Monday, January 15, 2018

I'm not judging you, but maybe I used to.

I'm not judging you,
but maybe I used to.

Do not judge, or you will be judged.
For with the same judgment you pronounce,
you will be judged;
and with the same measure you use,
it will be measured to you.

If those words do not cause you pause,
you either NEVER judge others,
or you read it too fast.

The truth is we are constantly
making assessments in life.
It's part of how we interact with others,
how we take information in,
and how we process things.

The trouble is,
Jesus gave this warning for a reason,
and we should take his words seriously.
He is the judge!
If he said this is how he's going to do it,
then he means it.

OK, all that is pretty heavy.
Truth is,
that was just the foundation
for what's really on my heart.

The Lord healed me from judging myself!
In a time of weakness and brokenness,
he showed me how much he loved me.
and in doing so,
he taught me not to judge myself anymore.

He helped me look at myself
with the same measure of grace,
I give others.
I realize this is the inside out of the scripture I started with,
but it's truth deep truth.
It's the heart of God that we not be judgmentle,
Jesus said to love others the way we love ourselves,
but if we struggle with self-loathing,
he was not saying to hate others the way we hate ourselves.
I had a core disease that needs to be healed.

For many of us, this bondage to self destructive thoughts
contaminates our relationships.
Well, back to the healing.
When God gave me a revelation of his great love for me
(even in my brokenness)
taking hold of me "by his righteous right hand"
and "helping" me, [Is41:13]
it transformed my mind and spirit.
I gave others even more grace,
I saw them differently!

Suddenly, they were on my team,
as I was on Jesus team,
all of us undeserving of this glorious grace,
all of us dearly loved.
I had given myself freedom to not be perfect,
when I saw God's love for me
was not based on my perfection,
but on his perfection.

His perfect love,
took hold of [broken] me,
and loved me.
All of me.

"Wait! Wait." You might say.
"All but your sin!"
What sin?
The stuff I so foolishly choose in moments of weakness?
That is not me.
He knows that,
and I'm learning that.

There will be a day that God will separate me from sin,
but until that day,
he washes my feet.
And as unworthy as Peter felt,

I feel.

Yet,
I surrender all my daily grime,
and He shows his great great love for me
by kneeling down and washing my feet.
"No Lord, no!"
[my heart cries],
yet, I know I'm his,
so he must.

and the tears
and his sweetness
make me want to sin less,
and make me want to follow his example.
and wash other's.

I pray this precious love of our Lord,
will penetrate and transform,
any linger self loathing,
that's sets it'self up against the truth
of God's affection.

Friday, August 25, 2017

He bends down to listen

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!

I enjoy some great relationships with children.
Often, if they are having a tantrum,
If I can make eye contact with them,
and ask what's wrong,
they usually calm down and explain the trouble.
It's not that others don't elicit the same response,
or others didn't ask “What's wrong?”

It's just that I bend down and listen.
I fix things for them,
or help them,
as if they are the only one in the room.
They know this about me
and my presence, calms them.

When I read this scripture,
I get it.
“I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.”
Like, he's not distracted keeping the earth spinning,
or helping someone's football team win;
he hears my voice.
And he understands,
things are hard,
and I need him.

I usually have a good rapport with kids in public
(that I've never met)
mainly because I get down on their level and speak to them.

Rarely will I talk with them from the height of an adult to a child.
When I bend down, I am instantly nonthreatening.
I am a friend.
Usually I am greeted with twinkling eyes, and a wide grin.

God does that for me.
And “Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!”
How cool is that.?.
I see many adults on their phones or otherwise distracted
by important things
while their child is feeling frustrated,
scared, insecure or overwhelmed,
so the child gets louder,
and more scared and helpless feeling.

God bends down and listens.
He hears my voice and my cry for mercy.
So peace comes over me.
His strength, wrapped up by the will of his love,
are present and focused on me.
I'm not even sure how that's possible,
but I know beyond a doubt that it's true,
so like David,
I will pray as long as I breath.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fear is a lie

Fear is a lie
It's always about the next moment
(not the current one).
You ignore the current one
and all past moments,
where the Lord has been with you
and is with you.

And you imagine
He will not be in the next moment.
And perhaps,
you won't be able to handle it,
or He won't be able to handle it.

In my MRI, I was afraid.
The magnetic field was so strong
so disorienting I was terrified.

But I began to lean into God.
He walked with me through visions and dreams I'd had in the past.
At one point I thought "What is there to fear?
Death?"
God is there (just like here).
God will be with me on the way
(just like now).
It would be as unfounded as a baby fearing birth.
Mother is there the entire time.
And her arms await us after the trial ends.

Fear has no power,
it's a lie that God wont go with us.
Nothing shall separate us
from the love of God.
Nothing.

I never meditated on those words
or had revelation about them (until now).
God loves me
so He protects me.
God loves me
so He sustains me.
God loves me
so He comforts me.
God loves me
so He fights for me.
God loves me
so He guides me.
God loves me
so He redeems me.

He qualifies me
He strengthens me
He carries me
He consoles me
He attends to me
and He guards me
and He cherishes me
and He rejoices over me
and He will never leave me
and nothing can separate me from his love.
He is love,
His power is love,
all his ways toward me are love
all my trials are given boundaries
by His love
all my sorrows are met
by His love
all my fears are quieted
by His love
and nothing can separate me from his love.
Not pain
not radiation,
not weight gain,
not MRIs
not tamoxifen,
not injections,
not wrong diagnosis,
nothing can separate me from His love,
not slander,
not floods,
not bombs,
not job loss,
not insults
not tragedy,
noting in all creations,
in fact no power or principality,
can ever(!) separate me from His love.

And so I rest.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Next Thing I Write

I wrote "Beauty For Ashes"
and it all seemed so sad.
I couldn't wait for
the next thing I write.

I usually love to go back to what the Lord has spoken to me
in my last blog.
I'm almost always encouraged
struck by a new thing,
again!

But every time I read the last one,
I just think "man, that's really sad"
it makes me wonder if anyone could be helped by it,
it makes me excited for
the next thing I write.

Excited for the next step in this journey.
The "joy that comes in the morning"
after the "sorrow that may last for the night".

Well, wishing for the morning doesn't make it come.
Only waiting does.
I don't think I'm good at waiting.
It's not an active stance.

Today someone said she was taking a day of rest,
and asked if anyone had any ideas of what she could do.

That seemed wrong,
but I totally understood.
"rest"
is what she was meant to do.
"doing" is not resting.
You can't rest,
and do.

Maybe that's part of this time.
and why it's so hard,
I'm not doing.
It's not by choice,
and I don't love it.
But I think it's good.

God created things for 6 days and then said
they were good.
Then he rested.
Did he say rest was good?
I looked it up.
He rested and said the day was holy
and sanctified it.

God rested.

This is not the next thing
(that I'll write)
(that will be encouraging)
(at least to me)
this is the intermission
where everyone takes a break
and runs to the bathroom,
or in my case,
just sits there
and wishes the real adventure
would start again.

Except in this story
(my story)
the Lord sits down beside me
and says:
"Now that it's quiet,
now that you're still,
let's chat."

OK, I'm thankful for that picture.
I'll hang on to that one for a bit.
God bless your day!
I need to go,
Rest. And listen.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Beauty Out Of Ashes

How can I bring you glory, Lord
in weakness?
How can I bring you glory
gripped by fear?
My body becomes entranced
by fear and sadness
while my mind
searches for your hand to lift me up.

Your Word to quench my tongue,
is what I long for.
Your Word to still these fears is what I need.
How can I benefit from this breaking, Lord?
How can this rubble
bring you praise?

God, to my last breath I will confirm your goodness.
In my last effort
I will seek your face.

But while I live, Lord
help me see you.
While I live, Lord
attend my frame.

Once protected from this weight of uncertainty,
let me now dance by the power of your grace.

How can a gift you've given
be taken from me?
How can my joy
be stolen away?

Remind my flesh
of your keeping.
Remind my countenance
of your care.

I'm so sorry Father
for my fear.
I'm so sorry
for shrinking back
I'm sorry
to be frozen by this sadness,
I'm sorry
to be slow to praise.

How can I bring you glory
when I'm broken, Lord?
How can I praise you
from here?

This pile of rubble
belongs to you, Lord.
I surrender what's left of me,
to your care.

You say you make beauty,
out of ashes
and I've felt you carry me
thus far.
So although I'm longing
to see the finish,
I will wait,
my Lord
and hope in you.

How great is the goodness you have stored up
for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you
for protection,
blessing them before the watching world.
Psalm 31:19

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How Can I Help?

What a thoughtful question.
I confess:
I have no idea.
I hope when a need arises,
I'll be brave enough to ask,
but right now,
please pray.

Pray.
It's what folks do
when they don't know what else to do.
"All I can do is pray".
But really it's the best gift.
It says:
I don't know what's best,
will you (God) give what's best?!

The heart of one,
desiring to assist another.

God likes that.

Sometimes in the asking,
the gift is given,
it's an expression of love,
of nearness,
of willingness,
a precious gift.

Once at the gas station a man asked:
Is there anything else I can do for you?
I said: Laundry, maybe?!
and we laughed.
"Can I help you?"
was my favorite question,
I would tell my kids.

To see me washing dishes
or folding laundry,
and have someone sit with me,
and work with me.

Truthfully, I didn't really need the help,
but I loved to spend time with them.
Some of my fondest memories
are of loading dishwashers,
folding laundry, and doing other
menial tasks along side one of my kids.

It was the togetherness
I loved.
So how do I answer the question:
How can I help?
When it comes from a friend
who wants to assist during a trial?
Pray my cancer is not aggressive, please.
I would rather avoid Kemo.

Pray I would stay close to the Lord.
Pray I would make the most of every opportunity.
Pray I could do this well.
(be broken and scared)
(be not healthy)
(be able to receive well)
(I realized it's easier to give)
Pray I hear the Lord well,
and not be rendered ineffective.
Pray I give him glory.
Pray I could rest,
(that one's hard too).

And thanks for asking.
God bless you
richly and deeply
I mean it,
God bless you.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The fog is lifting

The fog is lifting.
I'm finding myself looking for the on-ramp,
to get back into life.

I wanted to write a funny story called:
"The Year The Easter Bunny Got Cancer"
to talk about how my family helped me do,
what I wasn't feeling up to doing.
How I confessed "Everything is half done!"
on Easter Eve,
(the job abandoned
when the biopsy results came back,
positive for breast cancer)
and how my daughter could now say:
"I told you that drink causes cancer!"
which seems funny
[maybe only to me].
I told a few of my kids about the story,
and it's title.
and that I should send it to Tiffany,
so she would understand why her Easter basket sat on our table,
for 6 days past Easter,
and as the fog cleared,
I realized I should send it out, but also,
it was sweet to have her basket on the table with the others.
And my kids said:
"It's OK that the Easter bunny got cancer,
as long as Santa doesn't!"
And we all laughed,
and I felt blessed to have the family I have.

It's been a bit of a challange
to say (to all those whom I'd like to tell)
all that I want to say,
and that I wont probably die from this,
but this is why I'm having surgeries,
and this is why all the doctor appointments,
and this is why the sad, far away, or concerned looks
have invaded my normally jovial countenance.
And I would say, I've been in a cloud,
and I'm facing mortality,
face-to-face,
and God is helping me,
and humor helps me,
and death has no sting,
and life is beautiful
and we will all get there
(to the end of our story)
and some are just lucky enough
to think about the end,
as they walk in the middle.
I woke with the words:
"Teach us to number our days,
that we might gain wisdom"
And I said "Thank you".
Thank you, Lord.
Thank you, cancer,
thank you for helping push pause.
I live in fast-forward,
I think we all do.
We race to the stop light,
when we could have let someone in.
We long for tomorrow
and damn the day we're in.
Wisdom says life is short,
do it today.
Slow down and savor the moments.
I think that was the point of the words I heard.

So where's that on-ramp
(to re-join life)?

I'm tempted to just remember what I used to do,
and just do that.

But I want to take the blessings of this season with me.
So I'm going a little slower.
Noticing more,
praying more,
and trying to be present with my thoughts
and with others.

Because God is beautiful,
and the things He whispers to me are so sweet.
And people are so dearly loved by Him.
And I'd like to help others see that.

If you read this,
I hope it blesses you.
I hope you enjoy your day
(like it was your last day)
I hope you look to the Lord,
and just receive His love,
because it will change you,
heal you,
help you.
God's love does that.

God bless you my friend.

Teach us Lord to number our days,
to realize the brevity of life,
that we might gain wisdom.