It’s been almost two and one-half years since I took that first step of obedience. If you’ve read Water Walking, you may remember it was April 2014 when I respond to an inner voice that spoke to me in a time of earnest prayer …
“You will never leave the shore if you don’t put weight
on your foot (and take that first step of faith).”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back in my mind to that day, to the invitation to walk out into deep water with Him.
Just as precious to me is the instruction He gave me later that year, the same instruction He gave to Moses and the Israelites.
So And the Lord said to me, “See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to possess it that you may inherit his land.” ~Deuteronomy 2:31
God had promised His people a land overflowing with milk and honey, but they still had to ACTIVATE the promise by ‘begin(ning) to possess it’, so that they could (later) inherit it. In other words, obedience was required to take hold of their inheritance.
I would like to say that I’ve not only walked on water, but that I’ve reached the other side of the waters and am now living in an ocean front property. In truth, I’m still in the process of ‘walking it out’ so that I may inherit what was promised.
Are you holding onto a promise of God, but have yet to fully take hold of it?
At the time of this writing I am on vacation … a much deserved break, and an unexpected blessing for me and my adult children (and their families). We are all staying together in a beautiful log cabin rental in Trenton ME (just mainland from Desert Mountain Island – home of Acadia National Park). It is BE-U-TIFUL here, and this simple snapshot from the back deck just doesn’t do justice to the view nor peacefulness of the home. After such hardships on my last job, and then all the excitement of starting my own business – this time of ‘decompression’ is a delightful balm to my soul and has given bandwidth/margin for my creative juices to start flowing again.
So while grandkids get their tubbies, and their daddies take charge of the BBQ, I stepped upstairs to work on the ‘vacation puzzle’. We are 4 days into a 7 day vacation and it is about 2/3 complete. (Don’t be overly impressed – it’s only a 500 piece puzzle, and so far, it is kicking our can’s … but I am hopeful we will win this challenge before the vacation is over!) Anyways, while working on it, I started singing a familiar song I used to sing to my daughters as a lullaby at night. Maybe you heard of it …. “Songbird” made famous by Barbara Streisand? Gosh, I have always loved her artistry, and this was such a hauntingly beautiful melody in it’s time, and a much requested ‘goodnight song’ from my daughters even into their early teenage years. But as they became mothers themselves, one of my girls commented on the actual lyrics of the song … something to the effect “geez … it’s a really depressing song, mom”.
And here I am again, singing it on a family vacation?? Of course, now I am singing it primarily because I think it is a beautiful song. But there is also a place in my heart that is comforted by the song because it reminds me of days gone by – those difficult and heartbreaking days when I grieved a broken marriage, and was learning what life would be like as a single parent. Back then, even as I sang the song as a soothing nighttime lullaby to my girls, the lyrics brought a ‘secret comfort’ to my own heart – and singing of the unfulfilled loneliness of the songbird was rather like making a silent admission of my own pain and sorrow (behind the brave face I put on for my children).
When I’ m all alone
I sing my saddest song
Lonely, and no one can see
This time the song is for me
Thankfully, those days are long behind me now and as I consider the lyrics of the song from my ‘2014 log cabin vantage point’, I am now reminded of this scripture:
Your joy is your own; your bitterness is your own. No one can share them with you. (Proverbs 14:10)
And in the same way that someone might struggle to understand the familiar comfort of such a sad song (even decades after the tears of sorrow have been transformed into tears of great joy!), I think that too often I have been too quick to dismiss someone else’s pain because from my vantage point – they are just making too much of this or that. [Yuck! What a horrid admission to make. But it is true].
But who am I to judge?
WHO ELSE CANKNOW (besides Jesus) the bitterness or depth of pain experienced by another heart?
Lord, help me be more tolerant of others pain! Empower me be gracious and show your love! Help me extend mercy and walk with them through the process of healing, without becoming impatient if they don’t heal as quickly as I think they ought to. [again – yuck!].
Well, that’s about as much self examination and yucky admissions as I can take today. I will close with this quote from my most favorite blogger in the entire world … who also happens to be my daughter!
I recently attended a fund raiser for women in crisis and watched a video in which several young women shared their stories of abandonment, abuse, and failed relationships. My heart ached for each woman, and my mothers heart wanted so very badly to be able to give them a long and comforting embrace. Thankfully, their individual stories are gradually being transformed on a day-by-day basis.
And listening to the stories of these brave women reminded me of my own. I don’t often stop to think about it, but every so often I’m reminded of the girl I once was.
It took me a long time to get to this place of understanding, but I now know that the people who inflicted the most pain on my young soul were each dealing with their own family histories and experiences as best as they could. The truth is, when you put broken and wounded people together in a relationship – you usually get a big ol’ mess that often spills out onto others. I should know, because for a long time, I was broken and wounded … a big ol’ mess just waiting for a place to happen.
And happen I did. Like watching a train wreck in slow motion, from my current vantage point I can practically pinpoint the precise moment when the wheels first came off the track. It was during my early teen years, when while watching my parents play penny poker in the kitchen with the neighbors, I came to the brilliant conclusion that all my personal pain and sadness would be solved … by getting married.
When I got married, I would have a voice.
When I got married, I would be loved unconditionally.
When I got married, life would be full of roses and lollipops, and we would live happily ever after.
Honestly, I don’t even know where that came from – because my parent’s marriage wasn’t exactly the model of perfection. But in any case, that’s what I thought, and so as soon as I got old enough to date – I started looking for my future husband. I met him at 14 1/2. He was my 2nd boyfriend, and he was almost 4 years older than me. We married shortly after my 18th birthday. I’ll give you one guess how that turned out.
I divorced a few years later, and at 21 years old I took another spin on the wheel-of-marriage. Not a wise move, because all the pain and desperation I felt growing up (and thought marriage would somehow fix) was now multiplied exponentially … making me a prime candidate for the type of man they write country songs about (and not the good kind of country songs). I stayed in that marriage just shy of 10 years. It was almost my undoing.
There is a little tiny phrase in the Bible that I love to read. BUT GOD.
BUT GOD had other plans for my life. BUT GOD interceded. BUT GOD rescued. BUT GOD healed. BUT GOD transformed me from the inside out and completely changed the trajectory of my life. BUT GOD!!
Yes, the lives of those dear girls are being transformed on a day-by-day basis, just like mine was and continues to be … all because of those two little words.
Are you in need of a BUT GOD moment? Drop me a note or post a comment below and I’ll be happy to pray for you.
It’s a quiet morning at my house, and I’m grateful for this time of reflection after a very busy few weeks. With worship music playing in the background, my Bible beside me, and a cup of coffee at the ready, I simply want to share the gratitude that is in my heart this morning – this Resurrection Sunday morning.
A few years back, my family started celebrating Good Friday with a Christian Seder dinner. True, we are not Jewish, but it has become such a precious time for our family. An occasion to pause and recall the bondage from which we have been ransomed out of, to worship our God for His faithfulness, and to renew our faith in Him for victory over the circumstances of life.
It is good to praise you, Lord, to sing praises to God Most High. It is good to tell of your love in the morning and of your loyalty at night. It is good to praise you with the ten-stringed lyre and with the soft-sounding harp. Lord, you have made me happy by what you have done; I will sing for joy about what your hands have done. (Psalm 92:1-4)
This year, all three of my granddaughters sat at the table with us – but as you can imagine with three little ones (ages 4 months to almost 4 years), there were lots of interruptions. It was awesome! My heart was just so full watching my daughters and sons-in-love tend to their little girls, allowing them to participate as they are able.
And isn’t that just like what our Father God does with us? He invites us to His table, and allows us to participate as we are able. He always meets us where we are!
He meets us where we are, but because of His great love, He doesn’t leave us there! No. Just like my granddaughters will, over time, learn by the loving instruction of their parents (and Nana) to increasingly participate in our Seder celebration, so does our God continue to invite us into greater and greater knowledge of Him and all the Blood of Jesus secured for us.
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all your trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)
Have you ever tried to feed a fussy baby something you know they will enjoy if they will just trust you enough to take the first taste? I think that is sometimes how Jesus must feel with us. He has set before us at the banquet table every good thing, including things we desperately need and want. But so many times we’re too fussy to partake!
This morning, I pause to reflect on what the Blood of Jesus purchased for me. Because of Jesus, I now have a seat at the banquet table, a table that has been set with everything I need to live victoriously on this earth. And its all been paid for!
I’m hungry Lord! I need a hearty serving of everything you set out for me at the banquet table!! I need freedom! I need healing! I need joy, and peace, and provision! In short … I need everything that your Word promises is mine as a daughter of the Living God!
I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad that Jesus isn’t stingy with the serving sizes … and He never says no when you ask for more!! In fact, it is His greatest joy to give (and give again) out of the abundance of His great love!
In 2014, my family and I shall eat heartily of all that the Blood of Jesus has paid for. How about you?
In my last post, I spoke of being ‘thumped’ and asked the questions: What has God called you to do that requires more of you? What are you facing that requires the very best that you have?
As followers of Christ we are called put on the Armor of God and stand against the powers of darkness. I have written about this to some extent in previous posts, and will come back to it again another time. But not every challenge encountered is a demonic attack.
Sometimes, we are tried (tested) simply by encountering other peoples stuff or other natural circumstances of a fallen world. I believe this is the enemy’s A#1 go-to plan to come against those who bear the Name of Christ. To put circumstances around us that test our character and test our beliefs – hoping we will take offense at the test and walk away from the very One who has given us the victory (through Him) in all things.
And sometimes, what we are experiencing is the consequence (delayed or immediate) of our own choices, words, and actions. It is easy to point to outside circumstances for our pain and suffering, but it requires humility before God and a teachable spirit to allow Him to poke at and point at the areas in our life that need to be addressed for our greater good. In the same way that a loving parent will teach independence to an infant by allowing them to stand and fall over and over again until they develop – through testing – the balance, coordination and strength required to walk and eventually run on their own, our loving God allows us to undergo periods of testing in order to help us identify and confront the beliefs, circumstances, and behaviors that are holding us back from His best for us and poorly represent His character and His name.
Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)
Lord, give us wisdom to recognize an attack from a trial, and show us through your Word the proper response for the challenges we may encounter in our lives. When under attack, may we be quick to respond with boldness under the authority You bestowed upon us as Your ambassadors on this earth.
And when I’m ‘thumped’ by trials, may I recognize them as opportunities to be developed, strengthened, and even pruned/corrected. As opportunities to be ‘proven’ as authentic and of quality, reliable and durable.
Who will I be when I’m winning? Who will I be when I’m loosing? Who will I be when stuck between a rock and another rock?
Will I choose to act in a way that is unbecoming to someone who bears the name of ‘Christ follower’?
WilI I choose to stand boldly and confidently on the Word of God, fully relying on Him to bring this to a conclusion that is both for my good and His glory?
So what about all those challenges I have been journaling about for months and in some cases even years? Well, I would like to end this post by declaring who I am and what I have!
I have the Wisdom of Christ residing in me (Proverbs 2:1-6, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31), and am quick to implement the corrections that God asks of me, because I am a doer of the Word and not just a hearer (Proverbs 15:33, Colossians 1:9-14). That I take as my very own every benefit promised me as a joint-heir with Christ, knowing that nothing is impossible with God and no Word from God is without power or impossible of fulfillment (Isaiah 55:11, Luke 1:37, Romans 4:16). That I am now experiencing victory in managing all my attitudes and behaviors, and that I am more than a conqueror over every evil scheme of the enemy. (2Timothy 1:12, Philippians 1:6-11, 1 John 4:17)
Yup, that’s me – speaking of things that ‘be not’ … as though they are, until they are!