Monday, January 23, 2017

Gifts of Grace


Written in dust on the shelves in my home
In the piles of laundry that ensure I'm never alone
Stacked up high in the sink every day
Is the message of mercy ever displayed
~
For once thinking sadly, "I'll need grace for this day."
While surveying the toys scattered from play
And feeling the weight of the sink staked up high
And the mountains of laundry reaching the sky
~
Once the clutter loitering around
Seemed a barrier to the peace not found
Deep in my soul from striving and cleaning
For inevitably my flurry left me retreating
~
And once longing for grace just to make it through
I realized a truth ever so true
That God's grace is not seen in getting me by
But in the gifts of today piled up high
~
In the dishes, the laundry, the dust on the shelves
In the faces of my children longing to be held
In the bathroom needing cleaning again
In the pickup of crayons, markers, and pens
In the play dough caked in the carpeted floor
With dinner needing prepping along with much more
~
If anything I realize I'm blessed beyond measure
To have so much of God's grace is truly a treasure
For in His daily gifts of grace
I see His love through eyes of faith

Monday, September 15, 2014

# 1 The Secret Place {Come Away with Me, My Beloved}


Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”  The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.”  
The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by,              I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.     Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen" (Emphasis added)
-Exodus 33:18-23 NLT

I have read these verses many times before, but I have never thought that much on verse 22 before today. Before the Lord showed Moses His glory, He first hid him in "the crevice of the rock" and He also covered him with His hand. I wonder why God hid Moses away before showing him His glory? I don't have the answer, but as I think on this it makes me wonder if God still reveals Himself this way? I don't mean so much in the physical sense as I mean in the method of how He meets us in our lives. Does God still call us away---"hide us in the rock"---before He shows us His glory; before He shows us His goodness and grace? 

I wonder this because I feel like my heart is hidden, and it is not something I naturally like. When I am hidden, I cannot be noticed by others; my spiritual life is not out in the open to be praised or admired; my devotion to the Lord is put to the test as I live before an audience of one; and my desire to feel good about my spiritual life cannot be gratified by the common rituals that make me feel spiritual. The longing to be hidden in the secret place---in the presence of God---can be overshadowed by the realization that the gratification of "self" cannot come with me. This is not easy...for in my heart I wish to have both, but this would be to serve both God and my flesh,which is impossible. And so the war rages on inside of me.

Yet it seems to me that even as I struggle with these sinful desires, the Lord calls me to come away with Him. It is as if He has heard my secret longing to see His glory, and He has called me to come away...to come away from the noise, the approval of others, the appearance of godliness, the guilt of living out (or not) rituals of faith...to come away with Him, to be hidden, to see His glory, to know Him more deeply, to meet Him alone. 

This kind of call does not include the option of a play-by-play face book update on my status or the ability for others to know or understand what is happening in my life. It is a call to the secret place---to be hid in the rock and covered by His hand.





 

Come Away With Me ~ Hide Yourself In Me

The longing heart gasps for approval...this anxious heart of mine seems restless and discontented. Like exhausted wheels spinning, spinning, spinning in the mud; my heart seems to spin in place without much progress. As I seek ways to satisfy my longings with the appearance of what I long for, truly my heart can only be satisfied with Him. The Almighty One cannot be bought with rituals, traditions, and outward acts. I find this out more each new day. I know deep down, I really want Him. Yet the weight and pressure and sin inside me clamors at me and urges me to just put on the appearance of godliness. This way I will feel good...like I am being the Christian I should be. I don't have time to really delve deep into the authentic life of following after the Lord, so if I can just put on the appearance of following Him then at least I won't be weighed down by this guilt that I feel now.

And so here I am, longing to put on the appearance of godliness as I have always done before, but suddenly I am in a place where I no longer am able to do it. It scares me. I feel like I will slip away. As if my grip on faith and living holy to the Lord will weaken, and my life will spin out of control. These fears increase as I think of being a mama now. My longings for the appearance of godliness increase as I think of raising her. It somehow makes me feel like a better mama if I am doing the things that will make me look Christ like. Not that any of these things are wrong, but I know my heart and it is not truly entering in rightly, but out of a desire to be approved by others.

So as I sit quite lost and confused, a still small voices calls to me. Whispering to me to come away...come away from the clamoring voices inside my head, to come away from my desire to please others and be approved by them, to come away from the appearance of godliness, and hide myself in the Almighty One. Psalm 91 talks of this...He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty. I need a changed and renewed heart; one that only the Lord can give. One that He fashions in hiding.

So I am left with the questions...will I only seek the Lord if it is in front of others so as to feel like I am being a good Christian? Will I only read the Word when it is with my family so as to feel like I am fulfilling my duty as a parent? Will I only pray if it is with my husband so as to feel like we have a strong marriage? Or will I come away with the Lord and hide myself in Him? Yes I long to know the Lord, but only through His grace can I come away and be hidden in Him so as to overcome my intense struggle to be approved by others in my Spiritual walk with the Lord.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Growing

As I watch my baby girl grow each new day, I am struck by how fast life flies by and I just want to make things slow down for a moment. Because I know in my heart that if I close my eyes, my little girl will be all grown up. Oh, yes I want her to grow...I want to celebrate all the milestones, but I don't want to miss a moment of it. I want to savor each day, and pour my heart into her life.

As I see this heart in me, it makes me realize that my Father in heaven also savors each moment. He is not in a rush for me to "grow up", not that he does not want me to grow in my faith, but he is patient and enjoys seeing and taking me through each new stage in life. He has beautiful and unique lessons for each new day...and he is not anxious to hurry through them or skip them. 

I have heard pastors and speakers talk about increasing your spiritual growth in such a way as to skip ahead 5, 10, 15 years spiritually speaking. Yet I think the Lord enjoys taking us through the process...he likes to see us progress from stage to stage as we grow in him and in faith. 

So with this in mind I am able to rest in where the Lord has placed me, resting in his power to progress my faith day by day. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Unfailing Provider

     This past year, the Lord has demonstrated again and again that He is the unfailing Provider. No matter how big or how small our needs have been, the Lord has wonderfully met them all in His perfect timing and way. I am challenged and encouraged to trust Him more deeply and more readily instead of lingering in my useless worries. The Lord is near to His children, though we may not feel His presence or sense His nearness, He is near just the same. He blesses us with what we need when we need it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Faith

I am reminded this morning of the many, many times in Scripture that God has called His people to wait upon Him. The many times God has promised to do extraordinary things, but does not reveal the timeframe for His promises to unfold. My mind thinks of the story of Noah...God told Him that He was going to destroy the earth, and warned Noah to build an ark to save his family. Noah obeyed God even though it must have cost him his reputation and popularity, yet in the end it saved his life. Abraham waited excruciatingly long years for God to fulfill His promise of giving him a son through his wife Sarah. He made mistakes along the way, but through it all God persevered his faith and Abraham learned obedience through waiting. And in the end God gave Abraham a son through Sarah and his name was Isaac, and he brought his parents laughter. Skipping ahead....Mary must have felt like any other girl in her town, but when God gave her a mission and a promise that through her the Messiah would come, she obediently submitted to God's plan even though it would make her look like an adulteress. She trusted God that He knew what was best for her and she also knew that He was her "Best".

So many other stories of God's promises and people's faith or lack of faith. The amazing thing is that faith is not something we can muster up on our own...it too is a gift from God just as the promise He gives us are. So how do we get this gift of faith from God? Ask the Lord. He will give freely to those who ask Him.

Faith will cost you, though so beware. It will cost you everything this world holds dear, because when you live by faith you do not live by the standards and expectations of those who live in this world. You instead are living for the Lord and you are confident that your citizenship is in heaven where Jesus is. This will not go over well with others and they will not understand, but how else can we live when we know the truth? How can we not endure a little misunderstanding from the people around us in order to live close to the heart of God seeing life through His eyes. keep this perspective in your sights and live by faith today. How? Obey God. When God says TRUST ME....trust Him. When God says SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN....do it. When God says DON'T BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING BUT IN EVERYTHING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION....pray and don't worry. Always easier said then done. But this is my own challenge today to rest in God's hands and trust Him with my entire life.

 
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