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....
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

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!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Will Hope in Him...

It's been an unusual day. It started out as it normally does: My alarm rang. I hit the snooze. (multiple times). When I could put off actually waking up no longer, I reached for my phone. I pressed the "Daily Bible" icon to read the scripture designated for today.

I smiled. It was familiar:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness

~ Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

From there it went a little bit differently. The painters were back to finish their work. My house still looked like a cross between Narnia and Wonderland with the protective plastic running floor to ceiling in the great room and kitchen. They had removed the draping from the hallway and my son's room, but it now it hung in my bathroom. SO, while I was AT home, and there was plenty to do AT home, there wasn't really much I COULD do. I was essentially confined to my bedroom.

I plugged the ear bud of my iPod Shuffle into my left ear, pressed play and began to sort through some papers on my desk. I had already been internally paused by some of the lyrics I'd heard, so when I found the sermon insert in the pile, I just smiled. At the top of the page read:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

~ Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

I found it curious, the differences in the translations. "...Not consumed", huh? My interpreter brain threw the sign "destroy" onto my hands. Whew! Grateful for that!

I pulled out my (ESV) bible to read a little more.

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "I will hope in Him." ~ verse 24

I will hope in Him. I smiled, nodded and sat on my bed.

"Hope". It's a word I have been thinking about lately, as I have been feeling more of it!

I searched for the NIV translation of the verse as well, to add to the bottom of this post. It read "...wait..." "... I will wait for Him."

This, too, was great encouragement and confirmation for me, as I continue to wait on Him to see how some things will unfold.

And as I wait for and hope in Him, I am continuously reminded:

Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

Monday, July 18, 2011

God's Sense of Humor

Sometimes, I think God has a really good sense of humor.... it's the only way I can make sense of some of thing things that, to my mind, are amusing or just plain out ridiculous.

But, maybe it's just that. Maybe it's ME trying to "make sense of" God. (now THAT is ridiculous!)

I will never understand the things that He has not laid out clearly before me. When I see bits and pieces and try to connect the dots myself, I may not see that this dot is not really connected to the next one - or at least not in the way I expect it to be.

He's funny, that God.

And it's just one of the things I love about Him.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Power of Words

I went to see the latest Harry Potter movie with my son this evening. It was enjoyable - even having read the book.... even with my son (who has also - and more recently - read the book) piping up from time to time "yeah. That was in the book."

There was one quote that really spoke to me, though. Not because I believe words are "magic" - but I do believe they are powerful... and inexhaustible!

Words ARE capable of inflicting injury and remedying it. They can build up or tear down. They can unite and can scatter.

Help me to be cautious with my words, Lord - May I use them to encourage, to heal and empower others. Remind me that once spoken, they can not be taken back - and their damage may last a lifetime. Help me to choose wisely, the words spoken from my mouth.


"Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it." ~ Albus Dumbledore

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Putting Principles Into Action

For the past couple of weeks, I have been having a conversation with a new friend about being human, and our responsibilities to humanity. It's actually been very interesting to think about - and even better for me to have spent a few hours, sitting, thinking and writing down my ideas.

And then, today, I sort of laughed under my breath, as a realization came into focus. These people who have come into my life since then - are nothing more than an opportunity to put what I was taught into action.

The fact is that most of the ones I'm talking about annoy me on some level. Maybe it is that they trigger something within me - perhaps fear, anger, hurt. Or maybe it just feels more difficult to carry forth my responsibilities to humanity, when I feel "caution!" or a sense of mistrust deep within myself when they are near by.

Yet, I know they are part of this collective humanity, and deserve to be treated as such.

Lord, teach me to love them as You have loved me. Give me clarity on my hesitations, and strength of character and integrity to do what is right.

Monday, July 11, 2011


As I sit to write this blog post, Laura Story's song, "Blessings", has been running through my head for quiet a while. It has become a very special song for me, and tonight, every time I consider a topic, the chorus begins ... again.

The song itself resonates deep within me. In so many ways it describes me. I have at one point or another prayed for each of the things she sings of, and I have seen, over and over again, that He has heard "each spoken need Yet love[s me] way too much to give [me] lesser things". Thank You, God, for unanswered prayers.

I feel deeply convicted when she gets to the part that says " if every promise from your Word is not enough..." Ouch. It is so much more than "enough". It is generous beyond measure. Yet, I need reminding of that.

I consider the questions in the chorus. I know that so many have been true for me through the years.

I think back to the days when I would delight in a rainy summer day. I knew at some point, I would find myself standing on the deck, arms extended wide, quietly dancing with God with the oak trees swaying in the breeze just past my fingertips. It's one of the Things-of-the-Past that I would like to reintegrate into my present.

I've had the opportunity to do some reading and be challenged (and sometimes convicted) to live more intentionally. To decide what will take priority and where I will focus my attention. I can get so distracted by the urgent that I miss the important.

I can also miss a gift because it doesn't come packaged exactly as I expect it will.

So, Lord, what if your blessings DO come in raindrops?

Whether they do or not, I want to stand, open-armed in the pouring rain....
and dance with You!!


Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

Friday, July 8, 2011

One Simple Question...

It was a simple question - in the midst of many - in our conversation. But it stuck with me.

We had been talking about his travel plans and how God was working to pull it all together. A quest to seek and to serve. To trust and to follow... a dream he had dared to dream, God is bringing forth in unimaginable ways.

And then he asked me: "so, what's next for you?"

"oh. I don't know..."

On my drive home, that question returned over and over again. Except now, I did know. I would return to my very safe, very "responsible" life of motherhood and culturally "appropriate" employment. It has it's rewards, on some level...

But the question persisted. It would be something to ponder in my next moment of solitude.

"Dare to dream!" a voice deep within challenged me. As quickly as it appeared, tears filled my eyes, and it was gone.

I made a mental note to write it down. It is important. That fleeting moment. Important.

You know the dreams in my heart, Lord. Help me to trust and to let You tease them out of me. Only You know where they may lead.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mighty to Save

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love music - and lyrics speak to me... in a very powerful way. Frequently, my Facebook status updates are phrases that have resonated in my core, ministered to me, taught me something important, or are simply stuck in my head!

I believe that words are powerful and can be used mightily - to encourage or destroy. Add a melody that parallels or embodies the emotion and I'm all in.

A lesser known fact is that I frequently hit the snooze button on my alarm clock until a song is playing that moves me, inspires me, or catches my attention.

This morning was one such morning. The day would be a little more laid back, and I had been awakened entirely too early, so I was taking the opportunity to awaken to the "right" music. I knew I'd know it when I heard it.

And I did. This morning, it was the song Mighty to Save by Hillsong United. I shut off the alarm, rolled over and grabbed my phone. I clicked the "Daily Verse" app and could barely control the smile that crept upon my face.

Zephaniah 3:17. Now, Zephaniah is not a book that I've spent much time in, but there it was in front of me. Before my eyes was a verse that tied in so perfectly with the song I had just silenced, and was exactly the reminder I needed - He is here in our midst.

Here with me - rejoicing over me with gladness; quieting me with His love; and exulting over me with loud singing.

It just doesn't get any better than that!

Zephaniah 3:17

17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On the Horizon

There is a lesson moving in, I can feel it. There are common themes occurring in uncommon places, and within me there is the gnawing battle.

One side feels it and longs for more. For quiet, introspective times to sit at His feet and take it all in. It wakes up in the morning, waiting, with anticipation, for the next sign of the topic, or perhaps, the lesson in it's entirety. It listens quietly for His gentle whisperings deep within, or to feel His hand on my face in the gentleness of the breeze.

The other screams "RUN!" It knows that when there is a lesson on the horizon, there will be change soon to follow. It knows, now - after many years of walking through whatever-lies-ahead (often with heels dug in and fingers grasping hold of anything lo0king stable enough to be helpful!) - that the lesson that comes ultimately brings hope and joy and freedom. But it also brings change.

And change - well, it's not such a big fan of change. The current situation may be hard, and uncomfortable - but it is known. What lies ahead is not. And... one cannot control what one does not know.

Ultimately, there is only one choice. I have too many previous encounters to ignore this.

I must step out on faith, believing with all my heart that He has plans for me. Plans to prosper me - not for evil - plans to give me hope, and a future.

I also hold tight to the knowledge that no matter what stands before me to walk through, I will not be walking alone.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Past and Present

I've been doing a lot of reminiscing today - which comes right on the heels of some praying I have been doing lately. Well, actually some quick one liners: "Can you free me from THAT?"

The response always comes quickly, gently: "I already have. It is you who hold on to it". *sigh*

Being at camp has reminded me of my days at camp - and of that era of my life in general. Honestly, it's not one I would want to relive, for many reasons. But today, I recalled the time I was given on this rock. Hours and hours and hours of sitting and writing, of listening and crying out to God (though I would never have described it that way, then!) I grew a lot on that rock. More than I knew at the time.

There are things from that season of life that I miss - things that I could have again, if I put forth the effort.

Important things. Things that would help me grow.

But in order to do that, I must make room.

I must let go of other things.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Just Him and Me on The Box

I love those moments.

It's been a while since I've really allowed myself to experience it. Between work, running mental to do lists, and just a plain ol' bad attitude, most of my time on The Box recently has been purely utilitarian.

But, this morning, the to do list had me a little overwhelmed, so I focused purely in the moment at hand.

There I stand, on the interpreting box, listening to the lyrics, searching for the concepts, and letting go of my hands.

In doing so, I am able to realize, that He is there with me. I close my eyes, music playing, just Him and me on The Box. Peace. Quiet. Joy.

Teachable moments when my soul is still.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, God!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Standing on Solid Ground

I was driving home from camp, my mind focused on how quickly the week had gone, and how abruptly I would be thrown back into real life - washing the clothes, mowing the grass and parenting the children.

The radio was playing in the background and one phrase shifted my train of thought: "It's hard to stand on shifting sand....." Immediately, I began thinking of our worldly culture in terms of shifting sand.

There had been many instances at camp that reminded me exactly how old I *really* am. The last one had occurred just a few hours prior. One of the older girl campers had been talking about knowing she would soon be missing her cabin mates.

Now trust me, I TOTALLY get that! I can totally relate to my daughter's tearful eyes saying "I miss camp...." and "I miss (my counselor)!" I LIVED that. I remember it like it was yesterday.

But this morning, I commented, "well ... at leas you have Facebook!". I started with, "when *I* was a camper...." and stopped myself. And then continued.... ".... we didn't have Facebook."

"Well, at least you had email!" she said, cheerfully.

"Uhm. no we didn't." I walked EVERY DAY to the mailbox, hoping for a letter.

But, I digress.

I see "kids these days", and overhear conversations between teens (and tweens even!), and am amazed at how things have shifted from when I was that age.... not all in a positive motion.

I thought of the world - of being in the world - and how difficult life is trying to stand in the shifting sands of culture, and what is OK and not OK - and popular and acceptable. And as soon as you think you get THERE.... it's shifted. Constantly changing!

I literally pictured myself walking in the soft sand at the ocean. It is HARD WORK. And, it changes with every step!

In contrast, there is solid ground. Rock. It stays there. Solid. Beneath my feet. Secure. Supporting me and giving me a place from which to start my journey. Like the Truth. For thousands of years, it remains. Unchanged. Applicable then. Applicable now.

I realize I can choose where I will try to place my steps - the sand, or the rock. The world or Christ.

He is my rock.

May I stand secure in Him.

Back in the Saddle

It continues to amaze me.... which I totally don't understand, except for the fact that I am human....and, have I mentioned before,... stubborn.

But - thank God - He is so much more.....and He continues to "stalk" me.

People continue to appear in my life, with a message or a smile, or a simple "hello, Linda". In that moment, they teach me. They model Christ to me. They speak the Truth.

By their actions, they help me improve my actions. I am often convicted as they sharpen me and encourage me.

They may not even be aware of the influence they have had on me in that moment.... often times, I realize it retrospectively. May I remember their kindness, their wisdom and their willingness to speak the Truth.

Tonight, I was drawn back to my blog. I have missed it.

I have missed the moments of quietly looking back on the day, of looking for God's footprints and fingerprints in my life. I miss sharing the undeniable presence of God in my life.

It helps me.

I need it.

I need Him.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2