Saturday, January 21, 2012

Just a pep talk for may listen in!

Re read this and thought that I should post it...

COME TO ME, and rest in My loving Presence. You know that this day will bring difficulties, and you are trying to think your way through those trials. As you anticipate what is ahead of you, you forget that I am with you—now and always. Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way! Instead, come to Me, and relax in My Peace. I will strengthen you and prepare you for this day, transforming your fear into confident trust. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” MATTHEW 11 : 28 – 30 “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 17). Thomas Nelson.

How I praise Him for His words of wisdom that come in so many different ways. The day that Steve was going into surgery a dear friend sent this email to me. I was rehearsing all of the things that could go wrong. What a wonderful reminder that we don't have to rehearse our what if's! No one wants to go through the trials over and over but I for one do! I "what if" the situation and jump right to the dire consequences...then, after the Rehearsing isn't needed because the event is past, I begin to nurse the event..."what if I would have..." begins...

I have to keep reminding myself that God has a plan. His path may not be seen by me but He sees the whole picture...and He also knows the destination He is taking me. What I really hate about myself is that when I have passed one event with the glorious answer of Jesus and His faithfulness. I rejoice in what He has done in my life...and then I see the next curve in the road and start rehearsing the what ifs.

God is faithful. He has done amazing things in my life to date. I look back at some of the miracles that He has produced in my life and the life He has given Steve and me; I know that whatever curve, what ever event, or whatever life throws us...He is faithful and He is watching out for my good.

Father, thank you that I cannot see the future to be even more anxious. Thank you for what you have done in my life. Thank you for all of the encouragement that you have given me. Thank you for the gift of your Son and His provisions. In your precious name....AMEN

Saturday, January 14, 2012

If you want to really be alert to seeing Jesus' divine, beauty....

Yesterday, I was reading One Thousand Gifts, and the author talked about a difficult event in her life that caused her to pause and these tense situations, who shows in her? Does she become someone that she doesn't want to be...or does she step back and let Jesus shine through her? In that moment she recognized the hand of God in her life and the choice she had to make. She said it way better than I could:

"You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies--though that never occurs to you. nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet [God's] beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is."

Nothing happens to you except by the will of God! Nothing happens to you except by the will of God! Nothing happens to you except by the will of God! [the 4 times isn't for your benefit, it is for mine.]

You see this week has been a time when I have questioned the setbacks and upheavals in our life. I saw an event that was to change our lives as emotionally challenging and I began to dwell in my self-pity and my woe is me attitude. When I read these words, it was as if Jesus jerked me to attention. He had questions for me:
Do I not know what is best for you?
Do you question my will?
Do you think this deviates from my plan for you?
Your plan is NOT my plan and it is my plan that you tell me you want?
Did you think this was a surprise to ME?
Do you trust me?
Draw close to me and I will whisper in your ear that it's okay. I will rock you on my lap and shush you as I would a child. I will calm your fears and dry your tears because I love you. Trust me to know what is best.

I do want what is best for me and I do want His will for my life. His plan is a plan to prosper me and not harm me. His plan includes those around me. He has plans for them. He loves them and knows them far more intimately than I do. But this week, I did need to climb upon His lap, allow Him to shush me and quiet my spirit, and most of all, I needed to realize that nothing He does is a surprise to HIM!

I have begun this year with the prayer to allow me to see see His hand in my life.... John Piper said, "If you want to be really alert to seeing Jesus' divine beauty, his glory...then make sure you tune your senses to see his grace." This week I needed to be reminded of His grace. He is patient with me and and I needed to tune my senses to be one with Him and experience His grace.

Our lives will be different. There is a finality to this event yet there is also great joy in knowing that His plan will continue. His will will be done. He has something else around the corner...and this would call it a blind corner...especially with finite eyes. That is why, I want to trust the one with infinite vision who sees around this corner and the next and the next and the next....praise His holy name.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Your ways, O Lord...

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near....
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."....
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mounts and the hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
~Isaiah 55: 6, 8, 9, and 12

This morning I walked out of our house and was hit with the magnitude of His creation.
Mount Baker was there in her all of her white snow-capped splendor. I couldn't help but stop and praise Him. He knows our path, created this earth for our enjoyment and reminds us of His presence.

That's how my day began...praising Him for His magnitude and worshiping Him in awe and wonder. But, then as the day wore on, things happened and my eyes were taken off of Him.
Tonight as Steve held me in his arms and assured me that our lives are in the hands of Him who loves us, sent His son to die so that we might have life. As we prayed together, and I dried my tears on the sleeves of my pajamas, I tried, unsuccessfully, to go to sleep.

Sleep escaped me and then I was reminded of:
My two little Omaha monkeys and their request that they made to Jesus...twin sisters for their family. I smiled and rejoiced because of their developing love of God and their faith in Jesus to answer their prayer!

My little munchkin in Fargo who "ran" away from her mom this morning. When Emma walks...she toddles. When she runs, she puts her hands straight out behind her and...toddles. The speed doesn't change except in her head.

I began to count all of the blessings that He has given me and I praise His name. As I was trying to go to sleep, this song came to me:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


You see, that no matter what happens in my life, Great is His faithfulness to me.

Isaiah reminded me that His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are not my ways. His plan may not be my plan...whose plan do I want? His.

Lord, give me the desires of your heart. Draw me close and let me worship and praise you. Let the unexpected never overwhelm me and let me praise you for the blessings that you have given me...thank you for your faithfulness and the excitement of a new path...and following your plan...Amen

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Light!!!!!!! I love light! Not so much dark....

As a child, I remember being afraid of, the dark. I would go to bed and if there wasn't a light on, I remember crying and not going to sleep until my mom or dad put a light on. As I got older and was able to choose which light was on and I made sure it was on each night. My first 2 apartments after graduation, I lived alone and at night, I slept with the light on somewhere in my apartment. Even now, motels need night lights. When Steve is at the hospital next week, I will have lights on in the house...all night. It is just the way I am. I don't like being in the dark...I need to have light.
A couple of days ago, I rolled over in bed at the crack of early...and said, "oh, it is getting lighter!" as I saw a pale light peaking through the blinds. I was basking in the thought that, indeed, the days were going to get longer! I was rejoicing in the gift of light. Then Steve said, I think that is the light post across the street. SWOOOOOOOOOSH....that was the sound of cold water pouring over my spirit!!!

It started me thinking about the gift of light. I remember the first time I realized that there was LIGHT before the sun/moon/stars in creation. It was shortly after I became a Christ-follower when our Bible study was studying Genesis and there it was:
In the beginning...
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
God saw that the light was good and separated the light from the darkness....
And there was evening and there was morning--the first day.
~ Genesis 1:1-5

So there was light that first day. Jesus' presence was the light that lit up the world...then over in verses 14-19, God creates the sun and the moon and assigns them their place in the day and the night. He filled the sky with stars and galaxies and the purpose of the lights in the night skies? To give light to the earth. God's night lights.

When Jesus came to earth, he came to be a light to men. (John 1:4) He goes on to promise in John 8:14
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Light casts out the out the darkness and Jesus cast the fear and those things that we face that seem overwhelming to us. Jesus' light can invade our space, light

up a dark place, give us light to keep us walking on the right path, and His reminder of His faithfulness to light our world can be found in those very first verses of Genesis...He created the lights in the sky to give light to the earth. Next time you look into that vast dark sky and see the twinkling of the lights that God placed at creation, remember, He placed them to light up the earth. What a perfect gift! For today in the Pacific Northwest the sun is shining and it is bright and I am filled with His presence.

Knowing this...realizing the peace there is in these lights...will this change my fear of the dark and the desire to have a light on? No, it hasn't but what has changed over the years...I know who holds my future and who will give me the light I need. I know of His faithfulness and His great love. And what is so exciting...He know that I need to have a light on in the darkness, and HE is crazy about me anyway!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Focused and intentional!

Focused and intentional. This is the discussion that ensued on Saturday morning as our small group got together. It was exciting to discuss how we are able to experience God's hand in our lives. From timely emails to the beginning steps to an end to pain. God is in our lives every minute of the day but this is the year to be focused on Him.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

For our group, we are the cloud of witnesses to one another. We spur one another on and challenge one another to stay focused. But each one of us has a cloud of witnesses. People who challenge us. People who watch us. Those who have come before us, those dear saints of the church. The cloud of witnesses is endless.

let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...

I did my first 10K this past fall and the race was marked out for us. We knew the starting line and we knew the finish line. We went through areas of Omaha that Jon, Betsy's husband, informed me a person should normally not go in the dark of night. But it was marked. We were safe. The route was covered with security. It was also marked with clothes as runners grew warm and dropped their extra layers of clothing that hindered running their best.

As I thought about that, I realized that when I keep my eyes on the finish line, I can go through "places" that I would rather not go through but with the light of Christ and the goal in sight, I can successfully finish the race. I need to intentionally look at the things that hold me back and strip off the layers of sin keeping me from focusing on what He has for me.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Fix...keep your eye on the finish line...keep our eyes on Jesus...He has already gone through all of the places that we are moving through... Intentionally focus on Him. Intentionally focus on His presence and activity in our lives. That's what this is all about. He give us a reason for intentionally focus on Him...

Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
~Hebrews 12:1-3

Growing weary and losing heart is at epidemic proportions right now. I, for one, want to intentionally focus on Him so that He will allow me to go through this life rested and encouraged.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Life....

Look! Can you see?
Sometimes I think that God says that to me.
I look at a situation and I see the mess and the mess that I am making of it.
When He says:
Look! Can you see?
I don't see anything.
I see the dead spirit that needs to be awakened. I see the weeds of my life that need to be excavated from my life.
I see the sin and depravity...
He sees the new life that He is creating in me at unexpected times and in unexpected places.

Look! Can you see?
Can you see the small little shoots of...I am not the gardener...daffodils? crocus? grape Hyacinth? In March, in Washington, this is not a significant sight. In April the blossoms will burst forth in a rainbow of color.

In January...on January 5th, this is an unusual sight.

God uses these times, in January, in the middle of the storm, in the darkest of nights to say to me:

Look! Can you see?
For the creator of the universe, the Great I AM sees beyond the weeds of despair, hopelessness, and darkness to see the bulbs of faith that He has placed in my life. He sees the potential in me. He sees the potential of new growth in Him in that dark situation I am in. He sees the potential of the day before me.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed
for his compassions never fail,
They are new every morning:
great is your faithfulness,
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
~Lamentations 3:21 -26

Look! Can you see?
I need to look carefully and respond,
Yes, Jesus, I can see your faithfulness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Teddy Bear Revolt

T'was 10 days after Christmas and all through the house
The decorations gathered dust, undecorate a must!
So with rag, swiffer, Pledge, and the upright vacuum
I raced through the house and cleaned all room by room,
All was going so well
I thought I was swell
When I came to the bears and gathered them so.
They all gathered nicely, on the couch they did go.
When what to my wondering ears did I behold
A group of 8 bears who had definitely grown bold.
They clung to the couch and to my face they did roar
It scared me so much, my pressure did soar.
They growled and the stressed
until I was quite depressed.
They had watched all the news
and knew the tactic to use.
"We'll band together," the bears all said,
"We'll 'occupy couch' till the last one is dead."
"You only come out at Christmas," I explain,
"Putting you back gives me great pain."
So I played the song I knew would get them to move
Teddy Bear Parade blared as they began to groove.
They marched and they jumped over couch, table, and stump
and were squished in the box in literally a lump!

They're back in their boxes and happy at last
And I have skipped blogging for these days past.
So, forgive me this time
and for this horrible rhyme,
I am back and working on that mammoth type goal
Of blogging for 365...with the first of the holes.

May you seek to forgive me for this dastardly rhyme
I must close it now for I see it is time.

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Still waters or rushing streams....

In my life, it seems that there are times when I "live" beside still waters and then I think that maybe I need more adventure. Other times, the rapids roaring past me having me crying out for a calm and uneventful life.

As a mentor mom for MOPS, I have the wonderful opportunity to hold babies. Cuddly little ones so that their moms can eat a complete breakfast with 2 hands...enjoy the company of other moms....and while they are enjoying their time without their baby...I get to hold and pray for them. I look at these moms and I remember what it was like to be in their shoes. It isn't easy. They are living beside the rushing stream. They long for a quiet night with their husband; I am sad because I have to take down the Pack 'n Play and the little kitchen that Emma played with this Christmas. They long for the adult conversation; I long to read, cuddle, and play with my grandchildren. We are in opposite stages in our lives, but we still have periods of calm and then trials come and the waters rise and swirl.

Yesterday, I had opportunity to pray with one of the moms. She told our table that she was facing the possibility of thyroid cancer. She is scared and her first thoughts flew to her children ages 2 and 4. She could say the words, that she knew she was in God's hands, but when she heard the word "cancer" she felt her stomach drop. I don't know what the outcome or the path this young mom will have to walk, but I do the God who loves her and will keep her and protect her. AND He loves her children way more than she does. It isn't easy to have faith. In fact, for me, it is very hard at times. I wish I could assure this mom that everything will be all right. I wish I could tell her that this is it...just a scare. The only assurance any of us can have is that when we will walk through the rushing waters in this life with Him, the waters will not over sweep over us.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

No matter what I face I know that He will keep me. It was all that I could encourage this young mom, and all that I can say to you. No matter what you are going through, He will be with us

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Yesterday I was anticipating and excited to experience the gift that I would receive from God for that day. Much like one waits in anticipation for that first robin in the spring or the spring flowers...I knew that there would be a gift from the Lord that would overwhelm my soul.

I waited. Mt. Baker was beautiful, shrouded in clouds in the morning. As we were driving, there was an amazing sky where the sun was streaming through the clouds that was beautiful. These were beautiful but I wanted to be overwhelmed.
Then I realized...Not every day will be a day that will be overwhelmed in His presence. There always will be days that His glory will be seen in the nature that He created but there will be not an overwhelming feeling that accompanies it.

What I did realize was that with that eager anticipation that I was searching for as one searches for the greatest treasure... my heart and my eyes were trained on His gifts. My heart was not far from Him. I was experiencing a focused continual awareness of Him. I wanted to see the evidence of His glory instead of realizing that God is whom God is. He is the I AM. He is creator of all the universe. He is the One True God. His words create...all nature and a new creation in the believer. He is the gift and the giver of the gift. My focus changed.

Then I thought about some of the things that He allowed me to do yesterday in His name. Countless faces came to mind throughout the day for whom I was able to pray. One friend from North Dakota messaged me on Facebook to tell me that she wanted prayer because of a possible cancer scare. I was able to respond with a prayer on Facebook. Another friend with a diagnosis of cancer has stayed planted in my mind as I pray for her. My husband who is going to go through surgery to remove the cancer in him is being bathed in prayer as well as those who love us and are praying for us.

daughter who is trying to get her baby to sleep in her own bed. Another daughter whose very life could be the whole emphasis of my prayer as she deals with youth who are billed as America's Throw Away Youth. In so many ways, God has allowed me to see Him in His love for those whom I love.

You see, some days His presence will be felt and enjoyed and other times, it is the faith that we have in Him that allows us to cling to Him. It is faith that we have to realize He holds the strings to our lives and knows each word and each step before we make it. Some days, it is just being aware of whom He is. To respond in humble adoration to the God who loves and keeps us.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gift of Contentment

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. ~Philippians 4:10

To be today's world, we are taught not to be content. There is always the next best thing. You should never settle for second best. If you aren't winning, you are a loser...never mind that you are trying ... you have to WIN at all costs. Having just come through the Christmas commercials, a good present for your someone special has to do with diamonds and a kiss or a specific song that sends the recipient running to the door to find a beautiful car with a bow in the driveway. Our culture is being taught to not be content.

As I was seeking the gift from God yesterday, I loved looking for how He would move me and I would feel His presence. I was touched by the rose that is struggling to open in our back yard. I noticed the confused butterfly bush sending out new leaves...I wanted to assure both of them that it is still very much winter and that they should just rest...

Much like God, He made his presence known in a very surprising way. Steve and I were sitting in the family room yesterday afternoon. He was reading a book and I had my nook and was reading Ann Voskamp's book when I was filled with an overwhelming flood of contentment. I looked at him and realized that I am content. Are there situations that I would love to change? yes! But His presence was so amazing...He wrapped His Spirit around us and we can praise Him that no matter what the situation we find ourselves in, we can be content for He is the source of our contentment.

So my gift yesterday was God's contentment...Thank you Father for the gift of contentment. Remind me that when I have you...I have all I need. In your precious name, AMEN.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jesus Create in me a New heart...

Create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit in me. The words of the Psalmist echo in my head...What will it take to create in me a new heart. It is the beginning of a new year and a time when New Year's Resolutions are made and broken in a day or week....I am not good at commitments. Other than my love for Jesus and my commitment to follow Him and the vows I took almost 38 years ago with my husband...I pretty much don't do major changes/challenges in my life. In dieting...that is usually all it takes...say the word and it is broken. Last year I decided to read the Bible through in one year....I am in May. Only 7 months behind.
This statement is right beside our door. I realized that I tend to live from breath to breath. I want more. I want more out of my Christian life. I want to be aware more and more of His presence in my life. I have also been reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts (a must read if you have not read it) and that has challenged me. Ann was challenged to find 1,000 gifts that she gets from the Lord and write them down...I think that 1,000 may be a bigger challenge than I am up to. I want to see and witness the hand of God in my life every day of my life. I want Him to take my breath away. I want to be so aware of Him that I see Him every where.
I think that I am aware of Him in the big things and I think I recognize Him in some of the little things but I want to set out to set my eyes and my heart on Him. So in the next year, I will post daily breath-taking moments* that Jesus gives me. I may miss a day, I don't know who reads this or by whom will keep me accountable, but I will try to do this. Not for you, whomever you are, but because I want to see Jesus in me.
*Disclaimer: they will be breath-taking moments for me...I would never presume that they will take your breath away...but maybe encourage you to be more aware.

Each and every day, Jesus gives us opportunities to spin a beautiful day. I have asked Him to take all of those opportunities and color them the way His eyes sees me.
Then with those colorful yarns. Some dark because the opportunities have been hard. Some like the sunshine because in a gray day He explodes and enters into the mundane. Some pastel because the paleness of the opportunity, if not carefully watched for could go unnoticed. I want to see all of the colors He gives me because then....

He takes all of the threads through out the year and diligently weaves them to produce a work of art that is uniquely me in HIM.

What He makes of me is intricate. It is precious. This is what I want Him to do with me this year.

Create in me a heart that sees Him in the mundane and praise Him for the expected. I want to see things not from my perspective, but from His. I can hardly wait to see what He created in me by the end of the year......