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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Praise to You, Lord God!

(photo credit: Santita88)

This picture just personifies how I feel right now. After weeks of uncertainty, fear, and an unbelievable amount of reflection & soul-searching, I finally feel free! And I praise you Lord, God, with tears streaming down my face that I am not facing cancer or surgery. Now perhaps I can sleep through the night without waking in a fit, and not being able to get back to sleep.
And I'm sorry, Lord. You know that trust is hands-down the biggest problem I have. I heard you clearly saying this afternoon, after I got the call from my first doctor, "When are you really going to trust me?" To which I replied, "I do trust you, Lord, but...". To which you immediately cut me off & said, "Yeah, it's that 'but' part you still need to work on!"
I hear you, Lord. And I'm truly sorry. I don't know how to thank you for the promise I started to wonder about - "plans for hope and a future". You do have them for me. I guess I just should have not given in to the despair & doubt & worry, and instead maintained in the forefront (not in the background) that I refused to believe the God I serve who has finally gotten me to the place He's been leading me for 11 years, would allow me to face that kind of struggle without even having the chance to enjoy this place for a little while. But you showed me, just like you always do...again. I'm trying, Father, I trust you implicitly. Forgive me.
But mostly....thank you, Jesus, for helping me to really evaluate my life & those things that matter most. I look forward to what I can do for you. Light my path, and show me the way. I want to live in a way that is pleasing to you, and not about me.
And my dear, dear BB's .... thank you ALL for your kind words and prayers and faith. Your love and encouragement has strengthened me to face whatever I would face. I praise God for all of you as well!
~ Merana

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Awaiting with hope...

My dearest BB's (blogging buddies) ~

This week for me has been very challenging, frightening, and emotionally draining. It's testing my faith yet again, but God is faithful. Bear with me, friends. Ya know how when you're simmering a stew or a soup and you add things here and there as needed to build up the flavors so that the finished bowl was well worth the time invested? That's what this post is. This is a long post, I'll grant you, but you will find renewal here by the time you finish.

I spent some time here on Thursday. I needed this...
wish I could have been here as well
(photo credit Jack Freund on flickr)

And I've done a lot of this type of reflection...
(Queen Latifah in "Last Holiday", a movie I highly recommend)

but mostly this....

I admit, that for some time now, I've felt that this is my life ....
that I'm running out of time...mostly to be loved again and to give love - I truly do miss that. But now I'm seeing that the love I'm craving, too, is the kind where I give of myself to others and reach many with what He's trying to say. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. I've done so much learning to prepare for....for what? I want to do so much more! Not for adulation, but to have someone say "I really needed to hear that today" because their spirit is hurting and they are craving what God gave them through me. Other than raising my boys, that's my purpose...I know it as surely as I sit here. And what a privilege to be His instrument to reach people for Him. I don't want that to end. Does that make me selfish?
Sometimes it even feels more like this....

So, have you ever seen or heard of the "Bucket List"? You know, you make a list of all the things you'd like to do before you kick the bucket. Well, I've done quite a bit of that this week. It's truly remarkable where you see that you place your values. What I've found is that I want to seek out those things that most bring me peace. It's not about what I can attain at this point, it's not about who I can meet, it's not about the need to "do" something. For me, it's about being with those I love most in this world, and seeing places that show His majesty, and bring me to that still, quiet place within myself where I find perfect peace.

(Lake Tahoe - courtesy of

(Crater Lake)

(Crater Lake ~ courtesy of

(an Alaskan cruise...)

(...with whale watching...)

(...and bears catching salmon...BUT MOSTLY ....)

(...the auroras!!!)

But mostly, here..... in the Great Smokie Mountains is where I find my most sacred peace. I haven't even been there yet, but, oh how these pictures, flood me with His majesty, warmth, and rest for my soul! I can only imagine what I will find when I actually experience the glory and beauty of His creation with my own eyes.

And I've spent some quality time listening to this glorious song that I truly believe is God speaking right to us...(pardon the commercial at the beginning) I await test results to determine the path my life will now lead, I reflect on this picture below. (I'm sorry the picture quality is not that great, but it's the best I could get at the time.) Upon having my lastest test completed, I went to Cracker Barrell (a place I rarely ever eat) and in the gift shop I found this. It is a picture I have always loved, but could never find or afford. I have a loving fascination with trees. And I think I somehow equate this with my life...the lone tree with no other trees around it...(like not having someone significant in my life to share this journey). Anyway, this was the last one on the shelf. Yet another 'God thing' ... where I felt Him saying "it's all going to be ok....I'm with you, you are not alone." This speaks to my very soul.

And as I reflect on what it says, Psalm 46:10 ~ Be still and know that I am God, He reminds me, with a smile to my face, how I used to always (ok, admittedly, sometimes still do) say "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you're God, but when are you gonna....[fill in the blank]", to which He always said "ah, ah, ah....You're NOT BEING STILL!!!" with the finger wagging (I picture it in my head as I type this). I'm finding that learning to be still is a lifelong lesson ... do we ever really learn it? .... I hope one day to master!

Anyway, I don't know how it was that I found this video below & most importantly, this song - other than to say that it's another one of those 'God things'. But please watch it ... and do some reflecting of your own.

BB's, I ask you to do this for me, please - I know, within the depths of my being, that God is using this experience for me, to put it into words to wake people up and come to take stock and really "get" what's important in this life. None of us are promised tomorrow. Please link back to this post on your blog. I don't have enough followers for this to make the significant impact I know He's wanting to make, the way that it could with all of your followers to read as well.
Satan wants me to believe that I'm being nothing but a drama queen, but I know different. God's speaking...and I'm listening. Even if all is well...this experience has changed me, and in that...through my words here, I pray God causes a change in you as well!
Always remember...there's a reason the rearview is smaller than the windshield! Always look forward to where God is taking you, with only glances to what's behind.
Blessings ~ Merana
PS - Please visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts &/or link up/share @

Friday, August 27, 2010

Incredible opportunity!

(photo credit:

Lord, I just want to thank you SO very much for the opportunity you provided me yesterday with my boys to SHOW them in black & white just what YOU say about things!!

{history sidebar} - the boys got in YET ANOTHER quibbling argument about the XBox. My younger one called his brother a "jack-A" (he won't say the actual word, but the implied word is just as bad). When I punished them both, one of them said, "Oh my God!", while the other said, "Jesus Christ, Mom!" I wanted to hit the roof, but God kept me calm. This type of thing has happened several times in our home, with the usual response when I chastise them, being, "Well, Dad lets us say that" (yeah, SHOCKER there!). Then I proceed to tell them that it is completely unacceptable in our home & I won't tolerate it. {sidebar over}

Ok, so THIS time, God put the Scriptures right in my heart & I took EACH one of them individually & I showed them in the Bible in Eph. 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up..." and then in Exodus 20:7 "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." Then I pointed out that "hmmm, that one's the 3rd even comes above 'You shall not murder, cheat, steal, or lie' (had to keep it simple enough that they got the point)." about contrite, convicted hearts!!!!! My oldest was scared to death he was going straight to hell, and my younger one was on the verge of tears. So, I explained to them that everything would be fine as long as they went to God with honest, open hearts & said they were truly sorry & would do everything they could not to let it happen again. And that God is not someone who holds grudges, but forgives willingly & easily....and then the best part is....He wipes the slate clean, and doesn't hold it against us (unless we continually do it over & over without really meaning our repentance in our hearts)!

Next thing I know, I could hear both of them on their beds talking to God about how wrong they were & how sorry they were.

I gotta tell ya, folks...I was higher than a kite! What an absolutely glorious feeling to truly reach your children for Christ & have one of those lightbulb/a-ha moments where it's not something they just hear about, but that they truly experienced!!! Thank you, Father, for such a moment as this!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scripture Cocktail

Proverbs 3:5,6 ~ Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 42:16 ~ I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Jeremiah 6:16 ~ “Stand at the crossroads, and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. . . .”

Psalm 119:105 ~ Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Jeremiah 29:11 ~ "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

John 10:10 ~ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full

John 12:46 ~ I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John 14:27 ~ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33 ~ "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Matthew 11:28-29 ~ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Psalm 37:7 ~ Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…

Isaiah 48:17-18 ~ This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Romans 8:6; 24-25 ~ . . . the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 24 . . . hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Enjoy, pray these into your life, then take to heart ~ Merana

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Okay, after reading this by someone I just found on Spiritual Sundays (that I suspect we'll become fast friends), I HAD to post this one. After the boys had their best friends sleep over last nite...plenty of YouTubing, XBoxing, Apples To Apples, Twister, and the mess everywhere .....

I'm ummm....choosing....

to say "I'M THANKFUL TO HAVE A HOUSE TO CLEAN!!!", instead of "Oh dang, I gotta clean the house"!

;o} ~ Merana

What's In a Name?

Ever notice how a name can make you or break you? The Bible is full of names...and not some. And this caused me to ponder, 'what's in a name that some are named, and some are not?'

Oholiab & Bezalel are named. But do you know who they are? They are obscure names that probably no one even recognizes. Yet, nothing in Scripture is obscure is it? God ensured that they were given the credit they were due. They were instrumental because of the skills He bestowed upon them, in making THE tabernacle & the Ark of the Covenant. And they were credited by name. (you can read about this in Exodus 35:30 thru Exodus 37)

There are so many of these names tucked away in Scripture. Then, of course, there are names we all recognize ... the disciples, Moses, Saul, Abraham, David, Ruth, Mary, Joseph, Mary Magdalene, Elijah, Elisha, Adam, Eve ... you get the idea. And let's not forget the descendent's list so-and-so, son of so-and-so, that seem to drone on forever. Go ahead & admit it ... we all rather glassy-eyed gloss over those lists.

But what of those nameless souls in Scripture? The woman at the well. The widow and her offering. The woman who touched Jesus' robe. The man who was healed of his blindness. They are no less important. But why aren't they named?

Well, I submit that all of the named and unnamed are significant in Scripture to demonstrate a subtle, yet important, point. As followers of Christ, we can certainly seem obscure, yet still do great things in His service. In a crowded picture, we won't necessarily have a face that stands out. Yet that doesn't mean that there's not a light eminating from us in that crowd. A country artist, Brad Paisley, has a song entitled, "The World", where he speaks of his lady love feeling as though she's nothing special ('To the teller down at the bank, you're just another checking account', or .. 'you didn't get an invitation cause somebody left you out', etc.). Yet he then goes on to say, "it's ok if you aren't everything to everybody else, because you're everything to ME". Seriously, that's the way it is for us, in Christ. In the natural, we are just another person in the great human landscape that makes up this third rock from the sun. Yet, to Jesus, we are the world ... we're everything! We have a responsibility to let His light shine out through us.

My point is ... in the world's book, I'm definitely an obscure name. I have not goals of grandeur and fame. To my boys I'm "Mom, Omar, or Mo-Mo" (don't ask). My goal is to be called, "His". I know that my name is high enough to be His "go-to" gal when there's a situation in which He needs me to help. And that, combined with those endearing names my kids have given me, are just A-ok for me. Even if my name is never known, to be used by Him with opportunities to serve others, even if only to hold open a door with a smile for someone laden down with arms full, is rewarding and satisfying enough.

The legacy I want to leave behind is simply to touch other's lives for Him along this journey Home. HE knows my name. And really...that's all that matters in the end now, isn't it?

Sunday, August 15, 2010


My heart is absolutely breaking with this news! I have been praying constantly all weekend for this child. I will simply never, NEVER be able to understand when SO many people are coming to God to intercede for someone, He allows this to happen. My tears have poured all weekend about this, and now even more so. I know, I just isn't fair, but ... I'm just at a total & complete loss right now. I cannot understand what good can possible come from this, except perhaps that it will make me love my children more...and if it brought others to Christ who never believed. Please pray for this family, friends, school, and community.
~ Merana

(corrected the link 3:26p. Thanks for letting me know Teresa!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The "R" word

If I were to ask you what the MOST important thing is to have in a relationship, what would you say? I'm betting 90%, at least, would say "communication".

While that's true...I believe there is something more integral than that. And that is RESPECT! Think about it...if you don't have respect for someone or they for you, how on earth do you think you will have open communication with that person?! Open communication flows from having enough respect for someone to be open to the ideas they are presenting (especially if they are not in line with your own), enough respect for someone to actually LISTEN to what they have to say, and enough respect for someone (including yourself) to admit that perhaps the other person has a point, and just maybe you were wrong. Shaking your head 'yes' yet?

Everyone deserves that - in a working relationship, a friends relationship, a parent-child relationship, a romantic relationship, and even just having simple respect for human beings in general. It is said that there's no fooling children or animals. They haven't been jaded enough to not see the true essence of someone's character right away. If I'm around someone that children or animals won't go near...umm, I'm headed the other way too.

I believe, for me, this has come from the emotional abuse I endured in my marriage. I wasn't remotely respected at all. Just a few examples - 1) he would take a entire package of saltines, crush them to pieces & throw it all over the floor then yell, "clean it up. That's YOUR job." 2) he'd get frustrated if the dishes weren't done (I WAS busy with a toddler & infant at the time, and they were rinsed off & waiting to be washed). When I commented, "well, if they're not getting done quickly enough for you, why don't you just do them." His solution, pull the trash can over & throw them away. 3) when I FINALLY found a job & was in my probationary period, I got a call from daycare that my son was sick & needed to be picked up. Called my husband to pick up our son since he was lazin' around the house doing nothing. He said, "nope, that's YOUR responsibility". I was at work, he was at home. I was 30 minutes away, he was 5 minutes away to getting a SICK CHILD. (I got fired for leaving, btw)

Ok, so .... see my point? After living through that & being delivered from it, I refused to EVER go back to something like that again. And I accept my responsibility in all that. I allowed it. But when I started stepping up to the plate to stand up for myself, that's when the real trouble began & the demise of the marriage was imminent.

My POINT in all of this is...he didn't have respect for me, and clearly I didn't respect myself enough for a very, VERY long time. And my children suffered by what they witnessed. That was my main reason for help prevent them becoming like him. Now, I'm not going to sit here & pretend I was someone with a halo above my head. I made a lot of mistakes too. But I didn't deserve the treatment I got. Nobody does. And I'm also not going to make him out to be some monster. He is not. He's a good that we are apart & he has time to focus on the boys & not on avoiding or antagonizing me. I'm grateful for that!

So...back to my original thoughts on respecting others - I gave you this history to set up something awful and then wonderful that happened this past week. My older son & I were in a disagreement (that happens often in the teen years, I understand :-\ ). Then he had the nerve to say to me "well I respect dad" in a taunting voice. Ok folks, full-blown admission here....I blew a gasket & let him have it big time! I told him that I deserve just as much, if not MORE respect from him than his father does. "It is ME who's there with you when you're sick, it is ME who helps with homework, it is ME who takes you where you need to go. Who do you think does your laundry, does the shopping for you, cooks your food, etc. (the list went on & on)" Then "Let me tell you, buddy, the things you have in life that you love & enjoy are PRIVILEGES, not because you "earned" them. I can take away every last thing you love if you don't show me the respect I deserve for everything I do & sacrifice for you!" His reply, "Yeah, well Dad would do that if he could, but I live with YOU. And if you didn't do those things for me, then Child Services would come." To which I replied, "That's right, he would. But WE agreed it was best that you both live with me. And yes, I do things for you because it is my responsibility that God entrusted you to me, but I do it because I LOVE you!" (now mind you, my younger one is in the back seat keeping SILENT! smart boy ;o} ) . So...dropped them off at their dad's with NOTHING said from him except a slammed door - no "goodbye", no nothing - just the evil-eyed stare (you know what I'm saying, right?)

Ok, so I came home & prayed ... asked God to forgive me for some of the colorful language I let slide every now & again (I have no halo either, I'm human...and in full-blown admission mode here, people). And you know what He was faithful to show me? Used my own words on me. Remember above where I said, "the things you have in life that you love & enjoy are PRIVILEGES, not because you "earned" them. I can take away every last thing you love if you don't show me the respect I deserve for everything I do & sacrifice for you!" I got a real quick attitude adjustment that brought me to tears & even further repentance. These boys ARE a privilege to raise & they ARE a blessing that, God-willing will never happen, could be taken away in a breath. I do love them with every fiber of my being...even when I might not "like" them for awhile. (I'm crying as I type this)

So I did what was right. When they got home later, I took him aside, hugged him & told him how very much I love him. But that I would never tolerate disrespect in our home. And then I touched my hand to his cheek & told him, "Listen, I get crabby too & sometimes I take that out on you guys. I'm sorry for that. We all do it sometimes. I need you to say to me then, 'Mom, you're being really crabby right now' because sometimes we don't even realize we're doing it. Can you promise me you'll do that?" He said yes, we hugged (REAL hug, not that half-hearted quick slap on the back kinda thing).

Ok, so now in this novel I've written as a post :o}, I get to the blessing that God created...

the next day after work & grocery shopping, we get home & I put away the perishables. The boys were playing downstairs in the basement family room. I told them I was gonna lay down to read on the couch in the upstairs living room (my space) for a few minutes because I just wasn't feeling myself. Dozed, of course. In that dozing state, I could hear some rustling around in the kitchen. I called out, "who's in there?" (not knowing which of the 2 it was) & in walks my older son with playtex gloves on. Get this...he said to me, "No worries, Mom. I put away all the groceries & now I'm doing the dishes so we can spend some more time together tonite." Huh? Seriously? WOW - on his own! I just felt SO loved & respected in that moment. God took the bad thing that happened between us, my repentant confession, and my son's beautiful heart that loves to help, and He made such a simple gesture speak volumes.

Once again, Lord, I don't deserve your favor or your grace, but I thank you for it!

And that, my bloggin' buddies, is living my faith walk...full public admission, and showing how He is faithful...even in small instances!

Livin' high in His grace ~ Merana

Friday, August 13, 2010

Singing Praises

This picture hangs in my bathroom & I always notice it. THIS time, I decided to list them, which you'll find below...
(and in no particular order, I might note! and to which, I'm sure to add to)

1. Lord, I praise you & thank you, that I can have a relationship with you. I'm not worthy. I never will be. But you love me anyway... that's pretty awesome! And that I live where I can freely worship you and speak of your glory without worry of harm or persecution!

2. discovering blogging & the friends I've made here! (ok...and the HOURS I spend lost in blogland...when I can!)

3. The mountains...the smell of mossy, earthy beauty! And the way the clouds cast shadows on them. And OH TO LIVE THE REST OF MY DAYS HERE ONE DAY!....

4. The sound of rain (& yes, even thunder...and especially now that my boys are no longer afraid of it!)

5. friendships I've maintained over years and tho' many miles separate us! (Find Out Who Your Friends Are by Tracy Lawrence says it all!)

6. Recognizing that friendships can form with different generations (dear friends Katharine who is 90, and Betty who is 74!)

7. listening to the laughter of my children playing with their friends!

8. seeing pictures other people find of God's creation -

or even me...
9. cooking...just for the pleasure of it...when nobody's starving & listening to smooth jazz cd's while doing it. (My favorite being potato chowder or baked spaghetti) And Father, thank you that I have food readily available, the resources, and the ability to do it all when so many do not!

10. my ever-favorite mocha-colored hazelnut bliss!


12. my front porch sanctuary
13. candlelight & the soft glow it creates in our home

14. the sound of crickets & birds singing in the morning

15. having the Spirit reveal someting new in Scripture I've never seen before!

16. good music that makes you just close your eyes, nod your head, and "move to the music" as it takes you back!

17. God's Eye (as my son calls it)..

18. laying under a tree to watch the sunlight dance thru the leaves

19. The opportunity to see this past summer just how blue is our ocean from being out in it!

20. Sunrises and sunsets

21. this lovely place - the Wyndham Resort in Freeport, Bahamas - that we visited this summer

22. the chance to be whimsical with a freshly opened jar of peanut butter

23. But mostly, Lord, thank you for these little cherubs & the life you've blessed us to now have! (Well...ok...cherubs may be pushin' it sometimes...but they sure are a blessing! Thank you for entrusting me with their care!)

even when ...

oh, and P.S., Lord...thank you that one of these guys who's apparently been living in our basement drop ceiling that we thought was out of the house & dead in the street MONTHS ago, didn't get very far in the basement before the Snake Guy came over & got him (and for putting me in "mom mode" this time instead of "freak out scared hysterical woman mode" like the first time I saw it!)

Take stock of your life. Trust'll make you smile & make your troubles seem to become less!

Blessings everyone ~ Merana

URGENT prayers needed!

Please read the following & pray for this child.

Post this for all your followers. God can show up when all hope is gone! Praise you, Lord God, that you can bring healing when all that is humanly possible to do has been done. Bring healing to this child at the cellular level and bring complete healing. He will be such a testament to You, Father God. Let him live, and live abundantly. Give strength to his family and friends, and surround them with your amazing grace and peace and love. I ask this in Jesus' precious name. Amen.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Giving Firstfruits!

confession - this is my "weekend coffee cup" that makes a regular coffee cup look like a simple little shot glass! ;-}

I know in the hustle & bustle of this hurried, harried world it is truly difficult to sit, reflect & lose one's self in thought & praising. Each of us handle things differently due to our own personality, time constraints, and 'what works for us'. But, I've established a covenant of my own with God. He tells us to give Him our firstfruits, so that's just what I do. I get up an hour before my boys in order to give God the firstfruits of my day. And I "get" that He values that time too. When I had set 2 (count 'em TWO) alarms & neither one went off, I just woke up naturally ... now that's what I call a Godly wake-up call!

So, I quietly saunter into the living room, with my big 'ol cup of mocha-colored hazelnut bliss, light my favorite candle, and crack open (mind you, I sure don't have to dust off) my trusty Bible and lose myself in His Word and in communicating with Him. Sometimes I can actually open the door & enjoy some of the world coming to life for another day if it's not too hot/humid or cold. Often I pray for my needs (we humans are selfish that way). But that's what He wants us to do...come to Him with our needs...and even our wants...and dare I say it...our dreams. Of course, He already knows ALL of it anyway, but He can't work in your life if you don't invite Him in to work amongst all your needs/wants/dreams, now can He? (Ok, ok, well of COURSE He can, but work with me here...!!!) Anyway...back on track here prayers naturally progresses to pray for my children (for now AND their future), for needs of others, for our troops, for those in emergency services, for our politicians (crooked or otherwise) b/c they still make the laws & make decisions that impact the rest of our lives (from the mayor all the way up to the President), the pastors & those serving to reach this hurting world, and even for the person that I know He has planned for me to spend my life with some day. And mostly, I pray for Him to guide me into becoming the person, and especially the mother, that HE wants for me to be. My most desperate dream, if I'm honest, is to reach as many people as I can for Him. I want to admit to them my faults, my doubts, my trials...just to stand before them (or, ok, sit at a computer & type) to tell them of His grace that gets me thru ALL of that ... and brings me out stronger in the end. It's kinda like the man in John 9 who was born blind & nobody's sin was to blame for it. It was allowed so that God's power, and glory, and grace could be shown. And if you want the truth...I've started praying for you all, dear Blog Buddies. That we will encourage & learn from one another, and that things we have to say here will extend out from each of us to reach people who are in need. So that we can say, "Ya know what (my friend sitting here with me), I read a post from one of my blog buddies that applies to just this thing. Let me find it for you." And thus His reach expands even further through us.

Then I usually end up our precious time together by thanking Him for the grace of being able to even spend that time together & then praising Him for all those gifts He's given me and others I know. My pastor called me on the carpet one time when I was meeting with him & his wife (lovely people) just sobbing my eyes out. He asked me point blank, "Well, when was the last time you praised God?" Ummm, what do you mean? Of course I'm thankful. Well then you need to spend some time actually letting Him know that!!!" Ummm....point taken! (yet another wake up call if you ask me!)

And sometimes I stop to just get lost in the sound of silent worship. Ever do that? Just "listen" to those lovely things that are part of your life? Being thankful for the two gifts involved there? The gift of the various sounds created, and especially the gift of hearing! For me....the steady drone of the house fan, the gentle breeze through the leaves on the trees & tickling the windchimes outside, the song of several different birds, cows in a nearby field, a train whistle off in the distance...wait a minute...what the??? wait just a dog-gone minute... Ok Mr. Harley Man you are ruining my moment here!! Get your sorry self to work already. Ah, there it is ... bliss again .... peace & tranquility. Dang, gotta go wake up the boys...there goes peace & tranquility - LOL! But then again...what a way to start a day...and then I also get to watch my children in their peaceful slumber before I wake them that's peace personified! I thank you for that, Lord - most of all!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rutted Paths

(photo credit Adam Cohn, flickr)
We are such creatures of habit! We are so quick to go to that place we always do – you know, that ‘comfort zone’. When things go wrong in our lives, we revert back to that place we know. Work with me here. It’s not ‘comfortable’ to say the least - we probably even hate that we go back there again & again, but it’s the place we know – it’s familiar - thus making it our comfort zone.

Well, as I asked my friend many months ago, “What happens when you walk a certain path over and over and over again?” She looked rather perplexed & I told her simply what the Lord knew she needed to hear. “You get stuck in the rut that is created by traveling the same path so consistently. You don’t necessarily want to be there, but because it’s what you’ve always known to do and return to, you travel the familiar, and then get stuck there.” Ding-ding-ding…wow the light put off by that bulb shining above her head!

Hey we all do it … go to that comfort zone that leads to a rutted path. It could be food or alcohol or bad relationships, or as in my case, hiding behind walls I build around my heart to protect myself from getting hurt. But, in doing so, I create an impenetrable fortress that doesn’t allow anyone in. But that closes me off from being able to give too. And there you find yourself … stuck again!

So, I submit that when we face a trial in our lives, we do as Scripture directs us to follow, instead of following our old familiar, rutted path.

Jeremiah 6:16 ~ This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
Psalm 119:105 ~ Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Matthew 11:28-29 ~ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Isaiah 48:17-18 ~ This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
John 14:27 ~ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

If we will but stand still & ask & follow where HE lights the way, we will find peace! Seems pretty straight forward to me…and it sure saves a lot of heartache!!! And for the part that still hurts...ask Him to come fill the black hole in you that threatens to suck everything else into it. His light & love will fill that empty space in you & will shine out of you to the rest of the hurting world...even if it's just to a friend that lives up the street.

(Oh yeah, and my friend with the lightbulb? Well, she listened (to me) & did what Scriptures told her to do & listened to what HE told her...and she has the most peace she's ever known! That's a beautiful thing to witness! Isn't it wonderful when God uses you to help others? There just is NO feeling on earth like that!!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blind trust

It’s amazing where the Lord will meet you to give you an inspired idea to share with others! The Holy Spirit floors me with His messages! While packing my son’s lunch one day … yes, that’s right, in the middle of packing lunch…then in driving to work later that day…then recalling something I said to a dear friend months earlier – little snippets of time & thought that He then forms them all together into a cohesive message. So, follow me on this journey…

First, the lunch thing thought – ‘won’t he just love it when he opens this lunchbox to find …’ (whatever it was for that day that I know that he loves). And I thought about what level there is in that instance of blind trust he has in me. He knows that when he’s starving by the time lunch rolls around (he’s not a big breakfast eater, no matter how hard I try!), he’s going to open that lunch box and be filled on those things he loves to eat…not things he’s never tried before, not things he completely dislikes, but those things he loves to devour.

Second, the driving to work thought – I was remembering a conversation with my older son about mechanical errors that lead to airplane crashes. And this one went much deeper. Don’t we all get on airplanes simply trusting blindly that everyone on the ground has done what they are supposed to do with correct parts and knowledge and skill? Or when we pick up our car at the repair shop – that the correct repairs were made so the vehicle is safe for our family? Or that the medicine we put in our bodies is going to do what is needed in order to bring healing and it hasn’t been tampered with?

You get my drift.

Then the astounding thought…why can’t we just trust God that way with our lives? Why do we put so much stock in the people who do the work, and not in Him? We are but human, we are all fallible. What if that airline technician forgot one single bolt, but God made it fall right in front of him just before he sealed a panel in place in order to avert a disaster? What if someone had a migraine and tried to take some medicine, but spilled it accidentally in the toilet because the seat was up? Only then to discover with despair at now not being able to take something to alleviate the pain, that because he couldn’t think clearly due to the pain, he accidentally picked up the wrong medicine that it turned out would have harmed him. Or the car mechanic didn’t fix one last thing because he was called away while in the middle of the job and forgot about it by the time he came back to finish things up? But another mechanic came up to ask him advice on how to do it based on what he just completed and he realized he hadn’t finished after all.

Again…you get my drift.

We need to blindly trust that God has His mighty hand in all things involving our lives. It’s hard, I know. And I know that it is more than hard to trust Him when He allows something awful to happen in our lives. I will never pretend to understand why He allows some things to happen on this earth and I get very mad at Him on those. I yell at Him sometimes and start to feel guilty, or like He’s going to strike me dead right there for talking to Him that way. (I sure would never allow my kids to speak to me in such a manner.) Then I’m reminded what I heard once, “Go ahead and get mad and yell at God all you want. He’s the creator of all things. You think for one minute He can’t handle what you have to dish out at Him? Puh-leaze!” But when you think about it, that’s what He wants from us … honest, heartfelt (granted heart-wrenching) open communication from the depths of our souls. Romans 8:26 reminds us that “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” I has so been here before (and I’m sure I will again).

So, after you’re ‘spent’ from letting God ‘have it’, to the point that you’ve completely sapped all that you’re worth, try going a different route and letting go, and blindly trust Him. Don’t just give lip service to Jeremiah 29:11, try taking it to heart. I’m starting to witness it come to fruition in my life. And I think it’s because I finally stopped trying to do things my way, and started just living my life trusting everything about it to Him, and anxiously awaiting these wonderful plans He has for me. Oh okay, I confess … it actually came after yet another sob session/feeling lower than low moments ending with one of those Gibbs head-slap on Tony (yet another NCIS-inspired reference) moments when the Spirit spoke in exasperation right into my very being, “Would you PLEASE stop getting in the way of the plans I have for you!”

To which I replied, “Oh okay, fine, fine, fine! It's definitely NOT working my way. And I just truly give up anyway. I'm tired...I'm just so, so, soooo tired of it all!” And ya know what? It’s turning out to be an amazing ride – starting here! Thank you, Lord!!!