Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When Faith Stays~

We stand,
my precious friend and I,
sand underneath us,
howling wind around us,
and the Atlantic Ocean in front of us.

With the temperature hovering in the 20's,
it's not beach weather,
and yet.
on this day,
it seems the perfect place to be.

Because you see,
five months before,
we had stood,
my two precious sisters and I,
on the balcony of our hotel room,
sand underneath us,
howling wind around us,
and the Pacific Ocean in front of us.

As I stood at Cannon Beach, Oregon,
only months after losing my husband,
I surrendered to the Lord's leading.
I chose to let go of my job and trust my Heavenly Father.
(You can read about that HERE and HERE.)

Now,
five short months later,
God had brought me to the other side of the United States.
"From sea to shining sea," my friend had said.

Standing on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware,
I stood in awe of all my God had done
in me,
for me,
through me,
in spite of me.

I thought of what would have happened
if I would have said "no",
if I would have chosen to please man and not God,
if I would have picked security over surrender,
if I would have succumbed to fear instead faith.

"I admire your faith, Stac," my friend says,
as we weather this cold, wintery moment together.

And, instantly,
I begin to explain
that what has found me
standing on this beach,
after having first spent the weekend
standing up behind a pulpit in Wilmington,
speaking of God's faithfulness,
(the very reason I am in Delaware in the first place)
is only and completely God's grace.

"Oh, Amy, how I wish I could say
the dearest desire of my heart 
had been to grow in my faith with God.  
How I wish I could say
I fasted and prayed for 40 days 
pleading with God to give me the kind of faith that lets go.

But, I can't.

Honestly,
I just found myself thrown into a situation 
I didn't ask for,
I didn't see coming,
I didn't want anything to do with.
I lost my husband to a heart attack.
I lost my job because I lost my husband.
I didn't do anything.

God did everything."

And, it's true.

When the rug of all that was my life
was ripped out from underneath me,
God was there.

When I didn't know what, didn't know how,
didn't know why, when or where,
God was there.

When I didn't feel as though I had a faith to stand on,
God stirred up the measure of faith I had been given
and it sprouted up in ways I could never have imagined.

Grace caught me.
Grace held me.
Grace carried me,
until,
tear after tear,
prayer after prayer,
day after day after day,
faith began to grow from the soil of sorrow, heartbreak, and brokenness.

The me who stood on the edge of the Pacific Ocean
was not the same me
who was now standing on the edge of the Atlantic.

The journey from sea to shining sea,
the five months in between,
the days from letting go to being overwhelmingly held -
all a true testimony to God's faithfulness.

It's why I can keep saying "yes".
It's why I can keep letting go.
It's why I can keep standing up and telling of His goodness.
It's why I can keep "being still" when I
don't know what,
don't know how,
don't know why, when, or where.

And I've learned,
sometimes,
in the fragile moments of life,
faith isn't so much about what you do;
it's about what you don't do.

You don't give up.
You don't give in.
You don't run away.
You don't throw in the towel.

You stay.

And,
when you do,
faith not only stays with you,
it gently takes you by the hand,
and carries you through.









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.










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