Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Still" Abandoned? Discouraged?

In my last post I wrote about taking a long, loving look at God in the midst of horns blaring and tires screeching. What's blaring in your life? God hears. And wants to be right in the middle of it. I'm so glad He understands what the end of my rope feels like. I heard someone say about a friend, "she's the knot at the end of my rope." That's what He is for us! Sometimes climbing up out of a pit begins with realizing Jesus is right there with you.

If any of you are interested in studying this word "still" further, I'm writing the definitions and the references. I'd encourage you to do some of your own study and ask Abba to turn His "logos" word into a "rhema" encounter (that's Greek for when the words jump off the page into your mouth and you feel kissed by God!).

"Rapah"-(#8332 Goodrick-Kohlenberger numbering system, #7503 Strong's)

1. to be slack, be remiss, be idle- Exodus 5:8,17

2. to be weak, be feeble- Jeremiah 49:24

3. to desist- Deut. 9:14; Jdg 11:37

4. to sink down, to be despondent,

be disheartened

5. to be lazy- 2 Chron. 15:7

6. to disarm- Job 12:21

7. to let alone, abandon, desert- Deut. 4: 31, 31: 6,8; Joshua 1:5

8. to leave off, quit- Nehemiah 6:3

9. to relax- Exodus 4:26; Ne. 6:9

10.to abate- Judges 8:3

11.to stop (i.e. to let down the hand)- 2Sam. 24:16

12.to let someone go- Job 7:19; 27:6; Songs 3:4

13.to remain- 1 Sam. 15:10

14.to discourage- Ezra 4:4; Jer. 38:4

15.to still - Psalm 46:10

16.The basic idea of relaxing the hands or letting down can connote the loss of courage-

2Samuel 4:1, Isaiah 13:7, Jer.6:24, 50:43; Ezekial 7:17, 21;7; Zephaniah 3:16

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Be Weak and Know

At this moment my dog is limping, my legs are aching, my butt is itching, the kids are fighting, my parents' health is failing, and the sky is raining. Does anyone else feel that assaults just keep coming one after the other to you and the people you love? Maybe its just because I'm a "grown up" now (I hope!), and I'm more aware of the struggles of life, but I don't think life was this hard twenty years ago.
Think of your friends. I used to avoid "crisis" people. You know, the ones who always seem to be struggling with something. It happens so often you wonder if they don't create some of their mess. Or at least look comfortable sitting in their pigpen (I think of the Peanuts character "Pig Pen.") But now, those crisis people seem to be us! If I get victory in my marriage, then my parents fall apart. If my health improves, then one of my kids breaks out in some mysterious rash, or the dishwasher shuts down, and then the van dies. Three of my closest friends have unexplainable physical problems. Another three have heartbreaks in their families with prodigal children. Often others are crying on the other end of the phone line that they just don't know how to go on. Wouldn't it be easier to pull up the covers and disappear?
In the midst of the whirlwind, we're encouraged to "be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10). That phrase often conjures up bucolic (cool word-look it up) scenes in my minds' eye of restful shepherds strumming on harps in open fields. And yet "still" is last thing I feel and the last thing I think I can work toward. The world screams loud. My pain drowns out the "still, small voice of My Beloved." How God do I find you in the fire?
The Message even paraphrases this verse: "Step out of the traffic-take a long loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything." Yet I wonder if God is right in the middle of the gridlock? So I looked again at the verse. Only this time I looked to the Hebrew language. I found my Key Word Study Bible and found the word for "still" in the Hebrew- "rapah." I was stunned as I read all the other definitions of this little word. Fifteen definitions and 29 references, not including our "still" passage. If you search, you'll hear it screamed out of Pharaoh's mouth in Exodus 5:8 as well as in the pleading voices of Isaiah and Jeremiah.
My paraphrase goes something like this:
"Be weak, despondent and useless,
terrified, abandoned and alone
and know that I AM God."
It may seem strange, but I can sink down into that couch. I pull God's warm blanket of seeing me in the mess and know that He is right in the middle of all my loose ends. The expanded definition of "rapah" involves a sense of being completely discouraged. I picture the Israelites sunk down to the ground, hands and heads hanging limp, feeling forgotten, at their wits' end. This word describes their terror at coming judgment and their absolute sense that there is nothing they can do. BUT God, says take a long, loving look at who I AM. I am in control, I am good, I am willing, and I AM powerful while the world is swirling around you and within you.
We don't have to wait until life calms down into a pool of quiet water before we can find God. Or He can find us. I'd love to know what is swirling around you right now . . .

Friday, October 29, 2010

What's in a Name?

Have you ever wondered what your name means? Maybe when you were naming your children you pulled out a "baby name" book. Amanda means "beloved," while Karen means "pure." Matthew is "gift of God."
Names are important to God. We all may know several names He calls Himself-Yahweh, El Shaddai, Jehovah-Rapha. Jesus' name itself means, "God saves." Would it surprise us to know Almighty God hid His divine plan in geneology? The Jews repeatedly spoke the lists of forefathers of the Hebrew faith. Even the book of Matthew and Luke record Jesus' lineage through Mary and Joseph.
As the Jews recited the lists, I wonder if they thought of the meaning of the names in the mundane. Did they yawn their way through the synagogue exercise? Or possibly did they hear the cry of the Almighty through the ages? If they did lean in, they'd hear the Throne room whisper:
"Man is appointed unto mortal sorrow. But the blessed God came down teaching and initiated by his death . . .to bring with power to the poor and despairing . . . comfort and rest. The celebrated name, redeems us from darkness and brings us forth into an enlarged place."
Adam: earthly man
Seth: appointed
Enosh: mortal sorrow
Kenan: mourned
Mahalalel: (but) the blessed God
Jared: descended, teaching
Enoch: (and) initiated
Methuselah: by his death to bring
Lamech: with power to the poor and despairing
Noah: comfort/rest
Shem: the celebrated name (through Jesus line)
Ham: (He redeemed us from) darkness and heat
Japeth: (and brought us forth into) an enlarged place
Amazing!! Hidden in plain sight. And why am I surprised? "He replied, 'The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. . . . But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." (Matthew 13:11-12, 16-17)
Heavenly Father, grace me to hear what You are whispering in the obvious and the hidden in my life! I am desperate for Your "more" in me-

Friday, October 22, 2010

He Comes in Country Cathedrals

Where do you go to meet God? What refreshes your soul? Moving water or moving chords and colors? The beautiful thing is that Abba finds you everywhere you find pleasure- the cathedral or the country. He encountered me, captured me, captivated me on our recent trip to Colorado. Beyond words. Beyond time. Above this earth. I've never been deeper or higher. And I'm wrecked, ruined again for ordinary.
"The desert and the parched land will be glad. The wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom. It will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it. . .they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands. Steady the knees that give way.
Say to those with fearful hearts-be strong, do not fear.
Your God will come.
He will come with vengeance, with divine retribution.
He will come to save you!
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like the deer
and the mute tongue will shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground, bubbling springs.
I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty.
I will refresh the weary and
satisfy the faint."
(Isaiah 35, Jeremiah 31)
What do you long for? Are you weary? What have you lost that you ache for Jesus to give back? Where do you want Him to come for you? "Behold, He comes . . ."
I will come again and again and again over the mountains leaping like a gazelle for you, My love- 'til you are refreshed with My kisses, My sustaining kisses. You were right to come- come to My well. Don't apologize for doing what you want. Wait on Me. Trust in Me. For I will have My way. You need only to hold on. Live. Breathe. Move-stop apologizing for the air you breathe. This is a new way. Living on the edge of a cliff-not the cliff of doom or despair. You can't call anyone back from that edge, only I can. I will romance them and woo them back.
You so want to be someone's little girl. You keep looking to all these other authorities. You miss my authority and strength I have called you to walk in. You allow yourself to be intimidated-so afraid of getting it wrong-getting Me wrong. Looking outside for people to tell you who you are. Instead I want you to come to Me to know who you are and whose you are, and walk in the beauty and joy I have placed in you before the world began. You're My little girl. Mine only. Now walk in it. Live in Me. Put your gaze back on Me. Lock and load your eyes on Me, not anyone else!
Thank you Jesus for coming right at the point of my need, my pain, my weariness. Only You can satisfy. And you do it so beautifully!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Table in the Presence

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Psalm 23

God, how do I eat recklessly with hungry, sullen eyes staring at me from a distance? Somewhere inside me, I want to sneak away and offer them a crumb under the table. As I get close, they snear, "we can't have, so you can't either. And you're bad for wanting more. What we have isn't enough for you?! they demand. How dare you get what you need!" So I leave the feast with my guilt in tow. At least I don't hear their cries stinging my ears. Maybe we can all survive on rice cakes in the desert. At least I won't be alone. If any crumbs fall, I'll feed you first, I promise. You need it worse than I. Sunsets fade away and so does my hunger. Buried deeply underground.

And then one day I gasp for air under the mountains of sand pouring into my mouth! My senses have quickened and I realize for the first time that "my father's men have more than enough bread but I am dying with hunger." I renounce the lie that I cannot receive, that I cannot need, that I cannot be fed. I have wasted so much time at the tree of good and evil that I couldn't see the tree of LIFE only yards away. "I will get up and go to my Father!"

To my surprise, I see him a long way off running to meet me! I hear Him shout, "in Me is all you need. I AM the Source, the Supplier, the Sustainer, the Creator, the Breath of life, the All-breasted One. Do cool waters from distant sources ever cease to flow? You don't create. You don't make. You cannot bring forth life out of death. I made you to receive of my abundant, lavish, recklessly crazy goodness. Why stay in this pig pen? Come home to Me. Don't look back over your shoulder. Leave! At once! For the King has returned. To bring you out of exile.

You will never be punished for following after Me. For leaving your pig pen. I run to you with open arms to wildy embrace you. Come home, My child. Leave their ears to Me. You haven't failed-only I can get them to come to their senses. There is nothing you can do. There are no fetters binding you to them. I hold your strings-your beautiful flowing harp strings. Nothing is holding you there. Nothing. Only lies from the accuser.

In my mind's eye, I see the flowing strings. Like the tail of a balloon. Or the streamers of the fairytale princess. Why do they catch my eye, Lord? Because they're free. They float. They ride the wind; they catch the breeze. They speak of a reality unseen. Me. and so do you. Focus, child, on MY love. I will share when they're ready. Trust Me to do that. Please. for your sake and Mine. You have wrapped yourself indelibly around My heart. I cannot let you go. Dance with Me. A cord of three strands is never torn apart. You are nestled within Us--do you know how powerful We are? The majesty of the Godhead is for you, child.

The princess felt her heart take flight, for this was love. And I pulled up a chair at the Table.

"Return to thy place, and abide with the King." 2 Samuel 15:19 Will you join Us? He asks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Crucible

Crucible. What comes to mind? either some book I was forced to read in tenth grade English or that funny thing my husband uses in his pharmacy. As I look back over this last month, the fires of life have melted me beyond recognition. I have screamed out to God, "what on earth were You thinking?" Have you ever had a nightmare return for a second time?
Oswald Chambers courageously said, "If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people." Then God, pour me out like warm, fragrant oil.
On August 18th my father slipped off his boat and shattered his left arm and broke his right leg in two places below the knee. He's been in the hospital ever since. My mother's heart quakes at any change. So she quit eating and drinking and found herself in renal failure. She now is in a nursing facility fighting the desire to die.
Three years ago my father crashed his motorcycle and broke nearly every bone on the right side of his body. My mother ended up having shock treatment. God, how can we be here again?! Disaster is not supposed to come back a second time, don't You know that? Abuse should only happen once. Deployment. Miscarriage. Divorce. I'll stick with You through one "slip up" of evil, but two? Now You're pushing it.
Have you ever felt that you missed the final exam? that God was teaching you something and you don't want to go 'round this mulberry bush again? In my anguish He reminded me of a favorite part in the Narnia chronicles. In The Horse and His Boy, Aravis (the heroine) and her horse Hwin encounter Aslan for the first time. Aslan explains that He tore Aravis' back because she needed to know what it felt like. She had drugged her stepmother's slave, and the slave was punished. Feeling ashamed and scared, Aravis asks, "will any more harm come to her by what I did?" "Child," said the Lion, "I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own."
As I cried out to God asking why has this evil returned a second time to my parents, Aslan whispered, "It's not your story." Really? You mean I'm not responsible for saving them? for carrying them? Why do I look for someone to blame? Because I don't want it to be my fault. I journaled, "You say let it go. You say You will be everything I need. Save me Jesus! Save me from this need to sustain others' lives-to keep them from feeling pain. My woundedness whispers, 'If others feel pain, it's your fault Elaine.'
In my pain, God you shout, "I've got this one, Elaine. Trust Me. Believe I have their good in mind. No matter what it looks like. And I can't fail. And I will never say you did." But God I couldn't make them love each other. "And I couldn't either. It's that free will thing. That was never your job." God, I can't make them choose. I thought if I tried really hard I could. God, I'm so sorry. I repent of playing God in their life. Only You can show them the way.
"Aslan," said Bree (the hero's horse) in a shaken voice, "I'm afraid I must rather be a fool." "Happy the Horse who knows that while he is still young. Or the Human either. Draw near, Elaine my daughter. See! My paws are velveted. You will not be torn this time," said Aslan. "Dearest daughter," said Aslan, planting a lion's kiss on her twitching velvet nose, "I knew you would not be long in coming to me. Joy shall be yours."
Thank you Abba for receiving me in the fires of sorrow. Knowing You kiss me in the midst of my ash heap helps me receive myself.
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life. I have wounded, and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand." Deut. 32:39

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who are You?

I thought I'd share the comment of the woman on Lysa Terkuerst's blog-

"I am a daughter of the Most High God, an atmosphere changer, sent to dance upon injustice, release from captivity those who are bound, and bring reconciliation to the broken. I am anointed to declare the Word of the Lord through word and music. I am highly favored, a wellspring of joy, and I walk in righteousness, honor and purity. I am the beloved friend of Jesus."
If you don't have the words, simply "open your mouth wide and He will fill it" Ps. 81:10
Remember, God's intentions towards you are magnificent. He wants you to know who you are in Him. He is more personal and intimate than we can even think or imagine. Step outside the box into the glory you had with Him before the world was born!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Do you know where you're going to? Part II

What's your destiny? For years I never knew to ask. I guess I didn't know I was allowed to have one, other than heaven, I mean. And some days, destiny looked like collapsing in bed. I couldn't see past the laundry heaps to even focus on my spiritual horizon.
But after this encounter with my heavenly Father, I began to ask. and listen. And I realized how important it was to know my identity and purpose in Him. Funny how last week, I read Lysa Terkuerst's blog on pursuing our dreams, and she wrote of how important identifying these two areas are before you ever start "becoming famous." Because recognition starts with lots and lots of rejection. And if you don't know where you've come from and where you're going, you will be caught in a tailspin of existential proportions.
I kept reading and got to the comment section. One woman's response blew my mind. She actually wrote out her personal identity and purpose statement! Imagine that. Well, she inspired me. I made two lists: everything God has revealed about who I am to Him and then another about what He has called me to do for Him. I then married the two lists:
I am a precious crown jewel, a glorious daughter of the King, a fireflower lifting up a sweet aroma of adoration to our God. I breathe His fresh fragrance onto the ashes of others' lives, igniting Abba's beauty and destiny within them. He has called me to dance wildly as a firefly before His throne to bring about healing and freedom to the daughters of Zion. Joy and laughter will spill out like a fountain gushing forth, as I overflow His tenderness and strength.
I share this with you delicately. I hope, like me, you will be encouraged to seek God for your own encounter. He has no favorites. But oh, that you would know His favor. And where you are going! I would be thrilled if you would write me your identity and destinies-you are so worth it!

Do You Know where you're From? Part I

Landmarks whiz past. Road signs are a blur. Until we come upon a city sign in the middle-of- nowhere Nebraska. "Hmmm," my husband muses. "Omaha, isn't that where Craig Langemeier from Pine Cove is from?" How does he do that? It cracks me up everytime. We could be in Mosheim, Texas and he remembers the guy with the balding head from chemistry class his third year at Baylor. For some unknown reason, knowing where people are from is important to Duane.

Isn't that one of the first things we ask people at the church bar-be-que (that's Texan for picnic)? It's a hard question for me in a sense because I moved seven times before I was nine, and then at 13, we moved from upstate New York to Plano, Texas. And I never have embraced saying "ya'll." I have hung on to "you guys" even to the point of embarrassment! My high school band director accused me of being a "woman's libber" when I ran all over the practice field picking up pivot points that he told the "guys" to get. It really helps to know where you're from.

Jesus knew. John 13:3 says, "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. I think knowing from where we come gives us our identity. Are you Scottish? an Aggie? an orphan? And then I think knowing where we are going fuels us with purpose and power. What's my destination? I just put together that destination and destiny come from the same root word. wow. Maybe a better question is, what's your destiny?

Where do you come from? Have you ever wondered where you come from in God? For years I have known in my head that I'm a child of God, but I've never really experienced that. Until February of this year. In a hotel room I encountered God as my Father. Through one crazy little verse: Job 38:28-"does the rain have a father? who fathers the drops of dew?" I lost it. His glorious presence filled the room until all shreds of doubt were squeezed out of my heart. I guess I should explain that a year ago, I was challenged to ask God a question. "God, who do you want to be for me in this season of my life?," Graham Cooke posited. He offered others' answers like, shepherd, defender, bridegroom, or friend. Well, I heard "dew." Huh? "yes, dew."

My search through scriptures for verses on dew was quite refreshing and surprising. But the verse that revealed the biggest clue as to dew was Proverbs 19:12, "A king's rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass." Favor, what's that? What does it mean that I have God's favor? Jesus said that he came to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Lk. 4:18-19), so I ought to know what that means. In Hebrew, the word for favor is rasah and means, "to be pleased with, accept, take pleasure in, delight in, to like, love, be fond of, to be favorable to." Astounding. Because of Christ, God is especially fond of me. Graham Cooke adds that having God's favor means that He has an "intentional bias" towards us, His children. He wants me to live, and move, and have my being in His "unceasing magnificence" towards me!

In that stale hotel room, He magnificently whispered, "My little dewdrop, you are being born into a kingdom far, far away where joy reigns and love rules the land. " I now know that I know that I know, I am not of this world. I am from above. Where are you from?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Innocence Found

Six little girls,
lipstick blurring,
hats tipping,
diamonds pretending,
laughing outside the lines,
adjusting tresses, buckling mary janes.
Twirling in their glory!
do you see? do you notice the beauty that is me?
Whispering secrets long since forgotten . . .
dusting off cobwebs in the corners of our hearts.
. . tears dissolving crusty dirt into velvet mud pies
Maybe the grace in you can mingle with the grace inside of me and together we are enough.
We are loved!
I could feel the energy in the room almost vibrating the air molecules. Have you ever been with 5 friends who were beginning a journey of deeper vulnerability? We were almost giddy, playing tug-of-war over the air space. It was hard to take turns. Sharing the miraculous always is. But it was glorious. I think it was what Jesus meant when He said, "they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another." Love was almost palpable. I think we each felt celebrated and received. Even with all our junk.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." I looked up mercy and it's defined as "compassion for someone's suffering that moves them beyond their pain." My friends offerred each other Abba's tender mercy. It's hard sometimes to sit in another's ashes for as long as it takes. But in the sitting, transformation happens. We learn we are not alone. And the power of that truth is life changing! So here's to more days of laughter, tears, dress up and twirling!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Satisfy me, Lord!

"The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11

Have you ever looked up the definition of the word "satisfy?"

1. to gratify fully the wants, wishes, desires of, to supply to the full extent what is wished for
2. to make content as to satisfy hunger or thirst
3. to give what is due to
4. to free from doubt, suspense, to give full assurance to
5. to set the mind at rest
6. to make reparation to, to atone

So here goes . . .

Jesus' atonement sets my mind at rest, frees me from doubt about whose I am, and gives me complete assurance and contentment that my needs, wishes and desires (that align with Scripture) will be fully met. I didn't just write that, did I? Surely that's not biblical. I looked up the definition of "gratify"- "to please, to give pleasure to, to reward." Really? God wants to give pleasure to me?

I know we're all used to hearing that God only gives us what we need but that He isn't in the business of giving us what we want. (Because of course we all want only the mansion and the Ferrari!) Unfortunately, I think that keeps us from ever going to Him with any wants. It leaves us feeling like our deepest dreams and desires are unacceptable and certainly not available to be met. That as we surrender them to Him, we expect Him to replace our desires with cancer, blindness, or that dreaded move to Africa. Often tears are streaming down my face when I arrive at the place with God where I can say, "Is it really OK to have what I want?"
When I was pregnant with my first child, I agonized over the decision whether to induce him. My OB/GYN was a good friend and I really wanted her to be there for my delivery. Yet she was headed out of town and wouldn't be available if my baby arrived late on his own. She was willing to come in on her day off (with her three month old!) and induce me. However that didn't exactly fit my "all naturale" birth plan! Was I taking too much control? Did I violate God's sovereignty? And more importantly, would He be disappointed in me? Was I supposed to 'suffer' for Him and accept a resident doctor that I never met?
I wrestled for an entire day. The internal battle was huge. In His goodness, God blessed me with a friend's wise mother who held both sides of my heart. In the end I sobbed when I realized that I couldn't make a wrong decision and God would love me just as much either way! I really could have what I wanted. He cared that I wouldn't feel alone and insecure. In this instance He helped me feel that my desires were good. I could rest and be fully assured that He was satisfied with me no matter what. I couldn't fail Him with my decision. I think that's what grace truly is. And then I remembered the times that Jesus asked broken, diseased people, "do you want to get well?" Can you hear Him asking you, "what do you want?"
"Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all . . .
who heals all . . . who redeems your life . . . and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Psalm 103:2-5

Monday, July 5, 2010

Risky Business

How are you at risking? hopefully better than me. Often I like to play it safe-with new clothes, recipes, even nail polish. In college I boasted that I'd love to skydive. Now as a mom of three, I can't even imagine it! I don't even like getting on a bike. The rollerblades I bought lasted three days before they found a new home. I didn't want the emergency room to be mine.

Watching my children, I realize they have not lost the desire to fly. Just this morning my ten year old son was pouring out the contents of a firecracker onto a paper towel. It was called "Happiness." He announced tht he was going to "make his own happiness!" After laughing at the irony of that statement, I realized he wanted to build his own new and improved firework. He had no doubt that it would work. I didn't either which is why I suggested he take it outside.

And my girls at this moment are mesmerized by Barbie's 3 Musketeers-I didn't know fans, ribbons, and necklaces wield such dangerous power! I guess Barbie and my daughters know something I don't: believe in yourself, be determined and don't give up. If you believe and work hard, you can be anything!

When does this confidence leave us? I'm not sure. Somewhere between the funny looks at the talent show and the "D" on a college exam. Or maybe when a boyfriend in college read what I had written in my journal and then pronounced that I seemed "full of myself." Risking then my dreams and my heart now seems impossible. I worry too much if my weird self will be received. Will I really have the ability to create a book? All I focus on is my inabilities; is it possible to write and meet God at the computer? Do I really believe I have something to offer? Can I ever stop censoring myself? What would it be like to write and never hit the delete key? Or talk with my husband and friends and not second guess everything I said? Can I really write a blog that doesn't wrap up in a neat little bow? I think I'll take the risk . . . .

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Heaven's Dew

Cool walking
just a passing breeze
with You into the kingdom
of the Son You love.
You draw me through the thin place
past my fear
holding my trembling hand.
All heaven is listening,
as You breathe
and kiss me awake.
Your lips drop sweetness,
and I become drenched
with heaven's dew . . .
a burning whisper that steals
my heart.
From above
You take possession,
and we walk hand in hand
into paradise garden-
the garden of my heart.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate the abundance in your life

Yes, it's been absolutely forever. Maybe I was waiting to have spectacular pictures-well I have them. God's glory shone at my favorite place in the world, the Dallas Arboretum this spring. Have you ever smelled thousands of tulips? "And the fragrance of her perfume filled the room!" I have also been on the best adventure of my life. Something called http://www.theroadadventure.org/ -I am not the same. Job says it best: "my ears had heard of God but now my eyes have seen Him." I have never grieved, grew, loved, played more in my life. And I can't imagine living without having this experience. It is truly like the extreme makeover show for your heart. I now believe to my core that God is safe and good and that I am precious, tender, beautiful and glorious!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our Thirst-Quenching God

"How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life" Psalm 36:7-9a
Have you ever wondered what a "river of delight" looks like? When I'm bone weary and spiritually dried up, I love to imagine a cool, rushing stream in the mountains surrounded by towering pines and granite rocks. Once I visited Glacier National Park in Montana and was overcome by the power and freshness of the water. In my scrapbook I titled one page "7UP" because that's exactly what the water looked like--bubbles from some unknown depths joyously rising to break the surface of teal colored water. It truly spoke of life; life from a Source other than me.

So often in my world, I believe that I am the source of others well-being or happiness. That somehow I'm supposed to "fix things so that no one gets hurt." Or at least that's what I expect of God. And when He doesn't come through, then I have to step in and offer my help. When my husband was deployed to Iraq a few years ago, I was completely wrung out like Cinderella's mop. I railed at God screaming, "why are you taking me to my breaking point?! Do you delight in seeing me fail?" I had nothing to give my three tiny children (5,3,1 years) and yet somehow I felt responsible for keeping them alive--alone.

And then one day I "stumbled" on an obscure verse in Jeremiah. My Bible commentary states that "the meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain." But it shouted in my pain! "Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes? Do its cool waters from distant sources ever cease to flow? (emphasis mine)" Jer. 18:14. Maybe I loved it because it spoke of mountains iced with snow or that it pictured my bubbly cool waters?
No, Abba gently, beautifully reminded me that He is The Source, my source-the origin of life for every person I care about. I am not, nor did He ever intend me to be. And that His life, His energy, His flow never, ever ceases! He pours his effervescent river of delight into every crevass of my achy, disillusioned soul. I really believe that this Source of ecstatic love rushes down from Heaven in our direction continually. He longs for us to jump into His river of delight. Now I dive into the stream when I want to feel cherished and when I want to hear His tender voice. So go grab your suit and jump with me!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Dance

Catching me is like catching a snowflake,
A butterfly, fairy dust, a firefly-
something that dances on the air beckoning you to join
The dance.

Snow falling, cherry blossoms swirling, golden leaves descending-
the Colors of the wind. Who did I dream of being? A figure skater-someone dancing in the snow!
Like the Snow Queen in the Nutcracker-the absolute picture of
transcendent, silent beauty.
Like the Nursery Magic Fairy carrying the velveteen rabbit
to where the fronds of the bracken shone like frosted silver.

I dance at Your feet Jesus- with my fairy wand I drop silvery stars at Your feet.
My gift to you Jesus.

"Take My hand Elaine, come join Me in the dance. Be the beauty that you are. We will climb up to the High Places, and I will reveal Myself to you. The mount of transfiguration- only it won't be Me who transforms in front of your eyes.

You will be the Ever After fairy
You've always longed to be.
My little snowflake. My little ice crystal.
My diamond fire."

Kissed Awake

I've been reading Your Captivating Heart by Staci Eldredge. She writes, "Fairy tales are true. The reason we loved them as little girls is that they speak to the secret written on our hearts; they reveal the true story we were created for. But in order to find that life we once dreamed of, we need to be kissed awake again. We need to see." Years ago, I wrote:

Sleeping Beauty

The image is not lost, only sleeping,
in a dark prison we cannot see, where silence
deafens and loneliness engulfs.
Numbness embalms.

Behold! A Star in the east sends an arrow to pierce our night,
for we have been dust covered far too long.
Just enough to lean our shrouded heart toward the light, then . . .

GASP for air!

As it streams into our smoky soul,
Light breathes once more over the face of the deep,
over the dust of the ground.

Beauty awakes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dream Big

I often struggle with the idea of "dying" to my dreams and goals in order to please God. Maybe I'm too narcissistic, but that concept sounds very harsh. Fortunately, God knows just how I'm wired. As I listened to Ann Graham Lotz preach on this, I wrote:
i came to live out loud.
i surrender . . .
my dreams because they're much too small
my future because it's much too fearful
my past since it's way too hopeless
my goals because they're too complacent
my vision since it's much too weak
my bubble because it's very fragile.

I surrender to Your greatness in me! Your love that pushes the boundaries
Your dreams that cause me to fly, to soar,
to melt in to the Sun--
to run with the horses.
To shout, to sing, to dance
like no one's watching.
To sing with the angels, to soar on the wings of the wind.
To turn my plastic pearls in for the real thing.
To embrace all the diamonds you have for me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Heading into the Wind

I'm excited to finally have a forum to display my pictures, but this is still in the beginning stages. Thank you Betsy and Tammy for helping me get this started. I love capturing beauty in unexpected places, inviting others to look a little closer to the world around us. I believe God is speaking everywhere! I'm reminded of Lucy's question to the professor at the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She wonders if they'll ever return to Narnia. He said not likely in the same way they came, but still "it's best to keep your eyes open." I hope to keep my eyes and heart wide open to the wonders of God.

Friday, January 1, 2010

And the Two Shall Become One

I have often used this tulip picture for wedding cards with the verse from 1Cor13- Love believes all things, hopes all things, perseveres all things. Love never fails.

Congratulations to one who is outstanding in her field!

" Happily Ever After"

The King is Enthralled with your beauty-Ps 45:11

I went with my daughters to our favorite flower park in Dallas, and surprise, they had the best face painter we had ever seen. She transformed my beauties into fairy princesses! Truly the desire of every girls heart-to be adored and delighted in.

My best hummingbird photo yet! Capturing these flying jewels is alot harder than I thought. This one was at the feeder on my back porch. I love it when they actually sit down and rest. Rare for them and rare for me!

I often try to imagine what my tear bottle in heaven looks like. It's hard to fathom that my tears matter that much to God. This verse reminds me that yes, my heart matters. It matters alot. Years ago when I was in therapy, I liked lying down on a couch (yes, we actually did it that way back then) because my tears could flow freely off my face and they wouldn't mess up my makeup! With each tear that I didn't wipe quickly away, I silently claimed that I mattered.

Can you guess that it's 45 degrees?! My mom couldn't believe it when she saw kids screaming in the fountain. Then she looked again and realized they were mine. "That I can believe," she laughed. We had gone to the Nutcracker and so the kids wanted to dance all their own in the water. And I loved the way the sun lit up the water. So this gem made it onto our Christmas card.