A future of hope from Isaiah

The Wildness of God

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

God Wants You

You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.

The One True Light...

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

The little lambs that were lost to us this week, are safe in the Good Shepherd’s arms today…….that is how I derive some measure of peace about what happened….please join me in ongoing prayer for the families, especially the parents.

Lori

Photos from google images

Fighting the Change

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30: 19,20

I awoke this morning with a familiar feeling, one I didn’t like. I was flat. Not happy, not depressed……just flat. I am in the beginning stages of that place in life known as, dare I say it? “the change.” Sshhhh, I won’t say it out loud. I didn’t use bold face type or big letters. It is not a real uplifting topic for women, (or the men who live with them.) But it is a reality.

I had a choice in that moment. To settle for how I felt, or to fight for something better. That is what it really comes down to each and every day. A choice for life or death. Victory or defeat. So I got up, grabbed some coffee and sought life in the pages of the book that was lying on the floor by the bed. The one that gives life…….I flipped open to Corinthians and there I found this verse:

“For thanks be to God, who always leads us to triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place, for we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:14,15

God has taught me that I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to slog through the day feeling like this.

I can have victory in Christ.

As I rustled through those pages, I started to feel more like life and less like death. And I realized something else. If I had settled for that feeling?  I would have missed the beautiful fragrance that the people in my life are giving off,  because they are making the choice to get up and give life to me. And I don’t want to miss it.

I don’t want to have to apologize because I have been so focused on myself that I don’t see the hurt in your eyes for being ignored, not appreciated, not valued.  

We all have heard about muscle memory. Trained athletes know it. The muscle remembers. But so does the mind.  

That is what I remembered with tears this morning on the way to work. I remembered how I had to fight for life after my healing from anorexia. The healing of my mind had to come first, but then I had to begin the long battle of healing my body. You don’t starve your monthly cycle away without having to work hard to get it back.    

I remembered getting up in the dark before anyone else was awake, and running….just running. In the cold and in the dark all I heard was my feet slapping on pavement and my heart pounding, my breath coming out in puffs. I didn’t want anyone to see me because I felt I was repulsive. I had ballooned to 125 pounds from 80, largely from fluid buildup that came from wreaking havoc with my hormones.

But morning after morning, I got up, I went out, I fought back.

And today, I can smile on that victory. Because God heard the prayers of hurting parents, and He heard me too, down there hitting the pavement. He was with me.

Later, after I felt a bit more confident my Dad went with me. It was good, just he and I running together. And someone else I didn’t even know was watching too. I later learned that my future husband watched us run from the window of Flame liquors where he worked for years. After we met he told me this. Life is amazing isn’t it?

I can rejoice now in the suffering, because of the victory at the end. Because much of life is getting back up over and over again, no matter how you feel and fighting back, because you know life is always worth it.

Restoration and light and life waits at the end of the road. And once we’ve come through? We can help each other find the way out.

When you have had part of your life ripped away is when you begin to know the true value of it.  

All over the world today, people making the choice. Some even when it would be much easier to choose death.

Choose life with me today?

Pray as if it’s the first time

 
 
There must be a time of day when the man who
makes plans forgets his plans,
and acts as if he had no plans at all.
 
There must be a time of day when the man who has
to speak falls very silent.
And his mind forms no more propositions,
and he asks himself:
Did they have a meaning?
 
There must be a time
when the man of prayer goes to pray
as if it were the first time in his life
he had ever prayed,
where the man of resolutions puts his
resolutions aside
as if they had all been broken,
and he learns a different wisdom;
 
distinguishing the sun from the moon,
the stars from the darkness,
the sea from dry land,
and the night sky from the shoulder of a hill……
 
No Man is an Island:
Thomas Merton
 
This is where I am today, friends. I sat in silence today, my candle flickering,  unable to say any prayer that made any sense. Tongue-tied I sat in the silence. I was feeling nothing except the sense that I had lost myself and I wanted me back. Caretaking does that.  
 
When I read these very wise words of Thomas Merton something within me sprang to life. The recognition that so much of what we are doing in our modern society makes it all but impossible to hear God’s voice. I have felt that I needed to get away and hear the sigh of the wind in the pines…..I tried on Sunday. We drove all the way up to the rim, but there was a fire and all we could smell was smoke.
 
Sometimes it doesn’t work out. But God is still here…..and within me, His Spirit.
 
As long as I have Him, what else do I need? In His fullness I can find everything I will ever want, need or desire. The need I feel within, that deepest longing that we all have, can be fulfilled in Him and only in Him.  
 
When I read the lines……..”When the man of prayer goes to pray as if it were the first time in his life he had ever prayed,” my soul quickened. Merton got it. And I can get it too.
 
We are all broken. That’s where we must start. And it’s not so much a learning, it is a remembering who we are. In the Spirit of reconciliation we must turn and help heal each other. That is what makes God happiest of all. Too often we sit alone in our pain and confusion, when right next to us is someone who could help, and in letting them help us, we help them too.  
 
I leave you to prayer and meditation in every quiet moment you find today.
 
Meditation: Psalm 15
 


When writing heals what is broken

“Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day”
Morning has broken, Cat Stevens
Sometimes God does something that we really don’t expect. Well, usually He does.  And yesterday, I hinted at that something. It was something that was broken off me……and it was supernatural. It was an out and out healing, I really wouldn’t know what else to call it. I wrote a story recently, well God wrote it, actually. And I guess it was a kind of catharsis, because ever since it was posted, the anger that I have been wrestling with has left.
I remember the morning after I sent it, I awoke at 2:00 and it was there. The black presence. I was fighting with it in the dark. I was doing combat. And I was upset because I was robbed of precious sleep. In two more hours the alarm would go off.
It was a person I was mad at. And it was justified, because my friend was hurt because of it. You could say it was a righteous anger. But it was anger all the same. And I recognized it as a tangible thing inside me, building and brewing inside me since all these events of the past few years or so.
It was the anger that leapt up like a fire in me…….when a shirt wouldn’t come off the hanger, when someone pulled in front of me, little irrational things that caused it to flare. And I was never that way before.
That dark morning I prayed just I had other mornings, but that morning I fell asleep hard, and when I awoke that anger had packed its bags and left. God swept that demon out clean. 
I know it was the story.
I compare it to the other morning long ago when I got up and I suddenly knew my mind was healed of anorexia. I sat down and ate……with no guilt at all. That thing inside that held me captive was gone and I knew it.
And there was such joy at the kitchen table that day, my Mom and Dad and I all cried as I told them about a healing dream I had. That morning they got their daughter back from the grip of death.
I remember I ate scrambled eggs, usually a forbidden food.
I know it was the story. I gave it to Him and He did something wonderful with it.
This is powerful confirmation that Dawn is coming.
Once again He has reminded me in a powerful way, that whatever you or I are going through right now, its temporary, Hallelujah.
Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:4,5, and 8



Casting our care……

……….casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
You’re hurt and still reeling from the pain of it……all you want to do is go away. Like an animal that is scared or sick, you want to find a dark quiet place and go there. The pain of it is so great you don’t even want to talk about it. You didn’t expect it, and especially from them. You reached out your hand for help and drew back a bloody stump.
I don’t know much but I do know that when your heart is aching that much, there is only One who can heal it. When you don’t want to talk to anyone else because it just hurts too much to repeat it, you can tell it to Him. He understands. One of the saddest verses in the Bible is also the most comforting to me. It is part of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Jesus:
……He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Isaiah 53:3
He felt that bitter ache……He identifies fully with us in that way. His own best friends deserted Him when He needed them the most. We all did. When the ones you love the most turn their backs on you, and that you don’t even know what to do with the hurt, give it to Jesus. You can trust Him with it. He is waiting with open arms.
Let Him place His healing hands over your heart today. Even our best friends can’t do that, as much as they might want to.
But He can, and He will.
He loves you dear one.

One Little Word

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…….”
“That you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints…….”
“The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all……..”
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house…….”
It was only a simple little sign that said, “Welcome.” My Aunt had tacked it up close to the place we’d park so we would be sure to see it when we came in. To really see that sign for what it was, you would have to understand the million painful steps of grief and stress it took to get there. The welcome behind that little sign said it all…….It meant finding a place of peace for a few short days. It meant, I am glad to have you here….you are wanted, appreciated. You are safe.
When you give someone a welcome, you have no way of knowing how great that impact will be. Or maybe you do. You never know what someone is facing, where they are on their journey or how far that journey has taken them. To someone, your welcome might mean that they can keep going on, that it’s worth it….that they are worth it. And just maybe, our welcome is their last hope.

Welcome in our eyes, welcome with open arms, welcome with words of softness.

Being welcomed is like coming in out of the cold and led to a crackling fire and a steaming mug of something to wrap your hands around.

Being made to feel unwelcome is like being cast out into a raging storm. It can be the loneliest feeling in the world.

There is a world of people out there who are scarred and hurting from past rejection. They have learned not to trust, yet they really want to. And everytime we are kind, we are participants in healing over those old scars. And really, don’t we all need some healing?

I will never forget the sting I felt when I was at a family gathering long ago. The mother couldn’t remember my name and referred to me as “What’s her name….” then they proceeded to go off to a different place and put their chairs in a circle. It was one of the strangest things I have ever experienced. I never want to make anyone feel like I felt that day.
And yet I know at times that I have…….God still has a lot of work to do on me.
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40

We all need healing

“Our own experience with loneliness, depression, and fear can become a gift for others, especially when we have received good care. As long as our wounds are open and bleeding, we scare others away. But after someone has carefully tended to our wounds, they no longer frighten us or others.

When we experience the healing presence of another person, we can discover our own gifts of healing. Then our wounds allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters.”

Henri Nouwen, the Wounded Healer

We all need healing from something, that is the truth. This life makes its marks. And we are all at different mile markers in our healing journey. Here’s the miracle part. That at just the point when we think we can no longer hold on, someone a little further down the path, or one who is presently not in need of healing speaks hope.

Someone listens……..Someone says they understand, and you know they really do.

One of the ladies in my Mom’s Bible study, when they finished going around the table with all their prayer concerns, (and they were many) said, “the word for the day is Nevertheless.”

I like that…….Nevertheless……we have Jesus. Nevertheless…….we are more than conquerors……Nevertheless…….we exult in hope and joy unspeakable and full of glory……Nevertheless……He gives us peace that passes understanding.

The One who heals us, knows how it feels to be in need of healing Himself.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5