Wednesday, July 23, 2014

thoughts on sticky notes

If all it took to make a heartfelt decision is mental reasoning and checklists, why did God give us a heart???

Following Jesus does not mean just burying your heart in order to be "submissive" and follow whomever says they're your leader.   Like the lamb to the slaughter, you feel you cannot open your mouth and your scarred heart lies dormant.

No. God loves us too much to let us continue living as robots.  He allows the storms, the violence in our hearts to erupt, to tear us painfully apart at the seams and show us who we really are, to show us our deepest need for a Saviour.  Not just to bless our best church-clothes behavior, but a Savior who steps into our rotten filth and draws us lovingly, tenderly, ignoring the stench..drawing us to His heart.   So we can live lives wide open for His glory and our peace.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."     Ezekiel 36:26



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

comfort in the night (old school)



Ps. 22  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent...

Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help...

They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my  clothing.

But you, O lord, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

Ps. 25  Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
Look upon my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.

Ps. 31  Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.

Ps. 32 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Ps. 34 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Ps. 38 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me...
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away.

I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth;

Ps. 39  I said, I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth...
But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good,
my anguish increased.
My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
Show me, O Lord, my life's end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life...

But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.

Ps. 40  I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
he lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a NEW SONG in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

Ps. 41 I said, 'Lord, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.'
My enemies say of me in malice,
When will he DIE and his name perish?
Whenever one comes to see me,
 he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it abroad.
All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,
'A vile disease has beset him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies.'
Even my close friend,
 whom I trusted, he who shared my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.

Ps. 42 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while men say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me-
a prayer to the God of my life.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Ps. 55  But I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress
and he hears my voice.

Ps. 56  My slanderers pursue me all day long...
All day long they twist my words;
they are always plotting to harm me.

Ps. 57  Have mercy on me, O God..
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

Ps. 61 lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Ps. 62  My soul finds rest in God alone;
One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard;
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.

Ps. 66 If I had CHERISHED sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

Ps. 70  Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
They say, 'God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him.'

Ps. 71  Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you WILL restore my life again.

I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre...
My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you-
I, whom you have redeemed.

just a thought

Recently i've had the weird sensation, and i'm not sure whether i was awake or asleep, but i had the very real sensation of dying.  Of leaving this present consciousness and entering a very peaceful place.  It was kind of nice, but that scares me, because maybe that's something that my subconscious mind is really desiring at this point.  Just to be gone.  non-existent.  except for in the spiritual realm, of course, i would be with Jesus.  no more strife.  no more trying to convince everyone that what i feel in my heart is so true.  i could just prove it by letting go.  pulling the plug. just put an end to it all.  so simple.  and yet so selfish.  that i must endure this after all.

Monday, July 21, 2014

roar

sometimes i'm tempted to just be quiet. shut my mouth, stop blogging. give it up.  keep the peace.  after all, sometimes the thoughts and opinions i've been having lately are pretty strong, and what if somebody doesn't agree with me, or thinks i'm wrong? accuses me of things that may be true but it still hurts.  i can't have that happen, right? avoid conflict at all costs.  my motto for life.  right?  or maybe that needs to change.  not that i'm always right.  if i am wrong, and i will be many, many times, what's so bad about falling on my face a few times and being seen as a fool?  ok that's where it gets uncomfortable.  what if people don't believe that what i say is really my truth?  what if people get mad at me?  oh dear, that's even more uncomfortable.  ok, let's look at it the other way.  what if i do NOT say anything? what if i keep my thoughts inside my head.  does that mean i'm not still thinking them? of course not. only then i'm building up the pressure inside me,  while falsely smiling politely  when really i want to scream that i don't agree with them.  reminds me of katy perry's song,                                      "Roar"

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Get ready 'cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus}

now i'm not really a huge katy perry fan, but she does have talent and i like some of her very open and honest lyrics.  It's sad that she grew up in a Christian home but felt so stifled and held down by her parents, that she felt she had to break free and go the completely opposite direction.  Regardless of her current behaviors, i like this song because it paints such a picture of myself, always keeping my mouth shut, agreeing politely. Too afraid of someone stronger, more important or popular than me interrupting me or saying something more important or popular than what i have to say, so i just keep my mouth shut. 
oh no, i've said too much, 
i've said enough...

carts and baby toys




pushing the shopping cart
blinking back tears
music in store reminds me
what i said is true.




what can be worse
than being sad
to see someone happy
because you know
that if they knew the truth
(again)
they'd be crushed
(again)
like whacking a toy out of
a baby's hands
over and over again.


access denied

sackcloth and ashes
dreams hidden in a jar
sacrifice for my kids
gives me strength to care
yet a part of me must die
i am not like the others
i am a deformity
my heart lies trapped in a cage
access denied
till death does us part.

surfing lessons

hey dude!  surf's up! let's catch a wave!

or, just talk about it. there are so many great illustrations in nature of things in the spiritual life.  Like in the mighty waves of the ocean.  but before i begin to wax poetical...let's just wax our boards (ha ha) and at least imagine we're sitting out in the waves of Puerto Rico:

Here's a short clip of my surfing lesson in Puerto Rico on Thursday, Feb. 20th.  Our actual surfing was done so far out in the bigger waves that the video camera on land could only catch these first few moments as we entered the water.  At least you get the idea..  here goes:




Sorry I don't have footage of my actual surfing. So I'll explain it instead.






Like all our days on our Feb. 2014 vacation to Puerto Rico, we woke up to a beautiful, gorgeous morning, to the sound of the roosters next door.  Spent the early morning lying in the hammock on the balcony, overlooking green hills topped with brown cows grazing in the grass, with a picturesque background of the blue ocean in the distance, drinking good native-grown strong coffee and fresh papaya and pineapple.  Finally got our cooler packed, swim suits on, and headed out to the surf school where we'd signed up the other day for me to take lessons.

 



It had been a struggle just trying to find the place.  Nothing was easy to find in Puerto Rico.  Street signs, if existent at all, were poorly marked, and roads through the mountains along the coast were extremely curvy and constantly changing in altitude.  After much driving around in circles, we finally figured out which little cement building on a narrow road traversed by mostly stray dogs and pedestrians, was the surf school.  We walk in the open door, (most buildings were open-door in this warm climate) and are immediately overtaken by this wonderful surf vibe.  A few obvious surfers are standing around, and we make our way back to the desk where the owner dude was sitting. Shirtless and tanned, bleach-blonde hair stuffed into a scraggly ponytail, lean, muscular and agile, skin a bit beat-up and scratched by the expected wipe-outs and bifs in the life of surfing.  His charismatic, magnetic and free-spirited personality shines through his blue eyes as he sizes us up, and then lowers himself to my little boy's level, gives him a high five and greets him with a "hey, dude! is this our little shredder?"  (referring to the term of "shredding" through the waves, for the non-surf-literate)  I clear my throat.  "uhh, it's actually his mama who's getting the surf lessons.." Trying to hide his surprise, he stands back up and gawks at this middle-age woman holding out her credit card.  So we work out the details of the upcoming lesson, his eyes glazing over as he talks about the experience, and you can feel his passion for the sport, how he gave up a successful business in the states in order to live here and share that love with others in search of that euphoric feeling of "catching a wave."   I pay the bucks, sign on the dotted line that he is not responsible if I get eaten up by a shark, and we exit.


Two days later:  We find the place again, and i get a quick private on-land lesson on surfing basics, just me and this dude in a bamboo gazebo behind the shop. He explains a bunch of safety precautions, and then gives me a few guided tries on how to do the infamous "pop-up" move, quickly going from the prone position on the board, to the bent-knee squat, arms out for balance, on just the right spot of the board at exactly the right time in order for that wave to lift you into paradise. Then we join the other 2 girls in my class, who had already started taking lessons the day before, down on the beach.  (that's where the first video clip took place)

The other 2 girls were much younger than me, of course, and unlike me they were 2 wild, single, just-out-of-college young women just having a great week in the tropics.  I got to know them a bit as we spent some time just sitting around on our boards way offshore, waiting our turn to be coached individually by our instructor.  The instructor, (i forgot his name) would take us one at a time, guide us to a good place to catch a wave, and review all the basics of what to do while we waited, (and waited...and waited...) for the perfect wave.  When it finally came, he'd hold the board for a few seconds to keep it straight, then yell "GO!!!" when it was our turn to paddle like mad as the wave approached behind us, then he'll yell "pop up!!!" at just the right second for us to rise up and dominate that wave.. or wipe-out right away and get pummeled to death, which was usually the case.  Either way, it was fun.



It also could be a bit scary. These waves weren't like the little bumps in the surf we've seen in North Carolina, those mild, quickly crashing, fun-to-boogie board-to-shore kind…  No, these were scary.  Lying out there, what seemed like half a mile from shore, looking  in… those waves had a mind of their own.  It was more like this massive turquoise blanket being raised up from the very bowels of the deepest ocean depths, till this quickly cresting wave comes hurtling up, faster and faster towards shore, and from our perspective, lying on our boards, we’d feel the mighty wave raise us up while still just a swell, then watch in horror as our friend who was at the crest of it with the instructor,  would suddenly disappear behind this big wall of water, and maybe we’d see her rise up, maybe not.  Usually we just waited till we saw the white longboard go springing up into the air after she met her fate of a nasty spill, the usual conclusion of any of our attempts.  There was one set of waves in particular that REALLY put the fear of the Creator in me…  We’d been hanging out beyond the breakers for quite some time, waiting for the other girl and the instructor to get the perfect wave so she could take her turn.  It was flat for a long time.  Then it came, out of the blue, no pun intended, and seeing the speed and voracity of that wave.. I seriously was wishing I could just be air-lifted out of that place that very second!  How on earth would I be able to make it to shore ALIVE with a monster like that at my heels?  My horror was intensified when I watched how the wind ripped along the top of the wave, blowing a thunderous swoop of mist across this curling masterpiece.  My reaction came out in just two words:  “holy cow!”  ok. I apologize.  Cow was the not the actual word that came to my mind or lips at that second.  This was too real, beyond sense or moral justification of expletives.  I was scared.  But I lived through the moment, listened to my instructor and did as I was told, and I feel stronger today for facing that fear.  



Thinking back on it, it's easy to see the connection between rising up to ride one of those monster waves of the Carribean, and how we respond to the big "waves" in our lives. Those scary or uncomfortable situations that we aren't prepared for. Do we want God to just air-lift us out of them so we can totally avoid them? Not usually possible. How about just giving in and letting yourself getting sucked under and pummeled to death. Not a good option, either. You could just try to "boogie-board" the wave to shore, staying low on your belly, where the ride is nice and safe. Or, you could take a chance, stand up and try to surf it. You'll have the best view ever..and it just might give you the ride of your life.

I hope to give surfing another try sometime. And when i do, I hope to come back with more life lessons to share. hang ten, dude!




Monday, July 14, 2014

Preparation of the Heart


  

"Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.  Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.  The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.  And all mankind will see God's salvation."    Luke 3:4-6

Just as John the Baptist prepared the world for the coming of Christ, so we too are called to prepare our own hearts for the Lord.

Sometimes God seems to be using dynamite to flatten some mountainous obstacles in our faith walk. When a construction crew is preparing to set off an explosion of dynamite to create a hole in a mine, or to blast through the mountains to pave a road, they do not huddle around the prepared dynamite or try to "help" by using their hands to help dig the hole.  No. that's stupid. They get back, way back, sound a very loud siren several times, yell something like "Fire in the hole!!"  and then BOOM!! The explosion occurs.  Sometimes God works like that, allowing huge explosions to "make low" those hills.

Other times this process involves filling in some deep valleys, deep gaps of unbelief in our lives.  He might rev up his steamrollers to flatten us when our pride is getting in the way of our humble service to him.  Other times he speaks to us in quiet whispers of the Holy Spirit, or the gentle nudge of a friend's encouragement.  Whatever method he is using in our lives, it is best to stand back and let him have his way.  The master builder knows what he is doing.  He will smooth out and refine those rough areas within us, and he will move aside the garbage and debris to clear his path.

Lord, prepare my heart for your service.  Blast away those monstrous obstacles in my path.  Purify and cleanse my thoughts, attitudes, and motives.  Direct me, whether it be the direct route or the long, scenic route, whichever it takes to prepare me for that unique calling you have on my life.


  


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

consume me

there are no superstars

in the family of God

no matter how hard we work behind the scenes

or how flashy we look for all to see

yes our works should reflect our faith but...

it is the heart laid bare

open wide, festering wounds visible to all

hearts turned inside out

without fear of criticism, scorn or judgement

hearts consumed by His presence

to the point that what we are on the outside

is no matter anymore

the honest heart that He desires

God tear me down to my deepest parts

that Your Spirit may wage war in the depths of my darkness

and set me free to love You more.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

unplugged

sorry guys, this is it.  i'm unplugging this blog, going private, sinking the sub.
have a feeling that there are people i know who are reading this blog and making my life even more miserable, so i'm shutting it down.  already created a new blog where i can rant privately, which is more appropriate, anyway. so if you know me in real life, you will no longer be hearing my real thoughts anymore.  what you see is what you get.  for those who care, thanks for listening.

ping!