Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome to the jungle....

These ladies are amazing! We are wading through the forest of blogs and new social media options.... Oi!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

power in pain

It’s the painful testings that hold the possibility of powerful testimony — and every trial is but steps in your triumphant march. --Ann Voskamp

as i was reading this daily gift that comes in to my inbox every morning, i was struck between the eyes and in my heart by the above sentence.

painful testing

yes. there have been painful testings. how will i love? will i enable? will i keep my secret or will i share? will i hate God for what I have been through, blaming him for my inner suffering when many of the answers of comfort i was looking for were in front of me the entire time? will i blame myself for what has happened?

BLAME. this word haunts. it has been evident since the Fall in Genesis. it is a consistent thread woven through the history of humanity. there's always a reason, right? always someone or something to blame for the choices we make.

there's a reason that blame rhymes with shame.... blame brings it about.

SHAME. this word is a heavy burden. so many people carry it. Brian carried it. i carry it. i carry it for him a lot of the time. shame is what hinders the testimony from being powerful. the shame hinders the testimony from being heard. sigh.

powerful testimony

the possibilities of powerful testimony are there but shame can get in the way. it is a triumphant march for the greater purpose of a great God who loves me and who will receive all the glory in the evidence of him in my life.

lay down the shame that piggybacks on blame. give up the pain in exchange for the power of The One who heals and makes new. hold your head high and march triumphantly in the victory that God has already claimed.

this song comes to mind...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Good Friday

yesterday was exhausting but a "Good" Friday. i had 2 tours to lead at the farm and i don't think i have ever been so exhausted after a tour. Brian's brother and his family came to the farm and hung out with my kids. so good for my little ones to be with family, especially Brian's. it helps them keep and maintain that connection to where they come from.

after the tours, we headed out for lunch and then to Brian's mom's place [Bro & family came along too]. her husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes. he uses oxygen when necessary and often finds himself having to take it easy for fear he overexert himself and become out of breath. we talked about what is going on now physically with him, intermittently chatting, laughing and reminiscing amidst the moments of serious talk.

at the end of the evening, before my kids and i left, i felt compelled to pray over these two people whom i have come to care for and love very much. i have never felt so bold or comfortably empowered as i did in those moments last night. the Holy Spirit touched hearts. i so want for these two to know and love Jesus... that they might be greeted in heaven by one that has gone before. and so that they might have Hope.

I pray, Father God, for HOPE & healing to reign down in a mighty way upon this family! heal their hearts and speak to them in the quiet moments when all must seem so overwhelming. may they trust you and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. reveal yourself, O God, in this Easter season! may they know it's true meaning and purpose as the old has gone and the NEW has come triumphantly, Lord. In you, we have hope. In you, we find peace. Make it real to them, Holy Spirit. Make it real to all people... Amen.

we missed out on our monthly evening gathering with some friends from church, but this was better... a "Good" Friday, indeed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

a challenge

up at the mt. hermon writers conference in northern CA, i spent every morning i was there with an incredible guide through the hills and valleys of non-fiction writing. she led us; she grabbed our hand and pulled us up when we needed it; she let us rest when it was necessary, everything grounded in God's perfect and applicable Word.

monday morning she gave us a challenge: go out in to nature and take notes on what you see. well, the minute i stepped outside, i felt a metaphor coming on. the following is what happened:

a challenge. go out into nature and observe your surroundings. i step out in to the cold and it shocks me like a kiss from a stranger. sweet but from a stranger, yes. i look around me. i have not yet explored these places. i have only viewed the outside from indoors. as i have sat in these workshops, the out of doors has beckoned to me but the quest for knowledge and direction has not led me out there, but rather to be a part of the learning conglomerate inside rooms.

there is a view from my sleeping quarters. beautiful trees standing tall. in the wind the young ones sway, but the older trees with generations of rings and thick bark stand tall, unmoved. water flows, still at points and white water at others. and the sound -- the white noise of water rushing serves as the constant background to the music of the wind sweeping through the redwood tops creating sweet melody and the occasional welcome interruption of a bird calling to its partner.

below and to the side, i notice a worn wooden cross. the center of something. i see seats. when will i go there? i want to see that place. i want to BE in that place.

so the challenge comes.

i know where i am going.

to the foot of that cross.

so i step out to greet the stranger. i walk pathways of familiarity -- downhill is slight. flat and more even pathways through the center of camp. then the downhill slope. my toes are pressed to the end of my shoes. it's uncomfortable. i feel the need to steady myself not wanting to run for fear i fall down the hill.

then a resting place. even ground, only to go up and then down again, my toes once again being cramped. this is all too familiar.

i get to the arena and i am unsettled. i notice someone else is there too. this place is supposed to be just for me.

not wanting to disturb, i sneak in at the back, top row. will i be brave enough to get up, walk down and sit at the foot of the cross as i had hoped? time is escaping me. i need to take action -- i am afraid.

one foot in front of the other.

eyes on Jesus. [these words are familiar....]


just. let. go.

i see movement out of the corner of my eye and footsteps echo over the sound of the rushing water and birdsong.

i must surrender.

Jesus, i am here. at the foot of the cross. i am laying it down. everything.

i surrender.

the ground is level at the foot of your cross. i am not better .... but not worse. no one is more worthy than another. and there is room for everyone.

as i go out from this place, i will take another path. it is uphill. it will exhaust and fatigue me. there will be a crossroads and even voices that discourage me along the way. but i will emerge from the shadows into the sun with victory.

and when i return to my starting point, i will have support, love and encouragement to take the steps the Lord ha planned. with courage. with love.

and Jesus' ever-present hand holding mine and carrying me when i need it.

and like Peter, i need not know where i am going. if i take my eyes of of Jesus, i will sink in the sea of my overwhelmed mind. i need only to acknowledge that i love my Lord and that I will take up the cross and follow. He is telling me to GO.

Not to us, but to you, o Lord.

i am ready.

i will GO.

my metaphorical mind led me on an amazing journey, God speaking every step of the way.

i am ready.

i will go.

**Note: the arena where the cross was placed is called Victory Circle. hmmm.