A shadow without a soul, BUT GOD…


Her foundation was cracked, damaged almost irrevocably; my friend’s young life cradled not by warmth and safety as it should have been, but instead rocked by the abusive hands and harsh words of an angry and drunken father; a man that not only cursed God, but who sat himself upon a self-made throne and ruled with an iron fist.

His family lived scared of him and later scarred by him. For, even after his reign ended in death, the roots he had planted continued to haunt and hurt; to break through and crack almost every inch of the foundation upon which they had landed. Over the years, she lost both her brothers to tragic circumstances and she also seemed destined to continue traveling a dark and cursed road, her choices and current lot in life often colored by her distressed upbringing. She says she often felt like a mere shadow without a soul.

But, God…

My favorite word combination in the Bible, two words used together 43 glorious times in Scripture and a phrase that is definitely cause for jubilant celebration. God’s unbending, unchanging response to satan’s relentless challenges. The bottom line. The last word.

Two words that speak life instead of death. Yes instead of no. Can instead of can’t. Will instead of won’t. Do instead of don’t.

Two words that create freedom instead of imprisonment. Victory instead of defeat.

“But, God” is a game changer. A Holy and glorious intervention.

Below is a poem that my friend, Denny, wrote after God lovingly intervened in her life in the late 1990s during a trip to a Women of Faith Conference in Seattle, Washington. She doesn’t know I am reprinting it and I am praying for her forgiveness in advance. It’s just too good not to be shared; the beginning of her new story—one that has still been filled with chapters set deep in the valley of the shadow of death, but with one HUGE difference.  This time she is accompanied by the Father that loves, guides and protects her just as a father should and who punctuates every stormy, tumultuous chapter with the same happy ending. Two words: But God….

Thank you God for saving my friend and for saving me…for introducing us almost a decade ago over an internet scrabble board…and for etching and intertwining a divine purpose in both of our hearts. May we continue to follow You into this purpose and create works that will grow Your Kingdom and forever glorify You and Your Name.

I also pray that each of you reading this now will recognize  your own “But God” moments. If you are in a valley, I promise you that He WILL see you through. Don’t give up. Look up!

You are prayed for…today and always.

Amen and Ehmen.

 

praise God girl and cross in sky

Photo from crosswalk.com

 

Twelve Disciples Plus One

By Denny H.

Twelve disciples plus one boarded a van one day,

Embarking upon a pilgrimage, we were traveling far way.

Headed for Seattle, to praise and learn and pray,

We didn’t know each other well, but they had much to say.


Sharing testimony, their convictions wound in tight,

It bound them all as sisters as we drove on through the night.

They joined in prayer; they shed some tears; they sang with great delight,

They came to know each other well; they whet my appetite!


Women of Faith is what they were, as we joined, the ebb and flow

Of throngs of comrades joined as one to hear the Word and grow

But I was anxious, I had no right, to think that God would care

What am I doing with all these women, “God, why am I in this chair?”


 I’m not like all these Christians who know the love in bloom,

As brides in their relationship to a God who is their groom;

I’m not a daughter of our Lord, I could never call Him Dad

The God I know is an angry God, a God who is always mad.


The God I knew when I was young, my father proclaimed to be

An irate, furious and abusive drunk, the Lord of our family.

Mercy, compassion, love and hugs were not what we were shown,

But vicious, mean and callous words were all we’d ever known…

Both my brothers and myself were rock, not precious stone.


I recalled our childhood lost to scorn and also so much shame,

How we as children yearned for God, but were deluded by his name.

I mused on the brother that still lived and to the one—discouraged—died

If they in spirit had known a Dad, they’d embrace the love denied.


I thought of me, the years misplaced, a shadow without a soul,

Reaching for wrongs to right my life, to govern and control.

How tired I was of drifting along to a future without a goal,

I felt, if I was to truly live, somehow I must be whole.


So here I am, I’m in this seat, and wearily I began to pray,

While I listened to the gentle speakers, and to all they had to say,

As they shared their lives—their griefs and sorrows—yet held firmly to their trust

That God is there through thick and thin; that God is not unjust.


Then something happened while I prayed; I softly, slowly died,

I doubled over in that chair and I cried, I cried and cried.

I cried for me, and for my brothers; I cried for all the years

That we had lived not knowing God; I cried such healing tears.


I prayed for me that blessed day; how I prayed to be God’s child;

I prayed for Him to be my Dad and through GRACE, I finally smiled.

For in my mind, I saw a girl, brand new and she was me,

Finally now I could embrace my promised pedigree.


I joined my sisters in that van, the twelve of us plus one,

Now thirteen disciples heading home, my new life just begun.

How I sang and shared and prayed as I extolled my Dad above

That I am of His family conceived from His own love.


A soothing balm restored my heart, a spirit set me free.

And I am here to testify, I’m His daughter, yup that’s me!

I searched, I asked, and I received; received His guarantee

That I shall live, because He lived and because He died for me.

A Bittersweet Love Story


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 become more and more like You as the seconds and minutes tick past. I don’t want to waste any more time. Help me to stay focused on Your will and purpose. Father, Your will be done, on earth and in me, just as it is in Heaven. Amen and Ehmen.

A Bittersweet Love Story

As His son hung on the cross, bloodied by the hands of man and scoffed at by the evil and lost, God was certainly saddened in the moment—saddened by the state of His creation that brought everything down to this very moment. A moment perhaps best described as a necessary evil and one that would change the destiny of humankind forever; a new and jesus on crossfoolproof way for the very ones that were created in God’s own image to live forever in His Presence. It was and is the invitation of all invitations and it is extended to each and every one of us.

As one who has accepted that invitation, this Easter season finds my heart and mind naturally harkening back to the pivotal events that would forevermore open Heaven’s doorway to the likes of me and you; to sinners saved by grace and grace alone.

Yes, it was part of God’s plan that His Son would die on that cross so that we could live forever in His Presence. But, though it was always a part of His plan, doesn’t mean that it was easy. Jesus, though the Son of God, was fully a man, born to a human mother and into flesh and body just like you and me. He needed air and food just like us and he felt pain like us as well. And the cross undoubtedly created agonizing, horrific pain–pain which He in no way deserved, but humbly accepted out of pure love for us. Which one of us is not heartbroken that he had to endure such torture for us? But, at the same time, who could not be completely filled and overjoyed that he did it so that we could dwell in the presence of our Lord forever?

To me, it is indeed the epitome of a bittersweet love story; that right there in the middle of the cross where God’s heart hung in the balance, wrath and judgement met mercy and lost and found imageforgiveness and our invitation to dwell with Him forever was permanently engraved and then sealed with the blood of His one and only son and our sweet, sweet Savior.

Thank you, sweet Jesus. Thank you. May my life be a testament of my undying gratitude and may Your Glory shine through me until the day I, too, take my last breath on earth. Amen and Ehmen!

His Presence is Our Protection


Me and Thee: A Morning Chat with God…

Good morning, God. Well, it’s taken me about an hour to get myself awake dear godenough to get here. Why can’t I just bound out of bed and grab this computer to talk to You? It frustrates me so. Instead of talking to You and praising You, I sit here googling possible causes of my health concerns. Yes, I want to feel better, Lord, but I don’t want to spend my now limited time with You this morning focused on that. I do ask that You heal me and fully believe that it is within Your power, but from this moment forward during our time together today, I want to focus on You. God, You simply amaze me. The beauty of the world and universe that You created. The mercy and grace You have shown all of us, though we have all helped cause this fallen world. The hope that You give us through Your Word and through the death of Your one and only Son on the cross. Oh, the lengths and depths You have gone for us. You are the creator of it all and the fact that You choose to stick with us even though we disappoint You time after time is simply astounding to me. Lord help me to please You more with my life. Even that, I can’t do alone. I need You. You know what I struggle with and You know my heart. Help me to focus on only that which will propel the Kingdom forward. I love You, my dear sweet Savior. I love You with all of my heart and soul. Walk with me through this day. Help me to stay aware of Your constant presence and love, for that love is a shield of protection for me; the very armor of which the Bible speaks. Clothe me in Your love, Lord. Amen and Ehmen.

Dear, sweet child of mine,

What a beautiful and accurate way to view My armor. Let me assure you that My love and presence surrounds you at all times, whether you recognize it or not. More importantly, there is nothing, but nothing—NOTHING—that can take that away. It is indeed like a hedge of constant protection around you; a suit of armor that protects you and keeps you safe. You are a most prized possession of Mine, child. Walk in that knowledge. Breath in the sweet peace that this state of being provides. Embrace the grace that I have so freely given you and get yourself moving. You have a job to do, for your employer and for Me. I love you, child. 🙂

And His Word says:

Romans, Chapter 8: 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But, memories don’t breathe…


I can’t lie. Today has been a tough and tearful day. I guess because I’m back toamen and ehmen screen shot banner some semblance of a routine. It’s just hard to believe that I won’t be able to see or talk to my brother again, at least this side of heaven. And that really hurts.

Sure, there are plenty of memories, but memories don’t breathe, laugh, smile and talk. They don’t hug or call on the telephone. They don’t tell jokes. They don’t love or advise. They are made up solely of days gone by. And that, too, really hurts.

I just have to remember, while memories may be past tense, God’s grace and promises are alive and present and the very ingredients of our future in Heaven with all of our loved ones, most especially the Almighty Father.

Abba Father, thank you for your grace and promises. And for reminding me that it is okay to grieve and cry. I know that you feel our hurt. In fact, at Gary’s memorial, as the rain fell onto our tents and umbrellas, I couldn’t help but imagine that You and all of the Heavens cried with us. I love you and praise you, dear Father, with all that I am. Please continue to comfort my family and all of those who loved Gary as well as anyone else who is grieving today. Amen and Ehmen.