{the power of} Words

God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared. ~Genesis 1:3 Have you considered the power of words? A word spoken, “light,” and something began to exist that hadn’t existed before.  That is power. What words have you been speaking?  Have they been positive, upbeat, … Continue reading

A Mouse {or four} In The House

My daughter enthusiastically asked if she could be allowed to make muffins, all by herself, this morning.  She’s been doing things like making mac & cheese and helping prepare meals for a while, so I figured she could handle a stab at it.  She figured out the oven and everything.

Yet, once again, as the oven heated up, we were accosted by a horrible burning smell.  This was one of many times we’ve used the oven to have it smoke and smell up the house… even though it’s been cleaned!  Windows were thrown open and the oven was aired out before the muffins got put in. Slowly the smell dissipated.

As my daughter went to take out the finished muffins, she heard squeaking and thought a bird might be caught outside the kitchen window.  But as she opened the oven door it was clearly louder.  A little bit of looking and listening revealed a startling discovery…

As we pulled out the bottom drawer of the oven the floor was covered in mouse poops, fuzz, bits of papers and dust.  And On some kind of plastic tray lay a mouse  He was clearly stuck, it’s back leg black and deformed, it’s face and front paws covered in something that seemed to have melted to it, and to the tray.  As we watched it squeaked pathetically and writhed in attempt to move…

My son found a stick outside and pulled the tray closer to us.  Three mice, some looked roasted, others looked only slightly singed, came out with the first mouse.  My head spun with the the stench that filled the room immediately, both kids gagged.

We grabbed a bucket and filled it with water – my son begged to “take care of business” and into the water went the mostly dead mouse.

As we looked around there was evidence of more activity.  Under the sink especially.  Ugh!

We now have three different traps at work for us.  Under the oven has been cleaned out, as has under the sink and everywhere in between, for good measure.   All I can say is , YUCK.

A Miracle

Have you ever lived a day where at the end of it you sit down completely in shock that you experienced all you did?  Bone weary and emotionally numb, yet somehow fragile; when tears are on the brink but hysterical laughter is rising in your gut?

That was my day recently.

When God works through your faith to inspire another’s it is a miraculous thing.  I was given this privilege with a front row seat in the lives the people closest to me when my Father planted a vision in my heart and mind.

As I shared this with my husband, and repeated what I believed God to be speaking to me, he lit up like I hadn’t seen in a long time. Years before being battered by disappointment and discouragement, my husband was a passionate visionary with some pretty incredible visions of his own.  The look in his eye while I was sharing the vision that had been pressed into me reminded me of those years long ago.  He ran with it.

While things started to shape up and timing seemed to be perfect, it felt like we were completely inline with God’s desire for our lives.  But soon after we got ourselves past the point of no return we began to experience random glitches.  As we went through these things, totally confused and somewhat helpless as to immediate fixes, I could hear certain peoples’ voices saying, “oops, maybe you ran ahead of God,” or “I guess you didn’t get that vision from God after all {wink, wink},” or “That’s okay, we all get it wrong sometimes,” or “Well, seems like God is closing the door!

Except, we were already on the other side of the threshold… if the door was closing it was closing behind us because we were already through it.  And, as I went through the different scenarios of what outcomes we may face I felt a certain stilling peace form in the center of my gut.  My husband, however, didn’t so much.  He felt fear.  He saw a history that told a very different story.  He saw impossibility, and he saw his inability to make it different.

I quietly stood my ground.  It was outrageous, what I was convinced God would do for us.  And while I fully believed He could, and that He was whispering to me that He would, the honest question of whether or not He was going to do it now hovered over our household as we waited.  And waited.  And encountered still more setbacks and glitches.

Then, when we were completely on empty – I mean literally, out of options and at a $0 – He moved.  We got a call.  A call so out of the blue and unexpected that after my husband shared it with me we just stood together, tears seeping down our cheeks.

It was unexpected, over the top, outrageous, and wild kindness.  A complete gift.

Then another call.  Another solution that hit us from left-field, smack between the eyes, and right in the guts of our hearts.  A provision randomly provided in exactly the right time and amount.

Suddenly, what was a total and complete impossibility was actually going to happen. 

Before my eyes my husband became a new man.  He completely transformed as he absorbed the incredible miracle we were experiencing together.  God didn’t let him down this time, He came through and in a powerful way.  And He came through even though my husband didn’t feel like he had done anything to earn it – and actually he felt the exact opposite, he was afraid he’d lost favor because he had a recent string of random “failures.”  {his view on it all, not mine}

Along side of us, our children had joined in prayer and in believing for what we envisioned, with us.  When they heard that we were in jeopardy of loosing it, they spoke out innocent belief and prayed deeply insightful prayers over their mommy and daddy in childish words.  When their prayers were answered, they were almost more excited over that, then the realization of what we were about to encounter.

I believe that sometimes God leads us in a direction that allows us to squirm a bit as He sets the stage to reveal the incomprehensible depths of His love and ability to provide, not just our needs but also our dreams and desires.  Taking what is impossible and transforming it into reality.

I believe this because I am living it.

 

Deliverance Part 1: Amazing Grace

I walked through something called deliverance.  The first time I heard about it was through a friend, who asked me if I knew what it was.  My only experience with anything of that nature up to this point was a story I was told by missionaries who spent 5 hours casting demons out of a woman who collapsed in exhaustion afterwards.  My friend assured me that the deliverance she was speaking of was nothing like that.  She recommended a book called 2 Hours To Freedom, by Charles H. Kraft.  After reading the book, I knew this was something I needed.  Up until this point, I was living in a hole of fear.  Fear and control, manipulation and fog.  I was afraid of people, of dark places, of new experiences, of being left alone with my kids when my husband traveled.  I was afraid of disappointing others, of what people thought of me.  I was too afraid to speak to some people and I went out of my way to control situations so that I could keep fear at bay.  I was controlling within my marriage and over my children. I was afraid of my husband leaving us.    Walking through deliverance was one of the most amazing, incredible and odd experiences I have ever gone through.  It was nothing like I expected or was afraid it would be.  There was so much acceptance, openness and partnership, I felt safe.  I felt loved.  I cried a whole lot, coughed some, and was thoroughly prayed over.  I felt validated and understood.  I felt affirmed and I felt set free for the first time in my life.  I walked out of the room lighter, peaceful and with a deep calm joy.  For a few days I couldn’t stop smiling.

 It was explained to me that unforgiveness gives the Enemy a stronghold in my life to hang out and bully me, specifically for me in the way of fear. Forgiveness is something that I have spent a long time learning and working through.  For years it has been a major theme of my life.  But sitting down and going a bit deeper, writing down on paper things from my past that came to mind, I discovered that the biggest area of unforgiveness I was still struggling with, was with myself.

What follows the act of becoming delivered is what is most important.  I was encouraged to be vigilant and stand firm in my newly gained freedom.  I had a list of things to pray, to stand against when the attacks came.  And come they did.  When you remove strongholds from within you, you basically step on a bee hive and have a bunch of homeless bees on the defense.  The old frustration, irritation, temptation to jump in and control, the habit of fear – it all came back.  But the differences was that now, with strongholds gone, these things didn’t overwhelm me or control me from within.  They just buzzed around my head and shoulders.

At times it got so intense that I remember stopping in the middle of putting shoes on my screaming toddler, getting down on my kitchen floor and simply repeating the name of Jesus over and over, until I could literally feel the air around me open up again.  Sometimes the most intense attacks came in the form of old habits, and bickering children.  But now, all I do is simply call the “attacker” by name (annoyance, irritation, fear, strife, etc) and tell it to leave us alone, in Jesus name.  I am still in awe of how the air literally clears when we practice this. 

There was a day, while walking on the beach, when I remembered something we had been struggling through with my oldest son.  We had recently learned of some traumatic experiences that he’d had  gone through several years back, things that had I known at the time I would have taken swift care of.  But he’d been bullied into not telling, tormented with threats of harm.  Before any of this was revealed to me, I had flared up in frustration over his behavior.  I had yelled, and there had been door slamming.  We’d all been reduced to tears.  When He was finally able to speak out the things that were haunting him, with the encouragement of a word of knowledge the Lord gave me, things changed dramatically in our home.  But there are still moments of tense frustration.  It was one of these moments I was encountering in memory.  At that moment I remembered how crushingly harsh I had responded and guilt flew to the cracking of my heart like a swarm of vultures ready for an easy meal.  Fresh guilt for not having known what he’d had to endure years ago, for not having known and rescued him. New flocks of guilt descended on top of the first flock, for not being more loving now, more patient now.  

I was in tears.  I was torn apart inside and sobbing openly right there in public.  As if that wasn’t enough, memories flew in, memories of other moments where I failed horribly as a mom to all three of my children.  When I had cut them down in sarcasm or snapped at them in rushed frustration.  I was begging God’s forgiveness out loud, waves crashing and rushing toward my feet, seagulls calling above my head.  

A familiar sound rose up from within my core,  “As you have forgiven all who have hurt you, I have forgiven you.  In the same way you have let them off the hook, decided to no longer hold them accountable for their offenses against you, I have let you off the hook with your children.  

When I look at them I do not see your mistakes.  I do not see wounds you have given them.  When I look at them I see in each of them the beauty I placed within you to impart to them.  As I have dealt with you, I will deal with them.  As I have healed you, I will heal them.  I will care for them as I have cared for you, and I will supply them with all that they need to overcome all that they have faced and will face in their futures.  

My only requirement of you is to continue living out the example of forgiveness, and to love them continually with the love I pour into you.”  

I wish I could say that the whole swarm of guilt lifted off and all is well.  It did lift.  It did soar a respectable distance above my head and leave me be for a while.   As I forgive myself, as I soak in the words spoken over me from within, as I sit and listen to others share their experiences of freedom and lessons of joy, of throwing off the shackles of religion, I see the flock of guilt hovering above me grow thinner.    As I practice speaking out, “I forgive myself” I see the flock growing thinner still.

A continued theme as I walk forward in this new found freedom has been that God has let me off the hook.  He no longer holds me accountable for the things I have done, or the ways in which I have failed.  He sees me as radiantly beautiful, a luminescent reflection of Himself, mirrored in three incredible children who are healthy, healing, growing and loving.  If God is not holding me accountable for failing, then who am I to keep myself dangling from the clutches of guilt? 

Motherhood: a ministry of the willing woman

Motherhood is not defined by children in her care, by those she carried within herself till birth.  Motherhood is not defined by those who’ve adopted, or fostered or inherited by circumstance.  Motherhood is not withheld from those who have lost, or never had. Motherhood is not waiting for those who are longing to become.

Motherhood is the formal title for the ministry entered into by the woman who is willing to receive those who are in need of her, whatever form or method in which they arrive into her life.

The ministry of motherhood is a gentle art forged in the fires of sleepless nights and interrupted life.  It is a ministry that keeps long hours; a ministry of sacrifice, service, and of selfless offerings. It is a ministry of coming to the end of herself, of being ministered to, being filled with that which is beyond her so that she can continue to pour into the endless depths of another human life.

The ministry of motherhood is a timeless garment, a veil of transparency worn best when cinched with a belt of humility.  It is a display of beauty when accompanied by grace.  For, as each eye seeking material to reproduce will at some point place on display her every flaw and imperfection, repeat her words both wise and foolishly spoken, and will do so completely beyond her realm of control.  The ministry of motherhood is embroidered with the delicate art of laughing at herself when seen through the eyes of those who look to her for imitation.

The ministry of motherhood is at the heart of every woman, from the time of Eve.  It has touched us all.  The ministry of motherhood is not always one of blood and birth, but is always of heart and soul.  A mother is one who is familiar with sacrifice, her own self tearing and ripping with the tearing and ripping of another.  She brings life into this world, whether by body or spirit overflow.  It is a pouring of herself into the living self of another, tirelessly, relentlessly, forgivingly and patiently, with endless empathy.  She is one who teaches what love is, nurtures understanding, coaxes up the learning.  The ministry of motherhood weaves up that forgiving place for those she loves to retreat within, finding safety and grace. It is a ministry of understanding what lies beneath, of speaking truth in loving tones, of harboring the helpless through storms and lifting high the matured to catch wind and take flight

The ministry of motherhood is freely given, to the deserving and undeserving alike. It does not wait for her to gain an understanding; she learns her skill through the hours of setting aside herself for another. The ministry of motherhood is not merely a calling. It is the very heart of life.  It catches her all by surprise, whisks away her breath and calls her into unknown waters in the blink of an eye. It is she who rises up, it is she who will claim her place, whether or not she is ready and whether or not she understands the package it comes to her in, it is she who will leave us with legacy after legacy of wonder loving grace

It is her life laid down for another that shows us the meaning of living, this ministry of motherhood.  It is here that each woman finds her captivating beauty, her exquisite elegance, her ageless allure.  For at whatever age a girl becomes a mother, and through whatever the circumstances her ministry is birthed, her touch, her voice, her love and her life will last, reaching down through generation after generation, and long beyond her final breath.

To my mother who gave birth to me and raised me well, to those mothers who have and continue to nurture me in spirit and to all these mothers who accept and invest selflessly into the lives of my children.

Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you, this world would not be the same without your love!

Striving For God Or With God: Are You Frustrated?

Today, my prayer is for an emptying of all things that are fulfilling and satisfying.  Sound a bit off? Maybe!  But I learned something this morning. Taken from Genesis, the story of Cain and Able, I discovered a difference between … Continue reading

Ready

Cracked and dry, broken and weary.  Ready to receive.

Like the first few drops of rain falling on parched land, words from another who sees Your Face and knows Your Love and walks in Your Daily Grace, seep into my spirit.  Drops disappearing from the surface almost as fast as they fall, but going to work deep within.

Where seeds of hidden truth lie in wait, and hope shriveled into dormant slumber dreams of what used to be.   Where echos of a life of laughter and all things possible once existed, now lie the leftovers of what happens when more wind blows than water falls.

I was once called by a name.  I was once told of a great and mighty gift I was formed to posses.  I once reached timid hand outstretched to receive and be blessed.

Then my surroundings changed as my footsteps directed in a different path.  And words from disheartened and soul-hungry, beat down and oppressed, who scoffed at things felt, and upheld things thought as best, words that pierced my heart, shook my faith and caught me at the knee.

And when you forget how to find that falling water, to refresh and refill, those words can kill the life right out of things tender and growing within.

But You never left me to completely wither.  You sustained me in the innermost places.  And calling to me, You pursue me as relentlessly as the sun rises each morning.  You have sent rain.  A trickle and a taste of what is yet to come.

   “For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19

Picking Up The Pieces

Today was not what it was meant to be.  Though carefully planned and penned and drafted, posted on the clip board hanging near the kitchen table.  Discouragement set in.

I was not who I wanted to be.  My children were not who I wanted them to be.  My husband was not home to help any of us.

My toddler screaming, my son arguing, my daughter defying… me sinking lower.

Our choices reflecting our states of minds, and the reflections echoing off one another like those short melodies you cannot forget once they are sung.

Our home in tatters by bed time, with two in tears and one confined to bed, with the fourth and final player in a heart-to-heart with Dad.  We fell apart today.

And here, in the quiet aftermath, I am left.  Alone in the wake of my choices, heart heavy and eyes still blurring with tears.  Grateful there is One I can pour my heart out to, ugly and messy and riddled with mistakes.  Just grateful to let the tears flow.  Humbled and laid low, desiring His cleansing grace.

We’ve been here before, He and I.  I know His compassion and His kindness breaks my heart for good.  He sees how undeserving I am, and He receives me still.  Whole and full is His acceptance of my pitiful and pathetic offering.

It is He who picks up the pieces.  Gently and evenly putting me back to working self.  The shattered bits of me, laying at His feet, the fear and soul-fatigue, the unforgiveness and the shame.  He picks them up and dusts them off and fits their shapes back on, renewed as courage, refinement, humility and compassion.

Tomorrow we start again.  Fresh with apologies made and forgiveness applied.  Rebuilt, and refined.

 “I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.” ~Jeremiah 31:4