Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Reminder in the Wind~

"At least the wind isn't blowing."

If I had a dime
for each and every time
I heard my precious grandma utter these words,
I would be one rich lady.

Every time we visited this sweet momma of my daddy,
she always said,
"It's a pretty nice day today, isn't it? At least the wind isn't blowing."

Unless, of course, the wind was.
Like today.

The wind started early this morning.
As I lowered the kitchen window
just a bit
to keep some of the dust outside and not in,
I was reminded of her words.

And I wondered,
what was it about the wind
that had my Grandma classifying days as "nice" or "not so nice"
simply because of this invisible,
yet unmissable force of nature?

It's possible that a dislike of wind might be hereditary
because I'm not a fan of wind either,
and yet,
when the wind blows,
and I feel the angst of it rise up inside me,
I remind myself it has a purpose.

Here in the desert southwest,
the wind ushers in much needed rain.
Long before a raindrop falls to the ground,
trees bend and sway
as wind announces "rain is on the way."

And, here in the Spring
the wind swirls pollen in the air like confetti.
Seeds that hold the newness of life
ride on its current and find their way to a new beginning.

Wind.
Unseen, but definitely not unnoticed.
Unexplainable, but definitely not without an explanation.

And maybe, just maybe,
this is the reason -
in the spiritual world,
wind and the Holy Spirit are synonymous.

Here in a spiritually parched world,
the Holy Spirit ushers in much needed latter rains.
Long before a heart responds to His invitation,
situations and circumstances bend and sway
as the Holy Spirit announces "revival is on the way".

And, here in the Spring season of the "new thing" God is doing,
the Holy Spirit hovers over dead places.
Lives that yearn to be born anew, born again,
feel His breath and breathe in
love,
joy,
peace,
patience,
gentleness,
kindness,
faithfulness,
self-control,
grace,
salvation,
redemption,
LIFE!

The Holy Spirit.
Unseen, but definitely not unnoticed.
Unexplainable, but definitely not without explanation.

Even though
I can't see the wind blowing today,
I can't deny that it is.

Even though
we can't always see the Holy Spirit moving,
we can't deny that He is.

Unlike the physical force of wind,
that finds me wishing it away much like my Grandma,
I am in love with the spiritual force of His Spirit,
which finds me welcoming it and inviting it in.

And,
while the determination that wind
can either make a bad day good or a good day bad
is a matter of personal opinion and preference,
there is no arguing that the Holy Spirit
is what makes every moment of every day
beyond nice,
beyond good,
beyond anything we could even think or ever hope to imagine!

"At least the wind isn't blowing."

Today, it is.
And, surprisingly, I am more than fine with the fact that it is.

Today it is a physical reminder of a preciously, powerful spiritual presence
in our world,
in my life,
in my very soul.

Today it is a physical reminder of an invisible, yet unmissable spiritual force in my life
that I can't afford to miss,
that I can't ever begin to live without.

Today, the wind is blowing.

May the Holy Spirit always be.

Blow, Holy Spirit, blow.










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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In the Shadow of Hope~

I sit on the patio well past the moment dark first arrives.

Maybe it's because I am waiting for my man to come to the sliding glass door as he always did.

"Hey, Beautiful.  Are you going to sleep out there, too?"
Then, after giving me that cute look of his, this.
"Here, let me help you bring your laptop and all the rest of you back inside for the night."

When the beautiful of Spring would unfold,
I would always squeeze every last bit of daylight out of the day
and even indulge in some moments of night
because I knew he would always come.

Now, the dark just keeps getting darker.
And my heart still misses him so much, at times,
I wonder if this journey of grief will ever feel different.

It's why words here have been few and far between these first few months of 2017.
It's why God has had me on the road, in a plane, and out and about
speaking of His faithfulness at churches and retreats.

Home - well, it isn't home.
It just isn't.
And no matter how long I sit on this patio -
my Handsome Honey isn't going to come and help me back inside.

It's life,
or the death part of life -
and my head totally gets it.

It's my heart that still wrestles with it all,
on and off,
now and then,
more times than not.

But, honestly,
I'm ok with the battle between the two
because eventually,
the battle becomes so intense a referee is needed,
and thankfully,
each time,
God steps in and does what only He can do.

His sweet Spirit,
knowing my heart better than even my love,
gently draws me to Him,
and helps me find my way back.

Back inside.
Back to what now is.
Back to the reality that even though I feel so very alone,
I am not
because the great I AM is here.

And this same beautiful of Spring
that has me out on the patio in the first place,
is the same beautiful my heart needs to embrace
time and time again.

For just like tulips now risen from well beneath the ground,
Spring reminds us of the blessed hope we have in and through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

And just like today,
on a day when I hate to see night come,
I know if I trust God through the dark,
morning is right around the corner.

Death takes from us the one we love
but it can never take from us
what the Lover of our Soul did for us on Calvary.

Death reminds us of the separation
between this earth and our eternal home,
but it cannot separate us from
the love of our Heavenly Father
here,
now,
always.

Death leaves us wishing for more -
and thankfully
because of the
death and resurrection of our precious Jesus,
we have the beautiful of more coming.

God willing,
tomorrow I will get more hours of daylight.

And soon,
you and I will know the ultimate more we have been promised -

a more that will find us reunited with those who we miss
with a missing that doesn't seem to end,

a more that will find us face to face with The One who we
have longed to worship and adore for all eternity.

Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning.
~Psalms 30:5

But now,
now it's time for me to let God help me make my way back inside.

And now,
it's time for me to let God help me with my laptop
and finding my way back here
to my keyboard once again, too.

And now,
it's time for me to let God bring all the rest of me
back to where I belong while I wait for the promised more  . . .
abiding and trusting in Him.









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Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Move of God~

As the plane taxied down the Las Vegas runway,
the reality
of where I was,
of what I was launching into,
of what was up ahead
began to swell up inside me.

So much so, in fact,
that as soon as we were airborne,
with our next stop being Philadelphia,
the reality of it all
exploded in tears.

"What was I thinking!?"
"What was my dear friend, Amy, thinking when she encouraged me to say "yes"!?
"What was the women's ministries director thinking when she extended the invitation!?"
"What was God thinking!?"

"Was anybody thinking!?  
Me, the speaker for this women's event?! 
Are you kidding me?!
How can this be happening?!"

And yet, it was.

It is one thing to say "yes";
it is another to act on it.
And, it was acting on it that had this New Mexico girl
sitting on a plane bound for the East coast
feeling unbelievably excited
and crazy scared all at the same time.

With a million and one things to say rolling around in my mind,
and yet,
not one thing specific to talk about,
here I sat,
doing what I do when I am overwhelmed,
wiping one tear after another.

Fast forward to four days later,
when once again
I found myself seated on a plane.

This time the plane was taking me home,
and this time,
as the plane went airborne,
just like before,
a sea of tears made their way down my cheeks.

And, I cried and cried and cried.
(My poor seatmates!)
I was completely overwhelmed by the faithfulness of my God.

Who,
when I had said "yes" had taken over from that moment on.

Who,
when I didn't know what to say,
spoke word after word after word.

Who,
when I couldn't possibly know how to relate to the hearts I was speaking to,
drew them by His Spirit to relate to Himself in a new and deeper way.

Who,
when I only knew how to show up and be present and do the best that I can,
showed up in all of His glory and presented His truth as only He can.

Who,
when I was willing,
did.

Who,
when I obeyed,
blessed.

Who
when I sat crying tears on the first plane ride
knew I would be crying tears on the second one.

With a million and one reasons to thank God rolling around in my heart,
and yet,
not one thing I could say to adequately express
what He had done,
what He had been,
here I sat,
doing what I do when I am overwhelmed,
wiping one tear after another.

And I was reminded once again of this truth:

If we want to see
a move of God,
we have to position our self
in a place where 
a move of God
is all and everything
we are depending on.

And, if we do-
our God will move.

"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord of hosts.
~Zechariah 4:6








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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Faith Says "Yes"~










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Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Light~










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Friday, January 27, 2017

A Season of Transition~

I thought it was the oddest place to be.

Well, maybe odd isn't the correct word,
but honestly,
when I tried to think of a word to describe the place I am now,
no word seemed to fit.

I realized this Wednesday night.

Seated in a room with twenty-five women,
all of us expectant as to what God would do over the course of the next 7 weeks
as we launched into a new Bible study together,
the facilitator asked us to take turns introducing ourself to the group.

"It doesn't have to be a lot.
Just tell us your name,
if your married,
if you have children or grandchildren,
where you work."

Thankfully, we started from the end of the circle farthest from where I was sitting.

It's not often that I find myself in a new place where introductions are needed.
And yet, in times past, when I have
I could usually answer at least 3 of the "mentioned suggestions" for introduction:
I had a name.
I had a husband.
I had a job.

This time around, I realized
(a slap of reality when I least expected it)
all I had was a name.

That's it.
A name,
Stacy Sanchez.

I love my name,
but it would take me less than 2 seconds to say it.
Then, what?

And, I know,
(and I hope you do, too)
we are all so much more than
our name,
our marital status,
our role as a parent or grandparent,
or our occupational title.

But, when this is the "norm",
the way we let others know who we are,
what do you say?

And, it's amazing,
how so many times,
when we think we are the ones being called upon to speak,
that it is God, Himself, using our very own words to speak to us.

My turn finally came.

"Ok, God," I whispered in my heart. "You're on. Please give me the words."

"Hi, my name is Stacy Sanchez
and I am in a season of transition.
I lost my husband 11 months ago,
and because of issues involved with losing him,
I lost my job several months later.
Right now, I am simply being still and waiting for God to show me what is next
after this season of transition.
I am so happy to be here."

The lady beside me began her introduction
and I hate to admit it,
but I have no idea what she said.

God was speaking, arresting my thoughts with the words "season of transition".

"Season of transition?" I thought.  "Lord, where did that phrase come from?"

And I felt God whisper, "Just tuck it in your heart, sweet girl.  Tuck it safely in your heart."

Fast forward to today, this evening, just an hour ago.

With a meal in front of me,
I had decided to sit in the living room,
a Christian television program as my dinner companion.

As I took one bite after another
and listened to one word after another of this spiritual teaching,
God, unexpectedly
(although with the Lord we should expect nothing less!)
gave me a familiar phrase to digest.

"This is for everyone who is in a season of transition.  God is simply using this season to transition you into your God-ordained destination. God is simply moving you from what has been your current identity to what will become your future destiny.  Don't think that where you are now is where you are going to stay.  Transition itself speaks of change."

I put my fork down.
I pushed my meal aside.
For the next hour,
I listened as this pastor gave one example after another,
from God's Holy Word,
of the principle of transition and God-ordained destination.

David,
who transitioned from tending sheep to tending the children of Israel.

Joseph,
who transitioned from a pit, to a palace, to a prison, back to the palace.

Elisha,
who transitioned from plowing a field to plowing hearts using a double portion of God's Spirit.

And more than who I had ever been before,
God started to reveal to me
who I was becoming.

More than
my name,
my marital status (is widow a marital status?)
my lack of children and grandchildren,
my lack of an occupational title,
God showed me who I was becoming
in Him,
through Him,
because of Him.

There is something about speaking
what God says about who you are
outloud
that has an enormous
power releasing,
faith infusing,
hope rising
effect.

"Hi, my name is Stacy Sanchez 
and I am in a season of transition."

No longer did this sound weak to me.
No longer did this sound like someone floundering through life.
No longer did this sound without purpose or without hope.

And, I guess I am saying all of this,
to simply say this:

It's not so much about where we've been,
as it is about where we are going.

God is always doing a new thing.
He is Creator-God.
Creating, re-creating, -
this is what God does.

And really,
if we stop and think about it -
isn't our entire life
one season of transition
weaved together with
another season of transition
weaved together with
another season of transition,
on and on and on?

Isn't God,
in His creative, redemptive power,
lovingly and intentionally,
taking us from season to season,
so that in Him and through Him,
He might also take us from glory to glory? 

"Hi, my name is Stacy Sanchez
and I am in a season of transition."

I don't know what your name might be,
but if you are in a season of transition,
let me shake your hand,
and welcome you to the club.

"I am so happy to be here."









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Sunday, January 8, 2017

When We Love Out Loud~

I was so blessed to be able to spend the last three weeks visiting my sister and her family. While together, we celebrated my birthday on December 19, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and cried my way through my husband's birthday on January 5th. Every day with her was precious and so good for my healing heart.

Imagine my surprise,
while visiting my sister,
to hear her doorbell ring,
only to see my sister go to her front porch,
pick up a package
and then bring it to me.


"For me?" I asked.    


She just smiled.


I opened the package and inside was this beautiful cup.


"Thank you, Laura."
I said to my sister.


"Oh, it's not from me, "
she quickly shot back.


"What?
Who else could it be from?" I asked.


"Look in the box, " she suggested.
"Maybe there's a note."

And, there was.

It was from a dear friend who has faithfully been walking beside me as I try to find my way through this season of grief and a new life without my husband.

"How did she know your address?" I asked my sister.

"She sent me a message request on Facebook."

Tears filled the corner of my eyes.
To think this friend would go above and beyond to seek out my sister,
to get the address of where I would be for my birthday and Christmas,
and send me a reminder
that she was still thinking about me,
still praying for me,
still walking with me.
I was beyond undone by her kindness.

Fast forward a few days later - same scenario - only this time we were at the group mailboxes in my sister's subdivision. Out came another package and again, my sister smiled and handed it to me.

This time, this special friend had sent a beautiful bracelet reminding me
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Again, I was completely undone by her gesture -
by the way she over and over again chooses to live her faith,
live her love for God and others out loud,
so beautifully, so extravagantly.

While I love both the cup and the bracelet,
I cannot begin to tell you how much I love her heart or
how much I love our precious Heavenly Father for the gift of her in my life.

It is my prayer this year that I will love like she does.

It is a big prayer, no doubt,
because the way she loves is without limits,
without bounds,
but isn't that the way God has called each of us to love?

And, when we do,
when we love like Jen does,
the love of God is seen, felt, and experienced in undeniable ways.

When we love like Jesus,
others feel His love.
And, take it from a heart that knows,
there is no other feeling like it in this entire world.







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Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Tuxedo? Absolutely!

Did you see it?

Scrolling through Facebook a couple of days ago,
I ran across an article with a photo of a young man in a suit.

The snippet attached shared with the readers the special occasion that
(in this young man's eyes)
called for such formal attire
and had him looking his best.

His sister was having a baby,
and soon he would be welcoming his brand new niece into a brand new world.

According to this soon to be uncle,
"First impressions matter."

I had to smile.

And while first impressions definitely matter,
I couldn't help thinking the formal attire fit perfectly for this occasion,
but for an entirely different reason.

A new life -
what event could be more worthy of a tuxedo,
than that?

This is why I think my husband thought birthdays were so very special.

In our home,
birthdays automatically called for a day off.
Just like planning a vacation,
requests for these days off were submitted well in advance
so nothing,
not even our jobs,
would stand in the way of celebrating
the workmanship of God
by celebrating the life He had so meticulously created.

Balloons all over the house,
not one cake, but sometimes two,
not just a special dinner, but an entire day of
thanking God,
rejoicing in the gift of the one created,
a full-blown celebration.

And, today is his.

And, this has me missing him so very much.

But, it also has me overflowing with so much thanks:

- thanks to God for creating my man
- thanks to God for saving my man for me
- thanks to God for the blessings of having been his Mrs.
- thanks to God for all this man added to this world
- thanks to God for the blessing of sharing in his life

and thanks that while I am missing my man today,
I never missed an opportunity to celebrate God's creation of him.

Birthdays -
they aren't just another day of the week or month.

They. Are. Special.

They are worthy of celebration,
worthy of tuxedos,
worthy of stopping what we are doing
and giving thanks
and celebrating
in the most extraordinary ways.

And,
you do know,
right -
that extraordinary doesn't necessarily have to mean expensive?

It doesn't cost anything to make someone feel loved and appreciated.

Words of affirmation, affection, "I love you", "I thank God for you" - free.
Hugs and kisses - free.
Time spent together - free.
Prayers of thanks - free.
Handwritten notes tucked into places all over the house to be discovered at just the right time - free.

Today,
my heart longs for nothing more
than to be able to spend this day with my man.
Instead,
I am cherishing the memories of birthdays past
and finding joy in the moments spent together.

And my words to you -
this year,
in 2017,
this:
purpose to go above and beyond to celebrate those in your life.

Break out the tuxedo,
take off a day from work,
pull out all the stops
and celebrate life.

Time is precious.

 A love in your life - even more precious.

And,
you never know when,
you will no longer have either.









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