August 27, 2009

Well Worn

A friend loves at all times. ~Proverbs 17:17

A blog I ran across recently asked What do you love? One of the answers made me smile.

old abandoned buildings and barns

Me too!! They are beautiful, wouldn’t you agree? Think of the life they once contained. The homes spilling over with holiday cheer, back yard weddings, late nights brimming with laughter, countless meals celebrated. And the barns…baby animals born each spring, tools to tend and harvest, games of hide and seek in the lofts.

If only walls could talk! Oh to hear stories of when they stood the test of time, sheltering those within from being…

Pelted by the rains.
Burned by the sun.
Blown by the winds.
Beat up by life.

I admire these structures. Even after all the years of weathering the elements, protecting those within, these buildings beautifully offer…

A roof for shelter.
Walls of sanctuary.
A firm foundation to stand on.
Windows from which to gaze and dream.
A place of refuge from the pelting, burning, blowing, beating.

And so, I ask myself, What do I love?

I love my relationships that are so like these sweet, weathered buildings. I love my friendships that are full of life, laughter, love. Vibrant with cheer, celebrations and care. I love my companions who weather life with me, beautifully offering…

Shelter when rains fall.
Sanctuary when I’m burned.
Foundations to stand on when the winds blow.
Hope to gaze ahead and dream for me when I can’t dream for myself.
And a place of refuge when the pelting, burning, blowing, and beating come.

Oh, and I love old abandoned buildings and barns too!

August 6, 2009

Have Mercy

Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great. ~2 Samuel 24:14
LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. ~Habakkuk 3:2

Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. ~1 Kings 8:28

Who knew a lawnmower would be a tool of mercy?

I didn't until my grass was knee-high forcing me to drop to my knees. Many times in prayer. And several with my scissors.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up....

I moved into my home when the weather had the potential of snow. Lawn care was the furthest thing from my mind! Late winter rolled into early spring rolled into the dog days of summer. Along with crickets and dusk at 9, summer gave birth to revived grass. Grass that didn't get the memo this girl did not own a lawnmower. Nor did she or her roomie have money to buy one.

So, what's a girl to do who lives surrounded by neighbors who can afford manicured lawn care? A girl breaks out her Fiskars of course! And when her hands are too blistered to continue cutting her grass with said handy scissors she goes to a yard sale (in case you're interested in giving this method a whirl, a square foot takes around 15 minutes). At said yard sale, she buys an ancient avocado green hedge trimmer. Brings it home. Connects every extenstion cord she owns (that'd be a whopping grand total of 2). Hacks the now nearly waist-high weeds, er ... grass, in the 25 foot radius her extension cords reach. And soaks her blistered, and now throbbing, hands in hot water. Have mercy.

Oh, and did I mention she avoids the persistent phone calls from her landlords reminding her of the lease which requires proper mowing, edging, trimming, and leaf blowing? The landlords who live three doors down with a bird's eye view of her yard. Have mercy.

And so she sneaks in well after the sun sets to avoid seeing in daylight what she knows is there--tall grass and annoyed neighbors. And then one day [night] she can't belive what her headlights tell her...the front yard is mowed! Mowed, edged, trimmed, raked, blown!! Have mercy!

Some mysterious person gave her the de-luxe lawn care package! To this day, she doesn't know who rescued her from breaking out the scissors and hedge trimmer again. Have mercy.

A month later a friend of a friend gave her an almost new mower. From Sears. With a bag. And blades. That cut a square foot in 5 seconds. Have mercy.

So, what's a girl to do when she receives a new mower? Well, for starters her roommate's dad changes the oil. And her friend's brother cuts the now eye-high grass for her (the backyard hadn't been mowed by Mystery Person.) Have you been outside in the South? In August? At 1 PM? Pushing a mower? Through a jungle? Have mercy!

And when it's all said and done she drops to her knees again; this time scissors and trimmer tucked snugly away in the utility room. She drops to her knees overwhelmed. She drops to her knees amazed. Amazed that she asked for mercy. Amazed that God gave it in so many ways. Have mercy. Mercy, indeed.

I honestly wasn't sure what I was going to do the rest of the summer/fall about my yard. There I stood before the proverbial Red Sea, knowing that unless the Lord parted the grasses (just roll with me here), I had no other way out. Part them He did.

Part them He does.

Sweet Heavenly Father, thank You for the character only You can develop in us as we stand before our "Red Sea," surrounded by the desert, the enemy, a massive impasse, and our own fear. We know You are the only One who can deliver us from the scorching dryness, the evil pursuer, the ocean of impossibilities and ourselves. We place our hope in You, to get us through this difficult season, and thank You for answering our cries for Your mercy. For the glory it will bring Your Name...for Your renown alone, Amen.

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. ~Psalm 116:1

Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. ~Psalm 69:16

August 4, 2009

Resting on the very Word of God

The counsel of the LORD stands forever,the plans of His heart from generation to generation. ~Psalm 33:11

Yesterday I shared how my name was found resting on the name of God: Jehovah-Sabaoth, meaning the Lord of Armies.

In the midst of a lot going on at the conference, the voice of God whispered louder than the collective voices of 600 women attending. Amazing how His whispers to our hearts can drown out the masses.

One sweet whisper was a scripture He gave me from a pile of hundreds of verses.

Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

This is truth. Not circumstances. Not the journey. Not the outcome. The truth is God's sovereignty prevails. Or one could say His will is superior in strength, power, or influence; triumphant; wins out. God's will is predominant.

For this I am utterly grateful. I'd love to hear your verse from SS, or one that has spoken to your heart recently.

The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. ~Zephaniah 3:17

August 3, 2009

Resting on the very name of God

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. ~Psalm 46:10

I just returned from a conference that was the efforts of 8 months of planning, a week of schlepping heavy boxes, loading and unloading and re-loading and unloading again trucks, setting up tables, breaking down tables, and 4 days of running up and down corridors of a hotel at the beck and call of 600 women.

Tiring? Yes. Chaotic? Nah. Why? Because the peace of God meanders about us in so many ways. One very special way is a small oasis in the hub-bub: the Prayer Room.

Soft music plays in an otherwise hushed room. Dim lights cast a soft glow on about 20 of the names of God. And each of the 600 names of the women attending and the helper/volunteers rest on one of His names.

Walking from one name to the other, I found myself on the last name of God I looked at and here is where I rested...

Jehovah-Sabaoth: the Lord of Hosts. The Lord of Armies.

The Lord of the hosts of heaven will always fulfill His purposes, even when the hosts of His earthly people fail.

So sweet. Such perfect words for the season I'm in.

If you were there I'd love to hear which name of God you were resting on. Thanks!