When Your Life Has Lost Color

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“Time is the brush of God, as he paints his masterpiece on the heart of humanity.”
~ R. Zacharias

Fall is a beautiful season and {I strongly believe} it should last in full color through November. But it doesn’t. Ever.

Just maybe, however,  it’s quick passage is meant to remind us that we also do “fade as leaf.” That time is very, very precious – and it’s beautiful offerings are to be carefully taken in as though our season is also very short.

How easily I forget this. Yesterday He graciously reminded me to Let. Him. In.
……to let Him into the innermost chamber of His temple and to let Him “search me and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts.” He reminded me to be There, in the Holiest of Holies, *with Him* unafraid, unashamed. 

His call was refreshment. His call brought color to what was beginning to feel –  even without me noticing – a dull black and white, a blur of sorts, instead of a slow thoughtful passage.

Let’s open our doors to Christ – just like we ‘take in” a beautiful scene in nature. Let’s *join Him* in the blessed process of His painting His masterpiece upon our hearts – as we sit at His feet, behold His glory, hear His words, and move at His call.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me.” ~ Rev. 3:20

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When You Feel A Bit Shabby

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This morning I was feeling ugly. This is not too uncommon for me because I have Bells Palsy. I have had it for 16 years, but now things are exacerbated with age. So today when a quote from The Velveteen Rabbit came across my path, I soaked it in like a welcomed beam of light……and immediately felt rooted and grounded.

I hope, friends, it does the same for you:

“‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Let’s remind ourselves today how long, and how far, and how deep the love of Christ comes after us. He is relentless in His care and will never let us go. He will love us, like a favorite, even when worn and falling apart. Now I can find a lot of beauty in that.🍁

Doorstep Wind-blown arrangement

When You Feel You Are Lacking

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“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.

Live In The Moment

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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

 

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“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.

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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.…

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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.
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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.”♥

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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.

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“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”

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