Monday, July 31, 2017

A Cry from the Desert

I wasn't expecting to take a Blogging Break.  I thought that a slowed down schedule was sufficient to bring me to a place of being able to hear the words of my Lord. But when He gave me the words for my last post several weeks ago, and told me to "Breathe," I heard Him say that I needed a break in order to find that place of restful breathing, where I could find His full Presence filling my lungs. 

Have you heard Him call you to a deeper resting? 

When I finally agreed to the break, I hoped that He would woo me with sweet nothings, and soothe my weary soul with lavish cups of fragrance and bliss.  

Ah, well, our plans for ourselves usually don't quite mesh with those of our Dear Father.

Sometimes, the true comfort of God meets us with a word that at first feels harsh and jarring.  Instead of finding an overload of sweet, I found additional pain, with moments of sweet only scattered around the edges. I found a deeper surrender, and a longer trial.  And when the time to rejoin the blog-sphere returned, once again I hoped that He would lift the days of my trial.  

But I knew in my heart that His Timing is not bound by my schedule. 

As I prepared my thoughts for writing, I opened the page for my friend Gayl Wright's post last night, where she shared a beautiful song from Michael Card that had been part of the retreat she attended this past week.  Click here to read her inspiring post.   

May you be blessed as I was, with this song by Michael Card, one that he admits is his own personal favorite:

In the place of resting these past few weeks, these are the words the Lord spoke to my heart. 

He brought me to this desert place; I know it full well.  My genes may have conspired against me, as the autoimmune diseases reared their ugly heads.  My own body may be enforcing the weakness and pain that goes with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. But I am under the care of my Sovereign, and He has determined the number of my days.  So when I hear Him say to me that the restlessness is not going to get me out from under this test, my heart wants to utter its own cry.  My surrenders come with strings attached, and temporary praises for small gifts only serve to breed discontentment under the surface.
I hear the cries of the Israelites as they wandered in the desert, and I echo their murmurings:

 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” Exodus 16:2-3

I am longing for change. My whole being rumbles with hunger pangs as I feel myself starving for the nourishment I think I am missing.  And, yet, I knew their stories, and I thought I learned from their mistakes.  I would never test the Lord my God in the ways they did.  Or would I?  When I let the weakness of my days direct my longings elsewhere, when I let the pain in my body direct my gaze away from my true Helper, how am I any different than they?

The desert of pain scorched
And burned . . .
The joints and the marrow
Screamed in response.

And my heart looked away
Longingly . . .
If only You had left me in the lands
Of my youth.

But instead You’ve brought me here
Broken, torn . . .
Where weakness leaves me

And in the grumbling I hear
Shadowy lies . . .
Don’t settle here, don’t embrace
Gifts in this place.

For nothing good comes from
The enemy’s camp . . .
He’s blinding my eyes to the Truth
That’s been given.

Only as I rest myself down
Willingly . . .
Can I embrace the heat of the desert
My home for today.

The desert’s the place where I am
Stripped bare . . .
Ready finally to eat what’s been
Lovingly prepared.

Manna from the hand of my
Sovereign . . .
He intimately gives the bread of suffering
To those He adores.

"Moses said, ‘This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’” Exodus 16:32

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8

Maybe you have felt the sorrow also? Does comfort feel a long way off?
Our Father has a beauty that He wants to give us,
right here, in the very center of our desert places.

I am linking this week with:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


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.

"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

The heart wants
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

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:


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