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

That Still Small Voice

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”~ Seuss


IMG_5251      “For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

I want to live with His light shining truth upon my circumstances.

But I often lay bare in my cowardly refusal – because of a fear of rejection and ridicule – to live from my true self, who is clothed in the resurrected Christ. I often choose that love of self (unto the forgetfulness of God) when I am faced with another person who is difficult to love. This is a tomb-like place to be. There I stand irritated, distant, unloving and ungracious – all of the things HE is teaching me that

HE is not.

I want to rise above.

But HOW?

I often ask that harder questions, and am never satisfied with cliches of truth like: “Trust the Lord”. Facts are facts, but standing alone they do not give life.     IMG_5247

 

 

The living answer is simple. He draws me to Himself, the Person, Who yearns for a heart relationship. A relationship that reaches deeply through those important facts that can simply fill the head.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life”

He desires that I see HIM so I can see all things through His eyes.
One way He helps me accomplish this is that He has made many “picture books” for His “little one” –  in creation and in scripture – so I can see and understand the deeper things of God.
I imagine myself crawling in His lap as He opens one of those books and begins to read it to me.
He shows me the sun:
Just as it is a simple fact that the sun rises, so is it a deeper truth that the sun gives life, movement, health, warmth, and a vast array of relationships. The sun brings the interconnected dance of life and without it all would be dead – a picture He created so we could see that…..IMG_5254

The Son being alive FOR US,  wants His presence to bring true life, healthy spiritual movement, kind warmth and rich inviting relationships. The facts leave the page and become the Person.
He makes our lives an artistic masterpiece, a dance of spiritual life.

Soak Him in.

“We are His poetry piece♥♥ created in Christ Jesus…”

With that picture in mind can I take you back in time to the morning when Jesus arose? Very early in the morning just after sunrise (no coincidence in that timing), along comes Mary. She talks to Him, not knowing with whom she is talking, and in sadness asks if He knew where the beloved body of Jesus lay. The grave was empty. She is distressed.
It is then He breathes with familiarity her name – which often she had heard before.

She knew that voice….
and collapsed in joy and victory into an embrace. Can you imagine being there at that moment?! Moreover, can you imagine being her?

Yet in a way, we are.
“Living in an awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves.”

I often think of Jesus saying my name.

IMG_5253

He says my name as I stand shackled to myself, events and people around me that are negative. He reminds me there is another way. He reminds me to become more and more familiar with His voice, with HIS promptings in my heart; so I too can RISE and collapse in Him with joy and victory; so I, and you, can have a vision of those same dark things through His light – and reflect that beauty outward. img_5256.jpg
My broken hallelujah: “Help thou my unbelief”

May you and I hear His “still small voice” call our names out of those places where we lay bare. The circumstance may remain, but we will KNOW WHO surrounds us, and we can REST IN HIS LIFE AND LIGHT.

We can live a resurrected life;
therefore, in His glorious name,

 

 RISE.

IMG_5252

“….that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and

what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,
according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ
when he raised him from the dead…”


Ephesians 5: 14; John 5:39,40; Ephesians 1:17-20
also see, Romans 8:11 and Acts 2:24

♥♥The word “workmanship” in Ephesians 2:10 is from the Greek word “Poiema”, meaning poem/God’s creative work – just as He created “the things that are made {Poiema}” in creation (Romans 1:20).

Don’t Give Up

                                       
“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” ~ Philippians 3:10, 11

If I were to pick one “life verse” it would be this one without hesitation. At the young age of 20, I can recall memorizing it with the desire and prayer to know Him, to really know Him. But then there was that phrase, the fellowship of His…….
sufferings.
I wasn’t too sure about that one.
However in this life there really is no avoiding it, at least the suffering part of the phrase, right? BUT we can control  HOW we are going to walk through it.
As my years have passed I have been forced to learn a bit about that “how” and each lesson has been invaluable only because of this:
Through every difficulty I have been through, He has taken me deeper than my own feet could ever have…..deeper than I ever would have, had I seen into that future.
And as I look back on my life I would do every one of those “deaths” to my own plans and desires all over again, because “Jesus doeth all things well”.

And that is why I (and you) can say,
“Take Me”

IMG_4927
Difficulties have a way of bringing me to a crossroads. Standing between two I ask, “Will I pass through this hardship and seek to find His purpose, His treasure in it? Or will I just give in to allowing it to overcome me, will I allow it to take me and distract me from HIM?”
Pausing, I remind myself that at the end of His road is the promise of the resurrection, of life, and of  a DEEPer closeness to my Protector.

Or

Still pausing, I could choose the other road and give up and thus lead myself to a place that is just simply dead, goes nowhere and makes the trial a really sucky waste of time.

There are my choices.

Those are what I have really reminded myself  of every time those VERY hard trials hit. I knew I had to pass through those deep waters* no matter what.  So I might as well fervently pray that I would find the treasure in it………so……….with a release of resistance and the hope of a deeper life, the “take me” seeps slowly from my lips.

And then comes the movement
IMG_5024
“Deeper”
(than my feet could ever wander)
This movement toward Him is that sweet place of allowing Him to SHOW Himself to my heart, to my soul, to my spirit. Deeper describes that word “knowing”* which is really a word of intimacy, not just a knowing of, or about someone. It is a word of depth into a Person. A word of love, binding me to my heavenly Groom……

and this takes my every sense.

This is best expounded upon with a poem I wrote in the throws of one these troubled times. It describes more of the passage of suffering as it is happening.

(A note of importance: remember that death and suffering were never meant to last forever, because all over nature God has communicated to us that after death has done its work, life takes over. So it was with His own suffering on the cross, and the glorious resurrection that followed, and continues on for us.)

Fellowship of Suffering ~ A Divine Exchange

Open my eyes to clearly see; the path
You took of humility.

Incline my ears to every sound;
Your silence cried out when beaten down.

Enhance my taste to every good
that joy in pain You understood.

Train my scent to know the prayer
of tears of blood that broke the snare.

Then full my arms to Thee embrace
as I fellowship in sufferings face to face!

In this place of relationship in trials, I see many things but all are sourced from, in and through
“His Love”

IMG_4928
I pause before I type any more words. How can we describe this, how can we describe Him? I can see why Paul in Ephesians* added words like, length, breadth, depth and height to the expanse of His love. We are called to know this because in knowing this we know Him and in doing so, we have the fruit of a true life*.
His love fuels our “take me” and His love woos our steps into His depths* and His loves makes our life able to bring forth all life that is organic, viable and real*.

IMG_4989

(Now this is kinda cool and I love when things like this happen):
Right after I took the picture at the top of the post of my Bible journal drawing, I picked up a book I had been finishing by A.W. Tozer and read the following (which I must share in closing because it fits so perfectly.) May we believe His road is best.

“Where such faith is, God will always work in line with our reckoning. Then begins the divine conquest of our lives. This, God accomplishes by an effective seizing upon, a sharp but love-impelled invasion of our natures. When He has overpowered our resistance, He binds us with the cords of love and draws us to Himself. There, faint with His loveliness we lie conquered
and thank God
again
and again
for the blessed conquest.”

With that to look forward to,
Don’t Give Up.
He is worth it.
And so are you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

IMG_4984

The word “know” – Strongs 1097 /ginṓskō (“experientially know”) is used for example in Lk 1:34, “And Mary [a virgin] said to the angel, ‘How will this be since I do not know (1097 /ginṓskō = sexual intimacy) a man?'”

1 Peter 1:5-8

“The Divine Conquest” by A.W. Tozer; pg 63

Philippians 3:11-13

See You Soon

img_1279_2
Several years ago I could not even bear to think of facing this day. But as His good nature proves, He doesn’t ever give us more than we can handle. Over the past 6 or so years I have lost the close verbal relationship I had with my mother due to her dementia – it has been a slow “letting go” and adjusting. All the while I knew this day was coming soon and in the meantime had thoroughly enjoyed her presence and love.
Today I must let go completely.
Yesterday, at 2pm, I watched her go Home to be with her precious Lord. She is free. No shackles of the weight of this sinful world and all the pain she lived through at the hands of others. No more bearing the weight of her lost loved ones – especially her daddy and her boy. No more fighting against a body and mind that tethered her and grounded her later life.
Mostly, she is free to behold, face to face, the Savior she clung SO heavily to throughout her life. She is dancing and bowing….and doing so with the people she loves. I cherish the thought. And I tell her, I will see her very soon.
I can only imagine.
I wish I could tell you all and help the world understand how good she was. How she saved our family in more ways than one. How she saved me and taught me, with her *soul* (not just words or even with actions) what love really is. That was, is and forever will be her gift to me.
img_1278_2

Being Vulnerable

This is a hard one. When it comes to vulnerability, I believe I can only see a small light in the darkness of faith. Why? Because I have built up walls inside my mind. Walls that were created when I was small and learned to protect my emotions. Walls that I learned when I was older to not trust people whom I thought loved me.

But walls also do what I had not intended. Walls do not let in love.

I am reminded of the story of the “Man of  La Mancha”.  Aldonza was a barmaid and hooker, yet, Don Quixote called her by the name of a lady and a prize to be treasured. “Dulcinea,” he said. And it melted her walls.

For me I hear His voice through His blood stained, glorious face. Though it is faint, He is saying my name. His voice is authentic and quiet, yet loud and fierce. It breaks through the darkness and tells me that because of His protective view, I do not have to worry how others may treat me or what others will do with what I say or who I am. He shields me and whispers in my ear a name so beautiful I can hardly take it in. A love so wide, so deep that it makes me collapse in freedom. It is my name on the white stone (Revelation 2:17). It is my “Dulcinea”.

What is your name? Can you hear Him calling through your dark places?

“To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you might be filled with all the fullness if God.”