Tag Archives: joy

praying for blessings

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Seems life has been like riding a rollercoaster the last few months.
Up . . . Down . . . Twists . . . Turns . . . Upside-down . . . then, right side-up.
Catch my breath . . . then hold on for the ride.
I pray.  I continue to pray for
peace . . . comfort . . . healing . . . clarity . . . relationships . . . restoration . . . fear to leave . . . understanding . . . patience
  . . . protection . . . suffering to cease . . . 
I know God hears each word I’ve spoken . . . But today, my heart asks . . .But what tone does God hear in your voice?

Does He hear the same tones that I hear in the voices of others?
The tone in my own voice as I speak?
You know the ones that fuel all the negative emotions.
Of course, He does.
He hears the discontent . . . grumbling . . . complaining . . . whining . . . disappointment . . . self-righteousness . . . 
anger . . . muttering . . . indignation . . . displeasure . . . doubt . . . betrayal
I know He hears each word  and that He knows my every need . . .
and today, He reminded me that often times I let my fear take the joy away.
So today, I’m not white-knuckled or feeling my stomach in my throat, or letting out a blood curdling scream as I ride the rollercoaster.  This time, I am facing those fears that want to steal the joy away from me and seeing the trials as Mercy in disguise.
Blessings
by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


A Daughter’s Reflections

holding Mom's hand

I thank God every time I remember you
Philippians 1:3

That day came too early, too unexpectedly.  Afterall, we had such big plans.  Plans to be able to spend more time together, enjoying the sunsets, the wildflowers, the grandchildren, getting pedicures, savoring a lingering cup of coffee.  More time together – Mother and Daughter, best friends for life.  I can remember saying, “Momma, just give me one more week, and you’ve got me for good.”  School would be over, and not just for the three short months of summer!

Mom, that day came. Too early.  At least according to my calendar.  But my heart knows that God’s calendar is far, far better than the one I keep.  So with tears in my eyes that day, I told you to “let go of this life and grab the hand of Jesus.”  The tears were sadness for what I knew I would miss, but also for the Joy that I knew you would experience as you finished The Race and looked into the eyes of Jesus!

A Daughter’s Reflections – spoken at Mom’s Life Celebration on June 18, 2015

As I look around this room, a smile burns deep in my heart. I see the faces of those who called my sweet Momma – “my sweet, sweet Lady” – “Mom” – “Granna” – “my sister, Dot” – and “Dot” to her many friends and acquaintances. And then there are those of you who didn’t actually have the opportunity to know Momma personally, but you “knew” her because of the outpouring of love on her family.   You join us here today, as we gather together as Family – Daddy, Stan, Craig, Cody, Kelly, Adam, Laura, Annabelle, Dylan and Riley – each of us a reflection of her special love for us, individually and collectively. But most importantly, we know that her outpouring of love on us was rooted in the deep overflow of love in her heart for Jesus.

Growing up, the most important thing Mom impressed upon me was to love God, love others as He loves us, and the rest will fall in place. These weren’t just words shared, they were words she lived.

Over the last few days, so many of you have shared such happy memories of Mom with the family and me, just as we’ve also had time to share, to laugh, and to cry together. All of these are reminders of this precious lady who loved Jesus and made sure I knew, my children knew, and their children knew it through her words shared, her continual prayers for each of us, and most importantly through the way she loved us. Her desire was that anyone, everyone she met could see His Love on her face and in her smile.

Life wasn’t always an easy road for Mom or for those of us close to her heart, but she was confident that no matter the circumstances, it was NEVER a road none of us ever need to walk alone. I can still hear her saying to me (as she did so many times throughout the years!), “Honey, God’s got this one! He’s in control.”   She knew this, believed it, and walked it. And it was with that assurance, she covered each of us in her prayers every single day. It was well with her soul.

A dear friend reminded me that great love brings great grief. So today, even though my heart is heavy with the deep sadness of no longer having my Mom to talk with, to laugh with, to pray with, or to simply share the wonders of life, – in my grief I whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for my Momma who helped shape my life – through her encouragement, her wise counsel (rarely given unless asked for), her laugh and sense of humor, her genuine unconditional love, and each of those prayers she covered me with daily. Each of these is a bountiful blessing in my life and the lives of each in our family.   Her well-lived life continues to bring gratefulness – gratefulness for the threads her life woven into the tapestry of my life, and the lives of the many others blessed to know and be acquainted with her. Each thread she has woven into our tapestries, help us hold on to her memory and for each of us to become more like Him.

My heart is full of gratefulness for the peace given by Jesus through the sweet memories we each will carry forward from today until the day we too can experience the joy of seeing the face of Jesus!

I thank God every time I remember you – Momma!
(Philippians 1:3)


I need You

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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

no fear

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Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

With the turning of the new calendar page again this year, I have been wrestling over the last few weeks *the one word* I wanted to claim for this year.  For a while it seemed as if I was coming up empty-handed, the words that would come across the page just did not seem to be right.  The Spirit was leading me elsewhere.  For some reason this past Christmas the phrases, “Do not be afraid,” and “Fear not,” as the angel spoke to Mary and to the shepherds continued tugging at my heart.

So this year, it’s not just one word that I am claiming for my spiritual focus.  I’m claiming the phrase no fear because I know that His Word tells me to “not be afraid” throughout scripture.  I know this, but yet it seems many days I don’t live it.  And truthfully, it’s not about my being afraid – it’s about my trusting in the One who tells me to not be afraid. 

I could make a list of things I’m afraid of. On that list some of those things seem big to me, and some small.  Some of the things stem from my own insecurities, from worry.  My mind tells me there are so many things I need to fear, I should be afraid of.  But my heart tells me, I want to live in freedom, not in fear!  


2015

design

Another year has come to a close.  In closing this chapter, the reflections of this past year are full of many blessings.  Blessings from wonderous new beginnings, new joys in the journey, steps toward dreams coming to fruition . . .  all of which draw us closer to God.  And this year has also been marked with disappointments, hurts, confusions, rejections . . .  these too have been blessings which draw us closer to God.  I put these high moments and these low moments in the vault of past Grace.  Knowing that each of these events are part of His plan to grow me, to teach me, to use me.

So as this new year begins today, as this next chapter opens up clean before me, I want to come with a teachable spirit.  I look forward to the future with faith and confidence that future Grace goes before me.  

My prayer for this new year is to not walk clinging to old ways, but to walk each day seeking His face with an open mind and an open heart.

Lord, I need You!! Renew my mind, continue to change my life. By testing, give me discernment what is good and acceptable and perfect…Give me Your will. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2


aim purposefully

dancing leaves

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

It’s a good afternoon for a walk.  The rain has stopped for now and the pup is longingly looking at her leash.  The weatherman says there’s a cold front coming our way making the skies to the north dark and grey, so we decide to take advantage of the break in the rain and head out to enjoy the outdoors.

Walking through the neighborhood, the dead leaves are crunching beneath my boots.  Suddenly the wind begins to gust by us, ushering in another blast of cooler air around these parts.  The lifeless piles of leaves seem to come to life dancing around in circles.  The wind blows them this way, and they go this way.  Then the wind blows them that way, and they go that way.  They swirl and twirl, they bounce and skip, they tumble and glide wherever the wind aimlessly carries them.  Aimless and lifeless . . . full of motion, but void of life.

How many days have I walked around just like those leaves?  Full of motion, going here and there, drifting aimlessly through my day.  How many times have I let the circumstances of my day determine what I do, how I respond?  Do I wake up, roll out of bed not even thinking seriously about the hopes of my day?  That’s not how God intends my day to be.

Instead I need to take time, time to be purposeful about my day.  I need to take the time, time to focus and time to aim myself intentionally asking for His guidance and His strength for every moment of my day.  Remembering, I was created in his image by Him and for His Glory, I was not created to wander about my day aimlessly like those leaves that dance across the street ahead of me.  I was created to be purposeful in His Love. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2


new every morning

sunrise

One of the beautiful reminders of a sunrise . . .

His compassions do not fail us 

They are new every morning, no matter how dark the night has been.

His faithfulness is there from sunrise to sunset . . . and through the night.

He is my Hope. 

I have deep appreciation for sunrises, which is really kind of funny because I’m not really an early morning person.  My husband loves to catch a sunrise whenever he has an opporutnity and I’m usually just trying to “sleep just a little bit longer. . .” But you know I am never disappointed with losing that little bit of extra sleep, even if I haven’t had my first cup of coffee.

Sunrise – the beauty of Creation paints the morning sky, a reminder of His mercy and His faithfulness.  A reminder that I have been called out of the darkness into the Light.  

Yes, there is something very special about a sunrise.  Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow is yet to be.  With the rising of the sun, I have His promise of today.


worship changes the world

Darkness slide.001

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him
than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

 ~ C. S. Lewis

When we invest in personal worship . . . 

When we cherish corporate worship . . . 

When we live a life of worship . . . 

God uses us to change the world! 

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offering my thirst

 

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Reading this morning . . . something struck a chord.  Once again counting the gifts, the lessons that are given to us in the every day, ordinary.  Something as simple as needing water.

God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. (Desiring God)

There’s been a lot of work going on down at the ranch these last few months.   Poles have been set, lines have been strung, trenches were dug and wire was laid – we’ve got power all the way down to the front of the property now.  Power to help us sustain and maintain.

Next came another crew with their big trucks and time to drill a well. We’ve been anticipating having our own fresh water at hand.  For the last few years, we’ve been lugging in water in everything from coolers to cases of bottled water.  Finally the big day came and up went the drilling rig and the down went the drill bit, deep into the earth.  By that afternoon, we had water!  Fresh, cold water streaming out to meet our watering needs.  No more lugging in water from the outside – all we’ve got to do is bend down and drink until our thirst is quenched.  Water. Whenever we need it, whenever we want it.  

Another reason we were excited to have running water at hand is now it was going to be much easier to make water available for some of the wildlife that runs through our woods.  Off to Tractor Supply to buy a watering trough and fill it to over-flowing with water.  Looking at the tracks that are often left around the trough, the watering trough is serving its purpose.  But one of the downsides of the troughs and the bird baths, they have to be maintained by man.  After awhile, we’ve got to empty out the standing water that is no longer fresh; it’s become stagnant.  So we haul the hoses and bring in more fresh water.

And after spending some time in the great outdoors, there is nothing like bending down and drinking from the well of fresh water.

God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. A mountain spring is self-replenishing. It constantly overflows and supplies others. But a watering trough needs to be filled with a pump or bucket brigade. 

If you want to glorify the worth of a watering trough you work hard to keep it full and useful. But if you want to glorify the worth of a spring you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down in the valley and tell people what you’ve found. 

My hope hangs on this biblical truth: that God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer — my thirst. That is why the sovereign freedom and self-sufficiency of God are so precious to me: they are the foundation of my hope that God is delighted not by the resourcefulness of bucket brigades, but by the bending down of broken sinners to drink at the fountain of grace.                                                                                                                (from Desiring God)

I offer my thirst to the only place where it can be truly quenched – at the fountain of Grace and the stream of Living Water.

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in The Cross

tim keller - the cross.001

In the beauty of the world . . .

. . . we see God’s existence

In the brokenness of the world . . .

. . . we see God’s justice

We see God’s mercy . . .

. . . in The Cross.


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