“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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hope, Heart & Miqweh

Wow!  What a week!  My thoughts, emotions and hope are at a much different place than they were this time last week (Monday, November 7th).  For the Americans reading this…you will totally get what I mean.  How things can change so quickly!

As we each individually process what is taking place around us, as well as we enter into the holidays before us, my mind keeps going to one word.  HOPE.  We need it.  We cannot live without it.  Our soul shrivels up if we don’t have it.  Regardless of how you voted, what you believe or what your journey with God looks like, we all need HOPE. One thing we can all agree on.  But where do we find it?

Today, I read a Scripture that renewed my heart….

”May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing (through the experience of your faith) that by the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.”  Romans 15:13 Amplified Version

Hope means a feeling of expectation or desire for something to happen. 

** helps us stay on course regardless of the circumstances.
** Biblical hope finds its roots in God.  His goodness, His mercy, His love, His power.
** enables us to endure patiently.
** our hope is nurtured as we read His Word and trust in His character.

As believers, it cannot be just “wishing” for something to happen.  Our hope lies in the Word of God that says He is trustworthy and cannot lie. (Hebrews 6:18)  And it is staying so connected in relationship with God that we know He knows us…..He loves us….He desires His best for us…..a concrete solid hope.  There is life beyond our current circumstances.

Hope leads us into faith…a faith that cannot be moved by circumstances or what the eyes see because…. an unseen God is seen in His faithfulness.  Today, tomorrow, next year, regardless of what our circumstances are, we cannot lose hope.  I may not be able to see it....or hold it in my hand....but in my heart and mind, I have to nurture the hope that only comes by faith.

I’ve been a bit somber, sad and lagging in my hope recently due to some prayers not being answered, or at least they are taking a long time in being answered.  The way I want them to be answered.  I’ve literally sat with open hands to God releasing my hopes, desires and wants…..that no matter what it looks like, I know Him and I know He knows exactly where I am at.  What my hopes are. (And they are good hopes, good prayers, not selfish but good for others).   And He knows best how to feed that hope and how in His timing He will answer.  Patience as hope waters my soul.  Patience as joy begins to seep in and take over.  Hope urges me to wait confidently for Him to act. Faith leading to hope….leading to LOVE - which is the one word that describes God to a “T”.  This ancient hope....still lives NOW and in the very center of our lives, if we make room for Him.

Today, this week, this coming holiday season - have HOPE; we have an eternal future.   (interruption...side note....as I am typing this....just now.....I received a phone call with some disappointing news.   A prayer answer is "no".  Or at least not now.)  My heart is a bit heavy to be honest.  BUT I stand by everything I've just written.  He is HOPE and I will continue to TRUST and HOPE.  (I may have a little cry, but mixed amongst  the tears is hope.)  

"No one has ever experienced unfaithfulness on God's part!"  (Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God)

"Lord, no eye has seen, no ear has heard what you have prepared for those who love you.  Thank you for being a Loving Father and for all your faithfulness in our lives.  Help us to wait and to watch.  Help us to trust and believe.  YOU are our HOPE and our Strength!  As the disciple Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go?  YOU ALONE HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE."  AMEN.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New Gifts

I have had the privilege of sharing in DTS’s (Youth With A Mission’s Discipleship Training Schools) over the last several years about the “mothering love of God”.  It has been wonderful to see a light dawn in eyes of students and they begin to comprehend God loves them like a Father and a Mother.  He intended us to have both.  It is healthy to have both…..physically, emotionally and spiritually.  When one is lacking, we lack.  We don’t get “enough” in our childhood (due to dysfunction, divorce, wounding, etc.) and it can carry through into adulthood if God Himself has not been given the space to come in and fill the need.

Psalm 131:2

Several months ago as I looked out my window at a breathtaking dawn breaking, I felt peaceful, satisfied.  Weaning means to be satisfied, your needs met.  I have enough.  

This year  I took on my “word”  RELEASE for 2016.   I began 2016 with a sense of God releasing new things into our lives, mainly with how we give out in our ministry and serving others,   New adventures, new stories of sharing.  But way back in January, I began to also sense “release” meant ME releasing some things into God’s hands so He could then “release” into my life.

One area I seem to always be letting go has been the releasing of the lives of my children into His hands.  He carries them.  He will lead them.  He knows them better than I do.  Really?  Can that be??  Yes, releasing our loved ones into His care is the best thing I can do.  But releasing is not always easy.  Even the releasing of comfortable, daily, life can and will bring freshness and new adventure if we are willing to release what is normal for us or things we hide behind.  In prayer, speaking out and giving over to God those things that are good.....really good.....(maybe some not so good)....but by releasing them to God, He sets us free to receive new gifts from Him.  Don't we always want a new present to open?

One thing I love (and can be unsettling and challenging at times) in our relationship with God is we are never to old to grow and learn.  As I gaze at a rising dawn, and read my devotional for the day….it reminds me that God always goes before me.  Never leads me into situations that He is not fully aware of the needs of what I will be facing.  He is before me.  Beside me.  Next to me.  Behind me.  AND He gives PEACE.  It was His first words to His disciples after the resurrection.  Peace I give you.  Do not be afraid.  He knew we needed to hear that.  He said it a lot!  Even sent angels to tell us.

As I wait in the presence of my Father, He impresses on my mind that weaning can be something that takes place even in the oldest of us.  I am 60.  I have walked with the Lord for 42 years.  And today, I continue to be “weaned”.  I think I have enough…but He wants to give me more. Continually moving away from the “bottle” and into deeper, richer, real food.  Even after all these years, He wants to wean me from the comfortable.  The familiar.  He wants to give me “flavored milk”, beyond the white.  I have enough, but He wants to give me more.  Will I trust Him to continually wean me….trust Him as I release, He gives back more than I could imagine?  Will I trust Him?   Can I love someone or something possibly so much that He would want me to “release it into His hands” so He can turn around and give me so much more?

Psalm 34:8
Genesis 16: 13-14 (Amplified Version)
John 20:19
Colossians 3:15
Psalm 139:7-12

Monday, October 17, 2016

By Myself....But Not Alone

Yes, I took a break.  Far too long of a break, but a needed one.  Without a long explanation of so much life lived in the last year, I am returning to blogging.  Expressing my thoughts on paper (or computer as the case may be) is very therapeutic for me, however, I realized I do not want my blog to be a diary of daily happenings, which are really of no interest to anyone but me :)  Nor do I want it to be a medium where I share the deepest innermost thoughts of my heart for all the world to read.  But I do want it to be life - for myself and others who may just need a nugget of encouragement or perhaps a new lens by which to view this complex life and world we live in.  So much noise surrounding us and so many words being thrown in our face.  Sometimes, we need to remove ourselves, just to be quiet.

My husband left recently for an extended ministry trip.  I prayed and chose to stay behind.  We have traveled so much this past year and I needed to stay put for a time, dealing with some health issues and catching up on so many things. As I put him on a plane, my mind is filled with the “to-do” list.  However, whether it was God wanting to slow me down or my body telling me to stop, I ended up having no choice.

In the last 3 years, I have pulled a ligament in my back 3 different times.  Yes, I did it again.  If you’ve never done this, let me tell you it is excruciatingly painful.  I can barely walk and the only position whereby I can relieve the pain is to be lying flat.  So that is where I have spent the last 9 days.  Usually it takes me 5 days of lying down, putting heat or ice on my back and carefully doing the exercises of stretching the doctor prescribed.  However, three days into my recuperation, I aggravated it and the recovery has lasted much longer than anticipated.  I won’t bore you with details, but something happened I do want to share.

I was alone.  Husband thousands of miles away.  Three of my grown children live within an hour, but not close when you need help fairly quickly. A daughter lives in Los Angeles.  We have a family living downstairs.  We don’t have a land-line phone down there.  I didn’t have a cell # for them.  I couldn’t get up to tell them I needed help.  I have a circle of really close girlfriends that would drop everything and come in a second if I needed them.  But I knew they had jobs, commitments and possibly one of them out of town.  To even reach the phone to call was a pain.  I was alone.  I had absolutely no control over my body or the pain. I lay crying and telling God how utterly alone I was.  I was even mad.  Why did this happen when literally everyone that could normally help me was not nearby?  What was I going to do?  I cried.  I felt really sorry for myself.  And I needed to get up and go to the bathroom!  (I knew that could take a fair amount of time just rolling myself off the couch and crawling down the hall).  I was mad.  I cried.  And I felt utterly out of control and alone.  SO OUT OF CONTROL AND ALONE.  

In those difficult and tearful moments and so very clear…..I heard a still small voice in my mind and to my heart, “You are never alone.”  So clear.  So simple. So precise.  And so incredibly calming in that moment.  I knew.  God speaking to me.  God reaching out to me.  Those four words met me in a way that no friend, husband or help could even come close.  A peace came over me and I relaxed.  That was a turning point for me on day four.  I knew before this that He was with me, but a deeper understanding came…..I knew He WAS WITH ME.  Can’t explain it, I just knew.

In the days following, a couple of my close girlfriends came over to visit, my son came by (even with flowers from my husband!) but for the most part, I was housebound and alone.  No, not alone. Just by myself.  Crazily enough, during this time, our weather forecast was we were expecting a storm with so much rain and wind that it was dangerous.  Again, "feeling" alone…..we are surrounded by trees that could very easily come down and have in past storms.  What would I do?  I collected water if the power went out (we have a well that needs electricity to pump).  I had food, firewood and charged my cell phone.  But….what would I do if a tree crashed into our house? I can barely lift a piece of firewood, let alone deal with a fallen tree.   Again…why this storm and why when my husband (who fixes EVERYTHING) is away.  As I prayed for the winds to not come near (praying Psalm 91 over my home and the Pacific Northwest), I was reminded, “I am never alone.”  

Short but wonderful sideline….at one point in the afternoon of the storm I realized everything was calm.  I looked out the window and the neighbor’s trees were swaying heavily in the wind.  I thought “Wow, that wind is wild.”  Then I looked out the other window at our trees.  Not a leaf was moving.  Now, I had prayed for my neighbor’s homes as well, and thankfully, no trees came down.  But in that moment, I knew God was showing me…..He was with me.  Our trees were calm in that moment, while those next door were being tossed with the wind.  

(Photo courtesy of a weather website)

The storm passed.  My storm passed.  And I was not alone.  

I realized this morning that yes, physically I was and still am “by myself”.  But I was not unloved.  I have a family and many who love me - who would come running at the drop of a hat if I needed them.  If they physically could. (I have since been lovingly exhorted by friends and family....I am to pick up that phone and call them....no matter what.) 

But above all, I have a Father in heaven, whose love and faithfulness never leave me (Psalm 117).  

I am never alone.  I am loved.  In the storms.  In the quiet moments.  In life.

You are never alone.  You are loved.  In the storms of life.  In the quiet and in the noisy.  In life.  Do you realize this?  Do you believe this?  If you struggle with this, can I lovingly suggest you take some quiet…..ask God to reveal to you His closeness in a way you will understand.  Ask Him to show you His love and His faithfulness.  Ask Him.