Sunday, October 31, 2010

The life I live...

The Question

I was in my 20's and had not given much thought to God's purpose for my life, so I was a bit unnerved when Lori asked me what my gifts were and what I would do with them.  'My gifts?'  I stammered.  'I don't really know.'

Lori shared how encouragement seemed so evident in my interactions with people.  From her question began my journey to seek God's purpose for my life. 

The Quest

As a child of God, wife, mother, nurse, daughter, sister, friend, and many other roles,  I recognized my ultimate purpose early in life:
" act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8
I focused on that purpose, all the while seeking from God what He had in mind for me on this earth.  Bit by bit; conversation by conversation, I tried my best to live the way I should live in order to become who God intended.

The Quieting Truth

I chatted with a  young adult who told me he is learning to live the life of faith with increased trust in the One who authored that faith.  I shared with him how, for years, I lived my life of faith as though I authored and finished it.  But, time and grace brought maturity.  Learning along the way to emphasize being a woman of faith enabled me to become more and more a woman of faith.  Somehow, I thought from the doing flowed the being.  I know differently now.
Jesus says, "If you abide in Me..." it  will begin to happen.  Association - a constant link - with Him will produce dissociation - a consuming break - with everything in us that isn't of Him.  And when He makes us what  God the Father designed us to be, we are relieved of the task of trying to appear as something we thought we ought to be.  Jack Hayford in Moments with Majesty
I abide in Him; He abides in me, therefore, I can bear fruit; for without Him I can do nothing.  (My paraphrase of John 15:5)

I now live a life of grace, powered by the Vine.  How Divine.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Steadily Thankful

My daughter bought a hybrid car.  Recently, she questioned why the gas mileage fell short of expectations.  As she shared this thought with her wise father, he encouraged her to be mindful of driving a steady speed instead of surging fast and slowing down.

Dear daughter implemented Dad's advice on the road.  She also applied the wisdom to her life, moving steadily through responsibilites during her day, with the result that she accomplished more than usual.

Now I am adopting this wisdom as I remember to remain steady in giving thanks, in being grateful, steadily thankful for...

#482 - 500

loved one home from the hospital and recovering

bevy of pray-ers for this loved one

pansies thriving in flower pots

parsley that keeps giving

dream boosting friends

decluttering my work space

decluttering my mind

listening to the whispers

children dancing and laughing at quinceanera

music that expresses unspoken sentiments

quiet conversations at the end of the evening

helpful surgical consult

surprising sister with gift of connectivity

hope that grows

lingering  conversations after dinner

beautiful sunrises

neck massages

reconnection with family at the end of the workday


Steadily giving thanks with Ann's One Thousand Gifts blog

holy experience

Thursday, October 21, 2010

If You're Happy and You Know It...

...happy are the people whose God is the Lord.  Psalm 144:15

While walking in the neighborhood in early October, I stopped to watch a tractor smoothing out over-turned soil.  Summer corn harvested and fall cleaning started.

I viewed the soil turning site as a metaphor for my life this year: under the watchful eyes of the Sovereign Lord (tractor driver), circumstances (the tractor) worked to turn over packed down soil (uncultivated areas of my heart) in me.

That revelation seemed neat and pretty in theory.  Wouldn't you know it - this metaphor played out in real life!

The story is way too long to spill out on this page, however, the abridged version follows.

I read a scripture last week in Isaiah 7:9b: "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you won't stand at all."  Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, before the day was done, a loved one was in the hospital far away from where I live.  I kept tabs by telephone on how the health problem progressed...or didn't.

By the second day of the hospitalization, I thought I should go and offer assistance (you know, being the nurse on duty).

For a number of reasons, I could not travel to the hospital.  One of the reasons came from inside my heart.  I needed to trust God to provide what was needed through others geographically closer to my loved one.

What?!!  I couldn't go and make sure the care was appropriate and prayers were offered regularly at the bedside?

It was touch and go for a while - with the patient and with my heart.

I gradually leaned on the truth that the Sovereign Lord had the patient and me covered in His loving and merciful hands.  

I learned in this instance to be still and trust God's process.  My trust and faith increased in the One who was so near...the Love that vanquished my fear. 

I began to relax.  I kept in close contact with the helpers helping my loved one.  I provided consultation as needed. 

Today, I smile at the progress over the week: a body being healed and a soul being healed.  I am grateful; I am growing.  I am happy. 
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  Psalm 112:7
Keeping it real with the Faith Barista this jamming Thursday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Night Songs

Troubles seemed to grow like weeds over the past weeks.  Simultaneously, prayers for healing multiplied toward the throne of the One who hears and helps...our Refuge and Strength; our very present Help. 

After decades of witnessing the power of song, I marvel at the truth that singing, even during dark nights of the soul, awakens thanksgiving in my heart.
You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.  I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.  I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.  Psalm 77:4-6
So I sing: I sing in tune with Truth. 
I sing lyrics written by Love. 
I rest in refrains sung by my Redeemer.

I sing with thanks for:

#472 - 481

a long history of grace moments (I remember, Lord!)

enduring love in marriage

privilege of seeing two precious children grow to adulthood

companions in intercession during dark nights

comfort and care for parents who recently experienced the death of their child

hope for healing

faith: authored and finished by the only One who can

tears: they speak volumes when words fail

blood: divine and human

being held when so much seems to be falling apart

Nothing is impossible for You; you hold my world in Your hands!
Hear one song that has crossed my lips many times this weekend: Healer

holy experience

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Place of Safety

Many times my work around the house came to a sudden halt as a child would grab my legs and call out "Base!"  My son and his friends chased each other until one of them sought  safety by grabbing hold of one of their parents.  No one could touch the child who held onto the base.

So it was this week for me.  When I felt chased by stressors and circumstances, I ran to my Refuge and my Strength.  I found the place of safety in the presence of the Lord.
Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge...I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I have set the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 16

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Place Called Joy

My friend and I walked for more than 90 minutes around winding paths and through tranquil neighborhoods.  We enjoyed sharing the ways in which the Lord helps us in our work, in our families, and in other aspects of our lives.

As we prepared to get in our cars, the conversation turned to the subject of joy.  Sharon recently reread "The Pursuit of Holiness" and "The Practice of Godliness by Jerry BridgesShe shared how her understanding of joy expanded as she was reminded that joy is what we experience when we are in the presence of the Lord.
"True joy comes only from God and He shares this joy with those who walk in fellowship with Him."  Jerry Bridges in The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 154. 
I recalled times when I fretted over difficult circumstances.  I tried to find joy by finding happiness. 
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
What I now understand is the place called joy is in the presence of God.  So my question is: how do I get into God's presence?  Speaking gratitude is one way that I commune with God.  Today, I join Ann's Gratitude Community and continue counting grace gifts.

#462 - 471

enjoying beautiful weekend weather

viewing tree leaves with multiple hues

extending grace

receiving grace

sharing time together alone in the garden (He walks with me and talks with me)

trusting the Lord with all my heart

thanking Him daily, moment by moment

acknowledging Him in my world

listening to Joy

allowing Joy to strengthen me

With a thankful heart,

holy experience

Friday, October 8, 2010

Welcome, Lord

A young friend visited the area and stopped by for dinner.  I  knew he was coming with a day's notice.  Ideas for a meal that could be prepared after a work day danced in my head.  So wonderful to have meals frozen for times like this.

He came through the door.  We warmly welcomed him.  Dinner ready; table set; life shared.  We enjoyed the visit.

After the friend left, I pondered:

In what ways do I prepare to welcome the Lord into my everyday life?

Welcoming the Lord:
  • begins each morning as I recognize his new mercies and his faithfulness
  • continues as I sing songs to him as I prepare for the day
  • occurs as I read his words and pray and listen and write
  • includes asking him for help to do the work before me this day
  • enables me to hear his voice and see his face in the people I encounter
  • helps me to speak his words and show his mercy
  • is dynamic and not a formula
  • remains an option, even when I feel defeated or unworthy or tired or blah or...
  • provides an opening for him to abide - stay with me
  • requires my life, my all
Welcome, Lord

Monday, October 4, 2010


Each of our children experienced "outdoor school" for a week during fourth grade.  This city girl mama accompanied first born daughter on the trip.  During that trip, I developed an enduring appreciation for nature.  This is my Father's world.

Hiking, reading, playing, learning, eating, conversing, praying, singing filled our days and nights.  An intriguing aspect of the week for city girl mama was orienteering: finding our way with map and compass.  The children experienced a separate orienteering course prior to the trip and were familiar with finding their way.  I hadn't a clue!

Lately, pondering a life less hectic, less stressful, and desiring a more intentional, more worshipful life readied my heart to hear the words that reminded me to mind my map (the  Word of God) and compass (Holy Spirit led living).  

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.  Proverbs 4:25-27
Gratitude and praise orient my steps as I worship the Living God.

Praising and thanking Him for many gifts:

#452 - 461

baking an apple cake with Rachel

maneuvering flattened apple cake into a tasty treat

chatting about lunch options with Quez

dreaming with Reggie

singing as seven teens are baptized

listening to Mama's recollections

reading and understanding about the lives of refugee families

writing to Fernando, our son of Compassion

chopping parsely freshly picked from the patio

walking and talking with my friend

Join the throngs walking with Ann on Multitude Mondays.

holy experience