He Who Walked in Dusty Shoes

We don’t all agree – how could we? Your experience with God and faith and prayer and healing is as unique as your fingerprint; no two alike. We look to others, listen to teachers, preachers, ministers, pastors, authors, speakers and one another yet can only truly know God through a personal pursuit of Him.

113The only thing that remains unchanged is God so we must be careful where we take a stand.

I view the diversity of perspectives we rally behind and align ourselves with and defend with fervent conviction and chuckle at the foolish of our division on such fleeting matters. I am so thankful for the breath-taking, awe-inspiring blend of opinions mingling with strength, conviction, experience and personality and don’t believe any to be inherently “wrong”; they are merely an expression of the exquisite palette of color in the hands of a redeeming creator who never ceases working in our lives.

Can crimson declare itself more lovely than tangerine, aqua more relevant than magenta or ivory more necessary than amber? Continue reading

This Treasure in Earthen Vessels

Life is more than the pursuit of the pleasure of things or even the pleasure of others. Our lives are a gift given to us by a creator whose plans far exceed the busyness we fill our lives with.

Life is an instrument, a tool used by a trustworthy potter to mold and shape us into vessels of glory.

CLayWe are raw unformed clay, sometimes hard and unyielding. Our value rests in the vision of the one who purposes our ultimate design and purpose. He, who holds us in his hands until we softened by the warmth of his touch is God. We may be feel unproductive or useless, set on a shelf awaiting our turn. We may even be and unnoticed lump of earthenware to others, but never to the Holy Artisan whose vision for us exceeds the seemingly relevant that shields our true identity. Continue reading

My Kryptonite

Oh, the bewildering tonic of men and the intoxicating potion of romance. Yes, it comes up every once in a while even if it’s not the focus of my life. Even though I’ve been single longer than I was married, I’m not dead yet.

So, what prompts this need to dwell on moment on the topic of men; a recent run in with my “kryptonite”.

There he was – bright as the sun, like he’s been each time I’ve seen him over the last several years. This man is a mystery to me in almost every way. I know he’s not my future but the unspoken chemistry, the draw is unparalleled. It is captivating, confusing and delirious. After a few false starts, he and I stopped trying to reach past the attraction with any kind of pursuit or thought of permanence. Continue reading

Such a Cliché’

When the Lord asks us to surrender something we hold dear (a dream, a desire, a passion, a plan) it always comes with a price, but not as we would imagine. He never demands from us as we stand closed fist determined to keep it. His desire is for our hearts above all else. We can insist on pursuing what we want or think we desire to have – but it will not always yield the happiness we expect. Instead, he works in our hearts at the deepest level, loving us, changing us, drawing us, giving us opportunities to see life in a different way until our hearts yield and desire him more than whatever it was we held onto for so long.

Does that mean it won’t feel like loss at times?
Does that mean it won’t feel like we’ve missed something good?
Does that mean we won’t wrestle with the why or the why not of our prayers?
Does that mean we may be required to experience our friends and loved ones receiving the fulfillment of the things we desire most?
Does that mean that he can fill us with so much grace that he brings us to a place where we are freely able to surrender our will for his, longing for him more than the things of this life? Absolutely.

Life is a journey is such a cliché’ but so profoundly true. The desires of my heart at 22 are very different from what I longed for at 32 or 42 or now at 52. Life hasn’t changed, I have. The world still screams about beauty and success, sensuality and popularity, wealth and adventure and having as much of everything you can possibly hold and beyond or at least more than everyone else.

Yet,
I no longer view my life through a lens of “how much”.
I no longer view my life through a lens of  “what if”.
I no longer measure my life based on unrealistic outcomes.
I no longer measure my worth and value based on another person’s story.

We cannot let go of anything without trust – trust in a loving God who has a plan for our lives; trust in a loving God who has a wonderful plan for our lives and personally stands guard over it to bring to fruition, never asking for something without giving back so much more of himself than we could ever comprehend.

His work in our lives and the fulfillment of our purposes cannot and will not look the same as what he is doing in others. Such lack of individuality would rob us of our unique place we hold in his heart, our specific role in expressing his love in the world and the unrelenting security of his purposes being fulfilled in our lives.

The sooner we relinquish our need to know, stop demanding we must understand, cease our insistence on being in control and relinquish the certainty that his will for us will conform to our desires, the sooner we will find our torn hearts mending and being made whole.

What If We Lived…

What if we lived like we believe God is who He says He is?

What if we lived like the promises he made are indelibly etched on the pages of eternity and our names carved into the deepest recesses of his heart and nothing we can separate us from either?

What if we lived like the divine revelation of his holy, perfect and redeeming love is the only thing that changes a heart, transforms a life or forges a healthy relationship and it is written into our stories by the creator himself?

What if we lived like his power moving in our lives is for far more than making us comfortable and happy and wealthy and successful in the eyes of others?

What if we lived like he sees the inner man and pays no attention to appearances and reputation and performance no matter how “spiritual” a display we exhibit?

What if we lived like we were loved and forgiven and accepted nurtured our own spirit union with Christ in order to love and forgive and accept others?

What if we lived like we understand that our “poverty” in this life produces a wealth in the kingdom money and possessions cannot buy?

What if we lived like the race we are running is not to be the prettiest, smartest, most successful, wealthiest or sexiest?

What if we lived like there is more to Christianity that endless busy work, self-serving sacrifice, diligent church attendance, giving as a token or espousing scripture that we don’t attempt to live behind closed doors?

What if we lived like our greatest desire is to please him beyond the acceptance of others or their approval, validation or recognition?

What if we lived like we never step outside his presence and respond to his constant nudge toward communion and draw toward intimacy?

What if we lived like reconciliation, communion, fellowship and community matter and pride and ego don’t?

What if we lived like our unique calling was ours and not what everyone else is supposed to do with their lives?

What if we lived like every moment we invest in incessant busyness that is merely self-serving (no matter how fulfilling it seems at the time) will vanish like a vapor when time ceases and fade like a dream when we awaken on the shores of eternity?

What if we lived like we know the role each one of us is called to fulfill is as unique, relevant, vital and valuable as ours?

What if we lived like time only matters as it serves the purposes of eternity?

What if we lived like we believe we are seen, known and understood and have nothing to prove to anyone but him?

What if we lived like our lives are the ransomed treasure that they are; an invaluable gift that cost the Heavenly Father his son and the son of God his life?

What if we lived like we understand he catches every teardrop feeling the ache of our longing, the pangs of our mourning and never leaves us to suffer alone in our grief?

What if we lived like every harsh, critical, judgmental thought we think and word we speak about others robs us of our ability to see him and view them as he does until we become altogether spiritually blind?

What if we lived like we understand to give is to receive to lose is to gain and to live we must die?

What if we lived like we know the trails and burdens and pain of this life have purpose and are not a reflection of his displeasure but his active presence in refining and perfecting our spirits?

What if we lived like we love him as he has loved us?

What if we lived like we know someday we will meet him face to face and the sum total of our life will bring him joy or us shame?

It Is Better

It is one thing to desire a man who is financially secure; it is better to find a man who i’s debt free, generous and sees his finances not merely as a means to satisfy his wants but as a means to bless others.

It is one thing to desire a man who is attractive and sexy. It is better to find a man who becomes exponentially more handsome as his character and personality are revealed through time and experience.

It is one thing to desire a man who is successful; it is better to find a man of unquestionable integrity who is hard-working, trustworthy and dependable, whose moral compass is never in question.

IMG_2471It is one thing to desire a man who is confident and self-assured; it is better to find a man who isn’t driven by an inflated ego and uses his confidence to demonstrate humble leadership and create opportunities for others to thrive and succeed.

It is one thing to desire a man who is passionate and able to express his desire for you; it is better to find a man, whose passions can be controlled, demonstrating love and respect to a woman until he has committed himself to her or puts her needs above his own.

It is one thing to desire a man who is committed to his faith and regularly attends church; it is better to find a man who loves God unashamed and whose character behind closed doors and with those who cannot return kindness, is equal to the external reputation he perfects and portrays.

It is one thing to desire a man who finds you attractive and can’t keep his eyes or hands off you when you’re all dressed up; it is better to find a man who “sees” the whole woman you are behind your youthful appearance and physical attributes and thinks you are beautiful even in yoga pants and a t-shirt.

It is one thing to desire a man who had lofty dreams, goals and ambitions; it is better to find a man able to balance the present and the future, being fully alive in the moment, ceasing the best of each season of life you are in.

IMG_2472It is one thing to desire a man who listens to you and offers wisdom to help in times of stress; it is better to find a man who knows you don’t always need to be fixed; sometimes you just need to be held close and felt understood and accepted.

It is one thing to desire a man who is talented and skillful; it is better to find a man willing to help, ready to serve and who doesn’t mind blending his gifts and ideas with someone else’s.

It is one thing to desire a man whose appetite includes luxury and a high quality of life; it is better to find a man able to balance quality things and quality relationships and never substitutes love and affection for expensive toys and hype to create distractions.

It is one thing to desire a man to love and be committed to; it is better to find a man whose devotion is unquestionably mutual, honoring the same commitment with reciprocal affection and effort.

IMG_2469It is one thing to desire a man who “shows you off” to his friends hoping they’ll be envious; it is better to find a man who is less concerned by what those on the outside think and more concerned about honoring what God thinks.

It is one thing to desire a man who respects and admires what you bring to the table; it is better to find a man who grasps the inherent value you have in the sight of God and treats you as the cherished, redeemed woman of God that you are.

The Sweetest Promise of All

At some point in our spiritual journey we will be required to hold fast and take God at his word when circumstances give cause for doubt and room for disappointment and angst. People hold this silly notion that a life of faith means it becomes easy, plans fall into place, doors fly open, everything we touch turns to gold, people will accept and understand us and that love will come waltzing in to save the day – every single time.

We cannot fall prey to the idea that tangible, material blessing is the primary evidence of God’s blessing. Yes, on occasion he shows up in a grand way and it takes our breath away. But like it or not, we cannot say there is substance to our faith and proven commitment to the Lord until we’ve walked through the silence, the darkness, the desert, wilderness or any extended season of what seems like unanswered prayer wherein our dependence upon the Lord alone grew and our fleshly aspirations and desires took a back seat to our desire to draw near and remain faithful, come-what-may. Continue reading