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.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Power of Questioning



I listened to the rain for hours last night, wondering if the ice was finally melting from our roof and would we lose power? My arms aching and the inability to sleep on my side kept me awake for the second night in a row. I've been in and out for weeks with this shoulder issue. These stretches of insomnia provide opportunities to listen to hours of podcasts, preaching and pondered prayers in my head. Last night I gave up and got up. 

 Asking ourselves questions may lead to a knowing we have need of.

Several questions have been on my heart this week, stemming from various sources. 

Why do I follow Jesus?
What do I want from Him?
What does He want from me?

Why do I follow Jesus?

In John 6,  Jesus gave the answer to this question to the crowd surrounding Him. 

You follow Me for what I can give you.  In so many words. 

They would fit right in with todays crowds. 
"Give me what I want."
Loud voices demanding attention fill our media and our heads, if we aren't careful.

Is that what I'm saying to Jesus these days? Is my loud cry for answers drowning out my heart? I hope not.

I follow Jesus because He is my Constant. Even on the days, I thought He'd abandoned me, some part of me knew it couldn't be true. He knows my heart, my loves and hates, my strengths and weaknesses; nevertheless, He remains constant. 

What do I want from Him?

I will write my answers to this question in my journal, perhaps a post for another day. While I do, maybe you should put pen to paper personally.

What does He want from me?

My answers look like:

everything, total surrender, faith.

But I love God's own answer from Micah 6:8 NLT

"This is what He requires of you: 
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

Now there's a passage to memorize and meditate in my wakeful hours.

I may be losing sleep but I am gaining something more precious.







Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Word for 2017


I live on the words spoken from His mouth.

I listen for His voice and hear what God is speaking over my life. His words anchor me in the storms and hold hope for me through assaults of hopelessness.

My One Little Word for 2017 is YES. 

Last May I picked up this word when I realized I needed to say "yes" to myself more often. Heading into a new year, I became aware of my YES growing in a new direction. 

God wants me to hear His voice saying YES.

For years growing in my faith, I leaned on the side of NO. Surely God would say no to that!

Early this morning, I heard the word NOW.

Now God is saying yes. Maybe He always was but I couldn't hear.

My prayer for 2017 is that I will not only hear Holy Spirit as He whispers yes, but believe Him.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wilderness Prayers



Sunshine on slips of green brought a smile to my face this morning. The weather has been frigid and dreary, but today a little warmth is breaking through. I steeped my tea and shook cinnamon on my toast before heading into my office/writing room/ sanctuary. 

Verses and prayers and writings draw my attention on papers I taped where my eyes would fall upon them, so I would remember. I read through a few, then turned my attention to my adoration verses. You can  find these over at Every Bitter Thing is Sweet .

I turned to Psalm 145 in the Passion Translation, reading aloud, looking for my scripture to land on and send a bit of praise heavenward. I found no landing place for each verse overwhelmed me with how incredibly loving and majestic God is! 

How much more there is to learn of this huge God I've been in relationship with for decades! 

As I pondered the Psalm, a few words from Isaiah 40 tugged at my heart so I reached for my tattered green NIV Bible and turned to a familiar passage. As I read the first 5 verses, the Spirit shone like the sunlight on my window planting. 

"Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God."

"A voice of one calling in the desert prepare the way for the Lord."

Two days ago I wrote here on this blog about a season of walking through the wilderness, depending on the Lord to show me his pathway. I wrote this was not a time to decree and declare my way out, but to journey through.

Today the Lord asked me, "What do you see?"

I closed my eyes and waited. 

"I see a pathway but its blocked with huge boulders and other obstacles."

"Pray this scripture over those obstacles."

I opened my eyes to look at the scripture although I knew it by heart. It goes on to say...

"Every valley shall be made high and every mountain and hill made low, the rough ground shall become level and the rugged places a plain."

As I quietly began my prayer, all the rough places, physical problems, disappointments, challenges of the past few months along with worries for our future toppled from my lips with the verses of scripture.

I prayed a very different prayer from what it would have been even a few days prior, before Holy Spirit had time to brood over my heart and mind.

I closed with the final phrase in the beginning of verse 5.

"And the glory of the Lord will be revealed." 

My thoughts turn to 2 Corinthians 4 where I've landed several times in the past couple weeks.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all."

The verse above begins with "Therefore we do not lose heart."

Don't lose heart dear reader. He is the One who will never leave you no matter where your path takes you. And He is the One who knows how to move those mountains. I speak these words to myself, even as I pen them to you.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Path Through the Wilderness



                                     "I will make a path through the wilderness." Isaiah 43:19

I created two small vision boards for this year.  I am living in the top left right hand corner, on a path in the wilderness. 

January 2017 has been a tough month for me so far. I continue to battle with shoulder pain and various other issues related to food allergies. Once I realized PT wasn't making a dent in my pain, I went to the OT I'd seen last year. She gave me a short list of things to implement including removing sugar from my diet, then sent me to an acupuncturist. The acupuncturist added to my list of helps including Dandelion tea which I had an allergic reaction to after only two days. In addition I was reading Kriss Carr's book on health and diet. Needless to say I went into a downward spiral and crashed. Nothing was working and I felt like a failure.

I called Kate, my go-to-girl for nutrition and health. 

She calmly told me to STOP! 

"Stop trying to fix yourself and nurture yourself. You know your body. Listen to it and listen to your spirit."

A weight lifted from my shoulders as I let her words penetrate the confusion surrounding me, Hope began to arise thrusting out the lies. I couldn't measure up to all the standards of the wonderful people around me. I need to find what works for me.







Oh how I want the Lord to simply heal me!

Yet I'm led to verses like the one in 2 Corinthians 4 that tells me my suffering here is producing inside of me an eternal weight of glory. I used to scoff at this verse being used as an excuse for unbelief but now I sense the weight of its truth.

Over and over I'm led back to Psalm 23. David begins by using the pronoun "He" when referring to God. The Lord is my shepherd. He leads me. He makes me. He restores me.

When David enters the shadowed valley, the pronoun changes to "You." His relationship shifts in the valley. His vision becomes more personal.

I sense the shift. I want to decree and confess my way to health and joy, but I hear the Spirit saying to follow Him. He is making a path through this wilderness, a path where glory is formed in me, one I can't see but only know by faith.

Today I drank my green juice and determined to do better. Then Hubby and I were out in the freezing cold and I suggested a hot drink. After a decaf hot coffee and donut, my head is dizzy and my stomach protesting. I  never get used to these restrictions, a;ways thinking this time will be different.









My intention in writing this post  was to share my word for the year and my goals but those aren't the words flowing from my fingers today. Perhaps someone else needs to know its okay to struggle, to fail to meet the strenuous standards we place on ourselves added to the weight of limitations already restricting our movements. 
I can put all the heat and ointments and oils on my shoulder for temporary relief but my range of motion never changes. Tomorrow the doctor will inject cortisone into the joint and hopefully unlock the tightness. 
I can stay on the treadmill of trying everything I know to get healthy or I can trust the path I'm walking is a path of love watched over by my all-knowing Shepherd. 

Psalm 23 closes with a promise of grace and mercy and goodness as my companions every single day I breathe on this earth. I turn away from  mountains overbearing my path and look to You, Lord to lead me through this valley. I know I won't remain here. I am making progress whether I feel it or not. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ramblings Between Old and New



I miss our Christmas tree with all her lights and memory-holding ornaments. I took it down this week anticipating a friend's visit but sickness changed her plans. 

As hard as I tried to keep Christmas simple, December still pulled me into its flurry. I fell behind in December reflections on Instagram and my reading came to a stand still. To give myself a bit of credit, a shoulder problem added Physical Therapy visits to my schedule three times a week. I gave up going to the gym due to sheer exhaustion from an aching shoulder interrupting sleep.

I managed to finish my baking, wrapping and packing on time. Terry and I traveled the 5 hours to our sons for Friday night and Christmas Eve day, back to Bangor for Christmas with our daughter and family, then home Christmas night. A lot of travel but totally worth it!

Winter began with a vengeance here in northern Maine. Our snowfall totals are above normal but the ice on the roof is causing problems. We have already had two leaks and Terry was up on the roof again today chipping away. 

The snow is falling steadily outside and my plan is to complete the final chapter for my book today. It's lunch time and I haven't gotten there yet but I promised myself I would write a blogpost first. 

So here I am rambling.

Later this week I want to share my one little word for 2017, my verse and perhaps a few goals.

Basically I'm reconnecting to social media today with a smile.