Monday, March 30, 2020

All You Need~

Lying in bed,
head on my pillow,
eyes closed tight,
head focused on God,
my spirit cried out to God.

"Lord, fill me with all I need."

There in the darkness,
I listened for His still small voice.

"My child,
you already have
all you need.
You have my Spirit
living inside you.
All that I am is yours,
ready to be accessed
any time,
any place,
in any situation.

You have all you need
because you have Me.

My child, don't you see?
You ask amiss.

The cry of your heart
is not about what you need,
it's about what you fear.
And for this,
you have all you need, as well.

For I did not give you
a spirit of fear,
but of power,
and of love,
and of a sound mind.

Power - my Spirit working in you.
Love - my Spirit flowing from you.
A sound mind - my Spirit living through you.

Don't be afraid, My child.
You have Me
and you already have
all you need.

Rest in this truth.
Rest in Me.
Simply rest, My child."

And, I did.~♥️



Friday, March 20, 2020

How'd I Miss That?~

When my father's health was declining,
the Lord opened the door for me
to move back home with my parents.

my husband wasn't able
to make the move.

For five years,
seven hours of driving each way,
my husband and I commuted
back and forth
on long weekends and holidays.

(Did I mention we traveled
this seven hour road
back and forth,
forth and back
for five years?)

Each time I found myself
behind the wheel,
I was on a mission:
getting home
to see my husband
or getting back up
to my parents.
Both hands
on the steering wheel,
eyes locked on the road
in front of me,
full steam ahead.

A couple of years ago,
far removed from the situation
that had been my life
for five years,
I traveled this same route
once again.

This time was different, though.
I had no mission.
I was leisurely traveling North
to spend time with my mother.
I was on a mini-vacation.
Time was my friend,
not my enemy.
The trip was inviting,
not to be endured.

what a trip it was.

I saw antelope,
bouquets of wild flowers,
fluffy clouds,
a stately windmill,
the smile on an elderly lady
as I drove down the main street
of a little town.

Everywhere I looked,
I saw beauty.
Each time I turned
my head or a corner,
I saw life.

The entire trip
I saw everything
I had failed to see
for five years!

How had I missed all of this before?

Sadly, each time
I drove this road before
I only saw
what was right
in front of me.

The commitments.
The obligations.
The demands.
The deadlines.
The distance to be traveled.

The same was true of Elisha's servant.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17
When he awoke one morning,
all Elisha's servant could see
was an army surrounding him.

That's it!

He only saw
what was directly
in front of him.
But then,
Elisha prayed
the eyes of this
"spiritually blind" man
would be opened
to see what was
truly before him -
the army of the Lord
surrounding them.

It makes no difference 
if we are merely out
for a joy ride 
or fighting the battle 
of our life, 
we cannot afford 
to lose our spiritual vision.

We cannot settle
for merely seeing
what is before us.
We must also see
beyond that,
to see God
in every place
of our life.

In the beauty
of a desert landscape,
He is there.

In the operating room
of a hospital,
He is there.

In the traveling
of life's highway,
He is there.

And yes,
even (and especially!)
in the deadlines,
and diseases
of life,
He is there.

Don't miss 
what you can't see
by only concentrating
on what you do see.

Faith looks beyond.

Faith sees
what can't be seen

When we allow God
to open our eyes,
our vision becomes clear.

We see beauty
where we have never
noticed it before.

We see the
army of the Lord
encamped around us
ready to
protect and defend.

We see God!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Squinty Eyes, Still~

most times, in fact,
even if we aren't even looking -
God is faithful to place right in front of us,
exactly what our heart is needing most.

At least that's the way
it happens most often for me.

Not while on bent knee
(although He does speak to me here),
not while knee deep in scripture,
(although He does speak to me here),
not while sitting on a pew
(although He does speak to me here),
not while crying out in desperation
(although He does speak to me here),
not while I am looking for Him
(although He does speak to me here).

more times than not,
when I'm completely lost in my own little world,
not focused on my Abba Father at all,
love gifts for my heart
that are undeniably from Him,
and all about me,
are placed smack dab in front of me.

because these precious gifts come
at a moment when I'm not looking at all,
they bring with them,
each and every time,
an even deeper awareness of our God
who is ever
present in our life.

Such was the case one day
while I was mindlessly scrolling
through my Instagram feed.

God showed up in the most beautiful place,
unveiling desperately needed truth
in the most precious of words:

"Like Lazarus,
we've all had our brush with death,
a moment or two when
the light was eclipsed
by a terrible dark.
We know what it's like to
feel the breath squeezed out of us
by hard relationships,
tough circumstances,
unexpected events.
And although we might push through
to the other side,
it often takes us more than a minute
to adjust our eyes from dark
to the light."
~Michele Cushatt

As my heart reached out
to grab hold of each and every word,
I realized I was doing so
through squinty eyes -
eyes that have not yet
fully adjusted to the light
of this new season
where I now find myself.

Like this morning -
with news of the pandemic
making its way
from video of far away places
to the next state over,
and now indeed,
the next city over,
new, never-before felt
feelings of grief
sprung up from deep inside.

And what was most
surprising of all,
beyond the fact
that - here -
four years later,
grief still washes over me,
sometimes with the intensity
of the waves of grief
I experienced early on -
was the emotion
this wave stirred up:

I've heard it said
anger is one of the
"normal" stages of grief,
but honestly,
before today,
I haven't really come
face to face with it.

But today,
the anger was strong.
And the face of the one
I saw in my anger,
the face of the one
my heart was mad at,
was that of my husband.

Only instantly -
as soon as the anger came,
as soon as I realized my man
was the one my anger was directed at and to,
I tried to squelch the emotion
before it came full blown out and out -

Not that the anger didn't seemed justified,
because my broken heart
certainly thought it was,
not that the anger wasn't a "normal" grief emotion
because like I said,
I've read enough
and been told enough
to know that it is,
but simply because
if I let this emotion run free,
if I let myself get mad at my man,
how would I ever be able
to apologize to him
and make it right again?

The conversation
I heard myself
having with myself
went something like this:

How could you, Handsome?
How could you leave me alone
after promising to be here
to take care of me?

Also Me:
Take it easy.  Don't be angry.
Yes, He promised,
AND he kept that promise.
The promise was only until
death do you part.

Yes, but Handsome -
you always said you would be here
when things got crazy.
That's why I married you.
(Well, ok - that's not the only reason,
but it was on the list!)
You know how to hunt and gather.
You know how to survive in the woods.
You know these mountains
better than our city streets.

Also ME:
Really, Stac?! C'mon, girl.
Yes, yes, yes to all of that,
but if he was here
you know what he would say.
"Look to the mountain maker, Beautiful.
That's where your help comes from."
C'mon, don't get angry.
Keep the peace between you.

(Honestly, that line there -
I have no doubt
was the Holy Spirit speaking.
Over the 25 years of being
with my man,
I had heard that very line
spoken to my heart
time and time again
in the heat of a "disagreement".)

You're right.
I know you're right.
I don't want to be angry.
I don't want to be mad.
I think I'm simply feeling fear
and that vulnerable feeling of being just one
after so many years
of being a mighty, unstoppable force of two.

Also ME:
I get that.
But again,
you know what he would say.
"Look to the mountain maker, Beautiful.
That's where your help comes from."
It's where he got
his strength,
his wisdom,
his peace.
It's where you get yours, too.
With God, you are
never, ever just one.
Don't be angry.
Look to God.

And the treasure of this moment -
this moment when God spoke
and I wasn't even looking,
was this:

It was more than ok
that I was
fighting the waves,
the unexpected,
don't see them coming
until they hit you
waves of grief -

It was more than ok
that I was
feeling a sense
of fear and vulnerability
trying to transition
back to one
after so long having been
a mighty, unstoppable force of two -

It was ok,
if the light
from this new season,
had me looking out at life
with squinty eyes,
trying to adjust
and see clearly -

It was all ok,
as long as -
(and this is HUGE)
as long as my eyes
never lost sight of my God
in the midst of it all.

As long as
my eyes were fixed on my God -

more times than not,
when I'm completely lost in my own little world,
not focused on my Abba Father at all,
love gifts for my heart
that are undeniably from Him,
and all about me,
are placed smack dab in front of me.

This -
a precious gift, indeed.


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Saturday, March 14, 2020

On Fear, Crayons, and the REALity of it All~

"Joshua, it's ok, now. You can take your fingers out of your ears."

Several years ago, I was given the awesome privilege of serving as a Nanny for a wonderful young couple who had been blessed with three small boys. One son attended a Christian preschool in the mornings. One day, when I arrived around noon to pick him up, I walked in on this conversation between his teacher and one of his fellow classmates.

Noticing I had entered the room, the teacher shared with me that the school fire alarm had been malfunctioning, sounding numerous times over the course of the morning. It was obvious by the look on Joshua's face, and of course the fingers in his ears, that the alarm was getting to him.

"Joshua. Finish coloring your picture, Honey."

Joshua, who had no intention of using his fingers for anything other than preventing the loud, shrill sound of the alarm from penetrating his small ears again, just sat there.

"Really, it's ok, Buddy. I think the men have fixed the problem. I don't think we will hear it anymore today."

"But what if there's a fire?" he asked.

"Honey, the fire alarm isn't going off because there is a fire in our school. It's just not working right today. It's ok, though, because there are some men here fixing it. There is no fire. Our school is fine. "

"But what if there IS a fire?" he asked again.

"Well then, we will simply do what we did earlier today when the alarm went off and we practiced our safety drill. We will go outside where we will be safe. It's ok, Joshua. There is nothing to worry about. Finish your picture, Sweetheart."

Still, Joshua sat totally immobilized by the fear which had gripped his heart.

"I don't want to die in the fire!!!" he finally screamed.

Walking over to Joshua and gently taking his fingers out of his ears, the teacher knelt down beside this scared little three year old and looked him right in the eye.

"Don't worry, Joshua. I'm right here. I promise I won't let anything happen to you. I'll take care of you, Joshua. I promise. Teacher is right here with you."

For the first time since I had entered the room, a look of peace flooded Joshua's face. It was ok. He didn't need to worry. Teacher was here and she would take care of him. He was safe because she was right here with him. Joshua reached for his blue crayon. Soon, he was back to work coloring his picture and sharing in conversation and laughter with his classmates.

As I'd witnessed this scene, I'd realized I am a lot like Joshua. I have a tendency to let the cares and worries of this world grip my heart, leaving me paralyzed in fear, unable to enjoy all that is going on around me. I become consumed with fear and allow it to steal the life (not to mention the joy) right out of me.

As I watched Joshua, I was reminded of a acronym I once heard for the word fear:

F - false

E- evidence

A- appearing

R - real

This was certainly the case with Joshua. Joshua was fearful of a fire that didn't exist. I, too, am fearful of things that probably don't exist either, or most likely will never even happen. Yet, even though what I fear is not usually real, the fear itself most definitely is!

Maybe you are like Joshua and me. Maybe you also struggle with fear. If so, how can you and I learn to escape this fear, once and for all, and live in the freedom and abundance of life that Christ wants us so desperately to experience?

It's quite simple, really. Joshua found his peace when he realized his teacher was right there with him and would take care of him. We can partake of this same peace by keeping our heart and mind fixed on our Heavenly Father, who promises to never leave us, nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) Even more than this teacher could ever hope to be there for Joshua, our God IS there for us. We don't have to fear ANYTHING in this life, because our Father is with us.

I have heard it said that the phrase "Fear Not" is found 365 times in the Bible. 365 times! That is one time for each day of the year or each day of our life. Obviously, God wants us to live a life free of fear.

Fear tries to take us prisoner, causing us to think irrationally and respond unwisely. We need to remember that most fear comes from Satan. The Bible tells us that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Only when we choose to keep our focus on Christ, knowing and believing that He is always with us, will we be free from the torment of fear. As we rely on Him to take care of us and to work all things out for our good and His glory, we will be able to let go of fear and instead take hold of the power, love and sound mind freely available to us through Christ.

The choice is up to us. We can either choose to sit around with our fingers stuck in our ears, fearful of what might happen, all the while missing out on what IS happening, or we can rest in the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father, embracing and thoroughly enjoying each and every minute of our life

Now..... where did I leave my crayon?


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Just a Tap, Even~

"Just knock on the wall.
Just a tap, even.
I'll be right out there.
If you need anything at all, Beautiful,
just knock and I'll come."

Early in our marriage,
and even earlier in my life,
(probably since infanthood
the doctor had told my mother),
I suffered from migraine headaches.

When I first met my husband, though,
in our early dating years
and on into our newlywed days,
they seemed to be at their peak.

My migraines
(at least to me)
were over the top.
Pain unlike anything describable.
And, my migraines
(at least to me)
were so very scary.
They felt as though my head
would literally explode.

And whenever one hit,
honestly all I could do,
was lay my head down.
To be still.
To try my very hardest
not to move.
Not an inch.
Not the tiniest of movements.
Because if I did -
if I moved my body
even the slightest bit -
my stomach was almost always sure
to join in the fun.

Except my arms.
For some reason,
moving my arms didn't count.
Maybe because I could move them
and the whole rest of me
stayed put.

And early on
into our newlywed days,
seeing the love of his life
suffering with these
(at that time)
fairly regular migraine episodes,
my man took to his knees.
He prayed for healing;
for God to take these headaches away.

But in the meantime,
each and every time
one came,
my husband was there.

At first,
(because lying completely down
wasn't an option -
only making the already incredible pain, worse)
my man would sit behind me,
then I would lean back
onto him,
and settle into his presence.

Feeling him close,
relying on his strength
to hold me up
and letting my own strength go,
healing began.

With his hand,
he would oh, so gently
stroke my hair.
A touch so light
it almost wasn't,
but a touch
that amazingly touched
every part of me.

Minute after minute,
we would sit
in the stillness,
in the dark.

And, minute after minute,
little by little,
the pain would start
to subside.

When it let up enough
for me to lie down,
my man would slowly
slip out from behind me
and oh, so gently
bring pillows up to meet me,
so the transition
was as smooth as possible,
and the movement
as little as possible.

And then -
as he was leaving the room,
he always said these words:

"Just knock on the wall.
Just a tap, even.
I'll be right out there.
If you need anything at all, Beautiful,
just knock and I'll come."

And, he did.
Whether completely absorbed
in an exciting basketball game on TV,
or cooking him something to eat
in our little cocina,
or washing a load of laundry,
if I knocked,
he came.
If I tapped, even,
he was there.

a migraine brought me
home from work,
and into my bed.
The second of only two migraines
(Thank you, Lord)
I have had
since my husband passed away
four years ago.

As I tried propping myself up,
the tears began to fall.
And the missing of my man
overtook me
with the same intensity
as the pain in my head.

And, I cried and cried and cried.
(And if truth be told,
I am crying here now,
as I type these words.)

The tears fell and fell,
unbridled, unstoppable,
until -
in my heart,
I heard the words
my husband had spoken
over and over again.

while they were uniquely his,
the voice I heard
whispering them to my heart,
was that of my Abba Father.

"If you need anything at all, sweet girl,
just knock and I'll come."

And, upon hearing HIS words,
upon being reminded of HIS invitation
to come to Him
all who are weary,
all who are in need of rest,
I did what my man did
so many times before.

In my spirit,
without moving an inch,
I went to my knees in prayer.

I leaned back
onto Him,
and I settled into
His presence.
Feeling Him close,
relying on His strength
to hold me up
and letting my own strength go,
healing began.
A touch of healing
so light it almost wasn't,
but a touch
that amazingly touched
every part of me.

Minute after minute,
my God and I
sat in the stillness,
sat in the dark.

And, minute after minute,
little by little,
the pain started to subside.
sweet sleep took over.

Four beautiful hours of sleep.

Now, here I sit -
resting on my patio,
a cloudy sky above me,
a light breeze caressing me,
and an orchestra of feathered friends serenading me.

And the intensity of praise
flowing from my heart,
far surpasses
any pain or discomfort from this day.

For The Lover of my soul,
the Great I AM,
my Abba Father -
has restored my soul.

And all it took,
(all it ever takes)
is a simple knock,
the slightest tap, even.

and it will be given to you:
and you will find;
and it will be opened to you.
~Matthew 7:7

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
~Psalm 46:1