29 May 2010

Time to breathe and share

It's been an intense time of prayer and battle for our church and region and I am taking some time to rest, breathe and share some of the love the Lord has poured into me.

Tomorrow I fly south to the Chicago area to spend a week with my mom. She is feeling well these days, not receiving any chemo treatments and I thought it would be nice for us to have time to just hang out and do things that would be fun for both of us.

There are so many things she has missed during the years she was taking care of Dad.

So, we might go to the zoo, to the botanical gardens, to the theater and perhaps even a riverboat casino. We will share memories and laughter and tears.

At times I know I will again feel just like the little girl that looked to Mom and Dad for all of my needs. That was before I knew the only One Who provides and I pray for opportunity to speak of Him.

28 May 2010

Flashback Friday - Washed and forgiven

Today I'm taking a trip back to a time when I wandered down a slippery slope and needed to return to the love and cleansing only Jesus could provide.

The need to be wanted shouted strongly in my head and heart, so loudly, in fact, that as a new born Christian it still lead me to do foolish things.

I went back to a habit of chatting with strangers on the computer and even on the telephone. I was able to convince myself that it was okay to play with them, even sexual type games, as long as it never became real. I rationalized that doing so would keep me from seeking out true physical pleasure. I even told these men that I was a Christian and would not become sexually involved with anyone but the man who would be my husband, and then only after we had married.

One of them, a twenty nine year old who lived in Las Vegas called himself sincity as a screen name. That should have been enough to send me running in the opposite direction, but instead I was drawn to his dominating style. I was still longing to be submissive to something greater than myself, and this got confused in my mind as the need for a man who would take control of me.

We lived out a fantasy via keyboard and telephone, although with God's hand protecting me even then, I would only pretend to do some of the things he would ask of me. I found myself more anxious to get home to his phone calls than I was to read my bible. Though I knew I was walking a dangerous line, following down a road that felt wrong, I never stopped attending church or the Tuesday bible study.

We spoke about meeting in real life. I could go there for a visit. Perhaps we would marry for that would have been my preference. There would be no physical contact until that time. Plans for traveling were discussed, words of love were exchanged and the games continued.

One night he was angry that I had not obeyed him and called at exactly the time he had asked me to. Then he said that it would never work between us, for he would eventually want children and I did not. My heart was broken once again, and I found myself begging him to reconsider. His silence was like sticks and stones cast open my open wounds.

I would call but he would not answer. One morning, he finally picked up the phone.

“When you have a broken heart, you go talk to your best friend” I said to him. “What am I supposed to do since you're my best friend, but also the very one who broke my heart.”

What he said in reply was the wisest advice he could have offered, and it must have been the Holy Spirit speaking through him, so unlike him were the words.

“Go talk with the women at your bible study. Tell them everything. They will help you.”

“I can't” I answered. “I feel dirty and ugly and wrong. How could I? I can't.”

“Yes, you can.” he said firmly “and you will.” With that, he hung up the phone. Those were the last words I ever heard him speak.

I knew I had to do as he had said. And I realized with a start that it was Tuesday. That very day I would have to face my friends and admit to the games I had been playing in secret. I was dirty and had to ask God again to wash me clean. Had I gone too far from His forgiveness?

I walked into the room where the women met for bible study, pale, and with dark circles rimming eyes that were swollen and red. I didn't have to say anything at all for them to know something was wrong, terribly wrong.

“I need to talk to you all.” I began. “I need your help.” I began to weep and could not continue as sobs moved through my entire being. The women gathered closer around me. They passed the box of tissues. They rested hands upon my shoulders. They waited. I cried. They waited, with great patience, never once saying the “get on with it.” I would have expected. They waited and prayed quietly in various tongues. They waited.

“I feel” I began again “so dirty and so wrong and so far away from God. And I know I have to tell you and I hate myself right now.”

“Go on, we're listening.” said Rebecca.

I told them about the games I had been playing, how I tried to convince myself it was okay, how my heart had been broken.

“What feels the worst is that I turned my back on God and what I know is right, and that I kept it all a secret. I kept coming to church and meeting with you, but never said a word about what I was doing. I think I knew all along that it was wrong.” I began sobbing again, but could feel that much of the pain had already decreased.

“You just did the right thing” said Peggy, another of the ladies who had been guiding me, mentoring me. “When we confess to God and to each other, He is faithful to forgive us. I'll bet you are already starting to feel better, right?”

I had to agree. “How did you know?” I asked.

“We all fall short of what God wants from us” Peggy said. “All of us, in one way or another. You're not as alone as you think you are.”

They all placed a hand upon me and prayed that I would feel the forgiveness of the Lord. They prayed for strength for me to remain pure in His sight. They prayed that I would continue to seek His will, and His will alone. Only then did they begin their scheduled lesson for the day.

My journal entry that night began:

“Dear Father, let me not be too proud to admit when I have made a mistake. I can only be in error when I have stepped away from Your will. When I handle things the wrong way, it's from bad choices I've made, and the blame is mine. Let me remember that, and not be disappointed in You. My connection with you seemed broken, not by Your hand but mine. You don't turn away, ever present. But you allow me the power to choose and I chose to step down a slippery path. Faster and faster I slid, each step moving farther in the wrong direction. You watched. How much did that hurt You? How can I say I'm sorry, Lord? As You welcome me back to Your arms.”

I truly did feel cleansed by the tears and confession and my sleep that night was deep and warm, wrapped in the love of the forgiveness of God.

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV

Join us at Together For Good and share one of your own flashbacks!

27 May 2010

Risk of frost days

While the weather cooperated Rick used his time well and most of the vegetable garden is planted. Monday we planted flowers in baskets, containers and in the beds that surround the house.

This is the last week of May. For most of you, my friends and readers in regions south of us, Spring is now turning to Summer. For those of us here in Manitoba the cold is not quite ready to release its grip.

But we plant, and we pray as we live through the days of "risk of frost". We listen to weather reports, check the skies, contemplate pulling out the old sheets to cover the plants, pondering, yes, even worrying. Shall we bring the baskets into the house to ensure their safety?

We shut the door, exercising our small measure of faith, leaving the plants hanging, the seedlings uncovered as we surrender our dreams of future flowers into His hands. Indeed they are for His glory so will He not care for them?

The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere. Isaiah 61:11 NLT

26 May 2010

25 May 2010

Tuesdays Unwrapped - Trust

Yesterday Rick and I visited a local greenhouse to purchase more bedding plants for the hanging baskets that will surround our house and hang in the backyard. Then, back home, I sorted through the living artist's palette of colours and shapes to decide which plants would best compliment each other, while Rick placed them in rich soil in the baskets and hung them in place.
This morning, I unwrapped a word from the Lord as I spent time with Him journaling:

Just as the farmer must trust Me with the seeds he has sown, so too must you totally release all things into My care.

My arm is not too short to reach out and touch everything that concerns you. Do not go back and pick up those things you have already surrendered.

Would you dig up the flower baskets you have just planted to see if roots have formed? No, for that would surely harm their growth.

The fruit of patience takes time to ripen, little one, and with it - faith fruits.

As you spend days in the rain, you must still have hope for the sun. Do not allow the enemy to plant despair with his lies about unfullfilled promises. Am I not the One Who makes the sun to shine or the clouds to scatter the rain? I call the winds to blow cold fromthe north, gentle from the south. Am I not to be trusted?

Then rest, for I will have my way.

Listen. Surrender. Do as I say.

Revelation will come, and one day, you will see what I see. When the last pieces of the puzzle fall into place, you will see the whole picture and understand how each step along the way had its perfect purpose.

Until that day - lean on Me and walk in faith.

What have you unwrapped today? Join Emily at Chatting at the Sky and share your gifts.

24 May 2010

Creativity Boot Camp

boot camp

I'm taking a leap and committing to particpate in Maegen's Creativity Boot Camp from June 6 through June 18th.

Maegen writes:

I have designed this e-course for people who wish to take the next step in their creative lives. Whether you need a creative boost, need the motivation to begin that large creative project, or simply wish to lead a more creative life, the exercises provided in this course will help to pave the way for maximum creativity in your life.

If Maegen is anything like the kind of personal trainer I used to be I expect to get my sluggish backside royally kicked into action. May what pours out as a result honour and glorify my Lord, the Master of creation.

22 May 2010

Prayer of promise

I wrote the following words this morning to a farming family who are very dear to us. May all of you who are trusting the Lord and the soil receive this prayer for yourselves as well.

So another season's promise is in the ground, out of your hands and into His.

He will water, pour down light, offer shade from scorching heat and protect what will bring Him glory.

I pray for supernatural multiplication and favour upon all your hands have sown, that the world might know that God alone has done this.

I pray for an increase in patience and faith and trust as the season unfolds according to His plans, the One Who's ways are higher than ours.

May you all grow, as the crops grow, until the time of rejoicing in the harvest.

Then will He give you rain for the seed with which you sow the soil, and bread grain from the produce of the ground, and it will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in large pastures. Isaiah 30:23 Amplified

21 May 2010

Favourite Links Friday - 21 May 2010

Today I am taking a break from writing my own post and extending some love to fellow bloggers who have moved me this week with their pictures and words. Take a few minutes to read their posts and explore their blogs, you will be blessed.

Megan of Velveteen Mind wrote Before The Oil Comes
Alece of Grit and Glory wrote Twenty-seven: Letters that spell hope
Billy Coffey wrote.. well.. everything Billy wrote
Duane Scott wrote Slowly Learning to See
Laura of The Wellspring wrote Stealing Time
Dianne of Everything Else Thrown In wrote Tears of Crystal

I'm linking up with Kevin Martineau at Shooting the Breeze, come see what links blessed others this week and check out Kevin's writing while you're there.

20 May 2010

Moments of refreshing

Toccare il cielo con un frisbeeImage by Aelle via Flickr

I had a wonderful time of communion with the Lord as I spent time with Him in journaling:

Come to Me when you are weary so I may refresh you. Come for a time of exchange - your worries for My peace. My peace I give to you out of My abundant, unending supply. Ask for more and I will provide.

Lord, I see You taking all those things that seem so heavy to me and just tossing them away with the flick of Your wrist, like one throws a frisbee.

It's not that I do not sense the weight of your worries, little one, for indeed I watched you struggle to bear them. But My Father's love strips them of their power, till they have no weight at all, so yes, they are easy to cast aside, where instead of piling up, they simply vanish.

Lord, now I see us out in the sun on a grassy field, playing a game of frisbee, running and laughing. No matter how off course my aim, You seem able to catch my throw. Sometimes You throw the frisbee right to me. Other times I must reach up quite high. It is like I am catching pure joy!

It is My delight to see you enjoy the freedom I provide. Indeed at times you will have to reach, stretch and grow to grasp the good things I have for you - for too much ease breeds laziness and am I not worth reaching for?

Continue to watch us play. When you toss Me sorrow, I toss back joy. Toss Me pain, I give back comfort. Energy for your weariness, strength for your weakness, wisdom for your lack of understanding. I promised in My Word:

and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3 NIV

It is easier for Me to give than it is for you to give up - but I ask you child to continue the exchange so that you may walk in the fullness of all I have prepared for you.

Lord, I see bite marks and jagged edges on the frisbee.

Yes, for that is where the hounds of the enemy have joined the game, trying as they might to distract, delay or abort this divine exchange. Where I offer freedom, he would keep you bound.

The chains are broken, the dogs are powerless - let Us continue to play.

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19 May 2010

Word Filled Wednesday - Spring

Look around you: Winter is over; the winter rains are over, gone! Spring flowers are in blossom all over. The whole world's a choir—and singing! Spring warblers are filling the forest with sweet arpeggios. Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed, and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms. Song of Solomon 2:11-12 The Message

Amydeanne is hosting us at The 160 Acre Woods today and also annnouncing changes coming in June.

18 May 2010

Tuesdays Unwrapped - His placement

This is what home used to look like -- flat, concrete and steel, shades of gray.

This is what home looks like now -- prairie life, open space, greens and golds and brilliant blue. Mountains surround our region of Manitoba, setting us apart from the usual flatlands.

It is the hand of God that has directed my steps and as I submit to Him I am filled with the peace of knowing I am placed where He desires, whether for a season or a lifetime.

His heart led us to journey to Africa, and it will be by His direction that we return there -- or perhaps He has a totally different plan that He has not yet revealed. I am unwrapping the blessing of His divine placement. Let me take root in His house, wherever He chooses to plant me.

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. Psalm 92:12-14 NLT

Join Emily at Chatting at the Sky and let us know what you've unwrapped today

17 May 2010

His heavens

As part of the 10 Days of Prayer leading up to Global Day of Prayer we are called to gather and pray in the high places of the areas where we live.

Yesterday we journeyed to the Duck Mountains Provincial Park and climbed the lookout tower on Baldy Mountain, the highest point in Manitoba.

We declared the sovereignty of God:

O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

Yes, Manitoba.. behold your God. Canada, behold your God! We prayed for awkening in the hearts and spirits of the people in our region. In one unified voice we cried "Awake. Awake."

The forcast called for rain and thunder storms, and indeed the road to the park was littered with puddles, clouds surrounded us on every side. As we reached our destination the skies opened and sunlight streamed down upon us. We all sensed that God was opening a gateway to the heavens, confirming that He is well pleased with our passion to pray.

Tonight may we gather for Day 5 with a spirit of rejoicing.

15 May 2010

Anniversary Getaway

To celebrate the first ten years of our marriage last Sunday, Rick booked a late dinner reservation and a fireplace room at a resort in our nearby National Park.

As we cuddled before the fire we shared memories of both high and low points along the road we have travelled, thanking and praising God for all He has done. Our reminiscing drew us closer to Him and to each other, cementing our union with love.

As a gift for Rick I prepared a scrapbook with a few pictures and many clips from poetry and prose I have written to and for him. The words are as true today as when I first committed them to paper.

May our passion increase
and our love never cease
as we move through a symphony
made just for us
by the great orchestrator
Who dwells up above.

In the love of the Father
the love of the Son
the love of the Spirit
our romance was spun.

I have never felt so safe
I have never felt so free
as I feel in those moments
when you are holding me.

And I will vow to love you
again with each new day
and when I falter in my steps
let Jesus show the way.

Ephesians 6:18 Saturdays - Petition

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people). Ephesians 6:18 Amplified

We have talked about prayers of thanksgiving, adoration, confession and repentance. Now we move on to the prayer of petition.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. Philippians 4:6 Amplified

The best explanation of prayers of petition that I have read is from Dennis Wiedrick's book A Royal Priesthood:

Petition is a legal term that implies an approach to an authority to obtain certain provisions that are promised. Our relationship with God is guaranteed by Christ, and firmly rooted in a covenant - the New covenant of his Blood. When we pray the prayer of petition, we are not making a demand on a fickle person who is governed by either whim, or weather. Rather, we approach a covenant God who has sealed His promise with the very life of His Son. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) So we no longer need to try to earn God's favour, but simply come to Him on the merits of Christ's work at Calvary, and there, on the basis of this covenant, make our petition. These petitions are made, not in out own name, but in the name of Jesus.
Prayers of petition are specific, and as Dennis stated, they are requests for things that God has already promised.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 NKJV

Our heavenly Father loves us in more profound ways than we will ever be able to comprehend, and He asks us to come boldly before His throne. He is calling... even today... will you answer?

14 May 2010

Flashback Friday - In the Mirror

This is a poem I wrote in the first year of knowing Jesus as my Lord. I post it today as part of Flashback Friday currently hosted by Erin at Together for Good while Jo takes a break and also in response to Lisa-Jo The Gypsy Mama as she asked what we see when we look in the mirror.

I'm not sure
what to look for
in the mirror anymore

Once a mosaic
of the stories
only years can build
written in my eyes

Now wiped clean
by tears
that flow
with joy and wonder
leaving a glow

A mark of peace
A seal of love

Let my face serve
as a road-map
that leads
to the doorway
of my Lord
so those who see me
might find Him

Come join in at Together for Good and add your own flashback.

Check out The Gypsy Mama too, she always brings light and encouragement.

13 May 2010

Unified Prayer

Today begins an intensely busy but rewarding ten days of prayer that go before and prepare the way for The Global Day of Prayer on Pentecost Sunday.

To quote from the GDOP Strategy:

The primary purpose we gather is for the glory of Christ and the blessing of the nations. To seek God and exalt His Son for one reason only, because He is worthy. The day is approaching when everything will be subject to His glory. We are motivated by who He is not what we will get from our coming together
As the coordinator for this region of Manitoba it is easy to feel as if I am run ragged and stretched thin, but I turn again and again to the words of Paul which remind me:

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9 NKJV

I am excited to see where the Lord will lead us this year as we gather in His name.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore. Psalm 133:1-3 NKJV

I will be updating with reports of our gatherings, but instead of just reading, why not find out where there might be gatherings in your area. For those of you in the Parkland Region of Manitoba, please contact me and join us.

11 May 2010

Talking about Communication at Exemplify Online

On Sunday I was swept away by my beloved for a tenth anniversary getaway, and today I'm leaving for a two day trip with a dear friend.

While I'm away for a couple of days, you can find me sharing about Seven Warning Signs That You're Talking Too Much over at the Marriage Channel of Exemplify Online.

While you're there, read some of the other wonderful articles and check out the exciting romantic giveaway.

I'll be back with something new on Thursday as I prepare for the 10 days of prayer leading up to this year's Global Day of Prayer.

08 May 2010

Ephesians 6:18 Saturdays - Humble

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people). Ephesians 6:18 Amplified

As I was looking through some old writings I stumbled across these words about prayer. They are as true today as when I put them on paper six years ago.

What we sow in tears
we shall reap in joy
if we humble ourselves and pray.
Casting out our fears
we are in Your hands
when we humble ourselves and pray.
We are quickened by the rhythms of Your heart
and strengthened by the power of Your love.
We are welcome to come boldly to Your throne
to hear the words that only You could say.
Freedom waits for us
in Your presence Lord
when we worship You day by day.
You will hear our cries
and will heal our land
if we humble ourselves and pray.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Are you spending time seeking His presence, waiting in stillness to hear His heartbeat? He is waiting.

07 May 2010

Thanking God for Rick

With our tenth anniversary only days away I am reposting a list of thanksgiving I first wrote for Ten Things Tuesday back on September 9, 2008.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned: "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Let me take a bit of creative license here and say: "Why do I thank God for Rick? Let me count the ways."

Rick loves God above all else. That keeps his other priorities aligned.

Rick is not afraid to say "I'm sorry"

Rick has the same quirky sense of humour I do. We laugh often.

Rick is a lifelong learner.

Rick is quick to encourage and support me in whatever I believe God is asking me to do.

Rick's bag of tricks, his knowledge and abilities fill in the gaps and compliment my own.

Rick has a heart that has been kneaded, molded and softened by the Lord.

Rick always finds new ways to surprise me with his kindness.

Rick handles our finances with skill and Kingdom mindedness.

Rick is Rick! He is exactly who God created him to be but open to the Lord's ongoing and never ending work in his life. God is taking him from glory to glory, and I get to come along for the ride.

05 May 2010

Word Filled Wednesday - Two = One

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Genesis 2:24 NLT

This Sunday is the 10th Anniversary of the day God joined Rick & I together as one with Himself firmly planted in the center of our marriage.

PennyRaine is hosting us today