Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Breathe






Breathe, He said to me
As my harried soul jumped
From one thought to the next
And my carried over burdens
Jumped from now to then.
                                      
Breathe, He said to me
As His whispered breath fluttered
Onto my thoughts
And His gentle yoked peace
Filled slowly the crevices.

Breathe, He said to me
As words called from the mist
Above my raging storm
And Humbled Heart learning
Drew me longing for more.

Breathe, He said to me
As bondages strong and long fell
From around my feet
And wondrous New Naming
Joined my heart to His.

Breathe, He said to me
As heart beats slowed
Around our joined souls
And rested gentle lips
Breathed of His own Heaven.
        -BG


              
"I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians."

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you
and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
Matthew 11:28-30 



In this week of more testings, and Gratefulness for good reports for my husband, my heart is finding space to breathe.



Are you finding space for breath
this summer?



How is God leading you to find rest for your soul?



Leave a comment below; I love to hear how
our Lord meets each one of us! 





 This poem began from the prompt "Deep Breath" last week from Jamie Wright Bagley. You can check out her site by clicking here.


I am linking this week with:
Meg Weyerbacher, #TeaAndWordTuesday 

Monday, July 3, 2017

When Freedom Walks In




The mind has 
Corners and crannies
Where hidden lie
Memories

The heart wants
Uncovering
From carrying
The burden 

Where can they meet?
Heart and mind
Like oil and water
Refuse to mix.





Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.



A child sat on the side of the road and saw the crashed cars. There was the bloodied man being held up by the ambulance drivers. There was her Father holding his chest, and there was her brother coming behind in his own car, rescuing her from the scene.



It was a memory locked in the recesses of my mind. Occasional nightmares and flashbacks from the scene would replay years later, but I would tell myself how thankful I should be that God preserved my life with only a chipped tooth, and my Dad only suffered a few cracked ribs.


But the heart knows when a fear takes root.

 

If you knew me in the '90s, you would have seen a self-sufficient Stay-At-Home-Mom who walked everywhere, and took the bus to the orthodontist for her teenage daughter's appointments. Grocery shopping was a family affair after my husband finished working. We worked out our schedules, and we thrived on our together times.  But when my younger son approached the time for getting his learner's permit, he said, "It's time Mom. You're coming with me and we're BOTH learning to drive together this time."

I had never enjoyed driving when I got my first license as a teenager. So, as a young wife, when we moved multiple times while our children were toddlers, it felt too hard to continue taking the tests and changing my license in every state. 


So I let the deep-settled fear gain more ground in my heart, and I allowed my license to expire.


Was my son correct?
Would I really be able to re-learn driving,
after almost 20 years?


Oh, I prayed and cried, and stormed my way through, as my husband had two "learners" practicing that year.  Just before the deadline for my permit expired, I passed the test, hearing the instructor tell me, "You're a very good driver, Ma'am, you really shouldn't be so nervous."  

What should have been a celebration, still felt like a chore to me, and despite what the instructor said, I had to sing my way into driving alone. every. single. time.

But God has a way of making sure 
that our hearts get laid bare, 
and He sees where fear takes root.

He gently pries and tugs
to bring to the surface
the long buried tendrils.



When we moved to Wisconsin, with a fresh new license in my hand, one of the first neighbors I met was my precious elderly Ukrainian friend who had just lost her husband.  While I was practicing my driving in this small town, her health was gradually declining. And in just a short time, she needed a driver to take her to Doctor's appointments and stores. My driving suddenly had to come up a notch.

God was still working to uncover the fear.


But yet I held back, until I gathered with dear friends for our church's first Ladies' Retreat, several years later. As I led my group that first night, the question went around the circle, and each one of us found our hearts being uncovered by a God who loves us too much to leave us to ourselves.  I heard myself speaking what I had not planned to say:


I still DESPISE driving, but I want to be free.


And with those precious friends, 
we all laid down burdens 
and found Jesus there
to meet us with the truth.


That very first Sunday after the retreat, as I drove to get coffee for a few friends, my normal "easy" route was blocked, and I had no choice but to take the scarier way that I always avoided.  I heard Him whisper His own words to me:

"You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me."


And something shifted in my attitude 
that morning.

What was once a chore
became a place for God's power
to be shown, even within my own heart.


. . . . .



In these days, years later once again,
where weakness seems to reign,
And driving times are few
with pain following each one,
my heart is filled
with a gratitude
I never thought I could have.

When it's necessary for me to drive,
God chases all fear away.

He has redeemed the past
of that bloody nightmare
with His Holy Strength,
carrying my mind
as well as my heart
uniting as one
with praise.



Dear One,
May I ask a hard question?

Is there a long-buried 
pain in your heart?

There is ONE
who longs to meet you
with the LIGHT of HIS PRESENCE.

When you ask for freedom,
He will come to you too.




My dear friend, Anna Smit, blessed me with this song today, and I pray it blesses you also:







I am linking this week with:





 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Holy Ground




grounded
here in this sand
quick sand
it feels

days run 
together
when duties
long stilled
echo the halls

changing plans
i follow the
sun
mete out my
moments

seeking a
firmness 
wanting a
strength i
lose my clenching

find what was
missing 
seek what is
losing
life laid down








LORD of the 
moment he
holds me beneath
where ground
shifts

i watch him plant
seeds in
my feet standing
ground
sand shifting

and life is
here blooming
watered from well
springing up

HOLY GROUND



“'Do not come any closer,' God said. 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.'”



The writing prompt this week, given by Jamie Wright Bagley,
 (you can check out her site here) 
is "God in the ground beneath me," 
with a secondary prompt to experiment with the
 no caps no punctuation style of poetry that ee cummings made famous  


and my heart started pounding
when i heard a whisper
calling my ground
holy



What if the very place where the trial looks hardest,
where the ground seems most burnt
is actually the place most holy
in the eyes of the ONE who is changing
my heart? 



You might recognize that first photo above
as the one I posted here earlier this spring
after the DNR had come through our favorite
prairie park with a prescribed burn.

The second photo shows the prairie transformed,
when we visited just a few weeks ago. It's hard to
imagine the way that fire birthed life into 
the worn-out prairie lands. 



These burnt-out shifting sand places of our lives
become HIS fertile land 
when we let Him have the final say. 
But in those days when I stop short, try to shorten the
 process, or worse yet,
go off in my corner to pout,
I only hinder His planting,
quench off His Spirit,
and stunt my own growth.



For those of us who seek our corners,
can I offer a prayer?


"Dear Lord of the Harvest,
what an Amazing LORD you are!
Will you open our eyes
to see YOU in the 
shifting sands of our days?
Will you help us to loosen our hold
and come out of the corners,
to find YOU at work 
in the fertile soil,
the sandy loam
of hearts set free,
to be transformed into 
YOUR HOLY GROUND." 








I am linking with these great bloggers this week:





 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Deep Unto Deep


We were drenched with rain this weekend, after a long dry spell. And my heart answered the call of those raindrops when a writing prompt was given by Jamie Wright Bagley over at her blog last week. 
to find her own words and the question, 
"What do you do when the rain calls you?" 


Splashing, sputtering, swishing,
The rain washes everything in sight
Including me!
I come
The drops wash over my soul
Splashing, sputtering, surrendering.

--BG

 

 

But when the sun broke through, the call to surrender
continued. Here in this place of stillness and slow,
my heart is looking up, longing to find HIS beautiful
freedom.




































And after a long break, I found Haiku words again for the poetry challenge given by Ronovan Hester here,
at his site, where the prompts this week were "Darkness&Deep." 



Deep Unto Deep

Out of the darkness

comes a cry, deep unto deep

Light answers, flows free. 

--BG



 "Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life."






There will come a day when darkness 
will no longer hold sway
over our hearts.

The gray of the rain 
will be washed
to brightest blue.

The pain of this world
will be measured pure
with healing for all
who wait for Jesus
to bring us Home.

So color my days here now
with hope for the journey
surrendered
and
free
Looking above.  












And here is the announcement I promised last week! The winner of Susan Chamberlain Shipe's latest book, 52 Commands of Jesus for Children is my instagram follower: ggmullins2016!

I will be in touch with you to get your mailing address, and Susan will ship your book to you! Congratulations!! 

(I used the service at Random.org to generate the results.) 




 

The book is available
 on Amazon here
for anyone who
would like a great 
resource for
Family Devotions! 


And click here
for Susan's own website,
where she offers more coloring
pages for you to download.













I am linking this week with these great bloggers:
Meg Weyerbacher, #TeaAndWordTuesday 
Barbie Swihart, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty 
Debbie Kitterman, #TuneInThursday 





Tuesday, June 13, 2017

52 Commands of Jesus for Children


 
(In exchange for my review, the author provided this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  All opinions are purely my own)








"Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: 'God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.'”  Matthew 28:18-20 MSG




On the same day that my daughter asked me for some good ideas on how to train up her two-year old son in the knowledge of Jesus, my friend Susan Chamberlain Shipe sent out an invitation to join the launch team for her newly published family devotional.   


Isn't that just like God?  
Doesn't He always find a way to show us that He is with us, day after day?


And so, this blogpost is being shared with my daughter today! After I read over the book, and gathered my own thoughts for my review, I sent the book home with her.  Listen to her thoughts on how the book has impacted her family already:

 
"This book is very well written for older children, although my 2 year old son enjoys coloring the pages while I paraphrase the stories for him. I am blessed to see a new devotional for children as I am always looking for something for my son and I to work on together. I think it is so important to instill the foundations of God's word as soon as possible in our kids! Each lesson is set up in a one or two page format with easy reading, and good questions to ask kids. It also inspires different activities to do with children to apply God's word to everyday life."
--Becky

(I admit I have a little Grandma-Bias, but isn't that just the cutest picture ever?)


You can even find additional coloring pages to download, if you
click here and go to Susan's website.



I so appreciated the way that Susan combined each of the commands that Jesus spoke, with a character trait for your children to grow in.  Without practical applications, it becomes easy to quickly read the words of Jesus and promptly forget everything you just heard!



In the chapter titled "Let Your Light Shine," the character trait connected is "Generosity."  And the discussion questions call for ideas and ways to be generous with others as we let the Light of Jesus shine on those around us.  I loved Susan's approach to define the word generosity here:


"Do you know what it means to be generous? It means to give or share, unselfishly. So in this Scripture Jesus is teaching us to SHARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, and the Light of the world is JESUS! When we ask Jesus into our heart and our life, he puts his "Light" inside of us and he wants us to share that Light with others--our friends and our family. He tells us not to hide him but to let him shine through us."




When I saw the character trait paired up with Jesus' command to "Love Your Enemies," I was at first glance taken aback.  How could the character trait of "Creativity" combine with that command?  But, as I read the definition, I knew the Lord had inspired Susan to look deep into His heart of Love for these words:


"Being nice to someone mean doesn't make you a true child of God. To be a true child of God means a real change in your heart. When we are nice to unlikeable people we are showing the world that we ARE indeed God's children. Think of creative ways to be nice to not-so-nice people. Maybe you have a grouchy neighbor - ask Mom and Dad if you can bring them some cookies or a piece of cake to show them that you care about them."



As a Grandma, a former Homeschooling Mom, and a past Children's Church Director I can highly recommend this book for families who are seeking to guide their children into a love of God's Word. I learned new ways to be more like Jesus as I read 52 Commands of Jesus for Children. You can find it here at Amazon.


But here's a really exciting invitation: Susan has generously offered to provide a book through a give-away here! To enter the give-away, all you have to do is leave a comment below, on my Facebook page, or on my Instagram account, telling me to "count you in" for the giveaway. I am so excited to be able to offer this book to another family.  I will draw the winning name and announce it on my post next week, so be sure to check back in here!


I am linking this week with:
Meg Weyerbacher, #TeaAndWordTuesday 
Barbie Swihart, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty 
Debbie Kitterman, #TuneInThursday