Healing Words

Today, July 8th, marks eight days of celebrating life, and each day hereafter, yet another.

A year ago, I posted a blog entry on life circumstances that have made July a very difficult month to get through. I had mentioned how each year I would find myself holding my breath just waiting for July to end, giving birth to August, and I never quite released that breath I was holding until 12:01 a.m. when August was fully born.

This past year has reaped so many blessings and stitched so many miracles through my silky web, that I feel like my soul has been given new birth. Not once have I measured the minutes in the day by the pain I’ve endured, by the “almost’s” that nearly happened, nor have I x’d out each day before it ended, eagerly waiting to ‘x’ out the next–and the next.

Pen

I’ve traced the beginning of the real healing to writing. Writing has released repressed emotions, thoughts, and ideas that have led to newness and wholeness, and a brand new life.

Writing brings light when the day begins dark; when sadness strikes, it brings a glimmer a joy; it brings clarity out of confusion, and draws gratitude out of the simplest things; when isolated and alone it brings company through blogging friends and make-believe characters.

Writing pen to paper – or fingertips to keyboard – has facilitated healing and freedom from the traps the enemy has tried to catch me in. And what a blessing that is!

“It’s ironic that poets use words to convey what lies beyond words, that poetry becomes most powerful where simple language fails, allowing one to bridge the conscious and unconscious.” – Diane Ackerman, author and poet

This month, as I’ve mentioned in my post last Friday, my son was married, which brought joy to soothe a lifetime of pain. Chalk up another July bonus.

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The happy – and gorgeous – couple.

This is one happy and proud mama!

This is one happy and proud mama!

And now, my friends, it’s back off to Camp, another July bonus, where I’ll be mixing fun with healing in one neat little package. Well, okay–I guess it could turn into one sticky little package if I get carried away with the marshmallows and s’mores. And what is camping without that? 🙂

Back off to the wilderness.

Back off to the wilderness.

All truly is grace.

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

Denali National Park in autumn, Alaska, USA, North America

The top three things I’m especially grateful for this week are:

3.  The songs Need You Now by Plumb and Oceans by Hillsong UNITED playing back to back Thursday morning on Pandora at the precise moment I needed to hear them, proving the Hand of God in my life. A blessing indeed!

2.  The proof of my novel, The Inheritance, arriving on my doorstep in the midst of a most difficult week, bringing a glimmer, that spark, that I needed.

1.   My sweet, precious nephew, a true lover and servant of the Lord, overcoming serious brain surgery this past week, and on the mend from a setback last night. And the lesson in obedience he taught this humbled auntie when he asked not for a miracle but for God’s will to be done. (I will post about him in the very near future, as his story of survival, hope, and love is one that deserves telling.)

May peace and grace be yours–and with yours–today. 🙂

 

 

 

“R” is for…

Rahab

One of my very dearest friends named her dog Rahab.  One day when we were out for a walk, she was telling me the story of how her son thought it was terrible that she named the dog Rahab.
“Why is it terrible?” asked my friend.

“Mom!” He looked at her as if she were dense.  “Rahab was a hooker.”

She knew he was talking about Rahab from the Bible. The same Rahab who was a prostitute had also given a safe place to stay to the spies secretly sent by Joshua to scout out the fortified city of Jericho.  She risked her life for men she didn’t even know, putting their lives ahead of her own well-being out of loyalty and faithfulness to her God.

“Son,” she had told him, Rahab was a prostitute, yes, but she was a good person.”

While the fact that she was a prostitute remained in the forefront of her son’s memory, her goodness is what remained in my friend’s memory.  Though I can’t say that surprised me, because she saw the good in everyone.  It was she who taught me that just because someone does something unfavorable, it doesn’t mean that person isn’t redeemable by God’s grace.  When I was complaining about something my husband had done–or didn’t do–it was she who said, “Remember what he has done for you and given to you.”  And when she felt frustrated with her husband about something, she didn’t get angry.  She voiced her thoughts, smiled and said, “But he’s my husband and I love him.”

That friend was brought into my life by a loving God who knew I needed exactly her and her outlook on life.  He knew her words and wisdom would guide me long after she moved out of state to far away Tennessee.

The story she told me about her son’s reaction to naming her dog Rahab taught me two important lessons.  It’s wise to be careful what we do in life because they may be remembered for years afterward.  And the second is, when I see a person, do I choose to see the bad or the good?  I hope and pray that I show enough love and grace that the good I do is what will be remembered.

Peace

 

He Sees – And Still He Loves

Matthew 28-20

Matthew 28:20 (NIV)
(b) “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Sometimes when I read the Bible a verse that I’ve read a dozen or more times will jump out at me with a whole new meaning. This is one of those verses. So many times I have read this and found comfort without giving it a whole lot of thought.

Today I thought about it.

And not only did it bring the usual comfort, but discomfort as well. Or maybe it was conviction. Do I live my life as though He is with me always? Would I be okay with Him seeing how I live each day? I have to admit most days that would be a big resounding “No!” Rather, I would be ashamed if He saw me:

Exhibit that eye roll at someone’s suggestion.

Firing off that angry email in response to another’s.

Cheating the system, just this once.

Offering harsh criticism and judgment instead of acceptance.

Exhibiting contempt rather than love.

Feeling entitled rather than grateful.

That all-to-quick sharp human retort.

Turning a blind eye to someone in need because I don’t have the time to be inconvenienced.

Hoping not to get caught because no one is around to see? Busted!

Psalm 73:23 (NKJV)
“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.”

And though I may think at times, “Well, I’m not so bad, because at least I haven’t been as bad as so-and-so.” I don’t believe God measures in degrees. Rather, I believe He sees it simply for what it is–the condition of the heart.

He is with me always, to the very end of age.

Reading and meditating on this verse today has led me to a desire to want to live my life more intentionally. To be more aware of my words and actions, and to be proactive rather than reactive. To extend love in all circumstances, and to live my life in a way that shows gratitude and honor at being the daughter of a King. To love as He loves, forgive as He forgives, extend grace, as He extends grace.

To bring Him joy as He is always with me. To the very end of age.

Silence – Part II

August 14, 2013 036

In Part I, I announced My One Word, Silence, for 2014, and the benefits I have found through my conversion to one word rather than a list of resolutions.  Following is a list of how one word can help shape my character and draw me nearer to God if practiced diligently, keeping in mind it’s about progress, not perfection.  And to think this list can happen from just one word. 🙂

1.)  When I feel anger toward someone for their words or actions, whether they were intentional or not, remaining silent until I’ve had time to process and bring it before God will prevent me from spouting off with a comment I will likely regret later.  And staying silent, not even so much as to comment under my breath to myself in the name of venting, will keep my thoughts clear. I believe that our thoughts become words, so if I say something unkind in a moment of emotion, whether to someone else or to myself, I’m allowing my thoughts to travel that path.  Stopping a negative thought with a positive one before it flows into words, prevents those thoughts from germinated and growing wildly out of control, weeds choking out anything beautiful that has the potential to grow.  And it’s impossible to feel anger when I’m being grateful to God for something He’s blessed me with.

2.)  Taking a moment of silence before responding to a question that holds any weight gives enough time to invite God into the conversation.  If I follow His lead, I can’t go wrong.  In the presence of impulsivity and many spoken words, there is greater chance for sin.

3.)  It’s in silence and stillness that God breathes answers to my questions, even those that are often unasked.  If every waking moment is absorbed in sound, whether it be the television, radio, others or myself talking, there is no room for listening to His still, small voice.  I enjoy listening to the K-LOVE radio station in my car, or WAY-FM, songs and spiritual words lifting me high.  However, I have found that when I listen for it coming from Him, in silence, rather than through noise on the radio, it blankets my heart in peace that is incomparable to anything else.  That being said, unless I think about the word “silence,” in a world that’s accustomed and conditioned to noise, I often run on auto pilot and turn my radio on without thinking.  My one word reminds me to invite the silence into my day.

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4.)  Keeping my one word consciously and  subconsciously close, invites my thoughts to be still, bringing them back to Him, riding that wave of peace.  It’s a peace that is unmatched and one I discovered cannot be found anywhere except in close communion with God.  Silence reminds me to take deep, slow, cleansing breathes throughout the day, keeping the chaos and noise to a tolerable minimum.

5.)  Mindfulness of silence keeps me from reliving yesterday or jumping ahead to tomorrow, and keeps me living, fully experiencing, the here and now.

As I now prepare to sit quietly and enjoy a moment of silence before proceeding with my day, I wish you all a beautiful, peaceful year, journeying on your path to growth toward whatever it is you’re striving for.

Peace to you.

Silence – Part 1

 “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence: see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Mother Teresa

Nature's Quiet Beauty

Nature’s Quiet Beauty

I’ve previously mentioned my conversion from New Year’s Resolutions to New Year’s Goals to the My One Word Revolution that began last year when I chose the word “Grace.”  The idea behind choosing one word is to pray about a word God leads you to by keeping in mind the kind of person you want to become and the characteristics that kind of person possesses.  If several words come to mind, choose just one that encapsulates them all the best.

Desiring to become better in an area of life that has plagued us in the past is a good thing.  However, when I made New Year’s Resolutions to change said areas, it was a rare occasion that I made it through January without “blowing it.”  And once I blew it, life reverted back to the comfortable, well-worn path of old behaviors, with the feeling of failure added to the mix.

Choosing one word to focus on, knowing I can start over at any time during the year, the month, or even the day, and start over as many times as is required, cements characteristic changes into place.  Even cement can crack, however, so a full year to practice living the principles surrounding the word God has led me to through prayer works perfectly.

2013 was a year I desired to explore Grace–living it, accepting it, and extending it to others.  I “blew it” numerous times over the course of the year, but that word, one that is pure and pleasing to God, remained engraved on my mind and in my heart, so that when I strayed from living through grace, it reminded me to do an about face and turn it around, doing whatever was needed to correct the behavior.  While I’m far from having perfecting living through and extending grace to others, I’m much better than I was when I started, and I’m okay with that.  Because for me it’s all about progress, not perfection.

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Another component of the movement that I’ve incorporated as well includes choosing a bible verse that correspond to the chosen word.  I chose two last year and again this year.  Rehearsing the verses daily brings clarity and focus daily on the one chosen word.  I create cards on my computer with my one word as well as the chosen bible verses, in a fun and colorful font, and keep one at my desk at work, one by my bed to read first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, and one in my car.

It’s much easier to focus on one word that signifies who I want to become than try to remember a list of resolutions to change things I want to leave behind.

If you make the choice to join the movement, or if you’ve been participating already, I would love to hear the word you’ve chosen for 2014, and why.

Wishing you all a safe and blessed New Year filled with His presence and peace.

Happy Veteran’s Day

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Veterans Day

 

 

 

 

 

May we take a moment to offer up in prayer our veterans and their families, extending our appreciation and our gratitude.

May peace find all who fight the fight for our country, have fought the fight, and all the men, women and children who stand behind them in support, prayer and love.

All is Grace.