Tag Archives: Blessings

Dweller On The Threshold

29 May

As I watch and listen to the thunderstorm off in the distance, I am struck by the sheer peace I feel. It is the answered prayer we prayed for, my God-Given, God-Designed friend and I.

Peace was not what I felt earlier today. I was angry and the angrier I became, the more my heart broke and the harder I cried.  The unexpected end of my marriage followed by my daughter and grandson’s unexpected move out of state is a trial I tell myself deserves a bit of a good old fashioned meltdown.  I know other’s are suffering greater loss than I, and I feel so selfish in my pain. I do know however that pain, whether great or small,  is still covered in the same way.  Faith and hope in our Lord and Savior.

God shows off most to me in the friends He brings to my life.  My Bou as I call her (she calls me Blondie), prayed with me, talked with me, and spoke truth back into my soul.  Because He is a God of amazing abundance, three more friends checked in on me.  I see Him. I feel His provision and closeness.

The night is near pitch with only a sliver of a moon. The fish are jumping in the water next to me, the thunder rolls quietly after a beautiful lightning display, Van Morrison is singing to me quietly. I am just sitting here taking it all in.  Peace. Calm. He reminds me in no uncertain terms, that He is not just near, He dwells here.

This warfare wears on me; this world is broken, people will get sick, they hurt us, disappoint us and sometimes they leave us.  Those are the hard things that break us or make us stronger. The depth of my faith may be tested, but my faith stands strong. When we lean in, when we trust Him in it, we are humbled. We may not always calmly endure the journey through our valleys, but journeying through them all the way, with God beside us, allows us to grow stronger. We grow in our faith, wisdom, courage,and in the end, what is lost will not go without, because something truly is gained.

I am not through the valley yet, but the path is becoming clearer and I am starting to feel that hope begin to flicker again. God breathed daylight into me when he formed me and my light has grown dimmer, my hope weaker and my heart was heavy much of the time.

I know there is something coming, I feel it. I am being put to the fire to prepare me for whatever is to come. I know there is purpose to this time of refinement, of loss, pain and trial. There is a purpose and He plans to bless people with what is gained in this. I know this as much as I know the reflection of my own face.  This path may feel too hard at times, but he has given me great strength and I have grown so brave. This is the path He laid before me, and it is stick straight. I just can’t see ahead yet.

He beckons me to look inside my home from outside. I see what He wants me to see. There is restored peace in my home. Where there was dark, there is a warm glow. Where there was careful wariness, there is comfort. Where there was apprehension, there is calm.

This is a restoration of the peace that I haven’t rested in, in a very long time.

Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning. Psalm 30:5b

Deja Vu

13 May

If you have Facebook, you know there is a folder that reminds you of posts from years gone by.  Looking back at 3 years ago, I am watching my world unravel, to the beginning of spiritual warfare that I was not equipped for.

Prior to the spring of 2014,  my faith had matured and I had grown in so many ways.  I was surrounded by strong Godly women and I was doing alright; I was content. I was between trials.

Suddenly,  I found myself in the midst of change, a huge trial, everything was challenged. My daughter decided to move back to Minnesota and I was mourning her move.  My job was unstable and I was struggling terribly financially. I found myself suddenly lonely, for the first time in ages.  Moving into summer, things got worse and by July, I was worn out from the battle.

I honestly didn’t realize the depth of spiritual warfare I was dealing with at the time. It is only in looking back that I see the extent of the battle.

One night in particular I hit a new low.  As I cried out in sheer panic over finances, over my weaknesses, lack of faith, my temptations, a friend sent me a note in the middle of the night. She said I was on her heart that morning and she wanted me to read Isaiah 54. She emphasized Isaiah 54: 5. This is my response to her:

Last night, as I fell asleep. I cried out. I was deeply afflicted with sorrow and guilt and shame over how I am so double minded and feel so abandoned by God. I am surrounded with temptation and I don’t feel strong. I felt so distant from Him. So alone and abandoned, rejected, unwanted, I felt I had failed God in every way. I am weary of being alone and money and I felt like He was mad at me. That I must be such a disappointment to him. As I read Isaiah 54 my heart knew.. He wanted me to know He is there. “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. 6 “For the Lord has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God. 7 “[c]For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. 8 “In an [d]outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.

Then, I went the exact opposite direction and began dating my husband.

During that trial,  I didn’t share the depth of my fears and sorrows with my friends. I didn’t tell them all that I was going through. I skimmed the surface and hid the depths of my fear,my shaky faith and loneliness.

Today, I find myself in a similar place. Almost a ‘Groundhogs day’ experience!

I am navigating the grief and pain the end of my marriage brings, and now my daughter is once again preparing to move away from me. This is an excellent move for her and my grandson, but my heart is torn in two.  I am shredded.

But God. But God. He is more than enough.  His love letter to me in Isaiah 54 still stands true.  I know His words are true.  Now I need to walk in it, to trust it completely.

How does one do that? It is a persistent faith;Believing what you don’t see or feel.

You start by sharing the burdens in your heart. You share your faith questions, you humble yourself and admit you are weak in trust, you accept that you are weak and need Him terribly. You let people know your journey. You let them pray over you. You ask the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf. Then, you seek Him. You seek Him constantly. You pour your heart out to Him at all times. You yell, you cry, you beg, you bargain, you read His word back to Him.

And….you still your words. You quiet your mind and breathe. He is in the quiet. He is in the everything. He is in your tears. The quiet is when He speaks to you.  I can’t tell you the comfort of that time. When You just sit with Him, no words, just stillness.

The rest of Isaiah 54 has such promise. He makes promises to us all the time. He also gave us the free will to choose.

I am putting all my trust in Him whom has never let me down. Even when I falter, even when I run the other direction, He never stops pursuing me, never stops loving me. His covenant is forever.

Amen!

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
    when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken

    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
    and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

 

 

A New Song

16 Apr

Sunshine upon my face, the raindrops have gone away
It feels so good to be free
With You I’ve found a way, to overcome all the things
That hold me down, that keep me down away from You
~Caleb Rowden

Another plane, another journey.

As I listen to my music on this flight, I reflect on the many flights I would spend with my head pressed against the window, tears streaming down my face. It was dreaded quiet time, forced time in my head, a place I spent as little time as possible in that season.

Reflecting as lyrics of praise lift me up and fill me with my now ever present peace; I realize music has always been here, season to season, from sad songs to dance. These days my genre of choice is christian music, which also reflects where my mind is at these days.

What a journey this has been. What a ride the past 6 years have been. Broken to new, lost to so sure, sorrow to joy.

My heart was broken back then. I had no love in my life. Not even for myself.
How great is the love I found in that loveless state? Crazier still is that I found the Love of all Loves when I fell in Love with Jesus.

To be sure, the journey was still mine to walk, the valleys were still there and I had to walk through them. But! He brought such amazing friendships to walk beside me. Some to challenge me, some to teach me and some to encourage me. The deeper I went in my faith, the deeper those God-inspired friendships went, teaching me about abandon, trust and faith.

Though I knew His greatness and power, though I had walked through great darkness at times only to be so incredibly blessed on the other side. Though I could literally feel the Holy Spirit beside me at time…I still forgot. I still panicked, still doubted.

What I never want to forget is that during the hardest moments, that is when I knew He was beside me; I grew so calm during the hardest moments in my walk. Music is a great reminder. A song can take me back to a place. Like now.

I find it inspiring to look back, to see what I have walked through, how God’s faithfulness never ceases and He fulfills every promise. People cannot do that. We are just not perfect enough.

I didn’t become better, or righteous, I simply surrendered it all; My hurt, my sense of failure, my lack of hope, my disappointment in people, my self-sufficiency, my self-blame and self loathing. I was empty.

It was then that I was able to let go and let God begin to change me. Not the people around me, not my circumstances, not give me everything I wanted but to change the way I saw the world, change the way I processed life and emotion, change my awareness.

I began to have moments of super natural understanding, which goes so much deeper than anything I could do myself.

My sinful nature is still with me. Certain sin fell away when love replaced the destructive lies. I believe without our sin, we would forget our need for humility and Christ. We will never be able to be sinless. Only He could do that.

Singing a new song, listening to a new genre, there are no more tears on planes. There is no fear. There is hope. I am not always happy, but I am always hopeful. Life is really hard at times, but this is temporary. A drop in the bucket of eternity and the fulfillment of the greatest promise ever!

That’s my song from here on out.

Psalm 96
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

Why Faith?

18 Sep

I don’t for one second believe in Karma or in the universe’s ability to sling back to me what I put out there. Why, oh why, would I want to go back to the idea that we get what we deserve? Worse, the lie that we ultimately have control over what happens to us.

Stand in front of a tornado and tell me you can control the path it takes. If it hits your home, did you put something out in the universe that drew that tornado to you? Watch your child die from disease. You would gladly change places, if you could, but you cannot control these things. Tell me that this beautiful child is dying because of something they did wrong. That you or they deserve it, if you believe in Karma.

We are built to worship something. There has to be something we can turn to, beyond the worldly possessions and heartaches. We can try to fill that void with relationships, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, money, popularity… Or is life simply about learning to let go of the illusion we have control and learn to leap into the vast and amazing life of Faith… to lean in to something bigger than ourselves?

The message I learned growing up in the Catholic Church is that constant repentance was called for, but ultimately, you would never really be good enough to achieve Heaven. Pergatory, yes, but not heaven. So if we get what we deserve, (Karma) you can get to heaven by being a good person. How good do you have to be to get in and how bad do you have to be to not get in?

Where does the line of Grace begin, where does Mercy start? If God is perfect (Good) and Satan is Evil (Bad) where is the line between the two? And who has the authority to decide that?

Divorce for me was a catalyst for intense change within myself. I had to want to die, to actually find Him. I had to go through so much loss to lose myself to Him. To give up the idea that I had the ability to steer my life and keep myself afloat. I didn’t…including my sin.

We will all go through suffering; Intense pain and suffering. We will lose loved ones and we will face illness in one way or another. People will let you down and you will screw up. We will have trials beyond our ability to control.

Did you do that to yourself? Maybe instead, it is the realization that it is all bigger than us. It is far more difficult to surrender to God than to simply say.. Karma is a bitch. Surrendering and saying “God..Walk me through this journey of pain, I trust you; Teach me, mold me,make me the instrument of Your love, Your light for this dark world. ”

Surrender: v. without object to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.
n.the act or an instance of surrendering.

The key to faith is surrender,not being perfect;not being good, not being without sin. I reached out to Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior as a young woman. I was saved! I had that kernel of knowledge. That HE was who He said He was. He brought me through all the ups and downs of life without demanding attention. But.. there comes a time when He will shake things up. His timing.

The truth is, I operated from a “good people get what they deserve, bad people get what they deserve” perspective. Sadly, we all have our flaws. So, again… who decides that line, what is good enough?

Jesus had plans for my journey. I was a woman that had things under control. I raised 6 kids. I was strong! He came in and like Job, allowed my life to turn upside down. My world spun out of control. I was scared and lost. It was more than I could bear. And there He was! Just like that. A presence that was felt so near. I could literally feel Him;Intensely.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by strong, loving, Christian women. He made me new. I didn’t repent of all my sins. He removed them from me, He is still removing them or showing them to me. I learn more and more, every day. My idols are shown to me in new ways. He teaches me. I needed Him then and I need Him now. I could not have done that.

When I surrendered, I knew that I had reached the end of hope, the end of my ability to make my life work. I was a good person, I still am. I am also a sinner. I am a person that needs Christ. I can’t be perfect. I can’t do right all day, every day. My thoughts betray me. I am so aware of my need for Christ because I cannot be good enough on my own, to earn all that Heaven holds for me. His Grace and Mercy are absolutes in my life, the cornerstone for who I am and how I walk this world. I have to trust His promises that I am saved or I have no hope. He doesn’t lie.

My journey with Christ is what I know. I know who HE has been with me, for me, near me, beside me, in me. I am not capable to make the changes in my heart that He has made. He dwells there and because I accepted that He loved me enough to die for my sins, the bridge between my sin and God has been placed. I am grateful, reverently aware of Him and my heart overflows with abundant love.

It is not about my sin, because of Grace. It is about Jesus. But God, because I absolutely can’t on my own.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Be Near

16 Mar

Father be near as I stumble again,
I forgot who I am in your sight
I beat my head against the wall of my will
Seeing the world through the shame of my past.

Oh merciful Lord, My rock and my hope
Your wisdom is mine if I ask
You gave us new life and new ways to see
You set the path straight, you set the path right

The power of darkness dims with your light
My temper is weak in your sight
My heart cries out Lord, show me the way
Your presence is felt at once

I fight the temptations, of body and mind
I lay my life at your feet.
Take from me these fears and concerns
Bear all my failures, be patient and always near

Renew my spirit with Mercy and Grace
You are my hope, you are my everything
You crown me with truth, compassion and strength
Wrap me in goodness and beauty

Sow within my broken heart
The seeds to do your will
Let me be the voice or your hope
So they know truth and your endless promise

Blessed are you, God, that gave me true life.
Your beauty overwhelms, your presence in all I see
Dressed in the sunshine and perfect as the moon
Scent as glorious as the Orange Blossom

Sow within my broken heart
The seeds to do your will
Let me be the voice or your hope
So they may know the truth of your promise

Show me how, direct my feet
remove the stone from my heart
Let me shine the light of you
The peace of you, always and forever.

Amen

Eggshells and Landmines

4 Jan

I posted this in a Fellowship page on Facebook. This is fellowship and part of fellowship is accountability. I thought long about sharing this here, but it is truth and it is part of my journey. The part about dating.

It is a difficult journey for someone that was married for a very long time.
(well, probably for all of us that are single). I think not trusting myself to remain true to biblical teaching is one problem I have to face.. though I thought I was strong enough. My belief that God has great purpose for calling us to only be intimate within marriage is founded on scripture. I firmly believe that we are not to bend scripture to meet our weaknesses but be touched by scripture and give our weakness up.

Now..I was created to be this way, as surely as my loving nature and my laughter.. so this isn’t about rules or about being rejected by God.. It isn’t about being bad or good. He isn’t going to throw me out of Heaven.. It is about our journey. And our journey is so difficult to remain faithful and in closeness with Him. By being intimate with someone too soon or to whom I am not married to, I would begin feeling bad about that.. I separate myself from Him and He can’t protect me. That is how I see this.

I find the temptation is great. I went to The Word and of course, to my beloved poetic Message version…to find my reassurance and I wanted to share this with you. It is one thing to talk the talk, it is hard as all get out to walk The Word…. but God created that with our hearts and our best interest in mind. Even though I have begun dating a Christian, I was told that this was too much of a burden. Probably very scary too.. it means commitment. That is a lot to take in from the get go. But.. that is the way it is and I am okay with this.

I learned so much, about me, but mostly about how much God loves me so very much in this moment…

And when we learn and share, we let God pour healing and strength into our weakness. ( so hard to push post)

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5(MSG)
You’re God-Taught
4 1-3 One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life.
Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity.
4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.

1 Corinthians 6:18(MSG)

16-20 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

2 Timothy 2:22(MSG)

22-26 Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.

2 Timothy 2:22(NIV)

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Proverbs 31:30(AMP)

30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!