Category Archives: Blessings

March 8, 2019 losses and pain

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Good morning, DearHeart.

The old saying goes, “Time heals all wounds” but I am not sure it ‘heals’ them so much … but perhaps the pain is eased as the memories remain.

I have been playing the game, “This time last year …..” for over a semester now. Maybe not every day, but on those days when I join in and play, I get stuck. My mind takes me back to those days a year ago which found me in a different place than today. Luke, our youngest, a senior, was beginning his last high school season of baseball. Dale and I were about to enter into an unknown season.

Maybe you play the game as well …

before the illness hit.

Before the job loss.

Before the divorce.

Before the addiction.

Before the fallout.

Before the death.

Before the relocation.

Before … whatever pain hit your life.

We wonder if we should have done things differently.

Made another choice. Prayed harder.

Fasted more often.

You know the drill.

Tucked in a most familiar story comes Jesus bringing His peace and comfort.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – beloved friends of Jesus. Lazarus becomes sick and the two sisters send word for Jesus to come. The women know that Jesus, the Messiah, is able to heal him. But instead Lazarus passes away. He dies. Jesus had taken days to come.

Upon His arrival, Jesus finds the women upset. Mary expresses herself, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32, NLT). I love how Mary speaks openly and transparently with the Lord. Even more touching to realize Jesus does not chastise her for honest feelings, nor for casting blame on Him.

Our Lord, Jesus, realizes our pain and is spitting mad at sickness and death and loss. His righteous anger causes Him to be moved to come quickly to our side to strengthen and comfort us in our time of grief, even as He eagerly waits for the Father’s command to return and put an end to all pain and suffering.

The day is coming when our Lord Jesus Christ will split the skies. The trump shall sound, the dead in Christ shall rise first, and those yet alive will be caught up to be with the Lord forever (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

And He will set all things right. On that day,

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4, NLT)

Wake up.

Hope remains.

Go.

March 7, 2019 obedience

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Good morning, DearHeart,

Our girl and her Pops are pretty thick. They both have certain uncommon drive. We can already sense her detailed attention to justice, right/wrong, black/white developing from her personality. A trait of obedience. Bent with a piece of stubborn.

Looking back, it’s funny to me that as a young parent I tried to rid my sons of that stubbornness (wooden spoon stories). Yet, as a grandparent my perspective is so different – I often find myself with an inner – cheering section yelling “YOU GO GIRL”! It’s a mostly silent inner-cheer squad, because two-year-old antics aren’t always to be cheered about! Lol

Within that stubborn is growing a stubborn-obedience. A heart that will one day accept Christ as her savior and that stubborn obedience to her Creator will be a constant. Having Him as a constant is the ultimate goal.

He is my constant. To love the Lord with all my heart, soul and might is to be able to say today, “Jesus, as an act of obedience and a response to Your love for me, I take Your way of doing life upon me.”

I will not fear man.

I will rest because it is You who I am made by and for and You and You only will I fear.

I will not go after other gods or the gods of the people around me.

I will rest because nothing satisfies my soul like You.

See, He knows my tendency to want to please man, to make plans without Him, to lean towards “doing” today to feel good about where I’m at. Praise Jesus, the beauty of the gospel is that I don’t have to pretend that I don’t struggle with things… Paul said “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” That’s what I want and need today….Christ’s power resting on me. That’s true rest. Not my will, my way, my path, my strength…but His.

His.

I tell it to my children that they will tell it to theirs. When I lie down and when I rise, I want all of me to love the Lord my God above anything else in this life. To learn from Jesus, gentle and humble, as I take on the way HE does life today. So that when the chores of the day are done, then comes His rest.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Wake up.

Uncommon drive.

Obedience.

Rest.

Go.

March 6, 2019 calves

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Calving season is one of my favorite things on the farm. Babies dropping in fields everywhere. Sets in motion a mind full of the wonder of the intricate holiness of the world happening all around. It truly puts the “to do” list of everyday life in its place. You know, there are actual glorious and deeply meaningful moments happening in the holiest places of Heaven.

Right now.

That’s the mystery isn’t it? That is the goal. To pray that the things of Heaven would touch Earth now, today… To touch

our lives,

our mothering/parenting,

our work,

our relationships,

our songs,

our teaching,

our poetry,

our business,

our photography,

our cupcake making,

or home decorating, or

whatever it is you do.

That the beauty we create today would be touched and filled with the presence of a Holy God and people would connect the little dots of our lives and our art to Jesus.

“Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given,”

1 Chronicles 16:9-12 NLT

“In the very midst of the myriad of created wonders all around us, we have almost unknowingly lost the capacity to wonder. If the Holy Spirit should come again upon us as in earlier times, visiting church congregations with the sweet but fiery breath of Pentecost, we would be greater Christians and holier souls. Beyond that, we would also be greater poets and greater artists and greater lovers of God and of His universe”. —A.W. Tozer

Mmm, I love the way Tozer’s spirit works.

Wake up.

Exercise your wonder.

Go.

March 4, 2019 fleeting

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Good morning, DearHeart.

It seems to me as I get older, I get a fresh take on how quickly time passes. Or to put it another way, how old I am becoming. I think of those who are already gone, trying to figure out how many more years are a possibility. There is no way to ever figure how much time one has left yet it is a sobering thought.

Life is short …

”Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” (Psalm 144:4, NIV)

”Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” (Psalm 39:4, NIV)

”Remember how fleeting is my life.” (Psalm 89:47, NIV)

There you have it – life is fleeting –

rapid,

swift and

transitory.

There’s one other thing I am learning –

Life is also long ….

”For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4, NIV)

”The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty if we have the strength.” (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

”With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:16, NIV)

So how do we find the balance between days which are long and fleeting at the same time?

This question brings me back to the quote which began all this.

We must live each day, knowing life is temporary, while also believing the manner in which we live each day truly does matter.

The poopy diapers,

the sniffling noses,

the injuries,

the sibling squabbles,

the tight finances,

the illnesses,

the struggles,

the difficult relationships.

The ups.

The downs.

The wins.

The losses.

The tears and the laughter.

The piles of laundry,

the sleepless nights. The meals and the ones we burn beyond recognition.

The sticking it out when it seems it would be easier to walk away.

And now the real snow (!).

Yes, we embrace and believe He has purpose in it all.

“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and it is all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Ephesians 2:8-10, MSG)

Every single one of your days matters.

Believe it!

“Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him. He makes the nations submit to me. O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them? For they are like a breath of air; their days are like a passing shadow. Open the heavens, Lord, and come down.”

Psalms 144:1-5 NLT

Wake up.

It matters.

Go.

March 1, 2019 winning

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Last night we watched our beloved Fort Cobb Broxton Mustangs in the first round of the state tournament. This is the first year in ages that one of our sons isn’t on the court but the thrill is still the same. (And, our Liv is learning that this is an expectation 😉)

We are so blessed to be a part of something so fierce and intense as so many lessons have been learned in getting here and in playing in this arena. I am always most fascinated by what it takes to stay focused in each game in spite of all the hype that is going on around them and the grind they have been through to get here. They are learning to surrender to the coaching that will help them be all that they can be. Cooperation and coordination and the willingness to react to the ever-changing situation at hand takes team-time together. Each player’s impact is multiplied when they work together. I am, of course, linking their finesse on the court to the bigger game … survival and evolution of the soul.

Hearing the God of the Angel Armies amid the hype and chaos and even in the boredom that comes in everyday life means one must make intentional effort. Time together. The whistle blows, the Master back-fills the empty, unproductive places with replenishing change – necessary change. He is the provider of

constant interplays,

constant discards,

constant replacement of ideas,

constant get-back-out-there,

constant fueling,

constant boldness,

constant courage,

constant direction,

constant energies.

Without the

consistent,

fueling,

direction of Father God,

the undisciplined one puddles into havoc.

Open up your senses in your minutes to the prompting of the Master on your life court.

‘So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.’ (Hebrews 10:22-25 MSG)

Wake up.

Let’s do it.

Go.

(Photo cred: Sarah Bellamy Goodson – thanks, sis!)

February 27, 2019 small places

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Yesterday, I was at the Capitol. It is a fast-crazy, slow down and get run-over place right now. Yet, in the midst of that chaos, I noticed genuine kindness, concern, and heard tiny hints of hope.

You know, there is something so beautiful about small things.

Little acts of kindness.

Snippets of time alone with Christ. In the middle of intense busy-ness with that tiny thought flittering through … “awe, yes … even here … Jesus … I saw You there, and there, and in her eyes, and there, and there.”

In the small. In the mundane. In the normal. In the hectic.

If you need encouragement He is here.

Healing – he is here.

Restoration – he is here

Relationship repair – he is here

Jesus is doing enormous things in the small places.

Like the lady who barely touched the hem of his garment … she was healed instantly. He called her out.

Fear and trembling …

In the middle of the chaos …

you need to be highly aware – this, this place you land today, this is the place mighty work is getting done.

In the

small and

normal and

unnatural …

things are getting done in a big and complex and supernatural way.

So, I ask God to keep my heart soft when it seems my petition may have been lost.

Show me my blind spots when I run low on patience.

Supply fresh hope, when mine is empty.

Jesus, unpack the layers, crumble the walls I’ve built til I present before You surrendered wholeheartedly again and again.

“Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” After everyone denied touching him, Peter said, “Teacher, the people are crowding you and pressing against you.” Jesus said, “Someone touched me. I know power has gone out of me.” The woman saw that she couldn’t hide. Trembling, she quickly bowed in front of him. There, in front of all the people, she told why she touched him and how she was cured at once. Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace!” Luke 8:45-48 GW

Wake up.

Go in peace.

Go.

February 26, 2019 patience

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Good Morning, DearHeart.

How many times do we see people get themselves in a pickle then it seems there’s no way out? Gee, how many times do we get ourselves in a pickle and panic? There’s a lot of finger pointing and jump on the mean-girl wagon these days. With social media, it is easy now to share your view from behind a screen of safety. Seems to me we could all step up our efforts toward compassion. A little less “GOTCHA” and a lot more “well, nobody’s perfect, be more careful next time”.

Consider this about Christ & compassion:

⁃ “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 NLT).

⁃ “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14 NLT).

⁃ “Jesus called his disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15:32 NIV).

⁃ “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” (Matthew 20:34 NIV).

Jesus cared about the confused, the helpless, the sick, the hungry. But His compassion moved Him so deeply that He did something for them. And, then He gave the ultimate sacrifice for us.

So when asked, “Why should I care?”, may my response be, “We want to be like Jesus.”

And Jesus always had compassion.

Like Him, we can choose to be

A protector for those who need protection,

A guide for those who have lost their way,

A bridge for those with a wide river to cross,

A safe place for those who need a space to land,

A light for those who are in the dark,

A servant for all those who have a need.

Wake up.

Act from compassion.

Go.

February 25, 2019 compassion

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Have you ever done a personality type test? I’m drawn to those – drawn to any insight into what makes people tick … what are their strengths and weaknesses, typical behaviors and comfort zones. One word that consistently comes to the top in my type is “compassion”. I recently read a devotional about those who react with “slow compassion”.

Slow compassion

Those things we feel urged to do today but put off:

-the phone call

-the card

-the visit

-the apology

-the hug

-the gift

-the time

-the conversation

We stall, for whatever reason, maybe even a good reason. We decide we will do it another day, maybe tomorrow, or after we think it through a little better. The thought remains just a thought, never becoming the action intended. In putting it off, we lose the passion to do it. Slow compassion often leaves us unmoved.

God’s Word gives us advice on “tomorrow”:

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life …” (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

“For my days disappear like smoke …” (Psalm 102:3, NLT)

“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.” (Proverbs 27:1, NLT)

What is it you are feeling compelled to do today? If you know in your heart you are to do it, do it. Today.

Wake up.

Don’t wait.

Go.

February 22, 2019 praise

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Good morning DearHeart.

I’m always amazed at how much easier it is for me to enter into praise on a Friday than on a Monday! 😬Y’all, that probably reveals more more about me than I care to explore! 😂

I’m also amazed that Praise to God will stem from a heart that overflows with

devotion,

gratitude,

and love for God.

In Psalm 103, David reminds his own soul to praise the Lord:

“Let all that I am praise the Lord, with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” (verses 1-2, NLT)

And there is much for us to praise God for:

-Forgiveness of sins (verse 3)

-Heals all our diseases (verse 3)

-He redeems us from death (verse 4)

-Crowns us with love and tender mercies (verse 4)

-He fills our lives with good things (verse 5)

-Renews our youth (verse 5)

May we maintain our focus on God for as we do, we will notice His activity in our life every day.

What we focus on grows.

Take in the smells of the new day.

Notice the newness of the day and allow His praise to flow from you with the same degree of fresh wonders.

Challenge+Change+Transition=

Lessons+Gifts+Growth

As our hearts take notice, PRAISE will rise up in our hearts for He alone is worthy.

Wake up.

Overflow.

Go.

February 20, 2019 midstream

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Good mornin’ DearHeart.

Big breakthroughs get big applause in today’s world. We often fail to notice the baby steps,

breakthroughs,

or earnest “I tried” but

slipped,

tripped,

and fell flat on my face.

Yet it takes shocking bravery to be at mid-expedition. The place that it is brave ‘just to be there’. Day one of a new thing. Or, in the middle, clawing through.

Maybe you’re in transition. Perhaps you are in

study-mode,

growing a new business,

writing lesson plans,

recovery,

or getting your feet back under you from a necessary divorce.

These are tough times …

times when sharks circle your john-boat,

any which way you step-there’s manure,

your shoes are on the other side of a blistering-hot asphalt lot,

hail beats down,

the moon stays full forever,

your boss changes the game plan, your mom calls delivering “the lecture”,

and your anxiety level explodes for fear that you may age in misery with dreams that never got their chance.

What if you shifted your perspective … brought the Holy Spirit in to circle you with white light. What if you got still enough to feel His light being pulled through you at this very moment?

These are the times we need to ask- to notice – a full surround of His Holy presence.

Hear His applause.

See His power-flow from this radiance in this midstream.

These are the times we must allow ourselves to love and be loved

through the sweat and exhaustion. These are the times when we must cheer for what we’re made of. . . our mettle … you know the source of that, right? What makes us stand is the surround and the filling of the Power of God Almighty who continues to give us strength to move. This “in-midstream” process is the time that we celebrate His Presence and the stubbornness He delivers in us to keep upright and keep us lurching and wobbling forward.

Lately, I’m hyper-aware of shifting perspective. In His strength, you and I have total control over it. Please give yourself the benefit of true perspective. Do not allow the enemy to plant seeds of self-rejection for “not being there yet.”

The One that designed your “there” is

utterly,

entirely,

and completely for you.

Take in His glory here.

You are exactly