Chasing Joy

"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

Category: being known (page 2 of 3)

life | retrieved

wall H

He surrounds himself with words.  fine sounding arguments to deal with the broken places.  i stand alone in his space and i read them and grieve over how far away from truth and real healing he is.  i lose hope.

but i do remain in that place of acceptance.  acceptance for where he is at and what he is able to give and receive.  another kind of death assigned to me is this relationship.  great glory goes to the Father of the fatherless for the way He enables me to love this man who is limited in his ability to love in return, to love in a way i desire to be loved.  and there is still great weakness and fear that remains in how i’m relating.  i am fully aware of the trembling inside when conversations begin to shift in uncomfortable directions.  i find my own self coping through diversions and distractions, keeping things safe.  i lose myself in the presence of others here, but when it is quiet, the One who gives sight to the blind helps me to see.

Finding the Love that Retrieves at www.everybitterthingissweet.com

in the dark of the night we stand debating over another one far gone and a false prophet among us.  the scene shifts and i find myself in an arena full of those held captive by Balaam and his deceptions.  searching through my belongings, they grab hold of my blue bound book, the one with my name inscribed on the front.  they empty it of the treasures i’ve tucked inside, passing them out to bystanders and mocking me in the process.  i don’t care, i snatch it back-letting the little things go, knowing that the real treasure is the pages and words contained within.  taking my seat, i’m discovered by the other truth bearers who’ve infiltrated these ranks and we band together standing united against the fray.  it’s invigorating and delightful to find i’m not standing alone.

and then i wake up.  it was only a dream.

light H

i look over at his chair and i remember sara’s words.  i remember how far the Mighty Warrior Jesus went to retrieve me.  the dream brings into focus the truth of the battle, the truth of what i stand on and cling to, the truth that there are fellow soldiers who have infiltrated the enemy’s territory.  i rise and retrieve that blue bound book with my name engraved on the front.  The Spirit brings to mind words and i turn page after page searching them out.  and then i breathe them in.  my Hope Bearer fills me with renewed hope all the while reminding me of my source of worth and joy, lest i misunderstand and stumble into expectations and seeking where worth and joy cannot be found.

Oh Lord, You are my God!  i will exalt You and praise Your name-
for in Perfect Faithfulness
You have done marvelous things…

This is what the Lord says;
I have seen his ways, BUT i will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.

Can plunder be taken from warriors?
or captives rescued from the fierce?
But this is what the Lord says;
Yes
captives will be taken
and plunder retrieved.

ladder

life begins when the Source of life retrieves.  i know this.

i forgot this.

i have renewed hope for this one who surrounds himself with fine sounding arguments.  he is seeking life where it cannot be found, but i do recognize that it is life that he is seeking.  i also recognize that the current god he’s bowing to is successfully tricking him into thinking he’s found it and there is no hope in that.  rather, my hope is in the Mighty One who is Mightier, the Powerful One who is more Powerful.  that greater is He in me than he that is in the world. i hope because Life Himself retrieves captives from the fierce.

See now that I Myself am He!
there is no god besides Me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of My hand.

life

a series exploring the concept of life- what it is and what it means to have it.


to draw further in;  Colossians 2:1-8; Romans 16:17-18;  2 Peter 3:3-9; Isaiah 25; 57:18; 49:25; Psalm 119:72

 

sustained

150317_0001

i’ve moved from tallying up sick days taken this school year by my children (i think we passed 50 in February-when i stopped counting) to tallying up consecutive sick days for myself.  today is day 51.  for 51 days in a row i’ve been sick.

yes, i’ve done All. The. Things.

everyone says it’s too long.  everyone says someone needs to be doing something about it.  either the doctors need to take this more seriously, i need to take this more seriously, or God needs to take this more seriously.

well, i can’t speak for the doctors, but i can say that both the One who heals and this one who needs healing are taking this seriously.

it has been a trial to be sure.

i have words to say about it-but they are still in fragments and the energy and skill required to formulate them for publishing have not been availed to me yet.  i’m taking notes so i don’t forget, and praying for the Word made flesh to keep my story near till it’s time to share.

150312_0003

in the mean time, i’ve been consuming other’s work.  and words about that have found their way through the fog.  Tsh Oxenrieder wrote recently about that very thing-seasons of producing and seasons of consuming.

I also haven’t been working much, because my head throbs when I think beyond my basic survival skill tactics.

Producing, consuming, and why both matter. by Tsh Oxenrieder

me too, Tsh, me too.  One of the promises the Very Near One has given me is; The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed….(psalm 41:3) and that brought both comfort and frustration. frustration because i want to be released, not sustained. i want the second half of that verse; and restore him from his bed of illness, to be the outcome today.  but comforting because until then, He is sustaining me.  He has sustained me.

i’m linking up today with emily freeman’s Things We Learned in March because tho these aren’t things i’ve necessarily learned, they are things that have been used in the Lord’s sustaining-bringing encouragement and insight into these hard days-and it felt important to mark them just the same.

so here are a few of the ways He’s done that ….


lion_copy

You doubt your value, don’t run from who you are  -Aslan

from The Voyage of the Dawn Treador

 He grabbed hold of his lifelong dream and didn’t let go. Hand over hand, hour after hour, year after year, plane after plane, he climbed, he learned, he grew, he flew. What had been forbidden was now free. He became a pilot, a guide, a navigator, a natural. Caretaker of souls.

Carmella Rayone on her husbands journey 


 Whether you run a business or not…the [social media] pulls are a part of our lives (whether you like it or not) and we need to learn to manage it without letting it manage us!

Jeanne Oliver sharing her top 6 ways to keep social media from running her life.


And then there are the well meaning people who want me to know that they were cured of every illness in the world when they went gluten-free! sugar-free! meat-free! fill-in-the-blank free! Then others who want to know whether I have used Thieves because Thieves cures everything. And I have used Thieves and I am not cured. Then others who want me to know my body is strong in the Lord! And my body was built to overcome illness without medicine! Then others who swear by Zyflamend or swear by this acupuncturist or this herb whittled down from a tree-of-life at the top of the Himalayas. You get the point. Everyone’s best intentions are to see you made well, without all the pain and struggle in between.

Asthma + Elephants + A Holy Fight by Jenny Simmons


You have an accuser. Don’t let him in.

So, you, desperate to be out of this fog and to walk, wildly alive, in what He has for you:

Use.your.voice.

Speak His Word, don’t just read it. Fill the space with His truth and leave little room for anything else.

About Those Harmless Thoughts by Sarah Haggerty


The practice of joining in on #itssimplytuesday via instagram has helped me to see through the fog of discouragement and embrace the beauty of an ordinary still sick day.

Let’s take back Tuesday, the smallest day of the week because here is where we  live and where our people live. Here is where we wash our dishes and wait for the snow to pass and pray for miracles and walk with the hurting and carry the burdens and really live.

What We Find on Our Simple Tuesdays by emily p freeman


 

 

comforted beforehand

mountain3

it was early on an unassuming Saturday morning when i am given that glimpse of the mountains and subsequent truths to tuck away and rest into.  it won’t be even 24 hours later when i will need desperately those very truths-and i could not have predicted, prepared, or known beforehand that would be the case.

150210_0001

a dear one brings me nourishment for the sick bodies, and nourishment for my weary heart.  but neither she nor i could have seen that in less than 24 more hours how desperately my body will need the nourishment, and my weary heart will need to be reminded yet again that i am loved and not alone.

these days it’s the little things that are having a big impact.

the sun shining through my window warming my feet sends my soul soaring.

waking up to yet another sick one sends my soul plummeting. 

the thing that is causing me to be wonderstruck is the fact that the One who sets my feet like the feet of a deer, He keeps one step ahead of the slow drip of discouragement and provides Truth.  He moves within the hearts of those dear ones He’s surrounded me with and sends them with soup and voices speaking words that cheer and delight, lovingly giving to this heart that is so tired and unable to offer anything in return.  it’s such a picture of the gospel-so very Christ like and i doubt they even realize how well they represent Him in their offering.

this comforting beforehand carries a depth to it because it reminds me that He has hemmed me in behind and before and laid His hand upon me.  He saw all of this coming, He sees all of this happening, and He doesn’t prepare me by giving me a better life-plan (do and do, rule on rule) but a better understanding of Who He Is and How He loves.

When i said my foot was slipping,
Your faithful love supported me
In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me
Your comforts cheer and delight my soul.

 


 

to draw further in  Psalm 139, Psalm 94:18-19 , Isaiah 28:10-13, Sara Haggerty’s Adoration, today it’s specifically this one.

overshadowed

141021_0003

while driving, i glance over and the perspective i see of those massive white peaks above massive blue ones is stunning.  it is such a contrast as i can almost see the entire bustling city at its base.

they stand there-so strong, so constant, so unmovable, so still.  i know that if i were to turn the car towards them and drive closer closer in, i’d lose that picture and see the hustle and bustle happening in their midst too, but here-this view- and they are saying something else.

140725_0002

arrows fly at lightning speed, aimed straight at those sore and weak spots of my heart.  they fly from words without, but mostly from words within. they beckon me back into the courtroom before the prosecutor who always comes to steal and kill and destroy.  the attack is always strategic, wolves tearing at flesh striving to snatch joy away. always striving to snatch joy away.  and they come in all sorts of clothing.

mountain3

those massive peaks remind me of what is true.   like the city nestled at the base of those Rocky Mountains, i am small, resting in the Shadow of a Mighty Warrior.  He stands behind me and the wolves scatter.

“But was you not afraid, good sir, when you see him come with his club?”
“It is my duty,” said he, “to distrust mine own ability, that I may have reliance on him that is stronger than all”.”
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress    

this Stronger One has adjourned the court-the verdict is in.  why do i persist in returning?  my identity has been determined by the only One who knows everything, the One who calls me beloved even tho He knows everything.  He is majestic, He is massive, He is formidable, He is mighty, and He is kind.  The Lord Almighty is His name.


 mountain4

 in my moments of clarity and hope, i entertain longings, desires, dreams;  i look at my laundry/everything/dumping room and form a picture in my head and the steps to take to get it there.  i look at my front yard full of hundreds of years of neglect and the weeds that love to grow and i imagine a new picture and all the ways to get there.  i imagine the hospitality that i will offer and the enjoyment we will all share with the new space i will create.  i look at my 40 year old figure and see the form of my days and how exercise fits just right-right there. i can visualize the enjoyment and joy of all 5 of us getting our heart rates up and the energy and whole body health that will come as a result….. just to name a few.

hope deferred makes the heart sick.

but then i get a call and bring 3 extra little boys home and it’s everything i can do to come up with enough dinner for all of us and a bit extra to send home with them to their sick mom.

but then i’m rinsing out a throw-up bowl one more time and making honey toast for another one who can now keep food down.  i’m washing sheets and learning how to sanitize silverware and cups with no dishwasher.

a couple of days to recover, the desires and hopes flood in only to be hit with another round of illness or something else.  and the only thing constant is my need for strength from the only One who can give it.

140623_0002

just three days ago i began to formulate a plan of execution for that laundry room.  today as i’m walking though to bring medicine to another sick one it stands there mockingly.  i let myself sob at all the ways it’s a representative of even deeper things, crying out to the One who delights to show Mercy to me.  and together we go to all of the places of deferred hopes.  i breath deep and remember that even if my children flunk out of school, even if we are not able to get well, even if i never tackle that laundry room, even if my husband’s travel schedule never ends, even if on this green earth all the people who want answers to our questions will never get them and will go on assuming how if we only did this or this we could be happy and healthy and wise.  even if, even if, even if….those mountains crumble and fall into the heart of the sea…

sky3

…our standing, my standing, before the King of Kings will not be shaken loose.  His delight in me will not be effected by failing grades or messy spaces, or sick bodies, or cancelled responsibilities.

i think back on those mountains,  i can’t see them from where i stand, but i know they are still there.  and i think of how sure and strong and steadfast my Mighty God is, how He is present in all His grandeur and glory, overshadowing the ins and outs of what feels like a crazy life.  deep within i am filled with joy and awe at the constancy of my Everlasting Father.

i will rejoice in the LORD,
i will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to go on the heights.

 


 

 

to draw further in:  chapter 4 of Pilgrim’s Progress; The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller, Romans 8, Psalm 46, Habakkuk 3

 

 

 

Good Will Hunting and the story i want to live

HPIM1155 

some time ago i watched a romantic comedy i’d seen years ago that i thought i liked.  this time though, i didn’t-not in the least. the language was clean-i don’t recall a single swear word or vulgur comment, but there was something about the story that left me more than dissapointed.  this keeps happening to me with romantic comedies – i don’t know, i guess after all these years of marriage, after walking along side so many whose marriages struggle deeply, i’ve begun to see the stories in a different light.

and the stories matter to me.

zeke

 
more recently i watched the movie Good Will Hunting.  oof… the language is foul and vulgur.  the story, however, is…..beautiful.  it’s really beautiful.

if you’ve not seen it, or it’s been a while; there is this boy, this very smart boy from the wrong side of town.  this boy who is an orphan, who has his loyal tribe of buddies, and has figured out how to manage his pain and his world to keep himself safe.

i mean, can’t we all relate to that?  surely i’m not the only one.

so this professor at a big important school sees the boy’s genius and wants to ‘help’ him clean up his act so that he can reach his full potential….potential as defined by said professor.  enter psychologist Sean Maguire played by Robin Williams. he wants something different…..

if you can handle a bit of profanity, see for yourself.

 

Sean Maguire;  he wasn’t after cleaning Will up so he could make something of himself….straightening him out so that he could be useful and productive for society…..teaching him how to play right and toe the line so that his intelligence wouldn’t be wasted.

no, Sean saw a boy who was a mystery, a broken, hurting, arrogant mystery.  and he was willing to know more-even though it might open up wounds of his own.  he was willing to go to all the dark places to bring truth and healing and perspective.   but he won’t force Will to let himself be known.  i think that is beautiful.  he puts forth an invitation…and lets Will choose.

 

Hpim1026

 
i guess i could waist my time on movies with clean language but crappy stories like the romantic comedies of late,

just like i can waste my time on religion-and its clean language and recipes for clean living-lifeless and without risk.  predictable and controllable lacking mystery or story or life or breath or movement.

apparently i’d rather have the foul language and beautiful story.  not because the foul language is beautiful, it’s not.  it’s the authenticity that’s beautiful. it’s the heart of stone becoming a heart of flesh.  i’d rather breathe in the smell of the Sistine chapel than read about it in a book.  i’d rather look over at the man laying next to me and hunger to know more of him, than watch unrealistic and plasticy packaged love acted out on a screen.  i’d rather play in the ocean than stay on the shore.

“it’s coming to peace with the darkness in me that allows the true light inside to shine.” -kendall payne

 

HPIM1096

my taste for the stories i watch has shifted i think beause of the story i want to live.  like Sean Maguire; i want to risk being affected by the person next to me, willing to process through the painful places they may cause to rise up, and then willing to extend an invitation to know them in their own depths.  Like Will Hunting, i want to accept the invitation to be known, to have the wounds and welts cleansed and bandaged and soothed with oil- both by the One who knows everything and the Sean Maguires who come my way.

that seems more like a Love Story to me.
it’s more like the Love Story that i’ve been given…..the one that is currently being written by the Author and Perfecter of my Faith Himself,

who for the joy set before Him endured the cross scorning its shame.

 

HPIM1098

 
He’s invited me to let Him into the foulness of my soul-so that together we could uncover what was there, and like Will and Sean-we’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, and He is teaching me what it means to live a good story.  to truly live a good story.

so let it go, we are still far from home
tho you try and try to escape
to live and to love will always be dangerous,
but it’s better than playing it safe.

Kendal Payne-from the song Ups and the Downs.

 140403_0005


*i just have to put in a disclaimer-it is a favorite movie of mine-but it is not one yet that my kids can watch.  i was 24 when i saw it the first time. this post isn’t really about what to watch or not watch, it’s about the story i want to live.  personal discretion is advised.


to draw further in:  Isaiah 1, 40, and 61; Hebrews 12

Restoring Wonder | Deep calls to Deep

141212_0004

it’s friday.

these hard weeks have taken their toll.  still i trudge along carrying the discouragement just below the surface.  an hour spent with a handful of 4th graders and long division leaves me in tears i fight to hold in. but when their teacher asks how it went out they all come.  oof.  embarrassing.  i knew i was a bit fragile, and i’ve no problem with the tears-just a problem with the current context of their appearing.

sigh.

141212_0005

i pick up my lone 6th grader who has stayed after school.  we talk well in the car he and i and he shares all the ways he’s been having that sick dread feeling in his stomach and all the strategies he’s used to cope.  i want to just listen, he is an amazing strategiz-er. my heart just hurts at him dealing with it all by himself.  we talk deep and pull in to a parking lot. It was only 5 minutes ago that I’d been instructed to drive here to meet up with grandma and my other two.  mid conversation he interjects; “can i go play at the park?” so that’s that and out he hops, bounding over to the playground my eyes had failed to see tho we’ve been here countless times.  i watch him-there is a spring in his step-the day is far behind him, the park is up ahead.  for a moment i sit in the car thinking deep thoughts, but then that Wonder of a Counselor whispers; “join him”

141212_0002

i hop out and walk over and take him all in.  wonder fills my heart at this child who hasn’t let the struggle of the day rob him of the joy of monkeybars and climbing up the outside of the slide.  i marvel at the last-minute and unplanned steps that brought us here-to this very place at this very moment in time.  the park and parking lot is abandoned and quiet.  the sun is beginning to set.  and if for only 5 minutes we are both free and free to drink deep of the joy.

141212_0011

we swing side by side to see who goes higher.  he almost turns completely upside down; “you should try it mom, it feels really good”

we jump off-he lands farther.

when our time is up, deep has called to deep, deep joy has called to deep discouragement, and we are refreshed.

141212_0003

really, this is how it seems to go for me.  discouragement piles on, and i can’t climb out of it on my own.   But God….oh that glorious ‘But God’, He leaves me in Wonder at the ways He lifts me out-even though all the things remain-He restores Wonder in my heart and it makes such a difference.

i’m tempted to pray that when the children are all grown and i’ve no more 11 year olds to invite me to the swings on a hard day, i’ll have the wisdom to go there anyway.  do you see what i do there? i try to discover the recipe and take control, removing the very Wonder of a God who Knows Everything.  my prayer shifts and instead i ask that i would keep my eyes open and have the wisdom to see.

O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon, from the little mountain Mizar.

[Roaring] deep calls to [roaring] deep at the thunder of Your waterspouts; all Your breakers and Your rolling waves have gone over me.

Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

psalm 42:6-8 amp

 

 

for understanding | pursuit

 kite

Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
    and for their children it will be a refuge.

 the door slams and i start washing the dishes. the tension is thick and i think to myself, no one is feeling very safe or very loved right now.  how can a fortress provide refuge if the battle is inside its walls?

kite2

 i stew in all the ways that i am right and have been offended.  as is often the case with these dishes of mine, the Spirit begins to stir within and i’m told to pursue.  to seek out.  to walk the path to where she is hiding out.  and i’m reminded of all that i do not know and all that i long for our home to provide to it’s inhabitants and all the ways it doesn’t.

kite3

and so i walk the path and do not expect the tears i find.  we walk the path back together with dad (who is so logical and steady) and talk it all through and at the end we have come to understand each other (related to this particular issue anyway) and it makes all the difference.

kite4

i too am hiding away in my pain and grief related to this season and all the ways we’ve failed eachother.  and He pursues.  He walks the path towards me and together, my Steady One and i talk it all through…..

i’ve attempted all the things, but all the things appear to be no match for the wounds from without or the wounds from my own sins.  my misjudgments (read misunderstandings), my leanancy when strictness was called for and my strictness when tender mercy was called for.

You have said i’ve been redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to me from my forefathers.  -1peter 1:18

and i resolved not to hand down an empty way of life to my kids.  but deep within i fear that is the very thing i’ve handed down.  which leads me to wonder;

what is it that makes a life empty?
what is it that makes a life full?

it is not perishable things that redeem, it is only the blood of Jesus and i too am helpless in the handing of  that down…..except for a demonstration of my own neediness for it, of our neediness for it.

this is what these teen years have been revealing to me-the wounds have not been covered by all the things, even the good and obedient things.  they can only be covered by Christ’s blood. 

oh Father, that she would…..that we all would …feel safe and feel loved…

in You.

kite5

……and i begin to understand the One who Pursues. …and this One who Pursues provides understanding.

kite9

days later we’re all crammed together working at this workhorse of a kitchen table.  with papers strewn between us, this Pursuing One breathes hope and i am overcome with perplexity and gratitude.  in this moment, amidst this mundane, she grasps my true heart towards her and speaks it forth.  in her words, i grasp her true heart towards mine and my heart swells with the joy found amidst papers and assignments and drudgery.

kite6

oh my Lord-

i have beheld Your Glory.

Composition|reflections from my time at The Writer’s Barn

i arrive earlier than i’d like to; my preference when attending something alone is to arrive not early, not late, but in the middle.  i don’t like having all the seat options to choose from-i am aware of the way picking a seat has the potential to paralyze me because i’m feeling a bit unsure of myself.  but i was told i could leave my insecurities behind and i remind myself of this as i sit down and breathe a prayer to the One who is in charge of Providential connections.

 i Release it

i sit there, a recipient of Myquillyn’s art.  personally i lack the skill and know nothing about the composition of a room.  but she does.  and her art creates a framework for what is becoming within my soul.

 i Receive it

the time together begins and Traci keeps us on schedule and informed about the important details.  personally i lack the skill and know nothing about the composition of the details surrounding an event.  and her art builds on that framework for what is becoming within my soul.

 i Rest secure in it

Emily Freeman and Christa Wells spend the beginning hours taking us through the craft of writing.  Principles and truths that i will chew on and apply for years to come i am sure. i am paying attention.  We are given a break for dinner and then we return for an evening of story and song.  i can’t even.  These hearts that are traversing the very land of writing-they are so generous in their sharing.

i Take it all in

this is the very thing i need.  i know nothing about the composition of notes that make up a song.  i do know there is a deep place within my soul where things are becoming.  and music-especially the piano-have always been a most effective way for that becoming to transpire.   i am learning about the composition of words, but before this event i didn’t fully understand the composition that makes up a writer.  the frustrations and tendencies and nuances of “doing homework for a living” as Emily so aptly put it.  These two beautiful women have placed their brushstrokes within the framework for what is becoming within my soul.

i am changed by it

Composition is the “State or quality of being put together, The art or practice of so combining the parts of a work of art as to produce a harmonious whole.”*  The Master Artist brought together each and every part necessary; all that i’ve mentioned above combined with the people i met, the hands that prepared the snacks, the families behind it all; He has so combined all the parts that became this Writer’s Barn….and produced a harmonious whole to be sure.

He created a Masterpiece

and i delighted in it.

(As you can see there are no pictures with this post.  i just couldn’t take any and i’m not completely sure why.  But you can go here and here to see some.)

31prayw

(I will be joining the 31 days writing challenge hosted by The Nester.  unless something else comes to me before tomorrow prayer will be my topic.)

*Webster’s 1946 edition

treasure hunting

 140208_0001-1

i lay there fighting for sleep.  (not to be confused with fighting sleep like a toddler does. no. i wanted sleep-sleep was fighting me)  finally i give up and get up at 1:30 in the morning.  the thought comes to me that prayer would be a good thing to do.  i laugh cynically; “i wish…”  i start talking about that with that One who never tires or grows weary.  i sit with Him and find myself redirected from the mind numbing reading (which i do believe has it’s place.) tonight in the darkness there are treasures to be mined for.  i don’t know this of course (see also: laughed cynically)  but my Master Gardner does.  Sara’s words* give me a push down into the mine shaft.  i cup open my hands to receive what might be described as rubies or sapphires, if only they were beautiful enough.  it is dark outside and dark in my soul, but He has promised…..

You promise treasures in the darkness and You are that treasure
-Sara Hagerty

dark

He delivers on that promise as words come to mind…vaguely they come and i flip open those thin and well worn pages and hunt for them.  i take Sara’s advice* of carving out at least 200 words back to Him about these words of His;

Lift up your eyes and look at the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of His great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
“do not be afraid, oh little worm, for I Myself will help you,” declares the Lord
Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
if i say; “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”

 140313_0003

only Christ knows the depth of meaning these very words have personally and specifically …to me.  it’s a looking back on these recent years of walking in the dark in so many ways. it’s a remembering of what He told me about what was ahead-words i didn’t completely understand, nor do i now.  words that only gave me the next step to take, and i’ve been waiting ever since to hear His voice in that way again.  these are comforting words, encouraging words.  He takes them deeper still, the meaning becomes deeper still.  oh, this darkness may or may not lift.  but the hand holding on to mine?  it will remain constant whether i feel it or not.

sky3

sometimes my husband and i will be holding hands.  time passes and i grow accustomed to the feel of my hand in his.  but then there will be a slight squeeze-indicating a knowing, a loving, a depth of communication only we grasp.

ps103a

tonight in the darkness, i feel my Shepherd’s squeeze.

 

to draw further in; Isaiah 40 beginning at verse 25; 41:13-14; 42:16, 45:18-19; 50:10-11; Psalm 139:11-12

*Taken from Sara Hagerty’s Adoration devotional available now free with a pre-order of her upcoming book: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet|Tasting the goodness of God in all things.  You can also learn more about Adoration via her blog.

heading back to N. Carolina to spend time in a Barn

Last year i went to N. Carolina to attend an afternoon At The Barn

as a family we’d been impacted by a fire in 2011, another one in 2012, living in town 5 of us crammed into a 2 bedroom 800 sq ft house, and many battles for hope.

personally, i’d turned 40 and found myself walking blindly through a fog of decisions that included leaving a ministry i’d been a part of for 15 years, clueless as to where the Lord was taking my heart and my life but following step by step and clinging to Isaiah 42:16 and 50:10-11

in the middle of a flood, i pressed the button to reserve my ticket for The Barn Event.

on the plane i finished up the last chapters of Emily’s book; A Million Little Ways, and waited in anticipation for all that the Lord would do during this much needed weekend away. then there were no words for all that transpired between the airport and the actual event.  but i carved out a few anyway-The Lord, my Shepherd .

worn and weary i headed out on the road towards somewhere, NC and that glorious Barn.

IMG_1774 IMG_1770

and i began to breathe 

IMG_1804
IMG_1806
 IMG_1805
IMG_1797
IMG_1801
IMG_1802

And for an afternoon i was refreshed, inspired, seen.  and i was so very glad i went.  

and i learned a thing or two about rest.  that rest not a place, rest is a Person.  yes He can use a place to draw me into deeper rest in Him-What Emily said about hope applies here too.  sometimes rest finds you on the Beach, while other times you have to dig for it among the bugs.

IMG_1775

lately i’ve been growing in taking my writing more seriously.  by that i mean, actually telling people; “i’m writing”  i tried it out the other day at the vet’s when i got to see our actual vet whom i’ve known for years but rarely get.  the question came; “how have you been, what have you been doing?” and i updated him about the ages of my kids and then i said; “i’ve been writing.”  the vet was a safe place to try it out, it’s less risky because the odds of him actually asking to read anything is very slim.  

but the saying it out loud to someone else means i am giving it value.   

IMG_1809

home alone, i was on Emily’s blog the other day and i saw the link to another barn event.  this time specifically for writers.  my heart skipped a beat and i payed attention.  i allowed myself to go there.  that meant clicking the link to the event and checking out the details.  then  looking around online at flights and hotels and what would it cost?  then seeing the cost and knowing it was not doable and sitting back in my chair and grieving.  then getting out the map and seeing what’s nearby. and then checking flights to nearby places.

it is cheap to fly to Atlanta.  i tuck the knowledge away

jeremy and the kids come home and there is all the telling about their time and i listen and we go about life.  amidst all the noise and moving about together, i mention it. softly and timidly, i mention it.  “there is another barn event, this time focused on writing.  it’s in Midland, 4 hours from Atlanta.”  

and he listens.

and sits down and pulls out his phone (because, the calendar).  this summer things shifted for him at work and he’s been traveling every month. to Atlanta.

“when is it?”
“i think that’s when my next Atlanta trip is…..yep it is.”
“i think you should do it. go ahead and buy the ticket and then we will work out all the details.”

i hesitate a bit.  then move toward the idea.  we talk about taking a weekend away together.  he mentions the places he’s been that we can now see together.  he doesn’t mind me spending part of our time at a writing event.  even though he’ll be dropping me off 4 hours from our hotel?  he says he’ll be fine finding something to do.  i’ll return home on Monday, and he’ll stay behind for work.

i buy the ticket. 

This time, i’m not necessarily going for rest (tho i’ll take it whenever it comes!)

no, this time, i’m going to Atlanta for the romance. 

and to the Barn Event?  i’m going for my heart. 

Older posts Newer posts

© 2019 Chasing Joy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑