Friday, September 19, 2014

"Milking It"

I Peter 2:2 " newborn babes long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect for salvation."

After a long summer of watching the full cycle of sunflowers bask in the sun, seeds germinate, sprout, grow tall and bud in color; roses open and petals fall, the reaping time is before us. So, I trim back a little, pull stuff up, gather seeds for next summer's garden. Left with a memory in a photo file of what was, what could be again next year.

 I only ask for grace and time to allow the work to continue.

As the season winds down, I recall the fulfillment of watching things grow and mature.  To see, learn and apply, to reach a full potential, I know it takes patience and caring, correct feeding and nurturing, attention to details and planning. There is a longing, a hope for more, for a strength to thrive, for a legacy to grow strong roots.

I only ask for grace and time to continue to live in the promise of another summer garden.

Purchasing several large pumpkins on our "Timmy weekend," trip to Ventura last September, a pumpkin seed, only one, found its way into the dirt by accident really, leaving the bottom of the fruit. Almost Christmas,  my son said, "Mom, time for the pumpkins to go away..."  I sat them in the back planter where my tomatoes usually grow, adding bright color to my dull winter garden. The insects took their toll and soon, they rotted.

I only ask for grace and time to continue to remember and tell my story.

Sprouting and winding through the garden, I hoped for a sign of fruit.  This week I thought whatever I had left in my garden might wither away in our oppressive heatwave, over 100 degrees for 5 days straight.  To my surprise, and in plain view,  a small rounded, green shape appeared to give me hope of a Thanksgiving treat.

I only ask for grace and time to watch it grow.

That was Monday and today, Friday at 3:15 a.m., another new beautiful hope for tomorrow was born, our great niece, Pepper Ann.  She's a tiny little precious bundle and beautiful. I see and know brand new life again, its sacredness, holiness,  and the love that nurtures it. In 6 days, we'll be celebrating a day when our own precious and beautiful bundle burst forth and planted himself deep in our hearts.

I only ask for grace and time to complete my purpose until we meet again.

Father God, giver of new life, what a gift and a joyous celebration it is today. In the respect to salvation, I thrive in hope. To not wither when the going gets tough is my strength in which I am grateful. I  sip...even guzzle in the sweet milk of Your Word. May it continue to fill my soul with satisfaction and wisdom. God, You are my sustenance, my sanctification in growth. To yield the fruit of the Spirit, I embrace all that You lavish on me and prepare me to be in You. I only ask for grace and time to admire the pumpkins and the pregancies, to delight in prodicals and pre-schoolers, to celebrate in the  power of promise. May my cup be full to the brim as I pour out and internalize more of the pure milk of your Word. Amen.

Friday, September 12, 2014

No Words

II Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 

As a co-leader in a unique ministry called Aspiring Writers' Forum, I anticipated our first class for the 6th season with immense gratitude and a humbling yet confidence-in-God- attitude, more than ever.  You see, my special friend and co-leader gracefully encourages me, reminds me, inspires me and anticipates right along side me. Because of her health issues and other obligations, I am taking on a few more responsibilities in the group. Glad to do it, I never want to see that seat empty next to me. We had over 22 sign-ups and 18 in attendance on Wednesday.

I organized the recruitment, wrote the first week's curriculum, typed up a roster,  corresponded in other e-mails with our ministry pastor,  sent out several e-mails, cleaned out last year's notebook and repacked for this year. I arrived a half hour early to enjoy a coffee and a little dinner, then greeted old friends and newbies to our group.

The first 45 minutes of class proceeded with introductions and business. The time finally arrived to get to the meat of the evening, "the journal question."  I wrote it out on Sunday after church--three days prior.  With everyone writing vigorously, collectively inspired...I sat pen scattering words that didn't gel, didn't have my voice, didn't convey something super spiritual, super devotiony....(Yes, I just made that word up).


With several brand new writers around the table, we began to share what we wrote and one by one, each piece spoke transparently and truthfully, and the Kleenex box took its active role on our table. Christ, who anchors our souls, and we, the chain on a link attached in grace to Him, unite in purpose. It's a beautiful thing to witness.

The reading is back around and upon me,  and I say..."I PASS."

And it is OK.

It was not stress. It was not lack of inspiration. It was not time. All I had on my heart that night was GRATITUDE.  My scrappy words could not possibly convey all that  brewed inside my head. How in the world do I get to do this...?

That's just it. It's not of this world. It is in a spiritual realm that only He, as a sovereign God,  purposed. I get to do this wonderful thing with twenty or so others spinning out sentences, plucking out prose and beginning blogs, dabbling in devotion writing and navigating through narratives, marching through manuscripts and memoirs--smashing the stereotype that writer's are lonely, troubled, isolated souls.


So, thank you Lord, for NOT giving me words at times. Thank You for just listening to my heart. Thank you Lord that the words and encouragement from others anchor me closer to the depths of your will. Thank you Lord for strength, discipline and eyes to see, ears to hear what You want to show me. Thank you Lord for the chains of love You have given to link me to serve You. What a great crew! Bon Voyage!  

Friday, September 5, 2014

"You Know What They Say About Assuming..."

Proverbs 4:13 "Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life." 

This week, I found myself assuming. Even when I got called out on something I missed, I still assumed...(or maybe hoped) that someone might find pity in my predicament and let me slide. 

What made me think that I possibly might be an exception?  

I didn't read instructions. I didn't take care of business and I moved forward as if...

as if my good intentions, as if my desire, as if I deserved a reward, as if I was special...

My disregard caused my husband a disappointment as well. 


This wasn't anything too serious,  just something to learn from for next time, be humbled and smile at my lack of attentiveness. 

The irony of this whole business?  My husband pointed it out, the one who misses the details in such things and tends not to be the best organized at times.  Really?   

We made lemonade from sour lemons.  Ted scooped a big tablespoon of grace to sweeten the evening and all is forgiven.

The lesson learned: Instructions matter!  Assuming...?  Not an option. Taking time for the details and making connections the way things are purposed?   Well there is a reason for that.  

It's order vs. chaos.

Right vs. wrong.

Stress vs. calm.

Truth vs. false notions.

Saving vs. wasting 

Fulfillment vs. disappointment.

Heaven vs. separation from God. 

A little of my time would have made a big difference in our evening. Taking time with the Lord to seek His perfect Will means eternity...and that is time well spent! 

Jesus taught an important lesson in the book of Matthew. Some will do Facetime with the Lord, and find that their assumptions were not correct. God instructions, written in blood cannot be changed. Some never took in the whole truth, only gleaned bits of it. They did their own thing, assumed their  good intentions and good works were the requirements for eternity.

Matthew 7: 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 
22: Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?' 
23: "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness."

Lord,  I am sure, this might happen to me again. I might miss something,  assume I know. In my stubborn, busy, human condition, I must seek the truth and humbly be obedient to Your Word and Your call on my life. In this crazy world, it is not good to assume anything anymore. What I can know is that You love me, all things work together for Your good, and that You, as my Designer, wrote the  instructions for my life.  Help me Lord to take the time to listen to Your every Word and trust that You work out all the details, making my life sweet lemonade from the sourness of self. Thank you for Your grace, Amen.