It’s in the lines around her eyes. In the invisible trails left by tears shed in secret. I see it. I see a lot of things. hurt. betrayal. wounds of various kinds. pain. things done in secret, kept a secret. … Continue reading
I have a new philosophy in life. Applying it has begun to save me a lot of stress. It’s simple in theory. Just Don’t Look This idea came to me in the car. I have four children and one on … Continue reading
“Can I be completely honest with you,” my friend asked me one evening as we lounged together. These words have become comfortingly familiar. She is a woman whose friendship has become a source of life and strength. I often walk … Continue reading
to look; to direct your eyes toward something or someone, to think about a situation or subject carefully, to closely examine, a visual search or examination.
to approach;to come near to in quality, character, time or condition, to come within range.
recompense; make amends for loss or harm suffered, to compensate, compensation or reward given for loss or harm suffered.
Holy Spirit, how many wonders do you have? How can I possibly praise you enough for the miracles I have seen with my own eyes? You have made the impossible a reality, brought dreams to life and in miraculous ways You have protected those who know and love You. I have only to look back over my brief life to see the events that betray Your hand at work on my behalf, protecting me from dangers, sickness and even death. You have surrounded me, enveloped me and encased me in Your very presence. Though many have fallen prey and some have passed away, You have kept Your steadfast hand upon me. Lord, please, wake up the ones You love, who listen to Your voice, rise up in us the voice to call out for those who do not yet know the protection and healing, the life and power, You afford us at our invitation. Give us the voice and the faith to stand in Your grace and to pull others in with us, to know and to love You. Thank You for Your faithful action at the promise of Your Word. That those who turn away from sin, the arrogance of hurting others for the sake of selfish gain, the arrogance of our own understanding and pride in our own achievements without acknowledgement of You, of foolishness and ignorance; they are securely protected in You. Teach us all to know You, and to love like You so that we are all covered in Your promise. Amen.
“A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.”
I can hear it…. my fingers feel it… a melody, and a song written somewhere just beyond my reach.
My fingers touch the keys. Stiff. Longing. Untrained. Aching…
So many things well up within me. Things I don’t have the words to speak, or to write. Wonderful things. Mourning things. Things heavy with both joy and sorrow; the ache of loss a friend has to face… the triumph of a victory for a family member… desperation for one to understand and another to find relief, to find escape. To speak to all the love that is power, compassion, comfort and strength. To say clearly the perfect words each ear needs to hear, each heart needs to feel… to know.
I will my fingers to fly over the keys, to pen out the things I contain deep inside, to reach the impossible depths and retrieve the unknown language locked away… Literally just beyond my grasp!
There is mercy, favor unmerited, and grace, the power to be what we cant possibly… the link is belief. The key is faith. The force is love. And it is right here… right here.
And so, I lift my hands and rest my palms. I pray. I lift my heart’s cry to the One who hears, who knows without being told, who understands that language I cannot fathom, and who has all the answers. I pray. And I pray. And I pray.
The tears run for those who are hurting. Praises leave my lips for those who are rejoicing. A silencing ache fills my chest for those who are suffering. And for those who are lost, loosing their way… for them I let out a shout. A plea. A sound in the dark, in hopes their ears might hear and they might know they are not alone. Not even close to being alone.
I see their faces. Many I know. Many I love. Some I’ve never seen before. For everyone I let my heart speak… His words covering my own, His thoughts reaching the depths of emotion, His love flowing farther than I can imagine…
In this way, together, His hands over mine, we write the melodies and we sing the songs that bring the changes we long to see.
Holy are You, Lord. Holy are You! Above all else, and every other name. You are I AM, the One who cares. The One who loves. The One who saves. Mighty is Your name. You are like no other. Mighty is Your name!
With the children tucked into bed and the tea steeped and steaming, the house quiet and the heat filtering through vents, I peak out the window. Frost is already visible, glinting silver on blades of dying grass and bare twigs in naked trees.
The moon is low and and full, as if the light it carries is a heavy weight tonight.
Below the fog is lifting up from the wetlands and the evergreens on the foothills across the fields appear black and dense, with the flickering train light dancing airily through the bends over the river’s bridge, into the open for a moment, then back into dense black.
These moments, alone in my room after hours of being surrounded by people, these moments are the most precious and the most daunting. In the quiet I see the faces of those I’ve smiled at, loved on and been loved by, spoken to… I see their eyes… and I see so much more.
I see the weight of life, the struggling words within.
I see joy, I see futures and hope.
I hear words. Words that they shared, these beautiful people. Words accounting for things I’ve seen, and words hiding the things behind their eyes… words of secret pleading. Words of truth and words of masked uncertainty. Insecurity and expectation blend together as, in the silence, these words refill my ears.
Then the Lord invites me in.
It’s a place that inhabits my room, and opens up from within my mind; a peeling back of a veil and a stepping through in thought that I can feel in the air I sit in and draw breath from. Into this place I carry all these wonderful people, their eyes and their words. Everything that I have seen, I bring here.
Face to face and side by side, His arm around me, His presence pressing lightly down, surrounding me. I know the sound of His voice so clearly and it brings a soothing calm. I used to come here dressed in armor, ready to do battle in His name. What silly girl I was! Like going to bed with shoes on, is how I would enter this secret, intimate place.
Now, we sit in the quiet together. He already knows everything that I come to Him with. He knows each and every name, has seen each and every eye and heard each and every word. It was at His invitation that I was able to see; and together we speak the necessary words back, the healing words, the cleansing words. Words of comfort, of hope and of acceptance that each one needs. At times He invites me to pick up pen and paper and write a note that He speaks to one or another. At times I read His Word instead, and occasionally speak it out loud, back to Him. And sometimes we simply weep together, for there are some things that no words can heal.
I feel His heart beat, He is that close, and I know His smile, the astounding love in His eyes that breaks with the gut wrenching pain of some whom we have seen and heard. I have seen His jealousy, and know His patience well. His compassion is endless, His kindness so immense.
Every moment we are together changes me.
Every moment spent in His presence within this secret space fills me with something I cannot explain. I carry it back with me. Peace. Grace. Understanding? Thanksgiving. Humility. Adoration…
And before drifting off to sleep I often hear, “Thank you, Child,” and I feel the gentle embrace of His presence enfolding me within His love.
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
“Surly the Lord has done great things! Don’t be afraid, my people. Be glad now, and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things.” Joel 2:21
There are a lot of things going right in my life at the moment. I have a few questions, and a couple pretty big decisions that have to be made. And, of course there are things that could be easier. However, today I can easily agree that the Lord has done great things!
But there were times in my life when things haven’t gone well – in fact, a lot worse than now. Times when we lost a close family member, had to say good-bye to soon to an unborn babe, watched hopes die slowly before our eyes, spent months unemployed and then months under-employed. Days when we feared for the life of yet another unborn child… days of total and utter chaos, fear and even anger. And, in those days I saw as far as ahead as my fear would let me; what next impending disaster awaits us?
This call in Joel 2:21, to remember that the Lord has done great things, to be glad “now” and to rejoice, came on the heals of a prophecy of devastation and a call to repentance from the Lord’s people. It seems to be an instruction on how His people should respond to His promise of restoration, after He explained what would take place as a result of their evil. The Lord’s people sinned, stubbornly refused to acknowledge their sin, hurt each other and caused natural consequences to follow in the wake of their choices. The Lord called to them, begged them to return to Him and to stop the evil that ran rampant among them. They refused, and He had to respond. One final attempt to get their attention; a prophecy of impending disaster, another invitation to choose Him, and a reminder that He has already done great things.
Isn’t this how He still works today? In the midst of all that goes on – every stress, disaster, chaos, and evil deed done to us or by us, He calls to us, still speaking through prophecies, through the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit, through events and people… every way possible. And He still says, “Surely I have done great things! Don’t be afraid. Be glad now.”
And, honestly, what better way to get my head out of the fear and the muck of life in the moments of dispare than to remember, and in remembering to be glad, to rejoice? To take my eyes off of my circumstances, off of myself, and set them on the One who has already accomplished great things on my behalf.
It seems that it is in the midst of the worst moments in life that it is the best time to hear, “Surely the Lord has done great things! Don’t be afraid. Be glad now and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things.” Not only for us to remember all He has already done, but for us to anticipate the things He has set in motion on our behalf which we have yet to see. It is only when we can take our eyes off the pain and trouble that we begin to see Him, to see His love.
The only reason things are going so well now in my life, is because of things He set in motion for us long before we were ever in our moments of utter chaos. I can see that now. But had I been glad then, for these things, before I’d seen them, I would have been living out of faith. (Heb. 11:1)
And isn’t that the very mark of those who love Him?
A tweet from a friend: “RT@GregoryDickow: Identity + security = destiny. Understanding your Identity in Christ & security in God’s love propels you into your destiny.”
No matter what has happened to you or what choices you have made, your identity in the love of the God who created you is steadfast, secure and unshakeable. There isn’t anything you can do or have done that keeps you from His love. There isn’t anything that has happened to you that removes His love from you.
It is your soul’s enemy who works tireless to to keep you from experiencing this love, and from understanding your identity, thus preventing you from claiming the destiny that is yours.
If you are heartbroken, healing, recovering, flailing in uncertainty, feeling lost, lonely, helpless… my prayer is that you come to know exactly how loved and how secure you are in Christ. I pray that you come to understand that all the pain and all the guilt is not His design, plan or desire for you. I pray that you know how deep His longing is to restore, recover and comfort you.
His love is not what this world calls Love. He does not impose Himself; He waits for your invitation. He does not demand; He respects you. He does not insist; He waits patiently for your timing. He does not require you to earn His love; He declared it before you were born, giving Himself up for you just to have the hope, the chance, that you might desire Him, know Him, accept His love. That by the knowledge and acceptance of His love for you, you would discover your secure identity in Him and be fulfilled in the life He has established for you.