Saturday, October 20, 2018

Celebration Time, Come On!

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this quote.  The words caught my breath and caused me to pause as they penetrated the depth of my soul.  They still do.

Over a lifetime of being treated as if you are just tolerated by the people who are supposed to love and accept you the most, I wonder if you will ever truly allow yourself to feel celebrated.  Without deep inner healing that only God can do, I don't think it's possible.  For "tolerated" needs to be plucked from deep within your soul and replaced with self-acceptance Love.

I do know one thing though: Staying where you are just tolerated is a choice.  A choice many, many women choose because that is what is familiar, that is all they are worthy of.  So believes their soul.

I hate the word "tolerance".  Our society cries out from a multitude of people groups, "TOLERANCE!"  The word "tolerate" means: put up with something or somebody unpleasant.

Love is NOT tolerance.  We are not called to just put up with someone we feel is unpleasant or we disagree with, suffering through being in their presence.  We are called to understanding and the acceptance that every human being is uniquely different and that they are all adored by God, Himself.

I think God spends our lifetime trying to get us to the point of feeling celebrated and knowing deep within our core that we are worthy of being celebrated.  Oh, may you experience how intimately He celebrates you!

If you need to "go", then go.  Pursue the celebration of your soul.  Pursue it as if your life depended on it - for in most cases, it does.  A healthy love-of-self depends on it.  And self-love causes us to celebrate ourselves!  And when we can finally celebrate ourselves, we will no longer tolerate just being tolerated.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Echoes of Hope

It has been my experience that "hope" is a long-haul, true-grit, persevering kind of thing.  Since our God doesn't wave a magic wand or grant us three wishes as if He lived in a genie bottle, what we are desiring must be waited for.  

Hope is the kind of thing you must remind yourself of every now and then.  I'm still believing, still waiting, still trusting You, LORD.  I have beloved friends who have been hoping for a miracle - the supernatural kind of thing that ONLY God can perform - for 25 years now and I've stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them for 24 of those years. The echoes of their original hope are still reverberating, getting louder and growing more powerful.  

Hope is the act of faith.  Faith and hope are hand-in-hand partners but hope needs to be kept alive and it must persevere even in the face of total darkness and the same-old circumstances that do not change. This family exhausted every possible means to produce their hoped-for outcome.  Now, God is doing His thing!

The light at the end of the tunnel - that tiny white speck - is called hope
It is one of the most exciting things to watch God at work. He is orchestrating and maneuvering in the grand way that only God does: changing laws, removing a person in high places to put the one He needs in place, maneuvering people's jobs to be in the right place at the right time, bestowing favor from man. God is even doing powerful, life-altering healing/deliverance in this family in preparation for them to receive their desired end. It is a story that is book worthy all to God's Glory and Honor.

SUDDENLY, this family is nearing the end of their long dark night of their soul.  The end of the blackened tunnel is coming into view. The anticipation is overwhelming - exhausting even. It produces a high that no drug on earth could match and tears of joy that the soul cannot stop expressing.  Oh, what a tree of life it will be to all who have stood in faith, hoping, believing and  W A I T I N G  along this 25-year journey of theirs.  

Thank You, Abba, for orchestrating my life 24 years ago so that I intersected with this family.  Thank You, Abba, for allowing me the privilege of being up close and personal to hope being made manifest into tangible reality.  Thank you for allowing me to watch the end of this long, dark journey as it blossoms into a brand new family journey, full of unspeakable joy and adventures. I have no words to express my gratitude, so see my heart, LORD, and You will know; and may You allow me the honor of writing their story.  Maybe that has been my role in all this: to be Your scribe that others might take hope in You...

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Monday, October 8, 2018

Nothing Can Compare...

Outstanding in the Field hosted by Renfrow Farms, Matthews, NC 10/2/18
He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love.            ~ Song of Solomon 2:4
The word "and" in this Scripture verse is a mistranslation. In the original Hebrew the word was not "and" it was "but", which changes the whole meaning of this verse. Read the verse using the word "but"...

                                                      Having just visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC (the largest privately owned home in the country belonging to the Vanderbilt family), all the gold, treasures, and wealth is quite mind-boggling. 

                                                          In the banqueting room, my mouth hung open. I was in awestruck.  Afterward, I thought of what it must be like in God's Banqueting House if a mere man could have a room such as this. 

The Biltmore was the most luxurious and technologically advanced home in America at the time it was constructed.  What struck me the most was that with all George Vanderbilt's fame and fortune, there was not one thing in that home that pointed to God.  Nothing.  It was grandly and lavishly furnished from all parts of the globe, yet it was as empty as could be. Void. L i f e l e s s.

On Tuesday evening, I attended an Outstanding in the Field dinner, hosted by Renfrow Farms in Matthew, NC.  It was an experience I will not soon forget as we were treated in such a royal manner.

The Schumanite woman was brought into the banqueting house by her Beloved in Song of Solomon.


But, the most important thing to her was His love for her.  The opulence did not compare to his love which he bestowed upon her.  

Abba, Father's Love for His children cannot be compared to anything on this physical earth that man can come up with. The wealth of the wealthiest does not compare to the lavish splendor of God's Love for His individual children. To experientially know of Abba's unconditional Love is to know that it is a wealth beyond money, family, or treasures.

I will never be invited to dinner at the home of the Vanderbilts or Kennedys, nor the Gates and the Buffets of this world; and as special as the Outstanding in the Field banquet table was for us, it does not compare. I, however, know I live eternally with the God of Opulence. I sit presently at His Table enveloped in a Love so kind and pure, basking in His reflection that lights the world around me. He serves me from His Banqueting Table - not to impress me, but that I would know how loved I am because I am His child and all that is His, is my mine. 

May I give out what I receive from You, My Abba.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Latter is the Best Part

Let's face it: we all love to receive gifts.  Especially those in which their timings in our lives are perfect.  Oh, the joy it brings...

For those of you following my blog, you know about the present - my reward - from Abba that I wrote about in my last post. My reward arrived today.  Oh, my heart is blessed beyond measure!  Tears of worship and gratitude keep a-flowin'. 

The jeweler named the ring, "Between You and I". And how apropos that is! The moment my eyes saw this ring, God downloaded its meaning into my heart: The two sides of the ring are different finishes representing the changes in me over the last 5 years.  The gold band represents the Arms of Father God - my Abba - hugging me, pulling me in tighter to Him.  The gap - wide open at the top tapering down till they kiss, represents how close I've come to My Beloved in the six months since I moved to Charlotte and began my new life with Him and Him Alone.  The diamond (from my original engagement ring of 46 years ago) represents that I am to know that I am a brilliant, shining jewel in God's Eyes - NOT a diamond in the rough.

So, what really is The Ring all about?  It comes down to one little Scripture verse:
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God MUST believe that He IS AND THAT He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6
Chapter 11 of Hebrews is known as the "Faith Chapter".  If you read the verse above it, it says:
By faith, Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death and was not found, because God had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony: that he pleased God.  
Enoch not only believed IN God but that the loving, benevolent, gracious God Almighty is a Rewarder.  And look at his reward!  He never died; he was "beamed up" to Heaven!  THAT, my friend, is quite a reward for a lifestyle of knowing.

I KNOW God Almighty, The Creator of all that is, is a Rewarder.  My Rewarder.  Up to that first comma in that Scripture, the pressure is on us because there is a possibility that we could be displeasing to Him.  Faith and believing is such an obscure "thing".  Yet, if we read past the comma, we are told exactly what we are to be "in faith" about; what it is we are to know in our knower.

If you live a lifestyle of a diligent seeker of all things God, rewarding you is His pleasure.  And He pours out His Pleasure over your life.  Into your life.  And even onto your hand.

The latter part of Hebrews 11:6 is the best part!  Don't be a "believer".  Be a Knower! 

Thank You, Abba, for this most precious gift.  I will wear as a memorial to Your Gracious, Generous, Loving Nature and this new life you have called me to.  You Alone, I do exalt. 

A Grateful, Grateful Recipient,

Friday, September 14, 2018

"You What?!"

The steps of a good man are ordered by The LORD, and He delights in his way.  ~Prov. 37:23
I must give my LORD - my Abba - the Glory due His Name:

A few years ago, I made a decision to have my now 47-year-old engagement ring repurposed.   So, I started the hunt - online as well as in jewelry stores - for a new piece of jewelry to place my stone into.

Anyone who knows me well knows I only wear jewelry that has a spiritual meaning to me.  I got to the point in my search, that I stopped looking because everything was commercial.  Beautiful, but no "heart" behind it.

In obedience to God, I move to Charlotte, NC in February. Six months later, everything begins to fall into place.  Yes, Abba, ordered my steps here.

A couple of months ago, I was googling for something, which I cannot remember.  Down the list, the words, "Between You and I" caught my eye.  But, I was on a quest to find what it was I was googling for so I didn't think twice about those words.  A few weeks later, I was googling for something different. Down the list were the words, "Between You and I".  This time, I paused my search and clicked on it.

It opened up to a ring.  A handmade ring.  I literally gasped as I saw it.  I knew that I knew it was THE one for me.  As a matter of fact, in that moment, God dropped the meaning of the ring down into my spirit.  It is so special between Him and I.  I prayed about it and meditated on it for a couple of weeks and then I contacted the jeweler to see if she would customize it for me.  She certainly would. And so, after speaking with her personally, I mailed her my engagement ring.  Because this is a God-thing!

I can now hear you all gasping, "You what?!"

After two phone conversations, I felt like I knew her my whole life.  We shared life stories with each other.  She is the kind of woman who I could be close friends with. On the last call, she was near tears as I told her how I came to find her.  I shared about my very intimate relationship with God and how He led me to her ring called "Between You and I".

After the several years of looking, NOW I find "the" ring?  That is not a coincidence!  It IS God ordering my steps.  Oh, yes. Abba led me to the exact ring He was gifting to me for my obedient uprooting; my willingness to put my whole life behind me and venture into the unknown with only Him and my faithful companion-dog, Kodak.

Therefore, my trust is in Him regarding the safety and return of my stone in the setting that is "between Him and I".  And as soon as "hurricane Florence" passes, it will adorn my hand.

I've googled the name of the ring and nothing comes up.  It WAS totally a God thing.  A Father/daughter thing; a Father Who is delighting in my way, as the Scripture says.  Oh, how blessed I am.  Thank You, Abba, for this most precious gift.  

I will wear it as a memorial to this new life You have called me to.

As Always, Between Him and I,

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Isn't It?

Isn't it interesting the way Abba works in our lives? 

Last week I started attending a small group through church.  Before the summer va-ca, they were studying Proverbs and so they want to pick up where they left off.  Each group member was assigned a Proverb to study.  I was assigned Proverb 7.

Isn't it interesting the way Abba works in our lives?

Proverbs 7 is all about "the seductress" and the outcome of her luring a man into her web.   Verse 1 starts off an address to men to "keep God's Word".  It ends with a strong, strong warning.  Prophetic warning.

Since finding out about my husband's other life, I've avoided chapter 7.  I skip over that one.  I don't want to have to read about her and him since I've recently lived through it.  And a picture of "them" it surely is.

Isn't it interesting the way Abba works in our lives?

Surely, Abba is up to something in my life...more healing...for my own good...

Deep breath...

Here I come, Proverbs 7 with all my trust in You, Abba.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Cloistered-in Moments

I have a tendency to isolate when I go through troubled waters.  Not too long ago, I was reprimanded by a friend for doing so.  She meant well.  But, her words gnawed at me and caused me to question myself.

We care about what others are going through and we want to help, so we have a tendency to think of isolating as a bad thing.  But, is it?

I sought The LORD about my "isolation tendencies" when going through a difficult time.

He reminded me that I withdraw so I can better hear Him because I desire true solace that only He, God Almighty, can provide me.

Even Jesus Christ often withdrew to lonely, wilderness places (Luke 5:16).  He took Himself away from His closest companions and their opinions to seek the Wisdom of His Father.  He sought the peace that came from those cloistered-in moments.

Our Father speaks in a still, small voice.  How can we hear Him in our troubled moments if our mouth is flapping and our ears are hearing all kinds of outward noise?

So, I withdraw from others to be sequestered in with my Abba.
Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest~ Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 11:28
The next time we think someone who is isolating themselves is not doing a good thing, may we realize that maybe they are teaching us a valuable life lesson.

Because of Him and Unto Him, 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

How Many Zip Codes?!

Photo Courtesy of Jose Martin Ramfrez C @ Unsplash

Did you ever have a day when your brain feels something like this photo?  I seem to have a lot of days like this lately.  

When moving to a new state, all the new things you must locate and set up can be so draining.  There are days when my mind feels all over the place like the electrical wires in this photo as a train is slowly inching through the muddle trying to get me from point A to point B.  But, the mental chaos causes the train to stop dead in its tracks.  

There are days when I MUST shut my mind down by watching nonsensical TV.  There are days when I say I cannot make one more decision and so I put it off until tomorrow.  There are days when I absolutely cannot drive on another unknown road so I stay secluded, but not I'm not alone, for my God sequesters Himself in with me.

The highway system down here is so different than Long Island.  We have Sunrise Highway or the Long Island Expressway, both of which run East and West - onto The Island or off The Island.  Down here in Charlotte, there are many highways with "Inner" and "Outer" signs on them.  I've yet to find anyone who could tell me what that even means.  I have no East-West or North-South sense of bearings on these highways.  In New York, I lived on the North side of Island, so I always knew South was directly across from there.  You could always find your bearings. If someone were to ask me where Uptown (what Long Islanders would call "The City") is compared to where I live, I would have to tell them I do not have a clue.  Am I North or South, East or West of the city limits of Charlotte?  I do not know.

Even the position of the traffic lights is different.  I can't tell you how many red lights I accidentally sailed through when I first got here six months ago.  

And the medical care system is lightyears ahead of NY.  Lightyears!  But to me, it is so overwhelming.  Doctor offices are in these HUGE complexes.  I walked into one yesterday and almost cried.  I was intimidated just walking through the parking lot looking up at this massive building.  It gave me a sense that my little life on little Long Island was confining somehow, and now I've been let out into this great big, scarey world.

I had never stopped to think about how different each state in these great United States of America must be.  But, I guess they are.  To me, Earth consisted of Long Island. 118 miles long by 23 miles across at its widest point.   As one who rarely ever left The Island to travel anywhere, the East End of The North Fork of Suffolk County was the size of my world.  Little towns after little towns. Tiny compared to Charlotte, which is absolutely humungous with over 300 miles of this one town consisting of over 30 zip codes!  I'm constantly asking Isabel or family are we STILL in Charlotte?  And the answer is always the same: Yes. 

Abba surely has expanded my tent pegs:
"Enlarge the place of your tent and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords,and strengthen your stakes for you shall expand to the right and to the left..." (Is. 54:2-3a)
Enlarged.  Stretched.  Spare not. Lengthen.  Strengthen.  Expand.   

Phew...those are exhausting words to me because I'm living through it. However, taking it one day at a time, I'm learning how to truly rest in my God when I need to, which is usually daily.  And daily He meets me, and renews and refreshes me clearing my muddled brain. He gives me the strength and courage to face another unknown road, another unknown eatery, another unknown way of doing things, and many unknown people.  Oh! And those zip codes.  

Thank You, my Abba!  You have called me and equipped me and You are all the "equipment" I need.  

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Rays of the Sonshine

I am The Vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.  - Jesus, The Christ as recorded in John 15:5
Jesus goes on to tell us to "abide in My Love" in vs. 9b.  
It is ONLY when we abide in our God, do we bear good fruit in our lives.

The word "abide" means to continually stay in a place; dwell; remain; consider it your own.

With all the pulls on us from the world's system of doing and being in a 24-hour period, how do we abide in anything, let alone in God?
If you keep My Commandments, you will (then) abide in My Love, just as I have kept My Father's Commandments and abide in His Love. (vs. 10)
We can be in and out of "love" with our spouse, kids, or friends a few times over in a 24-hour period of time.  Our "love" for them is based on emotion and circumstance. That is NOT the "love" Jesus is talking about it.  He is talking about the kind of Love He has for you and I.  Agape = Love that leaves us gaping (as if with mouth wide open) with wonder, expectation, and attention; unceasing and unmerited; nothing to be gained by; deep and relenting; longevity; extravagant.  

Extravagant Love.
To live a life of extravagant Love takes work and commitment. It takes being ever cognizant of God's Presence, His unrelenting Love, His Abilities, His Attributes, His Goodness and Generosity, His Benefits, the work of The Cross in our lives.  It takes a desire to Love as He Loves, not as the world has taught us to love.  

And most of all, His most Holy Word must be a priority in our lives.  It's His Word that transforms our minds and souls and sets us free from the world's way of doing and being.

I remember the day, many years ago, when I declared my desire to experience Abba's Love and Heartbeat for people.  I desired to know what it felt like to Love the unlovables the way God loved them.  I longed to experience it.  I remember the commitment I made to that.  Little did I know then horrific circumstances that would come in my life as a result of that desire and commitment.  God gave permission for me to be put on the anvil. And through the very long nighttime of my soul, I allowed the world's way of loving to be hammered right out of me.

The result?  

Truly loving my enemies.  My husband's young lover came to live with our young family for three months where she found redemption and Love, Himself; being able to continuously and ceaselessly love on and commit myself in friendship to the most challenging to-be-around people (see Hand-held Love); to use my own resources and funds to help those needing a helping hand (CareVan) in my community.  CareVan wasn't just a non-profit, it was a representation of me, my heart, my soul, my life, MY GOD. Those in the community that I extended a helping hand to became a part of my life and an extension of my soul.  I cared deeply for the relationships I built - even the unlovables.  

As I began this post, I had no idea where Abba would take this.  As always, His Writings minister to me first and foremost.  

Thank You, Abba, for reminding me of who I am, for all You have done in transforming me into Your likeness and image, for bestowing upon me the greatest gift of all - Your Love for me and through me.  Thank You for teaching me long ago to abide in You and Your Word.  Thank You that the rays of Your Sonshine upon my life have caused such fruit to grow.  

All Because of You and Unto You, 
I am Your 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Pushpins of Life

Loss - from small to great - comes in all stages of life.  It is no respecter of persons.  It leaves a gaping hole inside your being - a deep void of what once was, of who once was.  That black hole is grief.

Loss of any kind is traumatic.  It changes us and causes us to walk around a shell of who we once were.

Grief knows no bounds.  It lashes out at us most unexpectedly in the daylight or in the dark of night almost causing the remaining parts of us to shrivel up into nothingness.

Grief knows no time frame.  Its tentacles can stretch for a seemingly torturous amount of time.  Then it can lay low, rearing its ugly head when a memory comes, when we hear a song, when we see a reminder.  It loves to catch us off guard.

I suspect that grief never truly disappears.  The black-hole-of-nothingness will shrink being filled by others or other life experiences.  It subsides as time marches on.  But, if that thing or person meant so much to us at one time in our lives, I think it leaves a pinhole as if it were a pushpin in the map of our lives.
(When I homeschooled, I had a world map on the wall with pushpins in all the cities and countries my children traveled to on summer mission trips.  Each child had their own colored pushpins.  Oh, how I treasured what that map represented.)
And one day, future tense, we will look back at the pushpin holes in our life-maps and realize what we have overcome; how much we have grown; how far we have traveled and are still standing.  Grief need not be a stop-all in our lives.  It need be a tracking point.

A tracking point that truly shows us how God was with us, that He did not leave alone in the midst of the deep, black-void-of-nothingness.  It only appeared that way because that is what grief convinces us of at the time.

Truth is God brought us out of that hole step by step. He was is in that nothingness alongside of us, healing our brokenness, causing us to be a shoulder for someone else, creating in us the ability to see Him as a speck of Light even in the darkest of blackness that surely may once again come in our lives. Pain and loss come to a knock on all doors.  It will just be another pushpin in our life-map.

Because of Him and Unto Him,