A gentle whisper from the LORD...

"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:11-12

Monday, January 24, 2011

While I'm Waiting

The first thought that awakened me was the realization that I had overslept. There was no recollection of the sound of my alarm. “Mama? I’m hungry,” were the first sounds that rang in my ears, proof that I was not off to a good start in my day. The longing of Thursday soon overwhelmed me before I could even open my eyes for this was the day my husband would return from his training 2200 miles away from home.

Another not-so-easy day of waiting…for Thursday.

Random thoughts suddenly shower my mind daily. Memories. Longings…of my family…my home church…the Tuesday night meetings at Starbucks with my dear friend every two weeks. Sure, there’s a mall here but I miss Oxmore Mall…the way the sun shown in my daughter’s cowslip, yellow room each evening…my husband’s favorite date night restaurant, Famous Dave’s. I miss the children’s backyard swing set given to them as a birthday present.

Another month of painful waiting…to return to “My Old Kentucky Home”.

And then there is yet another event, one I can only dream of and wait in hopes it will happen soon.

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:3-4

Another year of hopeful waiting…to be present with our Heavenly Father!

We all are waiting…for something…to go home…a new job…adoption paperwork to clear…a deployed family member to return home. Waiting to have a baby…someone to marry…a place to move…for our current circumstances to change. Waiting for a house offer to be accepted…a health report…a child to find healing. Or waiting to reach that significant age where you can drive or vote…to graduate. Perhaps you’re waiting for your prayers to be answered for that special someone for whom you have prayed for years. You may even be waiting for a loved one to be released from this life for you know that death is not the worse thing to happen.

Still…we wait.

However, in our waiting, we mustn’t stay still…we must be on the move! We have work to be done, obedience to fulfill, hearts to serve and a mighty God to worship! Sometimes, it’s only after our waiting that we receive some of God’s most precious blessings.

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock,
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 40:1-4

So wait, my friend, on our precious God. But in the meantime, keep on moving ahead, bold and confident, serving and in worship!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pathway to Conviction

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’…He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful.” Isaiah 30:21, 23

It was the spring of 1995 and high school graduation was quickly approaching. The air was filled with excitement. Parties were planned. College plans were set in stone. It was the closure of childhood and the first step into the world of adulthood!

As exciting as it was, there was a nagging in my heart…a paralyzing pester. In the midst of a completely silent room, it shouted and screamed in my conscience. Although the spring air around me refreshed the ground and brought forth vibrant May flowers, I felt completely smothered, gasping for air in my soul. My life was a fake. For on the outside, I was a Christian teenager…a leader in my school and youth group…the “good” girl. Yet in my heart, I stood face to face with conviction. No matter how hard I tried to escape, conviction always whispered in my heart the way in which I should go.

After a loving yet stern intervention of my parents, I came crashing down as I acknowledged my sin. With their loving support and the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to face my sin and finally had the courage to turn the direction and head straight toward God’s grace. Did my heart break? Definitely! Was there a shedding of tears? Of course! The pathway of conviction led me in the direction of healing, riding on God’s forgiveness. Then the most amazing thing happened! My heart felt something I had only dreamed of experiencing…something no amount of money can buy…something no worldly pleasure can provide. I experienced something no human can have on their own strength.


Finally, the nagging quieted. My soul rested. My spirit could breath once again the fresh breath of God. Only then, after confession and repentance, were my outside actions and my heart walking down the same pathway. God never once gave up on me. He persistently whispered the truth in my heart. He even sent rain to my heart but in the end, the surrender brought forth rich and plentiful food for the soul.

This world tries to make truth relative. However, truth is truth. And no one can deny it. We can run. We can hide. We can turn a deaf ear. But God loves you and me so much that He won’t stop nagging at our hearts while trailing along the pathway of conviction!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lack anything.” James 1:2-4

Persevere toward truth, my friend! Persevere!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Silent Evening

"Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside." Luke 1:8-9

Last night, I was given a most precious gift from my loving and thoughtful husband: a whole evening alone...in the house...surrounded with nothing but silence. This luxury of a quiet house is rare for a mother. What would I do with all this time? Would I fill the silence with my favorite and soothing music or soak in the stillness knowing it might be a while before the house is this silent again!

The first order of business was dinner. Trying something new was on the menu. Stuffed red peppers: rice, ground chicken, onion, garlic, squash, black beans, corn and tomatoes. What a lovely start to the evening!

Next on the schedule, filling the rest of the evening, was in-depth Bible study. This was my time to prepare for a life changing evening providing a plethora of ideas to fill my blog. Anticipation filled my heart with excitement as I was ready to hear God's voice. Looking back on my life, this evening would be a pivotal point, changing me in a huge way!

Gathering all my materials...Bible, notebooks, pens, journal, Bible study resources...I was completely prepared. And the best part of the whole event was spreading out all the materials right next to the warm and cozy fire!

With everything in place and my heart ready, the evening began! I began with prayer and proceeded to read and re-read, jot down notes, look up definitions and commentary notes! Speak, Lord! Speak!

At the end of a long and focused evening, I felt....nothing. What?! No ideas? No life-changing message? No word that moves me to tears? That's it? Surely there's something to give me warm and fuzzy feelings! Nothing.

I headed to bed feeling a bit slighted. As I wondered what the purpose of my whole evening was, I realized I had two choice. I could listen to the lies of Satan and believe it was all worthless or I could trust God to reveal in His time what He intended to teach me.

This morning, God reminded me of Zachariah. He had one time in his entire life to go inside the temple and burn incense to God. You and I, on the other hand, have the honor and humble privilege to go to God at any moment, any hour, any day we choose. And to be honest, not every encounter is going to bring tears to our eyes or make us want to dance. We might spend time in His Word and hear nothing but silence. But that's OK. We have a choice: are we going to continue to praise Him and meditate on Him? Or will we throw up our arms in defeat and give up? Whatever you decide, remember that keeping our focus on Him, through thick and thin, pleases Him. And there is nothing more joyful than pleasing God!

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Breathtaking View

"Then he touched their eyes and said, 'According to your faith let it be done to you'; and their sight was restored." Matthew 9:29

This is a historical event retold with my imagination...

You can't imagine how hard it is to have no sight. I go to bed at night in pitch black only to wake in pitch black that smothers every single day of my life. Even the smallest sound echos through my ears as I strain to comprehend what it might be. Is it something about to harm me? Voices swirl all around me and I cannot always comprehend the direction of the conversation. Are they talking to me? Are they talking about me? As I run my hand across the silky, cool grass, I can only imagine the true beauty it beholds. And what is this color people describe...I have no idea. I am always the last to be ready for the day. My family whips around me like tornadoes completing their tasks and chores. I have to take the extra time to feel my step ahead for I have stubbed my little toes more than I can begin to count! Although nothing is easy, the one thing that breaks my heart the most is touching the gentle faces of my mom and dad. I know so little of their appearance. Sometimes at night, I lie in bed and imagine how they appear. They must be beautiful for their voices are so kind and gentle.

Life is hard. Life is extremely limited. And many times, this world is a scary place to be when you have no sight.

So you can imagine how my heart skipped a beat when I heard the news that Jesus of Nazareth was in town! Was this my chance? Was this my day? Could it really happen? I had never focused so intensely as I had that day to interpret what others around me were saying about his visit. I was focused for this was my one chance of a lifetime! And then I felt it. Warm hands touched my eyes. The most calm and gentle voice commended me for my faith. At that very moment, the moment he removed his hands, I covered my eyes for I experienced something I had never known in all my days on this earth. My eyes couldn't take it so I buried my face into my hands and fell to the ground. Then, ever so slowly, I barely separated my fingers. I saw what I know now was the lush blades of spring grass covered with morning dew. Slowly it became easier to open my eyes and there before was a world beyond what my mind could have imagined! The people were, oh, so beautiful! The colors were vibrant, deep and soft! The light was refreshing! I saw shapes and textures that I only wondered about before now. It was absolutely amazing! It took my breath away!

Oh, to experience truth like that! How would our lives change if we allowed Jesus to heal us from our blindness? The truth of God is all around us but we so often are blind to His beauty. I would like to encourage you to ask God about the areas in your life that you are blind to Him. Maybe it's disbelief or doubt. Maybe you're so distracted, so busy that you can't see what He wants to show you. Or are you listening to the evil one's lies that you can't see God's truth? Or maybe it's simply a life focused on #1...me, myself and I.

Pray. Ask God to heal you. Have faith that He has something beautiful to reveal to you! Only when we have faith will he begin to show you a whole new world! A world we could have never imagined! A breathtaking view of His truth!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

He Is Our All

As I reflect on the last couple of weeks, one might say that our Christmas season was everything it ought to be. We had the manger set up in the center of our home to remind us of the birth of Christ. Our Christmas tree glittered with a delicate collection of ornaments that have grown in number during the past ten years. There were moments where our whole family cuddled on the couch with a massive bowl of popcorn and a classic Christmas movie. Christmas carols rang through the house every waking moment and the children even broke out into dancing at times. On Christmas Eve, our family put on our Christmas outfits, blending in with everyone else in our red and black. And of course, the big day arrived and we had Christmas! One might say we did it all!

But it wasn’t until a week after Christmas that I began to wonder if I truly did it all. I felt a sadness about everything. My irritability grew more intense that the famous and unspoken phrase of our home was, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Getting up in the morning became a chore and on most days, I awoke not from my alarm clock but from the children begging me for breakfast. Taking one close look at my heart, and one might say that I missed it all!

You see, in the midst of “doing Christmas”, I neglected the single most important part of my day: Quiet Time. Time with the Lord in my “Tent of Meeting”. Time to sit quietly and listen to the small voice of God. Time to pour out my heart to Him and allow Him to gently soothe my anxieties.

As I sat in church this past week, I considered my downcast heart and prayed that God would never leave me. My sadness was rooted from a distance I felt from God as a result of neglecting our relationship! We so often get completely caught up in the silly things of this world. I often wonder, as Mary sat in awe of her newborn baby, God in the flesh, if she ever imagined what Christmas would become. She probably never anticipated His birth to become all about presents, cookies and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. And if she were here today, it breaks my heart to think of how she would feel witnessing Christmas evolving into a “magical kingdom”. As I was brought to my knees with a humble heart, trying to worship in church, God ever so quietly spoke. In my heart, I was reminded of “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, You, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) I silently prayed that God would never leave me despite my unfaithfulness. As I lifted my head, displayed high above me was the verse, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)

Isn’t that just like God? He gently reminded me that our brokenness will never be despised by him. In fact, he loves to see our contrite hearts in order to do his best work. And in my plea to never be abandoned, he brought to mind the beautiful truth that nothing can separate us from Him! We all pull away from God or we become distracted at times. But the most important thing is that we keep on going. We keep on searching. We keep on praying. And then, only then, can we come to realize that He is our all!