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!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Once's all about the timing (Hidden Treasure #2)

Latest buried gem discovered out of nowhere:

Psalm 106:13-15 (NIV)
13 But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. 15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.

I've quoted C.S. Lewis before, but it just SO fits this Scripture..."There are those who say, 'God's will be done, and there are others to whom God says, 'Alright then, have it your way.'"

Waiting is probably the hardest thing we do as Christians. As members of the human race, I suppose we should all be considered toddlers: "I want what I want, and I want it NOW!" But like my friend, Sharon, commented in my previous post, we must remember that "waiting has something to teach me, too"!!

Psalm 19:21 (NIV) ~ Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

As Marcia Hollis says in God Meets Us Where We Are, "We make our plans, tell God what we intend to do, and then travel for quite a while before we realize that he simply isn't with us! It isn't that he leaves us on purpose...or shows us who's really boss. It's just that in the rush and hurry to get something done, ... we leave him far behind, lost in the crowd."

Often this is how I think God must look at me:

"Again!?!" and, I've heard Him clear as day say to me: "Would you please stop getting in the way and interfering with the plans I have for you!?!!!"

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) ~ 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."
I never really looked at it that way before, but I guess He certainly can't bring about those plans if we're always trying to do things our way, instead of waiting for His way... ;o} !!! (Ok, I know He doesn't look at me this way, really....probably more of a throw the hands up in the air, shake His head & say "there she goes again!")

Hollis continues, "If we try to go ahead of God's enabling Power, we will have to retrace our steps." We must remember ... Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) ~ The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

It escapes our consciousness, I believe, that He has to work everything out along the line in order for everything to fall into place just right. He starts here ...

but there is much that needs to be done in order to get here....where He places the final piece of the intricate puzzle of our! It's rather like the interconnectedness we find here...

I rather like to pray as Henri J.M. Nouwen does, "Dear God, I am full of wishes, full of desires, full of expectations. Some of them may be realized, many may not, but in the midst of all my satisfactions and disappointments, I hope in you. I know that you will never leave me alone and will fulfill your divine promises. Even when it seems that things are not going my way, I know that they are going your way and that, in the end, your way is the best way for me. O Lord, strengthen my hope, especially when my many wishes are not fulfilled. Let me never forget that your name is Love. Amen."

Strengthen my hope indeed .... Romans 8:24b-25 (NIV) ~ 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.

And remember .... Hebrews 6:18-19 (NIV) ~ ... it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

And just as Elisa Morgan said in I'm Tired of Waiting!,
"God is worthy to be trusted and believed, even when he appears inactive."

Please join us for Spiritual Sundays! You will find such an abundance of His grace here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Timing is Everything (Hidden Treasure #1)

I simply love reading Scripture, especially in my devotional Bible. I love how quoted sections of author's books are interspersed throughout my Bible with related verses of the Word. It always brings something to my attention that I never "saw" before, even though I've read that particular passage several times. But more importantly, I love how the Holy Spirit brings to mind another part of Scripture that ties in well as other authors whose books I've read, from my collection of book quotes (although my collection is but dust on the bookcase of friends like Clif or Jan ... admittedly, because I mostly go to the library!)

Now...this little gem of hidden treasure came out of nowhere, as is often the case ;o} ! You know those are the ones the Lord really wants you to know, yet another one of those "God things" that happens when you turn to part of the Bible you weren't intending to read, but you were drawn to it! (I love those times the best!)

Habakkuk 2:3 ~ The the Lord replied...For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

which reminded me of ...

Ecclesiastes 3:11 ~ He has made everthying beautiful in its time.

which took me to...

Psalm 5:3 ~ the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation (see that?...expecting your answer to come...not hoping, but expecting!)

and then progressed into ...

Psalm 37:7 ~ Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him... (v. 28) For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.

Judith Couchman writes in Lord, Have You Forgotten Me? Thirty Devotions to Encouarge You When Life Lets You Down, "There's a mystique about timing. When it's right, it's fabulous. When it's wrong, it's a disaster. It takes listening to the inner self to make it work. We know he's capable of doing anything, but we get impatient waiting for God. We forget that he waits for the right timing too. In fact, he knows perfect timing, even though it looks illogical to us. His ways are not our ways, and neither are his timetables our timetables. But when we wait for his timing, nothing can compare with its abiding impact on us."

And Ruth Graham says in In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart, " not expect instant results. Simply expect God's results, for his results are always good."

Then I was reminded of a post by someone I follow that said, "Trusting God means we don't have to have all the answers." And what hit me right upside the head (ya know...Gibbs to Tony, NCIS thing)'s just that simple, just that black & white, no gray area...we either trust Him, or we don't! If we're going to believe one thing in Scripture, then we have to believe it all, or none of it is worth believing.

I believe Karen Kingsbury said (I forgot to write down the author & book when I wrote down this quote, but I believe I'm remembering correctly), "God doesn't forget any of us. We can't possibly know the good the Lord has in store for us, for His love and grace know no end if we will just trust - trust until it hurts and the Lord has an opportunity to work in our lives."

In His loving grace ~ Merana

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!?!!!!! Ok, so I know technically football season started last week, but I didn't have the boys last weekend, so it's just not the same. Today will be all about cheese sticks with marinara, hot wings with bleu cheese, and yummo chili!

This is our "craft tree". We decorate it for the different seasons/holidays. Jan-white & silver snowflakes, Feb-add hearts to Jan., Mar-white & green with shamrocks, Apr-Easter goodies & spring flowers, May-keep the spring flowers 'til week of Memorial Day, then all red/white/blue, June - purples & greens & summery colored decorations made from scrapbook paper, July & August back to the red/white/blue, Oct-Halloween decoration the boys made when they were younger, Nov-fall flowers & leaves & ribbon, Dec-obviously Christmas.

But Sept. is saved for THIS GUY...our FOOTBALL TREE!
The twirlies are just chenille sticks (pipe cleaners) wrapped around a pencil, then went to the Steelers & Ravens websites & copied jerseys & other things they sell & printed it on cardstock to cut out, and the footballs are just cut out of scrapbook paper. My older son & I love the Steelers & my younger son loves the Ravens (gets interesting in our house when they play each other...actually, my younger son will usually go to his dad's so they can cheer for the Ravens together). Anyway, we LOVE making this craft tree. Loads of season is just the best!

Praying for everyone's safety...players, refs, fans, tailgaters, those watching games at different establishments, all! Let the games begin!

GO STEELERS! (and Ravens!) ;o}

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My house

Ok, I confess to being brought to beyond the absolute breaking point in my faith. Not at the end of my rope, but hanging on to the very last thread of that shredded, unraveled rope. It was the worst experience in my life...worse that the death of my mother and of my marriage falling apart at the same time. Ever been to this place?

Several years ago I was praying constantly about a situation in my life. I was so undecided what to do when the Holy Spirit told me to proceed on a certain path. Knowing Satan as I do, I spoke the name of Jesus and commanded Satan to flee as I asked the Lord again if this was the road God wanted me to travel. Now, previously the Holy Spirit told me point blank when I was torn with a decision I was asking for guidance about, was "if you don't have a peace about it, it's not from me". Ok, so in this situation I had that peace...excitement even!

So I traveled down that path. And everything didn't fall apart, or simply not go the way I hoped & planned, it blew up in my face, big time. I was so hurt, so disillusioned, so devastated, so disgusted....and then so mad. I was furious at God and I let Him know it in no uncertain terms. My spirit felt utterly if it was totally disconnected to my part of me just died that day.

I remember being at my friend, Kathleen's, house just sobbing & I just slid down the cabinets into a heap on the floor. I was living a crushed, devastated, destroyed spirit. It was more than just not getting what I wanted to believe was going to happen, what was going to be the best. It was about feeling utterly betrayed and led astray by the one Person I should be able to trust with everything. And I'll tell's a true friend who will turn off dinner on the stove and join you in that heap on the floor, with tears streaming down her face too. (looking back now, I realize that was one of the greatest blessings in the mess of my life! Thank you, dear will never understand what that gesture of your sweet, loving spirit did to carry me through!)

I admit that my faith was gone! I railed at God, "I did what You told me to do and this is what I get in return? This is what believing in You means? It's all a lie. No thanks! I want no part of it or You." So yes...Satan won...he got another one. I have never felt more devastated in my life. Not only did my human side hurt, but my spirit hurt. I understood wailing.

Well, after a few days of yelling at God, or snide comments to Him, it occurred to me, 'why are you still talking to Him if you say you don't believe in Him?' Hmmm??? Why indeed! Well, what I didn't remember...and Satan chose to that the battle is the Lord's, just like 1 Samuel 17:47 tells us.

God spoke right into my broken, devastated heart and told me, "Yes, daughter, I allowed your house of faith to be destroyed just like a tornado will do...
...your house wasn't as strong as you thought it was.

But what's left after you clear the debris?
The foundation. And it is upon that foundation WE are going to build a bigger, and much stronger, house of faith that can withstand the storms much better. He revealed that there is only so much you can try to bury away and keep the doors closed & locked in your spirit of not dealing with issues. You have to deal with everything in life eventually...even when your house is destroyed. So, through shaking uncertainty, I said, "Ok Lord, I'm still really upset with you, but I will help you build."

And, as always, He was right to do it. My house was nowhere near as strong as I thought it was. And it was revealed months later that had I been "successful" in traveling that path....well, let's just say it would have impacted my life in one of the most negative manners I've ever experienced. So, in allowing this devastation, He was really saving me and my children He always does.... and He was building me stronger.

And I admit that several years after that, I had another really bad scrape in my faith. But the house still stood! I had warning signs that I chose to ignore, so I have no one to blame but myself. But it's what finally led to surrender. I still was holding on to "control" of my life (that's just such a misnomer!). But this last time, I finally gave up & complete surrender to His plans for my life. And He has blessed me tremendously!

This blog was born from that. What a blessing this has become in my life with all the lovely friends I have made here. I only pray that some of what I say reaches into your spirits and encourages you with what He knows you need. That is why I'm here. Not for me. But to reach you for Him....sort of as a channel you turn to on the tv that captivates you and speaks right into your soul with what you desperately need to hear. I leave that up to Him. I know He will direct everyone here who needs to read exactly what He wants them to assure them that even through this means....He is with you always!

I know there will be future trials, but for now....I'm praising & reveling in where He's brought me...and fortifying my house with devoted time in Him.

Blessings & love in Him ~ Merana

Please visit Spiritual Sundays for inspiring posts of fellow believers!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TV time... don't watch a lot of tv. But, next to blogging, Netflix is my best friend who keeps me company when the boys go to their father's for a weekend.

Who says you can't get anything of any value from tv? I picked these little gems up just this past weekend. Enjoy!

"Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future." (Dale Turner, quoted on Criminal Minds)

"Anyone can achieve their fullest potential. Who we are might be predetermined. The path we follow is always of our own choosing. We should never allow our fears or the expectation of others to set the frontiers of our destiny. Your destiny can't be changed, but it can be challenged. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one." (from NCIS [my favorite show!], episode "Endgame") Now, of course, I don't agree with this entirely....our destiny can be changed giving it to Christ!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I view the part visible above the surface to be my level of faith the world can see. But the important part is that which is beneath the surface....the power of Almighty God behind me. He is the driving force to all that I can do! Praise you, Jesus! Have a fabulously delicious day, my BB's! ~ Merana

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I have felt an uneasy, discombobulated, restlessness deep within my spirit this week. So much is bouncing around in there, that even with prayer, I'm finding no sense of cohesion. I cannot formulate a thought process from beginning to conclusion. I can't concentrate. Everything is random. I know God wants to say something...but what? I try to gather myself here before you.

I think part of what has me held captive is that lovely "September Blue". I know you know it. Remember that glorious shade of blue the sky held on 9-11-01? I've been blessed to see that a lot this week. And I always get very reflective the week before 9-11. I always spend some time during this week looking through my magazines and a book I got at a yard sale introducing us to know a bit about every person who died that day, with a picture of them. And I always watch the 9-11 documentary that just happened to be being filmed at a fire company when this tragic day occurred. The film captures so much, I'm amazed even after all the times I watch it. I always watch the people in it & wonder, 'did you make it out? did you?' And then to watch what takes place inside the building as they realize it's coming down on top of them. I bawl my eyes out every single time. Now, I know some people will say I shouldn't subject myself to this, but I'm always going to! I'm not trying to be macarbre. I'm not trying to stay focused in the past. But it's my simple way of respecting those people whose lives were changed forever that day, and to honor those who lost their lives. I can't NOT do it. I keep all these things in what I call my "9-11 Box", which, presently, I cannot's been misplaced from recent work I had done on the house. Furthering my sense of restlessness.

So many times in life we find ourselves lost ... or just feeling as if we are lost ... you know, when you feel hopeless, like there's no purpose, nothing makes sense no matter how hard you try to analyze it, there's no clear sense of which direction to head. It's rather like this...

aimless, endless, barren, with storm clouds overhead!

I'm so in love with Michael Buble's song, "Lost", as I've posted before. The lyrics speak right to my soul: Life can show no mercy, it can tear your soul apart, it can make you feel like you've gone crazy but you're not. Things have seemed to change. There's one thing that's still the same. In my heart you have remained. And we can fly, fly, fly away. 'Cause you are not alone. And I am there with you. And we'll get lost together, til the light comes pouring through. 'Cause when you feel like you're done, and the darkness has won. Babe, you're not lost. When the worlds crashing down, and you can't bear the cross, I said, baby, you're not lost! Every time I hear it, I swear I feel like it's the Lord singing it right into my spirit, reassuring my spirit...we are NOT lost!

I associate so much in life with music. I can hear a song & instantly be taken back...the song remembers when. I recently heard a song that always reminds me of one of the stupidest mistakes I've ever made (of which there are many, admittedly). Every time I would hear that song, I'd switch to the next song so I didn't have to deal with the emoutional upheaval hearing it would bring. But this week, as I reached to hit the 'next' button, something stronger held me in place & said, "NO! You need to listen to it this time. You need to stop deflecting & ignoring & burying & hiding. You need to suck it up & deal with the pain this song evokes. But, oh my gosh, is God beautiful & faithful to heal! This time I heard it not from my perspective, but from His. The lyrics he brought to the forefront are poignant: Spinning on another wheel, goin' round in slow motion. You can make a better life, you're just waiting for the right moment. You can find another way, you're just waiting for the right moment. When you gonna reach out, only you can turn your world around. When you gonna let go, and forget about the life you knew. When will you surrender, and wake up to the real. Now you know that it's all borrowed time, and still you waste another day. But you watch and you wait for a sign...all along the way. ("The Right Moment" by Gerry Rafferty)

I believe we all must somehow become lost in order to be found. "Only you can turn your world around" like it says above. We must make the choice to invite Christ in. No one can do it for us. When we're lost, He will light our way. We have that assurance. 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.

Thank you, Father, for taking all the negatives and making them positive...just like you promised you would. But thank you most, Lord God, for extending your hand to take mine and show me the way. May the paths I travel bring comfort to others and reach them in ways that only you know they need. Please just direct me when I'm at the crossroads to take the path you would have me take, light the way for me, and direct my steps. In Jesus' holy, and most precious name. Amen

Monday, September 6, 2010

Arms Wide Open

If we believe that God love us equally, we understand that He loves all of fellow mankind who don't quite live up to the righteousness that we, as Christians, are called to do. And we need to realize that His love also transcends time. We cannot think for a moment that He loves us any less than the Israelites He saved over & over ... delivering them countless times (often from themselves!). So those promises He made to them stand true for us still. Just as He made a covenant with them, we are in covenant with Him. When I read in Scripture of how many times they turned their back on Him, yet He never left them...never stopped loving them, I am so reassured. Now certainly, He let them get what they had coming to them any good parent would in order to teach their children a lesson of value. But never once did He turn His back on them, as they did to Him.

Remember the game "I love you thiiiiiis much!" with outstretched arms? Well, that's what God does! The only thing we need to do is lose our inhibition & run into those arms that are ready to scoop us up & pull us in to the most loving, welcoming, warm embrace that permeates our very being.
We need to let let go of looking at God solely as "Father", and start viewing Him as "Daddy"... a lap we can curl up into, lay our head against His chest, and pour out our hearts to find the solace for which we're crying out. Can't you just almost hear that heartbeat...boom-boom, My grace, boom-boom, My mercy, boom-boom, My love, boom-boom, My peace?!
Now I realize that this is almost like wrapping your mind around some type of fantasy. And I know it's especially hard for those who had/have an absentee dad, or an abusive dad, or even just a disinterested dad....much like Mack in The Shack.

For me, I have such distrust of men because I have been hurt so much by those I trusted most with my innermost hopes, fears, and dreams who used those things back on me as weapons. Or those who look upon me as strictly an object of lust, not affection - even those I thought were only friends. Or those so disinterested that I begin feeling insignificant/lacking in some way. But, God has been so patient with me. He opened my heart to see that that's why I wouldn't trust Him....because He was a "he". We're working on that road to recovery. He says now, "Don't be afraid to meet men. You don't have to trust them. Just trust ME with those people I bring into your life." I'm still not there yet...admittedly, a work in progress! Truthfully...I'm content to wait!

Always...this is where I chose to be! Ah, can't you just imagine yourself here?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"No arms, No legs, No worries!" -- Nick Vujicic

What a phenomenal man! Next time I think I have it bad, Lord....I'll just shut up! Thank you for what you've done in his life that he might inspire others for you & speak to your grace & mercy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Satan's a genius....

I've come to the conclusion that Satan is a genius. Well ok, maybe not genius, but he sure does know each of us. Think about how many people there are in the world. And he figures out exactly what "gets" to us...each and every one of us (because we're all different). Just think about how much work that must be for him and his forces of darkness to prey upon us by attacking our soft underbelly...our weakness...

Perhaps your escape is .... or maybe this is where you find release...
most likely this is where you find comfort when the trials of life get to you...
... could be here ...
or the struggle with & constant preoccupation of this... or even the love of .... or worse yet, the pursuit of, with no regard for who gets hurt in the wake...
or maybe the fascination with this...or seeking it outside of marriage...

Whatever, the Prince of Darkness finds that gets you, really all any of it is, is just ...
a hook, a lure, to get us away from the life that Jesus wants to offer us, of the plans for hope and a future in Christ.

Satan creates within us ... those around us, in ourselves, that good can prevail, even in our faith-our foundational belief & trust in God's power over all situations;

fear...of the unknown, of harm, of risk, of stepping off the edge with uncertainty, even of "living";

longing...for better circumstances, for change, for those things we lack in our lives, even just to "let go" of something;

the list goes on...

And if we give in to these things, Satan wins..even if only for awhile. I can picture him just snickering, rubbing his hands together in conspiracy, saying "he-he-he, I got another one!" But this is where his genius turns to stupidity. It is here that his ego has taken over his faith. Yes you heard me, Satan's faith. He, and all his minions, know of God & fear Him. James 2:19 ~ You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.

Then, he takes us to court to accuse us before the Throne. To which our Counsel simply says, "Your honor!",
opens his hands palm up, and the gavel comes down with a resounding "FORGIVEN!!"

Call your next case, Counselor (of which, there is a loooong line).

What is it they say about "genius" can drive you mad? I guess in this argument, it really is rather an oxymoron.

Even on our best day, abiding by the righteousness God put in our hearts, we're still sinners. We will always fall short! Thank you, Jesus...that when I mess up, when I'm tempted, when I display doubt or fear or longing, YOU are there to strengthen me ... more with each situation I face ... so that we don't even have to appear in court. And thank you, Jesus, for the times that we do, you've already received my sentence. Thank you that you're teaching me how to live instead of simply existing!
To you, my dear, precious Lord and Savior, be all the honor and glory that my life can display!