Silent Night, Holy Night


clockAs I sit in the silence, I’m soothed by the ticking of the grandfather clock in the foyer. It’s a welcomed sound, one that I could hear as often as I’d like, if I just took the time. But, I don’t.

Indeed, this beautiful time piece has been ushering the minutes in and out of my home for more than a decade now and yet I rarely hear its sweet, rhythmic voice simply because I allow the noise of everyday life to drown it out.

I come home and turn on the television. I listen to the radio or talk on the phone. I dial up videos on my computer. I create noise. Any kind of noise. Silence, after all, would mean I was doing nothing, wasting time.

The irony is that silence is far from a waste of time. It’s a most beautiful thing; that time and space in which we get to know ourselves and allow our own hearts to synchronize with that of our sweet, sweet Savior.

Shhhhhhhh. Turn off the television. Turn off the world. Quiet. Can you hear it? Beautiful, peaceful and holy silence. The heartbeat of God. It just doesn’t get any better this side of Heaven.

Amen and Ehmen.

In His Time…


dear godNov. 30, 2016

Good Morning, Glory.

I have no idea where that came from, but I like it. After all, Lord, You are the most Glorious of all.

Abba, though I sometimes feel like it is futile to confess things to You, the One who knows all, I am beginning to realize that confession is not about You at all. Instead, it’s about me recognizing and knowing those things that aren’t pleasing to You; recognizing and knowing those things that I need to change as I strive to walk and live even closer to You.

And, so today, I must confess. I’m still feeling lost and confused.

Though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what my purpose is in this life, I still feel as if I’m spinning my wheels of late; like I’m wasting time in my job and in my life. Look at the last few months, Lord. I’ve worked such crazy and long hours that I have hardly spent any time with You. I’ve tried to stay connected, whether by prayer or podcast, but much of it has, quite frankly, felt forced; me just going through the motions, desperately trying to hold on to the deep connection I have enjoyed over the past few years since closening my walk with You.

And, my purpose?  It’s still there. It just seems to be sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

Father, I know deep in my heart that You have not changed, nor has Your purpose for me. But, this is really hard. Just when I thought you and I were on the same page, the disappointments started rolling in. And, the worst part of it all is that everything that I wanted and prayed for was what I thought You wanted for me as well.

You know that I have longed and still long to work in a more spiritual environment; a place where I can have the time to lean in even more; to study and learn more about You so that I can share You even more. My heart is in the right place. Or, at least I think it is.

Come close, Father. Show me if there are things that I need to change in order to better live this purpose that You have planted so firmly and deeply into my heart. Hold me close and help me know when and if I need to move or if I need to simply stay planted and await further direction. If the latter is Your plan, help me Lord to continue accepting it and to make the best out of it; doing it to the best of my ability and, most of all, to Your Glory.

Today, just as always, I need Your Holy direction. Thank You for never, ever giving up on me and for reminding me that I can do all things through You who strengthens me. I’m ready to rise up, to mount up with wings like eagles. I want to run and not be weary, to walk and not be faint. Come close, Dear Father, for all these things are impossible without you.

And, as I fell silent in the early morning hours, after laying my heart bare before the Lord, the following are the words I heard deep in my spirit.

Dear Sweet Child of Mine,

No matter how many side roads you may take in this life, My love and purpose for you never changes. Instead, You can rest in the knowledge that I will take things that happen while you travel along those side roads and use them to further you along your purposed path when you do return to it.

And you will return. Stop fretting so much and realize that you are where you need to be at this moment in time. If I allowed you to do everything at once—if I showed you everything at one time—you would implode.

Following My plan for your life is only part of the equation. gods-perfect-timing

The other part is following My timing.

I’m so pleased that you are excited about My plan for you, but now you have to trust Me for the right timing.

As long as your heart continues to be in the right place—that is, as long as your heart continues to be in Me—you can breathe easy knowing that absolutely nothing on earth or in the heavens can stop us.

Dear, dear Child, even if you are sidelined for a while, you must remember that you are not on the sideline alone! You stand in unity with other teammates who are also waiting for just the right moment to take the field; but, even more importantly, you stand with Me, the one that will tell you when the moment is right.

Stay suited up; do not give up; do not quit, for if you quit, My beautiful Child, you won’t be available when I need you.  Just continue to wait on me. Your time is near and so am I.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 6-7)

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)

The Perfect Christmas Tree…


christmas-tree-in-the-forest

I love Christmas trees. There is just something really special about finding the perfect one and bringing it home to bedazzle with lights and ornaments galore.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The tree that comes home with us is rarely perfect. But, while there is always a hole or bare spot here or there, we always seem to find just the right ornament to fill the gap and make what was once imperfect just perfect for us.

I can’t help but imagine that this is exactly how our Almighty Father see us.

I can just see Him strolling through the woods on a beautiful, crisp winter’s eve when all of a sudden He spots us amongst all the other trees. We begin to glow radiantly in a Christmas-miracle, holiday-movie-kind-of-moment which crescendos when the director cues the music and a choir of angels fill the heavens with a collective, melodic ahhhhhhhhhhh.

As He moves closer, He begins to circle us, smiling as He takes us all in. We aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but judging by the look on His face and the sound of His contented sighs, it is more than obvious that we are just right for Him.

At home, He cracks open a big box of ornaments, each brimming with special meaning. Some represent happy times—the birth of a child, the birth of His child, a vacation with family or some other priceless blessing bestowed upon us over the years. Some represent things that still bring us to tears—the loss of a loved one, for example; a once living, colorful breathing being, now just a photograph embraced by pewter angel wings.  

All, however, come together to fill in the many holes and gaps and, before we know it, what was once imperfect has become perfect for God Himself as we light up with the glorious hope He’s had for us all along—for each to become a beautiful symbol of the season and a magnificent, radiant reflection of Him.

Cue the music.

Amen and Ehmen.

From Beyond Human Eyes…


Nov. 26, 2016

Good morning, Father.

I know that I am blessed beyond belief, but God how I am missing something that I have taken for me-and-theegranted all of these years. Family.

Not that I had to traverse this holiday alone. That’s not it at all. In fact, I was blessed enough to enjoy a meal and fellowship with my mother, my brother, my daughter, my son-in-law, my sister, my nieces and nephews as well as a many other extended family members.

And while I know that I should have just been thankful for another year with them, it was really very bittersweet.

The loss of my brother, Gary, has forever changed the landscape of my world; much of that change coming from his mere absence. But even more than the empty seat at the dinner table, it’s the realization that there will be more and more empty seats as the years journey on.

Though you already know everything that I am feeling, I feel the need to admit this morning that I am struggling a bit with all the changes, those present and those sure-to-come. I need your help, Father. I need you to help keep me focused on my many blessings, especially each tick of time that I have left with my loved ones. I want to enjoy the holidays and make them worthy of tucking away in my heart to be enjoyed again and again. I want to enjoy You, Dear Lord, and to begin merging back onto the path that You yourself have laid before me. I’ve been sitting on the shoulder far too long and I want nothing more than to resume my journey; to get back to the things for which You have purposed me and to enjoy the journey along the way. I pray these things in your Almighty and Glorious Name, Dear Father. Amen and Ehmen.

 

Dear, Beautiful Child of Mine,

I love you. I know this last year or so has been tough on you, but I am thankful that you have never lost sight of Me or your purpose. I need you to know, dear child, that it is okay to sit on the edge of your path from time to time; to regroup and refresh; to reconnect. This time has not been wasted as you know that I waste nothing.

The key, child, is doing just what you are doing today. Allowing yourself to feel and nurse your humanness as you sit and rest in Me, but at the same time embracing the desire to keep following the path that I have laid before you. Please don’t fear and don’t try to rush it. The time of resuming your journey is near, dear child, and as long as you stay connected to Me, you will always know when and where to take the next step. That’s the beauty of My plan, child. You don’t have to know anything. You simply have to know Me.

Yes, life is changing, my dear one, but, when looked at from beyond human eyes, it is changing for the better. Every day that you draw breathe brings you closer and closer to spending eternity with Me. And, though I know you will always miss those that have drawn their last, take joy in knowing that those who have accepted Me and completed their earthly journey are now enjoying eternity with Me. The purpose for all of my children on earth is to make sure every living, breathing person in all creation has that same opportunity.

“For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

Set Ablaze in His Glory


trees-in-autumn-scenery-pics-22174534-1600-1200

Every fall, I find myself captivated by the bold and beautiful colors of the leaves on the tree just outside my window. It’s breathtaking, especially when the amber hues of a sleepy sun set it ablaze with colors even more beautiful and fiery.  

I pray that as I enter the later seasons of my life that I am like the leaves on that tree–set ablaze by God’s Own Glory as I complete the purposes He himself wrote on my heart before I was born.

And having completed the work He assigned me, I pray that The Father Himself will be my partner as I gracefully dance and twirl my way back to the dust from which I came.

Amen and Ehmen.

Exchanging Hurt for Hope


Happy Fall, Y’allautumn-leaves-borrowed.

I know it’s been awhile since I have blogged on Amen and Ehmen. My job changed in July and has dominated my time and energy ever since. During this time I have been on an emotional roller coaster, going from majorly disappointed and hurt by many of the changes to just plain tired, both emotionally and physically.

And, if I’m completely honest, I have also been spiritually fatigued during much of this time as well. Truthfully, of everything that I have been through—80-plus hour work weeks and numerous disheartening career developments—the spiritual exhaustion has outweighed it all.

Please know that I don’t intend this missive to be a cry for pity or even an excuse, but rather an explanation and an apology for my recent silence.

First and foremost, I must apologize to you because I want Amen and Ehmen to be a real reflection of my life with God; not a sugar-coated, air-brushed version that may give new Christians or those exploring Christianity unrealistic expectations. The facts are this: Being a Christian does NOT mean that you will no longer have problems, hurts and disappointments; it just means that you are never without hope and that God is always and in all ways working for the good of those who love Him. People like you and me.

I also owe an abundance of apologies to my all-loving, almighty Creator. During the many difficult days that followed the untimely death of my dear brother last September, health concerns for myself and other family members as well as the career crisis that continues to plague me, I have allowed my spiritual life to intermittently lay dormant.

If I’m truthful with myself and with you, I guess I have been internally blaming God for this dark and foreboding time in my life. In actuality, however, it has not been God that has been silent in my life. Quite the contrary as He has remained busy, continually weaving miracles and beauty into even the most brooding of moments. Still, all too often and way more than I like to admit—including this very weekend as rumors of yet more disappointing events swirl around me—I’ve allowed myself to focus on the disappointments instead of the hope that God continues to bring.

And, therein, lies the lesson that I know in my heart He wants me to learn. It’s a lesson with which I have always seemed to struggle—having complete, unyielding, unwavering and unconditional faith in Him. It’s hard, but it is possible. And, I know it is necessary if I ever expect to fully live the life that He has planned for me; to accomplish everything that He has put me here to accomplish.

And, so today, I pray for help in growing an unconditional and unyielding faith in Him and His plan for my life. I pray to always remember the many beautiful moments and miracles He has shared with me as He continually proves His loving intentions for me. I pray that I will commit even more time to tune into Him; to study His Word and connect with Him every single day. I ask you, Dear Lord, to turn every moment of worry, self-pity and disappointment into a growing desire to praise You for all the many blessings that You continue to pour out for me.

Yes, it has been a tough year, but it’s also been a blessed year which I know that I know is being used to further shape and make me into the person that God desires me to be. I pray today that I allow that refining to happen in His time and in His way. And, Lord, I also ask that you hear my prayer for everyone whose eyes are reading these words at this very moment. You know their needs and You love them so completely and powerfully, just as You also love me. Let us all feel that love right now. It is in Jesus’ mighty and beautiful name that I pray. Amen and Ehmen.