“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
“Saying no to something actually means I am saying yes to something more important.” (KV) When we first got married, my husband and I encountered one of the biggest challenges we have faced in our married life. How to … Continue reading
terror; a state of intense fear, a very strong feeling of fear, one that inspires fear, a frightening aspect, a cause of anxiety.
arrow; a shaft sharpened at one end shot from a bow as a weapon or for sport.
pestilence; fatal epidemic diseases.
destruction; the act of destroying or state of being destroyed, demolition, a cause of ruin.
Savior, You are my Hero. Your presence on this earth, Your death and resurrection, the power in Your name; all that You are has given me such hope! You have not only set me free and delivered me from every danger, you protect me from all elements of every kind of evil. I have no reason to fear. Your love for me is so perfect in power and ability. Whether it is the thief and stalker at night, or the taunting and threats of the enemy during the day, illnesses hiding in wait, or impending natural disasters – all of these things You overcame and are victorious to save me and my family from. Thank you for your provision of protection and the faithfulness with which You keep me in Your perfect peace. Please, Lord, open up eyes and hearts of those who love you everywhere, to speak and believe and walk in the Truth of your word, to bring comfort to those who are hurting, broken and suffering. I love you. Amen.
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; or of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.”
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.
“You are brave and strong. You are My pride and Joy. You radiate with My love. Remember, you are not who you think you are. You are who I created. I know you. You are every bit the perfect one … Continue reading
In the background are the faded noises of busy laughter, the business of getting dinner on the table, dishes unloaded, and the day’s events downloaded by each tiny muffled voice.
A heart beat thrums steadily in my ears.
Beautiful. Life. Steady.
A grounded, rhythmic lifeline to all that seems so incredibly important, and so indefinably fragile… a heartbeat thrums steadily in the silence…
The flutter in my chest rises. I should be with them. Did I tell them I love them today? Did I yell at them too much? Do they know that I love them? What memories have we made? Will they remember that I love them? Does he know how grateful I am? Will he know how much I love him? Does he know how important he is to me? More muffled laughter and clinking plates…
Anxiety flitters around, searching for a place to land… NO. I breath in. I breath out.
A grounded, rhythmic lifeline to all that seems so incredibly important, and so indefinably fragile… a heartbeat thrums steadily in the silence… refusing a resting place for anxiety.
I breath in. I breath out. A heart beat thrums steadily in my ears. But one persistent question looks for a spot to land…
Am I doing enough?
My Bible and three books that I long to read lay tossed around me. My journal just a few inches away. Tears roll down my cheeks as I realize how much I long to do more, to soak up more, to understand more and to live from a depth that draws my family in… to envelope them in the same love and life that has begun to consume me. I long for my husband to know how truly head-over-heals in love with him I am; to show him every day the love that builds him up and pulls him closer, always closer. To shower my children with adoration in measure with the miracles that they are.
Longing. Is it all just a longing?
A stream of scenes roll across my mind as this questions looms larger than life. Feelings… less than loving… rush like rapids over my lungs, and I am gasping and choking on the tears as I recall words, thoughts, attitudes, emotions, all proving me to be completely lacking. Failing.
For a fleeting moment I am trapped in this tug-of-war with anxiety…
The rhythm… steady… beautiful… life. I breath in. I breath out.
Life steadily pounds in my ears. I hear my name. Just a whisper. A life-line.
What do you want to say, Lord?
“Daughter, you measure up. You do enough. You are amazing in My eyes. I am pleased. So much more than you know, Child. I love that you are here, with Me. Waiting, listening. Daughter, you are forever searching out My thoughts, seeking My heart. I know your deepest desires and I love you for them. Daughter, you treasure Me and what I think. You keep Me in the center of all you do, even when you forget, you are quick to remember. I look at you and I see Perfection. Thank you for coming away. Thank you for valuing Me enough to step into the quiet places, to trust Me with the welfare of those babies I knit together. Thank you for loving Me. You are enough.”
In the quiet, steady, silence I can hear it. His heart beating; beating steadily for me.
Beautiful life; His living in me, His power at work through me, on my behalf.
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
Love bears all things
Believes all things
Endures all things.
Hopes all things.
Love never fails.
When love is patient and kind, and when it is not rude or self-seeking or boastful it is beautiful and a thing to behold.
When love does more… bears all, endures all, believes and hopes all… it takes on a whole different depth.
When patience no longer meets the needs of those around us, and bearing up under becomes the option to running or pushing away, it becomes something like a helium balloon turning into a water balloon, swelling deep and heavy instead of floating high above.
When applying self-control to easily rising anger, or guarding against long lists of grudges, and the hurts pile up fast and hard and ugly, enduring all can be like replacing handcuffs with iron shackles and lead chains.
I struggle with this part of what love is. I struggle with who this applies to and when. I struggle with how this is often interpreted and expected. I struggle with what our broken selves have twisted these words into meaning. I struggle with the beauty of those who reach these depths with grace, and with those who have been mutilated by unrealistic expectations our theologies can create.
Then, I look into my mirror and I speak lovely words of truth over my reflection;
Your worth is in the eyes of a Creator who loves you. A Creator of universes, who comes close just for the chance, the hope, that you hear Him. That you might want His love. Your value is in your Maker’s passion for you, that without any promise, without any commitment, and before you even knew your own name, He gave up His life for yours. Just for the chance that you’d say, yes.
And I realize something. A small button that opens a pocket of understanding.
God is love. And God bears all things even before we were born and on our behalf. God believes all things, He is all knowing and all present. God endures all things, for our sakes and despite ourselves and even without our knowing or acknowledging. God hopes all things, He is all powerful. God never fails.
We can do nothing without Him. And even still, anything we do resembling love is Him in us, leaking out of the cracks in our self-protective armor. And all God ever wants from us is our captivation by His love, that we would simply look at Him, become consumed by Him, that we might be loved.