Category Archives: Faith

May 14, 2021 in the winds, in the stillness

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Good morning, DearHeart.
There is something about the stillness of the morning, when the wind doesn’t blow, that creation seems to be heightened.
In the stillness, Russell Crow (our rooster) begins to sound off about 4:30AM. (He has chilled a little and hasn’t tried to attack me since before the February freeze). His early morning crowing seems to echo off of the trees on the creek.
Dale’s coffee pot, on auto-start, brews and wafts into each room. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but love the smell of coffee the morning – especially mornings that are calm and easy.
The tree that sits north east of the porch begins to come alive with chirping around 5:45. The songs of the morning birds build and build like an orchestra delivering the peak to a movie plot.
All, a part of my early mornings.
All such a contrast to mornings when the force-filled Oklahoma winds are humming.
The sounds all remind me of Elijah … running for his life, has an encounter with God. The Lord tells him to go out on the mountain and stand there. As he was standing there, Elijah experienced a windstorm which was so terrible that the rocks were torn loose. But the Lord was not in the wind.
He then experienced an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake either.
After the earthquake, he experienced a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
After the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
“And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12, NLT)
And Elijah encountered the Lord.
At times, the storms of life will blow cold and harsh upon our days. Our foundations may quake and shake a bit on those days when unexpected (and unwanted) news is delivered to us. With a single strike, our emotions can feel like they have been set ablaze.
And it is right in those moments, if we lean in ever so slightly, our souls will encounter the Holy Spirit of our God …
“I will never leave you nor forsake you!”
“I have loved you with an everlasting love!”
“You are bought with a price, you are Mine!
“I am the Lord, your God. Is anything to hard for Me?”
Perhaps it is why I love this story in Elijah so much. The winds, the earthquake, and the fire could all be experienced by others… but, the gentle, small whisper? It is meant for the audience of one. His child. It is heard only by the one to whom the Lord is speaking, to the one who is listening. The one who is expecting a Word from their Savior.
Wake up.
Expect His whisper.
Listen.
Go.

May 13, 2021 ethics

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Good morning, DearHeart.

As my sons have grown from little boys to men, our conversations have grown, too. We talk a lot of how life throws in unexpected curve balls.

I find myself wondering sometimes … have I been wise and right to remind them to continue to live with character and integrity in spite of the odds seeming to go against them?

Had a tough conversation yesterday about fair/unfair that left me searching … how do you hold onto integrity when it seems like those with none seem to get it come out on top? Or, when those with pizazz and pop out-dazzle the rest who thrive on steady “do-the-work” principles?

Should I have instilled in them to be more aggressive, more conniving, to plot more? Should I have taught them it’s a dog eat dog world and be certain to be the stronger dog?

I woke up wrestling these questions in the still of the night … went to my Holy answer book, and was reminded:

“Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?

Who may stand in His holy place?

Those whose hands and heart are pure, who do not worship idols or tell lies.

They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior.

Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24: 3-6, NLT)

He desires a people, you and me, with pure hearts and hands who commit themselves fully to the Lord and the evidence is seen in their strength of

character,

transparency,

and selflessness.

And, I find myself this morning, asking … ‘Lord, help me, help them, to desire hands that are pure. Hands that uphold truth and stand for just ways – ways that are right, true, good, and praiseworthy. May our lives testify of You Who deposits character and integrity and ethics into Your people.

It is then that we stand in Your presence with hands and a heart that is pure.

Wake up.

Philippians 4:8 ‘Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies. (Msg)

Go.

May 11, 2021 compassion

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Of the vices I carry, one I would leave in a heartbeat is tears. I cry. It drives me insane. The more I will it to stop, it seems the more intense it becomes. I’ve researched and tried every determination technique I can find. And, still. Ugh. It’s embarrassing and it makes people uncomfortable – it makes me uncomfortable. It’s a pain. If you are a crier, then you can relate. I realize they are a common occurrence in many, although the reasons may differ. Some cry out of sheer joy and laughter, others from stress, anger, or sadness. Or, all of the above. Jesus cried, too. The shortest verse in Scripture tells us, “Then Jesus wept”(John 11:35).

We are also told Jesus shed tears in prayer (Hebrews 5:7) and was well “acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Tears were no stranger to Jesus.

While the world may often see tears as weakness, they may well be indicative of a deep strength – compassion. This hit home:

“I strongly repudiate any man who is so haughty as to condemn tears in men. He may think himself brave for not shedding tears. He may deem himself as nobler and superior to others. But facts just do not bear this out! Let me tell you, a dry eye reveals a dry and hard heart. Such a heart has become rebellious, void of feeling, insensitive as wood and stone. Oftentimes, tears betray the true heart condition of a person. It may be said that nothing discloses the inward state of a human heart more than do tears. Let me say from conviction that tears are the outlet of the heart.”

(by Watchman Nee, Practical Issues of This Life, page 2)

I suppose they have purpose … a cleansing effect. “For the kind of sorrow God want us to experience leads us away from sin and result in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow …” (2 Corinthians 7:10, NLT).

I believe they also develop us- move us. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (Romans 5:3-4, NLT).

I do know this, tears matter to God. He sees every one. Not one falls to the ground unnoticed …

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8, NLT)

Tears in our darkest times are truly precious to our God.

God has promised to one day wipe every tear.

And I believe He will do that with His very own hand.

Wake up.

Embrace your compassion.

Go.

May 7, 2021 shattered

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Good morning, DearHeart.
It’s been quite a week. The other morning I reached for the shower door, the hinge at top broke, the bottom edge of the glass door hit the tile causing it to explode into a million pieces. It happened in a split second – I screamed. For some reason my first thought was “have I been shot?” There was blood everywhere and I was covered with glass. I froze in place, scared to move – Dale came running. He got me to safety and cleaned up, put his first aid skills to use, and then cleaned up glass for over an hour. I feel sure tiny, broken pieces of glass will be found in there from now on. Broken glass … it’s amazing how brokenness can raise so many questions. Is it any different with the brokenness in our lives? I don’t think so. Brokenness comes to each of us in different ways…

  • a job loss
  • a relational loss
  • a divorce
  • a failure of any sort
  • abuse
  • illness
  • death
  • handicaps
  • betrayal
    Dictionary.com defines “broken” as…”reduced to fragments, out of order, not functioning, changing direction abruptly, incomplete, infringed or violated, weakened in strength, disrupted, divided.” I think you get the picture & it is not pretty.
    Psalm 34 is probably one of my favorite passages of Scripture, if not, my favorite. When you have time, read it all. There is not one part of it that will not speak to your heart. This verse came back to me. It simply says:
    “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (verse 18 NIV).
    It is those very times that we are broken that He is the closest to us. It is also those times that the enemy of our souls would taunt, “Where is your God now?”. May you and I be wise to His ways & quickly respond, “He is right close to me.”
    The Message words it this way:
    “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath.”
    If your gasping for breath, trying to come out from under your circumstance, KNOW that He is right there with you to help you catch your breath. It is God Himself performing the CPR at those times.
    The funny thing is this….I couldn’t put that shower door back together even if I wanted to. But our God takes every bit of our brokenness & somehow He “saves those who are crushed in spirit”.
    He puts us back together.
    He brings wholeness.
    He is “Always Enough” to take care of us in our brokenness.
    Wake up.
    Trouble will come.
    God will carry you.
    God is way more than enough.
    Go.

May 4, 2021

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Good morning, DearHeart.
I led a women’s retreat recently where we listed each year of our lives and wrote a memory or significant event of that year … all the way back to the year of our birth. Looking back over the timeline, the stellar years and the tough years, we found that the God that has been faithful through every victory, trial, and ugly tear of our lives can also be trusted through this season, too.
‘Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,
for He chose us in advance,
and He makes everything work out according to His plan.’ (Ephesians 1:11 NLT)
Looking back – especially at the most difficult years, the Hand of my Savior, the One that chose me in advance, made things work out.
He delivered me.
As I enter His presence and take in this promise in a fresh, new story, I’m absorbing … NOTHING can happen in my life that He cannot work out according to HIS plan.
Read that again & let it sink in. The same is true for you.
We all have things occur in our lives that we’d rather edit out. For whatever reason, it was allowed. He somehow takes the ordeal & works it. His plan … my story.
In the midst of pain and trials, He is still at work. Because of His sovereignty, He gives
the energy,
the power,
the fortitude,
that enables us to get through … to stand in spite of it all.
I won’t pretend to understand it, because I truly do not, but everything, ALL OF IT, somehow works out to bring Him the glory & praise He deserves. Each day that we endure in the middle of our deep pain & hurt is a testimony to the enabling of the One who lifts us to survive. Each day makes the statement that
we can,
& do,
& will
overcome because of the shed blood of the One Who has been victorious & gives us … shares with us, the victory.
Chuck Swindoll once shared:
When God Wants to Drill a Man
When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And, with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out-
God knows what He’s about.
– Anonymous

God knows what He’s about. He works everything out according to His plan & purpose…. the struggles, the doubts, the insecurities, the rejections, the betrayals, the loneliness, the deaths, the changes, the brokenness and disappointments. God has a plan.
Wake up.
Hold on to Him.
Trust His ways.
Go.

March 31, 2021 next

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Good morning, DearHeart.

There’s always a tingling feeling in my stomach when I explore the next right place.

Mystical.

Alive.

Signs of new life ushering me and you into the next season. I spoke to a friend at a crossroads yesterday, weighing pros and cons on opportunities … ready to move on from a dark place she was in because … on her way there … she thought she was moving into place she had only dreamed of. When she got there, it was not. Not at all. Now, scared to trust herself … maybe she couldn’t, look where it had landed her. Maybe she shouldn’t … so many doubts.

If you find yourself there, too, then (you know this) remind yourself that the God who made you always provides an escape with the lessons learned and the stories to someday use to encourage another … the same way He provided an escape for His Son, our Savior from the cross … into the next right place.

And, like He used that hideous cross, God has a plan for the most beautiful new life to come from the darkest night. You can trust Him here. Especially when you don’t feel like you can trust yourself.

As His child, you are in the position of the Saved. God shut the door when you accepted Him as Lord of your life. You are saved. Period. You can’t leave God, and God can’t leave you. As His, He is armed and ready to fight for you … you are on a good team … God wins. Every time.

“Therefore of anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old has passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

(*Behold = to stand in awe; to gaze upon).

Wake up.

Embrace the newness of this day, this season.

You are a new creature.

Go.

February 19, 2021 creek quiet

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Good morning, DearHeart.
The early morning hours are my favorite part of the day. The quiet and stillness found there are a balm to my soul bringing calm and courage for the day ahead.
In a world where everyone has something to say the silence of the morning is the time of day I so appreciate.
The quiet this morn reminded me of the silence on the creek a couple of days ago. A mysterious sort of quiet, the noticing kind … “ah, yes, God, here you are. I feel You. I hear You.”
So many people are experiencing hardship from this bitter cold. No water. No power. They are cold. Waterlines bursting. Ice and water causing damage. Frustration.
With all of the preparation, knowing it was coming, doing all we could do, even our animals have suffered.
Yet, I stepped out early into the dark.
Silence.
Snow blanketing everything as far as I could see.
But, oh. The quiet.
It is in the silence that God speaks.
And, here is where I am reminded:
“It is the same with my Word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:2, NLT
His Word accomplishes.
He brings life – even in hardship … especially in hardship.
“But the Lord is in His holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20, NLT
Our souls need time to sit in the silence for God’s still small voice to be heard. May our words be few and His heard.
Silence – it has a sound all its own.
It has the sound of God’s voice.
Wake up.
Notice the silence.
Sit there.
Go.

February 16, 2021 snowdrifts

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Good morning, DearHeart.
Our mailboxes look strange – almost covered in a drift! Hopefully, our mail-servants know we value their safety over our mail. It can wait.
Lately I’ve been reading all things to do with sustainable agriculture, homesteading, nature, wildlife, following permaculture & gardening blogs, and such. I read this, and it stuck:
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” Aldo Leopold, ‘A Sand County Almanac’.
It hit home, especially with Levi and Bryan and their crews working all night in this weather to help keep oil and gas flowing so we can get warm. This bitter weather is wreaking havoc on all of nature, and routines, and families … it impacts us individually, as well … physically … mentally.
Sometimes, I look back on the events of my life to be reminded of the grace that has come from the harshest seasons … every single time. What is it, I wonder, that is triggered when we endure great suffering? What kind of God is so absolute in His faithfulness, that in the most difficult, from the darkest of days, we can rest assured (in our inner-turmoil) that our Creator has a plan for our redemption … especially when we are at
the breaking point,
the I can’t do this another day point,
the “God, I need a miracle” point,
the point of being frozen and broken and hurt and empty?
My God.
That’s what kind of God will do that. Mine. He is that faithful. That’s why I believe. He has proven, over and over that I can trust Him every single time; because He has a plan
every. single. time.
Even when, like the mailboxes, I feel like I’m about to be overcome by a huge drift.
“let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
Wake up.
Press on.
God’s got a plan.
Go.

February 15, 2021 where does my help come from

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Good morning, DearHeart.

I’m back by the fire this morning. Out the window earlier, looking toward the barn, I wonder what we’ll find in the lot of Dale’s calving heifers on the other side. I’m also wondering how can air that rushes in my lungs so crisp and clean feeling be so harsh. Like the snow – so simple and quiet, calm …. yet, it is also haunting and brutal. Deceiving.

Ellie, my dachshund, stands at the back door that leads down to the barn when she needs to go out. This morning, she walked bravely out the door on the snow-free path that Luke shoveled before he left yesterday. She stood there, shuffling back and forth trying to decide which bank of snow she would dive through to make her way to the back porch where I let her back in. The snow was much taller than her.

It’s a difficult journey for every breathing thing right now.

There were no smooth, paved roads that took God’s people through valleys, through mountains and other rough terrain as they made their way back and forth to and from Jerusalem each year either.

Yet, they found strength in God Himself to keep returning to Him. The traveler’s fortitude, stick-to-it-ive-ness, help me navigate these hard winter days that can wear down our bodies and our minds.

God will be our help. “I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121: 1-2, NLT).

May you and I look to the Maker, our Maker, for all help.

He is our support system. “He will not let you stumble; the One who watches over you will not slumber” (verse 3, NLT).

The God of the Angel Armies stays ever positioned, ever alert to our needs. To your needs even in this very moment. To my needs. To the needs of the livestock, wild animals, birds, the needs of the fields and streams and the skies.

“The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever” (verse 8, NLT). The words “watches over” are used five times in this short psalm (verses 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8.)

Discouragement and harm and snow stacked higher than us will threaten to invade our space, but God deposits into each of us all that we need to press on in our journey. All we need to press into Him. There is never a moment He is not faithfully watching over us.

May we look up, from the bottom of the high drifts and see our Help.

Wake up.

God’s got a plan.

Press on.

Go.

February 3, 2021 rocks and sand

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Good morning, DearHeart.
It’s been a hard winter. It is still taking its toll. And, while some folks step up for the challenges of adversity, others respond differently … and some just get downright ugly.
Yep, the winter has been hard. But, you know … it’s been hard on everybody. For many, a vibe of irritability is alive and active – but, there are still those who are not. I wonder …

  • Could it be that the virus has given people permission to be irritable on a public/ social stage?
  • Could it be that they have been grumpy all along but kept it under wraps?
  • Could it be this was the new “them”?
    I’ve been thinking about this … attitude … for months now. And yes, I do realize I have probably been cooped up way too long.
    A familiar passage of Scripture came to me yesterday, along with a children’s song I learned in Sunday School.
    It’s the story of the two builders – one builds his house on the sand and one on the rock. A storm hits and we know the outcome. The one on the rock stands firm. The one on the sand “fell flat”. Check it out …
    “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:24-27‬ ‭NLT‬‬
    Here’s the thing I missed all these years. Or maybe it was because the rock and sand foundations were always emphasized. But, as I read it now … I realize the same storm hit them both.
    Same storm.
    Different outcome.
    Scripture describes the storm exactly the same way for each of these builders. It wasn’t that one experienced a drizzle and one a hurricane.
    It was exactly. the. same. storm.
    No matter what we experience in life, we will not be the first to have experienced it and we will not be the last. There is nothing new under the sun. I fully get that the details of our situations can vary yet there are more similarities than differences.
    Wondering … why can some go through difficulty and remain pleasant while others become as unreasonable as all get out?
    And there, before me lie the answer. It was in red – the very words of Jesus Himself –
    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice……” (verse 24)
    It is in the practicing of His Word, intentionally living out each day according to the way He has set out, that we are able to stand the storms of life with joy. It is not solely in the hearing. You and I must apply His Word, actively living it out, day in and day out.
    In good times,
    and in bad.
    In joy,
    and in sorrow.
    In abundance,
    and in want.
    In sure times,
    and in the uncertain.
    Storms will come.
    Take that one to the bank.
    But, how you and I handle it and come through is entirely up to us.
    Wake up.
    Choose your house.
    Go.