Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How He Reaches Us


Most days find her snapping jagged words; how the blue eyes flare red and sting the heart.

But today, there’s solace found in crouching low with her hens and egg collecting, happy in her boots and hay and chill in the air.

Funny how dropping to our knees lifts us.

I noticed her quiet and thinking deep when she climbed in the car with backpack and that end-of day smile. This mom treads light in a teenager’s space and I dare not pierce the quiet with questions. Instead, I welcome what she offers and watch from the window; this girl now a young woman full of life and tomorrows needing room and space and finding it out in the air; with the rake and shovel turning soil and making sense out of the day. She’s a puzzle; each intricate piece chiseled from stubborn stone, yet polished bright to reflect the sun.

I remember my own long afternoons spent in boots and hay and barn and horses chomping to the rhythm of my youth. Life lays out raw in a dusty stable. There, the pieces fit together and somehow make sense. The stuff of life dissolves like sunlight seeping through barn door cracks; the smell of grain and leather saddles and a horse’s coat.

But it doesn’t take a barn or dust or even hard work to find the answers...

It takes a relationship.

He knows when we need our space and our quiet distance from the world. And He meets us in our solitude. He knows how to reach us, and His words speak clear through to the heart.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

(Matthew 6:6)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Christian Women's Voice Magazine!


Coming February 15th

Our brand new issue of Christian Women’s Voice Magazine will be available February 15th, and we couldn’t be more excited to share such a great variety of articles meant to encourage, inspire and inform! Tell a friend today!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Love the Reign (revisited)

'Estonian Embassy Fireplace' photo (c) 2010, Mr. T in DC - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

It started when the sun took its rest beyond the trees

That perfect, random rhythm on the roof that makes you stop and listen

You know it's nothing you've created - it's the work of the Lord

It's out of your control.

I've waited all day for the gentle song of peace that now feeds my soul.

I've spent a restless, uneasy day - shifting moods and stumbling around with the clouds

As if switching unsteady dance partners in a darkened room

But then, I hear the voice in the rain:

"Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations.

I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10) NIV

He brings the sun and the stars, and the wind that grows my strength

It's the work of the Lord - it's out of my control

He gives vision to see more clearly the blessings that surround me

He brings the dark when the day is done that I may take refuge in Him

And he brings the sweet song of rain on my roof that I may simply stop....and remember

It's His reigning power over my life and my home that comforts me

It's the work of the Lord...and I'm so glad He is in control.

"And he who searches our hearts knows the mind

of the spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's

people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the

good of those who love him, who have been called

according to his purpose." (Romans 8:27-28) NIV

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oh, To Be Refinished...

'Wood Grain' photo (c) 2005, Jeff Hitchcock - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I remember the day my father-in-law brought it. He made the 6-hour trek down to our house and delivered my beautiful buffet; a cabinet from around the ‘40s in well-loved condition though bearing a few “wrinkles” here and there, just like the rest of us. He and my husband wrestled with it through the door and settled it in front of the living room window. I immediately thought of how I’d decorate it for the holidays and how pretty plants, candles and family photos would look displayed across the top.

It’s become more worn since then. A few more signs of life have marred the surface and a couple drawer handles are now broken. I’ve thought about refinishing it, but quickly shy away from the work involved. I considered maybe just adding a layer across what’s been done before, but why do a restoration job half way? When such a thing is meant to fool the eye, we’re only fooling ourselves….right?

I, for one, would never want to be refinished half way.

It only produces a dull surface to add layer upon layer in an attempt to get the full results. It takes the strength of the Lord to get to the heart, to peel back those layers and expose the true wood grain that lies beneath with its natural beauty and character. It takes the complete stripping away of failed attempts made over the years to receive the perfect work of God’s “refinishing,”

He doesn’t just add one more layer upon our failed workmanship.

There are no shortcuts to the process when we’ve set our minds to be fully restored in Him. I’m so thankful today for the God who doesn’t shy away from the work involved….aren’t you?

Lord Jesus,

Hear the hearts of those who wish to be fully surrendered to your workmanship. Refine and bring beauty to all who are seeking the perfect work of your mighty hand that we may bring glory to you and be a blessing to others in Your name.

Amen

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, January 7, 2012

As We Go Along...

'Mollis Tange Camera' photo (c) 2010, Taylor Burnes - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

My husband bought me an awesome camera for Christmas. I love it! It does amazing stuff…..I think :/ I’ve taken a few pictures with it, but I confess it’s a little confusing.

So, I took a few minutes to sit down and actually check out the instructions (duh?). Easier said than done. The print is so small, or maybe it was bad lighting….or my eyes are getting old. Either way, I got frustrated and decided I’d have to just figure it out as I go along.

Funny thing about that way of thinking. Making the decision to figure things out as they come sort of obligates us to accept the easy along with the difficult; the trials AND the triumphs.

'Vintage' photo (c) 2009, Agnes_F - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In a sense, it’s kind of like becoming a Christian. We have this brand new and wonderful thing in front of us. We know it will bless us and change our lives…maybe even change the lives of others…but the “user’s manual” definitely takes some studying to understand all that it’s capable of doing, as well as just how to use it! So, in faith, we say, ‘Ok, I’ve made this decision to follow you, Lord, to trust in you for all things and to walk in your ways. I don’t have it all figured out, but I want to 'use it anyway' (just like using my brand new camera). And when I stumble and make mistakes, maybe get things a little ‘out of focus,’ I can go back to the manual, figure out what I did wrong and make it right again.”

The blessing can only come about when we study the Word and learn all we can about the indescribable gift of knowing Jesus. If we go about it blindly, using the gift with limited knowledge and never bother exploring its full capabilities, we miss out on the true blessing…..sort of like clicking pictures in the dark without a flash.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cleaning out the Corners



We’ve had such beautiful weather here in California. Seems strange to go through the holiday season with temps in the 70s, but I’ll take it.

In fact, the warm sun and singing birds drew me out to my favorite room in the house over the New Year’s weekend…my back patio. My pond is there with the little waterfall and goldfish. My comfy whicker settee gives me a great view of the garden and chickens that scratch around in the coop. From there I watch the dogs (and sometimes husband and kids) at play on the lawn and sip iced tea on warm afternoons.

I decided to tidy things up a bit so I set to work on the pond; out with the murky water, in with the new. I moved plants around, swept and watered until I was a dirty, sweaty mess….and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.

'Le

There’s something spiritually cleansing when we dig in and give attention to the little things, don’t you think? It sets the mind at peace when we move away the debris, sweep out the hidden corners and address the thorough cleaning that needs to be done.

It makes me think of all the “corners” of my life that could use some attention; all the relationships that could use a little sprucing up.

Convicting? Yes.

Hard work? Yes.

Impossible?

No.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13)

And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
(Matthew 19:26)

Lord Jesus,

I pray for the reader of these words. I ask that you help guide her to the corners; those hidden away places that require the very light of your love and mercy, for it’s in the darkest corners where you shine the brightest. As we each arm ourselves with the power of your Word, may you strengthen us all to go boldly into each situation we face. In Jesus’ Name…Amen

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