Category Archives: peace

I need You

photolibrary_rm_photo_of_baby_sleeping_close_up

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
John 16:24

There is something about a sleeping baby that fills my heart with such joy.  As I watch our little one sleeping so peacefully, I am reminded the joy, the happiness, the delight in my heart isn’t just a happy emotion.  That kind of joy, that happiness is fleeting. It lasts only for that speck of time.  Rocking her to sleep, relishing that moment of joy, I find myself humming “Lord, I Need You” to the sleepy little one snuggled in my arms.  Every single need of this precious little one is dependent on someone else to supply.  Her honest needings remind me of how much I need to lean into Him, how much I need to depend on my Father  . . . not just when I “need” Him, but every moment of every hour of every day.

I need Him in my joys and in my time of need.  I need Him when I’m strong and when I feel weak.  I need Him moment by moment. He is my one defense, He is my righteousness. 

Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice—deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete. (from Jesus Calling)


(click to play “Lord, I need You” – Matt Maher)

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

hold my hand

child-holding-fathers-hand

 He knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
Daniel 2:22


Fear according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

fear

noun

: an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger : a feeling of being afraid

: a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful


Some fears can be healthy, protecting me from something that could be potentially dangerous.  But other fears cause me to think and react irrationally, becoming imprisoned by whatever it is that is causing me such an adversion.  This kind of fear can even keep me from obeying God, from hearing the Spirit speak to me, from feeling His pricking at my heart.

Instead of running or hiding from this emotion called fear, I need to go to the words spoken in Daniel 2:22.  There is no mystery with God and he’s never surprised or caught off guard.  He never wonders how in the world is He going to deal with this thing.   I need to remember, I am not alone here.

God is with me here in this moment of darkness, this hour of adversity, this season of not knowing why.  It is not darkness to Him because He is Light.  He is in complete charge of the mysteries of my life, those things that cause me to feel fear.  He holds me, my fears, my mysteries in His hand.  And because He does, I do not need to run, or hide.  I rest in Him, my Abba Father.


in her Momma’s arms

sleeping AB

I sit quietly in awe. Quietly watching this precious little one nestled snugly in her momma’s arms.  Their breathing is in harmonic motion, in and out . . . in and out . . .a quiet, a peaceful rhythm.

Her momma gently whispers words of love over her as she has her tucked safely close. In her mother’s arms she is safe, protected, nurtured.  Momma’s arms hold her close to her beating heart, that heart that was the familiar sound this little one heard day in and day out while her mother carried her for nine months.   And now out in this world, this world that is so filled with chaos, her momma continues to hold her close, to cover her with mother wings.  A stronghold of love.

I sit watching, pondering in awe. Pondering meditatively.

As I see my very own little girl embrace her own little girl, my heart is full.  My heart is full of love for this new little one who has been  remarkably and wonderfully made.  My heart is full of love for the one who was remarkably and wonderfully knitted together inside my own body.

But most of all, my heart is full of reminders of the One who covers me in His arms, who holds me close in the midst of the chaos.

I am reminded of the times my life has been crumbling to pieces around me, troubles were crashing into me right and left, life seem to be imploding.  I was alone, or at least that is what the enemy wanted me to believe.

Clinging to Psalm 46, He pulls me in to cover me with His Love, to be my stronghold against all that is clamoring to tear me apart.  He is always there to whisper His words of Love into my heart.  Pulling me close, the chaos turns into peace.

I can hear His heartbeat because He created me to be His.

God is my refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore I will not fear,
Though the earth should give way,
And though the mountains fall into the heart
of the sea.
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Psalm 46:1-3

So as things of this world are vying to pull me away, to create disharmony, when I have to hold it together, even when I don’t feel like it . . . it is here, here with my God, my Creator, that I find solace, my stronghold.  It is here, I can let it go.  I cling to His arms and hear His tender heart calling me close.  It’s here in the magnificent, or the insignificant, in the joyous moments, or the disappointing times, the uplifting, or the casting down, the contentment, or the perplexities and uncertainties that I rest secure. Resting secure in the harmonic motion of His peace and His grace.

Rest in His arms, just like that precious little one in her Momma’s arms.  Rest no matter what the world throws your way. Find His peace in the chaos.


peace {advent ~ week 2}

peace - advent week 2

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16

As the second week of Advent begins today, the race to get to this place, to get this and that taken care of, the pace of life is looking for every way it can to rob me of peace – His Absolute Peace.

Peace does not mean I sit in absolute silence.

Peace is not a place where my life is trouble-free.

Peace is not a place where I have no sorrows or hurts.

Peace is not a place where I find complete certainty.

Peace is not in the darkness; it is in His Light. 

Peace means in the middle of all the noise, the difficult circumstances, the sorrow, the hurt that overshadows the day, and in all the uncertainties I am overwhelmed by a calm.  The calm that can only come from the Lord of Peace, His Absolute Peace.  

If I find myself in the dark, searching for peace, I will not find peace in a place.  Nor will I find peace by my own doing.  I will only find peace in a person, the person of Jesus Christ.  When I find myself caught up in the whirlwind of the pace of life, no matter the season of life, I need to go back to the place where I picked up the distractions and relied on my own insights and instead embrace and depend on His light to lead me.  He will give me peace in every way. 

Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace. (C. H. Spurgeon)


my lighthouse

My Lighthouse

 

Lighthouses for anyone living, working, or traveling along a coast are a symbol of constancy.  

A lighthouse provides the light that points out dangers and hazards in darkness and times of storms.

A place of safe entry.

A marker of navigation along the journey.

In my life, the lighthouse is an image of God.  A symbol of His faithfulness and His constancy in the inconsistencies of my own life.

In the hazards and dangers, the trials and the temptations that are part of my life – He is my Lighthouse.

Everyday, He is my haven of safety.  When I am abiding in Him, I am safe.

As I walk on this journey, my Lighthouse marks my way, as a source of constancy that never hides from me.  He is the Light in the darkness of the world.

I am trusting in the promise that Jesus is the Light of the World  and the darkness will not overcome it.  No one, nothing can extinguish it.

So for the last month or so, the song “Lighthouse” by Rend Collective has been bombarding my mind and my heart – kind of like it’s been on repeat on my playlist!  The more I listen to the words, I have my Abba Father speaking to me with HIs loving arms wrapped around me.

He is reminding me that He will not walk out on me when I mess up, when I fail or when I doubt or question.

He is there in the silence – when it seems that there are no answers.

When the way seems clouded or a full-ranging storm, He is my Peace.

He is the fire that goes before me.  He leads me through, no matter if the skies are sunny or stormy.

  

“My Lighthouse” ~ by Rend Collective

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are my peace in the troubled sea
You are my peace in the troubled sea

In the silence, You won’t let go
In my questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are my peace in the troubled sea
You are my peace in the troubled sea

My Lighthouse, My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My Lighthouse, My Lighthouse
I will trust the promise, You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to Shore
Safe to Shore
Safe to Shore

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us, You’re the brightest
You will lead us safe to shore


stillness of soul

 

being still (CHR - spring break '14)

I meet you in the stillness of your soul.

It is there that I seek to commune with you. A person who is open to My Presence is exceedingly precious to Me. My eyes search to and fro throughout the earth, looking for one whose heart is seeking Me. I see you trying to find Me; our mutual search results in joyful fulfillment.

Stillness of soul is increasingly rare in this world addicted to speed and noise.

I am pleased with your desire to create a quiet space where you and I can meet. Don’t be discouraged by the difficulty of achieving this goal. I monitor all your efforts and am blessed by each of your attempts to seek My Face.                                                                                                     

from Jesus Calling


 Stillness of soul . . . increasingly rare . . . world addicted to speed and noise.

It’s all around us.  Surrounding us from our waking moments to the ending moments of each day.  Speed and noise.

I crave moments of silence.  Especially those moments of silence with the One who is seeking me.

Seeking to be intentional in my stillness of soul.  Each and every day.  No matter where life finds me.

 


dirty dishes

sink full of dishes

The other day we were having a conversation around here about our “Martha” moms.

We had just spent the weekend with my folks and other family members celebrating a cousin’s wedding. [side note: a fun time, lots of catching up on family and friends].  One of the ground rules we have laid down when visiting the folks is we aren’t there as “guests,” expecting to be waited on, but we’re there to help out whenever and however is needed.  This is a really hard rule for my mom to accept.  She is definitely a Martha – continually busy with details, being sure everyone’s needs are met, each one is comfortable, and all are enjoying themselves.  All the while, she has missed out on much of the fellowship.

As my husband and I were revisiting various moments of the weekend, we both were reminded how our moms were continually busying themselves, overseeing everyone’s needs, making sure that all was running exactly to their perceptions of what needed to be taken care of. During this conversation, I found myself wanting to make a critical statement about how it bothers me that Mom has a hard time of “letting go,” sitting back and enjoying the time together.

And then I had one of those “reality-check” moments as I caught my own reflection in the shine I was earnestly seeking as I feverishly polished my countertops.

What was that Voice saying to me . . .  “And what about you, my daughter?”  

Ok. I admit it.  I can be a bit of a perfectionist.  I’ve always worked to ensure that everything is in its place. Always wanting to prove myself, to be the absolute best.

That Voice took me immediately back to a story I know so very well.  A story I’ve heard told over and over many times in this life of mine.  Mary and Martha.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Every time I’ve heard this so familiar story told and retold, taught about, preached on – my heart has always leaned towards, “Oh I can see me being Mary.”  After all, imagine having such an honored guest in your home.  Who wouldn’t want to just drop everything, put it all aside, and sit at the feet to hear such great Truth?  

But the glimpse I caught in the reflection of the bright, shiny granite countertops . . . in that mirror, I see myself being more like Martha than I care to be.  So what is the difference between these two girls?  Both loved Jesus for sure.

Mary put everything on hold.  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. – just to spend some precious moments with Jesus.

Martha was more concerned with her “to-do” list – you know the one that never seems to end.
Martha was complaining and even feeling resentful about this situation.
Martha was feeling left-out and unappreciated by those around her.
Martha was more anxious about being “perfect” for Jesus than spending time and enjoying with Him.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of being responsible, taking care of the household needs and the needs of those in our home – be them guests or family.  In fact, Jesus didn’t tell Martha to just “walk away from all her duties,” but He was simply getting to her to recognize the need . . .  her need . . . her priorities were not in the right place.  

That’s what I heard . . .  in all things my relationship with Him should come first.  Before my marriage, my family, my job, my ambitions, my dreams.  And yes, just like Martha – even my household chores.

Taking a few moments today to breathe in and breathe out – listening to His Voice.

The dishes can wait.


peace

Tangle_of_Christmas_lights_wallpaper_1920x1080

Peace in the midst.  In the midst of all the planning, the shopping, the decorating, the buying, the wrapping, the waiting in the sea of traffic, the waiting to be waited on, the meal planning, the coming and going from one event to another . . .

Struggling in the midst.  So many times I have found myself feeling more like that tangled mess of Christmas lights.  No peace in the midst. Letting myself get lost in the mess.  Lost in the mess, when I lose my focus of the Messiah.

And then I hear the familiar Christmas carols whispering to me, reminding me it’s through filling my heart with joyful praise and adoration of Him that I am in the midst of Peace.

When Jesus is the focus of our holiday, we’re centered on His love, peace, and joy.

Ephesians 2:14 confirms, “For He is our peace…”.

HE is our Peace.

And when our hearts are at peace, our Christmas season can be too.


peace beyond understanding

from ann voskamp ~ a holy experience

photo from Ann Voskamp ~ a holy experience

 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4: 6-7

Shalom – Hebrew for Peace.
A study of Hebrew words reveals meaning beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent and emotion.
Shalom is more than just simply peace.
It is complete Peace – contentment, completeness, wholeness, well-being and harmony.

The Shalom that can only come from Him who created and put all things into place.

Experiencing this peace – this Shalom – came this past weekend.  It was more than just the intimate, serene outdoor wedding setting.  Even more than the beautiful sun-filled, blue skies that filled the Austin Hill Country.  Yes, it was even more than friends and family that gathered to share in the Joy of the joining of the oldest son, C and his bride as one in marriage.

This Shalom was the Peace that could only come from fervent prayers asking for the Peace of God that goes beyond my mind and heart’s understanding.  

During the weeks before the wedding, many nights of sleep were interrupted by a bad dream night after night. Only this wasn’t really a dream, it was like a movie replaying in my mind the deep wounds from venomous words and divisive actions at another such wedding scene eight years ago.  There was no Shalom.

Knowing that unlike at the beautiful wedding of daughter K a little more than a year ago, this time the wall of space and people would not be there to protect the Joy my heart desired for this occasion.  With each replaying of this late night “movie,” an overwhelming sense of unrest would stir in my heart because I did not want anything to take the Joy away from this wedding day either.

In the dark of those nights, I would call out in my heart to my Abba Father, Yahweh.  His Peace was always present with me there in the dark, night after night after night.  And peaceful sleep would soon return.

Each morning after, I would wake wondering,
Was this some sort of spiritual attack? 
A portent of possible pending drama? 
Something designed to take the joy from this time?

Sharing these thoughts with my dear friend L, the weeks and days before the wedding found us praying together.  We prayed for Peace that would transcend, that would eclipse, that would go so far beyond what my mind and heart could understand.  We prayed for that Complete Peace, His Shalom.

Last Saturday, the big day had finally arrived!  The venue was absolutely serene.  Despite earlier reports of rain coming in with our first “big” cool front, the weather was beautiful.  Skies were blue and the sun was shining through the shadows of the massive oak trees.  There was even a herd of Longhorns nonchalantly greeting the guests as we drove through the ranch gates.  Was this the peace I had prayed for?  No.

As we were walking up the stone walk towards the early arriving family members and a few other guests, I heard a still, small voice say to me . . .

“The Peace you’ve prayed for is here, He goes before you.”

It was in that moment, I understood.  That movie that had been playing over and over in my head in the nights before had been a reminder to me that in the dark, in those uncertain times of my life, His Shalom, His Complete Peace has never been absent from me. 

Now instead of those anxious thoughts, an overwhelming sense of Peace washed over me – the assurance His Presence walks every step of the way with me.  I have that Peace that surpassed all my understanding.  The Prince of Peace is guarding my mind and my heart!


not an orphan anymore

Big Top at OBT

Big Top at OBT

[Click to hear “Orphan” – Ronnie Freeman Band]

You think so much of me
You take delight in me
You paid the price for me
Then you adopted me

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I stand before you now adored, I’m yours
Your cross has set me free
New life belongs to me
I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours

You took my guilt and shame
Gave me a brand new name
You call me your beloved
I call you Abba Father.

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I stand before you now adored, I’m yours
Your cross has set me free
New life belongs to me
I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours


Now I feast at the table of the King

And His love is the banner over me
His Love the banner over me!

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I lost the fight, but won the war, I’m yours.
Your cross has set me free
Victory has set me free


I’m not an orphan anymore,

I’m Yours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first time I heard Ronnie Freeman and his band play this song, we were sitting in a big tent, “The Big Top” at Outback Texas during a time called “Abiding, Gratitude, Sharing.”   It was an absolutely beautiful November weekend just outside Brenham, Texas.  Ministering to, praying for couples ~husbands and wives, parents and teens ~  as each began peeling back the layers, earnestly spending time restoring, building, strengthening their relationships with one another, experiencing the Glory of their Abba Father.  Then hearing this song . . . the words so simply stated. . .  tears began streaming down my cheeks.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  Being blessed to be born into a loving, Christian family who lived out Christ daily, I knew I was loved not just by my earthly daddy, but most importantly by my Father.  As a young girl I began my personal heart and life journey of grace, mercy, forgiveness, perseverance, patience, and courage with my Abba Father.  

Most times, the journey was easy, especially in those early years living at home.  Once out on my own, the journey began to take some difficult paths that I wasn’t familiar with.  I’d find myself diverted off His path, I’d come back, only later to walk a little bit off the path again. These side-trips were never of huge proportion.  Oh,but looking back each one deprived me of precious time, of precious Joy, of untold blessings.  As difficult, and as dark as some of those times would prove to be over the years – even a season of feeling totally abandoned here on earth –  I know .  .  . I know I was never abandoned by my Abba Father.

Those paths were of my own choosing, no doubt.

So what was it that made those tears stream down my face?  A multitude of things.

Gratitude.  Gratitude for having had the foundation of my life in Him laid down at such an early age. That even in my disobedience, He continued to pursue me, calling me back.  Gratitude for as broken as my life had been, it was no longer that way because of His Grace and His Mercy. 

Brokenness and Forgiveness.  I am finally able to begin to truly and honestly lay aside those things which have caused hurt and pain.  I am able to begin to forgive.  Most of all – forgive myself.  I know in Him there is no condemnation. 

A sense of sadness. Sadness because I was reminded of how I had spent so much time sitting underneath His table, eating just the crumbs that happen to fall, when I could have been enjoying His Feast.  Sadness for the fellowship, the close communion I had allowed myself to miss over the years. Sadness also because the words of the song reminded me of my Prodigal and how his choices are depriving him of the close relationship with the one he would call Abba Father as he would pray.

Peace. Peace because the victory is His.

Joy.  Joy because He gives me Hope.  Joy because I’m not an orphan anymore. I am His.


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