Thursday, July 28, 2011

The hard stuff.

Why share the hard stuff?  I often struggle to know whether to share the harder parts of my life.  Who really wants to hear about that?  Mostly, we'd rather look at happier, lighter things than the ugly and painful.  I know I would.  But God has a purpose in EVERYTHING and as I look at Scripture I see people who suffered and lived to TELL about it.  I see that they tell of God's glory and God's purpose.  They don't sweep half of their life under the rug and just tell of the easy stuff.

Take Joseph for example.  One of the main things we remember about him is the way that his brothers mistreated him.  God uses their acts against him for Joseph's good and God's glory.  Joseph acknowledges this and forgives his brothers.

I hope in the way my story unfolds, God receives glory for every step of the way.

In addition, healing for my heart comes as I tell my story.  I'm given a voice to express what still pains me.  Children in abuse have no voice, no control or say in their world.  As I speak about what was never spoken about as a child, I am strengthened and comforted and empowered to move forward.

SO, thanks to you for sticking with me through the hard stuff.  Though it can be hard to share, it's harder to deny that it ever happened.  And I'm comforted to have a few to walk alongside with in this journey as we share our stories with one another.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Practice of Love

The practice of love
Or the absence thereof
Eats away at the core
Where you wouldn’t give more
Gnawing, it erodes and threatens to consume
The firstfruits of me before I’m aware

The practice of love
Mixed with threats, cuts and blood
My safe haven shattered
As our dreams lie tattered
Fleeing to hide in a shelter that eludes
As approaching hope drowns in fear

The practice of love
Dreadful script comes undone
My Savior catches each tear
As He holds me forever near
Healing, restoring He gives life anew
And leads me to the true practice of love

The practice of love
Born from the One above
Proves unlike any I’ve known
Teaching me deep truths of Home
Running, soaring in His strength I can do
As He does and lay my life down for you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What is the Studio?

If you have been following this blog, you have noticed that I have begun directing you to a place I call the Studio.  Officially named Life River Studios, it has become a landing place and online home for many of my creative endeavors.  In addition, I write posts there that I share on Facebook in hopes of sharing what God is doing in my life and how He shows Himself to me through the gift of creation and of creating.  Because I share links with basically anybody I've ever brushed shoulders with, I'm hoping to keep it deep, but not as much as a journal as this blog has been.  It's been a blessing to hear from non-believers that they read and are impacted by what I've written there.

All that to say, this blog will remain somewhat of a journal.  I don't plan on making it private, but I don't plan on linking these posts to my Facebook account either.  I may share struggles in more depth here.  I'd like a place to continue to write and have support, but not for my whole world to know.  Thank you all who follow and encourage me. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Counting daily grace...

I'm continuing to count some of the many ways that God blesses me.  It's easy to look at the happy days and good times and praise God for them.  Only a few weeks ago, I had an amazing trip to the mountains in which God's neverending  grace shined so clearly.  Now home and back to the daily grind of life and even darker struggles of depression, can I thank Him the same way as I did just a few weeks ago?  It's definitely not as easy, but He remains the same.  The same God who made the mountains, made the valleys and walks with me through the highs and lows.  (Job 2:10, Ecclesiastes 7:14).

"As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."  James 5:11

Come by my studio to continue counting with me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An art of seeing

Until recently, I thought that taking good pictures heavily relied on being in the right place at the right time with camera in hand.  Many good pictures are taken that way, like a strike of lighting over the horizon, a rare bird found feeding her babies, or the winning touchdown in the superbowl (I have a friend who takes those shots).

One of the ways that I escape the craziness of raising two lively boys is to get out in nature, go for a walk, and take pictures.  During this time I draw near to God as I am amazed at His beauty shown through all that he has made.  As I focus my lens on glimpses of His glory, He shows me that He is near.  I believe He speaks to us through His creation, if we have eyes to see it.

Come by and see me at the Studio to read more, see more, and praise God with me for the gifts he gives.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Preschooler's thoughts on Heaven.

On Thursday's I like to link up with Christina at To Show Them Jesus to explore what it means to teach our kids about Jesus and practical ways to do so.  Do you have any ideas or challenges that you can share?  Consider joining us!

To Show Them Jesus

I'm still working with my three year old through a great book for preschoolers, My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts.  It's amazing the way that he can remember the verses and the opportunity that I have to use them in our daily conversations.

Today's verse was, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life." John 5:24  I didn't really think that he was paying much attention.  Usually it doesn't seem like he is, but he still remembers the verses.  In the middle of the story he asked, "Mommy, where is Heaven."  Stumped that he was listening and thinking, I stumbled for an answer.  I really tried to avoid talking to much about death on this day.  I told him that Heaven was God's home and where we could live forever with Him if we believe in Jesus with all our heart.  I told him that Heaven is the place that we were made of, that Heaven is our true Home.

Later we were riding in the car and he began talking more about Heaven.  "It will take us a long long time to get to Heaven"  (I think he meant drive).   

"Well, it might," I answered, "but it might not take that long at all. We don't drive there.  We will go when Jesus comes to bring us Home or when God chooses to bring us there.  We don't know when, so we should always be ready."

Wow.  This is the first real discussion that we have had where I can tell he is thinking.  It's neat to see him asking questions.  I continue to pray for God's Spirit to move deep in his heart that he would love and follow Him.

We approached our house.  "There's our house! We're home!"  I said. He shouted "Yay, there's Heaven!"
Oh the thoughts of a child!  I smiled and said, "Not quite, son."  But I'm glad that he made a connection that Heaven is our Home.

A New Command

I'm intrigued by the commandment that Christ gives to His disciples, to us.  I find it interesting that to love (truly and selflessly) can be called a new command by the One who manifests love in the flesh. Love certainly began before the foundation of the world.  In love He knew us before the creation of the world and called us His own.  God himself is love, therefore love always has been.  How is it that we have lost sight and now must be given this new command?

 After all, we know what love is right?  We search for it and long for it, write about it, watch movies about it, and sing songs about it.  Sometimes we even give it to others.  But our view of love has been tainted with a love of self which  blinds us to how to truly love.
'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’” John  13:34-35
I'm at The Studio today.  Would you come by for a visit to read the rest of this post?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Abounding grace in so many gifts

This week finds me at home after a sweet vacation with friends in the mountains in Chattanooga.  I loved being away in the beauty of God's creation.  I can't wait to get away again.  Meanwhile, I settle back into my Florida home, a bit out of place, but right where God has placed me.

596.  Early morning walks to the dock.
597.  My fishermen in the canoe.
598.  Connecting with dear friends from New Orleans and the unique fellowship we share.
599.  A longing for our fellowship to be together again (we've been apart since Hurricane Katrina) which points me to a deeper longing for our true Home and a fellowship unimaginable in the glory of our Father.
600.  Encouraging words from a friend.
601.  The men taking the boys for the afternoon and an opportunity for the mommas to get away.
602.  Breakfast cooked by my Hubby.
603.  Used book stores.
604.  Fun photos.
605.  A challenge to grow in the art of photography.
606.  Helping a turtle cross the street.
607.  Lots of playtime for the boys.
608.  My son's joy to be with his friends.
609.  A beautiful "hike"
610.  The wonder of caves and the way they grow and form, evidence of God's handiwork in places unseen.
611.  A still somewhat new happiness.
612.  Friends to travel with.

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