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Friday, December 5, 2014

Playing Hide n' Seek

I would play Hide n' Seek with you.
I would hide and you would find me.
You would squeal with delight 
  just as the toddler who found their Daddy
  in the hiding spot.

As you grow,
there is still the mystery of Hide n' Seek,
the delight of finding Me,
hiding in easy places
or in the very last spot you could think to look.

I am everywhere,
Hidden in every nook and cranny of your life.

You scurry off to find Me
just as your dog enjoys the chase,
the thrill, and
the excitement
of finding you!

I never tire of hiding Myself
to be found by you.
Day by day,
hour by hour
minute by minute.

There won't be a single time that 
you don't find Me 
because you are always seeking
and I will be found by You!


When you search for Me with all you heart, you will seek Me and find Me. 
Jeremiah 29:13 & Deuteronomy 4:29




The Victory Lap

The MMRF 5K
(Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation) Race for the Cure

I saw it on their website
one day, 
way back in the spring,
when you were 
in the beginning of the shock of it all:
the diagnosis,
the first treatments,
and no taste left,
tiredness and weakness
in your very active body,
which wasn't used to feeling that way. 
If anyone is the energizer bunny, 
it's you.

That day, I made a vow to myself

to run this race
FOR you
because I thought that come November, 
the way treatment was scheduled,
you would be too weak to run.

The race I thought I was crazy to run.

Alone. 
No team of family or of friends to join.
I hadn't even done any fundraising.
Standing there about to begin,
wondering what I had to prove,
what statement I was trying to make.

Because here you are Dad,
on the other side of MM now
the remission side.
But back in the spring, 
we didn't know we would be here so quickly!

So the race became the victory lap,
like at NASCAR.
The thanksgiving race,
The race of honor,
to celebrate the victory.
That's what this compulsion was.



HAD
TO 
RUN
IT

 

It didn't matter if I had no one by my side, 
not a single person there that I knew,
because I was familiar with what these people felt,
the ones running for a loved one.

Listening to Rend Collective's upbeat album Art of Celebration,

a perfect anthem for this race, the victory lap. Songs like "Joy," "My Lighthouse," and "More than Conquerors." Songs that I played and sung over and over this summer, praying for you. 

This summer, it felt like fall or winter,
like the cold, grey morning in November,
when I ran this race.
The path started out flat, 
with me almost tripping over the photographer lying in the middle of it.
I found it hard to find my pace 
in this small sea of people,
just like you found it hard to find your new pace of life.
Uphill to cross the bridge, 
I know there were many moments for you
when it seemed ALL uphill,
Then I hit the turnaround point - halfway.
When you were at the halfway point of the first treatment,
you found out that the medication,
"God's agent to destroy the cancer cells,"
was working amazingly well! 
All the while, 
in YOUR almost daily runs,
you ran that disease right off you.
Running faster downhill, 
speeding things up.
Finally, the home stretch,
flat path back to the finish line. 

The race I had to run, going back in my mind through the events of the late spring and summer months. And thanking You, Father God, for it all. I had to remember. Just like the writer of Psalm 77:11-12, remembering:

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long (or not so long) ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on Your mighty deeds (they are constantly in my thoughts; I cannot stop thinking about them). 


On a side note, how Father God brings me laughter in this? The name of the company, a few states from here who has been in business 90 yearsthat printed the race bibs is same as the name of the very small town in Washington that my Dad lives in!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Staying in the Light

The sunlight was peering through trees the other morning as I was jogging around the pond with the crisp cool air surrounding me. The leaves were thinking about changing colors, but not completely sure.

The path was pretty bright in the spots where the sun shone through. Yet it was darker and not illuminated in the shadow
where the sunlight was blocked by the trees.








Stay in the light.

For where the light is, there is life.

You may need to reposition yourself.
While standing in the shadows of the tree, sunlight pokes through and streams around. But it requires you to take a couple steps to the left or to the right to be standing in the light.

Trees of trouble, 
trees of thoughts and doubts,
trees of frustration,
casting shadows, blocking the light.

Move to stay in the light.




I find myself standing in the dark part of the path all too often. 
Reposition.
Positioning again. 
Moving to the light, a couple steps over, is oh so easy, yet oh so difficult. 

Staying in the light looks like standing on the promises of God's word to me, whether His written or His spoken word. Reminding myself of what He has done. Meditating on who He is - good, faithful, and kind. Full of grace and mercy. He is love. When I make this shift in the path of my thoughts, clarity comes as I am in the light

For with you is the fountain of life; 
in Your light, we see Light
Psalm 36:9

Staying in the light means choosing life. In His light, I have life. I want to walk in the the light. Not choosing darkness, nor death. Speaking life and truth about situations, people, and events. Everything I say and do - a conscious choice to 
walk 
in
the 
Light

...but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, 
and the blood of Jesus His son cleanses us from all sin." 
1 John 1:7

Standing in the light brings warmth. I want to bask in His warmth. And His illumination. And His truth. Standing in the shadows brings a darkness and a clouding to everything I look at and do. My thoughts spiral and I view life with a critical eye.

Staying in the light means choosing to focus on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue . . . anything worthy of praise. 

The 
Light

The One who shines, who makes manifest by rays of His majesty and glory.

Jesus spoke to them again saying, "I am the Light of the world; He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." John 8:12


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grace and the Gold Medal

My youngest son won a gold medal at his karate tournament last weekend. His first tournament and he wins a medal. A gold medal. He was so excited to have that shiny object placed around his neck! 

He entered the tournament and showed up.

There was no competition in his division at his age group. 

He chose to compete a level up for a chance at winning another medal, but he was guaranteed the gold for his division. Just by virtue of showing up.

Reminds me of receiving grace.

The feeling that you didn't earn it, which is true. 

"Grace is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God to mankind," says Matthew Henry.

There's no formula for grace. This isn't math class where a + b = c. Or, if you do a certain task, then you receive grace. 

There's no rule. If you try hard enough, you receive it. 

You go into the fight, the competition, or the life situation with the readiness and expectation to work hard. You are ready to "give it all you've got" and fight tooth and nail, if need be. 

The question is, "Am I going to be content?" Content when I get the medal without much effort; content when I have to fight hard for it. And I might watch my friend struggle and fight for their gold medal when all I had to do was show up. Next time, the roles may be reversed. I'm doing the fighting; they are just showing up. They get the grace. Content.

These were my son's thoughts, too, as he voiced to me that he just showed up. "It's not like I earned it. There was no one to compete against." True, young warrior, very true. How much wisdom in your 11 years. But sometimes all you have to do is be willing to show up. The medal is still awarded to you. It is yours. It is grace.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wandering eyes


When my eyes start to wander
As I look around to another
What they are doing?
Where they are going?

I start to lose my step, my way
I'm sinking quick,
please help!

I've wandered off the path
sidetracked by the noise and flashing lights
I've lost sight
of Your face,
and Your eyes

The One who whispers to me
This is the way - walk in it
I am the Way
This is the road I have for you:
Delight in me.

-from July 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding Fall . . . Finding True Identity

I discovered a colorful leaf on the grass today. Another yellow and red one caught my eye as I jogged along on the path. Continuing around the pond, I could see a patch of red midst the sea of green leaves.

Fall. Autumn. My favorite season. 
How I love being surrounded by the beauty of the colors. Yesterday marks the official arrival of autumn, but the full splendor is not all around me yet. I only see glimpses of the beauty.

One here. One there. Like finding a treasure. 
And so it seems with Your touch, Your ways. Sometimes I have to look harder to see Your colors. To see Your presence all around me. To feel it. But still, You are there. All around me.

When we've lived in places around the world where the seasons didn't change, I would go through withdrawals. The crispness in the air. The changing colors - the bold orange, the bright yellow, the magnificent reds. And deep within, I knew, this longing was beyond the changing of the leaves' colors.

Deeper than the unmasking of the green leaves.
Becoming who they really were.
I missed seeing true identity showing forth.

These leaves - they know it too. They have been covered; it's not time to release their real identity, but soon. Did you know that the leaves have had the orange and yellow colors inside them all along. As the season changes, they are no longer producing chlorophyll which had caused them to be green. The reds are so red now because glucose gets trapped.






This. This beautiful display of colors. This is what I'm looking forward to. Me finding You. All around me. And in finding you, seeing you, true identity is revealed in me.




As Michael Card writes in Scribbling in the Sand, "The beauty of God demands a response from us," so I stop and admire and photograph and write.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Gift and A Voice

A simple task.
A writing exercise.
Two questions.
Two very different answers.

What do I think about my writing?

It's scattered. A work in progress, since it has improved. Poetic at times. Some pieces are more powerful than others. 

Sometimes I wonder if my writing really "speaks" to anyone but me. I feel so vulnerable when I write.

At times, it's not composed well. Nor does it seem to make sense. Or flow. Maybe it's not as descriptive as I'd like it to be.

But it is my passion.
And it is my calling.
And it is something I have to do to solidify these conversations with God; my thoughts and feelings and what He speaks and reveals. 

So it goes deep.
It clarifies, reveals, and releases.

What does He have to say about my writing?

Your writing is a GIFT . . . to Me, to others, to you. It is a treasure I put inside of you. You've had glimpses years ago of this creativity, but you have no idea what I have in store for you through this gift.

Your writing is your VOICE - the one I gave to you; the one I speak through, that My name may be glorified and my ways discerned. Do not worry that you feel unqualified for I tell you that no one who ever felt qualified (on their own account) was. I'm looking at your heart; I'm looking at you, looking at Me. When it seems I'm silent and far away, know that I am so very near and the words and stories will come in time. There is a season for everything. If you rush writing in the winter season, it will be as foolish as expecting a harvest in the winter or growth in the fall. Let each season be what it is. Some may seem to drag on while some may progress more quickly, but it is I who guides the seasons.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

There's always a story

Just like a good story
doesn't always start at the beginning,
it picks a point and begs the question.

How did you get here?
Where did you come from?

What was the path?
The journey that led you here?

You have to have perspective to know where you are. And sometimes to figure out where you are going.

True north.

That brings perspective.

Which way to go?

"Set your course by My promises," FJR reminds in Come Away my Beloved.

His promises are my perspective.

My true north.


I'm on a journey.

A path uniquely designed by God for me.

And my life is a story.

The story He is writing.
  

When I get frustrated with all the twists and turns on the path,
I hope to remember:

What's the point of a story, if not for the problems,
the climax,
the resolutions.

What an exciting read!
To see the goodness of God.
To see His hand upon my life.

Because if it was all planned out,
And if I knew the end
way back at the beginning?

I know I couldn't handle it.
And it would be
Boring.
Predictable.

He is the author.
Of surprises.
Plot twists.

Just like my favorite Saturday pastime,
bike riding in the great outdoors.
I follow the path.

Turns.
Narrow paths.
Wide paths.
Dodging trees.
Bumps in the road.


Having to get off the bike and walk.

Sailing down the hill.
Pedaling slowly uphill.

The journey is not a straight, flat road. And I'm learning to be grateful for that fact!

Testing


from March 27, 2014

The wisdom of an eleven year old.
As we are driving home from art class.
He was thinking ahead,
about the upcoming event that night,
Getting prepared to test for a new belt in karate.

And he was reviewing in his mind,
all the moves, and
the various stances.
Contemplating what he needed
to be prepared for the test.
He realized and vocalized what he had learned was important.

Thing number one.
Stay focused 100 percent of the time.

Thing number two.
Do your very best.
Give it all you've got.
Crisp, strong moves (even if they aren't the right ones, he would say)
Even when you are exhausted
and think you can't move a muscle.

Thing number three.
Yell loud!
My translation of this phrase: participate fully with your voice.

And Tuesday night and tonight, I watched him do just that.

And I thought about how this translates to the tests that come our way in life. The spiritual battle rages all around. I am in a war. The book I was reading about parenting reminds me to remind myself that I am  in a war, not just in relation to parenting. Life is a testing. Living as a prepared warrior is HOW I should live my life.

Always focused! Not gazing at the problems, but gazing and focusing on God.
Do my best, giving it all I've got, even when it gets tough.
Yell loud. Yell the truth to myself, especially when I'm not feeling it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Overwhelming

Inevitably, every Monday,
I wake up
overwhelmed by the "to-do" 
screaming at me.

It's overwhelming.
The things that need to be done.
One thing gets accomplished, checked off 
and there are two more to take its place.

STOP!

Be overwhelmed by Me!


The truth is, that if I don't live life overwhelmed by You,
the Overwhelming One, I will be overwhelmed by any and every thing else that comes my way.



This is what Kari Jobe sings about overwhelming


"The more I seek you, the more I find you. The more I find you, the more I love you. I melt in your peace. It's overwhelming."

Not just a touch, nor just a splash as of water,
but overwhelming waves of love.

How different daily life would be,
if I woke up
Overwhelmed by You,
The Overwhelming One.

I wouldn't be so overwhelmed
by tasks, chores, by people, or by my own lack and need.
I would be overwhelmed,
covered over completely,
and overthrown
by You.

I'm needing this course correction, to wake up overwhelmed by you. Taking moment by moment each day overwhelmed by you. I tend to get lost and disoriented on this sea of life, with the unending list of things to do swirling around me. And when you are lost at sea, sometimes it's the little course corrections needed to catch the wind. And set sail in the right direction.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weighted Down


Weighted down.

She feels so weighted down.

Like the trees
that were once covered with snow,
then layered with rain,
and now turned to ice.

The branches hang heavy,
reaching to the ground.

Weighted down.



In the season
of His coming.

He came bringing light
and lightness.

Shining bright.
His load is light.



But she's still
Weighted down.

By the to-do list,
Daily life,
Preparations and plans
And the relationships that are just hard.




And He whispers:

Look.

Seek.

Me.

Light.

Nothing is too heavy for me to bear.




So she lays them down.
One by one.
The worries.
The fears.
The anxieties.


By declaring He is more than enough.
By living the truth that His grace is sufficient for every need.
By looking into those eyes,
Knowing perfect love.
It's like taking a deep breath of fresh air.



She can breath light again.

And with each load lifted.
Her heart is lighter.
Her countenance brighter.
Her joy returns.




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hope: Can You See the Potential

Can you see it?

Through the dead of winter.

Through the fog that covers like a thick blanket,

Obscuring the view.

These dead leaves.

Brown, drab colors.

It looks as if life has left.





But life is what you can't see right now.

That's what hope is.

What you can't see.

Because if you can see it,
it's not hope.

If it were colorful now,
you would be experiencing it,
not hoping for it.

And that is where I am right now.

Hoping.

Through the deadness.
Waiting for the spring.
Waiting for the colors.
Waiting for the life.

To come forth and be realized.

The potential is there.
Just not seeing the evidence.

And if I could see all this now, it wouldn't be hope.
The boy-man who can't seem to figure out where to go and what to do,
I pray he's figuring it out.
Right here under our roof.
And it's been hard.
And it's been emotionally exhausting.

He has a new life plan.
It just seems to be taking forever
For it to come together.
And what if this is not
What's meant to be.

Some of it will come easily,
The physical tests.
But the rest,
Will be like scaling a rock wall
Of his own will and determination.

And the character traits that I see,
The ones that scare me,
And haunt me,
That make me think
I didn't do a good enough job
Of raising this boy...

It's the lie that flashes its ugly teeth.


Because God has a plan.

It's only winter.

There is hope.

 "The hardship of winter. Even in the winter months, the earth is not completely dormant. The process of life continues." -S. Gunter


Time is not in your hands

The clock.

It read 10:45.

But the time was actually 4:30.

Time had stopped.

Or should I say the clock had stopped telling time.

So I change the battery.

Reset the time.




The next day, when I look again, it was wrong. The time was not what it appeared to be.

It doesn't match up with real time. So I check the connections and reset it again.

The next day, it was off.

Again.

How many times must it be reset?

And it doesn't matter what I do.

I have changed the battery.

Checked the connections.

Reset the time.

But all that does NOT seem to matter one bit.

The time is too early.

Or it is too late.

And I can't control the timing on the clock.



The "aha moment." 

Naturally, I cannot get this clock to work.

I have done all I know to do.

There has go to be a meaning behind all this?!

I finally get the message.


Your time is in My hands.
Not your hands.


Wow!

But it feels

Off.

And it feels

Frustrating.

And it feels like

It will never change.

No matter what I do.

It.
will.
not.
be.
right.

True. If it was all up to me and my ability.

I keep trying to make time match up with what it is supposed to be. I've done all I can.
"There are steps you can take to improve your current situation, but there are also things that are beyond your control. Do what you can and trust Me with the rest."           -M. Burns

I can't help thinking about the timing of things in my life right now.  Situations where I've done all I can do and have to leave the rest in His time.

Do I really want to force things to happen outside of his perfect time, even if I could? No.

Situations like our oldest son's decision to enlist in the Air Force. The process seems so unending and so NOT swift. Dates keep getting pushed back and he hasn't even gone to his processing appointment yet! It takes weeks to turn in an application. Weeks to get it cleared. Weeks to get a processing date.  And other situations, like waiting to find out IF and WHEN were are moving. The constant factor in our not-so-constant nomadic lifestyle of moving around with the military. If it was up to me, this would be all set up and tidied up a long time ago!

Yeah. IF it was up to me?

What might have happened?
Outside of God's plan.

C.S. Lewis' brings back to mind that I don't get to figure out what would have happened, as much as I think I want to. My youngest and I are enjoying the Chronicles of Narnia series. Oh, there is so much I missed when I read through it with the now 21-year old.  The other night while reading "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," Aslan says to Lucy:

Didn't I tell you once before, child, that no one is ever told what would have happened?

I was tempted to think that beginning the process before the holidays was a big mistake. But it sure taught a valuable lesson.

And then when the plans for the processing appointment all come crashing together in one busy week? I'm clinging onto great grace of My savior, who will carry me through.

He is reminding me:
It's only 10:45 a.m. on my clock when it looks like 4:30 p.m. to you. Your time is in my hands. It is not your own.

So don't panic.
When it stops.
And don't gasp.
When it doesn't go according to plans or efficiency.
I am way bigger than that!

David reminds me too, in Psalm 31:15, My times are in Your hands.