Photo Credits~

(owl:donaldthompson95 on flickr, luna:BillLepidoptera/ on flickr, willow/fence:trensamiro on flickr, all remaining: Merana Leigh)

Psalm 25:4-5

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;

guide me in your truth and teach me,

for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long (NIV)

Drench yourself in words unspoken, Live your life with arms wide open,

Today is where your book begins, The rest is still unwritten. ("Unwritten" by Natasha Beddingfield)

It matters not how long we live, but how!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lessons learned in weeding!

I find it truly amazing how lost one can become in blogland. Not that I find that troublesome, considering the phenomenal posts I've been reading - most especially this one. I have SO much to do today, and instead, I've spent almost 3 hours on here reading, and commenting on posts...but hopefully finding new friends in the process!

Today is the first chance I've had to make a post since I had a "revelationary experience" last weekend. I was out early in the day pulling weeds that had popped up in my brick walkway while we were on vacation ... trying to beat the sun coming over the house with the 107 temperature that would fast be upon us that day.

Anyway, ya know how there are mindless chores you do that help "unburden" your mind & you can ponder just about anything? Weeding (and dishes) are those times for me, my friends. SO...I'm pullin' & gritting my teeth at how much there was to do...and I start to ponder...(come with me on the journey) 'why did God invent these stupid weeds anyway? And why is it that THEY grow [apparently in abundance]while everything else I've paid for is dying if I don't take the time to water it?' So, in aggravation I pull, I sweat, and I ponder...stupid weeds! But then this peace settled in on me, and the weeds really didn't bother me anymore. Know why? Because God was with me and He had something to share with me.

The weeds are symbolic of the evil that is in this world. Yes, the weeds practically thrive in the hostile environment of the extreme weather we've had this summer (I haven't had to mow for over a month) - just as evil thrives in the darkness that the world is. We can pluck out some of the weeds, but we have to pull them up by the roots. And I was reminded of Jesus' Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-29) - "Let both [weeds & wheat] grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' ". We believers (wheat) must live here among the weeds, but our Father will tie up evil to be burned in the Lake of Fire and we will be brought to His barn. We are seeds in this dark world to grow continually (for we never will reach maturity). Only God knows when the harvest will be. But we must leave the weeds to His mighty hand. Now I'm not saying for a minute that we shouldn't do what we can to combat weeds/evil, that is our duty to not turn a blind eye. But, we must always remember that the battle is the Lord's!

(Ok, nobody comments, "well, Merana, what about your previous post on dandelions?" & how we should look at things with the simplicity of children)

And then as I'm further slaving away & drenched in sweat by this point (yes, it was 95 degrees by 10a in the shade!) , the Lord reminded me of what a friend recently told me. He was praying for a difficult time I was experiencing & after a few days, he approached me & said, "Ok, what I'm coming away with is that you have unresolved issues that you need to deal with no matter how ugly they are." I was shocked! I told him, "I don't have anything unresolved! I've dealt with everything I was faced with and gotten past it." Hmph, I thought - who does he think he is?! Then I realized just who he was. He was being a good friend in listening to what God told him to tell me. Tables turned. Hmph, who do I think I am not to listen to what God was trying to tell me?

So...I started praying & earnestly seeking direction. I told the Lord, "Ok, apparently I have unresolved issues that I'm not even aware are issues. Would you please reveal them to me [enlighten me] and then help me to resolve them?" God is faithful! All the time. Yes, He took me on a journey within my heart...and yes, to ugly places I didn't want to see. He showed me addictive tendencies I was starting to develop in order to not face some things. He showed me that I only think that I trust, but where men are concerned, I trust no one. And in that one revelation, He showed me that that's why I haven't trusted Him implicitly...because He's a "he" & can't be trusted because almost every man in my life has let me down or hurt me terribly. Bit of an eye opener, eh?

Next...Ok, so I've learned to trust HIM. "It is what it is" has become a new mantra for me. Not much I can do about anything. Every situation is exactly what it is at that time. I will do the best I can in that situation, but I have to trust Him with the outcome for my good & His glory. I've learned that I can't believe that just some of the promises of the Bible are real, and not others...or that makes the whole Word of God unbelievable, doesn't it? And I've been a witness to some of those promises. Therefore, I have to wait in anticipation of the rest of them. I know everyone knows Jeremiah 29:11 and holds on to it. But, I've found the gem of Romans 8:24b-25 - But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. That's what I cling to! And now I greet each day thanking Him that I'm one day closer to my heart's desire...all the while I see the unfolding of His heart's desire for my life! It's a beautiful ride!

And my friend (and yes, it is JUST friendship 1/2 a country apart) who started me on this path to enlightenment? God is faithful there too. Someone I thought was a true friend in Christ is now making very detrimental decisions that will impact his life quite negatively. I've admonished him as the Lord directed me to do, sharing Scriptures with him to show him that the path he is taking will only lead to heartache & pain. But, he's lonely & refuses to listen. So, I thank the Lord for the brief connection we had in one another's lives. Thank Him for the chance to be given a message through him that has lead me on a path to true healing. And thank Him that He used me to try to reach my friend as he did me. I listened. Sadly, he did not. And that's when the time comes that you know you have to wash your hands of a situation and say "It is what it is", lift it in prayer, and leave it at the foot of the Cross. He knows I'm here if he wants to come back & listen to what God has to say. But, for now it seems he's content to go live among the weeds. He's a good man down deep, making stupid choices so please pray for him.

Ok, with that I see that I have now been on here for far, far, far too long. But time well spent =)!! Now, I have to go clean. Hmmm....wonder what might be revealed to me...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ok, so they LOOOOVE me at the library (or perhaps not!). At the present time I have 6 books checked out. I have 3 that I'm reading for "study" purposes, and 3 Christian mysteries for enjoyment (I love a good mystery!).
Oh alright...confession time...I've had this book "In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart" by Ruth Graham (daughter of Billy Graham) FOR-EV-ER!!!! I had started reading it & then put it down for a few other books. Just didn't quite feel like "studying". Didn't get very far in it. Yes, I've renewed it several times (I'm SO bad!) so as not to forget I wanted to read it (hey, nobody else apparently wanted it!).
BUT, today, I tell HAVE to get this book. I felt compelled to read it a bit before bed last nite & was drawn in. I have underlined, starred, exclamation pointed all over the margins ... and I'm only 2 chapters into it!!! (it's ok...I do it in pencil since it's not my book!) I looked it up on ebay to buy it. This books is phenomenal & really gets to the heart of trusting God with your pain. I am even going to get a copy for the pastor where I work & my pastor who got me on the path to sustain my spiritual fortitude & for my best friend!
So, I just had to share that with you! Give your library a visit...but trust me, you'll end up buying it!!! I read this & think how amazing God is to use someone like Ruth to reach out to this hurting He will take your pain & use it for good, like He did for her. I only pray that He reaches people through me too!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Look at what the Lord blessed us with this past week! I have to tell you the story of what I call "Haven Home" and of trusting in the Lord, even to the point that it hurts!

I was in a very bad marriage (altho' I won't detail it here because it's over now). I constantly cried out to the Lord on my knees "when will this end?" "why are you allowing this to happen because it cannot be good for my children to see this every day?". I never got the answers. But apparently I inspired a great many women who knew what I endured because they think I'm the strongest thing on the planet. I just smile and thank them, knowing that really you just endure as best you can and wait for the Lord (He promises that the battle is His). I was a stay-at-home mom, no job, so no hope to get out on my own. Couldn't live with family because my parents' home is NOT kid friendly, and it is a lifestyle very different than that which they led.

Flash forward - literally out of the blue, God provided a job in December '06 for a church with a great, loving congregation. I wasn't even looking there and a friend called to ask if I was still looking for work. Blessing #1. Three weeks later something significant happened that involved my now ex to be removed from the home. Divorce proceedings began (but in this ridiculous state you have to be separated one full year before you can file). Our house was going to go to auction 7-1-08. The Lord brought a buyer who was moving to the area from another state (after having the house on the market for over a year) and we closed 6-26-08. Whew - Blessing #2.

My Haven here was 2 streets over from where my married home was. I can see the back of each house from the other. I approached the owner who was trying to sell it at the time to see if he would consider renting. We agreed and signed into a 2 year lease. Blessing #3. I could keep my boys in the same phenomenal school and in the same neighborhood with all the friends they'd grown up with! I've always admired this house. Once we moved in, my dad said, "Honey, this house is just so you!" And he's right. There's nothing about this place that I don't love ... quirks and all! Then Blessing #4 - turns out my new landlord and his brand new bride are devout followers of Christ too! We have become good friends, tho' they live in another state. We pray for one another and encourage one another.

Now the hugest...Blessing #5 - my landlord contacted me in March '10 about purchasing the home. He introduced me to a program that helps low income people be able to buy their own homes. It was a long process, and quite a few hoops needed to be jumped through, but on Monday, June 28, 2010, God blessed me the most by making it so we went to settlement. So, it is officially Our Haven Home (well...ok...and the bank's!)

I'm humbled beyond words to see how far He's brought me ... physically, as well as emotionally. I have taken a long time to heal inside ... still have set backs, but I lean on Him through it all. All I can do is praise Him, thank Him, offer my life to Him, and try to raise these boys to know Him and love Him as I do.

I just had to share that with you! It may take awhile, but God is faithful!!! I see now that this home just wasn't ready for us yet with what was going on in my landlord's life. But, God knew that He had the perfect home lined up for us. I just needed to trust Him with the timing working out for what best. I now can actually see Jeremiah 29:11 playing out in my life. Wow, you cling to Scripture promises, but it's really something incredible to actually see them come to life. Can't wait to see where He leads us now!

When we get back from vacation in a few weeks...I'll start in earnest of really making this place ours. Painting to start, creative projects to explore, and eventually things I'd like to improve. But always praising all the way! And I'll have to post the before/after shots!

This front porch has been my sanctuary and I love it out there. Actually...think I'll head out there right my favorite spot & enjoy mocha colored hazelnut bliss in a cup while I enjoy the beautiful weather and read a bit, praising You and thanking You, Father, for this blessing of a home that is our haven!