Photo Voltaic

Photo Voltaic
Photo Voltaic

Flickr: Toga Wanderings

The other day, we were driving into town for dinner and a movie, as a family. As we drove, my Chris asked Tabor to tell me about the field of solar panels on the side of the road.

Now let me tell you, Tabor is 8 and Tabor is SMART.  In fact, he is an unusual and peculiar little fellow. He makes an impact on everyone he meets.  They instantly love him!  And he is quotable and quirky….like the time when he was 5 and tried to engage in conversation with some Hispanic fellows.  All he knew to say was “Hola!” and “Azul!”  So he proceeded to communicate with those two words–over and over.  Thank you very much, Dora the Explorer. Hello Blue!

Tabor began to tell me in his dramatic, Linus-like tone, about the solar panels.  He said, “Those are Pho-to Vol-ta-ic, which means they are light turning into electricity.  They live facing the sun, wherever the sun is in the sky.”

I immediately responded, “Tabor, that is a GOOD WORD!  We, too, as believers in Jesus must live facing the SON.  That is how we get energized for all that we will face every single day.”

No matter where you are today, live facing the Son.  He will make all the difference in a day, in a life.  We can be photo voltaic, too.

Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him.”  Mark 9:7

Living before the Son,

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A Long Leash

A Long Leash

And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,  knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.  And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind. 2 Peter 1:13-15

I went to the memorial service for a friend of mine, who died in a car accident. She was young and we were all so shocked that she could possibly be gone. One man spoke at her memorial about the day she died, and how he had rushed to their home to see what he could do for her husband and son. He described opening the front door and seeing her home left so beautifully in order. He started to enter when he said in his mind he could hear her lilting soft voice asking, “Would you mind taking off your shoes?” Then he made us laugh through our tears by saying, “She has a really long leash.” In other words, he could still sense her influence even from heaven.

The Apostle Peter knew that his laying aside of his earthly body was imminent. He wanted to be diligent that at any time after his departure that those he loved would be able to call certain things to mind. So Peter kept repeating himself and emphasizing what he wanted them to remember. You know how it goes…people are talking and someone would say, “Well, Peter always said….”

It really has caused me to think what I want to leave behind, the long leash of influence, if you will. Aunt Carol, mom, grandmother, my friend, always said…. I have a firstborn granddaughter who tends to be a worrier. I hope every time she has a worrying thought she hears my voice saying, “Caitlin, let’s pray and cast that care on the Lord, because He really cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 One woman’s influence over me was Corrie Ten Boom who said,

 “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other side as well. We live in a fallen world.  Some of us have been tethered to someone ,who is gone, by negative words spoken to or over us. Those words that hinder or condemn us we need to allow the Spirit and word of the Living God to break off of us. Don’t allow their negative influence to keep impacting you.

Let’s ask the Lord for words “fitly spoken.” Proverbs 25:11 We don’t want to  leave behind clichés, but a strong, intentional, and godly influence that will last beyond our life.

I think it would be really helpful if you would post Scriptures, positive words or sayings that others have sowed into your life that have endured to encourage and strengthened you. Who has had a long leash in your life?

Lord  thank you for giving us the tongue of them that are taught, that we may know how to sustain with words those who are  weary. Help us to speak with love, encouragement and warning to influence those we love. Help us to be intentional. Isaiah 50:4


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This Moment

This Moment

My wild kittens wait for me to catch up to them and then they race forward again.  It’s a game they play, teasing me, making me think they will one day let me stroke their black fur.  Their mother, who does sometimes allow my attention, stays a little closer to my steps during my evening walk through the fields, yet the draw of the wooden fence posts are too much for her and she jumps to the tops of almost every one of them.  As I pass by her perch, she jumps down and runs forward to the next, climbing high.  The honk of geese encouraging each other to the pond I just walked past makes me turn back, to see them fly across a golden sky.

I see my gift.  I stop and take it all in.

My cat, black as night, sets atop a post, almost a head taller than me.  She looks down at me and I look past her, to the sliver of the moon, with a star and a tiny planet keeping it company as the sun slips further away, casting streaks of fiery colors across the night sky.

This Moment

(Photo credit: Luis Argerick)

I wish I had my camera.  It would have made a perfect shot.  But I walked out into the evening without my cell phone or camera.

Many times, I’ve seen things and wanted to capture it, possibly to remember the event later or to share on my blog or Facebook. I fumble for my camera, only to be disappointed that I missed the moment or that my camera’s limited capabilities can’t truly capture the beauty that God is showing me.  The moment is gone.

As I stood there tonight watching the moon, my cats, and listening to the night’s song, I thought about what God was giving me.

Very clearly I heard Him say, “This is just for you, this moment, this view, this experience.  Don’t worry about trying to capture it for later, it’s for right now, enjoy it.”

Be still and know that I am God….Psalm 46:10

So often we race through an experience, thinking of how we will word the Facebook or Twitter update.  How can you describe this moment in 160 characters or less?  If more words are needed, we consider doing a blog post.  We want others to experience what we did.  We want them to be just as moved as we were by the moment.

Yet God speaks to individuals differently.  How He speaks to me will be different than how He speaks to you.  What moves me to a closer walk or awareness of Him may not have the same effect on you.  We need to understand that, accept that some moments are just for us, no one else.

So stop, if not physically then mentally, spiritually, and know Him.  Experience fully the gift He is giving you.  Listen to His voice and close out all distractions and thoughts of who you want to tell about what just happened.  Let His wings wrap around you in a heavenly hug.

This moment was meant just for you.  Savor it!

As I walked back to my house, the frogs were singing loudly and the kittens were tired.  They would still run ahead, but this time they would stretch out on the dirt path and catch their breath.  I almost got to pat one, but he found his second wind and leaped away.  The lights from the house were a glowing welcome, but when I stepped inside, I missed the cool of the evening.

I went on through the house and headed to the front porch and the swing.  The sun was nearly gone and the Milky Way was starting to appear.  I thought about this post and finally God allowed me to form the words to share some of what I was given with you, but only as a reminder to you.

Be still and know Him.  Accept His gifts, those beautiful moments that just WOW you, as something for only you, the child He loves.

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Lots of Good Things are Just More Things

Lots of Good Things are Just More Things

Lots of Good Things are Just More ThingsSo it has been a couple of days into my fast from social media, and just as I expected, God is using a highlighter, bold print and italics everywhere to make a statement to me.

Clarity is the nature of fasting.  If you have never before fasted, I challenge you to consider it. There is nothing like removing the things we rely upon and exchanging those experiences for reliance on the Lord to gain perspective–insight even–into what has been turning our wheels.

Thematic in purpose, the statements I am hearing at a heart-level from God all amount to the same point. For all the striving I have done in the past couple of years through various venues, the outcome is the same…it falls short of God’s best for me and my family.  It is not His heart for me.

They are all lots of GOOD things, sure.  But in effect, they are just MORE things that amount to NOTHING–nothing that will last.

Down the road, they are like tumbleweeds blowing across the field. Perhaps someone will spray paint it white for a snowman centerpiece on their dining room table. But they will never grasp what its original intent was in my hands nor will it carry on the same story. Not to say that it wasn’t good or beneficial.  It was!  But in the long run, it was ineffective and a distraction for me from my main purpose.

And what is my main purpose??  Ah now, that is a very good question–the BEST question even!  It is a question we all should ask ourselves…and take the time to listen for the answer. My main purpose is to be soft clay in God’s hands, ready to obey Him and willing to let Him shape and mold me for the path on which He has placed me.

What path?

The path is the one God has wrought–which I can choose or not choose at any time.

With whom and for whom?

Well first, I am His daughter. He knows me–through and through.  He loves me.  He is closer than my breath–no need for long distance. He thinks about me all the time.  He is constantly setting me up for success–not in the world’s eyes, no–but for the plans He has for me.  He makes a way in my desert.  He listens for my voice.  He loves to hear from me…and I talk with Him all the time. We are close, like that.

Then I am wife and best friend to my Chris. He loves me and makes me better than I am.  He causes me to laugh–all the time.  I only ever want to dream with him about our future. We are and have always (since we have known one another) been together in this journey with God, living before God. In tandem, we cycle through this race for the goal. We raise the bar for one another. We share words with our eyes all the time.  And we laugh at the same things, which no one else would get. We love each other deeply–in good times and in bad.  We are close, like that.

Then I am mother to four, wonderfully-made and diverse children. My main focus during these growing years for them is to keep my hand on the pulse of their hearts and to continually spur them on toward following God’s path for them. My Chris and I shape their hearts and hone their minds, so that they walk in the light of God’s best for them.  They will walk, as we do–so my job, too, is to keep honest before God and ask for His help in walking out some very difficult and also diverse trails. I share with them unconditional love.  I spend myself to teach them to love and serve by how I love and serve them. And I listen to them. I make time to be available to hear their hearts.

Everything and everyone that comes beyond these three points MUST align with the first three…must PROMOTE the first three.  With intention and purpose, I have choices to make about what makes up the rest. I cannot assume here that I have no choice.  I DO have a choice.  I cannot control the circumstances, no.  But I can control how and where I build–how and where I focus–how and where I steward every part of myself.

Because lots of good things are going on–opportunities have presented themselves, motives have come to light and goals, which may or may not support my main priority–I must choose among them.  So I have to ask myself, are these just MORE things or are they purposed for promoting my main agenda (those first three points)?

Along the same lines, I do believe we are to walk with God and do the next thing He brings.  The hardest part is determining if THIS is the next thing He has for me OR is this a distraction, which will diffuse my passion for the main things. How do we know?  Well, trial and error is not the best method here.  What I believe IS the best method can be found in James 1:5-8.  Ask God believingly for wisdom…

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Because rather than tumbleweeds, I want to forge some deep roots into the soil, which will develop a strong family tree that continually retrieves nutrients and bears not only MUCH fruit, but GOOD fruit–the lasting kind that will not blow away and be repurposed.

That, my  friends, is enough to keep me looking, walking and thriving — for it really does matter what I do and how I think and what I will be (not leaving those I love and care for in the hands of Que Sera Sera–what will be will be).  It matters for all eternity.

Choosing Best with Jesus’ Help,

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Heavenly Minded, Therefore Earthly Good

Landscape with grass and mountains

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. - C.S. Lewis

I have been thinking much about Heaven these past weeks.  In my last post, I wrote about the sudden death of the daughter of dear friends of ours.  A couple of days after her funeral, we received news that my husband’s seminary professor and mentor had died – another funeral to attend within a week of the previous.

But both of these funerals were bittersweet – both had passed from life on earth to life in Heaven.  There was much to mourn for those of us left, but I found myself for the first time longing to find joy in the midst of the sorrow – partly because I had wrestled earnestly with the fact that suffering will be a part of life this side of Heaven the year my brother died.  I had come to terms that my family will have to walk some hard roads and I don’t have any idea what all of those will be, but they will be just by the nature of living in a fallen world.  But I also found myself longing to find joy because this mentor was the most beloved, humble man I knew and he was passionate about Heaven.  I wanted to share a little bit in the joy he was now experiencing as he sat with his admired C.S. Lewis (he was a Lewis scholar) asking the questions I had heard him voice in his lectures. (“When I get to Heaven, I would like to ask Lewis what he meant by….”).  And I also wanted to move from being swallowed up with a cynical despair (“Well, this is life this side of Heaven-what can you expect?”) to a forward-looking joy that supersedes any fear of suffering and death.  I wanted to truly long for Heaven – and let that move me in the way I live my life this side of it.

So to help me, I have been reading Randy Alcorn’s excellent volume, Heaven.  Alcorn does a fantastic job joining together Scripture to show us that the Bible really does say a lot more than we realized about Heaven.  And much of what we traditionally thought is actually not biblical at all – and not only is it not biblical, but is discouraging – if we ever allowed ourselves to admit it.  Alcorn shows from Scripture what Scripture is clear on – and it’s exciting.  He also pulls from Scripture some implied “supposed-s” – if that makes sense.  But he is good to say , “I am supposing based on how I am reading this text – it may not actually be the case.”  So there is no fear of “thinking wrongly”.  Whatever Alcorn might not get right, he humbly conceds that someday he will know for sure -and so will we.  But what I have found as I am exploring this path more fervently is it is energizing me on this side of life.  I am encouraged and not despairing.  I want to work more productively for the Kingdom.  I want everyone to know that there is more than this life – but this life does matter too- flesh and blood do matter – the work of my hands in this life matter and may even have a place in Heaven.  We are not just polishing brass on a sinking ship, but we are doing the work of our Heavenly Father and some of it will carry over into Heaven – and not just what is considered “ministry”.

So I won’t spoil the exploration for the rest of you.  I can’t recommend Alcorn’s book enough.  I know Joni Erickson Tada also has a book on Heaven that I am sure is wonderful.  I only want to encourage you to let thoughts of Heaven propel the work done now on this side – let the place that God has made for His children ignite your hearts with a passion for more than this life, let it energize your relationships, and let it constantly remind you that this life, this side was never meant to satisfy.  We were made for more.  Long for it.  Love it.  Live it.

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HINGE

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At the beginning of the year, I decided to change-up my Bible reading plan. Usually, because I like order and checklists, I start at Genesis and go through. I got daring one time and went in chronological order. This year I decided to start with the New Testament, because usually by the time I get there in my reading plan, I am worn out. My get up and go has gotten up and tried to leave, as my mama would say. I wanted to have fresh eyes for The Good News.

One of the things I really love about my current Bible are the footnotes. I don’t always agree with them, but they always make me think. While reading about the Transfiguration, I found this one footnote very interesting.

The disciples were at the crucial point of commitment to Jesus. Everything hinged on who He was to them. (The Women’s Study Bible, Thomas Nelson)

Much like the disciples, we don’t know what is coming this year. For many of us, January threw us for a loop. For the rest, there will most likely be some loops down the road. As is the case so often with our lives, men and women alike, many of the battles we face are in the privacy of our own hearts and minds. We may have let in a person or two, and in wisdom probably should, but the nitty-gritty of the battle is inside ourselves. Even when these battles turn public, either because someone through us into the spotlight or because the signs of warfare are visible, we still must rage the war from the inside. We can go through the motions outwardly, we can look as if to be making all the right maneuvers, but if we are not solidifying our very core with the truth of God’s word, we will not endure.

Everything will hinge on who He is to us.

Walking faithfully in victory will hinge on who He is to us.

Getting up from a seemingly obliterating defeat will hinge on who He is to us.

All the in between will hinge on who He is to us.

And who He is to us is determined in the very closets of our lives. In our alone time of prayer and study. In our private moments of joyful celebration. In our secret moments of primal pain.  The church body and fellowship can build us up when we are wounded and keep our feet on the ground when we feel exalted. Our friends and family are so very necessary in these battles. The hand to hand combat, however, is ours. It is at those moments, much like the disciples, when we find ourselves at a crucial point in out commitment to Christ. Will we trust Him to be who He says He when the battle gets bloody? Will we keep Him exalted in His rightful place when we advance in victory?

Everything hinges on who He is to us.

Sweet sisters, I challenge you as much as myself, solidify who Jesus is. Not prove it. Not work it out. Solidify who He has already told you He was.

Advocate. Deliverer. Our Hope. Peace. Redemption. Healer.

Our very God with us.

Beseech the Holy Spirit to give you fresh eyes to see Christ for He IS.

Everything hinges on it.

2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV)

 ” Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,”…”

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Falling In Love….Again

Red Heart Shape

I remember the first time I saw him.

A new family moved into our church’s neighborhood and while I say they were new, their family had been going to our church for years, but this one branch had finally settled with the rest of the family.  I was a young girl in college, playing the piano at church on the weekends.  The woman sang in the choir.  She situated herself so that she sat beside me when I stepped down from the piano.  She would whisper to me about her son that would soon be visiting, place photos of him in my Bible…just plain harass me about the guy.  I asked my mother to always be a bearer between me and the crazy lady.

Then her son finally started coming to church with her and he would stare at me through the entire service.

Creepy!

But one Sunday I didn’t play the piano and sat on the back row.  Low and behold if the son didn’t sit right in front of me.  I thought about slipping out…but then I noticed his shoulders and his hair.  Broad and blond…his hair was blond, shoulders broad.  He was a professional boxer and had just had his last fight, retired at the age of 28.  He had come to his parents’ home to recuperate and plan his future.

His mother decided I was his future.

And I guess I was.  We’ll be married 26 years this June.

It was not love at first sight, but there was lots of laughter and the love soon followed.  He chased, I told him to get lost, he teased, I laughed, he offered free food and I accepted!

Looking back over the past 26  years…well 28…we dated for two years first….I’ve noticed that sometimes, we take each other for granted, the specialness of our relationship is sometimes missing, we just expect things from the other person because it’s always been given before.  Words of thankfulness don’t always appear in our conversations and worst of all, communication sometimes lacks completely.

It’s not that there isn’t love; it’s that the love relationship hasn’t always been tended to.  We’ve been busy making sure there are groceries in the cabinets, the cars are all running, the bills are being paid, and the clothes are being washed (just to name a few distractions).  These are all good, but not the most important thing.

The love must be nurtured above all else.

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.  Luke 10:42 KJV

Unfortunately, this could also be said about some spiritual relationships.

I look at new Christians much like I look at newlyweds and I’m envious.  I want that spark and sizzle I see in them, that “can’t stand to be apart from each other” attitude.  Their love just oozes….it would be sickening….if it wasn’t so sweet.

When did you fall in love with Jesus?  Was it just a few years ago and is the tingly feeling still there?  Or has it been many, many years and you sometimes find that you take Him for granted….no need to pray, He knows your every need, and He’s always come through for you in the past….no need to read the Bible, you’ve read it before, nothing has changed, Genesis is still the first book of the Bible, Noah still builds an ark, Jesus still goes to the cross.  You know those “stories”, why re-read them?  They are kind of hard to understand anyway and sometimes depressing.  You would much rather focus on the “Polly Anna” verses…those that make you feel good.

I also remember the first time I met Him.  I was a little girl watching Billy Graham on TV.  I felt something, this strange heart-racing fear that if I didn’t do exactly what Mr. Graham said, I would not be in Heaven with my family.  I ran to the den, hid behind the sofa and prayed for forgiveness of my sins.  I begged Jesus to be in my heart like He was the rest of my family’s.  I didn’t want to be left behind; I wanted to be with Him and with them.

Don’t ask me what words I said.  All I know is that when I stood up from behind the sofa, the fear was gone.  I felt….loved, chosen, special.

Much like a bride on her wedding day.

My beloved is mine, and I am his…Song of Solomon 2:16 KJV

Just like our marriage, our spiritual relationship takes work.  We have to choose to spend time with The Groom, talk to Him, and listen to Him.  We don’t do things to win His love…we already have that….we do things (like love, be kind, follow Him, study His Word) because we want to please Him, we want to know Him on a deeper level.

It takes commitment, it takes obedience, and it takes time.  Little by little, we come to the place where all things pale in comparison to Him.  We fall in love with Him.  We choose Him over activities, over hobbies, over our own private time.

I interpret Luke 14: 26, 33 and Psalm 37:4 in this way:

If you love anyone else more than you love Me, you cannot be my bride.  You must love Me so much that even the love you have for your parents, your children, even your spouse looks like hatred.  You must forsake all for Me!  But, my bride, I will give you the desires of your heart, if you will only delight yourself in Me.

So this month…the month of love…what are you doing to fall in love with Jesus again?  What are you doing to revamp your relationship?

I’m sure you’ve been reading this month on some way to re-ignite the fire in your marriage.  I challenge you to do the same in your spiritual marriage and you know, most of the suggestions will work either way, for your earthly husband or your heavenly Husband!

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Confessions of a Waffle: aka How My SmartPhone Makes Me Stupid

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Early in our marriage, we read the book by Bill and Pam Farrell, Men are Like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti. We laughed over the differences in men and women–we learned, too, that not all those traits applied those directions for us. Then, there were all the personality tests–all created to help us interact with others and with each other, as a couple.

My test results were a bit odd in that I was very strong on two opposite points, mediocre on one and non-existent on the last one. The results show that I am equally and strongly an otter (extrovert, people person) and a beaver (introvert, task-oriented person) with a little lion and not at all a golden retriever. One friend told me that is called masking.  It means I am really one of those and the other is a learned behavior I accumulated over the years to be who others thought I should be. It’s not really that important which is which for this article.  The point is I have unique traits that encompass who I am–so do you!

From those unique traits, I find that I am really more waffle than spaghetti.

  • I don’t multi-task well.
  • I cannot talk on the phone while driving. Even a blue-tooth would be too much for my attention span.
  • I have to block out sound, even now with the kids home, while writing this.
  • I need to sit toward the front in large events or I get totally distracted and miss much of the event.
  • If you call me on the phone (or I call you), I will find the quietest place to go, so I can truly listen to you.  If I cannot find a quiet place, I will say the most inane things, because I am half-listening to you.
  • I get easily overwhelmed by many activities planned.
  • I secretly wish those activities will be cancelled–most of the time.
  • A group of people together is fun, but it sucks energy out of me — I get exhausted from that time.
  • I prefer to meet with one friend at a time. From these times, I have an indelible memory from our conversation. I even remember expressions, hand gestures, and other impressions. I tend to remember conversations like this for a very long time. Yet, I will forget a thousand other things.
  • Also in a large group, I tend to be over-stimulated to the point where I find that I say the most foolish things out of discomfort.
  • My SmartPhone is TOO MUCH for me.  So many choices! So many choices! So I get sucked into a time-loss vortex trying to get ONE task done. I can not focus with a SmartPhone. It makes me utterly stupid.
  • My Kindle is OVERWHELMING, too!  So many choices! So many choices! I want to read THEM ALL–AT ONCE!
  • I prefer a single book in hand, a single hand-craft, a single child with a book–one activity and person at a time.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule–I LOVE and enjoy a large group of kids to feed and entertain. In fact, I love hosting large groups of all ages.  It exhausts me, but also makes me inordinately happy. In a few weeks, I am leading crafts at our women’s retreat.  I equally look forward to teaching the large group AND sitting alone outside with my Bible. Another exception is music, which settles me–I can do nearly anything, any two things even!, if music is playing (calms the savage beast, I guess).

At the beginning of this year, I prayed for my one word for 2012–and the Lord prompted TWO. Simple Focus.  I knew they were for me.  I knew that I was spinning like a pinball and self-destructing on TILT. I could feel it.  My normally laid-back ease was replaced with anxiety and stress, using harsher words and tones with my dear family.  This was not what the Lord intended for me.

In striving for one goal (to help our family financially), I have gotten myself into too much and over-my-head trying to be every-woman and multi-tasking mama (ha!).  For a time, I have sacrificed some important priorities in the process.  Looking down the road, I have come to the conclusion that the trade-off (financial help for family time) is not worth it.  I will not be glad in twenty years that I spent 75% of my day behind the screen of the computer. I simply won’t.

So I began to make steps toward simple focus–even taking steps backwards! I truly believe that God not only gives us second and third chances, but also, He sets our feet back at the beginning to try it again.  His Word says He sets our feet in spacious places.  And I had worked myself into a helpless/hapless corner, from which He needed to extricate me. It was a painful process, during which I endured many sleepless nights–causing pain to others I care about in the ordeal.

But it’s done now. I feel a release to walk wisely and well from this point.

I still have some steps to make–for the goals and priorities the Lord has placed before me during this season in my journey. He has still provided work for financial help–that is still a need and priority for our family. I am still spending time behind the computer screen or on my smart phone–some wasted and some not.  There needs to be a better balance still.

The past three days, God has prompted a Lenten fast for me.  Now, I am not in a liturgical church.  Our church is inter-denominational. Some years, I fast for lent.  Some years, I fast weekly for other set-apart times.  Some times, I do not fast at all. I believe that the Holy Spirit will prompt each of us in fasting, and He will most certainly teach us and prompt us toward fasting. A Lenten fast is a good practice, though.

Last year I fasted from sugar–from the time Joanne entered the hospital on January 11th, til the time she went home from Spalding (longer than Lent, but my Lenten fast nonetheless).

This year, I have prayed and heard one thing from the Lord–social media, meaning Facebook, Twitter and (gulp!) Pinterest.  As a writer (something I love to do and want to spend many years focusing, honing and pouring out this way), I will be spending more time journaling thoughts and prayers. Also, I hope to spend more time writing here at A Martha Heart. I hope you will stop by for a nice two-way conversation with me here in the comment section. I will greatly MISS YOU around internet-town. I intend to make reading your blogs a priority, too. I have missed reading your hearts in the busy-ness of my spin-balling, upside-down life.

My main priority is to spend less time distracted by the many things and more time focused on the simple things.  For me, it is life-giving, rejuvenating and restorative. I believe in the process, I am giving myself a gift. I know the Lord will meet with me here. He will make it a place of springs–a place of purpose, peace and joy–and an investment for high returns!

What is your priority right now? Does it line up with the goals in your life? Take time to take stock. It is a FOR YOU kind of decision that will leave you without regret many years down the road. What is holding you back?

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Knitting Something New

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Lately, I have been knitting a good bit.  I have been learning to knit for four years now.  It takes me a long time to knit each dishcloth, blanket or scarf. So if I was going for cheap and quick, I guess it be better to just go to the store and buy one!  But I’m going for substance unseen–into each gift, I weave life and prayer.

Perhaps the one receiving it may think, “Is this all?” Well, then they are missing the point.

So far, I have learned several new knitting stitches and have been actively knitting scarves.  I knew they wouldn’t be ready this past Christmas–again, I am slow–but they should be ready at the end of this new year for gifts. As I stitch, I pray for the one I am knitting and I pay attention to the directions, lest I miss something and have to start all over (believe me, I have re-done and re-done). It is an act, if you will, of worship.

Yesterday, the Lord planted a new idea in my heart.  It hasn’t yet come to fruition, as it is just a seed of thought.  But it is something about knitting and something that affects me and you.

I was praying about God’s vision and intent for me–and for you.  As I prayed I began to thank the Lord for the prayers of my soul that are unspoken–that I know and the prayers of my heart that He alone knows.  It’s as if He is forming and knitting intention in me.

What that intention may be, I am not yet sure.  But I know this.  Just as He forms a baby in the womb and knits and cares for that little one, He is knitting some wonderful life in us. Some of that life is yet to be revealed. But He knows it and delights over it–and someday, He will breathe afresh into us and He will show us.

He says that He knows the plans He has for us…He knows! And they are plans to prosper us–do you really believe that? They are plans that will not harm us–even bankruptcy, Lord? They are plans to give us a hope and a future! (Jeremiah 29:11)

As I read in Job this morning, I filtered the little seed God began to show me yesterday through this reading.  And I have to tell you, God has not changed from that moment to what He spoke to Jeremiah. He is the same and has the same way of doing things, the same heart for us, the same plans to prosper and not harm.  So what about Job?  What about the loss he went through?  What about the pain he experienced? What about the doubters that surrounded him–even his own wife? And I know that God filtered through loving hands the life of Job and the loss off Job and the beautiful restoration of Job at the end.

I cannot really speak for Job, but this I know.  The life we have experienced over the past few years has been difficult. The culmination ending in bankruptcy 3 years ago was hard.  But I need to tell you–and I need you to believe this–we were not harmed by it. It was difficult and hard and no fun, but it was with the sight in God’s eye of giving us a hope and a future. My friends, we are prospering from the things we learned during that season.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

The whole counsel of God’s Word is always necessary before we can understand the picture of His ways. He is the God, who makes a new way in a desert, of all places. He knits your life and mine together in beautiful new-ness.

I don’t know about you, where this finds you today.  But can you trust that the God unseen is doing something unseen and knitting new life and intent into your life?  Can you hold onto just that? Well, it’s a beginning. I pray that He will reveal to you the wondrous act of His knitting over your life this day.

The reveal is well worth waiting for!

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