Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Love Like Yours~











 
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

An Unquenchable Ache~

I never thought it could be possible to be homesick for somewhere you've never been...
Lord please come back for us soon ♥

I read her Facebook status and realize my heart has just found words,
that until now,
have remained hidden in an unfamiliar ache.

And Only the Moon Looks Down
{Photo Credit}
For the longest time I have been feeling it:


this longing,



this yearning,



this distant calling,



this unquenchable ache,



this homesick feeling.



Now, as these words poured forth from a high school senior greet my eyes,
my heart stirs,
and I know.

I am homesick for Heaven.

How can it be that we who have never been
           can be homesick for a place
                      we have not yet called home?

And yet, I am.

Could it be my homesickness is not for a home at all,
but rather for The One who is preparing a home for me there?

Could it be what my heart longs for most is not a celestial dwelling place,
but rather to dwell with The ONE who left His heavenly home to come dwell in my earthly abode?

Could it be the ache in the center of my soul is to no longer be

 separated        by        time         and          space,

but rather to finally,

for all eternity,

run into His arms,

feel His embrace,

bow at His feet,

and behold the Lover of my Soul face to face?


This is the ache of my heart.


I am homesick for Heaven.



I never thought it could be possible to be homesick for somewhere you've never been...
Lord please come back for us soon ♥







 
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Sheltering Tree~

A few days ago, after a long day at work, I couldn't wait to get home, trade my shoes for a pair of flip flops, and step out into the shade and relaxation waiting for me on our back patio. Imagine my surprise, when I drew back the blinds and reached for the handle of our sliding glass door, only to find sunlight flooding not only our backyard, but every single inch of our patio. How could this be? What had happened to our shady backyard?

Evidently, while I had been "slaving" away at work, someone else had been slaving away cutting down the huge cottonwood tree in the yard that backs up to ours.The heat from the sun was intense and so was my disappointment.

Why? Why would they do that? Each summer, I counted on the long branches of this tree to provide me with a cool oasis in the midst of the southwestern desert heat! NO! This couldn't be. NO! This was all wrong. As I stood there looking out my sliding glass door, covered from head to toe by the sunlight now streaming in, God used this moment to illuminate my own life and speak to my heart.

Everywhere we look and every place we go, we find people in need of a spiritual oasis. The struggles, trials, and heartaches that often accompany life can be relentless at times - beating down on us until we are weak, dehydrated, and desperately in need of a time of refreshment. God created you and me to be an umbrella of His love to those in need. Our prayers, our words of encouragement, our helping hands or listening ears can help to shield a hurting heart from the heat of life. Just like I had counted on the cottonwood tree to be there for me, people in our lives are counting on us.

How many times have I disappointed others by failing to provide them with the “shade” they are so desperately counting on?

How many times have I taken care of my own needs without giving any thought to the timing or the subsequent consequences of my actions in the lives of those around me?

How many people have come to me hoping to find shelter from the heat of the battles in their lives only to be disappointed with my lack of interest, lack of compassion, and lack of support?

{Photo Source}
As I slowly closed the blinds, I realized God was doing some pruning of His own… in my heart.

Maybe, instead of going out into my backyard, God was challenging me to step out my front door and into the lives of those around me.

Maybe, God was desperately trying to open my heart to the simple truth found in Proverbs 11:25: “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed”.

 Maybe, God was trying to teach me that my finding shade wasn’t nearly as important as my giving it away to others.~






 
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Keeper~

Yesterday was one of those days.
Maybe you have experienced days like this before, too.

It was the kind of day when, once in my car, I longed to just keep on driving. Right on past my office.  Right on by the city limit sign. Right on around the next bend in the road. Right on by...well, you get the idea, especially if you, too, have ever "dared to drive". Don't get me wrong. It wasn't that I felt the need to runaway, although, I have to admit, some days I do! No. Yesterday was a good day. A keeper, in fact. And...that's exactly why I wanted to keep-er going!

Wide-open highway NW of Sedona (P1040735a)
{Photo Credit}
As soon as I slid into the driver's seat, it all just came together. Great worship music on the radio. Clear, blue skies, and the overwhelming presence of the Lord. Truly, it was like a moment made in heaven, only it was happening in my Nissan! My heart was overcome with an almost insatiable desire to stay locked in my car and simply enjoy this moment, enjoy this ride with the Lord....all day long.

 I felt as though I wanted to drive across Texas! (If you have ever driven across the good ole lone star state, you know that is saying something!) The only thing that would have made this start to the day any better would have been a full tank of gas and a commitment-free day. Unfortunately, I didn't have either of those, so I reluctantly drove to work.

-----

As I slid into my desk and tuned into K-LOVE radio on my laptop, it all just came together. The quiet and peacefulness of my workspace, the beautiful praise music enveloping the room, and the overwhelming presence of the Lord. Truly, it was like a moment made in heaven, only it was happening in my tiny office! My heart was overcome with an almost insatiable desire to stay locked in my office and simply enjoy this moment, enjoy this time with the Lord....all day long.

I felt as though I wanted to spend all of eternity with the Lord. And the only thing that made this start to my workday even better was the realization that this moment of communion and worship never had to end. An empty gas tank and a list of commitments nine miles long couldn't keep me from basking in the presence of the Lord, every minute of every day. Only I could do that.

And, sadly, sometimes, I do.

Instead of choosing to commune with the Lord, I whip right past my Bible. I breeze right on by my favorite "quiet place". I zip right through my prayers. I allow the cares, worries, and deadlines of this world to drive me. Instead of listening to the still small voice of my blessed Jesus, I listen to all the other voices begging for my attention. And, you know what? It is on days like this, on the days that I choose not to commune with my Lord, that I find myself wanting to run away!

Yes, yesterday was a good day. A keeper.

Lord, keep me ever focused on you. Teach me to surrender the driver seat of my life to your precious Holy Spirit. May it be You, Lord, who is the driving force in my life. In Jesus' precious name. Amen.








 
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What I've Been Learning in My Backyard~

Turtles are something else. Over the past few years, we have "adopted" three turtles. The first two that joined our family were given to us by the granddaughters of our next door neighbors. Evidently, these two little critters were excellent at digging. All that digging, however, had these two turtles looking for a new home.

Our most recent addition was given to us by my husband's co-worker. This turtle had been living in a yard with several others turtles but unfortunately, he had fallen victim to the backyard bully. His shell can attest to the unfriendly environment he came from.

So now, our backyard is home to these three turtles. I am happy to report we have yet to discover any unwanted holes in our yard. And, I have yet to see signs of any bullying in our yard. What great news, especially since I am not a fan of either.

As I have been observing these little guys (at least I think they are all guys!), God has been teaching me some spiritual truths.

1. Enjoy where ever life takes you

All of these turtles ended up in our backyard without any say as to where they were going or where their next home would be, or if they even wanted to come! Circumstances beyond their control picked them up and dropped them off at our residence. Yet, every morning, I see them trucking around our yard. And from all accounts, as far as I can tell, they seem to be having a lovely time. They climb over this and hide under that and live each day here in our yard to the fullest. They didn't choose to come here, but they are choosing to make the most of where they are and enjoy it.

Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? Has life dropped you off at an unfamiliar place? Is where you are now not at all where you envisioned you would be at this time in your life? If so, rest assured. While it may feel as though circumstances beyond your control have taken control, God is still there. Ultimately, He is still in control. He has a beautiful way of taking the barren, unfamiliar, un-chosen places of our lives and transforming them into fruitful, enjoyable, desirable abodes. Trust Him to be where you are. Trust Him to do amazing things where you are. Knowing God is in control and is at work in your life, you, too, can enjoy where ever it is life takes you.

Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
~ Isaiah 43:19, (AMP)

2. Forget about the past

Naturally, you would expect these creatures to be a little wary of humans. And, they are. Well, two of the three are. One, surprisingly enough, is not wary at all! In fact, this one in particular seems to thrive on human companionship. If I happen by our patio door and spot him boogieing across our yard, I call out to him. As soon as he hears my voice, he makes an immediate turn in my direction and heads straight for the door. Whenever I am sitting out on our patio writing, just like I am right now, I often am joined by this little guy. He will come right up on the patio and rest under my chair.

Can you guess which turtle this is? Yep! The one who was bullied and picked on in his old environment. Isn't that amazing?! You would think he would be the most cautious of all the turtles. But he's not. He is the one most willing to make a new friend. He doesn't let the hurt of his past keep him from experiencing new opportunities or developing new relationships. And, not only is this turtle friendly with my husband and I, he is also friendly with the other turtles.



Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? We all have scars, some visible and some hidden deep in our heart. Do we allow these wounds and scars to hold us back or to keep us cowering in a corner? With God, the pain of our past can be used to serve an amazing purpose in our future. Instead of allowing the pain to hold us prisoner to our past, we need to take our scars and seek out those who have been hurt, too. We can choose to move ever forward comforting others with the comfort we have been given in and through Christ. The choice is ours. I am so glad this little guy has chosen to forget his past. His choice to keep reaching out to others has brought me so much joy and such wonderful companionship....not to mention, inspiration! Who needs you? Are you willing to put yourself out there for them?

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (MSG)

Which, by the way, brings us to the third spiritual truth God has been teaching me through these fellas.

3. Be willing to stick your neck out

I marvel at the Creator's design. Have you ever studied a turtle up close? What a protective armor they have! When danger comes, they are not only able to duck their head into their shell for cover, but pull all of their legs in as well. In this position, they are safe and sound. But, there is one problem. As long as they are all safely hidden in their shell, they are stationary. Where ever they were when they pulled it all in is where they are when they poke it all back out again. They may be safe in that position, but they certainly aren't going to go anywhere. In order for them to move anywhere and in any direction at all, they must first be willing to stick their necks out, literally!


Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? Are we willing to stick our neck out and take a leap of faith out into the unknown? Or, are we willing to play it safe tucked inside our life, stagnant and motionless? If we are content to simply stay put, hiding, and playing it safe, we will eventually die. Faith requires action. If we are ever going to get where God would have us to be we must be willing to stick our neck out. If we are ever going to be who God created us to be we must be willing to come out of our shell and move in the direction the Lord is leading.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
~ James 2:17

I am so thankful for these three turtles! Even more, I am thankful for a Heavenly Father who is using these small creatures to grow my faith, to deepen my relationship in HIM, and to open my eyes to spiritual truths.

And, who knows.

Maybe, God used these three turtles to do the same for you.







 
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Reminders of His Love~










 
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015







 
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Because of His Mercy~








 
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