Monday, January 30, 2012

When Everything's uncertain...

     His body stiffens in my arms. I try to sooth him with my voice -- telling him that all will be okay. He woke crying and refuses to be comforted. I hug his little body closer and ask softly. "Should I sing to you?" Instantly the crying ceases. Softly I begin to sing the songs he loves. "Jesus loves me this I know." His body relaxes in my arms and I cuddle him close. I study his little face as I sing -- feeling him wake to comfort. Tears tremble on dark lashes and he opens his blue eyes. He looks up to meet my gaze and I smile soft. Reassuring him again that all is well.
      But inwardly my heart breaks for him. How I long to hold him close forever. To shelter him from the storms of life. To keep him from further pain and confusion. His two short years have known much uncertainty. Upheaval. Pain. Confusion. And I long to shelter him. To somehow stand between his world spinning and shattered with the poor choices of those who ought to be looking out for him and his trusting unguarded little heart. But the choice is beyond my control to make.
    My own world is full of uncertainty -- spinning out of control. Long hoped for answers seem about to slip away as the last few days of last ditch efforts slide by. Will we once more stand empty handed with only questions and loss in this seemingly endless quest when we seemed so close and things looked so hopeful? 

 For one we love fearful, life altering possibility looms close and threatening. A diagnosis away. What is her Destiny? None of us can tell. 

Shattered, angry,  lives are caught in a seemingly endless cyclone of despair and bitterness as the years and prayers go on. Things only get worse and the darkness deepens. Will things ever change? Will the long hoped for miracle ever come? Faith treads wearily on where hope has withered.

Dreams smolder. Hearts Shiver beneath the drenching rains of uncertainty, stumble beneath the weight of promises that never seem to come and circumstances that cause the once glorious rainbow to fade and dim -- the sky growing black -- no break in the clouds appears. Only more heartbreak day after weary day. Where is the promised salvation? Where is the mover of mountains?
And it's then that the gentle voice is heard through the fog of my pain filled heavy heart. It is the sound of  my Father singing. 

And as He sings my crying ceases and I feel His strong arms hold me close. And as I feel His arms I know He holds the one I long to shelter too. He seeks the hearts of those broken lives, He loves the loved one facing life changing circumstances and he is the great healer. But even if He chooses to withhold healing, He can make her spirit whole. And he has promised to make her destiny sure. He knows all the twists and turns of this road and the how long and weary the journey. And as my eyes meet His He smiles gently as if to reassure me that it's all okay. And I know that it is because Jesus loves me, loves these I love and ache and pray for. He is in control even in the uncertainties of this storm.  No matter what we face He will shelter us safe,  until this storm passes by. 

Child and Dad

Friday, January 27, 2012

With Open Face

With open face we all behold 
The glory of the Lord
And in His presence here we bow
Before the Living Word

The veil removed, the curtain torn
Our High Priest entered in
That we might know the God of Heaven
In intimance commune

To us his Holy love revealed
The secrets of His grace
His awesome likeness as we gaze
Reflected in our face

How can it be that mortals weak
This awesome gift are lent
To gaze into this Holy face
To share this covenant?

Our Heavenly Bridegroom, loved, adored
Fill all within our sight
Your countenance with radiance 
May we Your heart delight

Oh Holy love, Oh Heavenly light
May we Your glory show
Your radiance, to manifest
That all the world may know

And Lord as on thy face we gaze 
In this most Holy place
We bow in worship and adore
Awed by your radiance
                       Rachael Lofgren

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tribute to a hero

Years come and go -- slipping past like the endless flow of the river to the sea. And so slip by the opportunities to speak to those around us of what they mean to us. Unless we seize the day the chance may be forever gone.
     Some heros are known for their laud and fame. Some are sung by many and have become a household name -- while others toil unknown, unheard, through the storms of life, unrecognized for the heros that they are. Tonight I want to honor one of these unsung heros.
    Some men are known for their strength -- but it is in our weakness that true strength is found. For only when we realize and admit our own  inadequacy can we truly be strong in the Lord. Many men are built around their egos. They have to be right. This hero is willing instead to admit when he is wrong. Only true men know what it means to live this way. And this takes humility. There are many strong men -- but very few humble ones. This hero is humble.

   Many men give up. It takes a courageous man to keep going in the face of tremendous loss and with no promise of return. Though life has brought more loss than gain this hero is faithful and courageous.

   Many men desert ship. It takes a real man to stick with the commitments they've made. This man is committed and has not compromised.

   Many men are fashioned by the world around them, their lives go with the flow of culture they live in and the world around them. To stand alone is a lonely place to be. Being a true man is lonely as Christ Himself revealed when He came to earth for us. This man has stood alone time and again. It takes courage to make changes that are not approved of by the status quo. To take the Bible literally and act on it. I have seen this hero live this out in some very difficult ways. Though none went with Him still He stood for truth and right. NO turning back.

   Many men fight. It seems strong to defend one's rights. I have watched this man let go of bitterness and walk in forgiveness letting the past go, and setting those free who owed him honor, but instead had done him unspeakable wrongs. This is the truest mark of a man after God's own heart

   Most men show the world a macho face . God has allowed this man to be broken and he has allowed God to take the broken pieces and shine through.

   Many men want to be in control of their worlds. It takes a lot of guts to step out by faith and trust God, especially under pressure. I have watched this hero walk in incredible faith and I have seen God do incredible miracles on his behalf.

    Fatherhood is an incredible role but not an easy one. The responsibilities that come with it are great. This man has invested much in the lives of his children. His prayers ascend often for them. He lived out before them what it meant to live in the fear of God, and He sought and taught that they might above all stand for truth and walk in righteousness. He taught them too to stand in awe at the beauty of God, His word, and His world. He taught them to work with their hands and to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. Family was priority. They did things together. He spent long hours to provide happy vacation days away that would build special memories. He taught them loyalty no matter what your family did or how they differed. And he modeled honoring parents -- even in the reality of  their imperfections, by honoring his own .

A man of wisdom, humility and truth. This man may never be famous. He may never be a household name but nonetheless He is a hero. He is my hero.

This hero is my Dad.

Friday, January 13, 2012

When the heart is "home."

    Sometimes in life, our hearts live in tents when God meant for us to live in a palace.  Only when we are willing to leave the seeming safety of the little world we've pitched for ourselves and the little comfort zones we've staked out can we truly experience the full beauty and joy of belonging. And when we finally catch a glimpse of the beauty and strength of the pillars of the palace of the body of Christ --

  Sometimes the very vastness and unknowns of it all leave us shaking in our boots and wanting to skitter back to the dark dank little shelter of our flimsy tents of self protection. We think perhaps we'll lose ourselves in here. It's all so BIG.  Is it worth the risk?
It takes courage to enter in -- vulnerability and trust to step out and enter in to the love of being known and loved in relationships -- to take the risk of loving without restraint, of letting the heart go. Sometimes despite the loneliness of tent life we feel safest there because it is the world we know and the world we think we can control.

And yet as the fear wanes and the sheltering strength of belonging -- the warmth of the inner rooms of fellowship where we partake of His word and where joys and sorrows are shared openly and freely --

Where we enter the "family" life we were meant to be a part of --  the beauty of the palace fills our gaze we will realize that it is for this that we were really created. And only when we enter in will our hearts truly be " at home." Then when the storms of life blow hard -- we won't shiver alone in our little tents anymore with the cold rain of doubt dripping on our heads and the bone chilling whistle of the wind of fear whining in our ears. But rather we will rest in the light of His love, the protection of the prayers of His people, and the strength of unity with His heart, and with our fellow brothers and sisters. Though sometimes the risk seems incredibly great, the rewards far outweigh the cost. And here in this place we are safely sheltered in Him our eternal Home, and in His body, the home of the heart and the holy and beautiful temple of the Lord of Hosts. 
    Where is your heart today? Have you stepped out by faith into the fullness of trust and love? Or are you still shivering in your little lonely tent -- paralyzed by fear? The door is standing open and welcoming arms of the fellowship of Christ and His people beckon. Will you enter in
     "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
                                                                           Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Midnight laughter and a serious case of "Author's brain"

Wow! What a night. on the way to the airport tonight to pick up a friend of ours my Dad was talking to me and told me the temperature and whatnot. A few moments down the road I wondered aloud what the temperature was tonight and Dad said rather oddly. "I just told you." I simply had not heard him in the least. I told him it has to do with me learning to block out the outside world so I can write more effectively. He says it's just an excuse. Threatens to keep me in suspense "just like you authors do to us." and then graciously relents and tells me what it is. But guess what. I'm not the only author on the planet with writer's brain tonight. We get to the airport and no one is there to meet us. The flight attendant looks on the monitor and tells us Mr. A. never even got on his first flight from out east so we drive home worrying that he got in an accident or something. He never called all evening. There's a small chance maybe he just forgot I tell myself. I'm hoping so but the chance is small. I call him on his cell phone as soon as I'm home not knowing what to expect. Is he in the hospital or worse yet is he even alive? All those good old thoughts that run through your head at such a time . After the fourth ring he answers, calmly enough it seems to me."Is everything okay?" I ask anxiously. He can't hear me very well at first but finally my voice comes through clear and he says. 'Oh I thought that was supposed to be tomorrow. Let me check this out."  And come to find out he simply had his dates on his schedule mixed up. He's amazingly cheerful on the phone at midnight if indeed I did wake him up and even has a witty word. "So sorry to put you through that while I'm here at home with my head in the sand." He says with  good grace and profuse apologies and thanks for my having called. Then I open a card that happened to be in the mailbox for me tonight. kind of a good way to wind down after that. I think perhaps my friend sent me a letter to surprise me. My birthday isn't for a whole nother month. But come to find IT IS a birthday card. And she's sent me a birthday card a whole month early. She writes "I hope the day went well." And I burst into laughter. She's got me scheduled for a birthday a whole month early! How is that for two very mixed up dates all in one night. And as my Dad so kindly pointed out. "You're all authors." Yikes does this have something to do with that? (And here's another thing for ya. I come home at midnight and have to write a lengthy epistle about this before I go to bed. SIMPLY because I'M an author.) I wonder if anyone else has as good of an excuse for confusion as we do? What's your excuse?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Voice of Truth -- Casting Crowns Lyrics

These words were just what I needed tonight...God grant us courage to follow Truth no matter what!

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. 'Boy, you'll never win!'
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again "boy, you'll never win!
"You'll never win"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Roses Bloom Best Amidst thorns

I watch the unfolding -- gentle with grace, sparkling with laughter, dewy with tears. I hold in my hands the precious gift of  her confidence. The tenderest of hearts -- unveiled. The story of her journey with Him. And as I enter in and walk with her the pathway of her life I see -- the rose.

Her gentle heart blooming. Petals unfurl -- the perfume of His grace within her, gently gracing the world around her. I trace the delicacy of the ruffled petal edge -- see in her the beauty of weakness that relies on His strength. For it's only in our realization of our weakness that His strength can be fully known. I reach out tentatively. Dare I draw near? And  touching the petal my fingertips find the velvet softness of quiet kindness and easy warmth and my heart is drawn in. 
In this quiet intimacy I see an intricate pattern -- the dew of teardrops. And I see one tremble on the edge of the petal. Fall gently at the remembrance of something. And it's then that I see -- the thorns.
I see the sharpness of them -- raw pain. The tender heart torn by the sharp thorns of adversity, illness, silence and loss. And my heart weeps softly. But as I look I suddenly seem to see another form stooping -- bending low over the torn heart. And I see through the shadows of suffering wonder, and longing pain, the dim outline of a face I recognize. 
   And in this moment I know Him as the rose of Sharon. The rose -- considered perfection in the flower world. Perfect in beauty, in sweetness. And I see in Him the perfect One. HE -- Perfect Love. But Perfect Love why must the heart be torn? The heart so tender to Your Love 
   And as He turns I see the thorns. His brow is pierced. The Perfect One all marred by suffering. It is the Man Of Sorrows, who knew no sin but was pierced for our transgressions. And my wonder grows as the meaning dawns upon me. 
It was through the marring of the Perfect that beauty of redemption was born. It is through the cross that the glory of Salvation burst forth. The suffering of the Bridegroom that won the heart of the wayward bride. And the words whisper through my heart. "If thou wouldst share my glory then thou must also share my suffering." 
     And it is amidst thorns that roses best bloom. Submission birthed through suffering. This the pathway of the Perfect. And if we would follow we too must bear the cross -- His beauty born in us only through the pain of suffering. 
     I see Him reach a hand to touch the tender heart. And I see that it still bears the scar. And the touch is gentle with comfort. And as I look up into His face I see their eyes meet and the Love light in His eyes reflects in hers and on the rose the tear drops are suddenly transformed. They shimmer -- refracting Love Light. Rainbows of color caught in delicate crystal dew. Each iridescent prism like a gem -- And I am reminded His most precious gems are crystallized tears. And these diamonds born of pain, that now sparkle in the joy of Love are brilliant with the promise of glory -- That promise that very soon, Perfect Love returns to claim His own. To take them Home where roses bloom forever -- and there are no earthly thorns.
 "God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelations 21:3c-4 NLT

Sunday, January 1, 2012

When Love Takes You In...

Posted for my friends Reuben and Judi, whose hearts and arms are waiting and dreaming...