Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet Symphony

'Autumn Leaf in Nagasaki' photo (c) 2004, Marufish - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

A rustle of leaves whispers from somewhere high up in the maples above me. It echoes requests of those enduring winds of change; a season of faith tested, of courage unwrapped and dusted off.

It whispers of a thousand prayers, all spoken from heavy hearts; the blur of hope and fear of uncertain days …and the leaves tumble.

And the rustling explodes in sweet symphony!

A glorious symphony of praise – praise that doesn’t wait for the blessing, but praise for the One who bore it all; praise simply because He lives!

He dwells in the hearts of those who know Him, trust Him, love Him, pray to and believe in…Him.

And the stirring overhead stops, pauses to watch the dance of spinning amber and gold below…and my heart finds rest in the silence.

'Fall Leaves' photo (c) 2008, Rich Bowen - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Let our prayers and our praises ring out for one another in a symphony unto Him; each glorious note aflame with the knowledge and truth of His Word – that we’re to give praise in every situation that chooses us…not just the ones we choose.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…”

(Philippians 1:3-4) NIV

Written just for you today - (brothers and ) sisters in Christ

Monday, August 29, 2011

"The Courage to Fly" Part 1

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

'Mountain Climbing Visitor' photo (c) 2005, Masahiro Hayata - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’d just dropped my daughter off at school. And, as I often did, I began speaking to God on the way back home, muttering the same old prayer and plea for help over the top of my travel mug. Normally my morning prayer was a sleepy-eyed attempt spoken from sort of a shallow place inside more out of routine than anything else; thank you for this one and for that one, help me to be all You want me to be today, yada-yada-yada.

But this morning was different. There, in the quiet of the car, I prayed and spoke from a much deeper place – a much deeper need.

“Lord, you know all that’s weighing on my shoulders, and only You know this inner turmoil I’ve felt and the constant fight. So show me, Lord. I’ve wanted to do something useful with my life for so long – something more, but I want to hear it from you. If you can hear me this morning, then please, speak to me…what is it that you want me to do?”

Finally, that day the answer came through clearly in three simple words: “write – for – me”. I almost stopped the car and dropped my cup! The words were nearly audible.

My first thought? Well, duh? We’re supposed to glorify God in all we do and say, so it only makes sense that He would lead me right back to my passion; my love of writing, AND to do it all for Him! I just needed to be clunked over the head with it, in a gentle, God-loving way of course.

So, it was time to dust off the old self-esteem and confidence issues and resurrect the articles and the book manuscripts that I’d tossed in a corner waiting for “someday” to roll around.

But that’s when the Lord showed me

that I was indeed living my “someday.”

He made me realize that without the fire of a dream burning within us – without a passion for opportunities that come our way, we become fruit that withers on the vine. When we lose site of our dreams or the magnitude of the possibilities, it’s easy to talk ourselves into thinking it’s too late in life to pursue them, or that the obstacles we face are greater than our abilities…abilities we possess only because our living, loving God has already gifted them to us. Again, If you’re still here – there’s still work to be done!

You are never too old to be blessed or to be a blessing to others.

It’s true! God has plans for YOU, and plans to prosper YOU. He is our hope in attaining our dreams and goals. He saw the obstacles in your path long ago, and even way back then, He knew your inhibitions and your insecurities.

So, what’s holding you back from pursuing your life-long dream?

Money?

Time?

Energy?

Lack of self confidence or resources?

You may see them as obstacles, but nothing is too big for our God.

Is there someone in your life, either intentionally or subtly, stealing your joy, ultimately preventing you from pursuing that which makes your heart sing? Remember that it’s God’s plans for you that matter. You have the power of the One who conquered the grave on your side, and He intends to watch you succeed. So why not work toward your dream knowing that the Lord is on the sidelines cheering you on!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish." (Hebrews 12:1) NLT

As we go through this series, it’s important to first realize and acknowledge the fact that you DO indeed possess gifts and qualities uniquely yours.

There are women all over the world who have lost their spark. They’ve mastered the look of composure and contentment on the outside, but in a more intimate setting where true feelings are revealed, you find there’s a real storm brewing just under that smile. Many have either become bogged down with the stress of life and have relinquished control over to obligations or painful memories of a treacherous past, while others are victims of circumstance and shattered faith. Many simply can’t see beyond the sea of pre-school toys, bottles and diapers and have lost the sense of who they are and who they want to be.

Wherever you are in life, the Lord is ready and waiting to comfort and guide you toward your dreams – so, let’s identify and clarify your dream or calling in life in order to begin the process of attaining it.

However, don’t confuse your life’s dream with simply something you enjoy doing in your spare time. Your innermost dream is that one nagging desire deep down in your heart that doesn’t fade with time; the one thing you’ve felt called to do all your life but inhibitions and that little voice of negativity have prevented you from moving forward.

That’s the dream upon which your Creator wants you to act.

How do you know your dream in life is the one you should pursue?

Have you prayed about it?

Have you listened for God’s answer?

Your innermost dream is not a misplaced jewel. God knew exactly what He was doing when He fit the dream to you. He’s always known that you would be the perfect one to carry out His mission. Whether it’s a position in ministry, starting your own business, earning a college degree, writing a book or setting sail for a distant country, it’s going to require taking that first step beyond what’s comfortable for you….the good news? You won’t have to do it alone!

"And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." (Isaiah 58:11)

Your innermost dream is the one that brings about emotion as you allow yourself to remember what it meant to you before life got in the way. This may or may not be the first physical step toward actively pursuing what you’ve been called to do with your life, but it may help to think of the word “dream” as a noun; an object you are striving to obtain, instead of a verb (such as the act of dreaming). Your dream is very real to you, and very real to God.

~~*~~

Take a minute now to write out your dream whether in a Word doc or in long hand. You may surprise yourself as you acknowledge and visualize your goal, but remember: don’t write what you think will be acceptable to someone else – this is your dream, so use your own words.

Once you’ve written out your dream, put it someplace visible so you’re reminded of it throughout the week. Even if it’s just a Sticky Note on the front of the fridge or microwave, or even simple words scratched on the back of an envelope and stuck on the bathroom mirror, it will serve as a reminder that the dream is still alive. It still exists and so does God’s confidence in you!


Thanks so much for letting me share these thoughts with you. Join me next Monday for Part 2 of “The Courage to Fly.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"The Courage to Fly" begins tomorrow!

'Painted lady' photo (c) 2009, Cyndy Sims Parr - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’m so excited to share some thoughts with you in my blog series, “The Courage to Fly,” which begins tomorrow.

SO excited, in fact, that I’d like to give a little preface post to give you an idea of just where all this talk of pursuing dreams originated.

Perhaps it explains why I relate everything to the garden…because that’s where He speaks to me. That’s where He led me during those dark and cloudy months. The months my preoccupied self took precedence over the weeds, the lack of water and nourishment and the desperate whimper of shriveling foliage just beyond the garden gate. Like prisoners with no escape, I look back now and envision my struggling, weak plants dragging crude metal watering cans back and forth across the gate slats to get my attention, but I’d become too content in my own misery to pay them any mind.

I was in a darkened, angry state of heart running through my days methodically on auto-pilot, ignoring phone calls, decisions, denying myself all forms of peace and happiness. Like the garden, I, too stood withering, fading, losing all traces of color and life. I’d lost my enthusiasm and felt like a failure to my husband, children and family members.

I, like the garden, stood barren, stripped of foliage and limp while the rain poured in my heart.

One day (which I mention later in series), the Lord came through loud and clear – an almost audible voice, and gave me my dream back…gave me back to me! In those simple words, He made me realize that you and I, whether single or married, youthful or “well seasoned,” from false eye lashes to false teeth, we each possess a passion uniquely ours.

Your dreams matter because God put them there. He created you; vibrant, beautiful, intelligent you to live out a particular purpose, and he equipped you with everything necessary to do so. Isn’t that an awesome thing to consider? No matter what stage of life you find yourself, you are still an integral part of God’s perfect plan.

Now, I don’t have a wall full of counseling degrees to back me up, and I can’t tell you why good people have to endure unthinkable loss and heartache, but I do know this: if you had the good pleasure of waking up this morning to a beautiful new day, there’s a reason for it.

There’s a reason you survived the accident, the broken marriage, the unhealthy relationship.

There’s a reason you came through the surgery.

There’s a reason the chemo worked and you’ve been declared cancer free.

There’s a reason for your past, and plenty of reason to look ahead to your future.

There’s a reason the Lord has taken away and forgiven your sins.

There’s a reason why you’re reading this right now.

Yes, you may be scarred and discouraged from the battle, but if you’re still here, there’s still work to be done, and God wants to accomplish it in you one step at a time!

Join me tomorrow as we kick off “The Courage to Fly”!

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Wanted to Tell You First...

Wanna know a secret…?

I am over-the-top excited, blessed, honored, humbled and downright skipping in my flip-flops today because I’m posting over at (in)courage on Wednesday, September 7th! I know, it’s a couple weeks away, but don’t worry – I’ll remind you between now and then.

So, mark your calendars and have the coffee ready, and I’ll see you on the 7th!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"The Courage to Fly"

'Dream!' photo (c) 2008, Melody Campbell - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

“…but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31) NIV

As I settle my mind here on the leather sofa to write these words, I imagine you sharing this moment with me and how the rich aroma of Vanilla Nut coffee swirls and mingles with spice-scented candles. We cozy up for a great heart-to-heart and a chance to share some of our deepest hopes and dreams; ones we’ve only dared to utter in quiet breath prayers.

I sip my coffee and start us off by asking…so, how are you? Are you happy? I mean truly happy from the inside out? Are you feeling a little like everything and everyone in life sort of takes precedence over your own? Sort of like your dreams and goals have had to take a back seat for far too long? I know how life can get crazy sometimes, and it’s so easy to get caught up in all the going, doing, being and accomplishing, but have you even thought about it lately – “happiness” and what it means to you? What do you think it would take to make you happy right now…today, or do you even dare to let your mind visit that far-away place where your dreams and goals live?

There was a time in my life when I’d forgotten about my dreams and passions - a dark time when I questioned my purpose; my role in life. That’s when the Lord sort of took me by the shoulders, set me firm and changed my way of thinking.

I’d like to share some very practical thoughts with you, my precious sisters in Christ, about the process of reaching your goals and seeking God’s purpose.

Now, I’ve never done anything like this before, but I really feel led to share in this way – so…..each Monday, for the next 7 weeks, beginning August 29th, I’d like to begin a series to help encourage you to embrace the dreams and goals God has designed you to fulfill. I’ll be sharing, from my heart to yours, what the Lord has revealed to me over the past few years and how giving Him my desires and my inhibitions has changed my life and strengthened my relationship with Him.

I hope you’ll join me – and please, share comments and feedback. Let’s encourage one another as we journey toward our dreams!

Heavenly Father, I want to lift up my friend, the reader of these words. Thank you, Lord, for loving her like no other. Thank you for believing in her enough to place dreams and passions within her and then equipping her for the task. May she look to You for the strength and confidence she needs to see them through. May You be a constant help and presence in her life as she strives to be all You would have her to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
(Matthew 18:20) ESV

"Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him,and he will act." (Psalm 37:5) ESV



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Absence of Shoes


I can tell who’s home by the pairs of shoes on the floor. For some reason, they seldom make it into the designated “shoe basket” discreetly hidden beneath the table, but that’s all right. I’ve come to appreciate how they’ve increased in both numbers and size over the years.

Today, however, I went home for lunch, and there were no shoes. Normally, I’d breathe a sigh of contentment with the uncluttered space by my front door, but today…..not so much.

The absence of shoes tells me no one will answer back from upstairs when I announce my arrival. The absence of shoes means that college classes have begun for my oldest, and that we’re on the brink of an exciting, exhausting (and expensive) senior year for the other; another indicator of the changing seasons.

I remember when tiny toddler shoes were the first to hit the basket. Soon, chunky hiking boots and sneakers appeared, and soon after that came the soccer cleats, maybe once in awhile a pair of shiny black paten leather dress shoes and then a larger pair of hiking boots. Then came the tae kwon do shoes and flip-flops, slippers and now even bigger hiking boots mixed in with running shoes.

But it’s the hiking boots…yes, I think I’m most thankful for the many pairs of hiking boots.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) ESV


Monday, August 22, 2011

Rushing the Blessing



I’ve done it again – brought the fall decorations down from the rafters, lit the scented candles and spent the afternoon bringing warmth to my home to the backdrop of Mozart and Handel…and it’s still August! Actually, it’s the only season in which I can truly justify the rich, warm colors I’ve chosen for year-round decor. Colors that lend themselves well to rich coffee and the glow of a fireplace on those chilly Autumn nights.

It seems I always want to jump ahead to the next season, hurry toward the next blessing; usher it in quickly to enjoy it sooner…only to sometimes overlook the one I’m given. Much like the seasons, blessings are handed down one at a time, according to the Lord’s time frame – not ours.

In the meantime, just as summer breathes her last and autumn tosses her leaves to the wind, we’re to hold tight, stand firm and consider the blessings to be revealed in the new season, rather than the chaff of hopes perhaps now spent and dormant …much like the clutter of leaves across the path.

When we’ve made the decision, from the inside out, to follow Jesus and His perfect will for our lives, we don’t just follow Him through the “good” seasons when we walk the roads smooth and free of pot holes. His Word says he will never leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5), so how could I, in selfish defiance, turn my heart away from all He is and all He’s done simply because I think He’s not handing out the blessings fast enough?

It’s a maturity of faith and a deep trust in the Lord’s plan that keep our knees and our will happily bent to His.

Lord Jesus,

Help me to continue to grow my faith and to trust in You always. Help me to keep a pure heart and sincere desire to follow Your ways throughout every season of life. It’s in your name I pray. Amen.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust."

(Psalm 91:1-2) NIV


Thursday, August 18, 2011

When You Pray...Believe!




An early-morning mist hovers cool and damp just above the fence line and I settle on the back patio…steam swirling from my coffee cup.

I come with a thankful heart for prayers answered - and for the ones still needing a few more stitches here and there until they fit just right.

My praise of Him births a new joy as I consider Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” And I have to ask myself:

Where do I pray from?

A spirit of victory or a heart of defeat?

Do I pray like I know Him? Is there trust behind the words and not just empty requests made of one who expects disappointment?

My heart races and joy sets me on my feet and I’m smiling inside because with my God, I can pray AND believe! I can praise Him WHILE I’m praying because He’s already granted me the peace that surpasses ALL understanding and he’s to be glorified either way! I can praise Him BEFORE the blessing because He IS the blessing!

Praise God!

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

(1 Peter 3:12) NIV

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joy Comes With the Morning

'Sunrise through the clouds' photo (c) 2008, Chris Betcher - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I awoke early this morning in prayer, thinking of the day ahead and of all the quiet prayers of others; those quietly seeking…quietly desperate.

I wondered about all the requests made of the Father when we’re backed against the wall, down on our knees, or down in our spirit. And how He addresses each and every one. How we’re never really alone. He hears the prayers of those who seek comfort. Those who seek answers, healing, peace and grace.

Those who seek Him.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

(Psalm 30:5) NLT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olzgYeMBlUY&feature=related

Friday, August 12, 2011

Behind the Blessing

Life is all about the choices, the decisions we make

AND our attitude in dealing with the consequences

or blessings of them.

'Project 50 #33 - Watering Can' photo (c) 2009, Christopher Craig - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

She’s already in the vegetable garden when the rooster crows, out watering the yard or starting something on the stove. She rises with praise on her lips and her mind already thinking through the day stretched out before her; who could use a blessing today? Who could use a friend? A hug, a listening ear…a home-cooked meal? Always with an eye to the practical needs of others rather than herself.

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

(Phil. 2:1-4) NIV

'Garden shed' photo (c) 2009, Heather Clemons - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

She’s known dark days; times when she’s gone to her knees watering the garden with her tears, times of crying out to God when the pain and discouragement grip tight around her heart.

Yet, through it all, she’s held on to the hope, the promise of God’s Word – held on to truth and held on tight. She’s stood through the winds of uncertainty and challenge, loved through the storm of it all and remained firm in faith living out the attitude of her heart and sharing it with those around her. What blessings are those who are intent on blessing others despite their circumstances.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

(Galatians 6:7) NIV

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Light

The garden called me out early this morning to the first light captured and held on flower faces. I caught them peeking heads up over the fence and inviting me in for the show.

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I hurried over to see, to appreciate them in their purist form with rich, vibrant colors all dressed fresh and new because life blooming in its early stages, just like new-found faith, has to be nurtured and tended on a daily basis if it is to keep giving back. Sure as rain the weeds will come. Colors will fade and the soil will dry.

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It's easy to see the beauty in the new and vibrant, when everything looks like a heart newly surrendered; like a new relationship with God in the beginning stages. But both require on-going attention - not a simple one-time "watering of the garden" only to leave it to thrive on its own.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk,

so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

(1 Peter 2:2-3) NIV



Monday, August 8, 2011

"Perfect"




I knew what it was when I saw it lying there beneath the rose bush. Beneath “Lucky’s” rose; the one we planted in his memory because it seems roses live longer than our dearest four-legged friends.

I picked it up. The wood all splintered and faded from the sun, and me with a tear and breath stilled as something so simple took me back a hundred summers, or so it seemed. I remember the day he painted it. How he worked so hard to get the lettering just right, and the colors to match the garden.


“Don’t look yet, Mom,” he spoke through a toothless smile and the tiny pair of glasses forever crooked on his young face.

I remember when it was finished and how his “Mom’s Garden” sign hung for years through rain and sun officially defining my little space…our special little space where it was ok to pluck seed heads, to clip spent blooms or gather small bouquets…to learn and explore and to grow the blessing of a mother-and-child bond right along with the flowers.

Elements have washed away the colors now, erased the little-boy lettering and the flower in pink with the green stem and the sun up in the corner. Yet the gift remains “perfect” in the splintered wood…I still see it. The sentiment and hard work of small hands streaked with garden soil.

Sometimes we strive toward a clouded image in our quest for “perfect” when there’s so much beauty in imperfection because that’s when God does his best work; lifting us out of the muck and mire. He cleans us up, wipes away our past and shines up our future until we’re a new creation…”perfect” in his eyes…perfectly his.

We live with the imperfect every day; our chipped paint, that mess in the corner, the clutter of our busy lives, yet the blessing is in the living. God bless the laughter and the memories and the moments unplanned…the beauty in the imperfect.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

(1 John 4:18) ESV


Friday, August 5, 2011

"Commit your way to the Lord..."

I battled a few dark clouds yesterday…..and won.

'Thunbergia a<span><span></span></span>lata' photo (c) 2007, Carl Lewis - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Lord brought me to a quiet place just as the last rays of summer bronze melted down the black-eyed Susan vine. Just as the hum of a day spent in the shadows dissolved with the setting sun and flower heads in the garden turned down for the night.

That’s when I found my spot among the pillows on the couch with Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest” open and full of hope and promise across my lap. The words – I read them twice – they jumped from the page and into my heart and I knew it was of the Lord; His comfort and His answer yet again just when I needed it most. Me useless and wavering and Him faithful once again. After a day of lifting weak arms; whispering, muttering breath prayers constant, without ceasing, He offered these words:

“As long as you think you are of value to Him He cannot choose you because you have purposes of your own to serve. But if you allow him to take you to the end of your own self sufficiency, then he can choose you to go with him [to Jerusalem] and that will mean the fulfillment of purposes which he does not discuss with you.” (See Luke 18:31)

Hallelujah, the struggle isn’t mine…or yours! I often lose site of the goal when I’m stuck in the process. It’s the details, the why, when and where that bog me down…consume me when all I need to do is trust and obey, to clear the fog brought on by my own doing – not His.

“Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
(Psalm 37:5-6) NIV



Thursday, August 4, 2011

That Ministry of Yours



I set the last plate to rest in the dishwasher and swirl the towel across the counter completely distracted and lost in the questions still circling in my head: Why do I blog and what exactly do I hope to accomplish with it or with my writing in general? Who do I want to reach and what do I want them to know? And when did my love of something so personal as writing/blogging turn into what some people nowadays call a “ministry”? I shake my head and stare off over the top of my coffee cup toward the pepper trees, and I watch a trio of ring-neck doves flutter wings and land light-footed on the lawn beneath.

Don’t we all have a “ministry” of sorts…living, sharing and professing what we believe?

My dream had always been to be a mystery series book author for children until that day when the Lord grabbed me by the shoulders and told me to write for Him. I had my dreams, my plans all laid across a bumpy, dirt road with plenty of pot holes and strange twists. I’ve since switched to the paved road and though it’s a little uneven at times, I know I’m supposed to press on.

'collared.doves' photo (c) 2007, dobroide - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/But negativity’s been jabbing its pointy finger at me about this lately. I quickly started down that old way of thinking and comparing myself to those who have their ministries and platforms firmly in place, established and deeply rooted. The comparing quickly turned to whining, so I poured out these thoughts – maybe you can relate:

  • You’re not going to have the same message or ministry as any other gal out there. You’re going to reach exactly who God wants you to reach, and you’re going to grab them by the heart in a way that is uniquely you if you’re truly following the will of the Lord.
  • You were designed to be YOUR best and to do YOUR best – not someone else’s. But the nagging voice comes back and argues, “Me? What do I really have to offer? What new and wonderful piece of information could I possibly relate that hasn’t been shared already?”
  • Don’t look to the accomplishments of others as a scale for yourself! You’re not going to look like her, sound like her, write like her or follow her same footsteps to “success,” whatever that may be. Her ministry is hers set forth by God – you have your own. Instead, embrace the words, the messages He’s given you and tell them with anticipation knowing that someone somewhere out there is hungry for them. That "someone" needs you! She’s hurting. She may be feeling overlooked today, neglected, transparent, unappreciated and unloved, and you have to remind her that those feelings are not from God. She has to know that her dreams and goals matter, that God designed her with particular gifts and that she’s strong enough, important enough to see them through. She has to hear it and hear it now before the negative consumes the positive…before it’s too late and her faith is shattered forever. With all your heart, shine the light of Jesus.

My heart races with the thought and my creased brow falls to a smile as the doves take flight over the garden. They perch on the fence and stare back at me and I realize they’re sitting still as stone…watching, waiting for my next move.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Closest to the Heart


The stretch of open road ahead twines like a ribbon fallen loose and careless. It divides endless rows of heartland tilled rich and fertile and I think of the years and the memories in between. About the two paths running parallel yet separated by the miles, but it’s the heart strings that push me on. Has it really been 18 years?

It’s the power of a friendship born of a young spirit, of innocence and a lifetime of “what ifs” yet to come that coax the smile over the steering wheel. It’s that certain laughter that brings it all back as if it never ended. The knowledge of another soul who bore witness to my early days of stretching my wings and learning to fly.

Some things are forever joined at the heart, you know; purest love, deepest friendships, strongest faith, little girl promises and secrets whispered. They somehow bridge the gap of time and in the end…always in the end, it’s what matters most.

I love you, my sweet Tami.

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend

sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) NLT

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