Friday, August 18, 2017

Reflections on the Hard

I praise the Lord for laughter's music filling hearts with joy. The joy that finds its birth from the deep places in my heart; which like seeds planted deep in dark, earthy soil, also grow up into lovely blooming blossoms of vibrant flowers. Yes, the joy that springs from the hard things of life: sad goodbyes, lonely heart aches, weariness of body and soul, difficulties with people, interruptions, changes in the plans, sickness, challenges that loom so tall, hopes lost, and a zillion other hard things that God uses to show me His love and show me how much I need His love.

Why so much "hard"? Because the hard drives me to the Lord, and that is the best place to be; so God is loving me in giving me the hard things for it is His way of drawing me into His warm embrace!

The hard things of life turn my eyes to Heaven. The lonely, heavy silences open my ears to the echoing praises in Glory reminding me that I am not yet Home. I feel Heaven's longing in me as I sit in the sad quietness and feel my soul's cry for more---for life without goodbyes, life where things only get better and brighter, and for that wondrous moment when I shall see Jesus face to face! Until that day, the hard can be the wind to blow me to Christ's sweet side...if in thanksgiving I turn my sails to be carried along by its current and into God's love be plunged!

The hard teaches me obedience as I surrender to God's plan in thanksgiving. His ways do not make sense the way I would like or unfold, neatly cookie cutter lives as I have in my own plans for myself. Yet what I see is that God's ways cut away at all the pretty, wrapping paper of "godliness" that I wrap my heart with and penetrates deep to show me my sin and expose the idols of my heart that I do not even realize are there. This is God's wisdom and kindness in my life to discipline me as a father disciplines a child, and the hard is the beautiful tool of discipline in His hands uncovering my sin so that I can repent and turn from my sin and draw ever closer to my Heavenly Father.

The hard things in my life are gifts of mercy and grace from God in that they always ensure to keep me in a place of seeing my need of Him. As my heart feels overwhelmed by the hard, I am squeezed, pushed, pressured, and prodded until the only place I have to look is up. When God gives me the hard things of life, he is giving me a precious opportunity to learn to depend upon Him. As I find my own soul grappling with hard things, I am given the choice of praising God for giving me the gift of feeling my desperate need of Him...and in the soil of thanksgiving joy blooms victorious.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Deepness of Our Love

John 15:13
" There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."

These are Christ's own words to His disciples before He Himself demonstrated the greatest act of love in all of history by dying, not for His friends, but for His enemies. The verse before this, Jesus gives his disciples a command: love one another. This following verse (13) explains how deep their love must be. Their love must mirror Christ's own. But how do we mirror His love? Usually when I stop to ask myself this question, I automatically begin to examine my love for others. I want to discover how deep it truly much do I mirror my love strong, vibrant, and sacrificial? The problem is that when I start doing this, I take my eyes off of Christ's love and I fix my eyes on my own love---my own works. So what do we do? We don't worry about how deep our love is...we don't concern ourselves with how we look...we don't examine our progress. These may seem rather strange and quite contradictory. Yet imagine what would happen if an athlete looked back during a race to see how far he had come and to see how far back his competitors were...he would lose his place in the race because he did not keep his gaze fixed on the goal before him. The secret to cultivating deep love is not in seeing that we have it, but in gazing upon Christ's deep love. If we forget about possessing love and instead abide in Christ's love we will begin living out love in our daily lives. I know that I so often fall into the trap of obsessing over whether I am living out Christ's love and wondering if I am showing love like Christ that I often times miss out on the opportunities that God sends my way to actually love others. So I am left with this thought: Fix all of my thoughts, thanksgivings, daily moments on the love of Christ for sinners---be swallowed up in Christ's love and do not worry about how I can love others. Instead as I am consumed with Christ's love, He will pour His love through me.

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 come away from the noise, the approval of others, the appearance of godliness, the guilt of living out (or not) rituals of 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 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


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. 
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