Monday, July 25, 2016

Garden of Desires

“Hope that is put off makes the heart sick, but a desire that comes into being is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NLT) 


I don’t have green thumbs and I have no desire to dig in the dirt. But I love to look at what others have planted and brought to bloom.   
      

There are things other than plants that I have great longings for, where growth and ripening seem to be a far off dream. Will the branches of those trees ever be covered with leaves? Do my longings have anything to do with what God longs for? What are His yearnings? 

I believe the yearnings and desires of my heart are shaped by God. He is the Gardener who planted those desires, so like a child with both hands grasped by her Father in a never ending circle of dancing grace, I’m going to keep on expecting fulfillment and satisfaction from Him.
When I lean in to watch as He waters and weeds my garden, I am assured He will reap what He has planted in me, a tree of life.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Opening the Shell

Here we are, approaching the halfway mark for 2016. It seems like just yesterday I was opening up Hearing His Voice by Chris Tiegreen, the new devotional book I’d chosen to peruse for the year, fitting as it did with the sense that God was calling me to listen more for His voice. In my own journal I’ve scribbled down impressions on my heart initiated by the daily readings. If you’ll have me, I’d like to share some of those with you, a little at a time. Maybe they will resonate with you. 


God already knows me down to the very nucleus of every cell in my body and all the vastness of my soul. After all, He created this shell of mine and breathed life into me and then redeemed me. He is not only aware of me, He is deeply interested in me. This sixty-two year old woman who still has doubts about so many things, who feels scattered in her thoughts and beliefs, who isn’t consistent with her habits (the “good” habits anyway), who gets irritated with herself and others.

Yes, His interest in me is personal and intense. I want to turn my attention to Him and become deeply interested in Him. Not just stories about Him, but in Who He is and what He has to say to me. I do believe He speaks and I am opening up to hear Him.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Invitation

When God instructed Moses to construct a place, a tabernacle, in which the Israelites could worship Him while in the desert, He gave an invitation to the people to join in with the gifts He'd provided for them. Craftsmanship, materials, precious metals, and design abilities to name a few. And so,

All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle, for the performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments.” (Exodus 35:21, NLT)

An invitation came my way recently. It began with me wanting snacks for my tummy. I got a feast for my soul.

One evening last week on vacation with my hubby on the Pacific Coast of the Olympic Peninsula, we set out for a walk to the little grocery store. I glanced ahead and my heart skipped a beat. You know when that late afternoon light hits and everything goes golden? My view of the western sky was blocked by some foliage and buildings but up ahead I could see the cabins were aglow. It was almost like I was in a dream and unable to make my feet go faster so I could see what was happening out there.

And then! And then! I was past the blockage and I wanted to dance. Oh, I did dance. With my iPhone camera. The views at Kalaloch are always beautiful but this was spectacular. The low-lying clouds had rolled up like a stage-curtain that had then gotten stuck and the sun poured through the slit in red and gold profusion.

As I snapped picture after picture, I felt like God called out to me, inviting me to participate with Him in creating art. This stretch of beach and bluff, the trees, the sky, all His creation beyond our comprehension. And it was a privilege to be there, to respond, to find angles and perspectives, to create.

It was never clearer to me than in that moment, and I hope to carry that realization forward, He is always inviting us to participate in His creation. Photography, writing, teaching, whatever the gifts He's given, we get to create with Him.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Psalm of Peace in the Storm

In the writers’ group that I’m in, we are given weekly writing challenges. Last week’s challenge was to write a psalm of thanksgiving. This one came about after reading Psalm 69 and recalls a white-knuckled driving experience I had. With all that’s happening in our world today, I think it speaks deeper.

Peace in the Storm

 The storm clouds have opened and deluged me. The river has flooded and my way leads between deep chasms of dark water. Night envelops me. A front headlight of my car has gone out, while the oncoming traffic blinds me. The humiliation I feel at my own fearfulness overwhelms me. Oh, Lord, as I press forward with dread, will You come to my aid? Reach down, guide me and bring me to safe, well-lit streets.

I am reminded that, yes, Your faithful saving presence is always beside me. Your light fills my soul. You bring me through the darkness and keep my head above the high splash of road-width puddles. Although I cannot see what lies ahead, praise flows from my lips for You are delivering me.

As I peer through the unending wild whipping of the windshield wipers, when they seem to make no headway on visibility, You bring peace to my heart. You hear my cry and know my voice as a shepherd knows his sheep.

When Your Name is on our lips, Abba, You hear the cry of those drenched by the
rain; You do not despise Your rain-soaked people. You are our umbrella of light and peace and safety. Let all those who travel on dark country roads give You thanks.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Relating to Autumn

It’s fair to say that I don’t really have a favorite season, unless it’s the season I’m in. Okay, if I’m going to be honest, maybe winter is the only season that isn’t quite as favorite as the others. But we don’t have to go there yet.

One of the things I like about autumn is the abundant pops of orange as I’m driving through the countryside. Pumpkin patches! Happy bulging orbs of orange, still on vines, stacked on wagons, propped on fence posts. Images of pumpkin pie swirl in my brain and the thought teases my tongue. Yum!






I’m a fan of sitting cozily inside while the rain slashes down the windows. It reminds me of the time in first grade (fifty-some years ago) that I was allowed to sit on a stool in front of the classroom and read a story to my classmates on an afternoon when the rain almost drowned out my voice. And I had to read very loudly about Lassie saving the kittens from their watery doom in the ditch. Hooray for the hero!  

And what other season actually gets two names? With rainstorms spewing and leaves descending in showy piles, autumn tends to fall all over herself. 
I identify with autumn as she stumbles along, trying to hold on to summer, bumping against winter, with not a single grasp of graceful spring. 



Thursday, April 16, 2015

DON’T LOOK AT ME!

One of the first descriptions about me that I remember hearing as a child was, “She’s shy. Don’t even look at her or she’ll cry.”

Wait! Wait! No worries, friends! While I still do cry easily, there’s no need to turn away. I’ve come a long way since then. But I’ll be honest with you. My shyness hasn’t disappeared, and temperamentally I’m an introvert so it still takes a lot of effort for me to engage in conversation or interact with people I don’t know. In previous blog posts, Role to Minister and MonstrousLimitations vs Super Power, I dealt with this. Good for me to review!

Good to remember also that once I get started with a particular interaction and can focus on the other person, and as long as I give myself time to re-energize afterward, I generally enjoy it, which is what I’ve experienced over the past few days.

In my last post I shared about “Be the One”, a mentoring program, and the writing opportunity I’ve been offered. What that entails is getting the stories of the mentors and mentees, how the program has affected them, and then putting the stories into readable form. The plan is to undertake that task the first couple weeks of May. In addition I was asked if I would take on interviewing local businesses that sponsor the program and get their feedback. I said, “Yes.”

Whoa! That’s a whole lot of interacting with people I don’t know, folks! So what motivates me to overcome my shyness and get out there and do it?

Well, the idea that kids are falling through the cracks when there’s a God-designed someone for each one of those kids to throw them a little life line, and here’s a program that can match these people up if only the word can get out there sort of starts the fire in me. And as I said in my previous post, my heart responded to that scenario in a big way. This is the purpose God designed me to fulfill—helping to get that word out there.

So far the sponsoring businesses I’ve contacted have been incredibly receptive and willing to share their hearts for the program and this community. I admire them!


Now, excuse me while I re-energize before it’s time to gather up
my interviewing paraphernalia for the next interviewee.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

HEE-HAW!

My writers support group explored inspiration last month, and we took a look at why we write. The meeting was…inspiring! So why haven’t I written much since then?

Well, I think sometimes I need something more specific to motivate me. I’ve been praying for God’s direction in my life for my writing. And I believe He is sending some answers.

A few days ago, my sister and I met with Nancy McHarness who founded Partners for Schools in our local school district. She told us about the “Be the One” mentoring program she launched last year in the high school and middle school.
When she presented the opportunity to assist in a writing capacity, I felt my heart respond in a way that I haven’t experienced in a long time.

I don’t know the details of how God will move in this response yet but I am continuing to search His heart. As we all know, searching God’s heart requires reading His words, His Word.

My daily reading is taking me through Deuteronomy. Plod, plod, plod through Duty-ronomy, right? Still, I’m seeing God’s heart is there.

“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility.
Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility. If you see that your neighbor’s donkey or ox has collapsed on the road, do not look the other way. Go and help your neighbor get it back on its feet!” (Deuteronomy 22:1-4 NLT)


Okay, I’m a farmer’s daughter but it wasn’t a donkey on the side of the road that hee-hawed to get my attention. What grabbed me is a concept.

“Don’t ignore your responsibility.”

My responsibility in and with my writing is to help return something lost, to give something back to my community. The ramifications of that can be minimal, or they can be monumental. Either way, my writing matters. Our writing matters. For me, seeing HOW it might matter is a huge boost of encouragement to engage my mind and my fingers in releasing what God has put in my heart.

I am eagerly waiting for the next steps. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, here are some of the reasons I came up with for why I write, from the silly to the serious:
  • The voices! The voices! The voices!
  • Something has to go between the beginning of the sentence and the period.
  • Someone has to keep the alphabet alive.
  • In order to keep my keyboard happy.
  • Because the words won’t put themselves on the page.
  • I might be able to express a thought just a little differently than everyone else.
  • It’s my nature to encourage with words.
  • There are stories only I can tell.
  • Worlds are like chisels used to expose reality.