Saturday, December 21, 2013

On Having Enough...

Matthew 15:32-39
“I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

Jesus. What compassion. How often I misread your eyes, your tone; Your heart for me. These words remind me that You are full of compassion. You are unwilling to for me to walk around empty and hungry. You want me full.

I often respond as your disciples did- hearing you say something you didn’t. You expressed your compassion and unwillingness to send the crowd away hungry, and they heard- ‘you guys go figure out on your own how to meet the need’.

“Where are WE to get enough bread…?”

How often do I think in terms of what I Don’t have enough of- not enough time, not enough money, not enough help, not enough strength for my days, not enough compassion or understanding from those around me. Not enough of things going the way I expected…

 Why do I always see not enough?  Why do I often feel as though I am never enough?

 Jesus redirects perspective though, to take an account of what I already DO posses.

And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves DO you have?”
“They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”

Do you ever feel like this? Looking within, taking stock and there's just a few small fish flopping around. Goldfish size. A few loaves. Just about empty...

But Jesus reminds me- It’s never about what I don’t have. Only about what I already possess- in Him.

And it will be more than enough.

I only have a little bit, Lord…

 Yes, what we have to offer is small. But he will make it more than enough. Through eyes turned upward, through thanksgiving for what we do have, he will make it not only enough -

He will make it enough to fill you and to bless others.

“And they all ate and were satisfied and they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Five Minute Friday- RED

Known for passion. For blood. And what greater passion then the one spilled out for me?
It's known for anger. This 'seeing red'. It's known for Christmas.

It's hard to be passionate when I'm feeling scared and alone. It's hard to remember the red blood shed for me on the hard days and the long days.

But 'Jesus Loves Me, this I know' is more than just a song I teach my kids. It's a truth that heals my soul. Again and again. This refrain. Because I'm still weak.   And He's still strong. Because the passing of years has made me more child-like, not less. I still need to belong to Him.

I belong to Him. Does this mean He cares for me? It means I'm His. It means on the days my passion wanes, for life and love and HIM- His passion never fails. He's always red-hot for me. 

Joining in today on Five Minute Friday
Five Minute Friday
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unedited for 5 minutes and post. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When You Want A Great Marriage

“You make Us great." I whispered the words to my husband one night as I lay in bed after another day of learning about love from watching him live it out real and raw.

 The words came from deep within. Spoken with the conviction of eyes that have watched him forgive – when it would have been so easy to resent. 

They came with quiet awareness- from a heart that had known an embrace, though I stood with arms crossed, trembling in my rebellion. Here was one who entreats, when I am at my most stubborn. This man has shown me Christ.


 We don’t earn it. We never deserve it. We can only give it and receive it. Like the gift that it is.

 I don’t know how many times grace has come to the rescue in this long journey of two becoming one flesh. I have lost count as the days have turned to years.

 But gratefulness drives me to change. It’s while standing in the light of someone’s choice to show you grace, when deep down you know how undeserving you are, that you see it most clear.

 That this kind of love, chosen and given, can build a beautiful life.

 Two becoming one is so much more than the beautiful mystery of sex, two bodies joining. It's the greater mystery of two hearts finally merging into one, that beats together, in rhythm and unison, pumping the blood of Christ into the dead places and making them live. And sing. And soar.

 The road there leads down before it leads up. It brings us low in surrender. Obedience and submission yield their own fruits. And we are the blessed. Love begets love and life begets yet more life.

Enough to keep a home warm and safe, and plenty left over to share with others, too.

It's become a saying now in our married life. Spoken with gratefulness in the moments of awareness that we have received from the other- the Gift of Grace, undeserved.

 "You make Us great."

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When You Need To Make Room

{LENT} Day 4-7

If you want to get filled, you got to make room.

That is, if you want to get filled with the things of God. With the thoughts of God.
The ways of God.
Something has to go. A life only has so much room...

I awoke to this God-thought. It was what I needed to thrust back the covers and stand up in my still-dark bedroom. He knows what I need to motivate me to keep my appointment with Him these days.

How often do we say, I need more of You, God!  These desperate prayers can seem pious to us, devoted and spiritual. But just picture Him coming, and pouring over you.... but wait!
 It seems the vessel is already filled.. filled with other things...

When the Spirit came pouring out at Pentecost, filling, filling, OVERFLOWING, it came after days of self being poured out in prayer. And is there any other way? We, too,  must make room.

Prayer-  true watchfulness and wakefullness in the Spirit is not the easy thing. Not for the flesh.  Even the disciples couldn't manage it. Wake up! Why are you sleeping? Watch and you will not fall.

God always has a way to keep us. He always has a plan. He always has the provision and the desire to give us what we really need. It's our desires that must be changed. The inner dial of our hearts that must be recalibrated to mirror His.

When we want what He wants, He sees that we get it.  The Christ in us attracts the resource of Heaven.

Like Mary who emptied the bottle of ointment on His feet, we must empty these vessels. Like the Chirst-followers who prayed, hard, in that upper room. Pouring out, pouring out...

 And then -

The Filling Came.

Linking with these...

No Ordinary Blog Hop

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Tree

Printable Heart Valentine Tree


 This is a quick (couple hours)  DIY project I made for some friends who invited our family over for dinner on Valentine's Day this year. A little hostess-gift, if  you will. Had such fun creating, even more fun giving it away. I think I'll make one for my own house next year!


Container (Look around your house and see what you can come up with. I ended up using this $4 glass vase I had from Walmart, but would have really liked to use some kind of white or copper-colored tall watering can or something. Either way, needs to be medium size, mine was about 9-10 in. tall with a wide top)
Dried Fake Plant Filler (this is a long name for something that I don't know the actual name of :) Mine was this dry, straw-like, curly grass stuff I had used at the bottom of a dried flower arrangement I'd done ages ago, and still had a bunch left)
Branches (take some from outside, or maybe buy some pussy willows or a branch pack from the crafts store. Again, I tried to use what I had on hand and dug into my Christmas greenery bag and found these all-brown filler branches that were just what I needed!)
Red Paper Luckily I had a few sheets of red scrapbook paper left in my very limited scrapping supplies. Just make sure it's not construction paper. (And make sure it's red on both sides, I had some that was white on the back)
Printer with Black Ink 
Heart Template I created mine in Microsoft Publisher, using the heart shape tool and the text box inside. Taking the description of LOVE found in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I pulled from several different version to get the final 15 hearts. 
Ribbon I choose this burgundy and cream gingham-checked ribbon. I tied a large piece around my container and then cut smaller stripts of it to make the hangars for the hearts. Hanging the hearts with some rick-rack or twine would be cute too)
Burgundy/Brick Red Craft Paint 

(The little heart you see up above the bow I made by cutting a small square of white muslin. I then used a heart stamp I had and stamped a heart with the burgundy paint. After it dried, I cut it out and glued to the glass with Elmer's glue. This step I added because the vase I ended up using was such a boring glass... it needed something)

The assembly was too easy to bother writing out for you... Print out your hearts with the verses on, cut them out. I painted around the edges of mine, and then added some texture to them, front and back with a mostly dry paintbrush that had just a tad of the paint on it. Hole punch tie on your ties and hang them on your branches! 

Linking Up... One Artsy Mama
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

{LENT} She Did What She Could

Day 2 {LENT}

One thing I keep hearing... Surrender.

I love how God will dovetail various happenings in our life to say the same thing, making sure we get it.
In my women's study this week, as we go through the book of John, chapter by chapter, we finished up this Tuesday with the first portion of Chapter 12. My study book summed up the section by highlighting the the 'surrender' of Mary.

Her act of anointing His feet and unbinding her hair to wipe them... such a symbol of a

                                                          Surrendering Love

I've been asking 'What' to surrender to Him for Lent? 'What' to sacrifice?

  For a sacrifice is not just doing or giving something that is inconvenient,  but rather it requires a depraving of oneself  in order to honor and serve God (like Mary, taking the glory of her hair and using it for such a humble tool to wipe the oil and grit from His toes). Sacrifice..... stretches. It costs.

 And isn't that what the season of Lent is to be about? Being stretched out within to make room for Him?  Less of us, more of Him.  So, I've been asking, 'What' am I to deprive myself of to honor and make room for Him in these coming weeks?

Today He reminded me, it's less about the 'What' and more about the "Why".  The motive.

To give up something,  simply as a religious practice or an observance exercised, if done outside of the motivation of Love, "profits me nothing".  So this at least I know. Perhaps the 'what' is not yet decided, but the 'why'?

The 'why' is Love.

Though at times my love for Him reveals itself to be shallow, more concerned with gaining than giving, like Mary  I long to move from being one who sits and receives from Him, to one who rises in sacrificial love for Him,    and must pour out a gift right onto His feet.

He who loves...does.
Profession is easy, 
but the depth of our sincerity
is measured by our actions.

Also, still taking beauty and insight from the passage in 2 Chronicles 29-30:

"My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to Him." (2 Chronicles 29:11)
After the king recites all the ways they, as a people,  have been negligent up until then, he challenges them to turn from this checkered past, and seize the 'now' before them.

I am so thankful that with the King there is always the call to the 'now'.
    "Forget the former things..."
    "Forgetting what is behind..." 

He calls us to live in the now, where He proclaims over each of us a grace that is sufficient.

Have you a checkered past, too? Is it filled, like my own journey, with starts and stops and shadowed with sin and shortcoming? (Remember we must, all our sin and shame only serve to highlight the depths to which his love and grace will reach to hold us)

He is calling us to lay aside the past and step into the Now with both feet. To practice a love for Him that both says and does, and even in our weakness, to 'make offerings to him."

May his words about me be what they were about the woman long ago, the one who sacrificed a love offering at His feet,  She did what she could.

(This is the second post in a series of forty as I journey through the days of Lent. Would you join me each day? Even start at Day one and read through,  as together we learn from Him.)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

{LENT} In The Beginning...

I am not a Lent practicer. (and practicer is not a word, so says my spell check...)

But I am a Christ-lover.

Last year, around this time, several blogs I enjoy were full of the writer's Lent experiences.  I thought then, 12 months ago,  I would like to try this Lent thing. This letting go, this laying down. This focus for forty days.

My mental note did not serve me well.. I forgot.  Thankfully though, this was not an Angie-idea, but a God-idea, and He does not forget.

Here is where I must confess to a bad habit I am needing to change - I often browse through Facebook on my phone upon first opening my eyes in the morning. Days that once began with, Good Morning, Lord, lately have begun with reading a play-by-play of a friends long night or an suggestion of another to 'Enjoy my morning beverage'.   Though again this morning, I did the same, a post on Facebook referring to Lent caught my attention.

Sitting down awhile later with my cup of coffee and Bible, I was led to the story of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29-32.

It begins by telling the story of this righteous king, who wanted to purify the temple. He commands the priests to consecrate it. Throw out the trash. It begins by the King himself, opening the doors of the house of the Lord, and repairing them.

Again, my thoughts turned to Lent.. was it not to be a time for the Christ-follower to come face-to-face with the unclean within? The need for a Savior?

A few Googles later, I realized that today of all days was the beginning of the forty days of Lent, Ash Wednesday.  What I did not remember on my own, His sweet Spirit brought to my attention.

And so, friends, the next forty days I will chronicle my own journey of Lent. Perhaps you wish to join me? Consider slipping your email into the box above and recieving the journey updates to your email. My prayer for you - that you may grow in grace.

My prayer for me as I begin the journey,

Just as Hezekiah opened wide those temple doors
I, too, open wide the doors of my heart today,
The doors of this, your holy temple.
Wide I open them to You,
No longer closing the door
That I might hide the unclean and impure
that lurks within it's walls.
I'm open to You,
I'm opening wide the doors,
That You may repair
Every broken place.

Until tomorrow...

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Taking the Long Road Home

There is no short-cut to becoming like Jesus. Trust me, I've tried.

 Running fast through life, inviting him to run along side... it just doesn't produce the results my heart is truly longing for. When I schedule time into my everyday life to be quiet with Him, beholding Him, I come face to face with His goodness, His kindness, His holiness.

                 And my heart cries out, like Isaiah long ago, I am unclean!

Funny how something looks white until you hold it up to something that's brilliantly white, and suddenly what we thought clean and bright shows itself to be dull and yellowed.

 We can all seem holy or righteous when we use other imperfect people as our measure, but the measure we use must always be... HIM.

And this awareness of who He is, and calls me to be, only comes through looking long at Him.

 The good news is, it doesn't end with us just looking and longing. For us who are living on this side of the cross, our longing to be like Him doesn't have to remain an unfulfilled hope...

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
2 Corinthians 4:15 MSG

Here's the truth in the simplest form I know...  within me lies the seeds of the very nature of God. A whole, new created being that awoke to Him the day I cried out in my sin and shame for His salvation. 

And now, those seeds of life have taken root. They've begun to sprout here and there. As the roots grow larger and deeper, the old, dead nature in me continues to be routed out. 

Like any seed, it must be watered... time in the Word, time with Jesus. "Let all of you who are thirsty, come to Me and drink..."

To grow, a seed needs the Sun. Alot of time in the presence of the Son.... 

No shortcuts to greatness here. No quicker routs to Holiness. Just the simple formula of lots of time in His word, in the presence of His light. And before we know it, the reflection we behold now dimly, shall eventually shine like the Son.

Joining today with...

Growing Home