Friday, May 18, 2018

It's All in His Timing~

Some have his and her towels,
or his and her toothpaste,
or his and her pillows.

Here, in the Sanchez home,
we have his and her coffee cups.
And, I do mean cupS.

Not just one for him and one for me.
Nope.
13 for him
and surprisingly enough -
13 for me.

(I told you - we have cupS.)

And while some might see 13
as an unlucky number,
to me -
several days ago,
13 was nothing short of beautiful.

To say our kitchen is tiny
doesn't even begin to convey
how very tiny it is.

Storage is almost non-existent.
And whenever my husband and I
were both in this little space together,
it always became a kind of two-step,
minus the music.
We would dance our way around each other
as we worked our way around our kitchen.

"So . . ."  you ask,
"Where might one keep
13 cups for him
and 13 cups for you
in a kitchen so tiny?"

It's a fair question.
And, it was a challenge, no doubt.

To help remedy this problem
(because we all know,
when you have a favorite cup -
or in our case,
13 favorites each -
getting rid of even one,
isn't an option),
my husband installed little hooks
underneath the cabinetry
above our kitchen sink area.

13 hooks to be exact.

And, it was on these hooks
that each of his cups proudly hung.

My cups found a home
which was far less than ideal:
stacked on top of each other
in a corner of our kitchen counter,
taking up precious counter space
that was already at a minimum to begin with.


Ideal or not,
this is how we rolled.
For 15 years, at least.

Until Sunday.

Dishes done,
I was wiping down the counters
when I spotted my cups.

Then this thought from out of the blue:
I sure wish I could find a place for my cups.

And for a reason I can't explain,
I turned my eyes upward to the hooks
where my husband's cups -
all 13 of them,
hung proudly still - even now,
two years after his passing,
untouched, unused,
collecting dust.

Then this thought
(that my heart could hardly believe
my mind was thinking):
I wonder if there are enough hooks
to house all of your cups?

And even more surprising than this thought,
was the way my heart chose to respond to it.
I guess we could count them and find out.

So, I did.
I counted the hooks.
13.

Then,
I counted all of my cups.
13.

Unbelievable!

Then this thought:
Do you think he would mind 
if we packed up his cups?
Not to give away.
Just to store away 
for a little while.

This time,
my heart responded more in character,
showing its true colors
as tears made their way down my cheeks.

Oh so gently, though, my head persisted.
What are the chances you both had 13 cups?
It seems like the perfect solution, doesn't it?
Let's go to the garage and see if we can find
a perfect box to store his cups in.

And, that's what I did.

Moments later found me
packing away "his",
and filling up the hooks
with "hers".

And in that moment,
13 became much more than a number to me.

It became a precious reminder of this precious truth:

For everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
and a time to die.

A time to weep,
and a time to laugh.

A time to mourn,
and a time to dance.

A time to gain,
and a time to lose.

A time to keep
and a time to throw away.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
~Ecclesiastes 3: 1,2,4,6,11


Don't worry, honey.
You'll know.
When the time is right,
God will show you,
and you will know.

Words spoken to me
time and time again
over the past two years.

Words that now
are starting to prove true.

And, I'm coming to realize
there isn't a "right time"
or a "wrong time"
there is only
"in His time".

And if we will only
wait
until it's time,
then move
when it is time,
the moving will still be hard,
but it will also feel right -
in a way that can't truly be explained.

And sometimes,
most times, in fact,
we will discover -
what starts out as something
as simple as his and her cups,
when led by the Spirit
and touched by God's hand,
turns into something
that brings healing and growth,
and a peace that passes all understanding.

And, if we let Him,
God can take all
that appears wrong in the world
(like the number 13
and even death itself)
and use it
in a most surprising and unbelievable way
to showcase His
ever-abiding,
never-leaving,
here-with-you-always
presence
and to remind us of His precious love.

And more than a clean kitchen,
and more than free, open space on my counter,
the blessing that blessed me most that day
was the unmistakable evidence
of a heart
continuing to heal.

All in His timing.









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Thursday, May 17, 2018

All and Everything I Need to Say~

As I bend down to pick up
the five gallon water bottle,
I remember the words of my husband -
spoken to me only a hand full of times,
when only a hand full of reasons
found me reaching for one,
instead of him.

"Be careful, Beautiful.
Don't hurt your back.
Use your legs to lift it, Baby."

Upon hearing his wise counsel,
I would always look at him and smile,
then reach down and pick up the bottle.

And, it dawns on me again tonight,
as I'm heaving this heavy monstrosity
up into my arms
to carry into the kitchen,
 - just like those hand full of times before -
I have no idea what I am using
to lift this bottle.

"Am I using my legs?"

The only answer I can give myself
is the shrug of my shoulders,
only that's hard to do when one is
lugging a five gallon water bottle into the kitchen,
so I don't reply at all.

But, the not being able to reply
doesn't stop me from wondering.

"What does that even mean?
Use your legs?  How? How do you do that?
Use your arms? Now, that. That I could understand.
But, your legs? I have no idea how to do that."

Come to think of it
now that I'm thinking about it -
there have been many words of counsel
given to me over the course
of my 52 years of life
that I have heard
and yet not had a clue one how to execute.

"You better start preparing your heart, Beautiful."

My husband had told me this a few weeks before
my father passed away.
He had seen death inch closer and closer
with his own precious mother years before
and he knew my heart wasn't ready to say goodbye.

I remember looking him right in the eye and asking,
(in a voice barely above a whisper)
"How do I do that?"

His answer:
a tender kiss to my forehead and a squeeze of my hand.

"You need to start building a new life."

I can't even begin to count
how many times these words of counsel
have made their way to my ears
after losing my husband,
followed seven months later
with losing my job.

And yet,
if I can't figure out how to use my legs to
pick up a five gallon water jug,
and if I couldn't figure out how to prepare my heart
to say goodbye to my precious Daddy,
how am I suppose to figure out how to
build a new life?

And -
surprisingly -
it is in this very question
that I find my answer.

Somehow, I just will.

Somehow,
I manage to lift and carry the water jugs.

Somehow,
I managed to wade my way through my father's passing.

Somehow,
I will manage to find my way through this season
and build a new life.

Only, it won't happen alone.
No - it will happen the way it always does.
Because,
for me,
my somehow is a Someone.

"Use your legs to lift it, Beautiful"
found me smiling up at my husband
and my heart crying out to my God -
"Help me, Jesus."

And, He did.

"You better start preparing your heart, Beautiful"
found me in the embrace of my man
and my heart crying out to my God -
"Help me, Jesus."

And, He did.

"You need to start building a new life."

This, honestly, still finds me wiping
one tear after another
(I loved my old life -
I don't want a "new" one)
and my heart crying out to my God,
"Help me, Jesus."

And, He is.

And, He will.

I place the water jug
on the ceramic water dispenser
my husband bought for me
when we first started dating -
almost 28 years ago.

As the water
gurgles and sloshes
and completely fills
what had been tapped dry,
I wipe a tear.

"Oh, sweet girl.
I know all of this caught you
completely unaware.
You had no time to prepare your heart,
(even though you wouldn't have been able to
even if you had known).
It's ok.
It is.
It's ok.
But please, please be careful, precious daughter of mine.
Don't hurt your heart.
Use my Spirit to lift you up."

Thankfully,
when it comes to these words of wise counsel
from my precious Abba Daddy,
this -
this I know how to do.

"Help me, Jesus."

It's all and everything
I need to say.







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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What Would Yours Say?~

As soon as I made my way
up and through the small arroyo
that separates my neighborhood
from the one north of mine,
I saw it.

With six miles clocked on my fitness app,
I was headed home from my morning walk.
And, what a walk it had been.
Every step had brought the most precious
reminders of God's amazing love for me.

At one point, in fact,
my heart had been so overwhelmed,
I had spoken the praise of my heart outloud.

"You. Are. So. Beautiful. Lord."

And while every single reminder of God's love
is precious beyond words,
the ones that had touched me deepest
and had brought tears to my eyes,
were the times when I remembered the way God
had loved me still,
had loved me well,
had loved me above and beyond,
for absolutely no reason at all.
Just. Because. He. Loved. Me.

As these moments came to mind,
it was almost as if
I could hear my Father -
His heart so overwhelmed -
speaking His love outloud:
"You're my daughter
and I love you so very much, sweet girl."

That's when I saw them -
words for the whole world to see.
Well,
at least the corner of the world who,
like me,
might come up behind this vehicle.




There was no doubting
whoever was driving this vehicle
was proud of their NMSU Honor Grad.

But, more than that -
(you can see it, too, can't you?)
they were proud to be the ones
this graduate called
Mom and Dad.

Yes,
the owners were proud
of the accomplishment of their child -
the donning of the cap and gown,
the walking down the aisle,
and the receiving of a diploma -
one earned with honors, to boot.

But, beyond that -
one couldn't help but also sense
this mom and dad
took great pride in having the unique and honorable honor
of being the parents of this graduate.

And, it was as if -
in this moment,
God was standing right beside me,
pointing straight ahead to this window
and saying,
 "See, Stacy.
This  - this is what I was talking about.
If I drove a car,
and I had a window,
I'd write a message just like that about you.
One the whole world could see."

And instantly,
I began to wonder -
What would it say,
if He could?
If He did?

And, I hope
I have you now
wondering the same thing, too.

(In fact, I'm going to leave you alone
for a few minutes right here,
to do just that.
Spend some time pondering
what your Heavenly Father
would write about you.
No need to rush.
When you're ready,
I'll be waiting for you
in the next paragraph.)

How I wish this
was you and I
sharing a table at a coffee shop
instead of you and I sharing company
over a blog post.
I would love to hear
God's window declaration
about you.

And you do realize,
don't you -
that if our Heavenly Father could,
and if He did,
write a window message about us,
unlike this one -
it wouldn't be about our accomplishments?

It would be about us.

That's the heart of our Heavenly Father,
after all.
He doesn't love us for what we do (or don't do),
He loves us for us.

"You're following the Father
of a daughter who delights my heart."

"You're following the Father
of a son who brings me great joy."

"You're following the Father
of a child who makes me smile."

"You're following the Father
of a child I love more than life itself."

Which brings us to the cross,
the place where love always ends up.

If ever we need a tangible reminder
of how our Heavenly Father feels about us -
we just need to look at the cross.

When God chose to announce
His love for us,
He did it so the entire world -
(not just a tiny little corner of it)
would know.

"You're my son."
"You're my daughter."
"I love you so very much."

Words that should make everything
in our tiny corner of the world,
centered,
grounded,
secure,
firm.

As I headed home,
I smiled.

A six mile walk ✅
Loved by my Abba Daddy ✅
Ready to tackle the day ahead ✅







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Monday, May 14, 2018

How to Gain from a Loss~

Her realization didn't surprise me.
Not now, anyway.
Not two years on the other side.

But,
when my loss was fresh like hers,
I had felt the shock, too.

"You know what has surprised me the most?"
she asked one night
while we were messaging back and forth.

"No, what?" I inquired.

Having just recently lost her mother,
my heart wondered what she would reply.

"The people you think would be by you the most, aren't.
And the ones you didn't think would, are.
It's weird how that happens."

And, she was absolutely right.
As a recent widow,
I know all too well about that happening,
and yes,
it's weird in every sense of the word.

Weird because loss,
in of itself -
(like nothing I have ever known before)
shouts to us of the uncertainty of life.

Loss
takes what was
familiar, stable, steady, and predictable,
and pulls it right out
from underneath you.

And, it only makes sense
when we lose what is familiar -
(more than anything I have known before)
it leaves us feeling desperate for that which still is.

We long for some type of normal,
some kind of familiar,
something or someone who was there for us before
to still be there for us now.

Only - like my friend discovered -
people aren't always there for us
the way we might expect them to be.

Some are - yes.
And, praise God for those who stay
when everyone else walks out.

But -
here, now -
two years on the other side -
I can also praise God for those who leave,
opening wide in their absence
the precious space for others to walk in.

"I'm praying you'll experience unexpected blessings
in unexpected places from unexpected people."

A new friend,
who God placed in my life
only a week before losing my husband,
(who happened to turn out to be
an unexpected blessing herself)
told me those words shortly after I lost my husband.

She - like countless others -
others I wouldn't have expected
and others I didn't even know -
became a new way
God chose to minister to me
during this, -
the absolute, without-a-doubt
hardest, most difficult time of my life.

"When people you expect
to come alongside you and help you,
do -
you appreciate it,
you're thankful,
and you feel so blessed,
but
when the blessing comes from
an unexpected place,
an unexpected person
where no expectation for help
has ever been placed or expected,
it's easier to see the hand of God."

Words from the same wise woman.

And,
she is so right.

A blessing is a blessing,
but when that blessing comes
from a person or a place
where you've never expected it,
you see the move of God.

You sense deeper His provision to
speak your name to someone,
place your cause upon a heart,
go out of His way
to meet the greatest needs
and satisfy the deepest longings of your heart.

Sometimes, He works through the familiar.
Sometimes, He works through the "new".

But,
you might be asking -
what about the times
when no one comes,
no one responds,
no one seems to care?

(Yep - I've been there, too)

It is in these times
or utter aloneness
and complete isolation that
we receive the most precious blessing of all.

It is then,
when God, Himself,
shows up.

For me,
this has been
one of the greatest hidden treasures
of loss.

When it seems
we have nothing or no one,
we discover -
(in ways that I'd never had my entire life )
how very much
we have God
and how very much
God has us.

And,
we realize, too -
how often before our loss,
we put
our trust,
our confidence,
our security,
in people and things other than God.

Yes, loss brings many realizations.
These -
these are my top three (so far.)

1. God is faithful.

In whatever form He chooses,
through those who are familiar,
through those who are new,
or through Himself,
He will be true to His word
to never leave us or forsake us.

He will be there.
Always.

2. Sometimes, we hold on too tight.

We have to be careful
not to hold too tightly -
to anything
or anyone.

This is true of what we have already lost,
absolutely,
but -
it is also true of those who will "disappoint" us
during our time of loss.

And by not holding tightly,
I simply mean that
once we realize that which was familiar
is no longer there -
(either by loss itself
or an unmet expectation) this:
Don't get angry.
Don't get bitter.
Don't get resentful.
Don't harbor unforgiveness.
Don't "write off" those who have appeared
to have written you off.

Understand loss is part of living in this sinful world.
Understand God is all-knowing and all-loving.
Understand God is always doing a new thing.

Understand not everyone will respond how you might respond.
Understand people are people and we all handle things differently.
Understand ours is not to judge others for what they do or don't do,
ours is
to love,
to be gracious and kind,
and to allow others to have some wiggle room.

Release what is no longer here.
And, release others to respond however they choose to respond.

By holding on to both loosely,
you will keep from
strangling your faith
and strangling relationships.

3.  I'm guilty, too.

This might be the toughest revelation to swallow.

It's easy to see where -
in our human opinion -
others have failed us,
but how many times
in how many ways,
have we ourself
not been there for someone else?

How many times have we
not lived up to another's expected expectation of us?

How many times have we chosen to walk away
instead of pressing in deeper and closer?

If we will let it,
loss -
(unlike anything I've experienced before)
can teach us to be
more compassionate,
more in touch with others,
more willing to choose to
move in closer and deeper
when before we would have turned-tail and run.

Loss can be the very thing God uses
to help us be His way to minister
to someone else in their time of need.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them
the same comfort God has given us.
~2 Corinthians 1:3,4

No, her realization didn't surprise me.
Not now,
not two years on the other side of it.

What has surprised me, though,
is the way God has chosen
to minister to me,
to bless me,
to teach me,
and to convict me
through it.

Who would have thought
there was so much to be gained
through loss?

Only God.










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Friday, May 11, 2018

This, I Know This~

There's not a whole lot
I know a whole lot about.

But, this -
I know this.
In fact, I consider myself an expert.

I know the heart of a mother.

As a teacher and administrator for 18 years
and a Director of Children's Ministries for 7,
I have met and known an incredible amount of mothers.

From sitting with our knees tucked up under our chins
in chairs designed for those much younger than us,
to standing outside my classroom door,
to late night phone calls,
to notes left behind on my desk,
to prayer requests and prayers prayed together on bent knees, -
I have been face to face with
the heart of a mother.

From mothers who
never finished high school and
felt so ill-equipped to be a mother,
to mothers who
had diplomas and degrees and yet,
felt so ill-equipped to be a mother.

From mothers who
with humble eyes bent low and hands outstretched
asking to borrow money from me until the next pay check
wondered how not having enough was
shaping their child,
to mothers who
having "more than enough"
wondered how their affluence and easy life style was
shaping theirs.

From mothers who
were divorced and broken
trying to find their identity
while helping their children find theirs,
to mothers who
were stay-at-home-housewives
trying to find their identity
while helping their children find theirs.

From mothers who
wanting only the best for their children
felt over-controlling, outspoken, and out of line,
to mothers who
wanting only the best for their children
felt too-passive, easily manipulated, and out of control.

From mothers who
had lost a child
through miscarriage, death, or divorce
feared the future with one less,
to mothers who
expecting yet again
feared the future with one more.

The heart of a mother.

It is giving, sacrificing, loving, caring, mending, nurturing, correcting, listening, instructing, molding, yearning, desiring, lamenting, pondering, inspiring, empowering, encouraging, teaching, releasing, embracing, refining, defining, determining, questioning, believing, hoping, willing, and unrelenting,

In the heart of a mother,
I have seen the heart of our Heavenly Father.

A heart that will stop at nothing
for the good of her children.

A heart that will give its all
so that all might be given
to her son and to her daughter.

A heart that
even if it costs its own
will give and give and give.

Yes, I have seen and known
the heart of a mother.

And, It. Is. Beautiful.

If the heart of a mere human,
flawed and imperfect as we are
can be this beautiful,
how beautiful still is the heart
of our Heavenly Father?

I'm not there yet,
because the vastness of His heart
is unfathomable, incomprehensible, without boundaries or end.

But the more I
sit with my knees tucked up under my chin at His feet,
or stand in His presence with hands lifted high,
or kneel before Him with humble eyes turned down and outstretched hands,
the more I come face to face with His heart.

No, I'm not an expert
on the heart of our Heavenly Father,
but from the glimpses I have seen,
It. Is. Beautiful.

It. Is. Beautiful. Beyond. That. Of. A. Heart. Of. A. Mother.

It. Is. Beautiful. Beyond. Description.

It. Is. Beautiful. That. We. Can't. Even. Imagine.

We see bits and pieces of it in the heart of a mother.

We see the height and depth of it on Calvary's cross.

But, one day -
one day we will see it face to face.

There's not a whole lot
I know a whole lot about.

But this-
I know this.

I can't wait to spend eternity becoming an expert on
the heart of our Heavenly Father.











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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Ushering in Godlight~








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Sunday, May 6, 2018

When Faded and Torn is a Good Thing~

Warmer nights found me
digging my way around
in my pajama drawer
in search of a perfect lightweight
sleeping option.

As soon as I spotted my old T-shirt
peeking out from underneath
some pajama tops, -
in my mind's eye,
I saw her words again.
Words so etched in my heart
it was as if I was
reading them again for the second time.

We must LIVE Before we die Stacy!
If we are STILL in the earth,
GOD has a PURPOSE!
When the assignment is FINISHED
GOD calls us home~~
'well done, SERVANT'~~COME HOME~:0)

As this dear friend
had shared with me
the news of the loss
of her precious 30 year old son -
     and after beautiful words
     of praise and thanksgiving to God
     for rescuing her son from the pain
     he had endured fighting a terrible disease,
this amazing woman of faith
had ended our time of Facebook messaging together,
just the night before,
with those life-giving words.

This was my reply:

"We must live before we die."
Those are straight from the Father's heart
to mine, tonight.
Still struggling to find my place
and get back into life.
God always uses you to
pick me back up,
dust me off,
and get me MOVING -
or in this case - LIVING - again.
Thank you, faithful sister!
So blessed to be running this race
beside you.

Now, as I held my T-shirt in my hand,
and pondered these words again in my heart, -
with my finger,
I traced the dark blue,
barely faded lettering on the front of my shirt:
RUSSELL ATHLETICS.

And, I thought about my husband's matching T-shirt -
identical to mine (only a couple of sizes larger)
and how
in those first months after losing him,
it was his shirt I slept in
night after night after night
instead of mine.

One day, early on in our marriage -
while strolling hand in hand through a mall,
we had come across a "sidewalk sale"
complete with a huge bin full of T-shirts.
He had spotted his about the same time
I had spotted mine,
and the rest  -
as they say -
was history.

Only,
unlike me,
over the course of about 10 years,
my man had worn his shirt.
Every. Chance. He. Got.

His lettering on the front
was so faded
it was barely legible.
And, his shirt was so thread bare,
that one night
while rolling over,
I accidentally tore a hole in the armhole.

It was then I had decided to tuck his away
for sake keeping.

As I stood here now-
holding mine -
almost in pristine condition,
it was easy to see
what God was trying to tell me.

My man had lived his life.
Boy, had he lived.
He had tasted and listened and smelled and seen.
And, he had felt -
with a passion and zeal
and an energy that couldn't be measured,
he had felt.

From the moment he woke up,
he ripped into the new day
like a child ripping into a present
on Christmas morning.

He spent his days
enjoying,
delighting,
laughing,
encouraging,
appreciating,
and LIVING.

If his T-shirt
was any indication to the amount of living
my man had done,
the only conclusion
one could come to
was that
he had gotten his money's worth out of both -
his T-shirt and his life.

He had lived his life to the full,
completely spent,
with nothing left to wring out.

And, I smiled -
until 
I thought about my shirt.

Because you see -
if my T-shirt
was any indication to the amount
of living
I had done,
the only conclusion one could come to
was that
I had spent most of my life
tucked away,
safely hidden
under other lightweight pajama tops.

(Not really -
but you get the picture-
and it's not one
I wish had any connection to me.)

And those words,
those life breathing words,
kept rolling around and around
in my mind.

We must LIVE Before we die Stacy!

Besides, the 50 years I lived
before losing my husband,
I have now lived 2 years,
and 3 months more.

And I see you there, reading this -
a look of confusion in your eyes -
as you, like me, realize -
to use the word "lived" -
here -
in relation to the passing of time
in my life -
truly doesn't do this word justice.

But,
here's the thing:
I want it to.

More than I ever have,
I want it to.

I want to taste and listen and smell and see.
And, I want to feel.
Just like my man,
I want to fly out of bed each morning,
so excited to rip into another brand new day,
that my heart feels as though it will explode.

I want to
enjoy,
delight,
laugh,
encourage,
appreciate,
and LIVE
Before. It's. Too. Late.

Before the time for living on earth
is over.

And, again I see you there, reading this -
a look of longing in your eyes,
as you, like me,
realize there is so much living
we have left undone.

And,
in my mind's eye,
I saw His words again.
Words that my man quoted time and time again,
words so etched in my memory
it was as if I was
reading them again for the umpteenth time.

I have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly.
~John 10:10

Our T-shirts were cheap enough.
The fact that we pulled them out of a clearance bin
can attest to that.

But, when it came to paying the ultimate price
for my husband and me -
God sent His own son -
our precious Jesus.

The cost for our salvation
and our freedom
to have life and have it more abundantly,
His son's very life.

Worse than not getting my money's worth
out of a silly ole T-shirt,
I don't want to come to the end of my life
and discover,
(I almost can't write this)
I failed to
truly spend,
to completely use up,
to live and live more abundantly
every bit of the life
that Jesus died for me to live.

With T-shirt in hand,
I closed the drawer shut.

The search was over.

It was time to start wearing
the tail end off of this shirt.
(as my momma would say!)

And, it was time to
ENJOY, Baby! ENJOY!
(as my man would say!)

And, most importantly,
it was time to start
LIVING the abundant life.
(as my God would say!)







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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It's a Process~

It's a process.

We hear that phrase
time and time again,
and no doubt,
it's probably even slipped through our lips
and out our very own mouth
a time or two, too.

And yet,
how quickly we forget this.

Maybe that's the reason
God reminded me of this
again this morning
as I took my daily walk.

Actually, this conversation with God
had really started several weeks ago.
When,
(after having walked for weeks and weeks),
while cleaning out my closet one day,
I spotted some shorts
that had somehow gotten
tucked out of sight.

Out of sight,
to me, at least -
also means out of mind -
so needless to say,
I hadn't worn these shorts for a couple of years.

Knowing I had been walking week after week,
and knowing I had lost some weight,
I just knew these
always-a-little-snug-around-the-waist shorts
would fit perfectly now.

Wrong!

"Lord, what's going on here?
I know I haven't worn these in a couple of years,
but how can I not even get them buttoned?!
They were always a bit snug,
but now -
even after walking week after week,
I can't even begin to think about wearing them."

And, I heard God whisper,
"It's a process."

The last two years -
packed full of
pull-the-rug-right-out-from-underneath-you
experiences -
had found me
slurping on Oreo shakes,
skipping healthy sit down meals for
a little of this and a little of that,
tossing and turning instead of sleeping,
and stress-producing cortisol
having its way with my waistline.

It had been this process, -
over the course of a couple of years, -
that now found me
standing in my closet,
jaw-dropped and mouth as wide open
as the gap between my button
and the button hole.

Fast forward to this morning,
and my walk.

A walk that found me
once again wearing
(thank you, Lord!)
one of these "can't button" shorts-
now, perfectly buttoned,
with even a little wiggle room!

As I smiled from ear to ear
and thanked the Lord for this sweet accomplishment,
I heard Him whisper again,
"It's a process."

And immediately,
I thought about a quote
God had placed in front of me
earlier today,
before heading out on my walk,
as I was sipping my coffee and
spending some quiet time with Him:

"Faith is better understood as a verb
than as a noun,
as a process 
than as a possession."
~Fredrick Buechner

A process, rather than a possession.

And while I can't speak for you,
speaking just for me
and the way that quote spoke to my heart, -
I have no choice but to admit
I long to completely skip the process
all together
and simply obtain
whatever it is I want to possess.

Faith, included.

(You, too? I thought so.
We humans are so alike that way.)

I want a faith that can stand any storm
without going through a storm to get it.

I want a faith that is willing to step out of my comfort zone
without having to leave all that makes me comfortable to get it.

I want a faith that is willing to trust God in the midst of
without having to be in the midst of something to get it.

I want a faith that remains when all else is gone
without having to lose everything else to get it.

I want faith,
and I want it now,
as if it is a possession to be had.

But, faith -
true faith -
is
found,
developed,
strengthened,
realized,
and possessed
in the process.

And quite honestly,
when we are sorting through our spiritual closet
in a season of
loss,
struggle,
disappointment,
heartache,
trial or
sickness -
it's very possible
we might discover our faith
has somehow gotten tucked away
in a back corner,
out of sight and out of mind.
And, when we pull it out
and try it on,
there's a good chance
it might be a little too tight
or a little too loose,
and not quite fit as comfortable
as it once did.

But,
it we keep walking with Jesus
and walking out our faith
with Him
and through Him,
each and every day,
even in and especially in
the pull-the-rug-right-out-from-underneath-you
places of life -
we will eventually find
our faith will start fitting us again.

There's even a chance -
a really good chance as a matter of fact -
like my shorts,
we'll discover our faith doesn't only fit,
but it even has a little wiggle room!

It can happen.

But,
we have to remember,
it's a process.

Are we willing to go through the process?

I hope our answer -
both yours and mine -
is always "Yes, Lord."










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