Friday, June 27, 2014

Clear the Way

Isaiah 40: 3-8 A voice is calling,"Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and the flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken,"

A voice says, "Call out."

The he answered, "What shall I call out?"

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, 

But the word of our God stands forever. 

Sometimes we have so much in the way. Our past, our regrets, our fears, our unwillingness to let some things go, things we even think define us. Even other people stand in our path, or physical things block our view of what He longs to teach us, lavish upon us.  I find the most amazing moments with God come at the time I am most transparent. When I've purged, cried out in a wilderness, poughed under and dumpstered my sins, my faithlessness, my petty concerns, asked forgiveness, God blesses me with his mercy. Many times it is so tangible. This world is a bleak, vast and empty place without seeing the glory of God. Every daylight, I long for God to break through and show me his glory. The wilderness is wild and worldy. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. 

Writing a book on grief and God's journey in recovery, frequently I am in awe- struck wonder and must  set aside my keyboad and grab my journal for the amazing things God is teaching and showing me. There is no such thing as coincidence when you are doing the work of the Lord and the Holy Spirit is IN IT!. Scripture tells us if you seek Him, you will find Him. 

God is waiting. If you're stalling out, pull over. He'll jump start your day until you get to the next place and then he'll replace the battery. You'll soon find your own voice He has ordained in you to bring Him glory in the wilderness. You are a beautiful story and God wants to tell it!  

The Word of God is relevant and true for Your life in this day. Open it. Be filled in His grace. 

Lord, thank you for bringing us through the wilderness. We, made in Your image, bloom for Your glory. One day, our fading flesh will wither as a flower. Help me Lord, to fly on wings like eagles, to continue to be a voice of encouragment and inspiration. What you do in our hearts and in eternity, lives on forever and in that I am grateful to be a part of Your glorious design, to know You and make You known. Amen. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Holy Anomoly

Proverbs 18:24  There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother, (NLT)

It's Sunflower season again in my garden. Many of you know,  and join me in loving these whimsical, sunny-faced botanicals.

I harvested seeds from last year's dried blooms, bought a couple new varieties from and planted earlier this year, in April.

Up they came, only a week later.

So me.

Planted specifically right out my kitchen window, I glory in them. Cup of coffee in hand, many a morning prayer are spent leaning on the counter and feeling the Holy Spirit infuse His peace, His Love,  and so much more.

I recommend starting the day this way. 

Right now, I am anxious for a new variety to open. They've been a little slower in the shadow of the mighty over achievers.

They're suppose to be a marroun color.

And then this happened...

A conjoined sunflower, the bigger one protruding a petal in the center of its core.

anomoly?  ...maybe.

  1. 1.
    something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.
    "there are a number of anomalies in the present system"

Twins are formed by a fertilzed egg spliting--identical twins. Or,  by two separate fertilized eggs--fraternal.

So what happened down there in the dirt?

I don't know, but they are one flower, front and back and then some...bursting with joy, fully alive, swaying in the breeze together.  They catch what's going on from all sides.

 Friendship in the Lord is like that, standing tall with one another as we grow. We see a different perspective on things. One sees one way, and another can see things more subjectively, lacking an emotional attachment. Isn't that the way we're suppose to harvest wisdom?  Sharing and holding on to one another, we can trust each other in the heavier winds that blow, threatening to knock us down. We encourage each other as we share from our experiences of what the "garden of life" brings to us. We hold each other accountable.

For we are planted for one purpose, to bring God glory.

Even in our past, special friendships in the Lord, grab on and hold us to open up all our beauty to one another and the world. Sometimes there is so much love, we just don't have room, so it will just burst out further into the world. Eyes may roll, some may just scroll on by, thinking too weird for me...

How does their "garden" grow?  

My garden is FULL of the beauty of special friends. We are oddly peculiar to the world,  loving one another, praying for one another, trusting one another, dancing, singing, parenting, mourning and rejoicing.

From the deepest of  hearts, there is something very intimate when praying with a friend. 

That,  my sunflower friends, reflects our Lord and He sees all of us as His anomoly, unique and perfect  complete in His grace. God called each of us to stand out for Him.  The weeds of destruction are creeping in. Some of those weeds look beautiful, a disguise of evil that is not an anomoly, but the template of destruction long ago devised. 

 Lord, I give praise and thanksgiving for friends who gather 'round my table and plant their loyalty and own grace deep in my heart. Keep us faced towards You, soaking up Your goodness, Your purpose and Truth, for our own lives, and for the encouragement of each other.  You see all of us as Holy anomolys, perfect and complete in Your Grace. Blessed. Amen. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Scoring A Legacy Goal

Deuteronomy 32:7 "Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders and they will tell you." 

Every four years, like the Olympics, it's time for the World Cup. In case you are thinking this has something to do with Starbucks or Victoria's about a little sport called SOCCER. That's what we call it here in America. Around the world it's called FUTBOL! Number one most beloved sport internationally, its been a slow but steady rise catching on here in the states with AYSO and Club leagues. We still lack when it comes to FAN-atical followers. (with the exception of David Beckham--Ha!)

I am reminded of one of my first "newsletters" I compiled;  PRE-blog writing. Covering the sport of soccer in my own international family and all my boys who played including my Father-in-law in his home country of The Netherlands. I am re-posting it here for your enjoyment.  (Sorry it's a little small, but I did my best to convert it here).

Good luck to all the players in the World Cup. Happy Father's Day to all the dads who kick balls around with their sons and daughters, whatever kind of ball. Bless the spectators and soccer moms whose cheers, snacks and van pools get the team where they need to be, energized and refreshed. Every player is a winner!

                         JUNE, 2008!

The red sidebar talks about my husband's illustrious career playing and coaching soccer. Ranked the #1 goalie in California, he earned a scholarship to Keene State in New Hampshire. America's version of FOOTBALL, took out his knee and thus the east coast never materialized. He went on to continue his love of the sport,  coaching and reffing; excellent and admired in both. The black and white photo is a picture of my Father-in-law's team, "The Drafted"in The Netherlands, 1952. Johannes VanTilburg in the black, also a goalie, fathered the legacy of the sport in our family.

Today, my father-in-law sits in his recliner, no recollection of yesterday or even if he ate breakfast this morning. He'd be happy to know The Netherlands won 5 -1 today against last year's World Cup Champion, Spain. We will tell him the results, tell him again tomorrow, help him find the channel. Soon enough, he'll want to get on a bike and pedal to practice.

Like life, family legacies can be both positive and negative. Scripture tells us here to "consider" to, think about, ask for the stories, the memories, record things and get a better picture of who you are based on the experiences of your forefathers. Maybe you'll decide to make some changes, maybe you'll just want to strengthen ties by what you have learned.

Maybe this means a prodical returns home.

Maybe, you'll forgive.

Maybe, you'll ask for forgiveness.

Maybe you'll be healed, a restored legacy.

Whatever the score, God will be cheering you on from the sidelines.

Thank you Lord for family legacy. Lord, we know wisdom comes when we are willing to listen to the advice of another generation and appreciate, maybe even come to understand the sacrifices, decisions and memories, filtering it through our own Heavenly Father.  I pray for a legacy in my own family, like that of Joshua 24:15 which states, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." For myself,  there is no greater legacy and only through Your sustaining Grace, may I continue to strive for this very thing, all to Your glory, Amen.