March 7, 2012

Making Our Way Toward Peace

I once lugged a brand spankin’ new boyfriend to the ballet. I know, I know … not the optimal way to woo him. But he dragged me to college football games. All’s fair in love and war, eh?

Eventually I warmed to the beauty of football, but he never took a liking to dance. Which seems odd as football is a dance of sorts. {That’s an analogy for another day.} My point in telling this tale of love lost {we broke up} and love found {I count the days till the next football season starts} is that I love dance. All forms except one.

I don’t dig the dance we do with our thoughts.

True, some thoughts gracefully glide us across the dance floor of life. Warm memories, kind words, happy encouragements.

But other thoughts? Those that steal our peace … like we’re not as pretty as so-and-so. Or as bright as smarty-pants PhD. How about the thought that life will forever be hard? Or that loneliness, depression, anxiety, {fill in the blank} is our lot in life.

I danced with this one for years: I’ll always be fearful.

In hindsight, that feels melodramatic. But I spent years in the absence of peace because I was afraid. Negative thoughts swung me around till I got sick of being frightened and tired of having no peace.

Maybe you’re exhausted from being haunted by a negative thought too? You think, “Something’s gotta give.” You’re to the point you can’t dance another day, but you don’t want to be left hanging on the dance floor. That’s when we need something else to step in and replace our {_____}.

I wish I had an oh-so-fab 10 Steps to Peace Program. I don’t. But I’ll tell you what’s helped me end fear’s dance.

Prayer… asking God to help set me free.

Counseling… talking the dark thoughts out into the light {helped a ton!}

Music… consuming worship music filled my soul with hope.

The Bible… Every time fear grasped my hand for a spin, I shook it off with a scripture, repeating positive truths over and over.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:18-19

I’ll be honest. Changing dance partners wasn’t the easiest. Negative thoughts break-danced and cha-cha’ed around my knocking knees. I had to fight them off in order to dance with peace. But over time and through prayer, counseling, worship and determined focus on Scripture the negative thoughts have lessened and peace has increased.

Can I encourage you to try a combo or all four of these to help you shake {_____} too?



February 22, 2012

The Best Thing to Treasure

Popping in from Proverbs 31 Ministries? Thanks & welcome!

Several times I’ve shared about my sweet friends from El Salvador. These two adorables here….

…and talked of their gift to me—-a smudged tiny wooden bracelet. And I think of my friend Anna. An equally beautiful Greek grandma brandishing a rolling pin and hugs while scurrying to and fro in her beloved slippers. She had oomph and wit and got married in her early teens. You see, she loved her man Pete something fierce, and no boat would carry him across the ocean without her. Lady Liberty could keep her hands off.

{on their wedding day}

Anna had a house full of children, then grandchildren, and others she took in and served and fed. Oh did she feed. Her and her slippers and picnic tables lined up in her always-warm-from-the-oven kitchen. We’d hold hands in a circle, extending into the living room, and give grace. And she’d give double heapings of adoration and eggplant parm while padding around in her much-loved slippers.

Until one day a new guest in her home commented how lovely those cherished slippers were. Now, Anna and her man left the turquoise shores of Greece for the winter white of Maine. On cold wood floors, slippers are a nicety.

But not a treasure. Not to Anna at least. I watched as this gray-haired Yaya removed her slippers. The bustling house full of over 30 hungry creatures faded into the blazing warmth of the fire place. Or was it Anna’s selflessness burning a hole into my heart? She slipped her guest’s shoes off; fitted her slippers on their feet. I may have heard Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.

Even this first-time guest sensed what we seasoned company knew. Anna’s slippers were special. But Anna wouldn’t take no for an answer. For to her, these slippers weren’t the treasure; but they told of The Treasure. And isn’t He worth letting possessions go and having chilly toes for?

I want a love like Anna’s. To follow my Man across the world, should that be where He leads. And invite others into our home, life, heart. Serve them and feed them with the richest of fare. Warm them by my passion for the Word. And give. Oh to give what I can’t keep in the long run anyhow.

We’ve all got something that can be used to tell of our greatest Tresure. I missed my chance with my South African bracelet. But here’s the grace: I’ve had other chances. And will have more. I wonder, would you share how you let go of a treasure in order to share The Treasure please? Sure would be good to hear and be encouraged.

I’d love to share with you the honor of sponsoring a kiddo or two from Compassion International? Like my friends in the photos. Click here…  If you do, will you please tell us about them? You’ll be entered to win this lovely bracelet.

{pictures from El Salvador below} {{the kid’s precious gift}

{bringing their family rice, soap and other needs}

{their home is under the tarp}

{inside their grandmother’s home}

{they loved taking pictures with my camera!}

{God’s treaures}


February 6, 2012

I’m Ready to Turn the Corner

She lays her dish towel down to pick up a conversation. “Pronto!” {“I’m ready”} she answers with, instead of “Ciao” {“Hello”}. It’s a customary greeting for Italians.

A reflection of a heart postured in preparation. One daring to trust the person calling has an invitation. That something new is right around the corner. And hey, that’s not always easy to believe. But might we? Just today, might we answer His call by preparing our hearts to say Yes, I’m ready!

Pronto! I’m ready to listen. A stance that dares to meet the Lord’s eye, honest about the past. No qualms quiver in the gut. “Yes,” we truthfully say. “I have dredged through the wreckage, slid through the less-than-lovely.” And once confessed, we’re ready to hear God’s heart of grace and good plans.

Pronto! I’m ready to turn the corner. Leave the lonely streets of unbelief, heartache and shame. Is it too wonderful to believe that a new thing is around the bend? The potential of forgiveness…hope of living shame-free? Not at all. It’s there for us if only we answer His call.

But how?
We allow our heart to be…
refined {by His Word}
defined {by His character}
supined {in front of His throne}

Pronto, I’m ready to begin afresh. And that chance is offered for the taking. Because when the Father called to the Son, He said, “I’m ready. To die for her and her and him and him.” Jesus asks, will we receive His salvation, forgiveness? His forgetfulness of our past deeds? Therein lies our call to answer. Now that we’ve repented. Turned away from the past with faces turned up to hope. Now, now we joyfully start new.  Are you ready?

Thy light in my darkness
Thy life in my death
Thy joy in my sorrow
Thy grace in my sin
Thy riches in my poverty
Thy glory in my valley
~from Valley of Vision

Write this verse on the tablet of your heart and mind. Tuck it in the recesses to refer to as you prepare. “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.” ~Psalm 25:4-6


January 31, 2012

A Year of Yes!

No, I am too shy to go to that small group I don’t know anyone.

No, that country is so far away, I’ll skip this missions trip.
No, I gained weight since I last saw them. I’ll just skip that reunion.
No, not hanging with them. I’m still single and feel like a loser.
No, my writing is inadequate. I won’t submit to a publisher.

No No No

Tearing the hole wider until isolation and doubt and fear swallowed me whole. Some legitimate concerns hold me back. Others? Nothing but weights anchoring me to a stagnant present and future.

Dismal? Yes. Hence my desire for change. I’m saying no, no more, in order to say Yes.

Yes, Lord, I will take Your hand
Take You at Your Word
Take Your promises

Take a chance on life, love, hope. Because years of saying “no” have led me nowhere.

This is my year of saying Yes. Yes, I am a bit nervous. Yes, I’ll be pushed beyond my boundaries, my fears, my laziness. But I know there are things I want to say yes to in the future that will require me saying yes in the present.

Yes, I will go around the world on missions with you Lord.
Yes, I will publish my book with you Publishing House.
Yes, I will be your wife Mr. Husband-to-be

I’ll be posting once a week of something I said Yes to, that for one reason or another I would have said No to. And by the end of the year, I hope to have a new revelation of the greatness of God and a tale of adventure with the best person I’ve ever said yes to, Jesus.

Will you join me in saying Yes?

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