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! ❀

In the Light

Hello, there, dear friends! I have been continuing on, digging deep into my heart, searching the Word, searching my soul.

Listening to a lot of tunes, one of which I will share below when I am done rambling. πŸ˜‰

Anyway….really, essentially, I am working a lot on who I am in Him and what He has for me…

I turned 43 last month…and I feel it-if not significantly more.

No…you didn’t miss it.

I purposefully did not disclose the day here or with many in my offline world. No offense, but I just didn’t feel like it. πŸ™‚

It’s not a tragedy or anything. It’s a testament to how far He has brought me, really.

Yet…I have found myself less than thrilled with it.😏

Now, I hestitate to deem this a typical “midlife” crisis though it has many of the earmarks.

I find myself wondering often if I’m enough.

Am I doing enough?

Am I being enough?

Despite my rep for cooking for and hanging out with our little youth group, I am also famously reclusive here in my little town.

A big part of that is due to the physical limitations…

And other parts?

Mentally, emotionally, socially?

It’s just…who I am.

I dearly, dearly love people. I care from the depths of my soul.

Empathy is a major component He has placed on my heart, as is intercessory prayer.

Yet…I really intensely struggle to be around many people for very long. Some folks I feel downright uncharitable about. And it’s getting more profound the more years I add.

And that is just being around them. Forget engaging in conversation!

It’s disconcerting. I waffle between feeling the need to apologize for myself and to defend my oft-noted, very introverted territory.

And, sadly, I am just as well known for the list of “I can’ts” or “can’t anymores”, as the case may be.

Driving.

Traditional employment.

Being on my feet too long or on any uncertain terrain.

Climbing.

Running.

Dancing.

Lifting things of any significant weight.

Opening jars.

Sit-ups.

Being in a crowd.

Holding an infant in my arms.

Wrangling toddlers.

Selling books.

Selling myself. πŸ™„

And that is but a partial list.

I’d write more, but that’d belabor the point.

It can be a tad depressing to read, to be sure.

And, yet…lately, I have begun to ask myself: do I use it as a crutch?

Oof.

Dare I admit it can become an… excuse?

A way to not have to push myself beyond comfortable bounds?

I don’t know.

Perhaps.

Can lingering on my fears and tucking myself in tight to my limitations become an actual…sin?

Oh, dangerous territory indeed, especially to an ex-charismaniac!

So much of the belief system prescribed in the name-it-and-claim-it crowd depends on only talking positivity over oneself and calling all sorts of things that are not as though they are. As if the power rests alone in my little, feeble hands!

I don’t want to go back to those places in my mind that displace a sovereign God. Ever.

Too often did I browbeat myself for not “stepping out” in some things-certain it proved a severe “lack of faith” not to believe I was going to be absolutely in divine health and prosperity because God told me to declare it so.

Never mind some thorns in our sides are not necessarily meant to be removed.😏

But, in that, Paul still went out and did what God had for him to do.

So…it stands to reason God asks me to do so, too.

But exactly what?

There were times in my life I thought I knew.Now? Everything, every wheel turning in my brain, every joint in my body feels…rusty.

So…the search for the what goes on, if a bit slowly. I have ideas in baby form, but are they mine or are they God’s?

Well…

I guess I’ll know it when I land on it.

But, to land on it, I will have to keep venturing, even with the protest choir crying in the back of my head.😏

Because if there is one thing I want, it’s to pull away from these hinderances that bog me down in sin and self-loathing.

I want to be in the light, as He is in the light.

And I have to learn to accept the thorn in my side at the same time as I seek the ways He has for me to live in His light.

And this introduces to the promised song, straight from another beloved 90’s Christian Band, DC Talk.

Oh, how many days did they inspire my soul!

Would that I could just share their entire catalog.

So, so many of their songs resonate from The Hard Way to Jesus Freak, from What if I Stumble? (That long, long ago in a galaxy far away I sang as a duet at churchπŸ™‚) to Consume Me.

But, this week, In the Light and its raw, powerful lyrics stir me in particular. This is my heart’s cry, in fact. May it be all of ours. Have a listen and draw near to His light. Blessings and prayers. And I thank you for yours. ❀

The Onus

Hello, there! I had jotted down the first few lines of this one quite some time ago but could not find a finish till now.

It is easy to despair the state of our world and allow these cares to distract us from the mission we all have as His children. I pray we do not abandon His call to share the gospel, especially in this season where hope and healing are so desperately needed. May these few simple lines stir our hearts…

Why should we be surprised

When lost people act lost?

When their blinded eyes

Don’t recognize Calvary’s cost?

It’s dismaying,

The things they’re doing and saying,

There’s no doubt.

Yet, these heartwrenching things

They are displaying?

It’s often the inclination they know

The most about.

Never to excuse, mind you.

God’s truth is in every bit of creation

Calling out to draw and to woo.

But, believers, I feel I must say,

The burden to share Jesus

Is on us;

The onus is on us to point the way.

And, then, it is for us to stay,

Not to neglect to disciple and to pray,

But, rather, with humbleness of heart

To be a willing part,

Of seeing His filling impart,

Springing new life out of the decay.

May we indeed be about His business, sharing the truth of Jesus with those in need! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading! ❀

There is Always Jesus

Hey, there, dear friends! School is complete for the semester and working on getting my brain in gear for exploring beloved words again.

This is just a little snippet that popped in my head. The phrase “There is always Jesus.” came to soothe my anxious heart in a downtrodden moment and it grew from that to a few simple lines I wanted to encourage you with as this uncertain path we’re on continues to unfold...

December.

As I survey the sustained chaos this month brings,

A few thoughts skitter and timelessness rings:

December.

A season of deepening chill,

A season of sweetest joy.

Flip on the screen these days

And ugly rancor rolls unabated;

Christmas or no,

It’ll still swiftly give you its fill….πŸ™„

Ah, but turn to the truth of His Word

And find unblemished peace and love

To miraculously pour into the aching void…

For, there is always Jesus, friends,

Whatever scrolls across our lives and our feeds.

Blessed babe come to earth, ready to receive us without end,

If only we can shed the tugs of this manic world

And to His tender, urgent call give heed…

May we indeed learn when to shut off the screens, open our Bibles, and give heed to His call! Where this world will soon pass away, seeking Him while we may is our life and breath! Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends! May you each know the incomparable joy of this season! 😊❀

Jesus Is Not Your Political Patron

All day I have thought I ought to have something to say. It’s an important day in our nation, after all.

Now, it’s late evening in Kansas and I finally realized I really have nothing new to say.

And where I could feel bad about that, I can hear God saying it’s ok.

And to instead reshare these truths I feel He gave me to encourage us all to keep our hearts centered on what is right.

For, come what may, He is yet on His throne, our Savior-our one and only Savior-sitting at His right hand.

And the Holy Spirit remains our comfort, peace, and ready guide-whatever our future looks like.

These things are where our focus ought to lie, my friends.

So… ok, yes, I had a little smidge to say, apparently… 😏

But, enough now. Follow the link for a (re)read of my thoughts on the whole political matter at hand…

Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Remember He is in control! ❀

https://alwaysajesusgirl.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/jesus-is-not-your-political-patron/

Jesus Is Not Your Political Patron

Something in my craw again, friends….

People need Jesus.

They really need Him.

Far more than any political ideology.

Much more than the pontificating of men.

We each seem so determined to snatch Him for our “side”.

“Jesus would do this.”

“Jesus would say that.”

“He would march for this cause.”

“No. He’d be over here, wearing this sort of hat.”

“Jesus is a staunch conservative,” spouts the one with furrowed brow.

“No. Jesus is a compassionate progressive,” passionately argues the other.

“There’s only one way in this political climate today

That He would choose to live!” both in unison now. πŸ™„

Oh. Brother.

Friends, respectfully, I have heard it all.

And I do believe it grieves our Lord when we commandeer His name for

The sake of what we call

Being on the correct team,

Or so we dare lay claim.

Rare is the consult into scripture

For this lofty thought of ourselves.

Even rarer is the consent to mature

Beyond the clamoring ideologues’ bookshelves.

For, if we ventured to study with open hearts

The Gospel of our Savior,

We’d see His agenda was vastly apart

From our bickering, backbiting behavior.

For His purpose and plan

Was never about setting up our political ideal in this time!

Like the Jews of old clamoring for a kingly man

We have somewhere fallen off the line!

“Look, Father, I fought for legislation,”

We say.

“My sole focus is redeeming the loss of my nation.

Are you not proud?”

Oh, I think where that has a bit of merit, my friend,

I further think we’d be shocked at His dismay…

“For, what about souls?” He asks. “I am looking for lost souls.

Share the cross with the hurting ones;

Draw them from the darkness to the Son.

That was, is, and always will be the goal!

Until Jesus returns,

For this task may your hearts burn!”

“Yes, I love a nation that seeks My face,”

He says.

“But, how can they when all that’s shouted

Is how to build its laws to favor?

And none but a paltry syllable about

How to repent and meet my Son, their Savior?

Time is drawing nigh, my children.

In a blink it’ll be too late to warn anymore!

Getting your way in the government never showed anyone their sin!

But, truth spoken in My love

Just might bring them yet to My door!”

Ok. That’s out of my craw…for now. πŸ˜‰In this tumultuous season, may we eschew politics as usual and focus on sharing Christ and Him crucified. Thanks very much for reading! Blessings and Prayers!

Serving Up His Love

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

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.

πŸ˜‰)

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

A Gideon sort of reduction, perhaps? πŸ€”πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰

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!

A Time to Refrain

There is a time for everything under heaven, according to Ecclesiastes 3:1.

But, the knowing of what to do and when is sometimes like peering into the fog.

Everything is murky from intentions to executions thereof when mist shrouds judgment.

Such has something in my life been of late…

This situation, of which the particulars matter not here, has arisen of the longing to help an individual who is in desperate need.

Frankly, I was not first to see it. I, shamefully, had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it.

Mostly for the fact pieces of said situation pierced at tender points in my past.

Causing surprisingly bitter rancor to ooze out as a result.

After all this time and all these years…

It tasted terrible!

Would that I had immediately spat it out as such, but there is something about resentment.

It’s hard to extract once begun.

So, some of me feels I should do penance, so to speak, for having the capacity yet for such hateful thoughts.

I should care more, I chided myself recently.

I worked on caring more.

Time and again pleading with the Lord to take away the acidic sensations inside, to replace it with the compassion I knew I ought to have.

I did things I didn’t necessarily feel motivated to do for this individual but knew needed to be done, praying my feelings would fall in line with this painful obedience to His call.

I struggled and strived to yank back the drapes tightly held on my soul to begin letting this person in, to open the door for my dearly loved partner in these mercies to move more freely, as he wished.

Then, just as I began to feel like we were all rounding a corner, unhappy truths began to stare me in the face.

Inklings I had had instincts on, but feared to voice out of a sense it would just be my mixed emotions talking, or, at least, be perceived so.

Yet, red alerts would continually blink at me none the less.

I gave them over to God, begging for wisdom, only to take them back, fretting my way through them for a while before beginning the process over again.

Finally, I surveyed the need and the recurring cancer of it despite all our efforts, and saw clearly what God was telling me.

It was time to refrain.

Not for my petty complaints. Not out of spite.

But for the sake of this individual who took our help, our love of the Lord, and seemed to accept it.

Yet, enacted no lasting change.

Not for herself or for those the Lord entrusted her with.

So…just this week came a time to put one foot in front of the other, take some needed actions, and put some distance between us.

But-

Without the shadows of anger humming over us as before.

Rather, with the Lord’s love and prayers between us.

My heart contracts with the heaviness of it all.

After all, God does direct us to answer need when it’s right in front of us, does He not?

Yet, there does also come that place when we must recognize assisting has tipped into enabling, leaving help a rather moot point.

And, for the sake of love, He directs us to walk away.

I pray this is a not-for-always.

I pray the seeds planted will still one day sprout.

But, whether it is us or another to do the watering, I cannot say.

Only the Keeper of Time has it all in His hand.

The whens, whats, and whys are all there. We need only trust the Lord in the fog and He will make it clear.

In His time. πŸ™‚

Prayers and blessings, friends! May we all seek to hold on to Him and allow Him to direct us through all our various times.

When Need Comes Knocking on Your Door

Visions of youth ministry have always played large parts in my adult life.

I think it comes of the fact that, despite my introverted ways, I longed to reach out to help those who’d hurt like me.

Now, there were several opportunities in the “traditional” molds over the years. For a while there, it seemed it would be THE mission.

Most chances were dashed to bits, however. Often the catalyst was immaturity– my marriage’s, my first husband’s, and, yes, much to my chagrin, my own. πŸ™„

Following our separation and eventual divorce, I drew big red lines through such dreams like mistaken passages in a manuscript.

Obviously, I was wrong about the call on my life. Apparently, I didn’t do anybody any good, least of all myself.

I adapted my hopes to teaching toddlers, but that was more or less so my children and I could continue to have a roof over our heads.

Ministry was no longer really on my mind then.

Though, looking back seven years after my retirement from the classroom, I see that the way God allowed me to love on those kids was, in fact, ministry…

And that brings me to the point I wish to make now. But, first, a little further background. Bear with me, folks πŸ˜‰:

Nearly eight years ago, I found myself sinking in the mire of online dating and a gripping depression I’d not experienced since the earliest days of single motherhood.

I was near to throwing out my profile and, honestly, my computer altogether when God allowed me to see one more profile-the unique and Godly man who eventually said “I do” to me and the hectic world a single mom of special needs kids naturally inhabits. Not just “I do”, really, but an “I do” replete with generosity and good humor. 😊

He, too, had seen much pain, some of it in ways similar to my own, some in ways I can never fully imagine despite the years of knowing his story ( Would love to tell it here at some point with his permission. πŸ™‚).

Anyway…safe to say the Lord came through as only He can, offering us a second chance at love!

Ah, but not just in marriage. But, also, as it turns out, in co-laborers who have a yearning to minister, especially to the young.

So… suddenly, there was a rebirth of old dreams, a uniting of one another’s.

Oh, it wasn’t necessarily a let’s-drop-everything-and-go-to-seminary stirring.

He was a truck driver in those days; I found myself rather quickly a stay-at-home mom out of necessity.

But, there was that knowing there was something He had for us to do together.

We didn’t know exactly how or when, but we felt sure of a call.

Many events tumbled out over the years. A blending of families, a dilapidated country home, job loss, a business begun, a lot of writing…

And yet, no definitive answer to the question of ministering seemed to show itself.

We had hopes of a property behind us being transformed into a big youth center, but lack of money and an abundance of windstorms begged to differ. πŸ™‚

Oh, we’d volunteer at children’s church, sometimes VBS.

In the last two years, we have even begun pitching in with our small community youth group.

Mostly doing the meals and clean up after, occasionally taking the opportunity to share some testimony, as well as lending our middle son to percussion for our rather modest worship time.

Doesn’t necessarily sound like everything we dreamt of.

And, yet…

What constitutes a ministry, anyway?

Is it a state-of-the-art building?

A worship band complete with strobe lights and smoke machines?

Is it crowds of teens enthralled by your words?

An activity-filled roster or a fancy camp to take them to?

Or…. is it simply meeting the ones He brings to you where they are?

Feeding the bodies of busy latch- key kiddos and listening to the anxieties of the day?

Giving them an encouragement from scripture for the week?

Supplying them a new song to sing to the Lord?

A phone number to call or an open door to knock on when those anxieties crop up beyond their capabilities to deal?

Ah. The seemingly small acts of life. πŸ™‚ But, all necessary components in His kingdom, I am learning.

For, you see, beyond the Wednesday to Wednesday, this dilapidated house of ours has become a lot less than the Green Acres it was ( literally, thanks to my handy husband ☺️) and more the place for drop-ins.

A safe space to have a cookie.

A conversation.

A cry.

Not to mention jam sessions, acting lessons, building projects, and, best of all, deep Biblical discussions. ☺️

Many things I love to be sure, but things that don’t really look like the norm of ministry or what I expected His call on us might mean.

Even a few things, despite the love I just professed, that the introverted me has had to make room for at times, to be honest!

But, suffice to say, I am finding He will direct us to the places He can use us most and equip us for the call, whatever it looks like.

When we are obedient to answer the need knocking on our door, that is. πŸ˜‰

What needs are knocking at your door, friends? I pray we can all discover what they are and seek His strength to answer. God bless!