Friday, September 19, 2014

Notes on The Kind Kingdom

In this kind kingdom our most kind and kingly Father walks us through splintered heart cries and powerful plunges into pain.  One could describe His abiding gaze as rays of sweet sunshine illuminating the gloom and sopping up the pooling sorrow.  He steps gently with our steps.  He unfolds the dimensions of His care for His own as the hours of each day stretch out.

In the kind kingdom where our gentle Father reigns, the house of sorrow draws throngs of friends equipped with loving kindness.  Here pain cues rescue and cries cue prayer, struggles cue rising warrior brothers and sisters who put aside dish towels and lawn mowers to hold spirit swords in brave hands to do battle for beloved hurting ones in their reach.  In this kingdom no one fights alone and no one celebrates alone.

Galatians 6:2  Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mists and Miracles

The mist was rising mystical and beautiful over Gar Creek, early, as I drove past.  It captures our gazes from behind the rolled up windows every time.  And now the steam rising from the silver pot of Italian vegetable soup on the stove;  always, always I pause and think of it and how to explain it to the kids....those vapors rising. 

And I smile wide this morning.  I smile and I sob, too, because I remember HIS word saying this in the book of James:  

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes................

And my very small mind reaches for this...........reaches hard to comprehend a few things like: 

You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together--Job 10:11)
..........within a vapor

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future--Jeremiah 29:11.

..........within a vapor

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalms 48:14
..........within a vapor

Somewhere within the wisps you and I have come.  In the mist I have ran in fields and scaled those giant round bales of hay.  I have had puppies and written papers, had break ups and enjoyed brownies.  I have felt conviction of my sins then later was "joy drowned" when they were washed away from me.   I have felt compassion and hatred, have seen my babies born on hospital beds and the smile of my husband as he sees them, too.  In the vapors I have pondered bird songs and bought groceries, have prayed for a friend and asked for advice.  I have tried really hard and later, understood grace.  It suddenly seems so amazing that all of this, HE calls a vapor?

And I breath out the miracle of my breath and His plans for me and us, and consider that if all of this is just a vapor to Him, then what more does he have in store? 

And then He reminds me,

 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."


Friday, April 4, 2014

Make My Love an Ocean; Make My Peace as the Sea

When you are in the middle of the sea, you can't see beginning or end of it, and your feet can't touch the depths of the bottom.  And His love is an ocean and His peace like the sea.

 Perfect love casts out all fear.  Are those "words", or are those
 r. e. a. l. i. t. y?  Are they real for me and you?

But I was afraid, or very anxious, at least, and I wanted to do it right this time.  I wanted to walk in peace in the midst of trial.

 "I will keep in perfect peace, he who's mind is steadfast because he TRUSTS in You."♥ Isaiah 26:3

And I see it like a tiny one with chubby, short legs and fat little feet taking a step forward towards momma, who is cheering steps into existence. 

"Go, baby! Go, baby! Go! Go! Go!"

 I feel HIM cheering. Imagining peace, imagining worshiping before Jesus in the midst of a fearful moment.  Focus, step, focus, step...arms out...Jesus catches us in motion.   We can do it.  Lock your eyes on Jesus and take the steps onward

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tweed Recliners, Wonder and Adoption

Sitting in the brown, tweed recliner that was such a good trade of a $50 bill, I find a good place to seek Him.  In a little while, He says to me, "You are Mine."  I say back, "You are mine, too."  I open the small devotional that my Auntie bought for me awhile back.  It starts off, "I want you to be MINE."

.......Can you feel the wonder of it??...... I cry.

He is here;  heaven bends to sit with me.  He may be everywhere on the earth and in heaven, but He sits with me in a used, tweed recliner on a little farm, on a gravel road. It's not a cabin fit for a King, as He is, but He doesn't seem to notice at all.   And do you wonder where to find Him over at your place, or where at your office, or where in your sick bed, or where in your head?  Wonder no more, because He inhabits hearts and heads.  He does.  Where ever you are, He would be, too.  Can you see it?  You must open your heart and "He" will fill it;  He will come to you and never leave you.  He went to great lengths to make a way for this to be, and it amazingly happened through a Lamb (John 1:29).

I was remembering something that I read and never really understood.  This part in that book that we all own somewhere on the shelf.  Jesus said, "I only do what I see my Father doing." (John 5:19-20) And for me, today, I saw something that He does. 

He says, "You are Mine"..................   I want to do that, too.  I look at their picture in the frame.  It's the one I printed off from the website that has many pictures as you scroll down the page; hundreds.  The little faces are all smiling, yet I'm not sure that they are all happy. 

They are beautiful, the ones in the picture that I printed, the ones that we visited last week, those ones who took my breath away when I saw them for the first time, and then the second.  I can say, "You are mine", and I will when HE lets me, because I see what He does and it is so good.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Open the Doors!

I walked down the hall just now in our little cabin and paused for a minute near the end.  The hallway has taken on 11 extra feet and where there once was a small den- turned library, there is now a freshly painted, crisp white wall.  Near the end of the new wall is something that I am mesmerized the end of the wall is a doorway.

But this isn't the first new doorway I've encountered, lately....there have been a few.  And the other day, while I sat in the recliner in the early morning hours and prayed, I saw, in my mind's eye, a tiny scaled picture of what has been going on around here concerning........doorways.

I was standing in view of a row of doors.  My initial feeling was to leave them alone.  My vantage point was cozy, comfy, and "known".  I thought I 'd like to stay where I was. Those doors seemed to hold mystery beyond the twist of the handle.  Mystery, maybe change, and situations that could be out of my control are not the most appealing for me; or least have not been.  But, I am changing.  He is changing me.

 But why open those doors?  Why not stay here where it is good-- and familiar?

In my prayer I drew into a new perspective and could see that I was standing in a hallway;   it. wasn't. even. a. room.....  And it came to me  that although the hallway was nice, I was beginning to be drawn into opening those doors and walking through those doorways.   And the epiphany came slowly that there was a great reason to open them, no matter what was on the other side.  You see, I believed that opening them was a lot like opening a doorway to Jesus's heart....and HE himself would  be there with his great pleasure, his hand, and his presence in full measure on the other side of the door --to walk with  me through whatever I encountered there. 

Now there is a reason to open the door!

And back to our house and the hall that got a little longer;   we just keep walking down it and through the "doorway" and into that new room that we built for a small boy who we want to make our own.  All of us do.  We stand and stare at it, the new little bunk bed, the walls and windows.  We look at each other, and we look at the room it's some sort of cathedral or shrine. We are in awe and still discovering all of the dimensions to this "room beyond the door" ---the door we opened a while back....the one called ADOPTION......But, I can tell you that it is corner to corner, and  floor to ceiling full of Jesus and the grace from God.  You and I can open our doors with confidence....He is there.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Faith's Autumn Dance

My sister, Faith, writes about autumn in a poignant sort of way. 

Autumn Dance
Heavy gray skies hang over head
While wild winds blow the crisp leaves
Into a frenzy making them
Leap and dance across the yard
Trash cans tumble noisily by while
Wisps of paper and other debris
Whip by in a hurry to meet its destination,
The air cools and the breezes become
More insistent; tugging branches
To and fro in a long-awaited autumn dance
There are a few red and golden leaves left, but soon
 The trees will shed their beauty and become skeletal
In their appearance-the heavy gray of the skies will turn
Cadaverous and the earth will sleep.
~Faith Stobbs

Autumn -- the herald of winter--- , and when the trees smugly discard their glory ....the backdrop of beauty takes a vertical plunge....No, autumn, though it is a beautiful send off, sometimes teases and needles me about this "cadaverous sleep" a-coming.  And when I am left there again-- dumbly gazing up at "skeletal trees", don't I believe, after spring?

But today, "Oh my goodness", I dread nothing at all-- All caught up in the brilliant, vibrant color --  this autumnal scene is playing out like some kind of supernova whose glorious finale is about to explode; this magnificent crescendo happening all around us in our little valley. 

I want to hang around in this "glory" and not peer through the golden leaves, and shiver at  what  could be just beyond my view.......could it be winter again??  

But, to see my winters as the time when life is rejuvenating just below the surface, this would be sweet---and not a time of death, nor something to dread.  In  HIS gentle kingdom there is nothing to dread at all.

Mistrust is quite wintery to me-- it's as if  the peace that I enjoy just peels away and I and my unbelief sit exposed.  And how silly, when our Father can always be trusted.

But, it seems like a Kingly grace and kindness that sets any trial, any set back, and momentary lapse of trust , or winter of heart always between an autumn and spring. 

 I hear that faith trusts the view beyond to Him who loves us best. It reconciles our blindness and shortsightedness to Him who can see to eternity and back.  I hear that faith never forgets about spring, where refreshing awaits with endless streams for the thirsty.

 20 Early on Sunday morning,[a] while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance......................and "spring" came again.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Fishing Boy

There was a boy on the news a year ago, but I found the segment this week....a small boy who was about my Jack's age.   He loves to fish just like my Jack and Elijah.  The segment showed this angel fishing with a park ranger on an Arkansas creek bank; the reporter narrating glimpses into his heart and some of his life. They said he was an orphan and he said he wanted a family.  They said he has no recollection of his parents and  he said, wearily, in his "11 year old way", that he had been moved from house to house his whole life. 

I thought about the fishing boy again and again through the week, remembering how he stood in the woods on the bank of the fishing hole and how he said the water was beautiful.  He caught 8 trout that day  and at one point, he draws into the camera and makes a silly face raising his brows again and again and then looks away.  

Remembering him now, it feels as if he was looking into the camera to see what he may have never seen before...  Peering into the lense right back at us to see if he could find what Jack and Elijah see every time they go fishing.  They see me.

And I have learned that fishing is not only about bringing in lunch, though that is a great joy.  Fishing is also about  a boy looking up to see if someone is looking back at him.    And when he brings in the big or tiny one, it's about someone falling out of their seat in amazement at how incredible he is.  It's the time to tell him that no one is like him in all of the earth.  That he is fearfully and wonderfully  made.

I asked about the boy and found that he no longer wanted to be adopted.  I wonder if his  heart couldn't bear the waiting and wondering, or the rejection of no one coming to take him fishing or take him "home".  The lady said to me in a questioning voice, "But we have a little 7 year old boy, if you are interested."  

And Jesus says that He will not leave US as orphans. (John 14:18) He will come to us and take. us. fishing.  Do we look up from the bank to soak in his gaze and feel that we can catch the big one today?  Do we look to see?

Friday, November 1, 2013

How is The View?

My little room;  I sleep there, read there, think and have deep conversations there,  and sometimes leaping epiphanies.   Three windows give me a view of the field, the next farm, a little pond out back,  and a little mountain beyond.  Gosh, the windows were dirty this morning.  Webs had been weaved around about and dust had blown up from some previous storms and blurred my lovely view.  It's been that way for a while, until, I washed them all off.  How sweet to see out so clearly now!

                                            How sweet to see clearly.

 And the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians in his day like this:  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.  Ephesians 1:18.  I so want to see this clearly.

12 For now we see in a mirror [a]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12