Are You Suffering?

We sit alone in our homes, sequestrated in a time of uncertainty – self isolating during a global pandemic.

For weeks now the whole world seemed to grind to a complete halt. With access to a global news network we had information early on about the COVID-19 virus and it’s spread across the globe. We had daily updates at our fingertips as we learned of countries changing the way they live, of hospitals becoming overwhelmed and of countries shutting entirely down.

Then – it happened here.

There are no words to express what happened next because each of our stories are different. How I have experienced this pandemic so far is quite different than how you have. While you might not know anyone effected, someone else might know many. It’s a kaleidoscopic mixture of experiences fraught with emotional consequences. Who we are as people, as a nation and as the kingdom of God has been challenged.

We are no longer meeting together as we normally do. Work became remote. Places of business and worship closed their doors. The ways of connection and community shifted. The struggle to return to “normal” is fraught with unanswered questions and uncertainty.

Where will our focus be as we rotate the kaleidoscope of our lives and return to life?

Perhaps that answer lies in where your focus has been throughout this unprecedented time. What has been your experience? How exactly have you spent these months when the world stopped? I am sure there were moments of boredom, of worry, of sadness and even joy. What will be your take away from this pandemic experience?

For many, there will be suffering.

Suffering of lives lost. Suffering of families who lost a loved one and couldn’t say goodbye since they couldn’t go to the hospital. Suffering of people dying alone in hospitals. Suffering of elderly people in nursing homes around the country who can’t see loved ones. Suffering of men, woman, and children of all ages who got sick fighting for breath and searching for answers from inefficient testing and doctors doing the best they can to diagnose something so novel and new they were often shooting in the dark.

So much suffering.

Impoverished black men and women working in hospitals with no PPE. Women trapped at home with abusers, predators in their own home continuing a long cycle of abuse. Young girls and boys exploited and preyed upon by family members. Single Mom’s working hard to care for children when their self employment career offers no unemployment benefits. Homeless men, women and children remaining on the streets rather than going to a shelter.

Proms cancelled. Graduations ceremonies cancelled. Weddings cancelled. Anniversary celebrations shifted to Zoom meetings. Birthday parties celebrated by drive by parades. Family reunions, summer gatherings, business meetings, conventions, knitting groups, books clubs – so much we look forward too, changed.

We are a nation filled with people who are suffering. Real suffering. Some physical, but some also emotional and relational. As a nation and a people we strive to face the grief we are overwhelmed by as we mourn lives lost and lives changed. We are now facing harsh realities we can’t escape from. Loneliness and isolation cry out for us to return to normal to help ease not only our financial burdens but our relational one’s as well. We long for community and crave for a return to “normal.”

Is your heart open to see the suffering around you? When people are hurting in your own life, your families, your friends, your neighbors. How do you cope? In what ways are you walking in community with those who are hurting? Does your heart remain open or are you falling into a comparative suffering, comparing your experience and suffering to that of someone else?

We are in the midst of a global pandemic which may last for some time. Perhaps we will have spikes of increased cases as we ride this wave which could extend into next year or even longer. I hear and see the clamoring to get our lives back to normal and I have to pause and ask myself – what is “normal”?

In Matthew chapter 22 Jesus Christ was asked one of the deepest and richest questions of all time. In the midst of uncertainty when faced with all the miracles and teachings of Christ a Pharisee, who is a religious teacher, asked Jesus,“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22: 36-40)

If there is one thing we can learn from Jesus is that all the Messianic Law and Prophets written before Jesus walked the earth could be summed up in these few verses. Love God with all that you are and love your neighbor as you love yourself. What paramount meaning for life! What would our world look like if we based our decisions and life experiences upon these truths?

Love God. Love yourself. Love others.

Perhaps you don’t believe in God. Perhaps you question His existence wondering what type of supreme being would allow such suffering to come to the earth he supposedly created?

Maybe you struggle with loving yourself and accepting who you are and your place in this world. If you have this identity crisis it could make it difficult to love others when you don’t know how to love yourself. During this time of self isolation you may find your internal struggle amplified.

Jesus simplifies His teachings into these three areas Love God, love yourself and love others. Jesus never qualified who those “others” are. They could be someone with a different political affiliation or policy than you adhere to. It could be someone much richer than you who isn’t suffering financially during this time. It could be someone poorer than you who doesn’t know how to put food on their table. It could be someone unemployed who doesn’t have access to health care and has difficultly getting necessary medical treatment. It could be the person terrified to leave their home due to their underlying health issues during this pandemic. It could be the worker who never stopped working this whole time. It could be the elderly stuck inside dependent on others.

So many others.

We would like to think we love others until that “other” person is us. Until we fall into that category of someone suffering, or something infected, of someone not working, or not knowing how they will pay their mortgage. Of someone exposed to the virus at work and in self quarantine. Of someone so lonely in isolation for so long they ache for connection.

Worry creeps in. Sadness fills our hearts as we mourn those who died but can’t be there to bury them. Fear comes knocking as we are unsure of what’s next. We struggle to find an emotional way to move on when there is no closure. Yet we open our laptops and see the news filled with a push to move forward, to open, to return.

Until you know someone who has suffered from the virus and seen what it can do, it’s hard to understand it’s impact. The larger percentage of the population sits back and talks about their boredom, their bread making, their ways they filled their days – while people die and families mourn.

Love others as yourself.

Are we as a nation, a people, looking out for others? We can’t desire to call ourselves a Christian nation, nor strive to get us to be one – without embodying the walk of Jesus Christ. All you have to do is read the news, see the footage of protesters rallying for their rights, hear the talk about personal liberties being infringed upon and give pause. I read recently that fear is being used as a tool to divide us all. Scroll through your newsfeed and see where people stand.

What if we embraced the fear that people have been experiencing as a way to love them?

Stop quoting Scripture and moving on. Stop talking about your trust in God as being enough. Because I ask you, is it? Is it enough to trust God but not love His people? We can live in our self imposed glass houses of faith and think they will protect us – until they shattered beneath our feet.

Open your Bible. Read those red words of Jesus. See what Jesus did while He walked this earth. He didn’t just stand still when people where afraid. He didn’t just quote Scripture to cast things out so that we do the same. He walked into the deep end of peoples lives. He embraced their pain. He comforted those who mourned. He listened and did not judge. He stepped out of the synagogue and into their hearts.

Jesus stood firm – love God, love yourself and love others.

If we want to really love others, we need to get out of ourselves, our rights, our liberties. We need to get out of the familiarity of our church buildings, our church friends, our camps, our retreats and get out in this world. Because my friends Jesus tells us, “… open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35b) 

The fields are ripe for harvest!

The world is hurting, and will be for some time. What will we do Christian? Will you remain enclosed in spiritual houses and use only those houses to reach out? Will you remain encamped in your small enclaves doing what you can in your communities? Are you willing to burst out of what you know and trust the Spirit to lead you in uncertain times for God? We are in a global pandemic and if it’s not our time to shine the light of God’s love for the world, when will it be?

Faith filled followers are called to love others.

Consider today you can love someone new. Even in your quarantine. Even as you wear your mask. Even as you transition out of the home into the world again. What will your example be? Embrace the uncomfortable and do the right thing even if you don’t fully agree with someone. Do the right thing as consider others more than yourself. Become the feet of Jesus in a world full of suffering.

Stop comparing suffering – everyone’s heart maters. Comparative sufferings only minimizes the hearts that need healing. Nothing is more important, or more essential, then bringing hope to hurting hearts. Bring the light and love of Jesus to people and their homes, their communities and lives.

We have a great opportunity before us my friends, the fields are ripe for harvest. Love God. Love yourself and embrace the pain in your own life. Love others.

People are afraid. People need hope. People need love.

Shine your light.

 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-16)

The Answer is Yes

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Yes.

I’ve spent my life saying yes. Yes to love, yes to service, yes to giving. Firmly planted in my mind from an early age, I certainly thought it was the “Christian” thing to do. It’s what I believed. It’s what I was taught. It was reinforced by interactions with others. Yes was the answer.

Wasn’t it?

All those years of saying yes created a frantic, unbalanced, personal life. Much yes of doing, of going and giving brought about stress in relationships, tension in my home life, pressure that paralyzed me. I became captive to the expectations of others and even more so to expectations of myself. The more I did, and found appreciation and acceptance by others – the more I moved into that direction.

Thinking this was God’s call for me at the time, I wonder if I was wading through the acceptance of others looking for God’s approval? Maybe that love I so desperately looked for, I hoped with each yes it would become clearer that God really did love me. With each blog post, each lesson given, each ministry opportunity faced and accomplished, I found more peace that I had a place. Perhaps it was filling a need for others, but it certainly wasn’t fulfilling the needs of those I loved the most. With each yes to others, it was a no to those I cared for the deepest.

I had it wrong.

Had I been richly blessed in the process? Most definitely. I have made deep friendships. I have fostered relationships for the growth of teens and women who want to know God more. My passion for them, and for God spilled out into service in a natural way. I appeared whole, yet inwardly my life was a mess.

There was a time of knowing what my world was and living in it brought some contentment to life on this side of eternity. It was full of church events, ministry and busy days. It was neat and orderly on the outside. I see now I had trusted in what I had done rather than who I am.  I said yes, often. God had to teach me no. He had to reveal that all this yes wasn’t making me healthy, making me whole or making me His. How could I know in the deepest parts of me that I am enough if I spent my life a slave to the expectations of others?

Saying no is healthy.

Let me share with you a story about Jesus.

 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”

Jesus chose to get up to be alone. He chose to walk away from the people of the village. He chose to go and seek out a solitary place. Jesus chose to pray. So many choices He made that we rarely stop to ponder! Isn’t it difficult to do this sometimes? As an extroverted-introvert,  I am finding that my love of people can overtake my introverted self. Not so with Jesus. He loved people. He served them. He even healed them at times. But here He is protecting his space and determining to be alone.

How often do you protect yours?

Do you find yourself frantic during the long days like I have? Have you found you go from one thing to another in a blink of an eye? Jesus knew the days were long but He also knew they were numbered. He knew His time was short and the value of being alone with His Father.

Before we leave Jesus in his solitary space, look again. When Simon and the disciples awoke, they didn’t see Jesus so they went looking for Him. When they found Him they said, “Everyone is looking for you!” Wow. Everyone? That’s a tall order. But look what Jesus did. He didn’t worry and run to them and say, “let’s go to them.” No. Instead Jesus said, “Let’s go somewhere else.”

Wait, what?

People are needing you and you are saying let’s leave? Yes, that’s exactly what He did. Jesus knew His purpose. He told the disciples, “this is why I have come.” Although He had spent time in that village the time had come for Him to go and move on. Jesus valued His time understanding that loving people was God’s plan for Him. He was clear in His purpose.

Are you?

Do you know in your inner being what God’s desire is for you? After spending time alone with the Father, Jesus was energized to fulfill His purpose. He didn’t hesitate. I long for the day when what flows from my inner being matches the will of the Father. Don’t you?  The days I spend quietly with God help determine that alignment. If I spent some time alone with God before all the craziness starts, the more calm of the day I have. Yet how often do I say no to others expectations, like Jesus did, to further walk in the purpose of God? Friends, there is power is no.

Saying no is key to unlocking the freedom of yes, for you.

Don’t believe the lies that circle in good faith building communities. Sharing lessons, ministry, and life won’t make you more complete. Attending every event, every community service project and all retreats won’t do it either. Giving even when you have nothing left to give is not what our Father desires. Nope, He wants you full! He wants you with Him first and foremost. He wants your heart alone with His. Let His Spirit speak to yours and when He is ready it shall overflow to many. Become a cheerful giver. If you are a person stretched beyond yours means, I encourage you. Stop giving to others, and give to yourself.

Give yourself love. Give yourself hope. Give yourself time.

Let the example of Jesus speak to you. Find solitude. Find communion with God. Let Him speak to you. Giving yourself this gift is a fulfillment of God’s plan for you. Don’t believe the lies that self sacrifice means saying no to who you are. Self denial and sacrificing your identity as a person are two different things entirely. Become who you were destined to be. Use your purpose to glorify God. With every breath live a life of love resting in His arms.

If you need to get up early to do that, say yes. If you need to say no to others so you can make it happen, give yourself permission. If you need to let Him refine His purpose and imprint it on your heart, let Him. Give, to you.

Let your answer be yes, and watch Him work!

 

Walk With Me

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I just don’t have the strength anymore.

The strength to be what you need. The strength to be what you expect. The strength to be what you want. I am not God, stop expecting me to be. So I guess I should ask myself, why do I keep pretending that I am? Pretending that I have it all together. Pretending that this day will be different. Pretending that life will really get better.

This is life, and it’s mine. Full of messy days, discouraging moments, depressing times when I can’t even think straight. Trying to form thoughts and move ahead – I stumble over the broken nature of our life. Don’t believe me? Well, I am telling you now, because it’s true.  Life is hard right now, so hard.

Am I the only one?

We all have our own stories and moments of strength, of weakness and of sorrow. I am having difficulty just finding my bearings for the day. I grasp for hope in the ways I know how. Reaching out with disciplines which calm my soul. Yet it seems a whole day can move onward and try as I do to move along with it – I fail. Oh, how I fail.

Stuck in moments of broken dreams, of cradled hopes that disappeared and grief that won’t pry it’s way out of my heart. I am reminded daily of what was and what will never be found again. I mourn. As I do, I can’t find my feet under me to plant them firmly on the ground. I can’t focus my thoughts to wade through the mess. I can’t make a move, to take even one step.

I am so, stuck.

It’s time to stop pretending. It’s time the expectations end. It’s time my friends, for love. Not love like you might know it or have experienced it. Oh no, this love is defined and found in one place and one place alone – with a relationship with God. For the love that comes from God is not like anything you have ever experienced. It’s not full of expectations. It’s not laden with pleasing others. Nor requiring demands. Simply put, love.

God is love. Scripture affirms this. (1 John 4:8) Scattering and gathering these seeds of love within hearts is a high calling. They take root in hurting hearts, in fear filled lives and in places which need affirmation. Love is more than words which express your thoughts. Love is a way of life that permeates decisions and circumstances. Love is, is. It’s active, it’s alive, it’s flowing through people. We become loves ambassador as we walk with others, and as you dear friend, walk with me.

God loves you and desires for you to know Him. Resting in the assurance that His love is enough we can walk through our days, or stay stuck in them, with complete confidence that His love is more than enough to cover our cares. If you mourn like I do, then mourn – trusting that during those dark times, His Presence is never far from you. Trust yourself to be in the places that He has drawn you to, those places that have uncovered themselves in your life. Walking quietly in His way. God loves you. Period.

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.” Acts 17:27-28 NLT

God’s purpose was for us to come into relationship with Him. Even if we have to grope around for Him as we search Him out, He is found by us. He promises not to be far from any one of us. What a grand thought!  How often does God feel far away and distant?  How often do you find yourself wondering where God is? Be honest with yourself. He promises that He is not far off. For in Him we live and more and have our very being!

You are loved, do you feel it? Some of you might say no – that’s okay, I get it. I know this place, the walls are wells worn with thoughts that remind me that I am not good enough. But today, in these moments as we sit together, I encourage you – and me – don’t allow your circumstances to define your worth. Even if you are so stuck you can’t move, that doesn’t mean you are beyond the reach of God Himself. Believe.

You are loved, do you see it? Do you find comfort in relationships that God has provided to you? Do you sense His presence in the comings and goings of your days? Witnessing His love stamped upon your moments together. Sometimes we deny His presence in the beauty of each day. As we strive for the new, the bold and perhaps the immediate (in our instant culture of today), we miss out on the richness that consistent care and presence  brings to our daily lives.

You are loved. Again and again God reminds us that He is love. Scripture affirms it. Relationships renew it. Our hearts convict us. You are loved – so loved! Today, I encourage you, as I encourage myself. No matter how stuck you may be, how hard it might be or how unclear the days ahead seem. God is love and His love for you reaches into every place of your heart. Listen for the quietness. Hear Him speak. Trust in His Presence that promises to remain with you. God is love and he loves you.

He is enough, even when you don’t think you are.

You fight – we wait

waiting_for_dog_by_cathleentarawhiti-d64g7uz Every single day, you fight. You fight to hold onto what was, clawing your way to what could be, regretting what should have been. You ache for days that fill themselves with family, with loved ones, with hope. You wait, oh how you wait – for relief, for a cure, for some hope.

But it doesn’t come.

Grasping at every opportunity looking to find peace, you search with all your heart. For the next medical treatment, the newest doctor, some glimmer of hope. Oh how you fight, climbing up out of the pit of pain and suffering, you search becomes desperate. Hope flew away with the wind as you heard the word, hospice.

You want positive motion, energy, life. But hospice? No, no, not hospice. That would mean giving up. That would mean no longer fighting. That would mean defeat. Right? Well, no.  The battle has been fought and fought so hard.  With each breath you have struggled to take –  you find yourself moving closer to the unknown. Staring it down, it reaches into your core forcing you to face something so unfamiliar. You fight with all your might to keep yourself together, to not let go and to maintain control.

Yes, control.

The days run along, one after another – like the ones before. Filled with appointments, expectations and responsibilities that weigh you down. You move about your life and embrace times of hope filled healing. hard work and satisfaction that comes from the toil of your hands, your mind, your strength.Yes, your strength.

Relying upon yourself you face your fear and when doing so, you often fail. It’s not the power of your words or your actions that speak. It’s not the power of your mind or body that revel you. Oh no, it’s the power of your spirit. Of the strength of who you are as a person that radiates throughout your hospital room. This strength rises high above any expectation. Your goals and your hopes are high, your desire, strong. Your will, unshakeable.

You will beat this.

Yet the words ring in your ears. Hospice, hospice, hospice. Death looms on the horizon and you hesitate to make any decision – for in doing so it may stop your light from leaving this world – peering down at your impending death. You ache to remain here in this world,  while we begin to prepare our minds and hearts for the world without you. Meditating on life with the gaping hole you will leave behind.

Oh how we want you here. Oh yes! But even moreso, we want you in peace. We need you in peace. You hold on and we ache to hold onto you. Experiencing these moments of true joy and authenticity drizzle sweet mercy upon our wounded hearts. We embrace times of grace, love and forgiveness. For maybe the first time, we live, you live.

Live!

In these moments I know it’s true, you will  live on. Hospice or no hospice. Cancer of no cancer. Life or death. You will live. You will remain. You will stretch beyond this world that you know and challenge us, challenge me. We will grow, because of you. We will love, because of you. We can find hope, because of you. We can fight, because of how you taught us to. You will always be with us and in our hearts. Loving us from afar, nudging us to take another step and reminding us that love comes in many forms. Perhaps not with the words we want to hear, but the life we want to live. Each moment with deep passion, and with you – God. Yes, God.

The time for control is over. You are preparing to leave us behind. We are embracing the total measure of your life. It’s not found in money, nor career or material things. Hardly! The peace we find, is resting in the arms of Jesus Christ and letting Him care for you. Embrace you. Love you. Yes, you.

From this life into the next.

Make Your Music

iStock_000004832160Large Here I am.

In the quiet of the day, the notes rise and fall with the beating of my heart. I hear your voice in the strings as they stretch, in the keys as they explore and in the notes that flow from the brass horns. Orchestrating a symphony in my heart is the One who created music Himself. Your love, oh God, expands with each breathe, Your love, oh God, rewrites beauty from the fallen notes of our daily lives. Your love, oh God, whispers to our souls, composing beauty from the brokenness, inviting us into your holy throne room, “come.”

Come!

Come to my presence. Sit at my feet. Do not fear. Do not  fear, for I AM here with you. I AM. Fear will stop you. Fear will blind you. Fear may enrage you. Dear One, the melody I am composing for you – is not for you to hear. I only ask you to waltz through your life with me, following the notes that I compose upon your heart, leading you, guiding you, safely – to me.

I AM.

Beloved child, find beauty in your sadness. Rejoice with me. For I AM your Mighty God and I know what I have planned for you. Trust me. Know that I AM yours, as you my child are mine.  Let us live in the movement of music, reverberating through the pages of time. Let us make melody in our hearts with the Holy One. Daughter, Son – chosen one.

You were made for moments like this.

When all you have tried, all you have done, all you sought – was to be my child. Lay yourself at my feet. You struggle, you question, you pause and wonder how I could love your wonderful soul. When, oh child, will you finally believe?

I AM

What will it take to clean out all the crevices of your heart and find my name written on your walls? My name my child. My name defines you. My name upholds you. My name heals you. My name. I AM.

Whom is on the throne of your heart? How can you love all of me my child, when you refrain from offering up every part of you? Can you hear my voice echoing, bouncing off the shadowed walls – the dark, hard places where worry tracks familiar worn paths deep within your heart? I want to write my name Dear One, oh it will hurt my child, but my name heals. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” My friend, Jesus, is the way.  

I AM

What must I do to gain your complete attention? “No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa.” Matthew 6:24.  I want your full attention, your devotion, your heart. How can I love you so passionately Dear One, when you won’t let me in by fully opening your heart? I AM.

I AM.

God’s love for you is real, is present, is true, is holy, is now. Now. NOW. He’s been composing and orchestrating deep works of art in your life, creating and recreating you since the moment He spoke you to life. Life! Your love, oh God, is more than we will ever know.

How beautiful are the works of your Almighty Hands, oh Master Composer, the great I AM. Because You are oh LORD, I can.

I AM.

A Wandering Sheep

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A sheep, that’s all I am.

My needs? To be fed, to be tended to, cleaned up once in a while.  Just like any other animal, that’s all there is. Basic necessities of life. If I am hurt, care for me. If I am wandering, find me. If I am broken, let me heal.

A sheep, that’s me.

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me.” John 10:14

Jesus Christ calls Himself the Good Shepard. Not just the shepard, but the good shepard. The One who tends to the sheep, the One who looks after the flock and the One who searches for scattered sheep.

Jesus promises to provide these basic necessities of life. If you are hurting, the shepard cares for you. If you are wandering, the shepard will come find you. If you are broken, he helps heal you and waits patiently as you do.

Sometimes, I scatter.

I run. I turn my back on the shepard, on the flock I am foraging with and the insistent nudges of the staff guiding my way. I just go. I get scared. I feel overwhelmed. I don’t understand the road I am traveling on. It doesn’t make any sense to this sheep. So, I run.

What does a shepard do with a sheep that has once again left the fold? How does Jesus, my Shepard respond? He searches for them. He leaves the flock and looks high and low, to reclaim that sheep. Not giving up until it’s found. I love that part. Jesus searches, looks, and doesn’t stop, until I am found.

Ah, comforting, isn’t it?

How does a shepard get the sheep back to the flock? He lifts them up from right where they are, no matter what condition they are in, He wraps His arms around them and carries them. Yes, Jesus accepts you just as you are, and lifts you up and carries you! It’s here, in this moment, I abandon myself to His arms and let Him carry me. I allow Jesus access to my heart to take my hurts, my brokenness and care for me. Heal me.

Do you want to be healed?

It’s a curious thing about how the shepard brings that sheep home, lifted high upon his shoulders with a firm grip on their feet. See that? Jesus Christ, our good shepard,  carries us and then He makes sure we stay right there on His capable shoulders. I suspect the shepard needs to keep that sheep in it’s place, secure and safe. Otherwise it might try to scurry off. I know I would.

You see, the closer I get to the destination that the Shepard is bringing me towards, the more I fight Him and want to run. I seek His comfort, yes. But I may not like where we are walking. Do you know what I mean? Walking down the road, not liking the sights you see, but knowing you have to take another step, move through one more thing, to get where He’s bringing you.

You ask yourself, do I really want to go?

Jesus is the Good Shepard, He knows me. He is leading me along the way, He is nudging me forward, He is picking me up helping me walk and going after me when I run. How blessed am I to have such a shepard?

You may not like the road you are walking down, or the ways in which you get there. But fear not, you have a Good Shepard leading you, guiding you, protecting you, carrying you and healing you. All you have to do, is walk.

Trust the Good Shepard of your soul. Abandon yourself to Him today. Release yourself from figuring out the journey. Let Him fight for you.

Just take one more step.

5 Minute Friday ~ Together

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Together.

We found a way to hide our fears, to reign in our desires and just be – together. A moment of trust, a time to let go and allow our God to begin to rebuild that once was lost. Our togetherness.

Either we are together, or we are alone. There really is no in between, is there? That’s the nature of humanity. We yearn for oneness, to belong, we desire to collectively cheer one another one – yet, really, it’s Him we need?

Jesus.

Walking alongside us, quiet and strong. Speaking words of truth. Nudging us to yield. Encouraging us to leap. Togetherness grows from a place of hope, an small seed of truth that embeds in our heart that must be watered by His Living Water and washed clean by the truth of the Word. We are His. Breathe.

YWHW.

We are not alone. In fact, we never were! It’s a lie that we  have believed for far too long. This doubt which carried it’s deception into places in our hearts and in our lives. Distrust grew and we could no longer be….. together.

We clung to our loneliness.  Yet He calls us now, to come.

Be together with Him. Do not fear. Be together with Him. Find shelter. Be together with Him. Regain hope.

Together.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday’s, a five minute weekly reflection on a word prompt. No edits, no do overs, just write.  “No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.”

5 Minute Friday ~ True

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True.

Really? That’s my immediate thought. How can I write about what’s true when I look around my life asking myself the same question. Just what is true?

All is quiet, my mind comes up empty. For I don’t see truth, only deception.

Hidden faces, hearts shielded in. We walk, we talk, we pretend through this very life we live. Saying the right things, doing the things and even trying… to be true.

All I can cling to, all I know to be true, is what is being revealed to me by my Creator God. He is true.

He is love. Holy. Kind. Peace. Joy. Mercy. Sacrifice. Forgiveness. Hope.

He is true.

The very things I try to “be,” He is. The very ways I yearn to serve. He is. The very ways I desire to praise. He is.

All else won’t stand, doesn’t hold up, won’t last, crumbles as He whispers.

He is true.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday’s, a five minute weekly reflection on a word prompt. No edits, no do overs, just write.  “No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.”

Words…

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Words.

Our words. Those small, little things which are so powerful. In a matter of moments we can build up or tear down. We can encourage the precious lives around us and build them up with words of hope. Or, like darts we throw at the hearts of those we love, we sharpen our tongues to spew out the darkest parts within us. With just one utterance, words effect our relationships and therefore our very lives.

Words.

We try to chose the right ones. Pull the dictionary off the shelf. We scramble to find the exact way to express what’s in our hearts. To form words and wrap them around thoughts and feelings rambling around within. How delicate the power of our words.

Deep down, we know that, don’t we?

Yet we find ourselves. Full of questions, of doubt and of pain. For we know things aren’t supposed to be this way, are they? The waves come crashing into your world, turning all you know into something unrecognizable. Here we are – facing another mountain to climb, another trial, another health crisis,  another broken relationship, another moment where we have the opportunity to choose.

Choose. Our words.

“Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 (The Voice)

Our words can communicate grace.  Spoken offerings which flow into the recipients heart. Fresh words that build them up. The very words we speak and the way we speak them, usher grace into the recesses and dark crevices of the hearts of those we love.

How powerful are our words! Do we sometimes let rotten words seep out? Definitely. Choose to use your words for truth, for rebuilding, for filling – for grace. Those mountains will come, of that we have no doubt. When the feelings surge within you, brimming to the surface –

Choose your words.

The Wait

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The internal clock keeps ticking away.

Tick, tick, tick…

Their hands moving faster and faster. Or at least that is how it seems with each new day. This ever moving, constant rush for saving, preserving, honoring the most precious commodity we all have, time. Yet I sit and, I wait. No matter how much time I hope to collect so I might grab the moment, enjoy it’s walled in perception of peace and protection, I find I need to pause and wait.

Wait for peace. Wait for hope. Wait for healing.

I wait.

There are times I yearn to move forward and spring forth from the places where I am still. Sometimes the darkness closes in, as I wait. For one more doctor appointment, one more lab to be drawn, one more medication, one more appointment to attend to, one more relationship to heal, one more conversation to be had, one more bill to pay, one more family member to visit. One more…..something.

I find that the more my plate overflows, the taller the piles gather around the home and never mind the endless house work neglected!

Still, I wait.

Why?

For healing. Healing in a physical sense, definitely. Yet healing in an emotional and spiritual sense, even more so.

There is something humbling, while also agonizing, about waiting. Like holding back a bull ready to charge. Just as you think it’s ready to move and tackle it’s prey, you pull on the reigns that much harder to make it stop. It’s like this game you play with yourself. You want more, you desire to be free, yet there is something which calls you back, heeds your heart, slows your pace.

You yearn for something, you want more, you crave it. Yet, you are called to wait.

Wait.

This has been the mantra of my life. Just when I think I am read to leap and take this jump of faith, I plummet to the ground. Alas, to wait.

I’ve fully recovered from my surgery and perhaps my internal bleeding will be gone for good. I’ve already had a moment when symptoms started again and the battle in my mind began again. Not wanting to ignore things and circumstances, yet not wanting to over-react. Will there ever be a balance? I find, I must wait. Again. Stop and start. Push and pull. Constant tension, unanswered questions.

The wait.

I know in my waiting, I am not alone. My faith in my God assures me so. Where would I be without Him?

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

This makes it worth the wait.