Tag Archive | plans

Flat Water

In May, I found a new hobby: Kayaking! My hubby hadn’t been since our oldest was born and I had never tried it. Since we are surrounded by water, it seemed like a good idea. We now have a whole family of kayaks and this has become an activity that we can do together. It has been a real blessing!

wpid-2015-08-28-08.14.08.jpg.jpeg

Our daughter’s favorite part is seeing the cranes and turtles along the way. I have always liked being on or near the water so I feel like I have found “home”. My husband is eager for the day when we all become comfortable and confident enough to set out onto “bigger water” so he can catch some fish. And our son…well, he is getting a bit bored waiting for adventure outside of the little marsh we have been practicing in. But, he is also a little cautious and apprehensive to go out into unknown territory.

Until Tuesday….

This past Tuesday, we went out after hubby got home from work. We always go in the evenings and the water has always been choppy at our entry and then calmer as we enter the marsh. Tuesday, something was different.

FLAT WATER. It was like glass.

It was absolutely beautiful and calm and PERFECT! My hubby and six-year-old daughter put their boats in first and paddled out. This time, not into the marsh…but, into bigger water. My son was a little apprehensive to head into the “unknown”, but once we were off shore his sense of adventure kicked in and he was invigorated. “Mom, look at that! Do you see that dock? Can we paddle there?” And then my favorite…”Mom, is that the end of the world?!” HA! Mercy! While he knows that the earth is round, this made for some great discussion about the early explorers and the horizon line. Of all the times we have been kayaking this summer, this night was my absolute favorite.

A few weeks ago we got a life vest for our dog, Cooper. We decided that we need to start taking him with us more often because we have not done a good job making him feel like part of our pack. The first time, he jumped out of the boat thinking that he could just walk across to me…then he sank and had to swim. His eyes were huge as he hit the water! This was Cooper’s second trip out in the kayak and he is still uncertain. As I paddled up behind my hubby, Cooper was growling and barking at a tree limb that was poking through the surface of the glassy river. He is not quite sure what to make of all this just yet.

Mid way through our exciting adventure onto flat water, our daughter got a little tired. My hubby threw her a line and she tied on so he could pull her for a while and give her rest. Cooper, then, transferred into my boat. In an instant, my peaceful flat water paddle became very interesting. My kayak is a sit-on-top, which means that there are no sides. When Cooper sat down he wasn’t sure of his boundaries and occasionally his foot would slip off or he’d dip his tail into the water. He couldn’t just trust…sit…rest. I found myself getting a bit frustrated. It was perfectly calm water! Why couldn’t he just lay down and chill?!

Cooper was trying to see my husband so he’d lean to the left…and all of a sudden my boat would make a sharp turn left. He saw something in the water so he would lean right…and my boat would track hard right. As he leaned, I fought against him. Even though it was perfectly calm, glassy, flat water…I had to paddle twice as hard that night to counter Cooper’s every move.

This morning in my study time the Lord pressed on me hard. I am not trusting right now. He is still in control and I am leaning. In my morning study, there was a story of a backseat driver that the author labeled as a “panicky passenger”. I am studying in the Women of Faith study “Giving God Your All”. This morning took me to the chapter called “Putting it in God’s Hands”.

Panicky passengers “… are the ones who ride with a white-knuckle grip on their armrests. It doesn’t take much to evoke little gasps of fear from them-changing traffic lights, the sight of brake lights ahead, low-flying birds.” The author goes on to suggest that we often try to take God’s place in the driver’s seat or she says “maybe you’re more like the panicky passenger, not quite trusting the driver to get you safely to your destination.”

This is the scripture that the Lord brought to me this morning through that study:

 How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:19-21

 I have been enjoying some pretty flat water lately. This summer has been a blessing in so many ways. But, this week I have allowed anxiety to flair up and -like Cooper- I am not trusting…sitting…resting. I cannot see under the surface. There are changes coming in the near future and with change comes some uncertainty. Instead of becoming excited and invigorated by this new “big water” experience, I find myself behaving like Cooper. Leaning…looking…frantic.  It’s flat water and I feel like I am paddling twice as hard just to counter my own movement.

If I would just BE STILL.

Yesterday, I found myself crumbled into a pile on the shower floor crying out to the Lord. I could hardly breathe and I felt as if I might drown in those tears. But, I know that the Lord heard me. Now I just have to listen for that voice, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Pray for me in the coming days. Our kids are starting a new school and while they are fine…I am anxious. Do I need to go back to work? Or am I supposed to be still and trust the Lord to provide? I wish I knew what was just under that glassy surface. In the meantime, I need peace and to believe Isaiah 26:3.

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

Advertisements

Adjust the Sails

I have been tired and stressed for a while now. I keep casting my anxieties and then picking them back up. So when my girlfriend reminded me that a weekend was long overdue, I jumped at the opportunity to escape the storms.

Perusing the nautically inspired wares while wandering a small bay side town- I found it.

A towel. Yup…a towel.

I looked at it and then walked away.

I came back to it and took a picture…and walked away.

I finally purchased it so I could take it home with me as a constant reminder.

wpid-20150329_142244.jpg

 

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”

Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other,

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Mark 4:37-41

No, I can’t control the wind. But, He can. When the storms come, I need to be quicker and more diligent about adjusting my sails while praying for God’s will.

Amen.

I feel like I should end this post here.

But, in my travels there were some other reminders of God’s presence that I want to share.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Psalm 97:1-2

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Psalm 97:1-2

Red Sea Rules- the same God who led you in will lead you out

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

A dear friend of mine gave me a gift…and what a gift! She passed me a little book that she had been reading; it really is little; maybe about 6 inches by 5 inches. Wow, big things come in small packages.

I could write a full fledged book review here, but I am sure that there is another site out there for that. I will, however, summarize this little treasure and hopefully coax you into reading it, too.

I can imagine that you’re on the edge of your seat, with pen and paper in hand, waiting….What’s the name? Who wrote it?

The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-given strategies for difficult times by Robert J. Morgan.

I know that this isn’t a typical post from me- God willing, I will be back to writing soon. For now, enjoy these truths.

wpid-2015-03-15-17.18.05.jpg.jpeg

 

Psalm 51: reflections in the spin cycle

Another snow day; the third one this week. I have been sick for two weeks and have so much catching up to do. When it snows and rains like this, it’s best to save the septic field and refrain from doing too much laundry at home. After being down and out- the laundry has piled up higher than the mounds of plowed and drifted snow. Time for the laundromat.wpid-20150306_104041.jpg

The kids brought books to read while we waited. I assured them that it would be a reasonably short visit because we could do the drying at home. I was completely taken off guard when they reacted the way they did. The books and coats went into a chair by the window…they flipped over two of the three laundry baskets…and each took a seat.

Front row for the big show.

He practically had his face pressed up on the glass the whole time and only moved away long enough to float to one of the other machines. When the spin cycle began, they were whipped into a frenzy! To them, it looked like the clothes in the machine had just disappeared as the centrifugal force pressed them firmly against the inner walls  of the 62 lb. capacity beast.  A young couple sitting nearby began to laugh…who knew that laundry could be such a wondrous and magical experience.

They had never seen a front load washing machine before.

Two hillbillies in the big city.

Laundry. They were mesmerized, entertained, and positively pleased as punch.

I miss those times. Two years ago I could look at a tree in a storm as the leaves turned up to welcome the rain…and see God. There was wonder in my coffee, the clouds in the sky…God was evident everywhere. Even in all of the chaos of life, I was the one pressed up against the glass watching in amazement and awe as the spinning melted into the walls and God was at the center. There are seasons. God is always present…always working…always active. Sometimes we sit at the feet of Jesus and learn…and watch. Other times we are Martha, diligently working on the things He has given us to do.

This Martha season has been complicated and blessed. There are tasks that He has placed in my path…people…needs. I have been listening, and started out following His lead quietly. It was awesome! I could see how God was weaving people and situations together- all in one load. But, then the spinning started. I’ve gotten caught in the spin cycle. I don’t want to say “yes”–I don’t want to say “no”. I am spinning with my back pressed against the wall and everything is being squeezed out of me. It’s too fast. I am tired. And I am too loud about it. I have been too loud about my feelings and frustrations. I have been too loud about some of the excitement in my world…good news and bad. I have quickly become overwhelmed and now I have found out that I am overwhelming people around me. I need balance…AGAIN. So now I am feeling a bit alone in the spin cycle and the anxiety is creeping in. Feelings. The reality may not be overwhelming, but when the feelings are added in- Satan get’s the upper hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

It’s time to very intentionally focus on God, not the things that make me anxious. [AGAIN] Not how I fail [STILL].

Psalm 51 is near and dear to me and I have found myself meditating on it a lot this week.

Just be quiet. That may be a good start. Oh, Lord. Please hit the reset button. My spirit is downcast within me.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

When everything has been squeezed out of me, there is a big void that only God can fill. I eagerly await that joy and willing spirit; His sustenance.

I have no idea what’s next. I feel like I haven’t had much to write here lately and am wondering if this season has passed, too. (The spammers have written more on my site than I have in the past year!)But, I will be still and wait. Maybe the spin cycle will stop- then, I can exit the spin and sit with my face pressed to the glass. When the spin starts again I want this perspective. I want this vantage point. I want to see all of the chaos melt away with God in the center – clearly. But, that’s what I want. I wonder what God’s plans are?

I have to focus on God’s plans. Not mine.

I must have FULL faith, because God is faithFUL. ALL THE TIME.

Quiet

Happy New Year!

These past several weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and travel for our family.

Christmas programs at church and school…illness…Christmas…a drive to and from Florida to see family…hubby’s birthday…removal of a dead Christmas tree and our first Upward basketball games of the season upon our return…laundry…laundry…more laundry. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why I scheduled TWO appointments for myself today. TWO! There is no food in the pantry or fridge and it is not likely that I will be getting to the grocery store today either. I see Chinese food in our future.

Welcome to a new year. But, wait…a word from God.

Quiet.

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (NIV)

11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.(KJV)

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

This is the scripture that God has been pressing on me for the past month. “QUIET”. But, how can I be quiet at a time when I feel that he is pushing me out the door…out of these four walls…and into serving others? I don’t get it.

The same day that God gave me that rhema, I received my Christmas gift in the mail. This year for Christmas, I got myself the Websters 1828 Dictionary.

wpid-20150105_073517.jpg

How timely! I opened the seal and looked up that word “quiet” and what I found illuminated this scripture for me and helped me understand how being quiet is really an active word.

QUI’ET, adjective [Latin quietus.]

1. Still; being in a state of rest; not moving. Judges 16:2.

2. Still; free from alarm or disturbance; unmolested; as a quiet life.

In his days the land was quiet ten years. 2 Chronicles 14:1.

3. Peaceable; not turbulent; not giving offense; not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble; mild; meek; contented.

The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. 1 Peter 3:4.

1 Thessalonians 4:11.

4. Calm; not agitated by wind; as a quiet sea or atmosphere.

5. Smooth; unruffled.

6. Undisturbed; unmolested; as the quiet possession or enjoyment of an estate.

7. Not crying; not restless; as a quiet child.

QUI’ET, noun [Latin quies.]

1. Rest; repose; stillness; the state of a thing not in motion.

2. Tranquility; freedom from disturbance or alarm; civil or political repose. Our country enjoys quiet

3. Peace; security. Judges 18:7.

QUI’ET, verb transitive

1. To stop motion; to still; to reduce to a state of rest; as, to quiet corporeal motion.

2. To calm; to appease; to pacify; to lull; to tranquilize; as, to quiet the soul when agitated; to quiet the passions; to quiet the clamors of a nation; toquiet the disorders of a city or town.

3. To allay; to suppress; as, to quiet pain or grief.

Wow.

A state of rest…as in resting in the Lord. To quiet disorders, pain or grief. Not crying or restless. Calm, not agitated. Peaceable, not exciting controversy. Meek and mild.

So it’s not just about shutting my mouth and minding my own business. It’s shutting my mouth, listening to God, seeking to follow His lead. “Minding my own business” is for me to tend to the business HE gives me…not in closing myself off and keeping to myself. In pulling me out of my comfy walls, God wants me to minister to others…pull up along side of them quietly and not be in the forefront.

Yesterday, after church, God expanded on this in the form of a slew of scripture. I was writing it all down in my prayer journal and could hardly keep up!

Do not do before men (Matthew 6:1-4), but use the gifts I have been given by God to serve others faithfully so that the praise and glory go to God (1 Peter 4:10). I must be humble and to DAILY cast my anxieties …especially the ones about getting outside of my little safe comfort zone…on the Lord because He cares for me (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6-7). I need to continually pray- and ask you all to pray for me- that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19) and that no unwholesome talk will leave my lips…only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29). I must remember to commit my plans to the Lord daily. And anything I do or say must be for God, with strength given by God, giving thanks TO God though Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). I need to be ready and willing and He will make me able. For if I am willing, the gift is acceptable according to what God has given me…not according to what I lack (2 Corinthians 8:12).

Quiet. Listening. Doing. Not overtly – but covertly. Out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit in me…Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6).

It’s not to say that I haven’t been following God’s lead prior to today, but I have been resisting leaving my comfortable four walls.

“It’s OK. I’ve got this. Just be quiet and keep your nose down. Work diligently with what I have given you and on the things I have given you to do. Quiet. Shhhhh. Apply my healing balm to others around you…pacify their souls. Be faithful with a few things and I will charge you with many things and you will share in My happiness…lacking nothing.” That’s the rhema -the Word- that God has given me for this new year.

So…Now what?I guess only God knows. I just have to be quiet enough to hear.

 

Chocolate Covered Cranberry blessings

Let’s talk fruit.

Cranberries…deemed a”super fruit”because of it’s nutritional qualities and anti-oxidant power. Beautiful in a floral arrangement and red and vibrant on the dinner table; these diverse and delicious fruits can be enjoyed in many forms- dried, as a relish, juice, sauce or chutney. In addition to delighting the taste buds, these red rascals also hold benefits for hair, skin, and health. Super fruit indeed.

My last post was about being in constant pursuit of God, inviting Him to fill us with the Spirit…less me, more Him. God knew before I did that I was going to need to go back and read that post. After a long Thanksgiving week- busy with family, travel and sleepless nights- I was empty. Just a few days before I had been thanking God for every blessing I could count and even those which are unseen. What happened? Sunday…Monday…Tuesday…I found myself feeling empty and way too focused on myself. There were things I couldn’t control, aches and pains that have been pinching and plucking my emotional and physical nerves, frustration and fall-out,  and a “to-do” that I don’t think is quite what God had in mind for me. My will over His. The trinity was at war within me and I am not talking about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit either. ME…Myself…and I.  What made it worse was that I knew that I was complaining. I knew that I was unhappy. I knew that I was too focused on myself and what I thought God had planned (all “think” and no “trust”) -not focused enough on who God is, His blessings and His plans. Full had turned to empty and there I was- staring at my own reflection in the bottom of my empty cup.

Then God hit me yesterday as I was preparing to go a service for a dear friend and Bible study partner who lost her battle with cancer. “Lost”…not really. She was positive, prayerful and just as fixed on God as ever during that nearly year-long struggle. She didn’t lose. She’s face-to-face with Jesus, and there was a multitude of souls in that church who were touched by Jesus as a result of her faithful service to the Lord. So, I’d say the victory was won. Praise the Lord. I started reflecting on the past two months. During our Bible study, she was so prayerful and concerned- but, NEVER for herself. It was her husband who consumed her thoughts and prayers. She prayed that God would lighten her husband’s load, that he would take better care of himself and not be so focused on her, that he would find men in the church to lean on. Every prayer, every concern, every tear she cried was one of unselfish love. What a stark contrast to what I was seeing in the mirror. (sigh) I fail.

So yesterday, I prayed…”fix my eyes on You, Lord.” Over and over. More Him, less me. Resuscitate this shriveling vine and produce fruit.

Last night, I had the unexpected blessing and honor of helping a friend. It was one of those needs that God placed in my path in a single moment in time. “Be the hands and feet, ” He said. There is no pride in this statement, but I will tell you that the fruit was so much more than I could have ever imagined. I had done something I was CREATED to do…in the name of Jesus and for Him. I was fulfilling my purpose and not seeking myself in that moment. Today, I woke up renewed and refreshed. Fruits of the Spirit…the joy, peace, goodness, kindness and gentleness. They flow from us and extend to others. It was these very fruits of the Spirit (God in me) that enabled me to help a friend. Trust me…nothing good was coming from this rotten apple.

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Corinthians 12:9-11

…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11

Today, in the grocery store, in found myself smiling wider at passers-by. I walked past a tower of trail mix and reached for something that was not on my list and something I do not ever recall having before- a container of dark chocolate covered cranberries. Hey! Dark chocolate also has several health benefits associated with its consumption, too. When I got home and dug into them I was amazed! Oh my. This was the tastiest treat ever.

wpid-20141204_124709.jpg

Fruit…covered in sweet. Both with known benefits.

When we do what we were created to do, the giver also becomes the receiver. Fruits of the Spirit covered in unanticipated sweetness.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:38

Imagine the glory to God and the blessings experienced if we all acted to fulfill the purpose that God has laid out before us. Daily- not just on one single day.  More Him, less me. His blessings overflowing…fruit wrapped in the sweetness of blessing.

These Four Walls

Sitting here in my “spiritual winter”…wrapped in the Word. It would be a lot more comfortable if God would stop knocking on the door.

Every time He knocks…I have to get up.

(Yes, you’re right in detecting a bit of sarcasm.)

I have been thinking a lot about these four walls: the walls of my room, my house, the walls that hedge up this family unit, the walls of my heart. These comfortable walls.

In the past month…while sitting comfortably in these four walls…God has been preparing me to be pushed out.

He is feeding me like a mommy bird would before she gives her baby a push. It’s a long way down…fall or fly?

I asked him if I could forgive a friend while sitting in these four walls and He said “No, you have to GO.”

I asked him if I could keep my opinion on a certain matter within these four walls…today I am heavy about it.

Today I am so heavy about the matter, that I had to leave these four walls and walk the undeveloped area around the church. Tall trees, fallen trees, dead trees and new trees, briars, bushes, and a rust colored blanket of leaves thick upon the ground. A clearing and cabin. Four more walls…but all doors are locked.

Blogging is great and has been for two years! I have been able to share with all of you about God’s interactions in my life -and I have been able to do so while in the safety and security of these four walls.

Safe and secluded.

God is dragging me out of these four walls kicking and screaming. I can feel it. He wants me to speak up—audibly. He wants me to speak out—humbly. He wants me to link up—in close proximity. Real people, real conversation, real community….real conflict. (sigh) I’d really feel better about it if He’d let me do all of this from the comfort of these four walls. Blogging and blending in…not intimate and adjoining. I feel vulnerable without these four walls.

No, I am not anti-social or phobic. I actually love  the company of other people. I am just really good about keeping my thoughts, feelings and opinions close to my chest and keeping others at an arms-length distance. God wants to change that. Out of these four walls. Refuge…in these four walls? Or in Him?

Then my hubby sent me a devotional that he had received in his email today. It was all about an “Audience of One”. While I am Mary at His feet in these four walls…I am the audience of one. He wants me to get out there and thrive for Him- without fear of man. He wants me to do for Him and be for Him and live out loud for Him. FOR HIM. HE is the audience of ONE. THE ONE.  It’s not about anyone else, and certainly not about me. It’s about God’s pleasure and not my own. It’s not all about my comfort in these four walls. It certainly wasn’t about Jesus’ comfort with those three nails.

I was looking around my home today at these four walls and something caught my eye. Check it out…

wpid-20141103_133357.jpg

 

Look closely….

 

 

Look closer….

wpid-20141103_133409.jpg

 

….right there!

wpid-20141103_133431.jpg

There it is…”Faith”. Hanging on a hook in the mudroom, right under the leash.

Ok, ok…I know that I am feeling a little more “poetic” than normal today…but, c’mon!  “Faith” and restraint hanging on the same hook? The word-picture shot straight through me. Restraint leaves this house far too often and faith stays on the hook just inside the door. He wants me to step out of these four walls…in full faith.

So, I flash back to my walk in the woods earlier today. My walking buddy was my mutt, Cooper. As I reflect on that trip outside of these four walls, I recall a distinct difference between Cooper and I (besides the obvious four legs and hair). He was led by his nose…pulling, moving forward, straining against the harness with a taut leash, following his nose, full speed ahead. He is a hound and he was doing what he was created to do. I, on the other hand,  was pulling back, cautious about footing, looking for obstacles, testing out bridges for stability, wondering about snakes- yikes. So I wonder, which one of us was really restrained.

God’s up to something here. And it’s going to take me outside of these four walls. Pray for me folks. I’m gonna need it…full faith in absence of fear.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1