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Friday, December 28, 2012

Joy journal

this is another entry from my journal, while reading "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  God has me in a very vulnerable place, learning how to conquer my feelings, my fears, and embrace all that he has for me – all of it. Pain, which leads to joy, grace, trust, and a new word I am learning
Thanksgiving, grace and Joy.

The following entry is my heart-cry from a few days ago. 
I hope you can hear my heart.
I am not depressed. quite the opposite.
Just processing. Maybe my words can help you process too.
  and we can grow closer to him together.

This is not just a tiny step – a baby step here, LORD.
This is a run – a marathon, a distance between here and the moon.
You are pulling me, dragging me, helping me.
Crack me wide open, LORD.
Break my heart so that you can pour more of you in.
 Help me to see.

Really see –
not just behold, but jump in, headfirst.
Plunge deep.

It is you –
you who are doing this in me. Undoing me. Unraveling me.
Release me from the fetters of this life so that I can see.
I can run.
I can –

But how can I see beauty in this? It is sin. Yet I am missing at it.  I am tangled up in my hate of the sin and the desire for you. In the hurt that I deserve and the pain that eats away all that you are trying to show me.
Snatches it up and consumes that before I even taste and see that the Lord is good.
What is the  secret? 
what do I long for here? 
why does it hurt so deep and I want the relationship restored and the pain to subside, even stopped throbbing, ripping, tearing – so abrasive is this pain, that it has worn me raw.
Is raw where you and I meet?
Where the salve- the ointment of your Word is the only thing that heals?
"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

 Dividing the joints and marrow – the sinewy places where the scar tissue is so hard from the life torn apart. 
This is where's the healing takes place. Where I embrace the whole of it.
 Not just the pain that the "terrible awful" caused by sin and blindness – not seeing – but the whole of it.
 Is this not what Job did? And what you did for him? How can I understand it? Open my eyes to see. 
You did not just allow Job's troubles, you brought them
So he could see. 
You chose him. So he would choose you. 
"Have you considered my servant, Job?"
You are in control of even Satan. 
I am like Job.
Writhing and not seeing.
But you have beauty to behold. Sin had left its Crimson stain, He washed it white as  snow.

This tastes bitter on the tongue – the pain. It seems so tragic.
It didn't have to be this way. Yet it did. For me. For her.
For us to know. For us to learn.
For us to see.

Open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth thou has for me.
 Place in my hand the wonderful key that will unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit, divine.

Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see you, I want to see you.
To see you high and lifted up, shining in the light of your glory.
Pour out your power and love, as we sing:
holy holy holy–
Lord, God Almighty.
Early in the morning, our songs  shall  rise to thee. 
Cherubim and seraphim, falling down before thee.
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

and me – with my face to your son – help me to see.
With my eyes
with my hands
with my heart. 

"My son, what is it that you want me to do for you?"
"Lord, I want to see."
To see you fully, and experience you- your joy, unlike anything earth has to offer. 
Thats what you are doing in me through all this mess. 
And anything that makes me fall on my face before you is good.

Thank you Lord, that you are healing me of my blindness. That you are with me in this process to lead me; to be my guide. To hold my hand and walk me through this maze of pain and despair. To lead me to hope. To Peace. To fullness of Joy. To you. I am so grateful. So dependent for my very breath, for sometimes it feels like I will be smothered by the heaviness of my heart. Yet, when I let you,  You carry it.  thank you for your joy. For it can be as overwhelming, the soothing balm to my weary soul. Jesus I'm so in love with you. Thank you for making me love you, need you, want you. Jesus, I'm desperate for you.
 Lord, you are all I want.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

To trust or not to trust?

I have been reading "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp over this past week.(Her blog is and is a wonderful place to go to see God at work.)

 I have been learning a great deal about myself, and I have serious trust (or should I say, lack of trust) issues. I want- really, expect things to be good. To turn out all nicey nicey. And if it doesnt, I have to find someone to blame. I know I don't deserve to have my way, but I want it. Really, really badly. and I often sacrifice much on the altar of self to get it. 

So today, I am taking a little side step from Colossians to share my journal entry from a few days ago. 

This joy-journey has me undone. I am not a natural. Not a "truster". Not one who has yet learned to "see". To embrace the impossible- the "Him-possible" and look with the wonder of a child. I lost that somewhere along the rocky road of life.

Sure, I can look and see through the good times; I can remember. But for the future? A choke hold comes upon my anxious heart and the "what if's" fly in the face of my ever increasing thankfulness, saying, "you don't know if He will be good in the future. You don't know what will happen." 

And I reel, and I thrash and still a Hope-beam shines piercing the fear like a hot knife into a block of ice. 

A whisper of quietness tries to touch my soul. "But Remember" it says. 

And I breathe. And exhale. Breathe and exhale.

Ps. 1:2
But his delight (joy) is in the law of the LORD and on His law does he meditate day and night.
He is like a tree, planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (emphasis mine)
 Meditate. Remember.

What law? 

Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy strength. And thou shalt have no other gods before me. 


When I elevate my heart as to think that I deserve anything, then I am ungrateful, prideful and putting myself on the throne. But when I, in gratitude, bend the knee saying come what may, not my will but thine be done...

Is it really that simple? and that difficult?

Every good thing, and every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights in whom there is not shadow - no darkness - and who does not change like the shifting sands (of my life). He is the steady one, not I.

I wish I could just nail the lid on this- be done with it and never have to think about it again. Never worry about the future. About my kids and what would happen to them if something happened to me. What may come. Be done with it. Learn it once for all. But now that I have opened it, scratched the scab off, I see there is a gaping hole and all my fears come tumbling out. Spilling, dripping bleeding. 

And I am undone. 

I am like a bird with the cage door open and I don't know- don't remember how to fly. Or perhaps I am just petrified. 

Remember. That is the key that unlocks this trap. Recount. Thanksgiving. Gratitude.

I have lived so long in the state of trying to balance everything, to do enough good that it evens out and that God will recognize it, so he won't send bad stuff my way.....That is not my motive. My motive is love for Jesus, and love for others. But if I really think about it, deep down under the layers, all the way to the marrow, I am afraid. 

Of dying. 

Of my kids getting hurt or sick or killed.

Of pain.

Of how am I going to see Her? And that somehow, I might really stop loving Her. She who traded the beauty inside and out for a lie? She who has cut me so deep that I bleed joy and pain intermingled? She- who wants so desperately to become he- all the while hoping that is the answer to her own pain? 



Thousands upon Thousands.

Heaped up and spilling over. Blessings. Gifts. 

And He who gives good gifts- the ones we see- can He not disguise those good gifts in earthly pains?

He was.
He is. 

Did not His ultimate earthly pain bring us the most joy?

He, who for the joy set before Him suffered death (and separation from God) even death on a cross. 


And I identify with Him, and He with me in my painful quest for joy. 
I crucify my desires- even my fears upon the cross with Him. I can let go. I can be free to accept whatever comes from His hand. Because it comes from the hand with hole in it. The Whole in it.

Ps. 1:6
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous- but the wicked will perish.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December Daily the 19th- and be thankful

Well, ya'll, today is my 52nd birthday. I remember when I was little, and figured out I would be 40 when the year 2000 rolled around, I thought that was forever, and I wouldn't live to see it. But here I am, and I might just live to see 2050!

Anyway, I love being this age. Way better than 20's, 30's or even 40's.

At this age, you aren't considered "old" by the younger crowd, and you are still considered young by the "older crowd". And you know way more than you did when you were younger. You also can say silly things or do crazy things, and it is ok, because you are old enough to know better, and comfortable enough with yourself to do it anyway, and people know that so they aren't shocked when you are silly. I suppose they chalk it up to being a little loopy at this age, but I dont mind.

Also, you are more cautious when you drive, and you have learned that you will get there when you get there, and that YOU have to pay your deductible, not your parents, and you have not yet lost your reflexes on the road, so you are a better driver.

But the best thing about being this age is being settled. I know many people my age who are not, but I am. I have learned to be content.

Which brings me to the subject of todays post: thankfulness.

I am not going to write too long, I am just going to let you in on a secret that God has been teaching me. Thanksgiving precedes God's blessings and enables us to live a full, free life in Christ. I know it seems like the other way around, but it is not. We have to be thankful in everything, then the blessings flow. Well, actually, the blessings are already all around us. We just have to recognize them. But it is in the thanksgiving that we enter the throne room so that he can act on our behalf. And through thanksgiving we are able to release the disappointments and hurt so that the Holy Spirit can and will work powerfully in and through us.

If we think on Jesus, and what he did the night before he was crucified, we think of the bread and the wine. But before they ate what did he do? He gave thanks.

And if Jesus gave thanks before the worst possible situation, shouldn't we? In everything?

Col. 3:15 says: 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.And be thankful.

And be thankful. 

I am reading a book that my dear friend Linda got me for my birthday called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. If you don't have it, get it. Don't question if you should. Just do it. And read it immediately. It will change your life. 

God has had me in this classroom of learning to be thankful for a long time. But it was not until the "terrible, awful" came in my life that I really started to learn how to be thankful in ALL things.

I was telling a friend today that I do not want this chapter of my life to end until I suck every last drop of what God is trying to teach me out of it. I don't want to loose the closeness to him ever. And if I have to be stuck here for that to happen, then so be it. 

God is good. All the time. Even when we don't see it. Even when beautiful, wonderful children are ushered from this life into eternity and the arms of a waiting savior by a senseless wretch with a weapon of destruction. Yes, lives were destroyed. But what others meant for evil, God will use for good. And who knows what he can do with such a time as this. It is our perspective that has to change. Was that situation good? NO WAY. But God is. He is. And he can and will use the grief and devastation left in the wake to make some sense and something good out of this horrible mess. God is good. All the time.  If you don't believe it, look around you. And He cannot be both good and bad at the same time. He is God. He is not like us. 

Read "1000 Gifts". She has such an amazing way with words. Truly gifted. Then go forth and life a full life. A life of gratitude. A life of freedom. A life of thanks.

I love you all. And thank you for all the sweet birthday wishes. I had a great day at home with the kiddos and DH doing absolutely nothing. Drove around and looked at lights this evening and am happy as a lark. Thankful for.........everything, especially you.

Still standing amazed,

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December Daily Day 16 Presents

We all like them. The surprise contained inside usually brightens our day and makes us feel loved.
Especially if the gifter knows us well, and takes the time to either purchase something that we especially want but would not make for ourselves, or if they hand-make us something; for it is the gift of time that is the most precious of all. Because time is the one thing you can never get more of. 
Think about it: everything else you can get more of. Or at least something similar. But time, no.
This moment will never be able to be relived. 
Memories never remade. 
Years never repeated.

I was so blessed yesterday by my dear friends who chose to take time out of their busy holiday schedules and spend the morning with me celebrating my birthday at Teapots and Treasures. We had a lovely time, and I got some wonderful gifts. The most wonderful being time with my beloved friends. Truly they are my heart sisters, and inspire me to be the kind of woman Christ wants me to be. 

One of my friends bought me a book called 
1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. 
You can find her website here. 
(by the way, the Jesse Tree Advent devotional on there is phenomenal.)

I started reading this book last night, and I think every Christian woman needs to read this book. And do the challenge. I know I am and will be this coming year. 

About 14 pages into the book I knew this was going to be a life changer for me. And that I had to make sure my daughters read this book. Heres a quote that will explain why:

(from page 15)
Ultimately, in his essence, Satan is an ingrate. And he sinks his venom into the heart of Eden. Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave. 

Isn't that the catalyst of all my sins? 
Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other. Standing before that tree, laden with fruit withheld, we listen to Evils murmur, "In the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened..." (Gen. 3:5). But in the beginning our eyes were already open. Our sight was perfect. Our vision let us see a world spilling with goodness. Our eyes fell on nothing but the glory of God. We saw God as He truly is: good. But we were lured by the deception that there was more to a full life, there was more to see. And, true, there was more to see: the ugliness we hadn't beheld, the sinfulness we hadn't witnessed, the loss we hadn't known.

We eat. And, in an instant, we are blind. No longer do we see God as one we can trust. No longer do we perceive Him as wholly good. No longer do we observe all of the remaining paradise. 

We eat. And in an instant, we see. Everywhere we look, and we see a world of lack, a universe of loss, a cosmos of scarcity and injustice. 

We are hungry. We eat. We are filled...and emptied.

And still, we look at the fruit and see only the material means to fill our emptiness. We don't see the material world for what it is meant to be: as the means to communion with God.
(end of quote)

I can't wait to see where this is going. Actually, I know where it is going. But I can't wait to see how she (the author) gets there. Because I think it is going to be a great ride. 

All of this to say:
Where are we in our expectations with God? Do we long for His Presents, like a happy family, happy life with well behaved kids, and adoring husband, and even the traffic to go our way, more than we long for His Presence?
I not only long for them, I expect them. And then when they don't happen, I get aggravated and even upset at times. But when I let those circumstances drive me into His Presence, instead of insane, I realize that is exactly what they are there for: to create crisis of belief, and a need for relationship with Him. 

I wonder: if we never had any trouble, would we need or want Him? 

Why would we need a Savior?
What would He have to save us from?

As it is, he has to save us from Ourselves.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Daily Day ? Presence

This is going to be short because it is late, but I feel like I have been amiss in not blogging for the last few days, and I wanted to be consistant. But I am not going to feel guilty, because it is not productive, and because this is not God's standard, it is a self imposed desire to blog daily. So I am going to let it go!

But I just wanted to let you in on some profound things that happened to me today.

First, my friends showered me with love and gifts today at my birthday tea party. I have such a wonderful group of friends, and they just made me feel so incredibly loved and I am so blessed to have each one of them in my life. Ladies, I love you all. Thank you for keeping me on my knees, and making me want to be a better wife, mother and daughter of the King. You all rock my world!

The second thing happened at a little boy's birthday party, where an adopted boy was showered with a party he didnt expect, and a gift he never imagined by an uncle who wasnt even related to him. Ask me and I will tell you the whole story sometime.

The last thing was at church watching my husband filling out the envelope for the Christmas offering, and the TTI offering. And my daughter putting in all the money she had earned by selling jewelry in the One Child offering. And my son as he emptied his wallet of his iPhone savings into the plate as it was passed. After the service, I asked him, "How much did you put in?" "All of it" was his reply. "Why?" I asked. And I will never forget his reply: "I had to, Mom", was all he said. And that was enough for me. Because I understand that. And I walked to the car stunned. My kid gets it. He sees beyond himself, and his wants. He knows he will get more money. God will continue to bless him. He has learned to trust and he was joyfully, happily obedient to give what he had with an open hand.

And why shouldn't he be? He has learned it from the best. And I have had the same teacher he has. His father. My husband. The most generous person I know, and the one whom I have the privilege to be married to. He has taught me to joyfully give and wholeheartedly trust God. Yes, I know I am blessed. But tonight I realized on a deeper level, just how much.

And as we were driving home it hit me: I have looked into the face of God today. I have been in the presence of the Holy Spirit in you today. And in that uncle, and in my husband, and my son and daughter. I have stood in the presence of Almighty God- tangible, visible and holy. I am in awe.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December Daily Day 9 Process

Yesterday, we talked about Christ in me, the hope of glory. And Today, I want to make it personal.
We went to church Sunday at the Acreage Church, and our missionary from Zambia, Pastor Nelms nephew spoke. It was just what I needed to hear.
He spoke about the Gospel, and how it should change everything; every aspect of our lives. For every aspect of our lives are tainted with sin and hopeless without Christ. We in our own strength are unregenerate. But the restorative power of the gospel changes everything. The Gospel is a process in which Christ restores what the enemy has stolen: relationship with him. It is both a once forever change and a lifetime process, at the same time.  And he said something that really got my attention. He said, "You are the hope of the world. You are uniquely qualified to be and to bring the hope that the world so desperately needs, even thou they dont even know that they need it.
That got me to thinking about something that God has been doing in me.
Most of you know the pain in my life. In my heart and in my body, which I think is a result of the pain in my heart. But God has been schooling me in this classroom of pain. And just as the emotional pain has an impact on my physical body and is causing physical pain, beyond what I could have ever imagined, these things that take place on a physical plane have great bearing in the spiritual realm. And particularly on my spiritual life. A Process. So here's my synopsis. I wrote this to a friend today who is going through a difficult trial and is in the hospital right now. And this is for you, too my dear friends. So think about what you are going through, and read this as if I am speaking to you about it.

Your whole life up to now he has been preparing you for this moment in time. And this is the exam. You have been studying, preparing and practicing. Now is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. If you look back, I am sure you can see the moments he put in your path...the teachers, the Bible studies, everything to prepare you to be here right now. I love how he does that. And even if you cant think of specifics, He has. 
I was just thinking today about pain. My heart is so broken right now, and has been constantly being crushed by our second daughter. She is living a lifestyle that is contrary to the word of God. However, God has used this pain in such incredible ways, and my heart cries out to him in gratefulness for this pain. I didnt start out that way. I was kicking and screaming and denying and wrestling with God. But now I am settled in this. But it doesnt make it easy. It is hard, and it still hurts. In fact, I told someone today that I didnt know it was possible to have your heart so crushed and still be alive and walking around. Honestly, sometimes it hurts so bad that I think I am going to be crushed under the weight of it. Thats when I know I have lost perspective and have to take a step back and see it from his point of view. We have such a short time here on this planet. And he is so loving that he lets us have such good gifts. And we expect them to last and last. We don't expect it to all be easy, but we dont expect it to be so hard, either. And that we forget that sometimes pain can be a friend. Weird, I know. But would you have needed him so desperately without this? And as you said, you have alot to learn in trusting him. I know what you mean. So here is your opportunity. Your "exam". Not your final, probably just the mid-term. Because there is more to come, my friend. But the cool thing about this exam, is that it is an open book exam. And the teacher is there, holding your hand and walking you through it. He is standing by your side saying, "I am the Answer to the questions you didnt even know you had." And he lets us experience just exactly what will make us jump into his arms and learn exactly the lessons we need. No more, no less.
It is such a comfort to me to know that He is in control. He is able. He is God. And he loves me. He loves me. Why?? I am so unworthy to experience his grace in such a tangible way. His love so perfectly poured out for me. In the midst of a terrible pain, God has birthed such a deep love- a desperate, quiet and peaceful kind of love that I can't live without him. I cannot manage anymore without him fully present every moment in me. I realize that everything I do, every moment I spend without him is just rubbish. There are still too many of those, too. But I am learning to see him more and more and want him to be my everything. And I thank him for driving me to my knees. For choosing me to fall so desperately in love with him, and settling me deep in his peace. And isnt it worth it? 

Col. 1:24-29 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

We have been stuck in this verse for a few times. But it is so important. And so rich and full. I rejoice in what I am suffering.....
I rejoice and fill up in my flesh what I am still lacking in what Christ needs to be in me for myself, and so I can learn to love others like he does. He is carrying out in me- in my body, soul, mind and spirit right now his transformation process....that is what I think it means. 
And he is the reason we strenuously contend, with All HIS energy. Because when we do it in our own strength, it is just rubbish. 

My dear friends,  God is at work. And he has chosen you for his canvas. He is crafting something beautiful. Thank him for what he is doing in you, even if you are not at the place where you can thank him for the vehicle he chose to use. And pray that you will get there. I am still praying that for myself, because I often forget his purposes and want to just get in the vehicle he chose and drive away. Away from the pain, the hurt and disappointment. But if I learn to embrace it, I can live above it, and not let it drag me down. Only then can I truly learn to have real joy in whatever life brings. 

With a grateful and joyful heart,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Daily Day 8 Ponder


Well, we've been around the block and are working on week 2! 
Can you believe it? 
Only 16 days left till Christmas.
 Remember what we have been learning? 
Take a deep breath, practice His Presence. He is with you, and HE has a plan! You are the one who gets panicky. Not Him.
Anyway, we are back to our first day of the week where we pondered last week. And I liked it so much the first day of last week, that I chose Ponder again. 
So today you get a second chance to ponder. 

Col. 1:27 says: To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of the mystery, which is Christ in you , the hope of glory. 

Don't you just love a good mystery? I do. Well, you have one living inside you. Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is our living and only hope. 
Ponder that.
A Mystery revealed. It was hidden for ages. Now it has been revealed to us and in us. 
Christ in you, your only hope of salvation.
Of doing this thing called life well.
Of freedom.
Of eternal life.
Of choosing to act, rather than react.
Of hearing the voice of God.

Christ in me, Christ in me, Christ in me,
The Hope of Glory, you are everything.
Christ in me, Christ in me, Christ in me,
The Hope of Glory, Be my Everything! 
Be my Everything, Be my Everything,
Be my Everything, Be my Everything.

And, you may be someone else's only hope. 
We are the hope of this world. We are uniquely qualified to bring the Hope of Christ to the world that he created. The hope that they need and don't even know that they need it. 

This changes everything. 

And we will talk more about this tomorrow.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December Daily Day 7 Practice His Presence


I am practicing a new discipline this month, prompted by the book “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. I haven't read the book yet, although I plan to. In fact, I was going to get it at church this weekend, but I told a friend about her devotional, “The Jesse Tree Devotional” and she went to the website, fell in love like I did and has already ordered the book for me. (But if you want one, they are on sale at right now for 6.99!) 

Amazing how God provides when he has clearly told me not to buy myself anything and watch him provide. But that story is for another day. Maybe tomorrow. But before I forget, let me give you the link to her website in case you are looking for something wonderful to do as a devotional this advent season. It isn't too late. Start today with day 1 and do 2 days at a time. You will be caught up before you know it.

The website is  You will love everything she writes. She paints beautiful word pictures that draw you in and hold you there. I just love her work. You will also find the inspiration for this post, December Joy Gifts there.

But back to today's post. 
The discipline I am practicing is the December Joy Gifts Challenge. In it, you find three things daily that you are grateful for. Each day she asks for something different. Todays was 3 gifts from your Savior. Mine are: His Presence, His love, and His Discipline.

Discipline. How I dislike that word. The very thought of it send shivers down my spine and makes my knees go weak. I am so undisciplined. But I need it. I want to be more disciplined. But I do not want to work at it. So God forces me with situations that I have no control over and teaches me to run to him instead of acting like the world.To have a Christ like response rather than a worldly, knee-jerk reaction.  I do have a choice. But it is only through disciplining myself that I can make the right choice. 

Our children are a great example of this. As babies, they react to situations. If another child takes a toy from them, they cry. If they want a toy another child has, they take it. No please, No thank you. They hit if they are angry, they cry when they don't get their way, and they do any number of other unacceptable things if they so desire. Unless we discipline them. Teach them and train them to respond rather than to react.

Proverbs says: train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it. Often we use this verse for a wayward child and that they will eventually come back to Christ. And that is often true. However, it can also be interpreted for this situation. 

The same is true for our hearts. We must learn to let God discipline our hearts and lives, and one way we can do this is to practice his presence. That means to get the idea into our thick skulls that we are able to be always in his presence. But our sin kicks us out the door. So we must discipline our hearts to keep short accounts, and realize that any life lived outside his presence is just existing, not truly living. 

He says he has come that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Which means that we can live in his presence thereby living life to the fullest possible measure. 

Today, I am missing him. Alicia (my oldest daughter) has a friend visiting from Canada and the days have been so full that I have not taken the time I need (which is a lot) to be with Him at the beginning of the day, and so it gets shoved aside and then I am too tired or too lazy or just preoccupied and don't do it later. And so I am missing him. I want to be with him, but I haven't taken the proper time to. I haven't disciplined myself. I know he is always there, but I am not. 

So what will it take for me to do what I know is best? What do I need to do to get back to where I need to be?

Anne Graham Lotz says: If you cannot hear Gods voice anymore, go back to the last time you heard it, do what he told you to do, and then you will be able to hear him again. 

It is as simple as that. One step. It is amazing to me that we can wander ever so far from God and all it takes to be back in his presence is One Step. Not a giant leap. No penance. No nothing. One Step. Because Jesus Paid it All. He did what he did so you and I could practice his presence all the time. We could mess up, and he still loves. We could wander and he still forgives. And we could learn all the while to Practice His Presence so that those times of wandering would be few and far between. If you and I only realized how very much he loves us. How much he gave up for us. How far he was willing to go for us, I think we would wander less and figure out what is truly important way sooner in our lives. 

Col. 1:24-27 says: 24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Imagine that! Paul rejoiced in suffering for the people. And he took on in his flesh the afflictions of Christ so people could know the message that had been hidden, but now was revealed among the Gentiles which was "Christ in you, the hope of glory". 

Christ, living in me. My living hope. In His presence always, if I choose to live there. But I have to fight my flesh and discipline myself to do it, and stay there. It is hard work. But so worth it. 

And now it is time for me to discipline myself and take that step. Here I go....

I love you!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Daily Day 6- Purpose

That is a word that can be pregnant with meaning. My mind reels with possibilities. I could take so many paths here, but I am, for right now, going to take the obvious. What is our purpose? Why did God place you and me here on the earth? What are you to do with the time God has given you?

Col. 1:21-23 says:  21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior.22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

I love the way The Message words this passage.

21-23 You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.

Isn't that the truth? We are a case study of what he does. He takes someone dirty, ragged and messy; one who hasnt a thought of him except for giving him trouble at every chance, and dies for us. Whether we accept his gift or not. Even if we never love him back, he still loves us and he still died on our behalf. I hope I never get over the wonder of it. 

When I was in college, I used to pray for God to show me his will. And after marrying my dear husband, I still wondered what "big thing" God wanted me to do with my life. What was "His Will"?
I thought it was some etherial thing, that he would reveal and it would be huge. Then I would pursue it, and do great things for God. I still pestered God about it even after I had kids. Up until one night. 

On this particular night, after I had been married several years and had 2 small children, I had a dream. In it, I was trying to decide what was God's will for me. I had such a dilemma. I was trying to decide who to marry- my husband, or my former boyfriend (who in real life had been out of the picture for several years) or if I wanted to pursue a career in opera (in my former life I have a degree in Vocal Performance and was auditioning for the Palm Beach Opera. I gave that dream up when I got married. It was my choice, because I wanted to be a full time wife and mother.) But in my dream, I had to decide. Marriage? and Who would I marry? Or a career? This dream was so real and so intense, that when I awoke with a start, I was so anxious that I was panting, and could not even open my eyes. What should I do? What was God's will for my life???

When I finally got up the nerve to open my eyes and saw my bedroom, and my husband lying beside me, a wave of relief washed over me. And God spoke to me. He helped me realize that Gods will wasnt something that I had to "find". Gods will was for me to walk so closely with Him and love Him so dearly that I could hear his voice and let him lead and just follow. 

His will was for Him to lead in this beautiful dance and I was to learn to follow. Sometimes it was to learn just to try not to step on his toes! 

Sometimes we have waltzed together. Sometimes it has been more like a rhumba. Sometimes it has seemed like a disco dance, where the lights were flashing and the room was spinning around. But all the times, He has been the Lord of the Dance.

I wish I could say that I have always been a good follower. That I have let him lead, and that wherever he led, I wanted to follow. But many times, I didn't like the music. It was too slow, or too loud, or just not music that I liked. And sometimes, I couldn't even hear it, because I chose my way or I was too busy or prideful to spend time with him. And in those times, he would allow me to dance away for a little while. However, all the time he would watch from a distance, and hold out his hand and whisper to me, "Come over here my beloved. I'm just over here. Listen to this music. Bring your feet back over here. I know you don't know this dance yet. Let me teach you. Don't be afraid, my dear. I love you."

And eventually I would get tired of trying to do it alone and shuffle back over to him and let him lead again. At first, he would let me stand on his feet while he did the dance. But eventually I would learn it. He has always been ever so patient, showing me the steps over and over until I was fluid at it. 

And every time the music would change, throughout all the seasons of my life, He would teach me the new dance. Leading me. Helping me to learn to trust Him. Showing me His Purpose for me. 

And today, I am still seeking. Still learning to dance this new dance. I dont know where it will lead, but I know if I do my part and follow, he will lead me where I need to go. I am learning to love to submit my will to his, and relax in his arms. And as I do, he can make it look effortless. But anyone who dances knows it is not effortless. It looks that way because the partner is so confident in her leader, and they have practiced and exercised and worked in unison for so long that they have become part of one another.

And that is my goal. My purpose. My joy and my greatest Blessing. 

I am my Beloved's, and He is mine.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December Daily Day 5 Praise


Today is the perfect day for this subject. 
Because 12 years ago today I gave birth to our last child, Faith. 
The gift that was the best surprise I've ever gotten.

She was the one that I wasn't planning to have. I was done. But God had other plans. And He knew that I needed her. That the world would need her.

She was born 2 weeks before my 40th birthday. On December 6th, my mom had a proceedure done on her corroded artery which would dislodge some debris that two months later found its way into her brain, causing a major stroke.
 I spent the next month driving myself and my newborn everyday down to visit her in the hospital. And every night crying out to God while cuddling this precious bundle and nursing her to sleep.

And then, as my mom was unable to recover the gift of speech, Faith was there for her to babble with.
She had no expectations. She had never known my mom could talk. Faith was the only person in my moms life that didn't feel sorry for her. That didn't pity her. She just loved her.

And as Faith grew and her ability to speak moved beyond my mom's, their relationship grew even more, because she became my moms defender and translator. There was such a bond between the two of them that Faith could understand my mom's garbled speech and communicate on a level that no one else could.

And now that my mom is with Him, I feel so blessed to have been chosen to be her mom. I worry that I am not good enough. That I won't do this thing right. I have made so many mistakes but God knows she was right for me and I for her.
And you are right for your family. They need you, not me.

Col. 1:15-20 says:
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

I think of the time when I found out I was pregnant. I asked God what in the world he was doing. I was too old to have a baby. My family was complete. 2 girls, 2 boys. But He knew better.
And now, in hind sight, I have been the one blessed.

He created her for Himself, and for me.
The same is true for you. Of you.

You were created for Him. For His good pleasure. The Son, the image of the invisible God, The firstborn over all creation created you. And He holds you together. He knows your weaknesses, and knows just what makes you tick. He knows what will get to your heart, and what will drive you to your knees. He WANTS to be in a deep relationship with YOU.

And if that is not reason to praise, I don't know what is!

So take the verse above and praise Him. Personalize it. Pray it back in gratefulness to Him. Thank him, Love him.
It helps with the waiting to love the one you are waiting for. And it helps to love him when you realize who you are in his plan, and who he is and that is his plan is the only one that will work best.

Love to you all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Daily Day 4 PEACE


Alright, I know.
 I missed yesterday.
 So BONUS!! You get 2 today! A 2 for 1! Now if it were at the Mall on the very thing you needed for a gift, that would be great! You would be rejoicing! But not so sure about this, right?

But I promise, today's installment goes hand in hand with yesterday's. So here goes:

Col. 1:9-12 was yesterdays verse. Guess what? it is today's too! but we are taking it a bit further this time. All the way to verse 14. 
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

So have you asked Him? Have you prayed this for yourself? For your husband? Your family?
Pray the following prayer, filling in the blank with "ME" first. And know that I am praying this for you today as well. Then pray it for whoever God brings to mind. 

 I ask you God, that you will fill _________ with the knowledge of your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit of God gives, so that _______ may life a life worthy of the Lord and please you in every way. That __________ will bear fruit in every good work, and that he/she will grow in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power, according to your glorious might, so that _______ may have (choose to live in) great endurance and patience (heres the waiting part from yesterday). May__________ ever be giving joyful thanks to the Father who has qualified him/her through his son Jesus, to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the Kingdom of Light.
Praise be to you, God that you have RESCUED US from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son You Love. For it is in Him alone that we have our redemption and the forgiveness of sins.

Doesn't that just make your heart sing?? 

Makes me think of the song "Rescuer". 
You're mighty and strong to save.
You're mighty and strong to save.
You're mighty and strong to save.

From the heavens you came, to the depths of the grave
to redeem for your sake,

Oh what a Savior!
Freedom Forever!
We lift our hands with Chains Undone.
Hearts that know mercy cannot keep silent.
We sing the song of Saving Love. 
You're mighty and strong to save.You're mighty and strong to save.
You're mighty and strong to save.

If that doesn't give you peace, I am not sure what will.

So in this crazy season, don't forget who's child you are. 

You represent His name. His Kingdom. You are not from here, so you don't have to live like it.

Love you,

December Daily Day 3 PRAY


Thats a given, right? 
Well yes, and no. 
We Know we ought to pray. 
We Know we want to pray.
We Know we need to pray.
But do we know how to pray?
Do we know what to pray?

And, can I be honest here? Isn't it just a little bit frustrating sometimes when you pray and NOTHING changes? In fact, sometimes you have this wonderful time with God and then your whole world crashes down around your ankles; the kids fight and you loose your temper and tell them to shut up and go away and your husband hurts your feelings and you lash out at him and you get in the longest line at the checkout and...well, you get the picture. I am sure you are smiling here, because it has happened to you. ME TOO.
More often than I would like to admit.

I don't understand the ways of God. OR the ways of our enemy. But I do know something about the why. And when I discovered this, it was surprising to me. God doesn't need us to pray for Him to know our needs. DUH! We don't pray to tell Him what to do, or how to do it. Our prayers are to remind us WHO HE IS. Now, I am sure you all knew that. But it was news to me when I first figured it out. So, if he doesn't need us to remind him of our situation, or tell him who to bless or what to do in this situation or that one, then what in the world do we pray about??? What do we say?

Col. 1:9-13 says: For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you man have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Spiritual Stuff. Physical Stuff. Emotional Stuff. All Stuff. Thats what he wants us to pray about. But lets look a little deeper. 

The disciples had the same problem. They wanted to know how to pray, too. And Jesus gave them the model prayer which is what we call "The Lord's Prayer". We all know it. Our Father, who is in heaven....But what if we really thought about who Jesus was and who he was talking to and his audience for that prayer? 

Here's the thing: Jesus was talking to God the Father. HIS FATHER. And because of Jesus, He is our Father, too. Thats why Jesus says: OUR FATHER. So lets have a sit down with our Father. A conversation. If you look at "The Lords Prayer" as a little conversation (this was AFTER Jesus had just spent some time praying) it looks a little different. And if we read on in Luke 11, we find Jesus telling them to be persistent, almost to the point of being annoying. 

Which brings us back to Paul, who says: we have not stopped praying.....

I think our problem lies in us. WE give up too soon. WE get defeated. WE believe the lies of the enemy. WE think that God is never gonna answer, he is bored hearing from us, and things aren't going to change, so why should I pray. And we complain about things instead of praising God that things are hard, and that he brought those very hard things that drive us crazy into our lives so that they would drive us to our knees and to a relationship with Him who loves us most and can DO something about it!!!

So here is my thimble full of knowledge about prayer: Do it. 


Talk to your Father. Talk to him like you would your girlfriend. AND LISTEN. Really. He does want to speak to us in that "still small voice". Ask him a question and wait. QUIETLY. That voice in your head that answers you? It is not you....its HIM. Did you think he would sound like James Earl Jones? No, silly! He speaks in your heart. And to me, it sounds alot like I am talking to myself. But the ideas and thoughts that come to me are NOT OF ME. I swear. It works. And if I ask and I dont hear, then I look to his word. Cause chances are, the answer is right there in front of me. And if I still get nothing, I wait. Cause sometimes "wait" is the answer I need. So often I rush into things and ruin them by putting my dirty hands in to it. I just want to fix it. NOW!!! But HE DOESNT NEED ME TO FIX IT in my strength. He wants to do it, and better than I could, and he wants me to learn to trust Him and have relationship with Him in "The Waiting."

Waiting. How I hate to wait. But I am learning that there is peace and joy in The Waiting. I am learning to embrace waiting as a friend. As a opportunity to love my Father God in ways I never thought possible....that I only saw in others and desperately wanted in my own life, but didn't know how to get. Now I know. Pain and Waiting. Lots of Waiting. 

So today, as we Wait for Jesus' birthday, what do you need to do to get ready? Not the list of buying gifts, trimming the tree, cooking, baking, crafting.....etc. I mean, what does your heart need? What do you need your Father to do in you today? In your family? Ask. And don't let the enemy steal it. Anticipate it in the Waiting. And Hope in God. Not in the situation ever changing, but in God's ability to do whatever He needs to do. Embrace the Waiting. The Longing. The Resting. 

John 1:16-17 says: From the Fullness of His Grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given throughout Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 

From the Fullness of Grace. And that came through Jesus into you. 

Fully embrace Him and you can walk gracefully, graciously wherever He takes you this season. 

Even in the Mall.

I love you!