Sunday, September 28, 2014

Be Still: Part I


I so often forget, or purposefully overlook one of the most beautiful gifts God has given us; Rest. 

The words “Be still and know that I am God,” echo in my mind as I sit and ponder the tasty fruit God has placed before me today. The message at church today was that he leads us beside the still waters and restores our soul. It was such a timely word, for as of late, I really feel as though auto pilot has taken over. My life is just so insane right now with Cam being gone for work and now this missions trip he is on, and when he gets back he is taking his Masters and then more work. It is just this never ending, ongoing busy life that neither one of us ever remembered signing up for. My world on the other hand is Diapers and Dora the Explorer but no less busy as I try to juggle house, and home. I just feel lost some days, Auto pilot, cruise control, Zombie mommy. I Miss Cameron but I am afraid to talk about it or even think about it. And then in a total unexpected turn of events, my house nearly caught on fire today as I was trying to implement this rest idea. Cambell (5yr) decided to move the applebutter simmering on the stove and put a pizza box there, so that he could help dish it up. I ran down stairs just in time to put the box in the sink and put out the fire! The smoke alarms are (new in the box) in the dungeon (the room for forgetting things… Don’t ask, just another 5 million things to add to the “when daddy gets home list.”) Thankfully, burnt cardboard smells really awful and my nose became the fire alarm.

So again I found myself putting rest on hold. No I didn’t think “Being Still” was going to be easy. In fact it will be harder for me to do that than almost anything. Like the poor widow in the bible who gave from a place of real sacrifice, I feel as though “Quiet Time” is often an extravagant show of my love. I live beside a raging waterfall of the endless needs of others, so the thought of going downstream to still waters sounds very good to me. It is just so loud here that I don’t exactly know how to get there. I feel alone in this struggle and yet I know I am no different from a lot of other women or men who are just wondering how to find the “Stillness”.

The Old Testament story of Elijah and the whisper, always kind of rubbed me the wrong way to be honest. It is a Sunday school classic of how God wants us to quiet ourselves. But often we take what God was trying to say and turn it into church curriculum rather than just looking at truth he reveals of his amazing personality. The scene is that Elijah has fled because his life has been threatened. Forty some days of wandering (in a desert) have passed since he fled and now asleep in a cave on a mountain he is awoken by God.

The Lord Appears to Elijah

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”                            

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”                                                                                                                                           

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.                                                   

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Time and time again it is taught that this verse means you must wait for the storm to pass and for the silence to hear God, but pay attention! God had already spoke to Elijah, in fact he asked him a question that after forty days of wandering you would hope someone would know the answer to. “What are you doing here?” What I see is this:

First. God cares about where we are both physically and spiritually. His first recorded question to Adam and Eve after they had sinned and were hiding from God in the garden was about where they were. Being still before God has to do with the placement of our heart as much as the placement of our feet. He wants to be present in our life.

Second, the storm was not where God was. Elijah had done and seen it all, from the glorious moments of God’s almighty miraculous hand of power to the evil works of the dominions of Hell. The high and lows of Elijah’s life were unlike anything I have ever seen or gone through and here God is showing him a hurricane like twister, an earthquake and a fire. So basically Elijah is on Mount Doom as it is Erupting! God is not in the storm but he is not absent from Elijah while he endures it. Then comes a whisper so powerful that Elijah is forced to cover his head. As he listens God asks the same question as before. “What are you doing here?” Sometimes we do have the choice to leave our storm, we can turn off the noise of the TV, the cell phone, the aps and all the other stuff that we use as dysfunctional and unsatisfying forms of rest. In this day and age of modern short cuts, like fast food, light at the flip of a switch, running water and grocery stores we should have more time than ever to sit and be still before God, and yet we fill it with noise and rushing waterfalls. I have four kids and yet I still have time to get lost in Candy Crush and Pinterest for more hours than I care to admit.  Sometimes we need to ask what God spoke to Elijah, "What are we doing here?"


Other storms are a little less moveable by human means but the truth is that my God is more powerful than any storm and his gentle whisper is loud enough to be heard even after the most tumultuous storms of life. At the sound of his voice what will we encounter? And what will we choose to do with what he has spoken to us?


Many Years after this encounter between God and Elijah another miraculous encounter happened. On a boat in the midst of a great storm a group of men called out to a Savior. And Jesus calmly spoke, be still, and waters were calm before him.

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Are we fleeing from our fears, wandering a dessert and climbing a mountain just to hear God’s voice? Are we in a boat bailing out buckets of water and throwing all of our labor overboard to survive a storm all the while asking Jesus why he doesn’t care? Or do we sleep in the front of the boat, awake and call out “Quiet! Be still” to the storms. I don’t get to choose my storms, but I do get to choose how they affect my peace in this life. I will decide whether I fear, panic, doubt and let the storm consume me, or if I will stand and wait for the whisper that is all I need to remind me of the mighty power of the God that I serve. God is not the devastating storms in our life, and when he asks me, just like he asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” I am going to say, “I am here “In your hand” to do your will.”


I have so many storms, and so few quiet opportunities, but God showed me that on that mountain of every known natural disaster known to man, Elijah wasn’t responsible for quieting the storms. God was. We need to know that God can whisper louder than any storm.  Whether our life is calm and quiet or bombarded by storm after storm, We can hear Him. And if the storms are raging too violently to keep calm, ask him to quiet the storm. He calms the waters, and He brings the moments needed for intimate rest. Psalm 23 Says, HE LEADS ME, beside still waters. He leads, I just need to follow.


Father I pray that as I learn to follow your leading that all the storms will be calmed, and even in those moments where all seems lost that I will remember who you are and what you have spoken over me. Help me Lord to be still. I have a history of noise and motion and need a future filled with quiet and still. You can calm the raging water, so you can calm my wild heart. I love you Lord and ask for you to lead me to those still waters. I don't want you to have to ask me where I am or Why I am anywhere, because I want to be where you are!




Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Come Before you Go

Come Before you Go

No feeling compares to that moment when the father entrusts you with something from his heart. I can only imagine how exciting it was for the disciples when Jesus spoke the words of the great commission. And then the men who put it to paper by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So many great moments, in the word, like Moses receiving his call in fire. Or when Jesus called out for men to come and follow him. Two words that change the course of History… “Come” and “Go”… “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men”,” Go out into all the world and make disciples”. We are entrusted with such a gift. We are not meant for inaction but to be activated in the precious calling of our God.

One year ago, God started to speak a Calling to me. He gave me little things at first. A promise that if I would seek him , I would find him, I began to come to him, to drink the living water, to put my feet in the river of life one toe at a time, to then bathe in the anointing. Then he gave me instruction and I asked him to make me hungry, and as I started to hunger for more, he gave me purpose in motherhood and showed me that he placed me over my children in charge of a great calling to raise them up with the understanding of his great love for them and for the world.

Sometimes we see ourselves through the light of this world and we see a small tiny fleck of worth. But God wants to tear off the worldly veil and unmask the eyes of his beloved children, so that they never walk this earth without a calling, without a purpose. My desire is to be a part of this unveiling, to be a part of the activation of his saints. A great harvest is coming, a time of truth will reign in the hearts of those who are ready to receive boundless treasures from heaven. The Lord says so much of a harvest is in store that he is giving us a basket to carry this precious harvest because our hands will not be able to carry it alone. The father has been waiting for a people who will humble themselves, deny all selfish ambition and put all that ambition into desiring his will, take up their cross and follow him!

The cross is a torture devise so when I think of taking up a cross I always thought, “wow so much work ahead, so much pain and struggle to follow Christ.” But Christ says in Mathew 11:30 that his yoke is easy to bear, his burden is light. I believe that although we carry a cross that we are not carrying it alone. A yoke is what ties oxen together, to be yoked to Christ means that we are no longer carrying this burden or this cross alone. The truth is this; we had a cross long before we had Christ. He is saying instead of letting it become our stationary unmoving foundation and eventual death that we can pick it up! With this revelation, this verse is more of an activation to march across the land not a death march to the end of everything.

The two verses of bearing a cross and the one about his yoke seem at odds if we look at the cross as our death instead of our life. What is so amazing about His words about the yoke is that You don’t yoke up oxen to sit in one place. We are moving forward and with a purpose; to till the ground beneath us, to carry the load behind us. With purpose we can see that every drop of sweat is worth the effort but the load is not ours alone to bear. When he calls for us to yoke ourselves to him; He is saying “We are called, We are important, We are chosen!” and in the midst of this world where we carry around things of little value and purpose, with no sense of direction He is saying, “Come and follow me, I will make you more than just fisherman.” He is saying “Come drink of a new water, a living water, where you will never thirst again” He is saying, “Take up this Cross and follow me (Come) for my burden is not heavy.” He is calling us into the supernatural, he is calling us to look beyond the misconceptions of this world. To look with eyes that see and to hear with ears that hear and to love with hearts that are tuned directly to the heart of God.

The prayer of my heart is for purpose, for a life of depth, and to be anointed and full of the Oil of his sweet Spirit. My cry to God did not go unanswered. So now I stand in the road, I come to call out to those who are sitting in the road looking at their cross and unable to move, those who have tried on their own to carry it and those who are at the point of deep thirst for something more, for something of great depth. And I say “Come to Him, find Him and you will find rest, you will find truth. Come, so that you can go! Come so that you can go! There is a call on your life for something greater than this dirt you sit in as you stare at your cross and the long road ahead. He wants you to come, so that he can release you into the world in a brand new way, for a brand new day! Come so that you can go. Dive into his word, soak in his sweet presence with a heart of worship. I know it’s hard to come before you go. I promise if you are faithful to Come, He will be faithful to say “Go” when the time of your surrendered heart is ready. Come so that you can GO!

Matthew 11:28-30

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and the burden I give you is light.”

In a time of worship before God he gave me a picture of what prayer is. Before God had showed me this, I always felt like prayer was such a heavy burden. Like wading through mucky, muddy, swamp water I always felt like it was a lot of work, a lot of struggle to pray. Then God showed me a picture of a woman in labor. She was having contractions and God said, “Prayer is like a woman in labor.” I smiled, “I do feel like prayer is hard like labor.” And he said “No, prayer is not the contraction, it’s not the pain, or the struggle, the struggle is there no matter what. Prayer is the push, that glorious relieving moment when you get to push.” I found amazing revelation in this word because I always laugh at movies when the woman is screaming and crying as if the push is the worst part of labor but any woman who has had a baby can tell you that the push is the best part, it is the time when you finally get a break through, when you finally get to be free of those awful contractions. The struggles in our lives and the burdens we feel for ourselves or others, it’s a part of life whether we choose to push or not, the contractions still come. The pain of the contraction is not without purpose but it is just a push away from life! And prayer is the push that brings life into the world. It is that all powerful moment when you realize that the God of the universe is listening to your words, collecting your tears and holding your hand in this, the final hour before life comes and all the struggle has been worth the break though. But let us not mistake that whether we chose to push or just to writher in our pain, the struggle is there. We associate God with our pain with very little understanding that the pain was there before we invited God in and it will still be there if we chose to keep him out, but if we go to him in prayer and really push into his presence we will see life.

We Need to Come before we Go.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and the burden I give you is light.”  

The burden is not the yoke, the yoke is the way through the burden.


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Word for the Mommies!


This Morning I reach out for the word amidst screaming children who need me before I can even open my eyes to greet the day. I so desperately wish that there was a specific book in the bible for Mom’s. I love my bread and I am not knocking The Word, but in this extremely trying moment I am having a hard time comparing Paul’s being ship wrecked or beaten or put in jail to the trials I face. My trials seem so trivial, so unimportant in comparison. I guess I just want to find a verse that says...

“Mommy don’t give up when your kid’s have stained every white piece of clothing you have, don’t stop smiling just because this is the twelfth dirty diaper you have cleaned in 12 minutes, chose love instead of wrath when your children keep fighting over the same stupid stuff, do not be discouraged when your house is so dirty it would be easier to light a match than to clean it. Keep on going mom, you will make it, your kids won’t grow up to be total ingrates, you are doing good, what you do matters. Mom do not waste your time wishing you were someone else because chances are they think your life looks pretty awesome. Don’t stop moving forward toward Jesus because he is literally the only one who can help you today. Mom put down the hair brush that you desperately want to smack your child with and explain with grace that you are out of that cereal and have no clean blue spoons today. It will be o.k. , this too is going to pass. When your child is crying over the fact that she is Not an only child and then you make it 20 times worse by talking about death (yep that so happened last night) You are not a failure. You are not a failure because one fail does not label you. And when you are in your bedroom bathroom pretending to pee just because you can lock your bedroom door and the bathroom door allowing for a two room barrier to the noise and the needs, for two whole glorious seconds and then it sounds as if the dark armies of Middle Earth have breached your fortress; this is not the time to curl up in the fetal position. No this is when you go and find that yellow sock that was in plain sight the whole time. You can get out of bed mom, you can greet this day with amazing strength and wisdom and power, because you have the God of all things on your side.”  
How many mommies would like a whole book in the bible devoted to just being a mommy? I would but then again I guess even though my problems seem so ridiculous, they really are not. I used to say that there is no possible way to be the Proverbs 31 woman. But then I figured out that she is every woman in one, she is the stay at home mom, the working mom, the ambitious single woman, the devoted wife, she is beautiful inside and out. So I realized that God was not saying I needed to be every woman but rather that he is talking to all of us in his word, he is saying that although we are all facing different trials, our trials are not overlooked by him! Whether your prison is a five story building with a cubicle that welcomes you five boring days of the week,  a room of screaming kids,  a country ravished by war, A loveless marriage,  or an actual cell that you find yourself in by no circumstances of your choosing, we have the power of a loving God to show us how to be joyful in all circumstances and turn what the enemy means for a prison into a place of Glorious worship to
our king.

We are quick to say that Paul praising God in prison is nothing like me needing to cry out to God in my own home (when my son keeps interrupting my only alone time because he can’t  find the baby bowls just the mamma bowls.) We compare our circumstances but the point is that we have access to the presence of God with just the simple use of Prayer and worship. We can call down the heavens no matter where we are, no matter what our circumstance is and he will answer us. We are not less deserving of his presence just because our lives look so very different. God is saying when you call to me…. I will answer you!!! So although us moms do not get our own book in the bible, we get something better, we get the whole thing, we get to know that all the promises in his word were meant for us too.

He says that nothing is trivial in 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting ALL your cares on Him, for he cares for you”. All means everything. It doesn’t say “suck it up for your concerns are stupid,” it says cast them upon him. When I fish... I cast like it takes all my strength to get that little hook out in the water (I look like a crazy person!) and so must we, in the middle of our mommy melt down moments cast those cares upon him and remember: that his truth is for us today, his word is for us, we can not do this on our own nor were we meant to carry it. He says to cast it on him for he cares. God cares that I am stressed out, he cares that I am at the brink of tears and he cares that I just don’t feel like facing my world today alone. He cares and he has promised to take care of us.
Wow!! I needed that, because all I do all day long is take care of people, and sometimes I really don’t feel like I have anyone taking care of me. So guess what Mommies? We get to hold our heads high and know that this day is not ours, but it’s God’s and with the weight of the world off our shoulders we don’t have to fret. (Like I am currently fretting about the twelve pounds of cereal on my kitchen floor because I decided to write this blog this morning and let my seven and five year olds make breakfast.) But we can say this: God has this day and I can rise up out of this room and face it with all confidence in him, that he has my back, and my heart and my mind that I frankly felt like I was losing this morning. He has this!

Cast your cares on Him!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Lay it Down

Lay it Down


I see the color of my pain and I look to you for healing God, you say lovingly, ”lay it down.”

I see the chains on my wrists and I cry for freedom, you say it intensely, “Open up to me.”

Holy Spirit open my eyes, Truth and life fill me, you say softly, sadly, “Let it go.”

I am tired of hurting tired of running, you say again, “lay it down.”


I turn and see in a reflection in a mirror of my spirit…. Dry, crippled, weak, and spent, like bones with skin barely attached. Eyes hollow with death but as captivating as it all is to just stare and stare at the decrepit image before me, my eyes are drawn to something else, something I grasp with unequaled, relentless grip in my hands. It’s the weapon that created the wounds that I now sit and lick. Around my neck hangs the key to the chains that hold me in bondage. Words are carved deep into the key “Truth, Life” and then I see words in the cuffs of the chains that hold me they were cut so deep that my wrists are branded with the words: “Lonely, depressed, angry, anxious.” The key around my neck I have held for years and years, like a treasure I hold it to my heart but I never let it touch my chains. My hand grows weary as I try to hold onto the weapon like club that is almost an extension of me, it hangs by my feeble grasp. It also has words carved deep into the wood: “Shame, fear, regret, unforgiveness.”

Then as I watched the reflection of me, I began to hit myself over and over and over again, all the while never able to see that I was the cause of my own torture. My gaze looks to the heavens and  I scream, “why God? I you loved me you would free me, you would heal me, why God, do I suffer so?” I shake my key at him and say, “I have held this key for years and I still am bound by these chains. It doesn’t work.”

 It starts raining, the image of me is now of a child, and as I look up into the sky I see that it was not rain at all but tears, the tears of the father, pouring out over his child who was trapped within her own small little world of struggle and pain. As I started to hit myself over and over again God spoke, ”lay it down, lay it down, lay it down, please lay it down.” But as I wore that key like a cross necklace around my neck it became religion and not the life freeing gift it was meant to be. The weapon and the chains had been forged by a great enemy long ago, an enemy long gone because now I had become my own tormentor. it was me that stayed in captivity to sins and her shame of the past. Every time the Spirit, the Son and the Father attempted to free me, I shook my weapon that now had become empowered by bitterness. “If only you loved me enough to free me.”  And in those dark moments I would coil back into my tears and cry and cry for I desperately desired to be free. The rain increased in intensity only this time a voice came through the clouds, “Please open up to me, please use the gift I have given you. He is truth, He is the key to freedom, and here you sit one accepting word away from life and yet you tarry. You cry that I have left you but I have not, but we cannot stay in this place of death, we must live in the light, in life, in truth. You have to leave your past in order to be free. Open up and then lay it down, Open up, and then lay it down. Shame is not my nature. Regret is a powerful hindrance to freedom. Fear is only present in the absence of trust and faith. You need my fruit, but if your hands are bound and full of torture then you can not grasp the goodness I have for you. Lay it down! Take the gift of Christ’s redemption, sanctification and pure love filled forgiveness and grace and enter into the bounty of the treasure I have for you. Faith, Hope, And LOVE, mercy, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self control, peace, patience, and Joy. If you lack any one of these things, then you know what you must do. You must quit torturing yourself, accept his forgiveness, lay down your self torture, take the key and unlock those chains. Use the key, Open it up and be free, free to receive my love. But you must lay down all of your unforgiveness, all of it. The Spirit needs more room. Allow room for me by offering up the worship of a heart that is open to forgive, for if you think you have much to forgive, think of the great depth of all I have forgiven.

The rain stops, I slowly but courageously set the club down on the ground, take the key from my neck and unlocks the chains. A weight is lifted, a freedom comes, I stands still very broken, still very bruised. “Heal Me Lord?”

 “Now I can! Now your healing begins. Those chains are gone forever. You have the Spirit of Love, Joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control living inside of you instead.” “But my scars?” do not mistake a gentle reminder of the pain of bondage, for shame. What I have made free is free indeed. The enemy will shout at you but a gentle answer turns away wrath, and much more gentle can you get than this. You are my beloved and I am yours, Nothing can separate you from my love! No angel or Demon, No height or depth, nor life or death, my love is stronger than the grave. I have loved you with an everlasting love. You are my beloved. You are my bride and when the fire of hell wages on in all of its violence it is but a flicker in a dying fire and when the enemy points to your scars that you bare and tries to bring you to your knees in shame, take my hand and hold it up for the world to see, Show the enemy my nail scared hands and the scar in my side that took the sword, and you tell him that there is no better reminder than a scar to tell the story of great and marvelous love. Then ask him where his scars are, for he never paid any great price for anything he has ever taken, he is a thief and knows nothing of sacrifice and nothing of love. Hold your head high my beloved. You are a new and beautiful wonder. Let us walk a path of reconciliation, a path of finding others who need my love, who need my freedom. And together we will say…

lay it down, lay it down, lay it down”