Five Minutes Friday-Quiet

Quiet Prayer

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 “Quiet”. The link is: http://katemotaung.com/2016/01/28/five-minute-friday-quiet/

“As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places to pray” Luke 5:16 Msg

Quiet, as vital a nourishment for my soul as water is for my body. Just as the body craves water on dry, hot summer days so my soul craves times of quiet. Quiet is the cool refreshment that nourishes my parched soul like a cool spring in the desert. Quiet is life-giving, a vital nutrient that courses through my body; refreshing and invigorating a beaten down soul. When the week is long, life is hard, work is crazy…..quiet is my time of refreshment and rejuvenation. Quiet slows my pulse and quickens God’s spirit within me. Quiet is not lonely, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Quiet opens the door to my heart to remember Jesus is sitting right beside me! Just as water quenches my physical thirst, quiet quenches my spiritual thirst when chaos abounds. It’s a time to reflect in my heart with God—-quiet is beauty on a warm spring day when the leaves are just beginning to peak out from their long winter hibernation. Quiet brings a newness to my soul during the “too much” times that life often brings. Quiet is refreshment, restoration, healing, comforting, protection……it is simply a lifeline to God and is necessary to my very being. Getting away for quiet and prayer may seem selfish; but in the chaos of life I don’t believe there is anything less selfish than allowing God to refresh and restore us so we may have the strength, stamina and love to then go out and serve!! May this week bring you an opportunity for a quiet, sweet, life-giving time of restoration.

 

 

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Five Minute Friday-Alone

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Linking up again this week with the Five Minute Friday crowd. We take the prompt word and write for five minutes straight; no editing, no overthinking, ….just five minutes of writing. Don’t forget to go and encourage the writer before you. The link for FMF is http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ Today’s prompt word…….Alone! Ready, set, go.

Alone…..for some this word might invoke feelings of depression and desperation. But for me, alone is quite the opposite. Alone is a chance to recharge, alone is quiet, alone is healing, alone is comforting, alone is writing, alone is processing, alone is praying…..alone gives me comfort in a way no person is capable of doing. Yes, I love my family and friends, time with them, noisy, raucous laughter, sweet times of conversation, community prayer……BUT as the deer pants for streams of water, I pant for time alone…..as a way of becoming more of who I am created to be. Alone is soul soothing, it is sitting and receiving an infilling of the power and love of the Holy Spirit. Alone is uninterrupted time with God embedded within an often overly busy life. Alone is not pushing others away, alone is allowing myself to be pulled into the arms of Jesus. Alone is accepting the love within those arms….love that fills me and enables me to go forth from alone and share His love with others. Alone is a necessary nutrient for my soul and when it is in short supply….my soul aches. Alone is a time of God filling that gives me the strength to be a God sharer…..alone is my time to pull up to the gas pump of my Lord and let Him fill me to overflowing….therefore alone, is never truly alone but instead one with Him.

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Five Minute Friday: Prepare

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Linking up again this week with the Five Minute Friday crowd. We take the prompt word and write for five minutes straight; no editing, no overthinking….just five minutes of writing.  The only rule is to go back and encourage the one who posted before you.  The link is:  http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/    Today’s prompt word…….Prepare!   Ready, set, go

“You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over”  Psalm 23:5

Preparation My child, is Me working in you. It is My quiet whispers to your heart, it is the opening of old wounds. It is tears of cleansing. Preparation My child is about bringing forth a beauty you have yet to understand. You prepare for what I have to give you my child when you sit quietly with Me in these wounds and tears. When you grant Me full, unhidden access to the innermost chambers of your heart. Preparation is bowing your head and falling to your knees. It is leaning into and on Me, your Father in Heaven whose love is beyond your comprehension. Preparation is lifting your eyes to My natural wonders and drinking in the beauty even through your tears. Preparation is trusting Me, even when there is nothing to see. It is crying as if the floodgates have been opened. It is laughing out loud when I delight you and take you by surprise. Preparation is found in silent prayer………when you have no words to speak and in sobbing prayer when you pour out your heart. Preparation is laughing with friends even when you feel as if your insides are being ripped apart. Preparation, believe it or not is arguing with Me. You know I will win, but arguing is part of the preparation. It is obeying Me, day by day. It is sinning and repenting. Preparation is being who you are…….oh so not perfect but accepting I still love you. Sometimes preparation is as simple yet difficult as getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other. Preparation is listening to My whisperings even as the world is saying no. Preparation is embracing ALL that I am in you…..the good and the bad. Preparation is saying Here I am Lord, without knowing the destination. Preparation is eager anticipation of a destination fully known only to Me. It is looking ahead with enchanted wonderment while obeying Me in the mundane of your life. It is listening and responding, doing and resting, crying and laughing. Preparation is Me…..living and working in you. Preparation is your journey to Me………..and My daughter, I am so happy you are indeed preparing.

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Five Minute Friday: Close

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Today I’m linking up once again with Lisa Jo Baker and 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.  Today is Saturday, I missed writing yesterday and now I know why as what follows happened last night.   Please link up the Five Minute Friday crowd at   http://lisajobaker.com/

Today’s word is close: 

Close……close is the 1 am knock on bedroom door that says, “mom, my belly really hurts”.  Close is……on way to ER half hour later because the closeness you have with your child kicks in and says very clearly, something is wrong, something more than the flu.  Close is……running your fingers through his hair while he bravely watches them start the IV in his arm, then holding him close to you carefully so you don’t make his belly hurt worse.  Close is…..wanting his pain to be transferred from his small body to yours and your heart breaking because it doesn’t happen.  Close is……sitting next to my husband in the surgical waiting room, awaiting a word from the doctor, looking at him, smiling and saying….”well, so much for our date day” and knowing that after 26 years its okay.  Close is…….advocating for your little boy to the Dr. who says he is not looking so bad now, knowing that he is hiding the pain because he wants to go to a birthday party.  Close is….sitting on the stretcher, carefully rubbing his legs til finally, after 12 hours he drifts off to sleep right before surgery.  Close is…..praying over him, all of his eleven year old gangly body before the surgery begins.   Close is…..that last hug and kiss before they take him away, knowing even though it’s a “simple procedure” a piece of your heart is going with him.  Close is……shutting off the tears as he struggles to stand up after surgery for the first time.  Close is…….being so near, so in tune, that you knew deep in your soul this wasn’t an average tummy ache.  Close is……the appendix, so carefully removed by skilled hands and a little boy who will be swinging a bat in another week.  Close is….a God who, knowing this would happen, brought our family to a top notch hospital and arranged it so his nurse is the daughter of a close friend, someone we all trust.  Close is…..knowing he needs to get up and walk but your heart breaking as he cries more than he has through the entire time.  Close is…….the love of a momma and daddy surpassing no other love on earth and the even greater love of a heavenly Father who watches each and every one of His children so closely He even arranges the perfect time for an appendicitis attack!

 

 

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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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Treacherous Trips……Breathtaking Beauty

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This week the “Polar Vortex” reached its peak in my neck of the woods.  The snow and cold that arrived reminded me of the long ago “Blizzard of 78” which will remain forever in my memory.  This time however, I am an adult and forced to return to my responsibilities much faster; thus Wednesday morning found me driving first to my moms to deliver my son for the day and then to work on roads that were quite treacherous.  As I drove the roads my concentration was necessarily on the task in front of me; arriving safely at my destination.  As I looked out over the roads and gauged the capabilities of my little Escape I became more and more anxious.  The roads were horrid with ice, snow and drifting everywhere; visibility was limited at times and I found myself with white knuckles on the steering wheel, holding my breath and keeping my eyes locked on the path in front of me.  After our safe arrival at moms I then faced going back on those roads for the 15 mile trip to work, a drive which normally takes 15 minutes I knew would be much longer and the anxiety quickly returned.  As I pulled out of town and onto the highway I noticed the wind had calmed down and the sun was beginning to make its way over the horizon revealing the bluest of skies.  With improved visibility I began to relax and that’s when I noticed it; the entire landscape surrounding me was covered in the most beautiful white I have ever seen, each and every tree looked as if God had reached down from the sky and painted them with diamond infused white paint.  The roads were still terrible, treacherous and requiring careful attention but as I carefully surveyed the landscape God began speaking deeply to my heart. 

You see, I’m no stranger to treacherous roads, those roads in life which are covered in anxiety, depression and fear are an all too familiar part of my journey; many were trips forced upon me by the lies planted in my heart by others however many of them admittedly were trips I chose when the lies were told by me to my own heart.  Lies such as you are not worthy, you are not good enough planted themselves in my heart at a young age.  The biggest lie of all with its basis in those lies was the one I have told myself; whenever bad things happen it must be my fault in some way.  I have taken responsibility for way too much; the good news however is the lies that have caused me to take that responsibility are slowly being replaced with the truth of God’s word. Nearly four years ago I began to study His Word in earnest; with the help of a trusted friend and Pastor I began the most important trip of my life, slowly allowing His Word to seep into my heart and to replace those treacherous lies with the beauty of His Truth.  The trip has been the most pain filled and most beautiful trip I have ever taken, it has been filled with slick, ice covered areas that make me slide off the road and into a pit.  In these pits God reveals himself in ways I could never imagine; in these pits He provides friends who show me how important it is to have prayer warriors.  This trip has been full of depression so heavy my visibility was reduced to mere inches.  During the times of low visibility it was prayer and the intervention of His Holy Spirit that provided me with enough guiding light to hesitatingly navigate the road.  This trip included obstacles; obstacles deeper than the snow drifts waiting to bog down my car and bring my trip to a grinding halt.  Yet, the obstacles were also met with the tools of God’s Word; trust in Me, keep pushing forward, if the drift is too deep let Me show you a detour are the words God spoke into my heart.  Frankly, this is one trip I don’t want to end and I pray it doesn’t end until its final stop at the feet of my Father’s throne.    

 I have always believed in God as my Father, but father is a term I use loosely, for my experience of father’s was not always a pleasant one.  This summer I was blessed beyond my wildest imagination when God led me down yet another treacherous road and then infused His beauty into the surroundings.  I attended a seminar in Ashland OH led by Dr. Terry Wardle; it was the one of the most painful trips of my life, but without a doubt it was the most beautiful trip of my life thus far.  It was a seminar on healing prayer and though it is designed to equip professional and laypersons alike in the process of using healing prayer it also tends to take participants down their own treacherous roads. Dr. Wardle’s unique gift of sharing the treacherous highways of his own life touched the hearts of many; myself included.  The treacherous trip for me began in earnest as he shared anecdotes of the relationship he shared with his children.  With each anecdote my own trip became more and more treacherous until by the end of the seminar I was clinging white knuckled to my own steering wheel.  That’s when the beauty arrived; first in the form of a small group I was privileged to be a part of, and next in my own opportunity to experience healing prayer.  The most beautiful part of my treacherous trip however lay at the end of the seminar; having endured the anecdotes and stories of his relationship with his children all week long I was ready to go home, process and cry.  Instead as I readied to leave I looked up and saw my opportunity to thank Dr. Wardle once more for his amazing insights. Though I had endured pain throughout the seminar due to my own issues I had also found it to be the most beautiful time of learning and basking in the Holy Spirit I have ever experienced.  I approached Dr. Wardle slightly shy but earnestly wanting to thank him for the opportunity; we chatted briefly and then as I turned to leave he touched my shoulder and said to me “wait, Amy I want to give you something, I want to give you The Father’s blessing”, with that he held me close, his hand upon my face, we were touching cheek to cheek and he whispered the most beautiful words I have ever heard in my entire life into my ear.  He told me of the love the Father has for me in a way that penetrated deep into my soul.  His touch and words were not his own; I know without a doubt the touch and words I felt that day were the hands and voice of The Father, those five days were a time of treacherous roads and dangerous territory for my heart, yet the beauty that arose out of those five days is worth more to me than my heart could ever explain. 

My dear friends I bless you today with the love of The Father who knows all about your treacherous trips but whose only desire is that the road brings you closer and closer to Him.  I pray that as you navigate these roads you are able to lift your eyes to above, lift them up and look at the beauty that surrounds you, the pure snow white gift of His love and the diamonds He places within that snow.  Those diamonds are His Word, friends who support and pray, family who loves and the brightest diamond of all; Christ Jesus who bowed to the will of His Father, allowed His own road to be stained with blood and then was fully resurrected in order that we may be granted the greatest gift of all.  My love to each of you this day…..Amen

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