Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Stinging Words"

"I hate you!" are the words I've heard spoken from one believer in Christ to another recently. Really? Really! Those words sting and cut and divide the human heart faster than the sharpest sword. They tell the receiver they are worthless, as good as garbage. We wouldn't allow our children to say that to anyone, why is it okay that as an adult we can say those words to someone?

We all have difficult relationships. We all have attitudes, habits, characteristics that are unpleasant or sinful. In a healthy relationship with an attitude of humbleness and genuine love in Christ, we can address the need for changes in each other. But what appalls me is that someone who claims to walk in relationship with Christ can feel justified to say these to another brother in Christ and then walk away?! Do you really expect any good to come of that?

Christ calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. He calls us to live in a community of faith where we accept one another for how God sees us not as how we see each other. Yes, there is an accountability factor and that's my whole point. We are called to be accountable for our actions and words. That does not give us free reign to accuse and say anything we want to in hate. What gives with a self righteous attitude? What of the attitude of Christ?

In I Corinthians 13 (the LOVE chapter) Paul talks about our attitudes in doing good. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. IT DOES NOT BOAST, it is not proud. IT IS NOT RUDE, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. IT ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUSTS, ALWAYS HOPES, ALWAYS PERSEVERES."

The Giver of the words "I hate you" wants to walk away from the relationship. The Receiver of these words has shut down and is carrying a heavy cloak. I say to the Giver, "Where is the love of Christ in those words? Look in the mirror and check your own heart. God does not give up on the unloveable." To the Receiver I say, "Look in the mirror and see who you are in Christ. Humble yourself before Him and let him search your heart. Know that you are worthy of love. Shed the heavy yoke of accusation. Take on the yoke that is easy."

No one is perfect. Not one. As believers in Christ, we are called to live differently than the world. Why treat each other as the world treats us?

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Afraid Yet Filled With Joy"

Fear and joy. Can you recall any time you've embodied both emotions at the same time? Was it your first day of school, first sleep-over away from home, first date, your wedding day, the day your children were born, their first date, the first time your child drove your car, the day you dropped your child off at college? All of these experiences call on the best of both our fears and our deepest joys, don't they? These are days we all look forward to with great anticipation throughout our lives. They're milestones that mark a readiness, a right of passage into the next level of maturity. We fear the unknown, yet we feel overwhelming joy for the promise of hope these days represent. But, how do we experience the joy with the fear?

We see these dualing emotions of fear and joy in the women who went to Jesus' tomb on resurrection day. In Matthew 28: 2-7 we're told an angel of the Lord had come down from heaven with an earthquake to roll away the stone in front of Jesus' tomb. His appearance was like lightning and he frightened the guards so much they fainted like dead men. The two Mary's at the tomb saw this angel as well and the angel gave them a mission to go to the disciples and tell them what they saw and heard. Matthew 28:8 says "the women hurried away from the tomb afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples." They were frightened at the sight of the angel; frightened at the missing Jesus; frightened at what the others would think of their news. Yet, they moved. They did what the angel told them to do. They didn't let their fear overtake their joy in the promise of the risen Lord.

I've been living within the same dualing emotions since July.

While vacationing this summer I was able to squeak out a bit of solitude.
I was journaling that morning and my mind wandered to times spent with my great niece. She's two years old and everything beautiful embodied in a curly, blond-haired, blue-eyed child. She's as much fun as she is beautiful! As I thought of my play dates with her, a little verse rolled around in my mind. I finally jotted it down on a scrap of paper. I played with the words awhile until they formed a lyrical rhythm. After reading it for the umpteenth time I thought, "God, that's a children's book!". He was listening and answered, "You're right. Now publish it!" I didn't know God was listening to my thoughts! I chuckled out loud at God and folded the verse into my journal. I was "afraid yet filled with joy" in knowing God was moving me toward what He created me to do.

The summer ended. I'd shared the "book" with my husband and a couple of family members. They were very supportive and encouraged me to move forward with publishing but my fear paralyzed me for two months. One night my husband finally said the tough words, "Dawn, you need to get over the fear and take your writing seriously! You know God's called you to write. Now, trust him!" His attitude was more like "I've heard you talk about writing to the point of ad nauseum, now get on with it or don't ever bring up the subject again!" without actually saying those words. It was time. A few days later, I sent an inquiry email to a prospective publisher.

It's now been five months since I sent that email. My book Auntie's House is in production ready for release on Valentine's Day! I'm awaiting the arrival of my galley copy today. I am filled with joy for God's love gift to me! I chuckle again even as I write this today. The book is about trust! Ironic! Do I still embody fear and joy? Absolutely! I still fear the unknown but I'm learning from the Mary's to run in faith and with joy to that which God has asked me to accomplish.

(To order your copy of Auntie's House go to or

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"The Promise of Abiding"

"I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10b

There are times in our lives when seeking God with our whole heart seems the furthest thing from our minds. We always seem so bent on seeking Him with only our leftover time. Why is it we are so driven by the world to get things moment? Do it now! Go here! Go there! Keep busy! God asks us only to stop, humble ourselves before him and seek him with our whole heart. This takes time. It takes solitude, commitment and a humble spirit.

In 2 Chronicles Solomon asked God only for wisdom and knowledge. God blessed him not only with wisdom and knowledge but because he humbled himself God blessed him with great riches and glory. He is known as the wisest king that ever reigned. Solomon's heart was set on doing the right things in the eyes of God. He was not concerned about what was in it for himself but that he would reflect the righteousness and wisdom of God.

But we are so proud. We want to do everything ourselves and take credit for "a job well done!" We want to be independent. However, an abundant life, the life we're really longing for, the life that is promised by Jesus only comes when we are dependent on Him. It comes only when we ABIDE with Christ. It comes only when we are dependent on God as the source of our strength, our very breath, our needs. It is only by humbling ourselves and seeking after God's delight, favor, His ways, and His voice that we truly begin to live in complete freedom and abundance.

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Defining Abiding"

During the cold New England winters us natives dream of warmer days and temperatures and start to make plans for summer vacations. Vacations are wonderful, aren't they? They give you a chance to get off the merry-go-round of a busy life; to journey to the unfamiliar places; to unplug the technology; to spend time with those you love the most; to relax; to gain a new perspective on life.

Last summer on my trek to Maine, I brought a book entitled I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt by Vince Antonucci. He starts out talking about vacations. How appropriate, I thought. I'm on one. He made a ton of great points but what stuck out to me in the first few pages was that we all love vacations for the same reasons I mentioned above: the adventure, doing the unordinary, the thrills and that's what most of us are lacking in our Christian walk with Christ. He says it this way, "We're missing out on the joy and fear and laughter and doubt and mystery and confusion of following Jesus, of taking great risks for God, of praying dangerous prayers, even of being spiritually attacked." (pg 17)..."And I think there's a solution. I think we need to go on a vacation!" (p18-19). He goes on to explain that, just like wearing a souvenir t-shirt does not give you the thrills of the vacation spot it advertises unless you've lived the experiences, our life in Christ can be just like wearing the T-shirt or what he calls a "souvenir religion". We can't experience the thrill or passion of living an authentic spiritual life with Jesus unless we "go on vacation" and experience the journey. He says, "A lot of us have been believing and behaving, just not following...missing out on the vacation, the journey, the adventure" (pp. 27-28).

Antonucci admits, like vacations there are exciting times, boring times and really bad times. But irregardless of the experience, vacations are still anticipated because the experiences are different. But, they are temporal and not a long-term solution to living a spiritually passionate life. In following Christ, however, there's the sense of the permanent reprieve from the ordinary life if we ABIDE in Christ. There it was again! That word...A-B-I-D-E! He says it this way, "To live life with Jesus, and to live the Jesus life." Abiding as living life in Jesus is experiencing the presence of Christ within ourselves; God impressing himself on us and changing us. Abiding as living the Jesus life is our outward life; God expressing Himself through us; God changing the world WITH us (p 28).

I love his description of living life in Jesus (p 68): "It's about following Jesus wherever he goes. It's about watching him closely, learning how he moves, anticipating what he might do next and keeping the space between him and me as small (and decreasing) as possible." And I agree! We cannot know Christ, abide with him, without stopping and spending time with his Word, in prayer and especially in listening. That means we have to plan a vacation...everyday! A time to get away from the busyness of our ordinary lives. It doesn't have to be a long vacation but it does have to be a time away. It's a time to refresh our souls and learn new things about ourselves and Christ himself.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"The Beauty in Abiding"

Last summer was a warm and beautiful one here in New England. The sunny days warmed the air and beckoned me outside. One of my favorite spots to journal is on the deck of our pool. It's like another world behind that gate, where I can feel connected with the quietness of my heart and listen for God's voice. On one of those warm and quiet days I dared to ask God, "What's next?" His answer came, "Abide in me." My response was, "What does that look like?" Literally, the rest of the summer God took me on a journey and taught me what abiding looks like.

The first lesson in my journey came the very next day. I was busy with daily chores and went outside to hang up the laundry. About five feet away on the lawn sat two Adirondack chairs. As I reached to hang the first sheet on the line a beautiful butterfly landed on one of the chairs. I didn't think much of it at first since I'd planted flowers in the yard to attract the butterflies. But, after a few minutes when I looked back at the chair, the butterfly was still there, quietly fluttering it's wings in the air. "That's funny" I thought to myself. "Butterflies don't usually linger that long." And in my heart I heard "Abide. Abide with me. Come spend time with me."

I put the wet sheets that were in my hand back in the laundry basket and slowly approached the empty chair next to the winged messenger from God. I sat quietly just studying this beautiful creature. It's wings were like saphire and silk framed in a black window pane frame. It was graceful, peaceful, gently fluttering it's wings back and forth and unihibited by my presence. My heart was quiet taking in all it's beauty; looking at it close up and intimately. Again I simply heard "Abide. Abide in me and I will abide in you. Come spend time with me. I am the vine and you are the branches. Please come...abide with me." The words were gently spoken pursuing me to come. When I'd heard all God had to say the butterfly flew away.

What would I have missed if I didn't put aside my busyness and take a few moments to just sit with that butterfly? I would have missed witnessing its beauty and elegance. I would have missed an intimate moment with God, as well, just stopping and listening with my heart. I would have missed his message, his first lesson in the beauty of abiding with Him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Did you ever watch the movie "The Bucket List" starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman (2007)? It's about two men in their late 60's or early 70's who are given only months to live. Instead of spending the rest of their time regretting what they hadn't done, they made a list (the "kick the bucket" list) of things they wanted to do before they "kicked the bucket" and did them, together.

Peter & I have such a list. We started it years ago but we call it "Things I Want To Do In My Lifetime." One of our dreams is to road trip and tour all the coastal states of the U. S. We've already been down the southern coastal states to US mile marker 1 South in Key West, Florida. This summer we traveled as close to US mile marker 1 North in Maine before we hit desolation. More than just traveling to that numeric destination, my dream was to watch the sunrise in Eastport, ME where it rises first in the U. S. Here's what happened:

At the furthest northeastern point of the United States all lay quiet and still in the wee hours before daylight. Assured that daybreak would soon arrive, my mind was still restless and worried that this miracle would pass before I awoke. I quietly roused myself from the antique bed twice, hoping not to waken any other lodgers at the bed and breakfast, to check the time and peer out the window toward the eastern sky. I was like a little kid on Christmas Eve, trying to sleep but anxiously waiting for Santa to arrive, hoping not to miss him. Finally, my anticipation was broken by the softest alarm. It was 4:30 am and we had only twenty minutes before the sunrise in Eastport, Maine. "It's a glorious morning!" I said to Peter. "Wake up before we miss it! There's no fog. The sky is pale pink and the sun will greet us. Let's go! I don't want to miss it!"

We quickly threw on our jeans, a sweatshirt and hats. We stepped into our sneaks and tip-toed through the house and out the front door toward the dock across the street. The cold Atlantic sloshed underneath the dock as we disrupted the stillness with our hurried steps. We found our spot amongst the lobster pots and line of anchored boats. Looking out across the horizon was Deer Island and Campobello, Canada. Digital camera in hand, video camera running, hearts pumping, breath-holding we watched in silence came.

It seemed forever yet was only moments as we witnessed a perfectly orchestrated concert before the curtained sky opened and the "star" appeared. Across the glassy, slowly rippling waters a pod of dark gray porpoises promenaded in perfect, arching rhythm along the distant horizon. One, two, three, four...all in turn; always in synch. One at a time or side-by-side they arched in perfect time against the pastel morning sky. They swam off together stage right. What an awesome sight.

On queue, twenty five yards or so in front of us, just beyond the buoys a mighty, arching, water-spouting finback whale surfaces! He arches once, spouts and down again. Then twice and then again and again until he swims off. It was spectacular! It was as though God was announcing the break of day! Our hearts were overwhelmed as we watched in awe of the strength and beauty of this creature that rocked the waters underneath the dock.

As the waters calmed again into a glassy surface we heard a clapping sound, like applause. Peter and I looked at each other like, "What is that noise?" And then a school of herring swam by in a perfect triangular shape, slapping their fins against the surface of the water in front of us. They too exited, stage right and front and center, the sheer, whispy, pastel curtains of the sky parted and the "star" appeared...right on queue! We welcomed it with our own applause and tear streaked faces, praising the Creator for his magnificant show!

We sat on the dock in silence for another half hour just soaking it all in and marveling at the gift God had just given us before we headed back for breakfast. It wasn't until we shared our delights of the morning with the owner of the B & B that we realized what a miracle God had performed that morning...just for us. According to the owner, the morning sky in Eastport, Maine is always foggy. Very, very rarely is there a visible sunrise. Not only that but the natives had not seen fin back whales in their ocean for years. They were afraid they had moved off shore to a more favorable environment or died off. He was encouraged to know we'd seen one.

Leaving the breakfast table that morning, we were again overwhelmed knowing God had given us a precious gift. We felt loved and knew we'd been visited by God himself that quiet morning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Vibrations of Life"

"Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will grow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!" Proverbs 3:7-8 MESSAGE

This was the verse God gave Pete last week when we chose to believe He would heal Pete's wrist without the aid of surgery. The doc had laid down the gauntlet of challenge saying, "barring anything miraculous holding these bones together, surgery will be inevitable." We believe in the the God of miracles and we felt Pete's faith was given an opportunity to grow.

Wednesday, Pete was annointed with oil and joined in agreement of faith and prayed over for healing of the wrist. Nothing incredible, nothing spectacular was heard or felt. Doubt, anxiety it played a little part as we waited 24 hours for the next set of xrays to show the evidence of healing.

Thursday morning the doctor said he could not believe the bones were still in place. He couldn't promise that surgery would make it any better. He agreed to leave it alone and see what happens. Still, evidence of doubt in his voice.

Throughout the weekend, Pete could feel twitches, pressure, activity in the arm. He was so affraid the bones were drifting apart. Quickly, dismissing the doubt and anxiety I quipped, "No. The bones are vibrating with life!" We prayed again and again, thanking God for the healing He was performing but secretly our hearts still wondered. "Is this too good to be true. Is God truly choosing to heal this bone or are we going to be disappointed?"

Monday morning. Another x-ray. We both wait, anticipating the doctors words. Finally, he enters with a smile, puts up the x-rays for us to see and with a chuckle in his voice says, "I can't believe it but your wrist looks even better than it did on Thursday! I really expected to see the wrist bones totally drifting apart. But they appear to look more mended and better aligned than last Thursday!"

Whooohoooo! A faith the size of a mustard seed was being honored for the glory of God! Unable to hold it in, Pete shared with the doc what God was doing; that we were trusting God to perform the miraculous.

Monday...another check up. More of the miraculous testament!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The warmth of the sun beneath my feet;
the sound of a fountain as it beats
upon the water of the pool creates
neverending rings that never meet.

A bird is calling to his mate;
his chirping, singing states
an impatinece for her reply
that she seems only to deny.

In the distance a sound;
a plane that can't be found
but lingering still
my ears attest I am not ill.

Distractions all to my heart's cry;
"I want to hear you!" I sigh
as home they come, one by one
and my soul clamours for what had begun.

A time of solitude;
a time of great gratitude
my listening ears and expectant heart
still long and say "Don't depart!"

Lord, I know you're there;
waiting for me to prepare
a place for you to show your face
where I will long for your embrace.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Yes, Virginia...there is a God of Miracles!"

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. "Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' "Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"

The above quote is from the famous NY SUN newspaper article written September 21, 1897 by Francis P. Church, "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus". It's also been documented in a Christmas movie by the same title in the 1990's starring Richard Thomas. It's one of those stories that we all identify with if we've ever believed in Santa Claus and then one day were confronted with the reality that he does not exist at all!

I remember very clearly the Christmas I "found out" Santa wasn't real. I was only three years old. It was Christmas Eve and I woke up to noise coming from the attic stairs. I snuck out of bed and found the attic door wide open. My parents stood motionless with a child's rocking chair held between them. With the innocence of "Cindy Lou Who" from the "Grinch That Stole Christmas" I asked, "What are you doing up there?" and "Why are you carrying my rocking chair down from the attic? I thought Santa was suppose to put it under the tree?" I don't quite remember their response but from that moment on, I believed only the stocking presents were from Santa.

That discovery so affected me that when my children were very small, we went to elaborate means to keep Santa's identity part of reality. We did a good job. I think one of my children believed in Santa until the 7th grade! Don't worry. My husband and I confessed our lies and told the truth to save them from any further embarassment amongst friends!

In the midst of this struggle of truth and lie, I was reminded yesterday how easy it is for us to believe a lie over the truth! We had asked a sister in Christ to pray with us for healing of Pete's broken wrist. When she prayed she said "Father how easy it is sometimes for us to believe the lie of the Enemy (Satan) but so difficult for us to believe the Truth of Jesus." How true this is!

At that moment I was again reminded of Matthew 21:22 "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for." Not a "name it and claim it" belief but a true, child-like belief...if you say it is true, Jesus, then it's true! (Matthew 22:14-17). In this passage Jesus said to his disciples, they had the authority to do exactly what He did and more. (v21) "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done."

We prayed with the authority of Jesus over Pete's wrist yesterday, trusting and believing that God would align and heal his bones properly. We believed that the bones would be held in place and no surgery would be required. We prayed with the authority given to us by Jesus, who said "believe."

Today, new X-rays were taken. The doctor was "amazed" that the bones were still aligned with no drifting. There was only a very slight misalignment that may shift into place on its own. He could no longer recommend surgery in hopes of the bones getting any better results. He agreed to leave it alone and monitor the healing process every few days for the next couple of weeks.

To have belived the lie that there is no power in prayer for healing would have resulted in bondage, physical pain, financial hardship and no glory to give back to the Lord. But, to believe the Truth in this situation has brought a greater faith in God, joy, community, financial relief and testimony to the power and glory of Jesus.

Is there a God who heals? Who performs miracles, still? "Yes, Virginia, there is a God of Miracles! And his name is Jesus!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"

Sunday was an exceptionally beautiful winter's day. The sun was shining, the air was cool and comfortable. The ground still held a thin blanket of snow. It was a great afternoon for a hike! So, Pete & I made the trek up Sleeping Giant to the "castle" about a mile and a half ascent to the top.

On the castle roof above the tree line the milky half-moon was visible against the clear, winter-blue sky. The sun began it's descent along the horizon and so we began our own descent back down the mountain. We felt the air cooling quickly as the light dimmed. Our feet less confident of their steps as gravity helped us down. The first icey patch Pete's feet gave way and gravity won. Gravity "1". Wrist "0". Still, a mile to go before we reached the bottom.

Our evening was spent in the chaos of the local ER and the results were challenging. Pete's wrist was broken...a fracture with multiple pieces at the joint of the wrist. The doctor performed what he called a "reduction" and was pleased by the position of the bones. He thought Pete would avoid invasive surgery.

At the follow-up visit yesterday, the doctor wanted Pete to have the surgery this afternoon for no other reason than his past experience with such a break always ends up with the bones drifting and surgery inevitable. The bones were still in a good position and could heal properly "if by something miraculous the bones stay where they are." We asked him why he would pre-empt the surgery if the bones were still in place. Candidly, he answered, "because it's my day in the OR and I figured I'd fit you in on my rotation." We asked for time and opted out of the surgery today with another follow up on Thursday to see if the bones show any sign of drifting.

In a time of prayer two weeks ago, asking for God to speak what he has planned for him in 2009, Pete was given the word "FAITH". With that in the forefront of our minds and knowing that the bones were in place AND knowing the doctor used the words, "by something miraculous" we chose to pause. We asked, "is God doing something here? Is he growing Pete's faith?"

For two days we've second-guessed ourselves. We're affraid of making the wrong decision. Affraid to be disappointed if God doesn't heal his wrist, miraculously. Then, tonight God brought me to Matthew 21:14-22. First, Jesus is healing the blind and the lame in the temple. Children are witnessing these miracles and proclaiming, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" The religious leaders are furious and challenge Jesus by asking him what he makes of such a claim. He replies, "Have you not read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?'" The second part of this passage, Jesus is with his disciples and commands a fig tree to wither. When they question how he did that with just a word he explains they have too been given the authority to do the same and much more!

So I ask, "does our ability to reason hinder our child-like faith?" I believe it does. Why do we fail to simply believe in the power of Christ in us and through us to do the miraculous? We don't believe. We don't want to be disappointed. What do we say if it doesn't happen?

I don't have the answers. Neither does Pete. But, we're willing to pause and ask God to do the miraculous. Will you join us? be continued...

Friday, January 2, 2009

"Heights and Depths"

I'd rather scale the side of a mountain, jump from an airplane (with a working parachute, of course) or climb a tree than to be in the depths of any body of water. There's something about the darkness, loss of sight, the pressure of the water against my body and the inability to stand on my feet and breathe in the air above me that makes me fearful of my life. I begin to panic when I'm thrust into the ocean or a lake. Yet, I love the shoreline, the beach, the ocean breeze against my face, the sand under my feet and the wildlife that lives there. It's just the depths of the water that frightens me. Mostly, I think, because I can't see or breathe.

In the heights, however, I feel free. A view from the top brings a broader perspective of the landscape below. It holds a beauty and an air of its own. Parachuting?! Well that's just a crazy notion. My husband thinks there is NO reason why anyone should want to jump from a perfectly well functioning airplane! But, I imagine flying like a bird! Have you ever watched a hawk or an eagle just gliding in a thermal air current? It's peaceful, beautiful. I want to be that bird! To be able to see the world below me, and to be enveloped by the blueness of the sky, to feel the wind and the controlled free fall of my body sounds exciting to me. But, I am reminded each time I bring it up, it is not a responsible thing to do when one is the matriarch of her family! Harrumph!

In 2000 we had an inground pool put in our backyard. Not one of those sports pools that are only 5' deep but one that's 7 1/2 feet deep with a diving board. Our kids were in their early teens and we thought it would be a great way to "entertain" them and their friends and help create some family fun times. One problem: I would be the one that was home when the friends came over after school and my swimming skills, let alone life saving skills because of my fear of depth were poor! (My husband was certified in water safety)! So, I had to face my fears in order to be a responsible mom and pool owner!

Every weekday for about a month a very patient, kind and compassionate friend got me in the pool and taught me the water skills I needed. She didn't throw me in the deep end. I would have said, "See ya later, Charlie!" Instead, she lead me into the water, in the shallow end. She stayed close. She spoke softly. She never paniced with me. She praised me when I did something right and encouraged me to practice my weaker skills. Finally, by the end of that month, she had me confident enough to jump off the diving board and land on the bottom, under 7 1/2 feet of water! (I had to look away from the water, I must admit! I actually looked to the horizon above the trees and imagined flying or jumping out of a plane)! But, I did it! I now enjoy being in the pool...even the deep end! Not so much in the ocean, though.

There are times in our walk with God that he leads us into the depths, the unknown, the places that are murky, where we can't touch the bottom and stand and where we can't catch our breath. In those times He's teaching us something: trust. God spoke to Joshua, whom He chose to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land after Moses died, saying "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Josh. 1:5). His promise is the same for us when we are heading for the deep and unknown places. He calls us to rely on Him as the source of our lives. He speaks to us softly, gently encouraging us along the way; always close by. The challenge is within ourselves...our own will.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Gentler Nudges"

Bright, morning sunlight woke me from my winter's nap. Taking a moment to return to reality from my untitled dream, I finally remembered it was the first day of 2009. A new day, a new year yet to be filled with life's experiences and memories. Laying in bed, enjoying the sunshine, my mind scanned through the days of 2008 and I concluded, it had been a great year.

I'd been healed from concussive headaches in February. My first granddaughter, Dakota was born to my son and his wife in May. My daughter graduated highschool in June. She met a wonderful Christian man and was engaged in July. God gave me the gift of a phenominal sea life pre-show and a clear, summer sunrise at the shore of Eastport, Maine in July (where it's always foggy...not that day!). I wrote my first children's book, also in July. The Field family announcement of expecting a new"great" baby was made in August. God gave my husband a deer his first day of bow hunting season in September. Halo Publishing Int'l accepted my manuscript for publishing in October. We found a new Spirit-filled church family to worship with in November. My daughter and her fiance signed up for a Ugandan missions trip in November (a 2 year prayer request for my daughter). The announcement of another new "great" baby to the Field family was made in December.

The year was not void of crises. It was not void of needs or cries to God for help. But, amidst those crises I was lavished with gifts from the Creator. I do not welcome crises more than any other human. I'd rather a life filled with opportunity, prosperity and blessings over trials. Trials are uncomfortable, irritating, inconvenient and sometimes sad and heart-wrenching. No one I know bids them come voluntarily. Yet, it is usually through crises that we are more likely to take a long hard look at our hearts and motives; to reevaluate our priorities; to change our courses; to beckon God's direction and listen to His voice.

I was reminded of this today when I opened Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost For His Highest" and read these words, "...before we choose to follow God's will, a crisis must develop in our lives... This happens because we tend to ignore God's gentler nudges." I'll not argue if God is the creator of crises (good or bad). That's not the point. What is the point is that we tend to either be ignorant of God's voice or ignore God's voice when He speaks His will into our lives. His will may seem ridiculous, irrational, unobtainable to our human selves. So, if we follow logic, it must not be God's will and therefore we go forward in our own will.

The Bible tells us that His ways are not our ways and that in our weaknesses, Christ becomes our strength. It's all about abiding and submitting to Christ. If we abide with Christ (spend time in relationship with him through reading his Word, listening to his word spoken through the Holy Spirit, praying to/with him) we will get to know him. We will get to know God. In knowing God we will know His love for us and our hearts will then align with His desires for us; His will for us. We will then be able to respond more quickly to His "gentler nudges" instead of enduring more crises from time to time.