Pages

The Last Day of Winter


Walking down these northern streets, it doesn't "feel" like Spring.



I read and accept an invitation, "OPEN" to step out of the cold and into a world of color. 

Like crossing with Dorothy over a threshold, from a weary land of grey and into a world of color, I step out of Winter and into Spring.




I saw another invitation in the scripture this morning; here, it called to me again:

My beloved spoke and said to me,
"Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
 
 
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
 
 
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,...
 
 
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me."
- Song of Solomon 2
 
 
Some days I feel in such a funk, more than just a bad mood; it's captivity.

Instead of taking my thoughts captive, I am held captive by my thoughts, enslaved by bitter memories and regret that I just won't let go, that I don't know how to let go.
 
Especially on those days, the LORD whispers to me, "Come away.  Leave those burdens, and come with me!"  When I hear and accept His invitation, it's like stepping into a warm, fragrant florist shop, discovering an oasis in the middle of my cold, harsh winter world. 
 
 

He speaks the words I need to hear, "Grace is LIFE for you!"

"You have been grace; now, grace your world!!!"

"Grace the un-graceful or that is what you will become."

His invitation is life, freedom, and victory.  The power of the Resurrection is a doorway, an escape from barren thoughts into beauty.  

Is the story too familiar; because I'm 30 years "saved"?   Will I stand in the cold of my sin looking in as through a window at Spring because I've lost the wonder of the grace I've been given, because I've become un-graceful, critical, bitter, judgmental, cynical? 
 
 
Some things, like the fragrance of flowers, can not be experienced from a distance. Holding a grudge, having a critical spirit, or being too proud to apologize is a "small" thing, like peering through a thin sheet of glass, but anything between me and the Lord is "big" when it keeps me from life at its fullest.
 

Oh, friend, the view is so different up-close, on the other side of the pane.  Weary Christian, does it "feel" like winter in your soul because you won't let something go?  Does it feel like you're on the outside looking in, missing the "secret" to abundant life and victory?
 
The "secret" is drawing near, accepting his invitation to come away.  Letting all the entangling weeds of sin and pride go and walking in the New Life of His presence.  Even in the winter seasons of the soul, it is always Spring in the Holy Place of prayer.  (Confession, Thanksgiving, Praise, Intercession, ... these are seed that continually bloom into flowers of freedom, contentment, perspective, and miraculous provision in the greenhouse of His presence!) 
His will for us is fruitfulness, not barrenness; victory, not defeat; joy, not despair.

Put an end to the "just get by" mindset. We don't have to stay out in the cold another moment, believing the lie that "this is all there is". 
 
Come inside, come away; come to a quiet place!
 
 
He has saved us, graced us, and offered us freedom!  Accept it and give it!

The Waters Roar and Foam

Psalm 46, rolls off my tongue, verse after verse,...


...like waves of the sea spilling and tumbling on to the shore.


I stand and recite a Psalm of Praise to my God, reminding myself of His power and goodness.  As I take in His living, moving art, I worship.


"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 


Therefore we will not fear,


though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,


though its waters roar and foam....


"God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day...


"Be still and know that I am God...


"I will be exalted in the earth..."

video

I go to the seaside to seek the Lord and find perspective.

Winter or summer, rain or shine, the crashing tide in all its shades of grey and green leaves me in awe of my Creator.  Regardless of what I am facing, standing alone, so small and insignificant in contrast to the vast and mighty, I find my worth. 

He is here with me, within me.  He knows me.  He loves me.   And, I am swept away by the revelation that He wants me to know Him.

video

"The Lord, Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

Take a minute, open your Bible, and read the entire Psalm.  Stand at your window, look in the mirror, gaze on the face of someone you love, and be in awe of what Your God has done.

Undiscovered

Oh, the freedom of flying under the radar,
hidden,
private;
living a quiet life without the pressure to preform.


"make it your ambition..."

(v.  make it your goal, aspire, earnestly endeavor, strongly desire, zealously strive after)

"...to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and work with your hands..."  (1 Thes. 4:11)

unseen
unnoticed by the crowds, the flocks of distracted busy people

to do my own thing

to soar with these wings God has given me


Being real.   Discovering "me".

I have flat, straight hair today because I didn't pack my curling iron, but I feel so beautiful in His presence. I'm tucked away in a one bedroom apartment somewhere on the North Atlantic coast...


Just me and Jesus, and my vanity falls away. Oh, to live like this!

...to write like this.

Oh, to know my voice,
to know His voice,
to echo His words until I sound like Him,
talk like Him,
write like Him,
live like Him,
look like Him.

Oh, to be like Jesus.

But, then to find a way to stay hidden in Him and yet share the freedom I have found...

The sky is big enough to share, and so are You God.  After all, You're not mine to keep.  I am Yours.


Insecurity, you don't sound like my Savior; get far away from me. You clip my wings and tie me down.  You whisper fear and tempt me to compare, envy, and judge.

Lord, these days are precious; I realize this when Your face is all I see. Help me to desire only Your praise and approval, to enjoy the freedom of being known to You, seen by You and undiscovered by the world. 


Keep me hidden, Lord, and take me deeper until all the fear of man is worked out of me.  Then keep me hidden still; so that when people look at me, You are all that is seen and You are the One discovered.
 

How to live.

Deep thinker.  Poet.  Philosopher.  Dreamer.

I can paralyze myself with thoughts.

Life is short.
I want to live this life well.
But, What does it mean "to live well"?
And, Who do I allow to define "the life well lived"?

Time passes; pages of ramblings fill my journal leading me back to where I began.
Live is short... Only now my life is a couple hours shorter.

How does the "thinker" become a "doer"?

Handsome sings the answer for me, "Put One Foot in Front of the Other".  Oh, my simple wise husband with the motto, "Just Live!"... so like the Nike slogan, "Just Do It!" 


My soon to be sister-in-love, lost 90 pounds and ran a half marathon. How?
She put on her shoes and started to walk.

How do you
...run a mile, 5K,10K, marathon?
...write a book?
...play an instrument?
...learn to cook?
...eat an elephant?

One step, one word, one note, one ingredient, one bite at a time.

You want to know how to live?  
If your heart is beating and you're breathing, all you're lacking is action fleshing out a dream. 

What is tucked away deep inside your soul?
What were you created to do?
Got the vision? ... Now go to it.

Start now. Start walking, start writing, start playing, start cooking...
painting, singing, speaking, sketching, building, teaching,...
And as you begin, you'll discover what you need to do...
buy a new pair of running shoes,
take a class,
find a mentor,
volunteer, ...


If you come to a wall, pray.
The Lord will show you if you need to tear it down, climb over, or walk around, but I doubt He'll tell you to quit, go sit on the couch and watch TV.

So, how will I live?
One moment at a time.
One step at a time.

I will dream. I will pray. I will keep moving forward.
Little bit, by little bit.  However slow at first, until I know I am running this race well.

"The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong..." Eccl. 9:11
"Run in such a way as to get the prize."  1 Cor. 9:24
"I have fought the fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith."  2 Tim. 4:7
"My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me..." Acts 20:24

BTW - I have signed up for a 5K.  Now I'm running figuratively and literally!
 

HOME

HOME:  marriage, children, laughter,... family.


not perfect, but loved and forgiven... graced.


Does it get any better than this here on earth?

 
 
Life is messy.


But as we face the pressure and the heat of life,


God shapes us, refines us, into something wonderful.

 
And as we love each other, we give the world a taste of heaven on earth.
 


HOME:  awakens my senses...
the "feel" of home,
the sounds of laughter and tears,
the touch of hugs and kisses,
the tastes of favorite dishes,
the smells, aaaah,...

With a house filled with the mouth-watering aromas of rising dough, cinnamon and sugar baking, and buttery icing melting, I am reminded of 2 Cor. 2:15.  I want my life, our lives, this home, to be a sweet fragrance rising to God... something the world "smells" that reminds them of Christ.


Cinnamon rolls...
Good to the very last bite! 
I love saving the best for last, sweet swirl from the middle. 
I pop it in my mouth and think, "Lord, let us be a 'taste of heaven' to this world ... every day, to the very last day of our lives. 

They wanted to die, but God said LIVE.

After a week of tribulations,
relatively minor on the biblical-proportions-scale,
but significant to me none the less,
I decided I wanted to quit.

I was comforted remembering that men of greater faith than myself had given up; yet, God had a different plan.

  • "Elijah came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'  Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep."  1 Kings 19
  • "Moses was troubled... 'If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now - if I have found favor in your eyes - and do not let me face my own ruin.'"  Numbers 11
  • "I wish He would crush me...  I wish He would reach out His hand and kill me...  I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine...  I despise my life... my days have no meaning."  Job 6, 7
  • "I curse the day I was born! ... Why was I ever born?  My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame."  Jeremiah 20
  • "Now, O LORD take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live... (and again he said,) It would be better for me to die than to live... I am angry enough to die."  Jonah 4

... in each case the Lord showed up.  

Why should my story be any different?

Discouraged and tired of waiting, I stomped out to the car in pjs and muck-boots, to take a drive and think.  Where could I go?  I felt hounded by the Holy Spirit.  If He wasn't going to hurry-up and solve my problems or speak-up and give me some answers, then I wanted to be left alone. 

"Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?"
Psalm 139
in the shower,
on the road,
in the woods,
in the dark-silent-midnight hours,...
"hemmed in behind and before".

How many times had I asked, "Lord, if You're going to hang around, would You speak up?"

I felt cornered by a silent God with no choice but to trust.  There was nothing I could do.  It seemed unfair to be at His mercy.
... and so I waited.

"How long, O LORD?  Will You forget me forever?  How long will You hide Your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? ... Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death." Psalm 13

My thoughts go to another man, ever faithful, ever praising, ever interceding; yet he wanted to die.  Slow and painful, years and years of waiting, bedridden, longing to be taken home; yet spared only to suffer.

And the theme of the book he chose to give: "REST".

I skimmed the familiar pages and my thoughts returned to Elijah.

He slept. -- He woke, ate and drank, and then lay down again. --  Woke again, ate again and was  strengthened...

restless.
weary.

Lord, thank You for all the times You give me no other choice but to wait.  You never leave me.  I feel Your presence, even when You are silent.  I am sorry that I wrestle against Your Sovereignty, not understanding or appreciating Your ways.   I choose to trust Your character tonight; no worries, no plans, no thoughts of tomorrow.  I choose to rest... in You. 

Though I don't know how my story will turn out, I have seen the final chapters for the men of faith in scripture, and I know that You will always be near, good, and in control.



As long as I have breathe, there is more to my story, Your story for me.
So, I will wait with hope.

Oh, LORD, let me conclude as David, "But, I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD for he has been good to me."  Psalm  13:5-6



 
 
At the time of writing this post, I have received word of two suicides this week.  Dear One, if you are overwhelmed and discourage, if your situation feels hopeless and the Lord silent, hear me...
 
There is more of your story still to be written. 
 
My best advice would be to step outside, breath in deep, and pray.  Tell God how mad or disappointed or lonely or frustrated or overwhelmed you are.  (He can take your anger and doubt.)  Read 1 Kings 19.  (The story of when Elijah wanted to die.)  Take a shower, dress in your favorite comfy clothes, grab something yummy to eat or warm to drink, watch a positive movie like It's a Wonderful Life that will let you step out of your "world" for an hour or so, and then curl up and get some sleep. 
 
If things don't look brighter in the morning, call a friend you can confide in or the pastor of your local church.  If you can't think of anyone to talk to, you can always call 1-800-A-FAMILY. (Focus on the Family has counselors available from 8 am to 10 pm eastern time.)   If it is the middle of the night and you need to talk, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a free confidential phone call (24/7).