20 August 2018

H20

In having a conversation with a group of women about the validity of the bible, the following came to mind.  "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink".  You may have heard or read the term; which I consider it to be true in all aspects of life, especially in our spiritual walk.

There will always be a horse, that will combat truth.
He will say, "Sure I see water, but who put it there?  I can't trust the source."
or, "Well yeah, I see water, but it looks like it may have been contaminated."
or how about, "I'm not entirely sure I see water, but if it is there, let it splash my face so I can believe it's truly there."
That horse will will neither drink, and not allow anyone else to drink.
That horse will stand his ground and risk being satisfied, all because of unbelief.

But then there's the open hearted and open minded horse.
Who will say, "I'm so thankful for this water."
And, "I've been thirsting for such a long time, I hope it never runs out."
As well as, "If it had not been for this water, I'd be dehydrated and nearing death."
That horse will not only drink and be satisfied, but share what he has discovered.
That horse will be replenished, filled and enjoy his life thereafter.

Sure, this small created parable may seem silly and childish, but how do we measure up against the "YAY or NAY" scale?  Are we all in, expecting and believing & receiving?  Or will we walk around the same circle looking for the very thing that's right in front of us, but not partaking in because we're afraid, or in disbelief or opposed to?

How does our spiritual walk compare?
We can either choose to believe that the entire word of God is God breathed and Holy Spirit inspired, or decide that we will only accept parts or none of it.  Whatever our decision, the outcome (our faith, our tranformation, our blessings) will be a direct result of that.

Are you "Yay" or "Neigh"?




x0, d

15 March 2017

It's Unseen.

Hope.
What is it?

Is it a casual, wishful thought causing you to spend countless hours daydreaming?
Is it an internal whisper that reminds us to not give up?
Is it the possibility for a better day or a better marriage?

When I think about the HOPE that we have in Jesus, I can't help but feel comforted.  The word promises in Romans 15:13 that our God of Hope will provide us with Joy and Peace, which in turn creates a HOPE that overflows by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we tap into the Joy and Peace provided by God, Hope will then overflow in our lives.

It also promises in Romans 5:5 that having Hope will not put us to shame, because it has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  It's been declared as "has been", which would mean that it's already been done.  Already provided.  What a wonderful realization!  To be loved by God and experience his overflowing power!

I'm finding a common theme here though.  The Holy Spirit is actively involved in these promises.  Without the Holy Spirit, Hope will not overflow.  Without the Holy Spirit, Hope will not pour into us.  It's through the power of the spirit of the living God that we receive the assurance, that our trust and our confidence has not gone in vain.

So today I want to encourage you.  To hang on.  To keep your eyes, and your passion (for what is to come), on the One who has never failed you or anyone.

Despite what the doctor's report states.  What your bank account looks like.  How many eggs are left in the fridge.  You were not commanded to rely on your job, your spouse or even your physical strength for the things you need.  Our Hope can only be found in the creator.  When we adjust our focus to Him, we'll begin to experience Joy and Peace.  No the answer will not come immediately, but as you wait you can rejoice.  As you experience moments of utter darkness, you can lift up a voice in adoration for your King.  Because the answer has already been provided, and your worship in the midst of, will launch itself into the heavenlies and create an aroma that is pleasing to God.  It creates a cloud of glory, in which God can bathe Himself in.  This type of worship is considered sacrificial.  It goes against all common human sense.  What we "should" be doing (in terms of this world we live in), is losing our minds.  Crying is desperation.  Drinking our worries away.  Gambling the last $25 bucks we have in the hopes of tripling it and paying off our light bill.  Going on a few sexcapades to alleviate a little of the stress caused by our problems.  But our system and our economy isn't built around what we see, or what we can touch.  Our confidence lies in the unseen.  In God.

So what is Hope?
It's experiencing an extreme shaking in your foundation, leaving you undisturbed.
It's placing your questions at the altar and focusing your attention on Him.
It's the certainty that "...All Things work together for good to those who love the Lord..." (Romans 8:28)
It's a guarantee, that helps you dream and wait with a restful spirit.
Which brings about "...Faith ... the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
It's knowing.
That your heavenly Father sees your need, and will meet it.

If you want to cry.  If you want to scream.  If you want to call an old friend to say Hi.  Do so...
But whatever you do, don't lose your hope... because without it, you're left in despair.  You're left to make unwise decisions that will ultimately close the door to God's provision and answer for your life.
Romans 12:12 - "Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times."
x0, d

01 March 2017

Are You Salty?


Image result for png green grass
Have you ever looked back at your life?
...maybe the last year... or 10...
and thought about the burdens and frustrations you encountered during that time.
How you loathed the mundane and prayed for something better?
For a change?
For a challenge?
For adventure and excitement?
For something new and different?
Because life was pretty predictable and maybe even a little boring?
And the fact that your schedule could pretty much write itself out in your own planner, made your days even more dreary?

Or maybe you loved your life back then.
Like I did.
...or so thought ...

When I think about my past life...
The comfort of the full size bed I slept in...
How I cradled my perfectly misshapen pillows and curled up with the blanket.  My favorite blanket.  The one where the corners frilled and the padding in it had flattened itself out after years of use.
And I would always rotate the celebrity posters on my walls... I remember Kirk Cameron being my favorite.  I had the perfect view of the "center" of drama in the neighborhood from my window.
When a fight would break out I'd rush to the light switch - CLICK OFF - and jump on my bed, peek from behind the curtain and stare out the window (through the window gate - any project dwellers out there understand this dilemma?) to see who was involved, how the fight started and if anyone was headed to a pay phone for a free call to 911.
Back then there were no Mobile Phones or GO Pro Cameras to capture the drama.  If you missed it, you had to trust the 3 different versions of the same story you heard, and piece it together to have it make sense.

And what about the job I had?
The commute to and from work.
Always giving myself several extra minutes to grab my favorite breakfast at my preferred deli.
For years my order was the same, an omelette with mushrooms, peppers, onions & cheese on a toasted onion bagel with a little bit of mayo.  And for my after breakfast snack, I'd order a toasted corn muffin, with butter and Tropicana.
I was so predicable, and I was okay with it.

I used to think I had the absolute perfect life.
Nothing could compare to how wonderful things were.
The grass was definitely greener on the New York side.
I would never move to Florida, I always muffled - because although the palm trees and blue waters were appealing, my hair was not humidity resistant - and it would ruin my perfect life...
and I would definitely never marry a Puerto Rican - because my brothers were Rican and they were cocky and rude to me as a kid.
Which, to my teenage and young adult mind, meant that every Boricua possessed this arrogant attitude.
I was living in the biggest and best city in the world.
I was single and dating.
I was in my prime.
I had goals and ideas and a vision for the future...

...and then one day my world changed.
I met a guy.
Unexpectedly.
I wasn't searching.  I was honestly avoiding men altogether.
Because I didn't have luck in the love department.
Sure I went on dates.  Why would I reject a free movie?
But I never took any of it seriously.
(maybe I'll share more of our love story later)...
When I wanted love it didn't want me.  The moment I built walls, love came knocking them down.

...and meeting that guy challenged me...
He was Puerto Rican from Florida, but I didn't let that stop me...
I developed new goals and wishes.
I suddenly found myself heading towards what would be my destiny.
But as excited and enthusiastic as I was, I was very unsure, worried and confused.
I was settled where I was.
...or so I thought...

I had a nice 401K plan.  I was getting promotions and raises.
Aside from all the positive and perfect living I was experiencing, I knew I had to leave and go where God was calling me to, but it wasn't without looking back.

At first my days were great.  The beginning was perfect.  It almost felt like living a full-time vacation.
But soon my yearning to return to what I once knew, and the curiosity to know how things were back at "home", put a pause in my development.  Ruined my focus and had me tripping beside myself.

I started to think back to Lot's wife.  They were given clear instructions.  Go forward and don't look back.  I won't quote the verses, because it may take half this page, but for those interested I invite you to read Genesis 19.  For a preview, read chapter 18 as well.

The bible states in Genesis 19:26, that when Lot's wife turned back she "became a pillar of salt".

This particular verse speaks volumes to me.
Especially the 1st - 3rd year of me having moved from New York to Florida.

Sure I had every reason to feel lonely.  I left my entire family.  All our game nights.  All our camping trips and holiday festivities.  I even missed the intermittent drama.  I didn't have any coworkers when I moved.  I wasn't making as much money.  I wasn't enjoying life.  I was home.  Alone.  All day.  I didn't know anyone.  Just the people that my husband knew.  Florida friendships differ from those up north.  Up north your word is true.  It's solid.  Here, "let's do lunch on Saturday" really means "if I have nothing else to do and if I wake up in time and if I remember, then - let's do lunch on Saturday".  That sort of rejection is hard to swallow.

I was used to being the popular girl at church.  The one who everyone came to with their boyfriend drama because even though I was a pastor's daughter, I knew how to take things to the grave.  I was well-liked.  And I knew I was well-liked.  I hosted pajama parties; and when I became an adult and left church I had "even more fun".  Yet here I was, such a likable person resorting to midday theatre visits by myself and lacking friendships.

Losing my job.
Bringing my baggage to my marriage and putting a strain on my new husband.
Loneliness.
Depression.
Image result for female stick figure
All the while looking back.
The grass in New York looked a lot greener than here in sunny Florida.  #IsntItIronic?
Yet here I remained.  I was breathing and taking care of daily duties, but I wasn't content with life.  I was not living out my purpose.  I was too focused on what I had left behind.  I was being pushed in a forward direction with my head faced backwards.  I was tripping.  I was headed the right way, but my attention was reversed.  It delayed and slowed my process.  It caused me to fall.  It caused pain and confusion.  And all the while I still participated in activities.  I went to church, I sang, I attended parties and shopped.  I visited the beaches and built a nice tan.  But I could just not get my head to focus on what was ahead.


It took God removing all distractions and comfort to get my attention.
I was left with nothing but a computer and a bed.
I began to seek Him.
Just because.
Not because I was desperate for an out.
But just because I knew I needed Him, and maybe I was a little bored too.
Plus I needed something deeper.
Something meaningful.
Not just a list of bible stories under my belt, or a handful of memorized verses I could quote on the fly to show that I knew the word.
But I really needed to find Him and know Him.
The God I knew as a kid and experienced as a teen.
The one who mom prayed to as I enjoyed my young adult night life.
I wanted to understand Him... or at least try.
His love.
Why after all these years of running from Him and doing things my way, had He not given up on me?
After months of seeking, I came to the understanding that there were things in me that needed to be healed.  Mistakes I needed to forgive myself for.  Hurt inflicted by family and friends and boyfriends that I was still harboring.  My heart was attached to what I knew, but what I knew caused me so much pain that I didn't know how to process God's goodness.
"Surely there's something up their sleeve", I thought.  "There's no way people are this nice, without a motive."
I didn't understand, because I had not fully submerged myself in God's perfect plan.

But I had to stay.
I knew it was detrimental to my growth, my life, my purpose.
So if I had to stay, this meant that I had to be processed.
I had to be broken.
I had to be humbled and be taken apart, so that God can begin to piece things together.
The right things.
What I needed to be a better wife.
Healing from my past.
All the brokenness I had avoided for the first half of my Floridian life was finally taking place, and the only way I could handle it was with God's Grace.

I chose to stop looking back, because I recognized looking back caused me to be frozen in time.  Caused me to be stagnant and immobilized.  Didn't allow me to let people in.  I wasn't interested in forming new friendships or letting down my walls.  And I certainly didn't want to be invited to places or parties.  Because I was/am an introvert, and that sorta thing brought on more anxiety.

I eventually reached a point where I knew it was vital to my mental, spiritual and emotional growth that I accept where I was headed and make the conscious effort to leave my past behind.  I knew the road to being processed was going to affect every aspect of my life, but I had to allow my will and my selfish desires to submit to the calling and purpose God had in mind when He created me.  I mean why else would He create me, if it doesn't come with a reason?

And if I wanted to enjoy my life, and walk in purpose, and fulfill His plan for me, then I had to allow for those lonely moments...
having no one to talk to...
no place to go...
It wasn't until I threw up my hands, as a sign of complete surrender, that I didn't find true joy in where I was headed and the breaking I had/have to endure to be there.  I also understood that the idea of my grass not being as bright green as it was "back home", was due to my perception.  Being faced in the wrong direction blocked the sun from shining on where I was headed.
Philippians 3:13-14[ESV] "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
I'm still not there yet - fully operational in my destiny, but the attitude & outlook I now have, once having accepted where I am, has made the journey more enjoyable.

It's okay to look back to a year ago...
or 10...
and reflect upon how life has changed, improved, taken a turn...
but be careful that your trip down memory lane doesn't become a common resting place...
causing you to yearn for what once was...
forming your salty demeanor...
and delaying the fulfillment of what has been purposed for you.
Isaiah 43:18-19[ESV] "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." 

For my bible journaling page, I used acrylic paints by Studio Calico, and stickers, washi and inks by Illustrated Faith, most of which are from the new "Delight In His Day" collection.

x0, d