Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When Waiting Has Arrived

We have waited 17 years for this day... feeling it may never come (can time really pass that fast?)  I think he must realize the significance too because he lingers a little longer, stands a little closer, and even gives me a warm hug when all is done. 

He knows my mother's heart cries at simple things, and this is no exception.  Honestly, I think his heart is touched too.

We have a tradition in our family.  One we have had since kids began to pile up and "But I want to put the star on this year" might be heard. 

We decorate the tree together, each has their own ornaments gifted from grandparents (and parents!).  Some made, some saved... but all make it on the tree with love and patience I find remarkable year-after-year.

Then that moment...
The angel is placed on her regal bow, ready to do God's bidding and watch over our house through the season.  Each year one child gets a turn.  With four children rotating, a 'year' is forever!  We did the math when he was 12, Zach's turn would come his senior year of high school... his last Christmas home as a 'child', his last Christmas to have the blessing of holding a peace of heaven in his hands and saying, "I did that" under the roof of mom and dad.

Everyone else is excited to watch the final touch be added to the tree.  My eyes are a little less dry this Christmas.  He waited so long... I waited feeling like it would never come... and it is here.

How does that happen?  Like a blink and we are there.  Is waiting really waiting after all? 

I know it isn't an encouraging word today... scripture to make the day a bit lighter... but perhaps a bit of testimony, a realization of one mom; that age-old-idea that our children grow up too fast and I really wouldn't mind waiting a little longer!  But I am grateful God guides their hearts.  That the joy of each passing season can remain.  And when times are rough, and they have been rough in spots over the years, there is always hope.  Sometimes hope simply grows in the waiting.

Well, maybe I do have a scripture to share...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
- Romans 15:13


May your waiting be filled with peace and hope as this Christmas season begins.

Many blessings to all of you,









Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simply Thankful





As I bake and prepare and look to Thanksgiving 2011 I have no words more than what I posted on our KOG website today.  I am simply Thankful.  Thankful for family, for a roof over our heads, for love and laughter, for a husband who understands and listens and hearts grown closer to Christ each day, each year that passes.

Thanksgivings past, laughter and smiles of some who are gone and most who are far, fill my mind with warm memories that make each celebration here, in this place, with my growing brood, that much more special.  Will they have memories like mine?  Will they remember love and laughter... I think so. 

Generations will come and go but the most lasting as the years pass is the Father's love, the joy it leaves, and the Spirit that carries on.

May your Thanksgiving be full of love, hope and Faith that each passing year lives on in His Grace.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stories of Thanksgiving

I just had to share this today...

... in case you can get to your local library or book store and nab a copy.  The kids and I started reading it today and it is already endearing.  Of course, I will read anything Alcott (and yes, I know she has written some dark novels but many of her other writings are delightful).  Seeing this on the library shelf was no exception.  After all, the kids are starting to get too old to really take a lot from Clifford's Thanksgiving anymore (although, Clifford is always a hit!!)

But I have to say, reading today as Alcott wrote how this family all pitched in and did their "chorin'" not because they got anything from it but they did it out of love... I had to pause and revel at what family truly was then and what it truly should be now.  God calls us to serve each other, gladly, and the Bassett family in An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving truly serves one another.  I can see this book becoming a staple in our annual reading diet!

I guess, while I am at it, I might as well share our other two staples:

Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Child and (most importantly) illustrated by David Catrow is the best.  David's pictures make this version of the classic song we have all sung growing up!  The kids and I both get some great giggles watching the antics of the little boy in this story as he and his parents battle traffic and mountain roads (and other hilarious obstacles) to get to grandma's for dinner and pumpkin pie!

and
We read this every Thanksgiving eve, like Twas the Night Before Christmas, it builds the excitement and enjoyment of the season.  This book is near and dear as it causes us to think beyond ourselves.  I still get choked up every Thanksgiving eve as I read the last few verses. 

As we each take time this week to be Thankful, I would like to share that I am truly thankful to be here sharing with all of you!

God Bless you for a wonderful happy Thanksgiving!



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stuck To The Windshield!

 I walked out to my car a couple weeks ago.  Ready to run errands, something on the windshield caught my eye.

 At first my attention was drown by the beauty of my two favorite seasons coming to an impact right there on the car!  Zooming in with the camera, something else caught but this time in my heart:  the leaf was stuck. 

I thought I would try driving with it... surely it will blow off.  Even after dashboard heaters warm the icy windows... it is stuck.  My heart pulled more; stuck.
I glimpsed people in that leaf.  Driving down the highway and seeing it stay firm.  It couldn't move if it wanted to.  Don't people get stuck too?  Not like the leaf, we do have a choice but much like my frozen plastered friend, we cling to the windshield.  Is it fear?  Is it pain?  Is it uncertainty?  Is it simply that we don't realize, until we are barreling down the highway of life, that we have gone and gotten ourselves stuck?
 I don't want to be stuck.  I have been stuck before.  It hurts to get ripped off the glass going full speed!  I personally prefer the soft thaw and gentle lifting.  No, I take that back... I prefer to not be stuck at all! 


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  - Ephesians 2:10


God has called us to His service, to glorify His name... not to be stuck to a windshield!  Every time I feel the ice setting in, I try to remember.... HE is counting on me, He wants to use me, work through me and He can't do that if I am stuck to the windshield!

I pray, today, that you won't let yourself be stuck to the windshield.  Let God use you to the fullest.  Be blown by the wind not held down by the frost!

Bless you dear friend,



 




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Worship Matters

“Every glimpse that is given us of heaven and of God’s created beings is always a glimpse of worship and rejoicing and praise because God is who He is... Any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” A. W. Tozer 

I tend to have 'theme' weeks.  I can't explain why accept that God speaks to me not usually once, but multiple times on a subject. 

You can see this theme played out on our KOG website and "Where He Is" today.  It started with church on Sunday and the idea of Worship.

Then it was the hard-hitting quote above received in email.

But most importantly, it was the conviction that God planted deep inside of me and how he wants our heartfelt worship.

I noticed an article title on one of the link-ups today, "Responding to Trials with Worship" and I rejoiced to see someone else experiencing the same thing.  Her article was about personal worship, and I truly believe all worship begins there, with self and God and that first step towards salvation.  And then it grows....

Worship

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 
- Psalm 95:6 

It is so important that God has Holy inspired men to write about it throughout the entire Bible.  From the beginning to the end and everywhere in between.

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 
- Exodus 34:8 
“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.
- Isaiah 12:5

And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 
- Revelation 14:7

Personal worship, such as in the linked article above, is of vital importance.  And while I know God is not a building, I have come to know that He is moving within them.
Being part of a lively worship, from music to fellowship to message, grows faith and plants a spirit of submission to the One who calls us into his presence every minute of every day.
And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”  
- Luke 4:8

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  
- John 4:24

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. 
- Psalm 29:2


What if we all, every time we came to God in worship, whether in prayer or Bible reading or song, truly bowed our hearts at His awesomeness and truly recognized how amazing and powerful He is?  What if we all worshipped in church on Sunday, as the music plays, as if we just knew HE was in the room desiring to see outwardly what we profess inwardly?


I have some African missionary friends who have returned home to minister.  While they were here I will never forget how they brought life to worship in our small town church.  Even with simple guitars and a quartet of singers, my African friends were all but dancing in the isles, hands raised high and, some days, tears down cheeks because they knew God was watching and they wanted to show Him, submit to him, bow before him in wonder.

What if we worshiped like we really believed it made a difference?  What if we worshipped like we really knew God was watching?


And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- Colossians 3:14-17

When a friend blesses us with an amazing and unexpected gift we often get excited, we might get giddy, we may even cry.  God has blessed us with the most amazing gift, how can we really contain that joy?  Unless we don't actually realize it's value.

My prayer is to become someone who, no matter when or where I worship, I truly feel and realize WHO I am worshiping and I show on the outside the gratitude and joy I feel on the inside.  I want to believe that what I do makes a difference.  I want to worship as I know God is watching.

I pray, also, that you might feel that overwhelming joy and excitement and deep gratitude for what our savior did!  That, if you don't already, you might become someone who worships like they know God is watching too!



Bless you sweet friends,


Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory.  To read the first installment in a brand new series of books about God's divine work in one person's life, click below



Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's a Choice

It's a path we must choose.  When we seek to follow Christ, be more like Him, reflect the Kingdom in all we do.  It isn't always an easy one, but

It's a choice.

We may struggle, we need constant prayer and we feel lost at times.  But keeping with the directive, staying tuned in...

It is a choice.

A choice, when made for His Kingdom, that gives us the tools to combat the down times, heal completely and feel joy deeply. 

It is a path we choose, a path I chose against all odds and on that path I chose to accept His intervention so I might grow...

Maybe that is why, when I stumbled across this scripture this week, it spoke to my heart.  A soft, gentle peace reminding me of His divine provision for our humble submission... of how we Grow when we let go:


His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  
- 2 Peter 1:3-8


The qualities to grow in understanding and peace and a productive Christian walk will and do "increase".  You have a choice to add to your faith and grow your heart. When we let His Spirit go before us.  When we let go of ourselves and let God take control.  We have a choice...

I don't know if thinking on choices today leaves you fulfilled or unfilled.  I pray you may feel empowered to make the choices you need to make today... to let go and let God and see increasing measures of His qualities in your life.

Be blessed, you deserve it!

 





Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BLOOM Where You're Planted


It was a peaceful week.  The week we packed like camping but stayed in a cozy cabin by a lake.  Our mission: search God, search selves.  I was desperately hoping for answers. It has not always been easy, living in a home not my own.  Clipping my wings and packing into tiny spaces what, for almost 20 years, has been spread out and expounded on by my own desires.... no, not always easy at all.

But this is where God called us.

Why do I feel so unsettled at times then?  If He calls, doesn't He also provide peace and well-being?

I spent the week praying.  I heard some answers but one of the answers seemed hushed.

Why?

As I readied for bed our last night there a whisper swept over my heart, "I have some last words to share, meet me, tomorrow, 6 a.m."  It seemed odd; all week wanting to speak and hear but the last few hours of the last day was the time He wanted to claim.

I arose, ready to meet the One Who calls.  I prepared myself and sat.  "God?"  Nothing.  I sat.  Then a whisper, journal.  I began to journal, not sure what to write but hoping my scribbling would help me to hear what needed to be said.


Friday, October 28

My hand froze.  The date staring back at me.  The day that started with joy and quickly tumbled to despair came rushing back to me.  It was a Monday then.  The year was 2002 and she was only 48.  She was my mother and her memory still lingers.  The last phone calls, the screams and cries when I heard, 2000 miles away she lay cold and lifeless.  I sat huddled on couch, body shaking with sobs, phone clenched in hand my heart in pieces, my youngest growing within.

It took many years to glue those pieces back together.  Many years before I would learn how heartache makes us stronger.  I looked at that date on the page and I heard His voice.  Like Jesus at the well, knowing her answers but asking so she would realize too.  "Do you wish she were back, would you change it all?"  I searched my heart and I knew my answers to be true, "no".

Mom spent 28 of my years teaching me both the good lessons and bad.  In her final years before chronic pain taxed her body and took her life, she came to know Jesus in a way that showed me how to find my way again.  In her final years she reminded me how to truly love God again.

In the time since, I have grown and bloomed and learned how to be stronger on my own in Christ.  I have grown deeper roots and brighter blooms and I don't know that I could have done that if mom were still here.

I began to scribble and realize in the pages of my journal that God had been trying to speak to me that entire week!  He had tried to show me, shout to me, steer me.  But I wasn't listening... I wasn't really leaning close but rather plugging ahead in my own way.

I heard Him now.

We can't move forward when we hold onto the past.  It was when I let go of my hurt for my mom and embraced the healing of Christ that I became whole again.  My Spirit grew and my life became rich again.  My current situation was no different.  It is in the letting go of what was and embracing what is that God can begin to use us.  It is in this place that He has called me now.  HE sees the value... He is just waiting for me to see it too.

Then I remembered the object he had tried to use earlier in the week to show me this lesson.  I coated up, grabbed the camera and left as the sky began to lighten.  I had to go see if it was still there.
 I walked until the path's end but didn't see it.  My heart ached.  If I had only listened sooner.  I turned to head back and there it was.
 Late October frosts, deer, the season's campers and the path it grew over did not sway its disposition.
 It sat, hunched some from the morning frost, 'hair' a bit messy from the night's sleep.
 But it was there.  The entire hillside had been covered with daisies in the spring.  Now, in late fall, only this one remained.  Why?  I can't know.  But it sat, poised, keeping watch over the lake, the path, and its tiny little spot thereby.  A bright little reminder of the hope spring held here in the midst of colored and dying leaves and brush.
As I shuffled back to the cabin, chilled by the early morning air, I prayed, I waited and I listened.

See this daisy?  See where I have it planted?  It is sturdy and strong and while it should be gone now, it is not.  It grows.  You too have been planted where you are.  For a season, for a purpose and you too have been made strong.  Not just to stretch roots and spread leaves... but to BLOOM.

God gave me a vision of a similar daisy in a run-down city lot.  Growing amongst the rubble and blooming where it was planted.  Of passer-bys pausing to marvel and, despite the dilapidated surroundings, the hearts lifted to see this momentary beauty in a sea of darkness.

He showed me this is us too.

He challenged me...

WILL YOU BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED?  Not just grow but BLOOM?  To bring hope and light in the otherwise dreary places.



May you Bloom this week... no matter where you are planted... may His love and strength help you grow.



They are like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers. 
Psalm 1:3


Blessings sweet friend,






Every life has testimonies of how God intercedes to show His power and glory.  To read the first installment in a brand new series of books about God's divine work in one person's life, click below