He Answers Me in Nehemiah 4

I’m weary-worn from a hectic week at work,

Feet on husband’s lap, tissue on tear stained face.

Who knew that there would be days like these?

People call and leave their burdens at my feet,

and I try to remember that I’m not Jesus,

and that ultimately it’s my job to point people to Him

not to solve all of their problems.

Yet, the Martha in me tries.

I can’t help but feel that I’m only a little girl

“pretending” ministry

and the shoes are way too big for me.

'Walking in my shoes' photo (c) 2011, Susana Fernandez - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Honeytree sang,

“‘I’m playing grownup and no one can see in me,

I’m just a child who is learning to hide inside,

Longing to live, but yet learning to die.”

Voices come, masquerading themselves as my own:

“Why did I think I could do this?

What was I thinking?

I’d better quit now before anyone sees…

that I’m not perfect.”

Husband listens, but his eyes begin to droop

because it’s been hours that he has heard me drone on.

I tell him to go to bed.

Thumb slides on phone

looking for His Words to me

on this matter.

Nehemiah Four:

“What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing?

Do they think they can build the wall in a single day…

Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap…”

The voice sounds oddly familiar.

It’s the one that sounds like my own.

Then Nehemiah prayed.

Then I prayed.

Nehemiah didn’t listen to the voices,

and neither will I.

'Wall' photo (c) 2011, fishhawk - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I will go back to work rebuilding the walls

delegating to others

and we’ll whistle while we work.

But not without the Sword of the Spirit

in our mouths,

to chase away words

that cajole and confront

that we are nothing and can not finish.

I am nothing.

I can’t finish.

He is everything.

He has finished.

I am in Him,

and He is in me.

It is done.

Giving thanks because I need to see:

289. Free leggings just when I needed them.

290. Beauty in every corner

291. Cozy corners to enjoy coffee or cocoa

292. Sunlight glitters in an autumn dance

293. It was a dark and stormy night…and I am in my very own attic bedroom.

294. My very own burning bush…what is the Lord saying to me?

295. Joy unspeakable! I’m living the life of Jan Karon’s Father Tim!

 

 

Losing My Grip on Grace

I am done with striving.
Striving to keep a certain kind of house.
Striving to be a certain kind of homeschooling mom.
Striving to be the perfect wife.
Striving to play the part of Executive Director.
Striving to write a novel.
Striving to write a blog.
Striving to be a better friend real and virtual.
Striving to eat better and buy healthier food with a tiny budget.
Striving to look good even though I don’t even have money for a hair cut.
Striving, striving, striving….

I. give. up.
His grace will have to cover my striving.
I am at the end of me and what I can do in every area.
Now it’s time to see what He wants to do.
I am tired.
willing to let go.
It feels like I just don’t care anymore.

But that’s not it.
I have just realized that in all my striving
I have lost my grip on grace.
And I can’t do it anymore.
Not without Him.

What if the only thing I strove for was Him?
Might I find that I am a better wife?
A better housekeeper?
A better writer?
A better friend?

Lord, you are all I need…for in You is found everything.
Your grace does not wear thin. There is enough to cover all.
It is sufficient.

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!

(En) Couraged By Love

Love isn’t a feeling.

If it was it could never endure.

Because what feeling lasts forever?

But love can last forever.

Love isn’t word-deep.

It requires more than words.

It requires action.

Yet love isn’t actions alone.

“If  I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [c] in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me),
I. gain. nothing.”

Love isn’t a touch.

Or else every sexual encounter would be love.

So. what. is. love?

Love is a discipline.

and to become disciplined, we must train,

and follow our Trainer.

Become a Follower of Love.

Who is leading in our follow-the-leader game of love?

God is love.

and Perfect love casts out all fear.

His love is perfect,

When I choose to be discipled by it I am (en)couraged.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God.

Even. me.

Counting his manifestations of love to me with my dear Ann: Counting the provisions of the Lord with Ann:

148. Spring springing.

149. A robin sighting.

150. Good finds in a library.

151. Real Mexican dining just a walk away.

152. A beautiful new company car for my husband!!!!

153. New mercies.

154. New opportunities.

155. Mama’s arms around my neck.

156. Relief after a 5 hour bus ride…

157. An understanding husband.

158. A son whose idea of an ideal Friday night is to watch Judah Smith preach at Church On The Move.

159. Everyday treasures discovered by little hands.

160. Little girl “mustaches”.

161. A much anticipated walk to the park.

162. An aunt not seen for 10 years.

163. A son who calls to make a lunch appointment.

164. Bagel chips.

165. Italian ice.

166. Revelations from “The Voice”…God is not waiting for me to impress Him before He commits to helping me succeed!

167. A plaque honoring godly pioneers.

168. A widow’s mite idea for a family wedding shower.

169. Exciting possibilities.

170. a hope and a future.

171. Young men who dream dreams.

172. Toddlers to give presents to.

173. My husband’s snoring.

174. Almost summer-like days.

175. Human frailties that insist upon grace.

176. Sabbath rest in the midst of chaos.

177. A gift of The Hunger Games

178. Direction for lent (finally!)

179. Learning about preparation in all things.

180. Aha! moments at church.

181. Answered prayer and more answered prayer.

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

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

…sharing with Shandra:

 

Eulogy to the Death of A Role Part Deux

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the death of the role of mother. Of course I will always be a mother to my three children, but not in the same, every day, home school, stay-at-home mom way that I’ve been for the past nineteen years. You see, I’m enrolling my youngest into college…and in the flurry of excitement, visiting schools, filling out FASFA’s, scholarship applications and auditions, I hardly have time to feel anything…at least until the house is empty and all I can hear is the dog snoring and the refrigerator running. Because now, I am alone with my thoughts, much like the day I realized that I was the mother of an eighteen year old, I grieve. But this is far worse, all that there is left to who I was before motherhood and home schooling is a shadow.

I have heard mothers scoff at the place I find myself in. I have heard them criticize ladies before me who have wrestled with this identity crisis. They have whispered behind the back of this pained one, “That’s why I don’t believe in home education. If her focus was more on her husband, she wouldn’t be so lost right now. Home schooling is far too child centered, and not nearly enough helpmate centered.” I hope that our choice to educate our children and everything else that we have done was Christ centered and not people centered at all.

My husband recently lost his job; a job that he loved dearly. He anguished over it, and grieved over the fact that he was no longer associated with this company that he so loved and admired…and he only worked there for 2 years! I have been on this journey for almost ten times longer than he has, and yet no one blames him or thinks that he’s silly for feeling disappointed, and maybe even a little depressed. After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s normal to be saddened at the end of a journey. It’s kind of like the let down you feel when you come home from vacation, or after all of the Christmas presents have been opened; the “what now?” feeling.

I suddenly have all of this time on my hands, and I don’t want to fill it with just anything. I don’t want to give over my future to the first thing that comes along. So I guess in addition to grief, I feel a little anxiety, like a girl just out of high school who is deciding whether to get married or go to college. I mean this is the rest of my life, I must choose wisely! And though the feeling may be similar to the high schooler, I don’t have as much time to fix it if I make a mistake.

In the midst of all of this confusion, I do feel a glimmer of hope and excitement. I know that when I acknowledge Him…He will direct my paths. And His paths always drip with abundance. My prayer is that I don’t bend under the pressure of uncertainty, but rather that I bow humbly offering my life to His Majesty knowing that He has plans for me, and that they are good. So now I’ll encourage myself like David did. Stay still, and know that He is God. Don’t bend, but bow, these must be the words I choose to live by. For I am out of control, and let me tell you I’m not loving it. However, deep inside my heart I know that this is the only place to be; the place where his hand turns my heart like a compass to new lands and adventures planned out, just for me.

Dissatisfied With Heaven’s Bread

Aspire | The Wave by Brandon Ku (bkuPhotography) on 500px.com
Aspire | The Wave by Brandon Ku

Sometimes we despise God’s provision.
“There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” (Numbers 22 NLT)
Isn’t manna something to eat?
How we exaggerate when we are determined to be dissatisfied.

Our flesh cries out, “I’m tired of this food! It’s the same every day!
God your provision just. isn’t. good. enough.
If you loved me, you’d provide a seven course meal, with plenty of variety.
This bread from Heaven isn’t measuring up.”

and we say, “I’m not satisfied any more.
Couldn’t you send me a sign?
A miracle? You expect me to chew on the same crust of bread over and over?
…and like it?”

We are like
children looking in full pantry and fridge
proclaiming, “There’s nothing to eat!”

Sometimes we grow impatient with the length and difficulty of the journey
and we speak out against God, and His man.
We complain about the package deliverance comes in.
“I didn’t expect this!” we rethink the path we’ve chosen.

and the serpent of bitterness
brazenly bites leaving behind his mark on our skin and his poison in our blood,
and we question His very name Jireh, Provider.

But He is Provider, and “God is always good, and I am always loved.”
There is goodness in the manna – the “what is it?” bread of Heaven.
There is love on the journey – water from rocks and brass serpents for healing
despite our complaints.

Counting the provisions of the Lord with Ann:

139. A reminder in an art gallery.

140. His Word a lamp unto my feet.

141. A shopping kitty.

142. A day with Mama.

143. Encouragement to be a finisher.

144. A metropolitan afternoon

145. Tiffany windows raining glory on my hair…

146. simplicity

147. The journey of an altar.

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

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

…sharing with Shandra:

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:

Winterizing Your Heart – A Cheesy Allegory

Winter is coming, and I want to be ready. I’m trying for the most energy efficient, rodent deficient winter thus far. Seeing that we live in a 115 year old house, this can be quite the challenge.

So today I googled and found a great preparation list from About.com. However, as I looked over the list I had a cheesy thought, “Am I ready for a spiritual winter?” I would probably have to admit that I’ve been experiencing a spiritual winter, and that the buds are just beginning to open again. In some ways I was more than ready, in others I fell far short.

So here is a list for your spiritual winterization.

  1. Furnace inspection – In our spiritual walk we must make sure that we keep our love temperature on hot.  We need to ensure that our duct work is free from debris so that when we are dispensing the love of God it isn’t polluted with junk.  Lastly, we need to pay attention to our filter so that nothing coming in will cause a problem with what goes out.
  2. Get the fireplace ready –  There is nothing more welcoming than a roaring fire in the fireplace, but if the chimney and the hearth aren’t prepared, you can burn down your whole house!  First of all, you need to make sure that you cap the chimney so that no creatures can come in your house.  Whenever we make ourselves vulnerable and dispense the love and Word of God out, we have opened ourselves up to an opportunity to be invaded by the “enemy”, but if we guard our hearts with all diligence and keep a watch at the door of our lips then we can ensure that these critters won’t creep in.  Next, we have to have a supply of “seasoned” wood for fuel.  When we are attending a church with a wise pastor who is preparing spiritual food for our growth, it is like having seasoned wood for our fire.  We are able to heat and light our spiritual life with the seasoned Word of God.
  3. Inspect your windows and doors.  Look at the points at which you are most vulnerable and check for cracks and cold air seeping in.  Cracks and crevices allow cold air to creep in and then we spend needless time and energy trying to keep our love walk strong and healthy.
  4. Inspect roof.  Make sure your covering is in place.  The helmet of salvation.  God has promised to shelter us.
  5. Check your foundation.  All too often we don’t go over what our Christianity is built on in the first place.  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ my righteousness…On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”  We can not build our foundation on any other.  “All other ground is sinking sand.”  Are you hoping in your own ability?  Are you trusting in the economy, the government or a loved one?  Check your foundation.  Make sure it is firmly in place, that there are no cracks.
  6. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Sometimes we can flirt with spiritual death.  Other times we play with things that are invisible but can kill our spirits none the less.  Make sure that you have people in your life who are able to correct you and lead you in the right direction when you have gone astray.  Sometime we can’t see the things that are harming us, but others can.

Is your heart ready for winter?  Are you prepared for the coming season? I can’t stand this anymore…way too hokey for me…hehe.