Friday, October 18, 2013

Sixteen Years

Sizzle. Pop. The sunny side eggs in all their buttery splendor are done. I pull them off the burner. Coffee perks then stops just before I hear the beep. Half and half clouds the cup and then I sit. I observe. I smile.

In the early morning sun my husband perches over the third floor deck, iphone cradled to his ear and chats away while taking in the vast, salty Gulf of Mexico. He is sociable. I am not. His plate of eaten eggs has already been stowed in the sink. He is more than ready for the day to begin. Vacation and our anniversary have coincided this year and for this we are both grateful. He wants to share our special day - I seek to savor it by blogging.

As I peer through the wide picture window from the breakfast bar I pause before thanking God for this day. Sixteen years ago my fiance and I, separately woke pre-dawn and were wed before God and witnesses in the presence of a gloriously conch shell pink and golden trumpet south Florida sunrise.

Unlike our wedding morning, this anniversary morning; together we woke to a golden fire ball moon which lit up the ink black ocean. This staircase into the sky glittered even before the world woke up. This morning was a splendiforous [I made that word up] display of God's creation - a moon setting for our 16-year anniversary while vacationing on the west coast of Florida.

I reflect back on this week. We swam every day in the wide open sea. One day I was swimming by myself in the shallow water, and I swam right over a sting ray! I had enough sense not to jump up but instead did a quick 180 and got away quick. Don't know who was more startled - me or the stingray! My face was less than 12 inches from it's tail. Thank you Jesus!

We rode our bikes and commented on all the beautiful porches with brightly colored furniture, we admired tropical landscape, we coveted many things and then confessed, agreed while baking in the hot sun that we want to one day run a bed and breakfast at the beach (or nearby), looked for "God appointments", I bought souvenirs and justified buying them because I called them Christmas presents even though I know they will be given before ever seeing a shred of gift wrap.

We fed one lone seagull a corn of cob he (or was it a she?) thoroughly enjoyed before a herd arrived, we watched porpoises play with a bait ball, decided we would take up wave boarding within three years (or at least attempt it), and ate lots of pasta without worrying about what time it was.

We are blessed. We are loved. We have much to be grateful for - sixteen years.

Oh Lord Jesus, thank you for this time. Thank you for surprising us with Your blessing of enjoying a golden staircase this morning. Your gifts are so much better than we could ever imagine. I have never seen a moon setting and because you love me so much, you knew this would be the perfect anniversary gift today. We had enjoyed the sunset just twelve hours before, but in Your generous and loving way, you gave us another gift on our special day. 
We love you Lord, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, 
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 
Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)

I had just finished Day 3 in Week 3 of an amazingly anointed women's Bible study Gideon by Priscilla Shirer. After reluctantly closing my workbook, I looked up at a bright yellow Post-it I had slapped on my desk "who knows when", on which I had scrawled the above Scripture. My gaze at that 3" cubed piece of paper took on an intensity which I clearly knew was incited by God's presence hovering low. 

My eyes locked on the word "sprinkled". Read all of it. Huh? Read all of Hebrews 10. Okay God.

And I did. Hebrews 10. And I understood. Ah God, you truly are here with me right now and your presence is not to just impress me, but to impress upon me what I need to share. 

It was no coincidence that my homework assignment in my lesson today (before I looked up at the Post-it with Hebrews 10:22 on it) covered Judges 7:3-6. I was quite impressed with how God thinned out Gideon's army so that the men would fully rely on God. The fearful and weak and then the men who were not vigilant were sent home. I'm not going to be a spoiler and tell you the outcome (but if you read all of Judges 7, you are making the same hand gestures and in awe of what the Bible brings to us to help us realize that even when we are the underdog - - there is always hope). That is - - hope as long as we are obedient to God's marching orders, His direction, His stripping of people, places and things from our lives, etc.

Hebrews was written to the Jewish believers who were tempted to abandon all of Christ and the fullness of life Christ embodied (and still does). These people were tempted to go back to a life of religious emptiness. 

Today, too many believers, like Israel in the OT, are kneeling at the water where death and decay beckon. They have become more focused on fulfilling their fleshly desires and turning their backs on their enemy -the devil who seeks to devour and destroy. They cup their hands and vigorously attempt to hold all the water they can before again digging deeper into the water of sin until they bring with it the miry clay. Rather than spit out the dirt of iniquity, they keep drinking because they are thirstier than ever. Their palate has sought out the sensation of wetness rather than recognize the grit that will ensue.

Lord, I sit and read your Word.  I have a bottle of purified water next to my study book and not just one Bible, but a commentary as well. These resources have not collected dust on a shelf, or been used to press flowers for an art project I will never make. Instead, these resources are the tools for the beginning of my heart to be "sprinkled" from an evil conscience. 

Thank you God, for Your graciousness. You have allowed me to continue to represent you in the army and the battle ahead. I will remain vigilant. I will give You my fear when it comes (2 Corinthians 10:5). My body will be washed with pure water. I have my armor on (Ephesians 6) I am wearing my steel-toed shoes of peace. But don't be deceived. I will kick  Genesis 3:15 Satan in the head. I will be the last woman standing. I am ready for the battle ahead.

As I look off into the wilderness behind me, I sadly take in the scenery. Friends I worshipped with and prayed with, those women whom I had prepared a meal for and spent time with in the Word - - - we laughed, we shared, we cried, we danced. And now they don't even notice me. They kneel in the mud at the edge of the water. Some cup water, and some stick their faces into the murky depth. They only see what they want. Their armor lays unworn sprawled across the dead grass behind them. They don't even notice or even care that close by a pack of lions have gathered, and are patiently waiting to attack.

With a quick prayer on my lips, I wipe a lone tear from my cheek and then look ahead at the mountaintop above. I draw near to my Savior - my Lord Jesus Christ with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having my heart sprinkled from an evil conscience. I have a mission. I don't look back.I have a mountain to climb.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Comfy, Content and - - Truly Blessed

I am comfortable. I am happily and may I add - contentedly - reclining on the chaise end of our new microfiber sectional with my feet crossed in front of me. I admired the pretty bright pink bows on my "new" cushioned slipper socks with the hearts in many shades printed all over.

God speaks into my head, "Now you are comfortable."

Ugh. In my flesh, I realize God has once again invaded my selfish, lazy time watching "Chopped" and-loving-it time. It was raining outside, my husband en route to the Bahamas on a mud skipper two-engine plane to do a 10-hour boat delivery. That time my husband was on the plane meant no cell phone to answer, my "To Do List"on hold and my time witnessing those seeking to win the $10 grand on "Chopped" protected from all outside influences.

Or so I thought. Until God spoke to me and prompted me to arise perpendicular as opposed to remaining in the oh so enjoyable horizontal position on our brand spanking new microfiber sectional. Deep breath as I opt to be obedient to the Holy Spirit's leading....

And so here I sit. At my keyboard and ask, "Okay God. Now what? You want me to blog slippers of all things???"


And so here I go. These slippers were purchased by moi (the three of us  -the false trinity which consists of me, myself and I) about a year ago. We had gotten an offer on our house but had no real "dream house" or even a "want to live there" house in mind to purchase. We had accepted a full price cash offer on our home and were looking to downsize. This three-day window before cancelling a great offer was a stressful time for my husband and I. In lightning fashion, we found an apartment to move into with our five cats. We found a short sale home that would close in just over the 30 days after which our home would close (which meant moving not once but twice that summer). The inexpensive apartment was the practical way to go.

And so, we walked into the temporary apartment as the smell of stale, long lingering cigarette smoke accosted our noses. I cringed as we were shown the break-in deterrent in the sliding glass doors (a wooden dowel jammed in to the space between the window and the wall). Mexican tile looked clean enough. Laminated floors in each bedroom were in good shape. It was the old gold tile in each bathroom that made me want to run for Windex and ammonia. I was going to shower in there? I was going to call this place home for even just a few weeks???

And so, a quick trip to Target for a few necessities and some green cleaners. I spotted those slip-on slipper socks with the thick faux sheepskin soles in short order. The rubber nonslip treads on the bottom for safety almost cinched the deal. But what got me were the hot pink ribbon bows on each slipper sock as well as the many-colored hearts on the gray cotton background. Comfy, stylish and practical. Sold!

Upon arriving to our new apart-mentally (sp?) temporal home, I pulled those puppies from the Target bag. I cut the plastic tie trapping them to each other. I put both feet into the slipper socks and walked across the Mexican tile. I traipsed into a laminate-floored bedroom and on into a 6" mustard gold tiled bathroom. Nice. Yes, nice but I did not have a snugly, comfortable, contented feeling like I thought I would have had when I decided to invest the 10 bucks for those slipper-socks.

Days turned into weeks as I looked at these slipper socks which sat on top of a cat carrier in the corner of the bedroom. I was not enticed to wear them during my nesting time of stress waiting for our short sale home to close. I thought of wearing these slipper socks a few times while I watched TV channels I never knew existed but instead wore my husband's old sweat socks. I contemplated wearing them while I boiled water on the stove for pasta (my comfort food of choice) but instead opted for flip flops for no apparent reason I can recall.

The only time I wore those slipper socks was while I lay in bed before slipping my feet under the covers for a full night's sleep.


And now, today I realized the answer to that question. I was not content. I was not resting in God. I was merely waiting for the practical aspects of life to kick in. I did not find the comfort I thought I would find in those slipper socks (even with the faux sheepskin lining and anti-skid soles).

God was waiting for me to come to Him and find rest and comfort in Him. Not in a pair of man-made slipper socks.

Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 shall find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

And so today,  just now actually (a few minutes ago) as God prodded me to get up and blog; I realized that I enjoy these slipper socks and appreciate wearing them now because they are a gift from Him and a symbol (or reminder) of how far He has carried me in our recent house selling and buying. God knew the slippers were never going to give me comfort. But the reminder now of me seeking comfort during a very difficult time through a pair of slipper socks and coming up empty is a return back to the fact that it was God comforting me all along. This was the reason the slipper socks failed to give me enjoyment. Only God could and can give me true comfort, contentment and blessing!!!

Okay God. I got it. Thank you for this reminder. And now that I have shared Your Goodness and Grace, I will now return to the microfiber chaise you have also graciously given us and put my feet up and smile once again as I look at those hot pink bows on those slipper socks that you used to teach me about being content.

I also thank You Lord, for the fact that I no longer have to walk on golden outdated bathroom tile, laminate floors or Mexican tile. I rejoice because You,  Lord Jesus, seek to bless me and keep me walking in Truth and faux sheepskin !! I remain Comfy and Content and - - Truly Blessed. You truly are my rest.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I am Not That Bad

I am a fan of the show Hoarders and Hoarders, Buried Alive. My husband declares often that I am a "hoarder". I agree I do have a bit of a hoarder mentality. I admit, I watch this show to feel better about my own slight compulsion "to aquire." I relate to the Romans who cheered as the Christians were being fed to the lions. Do you know why they cheered? Because they were not the ones being gnawed by lions! 

In a voyeuristic sense, as I clean and purge during the commercials, a mantra filters through my brain in an endless loop until the program comes back on or I have fast forwarded to the next segment. My mantra, "I am not as bad as them. They breed roaches and do not clean up animal feces,  human feces and garbage - - and as if that were not bad enough, they sleep and eat in filth and do not believe anything is wrong with living that way!"

The crowd chants and cheers as the lion bares his teeth and his nostrils flare with the fresh scent of prey. His victims look heavenward ready to meet their maker. 

They cheer. I cheer - because I am not them. Or so I believe I would never be them. Watching them be eaten fulfills something sinful in me that gives me relief. That is them. Not me. Watching the situation unfold somehow empowers me. This is the human condition.

After watching a recent Hoarders episode, I noticed just after the ending credits a memorial tribute for Dr. Johan Rosqvist. I did not recall him from any of the shows (I have watched many episodes and know all the counselors and organizers). I Googled his name and was speechless as I learned of his demise

He was an expert. He was a pro. He was helping people with heightened anxiety disorders of which many of us suffer with but ours is currently in a much less heightened level (we have either gotten help or we have been spared the intense propensities).

The shoemakers children have no shoes. An accountant files bankruptcy and discloses personal financial trouble. The dentist with yellow teeth. All of these images come to mind. A therapist ends his life because of - - what?

What was Dr. Johan thinking before he took his life? How long had he cheered and applauded in the stands in the coliseum as the lions attacked - someone else? When possibly his own heart was breaking, his back had held the last straw of suffering and who did he turn to? No one. His mental health had failed. His techniques not worked - or never been applied? Where were his peers? Were they cheering in the stands while he smelled the lion's breath before taking his last breath?

And I question God. God, how many times have I appointed myself to be the "The Expert" without consulting you first? How many times have I left you out of a situation in which I clearly heard "Danger Will Robinson, Danger" but kept going full throttle ahead into disaster?

And on cue, He replies,  John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


But God, I am really good at (fill in the blank) and I can help them! I can teach them! I can heal them of their anxiety.  

"Daughter, have I given you that assignment? How will you accomplish My will? My plan? My work? "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Only if you do the work in me God. Apart from You I can do nothing. I will fail. I will flounder. I will not finish the race that You intended. Lord Jesus, Your will be done.

Ahh thank you Lord.

For when we profess to be the expert but leave God out of our day to day activities (our work, play, child rearing, conversations, lack of prayer time, etc), we set ourselves up for failure. Every time.

And so, with a heavy heart I realize how often I judge others from the sidelines.I compare. I entertain myself with voyeuristic tendencies. I rush off from a God appointment knowing the person I just talked with had a tear which she thought she had wiped away, but the dirt stain left a trail down her cheek. What would have happened if I had ministered to her, jumped off my judgment throne and listened? This is what God would have wanted. After all, He is the best listener and would have worked through me to love her - to be the hands and feet of Christ. 

How different it would have been if someone had been there for Dr. Johan. How different to be handing him the tissues. What a different outcome if he had invited God in to the hidden chambers in his heart.

Oh God that we would do less cheering and more ministry. Yes God, I am that bad - but You are that good and so much more.....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


A recent daily devotional challenged me to read Exodus 20:1-21, which is otherwise known as The Ten Commandments. The author of the devo (Beth Moore of Breaking Free) challenged her reader to read these verses with "a fresh heart and teachable mind."

I immediately was drawn to the words "out of the house of bondage" (verse 2). "I am the Lord your God" of course is the First Commandment. However, I was reminded that just like the Israelites, God has led me out of the bondage of sin and shame of which I had been a slave in my past before I submitted to God (Romans 10:9-11).

Beth Moore then discussed an ancient boundary stone, which is similar to our modern day fence. A stone was a great visual for someone to see to remind them when they were going out of bounds. When we see a fence, we immediately stop and realize we need to turn around or we will be trespassing.

In the same way, the Ten Commandments are stones which keep us on the right track. They were erected to keep us on the straight and narrow. Crossing over leads to bondage and sin which comes from the loss of freedom. I like to think of the Ten Commandments as a reality check. I need God to check me at the door every now and then.

God, do I have other gods which I put before you? Do I worship other gods? Do I take your name in vain? Do I work on the Sabbath even though you have told me otherwise? Am I honoring my mother and father the way you command me to do? Have I murdered in my heart? Have I committed adultery in my heart? I stole time - is that a sin? Help me understand what bearing false witness is, Lord! I do not covet my neighbor's house Lord, just the treasure trove of children that bring joy to that home. Is that wrong, Lord?

And so, as always when I talk with God and open my heart, He replies. Daughter, as I spoke through Moses to the people, I now remind you as well, "Do not fear; for God (I) has (have) come to test you, and that His(My) fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." (Exodus 20:20).  personalization mine.

Thank you God. I need to be tested. I need boundaries which lead away from sin....

Unlike the people in Exodus 20:21, I do not stand far off, but today just like Moses did back in the day, I drew near Godnear enough to imagine His smile Zephaniah 3:17 and to feel Him pat me on the back in an encouraging way. Thank you, Lord.

My husband and I love to beachcomb. Whenever we visit an island in The Bahamas, we are always attracted to rocks and stones, which often are composed of leftover building material or natural material from reefs in the area. The island of San Salvador offers up beautiful rocks which are often smooth and so white one might think they would glow in the dark! This past trip, I found a large, oddly shaped rock with 1" squares of tan rock embedded on the entire surface of the rock. I held it up high for my husband to see and told him I thought it was quite unique and definitely mine for the taking.

Hesitating, my husband left his beachcoming post and I saw a scowl on his face as he approached. He asked me why two years ago when he held up the very same type of rock, that I had told him it was ugly. I explained that I did not remember him presenting that type of rock to me. "Oh, okay." He walked away and the conversation was over.

I pondered our conversation. We both now agreed it was a special rock. But, why did I once believe it to be ugly? I did not remember. That piece of earth was soon after stuffed into the engine room on the boat ready for its trip back to South Florida. It would be a reminder. It was a souvenir from the sea.

Ancient Boundary Stones
Having studied this symbol of our modern day fence today, I realized God gave us stones for a reason. Not just to become paperweights on a desk, or erected in our front yard with our house number painted for the postman, and not even to be placed in a bowl for decoration. No, stones have so much more meaning. They are to be reminders. Unlike the rock I had deemed ugly and soon forgotten, ancient boundary stones were created for a purpose. Proverbs 22:28

When we refer to the Ten Commandments (Old Testament) as the coloring book, and the New Testament as the crayons, together a beautiful picture is created. The new fulfilled the old and the picture was completed. If I only do what the Ten Commandments tell me to do, and ignore the boundaries that God has given me in His Word in the New Testament, then I have run off the road and my path becomes quite crooked (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I once again ponder verse 2 in which I am reminded that I have come out of a house of bondage. God's plan was to free me from slavery! From sin and its destructive effects. He has done that for me.

Have you allowed Him to do that for you? Romans 10:9-11. Just like the stone was rolled away when Jesus ascended to Heaven after He hung on a Cross and died for you and for me, the ancient boundary stones in your life can and will be erected where God wants them to be. Ask God today for boundaries or places in your life where you have not allowed Him to lead you. You will be surprised to know that you too will see a rock in a new way as well as the hint of a smile on the God who waits to release you from your house of bondage!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Open The Door!

Shamed to admit, I embarrassed only myself this afternoon. I almost dismissed blogging my experience today but instead asked myself, 'Why waste any situation in which God places me if He put me there to share my humanity with another?"

And thus the image of a door with a knob...I scrubbed, painted, sanded again and then painted a last time. Today was the day the french knob would be put back in order and my newly painted bedroom would be finished. I envisioned standing back and admiring all of my labor.

I was seconds away from success. With phillips screwdriver in hand, from inside my bedroom I inserted the center piece of the doorknob hardware. I shut the door without inserting the doorknob. Click. I smiled knowing that part of the knob was screwed in properly. I stuck my finger confidently in that hole and yanked. Nothing. The door did not budge. I inserted the screw driver in the hole and turned. I yanked the door. Nothing. Deep breath. I yanked my newly hung robe off the hook on the door and yanked on the hook as I turned the screw driver once more. Nothing.

I panicked. I would be stuck in my bedroom all day with no phone, no way out. I contemplated opening my bedroom windows and jumping out but then realized I would have no way to get in my house even though my french doors inside my house were ajar. I went back to the door shaking my head. This couldn't be happening.

I felt silly. I felt stupid actually. I hate to admit that I took that screwdriver and in anger (in Moses fashion) and struck the door ware. I swirled the screwdriver around the circular shape and wondered how I had locked myself in my bedroom. Home alone. I panicked for just a second more and then said aloud, Duh!

I stuck the french door knob in the hardware, pushed down on the handle and pulled the door open. Voila! I was free! I felt foolish but I suddenly felt free.

I learned two things from my silly escape into imprisonment today. One is that I simply need to have a spare key made and hide it somewhere in my yard. I would have been able to make my way back into my home if I had a front door key waiting for me somewhere outside had my logical self not saved the day.

Secondly, I was reminded of Jesus standing at the door in Luke 11:9-10. Recently our pastor gave a sermon with a door for a prop on stage. The door was such a visual of the opportunity (or lack thereof) that we all have concerning eternal life. Ask. Seek. Knock.

Today, physically, I did not have the option of a doorknob on the other side. No one was home (except my cats) and no one was going to open the door for me from the other side of the door - at least at that very moment. I chose to make a decision. I searched for a solution. I received a way out.

Our pastor reminded us as he stood in front of the door during his sermon of the fact that Jesus is always waiting on the other side. He is not going to open the door for us. He gives us a knob - a way of escape from our side of the room. He offers us the solution - His son (John 3:16).

I am so grateful to have made that decision (Romans 10:9-11). As I sit here blogging away in my office just steps away from the door of embarrassment, I am humbled. Humbled to know that God used a donkey back in the day in order to teach a lesson. And today He used an amateur painter and half a french doorknob to remind me that He is always there and will never leave or forsake me - - even if I do panic every once in a while and now and then have a Moses moment (Numbers 20).

God will always provide freedom and a way out. Open the door! Jesus awaits - - most likely with his ear against the door listening for your knock. And just imagine - you don't even need to fiddle with the phillips screwdriver or the french door handle!