He’s Alive

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!

This is a song this blessed Sunday celebration is incomplete without for me.

Listen, sing along, and rejoice with me!

He died and and He rose again for each of us to be free!!

Hallelujah!

Blessings and prayers to you today and always, dear friends! ❤

A Social Gospel?

As Resurrection Sunday approaches, my mind naturally inclines to Calvary, to the glorious and complete redemption there.

But- it further goes to the churches in our land of late.

To pondering what the sermons across the country will consist of…

Will humble gratitude for the cross prevail?

Will a brokenness over the broken body of our Savior have its proper place?

Or will the disturbing trend for feel-goodism be front and center?

It can be a blatant parade of back-patting and busy work, a focus firmly centered on egg hiding and hunting and new clothes…

Or it can be more subtle, a type of gladness without the substance.

Doing the things because we always do the things, but all without pausing to contemplate why we do the things…

Or, sometimes, even if they are God’s things!

Yes, indeed, speaking His name, singing His praise,and doing good unto others can most definitely be His things!

But, then, there is also speaking His name in an attempt to gain His endorsement over sin, doing what we call good deeds that do not a thing for someone’s eternal destiny, aligning with what we deem the “correct” culture that has not a hint of Biblical correctness or an understanding of what mercy really means, and singing in a soulful, hip sort of way, but rarely inviting Him further than our lips…

It is a something that has infiltrated our churches at an alarming rate.

I did not coin this phrase, but it well suits where we are-

What we are far too often presenting is:

A social gospel.

An attempt to “cool” up and make “user friendly” the message of Christ that strips all the meaning.

And it sure doesn’t have to be Resurrection Sunday to see it.

But this season we celebrate His indescribably beautiful sacrifice to us does emphasize for me the disparity existing far too often between the soul of the church and the soul of the Lord…

So, all that spiel to say I offer you a perhaps different something to think on this Good Friday.

A list, if you will, of what the Gospel is and is not about…

It’s not about being cool.

It’s about being faithful.

It’s not about putting a happy face

To every gritty ounce of grace.

It isn’t the nod to embrace

The filth of our sin.

Rather, it is the precious breaking of

Those terrible bonds

Our mind must stay upon.

The cross must brutally remind

Of the Salvation we could not

Ourselves find…

Sundays of lapping up a self-soothing

Phrase,

Cannot cure the disease of humanity’s

Vacant glaze.

For your belly with fill for a while;

You might even dare a smile.

But the hollow, sin-shrunken frame

Stays on your back mile for mile…

You trade true freedom

For endless, useless scrabbling,

A weak, powerless strum

Over allowing Jesus in to blast away

All the wastelands you’re still

Inhabiting!

“But, I want to feel good, ” a grumble

Rises in the crowd,

“Jesus means all I do and all I am is

Stamped approved!

Let me float on my mellow cloud

And the rest of you can just sit there

Letting your Bible and your truth bog

Down your mood…”

“Ah, but friend,” comes the pleading

Reply.

“There is but one Bible. One truth. One Christ.

Christianity has never meant you’ll

Feel good for always-

Not in this life, anyway…

It’s about Jesus taking on the

Degradation we could not will away.

Not that we might stay in it,

But that He could split the veil

And show us a better way….

It is about endurance of hope

In the recognition of every high and

Low.

It’s about denying self and taking up

One’s cross,

Knowing the depth of His love

Covers every cost.

It is mercy, to be sure.

But blended perfectly with His

Holiness,

And this alone, church,

Must be our answer-no compromise!

For only in His truth do we begin to recognize

Desperate humanity’s cure….

May we hold fast to His truth this Resurrection season and always! Blessings and prayers on your Good Friday, dear friends! ❤

“”Prepare Ye” ~ Godspell (1973)”

Hey, there! Not a lot of spiel. Just a song I adore and that seems so right for today.

I was first introduced to Godspell as a kid. My mom cringes at musicals but my dad and I could watch them all day.

He knew this one had its fair share of imperfections in fully retelling the story of Jesus but he also knew the music and the enthusiasm would capture me. And so it did. Hope you enjoy. Blessings and prayers this Palm Sunday. ❤

The Better Ground

Hey, dear friends! Last night was another Wednesday, another gathering with our youth.

We managed a little pizza making, a bit of fun, a precious piece of worship, and a life-giving morsel of challenge to persevere in walking upright and in gratitude with the Lord.

And, for myself, I even experienced a slight expansion of tolerance for some of the situations weighing so heavily on me.

It’s not major shifts in my world or circumstances, but, rather, a step by step sort of journey, as I highly suspected it would be. In other words, God is beginning to move as I begin to allow His hand on me in this season of rebirth. A few words of pondering on the process…

The Better Ground

It’s a tough and a tender surrender,

A slow ache in the soul

Of the careful pretender.

Yet, there is a deeper goodness to be

Found

As I learn my Keeper always guides to

The better ground.

Not to say there is a sudden absence

Of pain in the climb

Nor that I don’t weary of

Drumming rain and the dull drag of

Time.

But, as He ministers lifebread along

The way,

Calling out both rest’s sweet

Deliverance

And the urge to seek the crest

With feet of forebearance,

I am gratefully discovering

I am sustained yet another day….

May we each allow the Lord to keep us and guide us in the climb. And may we seek both the perseverance and the gratitude needed. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading! ❤

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. 😉

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. 🙂

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. 🙄

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 church🙂) 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 Chase

Hey, there, friends! I thought it was time I chimed in for a moment to reassure you I am in the land of the living.

Doing the wife and mom thing 24/7, doing the cooking for an amazing passel of youth on Wednesdays, and doing an awful lot of introspection in- between.

On things like purpose, God’s plans, and the circuitous way life can often go when desperately chasing those things.

Or, when you just think you are. 😏

It gives me a laugh, albeit a slightly rueful one, to realize how often He has to show me He is not done with breathing the breathe of life on me, nor equipping and encouraging me.

And, yet, I often seem to take a little breath of my own, ruminate on the vision He is placing in front of me, and shake my foolish head. And then, I dare to petulantly remind Him of my tattered rags, my awkward ways, and do what I do best….

Run! (Figuratively speaking, of course😉)

How easily I forget what He has done before and what He can do again!

The lists of “look what He’s done for me’s” stretch behind me like parchments curling for miles!

Redemption of family.

Healing of hearts.

Breakthroughs and bounties beyond imagination.

Sure, there were looming anxieties pursuing me then and new ones cropping up now…

BUT-there is STILL Jesus.

He never abdicates the throne nor neglects His precious own!

He is the joy-giver whatever the world comes at you with!

And I know this. As in, have ample experience with this!

Yet, how quickly do I dismiss leaning on this joy that abides despite circumstance!

How often do I find myself bogged in a fretful state instead of seeking solace in His arms!

Far too often, friends!

That said, I do find myself in recent days swapping thoughts with the Lord.

Feeling His delight and finding dappled moments of my own.

And, perhaps, finally beginning to reawaken to my sense of purpose in Him.

Now, I’d still characterize myself a “functioning” depressive. It’s hard to face many days, yet facing them I am.

But not alone, mind you! The sweet Lord is there, handing me the key.

For, in Him, I am realizing that, yes, there is a somber shadow cast on my soul that is just there. And just going to be.

But, that is not necessarily bad.

For, strangely, it is one that is not without a purpose of its own.

For, in many ways, the shadow is really just a piece of how it feels to rest in His wings.

In them, He reminds me we need the deep thinkers in this world, the grievers of our times, the ones that recognize where we’re at and why.

And He counts me among them.

Not to be superior nor to scold without tempering in love.

Rather, to alert us these are grave days we are in. We are nearer and nearer to His return by the day.

Salvation is at hand. And it is imperative we both take it to heart and share the truth with others while we yet may.

Now, risk of walking in this shadow comes in allowing satan to twist the reasons for the weeping, to become distracted from the cause God has in mind, and to be lured away from the protective cover of His wings to the true darkness beyond.

For, then, we are prone to surrender to the assaults the world flings at our souls.

Not to mention there is the temptation to chase our own tail in the process!

But-the rewards in the shadow? Ah, the rewards!

Life and life eternal in the presence of our most Holy Lord!

For He alone is infinitely worth every moment of the chase; all the rest the heart clamors for is merely temporal!

And…

Speaking of chasing…

The following song has been known to me a long while, but only recently popped back on my radar.

I first heard it at a concert Andrew Peterson was opening for. The simple honesty of it resonated in my aching heart then and it still does now. Perhaps, even more so.

Have a listen and be blessed, dear friends! Thank you for the prayers! I can definitely feel them! Know that you always have mine, too. ❤

Wherever the Road

Hey, dear friends. Wanted to be back to some in-depth writing. Didn’t want this to be a prolonged break…but, looks like it will be. I just can’t seem to summon up anything but the dreariness I have been facing…and this space isn’t intended to be about that. It’s in the byline-It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

So…all this to say this honest little bit of poetry is my final piece to you- for a while. I hope to come back down the road a ways.

Thank you for your love, prayers, and concern. Know I hold the same for you in my heart.

I can’t do this anymore…

At least, not for quite a while.

Not packing up exactly,

Not erasing these efforts as in days past

Nor leaving an empty store.

To that determination I’m holding fast.

Just…can’t keep coming here right now

With my dialed-in smile.

Feels like any could spot it as a fake

For half a mile.

Nor can I keep comfortably coming,

Wagging this laundry bag of sorrow

And try to claim it’ll be scrubbed

Bright for the morrow.

Right now…it’s just not.

And I am caught

Without a pretty phrase left to my coffers.

No ready cheer, no heady offers.

So…it’s silence for the time being.

Not sure how long

Nor what this round of solitude will bring.

All I do know is that

I know Jesus is wherever the road takes me.

All I can rest in is that He never forsakes me…

And so He never forsakes any of us.

Until such a time as I feel He’s calling me back to this space…

Thanks for reading. Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends. ❤

At the Well

It’s been a long while since I really spoke of my hurt.

It occurred to me recently that many of you newer readers may not even know that much about it beyond snippets still given here and there.

A dig through the more distant reaches of my archives would enlighten, of course.

And I can make it more convenient by indicating that you may click here for perhaps the best rundown, if so inclined.

But, overall, there are reasons I resist touching too much on it.

I haven’t wanted to feel as though I am eliciting sympathy or sinking down into the past and staying there.

I also don’t want to dip into any unfair comparisons from past to present.

Insecurity has a way of painting everything in dark, foreboding shades.

What may, in fact, be unintentional on the part of a loved one now looks like the same heart-shattering experience as before when glimpsed through the lens of an oft-wounded soul.

Still, I am nothing if not honest here.

The fact is, though I speak often of “Be still and know that I am God”-something I am truly striving to live in the light of every day-there is a growing melancholy weighing on my heart at present.

A deep-seated sadness settling in that is stealing at my ability to rightly express it.

Depression has long been with me, mind you. We are certainly not strangers.

More than once, it nearly snuffed the life out of me, in fact.

Now, it is something that hovers in the background and makes itself known by turns.

Right now? It’s a “making itself known” season.

I fight to go to sleep with this heaviness these days, reawakening frequently, an unidentifiable fear cloaking me in the midslumber haze.

Where it is coming from, I can cast about a few ambiguous notions, but, where there are some aspects of my life to definitively point to as a source, I can’t necessarily call too much of it concrete.

Is it all rooted in my past, so littered as it is by abuse and abandonment?

Or is it my ever-present anxiety over signs that such pain, real or no, is or is about to revisit me?

Angry shouts do ring in my head long after they have ceased and have an unfortunate tendency to visit me in my dreams.

It’s quite the challenge to rest my soul in any “it is well” feeling, even when life is managing fairly pleasantly, let alone when it is not.

For there is the nearly constant question mark in my head:

“When’s the next time the wounding will come?”

How will it come?”

And-“Will I be able to sustain myself following it?”

Now, there are days I can rightly shove this aside and recall to myself just Who my sustainer is.

Most days, in fact.

But, other days?

Ah, other days, I find myself forgetting.

Perhaps, it is the old recordings in my head getting louder, stating in dismissive tones how try as I might, I’m still just no good.

A loser.

A wimp.

A tramp.

Unwanted.

Unworthy.

Unable.

And I know that I know that that is most emphatically not true-not in God’s eyes!

But…circumstances make my hands slow to switch off the tape sometimes.

So…what do I do?

Dig myself further in one way or another.

Either into deeper wells of sorrow, cranking up that ugly noise and feeding upon the slow death of it.

Not a good thing!

Or…the better part-

I dig in deeper to prayer.

To worship.

To His words-to me and for me.

The far superior well to spend my time in by far!

Full of Living Water ready for the drinking in.

Bread of Life to feed upon.

Brothers and sisters that come alongside and nourish you even further in encouraging words.

And, of course, The One who intimately knows sorrow to carry the burden of it beside me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t still feel what I feel.

There’s a funny little truth about hurt.

It does not disappear in a snap.

Painful memories are long and thoughts often remain reactionary.

Trust is a shaky rope bridge at best.

Time to heal is key and, even then, some scars are prominent.

But, in that gift that is time, wounds can be eased, joys resurrected, trust finds firmer feet, and life continues on…

With all its seasons of delight and grief, smooth planes and blessed bumps alike.

Not absent of hurt by any means.

But, perhaps, richer for it.

Whatever season you find yourself in, dear friends, may you find the well full of the riches of life in the Lord! Blessings and prayers! ❤

Our Job

I could say a lot of things today. There remains so much…unrest. Not the first instance, of course, and certainly won’t be the last.

But, I don’t think this particular bout will leave us anytime soon, sadly. And I believe it grieves the Lord’s heart.

Contrary to popular belief, His intent for us is not to stand on harsh rhetoric and self-righteousness.

Rather, it is truth- in love.

Again, I could say a lot of things. But, I won’t.

That whole truth in love thing…it’s really important.

So….I will be obedient to that.

All He really desires of me today, it seems, is to point out one key thing:

We are all so frail.

So terribly, remarkably…human.

Far too prone to pick up the hammer in our unskilled hands and make a mess trying to fix this broken world ourselves-as if it’s our job!

Far too prone to forget there is One who already came along, gathered our shambles, and did it better -did it completely, in fact-with three nails and two rough planks of wood…😉

And demonstrated to us just why this job is not ours, but His.

So, with a snippet of humor here and a sly dig there (trust me, I feel some elbow in my ribs, too 🙂), plus a fair amount of His amazing grace to soothe it all, let me remind us what our job really is…

We are such carnal beings,

In slouchy suits

And muddy boots,

Everything seeming such vital things,

But how easily we forget all but one is temporary!

And we are ever so wrong

When we flex muscles

And throw about colorful verbiage in a tussle,

Daring to call ourselves strong-

There’s ample evidence to the contrary!😏

And woe to us when we pretend

It is within our puny power

To save the world with all its myriads of trouble!

Let me just gently but decidedly burst

That particular bubble:

It’s not.

Psst.

It’s not even our job. 😮

“But-but, I must!

It’s on us!” comes the sob.

Yes, the price of sin is ours;

No doubt, it’s our degradation the air sours,

But, remember, friend, our salvation’s

Already been bought!

For Jesus Christ paid it all,

With all that is most dear.

With each precious drop of blood

He answered our anguished call,

Taking on our fight

And making it so we might

Face eternity without fear!

If only we’d lay down the unwieldy

Hammers of our fumbled sense

And just accept our job is to accept His love fulfilled!

For, the cross is full of evidence

Of just how agonizingly,

Yet so perfectly it was unfurled!

And, then, the task becomes to go

Share this happy truth with others,

Let His love and joy in every corner of earth spill,

Shining light to both friend and foe,

And, thereby, let Jesus be the One to

Save this broken world…

Remember, Jesus is still Jesus, my dear friends! We may be fallible, but He is mighty to save and that never changes no matter what else does! Let Him be your strength this day and every day! Blessings and prayers! ❤

Watch “Sonicflood – Holiness (feat Wilshire)” on YouTube

Yes, back to share another song.

What, Marisa?

This quickly? You usually space them out…

Ok, yes, I know. But, I was honestly in a soul searching sort of mood this evening.

Everyone else is busy. So, I turned to some music from my early twenties.

And I recalled why this song meant so much to me then and why it is still so significant today.

For holiness, faithfulness, and brokenness are far too absent in us right now.

Seeking His will above our own is missing in action as well.

As a world.

As a nation.

As those who profess the holy name of Jesus.

We have forgotten how to take up this cry for much too long in our brash, shoot-our-mouths-off-as-we-please, push-and-shove-for-our-way society.

May we learn to take it up again, Lord!

Have a listen, dear friends, and feel inspired by the simple words and lovely melody to seek His face.

Blessings and prayers. ❤