Thursday, January 2, 2014

heart cleaning

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

This is my verse for the year. I've never done that, picked a verse to meditate on for an entire year. It made sense to me to choose my favorite Scripture for this very first time, since my dusty ol' heart needs a good scrubbing and my floppy little spirit needs some refreshing.

God the Creator and Renewer can do these things for me. My awkwardness at thinking and exploring what is deep inside me needs the steady hand of my Father, the light His word casts before my feet on the path of 2014. And believe me, I do feel awkward. What seemed to come naturally to me a few years ago was corrupted by lax heart cleaning and strengthening. How did I let that happen?

No matter. It's time to clean it up. The room of broken fellowship was entered a while ago, and a little stab here and there was made to clear out some of the junk.  It's time now to put a little elbow grease on the relationship room and clean away the lingering cobwebs that somehow got missed in the corners.

Another room to clean is the "service" room. I have been stupid enough to let my service get in the way of the One that I serve. Get the heavy duty vacuum, that room is pretty darn filthy.

So many rooms, so much dirt and grime. 

It's a good thing Jesus is in the washing white as snow business. 





Wednesday, August 28, 2013

free to love...

This may be one of the hardest posts I've ever written. And yet one of the most necessary. And one of the most personally eyeopening heartsearching. And one of the most joyful.  I only have about half a clue what I'm going to say, even. 

First I will say this - in my experience, God is a loving God. God is a giving God. God is a protecting God. A wise God, a beautiful, glorious, praiseworthy God. 

God is also a hard God. A taking away God. A God I barely understand even while I want to understand him more. 

But God is also trustworthy God. When I don't understand, when I hurt, when I withdraw, when I close down, when I turn away, God is to be trusted. When I run to him, when I open my eyes and my heart to him, when I cry for help, God is to be trusted. When I smile at him, when I laugh and let him in the deepest part of my being, God is trustworthy.  No matter what, no matter the situation.  And he has proved it yet again.

Since I started this blog, I have poured out a lot of me into it. A lot that needed to come out of my dirty insides so that clean healing could take place.  There is healthy new flesh in my heart where before, there were hard, stony, scabby places that allowed little room for growth. God has infused thoughts and words with power like a sledgehammer to chip away the entrapment of my heart.  There has been joy unthinkable as I discovered myself, discovered how to love, how to be a friend, how to serve, how to just...be me.

And there have been friends along the way, cheering the sledgehammer on, loving me through pain and hurt, supporting me as the rocky pieces fell away and rejoicing with me, with God, that I was learning to live.

Somewhere along the way, during the heartchipping, the growing, the learning to live, there came a time where a lot of my loving serving giving became quite unnecessary and unneeded. That's okay, I knew there would be a fade to gray, and it was right and good. The circle was getting bigger from the love and blessing of God, and I did not mind being gray - it's always been one of my favorite colors anyway. 

But somehow, at some point, fade to gray became fade to invisible. Gray is fine, invisible hurts. And yet, that's where I have been for some time. Invisible. 

I cannot really describe the invisibility of the past year. For one thing, it would be way too much like a pityparty. For another thing, I have no ability to put into words how it feels when people withdraw from you, stop talking to you, even sometimes seem angry or impatient with you, when they cease to 'see' you, even right there in front of them, when you sit in the stairwell during worship services for weeks at a time, and no one even notices that you weren't there with them, when you have a gift and aren't asked to use it, when you are called to serve and used less and less. I just cannot wrap my heart around that again to be able to write it.  And I would never want to hurt my innocent friends, who were dealing with their own lifechanges in the way they knew best, and not realizing at all what was going on with me.

But you know what? God was in it, the whole time. There has come a time where things are permanently changed - my friends have moved on to another place, another calling, another adventure. And I see God in this so clearly - the growing invisibility of the past year has actually been a shield, a protection, a guarding of my heart. I have not been invisible to God. He has been there with me, preparing me for this moment.  It hurt, yes - more than I can say. But God knew of a greater hurt, and rescued my heart from a pain that would have been almost unbearable.  God, once again, is my Knight in shining armor.

My dear friend recently posted about God's leading in one of the biggest decisions of her life and the life of her family, and how God brought her and her husband to specific Scriptures to guide them.  I read her blogpost early one morning as I fixed my coffee. Suddenly I was so overwhelmed by God speaking to me about one particular verse that I had to put my coffee down and lean on my hands, breathless - I knew it was about ME as much as it was about them! It was about our church as much as another church, my life as much as my friend's life, God wasn't working in just one area, it was about so many things, it took my breath.

I suddenly felt a rush of color, like I have not felt for years - COLOR. Not gray. Color!  

I know I am loved. By my friends, by God. I know that God has released me from a commitment made long ago, a specific commitment to serve my friend with all that I have, for love of God and my friend. I know that my service is no longer needed, for my friend, and I am free to love. And full of color.



Isaiah 43:18-19

 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.





Thursday, November 1, 2012

illuminater...

I long in my heart to see and to seek God in the fresh, vibrant way I did when I first blogged. There was something about that time, something new, unexplored. The world crept in, and I became self-conscious about my writing, and I left it.  But...never forgot it.

God knows the desires of my heart, even through my fumbling, inadequate attempts to talk to him about them, usually ending in tears and very little words actually being said.  He knows, and he gives.

I stepped out into the cool, early air of the porch, and my face sought the sun without conscious thought.  What I saw took my breath.  



This day, God did what God does - he revealed himself.  And for once, my eyes were willing to see.

Photography is all about light. I am in love with light, and my eyes and heart can barely contain themselves when I see beautiful light. This particular morning, God showed me more than just lovely light - once again, he showed me Jesus, glorious Jesus.

As I've learned and grown as a photographer, I've learned how to manipulate light, using it to illuminate my subject in the manner I have envisioned in my mind's eye. The very best light is big, soft light, the closer the better, light that wraps around and embraces the subject, softening harsh edges and shadows. 

Isn't that my Jesus? He is the Light of the world, the Light of MY world, and when he comes close to me, as he always is (if only I would see), enveloping me in his big, soft glow, my soul is illuminated. No shadows can remain, no darkness in the inner chambers of my heart, not when I am the subject and my Jesus is surrounding me, wrapping around me, filling me.  And like a well-lit portrait pleases the viewer, may the light of the Son reveal a subject that is pleasing to the Father.

Thank you, dear Father, that you heard my prayer, and showed yourself to me in such a sweet and precious way. You are the Faithful One, and I love you. 






Saturday, June 23, 2012

Christmas in June...

So much has happened since I last blogged the sad news about my beloved Chrissy, and I am thanking God that it has been good stuff. My dear friends from California came in for a nearly-week-long visit, and we had loads of fun window shopping, eating, planning gardens, eating, chatting, cooking, eating...right up my alley, wouldn't you say?




And today, this came in the mail, sort of a followup gift box, I guess you'd say. We had much discussion about low carb cooking and eating, especially since 2 of my family members have been following that type of plan. The goodie box was jam packed with tons of stuff to try, as well as a huge folder of recipes to give a go. This will keep my mind and hands and mouth happily occupied for weeks.




But the most funnest (is that a word?) gift was the blue alligator for Zeus. One squeak and he knew it was his.  


Anne and Amy, much love and thanks to you for the sweet, thoughtful, and generous box of treats, and this comes from both me AND Zeus. Much love!
XOXOXOXOXO







 psst - can you tell he's crazy about it?







Saturday, May 12, 2012

goodbye, my sweet girl...


You came to us at Christmas, 2005, as a precious bouncing 7 week old, making one 9 year old boyheart burst with joy and happiness. And now, 6 1/2 years later, that same boyheart is breaking.

I'll never ever know what you were chasing so intently, but why, why did you have to chase it into the road? I've never seen you do that before.  That young girl never even saw you coming. There was nothing anyone could do.

How I wish I could have stopped you. Instead, I got you back home and woke up my boy to tell him.  He is taking it hard, because there is nothing like a boy and his dog.

And now you're sleeping that long sleep, not far from Pumpkin. Who would believe that I would have a pet graveyard here, before we've even been here a year? If I had known, I never would have moved here. Yes, you would have been worth it.

Now we have days to come where we will look for you marching your patrol, and you won't be there. I'll scrape some leftovers into a pan for you, before I realize that you aren't there to eat them. Hellboy will eat from a bowl on the porch and wonder why you aren't taking it away from him. And Dillon will mow the yard and walk the woods and find your rubber tiger or a tennis ball in the grass, and wish you were with him.


I love you, sweet Chrissy. I will miss you more than I even know now. I'm so glad I had my coffee on the back porch with you this morning, and threw your toy for you a few times. I'll always remember how happy you were...

See you at the Rainbow Bridge. XOXO



Saturday, March 31, 2012

out of sync...

God of my heart, this past year, You have blessed me beyond measure. You have given me gifts greater than I could dream of.  You have blessed given loved.  You have...

And yet - I am out of sync. My steps erratic. My heart unsettled.  I don't know why, except that I've been hiding, holding back, watching from a distance.

I want to come home.  Bring me home. To sit in the sun with You.  To sit at Your feet.

'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'  Jeremiah 29:13



Sunday, January 1, 2012

wistful ending, thriller beginning...

It's late, not much to say except it's a little sad to be wishing our first Christmas here goodbye.

But so exciting to be saying hello to our first full year. :)

I have lots to think about, and say, in the coming weeks, about God, children, me...so excited to be ready to blog again.