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Currently Browsing: Being Still
Aug
28

slowly, with wonder

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You have said, “Seek my face.”

My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Psalm 27:8 esv

 

I am a slow thinker, a slow writer, certainly a slow task completer.

I linger over problems, dwell in my thoughts, sometimes just up and disappear so I can exist in silence, so I can hear God whisper.

I do not know why God instilled this in me, this becoming overwhelmed, this getting lost in the plethora of tasks that creates a striving to simply keep up.

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Overwhelmed and slow moving seem odd characteristics to gift.

For the last few years, my life has taken quite a few unexpected  twists and turns and surely, had I been in control, I would never have planned it all quite this way.

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But I am not the omnipotent One .

I have battled God and His will often, with stubbornness and zeal, only to find myself surrendering with finality soon after my lines are drawn.  

In the solitude that comes after, God’s presence is consuming: 

I discover how weak I am, how strong Jesus is.

Always His timing is perfect because always His plan is perfect.

In this alone, I must trust, so that I may faithfully follow. 

photo (2)Trusting God, it can feel much like falling, eyes closed and backwards,in a dream; flailing and fearful. Yet I know enough to hold still, be patient, certain He will catch me.

That is faith, the knowing He already is in my next moment. 

And that is why God instilled the dawdler in me: so I do not miss Him in my panic as He quietly pervades my thoughts and lingers in each moment before me that I might fully experience all that He reveals. And He reveals much.  So slowly, with wonder, I stroll knowing the path always leads to Him.

Feb
6

weary him with rejoicing

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IMG_0169Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came among them. And the Lord said to satan, “from where do you come?”  So satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6-7

He is sly, is he not? This wandering vagabond of trouble…..

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“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

He is diligent, is he not? This prowling, hungry monster…..

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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod you feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end…. Ephesians 6:10-18a

He has power, does he not? This evil spirit of wickedness who rules in darkness….

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And we have read about him….

And we have been warned about him….

And we have been instructed on how to arm ourselves against him…..

And yet we fail to understand the power we have been given over him…..

“There is a place in the Spirit set aside for you where you can make the enemy tired, weary, discouraged, depressed, requiring therapy. There is a place set aside for you where you weary him with your rejoicing. You confuse him by your grace. There is a place set aside for you in Christ where you get to overcome. Beloved, we have to get there more quickly. We have to get into that place strongly.” – Graham Cooke  Favor series Disc 8

Now let’s get busy making him weary….

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.

In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jan
15

The Time Scrounger

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I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Revelation 3:8 nkjv

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I seem to have a problem saying yes.

I guess, maybe, I never really learned to say no.

If anyone ever asks me for help, with anything, anything at all, a yes will spill forth tumbling over the ineptness of my brain to conjure up a no in proper time. I have been stricken with zero delegation ability.  Between me and you, most times it seems easier to do it myself than to take time to explain it to someone else.  Because you see, I am always short on time and explaining my perfectionism, well, it takes time…

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It puts me at conflict, leaves me begging God for extra time or maybe just to stop time.  My heart pounds in a panic into the next day, next week, next month leaving me incapable of turning in the right direction; sends me rushing to complete everything all at once, stranding me overwhelmed and exhausted.

So I scrounge for time, keep notes on scraps of paper, remnants of napkins, my hand – whatever is still, available, readily accepts blue ink. I flail in the chaos of overbooked days and grasp for what can not be held: fleeting moments creating a past. In desperation, I wish for the gold watch, wish I could pause time. But only God can.

IMG_0541One afternoon, it is in the midst of sobbing tears and begging prayers, God speaks.  It all sinks in real deep, like water on thirsty earth.  He speaks with clarity; He has placed me on this path and here I will stay because He has called me to this work.

God’s timing is incomprehensibly perfect and forced waiting begets eternal patience.

Another month passes and I grow listless in the tedium of my daily duties, wish I could run away to anywhere else, anywhere but in the midst of this unbearable aching of a neglected dream. Yet in the depths of my heart I know, eventually, it will birth forth from this scrounged and sacred time like a seed emerging from beneath the Spring’s warming soil.  The diligent climb upward, steady and slow, meticulous and tenacious, wholly unnoticed.

So I collect words in stolen time and I wait…IMG_0794

Another day, another week, another month and leaves drift down to earth in bright colors and Thanksgiving looms near and then passes in a flurry and I miss leftover turkey sandwiches altogether because I am never home.

It is only after I return home from pursuing my childhood dream in a week-long adventure, that the phrase is uttered by not one, but two customers in separate circumstances, “You are a true artist,” and those words, they put my mind to working.

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What is art really, but a reflection of divinity, the mark of our Creator.

Too often I put limits on God and what He can accomplish in me, through me.  Too often, I find myself in circumstances that do not match my presumed understanding of what God wants from me and that conflict makes me resentful.  But I must remember I serve God and whatever God desires is worthy of my obedience. The fruit of this gift did not emerge as I imagined it would.  It was a surprise attack from somewhere outside the fray of my carefully crafted plan.

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So as it is, God, the creator of everything and Whose creativity is infinite, chose to instill creativity as an essential part of who I am.  It would be presumptuous and ungrateful to omit His presence from my limited view of who I think I should be. Or what I think I can accomplish. I must remind myself daily: my gifts are not for my use, but God’s own purposes and who am I to judge how the Ancient of Days chooses to use the predetermined gifts He bestowed upon me.

IMG_0979It’s not about what I want to be when I grow up, but about what God wants to accomplish through me so that others see Him; it’s not about achieving the success of a dream because the dream ought to be serving Him.

And these gifts He gives me to use are the rewards of service and obedience.   He is perfecting me for Heaven, not earth.  And these gifts I joyfully employ are earthly rewards that yield an eternal value.

The last three years, the devil has worked diligently for my demise, but God used every trial for my good.  God knew every place I would stumble, every place I would fall right down flat on my face. The necessary trials along the way create in my spirit strength and wisdom.  They keep me focused on God and not the chaos swirling about me. My imperfectness displays God’s perfection just as my weaknesses point to His strength.

In the end I realize, my gift is creativity.  Not writing, not photography, not art. Hand me a pen, a camera or paint and I can show you when, where and how I see God, but these are the ways God allows me to use my gift because they bring me joy.IMG_0969

And then there are those times.  Those times, God plops you right smack down in the middle of someone else’s dream for reasons unknown; you, alone, with no experience to help make it happen; you insistent that your gifts don’t fit this plan or that dream; and that “no” you seemed so tied to and so often wished had spilled forth in lieu of a yes?

It turns out to be the greatest surprise of all because it is in those times, when you stand befuddled and confused, ignorant and insecure, God shows up and shows you what He is capable of.

IMG_1071And I have found, the grandest way to live life is to show up when God calls and follow Him with the expectation of witnessing miracles and receiving lavishly bestowed blessings that reveal His glory to the world.

 

Oct
12

Cain’s Sacrifice

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Now Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was the tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the first born of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry and his countenance fell.

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”nkjv 4:2b-7

What do my sacrifices and offerings mean to God?

Not much if I have not taken the time to listen to what He requires and sometimes God requires things from me that I would never offer. For too long, I was Cain offering what pleased me instead of asking God what pleased Him.  I used my bestowed gifts and talents in an attempt to prove to God I was worthy enough a thousand different screwed up ways.  Too long it has taken me to learn, I am not worthy to do Kingdom work until I have humbled myself and asked God to lead me.

The Fruits of the Spirit are a foundation to build obedience through self-control.

When I aspire to live in love, with joy, peacefully with others, showing patience, exhibiting kindness, goodness and gentleness, faithfully serving, they transform my spirit through conscience choices made to follow God instead of letting sin rule over me.  If I do not master self-control, I can never fully live the first eight.  How can I love without hate if there is no self-control over anger? How will I have patience if kindness and gentleness are not practiced? How can I fully experience joy if I do not retain God’s peace?

If time is taken to observe, it will certainly be found that most live this scripture, no matter their beliefs and whether it is realized or not.  Even the atheist who would rather spit in God’s face than acknowledge or kneel before Him, often practices kindness, experiences joy, loves other because God created us and these elements are not only essential to being like Jesus, but are an innate part of our human structure. When we waste time on emotions such as anger, hate, rumors, fear and doubt, we distance ourselves from God by allowing our sin to flourish.  If  sin is ruling over us, then we cannot hear God.

It is crucial I have a daily fasting from the din of the world because it brings me into the Light of the World’s presence.  Like a beacon, Jesus awaits my arrival each day.  This is where I learn to discern God’s voice from my own.  This is my time of gathering strength for the day.  This is my daily portion and like the manna that fell from the sky at the Israelites feet, it sufficiently binds my day as God’s own.

It is not what I do for God of my own volition, but how I present myself to Him in obedience with an attitude that His will is done and not my own.  In accompaniment, humility is appropriate; without humility, I cannot rule over my own desire to put myself – my ideas and wants – ahead of what God is requiring. He asks me to love Him with all of my heart. And if I am showing up with my heart full of love and my spirit willing to hear and have humbled myself, then I am a blank canvas with which God can work. If I continually act as Cain, then my canvas is a scribble of human error and divine correction.  I desire to have a portion of my canvas left, that is blank and untouched by me, where God can create beauty.

Do I greet Him with eagerness?  With anticipation of what He might ask of me? Or do I show up last minute with my foot tapping, saying, “make it quick – I gotta wash the dishes,” or immediately whining a protest of, “really – can you not see how much I already need to do.”  Now I know, there is nothing more important than meeting with God and allowing Him to disrupt my plan with His will.

I serve a God of adventure.  It is just how He works. I believe there is a reason God likes to surprise me.  He knows what He created me to be.  I know that God can redeem any mess I create and use it for good. I give Him plenty to work with.  I am His problem child. I want to do things my own way and like Cain, I sacrifice the fullness of joy in God’s gifts.

Now look at your life.

How many things did you try to talk God out of that turned out to be perfect at the end? How many situations did you try to manipulate because you did not trust God with the outcome?  How did that work out for you? This is one instance I can use the word never and it be true:  it has NEVER worked out for me.  It wastes my time.  I have to do everything twice.  First, my own screwed up way while God patiently waits on me. Then His way with Him saying, “I tried to tell you, but you had to do the dishes, remember? Let’s do this different next time.”

Lately, something in me is changing that those around me can not understand.

Lately, boundaries are easier to hold because they are boundaries encouraged by God.

Lately, God is strengthening me because I am showing up and sitting still and quietly listening.

He makes everything clear: I only have to serve Him and no one or anything else. This is truth the world denies us.

An urgency lurks within me to greet Him with Samuel’s response, “Speak, for your servant hears.”  To be ready with Isaiah’s words upon my lips, “Here I am. Send me.”  And to possess Abraham’s faithful obedience believing all along  God’s providence will be perfect.

I have already been chosen by God.

Now is the time to ask, “Lord, how may I serve you?”

Aug
9

The Sin Trap

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We all know the choice that will soon sit before Eve.  It sits before us too, in rote hope everyday that we will choose sin over God.

I have my own definitions and justifications of sin.  So do you.

And surely it will hurt no one.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”  Then the serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die. For God knows that in the day that you eat of it,  your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate. Genesis 3:1-6 

We are creatures of choice.

Eve coveted something that God had not yet chosen to give her. She gave into a taunt from satan instead of choosing obedience to God. And it cost her greatly.  No matter how protected we are in God’s bountiful sanctuary, evil can still creep in; sin can slither right to our feet and before we recognize it, our hand has reached to grasp.  And once our fist closes, sin wastes no time in dismembering in our heart what we know to be good and right and true. Then in the devil’s created chaos, we stop listening to God. We stop believing His truth because we have been tempted with two things:  something that is pleasing to us and the belief that it is better than what God is offering us – especially in those times He is asking us to wait.  The trap was set long ago and our perpetual falling into it keeps us from ever fully flourishing into what God is creating us to become.

Lack of patience creates sin.

Eve thought she deserved more than God had chosen to give her at that appointed time. I find no evidence in scripture that indicates God intended to withhold knowledge from her indefinitely.  I believe that God was teaching Eve like the child that she was.  God was teaching her important lessons of trust and patience. He was cultivating her spirit.

She lived in Eden with every need met and did not desire more until she thought more actually did exist.  I also believe that she loved God so much that she did desire to be like Him.  The devil made it easy for her to rationalize her sin.

God is good.

I love God.

I want to be like God.

Let’s eat.

There is a logic within that cannot be denied.  But we are not called to logic.  We are called to love and obedience, faithfulness and truth, patience that too often eludes us. Ignorance of God’s Word gives satan power over us to sow doubt for as long as we will let him.  But we have power over satan and here is how to harness it.

Take a trip into the wilderness

And He withdrew himself into the wilderness to pray Luke 5:16

Even Jesus retreated to be with God and He encouraged his disciples to do the same.

And he said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted placed for a while,” for there were many coming and going and they did not even have time to eat. Mark 6:31

Who am I to think I can skip my time with God every day?  Just as the tree was in the midst of the garden, so should Jesus be in the center of my existence. Quite possibly, I ought to live within the gifted moment and cherish it instead of wishing for God to rearrange things to suit my impatience, because God is teaching me patience yields good gifts. There is strength built in our times of waiting and there is endurance built in our times of obedience. Patience can sometimes be a test of our obedience, but always within our waiting, we are educated within God’s appropriate timing.  If we try to rush God, we miss the lesson He is teaching us.  If we sow patience and tend it, then we reap the wisdom of God in our harvest.

When I was a child, my mom and my grandma told me often, “Do not wish your life away,” for I was always wishing for Saturday to come or summer vacation to begin and my wishes were unending for time to pass. I want to give you some similar wisdom now – stop wishing away God’s asking you to wait, stop discounting the miracle you are waiting upon before God chooses to bestow it.

Sit still.

Listen.

Because between the I-wish and the coming-to-pass, there are moments to be lived and in those moments, God is speaking to us.

Are we listening?

 

Aug
2

The Peace Thief

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And they heard the voice of

YahWeH Elohim

walking about in the garden in the cool of the day…

~Genesis 3:8

An owl hoots into silence just as night evaporates to a dream. Minty breezes ruffle leaves. The mist swirls as the sun breaks through the horizon, its light skipping through the trees. Chives nod heavy purple heads as you pass by. Spires of phlox and plumes of astibles reflect the last of the moon’s warmth. Your bare feet step softly, toes sinking into the moist rich soil of this earth as along you amble in silence and solitude this well-traveled path. Here a stream ripples to a small pond, fawns graze along its rim and drink its pure water as dragonflies dart. Over this hill is a favorite rock -just a step past the break in the peach trees.

 

Arriving you reach up to grasp breakfast. Sweet, juicy, completely perfect: in your life, you have known nothing else.

 

 

Perched here in the gently waking day, patient you wait as the meadow begins to stir. The tweets and chirps of good mornings exchanged drift on a breeze. Gold finches sit atop bachelor buttons. In this jeweled field of wildflowers, spheres of nigella are fine blue polka dots haphazard amongst daisies and foxglove, larkspur and delphinium. Sunflowers, amaranth, goldenrod gracefully wave.


This place is delicate with infinite wonder; to delight fully with the awe of curiosity is appropriate praise.

Why just yesterday, you were waylaid by a honeybee hive. The honeybees buzzing about the clumps of clover, the borage, busy rustling lavender, carrying bits of milkweed. Do you remember how with swift feet, you followed the flight of the honeybee, back to his orange blossom home? Remember the soft hum of the hive, how with eyes closed you stood near, your whole body tingling, absorbing the vibration of tens of thousands of bees? How it lulled you to stillness in midday in the warmth of afternoon as bees rested like ornaments in your hair?
Yes, smiling you remember the sweetness of the afternoon, the golden honey glistening in the sun, buttery and rich upon your tongue. “Good morning Eve,” YaHWeH says as he sits down beside you.

 
“Good morning Abba.” And in silence, you wait.

 
“Let’s walk,” He says. You follow, stepping down into the scruffy, woody thyme and silky violas growing in the rocks. Down to the meadow you walk with Elohim, quietly conversing, curiously anticipating. Standing in the midst of wildflowers, YaHWeH says, “Eve, look here.” He plucks a flower, holds it before you.

 
It’s lovely. A little globe of wispy blue leaves, like a periwinkle asparagus fern growing from a star. “This is called Nigella.”
“They are everywhere.” And they are. Patches of blue dots burst amongst the daisies and poppies in this field uninhibited.
“Adam likes to call it Love in a Mist.”

 
“Why?” you ask because you have been gifted with infinite curiosity.
“Sit down here with me.” You sit and gaze up into the meadow. Blue stars sit in a heavenly mist of green; it is the nighttime sky given the color of day.

 
He reaches over and gently places the flower in your hand. No longer the beauty it was, it is now stiff and the color of driftwood. It rattles about in your palm.

 
“Go ahead and close your hand.” Slowly, obediently you curl long fingers around this fragile creation and this small paper globe dissolves into a handful of tiny black tear-drop seeds. “I had to make them delicate so a drop of rain could open and gentle breezes carry them.” At His Word, a warm wind blows soft and the seeds scatter to the meadow. “Do you see how they land in the midst of all the other flowers and sprout up and bloom?”

 
“Yes,” you whisper.

 
“This is what happens when you spread love. It bursts up in unexpected places later on. Wherever love is given a spot to grow, it will spread. Just like these Nigella seeds.”

Elohim leaves you to ponder new thoughts and you do; you sit still and ponder the beautiful uniqueness of YaHWeH.

Yet now, someone creeps close, longing to nestle into your dream, your peace, your perfect. How strange after this divine day to find a rogue in the garden. He will ruin your perfect existence, but about this you will remain ignorant until it is too late. He has been patiently waiting for an opportunity and here you are, sitting in a field like a bunny munching greens; and here he sits so close plotting your fall. Unaware, you stretch long in the fading sun of twilight and drift into perfect dreams.

Jul
26

The Sowing of Holy and Eternal Gifts

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A friend gave me a card and on the envelope was written, “Respond to God’s Artistry”. I stashed the envelope in my journal. Long forgotten, one rainy afternoon it slipped from between fluttering pages and drifted into my lap; a gift of permission in my present chaos to meander my thoughts as God presented them to me.

So in an empty house shining with finite and rare quiet moments, I sat in stillness waiting on God.

And I began to ponder what might God’s Artistry be? Wondered how I might respond. God, being faithful and true, honored my stillness and silence with a response: the depth of our discipleship determines our ability to follow God’s will; and we are unique only because God is infinitely unique and we respond to Him with our own distinct and extraordinary spirits. And I now have this theory that our creative response to God is what places us in this unique position to respond appropriately.

As women, we have been gifted a special place of influence and we are called to nurture an environment of love. And just how do we begin to do this, to influence and nurture love?

We show up to meet with God. We linger in Christ’s presence every opportunity we are given. This is why: it is only when we leave the worldly part of ourselves and step into the stillness of God’s presence as a child filled with curiosity that true intimacy with God begins. In turn, He will answer our whys with beautiful, unique blessings.

If we want God to bless us, it is imperative we show up to receive what He gifts. No matter their form, God’s gifts are always born out of love and we must be present in every moment to capture it. Showing up is not always easy especially when you are facing difficulty, tragedy or uncertain circumstances. Sometimes it seems God is not hearing one prayer you pray, not seeing one tear you cry. Sometimes, it might even seem that He has given up on you. In these heart-breaking times is when we must show up. These are the very times we must be bold to harness the power, the strength and the courage of Christ. This is when we must prepare to meet God each day. Even if we do not feel worthy enough or strong enough, we must show up and face Him. This is where we learn our worth to the Father. It is where we soak up strength and courage from the Son. This is where the Holy Spirit begins to stir the complacency in our lives to spur growth.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22

I want to bear fruit in every thought I think, in every word I communicate, and in every deed I commit to fulfill. And because against such there is no law, no one can tell me to not be loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, and gentle or to not exhibit self-control. Such a command would be absurd and surely I would not take it seriously. But what influence would we be able to have among those with whom we interact if we held ourselves accountable to a standard based upon this verse?

These are just the thoughts of an afternoon spent in the silence of tapping raindrops, but they encouraged me to work towards the most perfect state of grace I could muster in this sin-filled world. The only way I know to cultivate and harvest the fruits of the Spirit are by sowing them. When harvesting from the Holy Spirit’s infinite garden, we become transformed and by sowing those seeds with grace, we are able to positively change any circumstance for the better. I know at times I have refused to show grace, my patience has been fleeting, my love conditional, my joy too often replaced by anger, and in those times, the peace God so freely gave to me, could not reign in my life. And the love He gave me to share? Too often it was as depleted as a dried up well because I was so needy for God.

I know God is faithful and gentle and good, and I should be too, but I was committed to striving and striving is wasted energy; to recycle striving into stillness, prayer and obedience is not a waste, it is spiritual growth that leads us into maturity.

If we closely guard our spirits and allow the Holy Spirit a place to thrive in our lives, then we place ourselves in the most advantageous position to live the exceptional existence God desires for us. Obedience becomes innate to our spirit and as Jesus slowly perfects us, He enables us to positively influence others within God’s will and break the bonds of sin that seek to destroy our lives and the lives of those around us.

Jul
19

Peace

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Come to me all of you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 

Matthew 11:28-30

A year ago I found a card while shopping and on the front was written this:

Peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.

It was just a card on a store shelf as I was headed to the milk case.  But in my heart, I felt something swirl.  I bought that card.  I prayed about what true peace really is and exactly how would one come about having it all the time – at least enough to remain calm in the din of everyone else’s chaos.  The only thing I could answer with was Jesus:  true peace is focusing on Jesus in the midst of this chaotic and messy world so I can remain calm in my heart. And if I am faithfully showing up to exist in His presence, He will calm my world.

And He will calm your world too.

If you need Him to.

If you will let Him.

For too many years now, I have tried to fit into the mold the world begs us to fit into: one of perfection.  The harder I tried, the worse I failed, and the more my world spun out of control leaving an empty place allowing the chaos and hectic demands of the world to reign over my time here on Earth instead of God. And for me, there was no peace.

In the past few months, God has been showing me a better way: I am perfect enough when I have a disciple’s heart faithfully following Him.  I believe I can futilely spend my time striving to be the world’s version of perfect or I can choose to linger in Christ’s presence so He can perfect my spirit.  There is truth that beauty comes from within and it gives us a glow that refuses to be hidden when it is God-induced.  For too long, I have given my attention to everyone and everything else first.

Sometimes, there was no time for God, but surely He understood how busy I was.One day, overwhelmed and on my knees, I begged God for His sweet peace. He answered me with wisdom.

“I spend too much time drawing you back to me so I can focus you.   It is not enough to see you sometimes.  I need to see you every day. I have these gifts just for you. Without me, inner beauty fades and the sweetness of the spirit can evaporate leaving despair.  It is necessary to travel the dark and droughty places in your soul.  But Jesus is here.  You can believe it and you can trust Him.  He will walk with you intertwining His spirit with your own and He will strengthen you from within.”

 

I decided it was time – for my way, it turns stagnant and dead ends.

 

I do not want to rush this gift, but slow down, fully delighting and reveling within each moment so He can love me and teach me.  And there is no better way to experience God than in the perfect spirit of His own divine uniqueness.

Feb
22

A Walk in the Woods

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In the early morning, He waits.

Marco does not.  He nudges a nose, cold and wet, under the edge of the quilt, searching for my bare arm.

My feet are quick to hit the wooden floor because this hour is sweet.  This is my time for peace and solitude before the waking of husband and son,

before the brewing of coffee,

before the ringing of the phone.

and the Blackberry, Thank you Sweet Jesus, is nowhere to be found.

Sleepy-eyed I rub his ears, get dressed, gather hat and mitten, scarf and coat.  Marco follows, nails clacking against the floor, me shushing, begging him to be still, to be quiet. Out the door, Marco lunges for squirrels, birds fly to the trees. Through the woods we amble, quietly, not much to say with words and woofs, but our hearts they expand fully in the presence of God.  Marco – he is grateful, his nose rustling pine straw and leaves stirring scents of rabbits and raccoons. In the woods of his new home, there is no shortage of trees.  He strides forward happy, content, with an occasional glance back to me, as if to say, “Gee life’s great.  You aren’t missing this are ya?”

Winds blow dark, clouded skies this day.  But God, He whispers snowflakes upon us and the morning becomes intimate, private.  Marco begs to venture off the trail, go deeper into the woods.  Happy to oblige, I follow him as through an enchanted forest we walk as winter branches reach out snagging hair and scarf.

Soon, I am lost in prayer so that I might follow Him for my day.

Oh please let today be filled with Your love.

Oh please let today be filled with Your peace.

Oh please Lord, let today be filled with You.

Oh please let today Your Words slip off my tongue so that others might know Your Goodness.

In this stillness, I fear the power of the broken places in me that gust like the biting wind, until Jesus whispers, “There is no reason for concern, today just follow Me. 

And today your love will overflow, today your peace will be unending, today I will bless you infinite. 

Today, child, you will be testament to my goodness.”

His words laden with grace warm my spirit, give me hope that I am not broken beyond His repair, allow me to accept my imperfectness within the perfectness of my creator. In the afternoon, the sun shines bright and Marco is already thinking ahead.  Tomorrow early morning peace awaits and Jesus knows, we will meet Him there.

 

Where do you spend your quiet time with God and what words does He speak to you?

Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you,

Elizabeth

Jan
31

God and the Honeybee

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O taste and see that the Lord is good:  blessed is the man that trusts in Him

~ Psalm 34:8

I tend to wait until everything is perfect to get started on anything.  I am pensive and an extraordinary procrastinator. I have the ability to strategize to exhaustion and I capitalize on it. God knows this all too well.  Some might analyze this as a perfectionist complex or a fear of failure.  I say it is lack of trust, a sore lacking of faith.

I write and wonder who reads the words and what they may stir in a mind’s quiet moment.  I pray to God for more words and new places to find Him.  And on a rainy January afternoon, He answers with a gift of honeybees.

I know. I am as surprised as you are.  I did not expect this either.  I was diligently praying for a hive. But God loves to gift surprises.  So grab a cup of tea and settle in for a moment, let me tell you how I found God at Honeybee School.

I ride the winding roads across the mountain to the Woody Gap School in Suches, Georgia.  I worry the pouring rain might dampen our chance to hang out with the bees, might we be given the opportunity.  I watch the misty fog cling to the sleeping landscape like thin white cotton candy and I hope the day yields more than knowledge of a honeybee’s life.  I pray words will flow like honey from the comb once I am still.  I talk to Mom as she drives, silently plan what I might write although I know one cannot plan where God will show up, but must issue the invitation, wait patiently, be still.

I find it is easy to be still once inside a cozy auditorium with 50 other people, each hanging on every word. And because we are so smitten, so in love with the honeybee, being anywhere else at the moment would be, well, inconvenient.  And yes, the promise so hoped for, has just been dangled like a prize before us – if the weather permits, we will indeed go visit the honeybees.

A flood descends, fat drops splatter violently against the panes.  And I wait in stillness, awed by the intimate detail with which God designed the honeybee. 

The one fact that sinks in deep, roots itself in thought has only a little to do with the honeybee: a parasite does not kill its host and in my notes I write a thought so clear, the devil is a parasite.  I have all day to dwell in this revelation.  After lunch the rains begin to clear, leave a heavy mist hanging around the mountain tops and cold breezes swirling about us as we walk to the honeybee hive.  We watch the smoke swell in the wind and the bees fly around, investigate the people gathered in their midst.  Honeybees rest on hats and jackets and buzz happy.  In the cold mist, peace descends.

It is important now that you see the creativity with which God spurs us on to His will for our lives.

First, a secret.  I rarely win prizes.  Standard practice is to never buy a raffle ticket.  But I bought a book and a hive was being raffled off. Did I mention how badly I wanted that hive?  So in desperation, I bought four.

As all the other nice quiet students are sauntering to the front to graciously accept their prizes, I stare intently at my numbers all lined up, believing God heard my prayers and explanations of way I need the hive not the bees because I need more time. I hear, “141” and  before I can restrain myself, I hop up and shout, “that’s me!” with my hand waving ticket in the air.  Too excited to be embarrassed, I rush to the front to receive my hive.  I am handed a sheet of paper.  I am sitting in my seat before I realize I have not won a hive at all.  I have won honeybees.

Mom says laughing, “Guess you better look at the hives.” 

But response is not possible when I realize God is speaking to me so truthfully.  What He says is always worth cherishing , always worth repeating.  With this gift, God tells me I was built for courage, strength and faith; for months now, I traded it for fear and striving, questioning and doubting.  Churning spins faith thin and my parasite eats well.  For most of my life, I have spread a banquet before my enemy fueling his war against me.

Yet, God says I do not have to wait to taste the sweetness of His gifts. No perfect circumstances or extensive planning is needed. Faith, He says, is all I need and promises to grow it in sweet Sonlight as long as I simply believe.

 

 

Aug
28

slowly, with wonder

  You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Psalm 27:8 esv   I am a slow thinker, a slow writer, certainly a slow task completer. I linger over problems, dwell in my thoughts, sometimes just up and disappear so I can exist in silence, so I can hear God whisper. I do not know why God instilled this in me, this becoming overwhelmed, this getting lost in...
Feb
6

weary him with rejoicing

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came among them. And the Lord said to satan, “from where do you come?”  So satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6-7 He is sly, is he not? This wandering vagabond of trouble….. “Be sober, be...
Jan
15

The Time Scrounger

I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Revelation 3:8 nkjv   I seem to have a problem saying yes. I guess, maybe, I never really learned to say no. If anyone ever asks me for help, with anything, anything at all, a yes will spill forth tumbling over the ineptness of my brain to...
Oct
12

Cain’s Sacrifice

Now Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was the tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the first born of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry and his countenance fell. So the Lord...
Aug
9

The Sin Trap

We all know the choice that will soon sit before Eve.  It sits before us too, in rote hope everyday that we will choose sin over God. I have my own definitions and justifications of sin.  So do you. And surely it will hurt no one. Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of...
Aug
2

The Peace Thief

And they heard the voice of YahWeH Elohim walking about in the garden in the cool of the day… ~Genesis 3:8 An owl hoots into silence just as night evaporates to a dream. Minty breezes ruffle leaves. The mist swirls as the sun breaks through the horizon, its light skipping through the trees. Chives nod heavy purple heads as you pass by. Spires of phlox and plumes of astibles reflect the last of the...
Jul
26

The Sowing of Holy and Eternal Gifts

  A friend gave me a card and on the envelope was written, “Respond to God’s Artistry”. I stashed the envelope in my journal. Long forgotten, one rainy afternoon it slipped from between fluttering pages and drifted into my lap; a gift of permission in my present chaos to meander my thoughts as God presented them to me. So in an empty house shining with finite and rare quiet moments, I sat in...
Jul
19

Peace

Come to me all of you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30 A year ago I found a card while shopping and on the front was written this: Peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble...
Feb
22

A Walk in the Woods

In the early morning, He waits. Marco does not.  He nudges a nose, cold and wet, under the edge of the quilt, searching for my bare arm. My feet are quick to hit the wooden floor because this hour is sweet.  This is my time for peace and solitude before the waking of husband and son, before the brewing of coffee, before the ringing of the phone. and the Blackberry, Thank you Sweet Jesus, is nowhere to be...
Jan
31

God and the Honeybee

O taste and see that the Lord is good:  blessed is the man that trusts in Him ~ Psalm 34:8 I tend to wait until everything is perfect to get started on anything.  I am pensive and an extraordinary procrastinator. I have the ability to strategize to exhaustion and I capitalize on it. God knows this all too well.  Some might analyze this as a perfectionist complex or a fear of failure.  I say it is lack of...

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