April 28, 2011

Because When All Else Fails, Jesus Doesn't

Has your heart grown cold? Waiting and believing will ice the chambers of the soul without rays of warm hope.

I don't want to be naive here. Won't be surprised if hope has gone hey-diddle-diddle, eagerness running away with the spoon. It's not uncommon to turn from belief when every bite out life is sour staples, tearing up insides. Or when one bull horn too many has jabbed as we play the rodeo clown. Or when crickets are the only thing serenading... no direction, no proof in the puddin', no light at the end of the tunnel.

They say seeing is believing. Love says, "blessed are those that do believe and have not seen” {John 20:29}.

Because when all else fails, Jesus doesn't. And whether we feel, hear or see Him or not, the better choice is always to believe He will show up, come through.

Believe lazy cotton breezes will carry the hurt away
Believe fields of golden grass of innocence joy peace once stolen are yours to meander anew
Believe dappled flames of sun will lick the flames of His will for you ablaze

The fight to believe when proof has hitched it's wagon to another star wearies. Deferred hope sickens. That's why it's pertinent we go deeper into His love, His character, His Word.

I don't want to jeer at the goodness of God by portraying Him unworthy of tenacity. Won't mock His perfect plan by lobbing gnats as hand grenades to destroy doubts, instead of calling in the big guns. No, I will not give Love a bad name.

Instead I'll turn my cheek for the brush of the breeze. Sashe' in the tall grasses of grace. Turn my face toward the warm rays. During seasons of uncertain lengths of eclipses, I'll remind myself of the grandeur of His love I've seen in the light.

Friend, I don't know what you are waiting on. Job. Spouse. To see how this will work out for good. A child. Healing. Hope. Resurrection. I'm waiting on a few things myself. And here's what I know: Seasons change. Dawn follows; always. And even though we may not see His plan, He does. And it's good.

Do you believe?

Going Deeper
Sit before the Lord, praising and rejoicing over His character. {Good. Kind. Sovereign. Beginning&End. Gracious. Perfect.} Write out a list, adding to it daily. Next, seek grace for knowledge and understanding of His plans and perfect ways.

In what ways/areas have you ceased believing? Ask Him to reveal those areas and restore/renew hope. It's not too late to begin believing or to return from the fringes of doubt. Ask the Lord for help.

Jesus said to him,
"'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" ~Mark 9:20-25

Find a scripture to combat the areas you struggle to believe God is 'enough' over. Recite it outloud, post it on your mirror and fridge... until belief in Him replaces doubt.

Praying without ceasing for you. Thank you for journeying together!

xoxo, Sam

April 26, 2011

That's Not Why Ships Were Built

My toes tip on pins and needles around our accountants as it is. Fresh in from plowing the audit fields, glasses of sweet tea cast amber light around our lunch table.

His lips move, but words don't compute. I hear every other syllable but don't listen. I can't let go of deferred revenues, accruals, and doubts I chopped my work's finances to bits. I'm not listening to him, but the numbers punching within my brain. I remedy with a polite laugh. Nod of head. Move on.

But no. He's trained to catch what's missing; he's an accountant after all. The spotlight glares hotly. "You don't know what I said, do you?"

"Not a clue," hot cheeks tattle. I'm such a chump. Graciously he repeats, reassures me all is well with the audit. I let go of the spreadsheets and receipts, and listen.

Another inquisitive gentleman seeks to know if I'm listening to Him. Infinitely more vital are His voice and words. They're the melodies to which life's dance is set. Kindling feeding marrow's fire. Honey sweetening soul's hive.

We miss a beat when we're not fully engaged listening. Grow cold. Sour.

Jesus was "all ear" to the Father. This is true prayer: being all ear for God.
~Henri Nouwen

As each New Year dawns, I am "all ear" for His treasure map. I'm without a clue unless He speaks... unless I listen. What is Your will for me this year Lord?

He faithfully sets my course. Occasionally with a long manual, but mostly with a sentence or two. This year's directions: "Don't wait." To leave the port for the spot X marks, I must untether from the dock of doubt, the past, distractions. Briefly I linger as the breeze blows my way: I want change, but what if I fail, am shamed for trying, miss the way things use to be? Yet instinctively I refute.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why ships were built.

The winds change, carrying this message: things will never change if you always do them the same way. Let go and listen. And so, with "all ear" my whole being bends into His voice. Moment by moment, wave by wave, His words navigate.

Half ears beget half lived lives. I want to be "all ear" and fully live. How about you? God's is the voice that gives hopeful futures, right instruction, wise counsel, lovely delights. His is the voice that sets free.

Old becomes new. Death becomes life. Lost is found at the sound of His voice. He's inviting you into a grand adventure. Won't you let go and set sail, listening to His directions?

Going Deeper:
Are there things you instinctively know need to be let go so you can listen? What practical steps can you take to let go?

What have you heard the Lord say recently? Do you feel you've listened to His whole message or only heard every other syllable?

Jesus takes leave to quiet places, void of people and things, in
Luke 15 to pray. Can we do the same? In a closet, bathroom, friend's home, park, church sanctuary?

Thank you for biding time with me as seasons & our lives change through His words and Word! If this is your first time joining us, we're in the midst of Jumping off the Negative Train of Thought. Welcome!

xoxo, Sam

April 25, 2011

I'm Coming Back!

Hey y'all... I'm coming back, I promise! Heart and home have overflowed with company the past few weeks, so time to tickle the keyboard eludes me.

Belle Fleur graciously asked me to share on her lovely blog. If you have time, please dabble over to Shirley's blog...

And in the meantime, I'd love to pray for moments of grace for you. Please leave your requests below. It'd be my honor to deliver them to the pierced hands of love on your behalf.

xoxo, Sam

April 14, 2011

Transformative Pain

Shiny glass marbles fill the jars of my mind.

Gingerly I plinck one out. A pink and red flowered orb rolls between palms. A mix of petals spell a four letter word: P -A -I -N. Braced for familiar thistles that scab pick, I hold loosely. This time isn't the same. This time warm healing infuses my hands. I did not expect this.

Another marble, same healing.

Each marble a conundrum.

Pain that heals.
Let go to hang on.
Die. And life is birthed.

Dabbing my scrapped knees, I take in the rabbit hole these paradoxical marbles have pushed me down. This upside down kingdom opens doors to a new world. Am I Alice? Dare I walk into the memories and buried emotions?

Yes, this time I do. Gathered marbles and I head out the small door... that leads down a narrow path. Wandering to a broad field with blades of peace and a brook babbling freedom.

I sit next to the living water, stretching my marbles in a line. Left left left right left they march into my willing fingers. Gingerly I cradle a black and blue globe.

Pain mercifully kisses redemption into my bruised hand. All better?

Not yet. But soon; soon.

~Soon disappointment resurfaces as wisdom for a girl I mentor
~Harsh words lobbed at me refresh my mind to tame my tongue toward another
~Rejection feeds passion to keep home fires burning, welcoming others to my heart & home

Letting go of the pain, I catch hold of the truth: He makes all things new. He makes all things good.

The more I roll the pains around, eeking out their redemptions, the lighter my heart. The lighter the marbles. Until they transform into winged prayers of gratitude, catching flight on the currents of praises to the heavens for what the Lord has done.

Gladly will I lose these marbles for the healing and redemption found. You too?

Going Deeper
Carve out time to sit quietly in the Lord's presence. Open your palms as you pray, signifying letting go of the pain {and memories birthed out of it}, and receiving the redemption, truth and healing available.

What pains readily come to mind? Ask the Lord how He can and will redeem these.

Can you share these pains with a friend over coffee or during a walk? Ask her to pray, seeking wisdom for pain's lasting transformation.

Memorize this upside down verse: Zephaniah 9:12, Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. Click here to unpack this verse.

xoxo, Sam

Go deeper still on our Jumping off the Train {of negative thought} series!

April 13, 2011

Why try and try and try again?

This lake I know; it raised me. Its pebbles and loon calls spiral within my DNA. Constricting my veins, its frigid spring water bubbles from my moptop to browned feet. This lake I know; this lake I fear.

Fright pulls at my ankles though safety swims by my side: dad, mom, sisters, nanny, grampy, uncle bill, aunt becky. I splash in the joy; belly flop in the angst. Wrinkled toes hungrily wiggle, inching toward the invisible line separating the touchable bottom and palpitating deep of The Drop Off.

My convict orange cape preserves my bravado. This time, this time I'm Wonder Woman and will go where no man has gone before. To the ledge, my trusty life preserver bobs me. Feet slip on shifting sand, sucking out breath and courage. Iron flavored panic fills my mouth.

Fear and exhilaration enter the ring. Round and round they go; fear wades out of the water, fist pumps in victory, always. I despise him. I disappoint myself.

Cowering is justified. The drop off is reckless electric eels & snapping turtles, stalking chilled depths, ravenous for ten snacks at the end of my legs. That's true. Straight from older, world-wise cousins. They should know. After all, they warned me ET lives in the outhouse.

No matter. I risk no alien encounters in the woods and tomorrow I don my cape, bob, flirt, wish: this time, this time I'm Wonder Woman and will risk crossing the ledge.

'cause there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away. ~Sarah Kay

Calendars flip while fear and exhilaration go head to head. Sneak peek in the latter's closet. A dusty champion belt hangs in the back behind public speaking trophies & heartbreak-facing medals.

Why try and try and try again? Others swim past the drop off line, dive ten degrees deeper - twenty degrees chillier; grins stretching to the back of their heads. Me too! I beg my flighty bravado. Me too! My flag has every right to be staked in that joy, freedom, living.

My sweet little heart believed. Hoped with all the dickens I could consume. Tenaciously I nurtured this expectation.Abraham waded in similar waters, toes lapped with faith, hope.

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness {Romans 4:3}.

He was firmly persuaded; as in something with the idea of hope. A certain expectation carried Abraham. Believed, as used here, takes root in the Greek family tree of the word Pisteuo. Pisteuo's branches stem from the hearty bark of Pistis, also known as Faith.

Abraham dared more than to don a cape, only to bob, flirt, wish: this time, this time. He deposited hope, expectation, faith in today; more than in tomorrow. He planted his flag in a sure thing: the hope and life God gives.

Let's us do the same. We've bobbed near the drop off throughout our Jumping off the Train series. Today, let's cross that line in our hearts and minds. The place we fear to go; the place we know holds delicious freedom. Together, face the electric eels and snapping turtles; transform from fear-filled to faith-filled, tentative to tenacious.

Going deeper:
Quiet racing pretenses of what listening to the Lord is. Simply be. Turn off the tv, computer, phone. Open your heart with thanks and gratitude to the King. Confess anything that comes to mind. Take a big refreshing exhale and invite His presence and peace. Stay there for moments.

{What} is hiding in the abyss of your heart you've thus far been unwilling to dive into; but are ready to face and be done with?

Reflect on Romans 4:3. Do you have expectations, hope, faith that there is freedom? Why or why not? Log your thoughts. If yes, praise the Lord, asking Him to align them with His. If no, praise the Lord for the good things He's already planned for you.

Insert your name in Romans 4:3? {I believe (am... firmly persuaded. hopeful. have faith) God, and it is credited to me as righteousness.}

Loads of prayer for you friends!

xoxo, Sam

April 11, 2011

Walking Into the Fire

Thank you for your tender graces as quietly I stood aside last week. A symphony of golden words landed lightly on my soul as I waited in the silence. Curious how much is heard when nothing is said.

Words fell like sparks from a bonfire. Dangerous, invigorating. Igniting a passion for deeper transformation. Lasting change. Wholeness.

And they tell me there's more to jumping off these trains. Holy flames leap, eager to consume the dark. I feel we'd be dis-servicing ourselves to not go deeper into the fire. Simply abiding day to day; we were molded for more. Oh friend, His good hands crafted us to be alive in the fullness of Christ.

We were made to walk out of the fire, bondage free.

In the silence, the words from heaven fan the flames of the burgeoning fire of healing... and the invitation to walk in is ours.

I'm not a poet, preacher or posed any differently than you before the King. As I stand, side by side with you, I sense His hands gently tapping us to dive deeper into healing from the negative thought patterns. Do I know exactly what this will entail? Not yet.

A few thoughts are:
~A study together
~Personal silent retreats
~Commitment to journal
~Devoted time listening to Jesus
~Scripture memorization
~Seeking counseling & accountability

And anything more on His good heart.

My prayer for you, for me, is minds as fresh as a spring breeze fluttering curtains. Thoughts as sweet as nuzzling a sleeping baby's velvety head as you rock them. Hearts uninhibited as laughter between age old friends.

I hope you'll embark with me.

xoxo, Sam

April 6, 2011

Can You Send Him a Post Card?

Been putting some ducks in a row this week, which has caused me to be a bit more quiet. I'll be back soon soon soon though! In the meantime....

Will you send this handsome fella a Post Card please? My nephew, Aiden's, 1st grade class is learning geography and will "pin" you on their world map!

Please leave a comment or send me an email at samareed@gmail.com if you can!

Thank you!!

“He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."
~Jeremiah 51

April 1, 2011

P31 Give-Aways Galore!

Magazines and journals and scholarships, Oh My!

Some of my Proverbs 31 Ministries gals are hosting Give-Aways today! Join the fun!

Click over to Karen Ehman's blog for a chance to win Luann Prater / Encouragement Cafe's new devo/journal

Click over to Micca Campbell's blog for a chance to win a one year subscription to P31 Magazine

Click over to She Reads and She Seeks for a chance to win a She Speaks scholarship

Click over to Nicki Koziarz's blog for a chance to win Elevation Church Worship CD (I have it. I love it!)

Let the good times roll!!