Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Yesterday in my quiet time, I read from Psalm 62 (The Message translation) [emphasis mine]:

1 -2 God, the one and only— I'll wait as long as He says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I'm set for life.”

7 -8 My help and glory are in God—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God— So trust Him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for Him. God is a safe place to be.

11 God said this once and for all; how many times have I heard it repeated? "Strength comes straight from God."

From these verses, the following truths hit me:

1) God is sufficient. For now, for always, all I need is Him. This is especially important to remember during this season of my life when I'm waiting for a husband and a child.

2) I can trust God absolutely, that He has my best in mind. As I have said before, I believe the verse that says "He will give you the desires of your heart" means a) God is NOT a vending machine; b) He can and may give me what I want/desire and/or c) He will change my desires. But Psalm 62:7-8 reminds me that He is always trust-worthy, and in His presence I am safe. Always.

3) Sometimes waiting is hard. I admit, I am struggling some right now with this. But in verse 11 above, the Psalmist reminds us that all the strength we need comes from the Lord. How good is our God to give us all we need as we wait for what He has in store for us?

I found it interesting that yesterday after reading the Psalms that the same theme of waiting on and abiding in the Lord was found in the chapter I "happened" to be on in Lydia Brownback's book Trust:

"Jesus is the only resting place. In fact, Jesus is rest. Lean on Him, and walking with God will no longer feel burdensome. It will become your greatest delight."

One of my favorite praise songs has in part of the chorus: "He is more than enough, more than enough, He is more than enough for me." If my focus in this season of waiting is on what I don't have, then I will be miserable. But if I choose to focus on all I do have: a God who provides me strength, who provides me rest, and who is sufficient for everything I need, then I can spend this season at peace. Peace is a good thing, and much more comfortable than being restless and distracted. I need not be consumed with what I'm waiting for. I need instead to be consumed with Him who has my best in mind and who will, if I will but let Him, provide all I need today, tomorrow and throughout each day of the rest of my life.

Thank you, Lord. You are indeed more than enough. May I remember that each and every day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lessons from the dark

So, when we had our beautiful snowfall here in Dallas last week, one not-so-beautiful outcome was the wide-spread power outages. When they let us go early from The Company at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday (while it was still snowing), I headed home. On my way, I knew there would be trouble when the power companies were out shaking the power lines to get the snow off.

Sure enough, I wasn't horribly shocked that my apartment had no power. I called the peeps and they said around 5:00 p.m. it would be back on. No problem, I figured--a little over an hour--I'll just lay down and have a little rest.

5:00 came and went; 6:30 came and went; 7:45 came and went (you see where this is going) - and no power. No only was it dark, but it was pretty cold...I typically set the heater to come on between 63-65*...by the time that I got power back (sometime the middle of that night), it was probably 57* or so...pretty chilly, even for me. :)

I think the biggest think that struck me is that there's not much to do in the darkness. Of course I have emergency flashlights, but the batteries weren't charged (although the weather folks gave me plenty of notice, I just didn't think of it!) Me being the allegorical thinker I am, I realized that there were lots of spiritual lessons to be learned from the literal, physical darkness of that afternoon/evening last week.

1) There's not much of anything productive you can do in the darkness.

I John 1:5 - "This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there's not a trace of darkness in him." (TM)

2) It's impossible to see the obstacles in your path; you can easily run into things and hurt yourself.

John 8:12 - "Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."" (TM)

John 12:35 - "Jesus said, "For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn't destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don't know where you're going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You'll be children of light."" (TM)

3) In the dark, you instantly feel out of touch and alone and sometimes even afraid.

Isaiah 9:2 - "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows— light! sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they're so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings." (TM)

Psalm 18:28 - "For You light my lamp;The LORD my God illumines my darkness." (NASB)

4) Spending any time in the dark makes you appreciate the light even more. Light after darkness is refreshing, relaxing and inviting.

John 1:3 - "Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out." (TM)

Psalm 112:4 - "Light arises in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious and compassionate and righteous. " (NASB)

Just as I didn't especially enjoy the darkness of my apartment, I don't (at all!) enjoy spiritual darkness. I realized - again - the importance of staying connected to The Light, so that I'm not out there stumbling on my own. There was an especially dark period in my life several years ago when I experienced great pain and hardship due to my own sinfulness...when I was actually choosing to live in spiritual darkness instead of living in the light of God's grace and forgiving love.

But through a redemption story of His amazing grace, The Light of the World drew me back to Himself, and I have been relying on His strength to continue to walk in His light ever since. Don't get me wrong - I have not "arrived" - I still stumble and still spend more time in the dark than I need to just due to my own choices and human, sinful nature. But just like physical light is more powerful than darkness, THE Light, our Almighty God, continues to overpower the dark tendencies of my wayward heart. I'm so thankful for His patient, merciful grace - and for the wonderful Light His Son shines on my heart!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It actually looks like winter!

I have lived in Dallas for 8.5 years now. Typically the "winters" here have been what, for most of my life, was fall/spring weather: highs in the 50's and lows in the 30's...and here in Texas it's accompanied by beautiful blue skies and very little precipitation.

This past week, though, we actually had true winter weather here in Dallas. We received the most significant snowfall (8-13" depending on where you lived in the city) since 1964. It was beautiful and I tried to capture some of it on film.

Here is the view from my 6th floor area at The Company after all the snow was done falling.

This picture shows the only problem with the snow--these power lines in Dallas are (for where I live and work) above ground and NOT designed to be laden with wet, heavy snow...hence lots of power outages.

By far the more exquisite beauty is the trees...though even that caused problems because the snow was so heavy that it caused lots of tree limbs/whole trees to fall and it's always sad to me to see trees damaged.

The snow fell all day during the day on Thursday (2/11). This lady's car shows the total accumulation as she didn't leave between when the snow started and when it stopped Friday morning (2/12):

This is my car "Petey" (my horribly un-inventive name for the PT Cruiser)...he had only the accumulation from 3:00 p.m. Thursday to Friday morning...which was about half the total. He was having Deja Vu from his baby years in OH where he lived the first 4.5 years of his life. Then, though, he had the privilege of living in a garage, so it's likely that this is the heaviest blanket of snow Petey has ever had on him in his 7.5 years.

Here are some bushes near my apartment showing all the snow we received:

Here is my "patio" (6x3 ft fenced cement slab) with the snow on top...it made me smile):

Trees outside my front door beautifully covered in white brilliance:

The kids here have never seen snow like this and I'm certain they thoroughly enjoyed making this "cowboy" version of a snowman:

Here's the view from my front door when I got home from work (shockingly we were let out at 3:00!) on Thursday- notice the huge, beautiful flakes:

Alas, as I type this, the snow is gone/going...it's dripping and melting and dirty and wet and generally ugly now where the breath-taking beauty was just 30 hours ago.

But it was a great reminder of what winter has always been to me. Growing up in OH (0-21 yrs old) and then living in MI (22-28 yrs old), I saw my fair share of snow. I did notice (not to be critical, just sayin') that kids here don't really know HOW to make snowpeople. You see, they haven't had enough (or any) experience with the white stuff to know you ROLL the balls that make up the snowpeople's bodies. The kids/adults here just piled the snow together and tried to make it look like balls. Silly folks--all of us that know snowpeople know you have to roll the balls...hence why many of my brothers and my snowpeople growing up had leaves and mud in them from rolling the ball on the grass before assembling the body. Several times I remember having to have my Dad lift the snowballs to form the body because we had gotten a little over-zealous and by the time the ball was formed, it was too heavy for us kids to lift! That was back before (maybe this didn't help any) my Dad had back problems!

I think my favorite thing about snow, as I said in this post, is that it reminds me of God's redemptive grace and how the Bible says my heart is snow-white after Christ's blood cleanses me. The other miraculous thing is that snow falls in silence. And the wonder that falls over you when you see what happened since you last looked outside is a feeling that I think I need to experience more.

I need to experience the wonder of Christ's love. I need to open my heart to His cleansing, His forgiveness, and remember that each day living in the shadow of His grace should fill me with much more wonder than a Dallas snowfall. I admit I've been in a bit of a "funk" lately and it's due to my own sinfulness and neglect for my quiet time with the Lord. Why oh why oh why do I choose to watch TV or read a book or do anything other than spending time with the One that loves me far more than any Valentine ever could? Is it any wonder I've been lost in a pity party due to another Valentine's season going by without being loved by a man? My eyes have been focusing on the wrong thing.

Living in the shadow of God's pure love (as the purity of white snow reminds me) should fill me with a transcendent wonder and awe and hunger for His truth and His plans for me, not what I might wish was true. He does know best, and the same Almighty Creator that causes the beauty of snowfall is also my tender Shepherd that longs (if I will but let Him) to cause beauty to rise from my "ashes".

So this is my resolve -this weekend as the eHarmony and Match.com and Chemistry.com commericals and Hallmark movies play, I will choose not to focus on being single still/again, but on the Love that knows no comparison on earth--a love that has cleansed and continues to cleanse my wayward heart until it is as pure as fresh-fallen snow. Oh how He loves you and me!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Isaiah 40:28-31:

"God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind. "

I know I've posted these verses before, but they have been a huge encouragement in the past 72 hours. I have hit a wall of exhaustion due to working far too many hours in the past several weeks. DON'T GET ME WRONG, I am VERY thankful for my job @ The Company, but my body is not cut out to work as much as I've had to in order to make the deadline we had this week.

But God in His great mercy gave me the "fresh strength" I needed, just as these verses say--and what a blessing to know that no matter how exhausted I am--whether I have the strength to walk across the room or not--HE NEVER GETS TIRED OUT. And, because He's God and is control of it all, that brings me great comfort. I hope it does you, too.

Thank you, Lord, for Your strength. All glory and honor be to You, Almighty God!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Simple Pleasures

On of my fave blogs to read, Kelly's Korner, today, there was a great post about the simple pleasures in life. Here, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, are some of my simple pleasures:

1) Going to bed Friday night and knowing I can sleep until I want to Saturday morning (benefit of being single and childless!)
2) Cross-stitching while watching college football
3) Having it be in the 60's in my apartment without either A/C or heat (i.e., VERY low electric bill!) ;)
4) Hearing my friend's little girl call me Aunt Sarah...and her getting excited for me to come and giving me hugs
5) Hearing my niece (by blood) who's 2 say "love you" on the phone after I told her the same thing (this was the first time she uttered those words ever)
6) Enjoying the every other weekend I don't need to brave the apartment laundry room
7) A good sale at Gymboree
8) Having the opportunity to play my oboe
9) Going to my doctor's office and getting a hug from her and being thanked for coming!
10) Being "kissed" by a dog and having him be excited to see me, even when he only sees me once every month or so
11) Getting the weekly cards I get from my Mom, that usually also contain a little 'mad $$'
12) Freshly fallen snow (mostly memories as it doesn't happen much now in TX, but I used to live where it snowed a lot!)
13) A baby's laugh
14) Special K Chocolatey Delight with Kashi Go Lean Crunch and milk (typically for dinner!)
15) A Karen Kingsbury novel
16) Being able to snuggle with my babies in the baby room (nursery) at church and having them all be content/quiet even for a few seconds
17) An e-mail from a friend I haven't heard from in a while
18) God's hand clearly evident in an area of concern in my life
19) (newly acquired) DVR
20) Jelly Belly jelly beans (esp. the Cold Stone Cream flavors)

Again, those were in no particular order; clearly some of those are far more precious and priceless than others.

That was good and fun and a great way to start the day! What are some of YOUR simple pleasures???