Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Walk on Water

My woolen clad feet slip into personal skates, oh so comfy.  It's a familiar home-like fit.  I feel empowered, ready for action with hair blowing free.  The lake is inviting, a whole vast world of freedom dressed in brilliance, brisk air invigorating. 

But then I look down.  The ice appears different than before.  Where the snow has been shoveled off, I can see clear through.  In one swift moment, fear snuffs out my confidence.  "Why does the ice look so thin?" I nervously inquire of my husband.

Faster at lacing up his skates, he has already taken a swirl or two on the lake.  "It's still a good 4 or 5 inches thick," he states so matter of factly.  "The ice was cloudy before, but today you can see the water underneath.  That's the only difference."

You can see.

What is it about seeing that paralyzes?   With great trepidation I venture out.  Slowly at first, because it's hard to trust.  I look up and there is my husband, already halfway across the lake, moving in complete joy and freedom. Shoot, if he can do it, so can I.  Without looking down, I plunge full force into my stride.  

The ice holds.  

Believe without seeing, that is how faith is usually defined.  Yet, sometimes faith is required even when the way is clear . . . like walking on water.  The path before me remains unmistakable, but when I look down at my feet, the action needed in order to obey, looms insurmountable.   Soon, I am shaking.

What I believe about God is crucial to my confidence.  Is He Truth?   Then why do my skates fall into these cracks, causing me to fall flat on my face?  Because I have believed lies about God.  And the more I dwell there, the wider the cracks.

Truth calls me to look up.  His smile of favor gives courage to take the next step.  Jesus knows me completely, yet never condemns or forsakes.  Most assuredly, I am not alone.  How do I know?  Truth says so.  (Heb. 13:5)

With lifted face my eyes scan the horizon.  And there is my husband skating free, oxygen pulsing through his veins, like others gone before, Hebrews 11 people.  They never saw, but they are alive.  My husband sees, turns, and skates beside me. 

As I write this, my husband and children are off skating, only indoors at a rink.  The ice has since melted, but the fact still remains that none of us ever skates alone.  I'm so thankful for my brothers and sisters in the Lord who walk right along beside me, fighting the good fight of faith.

In times of discouragement it is easy to think we are the only ones. This is why, though we look to Jesus, we remain beside one another.   No wonder the Scriptures command us not to forsake meeting together!  (Heb. 10:25) 

My youngest has just walked in the door and announced, "I'm not sure I've got my land legs back!"  And I would have to agree.  But I'm not sure I want them back, 'cause walking on water is much more rewarding. 

Friday, January 24, 2014


I feel sheepish to admit it, but Disney's latest movie, Frozen, hit close to home.  Who comes up with these story lines and characters anyway?  I believe they personify our own struggles all too clearly, hence, the attraction.   

"Conceal.  Don't feel," instructs Elsa's father before leaving on a dangerous voyage.

I've lived much of my life with that motto, disciplining myself to hold emotion inside.  To express feeling was not very kosher for the culture in which I lived, making it sometimes difficult for me to be open.

One thing I long for about heaven is that I can finally worship God uninhibited.  I can let it go, all the Christ in me that aches to be set free . . . to create with complete freedom.  It will not be something I'm supposed to make or be.  Rather, it will be the perfect flow of the art in me, openly expressed in worship of Him. 

I know.  Some seem to be able to do this now, on earth.  They are naturals at expression and their lives drip freedom.  But for some of us, when people get close, they only find sharp edges, pokes, and prickles.  And so we remain guarded, afraid to be moved, to let others in, because all too often, we have injured another.

The character Elsa, though she seems untouchable, deep down longs to use her gift freely.  Someone must believe in her, someone persistent enough to tug at her heart and draw out its beauty.

I'm so thankful for these kinds of people in my life.  A husband who values who I am in Christ and encourages expression of my gifts.  Children, who see all my stumbling, but remain undaunted in their tenacious hold. Friends who persist in breaking through my guarded shell, and a local church who believes in my purpose.

Most days I prefer to be alone in my icy castle . . . safe.  But there is no blessing in safe.   God would have me be vulnerable so that He might bless others through me.  Growth only comes as I am willing to take a risk, "for without faith it is impossible to please Him."  (Heb. 11:6)  This is one reason I write, to share my life with you in hopes that you will be pointed towards Jesus.

Frozen is a movie I plan to purchase for my own personal library.  Way to go Disney.  Well done.  Let's have more like this one.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ninja Love

It was a ninja invasion!  Three for a dollar ninjas, sticking to the ceiling and crawling down the walls.  I'm not sure which was more frightening, the ninja's or a room full of excitable middle school students.  At any rate, I don't think the lesson of that night will be easily forgotten.

Stealth mode.  It was the preferred method when Jesus healed people.  He often told them to tell no one, to simply be content with the miracle.  But I do not know of a single Bible character who actually obeyed that command.  They may have tried, but how could they keep silent at what Jesus had done for them?

I wonder if we would be so eager to do good works for others if no one ever saw or knew?  This is one goal I have for this year, to practice Ninja love, works done in secret.  I want to better serve others, not where it is seen, but unseen, especially in my own home.  Laundry, dishes, cooking meals, you know, normal stuff.  Why do we resist the mundane? Maybe because it is not so visible to the public eye.

How easy to give our best energy and time to outsiders.  Sometimes I find myself caught in this trap.  My husband and children then receive the leftovers.  But that is completely backwards.  Furthermore, if we are filled up by love for one another at home, then we can better serve in the public place. 

These works done in secret, God sees.  Is it enough that only God know? 

I'm reminded to keep my eyes open, because God moves in mysterious ways.  He can get my attention, even through a ninja. 

And I will finish on a weird note.  I have one of these ninja's hanging in my kitchen.  It started out as a fun little prank my children played on me.  But I like it, so it will stay put.  I need the reminder to keep my family first and practice some ninja love around the house.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

God's Lap

Abstract art is not understood by everyone.  Some brush it aside with scarcely a glance, while others pause and study to grasp its message.  Yet, if the viewer is still struggling to catch the meaning, sometimes all they need is a prompt, and it all falls into place.  

The challenge with writing is to create art in such a way that the reader fully understands.  Stating the obvious is condescending to the reader, but by the same token, a piece too vague causes the reader to miss the message entirely.

Yesterday I published a post which may have been misunderstood.  For this reason, I removed it.  Yet, I am not sorry I wrote it, only that I may have shared too much of my heart.  For those who read it, forgive me if I made you uncomfortable.

However, I believe in the message I was trying to convey and so here I seek to give a prompt to its meaning.

The word, "habit" receives a bad rap, but God made us habitual beings for our own benefit.  Oh what blessing is a good habit!  For this reason, we need discipline and ritual to carve out habits in our lives, such as time alone with the Lord each day.

But good habits have some traps.  We can go through our structured devotional books, Bible reading, even prayer, having never really met with God.  There are times in our lives, usually when our hearts hurt deeply, when God urges us to color outside the lines.  In those moments the Spirit intercedes for us with words that cannot be spoken, only this aching of the heart. 

Yesterday, God met me in that place of intensity.  While I did not run to my structure, I did visit the Word and my prayers were real.  I earnestly sought the Lord and He answered.  (I will speak of that answer in another post coming soon.)  But sometimes there is struggle before surrender comes.

Structure helps me stay disciplined in communion with the Lord each day, especially when life's pressures threaten to invade.   And in dry seasons, that habitual time in the Word is a life saver.  In fact, I challenge you:  establish a habit of meeting with God each day and see if it will not revolutionize your life!

While lofty, my goal is not to get through the Bible in a year, nor to pray through someone else's prayer journal.  My deepest heart's desire is to encounter the Living God!  This is done through His Word and prayer by His Holy Spirit who dwells in all who believe.

And so I conclude with this:  become like little children.   Open the Word, pray real, and seek Him with all your heart.  This is my regular habit and I hope it is yours as well.  But in that place of structure, don't be afraid to crawl up on God's lap or to hide under the shelter of His wings.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


You may have noticed some changes on my blog.  Yes, it is still me, but please be patient while it is under construction.  I will let you know when it is completed.

Thank you!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dare to Believe

She wanted the tree left up for her birthday.  Every year it is this way.  And like a good mom, I comply.  But the birthday is over and the tree came down . . . finally.  Sigh.  The resumed order and extra space is a breath of fresh air, a splash of cold water; invigorating, to say the least. 

Our victories, though glorious, become stale if we camp there. 

Pitching tents on the shores of the Red Sea might have seemed ideal.  Enemies destroyed, a natural barrier in place, fresh water, level ground, and praise songs all day long.  However, that was not God's plan, nor the best for His people.

Instead, God led them into the wilderness . . . intentionally.  And in that desert, Israel became hungry and thirsty. . . on purpose.  God's intent was that His people might truly know Him, preparing their hearts for worship.  

This brings me to my theme for the year . . . hungry.

The Red Sea was elementary.  God led His people as a shepherd leads sheep, lambs on His shoulders.  But I'm ready to move on to the oxen at His side.  That place where His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  (Matt. 11:28-30)  I desire a deeper level in my relationship with God. 

Yet, unless I act on what He has said, I remain stagnant, sitting at a green light.  Hunger is not much good without belief leading to action.  They work hand in hand.  Believe.  That is my challenge for this year.    

The words spoken by Elizabeth to Mary, "Blessed is she who believes that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished," still linger in my heart.  (Lk. 2:45)  They will not let go. 

One decoration I did not pack away, was a simple nativity from childhood.  Receiving much wear and tear, all that remains is a shell with Mary and Jesus tucked inside.  Timid, fearing to tread too close, is, not a donkey, camel, sheep, or cow, but . . . a fawn.

It whispers, dare to believe.  

While hunger for God defends, keeping my trembling from flight, faith is my offense, stepping forward to come and see.  

I've camped at past victories long enough.  God is telling me to move forward.  He is about to do something new, something deep, if I have the courage to believe.  Yet, therein lies my fear, this lack of courage . . . hence, the hunger.

I am desperate for You, God.  I know what it is You ask me to do, but I don't have the courage.  Make this hunger so intense that it holds me fast, keeps me pursuing.  Help me believe when I cannot see.