My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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A New Spring Wardrobe

 

 

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From time to time I could richly benefit from the wisdom of Fashionistas Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from the cast of ” What not to wear “; a by product of my fashion sensibility clashing with the love of all things plaid, floral or striped. My wackadoo wardrobe is not for the faint of heart, and from all appearances, looks like the 1960’s vibrant patterns meeting the “Total Blender”. Thus, having me scratching my head whenever I throw up the doors of my closet to pick from my ensemble… asking myself the famous Blendec’s infomercial’s question, “Will it blend “?. Since no fashion consultant is at my disposal, could someone at least invent adult Garaniamals? This gal needs aid in coordinating the collection of wildly patterned garments I have such a hankering for.
However, when I stop to think beyond my dizzying array of earthly garments, turning my attention instead to the spiritual aspect of clothing far above the storm of whirlwind patterns that fill my closet. To compassionate Jesus who peacefully suggests that my, “What not to wear” are the restrictive grave clothes that have wrapped around my soul and mind keeping me in bondage.
Similar to the drab binding grave clothes that wrapped Lazarus of Bethany while he laid dead in a cave for 4 days, far beyond the appearance of all hope. Though laid to rest as a beloved friend to Jesus, Jesus still purposely delayed His trip to see him while languishing in his illness; all this for the greater good of a divine hidden purpose. Temporarily shrouded in a cloak of mystery as the sisters Mary and Martha, had their faith deeply shaken in the earthquake of whys? Onlookers too grappled with the grieving sisters raw unanswered question of Jesus’ absence in a time of such need. What was the delay for? It was certainly not for denial instead Jesus told his disciples,”*it will help you to believe (to trust and rely on Me). *Jesus later goes to comfort his perplexed sister Martha, “Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?.”
Seeing the glory of God in our grief, abuse, loss, or the appearance of abandonment in Lazarus’ case, takes an abiding trust that God works out all things for good. Many times trust is hard to come by for some of us that have had their trust severely broken. An inability to trust God or people becomes a death sentence for abundant life. Each lie adding another strip of cheap grave cloth binding us while blocking the truth. Redeemer Jesus knows a thing or two about speaking life into our dead places.
Showing himself faithful where human brokenness is. Encouraging us to keep our eyes on Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Just as Jesus asked those at the tomb to unbind Lazarus grave cloths after He commanded him to rise. He lovingly encourages others to come along side of us to help, “Loose us and let us go”. Their courageous intentional acts of love push past the smell of a decaying life that bound us in the first place. Bringing the captive free and those He has set free our free indeed.
I’ll never be able to fully describe the profound gratefulness I possess for the love of my family , friends and caring professionals that having graciously unwrapped the stench of my sexual abuse and brokenness . A gut wrenching heartache entrenching every fiber of my soul making the battle feel insurmountable. Through their love, grace, and patience, God was able to restore me to greater wholeness and freedom I never deemed possible.
It rings so true what Paul Young the author of the Shack wrote, “I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside”.
God is calling us to a new free flowing life, releasing us from restrictions that impeded our God given destiny. Grave clothes that bound you can now be removed and replaced with robes of righteousness.
And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
“I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara.
For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations”. Isaiah 61:10-11
Are you ready for a new Spring wardrobe? I know I am and I’m pretty confident mine will involve some cheery mismatched pattern. How delightful !


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Squirrel Moments

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The opportunity finally presented itself to have a phone conversation with my dear friend Lynn. Her  long battle with blood clots in her lungs and legs and me not carving out time to call left us long overdue for a chat. During our joyful catch up time we were also able to nail down some plans for our friends upcoming 60th birthday party. Not to mention our over the moon excitement for Lynn’s new book which by the way is on sale today! (exciting details below). All the while these dry sponges soaking up the laughter and missed fellowship from life’s pesky interruptions.
In the midst of it all ­­­­­Lynn had a squirrel moment, not those familiar times when a squirrely bright eyed bushy tailed thought dart’s in derailing a smooth tracked conversion; but rather Lynns’ was a bona fide literal squirrel moment. Intermittently through bursts of laughter, Lynn began to explain the scene that played out as she peered through her picture window. While also painting the backdrop of how the current events transpired in the first place. Lynn explained how her struggle to rest and heal had caused some household tasks to fall through the cracks, one of which was her empty hummingb­­­­­ird feeder swaying in the breeze. Even through her waning energy she decided at the least she could sprinkle a hand full of squirrel food on the roof of the vacant feeder.
Now experiencing a bird’s eye view to a hummingbird’s encounter with a feeder void of nectar; yet brimming with a heaping supply of inedible nuts and seeds atop his diner. As she relayed the comical activity of one confused hummingbird we quickly begin to image what the poor hummingbird’s was thinking! God has gifted them with the largest brain relative to size of all birds… oh can you imagine his puzzlement? Grabbing that thought we ran with silly ideas letting the wind of creativity blow on our faces with a marathon of hilarity. After finishing our phone conversation,while slowly healing from our side splitting laughter I began to ponder this hummingbird’s perplexity.
More then a time or two I’ve also longed for a sweet easy life of predictability only to be met with seemly indigestible circumstances. Whether it is a need waiting to be met, unfulfilled dreams longing for fruition, or peering over your bone dry cup at those who appear to have their cup running over. In times of languishing it is easy for my faith to become crestfallen giving way to comparison or discouragement. Making it all the more imperative for me to lean into God’s word when life appears to be void of the answers I yearn for. Keeping my mind in a state of remembrance that * Your words are sweeter in my mouth than honey! giving me a sweet soul assurance of comfort to trust You even in the appearance of lack.
God’s word promises * “They who seek (inquire of and require ) the Lord (by right of their need and on the authority of His word) none of them shall lack any beneficial thing.
I’m reminded of what Sarah Young wrote, “Living joyously is a choice. Since you inhabit such a sinful, broken world, you must choose gladness many times daily. This is especially true during difficult times. When something happens that breaks the pattern of comfort and happiness in your life, you are being put to the test. I am training you to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds” *paraphrased
Frankly, I’m not that great at this, but I want to be. Jesus told His followers look at the birds of the air: “they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value then they?” You know with all the funny scenarios our imaginations conjured up about Mr. Hummingbird’s reactions to his bare feeder, truth be told we know he was not put off by the lack nor the pile of precarious seed assortments plopped on top of his digs. His feathers never ruffled in angst, For he boldly claimed this innate truth , “No matter, for I know my Father in heaven has got this and around that corner in another garden will be my supper waiting for me… end of story. Perhaps you’ve had a scratch your head or what the heck kind of week, or even month for that matter.
When squirrel moments of doubt have derailed your faith, may I encourage you right along with myself, we have a good Father that has not forgotten any of His children. He promises to never fail us nor forsake us, for His plans are good and not evil even when life is on empty. Being a God that is no respecter of persons you can be rest assured if your feeder seems empty while your neighbors is full, not to worry, He’s busy making all things beautiful for you in His time. I figure if a bird brain has got this truth nailed down …. then so can I !

“The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.”
Matthew 6:26
* Psalms 119:103 The NET Bible
* Psalms 34:10

Lynn’s new book available today  March 14th !

Lynn Hare Author of  … The Quest For Self Forgiveness: Discovering The Secret Of Guilt Free Living . Brilliant Redeemer Vol. 1  Amazon.com Lynn-Hare


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Oh Snap

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Oh no you didn’t rolled off my tongue with frustration as I tried to peer out our ice encrusted windows. Mother Nature’s cold snap was well into her third week of stellar performances. Gone was my initial happy dance at the first snow fall. Now the lather, rinse repeat of snow and ice made me want to wash this storm right out of my hair. Coupled with Columbia Gorge’s intense weather patterns only added to these unsolicited encores; producing vigorous storms for no extra charge. Yet it still cost those who faced its’ tempest super-size portions of snow, ice, and gale winds.
That day I found myself weary of this continuing storm, my spirits drooped much like the ice laden trees buckling from the sheer weight. Desiring to be stout in spirit capable to forge through this chilly adversity, hoping to counter the hand dealt to me with a sunshiny Pollyanna perspective. Instead, my cheery outlook was covered by a foreboding nimbostratus cloud. No way would you be hearing me belt out, “Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway” what was Elsa thinking? And though the storm’s fury paled in comparison to the poor folks I watched suffer on the nightly news, this storm was enough to wear me down .
As I looked to thaw my frigid faith I grabbed my Bible deciding to turn to Job 38, right off the bat the first verse grabbed my attention. It read, “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm”. Could it be God was trying to get my attention with this long screeching halt, intrusion to my day to day schedule as I know it?
Just maybe He wants me to be still and enjoy the stillness. Or perhaps to fall down into the glistening snows’ brisk arms to make an angel out of its powdery wonder, allowing my eyes to gaze towards heavens expanse. Being present in the moment not waiting for the storms to pass, rather choosing to dance in the rain or snow for that matter.
Further on God asks Job this question,* “Have you entered the treasures of the snow? or seen the treasures of hail?”
Whenever personal storm clouds of disappointment brew, cabin fever of restlessness and irritability overrides my desire to seek the hidden treasures of the snow. Not to mention treasures can be hard to find when storms assail, buried in deep snowdrifts of heartbreak, grief, illness or other blizzards of loss. My snow blinded faith can make it impossible to see God’s bigger picture of provision and purpose. Many times life treasures lay concealed until we let our cold hearts’ slowly thaw from grief and disappointment.
Arctic blasts of doubt and fear blocked out God’s warming presence from fully reaching my anguished soul. God never left me, it was only I that had lost my way.
It reminds me how as a child I lost my warm knit glove while walking home from school one snowy day. Arriving home I sadly told my mom what had happened; with a sense of hope in her voice she said, “let’s keep this one in case the other one shows up.
Eventually the snow melted and winter gave way to spring… my little glove now a distant memory. Cherry blossom trees lined the sidewalk as my friend and I intermittently skipped and giggled our way home. Stopping to catch my breath my eyes suddenly spotted my little glove pushed up against a cyclone fence, nestling among a bed of dry furled leaves. Hope reborn as lost is found, a treasure laid bare from melted snow.
God lovingly waits for us to partner with Him, syncing up to His truths, knowing in our “knower” His plans for us, for our good and not evil. Those little gloves remain a beautiful reminder of what was lost can be still be found…even when we have lost our faith!
Eugene H. Peterson’s introduction to Habakkuk is this: “Habakkuk started out exactly where we started out with our puzzled complaints and God accusations, but he didn’t stay there. He ended up in a world, along with us, where every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
Like Habakkuk I no longer want to have my faith wheels stuck in drifts of why questions, rather have the traction of trust produce forward movement as*I lean my entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness.
God invites us to build a snowman, gathering splendid treasures from His majesty. Each unique snowflake of life experiences rolled up and fashioned into a something new. Bringing a smile to our face from a jolly new creation, a gift wrapped up in His loving sovereignty. Patted down and molded with child like faith gloves.
So my friend … Do you want to build a snowman ?

Job 38: 1-22, Colossians 1:4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Bye-Bye Pack Rat

Anyone that knows me well is privy to the fact I tend to collect things. A self proclaimed Pack Rat of doohickey’s, whatchamacallits, sentimental momentos and all things shiny. Our attic a land of misfit objects poised to spring ­­­­­into action whether to provoke tender memories or some form of creativity.

Due to my tendencies of over accumulation… shrinking attic space has become the end result; now bursting at the seams, it groans from over stuffing. Like a S.O.S banner capturing my attention to begin the journey of downsizing. Heck, even a pack rats nature is to let go of certain found treasures to grab a hold of something new and more desirable.

Through processes such as these I’ve noticed a correlation pertaining to deep physical housecleaning and emotional housecleaning. For me they seem to go hand in hand. In times past when saying good-bye to these tangibles, it usually reveals an unhealthy thought pattern that needs to go as well. Though the interweaving of the physical and emotional purging is key, the actual letting go process can be painful. There is a bitter sweet underlying tone that sets the mood for change. Change is hard even if it is for the better especially  since we are creatures of habit. Whenever my reliable apple cart gets upset, I tend to scramble picking up my disrupted pile of apples… even the damaged ones. I scoop them up carrying them close to my heart as I climb back onto my rickety cart of familiarity.

The dichotomy of God’s Kingdom runs interference with my unwholesome attachments and misguided thinking.

God loves us for who we are, but too much to leave us that way. We no longer need to cling to the status quo or our tired worn out coping mechanisms. God is saying *”Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?”

I don’t know about you but I’m so ready for 2017! Traveling lighter by emptying my suitcase of fear, worry, doubt, unforgiveness or anything crowding out Jesus’s truth and goodness. Packing instead more intentional kindness, love, joy , laughter, and forgiveness . No longer traveling with my neck poised to look in the rear view mirror of yesterdays or what if’s. Rather, keeping my eye on the prize, His promises as hope rises from the ashes of my past.

There are still doodads, whatnots and precious family memories tucked away in our attic now a healthy balance of treasures. Today this self professed pack rat is more of a mouse. Through all the decluttering process my personal growth is blossoming, saying good-bye to non essentials to grab a hold of the essential. How refreshing!

Lord, we ask for a fresh new start for 2017 bursting with your visions, dreams and endless possibilities. May our minds and hearts de-clutter from anything that crowds out your plans and purposes for our lives. Thank you, that *if anyone in Christ, the new creation has come, old has gone, the new is here!

“Behold I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5

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“Every loss leaves a space that can be filled with God’s presence.” Amy Boucher Pye.
*Isaiah 43:19 The Message *2Corinthians 5:17 NIV Bible


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Grief’s Persuasive Nudge

graveyard-1417871_960_720Grief’s persuasive nudge finally got my attention. Oh, but I must tell you, my mind did a stellar job in subtle trickery convincing my broken heart that the grief work was already completed. Hands down my flesh preference leans towards maintaining the appearance of a neat, tidy package over delving into a disheveled hot mess of emotions.
No twisting of the arm needed when calling it quits on the whole grief process,  quite frankly it felt like a viable option.  Ready to vamoose, exit stage left and save myself from completely depleting my emotional bank account.  Recently losing my only brother Troy to Lewy Body Dementia  was not my first rodeo when it comes to having a loss. A mere 3 1/2 short years ago we said good-bye to our sweet mama. Though I had made great intentional strides of grief recovery with my mom’s passing, Troy’s diagnoses overlapping  mom’s illness produced  dark permanent clouds of abiding sorrow.  Knowing barring a miracle, sooner than later, I would walk through the valley of the shadow of death once more. When the dreaded news of Troy’s rapid decline became a reality, my heart wanted to run away from the tsunami waves of sorrow, too weary to start the painful mourning process all over again.
Resisting just like a swimmer’s breaststroke push’s away the water, I fought pushing away the grief after my brother’s passing.  Avoiding the boundary walls of necessary grief work, in a desperate attempt to regain a sense of normalcy I lost years ago. The core of my being longing to handle my grief in a healthy way, yet fighting the painful intrusion of this once again unwelcome guest.

The not so funny thing about grief is, you can run from it but you cannot hide from it, sooner or later that sleeping giant you tried to bury deep within will rear it’s ugly head. It’s all part of God’s beautiful design for our deeper healing and wholeness. He longs to equip us to face the Goliath of grief with our smooth stones of  acknowledgment, permission and His strength . Bringing comfort to mend our fragile broken heart’s, as He  blesses us in the process. Fulfilling His promise written in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted”.


So how did God woo me into my needed grief work?  By loving nudges as I watched various tender brother and sister interactions played out before me . Losing our beloved dog of 18 years little Buttony Boo. And leading me beside still waters as I slowed down my busy pace,  gently redirecting my heart towards the pain and not away from it.

 This thought came to mind the other day as I swam ,my body became tired of doing laps resting my head against the hard pools’ edge I  marveled at the pools utter stillness. After several minutes passed my legs wanted to kick again and do so with wild fervor holding the pools rough edge. Suddenly  I witnessed the calm waters swift transformation. Watching this juxtapose a epiphany rose to the surface of my soul : “It was only when I stirred up the water in the turmoil of movement, that brought out the most brilliant color of blue rising up from the  deep.  Such depth of color was not revealed in the pools’ stillness.”My life longs for calm, smooth sailing without conflict. Jesus however called His disciples to a storm tossed  boat to show the depths of His faithfulness …

Roaring deep calls to roaring deep, life’s upheavals, storms raging while Jesus sleeps. We cry out for calm and it will come as Jesus declares,  “peace be still” over our battered souls.  He lovingly invites us  to yoke ourselves side by side with Him… “a man of sorrows”, personally familiar with our raw anguishing emotions.  He is more than able to handle the weight-bearing load of our sorrows onto His cross carrying shoulders.  Bidding us to trust in Him through all our storms… encouraging  us to give ourselves permission to grieve.

   I love what Pam Vredevelt  wrote in her book the  ” Empty Arms Journal ” Healing requires us to stop traveling in five -speed overdrive and to turn down the noise. To move out of our heads and into our hearts . It may seem easier to deny , block , or repress our feelings , but denied feelings don’t go away , they go underground , trapping us in grief “.

 Then she adds” Opening your heart in the light of God’s love, and acknowledging what is , is far more productive than resisting and denying the message of your heart. It empowers you to keep moving forward through your grief “.

 So my friend take God’s hand in this journey called grief,  opening your heart to His light, as he  guides you every step of the way .

” Wilderness and desert will sing joyously , the badlands will celebrate and flower… Like the crocus in spring , bursting into blossom , a symphony of song and color.

They’ll sing as they make their way home to Zion, unfading halos of joy encircling their heads . Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrow and sighs scurry into the night ” Isaiah 35:1 and verse 16   The Message

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