Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Little Like Betty

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt; 
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
Psalms 81:10

I was probably just craving chocolate. Again.

But when Lysa Terkuerst asked the question; What does temporary satisfaction look like, 1 well, the words just rolled out;  chocolate cake!

My answer to her second question; What does REAL satisfaction look like, followed suit;  an arduous, and lengthy recipe from the chronicles of Betty Crocker!

I was roused this morning by a cryptic, 4 a.m. text message from my sister-in-law, currently vacationing in Italy,
"Hey, my mom is in the hospital. May have to have surgery. Could you check on her? Since you work there." 
There isn't anything that could have kept me from her bedside,  I LOVE this women. It was an honor to be summoned.

I had also received a text from my daughter-in-law, "Would you be able to babysit tonight?"

Our daughter added her contribution to my day. She and her husband had impulsively signed with an agent to list their house last week,  "Can dad be here by 8:00 to work?"
Add another urgent demand placed on the day. sigh
There was a least 2 weeks of work to be done.
Because my husband is the handy man of the family, and because we essentially go everywhere together, I knew there was sure to be a task waiting for me as well.

Then there was my aging father who had called just the other night inquiring about my weekend. He is slowing down and struggling to manage all his responsibilities and assets.
"Are you free to take a drive to the lake house? I need to get moving on listing it and the two hour drive is getting difficult for me anymore."
I would be remiss if I neglected to share the magnitude of this request.
You see, my father and I made a similar trip 2 years ago. My brother refused to get in the car with dad and chose to drive himself that day. Feeling torn between the two, I ultimately climbed into the car with dad.
It would be an understatement to say that I saw my life flash before my eyes that day.
At one point, dad decided a little music might be in order and so with one hand on the wheel he reached for the CD, turned on the CD player, fumbled with the volume, and took his eyes dangerously off the road to cast a sheepish grin in my direction.
He then proceeded to sing Down by the River as we swerved all over the road 6 ways to sundown.
Needless to say, I wasn't  in a big rush to go Down by the River with dad real soon.

The day began to look a little like Betty.

I wanted to stay home and eat cake. (Morning coffee, Bible study, blog, email friends, read, walk, pray, chat with friends some more, read, lounge by the pool, pray...I think you get the idea-CAKE).

The Lord had a different plan for me, I need you in the kitchen today and here's the recipe- it's called, 

"If you love me feed my sheep."2


"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"3

Real satisfaction isn't the cake, it's the call to follow Christ and feed the world.
Life isn't all about the cake, pleasure and indulgence.
Sometimes it's all about the recipe, the tedious, but oh so rewarding journey.

Often I am amazed at how many scriptures refer to our mouth.

Yes, He longs for the words of our mouth to be pleasing in His site  Psalm 19:14
He wants to teach us when to speak and when to be silent. Ecclesiastes 3:7
WE are commanded to confess Jesus with our mouth  Romans 10:9
I will praise the Lord, my mouth will continually praise Him Psalm 34:1

But oh, how He longs to feed us with word manna. That heavenly bread that nourishes our soul that moves our feet and impels our hands for glory.

I am equally curious about the numerous references to hands and feet.
Ginny Blankenship, one of the P31 authors shared the following insight from John 6 and the feeding of the people with 5 loaves and 2 fish:

"While Jesus used 5 loaves and 2 fish, He has given us our own 5's and 2's to use in blessing others. We have 2 hands and 2 feet. We have 5 fingers on each hand and 5 toes on each foot. With these we can reach out to others through our actions and show them God's love. We can be His hands and feet in this world and He can use our small acts of obedience to provide sustenance, love, compassion, and to provide for the physical and emotional needs of so many-all we have to do is open our eyes to the opportunities and be willing to use our 5's and 2's to say Yes to God. Are you ready?"5

The Lord has spoken; I need to balance the scales of consuming with cooking. It's time to take what I have learned from his word, the years of ingesting and savoring truth, and feed his world.
People are hungry. And I want to feed them. They need cake.  :0

I want to be;
an instrument of your peace
a reflection of your love
a messenger of your truth
the radiance of your glory.

And all God's people said...

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 4



2. John 21:17
3. James 2:14
4.Psalm 51:15

Saturday, September 7, 2013

When White is Black

White space;  the areas of a page without print or pictures; blank space.
                      white space is as effective in a layout as type.
Black hole;    something that consumes a resource continually; an empty space.

I had a white space once, a cultivated time of morning meditation, prayer, reading of scripture and fellowship with the Lord.
But that white space of quiet moments on my knees before a second story window has recently been replaced by a black hole.
The kitchen table has become my new altar, and unfortunately, a few incidentals have followed me there;

My cell phone.

My computer.

My two dogs and their incessant licking of the linoleum.

The grating hum of the frig.

My coffee.

My intentions were holy, but the environment proved hectic and I found myself easily distracted there.

Cell to the left, computer to the right. Coffee in hand and bible stuck in the middle.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you. 1

Before I know it I am on Facebook again, texting friends or checking my E-mail.

Somethings gotta give, and I am fairly certain it's going to be the coffee, clowns and jokers!
I want the Lord alone to be my soul-focus. I refuse to let His word be wedged between worldly distractions that vie for my attention and oppose his authority.

I am returning to my White space Window where a quieted heart and emptied mind can find a fresh focus,vision, and passion.

I am reclaiming my white!
The window where only God resides. The secret place. The Remaining Place 2.

'Mid all the traffic of the ways,
Turmoils without, within,
Make in my heart a quiet place,
And come and dwell therein.

A little shrine of quietness,
All sacred to Thyself,
Where Thou shalt all my soul possess,
And I may find myself.

A little shelter from life's stress,
Where I may lay me prone,
And bare my soul in loneliness,
And Know as I am known.

A little place of mystic grace,
Of self and sin swept bare, 
Where I may look upon Thy face
And talk with Thee in prayer. 3


1 Stuck in the middle, Stealers Wheel.

2 The Remaining Place, John 15:4   Remain in me, as I also remain in you.

3  b. William Author Dunkerley, Mid all the traffic of the ways

Thursday, September 5, 2013


For years she yearned for a child.

Her sister had two.
Her friends had many.

And then it all happened so fast.

Three beautiful boys, just like that.

Baby boy #1...full term, healthy, but died at birth.
Baby boy #2...healthy. James. killed at 18 by a drunk driver.
Baby boy #3...born severely mentally and physically challenged. John. Institutionalized at 12. Dead at 45.

It has been said that if all the trials and sufferings of man were heaped into one big pile, most of us would walk away and keep our own. My Aunt Vera would ascribe to that theology.
I never once heard her complain or wear a garment of bitterness.
Instead, she inspired me with her spirit of sacrificial service and sincere heart of gratitude for the lord in ALL things.

This is what my Aunt Vera taught me;

A love for God, his creatures and his creation.

Sleepless nights are for the rocking of your 6'4" baby boy in your lap as you comfort his insomnious agitation and embrace the wee hours to memorize and recite scripture.

Forest clearings can become a wooded worship chapel.

The night sky is the handiwork of God and worthy of praise.

"There's no family like ours."

Daddy long legs are harmless. See, you can even pick them up, just like this!

Broken people are beautiful and have a purpose in life.

"When you worry, you just worry about the wrong things, so don't worry."

Hardships are highways that lead you to service in a ministry you might otherwise have missed.

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. 1

And lastly:

If God is satisfied
with His creation
who are you
to challenge His elation?

1) Psalms 139:14

Monday, September 2, 2013

Incoming--My place of surrender

I am sitting uncomfortably on my bed with bible on lap and tears of weary hopelessness floating up to heavenly places.

Blessed is the woman who perseveres under trial, because when she has stood the test, she will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

I think I may have failed the test. There will be no crown for me,
screams my sin to my soul.

Through my two story window, I turn a slow and mournful gaze to the outside and up to the wooded hills beyond the rooftops. 

I hear the summer locust fighting to finish the season strong and the soft warble of forest wren in spite of the falling summer heat.

I am impressed by their perseverance to stay strong and even sing in spite of the circumstances. Momentary wellness stirs my spirit.

But it is quickly squelched--for out of nowhere they come.


The imposing, ugly, blackness of the most recent residents joining the neighborhood--a family of crows that have wreaked havoc on their wooded neighbors all summer. 
They have pillaged nests, terrorized squirrels and created a fissure in the firmament with their raucousness.

And now, one by one, like incoming arrows from an enemy's quiver they pigeon me through my window and caw- 


It's too late!

They swoop perilously close to the glass before lifting up in a thermal of blistering charges, leaving me in a heap of shame and sadness.


"continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. Steadfastness."

For whatever was written in earlier times
 was written for our instruction, 
so that through perseverance 
and the encouragement of the Scriptures 
we might have hope.
Romans 15:4

Consider it pure joy, my sisters,
when you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
develops perseverance.
James 1:3  

Let the incoming caws of  the worlds crows come and blast me with their beaks. Let them carry messages of worry on their wings. Let them cry failure in their flight!

I will NOT believe the lie. I will persevere.

My choice to take from the forbidden tree and eat the fruit of my sinful desires will not cause God's grace to abandon me. 

Circumstances do not connote a verdict of failure but the promise of a holy persevering presence from within assuring me that He will never leave or forsake me. 2

Christ in me, the hope of glory 3, is The One who gives me freedom and flight and who will cause me to soar again!

"Even the best of the best fail, humanity cannot save itself."4
Just look at Abraham, David, or paul, they will tell you the same.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will lo grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Perseverance on the wings of a dove and settling on the comforted bed of my soul.

Thank you Jesus.

(1) Miriam-Webster    (2) Deuteronomy 31:6 (3) Colossians 1:27  (4) Heather Goodman.