Thursday, February 27, 2014

Learning How To Live Free

This week Faith Barista's prompt was a question focusing on our faith journey......What are you learning about yourself?  My answer takes me back to the beginning, bring me into the present, and make room for the "something more" in my future!

After being sick 27 years with Lyme Disease and several co-infections, and spending 10 of those years housebound, I was healed by Jesus from the disease in March 2012.  Getting my body to recover and heal from other conditions such as chemical sensitivities, Lyme arthritis, and more has been a process, but I am seeing my health improve more every week.  I have also been set free from childhood abuse and PTS using Sozo Ministry and sweet Holy Spirit to guide me. 

For the first time in ten years I have been able to go visit our children and their families in their homes, attend church, shop in stores, and have people in our home without consequences to my heath.  Last October my husband Joel and I went on a long vacation for the first time since 1986. Thank you Jesus!  When God impressed on my heart to walk out my healing ~ literally ~ I could walk only 3 minutes without being exhausted, but now I walk 45 minutes nearly every day without fatigue setting in.  None of this was possible just 18 months ago.  I have been learning how to live free.

"It is for freedom that Christ set me free,
so I will stand firm then, and never again
be burdened by a yoke of slavery or bondage".
Galatians 5:1 (paraphrased)
The recovery of my health has been an amazing "only God" journey, but I would be remiss if I did not share what I am learning about myself through my relationship with Papa God.  His priority has been my relationship with Him.  Oh, I know He wants me whole and healthy, but He desires intimacy even more.   Saying yes to this "even more" has opened my heart to deeper healing and discovery
on a soul level.  A place of knowing more of God's love  and wanting others to know the depths of His love, too.

I learned that even though my faith was strong and I had great survival instincts and skills, I had trust issues.  I lived my life never feeling safe or secure, I lived my life on alert.  You cannot get much rest when you are always on alert to what might happen next.  It wearies the body and soul. 

Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest...."  in Matthew 11.  We cannot rest in Him unless we trust Him, so in obedience I have been on a journey to discover more of His love.  Knowing how much God loves me has been the foundation for trusting Him, which results in saying yes to Jesus when He beckons....come...come....I will give you rest.   In entering that rest, I am finding freedom.  Freedom from a life on "alert", free to be who God created me to be, free to see myself as God sees me.  Knowing that even with my imperfections I am enough.  God delights in me.  This is really BIG.  Do we really get that?  God d.e.l.i.g.h.t.s in me. 

I could say so much about what I am learning after 27 years of disease, 57 years of hidden childhood trauma revealed and released, and this continual journey into intimacy with Papa God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.  I truly can't even describe it all, but experiencing it has let me begin to live free.  Free of disease, free of fear, free of PTS, free of self-condemnation or the condemnation of others.  ALL because of the Father's love, Jesus sacrifice, and Holy Spirit's empowering gifts.

It is for freedom I have been set free!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Surrendered Yes

John 21:15b

I have just finished reading Ann Voskamp's latest book, "The Greatest Gift".  It is an Advent devotional chapter book and yes, even with epiphany long behind us, it is a great read and has been blessing me.

Ann amazes me.....she lives with the echoes of a deeply scarred past and yet God in His infinite wisdom has used her to change the world.  Just by simply counting the smallest of blessings in life.  (One Thousand Gifts)  There is no doubt that her most recent book will have an impact on those who read it.  I am privileged to be among them.

In the minutes before dawn one morning I opened the pages and heard God speak through the words my eyes took in.  Ann was talking about Christmas and the whole gift giving thing.  As she spoke about the gifts we receive she said, "Your greatest gift is not the gifts you receive, but your surrendered yes to be a space for God.  My spirit quickened as I thought about being a greater vessel for His presence and His purpose.  A space for God.  Amazing visual isn't it!

The "yes Lord" has been coming to me often lately, mixing with His whispers and mine. Surrender is a path unique to each, but first there is a need to wade into the river of Living Waters, like Ezekiel did in his vision (Ezekiel 47), and immerse ourselves with a simple but profound "Yes Lord!"

Yes Lord, Your will and Your way.
Yes, Lord, I surrender
Yes Lord, more of You and less of me.
Less of me and more of You.
Yes Lord.

Ann Voskamp says yes, Lord each time she takes her shy, once agoraphobic self into the world outside her farm porch to teach and reach those in need.  Katie Davis (Kisses For Katie) does this every day as she feeds the hungry, welcomes another daughter home, cares for the homeless, and holds the dying in the red dirt of Uganda.  Linny and Dw continue their walk of a joyous yes every time they bring home one more child.   Heidi Baker felt called to the mission field at age 16 and with her surrendered yes is now a vessel for God in bringing the gospel to Mozambique and other countries.   Joel's cousin David Simonson and his wife Eunice said yes to Tanzania over 50 years ago bringing Jesus to the Maasai. The family calls Tanzania home and David is buried on the land the Maasai honored them with.  A surrendered yes.

We all know, or know of someone who says "Yes Lord" with such passion. Laid down followers of Jesus who change the world.  But what about us, what about this gray haired granny?  What does God ask of us?
I believe that the easy is saying, "Yes Lord."  The hard comes in the less of me and more of Him.  The surrender of space to Him to use this vessel according to His purpose, not mine.  It almost always involves sacrifice....the less part.  It involves surrender.  It involves, letting go.  And thankfully it also involves an intimate relationship with the One.  The more part.

Yes, Lord
Yes, Lord, Your will and Your way.
Yes, Lord, less fear and more courage
Yes Lord to the river of Living Waters.
Yes Lord, more of You and less of me.
Yes Lord.

A surrendered yes to be a space for God.

Soul Rest Sunday

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world, where the weather has been crazy the past week. Early on we had temperatures in the 40's, then Thursday morning we had rain, which turned to snow. Heavy wet snow and thunder snow came down throughout the day.  Thursday night we continued under blizzard warnings with sustained winds up to 40mph and gusts over 50mph that shook the house, closed interstates, and left us with 8 inches of fresh snow. ice, and downed branches to deal with.  Joel was out with the snow blower and shovel and when he finished here he headed over to my sister's since her hubby was out of town.  This morning he raked the back roof to try to avoid an ice jam when it melts.  Interstates are still covered with choppy thick ice and I heard just north of us the MN Highway Patrol are saying it has not been this bad in 25 yrs.  No travel advised!

Speaking of the snow, I am sharing a few pictures with you all.  Even with it's destruction, it is beautiful, but really, we are so ready for  Spring!!  Friday we watched deer crossing the frozen river~ expect they were having a good time.....I know our neighbor dog loved it, she was out romping around with a big smile on her face.  Yep, I am sure it was a smile!

Early in the storm, a small town of 2,000 about 25 minutes from us had to be evacuated after an explosion at a storage facility.  Seems sulfuric acid was one of the chemicals released in the explosion so all emergency agencies within an hour were on the scene to get people to safety.  Challenging for nursing home facilities, but they used school buses, etc. and by today all are back home safe and sound.  I expect the air quality will be tested for awhile. 

Speaking of air quality, when it was so nice this week I turned off the furnace one day and opened the windows and doors to get some fresh air in here. gets so stale in the winter.  It smelled so good!!

We have been running our water 24/7 in two places to keep our water pipes from freezing like 4 of our neighbors and several homes in the city.  But this morning we woke up to the sewer backing up!  Again.  Joel called three different guys who deal with sewer and of course because it is a weekend they are unavailable...None thought the sewer was frozen, though.  BUT we cannot run water now with the sewer plugged so it will take a divine intervention to keep our pipes from freezing.  That is what we are standing on right now, God's intervention....ask and ye shall receive......and running to the church today to use the bathroom and also showering over at my sister and BIL's.  The past 4 months we have had a water crisis...every single month.....November, December, January, February.  Enough, already!

Have you been watching the Olympics this week?  We have taken in the Ice Skating, some ski jumping and the women's Hockey final between Canada and the USA.  That went into overtime and was quite exciting.  We don't usually watch hockey so knew very little about what was going on but enjoyed it.....I prefer women's sports because they are less aggressive most of the time.  Notice I said most of the time.

Last Sunday our son Mark celebrated a birthday!  We welcomed him home when he was 5 months old....he was so beautiful that we kept his middle birth is rare so I won't share it here, but it means "beautiful" in Tagalog....the language of the Philippines where he was born.  We really learned few Filipino words when we lived there....most everyone spoke English. 

Mark and grandson Noah last Labor Day weekend when
we went with them to their church...great fun!

I am still re-reading Heidi Baker's book, Birthing the Miraculous, and also Ann Voskamp's book "The Greatest Gift".  Have listened to a few teachings, lots of praise music, and watched the Olympics. Downton Abbey was really good this past week.  Did you see it?  What are you up to?

Until next time............

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The One Who Hears

 On mostly a daily basis I spend time in visualization and prayer with Jesus, visiting in my mind what I call the garden of my heart. A few days ago while in the garden I did what I call "self-sozoing" to help me through an old issue that resurfaced concerning not feeling heard.  Sozo Ministry is where intercessors and Holy Spirit guide you to release hurts, trauma, or lies from the enemy so that inner healing occurs.  It is hard to accurately describe, but I know it has helped me immensely in the past year on my healing journey, and I recommend it for everyone.  Joel was trained to be an intercessor in 2012 and we have also studied the training series together. 

I have learned to use it for small things, too, because it is so freeing.  Who wants to carry around all that stuff?  During the process you usually release something to Jesus for Him to take to the foot of the cross; it may be anger, unforgiveness, a memory, or a lie you are believing.  In return He may give you love, truths, courage, etc. or an actual gift that symbolizing something. 

This particular day in the garden, I visually held out my hands and Jesus gave me a box which held a microphone.  As I looked at it I was a bit confused on how to turn it on,  until I realized that Jesus was telling me He is the power source I need for my voice!  I then recalled that it was fourteen months ago a Sozo prayer intercessor, who had been helping me through a childhood issue, shared that Jesus wanted me to know I have a voice .  A voice empowered by Jesus and a voice He listened to!  I was told to never forget.  It had a strong impact on me and blessed me with inner strength. 

So while reflecting on Faith Barista's prompt for this week ~ "finding your voice'~ I knew that once again I would have to look back in order to walk forward.   In the beginning I did not believe I had a voice that held attention.....not in the womb nor the years to follow. My voice was silenced at age six, during and after I was sexually abused.  When I reached out to tell someone, my words were met with anger and what I perceived as disbelief.   The lie that my voice held no power took root, and over the years that lie became a stronghold in my life.  I expect we all have "lies" that turn into strongholds when left to fester.  There is good news, though!  God wants to rid us of those things that hold us captive to the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. 

Just like a river needs a source, a place where it begins, so does change and growth.  Creating my first blog on my journey with Lyme Disease was the source for me.  It was where I began to find my voice.  But God did not leave me there, since His plan is far greater than I could ever ask or think, as scripture says.  Later I started this blog and made a commitment to be open and honest here, writing with transparency, as God guided.   It has not always been easy, but doing so has helped my heart to heal, is reaching others, and glorifies God.  And the Lyme blog?  It is a place I no longer need to visit after being healed by Jesus from the disease nearly two years ago. 

When I began writing, something deep inside began to shift as God shaped and molded me to use my written words to bring Him glory. Healing took place, healing is still taking place, as I develop day by day into the me God created.  Faith Barista wrote that God says there is a need for the real you.  There is so much truth in that statement.  We each were created unique and special and God wants us to step out boldly.  Finding our voice gives life to being who He created us to be.  No one else can tell our story.  Remember the microphone Jesus handed me in the garden?  We each have one....a voice with Jesus as the power source.  The One who always hears the voice of His child. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sally Fields And The Need For Approval

"Our purpose is to please God not please people. 
He alone examines the motives of our hearts." 
I Thessalonians 2:4b

Recently God has been speaking to me about the need-to-please-people part of who I am.  When I receive the same verses or topic several times from different sources in a short period of time,  I know God is trying to get my attention.  So, today when I read Faith Barista's Post on perfectionism I was drawn in  by her Love Dare.  Among others things, she challenged readers to stop making decisions based on other people's opinions of you. 

Okay, God, # 4 in 2 days.  You have my attention. In my prayers for less of me and more of Him, I could hear God whisper lovingly, "What about this desire for everyone's approval?"   "I AM all  you need." 

It comes from deep inside.....this desire to please man to gain the approval of others.  Remember the Sally Fields comment when she got her Oscar?  They like me, they really like me.  I confess I have felt that sometimes.  I think most of us desire approval, but at what cost?

God has put me on an amazing journey the past few weeks and I find I want to hold back (hard to believe, right?) from speaking all God has put on my heart, so I have kept mostly to myself the supernatural adventure He has gifted me.  I expect I am afraid of what people will think or say about me, but "who I am needs to reflect only one thing~ God's unconditional love for me". (Faith Barista)  If I am going to be obedient to God that means I take off the man pleasing hat and put on the "only God"  one. "  It can be risky if are looking for approval from others.
The "only God" hat we wear keeps us in relationship with Him and His purpose/anointing for us.  We respond in obedience by opening our arms to His will.  It may mean holding things close to our heart, or it may mean opening our heart to the world.   Both can be used to bring God glory, as long as we are wearing the right hat.   Most importantly we remember that God rejoices when who we are reflects who God created us to be. 

I expect there will always be a little Sally Fields in me, but I pray that I mostly keep my eyes on Jesus and off the need for approval from others.  I do desire to hear some day, "I delight in you my child.  In you I am well pleased."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Freedom To Reach Out To The One

Today I am very grateful to be living here in America.  No, it is not due to the Olympics and all the medals won...the crowds cheering on USA in hockey or ice skating.  That is fun, but it is all only a small part of what makes our country great.  Today I am giving thanks for the freedom and abundance we have here after watching the news and hearing the UN's report on the horrors taking place in the N. Korean prisons.  Babies killed at birth....children starving.....parents beaten to death or worse.  Yes, there are worse things than death. 

How God's heart must break for every child of His, young or old that suffers.  So much of the world suffers.  Ann Voskamp and her family are over in another country yet to be told, helping those who are in need, praying to teach their children more gratitude and grace while sharing it with those who only understand loss and less.

It takes me back...........When we lived in the Philippine Islands, it was the mid-seventies,  and the US was still fighting in Viet Nam.  Clark Air Force base was it's own city of 40,000, but at first our home was outside the gates.   Living off the base the first year plus, we saw plenty of the hungry, both of body and soul.  We would watch young children dig through our garbage in the early morning hours, and once when a garbage truck broke down outside our yard's cement walls of protection, the garbage men just built a fire, dug around in the piles of garbage they were sitting on and warmed up what they could find to eat.  More than once they fought over our throwaway scraps.  You don't forget that.

You don't forget the poverty, hunger, and oppression as far as the eye can see.  You do what you can, but it seems so little.  And certainly the Philippines of that day was nothing compared to places in Africa or N. Korea where it is not only poverty but the government itself inflicting  horrors on their own people.

We are not all able to go walk in the dirt of Haiti or Uganda. It seems even the powerful cannot reach N. Korea.  So, how do we walk in obedience to God's Word to care for the orphans and widows....and to love one another as He has loved us?  Those are not suggestions.....nor options. 

Listen to your heart. Pray.  Reach out to the the dirt of Uganda or on the paved streets of your own city.  Much of the poverty in our own country is hidden, but it is here.  Over the years we have had many homeless, out of work, and even a few unwilling to work grace the doorsteps of the parsonages or the churches Joel served.  I heard stories from our own family and friends this year of reaching out, finding the one or many, and communities everywhere have come together.  I am sure you have your own stories to share.

Yes, we are very blessed to live in America (and other developed countries).  We have so much to be thankful for.  I certainly worry more about overeating than eating.  I expect you do too.  Gratitude.  Freedom of speech......gratitude.  Freedom from tyranny.  Gratitude.  Freedom to choose.  Gratitude.  Freedom to reach out to the one. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

We are having a heat wave!  Temperatures in the twenties again today along with more snow, but the high thirties are forecast for the next few days!  Yes!  Unfortunately, the warmer temps are driving the frost deeper and two more neighbors are now without water due to frozen pipes.   So two of our neighbors will be coming over here for "flushing" water when needed.  This could last weeks, so we are doing what we can to keep our pipes moving, including prayer!

We have once again walked at church and the mall all week, managing 45 minutes most days.  I prefer the church even with the temperature in the gymnasium between 50-55 degrees just because we can listen to music and visit to pass the time, besides Joel being able to walk at a much faster pace.

Did you have a nice Valentine 's Day?  We spent the whole day together which was fun.  We planned to watch a movie but stayed tuned in to the Olympics instead.  A lazy morning, a walk, special dessert, lots of laughter, a discussion about Holy Spirit and healing, a phone call from our youngest, and then a phone call from our oldest son and two of the grands in the evening made for a great day. 

We are supposed to be in AZ right now, so I have been thinking about turning the heat up and wearing shorts around the house :)   Okay, not really, but I am ready for Spring while at the same time grateful for a warm house and the pretty snow falling as I write.  There is beauty in every season of the earth and of our lives.

I really don't have much to share this week............the Olympics have been entertaining.  We really got into the Skeleton races for the women and enjoyed the ice skating of course.  We actually watched the snowboarding too!  Saw the US win all three medals for that.  Go USA!

We have been watching Bill Johnson, Leif Hetland, and a couple Charis Bible colllege ministries teachings, and I am re-reading Heidi Baker's book, Birthing The Miraculous, which has been speaking to me so much.  A Cleo Coyle fiction mystery is taking me way longer than it should, as it is just not holding my interest.  What are you reading? 

Until next time........

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Papa's Love

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God. 
And that is what we are!"
I John 3:1

I have spent the past 45 Valentine Days exchanging paper, words, gifts, and embraces with my husband Joel.  We spent our first eight years in the military, and the next thirty-five in ministry, moving 26 times, living in five states and one third world country.  We parented seven children plus, and are blessed with oodles of grandchildren.  We lived through endless years of severe Lyme Disease before healing came, cancer in my body, surgeries for his,  and the death of one son at age 25. We have walked through nearly half a century together with God as our center.  Our lives have been richly blessed in the ordinary and in the extraordinary.  Only God.

Let me share the short story of how we came together.  We met at Bible college, and I thought he was loud, obnoxious, and I certainly was not impressed with his foot attire. Boots!   I was a mouthy, feisty, "city" girl and he was a country boy......but God had a plan.  My sister, who helped raise me, came for parents weekend at school along with a family friend.  They met Joel and decided he was the man I was going to marry!  I protested, but they went home to "pray about it".  We were married 18 months later and I grew to love those boots nearly as much as the man who wears them!  Forty-five years later we till are crazy about each other.  Only God.

I liked to say that I knew how much God loved me because he brought Joel into my life. . I could go on and on about this man of God, my cowboy preacher, who teaches and preaches the Word, who lives the Word.  But today I want to share what I have learned this past year about God's love for me.  For the one who did not believe she was good enough for her loving cowboy preacher, for God.

That statement above?  The one that says I know how much God loves me?......I did not.  I did not really know the depth.  I did not fully understand or feel that deep lavish-love the Bible speaks of.  Not from any lack on God's end, but from someone who had a difficult time forgiving herself for her failings as a wife, a mother, a woman of God.  From someone who strived always to be someone else, who was never enough.

When my healing journey began, I cautiously opened the eyes of my heart day by day, beat by beat into the heart of God and walls began to come down, lies from the enemy were brought into the light, and the perfect love I experienced resonated in me until it felt like His heartbeat joined mine. Holy Spirit filled me to overflowing with a love hard to describe. But it is real, so real.  Revelation has come slowly that I am enough, but it has come through embracing the Father's love. .  Only God.

Do any of you feel like you are not quite enough?  Embrace the Father's love.  Search what God's Word has to say about you.  Do you have trouble forgiving and forgetting the mistakes you made and still make as a mom, wife, human being?  Embrace Papa God's love and forgiveness.  See yourself through the His eyes...your Heavenly Papa who loves you so much.  Do you feel unworthy of such love?  Look to Jesus, hear the story of His love and sacrifice whispered into your heart.  Embrace it.  Believe it.  Walk in it.

Papa God wants you to know and believe.........

"You are His beloved"
"He delights in you"
" He rejoices over you with singing  "
"He loves you so much He  sacrificed His Son..."
"You are enough"

  I am linking up with Faith Barista today and writing on her word prompt, "love".

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Great I AM

 Stopping over a few days ago to visit Anita's blog, did you bring your camera? I was drawn to the words by John Piper that she posted. 

This past week God has been instructing me in this, to acknowledge His glory and who He is. It seems every book I pick up or every teaching I tune in to online speaks of giving Him alone the glory, the honor and praise to the God who sees us, the great


Last night Joel and I watched a teaching by Leif Hetland who spoke about the three chairs we live life from.  Chair #1 he calls the Spiritual Life where we rest in the knowing.  Chair #2 is the Soulish Life where we live by the senses, what we feel, see, taste, touch, and hear.  A place of compromise.  Chair #3 is the chair of the lost, who do not know Jesus.  If you sit in chair #1 you are saved.  If you sit in chair #2 you are saved.  If you sit in chair #3 you are lost and need a Savior.

He went on to say that in Chair #2 we do what we do for is where most of us live life striving to be better, do better, live better, help others and please God to receive His blessings we read of in the Bible. In chair #1 we do what we do because the blessings come from God.  It is in response to God, and what He has already done for us.  A place of peace and deep joy.  Oh, this is where I want to live and breathe.  What struck me so deeply was that in chair #1 we rest.  We rest in the knowing we have the answers to all our problems and needs. The answer is

We come to God with a disease.....His response is I AM the God who heals you.  We come to God with a financial issue.....He says, I AM your Provider.  If we are brokenhearted?  I AM your Comforter.  Are we feeling lonely?  I AM El Roi, the God who sees you.  Does fear run our lives?  He says, I AM your protector, I will fight for you, just stay calm.   Feeling lost?  I AM is the God who saves you and goes back for even one lost of His sheep. 

The Bible is filled with so many ways of defining who God is.   So many promises meant just for you, for us.  Lord we glorify You, the Answer to all our problems, all our needs. We give thanks and praise and honor and glory to


My friend Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity calls Him a miracle-working, mountain-moving, awe-inspiring, gasp-giving God!  AND if our God, I AM, is a miracle working God who moves mountains, if He is awe inspiring and takes our breath way, THAT God has the answers to all our problems and we can rest (in chair #1) in the knowing that He loves us that much.  How can we doing anything else besides speak of His glory!  How can we help but make known the great promises waiting for the world!  He is the great

Monday, February 10, 2014

Trust Without Borders

The group Hillsong, from Australia, has a beautiful song called "Oceans" that our son Mark introduced to us over the holidays.  A portion of the words in one verse have been speaking so powerfully to me lately that it keeps playing over and over in my head, even waking me in the early morning hours.  For three of the past five nights I have awakened around 3:30am with these words playing in my mind. 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Trust without borders...........this is my prayer.  In deepest waters, Holy Spirit, lead me into the resting place of trust~ the arms of Jesus.  In her book, Birthing the Miraculous, Heidi Baker talks about how Jesus asks us to get deep into the river, immersed in His heart, surrendering to His plan ~ always a journey that cannot be accomplished without Him.  In Ezekiel 47 Ezekiel describes the River of Healing that he saw in a vision.  He was first in ankle deep water, then knee deep, waist deep, and finally in water he could not swim across alone.  It frightened him, but God sent an angel to take him across.  Who do we trust when we are in deepest waters of our own making or of God's beckoning?  God calls us to go deeper still, taking us through the death of self to a kiss of life from our Savior. 
Trusting without borders does not come in a moment but a million moments found in the resting, in the counting, in the surrender, in immersing ourselves in the living waters of the One.  Deeper still...Yes Lord, in the Presence let me walk with you upon the waters.  Ann Voskamp says that one of the blessings she has received from counting the gifts is that she trusts her Savior more.  She had "trust issues" until she started counting the gifts moment by every day moment ~ realizing how blessed she was, how much God was there for her. 

 Over the past two years Jesus has been healing me of my own trust issues.  He has beckoned me into deeper water, encouraging me to leave the safety of the ankle or knee deep places where I held control and thought I was secure.  Just in the past two weeks I have been on a journey into new, uncharted waters where Spirit has lead me and I have had to trust Him.  He has both shaken and empowered me and whether the waters have been calm or stormy, I have only wanted more of His Presence.  I do not begin to understand the mystery of it all, but I know that it is a beautiful place to be, a place to trust without borders.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday's Scripture

He is our Protector
Our Warrior

Friday, February 7, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Another week of cold, then colder here in Iowa.  The sunshine has made it more bearable, but nothing can change the thermometer reading -16 before the wind chills are factored in.  Today we have sunshine after two inches of fresh snow fell.  The east coast has had a lot of snow and ice this week.....California is getting much needed rain..........Weather report brought to you

We have  managed to walk 6 of 7 days this week in the church and the mall, mostly for 45 minutes a time.  It is great to know I can do this and not have to rest afterwards, just get on with my day!  I am hoping to be walking an hour plus by late Spring ~2 miles.  It is a gift I will never take for granted.

Speaking of gifts, I ordered two bracelets for myself from JoyWares, which is connected to Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts).   Her son Caleb makes the bracelets, engraving the sterling silver with what ever words you want up to 40 characters.  The proceeds go to help sponsor children through Compassion International and to buy water filters for villages in need.  Caleb does a nice job and since I had been thinking about a bracelet that would be a reminder for me of my healing journey, and I liked the idea of helping others, it was an easy decision.  One says "Jesus" which is my focus word for this year....and the other is part of my verse from last year....."In quietness and trust is your strength."  I don't know what they cost since I bought them on sale....but you could check out the site.  They are the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off at night.  A nice reminder of God's faithfulness.

I apologize for the blurry pictures.....

The bracelets actually took me back to when during the Viet Nam war we could receive a bracelet through the military with the name of a soldier missing in action engraved on it.   This was a reminder to pray for them to come home safely.  I wore one for a soldier named Lt. Hunter (don't remember his first name now) and kept that bracelet for years after the war.  I never did find out if he was found as a POW or recovered.
This past Wednesday we went out to eat at Ruby Tuesday's with the staff from the church where Joel is working.  While eating, we were visiting with the couple next to us, and the man I was sitting by knocked over his coffee cup and spilled coffee all over the table.  We wiped it up and kept visiting, but all of a sudden I thought, "Oh, my leg feels wet and I wiped my  We wiped up a bit more of the table and then my shin felt wet and by then it had gone down into my boot.  I got the giggles and pretty soon Joel was laughing right along with me.  The poor guy was concerned of course, but it was funny!  No big deal......just part of being me lately.  When we left the restaurant to go home it was bitterly cold and the wife said, "Now you will have instant freeze dried pants!  Another good laugh!  Later that night at church the couple were chuckling with Joel over it all, appreciating my "good attitude".  Hey, it was only coffee, thankfully it was not hot, and we have a washing machine!  All is good and we had a great laugh over it.  We know that laughter is the best medicine. 
Our neighbor called this morning to tell us two of our neighbors have been dealing with frozen pipes and have not had water for a week or more!  She was now having issues with a lack of water and so she was letting the rest of us know what was going on.  So for now we have a steady stream of water going down the kitchen sink to try to keep our pipes from freezing too.  We just did not have enough snow cover before the bitter cold arrived, and the ground frost went quite deep into our sandy soil.  Spring seems farther and farther away!!  We are really hoping to get through February without another water crisis of some kind!  We have one in November, December, and January.....
We have been watching a few teachings this week by Leif Hetland.  Joel enjoys listening to him speak not only for what he has to say, but because he is from Norway and has a Norwegian accent that reminds of him of his boyhood home.  I never think of us as having any hint of a Minnesoooota accent, but I think we may still carry a bit of it with us. 
Speaking of teaching, Joel may be doing a Bible study at the church after the first two services and before the third.  He does enjoy teaching.  Last week the other pastor gave a great sermon.  It is nice right now to have just one church to call home.
Did you see any of the Olympics yet?  We are hoping to catch some of the ice skating, Joel the biathlon (skiing and target shooting), and a few other things.  We did see some of the opening ceremonies last night.
I finished the book, Birthing the Miraculous, and am in the middle of the Cleo Coyle mystery.  The Jesus Book is on my end table along with the Greatest Gift on my nightstand.  One of our girls recommended The Book Thief so will see if the library has that.  What are you reading?
Until next time.........

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Come Away With Me To The Secret Place

Come away with me....
to a secret place. 
Rest in My loving arms.
Not only when you are fearing the moment,
but always.
Live your life from the Father's arms. 

These are the words I wrote last night as I expressed my thoughts on what I had been hearing and reading throughout the day, the past many days.  I read them aloud to Joel before bed, and we talking about how to live from that secret the Father's arms instead of from the soul....the me part of us....the flesh part.

So when I saw the title of Bonnie's article over at Faith Barista, I knew God was speaking.  "The Beloved is Real:  Do You Have a Beautiful Secret Place?"  I opened her post and was overcome with the past,  as she talked about the secret place she had created for herself as a small child.  Bonnie has been sharing her journey of healing from PTSD and her traumatic childhood.  She is an amazing woman of God who has been using her own story to give voice and courage to so many on a similar path.  I am one. Each time I visit her cyber home I am changed.   

Today she spoke about how, as a child, she had created this special world in her mind, where she felt beautiful, safe, loved, and alone with Jesus.  She shared this with her therapist ~ this make believe world she felt she needed to let go of.  She was not a little girl anymore.  I was brought to a place of stillness by how her therapist responded. He replied,

“This is a beautiful place Jesus made just for you and Him.  It’s where He’s preserved you safe.”
“It’s the opposite, Bonnie,”  ”It’s time for you to make your outer world reflect you inner world — where you are completely loved.  Cherished."

How sacred these words given to her listening heart.  Precious jewels from Jesus spoken through a man of God.  I began weeping for Bonnie, but soon realized I was weeping for me too.  I could not help but reflect on my own childhood where deeply hidden memories surfaced and held me captive in PTS not too long ago.  For me inner healing has come over the passing of time with Sozo ministry, and this inner healing opened the door for more physical healing too. Only God.

Just the past ten days Holy Spirit has been working to bring more healing to the deeper, hidden places within.  I have been undone...there really is no other word for it....undone with the Father's love I have experienced.  I keep telling Joel, "This has purpose, this is powerful" as I make the effort to keep my heart open to His will and remind myself ..."less of me...more of Him". 

Today as I read Bonnie's post I thought about my own place of escape during my childhood when I believed I was invisible and all alone.  Immediately the apartment my mother and I lived in came to .mind and I vividly saw the secret place where I felt safe and happy .  The sofa was my bed, but there was a large closet with a window upstairs in my mom's bedroom that I called my own and I would go up there and sit.  When the sun came in the window in the afternoons it was a bright place and after school when the quiet was unsettling, I would climb the stairs to this special place and play with my dolls.  The seven dolls I spoke to were my companions and with them I did not feel alone.

Come away with me....
to a secret place. 
Rest in My loving arms.
Not only when you are fearing the moment,
but always.
Live your life from the Father's arms. 
As I continued to reflect on my secret place of so many decades ago I realized that it was created again within our own family.  We have seven children, like as a child I had my seven dolls. I never felt alone when our house was full of kids!  The loneliness deep inside was kept at bay with a full house.  But now the children are gone many years,  and it is not my hubby's job to be with me 24/7 although everyone we know would tell you that I would be thrilled if that were so. 

God has been telling me in His gentle but powerful way that I can let go of those lonely feelings that held little Renee captive because they are and always have been a lie.  I have never been alone.  Jesus has always been with me, keeping me safe, holding my hand when I was not, and filling my life with His Presence. I have been undone by His presence as He has been healing me of the deep places within.  "Ask and you shall receive".
Jesus says I am with you always.  He never leaves us.  Ever.  I stopped running from the silence years ago, but I did not let myself heal from the memories that came with it.  I did not know how....just toughen up, get over it, and all that, right?  But I had to stop believing the lies from so long ago that I was alone and I had to put out my hands to receive the truth that Jesus had for me today nearly 60 years later.  I have my secret place of intimacy with God every moment as I rest in His arms.  I can bask in the Son-shine that fills me~ heart and soul~ the way I basked in the sunshine filling that small room so long ago.  I am not alone in the secret place, the secret place which is in the Father's arms...moment by moment, day by day.  Always,

Come away with me....
to a secret place. 
Rest in My loving arms.
Not only when you are fearing the moment,
but always.
Live your life from the Father's arms.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Change of Stride

Joel and I have been walking every day at the mall or in the church gymnasium during this arctic winter we are having in the Midwest.  This morning I was lamenting on all those who passed us by when I felt like I was walking sooooo fast.  Joel observed my stride and said, "You take very small steps, so you need to take twice as many when you walk.  No wonder you feel you are going so fast!
Try lengthening your stride."  He then tells me he has suggested this once before but with my selective hearing I do not remember it at all. Seriously there is no recollection.

I take his advice and lengthen my stride and it goes well even though my body is now complaining about the increase of muscles that I seem to be using.  We head around the Mall for the third lap and time it just to see if it makes any difference, and of course it does.  We shave a whole minute off the lap!  So, a little at a time I am lengthening my stride...a little at a time because I am feeling it in certain areas and my back is adjusting to it.  At first change is hard, but I am thinking it is not only going to help strengthen those lower back muscles, but get me farther in my goal to walk an hour at a time.

Just that little shift and positive changes are being made.

This made me reflect on how we get stuck in doing things the same way.....Right now I am thinking of congregations and how hard it is for some to accept any change.  "But we have always done it this way" may not be the way God is leading you now. But, lets bring it a little closer to home....I looked at what I am afraid to change or let go of.  There is comfort in doing things the way I always have, and yet in doing so am I missing opportunities that God has placed before me? 

I was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church.  After going to a Lutheran Bible College I married a man raised in a Christian home just a quarter mile from their Lutheran church.  At age 3 he told people he was going to become a Lutheran minister, and he did.  Our children were raised Lutheran, our grandchildren are mostly being raised runs deep in our blood so to speak.  Even though we are open to other denominations and have attended a variety of churches over our lifetime, Martin Luther is as well know to us as the Queen is to England.  But two years ago God made a "slight" change in our stride, when Joel was healed overnight.  This shift in our thinking has taken us into a place of something new, "something more".  What if we had been afraid of the changes that were coming?  What if we had said this is not the way we have always believed or done things.  What if we had used selective hearing when God spoke to us?

I am sure there are areas in your lives where God is making subtle shifts, presenting offerings to change your lives.  God is the God of sovereignty, but He is also the God of change. He sent His only Son down to change the world!  He sent Abraham on a journey with a promise that seemed impossible, Jonah into the belly of a whale when He would not obey God, Moses across the Red Sea after hiding for years as a sheep herder.   He certainly changed Joel's and my life, too.  Oh we are still Lutheran, but now we are speaking-in-tongues-believing-God-wants-you-well-Lutherans.  We do not fit into a neat little package, but we don't regret it for a minute.  Recently God has brought another subtle shift in my relationship "stride" with Him.  I have been once again letting go and letting God in my life, opening up to "something more" that He has for me......for us.  In God's mysterious ways,  He has us on this journey and we are excited to follow Him!

No matter where we find ourselves, no matter what our age or religious beliefs, God has "something more" for us.  Out of love He always has something more.  More love, more wisdom, more Holy Spirit, more health, more blessings ~ more, more, more.  Look for it with expectation....that subtle shift that changes our stride and gets us further in the race to the finish line! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Less Of Me Lord, More Of You

"He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less."
John 3:30(NLT)

I found myself wide awake today at 5:10 am with an urgency deep inside to praise Him, the One who grants us rest, sleep, morning.  My heart was so full, words bubbled forth.  Words of praise, words of thanksgiving, words that did not begin to cover the gratitude I was feeling in the pre-dawn quiet of another day. 

Time moved forward, and my mind was without rest as I thought about the past seven days..  It had been quite an amazing week filled with Holy Spirit highs while getting low.  Less of me Lord, more of You.  These Holy Spirit meetings for two were of such depth I could only bend my knee in humble thanks, chanting over and over...less of me Lord, more of You I surrender self.  "I surrender" ~ the words leaving my heart created an infilling of joy and presence of the Presence, releasing praise from my lips to God's ears. 

At 6:45 am I let go of the notion of sleep returning and opened our Daily Light scriptures book to February 3rd, where I read the words I had written in the margins on this day two years ago. 

"Just praise Me"

"Just praise Me".  These were words of knowledge shared with me by my friend Linny in 2011.   "Just praise Me.", words shared again in 2012 from Holy Spirit to Joel.  A message repeated so often in Papa God's loving ways throughout times of sorrow and of joy.  There are so many ways to praise the One, through counting a thousand gifts, through remembering His faithfulness, through surrender, through trusting Him.  From our hearts to God's we worship and praise the One.

So, it was no surprise that when I went to visit Ann Voskamp's  cyber home early today, what jumped off the page for me was this statement:
"The song is always found in the surrender."

Yes, it is in the surrender where we find the most joy.  Heidi Baker, a controversial missionary/speaker who lives her life for Jesus in Mozambique, says in her book, Birthing The Miraculous, " "Deeper still" is a place of both death and of life.  The Lord wants to love you to death and kiss you to life."  Less of me, Lord, more of You. In the death of self we find life.  What  joy!  Can we help but wake in the wee hours with praise on our lips, even while the warm wool comforter beckons us back to dream?

We have endless opportunities to lay down self and uplift Jesus.  Ann Voskamp said today that it is in the losing that we win.  In death to self we gain life with Jesus. Truly, dying to self is a daily walk, but there are moments, hours, and surprisingly even days where sweet surrender to the power of Holy Spirit's beckoning Presence is all there is.  Is all we desire.  All He asks for.  All we need.  Less of me, Lord, more of You. 

Counting the gifts today with Ann Voskamp

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday's Scripture

I take comfort in knowing God sees me.
He sees me with love.
I am visible.
You are visible.
He sees you!
With a Father's heart
He sees us

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday once again, and January has "left the building"!  Yay!  February has come to stay and I am more than happy about that, even with the cold, wind, and snow hanging around.  Last Sunday a blizzard closed roads and kept us inside while winds howled at 40-50 mph, snow fell, and temperatures took a nose dive.  I have to say, dealing with  -40 wind chills is getting old!  Thursday morning we woke up to icy roads, but up here in the upper Midwest we are used to it and the snow plows had things under control quickly.  Not like poor Atlanta and other areas of the south.  Now we have snow once again, and Joel is out snowblowing the driveway.

Speaking of Sunday, Joel started his new support pastor part time position nearly two weeks ago and preached for the first time last week ~ a powerful sermon! (not that I am biased or anything).   He will preach every other week, and helps with visitation, meetings, and where he is needed. 

Speaking of February, today is our grandson's birthday (happy birthday buddy) and my sister Jan's birthday, too.  Seventy-one years separate them, but my sister Jan looks and acts much younger than her age.  You go girl!!  We had hoped to be visiting them this month in warm Arizona, but alas we are grounded here for now.

Happy Birthday Janey!!
Love you!!

We called and talked to our grandson this morning and to my sister Jan too.  FUN.  Janey often calls me "sister Renee" and she did it so often at one time that some of her friends actually thought I was a nun.  (giggle).  It is just her special name for her "baby" sister who is bigger and looks older than she does!  How did that happen?!

Even in the bad weather we have made it to the church or mall to walk every day but Sunday.  I decided I needed to lengthen my walks, so this week we have walked for 45 minutes instead of 30-35 minutes.  It has gone well.   I keep telling myself I will also put in the Tai Chi DVD that my son-in-law's sister gave me when we were in CT., but so far I have not.  Sigh....We have been eating salads for lunch which is giving us the leafy greens we need.  Baby steps.  Joel was looking for a honey mustard dressing when we were shopping and the list of ingredients was soooo long and complicated that I decided to try to find one I could make with all healthy ingredients.  I found several but picked a simple one that turned out to taste "great" according to Joel.  It has 1/4 c. plain yogurt, 1/4 cup mustard of your choice, and 1/4 cup raw organic honey.  It made a very nice creamy dressing and we were able to save money and avoid corn syrup or other sweeteners and oils.  Yes!  I usually make one from apricot fruit only jelly and olive oil.  I added yogurt to mine and it gave it a nice thickness it did not have before.  Maybe I can find a few more to try. 

I have been reading a Cleo Coyle coffeehouse mystery this week along with Heidi Baker's new book, "Birthing The Miraculous".  I also am finishing Ann Voskamp's advent book, "The Greatest Gift" and we are still reading "The Jesus Book" by Michael Koulianos.  I think I better focus on one or two at a time :-) so I can keep them straight.  Ha..  This is Super Bowl weekend, but since we are not football fans we plan to rent a movie if we can find one worth watching.  Otherwise we will tune in to Downton Abby.  What are you doing this weekend?

Until next time...........