This morning as I woke up with doubts lingering all about me and I asked God for help, He sent me straight to this verse. He NEVER fails. Now, on with the day! He’s got THIS!
June 16, 2019
Thank You for promises kept. All of them. So many promises since the genesis of time, all of which You honor, never letting a single one fall by the wayside.
But, while I thank You for all of those promises kept and for all the fulfilled promises to come, the one that touches me most deeply today–Father’s Day 2019–is found in Psalm 68:5—“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Oh, how this promise has impacted me as You so carefully wove it into the lives of my earthly family when we lost our patriarch at the hands of a murderer.
But, not only is it a personal promise that covers me and my family, it’s a promise lovingly written in broad strokes to cover all of us who for, whatever reason, grew up with anything less than a good earthly father—whether that father was absent by no choice of his own or one who willfully ignored and disregarded what his children needed most of all: to be loved, cherished, protected and valued.
Still, if I am completely honest, I still sometimes struggle with feeling loved, cherished, protected and valued. Deep down I know that I am, because not only do You say that I am, but You have proven it time and time again throughout my life.
Help me with this, Father, and thank You for always being there no matter what and for standing in the gap for my earthly dad who I miss deeply even all these years later. Amen and Ehmen.
I always address you as child, because no matter how old you are or what you have or haven’t done, you will always be just that–My child. I chose you before you were born and will continue to choose you every single day of your life throughout eternity. Nothing and no one can every change that.
Brenda, I am sorry that you did not have the opportunity to truly know your earthly dad. He is a wonderful man who also loves you very much and with who you will one day be reunited. He eagerly awaits this ultimate family reunion and, in the meantime, keeps busy enjoying His many heavenly rewards of which you are one.
We are both very proud of you and the way that you are learning to lay all the twists and turns of life at My feet so that I can make your path straight. Keep your eyes on Me and, together, we will walk heart-first into My will and your purpose.
But, be careful, My Child, not to let your feelings disrupt what you know in your spirit to be true. Feelings can be fickle, a product of the flesh which, by human nature, is weak. Just like the words of a self-professed prophet, you must always test each and every feeling against My Word, the place My truth—and yours—live and breathe; the place where love–My eternal love and affection for you, My child, resides and awaits the moment you allow it to be etched on your heart, never to be forgotten again. On this Father’s Day, I give you this gift. Drink it in. Trust it. And, know, Child…
I have searched you thoroughly and I know everything about you ( Psalm 139:1), even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matthew 10:29-31). I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalm 139:2) and I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3).
For you are My offspring (Acts 17:28) who I knew before you were ever conceived (Jeremiah 1:4-5) and who was made in My own image (Genesis 1:27). I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12), My child. You are not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book (Psalm 139:15-16) and in Me, you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28).
It was Me who knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and Me that determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live (Acts 17:26). Yes, Child, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and it is My desire to lavish My love on you simply because you are My child and I am your Father (1 John 3:1).
Know this, too, My Child, I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11) for I am the perfect father (Matthew 5:28). Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand (James 1:17), for I am your provider and I meet all your needs (Matthew 6:31-33).
My plan for your future, Child, has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11), because I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18) and I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). I will NEVER stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40), for you are My treasured possession (Exodus 19:5).
I am your greatest encourager, child (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) and I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you (Psalm 34:18), for as a shepherd carries a lamb, I carry you close to my heart (Isaiah 40:11).
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus, (John 17:23) who came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31) and tell you that I am not counting your sins (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). He died so that you and I could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) and His death was the ultimate expression of My love for you (1 John 4:10).
Don’t you see, Child, I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love (Romans 8:31-32). If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive Me as well (1 John 2:23) and nothing will ever separate you from My love again (Romans 8:38-39).
I have always been Father, and will always be Father (Ephesians 3:14-15). My question is…Will you be my child (John 1:12-13)?
Writer’s Note: My dad was on the receiving end of a robber’s bullet many, many years ago, when I was just a little girl, robbing me of the opportunity to grow up with a father in my life. I have since forgiven the one who took him from us, but it still hurts, even all of these decades later…
I sit and stare at the photograph. Like my memories, it is faded. I just don’t seem to remember much. Black and white, shades of gray memories. I know you once existed in physical form, but, unfortunately, our life together was way too short; pretty much just a foreword, a preface to my own story.
Sometimes I wonder if I have blocked memories of my childhood, just because your untimely departure hurt so much. Because I know if I remember the good times then I will also have to remember how those good times ended. Those were dark days, even for an 8-year old whose most pressing decision was whether or not to climb the tree in the backyard. One day you were there and the next you were gone.
And even though my present mind sees our days together as a mere outline, like the beginning of a sketch without the details filled in, today, on this Father’s Day weekend, I sit here and FEEL a flood of memories. I FEEL your warmth as we cuddled up on the couch and watched Elvis movies AFTER my bedtime.
I FEEL your strength when you’d catch me as I leaped into your arms when you came home from work. Please forgive me if I ever hugged your neck too tight as I searched for that ever-present piece of gum in the pocket of your starched white shirt.
I FEEL your gentleness and compassion as—after being banished to my room to “just wait until your father gets home”—you arrived to lovingly correct me and, with the fluffy wallop of a pillow, forgave me of my transgressions.
I FEEL the pride I felt when I was up at “daddy’s work.” Yes, that was me that was always rummaging in your desk drawers for change for the coke and snack machines, and no, I still do NOT want a piece of the fruitcake you sold for the Civitan Club.
I FEEL thankful for all the family times, the vacations in Clearwater, Florida at the Sandlewood Hotel, the holidays, the dinners around the dining room table and all the moments for the eight years that we were together.
For though I don’t remember many of the details, I DO remember the FEELINGs of LOVE—feelings powerful enough to help me navigate through your most devastating and tragic departure; through the difficult years that followed as we tried to put our lives back together; through the many years and many milestones that would have been so much more with you there; all the way through today as I spend this Father’s Day weekend feeling memories made five decades ago; memories that turned into a life time of love.
Thank you, God, for my earthly dad and for this walk down memory lane.
But, most of all, God, I thank you for YOU and for your promise that one day my stroll down Memory Lane will bring me to Heaven’s Gate where I will once again have the chance to jump into my Daddy’s arms. Make sure you have Juicy Fruit. It was always my favorite.
Happy Father’s Day to you both. Amen and Ehmen!
June 11, 2019
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…
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.
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 difficult 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
Oh, 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.
June 2, 2019
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 the 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.
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, Child, 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.
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 many 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 the 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!
And 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.
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! 🙂
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.
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.