Thursday, January 29, 2015

Learning Not To Fear The Quiet

 The sun shines on the newly fallen snow. 
It has that sparkle. 
I sit in my bedroom, in the bay window. 


The warmth from the sun has been beckoning all morning. 
I have been so cold. 
It feels good to be warm. 
I hold the Ancient Word in my lap. 
I close my eyes. 
To be quiet in the presence of a Holy God. 
No requests. 
No words. 
Quiet. 
No lists. 
No worries. 
I am still. 
Yet I fear. 
I fear what He will say. 
Since the accident. 
Since the cancer. 
It's hard to be quiet and still. 
I am quick with words. 
Thankful words. 
Words of request. 
Words of gratitude. 
But the quiet; that is harder. 
And so, today. 
I sit. 
With the sunshine pouring over me. 
Quiet. 

Galatians 3:5 flutters into my thoughts. 
Not a verse I can quote.  
I open the word. 

Galatians 3:5
So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and 
work miracles among you by the works of the law, 
or by your believing what you heard?

God is the one who works the miracles. 
He does the work. 
My job is to rest. 
Something I find hard to do. 
I do not need to fear my thoughts. 
Or the quiet. 
Thoughts of the accident and the ensuing months are hard to digest. 
In the quiet they come. 
Slowly, I hand each thought to God. 
He will carry me. 
God will accomplish His work. 
I lean into the quiet. 
I let the spirit pour over my weary soul. 
I do not have to do all the work. 
God wants us to rest. 
In Him. 

Are you resting in Him?

Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Whose Shoes Are You Walking In?

He has walked in ripped shoes. 
Off and on for 18 months. 


Until they have split along the sides. 
New ones bought; just not comfortable. 
So he keeps the old ones. 
Familiar. 
He's walked in his brothers shoes, too.  
On and off for 18 months. 
But they were too tight. 
Not his. 


Not the younger brother anymore. 
Yet not the oldest either. 


A hard place to be. 
A hard age to sort through such complex emotions. 

Matthew 28:20
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. 
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The youngest of these asks me in the car;
Where would he be now? 
It takes me a moment. 
A question she has asked before.
Trying to piece together the life this side of the veil. 
I tell her I am not sure. 
He would be off in a school somewhere. 
He might even be overseas.

So, he wouldn't even be here? 

So she would still be missing him? 
That is her real question. 

It gets really quiet in the car. 
Finally I say to her. 
He wouldn't be here. 
God has His plan. 
He called Elijah home. 
His work, here, on earth; finished. 
The words hurt coming out. 
I think we all want to picture Elijah somewhere; doing something. 



I tell her that God is mighty. 
He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. 
That he will uphold us with his righteous right hand. 

And here at 18 months. 
We have been held. 
God has sent his Spirit to intercede when words fail. 
He has used our family, friends and complete strangers to come alongside us. 
Though the missing is great and deep. 
We need to be open and ready for what is still yet to come. 
There is much to life that we have been called to do. 
Our story; not yet complete. 


I plan to take the farm boy shopping for new shoes. 
His own shoes. 
Shoes that only he can fill. 
Shoes that fit. 
Shoes that will carry him through the journey God has placed before him. 
But I won't throw those ripped shoes away. 
I will hold them close. 
They show the journey of the farm boy. 
Through 18 months. 
Torn; ripped. 
Yet still functional. 


Are you trying to fill someone else's shoes? 

Jeremiah 6:16
This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; 
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'





Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Musings

He talks about a heart change. 
About the bubbling that can spew from our mouths; a condition of our hearts. 
Another speaks of having every thought held captive. 
And my heart sours. 
These young people. 
So many. 
Once the youth in bible study and youth group. 
Now parents of small children. 
And I am taken back to the time when they were younger. 
How I loved their digging deep; their probing questions. 
And now here. 
When they are grown. 
Digging deep together. 
This is a gift. 
I usually teach. 
Not a student. 
I haven't attended a Sunday School class in 15 years. 
Teaching; my gift. 
My desire. 
My passion. 
But a son snatched from this earth and the 
diagnosis of cancer stifled any thoughts of teaching. 
Sundays painful. 



Barely wanting to attend church. 
The questions. 
The music. 
The whole families. 
Mine broken. 
Missing. 
Hurting. 
Death knocking, knocking. 
Now, a year later. 
Cancer prayerfully on the other side of the wall. 
A different way of living without the oldest farm boy. 
Sunday School seems to be an option and after the holidays we take the plunge. 
We face the crowd.
The stares. 
Only to find. 
Warmth. 
Digging deep. 
Hope. 
Intense study of God's word. 

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The gift of all these young people.
These young people who have returned to the church of their youth. 
To unwrap scripture. 
I gaze around the room. 
Multigenerational. 
I breathe deep.


Mark 8:18
Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? 
And don't you remember?

We have to keep our eyes open to see the beauty. 
To capture the gifts. 
They are there. 
Each day. 
Each moment. 

Have you seen one today? 

Friday, January 23, 2015

How Will This Story Unfold?

When I wake up in the land of Glory
(Lyrics to Big Daddy Weaves, Yours Will Be) 

What was he thinking when he woke in the land of Glory? 
My red headed boy. 


The one who laughed rich. 
Blues eyes twinkling. 
Temper bubbling just below the surface as he wrestled with adolescence. 
Big strong hands like his daddy. 
These things. 
I think on. 
These things I miss. 

And with the Saints I will tell my story.

Our story. 
Still not finished. 
His. 
So young. 
Completed. 
The thought still rips like a knife. 
Presses hard on my heart. 
Threatening to pull me under. 


So I cling.
To the Word. 
To the Hope. 


And now, the farmers daughter. 


Her story. 
Intertwined with a foreign culture. 
A piece of her still there. 
Longing for the land which cries out with so many needs. 
Her story at 17. 
The same age as her red headed brother. 
In 6 months, she will surpass him in age. 
Her story. 
Pointing heavenward. 
Leaning in. 
Seeking. 

There will be One Name that I proclaim. 

There is only One Name we proclaim. 

There is one focus. 

This place; not our home. 

Until we take our last breath. 
Proclaiming His name.

Where will we go? 
How will we serve? 

Have you asked these questions? 

This ministry. 
Working to restore; heal. 
Fulfilling the words;

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right; seek justice.
 Defend the oppressed. 
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

We pray. 
We wait. 
We hope


Big Daddy Weave
Yours Will Be










Monday, January 19, 2015

You Know That Quiet Hush, Right After A Snow Fall? Yes, Me Too

The snow has fallen. 
The world transformed. 
The dirt and brown covered. 
A hush hovers. 
Expectancy. 


The quiet after a snowfall,
A gift. 
I barely dare to take a breath. 
The wonderland; so beautiful. 
I close my eyes.
 I rest in this moment. 
I pause in the presence of a holy God. 
In awe of His creation. 
Such beauty. 

Each day I wrestle with what life should look like. 
What is my role? 
I think many of us do. 
What is my purpose? 
So much has changed. 
I will never be the same. 
And I don't want to be. 
I long to be open and ready to do the work that has been set before me. 
The only thing is- Sometimes I don't know what that work is. 
I become restless and impatient. 
Forgetting the quiet hush. 
Forgetting to look at what is right in front of me. 

Micah 6:8
He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

God has shown us. 
In His word He guides and moves us. 

Pslam 119:11
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

That Ancient Word, when hidden in our heart, fills our souls in those moments,
when we are quiet; in His presence. 
His hand will guide the way. 
He has shown us; 
All of us how to live. 
When we are on this  journey of waiting on the Lord.
We continue to rest in the promises given;  
in His unyielding strength. 

No matter what you are waiting on. 



May God give you wisdom and strength. 
May you have courage to wait with expectancy. 

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

While we are waiting we are given strength and renewal. 
We are not forgotten. 



Sunday, January 18, 2015

What I Am Learning In The Silence

There is silence. 
Where I thought there would be conversations and sharing. 
There is very little. 
I struggle. 
I train my heart to pray. 
It is hard work.
Silence is good. 
Silence is healthy. 
I am not a silent person. 
I fill space with words. 
I sort through life's hardships shattering silence. 
But here. 
Now. 
With one in heaven and two in Haiti. 
Silence follows me. 
Internet scarce. 
Silence. 
A sound foreign to me. 
Unsettling. 
Until.
Until, I take notice. 
 I see what God is trying to do. 
This trip, I have been hanging on their every word. 
Waiting. 
(Not one my better traits)
Wanting to know what they have done, heard and seen. 
Not paying attention to what God wants me to do. 
It's not until they have been gone for 6 days that I see. 
Instead of waiting to hear; longing to talk. 


I need to be embracing the quiet.

Seeking strength from the giver of strength. 
Taking the time to search and dig deep within. 
The quiet is not the enemy. 
But when your mom has slipped into heaven's arms and your son not far behind. 
And when the memory thief knocks down the door to your dads soul and depression attempts to steal your farmer's joy, silence becomes deafening and the enemy. 
And any space needs to be filled with sounds. 
Because to travel to the place in the heart where all that silence resides is agonizing. 
So when the silence begins to permeate and the way unavoidable, 
God reaches down and allows a moment of clarity. 
The silence is a gift. 


To be prayed through. 
As a reminder to storm the gates of heaven for lost souls. 
And it's taken me six days to open my eyes to the need. 
With each fractured conversation there is a reminder and
 a call to bow low before the throne of the Almighty. 
He's given the silence. 
As a gift. 
Walking boldly into that silence today. 

Jeremiah 29:12-13
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, 
and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Do You Have A Decent Source Of Water?

John 4:14
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
 Indeed, the water I give them 
will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."



Water


An integral part of our life. 
Without it; we can not survive. 


Yet there are nations that struggle. 
Clean drinking water - scarce. 
Their survival in the balance. 
Poverty a way of life. 
Needy. 

Jesus repeatedly used analogies involving  water. 
It is something we all need. 
Crave. 
Can not live without. 
Yet, He comes, this Jesus, as the Living Water. 
In a parched and dry land. 
Through life in Him, our thirst quenched.
Never will we thirst again. 

And here in this poverty stricken land of Haiti. 
Where by most standards they have nothing. 
Their joy is apparent. 
They lack much. 
Yet lack nothing. 



Jesus came to change our lives. 
Not our circumstances. 

This life giving water is free. 
With it;
We will never thirst again. 

John 7:37
"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

Marsha Stevens
Come To The Water

And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by my side. 
I know you are thirsty. You won't be denied. 
I felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried 
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Do You Know Where To Go To Find Joy?

They have knocked on the door. 
They even moved in and resided. 
No rent paid. 
Demanding; always asking for more. 
The heaviness of loss always present. 
Always before you. 
Reminders in every corner; at every turn. 
A history. 
Part of you- 


Gone. 

Yet, deep inside there is a joy. 
A joy that can never be taken. 
It is seen in the faces of many who have experienced much
more heartache than we could ever imagine. 
It is in the faces of those that call Haiti their home. 




Joy. 
It can't be bought. 
It has to be sought. 
With all your being. 
A life walking the path surrendered to the King of Kings.
It is a matter of the heart.
Really, it all comes down to the heart.
Are you unyielding, demanding and selfish?
Our needs are so important.
So much so that we often neglect others.
Our hearts; focused inward.
And we're wasting away.
We sacrifice much, when decisions are made based on what we feel. 
Yet when you give out of your brokenness.
When you give out of nothing.
Touching down in the places where the destitute reside.
The heart.
It is changed.


What motivates you?
Where in your being do you know joy?
In letting go of all that you know, giving all your fears and hopes over to the One who breathed  into our lifeless form, there you will discover the truth.
When there is nothing.
When all you see is hopeless.
That is where the joy begins.

I Corinthians 13:4-6
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.(emphasis mine)

The questions beg to be asked,

What do you have to give?  

Where will you go to find Joy? 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Joy Heard From Haiti

They have flown into a different space. 


A culture not like our own. 
Les Cayes, Haiti. 
 The south west section.
On the coast.
6 hours from Port Au Prince. 
The farmer and his daughter, have left the -3 three temperatures, 


chores and school and have joined with other farmers. . . to go. 
They have heard the call.
 God said,  yes

The Safe T homes; refuge for many. 

 Because of your faithfulness in giving and prayer, they are there. 
Just over 5 years ago Haiti suffered one of the worst Earthquakes ever to strike a nation. 
Already needy, this impoverished country needed a boost. 
The effects were devastating. 
They remain to this day. 
But the people. 
The resilience and joy that show forth. 
That is still there. 
Strength. 
Through the struggle. 


This farm girl, she will leave her heart in a nation not of her birth. 
She will never rest until the love of Christ is made known to the world. 


There is no running water in the hotel. 
There are ants in the sink. 
A gecko on the ceiling. 
Yet she remains untouched. 
She will bathe in the pool. 


She is where her heart longs to be. 
In a place where she can give. 
Where she can make a difference. 
We will lose this child to the King of Kings too. 
Just in a different way. 
While God called Elijah out of this world into his heavenly realm. 
God will call Clarissa to live and serve among those that are;
The least of these. 

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

Will you continue to pray? 
Can you help us to lift this nation before God? 
To ask for strength and mercy for this beautiful country?
For wisdom and direction for agencies so willing to help?

We are glad you stopped by. 
We pray your life will be changed by knowing the love of Jesus. 

Here is a little bit of the joy being heard from Haiti. 

video