Bad News

Life keeps taking crazy turns. Each day the news interrupts life; revealing the darkness of the world we live in. Headlines scream across the screen of the next new terror that’s come to light. Not wanting to see it, we turn inward and end up looking at self and see the us we don’t want to see instead. Because the evil one is like that- he takes that evil he distributes through this world and makes it personal. He shows us all that is wrong in an attempt to blot out all that is right.

But darkness will never blot out the light. Can’t happen. Never. Ever.

When that personal attack comes- and it will- (he is nothing if not relentless in his accusations) how do I handle it? I sometimes think it might be easier if it was a once and done attack; however, the attacks are life long in this world; after all, that’s what he does- attack, again and again, over and over, until we are defeated or victorious.

Sometimes the attacks eat me alive. I dwell and dwell; blaming myself for all the miseries of the world and my world. At other times, I lash out at those I love most and lay the blame at their feet. I make rash decisions that I bitterly regret later. Regardless of my choice of response, there are consequences in this messed up world.

The emotional consequences are so hard for me. It’s difficult to remember that the here and now is just that. It is a blade of grass that fades away when its time is done. I remind myself that eternal life began the moment I believed. (John 3:16-17) That my life will continue long after this shell I now live in is consumed.

We all have moments, days, weeks, months, years we would obliterate completely from our lives. If only we could. So many things gone wrong. Where is the “do-over” for them? But would you do those things over that served a purpose in shaping who you are?

They are signposts, milestones, events that i will remember for the rest of my life while I draw breath. I don’t feel thankful that those things are part of my life most of the time. Yet, I realize that without them and the restoration and forgiveness that comes through Christ I would be useless. To God, to others, to myself.

I look to my God for help. He is the One who rescues me. The One who knows me better than I know myself. We are all broken vessels and He knows how broken we are. In those inward moments, we only see the brokenness in us. When we only see death and despair and destruction all around us He sees so much more. He sees what He intended He sees the way things were  as He designed them. His is the only validation we need. His creation, made in His image, for His pleasure to have fellowship with Him.

Because we believe, we are forgiven. Our sin no longer tips the balance in our lives. He grieves when we grieve, He holds on when we can’t and He loves us still through all things without regard to our actions, our thoughts, our preferences, our anger or our frustration.

He Loves Us.

Warts and all.

And in these days of frustration, anger, confusion, danger and despair He walks the wilderness with us.

In the silence He is there.

When we listen, we can hear His voice whisper on the wind:

I love you.

You are mine.

I call you by name and you are my precious one.

Never forget that.

Forget everything else but not that.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15

New Year, New Season

Things keep changing around here. This is Texas and the weather changes as frequently as the second hand on the clock in these in between seasons. In between May and October there’s only one season: hot. The rest of the year it can be a surprise every morning and afternoon not to mention after dark when all bets are off. We’ve gone from 35 degree nights to 90 degree days in the same 24 hour period. Never a dull moment.

But the real change is that the husband is home all the time now. A bit earlier than we had marked on the calendar- about 3 years earlier. However, as we all know- we really do not have control over anything. So, here we are… home together. Again.

When seasons of life change how do you adjust?

We (I) found it interesting and frustrating at the same time; for about 3-4 weeks. Now it’s become as familiar as it was before the first baby arrived.

There’s lots of catching up to do. Seasons change as do people. We don’t notice the changes on the surface because they are still the same person we married {a long time ago, and far away}. But we both have changed in small ways. Our expectations are off because neither of us has responded in the ways we have come to expect of the other.

However in this one thing we can be sure- that we are still in this for the long haul and whatever that brings. We are so much more aware that things can change quickly and without warning- like our weather. It makes us appreciate the moments in time together.

He’s realizing that I’m a slow starter in the mornings and silence is my friend with music in the background for about the first two hours of the day.

And I’m realizing that he has more words in him than I ever thought possible….

So we give grace. And smile. Or frown. And we try not to bicker too much in front of the children since it upsets a son’s equilibrium.  OY!

 

Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds. Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:17-18

 

 

The Warning of Watchman Nee

I wish I had read the quote below as a young woman. But, I wouldn’t have been able to grasp the heart of it.

Spending time with God.

Deliberately. Always. All the time.

Constant, consistent Prayer.

Gut wrenching, pleading Prayer.

Hallelujah, jumping up and down, hands raised, singing Prayer.

Is the One you are talking to the convenient God you send arrow prayers to in the middle of traffic, or as you walk into a meeting?

Is He your backup, your last resort?

Is He the one you turn to when you just can’t face the day and what you know it brings?

I look back and realize that I have missed the point of talking with God many times in my life.

The One we are talking with is at the heart of the matter of Prayer.

I want this generation to know the reason we pray is the same reason we talk to our family, our friends.

Connection.

In order to keep our family and friend relationships vital, we connect as often as we can. In those relationships we are limited by the physical world.

But with God-He is present. Always. Even when we choose not to talk He is here. Now. When we believe in Jesus and His Holy Spirit is in us we always have access. We can always connect. Our relationship with Him that can not be severed

When we get busy, things are hectic and scheduled for us 24/7 we begin to ignore that connection. Like human connections- time passes and distance increases in our hearts and minds. We find more and more we are relying on our own abilities. And this is why this quote hit me in my conscience. I am guilty of just getting on with life in the everyday. I’m doing just fine under my own power.

Until I’m not.

In reading this quote I began to understand. I slip away under my own power. Deceived.

“He [Satan] will take away your prayer life little by little, and cause you to trust God less and less and yourself more and more, a little at a time. He will make you feel somewhat cleverer than before. Step by step, you are misled to rely more on your own gift, and step by step your heart is enticed away from the Lord.” —Watchman Nee

Only when I stay connected in prayer do I find my confidence, my trust in God increases. I can rest in Him. In knowing He does all things well. I stop being confident in myself and in the letting go I can be the me He designed me to be.

 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18

The Closing of one year and the Opening of Another

Two years ago. about this time, I was beginning to consider another year with One Word. That word that shapes one’s perspective for the year. I started doing this about 5-6 years ago.

It seemed like a good idea at the time… I picked out a word that I was comfortable with and knew I had to work on its presence in my life for a year. You know, anyone can do that for a year…

That was when “I” picked out the word.

Two years ago, God took that task on for me. He very strongly impressed on me that surrender was to be my One Word.  And, it was.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and that word and how it’s supposed to work in my life since then. And I’ve discovered that surrender, no matter which way you look at it, is what He desires from us all. Not just in the big things. But in all things.

That’s a hard place to be. Surrender. I’m definitely not comfortable with that word or how it fits into my life. But as I’ve lived the past two years with this word, it has popped up in conversations, in something I’ve read,  as something I’ve heard on the radio or tv and around almost every corner of my life. It is ever present in my thoughts.

Hear me: I don’t want to surrender. To wave a white flag. To give up. Because to give up, wave the white flag and to admit to God or the world that I just don’t have it anymore is admitting I never did “have it”. That’s hard for me to do willingly.

Sometimes the horse has to get mighty thirsty before it’s willing to take a drink from strange waters. Well, this horse anyway.

God can do some pretty amazing things when we let Him; when we admit that we aren’t in control of the situation, our lives, our families’ lives, our work life. Those amazing things look different in every life.

Whatever that is to you, I’d like to ask you to stop and take a look at life and consider whether surrender might be something that He is asking of you.

I don’t have any over the top stories other than the way He keeps bringing it up in my life. But that’s enough for me. No shockers here, no sudden winds of change. Just me being obedient in surrender. Day by day.

Some days are difficult. My human nature is to grab hold of something  and to not let go. {confessions of a packrat}. But here I am, still learning Who He is and who I am and what He wants me to let go of so that He can accomplish His purpose in my life.

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

Any thoughts on One Word? Any stories? I’d love to hear yours!

The Light of the World is waiting

This time of year we hear the carols, we see the red and the green, we smell the evergreens, our mouths are feasting on great food and if we are lucky we touch the snow.

All of our senses are involved in the experience that is Christmas.

Our emotions, however, can hold sway on our perspective and can cause us to miss out on the most important thing about Christmas: Jesus.

We can walk around in the darkness of loneliness, sadness, grief, missed joy, loveless, pain, loss, despair, depression, anger, frustration, jealousy and a host of other things that come to mind.

We do not see. We walk in blindness caused by our own hearts when we fail to hear the Good News of the Gospel because of the cacophony in our brains that interferes with the simple message.

Jesus is here.

He is the Light of the World.

He came for us.

All of us.

Let Him be your Light this Christmas.

Come and See.

The Newborn King awaits.

Bring Him your darkness

and

Come into the light.

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-5, 9-14 NIV

Full Speed Ahead

Like tendrils of mist it comes creeping along, trailing out  behind  me. Swirling at my feet. I fear that if I’m still too long it will overtake me and take hold-this thing called aging.

It carries along with it various infirmities. Each one different, each one of us immune or subject to one or another.

They take silent hold on our lives, strands in the web of life. Slowing us down. Holding us back. Creating drag on forward momentum.

The mirror reflects the gradual change that’s been happening since we were born. Sometimes the speed of the change slows down or speeds up. Suddenly, one day, a look and we don’t quite recognize the face that looks back. More gray, a crease or crevice there, a dark spot that wasn’t there yesterday, a tiredness in the eyes.

Eyes that say “slow down. You need rest.” The body agrees; and less and less is accomplished.

All the while the mind bounds full tilt toward life like a dog greeting its owner at the end of the day.

So much to say. So little time. The words spin around in my head. I grasp at one here, another there. Finally a sentence is formed. If I rush, the wrong words tumble out. Safer to write them down.

Then sabotaged by the relentless spellchecker and auto-correct.

Can’t win.

It’s not until we see death approaching from a distance that we kick into high gear and have so much we want to say, to do, to see, to share with those we will be leaving here to soldier on in our wake.

How do we make the most of it then? How do I?

I find that I must grasp the moment I’m given and hold on. I must speak the words that matter. Must tell the next generation.

They must know Who they believe.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”- 1 Corinthians 2:13

“I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Saviour through your apostles.”- 2 Peter 3:2