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.

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.

The Doctor is In.


Note: My work high-jacked all my time and energy again, but now that I have a moment, I wanted to post the last two days of my 7-day commitment to spend time with God every morning. Though it was a long 85-hour work week and it was extremely tough on me physically at times, I can honestly say that this extra focused time on God helped carry me through with spirits intact. He is the Great Physician. Looking forward to continuing to connect with Him on the written page. Be blessed.

February 7, 2017

7:00 AM

Dear God, it is Day 6 of my commitment to meet you here daily for seven consecutive days. Unfortunately, I only have about 30 minutes this morning as I have to get to the office. Fortunately, I dear godknow that I can learn and do more in just a few minutes with you versus years without you. You are incredible and I am happy that you are in my life and in me. This morning, God, I pray to you about the way I’m feeling physically. Please help me to bring all things going on in my body back into order. My week ahead for work is intense as you know and it will be very difficult to maneuver it feeling like this. I love you, dear God, and it is in your son’s name that I pray. Amen and Ehmen.

Dear Child,

I’m sorry you are not feeling well, but you have come to the right place. You live in a fallen world and your body is susceptible to all kinds of undesirable things. But, as long as you stay close to me, I will help you navigate even the most menacing of them. Healing, my child, comes in many forms. Sometimes I simply wipe out the illness as you, yourself, have experienced. Sometimes I use medicines and physicians. Sometimes it is immediate and sometimes it takes time, as I know you have also experienced. Your job is to believe, to trust in me, and be thankful in both cases. Trust, dear child, is an area that you struggle with and that is okay. As long as you come to me, I will continue to teach you as long as it takes. We are in this together. You must always remember that.

  Isaiah 41:10

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
“For I am with you

 

Comfort from The Creator


Writer’s Note: I was reading through some old messages and ran across this Featured Image -- 351that was written for my dear friend who had recently lost her best friend and husband. While it was meant to comfort her in that moment, I found it comforting myself today and thought I would share.

I was in the middle of working the other day when I got this little “God nudge” as I often do and when I opened the blank page this is what came out:

“Sweet, sweet child of mine, don’t you know how much I love you. My love for you is more vibrant than even the largest expanse of buttercups growing on My green earth. It is deeper than the deepest swallows of the ocean and higher than the beautiful blue skies suspended above My own Heavens. I know you hurt. I know you are missing him. But, oh my, has he brightened things up here. What a heart he has, full of love. Thank you for sending him back to me in such good shape. I’m taking good care of him and we both eagerly await the day of your arrival. Please, my child, take that knowledge that we are waiting for you and live out your days with joy. There is so much left to do there on earth; so much that only you can do. I promised you hope and a future and I always make good on my promises. I just need you to listen for me; listen for my whispers; listen for me in the silence of the night; the quietness of an empty house. Talk to me always; in your heart; with your mouth; when you are alone or when you are in a crowd. Whisper my name when the devil attacks you. No matter how loud he gets in your head, even a whisper of my name will squelch him. I am right here. I AM.”

Lord, thank you for these precious words and times together. And thank you for your unending comfort and love. May we have many more “blank page” conversations in 2016. I can think of no better way to spend the year. Much love from earth to heaven. Amen and Ehmen.

–Brenda

 

 

 

 

No Care is Too Big or Too Small…


Writer’s Note:  Tonight, as I prepare myself for an early morning doctor’s appointment in search of answers for an ongoing health enigma, I happened to re-read this entry from my “Dear God” Journal from this past April. Though very personal, I share it now because, quite frankly, I am feeling led to. And, if there is even the slightest chance someone else might find benefit, it’s totally worth it. I know it helped me again tonight. The Father teaches me so much and He so kindly re-teaches me as many times as it takes. I love Him and am so glad He is mine. I hope He is yours, too. Lord, help me to get up earlier so I can have more and more Me and Thee time with you; more conversations and teaching moments like this. And, Lord, be with me and this new team of physicians in the morning. I trust in You and praise You for taking such good care of me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Ehmen.

April 17, 2015 6:41 amdear god

Lord, I’m here. Still struggling with getting here to the blank page in the mornings. I’m not sleeping well; waking up multiple times in the night and, when I finally realize I can’t hit the snooze anymore, waking with a headache. I’m not sure my cpap machine is working properly or perhaps it is something else entirely. I pray, Lord, that you help the doctors find the problem once and for all…help me to find it….and fix it. I want my entire focus to be on you. I truly, truly do. And, as I wrote yesterday, I want to learn to listen more than I speak, for you know my heart. Teach me, my dear, dear Lord. And know that I love you more than life itself. You are my creator, my protector and my friend. You are my love, my present and my future. I want to be your humble servant who makes you proud. Speak to me, oh Lord. Amen and Ehmen!

Child,

I wish that you fully understood the depth and breadth of My love for you. I care about everything that concerns you, even the smallest stub of the toe. If I don’t heal you in the way that you wish, perhaps there is something yet to learn; or someone yet to relate to. Faith in Me when all is well is difficult to maintain, even for the ones that are closest to me. It is human nature to forget me oftentimes when there is no rain and that can be a very dangerous place to live. Therefore, instead of concentrating on having a perfect life, which will not happen until My Kingdom comes, I want you realize that I care about your suffering and I Am here at all times to help you through it. When the Israelites cried out from the bonds of Egyptian slavery, was I not there? My Word says that I “was concerned.” And My Word is truth. Study the story of Moses and Pharaoh today as there is more that I want to enlighten you to. And remember, you, too, are my people, and I will say to whomever enslaves you today or tomorrow, “let my people go.” And it shall be. I love you, child. Go, go about your day, filled with joy. Shake off the depression and funk you have been in the last couple of days. Focus on me, suit up in my armor, and KNOW that I AM in control of all things that concern my beautiful daughter.

Don’t just talk to God…Listen…


Writer’s Note: When you pray, make sure to listen, too. God has many wonderful when you pray, listenthings to say. Thanks to Facebook “Memories,” I ran across this early morning conversation I had with Him back on September 18, 2011. It was a tough period when two of my dearest friends had just been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases. And, while there was much sadness and grief surrounding the circumstances on that day and days to come, I have to admit that it drew me closer to our Lord and Savior and I learned to really listen. And for that I am eternally thankful. God, I love you so very much. Thank you for always being there for me! Amen and Ehmen!

Me: But, God, why are testimonies so important? Why can’t we just write fiction? Why do people have to actually live these trials and tribulations; these nightmares?

And the answer came:

“Because, my child, fiction is made up; it is not real. But, I am REAL and so is Heaven and the Eternal Life that I offer. I need all My children to know that it is times like this–times when problems are so massive that the human mind can’t even begin to comprehend–that I do my best work. Read Jeremiah 32:27

Jeremiah 32:27 New International Version

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

I never expected my children to do life on their own. I am, always have been, and will always be right here, just waiting for you to call on me. Read Ephesians 40:28-31.”

Ephesians 40:28-31

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.