Saturday, April 30, 2011
---When you hear many voices calling for you and needing you and you need some time to recharge without that guilty feeling? I have learned the hard way that putting myself last all the time has taken its toll. I know that I cannot love others as myself if I don't take time to love myself.
---One thing I need that does not cost money is time alone. I relish time when I can explore ideas, learn new things, reach out in words to write my children, friends, to express my heart towards God. I feel free and like I am being my true self.
---Other times I am so energized by being near the ones I love. I love to have time alone with my hubby, or one on one time with one of my kids, sister, or parents. I also love the house popping full of people. My husband and I get energized with the love pouring through the house as little ones totter, bigger ones whoop it up, going for walks to get out for a bit with grandchildren in tow as I listen to their cheerful chatter.
---Exhuberant worship is another arena of freedom and flying high in my spirit. I love to move and be moved. I am awed at such a being that is so full of pure love and I desire to be more like Him everyday. I have so much to learn. I am eager to be with Him and I want Him to ooze out of my life, my pores, my mouth, my actions, my every thought...first and last...I want to please my Lord and I cannot wait to see Him clearly face to face. For now, I must love my neighbor as myself, so here I go!
First I will soak up love from Him alone in my closet, and then I will pour it out on mankind nearby.
Ready, set, go!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Lance had a load fall on him when he was in his twenties and crippled him waist down for life. He thought his life was over, but years later, he was able to have children, and he has prospered at business, and never missed a beat with God. He is one of the front line singers and rolled out for the end of the pastor's message along with the others for a standing ovation by 4,000 in the crowd last night.
Martha and Josh Lopez were next. They had been expecting their first, who they were going to name Josh, when they miscarried. His sister, who was in drugs and was living in sin got pregnant with another baby, and planned to call it Joshua. Josh and Marsha were heart broken still and this seemed very insensitive of her, since that was their choice for their first child. They looked to God for healing and peace. Then out of the blue months later they were contacted by a relative who told them that the baby was in Florida and had been abandoned by his mother. They did not hesitate. They went to rescue Josh and later adopted him. So, their first child WAS named Josh and he has brought such joy into their household. God was preparing hearts as well as a place for this little guy.
Next, there was Mark, who is a photographer, who one day was leaving his studio and was hurt so bad in an accident right outside, on a Saturday afternoon, that they thought he was dying. Out of nowhere came a military young man who called for emergency help and then a cab driver stopped, prayed with him for his salvation, fearing the worst, and would not stop laying hands on him until the EMTs arrived. Actually, Mark said that the man's whole body was very hot from the Holy Ghost. He was so thankful that this young man persisted. He has a scarred face, but God healed and restored him.
Then there is Meka. She said goodbye to her husband as he went off to work. He was a high ranking officer in the army and took a flight on a Black Hawk helicopter that went down in Europe. He left that morning and did not return home. Now she is raising two little boys, ages 4 and 10. She stood by me in the choir on Thursday night. I know she has had three and a half years to heal, but I was sensing that her wounds were opened up and hurting afresh. I reached out and patted her back, she smiled a painful smile and said she was okay at the end of her testimony. Then we sang "When I Don't Know What to Do" and Cindy Magsig sings this with such clarity as her soul pours out through her solo parts. I praise God for these brave saints who shared their pain, their faith in God, and who have stood firm in their walk with God to encourage us to look up for our strength and peace.
This morning I read a post that a friend, Linda Chontos, wrote in her blog. I was touched by her struggle to reconcile a God of love allowing "bad" in our lives. We all know that they happen to everyone and yet sometimes we think we might be immune because we're God's kids, but more often than not, that is why we are targeted.
This blog of hers inspired me to write this morning. I have not even gone into much that I have experienced. I just don't know how to express so much that has happened, but I do thank God for the compassion, the perspective, the walk with Him as my constant guide, healer, lover, and best friend.
I have had many circumstances in my life that have been dramatic or traumatic. Many were not my doing at all. Others followed through my choices. I did not have any foresight of the things that would follow them.
Now that I face new challenges, I have struggled with the question: What is it to walk in faith in the face of this financial crisis? Just because of my personality, I feel like I am being irresponsible to just trust. Actually, we are doing all we can at this point and all avenues are being blocked. I call it our log jam.
My husband complimented me the other day and said I was really maturing in my faith. I looked to God and said, this is maturity? I just don't even let it cross my mind, it feels like denial, but actually, I know who the attack is from, so I am ignoring the enemy and waiting for God's timing for our finances to be released. We continue praising God the Almighty. I worship and thank God this Easter that He is in me, working through all Christians and wanting to make a difference in our world. This is the life! I would have no other!
By the way, "ignoring" and allowing God to work. Allowing ourselves to be His channels and trust in in His timing has started to loosen the log jam! In the midst of this I have retired from teaching which is totally insane considering our situation. I just know it is God. I received a prophecy last summer telling me to be bold and go forward with what God has placed on my heart. I have desired to be free to minister, rather than merely rent my brain. I am reaching out in faith to hold onto God and His vision for a ministry that he planted in my heart through the years of teaching. I may have rented my brain, but he was working my heart and giving me experiences that would lead me to my ministry.
So, I want to encourage you to be patient. Let God weave his perfect tapestry. You are a culmination of many events that make you just who you were intended to be. Be content to know that He stands back and says, "See that place in your life when you thought it was the pits? That night when you were crying because your heart was breaking? That was when we had that special moment and you saw how my heart breaks because my beloved on earth don't spend time loving me."
Family, things, entertainment, work, pleasure, the lure of sin, all get in the way and become more important. How His heart aches to bring us all into His kingdom of love. I am thankful to be a funnel on this Earth and I pray that I will always be faithful and demonstrate back to God how much I truly love and honor Him.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Like the prisoner who has satisfied the sentence and walks out freely
Like a butterfly captured in a child's net-then released
Like a young heifer tangled in the brush and set free
Like words of affirmation held back from our ears that finally flow our way
Like stern looks, frowns, and scowls changed to joy and peaceful countenances
Like phantoms that once hid and jumped -now stalwart-transformed from fear to faith
Like cursing, verbal torment now bubbling with kindness to gently uplift
Like a raging lion quiets down after having the painful thorn removed
Like an imprisoned princess when released by a valiant knight
Like a dry, dusty, travel wearied elephant plunging into river waters
Like a staked out family dog which is released when the guests leave
Like a city under siege when the marauding bandits are defeated
Like a hot sterile desert, now watered, blooming with life and sustenance
Like a bruised, battered child who now feels the tender love and nurturing deserved all along
Like a voice which had no reason to, but sings uncontrollably with deep felt joy
It is well, it is well with my soul
Sunday, April 10, 2011
James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. (NIV)
The ups and downs of life is the thread in my mind this week. My emotions have run a roller coaster in the past six months. My husband working so hard and finding his success as a reward; a son stationed in Afghanistan, then returning safely back to his family; the death of a dearly loved one and watching my husband struggle with the absence of his mother; retiring from a career that I have loved and wondering what is next; a new granddaughter born far away and not yet held in my arms; watching my oldest daughter work, study, keep her faith, and love well; stronger family ties with a son stationed nearby for a brief time; almost losing a dear daughter, son-in-law, and four dear grand children to a faraway place, then (sigh) changes kept them nearby; letting go of my youngest daughter as she returned to minister in South Africa to reach, teach, and be a loving hand of God; launching my youngest son into middle school; new relationships forged and old friendships renewed; a new awareness of injustices that I cannot ignore; more time to spend with family; a grandson going through surgery; and a new life style that demands restructuring and prioritizing.
Change is expected, but when changes stare us in the face, well, we have the opportunity to adjust, center ourselves, and look up for a hand from God with the road map. This week's entry to my blog is a poem full of some of these fleeting thoughts which I am sure that you can relate to.
Life is a whirlwind of events, people, and emotions to boot.
Which way shall I go, who shall I speak to, and how shall I react?
You never know when you wake up what will be what, do you?
I wander along familiar paths and then life takes a turn, oh no!
When I look to find my way I find out that all the rules have changed.
Well, life is also an adventure, a thrill, always new sights and smells.
Which new thing shall I venture into, where shall I head next?
Shall I snort and laugh hilariously? Or am I tempted to shrink away?
Only the day and the hour will tell... I cannot wait to find out.
Life is a destiny, for when you find that place you belong, that fits...
You sense a sudden warmth spreading like after a gulp of steaming tea.
It moves inside you then out again with the speed of a snail.
Massaging in such delightful contentment that will not be contained for long.
Life has its ups and downs, and at times is unexplainable in words.
Craziness both good and bad, shuddering and cold like an iceberg,
While other times so delight, that the warmth floods to refresh the soul.
Life is a whirlwind of the unknown and I am sure that it is best that way.
Fight the good fight. Change what you can. Pray for the rest and God who can do all things well, will work in your behalf. Keep the faith and look up. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We are his children, and that makes us joint heirs with Jesus. Do you even dare to think what that means to us? Let's begin to delight and rejoice in life. Let us be compassionate and lift the load of a neighbor, or of a needy one afar off. Let us be a light, the salt, and a breath of fresh air to a waiting world that needs the love of God in their midst.
(Begun in April and completed on September 30, 2011)
Saturday, April 2, 2011
"What Wondrous Love Is This Oh My Soul"
(an American folk hymn that soothes and sings a love song to our great Lord and Savior, Jesus)
1. What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul
What wondrous love is this, O my soul
What wondrous love is this
that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul
2. When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down
When I was sinking down, sinking down
When I was sinking down
Beneathe God's righteous frown
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul
Christ laid aside His Crown for my soul
3. To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing
To God and to the Lamb I will sing
To God and to the Lamb, Who is the great I AM
While millions join the theme I will sing, I will sing
While millions join the theme I will sing
4. And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on, I'll sing on
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing and joyful be
And through eternity, I'll sing on, I'll sing on
And through eternity, I'll sing on