Tuesday, October 25, 2011

[PLEASE] steady my heart

JEHOVAH knew what I needed today. HOLYSPIRIT led me to this video, to this song. that's why i'm posting it.

my life is messy. it is not easy. and pain is a part of it. we are all the same in that sense.

but right perspective is a part of His plan. today, [this] was YAHWEH righting my perspective. and when i see differently, when my eyes are drawn off of me and rightly focused on Him, i am changed.

steady my heart [kari jobe]

wish it could be easy
why is life so messy
why is pain a part of us
there are days i feel like
nothing ever goes right
sometimes it just hurts so much

but you're here
you're real
i know i can trust you

even when it hurts
even when it's hard
even when it all just falls apart
i will run to you
cuz i know that you are
lover of my soul
healer of my scars
you steady my heart
you steady my heart

i'm not gonna worry
i know that you've got me
right inside the palm of your hand
each and every moment
what's good and what gets broken
happens just the way you planned

you are here…

... you steady my heart

and i will run to find refuge in your arms
and i will sing too cuz of everything you are

you steady my heart

even when it hurts...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Am I Willing?

"This line soaked deep into me. It made me wonder how many moments we experience on a day-to-day basis are arranged by God - for us - for our refreshment and strengthening. How many do we miss? Surely He is bigger than just one interaction. We praise Him for the one. But if we were willing, would we be more overwhelmed by His care for us than our concerns?" [coli jones]
One comment to what was already written stirs a continuation of thought. Causes me to pause and ponder.

If we were habitually obedient to write for the naked eye what HolySpirit purposes to write on the flesh of our hearts, how would our sight be refocused and refined? How much more would we find ourselves in the state of partnering with the Source of Inspiration to inspire the same in others?

... if we were willing - not just to see - but to ask to be shown.

And then He stirs again. "Define. Wholly understand. Don't assume you've mastered the words I chose to whisper. Knowing will both help you recognize their worth and affect your appreciation of the 'why' behind them."

Inspire: to affect, guide or arouse by divine influence.
Habit: a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition; an established disposition (tendency) of the mind or character.
Obey: to fulfill or carry out the command, order or instruction of.
(re)Focus: a condition in which something can be clearly seen … (re) again.
Refine: to reduce to a pure state; purify.

Can you see it? The common thread woven from the first word to the last? [divine influence. unconscious pattern. fulfill. see clearly. purify.]

Not everyone would define themselves a writer; one who writes. A lover of the written word, both to take in and pour out. I write because I listen with my fingers. But don't allow the verb to trip you up. Communication into us and out of us is the focal point; not the specific way in which it is expressed. 

HolySpirit chose 'write' for me because words are, to me, like the time signature to the composer; the empty canvas to the painter; the lens to the photographer; the musical key to the singer. 

Too artsy? 

How about the baseball grip to the pitcher? The syllabus to the teacher? The soil to the gardener? The fabric to the designer? The wood to the carpenter? 

The verb is the action of what we do naturally. The way in which we see. The language used to inspire and drive and compel. The essence of desire. The push and pull of purpose. The beginning of vision and the motivation of fruition.

It is how we communicate because it is the way in which communication was first spoken into us, creating who we are and the way we see, hear, feel, touch and sense. 

"How many moments ... do we miss?", she wonders. I wonder, too. 

Maybe the real question is: Am I willing?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Casting Cares

This blog showed up in my email inbox just as I was beginning to seriously feel completely overwhelmed by too much life, too many circumstances, and too many decisions ... all pouring in within the past five days. Coincidence? I don't believe in coincidence.

The moment we are able to finally let go and let God work is one of the most liberating and peaceful moments we will ever find ourselves in.
Today as I opened my inbox, and looked at the number of questions and issues that I had to deal with, I seriously had a moment where I thought, "This is all too overwhelming, too demanding, too time consuming, and altogether too much."
Then I breathed and remembered that God was not waiting on me to do, decide, or handle it all; He wanted me to trust Him in the midst of it all. For when I am weak, He is strong, and when I am at the end of myself, I can totally lean into, trust, and rely on Him. When I don't know what to do HE DOES. When my heart is overwhelmed I am led to the rock that is Higher than I. This isn't a nice theory, but is an available reality to us all.
We can know in our heads that we can cast our care on Him for He cares for us, or we can allow it to permeate the very fabric of our being and actually believe it in our hearts...and then do it.
So today I have decided to practice what I preach and "cast my care." And you know what? I now feel that I can face any giant and scale any wall. It is not because anything externally has changed, but because I have chosen to lift my gaze off my circumstances and inadequacies and instead to "fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." He has our back.
Try casting your cares on Him today, for He does care for you. [Christine Caine]
It's God. Knocking on my heart. Reminding me that He knows, in the midst of when the whole of who I am is beginning to feel the weight of everything.

Casting the [c]whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, [d]once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you [e]watchfully.(B)
    8Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[f]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
    9Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset--rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same ([g]identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.
    10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.
    11To Him be the dominion (power, authority, rule) forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
1 Peter 5:7-11

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Strong Enough

Strong Enough [Matthew West]
You must, You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me, forgive if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up, I'm not strong enough

Hands of mercy won't You cover me?
Lord, right now, I'm asking You to be
Strong enough, strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe, maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
'Cause when I'm finally, finally at rock bottom
That's when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up, I'm not strong enough

Hands of mercy won't You cover me?
Lord, right now, I'm asking You to be
Strong enough, strong enough

'Cause I'm broken down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God and You are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be strong enough

Psalm 28:6-9 [Mixture of The Message and New Living Translations]
Blessed be GOD-he heard me praying.
He proved he's on my side;
The Lord is my strength and shield
I trust him with all my heart.
I've thrown my lot in with him.
Now I'm jumping for joy,
and shouting and singing my thanks to him.

GOD is all strength for his people,
ample refuge for his anointed king;
Save your people and bless your heritage.
Lead them like a shepherd;
And carry them in your arms forever.

Monday, October 10, 2011

And Speak HE Has!

There was no way for me to know it. How HolySpirit was writing through me the very thing He knew I would need to cling to just nine days later. He knew the challenge that was just up ahead and provided a word to show me then, and remind me now, that 'God knows'.
"With arms open, wider than they were before, because space taught me something. That [this space] should always only be temporary, never permanent. And that arms were never created with the intent to push away out of rejection or misunderstanding but to take in and speak love without words."
And so, with a desire in full bloom to understand, to find the purpose, to heal all hearts involved, but especially just to be filled with enough courage for today, I asked God to speak [a] word to me. To remind me that He's got this; because even though my faith is strong, I don't ever claim to be so full that I don't have room for more.

And speak He has!

Here's everything He has spoken to me since last night, not even a full day ago. I purposely did not include the individuals' names from which these words came as I believe it's more important to recognize TheSource, HolySpirit, as the giver of LifeWords.

[If you recognize your tweet or text or spoken word here, know that I received it and that I know your name and have already prayed blessing over you for being a vessel used by God.]

"A single seed can grow a tree. There is an identifiable root to all of this. That one lie, welcomed in, dwelt on, invited to consume, can cause brokenness that cannot be measured. That one seed has been allowed to grow into a [fruitful] tree. It's being tended to. Watered. If this can be shown, can be stopped, there will be freedom to become free."

"Fear is unbelief. Know that God can work anything out for those who Love the Lord! He's got it under control."

"Once something is exposed, it loses its strength."

"Once the Lord gives you a Word, a Promise ... stand firm on it! And don't move."

"Flesh and spirit are at war. Until this is fully grasped, a very divided human will be seen. Like two people. Revelation needs to come that the two are connected, and that the spirit controls the flesh."

"When we allow God to be our defense, we have all of the resources of heaven at our disposal."

"How can we claim we have forgiven someone and yet not make allowances for that person's imperfections in our lives? How can love ever be expressed by making a choice to do what is best for "me" in a situation over someone else's needs?"

"Many times in life, when someone commits an offense against us, it is because they don't know what they are doing. I do not mean that they are not aware of their actions, but they might be in a different place in their own understanding of love."

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

"Don't quit. This is your part in the Christian life. Growth and victory are assured if you will not give up."

"One drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps to give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act."

I know that God's Word is the only word that can multiply because most of the above words were not written or spoken with 'me' in mind. Well, except in God's.

I asked Him for [a] Word today, and He gave me "more than I [had] asked for or imagined". (Ephesians 3:20) He just continued pouring out little droplets of HolySpirit encouragement and wisdom.

If you need a Word today, feel free to borrow one of mine. :) Or just ask God for a fresh one just for you. There is no shortage of words in heaven!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wilderness, Work and Water

Tonight, after Anthony and I unexpectedly found ourselves pulled into an unexpected situation involving a family member, I sat down in my living room to decompress. My house is quiet. All beds are filled with their familiar nighttime guests, except for mine. While my body is tired from the emotions surrounding the evening, my mind and heart need ... something.

A welcoming warmth is radiating from my log-filled fireplace, while orange flickering flames softly light the living space boundaries hemmed in by caramel colored, corduroy couches. Much needed rain is still falling outside. Has been for most of the day.

Opening my laptop, I catch up on the latest 140 character thoughts published since my last check of Twitter hours prior. I think about blogging. "What's the purpose in blogging about this?", I purposely ask myself, not from a negative point of view but from one that is seeking. Seeking purpose.

Instead of launching into writing, I peruse the list of writers on the right side of the screen. Writers that have this way of moving my heart, or inspiring me, or tweaking my perspective. Perspective is what I got tonight. Much needed perspective. Confirmation really.

"I truly don't know what tomorrow will bring, but God has moved me to a place of faith for the miraculous like I have never known." Connie Swain

These are the words I couldn't quite see holding onto the tip of my tongue as I tried to describe to a friend the sense of calm in the midst of our storm as I thanked her for covering us in prayer. But when I read this statement that followed a testimony of multiple physical miracles for another friend's husband, I knew that the same words HolySpirit wrote on her heart to infuse faith into her unknown tomorrows were also multiplying the faith God had already imparted to mine. God's Words multi-task. I love that about Him.

And as I write, I am again reminded by HolySpirit of God's Promise spoken over our 2011.

Forget about the past. Can't you see? Be alert. Be present. I am doing something new! I'm making a road through the wilderness. And rivers in the desert.

New doesn't always come easy. That's not part of the promise. Making a road requires work. And the wilderness isn't the easiest place to live or from where to forge a new beginning. But He did promise 'rivers in the desert'.

The wilderness and the work will be accompanied by the Water.

The current work in this wilderness could take a day, a week, or months. But with life-giving water--rivers of it--promised, my heart is at peaceful rest ... like Jesus' was in the midst of the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

I rest because I know that God knows. And with one word, winds can be halted ... and hearts can be healed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keep Walking

Six weeks ago I did something out of pure obedience to God's calling: I signed up for a year-long commitment to attend the Titus 2 Women's Group at Gateway. This comment on a friend's blog post gives a glimpse into the reason why I use the term 'pure obedience'.

Three weeks ago I attended my first gathering. I entered somewhat anxious and a bit overwhelmed, hoping that my you-can-do-this smile belied the faster-than-normal beat of my heart. Ninety minutes later, I more than breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it through my first meeting without prematurely bolting; I gave God a mental high five for loving me enough to encourage me [fill me with enough courage] to step out of my comfort zone (my home) and take the first step into our next season together. A season of unknown challenges and growth opportunities that I've never been fearless enough to say 'yes' to in the past; a step closer to living out my destiny and purpose and calling that God has in addition to being a wife, mom and home school teacher. 

And you know what? I walked away from that first meeting excited--pumped even--for what God has in store.  

Two weeks ago, as I got ready for my second Titus2 Thursday morning, that all too familiar voice began whispering: Are you sure about this? What if you're the only one there sitting alone? What if you're assigned to a small group that doesn't work for you? What if...? 

I'm really beginning to develop a nasty distaste for that question--when presented in the negative, of course. It will always remain a part of my favorite Freedom question, "What if it's not?".

Instead of listening further, I shut my ears to fear and doubt and opened my mouth to God declaring my trust and belief over His purposes for this new season. I spoke His truth, even though I hadn't walked it out yet; even if it came strictly from that place in my 'knower' that had faith in Him and His plans to prosper me and not harm me, to give me a future and a hope.

And then He reminds me of a portion of my 2011 Scripture Passage:

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it?" Isaiah 43:18-19

And you know what? Fear and doubt were replaced by an overwhelming peace and a renewed excitement; and a deeper understanding that the only reason I'm being whispered to is because while the enemy doesn't know those plans of God's, his sole desire is to keep me from them no matter what they are. NO MORE, I declare!

Titus 2 is not just about obedience, a new season and destiny, it's just as much about healing. Healing that place in me that fears fellowship with women. That fears stepping out. That fears achieving as much as failing. God is up to something big and daily He's filling me with the courage to say 'yes'.

Today I read a blog by Christine Caine that encouraged me in this daily journey: "Healing is a [daily] process." 

And then HolySpirit whispers: So is Destiny. Keep Walking!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Story Continued

There are seemingly random moments when I am drawn backwards through my days and thoughts and feelings and rantings preserved here. In black and white. For my memories. For your indulgence. That word indulgence chosen with the best of intentions. With sincerity, not sarcasm.

Today is one of those seemingly random days where my past called out to me and I went looking for its voice. I found it. It's in all of these writings. But one in particular caught my eye this morning. Made me realize that the reason HolySpirit draws me back is so I can update a story still unfolding. No story is ever complete. Is it?

Four months ago I lamented about change. Change that made my heart gasp. Out of fear. Out of hurt. Out of not understanding. Out of the unexpected and unprepared. It made my fingers feel like they weren't strong enough to hold on. Made my heart wonder if I really had followed HisVoice. If I'd heard correctly or just listened long enough. Long enough to assume what I thought I needed and then run off to do what I thought best.

These are the words that were gripping my heart on that day:

"Too many questions swirling around. Not enough answers."

And life went on.

This same change lament stirred my heart a month later. So I did then what I'm doing today. I unfolded the story as it stood on that day. These are the words that HolySpirit spoke to me--helping to move me forward on that month-later-day; words that stirred hope from what I didn't understand when I lamented:

"Love cannot be forced, it must be chosen.
And a heart is not yours simply because it lives with you
or shares your name
or even has history attached to you.
A heart is won through pursuit and wooing."

And now.

Six weeks have just been marked off the calendar. Of high school classes taught from a building, not my home. Of lunches packed the night before, instead of when his belly stirs, usually around noon. Of  student cafeterias instead of our kitchen table. Of morning alarms and commutes to and from. Of flexible days replaced by bell schedules. Of daily discipline unknown or imagined. Of physical discipline that is building a man; building strength, power and character. Of the foundation that is built for the sport he loves not on the field with bat and ball but in the gym, through sweat and circuits. And of adaptation to a lifestyle that was foreign and even scary. For both of us. Of him stepping out and me letting go. Of listening to my 'knower' and obeying what God had called us to. And then having the courage to say 'yes'. Yes is really all that's required when God calls. I usually find it's the hardest part.

And now.

Four months have ticked by for her and for us. God spoke space. At least I believed He did then. I still do believe that now. Sometimes space is what God needs so we'll get out of His way. Stop trying to control what He wants to change. And change has happened. Somewhere along the way change happened. Smiles have replaced frowns. Light has swallowed up darkness. Hugs abound. Fingers reach out to hold mine. A glance is given and not missed. I see change even though I don't fully understand how it happened. But do we ever really understand the metamorphosis that takes place in that cocoon when an unseemly caterpillar goes into hibernation only to emerge a beautifully exquisite butterfly?

I want to believe that God works when we are willing to temporarily let go. I'm watching. I'm listening. I'm asking. Doubt wants to speak--wants me to listen to [him] instead of believe in HIM.

But I see change. And that is what I'm choosing to nurture. With eyes wide open, not from fear, but from the understanding that He gave them to me so I could watch, and see. With ears attuned not by a desire to catch untruth but to listen to a heart and help lead it, always loving it. With arms open, wider than they were before, because space taught me something. That it should always only be temporary, never permanent. And that arms were never created with the intent to push away out of rejection or misunderstanding but to take in and speak love without words.

And so, for now, this is a story continued.

And I am confident of this, that He who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.  [Phillipians 1:6]