Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people."— Psalm 85:8. 

There is a voice, " a still, small voice " of love..
                                            Heard from above;
But not amidst the din of earthly sounds,
                                           Which here confounds;
By those withdrawn apart it best is heard,
And peace, sweet peace, breathes in each gentle word.
                                           ---Anonymous

This was the entry in my Devotional that night, echoing the very thoughts my counselor and I had agreed upon:  This is my Withdrawn-Apart-Season.  And if I would have had my way, THE SEASON would have been fulfilled months ago.  Time to get back to living.  Time to get on with PURPOSE.  But what if this IS my purpose for now?  This withdrawing into HIS Peace?

This time she asked me if I could count the Receiving-of-Love as a gift to be given to my Lover. And the question fell like raindrops onto my parched soul.  Of course I want my own gifts to be received. Of course I am overjoyed when those gifts are cherished. That cherishing becomes its own gift, given back to me.  So .... can I rest in the arms of my Jesus?  Can I see that MY cherishing of His Peace is welcomed by Him?  And can I let that be enough?

I wriggle and I squirm.

But it is here, in this rest that I hear Him.

Peace and Beauty: He gives it so freely to me.  Even in the garden that cries out for my labors:

He places a gift for me.   My friends know that I have named this place, "God's Garden."  Where He lets me join in His labors for a time.  But even those labors have been quieted this year.

And yet. . . .


The blooms were waiting there, for me to gather.  On my first day of being able to climb the hill that hindered these joints all winter, the flowers opened their faces for me.

And Jesus spoke PEACE to my soul.


I am linking up today with TheFaithBarista for her #OneWordCoffe. My one NEW word from the Lord is #Receive:

http://www.faithbarista.com/

OneWordCoffee Linkup

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."  I Peter 1:3


 --Living Hope--

I am holding onto that Hope.

Because, while I had WONDERFUL NEWS from my Rheumatologist:

MY RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS NUMBERS ARE VERY LOW!!  THE DISEASE IS RESPONDING TO THESE ORENCIA INJECTIONS, AND TO THE MERCIFUL TOUCH OF MY JESUS.

At the same time, the Fibromyalgia is not improving, and is in fact very active.  The Doctor wanted me to try yet another medication, but I am 

holding onto Hope.

Hope that the Grace of Jesus is always enough for everything I need.  Hope that the Resurrection of my Lord means that His Grace still lives in me.  And Hope that His Grace is what will help me traverse this maze of treatments for a disease with no cure and no cause.

Jesus said:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, But take heart! I have overcome the world."  John 16:33


This world is full of trouble, and the days are dark for many.  The daily news boggles our minds with chaos that seems likely to spin out of control.  And my own body would spiral right along with it. . . . But for that moment in time . . . when the Tomb exploded and chaos lost its hold. . . And Jesus overcame any dark thought this world could ever utter.

HE IS MY LIVING HOPE,  HERE:  as I choose to listen to His Spirit directing my days, and soothing my nights, climbing into my soul.

But not only for me. He would bring His Resurrection Life into this world's chaos, one soul at a time.

Because He loves to bring LIFE into the darkest of nights. 


I am linking again with The Faith Barista for her #OneWordLent series, where the word for this week is "Living:"

http://www.faithbarista.com/ 

OneWordCoffee Linkup
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The wind was howling
And my husband was snoring
And it was one of those pain-filled-lying-awake-kind-of-nights.

But yet there was a difference this time.  Traveling along this road of brokenness, I am falling onto the comfort where Jesus has been waiting for me.  My last post shared about the truce with my body, and the surrender that required.  I have held onto anxiety about my body, and too often missed the peace that Jesus would have given. He is in the howling wind storm that swirls inside this body; Peace in the midst of the Storm.

And this broken body of mine is ready to express the growing that is birthed out of those kinds of storms.

Most of my friends have at one time or another received one of my creative offerings.  Whether it was a hand-sewn craft, or a hand-lettered verse, or a home-grown plant, you get the idea:  I loved to bless with the work of my hands.  But my hands were the first thing to be changed in this Rheumatoid Arthritis Journey.  The strength and the detail required were simply not there any longer.  And the joy in my creating was gone as well.  I missed the satisfaction that came with a job well done.  I missed the grace that was required to place a small detail in just the right way at just the right time.  And I missed the process of planning an idea from beginning to end. I tried small projects, but was disappointed that I could not fulfill the idea that was in my head.  And then the ideas stopped too,  when the fatigue and fog of this chronic disease stole my normal way of processing thoughts.

But Jesus in me did not stop expressing His ideas.  This blog is one of those expressions.  But there is another way that He has been asking me to explore the NEW.  I inherited some of my older brother's art supplies when he passed away from cancer several years ago.  Watercolors and instruction books have stared at me from the bookshelf.  "I could never paint," the old, detailed-me spoke often enough. Pen and ink lettering was my style. Not the free flowing expression of feeling that watercolor required.  But that is exactly what the Lord is requiring now:



Almost Spring
    Almost Buds
        Comfort in the growing.

This is the difference that last night proved to me.  The growing is where God's Comfort is. Flowing where I can't plan anything anymore, His Words and His Ideas express themselves nevertheless. He does not require my planning, just my willingness to let Him mold and shape and move through this howling wind that is inside of me.  Peace be still, He speaks to the storm.  And I will move with Him.

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."  Mark 4:39

I am linking today with TheFaithBarista, for her #OneWordLent series, where the word today is brokenness:

http://www.faithbarista.com/

OneWordCoffee Linkup

Monday, March 14, 2016



"Roll thy cares, and thyself with them, as one burden all on thy God."  --R. Leighton

"Whatever the care which breaks thy rest,
Whatever the wish that swells thy breast,
Spread before God that wish that care,
And change anxiety to prayer."  --Anon.

The care that breaks my rest?  The anxiety that storms my nights?  It was one of the words that broke the surface of my first meeting with my Counselor:  my own body.  My own body has become a stranger to me.  What was never a good relationship has now become a torrent of anger between my body and my soul.  Oh, I know that God desires us to be presented blameless before Him: body, soul, and spirit.  But my soul cannot abide this body.  I see it now.  Try as I might to wish it otherwise, there is no denying the war within.

But it cannot continue.  
 
She asked me if I could at least declare a truce. My body and me.

I know the answer that Jesus would desire for me to find.  After all, He has been speaking the same thing in His own words, as He climbs right into my soul.  "Come in with me.  I am already here within you. In this pain, I am here. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit: the place I choose to dwell."  

But I am angry that this body has fallen in weakness.  I take my rests, but purely out of obedience: grudgingly.  And the rest has become less than it should be.  Instead of desiring what is good for my body, I have desired for my body to give me what is good for ME.  It is only another form of selfishness.  Forgive me Jesus.  Only YOU speak what is GOOD for this child.  Only YOU speak what is good for this body of mine.  

I need help to count this restoring time as GOOD.  Not to kick against the pricks. It's what I do best these days: this kicking in my soul.  But my Savior, who comes to rescue the brokenhearted, knows that surrender comes in stages sometimes.  HE knows the help that I require.  HE leads the way for this child to find HIS good, even in the painful places.
 

And so I begin. This Truce.  My body and me.  Jesus, present me blameless before God, body, soul, and spirit.  I lay down my arms, and surrender, because I don't want to fight anymore.

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. — 1 Peter 5:10
 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Shuffling,
re-organizing,
simplifying, 
stripping away the old.

All the right words to be passed at the table during this Spring-Cleaning-Time-Of-Year.
And, wow, was I on it!  I may not have had the energy or strength to strip the paint, but I sure cleaned out the old notebooks left over from Homeschooling Days!  (It's been a decade since the youngest graduated.  I think it's time to remove the final binder from my closet shelf!)




I am not so sure I want those Spring-Cleaning-Tasks applied to my heart.
At least not when I really allow the stripping away of the old to go all the way
to the deep-down places of my
Soul.
But I want to be HEALED.  I want to find that REMISSION word.  I want my HEART to be at Rest.
So.
Scripture tells me that Jesus was "wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities,
Surely He bore our sorrows, and by His stripes we are healed."
There can be no healing unless a wounding has happened first.
I am here, in this place of being purged,
And feeling my wounds, like never before--

Do you know the feeling?

I will go this week to sit with a  much-loved Counselor.  And I know I will see more shuffling, more re-organizing, and  more uncovering of my own woundedness.  But even there, the full healing won't be won by the words that we break open.....
No, I am only too full of those transgressions that never end.  I am only too full of my own iniquities. And I am only too full of new bruises and wounds that explode every day.  It would never end --
Except that--
Jesus was wounded. And Jesus was bruised.  And Jesus bore it all so that He could bring my healing.
My healing.
Your healing.
He purges and He cleanses and His Words tear down my Walls
And then He climbs right into my Soul.
All the other cleaning?  It's necessary, for sure.  But it's only part of the process.
The process that's meant to show me how He covers me with HIS heart
That already won the full.
Full Hearted Healing.

I'm linking up with the Faith Barista for her #OneWordLent series, and my oneword this week is "Wounded"   http://www.faithbarista.com/

 OneWordCoffee Linkup

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


"Love divine has seen and counted
Every tear it caused to fall
And the storm which love appointed
Was its choicest gift of all"
                     --Anonymous
When I delight in the day, when I take joy in my moments, I can see His hand in everything. Love brought me here. 
So when the future stretches before me down a path I would not willingly choose, where does the Hand of Love belong in my thinking then?  Is that future still planned by Him?  Where will my voice fall in the speaking of it?
Years ago, I woke up my Homeschooling-Mom-Days by listening to Elisabeth Elliot's radio show, "Gateway to Joy."  I eagerly read her monthly newsletters; sought out her books at our library.  And a phrase still echoes in my memory, I can hear her voice speaking it still:
"Will I let the cross cut through ....?"
Yes, the Cross that Jesus bore cuts through every moment in Time.
Jagged,
It tears a hole in the world that man would make.
But that same Cross,
Where Jesus died,
Built the bridge
Where I may see the Hand of God
Stretched out to me.
And so I press on to know Him more.  I choose the path He lays out for me, trusting that neither Fibromyalgia nor Rheumatoid Arthritis, nor any other thing can separate me from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus. 
LOVE appoints the storm
And LOVE carries the cross
Because LOVE will bring me where I belong
To the Heart of my Jesus.

I am linking today over at the Faith Barista for her #OnewordLent series:
http://www.faithbarista.com/
 OneWordCoffee Linkup