Being found Knowwhere

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How do I know? he asks, that it is God and not positive words and energy bringing my stormy life peace?

The world can be so ugly that I can’t blame him for asking. His own life stained by the pain of a chronically ill parent and girlfriend. The news filled with grown up gangs who slice off someone’s head just because they hate someone else.

The whole, if God is a loving, powerful, miraculous God, then why would He…

I remember 1000 tiny reasons why, and I’m grateful to have counted, but that’s not how I really know. I remember hearing about the wonders of the universe, the amazement of creation, but the knowing is not found there…at least not for me. I can be talked into science and accidental beauty and perfection as unlikely as they may seem. I ponder if it is community and His Body, but although a thing of beauty, it is not them that brings certainty to my faith question. I think about my well worn, weathered security blanket and question whether it is His Words that bring the knowing? I am getting closer to the Truth, I can tell, but still not quite at my destination of Determined Purpose.

Then I remember dark nights when I wake on my own to a terror more tangible than pain, I remember sorrow so deep that I am certain I am no longer whole but broken in two and memories of circumstances far beyond my control that trap me into a claustrophobic corner. Yes this is how I know.

I know when my cross gets too heavy, when I have failed miserably, when the phone rings and the words I least want to hear are uttered.

I know when the valley seems too deep and the surrounding mountains too steep to scale even on my most athletic and healthy day.

Yes, ironically, these are the things that cause me to know.

Because what am I fighting if I’m not fighting real evil? Who am I struggling against if that evil isn’t personified? And if evil is personified as a Devil then who made him? Sometimes it’s easier to believe in the Devil than it is in God.

And why does the war continue to get more intense? If it’s just the ugliness of human nature, how do we know, really know deep inside,that things can be better, that we can be better?

And most importantly, how am I aware that I am not alone when that terror wakes me, when the television flickers real life horror, when the telephone rings with the worst news ever?

I know because out of knowwhere, He is here. In this room. Right now. In me and around me. He is here when He is knowwhere to be found in the shell shocked world. He comforts, coaches and soothes my battle scars.

I know because I know Him. I don’t just know of or about Him. I know Him. In the ancient writings a husband and wife knew each other and it was the most intimate of knowing, the closest two human beings can get and the fruit of that is a little bundle of perfect innocence. There is a knowing of spirits too and the fruit of it is that of transformation from the deepest parts. A changing from death to life.

I know One who has brought me to a place called Knowwhere, and in the place no thing is as reals as the One who carried me there. Yes there is a place called Knowwhere and here is the knowing. It is entered by grace and kept safe by faith.

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I pray that the young man who asked the question has a Grace Day soon. The day he has the grace to believe that he can know. In the meantime, I am grateful for the question because it’s always good to remember why we know…Succinctly, precisely How. We. Know.

I know because He reveals. He reveals because He loves. He loves because that is Who He is. Now I live knowwhere, and it’s just where I want to be found.

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A Walk of Trust: Waiting For Your Children To Own Their Faith

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As a mother, it has been my biggest concern. How do I ensure that my children have made the Christian faith their own? How can I encourage them to claim Christ as their personal savior rather than as a impersonal family tradition? Have I prayed enough? Instructed enough? Been a good enough example? Dear friends, I am over at Family Fire today, will you join me? Read the rest here

Tremble In Fear and Do It Anyway

I once knew a man who belonged to a chat room called, “Young Millionaires”. He wasn’t even close to being a millionaire, but he was convinced that everyone else in the room was a millionaire and so he pretended to be one too. I quickly pointed out to him that they could just as easily be making up their financial picture as he was, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He believed them to be completely sincere despite his insincerity.

Last week, at the Write To Publish Conference, I had my first experience at a cyber-friendship made real life or (RL). I was really quite nervous about it.

“What if she doesn’t like the real me?” I wondered. “What if I’ve accidentally created a virtual me that doesn’t reflect the real me, like the guy in the young millionaire chat room?”

But the moment I saw her all fears were chased away. It was like I had known her my whole life…and I should have known all would be well, because Adela Crandell Durkee is a pretty amazing woman! She writes with wisdom and wit. She tells side-splittingly funny stories. She smiles under pressure, and everyone is stronger for her being in their presence.

She was the very first blogger to offer her friendship, writing to me an e-mail that stated, “Let’s be Best Blogging Girlfriends!” And that’s just what we are.

It occurs to me that our relationship with God can be much like a virtual friendship. We don’t see Him face to face, although we could get nervous about when we will someday.

When I do see Him in RL, will I stand before Him realizing how much of the time I was trying to be someone I am not? Will my insincerity drive me away from His presence?

I only know that I am told that I can stand in His presence boldly and that my faith pleases Him. It takes faith to stand in His presence. He sees right through our pretending. But when I do? He welcomes me the way my friend welcomed me, with open arms and loving acceptance, pleased by my reliance on His grace…the outpouring of grace which I gladly receive to tremble and go anyway.

On In Around button

…sharing a playdate with Laura:


My Holy Land – TOYS Community Linkup

I just got back from the Write To Publish Writer’s Conference at Wheaton College.  It was a wonderful time. I learned much, met many and generally felt in awe of God’s presence in my life.

I have never been to the Holy Land.
But I have been to many a holy land.

Places of personal significance,
Where bush burns brightly,
and I turn over new leaf.

Where little known men
have taught great men,
and those great men have gone on
to teach myriads more men.

Places I have overcome overwhelming odds.
Places I have left fear in my room and ventured out of myself.
Places I have discovered new sisters, teachers, mentors…friends.
Places I have found more of me.

And I wonder how they got there,
those pieces of me.
So far from where I dwell in the ordinary every day.
So far outside myself that it makes me tremble,
distant from all that feels familiar.

For He has scattered drops of me
to be found by me
like breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel.
And when I follow them back, I find that they lead to Him
where the Father has planned all along.

Won’t you join me on Fridays for a new series and linkup called, “Take Off Your Shoes, You’re On Holy Ground!”? Each week a post will be shared about the significance of a place and you will be able to share as well!! Just 1) Write a post about how a place has ministered to you. 2) Add your post to the linkup. 3) Add the button to your post. 4)Visit and encourage your neighbors!

JourneyTowardsEpiphany

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Jesus Came To My Door


It was the day before I left for the 4 day, 5 night Write To Publish writer’s conference. I hadn’t finished my fiction manuscript, and I wondered if by some miracle I could swing it. I wanted more than anything to become an influential voice for Christ through my writing. Experience had told me that my manuscript must be finished for a publisher to consider it. But, there was laundry to be done. The house needed attention…and I wanted to walk the dog because I knew that the kids would just let him out back while I was gone.

I completed the twenty minute chore of watering the plants, hoping beyond all reason that someone would remember to do that in my absence. Finally, I snapped the leash on the dog. He waddled down the street happy someone was paying attention to him. The neighbor boy who had been placed with foster parents and was only here on a visit stopped me. Oh, dear, I really don’t have time, I thought. I gave him a quick hug. “Hello Xandan!” I said, “It’s so good to see you! But I’m really in a hurry, can you come by another time?”

“I hope so,” he hesitated, then waved.

I hurried on. The mentally challenged woman ran up to me all child-like and said, “Can I pet your dog?”

“O, Ethyl, I really don’t have time today, I’m sorry.” The dog and I rushed on.

I wonder why it seems like everybody and everything wants my attention today, I wondered.

I continued down the block when Gina, the depressed alcoholic stopped me, “What are you doing for the weekend?” she asked, sober for a change.

“Oh, actually I have a really busy weekend, in fact, I really need to run. I’m sorry.”

Rrrrr…why does everyone NEED me today? I asked God. Don’t they know that I have things to do? I have an ENTIRE book to finish for goodness sake!

A breeze blew into my ear, and His voice whispered clear.
“They don’t need you, they need Me in you.”

And oh, how I wanted to run back to Xandan and ask him how his school year had been. I wanted to sit with Ethyl and let her pet the dog to her heart’s content, even if it meant her asking the same question fifty times. I wanted to ask Gina what she was doing for the weekend, and let her share her sorrows, but they were all gone. Suddenly the book seemed silly and vain, because, “Jesus came to my door…and I left Him out on the street.” Keith Green


Sharing with Jen today!

The Gate Called Beautiful

You, my dearest, are hurting, pained and unwhole.

You need healing.

And though He said I can lay hands on the sick,

I haven’t often seen success.

I’m only being honest.

But your suffering…your scars…

It’s too much to bystand –

Too much to spectate

without participation.

What can I do?

I don’t have silver or gold to pay for expensive treatment.

I don’t have a faith healer’s faith.

Not. Yet.

But can I bring you to the Gate called Beautiful?

Because I’ve found that

darkness may be crowding out light

and death may be pushing my hopes under

for the

third time.

But

when I am brought to the Gate called Beautiful

I am soul healed.

For in examining His beauty

I am discovering His goodness.

And when His goodness is revealed

anything, anything might happen.

Will you come?

Counting from the Gate called Beautiful with Ann:

131. Unexpected Valentine from the little girl next door.

132. My Bible Study girls and I getting “tatt-ed” together!

133. A box in the mail!!

134. A gift from Sarah Mae and DaySpring!

135. Daughter’s debut as a paid singer!

136. Happy Statue of Liberty guy. (You can’t tell, but his smile is radiant!)

137. The privilege of making 500 truffles…

138. Coming through to the other side of the flu.

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

…hanging out with L.L.: On In Around button

…sharing with Shandra:

Apparently, I Have A New Occupation! – Painting Prose Community

Many of you commented on how beautiful my button is!  I love it, don’t you?  My art student son made it for me…but there is a funny story.

It was rather late, and he had way too many things to do.  To be honest with you, I probably had no business asking him to do it for me.  But I did…and when I told him the name, he looked at me funny.

“Why are calling it that?”  he said.

“Because the lady I’m doing it for is a painter, and it’s kind of a play on words,” I answered.

He shrugged.  The next morning I had an e-mail from him.  It had an attachment with a button much like this one, except that it said, “Painting Pros”.  Suddenly, I understood the quizzical look on his face the previous day!

 

If this is your first time here, let me explain what we are all about.  We are a community started by Emily Wierenga.  Her meme was called Imperfect Prose. She is on a bit of a meme vacation as she has some extra responsibilities at the moment.  If you have a piece of writing that you would like to share here, please link up with us, include the button with your blog post, and visit other community members in order to spread some love and encouragement.

If you are new, please check out Emily’s blog.  It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and you need to be acquainted with the woman who made all of this happen!

 

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Faith: God’s Gift to Man

Icebreaker:  What do you consider a great reward?

Text:  Genesis 15:1-6

1)  Even though Lot and Abram parted ways, Abram comes to Lot’s rescue when he and his family are kidnapped.  There was still the covenant of blood between the two.   Q:  Have you ever had to help someone that you’ve decided to back away from?

2)  In doing so, Abram came against several kings and armies, and won.  However, he may have created many enemies for himself.  The king of Sodom expected Abram to keep the spoil from this skirmish, but Abram refuses.  This next chapter begins with God telling Abram not to fear, but that He is Abram’s shield, AND that He is Abram’s reward.  Perhaps Abram was afraid that by protecting Lot, he had opened a can of worms politically for Himself.  Perhaps He was second guessing his decision not to take any of the spoil, but here God tells him that He is his reward.

3)  Abram responds with “What will you give me?”  He understands that God means to bless him.  He sounds like he’s reminding God of His former promise.  Q:  Have you ever had a child remind you of something that you’ve promised them?

4) God decides to give him a point of contact…the stars in heaven, so that whenever he sees these stars, his faith can be encouraged.  I  have a friend whose husband had to go out of the country for three weeks.  His two year old daughter was starting to lose sight of how long it would be before daddy would be home.  So, she made her daughter a chart.

My friend gave her little girl a picture of faith…something that she could look at when she started to believe that Daddy would never come home.  Q:  Has God ever given you a visual so that you were able to keep the faith?

5)  Richard Foster says:  “Faith in the promise itself is also a gift of the Promise Maker.  Even our faith is a gift from God!  We can ask God for more faith.  He will encourage us when we feel weak in faith.

6)  Now, God says that Abraham believed, and He counted it as righteousness to Abraham.  There still was no proof that God would do what He said, but Abraham believed nonetheless.  He trusted God at His Word.  Hebrews 11:1-2 and 6 says, 1Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. 2God accepted our ancestors because of their faith…6No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Here we see again reward and faith spoken of together.  a)  We must believe in God.  b) We must believe that God is a rewarder.

7)  Hebrews 11:8 says, “Faith led Abraham to obey when God called him to go to a place that he would receive as an inheritance. Abraham left his own country without knowing where he was going. ”  Faith causes obedience to God’s instructions.  God’s instructions lead to an inheritance (or reward).  Faith leads you to the unknown.  Q:  Tell of a time faith has led you to the unknown.

8)  By faith Abraham stayed and waited for the promise  according to Hebrews 11:9-10.  I am sure there were many times Abraham looked up at the stars for encouragement.  Q:  What can we look to for encouragement in our faith?  Romans 10:17

9)  Q:  How can we increase our faith?  In Luke 17, the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith.

10)  Jude 20 says that praying builds up our faith.  Let’s pray and ask God to build our faith the way He did for Abram.  Remember:  Faith in the promise itself is also, a gift of the Promise Maker.  Richard Foster

Taking Courage When Leaving the Comfortable – Blogger’s Bible Study

Icebreaker:  Tell about a time that you moved from one place to another.

Read:  Genesis 12:1-8

1.  Abram left his country, and his patriarchal family.  There would be different language, culture, geography and gods.  Everything Abram had known would be left behind.  

2.  God was asking Abram to go to a land he had never been to before.  He could have been moved by the fear of the unknown.

3.  “God cares more about your character than your comfort.”  John Bevere  Q:  How does this relate to Abram’s story?

4.  God promised a blessing with obedience.  Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  This was definitely an IF/THEN situation.  God didn’t make any promises to Abram in his place of comfort.  Abram would have left a permanent home in order to become a nomad.  Once he got there, other people were occupying this land…and there was a famine.  Q:  Have you ever obeyed a leading God has given you only to have the promise delayed?

5.  Abram built an altar.  As an act of faith and a reminder of God’s promise Abram built an altar in the place God had given him.  Q:   What are some ways that we can build an altar on a promise God has given us?

6.  Share something that you feel God is asking you to do in faith.  Matthew 16: 24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

7.  Prayer:

God, thank you for speaking to me about this instruction you are leading me to fulfill.  Give me the faith of my father, Abraham, so that I can please you.  Help me to obey you with willingness.  Make me more interested in the building of my character than in my comfort.

In Jesus’ Name

Amen

Cicada Song – Truth in the Ordinary

I’ve been thinking a lot about cicadas lately. Mostly because I was walking the dog with middle son, and found a cicada who had just left his shell. “There’s a truth here,” I thought. I’m annoying that way. Always looking for truth in the ordinary.


Middle Son wanted to go back for his camera and take a picture, so we hurried home, picked up the camera and did just that. I still hadn’t come up with my lesson from a cicada. So, I did what any self-respecting teacher/discipler would do. I Googled it.

The type of cicada we found is a 17 year cicada. The life of one of theses beauties begins when its mother lays eggs in a slit on the bark of a tree. A few days later, the larvae from this deposit finds its way into the ground. They grow, unseen to the world and in darkness,from tiny larvae to about the size of a peanut, but it. takes. 17. years.

At the appointed time, the hard-shelled insect finds its way out of the darkness and into the light. Breaking out of its crusty straight jacket the cicada leaves the shell behind, and dries its wings in the sun. And then, it sings the familiar end-of-summer song so many of us recognize.

Did I ever find my lesson? Of course! God is always found in the ordinary. How many of us have a seed of faith planted inside, only to have it lie seemingly dormant for what seems like forever? Be encouraged! There is an appointed time; a time when you will leave the shell of growth behind and stretch your wings to sing in the glorious light. So, next time you hear the song of a cicada, remember the music you hear is 17 years in the making, and if you’re patient, your day will come. When it does, the tomb of the past will be forgotten in the joy of your song.

Linking with Ann today:

And perfectly imperfect Emily