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Still

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I wander

Oh, how far I wander

But still You remain

Watching, waiting, loving

Looking for my return.

I turn away from You

But still You remain

I am unfaithful to You

But still You remain

 

I rail at You

But still You remain

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I go my own way

Do my own thing

Make my own choices

But still You remain

I shake my fist, dare You to stop me from doing what I want to do.

It doesn’t matter. You love me still. You will never leave me. You will never forsake me.

Every day you watch out for me, waiting for me to notice that You’re still there.

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For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Check it out!

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Learning to Walk

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My almost 11-month-old grandson is learning how to walk. He’s becoming more confident every day as he practices and falls and gets back up again. We’ve noticed something about this learning journey: when he’s distracted and  holding on to something else like a toy or a book, he walks with more confidence. But if he’s only walking and thinking about what it is he’s doing, he’s slower and more hesitant and falls more easily.

I thought this was a really good analogy to my walk with God. When I focus on Him, I find much better balance. If I’m thinking only about what I’m going to do next, where I’m going to put my foot, all that I think I have to do today, or tomorrow, or the next day, then I find myself unsteady and close to falling.

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Balance isn’t easy. By nature I want to get things done before I take time to do the fun things. But sometimes, rest and fun and play are necessary, even when there is a ton to do. I have to remember to keep my eyes on Jesus, to focus on Him, and let the balancing come naturally because I’m seeing Him and doing what He wants me to do.

Like my little grandson, I am learning how to walk, even after more than 40 years of following Jesus. One step at a time, not worrying about whether I’m doing everything right, just keeping my eyes on Jesus.

This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

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Experiencing the Deep

 O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
rolling as a mighty ocean
in its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me,
is the current of Thy love;
leading onward, leading homeward
to my glorious rest above.

104_0443The words of this old hymn, written by S. Trevor Francis in the latter part of the 1800s, came to mind first and foremost when I saw the prompt for this week’s Five Minute Friday post. We are finite humans, trying to understand an infinite God, and it’s just not possible.

We try to come up with whatever metaphors we can: a deep ocean, a vast sky, the tallest, grandest mountain. Compared to the living God, these things are puny! If we could only understand that what He feels for us is immeasurable by human standards.

I have 3 kids and 1 grandbaby. I look at them, and my heart swells. Sometimes it hurts to see them because my heart just can’t contain all that I feel for them.

That is but a drop in the bucket of how God feels about us.

Scientists and explorers keep making better machines that will take them to the depths of the oceans. Miles and miles down they go to find what there is hidden beneath the surface that we see. Wonders and intrigues meet their eyes as they go deeper and deeper.

Those amazing discoveries pale in comparison to what we have to look forward to learning about God when we meet Him face to face.

Our minds can’t comprehend it. Our hearts can’t contain it. But my soul can rest knowing that the great God of the universe is keeping His hand on me.

 O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
love of ev’ry love the best;
’tis an ocean vast of blessing,
’tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
’tis heav’n of heav’ns to me;
and it lifts me up to glory,
for it lifts me up to Thee.

 

 

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. To read others on today’s prompt, deep, visit the website.

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Not My Burden to Bear

IMG_2281As the last couple of years have been heavy with heartache, I have struggled with anxiety and feeling out of control. I want things to be “right.” I want everything to work out so that everyone is happy and nobody struggles and flowers and rainbows pop up everywhere.

But you know what? Rainbows need the rain. And flowers have to push their way out of the deep, dark earth to struggle their way to the surface where their beauty can be seen.

IMG_5810There are burdens we simply aren’t meant to carry. That’s been my mantra for the past several weeks as we’ve struggled with the choices of one of our children. “Not mine to carry.”

I picture a small child walking side by side with his dad. But on the child’s back is this huge backpack that is bending him low and causing his feet to stumble and his steps to be slow and painful. His father is right there, asking to carry the weight, but the child, willful and stubborn says in his small voice, “I can do it myself!”

How many times do we hear that from our small children? “Do it myself!”

But when we let the Father reach down and take that burden from us, our backs become straighter, our steps lighter, our eyes on the goal rather than the ground.

The consequences of that child’s choices? Not mine to carry.

The fear of the future and what might be in it? Not mine to carry.

FullSizeRender 5If that father with his child chooses to hand him a notebook to carry from that big ol’ backpack, then that’s the father’s choice, and it is to help make the child stronger. But what he gives his child will never be too hard because he’s got the lion’s share. On his strong shoulders the burden is borne.

My job is to pray, to keep my eyes on Jesus, to hope in Him, knowing that He is sovereign and loving and kind.

God wants me to give Him my burdens. He longs for it. He’s so much better at carrying them than I am. I find freedom. He gets glorified.

Win, win.

This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday linkup. To read more on the prompt “burden” go to www.fiveminutefriday.com

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Faith in an Ocean

I’ve been in the fiction writing mode for the month of October, so I set aside my regular Tuesday and Friday posts for the month, but I’m back! Today’s 10-Minute Tuesday post prompt is “Ocean.”

IMG_1856I grew up in Oakland, Calif. The Pacific Ocean was always a part of my life. Our house had a view of the San Francisco Bay, but just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, on a clear day, we could just see the ocean.

Some of my favorite sites are the craggy shores of Northern California. I loved the tide pools and the jagged rocks. The ocean was a peaceful, powerful place to see.

Then I moved to Florida. Bleh. The beaches just didn’t have the same appeal. The waves still ebbed and flowed, but the water was way warmer and the landscape was much less dramatic.

I used to say that I was more a beach person than a mountain person, but I came to realize that it wasn’t the beach itself that drew me—here in Florida I get way too hot and sunburned and sandy—but it was the power and the peace of the waves. I like watching them and hearing them. I know of their danger, and I am fascinated by the creatures the oceans hold.102_1116

I don’t get to spend much time at the beach. We live about 45 minutes away from the nearest shore, but we just don’t make the trip out there very often. I miss it. I miss being able to look out my window and see the vastness in the distance.

There is a popular Christian song called “Oceans” by Hillsong United that I like, even if it is overplayed. The idea is that we can rely on God even if the oceans rise. These words soothe me:

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.

Through every trial and hard season, God is there. My soul can rest in His embrace. He is my anchor. He won’t let go.

Rest in Him as you listen.

Perfect and Complete

IMG_3766“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).

Perfect and complete. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I would love to get to that point where I feel like I have nothing else to learn, nothing else to gain.

But you know what comes right before verse 4? Verse 3: “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Oh boy. The testing of my faith. Do I really have to go through that in order to gain steadfastness, which is what leads to my being perfect and complete?

And you know what comes before verse 3? That’s right, verse 2? Want to see it? Are you sure you’re ready?

OK, here goes: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

IMG_3257Trials of various kind. Producing steadfastness. Leading to being perfect and complete.

Got it.

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So I guess that “lacking in nothing” part that comes at the end of verse 4 would mean that I have everything I need to face these trials of various kinds. That’s comforting. I know that no matter what I encounter in my life, God is always there with me. That old adage that is completely false and non-biblical can be thrown out. God certainly will give me more than I can handle so that I will depend on Him.

P1000628And I will gain steadfastness.

And I will be perfect and complete. In Jesus. When He takes me home.

Amen.

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

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Seeking the Silent

Today’s 10-Minute Tuesday post is on the prompt “silent.”

IMG_3060My brain is running at full steam.

What if? Why not? Would it be so bad?

I try to stop. I try to quiet it. I try to sleep.

Not going to happen.

There is no silent night in my thoughts. There’s always something roiling and boiling.

Sleep eludes me as I search for ways to shut it down.

Let it go.

Think about it tomorrow.

My brain doesn’t listen. It refuses to be silent.IMG_4424

It yells. It sings. It reviews or previews every conversation.

Could I have said that better? Did I say something wrong? What if I say something wrong?

Be still, my soul. Be silent. Rest.

The hum of the air conditioner. The chirping of cicadas. The croaking of frogs. Lots of frogs. The crash of ice from the ice maker into its bin. The snoring of the dog on the floor of my room.

Nothing is silent in my house.

Breathe. Deep, slow breaths. Out. In. Calm your thoughts.

Pray.

IMG_6175Ahhhh. That’s the ticket. So many people to pray for. So many concerns in the world. If my brain is not going to shut down, might as well put it to good use. Put my cares in the hands of my Creator.

He hears. He knows. He cares. He’s got this.

Finally. Sleep. I know He’s got this.

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