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
“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
refuge; a place to go to find where you find protection from something dangerous or threatening, to flee to, a shelter for protective purposes.
conquer; to take control of, to defeat, to gain control of through great force or threat.
plague; a large number of harmful or annoying things, a disease that causes death quickly to a large number of people.
home; the place where a person lives, a family dwelling together in one building, a place where something and naturally located.
Jesus, how precious is Your name to me! You remind me that there is no place on earth, above it or beneath its depths, that I can hide from You. No matter where I run, You are there. And You also make it clear that the only safe place I will ever find is by hiding in You. When You are Who I turn to for comfort, conversation, and instruction; when You are where I look for answers and to find provisions, when I am normally found in Your presence, as if in my natural habitat, then I am fully hidden in You. This is where I find perfect and supernatural protection. No evil will be able to take control over or defeat me, and plagues will bypass me. Do I even know the value of these words?
LORD, stir in my heart and in the minds of all who love You, to hunger and crave understanding of Your ways. Wake up sleepy minds to the present power of Your promises, the relevant application of your Word this day. Savior, teach us to know You in such intimacy that all who are looking will find You when they see us in perfect peace. Amen.
“If you make the LORD your refuge; if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.”
There is something about celebrating.
I mean, when we make it a priority and put it on the calendar. Decided.
Even when there is nothing to celebrate… yet.
My husband recently made the decision to change his employment. He spent time in prayer. A lot of time. He’s loyal and tends toward being the ‘yes’ man, finding ‘no’ very difficult to say. This was not an easy or quick decision on his part, because of who he worked for and his affection for his employer. He sought the Lord for strategy and wisdom.
He heard the Lord’s advice. It was not logical, practical or ‘natural’ to our senses. Standing strong on the words he’d listened to, against sound currents of practical advice flowing freely around him, he gave his notice.
Perspective: He’d been talking with recruiters for several months, and networking with local networking groups without any real leads. It was a gigantic leap of faith that my husband took; resting on the words he heard in his prayer closet.
The next day his recruiter called to set up an interview. My husband then proceeded to so impressed the person he interview with that the recruiter who’d connected them was speechless, having never seen this particular client of his as impressed with past prospects. As events unfolded, my husband found favor with a new company. However, as his last days at his former job came close, he had to continue in the illogical choices, putting into writing his intentions to leave his then current job before any kind of formal offer came through. It was nerve wracking.
Pause. It was in this brief moment of time, in the midst of complete unknowns and letting go with both hands, that the Lord gently prodded; celebrate with Me!
Without sure and solid evidence to stand on, without any real tangible reason, we did just that. We took our family out and celebrated! We rejoiced in the goodness God has already shown us, and we thanked Him for His character that never changes. We celebrated His trustworthy promises, and thanked Him for providing for us the things we hoped for and hadn’t yet seen.
Monday of the last week at work came, and no formal job offer had come through yet. Friday, the last day at his former job, loomed ahead full of all kinds of uncertainty. We continued in hearts decided on celebrating God’s goodness. Our kids had been asking us to take them to see Toby Mac in concert and he happened to be in our town the Sunday following my husband’s last day of work. We bought the tickets, anticipating more celebration. Hoping…
Thursday morning rose and I walked into my room where my phone was on it’s charger. My husband had received a formal written proposal for a job offer, starting the beginning of the following month, one week away. It was exactly what we needed and had hoped for.
We had been celebrating for a week, something we hadn’t yet seen come to pass and on the seventh day we saw it.
There is something about celebrating… it aligns our minds with His heart. It sets up the atmosphere for anticipation of miracles and wonders beyond what we can imagine or comprehend. It places us under His grace, in perfect partnership with His nature, where all things come from Him ~ where our working meets His ability and what is accomplished is indeed the miraculous. Celebration is a joyful display of complete reliance on His nearness and interest in us. And it is so important to Him that He actually set it up in His ancient law, and decrees it for those He loves, who love Him.
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
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.
Miracles need room to grow.
When you receive a miracle there is a kind of stretching and straining as it develops within your life. The stretching expands and the straining grows, to increases you, so that you acquire the capacity to maintain life within your miracle. And, miracles make way for more miracles… if you learn to increase and allow yourself to grow, until pretty soon you no longer see the constraints of the life you used to live.
The life you had before you got your first miracle.
If you are still waiting for your miracle, hang in there and keep believing – it’s coming.
If you wonder how to receive a miracle, check your belief…
Are you preparing to receive what you are believing for? Do you take active steps toward the miraculous? Are the words you speak breathing life into your beliefs or shackling you to a life of wishful longing? And, are your expectations of the miraculous in line with the One who establishes all miracles?
If you think you are exempt from miracles, I challenge you to rethink that thought ;)!
Do you remember how you first felt when you fell in love for the first time? When romance took you away in a cloud of light and fiery passion? I remember falling in love, and I remember the floating feeling and the safety it provided. I remember the desire to escape the eyes of others to be alone with Him. I remember our dates. I remember sitting for hours in His embrase.
Then life happened. People moved into my sphere and desired more attention, attention I was happy to give and to receive. More of me was expected and demanded as more people entered in. And, somehow that first love got pushed into the back corner of a closet.
Every now and then I would long for it. I would miss it, and the ache would drive me to go digging through a pile of forgotten things to find it. Sometimes I would see a fleeting glance of that old light, or feel a twinge of that fire. But reality soon came calling and it’s message was that all my striving to work up enough faith to pretend it was there was only keeping me from doing what was expected to be done today.
The thing about reality and people is that they sometime ask a lot. Sometimes the requests are cutting and deeply wounding. Sometimes they are so consistent they become comforting in their dependability. Reality never lets dreams soar too high, and people help us remember our reality. Even if they don’t mean to.
But, if the chance happens that you hear a faint and familiar whisper – listen to it!
With more people in my life now then ever before, more demands and responsibilities looming high on my shoulders, more ways I disappoint rather than fulfill, I heard it. A whisper from the back of forgotten. And a stirring, a longing and a yearning in response rose up within me. And I found them; the old love letters. I flipped through them, the dust rising as a reminder of how many years have passed.
And now, years apart from when I was young, free to go wherever I heard my name on His lips, I find His love once again. Here, in this hour, when life and troubles and duties and rolls I play have stitched themselves to me like a permanent garment shown in wrinkles and stretch marks; now I find His love is as strong as it was then. His desire as passionate and consuming as then.
But, now, I feel awkward. No longer the youth, no longer naive or innocent, I feel as if I am reaching through a fog to grasp His hand once again. I hear His voice as if through water, I see His eyes as if in a shadow. And then, there is the matter of my forgetting Him altogether and a wall of self-consciousness parts us further. But all He says is, remember.
When memories flick through my mind I feel that old passion tingling to life. I feel that complete surrender and that awe and desire churning up deep inside. And the more I remember, the more I long for Him, for that love, for that abandoned life. I remember also, the total acceptance, the unconditional provisions of tender wooing, when flaw and inadequacies only made His love that much more precious, that much more powerful a force within me.
And in all my wondering what the many flaws acquired between then and now will mean to Him, He reaches through the water and fog and shadow, and pulls aside my wall of self-consciousness as if it were only a thin veil, uncovering me at the very core of myself. Standing there completely exposed before His eyes, tears dripping down my cheeks as He takes me in, I am filled with wonder. The look in His eye grows more passionate in each passing second, so passionate it stirs a twinge of fear up my spine. Yet His touch is gentle, so gentle.
He takes me in His arms, enfolds me in His embrace, and He speaks:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as Mine.
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!
Like a lilly among thorns.
Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words! You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words.
You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. Your love delights me, you hold me hostage with one glance from your eye.
I have examined your heart and I know you from the inside out. I know every small move you make, and every thought you think.
I have never left your side, never have you gone anywhere that I haven’t already gone ahead and prepared for you. I have sealed up every place you have left, and kept each memory with me, next to my heart.
You have thought you were hidden, but never from My sight.
Never were you where I was not.
My treasured friend, my love, I made all your delicate inner parts, I formed your body while you were still hidden from this world, I watched you form in perfection, I watched over all your complex and marvelous workings, watched as each of your days ahead were numbered and written in My Father’s book.
My love for you grew with each passing moment, with each beat of your unborn heart. How precious were your thoughts to me then, as they are now!
Never will there be a day, never will there come an hour when My love for you will diminish.
Never will there be a more lovely sight to Me then you.”
A heart wrapped in barbwire. Ready to defend, protect, repel. But strangling within it’s own barricade and longing to be free again. But freedom comes at a steep price, it reminds itself. Old scars throb in beating motion, as if in agreement. As if to remind itself never to unwind these thorns of security.
A thing about barbwire; the closer you wrap it around yourself the more you pierce delicate areas, meant to be kept whole. The more you move within the wrappings, the stickier they become. Clinging to parts you never meant to protect, now rubbed raw.
He speaks, firmly. Gently. “Come out of there and speak forgiveness. Hear my words of love and be freed.
“Hear my love for you, know that I will deal with those who have scarred you. No longer think of them. Think only of my love for you.
“For if you will entrust your heart to me, I will safeguard it. I will treat it tenderly, healing each and every wound. If you will entrust your heart to my care, and wait for my lead, I will show you who needs it most and I will hold it there.”
And, if we let Him, He gently takes away the thorns, unwraps the circles and unwinds the clinging spines. If we let Him, He calls us forth, out of the entrapment of security and into the protective guarding of His love, healing every cut and bruise, restoring wholeness and placing His own beat within. If we let Him, He returns to us a voice, restores to us a passion, replaces within us His vision. If we let Him, He sets us free.
*inspired by a word from my friend, Jenny