Archive for the ‘Raw & Real: Contemporary Parables’ Category

Facing the Pressure Washer: The Fence of Life

We just got a hand me down pressure washer. Those gadgets are handy (not so little) tools. The few times I used one, I’ve really liked ’em.

I’m grateful it’s raining today. It’s going to give me a break from the monumental task I’ve started of pressure washing the VERY tall fence out back. I started it two days ago. First day, I washed a “test patch” on an interior gate. I wanted to see how it would look when “dry” and if removing the years of grime and dirt that had built up would make a difference. The morning of the second day said it all. The difference on the door was amazing. I should have taken a before ‘n after photo to show it. The door looked worn, dingy and even had a green tinge to it. The portions that I’d cleaned were just fresh, natural and nearly new looking.

So, yesterday…I continued my work. I think I spent a good 3-4 hours out there (well, the first hour I had to manually trim back a bush that was obstructing my work area – by manually I mean using a pair of hedge trimmers – and that was even harder work).

By 1pm I was back on track.  About an hour later, I sat down for a break to chug a glass of ice-water. I picked up my phone and perused through it for any news, updates or interesting tid-bits. Then, something caught my eye.

A woman I went to church with on the west coast posted a message…about being thankful for a quilt she’d received. My mind went in all directions. In the past few years I’d gotten into sewing/quilting and embroidery. I’d worked with a non-profit helping make quilts for seriously ill children. Something in my head knew something was wrong.

I messaged “Jo” asking her what she was being treated for. It turns out, she has Leukemia.

It was news I hadn’t expected to hear and if “Jo” is reading this…I am certain it’s news you never expected to receive. Be assured, I thought of you as I continued pressure washing.

Having finished my water break, I put my phone down and went back to the incredibly dirty/wet job of cleaning. I started the machine (which isn’t so easy to do) and picked up the wand. Aiming it at my target I pulled the trigger and felt the enormous power surge through my arms, to my hands and through to the end at the wood. It is an amazing site for me to watch as I glide the spray along methodically.

The area I am working on is utterly disgusting, grimy and old.

I look closely where the water comes out of the sprayer and at the point of contact there is a stark difference in contrast between the old/new  AND

To look back at the work that you’ve done and see all the nEwNeSS! How clean, fresh and different it appears. The difference in the grimy stuff and the clean stuff may not seem all that apparent until you really consider what’s involved.

The actual act of washing the fence is rather brutal. My particular wand can handle up to 2000 psi. That’s a lot of pressure! It’s that same pressure that when applied to the old, worn, dirty fence also removes the grime and “age.” Thus revealing the newness hidden underneath. I keep looking at the section I still have left to finish and am in awe at the difference between the two. Frankly, there is NO comparison. The old looks down right awful and the new…well, it’s beautiful.  Here’s a photo of the dramatic difference, so far:

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Up until about; oh, 6-8 weeks ago I was really tired of the trials that have been sent my way. I have had many over the years; but who hasn’t?!  But, I’ve been feeling very beaten down. Just tired. It seemed like one trial after another had shown up. What gives?

And that’s when James 1:2-4 New Living Translation (NLT)  REALLY came to life for me:

Faith and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

So, for “Jo,” Michelle, Gerald, Polly and others reading this (and I know of so many going through trials)….We are the fence. We are promised by God that we WILL have trials in this life (John 16:33). But ALWAYS remember the fence. Think of the pressure washer as the enemy. He is going to come at us with trouble. He wants to see us hurt. His goal is our destruction.

Satan aims his pressure washer at us and lets it fire away. He wants us to fold. He wants us to give up. But his efforts are thwarted with God. We must know God is right there with us, He feels our pain. He cries with us. He feels our ache; even when we don’t THINK He is there – HE IS! The best part happens after Satan has finished “firing his darts.” God will come along to build us right back up. Bear in mind, our trials can last for a VERY long time….but that doesn’t mean God will let us perish. Jesus may have been crucified but that was by no means the end…the BEST was yet to come.

Just like the next coat of transparent stain I will put on the new, raw wood. God will make the light within us shine even brighter and strengthen our perseverance.

I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out this part of the puzzle. Whatever we are going through he’s already been there. When He tells us in the Bible we need to find Joy in the trials that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to find them fun or have a good time as we’re going through them (because I don’t think that’s the point). Finding Joy means recognizing that through the hardship we will Learn and gain Wisdom. The trial IS going to hurt. But at the same time, He’s felt the pain we are going through. It’s because He doesn’t like to watch us suffer that He lavishes us with His love and makes us “GROW.” And by growing, I mean we learn more about who we are are in Christ. We better understand WHY Christ did what He did. And in following that model…we recognize we can actually follow in His footsteps and BE more like Him.

When I finally put the new layer of stain over the raw wood of the fence…it will look like new. It will look amazing. The wood will still be the wood, but it’s brilliance will shine and sparkle because of the dramatic cleansing. When we face trials or the pressure washer of life, it’s not to just let the enemy GET his way…but to give God an avenue or a means to BUILD us and let Him create in us a stronger spirit. One that can hold up to getting nailed to the cross; the same one Jesus was designed for. By EMBRACING trials, and thanking God for that MeRcY we will be stronger and understand Christ better – that’s when we are able to SHINE HIS LIGHT.

And isn’t that why we’re here? To shine our light in the darkness….as John says

John 1:5

New Living Translation (NLT)

The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it

Shine yours for the world to see.

Always Trust God, Lean into Him. Ask Him to help. Just like in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:1-30) God will be with you as the pressure washer blows you away, soaks you and leaves you a mess…God will also help with the clean up. God won’t leave you stranded….”he will carry you in his arms”  (Ps 68;19) when we don’t have the strength to stand and walk.

“Here With Me” from MercyMe:  Your reminder that He always walks with YOU through the fires and trials…just as God walked with Jesus.

If your fence is being washed..Get ready to shine your light!

Hesitations vs. “Just showing up”

I make no apologies. I need no excuses. I started this blog in the spring time to share my journey and as my journey continues I’ve to do a lot of soul searching. And have I learned. God is good and He’s willing to share His wisdom

I’m still not sure what exactly prompted me to get this blog site off the ground.  I knew it would be exciting to have a message God placed in my heart touch at least one person and if that was it, then I ought to be grateful. Except I know there are a lot of people out there. And people don’t get through life unscathed. At some point, every one of us has been hurt, broken and lost in the chaos of “life.” At some point, we have all felt at least one of those emotion of pain and suffering.

But my ultimate goal is to provide something positive, in a world where positive is becoming more elusive. I’m here to shine a light in the darkness.

Except, the enemy knows me.  He knows me well.

From the beginning, I put expectations on myself…and he set me up or maybe I set myself up- beautifully.

The point of writing a blog (as I understand it) is supposed to be a natural extension of yourself.  But initially I wanted what I presented to be picture perfect. Does that sound so bad?  It’s a lofty goal that I am still striving for. Until I realized, there really is no such thing.

I live in a less than perfect world. How many books have I read that have an error (and likely, more than one?) Does it bother me? Nah. The first version of my manuscript that I tried to write was completely hacked apart at a local conference. It bothered me enough that I considered walking away from ever being a novelist. And that’s wrong. My time hasn’t come yet. But I believe it will. And so I don’t let that setback, set-me-back. God never gave up on me…I owe it to him to not give up on myself.

I had a revealing conversation with a friend yesterday. In a nutshell she told me, by just establishing the blog I’ve done the hardest thing: I’ve tried. I want to be real in what I’m writing but I don’t want you to see my flaws – and that’s just…WRONG.

I don’t like to go out to the grocery store without makeup on, but I have done it and I’ll likely do it again. It may not be a pretty sight…but it’s reality. There’s nothing wrong with it; Sometimes, something’s gotta give.

I still consider this blog my “God Blog” but I’m not going to worry so much anymore about my writing or my style being perfect. As much as I may want to post a breathtaking photo or a piece of music to enhance the point…maybe that’s not as important as I thought it was.

Maybe, it’s time for me to “just show up” and talk with you. Or as in previous posts, just sit down and let my conversations with God just kind of flow right here on the page. In this age of electronics and social media – maybe just posting a thought or sharing a prayer – is enough. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with just showing up and being present…

What do you think?

 

Incidentally,  after racking my mind all day for a song that would fit…it turns out one of my favorite songs about sums it up: Come on, sing along!

Strongholds vs The Power of God

Chrysanthemum

I closed the book (so to speak) “early” last night. I caved around midnight. I was fighting a heavy heart. Frustrated.

There is such a war going on right now. And if you don’t see it, you might at least “feel” it. It’s a Spiritual war (spiritual warfare). It’s real. It’s serious. And it is overwhelming me right now.

Let me make ONE thing clear. I know who God is. I know He is fighting for me. But that doesn’t mean the forces of Satan aren’t out there trying to do his dirty work, too.

I can already hear the enemy bantering from the the sidelines:  “What’s your problem? God’s not enough for you? You talk so much about what a BIG God He is. If He’s so BiG- why aren’t you happy SMARTY? You’ve got everything you want in this life, sounds like your GOD isn’t living up to YOUR standards!

Any of those questions sound familiar? So what could be causing me (or anyone else) to live life anything less than satisfied?

Well for starts: Watching the news.  Opinion, beliefs, wants, frailties, betrayal, anger…the list could probably fill an entire page. However, I am not here to further infect (yes, infect the wound) and am searching for a way to heal the injuries. I’ve been anxious to unearth an antidote and realized last night you can’t get a prescription for it. The best thing is.. this “brand” isn’t new and it doesn’t cost a penny. Its name is “Cap-Squared” or “Capture & Captive, Inc.” and I’ll be happy to tell you EXACTLY how it works for me!

The theory is: For every thought, image or sound you are “exposed” to – you take IT and capture it as if it’s YOUR hostage. Yes, hostage. Then you hold it CAPTIVE and ASK God to take the information (image, thought, sound) upon HIMself. Let’s play this out, like a movie…frame by frame and hopefully it will make sense. We all have a “stronghold” – something that we can’t stop (or don’t want to stop doing.) It’s something we like or that “feels good” BUT it may not be the best for us, good for us or even SAFE. Some people like food, money, swearing. It is very easy in this life to have a common every day thing BECOME a stronghold. It’s something that we develop an affinity for…and at some point our exposure or “use” of it gets HOLD of who we are and it gets the best of us.

Strongholds do not have to hold us captive. A “stronghold” is best conquered by something larger and bigger than it is. The one thing you’ve got to understand is a stronghold aims to TAKE YOU CAPTIVE in baby steps. Strong holds are like that. Once you know that something has you in its grip (even something as benign as coffee or as serious as alcohol) the ONLY way to get this “TWO step” program to work is to acknowledge it’s there in the first place. So, here’s what I did.

Take facebook for example. What I’ve discovered is that even people that I’ve friended may not always “post” things that I agree with. Things they say, pictures/images they post or items they “share” from another fb user may conflict with my own ideology/beliefs/values/faith. This has REALLY troubled me lately.

So, last night as I “scrolled” the days “updates” and saw things that were “clouding” my vision…I had an inspiration (an epiphany, if you will). I decided to “hide” those posts. At first I almost felt guilty about doing it. But then I realized, I am not in control of what my friends post but I can control what I SEE. Just as I chose not to watch the BIG 3 (TV Networks) to get my news updates, I can take control of what I see on my fb newsfeed and filter it to MY needs and what is best for me. If a friend is constantly posting things that run contrary to “my belief” system I can stop receiving their newsfeeds. Stopping newsfeeds is easy.  Hiding posts is cake. Unfriending someone is unpleasant and hopefully unnecessary.  I hope I never have to resort to unfriending.  Having cleaned up my newsfeed, I felt empowered and just like that, “shackled chains” were gone.

Tactical steps: So once you’ve captured and taken your subject captive what next? Lay it down, hand it over and let it go. Put it in the prostrate position and give it up. We (you and I are not equipped) to handle the problems this world gives us without some help. We weren’t born on this planet to survive let alone thrive of our own accord. Think what you will but there is someONE who can remove the “burden” from your life and “send it to the depths of hell.” SomeONE is able to take that “chain” or ”chains” – unshackle it and get rid of it forever. The one person who is stronger than your strong hold is Jesus. He is the strong-tower. Jesus is the only one qualified. He is eligible, able and willing. He is waiting. He is standing in front of you –standing in the gap- for you to “hand over” the very thing that is “holding you back.” He sees you holding onto it. But He can’t take it from you until you offer it to Him. Just as He Had to sacrifice Himself for us, we still have to be willing to hold out our hand and ACCEPT His hand of Mercy.

Jesus (as man) didn’t want to be on the cross. Because He was Man, he was scared. That’s why He literally sweat blood in Gethsemane. He was scared to face that cross. As scared as you are about facing a mortgage payment you don’t have the money to cover. He was scared of those nails being driven into His hands. Scared as you are about the lump you feel in your breast. He was scared to take His last breath; just like you are scared to take yours.  Except His last breath on Good Friday… was a lie. He breathed life again 3 days later. It IS possible. The price for Jesus life was death. But the ransom for Jesus life was the resurrection. He can resurrect your life, your chains, and your soul…If YOU ASK.

Back to strongholds: When you lay down THAT stronghold at the foot of THAT cross, that stronghold will be eaten up by the grave (it will follow Jesus into His death bed but will NOT return) and YOU will become resurrected from its chains. It’s only up to you to notice the stronghold and be willing to see Jesus outstretched hands ready to take it from you.  It’s His gift to you. He knew this moment was coming and He wanted to be ready to lend you a helping hand. It’s hard to be weighed down by challenges in our lives that WE’VE had a hand in putting there. It feels worse when we’re not able to get up because they’ve become too heavy. So make it easier on yourself. CAPTURE: EVERY THOUGHT, EVERY IMAGE, EVERY SOUND, EVERY IDEA as CAPTIVE and Let Him help you share the burden by taking it away. Pass it to HIM. He’s already proven He can handle it….

Remember “C-Squared”: “Capture & Captive” –

Then: “Lay it down, Hand it Over, And Let it Go.”

-Surrender the Strongholds, let them go…they are EXCESS baggage.

“Redeemed” – sung by Big Daddy Weave.

Levels of Faith – Candy Crush Saga

Tulips

Candy Crush Saga: A Godly lesson in stripes, wrappers and jelly

I have been swamped. It feels like a month since I sat down and committed thoughts to the keyboard. It’s mid-April now and Spring Break was a month ago. It should have only taken me a couple days to get back “into the swing” but NOOOO. En-route from our trip back to OK, I got sick. I was going help with half the drive, both days.

Yeah, not quite.

Day one, I was fine. But at 5am on day two…whatever “it” was felt like Montezuma’s revenge. And it clung onto me for at least 5 days. My stomach, my gut, my colon were my worst enemies. Oy!

So, now I’m scampering. Playing double time to make up for lost time. We are going through a major and yet blessed transition in our house. My father-in-law is coming to live with us for a while and the house is going through its own “Makeover.” This one doesn’t involve paint, carpet or physical construction. It involves re-purposing rooms, figuring out functionality and thinking outside the box.

My sewing/hobby/creative space needs an overhaul but until I get my hands on an unwanted dresser drawer or some other cabinet to hold my supplies; organization in this area will continue as a “need.” In my front room, most of the stuff is headed for the community yard sale next week, at least it’s boxed.

While my spouse would disagree, I do NOT consider myself a pack-rat. I think many men might have this pre-conceived idea that we (women) are. But I vehemently disagree. I have to orchestrate the world of the lives in this house: meals, laundry, cleaning, appointments, homework, etc. You get the idea. Granted, my smart phone has helped a great deal with facilitating all this since I started using it last fall. That smart phone doesn’t actually do the work though, it’s up to me – and the work never ends. The smart phone is also a great tool for distraction. I’ve used it to play words with friends and scramble with friends. Then, when we were en-route to my mother in laws funeral in December…my daughter asked me to install the Candy Crush Saga app. I’d never heard of the game and because of our drive “cross country” it took forever to install. Once it was available…she tried to play it, but didn’t really understand how it worked…so my phone got “passed” back to me and I had the “privilege” of figuring it out. That’s all it took.

I breezed through the initial levels of the game, showing her how to play it. Until I got stuck, for 6 weeks at level 36(?) I nearly gave up the game in frustration. I know I should have. It was driving me crazy…I figured it was a lost cause and shouldn’t be bothered. I walked away for a few days and came back for one last “crack” at it. I’m not sure if it WAS the second try but I literally blew the level to bits. I sat there in complete disbelief wondering what had just happened. And then it hit me….well His words hit me.

                “..with me ALL things are possible. Why do you not trust? Why do you doubt? Why won’t you   focus on MyWord and our blog? Your purpose is waiting for you and yet you don’t believe in           YOURSELF? I know what you are made of…I made you. Don’t be afraid.”

So as I continue to sporadically play ccs, I see God accomplishing the impossible. God has been using Candy Crush Saga to highlight his capabilities. He uses it as a teaching tool…a modern form of strategizing on a virtual chess table. How did I reach level 125 so far? Many would argue it was sheer luck and the odds of “pure numbers.” I disagree. You have to understand the elements of the game. And once you do, you have to either “trial ‘n error” your way to the finish line OR Google for insight! Understanding how the stripes, wrapped candies, “color bombs” operate is important – after that it’s you playing against yourself.

For instance, just when I begin to believe that my days of successfully winning a level are over; He throws me a carrot as a blessing and I conquer another level occasionally achieving the high score. I think He does that to prove to me that with Him “All things are possible…”

I read last year that JK Rowling (author of Harry Potter) often played a video game to relax as a “stress” reliever. It may not be the ideal way to relieve stress, but ccs serves the same purpose. CCS is a game of strategy and tactical maneuvers. I find that fascinating…but I become all the more intrigued when I know God has shown up and given me the edge to win. I understand there are at least 300 levels to play in this game; which seems insane. But, it makes you wonder how many levels of faith you and I have to go through before God’s handiwork in using us takes on those same exponential proportions in real life. How many levels of Faith and perseverance must we endure before our faith is fully “vested” from a heavenly or holy perspective?

The only thing I know for sure is I am a watcher. I am constantly watching the world around me; events & people. I am awake, I have a heightened awareness I didn’t recognize before. I read the word¸listen in quiet discernment and wait (often waiting longer than I’d like). Make no mistake, God is waiting for the moment He can speak and you will listen, but His best work is done in the silences: whether He utilizes the whisper of the Holy Spirit within your soul or His whispers His words softly in your ear with His own voice. God will reach you if you’re willing. The real question is “Are You?” because He is waiting….and ready for you.

May blessings and favor follow you as this week begins…

Here is “Move” by Mercy Me. Perfect match to this week’s message. Even in our weakest moments we can’t stop, delay or despair. God is with us and we need to let our Faith in Him carry us through all our challenges; not just some….

“Strong Enough” by Matthew West. So, when you do have doubts…you don’t need to wonder how you’re going to make it through. God will take your weakness and “turn it into” a strength!

Love means EVERYTHING in Tennis

hyacinth bush

Love means EVERYTHING in Tennis

I beg God often for clarity, for wisdom, for insight. I know He will provide it. It doesn’t always come instantly but it does come. Little by little He is helping me piece my life together. Several weeks ago (ok, so maybe it was months – time is irrelevant in God’s world) I started asking Him why on Earth He ever had me spend so much time playing tennis. (Note: The majority of this blog entry is literally God speaking (quietly) to me. It’s not so much an exchange as it is Him honestly answering my silent prayers for understanding…hence the use of quotations throughout)

The Beginning

I came from a tennis playing family. All 4 of us kids played. I first stepped onto the court when I was 3 years old. That was the day I picked up my Dad’s racquet and started swinging it. (At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I was 3. How am I really gonna remember that?) Back to the story:

By the time I was 6, my Dad entered me in my first tournament. I was competing with the 10 and under age group. I guess I did ok because somehow or other my competition days kept right on going. The competitions started when I was 6 and didn’t stop until I was 14. By that time, the last year I was competitive I had progressed and was testing the waters of National Competitions. It was a necessary stepping stone. I wanted to get to the Pro’s. My ultimate destination was Wimbledon and the Grand Slam. I also craved receiving a college scholarship. It was the ultimate “prize” in a sport that demands a lot.

My “Olympic” sized dreams came to a crushing end far too soon…BUT that is another entry for another day – I hope it will be worth the wait. Here is the rhetorical question/prayer I asked God

Me: “Why on earth would you have me spend so much of my time…so much of Mom and Dad’s time, money and effort…only to have me not reach that goal and success? What was your point?”

The answer, or at least part of it arrived last week.

God: “What makes you think you weren’t successful, child? You committed yourself to a thankless, self-serving sport? The lessons you learned in training and competing were far greater than the fame or wealth the WORLD would have measured you by to be successful. I wanted MORE for you”

Me: to myself (Ok..that wasn’t the answer I was expecting…)

God: “The world was represented by the “audience” watching those matches and while you would have liked the world to appreciate your skills; I’d always intended to have you shine elsewhere later.  Yes, you trained diligently. But I didn’t want to provide you with ALL the keys you needed to achieve THAT goal because the goal you had set your eyes on weren’t part of MY WILL. I needed to develop you and that is what I was doing during those 7 or 8 years. That time wasn’t thrown away. Traveling the narrow path is harrowing. The skills you picked up from that experience will be invaluable in your WALK with me. You needed to see that you could train and do well, even IF your focus was off. Your focus was off because I did not intend for you to gain fame and success. NOT YET. Remember in The Word, how I told my own mother and disciples that my time had not come? (I know you do – John 2:4 and John 7:8)). Your time, as a tennis player, had also not arrived yet. I needed you to know what success looked like and be able to accept not reaching that goal. You were learning patience. Learning to Be Still (Psalm 46:10) I know it was HARD. I know you were disappointed. I know that disappointment has lingered. But it’s not all for nothing.

The enemy is all too pleased your dreams weren’t realized, but he has no idea what I have in store and at the moment you can’t see it clearly yourself.

Just remember and reflect on what you learned about the “Game:”

Competition                       Sportsmanship                  Humility

You’ve seen what can happen to sports figures in “The World” today and how they handle themselves in the limelight. You can recognize that “pride comes before the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)”

Me: (silently reflecting this)..Sadly there are too many athletes of late this applies to.

God: “Also, One very important goal of yours was fulfilled. And you know what I am referring to. You didn’t see that coming either! I wanted you to taste what my goodness is like and know that in your faith and trust; I AM always GOOD. And I love you…my arms are open wide and ready to hold you and protect.”

Me: It was in that moment I realized how foolish I had been in my discontent over what I had deemed to be my failure. I was allowing myself to see what the world sees as success and not looking through God’s eyes; the greatest gift of all. I have finally found some peace and rest. I can start to let go of my disappointment.  I’ve been able to let go of my “Wimbledon“ and “Grand Slam” disappointments. But, He’s right. He did bless me with one of my youthful dreams and that will be a blog entry for another day. For the moment, I’ve already won the greatest prize…eternity with God.

The only question that remains is for you my friend: What about you? Where do you need clarity in your life? Pray for wisdom and discernment….

May you be surrounded by His blessings and until next week:

Keep watching and stay awake!

This week I’ve chosen two music videos: “The Voice of Truth” from Casting Crowns (highlighted by “clips” from Facing The Giants)

And “It’s Your Life” by Francesca Battistelli from the movie Soul Surfer. Both are sports related but carry two different messages. These are two of my favorite movies!

Watching and Awake

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Watching and Awake

I am a writer. I write. I’ve been writing since I could read (almost). When I wasn’t writing I was always reading. Rarely will you ever find me without some sort of reading material in hand or close by.

In the last year I desperately tried to start “that novel” but God had other things in mind. He simply wouldn’t let the words flow. Then, through series of domino-effect-like affirmations His Will for me to start a blog actually materialized.

I’ve been working steadily on reading the bible and writing the blog. I have hesitated for many weeks to post anything. It was one thing to acknowledge I was working towards this goal but it was another to actually let go of it and “watch it bloom.” I know there are friends out there praying for me to let this happen and ride God’s Holy Wave. With all the bad news that’s been “percolating” out there; why is this blog happening now? Because, it’s time.

The one thing I don’t want to do is insult God with my own insecurities. Yes, I’m nervous. I’m nervous about how God’s going to use it. I’m nervous about the domino effect it may have. I’m nervous because…I’m putting myself – my thoughts out there with the intention of being “raw, real and honest” about my journey.

Well, I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of wondering. I’m tired of considering all the “what-if’s” running through my head. Most of all, I’m tired of second guessing God. By holding back what I have written, I am not REALLY letting Him put to use the talent I firmly believe He’s given me to share. And that is just WRONG. He called me to do this and the time has arrived…

So, here is my next step of faith, I’m posting an entry, today, and hopefully (regularly) on a weekly basis.  Wherever it takes me, I am counting on His holding my hand and enjoying the ride along with me.

Thank you, Jesus. Please continue to bless what I write and bless those who read the words that follow as well.

May Your will be done –

Obedience: Dressing the Soul

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Me:        Yes, God, I’m here – I’m reading

G:           “It’s time to write.”

Me:        But I’d love to keep reading, just 5 more minutes?

G:           “I’m glad you are getting to know me, but I need you to write”

Me:        Really? Fine…(Grr) …

G:           “What was that?”

Me:        “Nothing…I was just…nothing. I’m starting to write”

So I stop what I WAS doing to answer God’s call to write. He asked me to write this last night. I put off the request because I was figuring out which blogger site to use. By the time I was ready to write, it was 1am and I was tired. Obviously He’s calling me out on my “procrastination” J

Obedience is tough. God is demanding but loving and here’s why I know that’s true.

6 years ago – 2007?

For 4 months the pain tortured me. I couldn’t move my blasted right shoulder. Literally or Physically. It started out as a minor irritation that I couldn’t readily identify. Until I could even raise my arm. The pain was beyond intense. I stood in the kitchen and cried. I had two beautiful babies (they’ll ALWAYS be my babies) that, at the moment, I felt I couldn’t care for. A strange sensation ebbed through me. I could tell the end of the road was nearing and I really didn’t know what that meant.

Months passed and the pain not only worsened but it overwhelmed to the point of incapacitation. I honestly thought I might die. No joke. The Doctors could find no source of pain. No medication helped. I was on my own.

At 38 years old I lay in bed one night. I folded my hands in prayer position and I silently prayed to God a NOT so normal prayer.

“Dear God,

I am in horrific pain. You and I both know this is NO way to live. It is too painful to go on. I hurt so much.  I am through struggling. I am tired. I am ready for this to be over. Yet I will NOT have a part in ending my life. It is NOT my own to take. I love you Lord and you can help. I am on my knees at your feet. Please, either let me die and be at rest with you in Eternity or Heal Me. I am ready to be at peace. If death awaits me, please take care of this family and fill them with your spirit. Comfort them and hold them close. If you are going to heal me, I ask that your miracle touch comes quickly Lord. If you heal me I will follow you and dedicate my life to serving you in obedience.  Whatever your will, Father, let it be done and help me find restoration, peace and rest.  Amen.

Rest had eluded me for weeks if not months. By the time I’d finished my prayer, random tears streamed from my closed eyes to my ears and I laid there not knowing what the morning might bring. My broken body and defeated spirit lay at Jesus feet. I didn’t have another step in me.

I didn’t die that night. And nothing changed the next day. Or the next day. But several days after that lonely experience…SOMETHING did happen.

I was sitting in the home office in the chair – ALONE. No one spoke, but someone was there. My shoulder was still in extreme pain. THEN – I felt what amounts to an “invisible hand” place itself on the inner portion of my injured shoulder and “Click” something into place. The energy present when this happened was HIGH. I didn’t breathe, I couldn’t breathe. I was holding my breath because of the Holy presence in the room. The spirit of God lingered only long enough to restore my health and for me to know He was there. I knew He had accomplished what no medical Dr. had been able to find and fix. God knew what ailed me. He’d simply been waiting for me to come to the foot of the cross and surrender myself to him in my time of need.

So, what did this experience result in? It was the opening page in my “novel” of walking in obedience.

He is patient. I need to be patient.

His timing is perfect. I’m either late or early.

Jesus is Obedient to God and I AM called to be obedient to Jesus.

These three points alone could actually be used to write an entire book. OH! I forgot…they were: it’s called the Bible!  A plethora of examples can be found in The Word. Incidentally, I’d never read the bible before. BUT that is changing and I am in the middle of a one year reading plan I started in January. Yep, and it’s got some really good stuff in it.

The point here is: Obedience to God isn’t something to take lightly, but it is something we ought to do if we want to live the kind of life we were designed for. Think about it. We can wear designer clothes. We try to make our homes look like something straight out of a magazine. We drive fancy cars with heated seats. But which designer are you going to choose for dressing your soul? There are only two options. Will you feed it scriptural nourishment complete with peace, joy, love, mercy and kindness or shrouded in doubt, sickness and sin?

As a footnote, I grew up believing in God and Jesus. I knew who they were. All that was well and good until the time came that Jesus needed more of me and the talents that will serve Him.

He has a plan for my life and until recently l didn’t recognize it. Once the “appointed” time came and I was at Rock bottom, he was prepared and ready to purify me. He could not start working on the inside of me until I was begging for those adjustments. I was facing the fiery furnace but He was there as I stepped in…ready to keep me safe from harm. I escaped unsigned but not unchanged. I had been broken but not beaten. I was a sinner that had eternal salvation. God is good. He’s like that. He doesn’t want any of us to burn in our own sin but to come out of the fire in purest form…refined.

Six years later I find myself taking the baby steps to give this blog “life.” I don’t know what His ultimate plans are for me or for what this blog is supposed to accomplish but I continue to trust in Him and walk where He guides me.  Who knows where that will lead? At least I know He does.

I hope the life of this blog brings a little bit of light into your world. The view from the hilltop is pretty and on a starry night the lights from the city below are breathtaking.

Be showered with blessings. Thanks for sharing the journey….

This is a music video from one of my favorite bands, the Newsboys…it’s called “One Shot.”