Worship, Create, Dream

Be free to Worship God. Create with abandonement because He is the Creator. Let's discover our Dreams together.


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Is Fear A Big Bad Wolf?

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GRACE- IT IS NECESSARY!

IMG_0481Ideas/Thots toward my lasts posts about DOES GOD LOVE THE GOOD GIRL?

Are you the prodigal son or daughter?

Do you identify with Sidney or with Sara?

The “wild girl” seems obvious.   The damage caused to self and others may be  physical, a sickness,  pregnancy, addictions,  or hard earned money now gone forever.  An ugly problem comes up   with possible negative side-effects which need to be dealt with.

The “good girl” reflects one who obeys and appreciates the rules set before her. Does anyone  want her to change? It seems to benefit everyone. Family, society, church. If she keeps the rules, everyone will be happy. Right.?

                                                              WRONG!!!

Without grace both girls look into the mirror only to see the reflection of an empty soul.

Neither one allows herself to walk in the Grace-Filled life God wants to sweep over her. Decisions need to be made. Sidney made that decision. She came home.  Sara,  like many “good girls” was unaware a decision even needs to be made.

What does this mean in my life?   IN  your life?

I grew up in a family where I was the “Good Girl”. I don’t blame anyone. It was what it was. I took the road the most comfortable for me, which was the listener. My books were my playmates.

I developed the attitude of PEACEMAKER. Don’t rock the boat.   I listened.

I went to college. Got a degree in Psychology because of course I had a good listening ear.   Still tried to keep the peace wherever I lived.

Eventually I got married and had two wonderful children.

I believe the listening ear, and enjoying books, eventually lead me to Love and Serve God  the way I do now.

God is so wonderful. He wants  relationship. He is not satisfied with a  GOOD GIRL servant.

I was unaware I lived under the Good Girl label. emily p. freeman’s book grace for the GOOD GIRL  revealed the  masks I picked for protection  😦 Peacemaker, People-pleasing, looking for the smiles, Don’t rock the boat.

God’s love for me is constantly revealing His Care. Even at my age,  He still  says “Let’s dance a new dance”.   Slowly, lovingly He is working  through my life, peeling  off  protective layers. Living in grace is not always keeping my mouth shut. If I keep quiet out of fear I will be rejected, I’m telling the person in the mirror, I’m not important.

God says “No. Come and play.

If I say no to a request, am  I still a good person? Am I  still liked and needed?

Saying yes to jobs from a distorted fear can be tiring. Good girls may feel a need respond out of duty. How does one tell  the difference between the good girl who is doing the right thing  in fear of rejection and the the one who is responding out of grace? The actions can be the exact same thing. Answer-Motivation.  In this quote  from emily’s book, she gives a description revealing when walking in and through God’s Grace.= “Good girls see Jesus as someone to copy. Free women listen to the voice of his Spirit who dwells inside us”.

I am the older daughter finding her identity and freedom in Christ. It is not what I do. It is what Jesus did. I am justified through the faithfulness of Christ¹

The reality of this Grace pouring in me is a Life Long Dance.

                                                              I can bloom!

 

 

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Galatians 2:20 MSG

Questions and comments are always welcome. We are all on this journey together.  I’m not completely finished, but I like what I see in the mirror.

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1 Reference to message given at Duluth Vineyard  GOOD NEWS ABOUT FREEDOM May 28-29, 2016.

 

 


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Delight

  26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]? https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6%3A+26-27&version=NIV

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I love to watch birds. In fact when visiting relatives in SD this summer, I saw their  bird feeder surrounded by a variety of  beautiful colors and fantastic sounds different than our feathered friends in Duluth. I sat at the dining table  staring out the glass door,  listening, delighting, being blessed in the gifts God was sharing with me.

Worry steals contentment. Ponder slightly on things you allow your mind to worrying about.  Worrying how all the jobs needing to be  finished  will be done completely and perfectly in the allotted time. Worrying what to do with ALL the stuff when downsizing.  What to keep, or should the item go to Goodwill? Or possibly the dump. What if I throw away the item that will later be yelled for to complete a project?   😦

Granted, in the scheme of life, these are trivial worries.  If I cannot  WALK THROUGH THE SHADOW OF DEATH holding God’s hand in these rather small challenges of my life. seeking His Peace and Contentment, there is no way I am going to be able to handle a larger item knowing His Fullness and Grace.

walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6&version=MSG

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Big Worries or little worries-each will take your eyes , my eyes off God’s gentle leading.  Our mind will directly and solely uncomfortably stay on the problem.

Contentment was the topic these last few Sundays at church so it seemed natural to consider asking myself some hard questions.  Am I content? What makes me content.  What makes me stray from being content? ?

When asking God a question dealing with your life, be prepared for serious answers or don’t bother asking.  Somehow, someway, sometime, possibly in a fashion you do not expect, He will answer because of His intense love for you, for me. Isn’t that wonderful?

Earlier posts this summer questioned where my contentment lied. Changes in my home situation and possible lifestyle challenged who is REALLY IN CHARGE.   I could tell from my inner reaction when asked certain answers, not having the answer  and not being OK with that, I realized I was the one who needed to be in charge.

The main point of the messages on CONTENTMENT boiled down to one idea for me.
Contentment is not a Noun or life I fall into. I cannot choose to be content  True, deep lasting Contentment does not  depend on my own resources to achieve it.IMG_2771

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If CONTENTMENT  doesn’t fall on me with the circumstances of a spring day or from my choosing,  how do I get it. People such as Mother Theresa or St. Francis of Assisi appeared to be calm and cool. Are they born that way? No. They needed to go through the same refining fire as everyone else.The Fruits of the Spirit are freely available to us when change and challenge cause contentment to fly south.
Ask yourself what fruit is needed  most in your life when hit in the face with CHANGE. When a CHALLENGE is put square on your plate and worry seems to loom larger  than life, what fruit is God wanting to develop in you to express  His Character. The answer for me was not difficult =
PATIENCE AND PEACE.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/who-am-i-becoming/#sthash.9x0JlyyM.uzQ2dZfC.dpu

God sees my makeup. God knows my needs.

The birds of the air and the wildflowers are beautiful in sight and sound. They are His creation. He delights in them and meets their needs.

God DELIGHTS IN ME. He came to live in me and with me so I could change and Delight in Him.  Contentment does not rest on looking at my reserves. It is keeping my eyes fixed on Him and walking with my hand in His.

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“Men and women may argue and make excuses but it does not change the fact that in our society we are completely surrounded by the ancient curse; everything is recent, transient and temporal. That is why the Holy Spirit whispers faithfully reminding us of the Christ of God Eternity, walking in the flesh. God Almighty comes to live among us and to save, actually to give us eternity. ”   30 Morning With Tozer.  Daily Devotional Readings

CONTENTMENT  resting in the One Who Loves Me. Not so preoccupied in the world and getting but to RESPOND TO GOD AND HIS GIVING. IMG_0775


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Walking Through the Door

At the end of July, I turn sixty-one!!!!.

For me that is a scary proposal. Walking through doors that have never been opened  before. Yes  at times, it causes  a bit of anxiety. ( Senior citizen labels come upon me as I can now qualify for certain discounts. My last child graduated from high school.  No turning back from this stage.) I have gone from working and  unmarried to married and working to married and being a stay at home mom. This final stage has lasted the last 18 years.  As I mentioned before, that job filled my life with ride-sharing to school, making lunches, co-coordinating school schedules for two students.  Helping memorize speeches for contests, going to basketball games etc.  Still being a part of my daughter’s life as she went to college here in Duluth and watching her graduate.  Now my son has graduated from high school and my daughter is in Sicily.

I am looking at my present story through a fog or mist asking a question: What do you want me to do now Lord?

I have days where the air is clear and mind has free direction. My days are basically empty of the aforementioned requirements so therefore I can fly to new heights of adventures.

Suddenly, I crash to the reality of barriers and questions that surround me. The free time can look as much as a fearful space to fill in a positive manner or an abundant gift and blessing .

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I am seeking the expression of “me”. I have been  surrounded in raising children for such a long time that this sudden freedom at my age, is internally and mentally challenging.  Ladies I know I am not the only one who experiences  searching a deeper expression of themselves and God in their walk.
I will go back to the previous question. What is causing the barrier for me?
FEAR~~~~~ Fear to step out and take risks. Fear to give myself permission to do what it takes to express and experience the depth, breadth and width of what it takes to walk through this door.
There are possibly some reasonable cautions that stop me at the door. My mind is not as quick. I am not driving as much as I use to so transportation is a challenge to overcome. Exciting adventures to others  have small but physical challenges to me. Not so much fun anymore.
When I was younger, looking the fool was not so terrible. I would laugh. Now it is hard for me to try new things in the fear of  failure.  Having grace for myself has somehow slipped away.
If I have trouble having grace for myself, will others have grace for me, or will I see disgust or worse —pity?  I am not that old.
My daughter Anna is receiving and giving a great life lesson. She is in Sicily working with an organization called OneHope /Cultivate.

Preconceptions she had concerning her ministry are getting revamped. Anna was willing to take a risk. From her risk taking and willingness to learn, others are receiving abundant gifts of love.  (https://acker197.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/weeks-three-four-muffins-details-conversations)
Am I willing to take the risks open to me now?
Fear rears its head to point out what I cannot do. Fear comes out to say I do not have the ability, money, mental capacity needed to explore the  creative ventures I want to pursue. It is beyond me. Give up.
After I am quiet,  and  tears are shed,  I listen to the still small voice in my head that calls to the deeper desire in my heart to express what is inside. I look to what can be done.

 Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

The days I walk in the mist are filled with tears. God does not leave me. His hand is always taking mine. At times we stand still and He just holds me because I do not know where to move.  That is OK. I smile at the patience He has with me.
The encouragement that I want to leave today is:  do not stop dreaming- take your medium. Release from the depths, the freedom of His life you have been given. Take classes and study to get better knowledge of your creative tools. Do not allow your fear to define you.  Do not allow the outside to put barriers on you. (age, fear, negativity, time, preconceptions ). Seek what God wants to say as He draws it out. Worship!!!
Join me in this process of exploration and discovery (writing, creating, photography, worship, being).

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If you are at this stage of discovery, feel free to share a comment on how you have learned to walk through the door. If you can identify in any way,  express a piece of encouragement or post a question.   🙂
IMG_2420Bless Him. Keep Creating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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BEAUTY FOR ASHES

Is. 40: 28 – 29 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.   NIV
Is: 55: 8-11“I don’t think the way you think.The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as surpasses the way you work the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.  MSG

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. raining dayIMG_0775IMG_1917    Pro.3: 5-6 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.   MSG

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God brings lights to darkness when at the exact proper time it is needed. Beauty for Ashes. to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, (Is. 61:3b)

These four Bible verses reach into the core of pain, craziness, radical conditions we have no control over with a creator who is in control. One who will lead us if we will trust Him.

At a women’s conference I went to in April, a quote from the speaker Anita Frederickson put a perspective on painful experiences that my eyes had not seen before, although I was familiar with the outcome. God does not just take an ugly, hurtful even destroyed situation and make the best out of it. It is BECAUSE of that specific disorder God IS BRINGING THE BEST out of it. Beauty Out of Ashes. Please understand that: It is because of not in spite of.
Review the activities in your life. If you are able to, allow yourself to take a deeper step into the emotional arenas. God never leaves. Even though, I do not have a child who is mentally challenged, my children challenge me a great deal at times.  Even though, I do not have a husband who is abusive or a drunkard, my marriage has it’s challenges as well. My confrontations may be different than yours but do not let that stop you.  What is the life challenge(family, work, promises not kept, joys  suddenly removed) which has blossomed from the darkness to beauty? Are you still in the dark?

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After I was asked not to be on the worship team at church any longer, I experienced a deep fear to reach out from within worship. The reaching out to others in any form of worship hid in a shell, afraid to come out, to express itself. The pain was intense. Time past and fear arose.  I could pray for people. I could minister. I could encourage. The inner expression of my heart in creative worship was locked safe and secure.
God is the Great Creator. He knew the ways He wanted me to Worship and to Create. He knew deep down my desire was still there to Worship and Create.

Beauty out of Ashes.
What happened and is still happening in my walk is to  continually go through doors for intimacy with Him. Deeper intimacy with Him means more of the old me is shedding off. The longing of my heart for that intimacy is to become more alive. As the old long-standing layers of fear, pride, my way of thinking.to obtain answers, and insecurity, are being removed, more of Jesus can truly shine through. This walking is messy and painful. There are parts of these layers that are on pretty thick.
Will I do a perfect job of reflecting the love Jesus is giving me? Probably not.
Will everyone want to see the love  Jesus is giving me? Probably not.
My job is to love and reflect Jesus.

Another quote from the conference that Anita  (our guest speaker) shared is from Mother Teresa. It talks about being you in Jesus to others, even when the return is different than what you expect. This is another example of Beauty for Ashes. God is the one who makes our gifts into a sweet offering. . http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Mother+Teresa+Quotes&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz2-ytff-yff25

The joy I experienced with being on the worship team (and many others in the past) took me to a wonderful brink. God knew my desire to love and worship Him in a far reaching manner. He took the conditions and drew me through them. I would not have considered worshiping in this fashion of word and screen. God took the worship I protectively put in the shell and freed it.   I worship in writing, creating, photography, and dreaming how to express His Love and Freedom for others to enjoy.

Is there a fear inside? Have you hidden a dream so deep you think neither you nor God can remember?
He is the Creator beyond all that we can fathom. He loves us and will always direct our path to the BEST. God Brings Beauty from Ashes.

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Look in the Mirror You are a Gift

Last week brought beautiful sunrises to greet the day. When I need to get up at 6:10 AM in order to make sure my son is awake, has breakfast and ready to walk out the door for his ride at 7:10, the colors across the sky are a welcome gift.

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Taking photos at close to the same time on two different days gives the weary winter soul hope that the days are getting longer. The sun is slightly higher in the sky only after a couple of days.  🙂

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Early morning has its benefits.
Grey days with no sunshine did return.. Clouds returned.    One morning brought a different activity. I saw snowflakes dancing here and there coming down from the sky. Did you know  each flake is an individual creation? Beautiful and unique.

IMG_1258If God puts interest into making each white creation unique with a petite existence, can you imagine His delight when creating us? He pours himself into each and everyone of us individually.
In what is referred to as the  SERMON ON THE MOUNT ( Gospel of  Matthew) Jesus shares –“-Look at the wildflowers. They are here one day and gone tomorrow, cut up and thrown into the fire. God still cares for them because He created them.”  This is  sort of my paraphrase.
If God cares for the wildflowers, here today, gone tomorrow, or each unique snowflake that will melt after a temperature of 32 , degrees, think of the care and concern God DAILY puts into you. You reflect Him.

Look in the mirror. What do you see? When I look in the mirror and am caught up in a world of “me” and “me alone”. I see this:
1 FEAR
2 SELFISHNESS
3 COMPARING MY WRITING TO OTHERS
4 UGLY
5 PERFECTIONISM
6 BAD MOM/WIFE
7 ICK

That is looking through my own eyes. I do not look in the mirror being aware of God’s daily presence in and with me. Do you see similar characteristics?

What happens if you look in the mirror through the eyes of God’s presence surrounding you?
Do it again only through the eyes of this quote by Brother Lawrence:

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God: those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it
Being aware of whom I am and I am a unique one of a kind gift He has created, causes me to seek His heart for that gift. Experience Him and share what I experience.  Not in a prideful know it all manner because it is not me. It is all because I am looking through His Eyes.
Seeking His heart causes me to be able to enjoy the beautiful sunrise mornings as His gifts. I capture them in photos.

IMG_1453 Seeking His heart causes me to see the wonder in a snowflake on a grey day, and realize each is a unique creation,.

 

IMG_1468IMG_1594Seeking His heart, His presence continually makes me want to know more about ways to dream, to create to express the wonder that He has made me with no limits. In the unique way He created me to share and worship Him.

It allows me to look again in the mirror and enjoy the gift of me.IMG_1571

Look in the mirror for yourself again. Thank God for the gift He created. Ask Him (with the help of the Holy Spirit) how you can pour that part of Himself into others. Enjoy Your Gift. Thank you for letting me share part of mine with you today.


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Mini trials- Who is in Charge?

If you have not guessed, I enjoy challenging those who step unto my blog.
I  am reading a book written by Ann Voskamp.REFLECTIONS FROM one thousands gifts. http://www.aholyexperience.com/one-thousand-gifts-book/  It is the second time reading this unique small compact book filled with giant challenging gates to press open wide on the subject of choosing JOY.

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I engage in the words that are written. I am drawn deep. I sore to heights of unexplainable knowledge in the security of my Heavenly Father’s love. It is grand. I believe nothing at that point can make me fall because I do not think of destructive actions or attacking arrows.
The destructive actions come. The attacking arrows hit soundly.
The challenges are not huge problematic situations such as cancer or major financial crisis. The encounters I am speaking of are the simple ones ie;
1. The light bulb going out in the oven. –  I have a deadline to cook a meal.
2. Snow has piled high all around the car from the storm last night. Where is the ice scraper? I am late for work.
3. I have this great idea to make a dairy-free gift for a friend. Time is running late. Cannot find needed cooking items. Why is the dog right in front of each step I am taking?
4. How about when the traffic is going ever so slowly. (Heaven help the driver in front of you if an appointment is involved.)
5. A misspoken word. A phrase expressed that is heard out of context. Tension and pain reflecting  the speaker’s brokenness.

The Conundrum: I have a wonderful devotional while reading  well timed scripture passages, pointing to areas in my soul that need a lift.  Possibly a walk through the pages of a brilliantly written book where I explore hand in hand with  the Holy Spirit a deeper knowledge of God’s Challenges.  I experience fantastic worship and want to share this with everyone. Joy to the very core is filling my being and truly flooding through me.
A mini- trial  comes across my path and there is a choice for me to make.  Does the Lord who healed the blind, caused the ears to become open ,  met me this AM,  have a place in the mini-trial irritants of life?
The enemy of my heart wants me to focus on the trial. The enemy of my mind wants to steal the earlier reality and replace it with anxiety in this present happening?
Did the Presence of God leave when the book closed? Does the reality of Immanuel change when the lid comes down on the laptop?  Is the absence of the wire whip or the slow driver in front of me more reality in my life than the Blessed Baby who was born to give me life and eternal peace?

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During times of martyrdom or personal crisis, Satan tries robbing and destroying the agenda of intimacy with God. Continuous destruction in any form appears to be the absence of God. The Holy Spirit uses catastrophes as openings to point us to the reality of God’s love and care because the need is so great.

Amid the mini-trials of our day, we become accustomed to icky things just happening because that is the way life is.  Satan is still robbing and destroying the agenda of our intimacy with God.  If we even go to God,  statements such as ; this is too small a thing to bring to God,  He does not care about me when people are dying,  or I can handle this on my own, fill our minds. If we do not consider going to God in a mini-trial,  will we go to Him in realizing and thanking Him for His continuous presence in the mini-joys.

When we walk in the absence of God’s daily care and presence, the intimacy that is available to us through the whole day slowly turns into a quick fifteen minute AM devotional read while flipping through the Facebook notes and bank statements.

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God’s presence is here. During the Mini- trials. During the Mini-joys.   Who is in charge?

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Eph 5. 20 Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. NIV