Welcome to My Royally Wrecked Space to Chill...



I hope you find comradery...I hope you find peace....I hope you find joy...I hope you find acceptance...I hope you feel loved...I hope you know that your are precious...chosen...and always welcome here...come sit a spell...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Losing myself.



"You cannot lose what you do not own."


I awake. Startled. It is 4 am and this statement has jolted me out of the haze of sleep into His arms.

"You cannot lose what you do not own."


I listen. I breathe it in. Breathe in the depths of what He is speaking into me.

Instantaneously I am overwhelmed with knowing. Liquid peace. Love and belonging course through my spirit's veins as though I've been given a transfusion of new life.

He, my Christ, spoke this in different verbiage to other disciples while on earth. "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

It is His way.  He spoke it in flesh. He speaks it in spirits.

"When you belong to me, all is mine. No provisions necessary. Rights are undone. You cannot lose because you do not own your life."


This is the way of the disciple. Fluid. Penniless to Christ.

Unwavering knowledge of our identity in the one who provides...who soothes...who completes...

My future.

My family.

My relationships.

My mission.

My finances.

My saving.

I cannot lose what I do not own. I do not own myself. I am His.


I turn back over and look at the clock. I'm swaddled in presence...blankets of Him wrap me like a cocoon and I am lost.

Eyes flicker and sleep resumes. When I wake hours later, I am still wrapped tight in Him. Joyful. Delighted with life. Lost.

Grace n Peace,

A ~





Monday, December 26, 2011

This will be over soon...

I often have the same thought driving home at night from work: This will be over soon.

Don't take me wrong. Don't take me literally. Well, maybe a little.

I'm not thinking about the fact that my work week will be over soon. Nor am I ruminating upon the woes of my life and how at some point they just have to end. It's quite the opposite.

I often think of my little girls...how the days are passing so quickly...how long their legs are...how soon it will no longer be days of childhood but days of decisions and letting go...

I think of how serious everything was when I was younger. I was in such a hurry to "become"...so worried about how the ends would meet and be completed...I missed much of the beauty of aliveness...

So when I have the thought "This will be over soon"...It is very peaceful...very matter of fact...It reminds me to stay present in the stage of life I am in...to breathe in the beauty...to make the moments last...

"Soon" reminds me that life is finite and I will never be able to slow it down...but that even in this there is peace...because I'm moving toward my soul's ultimate expression...He's waiting for me and the heartaches or losses I worry that might come, will never break me totally because my ultimate living comes at the end of this journey and into the next...

Worrying and hurrying only exhaust the process and wipe away lessons and growth...they inhibit rain filled moments of wonder and joyous celebrations in the mundane of everyday living...

Aliveness is knowing that this will all be over soon. 

Aliveness is knowing that life must be "grabbed by the lapels" and kissed full on the mouth with passion...determined to experience the great love affair He intended for us. All the while knowing that our ultimate ending...is far better and thus should not be feared.

As I'm learning to walk in this way with life, I'm realizing the depths of contentment and peace this brings to my humanity. Knowing and accepting that I will age, I will love, I will hurt, I will laugh, I will fail, I will rejoice, and I will give away...these are peaceful parts of the dance towards the beginning of my real existence. There is nothing to fear. This is a temporary affair that will lead me to the love of my life...I'm good with that.

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Undone.



Sun streamed floors and quiet rooms...all is still...


Except for the sobs wracking my body...


I am undone. 


Knees deep in carpet...tears dampen my palms as I rock forward into my hands...


Overwhelming peace...pure presence...unmatchable...


I am undone.


I am wrecked at the very notion of a love this great. Pure...definitive...soft and severe simultaneously...


He beckons me...He woos me...He caresses my soul and lifts me into His arms...


I am undone.


Laundry waits on the counter...fresh...warm...but this moment...it cannot be re-scheduled...it is holy...


I utter few words...the air is thick and full of Him...words seem trite...unnecessary...


He speaks and I listen...Do not question...stand strong and go forward...


I am undone.


All my days I have longed for this...this feeling...this knowing...this place of perfection...


In this carpeted, messy, wrecked moment it is ever so clear...He. Loves. Me. 


He beckons me to hand it over...the one pervading lie I've believed for a year...a lie handed to me by another but seemingly believable...I wrestle...


I am undone.


I release the label...the lie...He gently reminds me...I am His...He has never recognized the lie I believed to be my truth...He was simply waiting for the surrender...


I am undone...and I am free.


Grace n Peace, 


A ~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Come to Me...New Music

I have listened to this song on repeat all day...so utterly beautiful...


Enjoy the deep currents of these words...



Come to Me: Bethel Music 

I am the Lord your God,
I go before you now.
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know

I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
And oh, let your faith arise
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left, keep your eyes on me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved

I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Just come to me, come to me
Cause I’m all that you need


Grace n Peace Friends,

A ~





Monday, December 12, 2011

If only for myself...Eucharisteo






Eucharisteo: The Daily Pursuit To Recognize His Blessings

1. Wet headed little girls singing...
2. My mother...ever giving...
3. Community...
4. Conversations...
5. God whispers at the end of the day..."Just come to me"...
6. Texts to my Best Friend of inspiration and a Savior...
7. Chinese right out of the carton after a day of starving...
8. Heart of Eucharisteo through the fog of life...
9. Moonlit car rides home...
10. Health...
11. My Father...ever kind...
12. Nine year old gangly legs and heart all wrapped around me...
13. Hope...
14. Joy rising...
15. His Words...ever true...
16. Holidays...bright...
17. Dreams coming to fruition...
18. Peace...
19. Music...sweet music...
20. Quilts...
21. Six year old baby girls who worry about the little girls asking Santa for food that are hungry...
22. Big hearts...
23. Freedom...mind, body, soul...
24. Grace for the times I feel inadequate...
25. And Love...glorious Love...in all forms...





I am ever so blessed.

When overwhelmed and tired...all I must do is practice Eucharisteo and I am set free from earthly chains...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Screwing up = Teachable Raft Rides :-)



I just finished Hebrews. The last chapter was beautiful. Full of truths that I loved and thought about expounding on...but I felt...nothing.

I sat here. I felt nothing. My mind...feels tired. I feel like today I might have not been very present for many parts.

I'm not sure exactly why...except that when my life is busy...I have to make a conscious choice to pursue presence.

I've been slammed. Then there's the incessant chatter of my 6 year old. Music to my ears...laughter to my soul...but right about eight o'clock now...I'm craving solitude.

I'm learning to recognize when I'm a little out of touch with myself and Him...

The day flies by and I can't remember poignant moments where I stopped and marveled at Him...

I spend the day doing "busy" work and no "spirit" work...

I sit down too late too tired to really fully digest His word and I'm struck again by my humanness...

These are the moments I find I'm teachable...these are the moments He ushers me back to meaning...to presence...

He sits with me on the leather couch and reminds me that I'm not this world's...I'm His...

All the while reminding me He loves me...because I'm fallible...I'm faulty...I'm imperfect...

I have to live in this world...I need communion with others...I need to listen to my little girls and hear their thoughts even with pounding head...

I need to give myself to chores and laundry with cheer and thankfulness...these too can be acts of worship...

I truly believe anything we do with gratefulness to the Father can be formed into worship...

It's a beautiful thing. 


This ebb and flow.


This grace river I float in with God.

He leads me and when I begin to go adrift...he grabs my raft and pulls me back to the deeper rapids where I can continue to move forward...where this a current of Him...

This is the beauty of failing some days...failure results in teachable spirits...

When he pulls me back I'm reminded I'm a nobody...a flub...and what's incredibly startling is that this is comforting...I'm actually comforted that I'm a flub...a screw up...because that means I'm still acutely aware I can never survive the ride without Him...

For this reminder...I am grateful this day...


For failures past and present...I accept with grace today...


For the rapids He pulls me back into...I rejoice...


Because this all means my spirit and soul are alive in Him...

Glorious.

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Retinas and Peace

Sun gazers. I watched a documentary on: Sun gazers.

Sun gazers are a group of really dedicated individuals that stare into the sun in the hopes of finding peace, tranquility, and appetite control. No seriously. Appetite control.

I watched these people stand barefoot across America and stare into the sun in what seemed to be a very Zen like state waiting for their peace. I have to admit I was captivated. At the end of the documentary, the young man filming went to have his eyes examined after a few months of sun gazing.

He had permanently damaged his retinas.

I turned to my father and said (yes I know...cliche') "People are desperate for deeper meaning and peace."

There have been times in my life where I'm pretty sure I might have tried Sun gazing if it would have given me peace. I think we've all had those times.

You want relief. You've tried everything to calm the storm and...well...IT AIN'T WORKIN'!

I'm reading Hebrews right now. VERY. SLOWLY.  Hebrew's requires digesting...thought...pondering...GOOGLING...

I'm trying to reap truths out of it one verse slowly at a time...

Tonight I was reading in chapter 12 and the subject of peace arose...I read it. I re-read it. I read it thrice.

"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."


OK...hold up...did He say that I will not see the Lord if I do not live in peace? Really?

(Yeah holiness too but the purpose of this blog is peace)

Then as I'm typing it hits me...OK so I MUST live peaceable with all people...OK I generally do that...I love all types...I think I've got that down...

But wait...aren't I a "people"?

Does it mean that if I am not peaceable with myself that I will not see my Lord? Out there I know...

But let's talk straight...Don't we really war with ourselves more than we war with others most of the time?

How about this scenario of the mind: You can't do that. You're used up. You're damaged. You've got nothing left to offer.

Or this one: You're stuck. Utterly stuck. This place you're in today...man you'll always be RIGHT HERE.

Maybe you roll this way: I don't need to surrender. If I can predict this situation by ruminating on every possible outcome I can control the events of my life.


Anything connect? I hope you are much more evolved than I am. I hope you never war with yourself.

But if you do...maybe God wanted us to know that if we war with ourselves...if we are not at peace with ourselves...if we attack ourselves...We are against Him.

Because He is IN us.

I'm a big believer in surrender. I just have found for me...it's truly the only way. When my days of wonderment and pondering of all things futuristic and question-marked come...I've learned to surrender.

I don't have to fill in the blanks. I don't have to make everyone happy. I don't have to solve every problem.

I do have to live in peace.

If He is in me...peace is in me.

If I am at war...I'm replacing Him with an idol of self-reliance.

It doesn't take me very long any more to surrender quickly...I'd rather spend my days chasin' dreams and the perfect tree than trying to solve where I'll be in 10 years. It's all good. He's got me.

He's IN me.

I wish I had the digits to those poor people burning up their retinas in search of peace...I think I could save them spotty vision and frustration...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Incarnational Living

Living Incarnational.

I've never ever thought of this in terms of myself and my own little life. Let me explain.

I'm reading Margaret Feinberg's book "The Organic God". She writes of the incarnational way God lived out his life on earth through the son Jesus. One line she writes rocks me to the core, "He was literally born into the stench of this world, and he embraced those in it." Feinberg goes on to relate this to our lives and living "incarnational" with the world. Purposeful. Somewhat painful.

I think of the woman I heard about on my hospital floor yesterday...40 years old...bleeding profusely from her rectum. Doctors have searched for a diagnoses for a year...they found one: Terminal Cancer. All throughout her body.

I think of the little girl in my babies school. She is cross eyed. Poor I would imagine since her clothes are too small....full of life...hyper even. She runs to me every time I come to eat lunch with Laine. She is desirous of love.

I think of my brother. My sweet brother. My wreck of a brother. (He would tell you this.) High-maintenance sometimes...yet filled with the biggest heart you can imagine. Addicted. Broken. Hard. Yet tears filled his eyes with every sentence as I sat on the floor beneath his chair on thanksgiving...just listening.

I think of my children. Bright. Beautiful. Full lives ahead. Broken by abandonment. Hurt by adults that were too attuned to selfishness rather than innocence. I hear their stories, I hold their hands...weep inwardly and try to help them sort the pain. Pray in dark car rides home for them...fill their days with hope and their minds with a Father that does not abandon and will always love...

And I connect with the process of incarnational living...I get it...Christ showed us the way. He showed us with lepers touched...women healed of hemorrhage...disloyal disciples...misunderstood prostitutes...rich rulers that deserved snubbing for injuring the poor...

He lived dirty. He felt the pain. He walked among them even when it broke His heart. Incarnational.

My prayer today is that I can continue to evolve incarnationally...to reach out more even in the midst of my own chaotic over scheduled life...to drop all when the need arises and get dirty...Incarnational. Living.

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quietness and Confidence...

"For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: but you would not." Isaiah 30:15

The call came in...I was astounded...heartbroken...simmering...appalled...


Outcomes were incomprehensible...


Broken, angry, and in need of justice I took a moment...stood in the bathroom at work and spoke to Him...


Surrendered...again...this situation has been surrendered over and over for quite some time...yet here I stood again...cold tile...sterile environment of the hospital matching the sterile black and white feeling of injustice and the need for an ethical resolution...


So...I surrendered...for I've learned that surrender is the only way...the only way to empty myself of longings that although ethical and justified impair my judgements and sensibilities to act as a Christ follower...longings to lash against the blackness of the evil imparted...longings to cave and feel victimized...


I spoke words of worship in my soul throughout the day...replaced anger with praise...begged for purity within while shuffling patients through the system and answering call lights...


Then it came...He came...in the form of a tweet...Isaiah the prophet...words from old ring true to my soul..."In quietness and trust is your strength..."


Riveted...heart and head spun...I stopped....wrote the verse on an index card to remind...and marinated in the truth of this...


I had no need to defend...I had no need to impart justice...I stood secure...In my Savior that imparts my justice, needs, and favor through His love and unmerited grace...I am HIS.


Since that day...I've lived again surrendered in this situation...aware of the solid backing of truth...no words or justice need to be imparted by me...I am not victimized..I am free...I am whole...I live in quietness and trust...blind faith really...


Because. He. IS. 


That. Is. Enough.


I need nothing more than my Savior. I possess no need to create justice for myself. He is the ultimate justice of the surrendered.


Grace n Peace,


A ~

Monday, November 14, 2011

And We Walked...

Today I walked with my girls...we trampled through leaf strewn roads and soft ground...we climbed trees and touched hearts...we touched the divine...It was perfect...

The poem below I penned quickly so as not to ever forget this perfect day...


"We Walked..."

We walked side by side...
One tall two small...
Leaves chasing our heels...wind blowing away cares...
We walked...

Stick in hand of the littlest...
Thoughts in head of the oldest...
Gratefulness in my heart for this...moment...
We walked...

Trees beckoning to be climbed...
We heeded...
Tall on it's branches we climbed and stood...
We paused...

Stories of the old tree beneath us...
We dreamed...
Connection of spirit to spirit...
We paused...

Drawn back to our legs...
Thoughts of our home...
Scampered down we did...
Then we walked...

Stopping to twirl in the road...
Mental pictures I took...
Filled with Joy unspeakable...
We walked...

One day I will be less than I am today...
They will hold my hand to steady me...
We will remember this day of dreams and youth...
And we will walk...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The First Picture of Grace

I find the love of God to be so perplexing and amazing all at the same time...

I fight to be clean enough to gain it...

Then, I ultimately shun it through my humanity...

I draw close...I run away...

But the closer I grow to Him...I realize the depth...cliche as it may sound....the depth of this God love...

Reading in Genesis this morning, I read the story of the forbidden fruit. God clearly told Adam and Eve "Eat of the fruit and you will surely die."

Surely die.

Not maybe.

Not possibly.

Surely.

Then we see the story play out as Eve is so drawn by what she cannot have that she partakes of the fruit...inviting Adam to indulge with her. They partake...become aware of their nakedness and humanity...and thus the first story of humanity running from God begins.

Yet...God.

This "Surely you will die" God...paints the very first picture of grace.

I can't believe I never caught this before...check it out.

So God has warned Adam and Eve that should they eat the fruit they will die. Yet he comes to them...calls out to them in the garden...and talks to them...calls them out of their hiding place.

This all powerful Creator of humanity...able to create another obedient Adam and and Eve and demolish the first set...talks to them.

He relates to them.

He corrects them.

God allows them to have scars and further pain that will remind them to not eat of the forbidden again...

YET...they DO NOT DIE.

Grace. Unmerited love and favor.

Grace.

God has been painting His love and grace since the beginning of the world. Did Adam and Eve eventually die? Sure. But He extended grace to those wayward children and loved them through the pain  they created for Him.

Rather than exercising His word to kill these wayward children...God first relates to them...explains to them...corrects them...THEN continues to love them...

Blows my mind.

Excites my soul. 

Spurns me to grasp it further, spread it farther, engage it deeper. 

God. LOVES. Me. 

Enough to put up with sin since the garden so He could meet me...caress my soul...engage me...and walk with me...

I plan to get the word out today of this God love...not in the form of tracts and free Bibles...but in lunches with growing child disciples...in smiles at the grocery store...in practiced presence with Him...

I pray I can engage someone to feel this God love...

With Joy and light to the earth...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rambles...

Confession: This blog will be a random post of thoughts and happenings. I cannot be held liable as my brain is overstimulated. 

I find myself drawn to study monks and nuns these days. Yep I said it...monks and nuns. I am quite intrigued by their commitments to the committed life of stability through spirituality. I think we often think of nuns and monks as "those who can't have sex". But it doesn't seem to bother them. They transcend into this marriage with Jesus that utterly thrills them. Strange? Or Greatness? While theologically, I don't subscribe to all their beliefs, I find the serenity they have found very soothing...God like even...unencumbered by the entanglements of this world and it's draining power...they ascend to bliss maybe? Or do they? I'm not sure...but I will search it out. This week as I was finishing a 12 hour shift to go home and study I thought of how great a weekend retreat in "silence" would be at a monastery...Hmmm...more to come on that one...

I heard tonight on Oprah's life class..."Your inner life is your real life." I believe it. More than ever. As I descend more and more into periods of time with only myself, I find the stability that comes out of relationship with God and oneself. It cannot be priced. Yet it's painful and lonely. Hmm...yep more to come on that one too...

Beginning "Home Tonight: Further Reflections on The Parable of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen is a priest that suffered a mental breakdown...this book was written during his breakdown and healing in solitude for 9 months. I find it fascinating already and it kinda goes along with points one and two of this blog: Do those in solitude have a special bond with God? Or do they have breakdowns too? Also, it seems Nouwen wrote a fantastic spiritual piece during a breakdown in solitude after he faced his own humanity...I like it.

Lastly, church today felt like a symphony within my soul. I hadn't been able to attend in three weeks and I was saturated with God and his disciples. We need community. Plain and Simple. We need Him. Plain and simple. Both are utterly delightful. I'm a grateful girl. 

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Living Led...

I drive tired...yet it all feels worth it. Nights away from the babes...squeals of joy as I come in the door...lunches together at school on off days...it all seems very very worth it.
I learned a long time ago from my Father that life must be led...with a stiff upper lip...and I did this for a while...incorrectly...all angst and black and white...full of answers to questions I had not lived...

Now...I know how to live life led...but it's so different than what I had originally conjured in my inexperienced mind...

Led life must be gentle...accepting...born through hard work and experiences...sometimes broken...

Led life requires laying my heart on the throne while driving to work at 5:00 am...gasping at my own thoughts and desires...gently leading my beating mass away from angst and "rights"...to a place of peaceful acceptance of His gloriousness in my life...

Led life...it's a whisper...a gentle tapping in the dark as I drift off...it's examining my baby girl's hand and making mental pictures...praying for what they will one day touch...

Led life conquers me through presence...It's the only way to remain empty of myself...and I often fail it...

Led life requires conscious choices again and again...to choose wisely for the eternal...what will last...I sometimes want out...

But then I am drawn again to the tree...hewn and made rough into a cross...that my lover died upon so I might be present...that I might smile at a stricken family in the hospital....that I might caress my child in times of heartache...that I might deposit into the hurt world ever so gently...one smile...one accepting love...one nurturing moment at a time...

I'm drawn again to run my hand against the splinters that tore His life asunder on this cross...and gave me mine...

I am led...

Nail scarred hands...I am led...deep and quietly...to accept that I am in a passageway to the eternal...forever depositing or removing from this life...and what to deposit or remove?

Delight or dilema?


Acceptance or fear?


Joy or hatred?


Praise or blame?


Meekness or spirited words that injure?

All can be deposited or removed by my minute walk through the passageway...

Undone by these moments and choices...I am led to Him again and again...to choose love that knows no bounds...to choose peace that literally transforms....

Led to delight in what others find mundane and attainable...I am undone...

Forever searching...forever striving for pieces of the eternal on the planet of the temporary...I am undone...

He leads me...I follow...gently as I learn more and more how to be led in the passageway...

Tree rough and bloody always in my sight...as I tread the passageway to eternity determined to step lightly yet leave my footprint...

I live led.

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Raising Gentle Women...


“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

I am currently living in one bedroom of my parents home with my two girls...

We share a bed...

We share a closet...

We share a bathroom with my mom (God love her patient heart)...

There are days...Oh there are days...where my "gentleness" runs a muck and my patience runs short...

You see, when you live in one bedroom with desks, books for three, toys, clothing, bean bags, etcetera...It gets messy IN FIVE MINUTES...which severely disarms me...

I want to scream...I want my apartment back...I want to run...

Then we head out to the pumpkin patch...and I look at these moments...


I sit back in the hay and take in every moment...these babes...my little women...are growing long in limbs and strong in heart...time is escaping me...


I have measured moments to love them...instruct them...know them...they will be gone sooner than later...


And once they are gone to fly into their destinies..I will have time to wash socks and reminisce of the moments we developed as a family...I will have time to remember how I chose gentleness over impatience...and I will be ever so glad...


Thank you God for bringing this verse to my over packed inbox this morning...and reminding me that our lives are vapors...that gentle women raise gentle girls who turn into gentle women...and that NOTHING...not school, jobs, and single parenthood override Motherhood...


“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)


Being a Mother, is my greatest fulfillment and joy...and keeping that at the forefront of my days...keeps me sane and gentle....

Today I will wash 4 loads of clothes...study in between...go to lunch with my girls at school...cook dinner...clean up our room (AGAIN)...and love every moment that I'm afforded to do it with a grateful heart...Because you see...when I had the apartment and storage...I couldn't leave work to go to school functions as much as I'd like...there were no after school pickups...I was not afforded the luxury of engaging in their day to day childhood experiences as I am now...

All choices require change and commitment to the goal...I'm preparing for a more simple life with my Luvs...vocationally I will be able to spend more time with them and deposit into their day to day activities...THIS...this is priceless and worth every struggle...

When I send them off on their own, I fully intend to have vault of memories and a knowledge that we spent our days in joy...not busyness...angst...or regret...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Intentional Fulfillment...





Sun streamed crops across the landscape...
Children enjoying breakfast on the "good" china...
Sounds of wind blowing through trees...
Bicycles thrown on lawns from quick escapes...
My rocking chair in the early morn doused in sun and Him...

These are the places I feel most fulfilled...I find fulfillment can come when you least expect it...in the places you never thought you would find such depths of soul understanding...

I sit in my rocking chair engulfed with nature and solitude...I am completely fulfilled. God whispers in this space of green and yellow...He has no need to shout...
I listen quick...it's easier when the only distraction is bird calls and rustlings amongst the foliage...

I am again reminded we do not require much to sustain us yes...but moreover we do not need much to fulfill us...
Simplicity enlightens...strips...encourages fundamental relationship...with children...with family...with Him...

In simplicity, I am propelled to make more of these moments happen...and I find that the only real way to make them happen is to live this way in the other 23 hours leading up to this one...simplicity requires preparation once imparted...

It's saying no to "stuff" not needed that crowds my spaces...
It's saying yes to "outside play" with children and pets...
It's saying yes to "solitude" even when uncomfortable...
It's saying no to a lifestyle of "more" and "better"...
It's yes to "need" no to "want"...
It's discernment of "important" and "needless"...

It's where I find myself full...sated...filled with the majesty of the present...no past...no looming future...only now....

Filled with joy and wonderment...I am pure soul...disentangled from world and worry...I am free in this place.

I am learning that for me, "intentional living" is making the sacred happen. It is orchestrating my mornings...my evenings...to encapsulate the beautiful in the mundane...

Crops in sunlight discussed with babes...afternoons soaking in fresh air...saying no to what is told will fulfill me to encourage the real essences of beauty that truly do...

We really have need of little more than Him, community, and nature...at some point the other elements become contrived...

These elements are fulfilling when enjoyed sparingly and intermittently...but true fulfillment is found in the depths of creation...in life...in the living...not man created....

We all need to enjoy some fulfillments of man...after all, I'm out in nature writing on my mac...drinking my coffee brewed...

We can do this though...we can move outside a culture of more and busy to capture the essence of intentional living...sharing the space of our lives with Him, others, and nature...

We just have to intentionally respond and create the space....

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How Presumptuous of Me...

"Will I or won't I?"

That was the question. I stood on the line. You know the one. The white line down the middle...the one that requires a side before you progress through your day.

I stood on the proverbial line...chewing my nails, looking side to side, knowing a choice must be made....knowing the consequences that would come if I chose badly...if I chose flesh.

Yet I did it anyway. Presumptuous.

I chose sin. I didn't fall by accident. I didn't find myself in too late. I chose to walk towards unrighteousness.

Paul Bunyan termed it "Raping the Grace of God."

What made it even more strange is while I knew I was operating in flesh...giving in to the side of me that is non-eternal...knowing a price would be paid for this choice...I felt nothing. Days earlier I had to silence my conscious to make the choice accessible and less wrenching.

Presumptuous.

Merriam-Webster defines Presumptuous as "Overstepping due bounds; taking liberties."

David was presumptuous with Bathsheba. Judas presumptuous in betrayal. Mary Magdalene was presumptuous many times with many men. Peter...three times he sinned a presumptuous sin by knowingly denying Christ. Annias and Sapphira...presumptuously sinned financially against God.

Presumptuous sin began in the Garden...with the first bite of the fruit. Eve presumpteously wanted more than perfection...humanity has never left this presumpteous sin behind.

David said in Psalm 19:12-13 "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression."

I've marinated this passage and concept of presumpteuous sin in mind. I find it easy to spot many presumptous sins we struggle with; pornography, deception, pride, lack of discipleship, gluttony, etc. But it's the other "minute" presumptions of sin that float under my radar.

Negative thought patterns, lack of trust in God for what I need, engagement in media that promotes sin and Godless society, slothfulness, lack of prayer, lack of study in the Word, judgment, validation from other areas instead of Him...

All examples of presumpteous sins.

When I allow negative thoughts, emotions, and struggles to interfere with the truths I know about God...I knowingly decide what God has given me is not good enough and He should not be praised. Sin.

When I decide that I will focus on my plans instead of trusting God...I knowingly decide that I am God. Sin.

When I watch movies, shows, etc. that engage in lust, impure motives, and areas outlined in His word that are reproachable to Him...I decide that entertainment of the flesh is more important that pleasing my Creator. Sin.

When I entertain myself and spend my time with mind numbing activites rather than disciplining myself in prayer and study of the Word...I insinuate to God that our relationship is not priority; that His goodness is deserved and merited. Sin.

When I cast my prejudice, upbringing, assumptions, and unhealth upon other humanity in an effort to feel more accepted, loved, and adequate...I show God His children are not worth my love and acceptance; even though He loves and accepts me unconditionally. Sin.

When I run to areas that temporarily fill the void created for God...relationships, food, money, material posessions, social causes over relationship with Him, busyness, etc...I choose Idols over the Lover of my soul. Sin.

I believe after his failings David understood this; hence his cry to God "Who can understand his errors?" He knew that while we knowingly choose to sin...we sometimes don't understand it ourselves. We are on a death wish of sorts. Inately, we all have places in humanity that propel us towards idolatry and away from our Creator.

This is why relationship is so important. "Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me."


David was asking for help. He recognized that in his humanity he would choose to override righteousness and would need strong relationship with God to help him say NO.

How comforting to know that it is not in the meditation upon sins and the journey towards them that we fail...but in the moment where we have stepped out of relationship with the creator and not asked for cleansing and the help to say...NO.

Dominion occurs when we fail to commune with His all encompassing, wise love for us. He is the only reality that dispels and combats presumptuous sinful natures. He is light. He is love. He is stronger.

Grace n Peace,

A ~







Monday, September 26, 2011

Content to Trudge...





I turn side to side in the dark and my mind is slothful...it does not want to bend to truth. It want wants to hurt. It wants to give in to the despair. Yet I know that I cannot. It is not of Him.


You see...I'm in a season. I've heard people talk of "seasons". I even thought I had really walked through some. Yet this one is different. It's recognizable. I think I recognize it because I'm healthy. When you're unhealthy, you're trying so hard to paddle upstream that you just cannot stop and learn the lesson. You cannot go with the flow.


Age. Experience. Failure has taught me to go with the flow of God.


I find myself in a season of extreme diligence and commitment to excellence. It's hard. It's lonely. I miss the old days. I left a city and a community I loved. I had dates every weekend. I had excitement at my fingertips. I had a booming church. I had people.


Now. I have my call to excellence and God. I do not mean this to sound "woe is me-ish". Quite the contrary...I find myself incredibly blessed. Mostly fulfilled. And reaching goals.


It's just...lonely.


Yet I know...God is in my details. I just love that. Even when I don't feel it. I love it. You see...I'm quite convinced this is my "season of excellence." It's not fun. Yet it is. It's humbling. Yet it's building my esteem. It hurts. Yet it sets me free. It quite the conundrum of a season.


I am not one to be still. I am not one to do well with periods of boredom. God is seeing to the fact that I settle my little tail down. He is creating spaces of stillness within me. It requires discipline. It requires adherence. It requires obedience. None of it fun at this point. 


But I'm OK with it. (Mostly) Some days, like the night I slothfully rolled around fretting about losing myself and my boring life...it gets the better of me. Then I awake to my God, my children, and my trees and I know it's time for me to keep trudging towards the goal. 


I am reminded of an oft quoted verse that can be stood upon day after day in seasons where He leads us but does not bring playmates and party hats...


 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
Philippians 4:11-13

I am in no way hungry...suffering...etcetera...

But sometimes dagnabit...we just wanna feel happy and excited...not always the plan...

Growth requires sustained discipline and attention. Should I want to get to the finish line strong and in a state of excellence...I must put away my desires for immediate gratification and stay the course of the champion. 

ex·cel·lenceNoun/ˈeksələns/

                             1. The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.

I look at friends in their seasons of harvest and I'm genuinely thrilled for them. Genuinely filled with joy at the blessings of God. They are learning excellence in other ways than I. I'm OK with that because at the end of the day if I become outstanding to my Creator...I don't really care the path it took to get me there. 

Seasons bring me to my starting and ending point: my knees. Remind me of my strength in Him and my weakness in myself. Such blessing. Such grace He bestows upon me to grant the journey. 

Stay strong in your season.

If you are in harvest from your preparation to outstanding excellence in Him...Hurrah! Cheer others on who are trudging up the path behind you. Hand them a Gatorade cup as they keep their pace solid.

If you are in the season of the trudge towards His goal for you...Hurrah! You are special. He counted you worthy to give you an outstanding mission! Be real and trudge beside others. Tell them when you get a blister from the miles. Compel them to stay with you because you need them. Be authentic about where you are on the path. We are all trying to become our excellent selves in Christ. We need one another. 

Whatsoever state you find yourself in...Be content. It's only for a while. :-)

Grace n Peace Trudgers and Harvesters,

A ~

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Phenomenal Woman

I love this poem by the amazing Maya Angelou...

I am reminded when I read it...God created me beautiful...just as I is...

"Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Takin' the long way to my miracle...

"Sometimes God asks His friends for favors...like taking the long way..." Charlotte Gambill 

She spoke it...My insides went to mush...

You see I didn't realize I've been holding back...I didn't realize I've been explaining "why" for the events of my life...

I was like Martha, the sister of Lazarus...explaining events with scripture...explaining deaths in my life with understanding of a good Christian gal...

God doesn't need my scriptures...He doesn't need my explanations...He needs me to take the long way to my miracle...

I don't ask "why" per se...but I did see within myself where I've "quit" on certain aspects of my life because I thought they had been negated...because surely if they were to be...then THESE things wouldn't have happened...

Then Charlotte said that line...and I crawled back in His lap and laid my head on His chest...all fell away and I was set free again...from myself and my explanations for the events of my life...

It became very clear. It became very simple.

Maybe God is using my life to include others.

Pure.

Simple.

Because IF my miracle had been instantaneous...I couldn't take anyone with me...

Only when our miracle is birthed on the long way home...do we meet others...and share the journey and miracle with them...

God only asks this of friends....

He asks His friends for this favor....

"Will you believe in me? Will you do me a favor and let me use you to include others in a miracle?"

Sometimes...He allows things, people, relationships, jobs, etc. to die...so He can raise them up again...

"Great is your reward in Heaven..."

If I received all instantaneous miracles from Him...I would have no rewards in Heaven because there would be no opportunity for reaping provision, harvest, community, and others on the path...

How powerful...

How amazing...

How humbled I feel...

This God...MY God...counts me as a friend...enough to take me on the long way home...

I love Him...I love you all...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BIG livin'...




Crisp clean breezes infuse me like none other...I'm hopelessly in love with fall...

When fall arrives with his dashing sense of style and entrance, I am always left breathless and wanting more...

Leaves blowing against my windshield...chilly mornings and perfect afternoons leave me inspired to live...

I want a BIG life...

Messy...

Delicious...

Adventurous...

Daring...

Wrought with risk and achievement...

Dashed with romance...

Radically...Gracefully...Fully...

B.I.G.

I don't know why this struck me today other than the pure unbridled joy that fall fills me with...I want to do this thing called life...and I want to DO. IT. BIG.

I think living GINORMOUS is achievable for me with simple commitment to the following:

Wonderment is the chief requirement of living a BIG life....I can always tell when I'm too immersed in stress...when I haven't laughed enough...when I'm too serious...Wonderment is missing...

Radical abandonment for sure is a very close second...when I'm hesitant to jump....when I over think...when I don't trust Him in surrender...I'm not only not abandoned...I'm far from radical...my fullest life requires both...

Growth...cannot be avoided for the Big Livin' woman...I'm compelled to confront weakness...read constantly to expand...and challenge my thoughts and motives constantly...If I want to wear BIG girl panties...I've gotta grow into 'em... ;-)

Fluidity...when I turn to control and away from surrender...I get totally crabby and unhappy in about 2.3 seconds...when I remain fluid in the path of life and God...I'm chill...I'm at peace...I'm happy...FLUID...essential...

That's it. Pretty simple. If I want to end this minute life one day with BIG memories...skidding out of the temporal earth worn completely out from all the awesomeness...It's up to me to make it happen..

God. Wonderment. Radical Abandonment. Growth. Fluidity.

Small Potatoes eh?

Oh Yeah...and BIG OLE pile of books on each leg of the journey ;-)

Grace N Peace,

A ~



Sunday, September 11, 2011

I have a regrets list...



I HAVE REGRETS.

I was apart of the most beautiful wedding this weekend. I sat amongst the trees and watched this stunning couple with their whole lives ahead gaze into each other's eyes and pledge their lives. I thought of my two ceremonies...I was filled with shame. I was filled with regret. I realized I've now lived long enough to have a "regret list".

I floated through the grass to the reception...there in body but many many miles away in mind...I couldn't shake the sadness that filled me. The pain of knowing that humanity, sin, and disobedience destroyed unions and commitments meant for eternity. Realization set in that in life...sometimes you aren't wrong...you can't fix it...you can't change it...and it just...HURTS.

In the past, the hurt would be all consuming...feel hopeless...feel like it would last for eternity. I don't feel that anymore. As bad as having a regret list is...I'm also old enough to have learned that mourning only lasts a season. I've had sufferings and set backs enough to know that joy does return.

Shame is a new emotion for me and I'll admit I've not yet conquered it. I am not the girl that should have been divorced once...much less twice. Yet...I am. It's crushing. It's humbling. It's hurtful. It has been my undoing.

Yet...

It draws me closer to the cross. Not as Fan...as a follower. It wrecks my heart and soul...it reminds me that pride is not holy and at times...neither am I. He continuously saves me. Shame is not healthy. I know this. It cycles. It hits you out of nowhere. It breaks your spirit some days.

Yet...

It draws me closer to the cross. I can imagine in my minute sufferings how Jesus felt. Hanging on a cross. Naked. Spit upon. Deserted. Scorned. SCORNED. He HAD to have fought shame. He loved and lost. Just like me. He gave His best. Just like me. He died. Just like me. He triumphed. Just like I will.

Shame is temporary. Salvation is permanent. Shame can never shake my salvation in Him. What comfort! What joy! Should I never be understood...Should I always be whispered about behind my back...Should my story never be told correctly...this is temporary...

Salvation with a Shamed Savior. That. That is forever.

This. This is "fellowship of sufferings". I know some of you might not agree. Twice Divorced is not suffering with and for Jesus. I disagree. Suffering is different for us all. Individualized. Highly personal. Highly debilitating. When we suffer...we enter into fellowship with our Savior in a deeper...more powerful understanding way. Because the catalyst of the suffering matters not...it's the fellowship that matters. In the end, our relationship with a shamed, risen Savior is enhanced with every suffering and shame that draws us closer to His side. This. This I know.

As I shut it down for the night and lay in the dark, I will ponder the pain in my heart that shame brings. Things that should have been so different but ended wrecked. But I will also ponder the glorious days my future will bring with the Savior. Age allows me to know that I'm in a season. There is a plan. I'm not alone. I'm forgiven. I'm accepted. Tomorrow has new blessings and challenges. He sees the shame and releases it. I am not shamed in Him. I'm loved. That. That is enough.

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pale is the New Tan...and Other New Revelations...





I remember as girl absolutely LOATHING my pale skin...I felt like I was the odd man out all the time with my tan friends.


I was a redhead and felt myself to be not very pretty in comparison to the others. I was not a typical beauty nor fit with my flaming hair and zealous personality.


I think I learned early on to overcompensate with independence and "I don't need you"...(of course independence is also inherent in redheads ;-) )


As I've grown into myself, birthed two babies, suffered setbacks, lost weight, gained weight, highlighted, blown out hair, fake fingernails, no fingernails, Chanel makeup, Maybelline makeup, Anthropologie to thrift stores, Diamonds to plastic bangles...


I've fallen into one thing: Myself.


I have always been afraid to compliment myself. Afraid to believe in the good things I could and would accomplish as I didn't want to set myself up for heartache when I failed. Confidence equalled pride in my twisted, insecure mind and heart.


As I've progressed in my journey, I've learned that there are some things I'm really good at and there are some things I just can't ever get right. I've learned that preparation can produce excellence. I've learned that I possess some things that can make the world a better place. I've learned I'm a nurturer and not the angry girl I portrayed out of insecurity.


I am not good. I am a sinner. I'm a wreck tossed in the ocean of God. But I'm confident. I'm confident in HIM. God is teaching me that it's OK to feel good about me. To like me. To accept me. To not allow other opinions to shape me. ONE opinion shapes me, my views, my decisions, my world...HIS.


I'm reminded of this every day as I look on the ink stained into my wrist. HIS.


I belong to Him.


It enables me to accept that I'm not a stepchild. That my pale skin is cool and my wrinkles are earned. It enables to me to wear Chanel or no makeup. "His"means I'm beautiful as myself. Skinny. Fat. Stilettos. Toms. Jeans. Couture. Diamonds or Plastic. 


I'm beautiful. I'm enough. I don't have to worry if this is pride. I've got enough body image, smart image,  magazine model trying to measure up issues to keep my pride in check. No...this is God-esteem. I'm HIS. I'm beautiful. 


Being HIS, also propels me to not be a sideline fan but a follower. To live fully engaged in His spirit and to strive for the spirit to be my motivation...my solidification...my counsel...and my company...


I'm not there...I've got a long way to go...I'm way too comfortable...I don't give enough back yet...


But I'm CONFIDENT...He has begun a good work...if I stay in relationship...If I engage...If I listen...He will COMPLETE it...


Grace n Peace,


A ~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pockets of Peace...



"You will find as you continue to heal that the pockets of peace will lengthen..." she said to me as I sat smiling on the proverbial therapist couch.

I had been in therapy after a messy divorce and marriage for almost a year. When she first spoke of "pockets of peace" I wondered how I would ever get to a point of existing fully in one. Was such a thing possible?

I had lived in chaos for so long. I was on the mend but worried that I would ever mend fully.

Fast forward. 4 years later.

I am sitting in my car amongst the trees studying at twilight. Spelling out Rhabdomyosarcoma. Fully immersed in the moment. I look up and pause...

Breathing in the beauty of the sunset lit trees...the perfect stillness...the pocket of peace...

I am comfortable in it.

I am...at peace...

I realize in this moment the fullness of what my therapist was birthing in me during those two hour sessions every other week...stillness...acceptance...joy...

You cannot "make" such things happen within you...I find only "He" can...

For me, it's happened with the partnership of Him and my laying down my humanity...

Sometimes I lay it down through face in the dirt failure...

Some days I lay it down willingly in acts of determined surrender...

Nonetheless...I've learned to lay it down one way or the other...

It's the only way I maintain the pocket of peace my life has become...

I can't say life has become "easier" or "more fun"...

I can say He's teaching me about importance...priorities...goal setting and reaching...

Depths of joy found in a child's long eye lashes as you lay and laugh with her...

Peace found amongst the trees while studying for the future...

Peace among the pieces is what He creates...

She was right...the longer you learn to live in the pockets of peace...the wider and deeper and stronger they become...

This is a good thing...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ripples and Wrinkles...



All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am...

I listen to these words from Brandi Carlile as I get dressed in the mirror...I stop and think about the fine lines around my 34.75 year old eyes...the crease around my lip line from where I've slept on the same side for most of my life...the tears that have produced the under eye bags...the raucous laughter that has produced the wrinkles...the stray grays...

I take it all in with no particular thought...no particular emotion...I partner with the thought that I am mother to a nine year old daughter now who needs me yet is her own person hood...I am proceeding the path...

I partner in that moment with the realization that I've lived long enough to have regrets...that I've lived long enough to make memories...I've lived long enough to learn a few things...

I realize in these moments my mortality...the infallible proof that we will all age more quickly than slowly...the fact that we will all have grown children faster than having babies...and that...Life is completely flighty, fast, and unkind in the area of time...

We will all wake up and be old one day...then we will not wake up...

Morbid a bit I know...but these realizations do not threaten me...they do not produce sadness (OK well the ones about my babies...)...they produce a fortitude...a resilience...

Tread on...Forge on...Chart the uncharted waters...

One minute life can produce such wonderful, beautiful ripples in the ocean of humanity...

Do all you can.

Love your God.

Kiss your babies more than they want.

Tell your friends you love them and are proud of their ripples more than you think they need to hear.

Live with gratitude rather than regret.

Praise everyone for everything even when you think they cannot hear.

Smile.

Study hard. Work hard.

Live the simple life unencumbered by stuff and "too much" so you can truly be free.

Simply put: LIVE.

Make wrinkles and ripples...

Grace n Peace...

A ~

Sunday, August 21, 2011

HIS Great things...

I'm forever being challenged and confronted with the American dream...


I sat in my car blinking back tears as I pondered the poverty and hunger within my own home state of Arkansas...


I went inside and put my face in the carpet (seems I need to do this often) and wept for those who will be hungry today...I asked him to help me help...this one...let this one make a difference for one more...


See five minutes before on my drive to church I found myself conducting internal dialog with God...I said to Him inwardly..."I have great things to do I feel...where are they?" (Pride?)


He said "I want you to do things in MY version of great..."


Wow. 


Then I pull into the parking lot and read my printed information on Arkansas Rice Depot:


Arkansas Poverty Facts

  • 18% of population live below the Federal Poverty Average
  • The 4th poorest state, 503,000 Arkansans live in poverty. 25% of those living in poverty are children.
  • In fact, Arkansas has more hungry children than any other state in America.
  • The average income of a Food For Seniors recipient is $79/month, after rent and utilities are paid

I wept for my fellow Arkansans...I wept for young and old alike...I wept over my desires to go to Africa to help others when there is almost a quarter of MY state's population starving...

HIS idea of great...I've got to accomplish THAT...Not mine...

I don't have to travel with Compassion International...(although I want to)

I do have to look around me...It's the mandate of Christ...throughout the Gospels we see the early church did much ministering around the dinner table...How can we adequately share the love if they are so hungry they cannot hear?

We are going to help change the statistics. Our church is getting involved and reaching out. We're going to do food drives. We are going to get food into hungry kids backpacks. We're going to help make a difference if only to one.

My dear friend is doing a drive at her church. Her husband is thinking of donating profits from his business. THIS...THIS is the great things He dreams of for us to do...

Reach one...Feed one...Love one...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Eyes for God...-

Rocks are being hurled at him...He kneels knowing these are his last moments on mother earth...

Rather than meeting his creator surrounded by love...He is being sent to eternity with hatred and wrath surrounding him...

"But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed - He only had eyes for God..." Acts 7:55-56 (MSG)

I've been focusing on Acts this week for my reading. Sitting in my car before and after classes, soaking in these men...this community of God lovers that GOT IT...truly GOT IT...

Then I sit with the book this morning and I begin reading about Stephen...

The words jump out at me..."He only had eyes for God..."


Acts says the mob that was stoning him was "yelling, hissing"...yet He is so aware of God...He is completely unaware of the mob...

How does that happen? How does one get to that place?

We often tell our lovers "I only have eyes for you..." then a pretty girl or handsome guy walks by...

It's become cliche'.

So in a distracted culture of electronics, selfishness, materialism, and idolatry...How do I truly only have eyes for him?

Relationship.

I think back to my first love...(whom I married and produced two cherubs with)...

I was smitten...absolutely smitten...to the point that I honestly thought He was THE most amazing man on the planet and I truly didn't look at other men...

As I think of this, It comes to me that it also could be factored in that I was innocent as well...unencumbered by responsibilities, real relationship problems such as finances etc., and our relationship had not been tainted yet by betrayals or pain...

We were in love...building towards a life...sharing laughter and love...supporting each other and believing that there was NO OTHER...

NO OTHER.

Aha.

NO OTHER.

We were so filled to the brim with one one another that NO OTHER could enter in and take our gaze from each other.

Stephen...He only had eyes for God because God was his ONLY lover...He was not encumbered by materialism, idolatry, hatred, un-forgiveness, lust, or lack of belief...He simply chose to place his eyes on the one that he knew could overcome those things and love him fully...

Don't get me wrong...I don't believe for a second that it was easy for Stephen to ask for forgiveness for his murderers WHILE they stoned him...or was it?

Did he love God so much and God loved him so much that he enabled him to cruise right through his own death, eyes locked in on Heaven, not experiencing pain, but the exhilaration of going home to his lover?

I don't know. Scripture doesn't say.

But this I do know: To live a life of eyes fixed on Christ my lover, I must love him more than anything. Period. Bottom line.

If I love him more than anything, then my eyes will stay fixed. I will only have eyes for Him.

I don't believe in our humanity that this means we will never fall, never move our gaze and become distracted...but, it does mean that when we do...this loving relationship provides acceptance and forgiveness when we look back into the eyes of our lover...

Because if we know one another, then there is a mutual trust...a knowing...a understanding of one another and our motives...when we are fully in love then we will strive to fulfill one another no holds barred...

Eyes for God...begins with love...unencumbered with other loves...it's a monogamous, passionate, fully alive experience...and it's the only way...

Stephen held the gaze of his lover Christ while he floated from this earth...because he knew that this earth was temporary and held him too far away from his passionate love affair...He was going home...and nothing could take his eyes away...

Grace n Peace,

A ~