Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Exciting News! A GIFT for YOU

Come to the Table!
As many of you know, I've been on quite a journey these last few years. Many sweet moments, as well as many painful ones; however God so graciously prepared me for each unknown step. None were unknown to Him!

One of the sweetest blessings has been developing a deeper understanding of how to experience the Living Presence of the Lord Jesus in my life through the power of His Spirit. Although I've always known His Spirit indwells me, I have to admit I often lived as though I was directing my steps and asking Him to bless them. He's gently pointed out that exhausting pattern and has been guiding me to follow Him more closely with every step. The joy and peace produced from this growing knowledge and understanding has been truly life-giving to me. I am so grateful for His patience!

I realize from my own experience and through talking to many of you, that we need encouragement to grow in our understanding of the depths of His unfailing love and unending peace. We need to encourage one another in knowing He is always there ready to teach and lead us (Matthew 11:25-30). I have been learning very helpful ways to pay closer attention to this reality.

Out of that conviction comes the creation of an online community we are simply calling PRESENCE. I've partnered with a few friends I've connected with throughThe Leadership Institute  to create this opportunity. 

The Presence site is full of resources for you to enjoy. We are committed to keeping it active and adding new resources. Visit it often and follow us! Our desire is to simply encourage you. I will be offering periodic Presence Day Retreats here in the valley, so follow us if you want to receive info about those.

Here's a sneak peak at the intro page that goes live today!

Welcome to Presence!  We hope you enjoy this online community of women who are embracing God’s loving and intimate Presence into their own lives and then freely extending that Presence to others.

Visit us NOW at www.presencenow.be. Sign up for our newsletter to get periodic emails of all that's being offered.

and come back often! And, if you find it helpful, spread the word!!!

Let's keep encouraging one another to linger in the Presence of the One who loves us!



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Low Self Esteem

I love this paragraph taken from Henri Nouwen's book, Return of the Prodigal. I hope it encourages you today, as it did me. Commenting on the parable of Laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) he writes,

"Here lies hidden the great call to conversion: to look not with the eyes of my own low self-esteem, but with the eyes of God's love. As long as I keep looking at God as a landowner, as a father who wants to get the most out of me for the least cost, I cannot but become jealous, bitter, and resentful toward my fellow workers or my brothers and sisters. But if I am able to look at the world with the eyes of God's love and discover that God's vision is not that of a stereotypical landowner or patriarch but rather that of an all-giving and forgiving father who does not measure out his love to his children according to how well they behave, then I quickly see that my only true response can be deep gratitude."


Thursday, May 16, 2013

White Space

Color affects our moods.

Color transforms spaces.

I'm thinking about color a lot these days as we are painting our new fixer-upper. My old home had a lot of deep color, dark color, warm color. I loved it, but I don't want it again. Perhaps it's the season I'm in, or the simplicity I'm seeking, but for now, we're going all WHITE. Boring? Maybe. Trendy? I have no idea. For me, it reflects the longing of my soul for room to breathe. These last 2 years have been the most intense yet, and I am crying out for space to breathe. White space. For now, my home will reflect that desire. (I changed the colors on this blog too!)

I wish it were that easy for my mind, heart and soul. Maybe it is?

A zinger comes and all of a sudden we feel out of control. Dark, scary, hurtful. What do we do?

"Come to Me." There He is, again.

I was driving across town the other day when suddenly, despairing feelings (birthed from a simple question by a loving friend) began wrapping their sharp tentacles around my heart. It hurt. I felt anxious, afraid, alone. What do I do Lord?
Don't deny those feelings, they're real. Let them lead you to Me, right here, right now.

That won't help...was my honest response.

"COME"

So, outloud, driving along, I started describing my feelings to the Lord and telling Him why I was justifiably scared. As I went through my montage, throwing in every detail I could think of, my words lost steam. In just a few moments I had nothing left to say. In fact, it all sounded rather silly and unfounded once I voiced it to the Lord. And, I still had a few miles to go! White space!

I heard you, I see you, I know, I love you, I won't leave you, you can trust Me. Move on now...

He didn't talk outloud, but it was loud and clear in my heart. And, by the time I reached my destination, the power of the unspoken was dissolved and the power of the Word was real. In fact, I can barely remember now what I was even worked up about! Oh He's so kind.

I read this morning in Hebrews 7..."I now have confidence in a better hope, through which I draw near to God." "He lives forever to intercede with God on my behalf."

What color reflects you today? Whatever color you're in, I encourage you to draw near. He wants to speak to you. I highly recommend Him as the greatest counselor and dearest friend. Give Him some white space in which to breathe His life into you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Contentment Helps

A woman named Ella worked with the pygmies in Africa for 52 years in the scorching heat of the African bush. This list was found in an old diary of hers. It was her prescription for contentment:

  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything---not even the weather.
  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else.
  • Never compare your lot with another's.
  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
  • Never dwell on tomorrow---remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.
I'm training my mind in line with this advice because it is in line with Paul's letters advising us to submit our minds to Christ. It all goes back to awareness of His Presence of grace in every moment. Remain!
Reading about Ella reminded me of my short stint in Congo. This picture was taken at a
refugee camp in Goma. Our sisters.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"This will be a test of your joyful confidence in God."

Read that statement again: "This will be a test of your joyful confidence in God."

John Ortberg mentioned this comment he received from Dallas Willard when he was facing a difficult time. Depending on where you are at today, this quote will either bore you, or grab you. For me, today, it grabbed me.

In many ways, I sense real transformation down deep as far as the true experience of joy in my soul. The fruit of clinging to the Vine, our sustaining Presence of grace. Truly miraculous.

However, I'm being intensely tested again. My dad (83) broke and shattered his ankle last Saturday. After surgery he is not allowed to put weight on his right leg for 8 weeks. Wow. Nurse Grace is called to the front again.

You may be saying, "how wonderful to be able to take care of your father." That's true. But, it's not my first reaction. My first reaction is selfishness which leads to despair, not joy. That's reality. Sometimes truth and reality don't integrate. Herein lies the test.

Rejoice always, in everything give thanks, pray without ceasing...these are the directives that lead to deep, abiding joy when the tests come.

Wake up grumbling, complain all day, don't ask God for help...these are the natural directives of my mind.

I awaken the soul by following the directives of Jesus. So, today, I will rejoice, give thanks and pray, and I am confident that joy will be reaped in my heart and spirit as I sow these seeds.

Thank you Abba for your patience. I will not grow weary in doing good, but will sow your seeds of right-ness by Your strength by listening to Your Voice and resting in Your loving yoke.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Burst!

When's the last time you burst out of bed radiantly because it's a new day? 
Rejoicing like an athlete eager to run the race? 
This is how God describes the sun rising each day (Psalm 19). 

"God made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. 
Nothing can hide from its heat."

He made a home for it and every day it follows its course from one end to the other and 
nothing can hide from its heat.

I hate to admit it, but most mornings I drag myself out of the bed and look forward to returning to it. I am not facing the day with radiance nor am I eager to start running!

Something's gotta change. A new practice must begin so my 'start' can be transformed. My mind needs to be renewed. I want to live in anticipation like a great athlete ready to run.

How? David makes it clear in his journal. Rejoice! Praise! Sing a new song! The sun begins each day rejoicing and so shall I. The sun brings heat even in the coldest of climates and the stormiest seas. Simply by rejoicing, and living in line with how it was created and the reason for its existence.

Am I being too simplistic? I don't think so. My days are also sovereignly mapped out by the Creator, and I exist to bring my own 'heat' to each moment. The life of the Spirit (fire) in me. God has made a home for me and every day I can follow His course and nothing can separate me from His Spirit.

So, my new practice shall be to REJOICE first thing when I wake up; hopefully with my first conscious breath. Giving thanks in all things throughout the day is a very good, life-giving practice. However, rejoicing and praising God early in the morning needs to be my first breath. This practice will bring awareness to my mind and heart that my course is set and my purpose is to follow Jesus all day long. This is why I exist. My joy.

I'm going to start with this 3x5 card next to my bed from Psalm 150.

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary (which is ME! wow!)
Praise Him for His mighty works (name some in the last 24 hours)
Praise His unequaled greatness (review His attributes)
And then...make some noise! Praise Him with blasts, music, singing...even clanging (which my singing can sound like).
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Will you join me? Let's put this into practice and see what takes shape.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rocky Waters


I haven't been posting lately because I have been in a turbulent time and feeling raw and a bit fragile and have lacked the mental energy to write. The picture I have is of me in a boat that is on stormy seas and the waves keep coming! However, more than ever, I feel Jesus AWAKE in the boat with me. He's steering, He's conducting the storm, and He's holding me. I have more peace and deeply held joy than I've ever had. It's all because of His grace.

And that's what I want to draw your attention to today. GRACE.

Did you know that the word GRACE is mentioned over 120 times in the New Testament? And only a handful of the times when highlighted is it referring directly to the act of eternal salvation somewhere in the future (think fly away). All the other times Paul, Peter, John are encouraging us to LIVE NOW in the full experience of God's grace.

EVERY ONE of Paul's letters begins with this phrase..."May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace." And, every one of his letters closes with a phrase of grace. Paul knew that the secret to abiding was the gift of grace. Paul points out again and again that GRACE is a GIFT given by the Father and His Son and then he prays we'd grow in it, stand firm in it, and have it be upon us. The last sentence in the Bible highlights, you guessed it, grace.

Grace isn't just a gift we've received, but it's a way of life we experience in God; every day, all day, for eternity. I can boast in my weakness, because in this place I know the powerful reality of grace. One teacher puts it this way: grace is the enabling power of God in us.

Although I hope the waters calm, my hope is not in the calming of the waters. My hope is in Him. I more deeply hope this understanding of His grace never fades. I hope that I won't forget the intensity in which He's revealed His Presence in this trying season. And, I hope I can spread the news through my life and words how "He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding." (Ephesians 1:7-8).

My 'flesh' wants to pay attention to the waves. My heart, soul, mind and spirit are being attentive to Him (Psalm 123)...and He is proving over and over again that He is able, through His mighty power (grace) at work within me, to accomplish infinitely more than I might ask or think. (Eph.3:20-21)

Glory to Him. Happy New Year. May you live it in grace.