Covered, Smoothered and Chopped

Psalm 139
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Do you ever feel like you missed it? Like the right train went by and you were busy, maybe disobedient, maybe distracted but the train is gone and you look around and you life looks nothing like it was supposed to look. Nothing like the fairy tales you dreamt of as a child?

This morning I am trying to remember that God's will and plan for me is probably very different than I ever envisioned for myself. That my little girl dreams were just that...little girl dreams. If I were honest, I'd tell you that in my little girl visions of myself I was never a homeschool mom, I wasn't a bookkeeper, I wasn't struggling. My life just didn't turn out the way that I imagined that it would. Of course white horses and knights...well that part is close....but the ivory tower from which I look out isn't what I imagined at all.

I have a proclivity for the beach. I always pictured this large white house on the beach, with a crow's nest office. Miles of ocean before me as I poured my heart out on a keyboard. Windows open, in my little studio office. Flowing in white cotton, and with bare feet tucked up underneath myself. Coffee at my side. Even sitting here I can smell the salt in the air and feel the cool breeze. So how did I get from there to a table for 8, in a ranch style home, in the mountains? It has to be God, it has to be his will for me. I guess this morning I am just struggling to get it all to come together and to understand how you look up at 35 years into your life and wonder how you got here. Almost like I have been asleep for a while and you sit up in a panic wondering where you are.

I told Ande this morning, it's not that I don't like my life. I am very content with my life. I do feel a bit caged, I feel a bit smothered but not in a bad way. Hence Psalm 139...the verse that reminds me....You hem me in...for my own protection. As if I were a bird that got caught up in a storm and got put into a cage to be nursed back to health. God has hemmed me in to nurse me back to health so that when he allows me to fly that I will be healthy and whole. I will be able to stay on course...then my mind wonders...what if this is it? What if I spend the rest of my life sitting here on this perch looking out and watching others? If that is God's will for me...I will accept it. I will say "Yes, Sir". I just feel this great since of mourning. This great and deep sense of letting that little girl down, and almost as if she is dying. I have a little girl of my own now...she has her own dreams. She has her own plans for her life. God I implore you to allow me to set her up to chase those dreams, head first into the wind.

Father, I come to you this morning. I don't know what to do with these feelings, I don't know if they are an indicator, or if I am just having a pity party. Lord, only you can search me and know the truth. I have nothing to offer but myself. Lord, teach me to open my hands and allow you to take all that I hold on to so dearly. I have chosen to follow you, you didn't tell me what it would look like, but You didn't show Abraham, you didn't show the Apostles, it takes a blind faith, a sense of allowing whatever you choose in order to be submitted. I understand that...I am just realizing...what it costs to follow you. Peter dreamt of being a fisherman, Paul dreamt of being a Pharisee, Abraham dreamt of being a childless man. Lord, let me will be willing to submit to your will. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


Outrageous Love...

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Psalm 85:10

Monday was my precious little girls birthday, she turned nine. After the hustle and bustle of the day, the barage of kids and company, parades and barbeque I found myself laying with her on her new trampoline in the yard looking up at the sky. These are the moments that I find precious...when I can still be her superhero and that there is no one around but her an I. She shares so much in those moments...her thoughts of the events of the day. Her hurts, her fears, her likes and dislikes. She scooched close to me and just laid her head on me as we laid there and looked up at the sky. In the craziness of the day, I hadn't spent much time with her, she was entertaining her friends and I was busy making preparations for her and her guests. I covet those moments when she seeks me and asks to spend time with me. When the world slows down long enough for us to watch the clouds go by.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5

The thought came to me, God waits for me in much the same way. Always watching, laughing when he sees me laugh, coming in close to hear my voice, but not interupting. I don't always take the time to spend with Him yet he is always here making preparations for me. Orchastrating what is going on around me...lovingly keeping an eye and an ear on me...despite how many are here.

Lord, I thank for you being here with me. Even as I am busy, and not engaging with you, I know that you are here, providing for me, loving me and taking care of me. Your outrageous omnipresent love...there are just no words. Bless you Father, I love you...and I look forward to laying my head on your and watching the clouds...TODAY. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.


Safe in His Arms

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”- Ecclesiastes 11:5

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5


Beauty from this Pain

Psalm 86 The Message
Bend an ear, God; answer me. I'm one miserable wretch! Keep me safe—haven't I lived a good life? Help your servant—I'm depending on you! You're my God; have mercy on me. I count on you from morning to night. Give your servant a happy life; I put myself in your hands! You're well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Pay attention, God, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I'm in trouble I call on you, confident that you'll answer. There's no one quite like you among the gods, O Lord, and nothing to compare with your works. All the nations you made are on their way, ready to give honor to you, O Lord, Ready to put your beauty on display, parading your greatness, And the great things you do— God, you're the one, there's no one but you! Train me, God, to walk straight; then I'll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord; I've never kept secret what you're up to. You've always been great toward me—what love! You snatched me from the brink of disaster! God, these bullies have reared their heads! A gang of thugs is after me— and they don't care a thing about you. But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit. So look me in the eye and show kindness, give your servant the strength to go on, save your dear, dear child! Make a show of how much you love me so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed, As you, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet.

The Lord is so full of love, our Pastor this weekend was teaching on perspective and I really know that perspective can make or break a situation. Right now to look at my reality...which is so different from the truth...you would think that God's hand is not with me. However, I know that He is here. I know that He loves me enough everyday to grow me up.

Over the last few months the Lord has been teaching me what I have used as crutches to help me on my road to spiritual growth. The rituals, the safety nets, the people. He is walking me through a season right now, that feels very familiar. This time though I want to hear his voice all the way through the storm. This time I want His opinion. This time I don't want to lean to my own understanding. I don't want to pacify myself. Oh I do beleive me, I want to cry, I want to whine I want the whole world to know of my hurt. God is developing a heart of David within me. He has me in the refiners fire and is moment by moment cleansing me.

I know that I am not the only one feeling the heat of His fire. I know that I have friends that also are walking in these places. I have sisters in the faith, brothers in the faith that are also struggling to move forward. It's constant prayer, it's asking for help, it's being honest that is going to get my family through this time. Laying down our pride, and crying out for help, to the God who knows where we are, who knows our needs, who knows our anxieties, our thoughts, who can feel our depression and our fear.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Right now all I have is my faith and my trust in the Lord. There is no comfort that my husband, my children, my family, my friends can provide. There is very little than any can do but God Himself. Shopping, anti anxiety meds, anti depressants, vacations, the things that have worked for me in the past aren't options now. This is a minute by minute sacrifice and burning of self that God is requiring. It seems that I have been here for the last few months, all of it seems like stepping stones, like one leads to another. I am reminded of a dream I had at my Women's Encounter in February. I was walking along a wooded path and along the way the Lord was handing me wrapped packages...gifts. I feel like that is what I am doing every day. Walking this path...Walking in His Ways....and as I get to a certain point there is an exchange. I give up another part of my flesh, another god, another crutch and as I do that, the Lord hands me something more beautiful, something that brings more peace, something that more than restores the whole left.

The pain comes from not wanting to do the transaction. The pain comes from holding on to what God is trying to pry out of my fingers. I remember doing that with my middle son, buying him a new blanket to replace his crib quilt that he carried for 9 years. It took some time, it was his night night, he had slept with it every night of his life. It took some conversation, but he had to be willing to give it up to get the new, big boy blanket. That is what God is doing to me right now. He is taking something that has been my comfort, that others have used to define me, we used to laughingly call my son Linus, and has a more mature version to give me.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Lord, I need you, you are here. I know that you are. Lord, give me grace through this season. Lord, I pray for my children, heal their hearts Lord. Heal my heart, and his Lord. Lord I pray for my family this morning. Lord, I know your hand, I know your love, I pray for them this morning that you would encourage them and cover them with your love this morning. I cling to you Lord. I cling to you with everything that I have. Lord, it hurts, Daddy I am scared, I am anxious, but Lord I bring those emotions to you and say that I trust you. There is nothing else that I can do. I continue to walk this path. I praise you, I love you and I give you my life and my family. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


Take Take Take it ALL!

"Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. " Job 22:21-28

I am doing a bible study on healthy eating and this was one of the verses this morning. I though well God, there ya go. That's what you are saying to me again and again. It seems so simple. The love of God right now is amazing to me and I am just enjoying the sweetness of his presence. This verse this morning was just more confirmation of what God is calling my family to do.

Submit and be at peace. Don't submit and be in chaos. Submit and accept it as a gift, no matter how painful it is, God doesn't bring the pain, but he can use that pain to bring beauty into our lives. Prosperity...we always think money. I want to be prosperous in the Word of God. I want to be prosperous in His blessings and his teachings for me. Material is of no value in His kingdom, not that he wants to be without or to suffer from lack, but he feeds the birds without need of huge homes, he can do it with out depleteing the earth of it's resources. He wants to do the same for us.

Psalm 81:10-12" I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. "But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices."

Wow, God's word is so simple sometimes. You can listen and submit to my words or I will let you be stubborn and do it the hard way. Yeah, I think I have walked that way a few times that God gave me over to myself. Wasn't pretty.

There are a lot of "If/Then"s in this passage...God wants us to wait in anticipation. Like all of creation waits on tiptoe (Romans 8:18) for God's purpose to be fulfilled in us. We need to line up with the rest of creation and find our place of anticipated acceptance of God's provision. Like a little bird with out mouths open waiting for the food. If we will submit, listen, put aside our flesh's desire to self-satisfy THEN, then, then....He will fill us so full that we overflow. THEN we can impact the lives of others. When we allow Him to fill our needs...THEN, there is plenty to go around.

The rest of that chapter of Job verses 29-30 says, "When men are brought low and you say, 'Lift them up!' then he will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands."

Hallelujah! Or modernly translated...Woot! Woot!

Lord, I willingly submit and open my mouth to receive what you have for me. I accept your instruction and I tattoo your words on my heart. Lord, thank you for your provision. Thank you for your pain as you sacrificed your Son and again for your pain as you wait for our lightbulbs to go on. Lord, I know that you live a life of expectancy and not a life of expectations. Lord, today I choose to lay down my expectations and live a life of expectancy in you. In my life Lord be glorified. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


Humble Thyself

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”- 2 Chronicles 7:14

Sometimes turning from your wicked ways can be quite humbling. The Lord has been working on my husband and I to truly get out of a financial state of bondage. Through our healings and our own personal deliverances the Lord has made it abundantly clear that it is time to clear out the clutter and to SIMPLIFY. I have been hearing the word simplify for a while now. What exactly does that look like for us…well it will be quite humbling. Really in all reality it will probably be one of the largest acts of “humble thyself” that I have ever experienced.

Exodus 10:3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, "This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me.

Over the last few weeks the Lord has really been speaking to my husband and I about where we are right now. He told my husband that we are free but that it’s time to get on the road to the promise land. We have lived in Egypt for a long time. We have to stay in the wilderness long enough for all of the Egypt to die in us. We are walking that out right now. If you ever want to freak people out tell them that you are selling everything that isn’t practical or heirloom, and moving out of your house into a single wide trailer. Our parents freaked out, my spiritual momma asked a few questions that led to me to believe that she wanted to make sure this was a move of God on us. What we can see though is different than what everyone else can see.

We are building a log home 25 miles into the country. Right now that represents the Promise Land in our lives. Not that it is our promised land but it represents it in my eyes. Here in this house we have been comfortable living for ourselves being slaves to strife, slaves to build our own castles in the sand. God found us in this house, which to me just proves that God is too cool because this house previously was a parsonage. He already lived here when we moved in. God has met us right here and said…I love you, he has begun the clean up process and now it’s up to us to take the steps to get to the Promised Land. So we are free from Egypt, we can feel the freedom. However, there are still some things that tie us to where we come from and that is what has to go as well. It’s just stuff - a ton of stuff that we have held onto to define ourselves as successful. The Lord is telling us minute by minute how he defines us now. The cool thing is that it has nothing to do with our stuff.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Lord, I walk into this season with my faith in you. I love how you work everything in building blocks…how everything is a process with you. Lord, if I would have had to do this with my shame still living in me I would never have made it. Lord, this seems to be such a natural decision, like such a peaceful sweet time of walking along with you. I love you, I worship you, and I thank you for the work that you are doing in my family. Oh how sweet your presence is, Lord, I thank you for the revival…for the revival that you have started in my home. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


Mighty Man of God

But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. ~1 Corinthians 7:2-4

My husband and I met when we were young. We were both 21 and we knew it all. I had dated for years and had just come out of a long term relationship when I met him. We met and married within 4 weeks. Somehow I knew that this dreamer was going somewhere. I had a faith in him that was really idolotry now that I look back. My husband is the smartest person by far that I have ever met. (He married me didn't he? LOL) Though seriously I do mean that. He is a thinker and a doer. He is motivated soley by family. There is no drive to be rich...but there is motivation to provide for us.

This morning I was watching out the window as he loaded ladders on his truck, and I was struck with such a grief. His heart as a child and what he went to college for originally was to be a pilot. He has 20/20 vision, he has the aptitude (he aced the ASVAB twice), and he was not too tall. Somewhere along the line though the vision got tarnished, he opted to join the military, met me and now 14 years later here we are. Over the years he has floundered to find his way. He has over 100 credit hours of college in 7 different majors, starting from aeronautical engineering, ending with Construction Management because he decided to go practical instead of over the top. He is a math junkie...my children have picked up on that. They are all exceptional at math.

But this morning, as I watched out the window, as I watched him effortlessly load his truck, and hook up to his trailer I was hit with - He does this for you. God has really been so extravagant to reveal to me his love lately. This morning he gave me eyes to see my husband in a whole new light. I married a man who doesn't like me to work outside of the home. I have worked off and on as we have needed me to over the years - and I have been offered some great positions but it was always to him just a way to make it through a season. He likes me to be here at home, raising the kids, taking care of his castle while he goes out and slays the dragons. Sometimes in my own selfish ambition I want to run and do something that gets me accolades...he is always supportive in my need and will encourage me to run.

The place that I feel the safest is in his arms. I run to that place many times during the day and over the years he has learned to stop for that time and just stand there. It used to make him crazy but as I have been able to articulate that need he has been better to just be patient with me. There are things that make him feel honored that some would find utterly senseless. There is very rarely a time that my husband wakes up and gets out of the bed that I lag behind. Maybe twice a year and one of them would be the 3:45 wake up for the annual men only fishing trip.

We have learned to take moments when we can. Like Starbucks in the rain, or a materials run to Lowe's in the evening. We have three kids and we are involved in our church, our community, our own hobbies. Our yoke of marriage at this season is light. It seems to be such a natural response. We have finally figured out that we are on the same team. We have both learned to run to Papa for our needs, and how to come to each other full. We have learned to pray for and with one another. I don't "need" him. I love him and I want him, but my husband is not my source - for anything. I have released him from the altar that I placed him on when we got married. The pressure that he must have felt to live up to my expectations...has he ever let me down...you betcha...will he ever do it again...you betcha. But knowing that God is my source, that God is my provider and the Lover of my Soul allows me to let my husband be a mere mortal.

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
~Psalm 103:1-5

Lord, I thank you for him. The second greatest gift you ever gave me after your Son. Thank you Lord for teaching me to seek you first. Lord, thank you for drying every tear I have ever shed about my marriage. Thank you for hearing the desires of my heart and give him to me again Father. Thank you for openning my eyes this morning Father and renewing such a deep love and respect for him. I thank you for his heart...I thank you for being the father to my children. There is no other that I would ever want to fill that role. Thank you for being the Papa that loves to pour out His love...I choose to receive your love. I choose to see it all around me. Thank you. I love you...in Jesus' name. Amen