Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Shall Not Be Moved

August 22, 2011

What I have been and continue to chew on these last few weeks

Upon the back of much persecution and various sufferings Paul puts on paper these words.

Acts 20:24
But NONE of these things MOVE me
nor do I count my life as dear to myself
SO THAT I may FINISH my race with JOY
and the ministry which was given to me by the Lord Jesus
to TESTIFY to the GOSPEL of the GRACE of GOD.

But NONE of these things MOVE me
Everyday there are many challenges that bowl me over, but I do not have to be moved from the state of being in the ever loving presence of my Father. Knowing I am in the Arms of Love strengthens me to hold stubbornly to His will when I am assaulted mentally and physically by the world the flesh and the devil. Standing firm I CHOOSE to keep my JOY! I am Choosing to not react when all the enemy wants is my focus to be broken.

Broken Focus is:

A misunderstanding turned into a loveless fight
Frayed nerves
A filthy, messy, disorganized house
Me assaulting the children with critical words
Company coming over
Fading beauty
Weak muscles
The future
My children's varied needs
My children struggling in school
Tripping over clutter
My immaturity
Not honoring God
My impact on others
Immaturity of others
My inability to be the example I want to be for my kids
Healthy and the diseased relationships
Living well while sick
What to do
My husbands needs
Health; good and bad

We generally think of only the hard and the difficult things as moving us but the “good” can also MOVE you...move you to independent, comfortable, apathetic living.

BUT, not a single solitary one of these has to deter us from His abundance of love, joy and a peace that surpasses understanding which can be found in the darkest of places, in the hardest of times. His promises are for the prisoner, the sick, the weary, the weak, the fearful, the discouraged, the bed ridden and they are mine!
I will not be moved
I will not be shaken

Nor do I count my life as dear to myself.
Now that is a difficult statement. How much of what moves us is related to the self life? OUR expectations, OUR rights, OUR boundaries, OUR timing, OUR plan, OUR way! The more we cling to self the less quality of life we have because we benefit no one but ourselves, and not even that very well.
When I am feeling “MOVED” I ask God how much of this turmoil is me clinging to me? My life is not my OWN, my time is not my OWN both were bought with a price. Those that strive to keep their life and what they perceive as theirs will loose it.(John 12:25) To release my life, to lay it down,enables His life to be expressed through me.(Gal 2:20) To find my life as His life, is abundant life. It is hard to give self up! For most of us, our preoccupation with self has been a long love affair. But a self focused life is fruitless. I don't say this as one who has attained but I press on in this high calling. After all it is God that works in me to will and to do His good will.
A purpose clause. The reason we are not to be moved and the reason we lay down our preoccupation with self is because they are hindrances to the well run and finished race.

I may FINISH my race with JOY:
We all have a race to FINISH. I want to do more than just make it through this life. I don't want to run my race with a permanent crinkle brow, but rather it is my desire to run well with JOY and finish well this course laid out before me.

My course though unknown by me has been laid out and allowed by the loving kindness of God thus making it a sacred journey.

When what we have to offer seems pitifully small and woefully poor, we must offer it nonetheless, in obedience...Quantity and quality are not always under our control.” Elisabeth Elliot

We have always got the hope of the Gospel! As a child of God my life is to bear witness. The grace extended to us through God through Christ alone is enough. It is sufficient. How else could I put one foot in front of the other?!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Mighty Fortress, A Place To Hide!

A Mighty Fortress is our God...An impenetrable safe place from our worries and fears.  A place where even if you are your own worst enemy you can be free and at rest.  High and lifted up.

The Suffering Servant becomes the glorified Christ.  Lord Saboath, Lord of hosts is His name and He rescues His own!

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Swelling Notes Of Praise

OK, so I admit it...I am the woman that bites the insides of her cheeks to keep the emotions from spilling regularly out of the eye gates...I feel the burning start in my nose, the swelling salted moisture. I feel the levee groan within; mixing, swirling joy, pain, thankfulness, and pleasure.

Yesterday it came unexpectedly at my son's band concert.
The day domino'd from one activity to another. I arrived just in time for the 5th grade band to assault my senses. I sink into the safe embrace of the man I love and I realize I forgot my ear plugs. I sip on my dinner, because there was no time for solids and I send up a prayer for staying power, for focus. Time rolls slow and loud.

The body reboots a bit and it is time for the 6th grade band to perform.
My son is right up front! That nearly never happens. I see him, all of him, tucked neatly into the frame of a boy turning man. He wets and re-wets the reed on his bass clarinet. He pretends not to notice us all a grin. He is that age now. Nearly 13, mostly aloof, and cool as a cucumber...The age where he is hungry for our affirmation. The steady flow of praise that is supposed to buffer the demands of the world and the critical pressures of his peers. The age where it seems that for every 10 praises, only a few make it to his heart.

There is only a few bass clarinets so we hear him well. He even has a solo. I want to kick myself HARD because I feel like crying. “No Lord!” “I don't want to be the mom that embarrasses her kid with tears!” I maintain composure, but I am not just watching a band performance. I am thinking of every moment that led up to this one.

When Uriah first mentioned playing in the school band we tried to dissuade him from choosing the clarinet.
We are string people!
I observed his willingness to comply with us, to please us, but we saw his disappointment, and his unexplainable draw to the clarinet.
We gave him the pro's and con's, but decided as man and wife to let the growing boy choose.

Our logic in the end was that he will learn to read music, to hear music, to play music...This is good for us all. No need to make it a battle.

When he first brought the clarinet home he gave us the grand tour of his borrowed instrument. I wondered if it was gonna be as bad as the time the kids all had recorder's. They squeaked out a repetitively forceful version of hot cross buns, until our ears bled. The so called “instruments” mysteriously disappeared...

We are giddy, we all want to try.
Not a one of us could get the clarinet to make a sound.
Our musician daddy, who can pick up nearly anything and wrestle a descent tune out of it, was helpless. He blew hard and then harder, veins plumping full of blood from the force...
Sound constipation...Nothing.

Uriah in contrast to us, made it sing. He made it look effortless. I was smitten and proud of my pied piper. The first year he started with the regular clarinet. This year he jumped through some hoops to play the bass clarinet. He gladly gave us sample sounds. He plays it sitting down due to the size. Smooth, deep notes fill the air space, ear candy.

Back in the auditorium thankfulness wells up in me. These are the moments that threaten to burn the eyes and streak the face with tears. Moments strung together pushing their way out of a bass clarinet.

Each note carries with it moments.
Moments of decision.
Our decision to let him be his own man with likes and dislikes.
Moments slowed down for our enjoyment.
I see portions of him that are a mixture of Derrick and I, and yet he is his own soul.
Moments of perspective.
He is God's dream, our dream, on temporary loan to us.

Moments of responsibility and irresponsibility.
There has been easy listening. I know these songs and hum along.
Moments that require practice;
The smoothing and healing of dissonance and discord.
Moments where failure led to a desire for success in us all.
Relationships built up.

Here we are.
We made it victorious through all the choices, the practicing, the performances, and all that life has dished out in the midst of it. Uriah doesn't know it yet, but his success is ours...It is shared victory.
All is going to be OK...It is necessary to go through all our hills and valley's to get to the destination planned for us. And oh what beautiful music pours fourth when we are able to put one foot in front of the other.

The heart is brimming with sweet melodious victory.

Here we are, unified and performance ready.
Enjoying living breathing relationship with our maker and His good gifts our children.
He uses them to put a new song in our hearts, to grow us.
We are thankful.
These are the tears I swallow back, digest. These are the thankful drops God collects.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Swelling Waves, Rising Praise

Oh Lord,
I pray that you would groan for me in words unspeakable, uttered by spirit in this time of need. 
You know the depths and the heights of these massive swells.
Fighting for the surface I am violently pulled under by the roll of the wave...
Bouncing, smacking, spinning...

Fear bubbles up...Life cannot sustain here long, breath is running out.

The will resists for now, the urge to be consumed in froth and foam...

Time passes, thoughts turn with the tide.

Small grains of sand,
of judgement,
of self righteousness
of division
of abandonment
of pride
of unavoidable conflict
of ANGER...Chafe the soul

Spit out, mouth full of grit.

Wanting to do right, wanting righteousness!

Sorrow upon sorrow...

Endurance, "Is this about how much I can take?"

“I can take no more!” I say that with every pushing, pulling, toss.

“A rag doll?”

“Is that what you want?”

“A woman of no resistance?”

“A worm and not a viper?”

“A woman who is no longer rubbed sore by people, by life, by circumstance?”

“A woman whose focus is no longer my own imperfections and sin?”

“A woman hollowed out, moldable, willing?”

“A woman willing to go and live abundantly in this life you have given me?”

To Live full, To Love full,
in the hard,
in the brokenness
undistracted, unmoved, unaltered....Lifted above

Your ways are not my ways, your thoughts are not my thoughts.

I need your courage! I am fainthearted....

You alone hear and know unto understanding what I am going through and what I need.
You alone can calm this storm,.
You alone can direct, like a channel of water, the hearts of men and woman.
You alone can use the folly and sin of others to bring your children into needed maturity.
You alone can open the blind eye to its own shortcomings.
You alone have eye's to see that which is known or unknown to your children.
You alone can fill us with everlasting love
You alone can use us as channels of that love to others. 
You alone can extend grace as cure for our preoccupation with self.

I am incapable without you.

Set me free from the preoccupation with self. 

It is a limited vision...It see's only the good and bad of that which concerns itself.

It is you who binds me up.

It is you who I can fellowship with in the presence of my enemies.

It is you who makes me still.

It is you who keeps me from falling

It is your staff that guards, protects and leads.

It is you who creates protection for me in Christ...
Once for all you have positioned me in the sphere of your grace.
Yet progressively, one knowable issue at a time, you give me the mind of Christ through your written word.
You transform me day by day..

It is you and this very praise of you that you use to ignite and fan the flame of the candle that is about to be snuffed out. You have given me the necessary weapon of warfare; praise. It is my choice to proclaim who you are and what you are like. The enveloping garment of praise is a cure for heaviness.

The swelling waves are consumed by praise!

Thank you

Saturday, April 2, 2011



The eldest son of my heart recently had the opportunity to participate with a church team doing odd service jobs around town. From painting to yard work he got his hands dirty and poured sweat for those who could not do it themselves. He was blessed in blessing others...

The last job his team was assigned to was at a christian concert event...Bands, dirt bikes and the like. He helped set up and pass out flyer's. Before he left, his daddy went to the ATM to get him food money.
Uriah ignored hunger to buy a shirt. Wise boy! He said, “food wouldn't last but a shirt would.” 
At least a little while longer...
It's a black and white of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. 
The picture depicts the part of the story where no boat can be seen. 
Just Jesus, some crashing waves and Peter.

Peter, waist deep in the waves of broken focus took his eyes off of the One that sustains him. 
At the bottom of the shirt, in scrolling letters, it says “RELIANCE.”

I have lived the zealot, running forward, diving in, loaded with expectation of the end result, and
pushing headlong into something I thought I could control only to find water pooling around me. 
My attention fixed on murky waters. 
Me Sinking lower and lower. 
I hate sinking...sinking is the mirror that shows how much of me is really operating. 

Knowing the true nature of me though humbling, is my way to Him. 
It is what makes failure useful in His economy.
It is the instrument that has potential to draw me to Him. 
When I am a breaking, sinking ship I call out to Him.
My priorities change, my gaze alters...
I am empty of the ability to pull myself up by the bootstraps.
When I am empty of me, there is space.
A starving dehydrated man can become sick if He gulps and slurps...It's too much
He fills my cup to overflowing and bids me drink sips at a time...
It is God who places my feet upon the rock. 
Stability within Him, 
Reliance upon Him.

I love the rescue
God has not made it hard for us to come to Him, to trust Him...
If anything, He has consumed the hardest part to clear a path for us unto peace.

Obedience requires reliance 
Rest requires reliance. 
Love and kindness requires reliance...
Hardships, sufferings, relationships, LIFE, they all require reliance upon God.
It takes reliance on Him to deal with what I am without condemnation...
It takes reliance on Him to know that I am growing despite what I see...
It takes reliance to entrust others to Him...

He is trustworthy...Life IS hard, but He is trustworthy.

Knowing intimately, with certainty that Gods character is continuously faithful, good, all knowing, kind, loving, and all powerful enables our reliance. Reliance is based on facts not wishes...We are not "hoping" for assistance but rather we know we have His presence, His attention, and His provision in every instance no matter how large or how small.

Reliance...A practice of looking to my Father who is able. 
To no longer live under the assumption that I am capable of handling even the smallest of thing on my own.  I can do nothing without Him! 

Reliance is a word for all seasons, all struggles.

Being sick has afforded me countless opportunities to cast myself and all situations upon God.

It is not a perfect practice. I walk on water, sink, then get bailed out of murky waters by truth. The truth sets free.

I keep walking forward reliant on Him...

God; The Essential Part Of Coping With Any Difficult News

There is great potential, to initially swallow, hook, line, and sinker what the physician says. It is true of any shocking news or tragedy, the cold hard facts are served up on a platter and we force feed the HARD down into the depth of us... We regurgitate and chew the sour facts for a time, indigestion...upset...

The initial diagnosis/proclamation over us can feel like a banner of doom, a symbol of forever. The missing ingredient; God and faith.

As a believer, this world does not get my forever.

Bad News must be seasoned with faith. 
God is not surprised by this difficulty or my response to it. 
He knows all the facts. 
My life, ALL my life is written in His book. He is in control of the outcome. He is trustworthy because He IS good, loving, righteous and all powerful.

Fear spends all its time imagining every possible scenario and solution. We think it is up to us to live this "new normal." 
We can only think as far as our own strength.
No wonder we get balled up, desperate fearful and bitter...

Faith is resting in the fact that God will make a way. Has already made a way!

I go through this process with every Dr's visit...The duration that it takes me to apply God and faith is becoming shorter...I guess like all things, it too takes practice..
How would we practice and grow in faith without trial?! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sometimes the Lord sets the solitary in families...
Sometimes He sets them in the lion's den...

Being sick is more than just the physical ailments...It is an emotional, financial, relational, and spiritual malady. It involves the whole person. It involves the entire immediate family, the extended family.....And more. 
Dare I say to the end of the world...
The influence of one man to touch a life, 
that in turn touches another life, 
b/c His life was touched; for good or bad.

Aside from dealing with physical ailments and one's own thought process, one is inundated with other people's responses and reactions to the circumstances or health issues at hand.

Everything you thought you knew comes into question...

Everyone you thought you knew comes to question...

Some are kind, 
wanting to build, 
wanting to help...
They are willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. 
They pray, encourage, clean house prepare meals, e-mail, call, fill our refrigerator with food, listen, councel, recommend books, research, keep me warm, wash us in the word, laugh with us, give my husband work.  
They have spent their time, 
their money, 
their resources to help us.  

They have shared their own heavy loads, 
and we have celebrated victories large and small together.

One woman of grace, tattoo'd my name upon her arm with a sharpie. She has eight children but did not want to forget to uphold me. 

Their prayers have fed me,
enabled me to eat,
                  to sleep
have led me away from fears...
have prepared me for battle...
have helped me in battle...

Living sacrifices; 
they treat me as a friend, 
they know me as friend. 
Some tell me that they themselves would not have gotten through their own hard without me. They extend their love across miles.
I am humbled. I am full, I am thankful. 
God uses them to lift my countenance. I carry on.

All life,
All good,
is coupled with death and the hard...Spring time and winter...Seed time and harvest...

 The Man of Sorrows nailed to a tree by those He came to save....

Others come too,
to bite and devour...
They assess, they assume.  
Conclusions are formed from what they can see. 
Limited vision neglects the unseen. 
They hurl muddy opinions...
They have never called me friend and yet they will not release me. They choke, they hate.

Hate seems like a strong word...
The truth is, 
there is only the two modes of operation. 
Motions stem from love, something outside our scope of strength, 
Motion stems from self...Self can look like love, but mostly it spews forth hate.

Sometimes I think they would be happy to know I have something fatal...
They pity the day my husband married me...
They think my family would be better without me. 
They see no value in me or this suffering.
Empathy and pity are not the same...
Empathy lends compassion, pity makes victims.  
I am no victim, 
my husband is no victim, 
my children are not victims!

I do not have cancer, they are my cancer. 
A part of getting through this, is love.
To be washed and renewed in God's love for me.  
A gift given so that it may be shared.

Ephesian 6:12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”

The enemy would have me wrestle with flesh and blood...
Initially, in the recesses of my heart I claw and tear at them. 
I beg my husband to defend me from them. 
I want to vindicate myself and out their position of cruelty. 
I want them to feel the shame they heap on me. 
I languish, I resist. 
I want to erase them from my life, but I am married to them.
You could walk away from a stranger inflicting pain, you could...

BUT, You cannot resist those you are bound to...

I believe God allows it to happen in families. 
He knows anywhere else, 
anyone else,
and we would sever the ties that bind, 
to think no more of our offender.

To sever ties is to cut off grace...
It hurts everyone...

When you just can't run from it because it is the wrong thing to do, you let God exercise you in it...

You trust Him in the lions den.

The kindness of God leads men to repentance...I have needed kindness of my own. 
I must show the same kindness, all is grace...

The truth is, the gnashing of teeth, the boiling, and spilling of our own emotions...
God can redeem..
What the enemy intended for evil, 
God redeems for my good. 
Not just "my" good...this is for others too...
As I respond in love, 
His love, by giveing up my own rights, my own life force in exchange for His... 

The life is in the blood...
He took on accusation, betrayal, hate, so can I.
My life is hid with Christ in God.

I have learned many solidifying, valuable lessons from puncture wounds. 
These lessons go deeper to validate the power of God than a life of ease. 
It is easy to love and be loved by the lovely but throw offenses into the mix.. 
There isn't enough strength within a man to respond properly. 
It is a God size problem with a God size solution...
The scenario where He gets the glory
and we get the much needed heart transplant we desire...

I want justice.
I wanted justice...

There is something about my current position, face down in the dirt, that makes me ashamed to have ever climbed upon a pedestal and issued judgement upon anyone or any situation with my limited human reasoning....

This daily consumption of dust, 
this daily knowledge of what I am capable of; my reminder that things are not always what they seem...
It makes me slow.
Slow to judge.
It births compassion...
Just when I feel my hands clench hard upon a throwing stone I am reminded of my potential to be careless and unloving with others either purposefully, or unknowingly... I SLOWLY loose my “entitled” grip on retaliation, self pity, and vindication.

I am in continued need of Grace...And I want to be gracious.

Its the in between process,
where the refiners fire blazes white hot. 
White hot so my desires and actions line up with love, 
matured love.

I believe God gives us discernment. It is what we do with what we think we know that matters. Do we lurk in darkness spreading snares and secretly delighting and hating those in misfortune...or do we look to build the waste places.  We have forgotten our own desolation and need for grace.

Reconciliation. Restoration.

Galatians 6:5
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ
For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
For each one shall bear his own load.

I am told that I am "defended all the time." I didn't know I was in need of defense...
I have been sick... 
What is the trespass I am accused of? And If so, where is the restoration?
Consider how you do this or beware of your own temptation.

We are, to the best of our ability to help carry, not add to anothers load...

What if, like Joseph God has sent me to prepare the road ahead of others.  A road paved in kindness and mercy...Available grace for their time of need.

It is not easy to do the right thing, but it is good to be blameless...I am unharmed in the lions den and I have fellowship with God in the presence of my enemies...No anger, no roots of bitterness to defile others, no victim here!
Yeah God!