Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Whispers of Rest




"Only one thing is needed.
You don't need to be or do better-
just loved better."
Whispers of Rest
Bonnie Gray



If you visit here often, you've heard me mention my "wilderness whispers" in sporadic posts over the winter. Although sunshine struggles to emerge here in northern Maine, the black flies announce Spring's presence. My soul wrestles on the fringes of the desert in the wilderness. 

When I received Bonnie Gray's new book in the mail, something stirred in my spirit. As a part of the launch team, I had been reading a few chapters electronically, but when I held her book in my hands and read the printed words,  I began to hear whispers of hope.

Each morning, I settle into my green chair with a cup of tea, journal, Bible and her book. This morning was no exception. I'd read it before but today God spoke the words to me.

"You don't need to be or do better - just loved better."

"Is this true, Lord?" my weary soul questioned.

The wilderness season brings temptation to try harder, do better, make changes. Anything to get out of the desert.

If I could just eat better, perhaps I would be healthy?
 Never mind I've tried a million ways to eat healthier.

If I could just be a better wife?
 I pray my way through lonely days as plans are disappointed and Hubby works tirelessly, but there are times I struggle with my attitudes.

If I could just have been braver when I was younger, kinder, more adventurous? Perhaps my days would be fuller now.

If i could just?

If I could?

If I?

If?

But to be loved better?

I am learning to rest in God's love.
I am learning to trust His love for me, to believe He knows how I struggle with my health daily, sees the unmet desires of my soul, feels my loneliness in this desert place. 

If I could just be-loved.

Beloved.

My word today is BELOVED.

Each day in "Whispers of Rest," Bonnie Gray gives you a word. Or you can be quiet, listen and God will breathe his own word over you through His Word. 

You don't have to sit still all day. You can take a walk, snap a photo, or put pen to journal. Bonnie's words serve as a guide along the journey.

Today is release day for Whispers of Rest. Go to www.whispersofrest.com or Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

Whether you are fighting black flies and dreary days or enjoying a sunny beach, Whispers of Rest is a beautiful 40 day take-along read. 
God bless you as you begin this next season of your journey.

























Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Single Prayer-Drop in the Desert








Nearly six weeks have passed since my last post.

Winter continues to linger on the edges of spring. My furnace still runs to bring heat into our home as dreary clouds drop rain day after day. Both my husband and I are fighting colds.

God's waiting room begins to feel claustrophobic. (see prior post)

I ask myself, "what can I write here that anyone will want to hear?"

I have no answers.

I maintain my daily practices.

Every morning I spend with my journal and my Bible. I pray over my days and pray to maintain some sense of perspective above this earth.

I work in the office and keep my household running, take mom to lunch once a week, drive my brother for errands, and knit dishcloths to give away  while watching the Voice or Netflix with Terry in the evenings.

I know God moves in the ordinary but I know He also moves beyond.

I note His promises in a small journal, easily accessible, hope building.

"May streams of your refreshing flow over me until my dry heart is drenched again."
                                                                                                 Psalm 126:4 Passion Translation

This is my prayer.












Friday, April 7, 2017

Hearing the Father's Heart









I am sitting in the Social Security office waiting for my number to be called, thinking about all the errands I need to run.

Waiting.

Winter is hanging on and there is much snow still on the ground. Everyone you talk to is waiting for spring. Some patiently, some not so much.

Waiting.

I have been waiting since October for my shoulder to heal. I've gone the route of OT, PT, acupuncture, orthopedic doc and massage therapist. Just when I think I have a breakthrough, a setback plagues me with discouragement.

Waiting.

I turn to the Psalms where my eyes fall on many verses such as "all that I am waits patiently upon the Lord. "

All that I am waits patiently.

Is that true of me?

Would discouragement assault me if my thoughts were waiting patiently?

Would doubt drag my emotions down if I were waiting patiently?

Lord, you know all that I am desires to wait upon you but I'm tired today. I have much to do and forty-five minutes have passed waiting in this room with a dozen people.

Six months of waiting in the wilderness.

I look up at the clock. Should I leave and try another day?

Stay, daughter. Stay in My waiting room a little longer.

Shortly after I heard his quiet whisper, my number was called. The person before me got tired of waiting and left. They were almost there.

Am I almost there?

My reading this morning took me to Luke 12.

Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.

It makes your Father happy to give you the Kingdom.

What does seeking the kingdom look like?

One of my favorite books comes to mind. I pull it off the shelf.

"The Kingdom of God exists right here in the moments where we live." Simply Tuesday

I am reminded to live while I'm waiting. 

To breathe, to pray, to listen, to notice.

I look up from my book. Terry is walking across the yard from the shop.

Here is the Kingdom, child. Pray for him.

I pray as I walk to greet him at the door.

Jesus is in the details, the "ordinary daily" as Emily Freeman puts it.

The rush of life dulls our senses to the Kingdom.

My to-do list and daily pain often overshadow the Father's heart for me. 

I hear whispers in this waiting season.

I will wait a little longer.

While I wait I listen. I pray to notice.

Perhaps Spring is right around the corner.









Saturday, March 18, 2017

His "Yes" is My Hope.


Life is like a fairy tale!

Did you read the sentence twice? 

Unlike fairy tales, we don't have happy endings with every story nor life wrapped up nice and neat with a large bow.

Nevertheless, we do have the hope of a promise.

"Light arises in the darkness for the upright." Psalm 112:4

This has been a tough week. Last weekend, we had a wonderful time with our granddaughter and her boyfriend. For two whole days, we enjoyed games and movies and good food. Most of all, we laughed together and delighted in each other's company.

The minute they left for a three hour drive home,  an intense loneliness moved in. My week went downhill from there. One disappointment upon another blanketed my soul with bleakness. I struggled between fighting despair or giving in to it.

Tension stretched my emotions taut and old wounds flared up within.

Can you build an altar to Me in the heart of your unmet desires?

As I read my daily scriptures, I heard this question.

Can you believe I am saying yes to you, when everything seems to be saying no?

My word for the year is yes. Not only saying yes to myself, but believing God is speaking yes over me.

Can I believe his yes when everyone and everything else is screaming NO?

"That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls..." Hebrews 6 The Voice translation

The Message Bible tells me to "grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go."

The promised hope rests upon God's Words of blessing.

As I sat listening and praying, nothing changed in my world but the light of hope glimmered in the darkness. 

In the light of hope, I could almost imagine Jesus standing over me, with the word "yes" flowing from his lips with love.

His YES is my hope. 

I wait quietly upon His Word.

Can you build an altar by faith in the midst of your unmet hopes and dreams? Surrender is never easy and some days seems downright impossible. So I pray for help, for faith to let go and trust. I pray for rescue from the darkness. I pray for ears to hear his YES and a heart to believe.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Power of Hope



These words greet me every morning as I sit down at my desk with my muffin and tea.

I have called you by your NAME. You are MINE.

 I open my visual  journal and write a couple of morning pages, dumping worries and distraction upon the page. Then I open my lined daily journal to prepare to hear from the Lord. I write the date and the weather and perhaps a couple sentences.

During this season of Lent, most of my writing goes in my Isaiah book from She Reads Truth. For more information, see my post here - http://wingsopen.blogspot.com/2017/02/winter-wilderness-whispers.html

Isaiah is not an easy read. I began by approaching Isaiah with the question foremost in my mind these days.

What is the heart of the Father?

Today's reading began in Isaiah 9, a familiar passage of scripture to me.

The first 7 verses stopped me in my tracks.

Having read the darkness and judgement prior, the words took on fresh meaning. Some translations rendered this passage as if it had already happened.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."

Other translations render the words future tense.

 Holy Spirit whispered to me.

They are both.

Yes, the words are both.

Isaiah stood before the people of Israel speaking the words given to him. Were there those who reached out in faith, receiving the hope God brought from the mouth of his prophet?

Then Jesus fulfilled the words in a physical body, coming to this earth as the long awaited Messiah and our Savior. There were many who believed!

Today in 2017, I sit at my desk, reading and hearing the same words spoken, containing the same power to break oppression and lift heavy burdens from my shoulders, if I will merely believe them.

Are you sitting in gloom and darkness today? Perhaps the weight of our nation leaves you anxious and afraid? Do you carry the burden of sickness, divorce, financial difficulties or something else just as heavy for you?

God's words resound through the centuries!

He used a man, a human prophet to speak them into the earth.

God's words continue to carry the power of hope to break through every darkness. 

In the midst of rebellion and unbelief of Isaiah's day, the Father's heart remained constant Love towards his children.

Beloved of God, behold your Prince of Peace today.

 Reach out to Him, the Mighty God.

He is waiting for a tiny sliver of faith to connect to. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.

Let faith move your gaze to Jesus today.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Winter Wilderness Whispers




In February, I found myself hibernating to  hear the heart of the Father.

I began the month listening to the audible book by Shawn Bolz, "Translating God." Even though the main subject was the prophetic word, I heard the theme of the Father's heart throughout.

I kept my eyes on my absolute yes list. This meant I went to the gym, although not as much as I would have liked. I made phone calls to friends and reached out to a couple people I hadn't talked to in years. I kept my list posted on my desk as a reminder each morning.

"I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there." Hosea 2:14 NLT

Winter wilderness days. 

This is how I would describe my current season of life.

Do I like the wilderness? Absolutely not!

Nevertheless, I wouldn't change it because the truth is clear. 

Jesus led me here and continues to lead me. 

I hear His voice, through his Word, his words in my spirit, and through my podcasts and books and all the things I love and surround myself with.

As we leave the month of February, I am beginning a new study for Lent on the book of Isaiah. I bought the gorgeous study guide to follow along with She Reads Truth. It's a bit pricey so you can simply download the app and find the same study there for $2.99.

I've never actually had a prayer for Lent or given up anything. On the weekend thoughts kept coming to me to do so. 

You might think about simply clearing space to hear the heart of the Father in the days ahead. Perhaps you are walking through a wilderness and need to hear the whispers of your Savior. Maybe you  are sensing a need for change in your life. Why not think about joining me this Lenten season?  Is God whispering to your heart in any of these areas?

If you like, leave a comment with your email and I will respond.

Friday, February 3, 2017

January's "Yes" List


In January, I made an Absolute Yes List. 

Years ago, my list helped me to make decisions on how to use my time wisely. I got the idea from a book by Cheryl Richardson. Here's how it works.

Make a list of five things that are non-negotiables for you, yet often get pushed to the back burner. Live by this list. Focus on living out your Yes list and saying No to distractions and diversions.

Of course, life happens and some days crisis and responsibilities take precedence. Facebook is not a crisis or responsibility! :) Don't let social media or Netflix overtake your Yes, unless it makes the list.

Here's mine:

1. My time with the Lord every morning.
2. Movement 
3. Write & Create
4. Clear space in my home
5. Important Realtionships 

January was a tough month for me. Physical Therapy and health dominated my thoughts. Yet I made progress in my Yes List.

1. Somedays my quiet time was limited but for the most part, constant.

2. This is the area I fell short in. I made steps toward doing better by purchasing a FITBIT which I set up yesterday. Fingers crossed I get back to the gym.

3. I finished and submitted my manuscript plus a lot of extras to go along with it. I also spent an afternoon creating an art journal page, my first in years!

4. My office doubles as my Pray/Write/Create area. Last Saturday I spent hours weeding out and organizing. Yay!

5. This is a tough one. I found myself hibernating because of my weariness from pain and the weather. We made it to church New Years Day. We did travel to my granddaughter's 21st birthday, which was a lot of fun! I made myself reach out and phone friends I knew were having a rough time. Improvement needed for sure.

I take comfort in the words Holy Spirit whispered to me on Monday. 

I order your steps.

Psalm 37:23 tells me He guards, directs, establishes and delights in my steps, depending on which translation you read. 

The Amplified Translation adds "He blesses my path."

This path I am walking through the wilderness is blessed. I am resting on this promise.