Five Minute Friday-Comfort

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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-Whole

 

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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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Goodbye 2014

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Farewell 2014

A New Year, a clean slate……ready to be filled with joy and pain, good and bad, smiles and tears.   But ready more than anything to be filled with the Presence of my everlasting and ever loving Father.  A New Year, I think requires a look back at the old year while at the same time straining and keeping our eyes on what lies ahead.

Today, thanks to some writing I have been doing over the past year and a half I had a unique opportunity to look back at what I wrote to welcome in 2014.  I was literally struck by the writing…….it centered around a word that proved, in retrospect, to be a near perfect description of different ways in which 2014 played out.  The word was dynasty and last year as I puzzled over why God would give me such a different word I grasped hold of one definition of dynasty: “a family/team that is powerful or successful over a long period”.   I knew, right then and there I wanted to be part of God’s dynasty and God spoke to me through some odd insights in to four animals:  a duck, a moose, a lion and a goose.  I wrote these words about a duck “ducks are interesting creatures….on water they move gracefully and freely, but on land they seem to waddle to their own offbeat tune.  Their quacking increases in intensity when they feel threatened yet seem to sing almost a lulling tune when paddling peacefully alongside their mate”.  Oh what truth rang to this, I can see those days when I kept my eyes on Him, focused on walking in the strength and love of His Spirit I was able to move gracefully and freely but when my focus wandered away the days became awkward and difficult.  This past year I experienced more healing and spiritual growth than I had ever dreamed possible.  I wanted desperately to be part of His dynasty and through that healing God has began laying out more and more ways for me to share His love with others…….through friendships, through people He has brought into my path and even………to my amazement through preaching His Word on occasion!!! 

Last year I wrote maybe God wanted me to be a moose in His dynasty; to live more by faith and less by sight; to learn to peacefully exist in whatever circumstances are before me.  No, I definitely have not been a perfect moose, but 2014 taught me lessons about slowing down, moving in His seasons and allowing Him to direct the seasons rather than me trying to constantly take control.  I have had some amazing moments of soaking in His Presence, just allowing Him to fill me rather than fighting endlessly toward an unknown goal.  Sometimes just soaking in His presence is all we are capable of, and He honors that and fulfills it in ways we never realized we needed. 

As a lion in God’s dynasty in 2014 I was humbly honored to be a part of faith community that has grown spiritually by leaps and bounds.  When the leader of our community was hit with a very difficult season this community of faith came together as a pride…..lifting each other up in faith and spirituality and at times literally roaring with amazing, Spirit filled and heart wrenching prayer for all those in our community who were in desperate need.  It was an honor and a privilege to watch this “pride”, this faith community rise spiritually to the occasion and support their leader in way that honored our Heavenly Father.

Finally, last year, God asked me to be a goose in His dynasty; an animal with strong values, loyalty and a willingness to care for and protect those who are physically or even spiritually injured.  A goose will guard an injured family member until he/she recovers or dies.  I cannot even describe how being a goose has played out this year.  As two members of our close knit community of friends  faced overwhelming challenges we have literally stood guard over them; covering them in prayer, filling in for them when they simply could not face another person, and given our own shoulders to their buckets of tears all the while wading through our own grief within these situations.   These five friends have bowed shoulder to shoulder to our Father  in the fiercest love, loyalty, caring and protection I have ever been witness to……and we have survived; even thrived.  

The challenges of 2014 are far from over; these friends and others will continue to need each of these animals in their corner………but what being a part of His dynasty (family successful over a long period of time) has taught me will never, ever be forgotten.   Not only will it never be forgotten…..but as He promises in His Word He has used, is using  and will be using ALL of this to His Glory.  2014 was PROOF BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT of this promise:

And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified”.  Romans 8: 28-30 NIV

Thank you Father……for calling me to be part of your dynasty for 2014 and may I forever honor and glorify you in all circumstances!  Amen

This goodbye 2014 post is lovingly dedicated to the gatherers of Grace Outrageous Ministry (GO Ministry) and to the five most amazing friends in the world…….Tress, Beverly, Sharon, Dawn and Dawn….I love you all!!! 

MOST IMPORTANTLY IT IS DEDICATED TO HIM WHO HAS MADE IT ALL POSSIBLE……MY LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!!! 

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Five Minute Friday: Because

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Linking up with The Five Minute Friday crew for the first time in a while. I invite you to drop in and Link up at http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-Friday/.   The rule is a prompt word is provided and you write, for five minutes whatever comes, no editing, no long thinking just write. When you are finished go back and comment on the link before you and provide support.

 

This weeks prompt word…..because. Ready, set, go!!

 

Because Your promises are for me, because You have touched my heart in places I didn’t even know existed, because You have shown me the beauty of a loving Father, because You have given grace unconditionally. Because You have whispered to me, shouted to me and loved me without words. Because You have entered into my life. Because You have upheld me when I had nothing left. Because You have gathered my millions of tears. Because You have given me millions of smiles. Because You have taken my violently trembling hand and placed it in Yours. Because You have listened to the fears and failures and doubts without judgment. Because You have given me a heart full of compassion. Because You have shown me what true love and true community is. Because You have blessed me with Your everlasting presence, touched me to the depths of my soul. Because You have given me oh so much more than I could ever deserve. Because You have taken this broken child and transformed her, renewed her and given her a heart with a desire to pursue You and You alone. Because You are all, all of my past, all of my present and all of my future. Because You are the great I Am. Because of all this and much more I will worship You forever!!!

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The Master Composer

 

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                A symphony of pain and of healing, a symphony of lies replaced with truths, a symphony of anxiety yielding to relaxation, and a symphony of depression overcome by joy.  This, my friends, is a description of the past several months of my life; it could be the description of any of ours.  Every one of us, if we are honest find ourselves at a time in life where things are just ‘not as they should be’, where we desperately search for something to fill the aching, empty space in our heart.  This ache could be caused by grief, abuse, dysfunctional families, childhood wounds, adulthood wounds, or even just the everyday battle of being.  It may have been caused by others, self-inflicted or be a strange combination of both.  When the season comes upon us, when we are desperately searching for the ‘cure’ to end the ache we begin to look for ways to alleviate the pain.  For some, it is addictive behaviors, sometimes we look for loved ones to ‘cure’ us, sometimes we even look to ourselves for the ‘cure’, thinking if we were just better, stronger, more faithful, more obedient that the ache would somehow magically heal.  I know because I have searched desperately for the ‘cure’ in all these places; for me it was most especially looking within, believing I should be able to fix the ache, believing if I were just stronger, more organized, had more faith that the ache would be ‘cured’.  What I found instead was that for an ache to be truly healed that healing must be of, through and within my Master Composer; my Lord and my Saviour Jesus Christ. 

                The Master Composer has already written the symphony of Amy but what the past several months have taught me is just because a symphony is beautifully written does not mean it will be just as beautifully orchestrated unless I, the musician,  follows the flow of the music set forth by the composer.  I believe that God has written a beautiful symphony for each and every one of His children but so many times our eyes stray from reading the notes and following along.  I like to think I follow the notes of the symphony, but the past several months have revealed the truth that way too many times my eyes stray from the music sheet, way too many times the notes are blocked from my vision by eyes full of tears, way too many times I simply tire of paying attention and look away.  There are hurts in our souls, lies we believe that lead to fear, anxiety, and depression.  These hurts, these fears cloud our eyes and cause us to lose focus, to stray from the notes He has so lovingly scripted for us.  They cause our hearts to close down, to put away our instruments and refuse even to look at the beautifully written music.  The longer the hurts, and fears keep us from His music the deeper the ache grows until finally we realize we can no longer bear the pain it has caused.  It is in that pit, where we can no longer hear His music, where we no longer have the strength to lift our eyes to the notes in front of us; this is where we must make a choice, cry out to God for deliverance or continue living in our deathly quiet pit of depression.  This is also where others have the opportunity to cry out for us, and where we, who have been in this pit, can recognize it and cry out on behalf of others. 

                I won’t lie, the choice I made to cry out to God was not easy; in fact, it was one of the most difficult cries I have ever uttered, it was so pitifully weak that friends who have been there interceded and strengthened the cry for me.   It was riddled with pain of its own, fears that came from the depths of hell, shame, embarrassment, guilt and even hopelessness at times.  Yet what I have discovered is the pain, fear, shame, embarrassment, guilt and even hopelessness were all musical notes of their own, written by God with a specific reason in mind.  You see each of these musical notes if they stand alone are just notes, they make no sense, create no music, they are just sounds.   Yet when they are followed together, in a pattern designed by the Master Composer they begin to create beautiful music.  Notes of pain are followed by long stanzas of healing. Notes of fear precede an entire page of courage and strength.  Notes of shame are quickly forgotten as they are replaced with love notes from the Father.  Notes of embarrassment fade quickly as truth is revealed within.  Notes of guilt are replaced with repentance and covered with the blood of Christ.  And those notes of hopelessness?  Friends those notes of hopelessness turn to an all consuming symphony, a symphony of joy created by the blending of all these beautiful notes.  A symphony that is at once beautiful and painful, a joy filled lilt and a low wailing sound of grief, a quick percussion section invoking both excitement and fear and a stringed instrument section that puts a song of praise on our lips and in our hearts. 

                This is the symphony of the Lord, the symphony we can all be a part of, the symphony that is meant to catapult our lives into a way of living, loving and following the footsteps of the Master Composer Himself.  This is a symphony of freedom, of grace, of love, of mercy that takes us from what has been and invites us to step forward into what He has written for us.  A symphony composed by the Master Himself for each of us, in this time, in this season and in this place.  Will you lift your eyes to His music?  Will you step forward with a faith that knows each note (painful or not) is part of the beautiful symphony written especially for you before you were knit together in your mothers womb?  If you feel you cannot step forward, will you allow a trusted friend to stand in that gap and step forward for you in prayer?    

 I pray today my friends for your eyes to lift to His music, your heart to open to His love and for you to learn to dance to the symphony created just for you, beautiful you, by a loving, gracious and merciful Father.  I pray friends if you need someone to stand in that gap for you, that God brings to you a trusted friend full of the power of the Holy Spirit.  I pray for your symphony to bring joy beyond measure to your heart.  In the strong and saving name of Jesus Christ our Master Composer…. Amen

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Web of Grace

 

 

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Web of Grace

“Jesus wept”…..the shortest and easiest to memorize verse in the Bible.  This verse was brought to my heart courtesy of my 21 year old son who preached his first sermon this past Sunday.  Jesus wept; this verse touched my heart to is very depths, a poignant reminder that not only is He a sovereign and omnipotent God, He is also a God of compassion, love, mercy and grace who does not sit idly by and watch our sufferings but indeed feels our pain as He guides us through our sometimes messy lives. 

Messy, tangled, tousled, and yet beautiful; I believe this is an apt description of my life thus far.  This morning God placed a visual in my mind of a spider web, an intricate weaving put in place by the workings of a sovereign creator.  Oh but sometimes that web is so intricately weaved together that when an unsuspecting prey finds itself trapped it is nearly impossible to escape.  Lately I have been exploring with God the intricate weavings of my own life, looking back at childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.  Sometimes I wonder why?  Why am I looking back now?  I am staring at the half century mark in just a couple of years so why bother looking back?  Why, because it is what my God is calling me to do.  Why?  Because there is this undeniable tug on my heart from a God that loves me so much He wants more for me than to be trapped forever in this intricate web.  Why?  Because God has been laying on my heart for over two years now that sharing my story will somehow touch another life, somehow bring hope where little had existed, somehow touch a life and turn that life toward His everlasting grace.  What a frightening prospect this is; exploring my own tangled web is one thing, that is private and stays between God, I and a close friend.  However, opening my own web for others to see, to know of, exposing it to more than my inner circle….now that my friends is downright petrifying! 

I have in past posts revealed tiny pieces of this tangled web and I know the time will come when God will place in my heart to share even more.  But right now is a time of untangling and finding a way out for me.  Over the past few years I have come to understand that in order for God to use me the way He desires I must submit to His will.  Submitting to His will has not been easy, it has meant beginning to untangle and find a way out of a web that was spun in some of the darkest times of my life.  A web weaved with dark words such as sexual abuse, divorce, death, depression, bullying, heartache, and at the center of it an overwhelming fear.  It has meant admitting that what appears on the outside; a confident mother, wife and career woman is in truth a scared little girl still hurting from a web spun from darkness.  Where I wonder has the courage to face this web come from?  Yes, my courage comes from God, but my courage also comes from another daughter of God, one who has bravely shared her own story of healing, faith and courage from a past web weaved eerily similar to mine.  God arranged for our paths to intersect for many, many reasons; but one of them was to show me the light and the hope of Christ in a way only a fellow traveler could reveal.  This fellow traveler has not only shown me the light of Christ but has also been a beacon of enlightenment to what God can do with these tangled webs when we submit to His will for us. 

It is not yet time for me to reveal more of my own web; God still has a lot of untangling to perform.  However, my friends I tell you this.  My web no longer lives in the darkness.  The morning has broken and I can now see beyond my web. I see the dew as it clings to the web in droplets reminiscent of this one small verse “Jesus wept”.  I see fellow travelers all around me. Some, like my friend who have been set free; they sit on the branches, fly around me, encouraging and reminding me that complete freedom is just another turn or two away.  Others, oh so many others remain trapped in their own webs, some deep in the forest where the sun has not yet penetrated, others of them beginning to see the light shine in their web as well.  Father, it is these travelers that inspire me to break through my own web, the travelers who are still trapped.   I long for the freedom of my bird like friends that I may become an encourager and cheerleader for those who remain trapped.  I long to carry Your light in a way that it may shine brightly, as a beacon of hope for freedom to others.  Father, just as You prepared a way for me, just as You intersected my life with one of your freed daughters, let me, as my web untangles and opens up to become a daughter, free of darkness and shining Your light to others. 

Blessings to you this day my friends; blessings of peace and grace.  Blessings that remind you of Christ who not only walks with us, but weeps with us.  Blessings of a beacon of light, shining brightly to illuminate a path only He has orchestrated.  Amen

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