Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Ring on My Thumb

Always.  Everyday.  I want to feel His presence.
So will I remember to ask Him to walk with me today?
How can I forget how sweet it is to brush shoulders as we walk Lord and I?
I oft feel His hand on my cheek, sometimes brushing away a tear.
How can the God who created the universe walk so close, be so near?
Sometimes, we say nothing.  But there are those days when I pour out the hurts that fill my aching heart.  Pour them out to Him who washes away the ache and bathes me in His glory.
Our sweetest times are when the gratitude for His grace and mercy fills me to the point that it has to spill out. In these moments, praise and thanksgiving erupts from the altar of my heart and escapes my lips as a song.
I've made my heart an altar.  An altar to Him who listens, who speaks.  An altar to Him who asks me into His throne room and lets this daughter climb up on His lap.  Lets me lean my weary head against His chest.  So close.
How could I not want to tarry there? Always?  Everyday?
When I rise and when I sleep and those moments in between, will I pause, will I listen for His still small voice?
Will I look into the eyes of those around me and see Him in their lives, His presence there to bless all who would stop and take note?
I wear His ring on my right hand.  The ring on the thumb, it doesn't feel natural. I always feel it, notice it, touch it.  It's there to remind me, "Have you thought about Him today?"
Always.  Everyday.  I want to feel His presence.

From His lap,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Will You Let the Son Melt the Ice?

In December of 2013, the frigid temperatures, the wind and the humidity swirled in a perfect combination and settled over Tulsa, OK in a thick sheet of ice.  Roads became impassable and the sounds of ice covered trees, snapping beneath the weight of the ice, filled the air for several days. Even from inside the house, we could hear the branches break and fall crashing to the ground.  Are there things in this life, Dear One, that are weighing you down? Are your burdens heavy and causing your will and your hope to snap and be torn in two?  Are you, like these trees, succumbing to the pressures of life?

Thankfully, there were trees that didn't crumple with the heavy ice.  But these trees, that once stood proud and tall, reaching toward heaven, were now, humbly bowed down, touching earth, frozen to the ground.  They were unable to free themselves and stretch their boughs to the sky.  I went out and stood underneath those branches, where it looked like I was in the middle of a frozen wonderland.  Limbs that I could normally never reach, surrounded me on all sides, with the ice shimmering in the sunshine.  It was as if I was standing among strands of diamonds!

Trees that once stood tall, now hung upside down with the weight of the ice!

Standing underneath branches that normally were high above my reach.

Not only were the trees encased in ice, but early blooms and buds, that had begun to come to life, were shrouded in a glittering shell.  It was all at once, beautiful and disturbing.  I wondered, would these delicate blooms be able to continue their growth and blossom and be fruitful, once the ice melted, or would they fall from the vine, unable to go on with life?  Do your troubles cover you, stopping you from going forward with life?  Do you feel stuck, unable to reach toward the Son?  Are you frozen in time by circumstances and fear?

Sure enough, after several days, the warmth of the sun began to melt the ice. You could hear small pieces of ice fall to the ground all around like the sound of breaking glass.  We watched in amazement as the biggest, strongest trees, broke loose from the ice.  They sprang right back to their proud position tall and reaching for the sky.  They basked in the sun, as strong as ever.  I wondered, if we drench ourselves in the presence of Christ, can our loads be lifted and can we be set free to reach toward the Son and all of His glory?

It was then, that I noticed something that broke my heart.  The youngest trees, the babies, the ones who were the smallest and weakest; they didn't bounce back when the ice left them.  I was confused and asked my husband, why those trees didn't stand back up, tall and strong.  The other trees were much heavier and it seemed as though it should have been those trees that had difficulty straightening up.  But it was not so.  The strong trees had roots that went deep and held firm to the earth that they were buried in.  The younger trees, my husband explained, came up by the roots, with the weight of the ice. They weren't deep enough, strong enough, to withstand the elements.

"Yes, that's it," I thought!  If we don't bury ourselves deep in Him, if our root system is shallow and not drinking in from rich deep soil, His Word and His Spirit, than we can be pulled up by the roots.  When life and burdens become heavy, we can be uprooted, lose hope and not stand tall and finish our race, our high calling!

If you are going through times that are trying and testing you, causing you to be weighed down, take heart.  I encourage you to make time with Him, in His Word, worshipping Him.  Send your roots deep, until you can't tell where you begin and the Son ends.  Become entwined, enmeshed in His heart.  Let Him bear your burdens and walk with you.  Tell Him your deepest hurts and fears.

The Son can melt that which is too heavy for you to bear.  He will be your grace and keep you strong.

From His lap,

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Messiness of Faith

Most people don't like the messiness of faith.  But faith can only exist in a world where life is difficult.  Otherwise, there would be no need for it.  Whatever God calls us to, will challenge us.  It won't be easy and it won't just fall in our laps.  Walking out our unique path won't always come without stones in the road, or detours, or pitfalls.  The thing about faith, is that He is with us through all of those challenges.  That's the beauty of faith...even at it's messiest.

When life seems to hit the fan and fall apart, He wants us to talk to Him first, before doing anything else.  Scripture says that He is a very present help in time of trouble.  Turning to Him, orienting our hearts towards Him, opens the door for Him working on our behalf, and in so doing...relying on Him...builds our faith. Going to the place that doesn't change, (God's presence), causes things in us, to change.

We think it's okay to believe, as long as it doesn't interfere with the way we act, the way we think, the way we treat people.  If we dare to really think about what we believe, it messes with us.  It makes us step outside of our boundaries and the places where we feel safe.  It changes us and it changes how we live.  Most of us assume that when things get messy, we have stepped outside of faith and are walking in places where we shouldn't be.  But God calls us to be uncomfortable, to be stretched, to be challenged.

Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and think, "God, can I tackle this again today?  Do I want to engage in the messiness of where you are taking me?".  When I have these doubts, I know that He understands why I have them and He isn't offended.  But He wants me to repent of my doubt and to allow Him to be at work in me.

If your life is messy and not going in the direction you think it should be, settle down, go to the place that never changes and wait upon the Lord.  He will speak to your heart about the next step.  He will comfort your hurts and hold you until you've worked out your next step with Him.  A friend shared this Scripture with me this week:  "God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me." — Isaiah 30:15  Did you catch that?  Settle down in complete dependence!  Faith is messy and faith is hard, but we have His instruction to settle down and depend on Him.  That's where I want to be!

No matter if God is leading me through a place that is challenging or if life is throwing me curve balls, I want to want to step out in faith, walk through the messiness, depending on Him.  I don't want to miss out on a life of meaning and purpose, just because I'm afraid to let go and let God!

From His Lap,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Our Spiritual Walk Through Human Experience

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French Jesuit priest who said, "We are all spiritual beings having a human experience."  I would venture to say that most people would say it the other way around, that "We are all human beings having a spiritual experience."  But I'm in agreement with de Chardin.  Scripture tells us that God made man in His image.  Although human beings have many of the same attributes of each other, we all look very different.  There are many different races, all with varying characteristics that make it so you can definitely tell us apart from each other.  If our human bodies are all so different,  how is it that we are all made in the image of God?

Could it be that when God formed us in His image, He meant His spiritual image and then He shrouded our spirit in a human form?  I remember when my mom passed from this life to the next, I was terrified to walk into the funeral home and see her there for the first time.  I prayed, took a deep breath and linked arms with my dad as we walked into the room together with my siblings.  I slowly moved my eyes towards her, shaking to my very core.  She looked so beautiful and so peaceful.  She looked just like herself, but at the same time, she looked nothing like herself.  I knew in an instant, that my mother wasn't there.  This, before me, was merely the shell that my mother was housed in while she walked on this earth.

I was actually comforted by this thought.  I remember a small smile coming across my lips as I considered that she was now with the Lord.  What if our humanness is just along for the ride, moving us from experience to experience? If we look at the totality of our lives as spiritual beings experiencing humankind, it changes how we see ourselves and others.  And it should, change the way we treat the people we bump up against in life.

When I remember that I am a spiritual being, I'm encouraged that the possibilities of being a light in a dark world are very real.  I'm merely a vessel for the Lord to work through to touch the lives of those around me.  And the Lord also brings others across my path that will help me heal from the wounds of living in a human fallen world.  Our human experience has limits but our spiritual being knows no bounds when it comes to reflecting the love of God, the presence of peace and the power of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Imagine living a life, where we don't put such importance on people's human looks, failings or limitations, but where we celebrate the Divine in them, the God in them.  I'm not saying that we should let others walk on us or that as a society, we should tolerate & let people get away with evil. But I find that when I celebrate the God like qualities in people, they tend to allow those characteristics to grow and their broken human tendencies to diminish.

It's not an easy way to live and I tend to slip back into my humanness and see people in their humanness,  But I find that when I spend time in prayer and praise and worship and in the presence of the Lord, I'm able to remember that He created me in His image.  He imparted His character to me, giving me the ability to be a "spiritual being having a human experience."  I pray that you are able to allow the Godly traits that were imparted to you when you were created, to shine and grow, causing the things in you that are not of God, to diminish and lose strength.  If you are facing tough circumstances in 2013, my hope for you is that you are able to see the infinite possibilities, in God, that will help you walk through those experiences coming out of them stronger and purer.

From His lap,

Monday, October 29, 2012

That's About the Size of It!

One evening, early this summer, I was enjoying a few moments of quiet on my front porch.  It's where I go to listen to my waterfall and wind chimes and to hear from God.  On this particular evening, I was watching the goldfish in my pond. My husband and son had built this pond for me a couple of years ago for Mother's Day.

In the pond are three goldfish.  We had purchased them from Wal-Mart several years ago when our son was younger.  When we got them, they were each less than an inch long. They were kept in a bowl on the counter and over about a year's time, they didn't seem to grow much at all.  Then, my husband built a tiny little pond in the back yard and we put the fish in there.  They grew a couple of inches while they lived in that pond for about 2 years.  Then, we built that much bigger pond by my front porch and moved the fish, once again, to a new home.  Since we put them in this pond, they have grown several inches.  They are quite beautiful and have developed shimmering white tails.

That summer night, as I sat there watching those fish, I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart.  He showed me how each time, as the fish were placed in new, unfamiliar environments, bigger environments, they grew. (I read later that gold fish actually grow according to the size of the space they are placed in.)  What if thats how it works with us? What if, when we allow the Lord to move us into new situations and circumstances, our faith grows or our dreams grow?  The Lord showed me that if I wanted to go grow spiritually and emotionally, I would have to allow Him to move me to unfamiliar and maybe even scary territory.  Had I become complacent and content with the condition of my heart, spiritually?  Had I stopped growing, feeling secure right where I was?

Little did I know, as I sat there that evening, how God's words about those goldfish would stir my heart again and again.  I couldn't have known that my summer would be full of new and scary and unfamiliar experiences.  But the Lord had prepared my heart.  He had shown me that if I was willing, if I would only trust Him, He would take me to and through new places that would cause me to grow; grow in my faith, grow in strength and most of all, see miracles of complete restoration and healing in relationships that would change my world, as I knew it.

My dear friend, if you are facing new and uncertain circumstances, if God is leading you to higher ground, it's only because He wants you to grow.  Each time you allow Him to take to to a new place, you will experience glorious and beautiful growth.  He wants you to expand the borders of your heart and walk out your dreams and hopes.  He will surely walk with you and cover you with grace. Don't let the fear of growth and change hold you back from experiencing all that God has for you in this life.  

From His Lap,


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