Second Nature

 

Long ago, as a child, I would sing a song titled O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E.  Thirty something years later, I am finally learning how true these words really are!

You spell out the word obedience and then sing the rest of the song…

 

O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E, obedience is the very best way to show that you believe!…

Doing exactly what the Lord commands,
Doing it happily.
Action is the key–do it immediately,
Joy you will receive!
Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe.

In my favorite book, My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers teaches that being in tune with the nature of God is directly dependent upon our obedience. Meaning, our human nature is subject to the spiritual nature. Obedience, in spiritual definition, is the art of being disciplined . This discipline allows our spiritual nature to respond when we feel, sense or hear the calling of our spiritual nature. Once we have brought our human nature into this discipline, God can speak and His spirit which lives within us will respond immediately to the call.  It is this immediate response which activates the promises of God in our lives and brings about a whole new awareness of our Creator! Excitement infiltrates our being and solidifies within us that God’s nature is present, everlasting, trustworthy, peaceful, exhilarating and best of all, has become second nature to us. No more thinking about it – we just do it. We simply respond because He has become everything to us!

 

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Categories: Inspirational

Searching…

Do you ever find yourself searching? Searching for the keys, your purse or a wallet, the TV remote, a certain pair of shoes… I frustrate myself so many times over these small things and in my searching end up losing precious time. I use to think I was pretty good at putting things back where they belong, but somehow, searching, seems to be a reverberating theme in our house. I blame the teenagers!!!!!!!

Fortunately for them, I cannot blame them for all of my searchings.  There are many other aspects of my life that I find I exhaust my energy and lose precious time in searching.  For love, money, value, security, hope, meaning – these are just a few. But Why?  Why do we search for such things using our energy and losing our time? After all, God has already said He would care for us. He tells over and over again in His Word that He has great plans for us. No matter, we search…

Over the past few months I have found myself in a whirlwind of circumstances. I have had no control over any of it, but as the circumstances began to multiply and intensify I did realize I had choices to make. I will not spell it all out – it would take way too long and there is someone out there that has a deeper story than mine.  What I will tell you is that as each circumstance began to roll in so did my searching. My faith stretched its arms out trying to steady me, but after three or four blows, the tears came. My faith was trembling. The battle began to rage and that put me in full on searching mode for answers and comfort.

The questioning began: Why was all this happening? Why now? What are you doing to me? I thought you said it would get better? When will it stop? I don’t think I can handle anymore. My prayer: Father, I don’t want to stop believing and trusting, but…  Help me? Please?  Little did I know this was only the first round battle.

The second round did not let me catch a breath. It came with a vengeance. The waves were bigger. The winds stronger. The circumstances now fully unraveling. I fell to my knees, crying to my Heavenly Father and yelling as if in utter defiance to the storm, “I will NOT stop believing.” My silent disclaimer: “But Father, You better be telling me the truth – that You will never leave me…”.  Truth be told, I was scared to death.

I had yet to realize that just maybe this was what He was waiting for. Waiting for me to defy the storm by believing Him. In that moment He took me to a place within my heart where an unbelievable peace and happiness resides. I had never discovered this place before. There, He reminded me that no matter how the circumstances raged – He already had all the answers. “Nothing” had taken Him by surprise! And nothing would overcome me as long as I would Trust Him. What a relief. I remained on my knees for sometime – literally. But spiritually, I began to STAND TALL! The searching ceased and peace ran rampant.

John 16:33 says,  I have told you these things, so that IN ME you may have PEACE. In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have OVERCOME the world.  

And in Isaiah 54:10 He said – Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my UNFAILING LOVE for you will not be shaken nor MY COVENANT OF PEACE be removed, SAYS THE LORD, who has compassion on you.

He loves me and you! He knows our journey and the circumstance we will face. Let our searching stop and our trust reside in Him for He has compassion on you!!

 

 

Categories: Inspirational

Surrender?

Surrender… struggle of the day.  Letting go of all I hold dear and believe I must control.

Faith… choosing.  A choosing of the will to surrender to what cannot be seen.

Trust… believing that the One I surrender to is able to care for all I hold dear.

It sounds so simple yet is universally the hardest mental movement to make. How does one begin to surrender to a force which is unseen, yet pulls so strongly.  Its presence cannot be denied.  Its existence cannot be denied. Nor can its presence and existence be determined. So what is this force? Some call this force – God. Some say it is a deeper calling of self. Others refuse to admit they feel it…

Over the course of my journey I finally yielded to this calling. And yes, I call it – God. As I have yielded, my faith has grown stronger. The beliefs and perspectives I have harbored have broadened in ways I cannot explain. This yielding or surrender has offered much freedom in lieu of what I had expected. It has offered peace in the places where I once felt turmoil and love where emptiness once ran rampant. Letting go has been the scariest ride of my life, but one I would not forego if I had to do it all again!

Surrender…! The unknown can be a beautiful place.

Categories: Inspirational

Gone Too Soon

I awoke this morning to the news that another beautiful soul has passed into Glory…

He’s gone…like a beautiful breeze that blows gently and without an inkling of notice is gone – so is Tony. Tony’s life has been spent and his time has ended. It’s overwhelming. How can someone so young, so fantastic- still having so much life inside – just be gone?

Tony was a beautiful person. In many ways he laid a layer of security in my life. He’s one of those people who just knew “how” to be there and “when”.  I will miss him. He was a treasured friend. I can hear him telling me now as he did so many times at the end of one of our talks, “We’ll get through this one, too.” … I just wish he was here to walk through it with me.

Tony, you will live on in the hearts and memories of those who knew you best. We love you! We miss you. I thank you for all you offered my life.  A beautiful friendship. A steadfast source of accountability. A laugh in the most unexpected moments. Even the smart aleck remarks almost everyday!!  I love you… You’re Gone Too Soon.

Categories: Uncategorized

When You’re Just Not Sure…

Sometimes we just need to be still and listen!

 

Categories: Inspirational

Live Intentionally!

Do you ever feel that you just fade into the background of life?  Each day comes and goes with its routines and mundane tasks. Excitement enters on occasion, but never really seems to settle in. Dissatisfaction becomes the tag line and the longing to be something more, to do something exciting and make a difference becomes your theme song. …but nothing is ever done.

Way too many of us live this way. I fear some of us do not even realize that we do.  We carry on telling ourselves to keep working hard, playing fair and sporting good character and if we do, the good things of life will come.  I do believe that this does happen, but I also am becoming fully aware that it takes us “living intentionally” to make this happen.

Just recently, I attended a seminar on organizing your day to get the most productivity out of it.  It sounds boring, but you just have to know the speaker.  Robert Mallon is anything but boring!  In this seminar, he not only talked about organizing our work day (which was the sole purpose of the event), but he talked about organizing our day from the very beginning to the very end of it.  His message was loud and clear, “Live Intentionally Every Moment”!

Robert spoke of starting his day out with coffee and reading, intentionally asking His Heavenly Father for direction in all that came His way. Wow! I was blown away that people really put that out there in the professional world? But, Yes! They do!  And this profoundly professional and respected gentleman intentionally believes that starting his day this way – works.  I have to agree with him.

It has taken me years to find my true faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.  I was tied up in religion and traditional beliefs for so long -battling with what religion told me I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to live.  This all cluttered the path to a true authentic relationship with My Lord. My journey of detoxification has been long and difficult, but as He began tearing apart and replacing idealistic beliefs, I began to see a brand new life and love forming all around me!

Today, I no longer stand behind traditions and religion. No longer will I clamor behind the perspectives of others on what my God has breathed into me.  I now know that the Word of God is living and it is living for a reason.  That reason is because He is the only one who knows what journey you and I are on.  His Word speaks to each of us in the places and depths of our hearts that no one else can see.  So it is not my place to do anymore than speak the Words of God and let them fall where they may. He, then, will move in and massage the planted seed and  cultivate the results He so desires.  When we no longer allow God to do the cultivating, everyone is cheated out of the Living power God has given to us.

Living Intentionally just may be what God had in mind when He said in Jeremiah 29:11, I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you and not to harm you.  He simply wants us to find freedom and joy in the habitual life style of living intentionally trusting that everything that enters our day – He already knew about. We should intentionally interact with each passing moment so that He is able to touch all who may pass His way. After all, isn’t that what we are?  Vessels of God put here for the purpose of expressing the love of Christ?  Intentionally touching the lives of others and allowing His seed to take root.

Go live intentionally and let Him make a new creation out of the way you live this life!!

 

Categories: Inspirational

What’s In a Picture

I have a picture that sits on my desk and as I begin my work for the day I cannot help but look at it and smile!  The images staring back at me are to some just beautiful smiling faces. To me – they are the depths of why I still live and breathe. They are why I get up every day and run through the same mundane task that scream at me from behind this desk I call my work space. These two faces that smile back at me from the picture taken in our front yard are my babies – my girls – my daughters – my inspiration!

Years ago, actually 2 decades ago, I had no intention of having children.  Truthfully, I had no intention of getting married.  I just never desired it like so many young girls do.  My path was career driven and focused.  When I thought of my future I envisioned a successful single lady living free, enjoying a life of ministry and friendships to fill the other spaces and places in my life.

How amazing it is that God knows best! Two years into college He interrupted my journey and sent a wonderful guy into my life (this meeting was devoutly protested by me).  But knowing the two beautiful gifts He planned on putting into this world, God had to have a mother and father for them. Lucky me, my plans no longer mattered and this wonderful guy was just going to have to marry a girl that didn’t want to marry!  Yes! God had chosen us to be their mommy and daddy!  What a privilege!

Funny how everything that has been good in my life, I have seemed to protest at some point and in some way. Thankfully, our Father in Heaven does not give up easily on His plan.

So two little blessings surprised their father and me in 1997 and again in 1998!  Our lives changed drastically.  Two very different beings came into this world. They are so different, yet somehow, they are the same in so many ways.  I have found over the years that although they are the same in so many ways, it is the differences they possess in their internal makeup of spirituality, emotions, mentality and expression that has been the epitome of what has caused the growth in my life.

Learning to shuffle back and forth between the independent demeanor of one and the intuitive awareness of the other has been a challenge.  I have grown. I have been stretched. Every ounce of my energy has been zapped at one time or another. In the very moment when I can take no more, those tiny hands reach up in need of comfort and love. Wow! All I could do was dig deep, reach down, pick up that little figure and squeeze! What beauty in those moments flooded my heart! How beautiful to realize those little hands had no idea how tired Momma was or how sad or exhausted.  They just finished their fit and now needed comfort and love. Amazing, the emotional backdrop that parenting brings with it, but it is a beautiful rendition of what our Heavenly Father does for us.

I learned so much about His love for me in those years.  My daughters taught me (without knowing) what the love of Jesus was and is all about.  It is Him loving us right where we are, how we are and in our need.  We cannot see many times beyond the moment and whatever is littering it.  But if we reach our little hands up to the Father and expect Him to reach back – He will.  He will reach down, pick us up and squeeze!

Those little hands are now 18 and 16 and still teaching, in depth, lessons of love and strength. They continue to challenge me and stretch me. And I can hear my Father asking, “Do you see me? Do you feel me?”  In these moments, lessons of love, lessons of mercy, lessons of grace and compassion litter my life and flood my soul. My girls have taught me that I do have the strength necessary for each day. They have taught me that there is an existing depth I did not know was there. It is in the reaching of their little hands that I have found His love. I thank Him for changing my course.  I thank Him for interrupting my journey with “little hands”.

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I am a life that has been changed through a beauty that does not end but connects me directly to a love that is beyond description.

Categories: Inspirational

Legacy Matters

What legacy will we leave?  When I think of the generation I will leave behind I often wonder what they will think of my life. Will they ask, “What did she try to teach me? What did her life stand for?”   The way we live out of conviction in this life will determine their answers.  Be convicted. Be confident in that conviction and never waver.  Be all you are purposed to be.

“Live Like That” – Sidewalk Prophets
Sometimes I think
What will people say of me
When I’m only just a memory
When I’m home where my soul belongs

Was I love
When no one else would show up
Was I Jesus to the least of us
Was my worship more than just a song

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that
I want to live like that

Am I proof
That You are who you say You are
That grace can really change our heart
Do I live like Your love is true

People pass
And even if they don’t know my name
Is there evidence that I’ve been changed
When they see me, do they see You

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that
I want to live like that

I want to show the world the love You gave for me
I’m longing for the world to know the glory of the King

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that
I want to live like that
I want to live like that

Categories: Inspirational

Rainbow Days

626.  My apartment number. Someones birthday. An anniversary. The day same-sex couples received equal rights. Maybe just another day.

To many of us this day had great meaning in one way or another.  For me, it was a day of celebration and sadness.  I celebrate that as apart of the LGBT community we now have the right to marry, to have tax breaks, to be with our loved ones when they are passing in a hospital room, to just simply “be” in so many ways that others take for granted. But I am saddened that as part of another community, painfully ruthless words are used to pass judgement and condemnation on those we should love unconditionally as our Lord has commanded us to do.

Facebook is a place where all walks of life come together.  Post after post came across, some elated that this day had finally come. Others angry with hateful disgust. And still more with religious despise. The one’s I found most disturbing came from this other community I am apart of – the spiritual community. And by spiritual I mean the Christian community.

I call it spiritual when I place myself within it because for far too long the idea of being called a Christian has brought with it a negative connotation and I do not like that association.  To be called a Christian, we are to be Christ-like, yet far too many that boast the classification are really just religious.  Yes, I know that just sounded like judgement – not my intention. It was simply said to explain why I do not like the classification.

The posts I saw on Facebook from this community broke my heart. Shouldn’t we find in this world today that diversity is nothing more than another exceptional opportunity to embrace the very essence of being Christian.  Jesus Christ left us here on this earth to be a representative of Him. To love those who (to most) were not lovable. To show something different to all people than what the Pharisees had shown in their religious beliefs. Yet the post and actions of this community for decades have been anything but representative of Jesus Christ. Representative of religious belief and tradition – yes.

Is it not our duty to open our doors and our hearts to this world and bring them in.  Whether you agree with who they love or what they do, you have a duty as a Christian to love, to share. Instead, my community of fellow Christians stamp a not welcomed sign on the front door of the church. If any of us do make it inside we are still placed in a category of “not able to serve”. In the midst of town, noses are held high in disapproval. And if we even thought we might be invited to a gathering by the Christian community it would solely be for the purpose of embracing us in order to straighten us out. God’s word is thrown around condemning us with the death penalty and we brainwash our children to believe that Hell is the only destination for the LGBT community.

When will we realize that this is not what Jesus meant when He commanded us to love.  He spent His life on this earth setting an example of what that love is and we still don’t get it. We continue to try to fit Him into our mold, but He doesn’t fit. He never will. He created us all. He loves us all. He knows us all and, therefore, has reserved the right to judge us all. We are to be clay in His hands so He can fit us into the purpose He has for our life on this earth.  Those molds may look very different and be full of color. Not for us to decide.

Please be careful my Christian community where you draw your lines on love. You may be surprised to find that Christ is full of color!

 

Categories: Food For Thought

The Beauty of Lonely

I have never seen such beauty as when I feel the loneliest. Weird, how that happens. In an instant my world is falling apart. Times of testing have been long and rough. Nothing being left untouched by the brutal winds that the storms bring in, but I find that in the deepest despair of the fear and turmoil that rage all around, when I choose to remember Who is the maker of the wind, all fear subsides. It is like the clouds are breaking on a rainy stormy day and the sun is shining through. The bright silver lining is gleaming so beautiful that you can only look into it for a moment, but the draw its beauty has brings your eyes right back to it.

How beautiful in that moment is the peace that enters. It settles all notions that the inevitable will happen and that life will fall apart. With it it brings a choice. A choosing of the beauty or of the lonely. Peace offers the constant that the Maker of the wind and the rain and the mixer of the storm is also the God of “Bigger Than”.

Struggles come and go. Testing is for a season, I believe, to grow us in faith and shape us for what our future may hold. Every circumstance or situation comes for the development of my being and furtherance of my faith. Easy? No. Many times more difficult than what we think we can bear. Many times it is such a depth of stretching ourselves that believing it will end or bring us any betterment is almost a joke. But if we can remain in the peace that ushered itself in, we will find a beauty only found in lonely.

Categories: Inspirational

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