Scrubbing Our Hearts

Hello, folks. I keep thinking I should have something further to say by now.

Something beautiful.

Something comforting.

Something profound.

Something wise.

And, yet, in this crazy yet rather apt time I chose to steal away, all I can really say is…God is God.

He is ever in control, ever directing the course of our lives, ever speaking.

Would that we would heed to that control, trust that direction, listen to His voice!

I truly believe this is a unique opportunity to allow ourselves to be arrested where we are-quite literally-and look to Him and Him alone for our answers.

We can stock our pantry, our medicine cabinet, our-ahem-paper goods.

We can don a mask, sanitize our physical spaces, scrub our hands till they are pruny.

We can Skype or Zoom our woes, play board games till we are bored stiff, and all figure out how to impromptu home school.

We can look for a financial boost to tide our bank accounts over.

But-if we neglect to surrender our hearts to His scrubbing, to admit we all of us desperately need it?

Well, then, the efforts are all for naught.

For, all the outward cleanliness and carefulness in the world cannot save us in the end.

Only in recognizing that only Jesus saves will we truly get anywhere.

I don’t pretend to know His plan with all this, the exact hows or the whens of absolution in this present crisis.

But, I do know through scripture the ultimate absolution-

Christ is returning for His own and we are nearer now than before.

I pray we are setting our eyes to the sky, seeking and welcoming this happening, encouraging others to do the same.

Thanks for reading, friends! Though I do count myself back, I will likely not be back in the same frequency as before. With our state’s school closed for the rest of the year, He has gifted me with the chance of much more concentrated time with my dear children and I aim to use it to His glory. ☺ Know that my prayers and thoughts are ever with you all!

DO NOT FEAR!

Still somewhat on sabbatical, so to speak, but I can’t neglect an opportunity to add a word in these stressful, fearful days.

One of my favorite Christian groups, Apologetix, sends out awesome, encouraging newsletters.

Their lead singer, J. Jackson, had a few great scriptures I thought suited the situation more than any words I could come up with.

God always says it best, after all! 😉

So, without further ado…

Psalm 37:8b
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, essentially, don’t panic, my friends! God’s got this! Let your hearts rest in these truths.

Blessings and prayers! ❤️🙂

Parting Ways…for a Time…

Hey, there, people. Just a bit of housekeeping, really. 😏

First things first-I am not disappearing. I repeat: I am NOT disappearing! The title says for a time, after all! 🙂

To vanish for good is something I refuse to do after all the wrestling matches I have had with my writing!

However, lately, I am recognizing the need for an extended break stirring restlessly in my soul.

And instead of packing up my play things, pressing the delete button, and scurrying off for a year or two as in blogs past, I am choosing to be proactive…

The fact is, I believe the Lord’s wooing me to a period of quiet, a deeper, more purposeful digging in the Word (Please pray as I seek the time for such! My life has not often been conducive to uninterrupted study, as some may recall! 😉).

It’s not always the easiest thing to acknowledge, but I think it happens to all of us at one time or another, this pressing need to steal away from the busy, even if some of that busy be positive.

To truly, deeply tune in to the voice of Jesus, there are simply times we must tune out the clamor of the world.

It’s even harder to acquiese to the time surrender required- even to some things you might really like- to assuage our need.

Not to mention, it’s just plain tough sometimes to continuously spin your heart into words and extend them to an audience, albeit a very kind, amazingly supportive audience of dear family in Christ such as I see all of you as. ❤️

So…I am officially taking a break from here-writing, reading, all of it. ( I am very regretful for the reading part. I gain so much from each of you and don’t like to feel as if I am neglecting to support your work! Know you will be ever in my thoughts and prayers.)

Now, I haven’t set a time for this sabbatical’s conclusion as of yet, but I am imagining at least a few weeks.

It doesn’t really do to limit time with God or bargain with Him on what He asks of me!

So, with that, I will say see you all in a while. Blessings and prayers! Looking forward to seeing what He has to show me and hopefully sharing with you down the road! 🙂

Dehydrated

When we first receive Christ, our joy abounds, doesn’t it? But, life has a way of going on and we have a way of forgetfulness. Sometimes, we can go along without even realizing how much we are lacking when we neglect to seek the Living Water…

In the beginning,

It was like the freshness of dawn

Appearing…

Your joy bubbled like water

Flowing on and on;

Glowing in me a love so bright,

So endearing…

Then, somehow, the morning’s

Faded;

Moving on….

One motion to the next,

Emotions rising increasingly

Complex.

Harder to catch my breath to

Stay;

Refreshing stretches a further

Breadth away;

Day takes on a glaring shade

Overhead,

And I find with a start

I am staring into a drying

Riverbed.

Sitting in my tongue-furred haze,

I finally realize I’ve lost the drive

To fill myself with Your praise.

.Oh, Lord, bring me back to the

Streams from heaven’s door!

Restore to me the

Softer sunbeams of before!

Funny how easy it is to become

Absolutely dehydrated,

And allow it to carry on

Almost unabated…

Takes some time sometimes

To recognize my thirst.

Lord, please help me to

Remember

To drink in Your presence first…

May we indeed remember to seek His presence above all and stay hydrated in Him! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading!

Man-made

If there’s one thing we humans are good at, it’s manufacturing.

We perceive a need, we pull out the thinking caps, the drawing board, sketching pencils-complete with a towering stack of erasers to take care of those, err…rough drafts. 😏

Eventually, through trial and error, we usually crank out a suitable answer to that need.

And there’s mass awe and satisfaction…until the next need crops up, of course. 😉

And, you know, that’s fine, in general. It keeps inventive minds rolling, something I can personally attest to the importance of, being a mom to such creative types. 🙂

But, there are some areas humanity’s tendency to manufacture shows up that it just doesn’t belong.

Particularly, today, I think of the church as a whole-our places and methods of worship.

Observances. Rituals. Traditions. We are rife with such.

There’s a lot of Biblical essentials in there, too, of course-at least, for some.

The Holy Trinity, the Bible our inerrant Word, Christ our only means of salvation.

I still know several congregations where this is at least part of their core of beliefs.

I also know others where even such simple truths have been distorted, some more recently, others for, well… for centuries.

Either way, I have only seen them grow further altered as time goes on, unfortunately.

Along with so many other things from what marriage should be to who deserves life, with lots and lots of stops for tweaking in between. 😞

But, really, beyond these obvious and obviously dismaying alterations, there are countless little twists that predate them.

Rituals augmented without much scriptural basis, traditions tacked on because they seemed holy, emphasis weighed more on ceremony than purposes of the heart.

When you sit down and begin to really sift through some of the trappings-the things we do because we’ve always done them, the committees we belong to because we’ve always had them, and the structure we cling to because it’s always been there to cling to, there are a lot of things that are just…well, things.

Man-made things. Some well meaning, some not even inherently bad-when not adopted as requirement or penance.

And others?

Well, outright lies, bald truth be known.

Now, no disrespect meant. I have friends from many different denominations.

I know all have their own emphasis and I know there are devoted followers of Christ in many a style of church.

But, there are some traditions we hold onto that are just… unnecessary.

They don’t really equate to greater closeness to Christ and they certainly won’t usher us into a higher rent district in the kingdom of God! 🙄

It’s actually something akin to an odd sort of arrogance to think these things we do make us any more fit for heaven, even if we don’t really recognize it as such.

I think in some cases, years and years ago, we bought into specific notions, either by not checking them against scripture or by seizing on a misinterpretation of a verse.

Or, else it just felt right and that was good enough for us.

Humanity, after all, struggles to resist manufacturing…

Even ways to produce “virtue”.

Over the years, these notions were solemnly doled out, one generation to the next, gaining more and more a semblance of sacredness with each passing, like a hand-me-down garment worse for wear yet never allowed to be discarded.

Rarely do we recognize there was no value to donning it in the first place.

It’s not that I am anti-tradition, necessarily.

I was in the thick of the anti-tradition camp in my day, and that can become its own set of dangerous rituals, let me tell you!

No…the answer lies not in abolishing all we’ve ever done. That’s the proverbial throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

But, I think what I long to see more of is being led by the Lord, seeking His word above the order of the program, the steps He’d lead us in versus the steps prescribed by the various procedures we’ve chosen to put in place.

To tear away all the man-made ways we try to reach God and truly humble ourselves before Him.

Because, in doing that, He who actually made man will lift us up in due time.

Heavyish word tonight, I know. But, the Lord put it on my heart, so…out it came! May we each examine our motivations carefully, seeking not rituals but a relationship with Him. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! 🙂

Are We There Yet?

Now, on first glance, this picture feels like nothing but scribbles. Primarily, it was approached as such. 🙂 However, the more I looked, the more it seemed to represent a never-ending stream of chaos fairly well, the cross at the center, as it should be.

Both this and the following poem are inspired by my own foolish tendency to worry, especially regarding the wild unknown. The tizzy the world can get us in can be overwhelming, but, thankfully, we can know He who has overcome the world…🙂

Are We There Yet?

Lord, what about this?

God, what about that?

Questions shouted ceaselessly in

The deepening mist,

Answers clouded almost teasingly,

Both present and past…

Brain keeps stacking, never

Slacking

Train on the track keeps clacking,

Never backing;

Steam puffs surgingly

Whistle blows rough, urgingly

What about this over here?

What to do with that over there?

Oh, Lord, what can be done with

All this blasted fear?

Daddy God, how do I even

Proceed

With all these nasty anxieties

Laid bare?!

At the same time, this engine

Never quits,

Never quiets…

The end? I squint through the

Screaming streams, but, still I

Struggle to spy it!

Daddy God, please tell me, oh,

Are we there yet?

I whine like a restless child,

I know…

But, so very weary of this endless

Fret!

Help me see beyond the worry,

The hurry,

And the flurry;

Bring the cross into relief amid the chaos;

Calm my ever-rushing mind!

Lord, grow in me belief beyond the cost,

As only in You all the answers

Will come in their time…

May we indeed lean on Him alone to calm our worries and await His perfect answers! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Appreciate the read! 😊

Serving Up His Love

Last weekend, we had a soup kitchen Saturday with our youth group-as in an opportunity to volunteer at one. 🙂

We had hoped to have all our students for this new venture, but with our constantly shifting Kansas weather, important basketball games had had to be rescheduled for…you guessed it, Saturday. 😏

There went several of our regulars…

In addition to that was state Scholar’s Bowl and, wouldn’t you know it? Our middle son/awesome drummer is also rather an old soul, knowledgeable on a variety of subjects most his age are not, and, therefore, much needed for such tournaments. ( No, not a proud mama at all.

😉)

So, suffice to say, we wound up a rather tiny troop of workers.

A Gideon sort of reduction, perhaps? 🤔🙂

Well, the thought is kind of just for humorous irony since we spent the better part of the fall studying the Old Testament warrior, but, maybe…

For, it could’ve been deflating in a sense, or more stressful with fewer hands, but, you know, as much as I really missed seeing certain faces in the mix, it was a most beautiful and triumphant day regardless!

Perhaps, even better than we could’ve thought for the quiet simplicity of it.

For I got to watch my shyer, more reserved ones, including my oldest, newly-minted adult son, find ways to step up, pitch in, and feel helpful.

I got to listen to my sweet teen autistic girl do what she does best-draw the lonely into lively conversation and boost them with her amazing gift of song at worship time.

I got to see my enthusiastic youngest boy pour over the dishes and delight the whole kitchen with his giggles as the water sprayer kept “accidentally” getting him.

I got to see my dear, gregarious husband ladle on laughs along with the baked beans and encourage everyone around him with hope as he shared the way God has built our family up from next to nothing.

And what did I do?

Well, I’ll tell you, being rather prone to awkwardness myself, I was a bit nervous on the outset about what role I could really play there without fumbling too badly.

I knew I might be okay in the kitchen, if I wasn’t having too clumsy a day.

I thought I could perhaps hand out food or provide background on the songs if I didn’t goof or go too off-key.

Or, just guide the kids in their various pursuits, as I typically do.

Parts of me truly longed to be more as my fearless daughter, she who lives to worship out loud.

I sometimes observe her at a distance and wonder how she could be mine!

Yet, I can also see little pieces of me-of the me I might’ve been if life hadn’t been so weighted with, well, hurtful things…

Or, I’ll watch my husband, he who charms lampposts, and grow wistful for just a wisp of that ability.

Spent too long in that place, I can start to wonder why someone like that chose someone like me.

Not healthy on any day! 😳

So, instead of pulling a lot of Gideon-aw, shucks-not-meisms, I find I must learn to look past me to the whole:

More than anything we did, we got to share with some all-too-often forgotten souls.

Young families in need, older gentlemen and ladies relatively alone in life, some who have been ravaged by disease and harsh circumstance and time.

People whom I might shyly bypass on any given day, not sure what to say, but people that when I pause long enough to really get beyond myself and look, I can see my own struggles reflected in their eyes.

For we really aren’t so different, any of us.

We all need each other and we all need the love of Jesus.

Every one of us look to be fed, not only physically, but spiritually.

Every one of us need to feel our worth. Our real worth. In Him.

Honestly, no one was counting how many of us there were or weren’t, or judging how well we handled dishing up barbecue pork, or whether we all sounded even remotely like Hillsong.

They just wanted to matter, same as anyone.

And, in serving up time, food, and, best of all, the love of Jesus, we had the opportunity to tell them they do, same as anyone.

I don’t know exactly what’s down the road. But, I hope we get to go back. Even shy, awkward me. 🙂

Looking at spring… when basketball and scholar’s bowl are all done and before the summer wave of busy hits.

I know God will use us, big or small, but I wouldn’t want the rest of our kiddos to miss out on this every time! 😉

May we all look for our chance to extend the love of Christ to the forgotten, whatever we think of what we can give. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading!