Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Serving of Grace~

"That's what I need to do.  I know it is."

She places a plate of eggplant parmigiana on our table.  Then, turning to the tray, she picks up a plate of lemon rosemary chicken. 

"I need to get back to church."

As she positions the plate in front of my husband,
she looks at us with a look that pleads, "please don't judge me."

Making small talk while she delivered our meal,
our waitress had asked what my husband and I do for a living.

"My wife is in ministry.  She is a Children's Minister at a church here in town. She also leads out in Women's Ministry."

Upon hearing this, her eyes lit up and looked deep into the center of mine.

"Oh, that's nice.  That really is.  That's so neat that you do that."

Then, her eyes dimmed as she mentioned her own need to return to church.

"It's been hard.  Really hard.  I'm not going to lie."

She twists the towel in her hand.  I can tell her turmoil runs deep.

"I know it's not God's fault.  I know that.  It's just a lot of things have happened. You know how life goes.  And well, I just got discouraged, that's all.  Yeah, I'm just discouraged.  But, I know I need to go back.  I really do. I need to go back to church."

A thirsty customer, sitting in the booth behind us, begs for her attention.

"Enjoy your meal."

She reaches for the tray and heads to the next booth.

I reach out and take the hand of my husband, and he prays. 
A prayer for grace.
Grace which will flow from the throne room of Heaven and heal this wounded heart.

Before I have finished twirling my first taste of spaghetti, she is back.

"I''m sorry.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not one to unload my problems on other people. But, it's just so unfair.  I gave him everything, you know.  I tried my best to make him happy.  I did.  He just took me for granted.  Finally, I knew what I had to do and I moved back here."

We nod, and listen, and silently pray.

"My mom tells me to just keep the faith.  That other women have gone through this, too.  That I'm not the only one.  She tells me to take care of me and let God take care of bringing a man into my life.  It just hurts, you know?"

She reaches for a napkin tucked deep in a pocket on her apron.  Her tears fall freely now, no longer hidden behind her smiling face and upbeat personality.

"I'm sorry.  I need to check on my other customers."

When she returns, my husband speaks the words her heart is longing to hear. 

Late night dinner
{Photo Credit}
"God loves you. 
He loves you more than you know.
He'll never take you for granted. 
He loves you,
not for what you do or don't do,
but just because He loves you.

It's not "a church" you need to get back to,- it's God. 

He understands your heart and your hurt.

He's still there, you know,
waiting for you with open arms."

A smile peeks out of tears, and a tiny sparkle shines from her eyes.

"Thank you. 
Thank you so much.
 I really appreciate those words.
 I do. 
They mean a lot to me. 
Thank you for listening. 
Thank you for caring."

"We'll pray for you.  And you pray, too, ok?"

She nods her head, wipes another tear and sets our bill on the table. Then, she turns around and begins to wipe off the table across the aisle. 

I reach in my wallet and take out my "business" card.
On the back, I write this simple truth:

God loves you.  Always and forever. ♥

As we walk to the exit, we spot her in a small alcove, leaned up against a counter, looking through her orders.

"For you. If ever you'd like to talk, or to stop by the church and visit."

She looks at the card, then turns it over
.
As she reads the words I have written there,
she stumbles heart first into God's grace. 

I know.

I see it in her eyes. 

She hugs me.  Then,  she hugs my husband.

She wipes away a another tear.
So do I.
And, so does my husband.

We all seem to know this isn't the end.  This is just the beginning.

For God's grace has no end.

And this precious heart,
has just found her way back home.~

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Through Christ~




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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lest We Forget~

Have you ever heard a prayer need,
promised to pray,
and then,
never gave the request another thought,
much less,
whispered a prayer heavenward?

I have.  (And yes, I am ashamed to admit it.)

Prayer. 

An opportunity to

   stand in the gap,

       seek wisdom,

          bear a burden,

                share a sorrow,

                     uphold the weary.

And yet, praying for others is something we sometimes simply forget to do.
(Ouch...I know.  I feel it, too.)


This past week, I was given this beautiful bracelet.  Enclosed with this precious gift was the following note:

Jewelry 4 Tara

This jewelry is made in honor of my daughter Tara who suffers from a traumatic brain injury.  Each piece of jewelry will have Tara's birthstone: an Amethyst, and a pearl, the one gem made through pain and discomfort.

Please remember Tara and say a small prayer for her each time you wear this jewelry.


Each morning this week, as I proudly placed this precious prayer reminder on my wrist, I prayed for Tara. 

But, it didn't stop there.  (And yes, I am happy to admit it.)

As I went about my day,
spotting it on my wrist,
hearing the angel that dangles from it brush up against my laptop,
or receiving a compliment about its beauty from a co-worker,
reminded me to stop and say yet another prayer. 

Right then.

Right there.

Right now.

All. day. long.

A visible reminder.
Something tangible to keep this need in the forefront of my mind
and a prayer on the tip of my tongue.

A beautiful invitation to come boldly before the throne of grace on someone else's behalf.

Who is in desperate need of prayers spoken by you?

How will you remember?

What can you place before you as a constant reminder?

What will stop you in your tracks
sending you from the busyness of your day to the throne room of Heaven?

Lord, help us to be faithful. We long to honor our promises to pray. 
May we be intentional and seek out reminders,
reminders that bend our knees downward
and lift our pleas heavenward,

lest we forget.~




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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

37 Years Young and Growing Wiser Every Day~

 Sisters.

A true blessing from God. 

I have been blessed more than my share as God placed two beautiful sisters in my life.

My younger sister, Laura, celebrated her 37th birthday on June 23.   In celebration of her special day, she posted her "37 things I have learned over the past 37 years" list on her blog, Inspiration for Moms.

As I read her list, I found myself shaking my head in agreement and smiling as my heart whispered "oh, so very true." 

Today, I am sharing her list with you. 

Granted, some of my sister's "revelations" are not new.  Some of the wisdom Laura shares has been shared before by a mother, or a teacher, or someone else in our life.  But, the fact that my sister recognizes these truths and is practicing them in her everyday life, gives me reason to believe she is not only growing older, but wiser (and more beautiful, by the way) each and every day.

I couldn't be prouder of her.

Grab a cup of coffee,

sit back,

read slow,

breathe deep,

and let this truth sink in.......


This morning I awoke to find this beautiful boutique from my hubby. 
(Isn't he a sweetie?)
Today is my birthday
and I am now officially 37 years young.

  
Over the past 37 years I have learned much.

1) Sleep is really your best friend.

2) You don't know until you try. So you must always try. 

3) Don't lie. You will get caught and it won't feel good.

4) Help others. Because you can and you should.

5) Using coupons isn't shameful, it's just plain smart.

6) Life isn't fair, so don't compare.

7) Confidence is the first thing you must put on in the morning.

8) Surround yourself with all things positive; people, thoughts, words.

9) True happiness comes from forgiving, not forgetting.

10) The most beautiful things can come out of the darkest despair. 

11) Never give up hope. Never.

12) Your children will be your greatest teacher. Learn all you can.

13) Laugh often. Big hard belly laughs that make you cry. 

14) Manners make a home. Respect your loved ones.

15) Blessings are overflowing in your day if you take time to notice.

16) Losing a parent hurts. Every day.

17) Encourage others every chance you get. We all need cheer leaders.

18) It's alright to stop and cry for a moment,  just don't stay stopped.

19) Marriage is a roller coaster full of ups and downs. Enjoy the ride.

20) Don't be fearful of change, you may like it.

21) Challenge yourself to learn something new. Keeps you young.

22) Pray often. Pray always. Pray.

23) To be successful, you must first believe you can be.

24) Don't worry. It won't help. Trust me, I know. 

25) The littlest act of kindness can make the biggest impact.

26) You don't have to be a size 0 to be pretty. 

27) Money is important but it is not the most important.

28) Smile, even when you don't want to. :)

29) Be compassionate. It's so lacking in our world.

30) Dessert is not the enemy. Moderation is the key.

31) Don't complain. Just don't.

32) No need to judge others, it's not your job.

33) Think outside the box...you may even surprise yourself.

34) Learn to cook at least one meal to perfection. Save it for the in-laws. 

35) People first. Always.

36) Don't offer advice unless asked. Most people just want someone to listen.

37) Be thankful. It just make everything better.

I am sure life has much more to teach me.
Here's to the life lessons coming my way. :)
 

For more inspiration like this, along with delicious recipes, fantastic Do-It-Yourself ideas (some even with step by step directions and photos!), who-knew cleaning tips, humor, super giveaways, and much, much more, visit Laura at Inspiration for Moms.



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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Treasure of His Gift~

"For you," he says, as a smile begins to spill across his face and flow into my heart.
"I knew you'd like it."

I open my hand and oh, so tenderly, my husband tucks his "treasure" into my palm.

A key.

No.  Not a key to a "brand new", baby blue, 1965 convertible mustang, my dream car.

No.  Not a key to a quaint little villa in Tuscany, my dream home.

No.  Not even a key to a new house across town.

A key to our front door. 

The same front door we have walked out into the world through for the past twelve years.

As I look at the key resting in my hand, my smile now rivals that of my sweetheart.

For you see,
resting in my hand,
is not just any key.

This key is a "cheetah" key. 
And, my husband is right.
 I like it. 
A lot.

"Now, your house key won't blend in with the other keys on your key ring," he says matter-of-factly. "Now, you won't have to fumble around with all the others one before you find the right one.  Now, it will be easy to spot your key, open the door, and just come on in."

With his words, he speaks truth.  With his gift, he has spoken love. 

Forgiveness.

Acceptance.

Mercy.

Grace.

Servanthood.

Humility.

Joy.

Endurance.

Faith.

Love.

""For you," my Heavenly Father says, as a smile begins to spill across his face and flow into my heart.
"I knew you'd like these."

I open myself to Him, and oh, so tenderly, my God tucks His "treasure" into the center of my heart.

Life.

No.  Not a life of wealth, my dream life.

No. Not a life free of  sorrow, my dream life

No. Not even a life of ease, my dream life.

Life in Christ! 

So unlike the life I have walked the past forty years.

As I look at this "new life" birthed in my heart, my smile now rivals that of my Abba Daddy.

For you see,
residing in my heart now,
is not just any life.

This life is "life, and life more abundant". (John 10:10) 
And, my Saviour is right.
I like it.
A lot.

"Now, your life won't blend in with the world around you," He says matter-of-factly. "Now, you won't have to fumble around with all the other false gods of this world before you find The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Now, it will be easy to spot Me in the midst of your life, to open the door of your life to me, and to abide in me and Me in you."

With His words, He speaks truth. With His gift, He has spoken love.~


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Beauty in His Grip Button

Friday, June 22, 2012

Secure in His Promise~





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Thursday, June 21, 2012

When Your Heart Breaks~

It's happened to me before, but this time it hurt.  It really hurt.

Maybe it's happened to you, too.

This morning as I was combing my hair, brushing my teeth, applying mascara and preparing for my day, I was also singing along with the songs playing on my favorite Christian radio station.  For me, singing along is a natural part of my morning routine.

Since I know most of the songs by heart, the words roll off my tongue as easily as toothpaste glides onto my toothbrush.  Admittedly, sometimes, neither are given much thought.

But, there was that one line.

As soon as I sang the words, I heard them echoing back, reverberating off  the callouses of my heart.

Father, break my heart for what breaks yours.*

Minutes later, I head out the door and into the world. Soon, I am lost in the busyness of my day.  Projects, deadlines, and to-do lists keep my mind occupied. 

Until, later that afternoon.

Once again,  I find myself mindlessly singing along to the radio, and once again, the Lord taps me on the shoulder of my heart with that one line.

Father, break my heart for what breaks yours.

Work done for the day, I close the door to my office and head to the supermarket to pick up a few items for dinner.

And that's when it happens.

It's as though the Lord has removed the blinders from my eyes and for the first time,
I see people. 

Not the clothes they are wearing,
or the items in their shopping cart,
or the way they are between me and the item I am trying to reach on the shelf behind them,

but,
her,
and him,
and them.

I see a mother who is trying to keep her eye on five small children; eyes that are framed with black circles and lines of worry and fatigue.

I see a teenager hiding the insecurity of his heart behind long strands of hair; a curtain over his eyes, covering the windows to his soul.

I see an elderly lady struggling to keep her footing; the foundation of her youth, deteriorating with the passing of time, is leaving her unsteady, unsure and uncomfortably insecure.

I see a young, professional-looking couple strolling side by side, smiling and nodding in gestures that imply "yes, some of that" or "no, not today" ; their akward silence announcing to all that "I love you" often goes unsaid, too.

I see a small young boy following  behind his father as they turn left down the aisle that leads to the liquour department;  his fearful eyes can already see where this fateful turn will lead once they are home, behind closed doors.

And, right there - 

in the middle of the aisle,
in the middle of these people,
in the middle of my selfish, self-absorbed heart,

 I hear that one line.

Father, break my heart for what breaks yours.

And, my heart breaks.

IMG_1009
{Photo Credit}
My Heavenly Father has been faithful to answer the prayer I have sang to Him through out my day. 


And, this time......

                     
                     this time,


it hurts. 




* Matthew West, My Own Little World



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Also Linking with FAITH FILLED FRIDAY

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Case Closed~

There's the time in first grade when wanting what wasn't mine led me straight to the desk of the little girl in front of me and her pretty pink mirror and I stole.

There's the time in middle school when wanting to be like everyone else led me straight to the center of who I wasn't and I lied.

There's the time in high school when wanting to be independent and "right" led me straight into battles with my mother and I dishonored.

There's the time in my marriage when wanting to be ALL to my husband led me straight into disappointment and bitterness and I resented.

Then there's all the times in between...before and after.....

Stacks and stacks of sins.

High enough to reach Heaven.

But when they do, they don't mean a thing.

When Satan, my accuser,

gathers all of this evidence against me and hands it over to God,


He simply hands it all over to Jesus,


who,


takes one look at it and declares it to be:

NOT RELEVANT


You see.....

There's the time when

wanting to be forgiven of my sins,

to be clean,

and righteous,

and made whole,

led me straight to Jesus


and

I confessed (my sins),


and

I received (His mercy and grace),

and

I was declared:

                                                NOT GUILTY.


Giant Gavel
{Photo Credit}


                                    Case closed~

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9


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Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Family Resemblance~

I’ve always been told, “You look just like your mother.” 

I suppose even I can see the similarities which invite the remark. 

Our eyes, a blueish gray, look out into the world from oval shaped faces.
Our noses, both petite, turn up at the end.
Our lips, when smiling, breathe life into dimples.



From an outward appearance, I may indeed look like my mother.  But, the old adage which reminds us looks can be deceiving definitely comes into play in this "like mother, like daughter" observation.

For while my physical features mirror those of my mother,
on the inside,
I am “all Daddy”.

My mother is strong, independent, and bold.
 A rock that is solid, unchanging, untouched.

I am not.

My mother is unshakable, unbreakable, not to come undone.

I am not.


I am weak, dependant, and timid.
A sandcastle that is fragile, impressionable, easily crushed.


I am shakable, breakable, and easily undone.



And, so was my father.



Don't get me wrong. 
He was a man's man. 
But, he was also a very gentle man -
tender-hearted and easily wounded.


While I would have loved to have been born with the strength of my mother,
 I am thankful to have been blessed with the tenderness of my father.


Being a Daddy's girl was a title I wore (and still do!) with pride.



I am my mother on the outside, and my father on the inside.

But,
when the world looks at me now,
as a daughter of the most High God,
it is my Heavenly Father I want them to see shining through.


Loving,

kind,

bold,

compassionate,

giving,

tender,

forgiving,

merciful,

gracious.


While I may look like my mom,
and act like my dad,
my heart longs to be
a true reflection of my God.

When others see me now, I long to hear them say,

"Oh Stacy, you look just like your Jesus."~


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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Path of Life~





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Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's That Stench?~

Several years ago, when my father’s health was declining, my mother found herself carrying the heavy load of caregiver along with her other daily responsibilities. Eventually, it became apparent to all in our family, that she was in need of a time of respite. My mother asked my sister and I to return home, care for our father, and give her some much needed time away. We agreed and hesitantly, she packed her bags and headed for the home of my father’s sister.

Each evening, my mother would call to check on my father and to see how we were doing without her. The first few phone calls confirmed that we had made the right decision in “sending” her away. Her voice still sounded tired and she mentioned she was sleeping a lot.

Several days into her trip, however, after some much needed rest and relaxation, her phone conversations became more lively, full of laughter and excitement. My aunt, her hostess, was going out of her way to make sure my mom was waited on hand and foot and my mom seemed to be thoroughly enjoying this arrangement.

Each day she would tell of the delicious food they ate,
the wonderful places they visited,
and the lavish attention my aunt was giving her.

One night after speaking with my mom and hearing all about her day, my dad asked to speak to his sister, the gracious hostess. What he told her made us all laugh.

“Don’t be spoiling her too much now. I’m the one who has to live with her, you know!”

Of course, he was teasing, but the thought behind the laugh opened my mind to a spiritual truth. Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

More than my aunt wanted to bless my mother, God longs to bless us. He delights in showering His children with blessings.


Yet, even something as beautiful as a heavenly blessing, when given to a heart that fails to recognize or appreciate it, can begin to have a very repulsive human stench.


We have all smelled it and it isn't pretty. No wonder we refer to someone in this condition as "spoiled".

Often, when God's blessings runneth over and we find our self in need of nought, we become untouched by the generosity of our Heavenly Father. Blessings pour into our life and we barely take notice, much less offer words of thanksgiving to the giver of all good gifts.

Other times, however, the problem is not that we don't notice the blessings. Quite the opposite. Oddly enough, when we have received so bountifully from the hand of God we can come to a place in our relationship with the Lord where we begin to expect such blessings. When they don’t rain down on us as we feel they should, we become bitter and disenchanted. We become spoiled by the selfless love of our gracious God and our actions and attitude attest to it!

Yes, God loves to lavish gifts upon His children, but like my father, He is very wise.

Our Heavenly Father understands what we don’t.

We may love to be spoiled with blessings.... but, the rest of the world has to live with us!

When we receive of His hand,
may it be the beautiful fragrance of thankfulness
                  and
the sweet scent of generosity
that permeate the world around us.~






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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Awaiting My Father's Return~

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching. Luke 12:37a
When I was four years old, my father moved our family out of the city and out into the country. 

Our house, surrounded by acres of open pasture, was miles away from our nearest neighbor. Here, there were no paved roads, only long, dusty dirt roads.

My father still worked in the nearby city and I missed him while he was away. Most evenings, we were already in bed by the time my father finally returned home. 

But, in the summer, the days grew longer and we were allowed to stay up later. Each evening as the day was drawing to a close, my father would return home to find me waiting outside in our front yard, anxious to greet him as he pulled off the dirt road and into our driveway.

“How is it that you are always here waiting for me?” he asked one day. “Every night I come home at a different time. How do you always know when I’m coming?”


“Oh, that’s easy,” I replied. “All evening long, I watch for your dust.”



"My dust?” he questioned.
dust clouds
{Photo Credit}



“Yep!” I answered.



“When I see a cloud of dust across the pasture, I know you are coming down the road and I run out to meet you!”




Just as my father was faithful to return each evening, our Heavenly Father will be faithful to return one day, too.

Soon, with power and great glory, surrounded by a cloud of angels, He will appear.

How I long for the day when I will see my precious Jesus coming and will be able to run to meet Him.


Heavenly Father,
Thank you for blessing my life with such a wonderful earthly Father. Just like I couldn't wait for my Daddy to get home each night, I can't wait for you, my Abba Father, to come back and take us all home to Heaven with you. Please come soon, Father. Until then... I've got my eye on the Eastern sky and I'll keep on watching for you.
In Jesus' name, Amen~


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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Voice of My Father~

My father passed away over seven years ago, and yet, at times, it seems as though time has stood still since I saw him last.


In my mind's eye, I can see him still -
sitting out on the back porch, 
legs crossed, 
one leg resting atop one knee.

And of course,
punctuating those long legs of his, cowboy boots.

One arm is resting on the arm rest,
while the other one,
 bent at the elbow,
is providing his head
with a bit of rest, too.

While I vividly recall his mannerisms and gentle ways, it is the words he spoke to me that I remember most. I think this is because he was a man of few words. Even now, I hear his voice of instruction, guidance, humor and spunk.

In winter: Don't forget to pack a sleeping bag in the trunk of your car.

In summer: If you get a flat tire, make sure when you pull over you aren't parking on tall, dry grass. You wouldn't want to start a fire. Oh....and watch for snakes.

In fall: Isn't that the prettiest harvest moon you have ever seen?

In spring: Watch for snakes. (Snakes seemed to be on his mind a lot). The weather is getting warm and they'll be coming out.

In conversation in our home: Talk nice.

When traveling: Don't drive too fast.

After dinner: How about warming us a piece of that peach cobbler and putting a little shot of ice cream on it?

When shopping: Let's just pop in here for a minute and see what they have.

When someone in our family was angry: Why are you mad at me? I didn't throw any rocks at your dog.

When referring to me: How's Daddy's Darlin'?

It is these phrases, these words, that now give me comfort, keep me packing a sleeping bag in my trunk during the cold months of winter, and smiling.

It is no different with my Heavenly Father. Every day, in my heart, I hear his voice speaking to me, too.

In relationships: Love another as I have loved you.

In trials: Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

In decision-making: Acknowledge me and I will direct your paths.

In my mistakes: Confess your sins to me and I will forgive you.

In my fears: I didn't give you a spirit of fear. I gave you love, power and a sound mind.

In my day-to-day life: I am with you always.

I am so thankful for my earthly father. His wisdom and love guide me still.

Yet, I am most thankful for my Heavenly Father, the giver of all good gifts, the One who gave me the precious gift of my earthly father, the One who knows me better than I know myself.

It is HIS voice that leads me into the paths of righteousness.

It is HIS voice that leads me to my eternal home.

It is HIS voice I want guiding me each and every day~

(Reposting in honor of Father's Day this Sunday, June 17, and my Daddy's birthday, June 22)


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sometimes, You Gotta Knock~ {Heartprint Hallelujahs Link Up}

The other night I spent some long overdue quiet-time out on our patio writing. While I enjoyed the great outdoors, my husband enjoyed kicking back, relaxing and watching a basketball game indoors. Occasionally though, my sweetheart would open the sliding glass door and share a smile or a "Hi, honey. Doing ok?" with me and then head back indoors to cheer for his team. As the sun slowly meandered beyond the horizon, I typed until my fingers and my heart were content.

As dusk melted into darkness, I decided to pack up my laptop and head indoors to cheer alongside my mister. Gathering all my belongings, I reached for the door handle only to discover it was locked. Out of habit, my husband had accidentally locked the door the last time he had poked his head out to check on me.

What to do?

Stay out on the patio until my honey decided to once again shower me with terms of endearment.

Check all the windows on the back side of the house and shinny my way through one that might be open.

Attempt to scale the tall rock fence, land in the front yard and check all the windows on that side of the house...or better yet, hope the front door was unlocked.

Sleep out under the stars.

Knock.

Seems like a pretty easy decision, right?

And yet, when it comes down to knocking, we seldom do.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Luke 11:9, KJV

When life presents us with a closed door and we find our self standing out on the back porch alone with our hope and dreams,

our fears and failures,

our wishes and wonders,

we usually use all of our time, energy and resources

thinking up,

mapping out,

and executing our plans.

We try this and we try that. Then, we try this and that again. Over and over. One idea, one notion, one strategy after another.

But, knock? Nope. We seldom think to do that.

And yet, this is exactly what Jesus invites us to do. Could it be any simpler than that?!

No wonder we end up wondering why God isn't answering, as we stand on the outside looking in.

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. James 4:2, NLT
Standing on my patio that evening, I did what any wife would do. I ratta-tap-tapped on the door.

Upon hearing his wife knock, my husband did what any loving husband would do. He came to my rescue. He made a way where there was no way.

Are there locked doors in your life?

Have you been stranded out on the back porch?

Knock.

Upon hearing your cry, the Lover of your soul, Jesus, will come to your rescue.

Key to the open door
{Photo Credit}

He'll make a way where there is no way.

He'll even go before you and prepare the way.

But,

you gotta knock!

(Re-posting one of my favorite note-to-self reminders!)

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




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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Standing Guard~

I've heard it said that your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. And, I believe this to be true. Think about it. Someone who is known for their dynamic leadership ability has probably also been labeled "bossy" once or twice during his or her lifetime.

My greatest strength / weakness?

I have a sensitive spirit.

Don't get me wrong. Truly, this has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. My sensitive spirit has opened the ears of my heart to hear God's still small voice. I am keenly aware of His promptings and I feel the rhythm of His movement in my life. I hear His truth, His affirmation, His singing over me and I take it all in, allowing it to re-create me into who God made me to be. I am His daughter and I hold my heart up high.

But,


I am also extremely sensitive to the voices of the world. Words spoken by others wound my spirit and leave me second-guessing who I am. Glances and overtures cause me to question my identity. Words spoken in anger penetrate the very depth of my soul and stay there. Sorrow and grief (whether in my life or in the life of those around me) weigh me down.


It's hard having a tender heart in a tough world.

And yet,

I realize my sensitive spirit is a gift. It is how my Heavenly Father knit me together in my mother's womb. It is who I am, and, it is good.

But, it also leaves me vulnerable to heartache, depression, doubt and defeat.

This morning, as I called out to the Lord, He was faithful to hear my cry and rescue me with words of wisdom from His word.

My child, pay attention to what I say.

Listen carefully to my words.
Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
for they bring life to those who find them,

and healing to their whole body.
Guard

your

heart
above all
else,


for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:20-23, NLT

It was at if God's words were leaping off the page. Words I had read time and time again, now loomed bigger than life for the very first time. This time, it wasn't my eyes that read these words of wisdom and instruction from my Abba Daddy, it was my heart.

Every day words from all directions bombard my heart. If I am to survive their assault, the answer is not found in allowing these hurts to harden my heart, desensitizing me, leaving me numb and unable to feel.

No.

The answer is to this dilemma is found in allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me what is of HIM and what is not; to be an active participant in deciding what goes into my heart, and what does not.

While it's true I cannot control which words come at me, I can choose which words I let "enter" my heart.

It is up to me to stand guard against anything contrary to the Word of God.

It is doesn't line up with HIS truth, it doesn't need to go any further than my ears.

It. is. as. simple. as. that.

Heavenly Father,
It is YOU who created me; YOU who made me so very sensitive. Too often, I have questioned why. Forgive me, Father. What I have mistaken as a "thorn", a weakness, is indeed one of my greatest blessings. To be sensitive, to hear your still small voice, to be moved with compassion, to be tender-hearted....this IS a gift. May I remember YOUR counsel. May I be diligent to guard my heart. May my "weakness" be indeed, my greatest strength as I use it to help my fellow man and bring glory and honor to YOU.
In Jesus' name, Amen~



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Monday, June 4, 2012

♪♫ Thanks for the Memories ♪♫


Bob Hope knew what he was talking about, (make that singing about...)


♪♫ Thanks for the memories...♪♫


Memories.

Oddly enough, it is these cherished recollections of moments in the past that keep us stepping out into the unknown moments of our future.Especially, when these memories remind us of the faithfulness of our God.


20110731 rainbow (in the dark)
{Photo Credit}


When the wind starts blowing,



and the lightening starts flashing,




and the thunder starts clapping,




we remember the ark, the God who protects, and the promise of the rainbow.









the path
{Photo Credit}

When the enemy is behind us,




and obstacles are beside us,




and roadblocks are in front of us



we remember the Red Sea, the God who makes a way, and the promise of deliverance











From life springs death
{Photo Credit}


When sickness comes unexpectedly,




and bodies come full circle




and death comes uninvited (and unwelcome)




we remember the cross,
the God who saves,
and the promise of the resurrection.






We look back.....and remember.



             We remember.....and believe.



                                 We believe....and press on.


I am so thankful for the memories. It is the memories, poured out in the pages of God's Word and spilled out across the pages of my life that keep me moving forward,

that keep me humming a tune,

that keep me singing right along with Bob....


♪♫ Thanks for the memories...♪♫





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Friday, June 1, 2012

Relax and Rest~






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