Friday, October 23, 2015

Falling Into His Grace

I Peter 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

It started 7 years ago, with an article in the local paper--a walk for kidney disease, THE kidney disease that bloated our son up, filled him with anti-inflammatory steroids for life and taught him words in his young age like nephrologist, embolism, and needle biopsy.

Here I sit, eating a cold slice of pizza, still wired from my after-work Frapp and a couple of gathering trips for supplies for tomorrow morning's NephCure Walk--the 6th one I've planned and organized.

I feel it coming on...

I am not sure if I am going to burst out crying from exhaustion or I am going to fall to my knees in utter humbleness at how good God is to me. There is a fine line between the two at this very minute and so, I sit to write, to see where my words go, to unwind in the massaging of the Holy Spirit through His Word, in my thoughts, in my memories, in my anticipation, in the sweet mercy of the Lord.

The manifold Grace of God.

The meaning of this word, manifold, (in the Greek) is interpreted as "variegated," or multi-colored. Fall, though in California it looks and feels different than most parts of the country, the changing leaves, the colors and foliage exemplify variegation, the fullness of colors.

Fullness of Grace brightens up the dull areas of my life and piles high above the roots of my salvation. 

Grace Upon Grace (John 1:18)...Amazing Grace. 

Super-duper support, generous givers, vigorous volunteers and pro-active adults with numerous Facebook posts and the sweet faces of their children culminate tomorrow to share in this burden and to gather within the Grace--all different with different stories, yet the same love. They step out in Hope.

I will place my son's picture up on the table with a few pumpkins around it and know the Hope of the Lord. I see it in the challenge of this event and the Grace and fellowship He lavishes on me.

I snuggle still through the warm blankets of His promise to bloom again in the Spring of His planting. The variegated leaves of His grace cover me, feeding me, restoring me to know that I labor not for my glory...

but all for His Glory. 

I miss you Timmy, every day. It is never something that leaves me, ever. Thank you Lord for so many butterfly gifts this week, so much encouragement for Ted and myself. Lord, you know my uttermost thoughts and desires and You intentionally bring me to Your table to feed me and rejuvenate me, when so many things can get in the way. Thank you Lord for Your wisdom, Your Word, the Holy Spirit's voice that gently speaks to me in my very human emotions. Thank You Lord for this ministry---Yes, I call it a ministry, and may our efforts bring comfort and healing in Your time. Thank you for the relationships I am making and keeping. Lord, thank you for Your strength, even in my moments such as now, may I remain Your humble servant until You sweep and lift me up to be in Your presence, like a single multi-colored leaf floating high on the very breath of God.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Is It In You?

I Peter 3:15  "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts...

I know. It's only part of a much larger verse, a greater calling. The words before...commands.

Do Not fear...but

Do Not be troubled...but

So many of us have taken that first step of faith, believed, asked for forgiveness, know the promise of heaven. Praise God!  

And it ends there.  You are a beautiful butterfly never opening your wings. 

Oh, good deeds may abound, prayers may still be whispered at the beginning of the day, at the closing of heavy eyelids, at a table with the smell of food and appetites waiting. 

That "sanctify" part...What exactly does that...what do I have to do in much time will it take...what will I have to...change?  Give up?





Unwilling, unmoved, ineffective.

For me, the sanctification process became reborn within me, like a cut-off, half-dead branch grafted again to the Vine, after the "comfortable" burned up. I lived with the complacency, the apathy, the excuses and the ineffectiveness for way too long. Pink Floyd said it well, "comfortably numb." 

But the HOPE of God, though dormant, never left.

God reawakened in me a desire to deepen my faith and then live it out. I began to see and understand true Grace in a soul-changing purpose for me. That, my friend, is sanctification: the intentional pursuit and the resulting growth in that pursuit of all that is Holy, all that is purposeful, all that is inspirational and affirming--sojourning on the  path of His will and finding joy and peace in the process.

Alive again and active, my intentional asking and seeking, the nerve-endings of my soul surged with anticipation and longing for more. In that, God leads me to His comfort within the uncomfortablness of this world. 

For we may have the privilege of suffering for Christ.

The rest of that verse says this: "...always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."

I know the Hope of Christ. Because I intentionally seek it every day within my grief-stricken heart, God has refilled, re-purposed and recharged a passion, planted long ago by the Holy Spirit. I gravitate towards it and I run to it. His Word is alive and active, personally sanctifying and leading me in truth towards His promises. As Lord in my heart, I can't help but share.  I stand firm to make a defense, I invite the broken, the seeking, I  encourage the down-trodden, I pray with my sisters--together in the suffering and waiting; and I am embraced and loved by a community who lifts me up as well. I rejoice in the redeeming Love and forgiveness of my Heavenly Father.

For I am a sinner.

I am called for the very purpose that I might inherit a blessing!  (I Peter 3:9). Though I have suffered greatly, I have not been crucified. I have not held the very sin of every human being in the palms of my hands and left to die on a forsaken cross where even God, The Father turned His face away. Jesus Christ bore the ultimate suffering for me, for you. In the resurrection, He conquered death, the ultimate suffering--the result of my sin.

I am redeemed, blessed. I am a temporary resident, taking daily steps towards Him in the sanctification process.  One day, I will inherit all His promises. 

Thank you Lord for the Hope within me. May I use it in a way that only brings You the glory and may this same hope stir others to seek more of You than just simply believing; for You are made known through us. Your power and grace magnifies through the believers heart if we let it go and give it to You, full reign. I am thankful for the very first step, the belief. Thank you for stirring me up. Lord help us to continue to arise out of our own dark comfort and bask in Your marvelous Light. Amen. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

A "Freshening" Upwards

Lamentations 3: 22-24 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! 
        His mercies never cease.  
Great is His faithfulness;
        His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance,
        Therefore, I will hope in Him." 

I've missed a few weeks posting. Starting back to work, Friday night football games and a mini trip out of town last weekend, provided an excuse for not getting some words, some thoughts on this site, but I continue to fill my own heart with the Words of the Lord and inspire these same words in other opportunities God gives me to shine His light.  God is good and when you just know that and see and feel it continuously, I want to shout out His goodness and point others to see and experience it as well. Like leaves from a tree in early fall, I am ready to gather again, gather more!

The word I am thinking about tonight: FRESH.

I just finished renewing my Disneyland Pass!  Now I look forward to a whole new FRESH year to enjoy the Park and all its Magic.

It's Oct 2nd, and after the hottest September I can remember, today was refreshingly beautiful!

FRESH, as in a brand new paint job on our rented townhouse.  I've been steadily watching the progress on the other units since last Spring, knowing by late summer, they'd reach ours. It happened this week. Not sure which color scheme we'd end up with, I came home Tuesday to find a pallet choice I hoped for and soon the trim would compliment it. Today, the job is complete and I moved a few pots and tables back into place and stood back. A FRESH new look and an update; our little place looks awesome!

FRESH!  Now this one is BIG. As a Special Education one on one aide, this year started out a little different--my prospective new student never showed up. Without going into detail, --"sort of in-limbo," and feeling rather insecure in where and when I might be reassigned, I've tried to remain under the radar, still working in the classroom and doing my job.  First, I only found out a few days before school, I'd be back at my same campus, but working with a different population, the moderate to severe. Not quite sure about this, I plowed ahead. After a few weeks of getting to know the kids and co-workers,  I liked this assignment, I wanted to stay. (God always knows what He is doing).

God made that happen in a peculiar--well in a way that only points to Him. A position opened up in the same classroom for a collaborative (teacher's) aide. I applied and I got it. The Lord gave me a fresh start in a new classroom with 10 new students, 4 new co-workers, and a FRESH start at learning new things and using my gifts in a new job. The desire of my heart was to stay at my same site. He gave that to me and then some. Thank you Lord.

God blessed me with a creative spirit and I just love brainstorming FRESH ideas. While taking the kids out in the community, my teacher found these Cheetos shaped liked parts of a skeleton. She showed them to me, how cute they were and thought that somehow we could use these in our domestic lessons for October, (we cook and bake a lot). I had the idea of placing them with a frosting on a cracker. So down the aisle we headed and came up with this FRESH idea. The kids had fun making them, using their fine motor skills to spread the chocolate and preserves and finding the bones to make a skeleton. And you know what?  They tasted pretty good!  I decided to name them "Graveyard Cakes"  


(Seasonal) Bag of "Skeletal Bones" Cheetos
Headstone: Rice Cakes (flavor of choice) 
Dirt: Nutella or Chocolate Spread
Blood and Guts: Strawberry jelly

Bone-Appetit' !  

Lord, thank you for always freshening up my life!  You DO make things new all the time. Walking with You and wanting to live in faith teaches me to expect and hope for Your fresh ideas for me and my ministries. Your Word Lord gives me renewed strength and fresh insight when I read and ask for Your wisdom. When I sit and listen to Your teaching, I am refreshed, encouraged, ready and equipped to share your Hope in a spoiled and stale world. Lord, I do not want to be dry bones, tossed aside and brittle when it comes to knowing You and serving You. Help me Lord to always be reactivated, fresh and alive, piled high in faithfulness and expecting refreshing and new things, all for Your glory, Amen.