Wednesday, October 21, 2020

What's So Ordinary About That?~

Ordinary.

So many times
we let this word
define our day.

When the alarm goes off,
we moan as we head into
"just another ordinary day".

As we 
eat breakfast,
maneuver through traffic,
answer emails,
fold laundry,
sit in a waiting room,
pick up the kids from school,
we find ourselves
simply
going through the motions,
doing the next thing on our list,
without ever stopping 
to realize:
each of these moments
are anything but ordinary.

Each moment
is a moment in time
unlike 
any other moment in time.

Each moment,
only a moment,
for that very moment.

Each moment
gone the moment
another moment begins.

Each moment,
unique,
precious, 
God-given
 and 
God-ordained.

Each moment,
a gift.

As I sat in a waiting room
at a doctor's office one day,
I thought about all the
"ordinary" things
I take for granted.

A man in a wheelchair
reminded me how 
anything-but-ordinary
walking is.

A lady on oxygen
reminded me how
anything-but-ordinary
breathing is.

If you stop 
and think about it,
which is exactly 
what I did that day,
you can't help 
but come to the conclusion
that every single moment
of life
is. a. miracle.

Every single moment
of life
is. an. extraordinary. gift.

Every "ordinary" part 
of our day
is anything-but-ordinary,
only we don't take the time
to stop and notice
what we've been given,
what we're able to do,
what our God has granted us
at that very moment in time.

To be a 
living,
breathing,
thinking,
moving,
creating, 
accomplishing,
deciding,
providing,
eating, 
sleeping, 
laughing,
experiencing,
loving
human being
is anything but ordinary.

We are fearfully 
and wonderfully made
and each and every moment
of our life,
graciously and miraculously
given to us.

May we live 
each moment
in awe and appreciation
of both.



~ Stacy



Thursday, October 15, 2020

Stand Your Ground~

Sometimes,
most times, in fact,
when you are in
the midst of a storm,
and all is breaking
loose around you,
you feel the overwhelming need
to run away,
to escape,
to withdraw,
to retreat,
or 
to strike out,
to fight back,
to force your way through,
to launch out in a
completely new direction.

Sometimes,
most times, in fact,
neither of these responses
are best.

Sometimes,
most times, in fact,
the best thing
you can do is this:
stand your ground.

Don't allow the pressure
to push you backwards,
and certainly
don't allow the pressure
to push your forward
into decisions
you have no business making
during a time
of emotional stress
and uncertainty.

Stand your ground.

Dig you feet
into the promises
found in God's Word.

Hold fast to the truth
that God is with you
and God will fight
your battle for you.

Believe that 
God is at work,
God is in control,
God is working it
(all. of. it.)
for good.

Pray for the courage 
to not be swayed.

Pray for the strength
to endure the storm.

Pray for the peace
to hear God's still small voice
above all else.

Pray for the 
presence of God to 
uphold you,
sustain you,
support you, 
and surround you.

Stand in the power
of your God,
and let Him work.

Know and believe that
not sometimes,
not most times,
but ALL TIMES, in fact,
your God is faithful.




~Stacy


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Sowing in Tears~

In the moments
right before the 
Celebration of Life ceremony
for my husband 
four years ago now,
we gathered at 
the front of the church -
the two pastors 
officiating the service
and me,
and we prayed.

We joined our hearts
and our hands together
in a bond of three, 
and we prayed - 
believing
every single person
in attendance that day
would someday
(if not that day,
and if not already)
come to a 
saving knowledge of Jesus
and enjoy a personal
walk with God.

Nothing would have made
my precious man happier.

We claimed the promise
that God's Word
does not return void,
that it accomplishes
the very purposes of God.

I know 
without a doubt
Heaven will one day
reveal God's faithfulness.

The last few days,
as I am knee-deep
in packing and 
the emptying out of our home
for my upcoming move,
I have been praying
a similar prayer.

As I have been
loading the car
with all of my man's clothes -
(I can still see him in 
every shirt,
every suit coat,
every t-shirt,
every pair of sweats,
every piece of cameo,
every single pair of jeans,)
all of his personal belongings,
as well as so many items
from our life together,
I have been praying
once again, 
and believing anew.

This time my prayer
is for the one
who receives.

For the one 
who might become
the new one 
sporting his sport coat,
relaxing in his t-shirt,
feeling the warmth of a fire from a tree he cut,
poking a log with our fire poker,
enjoying a meal on our tableware,
circling around our artificial Christmas tree,
listening to music on our stereo,
reading by the light of a favorite lamp,
hearing God's Spirit through the pages of a Bible.

I am praying,
that they, too, -
every single person
who is gifted an item
or purchases it from the thrift store -
will someday
(if not that day,
and if not already)
come to a 
saving knowledge of Jesus
and enjoy a personal
walk with God.

And since my man
loooooooooooooooved clothes,
(so much so
I had to make two trips 
just for those),
and since together
we lived a whole lot 
of life together here,
(What a trip that has been!
Thank you my Abba Father!),
among the tears,
I have also felt
a smile of anticipation,
a smile of joy
as I think about
just what our God 
will do 
as I pray
for His very presence
to be known
in the lives
of whoever 
receives each item.

When you have been
entrusted with the honor
of saying goodbye
to your love,
to his personal belongings,
to a life shared together,
it's no light matter.

Knowing and believing
that in all things,
if you entrust
it all to God -
He can and will
make it count
for His Kingdom
you can release it all -
praising God in advance
for the harvest
that is sure to come.



~ Stacy







Friday, October 9, 2020

When You Know You Are Held~

Raw, transparent, and vulnerable -
do you suppose any of us
like to find our character
clothed only in authenticity?

This girl certainly doesn't,
and yet,
I know that I know that I know
it is this that God has called me to -
in my relationships,
in my walk with Him,
and in this space,
where words reveal to you
a whole lot more than I wish they would.

But,
if a revelation of this
sinful, messy, real, authentic heart
is what God can use for you to
better see His heart authentically,
then raw, transparent and vulnerable it is.

Which brings me to today's post
and this admission:

Lately I've been feeling
more apart
(a million broken pieces
scattered everywhere
and in every direction)
than I've been feeling together.

Can you relate?

A little of me here,
a little of me there.
A little attention to this,
a little attention to that.
A little working on this,
a little working on that.

And naturally,
it only stands to reason,
if you don't have it 
all together,
it makes you feel
like you're falling apart, right?

And yet,
God has been showing me,
feeling and being
are two totally different realities.

Life has a way
of pulling us
in a million different directions -
decisions
deadlines
distractions
disappointments
detours
dead ends.

And yet,
if we are rooted and grounded
in Christ,
we may 
give in to this tug or
give way to that push,
but we are held together
in and through Him.

We may feel like
we are just a 
jumbled up,
disconnected mess -
but the one who
holds the moon
and holds back the waves
is holding us.

And His hold on us,
holds us together.

Never let a feeling
convince you
you are something
you are not.

Never let a feeling
talk you out of a truth.

The world can
pull and tug 
all it wants,
(and it will)
but the hold our God
has on us
keeps us together in Him
even in the midst
of the most broken of places.

Our coming undone,
our falling apart,
our not having it all together -
well,
this is simply part of being human:
a human desperately in need of a God
who holds us in the palm of His hand.

Feeling anything but together lately?
Me, too.
Praise God, it's only a feeling.
We've got this,
because we've got God.

And most importantly,
God has us,
and He's never letting go.

For in Him 
we live and move
and have our being.
~Acts 17:28




~ Stacy


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Necessary Hurt~

"Which hurt worse?" I asked.

It was a question I asked
each and every time
my husband told of the time,
when as a small child
playing baseball in the field
right across from his home,
he had fallen and broken his arm.

Only, 
no one knew it was broken.

Knowing if others knew
his days of playing ball on the field
might come to an abrupt halt,
he hid his hurt.
And since it was a fracture
and not a clean break,
he was able to hide his hurt
for quite awhile.

Until
the hurt kept hurting.

Until
the pain wouldn't let up.

Until
the hiding and the not telling
and the fear of not playing
made it so the playing
wasn't any fun anymore.

When his parents
finally found out
and he found himself
face to face with a doctor,
he heard these words,
that to his ears,
seemed unbelievable.

"Your son has a fracture.
However, since this wasn't 
dealt with in a timely matter,
his arm has tried to heal itself, 
but not properly.
We are going to have to
re-break his arm
and set it in a cast."

And this is where
my question always 
interrupted his story.

"Which hurt worse? 
The first break or the re-break?"

His answer -
always the same.
"Both - but in different ways."

My husband passed away
four years ago.
And when he did,
might heart broke wide open.
Not a fracture, a complete break.

And unlike my husband
when as a child 
he hid his fracture,
when my heart broke,
everyone knew.

And try as I might,
I tried my very hardest
to deal with it head on.

To not push it under the rug,
to not pretend it wasn't there,
to not NOT deal with it.

Holding onto to God
with all my might,
I jumped right in to
the messiness of it all,
the sorrow of it all,
the not-one-thing-normal of it all,
in an effort to get to the other side.

And yet,
it is more than obvious to me now,
as I prepare to sell my home 
and move to a brand new city
in a brand new state,
after living twenty years in my home,
and thirty years in this quaint town,
without my husband -
I am experiencing a re-breaking of my heart.

As I empty closets 
of my husband's clothes -
shirts, that with just one glance,
can bring life to a faded memory,
my heart is breaking wide open 
all over again.

As I decide 
what to do with this
and what to do with that,
the realization of his death
feels in so many ways
brand new again.

And I find myself 
wrestling with myself
to answer my own question:
"Which hurt worse?
The first break or the re-break?"

And the only answer that fits
is that of my husband:
Both - but in different ways.

This - I am discovering -
 is simply the nature of grief.

As long as I'm alive,
as long as God graciously gives
breath to my lungs,
and a beat to my heart,
re-breaks 
are going to happen.

Like my husband,
before admitting his break,
I think the sting of grief 
can always be felt in 
some degree and in some fashion:
A scent here.
A comment there.
A song overheard.
A thought re-thought.
It doesn't take much
to stir up grief,
to bring tears,
to stop you in your tracks.

But, a re-break -
this is like starting all over.

As tears roll endlessly down my cheeks,
I hear the Great Physician,
my Abba Father say words 
that seem almost unbelievable:

"I want this heart to heal
perfectly and completely
and in order for that to happen,
we are going to have to 
re-break it.
It's not that you didn't try
to heal it properly the first time,
it's just that in order 
for the healing to be complete,
we have to heal this hurt
at every single level."

The words are hard to hear,
the pain harder yet to feel.
And yet,
four years into this journey,
with my precious Jesus by my side,
I know I can trust my God
to do what is best.

Yes,
my heart has been 
broken wide open again.

But praise God,
I have no doubt,
I will only find my God
in this pain,
deeper,
stronger,
and closer to me
than ever before.

Healing is happening.
One break at a time.
One tear at a time.
One prayer at a time.
One step forward at a time.
One turning it over to God -
over and over and over again.

"Oh the pain.
But you know what, Beautiful?
Once it was finally healed,
I was back on that field,
playing my heart out,
better than before."

This is God's ultimate plan:

I have come that you might have life
and life more abundant.
~John 10:10

Lord, give us courage
in the times of re-breaking.
Remind me over and over,
it's all part of the plan 
to get us back in the game of life,
better than ever before.



~ Stacy



Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Glorious Beginning~

So many times
we look at the 
end of something
and think life
as we know it
is over.

And,
maybe it is
for that particular
season of our life.

But,
what we fail
to remember 
is that 
our God 
is a God
of new.

When one 
season is over,
it is only 
ushering in
a brand new one.

And Fall,
more than
any other season,
reminds us that
"the end"
can be 
a glorious part 
of the new beginning.

For God
is in it all.




~ Stacy


Monday, April 27, 2020

Peace is Found in the Surrender~

Sports and me?
Together?

Well,
let's just say
we're not as close as
peanut butter and jelly
or mac n cheese.

In fact,
when it comes
to sports in general,
I've always tried
to keep a safe distance
between them and me.

And yet,
I have found myself
actively engaged
in an activity
of a sporty nature.

And not just any sport,
mind you.

No - the sport
I have found myself
thrown into
is oddly
(or maybe not odd at all)
the one that allows
the least distance
between competitors.

WRESTLING!

If ever there was a
full-on,
no space between,
contact sport -
wrestling is it.

As to the hows and whys
that brought me to this place,
and positioned me on this mat,
most likely this will all unravel
in future posts -
(I'm still processing it all -
because you know as well as me,
whenever God is in it,
it can be overwhelming
and it takes some time
to find the appropriate way
to communicate His move
in ways that do justice
to the all of who He is),
but for now -
it's safe to say,
this wrestling has done it's job.
(at least for the moment)

And that's the thing about wrestling:
in order to stay in the game,
in order to gain an advantage,
in order to pin your opponent,
and be declared the winner,
you have to
lean into,
press against,
and lay all your weight up against,
the one you are wrestling with.

Thankfully for me,
I have no problem
at all
leaning into,
pressing up against,
and laying all of my weight
on the one I'm wrestling.

In fact,
it is the very close proximity
and the very nature of wrestling
that has positioned me
right where I need to be:
leaning into,
pressing up against,
and laying all of my weight
on my Jesus.

I couldn't be
in a better place.

So, while sports
definitely aren't my thing,
I've come to love wrestling.

Not for the sake of wrestling,
because anyone who has wrestled
knows it can twist you
and turn you in some
unique and unusual positions
before the match is over,
wearing you out
and leaving you flat on your back
with nothing left to give,
but simply for the fact
that it brings me
so close,
so very, very, very close
to the heart
of my Father.

So close,
I can hear the beat
of His heart
and soon,
amid all the huffing and puffing,
amidst all the tossing and turning,
in spite of all the moaning and groaning,
(from me - never my Lord)
my own heart beat,
my own breaths,
begin to fall into rhythm
with His.

And like Jacob,
who wrestled
with His Lord, too,
when you come away
from the match,
you are changed -
in ways you can't even explain,
but in ways you can't deny.

And while some might feel
it is irreverent
to wrestle with the Lord,
I would humbly disagree,
for the place I have been,
the position I have found myself in,
this place of wrestling,
of leaning into,
pressing up against,
and laying all of my weight
upon my Savior
has been nothing less
than sacred and holy.

Through this wrestling,
God has
met me,
held me,
challenged me,
instructed me,
re-positioned me,
and humbled me.

He has
given me deeper insight
into who I am
in light of who He is,
and has shown me unquestioningly
the areas of my life
where spiritually speaking,
I am still so
vulnerable and weak.

And while most wrestlers
play to win,
the greatest lesson I have learned,
while wrestling with my Lord
is preciously and powerfully this:

Peace is found in the surrender.

When King Jesus is
finally and officially
declared the winner,
peace reigns supreme.

Yes, anything that draws us
closer to our Lord
is a blessing.

And for me
the blessing has come
through wrestling -
a wrestling, which in turn,
brought me to place of
willful surrender,
which ushered in
the peace
that passes all understanding.

And even though,
someone watching from the sidelines
would declare Jesus
the true winner in this match,
(which He unequivocally is -
always and each and every time,
for all time)
I have to say,
and forever give thanks,
that my losing me
to better
serve and love Him
has me
feeling like a winner, too.




~Stacy 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Do the Unthinkable~

So many times in life
we find our self
in a place where we never
thought we would be.

Divorced.
Addicted.
Depressed.
Abused.
Overweight.
Unemployed.
Diagnosed.

The list could go on and on -
but, you don’t need me to identify your present location.
You are there.
You already know the place where you are all too well.
And, you feel trapped.
You feel as though you have no way out.

Either by choices we have made
or circumstances beyond our control,
life takes an unexpected turn,
down an unanticipated path,
to a never before imagined,
unthinkable place.

Before we know
what has happened
or where we are,
we find our self
behind locked bars
with no key and no way out.

I know.
I’ve been there.
So have Paul and Silas.

Acts 16, NLT
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown in jail. They found themselves in a place where they never thought they would be. It wasn’t their choice to be where they were. It was the choice of the angry mob. Yet, here they were. Mistreated. Locked up. Trapped.

Sometimes we, too, find our self in a place not of our own choosing.
Someone else or circumstances out of our control have made the choice for us.

We didn’t want a divorce.
Cancer wasn’t in our plans.
We did nothing to deserve being abused or mistreated.
Yet, it happened.
We were stripped of our dreams,
beaten down by something outside of our self,
and thrown into our situation.

We are there -
seated right beside Paul and Silas.

25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, 
and the other prisoners were listening.

Amazingly enough,
despite what they had just experienced
and in spite of where they now found themselves,
Paul and Silas decided to pray and sing.

PRAY AND SING!

Life sent them to an unthinkable place
and in turn, 
they did they unthinkable.

With feet bound,
and flesh torn,
they praised God.

Those around them couldn’t help
but hear the praises
flowing from their hearts.

Chances are you
are not alone
in your unthinkable place.

If you look around,
you will discover others
going through the same experience you are.

Could it be you have
found yourself in this place
by no choice of your own
because God has plans to use you
to bless others who are walking this road with you?

26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!

Paul and Silas chose to praise God
and when they did,
God responded.

And, don’t miss this!

Their praise not only set them free,
but it brought freedom to the entire prison.
EVERYONE in the prison was set free.

Today in the very midst of your situation,
I challenge you to praise God -
not silently, but boldly.

Praise Him with everything you’ve got!
Praise Him no matter where you are
and no matter who may hear.
Praise Him from the very depths of your heart.

Like Paul and Silas,
your praise has the potential
to not only set you free,
but to loose the chains
of all those imprisoned with you!

27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer was the one responsible
for all the prisoners.
This was his job.
This is what he had been told to do.
This was his place in life.
Yet, when the prisoners appeared to be free
and he thought his job and his life were over,
he almost killed himself.

Chances are the ones in your life
who have been holding you prisoner
are in this place because
this is what they know.
This is what they have been taught.
This is where life has placed them.

Those who have been abused often abuse others.
Hurting people hurt people.
But notice,
through the power of praise,
even the jailer -
the one holding them captive -
was set free!

29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” (Act 16)

Did you notice the jailer
brought them out of the jail.
They didn’t remain where
they once were
now that they had been set free.

When God opens
locked doors in our life
we can’t dilly dally around
and stay in the place
that once held us captive.

We must get out.
We must move 
into the new place of freedom 
God has for us.

The jailer knew this.
He wanted nothing to do
with the old place he had been.

And, he wanted whatever it was
Paul and Silas had.

He wanted joy -
the kind that makes you sing
when you are imprisoned.

He wanted power -
the kind that opens prison doors
and sets captives free.

Most of all, though -
He wanted to experience
true freedom in Christ.
He (the only one physically free)
wanted to truly be set free!

It doesn’t matter where you are today.
It doesn’t matter if you are there
because of choices you made
or choices someone else made.  
All that matters is that God is there with you.

Like Paul and Silas, you can be set free.
Like Paul and Silas, God can use you to set others free.
The choice is yours.

Are you in an unthinkable place today?

Then, like Paul and Silas - do the unthinkable.

PRAY AND SING! PRAISE GOD! -
and watch God do the unthinkable!

Watch God move!
Watch God shake your world!

Watch God open the doors
and loosen the chains
and set you
and everyone around you,
free!




~Stacy