Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Story of My Life~ {Heartprint Hallelujahs Link Up}

If I was the one writing the story of my life, it would be nothing outside of

"the usual"

commonplace

mediocre

ordinary....

I know this to be true because this is how I have lived most of my life. When I was the one calling all the shots, I played it safe, IF, I played it at all.

No rocking of the boat here.

No living out on the edge.

No stepping out or stepping into.

Just.....normal.

Just.....ordinary living.

But then....

I placed my life in HIS hands.

I turned the pen over to my Creator,

Special Pen!
{Photo Credit}

now HE is the author of my story-

Sentence after sentence, chapter after chapter, HE is unfolding a brand new life.

A life that is anything BUT mediocre, common place, or ordinary.

Now, I am

walking by faith,

boldly going where this girl has never gone before,

taking leaps of faith,

seeing God everywhere I look,

and

smiling

rejoicing

LOVING MY LIFE~

Don't get me wrong.

My life isn't all roses and sunshine.

Some pages of my story are covered in teardrops and smudges,

but...

even in these times, my response is no longer ordinary.

I can walk through these chapters because I know HIS hand is in it.

I now

trust,

believe

and hope,

because my God will bring purpose in the midst of the pain.

And the best part of all,

the part that keeps me flipping pages and venturing onward,

is this:

when I turn the last page of my story and find myself gazing upon

"the end"

for me, it will be just the beginning.

Life eternal,

Life extraordinaire.

Face to face,

with the author of my life story.



♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
      Welcome to
                  Heartprint Hallelujahs



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Monday, May 28, 2012

Time for a Spiritual Check-Up~

Do you ever feel as though you are living a double life?

I do.

Sometimes, I feel like there are actually two of me - two distinctly, entirely different people, - both claiming to be me.

You see, there is the me everyone sees from the outside looking in,

 and then,

there is the me only God and I see looking from the inside out.


Those looking at me from the outside often see someone who is kind and loving, patient, thoughtful, etc. But, the view from the inside looking out.....well, let's just say it's not so pretty. If those around me could only see into my heart and my mind - my, oh my! One thing is for sure, who I appear to be and who I really am, doesn't always add up.

God calls us TO BE REAL in our actions and our deeds. It is not enough to simply perform. We must conform our mind to the very will of God. We must conform our thinking to that of God. We must examine our own heart in light of God's Word, and this is never easy to do.

In Romans 12:9-16, we find a checklist for authentic Christianity. I have to warn you, though. These verses of scriptures are a pretty tough pill to swallow. As I read these words, my fake facade  started to crumble and the real, not so Christ-like me, began to be revealed. After all, God's Word has a way of doing that, doesn't it?

check
{Photo Credit}


Today as you read through this passage, I would like to encourage you to think of the words here as a spiritual checklist. Use them as a means to see the real you, the you that sometimes only God and you see.



Be real with yourself and be real with God. 


Allow God's Word to reveal to you the places in your heart that have yet to be surrendered. Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict, and then amazingly, begin to transform your heart into one that reflects the heart of Christ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.

How is my love walk? 
Do I really love others or am I just pretending to love them?

Hate what is wrong.

Do I really hate what is wrong or do I often make excuses to continue doing, enjoying or participating in those things that I know are wrong in the eyes of God?

Hold tightly to what is good.

Do I hold on tightly to the things of God?....that which is good? 
Do I sometimes allow pride or the love of the world to allow me to loosen my grip on the things of God?


Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Is my love genuine? 
Do I esteem others better than myself?
Am I living out true love as described in 1 Corinthians 13? 
Do I delight in honoring others?

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

Do I give the Lord my all....or do I only give Him my leftovers? 
Do I serve from a happy heart or do I moan and groan?   
Is my service to Him real?

Rejoice in our confident hope.

Do I rejoice in the hope I have in Christ? 
Do others see God's hope springing out of me?

Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Am I patient?.....even when things aren't going my way?
Do I keep pressing in to God? 
Does my hope remain steady and sure?

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.

Am I there for those in need?
Can God count on me to be His hands and His feet? 
Do I help willfully and cheerfully?

Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Do I look for opportunities to serve others? 
Do I welcome people into my home......into my life?

Bless those who persecute you.

Do I do THIS?! Do I give back good in place of the evil I have received?

Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

Again.....Do I do THIS?! 
Do I pray for God to extend His hand of mercy, grace and love to those who have hurt me?

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Do I honestly share in the joy and sadness of those around me?
Are my tears genuine? 
Is my joy sincere?

Live in harmony with each other.

Do I live peacefully with those in my own home, at my office, or sharing the highway with me? 
Do I avoid gossip, backbiting, etc.
Do I go the extra mile to keep the peace?

Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.

Do I  ever think I am better than other people? 
Or act as if I am?
Am I exclusive?

And don’t think you know it all!
Do I do THIS?!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you went through this checklist of authentic living, how did you do?

Oh, .........I see.

Well, don't be discouraged. God's Word not only reveals the hidden parts of man - when combined with the power of the Holy Spirit and a surrendered heart - it also provides the power we need to be all that Christ is calling us to be.

One thing is for sure.

If we are to be true followers of Christ, authentic Christians, we have to first see our need. Once we see us for who we really are, we can start the journey to becoming who our Heavenly Father intended for us to be.

As we allow the scalpel of God's Word to pierce our heart,
to remove all that is unChristlike,
to recreate us into His image,
we will be transformed into WHO we were created to be in and through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

We will be real, authentic Christians.

We will be like Christ~


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Thursday, May 24, 2012

The One~

I never knew what alone felt like until one hot August day.

Standing on the sidewalk leading to my college dorm, away from all that was familiar and smack dab into all that was foreign, I knew.

My parents had made the long trip with me. Mile after mile, hour after hour we traveled until we arrived at the next chapter of my life.

What seemed to take forever to pack was unloaded in minutes.

Tommy's Truck
{Photo Credit}
Now, my parents were leaving.

As I stood on that sidewalk, watching my parents drive away, tears fell without reservation. But then, through blurry eyes I saw the red of brake lights. The truck headed to the side of the road and stopped.

Moments later my father stepped out of the truck and began walking toward me. As he did, I walked to meet him, happy for one more moment together.

As we met, he took my hand in his and said, "One friend, Stacy. All you have to do is make you one friend and everything will be fine. One friend. That's all you need, darlin."

He smiled a smile that was bittersweet, then, he turned and walked back to the truck. This time,  I watched the brake lights disappear into the distance.



My father's words, however, stayed with me.


And as usual, Daddy knew best. One friend later, "everything was fine.".

One friend made all the difference.

Now, years later, I remember His words, and I smile.

You see, Daddy's darlin' has found the ONE friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

His little girl has found the ONE friend who loves her enough to die for her.

I've found THE ONE and everything is fine.

Yes...Daddy knew best.

This ONE friend,

Jesus,

is all I need.

(Still on vacation :0) ...reposting from 9-30-2011)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's the Catch~


At first, it seemed too good to be true.

You've got to be kidding me!

As someone who has spent my entire life trying to "earn my way", this offer sounded more than too good to be true. It verged on over the top!

But, I was tired.

And, I have to admit, all my works of self-righteousness still found me sporting filthy rags.

So,

I listened.

I read.

I heard His still small voice calling me to a new way of living,

a new life in and through Him

and

I took God up on His offer.

I accepted His invitation.

I received His

Grace.

And you know what?!


This IS too good to be true.


 It is more than over the top.


But,


amazingly,


 there's no catch.


With grace,


I gotcha!
{Photo Credit}


it's all about being caught.


(Re-posting from 10-13-2011)

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Growing Into Life~


It comes out of nowhere and hits you almost anywhere.


This realization that time is passing.



A birth announcement from a former student.

An invitation to an 80th birthday party for an aunt.

The graduation of a nephew.

The first time holding a great-niece. (yes! great niece!)



The wrinkles where dimples used to be and the dimples where dimples never used to be.

And you stop.


In that moment.



And you wonder.


Where has time gone?

When did this happen?



And the reminder, the sudden awareness of growing and aging and time moving by catches you by surprise.

It steals your breath.

It stops you in your tracks.



So much left to do.



So many words left to say.



So many places unvisited and people unmet.



So much living still left undone.



But...

then again....
Flower / 花(はな)
{Photo Credit}

so much already experienced.



So many hugs given and laughs shared and tears exchanged.



So many dreams birthed and land covered and skies flown.



So many years tucked into so little time,
      so much life squished into so few years,



and the growing continues.


This growing into life,

              my life.

And, I smile.


And, thank God.


And then, I get on with living.~




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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On the Road Again~

I have been having such a wonderful time in Colorado visiting my sister and her family! Yesterday, my mom arrived and the times just keep getting better!

 We have enjoyed some trips to the mall,
 some laughs (hopin' for a whole lot more)
 and some fine Mexican food (more of that too!)

road trip
{Photo Credit}
Tomorrow, we head out on our road trip across America to see more family.
Well, actually, we are just traveling to Oklahoma, but it will feel as though we have explored the whole USA!

I want to welcome all my new readers and let everyone know I will be posting a little less frequently over the next week or so.

Family is such a treasure.  I want to focus on them and just enjoy our time together. :)

For those of you who stopped by today in hopes of sharing your wonderful post as part of the "Heartprint Hallelujahs Link Up", please make plans to join us here again May 31st.

Blessings of love, joy and peace~
 
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Can Only Imagine~

"Hi, Aunt Stacy!"

These words, spoken by my precious little nephew Sebastian, were like a dream come true. Ever since I made my airplane reservations, I would picture his sweet face and visualize hearing those words. Arriving at my sister's house in the wee hours of  Monday morning, I finally heard these sweet words.

Stumbling from his bed and wondering what all the commotion in the hallway was, he took one look at me, smiled a smile sweeter than words can say, and in a sleepy little voice said the words I had long to hear.

My heart just melted.

 As I hugged my nephew tight, I thanked God for granting me this desire of my heart: to be with my sister and her little man.

 Special time together. Special moments that later become special memories.

 Like today.

 We were parked on the street by the preschool playground. My brother-in-law and Sebastian had ran onto the playground for some fun before school. As I watched from the car window, I tried to capture this moment in my mind. But then, the moment got even sweeter. A little girl came running over to Sebastian with her hand held out to take hold of his. In a split second they were hand in hand skipping along the sidewalk, all the way into the door of their classroom. Talk about a moment to remember!

 Soon, my time here will be over. Soon, my sister will drive me back to the airport and this time, I will hear the words that break my heart. Goodbye.

 Sweet reunions like this make my heart long for Heaven. There, we won't have to try to capture memories in our mind. There, we won't have to pray for the time to go slow and the days to last long. There, our "hi" will never turn into "goodbye". Heaven will be a forever "hello" and I can't wait.

 Tonight, as I sit in my sister's kitchen, typing away on her laptop, after tucking in my nephew, kissing him goodnight and whispering "sweet dreams", my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving. I am so thankful for this moment in time - time to soak in, drink in, and enjoy every moment with my precious family.

But, I am also thankful for the blessed hope of Heaven. For moments that will never end. For the opportunity to spend time with my loved ones with no thought of an upcoming goodbye. For being with my precious Jesus through out all eternity.

 Right here, right now is precious indeed.

 But, Heaven.....I can only imagine how beautiful that will be.~

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Who I Am~

Lately, I have been having a lot of trouble differentiating between my "who" and my "do". Actually, this game of spiritual tug-of-war has been being played out in my life for as long as I can remember.

I am a pleaser, wanting to please others, so they in turn will be pleased with who I am. I am a do-er, doing whatever I think is expected of me in a way that I think it is expected to be done, so that people will be pleased, and in turn be pleased with who I am. No pressure there!!!!! And yet, I keep holding on to this proverbial rope, allowing it to pull on me and tug on me and toss me every which way but loose!

Until recently, that is. Now, don't get me wrong. I would love to be able to tell you I have finally won this battle once and for all, and that the "who" part of me was officially declared the winner. Sadly, the game is still being played out, but I am happy to report the "who" side is most definitely gaining ground, getting closer and closer to the red flag of victory.

I have known about Christ my entire life. But, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I have just recently been introduced to "Christ in me". I have always felt that who I am wasn't good enough. No matter what I did or what I didn't do, I was still just me....and me just never quite measured up. I knew all about God and could even quote scripture, chapter and verse, but I didn't know the author of this book, the very author of my life. Talk about being lost and not even knowing it. I just thought there was something wrong with me.

And there was. I was a sinner in need of a savior. I was searching for my identity in the approval and acceptance of others, when the whole of who I am is found only in Christ. I am made in HIS image. I have been adopted into HIS family. I am HIS daughter. My identity will never be found in what I do; it will only be found in whose I am....a child of the great I AM. What a revelation!

And yet, even on this side of this spiritual revelation, I still find myself playing Satan's game. At times, like today, the battle is intense. He is trying his best to keep this game of tug-o-war raging on. He knows....when I finally grasp the freedom that is mine in resting in WHO I AM, the game will be finished. He knows...once I realize it's not about me...and all about Jesus, I will be done playing this works-oriented, legalistic game once and for all.
Tug of War
{Photo Credit}

What about you?


Has Satan roped you into playing this game, too?

Do you feel as though you can never have a relationship with God or be loved by the author of love itself because you will never be good enough?

Are you tied up in knots trying to please everyone and do everything, only to fail miserably, time and time again?

When you look into your heart, can you tell where your "do" stops and your "who" begins?

 Like me, are you in the midst of an identity crisis?

If so, may I remind you of the truth that is setting me free each and every day?


There will never be anything you or I can do to earn God's love.  He loves us simply because He loves us. Grace! Marvelous grace!

I am ready to let go of this rope.

I want my life to become so hidden in Christ that the only WHO people see in me is the reflection of Christ living in and through me. I am tired of playing Satan's game and more than ready to be declared more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me.

How about you? Haven't you allowed that rope to blister your heart and hold you back long enough? It's time to let go. It's time to grab onto God's grace and discover who we are in Christ.



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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just Being Honest~

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
~ Romans 12:15

This verse has always been a tough one for me. Just being honest.

I have no problem with the latter part of the verse. When sorrow comes into the lives of those around me, tears flow naturally, and the pain of others instantly becomes my pain. Their heartache breaks my heart.

But, (and I am ashamed to admit this) the rejoicing does not come as easy.

Mother's Day is a tough day for me. Just being honest.

Thankfully, my mother is still alive, so it is not her loss that I grieve. Sadly, it is the loss of three unborn little ones that brings tears to my eyes and tears to my heart. It is also the death of a lifetime dream to be a "mommy" that makes this day of celebrating other Mommies so very hard.

Mother Kissing New baby Daughter
{Photo Credit}
And yet, God has commanded me to rejoice with those who rejoice....

and today.... there were mothers rejoicing!

Rejoicing in the blessed gift of their children.

And, I rejoiced with them.


How precious to be a mother. 


How miraculous to be used by God to create another life.


How motherhood naturally calls for celebration and rejoicing.


I, too, rejoiced!  From the very depths of my heart!


But, only after I  had shed my own tears and once again placed my broken dream and my broken heart in the hands of my precious Jesus.

After all, He is the creator of my heart, and little by little, He is re-creating my heart.

As he molds me and makes me more and more like Him, the rejoicing for others, even in the midst of my own pain, comes easier and easier.

And you know what?

As I rejoiced with those blessed to be called "mom", my heart started to smile, too. And, I felt God's healing touch.

No wonder we are instructed to laugh with those who laugh and weep with those who weep. In doing so, we are not only given the amazing privilege of sharing the joy and shouldering the burden, but we also find our own healing. What a wonderful God we serve!


Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful, precious mothers. I hope you have a joy-filled day, sweetened with heavenly blessings, from start to finish. Just being honest~

Heavenly Father,
At a time when my heart searches for answers to "how come?" and "why me", thank you that I can find healing and joy in celebrating your goodness with others who have received from your hand. Your ways are not our ways, and for this I am truly grateful. You are my Abba Daddy who loves me and knows what is best for me. May I rest in your unselfish love for me and continue to find joy by focusing on others, happy or sad, and being there for them. In Jesus' name, Amen~




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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beautiful Feet~


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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love in a Parking Lot~

Have you ever happened upon something,

something so precious,

something so indescribably beautiful,

something so breathtakingly, awe-inspiring that you felt as though you shouldn't be seeing it? That this moment was something so unique and so exquisite your presence there didn't belong?  That you were intruding?

I happened upon such a moment while waiting in a drive thru.

I was in a hurry. Isn't that most usually the case whenever one finds his or her self in a drive thru line? Tapping my fingers on the steering wheel in an effort to "move things along", I happened to glance to my right.

That's when I saw it.

Love in the parking lot.

No, my eyes didn't catch a teenage couple getting a little too friendly. And no, I didn't gaze upon an elderly couple holding hands, still showing the sparks of romance after all these years.

My eyes happened upon an elderly lady and who I assumed to be her daughter, dancing their way across the expanse of the parking lot.

Like poetry in motion, their feet slowly shuffled to the beat of the love between their hearts.

Step by step, motion by motion, move by move, these two were in sync.

If was obvious they had danced before.  In fact, dance was most likely their main mode of transportation. 

The elderly lady, who no doubt had walked many a mile over her lifetime, could no longer walk on her own.  The passing of time had stolen her independence, her strength, her balance, her dignity.

Now, arms that once carried children and hands that gently wiped away tears were wound tightly around another. The one who had been carried now carried them both. The mother rested the weight of her body on the daughter, heart to heart; their bodies pressed together in a oneness that proved they had been waltzing for many years. Like two lovers gliding across a ballroom floor, this mother and daughter elegantly and oh so, slowly, made their way to across the asphalt.

As I watched, time stood still.  I was mesmerized by their movement. I was captured by their grace.  I was challenged by their synchronized sway and two feet, purposefully and yet, naturally moving as one.

As I watched, my heart was drawn to the Lover of my Soul, Jesus. 

I could hear His invitation to dance. 


I could see His outstretched, nail-scarred hand. 


I could feel the strength of His heart as I began to lay the weight of my life, the weight of me, the weight of my own heart on his.

I could taste the freedom of release as I let go and surrendered to His leading. 

I could smell the fragrance of grace as we became one, heart to heart, dancing in unison across the span of life and on into eternity....

Beverly & Ryan's Wedding
{Photo Credit}

A honk from the car behind me jolted me back to reality, back to the errands at hand, back to life.The younger lady turned her head in my direction and quickly I turned away, hoping she hadn't seen me seeing the two of them, staring, with tears in my eyes.

As I paid for my order and waited for change, I stole one more glance over my shoulder. 

As I drove away, I knew I would never be the same. 

(Re-posting one of my favorite posts...and moments...from 2011.)




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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No Matter What~

It was one of those slow motion moments. The kind that happen in a second, yet seem to defy time and render you powerless to do anything to change the outcome.

You know.  The child seated precariously on a chair. You reach and you try, and even though it all happens so slowly, it an instant you are scooping up and wiping tears.

The slip on the patch of ice you didn't see. As soon as your foot leaves the ground you know you're going down, and yet time seems to warp into eternity, as you wait for the impact.

Sometimes life hits us before we even know what's happening. 
In a matter of seconds,
that feel a lifetime long,
we stumble and try hard not to fall.
We watch as all that is precious to us shatters into a million pieces right before our very eyes.

broken glass
{Photo Credit}


And we wonder.

"God, why did you let this happen? Why didn't you step in and do something?  Why didn't you prevent this from happening in the first place?"


Moments that catch us by surprise, and then, leave us shaking our head in despair.
And yet, nothing catches God by surprise. 

Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?
~ Unknown

In every moment of our life,
the fast and the slow,
the ones we have seen coming,
and the ones that slip in unexpectedly and knock us off our feet,
God is there.

Before the foundation of the world was ever put in place, God IS there.

Before the diagnosis of cancer, God IS there.

Before the divorce papers arrived in the mail, God IS there.

Before the son or daughter rebels, God IS there.

Before the accident happens, God IS there.

But, don't forget...

                    God IS also there

                                in   the   midst.

                  And, God IS there

                          in the moments and  the days and  the months after.

NO matter what may happen.

NO matter what is happening at the moment.

NO matter what has happened.

God IS there.


And, because GOD IS,
you and I can keep the faith.



Because GOD IS,
you and I can face today, and tomorrow and the day after that.


Because GOD IS,
we can sweet up the shattered pieces, place them in HIS hands, and know that God is still in control of our life.


Because GOD IS,
you and I can trust God,

No. matter. what.~




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Monday, May 7, 2012

The Scent of Joy~

It happens to me quite often.

I step into a dressing room, or out into a hallway, or pass through a room
and there it is: the scent of a woman who was once here, but has since passed on. The only evidence of her having been in this very place is the scent she left behind.

Yes, it's true. Perfume-laden women step out of dressing rooms, walk through hallways and pass through rooms all the time. But, only a few permeate the air, leaving it sweetened just for their having been there.

As a young girl, I longed to leave my scent behind. When others walked into a room, I wanted them to know I had been there because the room was still sweetly fragrant even though I was no longer there.

I scoured perfume counters and experimented with liquid concoctions, but this treasure remained buried, locked away, impossible to find.

Now, many years later, I continue my search. Only now the treasure I pursue is joy.

It happens to others quite often.

I step into a hospital room, or walk through the doors of a funeral home, or pass through some other heartbreaking tragedy and there it is: the unmistakable scent of joy in the lives of those left behind when that which has once brought happiness has passed on.

And I search for it in my own life;

this joy that stays when everything and everyone else has passed on, leaving my heart alone, empty.

And I'm starting to see, like the perfume, this fragrance, this scent of joy cannot be purchased, or bought or even found.

It is a gift.

A precious gift from God.

The joy of the Lord.

A joy that defies logic and comes in when all else is going out.

A joy that permeates the heart with strength, endurance and a confident hope.

A joy that proves the Lord is still there long after His blessings seem to have passed on -

Scented Geranium Interior
{Photo Credit}

the unmistakable scent of

J O Y ~



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Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Sum of Life~

I flip the calendar page from April to May.

It takes less than a second.

Staring at a brand new month, I wonder where those before it have gone.
And when?
When did they go?

Wasn't it just yesterday that we were trying to keep our eyelids open until midnight so we could welcome in 2012 with a kiss?

Wasn't it just a day or two ago when we sat at our favorite table at our favorite restaurant enjoying a Valentine's dinner complete with a basket of heart shaped sopapillas? 

Wasn't it just a moment ago when tulips peeked through the grass and our long lost friends, Mr. and Mrs. Robin, surprised us one evening?


2012 Calendar
{Photo Credit}

Wasn't it only yesterday that it was today?



Four months of this year have already slipped by.  One-third of 2012 is already history.  Time is marching on and it doesn't look as though it is concerned with whether or not anyone is joining in on the march.

It's a funny thing about time.

We can spend it anyway we want, but we can only spend it once.

And yet, how frivolously I let the hours of my days, months, years and life trickle right though my hand. 

I don't know the answer. 

I don't know how to grab a hold of life and live it to the fullest every single moment of every single day. 

I don't know how to make the days on my calendar transform from blank boxes to completely used up and wrung dry moments of life.

But, it's a brand new month.

It's a brand new day.

This is a brand new moment.

Maybe the answer is found in the brand new...in now.

Maybe the key to living my life is found in the living of my life - moment by moment, day by day, right now.

Maybe life is

a kiss at midnight,

the sweetness of a honey-dipped sopapilla,

the beauty of a tulip and the chirp of a robin.

Maybe I have packed more living into my life than I realize.

Maybe this is the sum of life....

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don't skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed.

~ Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, (MSG)
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously. 

Micah 6:8, (MSG)

I flip the calendar page from April to May.

It takes less than a second.


But maybe,

just maybe,

the memories of today,

will last an entire lifetime~


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Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Call of HIS Heart~

When was the last time you were immersed in real life?

Last night, (although, technically, I suppose 2:00 am would be classified as morning) my husband and I were knee deep in pondersosa pines and elk.  As the moonlight flooded the meadows and framed the majesty of mountain peaks, my love and I were serenaded.  All around us we heard the song of bugling elk.

roosevelt-elk
{Photo Credit}                                             
My wild-at-heart husband had brought along his elk call. As I sat breathlessly still,  he called and the elk answered. As I listened, I felt as though I was eavesdropping on their conversation. With each call, the elk responded.  With each invitation, the elk drew nearer.  My husband was soon able to woo these "mighty men" of the mountain into our very midst.

This is real life.


Whether knee deep in nature, lost in piles of laundry, or wading our way through a field of fear, failure, or fatigue,

if we listen,

 if we take the time to be still,

we will hear our Kingly husband, Jesus, serenading us. In whispers of forgiveness, in shouts of majesty, in melodies of blessing, favor and faithfulness, He woos us to Him.  He beckons us to draw near.  He invites us to come into His very midst.

Today, stop.  Listen.  Allow the call of His heart to penetrate your own.  Don't resist.  Don't turn away.  Let His voice be all you are attune to.  Follow the sound of His heartbeat.  Draw near to the sound of His voice.  Step out of the darkness and into the light of His love and grace.  Come into His very midst.

For this....

Misty mountain path
{Photo Credit}
This,

 is real life~

(Re-posting from September 9, 2011)

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Completely~


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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Drink It In~ {Heartprint Hallelujahs Link Up}

There will be times when you will be in the field
without a camera. And you will see the most
glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that
you have ever witnessed.
Don't be bitter because you can't record it.
Sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is.
~DeGriff


Today is one of those picture perfect days. As I am writing this, I am sitting out on our back patio,one of my favorite places to be. Just a few minutes ago, the sun,tired from a days work, sank lower and lower in the sky, until it slowly drifted off behind the mountains, leaving behind a sky filled to overflowing with brilliant color. As this beauty unfolded before my eyes, I dashed inside to grab my camera.

As I hurried back outside, I realized this beauty was beyond anything I could ever hope to capture on film. It was too radiant, too expansive, too beautiful! For a moment, I felt utterly disappointed. Then, I decided to simply take it all in, to soak in every single bit of it, to enjoy this moment for what is was, a beautiful moment in time. I couldn't capture it with my camera, but I could capture it in my heart.

And so it is with life. So many times, I find myself living in a beautiful moment. I long to capture the emotion, the exuberance, the "aaaahhhhhhh" and hold it forever, but I can't. Instead, I must simply live in the moment, truly breathe it all in - every bit of it - and then, hold it in my heart.

Yet, sadly, I'm not very good at living in the moment. Sadly, I miss most of right now.

Enter my friend, Job-ette! Well, that's not her real name, but it could be. Not for the fact, that like Job, she has encountered more than her share of trials and hardships, but rather because like Job, she has stayed faithful to God and lived her faith through all that has come her way. She has remained steadfast, constant, and inspiringly focused on the moment at hand.

Like the day I was talking with her in the church playground. This women of faith was going through one of the most difficult times of her life, yet as I stood watching as she tenderly pushed a child on one of the swings, you would never have known her life was anything but happy. I marveled as I watched her interacting with this precious little girl and her dolly. They shared in simple conversation as they each took turns holding "the baby". From the outside looking in, my dear friend appeared to have nothing else on her mind, nothing else to do, nothing else to focus her attention on except the little girl in the swing.

"You're amazing!" I said. "Your world is all but falling down around you and yet, you are so in tune with this little girl. It is as though she is all that matters to you."

"She is," came her reply. "At this moment in time, she IS all that matters. I can't worry about what else is happening in my life at the moment, I'm not there. For right now, at this moment, I am here, pushing her on this swing. This is what I have been given right now...and I want to enjoy this moment for what it is. A simply sweet moment."

Slurp
{Photo Credit}
Oh, the lessons I have learned from Jobette.

As I sit here watching the sky fade to the dark of night, I am suddenly aware of how fast time passes. With each passing moment, our life is fading away, too. Todays become yesterdays before our very eyes. Days turned into weeks, then months, than years.

I can hear the rustle of the wind in the trees. I can hear the laugh of a little girl who lives a few houses over. I hear the goodnight praises of birds as they nestle down for the night. I see the trees gently swaying to the melody of life. I feel a cool breeze on my face. I feel peace in my heart. I AM living this moment....and what a beautiful moment it is. It is not a wedding, a graduation, or a momentous occasion of life....it simply IS life! I will drink it in....all of it, every single bit of it!

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Heavenly Father, Help me to live, to be alive in each and every moment of life. Help me to see, hear, taste, smell and feel every moment of every day. Foolishly, I have waited for "special occasions" to celebrate life, not realizing life IS a special occasion. Life is a precious gift - a gift that is to be unwrapped, enjoyed and fully spent, not someday, but at this very moment.  Thank you, Lord, for right here, and right now~ In Jesus' precious name, Amen~


(Tonight reminded me of the evening I first wrote this, so once again I am re-posting.  I hope you, my faithful readers, don't mind a re-run now and then.)


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A Smile From God~

Several months ago, I was having one of "those" mornings. You know the kind of morning I'm talking about; the kind where nothing seems to go right and everything seems to go wrong.

As the morning progressed, I felt myself becoming more and more uptight! Every task was more difficult than normal, was taking longer than normal, and was making me feel an abnormal amount of pressure. Pressure to make things happen! Pressure to get things done! Pressure to beat the clock! Pressure to stay in peace!

As I sensed my stress-level rising, I started fighting back with prayer.

"Lord, please help me. This day is barely starting and I am already feeling stressed out!"

Then, praise.

I turned on my radio to my favorite Christian station and starting singing along.

While I prayed and sang, my plan to get dressed and out the door kept going awry. But, I kept right on praying and right on praising.

Finally, I was ready! In a flash, I grabbed my purse, picked up my keys, headed out the front door, and raced to my car. As I tried to unlock my door, I dropped my keys. Ughh!!! Evidently, my bad morning had every intention of following me to work.

But.......then. As I reached down to pick up my keys, I saw this on our driveway.



A "smiley" face...
made up of leaves, twigs and seeds from a nearby tree, all of which had "strategically" landed on my driveway in this configuration!!!  Right at the very spot where I dropped by keys!!!!


Isn't that amazing!!!!!


God had been faithful to hear my prayers for help. He had heard my melody of praise. As I stood on my driveway, gazing at this exquisite work of art, I suddenly found myself smiling, too!

Isn't our God altogether lovely? Isn't He beautiful beyond our comprehension?

Not only did God use His creation to create this smile to cheer my heart, He also took this opportunity to lovingly remind me to stop and smell the roses; to enjoy my life, every single moment of it, no matter what might be happening at the time. This work of art captured my heart and once again focused my attention on what mattered most!

No longer worried about the morning rush, I headed back inside to get my camera. Work could wait. God had created a masterpiece with me in mind. This was a moment I would never forget. This was a moment made for worshipping.

Today, are you allowing the pressures of this world to take your eyes, your mind, your focus off all that matters most? If so, may I invite you to take another look at this photo. All of nature reflects the beauty of the Lord. Today, why not focus on the beauty God has placed in your path?

The same artist who lovingly crafted this reminder for me is at work in your life too. Portraits of His love are all around. Today, don't become so earthly minded that you fail to see Heavenly glimpses of God's love for you. Open your eyes. God is smiling on you, too!

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33


(Re-posting from September 8, 2010)



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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On Microphones, Gazebos and Living the Word~

Yesterday, I sat in  the middle of a gazebo, which sits in the middle of a park, which sits in the middle of our small town. With a microphone positioned in front of me, I opened up the Word of God and read Psalms 78 through Psalms 82.

I was just one of many who have volunteered to give twenty minutes of their time reading from the Bible.  Thursday, May 3, is the National Day of Prayer here in America.  It is the plan of those who organized this "read through the Bible" event, that by the time Thursday rolls around, the entire Bible will have been read and proclaimed in our city.

As I took my place in the gazebo, I listened to the instructions of one of the organizers of this week long, around the clock, event.

"Speak loudly and boldly into that microphone, Stacy.  We want God's Word going out into our entire town."

Large gazebo in the Kiseleff park
{Photo  Credit}
And, so I did. 


Loudly and boldly I read from the pages of God's Word.


And yet, only two people heard the sound of my voice: the lady  who had given the instructions, and me.

You might think I had volunteered for one of the shifts in the wee morning hours.  Nope.  Twelve o'clock noon.  Right in the middle of the day.  During lunch breaks and mid-day happenings.  Only nothing was happening here at the park.  No one had bothered to come hear "God's Word".

As I sat reading, I couldn't help thinking about a particular verse found a few pages over from where I was reading.

Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have.
~ 1 Peter 3:15, NCV

Reading the entire Bible aloud and proclaiming God's Word boldly "over" our town.  I understood the concept behind this long thought out, well organized, event.  I understood the scripture they were basing this event on:

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

~ Isaiah 55:11

And, I believe in this cause.  This is why I signed up to read on May 1, from 12:00pm  to 12:20pm.

And yet, we are told in the very pages of God's Word that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

It is a noble and grand idea to want to proclaim God's Word "over" our city.  But, in order for faith to take root, and lives to be changed, people must hear the Word of God. No one had taken the time or felt the need to come to the park to hear the Word of God read.  During my twenty minutes of proclaiming, no one heard the proclamation.

But, later in the day, when a friend shared a concern with me, I was able to pray with her.  I spoke words of faith that went gently and tenderly from my mouth straight into her ear and into her heart and infused her with faith.

When a co-worker and I were working on a project, I was able to quote a scripture of encouragement, reminding us both, that with Christ, we can do all things.  Our spirits were revived and our appreciation and love of the Lord deepened.

We are not going to win our world to Christ, sitting in the middle of a gazebo, that sits in the middle of a park, that sits in the middle of our town, boldly declaring the Word of God.

This is good.  This has its place. 

But...

hearts are best won, one on one

Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have.
~ 1 Peter 3:15, NCV

Our Christian lives, lived out each day through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us, should create a hungering and thirsting in the hearts of others.  As they observe our life and the way we live, they should notice something irresistible about us.  Our love for God should draw them closer to discover a love of their own.

As we share our faith,

as we tell of the GOOD NEWS,

they, who have ears to ear and a heart that yearns to understand, will find God.

Am I saying we shouldn't be reading God's Word aloud in our park this week?  No.

Am I saying it is going to take much more than this to touch lives for Christ here in our community?  Yes.

We are called to proclaim God's Word to the world around us.

Sometimes,
this might be done by sitting in the middle of the gazebo, in the middle of the day, in the middle of your town, boldly proclaiming the Word of God.

Always. this should be done by living your life in a way that upholds God's Word and draws others to you in search of the hope in your heart.

Sometimes you need a microphone.

Sometimes a gazebo will work.

Always, we need to be living the Word.~



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