Friday, September 30, 2016

Prayers For A Seismic Event.

Isaiah 78:35  "And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the most High God, their Redeemer."

Last weekend, my family and I traveled just a couple hours east to the low desert for a weekend getaway. Always enjoying the open landscape of the desert, its unique plant life and vast wilderness, it certainly did not dissapoint. We took a drive out to Joshua Tree National Park on one of our outings, capturing visuals with photography and viewing information provided by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior--awe-struck at the beauty and splendor. God's architectural floor plan of these deserts actually include the convergence of two: the Mojave and the Colorado.

The weekend, special to us because it is the birthday of my older son, who looks down upon us now,  from his Heavenly vantage point. We do this family time in his memory for our own good and because God is good.

It's 3 days I yearn for more than Christmas, more than summer vacation, more than reunions, more than...anything. 


Because in those 3 short days, a difficult relationship I have with my other son, heals. He lets his guard down. I never talk about yesterday or next week. We enjoy the moment, laughing, learning, playing, speaking civil to each other, exploring, celebrating, asking questions without pretense-- loving each other and  totally enjoying the scenery, the food and the atmosphere...each other. 

I ask God in my prayers... why do things change when we return?  His answer to me is to wait, be patient, keep praying and keep acting as though everyday I have to love on my son, is a day I am making and creating something new in him, softening him to receive and know the path I  planned for his own redemption, his return to his own promised land.

 OK, Lord, I trust You. 

For now, his wild wilderness remains untamed, hidden with venomous snakes seemingly always ready to strike. Like the Rangers at the station of the entrance to the park, God's Holy Spirit is at work protecting and guiding him and encouraging me. At night, away from the artificial light of the world, the sky in the desert displays the brillance of the stars and the planets--God's glorious realm in the heavenly places. I believe with all my heart because he is my son and I know his soul, that in his own strength, things will not change, but through faithful prayers of many and God's will, mountains will move and hearts will proclaim His goodness and stars will shine into eternity on the day God does a work in his heart. 

He moved mountains for me and in the moving of those hard places, one can see the evidence of surrender, the patterns of grace and the shape and color of love formed by the Creator himself. The bubbling lava of sin, shame, regret and grief, is now a vessel, a usable tool for His glory. 

For the next few days, the USGS has issued an earthquake advisory for So. California.  With over 140 "seismic events" recorded since Monday along the San Andreas Fault, (which also runs through Joshua Tree) this prediction warns us to be prepared in the event of the inevitable, the shaking up and realigning of the earth's crust.

Sometimes God has to do that...shake us up, and show us where we need realigning, teach us how to do just that. It's a slow process.  Joshua Tree, formed by volcanic activity, molten rock intruding into hardened rock,  is very visible and the unique shapes and stacking is truly magnificent. God has a plan for each and every one of us. 

Jesus, I pray to be a part of the plan, not in the way of Your plan. I ask for your molten blood to intrude and form a new shape in a hardened heart. Bring about change in a varied and vulnerable young man like the beautiful desert we explored. Converge your vast will and sovereignty together and create a unique and powerful formation in my son. Let him grow up, towards Your Light. When anger boils over and pressure cracks at the surface, show us the shade and hydration of  Your oasis of truth and purpose. Teach us Lord to honor you and set You apart and be a witness with kindness and gentleness, preserving the wonder You have created us to be. I pray this for our sons and daughters in the wilderness and for ourselves, traveling the road of faith that offers strength and hope around every turn.  Thank you Lord for your magnificent Creation and the lessons we learn and the inspiration it brings. Amen. 

Heart-Shaped Rocks 

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Graceful Revelation

I Peter 1:13 "Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

When one reads this verse, it seems like a job description or a to do list to receive a blessing. First I must "gird my mind." What is that? 

To "gird" means to get ready for something. In ancient days, men and woman wore long tunics with belts around the waist. When work or even going into a battle presented itself, the hems sometimes got in the way, so, the wearer would lift the bottom and tuck it into the belt, thus preparing to take on the task at hand. 

Second, keep sober in spirit. If I am hoping for a blessing, for God to prepare a way, I would hope He wouldn't look down from His Throne and find me lazy in my pursuit of Him, flippant in my attitude, or "drunk" in desperation over a situation where anxiety rules and unkind and unfaithful words gush out. 

Third, "fix your hope." Constant, dialed in, no wavering, steadfast, unmovable. 

OK, once we've got all that accomplished, perfected, then we are Holy and can receive a revelation, a blessing...a fine life as a believer. Is that what this verse indicates? 

But that is not what Grace is. Grace...well that comes first. The revelation? That came the moment we trusted, believed, had the encounter with our true self, our sin nature and the perfect God who desires a relationship with us. 

Grace is Christ and Christ is Grace. We are Holy in His eyes because of the Cross. To grow in the Lord takes some action on our part. Getting our feet wet in the Word, finding our place in the Body of Christ, prayer and intimacy with the Lord, transparency with each other struggling to do the same--this is the beginning and the eternal revelation of holiness, the work He will do in us and through us. 

In the last 4 weeks there are things I am preparing for with the Lord as my Shepherd, clearing the way. Spending 3 summers writing a memoir, it is ever clear through this whole process and beyond, that He is before every word I've written. Ready, sober, fixed on relaying His story of grace and mercy within my grief, I completed the work and now take action through His grace to present it for publication. 

My husband awaits a major surgery. God prepares us in very tangible ways and even in some complicated ways, yet He gives us the wisdom to see His purpose in those difficulties. I choose to fix my eyes on Him and know that when He gives us something hard, complicated, something we have to wait and see through, He also has a plan to remove it in His timing and reward us in our faithfulness and obedience. 

I've seen it before. Sometimes as humans, we just don't take care of something hindering us because of our various excuses or doubts. So God, in His love for us, puts that hindrance front and center and then gives us a promise, that all things will work together for the good. 

"Trust Me in this,  He says. Let's take action together and the hindrance will be all for My glory and Your testimony." 

And that is the revelation...

when you begin to know from the very beginning that God's grace covers it all. "I believe in You Lord, help me with my unbelief." 

Lord, when we face certain trials or even in today's daily challenges of living and pursuing a righteous life, Your instructions are for us to be proactive in our faith, even when we can only muster up a little at a time. It's our heart You look at, our desire to know You more, share Your grace and love with our neighbor and each other, surrender our incompleteness to You. Lord, be our belt, holding on tight to those things that want to trip us up. Protect us from the intoxication of the world, the demons of doubt and anxiousness. Help us Lord to focus on Your goodness, from all the things we have already seen and what You have promised to give us. Thank You Lord, for Your grace that goes before us and for Your plan that prepares the way for Your Glory to be revealed through us, already set before us through Your Son on the Cross. What a privilege Lord to walk on this prepared road, the rocky parts and the smooth as Your child trusting and waiting for more grace to come. Amen.