Sunday, June 10, 2018

Is He Enough?

I rolled out of bed, craving God's companionship - not from a well-spring of enraptured joy, but a place of perceived depletion.

We've all been there.

I quickly took care of my daily duties, particularly pertaining to our four legged friends who live under roof; grabbed up my coffee and a bottle of water, and left the house.

This morning, all I knew was this deep craving to "go there" with Him; not a building, but a place so deep in my heart the thought caught my breath.

I slipped into the driver's seat and started the car.

Almost immediately, before even leaving the drive, I heard Him.

"Deborah, am I enough?"

My heart sank. I knew what my answer was in this moment, as He too knew.

"No, Lord, not in this moment, but I long for You to fill me such that my answer is YES, Lord - You are MORE THAN enough always."

I rode on in silence, meditating on His hovering, tangible presence... His question.... and my stripped down, completely exposed answer.

I have found that when I am in a long-endured season that demands more of me than I know I have, I have to fight off discouragement with a vengeance; a radical, God-breathed vengeance.

I recently heard a well-known pastor state discouragement is a choice, implying we can simply choose not to be discouraged.  After meditating on this supposition, I disagree.  If discouragement were merely a choice, the Apostle Paul wouldn't have written pages filled with contention towards it nor would he have written about the need to persevere through it.

Discouragement comes when there is a great call that delays or when the battle tarries.

Through it all, I have found that the underlying fracture contained in EVERY human soul, exposed by discouragement, is the question, "Is He enough?"

Blessed is the soul who dares to hear Him ask the question AND answer Him.....honestly.

Only then.

Only then.

Only then can He move in and be to us MORE THAN enough.

If you are struggling today.... perhaps a widow or a widower... learning to do life without a human partner....perhaps you are an abandoned spouse... physically, emotionally, or spiritually..... perhaps you are battling a diagnosis... perhaps you are battling thoughts of failure and a broken heart concerning a wayward child.... perhaps everything is going great, but there is this gnawing in your spirit you just can't quench.....perhaps... perhaps....perhaps.... after all, a void is a void....and let's just stop pretending, shall we?  WE ALL HAVE AT LEAST ONE.   Do you find yourself hearing Him ask you, "Am I enough?" --  will you then be open and honest with Him?? ... He's asking because He's the answer... BUT you must courage up and answer Him with the stripped down, completely exposed answer.

Paul knew the question well.  I ponder to myself just how many times God came to Paul in the quiet of the battle... in the quiet of the discouragement.... in the quiet of the calling... and heard, "Am I enough, Paul?"

I know He did because Paul wrote these most profound words that only someone who was asked that pointed, heart-piercing question AND answered honestly would then know:  "God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may EXCEL in every good work." (2 Corin. 9:8)

Oh, indeed, Lord.... You are enough....more than enough.....

And once again, my spirit is renewed, and its course set to heights yet unknown....

To Him Alone Be ALL the Glory.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Intention....God's Grace Exceeds It ALL

It's my day off.  Wednesdays usually always are. They have become my mid-week pause to regroup and reground myself to what's important in life.

As I sipped on my coffee this morning, I turned on the TV.... something I rarely do in the morning... and took in a few moments of today's present culture.

Within in moments, I turned it off.

"Lord, everyone everywhere is scrambling to be heard," I shared my thoughts with my closest Friend.

Every time I have been tempted outward - the Lord anchors my focus inward... to my family of five... the most precious souls I am blessed to know intimately.

Last week my Friend, my All-in-all, kept bringing to mind one word.... Intention.

When I looked up the definition, being the egghead who I am, I discovered two definitions:
1) a thing intended; an aim or plan
2) the healing process of a wound

If you are like me, you were aware of the first definition, but how about the second definition?

Now, layer both definitions, understanding we serve a multifaceted God who is always at all times multidimensional in HIS INTENT.

When I sat and meditated with Him concerning His intent put to task with our family's intent to bow and merge with His intent, it sparked such a WOW moment deep in my spirit.   The outcome can be nothing but transformative.

Over this past weekend, I shared this word, intention, with my family, stating unequivocally THIS was God's heart and focus for each of us over the next twelve weeks. Each one of us embraced the theme... a walk of intention with one another and with HIM.

To walk with intention one with another, brings aim, brings healing, brings intimacy.  It is the very heart core of God for all those who claim Jesus as Savior: to not simply talk the talk, but walk the walk.

One thing I know FULL WELL --  no matter the wound, no matter the sin, no matter how great the offense.... God's grace exceeds it ALL.... and IF we courage up to believe while humbling ourselves to see we are no better than our worst offender....He takes us to heights unimaginable.....

Dedicated to living a lifetime of intention in Him...


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday in (Mostly) Pictures

It's Mother's Day.... a happy day for some, a sad day for others, a mixed day for many. Wherever you fall in the various scopes, I pray you feel God's abiding presence.  He alone possesses the ability to meet each of us in our unique place.   So indescribably grateful for Him. ♡

THE  MOST beautiful woman in MY eyes always.
♡ My mom ♡

The eternal optimist in Christ!

My favorite food of all time.... Mediterranean! 

Nearly 25 years and counting....
a lot of grace, forgiveness, vision, hope, and love...
a fierce and unrelenting combination IN God.

Beyond grateful at the fruit that graces my life daily through these
three souls far more than words or actions could ever convey.

At lunch today, my husband asked the kids, "What's one thing you are thankful for in your mom."
My daughter's response, "Only one?...."
My eldest son's response, "Her relentless tenaciousness."
My youngest son's response, "Her humor."

TREASURED WORDS placed in my heart's vault forever.

To God be ALL the Glory!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Reflection During Respite 2018

For the most recent years, my family re-groups in May, going away on what I affectionately call "A Respite".
It's not just a desire or want, but a need.

We still live on  the school/college schedule, so by the time exams are over....the kids are mush.  I live on their schedule in a virtual manner... (as a mother, one always carries them in the heart).... so I feel a close second on the mush scale.

While away, my walkabouts scale up to the extreme.


All walkabouts are invaluable, but my walkabouts in May are historically iconic for me.  It's a time where God reveals His heart for the coming months.

Last year, one of the elements He revealed was His desire to reveal to me His holiness in greater measure.

It's been an incredible year of daily walking with Him as He expanded my understanding of who He is at His CORE, foundational level.

God is certainly love, but He is love because He is holy.

How many times have you heard the expression: "He can be no other"?   I heard that a lot growing up, but the older I get, the more I am processing that at a deeper level than I thought was possible.

If one minimizes His holiness, He is no longer God.  He simply becomes this fantasy being who "loves me as I am."

He. Is. God.
He. Is. Holy.

This means OUR PERCEPTION of His tolerance for the static... His tolerance for acceptance of FALSE.

He is never tolerant of anything less than holy.

He is the ultimate TRANS-FORMATIVE force.

I meditate on this daily.  I truly do.

I understand at an ever increasing depth He did not sacrifice His son unto death so He can "tolerate" and "accept" who I am today.

He sacrificed His son so that I would then be granted HIS mind-blowing attribute to become a new creation IN HIM.

In this "love culture", don't be duped into "soaking" in love and acceptance and altogether miss HIS CORE, trans-formative HOLINESS that is without a doubt, humanly speaking, mind blowing!

I know with overwhelming certainty I will not be tomorrow who I am today.  THAT'S the WONDER of walking WITH God, The Holy One.

I pray each of you develops a passion for God.  There can be NO substitute for time...MUCH time...spent with God, The Holy One, who profoundly steps into those willing lives to become loving Father, yes; BUT closest to HIS heart ----> to become our Transformer....GLORY!

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I awoke to trouble.  I didn't know the extent of the trouble, but I knew it was trouble. The short of the story is that I had ruptured my C6-C7 disc the day before.  A MRI confirmed the rupture. For days, I could do nothing but just sit upright.  To recline was agony beyond description. The days were long, and the nights were even longer; drifting in and out with the rising and falling of exhaustion and pain meds.

The orthopedic told me my only course of treatment was cortisone shots.  My holistic gut knew better. "That will only dumb down the messages my body are sending and mask the problem," I told him. He wasn't too happy with me, but I wasn't happy with him. I left with pain, but without the shot.  I began doing research and found an article by a fascinating orthopedic who takes the body's natural mechanics to leverage healing.

A year later, I have holistically eliminated all body pain and all stiffness.... from my neck to my toes.

Today, I awoke reflecting on this past year in the light of going from this one extreme to the other with the use of  "instruments"....more specially in this case; natural instruments.

There are a host of instruments in my life I use every day for the benefit of personal stability and growth, but the key word is USE.  Like all instruments, they do absolutely nothing on their own.  They must be used.

God's Word does nothing for me collecting dust on the shelf.
Turmeric does nothing for me in the bottle.
Tennis shoes do nothing for me sitting in my closet.
And on and on the list goes.

I have found it doesn't take a lot of effort to benefit  greatly from the CONSISTENT use of the instruments God has so generously placed in my life.  However, as a life long student, as the seasons of life shift, so must my stewardship.

Go back a tad over a year ago.  My season had increased in responsibilities, and as such, I was finding my days full to the brim, to the point I no longer even had time to write here (as the blog's calendar journal demonstrates ).    It was a challenge to get all of life's demands worked in, but life itself taught me....through the reminder of pain.... it was high time to shift my stewardship, even as my season had shifted.

A new routine was developed that made allowance for both morning and evening yoga, essential for my body's healing.  It meant I started my bedtime routine earlier.... "giving up" a TV show or something else I thought I wanted/needed that I could get up earlier and get done what I really needed.

The unharnessed ...better said undisciplined...mind is truly a detriment unrecognized by many until it is too late.

It's common, though not at all advantageous, that so many individuals continue veins of living even after a season of life has shifted.  It's called a rut.

It's somewhat like the summer pastime of "tubing".  So many put their tube into the water, throw their often times weary body into the tube, and turn off.... becoming a subject that just drifts wherever the water so chooses.

That might sound tempting, but those that have lived such an undisciplined life who a woke one day to find themselves painfully surrounded by the rapids would tell you the folly of such living.

Life, at its core, is about stewardship. It's about living life with intention. You were placed here upon the earth to steward your life.....your body, your time, your mind.   You were never meant to go through your days on "auto pilot" in a tube set adrift.

In truth, I am thankful for my injury a year ago. It brought awareness to an area that needed a shift in my stewardship.

May I humbly ask YOU, what area or areas of your life do you sense God putting His finger upon, calling you to shift, or up the ante, or even begin your stewardship in?

We all have an area or areas, yet I observe many choose to look the other way with the mainstream label of "acceptance", instead of embracing personal discipline towards real lasting change.

As Christians, we are not called to a life of acceptance.  We are called to a trans-formative life, going from carnal man to spiritual man, being wholly submitted to the Perfect One even as He perfects us.  That's not a passive act, but a highly deliberate act.

Such a tragedy; we all know people who slept, hitting the proverbial sleep button over and over,  until the rapids were surrounding them, tossing them hither and yon.

WAKE UP, while there is still time. Get off the lazy river, if you find yourself there. But take today and  honestly assess where you are on the trans-formative journey that you are meant to be living!

Be among those who courageously take on going from glory to glory....

With love and sincere interest for your own personal journey....
Journey well.... journey strong. ♡

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday in Pictures...Well, Mostly...

I love adventures, and truth be told, I wake up every day with my eyes wide open to adventure.... even in the mundane.  Today was no different. After a wonderful message from my pastor, I headed out....seeking today's adventure with the One whom my heart beats after.

Come along...even after the fact!
(Scroll over pictures to enlarge them.)

(Instagram account:  clothed_n_strength )

Local library's foyer.

A little afternoon snack.
NC Museum of Art
"You Are Here" exhibit.
Outside, after the exhibit.
My two eldest on an artistic seesaw...
perfectly balanced.
Intentionally knocked off balance.
Fun times with family and friend.
Be still my tummy's heart....
wild caught sea scallops.
Stirring movie.

Powerful song from the soundtrack:

Lyrics from the song:

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one'll love you as you are
But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become (yeah, that's what we've become)

I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.

So I ask you tonight..... where are YOU?
Hiding perhaps?  Or are you the one firing bullets?

It's vital you have the courage to stop and assess.... 
......where are YOU?

.....because until you do.... you will go NO further.....

Courage up, dear ones!
A brand new week has begun!
Where are you now?
And where will you end this week?

Dare to envision!
Be bold in your faith!

I'm off to get the balance of my walking steps
 in today before the sun sets!
What a GRAND day this has been with my Beloved!
I pray you can say the same!
If not, what can you do today...
right in this moment,
 to set your intention FORWARD with Him?

Dare to ponder in His presence!

It'll change you!

Change is GOOD!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Resignation

I'm winding down, but before turning in I thought I would do something I haven't done in sometime.... share a few thoughts.

Recently, I have delighted in the expositions of two Christian men; Pastor James MacDonald (out of Illinois) and Rick Thomas (out of South Carolina).   Their applied wisdom has left me both challenged and the wiser numerous times this year.  

Just this past week or so, I read Rick Thomas' article, "A Few Thoughts on an Unchangeable Situation".

Captivating title, eh?  Perhaps even a bit tremor-inducing through the view of "mainstream Christianity".  

What do you mean "unchangeable situation"?  Don't situations change in the scope of the "God element"?

Not necessarily, as life's decades have certainly taught me.

I want to pull a quote from Rick's article:

"Just because you want what the Bible teaches, it does not mean you will get it.  Jesus wanted to live. That was not the narrative His Father had in mind. There are two ditches you must avoid:

      1. I will have what I want, especially when the Bible does not forbid my desires.

      2. I will resign myself to a pitiful life because God is not giving me the desires of my heart.

In between those two ditches is a practical faith that allows you to be a 'man of sorrows, acquainted with grief' (Isaiah 53:3) while entrusting yourself to Him who judges justly (I Peter 2: 20-25). The only way to find that sweet spot is through the door of death. (Hebrews 2: 14-15; Luke 14: 26-27)." 

If you are like me, you'll find yourself thinking on these statements in the days to come. I encourage you to courage UP and allow these truths to soak in deep.  Let them both challenge you and change you.

The first time I read them, I experienced the "spiritual blitz of truth."  I knew I was reading truth; I just didn't particularly "swallow it."  It sort of stuck in my throat, but something happened in between the first reading of it and last reading of it.  A point of surrender.  A point of death.  A resignation.

I have long since believed in the necessity to guard against habitual critical thinking because it does put the Author of my story in a bad light to do so.  Granted, long endured trials truly put such a proper and correct positioning of the heart through intense paces that wholly cannot be appreciated unless experienced. Long endured trials walked with the dedication to see who God is THROUGH the process is NOT for the faint at heart.

But through the process, this is what I KNOW:

I am worth knowing.... even if others forsake the opportunity to get to know me.
I am a deep well.... even if others miss the opportunity to dip their cup for a drink.
I am a strong stake in the ground.... even if others fail to hold on in time of weakness.
I am a daughter of the King..... even if others fail to see.

I have value, not in who I am......but who I am in.
I have power, not in who I am.... but who I am in.
I have joy, not in who I am..... but who I am in.

I am not the author of my story.....but my story is surrendered to the Author.
I will leave at least one footprint upon this earth not because of who I am.... 

but WHO I AM IN.

I am resigned to THAT resignation.

Live life, dear ones, with such a resignation. Christ... THE TREASURED ONE... was missed by many, valued by few, but changed the entire paradigm of history by His willingness to embrace an unchangeable situation.....alone.  

In Him, I find my rest. ♡

Godspeed, dear ones...