough to let go of my pride and my desire to control the situation, and fully listen.

The question that followed reminded me that mere knowledge was not enough. I need to put hands and feet to my humanity. You see, he had also asked:

"What are our responsibilities to Humanity?"

Again, I made a list to summarize my thoughts. And then I sat back and really LOOKED at the list...and wondered, "how many of these am I really doing?"

So today, when I pulled up the site (which, by the way, won't officially launch until after Christmas, but I encourage you to see it now!), I sat back and all I could say was "WOW!" It's awesome! The mission, the purpose, the Become a Human Project itself. It is so encouraging!

I do have passions and gifts... and I do want to use them for good. I am inspired and I have pledged to do my part...

It is so awesome to see God at work!

Check it out:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Eucharisteo - Thanksgiving

It is a great word:  Eucharisteo:  "To be grateful, feel thankful.  To give thanks".

It's perfect.  I love it.  I need it. To live it.  I need to LIVE it.

I have recently been introduced to the book, A Thousand Gifts: A dare to live fully right where you are.  One of my favorite quotes, thus far, is the reminder that "Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle".  Quite often, the "miracle" for me, is changing my perspective - turning my eyes from the mess of my life to the glory of Him who loves me through it.

It doesn't matter the situation - I am reminded that the appropriate response is thanksgiving.  Sure, it is easier when everything is going well - when I could effortlessly scream my thanks from the mountaintop. But it's in the midst of the struggle - the midst of REAL LIFE - that it has been most important for me to remember.

My friend, Karen, always reminded me, "there is a gift in the pain".... and she has been right.  I have never experienced a difficult or painful situation that didn't come with a gift hidden within it.  The challenge has been to search for it - and to trust that it is there.

One of the things I most appreciate about this book:  It is challenging me to remember (and frequently search for) the "Thousand Gifts" that surround me in in my everyday life.  The little things - perhaps more so than the great, obvious gifts.  The things I tend to overlook. The gifts from God that I walk right past because I am too busy or self-focused to realize are waiting right there for me.  Especially for me.

In searching for and seeking those things, those gifts, the miracle happens:  my perspective changes, my eyes are open, and I get to see Him at work, and experience His goodness.  Right here. Right now.  Right where I am... in the midst of my messy little world.  In literally thousands of ways!

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
~ 1 Thessalonians  5:18

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Getting Back to Gratitude...

The day had been a little difficult, so I did what I have been taught to do:  Be of service and get back to gratitude.

I have been reading a book called "A Thousand Gifts", which talks about gratitude being the one thing... the only thing... and the only appropriate response to the "thousand gifts" we have been given. But that book... I am just beginning.... and deserves a blog post of its own.

The quiet portion of the day, I spent in stillness and preparing for a service project I'm involved with over the next few days and months.

But, I struggled with the gratitude.  I could list a few things, yes, but *feel* it... not yet.

Early evening, I headed out to pick up my kids, listening to a song - aptly named, "The Gift". The rhythm of the music lulled my heart.... and began the unveiling of my Gratitude List.

  • I am grateful for music that lulls my heart.
  • I am grateful for lyrics that touch my soul.
  • I am grateful for the people in my life who lead, guide and encourage me.
  • I am grateful for the people who have removed the stones and helped to "un-build" the walls I have constructed.
  • I am grateful for the places of healing and of growth.
  • I am grateful for the places of beauty and majesty so grand that there is no denying Him.
  • I am grateful for the places of rest and rejuvenation.
  •  I am grateful for the thorns that keep me depending on Him.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I have been "convinced" that I need to actively pursue community in my day to day life.

Oh, I have people who know and love me, for sure.  And, I have people I could call in a pinch if I had a need, or needed help with my kids. 

But, what I need to develop is a community of people that know me and love me - AND know and love Jesus.  A group of people with whom I can be honest, and who will be honest with me.  A group who will challenge and encourage me to seek greater knowledge of and closeness to Christ, to be in the Word, and "sharpen" me with honesty, accountability and Truth.

Because, what I have realized - as we have been praying for community - is that if I am not involved in a community that is actively seeking Jesus, I will be actively involved in the community of the world. 

And I have been reminded, again and again, to be "in the world, but not of it".

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

~ Romans 12:2

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.  

~ John 17: 15-19

Friday, November 4, 2011

Morning, By Morning, New Mercies I See...

Lamentations 3:22-23

 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Good Morning.... I Love You"

As we drive through the rain toward school, passing by a stand of trees that arch over the road, we are showered in yellow and orange leaves as they fall to the ground.  Many strike the windshield, while others dance around the minivan.

"They must not like you!" my daughter says from behind me.

"What do you mean?" I ask. 

"They are hitting you.  They only fall when you drive under and then hit your car."  She had apparently noticed the same pattern I had - the leaves only fell as we passed by.

"We must have different perspectives" I replied.


"I see it differently.  I love it when that happens."

"You do?"

"Yes.  I love it when the leaves fall all around me.  So, when we drive under, and they fall all around us, to me, it's like God is saying "Good morning, Linda.  I love you".

"And that one that is stuck up there?"she asked as she pointed to the antenna, "That one is a reminder that is hanging around."


Friday, October 28, 2011

Speak to Me

I was having a morning where I was curiously aware of the conversations I was having with God. There was the structured prayer, and the more informal comments about the leaves on a particular tree being especially beautiful, or the quick request for Him to speak through me (or at least shut "me" up). And the quiet reflection on His presence in my life, with a request for Him to speak to me.

And then, there was the question. "When I ask Him to "speak to me", is that what I really mean?" (and I mean REALLY mean...) OR, am I asking Him to tell me something I'd like to hear"?

I wish I could tell you, my immediate response was to consider the question for myself. No, my first thought was whether it was better expressed as a Facebook status or on Twitter. I did neither, actually. I simply repeated the question to myself.... again and again and again.

Honestly, I think I bounce back and forth on the continuum. Sometimes, I really truly would like to hear what He has to speak TO ME, FOR ME...(and I hope that I would respond appropriately), but there are other times, I just want Him to tell me something that supports what I think should happen in a situation.

As my journey continues, I find I ask Him to speak to me, more and more.

May my heart be open to hear and quick to obey.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Your Light Will Shine When All Else Fades

I've had song stuck in my head for the past few days - and one line in particular that keeps repeating itself.... over and over and over:  "Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades..."  I have learned that He will speak to me - through the words of such a song - in a moment that I desperately need to hear Him.  (Apparently, that would be today!)

We were having a difficult morning. The day was really only 20 minutes old for my kids, and I was already frustrated with them. "Get up." "Get dressed." "Let's go!"  

As I continued in our morning routine, I noticed the lighting outside the window.  There had appeared a mystical orange and pink tinge that called to me.  I stepped outside onto the front walk, and simply stared at the sunrise that was beginning to break forth in the eastern sky.  "Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades...."   I inhaled deeply before I turned toward the house to return to the task of motivating two dawdling tweens.

As we drove to their school, I continued to watch the sky, and became keenly aware of the way the morning sun accentuated the bright orange, yellow and red leaves on the trees that lined the roads and fields.  Absolute beauty!

I continued on to visit my first patient.  The leaves and their bright colors called my attention, but still I critiqued our morning routine.  "How can I make our mornings less of a struggle?"  It's wearying day after day.....especially being the sole morning motivator.  I remembered some words recently spoken to me by a friend:  "He will not let you fall..."  Another deep breath.  Thank God for that.

I glanced up at the horizon.  Through the line of trees in their full autumn splendor, a ray of orange sunlight shone directly at me.... Right. In. My. Eyes.  "Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades...."  repeated itself in my head.

Instantly, I was reminded:  This too shall pass.  Sooner than I care to believe, I will no longer be required to be the sole morning motivator.  We'll move on to different issues.  BUT...

No matter what.  When this fades....and so does the next thing.... and the next.  His light will still be shining brightly.

Thank God for that too!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

There's No Place Like Home... There's No Place Like Home...

Let me preface this by saying that this post is a work in progress....I don't have a clear grasp of it except for an awareness of concepts, moments and experiences that feel linked together, somehow, without an obvious (to me) path or progression.  But, life is like that... and I muddle through and share when I feel led...

It started in church - sort of - as my pastor was talking about Jacob FINALLY getting to Bethel (Genesis 35).... or perhaps it started last night, as my daughter and I assembled her new bed.... or perhaps it was while I was "on retreat".... or headed that way...

Clearly, I don't have a definitive "starting point"... but it really doesn't matter.  It WOULD satisfy my logical, linear-thinking brain if we moved from point A to point B sequentially, and not follow the loopsy whimsical path that it seems we sometimes do.  But I know it will all "work together for good" one way or another.

So, there I stand - on the box - interpreting the sermon.  (Which means, I can relay to you the general concepts of the message and the long list of words for which I forgot the signs)  The concept that stuck with me was of these "Bethel experiences" the Jacob had experienced.  Those moments, when undeniably, God had been there with him.

We were asked to remember ours - and to consider those places where God is calling us to be. (and, surrender, obey and GO... without the delay modeled to us by Jacob)

All afternoon, as I shifted furniture around, washed clothes, and sorted through boxes of "stuff"my daughter had cleared out of her room, my mind shifted from my retreat to The Wizard of Oz.

I remember - VERY clearly - the evening God met me and called me to retreat with Him.... and yet, as I drove the miles into the woods, He reminded me that I didn't need to "go away" to do so.  I returned home with a new sense of purpose.... that quickly got lost in the shuffle of everyday life.

And, as I begin the six week stretch that is typically the busiest of the year for me, I had a moment to sit.  Quietly.  With Him and with my calendar, thinking...

"There's no place like home.  There's no place like home...."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Power of the (Spoken) Truth

It has been a hard couple of days - returning from a fun, but whirlwind trip, visiting family, smack-dab into the middle of a busy week.  I'd actually planned a day for transition... but it wasn't much of a transition day, as there was much weighing me down.

I considered the choices of others - the same choices I had made when I was their age - and hoped that their outcomes would be better than mine had been.  I know (now) what the Word says... yet, we had all chosen against it... so while I hoped for the best, I wasn't very optimistic.

I considered my life and the choices I am making these days.  They are more in line with the teachings of the gospel, but undoubtedly, I fall short on a regular basis... I think about how hard it can be on any given day, with any given choice.... especially those that are counter-cultural.  And, I wonder - briefly - if it's worth the effort.  I know it is.... deep in my heart and soul, I know it is.  It is in those moments, I can almost feel Him holding me.... almost.

It's in the car, driving from patient to patient to patient, that these thoughts occupy my mind.... and I pray.  Back and forth - topic and person, concern and choice and situation - I consider, and I talk with God.

Periodically, there is a moment that deeply blesses me - the way the sun hits the newly-changing leaves, or the curmudgen old woman who smiles, whole-heartedly, and thanks me for visiting. 

Yet, there is the nagging doubt that I will choose wisely, make a difference, or get done what needs to get done.  There is concern for the state of the world - and my place in it.

As I drive, I think of a man I know, weighed down with similar concerns.  I am also reminded of a passage in Matthew 6: " not be anxious..."  When I finally get a (non-driving) moment, I send him a text to let him know he has come to my mind, with a verse, and share the scripture reference.  It's in the moments after hitting "send", that I say aloud - "Yeah, the devil is trying his best to get me, too...."

Suddenly, I can breathe more deeply.  A weight is lifted, and my perspective has shifted back into alignment.  Funny. (not).  The whole day - maybe two - as I struggled to be comfortable in my place in the world, was not a fight against flesh and blood. I simply needed to speak it.

Sitting here now, as I reflect, I am moved to tears of gratitude - for today, the thing I have wanted most in the whole wide (crazy) world, was to feel Him holding me.  (And I wasn't willing to settle for anything less.)

Perhaps I am learning.

Perhaps there is hope for me yet....


Do Not Be Anxious

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his ispan of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and our heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Country Roads, Take Me Home....

I laughed to myself as I posted the words of the old John Denver song as my Facebook status. Our travels would mostly be by interstate, it had never been my "home", and we weren't going to West Virginia, but regular Virginia. Still, it was the song playing in my head as we started out.

That song, my sister and I used to sing in the back of my grandparents station wagon, on our roadtrips from their home in Virginia to their mountain property in West Virginia...but somehow, it still fit.

As we headed north, through the Shenendoah valley, the beauty of the mountains - speckled with the beginnings of autumn foliage - spoke to me.... I was reminded how much I love the mountains... how I miss them.

I laughed again, as I found myself driving for miles up and down a winding gravel country road - guided by my gps rather than written instructions from my uncle.

The farm where we are staying is beautiful, and I am thoroughly enjoying my visit with family....many of whom I have not seen in years.

Thank You, God for the beauty of these mountains, and the sweetness of family...

May our time together be blessed, and may You be in our midst.
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Breaking Bread

While I was "on retreat", I really didn't want to cook.  I wanted something simple, that didn't take a lot of time or preparation.  I also wanted to include communion each day.  Which, sounded a little weird to me on one hand - "breaking bread" by myself?  On the other hand, it is a remembrance, and one that I wanted to include in my quiet time with God.

So, I brought bread and "wine" (Welches finest!), and sat by the fire my first night there, with exactly this plate of food.

I opened my bible and found the chapters and verses - first in Matthew and the next night in Luke - and read aloud.  Now, I have heard these passages read many times, and I have had communion many times - wafers, loaves of bread, pieces of pita bread, every week, quarterly - but I have never read these verses aloud.  To only myself.

And, I have never changed the pronouns.  And, wow, what a powerful statement to change the pronouns:

"This is Your body, broken for me"

It's hard for me to speak them aloud without tears welling up in my eyes..... even now.  Even with no bread and no "wine" sitting before me.  "... Your body, broken for me."  It's humbling, and very, very powerful!

(and I packed no Kleenex - what WAS I thinking?)

And, so I thanked Him for my simple meal - for the bread and the "wine" - and for the greatest gift of all....

While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. 

"but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  ~ Romans 5:8

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Bring Paint"

I am "on retreat", having escaped into the woods - to the peace and quiet of a small log cabin.

I have had mixed success in being electronically 'disconnected', but am not feeling 'tied down' to my phone. :) ahhhhhhh....

I have used it to share some joy and capture a picture or two.

One thing that He seemed to ask me to do, in planning for this retreat, is "bring paint". Ok....but, I don't paint.

Yet, as I finished my bible study this morning, I became more and more excited to pull out a canvas.... I have been seeing the concept of a painting, over and over as I fall asleep, and last night was no exception.

So, as I pulled out the acrylics and set up the canvas, I pictured it again. Colors, brushes and a little Revelation Song in the background...

This, my friends, is what it feels like to worship...
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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Tyranny of the Urgent

It's a saying that I have heard before - and remind myself of time and time again - "Do not mistake the urgent for the important".  I didn't realize there was a book written about it... in 1967!  (with a sequel and a reprint in the late 1990's.... apparently we still struggle with the concept!  I know I do...).

Needless to say, the reminder was perfectly timed.  I lay awake for a while last night, contemplating the tasks to be done and time in which they must be completed.  It didn't seem possible.  On my good days, I just do "the next right thing" - on the not so good days, I feel overwhelmed to the point that I can't really do *anything* - including sleep.

So, I try to prioritize, and figure out which things truly are important and which are merely urgent.  Unfortunately, the urgent things tend to scream a little louder than the important things do.

But then, there are the not-even-urgent things that we (I) treat as such.... my phone ringing, for example.  I have made it a point not to answer it during dinner, and not to be talking on it while I am checking out at a store, because I feel that's just flat out rude... but any other time, it rings (or bings, or vibrates, or any of the other indications that there may be a call / text / email that is demanding my attention), I reach for it... almost instinctively.

I think back to the days before there WERE cell phones....  somehow we survived.  Before email... before (*gasp*) Facebook!  I remember, "back in the day", when we had to sit down and hand write a letter, mail it and wait.... Before cordless phones were available, and you were "lucky" if you had a 6 foot cord to the phone. (Would I tolerate a phone with a "leash" now?  No way.) There was much less "multitasking" - and certainly less of it while driving! 

And THAT is what I love so much about the title of the book.  It is so honest in it's description of our relationship with the urgent..... tyranny:  "Cruel or oppressive government or rule".

And I accept it.  Willingly.  I accept it as "necessary" and "convenient".  *COULD* I live without my smartphone?  Technically, yes, I could.... do I want to?  NO WAY!  Does it - in some twisted way - make my life *more* difficult in certain areas?... I'm sure it does....Still, I cling to it.

BUT.... am I willing to step out from under it's "cruel and oppressive rule"?... I guess we'll see.

It's one of my goals for my retreat - "unplugged".  (God help me!) 

Help me to focus on the important, Lord... Help me to focus on You.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Behind the Clouds

It has been a long week.  Not only were there the usual responsibilities of working and parenting - but there were a few meetings and a couple of other tasks thrown into the mix as well.  It's not like they weren't important, they were - there just isn't a lot of "wiggle room" in my daily routine, and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The weather has been a little gloomy too. And, while I'm grateful for the rain and the cooler temperatures, it just makes it a little harder for me to crawl out of bed to face the day.

Throughout the week, God has been faithful.  I've seen Him at work - clearing a bit of time here, and taking away another responsibility there.  He has a way of "Redeeming the Time" for me, for which I am always grateful.  I knew today would be no exception.

I wasn't sure I would be able to fit what needed to be included into today.  But mid-morning, I saw this - a Carolina blue bursting forth through the overcast sky!  God's little reminder to me that NO MATTER WHAT I see before me - He is there.

It doesn't matter if clouds roll in.... they are temporary.  He is eternal.  Whatever challenge is standing before me... He is there.

Thank You, God for the little reminder - and for carrying me this week.  I could never have done it without You...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Remind Me Who I am....

My pastor had posted the video link to Facebook, and I watched it and listened.  Without a doubt, I. Loved. It.

*LOVED* it.

OMG.  Seriously, what a perfect song.  And what an amazingly powerful video.

I was a bit weary when I heard it first, between my aching heart and my aching leg, but I had been reminded to keep focused on The Promises.... and who I am in Him.  And I was trying to do just that.

As is His way, reaching me and teaching me through music, as it played, I felt totally surrounded by His presence and fully engaged in the lyrics. In a simple song, there it was - who I am to Him.  A simple reminder that would play over and over in my head.

As I watched the video, I noticed what had happened to the people through His eyes.  (but I'll let you see that for yourself!).

You know I wanted the same.  I am experiential like that! So with my friend, at the park, I pulled out my cardboard, on which I had written:  "Beloved" and we took pictures.


Ah, yes, Lord.... let me see myself through Your eyes.  "Remind me who I am"- to You and through You.

I have no doubt, if I remembered continually,  some of my choices would be different. I bet I would be less distracted by this world I live in.  I'm sure I would fear less, and trust more.... I could better  be Your hands and feet.

Help me to remember.  Lord, please....

"Remind me who I am."

Remind Me Who I Am
  ~ Jason Gray

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name
Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see
Is who I don't wanna be
Remind me who I am

In the loneliest places
When I cant remember what grace is

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You, that I belong to You
To You

When my heart is like a stone,
And I'm running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I cant receive Your love
Afraid I'll never be enough
Remind me who I am

If I'm Your beloved can You help me believe it

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You
To You

I'm the one You love, I'm the one You love
That will be enough, I'm the one You love

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You, that I belong to You
To You

To You

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Agenda? What Agenda....?

I feel like I keep getting "busted" by God....  which is OK, really.  I'm in a good place - all things considered - which is a great gift (considering all that is going on!),

The thing I have discovered with this gimpy leg of mine, is not so much the pain and frustration of taking twice as long to get from point A to point B.... it's that I have a PLAN for it.  (And not *just* a plan for it, but a plan that is at risk to not come to fruition....)

I've been looking forward to my upcoming retreat, with periodic prodding to "get this" or "bring that" - which I have done.  I THOUGHT I had it set aside as a "Your plans for me, Lord" weekend.  But the closer it gets from *right now*, the more anxious I get that I won't be able to HIKE.

I want to HIKE... (might even consider that ridiculous boot! :)  kidding.... sort of....).  So, apparently, I DO have an agenda for the weekend.

I love to hike.  I love the quiet and the out of doors, and the God-and-me conversations that occur when I am putting one foot in front of the other.

I suppose, ultimately, time will tell... And He knows the plans He has for me - and this retreat weekend.  May I follow and not try to lead...

(Note to self:  Better add ibuprofen to the "Bring this...." list)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vanity, Pride and My Stubborn Self

Let me preface this post by saying that I have a "good" ankle and a "bad" ankle. The "bad" ankle I rolled several years ago, and was lucky not to end up in a cast.  It stays tied up in a corset type brace when I am doing my Martial Arts.  The "good" ankle, well... it's just that... "good".

And then last week - it began to bother me.  Just a little after my morning MMA class.  "whatever".  I put some topical something on it and took an advil (or two).  That night, it was still a little sore when I started class #2.  About midway through, I started modifying my weight distribution, determined not to quit.  Which was "fine"...  I got home and ice/heat/ice'd it.

Fast forward to Thursday.  It was still sore depending on how I put weight on my foot.  I let the instructor know I was going to attempt class, but couldn't guarantee anything.  I did get through it - with plenty of modifications - much to my dismay... I love kicking.  And I love kicking HARD.... which is when, if I look back, I think the problem started... a hard kick on the bag.

At the end of class, I got my zinger - well, my first zinger tied to this situation.  The instructor had talked about perseverance and overcoming challenges.  I nodded.  I'd shown up, suited up and had given it my best - which some would have considered over the top, if not downright foolish. 

But then he talked about doing it in ALL areas of our lives.

I immediately thought of my relationship with God.  Do I show up, suit up and give it my best, even on days when, by the worlds standards, I certainly could opt out.  *ouch*  Not so much.  Do I continue to pursue God when doing so makes my life uncomfortable.  Uhm..... again.  Not so much.

I mulled that over for a while, until He began showing me more of my self - the vain, the proud and the stubborn.

As things settled in with my "weight bearing as tolerated" self, the pain began to dissipate some - but also define it's true location.  That bone right above my ankle.  "AHHH....", I said, "... bone pain."  Drat.

It's walkable - slowly- but aches towards the end of the day - or with a lot of (slow) walking.  The kids and I did Wal*mart by foot on Saturday.  After that, I decided crutches might help ease the ache a little, by decreasing some of the activity.... but about 3 steps out from the car, BACK into Wal*mart on Sunday, there was NO WAY I was going to be swinging myself around in there.  The boot (I borrowed) doesn't alter the level of comfort enough to make the rediculousness of the boot worthwhile.

And, lets just say - it's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to do *anything* around my house - except perhaps take the length of the hall to the bathroom - on crutches.  Not happening.

The good news:  It's improving.

The not so good news:  I still struggle terribly with vanity, pride and my own stubborn self.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Farewell, Wild Bill....

Yesterday was  hard day.  I got a call I never expected. One of my favorite doctors had died.

This man, I watched grow from a "baby doctor" to an attending.  Over a decade, I watched him mature in his role, and increase his skill set, and never lose sight of his humility, nor his ability to connect with his patients.  He was just plain kind and down to earth...and not one bit politically correct!

There is so much I will remember about him - his jaunty gait, his straight-talking demeanor, and the fact that he often wore his Ropers with his scrubs.  If I had that picture, I would certainly share it! But most of all, I will remember the way he related to people.

He is loved by many - and I remember that it is present tense... for Love never ends.  We still love him.

It saddens me that I will never be able to round with him again, and laugh so hard that I fear i will have to change my scrubs - as I did this past weekend.   I am grateful, though to have told him, "I just love you, Bill...." as we laughed and reminisced some of our favorite stories.

It saddens me that the world has lost such a tremendous physician and good man.

Farewell, Wild Bill...

You are already missed.

“The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul 
arises from the feeling that there is in every individual 
something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone,
and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.”
~Arthur Schopenhauer

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome, or Invited?

As I walked through my front door, after some God-talk with a friend, I stopped and wondered...

Is God "welcome" in my home and in my life, or have I truly "invited" Him in?

Well, certainly, He is welcome.  In nearly every room, there is some reference to Him, or His Word.  Outside the front door, is the stone that stands to remind me of my "Thus Far" experience.

OF COURSE He is welcome... I love to witness and be a part of His hand in my life and in the lives of those around me.  It encourages me in the hard times to know that He is there (for me).

But that wasn't really the question, was it?

Have I *invited* Him?  OR... better question, do I continue to invite Him..... into my home, into my life, into my day to day decisions?

Have I invited Him? Sure, once or twice, I'm sure I have, but day to day? Answering honestly, that would likely be a "no".  I'm afraid I don't.

More often, it's more of a "Thanks God for the stuff you do for me, that way things work out in ways that I could NEVER coordinate!  But, this thing.... I got!"

I will say, though, there have been a few things lately, that I HAVE invited Him into - cause I know "I don't got..." and He remains faithful.  Leading, directing, encouraging, supporting, and loving me through...

But, imagine the way my life would be different, if I DID invite Him in to the day to day - before I ran off in one direction or the other.  If I actually asked and listened - and trusted and obeyed.

Imagine the things He could do - that I could witness and experience, if only I would invite Him in...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Then and Now...

I've been doing a bit of thinking, about "when I was your age"...

Perhaps it is the similar events, or the similar environments that is bringing it to mind. Perhaps it is simply a gift - to look at then and now - and see that I *am* truly being made new. I'm not who I was...

I am far from "there", or "together", but I am definitely in a different place, looking at the world from a different perspective, and through different lenses. I choose differently. Those old choices don't "fit" anymore....

Thank You, God for making me new, and for this bit of clarity. It encourages me on my path to seek You!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Additional Perspective

As I re-read yesterday's blog post - which is my habit, for sometimes I learn from what I have written - something caught my eye...

It appeared from reading what I'd written, that my life is either intently "God-connect"-ed OR it is day-to-day mundane tasks of the To Do list... I have been aware lately, of the internal struggle between the Mary and Martha aspects of my life.... Do I sit at His feet, listen and learn, or do I focus on the things that need to be done to keep a household up and running? Where do I find the balance between the two?

I think back to a moment in time when I experienced God in the Mundane. Right there in the midst of my day to day activities. I know it existed at one time. I remember writing about it. (Thank God for Google to be able to FIND it again!!)

As I re-read it, I am encouraged, because it supports what I was thinking initially about finding Him there - in the mundane. Yesterday I wrote about serving others I meet out there in the world.

Today, may I remember the ways in which I can serve those with whom I live.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rest and Perspective.

It seems as if I should have something to say... but right now, I can't think of a thing...

It seems God and I have been traveling a million miles per hour lately, and the past few days, we've just been standing still. I'm sure there is a reason - and honestly, I'm a little glad.

It has been somewhat exhausting, the work we have been doing. Partly, it's the healing work itself, and partly it's me, finding myself lost in a sermon podcast, or investigating the meaning of "obedience". I've needed a little time to rest - and to catch up on day to day obligations.

It has been interesting, too.... to go through my day to day routine with a little different perspective. One day, as I headed out the door, I asked Him to show me how I could be a little more of service to the people I came in contact with that day. I found myself a little more patient on the road, and little more willing to stand and wait for the next person to walk through the store door. I made a little more eye contact, and exchanged smiles with them.

I wonder how it would be if those days became my norm... rather than the self-focused, hurry, hurry, hurry my days often become...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Starry, Starry Night

Just a quick post to express some gratitude for this cool, clear night.

I'm sitting on my deck by the light of a citronella candle and my computer screen. Beside me, Jake-the-dog gnaws crazily on an antler (yes, an antler.... long story :) ).

The crickets are filling the night with song, and the breeze gently reminding me that Autumn will soon be arriving.... The stars are shining brightly over head. I know that He knows them all by name...

And me too...

It is perfect, and exactly what I needed this evening.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, God...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Repentence and Firey Darts

I sat in my car, thinking as I drove from one place to another - through the years, different cross roads, where I have made choices... for better or for worse.

The one I settled on reminded me of a verse I heard on Sunday. It appears in the midst of God calling his "faithless children" to return to Him.

Jeremiah 3:13
13 Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the LORD your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the LORD.

And, as I think back to the situation - it was more than simply a "bad choice". It was a "bad choice" followed by several other bad choices... all of which have had, and continue to have consequences... Rebellion tends to do that....

I hear myself say, "God, that was wrong...", and feel the brokenness deep in my core. I know it has already been forgiven.....I know it has, He has already shown me that, again and again.

But then I feel the sting. The nagging questioning, "How can you walk through this? You don't know how to do this! How do you think you will get your children to choose differently? It's never going to be any different...."

It disheartened me for a while, as I drove, thinking about the whole of it. And then, I realized how the tone had changed. I'd gone from feeling broken, but forgiven to paralyzed into inaction, and doubting my future. I wondered how many years I had believed these lies... I wondered how many times, I'd been hit by the firey darts of the deceiver, and believed him over what God had told me time and time again.

Didn't matter really. What mattered is that I didn't today:

I can walk through this because "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength"!
I may not know how to do this, but He does, and if I keep tight with Him and go where He goes, we'll be just fine!
And how can you say "it is never going to be any different..."? It already *IS* different!

About that time, I'd parked and picked up my phone to head into the bank. I flipped to the email that had arrived as I had been driving and thinking. It ended with this: "Walk in the Holy Confidence from the Lord today".

I laughed and cried and shook my head in amazement. How perfectly timed. Thank You, God!

I'm sure it is not the last time round this particular mountain, nor the last time I will feel the sting of the firey darts..... but to know that they can be at least temporarily silenced - such a gift!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Incessant Chattering

The past few mornings, my daughter has awakened in a talkative mood... to say the least. Me, I prefer to ease into the morning. So, these past few mornings have been a challenge for me as a Mom.

This morning, her focus was on painting her room - colors, shapes, patterns, she knew it all and wanted to tell me it all. Right. Then.

And she did.

In my mind, the chorus of Mosaic's song, "Teach us to love...." is playing, as well as the words "Let her talk...." I know that one day she may need to talk, and if I have routinely "Shhh" 'd her, she may not. (Oh, and I figured I'd let her creative dream unfold as well!)

Still, it was not an easy morning for me.... and probably only by the Grace of God, did I not raise my voice. Driving to school, while she is chattering on, I decide I really need to get to bed a bit earlier, so I can wake up a bit earlier, and HAVE my quiet time and be fully engaged and able to hear her. (Easier said than done)

I didn't think much more of it until I was heading to bed. I had nothing to blog, so I closed my laptop, and got down on my knees to pray.

Having just listened to a sermon discussing the need to "be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger" (James 1:19), I decided to take that approach. I simply knelt there. After a little while, I thought, "I got nothin'.... that I haven't already prayed for a million times...."

I paused, not breathing.

"Oh, God! Please tell me I haven't been incessantly chattering to You, too?"

Help me to listen. Help me to hear. Help me to follow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I am feeling very, very blessed.

School has started, and we've adapted to the new routine - homework and all.

Life is still busy, juggling personal and professional commitments, and of course all the ins and outs of being "Mom". But, life is different recently. It feels more "open". There is much hope. And where hope exists, it seems anything is possible!

I wondered if it was simply the structured schedule, but I don't think so. I think it has to do more with the fact I have been immersing myself in the Word, lately - actually taking time to sit and "be" with God, rather than having the Book laying beside my pillow, and waving to Him as I ran past.

It has been sweet, sweet time. It hasn't always been easy, or comfortable, but it has been consistent! (and encouraging!)

I am grateful to those who continually point me to Him, and the Bible. It has been fascinating to witness conversations, emails, texts, blogs, from different sources, supporting and confirming the others. It is mind-boggling if I try to think of it, really. I can't even imagine...

So, I just delight in it and laugh when it occurs.... over and over again.

I pray that I continue to make time focused on delving into the depths of the Bible, and sitting quietly with Him a priority! It must be.... may I remember!
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Monday, August 22, 2011

A Sweet Summarization

I hesitate to write this, on one hand, because I know that mere words will not be able to capture the depth of emotion that accompanied this morning's worship with my friends of Mosaic.

I must admit, it started long before I arrived at church. Before dawn, a storm moved through, waking me with it's intensity. Awakened, I checked my "daily verse" app on my phone:

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" ~Psalm 119:105

I thought of how true that had been for me - ESPECIALLY this past week. The scripture that had been sent to me - in texts, in emails, and on my daily verse app - and those that I had dug for myself, had truly lit my path this week.

I rolled over until my alarm started sounding to a local christian music station. Occasionally, I'd listen a little before I hit the "snooze". One moment I remembered - "... the Sunday praise word for today is "hope" ." I laughed. Of course it is!

I headed to church, and as Mosaic set up and sound-checked, I flipped through my bible, recalling the adventures we'd been on together this week: Struggles and thoughts on surrender, and moments sitting on a footbridge, resetting my internal compass. Daring to dream of opportunities to sit at His feet and take it all in - and experiencing a few moments that felt as I imagine it would to truly live a John 12:3 moment as Mary did with Jesus, himself.

It was in that frame of mind that we started the service. As they sang, and spoke, and told stories of the verses of scripture that inspired their music, I was amazed. In my bible, I flipped from verse to verse, aware of the parallels between what I had been shown throughout the week, to what I was hearing now. Some were identical, some were expository.

Most of the service, I felt as if He and I were sitting side by side, recapping our most recent journey - laughing together and crying together. There were moments of conviction, but mostly sweet, sweet peace.

"Return to Me..." He spoke - and they sang. For "my people are bent on turning away from me"... "Return o faithless children....." I will contend until you are free...

My people are bent on turning away from me ~ Hosea 11:7

Jeremiah 3:12-14; 22

‘Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the Lord.
14 Return, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.

22 “Return, O faithless sons;
I will heal your faithlessness.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Shift in the Point of Reference

I sat talking with a friend this evening. It has been a while since we have been able to sit together, share a meal, and our thoughts. We were introduced many years ago. We have laughed together, and cried together, and have walked together through each of our divorces.

Tonight, we took some time to catch up on the goings on since our last gathering. I shared with her some of the goings on in my life - and she shared some adventures in hers. And as we were talking, a sentence came out of my mouth that I have struggled to articulate for a while.

"I don't want my divorce to be the point of reference for my life."

I had become aware, again in the past few months, that it seemed to be where my story always started...

And, while it is true that God showed up mightily in my life at that moment of my need, it's not where it began. Nor is it where God and I began.

My adventures on the bridge yesterday had reminded me of that. Long before that moment, God had been with me, inviting me and calling me into relationship with Him. He had surrounded me with His people and with Truth.

I tried to think back as far as I could remember him "stalking" me. I remember the longing and the crying out of my heart on my rock at camp as a young adult. And clearly, a song had stuck from my childhood. But I couldn't really tell you when our relationship began.

So, I asked aloud, on my drive home.... "How long has it been?"

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." (Jeremiah 1:5)

I smiled and nodded.

Perhaps, I need to shift the point of reference for my life.

My relationship with God didn't begin with the end of my marriage, it began long before I even existed in this world. It began when He first knew me and set me apart for a purpose here on this earth.

And that little shift of perspective....

kinda changes everything.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

All the Pieces of My Heart...

I rolled out of bed, wiped the tears of hope from my eyes, and started my morning. Dropping my kids at school, I headed to my Moms in Touch group. We prayed for our children, teachers, students, administrators and county politics. We raised our requests - those known and those unknown - to God for His consideration. My unspoken request, I raised as well - that He would meet me there.

A few hours of seeing patients, and then I was off. Back to the place where He had so faithfully met me in years past. To the trestle bridge over the water, near the house where I used to live.

I hummed a tune that was stuck in my head. An old hymn from my childhood. I couldn't remember the words, just the melody. My car parked across the street, I walked the trail that I knew so well.

Day after day, I'd walk... in the days when my land neighbored the path. Day after day, He'd meet me there, wiping the hair out of my face as I stepped onto the wooden footbridge that lay over the old railroad trestle.

I had a praying spot. So I went there, took of my shoes and sat down.

Quietly, I sat, the breeze on my face, taking in the sights and the sounds. A ripple of a fish under the surface of the water, the zip of a hummingbird flying by. I'd seen a deer drinking from a pool in the woods on my way, and I stared, now, out at the heron on the far shore.

I thanked Him for coming, and sat quietly for a long, long time.

Finally, I spoke.


"So.... You want my heart.... all of it.... You know it's been pretty trampled, right? And, cast aside..."

I thought again of the Apostle Paul, "Chief of all sinners", and how his life had changed... dramatically.

I wondered how my heart could be useful to Him... well, parts of it, sure... but ALL of it?

I sat there some more with the wind blowing my now tear-stained cheeks. I closed my eyes, and let my thoughts wander...

I envisioned Him taking the pieces of my heart, and knowing each one, gently making it new. I knew it wasn't beyond Him - and that He could simply take it, fix it if He wanted. But my offering it up - every single piece - is what He really wanted.

I realized that without "every single piece", it would never be "whole". Perhaps, better stated, without "every single piece" IN HIS HANDS... (and, thus, out of MINE...)

"You really, really want it, huh?"

The wind picked up.

"I don't know how to do that..... I need you to show me how to do that.... please."

I sat until the tears had stopped and the sun was warm on my back. I placed the ear buds in my ears and set the iPod to play. I let the music speak to me.... first about healing hearts (no joke), and then "The Stand".

As it played, I walked - and signed the words as they played...

First He created... and then He saved.

"so, what could I say? What could I do? But offer this heart, oh God, completely to You...."

I have no illusions that it will be "that easy". I expect that it will be a daily surrender - to say "... I'll stand - with arms high and heart abandoned...."

and then... to DO it.

My prayer tonight is that this day stays etched in my mind - and on my heart - for a long, long, LONG time....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Surrender...and hope.

I tried to start this post on surrender last night, but it just wouldn't come to me. I was struggling with the concept. Struggling with the fact that, as I have been re-reading some of my blog posts through recent years, it keeps coming up. "I need to surrender." , "I need to fully trust.", "I need to let go." Yet, still I struggle.

I'd read some on it, and asked for others' thoughts on it - and on WHY it is so difficult. Cognitively, I can list out all the reasons why I should, and why it's really the only "appropriate" response - knowing what I know and believing what I believe about God truly being who He says he is, and knowing and believing what He has done throughout history, on the cross, and in my life, personally.

Looking back a little farther than the past few years, I can see the changes that He has made in my life. Nothing short of miraculous, some of them. And yet, I struggle...

I awakened to find an emailed response to my question. The sun wasn't quite up, and it was still and quiet, so after I read it, I lay quiet and still. I was aware of a song gently playing in the back of my mind, and closed my eyes to be with it... and with Him. I kept coming back to something I'd read - at least twice in the past 24 hours.... about Paul. My friend had referenced scripture, and my thoughts kept returning there.

Opening my eyes, I reached for my bible and opened to Romans 7:15, and started reading... and re-reading. Clear through to the end of the next chapter. Paul had started talking about not understanding why he was doing the things he did not want to do, and could not do the things he wanted to do.

As I am reading, I am amazed at the words, phrases and concepts that are there on the page. So many tie in with much of what I have been hearing, reading, praying and studying over the past few weeks. I find myself nodding, smiling and wiping tears. Especially once I hit the end of chapter 8.

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers. Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ, our Lord"

Now, if I'm not mistaken, much of that list is similar to the verse in Ephesians talking about spiritual warfare.

and THAT...! That gives me hope.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preparing to Retreat

I know that it is still six weeks away, but it was over six weeks ago that I was so powerfully convicted of the need to retreat with Him. There I lay, sobbing in my bed, after a brief conversation with near-stranger.

"Forgive me..." I said.

"Come spend some time with me..." He said.

I nodded and opened the calendar app on my phone. I picked a weekend and wrote it in. The next week was spent finding a location. From there it has been waiting, wondering and a bit of instruction from time to time. "Don't forget to bring....", "Be sure to...."

I recall some of the powerful experiences I have had previously, when He called me to retreat with Him. Each time, He has met me, and prepared me, and "grown" me. Healing. Freedom. Clarity.

I wonder, sometimes, as I think of this weekend we have planned, what He will focus on. I think of what He has been teaching me and showing me lately, and I am a little afraid, honestly... But, I remember where we have been together, He and I, so I shift my focus from the agenda to the preparations.

"I will bring....". "I will be sure to..."

And then I pray: Prepare my heart. Meet me there. Help me be open and yielding to Your vision and Your plan.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Little Caution About "That Place...."

Please know that I write this very tongue-in-cheek, but seriously.... wow.

I need to remember to be cautious when going to "that place beyond the noise...". I also need to remember that when I do so at night - and end my day with a quiet, reflective prayer that pretty much says, "God.... whatever you need to do... You've got my heart, it's Yours..." - I may not sleep as well as I may have hoped.

I may just find that He speaks to me in my dreams - which wakes me up.

I may just find that I continue to long for the song to play again and again as I drive between visiting patients.

I may ALSO find that when I get back in my car, and press "play" on my iPod, that the song may start in such a place and He may say, "See THIS verse? THIS is the line I really want you to hear..." He may also remind me that there is still a "point of [my] breaking" that has yet to occur. And in the darkness that remains behind that wall of my heart, He can still see.

He is still shining the light to help me find all the dreams I left behind. And while that sounds exciting on one hand - on the other, I'm pretty comfortable in the "darkness" that is my own stubborn self-sufficiency.

I may then find myself in search of a tissue to wipe my eyes so I can see the road clearly, and make it appear to the next patient that I haven't been touched by a song to the point of tears.

I know it is all good - He has shown me a couple of those dreams I left behind. Just, getting there.... it's going to be a process that will require trust, faith and action.

"Lead on, Lord," I say, as I press "play" again.... perhaps He will let me hear, see and feel some more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Place Behind the Noise

It has been a delightful day. The music at church was some of my favorite, and I very much felt His presence as lyrics came off my hands. During rehearsal, He showed me a deeper meaning in one of the phrases that I had previously struggled with, which made it so much clearer in my mind and in my heart.

Sermons, daily devotions, and text messages all connected, leaving my heart feeling very "held". It's a sweet feeling when He holds my heart, and there aren't words to adequately describe it.

My response is to become very still. To take some time to wrap in a blanket and sit on the couch, and just "be". It's the same feeling that causes me to sit beneath trees, and sing beside rapidly flowing waterways. It's the feeling that encourages me to retreat with Him.

Still there were things to do - laundry and general tidying. So I'd do some and sit some more. I put on some music, and found a song that captured the mood. And though I don't feel like my world is "dark" right now, nor do I feel like I'm at "the point of [my] breaking", I do feel like I am finding the place "behind all the noise"....

It's a sweet place. And since it is a cool evening - with a gentle breeze -I plan to wrap up in a blanket, sit on my deck and let Him hold my heart some more... The crickets, frogs - and maybe even the Newsboys - will continue to sing gently over me.

I'll Be ~ The Newsboys


You will find me. I'm at the point of your breaking, behind all the noise.
When your world is darkest, I can still see.
'cause when there's nothing left, I'll be.....

Friday, August 12, 2011

God's Gifts, Wrapped in People

It was a sweet reminder for me as I drove up the country highway: "God"s gifts come wrapped in people". Immediately, faces came to mind, and I retraced their footprints on my heart.

I have been given some wonderful gifts in the men and women who have crossed my path.

And then I paused for a moment. I realized there was more to this than I had initially appreciated.

I had been thinking only of the people I had grown to love. I had totally forgotten the OTHER gifts, wrapped in the OTHER people.

I had forgotten of the impatient woman pacing in the grocery line, or the man speeding past me on the highway. Then, there was the woman so stuck in "victim" that it made my skin crawl.

These other people are also gifts - they show me who I am, who I have been, and who I could be again, if I forget who I am in Him.

Oh, and that woman in "victim" turned out to be the greatest gift - it was such an honor to witness her growth firsthand... and she challenged me to step out of "victim" as well....
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is The Lord's Doing....

This Is the Lord's Doing (Psalm 118) by Mosaic Worship

I grabbed my iPod Shuffle and clipped it onto my belt loop as I headed out to mow the grass. One of the thing I love about using my shuffle is that I have it filled with worship music, that I allow to play randomly. Sometimes I find that I listen to song after song, and sometimes, one will stick and I will play it over and over and let it speak to me.

Today, it was the latter. The first song to play was This is The Lord's Doing by my friends of Mosaic. Over and over it spoke to me "This is the Lord's doing, it is marvelous in our eyes. ...Let us rejoice and be glad in it...."

I began to think of all of the "Lord's doings" in my life. He has introduced me to people who have stood beside me, walked with me and challenged me in my thinking and in my growth. He has awakened me in the night to pray or call me forth. The yard and house that sits on it was His doing as well. I smiled as I remembered that story, and the many others that demonstrate His active presence in my life.

I don't always understand what He is doing - and almost never in "real time". Retrospectively, He often shows me the anxiety, pain and concern I could have avoided if I had simply trusted and walked along in His plan for me.

There are sometimes when I am very clear that something is "the Lord's doing" and opt to "rejoice and be glad in it" (and pray hard that I don't stumble along too badly, or stray too far off course)- even when I have no idea where He is leading. Or, perhaps, better and more honestly stated, I don't have His moment by moment itinerary laid out before me. I may have a sense of the general direction we're headed, but I tend to be very "detail oriented" (read: controlling and (ouch) untrusting) by nature. I want to KNOW... Is it safe? Will I get hurt? What are my other options...?

That is where faith comes in. And where I realize it is a choice. "Let us rejoice and be glad in it". I decide to. I choose to. I will.

This IS the Lord's doing. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!

Where ever He takes this.

Thank you, Mosaic, for this wonderful reminder!

Psalm 118: 23-24
23This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gratitude and Remembrance

I have a friend who used to call me her "Gratitude Girl". Apparently, that was the lesson I was teaching her at the time.

It was a lesson that was taught to me by someone I am - no surprise - very grateful to have known!

She crossed my path quite unexpectedly. Or perhaps, I crossed hers. It WAS her listserv I joined....

We had quite a few adventures into my hurts and grievances, and slowly, but surely, she helped my perspective shift. It wasn't always easy.

At first, she had to ask me, "What are you grateful for today?" To which, I'd reply, "Not a thing." "Find five..."

Since I wanted what she had (peace, joy, hope, love) and was willing to go to any lengths to get it, I would find five....somehow. (Sometimes it was a stretch i.e. "#5 - I am grateful this is the last thing I have to write.")

When that became easier, she'd say, "Find ten". I'd roll my eyes, and start writing. Soon, I found myself writing the list before I sent her my email of complaints, because I knew that was what she was going to tell me to d0. Ultimately, I had book I would write them in, every night. My Gratitude Journal: "Ten things I am grateful for today."

And then, I started to notice it spontaneously. Gratitude. Here and There. Suddenly appearing in my life, without me having to search for it. I even found it in the difficult things - for I learned that there were always gifts in the pain. She promised me there would be. And she was right. There always have been - perhaps not immediately, but they do arrive...eventually.

Next week would be her 68th birthday. I sometimes forget that it's been so long since we've shared an email - just over eight years. I miss that. There have been so many things through the years - and now even! - that I would love to be able to run past her for a reality check. She just had a way with speaking truth into the midst of the chaos of my mind.

You are dearly missed, Karen, but I am ever grateful for the impact you have made on my heart, my perspective, and on my life. I am trusting you are right again - there will be a gift in this pain as well.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, August 5, 2011

Comparing Economies...

I received some disappointing news on my way out the door to meet some work colleagues. I was grateful to have the drive to gain some perspective .... and pray. My experience, thus far, has been that God is forever faithful and I do trust that He will continue to be.... even in this.

As I was driving, He was reminding me of the different economies at play, and questioning exactly where my feet were standing. Was I grounded in the world's economy, where "stuff" is valued (lots and lots of "stuff"), or was I planted in His economy, which values relationship, service and love?

It took the entire ride to sort it through. I remembered back to when my children were born - before they were, actually, if we're being completely honest! I knew without a doubt that my purpose here on earth is to be their mother - first and foremost. That hasn't changed. I had simply forgotten to look through His eyes at the situation.

Does it make a difference? Through His eyes, no it doesn't.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Don't Run Away" ... or The Puzzle That is My Life

I was enjoying being back in my MMA class this morning, when I began to notice the lyrics of a new song playing behind our kicks and punches. I wasn't able to get much of a handle on the exact words, or the artist, but it called to me, so I listened more attentively.

"Don't run away..." again and again and again. "Don't run away...." (OK, God, I got that. "Don't run away...") And still it continued, "Don't run away..."


How perfectly it ties in with the other things I have been hearing (again and again) lately (and again today!)


"...and having done all, to stand firm..."

Sometimes, it feels like I'm trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle that is my life, and God keeps giving me this piece and this piece and this piece. Often, He seems to give me pieces that are themed together - blue sky pieces, or cloud pieces, or landscape pieces. Perhaps, He has already given me the edge pieces, and thus established the boundaries within which we will work.

I know the "Thou shalt not"s, and many of the promises that He has spoken for my life. But, the details that fall between the edges are still unclear to me.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing - it's not. I rather enjoy not knowing *exactly* where we are headed and the "picture" that we are creating. I will admit, though, there are times that I would like to know how many thousands of pieces this puzzle contains.

But, I digress... and I wonder. This theme of "Standing" and not running away... It makes me wonder if I AM currently "running away" or am I "standing". I wonder it's a call to my back, or if it's a sort of preparation: "Stand right there, and don't run away when I show you this....."

I suppose time will tell.

And, maybe, I'll be fortunate to hear that song again...

Friday, July 29, 2011

In the Midst of His Presence..

As I lay here in the loft of the little cabin, listening to the rain, I can't help but think of the God-things that have been happening lately.

I think mostly it is the sweet feeling of His presence that has surrounded me recently. He's in teaching mode again, and I feel it deep in my core. I see the choreography happening around me. I don't understand it, but I am aware that it's there...

There have been changes I have noticed over the years that, gratefully, I cannot deny. I remember the challenges and walls then, and I see where we are today, and I am humbled.

I have been reading about "seeking" the Lord and of "standing". I have been reading and listening about worship. I have had scripture and prayers arrive to me that are so timely, and so tied in to the rest of the goings-on that I can only smile and rejoice in knowing that He is here with us. Teaching us. Changing us. Encouraging us as we encourage one another.

I love the awareness of being in the midst of His presence. I love it when I can feel it. I love it when I know He is teaching me and preparing me. And, even though this feeling often brings a challenge, or a change, today, I welcome it.

In this moment, I can relate to king David as he spoke: "Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me" ~Ps 51:11

Take what You want from me, change what You need within me, but do not cast me away from Your presence....
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I had the opportunity to spend some time at the ocean today. The Atlantic. So did about a gajillion other people.

It was a beautiful New England day. The breeze was brisk, and the sun was warm, but not oppressive. Perfect beach weather.

Now, there are things I like about the ocean - it's vastness, for one, and I do really like body surfing - but I'm not really a beach kind of girl. I can't sit out day after day, but an afternoon with my family was fabulous!

We rode the waves for a bit, and the cousins took turns burying each other in the sand. I caught up with my siblings, sharing the events and happenings of the past year.

We talked and laughed as the tide ebbed and flowed. Wave after crested wave. Rhythmic. Peaceful.

Now, I like to walk quiet beaches, and sit and ponder for a while. It is a quick reminder to me of how much bigger God is than I tend to conceptualize him. I mean, this ocean was HUGE (and powerful!) - and I only saw a small portion of one ocean. It is so much bigger than me. He is so much bigger than it!

Thank You, God for the peaceful lull of the ocean, and the opportunity to gather with my family.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

You Make Me New....

Today was the day that my church baptizes in the creek down the road from the church building. In the days leading up to it, I recalled my experience standing there before the congregation publicly declaring my decision. More importantly, I remembered that decision.

I consider the places He and I have been since then. Walking together, sitting quietly. Laughing. Crying. Sometimes, He'd lead with me following with my heels dug in. Patiently, He'd wait til I remembered that He has only my best interests at heart and run to catch up. Sometimes, He'd find me laying there, feeling so broken, that He would come back, scoop me up and carry me for a while.

I think of the song "Beautiful Things". It begins with words that make me cry, but by the bridge, I have restored hope that He truly is "making me new". I remember the first day I heard the song. I was at church, and behind those lyrics, this picture of me, under water except for my hand...

The Journey continues, I know. With fresh enthusiasm, it seems lately... for both of us. And then we hit a little bump in the road, and I'm back at the beginning of the song: "All this pain. I wonder if I'll ever find my way. I wonder if my life could really change at all...." But I sit for a while, and remember the gifts and healing that comes along with the bump, and soon enough, the words "You make me new, You are making me new" are back to playing in my head.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I had dinner with a long-time friend last night. It's been a while since we've sat face to face, and much has happened in both of our lives.

During our conversation, we did some catching up and some reminiscing. I recalled that when I met her, her now 15 year old was 15 months old. She retold some of the stories of our early interactions and conversations. I sat and listened, knowing what she was saying was true, but also knowing how time had changed things.

I have grown, matured, let go of some old things, and accepted some new. God has worked miracles in healing old hurts and bringing forth bits of me that had been hidden away: creative processes, hopes, dreams, adventures. He has grown in me and I in Him. An "awakening", she called it.

Now, again, I find myself drawn to my camera, to my journal, and other creative endeavors. I hear Him beckon "draw near", and find myself in song, in silence and in the Word.

He is at work again, calling forth hopes, dreams and adventures...

The Journey continues...


Thursday, July 21, 2011

More on Hope...

I have been thinking some more about hope - and noticing the way my life has changed in the past month or so.

It was about then that God whispered hope into my being through a conversation with a friend. I don't even remember what was said exactly - perhaps it was HOW it was said, I don't know. I just know that I left feeling hopeful. Not hopeful about any specific thing, but a general peace and excitement that occurs when hope is flourishing.

I wonder about - and then examine - the day to day goings on. Have they really changed? No. I don't think so. Has ANYTHING really changed. Well, certainly my perspective has, and the off shoot of that is incredible.

I have made plans, and dared to dream a little. I feel empowered to make a few changes, that previously didn't seem possible (though I know they are).

So, I thank You, God, for hope... and for speaking it to me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blessed Am I

I had one of those moments of realization today - of how truly blessed I am. Really.

There are lots of things that make me feel blessed, but today, it was my job. "The one where I go visit people in their homes," for those of you scratching your heads wondering "which job?"

I had a long list of people to see today, and a lot of driving to do, through very rural parts of the county. And it was such a gift. Knowing that the reception to my favorite radio station is bad for most of the area I would be traveling, I grabbed my iPod Shuffle - and the external speaker - on my way out the door.

I pushed play, and spent the time driving between homes listening to - and singing along with - some of my favorite worship music. There were times that I cried out praises to God and sometimes where God spoke to me through the lyrics. There were other times that he spoke to me through the people I visited....but that's another story.

Quite often, on these trips, I will pray - and today was no exception. I pray for people I've visited, people I am going to visit, family, friends - old and new. I pray that God will speak to me - and through me - throughout the day.

And the whole while, I am surrounded by the beauty of the earth. Fields and forests, streams, rivers, rolling hills. What more could a girl want?

Oh - and just sayin' - I don't know what it is, but this year, I am FASCINATED by corn fields. The way the lines seem to zip through them as I pass, and the yellow tassels that blow in the breeze. It's weird, I know, but I'm loving it.

Thank You, God for a day of realizing how greatly blessed am I. Once again, You remind me that I truly *am* blessed beyond my wildest imaginings!