There is Direction in Connection


dear godJune 11, 2017

Dear God,

It’s been a tough few weeks. Well, actually, while the situation has been tough, my reaction to it has surprised me. Never in a million years would I expect to be this calm and, dare I say even excited, about being unemployed for the first time in almost four decades. I can see Your beautiful fingerprints all over this and I know that I know that THIS is the answer to my prayers and to the many prayers spoken on my behalf during a most tumultuous year. Finally, I am forced to settle into the faith that resides inside; to nestle into Your lap and watch you work. It’s time to put my faith where my mouth is; to practice what I preach; to trust You unconditionally. I am ready, but ask that You help me along the way. I am sure I will have my moments, but I know that with You by my side, I can do anything that You lead me to do. Help me, Lord, to remember that and to keep my eyes fixed on You as I continue this exciting journey into your will and my purpose. Amen and Ehmen.

Dear Child,

You are right to see this situation as an answered prayer and am pleased that you are committing to following my lead into your future. So many of my children, you included—despite desires otherwise—tend to see living by faith as a risky investment. The fact is I Am the only sure thing you will ever encounter prior to arriving in Heaven.

Jobs end. People leave. Money and things disappear. But, I, My dear child, will always be here and am the same loving parent as I was yesterday, am today and will be tomorrow.

Brenda, it has grieved My heart to see you go through such pain and suffering with your job. It especially saddened Me to lose connection with you as you struggled to keep your head above water this past year. This was never meant to be. Remember, My dear one, that nothing can ever separate us. I simply cannot and will not allow it.

Romans, 37-39: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.…

And, so, here we sit. You are right where I want you, child—right beside Me. Close enough that you can feel My heartbeat and hear My voice. Your future of prosperity is wrapped in peace and your purpose contains more joy than you can imagine, and are all found in Me. I am the safety net for which you have always dreamed. All I ask of you is to connect with Me continually and to know that it is in that connection that I shall give you the direction and wisdom you seek. I love you, child

Tribe of Thorns


With time not my own this past year, I have let most of the flowerbeds around my house Thorny weedgo. Thisthorns week I decided to tackle them, one by one, starting with a particularly unruly looking bed alongside the fence.

The first thing I noticed as I surveyed the situation was a growing number of prickly vines. Armed with thorns, they infiltrated the fertile ground and stood watch over a second army of unwanted weeds.  They looked like green goliaths wielding tiny swords ready to pierce the skin of any intruder that threatened their mission to overtake the flowerbed.

Standing between and behind these evil, self-proclaimed soldiers were other thorny vines that had certainly seen better days. Brown and brittle, it was obvious that they were the senior ones amongst this tribe of thorns. I reached in to grab one of the weaker ones, but quickly pulled back as a river of red broke through the surface of my skin and rolled down my arm. Ughhh! I guess Grandpa had a little life in him after all. Ornery old thorn.

It is then that I heard God whisper deep into my spirit:

“It is not just the thorns of today that can hurt you, my child; the thorns of your past will continue to hurt you as long as you leave them unattended. You must suit up and face them; cut them off and throw them into a pile to be burned. They may look dead, brittle and harmless, but looks are deceiving. If you will let Me, dear child, I will help you tend the garden of your soul—pulling up the old and new vines of thorns and allowing the beautiful and the fruitful to flourish.”

Sigh. Thank You, Lord, for these special teaching moments and, above all, for loving me unconditionally. I ask You now, Father, to help me rid my soul of weeds and thorns, both the new and the old. I want nothing more than to be fruitful; a beautiful garden for which you are proud to call Your own. I am Yours. Amen and Ehmen.

Memories of Me


I walked into my mother’s old home and, amid the smell of must and dust, I boarded a time machine that would transport me back decades in a matter of moments. childhood-memories

First stop, my childhood bedroom. I reached deep into the closet and right back into history. My memory has always been sketchy at best, but laying my hands on fragments of my past brought a flood of memories of a happy and hopeful little girl that loved to make people laugh and smile. One that loved to play music, to draw and, yes, write.  It was nice to see her again.  

Not that I’ve changed that much in the past five decades. Sure, I’m older and–I hope–wiser, but I still have the same overall traits and passions. It is definitely the way God wired me and it was nice to be reminded that nothing, not even the tragedies and hardships that my family endured, could change that.

Yes, the man who took my father’s life when I was just 8 years old is responsible for turning what should have been colorful, beautiful childhood memories into a haze of black and gray; but today God saw to it that I got reintroduced to the good memories created by that happy-go-lucky, tree-climbing, music loving, creative little girl once again. Thank You, God, for giving me this gift. I will never know what might have been had my father been allowed to stay on this earth with us, but I do know that You have always and continue to have my best interest at heart and this little girl of Yours is very thankful.

Thank You for the bright memories and Your promise to always help me live my life in full, living color. I shall never stop pursuing You, Lord, and the purpose for which You created me. That’s my gift to you. I hope you like it.

Amen and Ehmen.

Ass But Not Least


Though they are often the “butt” of many a joke, I have always had a special affection for donkeys. And, Donkey and Cross imageevery year around Easter, that affection grows. Have you ever wondered why Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem oh so many years ago on what we now call Palm Sunday? Why not a strong, valiant horse? A horse worthy to roam the king’s pastures?

This week, in reflecting on that very question, I thought I’d ask God himself. And so, during my God time earlier this week, that is exactly what I did. As I sat quietly with nothing but a Bible, a blank page and a deep affection for The Father, these are the thoughts that came to rest deep in my spirit.

“Child, do you remember the verses in My Word in which I told you that the first will be last and the last shall be first; those that remind you to be a humble servant? My friend, the donkey, is a fitting image of what I expect from my children. Humble, hard-working, peaceful. I don’t need pomp and circumstance from you. I just need a willing, servant’s heart.

I asked for a donkey to ride me into Jerusalem for many reasons, one being to remind all of my childrenpalm sunday that it matters not how the world sees you, but instead how I see you. This donkey, considered one of the least among his kind, was fit for a King. With a servant’s heart and attitude, he escorted me into Jerusalem and into my destiny and this is exactly what I ask of you, dear child—a servant’s heart and attitude that I can use to take me to the people of the world and into my ultimate and eternal destiny. I want ALL of my children with me in eternity. Even one lost grieves my spirit so. Think of those parents who have lost one of their children to drugs, alcohol or depression. Think of the parent whose child has run away, who they’ve lost all contact with. Oh how their heart grieves! Now, multiply that by infinity and that is how I feel about my lost children. My heart is not complete without them. My kingdom is not whole. They are MY children. All of them. No matter what they have done. No matter what they haven’t done. They are MY children and I love them. And, I need you, to help me bring them home. I need you to be like that humble, willing donkey that will take me to my children; to my destiny as Father of All. Go read the story of the Prodigal Son. I will open your eyes to new things, my child. And, go through this day aware of my presence. I’ll be right beside you all the way. It’s going to be a good day, child. A very good day.”

Thank you, God, for this. Thank you for the donkey and thank you for now giving me a reason to smile when someone calls me one.  Last but not least, thank you for being such a The Legend of the Donkey's Crosscreative Creator. Whether the legend of the cross on my favorite furry friends’ back is true or not, it is quite a beautiful touch. 🙂 Amen and Ehmen!

 

 

A Bittersweet Love Story


amen and ehmen!

Dear God, as I continue to reflect on this Easter season, I ask that you help the words flow dear godfrom the deepest recesses of my soul, the inner places where You dwell in all Your holiness and righteousness. Thank you for sending Your son and for Him taking on human suffering and death just so that we could live with You forever. I am overwhelmed by Your grace and love for me and, though I am eternally sorry for my sins and shortcomings, I am eternally grateful for Your grace and forgiveness and, most especially, your gift of salvation, wrapped in the arms of Jesus and presented to us freely. All we have to do is believe and accept, both of which I do, wholeheartedly. Thank you, Jesus, for what You endured; for Your obedience to the Father, no matter what; and for making a way for me. May I…

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His Call, My Heartbeat


The blank page beckons.blank computer screen

Visual silence.

A blank slate interrupted only by the blink of the cursor.

Blink. Blink. Blink. It’s slow and rhythmic and, for me, thought-provoking.  It’s like the heartbeat of a new creation just waiting to be born.  

No wonder I have such an affinity for the blank page, for it is the platform on which thoughts and words come alive and, if I am lucky, become helpful and provide a positive impact to those who read them. Better yet, they become a tool for the Lord, our God.

Words are my calling. I’ve always had a predisposition for them, but, several years ago, it became evident that writing is a big part of the reason I was put on this earth. Still—though the calling is undeniable and has become almost as important to me as breathing—I still wrestle with it at times as, more often than not, I find myself fighting to find the time and energy to commit to it.

Time or no time, however, it is absolutely impossible to describe the feeling I get when I know that there is something I need to write. It bubbles up from the inside and I am miserable until I finally put it onto paper. And the very, very best part is when someone reaches out to me out of the blue to tell me how something I wrote touched them or inspired and helped them in some way.

This week—a week when I was particularly needing encouragement to find a way to continue, despite my crazy work schedule and other demands of life—three people reached out to me to tell me how God had used something I wrote to speak to them and encourage them in a profound way. What I want them to know is that God also used them to reassure me that I cannot give up on this mantle He himself has placed upon me.

Somehow, some way, I will continue to answer His call. His call, my heartbeat; the blank page, my canvas. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me encouragement through Your Word and through other people. Keep reminding me that what I view as waiting is all part of the process. Write on…

Amen and Ehmen.   

Step Back Satan; She’s Ready to Rumble


 

The Boxing Match Begins…Classic Vintage Boxing Ring Corner

     The journey that had brought me to this point had been arduous, a rollercoaster ride filled with slow crawls up the peak of a steep-rising hill followed by a plummet to the lowest of valleys below.

The difference in a rollercoaster and this life journey was that more times than not there didn’t seem to be enough momentum for my friend to climb the next hill and, as hard as I tried to hold on to her, she would break out so that she could stay in the valley a little longer.

It was so hard to understand what power this deep, dark place held over her, but the fact was it had become so familiar to her that she had begun to mistake it as her safe place. It was miserable. It was scary. It was damp and dark. But, it’s what she knew. And, as a bonus, she couldn’t fall any deeper if she was already at the bottom. Or so she thought.

Truth was, the bottom of this valley, this pit, was the final battleground. At stake was not only the rest of her life on earth and a God-given purpose that would increase and change the face of Heaven exponentially, but her own soul. 

Not since Job had satan been more conniving as he knew how important she was in God’s plan. He studied her intently. He learned her weaknesses. He knew just where to deliver the next blow. He knew who and what to use against her. He knew when to take the gloves off. But, like Job, he also knew he could not, himself, take her life.

She would have to do that herself. He had her trapped in the valley. She was trapped in the boxing ring. Now he just needed to get her to throw in the towel.

Writer’s Note: The above is an excerpt of a story that is still being written, both figuratively and literally. I share it today, because my friend is fighting her way out of the valley as I type and I know that I know that she will emerge victoriously.

Indeed, a woman of petite stature, she has never been particularly strong from the physical perspective. But, from a spiritual standpoint, it is a much different story. The problem has always been that she doesn’t really recognize her own strength.

Yes, even though there is no doubt that God has handpicked this woman to play a pivotal role in His grand plan, she is yet to connect the dots…until now. I pray for her constantly as she undergoes this time of sorting out the puzzle pieces of her life–some quite jagged and still very painful–to impact the world in a way only she can; the way that God designed from the very beginning.

Get behind us, Satan, for the gloves are off and you are going down. Can’t you hear Heaven’s roar? I can.

A morning of prayer and praise


Father,

Come close and touch my soul. Quieten my spirit so that my internal being may bask in the same peace and silence that envelopes this beautiful spring morning, a blank canvas inviting us to become one with new beginnings, abounding love, and eternal promises—with You.  

Lord, synchronize my heartbeat with Yours so that I may dance through this day to the tune of Your glorious and holy rhythm and purpose.

Capture and reshape all my thoughts and desires so that they line up with Your pre-destined desire for me. Heighten my awareness of Your presence and make me more sensitive to Your leading so that I may not miss a single opportunity to serve You, to please You, to praise and love You.

Help me to hear Your voice in everything I see and hear as all of creation sings of Your majesty and glory, and help me, Father, to fine tune my own voice as I join in that chorus.

And, lastly, my dear Lord, help me to turn loose of those worldly things which I hold too tightly. Though I recognize that it is impossible to grasp hold of Your hand when mine are full of things I was never intended to carry, I still find it hard to let them go.

Abba Father, I need You more than I need air and love You with all my heart and soul, with everything I am today and everything I know I can be as I submit myself to Your will and purposes. Help me, Lord. I am yours.

Amen and Ehmen.

 Isaiah 41.13