“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Blame Game and My Friends, the Lepers

Sometimes I open the Word and "bam" get hit right away with His Word for me...and it doesn't take rocket science to realize He is saying something.  That bolt of lightening (or revelation) just happened as I perused the words of 2 Kings 6 and 7.

2 Kings 6 is the chapter in the Old Testament where the prophet king of Aram is once again getting too close for comfort to the king of Israel - camping near his turf.  Elisha, the servant and prophet of God, who has the listening ear of the king of Israel, is awakened by his servant one morning to be told they are surrounded by the enemy.  (This was probably before he even had his first cup of coffee!!)  Elisha, in turn, tells his servant to not be afraid..."Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  Don't you just love it??!!  And Elisha prays for his servant's eyes to be opened to see "those who are with them".  God strikes the Arameans with blindness and Elisha leads them right into the king of Israel's territory.  Then the king of Israel asks Elisha (and this is the part I like) what to do with his enemy...should he kill them?  Elisha basically tells him no, to respond in the "opposite spirit" (the natural way our flesh would respond)...and feed them (a feast it says) and send them on their way.  An opportunity presents itself and God says to do something totally against what our natural mind would perceive.  Hmmm....  the king obeys and the king of Aram leaves and stops harassing the king of Israel.  And all is right with the world...for a moment.

HOWEVER, trouble doesn't stay away for long, and "some time later" that same enemy is back and once again lays siege on the city.  We don't get a lot of "rest" in this battle, do we?  Now, however, the king is quick to blame Elisha for his trouble (vs. 31).  If only he had killed him when he had the chance, this wouldn't be happening (however disobedient to God's command....).  He goes to Elisha to complain and blame.  Do we (I) find ourselves in situations where we did what we knew was obedience to something God told us to do....and the situation only gets worse or doesn't see any improvement at all?  The battle comes back to say fight some more?  My friends, sometimes it takes time to see the blessings of obedience.   Elisha then tells the king, don't worry, by this time tomorrow you will see differently (chpt. 7:1).....(open my eyes, Lord!!)

Then.....and this verse jumps out at us....verse 2....the officer on whose arm "the king was leaning"...says how can this be?  Whoa!  On whose Arm am I leaning??  Do I have voices that say...how can this be...how can God turn this around?  ON WHOSE ARM AM I LEANING??

I'm going to move this quickly now....in a nutshell (read the rest of chapter 7...) 4 lepers (rather dirty people) decide they have nothing to lose and go into the Aramean camp to solve their problem.  The camp is deserted and all the food and plunder left behind (God sent the enemy running!) The lepers begin to gather and decide to inform the royal palace of the unexpected and rather miraculous event. (again the king has a rather difficult time believing and seeing).  But...it happened, the city is rescued.  And the arm on whom the king was leaning is no more.

Do we blame God (really, that is what we tend to do at times) and complain things are not as we thought they would be (even though we were obedient....friends, the battle is not finished yet and the scenario not completed).

Do we lean on an arm of what we "see" rather than on Whom we do not see? 

Are we missing where the blessings might really be....among something dirty or not pleasant that is an unlikely place to see a blessing (the lepers were the least likely to bring good news).  The lepers were the first to be blessed and fed...they had nothing to lose and no expectations but HOPE!  Are we looking in the wrong places for the "blessings"?

Do we need to get off the bench of blame (I trusted You and now look where I am?) and lean on His Arm (Deut. 33:27) and pray "Open my eyes, Lord, so I may see!" (2 Kings 6:17). 

Are you praying for work/jobs in this unstable economy, healing in bodies, unsaved husbands or children no longer walking with Him, believing God for miracles on the battlefield or any number of unthinkable and extremely difficult sieges upon our "city" of life... or simply trusting God for your future?  Lord, help us to see the blessings in all the right places.

My friends, in those circumstances of our lives where we are living faithfully, praying and yet to see.....I pray for OPEN EYES OF OUR SPIRIT TO SEE....Only HE can scatter the enemy and leave the plunder to bless us. 

And an ending note....there were four lepers ...friends...support....grab those friends who can pray and believe with you and TOGETHER you will reap the plunder :) It's more rewarding with friends anyway!  You are not alone in this battle!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ode to Rain

I live in the Pacific Northwest and I woke up this morning (again) to another very grey and rainy morning (again).  I will confess....I am very tired of this weather as most of us in the Pacific NW are.  I preface by saying...I am VERY THANKFUL we don't have the tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes (mild ones so far!) and flooding (again fairly mild) that other states have and my heart is often burdened for those who suffer from the devastating effects of their weather.  We pray for them often! So in that my heart is grateful; but my spirit and soul really need some continual sunshine!!!  I can almost hear a resounding "AMEN" from those here in my side of the States!  So after looking out the window and moaning (again), the words "ode to rain" came to me.  Thus....today's blog...

Rain according to Wikipedia is "liquid precipitation as opposed to non-liquid precipitation such as snow, hail & sleet"...I am so glad for the wisdom of Wikipedia :)   Rain is water-saturated air....don't I know it!!

Rain also.....
*gives life to plants, animals, humans - our entire ecological system would die if it were not for rain.
*refreshes the mind and body (we need this in a drought-physically & spiritually)
*gives life to weary souls
*makes children smile and play (remember jumping in puddles...FUN!)
*gives us mud...again FUN!
*entices us to dance and sing.....made for a good movie title anyway :)
*keeps us loving the color green
*comes in a variety of forms...pelting, downpour, showers, that misty, falling rain that can be so delightful
*is romantic...remember all those movie scenes where couples are caught in the rain...I love the gazebo scene in Sound of Music :)
*gives weathermen a job
*substitutes for washing your car
*keeps our food growing and farmers employed, again necessary for life
*gives us beautiful rain forests
*provides the necessary ingredients for those science experiments with your kids
*a nice reprieve when you've had a dry, hot summer
*keeps the umbrella industry in tact (okay...now I am reaching)

Sometimes we just need to look on the bright side (pun intended!) and see the positives.....a pat on the back to me today!!

God is good, He showers down blessings on us daily :)

I WILL remember this!!  And I may go sing, dance or jump in some puddles !

And Mr. Sunshine....I look forward to writing a blog on you very soon!! After all, the first day is summer is only 8 days away and I may throw a party on that day!

For those of you who find yourself a bit disheartened by the weather (and we can definitely be affected by it) and you are still looking for summer to appear, embrace this while we must...

Perhaps go a step further...

And remember, we still have this...

Have an awesome sunshiny day and week, and find some special moments to enjoy God and embrace His goodness in all that awaits you!

A small side note....I don't want to discourage tourism....the Pacific NW is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I love living here...you need to come and visit sometime (just come in July, August or September :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It Doesn't Take Much To Move A Feather

I have a habit....I tend to run right into something and say things, often without thinking first (God is tempering me in this :) but today that is what I am about to do in this blog...run right into it.  In doing so, I am borrowing some incredible insight I just read in a "newsletter" from a ministry I deeply respect, "Ransomed Heart".  Many thanks to John for his thoughts in his May letter, as it further confirmed in my own heart what has been a constant thread of concern over the past months.  (If you don't know of this ministry...check it out...

www.RansomedHeart.com. and get their newsletter; each month it is filled with huge boulders of insight (in comparison to nuggets :) and will deeply bless you!

Over my years of ministry and mentoring women, I have tried to convey from my heart the urgent, important, life-saving need of being in the Word and His Truth being our guiding Light.  Nothing else will help us navigate the junk that life throws at us.  During the last year I have read twice "The Divine Mentor" by Wayne Cordeiro and the past six weeks led a small group of women reading, discussing this book as well as sharing from the Word together and what the Master is teaching us.  It has been food to our soul!  (again...read it if you haven't!)

John Eldredge shares about the lack of substance in our souls today; the move towards finding a deeper sense of self, of being.  We engage in an assortment of activities to make an individual statement of who we are, everything from tattooing to a more liturgical church experience....but what we are really doing is reaching for substance and groundedness.  He also shared that while people are moving in that direction, they also are becoming more susceptible to anxiety disorders, mental distresses - being blown by every wind that comes along.  Hence, the phrase IT DOESN'T TAKE MUCH TO MOVE A FEATHER !

"Wikipedia" says that "in electrical engineering, ground or earth may be the reference point in an electrical circuit from which other voltages are measured  or a common return path for electrical current, or a direct physical connection to earth/ground.  Oooh, we can take so much from this definition...who is my reference point; who am I directly physically connected to?

John asked, "What are you doing for groundedness?"  My question with that is "Who are we grounded to?"  If I am not connected to my Source....grounded into earth (JESUS),  I will be blown by every wind, tossed by every wave.  

Wikipedia also stated that "being connected to ground is to prevent contact with dangerous voltage".  If I am not connected and grounded in the Word and my relationship with Jesus, I can come into contact and be burnt by some pretty dangerous voltage (that's a word picture!) in this life.

Jesus was a man who was grounded.  Look at His life...he withdrew to spend time with His Father.  He prayed.  He navigated some pretty tough people, crowds and opposition this world threw at Him.  Yes, He was/is God, but when He was flesh, He knew WHO His source was.  I like how John stated from the book of John 8::31-32 , Jesus saying "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."  We like the second half of the verse...we want to be free.  But the first half is the key...the truth doesn't set you free until you know it, hold fast to it and put it into regular practice.  We like to pick and choose our truth. If we are to be grounded, we need to hold to His teaching.  It is the only way. (A study of the Gospels and Jesus' teaching is a real eye-opener....the parables a host of meals to chew on :)

John states that we need to be grounded in the truth (His Word/the Bible) daily. I love the verse from Jeremiah 15:16 "Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart."  He agrees that yes, there are other things we need to do for groundness...cut the insane busy-ness, do not live for tweets, texts, facebook or email (whoa, this will cut to the quick for some of us!).  Here's a challenge to move towards groundedness....let's spend more time cultivating our relationship with the Father and Son, than tweeting, texting, phoning.  These are not "bad"....just can be a major distraction and time-consuming to say the least.  Let's practice some good old solitude and silence with the Father....even for a few minutes each day.

I am preaching to myself here....I want to be grounded, not a feather moved by the slightest wind that comes my way.  I want to be a tree (Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8) where my roots go so deep that I am directly grounded - that direct physical connection - to My Father.  I hope and pray you will join me in this :)  (and thank you, John, and Ransomed Heart Ministries for another encouragement in running the race and staying on course!)

P.S.  A side note...in case you were "wondering"...doctor appointment last week and my #'s were down!!!  Yeah!!  Still a ways to go to be where I need to be, but 5 weeks of healthy eating and I am one happy (healthy) lady!!  (and I did make that soup...substituting the fat and cream...and it was DELICIOUS! I'll share my tips on how to knock out fat if you want...this is not a cooking blog, but we are woman2woman and this is important for us :)