Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Grand Mosaic

Mosaic detailphoto © 2010 Robyn Jay | more info (via: Wylio)

Some people scramble me. They land in my day in a whirl of words and chaos only to flee the scene waving my good mood behind them like coat tails flapping. They replace my solitude with their high energy; my control with their disarray.

As I become “more seasoned with life,” I find that my soul craves the calm waters. I gravitate toward order and peace, always seeking out the quiet corners spent in a comfy spot (whenever possible) where I’m free to hear the voice of God and He can hear me. I tolerate the opposite in very small doses, but truth be told, I’ve never minded being alone. In fact, I enjoy it ~ for me, being alone does not equal lonely. Perhaps it’s because I spent quite a lot of time by myself growing up, but that story is for another day…it’s simply how I’ve been wired. Although, I’ve come to realize that some people are the polar opposite and thrive in high gear at all times surrounded by many others driving through life at the same speed.

I think God allows His children to cross paths on purpose; to intermingle in this grand mosaic of personalities and characteristics in order to stretch us and grow us into effective servants of His kingdom.

Mosaic.jpgphoto © 2006 Nancy | more info (via: Wylio)

As in an intricate mosaic tile display, the colors compliment each other. As a whole, it may appear random and not clearly thought out, yet each piece has been designed to fit perfectly forming one cohesive art form pleasing to the eye and spirit. Each element lends its unique qualities to the mix; some shine bright, others dark. Some have jagged edges while some lie flat and smooth. They may follow along a certain theme, but in the end, all work together – where one ends, another begins, and so goes the body of Christ.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:4-5) NIV

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Defiant Me

My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)

She stood in defiance demanding an answer – not just any answer, but the one she wanted to hear.

But I held firm to what I knew was right, which only fueled her rage.

“Fine! I’m asking Dad!”

By now, in my house the kids should know that I and my husband stand united on the big stuff, so I let her storm off in search of resolution.

Angryphoto © 2009 Clemens v. Vogelsang | more info (via: Wylio)

The scene made me think of the times I’ve stomped in defiance wanting God to bless my plans and, in essence, agree with whatever it was I demanded of Him.

But when His answer is ultimately “no” and I make the choice to do what I want to anyway, it’s the same as storming off and shouting, “Fine! If I can’t get permission from you, then I’ll go to another authority!”

Wow! Why would I ever purposely choose any other “authority” over my Lord? The act of not following God’s direction automatically assumes that I knowingly give power to the enemy! How could I ever assume that the enemy’s ways are better than the One who knows me and loves me unconditionally?

Lord Jesus,

Please forgive me for the times I’ve chosen not to listen to you –to allow my own desires to rise up over your will. Strengthen and guide me in the light of your love and let me not be misguided by any other power apart from you.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
10:17 (NIV)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wrapping up the Week with Thanks

(Re-posting this from last April, as it sums up my week perfectly).
Ocean Beachphoto © 2006 Ganesha Balunsat | more info (via: Wylio)

Here we are again

Another week drawing to a close

Another week of prayers prayed

Requests made of the One in complete control

The One who whispers “Yes, you can because I am here.”

Because... I am

It’s the grace He’s shown this week

That allows me to sigh and reflect

To be thankful for all He’s brought me through

To consider the cost of my joy…my peace

I think of the dangers He’s kept at bay

How He’s kept me from harm

The rocks that could have tumbled

The daggers waiting to pierce the skin

The words intended to pierce the heart

Caught in mid flight by His mighty hand

How He’s protected and provided

Listened to each prayer breathed in private

Silent words spoken from the heart shared with only Him

I stare out the window

coffee cupphoto © 2010 Moyan Brenn | more info (via: Wylio)

From over the rim of my coffee cup

And watch clouds come full of rain

But it’s all right

I'm settled inside – peace not only for the journey

But from it

He’s brought me through...once again

Guided me this far

And He always will

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

(Psalm 23:4) NIV

How has the Lord brought you through this week?

Share your praise in a comment – let’s give Him glory together.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Resonate for God

Japanese Wistriaphoto © 2009 Nigel Wedge | more info (via: Wylio)

My heart beats loud and random, and I twist inside as the next step in my journey eludes me. I ask what I can do for Him, what I can write for Him, where I can go for Him, what I can tell others about Him.

And the answer?

Every stone, whether large or small,

when tossed in still waters

ripples wide and far.

Ripples in Waterphoto © 2003 Brendan Landis | more info (via: Wylio)

Whatever we do, do it in the name of the Lord and it will surely glorify. When I’m stuck in life and all I see is that fork in the road; always the question, this way or that? I have to remind myself of the one simple answer….let all you do resonate for God.

Simple, really.

Yet, why do I make it so hard? Overcomplicate and over-think things to the point of paralysis? When it doesn’t matter how high, how far or how long when it all breathes of Christ and my desire to please Him. To grow closer to Him, and to be that stone cast in still waters.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:17) NIV

Monday, June 13, 2011

How do You Measure Success?

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3) NIV

Forma nad sztukąphoto © 2009 tripleigrek | more info (via: Wylio)

How wonderfully awkward to sit in the chair behind the stack of books this time. There I was, the first to show up and set up, ready for the day ahead. I greeted, smiled, witnessed, answered questions about my book, talked it up and even shared hugs and chocolates. I came home with a few more copies than I’d hoped, but the joy and fulfillment from the day had me praising God’s name all the way home.

How good He’s been to me over the years; all He’s brought me through, the mountains He’s moved aside and the love He’s shown that has all brought me to where I am now – living with a heart that beats of praise and peace.

He’s brought me to a place where success isn’t an external thing. You can’t see it or loan it to a friend for the weekend. It doesn’t keep you afloat when the current rises. Success comes when you begin and end each day with thanksgiving. When it's His Word that sustains you through the fire and you reach for it knowing it's what holds truth. It comes when you turn to Him as a first choice as well as the last. It comes when you’re standing in front of that brick wall and there’s nowhere else to turn…but to His open arms. I feel success not when I hold the rewards in my hands, but when I know I’ve placed my life, my faith and my concerns in the palm of His.

How do you measure success?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just a Little Diversion..."Prescription-Strength Chocolate"

Chocolatephoto © 2008 Kirti Poddar | more info (via: Wylio)

I’m afraid it’s one of “those” mornings…woke up feeling like my eyes were resting on my cheek bones. I’m fighting a major headache, a little edgy, a little crampy and I’d almost bet money that someone came into my room during the night and stole all the clothes that used to fit me!

Gotta confess: after my “breakfast” of coffee and leftover dinner rolls (had to have SOMETHING on my stomach to soak up what was to follow), I grabbed a few Advil and…yes…a piece of chocolate! But only one! Yeah, I'm quite the health nut.....not!

When I’m propelled by excitement, like this event I’m having tomorrow, I find that sleep eludes me. I spend the night restless. I try to shut my mind down, to stop thinking of all the possible scenarios, all that could go wrong and of all the things that haven’t been done or still needs attention.

There’s just something soothing about chocolate that helps to smooth out the rough edges of the day. This morning, melting away with that little truffle in my mouth, I thought of how wonderful it would be to have prescription-strength chocolate…for days like this J

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blessings Abundant

Sun Brightly Tinting The Needles of A Pine Treephoto © 2011 Berkeley T. Compton | more info (via: Wylio)

Sunlight pours in where it didn’t before.

I stood watching as tree trimmers climbed and chopped away at the old pine in the corner of the yard; the stripping of branches and needles and the rush of light.

Through the buzz of chainsaws and the dropping of limbs, I thought of the years it took for the tree to stand so straight, to soar free and unyielding,…and how in a moment, all is stripped away.

Somehow, I desired the same.

Less of me - more of You, I breathed as the sway of branches gave way to blue skies.

Less of me – more of You.

Me, sometimes up with limbs arching Heavenward. Me, some days feeling much like the pieces breaking and plunging to the ground below.

Yet, it takes the shedding of branches, the tidying up of what is unneeded if the light is to shine through.

Praise God for the sunlight that pours in where it didn’t before.


Sharing a praise…

The invitation came last Friday. It would be my very first book signing event. So exciting. So sudden. So scary.

Writephoto © 2007 Martin | more info (via: Wylio)

What will I say? What will I wear? What if I sit there all day and don’t sell a book? Will I look desperate behind my stack of books and my pathetic little bowl of chocolates used as a bribery tool? Will my books even get here in time or will I have to print rain checks instead?

I spent the next several days in contact with the book publisher asking, begging, pleading my case. Yes, big book publisher – I realize I'm asking a lot here, but it’s my very first book signing and I absolutely HAVE to receive my order in time. SOMEONE there has to care! I shared the urgency of my order, but for 2 days, I received only apologies; “We’re very sorry for your inconvenience, but our system is fully automated. Once your order is placed, it’s placed. An order of this size takes between 6-8 days just to print BEFORE it even ships, etc….”

I spent the morning going from disappointed to tossing my hands in the air and talking to God, giving Him my frustration. “All right, God. If I’m to have my book order here in time for my signing on Saturday, then I need a miracle, plain and simple. I’m trusting in You, Lord. This whole thing will play out as You want it – it’s out of my hands, and there’s nothing I can do about a publisher’s printing schedule.”

Less of me – more of You…less of me…more of You.

Rinsing plates at the sink with a bright afternoon sun in my eyes, I happened to glance over at my email page on the computer screen. Could it be???

There, the words across the subject line of an email brought me to tears and laughter all at once: “Good News, Mrs. Dillon. Your book order has shipped! You are scheduled to receive it on Thursday!”

God is amazing.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24) NIV

Join me this Saturday from 10am to whenever for the grand re-opening of the Camarillo Village Square. I'll be one of 12 vendors outside of Homespun Treasures! Book signing, music, DJs, food, fun, WOO-Hoo!

Friday, June 3, 2011

His Grace is Sufficient

Sadphoto © 2007 wheatfieldbrown | more info (via: Wylio)

I’d wasted the whole day in a deep, personal rut; the kind where the waters swirl muddy but you’re not sure why. You just feel that all is not right when you step outside of yourself and look back – if you could just figure out what “it” is that has captured your spark, stolen your smile, you could start back down a productive path.

But that was the problem: I had everything to be thankful for; every reason to be happy. I couldn’t justify the turmoil. Sure, the day started out with a minor “disturbance” between me and my husband, but he’d even called later in the morning to apologize, and all was well again. There was no reason for my selfish frustrations or my calling out to God to make the good better!

Still I went about my day unsettled. I muttered my thanks for the many reasons to celebrate, and good things are happening. So how could I be so selfish as to want more of them and to come at me faster and in bigger, brighter packages?

The late afternoon would find me sitting in the bank setting up a new personal account.

“What kind of account are we setting up for you today?” the 20-something bank clerk asks.

“Well, I’m an author and freelance writer, so it’s sort of a business account,” I smile noticing the few photos sprinkled about her work space.

“Aaww, is that your son?” I ask the obvious – he looked exactly like her.

“Yes,” she filled with mother’s pride, but the smile quickly faded.

“He’ll be 3 soon - and I’m missing it. I have to work, you know?” she shrugs.

Grace in the Gardenphoto © 2006 Jaine | more info (via: Wylio)
Conviction poured over me like those muddy waters and I realized it instantly as God’s gentle correction. He reminded me of sweet afternoons with my little ones spent with bare feet in the garden, and the blanket spread in the shade of the old tree in the corner with chocolate pudding spread across baby-teeth smiles, and pointing out shapes and colors in board books, and blowing bubbles for the dog to chase, and pudgy baby hands holding perfect bouquets, and the little boy now a man and the little girl with honey-colored hair who still gives the best hugs. He reminds me of the full freezer and pantry, the home intact while others in our country suffer loss too great for words, His countless blessings wrapped up in every single day….and I melt inside.

His grace is sufficient, and I should never forget

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9) NIV


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