My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Hook Line and Sink Her

 

 

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While growing up, every now and then our week-ends were filled with my dad’s impromptu visits to see friends or family.  Each spontaneous visit was always guaranteed to have rich interactions and loads of fun especially when my cousins were involved. One of dad’s memorable occasions led to an unscripted outing to Champoeg Park, situated at the south bank of the beautiful Willamette River.  My cousin Dori and I were full of giggles and anticipation, who wouldn’t be?  We were together and going to the river! a rather winning combination.  It never once crossed my mind I was unprepared without a pair of tennis shoes I normally wore to protect my feet against the riverbed’s sharp rocks.

Once we arrived, Dori and I wasted no time jumping into the cool refreshing water splashing and swimming with sheer delight, soaking up the rays of a serendipitous day.  Suddenly out of blue I was stopped in my tracks unable to swim any further.  Somehow quite unaware I had stepped onto a rusty fishing hook still attached to the line.  The line itself  was trapped  beneath a heavy rock preventing me from swimming away.  Grabbing my foot I carefully examined my big toe that now had a hook deeply embedded pulling at my flesh.  Not feeling courageous enough to remove it on my own I called out to my dad, who was on the shoreline.  He gallantly came to my rescue, skillfully removing the hook, meeting me at my point of need. What freedom to be instantly released from the troubling impediment that kept me from venturing beyond its’ narrowing limitations.
God is like that, coming to our rescue when we become entangled whether knowingly or unknowingly.  My life has had its’ fill of  hooks  where the enemy has gotten a toehold in some area of my life, hindering my freedom for kingdom mobility.  Whether my wrong thoughts, attitudes, holding on to unforgiveness too long or allowing fear to stop me in my tracks.

Each day I’m becoming increasingly more aware of my need to daily put on the *full armor of God, resisting the enemy’s goal:  “to hook, line and sink (her or him)”.  “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”  John10:10Amp.  God’s desire is  to bring overflowing, unobstructed  life for His Kingdom purposes and our joy.  What an awesome truth we can stand on hook free!

Lord, thank you that your love is so full and complete.  That you care about every detail in our lives, even knowing the exact number of hairs on our head. Your love redeems and rescues us in every situation no matter how big or small.  Thank you for the freedom and victory that comes when we call upon your name and you respond with unrelenting  love and tenderness.

Footnote: * Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

 


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An Absolute Peach

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Back in the day when I was a stay at home mom my mother loved taking our young boys and I on grand adventures. Piling into her small white Nissan Sentra with a bag of munchies we secured their car seats thoroughly  ready to roll out onto the highway. Whether it was the beach , the Dalles, Longview or local malls she loved to drive and we loved to go. Exploring beyond the four walls of our small apt. was always a welcome treat.

When a long day was done we pulled into the driveway with sleepy boys, tummies full and minds chock full of memories.  Grandma’s car interior usually revealed the aftermath of run away Teddy grahams and toys from our magical getaways.  Like clockwork before you could say road trip, Grammy’s car was cleaned out ready for another exciting adventure.

My heart was full to the brim of the countless, funny and precious memories from those splendid day trips. Packing two ladies with Lucille Ball tendencies into a compact car with young children was sure to produce some comedy gold!   Now, as I reflect in the rear view mirror of the past, time seemed to have hit the acceleration pedal fast forward.  Those once small boys now stand before us grown men with facial hair, deeper toned voices and maturity that floods my heart with unspeakable love and gratitude.  And knowing my mom is cheering from heaven… her most glorious trip ever is a comfort.

From time to time those memories flutter into my mind, settling in on the stillness of our empty nest, bringing a smile to my face; a gift of extravagant love in our sometimes messy, broken fumbling places.  Love that shouts louder than failures past or present, allowing room for deeper, richer, wholeness for me and my family. Learning to navigate on the express way of grace and forgiveness.
I recently recalled one of those delightful memories of our impromptu trip to the Lloyd Center mall one fall afternoon.  The boys sat peacefully on the trip paying little mind to the scenery, perfectly content with this short excursion. All was quiet on the home front until we rounded the bend exposing very familiar surroundings. Our youngest Trent popped up from his car seat exclaiming with great delight, “Grandma your a peach an absolute peach!!”  Coining this winsome phrase from a recently watched Mr. Magoo cartoon.  My mom was beyond tickled hoping to always be able to recall this adorable accolade.

Though years later dementia robbed her of all precious memories, she was able to recount this story numerous times before its’ onset.

My mom was not alone in her aptitude for adventure.
Winnie the Pooh knows a thing or two about adventures when he said to Piglet, “As soon as I saw you I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.”
God thinks the same thing about us in Psalms 139:16, “His eyes saw our unformed substance and in your book all our days of my life were written before ever they took shape.”

The same God that spoke the world into existence, who tenderly formed you in your mothers womb, has the grandest adventure waiting for you just around the corner. We get the joy and privilege to partner with Him calling dibs to ride shot gun with Jesus and the Holy Spirit for the ultimate ride of our lives.
Plus, He has already made provisions for our journey mapped out in 1 Corinthians 1:7–9 *paraphrased:

Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale.  And not only that, but God Himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus.  God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.”
Wow ! if that is not music to my ears… a now recovering performance junkie. Don’t you love that just when you think that’s it, like a never ending infomercial of, “but wait there’s more” of God’s awesomeness which never stops period!

I don’t know what road your traveling today, you could be cruising down the highway of life tunes cranked and feeling carefree.  Or perhaps your road is lined with deep pot holes of disappointment and despair.  You keep looking for a sign of hope that will detour you from your present daunting circumstances.  Your faith feeling not so peachy unless your only counting the pit’s.

My friend I pray that today you would encounter God in a new fresh way, as He makes your rough road smooth, and the monotonous scenery explode with life and new found possibilities.
I love what Sara Young wrote, *”Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend. Stay on the path I have selected for you. It is truly the path of life.”

As you stay the course God has mapped out for you, in due season I’m confident you  will be declaring to God with great joy, “Your a peach an absolute peach!”
*”A grand adventure is about to begin” Are you ready for it?

*Jesus Calling by Sarah Young  * Winnie the Pooh


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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