"Show me Your strong love in wonderful ways, O Savior of all those seeking Your help against their foes. Protect me as You would the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings as You hover over me." Psalm 17:7-8

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kingdom Cultivation


Compelled to seek beauty this evening, I closed the laptop and headed for the lake.  Thought I might scout for driftwood to use in creating a Mason jar chandelier for my daughter’s upcoming wedding.  Stepping carefully over waterlogged giants, I listened as acorns dropped and a heron took wing.  Trunks and limbs embraced in death on the small stretch of beach.  Meanwhile, I planted live oak seeds with my wandering feet amid pebbles.  Daily I deal with death and new life up from graves.  The new life is at times difficult to see – like the acorns forced into soil by my meandering feet.  But, faith sees beyond decaying shells, ragged tents, and sealed tombs!!

Refresh My Perspective, Lord Jesus

Child of God and Kingdom Priest
Admittedly, perspective must be refreshed daily, else my heart recoil from seeing life ebb away, and bodies waste.  There are times when my eyes search desperate for heaven’s beauty now!!  When impatiently, I yearn for visual rest, and welcome the sight of cherub faced grandchildren, simple scenes, handcrafted things.  None of which, precious as they may be, can replace gazing upon the beauty of the Lord.  Only then, in the light of His glory and grace, do things of earth grow strangely dim, including suffering, whether personal or observed.  When I look into His eyes of love, I comprehend all suffering known to man is light and momentary, not to be compared with the glory of heaven!!  My thinking realigns with eternity and His life swells inside me like water turned to wine to gladden the hearts of others.   

God does not plant carelessly, randomly forcing me into hardened earth to produce a crop, like I drove acorns into the beach.  Rather He applies just enough pressure to achieve the depth desired.  This He delivers in the form of a Prodigal Father’s embrace, a tight hug, drawing me into deeper fellowship than ever before!!

The Scripture teaches that by His stripes we are healed.  This comes to mind every time I pass the “clawed fields” on my route, row upon row cut, prepared, waiting to receive seed.  In the same way, Christ became The Firstborn of many brethren, firstfruits of the resurrection.  IN Him we were buried and raised to walk in newness of life – Kingdom life.  Should I not therefore accept cultivation?  Accept plowing and pruning necessary to producing a harvest in and through me?

Moroccan Light on My Life's Path

Lamp Unto My Feet: Glory Shine of World Mandate 2012

Living as a Planting of the Lord in His Shadow,

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Day In His Courts

Thoughts roam when I enter this yard.  There’s not much to it really – an ash dominates, while two young live oaks rival like siblings.  Off to the right, a persevering pine and a China berry brought from East Texas have put down roots and determined to survive.  Enclosing this little plot of flat land, leans stout-hearted the fence that Papa built.

I identify with every element of this yard, but particularly the fence.  To her credit, she has withstood driving winds, drought, and temperature extremes.  She has done her best to guard against intrusion, confine our pets, and serve as a backdrop for parties.  We’ve hung garlands, banners, and candle filled lanterns from her posts.  She’s been climbed, peered through, and studied.  Aged to perfection, her gate no longer swings, yet she still kicks up her heels in celebration and her pickets ripple like a glissando under pianist fingers.  I hear her sing of her maker on blustery days, when wind whistles through cracks and joy streams in on sun beams through her knot holes.  Monument of love, she embraces us as her maker hoped she would, affording protection in his absence, and ever reminding us of his desire to bless and care for us.

I recall that at eighty years old, he traveled day after day on what he termed his “tricycle” from Stephenville.  What were his thoughts as he traversed many a mile on highway shoulders to erect a fence for us?  Perhaps he contemplated what he intended to pass on to Matt, my son, while they worked side by side under the blazing sun.  Maybe he reminisced about doing the same with his own son years ago, causing his eyes to fill with tears.   I’m certain his thoughts were of others, as he pressed on hopeful glancing only briefly over his shoulder.

He’s coached me well to look back teachable and with thanksgiving, while moving forward with clearer vision.  And so I look about my yard, a mature woman, hair waved and graying like the fence, and I reflect on the occasions celebrated on this patchy grass.  I remember the animals that have come and gone.  I walk beneath the shade of the trees, and around the fifteen foot China berry I carried not long ago in a Dixie cup of Crockett soil, when the Lord uprooted us both and we came to live here.  I look at her with her trunk curved a bit like a mama’s hip, and gaze at her great arms sturdy and prepared to hold my climbing grandchildren.  GRANDCHILDREN, two in one year!!  One season follows another and I grow old, fade, and lean – lean harder on the Lord.

I run my fingers along the little clothesline that held towels and bonnets for children attending Jaxon’s first birthday.  Ants run busy along the tightly stretched cord, life marches on!  There at my feet between the gnarled fingers of the trees is a little paper umbrella cast off one of his cupcakes.  All the hours that went into commemorating his first year of life, poof, and they are gone and a new day steps on stage briefly to dance.  I remember fondly this summer in terms of parties and vacations – Nelson’s adoption carnival, Jaxon’s under the sea birthday, Lori’s woodland party, and our overseas trip to Spain and Morocco!!

Reverently the sun drops to her knees and disappears below the tree line, leaving behind her glory.  My heart ignites in gratitude.   I notice a few tallow leaves, equally moved, suspended like crimson tears on the limb above me. 

“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all is the privilege of meditating in His Temple, living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory.  There I’ll be when troubles come.  He will hide me.  He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies.  Then I will bring Him sacrifices and sing His praises with much joy.”   I’m standing in His courts, “the yard” of His house, meditating, fenced in secure, eyes transfixed on the beauty of the Lord!  Thank YOU for a summer of wonderful memories, LORD!!!


Gazing Upon His Beauty,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Living Water -- True Dream Water!!

Standing behind her in line, time warped for a moment.  She with her basketful of a few items, I with one in each hand stood waiting, separated by a few steps both in line and in life.  Flesh hung in folds like wind-empty sails from her tired shoulders.  With no small effort she removed from cart to counter a package of Poise (adult diapers), and two boxes of Tylenol PM.  As quickly as she could bend and pivot, she in slow motion laid her items on the scarred counter to be rung up.  Ebony curls, parted awkwardly by her pillow, swirled out from an exposed patch of snowy scalp.  Purchase totaled, she hoisted a large wallet from her well-worn handbag and flipped it open revealing her checkbook.  Carefully she penned the date, drugstore name, dollars and cents, and finally her signature.  Minutes ticked on a low-battery clock as she produced her license.  All the while I watched resisting impatience, while she transferred the weight of years from counter to cart handle, preventing her collapse.

A nurse, I’ve learned to make note of small details.  While doing so in line, I replayed the scene I left moments before.  Bedroom of a dying man, calming blue, shag carpet preventing rolling of wheels, tension of final breaths, year-long seconds, the three of us standing just outside heaven’s door.  Indescribable details!  I left behind beautiful daughter laboring hard to usher with honor Dad into new realm.  I saw full circle – parent who labored to bring child into the world, lying silent helpless, as child labored to release parent out of this world into life without limits.  There I stood in line, mascara tear-mingled, stinging and ringing my eyes, seeing myself clearly behind patient and drugstore patron, separated by a mere vapor of time.

I’d started the day paying bills, a chore I’ll not miss!!  Discovering an incorrect charge on my statement set in motion a chain of frustrating events.  Keeping my focus, like scaling Mt. Everest, took more energy than I possessed, as did keeping the flood gates securely fastened.  So here I stood in line, issues unresolved, hospice nurse with an understanding of the brevity of life, emotionally and physically spent, peace-longing!!  All-Knowing God timed my waiting.  Minutes dragged, and I turned from the woman in front of me to the bin beside me.  Dream Water, 2 for $6, filled a display.  I strained to read the fine print, tickled!!  (Directions for use:  Drink a bottle to help deal with that energy drink you had earlier, a loud neighbor keeping you awake, and general stresses of everyday life…).  Happily skipping around the bottom of the cute little container were unemployed sheep.  Please understand I’m not debunking or endorsing this product – rather the timing and message spoken through both the woman at the counter and this sleep aid informed me undeniably of God’s Presence with me, and gave me a merry heart which doeth good like a medicine by bedtime that evening.  You see, I figured my bad hair day wasn’t so bad after all – next to bed-head due to the aches and pains of old age, having little time to go get a haircut seemed a good problem to have.  And while the world promotes drinking an artificial shot of energy and then later an artificial shot of peace, I’ll take the old school remedy, please!!  The woman in front of me had a different set of issues in her season of life, but surely we shared in common the desire for renewed strength (as of youths and eagles) and rest from toil (peace).

Open to God’s counsel in my weariness, I left the drugstore for a dear friend’s house where we watched the Breaking Free Session Six video.  Heart riveted, God spoke, plunging me deep into well of living water, filling bone-dry vessel with refreshing drafts of His life, at the same time satisfying Himself in the act of fulfilling me!!  He used John 4:1-18 to address my thirst for more, to point out why I had overreacted earlier in the day, beginning with paying the bills, fretting, feeling “robbed,” deceived, grappling for control.  He reviewed with me my unsuccessful attempts at refueling and refilling my tired and thirsty soul lately.  He exposed the true cost of impulsive behaviors, of earthly excess – no matter how seemingly harmless and acceptable.  I repented and agreed, and then He revealed the lies Satan repeatedly hooks me with as well as the weakness of my own flesh prone to settling for low-calorie, all natural ingredients, quick fixes to emptiness and weariness.  God comes to give abundant life – rich and filling, high in calories (fuel to burn), supernatural, with present and everlasting benefits.  I’m not only speaking of food and drink here!!!  Certainly you’ll agree, Dream Water is a far cry from Living Water, HE WHO FILLS AND SATISFIES US SO WE CAN REST.

The Lord capped off a wonderful night’s rest with dessert this morning served up in the following Scriptures:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  Psalm 16:11

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”  I Peter 1:8      

I pray my older sister back at the drugstore knows INEXPRESSIBLE JOY, and that with each step toward heaven’s door she and I both grow to love and believe Him more.  Then and only then will we be truly filled, our thirst quenched!!!

Drinking Deep In His Shadow,

For more inspirational reading visit Spiritual Sundays at www.bloggerspirit.blogspot.com.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Putting Up Easter

Jaxon's First Resurrection Basket
This morning I woke determined not to spend this gorgeous fall-feeling spring day before the computer gazing at Pinterest party ideas.  I must confess, having laughed at the notion but a few weeks ago, I am struggling with a party-planning obsession, pinning idea after idea to a cyber bulletin board.  Embarrassed, I must also admit “pinning” visually and emotionally gives me a euphoric rush, albeit temporary, and is my new feel-good and choice of escape.  Ugh – now that really is humbling.  OMNISCIENT DADDY understands, graciously convicts, forgives, and restores order to child who often can’t keep her balance in this world!!  FAITHFUL, He walks not only beside but inside steadying His children whether toddling anew, riding precariously without training wheels, or lumbering along cane clutched toward rim of gaping grave.
Homemade Resurrection Eggs
Now I sit on my porch, laptop warming thighs, writing -- not surfing (ha!), Heaven’s breeze carrying in her arms tangerine and white butterflies to share this new-life morning with me.  My heart fills!!  For several hours I have been putting away Easter.  When the storm blew in late Easter afternoon, like Dorothy in Kansas, I raced about the yard bringing under cover the day’s games and decorations.  With help of others, dishes were washed, and a few things put up where they belong.  Remnants remained however in virtually every room, begging to be put up, out of sight, until next year.

I began with the resurrection eggs which lay open, their contents spilled and jumbled.  Unfolding the little pieces of paper with Greatest Story of All, I sorted symbols and eggs and prepared to snap them shut until Easter 2013.  Like many other bloggers however, I just couldn’t bring myself two weeks after Easter Sunday to pack it all up without listening long to Risen Lord and His thoughts about empty tomb(s).  At this point in writing He brought to mind: “I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Egg Shell Tea Lights

So many thoughts have raced through my head this morning, I feel need to find the bottom line to determine my destination.  Yet God, like butterflies flitting about my yard, turning my head this way and that, assures me He will tie up neatly what He desires to say.  I invite you back to my kitchen table, where plastic eggs split open with good news like empty tombs.  There I snap pictures, and God informs me I am colorful egg of Easter, made to contain life – not simply a message written, read, symbolized, and shared, but LIVING WORD HIMSELF, EMPTINESS FILLING, LONELINESS OBLITERATING EMMANUEL!!!  I move next to discard broken shell tea lights dyed morning before Easter with natural juices and spices.  God prompts me to retrieve them from the trash and snap another picture.  Again He speaks truth over me.  Eggs must break, open, like closed doors on wombs and sealed tombs, to permit new life, and to form vessels to hold and emit EVERLASTING LIGHT.  How I delight in life-containing broken shells glowing radiant on table Earth.
We were made to want more!!
I tried hard over Easter to introduce especially to new generation THE FILLER OF ALL VOIDS, TOMB DEFEATER, JESUS.  Still just beginning to lay hold of the implications myself twenty-seven years post rebirth, I excitedly packed the day, planting seeds in object lessons, setting before wondering eyes the truth in living color, that we were meant for so much more; designed by LOVE as vessels for continual refilling.  I’d been thinking for some weeks about why we desire always more, and more, and more…  And I stumbled as if for first time upon INEXHAUSTIBLE FOUNT OF LIFE’S desire to perpetually fill us with the more and more and more we desire, FOREVER-MORE.  I of course had read and intellectually understood this, but in grappling with “management” of my own desires began to think long and hard about living with an undying appetite for more.  To think about the point of want, that is!
Tender and Nugget Celebrated Easter With Us
At times, living with want seems confusing business to say the least, a back-breaking burden of the curse relegated to life on this planet!!  After all, aren’t we supposed to mature and learn to be content (with less), to be satisfied with God alone??  Gluttony, greed, covetousness, adultery, all rise from a corrupt desire for more, right??  Logic would demand then that human beings nail unruly want to the cross – get rid of trouble-making desire at all costs, and bind and gag the deceitful heart from which it springs!! I’ve attempted to put a sock in the gaping mouth of my desires, and to cooperate with God in their refinement, putting off many until heaven.  Surely there desire will finally be perfectly managed, will neatly line up with God’s like good soldiers in His army, no longer marching to the beat of a different drummer.  What a relief heaven will be, no longer stuffing and stifling want.  Then I’ll physically be with LORD MY SHEPHERD, and shall “really” not want, right???  WAIT JUST A COTTON-PICKING MINUTE!!!  There is something missing in this view, I fear.
Night Before Easter Resurrection Garden with Sealed Tomb
God, GOOD GOD, made me to desire more.  My parents, Adam and Eve, wanted more while in their sinless state, pristine environment, and in rich fellowship with PERFECT GOD.  They wanted, and thus were tempted to want to be “like God.”  Note: they wanted to be like Him apparently over and above wanting Him, as lovers want and are satisfied in one another.  They had not yet learned how to REALLY LIVE WITH THIS BEAUTIFUL THING CALLED WANT, to trust GOOD GOD to make space in them for more of Himself through ever-increasing desire.  Our problem is not in wanting more, it is in accepting less.  We err in choosing not to wait (anticipate more than we could ask or think), and therefore miss the more of HIM we ache for!!!

Learning to be content has nothing to do with curbing want, rather it is the process of discovering the beauty and point of all want – embracing our form and function as GLORY vessels, more importantly wanting evermore DESIGNER ALL WISE, who longs to GIVE WITHOUT END.  To whom could He give Himself but to ones who want Him, who grow to trust more in their wanting, to mature in their joy-filled pre-climactic ache, to know more fully LOVE WILL COME AGAIN AND AGAIN TO FILL, ever expanding through want our hearts to hold even more.  What security He desires to give in context of want fulfilled, WHAT LOVE IS THIS, THIS ONE WHO WITH UNBROKEN CHAIN OF GENEROSITY LINKED US ETERNALLY TO HIMSELF??  He is RESURRECTION AND LIFE.  This day I choose LIFE to fill me!!  Thanks be to God for breaking off chains of lesser gods which offer at best temporal highs, for drawing me into Himself through want of more!!!!
Learning With Them To Want HIM More!!
Wanting Him More In the Shadow,

P.S. I recommend you listen to Earth Like Heaven, by Jonathan David Helser at http://www.aplacefortheheart.org/aplacefortheheart/Home.html.
And for more inspirational reading, visit Spiritual Sundays at  http://www.bloggerspirit.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 20, 2012

Great Advice to Ponder

COPIED FROM ANN VOSKAMP'S BLOG:   http://www.aholyexperience.com/

A well-known pastor, he was was once asked what was his most profound regret in life?
Being in a hurry.” That is what he said.
“Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry.”
“But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.… Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”
In our rushing, bulls in china shops, we break our own lives.
Haste makes waste. The hurry makes us hurt.
Whatever the pace, time will keep it and there’s no outrunning it, only speeding it up and pounding the feet harder; the minutes pound faster too. Race for more and you’ll snag on time and leak empty. Hurry always empties a soul.
In a world with cows to buy and fields to see and work to do, in the beep and blink of the twenty-first century, with its “live in the moment” buzz phrase that none of the whirl-weary seem to know how to do, who actually knows how to take time and live with soul and body and God all in sync?
I think of this often, words of another woman seeking: “On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.”
Is this the secret that all the life experts know?
That in Christ, urgent means slow.
That in Christ, the most urgent necessitates a slow and steady reverence.
That in Christ, time is not running out. This day is not a sieve, losing time. In Christ, we fill – gaining time.
We stand on the brink of eternity.
So there is enough time.
Time to breathe deep and time to see real.
Time to laugh long, time to give God glory and rest deep and sing joy. And just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done.
There is time to grab the jacket off the hook and time to go out to all air and sky and green. And time to read and wonder and laugh with all of them in all this light.
All this time refracting in prism.
All this time that could refract in praise….”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Drive With Me For A Day

Come along with me on a typical day’s drive with Jesus!!  WORSHIP!!!  Speak pictures, speak.
Welcome to My Sanctuary on Wheels
Over the River, Through the Woods -- Flow RIVER FLOW in me!!
Don't Overlook Gold in the Dust
Discovering  Boundaries Fallen to Me In Pleasant Places
Treasuring this Season's Gifts

Glory Curtain Rising on a New Day

Winter Revealing  My Many Nests
Honk If You Love Liberty

Notice the Platform for Feeding and Satisfying Thirst
Christ in the Crossing Guard

Spring Swallowing Winter
Pear Trees Drinking Deep Redemption Rain With Me!!

Open Beauty To His Appreciative Gaze
Just Take Mental Note
Keep Paying Attention
I am blessed to climb into a sanctuary on wheels five days a week.  From the rearview charms swing drawing my eye and heart upward where my help comes from – bells of my bell tower. They remind me to “Believe,” and call me to worship en route to patient homes.

Every picture represents a sermon.  Whether trees, vehicles, or costumed strangers, they faithfully deliver their divine messages as I drive in an attitude of worship.  I’ll only detail those requiring context: the statue of liberty, crossing guard, and garbage trucks.

Mid-February, some poor soul employed by an income tax service must don an aqua toga and wave an ignored sign, “Honk If You Love Liberty.”  This in all kinds of weather, the Waco wind whipping both garment and headpiece, adding to the pleasure of this busy street corner duty.  I wonder how conspicuously invisible this person feels??  I tried in vain to capture the sign mentioned, and must confess I resisted honking every morning for weeks on the way to work.  I did however meditate on my love of liberty – Christian liberty, that is, and the sacrifice TRUTH made to set men (me) free.  From my heart I repeatedly sounded the horn through that intersection in thanksgiving!!!  And I prayed for grace to pursue even greater liberty in the Lord.

Often I wonder on my way to the office if the crossing guard might be Jesus in disguise.  Oh, I know, he doesn’t fit the traditional image.  His facial expressions even look a bit stern.  No matter the weather, he always dresses for rain, long yellow coat, gray hoodie and gloves, hiding all but his serious face.  When not risking his life to prepare a safe path for leading school children, he may be seen instructing young parents at the crosswalk.  I strain to hear Him speak morning after morning and my heart burns within as He silently tells of His priorities, watching over His holy school zones through which only the foolish speed.  He was the first to warn, “Slow Down!  Take time to watch!  Listen!!  Welcome and guard those entrusted to you.  Follow Me!!”

It is probably obvious I pay more than casual attention to the vehicles around me.  This week on more than one occasion, I found myself bumper to bumper with a garbage truck.  In another instance two were coming head on down a neighborhood street, and following that experience, a parked truck was spied at a gas station where I pulled in for fuel.  Before noticing it, I swiped my debit card, and quickly ducked into my car while gas filled my tank.  Then, I saw it, a pristine white garbage truck from yet another angle right in front of me – parked without a driver in sight.

The first truck pictured happened to stop before me at a light.  On this particular morning I had the unfortunate privilege of serving as a sounding board to several people’s tirades.  The complaints did not directly pertain to me, rather I happened to be first available to diffuse their stress.  It dawned on me afterwards that I must choose what to do with this refuse.  I determined not to compact it on top of my own garbage (issues), to instead, like the truck in front of me, take it to the dump!!  By the time I saw half a dozen garbage trucks in a matter of days, I asked the Lord what more He had to say.  He indicated that on this gray and rainy day, He was inviting me to hop up in the cab of the empty truck with Him and once for all get rid of some obsolete philosophies, coping methods, and tattered garments.  He affirmed over and over how extraordinarily beautiful I am to Him, and I mean deep within where time doesn’t reach beautiful.  He made two glorious promises to me that afternoon while washing me in redemption rain!!

Remembering Him, I wrote this later that afternoon:  “I saw YOUR hands clapping in the trees reflected in sidewalk puddles.  I dared not disturb these holy pools, rather enthused and infused by You, I stepped carefully around them.  It was then I saw myself, the object of Your applause, in the pool with you, Your smile spreading blissful across my face.  I saw You in me, exquisite.  I’m getting it Lord, Your opinion of me, Your love and desire(s) for me.  Indeed, the way you move, I stand no chance.  Ah, with Beth Moore I say, “There is no high like Most High!!!”

Abiding In His Breath and Shadow,
For more inspirational reading visit Spiritual Sundays at www.bloggerspirit.blogspot.com