Finding My Voice

The microphone for the video game The Beatles:...

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Today the topic is:  Finding My Voice. Bonnie, at Faith Barista, always seems to ask the tough questions.

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Growing up I was always the quiet one.

The people pleaser.

The one who always did what needed to be done.

I didn’t want teachers calling on me, not because I didn’t know the answers, but because…

I was uncomfortable with my own voice.

What if what I said sounded stupid? What if what I said didn’t make sense? What if what I said wasn’t useful?

“What if” is a killer and fear is its accomplice.

Suffocating.

Silent.

But, deadly nonetheless.

It took me a long time to realize that what I had to say was just as important as the next person’s words.

And just as valid.

The older I get the more I realize that words are important.

That they need to be said.

That they should be said.

That voices are meant to be used.

That words can cause change.

Build courage. Right wrongs. Show compassion. Be encouragement. Find friends. Make people laugh.

Ease pain. Speak truth. Give assistance. Show passion. Be powerful. Be gentle. Allow worship and song.

Give courage. Show emotion.

Words are real…whether spoken or written.

I am no longer uncomfortable with my words.

My voice is a part of me…

And I choose to let it be heard.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
   be pleasing in your sight,
   LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14  NIV

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Confident Expectation

Today, we are discussing hope, at A Holy Experience.

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Hope.

Not just wishful thinking…but, confident expectation.

Many of you that have read my blog for awhile, or know me in person, realize that I am an avid reader of C.S. Lewis.  This man died before I was even born, and yet, there is something in his words, that draws me to him. He had something to say about hope, something that stirs me, with words that I do not think I could improve upon. Will you read them with me?

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.  (Oh friends, I know you also have tasted the disappointments of this life. We are really not all that different, are we?)

“At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.  (Have you ever stood and watched the sunrise and wondered at the beauty of it all?)

We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”  C.S  Lewis   (Don’t we all long for more?)

We were not made for this world. We live here, that is for sure…but, we were created for something better than what this world has to offer. Yes, there are many things in my life that bring me great joy and happiness. I stand in awe of the beauty of nature…and praise the Creator. I love my family and friends and am thankful for their relationships with me. I’ve had some wonderful experiences. So much is nice…

And yet.

I am not completely comfortable here. There is longing…longing for, the more.

I survive in this life I live.

Through deaths, pain, hardships, fright, harsh words, misunderstandings, disappointments, anger, betrayal, lies and hurt. This world is full of discontentment…because this world is broken. And I have not escaped this pain. I am broken in it.

But, I have hope.

Hope, that confident expectation, that there is more.

More than this. More than the lacking. More than the failing health. More than compromise. More than grief.

I was made for more, because HE is more. HE is the great expectation. It is Christ, and He alone, that brings joyful hope to a hurt and dying world.

A world that needs Him.

Individuals that need Him.

1 Peter 1:3  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”

Romans 5:2-5 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Great expectation for what is to come.

A Place That Always Feels Like Home

Sometimes, friends come to us…

in ways we might not expect.

Through written words.

Through small, thoughtful gestures.

Through a voice on the phone, across the street or across the miles.

Through a hug, when it’s needed the most, and nothing else will do.

Friendship crosses gender barriers, racial barriers,

economic barriers, age barriers,

time and distance.

Friendship plants itself deep in the heart…

A place that always feels like home.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
   and the pleasantness of a friend
   springs from their heartfelt advice.  Proverbs 27:9  NIV

Bring The Rain

Raindrops falling on water

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I woke up this morning to hard rain, beating against the house. A dark, wet Monday.

We need the rain here.

Everything looks clean when rinsed with rain.Lush. Moist. Life giving.

I know there are people in our country that long for a good, hard rain.

Dry cracked ground. Brown. Hot. Dying.

The rain would be a gift. Please rain.

Instead there is fire. Burning. Licking flames. Destroying all they had.

In other parts of the country, not long ago, hurricane rains ravaged.

Swollen creeks and rivers washed away all that was.

And they were left with nothing.

Rain. It’s the same, the world over…

The amount, is what changes things.

“…The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
   may the name of the LORD be praised.”  Job 1:21  NIV

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I’ve been thinking of a blog post that I reread recently. It was written by Sara Frankl, an (in) Courage writer, who died this past Saturday night….from a harsh, and unrelenting disease that robbed her of living a “normal” life.  Her words echo back to me from a post written a couple of years ago. The rain reminds me of it…

“But like Chan pointed out on page 114, people in the Bible who wholeheartedly followed Godwere far from perfect, yet they had faith in a God who was able to come through in seemingly dire situations.” I always believed I had that faith… but mine was a faith of conditions. I had faith He would take care of me, but I assumed that meant I would be cared for with good health. I had faith that I would prosper, and assumed that meant my career would follow a good path. I had faith that He wanted the best for me, and assumed that meant my life would unfold in a way I envisioned.

But as the years progressed and I lost more and more of what I thought defined me, as I found myself in the hospital, unemployed and on disability, I realized that being a servant meant all or nothing. A line was drawn in the sand and I had to choose my fear, or I had to choose to completely trust Him. It had to be an all or nothing choice because one cannot exist if the other is true.” —- Sara Frankel (Gitzen Girl)

If you’d like to read her entire blog post (and I recommend it!) you can zip over to it here.

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*I am thankful for Sara. A young woman who knew Jesus, had a servant’s heart, and reached out to others far beyond the confines of her home.

*I am thankful for words that touch me.

*For a God that understands.

*For a life that is not perfect, but is enough.

*For times that bring me to my knees, so all I can do is look up.

*For rain. Glorious rain.

*For water that brings life.

*For friends far and wide, although we may never meet in person, whose words touch my soul.

Weekend Wandering

I love the flag. I love flying it.

My daughter took this picture from our front porch.

I enjoy this view from our front yard. The corn is turning brown….

Almost time for harvest. The trees in the background will be turning

golden in the next couple of weeks. It is quite a beautiful sight.

I snapped this picture, one afternoon this week. Our neighbor was

out harvesting his corn. I saw the tractor coming over the hill and knew

I needed to catch the moment.

This is the far yard. Even the weeds are beautiful.

Living in the country has its perks. Sunsets are one of those perks.

I cannot describe how beautiful the sky is around here.

This is Ace. He is an American Working Farm Collie.

He keeps us safe, and expects lots of pets for his hard work.

This is Joe. He is our senior cat. He prefers laying on the bed. He was

in the process of reading a school paper when interrupted for this

photo shoot.

This is the view I get when I go out to get the mail.

Life is  good.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”                   James 1:17  NIV

First Day Of Fall

Autumn trees and clouds

Image by rkramer62 via Flickr

Early morning darkness.

I hear the steady drum of the rain on the roof. The rivulets of water stream down the windows.

I flip the switch, and flood the room with the golden light of a new morning.

Looking out the kitchen window, even on this gray day, I see a world drenched in color.

The rain makes the grass look greener, the sky more like slate, the trees just beginning to burn with color.

There is a chill in the air.

The morning is turning towards Autumn.

Wrapped in a wet, new day.

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Happy first day of Fall,  my friends.

 

 

 

 

The Best Is Yet To Come

Pumpkin pie, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki...

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Reflect on your journey of faith as you enter into the fall season.

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Everyone that knows me, knows that Fall is my favorite season. I love everything about it.

The beautiful colors. The striking vividness of it all.

The tastes of hot chocolate and pumpkin pie.

The smell of wood smoke or cinnamon spice candles.

The feeling of being wrapped up in warm sweaters, to fend off the chilly air.

The sound of geese flying in a V, over head.

It’s all good…and I enjoy it.

Fall encompasses all my senses.

But, as much as I love Fall and all it has to offer…

Fall is also about what is coming.

All of nature has one last color infused celebration before dying.

For a season. Only for a season.

I think most people can agree with me, that in each of our journeys there is “a Fall”.

A time of reflection. A time to slow down. A time to recoup. A time to enjoy. And a time…

to get ready for winter.

Fall brings with it the desire to stay close to home, to “nest”, to be with family, to give Thanksgiving.

And, to prepare for the dead of winter.

The cold times. The hard times. The isolated times.

But, it’s for a season…..only for a season.

Death always gives way to something new.

Much like a bulb (or seed) that is planted in the Fall…that lays dormant in the darkness of soil…it waits.

Waits for the sun and the warmth of new life.

A seed must die, before it can ever bloom and become what it is supposed to be.

So, to me, Fall is that “in between” time.

The best of what was, waiting for what will be.

And from what I understand…the best is yet to come.

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