Wednesday, February 29, 2012
God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because He loved them. And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid.
God looked at everything he had made. "Perfect!" he said. And it was.
But all the stars and the mountains and the oceans and galaxies and everything were nothing compared to how much God loved his children. He would move heaven and earth to be near them. Always. Whatever happened, whatever it cost him, he would always love them.
And so it was that the wonderful love story began."
From The Jesus Storybook Bible
A few years ago, Kim Lorentzen's children received a book about how we came to be. It is quoted above from a shared email.
I was revisiting it tonight as I thought about Jesus, the Word made flesh, who dwelt among us. I thought about His resolve to live a sinless life and die a sacrificial death in our place so that we might be restored to our first beauty. Our original sin traded for original grace. So the Father could fasten His Holy gaze upon us and say, "You look like me."
As we move through these Lenten days, consider the One who conspired with the Father and the Holy Spirit to bring their beauty, their relationship into our lives. To make us the most beautiful things they have ever made. To make us look like Them.
Jesus opened Himself up to us and stretched out His mighty love palm to scarred palm high above our estrangement, settling our debt forever and forever changing how Heaven beholds us.
And so it was that the wonderful love story began...again.
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are...that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own. 1 John 3:1-3
(Special thanks to Amy and Cheree for illustrating God's look-alike love in such a lovely way.)
Monday, February 27, 2012
My son who had done two tours in Iraq, who was still plagued with bad dreams and back pain, and who had been kept on active duty almost a year longer than his enlistment prior to transitioning from active duty to ready reserve; had come to tell me that he was being recalled to Iraq. He had a new career path and a new baby and now he had orders.
I think I held my breath for a long time then the habit of thankfulness, cultivated over four years of repeated deliverance, seized my unquiet thoughts and made peace. God had been God for me. Thankfulness had become a way of living.
There had not been one single day during John David's service and since his homecoming, that I had not remembered to lavish thanks upon the One who was savior, protector, deliverer, friend. Now in that moment of stunned silence God told me to hold on to my thankful heart. A heart that would thank Him and leave the outcome, come what may, to Him.
Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Luke 17:17
Thankfulness, appreciation, those things satisfy God's heart. I don't ever want Him to find me among the nine.
My son's orders to return to active duty and a third tour were eventually cancelled and he received his honorable discharge at the end of his eight year obligation. This many years later I have yet to reach the absolute depth of my gratitude. It remains my daily companion.
Tonight I read Ann Voskamp's amazing and insightful blog posting about thankfulness. Without reservation, it is one of the finest offerings on that subject I have seen. Please, do not pass this by. Take a moment, it is not long, and drink in the absolute truth of her words.
Live in thankfulness. Eat it as bread. Wear it as a garment. Wave it as a banner. Sharpen it as a sword. Lay it down at His feet as an offering and keep laying it down.
A Holy Experience
Sunday, February 26, 2012
She is no sheep in a pen nor ox in a stall. She paints an elegant line in the water. She is a brush in the hand of the Almighty artist who loves both color and freedom. The same artist in whose hands our own lives and giftings lay like light.*
It tempts us this light-life. Less sighted eyes may condemn our joy-exploding-temptation to be electrified by golden moments upon spiritual water, rising and falling back again to the rhythm of His heart. Harmonizing with sea and stars and syncronized to Heaven's pulse. We are free. We are light. We burn upon mountain and water. God-life blossoming in us, we live worshiping.
We glow with His hand upon us. Not only in the rare magic of Sunday's stone-walled jubilation but in the rising of our many mornings when bare feet touch bare life and sparks fly. Dawn calls to us to live-light. To live as light.
We think, mistakenly, that a life lived pleasing God is the hard road, a meal of dry crusts. It is, in fact, that our life lived for the pleasure of anyone other than God is what drains the pool, douses the candles and plucks the stars from our sky.
The wise words of Paul came to me in the mouth of Chuck Swindoll preaching grace and freedom:
"...through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from
which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses (Acts
(Paul's) message included large doses of grace for the saved. Just
as the lost don't understand the Gospel, the saved rarely understand
grace. There are few activities more exhausting and less rewarding
than Christians attempting to please the people around them by maintaining impossible legalistic demands. What a tragic trap, and thousands are caught in it. When will we ever learn? Grace has set us free! That message streamed often through the sermons and personal testimonies of the apostle Paul."
Will we know it and fast our half-lives? Will we unbind our feet and curl toes into truth's damp grass? Will we live for Him and not for a building, a membership, someone else's praise or extra-biblical impositions? Ahhhh...I hear the intake of breath in some, nails dug into closed fisted palms, lips tight white lines of temperance.
Spare me the arguments. The ocean swells, the sun is full hot upon the water and the song of free Creation, full of grace, pings off my thirsty soul. I lay like light upon His outstretched arms. Grace is my baptismal water. I am undone and dead to all but Christ's full life.
"God fills my being to the brim
with floods of His immensity.
I drown within a drop of Him
whose sea-bed is infinity."
Sr. Jessica Powers
Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays, 2/19/12 through Palm Sunday.)
* "Lay like light" suggested from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Presence of Love
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Yesterday my friend Jan and I were talking. That can be a dangerous prospect. We are both spiritually "excitable." We were bemoaning a common woe that as Christians, as the Bride, we are often living below the the Power Line.
This morning I was in Ephesians and turned to Paul's encouragement to splice in to that line. I saw that the Greek term for our being strong is ἐνδυναμοῦσθε, pronounced (en-doo-nam-o'-o). I am no scholar of Greek but I can read Strong's and it says this strengthening we experience comes not from the exercise of our own ability or natural strength but it is God's sharing His mighty ability with us.
It is God saying, "I fill with power, strengthen, make strong."
HELPS Word-studies 1743 endynamóō (from 1722 /en "in," which intensifies 1412 /dynamóō, "sharing power-ability") – properly, to impart ability (make able); empowered.
To impart ability. To give it to us. Strength flowing along the line of least resistance. God's own power-ability in our hands. His ability to work His will in our hands. The strength of pure, purposeful love at our fingertips. David understood this. I am praying it does not continue to elude us. To elude me.
Hear Paul speak in Ephesians 1:19-23 (Message)
15-19That's why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn't stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
20-23All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
This is what my prayer is for as I contemplate what Christ's Presence has brought to my life: oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
Jan, are you dancing yet? Me too!
Share a walk out on to the field with David as he takes the full measure of his God:
Friday, February 24, 2012
You have to love the way children hide their eyes and believe it cloaks them with invisibility. Even better, our dog- Sasha seemed to be under the impression that if she couldn't see the poop on the carpet it wasn't there. Confession time: I often wish it was that simple.
There are moments I have desperately needed to disappear. Those foot-in-mouth situations that happen when I have more words than wisdom. As for the poop part, yes, well, that too. Sometimes I am the only one in the room working hard to believe my sin does not stink. (Sorry. Lent is making me thoughtful.)
Francis Frangipane makes a point that the unchanging, unconditional love of Christ is the perfect shelter that allows us to unpack our dirty laundry and get cleaned up without the shame of it destroying us.
Bad habits, bad judgement, thoughtlessness, sin that makes the dog poop look good, none of it makes Jesus look the other way. He isn't hiding His eyes and He loves us too much to let us pretend it isn't the rebellion it is.
Only three days into Lent and I am getting brave. I have help. I am letting the Holy Ghost go after the wild, untended tracts of land that have not fully surrendered. Those parts of me that have become less hospitable the longer the 'No Trespassing' sign has been allowed to remained posted.
Christ sees me and loves me and has a plan for all that unused land. The plan is for a glorious fruitfulness. My surrender hurts me in the moment. This too He understands. That land cost Him dearly. I love Him too much for His capture of my heart to have been incomplete. When I behold His outstretched hands nailed east and west over my life, my heart cries, "Take it all!"
The only place to hide is in Christ. Invisible to sin's penalty. Cloaked in victory. Bold and beloved. Eyes uncovered. He took me by the mile. I now surrender the inches.
For you are my hiding place...You surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
Thanks to Brenda Johnson for the suggestion of this song:
(John Sebastian hiding in the bushes thinking himself invisible.)
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell...
From Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot
There is much beauty in the world. Eden echos. Drops an iridescent feather. Weaves a hummingbird nest by the bathroom window. The Garden calls. Love elevates things of low consequence. A dandelion in the palm of a child becomes the rarest orchid.
Stiff hearts miss this.
Rebels take no notice.
Lent begins today. The antidote for stiff hearts, blind eyes and souls who have lost the smell of the sea, lives where God has become diminished, lost His distinct ring tone.
The Catholics cremate last year's leftover Palm Sunday fronds and mark themselves with the ashes. When I was young I was so enamored of the ashen cross on my forehead that when it wore off I renewed it courtesy of my father's ashtray and the remnants of Camels unfiltered. Lent is us in ashes, unfiltered, our guard down, excuses incinerated, bending the knee.
Those penitent ashes call to me in this season. Lent is spring cleaning time for our souls. Lent is an opportunity to ask for help with our less flattering habits in a way that makes Christ the focus. Time to burn last year's mistakes with sorrow. Time to also walk away from last year's hallelujahs. Let God remember our lifted hands. Praise lives in the immaculate air of Heaven forever but here, in our imperfect world, our once green palms age and crack with time. We have to cut fresh boughs to lay in the way He will come.
Ash Wednesday (dies cinerum or day of ashes) makes room for penance and for praise, like the ashes of incense left when the smoke ascends. It is day one in a period of self denial and God-thoughtfulness that remembers Christ's forty days in the wilderness separated unto God and sustained by His fellowship. It is living the story of the Cross. It is a sorrow for the sin that required such sacrificial love to roll the stones from our tombs.
It is the remembrance of that gargantuan trade Isaiah prophesied over us: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. Isaiah 61
We bow our heads, offer Him room and branches leaf out fresh and green. Repentant fruits bloom. Our lost lilacs breathe out perfume.
These next forty days and during the Holy Week to follow, you might build an altar and meet with the Lord for whatever time you are able to devote to that purpose.
I keep a devotional and a box of colored pencils in my car. I draw and put my thoughts right in that book. You might buy a beautiful candle and light it in the evening as a special offering. Listen to music that you can share with Him. Find a movie that makes you focus on Him. Journal Lent. Find a jar and begin to set aside an Easter offering.
Practice a day of silence each week or during part of your day. Fast a meal and spend the time discovering Him in His own words. My personal favorites, Praying the Hours (God talks to me at 3AM) and daily Communion.
The Holy Ghost will draw you to the right spiritual practice.
Whatever you do- Embrace the Journey to Jerusalem.
Jesus will meet you on the road.
There will be bread.
The Upper Room has a daily devotion available.
My favorite is Contemplating the Cross, just made available again on line.
There are some wonderful movies we have enjoyed in this season. Some of you may want to share, by way of a comment, ones you or your family have enjoyed.
The Hiding Place
The Edges of the Lord
Saving Grace with Tom Conti
Hummingbirds Nesting By Our Window, offered by Cheryl and Damion Haley, Arizona
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Look into the Creation and find its Creator. His fingerprints are on anteater and atom. The natural world whispers of its supernatural sister. Reveals secrets. Shares truths. This world bears His colors and His character. His strength and His tenderness. His economy and His generosity.
A young artist friend has been uncovering God every time she opens her pastel box. She has generously offered to share some of her treasure with us.
Sister squirrel came to visit. She savors the bounty the Earth has provided. Nuts, seeds, acorns, corn, mushrooms, wildflowers and fruit tempt and delight. She always looks ahead and so prepares a feast for the future when trees and fields rest.
She gathers acorns, about 900 per year, and buries them close to her drey (treetop dwelling of two rooms and a nursery). They will be life to her in winter's long months when hunger digs itself a much needed meal. She has hidden her own future and preserved her own life.
So it is with us. Those scriptural acorns underlined and memorized, written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror, saved in precious cards from friends, hidden in our hearts, they feeds us in the lean times.
When trials come they are unearthed. When a son goes to war, when a lump is discovered, when a loved one dies, when a job is lost, when a new career path is steep, when we feel unloved, when we are tempted, when life is unyielding...winter snows are brushed aside and desire and memory grab a shovel. If the crisis is hard and desperate enough bare nails will suffice to unearth hope. In the most trying of times what has been hidden may be our only salvation.
I have esteemed (treasured) the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12 KJV.
The Hebrew for the storing up of God's word in our opening verse is from the same root word as to esteem or treasure the words of God's mouth in Job 23. It means to reserve or hoard. To pack away as much as we can carry to avoid sin and starvation and promote life and a future.
As Lent begins, let's take a lesson from Christian's squirrel. Let's esteem God's word above the food that lacks nourishment and bury a few acorns. NCIS and CSI and American Idol may entertain but they will not sustain. Take time with the Word.
Two years ago John and I fasted our cable for Lent. We drew sunflowers with scripture verses and sent them to friends. We read Contemplating the Cross and baked bread and had communion at our supper table. Some of that bread is still feeding us. The 50.00 acorns we saved each month were planted in the mission field and are still being planted to this day. We don't miss the commercials.
Let God lead you as you store up His abundant goodness in these next six weeks. You will find the method that is right for you.
Talk to the animals. They have a wisdom we need.
Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
God takes care of Creation. All things really do work together:
(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask the Animals for the remaining Sundays through Palm Sunday.)
Saturday, February 18, 2012
He had explained to me that the crucifixion was God's way of showing how much I mattered. I took my friend’s words seriously. Looking into the night sky, I remember saying something like this: “God, thank you for your love that I see on the Cross. I give my life to you. Please come into my life and do whatever you want with me.”
It was a profoundly significant moment for me. I did not see flashing lights, or hear voices, or feel goose bumps. But, from that moment on, I knew that in some deep way I had become different. No longer did I want to be at the center of my own life. I really wanted God to be God in my life.
- Trevor Hudson
One Day at a Time
From page 29 of One Day at a Time: Discovering the Freedom of 12-Step Spirituality. Copyright © 2007 by Trevor Hudson. All rights reserved. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
The author of this devotional available at The Upper Room tells us he was "changed in some deep way." That is how being real comes to us, through changes in the deepest places. The penetrating light of grace flows through every window and wall, under every locked door of our past. Deeper and deeper we are becoming new. What is counterfeit is eroded. What is authentic is decoded and we begin to know God in the face of Christ.
The "Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time" is more than an element in a story for children. It is God's mercy surpassing our human understanding, bleeding from a million wounds, looking for our face in the crowd and mouthing words of eternal forgiveness.
Love is calling our name. Love is writing our name next to His.
I have a young friend who sent me something to remind me I was cared about. A treasure. I wouldn't part with it for money or the lead in the Sound of Music. A lovely, decorated heart arrived in the mail with my name next to his. Asa is a lot like Jesus in that regard.
Love has called. Love has written. Love has remembered. Love of the deepest kind has spoken over us words of mercy and we are changed.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's Sunrise will break in upon us, Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.
Luke 1:78-79 The Message
Friday, February 17, 2012
Turn not away
losing sight of Him
in the busyness of the day
His arms stretch wide
His heart open too
All of love
displayed for you
ere He died
He is a Wondrous Savior.
The Lenten days of woe and wooing are here next week.
Come and see.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Now it is time to prepare our hearts to look up to the Cross.
Shrovetide is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 2/19-21/12.
(Shrovetide means "to confess." It is a time of spring cleaning for the soul)
The 2012 Lenten season itself begins with Ash Wednesday 2/22/12. (A time where we make room for Christ by moving something else out of our life for a season.)
Time to meet Mary the sorrowing mother, John the faithful friend, Peter with a sword in his hand and a curse on his lips, Judas the betrayer, the sleeping twelve, Herod the hand washer.
Sit in communion. Put your feet in the basin. Walk in the Garden in the quiet. Stand in the street and hear your own sin call, "Crucify Him!" Hear the lash snap, the sound of hammer on nails, His great words of forgiveness. Feel the coolness of the tomb embrace Christ in death. Meet the angels. Answer their question. Know the joy of that first sinless moment of life triumphing over death.
This is our story.
I offer you a Lenten devotion (link below) that has been such a pause for me every year. Follow the path. Light the lamps then extinguish them with the coming of a new day. In past years it was available at the Soul @ Rest webpage but it may only be available in book form now.
May your journey be blessed.
Contemplating The Cross By Tricia Rhodes The 2007 revised edition
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
the warmest days would have a breeze
children would remember to say "Please"
If You were mine.
If You were mine the daisies would never fail to bloom
the dandelions would not presume
my crowded thoughts would all have room
If you were mine.
If You were mine the birds would hatch every egg they laid
migrating butterflies would all have stayed
past due bills would all be paid
If You were mine.
If You were mine the world would awaken with a song
dreams-come-true would not take so long
justice would right every wrong
If You were mine.
If You were mine, LORD, what else should matter but You?
Your love has quite shot my heart through
Your goodness is making all my things new
And You are mine. Mine.
I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine. Ezekiel 16:8
From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies...Colossians 1 The Message
A Valentine For Christ who loves me daily and forever. Who became mine and who took me (us) also for His own-Kat
Monday, February 13, 2012
I had guests tonight. Welcome visitors who beautified my home. Cheered me up. Make the tired places in me sing. Made me see the beauty of the Lord's hand in the refreshed life around me.
A warbler, a robin and a bluebird walked into my living room. (That sounds like the opening line of a joke.) My bird guests were carried into the room by the very hands that created them.
My friends, Rebecca and Christian have been drawing. They have been exercising their creative muscles as well as their giving muscles. The results are colorful, generous and "full of sweetness" as Kim would say when being Ambushed by God.
And they are mine!
A few weeks ago I made a mug out of a captivating bird drawing that Christian came up with. That green parrot looked me right in the eye and dared me to make something of him. I did. The gifts tonight were a 'thank you' for the mug but even a casual observer could see it was God showing off. God muggin' for the camera and our hearts snapped some great pictures. God showing the best of Himself in generosity and creativity and friendship.
That knocks me off my feet.
Paul told Timothy not to neglect the gift that was put into him. (1 Timothy 4:14) In doing a word study I heard Paul admonishing his friend and protege not to consider his ministry opportunity to be "of no moment." Of no consequence.
We need to seize those moments. Those open doors when the light is just right and grace is wooing us out into a creative stream. It is the Lord shining through us. We need to let the sun rise. Let it smile on the world around us that needs to feast on Love's colors, scents, tastes and goodness.
What you do to the least of these...Time to pop the top on the alabaster bottle. Spill out the brownies, lasagna and chili the cooking gifts claim (My friend Sue Marsrow makes a Dutch apple pie that carries an anointing); spill the canvas, clay, photos and music the artists claim; pour out the jewelry, cards and words of encouragement still others create in "a moment."
We live in a generation famished for our moments. Those moments when Jesus flows and shines and glorifies the Father.
In the Message translation, Paul finishes by telling Timothy to keep his gift "dusted off and in use." You might tell me Paul was referring to spiritual gifts. I would ask if we have any other kind?
Our gifts and talents are holy. Their use is holy. Our moments are holy.
Rebecca and Christian, my sincere gratitude for spilling your gifts into my life and home. Moment by moment they will remind me of both of you and of the One they honor.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
After supper he went to practice his sax and I looked at the blog. I was drawn to the faces of people who follow my thoughts and stories and rather than posting I decided to look at their sites and see what was important to them. I was about half way through the list when I found that one of the people who visits with me is a photographer. No point and shoot pictures like I take but real beauties. Pictures with soul.
One tree photo in particular filled the space between my ribs and effected me in the same way as a little painting Kim Lorentzen painted for me, "Spring Evening At The Prayer House." It seemed to whisper, "Kathy, rest against my trunk. Listen to the grass breathe. Smell the earth. Feel the world turn slowly." That photo had me at "Hello."
There was a contact email and I made contact. The answer came quickly. I was expecting a price list. What I got was nothing I could have imagined. The artist responded and in the course of several back and forth emails mentioned that her husband had once been in the Army band in Germany with a man who had my last name. Someone her husband had looked for over the years.
My photographer/blog member was the wife of my husband's friend he lost touch with but had tried several times to find over the years without success. John and Mike came to Christ together 40 years ago while in the service. The anniversary of the day John met His Savior was also this very weekend.
I was laughing out loud and calling for John to come read Ellen's email. John was amazed. There was a cell phone number and an email address that had literally appeared out of nowhere. With the time difference between Alaska and Michigan and plans that we had, John decided to call Mike after lunch on Saturday.
We like Chinese and that is what we treated ourselves to as part of our anniversary celebration. The picture below was the fortune some angel stuffed into John's cookie. They cover a lot of ground those messengers of the Almighty. No detail is too small. No kindness ignored.
John and Mike spoke for the first time in four decades and John said it was as if no time had passed at all. The scripture concerning "a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day" came to mind with greater understanding.
David Teroux commenting on a C.S. Lewis friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien says, "Lewis points out that friendship embodies a spiritual relationship that begins from the companionship among peers, when two or more individuals choose to break away as they discover and wish to share some common interest. As he notes, the development of friendship involves the question, “Do you see the same truth?—Or at least, ‘Do you care about the same truth?’”
Christ was the One "seen" by two Army musicians in the Jesus movement of the 70's. The One cared about by each of them all these many years since. The One who has kept each in His sight all this passing time. The One who brought each to the end of their search for the other in a way that mystifies. I think God invented comedy. Timing is everything and He's got it down.
Jesus is the beginning of our journey and the end of our searching. The Alpha and Omega whose plan for our lives is filled with utter goodness and care. "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." (John 1:48)
How long was that one fortune cookie waiting for John to stop in for lunch? Not half as long as God was planning for him to open it. "In Him all things consist" and friendships most of all. He is the great architect of our lives who delights in the details that delight us.
There will be a new picture to grace our wall and to remind us that as the Lover of Our Souls, Christ will never be out done. To remind us that "a friend loves at all times" even if its been a long time.
This has been one special anniversary...or two!
Amazed and calling, "Shotgun!"-Kat
Friday, February 10, 2012
(Link below) So glad I did. A word fitly and beautifully spoken. Penetrating.
The pearl in the oyster. Fruit worth picking. Golden apples in a silver picture frame.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
I offer it as a repost for any who need to embrace the idea of a lengthened growing season in a garden of riches.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
There are lists I could offer of favorite books and movies. John, who is indulgent of my penchant for happy endings could quote those lists from memory. He had not a clue who Jane Austin was before we were married but she is family now. Most of us lovers of love stories love the same stories. The same plus one- our own love story.
My friend and fellow love-chef, Kimberly Lorentzen, a woman who knows about love's goodness and God's goodness, has posted a thought as good as a hand dipped, dark chocolate apricot.
Have one at Ambushed by God.
P.S. Best fun love story suggestion (no, not Sweet Home Alabama...but that one is good) try Last of the Dogmen. It has mystery, history, scenery; the most sincere, feel it in the balls of your feet, long, rewind it and watch it again kiss, and a dog. It is a man's man chick flick he will like as well.
Monday, February 6, 2012
The man in the moon is a woman
and she followed me home tonight
over the mountains, through the spruce
kissing the tip of the highest bare cottonwood,
teasing me out into the cold.
She is the night ruler, my celestial sister,
called to display the hand that made her,
to sing to waves and tides and move the oceans
with her sky dance.
All but the most persistent stars hide from her strength
and wait upon her half closed eye to show their faces.
She has no fire of her own save that which fuels lover's hearts.
She goes or stays as He delights this One who made moon and man
and has all in His keeping.
It is for the Blessed One she shines and bids me do the same
even in the darkest time
and to rise.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks...Psalm 119:62
To all those gallant women I know who are pushing back against something dark. Christ put a light in you to rule that night and to get Him glory.
Valley of the Moon, Anchorage, Alaska
Sunday, February 5, 2012
In that book which is
On the first page
That is the chapter when
I first met you
Appear the words...
Here begins a new life.
La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri
I first met John, or the promise of him, when I was in the seventh grade. I was living in Virginia and he in New York. We had never set eyes on one another. It was Christmas Eve and I was adding a few last gifts under the tree. There was an ornament that spun around when hung over a tree light and it caught my eye. As I watched it a voice from my prayer life came. A voice I have been hearing since childhood. "You will marry an artist." Like Mary, I hid it in my heart and moved on.
Six years and 290 miles later a full blooded Sicilian-Italian walked up to this Irish girl at the university in Ohio and asked me to dance. He was there pursuing a music degree and was first chair clarinet in the orchestra. I had not been praying for a musician. No woman in her right mind would. I had been praying for a friend. That is what I found that long ago night. I had a sense of recognition and I knew this was special. I felt places in me that were frozen begin to thaw. Tight buds opening. Hard edges softening.
That winter evening changed my life. A new and different life began for me that Thursday, February 5th, in 1970 at 8:00 PM EST, when I looked into blue-green eyes and said, "Yes." John led me to the dance floor and into deep water.
We were engaged on Christmas Eve 1972 and married February 10, 1973. John and I courted for three years and still married as strangers.
In truth, the both of us came with so much baggage Fed-EX should have been chartered to drive us from the church instead of a limo. We had romance and "stuff." We loved eachother deeply but sometimes we wounded eachother. We had passive aggression and self protection, the silent treatment and offenses that claimed immortality as well as everyday differences.
I was a nurse-germaphobe and he gave the parakeet a bath in my best pasta pan. I put his elegant European sweaters in the dryer and he washed my white nursing uniforms with his burgundy socks. I was a public speaker and he would rather play for a thousand people than return a purchase. I asked for pearls our first Christmas. He bought me tools. I spent. He saved. Who were these people who thought they were us?
They were the lovers from a Thursday dance who somehow kept dancing through it all. They were lovers who took scripture at its word and who bent a knee rather than break a covenant. We sometimes had the worst moments but somehow chose the better. We did our married work and Christ did His. The choice was always there and we kept choosing love and giving grace. We still do.
We learned over the 39 years of our married life that just as our first fated meeting was the beginning of a new life for us, so was each conflict, argument and problem that followed. We had a choice. New life or old. A new beginning or...what?
When I would carve my anger on the soft, unguarded surface of John's heart and he would forgive me anyway, "Here begins a new life." When he would breech my defenses and wound me and I would allow God to step in, "Here begins a new life." Every day, new life. Every year, new life. Every challenge, new life. Life! It made us perfect for eachother.
That new life was the making of our now old love. Love that is graceful, easily entreated and trustworthy. Love that is kind. Love that has been there and back and will see Eternity complete. Love that has come full circle and has transformed two people, who could hardly have grasp what it was they promised to each other 39 years ago, into us. Two who found love's deep and forever places.
We are a Christ-matched pair of lovers who will one day step through a single, carved, translucent, pearl gate. I like to think the carving above that gate will proclaim in every tongue what our own souls will have embraced throughout a lifetime together, "Here begins a new life."
You've captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me, and I fell in love. Song of Solomon Chapter 4 (MSG)
Happy Anniversary, Sweet Husband. You remain the Darling of My Soul. We got to have love and history.-Kathy
Saturday, February 4, 2012
I have just unwrapped a chocolate heart and it is delighting my taste buds. It is almost as much of a delight as the heart from which it was given. This candy was no only child. There was also honey and a book and artwork.* A lingering Christmas or the promise of Valentine's? You might think so, but better.
Among friends there is no occasion necessary. Generosity and encouragement are as commonplace as they are welcome. That is what makes one friend who has lent a favorite dress to another say, "You need to keep that. It looks stunning on you." It prompts one friend shopping alone to buy two of something because friends are always out and about with you even when they are not.
Friends are attracted to cards, books, music, scriptures and tokens that will bless, brighten and inspire their friends. Birthdays come early or every day. Christmas is seldom just a winter holiday and those offerings are always treasured.
Several years ago our house was burglarized while we were working. What a mess the thieves made of the place. I walked in the front door to overturned chairs, curtains off the rod and bedding dragged out into the hall. Failing to grasp the situation, I made my face into a hard scowl and yelled, "Bad dog!" Then I noticed the television was missing.
My lovey Italian jewelry box was also gone from my dresser. All that remained was the dustless rectangle where it had been. I was not happy. Why, because all my jewelry was gone? Nope. That box contained handmade cards from friends. Special scriptures God had spoken to someone just for me. Dried flowers from long ago apologies. Hand painted ornaments from artist friends. Love letters from a husband who is crazy about me and good at putting it into words. Real, genuine heart-life stuff, some from special occasions and others because I was the occasion.
That was a genuine loss but friends and lovers being what they are, all that goodness has been replaced ten times over. We are such fortunate people in this house. Our friends stir up our feelings and our giftings. They encourage us to live more and love more and be more. Friends keep us going. We are full.
Does someone in your life needs a care package? Maybe has an empty jewelry box that needs to be filled? Needs a Rhema word? A card? A love note? A praise? An inspiration? An encouragement in gifts and life? A ring from your finger? Something to keep or pass on? Some honey?
No occasion necessary.
How many times has God poured out His goodness upon us just because He could?
And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities...Hebrews 10:24 (AMP)
*To a special six year old friend and painter, thank you, Asa.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Some time ago a number of us who are in an email group were stirring one another up to believe God for His promises. Promises made to us in His mighty word as well as promises made by personal revelation.
There was a thought Jan Collins contributed that was sage advice and I share it now. May it cause you to stand and believe for all The Father has planned for you.
"The Lord just spoke to me about our declarations. He loves it that we are declaring and speaking aloud because our words carry unbelievable power...be sure you search out the scriptures that go with what you are declaring. His Word carries the anointing that we need to give us the momentum to push these things through to fruition.
We are who God says we are.
We can possess what God says we can have.
We can do what God says we can do.
What does the Word say about your situation?
Find out and then begin to speak it out.
Quote the scriptures you are standing on aloud.
Make them personal and insert your name.
What has God spoken to you?
Believe what God says and start to speak it out along with the scripture. God wants to take us into new territory. He wants us to go places where we have never been and see things in the Spirit we have never seen. He wants us to move heavily in the anointing with miracles, signs and wonders following. He wants us to change nations and people's destinies. He wants us to be the devil's worst nightmare.
2 Cor 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak."
Special thanks to Jan for her wisdom and friendship. kl
I (Kathy speaking now) discovered in nursing school that the more of your senses you involve in the learning process the more indelibly the information is imprinted. When you read the scriptures aloud, when you openly declare God's faithfulness and His promises to you, you are seeing, speaking and hearing. When you journal it you are utilizing four senses. There is a part of your brain that listens to the unfiltered word and files it away uncontested. There is also a part that will review and weigh it but that unfiltered bit is in there for good. (Consider this as one of the reasons the scriptures warns us to set no unclean thing before our eyes.)
There are promises God has made to me, hopes I have had that I speak, sing (yes, I know singing is so not my gift but God has not turned down the volume on me) and even dance out before Him. Sometimes I draw out those promises, paint them, make cards out of them and mail them to friends as a witness. We were meant to live the Word and the Word was meant to live in us to the full. That Word will seek out our giftednedness as a means of expression.
What would you stand and declare today?
What would that look like as a dance of faith?
What work of grace in your life might that jump start?
1 I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
The LORD's Answer
2 Then the LORD replied:
"Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.
You told me time and accomplishment are in your hand and surely you will not withhold what you have promised and fore-sworn to each of us in your word. I stand upon the wall and recount within your hearing that these people have loved you more than another, "more than the gods of this present world," more than any hope of gain. They have loved you for yourself. Have loved your heart.
Now therefore, Lord, answer their declarations according to the revelation you have given to each, in harmony with your scriptures, according to their great names which you have kept hidden but which when spoken by you cause our souls to hear and believe. You who are the confidence of all the earth have put within our grasp the keys to liberate and to make fast. We release belief and blessing and generosity. We bind unbelief and insecurity and competition.
We are in agreement that the King of Glory will come in and be known of us.
We are in agreement that the Holy Spirit will bring gifts worthy of a Warrior or Warrior-Bride.
We are in agreement that our children will inherit to 1000 generations.
We are in agreement that the enemy of our souls has been defeated by the cross and his cause is without appeal or advocate.
We are in agreement that we have died to this present world and are raised with Christ who sits at the right and power hand of the Father.
We are agreed that all honor, glory and power has been given to Jesus and that He has given us His Name.
We have confidence in the inspiration we have received from you, our God, and in your promises revealed in your word, even for those things that seem impossible and hopelessly lost or lingering.
We wait for it more than the watchman waits for the morning, for it will surely come and will not delay!
For we have seen and have read of the power in a people who agree with each other in your Spirit. We have read of the surety of a thing when the Lord himself makes a Declaration.
Lord, your Declarations birthed the Heavens and filled the oceans. May you birth in us that which begins and does not end and which fills this present day with your Glory!
Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people:
"I am with you," declares the LORD...So the LORD stirred up the spirit...of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God.
......."WE ALSO BELIEVE AND THEREFORE SPEAK!"