Plug In, Power Up, Press On


Psalm 143.8 imageJune 11, 2019

Dear God,

Oh how I procrastinate! It is now 6:30 a.m. and I have been awake for two and half hours. I have been waking up in the early morning hours for over a week now and know from experience–not to mention Your still, small voice–that You long to meet me here.

Still, and I am sure I sound like a broken record by now, I find everything else to do before I finally get here, if I get here at all. I catch up on my phone, even playing a silly game that I haven’t played in a month. I sweep the bathroom floor, make the bed, get something to drink, wash my C-pap supplies, feed the dog, clean the toilet, and on and on; all good things, but things that should come only after I have been obedient to You.

At least this morning, even as I did those other things, I was talking to You about why I continue to wake so early. Deep in my spirit, I knew why, but still I asked and still You answered.

Love really is patient, isn’t it?

Thank You for that and for always pursuing me, no matter what.

I am finally here and this page is Yours. I am Yours. Do with us both as You see fit.


 

Dear Sweet and Stubborn Child of Mine,

I don’t mind reminding you, for all of my children are stubborn, some more than others, but all nonetheless. The important thing is that you ARE here now.

I adore spending one-on-one time with you and desire to teach you and grant you the wisdom for which you yearn; to help you feel and fully embrace the love and acceptance for which you crave; to help you be stubborn and persistent about the right things—about Me.

I see you wanting to erase that last line you wrote: “Do with us both as You see fit.” It makes your heart beat a little faster, your breath a little more shallow. It takes you so far out of your comfort zone, you can hardly concentrate on anything else.

But, beautiful Child, that last statement has the power to transport you straight into the core of My own heart. It is where your purpose resides and where a treasure trove of heavenly riches and a heart-full of utter joy awaits you. I don’t need perfection from you, Child, just a trusting heart willing to obey. Meeting Me here is a great start.

I know there is a lot on your mind, but you must remember that fear and worry are byproducts of distrust. I have every single burden and concern in My palm and in My control. All of it, Brenda. Nothing, absolutely nothing, goes unnoticed. I AM and I am in control every second of every day.

Your friend—my beloved daughter–is going to be okay; know that. I have her in my care. Do not worry.

Your work is going to pay off and your financial situation will be blessed by it. Just keep focusing on Me in all that you do, leaving it up to Me. For anything at which I am the center flourishes. That’s a promise. This IS your day, Child. This IS your project, Child. Just watch!

Speak to Me throughout your day, Child. Ask Me about everything, even the little things, because I care about it all and because it keeps you connected to Me.

Think about your computer. What happens when it is away from its power source too long? Does it not become powerless, useless? The same happens to you. Though you may still have the infrastructure, the framework to do what you were designed to do, without power—without Me—you are unusable.

Stay plugged in, Child, and treat these early morning awakenings as a low battery indicator, as a sign that your power is running critically low. Plug in, press on and watch what happens, sweet Child of Mine.

I have this, My Child. I have you. There is no reason to fret or worry. I have it all. That’s my promise to You today and always. It and I will never change! That too is an eternal promise as is the fact that I love you with all that I AM.

Spend some time studying these scriptures today, dear one…

Isaiah 26.3

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Romans 6:16: Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 1:4-7 : …and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

It’s His job!


 

This was written a few years ago as my job struggles were intensifying. I post it today as it speaks to me yet again and I know it will speak to others as well. We all have troubles.  Fill in the blank with yours and KNOW that He has it and you…always and forever. Amen and Ehmen!

Writer’s Note: Some of you who know me, know that I have some pretty major challenges and important decisions facing me regarding my employment. It has been a most dear goddifficult couple of weeks, through which I have had a host of prayer warriors praying on my behalf. I, myself, have been talking to God…a lot…and to others even more…so much so that I didn’t leave much room for listening. This morning when He woke me up for some one-on-one quiet time, that changed. My Lord and Savior never, ever fails to amaze me. Below is our exchange from just a few hours ago. 🙂

June 25, 2016 5:30 AM

I am here, God, and I am listening.

Brenda, my child, have I not always been there for you? No matter what has happened in your job, I have worked things to your benefit and I will again.

But, you, child, must keep the faith. You must not look away at the storms around you, lest you sink, swallowed up by the sea of your own disbelief, discontent and weariness.

You can’t do this on your own. You know this and yet you fret and stress as if you can; as if it is your responsibility and within your control.

I have given you the freedom to make choices. With this comes great reward, but also great risk; for when you let that freedom become what drives you and you leave Me out of the equation, it becomes a snare. You begin to walk a very thin line between choice and self-reliance and it is easier for you to take your eyes off of Me. This becomes stressful and that stress pulls you further away from Me and the vicious cycle continues.

Choose Me, child. I am your Helper. Redeemer. Savior. I love you and care for you and want everything that is best for you. I will never leave nor forsake you. I will never ask you to fight battles in your own power, for those battles will never be won. You must choose to keep your eyes on Me. You must choose to take Me with you into every situation.

And that includes your job. I have this, child. You must choose to trust Me. I will give you the right decision; the right things to say and the right timing; if you will just choose to honestly and completely cast your cares on Me. I will give you clarity. You will KNOW what to do. Just rest in Me. Let Me take this from here. Write your stories. Consult with Me and then send the emails and make the calls that I tell you, when I tell you. I have this.

Go read Exodus 4:12

46A542F5-A195-4875-88C8-BD056C9754EAOh, my sweet, sweet Father. Please accept the tears that are falling at this moment as tears of praise and gratitude for Your great love. It is overwhelming, because I know that I don’t deserve it. I am so ashamed of how many times I focus on my weaknesses instead of the unstoppable power that I have in You. Lord, thank You for continuing to be patient with me. I am so much like Moses who also wrestled with similar struggles. But, I guess you already know that as what You sent me this morning were actually Your words to him when he was having difficulty understanding that You were with him in the mission that You were sending him on; that it was about Your power, not his.

Jesus, thank you. Thank you for never failing me. For being there and giving me such clear answers from Your Word when I seek and listen. I say this every single time, but I have to say it again. I will never get over You planting a scripture address in my mind and heart and me turning to that one verse that speaks the most applicable and perfect words into my situation. That ONE perfect verse out of 31,173 verses. And, in this very case, the NINETEEN most perfect words out of 807,361. I don’t care what anyone says, but that is not, nor will it ever be, a coincidence. That is all YOU! May I never get used to this beautiful gift. May I never forget that You have chosen me. Help me to always choose You. I love you, my dear Father, will all of my heart and soul. I commit this situation to Your capable and powerful hands. My eyes are on You. Please help me to keep them there. Amen and Ehmen.

 

The Apple of My Eye


June 2, 2019

Dear God,

As You know, it’s been a bit of a fitful night and I’ve been up for quite a while. I’m not sure if it is my on-going, intensifying neck pain, my spinning thoughts or, perhaps, a beckoning from You. I pray that it is psalm18-2the latter and will joyfully accept the others if they lead me into Your sweet Presence.

Oh, how I have missed You, dear Father. I will never understand why—when I know that You are always ready and waiting—I don’t take the time to meet You here. My life is so much better when I do. I know this. Yet, I do what I don’t want to do and don’t do what I should.

Yes, I have been spending time in Your Word every morning as I read through the one year Bible plan. Still, reading is not the same as spending quiet time alone with You in one-on-one conversation. I need to do both, or else I can easily fall into the trap of simply checking off a box as if completing a daily chore.

Your Word should never be a chore and, if it is, I’m not treating You or it with the reverence and love deserved. Please forgive me, Father. Help me to do better; to rearrange my day and my habits to continue on this yearly reading plan and to also take the quiet time I need with You. I need You. Today and every day. Please help me to remember that Your door is always open to me and I can stay in Your Presence simply by asking and showing up. Keep pulling me back to You, even if it means doing so in the wee hours of the morning as I am awakened by physical and/or emotional pain.

I love You, dear Father. Thank You for being in my corner, no matter what; for being that ONE constant that always builds me up; for always standing in the gap for whatever is missing in my life; for being the safety net that I have always wished for; for giving me a purpose and a plan for my life.

I don’t deserve You, but I’m overjoyed that You still love me, no matter what and come what may. Help me to always remember this and to return that same kind of love to You and to those all around me, no matter what and come what may. Amen and Ehmen.
________________________________________

Dear Child,

You are enough. If you could see what I see, you would never have to wonder this again. I see your heart and what’s in your heart will always trump what is in your head. You see, Chapple_of_my_eye_sticker-p217388433659326321qjcl_400ild, your heart is where you and I become one; it’s where truth and love reside. Your head, however, if left unchecked, becomes fertile ground for an unending crop of lies planted by the enemy.

The truth I need you to hear most today is this: You are fearfully and wonderfully made; custom designed by Me. You are a result of My full and complete love. You are on purpose, for a purpose. You are My child and the apple of My eye.

It is human-nature to long for this kind of love from a human, but I’m the only one that can truly supply what you most desire. I know you have been hurt in this life and that hurt continues even to this day. I see it and I stand ready to comfort you. I am ALWAYS right beside you, Child, no matter what and come what may. Lean into Me. Lean on Me. And let My unending, unfailing love heal you from the inside out.

Yes, Child, I see you, and you are enough. The apple of my eye. The beat of my heart. You are Mine and I am yours. Forever and ever, Amen.

apple of eye scripture

Step-by-Step


Note: Thank you, Lord, for sending these written reminders to me; for leading me to just the right blog post or journal entry; for walking with me everyday and being available for intimate and wisdom-filled exchanges anytime I want.  It’s up to me to lace up my shoes and open my heart and my ears to you.  I love you and our time together  Amen and Ehmen!

As I stepped outside, the sun just peeking up from beneath the covers of the horizon, I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as a cool morning breeze greeted my skin.Beautiful flowers and driveway in neighborhood 7.2017

It has been really hot lately. And humid. So humid, in fact, that it feels like Mother Nature wraps me in a warm, wet blanket every time I step outdoors.

But not this morning and, as the cool air energized my spirit, I couldn’t help but send audible thank you’s heavenwards.

Man, it felt good to feel good. It felt even better to sense Jesus’ presence by my side. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not always in step with my Maker, but today was different. The heat and heaviness of life did not exist in this moment and off I went feeling light on my feet and loved in my heart.

I’m pretty sure I had a bounce in my step and I definitely had a smile on my face as I stepped from my driveway onto the asphalt in front of my house. I turned to the right as I have so many mornings, but instead of tucking earbuds into my ears, I decided to listen for God’s voice. Prayer, after all, isn’t always talking and presenting requests to God; it is a two-way conversation which requires us to sometimes close our mouths and open our ears.

He didn’t disappoint. As we strolled along, He began to whisper words of comfort and direction deep into my spirit. He told me that this time and situation were not a punishment, but rather a gift. That this was my time. Our time. A time for reconnection and reinvention. A time of complete trust and dependence on Him. Himdependence, if you will. The time and place our lives intersect; the very place in which His will meets my purpose.

His words washed over me like a comfortable garment. Oh, how long I have waited for this moment. The moment that I could truly take hold of this purpose and dream that He has placed within my heart. How I have longed to harvest what He has so carefully planted.

I breathed another sigh of relief as the mantle that had once felt too heavy to bear, now slid over me like a breeze and rested gently upon my skin. I was surprised at how soft and comfortable it felt. He spoke again. “This, my child, is what I mean by ‘my yoke is easy.’

At this word, I felt the urge to stop and, as I stood in the middle of the road, I noticed that I felt surprisingly relaxed, unlike two weeks earlier when I had felt too uncomfortable and restless to stand still, afraid that someone might see me and wonder what on earth I was doing. I had always felt that I needed to be moving or else I must be wasting time.

But not this day and, as I stood still, He led my eyes to a beautiful flower standing proudly in the distance amid trees and weeds. It was obviously not planted by human hands, but it was unbelievably breathtaking under the spotlight of the morning sun. How could I have not seen this before? How could I have missed this beautiful thing? And, as I stood there and questioned myself, He stood right beside me ready to answer. “See, my child,” I heard His Spirit whisper. “This is what I mean when I say ‘be still and know that I am God.’”

“You, my child, are to be like that flower amongst the weeds,” He continued. “You are to be a hope among the desolate. A flower for which I can bring the winds and scatter your seeds, giving birth to new growth and new hope in places you have yet to see and some you may never see with your own eyes.”

As His words trailed off, we resumed walking. He nudged me down a path I’ve never taken before; hard to believe since I’ve now lived in this neighborhood for a decade this very week. What a creature of habit I can be!

He whispered that sometimes we must get off the beaten path to discover new things about ourselves and about Him. Routine, He declared, can bring death to creativity and creativity is one of the most effective ways to express love and to reflect who He is. “Look around,” I heard Him say. “I am doing a new thing.”

Although the last time I had taken a new route, I had run into a not-so-nice canine, today, I felt a peace in my spirit as I walked along; probably because I was accompanied by the King of Kings. The trees were beautiful and the aroma of honeysuckle chased after me, encircling my senses and making my heart sing. I couldn’t help but smile as I caught myself humming. I was practically skipping along. It didn’t matter that I really didn’t know exactly where this path would lead or what I might find along the way. I was just enjoying being with The Father.

I felt like a young girl in love. I marveled at how blue the sky looked; how green the trees and grass; how beautiful the birds and animals; a little bit of heaven just a few steps off the same road I had traveled so many times. But, almost as soon as I had gotten lost in the newness and beauty of the excursion, I realized the new road had come to an end and I was now standing in a cul-de-sac. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Had The Father not just said that we sometimes need to get out of our routine?

Sensing my disappointment, He answered quickly. “Just remember, child, even what feels like an ending will always be a setup for something greater when you are walking with Me. I use every step of every journey to teach you and mold you; to open your eyes a little more.”

I drank in His words, knowing in my heart that He was not just talking about this morning’s walk, but instead about the current concerns regarding my life and career. God has been so good to me through my latest situation and, today—almost two months after the unexpected and abrupt end of a 22 year career—I am actually quite enjoying learning to trust Him completely. I am finally making choices based on what I feel is God’s desire for me as opposed to my natural tendency to search for the secure and the safe.

Back on the main road now, I turned to head home. The morning was gaining momentum and the heat was rising just as fast as the sun. I picked up my pace, ready to get home before it got any hotter. Thank goodness this homestretch was shaded by the many majestic oaks for which the street was named.

Again, however, I felt another nudge to stop in the roadway. And while I felt a little more than distracted as sweat began to roll off my forehead, my eyes were drawn to a tree just a few feet away from me. What? Are you kidding me?

I stood in awe as right there in front of me–growing on a random tree on the fringe of the woods–was a grape vine loaded with young grapes. How had I not seen this before? The flower earlier on our walk was pretty far into the woods. Had the sun not shined its spotlight on it, I may have Grapes along side of road 7.2017missed it. But this vine, filled with clusters of grapes, was growing wild right along the path I have been walking for months. What’s more, I know grape vines. I have one just like it in my yard. In fact, He has used it to teach me throughout the decade I have lived here; so much so that I have often wondered if the grapevine is the reason God made this my home in the first place.

“You haven’t seen it before, because you weren’t looking.” God’s spirit said to mine. “To you, it was just another vine. It wasn’t until you really opened your eyes and the fruit started to emerge that you took notice. You, my child, are like this vine. You grow and prepare, I prune and tend, but, it isn’t until the fruit begins to materialize that people really begin to take notice. This is your time, child. Get to work and watch me multiply the fruits of your labor.”

Ahhhhhh. Happy sigh. Thank You, Jesus, for this walk; for this day; and, most of all, for this opportunity to be a part of Your plan and purpose. You gave Denny and I a very important assignment several years ago and I know that I know it is time to make it happen. Not ten years from now when I retire; not next year when things slow down. But now. I am honored, humbled and grateful. Help us, Lord, to stay in step with you as we continue to journey into your will and purpose.

We are ready, willing and—with your grace and help—I know that we are also well able. Amen and Ehmen.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

“Be strong…Be strong…and get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heavens Armies, My Spirit remains among you, just as I promise…So do not be afraid.” Haggai 2:4-5

Celebrating Mom: Another Year Beautiful!


Writer’s Note: This was written on a Mother’s Day past, but bears repeating. Beauty of a mother only grows as the years go by. Here’s to my mom, now in her ninth decade and another year beautiful. Happy Mother’s Day!

As I scoured my computer for the perfect photo of my mom on this Mother’s Day, I found Mom, Then and Now MD 2015 Dry Brushmany pictures, some old and some new. Having a hard time choosing between one from her youth or one more recent, I decided to create a “then and now” and was quite happy with the results. I actually had a hard time taking my eyes off of the pictures, giving credence to the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Actually, I think a picture—at least these two pictures—are worth more than a thousand words. In fact, I’m not sure there would be enough ink and paper on the planet to do them justice. On the left, a beautiful young woman looked bright-eyed and full of hope. I felt pride in how radiant and striking the woman, who would eventually become my mom, was; and I totally get why our society gets so hung up on youth and beauty. But, then my eyes were drawn, almost as if pulled by gravity, to the more recent photo. Although I just saw my mom in person yesterday, I couldn’t seem to get enough of this hastily made snapshot in time.

Studying the photo closely, I quickly decided that this is the definition of true beauty. Sure, her face dons a few lines now, but today as I looked more closely at those lines—those tattoos of aging that I have come to despise as they began to take up residence on my own face—I saw something different. Oh the stories that lay between these ever-so-gentle wrinkles in time; the love that bloomed and grew; the happy times that made us smile and Happy Mothers Day art phillipians 4.19 for blogthe sad times that made us cry; the joy that lit up our days and the pain that sometimes seemed too much to bear, all of which our amazing God masterfully blended together into a most beautiful life.

Yes, today, I finally see what true beauty actually is and it’s not in trying to look young at all costs. It’s understanding that—when we let our lives and our faces be a canvas—true beauty actually grows as we get older.

Look at my mom! Isn’t she simply gorgeous?! Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mom and to all the women so wonderfully and skillfully made by God. Amen and Ehmen!

gray hair crown of gloryAnd our Father in Heaven says…

Proverbs 16:31 ESV

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29 ESV

The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

The Unfiltered Truth!


As I began to edit a photo I had just taken with my phone, I quickly noticed that the original was, by far, the best and most colorful option. It was then that I heard God whisper this in my ear: “True beauty,” He said, “needs no filter.” Enough said. Thank you, Jesus…and Amen and Ehmen!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ” — Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

YOU are beautiful…man, woman or child…embrace your beauty today! 🙂

All Is ‘Whale’ With My Soul


As I lay in bed trying my best NOT to wake up early this morning it was as if God started tugging at the covers. The tighter I pulled them around my shoulders, creating a cozy little comfort zone, the harder he tugged. He often does this when I have been absent from our special morning time together for longer than I should or if I’m dragging my feet on something He has asked me to do. God’s not big on earthly comfort zones and, though I usually fuss about it at the time, I really am thankful that he doesn’t let me kick back too long.

This morning it was about digging deeper into some things I just keep putting off. Truth be told, I often put things off, sometimes for a very long time, years in fact.  Fear of failure and rejection, says I. Disobedience and distrust, says He.

As I lay there silently arguing with him and preoccupying myself with a game on my phone, His still, small voice grew louder to the point that I could no longer ignore Him and, just as I gave in and put my phone away, I heard him whisper the name Jonah.

Jonah? Like the guy that got swallowed by the whale? That Jonah?

Jonah, I heard again, as I reached over to pick up my Bible. Flipping through the Old Testament, I finally landed on the book of Jonah and began to read. And the more I read, the more I began to understand. Never in my life had I seen myself in this particularly story, but here in this moment, on the pages of my own bible, Jonah, it seemed, was synonymous with B-R-E-N-D-A.

Like Jonah, I have been running from certain aspects of God’s calling on my life and, as I read his reflections as he was entombed inside the belly of that great fish, I felt compelled to read the words aloud.

Jonah, Chapter 2

1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ ” 10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Honestly, I think I have been in the belly of a whale for a while now. And thank God. Thank God that he hasn’t given up on me; that he still finds me worthy of my purpose.

One way or another, He will get me there. Who am I to complain about the mode of transportation?

I’m coming, Nineveh. I’m coming.

Amen and Ehmen.

The Black and White Truth of It: Racism is NOT a Pigment of Our Imagination


Facts are facts. I’m a white woman and, according to the known branches on my family tree as well as a recent ancestry DNA test, I pretty much have been even further than the eye can see.

My DNA also says I’m about as British as they come, 73.4 percent according to my genetic molecules. That’s far more British than the average British person today. Of course, that brings me to the most obvious question of all. With stats like that, how in the world was I NOT invited to the royal wedding? And, why hasn’t someone offered me some tea and crumpets? Worse, yet, why don’t I know what a crumpet is?

Anyhow, that’s enough about DNA. It’s just something I have been meaning to share.

Now, back to the point. I’m white. I can’t hide it and, although sometimes I wish I could, I can’t change it. It’s the way God made me. And, although I haven’t always understood this truth, my skin color has afforded myself and my ancestors advantages that my brothers and sisters of color did not, and in many cases, still do not have. I can’t hide nor change that historical fact either.

What I can change is my awareness of and response to the differences and divide society has created between people of different colors, shapes, sizes and ages. Racism is still very much alive and real and I truly want to be a part of the solution not the problem. God made us all and He loves us all the same. We should all be able to wear our skin color like the badge of honor that it is; just another creative twist given to us by the Master Creator Himself.

Concurrently, I ask for grace, in the event that I say something in life or in this blog, in a wrong way. Please know that my heart is in the right place. I like to consider myself “woke” as folks say, but the fact is I grew up in a society that has been asleep for quite some time. Fortunate for me, God placed in me an open heart and mind as well as people who have come alongside me and helped to broaden my horizon; to better understand our differences, but, most especially, our sameness.

Thank you to my old Centreplex family for putting up with me and all my goofy questions over the years, helping to enlighten me along the way. I love you guys with all my heart and I miss you every day. You will always be a highlight in my career and, most importantly, my life.

Lord, please help me and all of my brothers and sisters be a part of the solution in creating a world that is a true reflection of Galatians 3:28–a world where we are all equal and one in You!

Amen and Ehmen.