Accompanied by Grace

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

This morning the moon led me to work, almost all the way in, and it was like watching a poem. It was one of those big yellow moons. The kind that always take my breath away. I greeted it and then I greeted God.

Sometimes I think He is hiding His face behind it. I can always find the face right away and know which direction he is looking, up down or sideways. This morning he was looking down and to the side, gazing on earth, gazing at me.

If the moon could flirt, he was.

He played peek a boo with me, peering between the big cement beams when I was going under the new overpass.  Man can build his buildings but only God can keep this big yellow moon up in the sky. Just then, the London Philharmonic was playing a beautiful rendition in strings of a song I have heard before.

The thought occurred to me that this might be one of those moments I will always remember. The morning the moon and the music and God all worked together to serenade me.

I thought: Remember this right now, because right now the people you love are here, but there will come a time when they are not, and you will think of this moment when the moon and the music and God all worked together.

Yesterday, I called my Mom and Dad just to tell them I loved them. It’s only once you get older that you begin to see the sacrifices they made to raise you….to give you not only what you needed, but many times what you wanted.

While they went without.

As God and the moon dipped below the San Tan mountains I did a little intake of breath. I didn’t think it was possible to get any more beautiful but just then he, she, it did.

Right then she looked like an elegant lady taking her leave in a sequined gown of gold.

Goodbye moon, and thank you for accompanying me on this grace journey today.

I will miss you, but I know you have others to captivate.

 

Photo credit: google images.

The walks I never took

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I have always been a girl who loves a walk. Often, while people are talking and socializing, I will be the one who slips out back. I want to know what’s in the back of the beyond. Even now, sitting at this computer, somewhere I hear the slam of a squeaky screen door and picture myself looking for that path that leads through the woods.

There are so many things you can do just besides the walking on a walk. There’s thinking, ruminating, wondering, discovering hidden treasures, finding God just to name a few.

Walking sets the mind free and takes it off its tether.

On this particular walk not long ago, I found myself wandering out the back door and being let further by a little dot of yellow in a sea of green. It beckoned me closer, and the breeze caused it to nod encouragment, as if I needed it.

Have you ever noticed that flowers and tree’s don’t need to talk? This one beckoned me without saying a word.

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I found myself kneeling at the clover looking for the four-leaf……and for a moment I felt like the kid I used to be when I could hear the trees whispering and actually believe that leprechaun’s were hiding behind them. 

I wonder, does imagination lose its power, or do we let it go?

And as I leaned in with my camera, she beckoned me closer still. I saw her intricate beauty and I wondered why she was there all alone.

God planted her just He has planted me.

She blooms for His glory all by herself, not even having to try. Maybe she knows something I don’t. Could it possibly be that easy?

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I am intrigued with the idea of God walking. I am captivated by the thought that someday God will walk with me in the cool of the evening like He did His first kids.

God walks, imagine that.

And now I am thinking of another very important thought.

Of all the walks I have taken, I have only regretted the ones I didn’t take. It hurts me now to think of times when someone asked me to go and I thought I had better things to do.

I didn’t.

So today, if someone asks you to go or if your spirit tugs at you to step outside and walk down the road?

Whatever you do, don’t say no.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day……Genesis 3:8

Yes, He walks…..that proves it.

Choosing the Scars

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If you asked me for proof of whether God exists and whether He works in the lives of people, I would ask you to peer into my life; for I believe its in the story of our lives where He does His best work. If you could have been watching, you would have seen a girl kneeling by her bed, the one with the ruffly pink chenille bedspread, the one our dog always peed on when it was fresh from the laundry, knowing even then that God was listening.

God has His fingerprint on us from the start, and either we are born with someone in our lives who confirms that or denies it. One thing I know, throughout our lives God keeps tapping us on the shoulder, trying to remind us He’s still there.

My life has been shot through with miracle after miracle, and so has yours. I was born 3 months early in a time when that was a real emergency. If we hadn’t been visiting my Aunt, who lived very close to Stanford Hospital when my Mom went into labor, I may have been returned to sender even before I took a breath.

Flash forward to aged 12 where I sat in the dermatologist office for the first time, a curtain of hair hanging in front of a face marred with early onset adult cystic acne. Around that same time, I walked down the church aisle and gave my life to the Lord, because I knew I needed saving in more ways than one.

If you took a slice out of my life during the ensuing years, you would see many good times doing things together as a family, but you would also see hard days when my Dad hated his job, and mornings when my Mom had to literally pray me out the door before the onslaught of the school day.

And even all these years later I can still feel her hand in mine and hear her voice when she prayed those prayers in the mornings by the light of the fire.  

Those prayers carried me through High School where I so much wanted to belong but remained locked inside myself because I didn’t know how to be friends with myself let alone anyone else. Every now and then the acne was not as bad, and I almost felt free, but then it would come back and I would retreat again, inside my music and the dark scrawling in the notebook I carried wherever I went.

All those years the Spirit held me close, but those years also left scars that I didn’t let Him heal and because the mirror I used to view myself was a distorted one, I never saw the beauty that others saw, I just saw the scars.

Then, I went on a diet and lost a few pounds and got a few compliments. I became intoxicated with something I could actually control and I found that when I refused food that I really liked I felt a power I had never felt before.

I became my own superhero and 83 pounds was still not thin enough.

But God still held me fast. He heard the tearful prayers of my parents. One night I had a dream that was suffused with a golden light and when I awoke the next morning I knew that the demon had lost and God had won. I ate forbidden scrambled eggs and then the real work started.

In the dark mornings, God and I would get up and run when no one else could see me. Later, my Dad and I (and God) ran together. Rain or shine, we were out there. In the eighties, I joined the throng of women wearing “Flashdance” sweatshirts and leg warmers and traded one addiction for another.

And all these years later when I hear that song on the radio?  I smile and remember those days when I got my health back and felt beautiful for the first time in my life ever.

And knowing God was with me all along.

Today, if you’ve ever wondered if there was a God I challenge you to look at your own life and count up all the things you’ve come through.

You are here friend, because He wanted you here.

Right now today where you stand, wherever you stand, He loves you. He has already partnered with you, all you have to do is accept His invitation to partner with Him. Years later, when you are looking back at your life the way I am looking at mine now, and trust me on this, it is the one thing you will never, ever regret.

And if my scars made the difference between knowing Him and not knowing Him? I would choose the scars every single time.

in Just-spring

By E. E. Cummings 1894–1962

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles          far          and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
it’s
spring
and
         the
                  goat-footed
balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee

 

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When I first heard this poem by ee cummings I was so struck by the imagery of it, I never forgot it. I don’t remember what class I was sitting in or what teacher it was that made it come alive when they read it aloud but I do remember feeling like he got it just right.

I remember walking home from school in February or March after a cold spring rain, walking through puddles and seeing daffodils and tulips bowing under the weight of the water, and then how vibrant and alive the world turned when the sun came out. Each time, I would remember this poem, and the little lame balloon man. In my mind I could see him part walking, part listing from side to side with his big bunch of balloons for sale.

Good poetry, like good art or good music wakes us up, stuns us with the beauty of the world.  That’s because it is God inspired. Great music….great art…..great poetry or writing,  has the power to lift us beyond ourselves. If it is truly good, it makes us better. 

It’s why people gasp and fall silent when they first see a true Masterpiece in an art gallery. Like nature, it wiggles you down to the core……takes your breath away and makes the world stop for just a moment.

Because just for an instant you almost believe you’ve found God’s pulse.

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Thomas Merton, Psalm

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The forms and individual characters of living and growing things, of inanimate beings, of animals and flowers and all nature, constitute their holiness in the sight of God. Their inscape is their sanctity. It is the imprint of His wisdom and His reality in them.

The special clumsy beauty of this particular colt on this day in this field under these clouds is a holiness consecrated to God by His own creative wisdom and it declares the glory of God. The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints.

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The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God. This leaf has its own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape, and the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river are canonized by their beauty and their strength.

The great, gashed, half-naked mountain is another of God’s saints. There is no other like Him. He is alone in his own character; nothing else in the world ever did or ever will imitate God in quite the same way. That is his sanctity.

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But what about you? What about me?

Thomas Merton, Psalm

New Seeds of Contemplation