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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Nurture a Reflective Life —Slow Down

Contemplative Photography is taking me into a deeper adventure.   All new adventures bring with it something a  bit daunting. I open the door asking God, what is ahead of  me. As I gaze upon a blooming flower, or see dark clouds cover the sky, is the message being shared reflecting  the beauty of God’s creation alone , or is He motioning me to — Come further up, come further in!” ― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.

Put the words “Nurture a reflective life” and ” Be contemplative in my photography” together.  But how?

SLOW DOWN IN WHAT! SLOW DOWN TO WHAT?

  • Activities?
  • My mind?
  • Walking?

Will this “slowing down” automatically happen if my body stops doing?  Probably not. The mind can frantically race with yesterday’s events and tomorrow’s needs while the body is lying in bed.

Being  reflective  is making an active decision to engage in the surroundings. Going deeper than the top layer.

WHAT IS GOD SAYING?

CAN I FEEL HIS TOUCH, HIS LOVE IN THE GENTLE BREEZE AS IT PASSES BY MY FACE ?

HOW CAN I REFLECT THIS TOUCH IN A PHOTO AND SHARE HIS HEART?

Slow Down and reflect Tammy Morton Photo They teach us to dream

                                                                                      Tammy Morton’s photo entitled:

                                                                                                         ” THEY TEACH US TO DREAM”1

Is it possible to slow down and reflect in the rush  of daily activities?  In the course of routine housework, am I willing to mentally or emotionally slow down, take God’s  hand and reflect on His Words to me?  The beauty of nature, color all around,  waves of the lake lapping against the rocks, a walk through the woods,

 

have a greater  intensity for intimate interaction with my Creator than cleaning the kitchen. I can imaging slowing down and reflecting in a sunrise.

How can I slow down and reflect, let alone create with a photo through daily chores?  Mindless, thoughtless, repetitive cleaning do not compose a creative story.

 

The first question might be: 1.Do I want to take the mental energy  to engage to create space for God to enter into the chores? —-  2. Does God really care to enter into my time of cleaning? I know He is with me always, but really, intimate chats  while doing housework?

  • Slow Down
  • Be Present in the Moment
  • Take a Long Loving Look at the Real.
  • What is God Saying Now?

Reflection Through a Veggie Drawer.

 I needed to put the groceries away. The veggie drawer was covered with yellow onion skins so I decided to dump these out. Then I would give the drawer a quick swipe.   😝 Thinking about my photography assignment, I ask  God, “Is there something You want to show me?

I used these  tools from  The Reflective Life by Ken Gire.2

  • Read the moment—Using my  eyes to see what’s on the surface.
  • Reflecting on the moment -Engaging my  mind to see what’s beneath the surface.
  • Responding to the moment –  Giving what I saw and received  a place to live in my heart, allowing it to grow there, upward to God and outward to other people.

An interesting cleaning experience took place.

I needed to scrub extra hard in cleaning the icky sticky goo I found close to the ridges. These ridges  took longer to clean than I wanted to give my attention to the whole drawer cleaning business.  In fact, the cleaning  was getting  boring. Thoughts began to race “Did I really want to make sure the drawer was thoroughly clean? All sticky goo gone? (Remember, at first, I was only going to dump the loose skins into the garbage . 😄 )

What was  God’s response to the sticky goo hiding next to the ridges no one sees inside of me, the gunk hard to get at?  The outside is nice and clean, but there are areas where some stuff  needs more time to (re)move.

God will never leave a job half done.

 God started with the outer layer and cleaned away the onion skins.  God then looks deeper and says “I will stay with you and clean the icky sticky goo hidden inside. I will gently clean til  the job is completed.

WHY?

Years ago I said YES to Him  and I desire His beauty to reflect through me.

(6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6 NIV)

Who knew the simple non creative job of cleaning a veggie drawer could bring me into the throne room to  interact with my Savior and Friend?

As a result the connection of slowing down I created two photos from my cleaning.

 

Be willing to enter into the moment. Slow your brain down. All you have is the reality right in front of you. The Creator of the Universe is at hand at all times to engage in the moment with you.

Slowing  down is not easy in the fast paced world. Feel free to share your victories and your battles. We are on this road together.

 Be

free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!


1Thank you Tammy Morton for saying Yes and allowing me to us this picture.

2THE REFLECTIVE LIFE (Becoming More Spiritually Sensitive to the Everyday Moments of Life) by Ken Gire © 1998 p.88.


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Does God Love the Good Girl?

Very odd question?

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These photos have their own unique qualities.

The top ones- peaceful, calm, tranquil.

The bottom ones – exciting , dangerous, vigorous.

Which one has a greater appeal to you? There is no right or wrong answer. It is what it is.

The photos might represent our stories as well.

Peaceful,tranquil, no waves, (obedient).

Wild, crazy, crashing (disobedient).

Both stories can be very lonely. The WILD story may come to the realization she is in deep need of love. Her crazy life is dynamically  filled with loose threads attached to nowhere. Her emptiness causes a realization. It is the need to search for a true love which will meet her every want. She recognizes the reality of God’s grace as she runs into His arms.

The TRANQUIL story has a deep unknown need, even to herself. It has no label until it is made known to her. Her need is just as deep as one in the WILD story.

Following is a slightly adjusted modern day parable of the Prodigal Son. With whom do you best identify?

A single mother with two daughters.  Father passed away  years ago. Mother comes from a prestigious law firm family who gladly welcomed her back to her per-marital position.  Finances were no problem. Mother loved her daughters very much. Work never comes before the needs of her girls though.  She is a good example of love, strength, peace joy.

Sara the elder daughter is the “good girl”. When her father died, she had many questions. She had deep pain. Sara saw her mother cry. As Sara put her arm around Mother, it brought comfort, made Mother feel better.  So instead of talking about her own pain, Sara would listen. Sara would do the household jobs asked of her the first time. That would bring smiles from everyone.  This covered  over questions, pain inside Sara.  Value came by listening and receiving the “good girl” smiles from everyone. Everyone except the person in the mirror.

Sidney is the youngest daughter. Her wild side made people know she was not happy when her father died. She cried long and hard. Who cared if her jobs got done? Mother had long talks with Sidney about life – drugs, smoking , boys and sex. (the consequences on your body , heart and soul when you act as if you don’t care). Sidney didn’t care. The pain in her heart was deep. She was going to cover it somehow. Besides, these things were fun.

Sara and Sidney knew their father  set aside  money in a trust fund.  This was to help pay for continuing higher education or starting a business. The money was to be withdrawn for that specific need and age. Not before.

As a “good girl” wanting to please, this was fine with Sara. Not the one to make waves because it always made people smile Sara went along with this choice for her life. She lived at  home. Classes were taken at the state university. Upon finishing her B.A., Sara  pursued pre- law. Did she really want to be a lawyer?  It made her mom smile  with the news.   Every one around Sara said she was a good listener.

Sidney barely finished high school. After one year at the local technical school, taking a few business classes,  she said “FORGET THIS MESS.”  Sidney went to Mother and demanded her trust fund half.   No way was she going to stay in this town.  It is too boring.

In pain, Mother went to the bank. With open hands, and open heart, she gave the funds over to Sidney. Sidney’s present boyfriend was in the car. Without even a kiss goodbye, Sidney drove off.

Sara looked out the second story window watching the car tear down the driveway. She c0uld hear the laughter sailing from the top down convertible.  Two care free people sailing off to their adventure.  Sadness crossed Sara’s mind. A very small seed  entered her heart. This seed was so tiny, Sara would not dare to claim it existed. It would put a crimp on her “good girl ” label. The seed was a combination of two deadly sins to a “good girl’s” life. Envy and bitterness.

Sara did not allow  any recognition of these feelings. Instead, her primary thoughts, her need was to seek out Mother. How could  Sara comfort Mother?  Sara would do  what “good girls ” always do. Forget they feel inside  to meet the needs of others.

This is part one of the story.  Sidney goes out to have fun. Sara stays. Both make choices.  Who do you identify with?

The tranquil waters are obedient. But REALLY?

Is she any different than the raging waters?

Have either one yet come to terms with their father’s death?

Can you identify at all with Sara? What is she lacking?

Feel free to leave comments or questions.


Ideas were taken from grace for the GOOD GIRL by Emily P. Freeman. Thank you so much

 

 

 

 


The Wall

A story can reveal the inner thoughts of a person. The one reading the story if she will takes the time to allow the words to sink in. The writer of the story,  if she is true and allows honesty to flow out.  This is the case set before you. The new year is almost three weeks old. The excitement of resolutions, a new adventure in a new year may still be running strong. In a short while, it is possible you will run smack dab into an unexpected hard WALL, as you are engaged in the wonder around you. You hit your nose very hard. How will you respond? Is the adventure still there?  Are you excited about the walk? Do you complain about the WALL?  Follow PAN in her path.
PAN welcomes this walk, this new adventure. The steps are not too challenging, just enough to make it exciting. The adrenaline begins to flow throughout her body. Looking around, PAN takes in  sights and beauty never seen before. The sounds are unbelievable as if she enters another world.  Deep blue rushing waters, rock formations expressing a special type of awesomeness all their own.  Green leafy trees reaching to the sky with praise.

IMG_0905
The most thrilling part of all is talking with the Creator. PAN cannot believe anything could be more overwhelming.
Suddenly a brick wall smashes with PAN’s nose.

” OUCH,”  PAN,  yelled as she jumped back with surprise.” Where did this brick wall come from? I thought I was watching where I was going. Bam  this thing comes out of nowhere.”
As PAN continues rubbing  her very bruised nose, tears begin to form. Looking towards the sky, Pan has a verbal conversation with the One who moments earlier caused her Joy and Delight.

Rather defiantly Pan says, “ I thought you were all knowing. Didn’t You see the WALL? It surely is big enough. Why did you lead me down this path? You made me run right into a huge WALL. Now my poor nose is very painful. Not very protective of You!!!”

 

Dark Branches
The area grows dark. The sun’s rays seem to fade with each word of protest, each complaint coming out of PAN’s mouth. The wonderful excursion  suddenly turned sour. The joyful give and take between PAN and the One she trusted is slowly becoming bitter.
“ The words initially drawing me to You promised protection. Wasn’t there something about ‘ Leading me by still waters,?’ and ‘ Peace that passes understanding?’  Instead, You lead me right into a brick wall letting me hit my nose, causing pain. Plus, I have no peace. I am frustrated because there is no way going forward through this. “ An angry body points to the stony barrier.
These are viscous words verbalized. Inside her mind, Pan has what she thinks is a private   conversation with herself. She figures God cannot or will not go into this secret area.  Her  true feelings of fear, rejection and despair are exposed. In PAN’s former life, these types of conversations were common.
Shaking her head, talking  herself again into a  false sense of bravery  PAN thinks,‘ I guess I need to figure out how to do this myself. He does not really care. Nobody cares. Not really.  Who was I trying to fool? Nice adventure at the start, but I knew it was too good to be true. This is my life. Always was. Always will be.”

With a dejected shrug, PAN resolved to figure something out.
Although the bright sunshine had never really left the sky, The darkness was larger,always covering PAN. She was  becoming,  more fretful and anxious.  The  Wall seemed to drain PAN’s inner joy, peace and contentment  from her very soul. PAN was feeling helpless  and  out of control.
Realizing she could not handle these circumstances any longer on her own Pan started another conversation with God. PAN’s  attitude was far from gracious.
“God’, PAN begins in a less than humble tone walking around with her hands going up and down, ‘I read Your book! I know what it says You can do. Why aren’t You doing it?” : A childish, temper tantrum is forming.
“You are all powerful. You called me on this journey. THIS ADVENTURE.  Part these bricks like You did the Red Sea.”PAN spouts the words as spoiled child having a temper tantrum. ” Make a way for me to walk through the bricks. I know I am not being chased by Pharaoh, but I have been here FOREVER. You are in the business of miracles, right? Let’s see something happen!!! “
With each uttered word the cloud overhead became darker and heavier.Dark night
God is ever patient. God is extremely kind. He is slow to anger. He knows the desires of our heart. He knows our needs.

A fight inside and out is wearing PAN thin. The soul  initially crying  out to God in need for His connection is crying out now in need of food, in need of water, in need of love.

The Holy Spirit is tenderly wooing PAN.
Through gritted teeth,  but less anger,  PAN looked upward again. ”  OK, I recognize this is not going to be easy, but I cannot go forward  on my own. I am stuck on this side. What am I going to do?”
The cloud seemed to lose a bit of its heaviness. The sky was not quite as dark.  The bright sunshine and blue sky was still hidden.
PAN’s  eyes went to the wall again where she saw a blackish shadow.  Was it always there?  Was it alive? Was it part of the WALL?
Very hesitantly PAN walked over to the shadow. Realizing the blackish thing was lifeless, she bent to examine it. This was a huge sloppy bag.
Lifting the old bag was impossible. Grabbing the zipper foot, PAN hoped to see a sledgehammer in the bag.
The zipper was long across the whole bag. Slowly pulling the back opening, PAN saw two strange items inside: a very heavy rope and a strange looking hook.

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Pulling her head back in dismay, PAN  holds up her hands asks, “What the heck am I to do with these? Are you kidding? “

PAN’s tone lost the adventure it held at the beginning of her walk. Scared and defensive are her true feelings.
For the first time, since PAN hit her nose, she decides to  seriously examine the Wall. Although large and wide these were two thoughts. Going around is impossible Going over would be difficult, but doable.
Something else was apparent. Others had been here before. Marks were on the wall looking like indentations.  Had someone been here before?
“HMMM. Interesting , “ PAN observed rubbing her chin .
“Oh My GOSH!!!” This is heavy!!! “ Grunted PAN as she first grabbed the rope.  PAN lost her balance not  expecting the weight.

Standing again, PAN calmed herself, grabbed the rope and swung the rope. The rope was many inches thick. The hook was very heavy. The hook moved high and  hit the wall with a horrible thud. Sadly, it  came nowhere near the top.
In desperation, PAN stretched her arms. Trying to remember yoga stretches and calisthenics, PAN did a few to limber her body to better swing the heavy rope and hook.
“I am just a bit out of shape. Just a little warm up. That’s all. I will get it this time. No problem.”
Over and over and over her head the rope went. Away it flew. Thud against the side of the wall the hook collided.
‘ARRGH”
“THIS CANNOT BE SO HARD. Are there gloves in the bag? Maybe I am letting go too soon. Let me check”

Looking into the huge bag, another sigh of disappointment rose.  No gloves.
PAN remembers from past movies and true life stories, the sheer rush of adrenaline in times of desperation will cause fantastic amounts of excess strength beyond normalcy.

“That’s what I need. A sheer rush of adrenaline to put that hook on top. I could not be any more desperate.  I will mentally  give myself a rush flowing to the  rope to fly high enough to make the hook  fasten on top. That’s it. Calm PAN. Think it. It Will Happen”

PAN felt very relaxed as she walked over to the heavy rope and hook. With every muscle in her body she hurls the rope, but to no avail. One tip catches the top, but is not enough to stay the entire  hook. As PAN yanks the rope to test its strength, the total hook comes loose falling to the ground.
As the rope falls to the ground PAN falls to the ground in utter despondency.
“God”, the tone of a child recognizing her complete need, a repentant child longing to sit on her Papa’s lap, “I cannot do this”.
A tender “I know”,is the response. These words are not ones of rejection, shame or anger. “Take the rope again.”
With this tender encouragement, PAN receives strength from the One She Can Trust. Going beyond the doubt in  her own strength, PAN takes the rope one more time. Moving to the place of the three previous failed attempts, PAN expresses in gracious tones to the One Who is in Control, “Please Papa, Be My Strength”.
PAN closes her eyes. The huge rope is swung three or four times. PAN lets the rope fly with the hook aiming to the top of the wall.  Instead of a dull thud, PAN heard a different noise. A loud clink, possibly something caught. Scared to believe this truly happened, but needing to trust, PAN went closer to the Wall. With hopeful wide eyes, PAN examined the rope. It was hanging straight down. PAN grinned.
“God. I am afraid to pull it to see if it will hold my weight. I rejected the times to hear You. I did not want to take the time to listen to your voice. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

PAN gave the rope a very strong tug. The hook did not come lose. It would hold. PAN felt giddy. She grabbed the rope. Slowly hand over hand; she placed her feet where  others ascended  before. The climb was slow, difficult and challenging.  PAN was not climbing on her own strength.
As PAN scaled the wall, the cloud was slowly vanishing.

IMG_2858  Healthy conversations between God and PAN are now taking place instead of childish accusations and complaints.
Upon reaching the top of the wall, God asked PAN to throw the hook back down the first side.
A slight fear crept into PAN. “How do I get down?  I have to pull the rope up and then put it to the other side to climb down. Do You see how high this Wall is?  I can’t jump.”
God is so patient. He lovingly shakes His head.  Gently He leads PAN to  another grappling hook and rope. God describes this second side set up is for the people who climbed the Wall and are ready for the next step in their journey.
“God, is this the same journey for everyone? I thought I was on a special path with You. “
“My Daughter, I know the exciting journey for you in My Kingdom. You are unique. Your response is truly yours. Many will walk similar paths, but no one will have  your  exact same journey with Me. The Wall was hard. It is part of the adventure.”
PAN was confused as she slowly descended the wall.
As PAN’s feet hit the ground, she broke into tears. “I was terrible. I was a brat. I was childish. I was controlling. I did not trust you.  How can you want me to continue on this Adventure?”
Nodding His head, God was very kindhearted in His response. “Yes, you were my Child. The Wall is a slice of the journey. It is  here  to disclose the negative portions in your heart. Those negative portions will keep you from enjoying the deeper realms of the Adventure in My Kingdom.  You allowed me to expose and release you from those portions.
“My Joy is you saying Yes to Me , PAN. There will be other challenges. I will never leave you. Nor forsake you. Come, Take My Hand. Lets Continue.”IMG_0362

 

God never leaves. In times of desperation and silence, in times of unpredictable challenges, how do you respond?  Even Job in the Old Testament when he felt completely abandoned by God in his peril, Job was not alone.

Take His Hand.

 

 


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Step INTO the QUIET

Heb. 6 NIV 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.

The end of the school year is upon us. In fact, for this family, many endings are coming upon me. In my last blog post, you read that our son will be graduating in June. Our daughter will be traveling to a foreign country for at least two months, but the amount spent was for a one way ticket. 😦 Questions  come  floating to the surface during this  season to clutter the celebrations: Did I do a good job? If you have a child leaving your home city whether it is because of work or the draw of adventure, you may be praying, did I give them proper  tools to make the right decisions.? Will they get hurt? Here are other queries.: What will my graduate do now? What will I do now? Will I be needed? How will I be needed in their lives? Oh no – Will I be needed/ or wanted in anyone’s life?  With your own circumstances, you fill in the blank. My position for the last 18 years is coming to a close. You could say I am retiring. Yes, our son will be living at home as he attends the local community college, but my role in his life will be, must be different. Kind of scary at times. God is always at  work in my life which means these questions were being addressed already through the year. Am I truly helping  with growth and maturity or do I have a subtle need for control?   Remember this is the youngest. Of course I  want him to succeed. WHY ? Was I encouraging actions to be completed  for his sake of for mine?  HMMM Good question. Anxiety and tears were getting slightly out of hand depending on his response.  My husband told me he could see I would open my hand for a while. Yay peace. Then a slight turn and well, the circle started again. God is so patient with me. The open hand for me is never dependent on my actions.  He knows what I need and when I  need His exact input. During my quiet time, I was  ranting about MY lack of direction for my son.(Do you see the irony of that statement?)  God asked “Will you be willing to allow him to grow,  even if it means you are not the primary one having an effect on him?” OH GOODNESS!!! UGH.I do not even know what that looks like. I have done it this way for so long.  Was I not to give him suggestions on work or jobs?   I did not want to pick up the shattered  pieces if plans fall apart. —–God’s Response: TRUST ME Breathe a Sigh! Friends and teachers from school become involved in his life during his senior year, drawing out  positive gifts God had placed inside. These gifts might have always been close to the surface, but my focus or approach to other areas was not letting him see it.  Keeping my hands and eyes open allowed him to want to try. Spiritual growth has taken place where he is spontaneously praying for or about friends without being prompted.—–:) After reflecting upon the question, dialoguing with God and having the gifts pointed out to me,  my eyes returned to the verse of the day.

Heb. 6:10-11 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers,[b] as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.

I stepped into the quiet. God met me. He showed me  I needed to release my son. God showed me the love I have for my son will not be forgotten.It has gone deep. It will come out as God controls and directs the plan. I will keep loving him. The expression will be different.  This is a new and exciting journey for both of us. Moms, you who are releasing grads (especially your last ones), step into the quiet. Mothers whose children are moving to new adventures through work or travels, release yourselves to God. Allow God to speak His heart into yours. Free your anxieties to Him. He sees your need. He will give you Direction and Wisdom. God will surround you with His arms in Love and Peace.Mom and Peter at Nanaboujou Matthew 11:28


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GOING INTO DARKNESS INTO LIGHT

Going into Darkness into Light

It was suggested by one of the Creative Arts leaders in our church to have members write stories how God has  brought them from Darkness into Light during the Lenten Season.  This is an extended portion of what I shared.

I walked into darkness seriously questioning if I was walking any longer. I did not start in darkness. My words of encouragement are: Even when you don’t feel it, even if you do not go anywhere in the darkness hold on!
My early and middle time of meditation through this Lenten season was not a joyous period. In fact, I seriously questioned if I was in God’s hand at all.  I could not write which was emotionally painful. Creatives all around me were exploding in many areas. I was in the dark.  The meditations and  scriptures I kept reading on a daily basis were as flat as pancakes. I kept taking in with nothing grabbing me, to speaking to my soul. Nothing  sticking inside long enough to carry me through the whole day.  With nothing sticking, I  had nothing to give out. I felt very irritable and angry. I kept asking God “Why Why was this happening to me,? Was this going to end?”

In the midst of this emotional drama I was struck with a virus that lasted for a couple of weeks. It was painful.  I did not see a glimmer of light even though I continued to faithfully pursue God through the Lenten Meditations.
I looked out my window. I saw leafless branches crisscrossing in front of the sky. The blue was visible.IMG_1757

Normally I like trees. This time the trees were taunting me reflecting the example of the something just standing in the way of clarity. That is exactly how my brain felt.
The time of revelation, the time to walk into light was not happening. Was this form of worship my creative writing being taken from me? I was empty.

In a time of emptiness, when all the walls around me are closing in, the hopeless statements are around all the time.   I went day by day with no gift to give, still searching to God for the release.
I remember sitting on the couch one day, looking out the same long window as before while in the middle of all the confusion and pain. I was met in my loneliness. I was completely empty and that is when God came.

God asked me to take a step into a deeper walk with my Him when the top layer of life does not seem smooth.  Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls; PS 42:7. The waterfalls are loud, no other sound can be heard,IMG_0480

IMG_0481 but as I cry out, God hears me and His response is, ”Will you choose to walk with me Sandi when I ask you too ?”
God takes the hand reaching out to Him, taking on a journey beyond your control if you are willing to trust. In opening myself to God, He shared a portion of His heart with me.
On the Thursday night  before He was dragged out of the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus made a phenomenal decision.    He said to His Father, “Not my will but yours”.
For a very long time, I thought this meant “Yes” to the pain and suffering, false accusations, etc. It meant this and more. Jesus agreed to accept the terms of the contract made long ago and abide by it.
This contract decreed Jesus  not only experience the pain as the pure, unblemished sacrificial lamb on the cross in our place.    It was the pain to the separation we need not experience. Jesus walked into the darkness. Father could not look on His Son for the first time because the Son was taking on all of eternities filth, crime, horror, and sin. This was by choice. Jesus love for us. God’s Love for us.

This was the first time in  Eternity  Father/Son who had never known a break in their Love their intimate connection would experience a separation.  They were willing  to experience a darkness as nothing imaginable  because they did not want us to know eternity without the opportunity to know TRUE ETERNAL LOVE.
Jesus,  did not flinch, did not hold a grudge, did not hold anger toward us as He was receiving each and every hate filled accusation of being a blasphemer. Each blow, spit or nail pounded into his flesh was not returned with an outcry of resentment. Jesus looked at His accusers from the past, the present and into the future which includes you and me with love, forgiveness and hope because this is where the restitution of eternal intimacy between God and His children began. Finally no more barriers on God’s End.
For a brief moment in time the closest intimate relationship was severed. This was by choice. This was by love. This was because the love for me was deeper. The break was intense. The break was severe. The break caused purification so I would not be separated from my Heavenly Father who truly loves me. The break abolished any lasting ties that Satan had over me.
This is the freedom bought for me. I don’t always walk in it. I don’t always hear it. That does discount it being a fact and truth.. This love is far greater than anyone can ever imagine.
God opened to me in my thread of emptiness the truth of my freedom to worship God with no barriers now and forever.
The Father/Son hand is always extended to me. They know my heart’s desire is to take me deeper into their love no matter the cost. I am glad they take me at my word. They do not leave me. Rather they are persistently willing to take off layers so I can see.
I received a dark to light gift. It is not for me alone. Take into your hearts the love the Father and Son have for you. They were willing to allow a break of their intense Holy Love because of their love for me- for you.

Receive the Restoration in the Resurrection. Jesus did not stay in the Tomb. Receive the light. Jesus has risen. IMG_1666


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I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.

Late one morning last week, I was filled with a variety of conflicting thoughts. One being this sentence: I don’t feel like writing. You may think.” If you don’t feel like writing, don’t write.” The challenge with that statement is; I am a writer. Just because I don’t feel like doing something, does that mean don’t do it?

This deals with my writing. This deals with my life.

 

We entered Judge Magney State Park. I saw a One Mile Marker stating the distance to Devil’s Kettle Falls. We had our water bottles. We sprayed ourselves completely to ward all little buggies from causing this excursion to become overly challenging. Our family was ready to enjoy God’s scenery and beauty that waited us.

Not far into the walk, still filled with energy, crossing a metal bridge we met a couple on their return adventure from the falls. They might have been close to the same age as Pete and  myself.  Looking at their red faces and the sweat dripping from their brow gave me  red flags about this little joy trek of ours. They looked as if they had competed in a marathon. I believe they must have overheard my comment about it not being a difficult  walk,” just a mile”.  The couple looked at me, shook their head as if to say it will be harder than you think.    HMMMM???
The beginning of the walk was enjoyable. The trail was beautiful with trees on both sides reaching to the sky. The  water from the river quickly rushing over the rocks toward the lake. Our goal was to reach the falls, so we did not stop even for photos.

 

Wooden stairs to accommodate the rapid decline did not appear until we had walked for awhile into the park. The descent  using 177 to 200 wooden steps began.  Not all at once of course. Fairly straight, patted down dirt trails were between each stair set. Just when I thought there could not be another set of stairs, the path disappeared exposing another set of downward stairs.

The bug spray stopped working.

“I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT” was running through every part of my body. There was nothing in me calling out to say- this is fun. My kids were having a blast running with energy coming from a magical inner being.
Then I heard it. The crashing, the booming, thunderous roar. With camera in tow, I kept moving.  I still did not feel like it.  There now became a reason to continue on this endeavor. Not a total inner draw as a runner has to finish a race. Nor  the outward push from an instructor that says you must practice to improve skills and techniques. Possibly it was a combination of both to just to follow through.
I could not see the falls yet, but this horrific trail causing pain with each step finally lead me to the goal.

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Covering my camera from the sprays as much as I could, I delighted in what I was able to capture.

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Upon turning away from the falls, the first vision is a long set of stairs. For me this was not comforting.

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I looked down and captured these beautiful flowers. They survived in the rock.

 

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I survived the return climb.
Responding when you “don’t feel like it”? I absolutely did not feel like completing the walk. To finish the trek to Devil’s Kettles Falls or the return one to the entrance of the park knowing  the 177 to 200 steps would be up hill. :(.  If I would have stopped before reaching the falls, I would not have captured   the water dancing and bouncing  from rock to rock. Not returning because I did not feel like it sounds ridiculous. How many times do we just fall short of something that needs to be finished just because we did not feel like it?

Will I choose not to write today  just because it is hard or I don’t feel like it? If so, how long will the characters and plot for my story stay in limbo as a result of that decision?

What will you do when the unique enjoyment which initially started any endeavor in life: writing, painting, creating. is not pushing from inside?  How will the choice toward obtaining your goal and becoming the person God is calling you  be made if an “I don’t feel like it” is dancing all over inside of you directing your actions.

Be realistic. What is holding you back? Make a plan if you need to. Who is in charge of reaching your goal?  Keep taking the steps one at a time. The results in the end will make you smile.

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WISDOM OR THE WAY TO HELL

Proverbs 9 New Life Version (NLV)
Wisdom—or the Way to Hell
Interesting way to introduce a blog on worship, creativity and dreaming.
Portions of this proverb remind me of challenges students encounter when leaving home to strike out on their own. Young men and women thrust into the intense drama of pursuing dreams for independence.
Was it so different for me? My college adventures started in 1973 at Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa.  Living on my own for the first time. It was wonderful

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Photo Credit: http://westmarcollege.org/HistoryP6.html
Interesting dorm compared to the modern ones of today.
After my encounter with Jesus in 1973, I discovered a different me. Barriers of insecurity were dropping right and left. I became a little chatterbox- more outgoing and fun to be with.
You may be wondering “Where is all of this heading?” Wisdom,College,Tips to be outgoing?
Students, heading off to colleges or universities with their new found independence will experience a euphoric out pour. No boundaries. FREEDOM, with all capital letters. No adult to tell them to make a bed or turn off the light and go to sleep. Possibly not even a curfew.
With this freedom comes the challenge of  intense in your face decisions that you need to make by yourself.
Believe me, making your bed, or when to go to bed may be the least of your problems.
During my first summer out of high school and half of my freshman semester of college I realized physical attraction can be a dangerous thing when it is reciprocated with little barriers. Even at a Christian College. Others saw a good show on the outside. I went to my classes. I performed all of the correct actions. I presented a solid person. The problem with going through the correct actions is that it can become just that – actions. How could I lead people in worship meetings, then with a very decisive turn release myself into activities I regretted later? I was two people and no one knew.
Prov. 9 NLV
13 A foolish woman makes much noise. She is open to sin, and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house or on a seat in the high places of the city. 15 She calls to those who pass by and are making their paths straight, 16 “Whoever is easy to fool, let him turn in here!” She says to the one without understanding, 17 “Stolen water is sweet. And bread eaten in secret is pleasing.” 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, and that the ones who visit her are in the bottom of hell.
I was the one walking by the gate. I was the fool who kept turning in. I thought that because I asked Jesus to live in me and I was going to a Christian College, I would be safe. WRONG!!!!
I was full of pride. I wanted to end the actions, but wasn’t strong enough to state what it really was. SIN!
God is SO FAITHFUL. God is SO FULL OF LOVE. I was never out of His sight or care. God knew my dreams could only be set free by His righteous right hand. Not by my silly weakness

Prov.9 NLV
12 If you are wise, your wisdom is a help to you. If you laugh at the truth, you alone will suffer for it.
I needed to confess my sin, with a real desire to have God release me. In one night of a single prayer with a friend, I was set free.

SEX, DRUGS, DRINKING ABUSE UNDERAGE DRINKING,MULTIPLE OBJECTS ON YOUR PLATE THAT YOU NEVER CAME IN CONTACT WITH BEFORE. With freedom and independence, there are risks and challenges.

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You do not walk alone. See the light. You are not bound to a specific action no matter what anyone says. You have been given too many dreams and gifts to waste on very temporary pleasures. My challenges of 41 years ago may appear to be  different than what is before you. Do not be deceived. The road of wisdom and true joy is outstretched before you. What will you choose?

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