Michael W Smith Missing Person

Hi, friends. I don’t really have too many pithy phrases to offer today except I really, really miss sharing my old tunes with you. πŸ™‚

Dozens of Smitty songs have moved me from teen years on, but this one hit my heart hard from the first listen and has never left.

And it just felt right for where I have been this last little while. For it reminds me of the importance of deep, honest reflection before the Father’s throne. Only then can we find what we are searching for. Even ourselves.

I don’t know where you are in your walk with Christ or even if you have one at this point (If you have questions on this, feel free to reach out via my about page.), but I pray this touches your soul in whatever way God intends.

Have a listen and be blessed ❀

Spending

Hello, friends. This is not quite the first poem I’d pictured sharing in coming back, but it comes of one of those little grains of a thought that grew into a full-grown ponder before I knew it. So…as ever, I must surrender any personal agendas and give in to His…

Spending, spending…

Everybody seems always busy spending

Something.

Granted, sometimes necessary in the state of living,

Or, one hopes, in the fond act of giving.

But, other times?

Ah, naught but a careless fling!

Cold hard cash water-spouting out

First comes to mind,

But not this alone, oh no…

So many other gleeful sprees

Consumers cavort in so free…

So many mindless fritterings we can find!

Some of us stupidly spend away our given talent;

Some pitch on the wind their precious time.

For others, principles are too easily sent

Only to come back oily and bent,

And perhaps, most tragic of all

Are those whose bodies, whose very hearts are cast

Aside to be nickled and dimed…

And what by these misguided attempts

Do any of us stand to gain?

For, in the end, none are exempt

From answering to how we spent our days.

That is why it is imperative

All He allows us to possess

From our moments to our gifts

We must rightly lift

Up to the cross and nothing less.

For all other seed-scattered pursuits

Produce none but rotten fruits.

Such poison it is to the foolish soul!

Ah, Lord, over all that is spent we need You in control!

Yes, indeed, here are the purse-strings of my very being,

Every second of my time,

Take and assist,

Teach me to wisely budget, cautiously resist

Spending wily-nily this God-given life of mine…

May we be ever prayerful in how we spend our lives! Thanks for reading! Blessings and prayers!

Here

Well, hello there to anyone still hanging around these incredibly silent halls.

Don’t adjust your dial (oy, does that ever date me….😏)

Yes, it’s me.

I am here….

And I’m not.

Huh? What now? πŸ€”

Well, I don’t want this to be misconstrued.

This is not the umpteenth “Welcome Back, Kotter” moment in my life.

Expect no sudden, prolific flow from this pitiful scribe’s brain.

Those things which I wrestled with when I closed this door continue to press in on all sides. My ability to articulate as well as just the sheer drive to do so remain largely seized up inside.

Seriously. You should see how my fingers stutter over the keys right now, trying their darndest to summon up the right phrasing.

But such is the land of living. Questions dangle, obligations loom, but still, we put one foot in front of the other.

Or one finger after another on homerow….😏

So….if this is so much like a dental visit ( the yanking teeth kind), the biggest question might be why do it at all?

Well, nothing profound really.

For there are no big “wows” in my world to report.

The family is in the thick of what it always is right now…school, music, and scraping together a livelihood.

My pain goes on, too, but, hey, there is breath in my lungs, so that’s good.

But, overall, it’s such a nothingness to share I hesitated long and hard whether I even should.

Still, something in my gut just had a longing to come and be here.

Just for a few moments.

To say hello. To say I miss you, friends.

To say I think about and pray for you often.

And to remind myself vulnerability isn’t the same as weakness.

That derision isn’t always a forgone conclusion to opening my troubled soul.

That I can still form a few paltry words here and maybe find a friend genuinely glad to see me on the other end.

For there is worth in that simple thing, I suppose.

In this all-too-often harsh, cold-shouldered world, we have need of one another.

I know this in the depths of my being but, sometimes, depression can hem in on all sides and give a pretty convincing argument to just stay in that isolated place for safety’s sake.

Admitting to it can be the challenge of a lifetime.

But, perhaps, well worth trying…

Again, where this isn’t to say I am returning to penning a lot of profound thought, there is a lovely something in being here I cannot deny.

Now, I don’t really know what awaits me following the press of the ol’ send button, of course.

And, again, no idea what the future of my work here holds.

Yet, I know I must follow the Godly hand guiding it…

So, for the first time in months, let me say thanks for reading, dear friends. Blessings and prayers. ❀

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello…

Hey there, dear friends. Long time, no write.

I don’t know if that title is totally accurate. Perhaps it should be on the flip-flop, but, you know, whatever.

Who am I to change the Beatles’ phrasing?😏

Suffice it to say, I came back to say “hello”, let you know I am still a part of that rarified group that breathes and functions day to day.

God is still good, still as ever on His throne.

I feel His presence guiding me further on.

So…why the “goodbye” part of the title then?πŸ€”

Well, again, to my consternation, I find His directions are vastly different to the norm-at least, as far as humanity is concerned. The norm is to plunge dead ahead, come what may.

Keep going, keep writing, keep sharing.

Keep…somethinging.

And, yet, instead, as I find every few years or so, He is directing me to shutter the shop.

Oh, please, don’t worry for me! I will be fine.

I am old hat at this, you might say. 😏

Now, different circumstances, different causes…

Where leaving the blogging world shares a sense of discouragement in every instance, each has had its own lessons learned, its own level of reasoning reached.

I have gone from one sad, little, oft-injured foundling, licking her wounds, erasing any trace of her work, to one more seasoned, scars still twinging now and again, but more assured of the Lord and the infinite wonder of a relationship with Him above any human aspiration.

But, the fact remains, I am tired. I crave a deeper rest in Him. One without so many outer demands (Not that I call any of you demanding by any means! Far from it. No…this is more about that which is self-imposed.)

And, yet, rest craved is not always the rest hoped for. For, life circumstances are juxtaposed in such a way right now that time for rest may prove elusive for other reasons.

Namely, financially speaking. I have not wanted to be frank here, but I feel us heading down a hole.

I fear the future, though I should not.

I look to my pitiful resources, my utter lack of skill, my uncooperative body, and my monsterous educational gaps, and see few answers.

It’s an ultimate catch-22 and I can’t say I don’t taste some bitterness over the fact.

So…let’s just try and sum it up honestly:

No experience in anything my body can yet do, no education to do otherwise, disability a slippery, potentially costly trail to nail down properly, no money or time in present circumstances to pursue anything that would make us sustainable income.

I know, I know. People go back to school every day.

Online and what-have-you.

But, how many have an autistic 19-year-old that no longer qualifies for disability himself by bureaucratic standards, is going to college to try to prove they’re right, but, that really, really still needs you in the meantime? And a soon-to-be senior poised for his next scholastic adventure that needs not be lost in the shuffle because he doesn’t have that ASD label?

Not to mention a near-16-year-old autistic beauty with stars in her eyes and a boatload of struggles?

And an 8-year-old boy sans diagnosis but still much in need?

Oh, and add to that a husband whose body is dwindling and business has seen a lot of feast or famine and very little steady flow in-between.Yet, what else can he do? Ex-felons don’t get many opportunities, especially ones saddled with the lot he’s got. I can’t even drive anybody any place away from the -don’t get me wrong, it’s nice-but utter nothingness that is rural life.

And I am too socially inept, frankly, to look to anyone else to assist, as if I have that sort of relationship with anybody here.

Not that there’s no kind people here. To the contrary. There are.

But, to know people like that?

I…just…don’t.

So…stuck spinning my wheels and trying to remind myself to pray, knowing full well from dozens of experiences that His providence is ever faithful.

And yet, also feeling sitting on my duff writing my woes here is not what He’d have for me to deal with these present hardships.

Just what else He has, I still for the life of me cannot seem to see. Everywhere I look so far are closed doors and some even with large “No Trepassing” signs tacked to the front, glaring red at me. A pretty frustrating and depressing state of affairs, I tell you.

But, I do not spell out all these unhappy particulars to cry, “Pity me!”. Far from it.

There is actually nothing that makes my independent little being squirm more.

But…this agony of self-doubt and somber reflection is all I’ve got at present and all I can see having for some time.

Not to mention that if I do manage a new position in life, either by squeezing myself into something my body and mind will be screaming at me for later or the odd happenstance occurs in a door I hope for cracking open, I cannot see fitting this WordPress world in with my limited energy.

Hence, the stirring I feel towards goodbyes.

And…where I most EMPHATICALLY will not wipe away this body of work and record of God-infused interaction here this blog around, I don’t want to linger over it or second guess it any further.

I love writing. I love a way this introverted, pain-riddled, self-diagnosed autistic being can feel safe to interact with my fellow Jesus people.

But, whereas I cannot say I am exactly built for the way life goes in this incredibly insane, fast-track world, neither can I say as I was ever built for a long-term version of this online life, either.

Because I arrive at different versions of this same place every time (Hello, friends in-the-know. 😏).Even setting the perimeters to my liking did only so much for so long. It was albeit my longest blogging venture, for which I feel some sense of accomplishment, I guess, but, even this I find myself in need to lay down.

And so…I reluctantly but necessarily put aside this particular version of my blogging venture and bid a fond farewell.

I will never say never-I know myself too well for that, but I think I really need to step away without feeling the obligation to return.

To try to catch some sort of vision of a life out there and hope for His hand to lead.

Know how much I cherish each of you and the dear fellowship we have found here. You are ever in my heart and prayers. ❀

Blessings to you.

Bogged

Hey there, dear friends. I have had a lot going lately from VBS skits to welcoming a new pastor, facing renewed and new frustrations…

And I find myself…weary. Whereas there should be joy in some of those things, I find it there, but only for the moment it takes for raindrops to fleck and fade on glass.

And the frustrations are just…a lot of unwanted visitors who return again and again. I could voice my thoughts on such, and yet…

It begins to feel without any real use. I hate to term it “jaded”, but, it’s certainly edging into that territory.

And so…I go quiet.

Tight-lipped over how I really feel.

Stop all the confiding, any attempts at exhorting others, since it feels disingenuous, or seeking encouragement, since I can’t seem to allow it in the way I should.

Until…

It all bursts forth in poem eventually.😏

Now, I don’t think of this as my best attempt, and, please don’t take offense, but I am beginning to feel even this place, my beloved WordPress, is not necessarily the help it once was.

Not due to any of you, of course. This is all me.

My quiet spells and lack of concentration to keep up with everyone here are increasing, which does give me a pang of regret, as I care sincerely for each of you.

Not to mention fatigue. Realllly tired of arriving at this mindset again and again.πŸ™„

The determination not to wipe out my work here remains strong.

But the desire to write and participate is…waning.

And I don’t really want it to.

Yet…I feel it slipping out of my hands this time.

Anyway…enough spiel. Here is my latest thoughts in poem. Thanks for reading. Blessings and prayers as ever.❀

So many things to write in my brain…

Big beginnings without an end….

They rise up only to be sent

Down the proverbial drain…

Had some triumphs in these weeks,

Some lovely things of which I feel I ought rightly to speak.

Had a few mighty blows, too,

Disappointment and unsettling discoveries anew,

But sadness from such has only burrowed on through,

Tunneling in deep.

Smiles I cannot seem to keep,

But nor can I summon up theΒ  strength to weep…

No…instead, my eyes only dim with need of sleep.

I guess you could safely say

That I am trapped in once again by

This indescribable malaise,

This tiring, bogged-in-the-reeds sensation,

Like the African Queen, only without yet a summation.

It isn’t as if love is not there,

Nor joy-

In fact, I have lately had a good share.

And, of course, I know that God is always, always there.

Yet, I face some unhappy truths

Of pain, loss of energy, loss of youth.

I find despite all efforts to push on

I just don’t feel like much from dawn to dawn.

I still pick up my Bible and read with a prayerful heart,

Of more things I have pressed myself to take part,

Yet all I gain seems to fade before I can even start.

Hurt aplenty piles in,

Poor feelings I fear I nurse.

I have to ask-is this mire just my own sin,

And lack of ability to bravely take on the worse?

I don’t know.

I don’t know, and I tire of asking myself…

Perhaps it’s time all these ponderings

Be laid upon the shelf…

Please take them, Lord

And draw us into better accord…

Dangerous Deconstruction

Hello, friends. Something on my brain I can’t leave alone.

Didn’t plan a post today but, hey, I don’t really plan them anymore, anyway. 😏

No. Instead, I find it best I wait on God to tug at my shirt sleeve a few (Ok. Sometimes several, depending on how stubborn I feel.πŸ™‚) times.

Ok. So…I have been reading an awful lot in recent times about an awful lot of well-known people who once claimed or still make attempts at a claim to Christ using the word “deconstruction” in regards to their faith, the latest being Kevin Max, formerly of my beloved mainstay, DC Talk.

Not that this sort of thing is new. I must recognize this has been the sort of statement he has been edging forward in more and more over the years, especially following the DC Talk years.

But, this most recent was perhaps the most discouraging yet. To say I am sad is an understatement.

Now, this sort of thing isn’t exactly new in any faction of society-just read Paul’s epistles if you think it is-but the recent rash of it seems to be becoming more and more inflamed.

Perhaps the 24 hour social media barrage does it.

Perhaps it’s the innate hunger of humanity to be heard on every last thought, or should I say to renounce every last thought that does not fit the cancel culture du jour…πŸ™„

At any rate, it can dismay the soul to the point of weariness when each news cycle seems to spring up with another in the body of Christ extracting themselves from the fold either blatantly or through the subtle lies of “progression”.

Especially when several of these folks are dear to me, either through music I was uplifted by, sermons once preached, or wisdom once imparted in the written word.

To hear that all that has gone before is now being shrugged off in the name of deconstruction?

It’s extremely deflating.

Now, I am no stranger to deconstruction-literal or spiritual.

As to literal, in his business, I have seen my husband take sledgehammers to walls, saw an ancient tub in two to unwedge it from a miniscule bathroom, gut entire kitchens, bring down (carefully) whole ceilings.

All in the name of making something new.

But, what he never does in remodeling is rip out the solid foundation.

Similarly, when it comes to faith, I have had to participate in my share of knocking out faulty walls and yanking out poor plumbing, for sure.

Growing up in the false doctrine of the charismatic church, there was a lot of stuff built up that had no business there!

And once I found those faults, took them to the Master Contractor, and questioned them, really questioned them, there was no turning back from total gutting of the mess made.

Deconstruction. No. Rather, reconstruction.

Complete rebuild of faith. It happens. It should happen-when it needs to happen.

But, the one thing He never said must be done away with is the solid foundation of Christ and Him crucified.

The core of faith, the Word and the truth there must remain for Him to rebuild upon. No compromises.

Because, you know what a compromise in construction is? Something that endangers the stability and durability of the whole structure!

And I think in there lies the difference between what the Lord did for me and what is happening with so many public figures in Christianity.

I will never ever regret taking those doubts to the Lord and letting Him have His way. I shudder to think what I might still be in the grips of  otherwise.

So…we all have doubts. I will never knock someone for admitting to them.

But-it’s what we then do with them that counts!

For, what is happening to so many of these folks, as well as many not in the media, is a removal from the  foundation the Lord intended for us.

It brings to mind 1 Cor. 3:11: “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Sometimes, it is an abrupt shift away following a period of relative obscurity, at least in our eyes, as we stumble on yet another article we thought we’d never read.

Other times, it is a very willful, in-your-face statement. Those often include not only the word “deconstruction”, but the word that I cringe at every time-“progressive”.

(Read: moral ambiguity, approval of all manners of sin, sexual and otherwise. Iffy on scripture. Path to salvation. Whether we should even talk about one way to heaven or the reality of hell.)

Oh, friends, this should not be! Progressing in that manner is not progressing at all!

In fact, whatever is built on such a foundation is doomed to fall!

So…what do we do? What is our part?

Well, firstly, a firm renouncing of such a “Christian” walk. That is a given, even if you thought this person was cool or taught you something valuable at one time.

Let people know that that “progressive” version of “following” Christ is not the Biblical version.

That following that “cool” person in the media down that path will only lead to a deconstruction that will devastate them in the end.

But, as you navigate that, you better make sure you don’t do it from a high horse or neglect recognizing your own failings or desperate need for a savior.

We must, even as we disavow certain things, do it humbly and prayerfully.

And keep these who have shifted from the foundation fast in our hearts, in hopes that they will find their way back.

Because I have to pray that Kevin, in all his introspection, will remember the words he once sang: “there ain’t no disguisin’ the truth”.

May we all remember this truth-of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, the only path to salvation, the only covering for our sins, and the only way to live FREE of those sins.

With this our foundation and God our Master Contractor, what is built in us will stand the test of time. No deconstruction necessary. πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers!

“To Know You” on youtube

Something that is likely quite easy to guess about me is my love for honest, introspective work. I mean, I don’t try to hide it much, do I? πŸ™‚

So..safe to say, when it comes to music, when I can feel someone’s heart in their voice and their words, I am most generally sold.

Such as it was when I first heard Nichole Nordeman on my WOW CD back in the day….

Loved the rawness. Loved the honest observations.

But, I feel I must freely admit some things:

At the time I discovered her, I had also discovered another female singer/songwriter that was on the rise at the same time that compelled me just a touch more. Maybe it was because she was from my home state. I don’t know. 😏

Anyway…that meant I didn’t rank Nichole as my absolute favorite then, but rather, as just someone I dug her style and a few of her tunes enough to listen to and relate.

One of those tunes was once found worthy to hunt the split-track cassette of (Oy. Showing my age again! 😏) in order to do it for special music one Sunday back when I was less petrified to do such.

But, when that lifetime got pushed aside by divorce, some of those cassettes and CDS also got put away.

Or trashed.

A couple of them smashed, to be honest.

Oh, I had my tried and trues I’d always cling to, yes. My comfort songs. My nights tuned in to the radio so I could get a shred of sleep.

But, others? Well, they were more or less just painful reminders of the hopes and dreams that had vanished, so away they went with old photos and my first wedding dress.

Even that other home state girl? My slightly more beloved singer/songwriter?

Well, she proved to pick up her guitar and vanish from the scene herself, only to come back years later professing a sinful lifestyle in the name of Jesus. I won’t say her name, but the story lays heavy on my heart and my prayer is she will recognize her folly before it’s too late.

But, back to Nichole and why I chose to share this song today.

In my year of introspection, I have begun to revisit many things. Many times, many places, each flavored with its own sound.

This one, this which I once sang with every ounce of emotion I had, came back to me recently.

And I realized more deeply than ever the beauty of it.

That it remained the cry of my heart.

To lay it out so bare as Nichole’s lovely lyrics and voice do. To admit, yes, I struggle. I doubt.

But, above all, I really want to know You, God.

May this be the cry of all our hearts, dear friends. Have a listen and be blessed. Much love and many prayers. ❀

The Simple Truth

Hey, there, dear friends. Been managing my thoughts fairly well with the strength of my patient heavenly Father to rely on. πŸ™‚ I have actually been able to push aside my own personal cares a bit more and renew concentration on other concerns.

I’ve been pondering a lot lately on how we as humans complicate the truth of salvation, in the world as well as the church. A few thoughts I jotted down in the last couple of days on the matter…

Found myself thinking on humanity today

And all the futile efforts ever on display…

There are so many complicated ways

We aimlessly strive for heaven.

So many foolish tries derived

From the devil’s crafty leaven!

And, yes, the unchurched is bogged by its fair share of cares,

But my musings are more than equally logged by

The church itself –

With its mangled thoughts and jangled “oughts”

They increasingly demand its people to bear.

And, oh, all the sins they no longer recognize

In their vain attempts to be “progressively” wise!

They shut their eyes to the Word of God

While evoking His name on paths both twisted and broad,

“Fixing” what needs not be fixed

While ignoring the rotting within the mix…

And, oh, the tragedy of trying our hearts out

To make our hearts right by ourselves!

We bend the beauty of salvation out of shape every time,

Presuming we know which way to climb,

Straining to reach heaven by our own deed,

With our sin-stained hands

Ever searching for the remaining

While the only thing required was done,

Already won

When the Lord took pity upon our need

And for us did bleed…

If only in all our dim thinking

Into that one untangled thought we’d truly delve!

We’d find the truth.

There’d be nothing left to prove.

If only we could surrender the notion

Of knowing better,

From the ugly claws of deception

We’d find ourselves finally unfettered!

Oh, teach our hearts to be so simple, Lord!

Help us each to take your

Uncomplicated offer on faith

And learn to rightly carry it forward,

Finding in You the endurance to stand,

Resting in the assurance of eternity’s hand.

A sweet guarantee indeed,

When once we see from all humanity’s been freed!

May we hold onto and hold out to others the simple truth of salvation in Christ! Blessings and prayers! Thanks for reading! ❀

“The Message – 4Him

Firstly, let me thank you, dear friends, for the prayers and support after I shared my struggles here last time we met.

There are things yet to sort through and only time will tell how my situation will progress, but I am seeing breakthroughs and finding avenues to express my concerns while keeping in mind the desire to minister.

Ok. So…onto what my title refers to. Here comes yet another group that anchored me in my teens and twenties…

Safe to say, if you haven’t figured it out already, I have always listened to a LOT of music-each with its own flavor. πŸ™‚

4Him captured my attention from the first time a cassette tape of “The Basics of Life” was played for me by a high school acquaintance. I just had to have my own copy, along with everything they produced thereafter.

The authenticity and passion combined with these four beautiful voices inspired my hunger for more of Christ. Every tune seemed to point the way and I eagerly followed.

I can well recall being up to wee hours devouring one book of my Bible after another while their music played in the background.

Sometimes, I could even be caught singing along. 😏

I still remember a time my dad was home from the road one night and embarrassed me to no end knocking on my door to tell me how neat it was to hear me singing along with those guys. Maybe it was also a kind hint I might dial down on volume, but, at any rate, I think it was the compliment that threw me. πŸ™‚

Oh, it’s a nice memory, to be sure.

I think it just felt like a very private session between me and God exposed for a minute there. My relationship with my folks was beginning to mend by then, but was still often uncertain, almost awkward.

Anyway…we did wind up having a brief but good chat about where my faith was heading. And I turned back to my music further bolstered ( and turned down the volume a touch.πŸ˜‰).

And so, I continued on. Grew up. Sort of….

And, over the years, through the numerous hills I climbed and valleys I found myself in, there were my many 4Him cassettes and CDs to hold onto, usually put in and cranked over the uglier noises in my world to stir my heart on (Maybe that accounted for my fixation with the volume…😏).

Now…when it comes to choice of song to best represent my love of 4Him to you, I am once again in such a quandary.

So many of their songs speak so much to me.

In the end, I went with what convicts my heart most at present.

For, in the end, whatever I am dealing with now and whatever comes down the pike later on, my heart is to live a message.

One of faith.

One of truth.

To make my life stand as this group’s name testifies to…

For Him.

Listen, be stirred, be inspired to live such a message.

Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❀

A Time to Refrain

Had to dig waaaay back in my archives for this one, friends. It touched on a situation that was rather painful.

Then, it actually faded away for a time. I thought it was done.

Ah, but, now, in this last year, it has come back full force.

I find myself alternately weeping to God and aching inside with bitterness as I watch the one dearest to me, my second chance at life and love, put others ahead of me.

Not helpful in my depressive state, to say the least!

Perhaps, another major contributing factor, truth be known.

For my discernment still screams caution in big red letters while his seems to say plunge ahead. Way ahead.

And either drag me along or abandon me to my unkind little self.

Oh, just that word “abandon”…πŸ˜”

My every fiber shakes at it.

Now, I fret at moments that it all does just boil down to my social anxiety and massive struggles to trust.

My dear one seems to attribute all to that, too.

Yet…there are things and situations clearly and not-so-clearly crossing boundaries that I feel I should be assertive enough to say are just not cool to me without accusations of inhospitality.

I have received advice from a dear friend or two stating as much, leading me to believe maybe it’s not just that I am crazy or antisocial.

Maybe there is something to it.

But, as the situation drags on….

And on…and my feelings feel more and more back-seated….

I find I am feeling too weary to fight and to try drawing more lines, knowing they will only be erased….

At any rate, enough jabber. Click the link and read on if you’re so inclined. And keep me in prayer as I continue to navigate this incredibly tricky season.

And my apologies if I seem really vague. I just can’t spell it all out here. It’s just…too much.

Anyway, thank you. Blessings and prayers as ever, dear friends. ❀

https://alwaysajesusgirl.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/a-time-to-refrain/