Stepped out in faith that this is where He was leading me.
Confident in Him.
But, still not so sure.
A dog starts to bark.
I attempt to go back to the car.
But, I keep going.
Sure of His love for me.
Because it is all around me.
I get to the top.
I turn around.
Look at the hill I have just climbed.
I take pictures.
Breathing in the wind that is coming from Him.
I open Ann's book.
It opens to page 178.
I read it.
Tears start to flow.
These are the words I read. And read aloud on this hill.
"All light seen is light from the past and light now old from the sun streams through the window, glints off the glass shards. Broken glass ignites in light and there it is, the secret of joy's flame: Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control...let go of my own way, let go of my fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy's flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.
I can let go.
I hadn't know that joy meant dying.
What did I think hard eucharisteo and the table of the Last Supper meant?
But, dying to self demands that I might gratefully and humbly receive the better, the only things that a good God gives. To be nothing in the flesh and Christ might be everything in the soul, to follow after Jesus who "humbled himself and became obedient to death..." (Philippians 2:8 NIV), to follow Christ to the table of eucharisteo, the table of surrender that gives thanks for what is given - this is joy! True humility is self-smallness to the point of "blessed self-forgetfulness" and what could bring more happiness than emptying of self-will and being wholly immersed in the will of God for this moment? Joy - it's always obedience.
I know it deeper now: This eucharisteo is no game of Pollyanna but the hard edge of blade.
Only self can kill joy."
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts p. 178-179.
He is Good.
But, He is Risen.
He is Alive.
As we approach this Easter, I am taken aback to the glory of His resurrection.
Humbled like never before.
"The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:6-11 (ESV)
I love you, Daddy. I miss the mess out of you. I love you.
Missing you and loving you has been a gift from the Gift Giver. No matter how painful the ache I feel for you. He uses things in life to give us the better. And that better is Him. Only Him.
579. praising God for the new birth of a sweet baby girl by my dear friend, Shawna. (In the car I might add.)
I love you, Shawna!
580. the new flowers about to bloom on our pomegranate tree. so pumped.
581. beautiful 70 degree weather.
582. my husband finally disclosing to me that it bothered him that I never threw my Splenda packets away.
583. laughing out loud together when I told him that I have just always known he would throw it away for me. pathetic. it has taken us 11 years to talk about this. I love you, baby. seriously. i am blessed.
584. i am thankful for an update from my baby sister, Susan. have fun in Austria and Italy.......soak up this time with each other. i am praying for y'all. love. you.
585. praying today with ladies from our church for the military.
586. for all of the men and women who serve in the military and their families.
587. God's faithfulness. It. Never. Fails.
588. praising and thanking the Lord feels so much better than fear and worry.
589. painting a peacock tonight at Tag It Art. so fun:)
590. the encouraging words my hubby said to me before I left tonight.
591. playing dodge ball with the kids today with a nerf football.
I have been thinking a lot about Jesus lately. I know it is Lent and Easter is fast approaching. This year has been different for me for several reasons. I have never given anything up for Lent. I have always been kind of a rebel. Well, I have been a rebel all my life. My mom can attest to that. I feel sure I came out of the womb with my fists raised up ready to fight. So, giving something up is hard for me. I know I am not alone in this, I am sure;)
I love sweets. I mean really love sweets. So, this year after researching Lent, I decided to give up sweets. I have to admit reading that I could take Sunday off helped with my motivation. At first, it was pretty hard. I read this from Ann's blog and it really encouraged me to continue. Every time I got a craving, which was pretty often, I thought of Jesus. And what He did for me. To think of His suffering and thank Him. Turn away from the sweets.
The first Sunday, I anticipated what the vanilla ice cream with peanut butter was going to taste like that night. My mouth watered. Literally. It was the best bowl of ice cream I have ever tasted. And as it went down I was forced to reflect on the sweetness of the Lord. How He had mercy on me, laid down His life, so I could live. Because of Him, I live. But, I have to die to myself everyday. And there is a sweetness about dying because He tastes so good.
I see a little more clearly this path He has taken me on. He wants me to walk with Him. To practice walking with Him. To desire to walk with Him. To fall at His feet when I fall. To love Him more than the air I breathe. To die to myself. Is to live. Walk. Faith. Walk. Faith. Through the desert. I will praise You. Through the fire. I will praise You. Through the battle. I will praise You. And in the harvest. I will praise You.
Brooke posted a You Tube video about this song. It touched me to my soul. Although I have never lost a child, I know what it feels like to long for a child. I had to download the song for my road trip and I have played it over and over again.
The Desert Song by Hillsong
This is my prayer in the desert When all that's within me feels dry This is my prayer in my hunger and need My God is the God who provides This is my prayer in the fire In weakness or trial or pain There is a faith proved of more worth than gold So refine me Lord through the flame I will bring praise, I will bring praise No weapon formed against me shall remain I will rejoice, I will declare God is my victory and He is here This is my prayer in the battle When triumph is still on its way I am conqueror and co- heir with Christ So firm on His promise I'll stand I will bring praise, I will bring praise No weapon formed against me shall remain I will rejoice, I will declare God is my victory and He is here All of my life in every season You are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship I will bring praise, I will bring praise No weapon formed against me shall remain I will rejoice, I will declare God is my victory and He is here This is my prayer in the harvest When favor and providence flow I know I'm filled to be emptied again The seed I received I will sow
I have been in the desert many times. But, He always provides.
I have been in the fire many times. He refines me each time through the flame.
I have been in the battle many times. His faithfulness never fails me. His rock is firm.
I have been in the harvest many times. But, most of the time, in the harvest I am looking for the desert, fire and battle over my shoulder.
Which robs me of being filled with Him.
So, this last verse has struck me deeply. When I am in the harvest, and everything is flowing well. Don't look over my shoulder waiting for the worst to happen. Walk with Him. Right here. Right now. His seed is good. It is taking root. So, Lord please let me soak up this time with praise and thanksgiving, knowing that when I am emptied is when You do your best Work.
Giving up sweets has given me such a sweeter taste of You, Lord.
"I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."