Be All To Me

Funny, I can go months at a time without writing a poem. Then, all of a sudden, one hits me and a few follow. Hope you don’t mind me posting another prayer-poem. 🙂

May God bless and keep you, Friends.

Oh Father, 
Increase my hunger for you. Screenshot 2014-04-12 13.55.44
Whet my appetite for prayer
And my tongue with intercession.

Greater in me,
Let your Life-breath swell my chest.
Illumine my eyes.
Weaken my resistance to your probing eyes,
healing hands and pure, fiery heart.

I want to know you and,
In knowing you to need you more.
I want to pummel you with questions,
Seek you for guidance,
Fear you with wisdom,
Love you with passion and an undivided heart.

Even in my frailty and oft distracted gaze,
I know, I know that you alone
Are sufficient for my days,
And more, more, more!

With answers to past troubles,
And light for distant paths,
Oh Father, when hungry teach me to feast on you.
When thrilled to glory in you.
When troubled to seek you and rest in you.
Be all to me.

Intoxicating

barbed-wire-on-a-stormy-day-1117143-mHow good of you Lord, to wrap another day
In pre-storm quiet and low-hung gray.
Sweet, tingly scent of fresh-cut grass
Hangs lazy, expectant in the air.
Silence pierced as with tiny holes,
By bird-song here and there.

The air is due for washing,
Pollen latent, clings to walls and walks where,
In minutes or hours, pure rain
Will leave them clean and bare.

How Good is God–Creator God!
To mold the world for me!
And add the redbud highlights as far as I can see.
Intoxicating beauty, I try to hold my breath,
And wish, as Joshua, “Sun stand still”,
Let worship resound in me!

In kind deference, God gifted me this world
While cold and undeserving my fists still clenched and curled.
But in this gift so undeserved,
He radiates Himself,
In quiet, sweetness, and cleansing rain.

Right here I’ve come to know Him,
Right here to understand,
The vastness of His love for me,
The perfection of His plan.

My soul awakes, revives to sing,
My fists loosen and relax.
For here within His goodness
Drunken by His beauty,
Mesmerized by love…

I give with abandon all I have
So frail compared to this.
But in all He has, He only wants–what I alone can give:
My trust, my faith, surrender,
My life to largest hands,
The ones who sculpted all this world,
This intoxicating land.

7 New Ways to See God, if You Can’t See God as Father

Last week in LASTing Peace we talked about how we see God. So often, in the confidential rooms of counseling and group therapy, I’ve heard people say that they have a hard time seeing God a loving Father because their earthly father was neglectful, abusive, absent, drunk or a myriad of other things.

In the video, I tried to touch those feelings and untie the knots of anxiety that strangle so many people who believe in God and want to know Him but struggle with the truth that He really loves them. There’s only so much you can say in a five minute video, so today I hope to flesh out that concept and offer some more encouragement.

Just the smallest of recaps, and please go listen to this video if you haven’t yet, but I told you there are times in the Bible when God even reveals Himself through mothering characteristics: He is nurturing and protective.

God sometimes uses seemingly contradictory terms to describe Himself in an effort, I believe, to push our minds outside the boundaries of human personality, so that we can imagine a God who contains all qualities. For example, He is both the lion (strong and defensive) and the lamb (gentle and peaceful). He is both the shepherd (guide, protector, nurturer) and the sheep (the sacrifice for our sins). Jesus also calls Himself the Son of man and the Son of God, a door, a vine and the Bread of Life.

Personally, I think God gives us so many angles, analogies and perspectives because He knows that one image will not make sense to all people. He so longs for a relationship with each of us on a personal level that He has opened all His heart, displayed the smallest measure of all the aspects of His majesty so that we can each taste of the His goodness and anticipate the wonder of all He is and does for us: More than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

So, if you’ve struggled with the concept of God as your Father. I invite you to let that description go. Here are a few more ways that God refers to Himself throughout His Word. In time, maybe you will be able to see God as the perfect Father you never had, the Father you always longed for. If and until then look to Him as:

Master (Adonai)—This one is actually my favorite and I explain why in the video.

Your Rock (Yahweh Tsuri)—solid, unchanging and reliable

Your Healer (Yahweh Rophe)

The King (Melek)

Your Righteousness (Yahweh Tsidqenu)

Your Husband (Ish)

Your Dwelling Place (Maon)

One week from today, we’ll take a brief look at a very special way that God reveals Himself. Till then, rest in the arms of Yahweh Shalom (He is your peace).

2 and 3 Things that Made My Recovery from Anorexia Final

 

marketLast week I shared with you #3thingstomakerecoveryfinal ! Instead of simply saying, Jesus Christ, and then opening the floor for a barrage of questions, I’m letting you in on my answers to a dear friend recently. You can read the first part, here.

2. There are some people that I’ve had to ask to change the conversation. I don’t do this often. But, I have a number of family, friends and acquaintances who are INTENSE exercisers. And though they love me and know my history, some are a bit careless in their conversations and criticism of heavy people or relating the details their last ultra-marathon. It was really tough, but several times I’ve had to say, “Guys, I need to talk about something else”.

3. One thing that really began to change my feelings about food was an experience at the farmer’s market in Olympia, WA. I was alone, walking through the stalls and suddenly overcome by the sheer joy on everyone’s face! These people made their living thinking about food all the time 🙂

And they LOVED it! No one I saw was super skinny. There were people sampling cherries, roasting nuts, counting apples and potatoes. Herbs hung from tall beams, Homemade soaps and mysterious scents everywhere. It hit me for the first time how much of a GIFT food is! How much God wants us to enjoy it! How excited He must be when we harvest and taste and smile over the delicious variety of His creation. But these people were just enjoying it with simplicity–no long mental argument about what was good, bad or best for them to eat.

This has become my pursuit with food and exercise–I want to enjoy this life: Really enjoy it! And whatever comes of my body as I’m “living it up” down here in my good God’s creation, so be it. He is capable of caring for me.

We hear so much about “loving” our body, but I don’t find that anywhere in the Bible. We are called to use our body and care for our bodies. We are asked to touch, feed, nurture, carry, speak, sing, love, hold, birth, reason and worship with our bodies. None of those things require “loving” it–either from a selfish “I’ve got the best body” attitude or the attitude taught so often in treatment that we need to learn to “love our bodies” just as they are.

That’s just it–our bodies just are. They are for the purpose of serving and using and worshiping. And whatever becomes of my body as I’m doing those things, so be it.

And you know the best part about “whatever happens”? In the process of using my body to honor God and enjoy Him, I have EVERY confidence that He will care for the health of my body.

I hope this helps, lovely friend.

Prove It, God

dried-flower-721462-mI wouldn’t have even seen her, she was so frail, but for the blood curdling scream that rent the air.

My dog and I had just arrived at the pediatrics floor of the local hospital for therapy visits. Ashana, (I don’t know her real name for confidentiality purposes) was just leaving and stood at the elevator with her mother around the corner from me. The doors yawned, they stepped inside and she was gone. I found out later from the nurses that four-year-old Ashana is terrified of dogs, butt as our conversation progressed I learned a little bit more.

Ashana has cancer. They found it when she was two. For the last two years, she has spent ten days a month in the hospital receiving treatments.

“That’s not the first time I’ve heard her cry like that,” one of the nurses said. “It happens almost every time she leaves. She loves it here. But if you think about it, this hospital will probably be most of what she remembers of her early years. It’s like a second home to her.”

I pictured that tiny little girl and her mother. Talk about a trial, a refiner’s fire.

When someone is in the middle of those flames, the worst thing you can say is something like, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” or, “God is working in you. You’ll come out of this much stronger on the other side.”

But that’s what we think isn’t it? We imagine that God crafts our personal struggles to test our faith. But maybe, it’s the other way around. Maybe, God allows struggles and pain in our lives to prove HIS faithfulness, not to test ours.

Remember the story of Elijah running for his life in 1 Kings 19? The wicked Queen Jezebel was massacring the Lord’s prophets and was gunning for Elijah. The prophet ran and hid in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. He was so miserable and lonely that he told God he would rather die.  But God sent birds to feed Elijah; He even came personally and allowed Elijah to glimpse His glory.

Elijah’s experience in the wilderness did not prove his faithfulness. In fact, it proved his weakness—He felt hopeless and wanted to die. The experience didn’t make him stronger, Elijah was not suddenly a mightier man of God than he had been before. Instead, those moments in the wilderness proved that God was faithful; in the middle of that trial, God proved that He was strong enough, able enough to care for Elijah when all else seemed lost.

Romans 5:3-5, urges us to find joy even in the middle of our pain: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Did you notice that Paul doesn’t say, “suffering makes you stronger”? Suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance means, “determination for a course of action, purpose”. (dictionary.com)

In our pain and suffering God proves His faithfulness; He proves His strength in the midst of our weakness. It is there, we see His faithfulness and understand that He is able to care for us no matter the situation.

A Conversation with New Author, Heather Letto

Dear Friends,

You’re in for a treat today! Author Heather Letto, is a new friend of mine. We are both represented by the phenomenal, intuitive, Christian agent, Vanessa Grossett. The first book in Heather’s new Impervious series, Lone Wolf, will debut on shelves in May 2014. Today, my lucky readers get an inside look into Heather Letto – the writer.

Please, introduce yourself beneath this post, visit Heather’s website, ask her questions, and by all means, mark your calendars for May so you can be one of the first to get your hands on her book!

Welcome Heather!

You wrote a piece titled “Dream On” on your blog. Tell me about your dreams as a little girl, besides wanting to be a princess. 🙂 Did some of those dreams influence the character development or settings in your stories?

As a little girl, I played ‘pretend’ like nobody’s business, taking my characters to the N-th degree. I was a girl IN the 70’s so when I put on a record, I was Cher. I didn’t play house, I was Fonzi’s wife. While doing flips and cartwheels in my front yard, I was Nadia Comanci. In other words, when I hung out, I weaved myself right into a story. As you can imagine, to date each female protagonist who I’ve created tends to be a quirky, fierce girl who thinks she can take on the world.

When did you start writing or telling stories? Is it something you have always enjoyed doing?

I’ve always been a tale teller. However, my quirkiness didn’t find its proper place on a page until my mid-30’s. Life was a little rough at that time and that’s when I discovered my ability to take ridiculous or tedious moments and cloak then with humor. As I re-created what originally was a headache or heartache I was able to see the silver linings on many a gray clouds.

What motivates you to write? Do you go outside to straighten your thoughts and get inspiration or listen to music or free write? What works for you?

My true inspiration is God, plain and simple. A lot of prayer goes into my writing and I truly feel that when I create, the Holy Spirit is my driving force. I find him in the gym as a pray during a workout, on a nature stroll or even just sitting at my kitchen table.  It doesn’t matter… whenever I call upon Him, He shows up.

Who are your favorite authors or favorite books? Do you read any specific genres most?

I’m a die-hard fan of YA. Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins and Lauren Oliver are my current A-listers. However, they have to battle with Beth Moore and Pricilla Shirer for my attention. And my favorite up and coming author–Nicole Quigley. (Like Moonlight at Low Tide…a work of art!)

Did you discover or learn anything while writing your book? Something about yourself or your own experiences or even about God?

Oh, always! God is constantly teaching me and pulling me deeper into my faith as I work.

Tell me a little about your family.

I am a blessed, blessed woman! I’m the proud mother of two God-fearing and very successful young men who are just starting to get their paws wet in this wonderful world. I am the wife of an amazingly supportive and fabulously successful software designer husband. I originally was sprung from a very quirky and loving home with a crazy mom & dad, sister & brother who helped form me into the weirdo I am today. P.S.  I love  my cats.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Because I taught fitness for 20+ years, I have a hard time sitting still. I totally enjoy a hard gym workout, a hike in the woods, a long bike ride, a refreshing swim, paddling a kayak or a few hours on the tennis court. Oh… my newest obsessions is figure skating… and one day I’m gonna be good!  😀

What’s In A Name?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my sisters are popping out babies fast enough to exhaust the alphabet this year. Names and all their meanings have been on my mind, lately.

Names have always been associated with identity. Native Americans are the most obvious example, naming their children after the seasons in which they were born or aspirations for them to grow into great hunters.

It’s seen over and over in the Bible, too. Jacob’s name meant “deceiver”, and he lived up to it. When he was a young man, he collaborated with his mother to deceive his blind father into giving him the greatest portion of the inheritance and the birthright that belonged to his older brother.

Our names define us. They single us out in a crowd, they identify us for all kinds of legal procedures; they designate our legacies long after we’re gone. So it’s not surprising that in the Bible, when God did big things in someone’s He often changed their name. Jacob is a perfect example.

Giving someone a name is a sign of intimacy. Though not a legal procedure, as people become close and develop a unique relationship, it’s not uncommon for them to bestow nicknames on each other. Sometimes, that nickname takes over and forms the identity of one person to another and no one else can use that special title.

Think of a father who named his daughter in the birthing room. But as she aged, they bonded over daddy-daughter dates, popsicles and fishing. Now, he calls her something new, a name with special significance, something no one else understands, something no else can say. When she hears that name, she instantly knows the one who summons her, and she runs into his arms.

Revelation 2:17 says, “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”

I think that’s our Heavenly Father’s promise of a greater intimacy with Him than we have ever known. His love for us and knowledge of us far surpasses any human relationship. And one day, He will whisper that precious nickname that He has called you from the very start.

A Prayer for Syria

lovesyria_330

Abba,

We come to you in acknowledgment of, and deeply happy for your sovereignty. How frightening this world would be, our individual lives, if we were not fully persuaded of your mercy, everlasting loving kindness and unsurpassed power.

Oh Lord, we highly honor you; we praise your name. You have done miraculous things. You have been completely reliable in carrying out your plans from long ago.

Even from the threshold of your throne room, Father, I plead for those who do not yet know of your goodness, who are not familiar with your face. For those who are reading this, whose hearts are whispering prayers to an unknown god, I ask you to reveal yourself. Open their eyes to the complexity of your character, so that they can find rest and quietness for their souls, even as our world swirls with chaos.

You have turned cities into ruins, fortified cities into piles of rubble, and foreigners’ palaces into cities that will never be rebuilt That is why strong people will honor you, and cities ruled by the world’s tyrants fear you. 

Lord, I pray your word over those in Syria and throughout the world, who hope to wake each morning and who tuck their children in at night, praying at least for painless death. I ask you to comfort them because we know that there is no god besides you, there is no leader or world power that can stand against you.

You silence the song of tyrants, like heat that is reduced by the shadow of a cloud. 

Father, we confess that death scares us. Death looms low over our soldiers and over even the defenseless women and children of Syria. But death is no match for you.

You will swallow up death forever. The Almighty Lord will wipe away tears from every face, and he will remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. 

We will say loudly, with confidence and trust, “This is our God; we have waited for Him, and now He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad because He will save us.”

Lord for centuries, nations have desired peace and found it elusive. We have built armies and written treaties. We have stashed weapons and called for truces. We have held peace talks and lied to the faces of our friends. Lord, we confess that we cannot manufacture peace. But…

You will establish peace for us, since you have done everything for us. O Lord, our God,  we have allowed other idols to rule over us, but today we acknowledge You Alone. 

We pray in the sovereign name of The Prince of Peace, Jesus, Amen

Letter From God

In college, I had a poster full of catchy quotes phrased as if God were talking to me. The last quote, at the very bottom of the poster said:

This is God.Today I will be handling All of your problems for you. I do Not need your help. So, have a nice day.
I love you.

This recent post at She Loves Magazine reminded me of that simple, easily forgotten thought. Maybe you needed to hear that today…

How I Discovered I’m Not the Boss of the World, by Angela Doell

Image credit: http://carpatys.com/my-god-good.html
Image credit: http://carpatys.com/my-god-good.html