Monday, May 24, 2010

Holding Fast

Yesterday, at church, we talked about our current status, within our lives, as worshippers.  Spanning the spectrum of valleys to mountain tops, everyone seemed to be at a different point, along the current leg of their life's journey.

My husband and I are once again back in the valley, ourselves, experiencing challenges that do not feel pleasant, encountering situations that do not have obvious answers.  However, we have been on the mountaintop, before, so we know that its peaks lie ahead. 

Life is a series of hills, that gradually seem to become less intimidating the longer we walk with our Heavenly Father.  And yet, each circumstance is different, requiring a new measure of faith and trust, on our part.

As I pondered my worship, yesterday, in light of my current realities, I got a picture of a mountain climber, in my head.  I was reminded that though the mountain may appear large and looming, the mountain climber takes one stretch of footing at a time, always aiming for the goal, but never losing sight of the current choice, that leads to the top.  Every step is important, each response necessary, if the challenge shall succeed.  And, at every juncture, regardless of height, the climber has the security of one thing: his rope.  This rope is the anchor, the connection to the peak, the reminder that an end IS in sight.  This rope is our faith.  When we choose to reach out, for the Hand of our Father, and trust Him for each leg of our journey, we are connected to His anchor, His rope that leads us up and out of our crisis. 

So, reach up, today, dear climber and hold fast.  Remember that your Father knows you and trusts you with your current mountain.  Yes, He has the power to move it, but knows best and understands that you need the exercise of climbing OVER it to continue your journey.  Reach out for His Rope, for the Faith and Trust needed.  Climb and succeed.

Worship Me, for only this great gift can set you free from the killing love of self
and prick your fear with valiant courage: to fly in hope through moments of despair.
Worship will remind you that no man knows completeness in himself.
Worship will teach you to speak your name, when you've forgotten who you are.
Worship is duty and privilege, debt and grand inheritance at once.
Worship, therefore, at those midnights when the stars hide.
Worship in the storms till love makes thunder whimper and grow quiet, and listen to your whimpered hymns.
Worship and be free...
- Calvin Miller (excerpt from Requiem for Love)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Through His Lens...

"God is not concerned about our plans; He doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?” No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil, or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy."
- Oswald Chambers

I have been thinking, quite a bit, in recent weeks, about the eternal value of all things. It appears a lofty concept, but it is simpler than it seems. My aim has been to shift my perspective, of life and circumstance, to that of Heaven and Eternity.  It is a moment to moment, day by day adventure.

Hebrews 12:2 speaks of "...Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..." From our reading and research of historic forms of Roman torture, we know that the cross was anything but a source of joy, for its victim. However, this scripture alludes to a contrasting opinion, on the part of our Savior.

What is it that allowed Jesus the luxury of joy, in the midst of pain? Was it insanity or misunderstanding? No! It was perspective.  When Jesus looked on the cross, He did not see it merely "before Him", as the author of Hebrews mentions.  Rather, He pulled back and viewed in on the time-line of redemption.  By placing uninhibited trust, in His Father, He was able to grasp that His moment of sorrow and suffering WOULD BE but a moment, in Eternity.  And it would be worth the sacrifice, for it would allow the salvation of the world.  Gaining this understanding, Jesus was able to endure the cross, with joy, because He saw its purpose: it held value in Eternity...

While I do not condone the opinion that EVERY CHALLENGE in our lives is ESTABLISHED by God - as was our Lord's death, on the cross - I DO believe that our Sovereign Father ALLOWS challenges to help shape us.  Able to see beyond the challenge, to the character it builds, our Heavenly Father is more than happy to allow discomfort that will give us strength for the journey, and opportunity to share His view of the world.  Our REAL challenge is what we do in the midst of our crisis.  Great or small, are we more focused in using our energy to complain and stumble through our circumstance, OR are we open to getting a perspective shift?  If we are willing, God will help us pull back, as Jesus did, and see the bigger picture.  In light of Eternity and the greatness of redemption, all other suffering falls short.

For those that are currently experiencing life's greatest sorrows, this sounds insensitive and blunt.  It sounds like a Sunday-school answer: the right one, but easier said than done.  And, on many levels, that is true.  But, I have felt the pain of loss, I have lived countless moments of regret, I have experience lack of control, and I have known hopelessness.  And IN ALL THINGS, my God HAS been faithful.  IN ALL THINGS, my God HAS seen me through.  IN ALL THINGS, my God HAS strengthened my mind, equipped my hands, and motivated my heart.  IN ALL THINGS, my God, Who lives inside Eternal Perspective HAS been with me, knowing the entire time, what benefit the challenges would bring.

These words and concepts are true because they HAVE been tested and tried.  Read your Word and recount all of those who endured hardships, exponentially greater than most of our own.  They too came out on the other side and are Eternal Pillars of Righteousness, a "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) for us.  So, we are not alone.  We have the whispers of the saints sharing their testimony with us.  Hear their cries:

It's worth it...

It's worth the moment of suffering for an eternity of joy...

It's worth the pain, the struggle, the confusion, the frustration...

It's worth becoming closer to Him, so that on "the other side" we might be more like Him...

It's worth it, now that we are In Eternity...

Are you willing to let go and pull back?  I know I want to...

Father, load me in your great slingshot and let me borrow your glasses...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The GREAT LIGHT that dispels darkness...

In Psalm 27, David begins with a statement of testimony: a declaration of WHO he KNOWS GOD TO BE and WHO GOD HAS FAITHFULLY BEEN.

ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear;
ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

A closer examination of the Hebrew words, in this passage, give an understanding of something far great than we are able to obtain, in English. Loosely re-translated, it may read something like this:

The Most Holy God becomes light, for me: opening space to bring deliverance and liberty from the tight, restricting things in my life. Therefore, I have no reason to be of afraid of anything! He will illuminate and open every dark place, for me. God Almighty is my safe refuge of defense, so why should I tremble before anyone but Him?!

What an incredible statement of faith! What an incredible knowledge of God!

If David wrote no more than this opening verse, it would be a fabulous foundation, to challenge our faith and walk, with God. To have already answered the questions that these statements hush is to understand (with all one's being!) a core attribute of God. If we could but grasp the simply stated truths of these words, we may avoid time wasted on worry, doubt, fear, and the bad choices that come from such broken patterns of thinking. We may have opportunity to live lives of victory, freedom, joy, and abundance, because we know that God is truly in control.

Teach us, Lord!

Speak...Your servants are listening...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why is this night different from all other nights?

Last night, I observed my third Passover Seder in Florida. For a third, consecutive year, I found myself leading family, and friends, through this annual tradition of liturgy: observing my favorite Feast of the LORD, acknowledging and appreciating His wonderful redemption story.

Though it is traditionally a man who leads this service, I have taken the role as "head," because in my circle, I have more exposure to these practices and observances, than others. This reality has been received, with great humility and initial insecurity. After all, with only 14 years of knowledge, how could I possibly know enough to teach (let alone lead) such a rich moment, in our calendar year?

And yet, year after year, G-d has proven to be faithful to be the Instructor: the true LEADER of the evening. He has taught me new layers of truth and insight, in my preparation, enriching what I already value about my faith.

The journey has been a delightful one, and as new ideas are already being birthed for the future, I look ahead with great anticipation. I love knowing that "it has only begun."

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Master of the universe,
who has kept us alive and sustained us and enabled us
to reach this time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I am FINALLY clearing my voice mail archives, on my cellphone. Due to beloved messages, from my husband, prior to our marriage, I have not had space on my voice mail, for nearly a year! This has become a point of frustration for those that are unable to leave messages, except by text.

Friends and family have told me, repeatedly, to transfer the sound clips to a file, on my computer. And, now, I've done it. What fun to go back and recall all of the wonderful moments and feelings associated with falling in love. I still pinch myself, knowing that I'm married to my best friend, but there's something about reliving the "early moments" that make my love feel rejuvenated and refreshed. I think TRUE LOVE is the most amazing miracle God created. It is renewed, daily, and takes on greater strength and meaning, with every year.

I am blessed beyond measure!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How He Loves...


After years of struggling to figure out the root of many of my issues, I believe that the answer came today, in worship. The words to the song, below, were a point of recognition for me:

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

by David Crowder

I don't accept the LOVE OF GOD, like I should. I feel so unworthy. And, I am. But that doesn't stop Him from loving. So, I am left with the choice to either ignore His Love and get by, on my own, which contradicts all that I believe, or I can learn to just RECEIVE, and in reception of God's Pure Love, I may find wholeness, healing, and security...those things which I constantly struggle to maintain. Why? Because I keep trying to find them outside of Perfect Love.

God, I want you and I need you, desperately. Interrupt my ignorance and pour out your Love. Bathe me, cleanse me, heal me, surprise me. Show me Your Love, once more. I am ready to KNOW IT!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Like breathing?

A - Author’s
R - Revealed
T - Truth

I am once again at a crossroads: assessing - nay, trying to identify - the barriers I have created, that are currently limiting my ability to produce. I thought of the above acronym, this evening, and I believe that it revealed part of my dilemma. I love art: its experience and its making. However, my love is coupled with FEAR and AWE that sober my joy of unabashed creation. I DO understand the weight of the pieces I make. They are supposed to reflect Him. All that I am is supposed to reflect Him. Afterall, He WAS and IS and Was before ALL that is now. So, the best I can ever do is echo His expression, in my own attempts. And yet, even in that freedom to make something “unoriginal,” I still honor the reality that if my work DOES NOT echo Him, I have become futile. And, I want my life to matter. I do not want to waste my energies on something that might not have worth.

Hence, as is often the case, I have given so much value to my understanding that I am limited within my mind - paused at the crux of creativity. But maybe, not. If I can begin to surrender my understanding of art’s responsibility, within my mind, I may find the ability to move again.

Great Author, Creator of all and giver of art, teach me how to make what You desire and calm my heart and mind when they waste time worrying about release. Show me how to shape, once more...

Monday, February 8, 2010

To Be or Not to be...

AVAILABLE: able to be used or obtained; at someone's disposal; free to do something

Does this define my life before The One To Whom I Cling?

We live in a world that is time-bound. And greater injustice is added to this reality, for those of us that live in the fast-paced, money-driven, Western world. We are constantly aware of our time (or lack thereof) and finding new ways to maximize the small amount of time we never seem to have. We strategize our meetings, inviting multiple departments to the same table that we may increase productivity over a shorter span of time. We purchase and invest energy in technology, designed to keep EVERYTHING in one place, in order that we can "do away" with the need for multiple digital outlets. We write texts, instead of emails and choose abbreviations, within those texts, instead of full sentences, so that we can communicate as succinctly as possible. We purchase pre-packed meals so that all items are combined on one plate, with limited preparation...and the list goes on. But the irony remains: we never seem to find enough time.

I have to ask myself the question: if I never seem to find enough time, what am I wasting time doing that prevents me from investing in those things I truly need?

My answer? Not making myself accessible to God. That is the key issue that will unlock having enough time to do other things. I am more aware than ever that my number one problem has been NOT making ENOUGH time for God.

God: our Father, our Friend, and King of the Universe. He is not bound by time, nor does He feel limited by it. Time is something He invented, so it is not a threat to Him. But it does pose a threat to my relationship, with Him, when I try to make Him fit within my time-bound thinking (and my "all-important" schedule). If I truly desire to be known by Him, and to be used by Him, I cannot decide when and how that will happen. (It is enough that He WANTS to use me!) If God chooses to invest Himself IN and THROUGH me, I must begin to live a life, marked by AVAILABILITY. I must stop saying that He can have "x" amount of minutes, in my day, or that He may take liberty to show His power at "such and such" a time, in my life or my church service. Rather, I must treat Him with at least the same respect I treat those with whom I have earthly relationship.

To claim desire for intimacy and companionship with my spouse or family and then avoid their presence or interrupt their conversation - every time they begin sharing their heart with me - would be rude and ridiculous. After a while, they would stop believing my intention to know them. My actions would speak louder than my words.

So, how is it any different, in my relationship with TOTWIC? If I say I want to KNOW HIM, I must stop and listen to Him, as He shares WHO HE IS. If I say I want TO BE USED by Him, I must stop my own agenda and focus on His. If I profess interest in being AVAILABLE, I have to actually BE AVAILABLE. And, since I serve a God NOT BOUND by the time which limits me, I have to learn that I WILL BE INTERRUPTED. I will feel as though my schedule was put "on hold", in order to accomplish His purposes. But, until I am willing to let go of that which is fleeting, I will never fully be able to be used. I am only one of many. There are others that can accomplish His Kingdom Work. But, I don't want to miss it. I don't want to miss an opportunity to be in service for the King of Kings.

So, here I am, Lord. I am ready. Interrupt my life...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Children of Light

We were created to be mirrors, but somewhere, along the way, we have gotten smudged and greasy. We don't always reflect the Light of our Father, because other things have gotten in the way, and His reflection cannot be truly known in and through us. We must allow ourselves to be wiped clean, by His Hand, so that our original intention can be restored.

Father, shower your spiritual Windex, over my life, so that I may be restored to reflecting You. I want to be available, at your beckoning, not limited by the smudges of my own lack. Wash me, anew...

For you used to be darkness; but now, united with the Lord, you are light.
Live like children of the light...

Ephesians 5:8

Thursday, February 4, 2010

closing doors

today was an interesting "end of an era." i closed an email and blog account i have owned, for the past 12 years. i copied and saved everyone of my writings, but i released my emails into the forgotten past. i realized that though it was time to terminate the account, it was also time to move beyond the memories it carried. sometimes our emotional and mental space is like our home storage. at some point, we have to throw things out or give them away. if we hold onto EVERYTHING FOREVER, we simply clutter our lives and prevent ourselves from being able to welcome that which is new.


i still am, but i've ceased making it my online identity.

goodbye high school and college. it was nice.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Pathway to Uncovering...

I'm on a great adventure.

Well, I have been for sometime, but I got a bit sidetracked and forgot that I'd been commissioned for such a great work.

I work for the One To Whom I Cling, uncovering things.

Certainly, nothing is hidden from Him. Why would He require things to be uncovered? Because it's not for Him. It's for me. He knows and sees all, but sometimes, from my human perspective, those things aren't so obvious. So, He's invited me to use His tools (shovel, bucket, brushes) and do a bit of excavation. I guess I have been hired as a sort of spiritual archeologist. And, it is so interesting! There are multiple discoveries EVERYDAY! It is the best gig I've ever had. It's productive, it's inspirational, it's rewarding. I can't imagine why I had forgotten the work...I wasted time. But, the great part about this role is that OTWIC doesn't allow ANYTHING to be wasted. He redeems time and energy, so now that I'm back on the job, I'm getting enough done to make up for past absence.

Each day, I dig, I brush away, and I chronicle what I've found. But the amazing difference between my work and an actual archeologist is that my discoveries allude to further hidden mysteries. I can actually infer what I might find next, from something I've already found. Moreover, I KNOW that I'll find the rest of the missing pieces. They haven't been eaten by the earth, like some fossils. Every single part is available, if I just keep digging. And, as I go, my discoveries bring me closer to OTWIC, because they are all linked to WHO HE IS! Isn't that incredible?! So, I not only get to find out mind-blowing new things, about life, history, and the future, but I am simultaneously growing in my relationship with my boss. He spends every moment with me, while I uncover and helps me understand what I've found.

I think there may be more available positions. I'll check with Him and let you know.

Honestly, you don't want to miss this opportunity. Oh, and don't worry about your skill set. No prior experience is needed. You learn, on the job...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Am I French, or not?!


Francis Coppola...

Diamond Series...


Rich, plum appearance...unbelievable clarity...vibrant and fresh, on the and full-bodied with medium tannins...spice and cherry flavors...ridiculously long finish...a moment on the palate, forever in the memory...

Need I say more?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

יהוה שמרך יהוה
צלך על־יד ימינך׃
יומם השמש לא־יככה
וירח בלילה׃

Yahweh is your keeper. Yahweh is your shade on your right hand.

The sun will not harm you by day, Nor the moon by night.

Psalm 121: 5,6

What an awesome God we serve?! He is so intimately acquainted with ALL of our ways. He is Ever-Present and Ever-Strong, ready to take on our foes, and avenge our challenges, with a moment's notice. This Great God of ours is the God who fashioned the earth: who separated night from day and caused the waters of the seas to part. And yet, daily, He reveals Himself as our "shamar", our keeper, the One who guards and protects us like a watchman or shepherd. He knows our number and our value, within His flock. And this same God, not only watches but actively protects, our "Tzal," the Shadow that covers and envelopes us in safety and defense. He is not overcome by His Creation, but He cares for and preserves it. Therefore, I WILL NOT be AFRAID of the sun or moon, of my friends or enemies. For My Lord, ADONAI, Maker of Heaven and Earth, is not to be trampled upon by what He has made. No! He calls all things into His care and under His Authority. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Office Space

Well, we are still in process of rearranging, but already - just 2 weeks into the New Year - I believe we will have an office that is practically usable, while tripling as a music studio and guest bedroom.

It's good to have "Days off with Hubby."

It's gonna be a good year...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Release...

Sometimes I realize that I need to let go of what I've imagined life will be...

Sometimes I get ahead of God, or just assume I know where He's going...

Sometimes I forget that my interpretation of His Voice is limited by my human understanding, jaded by my emotions and experiences...

Sometimes I remember that if He is Truly God and Truly Good and that He's ALWAYS been faithful, I don't have to fret now, even though I might not comprehend why I hear and see what occurs around me...

Sometimes I have to release my desires, my will, my intentions and agendas, my hopes and fears - I have to release them all into His Hands and continue to trust that ALL WILL BE as He has Promised, though we can never fully know what that means without the journey...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year...

I want to dream again...