When You Feel You Are Lacking

21730836_10209931955675627_3675602772556261636_n
“He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only. ~ C.S. Lewis

Father, help me to be at a place where my small drop in Your vast ocean is so satisfying that I don’t wish for more. I awoke and began to think about all that is absent from my life – and then you asked me to allow You to be more to me than I know right now.

“To grasp how wide and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:18,19

💦You and I are loved by Christ. May that settle in and become enough.

Advertisements

Live In The Moment

IMG_5792

May you be enveloped with a true sense of security. May you know that I AM behind you, before you, above and below you, holding your right hand….guiding every detail of your life. May you be so captivated by My love for you, that you lose all fear and take that leap, knowing I AM the wind securing your flight. This is how you live in the moment – not being weighed down by the past or finding resistance projecting your mind into a future you aren’t meant to walk. Let the peace *I* give transcend your understanding and thus sustain your heart and mind. Phil. 4:7

A Little Note on a Big Hope

Watch as the clouds He rides swing low
Lift up the sound as He makes our praise His throne
Behold the Lord our God will lead us Home
~ Songwriter Joel Houston

20638421_10209686627662580_1016386958594471454_n

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. ~ 1 John 3: 1-3

Let’s Lift That Load

 

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s heaven for?”
~ Browning

img_5523-e1502058142944.jpg

Please do something for yourself. Pull a long piece of hair from your head and hang on to it for a minute. If your hair is really short pull out someone else’s. (hehe) Got it? Come on, I’ll wait – we will come back to it and you will need it.  But first, I would love to take your hand and walk you briefly through a very heavy period in my life. Then, I will share the comfort God gave to me, hoping that it helps lift whatever weight is bearing on your shoulders.

Ready? Let’s lift that load. (♥1)

As some of you know, I wrote in a previous blog (https://blrauzi.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/my-childs-hand/ ) about the day I came down with Bell’s Palsy – the day the left side of my face suddenly lost all movement (I have since had some recovery).

That above mentioned day actually turned into a very long year – a year in which the doctors told me I would have permanent damage to my 7th cranial facial nerve and the degree of my recovery would not really be known until after 12 months.
That was not a good thing to say to me.
All I could think about was that word permanent.
Permanent facial droop. Permanent taping of my eyelid at night. Permant feeling of sadness when I smiled. Permanent holding back laughter because of how I looked. Permanent loss of identity.

I was so depressed. I recall waking up every morning realizing I had to “face” the “ugly” trial. Every day I cried – for a whole year – literally. I even slept with my bible so that when I woke up feeling depressed, I’d have it near.

So when, with heavy mind, I read this verse,  “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our
light
affliction, which is but for a moment…………” (♥2),
I paused because the word
“light”
stood out to me –

a lot.

This trial light? Ha! Riiiight.
I wanted to quit reading.

But instead of my mind shutting completely down, these words of Jesus surfaced,
“Come unto me all you that are heavy burdened….for My yoke is …light.”(♥3)

What was heavy, my burden; what was light, His.

So I opened the Corinthians passage again, but this time I noticed all the other words I hadn’t before: “Our light momentary affliction………works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory(♥4), while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen.

IMG_5525

This time when I read it, it seemed that with each powerful syllable,

God was drawing my vision away {{in rhythmic jolts}}
far..more…ex…cee….ding….and e…ter…nal….weight… of…glo…ry –

from looking through what was really an electron microscope at my problems,
to looking through a mega telescope so I could see
So… Much… More.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now I am a very visual person, so an image came to mind as my focus changed from “micro” to “tele” scope that gave me peace. Here it is for you:
So, remember the piece of hair you should 🙂 have in your fingers? Now hold it up high in front of you and imagine eternal space. To the left of the hair is eternity past with no beginning and to the right eternity future, with no end.

There is just the weight of forever and ever.

IMG_5526.JPG

Now imagine that the light piece of hair is your life, and within that life is your current difficulty. That earthly existence, as important as it is, is momentarily intersecting eternal space and unending life. With that perspective, the hair is now small,
almost invisible.IMG_5527
It is a blip in the humongous expanse before us.
It is a small line passing through so much more.
It is passing through all the beautiful nebulas, stars, planets and galaxies.
I imagine the weight of that universe, the heavy distance my mind cannot even measure…

….and beyond that I imagine heaven,
the huge, wide, vast There,
where the things unseen quickly shrink the things seen, to a mere toy-like model.

And then,
HE is right before me, face to face.

Suddenly I am captivated. I am in awe and that heavy weight that
was
pushing. my. shoulders. down,

now
feels easy and light.
And I hear Him say with lowly heart, “Learn of Me…..and you shall find rest for your soul…..” Tears come to my eyes as I exhale, “Be thou my vision.”

“There is a place where fear has to face the God you know.”(♥5)

When He tells us that He is working our “light affliction” into an “eternal weight of splendor” (♥5), we can by faith wait with anticipation to what that treasure WILL be. We know we will come out better on the other side – and we will know Him better too.

Because eternity is not just in the expansive future,
eternity includes where He is now (♥6) – IN this light moment with me and with you.

IMG_5524


“Lift up your eyes on high and see:

who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
and because he is strong in power,
not one is missing. Why do you say,
[put your name here],

and speak,
O [your name],

“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”(♥7)

I hope you feel much lighter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
EXTRAS:
♥1)”That we may be able to comfort the who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves were comforted of God.”

♥2) 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Affliction = from the Greek word, thlipsis, “carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape”.

♥3) Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

♥4) Glory = from the Greek word, doxa, – “honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor. convey God’s infinite, intrinsic worth (substance, essence).”

♥5) From, Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns:

♥6) Eternal = from the Greek word aiṓnios – “life operates simultaneously outside of time, inside of time, and beyond time – i.e. what gives time its everlasting meaning for the believer through faith, yet is also time-independent. [Eternal] does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age.  Thus believers live in ‘eternal (aiṓnios) life’ right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession.”

♥7) Isaiah 40:26-31

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

My Child’s Hand

 

IMG_5311

“Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by my name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you…”♥

I know you can relate. We all have had those unexpected pauses in life where time stands still and circumstances hit our minds like an unbearable weight.
A death, a loss, a health crisis, a financial strain – any of these and more – can make the boat of our lives feel like it is about to sink……and then, like a dense fog……

Fear sets in and it is even hard to pray.
We cower and become restless and yet, through all the confusion,

He calls.

“He knows our frame that we are but dust.”♥ He understands our weakness; and hence, our great

I AM,

reminds us that He is always with us IN our vessel IN our darkest moments.

IMG_5308

A heavy moment like this hit my life in what started out to be a normal summer morning in 2001. (That morning was actually the mere beginning of a long difficult road.)  I just had put my baby girl down for a nap and had started to read my morning e-mails, when I noticed that my left eye was feeling unusually heavy or “tired”.
The strange feeling only became more intense so I got up and looked in the mirror. I noticed my eye lid was barely closing when I blinked – and not only that, but the corner of my mouth was also starting to droop and not obey my commands.

Within a span of 30 minutes I had lost all the function on the left side of my face. A fear like nothing I had experienced before gripped my life. This fear was intense because I have always been a very design-oriented person. I am artistic and love to find beauty in things. Now, the balance of my own face was gone, my beauty felt like it was leaving me, and more deeply, who I actually was changed before my eyes.
My inner core was earth-shaken.
I called out to my husband who was just putting my toddler into his high chair for breakfast. Tearfully, I showed him my condition and we started to pray.
I was terrified.…

IMG_5302
We stood in front of my little boy in his high chair and bowed our heads; but my mind was too full,  I could not concentrate.
I closed my eyes anyway and to steady my body I rested my hand on the high chair. Almost immediately I felt a marked contrast to my razor-sharp thoughts: a very soft, soothing,  hand gently swept underneath mine.

My little blonde chubby boy was scooping up my hand.
IMG_0231

I will never forget that moment.
That tender sensation on my skin was just the opposite of the harshness that was racing in my head, and the contrast caused me to pause……….…

as though my rocking boat was instantly steadied, and Jesus was saying directly in my ear:

 

” Fear thou not for I AM with thee.”♥

IMG_5301

 

 

I often feel a lot like the disciples in the wave tossed boat when Jesus was WITH them in the vessel, asleep.♥ Can you relate? The water rises and the winds pick up and my gaze quickly becomes consumed in the details when really, only “one thing is needful”♥  – for me to repose beside Him……

at rest
because
HE is with me.

I am still learning this. I am learning that He is enough. I am learning that no circumstance frightens Him, and that He commands those winds and waves.

I am learning to be There more – tossed but at peace, captivated with Him.

I would love to hear how you are learning this too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come close and abide
You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw us closer oh my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee”
~ From the song “Captivate Us”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
♥References: Is. 43:1,2;  Psalm 103:14;  Is. 41:10;  Matt. 8:23-27; Luke 10: 40-42

Where is the Music?

“Every sound perceived by the acute ear in the rhythm of the world about us can be represented musically. Some people wish above all to conform to the rules, I wish only to render what I can hear.” ~ Debussy

Waves

I was going to post an entirely different thing this morning, but circumstances have steered my mind on a different road…..or a different tune. So here I am on this road of familiar scenery, this song of the all too familiar sound: failure.

I woke up to in-your-face-13-year-old emotion…….
and (That is a very short word, but a lot can happen or not happen in those 3 letters)…….
I let all of that annoyance enter my skin and seep into my mind. Allowing it to enter caused a physiological response called “fight or flight”: my blood pressure rose; my heart started to beat faster; and my potential responses, stemming from rule and law, piled up quickly against the doors of my mouth, ready to burst them open.
(Here comes that word again) and,
I reacted.

The way I reacted was to raise my voice and harshly counter her tone with a consequence. That may not sound too bad, but harshness and quick reaction did not demonstrate my love for her in the correction. In fact, it demonstrated a back-in-your-face-48-year-old emotional response……..
(and here comes that word again)…and…….
my daughter allowed that annoyance to seep into her skin and mind.
So, you can guess what happened: frustration given, brewed frustration; sin given out, created more sin.

She went in her room. I felt the conviction of my Father.
Things could have been different.
I could have not let the noise take over the music.

God’s convictions in my heart have never been harsh or reactionary. They have never been given to me out of a posture of authority. They fall on my mind like sadness, like something is wounded or dying. He knows what it means to speak the truth IN love – and He never fails at it.

Today, when His conviction came, I could have merely heard it and went on my way simply breathing an “I am sorry” to my daughter, but I knew doing so (by the wonder of experience) that I needed to go deeper. Times like this are times to be still……….
and (that beautiful word of rest)…………
really listen. These are times to learn. These are times to understand HOW all the facts we learn, are implemented and woven into the fabric of our lives.

Listening is not easy though. It is an exercise or labor of sorts. I calmed my mind before Him, but, and here is the labor, I felt immediately unworthy to be with Him. I did not feel like I could call Him Abba or Dad. I was shamed by my failure to obey the laws and the rules. But thanks be to Him, He has unlocked those prison gates – my mind does not need to stay there.

I knew those “locked” gates of condemnation were from my human nature and not His nature, because sin and our nature will always block His voice. They will put up walls and veils so we cannot really SEE or HEAR what He has DONE and completed for us in Christ.
He wants me to see and hear that the same Spirit of His that is grieved when I do the wrong thing is also telling me to cry, “Abba, Father!” He does not EVER distance Himself or turn His back on me (us) in times of sin. He already forgave all my sin, past, present and future. His love is unwavering. His love has no limits. His love fulfills all laws.
Blessed thoughts! He has sealed the victory over sin and the law, death and the grave. His love is steady, sure, and faithful.

I am reminded of this after His convictions, and my thoughts fall back onto Him.
All fears and guilt leave………
(and here it is again, the rest note) and……..

Whole note and rest on a staff.

I am THEN able to hear His Spirit teach me. I am able to allow His resurrection life to bring victory over failures. There are no walls. There are no veils. I am able to be taught. I am able to learn.

I am learning.
Today I am reminded to treat my daughter exactly like He treats me.
I need to listen to His voice when I am faced with the harsher notes of life……….
and (rest and listen)……..
so I will not let the sin of others get in the way of my seeing Him in their life… even IN their moments of failure;
so I will not let my sin get in the way of my seeing Him IN all things, working the moments of life into His full song.
I am learning to keep close to Him, and be close to His children – everything else can resolve in the midst of that
love relationship.

Rest.

That vital note in the music of our days.
That pause of allowing the entrance of His love and life, instead of sin and shame.
That pause of knowing that His love for my daughter is deeper, broader, and wider than her sin…..and mine.
That pause and rest that says, I do not need to let failure pass fear, or guilt, or shame in me or on others I relate with.
He is bigger than this moment……He has fought and won the battle, and therefore,
our relationship is bigger than one note.
We do not need to fight what He has already won.

I desire to live in His place of resurrection, victory, and steadfast love.
It is only There that the effects of failures lose their power.
It is There that the noise fades……….
and…..(that vital pause)…….
He makes true music of our days.

Where is the music?
Listen to Him.
He is making it. He is continually working all things together for good.
The music is found “in the space between the notes.”

And………that He is.

The Composer

(Ephesians 4: 2,15; 5:2; 4:30; Galatians 4:6; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 15:55-58; 1 John 4:18; 2 Corinthians 3: 6-18; Philippians 2:7-9; Hebrews 10: 1-23; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 4)

Abba, Father

Father's Hands

I am sure many of you have a similar desire as mine: a desire to be close to Him, to know Him well, to know Him intensely and deeply. I would like to know and be as comfortable with Him as a young child is with her parents – as comfortable as if He were physically here. I want the entire weight of His immense character to move my life and actions at His will.
This yearning of our hearts is reverberated over and over in Scripture on a cord struck first from the heart of God.
Christ expressed, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
And the Holy Spirit via Paul:  “that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus”

Christ has fully apprehended His own.
He captivates and binds us to Himself,
…..yet this makes us utterly free.
He woos us to Himself,
unshackling us from the chains of the spirit of man……
then He seals us with His own Spirit to make us one with Him.
Blessed freedom!

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry,
‘Abba! Father!’“

Do we understand the intimacy of those words? I can only begin to understand them as I think of the relationship between Christ, the Father, and the Spirit while He walked this earth……and even more so, long before, in eternity past. His connection to His Father via the Spirit was constant and created  perfect union of thought and action. Now, through Him, we have entered into that same relationship:

“I [Christ] in them and you [Father] in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” No wonder He desires us to abide steadily and deeply in Him.

Several years ago in my quest to allow my heavenly Father into every corner of my life I wondered…..could the fact that I come from a broken home skew my ability to see Him rightly as my Abba?
I knew my concept was distorted.

So I made a list. As I made it, it was as though I were letting my heart cry out for something I never had. My pen moved……

I would love a father, my father:
1. To see me as beautiful…..always….because He sees what others, and even myself, cannot see.
2. To take interest in the little things I do (patience) and to find joy in those things, as much as the big things.
3.To always be there – to never leave me. 
4. To tell me gently with love when I am going down a dangerous path. That he would be firm, but not harsh. 
5. To keep his promises, to want to be near, to want to listen, to help me actually do what is important in life.

I paused for a while after writing down these things……..and could not help but well up inside (and out) with thankfulness no words could express. I believe it is times like these where, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
Funny, I already knew that He was that perfect father, but somehow, writing the list, thinking on Him, and praying within the process, brought Him more fully IN to that hidden area of my heart.
His “perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

He will never fail us – no matter what is going on in our minds or actions – He is constantly loving us with the protection and tenderness of our Abba.

I think what struck me then, as it does still, was that my Father in heaven was not only all those things, but that He was far more than all those things. Inconceivably more. As a writer I have appreciated put it,

“If we take all the goodness, wisdom, and compassion of all the best mothers and fathers who have ever lived, they would only be a faint shadow of the love and mercy in the heart of our redeeming God.”

Those are the words are Brennan Manning’s.

(About a week ago, he passed from the murky vision of faith unto that glorious reality of “face to face”. Wow. What he must be seeing now! He was a man of many struggles, yet, he was beautifully transparent with those things. Transparent to people, transparent with His Father.)
Here as an excerpt I love from his book, “The Furious Longing of God”:

“Abba means in literal English: daddy, papa, my own dear father.

“American child psychologists tell us that children learn to speak between the ages of 14 and 18 months. Regardless of the sex of the child, the first word normally spoken at that age level is “Da Da Daddy.” A little Jewish child, speaking Aramaic in first century Palestine at the time of the historic Jesus, at the same age would say “Ab Ab Abba.” I really think we caught the revolutionary revelation of Jesus’ teaching on God the Father because He’s daring us to address the infinite, transcendent, almighty God in the same colloquial form of address our own children used that morning, which is Abba, literally meaning “Daddy.”

“Jesus is saying that we may address the infinite, transcendent, almighty God with the intimacy, familiarity, and unshaken trust that a sixteen-month-old baby has sitting on his father’s lap – da,da,daddy.

“Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candour, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy’s lap?  An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys, or even starts chatting with little friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment?  Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?”

I hope and pray that our interior life will be increasingly decorated with such freedom, joy, and life. For when the Son sets us free, when He flings the prison doors open, when He bids us to enter into His rest, we cannot help but sing! “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. (Selah)”

Father-child-shadows-300x199

(John 17; Phil. 3:12; Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; 8:26; John 17:22,23; 1 John 4:18; Galatians 4:4-7; John 8:36; Psalms 84)