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Confidence through His eyes

Sometimes I feel broken, you know that feeling where because your life doesn’t quite look like the picturesque dream the world says it should be so therefore you must not be enough feeling; yeah, that feeling.  That picture is not my life and I feel like my brokenness makes me less than whole.  I worry that we failed  and we are too broken to even be acknowledged, to even be taken seriously, to truly make a difference.  The struggle with imperfection and failing is a constant battle.

But then sometimes God whispers a sweet nudge reminding me that just because my reality is not what the world says is enough, that reality is not His reality and it does not make me less than.  Sometimes God’s plans look very different from we want or expect. His plans may not be what the world says is enough, but they are so very good and when we step into His plans we see how He sees us and the wholeness He provides!

I woke up to the sound of the text dinging my phone, “Who in the world could be texting me as the sun comes up?” I thought to myself.  I ignored the ding for a time, but ultimately my curiosity got the best of me and I rolled over. It was someone who holds my heart in a special way that I can’t find the right words to describe how amazing she is;  she had been talking with God and in the middle of her quiet time He placed me on her heart. The simple fact that on this particular day God tugged at her to reach out showed me how deeply He cares for the small things, how deeply he cares for each of us.

See, I was incredibly nervous, the kind of nervous where your heart seems to jump out of your chest while your lungs hold a breath in the deepest part and your body seems to bounce around uncontrollably while your brain scrambles in hopes of not blowing the entire thing!  Yeah, that is exactly where I was, crawling out of my skin scared. Fear had taken over and I desperately pleaded that I would not disappoint or fail my friend that entrusted October 6th in my hands.  In the grand scheme of things this day was small but I felt the weight of coaching well heavy on my shoulders.  For weeks I had been bending God’s ear about doing this day well; I did not want to fail.  This day felt as though I would find my coaching voice or I was never going to amount to anything as a coach.  It felt as though there was no in between.

Her text demanded a trust that I tell her what was going on and I couldn’t help but oblige.  She knows me well and her heart for God only draws me into a deep trust where I can’t tell her no.  I told her how I was fearful of disappointing my friend along with the failure that could occur on the field.  She gently poured words of wisdom and advice into me all while pointing me back to Jesus.

The funniest thing happened as we talked, I began to visualize Jesus standing with me on the sidelines that my feet would soon fill.  He had on our team shirt along with His face painted to support me. His face held a pure smile that His eyes could barely contain and He had a bright yellow foam finger with my name printed in black written LARGE across it all while His fist pumped through the air, yelling every exciting encouraging word His mouth could contain as He watched me coach from the sidelines.  A crazy picture, I know, but for the first time I saw Jesus as my cheerleader! A huge fan that when His eyes looked at me He saw someone who He absolutely adores. This idea, where the most important man who has EVER walked on this earth, looks at me and all He sees is, someone He truly loves and adores overwhelmed my heart in such a way that I could not hold it in, my eyes filled with blue waves that overflowed running quickly down my cheeks.  Her text, a moment my heart truly needed, opened a door in my heart where for a moment I could see myself through Jesus’ eyes.

It’s hard for me to think I deserve that type of adoration, that type of unconditional insane crazy  love. I typically only see my failings, my flaws, my shortcomings, but for a moment that morning I saw something a little bit different.  I saw a moment where Jesus sees me for who I am in Him and ultimately for who He is making me to be.  I was filled with a deep confidence that no matter if I failed or found my wings I had the best fan and cheerleader standing beside me longing to simply cheer me on and for me to keep my eyes focused on Him!  He was the one I was coaching for and His approval was the only one I wanted or needed.

He stands with each of us, t-shirt on along with a bright foam finger with our name on it, cheering for us!  He is your ABSOLUTE BIGGEST cheerleader and fan! When He looks at you all He sees is this beautiful soul that is made in His image and He LOVES you!  His eyes soften at the simple mention of your name and His heart jumps for joy as He thinks about your sweet face. He can’t help but smile when you focus on Him.  It’s hard to think that someone could love you with a grace that is so deep and true, but He does and He is always in your corner.

I pray you see yourself through His eyes, through His love for you, through the adoration His heart holds for you.  The view is absolutely incredible and if we find ourselves on that mountain top and trust Him for our true identity we might just find Him in a new profound way that will ultimately lead us deeper in relationship with Him!!!!

Imagine seeing yourself through His eyes and how that will change everything you do and say.  Imagine how you will approach things with a new-found unbridled confidence that will give you the courage to dream His dreams and chase His heart!  Imagine only living for Him!  I pray you see Him with His fist pumping through the air cheering you on today!

Blessings,

Stacy

Caught in a Memory

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

You’re driving down the road minding your own business as you sing along to your favorite song. The light turns green and as your feet presses on the gas and lets up on the clutch you feel yourself jolt and your breath catch in your chest. A memory streaks across your mind stirring up emotions you thought were buried deep below the waves. Their little faces cause your eyes to fill with tears that overflow and overwhelm your heart. A memory you thought was buried, one you thought you could escape, but the day, the way the sun hit off the clouds and the air filled your lungs with the sweet smells of summers end, all barreled at you and before you realized it you were drowning in a sea of feelings because the memory took you captive.

Moses was an incredible leader and follower of God who never got to walk into The Promised Land. He raised up another leader who would eventually lead the people of Israel across the Jordan and into the land of milk and honey.

All through Exodus we see the nation of Israel on a hard, long, painful journey in hopes of entering a place God promised them. They walked in shoes that became filled with memories of torment, abuse, slavery, and fear. Memories of how God saved them by parting the Red Sea, sending manna and quail, a pillar of cloud leading them by day and a pillar of fire by night. They followed Moses, sometimes grumbling and fighting the journey, as Moses listened and followed God trusting Him for The Promised Land.

In Joshua 1 we see Moses has passed away and God tells Joshua to get up and be ready; that he will be the one who takes the people across the Jordan.

I picture Joshua standing in the night air next to the rushing water as he listens to the calm night sky whisper as the wind rushes through the brush. I can just see his face as he contemplates all God has told him and as he wrestles with this new calling. “Strong and courageous,” two words branded on his heart, on a warriors heart. Joshua is a mighty warrior and does not take those words lightly, they weigh on him. I picture him standing by that river remembering all this nation has been through to get to this moment. His hands lifted in worship as he focuses on his loving Father. This warrior is ready to walk into The Promised Land knowing God is with him.

God calls them to move and the most incredible thing happens! The Jordan, during flood stage, stops! God STOPS the river and the entire nation walks across on DRY ground! This is the second time God has them walk on dry ground where it should be covered with water, once at the beginning of their journey into the desert and here at the end of the journey as they leave the desert. We see in Joshua 4 they make it to the other side and God tells Joshua to choose 1 man from each of the 12 tribes to collect a stone from the middle of the Jordan where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood as they crossed. They were to stack the stones in order to be a sign for future generations to see that this, this place, was where Israel crossed the river on dry ground because God STOPPED the river.

A memory, a stamp in time, marked by a memorial to evoke an emotion, to evoke worship. Joshua took remembering serious, he did what God asked. Israel needed reminders of God’s power and His works.

We need to be struck by memories. We need to get lost in the embrace of what God has done and trust that those memories will only strengthen our trust in a deep way so that we can fall further into His chest and trust Him for all the unknowns of the present and the future.

This time of year begins one that is filled with hardness for my little family as those memories surface, sometimes from out of nowhere, but as I lay here listening to the night whisper His unmeasurable glory, I’m reminded to remember and hold those memories dear even when they hurt, even when they bring tears, even when sadness seems to overtake. I’m reminded to worship the Creator for the good and the bad knowing He uses everything for His glory. Those hard roads can lead us into a place that is filled with milk and honey and only makes our stories sweeter! Those memories glorify a good good Father and show His faithfulness and how holy He is. So as the weather teases us with the promises of hoodies, football, and pumpkin spice everything let us fall head first into worship as we remember all He has done for us!

Blessings,

Stacy

Surprised up in the Clouds

I had only flown at night once and it had been my very first flight. The memory of that flight is tainted with emotions of fear and uncertainty wrapped tightly in anxiety, so this flight, the one I was fixing to board that would land in the dark, made me a little nervous.

We boarded, walking the narrow aisle, she found us a spot where we placed our luggage in the overhead 18-17; she didn’t have to, but she let me have the window seat and I began my routine:

  • Bible ready to read Joshua 1:9
  • Seat belt firmly tightened
  • IPod set to my take off song
  • Text my mom and Benjamin that I love them
  • A prayer on the tip of my tongue
  • A deep breath ready to face this flight

The plane backs out getting ready for take-off and we taxi to the runway. My thoughts brought to Joshua 1:9 as the plane jumps bounding towards the sky; my heart  skips a beat, or maybe two.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 

He always reminds me that He has got this. Whatever “this” is He already has it and no matter what, it is taken care of because He is there with me protecting me, pushing me, loving me, and growing me. As we climbed higher and higher I got a glimpse of a sunset painting the tops of the clouds. I watched in awe as the colors blended flawlessly, one into the other, highlighting the sky with pinks and oranges against the blues and purples. I guarded those precious moments, the few minutes where I saw the Master Creator paint the horizon line with such perfection and splendid beauty. It was breathtaking and my ribs could not keep my heart’s excitement encased. It was a sight I will not soon forget but then God did one better. The sun went down and darkness flooded the night sky, a deep blue velvet cascaded over the earth far below me threatening to overtake but lights began to appear; tiny bright white lights, red tail lights, still silvery street lights, and big gold building lights all lit up the ground far beneath the plane. Two songs playing in my ears as I begged God to make me different, changed, to grow my faith and help me stand up and move out on the water to chase Him. The verses rang deep in my ears striking my heart stirring a gratefulness and enthusiasm my flesh could barely contain.

High above the city immersed in the BIGGNESS of Him, I saw how incredibly small I am, how incredibly small we are. That moment, overwhelming my soul and begging to escape through a wave from my blue eyes, was more than I could truly handle. A God this big, this immense, this colossal LOVES me. He loves a tiny individual, an imperfect individual that walks on a planet full of other tiny individuals and he loves each of us with an unconditional undying love that none of us truly can wrap our minds around. He adores and cherishes each and every one of us! I watched the hundreds of thousands of lights high above the darkness in awe that each one of us has our very own story, has our very own wiring, has our very own unique personality and He did that! He put it all in place with so much planning and affection! Not a single one of us is an accident! He is so BIG, so very very very BIG!

We are never alone, He is right by our side and He is BIG enough to be everything we could possibly want and absolutely everything we need.

That plane ride, the one I was so nervous about, was incredible as I sat high above the ground, deep in the clouds talking to God. Honestly I was sad when the wheels touched down and I was back on this earth, a deep longing ached in my chest begging God for just five more minutes where I could get a glimpse of His bigness.

He has plans for each of us that truly cannot be conceived and He longs to meet you right where you are at and show you just how much He truly loves you! He longs to take you on a ride too amazing for written words; jump on and hang on tight, you might just find that you see God from a new perspective high up in the clouds that brings you to your knees thanking Him for how BIG He is.

Blessings,

Ferg

Purposeful Wiring

Stepping into your purpose can be terrifying but you might just be surprised that you feel completely at home for the first time in your life. God is an incredible writer and He has a story for your life that is too good to just be written on paper.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

My feet pushed forward as I adjusted the microphone, all while begging my gram to hug me for the amazing introduction she made. This was it, the moment I had been anticipating and avoiding for the past few years.  I had my Moses moment where I argued with God that He had made a mistake. The mistake that there was no way an introvert like me could stand in front of a crowd and mutter two words let alone speak His truth. The mistake that there was no way I was going to be able to put together two thoughts let alone an entire lesson that could glorify Him and serve others.  The mistake that I simply was not good enough or worthy to stand before these amazing women.  This moment, the one I had in my head that could either make it or break it, it was here and NOW was the time I would turn around and look out into the sea of faces, beautiful eager faces, who had come to find out about the Root of Jesus.  I should have been nervous or terrified but peace was deep in my bones as I turned around to face them.

As I looked out over the crowd of faces, focused and intent, I found an even deeper longing to serve and love them with every single thing I had until I had nothing else to give. I wanted to share who God is and how He could change their lives!  I wanted to move them for Him. The thing is that I couldn’t, because I am not qualified to do the job I stood on that stage to do, but I know He is.

As I stood before them and prayed, I knew God was up to something, something absolutely incredible, and I could not contain the words that were in my mouth. The words came out and the lesson that I had argued with God for weeks over, flowed flawlessly and fell upon welcoming ears.  They listened, they actually listened, I had prepared myself for blank stares and hollow ears but they were with me for each and every word.  That night as I stepped off of that platform and took off that microphone I was completely humbled and forever in awe of that life changing moment.

The minute we step into the purpose God has for us something incredible and unexplainable happens. All my life I have felt like I don’t quite fit. An outsider may argue that I fit everywhere, even most of my closest friends might argue that same truth, but the reality is I have longed and struggled to find a place I feel comfortable in my own skin.  I have learned to fit each moment for what it needs and in doing that I have never found one that allowed me to truly fit.  The moment I opened my mouth, saw their shining faces, and spoke, that was the moment I found a comfort I have not ever known. Finding our purpose, finding our place in the body of Christ, brings a new excitement and freshness to our walk.

Maybe you know exactly what I am talking about and you have found the shoes that fit your feet or maybe you are still confused and trying to find your place. Let me encourage you to step out and follow God right where you are at. He has you there for a reason and it might possibly be to prepare and grow you for that moment you step into something new, something designed with your exact wiring in mind. Eleven years ago I saw what He wanted to do with me and the journey to that platform on May 18th was anything but easy. He began preparing and growing me over those eleven long years through some of the hardest moments of my life. All along the way I knew He had a plan and I just needed to step forward and put one foot in front of the other while letting Him be in control. You see our purpose is a promise, even when we are unsure what that purpose is or what it will look like, because God knows and He always follows through on His promises. We need to step out and trust Him as we walk in the present moment and look forward to the future kingdom promotion and kingdom purpose He has set aside for us.

Each talk built upon the last one, much like a singer might build their playlist to build the crowd up for the finale.  Stepping back on that platform for my last talk took some courage. The circumstances were hard and honestly I had no clue how to handle the situation that lay before me, but God did! He took control as I prayed over that room and The Holy Spirit moved.  This time, this moment, was even better than the first. My skin felt completely like home for the first time in my life, there was zero hesitation, zero over thinking, zero regret. I had the time of my life as I talked about one of the greatest friendships that has ever existed and our root of grace. I did not want to step down that afternoon after talking about David, Jonathan, and Mephibosheth. I was finally completely comfortable in my shoes and my skin was at peace.  As I closed us in prayer, I could feel my heart sadden knowing I was going to take the microphone off and I was going to walk away from that platform not knowing when God would allow me the honor of talking about Him like this again. There was also a JOY bursting out from behind my ribs and straight out of my chest as I finally found my place. A joy that brings tears to my eyes and a soft smile to my heart.

No matter what part of your journey you are in God has big plans for you. As part of the body of Christ you have something that you were created for, wired for. God wants to use you to do mighty things for the Kingdom. We just have to trust Him and allow Him the ability to take us where He wants us. We have to follow Him and learn to lean deep into His chest as He grows us and equips us to serve Him fully. It really is all about Jesus and picking up our cross to follow Him. So step out today, trust God for each moment, word, thought, and action and allow Him the honor of complete and total control of your life. You may just find your skin fits you quite perfectly and feels like home!

Blessings,

Stacy

Mountain Pauses

“I lift my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

 

We headed for a weekend filled with soccer and relaxing in the big city when suddenly plans changed. As we turned the car back towards home we found ourselves facing a completely different weekend;  I could feel God whisper, “pause” deep into my heart. I sat still not sure what He meant but whole heartily refusing to think about the weekend that could mean disappointment, a weekend that might not allow me to recharge or be an introvert, until a few minutes later when she half-jokingly says, “Part of me could just keep driving on into Red River.”

And PLAY

Sometimes I am not the best influence, or maybe I am, “Really? I know someone who has said I can use their cabin.”

Our minds playing with the idea of doing something so out of character, so adventurous, so brave.

To live in the moment, to stop the ache of future planning and the sting of the past hurts for a moment, a brief moment, to jump in without a plan and dare to simply follow God as He hits play;  there is the temptation of a possible freedom that my heart has never known. I trust her, so I jump in and dare to live outside my introverted, safe, strategic box.

PLAY…all the way to the mountains.

The air stung our lungs with the best kind of hurt. Our eyes surveyed the beauty as the racing river swept down the bank. The running water sweeping over the rocks. My mind connects to a memory, a moment frozen in time as our two boys held me close while at the same time trying to push me away as they courageously stood in the running water all those years ago. I could see his wet faded jeans and white sunglasses propped atop his head as his smile danced from the coldness of the river. His brother, a little more cautious, watching me and following my cue as I found solid footing in the river. A picture, a sweet work of art, rushed through my mind as we stood on the bridge watching the river rush by.

She indulged me as we walked the trail coming to a clearing that promised snow just yards away. Yards that just happened to be at a rough incline. She humored me as we climbed higher and higher daring our lungs to hunger for more oxygen. God’s fingerprints stained the mountain side with deep greens and pale yellows. My eyes, in desperation, could not take in enough of the view.

A lively declaration sternly pointed straight at me as she gasp for air. Immediately, healing filled my lungs as an enduring laugh escaped my lips. The words she said flooded my ears as my feet gripped the side of the mountain and my eyes couldn’t help but laugh along with my lips. It took me a few minutes to control the fun that escaped my serious side. Suddenly, I was at ease and immersed in the moment full of memories and somehow a promise of a future hope as God intertwined the present with the past.

We wandered down that trail as the sunlight danced through the aspens. Our feet sloshed through mud and strolled across the man-made snow that had escaped the heat that promised the end of a season.

My mind falling deep into another memory; one I had never spoken; one I held close, protecting it as though it were fragile. Somehow my heart dared to express the sweetness and sorrow that wrapped up a moment that feels like yesterday. She listened as my heart seemed to grasp a moment of clarity, a moment of healing. She simply listened and let my eyes flood with emotion. That mountainside offered more than was expected that morning.

PAUSE

Breathe in healing, laugh out joy, speak the truth and treasure the memories. The mountains have always seemed to be the place I run to see Him a little more clearly. A moment of peace as only His artistry could showcase. A moment painted with His paintbrush providing a new set of memories showcasing His incredible glory.

PLAY

Driving down an old dirt road squeezing time for every second it’s worth, begging the road to last just a mile longer, pleading with the mountain air to blow through the windows just a little bit more, and singing that song one more time in hopes that it won’t end.

Running away for an instant in time where you find yourself truly living in that moment begging the future to fade away.

Living in a moment, truly living in a moment with no agenda. She taught me that this weekend. To be spontaneous and dare to live in spite of the pain, longing for the healing, and daring to temp peace and joy to overtake and soothe the soul.

When we lift our eyes up to the mountain, when we seek His face with all our might, when we long to be in His presence worshipping Him, adoring Him we will find that He is our help and He is our refuge.

God has a plan, a good good plan! We have to trust Him for those times He tells us to PAUSE and follow Him when He says PLAY. We have to allow Him the freedom to grow us and love us and sometimes that means we have to take a chance. Sometimes that means we have to trust Him as He moves us to spontaneity. Sometimes He gives you an amazing gift by giving you a friend that reminds you to not be so serious, encourages you to step out of your box, and allows you the freedom to be who He made you to be.

So lift your eyes up to the mountains. He is there and He is so very good. He is our rock and our salvation. He will cover us with His feathers. He will fill us with peace and provide healing. He will provide you with moments to see Him more clearly and to simply relax and joy in Him. Listen and breathe in the PAUSE because the moment He hits PLAY you will be blown away!

Blessings,

Ferg

Because of me, He died on the cross.

Easter is near and we love to celebrate by dressing up and going to church.  We color eggs and hide them for children to find.  We give them chocolate and tell them that we are celebrating the resurrection of Christ who died on the cross for our sins.  We have read all the bible stories, saw films but we have never really experienced it ourselves.  Ever wonder what you would do if you were there.

Proceed to the past:……………..I am walking among a crowd of people, my feet hurt from the sand burning through my sandals.  Sweat is running down my body from the heat of the sun that is bearing down on my heavy clothing.  “Where are we going, I ask.”  To listen to Him, the teacher,” someone replied.  I had never met Him, the one they call the teacher.  I had heard tell of some of the stories that were going around.  Some say that He can perform miracles, making the blind see and the lame walk again.  And the one I like best, is the one about casting out demons and sending them into pigs that run off of a cliff.  So, me being curious, I walk with the crowd.  We arrived near a lake and all the thousands of us; men, women and children sat down to listen.  “What’s his name,” I ask. “Jesus,” someone replied.  “Where does he come from?”  “He comes from Galilee.”  I watch  and listen to this Man from Galilee.  It is getting late and I’m getting hungry.  I didn’t know that I would be gone this long or I would have grabbed something to take with me.  Jesus had performed a few of the miracles that people have been talking about and he talked about a better life if we would follow him.  I don’t know where he’s going, but if it is a long way, I think I’ll stay home.  I’m not sure that those miracles weren’t staged.  About that time, he tells his disciples (that’s what they are calling those twelve men that hang  out with him all the time), to see what food they can find in the crowd.  They come up with some fish and some bread in a few baskets.  The next thing I see, is Jesus breaking the fish and bread and putting them back into the baskets.  Then he instructs his disciples to feed the crowd.  “No way,” I think to myself.  Before I knew it, my stomach was full.  I look around and I can see that all the thousands that are here, have eaten and the baskets are still full.

Needless to say, I’m now a believer.  So I follow Jesus from then on.  I see him betrayed and turned over to the government.  The chief priests and elders accuse him of saying He is the King of Jews.  They have nothing else to go on but that.  Pilate thought that was unreasonable and gave the crowd a chance to free him or the murderer, Barabbas and they chose Barabbas.  “Crucify Him,” they yelled.

I watched as they whipped Him, tearing gashes into His skin, blood running down.  My voice cried out but there was no sound.  Then they took branches like those of the mesquite tree and made a crown of thorns and placed it on His head.  They pressed it down so hard, that I could see the blood running from the holes that the thorns made. He was weak from pain but they did not let Him rest.  I followed as He dragged his cross down the pathway until He could go no further without help.  My eyes teared up as I saw those that laughed and ridiculed Him.  My heart ached with those that loved Him.  I watched as they laid Him on the cross and drove the nails (more like railroad nails), one in each hand and one through both feet; a total of three.   We that loved Him stayed until He spent his last breath.

I followed as they placed Him in the tomb and placed a boulder in the opening so nothing could get in.  Sadness surrounded us, leaving a hole in our hearts for the loss of this man named Jesus.

I wasn’t there but others were and they told us about it.  The large boulder was removed and Jesus wasn’t there.  Then they told us how Jesus met with his disciples, He had risen from the dead.

John 11:25-26  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Him, whom I never met, but left me His words to live by, is forever in my heart.

 

 

 

A blog of a different kind: A peek into my heart in a moment of brokenness and loss.

That moment

The breath is knocked out of you and you lay flat on the ground if only metaphorically. The punch radiates a pain deeper than any fist could unconvincingly comprehend. You feel all life leave your body but find that your heart is beating and your lungs are filling all while you try to figure out how you are still living and breathing when your entire world has just been ripped out from the very ground your feet stood upon.

Day Two

A moment where my chest fills with a hot fire as I try to breathe the anxiety attack out. Slowly and with a patience not seen by human eyes, my lungs burn with the rage of the beast racing through my veins. “One, Two…,” my eyes slam shut trying to wish the anxiety from making my bones a home, “Ten.” I force a soft smile into my lips, pressing with all my might and I force a relax into my eyebrows as I turn to face my responsibilities of the day; while hoping and praying they can’t see the anxiety, the pain, the brokenness and the hurt that is trying to sneak out of my eyes through a glassy sapphire wave. My body, feeling out of control and pain lurking slowly through every inch as the beast rages, trying to show itself to the outside world, begging to be acknowledged. This moment full of chaos and a world that doesn’t need to know and certainly should not see the weakness, hidden deep in a smile on my lips somehow deceives and everyone interacts never knowing the war thundering deep inside my skin.

The day’s trials compounded turning into minutes and then hours and finally, after begging and pleading, one completed day. Escaping to the security of a bright blue glass house speeding home and safely pulling into a concrete sea of driveway that should bring no comfort to an achy body and raw war torn heart; but security is exactly what it brings and for a brief moment safety and concealment lodged the brokenness allowing a peace to cover and conceal the overwhelming pain.

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

A broken promise; a dream interrupted and awakened by a lie; hope tasted but stolen leaving a deep thirst that can only be quenched by one living water, The Living Water. A hope that we pray is not lost on childhood. A desire that lingers because it has been faithfully felt. An insatiable taste that cannot be forgotten but will be chased and sought after long after the bitterness subsides. We pray that the life breathed deep into his lungs was engraved on his heart, “JESUS.”

To never say goodbye, to walk away where choice was thieved right out from under you; in a moment you found yourself holding your breath, taking the heart and cracking the remaining portion in such a way it cannot possibly be put back together.  It devastates the age to come and disrupts and temps the glory to pass what could have been. The ache we feel is unconvinced of hope but seems to hear a slight whisper that temps by knocking the heart to turn toward the beat; the whisper heard through a door slammed shut; the whisper, a breath, for the future that holds a promise of life, for true life that will be lived and lived through thriving from living water.

To Deliberate

My mind races to the birthdays never celebrated, the blanket I had yet to get embroidered, the t-shirt with Fergie across the back that he chose but will never wear, the movie I promised but was waiting to see, and the cereal bought but not eaten; my heart cries out for the moments where he pushed the boundary a bit more and snuggled up under my arm instead of just finding a way to touch my leg. My love grows deeper as I feel the hurt of the lost moments of homework and grocery shopping and talk of his new name and future game days.

A failed moment that brings a flesh to its knees and a heart to its shattered-ness; a moment that suddenly calls wisdom out begging the soul to crave a different kind of success; a moment that seems to beg you to choose withdrawal and defeat or maybe, just maybe a push forward out onto the water; step by step moving forward toward The One True King and your eyes never breaking from His.

We never planned for this journey to end this way and we never envisioned more loss, more heart ache, but our flesh doesn’t seem to see what our souls long for and strive in each moment to achieve. Our flesh misses the future promise of serving the King of Kings and that promise, the promise we must grab onto and chase with our complete soul, clasping onto the assurance of serving Jesus and walking in His truth and His light. Our lives are about so much more than our eyes can see and our flesh can touch and we must pursue an existence that is solely devoted to our deep identity in Christ that is based on Him and founded in His will!

The Future

Sweet boy…sweet boys, our hearts ache for you in this world but will always pray for you and long to see you in the next life as we hang out with Jesus! We love you with a love we have never known and long to grow deeper in.

We love you with a courageous love and an apologetic flesh!

Blessings, Stacy

Count Your Blessings

It was the holidays and I was grocery shopping.  In front of me was a freezer filled with turkeys and I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to take home.

“Ma’am,” came the voice behind me.

“What,” I questioned as I turned around to face a young man with his hand extended towards me.  In the palm of his hand was a folded bill.  My brain fast forwarded and I thought he must have picked it up off of the floor behind me.  I was just about to tell him that it wasn’t mine when he said, ” This is for you.”  I paused and looked at his youthful face.  I had never seen him before but the light shining from his eyes told me that he was blessing me with this gift.  I accepted the folded bill and gave him a big hug and told him “Thank you.”

“Merry Christmas,” he said and walked away.

I never saw him again.  I went on with  my shopping and it was several minutes before I unfolded the bill.  It was a hundred dollar bill, enough to pay for our holiday dinner.  Not only was I blessed that day, but my whole family was; and yes the giver, himself:        Proverbs 11:24, “One man gives freely: yet gains even more”       I had to learn to receive as well as to give.  When giving, you are following God’s plan.  When receiving, you have been given a gift from him.

Once, my soul sister gave my husband and I some money saying God had reminded her of the things we had done for her.  But wait a moment; we did those things to help her out because we loved her.  I felt we had not earned it and didn’t know what we were suppose to do with it.  It was then that I learned that you don’t have to earn, but you only have to receive.  God blesses you because he wants too.

Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings and see what God has done. (from the hymn that we grew up with)  Try it.  I look back over the years and I can’t count them all.  There was the time I was riding my bike and changed directions and the car behind me went into the ditch to avoid hitting me.  The time I jumped out of a moving car, flipping me into the air and I landed flat on my back.  The time I had whooping cough, chicken pox, and diphtheria at the same time, getting over it only to settle in my ears and head, spending 7 days in the hospital, getting a shot every 3 hours.  Blessings for my family, through their illnesses, my husband when he was diagnosed with Melanoma stage 4 and how he survived.  Blessings for the struggles, the joys and the rewards throughout the years.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t name them all.

Look back and see the gifts you received from God.  Maybe it was just a smile that brightened your day.  Some of you have suffered more hardships than I can imagine, some of you have received one success after another.  No matter what your circumstances, a blessing from God is a gift of his love for you.  Keep your eye on Him.

Look back also on the times you blessed others and how refreshed you felt.  Sometimes, the voice inside you told you to do something and you thought it was silly or that the other person would think you were crazy.  I just know that if you hesitate to answer the voice you will always wonder.  I’ve learned to obey.  It may be just a small thing, but that doesn’t matter.  It’s what that person needs at that moment.  Searching through some of those times, one of the most precious ones that I remember is the time it was so cold out and my husband and I had stopped to eat breakfast at McDonalds.  While we were there, a homeless woman with long shaggy hair, wearing a knit hat, long overcoat, gloves with some fingers  hanging out, sat down at a table with her back toward us.  She got some hot water in a tin cup and pulled out some crackers from one of her bags.  I went to the counter and paid for a sausage biscuit and hot coffee and asked the clerk to give it to the lady and not to say where it came from.  Well, when asked, the clerk told her where it came from and pointed in our the direction.  It will forever be burned in my memory the picture of the lady in shabby clothing that turned to me and had the face of an angelic host with the sweetest smile.  (That blessing I will have the rest of my life.  I hope to paint it one day.)

Corinthians 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossing to the New Year

Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams.

December 17, 2017

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2017 is coming to a close and I find myself battling a deep sadness. As I look to the future and those promises 2018 already holds I find myself tempted to quiver backwards in fear. My head wants to fall and darkness wants to find me huddled in a corner. I have a choice to make.

I love the book of Joshua and the story of a man who was always trying to seek and find God. Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams. The Israelites instead pulled back in fear and followed the 10 unbelieving spies. The next 4 decades saw Israel wandering the desert as the original Israelites passed away and Joshua was being prepared to follow in Moses’ footsteps.

Here in Joshua 1 God is giving Joshua his marching orders so to speak. Can you imagine: Moses, your leader, has passed away and now the entire community is being turned over to you! The weight of this had to press on Joshua’s shoulders, there had to be fear knocking on his heart as he faced the promises of his future. There had to be a moment that he was tempted to run and hide. Joshua, a true mighty warrior, was told by God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to be strong and courageous multiple times while giving him simple instructions that will make Joshua successful.

I picture this remarkable warrior quietly taking in all God has said as he stands next to the Jordan River. The sun is setting and the sounds of the rivers ebb and flow soothes his mind and eases his heart as he faces his future. I see his face wrinkled from a life hard lived in the desert; his eyes softened from meeting with God and longing to walk closer and deeper with Him. I see the stars finding their resting place for the night and the moon settling in as Joshua worships and adores The Creator of the entire universe. Joshua faces his future head on knowing that God is with him wherever he goes.

As we face the crossing of 2017 to 2018 we have a choice to make. Maybe you are like me and you find yourself looking at the promises of 2018 and wanting to run and hide, maybe there is an excitement in your lungs as you take a deep breath and jump head first into 2018, or maybe you have no feelings at all about crossing into yet another new year. Whichever camp you fall into we can learn lessons from Joshua and listening to what God tells this strong warrior.

First, we need to listen to what he calls Joshua, “Strong and Courageous.” God reminds a man who has seen war to be strong and courageous multiple times. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings who can come against us? Whom shall we fear? We are strong and courageous. We are warriors for God and He placed this identity in us.

Second, The Word needs to be on our lips and we need to have our noses in His book. If Joshua follows this God says He will be prosperous and successful. The more we meet God through His story the more our hearts mold and refine to look like Him. Our tongue is an incredibly powerful tool, James chapter 3: 1-12 tells us how powerful it truly is. Out of the mouth comes the things of our hearts and if our hearts are focused on God and His Word we pour out power for His glory and His Kingdom. Success and prosperity may look different than your knee jerk thought. It will be pure and heavenly. It may be a little backwards from our fleshly thinking. God tends to do things backwards. For example a King born in a barn and lay in a manger.

Lastly, God tells Joshua He will be with Him wherever He goes. There is great comfort in knowing that God is with us always. So those moments we are scared, those moments fear tries to sneak in, those moments that we hold the promises God has promised we can find deep comfort and relief knowing God is holding us close (Psalm 91:4).

So as this New Year, 2018, sneaks its way into our present, watch the stars rise and the sun set with a smile and deep trust in your heart knowing that God is right beside you and you are strong and courageous. As you meditate on His Word and follow Him you will prosper and find heavenly success for the Kingdom.

Blessings as 2017 closes and Merry Christmas!

Stacy

Let there be Joy

Are you having a hard time finding something to be joyful about?  I can understand why.  There is so much bitterness and hate being shown through the media today.  In reality, there is much more goodness being done, that we never see.  Seeds of violence and hate are being planted everyday.  It’s up to us if we are going to reap the harvest; or are we going to weed them out.  Our country’s  foundation is based on one Nation under God.  Our roots are strong, they have been growing for centuries.  Now, however, there are those that are taking their axes and are chopping away at our branches; one by one.  Not only is it taking place in our government, but it flows over into our families.

Why are we arguing about things that happened in the past that we had no control over.  Our nation today, is not perfect, but it has come a long way.  Our nation has gone through trial and error to make us better.  Right now, we are bringing the past into the present; therefore making us start over again.  One step forward, two steps back.  Let’s put the joy back into our nation and our families.  What can we do today, that would make our nation better.  Our government for one, can forget their differences and work together to solve the problems.  We did not elect them to fight among themselves.  And, all the powers out there that are trying to make a statement against each other need to look around and see what they need to do to make things better, not worse.

How about our families?  Do we have strife and hate among us.  What can we do about it?  Why not take a step back and look not only at the person that we are dealing with, but take a good look at ourselves.  Are we hurting inside from something they did and we want to hurt them back or get even.  We do not have to agree with them or even like them; but we do have to forgive them; not for them but for us to heal from the hurt and move on.

Let’s put the joy back into our nation and our families.  Let’s let the past go and move on.  We have a lot more going for us than against us.  We need to remember that and step forward selflessly into the future!

We Three’s  Shirley Perry

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.  Ephesians 4:31