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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wonderfully Created

It came in the mail, obviously folded and packed with the greatest of care from the other end.  The colors blended beautifully and cozy oozed through me at the first touch.  There is nothing more exciting than receiving a beautiful bundle of fine fabric.  Yet, I'm always amazed at the journey in which it takes.  Folded with care, unfolded with purpose, cut, organized, pinned and sewn.  The process begins with a bundle of fabric and ends with a master piece beholding purpose and beauty. After all the time spent to creating this art, I know it well.  I know every inch, every corner, every stitch.  It has become a part of me.  And into whoever's hands my creation may land, there is purpose...to cover a cold body, to bring beauty to a table or provide a cozy, snuggle from a warm bag to a sleepy child.
And it reminds me...

You have searched me, Lord
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-14

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Today my children and I opened up an Etsy Shop called CozyColor.  We sew homemade gifts such as coffee sleeves, bookmarks and gifts for the kitchen. 

Sewing always bring my mind back to God.  He knit us together in our mothers' wombs!  What always amazes me is to start with a fresh piece of fabric.  After some cutting and needles punching through at a rapid speed, it slowly begins to turn into something beautiful and purposeful.  The end product stirs excitement in my heart as I anticipate the usefulness it will offer someone along with the vibrant colors it feeds the eye.

Please come visit us to learn more about CozyColor.  Every time you see a sewing gift, let it always remind you of the work God is doing in your life to create you into what he planned for you to be in his Kingdom.  There may be pain in the process but keep your eyes on the end product! 


Sunday, July 27, 2014

I AM...Everything I Am Not

In the seasons of my life, I have found myself under the authority of different people as you have experienced as well…a boss, an overseer.  No matter if my position was a paid worker or merely a volunteer, it was vital that I jump at the opportunity to serve alongside my authority with a common goal of serving others.  And at any given moment, if I was called out by name and chosen for a task, no matter how I felt inside, rather overwhelmed, inadequate or simply excited, I found myself obediently carrying out my duty, no questions asked.  And as my mama always taught me, talking back must never follow the summons. 
But how is it, when God Almighty, the Great I AM, calls me to be a part of his Kingdom work at a particular time and place, working alongside of God in order to serve others, I find myself throwing a temper tantrum on the floor, crying out to him, “Why, God?  Why?”  Or as my heart begs for an answer, I whine, “I want it THIS way!  Your way isn’t what I had planned!”  Why is it when the I AM says, “Go here” or “Stay put,” “Give up this” or “Go do that,” my two year old side bursts out into all directions?  How can I instantly trust another sinful person in our worldly work; yet, arrogantly argue with I AM over His eternal Kingdom work?
Ouch.  That hurts to admit to you.  But it’s the honest truth.  I’m an arrogant, prideful child of God.
God is the “I AM”…everything that “I am not.”
 And from this truth, God tells me

I AM your strength.

I AM your peace.

I AM your joy.

I AM your salvation.

I AM your protection.

I AM your God!

As I leave you a familiar truth from the great I AM, read it as though you’ve never heard it in your life; as if this is the first time these sacred words have touched your ears.  Let us not argue with God when he calls us in his plan but rather trust in His ways.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
Lean not on your own understandings.
In all your ways, acknowledge him,
And [I AM] will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Goodbye and Hello

No matter how we try to escape it, we will always meet up with a goodbye in one form or another.  We can't escape the tearing of souls and the tears shed from the ache it leaves behind.  It's all a part of life, since the beginning of time.  I can't imagine experiencing the first goodbye, watching the Garden of Eden shrink in size behind them as Adam and Eve walked further and further away from true paradise.  Even Paul talks about the heartache the church endures as he leaves friends as close as family behind, with the knowledge that their embraces, more than likely, won't meet on this earth again.

But God, in his mercy and grace, always brings something beautiful out of the heartache.  If you stop and think about it, there will always be a hello on the other side.  Saying goodbye to parents as the 18 year old heads off to college results in a hello to new friends, new experiences and a new chapter in life.  Saying goodbye to beloved family and heartfelt friendships always leads to new family and friends, expanding our horizons and perspectives on this earth.  And ultimately, a goodbye to this earth is a hello to Christ, for those whose trust is in Jesus Christ their Lord.  The best part of it all is that everything ends with a hello for eternity.

Should you face a goodbye in your life, remember a hello is just around the corner.  And goodbyes, in the family of God, are never forever!  All praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Goodbye...until next time.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Come...Reap the Harvest Wtih Me

The most dreaded day arrived.  January 13, 4:45 a.m.  My alarm provokes me from deep slumber and I instantly recollect…today is the day.  This is the day we’ve dreaded for months.  Work summons my dear husband away for 8 weeks and I will "wing it" as mom, dad, teacher, nurse, police and whatever career beckons my attention.  Tight throat makes breathing laborious and tears fill the rims of my sleepy eyes. 
“I can do this…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  He’ll be home most weekends.  I can do this.”  The rehearsed script plays through my mind as I dig for strength.  And in one moment, his headlights fade off into the early, thick darkness.
“I have no choice.  I have to do this.”
And I do.  Week one surprisingly ends before I know it.  Being around other people puts a smile on my face and strength floods my bones.  Before I realize it, it’s week 2.  Week 2 comes and goes…we’re actually making it!  Through some mountain peaks and valleys, one day at a time, one moment at a time, we survive.
Yet, here I am, midweek of week 8, the final week.  My dear husband will be home for good in 2 days.  Common sense says I should be thrilled, excited and turning somersaults.  But somehow, all the positive attitudes and rehearsed, mental pep rallies and strength from deep within have seemed to dissipated into nothing.  My cup sits dry, there is nothing to runneth over. 
Why…when at the end of this marathon season, do I feel utterly empty and dry, with nothing left to give.  Only 2 days!!  Surely I can get a grip for 2 days!
Perhaps it has something to do with the endless and singlehandedly dealings of piles of laundry and stacks of papers to grade and drilling long division over and over with no success and neighbor’s pit bulls destroying our fence only to make it's home in our yard.  Or perhaps it’s the chocolate overload, repeatedly tripping over remote cars in the middle of the floor, the mountain of dishes in the sink and the inches of western WA rain that soaks and drenches and never ends, day after day…never giving me the chance to even get to curl my hair!  Whatever the cause, I’m dry.  I’m finished.  I have nothing left.
That is, until the Lord himself turned my attention to His beautiful Word:
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” 
(Galatians 6:9 NLT)
Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me.  Thank you for turning my eyes to the truth of your goodness.
And although, for today, this verse inspires me to finish strong these last 2 days, these words also remind us to not give up every day for we know our final harvest is a heavenly harvest!  And what a return that will be!  Until then, keep your focus, draw from Christ and finish strong. 
Join me and let's work this field of life together, regardless of the sweat and muscle that's required.  And one day, I hope to sit next to you and share a harvest meal in the presence of God, reflecting on all His goodness.
Please be mindful of one thing: One way in which we can work side by side in this great life field is to pray for one another.  If I could be praying for you in any way, please let me know.  It would be an honor to go before the Lord with you in mind.  bagraybeal@gmail.com

Monday, March 3, 2014

From Pit to Cliff

Swallowed by the pit, attempt is my strength.  Leaving this bottomless pit is a must.  So I attempt, reaching my arms, stretching…sinking my fingers into the slim of comparison.
 “Maybe, if I can keep my house clean like her…or perhaps, their ‘paradise’ homeschool experience will pale in comparison to my plans and crafts and cuddle reading times.  Perhaps P90X will make me look like her.  Maybe, just maybe, I can lift myself up out of this hellhole.” 
But the harder I try, I find no substance for my hands to grasp. 
“She has more children, more talent, a slimmer, athletic body.  God must really think a lot of her.” 
The attempt to climb out of the muddy walls of comparison provide no stronghold.  I find myself falling, right back where I began, deep within the pit.
I turn to the other side of the engulfing pit…
“Maybe this side will prove more successful.”
My foot searches for a rock climber’s dream.  Yet the mudslide of “being good enough” proves itself to be of no help.  Still, I attempt…
1.      Study the Bible
2.      Obey all rules
3.      Be polite
4.      Say religious prayers…so everyone will hear me…and be impressed
5.      Post really cute but unrealistic pictures of our homeschool
I attempt to appear to those around me the perfect wife, the perfect mother, in a perfect home.  I attempt…attempt…I fall.  Deeper still.
The sinkhole of jealousy takes its toll.  I cannot fight anymore.  It sucks me in, absorbing every part of my being…
“Why has God blessed her with more children?  Why does it always seem everyone’s name is called yet I’m still sitting in the waiting room?  Why do I have a 1979 galley-kitchen-for-one while she has a gourmet kitchen yet hates cooking?  How is it possible that I work out day after day yet still haven’t achieved that beachbody?”
I sink, further and further in self-pity and jealousy.  My surroundings become dark and messy and hopeless.  I muster out a cry yet my voice is muttered in the soundproof mud walls.
Finally, sweet release…                         
And then…HE lifts me out of the pit, out of the muck and mire and HE sets my feet on the rock and HE gives me a firm place to stand!  HE lifts me to a cliff far from the depths of despair. 

The heavens open and mercy drops shower over me, rinsing me clean of the muck and mire.  The light of HIS truth immerses me.  The winds of the HOLY SPIRIT encircle me and I breath…I breath fresh truths into the crevices of my soul.  And the GOD ALMIGHTY, the I AM, reminds me that I am his daughter…and it was never his plan for me to inhabit the pit.

Suddenly perspectives alter.  The earth grows dim in HIS presence.  The darkness scatters in HIS light.  The muck and mire are no longer in control. 
For HE lifted me out of the pit of self-doom.
HE put my feet on the Rock of HIS Word.
HE is everything good…all hope…eternal salvation.  HE is my rock.  HE is my EVERYTHING!
After a lifetime of useless work and unsuccessful attempts and slippery slopes, I finally rest.  I rest in HIM.  I rest in HIS peace.  I long to be higher and closer to GOD ALMIGHTY.  My voice cannot be contained and air-filled lungs and a not-so-talented set of vocal chords begin to sing!  Deep emotion and heartfelt thanksgiving ring out into all the earth!
Thank you, JESUS!  Thank you, JESUS!
“…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 new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 40:1-2

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sink and Experience

Imagine for a moment...put yourself in the middle of the ocean and ask, "Would I fight or sink?"  Fighting results in fatigue and worry.  Yet, letting go, sinking to the bottom, is releasing the fight and being still.

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

The original language of this Psalm uses a definition of "be still" that is described as "to sink, to let go."  On this earth, we hold on to many things.  Things that cause us to fight like perfection, comparison, schedules, pride, acceptance...and on and on it goes.  But according to God himself, we must learn to let go of it all and sink into Him.  No more fighting.  Just release.  Sink.  And rest in him.

"Be still and know that I am God."

To know...to experience.  Know Him through your own experience.  No amount of sermon notes, top selling authors or Christian YouTube videos will bring us to a knowing relationship with him.  Seek him through His beautiful promises, gentle guidance and even stern warnings in His Word.  Sink into solitude and rest, listen and experience.

"Be still and know that I am God."

In my own words, I would interpret, "Sink and experience that I am God."

"Be still and know that I am God."