It was an easy message to listen to. Interesting, factual, hitting the mark, but not causing me to squirm. I felt pretty confident that I was doing alright in this particular area.
I know that sin can camouflage itself, hiding behind self-righteousness, so I dare not assume there is nothing in me that is out of order. Time to pray: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me. And lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24
Whew! Nothing there, this time. Not so far as I can tell.
I have prayed this prayer before and been completely surprised. I have sat through whole teachings, my heart unmoved. Enjoying what was said. Learning from what was taught, but not convicted until I prayed. And suddenly I realized there was something there and I didn't know it!
It is like the story the pastor told.......(I loved this story, by the way!)
"A man was on a trip away from home. He wanted to buy a present to take back home to his wife. He went to a perfume counter and asked the clerk for suggestions. She recommended a fragrance that was very nice. The price was $75. He asked her if she had anything cheaper. She brought out another fragrance. The price was $50. Again he thought it too expensive. So she brought out a bottle that was $20. 'Do know of anything cheap?' She brought out a mirror from under the counter so that he could see his reflection."
Sometimes I need the Lord to bring a mirror out from under the counter to reveal my heart to me. Others can see when I am selfish, proud, unforgiving, gossipy, hateful, and rude. Sometimes I am instantly aware of my misaligned heart and I grieve and repent immediately. Other times it takes awhile. Some of the hidden things in my heart have taken years to come out of their hiding place. God in His mercy!
It can be very intimidating to ask the Lord to reveal the muck of my heart. Very scary indeed. It is a prayer that I have known Him to be faithful to answer. He loves to sweep the chambers clean.
But I have found it a liberating prayer. It is painful and there are tears when stuff hides inside, but there are tears of liberty when it is exposed. I would rather have have the tears of liberty.
Repentance is sweet! Freedom follows! One once captive takes flight!
The Lord once revealed that I hated someone! HATED someone!!!! I was devastated at the thought. It was someone that I was supposed to love and honor, show respect, but the Lord exposed the truth of my aching heart. It hurt so much because I hated so much!!!!
I began to sob when the Lord notified me of my condition! I could not hold back the flood! My heart was completely devastated over my sin!
I asked the Lord to have mercy and forgive me.
I chose to forgive the hated one that day. I released them from my hatred. Feelings followed.
When we forgive in faith, out of obedience, feelings will catch up as we heal.
I was washed clean that day. All I wanted to do was dance! I confessed my sin to a couple of trusted friends. I repented. They prayed for me. And I was completely and totally set free! I felt like the man who had been lame that sat begging at the temple gate in Acts chapter 3. Once his feet were set free to dance, he couldn't hold back! Healing had come! He didn't need to be in a beggar's position anymore! That was how I felt! Ready to dance in my healed state, exposing my untangled, liberated heart!
Sometimes the message doesn't FEEL good! The Lord exposing my hate did not feel good! But it HEALED GOOD!
When He exposes, it is not to condemn but to deliver.
"I have been delivered, oh, praise the Lord! I have been delivered by His Word. The chains are broken and I am set free.......!"
So I invite Him to come and hand me a mirror so that I can see what is in this heart of mine. And I am willing for the time of cleaning to come. Prepare to see me dance!
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
Monday, April 27, 2009
One of my favorite stops in New York City was Bonnie's. It was a narrow store, smaller than some closets I have seen. It was filled with vintage wares. Hats, gloves, clutches, jewelry, scarves, all the things a girl could love, lined the shelves of this little find.
Ashli and I spotted some necklaces in the large display windows that drew us right in the door to see what might be hidden inside. The treasures from yesterdays gone by were staggering.
Ashli looks beautiful in hats, so that is what we were immediately drawn to. She tried on hat after hat, most of them were extremely flattering.
The owner of the store, Sandy, was a beautiful woman, seemingly full of wisdom and grace. She worked there because she loved her wares.
There was a hat mounted apart from the others. It was a green hat wrapped with a black satin ribbon held in place with a beautiful vintage brooch. This hat above all others stood out to us. "May we try it?"
The hat was placed on Ashli's head. It was beautiful........the most beautiful of all. I wanted to buy it for her. I would of if it had been anywhere near an acceptable price. I wanted her to have it. It seemed to be a natural fit.
The hat was from the 1940's and was the prize of the store. I doubt if anything else exceeded it's value to the owner. Confident she could sell the treasure she would not budge on the price. And so we had to leave it behind.
Sandy frowned when I flashed a picture.
I wanted to hand her my credit card and have her wrap up that find and carry it out the door with us as we went on our way. But I resisted.
Later in the day we passed Bonnie's again. The store was closed..... The Lord was helping me to resist.
I couldn't get that hat off of my mind. I wanted it for Ashli, didn't that make it right? She looked stunning in it.
I wondered who the woman was that purchased the hat back in the 40's and what was she like. I am sure that she didn't have a credit card. Of course the hat would have toted a smaller price tag. I wondered if perhaps she had spotted it on an outing with her daughter, and had wanted it, and had waited until she had saved up for it. Perhaps she prayed that it would go on sale and perhaps it did. I wondered if she wore it much. And where did she wear it to? Did she wear it on special outings or for everyday?
I left the hat in New York City at Sandy's store called Bonnie's. Hey, if you happen by there would you stop in and check on it for me? I am sure that you will recognize it. It is the most exquisite hat in the shop.
For now, I have settled for a picture of Ashli in that beautiful hat. It looked even more stunning in person. You like?
But most of all, I have a peace in my heart that I did the right thing. I left behind an earthly treasure. Something temporal in exchange for something better. Sweet peace.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Lord, I would love to hear your singing voice today. I always love to hear a loved one stroll past me with a song on their lips. Their joyful heart being expressed by a happy tune lifts my heart to new places. I would love to hear you singing your song over me today.
I remember my Grandpa, who was Irish to the core, could dance a jig well into his nineties. He always had a song and dance to share. His expression of joy would illuminate the room and break all weariness of the day.
Scotty will often sing a song to me. He usually makes me laugh. Some of the songs in his repertoire mixed with his timing to express them to me could only make me laugh. He means to make me laugh. This is part of our fun in life.
But today, I want to hear the song you are singing, Lord. I will be listening. When I hear the birds, I will be thinking of you. When I hear my son whistling a tune, I will be thinking of you. Even the melody of the breeze will remind me that I am listening for your song.
And I will sing with You.
Because of Jesus,
Monday, April 20, 2009
Scotty trying to stay dry.
My gang; Scotty, Ashli, Caleb, Drake.
Drake and Ashli enjoying our day in the rain.
Central Park was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
Ashli and I at the Cloisters.
Trying to define it.
I always thought that it was where your kids return to.
I am thinking now it is wherever you can be together.
Scotty and I just returned from New York City where spring is bursting between the skyscrapers, bringing an array of color to blend with the grandeur of the giant city. It is beautiful! We had the privilege of watching the sleeping flowers wake with the warmth of the sun that beckoned them to open.
We got to see Caleb, Ashli, and Drake every day for several days. That was my favorite part of the trip. I also got to visit with my sweet friend, Ashley Call. We got to do many wonderful things, see amazing sights, worship with family on Easter. Blessings were found on every street corner. The Lord was with us!
Josiah did not go with us on this trip, but he has been several times. I just asked him what his favorite thing was in NYC, his reply exposed my thoughts, he said, "it is a tie between Ashli and Caleb." He quickly added the fact that Drake and Ashli are one and so he is factored into the picture.
Thought I would post some of the beauty and fun. Hope you enjoy a few of the pictures.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tomorrow Scotty and I will be getting on a plane and heading to New York City. He is nearly packed and I am still thinking about packing. I am so excited about heading East to see our children I can hardly stand it!
I have not seen them since Christmas and I am having some serious issues with separation anxiety! I need to see their sweet faces while we are chatting. I love having access to a cell phone but it is not the same.
Ashli is making plans to take us to some really cool places! Have you ever heard of a pickle store? I can imagine the fragrance!
When Ashli was little she used to eat pickles and drink apple cider at the same time. I don't ever remember her getting a tummy ache as a result. It kind of gives me a tummy ache just to think about it.
One thing on our agenda that I am so looking forward to is a restaurant that is a little more upscale than lets say McDonalds. She was eating there one day with some business associates and Caroline Kennedy just happened in for lunch. She did not ask to join them.....she missed out, I tell you! I told Ashli to put that on the schedule for sure, and please work it out that Caroline can be there. I promised to persuade her daddy to dress in something other than his farmer boy clothes.
We will be spending Easter in two churches. First we will go to church with Caleb at North Shore Baptist where he is the youth pastor. (Did I say that I can hardly wait to see this boy?) Then we will meet Ashli and Drake for brunch downtown. Later in the afternoon, three to be exact, we will go to Times Square Church. I think it will a delightful Easter Sunday! So out of the ordinary!
Writing that last exclamation makes me realize I have been asking the Lord for this! I have been pleading for Him to give me the extraordinary! Anyone can have the ordinary, but I am hungering for an extraordinary life!
The empty tomb was extraordinary.
It wasn't common to find a tomb where death was not a welcomed guest, where angels gathered to celebrate life, where soldiers left hanging their heads and trembling in their boots. A tomb that was invaded and robbed of the power of death by a greater power!
It isn't common to find a soul that is carrying around this kind of power!
The truth is...........
"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you......." (Romans 8:11)
Is that kind of power dwelling in you, making angels celebrate life? The power that transforms a sinful nature to a sanctified nature? The kind of power that makes the defeated devil leave trembling knowing that he does not have the power to overcome this resurrection force????
Because if that kind of power lives in you, it will give life to you! In every area it WILL give life to you! It WILL cleanse the path of defeat for you! And it WILL express itself through you!
And it will be anything but ordinary!
Tomorrow we will be leaving our comfy Kansas abode with our trundles (complete with air bed in tow), and we will meet our children in an extraordinary place, see wonders, and make extravagant memories, all the while carrying in us the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead!
Tomorrow, like every day since we invited Him into our the tomb of our hearts to bring it to a place of resurrection, we will expect the extraordinary!
The Tomb is Empty, My Heart Is Full!!!!
Celebrating His Life with you, Friends!!!!
Monday, April 6, 2009
It is beautiful when your children reflect on special times from their childhood. I love it when the kids remember home. It wasn't ever perfect and we didn't pretend that it was but it has always been home.
Today I would love to share with you from my daughter's blog. Check out Vagrant. (The one titled Coming Together). My daughter is the real writer in our family. I dream of writing, but she actually has the gift. Enjoy, friends.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friends, there are so many needs. Some of you might stop reading right there because your prayer list is already so long that you are overwhelmed.
I have not ever really prayed by lists. It always felt like an assignment when I had a list before me with needs that I should bring before the Lord. So I have relied heavily on the Holy Spirit to bring others to mind. There are names that come to me daily and there are other names that come to mind just once in awhile.
I have not been a very good intercessor. I can't say as I really know how to be one. I don't have the make up for it. I am not patient. I pray diligently for someone for days and then I release them to the Lord like a balloon that escapes the hand of a small child. It as if the need touches the heart of God and it disappears from my mind forever.
I have friends that are amazing intercessors. They seem to have a special grace to pray for others. I have been on their lists many times. They have brought my name to the Father while prostrate, facedown, breathing my name and those of my family. He has heard them and brought deliverance so many times. They pray, pounding the gates of heaven until they get answers.
I am so thankful for the Body of Christ........the faithful ones who pray!
Dear friends, the Lord has been calling me into a new level of intercession. He has brought so many life and death needs into my life that at times it literally overwhelms me. Almost daily a life or death situation has been brought to my attention. For several months I feel that the Lord has been calling me into a new level of prayer. It is a level that prays for others as if I were praying for myself. Some might say that I should have always been praying that way. So true. I thought that I was, but now I see that I am a rookie at this. I am weak, so weak.
So I go facedown, morning, noon, night, sometimes the middle of the night, bringing petitions before the True Intercessor, the One who knows how. We join in agreement, He and I, and pray for those who are on my list.
There is power in agreement.
I don't know how to pray many times.
The One that I am praying with is the One who said from the cross, "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing."
There is a lot of grace in that prayer.
There are many times I need that prayer.
I am thinking that there are many times the Lord has prayed that prayer for me.
He is helping to shoulder the weight, the burden of intercession that He is walking me through right now. I don't know what I am doing, not really but I am yoked with Him, He is teaching me.
May I share some of these very serious things with you. You might be called to breathe a name to the Father, petitioning Him for help.
A fraction of my list:
Brock Barber, age 22, inoperable brain tumor, begins chemo Monday (one of my son Caleb's best friends).
My Uncle Eldon Terry, given four to six months to live, cancer. Pray for His soul.
Teresa Thomas, 22, my cousin's daughter, melanoma cancer.
My friend Joy's dad, dementia.
My friend Melissa, mom has cancer.
Met a new friend this week whose son is having serious mental issues.
My sister-in-law Kathy Bunch, breast cancer.
My cousin Randy and wife Sharon who lost their 18 year old son last October. His birthday was in March. He would have been 19. Would have been days are very hard.
My friend Paula believing for a restored marriage.
My friend Angie believing for a restored marriage.
I held a newborn baby last Wednesday night. He was minutes old, I held him in my arms and we bonded right away. He doesn't know my name yet, but I know his. He is on my list. Sweet little thing has so much life ahead of him. As I held him I couldn't help but think that he was just covered in the kisses of God. Totally covered. They stripped him to weigh him, oh but he, little Teagan, naked as could be, was covered with the kisses of God.
Lord, please hear us when we lift these names to you. Every petition needs your undivided attention. Would you please kiss these needs and make them better. Thank you, Jesus! Amen!
Thank you for praying, friends. I appreciate you!
Because He LIVES!