Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Good Medicine

I spent the last 2 days at the hospital. The presenting problem was shortness of breath and a constricted chest. I read the 10 signs of an impending heart attack on a google site as I laid on the couch and I had all 10. So, I was advised by my nearest and dearest to go to the emergency room. With great hesitation I did. Once in, the professionals went to work. Test after test after test after test. All came out clean, normal, healthy. Most of the attention was on my heart. My heart. I've engaged in many writing exercises getting in touch with my heart for healing purposes, but not for a long time. Thankfully, all the heart tests came out just fine but the presenting problem, minus the pain, is still here for me to look into. I long to be quiet. Read, write, ponder, hold Milly.

I remember watching a movie in the 80's about a woman who literally died from a broken heart. I don't even remember the name but the notion never left me. Now I know my heart is strong and the mending will come from the loving touch of Holy Spirit.

We all have hearts that break. That is how we're made. Tending to the breaks is not optional for a healthy life. Knowing our personal balm is good medicine.

Live a quiet life and work with your hands. Mind your own business. Thessalonians 4:11.

Quiet life: walk, pray, read, cook, hold baby, garden, write. Work with my hands: create still life, iron freshly laundered linens, fold, sort, type, wash, polish.

These are the things that soothe my soul and mend the tears of stress and striving.

Today I will work with my hands and move slowly and quietly through the day. I plan to trim herbs to refresh vases and my soul. I will bathe with lavender and soak in the strong arms of Jesus. I will leisurely peruse my decorating books, gleaning the artful pages for inspiration and just plain delight. I will eat well but not worry, just for today, about my weight. I delight in the reunion day home with Tom who longs for warmth, just arriving home from Seattle.

The most tender and healing part of of the two day stay at the hospital was time spent with Ellsa. As I write, tears spring up from my still tender heart. Ellsa stayed at my side every minute of the harrowing hospital experience. There are plenty moments to recall with laughter. We are funny together. There were also tears, hugging and soft, tender moments of bonding. She was nurse extraordinaire. She found the stash of heated flannel blankets, the ice machine and bottled water. She stayed overnight on the couch next to my bed. She freshened up the room each time I left for a new test on a cold pallet. She ordered up coffee when Patty came to visit and wrote thank yous to all the exceptional nurses we encountered. She wiped my chin when I was sick, held my hand, tight, when needles poked my veins.

God sent a heart healing at Thompson Peak Hospital, custom made for my precious daughter and me. He has no care for the astronomical cost those tests will cost. What is very apparent is that our loving Father does care about is us. He lavished upon us a priceless mother and child reunion. It was only a motion away.

Friday, January 16, 2015

This Thing is From Me

"Redefinition is a nightmare" says Anne Lamott, "we think we've arrived, in our nice Pottery Barn boxes, and that this or that is true. Then something happens that totally sucks, and we are in a new box, and it is like changing into clothes that don't fit, that we hate".

When redefinition is forced upon you, you're faced with two choices: hang on tight to what was, resist the change with increased self-will, or let go to what is, even though it comes without a map or guarantee. The what is, even though painful, could turn out to be a turning point that is good for you.

Have you woken up to a life you don't recognize? Do you feel like a stranger in your carefully planned out, once comfortable life? Are you scared to death about your future? Do you wish you could climb back into the comfortable place of before?

Eugene Peterson writes,"When the  superfluous is stripped away we find the essential and the essential is God. Normal life is full of distractions and irrelevancies. Then catastrophe: Dislocation. Exile. Illness. Accident. Job Loss. Divorce. Death. The reality of our lives is rearranged without anyone consulting us or waiting for our permission. We are no longer at home".

I found myself no longer "at home" after my second child was born. A year after my baby girl was sleeping through the night, I was still awake. Insomnia hit my nice little, dreamed about, normal life abrubtly. The irrelevancies and distractions of daily life were rearranged pretty quick. Insomnia is torture. I'll never forget the unasked for change and pain it brought. There was no way out but through.

Feelings and issues from childhood, I'd put to the side or unknowingly stuffed, began to percolate to the surface. Unwanted feelings of anger, resentment and sadness were awakened, not in the manageable light of day but instead, when I was dead tired but awake in thewee hours of the night. The good advice that promised to help, sifted down to what worked: journal, meditate, and walk.

In desperation, I added kneeling by my bed in prayer. I let go to Jesus, what I could not control, which was my life falling apart due to lack of sleep and the profound change that was happening within, because of it. I reluctantly accepted my new life, now in God's hands and continued to persue, with Him, journal writing, walking in silence and meditating upon His word.

I'm still trying to work out, what in the world He would have me do with this changed life. I guess seeing my life from the end will tell the story. The wake-up call in the 80's was pivotal, good for me as it turns out.

What about you? Are you faced with a turning point? Are you open to a road less taken?  As my mom often said, this too shall pass, and it will. The opportunity for a changed life, awake to what really matters, will pass. If you hear from the Lord today, don't harden your heart. Don't go back to sleep.

My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread. It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow which to rest your weary head. This thing is from Me.
Streams in the Desert
1 Kings 12:24  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Home Sings Me of Sweet Things

Bonnie Raitt sings "home, sings me of sweet things, my life there has it's own wings, fly over the mountains though I'm standing still." I have my own wings when I'm home.

Tom and I will be moving into our new home soon. There are lots of wonderful remodeling tasks to do first, but we signed the papers and have the keys.

Wherever I land, I can make a nest homey with what I got but it will be a real homecoming to unload the POD. I'm looking forward to spreading my wings as I unpack boxes, creating the still-lifes I love with the treasures I've collected over the years. I look forward to rooting-in to this home, remodeling with materials we love and creating garden spaces with the potted plants and citrus trees I've collected since September. I am very thankful.

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged".
Deuteronomy 31:8
When I first came to Arizona I had no home. I was uprooted. It's always been important to me to be at home. I wondered about the big picture. I questioned God. Why am I here? What's the plan?  I see now how the Lord went ahead to prepare our new life.

Yesterday, Jesus Calling said, "Take refuge in the shelter of my wings, where you are absolutely secure. I lead you on from glory to glory." Even if I would've read that three years ago, would I have trusted His wings for shelter?

We lived in two other rentals after we moved from this first one and then spent last summer in Seattle (blessing) while we waited for financing to come together. My stuff has been packed up for a year now. I've been discouraged.

We made 7 offers on seven different houses as we searched for the right one. We ended up buying the one we lived in three years ago when we first came to Arizona. We had no idea it would come on the market when it did. 

He knew I loved the walk, just across the street from our house; a gravel road undulating over the rocky, people-less terrain. We had lots of talks on this walk.

He knew I felt refreshed when we drove north, out of town, mountains in the distance, as if to our retreat.

He remembered how we loved climbing the spiral staircase up to the rooftop,
punctuating the end of the day with a glass of wine, taking in His glorious painting in the sky.
Lord, I wish I would've trusted more that You'd be with me, would go ahead and make a way. I wish  I could relax and be grateful in all moments, even the discouraging ones. Your timing is always perfect. This whole process of finding a home to buy has happened perfectly. In hindsight. Faith is not knowing where I'm being led but trusting the one who is leading, says Oswald Chambers. This is the lesson, what I really want to remember. Thank You for Your patience.

I long to live in the shelter of Your wings, Lord, much more than even home. I put these words down, as an alter to You, so that I will remember and will tell about how You made a way in the desert for Tom and I. From glory to glory you lead.    
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.
 I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
Psalms 61:2-4
  • What does home look like to you ?
  • Are you at home now or are you waiting?
  • When you spread your wings, where are you?
  • How have you been led, in hindsight, in just the perfect way?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pray with ink...it's more than a journal, it's a relationship. Twelve steps to make a once- in- a- while journal practice into a life-long relationship with God

There is huge interest in journal writing. People say they'd like to write or even that they should be writing in a journal. They've heard, like I did, that it is a safe place to vent and release anger, come to know feelings and designate a space for thoughts to whirl on the page rather than in their heads. It is. The problem is, as soon as the "crisis" calms, they look back on what they've written, discover the venom they've spewed and decide they would just as soon not revisit. Who can blame them? 

Can you imagine writing in your journal all that is on your heart and mind to God instead of to yourself? This is prayer.

What if you could talk to Him, Jesus, in a focused, genuine conversation revealing your heart with a sense of trust that He's really there, alive and hears you. Are you willing to try?
Here are some suggestions to hold close in a new practice of journal writing called, Pray with Ink.

 Pray With Ink…The Twelve Steps

1. Make a commitment to talk with Him on the pages of your journal. Start with three days a week.

2. Set up a space, before you go to bed, that you will look forward to coming to in the morning. Gather a Bible, devotional, journal and pen in a basket. Make your space special. Light a candle. Treat yourself to a vase of your favorite flowers.

3. Write your prayers in the morning, before talking or the routines of the day break in. Savor the mystical time between sleep and the new day. Start by reading scripture or a devotional to prime the pump.

4. If using your computer, go straight to prayer without passing to emails or Facebook.

5. As you would write a letter, date the page and begin with, Dear Lord, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit.

6. Turn off your inner grammar, spelling and should/shouldn't censor. Don’t suppress your feelings but be mindful of who it is you're talking to with a reverent spirit.

7. Keep your pen moving. Write what's there. Natalie Goldberg says in her book, Writing Down the Bones, when you get stuck, write out the words, "what I really want to say is.....….". It works.
8. Read scripture out loud to Jesus. Let Him speak to you through His word. Write your response on the page of your journal. Let Him know the words and phrases that are especially meaningful to you.
9. If you find you've written something that may hurt another simply shred the paper (or delete) and ask God to help you with that person or issue.

10. Let your loved ones know your journal is private and if they read it, they do so at their own risk. 

11. Ask questions of the Lord and let the Holy Spirit answer on the page.

12. Write the names of those you are praying for on the back pages of your journal to keep them separate and available as you spend time in intercessory prayer.

Writing your prayers is a sure way of keeping a close and intimate relationship with the Lord. You will find that all you have hidden away inside will be changed.  Your heart will soften, your soul will be cleansed and your mind renewed. Writing your prayers will change your life from the inside out. Will you try it? 





Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Good Hand of the Lord

Tools are made, hands are born.
William  Blake

A new experience for me: a circle of women, hands placed gently on my head and shoulders, one at a time, spoke a prayer for me. What an act of love. 

Hands touching another in prayer and care is a gift the Lord has given us. We've been equipped to express love. O Lord, how perfectly You have made us to love and be loved.

 We use our open hands for loving acts, closed hands, not so much. What can you do with a fist? What are you holding onto so tightly? Can you open your fist just a little bit? How does it feel to surrender the tightness to His care?

Right now, are your hands in a tight fist or open?
  • What can an open hand do that a closed fist cannot?
  • Is it time you ask God to help you open your fist?
  • Have you reached out to the Lord with an open hand to receive His gift of new life?
  • Do you use your hands to express the gifts He has given you?
Paul tells Timothy:

 "For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh
the gift of God which is in you
through the laying on of my hands.
 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,
 but of power and love and discipline."
2 Timothy 1:6

The Bible mentions hands 593 times. I always underline a passage that speaks of hands. God laid His hand upon me in 1988. That was the end of Chapter 1. Has the Lord's hand been laid upon you? How has He changed you?
Being touched and prayed for by godly women who care for me has marked a turning point. Honestly, the love I felt by the touch and the words spoken have changed me. My faith has increased. Many small miracles have been born from that day, just a few weeks ago. I won't forget the women or the day and will be quick now to gather a group to lay hands on another in prayer. 
The good hand of the Lord is upon those who love Him.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Get Up. Be Strong and Very Courageous.

 After the death of Moses the servant of God,
 God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:
“Moses my servant is dead. Get going.
 Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people.
 Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel.
I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—
just as I promised Moses.
 From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River,
the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea.
 It’s all yours.
 All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you.
 In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you.
I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you.
Strength! Courage!
You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors.
Give it everything you have, heart and soul.
Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it.
Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going.
And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind.
 Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.
Haven’t I commanded you?
 Strength! Courage!
Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged.
God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
Joshua 1:1-9 The Message
Grief is different for everyone. There is no time limit. There is no absolute order to the 5 stages: denial, bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance. Grief is personal. It's foggy. Waves of grief come out of the blue and take your breath away. There is no escape when you're in it and no one can do it for you. My five words to describe grief are sad, scary, uncomfortable, hopeless and lonely. 
God speaks to Joshua after he spent only a month grieving for Moses. Not a very long time if you ask me.The loss of his mentor, friend and leader must have weighed very heavy on his heart not to mention the daunting vision the Lord had given him to cross the Jordan River into the promised land. They were so close to accomplishing the mission of the 40 year journey. Now it was up to Joshua to lead and he didn't feel up to it.
Have you ever been on the road to accomplishing your dreams and goals with the ones you love only to find yourself smack dab in a different situation all together? Your leader is gone. The plans have changed. Your heart is broken. 
After Moses died, Joshua was called to lead the Israelites to the promised land. Moses laid his hand upon Joshua before he died and filled him with the spirit of wisdom. But still, Joshua must have had personal doubts. In the scripture passage above, God tells Joshua to have courage and strength twice. God knew of Joshua's doubts and needed to hear those words.
God said get going. It was time to get up and out of bed, drag a comb across his head. I would never want to be the one to tell a grieving soul to get up and get going, you've got an important hard and scary journey ahead of you. Would you?
God didn't say right out that it was going to be hard, but did imply it. God gave Joshua instructions and promises that he would need to be successful.
  • I will be with you.
  • I will not forsake you.
  • Be obedient to the law.
  • Meditate and ponder on the words of your Bible, day and night.
  • Read, recite, and meditate on the Bible.
If I was Joshua I would have been looking everywhere for an out. How about you? I can hear Joshua say, "I'm not ready yet, Lord. I am not strong enough. The Jordan River is too wide. Maybe the dream died with Moses".
Tag, you're it Joshua. No way out.
Are you in a place in your life right now that you oh so wish you weren't? Must you lead when you can barely lift your head from the pillow? Do the waves of grief overcome you when you're not expecting them, knocking you right off your feet and taking your breath away?
Only God can tell you when it is time to get up and get going. Only he knows the perfect time.
In the mean time, there are times of comfort and grace that will soothe your soul that come from a friend's touch, a word of comfort spoken, the blessing of time given to rest and be quiet when ordinarily you would be expected to be on. A bath, a walk, a nap.
The sheer terror of being in a leading position you didn't ask for and facing the waves that come out of the ocean of grief, may feel like more than you can bear. I wouldn't want to be the one to say, be strong and courageous. But God can and will. And when He does you'll know you can be.
I wish there was a way out of grief. There isn't. There is a way through, though. Hang on. Don't give up hope. Call out, Jesus! Whisper, Jesus each time the wave sneaks up on you. Dive into the wave. Don't fight it. Pray. Believe. Remember Joshua. Remember God's promise: "I will be with you. I will not fail or forsake you."


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Bye 2013

"Mary was a nobody who became greater than everybody, simply because God came to her and she responded in the humblest possible way. She reasoned, she doubted, she surrendered, she connected with others. You can, too."
-Timothy Keller
I am so thankful Lord You came to me. You invaded my life.

Like Mary, teach me to be humble, Lord, and may I continue to reason through all the ideas, changes, people and words that come to me on a daily basis. Guide me, please by Your Holy Spirit.

I  doubt when my prayers go unanswered, but then Lord, I remember Your promises. You are faithful.

I surrender Lord, daily. My strong will gets in my way, gets in the way You have for me. This strong will has helped me Lord but surely it gets in the way. Surrender, Surrender, Surrender.

Oh Lord, thank You for the new community of women I've connected to here in the valley, and also my cherished, aged friendship with Patty. Thank you. Never in my life has such an honest, loving and accepting community opened up to me. I am forever thankful. Amen
Here is my top ten list, in no particular order for you, my darling reader. Maybe you will be inspired to make a list of your own favorite, most poignant moments, your most significant thoughts and accomplishments. I look forward to connecting with you in 2014. Write me. I would love to hear from you.

1. Favorite book of the year- Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.

 Zamperini’s story seems designed to wrench from self-respecting critics all the blurby adjectives we normally try to avoid: It is amazing, unforgettable, gripping, harrowing, chilling, and inspiring.
 It sucked me in and swept me away.  It kept me reading late into the night.  I could not … (it really hurts me to type this) … put it … (must find the strength to resist) … down.”  – New York Magazine

2. Special moment- Swimming out to the buoy. Hood Canal,Washington
3. Favorite photo: My kids love for each other

4. Making pancakes with Maddie.

5. Saying good-bye to all my earthly possessions.

6. Traveling with my Tommy to spend the summer in Washington; driving through the wild and beautiful Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

 7. Skipper's passing

8. Biggest accomplishment: Pray With Ink.
9. Project: Living A Handmade Life website:
              The thing always happens that you believe in;
 and the belief in a thing makes it happen.
 -Frank Lloyd Wright
10. Walking with Alistair's Truth For Life. I'm so thankful for his teaching. Today was warm, blue and fresh.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

For the Fatherless, Hope

It's been 5 years since my Dad died. He died two weeks after my brother Phil.

I was never close to my Dad. In fact I held a lot of resentment inside and shame with out. He wasn't the Dad I wanted. How sad is that?

In the early years before my parent's divorce I'm sure I looked up to him, however I was the youngest in the family and he was busy with his entrepreneurial endeavors, midlife longings and already established bonds with my older sibs. He was nick-named Jolly Jack.

When driving, my Dad would wave to neighbors with a smile. Everyone was a potential friend. That wave and smile probably made someone's day. I loved that about him and remember to do the same.

By the time I was ten, my parents marriage and it's dissolution was full under way. They say you can't get divorced without anger and a fight. They proved this to be true. My parents were 1966 trailblazers. I knew no one else whose parents were divorced. It was a chaotic time. I chose to side with my mom. She needed me.

I was so thankful to be married to Dale. He was a devoted father and husband. Although we haven't had the years and we didn't raise our children together, Tom too is a devoted father and husband. I knew from an early age a husband and father of good character was top priority for me. I wanted to be worthy for such a man, so my character developed as well.

Disappointment is my go-to word for describing Dale's death. W.H. Auden uses perfect words to describe.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

But love did come again. Bereft hours and moments of undulating grief are not forgotten, but there is a sweetness to life again.
Alistair Begg shared the above poem on truthforlife.org. It hit me in the solar plexus when I heard him read it with his Scottish brogue. He referred to it as the separating condition of death.
But God's love goes on and on and on. God's love never changes. God's words can be counted upon. God never dies.

Dear Lord, You invaded our world 2000 years ago. Through Jesus You became visible.

You invaded my life 25 years ago. Sanctification has been the natural outpouring and maturing process because I love you because You first loved me. C.S. Lewis writes, "What most distinguishes the gospel from legalism is that legalism says God will love us if we're good, while the gospel tells us God will make us good because He loves us".

Now, even though I grew up without an earthly father influence, my Dad who professed to have no regard for You and even though I lost the love of my youth and father of my children You are here with me.

You lavish upon me wisdom and give me strength I can and do depend on! You see me as if I'd never sinned or never disobeyed. (Tuillian Tchividjian's words.)  Glory. When I get down on my knees or sit here to write with You I know You hear. I know You love me.

I found this prayer egg in my Bible.You never know when those little eggs will fall out at the perfect time. The full version follows.
But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham My friend,
You whom I have taken from the ends
of the earth,
And called from it's remotest parts
And said to you, 'You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not rejected you.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I
am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My
righteous hand.
-Isaiah 41:9-10
Today on the anniversary of my Dad's death, I ask that You tell him that I honor him. I want to think that in the last moment of his life, the very last moment, Jesus, You spoke to him and told him You had always loved him. I'm hoping my Dad was so overwhelmed with delight that he exuberantly said, yes Jesus! I want to be with You in heaven. I delight to think of a joyous reunion when one day we will see each other again.
In the meantime, I do not feel abandoned. I do not feel fatherless. I feel the peace of my Father surrounding me. Candle lit, Bible opened.


Friday, December 6, 2013


Then, six months after Zacharias’ vision, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a Galilean town, Nazareth by name, to a young woman who was engaged to a man called Joseph.

The girl’s name was Mary. The angel entered her room and said, “Greetings to you, Mary. O favoured one!
—the Lord be with you!”

Mary was deeply perturbed at these words and wondered what such a greeting could possibly mean. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; God loves you dearly. You are going to be the mother of a son, and you will call him Jesus.

He will be great and will be known as the Son of the most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather, David, and he will be king over the people of Jacob for ever. His reign shall never end.”

Then Mary spoke to the angel, “How can this be,” she said, “I am not married!”
But the angel made this reply to her—“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the most high will overshadow you. Your child will therefore be called holy—the Son of God.

Your cousin Elisabeth has also conceived a son, old as she is. Indeed, this is the sixth month for her, a woman who was called barren. For no promise of God can fail to be fulfilled.”

“I belong to the Lord, body and soul,” replied Mary, “let it happen as you say.” And at this the angel left her.

With little delay Mary got ready and hurried off to the hillside town in Judea where Zacharias and Elisabeth lived. She went into their house and greeted her cousin.

When Elisabeth heard her greeting, the unborn child stirred inside her and she herself was filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is your child! What an honour it is to have the mother of my Lord come to see me! Why, as soon as your greeting reached my ears, the child within me jumped for joy!

Oh, how happy is the woman who believes in God, for he does make his promises to her come true.”

Then Mary said,
 “My heart is overflowing with praise of my Lord,
my soul is full of joy in God my Saviour.
For he has deigned to notice me,
his humble servant and,
after this,
all the people who ever shall be
 will call me the happiest of women!

The one
who can do all things
 has done great things for me—
oh, holy is his Name!
Truly, his mercy rests
on those who fear him
 in every generation.
 He has shown the strength of
 his arm,
 he has swept away the high and mighty.
He has set kings down from their thrones
and lifted up the humble.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things,
 and sent the rich away with empty hands.
Yes, he has helped Israel, his child:
 he has remembered
the mercy that he promised to our forefathers,
to Abraham
 and his sons for evermore!”
 So Mary stayed with Elisabeth about three months,
 and then went back to her own home.
-Luke 1: 26-56 J.B. Phillips

Dear Lord, I love and depend upon Your word. I have a willing ear and an attitude of obedience. I hunger for You and Your presence. I also resist trusting You and my will gets in the way. Oh, that I could be just a little bit more like Mary.

I am willing and ready to be a birth-giver to Your will for my life. My cup overflows with thanksgiving for the changes You’ve made and are making in my life. Thank You for the ideas and plans You have given me. Lord please take away the doubts and  the resistance to accepting what is now. Doubts and resistance slow the labor. 
Lord, stepping out in faith isn't easy. Your angel Gabriel announced to Mary the plans You had for her life. She was chosen to be the mother of Jesus, Emmanuel- God with us. The plan didn't make sense yet she trusted and did not resist You. I want to believe in Your promises. I don't want to resist Your will. I want to accept what is, whatever it is, as it is, just for today.
You ask that I trust You, just as Mary did with her heart and soul. I am trusting in Your whisper, God. You have spoken to my hungry heart. You say, step out in faith, be obedient, trust Me. 

After Mary heard Your news, she got up and immediately went to her trusted friend and cousin.There, she knew she would be welcomed and nurtured. Elizabeth's home was a safe haven. Thank You Lord for the friends You have chosen for me. I am so thankful. I'm clear that isolation is not good.

Living a disciplined life, a life obedient to You, comes with a cost. I tend to prefer the path of least resistance. Thank You for being patient. Please Lord, remind me also to be patient with myself and my loved ones. Please give me courage to move on what I hear from You. I will count the cost of following You and trust You, just for today, for Your glory.
Like Mary, I need time to ponder in my heart the changes You are making within me, Lord. My journal is the place where I come to talk with You and work out the visions You've given me. It helps so much to see my thoughts in black and white and to understand, with Your help, where my will is getting in Your way. I am stubborn, Lord. I lay the words down and ask that You help me to line my thinking up with Yours.

My life is in Your hands. All of it. I will trust in those words.
Help me remember to be slow to speak, slow to anger and quick to listen. Help me to remember I am birthing the baby dreams You've given to me and I am nurturing faith as small as a mustard seed. I know this process requires tender care and patience. I long to be wholly obedient and dependent to Your will. 

Glory to You, Lord Jesus.
  • Do you belong to the Lord heart and soul?
  • What is the dream or vision the Lord has given You?
  • Who do you trust to share your dream or vision ?
  • Will you go to your journal and ponder the dreams and visions the Lord has given you? 
  • Do you trust that the promises of the Lord will not fail?
As you go forth in this advent season I hope you will take time to ask the Lord just what it is He has for you to birth. I hope You have a trusted friend to share with and that you will not isolate. I am praying that you will ponder your dreams and visions and will take a leap of faith as you hear from the Holy Spirit. I pray courage for you. I hope you will trust in His word and the promise He has given you.

In Jesus' name, Amen.










Friday, November 29, 2013

The Messiah

On Thanksgiving Handel's Messiah plays loud at my house. I know my sisters, in their own homes across the miles also have it playing and are singing along. We were raised this way. So many traditions from childhood have gone by the wayside but the ritual of The Messiah, played on Thanksgiving lives on.

Our family would dress up and go to the University of Puget Sound field house during the Christmas season to listen to the choir, soloists and orchestra perform Handel's Messiah. I remember sitting next to my brother Phil, proud to wear my new Christmas dress and patent leather Maryjane's, giggling about the man singing about coming for tea, come for tea my people. My sister and I had the opportunity to sing with the choir at UPS years later. We sang the tenor part because they had enough altos.

One Christmas when I was 7 or 8 I copied the scripture, the words of each song that were printed on the album cover, in an illustrated book I made for my grandma. Writing and singing the words imprinted scripture on my heart even though at the time I had no idea it came from the Bible. I was raised with a love of scripture without even knowing it! Grace.

Last year I introduced our granddaughter Madeline to the Hallelujah chorus. Beside playing track # 16 on our CD, her electronic piano has a number for the Hallelujah chorus she's memorized and dials to. She plays it year round and sings along. Very cute to hear her sing,  for- the- Lord- God- omnipotent- reigneth- in her three year old way. Hallelujah will stay with her all her life. I will make sure.

What are your holiday traditions? How did they come about? What traditions have your children adopted? Do you continue your traditions out of a sense of joy or because you think you should?

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. Not every year will be so. We shared our feast with some new friends with tender hearts who had recently lost loved ones and their grief was palpable. I am so thankful He tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He invites us to come beside Him and offers to carry our load when it becomes too heavy for us alone.

Will you trust Him to walk with you and share your burdens through the holidays and beyond?

On to Christmas we go...Hallelujah!