Monday, August 27, 2012

Prayer in a Bottle

There have been those days, boys running like crazy through the yard, on a grand adventure.  A neighbor comes by and says "Wish we could bottle that."  I laugh, because I know how hard they crash.  But I must admit, there are all kinds of things I wish could be bottled. And then today I am amazed to discover that one of my favorite things in the world can be!

Would you believe prayer fits inside old plastic water bottles?

In my classroom of 4 year old's sometimes there are tears.  When it happens I often feel awkward and ill-equipped, sorely out of my element.  As I have pondered how to help, I remembered a suggestion given at the Early Childhood Summer Institute I attended this summer.  One of the presenters demonstrated how an empty water bottle literally becomes a "sanity saver."

The instructions are simple.  Fill the bottle with sand and all kinds of interesting little things that are fun to look at.  Finally add a penny, cap it, and tape it up tight.  When the child is having a difficult time have them take some deep breaths.  Then give them the bottle, and ask them to find the penny.  "Sanity Saver Bottle" to the rescue!

I made one today.

Here's the crazy thing:  I thought I was making this for little kids who needed distraction, but something wonderful happened as I held it in my hands.  I began looking at the beads tumbling in the sand and my heart was strangely soothed.  I began to search for the silver heart, the butterfly charm, the shell.  I found the bead that had once been on my favorite bracelet, the one with subtle streaks of blue and gold, the one that reminds me of harvest and Psalm 126.  And I began to realize that the random things I put in this simple bottle were not so random.  And the bottle itself is not so simple.  Each little bead, and charm, and shell fragment, and sequin come from meaningful parts of my life. Watching them tumble around in the sand, playing hide and seek as they appeared and disappeared, made my heart pause and remember--the Holy One with us always.

Psalm 139 says it this way:

How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  I try to count them--they are more than the sand; I come to the end--I am still with you  (Psalm 139:17-18).

Even if we could count every particle of sand in this bottle, we would never be able to come to the end of God's presence with us.  And if God's thoughts are more infinite than the sand we cannot count, then how much does He think of us?   His thoughts toward us have weight to them.  They are not passing, random thoughts.  They mean something.  They mean something not just to us but for us.  Our sweet Lord has thought every thing through.  Nothing has escaped His attention.  And more than we are waiting for Him, He has been waiting for us to realize we are with Him still.

There is no detail that escapes His notice. 

I don't always know how to calm the 4 year old heart.  But I'm so thankful the Holy Spirit knows how to calm mine.  And I am grateful that the Holy One waits for me to realize that in my sandy life, He is the treasure that I seek.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Hope in My Hands

Tomorrow I am helping in Kidzone.  I am the host for children's Sunday morning worship time; my husband is the storyteller.  The theme is contentment.  The story is the two loaves and five fish.  And oh how Jesus multiplied them!

Life is still not perfect.  And there is this part of me that says I should be stressing more.  Worried more.  Scraping together more pennies.  Counting.  Scrounging.  Scrapping. 

But instead . . . .

I just feel peace.  Peaceful.  Content.  It's like I'm holding my fish and bread in my hands.  And I know there is not enough to go round.  There is not enough me to go round.  But I am so confident in the hands of my Savior.  I know He can take what I got and make it enough.

There have been several times this summer He has done it, when the Provision just appeared.  There is that still nagging part of me that whispers "what if?".  And I tell it the Provision came when I wasn't looking for it.  Won't it also come when I need it so much and my eyes are weary with searching for it so much?

Kind of like today.

I was putting away our packages from trips to the store, arranging provisions around the house.  And my hand felt funny all of a sudden.  I looked down and one of my rings was gone.  How odd that one would be there on one hand, but the most important one, the wedding band, a sweet anniversary gift from my husband, with precious stones in a delicate setting, was gone.  Panic.  I could not find it.  Not in my pocket.  I did not take it off.  Not on the floor.  Not on the counter.  Oh God how could it be gone?!  And my Tim saying, "just breathe," and "when was the last time you remembered having it on?"

I knew it had just been on my hand.  I had just washed my hands in the sink.  I had just put away the few groceries.  I had just put some plastic bags in the trash.  My prayers were fast and furious.  "Oh God please help me find this ring!"  And Tim picks up the dish towel to dry his own hands and out it falls.  We catch it before it goes down the drain.



Answered prayer.

I know that we are in a season of having to trust.  But my Savior is so close.  And even in the tumult of crazy days when my words come fast and furious in rounding up boys for the next part of our adventure together, I know He is nearby.  Ever so Big and Able and Willing to help.  And how can I worry?  I believe this is a time of hope.  I'm so thankful for the difficulty that demands all our trust because it means I have been delivered from another difficulty that was secure, but was sucking the life out of me.  And here I am free, breathing easy, and filled with peace.

And holding my two loaves and five fish.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crossing the Distance

Last Sunday I spent the day traveling to TN for a funeral.  Vicki's mother had died.  I didn't know her mom so well, but Vicki was one of my best friends in Junior High and High School.  Her mom had just been diagnosed with cancer.  The prognosis was not good, and doctors had only given her mom a year to live.  Before the month was over, her mother was gone.

It's hard to explain why I had to go.  It's harder still to explain why I need to write about it.  Vicki and I haven't seen each other in 16 years.  Our lives have taken us down different roads:  I live in Kentucky, and her home is in Los Vegas.  Yet she returned when her mom got sick.  And too soon she was saying goodbye to the most precious person in her life.  How do you bury your mom?  Especially when it comes way too soon, way too unexpected.  When I heard where and when the service would be, I just knew--I had to go.   Call it the draw of the Holy Spirit or that intuition that my friend needed me.  I couldn't not go.

Two hour drives are good for thinking.  And I spent the drive there recalling the depth of the friendship I felt, the whole reason behind this magnet pulling me away from my domestic life of chasing boys and shopping for groceries and cooking dinner and giving baths and preparing for another busy week.

When I was in seventh grade we moved to Small Town, Tennessee.  Such a rural place.  Most everyone had been there since before birth.  Even after graduating from High School there, I always felt like an outsider looking in.  That first year was tough.  At the little school I attended I met Vicki.  Both of us rode the bus together.  She and I became fast friends.  But the thing that cemented our friendship could have been the thing that shattered it.  I remember that everyone had to participate in music class, but both of us loved to sing.  As it happened there was a small solo we both wanted.   One morning as we sat on the bleachers waiting to be dismissed to our homerooms several of us were joking and cutting up and talking about music.  I joined in by teasing that I thought I would get the part over her, that I thought I sang better.  What was I thinking, twelve year old me?  Why would I say something like that?  Who says stuff like that?  Well, what I remember thinking was this is how people joke around with each other.  But the group listening didn't take it that way.  They considered me a braggart and decided that someone who brags so much about themselves and puts others down is not someone they wanted to associate with.  And they didn't.  Ever.  For months on end.

But Vicki did.

She kept being my friend.  In fact she became my best friend at that school.  We rode the bus together.  We ate lunch together.  We spent recess together.  We spent our summer together.  We became inseparable.  And what I remember most is that she forgave me, and made that unbearable season of my life, bearable.

Big deal, right?

But it was a big deal.  I already had all kinds of abandonment issues crawling all over me.  All kinds of heartache weaving its way all through my sense of self.  There wasn't a moment my heart didn't hurt.  And in all that pain here was a friend who forgave me and loved me and accepted me just the way I came.

Two hours on the road from my Old Kentucky Home to an out of the way place in Tennessee, I am remembering all this.  "Oh God, show me why I am here, show me why I am making this journey."

When I arrived, it was just in time.  I walked up the front steps, in through the door.  The service was moments from starting, but someone says, Vicki is in there.  And in I went and here she came to greet me, arms open wide, just like old times.  She draws me to her and seats me beside her and we hold hands and I gently rub her shoulder and back during this oh so hard time.  For sixteen years she had been waiting and saving a seat.  I am awestruck.

After the service we were able to draw close for a bit and share our hearts.  In sixteen years so much of her was still the same:  her voice, her smile, her eyes, the warmth radiating in all of them.  I just felt enveloped in that same love that had held me together so long ago, welcoming me into a friendship that wouldn't let go.

Two hour drives are good for thinking.  As I made my way back home, I replayed the memories of years gone by.   It is hard going back to those days, remembering times I've spent so much effort forgetting.  The truth is, I never felt like I belonged somewhere until I went to college.  And I never truly felt at home until I got involved in campus ministry my sophomore year.  That's the year the whole trajectory of my life changed.  I found my calling.  I met my husband.  I discovered my own heart, and for the first time loved it.  I haven't wanted to revisit those before times that felt so awkward, and painful, and lonely.  When I left my hometown at graduation, I truly left. 

But going back last week was redemptive.  It showed me that even in those years of  heartache, God had provided Light, and Love, and Hope.  And it was enough to help me get through to the other side.  And couldn't I give of myself to someone so dear so that she could make it to her other side?  Couldn't I let the Love of Jesus be present for her through me, just like she had done on my behalf so many years ago?  Don't we all just need that Love that crosses the distance to get us to the other side of hurt and heartache so we can touch Hope?

I've pondered that--that Love that crosses the distance.  Jesus crossed the distance in my life and redeemed every part of it that made me ashamed to be me.  He showed me that I am a person worth loving and holding and helping.  He showed me that He could do things in me and through me and for me that I could not even imagine!  And I am staring down this road of who I am amazed at what He has done with such a girl as I am.  Oh when He found me, oh what a mess He found.  But that Jesus is so fond of messes.  And I love Him.  And I am so thankful for all He has done to bring me to this time and place.  And I am oh so grateful for the call to go and be with a friend who needed a hand to hold while she helped her mother make the journey Home.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Holy Paper Towels and Soapy Water!

My life is so full of ordinary.  I am a mother and a wife and I work as a pre-school teacher and no one would ever guess by looking that during college God called me to ministry, or that I answered that call and am answering it still.  God led me here.  To this time and place, this season of life where I am more likely to be covered with sweaty hugs from my three sons or the remnants of pre-schooler lunches that I helped open than the formal stole and robe that I wear as an ordained minister. Yet in the middle of my ordinary, the Holy Spirit reminded me that ordinary is often the deepest well one encounters.

It's so easy to slip into assumptions that only the big things count in life, those things that leave us wonder struck, amazed, and impressed.  Ever notice how difficult  it is these days to leave an impression?  We are so hungry for gargantuan achievement that anything less is rendered obsolete, as if it is not worthy of notice. 

But God notices everything.

It happened so quickly that if I had not had that grace-filled moment of clarity I would have missed it.   I was getting ready to paint handprints for our sweet 4 year olds to take home to their mommies.  I had carried an old tub to the bathroom to fill with soapy water so that our children could easily clean their hands.  I guess it was the way that I tossed the collection of unrolled paper towels over my shoulder that did it.  Another scene flashed in my mind's eye.  It was if I was witness to that upper room that Jesus filled with His Presence on the night that he was betrayed, claiming a few precious moments with His disciples before He was taken away.  I could see Him swinging a towel over His shoulder just before picking up a basin.  He was preparing to wash the grimy feet of His dearest friends.  I was preparing a place for my little students to wash away the paint from their little hands.

That picture of Jesus is so precious to me.   I am a Deacon in the United Methodist Church.  The towel and basin are the symbol of the servant ministry Deacons are called to.  While we don't often serve the Church in the traditional sense, we have the special task of connecting the world to the Church, and the Church to the world in roles that serve others.  But Deacons are not alone in that Call.  Anyone who follows Jesus is Called.   And although it can be shaped in so many different ways, at the heart of our Calling, we are still continuing that intimate ministry of service, demonstrated by the Savior who takes a special moment with each disciple simply to wash dirty feet.

It's ordinary.

It ain't glamorous.

But Jesus honors it as ministry close to His heart.  So everytime one of us as His disciples serves someone He loves, He honors it.  And He multiplies it. 

I think the message in the moment is that everytime we pick up the towel to serve, He is there.  In our love poured out, in the face of the ones we are waiting upon.

The work of mommies and daddies counts.  All those tasks that seem so insignificant in the grand scheme of things (getting little teeth brushed, dressing wiggly bodies, washing sweaty heads, fixing fast dinners, getting those wide-eyed wonders in bed)  is love being poured out on another life He loves.  The work of loving a husband or wife counts. All those small encouragements are not insignificant, given to this one who walks each day beside us, prayers prayed in hard circumstances, the unseen ways we prop that precious one up when gravity keeps pulling them down. The work of teaching counts.  All those passing minutes that require delicate patience and creative communication so that little ones learn to love learning are not wasted.   The work of plumbing, , and banking, and principal-ing, and writing, and computer science-ing, and farming, and . . . and . . . and . . . it goes on and on into every nook and cranny of ordinary we occupy.  Each day that we go into the unglamorous world of making a living, yet do it with hearts willing to serve, not for the recognition but because others need it, we are Counted by the One who was initially dis-counted and hung on a cross.  Hanging out on the low end of the totem pole counts, because that is where Jesus counts Himself, and that is where we have opportunity to serve Him the most.  When no one is looking.  When the world would not count it as impressive at all.

Jesus counts it as Holy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Life Wide Open

We are transitioning from the laziness of summer to the hustle and bustle of a new school year.  I always look forward to settling into a routine, but that settling part can sometimes get hairy.  I've been thinking recently of the beauty of a regularity.  I love the bones of a schedule that gives structure to my days, allowing me to hang my creativity in the most advantageous minutes of my day.  This free spirit self that I am needs the order.  It helps me enjoy every moment without guilt:  "oh yes, this is the time given to quiet contemplation; I can be present in this moment because the need to attend to the details of our lives can be attended to in that moment there."

When I taught University Experience (a freshman seminar class designed to help first year college students adjust to college life) I always had my students complete a time chart first thing.  It was a simple gragh with days of the week across the top and twenty four hours down the side.  I encouraged them to color blocks of time according to their various activities.  They were to include communiting time, class time, study time, family time, and yes, party time.  Then they had to reflect on what they learned from the experience.  And every year I also completed one too.

I always learned something.

You would think that year after year, there would be no new insights.  But there were.  As I completed my own time chart I could see how my stated priorities often differed from the way I spent my time.  Actually coloring my time as I committed my schedule to paper created a simple accountability that helped me see more clearly, helped me answer the question, "Is this how I really want to be spending my time?"

I have the need to get the crayons out again.

Somehow it helps me to see my life colored in--the sections of responsibility dancing with the passions and simple pleasures of my "mommified" life.  And to know that rest always comes.  At the close of each day, rest is there waiting for me.

What do you think?  Want to try it?

I know it doesn't seem to be a deeply spiritual exercise.  But I tend to differ.  I think it is significant in the most important way.  It gives us the chance to live deliberately.  Because we can color in our lives as they are.  Or we can consciously choose to color them the way we truly want them to be.  First on paper, then in real time.

As Tim & I were waiting in Walmart with the boys today, an older woman sitting by the door began a conversation with me.  Jeremiah was pulling on me, tugging, running back and forth in front of the doors, and oh my goodness I must fetch him!  She said I had such wonderful boys.  She said they were blessings.  I agreed of course.  And then she told me of her own children, how they loved each other so as children.  She told me that everyday she told them, "You have to be good to each other, because we are not promised tomorrow."  She told me that although they would have their moments, they were best friends.  Then she told me her daughter had died.  She still had her son and his children, but her daughter was gone.  She explained how her son was so mad at God for taking his sister away.  A year passed, and then he came to her one day and said, "This is that tomorrow you were talking about isn't it."  She said it took him a year to realize it, but he finally did.  As we parted, we blessed each other.  Literally the words were coming out of our mouths at the same time:  "God bless you." 

And we are so blessed.

And that is why mapping my time is deeply spiritual for me.  I don't want to waste a moment.  I don't want to wake up one day and think, "Oh God! I wish I had spent my time doing---loving---helping---holding---hoping---being!!!!"  I want to think now.  I want to wake up now, before the time is past, while I still have the power to change the way I spend my day.

I want to live my life with eyes wide open and arms wide open and heart stretched wide open.

Oh sweet LORD I do want to take it all in--

Thursday, August 09, 2012

New Beginnings

Food is at the heart of our celebrations.  It's how we mark the significant events in our lives:  We eat!  And we eat the kind of things that leave an impression.  Unfortunately, not only on our tongues, but also our waistlines.  Thank goodness significant events don't happen everyday. 

Take for instance when we discovered Tim had landed a school administration job:

And then to celebrate Isaiah's entry into Kindergarten:

How cool is it that our summer has been bookended by doughnuts and ice-cream?  But between all that sugar, there have been some uncertain moments not nearly as sweet.  I am incredibly thankful to be settled, still trusting, but at complete peace about stepping out in faith on a new path.

Thinking fondly of my sweet Isaiah boy.  Today he began a new path of his own.  Today he donned the traditional orange vest to join the ranks of kindergardeners all over our city.  He wore it proudly, and totally without fear:

All of these things, from special meals, to special vests, to special backpacks have the power of ritual, the tangible representing the intangible reality; something significant has changed. 

When our children are young, we are careful to mark milestones.  We take extra care to make sure they know they have stepped across a threshhold, and that it is a big deal.  I wonder if we fail to change as much as we age because we fail to mark our own milestones, our own intangible realities that may not be noticeable on the outside but have deep significance on the inside?


I wonder if we fail to make progress in our own transformation because we fail to marry intention with tangible, touchable expressions that keep our new trajectory constantly before us?  Sometimes it is the simple reminder that makes all the difference.

I've made my own kind of marker.  It's not much.  But I see it everyday, and it holds me accountable to the Holy Nudge to start moving in a new direction.  No one else can provide the momentum this Holy Nudge demands but me.  I know that if I don't keep intentionally choosing to move, the Nudge, and the Dream it represents, will dissipate.


I'm too chicken to wear my own orange vest.  Something obvious to everyone.  A bright sign post pointing to a new goal.  I'm too chicken to held accountable in such a public way, where everyone can ask--Have you done it yet?  How far along are you?  How is it coming?

In case my own resolve melts, I don't want to be caught in a gaping hole of obvious, having to not only stare down my own disappointment, but everyone esle's too.

So it's enough for me to tape my Nudges to the bathroom mirror, and each day ask myself how I will step out in faith.

I believe this is the stuff new beginnings are made of.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


I'm a recovering perfectionist.  A friend of mine would call it approval addiction.  I know its roots, where the hunger originates. The greatest symtom of this dis-ease is an obsession with trying to be perfect, obsessing over doing perfect, preoccupation with producing perfect .  There is no room in this "ism" for growing in grace.  There is just a ravenous need to get everything right.

God has a serious sense of humor.  Because His antidote to the inordinate quest for perfection is failure.  How deeply I've had to learn these lessons.  The gift in every failure I've opened is that I learn once again God loves me.  Not my credentials, not my finesse, not my accomplishments, just me.  His kid.  Among so many other beloved brothers and sisters.  I remember a sweet sentiment I heard years ago:  our picture would be on His fridgerator.

I'm pondering this.  Seriously.  I feel a tug in my soul to walk an unfamiliar path.  I feel like God is asking me to travel a new road, with new challenges, and new tests; I feel so unprepared.  Golly Gee!  The perfectionist in me is rising up, straining against the recognition that I'm His kid, that He loves me, that He doesn't expect me to know everything, that He just wants me to give myself to the new adventure.  And the old fears keep me paralyzed, holstered, immobilized.  The temptation is to not even start because I cannot start as an expert.  I must begin as a novice, an amatuer, one who pursues something because of love.  All I have to bring to the table is love.  There is no expertise.  There isn't really even a clue as to how to begin.

But God keeps calling. 

Keeps reaffirming the call.

Keeps confirming the new path.

What am I to do with my unkempt self in the face of Divine Longing that Yearns for me to move forward?  I have to take a step.  Unsure.  Wobbly.  Uncertain.

I've just recently finished Beth Moore's study of James.  It's been life changing for me.  And I love in particular the Divine picture of perfection James paints.  Here is what he has to say about the whole thing:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, NASB)
The scripture uses the image of perfection, but it is not unblemished.  In fact, it is the blemishes, the scars of trying and failing and getting back up again, that manifests this perfection.  The Greek term is teleios, meaning mature (consummated) from going through the necessary stages to reach the end-goal, i.e. developed into a consummating completion by fulfilling the necessary process (see  So James urges us on in our journey, calling us to be joyful in the trials and testing.  Because the thing God is really asking of us and seeking from us is endurance.  We just have to keep showing up everyday and trying the new thing.  And failing.  And falling.  And getting up again.  And getting up again.  And getting up . . . .

And it is this constant oneing of ourselves to the path that produces the thing we yearn for the most--perfection.  Completion.  A maturation that is lacking in nothing.  We can trust the journey to give us everything we need to be everything we long for.  There is no magic pill.  There is no spiritual ab sculpter.  There are no shortcuts.  There is just the path ahead, a Savior who beckons, and the daily determination to get up again and get going.  And truly that is ALL we need.  Anything else is just a lie of the devil who is just so jealous of us he'll do anything to keep us from putting one foot in front of the other, including trying to convince us we don't have what it takes. 

The truth we have to hold onto is that we have everything we need.  Because we are His kids.  And in His eyes, we are already perfect for the path He's called us to.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


I've come to the crazy conclusion that indeed I must lean into God's calling in my life.  After much prayer, many tears, heart to hearts with the man love, I'm there.  I've realized that I haven't given God the opportunity to show me what He can do.  I've been too afraid to try.  Too afraid to fail.  To afraid to be disappointed. 

As I sit on the edge of this crazy conclusion, I've been remembering His words spoken to my heart hours before this new life began.  March 23, 2011.  I had just sent out my weekly e-letter to my students, part of "Sami's Ramblings About Jesus".  This is how it all started:

Earlier in the semester my oldest son Noah and I had a little butting of the heads. He had been invited to a birthday party by one of his friends who wanted everyone to wear their favorite basketball jersey. Noah wanted to wear his upward uniform. Because his upward game was going to be that following Saturday morning, I told him he could wear the jersey, but the t-shirt and shorts he would have to save. Noah was crushed. He was so upset because the jersey was incomplete without the right shorts or shirt under it. He worked himself into such a fit I could barely talk to him. Finally I went to his bedroom and began pulling out other shorts he could wear under it. After a while, Noah began to realize that the clothes I was choosing for him worked just as well as what he wanted, and he would still be able to wear a fresh uniform the following day. He found an outfit he could be happy with and quickly regained his composure. After a little while had passed I knelt down to talk to him. As I pulled him close he began to go through an apology, because he thought he was getting scolded. Instead I said, “You don’t have to apologize. I just want you to know that you can trust me, that I love you, and that I am working things out for you in a way that will be good for you.”
Even as I was saying those words I knew they were Holy Spirit inspired God words. I believe these are the words that God speaks to every person He loves. Yep that would be everyone. Sometimes it is so hard in the middle of disappointment and heartache to hear them, just like it was hard for Noah to see that my plan for him was good, even if it looked different from his.

I went on to describe the hope Jesus brings, His resurrection always coming after the cross, always coming after our crosses.  Before the night was over I received an email from my District Superintendent congratulating me on the great post and asking me to meet with him the following day.  I knew then that my time as a campus minister had come to an end.

I did not have the courage on that day to accept Words of Life spoken to me.  It was always easier to speak them to someone else.  Mostly because I didn't want to accept that some form of dying was headed my way.  And truthfully, once the recognition had come that my work with campus ministry was over, I could not hear anything then or the many months following for the heart-sobs echoing through me.  Loss and grief filled me up, even as I knew God's hand was in the middle of rearranging everything.

I've been drawn to that post, to those words, this week.    And my guess is that God meant them not for that immediate wreckage, but to tuck away for this day, when I need to know that after the grief has subsided He still has Words to speak in me and through me, that He still has good plans for my future, ministry yet to be realized: 

The one thing I have learned about God more than any other is that He is really into redemption. What that means is that He chooses the broken and desperate (even dead) places of our lives to be the birthplaces for His new life revealed in us. It is the message of the cross that He reinvents over and over again through our ordinary lives. He loves to see His resurrection power displayed in the exact spot of our hopeless despair and grim resignation. Often times we are too hurt to see past our own pain to understand the beautiful new thing He is bringing forth. That’s okay. He gets that about us. I believe it is why He gives us to one another. While you are in your grief and can’t see out of it, I can hold your hand and see God’s grace and mercy for you. When my head and heart are weighed down with burdens I can’t carry, you believe in God’s goodness and strength for me.

Oh silly me.  I had no idea I was once again about to be broken.  But I do love the last paragragh:

I share these things as an encouragement, especially during this season of Lent. While you may be in a season of looking toward the cross, the one that Jesus died on as well as the cross of disappointment and heartache in your own life, remember that the end of the story has nothing to do with death and everything to do with resurrection. Jesus didn’t just tell His disciples beforehand that He would be delivered into the hands of His enemies and killed, but He also said that on the third day He would rise again. I am as confident that this as is true for Jesus showing up in your life story as it is for the one He lived here on earth. You are His. He loves you. He delights in You. And He is waiting for that day when He can resurrect the broken places of your life and show forth His power and glory through you to all the earth. Hear His sweet words spoken to your waiting heart: “I just want you to know that you can trust Me, that I love you, and that I am working things out for you in a way that will be good for you.”

Did you see that?  Those words?  Those were the Words the Holy Spirit was speaking to me and I was to hard-headed to realize that I was included in the message:  "You can trust Me, I love you, I am working things out for you in a way that will be good for you."   Really Lord?  In this life?  When I am so full of doubt?  When I'm tempted to think my best moments are behind me?  When this season is so full of the needs of others who depend on me?  You still have plans for this life I'm living?  The faith part of me is saying yes.  Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YESSSSSSS!

The pain of leaving behind a ministry so close to my heart has faded.  Though there are moments when memories cause tears, I am looking up again, looking out for new ministry to be revealed.  No longer looking back to what was, but looking forward to what yet may be.   And I've learned there is power in being humbled, so that I can accept the Word God wants to plant in me.  Somehow it makes it more believable for others, I think.  Because we are all really on this road together aren't we? 

P.S.  To see the original post just go back through the archives to 3/23/2011, "Uncrushable Hope."  Thank you for walking this journey with me--