Colorfully

 

 

    Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

(Psalm 47:1 ESV)
God of all colors
God of changing shapes
           God of all sizes
floating through the air
     bouncing to the floor
          disintegrating
               reconforming to a different shape
He is God, Himself
For he will not much remember the days of his life 

because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.  
(Ecclesiastes 5:20 ESV)

He is Love

God never loses His Love, His heart, no matter how He may appear to us, in who we see Christ.

     God is bountiful and bright

            He is Joy!
And I am His!    And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced

for God had made them rejoice with great joy
the women and children also rejoiced

And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.
(Nehemiah 12:43 ESV)

Heavenly Father, I write words on a blog page that describe You to me.  I write words that encourage my heart for I, myself, need encouraging.  I am going through so many health concerns in this period of my life, and it has not, is not, and may not, be easy.  But You walk with me no matter.  Thank You, LORD.  You hear our cries for Your help.  You answer in ways that I may not always understand, in ways that make me cry, in ways that make me rejoice.  Even though the answers do not always fit my predetermined answer, I glorify You for Your Ways. Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.  Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.  Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.  Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!  Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.  Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.  Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.  Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!”  (Psalm 119:33-40 ESV)  I call upon You, my LORD, to keep me close.  I shall draw near to You for I want You near to me.  I love You, my Abba.  I need You.  Heal me, Father.  Make the wrong turn right, and heal the pieces that are hurting, physically and emotionally.  Take care of my Mama when I cannot, when I am so worn out.  Thank You for fixing Mama’s Medicaid mess today too.  What a blessed relief!  Richard and Rhonda and Irma, too, have been Your hands in straightening up Mama’s numbers so that her coverage is back on track.  I rejoice!  I look upon the colors above and cannot help but think cheer and joy in Your Name, Amen.
   Graphics: all from DryIcons @ http://dryicons.com/

A Sabbath Moment

quietly, I listen
quietly, I ponder
quietly, I hear the wind
quietly, the Spirit is with me
quiet… shhhhhh
     quiet…
          quiet…
quietly, I cry
quietly, I listen
     …and tend to His still, small voice

    “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 ESV)
quietly, I am still
quietly, I sing
quiet…
     quiet…
          quiet…
quietly, I listen

 

    Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

(Isaiah 32:16-18 ESV)
    The whole earth is at rest and quiet;
they break forth into singing.

(Isaiah 14:7 ESV)
quietly, I rest
quietly, I sleep in His arms
quietly, I know
quiet…
     quiet…
          quiet…
listen…
    The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

No…It is Not Free!

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I honor you, the Veterans of these United States of America.
 
I am a proud wife and a daughter of military veterans.  
This day makes me stand proud.  
It makes me sad 
for all those who lost their lives due to war.
 
 
I honor those veterans who return with physical, mental, emotional wounds.  I am so very sorry.  I pray for you and your families.  I honor the families who serve alongside of their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, grandchildren 
for they are serving this country as well.   
Thank you to each and every one of you. 
What can I say?  I can only weep with her for I have been in this woman’s shoes for my Daddy.
 
 
This link below is a moving and beautifully artistic slide show with music from Arlington  National Cemetery.  I invite you to join me there.
 
My husband is an Army combat veteran, served in Vietnam.  I am grateful that he came home. 
I am proud of you, Kenneth.  I respect you and love you.  We were
young back then and did not understand all the ways of this world (and
still don’t.)  I did not even know you yet, but I am glad I do now. 
Thank you for marrying me and loving me so beautifully.  



I lost my Daddy when I was 12.  He was a Navy doctor, a lifer — he
surely would have been.  He loved his Navy.  He served in WWII in the
Pacific and then went on to be a part of the Manhattan Project/Bikini
and Eniwetok Islands where radiation exposure eventually took his
life.   He practiced medicine in the Navy for 20 years though, until he
died at 46 years old. 

You loved us so, Daddy.  I miss you, and so do Mommy and Nancy and Annette.  
I love you, Daddy. 
 
Freedom is never FREE. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by
abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he
might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making
peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

Ephesians 2:14-21

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you ever heard about Wreaths Across America?  
This company has been honoring our fallen soldiers by placing wreaths upon the graves since 1992.  It began small and has grown to almost every Veterans Cemetery in the USA.  Check out their story:  Remember 

 

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

(1 Peter 2:16 ESV)

 

May I live as You have called me to live, Father God.  Thank You for these men and women who have served this country.  I pray that we do not forget them but honor them in this life for the honor with which most have served.  I lift up those today who came back from war with scars on or in their bodies, minds, and souls.  Protect and heal them, Father.  I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers, the families of those who are yet in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other areas of this world that are placing them in harm’s way.  I lift up our Coast Guard who are risking their lives to interdict the drug cartels coming out of Mexico.  Oh, Father, there are so many concerns and I pray on my knees before You.  Thank You for hearing my cries, seeing my tears.  Amen.

 

Photo 1: taken by ~ linda

Unstring

I read “God in the Yard” by l. l. barkat.  I move through the pages at a slow, sporadic pace, doing the exercises, learning to play and be a child once again, with God, no less.  I am in the third week, page 27.  One exercise is called “Unstring”.  She says, “Picture certain issues/emotions/elements of your personal psychology to be like a cord that binds you.  Can you feel them cutting in?  Do you wish the ties could be loosened?  As a kind of prayer, invite the Spirit to begin unwinding the invisible cords; to feel the hope of this, act out unwinding with your body.  If you prefer, draw a picture of yourself and what binds you, then draw a series of pictures that illustrate the ties coming undone.”

So I did that.  It looked something like this: 

On my own drawing, I had words on the lines such as:

self-defeating

too easily crushed
fearful
need to control situations

emotionally hurt by words
caregiving for 13 years

 

 

I asked the Holy Spirit to unwind the tight cords that bind me, those old tapes in my head that take away my freedom to twirl in the wind, to breathe deeply.  Much lies behind the words, behind that tight cord.  How can I play when the seriousness of life is weighing me down?

Mom was angry last night.  I am grateful that this mood is not often, but when it is there, I struggle.  I do not like anger, rarely being angry myself.  Mom uses some foul language when she is angry.  Oh, how that runs like fingernails on the chalkboard with me, with my ways.  I leave my visit and I am down, worn out, in no mood to play.  I allow this dementia-caused anger to tie me up in a knot.  There is nothing, NOTHING, I can do about it, nor can she.  So why am I taking it on myself, I ask?

From the spiral drawing right column, you can see the things that are eating me from inside my own self.  The old tapes play.  I put my hands over my ears so I don’t have to hear any of this.  But it doesn’t help because it’s coming from inside.

God, You made me and I know You did not make me with this negative self-debasing talk inside.  I have allowed this world to convince me that I am less than how You made me.
God, can we just sit today in the big rocker on the porch?  Can we rock together, me close to You?  Can we be still?  Quiet?  Can I just be enveloped by Your selfless love, shielded by Your strength, caressed by Your compassion?  Can I, Abba Father?  I would like that because I really just want to be with You, to know Your Presence.  You are my All in all, the Abba Daddy I need and have needed since I was twelve when I lost my earthly Daddy to cancer.  You held me then and I need You to hold me now.  
  
One rocker, that’s all we need, Abba Father.  Just one.  It feels so good to sit beside You with my head on Your chest.  I hear Your heartbeat.  Oh, it’s mine?  My heart is Your heart, isn’t it?  We are united because You sacrificed Your Son for one such as me.  I am Your child and I am glad, and thankful too.  Oh, Abba, You truly do unwind that tight cord from these self-inflicted burdens, the self-destroying talk.  As You loosen the cord with care, You set me free, little by little.  I begin to feel like a child who can play again.  I begin to feel freed from these ties that bind.  You are my Abba Father.  I am Your child who is filled with the joy and the peace that only You can bring. 
Con todo mi corazón, Le agradezco, padre de Abba,
 Your Daughter

Quote from l. l. barkat’s book, “God in the Yard, Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us”, 2010

Picture/Drawing: “squiggle1.gif” @ www2.asd.wednet.edu
Photo of Rocking Chair: “Rocking Chair 2”  AttributionNoncommercial
Some rights reserved by CMMahon, 12/07/2006, Christina M. Mahon, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmahon/

Wanted…Dead or Alive (@ Sanctified Together)

Life Lessons

November, 2011, Sanctified Together Publication.

I have the privilege, once again, to be a contributing writer.

257

When I think of “life’s lessons,” I wish to pull up great, easy lessons that would have taught me so very much, were a breeze, and gave me fresh life, revival of my spirit. They could have been lessons that grew me into such a fine and perfect Christian woman, made me a better person, helped me become more obedient, compassionate, gracious. But, there really are no easy lessons and there are no paths to earthly perfection. In reality, life’s lessons start off, in most cases, as hard, unwanted, and overwhelming to a person needing to die to self. Hands fly upward, covering my head. Tears well up. I cower beneath feelings of failure, fear, resistance, ready to run, even before attempting to learn what God even wants me to learn.

Of course, these lessons, wanted or unwanted, are from God Who knows just what I need. He knows I need to grow in Him:   “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,….” (Ephesians 1:17-20a ESV)

He knows I want to grow in the knowledge of Him. “…be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:14b-18 ESV) He knows I want to grow in His grace.

I am to stay focused on the One Who is Lord of my life. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV) I must not run nor hide. I must stand still with eyes and ears open. How can I learn if the eyes of my heart cannot see Him, or the ears of my heart are closed to His Words? He wants me to know that He is beside me and will not leave me. We will walk this path together. Hard lessons or easy lessons, the intent is to draw me closer to my Creator. He wants to teach me His Truth. He assures me that He is molding me into a Christian woman of His making. He prays over me, loving me deeply. Calling upon His Name in darkness or in light, coming to His throne in boldness, depending upon my Counselor are steps I must take in learning His lessons, these life lessons, wanted or not.

When I look back on the lessons of my life, the only ones I can recall are those I stood and faced. If I did an about-face and ran, I have absolutely no recollection of the lesson God intended for me to learn. When I was firm in my stance, desiring to honor the One Who loves me so much that He taught me Himself, I grew in Christ, became closer to Him, more able to be His student in life from there on out. I climbed hard mountains standing on the pathway upward, knowing He was with me. We continued to the top where God’s Glory shone all about. I knew I had succeeded in learning. Sometimes, my lessons seem repetitive….”Haven’t I been here before?” He teaches what I can handle today. As I become ready for a similar lesson, only deeper, harder, we continue on that upward spiral.

The sweetest gifts about facing life’s unwanted (and wanted) lessons are that I get to walk with Jesus, I grow deeper in my Christian walk, and joy exudes from me for I am becoming a woman of Christ. That dead self becomes alive to Christ, a new creation. “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:18b-21 ESV)

 Blessed are you, O LORD;

teach me your statutes!

With my lips I declare

all the rules of your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies I delight

as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts

and fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

I will not forget your word.

(Psalm 119:12-16 ESV)

May you be blessed as you read lessons of faith from the hearts of many.   Of course, these lessons, wanted or unwanted, are from God Who knows just what I (we) need. 

The whole November, 2011 magazine is here.

linda sig

 

 

 

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