Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My New Favorite Plate

I found this plate at a resale shop for $1 and fell in love!  I have very few physical possessions that I cherish: my tea pot with all its memories...and now this beautiful plate.

Here it is with apple cake...

And here it is on a regular day, sprucing up an ordinary meal.  To make a simple side dish, I sliced oranges, sprinkled them with nutmeg and placed them on this plate.

I've always tried to use LOVE as a main ingredient in everything I cook, and now I have a plate to serve it on!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Open Hands

"Father, let me be weak that I might lose my clutch on everything temporal.  My life, my reputation, my possessions, Lord, let me lose the tension of a grasping hand...  Rather, open my hand to receive the nail of Calvary--as Christ's was open--that I, releasing all might be released, unleashed from all that binds me here."       
---Jim Elliot

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Does This Sound Right?

Live Life on Purpose

Just before falling asleep last night, I was reading the book Live Life on Purpose, by Claude Hickman.  It was my second time through the book.  And then my eyes sped across a sentence...then backed up and read it again slowly...and then one more time very very slowly, trying to make some kind of sense of it...

"There are 600 churches and 460,000 Christians for every one unreached people group."  

Those words just stood off the page as if on fire.  I made an audible, "WHAT?!"  I was overcome with disbelief.  Really??  The fact began to sink into my heart like a knife piercing through layers and layers.  REALLY???  Do those numbers make any bit of sense?  Does that sound right??

All I could do was close the book, turn off the light and cry.  I cried myself to sleep, praying, "Oh, God, forgive us!  Forgive ME!"

I don't even have words to say this morning, except to simply put those numbers here in my read them and reread them until it reaches my feet and hands and whole being.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Rest of Faith

Andrew Murray

QUOTE by Andrew Murray:

This is the rest of faith in which a man rests from his works.
      *With the unconverted, it is, "Not Christ, but I."
      *With the feeble and slothful Christian it is, "I and Christ: I first and Christ to fill up what is wanting."
      *With increasing earnestness it becomes, "Christ and I: Christ first, but still I second."
      *With the man who dies with Christ it is, "Not I, but Christ: Christ alone and Christ all."  He has ceased from his work: Christ lives in Him.  This is the rest of faith.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Giving Up Everything

"Let us give up our work, our thoughts, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into His hand, and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about, or to make trouble about."  --Hudson Taylor's Choice Sayings: A Compilation From His Writings and Addresses.  London, China Inland Mission, n.d., 52.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seeking and Finding

A new school year has me up just as the sun is starting to shed its very first bits of light on our property.  I slip outside to do some power walking.  Power praying.  My heart rate goes up for the necessary 20 minutes.  One foot in front of the other.  Up hills, down hills.  It's just the morning sounds in the woods and my own sounds.  Breathing in, breathing out.  And with heart rate up, I raise my other heart up also.  All the worries, all the cares, all the heartache, all the questions.  I raise them up for those 20 minutes.  Praying, pleading, wrestling...breathing.  Just a daughter sharing her heart with her Father.  At the end of the 20 minutes, my steps slow and heart rate goes back down and cool down begins.  Likewise, my prayers wind down, and I close with this: "I roll it all over onto You, the One Who knows.  I exchange my burden for Yours because You say Your burden is light.  I exchange my yoke for Yours because You say Your yoke is light."  

I head to the porch swing, where my Bible and notebook are waiting.  And anticipation surges in me.  I have just poured out all my prayers to my Father, and now it's His turn to share with me.  This is the secret I have missed most of my life, but now that I've discovered it, I cling to it like breathing itself.

His Word says we can come to Him boldly.  And I do.  I tell Him that now I wait in anticipation for Him to share His Heart, His secrets with me.  I open my Bible and pull out my notebook.  I write down whatever it is that I'm seeking...a question, a concern, a plea for wisdom.  Seeking in all sincerity.  I write and then, with a blank page, I ask Him to please share with me whatever He wants to share.  And as James says, we are to EXPECT Him to answer when we ask Him for wisdom.  So, my notebook sits open in little sign of faith, knowing He will surely answer.

And He does.  This is the mystery that many never seek long enough to find.  A quiet voice louder than words.  Verses that stand out and speak volumes to a spirit that is tied to His.  Comfort. Correction.  Direction.  Confirmation.  Wisdom.  Priceless bits of jewels from Heaven...something I'd never trade for anything on earth.

I leave the porch swing, with thankful heart swollen with the nectar of His love.  How do I thank a Father that cares enough to share living Words with me...simple, sinful me?

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17 (ESV).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Am I Willing?

I've been away from my blog for awhile as I was caring for my mom after surgery.  While away, I spent 3 weeks out of my typical surroundings.  This, I think, is something everyone should do from time to time.  A change of scenery and routine is a wake-me-up for all the senses.  In those 3 weeks, God answered something in my life that I've been seeking for several months, but that is another (LONG) post for another day.  (Soon...really!)

But today He led me to something that simply had to bubble up and spill out...

Luke 1:38  "Mary responded, 'I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants.  May everything you have said come true.'  And the angel left."  

I've read this probably a zillion times in passing.  I've even stopped several times to comb those words slowly.  I have it underlined in my Bible.  But today, it sunk into my spirit on a different level.

Those 8 words hit me as if I had never fully understood them: "I am willing to accept whatever he wants."


SVG version of image

Am I willing?  It's easy to say I'm willing.  But, with all conviction, could I truly say those 8 words and really mean it?

Isn't it a loaded statement?  That unclear word "whatever" is where the throat constricts and the feet begin to step back.  What if the "whatever" will turn my world upside down?  What if that "whatever" is something I'm not ready to accept?  What if that "whatever" goes against every fiber of common sense I have?  What if His plan involves a "whatever" that I'm simply not comfortable with?  Or worse...something I've said I'd never ever be able to do?

If only the "whatever" was outlined so that I could read it ahead of a contract that needs careful inspection.  If only I could see the details before I agreed.  That would allow me to be able to put any amendments on the table before signing the dotted line.

But that's not faith.  When God called Abram to leave his hometown and travel to the land that God showed him, He didn't tell Abram where the land was.  Abram had to choose to trust God without the details.  He chose to obey and to step out with no solid evidence to rest his mind upon.  It's no different today.  The people  God can trust are the ones that say, as Mary did, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever He wants."

This is where He wants us.  This is where He is leading me.  I believe He has a "whatever" that will rock my world upside down, and why would I want anything less than that?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Heart and Purpose

"Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose."  --Philippians 2:2

Submitting in marriage has not been easy for me.  Not even a little bit easy.

When I peel back all the layers and excuses (even the really good excuses that make ya just want to scream!), I think that it's simply pride that keeps me from true submission...the kind of submission that goes deep in the heart...and flows out in action.

"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.  Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.  He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.  And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross."  --Philippians 2:5-8

I can say amen.  I can sing about this all day.  I can agree in my mind.  I can even blog about it and make it look official.  But until it penetrates my heart so deeply that it flows means nothing.

In marriage, we are to work together with one heart and purpose, just as the church is to work together with one heart and purpose.  That means submitting, even when I believe I have the market on the right answer...even just this once!  It means making myself nothing.  No, that's not even politically correct...but it's what Jesus did.  Does He not live inside me?  He didn't demand and cling to His rights. Can He, living in me, demand and cling to His rights now?  

Or does He take the humble position of a slave and appear through me?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Living Like I'm Ready

"...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 12:1b-2)

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet.  Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong."  (Hebrew 12:12-13)

Free Stock Photo of Road 9

Now, THAT is focus.  Marking out a straight path and sticking to it...keeping our eyes on Jesus.  Just one foot in front of the "Yes, Lord" after another...on down that straight path.

But what is it that lures me away from such focus??  Procrastination?  Complacency?  Laziness?


"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows.  And since you don't know when they will happen, stay alert and keep watch.

"The coming of the Son of Man can be compared with that of a man who left home to go on a trip.  He gave each of his employees instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return.  So keep a sharp lookout!  For you do not know when the homeowner will return--at evening, midnight, early dawn or late daybreak.  Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning.  What I say to you I say to everyone: Watch for his return!"  (Mark 13:32-37)

As I was reading these verses this morning, I was struck with a question: "Am I living like I'm ready for Him to return?"  Followed closely by another question: "If I knew that He was returning this afternoon, how would I live this morning?  What would I do today?" 

There's no "due date" to kick me into gear.  And yet there's a definite directive: to do the work He gave me to do.  That's the only way I will be ready.  Yes, He lives in my heart, and yes, I'm saved by His grace alone and not by any work I could do in the flesh.  But I cannot passively accept that gift of grace and then fall into a peaceful slumber.   It is Jesus who said to be be about the work He has given me to keep a sharp not be found sleeping when He returns.  This is active, not passive.  It's one "Yes Lord" step...followed by a focused journey.  This means my full attention should be on the work He's given me to do today.

To love others they way He loves me...

To do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with Him...

To look well to the ways of my household...

To "give up my life" in order to find it...

To strip off the sins that so easily slow me down...

To mark out a straight path for my feet...

To live THIS DAY in full focus, just as I would if I knew He was returning today...

That is the challenge I'm setting before myself this morning.  To spend THIS DAY about His live THIS DAY like I'm ready and waiting for Him.  To keep my eyes focused on down that path, looking only to Him...taking one step of obedience at a time.

"...and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern."  (Matthew 6:33)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


1. To press between opposing bodies so as to break or injure.
2. To break, pound, or grind (stone or ore, for example) into small fragments or powder.
3. To put down; subdue: crushed the rebellion.
4. To overwhelm or oppress severely: spirits that had been crushed by rejection and failure.
5. To crumple or rumple: crushed the freshly ironed shirt.
6. To hug, especially with great force.
7. To press upon, shove, or crowd.

"We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die.  But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead."  I Corinthians 1:8b-9

Life has seasons of crushing.  Those times when we don't know how to make fact, we realize that we cannot make it in our limited human strength.  I find that when that crushing happens and the tears are falling and the spirit of desperation begins to strangle, there appear 2 paths stretching before me.  One pulls me to give up, to give in, to do the easy thing, to do what the flesh wants.  The other path urges me to stay in the crushing as grapes into come to the end of self and the end of flesh.

Oh the pain of the crushing!  It makes the flesh rise to the surface and want to run...anywhere except under the grinding, cracking pressure.

Paul said that being crushed caused him to learn not to rely on himself, but on God.  And isn't that where we WANT to be?  We want to rely on God fully, and yet to get truly rely on Him in action and not just word...we have to walk through the valley of crushing.

I most identify with definition #4 above: "to overwhelm or oppress severely: spirits that had been crushed by rejection and failure."  I wish I could say that I handle the crushing as gracefully as Paul did, but the truth is that I hate being crushed.  I cringe under rejection.  I deflate under failure.  With all my flesh, I desire to run the opposite direction, to escape the crushing teeth of the grind.

And yet surrendering means accepting even the crushing because my God is able to raise the dead.  He will exalt the humble.  He will make all things work together for my good.

Do I trust Him enough to stay under the crushing pressure until He Himself lifts me out from under it?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

While I'm Waiting

Waiting!  Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain shall be;
To hear, with the inner hearing,
The Voice that will call for me.

Waiting!  Yes, hopefully waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The Master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.

Waiting!  Expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The Master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.

Waiting!  Yes, waiting!  still waiting!
I know, though I've waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose, 
His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting!  Yes, waiting!  still waiting!
The Master will not be late:
He knoweth that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate.
                                       ---J.  Danson Smith

Friday, May 6, 2011

In the Aftermath of a Tornado

Last Wednesday night at the same time we were huddled in the basement under tornado warning, the people in a nearby town were doing the same.  But, while we were climbing back into our beds after the all-clear was given, they were reeling in the fresh aftermath of destruction.

The tornado hit.  There were several casualties.  Many lost homes.  Just. Like. That.

The news crews swarmed in.  And then left.

But the people of that town banned together and are still digging, cleaning, sawing, removing, relocating, clearing, grieving, helping, praying, crying, sweating...breathing in, breathing out.  Life is moving forward...slowly.  

Today we made a trip to their tornado-ravaged town.  The first thing to hit my senses was the sound.  Quiet, except for the sounds of trucks removing trees and debris, beep-beep-beeping of backhoes and bobcats.  A steady pulsing of a town learning a new version of normal.  A tearing down in order to build up.

We arrived at a church that is acting as a disaster relief center in the town.  We had a trailer loaded with food and supplies graciously donated by several families in our homeschool group.  Here's just a small portion of the many many items that families donated to us before we left.  We were again in awe of God's provision!  

We arrived at the church to find this banner strung in front of their large church sign that had been knocked over by the outer edge of the tornado.

Welcoming signs greet every person who comes to the church's gymnasium for disaster relief, information, prayer, and hot meals...

Everything is organized.  People come in the doors with their lists of things they need, and volunteers take the shopping carts around the gymnasium and pick up all the supplies and food the people need.  Then someone helps load the box of supplies and food into their vehicles.  Anyone is welcome to stay for a hot meal or to rest in the cool building or to meet with someone who will pray with them.

Look at how the donated supplies are organized and ready for any need.  The entire gym was organized this way, with any necessity you can think of.

Volunteers taped up new boxes, broke down old boxes, filled boxes with necessary items.  Everyone was busy, and the work hummed along.

Three hot meals are served every day.  This church isn't going away.  They are there from 8am-8pm, with many of the local workers there every day since the tornado struck.  They are humbly serving.  And they have uplifting Bible verses all over the gym.  Look at this one that was on the refrigerator (click photo to enlarge).  Though they have gone through so much, still they are taking refuge in their Almighty Rock.  It was truly humbling and beautiful.

They are praising their God in the midst of a trying time.  Look at their town.  This was the Ruby Tuesday restaurant.

Gas station...


A building with bricks ripped right off the sides.  And check out the VERY LOW power lines!

 Street sign...

A hotel...

A tree, pulled up by the roots...

Another hotel (I could only tell what it was because there's a sign to the right of the building.  Otherwise, you simply cannot tell what it was)

Here's someone's home.  This one bears the orange circle that many buildings in the town means "BUILDING CONDEMNED."  One by one, the condemned buildings will be bulldozed.  Today we talked to a sweet woman whose place of work was bulldozed today.  Her place of employment was gone, and she was spending all day, every day serving others at the disaster relief center.

We also met a precious family who was in their home when the tornado hit.  Seeing the tornado coming, the parents grabbed their children out of bed, threw them in the hall and lay on top of them.  The tornado lifted their entire roof 40 feet above the house.  They could feel the suction of the strong winds (which were estimated to be 175 miles per hour as they headed through town, according to someone we spoke with today).  Many of their valuables were sucked out the windows. Then the tornado slammed their roof back onto their home. They were forced to leave and rent a hotel room until someone could find them a new place to live.  They were praying day-to-day for the money to afford one more night in the hotel while they waited for word on a new home or apartment.  In just a few minutes, their lives were altered.  And yet, with humble hearts, they were just thankful that their lives were spared.  They said the one thing they couldn't block from their minds was their neighbor's young child who didn't make it through the tornado alive.  Tears welled in their eyes.  And yet there was a pressing forward...  They called the storm a wake-up call to get back in relationship with God.  They are going to join the very church that opened its doors as a disaster relief center.

God knows.  He moves in mysterious ways.  And, though we don't know the answers to "why did this have to happen like this," we only know it's all in His Hands.  And we, who know Him and trust Him, simply have to REST in that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Faith and Tornadoes

"Faith is...the evidence of things not seen."   --Hebrews 11:1

"True faith drops its letter in the post office box, and lets it go.  Distrust holds on to a corner of it, and wonders that the answer never comes.  I have some letters in my desk that have been written for weeks, but there was some slight uncertainty about the address or the contents, so they are yet unmailed.  They have not done either me or anybody else any good yet.  They will never accomplish anything until I let them go out of my hands and trust them to the postman and the mail.

"This is the way with true faith.  It hands its case over to God, and then He works.  That is a fine verse in the Thirty-seventh Psalm: "Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." But He never worketh til we commit...."  (from Days of Heaven upon Earth, as quoted in Streams in the Dessert)

Two nights ago, I found myself alone with 4 children in our basement as tornado warnings popped up all over the radar screen.  My husband was not home at the time.  He called to instruct me on how to manage the night.  He was insistent that I take the computer down in the basement so that I could constantly keep track of the weather radar.  He and I handle things quite differently. He's methodical and wants to review the facts.  Weather radars give him info he needs.  I, however, truly didn't want to keep track of the radar.  I wanted to prepare as much as we could prepare (hunkering down in the basement) and then sit still and pray and focus on God alone.  Watching the radar only heightens my fears and causes me to look at the storm as Peter did; instead, I wanted to peacefully pass the night in prayer and quiet, focusing instead on my Jesus, the one who calms the storms.  Surrendering my will in this situation was excruciatingly difficult; but, in the spirit of submission (which I'm desperately trying to practice!), I agreed to his plan.  The computer screen, with its awful red boxes of tornado warnings, accompanied us to the basement.  It sat like an unwanted friend just outside the glass door of the office where we settled in for a long night.

Shortly after we were all settled in the basement office, lights flickered and then went dark.  There's nothing more pitch black than a basement with no lights in the middle of a dark stormy night!  With hands reaching for the flashlight, I realized that the tiny lights on the laptop were shining through the glass door.  That unwanted friend was now our night light!  And a calm bathed my mind as it donned on me that, with the electricity off, it was impossible to look at the weather radar.  God was taking care of every detail!  He knew exactly what I needed.  In submitting to my husband's requests, I had gained a night light; and God had arranged the radar screen to no longer be an issue to rattle my nerves.  He is faithful to His Word...if we commit our ways to Him and trust Him, He takes care of the rest.

With wide-eyed children huddled next to me (one of which was crying because he was so scared), I prayed a silent prayer for God to make me solid for my children.  I opened my Bible to Psalm 91 and began to read about God being our refuge.  Then, teaching them how to claim Scriptures, I read it again, turning it into a prayer of faith...praying His Words back to Him...believing that His Word cannot return to Him void.  Faith began to flow.  Crying child settled down and drifted to sleep.  The two oldest children began to talk about missionary stories we had read.  "Mama, I'm scared, but I keep thinking about Nate Saint and how he was in many scary situations but trusted God.  That's what I'm going to do."  "Mama, when I become a missionary and write a book, I'm going to include the story of this night."

Our make-shift tornado shelter in the basement

Ahhh...a light dons in my spirit.  There was a horrible storm beating the outside of our home, but inside God was busy working in hearts.  Solidifying faith.  Letting delicate wings begin to spread.  I leaned my head back and prayed silently as the children began to fall to sleep.

The storm raged outside for 4 hours.  My husband and father-in-law (a former weather man who still has the computers and know-how for observing storms) were tracking the storm closely and looking at the rotation of clouds.  I received text messages several times through the night as they watched the storm.  One phone call told me that the clouds exactly over our house were beginning to rotate, and it was "serious."

My peace evaporated.  My heart began to pound so hard that I felt weak.  My skin felt cold.  This was unedited raw FEAR.  It's the flesh that we just cannot seem to separate ourselves from.  I hung up the phone and sat still in the darkness.  And Peter came to mind...stepping out of the boat, walking...then seeing the waves and sinking.  I didn't want to sink like Peter did.  Don't let me sink now!  I began to picture the face of Jesus in that storm...I pictured myself walking out to him.  I coaxed my mind: "Don't look at the storm...look at His face...He can say 'Peace be still' and calm this entire storm.  Don't listen to the storm.  Don't look at the storm.  Don't focus on the storm.  Look to Him alone.  He alone is my hope."

But with rotating clouds directly above our home, my flesh struggled greatly, even with the pep talk I was giving myself.  My heart still beat wildly.  And it angered me that my faith was not winning out.  Then, I remembered: "REST in Him."  My prayers changed: "God, I want to have faith.  I'm striving to have faith.  But it's not in striving.  It's in resting.  But I cannot even make myself rest in You.  I need YOU to do the whole thing.  I submit myself to you, and I trust you to cause me to rest in You."  I was at the end of myself.  I couldn't will myself...I couldn't strive hard enough...nothing at all in my own power was capable of resting at that moment in time.

And then an unseen warm calm flowed over my entire body.  Words are escaping me, as there really are no human words to describe what happened.  It felt as if warm water...only not water...was flowing over my body...from head to toe...every inch of my being felt a flowing of some sort.  Warm washed over me.  PEACE literally bathed me.  My heart rate slowed to normal pace, and I felt absolutely zero fear.  I was breathing in, breathing calm, complete peace.

The phone beeped with a text.  But nothing at all could invade that supernatural coating of peace.  I felt strength rise inside me...not my strength, but His.  And I realized anew that He is in me.  He was in that room.  Let the storm rage all it wants to, but my God can direct it anywhere He pleases.  Let the storm vent and intimidate, but I was looking only at Jesus...trusting Him at His Word.

And, in that moment, all the weeks of my praying to truly understand the concept of resting in Him were answered.  Sometimes the answers come in the storm.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sweetly Broken

Lord, you were broken for me.

Break me for you.  

Sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Entering His Rest

Deep inside, where no man can see, my spirit has been wrestling intensely.  I wake with the burden of lost souls on the other side of the planet who don't know Him...souls that are dropping into an eternity of suffering...and it grieves my actual pain.  

I live in comfort in a beautiful wooded area that feeds my very being with its quiet nature.  And yet I cannot forget...I choose NOT to forget the thousands of souls who will die today without the hope of the One true God.  I choose not to forget the millions of souls who have never heard His name.  

I surround myself constantly with input, such as this video so that I will not ever forget:

And I choose to keep it in the forefront of my mind.  I've let it invade my every thought, every moment of my life.  I simply HAVE to DO something.

Making ourselves available, we stepped out to GO to the mission field full-time.  We knocked on doors.  At every turn, we found a closed door that wouldn't budge.  

I don't want to go unless He opens the door, so I wait.

The wrestling in me grew so intense...  The thought of the lost...the knowledge of Jesus calling His disciples to go into all the nations...the weight of the burden waking me up at night.  Having closed doors was like having an itch somewhere you can't reach reach and reach and try to scratch it, but no after day.

And the itch intensifies...

I am compelled to give my life to Him to spend as He chooses.  I just don't know what He's choosing.

If GOING wasn't an option right now, I began to think of a million good ideas for how to SEND others.  We have friends who are missionaries, and I began to come up with amazing ways of how I can spend my life to send them...having a business and pouring the profit into supporting God's work on the mission field.  I got excited about the possibilities and began to feel a powerful surge inside, as if the itch was finally going to be scratched...that focus would be achieved, and all my life could be poured into this one goal.

I was elated to finally be on the verge of "marking out a straight path for my feet" and "running with endurance the race."  There's amazing power in a focused life, and I was thrilled to be finally stepping out of the boat...putting action to these restless feet.

But, instead, the answer clear as day was: NOT YET.  STAND STILL.  

My husband's advice was to stand still.  Oh how hard it is to submit when I'm just super sure that I'm on the right track!

Last night, just after this apparent "blow" was delivered to me (oh how it smashed my plans and ideas to bits...I felt like I was holding shattered remnants), I went to bed and just before turning off the light, I opened up a devotion book my mom had recently given me.  I opened to the April 19th page and found the message to be "STAND STILL."

Oh how I struggle with standing still!!  I want action.  I want movement forward.  But everywhere I turn is the same message: STAND STILL.

"Stand still---keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, 'Go forward'." ---from Streams in the Dessert devotional

If I were having to stand still, awaiting my own selfish ladder-climbing, I think I'd be okay.  But the ever-present tugging on my spirit of all the souls who are going into eternity without hope...THAT just spurs me onward as a pressing need that I simply cannot forget.  How can I stand still while I COULD be doing something??

Ahhhh, it hits me...  It is not ME who does the work.  I enter into His rest.  I enter into HIM.  It is HE who does the work.  It is me who is a utensil for His use.  HIS use.  HIS timing.  I picture myself as a willing servant sitting on a stool, awaiting orders.  When I hear His voice, I jump up to do whatever He calls me to do.  HIS missions.  HIS work.  And when He bids me to rest, I must rest.  A rest that only comes by entering into Him and abiding...simply abiding...and trusting Him fully to know what is best.  And yet ready...always that when He gives direction, I'm able to jump up and GO, no matter where or what the assignment is.

It is not that I need to help God out.  Really, who do I think I am to ever think He needs my help??  NO, it is because He has chosen to love me that I CHOOSE to let Him spend me however He sees fit.  And if that means that today He is calling me to rest, who am I to make other "more active" plans?  

And when the day comes when an open door stands before me, who am I to question that door?  No matter how inconvenient or how different from my plans, let me always be willing to say, "YES, LORD."  To wait when He says wait, to rest when He says rest, to go when He says go.  And to always always devote more time to prayer than to plans.

I leave you with this video and the wise words: "The grace of God evokes the surrender of men."   

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Casual Acceptance or Absolute Surrender?

If you've never heard of David Platt, I encourage you to Google his name.  You will be challenged...maybe even uncomfortably challenged by the message he gives and LIVES.

Here is a message he delivered called "Casual Acceptance or Absolute Surrender?" Quite frankly, it has messed me a good way.  The videos are around 12-14 minutes each and very very much worth the time.  I don't see how you or I or anyone can be the same person after taking this message truly to heart and action.

I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart as you seek Him.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Awake before dawn

The IDEA of surrender is appealing.  "In acceptance lies peace."  Peace, so often elusive, beckons me...and all I have to do is surrender.  It's like bartering: bring surrender to the table and exchange it for peace. It all sounds really good in type on this screen. 

But when at 3am I'm jolted out of bed by a little one with a gushing nose bleed...  Well, I wasn't thinking of surrender.  I was thinking of let's-get-this-fixed-so-that-I-can-get-more-sleep!   With nosebleed under control, little guy tucked back into bed and bathroom cleaned up, I headed back to bed.  Then wrestling with the sheets began...trying desperately to fall back asleep before the alarm went off.  I wasn't thinking of surrender then.  Tossing and turning only worsened my mindset, and pretty soon I was huffing on the outside and growling on the inside.  A stream of things came to my mind: "it's going to be a looooong day...I'm going to be grumpy...I need more in the world am I going to be a good Mama when I'm running on fumes..."

I began to pray.  

And then it happened.  I remembered that peace lies in acceptance.  Though my day was already heading quickly downhill before the sun had even contemplated rising, the paradigm shift began to force my thoughts onto new territory.  Peace lies in acceptance.  With burning eyes and weary body, I let that moment seep into my soul.  Breathe it in...this moment right here was not a mistake.  Somehow, some way, it is one small part of the tapestry that makes up my whole life.  It may be a mere speck in that tapestry, but I could either wrestle with it or accept it.  Wrestling meant great frustration.  Accepting meant peace.

I chose acceptance.

If I truly and honestly, with all my heart, REALLY believe that my God is in control...then He was in control of the pre-dawn moments.  If I accept HIS Will for my life, then I accept what appears (in my limited human viewpoint) to be inconvenience.  

There truly IS peace in acceptance.  

Lord, let the day roll in.  Bring your sun up over the horizon, as only You can do.  Set my day on Your course, and let me see every moment, every inconvenience, absolutely everything as from Your loving Hand.  

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!" ---Isaiah 26:3

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What is the Glad Surrender?

Before diving into this blog, I wanted to stop and remember where it came from...

Elisabeth Elliot was a missionary with her husband Jim in Ecuador.  Jim was trying to bring the Gospel to an unreached tribe, and they killed him.  Later, God opened the door for Elisabeth to go live among the same tribe who killed her husband.  That is forgiveness.  That is a life fully surrendered.

Here I was struggling over simple submission to my husband, and Elisabeth Elliot was fully surrendered.  I knew that whatever secret Elisabeth had to that kind of life, I WANTED.

After many years of missionary work in Ecuador, Elisabeth Elliot began to travel and teach others how to live a life surrendered to God's Will. There is a treasure trove of her messages available online.  It is here that I found a peace I had never experienced in my life.  I listened to several messages and found each to be a key that opened another little nook in the treasury.  Gems of wisdom.  A steady calming rain bathed my soul and began to shift my mindset.  It affected my marriage, my home, my soul's depths.

Over and over I heard it in my spirit: "In acceptance lies peace."  

That ever elusive PEACE suddenly was within my own possession.  And not through conquest but through surrender.

Total complete surrender. 

Would it be possible for simple ol' me to faithfully walk this new road  I had stumbled upon...this less traveled avenue called SURRENDER?

Would I say YES if He called me to live among the tribe who killed my husband?

Would I say YES if He led me to sell everything and serve others in a place where nobody knew me or appreciated me?

Or closer to home...  Would I say YES to submitting to my husband (even when I feel that I'm right!)?  

Would I have what it takes to be completely, totally, 100% all-sold-out to this life of surrender? 

Your road may not be exactly the same as mine, but the pains and struggles we face all find their root in our UNwillingness to surrender to His plan.  Surrendering my will to HIS. Surrendering my dreams, plans, wishes, comforts.  And, yes, surrendering in the arena of my marriage.  More on all of that later...

For now, as way of introduction, I wanted to point you to the wisdom that Elisabeth Elliot has so graciously shared.   THIS LINK will bring you to "The Glad Surrender," part 1.  

That is where I first sampled the peace of a surrendered life.  That was my first taste.  I crave more.  I yearn for total complete surrender.