Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Beginnings

My word found me as I stuck it on the fridge.  He had already whispered it to me, but I didn't see it.  It's is the miracle that is all this....the breaking, the in-between, that this is what He promised me all along.
Joy.
And this verse....this beautiful verse, is my song.  It speaks to my heart.  It tells my story and is laced with what has sprung up. Thankful.

Psalm 30
The Voice (VOICE)
Psalm 30

A song of David. For the dedication of the temple.

1 I praise You, Eternal One. You lifted me out of that deep, dark pit
    and denied my opponents the pleasure of rubbing in their success.
2 Eternal One, my True God, I cried out to You for help;
    You mended the shattered pieces of my life.
3 You lifted me from the grave with a mighty hand,
    gave me another chance,
    and saved me from joining those in that dreadful pit.
4 Sing, all you who remain faithful!
    Pour out your hearts to the Eternal with praise and melodies;
    let grateful music fill the air and bless His name.
5 His wrath, you see, is fleeting,
    but His grace lasts a lifetime.
The deepest pains may linger through the night,
    but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.
6 When things were quiet and life was easy, I said in arrogance,
    “Nothing can shake me.”
7 By Your grace, Eternal,
    I thought I was as strong as a mountain;
But when You left my side and hid away,
    I crumbled in fear.
8 O Eternal One, I called out to You;
    I pleaded for Your compassion and forgiveness:
9 “I’m no good to You dead! What benefits come from my rotting corpse?
    My body in the grave will not praise You.
No songs will rise up from the dust of my bones.
    From dust comes no proclamation of Your faithfulness.
10 Hear me, Eternal Lord—please help me,
    Eternal One—be merciful!”
11 You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing;
    You stripped off my dark clothing
    and covered me with joyful light.
12 You have restored my honor. My heart is ready to explode, erupt in new songs!
    It’s impossible to keep quiet!
    Eternal One, my God, my Life-Giver, I will thank You forever.

Endings

I'm writing this on New Year's Eve morning.....reflecting, pondering, journaling so much lately with pen and paper.  It's been almost a year since He called me back to this.  A year.  That can change everything.  Two years to the day my world crumbled.....a year to the day that I was choosing to run from the healing I so desperately sought.  And then the year that changed it all again...this year.  He promised me that it would not last forever, that the breaking would not kill me.  It hasn't. 2012 was a year of breaking, a year of stripping away all that was and He kept telling me....begin again....this year, my word found me...I wasn't searching for a word or a blog or anything remotely like what He has done, yet here I am.   And the word...thankful...finally settled in late about a month ago and I really understood what He was telling me.  In the midst of the storm, a statement from Christine Cane stuck with me...."the breaking always precedes the miracle".  Yes, but what I have learned this year is that the middle...THAT changes everything.  In her reference, she spoke of Jesus breaking bread....and giving thanks....and then He fed the 5,000...the breaking preceded the miracle, BUT, the breaking was followed with thanksgiving.  That was the part I needed to learn.  The miracle, the thanksgiving, the joy......2013 was my year to learn thanksgiving in the middle of my circumstance..whatever it might have been.  And let me say this year was hard.  There was nothing even remotely easy about walking these last 364 days....but each step led me closer to what it is He has called me to.  Thanksgiving.  He gave me a verse in 2012.....it even sat on my desk.  I wrote it out, but I didn't grasp it.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Amplified Bible (AMP)
16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);
17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];
18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

This fall especially, I have learned to be thankful is not necessarily to FEEL it.  He doesn't say "feel thanks", He says GIVE thanks.  Even if I don't feel it, even if it's through tears, even on the hard days, even when thankful is the last thing I am.  Giving it lets it take root, lets it get in deep and anchor itself.  It's what I have ended each post with.  Not because I particularly felt it, even though sometimes I did, but purposefully saying Thank You Lord.  I know You will use even this for Your glory.  And He has.  Tonight, for the first time in two years, I am excited for a New Years eve to come.  I am glad for the people I am able to share with and for what He has done this year, especially on the hard days.....never will I leave you baby girl, NEVER will I forsake you....no, He never has.  And if I have no other reason on earth, that very one makes me forever, thankful.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

One

It's been a few days.  The children came home early from their trip much to my joy and surprise and my Christmas was truly complete.  My gift, the gift of peace in this weary girl's body.  I have been wondering just what in the world God will do with all this.  2012 was a year of putting pen to paper.  In 2013, He asked me to put my fingers back on the keyboard.  That has changed my life in ways I never imagined.  The words He gave me to title my blog fit ever so snugly in my heart.  I am truly what it says, I am a girl that has seen sorrow, but oh, what a lovely thing He did when I let Him have His way.  And when I look back at it all I realize, that was just the foundational stuff, the beginning of what He wants to do in my life.  Two whole years it has been.  Some days I wonder how, how Lord, did I survive this?  He held me.  I know that.  But the beauty that has come back this year, not without pain and sorrow and struggle, but in the midst of it all. This year, learning to do the hard work when He asks me to.  Learning that if He asks, then it has purpose.  So I have slowed down.  I have been quiet.  I have had the gift of spending time with family, with friends and letting Him show me grace.  I have seen the beautiful gift of togetherness spring up in my children and in this very space we call our home.  I have seen miracles.  My word, that hunted me down and settled itself as a seed.  My word, that would be the answer I so desperately sought.  My word, that He planted long ago if I am honest.  The word that I was everything but.  The word that is how I want to live each day for the rest of my days.  Thankful.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas :)

That tree...you know, the one that I knew I wanted, and had visions of in my head, but it just never came to be.  It just didn't happen.  A day of grace yesterday...washing machine operable.  Thankful for the beautiful agitating water that washes all the dirt away, making it good as new again.....That tree.....it was plaguing me. I had an idea.  Not sure if it would work.  But my vision of it....so with saw in hand I found the tree that stood so tall.  I cut it down and did some pruning.  It reminded me of myself, this tree.  What you see is what is.  No fluff and no hiding.  Laid bare.  What He has called me to in this season.  This was my tree.  It didn't mind much to lose some of the extras that made it impossible to move in the space it was to fill.....I have had to lose some extra stuff too in order to move into this space He has for me.  I didn't respond quite as well as the tree though....

So I braved the upstairs of the pool house in the cold and prayed that all the nice little mice that may or may not be in there, would be sleeping with sugar plums dancing in their heads....and I found them....all 800 of them. Lights.  This is the point where if you know me, you are shaking your head....what are YOU gonna do with all those lights Miss Non-Decorator?? Happy you asked! My vision....my tree...my Christmas tree that says just what I feel....and hour and a large roll of scotch tape found me staring at the most beautiful tree....

It's frame is sturdy and strong and when you look at it, you don't see anything but the light.  And that what I want, just for people to be able to see the Light.  The stockings are full, there are presents in front of the tree, waiting in anticipation of the travelers that are coming from far away...this is a gift.  This time, this day, this space....He promised.  Thankful.


Advent Day 24 - In-between

The night before woke me with thoughts of revelation.  And as I read my book, finishing it up, the most beautiful of gifts He laid before me.  It's the in-between, you see, it changes everything.  The breaking precedes the miracle.....yes, but it's the Thanksgiving that follows the breaking and it is that Thanksgiving that ushers in the truest miracle of all......joy.  Joy in any and all circumstance.  Joy that allows tears and sadness and pain and anticipation and hope and His passionate love for us to be hurled together.....all of it. Thanksgiving.  It finally settled.  It is Thanksgiving that is following the season of breaking and it is the Thanksgiving that prepares my heart for the miracle of what is to be...whatever is to be.  It is the word He gave me long before I knew what He was saying or how in the world He expected me to use it.  It was my answer given long before I really even knew what the question should be.  It is the feeling in my heart as I walk through this day.  And so I sit, in joyful and hopeful anticipation of Him, because He is never late you know. It's the waiting that makes the gift ever so sweet.  Thankful.

Advent Day 23 - Gift

This day was long and ended in frustrations.  Being thankful was purposeful at best, yet I was.  There were so many things unbroken.  So many reasons to smile.  My world would not end because of a little inconvenience, but if you know me, the thought of no washing machine for a few days sent me into a panic that was eventually calmed by the location of a laundromat not too far away...just in case :)  Quiet....as I agreed to let Him be my hand holder through this very uncomfortable, un-normal time for me, I looked for what He wanted me to discover.  This was a day of meaning.  It was very present in my mind.  As I walked the hall, turned the heat off and whispered yet again..thank You for all of this...a most beautiful gift arrived. Words that my heart so desperately longed to hear, given to me this day, one that I don't share with anyone else...a gift to be unwrapped.  Thankful.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Advent Day 22 - Receive

My weekend found me shopping a little, buying the last of the things to complete the wishes of my two. Stockings will be full. Presents will be wrapped. There is excitement in sharing these gifts. Anticipation has found it's way round to us after a long vacation. It's here. So this on edge feeling, this tiny piece of unsettled has left me questioning....what am I missing Lord?.... Perhaps it's the gifts He is asking me to give of whispered prayers, dreams that still hold anchor in my heart, gifts to those that perhaps I struggle with when He calls me to come with open hands. Gifts of tears, gifts of forgiveness, gifts of words that need to be said. They make me tired. They make me weary. And these are the times that He is reminding me to push through. Push through with words of thanksgiving. Because I have so much to be thankful for when I open my hands to see what I hold so tightly. Receiving and giving require the same movement. The same action. Open hands. If I open my heart to give, I open it to recieve.....Him....thankful. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent Day 21 - Star

I see it on my way home every evening.  It's His reminder to me.  He sees me.  It waits for me, leading me to where I need to be.  That one lone star shining ever so bright.  Last year in the deepest and darkest time I have ever faced I would sit and wait.  Wait for the moment when there was enough light that I could see through the scary woods and not loose myself on the road.  I would step out in the yard and look.  It was always there, my star, telling me the way.  Reminding me.  He whispers to my soul...Hi baby girl...and then I would run.  Day in and day out.  I have left a million prayers and probably as many tears on those roads. Beautiful winter woods that gave way to spring and summer woods and now back again...then fall.....and winter has come once more. The star still shines.  It still greets me.  It is unchanging.  He is unchanging midst the swirl of life that is a constant flow of nothing ever being the same.  He is.  Thankful.

Advent Day 20 - Adventure

I packed them up, my two....they are off to visit family and I am faced with the strangest year....this should be interesting.  It also may be fun.  It may be challenging.  It already isn't what I expected.  I still never managed a tree.  The decorations have not made their way out of the places they are stored....and maybe they won't. But this year it isn't for any reason other than we just got really busy.  With each other, with baking, with movies on the couch, with cooking and friends and family.  This is my place.  This is my home. This is where God has settled me.  This is where I belong.  So I need not fear. He hasn't left me.  I don't have to run.  He's already right where I need Him to be.  So I'm going to face this.....adventure,  I'm calling it, head on. Thankful.

Advent Day 19 - Thankful

I saw it.  A word.  People had words for the year.  I had a word for this year alright..... I envied them, their happy word and all that went along with it.  My word actually found me.  It was everything I was not.  My writing felt more like vomiting my emotions on the page at that point.  They would come at the most inopportune times and I needed to desperately get them out.  And one day while writing, I felt empty, hollow, like I got it all out.  And I typed thankful at the end.  Because I was.  Because it felt like that was confirming my choice.  I wasn't thankful about my situation or what was happening all round, but I was thankful that I could convey that.  That tiny seed was planted.  And as I was deliberate about it, it began to take root, began to grow.  Thankful is a choice.  It's where joy is accepted from the Hand of God and put into purpose.  It's the unwrapping of His grace and goodness in the midst of whatever state we find ourselves in.  It would just take me a really long time to understand that.  And that was alright.  He knew it.  He knew when that word would take full bloom in my heart, my life....This road has not been easy.  This road has been long and difficult and painful and mind numbing at times, but this was the way.  This was the only way.  And as I come to this place yet again and I see His goodness and mercy all tangled up with the pain and the desperate and the death of it all, I understand something that I may not have ever come to know any other way.  I am learning to be, in any circumstance, thankful.

Advent Day 18 - Cooperate

Joining Bonnie and the girls....

It isn't Thursday, my writing has been sporadic and I'm amazed I remembered the link up.  Nothing about this week, this month, this whole year is what I would have called normal.  But I'm learning perhaps, that just isn't the worst thing in the world.  The prompt was what person in the Christmas story do you most relate to. I drew a blank.  I got nothin'...I thought to myself, for days. And as my week progressed, the more I thought on it, I kinda can relate to all of them.  And what I am seeing in the story that I have heard my entire life is something all together different this year.  It's what I am letting sink in to my soul this Christmas. Cooperate. They all had to cooperate with God to fulfill His plan.  God has one for all of us, but cooperation, obedience....is required on our part.

I know this because instead of cooperating with Him, this time last year, I ran full force away from the healing He tried to give.  And let me say, I am in no mood for a do over.  Mary had to face her fears, cooperate, and choose to be used by God when He called her to be an unwed pregnant teen.  Joseph had to cooperate when God asked Him to marry her, love her and raise a child that was not of his own blood.  Shepherds had to cooperate, follow a star to somewhere they didn't know to see the miracle they longed for.  Wise men had to heed a warning in a dream to not go back the way they came, the way they knew...but go a different way to get home.  The inn keeper had to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the need of a young mother.  The good the bad and the ugly, all cooperating for one final end.  The Beginning.  Each story of each person, I could share my own with them, I can relate to each.  They cooperated and the result was the most amazing thing anyone had ever seen.  So I'm choosing to cooperate and believe that God's track record still holds. Thankful.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Advent Day 17 - Inside

Joining Crystal and the girls for Behind the Scenes....

This year has been a year of remembering.  Some if it painful I'll be honest, but when I stopped running and started facing it, there was more beauty than I realized.  To look back and see how so much has changed....I fear so often that things won't.  That this is here to stay.  Yet when I look back, I realize that each year, whether we desire it or not, bring something new.  This was the year we bought and moved into our home. It was my mom's before me and my children have grown up here there entire lives.  It was still the same place, the same shell, but different.  We gutted things, changed things turned what was into what is.  Same for my life.....I'm still me.  But God has been doing an overhaul, a big remodel.  Still Kimberly, still the same girl, but oh so different.  There is much beauty in that.  The hard work gave way to something awesome......believing that for this heart too.  Thankful.

Advent Day 16 - Bare

I'm a runner.  But making that statement still feels not quite right to me.  I have visions of what a runner should be, should look like, be capable of.  And very little of that do I find in myself.  Yet, I am.  It's in my heart.  It's something that I love.  It's something I do my very best at.  My best.  It's hard to let it settle in sometimes that what something looks like on another is not what it looks like on me.  Yet we both are doing the exact same thing, wearing the exact same thing.  The past few mornings running has taken me down a beautiful wooded path, winter woods...I love them.  More so than summer woods.  You can see the true structures.  Nothing hidden by fluff or dressing...you see the real that holds all the rest.  Sometimes I guess even trees need a break.  Need to rest a while, let their covering fall to the ground and be laid bare.  I feel like that is what is happening to me lately.  It's cold and I feel exposed and all can see the spindly structure of what really lies beneath.  But like the trees, that underneath is beautiful.  It's the heart of the tree, the solid place that the lovely can bloom without fear.  The solid will hold.  And so will mine.  Thankful.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent Day 15 - Small

The weekend passed quite quickly again.  So much to do it seems this year, but much of it unhurried fun.  Spending another Saturday out with my girl, the evening baking for the first time in a really long time, the kids watching movies, can of 3 kinds of popcorn, cooking dinner....normal routine.  New mixed in with the old things we love.  A quiet strength to not be afraid of the quiet but to instead be able to reach out to another in it.  Letting God use my space for what He purposed it for.  It makes me smile.  I bought Christmas soap.  Last year I did so through tears and anxiety, it felt awful and forced.  This year as I set each bottle in it's own place the smells, each one, brought a fresh wave of anticipation.  I'm not sure exactly what this Christmas will bring.  And the planner/perfectionist/need-to-know girl is somehow alright with this.  It was said by my pastor in church yesterday...the promise Maker is a promise Keeper.....Thankful.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent Day 14 - Grace

Our morning began with less than the best news.  A knee through a computer screen for my girl....but we were happy to discover that the fix would be less costly than we imagined and it was a lesson learned.  The day found us dropping it off for repairs and then we hit the mall.  Have not done that in so long.  We smelled candles, had lunch together, looked in windows and bought a few things to make us smile.  It was the first time in years....not just the last two, but in a really long time that I felt the weight of my life and felt happy in my own skin.  I have walked around for so long feeling like an outsider looking in on what was someone else living a life.  Nothing fit.  Nothing felt quite right.  But this, this day felt whole.  It felt good.  It was where I was supposed to be.  And when tears slid quietly down my face on the ride home, listening to my girl sing "her jam"...Hark the Bells no less.....they were tears of joy.  Tears of happy.  Tears of finally, finally....coming home.  Thankful.

Advent Day 13 - Perspective





She was 4.  She came home from preschool and proudly announced "Mommy I am the STAR!!! And 3 wise men are going to follow me!" Perspective.....she wasn't Mary, she was the star....the beautiful light that led others to Jesus.  The quiet part of the Christmas story, but an oh so important one.  Her little heart took that in and she was excited!!  How often am I less than joyful when what He calls me too seems quiet and humble and just not all that important.  But when I look at things from a different perspective, He is calling me to be the light in my very own way.  To shine the way He created me too.  In a way that can lead others straight to Him.  Thankful.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Advent Day 12 - Share

Share.  I think that has always been something I struggled with.  Somehow that word seemed to take something from me.  What if I needed it?  I think I have gone through much of my life feeling the need to be prepared for anything.  When you're a child and decisions are made that you have no say in but that impact you nonetheless, it takes it's toll.  It did on me.  It's funny that sharing is the one thing that gives me peace and there was a time that it was the one thing that struck terror in my heart.  I have learned it on this journey.  My very first steps were to give what I so desperately needed.  And it was a hard concept to grasp.  But the beauty of it and the weight of it all came when I had to share the treasure that I held closest to my heart. Because if I didn't, it would be like passing on the strangles and fears of my own childhood and that was just never an option.

I believe God calls us to become like little children in order to see the Kingdom of heaven because of one truth.  Children have the capacity to love, without exception, without border, without hindrance.  They can love their neighbor, they can love the person that hurt them on the playground five minutes before.  They can love like He does.  I have been taught the greatest lesson of all from my two.  Reminding them, reassuring them that they could love the people that had been brought across this path of ours.  One is fiercely loyal to her momma, but she also loves with that same power and when she was able to turn that outward and continue to do so even it her pain, it changed her.  It changed me.  And I dare say she has no idea of the impact she has had on the lives of countless others because of it.  She's my hero that girl.  And the one whose heart was born with the most treasured of gifts, forgiveness, sees all through the eyes of the love of a Saviour.  I have never seen him hold a grudge.  This heart that is so full of compassion and quick to say I love you and it's alright, the unconditional of the way he loves is from God.  So how could I not share these treasures with the ones hurting?  What right did I have to squelch the beautiful graces God gave to them? That would have been the worst sin.  And in encouraging them to be the children they are, I let myself be the girl I had not allowed myself to be.  The capacity for a child's ability to love has no bounds.  There is no limit to the people their hearts can hold.  And I happen to know my two are extraordinarily amazing.  People are drawn to them.  Encouraging them to step out and take a chance and love in the hard spots gave me the courage to do it too.  In watching them, I found myself.  Thankful

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advent Day 11 - Compassion

I was reading through my emails yesterday..."The Beginning of Compassion: How To Become A Better Person"
It struck me a little odd, that title.  I'm not big on things that tell you how to do-it-yourself, but I like his writing, he does so from a Christian perspective and I was curious.  In this post he talked about doing good and having compassion and sometimes that compassion can actually make us feel bad, not good.  It breaks our heart, to know we can always do more, give more and that is what drives us.  To change what we can. But this statement stuck with me....

"We must fall apart before we can build up. This is the only way to redeem whatever’s been lost — we must be willing to hurt with those who are hurting so that true healing can come." Jeff Goins

In my own life I am finding that God gives me opportunity to serve others in the way I am in need.  He asked me to give long before I ever understood any of this.  Give what you need.  Let your heart break for another person.  The blessing is in the breaking.  The breaking allows old walls, habits, thoughts, ways, to be rebuilt, relearned, fresh perspectives to break through.  This is the change.  For you, for them.  Thankful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent Day 10 - Decorations - Behind The Scenes

Linking up with Crystal and the girls at Behind the Scenes.....

These have been the days of quiet.  And I let it bother me for a little while, but finally, I didn't have the energy anymore.  I've been a little under the weather, so even running hasn't happened.  Stillness.  Yesterday morning as I lay in bed trying to will myself up and moving, I prayed....Lord, all I have is today and I'm going to live in it.  Just today.   What do You have for me to do right here....As it came to a close and I headed home to my loves...this night would find us making a project for school.  My girls first ever sewing project.  I bought special fabric and  we cooked dinner and cut patterns and watched old Christmas movies. I told her of when I was little and watched the same ones.  I showed her how to trace and pin and sew a line...and these are new days and new memories.....and the scars of the last couple years are beginning to fade.  Our hearts are beating more solid....love is finding it's own way through the maze of what was blocked.  The peace that lays a blanket over us settles deeper with each passing day.  I was concerned and determined that this year the decorations would signal that we had come back to life again.  But I am finding that isn't so.  It's living with the spirit of what this season tells day in and day out.  Loving, serving, giving. Those are the most beautiful decorations of all.  Thankful.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Day 9 - Remember

The snow on the screen gave way to fuzzy images that became clear and we laughed. She was two. He was one. It was Christmas. Their little voices sounded so different. I don't remember them that way at all. There were other voices that we have not heard for many years. Voices that have passed, some that have moved away and others that aren't in our day to day. I felt a wave of longing as I saw that little blonde head toddle over to me on unsure footing. Walking less than two months. I saw the big blue eyes and beautiful brown curls that commanded each one do as she said. Not much has changed.....she's her mama no doubt about that. And as much as we laughed, there were tears along with the memories. Funny thing about remembering....details long forgotten become fresh in view. Feelings and emotions slip effortlessly to the surface and catch us by surprise. It rekindles love long past for family and simpler times. It makes me want to whisper to that girl of 26....don't wish this away.... And so today, I'll take my own advice. I'll take today for what it is. Let the memories it makes settle deep. Perhaps to be called to mind on another day when we might ask....remember when....Thankful.   

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent Day 8 - Still

When I was little, sometimes at night my legs would ache so badly.  My mom said they were growing pains. They would wake me up and I would toss and turn until I couldn't take one more second.  I would crawl into bed next to her and tell her that I was hurting.  She would gather me very close under the covers and tell me to be very still and settle, let the warmth sink in.  I would squirm and kick and cry...she would keep reminding me to settle down.  And when I did, and the warm would begin to ease the pain, sleep would overtake me and I would finally rest.  Healing comes in the stillness.  When we stop fighting and let it overtake us if it must, because the sharpest pains begin to subside when we let it takes it's course and move on.  The growing was painful, but necessary.  The pain sometimes serves to make us stop and take notice. Something must change.  And so my pain gives way to hope and hope to strength and strength to perseverance and perseverance to just keep moving in the direction He is calling and perhaps along the way, show someone else that their pain has purpose too.  Today I am grateful for everything I have, right here right now, in this moment.  It's enough.  Thankful.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Advent Day 7 - Seasons

I must say that I have not expected things to go the way they have in the past week.  I have not expected to encounter the things I have been faced with.  Yet here I am.  16 years ago this day brought life and last year, this day brought death.  So today, this day, God reminds me that He is still here.  He is still in control.  The emotions, the tears, the pain, the frustrations....I have allowed myself to just feel them this time.  Last year I ran away from it, much to my determent.  I wanted to feel anything but what I needed to.  I wanted to forget the exhaustion and the emptiness and so I ran away...I even got on an airplane to do it.  But the funny thing about running is....you end up right back where you started...only way more tired and sometimes worse for the wear.  And so this year, I am feeling the uncomfortable, looking at the things that are right in front of me and giving it voice.  Maybe I will cry through making dinner or putting up a Christmas tree or at hanging one less stocking yet again....but those tears are giving way to joy.  Happiness in doing these things, despite some sadness, is coming right a long side the grief that just doesn't seems to have much room left in my heart these days.  A very dear friend challenged me to try something new....it's some kind of app that lets you leave voice messages instead of text messages.....and I realized that although I have become quite settled in the use of written words....I was afraid of my own voice.  Because once you speak things, well, that's life...and that's death.  But sometimes we need to speak these things so that our head knowledge can sink on down to our hearts.  So we can begin to truly let ourselves heal.  Today, I listened to one of the messages I left her....I closed my eyes and held my breath...and I was amazed.  I didn't know my own voice.  The strength and the change that these months have brought....I hear that.  And it was a most beautiful sound.  Thankful.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Advent Day 6 - Permission


Permission.....that word.  It creates a swirl in my head.  I'm a rule follower for the most part.  I function best when lines and borders and certainties are present.  But that's not what He's called me to.  No...most times He is asking me to color outside the lines and that is painful.  I'm the girl who traced the black lines of color sheets in heavy dark crayon before I ever began to work inside those lines.  Do not cross this.....nothing outside these lines....tracing my path to make familiar the borders that must contain what I was about to create.  And He breaks those borders down and asks me to just move.  And most often that makes me feel paralyzed.  By hurts, by fears, by expectations, by old wounds, by scars......And still He says....Just move.  I so often worry that I'm going to get it wrong that I forget the One Who never does.....I worry about perfect when He's the only One Who is.

So I'm giving myself permission to do what He is calling me to do.  Even if it's scary.  Even if it's quiet.  Even if I have to walk alone.  I give myself permission to love and work outside the lines that others have mapped out for me.  Because the bottom line is He has given me permission to be me.  And trying to do this any other way is just not going to work.  I know.  I've tried.  Thankful.

Advent Day 5 - 5 Minute Friday - Reflect

Joining Lisa Jo and the girls for 5 Minute Friday.....no edits, no rewrites and love those that came before you.

Reflect...GO

These last days have been looking into the past, reflecting on what was, what has transpired and what is. These days of late give me pause, to reflect on the choices I have made, to see the Hand of God and to know it was Him that saved me.  Not through some miracle of ease, but divine intervention.  A reflection of who I was, where I was and where I was headed.  Places of dark where the reflection of my soul was all but lost.  And He called me out.  I followed.  By His great mercy I followed, stumbling back to the place where I could see.  And when the Psalms tell us that He leads us beside the still waters, I believe that it is for us to stop.  To be still, so when we look down we can see the reflection of the One who loves us best.  So we can see the face that He loves so dearly, so that if we wait in this stillness, what we come face to face with is the reflection of our heart.  And that can be terrifying, but that is the place where our healing can truly begin. It is the place He restores our soul.  Thankful.
STOP.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Day 4 - Alters

Don't build an alter over your injury....how often have I done this. Covering my wounds to prevent further damage only to find that covering the unhealed spaces made them a breeding ground for infection. Unforgivness, pride, self pity, anger....all growing at an alarming rate when hidden from sight and left to fester. The only way to clean out the spaces that cause us such pain is to flush them out. Expose them to the light and let them breathe. Sometimes that require opening ourselves up to more pain. Pain in remembering, pain in sharing truthful words that make our hearts vulnerable to wounds again. But in this we can find that the pain of healing is much less than the pain of holding on. In the letting go we can open our hearts and hands to the blessings that can only come when we let Him in.  Sometimes He holds the revelations of things until we are stronger.  Sometimes the confusion of the way He works causes us to guard these painful places. But in all this, when we lay it out before Him, He becomes our covering.  And realizing that the space, the quiet is for our own good.  To let us heal without further injury while our bruised and battered souls and emotions allow Him to meet us where we are.  Thankful.

Behind The Scenes - Advent Day 3 - Hope


My girl.  She had been anticipating the football game and rooting for her team.  She had waited with much excitement and the day finally arrived.  She dressed in colors to show her support....and then she watched. She cheered, she yelled, she cringed and I am sure she said a few prayers.  And they didn't win.  They didn't perform as expected.  And her words made me smile, because they are a reflection of her heart..they are still my guys, still my team and I'm behind the regardless...

Such the reminder to me.  People will let us down, disappoint us and sometimes fall very short of whatever expectations we have for them.  It's in the learning to love them anyways, that we are able to show His love. It's in the allowing people to just breath, just be themselves, just let God do His work, that hope and healing come.  Lofty expectations speak more to our own heart conditions....asking people to meet needs that can only be met by God.  This is a hard lesson.  I have come face to face with it myself.  So today, I am reminded to let go.  Sometimes we have to say good try....and I love you regardless, win or loose. Thankful. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Day 2 - Simple

Mary chose to be obedient. 

Luke 1:38 Mary deciding in her heart: Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.

I purpose to be this way, saying yes to whatever God calls me too. So today I am just grateful that I am not where I once was. That I am reminded more and more who He is. Thankful. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Day 1 - Expectations

I wasn't sure how, what....or if I would even be writing today.  The winds of change are blowing deep into this girls soul and He has taught me in this.....to be still on the inside.  As I was reading today, the definition of advent struck me.....the arrival of a notable person, thing or event....expectation....To expect something means you are waiting for something.  For me, it is in this season I do find myself waiting with great expectation.  This chasm of time, from events that rocked me to the core until now, they have been full of expectancy.

This year, this season, has brought about new in the old.  This year of hard has also been a year of healing. This time that followed such destruction, replaced with memories of old laced with traditions of new. Today I have been quiet from the inside out. And today my verse was so very clear:

Psalm 130:5 (AMP)
5 I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope.

In the waiting, the expectation, He has changed me.  In hoping, in trusting His Word, my soul has found peace.  I realized this, as I opened drawers filled with treasures hidden from sight for two years because of grief and pain, there is purpose.  And in that purpose something greater than I ever expected is unfolding.  As I laid place mats of red, revived dishes with happy snowmen, folded napkins of green and red penguins and santas all smiling back at me, the truth of what this season is has blossomed in my heart.  They waited, we wait, expectantly.....for a Savior.  In the still of the night, in the days that don't make sense, in the pain, in the hard times, in the good memories, in the sunny days and in the days that feel as if they might never end, we wait.  Because of a Promise that was born to redeem us, a Promise that gave all for us....in expectation...of being together always with the children He so dearly loved.  Thankful.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday

Seems as if the whole of everything that I know is taking a break.  And that's a good thing.  I woke up to a very beautiful, cold day.  The pool has ceased in it's leaking as it waits for finishing touches, everything I needed for the day ahead was ready and waiting for me in the kitchen.  Two children slept in their beds and the youngest 4 legged child set contently in his place, the one he has come back to.  The place that always signaled safety and that all was well.  Everyone, everything, in their proper place.  This day, in years past, has signaled finality for me.  An ending and then a moving into something new.  13 years ago, this day signaled a completion of writing that took me a year.  It was the first time He had asked me to put my words down and then share them.  It was the first time I wrote by computer instead of pen and paper.  It came on the heels of a calling.  I printed it all out and deposited each copy to it's proper place.  Each heart I would share mine with.

Now as I look back over this past year, a year of hard, I also see a year of simply amazing.  He called me back to blogging after a year of hard.  Write it down.  Share.  And indeed I have and this has been something I never dreamed it would be.  I feel like He is putting the finishing touches on this chapter, this continuation.  And one seems to build upon the last, picking up where it left off, the way children often do when they walk away and then come back to something....

As I read yesterday, God spoke to me in such a way.  I asked for answers.  He gave them.  And tears that I have long since given up fighting came.  I questioned Him....seriously, do I have a dysfunctional tear valve in there somewhere?!....He reminded me of something...as His joy as made full in me He doesn't fill me to only half way or just enough, He fills to overflowing.  Those tears are my overflowing.  And at times when my tears come in torrents of despondency and confusion and sorrow, it's the breaking of what was and the spilling out of things I should not hold, so He can remake and refill.  Time after time after time.....it's just the way He made me.

So the verse yesterday, the reminder....Psalm 37....

25 Through my whole life (young and old),
    I have never witnessed God forsaking those who do right,
    nor have I seen their children begging for crumbs,
26 Because they are always giving and sharing;
    truly, their children are a joyful blessing.
My children.  These two that have been my miracles and saving grace.  These two that have been with me every minute of every day for the past 17+ years.  I have never, ever, ever seen my children want.  In the hardest of times, when loss seemed to overtake us, still even then, He has provided.  Always.  And so as this time of year circles back around, this year is so very different.  We are gathered, we are set in a family, we are steeped in the truth that has always been, but we rarely took time to truly embrace.  And for all of this, all of what has been, all of what is to come, I am reminded again to be, truly, thankful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blessing

Ephesians 1:18 (VOICE)
18 Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance.

It has just been a long few weeks.  Lots of twists and turns.  Lots of Him asking me to do the hard work....still.  And I am tired.  And as I could feel the frustration building in me as wave after wave crashed over, He called me more and more into quiet as He revealed things to me.  As He asked, He showed me the flip side....remember?  How well I do.  He showed me that the hard work now feels, well, hard.  But the result of that is a very different one than if I went full steam ahead into something that I know better than to. I've been there before.

As the days came this week, so did the unending pressure of all that is on my shoulders and the weight of it became too much.  I use to tell the children when they were small and had a tantrum...you are showing yourself... I showed myself big yesterday and it ended in a meltdown complete with snot bubbles.  The raw of my emotions spilled over into one giant sob fest.  I spent more time in the bathroom trying to compose myself than I did anything else I suppose.  Those tears needed to come, however inconvenient the time and place.

As the last chunk of the wall fell down, I had a choice between vomiting my frustrations again or just simply giving a smile and keeping my mouth shut (praise God I chose the latter), some very real truths hit me face on.  I was humbled, as He has done so many times before, but this time, with such an amazing revelation of the truth in spite of my feelings.  I AM blessed.  I AM favored.  I AM loved.  He has not left me to myself to figure this all out.  And as much as He has asked me to do things that I once considered an impossibility, He has given me the tools to do it. I watched Him love me in the middle of my ungrateful meltdown as He reminded me it's not about my ability to perfectly maneuver the hurdles I am faced with.  It's just about saying yes and falling forward sometimes.  It's about making the choices that say Who my heart belongs to, even when sometimes it's the last thing I really want to do.  It's the right way.

So He spoke to me last night in one of my love languages.  He reminded me that every prayer sent, every little thought and word, He does hear.  He does see.  He has a reason.  He is God and I am not.  Thankful.
Colossians 3:15-17 (VOICE)
15 Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful.
16 Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness. 17 Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Scripture

Romans 15:13 (AMP)
13 May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.

Experience.  I have been faced with that as of late.  Has it taught me anything?  Last year I walked through a new door after God shut one.  And I learned a few things from my experience.  Sometimes we don't realize that until we are faced with it yet again.  But what will you do with it?  I have learned that you do the hard work now, or you do it later, but rest assured, you will do it.  And so this verse today, this one, reminded me, our belief in what we choose comes from our experience.  This can be from the good and the not so awesome.  But I am finding that when I do make a step in the right direction, sometimes it comes through walking in something hard.  I can become stuck or detained by something that comes my way, or I can go ahead and do the hard work and move past it.  And through this, because of experience, I am filled with His joy and His peace.  Now feeling His joy doesn't mean that I am feeling all warm and fuzzy because of the choice I had to make...no...it's actually the opposite.  But when I woke this morning, I knew I had made a step in the right direction.  I knew the hard choice was indeed the right choice.  Because despite my feelings, I am filled with His joy and His peace.  That not so evident, deep underground knowledge of His truth.  The Water that carves out new paths as it grows.  Thankful.

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 Minute Friday - Fly

Joining Lisa Jo and the girls for 5 Minute Friday...No edits, no re-writes and love those that came before you.

Prompt: FLY
GO......

She was snatched from flight so quickly that she lost all bearing and what was her world, the air she breathed, the sights she saw, were changed in an instant.  Cold, solid, unyielding ground and Hands that looked so very different from the ones she was used to.  She was wounded, unable to reach her heights, yet she didn't see this.  Flying so low, hitting branches, false starts and stops, all trying to get to where she most needed to be.  Higher.  And so she settled, finally, out of sheer exhaustion, because she could not fight anymore and whatever her fate might be, it was now up to the One Who held her.  And he set her gently in a quiet place.  And He looked over her brokenness and to each place set out to heal it.  There was pain in the plucking and pulling and weeding out all the things that hid her wounds, but freedom when it was done. There was pain when He washed away the dirt and the filth that encrusted the spaces that had lay hidden.  But they were healing.  And then she set.  Waiting and longing for the day she would not be bound.  And then it came. One by one He removed her coverings and let her test her wings.  And in the safety of His grip she set one day, ready to go, yet to afraid to try and He threw her up so high she thought she might never stop, but she realized as she looked around, this was where she was meant to be, this was where she could fly.  Thankful.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Falling

Joining Bonnie over at Faith Barista today....

I have passed by the sign all week.  Fall down 7 times get back up 8.  I am finding that this journey is more about the getting up.  Perhaps in Him asking me to give grace in the hardest of places, He has taught me to receive it in the most difficult way...for myself.  Perhaps we learn about forgiveness and not holding on because eventually the time comes where we have to be able to forgive ourselves.  And if we haven't learned to extend it to others, then I am quite sure, that stick we have sitting in the corner to measure our own faults and failures looms large.

In hiding our own shame, we put on masks and try to pretend like we are just fine, so no one will see and everyone will believe that we are good enough, when in truth, the One who already sees our shame is the only One Who can give us the freedom we so desperately look for.  When we learn to run to Him first, refusing to hide our sin and our failures, the shame that so easily sticks to us becomes nothing more than a catalyst. Right into the arms of the One Who will use it to heal us in places long broken.

Falling is inevitable.  It's not if, but when.  The grace is in the getting up.  The healing is in letting Him attend our wounds and show us the stumbling blocks that caused our crash.  When you look at it, acknowledge it and face it, shame, fear and unforgiveness have lost their power.  It doesn't mean we won't have the emotions that come along with them, it means that there is something deeper in spite of them, telling us who we are, Whose we are.  We belong to the One waiting to help us get back on our feet.  Thankful.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Leaks

Philippians 4:4-8
The Voice (VOICE)
4 Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice! 5 Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. 6 Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. 7 And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.

I kept saying..Lord, tell me what to do!!...He kept saying....I did....yeah.....So I find myself in this place, so much changing and I am so grateful.  And as with all change, there is trying to find stability in it.  And so as He wants me to seek Him, to come to Him, to talk to Him....my world gets very quiet.  But in this quiet so many beautiful things I notice.  The most dramatic of which is my home, my children....the dog.  No kidding. The space he avoided, heck, we all avoided for months, now everyone gathers.  We huddle, we whisper, we laugh, we share.  His peaces fills this space and the quiet is not scary anymore.  It's not a quiet that comes from void.  It's a quiet that comes from contentment.  I am still learning.  I am the perfectionist, scheduling, get it all done girl.  And that is ok, when it is submitted to Him.  My little world has been interrupted as of late. A leak somewhere in the pool.  There was a time when this would have sent me into a meltdown of epic proportion.  I finally said to Him...Lord, the only thing I can do is keep putting the water back in until this gets fixed......and my decision to be thankful comes from this...adding water to it for the better part of the last week is requiring me to stay home a bit longer in the mornings...and that has given me more time to get the kids set and out the door, more time to truly take in what I am reading and also, some extra time to write, as my evenings have been a hustle and bustle of children and activities that I want to soak in.  He gives us grace in unexpected places.  We can see them as opportunities or intrusions into our very busy lives.  I'm learning.  Thankful.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Behind the Scenes - Treasure



It was a quiet morning.....and one by one they invaded.  The one with four legs busted the door open and stared me down.....He jumped up on the bed to let me know...this was HIS room still, make no mistake.The girl shuffled past and made her way in, which signaled the boy to come see what all the ruckus was about. And they laughed, and high-five'd (Sago's best trick) and sat on top of my clothes and completely interrupted my "quiet time". The fullness of my treasures sitting right in front of me turned to praise and worship.  Thank you for all these blessings, right here, Lord.  These are the treasures that made it through the fire. This morning, this scene, seemed like an impossibility a year ago, but here we are.  Here we are. Thankful.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Called

1 Corinthians 1:26-27 (AMP)
26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth.

Today's message was simple.  We are all called.  All.  Not many will choose to answer.  And what are we called to? For each of us, it is something very different.  He called me to write. But what?  The story He asks me to share is the one that came when He called.  And not just once.  He has called me many times.  He called me to be saved.  He called me to speak about my experiences.  He called me first to share a very different story.  And through that story came grace, forgiveness and healing.  That led me to be called again. To be chosen in the moment I was abandoned.  To be made whole when I was made separate.  To be complete in a love that was different than the love I had known and given.  His love, His grace, His own. Our call is the day in day out of what He asks us to live.  Not because of who we were and where we came from, but in spite of it.  So that not only would the world know, but that we would know.  He must be reveled in us...to us...so that we can, in turn, be the calling that He has placed on our lives.  A smile, a hug, a thank you...great callings form a God Who loves intimately.  You.  Me.  Thankful.

Friday, November 15, 2013

5 Minute Friday - Tree


TREE.....Go..

It is the tinniest of seeds.  It looks almost to be a grain of sand.  When it is buried, hidden in the soil, something amazing happens.  The smallest of seeds produces the biggest of plants.  It grows as tall as a tree, giving shade and branch and rest to the birds of the air.  Shade and shelter to those who might come sit next to it. That is all that is required of our faith, to give but an honest seed of our faith in Him and He grows it, spilling over blessing onto those who come near.  Those who need shelter, those who need rest.  Those who may be seeking to find their own place to be planted and be a shelter too.  Our faith will always produce the loveliest of things when planted in good soil.  It's in His way and His time that the death of something seemingly so very tiny, can produce the largest of harvest.  Thankful.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Words

Isaiah 32:17
Amplified Bible (AMP)
17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.

It's been quiet.  He asked me to be quiet.  I had to use my words to say the hard things and then let God do what He will.  And then there was just nothing left.  Yesterday found me yet again wanting to chunk it all. And in that He reminded me of what He has for so long...give it away....use your words when there aren't any left.  Use them for the benefit of someone else.  And when I do, I find myself filled with grace.  When I do, I find He meets my needs, even the smallest ones.  The ones that seem silly and of no bearing and are just heart thoughts.  Yet He sees every one.  In purposely giving thanks and sharing His goodness in my life with others I am reminded, He has never failed me.  He has never left me.  He has never once told me that what I dream doesn't matter.  I may not understand the way, but in looking not at my own self, but at those around me, He lead us.  One hand holding the other.  Thankful.

Habakkuk 3:17-18
The Voice (VOICE)
17 Even if the fig tree does not blossom
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
If the olive trees fail to give fruit
    and the fields produce no food,
If the flocks die far from the fold
    and there are no cattle in the stalls;
18 Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal!
    I will rejoice in the God who saves me!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday



I'm doing a study for the next couple of weeks.  It's on being thankful.  Sometimes I forget.  Sometimes the day to day and the not quite yets overtake me and what He has given.  The verse in Chronicles gives us a directive.  Give thanks, call on His name and make known what He has done.  For me, that's with my writing.  It's funny He gave me that word this year and I didn't realize it for quite a while.  It's been a year of twists and turns and ups and downs and honestly a lot of pain.  But from all of those things has come a deep sense of trust and peace and change.  In all these things I see His hand.  They may not have been things I would have chosen, yet they are the very things He has given to bring me closer to Him and closer to what He has in mind for me on this journey.  He has rescued me, He has sheltered me, He has favored me, He has directed me and most of all He has loved me, His girl, the one that spent a whole lot of years running from Him and when I allowed, He has led me right back to Him.  Thankful.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Scripture

Hebrews 3:15 Voice
Look at the lines from the psalm again: Today, if you listen to His voice, Don’t harden your hearts the way they did in the bitter uprising at Meribah. 
******
"But Derek, there’s always a way.
When things look like there’s no way, there’s a way.
To do the impossible. To survive the unsurvivable. There’s always a way.
And you? You and I have this in common.
You’re inspired.
In the face of the impossible, you’re inspired.
So if I can offer one piece of advice to the world’s foremost neurosurgeon:
Today, if you become frightened, instead, become inspired.”
                                                                      -   Patient talking to Dr. Derek Shepherd, Grey's Anatomy
Ok...so, this post is not even remotely how I thought it would be or what I had planned in my head.  Yet it is right for today.  I listened to church online this morning.  One of our Pastors I thought would be preaching wasn't.  So all my warm fuzzy preconcieveds just went out the window...and no, I don't think preconcieveds is actually a word, but I like it...so ok.  I'm listening, I'm hearing and it isn't what I expected to hear.  It's what I needed to hear.  It's that song that comes on your IPod when you have a stitch in your side and you want to walk, but it makes you say, I can go just a little further....and then before you know it you forgot all about wanting to walk and you just keep running....So then I keep reading a bit this morning and God whispered the scripture above...and I know why, it's another answer I wasn't expecting....so then I search the verse to find the scripture reference and I came across the quote above under....what to do today if you become frightened...so I clicked it.  And I read it.  And it all made a big ol' giant circle round to tie in everything I heard this morning.  So I'll give you the highlights..and if you want to hear the entire sermon, the podcasts are under Liberty Church Pensacola for today's date.  
"Exceptional faith makes room for exceptional results"
"God can't rescue you from the lions den if all you ever do is try to avoid them"
"Fear motivates us to mediocrity"
"Faith feels risky"
Nate Wheeler - Liberty Church, Pensacola
Because it's hard being the one to step out and do something that no one else is doing.  It's hard to risk loosing everything, risking failure, realizing that this may not turn out remotely like you dreamed it would....but then again, it may not turned out ANYTHING like you pictured in your head...it might turn out to be extraordinarily more than you could have ever hoped or dreamed...because you are exceptional.  I am exceptional.  And I serve a God Who delights in the impossible.  Thankful.
*******************
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go"  -T.S. Elliot

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Seeds

John 12:24-25
24 I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest. 25 The one who loves this life will lose it, and the one who despises it in this world will have life forevermore. 

Someone has to go first.  Someone has to be the one to give it a try.  Someone has to say there are more important things that just what I want and what I need and what I feel.  There is no manual for the right way other than His Word.  Someone has to be brave enough to say I may loose everything, but have the hope that what He says is true.  The death of something can bring a great harvest.  I've seen it in my life.  I seen my choices reap a harvest of destruction and I have seen my choices reap a harvest of blessing.  And I guess it's when you stand at the edge of it all, knowing you have done your very best, doubt creeps in.  You just have to go about what He calls you to and wait.  Wait to see what comes from the seeds you have sown.  Wait to see what the rains and the dying of what was put into the ground will produce.  Believing that what He spoke was true, is true.  So perhaps another might look at it all and say...I will try too...Thankful.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Truth

Joining Lisa Jo and the girls for Five Minute Friday...no edits no re-writes and love those that came before you..

TRUTH.....Go

Truth is there are days I don't like this one little bit.  I miss being a wife and what feels like a whole unit...but truth is He makes us whole no matter the size family we are right now.  Truth is most days I still wonder if He even hears me anymore....but the truth is He hears the prayers of the consistently righteous, NOT perfectly righteous...just consistent in seeking Him.  Truth is I fear I may never get this right....the truth is that on my own I won't, but He makes the crooked places straight.  Truth is I fear that alone is terminal...the truth is I am not alone and choosing His way may cause me to walk a while with what feels like empty hands, but my heart is always full.  Truth is most days I really, really love my life and what He has done in me and through me. That is His truth settled in my heart.  It won't always be these days of small, of quiet.  But they are necessary for the truth He is revealing in me.  Thankful.

Stop.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What Can We Bring

Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible 
29 For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

My verse this morning. It really made me take notice. What He call us to, our gifts, are irrevocable. He doesn't do take backs. I feel quite solid in two of the things He called me to. Writing and encouraging. That is breath to me. It is Him moving through me. But the flip side of those things He has also called me to and they terrify me on the deepest level and when He asks, it is only by his grace I can fulfill them. Make no mistake, all gifts come from and are dependent on Him and Him alone. But some come more naturally to us. I love to write. I love to encourage. But when He asks me to speak words.....so very scary.

The flip side of encouragement for me is hospitality. I want to do it. I have the perfect place to practice it. And my perfectionism gets in the way. My stress level reaches epic proportions.  What if everyone hates what I served, what if the house isn't clean enough or that peeling wall paper or the stained grout or what if no one shows up.....cause that happened. In my fear and stress to do it all right and invite the right ones for the right event, no one showed up. Worst fear confirmed. You are not good enough. You are the worst at this. Never do this again. I bought into that lie. That is until the bottom fell out. And in all that came along with the destruction of walls came a simple prayer....I want to share this...help me. 

I have been given the opportunity to do just that with friends and family and amazing people I share my life with. And as the holidays approach I wanted desperately to offer up what I have and share with those I love. I could feel the fear rising up. But I offered in spite of it. What is wrong with me?!?! Why am I battling this? My youngest sister, not of my own blood, and I were talking of the upcoming events. I offered my space. She offered hers. I gave explanation of mine and she gave explanation of hers. And we decided and we planned. But the beauty came when she recognized my areas of struggle, gave name to them and in the same breath with her words said the way you are is perfect. The way you share is just fine. And it has a place. And it has meaning. 

And for the first time I realized that most of my stress is me trying to fit into a mold I wasn't made to fit into. That my ideas in my head killed my desire in my heart. I was defeated before I ever began. And it took someone looking at me and my heart and validating what I have to offer for me to finally realize, I am enough. This is enough. And the way He made me is just fine. I am created for a unique purpose. No one else can fill it. The space He has given me serves it's own special purpose too. One size does not fit all. And learning to be comfortable in that without expectation allows His grace to flow freely....to me, then through me. Thankful. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Behind The Scenes - Two

Joining Crystal Stine and the girls today for Behind The Scenes....


These two.  Two.  A double blessing. They don't care about my past, all my mistakes, all the things I may or may not have completely screwed up.  They just love me.  They love me grumpy or happy, on good hair days and bad (this has been tested), sick or well, thin and not so thin, when I had a little, when I had a lot. They hold up a mirror of my words and reactions and repeat them back to me....they celebrate my victories with me...they don't care that I'm STILL in college and at this rate, who knows which of the three of us might finish first....

They remind me who I am.  Who He made me to be if I am lost and can't find my way.  They have been my only reason to crawl out of bed at times.  They silence their critics who ask why their mom still makes their lunch and one secretly dreams of ways to still have this done while attending college :) They circle round on the hard days, they hug and smile and steal all the candy so no one else can find it.  They remind me that not everything I have done in life turned out bad.  They are amazing.  They have been the thread that binds so many together, especially when we were all coming apart at the seams.  These two......Thankful.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday

Daniel 10:12 The Voice 
Messenger: 12 Do not be afraid, Daniel. From the very first day that you began to pursue understanding and humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard. I have been sent in response to what you’ve said.

There are times I do wonder, God, do You even hear me?  I have been reading the book of Daniel and in the 10th Chapter, Daniel had been fasting an mourning and praying.  For three weeks.  That is a long time. How often do I feel like this place I am in has been an extended stay holding cell.  My prayers seem unanswered, in fact, all seems way too quiet for my own comfort.  My comfort.  Sometimes in the grand scheme of this, I forget what it is I asked, what it is I prayed and what it is I said I would do.  He heard me long ago.  He heard the weakest, quietest whisper of a girl desperate to find her way back.  And I believe that one word was what He was waiting on.  One word brought Him running.  Sometimes the response to our requests seems unanswered, when in fact it's just delayed.  If you read a bit further in the chapter the reason for the delay to Daniel was given.  And it had nothing to do with him or his prayers.

He hears and He sees.  He knows and we are known.  Nothing is hidden from His sight or from His knowledge.  That's hard to remember when the humbling comes and He asks us to submit to His will.  When we see nothing up ahead, when we don't feel anything, when all seems like it's going down the drain, when we come back to the place of small.  But I know the girl I am is not the girl I was a year ago.  I know what He has done may not seem visible, but when I trace His hand on my life it is big and broad and all encompassing.  What is hidden will come to light.  That can either strike fear in our hearts or make us wait with beautiful anticipation.  I have felt both things.  Embarking on the new is quite honestly terrifying for me. Yet here I am again, and that just means He's not done.  Thankful.




Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday

I've probably come up with a hundred reasons why I can't.  Even sitting here,I can feel the fear rising up in my stomach.  Truth is, I can...and I have been.  I ran this morning, thinking back over the last days and weeks, thinking about how in even the hardest of situations, I see God's favor on me, on my life.  Even when things don't go remotely like I had planned, I have learned (the hard way..I'm stubborn like that) to eventually just give it up.  I have learned that when I ask for His guidance, He gives it.  When I say...I trust You...He moves.  I don't want to run from hard, but I want to make sure He is in it.  I don't want to call myself doing His will, when perhaps it is just me, holding on to my own willfulness.  Because sometimes, hard is choosing to be still, to step back.

He talked of grace yesterday.  It made me irritable.  I was face to face with it all day until finally it exploded into something that completely broke me.  I was forced to give it, receive it, and do it all in front of my children which, oh my....and it brought a dying to myself, my flesh, my rights, my needs, my wants, my absolute being.  The breaking is required for Him to humble us.  And humility is of great price.

Matthew 7:11
The Voice (VOICE)
11 So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children!

And I have learned, not so easily at times, to settle.  To quiet.  To do what He asks.  And it is through tears mostly, but I was reminded yesterday that this is not an unfamiliar path.  The tears, the breaking, the struggle, the pain all give way to something new.  And something I read last night made me breathe a deep sigh and let it all go...You have to be scared to be brave....Thankful.

Friday, November 1, 2013

5 Minute Friday - Grace


Joining Lisa Jo and the girls for 5 Minute Friday  - No edits, no re-writes and love those that came before.
 GRACE: go....

There are days that I want Him to stop asking me to give grace, I want there to be an end to it.  There are days when the grace that He asks me to give brings pain, not joy.  There are days that grace seems far removed from my life and something that only fairy tales are made of.  These are the days of the dry, dusty road when despair overtakes all that I know to be true.  Grace is to be loved, to be favored, to be chosen, to be forgiven, to be set apart, to be special, to be known and treasured above all the rest.  Grace is not earned.  Grace is not for sale.  Grace is given freely not because of who you are but because of Who's you are.  To give grace is to have it flow through your inmost parts and out to another.  Grace is big and whole and messy and it's velocity cannot be measured.  Grace washes over and never ever hits it's intended target without splashing onto everything else around it.  The vessel itself included.  Thankful.

Stop.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Finished



31 Days...it's been awesome :) They say if you can do, or not do, something consistently for 21 days then it becomes a habit, a new routine.  I believe that.  Sometimes in the day in and day out of whatever we may be walking, it's easy to forget why we started.  The "routine" of it all, can become something that we have become used to.  Sometimes we just need to look back and remember.

God called me back to writing almost 2 years ago.  Writing in a way I had never known before.  God also called me into relationship with Him unlike any I had ever experienced.  All my then 17 years of walking with Him prepared me for this.  Yesterday, a hard day for me, I had to make a choice yet again.  I had to remember why I even began this journey, what was it that He was even asking of me that has brought me here? In the beginning, I was in such a place of pain and confusion that inevitably, I came to the point of having to choosing what road I would take.  The world said one thing, but the One Who was in my heart said something quite different.  It's your choice baby girl.....which way....and I promised Him that I would do it His way this time.  Because my way had circled me right back round to where I started from, only worse off in so many ways than when I had begun.

I started this journey because I believe that He does know best.  I believe in my faith.  I believe that God loves me and He has a plan, even on the days when it downright stinks.  I believe I have a purpose.  I believe in miracles.  I believe that He Who began this work in me isn't done. I started this road to honor a commitment, a vow that I made.  I started because unconditional love is something you have to give away long before you can ever hope to have it come back to you.  But I found that the greatest love already rested in my heart.  The love of a Father for a daughter.  The love that was willing to wound so that healing could come.  I started this because I just didn't know how to do it any other way this time.  And He will finish it. Thankful.