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dogwood2015c_edited-1I know that weariness – when I cannot see how the answer to the prayer will ever work its way – but I do know that it is in the wait of that prayer sent out where we grow closer to Him, where we really come to know Him face-to-face . . . . because sometimes that is what it takes to make us look Him in the face – to build that intimacy, that relationship. Sometimes, that prayer sent out isn’t about us. Sometimes it is about someone we love, someone God gave us either through the happenstance of birth or path-crossing.

snow2015c_edited-2The wait of a prayer sent out – sometimes it’s the hardest place to be. It feels sometimes like those bitter cold ice storms that came encasing every branch and hope bud – but instead of an ice storm and a tree – it’s uncontrollable challenges that are like the ice – and it feels as though the very soul of us are encased, frozen, stalled like those tree branches and limbs.

Though the branches and limbs are encased in a bitter winter, the faith and hope roots – the reach deep.

Despite the startling discomfort of the winter of a challenge – in the wait of a prayer sent out, it’s the place where our souls have the ability to become who they were designed to be! It is a place where God-beautiful things grow!

dogwoodtree2015_edited-1

“Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life” (James 1:12, The Message)

On Monday:
http://lauraboggess.com/ PlayDates with God
http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/ Soli Deo Gloria Connections
http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/ Inspire Me Mondays
http://darlingdownsdiaries.com/ Good Morning Mondays
http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/ Sharing His Beauty
http://whatjoyismine.net/ Monday Musings
http://www.shelivesfree.com/blog Make a Difference Mondays
http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/ Small Wonder (formerly Unforced Rhythms)
http://donnareidland.com Mondays @ Soul Survival
On Tuesday:
http://www.richfaithrising.com/ Unite the Bloggosphere
http://purposefulfaith.com/ Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp
http://hollybarrett.org/ Testimony Tuesday
http://cornerstoneconfessions.com Titus 2 Tuesday

springbuds_edited-2

With God’s arrival comes love

love came helpless in a manger, with only an earthly father’s wisdom and a new mother’s arms, probably shaking under just the shawl of this new mother-hood responsibility alone

and love one day was unexpectedly left behind on family trip – and love showed itself to strangers, teaching them, hardly yet a man(10 or 12) but still God’s love offering, teaching them about the God who sent him until found by chagrined parents not quite what to do with such a love child.

and love sent a message to a man with a donkey and colt, who answered by sending along his donkey and colt for love to enter Jerusalem. Love worked his way to Jerusalem – and the people saw, the people who had waited and watched threw coats and olive branches to pave loves way. Love entered Jerusalem amidst welcome, song and recognition:”“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”(Matthew 21:9)

with God’s arrival comes generous redemption

God’s love walked the love offering walk, like a perfect lamb chosen and led, the final sacrifice, the final atonement for humanity gone wrong in sin. Love arrived to pay the unpayable debt in full, redeeming each of us from a debtor’s prison soul-deep in sin,
so that you and me could come home with Him,
returning a runaway humanity, a prodigal people
home to a loving Father, Brother and a Holy Spirit.

wait and watch no more, friends,
He’s come
He’s redeemed
grab hold of his hand
and let him pull you out
of hurt, pain, exclusion,
rejection, that not-good-enough
feeling, brokenness

let Him pull you out with his unfailing love
unfailing love that didn’t sell you and me out
on mountain-top temptations
and cross-top death torture
He didn’t let us down by coming
down
so much was His love and determination
to free us
and take us home,
to the front porch steps where the Father doesn’t just wait
but will run out to welcome us
to pull us into a
a God-sized bear-hug
. . . love didn’t just tells us so
love showed us so

“Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption” (Psalm 130:7, NIV)
springbuds14_edited-1

http://www.juanamikels.com/ Wednesday Prayer Girls
http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/ Three-Word Wednesday
http://www.w2wministries.org/ Word-Filled Wednesdays
http://holleygerth.com/ Coffee for Your Heart
http://jenniferdukeslee.com/ Tell His Story
http://meredithbernard.com/ W2W Wednesdays
http://www.rosilindjukic.com/ A Little R & R
http://womenwithintention.com/ Women with Intention
On Thursday:
http://3dlessons4life.com/ Thought-Provoking Thursday
http://www.gracedsimplicity.com/ Hearts for Home
http://www.faithbarista.com/ Beloved Brews
http://tsuzanneeller.com Live Free Thursdays
http://www.prairiedusttrail.com After My Coffee
On Friday:
http://www.missionalwomen.com/ Faith-Filled Fridays
http://arabahjoy.com Grace and Truth
http://equippinggodlywomen.com/ Fellowship Friday
http://countingmyblessings.com/blog/ Blessing Counters
http://www.simplemomentsstick.com/ Faith and Fellowship
On the Weekend:
http://www.barbieswihart.com/ The Weekend Brew
http://faith.5minutesformom.com/ Faith ‘N Friends
http://sandraheskaking.com/ Still Saturday
http://seespeakhearmama.com/ Give Me Grace
http://www.janiscox.com/ Sunday Stillness
http://www.spiritualsundays.com/ Spiritual Sundays

Springbloom_edited-1“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:19).

Shaddai promised a new thing – something that would burst out! However, His children couldn’t see this new thing. They could only see barren branches like a tree at the winter’s end. Sometimes we can’t even see this new thing. We can’t take our eyes off the empty branches of a broken winter of ourselves.

Shaddai, though,  promised a new thing:

The God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
They lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles: (Isaiah 43:16-17)

That’s what Israel expected – God delivering them like He did Israel out of slavery – God saving Israel and destroying their enemies, those who kept them in bondage, treated them poorly. They expected God to do something grande like the parting of the Red Sea, the swallowing destruction of Egypt’s power and glory. They would be insiders to the world’s success.

They expected a king like Solomon, like King David to lead them into prosperity and security – grande chariots, rich vineyards, wealth and security, power and glory. God would still be in the temple, behind the curtain, the law still the only way to Him.

“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history” (Isaiah 43: 18)

Oh, this is hard. The hardest lesson in letting go of me and letting God is the realization that my expectations of what God can do, how He can lift me out, or even be present in my life are limited by my knowledge – by what I know, by even what the experts know.

Shaddai, the great I Am, the creator, the God who sees us, who provides, –  said He was going to do a new thing –

. . . and, He did – He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to make a way for us – every you and me – straight into the throne room as children of God – and the temple veil was rent in half – God was no longer contained in the Ark of the Covenant – but was released to be with us right where we are.

The God who walked with Adam and Eve in the evenings, the same God who sat outside Abraham’s tent and star-gazed with Him, the God who loved Jacob enough to wrestle with him made a way for us to have that same intimacy.

Springtime reminds us of this new thing, year after year – in the death of winter and resurrection of life in Spring. Look around and rejoice – at the new thing God did – for you and for me!

This week as we walk the story of Christ’s death and resurrection look around you – this redemption story was designed before even man was created. The story itself is imprinted in nature.
“Be alert, be present.
I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out!
Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:19).

Don’t you?

springbud2_edited-1

On Monday:
http://lauraboggess.com/ PlayDates with God
http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/ Soli Deo Gloria Connections
http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/ Inspire Me Mondays
http://darlingdownsdiaries.com/ Good Morning Mondays
http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/ Sharing His Beauty
http://whatjoyismine.net/ Monday Musings
http://www.shelivesfree.com/blog Make a Difference Mondays
http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/ Small Wonder (formerly Unforced Rhythms)
http://donnareidland.com Mondays @ Soul Survival
On Tuesday:
http://www.richfaithrising.com/ Unite the Bloggosphere
http://purposefulfaith.com/ Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp
http://hollybarrett.org/ Testimony Tuesday
http://cornerstoneconfessions.com Titus 2 Tuesday

grass

low bends the frozen reed, like a heart unmoved
by a mother’s plea
faith, let it break not beneath the weight, she cries
bent over the Mercy Seat

thawed and bruised, like a heart wounded to waking
by a mother’s plea
faith, let it break not to loss, she cries
bent over her Father’s feet

thin and reedy it faces the sun, reaching
by its own heart’s plea
break this heart open to love thee well
a mother’s child cries at the Mercy Seat

A bruised reed he will not break, (Isaiah 42:3)

icegrass2c_edited-2
It’s a Spring-kind of chilly outside right now, so pull a quilt around your shoulders, drink a cup of Swiss Apple Tea – and join Kate Motaung at Heading Home for Five Minute Friday – maybe even join in with a 5 minute writing on . . . break

On Friday:
http://www.missionalwomen.com/ Faith-Filled Fridays
http://arabahjoy.com Grace and Truth
http://equippinggodlywomen.com/ Fellowship Friday
http://countingmyblessings.com/blog/ Blessing Counters
http://www.simplemomentsstick.com/ Faith and Fellowship
On the Weekend:
http://www.barbieswihart.com/ The Weekend Brew
http://faith.5minutesformom.com/ Faith ‘N Friends
http://sandraheskaking.com/ Still Saturday
http://seespeakhearmama.com/ Give Me Grace
http://www.janiscox.com/ Sunday Stillness
http://www.spiritualsundays.com/ Spiritual Sundays

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When I just had one son, God gave me two stories. Back then, we lived on a little farm, at the top of a rolling hill. The sunsets and sunrises flamed and dipped beautiful. The wind, on the top of that rolling hill, could be your gentlest friend, comforting on a hot summer day. On other days, it was a wonder it didn’t roll the hay bales across fields – the currents were so strong. It was a pushy, hurrying friend then. In the Spring, the Buttercups always looked like they could touch the sky.

These two stories grew on the top of that hill. When I wrote Where the Wild Winds Blow, I loved the Father, but I didn’t realize I was a beloved daughter of The King. I didn’t realize that He would make whole my brokenness, or that all my quirky ways were designed by Him. I especially did not understand that He created a life plan that would unfold each day, each step closer to Him – and that plan meant that being a southerly mama was part of being holistically me, along with the writer, the wife, the homemaker, the teacher.

beachwalk22cc_edited-1Where the Wild Winds Blow was originally one story, but it has been broken into two – about Spring/Summer and Winter/Fall. The other story, well, it was a God message to me -coming to you for back to school – but for now – it’s Spring. It’s time for part of the first story to make friends – I’d like to introduce you to Where the Wild Wind Blows Spring and Summer.

A little boywind goes to work with his mother, a southerly, motherly wind – to not only find out what she does, but what a Spring Time and Summer Shine wind does. After their day together, talking about “big and Little things, little and Big, the little boy wind asks, “Mama, must we forever roll the rain bales and tug the shade?”

Below are some phrases from the text that have become more enriched, more meaningful to me in the last 24 years. It’s not so much the story behind the story, but the story after the story.

“We feel and are felt
with our big and Little things
Little and big”

The Purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Proverbs 20:5)

Springtime, Summershine, Coldly Winter Weeks, the Fall Corner

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecc. 3:1)

tiny seeds that slept and burrowed deep

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5: 7-12)

Homeward they blew, talking
About big and Little things, little and Big

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2: 1-6)

rolling great skeins

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)

hearing a different melody . . . .coaxing the sun to shine

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16)

finishing jobs, beginning jobs

“The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands” (Psalm 138:8)

We feel and are felt
with our big and Little things
Little and big

 Dreams unfold in God’s time. Dreams are often like prayers sent out – the most important part of living happens in the wait of a prayer sent out – just like the most important part of living happens in wait of a dream unfolding. Celebrate with me a 24-year-old dream in a new stage of this journey, and click here to enter to win a copy of Where the Wild Winds Blow Spring and Summer.
Messy Marriage

well2014c“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation”(Isaiah 12:2-3)

Pull up the joy bucket
with the bare hands of your soul
pull it up
to dip down these hands
these hands worn
from the daily
to cup the skin of them full
joy full

fling your hands up,
fling high
splashing over cheek pores flushed
from the hard of soul-building challenges
eyes shut against the up-pour feel
feel it drip, slide down
slide down your neck
refreshing
drip, slide,
water drops all the way
to the toes of your soul

let the water from His well
His Holy Spirit well
filled from Salvation springs
let the water wash away
fear and trembling
weakness and tears
let it wash
wash away to reveal
faith and trust
courage and can-do

let your lips
wet
wet with water
from His springs
His Holy Spirit springs
sing a joy song,
let the Holy Spirit water
go down deep
raise up a hum
released into a song
holy water going soul down
bubbling bubbling up
joy

let God. . .
choose and let
. . . let God

http://www.juanamikels.com/ Wednesday Prayer Girls
http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/ Three-Word Wednesday
http://www.w2wministries.org/ Word-Filled Wednesdays
http://holleygerth.com/ Coffee for Your Heart
http://jenniferdukeslee.com/ Tell His Story
http://meredithbernard.com/ W2W Wednesdays
http://www.rosilindjukic.com/ A Little R & R
http://womenwithintention.com/ Women with Intention
http://lauraboggess.com/ PlayDates with God
http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/ Soli Deo Gloria Connections
http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/ Inspire Me Mondays
http://darlingdownsdiaries.com/ Good Morning Mondays
http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/ Sharing His Beauty
http://whatjoyismine.net/ Monday Musings
http://www.shelivesfree.com/blog Make a Difference Mondays
http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/ Small Wonder (formerly Unforced Rhythms)
http://donnareidland.com Mondays @ Soul SurvivalOn Thursday:
http://3dlessons4life.com/ Thought-Provoking Thursday

Feed My Lambs

bowls_edited-1“Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter – you and me, too.

“Yes”, Peter answered.

Jesus told Peter – and you and me – “Feed my lambs. . . . Shepherd my sheep. . . . Feed my Sheep” (John 21: 15-19)

Last year, my family chose to sponsor through Compassion International an 11 year old boy in Haiti. He is one of those lambs that need feeding, literally and spiritually. My support allows for others to spiritually mother and father this boy – and it allows those spiritual parenting hands to fill bowls and make soul-contact that I cannot because I am so far away.

Christians are a faith people commissioned to take the gospel to the world, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to feed God’s lambs. Yet, as we minister to the great needs of those around the world, it is equally important to not neglect the mission fields in our own communities, from backyards to school yards to church yards – all filled with children and young adults who cry out to be fed and shepherded. 

It is a daunting mission-field, filled with the churched and un-churched – wearing rebellion, disinterest, eschewing group-think and God-think, daring others to look beneath the tattoos and piercings, the black clothes and saggy pants – daring you to find the beauty beneath because they have trouble finding it themselves.

“There are teens with bigger problems,” someone once told me about a churched teen, setting on a rebellion path.

“It’s all in the parenting,” someone else said about an un-churched teen not interested in God the Father because maybe he’s never experience a Shaddai-kind of father.

“There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers[mothers] willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up” (1 Cor 4:15).

I’m going to tell you straight up – I think it’s easy to send letters and financial support to a little boy in Haiti who needs. It’s not so easy to walk into the neighborhood mission field, where souls not only wear wrappings to discourage, daring you to come closer, but who fluently push back in your own language – who maybe through that pushing back allow you to feel as uncomfortable and graceless as they feel in this big old world.

When our children – yours and mine do this – we push right back, we reach right in, both physically and spiritually. But there are children – regardless of the age – who might not have a parent who is able, for various reasons, to fight that spiritual battle, to stand in the gap, to weather the ugly storm and fight for them.

“Do you love me?” Jesus asked. . . . “Feed my lambs”. . . “Shepherd my sheep”. . . “Feed my sheep.”

Not just my lambs . . . all the lambs: the lambs He puts in our path between our kitchen counter and the school desks our kids sit in or the sports field we walk on or the pew we sit in. It’s not just a one time feeding, a one time foray. It is a continual going back, our footsteps creating a path of familiarity.

“The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Spiritual mothers and fathers care enough to slog through spiritual poverty and hunger, through a minefield of emotions that our country’s children seem to battle, so many inside things that tear at them – these spiritual mothers and fathers slog through to carry soul keys to help youth and adults unlock who they are in Christ.

Are you a spiritual mother or father in your community? Are you willing to reach through uncomfortable barriers? To be challenged? To shepherd through real relationship?

Spiritual Parents do that – love children beyond their own, fight for them, push back, get uncomfortable, don’t give up in the ugliness of the challenge.

You don’t have to buy a plane ticket. You don’t have to take foster classes – though both are good. You just need to make your hearts available from your kitchen counter into the school rooms, the sports fields, the church pews and in-between. God will bring them – if you will love them.

“Do you love me?” Jesus asked. . . . “feed my lambs. . . shepherd my sheep. . . feed my sheep.”

http://www.juanamikels.com/ Wednesday Prayer Girls
http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/ Three-Word Wednesday
http://www.w2wministries.org/ Word-Filled Wednesdays
http://holleygerth.com/ Coffee for Your Heart
http://jenniferdukeslee.com/ Tell His Story
http://meredithbernard.com/ W2W Wednesdays
http://www.rosilindjukic.com/ A Little R & R
http://womenwithintention.com/ Women with Intention
http://lauraboggess.com/ PlayDates with God
http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/ Soli Deo Gloria Connections
http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/ Inspire Me Mondays
http://darlingdownsdiaries.com/ Good Morning Mondays
http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/ Sharing His Beauty
http://whatjoyismine.net/ Monday Musings
http://www.shelivesfree.com/blog Make a Difference Mondays
http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/ Small Wonder (formerly Unforced Rhythms)
http://donnareidland.com Mondays @ Soul SurvivalOn Thursday:
http://3dlessons4life.com/ Thought-Provoking Thursday

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