Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Relentless Longing~

So many times, we look in the wrong place to find the freedom we so desperately seek. The way a person struggling to lose weight heads to the refrigerator. The way a person struggling to pay off a credit card debt heads to the shopping mall. The way a person struggling to stay sober heads to the bar. The way a person struggling to be loved heads to the home of an abuser. The way a person struggling to be free from sin heads straight into temptation.

We long to break lose, long to break free, long to proclaim victory, and yet time and time again, we find ourself sinking in the quicksand of the very thing we are trying to escape. We long to turn away, turn over a new leaf, be done once and for all, and yet over and over we find ourself back in the grips of that which won't seem to let us loose.

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A desire to escape the sandy shore, a yearning to launch out into the deep, a hungering to finally be where only dreams have gone, a nonsatiable longing to experience the freedom of life on the sea - this is what is most needed in a ship builder. Not wisdom to design a ship. Not knowledge of which wood withstands water the best. Not craftiness with a hammer, a saw, and some nails. (Although, each of these would be helpful). A nonsatiable longing.

If you want to "build" a new you, don't look for a formula, don't search for a self-help book, don't devise a plan or plan a strategy, but rather long for the only One who can fill the immensity of the void in your heart. This is what is most needed for a change of heart. Not wisdom about a healthy diet. Not knowledge of how to balance your checkbook. Not an understanding of how old habits can lead to reaching for a bottle. Not a realization that hurting people hurt people. (Although, each of these would be helpful). And most certainly, not religion.

But rather,
a deep desire to go beyond that which holds you back
to the very One who longs to hold you.
A relentless yearning to finally be free
of that which holds you in its grip,
to be captured by the very One who will never let you go.
A hungering and thirsting for the only One
who can truly satisfy the desire of your heart
A nonsatiable longing for a Savior, for a Redeemer, for a Healer.

Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through."
~ John 8:34-36 (MSG)

He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole
where I was stranded,
mired in the muck and clay.
With a gentle hand, He pulled me out.
~ Psalm 40:2a (The Voice)

He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
~ Psalm 40:2b (NLT)

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide THE WAY out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP)

Jesus answered, ‘I am THE WAY and the truth and the life."
~John 14:6

Blessed are the ones hungering and thirsting as to righteousness,
because they will be filled-to-satisfaction.
~Matthew 5:6 (DLNT)

He has quenched their thirst,
and He has satisfied their hunger with what is good.
~ Psalm 107:9 (VOICE)

A relentless longing for the Lover of your soul . . .~♥







 
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Always on Our Lips~










 
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Friday, August 29, 2014

My Fortress~








 
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Undeniable Proof~







 
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Letter to My Younger Self~

I dip a chip into the salsa and wonder, where has time gone?

Beside me is my soon to be eight year old nephew. Next to him, my beautiful sister who is expecting baby #2.  Seated by them, I watch my soon to be 80 year old mother as she watches her 2 year old great-granddaughter who is sitting beside her - my niece's, daughter. In my niece's lap, her one year old, and rounding out the table, her mother - my older sister, now in the 50 something category of life.

As I take a sip of water, I feel tears form in my eyes.  Here at this table, at a Mexican restaurant somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma, I realize the passing of time.  Like a slap to the face, a pinch to my heart, a reality check unlike any other, I feel the brevity of life.

When did they get so old?
When did I?
When did I graduate from child, to Aunt, to great-Aunt?

In my mind's eye, I see her.
Me, then.
If I could write her a letter what would I say?

Dear Stacy,

You look out at the world through eyes that see so much more than people and places, colors and things.  You see what others feel and you feel what others see and you don't have a clue in the world what to do with any of it.  Like a spin on a merry-go-round, you see the world around you in the blur of emotion, and you can't quite seem to get your feet back on solid ground before your stomach feels the effect.  Oh, child.  The world is yours to see, to feel, to breathe in, to experience, but it is not yours to carry.  It is not yours to make right.  It is not yours to heal. It is not yours to fear.  It is not yours to win.  It is not yours to mold into.  It is yours to live. To live, sweet child.

Don't be afraid to live.  

Yes, there will be times that will scare you spitless, leaving you sweaty palmed and so very unsure of who you are.  But, here's the thing: life does that to everybody. If we all knew how to live life before we were born, where would be the challenge?  What would be the point? 

Yes, there will be times you will try your hardest and fail, and times when you won't try at all and will wish you had, and times when all your hard work will pay off and success will be yours.  But, here's the thing:  in all, there is a lesson to be learned.  Do your best, all the time.  Give 100%, 100% of the time.  It's not about  winning or losing, failing or succeeding, it's about you not settling for less than your best.  In this, giving your all, you will taste the sweetness of triumph and perseverance.

Yes, there will be times (lots of times) you will want so desperately to stand on the sidelines and watch others "do life". But, here's the thing: don't do it.  Don't stand by. Don't bow out.  Don't decline.  Don't choose not to. Listen to the true desperation you are feeling - it's not the doing you are afraid of, it is the result of doing that scares you. You want to....but, what if. Oh, shy girl, take those "ifs" and follow them into life - your life. If you want to dance, get out on the floor and dance.  If you want to try your hand at something, jump into it with both feet.  If you are given a chance to take a chance that speaks to your heart, breathes life to a dream, makes you want to move forward and move backward all at the same time, take it.  Chances are you won't regret the chances you took, but sadly, all the chances you let slip by.  

Oh, sweet girl - live your life, every single moment of it.  Wring it out dry and then, try and squeeze a little more out. You only get one chance to live, one chance to be you, one chance to live your life.  Do it now, because here's the thing: life goes faster than you can even begin to imagine.

 

I look around the table and I smile.

And, I realize how very blessed I am.

To be here, in this Mexican restaurant somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma - this is life, my life.

To gaze upon the faces of those I love,
to be called "Aunt CiCi",
to share in the fellowship of family
(with all the highs and the lows that come with it),
 to be able to savor the flavor of the cilantro in the salsa,
- this is life, my life.

And, I love it.









Linking up at The High Calling:
http://www.thehighcalling.org/work/call-community-posts-letter-my-younger-self#.U_lexKN5EoO

 
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Take a Chance~







 
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sunrise to Sunset~







 
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Friday, August 15, 2014

You, You Alone~


Gracious Heavenly Father,
You alone know
the number of hairs on my head,
the thoughts that run wild through my mind,
the deepest longings of my heart.


You alone hear
the silent whisper of my soul,
the quiet cry of my heart,
the unspoken words of my innermost being.


It is You, and You alone.


As I go through this day,
may it be
You alone
guiding me,
leading me,
teaching me,
molding me,
changing me.


Let me not get tangled up in
the voice of the world,
the voice of the enemy,
the voice of my own selfish heart.


Let me hear
You, and You alone.
Let me follow
You, and You alone.
Let me honor
You and You alone.
In Jesus' precious name, Amen~





 
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