Branded in Love

It’s been quite a while since I have posted but this morning I know it is time! This morning I have been reminded that the Promised Land is not merely a suggestion or a fairy tale, but a true and living place in the Kingdom of God. The past several days have brought me a to remember that moment in time in which I was branded in God’s love forever, that moment in which the seas of turbulence parted and I tasted that first sweet drop of honey in the Promised Land, where boundaries are non-existent because of He who crossed all boundaries.

Once God’s people get even a tiny taste of His Promised Land for us, there is no turning back. But the truth is as beautiful as the Promised Land is, it remains full of foreign and sometimes hostile land. Lands and places of “what if’s”, “cannots”, “too much”, “not enough”, “never change”, “too weak” or…..(insert your hostile land here). But the beauty I continue to discover about these foreign and hostile lands is when they are transformed. But isn’t it true that no matter how long we have been in His Promised Land, somehow in our human frailty we try to manage these lands on our own? We fight, retreat, ignore or use whatever coping mechanism we have at hand.

Then, suddenly, we remember. We remember the lands previously conquered and we remember who our knight in shining armor really is. It is then that these foreign and hostile lands begins to lose power. As God crosseS these boundaries with us, sometimes pushing and shoving as we resist, it seems the boundaries of these lands begin to disappear. The land of “what ifs” becomes “what if, God”, the land of “cannots”, become “can with God”, the land of “too much” becomes “just right”, the land of “not enough” becomes “enough”, the land of “never change” becomes “God changes” and the land of “too weak” becomes “BRAVE”.

In our walk with God, the Promised Land will, until the day we reach for the hand of Jesus at the end of our earthly life, always have pockets of foreign and hostile lands—BUT with God’s greatness, and His boundary crossing brand of LOVE, our Promised Land expands, we recognize the hostile and foreign lands sooner, spend less time in them than when we first tasted the Promised Land.

WHY? Because God is a God of greatness, who crosses all boundaries, and brands us with His love! A love that never changes, never stops, and is always present!

Psalm 145: 17 (Msg) “Everything God does is right–the trademark on all His works is love”

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TEAM

I am reposting this blog in honor of the team known as Findlay Strong!! 

Team: Diverse individuals working together toward a common cause. It’s my definition; not coming from a dictionary but from a grieving heart. We range in age from early 20’s to 65 plus. We are married, divorced, single, widowed and every stop in between. We are male, female, straight, gay, lesbian, Methodist, Protestant, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, New Age and Atheist. We are introverts, extroverts, nurses, veterinarians, pharmacists, managers, business men and women, lawyers, therapists, support personnel, receptionists, even a Queen, and, most of all….educators. We’ve been together, some of us for upwards of 15 plus years. We have had chili cook-offs, cookie bake-offs and dunk tanks. We’ve celebrated the birth of babies and mourned the death of babies. We’ve been together through the loss of parents, spouses, children, marriages and friends. Team members have left; by their own choosing or by the choice of a company that seems to simply push buttons from far away. Those of us remaining are charged with a daunting but somehow Holy task; to push through to the end with dignity. To uphold the values and integrity that have made this team strong for many years. We will, in the coming months, clean out labs and classrooms, stack chairs and tables, support students as they complete degrees, sort through 40 years of paperwork AND, nearly every month we will hold a “going away” as members of the team move on and numbers dwindle. Each month brings new losses, new grief and new opportunities for growth. As a TEAM we will laugh, cry, mourn, celebrate and continue doing the best we can in a sometimes unbelievable situation (often all in the same day). Perhaps Alan Jackson describes it best when he says “life gets changed, disassembled rearranged, come together, fall apart”.

Life is indeed changing; team members are finding new employment opportunities, students are graduating with no fresh faces to fill their spots. In less than two years from now the team as we know it will cease to exist; and YET it will always live on..in different places, with different people. Some of us will remain close, some we will never see again, but the Team built in diversity and love will never cease to exist within the hearts of those who built it and who were part of it. Each one of us will be a better person for the honor of being a part of what we will always remember as “Team Findlay”.

This blog is dedicated to past and present team members of BMCFI and in memory of Fred Baldwin….a forever member of Team Findlay. I love each of you and whenever I think of the word Team….it will always be “Team Findlay”.

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Five Minute Friday-Comfort

blanket

 

Today I’m linking up once again with the Five Minute Friday crowd.  FMF provides a prompt word every Friday, then we write, for five minutes, no editing, no holds barred, just write whats on our heart.  The rule is a prompt word is provided and we write….for five minutes, no editing, just real and raw.   Then post and go back and encourage the prior post.  Today’s word is ”Comfort” Five Minute Friday-Comfort

“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4

It’s confession time….my name is Amy, I am 50 years old and I have a blankie. I know, I know….I should have outgrown this by now, but the truth is, I haven’t and I don’t care. It’s only two years old, fuzzy, soft and most of all, comforting. Provided to me by a friend during a difficult, life-changing season this blanket has become a tangible reminder of the love of my Heavenly Father. On chilly nights its warm embrace is like that of a father snuggling his little girl. During times of sadness it is a sponge for the tears that seem to flow out of nowhere. It accompanies me on trips, (business or pleasure) as a reminder of home. Let’s face it….all of us have a “Linus” inside of us, who longs to cling to familiarity and comfort. A child who needs comforting, love and most of all, a gracious acceptance of who we are. The first time it covered me was in a dark place, where desperation had a firm hold. The minute I snuggled underneath its gentle softness, Gods comfort seemed to envelope my body and soul.  My blanket is a tangible reminder of the outrageous love and grace of a Heavenly Father. A Father who knows and loves, not just the woman full of love for her Jesus, but the little girl who resides inside this woman. I think we should all have a “blanket”….something tangible for those times when our hearts are in need of a reminder of the all encompassing love and grace God has for each and every one of His children. To me, my blanket IS the wings and feathers of my Heavenly Father, a tangible symbol of love and comfort He provides to all……AND it is a joyful reminder of a God who knows just what kind of comfort will heal and grow His children…….NO matter our age….

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Five Minute Friday-Safe

Today I’m linking up once again with the Five Minute Friday crowd. FMF provides a prompt word every Friday, then we write, for five minutes, no editing, no holds barred, just write whats on our heart. The rule is a prompt word is provided and we write….for five minutes, no editing, just real and raw. Then post and go back and encourage the prior post. Today’s word is ”Safe”. The link is: http://katemotaung.com/2017/02/09/five-minute-friday-safe/
Safe….a word of concern in this age of political concerns, chaos and terrorist attacks. It’s a word we all obsess over from time to time. A word many in this world have no comprehension of just as many have little comprehension of the word danger. Often today we make the word safe so complicated; we define “safe” by what we believe should or should not be occurring in our lives, in our country today.
This morning I was reminded however, that it is not always that complicated……sometimes safe is just safe and simple. As I was sitting on my steps this morning my eye was drawn to the hand railing or banister as some call it on our stairs. Our home is well over 150 years old and this solid piece of wood has stood the test of time quite well; providing safety and security to its people. As I gazed at the grain, felt the smooth coolness of the railing, wrapped my fingers around the spindles and carefully examined a spot where a small piece of wood was knocked out by something…….I was suddenly awestruck. As I sat there I could almost see the hands that would grasp this rail as they went up and down each day about their daily work. Men, tired from a long day in the field or at work might bring pieces of the surrounding farm fields on their hands and it would somehow meld with the wood. Women; carrying baskets of laundry or feverish children on a hip gripped the rail for safety and balance. Toddlers…..taking their first attempt at the stairs alone; their chubby little fingers wrapping around the solid wood spindles, drool and baby oatmeal melding into the wood. Grandmothers, whose step had become less steady with time would depend upon the safety provided in this simple but elegant piece of wood. I thought of the hands who crafted this…..likely never dreaming how many toddlers or grandmothers would be saved from toppling off the side by its strength. It’s a simple railing, a few beautiful carvings at the base but it is SAFE…..safe for the people of this home and safely representing a simple reminder that sometimes safe is just plain simple, ordinary and everyday…….

 

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Five Minute Friday-Breathe

breath-of-god

 

Today I’m linking up once again with the Five Minute Friday crowd.  FMF provides a prompt word every Friday, then we write, for five minutes, no editing, no holds barred, just write whats on our heart.  The rule is a prompt word is provided and we write….for five minutes, no editing, just real and raw.   Then post and go back and encourage the prior post.  Today’s word is”Breathe”. The link is: http://katemotaung.com/2017/02/02/five-minute-friday-breathe-lisa-jo-baker/

Breathe…..such a necessary function for life and yet one I often seem to simply forget, not literally of course; but perhaps more importantly, figuratively.  It’s been nearly 8 months since an announcement that has changed the course of my professional life; or at least the course in my plans.  During that time I have been angry, grieved, laughed and every emotion in between.  For several of these months balanced three jobs plus home.  Breathing was something I often neglected to do and my soul can feel it.  My soul; desperate for a breath of the Spirit.  My soul that has come to a place in life where I know it will be okay and yet so often; still, I forget to breathe.  Changes have occurred with work and with close friendships.  There are days my mind races with so many “could be’s and what if’s” that my soul becomes short of breath; crying out in weariness and frustration.  And yet, through it all…..my God, my very breath giving source of life shines through; sometimes in the most unlikely of ways…….and often when I least expect it.  Last night I forgot to breathe…..the enemy and his “what if’s” were on full blown attack and my heart cried for hours……..in the midst, a conversation with a friend….a true prayer warrior friend.  This morning I awoke to His new mercies, with a song on my heart before I even knew today’s prompt word!  Breathe, O Breath of Life……and then I opened my inbox to a beautiful prayer from my warrior friend……a prayer that was a reminder from my God; a reminder that said….Amy, my beloved, I am here, always…..so just breathe, my beloved.  Breathe today; walk with Me today; let Me care for your heart….today……..and so my friends….today, join with me….and just breathe…His life, His Spirit…

 

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Five Minute Friday-Team

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Today I’m linking up once again with the Five Minute Friday crowd. FMF provides a prompt word every Friday.. The rule is a prompt word is provided and we write….for five minutes, no editing, just raw and real. Then we post and go back encourage the person who posted prior to us. Today’s word is “Team”. The link is http://katemataung.com/2016/08/19/five-minute-friday-team/
Team: Diverse individuals working together toward a common cause. It’s my definition; not coming from a dictionary but from a grieving heart. We range in age from early 20’s to 65 plus. We are married, divorced, single, widowed and every stop in between. We are male, female, straight, gay, lesbian, Methodist, Protestant, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, New Age and Atheist. We are introverts, extroverts, nurses, veterinarians, pharmacists, managers, business men and women, lawyers, therapists, support personnel, receptionists, even a Queen, and, most of all….educators. We’ve been together, some of us for upwards of 15 plus years. We have had chili cook-offs, cookie bake-offs and dunk tanks. We’ve celebrated the birth of babies and mourned the death of babies. We’ve been together through the loss of parents, spouses, children, marriages and friends. Team members have left; by their own choosing or by the choice of a company that seems to simply push buttons from far away. Those of us remaining are charged with a daunting but somehow Holy task; to push through to the end with dignity. To uphold the values and integrity that have made this team strong for many years. We will, in the coming months, clean out labs and classrooms, stack chairs and tables, support students as they complete degrees, sort through 40 years of paperwork AND, nearly every month we will hold a “going away” as members of the team move on and numbers dwindle. Each month brings new losses, new grief and new opportunities for growth. As a TEAM we will laugh, cry, mourn, celebrate and continue doing the best we can in a sometimes unbelievable situation (often all in the same day). Perhaps Alan Jackson describes it best when he says “life gets changed, disassembled rearranged, come together, fall apart”.
Life is indeed changing; team members are finding new employment opportunities, students are graduating with no fresh faces to fill their spots. In less than two years from now the team as we know it will cease to exist; and YET it will always live on..in different places, with different people. Some of us will remain close, some we will never see again, but the Team built in diversity and love will never cease to exist within the hearts of those who built it and who were part of it. Each one of us will be a better person for the honor of being a part of what we will always remember as “Team Findlay”.
This blog is dedicated to past and present team members of BMCFI and in memory of Fred Baldwin….a forever member of Team Findlay. I love each of you and whenever I think of the word Team….it will always be “Team Findlay”.

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Five Minute Friday-Whole

 

light

Today I’m linking up once again with the Five Minute Friday crowd. FMF provides a prompt word every Friday, then we write, for five minutes, no editing, no holds barred, just write whats on our heart. \The rule is a prompt word is provided and we write….for five minutes, no editing, just real and raw.   Then post and go back and encourage the prior post. Today’s word is “Whole”. The link is: Five Minute Friday-Whole

 

Luke 11:36 “If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light”

Whole…..”the entirety”, “everything”, “ALL”…….whole is a reminder of the importance of looking at the entire picture, the entire story. Every LAST speck of it! The good, the bad, the painful, the joyful, the beautiful, the ugly….EVERY bit of it. Every bit of the story is vital….every piece of the puzzle; for without one small piece the puzzle remains incomplete and NOT whole. The story of Christmas….beautiful in our modern day interpretation of the babe in the manger; surrounded by fluffy straw, animals sweetly singing over the birth for ALL times……but to know the whole story means we know the young, innocent “child” who gave birth for the first time, IN A BARN, surrounded by smelly animals, likely much more alone than she had ever been in her life. The whole story means when we breathe a sigh of relief as the angel reveals the danger of Herod, as Joseph, Mary and the child escape. Whole means our heart breaks for the little one’s murdered during that time. Innocent lives cruelly ended by a man so unsure of his own self that he orders hundreds of little tiny, nursing, babe in arms infants to be MURDERED. Whole means that when we share the miracles God placed in our lives…..a new baby, a marriage restored, a life restored……whole means we also share the “behind the scenes”……the years of fertility treatments and heartbreaking months of no baby, the years of pain that brought a marriage to the brink of extinction……the pain of the separation, and yes, the pain of the healing. Whole means that when we share what God has done in our lives we don’t skim over the hard parts….it means we tell the whole story……for it is only in the whole and entire story that the whole and entire grace, mercy and love of our God can truly be revealed. Whole is the full picture of God’s love…..throughout ALL……… stop

 

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