Friday, March 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Gift

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Lots of this and that winter & early spring '12 207although this journey for us has been long…oh the gifts

even in the waiting, especially in the waiting,

the chances to have and to hold the great prizes of dear ones in our lives

who soon will be far, may always be far away until Heaven,

have been close.  and we have been able to drink deeply from the cup

of the grace of the Good Giver.  In the grief of goodbyes have been the reminders of Heaven. the sweet rendezvous of times golden and glistening in the sunshine of mutual love.

I have left so many surprise meetings that have dropped from heaven and beenLots of this and that winter & early spring '12 213 handed by the Giver, the Great Giver of all

just today with a heart of hearts friend.  as children pray like forever friends

and a few days ago too with friends who are forever family

and little ones pick up in the togetherness that bound us when we lived doors apart

and in the Grace of the gift, of the lens of all as gift, to kiss these times, though fleeting and unknown as to the renewal, with the joy of such a gift.

Time in the presence of those we love that we do not know when it will happen again, to hold onto what is good and know that it is far more than beggars and the poor in spirit deserve

Lots of this and that winter & early spring '12 245but to know that it is nonetheless given with no sign of stopping for the One who holds all of our weary and worn and grieving hands and calls us forward

to new steps and lives but always with the sweet fragrance, the beauty in color of His gifts…always His.  always good.  always given. always reminding of Heaventhe greatest joy and crown coming

living forever when all flows from the light of His Glory. His Love.

 

 

 

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

and what is the truth?

Sunshine on a church

{photo source}

The Truth is neither here nor there in the hearts of many.  It is the Spirit of the Age to deny any universal clarity over the probing questions of life.  It is the tool of the Enemy to cause rampant doubt in the souls of people as the widespread notion of truth as elusive, at best subjective, gains a deep and powerful foothold.

But, I find it all so very ironic.  Jesus, the Embodiment of Truth, with a heart of compassion, mercy and love to the uttermost promised that the truth sets us all free.  And who are we to doubt this King of Love?

We are the afraid, the shamed, the lonely, the stubborn, the proud and the wanderers that’s who.  We have hardened hearts as Israel of old and steel ourselves against hope.  And I love Him and have pledged my life to Him, yet this is still often how I approach the Truth given that I might be free.

But the flesh knows that Truth is costly.  It costs my pride. My sense of being able to make it on my own. It costs my righteousness.  All of the ways I have remained set apart from what I know is wrong.  All that I think I do for him.  It costs my knowledge.  All that I think I have learned that somehow places me further ahead on the journey.

Yes, it’s true.  The Truth that makes free costs every bit of my effort, my-self, the blood, sweat and tears of life to make a name in this world.

And it doesn’t only cost me these things in one radical abandonment.  Though I may experience a great epiphany of freedom at such a laying down, it will slip through my grasping fingers the second that I take up again what I do, who I have somehow constructed myself to be and claim that as my autonomy. my freedom.

As with everything Jesus says, it means infinitely more than we can imagine when it first brings light to our hearts.  That first light is true, but it will take the swimming of eternity towards it, begun first here encumbered and continued forever, one Glorious Day, in perfection to know it’s depths.

So, as I embrace His Truth that makes me Free, I am beginning to see how the revealing of the dark and hidden is continual.  His Truth penetrates marrow and bone, core and fiber, capillary and molecule.  And to take up His freedom is to allow the probe deeper.  If I am any indication of the human heart, and I have to believe I am, then each impasse of His Truth and perfection and my truth and imperfection reveals another wall of pride and fear.

This pride and fear and desperate groping for what I can offer Him rises from my own heart and reaches through the atmosphere of this world across culture and religion.

But it is always met with the Promise of the Only One to ever bear with full integrity, the Truth.  His Truth is wide and deep and high and long.  His Truth is Grace upon Grace.  His Truth is all that the hurting, broken mass of humanity needs to be healed and whole.  His Truth stands as Savior. Messiah. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. and Great Lover of our souls.  His Truth is the Only Hope of Freedom.

And His Truth calls you and it calls me, not once, but perpetually and forever, asking in love and compassion ‘Do you want to be free? To live free? Truly and Forever?’

Truth has come and made a Way, a Life and asks us to again embrace it today. now and forever.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Loud

{photo source}

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And it is the voice of Isaiah the prophet that is the first and loudest to come

crying aloud, yet speaking tenderly that warfare has ended

that She, Israel, has paid double for all of her sins…

and then it’s the voice crying out in the wilderness

to make way for HIM…Who?…Him!

And I hear the voice in my heart and I want to hear hope

and hear joy

not only for myself, not even first for myself, but for the world

I want the condemned and beaten down to find the way made straight for Him

And I want to see the dark chains of those who have believed every lie come break free!

And I want to hear the loud shouts of joy of a people united

from every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation

and it will say with all of the hosts of Heaven

‘Worthy, Worthy, Worthy, is the

LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN

Worthy to receive blessing and glory and honor

forevermore’

and there is a loud~ness to it all that echoes through the caverns of time to me

to here, to now.

to you. to him. to her.

and the Voice says do not despair, there is ALWAYS hope

and the Voice is calling and the arms are opening wide

and the hearts are being made ready

and I want to live in perfect tune with this Voice…a life LOUD of the Forever and the Glory

of Him.  always Him.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

yes, there IS grace…in the wilderness

Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

~Jeremiah 31:2-3

{photo source}

And so I’ve come to see the pattern of this life as one of perpetual returns to the wilderness.  Though not the result, many times, of outward rebellion or unbelief, it is the necessary means of coming to know a grace exquisite.

The wilderness is the place where the circumstances of life strip us bare.  We find that faltering steps and tattered clothes that fail to hide the wounds of too many falls from foolishness or treachery are simply not sufficient to lead us home.

We need grace in the wilderness as we would never come to need it when milk and honey flow and our table is full and all is bloom and new life.

We find nourishment in the deep places of marrow and soul in the manna, the mystery, that is our provision when so many why’s go unanswered and the uncertainty of our way is acutely punctuated.

Our vision becomes singular for there are no distractions in the wilderness.  We see unequivocally who calls us from afar and draws ever nearer with a clear pathway to our hearts. 

And with each return to the wilderness, we come to embrace this veil of tears and valley of shadow for what it is…and what it isn’t. We recognize that until we are Home forever, every step holds a hint of the wanderer; the exile; the longing for another world.

 We see that there is no other way than to walk this road.   And in the paradox of the kingdom we find our steps are surer and more resolute for we have come to identify increasingly with the Suffering Servant who is our Salvation. Life. All-in-All.

And we leave behind the answers to the pain.  to the sweet children, babies, who leave the here and now forever with a void in their place only Heaven can fill.  to the beloved mama’s and papa’s who lose their battles to live and must leave their young. to the senseless violence that plagues schools and villages and homes too numerous to count.

We refuse the happy ending now for the Wedding of the Lamb that awaits that Great and Final Day of Completion.  And so we raise high a hope that is indestructible, unquenchable and pure gold for it’s fire’s refining; it’s wilderness birth.

Yes, there IS INDEED grace exquisite…in the wilderness.

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SoliDeoGloria

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Brave

 

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When I think of brave, I think of those I love and have loved most in this life.

I think of Mama and her bravery when she fought that monster cancer head on even when all human possibility of extended life waned.  She fought and rehabilitated limbs and self and learned to use her left hand to write out the last cards that she gave us.  She stood strong and courageous when dignity was stripped and showed that it is what is deepest that can never be taken away.  And she showed everything in the purest and most complete way that she truly had always been.  She gave us all her greatest gift and taught how to live each moment to its fullest and never accept defeat unless it is sure it is but the final passageway to LIFE.

And brave too was the Papa who loved her so.  It came for him in the mornings after she was gone when he would always have taken her hand and ushered her into Heaven’s throneroom.  And though one half of himself was ripped away He came still to the only God He knew and the only one who could heal even though nothing in him felt like going on or living true without the joy and fullness of his beloved and all she lit within him their journey through.  But come he did and survive he did and resilience he too taught when it counted most.

And so if there is any bravery in these bones and limbs and heart and soul it has come from those closest and dearest who have been there always…

I love you!!!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

dear refuge of my weary…everything

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

~Matthew 11: 28-30

I am sure that this new pregnancy has me emotional, but I could not ignore the tears.

I was talking on the phone with my beloved twin sister as she was unpacking things in her new house.  We were talking about her having to say goodbye to her old house and something inside of me snapped {a little}.  I know that I am so happy for her and her family as they are ending a long transition process between one house and another.  Truly so happy for her and I can’t wait to be with them in their new house even as I know that I will miss the old one in which we shared many visits, memories, joys…life. How can we not miss the places of our lives?

But the tears were not empathetic. Instead, they came from the hurt and weary tucked inside of me.  I miss having a home.  While I have learned so much about what Home really is as this was my treasured word of last year, I still miss a physical home.  I miss inviting people into my home and using my dishes and sleeping in my bed {we are closing in on a year since that has happened;}  I miss a predictable routine.  And I miss a lot more too.  In those tears today, I ached not being able to remember the last time I felt like I had a home or a feeling of being settled in a physical place.

And this is the weary everything that is good to see, acknowledge, even embrace as I pour out this heart to the God who will never turn away.  He only asks that I cry out to Him and not retreat within a world of self-pity where I become the victim.  And in that crying out I press more deeply into Him and the buried wounds are touched and I move forward on the path to healing. to redemption. to a resilient and true strength to face what yet lies ahead.

 

This hymn is one that brought tears to my beloved husband’s eyes not long ago.  It seems that walking a faith journey together only shows us each our enveloping weariness and with that deep awareness draws us ever closer to Him who is our Life and shows us our life in one another.  So we recommend faith journeys with those that you love;}

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SoliDeoGloria

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Empty

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Empty is always for a purpose.  If there is no empty there can be no filled.

And I am knowing that there are fathoms of empty and the deeper the empty the deeper the filling.

And I want empty to be daily and to be moment by moment and to be as natural as breathing.

I want to empty of the pride, fear, mistrust, the anger, worry and doubt.  I want to empty of the plans I make without seeing them through His eyes.  I want to empty of the apathy that lives less than the fullest Life.

And as I empty I want to fill.  Fill of all that He holds and pours in and fills marrow and bones with the heady fullness of a God so beyond yet so come down that He LIVES in me.

And in these days when new life, a new little precious life, is starting to form in me.  I want to empty of the control and the strength to walk this journey myself and to fill with the promises of His never-leaving-or-forsaking…

And I want this life to be a journey to birth a journey where I empty my strength and receive His and pray over this new life coming and the sweet ones already entrusted to my care and

I as Mama and lover of Jesus sing through my days the sweet benediction of a song that comes from the fullness of the quiet voice left after the emptying of the storm.

Stop.

{photo source}

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

how the little and the big go together

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  ~Jim Elliot

So, I’ve been thinking about this journey…a lot.  It’s longer, much longer, than we thought it would be.  Not just when we sensed the called to move overseas long-term but so, so, so much longer than we would have ever imagined that first night over eight years ago when we heard a young missionary couple share their heart and ministry to students in Hungary.

And those eight plus years have brought together a lot of little, seemingly minute moments and choices, that have fit into one BIG tapestry.

The little things started that first Sunday night when I really needed to correct some papers and get ready for my week of teaching, but said ‘yes’ to going to a youth meeting to hear missionaries speak.  The tiny times continued when I would be having a few quiet minutes with the LORD before leaving for school and I would let the questions come about how we wanted to spend our lives.

These led to a BIG thing of committing to move forward and apply and work towards a year internship with the student ministry in Hungary.  And this led to many more little choices. Often just to be looked upon as crazy and patronized with ‘it’s good to have an adventure while you’re young.’

Every little step of obedience after a BIG ‘yes’ has put our faith to the test.

Do we trust God to raise up more money than we would have ever thought to ask?  And that question keeps coming as previous goals are blown out of the water by new ones.  It’s become a constant discipline of trust that propels us together and forward as we are humbled to know and see with our own eyes that He will always provide.

And when we said a BIG ‘yes’ going on two years ago, it has led to so many little ‘yes’s and the bending of our wills and the waves of surrender that just keep washing over us.  Will you release these friendships, this community to me?  Will you let go of knowing what tomorrow will bring? {who really knows anyway…security in what is seen is just a fa├žade.}  Will you sort and pack and pack and sort and just keep letting go of material things?  Will you embrace loneliness as you live in-between?  Will you trust me enough to follow your desire to have another child, not knowing where you will be throughout the pregnancy? {We just found out we are pregnant:}

At times as this journey to move overseas has continued in its often-seeming ho-hum I have wondered if I am learning and growing.  And that gentle and loving Abba Father opens my eyes to the tapestry that the BIG bright and bold yes’s with their woven paths built by little stitches of the simple and small yet obedient and true have made.

And I smile and sing a little deeper from my soul knowing that all things are working together for our good and it is a wondrous and beautiful and eternal good.

Friend can I ask you?  Is your life full of little things that reflect trust in Him?  If not, do you need to re-visit the BIG things and ask Him if they are His will or yours?  Remember that stability and control are a mirage but one that this world paints as life.  Abandon what is false for another world that is eternal. Ask for the eyes to see and live, really LIVE, for what will never pass away. 

May we never choose another way as long as we draw breath. Because He is WORTHY of all of our moments, days, hearts, selves, wills, dreams, goals, loves…He ALONE is WORTHY.

{photo source}

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Ache

Beautiful Budapest overlooking the Chain Bridge and Castle…come visit?

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I ache for the beauty of this, my coming home.  I ache for the knowing what lies there in all of its pain and promise.  I ache for those who live in grey and sadness still and wait for hope to be born in their souls.  I ache for all that the generation come there and here will face and suffer and stand for and walk boldly in as they are made spirit ready for what is to come.

And I ache for home, this home where soon will fade the touch of the faces who have loved us our whole lives through.  Those who know us as no others and who in all of their own faith and surrender have let us go in their hearts and pray us to our new home and will pray with us for this life ahead.

And I ache for Home.  Oh, how I ache for Home.  I think of those who have just lost little ones and they are so close to my heart.  I think of those who wait me there…I think of the good dying young and the brave dying strong and their glory is full and forever before the throne but yet they still wait with us for all complete and the wiping of every tear.

And I ache as a Mama for the Home I want forever for these little ones.  The things most deeply prayed that their faith will weave full and deep and that they will mount up on wings like eagles and shine as stars in the heavens and that they will dare to be daniels.  Their future is so much more unknown then so many others and yet tucks the assurance as I type these words that the safest is the center of His will.

And He has been teaching us to ache for Him and to be His in this world in such a way that holds our wills in His in His palm and so the ache stretches forward even as it embraces

Stop.

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