Friday, July 31, 2015

Quiet, Chaos, then Quiet



Honestly, the wind was quiet only moments before. I never expected to find myself kicking through storm waves, my eyes on the shore, only moments later. 

But isn't that often what life stirs up for us? A moment of quiet turning into a moment of stormy chaos? 

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. Matthew 8:24

I was a guest at my friends cabin property. We'd taken a walk down to the lake, a kayak and paddle board in tow. After a quick lesson from my girlfriend's husband, I balanced myself on my knees on the paddle board, getting a feel of it before taking the leap to standing. 

I never made the leap.

Instead I found myself sailing fast from shore, strokes of my paddle not changing my course. A sudden wind had swept up under skies where once distant clouds now shadowed me. 

Feeling panic rise up in my stomach, I looked behind me, back to the shore. My friend's husband was running toward me, waving. He'd seen I was in trouble.

My stomach began to ease. He had seen me. 

Knowing I could not paddle against the rising waves, I slipped into the water. Holding the board with one arm, I kicked against the rising waves, moving toward shore and toward my friend's husband who was now in the water too. 

Soon we met up, and he took the board from me, Moments later we were both safely on shore, light shared laughter between us over the adventure. 

Back to a quiet moment after the stormy chaos. 

And I wondered, as we walked back to the cabin in the wind and rain, how often do I panic in my storms of life, forgetting that He is always there with me to calm the waves?

The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm." Matthew 8:25-26

God controls both the storms of nature and the storms of our heart. 

There is no need to panic. 

We just need to keep our eyes on Him, our refuge and strength. 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah
Psalm 46:1-3

May you feel His presence in your moments today, in both chaos and calm. 

Love,

Lynn

Monday, July 20, 2015

Looking up.



"What a different relationship you begin to develop when you realize that God is head-over-heels in love with you!....And He loves you deeply, recklessly and extravagantly--just as you are."
Surrender to Love, David G Benner

TEXT: Do you think God abandons you?

ME: Kind of. Didn't understand His ways. And thought I was being punished. I did some pretty crazy stuff as a non-Christian! lol  You ever believed that?

TEXT: No. In the hardest of times I knew He was there. He brought me through. And I know He is always with me.

ME: Thank you. Your faith inspires me. I'm still kind of a 'baby' Christian, hey?

TEXT: :) We all have our own path He leads us on to build a relationship with Him. Have a great day my friend!

Smiling, I slip my phone back in my purse and start my car. It is the end of a work day. And I am content.

Content to be witness to a faith so strong that it did not waiver in a storm that may have uprooted me to a dark place of confusion and questioning. Content to have a new friend that God used to speak to me of His faithfulness in my times of doubt. A friend who helped me understand the battle of principalities and of the refining when being in the desert. Content to have a new friend that I looked up to for answers on faith, on trust, on God's way.

Yet, I was reminded of a conversation of weeks ago; a pastor encouraging me to look up and not to others.  To look up to God for everything.  I was still looking at others, my circumstances, and my own agenda on how life should go to show me God's character, to grow in faith and trust.

It is time to grow up and look up.

And to walk the path He has for me, developing our relationship, getting to know Him, and experiencing Him myself instead of just through others.

And to trust His way

It's been weeks now since last connecting with that new friend. But that is ok.

I trust His way of giving and taking away, His way of bringing others in our life for a moment, or a season, or a lifetime, to bring us closer to Him--part of His master plan we cannot see.

And I feel His love so strong for me as He cares enough to make me look up only to Him! He is showing me how precious I am to Him, how He wants me to know Him completely, by my own understanding, instead of leaning on others.

So I cling to the only One available for me in this desert experience. And I look up. I have no where else to look. But I know He is there. Because I am beginning to truly understand and see, hear, feel and sense Him.

And I know He has never abandoned me. Nor you.

Even if in a storm, even if the healing hasn't come, or the prayer not been answered, may You know His 'head-over-heels' love for you today!

Love you,

Lynn



Sunday, July 12, 2015

A step in.


If only I could see me as You see me, and understand the way that I am loved. Would it give a whole new meaning to my purpose, change the way I see the world? .....If only I believed the truth about me. The Truth About Me, Mandisa
 
I am scared.
 
Perfect love casts out fear, says the Lord. 1 John 4:18
 
I don't have the skills.
 
I am your strength in your weakness, says the Lord. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
 
I doubt my purpose. Someone else is much more skilled than I.
 
I created everyone, including you, for a unique purpose, says the Lord. Ephesians 2:10
 
I am just not good enough.
 
Do I say you are made in the image of Me? asks the Lord Colossians 3:10
 
Yes.
 
Do you believe that I am good? asks the Lord 1 Chronicles 16:34
 
Yes.
 
If you believe, then why do you question if you are good enough to do the works I planned for you? asks the Lord. 2 Corinthians 12:9
 
I am scared.
 
Perfect love casts out fear, says the Lord. Come to Me, surrender to Me, and let me show you how much I love you. Psalm 91:14-16
 
What do I need to do?
 
Silence.
 
Silence.
 
Then
 
Be still and know I am God, says the Lord. Psalm 46:10
 
Be still.
 
Know I am God.
 
Surrender to My love.
 
Silence.
 
I look up.
 
All is quiet.
 
I step into the New Beginning.....
 
Is God calling you to a new beginning? Or to say yes to His calling for you?
 
Love you,
 
Lynn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Friday, June 26, 2015

And the Voice calls out

Before you were born-before any of your defects were apparent to you-they were absolutely apparent to God. That didn't stop Him calling your name and setting you apart....even when you can't get your act together, your identity is secure and completely intact. Because in Christ, who you are matters infinitely more than anything you do or cannot do.
Steve Furtick, Crash the Chatterbox

I leaned against a table and took it all in, a crowd of about 45 people, some singing along or moving in their chairs to the beat, others dancing at the edges of this garage and tarp-covered driveway venue. One of my best-friends who blessed us with opening her beautiful gardens for one of my endless stream of ideas to actually fruit,  dances with arms bare even in the cool temperatures of the rainy evening. Another dear friend of 15 years, a professional musician who has drawn in hundreds at his events, acoustically entertains our modest crowd , blesses us with his gift of voice and guitar.

And still I feel there is something missing. Incomplete.

It is just not good enough. I fall apart, struggle with judgements and not always very loving.  Selfish really. It can't be a true success because I am not a success. I am actually a real mess up and deserve none of this.

And on it goes...that chatterbox.

Yet I smile and sway to the music. Only those that I am blessed to know well, can see the hint of discontent behind my smile, in my eyes.

On a table lies an envelope stuffed full of blessings, gifts in forms of pledges for Hope Mission. On another lies door prizes and a jar of 50/50 tickets, and another envelope full of blessings. The next day I count these blessings and am overwhelmed by the generosity, the monies that will bless a facility that serves the needy, the homeless and struggling in our city. And teaches the Good News of the gospels.

Already my mind is formulating a vision for the next Give Back event.

And that chatterbox starts up again.

Who will come Lynn? You know some people just don't like you. And even your friends now are sick of  your struggles, your lamenting and crying, as you bare the dark side of your heart. Do you even have a good heart? You made a lot of mistakes and you talk too much. And look at how you messed up. If you hadn't done blah, blah, blah...you would be in a completely better place. 

But there is another voice that calls out.


I am accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)

I am forgiven of all sin. (Ephesians 1:7)

I am healed by His stripes. (1 Peter 2:10)


Every Christian has a calling. And the chatterbox is assigned to interrupt that calling. The ability to overcome discouragement is driven by our intentional decision to reassure ourselves: God says I can. This is especially crucial at the times when the chatter is most convincingly overwhelming us with reasons why we can't. (Furtick)

And God says I can.

It is a constant battle, this battle for our mind in this world.

But God says I can.

What is He telling you that you can do today?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37







Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Being Salt and Light


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

Praying for an Alberta clear sky for Friday evening this week!

On Friday evening I will be in a friend's backyard, with a whole lot of other friends, facilitating a fund-raising event for Hope Mission, a place that serves meals and provides programs for people in need.

A place where being Salt and Light to others is always in action.

As I began preparing my opening remarks for Friday night, my mind wandered, questioning when have I ever been Salt and Light to others? Stretched out on my comfy couch, a cup of coffee and a bible beside me, typing on my fully charged laptop, alone but not lonely, I struggled to find the right words. But even though I was slightly frustrated with myself, I was reasonably comfortable.
 
What have I done that stretched me to be what Jesus calls us to be--'salt of the earth?' (Matthew 5:13)
 
The other day, while sipping on my $5 coffee at Starbucks, I listened as my friend Cheryl, shared a story of a woman at her church who approached a homeless man, bought him a meal, then extended the invitation to dinner at her home. He slept that night in her spare bedroom and then left her home the next day with a full stomach and a bag of 'new' clothes.
 
Wow. Could I do that?
 
The 'what if's' began blowing up in my brain like fire bombs. What if he robs me? Smells bad? Doesn't squeeze the toothpaste right?  And then there is the matter of safety. As a woman living alone, would I be safe?
 
Then Romans 12:6-8 came to mind.
 
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it encouragement, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."
 
Glancing at the bundle of flowers Cheryl had bought me as a 'pay it forward' love gesture, I commented I was grateful for her ability to see me and just know when I needed sunshine in my day. "You give generously and encourage me," I told her, "lighting me so I can be better."
 
Cheryl smiled. "You are welcome. I appreciate how you listen and help me work through my stuff, teaching me how I can take the next step."
 
I twirled my empty coffee cup. "Can I get you another coffee?" we both said at the same time, then laughed.
 
Although we may meet others that share our same gifts, more often our relationships are with those that have different gifts than ours.  And by working together, using our unique gifts and talents in God's family, Christ's light shines brighter in the world.

Without the unique gifts of my friends including organization, creativity, and musical talent, I would not be a able to do this event. I tend to be the creator, the idea person but without others I would not follow through and complete!
 
Where are you shining your light today?

Love

Lynn

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

And another enters

 
 I hop up on the abandoned picnic bench under an overcast sky. The lake spreads out in front of me, its sides spilling endlessly. A boat motor grumbles in the distance. Ahead at least half a dozen Purple Martins dive, touch the tips of grey waves and then dance back into the sky to hover for a moment, wings never stopping to only dive again. I pick up my camera, peer through the lens and click. Click again. Still too far away to get a great shot even with my 300mm zoom lens. But I click anyway. I stop a moment. And another enters.

My mind drifts, remembering where I was emotionally this time last year. In a very confusing place. I lower my camera and hold it against my chest. I take a breath, shake my head. Stay present, Lynn. I look. I look at the driftwood lying on the small beach just meters from where I sit. I no longer can hear the boat motor in the distance. Instead I hear a rustling of leaves behind me. A squirrel maybe? I shift, and look. But all is quiet again. I stop a moment. And another enters.
 
Hebrews 13:5, ESV Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you
 
Every year I pick a word for the year and this year my word is Content. And on this journey He has me on, I find Him nudging me to be present with Him. In the moment. Just be. And in that being, trust Him. Let Him guide my thoughts, my steps. Respond instead of push in. So often I try to 'fix' which honestly has led only to more brokenness, even more conflict and severed relationships rather than reconciliation.
 
Results of doing it my way, my agenda, instead of His.
 
So I find myself after work hours alone, taking walks in our river valley, long drives in the country side, and lying on lakeside benches watching Purple Martins. And sometimes even blessed by Pelicans drifting in the waves. I also find myself saying yes, responding to last minute invitations that take me to evenings of laughter and deep conversation. And soon a trip to Iceland.
 
I seek Him, stop so it is His moment.
 
Let Him be this moment now.
 
And another enters.
 
What are you doing right now?
 
Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland
 
Psalm 118:24, ESV This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

You're going to make it

"Whatever you are facing, if your heart is breaking, there is a promise from the One to just hold on. And lift up your eyes and see, the sun is rising."

The voice of Britt Nicole feeds my thoughts through my headphones as I gaze down at the river below. I am sitting, resting. A chickadee sweeps in, lands on a low branch hovering over the gentle current of water washing rocks. She sits still for many breaths, then flutters her wings, moving on.

*************************************

"But I don't know what to DO!" I lamented.

The pastor put his hands together and his blue eyes locked with mine. "What do you do when you don't know what to do?" he asked.

"Nothing." I replied.

He nodded, eyes still locked with mine. "He wants you to look up. He is refining you in this desert experience. But know He has not abandoned you. There is a reason He has led you here."

Led me into this desert.

And as I walked back to my seat in this small church, I felt His comfort wrap around my heart. A comfort of knowing that, even though it has been confusing and frustrating, He has led me here to refine me. A comfort of knowing that I am in His will, in this desert.

I became a Christian about 4 years ago and didn't realize at the time it would be so hard! Over the last year I have wrestled with God, wrestled with judgement and hypocrisy. Wrestled with blessing verses circumstances. Wrestled with works verses unconditional love. And with heartbreak, pain. 'Why God, is this happening?' I would often ask. And where are You?

"For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life" Matthew 7:14

The other day a friend commented that he envied how I was a newer Christian, on fire for God. He grew up in a Christian home and many messages now seem redundant, an "I have already heard all this before' boredom.

Oh, but only if he knew how many times I wanted to give up, to go back to my old life-style of the wide road and sinful comforts.....

"It did not fall because it had been founded on the rock" Matthew 7:25

Yet, God did not let me go. And in this desert place, He is washing me, exposing attitudes of my heart, the places I sway in the wind instead of resting on solid ground with Him.

And I hear His whisper, 'You're going to make it.'

And you. my friend, are going to make it! Just hold on to the One who has made you, your rock and fortress.

Love Lynn

****************************************************************************
I take my eyes off the clear sky and look to where she might now be, the chickadee. She is on the other side of the bank, perched on a branch that lays on the river, so close her feet are almost touching the rocks being washed by the river water. She sits so still. And I wait, wait for the next flutter of her wings.