The Game Changer

The Game Changer

Pilate himself asked this question, “What is truth?” in John 18:38.  It was his frustrated retort to Christ’s statement before it. Pilate was caught between–ready to pardon Jesus and yet politically stuck.  You see, the thing about Jesus is this–no matter how strong your armor of resolve may be, Jesus has come to put you face-to-face with this word called TRUTH–and not the word only, but the Person, the One who says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus is the Truth. The Word made flesh. He has come to stand between us and our altered definitions (…like what do you mean by is? What is the definition of is? Thank you, Mr. Clinton, for being a prime example of the legal twistings of definitions to try to get off the hook) and our re-routes to happiness (…happiness that does not last longer than a moment. But I guess we felt secure in our glass house–before the stone was thrown). Jesus has come to defy anyone, who believes they have a corner on truth–for He OWNS it.

Now I am a bit argumentative–stubborn even.  Often, I keep it to myself.  But for this purpose, I cannot. Call me Pollyanna or whatever you may, but I believe all things are possible.  Oh now, you just read that one too quickly.  Go back and digest it. ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE. Taking it even further, I believe that because Jesus is TRUTH, that He can take anything we see with our mortal eyes and take it beyond what the greatest minds and highest experts in the field might say.

For instance, a doctor might say, “This is it.  This is all you can expect of your healing.” But I defy that statement in the name of Jesus.  My Jesus is the one calling all the shots. He makes what seems to be impossible, possible. Perhaps that healing may occur after death, sure–but often, those words seem like a cop-out to me.  That will not stop me from believing that my God, who does things that are TOO HARD for us, is able to change the plan NOW in His way and in His time. He owns that, too and is not limited at all by it!

Honestly, I pray that way.  I pray defying the rulers and authorities and experts.  I pray with respect to these, but believing and knowing that my God is bigger than all their opinions.  Their opinions are just that.  His Word spoken, accomplishes–and makes a way where there was no known way that our eyes could see, minds could conceive or ears could hear.

Because I pray that way, I have seen miracles happen! He is SO VERY WORTHY. I wish we could talk over coffee about them–for they are the sacred things I could never just write here.  Face-to-face with a friend, I could tell you the wonders that my God has done! Even then, I could not give them the justice or HIM the Holiness, which He deserves, with my fallible tongue. He will tell them all one day–and we can only be undone and fall face down in reverence.

So I dare you.  I dare you to say as those three in the fires said (from Daniel 3):

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

Oh now, that adds another element to this game-changer I am talking about…the first is believing that Jesus is the Truth and He defines it.  The second is what these men spoke and how.  They spoke staking their life on the fact that God is not only the Truth, but that He is worthy of all their trust.  And what did God do?  Well, read Daniel 3 and see…God made the impossible, possible.  That is my God–leaving no smell of smoke and no evidence of the flame. Oh joy!

I don’t know what you are facing this day.  But I challenge you to believe that God’s TRUTH cancels out the opinions of the masses.  I challenge you to stake your life on the fact that Jesus is indeed worthy of all your trust.  And finally, I challenge you to rejoice–CELEBRATE!~–over the fact that God is the One, who makes all things possible.  Rejoice in Jesus. Delight in Him!  It is a safe-keeping for you (Philippians 3).

Before I close read these words carefully.  These are the Living Word’s words–the Truth Who spoke to Pilate with a heart of love for him, who was so caught in the trappings of this world.

John 8:37 (The Message)

Then Pilate said, “So, are you a king or not?”

Jesus answered, “You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.”

Read it again and then pray with me:

King Jesus, You are the Truth. Help me to recognize Your voice of truth and to hear You.  May I see, as You see.  Help me to conceive how to pray for my impossible situations.  Then, Lord, I ask for you to give me the ability to trust You.  You are Worthy, Lord.  I delight in You.  My heart rejoices in hope!  For You are my Game-Changer.  I thank You, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

With Belief in God for His Possible Answers to all my Impossibles,

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I Fought the Lau-(ndry) and the Laundry Won

I Fought the Lau-(ndry) and the Laundry Won

I Fought the Lau-(ndry) and the Laundry WonJust added some more laundry detergent to the washer…I am rewashing these same towels for the third time. It’s not because they were so dirty, no. It is because I keep starting to do the laundry–with good intentions–and I get side-tracked for a day or so, then shew-eee, it smells. At least we live in dry Colorado and not mega-humid East Texas. I would have the blackest mold crop in my washing machine, if we still lived there. Ug. Sometimes, the chores get the upper hand on me. And I raise my white flag and surrender to it. It shall never be done.

But I nearly had it complete for the first time in several months a little over a week ago. True story! I had everything folded and put away. Then some syrup found its way to the kitchen rug, and I lost the race, again. Now, I have to climb Mt. Laundry to even get to the washing machine. One week+a family of six+women’s retreat+Bible study+prayer group+over 30 hours of web design work+volunteering at school+ etcetera, etcetera, etcetera = (sing-song-y) I’m getting behind-er, I’m getting behind-er (ala Becky Freeman Johnson).

Interruption: Stopped writing, mid-sentence to get Sydney a snack and move the towels over to the dryer–take that, laundry! Bam! Little steps in the right direction.

But this post is not really about laundry or being busy–no, it is about getting up, fighting back and continuing to fight until the race is finished–all with Jesus. For this life is full of messes and hardships and relational goo, like the syrup on my carpet…and we need a Savior. We need an umbrella from all this deluge of muddy life. We need a Gentle Healer to come and put salve on our wounds and knit us back together stitch by stitch.

For as much as I try to think upon it, I CANNOT do this in my own strength.  There are not enough charts, plans, books, classes or lists that can set me to rights–even with gumption.

For I am Humpty Dumpty, and I have fallen. Only the glue that Jesus applies can restore me, making me firm, steadfast and reliable. He places me safely back on the wall.

For Jesus never forgets me.  He does not, for one instant, forget that I am His treasure–valuable and worth restoring. He washes me white as snow– again and again and again.

I don’t know about you; but sometimes, I just want to give up and let the laundry (ALL of life’s laundry!) have the final say. I lay face-first in the mud and begin to think it is ALL too much, too hard, I M P O S S I B L E.

Then I bring this to mind, I serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who created all that I see. He is VICTOR over the prince of this world, who would like to have sway over me and those I love. Jesus has WON over the enemy, and Jesus will win over those I love.  Then Jesus tells me, I am right.

He says, “Dear Holly, you cannot. But I can.  I am the God, Who makes ALL THINGS POSSIBLE. My Word spoken accomplish-eth ALL that concern-eth you (He often speaks to me in the KJV). Now, Holly, will you join me?  Will you believe me?  Will you take my hand? WE can do this, one day, one believing step at a time. For I say that it IS possible. And I say that you and me, we win–we have already won. Now get up and do the next thing, dear one.”

He is FOR us.  Now who’s getting up with me?

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Again

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Here I am again, Lord.

Seeking Your Face

Longing for Your Touch

Holding out for Your Voice

Heeding Your commands

Feeling completely undone

But I know that when I come,

You bend low to listen

You shine Your light on my pathway

You give me rest

You take the weight of my worries

You exchange my sorrows for Your peace and love and joy

So why is it that I find myself

Fretting?

Anxious?

Afraid?

Alone?

Weary?

Worn?

Perhaps I am not acting as if I believed You are Almighty God.

Perhaps I wish and hope that You are just that.

But secretly I plan for my own way, my own security just in case…

You are less than able.

You are playing a twisted game with my life.

You are not FOR me.

I did not live up to our promise, so You changed Your mind about me.

So I wait. And realign. And remind myself once again of Your Words to me. They are my LIFE. They are TRUE.

Then I bow my head in sorrow. I turn my eyes up in longing. And I say this one word–Again.

Do it again, LORD.

Show Yourself Faithful.

Again remake my icy-cold heart, warm it with Your breath.

Again.

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Journey of Provision

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Let me preface this with one thought, this post is meant to teach and invite you into our journey.  You are welcome to hear the story and learn with us.  That is all.  It is not an invitation for solutions.  We have one Solution-Giver.  He holds the answers and we look to Him alone. I hope from the story you will see that our God is not-so-subtle and has a strong streak of humor in him.  I think the humor is what has kept me singing.

In 2008, we knew we were headed for the Perfect Storm.  There was no way around it. It was before us and we were going there. In short, we were without pay for four months in late 2007 through early 2008, which is super-short comparatively.  We sold and “ate” (lived on) our truck. We sought godly financial counsel, who recommended some routes, which turned out to be dead-ends. Finally, he told us our only option was bankruptcy (keeping our home apart from that). He said that as believers in Jesus, we should try to pay back when it was all discharged. And we shall!  That alone makes it an easier solution for me.  I am honest to a fault.  I could this very second rattle off a list of people and the amounts they gave to help us.  I carry it every single day and lay it again with thanksgiving at the foot of the cross.

So we went through it–one of the hardest seasons of my life to date before my dear friend had a stroke early this year, which has also marked my faith in countless ways–I love my friend and am grateful for her life and her wisdom to me today. Bankruptcy was shameful, embarrassing and humbling. With friends like Teresa, who sent me cards every week (sometimes more!) and she still does, to remind me that I am loved and prayed for…I don’t know about you, but there is a lot of LOVE bound up in those cards and a lot of prayer.  Thank you, Teresa. Other friends brought groceries and gifts to our door. Some gave “hilariously”–a car, gift cards and even beautiful get-aways. Some loaned to us, and I pray to pay it all back someday. It is BEAUTIFUL.  It was hard.  And I am humbled, not debased, but I walk with head bowed in thanksgiving much more often than with a strut of pride.

Early this year, we began thinking we would also lose our home. Through miraculous workings (through two unlikely sources–the government home bill and our financial institution), we will not lose our home!  We actually will go to court in the next month to sign papers establishing our new loan(bankruptcy makes everything a bit more difficult). Our bankruptcy will be complete on March 17, 2012. Praise God for that light at the end of our tunnel!! He is our Way-Maker! Then it is my turn, I hope, to bless someone coming behind us in this hard journey and pay it forward.

So lately, my Chris and I have begun to dream again.  Dreaming is good!  We are trying to save, budget and follow good and right ways. Even so, we still live paycheck to paycheck for the most part.  Sometimes, we pinch pennies beyond what is possible.  I know that is the Lord’s provision. Sometimes, we laugh, because once again we feel like college students, learning to handle money for the first time, as displayed also by the ramen noodles. Sometimes, we feel guilty for going away for a night and spending from the little we have. But I know that is not God’s way. He doesn’t teach by guilt–only man does that. So we are learning to rely on what God says and His love–not on the opinions of man.

The other day, I was shopping with a dear friend and she said, “Do you know that you justify everything you buy? You must feel like you are under such scrutiny.” I let out a breath of a laugh and said, “You are absolutely right.” I love a friend like that!  I have turned over her words to me and can think of several reasons why I justify–bankruptcy, scrutiny, living up to people’s expectations, aware of people’s judgement and trying somehow to appease it. It is a default way of thinking, which I am asking the Lord to change in me. It stems from people-pleasing, which is rooted in pride. I am living for an audience of One. I do have accountability.  Oh yes.  It is His faithful Holy Spirit in me that keeps me in step with Him–His checks and balances, if you will. I am like a child learning to walk.

So yesterday, we are driving home from a wonderful away trip to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. And we are broke.  We had $4.31 for the day to eat and enough (cross-your-fingers and pray really hard) gas to drive home. We knew we’d be paid today and other things would be coming in, etc. etc., BUT for yesterday, we had $4.31. And we laughed until we cried–happy tears…thinking, “Here we are again, Lord.”

You see, we don’t have our act together.  We have a blessed family and marriage.  But we do not have it all under control. God knows that!  He laughed with us.  We were in beautiful country. We could sing. We could laugh.  I could crochet a birthday gift. We could take pictures that were astounding. AND we could arrive home to a happy family of four children (and eat when we got home–ha!).

During this time, I saw a bird flying over-head and thought, “He’s lucky.  He doesn’t worry about refilling gasoline. He eats every day.  God makes sure of it.” AS I was thinking this way, God reminded me in my heart, “Holly, rely on me daily.  I watch over the birds.  I WILL WATCH OVER YOU. Trust me, child.” And I do. I do trust Him. I’ve not “arrived” yet, nor are we perfect.  But we are willing to be taught.  And we are humble enough to let God provide through the ways He chooses. I wouldn’t trade any of this story. It is our life. We will walk with a limp straight for the foot of the cross of Jesus, where we daily find freedom and learn how to walk. In Christ, we are free indeed to run this race with JOY! So can you, friends. You need only come to Him and exchange your ugly life-stuff for His more than enough.

With Beauty from my Ashes,

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Just Dip, Already

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I was reading the account of Naaman’s leprosy being healed in 2 Kings 5:1-19. I encourage you to dig into the whole passage.

Naaman was a man in charge.  Being the commander of the army of the king of Syria is a huge thing!

Naaman was also a “flawed” man. He was a leper.

There was a young girl from Israel that was taken captive and made a servant of Naaman’s wife.

The young girl was a God-send to Naaman; if he saw it that way, I’m not sure.

The girl was hooking her master up! She held the knowledge of a prophet that could heal him of his leprosy. The young girl shared the news with her mistress.

I’ll fast forward through the text a little bit to get to the part that most intrigued me and got me to thinking.

The day came that Naaman met the prophet Elisha.  Elisha told Naaman to go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and his flesh would be restored, and he will be clean.

Sounds simple and easy enough, but NOOOO, Naaman wanted more than the simplicity.

The passage says that Naaman became furious and went away mumbling on about how he figured the prophet would come out to him and stand and call on the name of the LORD and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.

Naaman wanted the grandeur of his healing to match the magnificence of his position in service to the king of Syria.

It took one of Naaman’s servants to appeal to him to just dip, already!

The servant’s words were so powerful,

“My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

Apparently, Naaman came into his right mind. He went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God. His flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Just dip, already! How many times have I exalted myself and thought that I was “somethin’ else” or thought, “I’m too good for this!”? I’ve wanted the flashing lights to be the evidence that God was indeed moving in my life.

God can and will use the simplicity of a thing…anything to move us to obedience. It’ll be to our own demise if we choose not to follow His lead.

God is perfection. He knows best. He knows what healing, restoration and cleanliness is in store–even in the Jordan River.

What “Jordan River” are you not wanting to dip in, because it seems too simple or even beneath you?

Just dip, already!

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All Things are Possible

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The past six months have been formative months for me.  I can say it no other way.  I have gone deeper with God, knowing that He alone can sustain the pressings of my heart. He is after all, the One who formed it.  He is forming it still. His Light has come and permeated the dark recesses of my heart. His power has amazed me.  His ability, astounded. His love has come and become my foundation–firmly establishing me in Him.

One afternoon in March, I had time for a shower.  The sun was gently filling the room. My heart was heavy–burdened with prayer.  Of the many heavinesses upon my heart was the daily knowledge that we owed property taxes.  They were not in our main mortgage.  We owed over $3,300!  And from where it would come, I had no idea. So I had daily been bringing this heavy weight to God.

This particular day, I prayed–almost jokingly, but not–for a fish with a coin in its mouth with our property taxes. Now, I often hear from (in my heart) and talk to God in the shower. With four kids, it is an uninterrupted place for me. So as I showered, I heard Him speak plainly, “Be at peace.  I have taken care of this for you.”

From that place, I hoped I heard right and I made some decisions for the summer to not work–to be present and available for our children. It was a hard choice, because I am thinking, “$3,300!  Where will it come from?”

Time passed…still no clue where the taxes would come from.  They are due by the first week of June, which is right now. I began working for other goals the Lord had placed in my heart: being present with the kids, de-cluttering our home, down-sizing our stuff and finally getting rid of this weight I have carried–for years now, really. On the morning of May 23, I had my morning time with God–praying, reading my Bible and devotionals, praying more.  I felt led to pray something particular, “Lord, today I am looking for the treasures You have for me.”  Simple, right? Well, He knew I was looking for Him, watching to see Him work and show the strength of His mighty arm on our behalf.

I loaded up the kids to go to the YMCA, dropped them off to their designated places and I went to the upright bicycle with the scriptures I am memorizing, as I am planning to be at the SSMT event in January with Joanne. As I listened to TobyMac, I read these words from Tozer opposite my scripture verse, “God has said, ‘I AM THAT I AM’ (Ex 3:14), and we can only repeat in reverence, ‘O God Thou art.”

As I prayed, as I listened, my phone buzzed with a text from Chris: “Whoop! Property taxes are paid. Call me.” You better believe I bowed my head in thanks right then and there.  I sat there stunned.  After my workout I called.  Apparently when they restructured our loan in February, they included these taxes.  We had no idea they were being paid.  Before we called, He answered!

I stand amazed in the Presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean, singing How marvelous! How wonderful!  And my song shall ever be!  How marvelous!  How wonderful! is my Savior’s love for me! (and you!!)

Got some hard life?  Got some trouble? Some worries?  Some great concerns? Cast ALL your cares on Him.  He cares for you.  And if you hear His still small voice consoling your heart and telling you He has taken care of it, BELIEVE HIM! All things are possible!

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When Believing God Takes You *Father On…

Fake Butterflies

I found these words from my journal in 2005 today.  In those days, we distinctly heard the Lord lead us to move to Colorado.  Here we are nearly 6 years later.  Sometimes looking back builds your faith and spurs others on–hope it does that for you today.  Be blessed.  Believe God.  His ways are beyond our understanding, but they are right and good. Jesus is worth the journey it takes to discover more of Him.

So here are some thoughts I had during this time Out There. I do not normally share my journal entries…they are personal, but they will take this point home, I know. Why am I writing this? To spur you on and to remind me to remember How Very Great our God is!

(2-22-05)”You Lord, who formed the peaks of the mountains and yet those same mountains melt like wax before You. Be glorified, Jesus, in my life. Be exalted O God in our family. I want to bear fruit that lasts. I want to steal back what was stolen from me. I want to fulfill Your purpose for me. Only by your blood and Your sacrifice, Jesus, may I even enter in this Most Holy of Holy places to ask, but HalleluYah, because of You, my Precious Friend and Savior, I know that not only may I enter in and ask, but I can know that what I have asked is mine. Like a child, Lord, I say mine over the many promises You have made to me. Only teach me how, Lord Jesus, to remain in You, to write Your Word on my heart, to hear, to understand, to see, to know all the good promises that are mine in You. Then Lord, I will proclaim Your Name in the assembly. I will ascribe to You all that I have, all that I am and all glory , honor and praise! I love You, Jesus.”

(2-27-05) “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
“How can I be insistent of You, Father, and not be still and know? It’s as if I want to see the fruit and it is not even showing nor ripened. Help me then to wait on Your timing. Please, as You did in days of old, send travellers to encourage us on this walk. To say we heard You and know that indeed we did is true; yet, so many doubt and think we are either crazy or deluded or looking for an adventure! Well we certainly are on an adventure, a Wild at Heart one at that. But I believe it is one that You set forth in our lives.”

(3-1-05) “Indeed (Jesus), You are more than I understood you to be when I first met You…not only are You my new beginning, but Your Spirit rests in me–amazing! Can this really be?”

(3-4-05) “Within two weeks I may be writing that Chris has a job and that we are headed to Colorado!! I’m so excited, I can hardly keep in the excitement, but Lord I cannot share it with people I hold dear and care about–they are not excited, but anxious each time we bring it up. That’s hard, Lord. My heart is so eager and willing to follow You wherever You lead. I know that there is plunder and glory for Your Kingdom at stake. I know that only You can make them (our hearts) thrill to follow You, even when it means leaving ones so dear to us. My heart may feel near to breaking at times in the future, but I know You hold my heart and you will not allow me to be overtaken–weeping may last for a night, but Joy cometh!! Praise You Lord.”

(3-8-05) “I cannot wait to have the truth of what we believe settled and confirmed! It will still be hard, but not debatable. I surrender it all to You, Lord Jesus. You must have felt this way when your mother and brothers questioned your sanity. You just kept walking, didn’t you? Oh, but then when Your Father turned His face as You prayed in the garden?! How did You endure it? For the joy set before you, You saw my face and the faces of countless others and said we were worth it! Oh bless you Jesus! Thank You for scorning and enduring for my sake, for the sake of my family.”

(3-9-05) “I do feel the pressure from every side that says we’re foolish, looking for an escape, even crazy. It seems so incongruous to them that we’d leave–as if we are owned or something. Oh Father, we are! But You are the One we live for and love and serve. We don’t understand the why or when or even how, but we clearly heard you say, ‘Go.’ ”

(3-10-05) “You are so much bigger than the box I place You in Lord. In fact, You are the box. It’s an extraordinary and abounding box that has no limits, no definition, no boundaries, only eternal qualities that reach around all areas of our human understanding and breaks all the rules. God You are so much more.”

(3-14-05) Oswald Chambers from 3-11 “It is essential to practice the walk of the feet in the light of the vision….we cannot attain to a vision, we must live in the inspiration of it until it accomplishes itself…waiting for the vision that tarries is the test of our loyalty to God.”

(3-15-05) “It may be also Lord that we need an angel to close the lion’s mouth…we stand in the name of Christ Jesus.”

(3-26-05) “I am waiting expectantly. I am trusting fully. By the power of the Holy Spirit in my life, I’m giving the reins fully over to the Lord. He began this journey. We believed it. Now we need to step in time to His voice. I had a meltdown yesterday. It was cleansing and revealed my impatience. Lord continue to work this out in me–to change me….Thus far hath You helped us!”

(3-30-05) “What can be shaken has been. What cannot be shaken remains. Oh my Precious Father, consume the part of me that brings You no glory. Though I have nursed it long, remove it and sift every part that does not honor or praise You!…You are near me and clearly at work–turning me inside-out…showing the hidden parts and motives.”

(4-4-05) “If we knew the time we were moving, I’d not be spending nearly the amount of time I am reading Your Word Lord and other books, too. I’m not hurried at all–there is nothing great to be done. But once we know, the work will increase and be very busy throughout until we are settled. Also I wouldn’t be learning from the many trials that we are now facing. The internal work of the journey is just as (if not more so) important as the external.”

(4-5-05) “What I now know is what I need to know. The work I have for this day is the work You have called me to–nothing more or less. I need not go out looking for my calling or grasping for something that in the end is empty. The life You have called me to is full and I may walk in this fullness and trust You to lead me when more or different work is needed. Trusting You to all nature of my worries and anxieties, I may have joy and peace.”

(4-6-05) “I ask this believingly (to go to Colorado soon). But Father, if there is more at stake than my small understanding can take in, then please delay.”

(4-13-05) “Many are watching the unfolding events and hopefully being encouraged in their faith, maybe even they’re coming before You Lord. Oh let it be so! Please Lord continue to work out this testimony and do what ONLY You can do. There is not one thing right now that we could do to make this happen. .”

In fact, we made it even harder–Chris quit his job early and we took the biggest leap of faith of our lives! We ended up in Colorado on October 12, 2005. That’s a long time, when every day you are waiting–believing what you do not see. Here is my journal entry on the last day at our Wonderful home 10-11-2005:

“What do I say on our final day? Praise the LORD! How can I rightly praise You Father? Bless Your Name! I lay down all glory of this journey–crowns at your feet, Jesus. I thank you for the principle of trust You are teaching me…Take us farther on today Lord. May our mouths be filled with laughter and a song of joy overflow–to Your Praise Jesus. We give You alone the praise.”

 

*[sic] Funny, I meant to write farther on, but Father on fits, so I shall leave it.

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Impact

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Wrapping my mind around the past 2 1/2 months is a difficult thing to do.  The depths of pain and intercession, which had before been untapped have become springs of maturity and understanding for me.  On January 11th, my friend Joanne fell from her treadmill due to a massive stroke–her description of the event reminds me of fire and ice, but I will leave it for her to tell someday. I sank into a desperate place of prayer.

Without thought, I began to act, to pray, to be bold and to hold fast to some rope that seemed to be attached to God in a way I had yet to experience.  I felt distinctly that I was a player in a battle, a battle that I will never comprehend this side of Heaven.  I battled in prayer day and night–petitioning God for the life of my friend.  Deep down, I knew my place…to pray and to tell. I did both.

A deep sleeper, I was awakened through the watches of the night for weeks on end.  I woke and prayed–tarried in prayer until released.  It was as if I was connected to a place of action being carried out on Joanne’s behalf.  The exhaustion I felt is nothing–nothing–compared to Joanne’s close family and friends. I knew that I was at the bottom of the symbolic mountain, praying, as they battled at the precipice.  I also knew that my connecting point at the base of that mountain was to tell others within my sphere the story and to rally them in prayer for Joanne–and ultimately, I believe prayer for themselves.  That is not to say there were not others at the base of the mountain with me.  Oh, God set up connecting points with others, too.  He has the best system!

Two and a half months later and with much of the story in-between left unspoken, I sit today with pen and journal in hand to let this portion of the story be told for this time.  It is the right time.  There is much of the battle for Joanne’s fullness of life still to be fought and forged.  I ask you to pray for her and her family.  Pray that she will take back every inch of ground she lost–to regain everything.  Pray also for her family and friends, who daily minister to her and urge her on. Finally, pray for her story to be a tidal wave around the globe. Many, maybe including you, need to know that God is at work on behalf of all people, that He hears us, that He answers and that He invites our participation in the unfolding story all around us.

We can choose to believe Him on the darkest of days. We can trust that He can hold our weighty worries.  We can embrace Him, knowing that He is for us and loves us unconditionally. We can relate with Him, for He knows how to speak our language.  And if we get really still and listen, we can hear His voice speaking love and truth over our day-in, day-out lives.  He speaks over us saying, “You matter. You are significant.”  Whether at the top of the mountain, the base or somewhere in the desert perimeter, we have a place of great significance in the story God is writing–planned before the foundation of time.  We have a part to play and a choice to carry it out or not.

Joanne and I have shared many texts over the past weeks (so much so that I had to increase my plan!  And that with JOY!!!).  In every one I receive from her, I thank God for her ability to remember, to relate, to connect and to feel.  She is dreaming wide awake!  Now she is even dreaming in her sleep, which is a miracle. Most of all, Joanne is humble, a fighter, discerning, poetic, fun and able to do everything that is placed before her.  She is able to do, because she holds tightly to the Hand of her God.  She said herself in one of the texts, “When I am afraid, I will trust in Jesus.”  And later, “On the way in a couple of hours, anxious, scared, but choosing to trust Jesus, who loves me.”  Oh indeed He does, dear Joanne!

Friend?  He loves you, too.  He is worthy of your trust.  Just today, I read this from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. C.E. Cowman, “Jesus Christ is no security against storms, but He is perfect security in storms. He has never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing.”

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Yet

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“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” Psalm 102:18

Over five years ago today, I didn’t know it. The farthest thing from my mind was having another child. But I was expecting a baby girl. I was probably about two weeks pregnant. I wondered why all the normal holiday foods sounded so very gross. I had purchased the materials for so much baking. I did none. I wouldn’t know that I was expecting a baby until after Christmas-time. For the first time in all our expectations, I was completely and utterly surprised. By the time I had visited the doctor, I would be over a quarter of the way there.

 

We had moved to Colorado with hopes for the future God was carving out. We had suffered loss like death, but no one had died. We still suffer from that alive-like death. So a part of me was really hurting. Another part was hopeful and trusting. And another part? A surprise in the making was taking place, a weaving, if you will.

 

I look at her today and see a balm of healing. All of my children bring me such joy. But our surprise package delivered in Colorado over 4 1/2 years ago is truly a fragrant gift that God used to repair a torn soul.

So today, I think upon the words above…that a people not yet created may praise the Lord. Not yet, but coming. Not yet, but expecting to see our testimony written, so that they may praise the Lord.

 

We are in a “yet” moment. So I decided to look up yet in the Bible. Read through them with me. See if you are in a “yet” moment and write down the testimony that God is shaping in your life. Take hope in the fact that yet also points to God’s YES. It is a tiny word that is packed with power and hope.

 

One thing God has been speaking over my heart lately is about time and Him. He has been reminding me that He is not bound by time.  He is already waiting for us at a time of celebration and a time of mourning. He is in the “yet” moment. He created it. I praise Him for it–in advance!

 

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

 

2 Corinthians 6:7-10
in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

 

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

 

Philippians 3:13
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

 

Philippians 4:14
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

 

2 Timothy 1:12
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

 

1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

 

Revelation 3:8
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

 

John 11:6
Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

 

John 16:13
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

 

John 20:29
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

Romans 4:20
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.

 

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 

Habakkuk 3:18
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 

Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

 

Lamentations 3:21
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope

 

Psalm 42:5-6a
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

 

Psalm 73:23
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

 

Job 8:21
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

 

Psalm 22:3
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.

 

Have any of these verses resonated with you today? For the final verse says it all…in every struggle, every trial, every time without hope…YET the LORD, the Holy One, the praise of Israel, yet He is on the throne.

 

He is working on our behalf. He is watching. He is timing it just right. He is orchestrating a symphony of the ages. And we? We get to be a part of His music.

 

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