How Did I Get Here?

Lower Ribbon Falls off the North Kaibab Trail ...

Image via Wikipedia

     Yesterday my husband and I watched an episode of “I Shoudn’t Be Alive.”  I missed the first ten minutes, so I’m not exactly sure how a woman got lost in the Grand Canyon, but she had apparently wandered from the rest of her party and ended up lost in the canyon for almost three weeks.  You can probably imagine how terrified she must have been when she realized she and her dog were totally off the intended path.

     Have you ever followed a trail away from your intended destination?  Have you ever been distracted by a thought which became the center of your attention–one which took you away from the God you loved?  I have, even today.  If the thought is not immediately captured, it can carry you into a wilderness, just as the lady in the canyon.   The more she tried to get out of the canyon, the further she went into the wilderness.  At one point she heard and finally saw a helicopter.  Her hopes built and she began waving frantically at the helicopter.  Alas, to no avail!  Her clothes, very neutral, caused her to blend in with her dry, dusty surroundings.

     Then she saw four wild horses and decided to follow them, eventually coming to a small water hole, filled with an assortment of insects.  She had nothing to lose, she thought.  So she drank from the putrid hole.  What do you do when you come to a dry place?  Do you try to figure out how to get out of it?  Do you spin your wheels drinking from the fountain of old water holes?   If so, join me at the well of Living Water.   It’s during those times when God beckons you and me to sit at His feet and open our mouths for a drink. 

     But first we must be still.  We must turn our attention away from solving the problem to focusing on the God who supplies our every need.  When we turn our hearts to Him, He embraces us and carries us to a place of true intimacy, a place of refreshing and transformation. 

    When the woman in the canyon finally lay down and decided she would no longer fight death, she was finally rescued by four Native Americans who were expert trackers.   Did you hear that?  She surrendered her will to live.  She had tried all she knew to do.

    God calls us daily to surrender to Him.  Hear His say, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Mt. 11:28 – 30).   There is room at the cross.  Come, let’s sit together.   There’s room for you and me.

I Really Miss You

Feuilles de la passion

Image by Fabrice ROSE via Flickr

     Last Thursday I met a man at a jewelry store who talked about his relationship with a former love from the time we entered the store until the time we walked out.  It seemed like half an hour, but my husband thought it was more like ten or fifteen minutes later.  We went into the store to have our watch bands adjusted, but we became an audience for a man who obviously missed his sweetheart.

    Apparently, he had a passionate longing for his love deep down in his heart.   After a brief conversation about our need to get the watches adjusted, we found ourselves caught up in dialogue with this man whose face lit up as he described his past relationship with the love of his life.  I was mesmerized!  He had my full attention.  Willie and I were a captive audience.  Everytime we started to leave he drew us back into his conversation, as he continued passionate tales of his love.

   He began to describe his love using poetic words, his face continuing to glow as he went on and on about his heart’s passion.  I wondered if we’d ever get out of the shop, but we finally pulled ourselves away and continued our drive.

    About four hours later we went back for our watches and found him still talking passionately about his first love.  You see, this man had been an elementary school teacher who, due to an unfortunate turn of events, was forced to give up the profession he passionately loved–teaching!  He breathed education, loved kids and beamed with every word he expressed about his first love.  Obviously, teaching was still in his heart.  He seemed so out of place.  I sensed the longing in his heart to return to his first love.  And I wondered how many people might have been privy to tales of his lost love.

     I believe God is calling His people to return to their first love.  Have you sensed the call?  Do you have a longing for more than “doing church?”  Do you feel a tug on your heart strings? Then allow Him to woo you.  That’s an old-fashioned word.  What does it mean?  According to my thesaurus, The Synonym Finder, it means “to court, make loveto, serenade.”  Have you been ruined for Him?   Let Him sing to you now.  He’s waiting breathlessly for you.  Do you hear Him?  It’s time.

Go Out and Play

     I have to admit that I can be very introspective.  Do I have any sisters out there?  You know—those recovering perfectionists who always have something to work on.  (Oh, I mean for God to work on.  That sounds much more spiritual).  Yeah, I’m talking to you.  If you had to think about that question, then you’re in the club. 

   I’ve spent a lot of time recently revising the final chapters of my book and I’ve been encouraged by my reader/advisor to do more reflecting.  Wow! That’s right down my alley!  I love to reflect!  Yeah, it’s like a naural thing for me to do.  You know, it’s like a white water rafter on an adrenaline rush down the Chattanooga River.  I’m not sure if anybody goes rafting down the Chattanooga, but that’s the only river I can think of right now.  You get the point.  But I have to be careful not to stay in my reflective mode too long.  Sometimes I have to simply “go out and play!”

   Isn’t that what we tell our children?  Any why wouldn’t God say the same to each one of us?  I must give myself permission to go out and play.  Why?  Because it’s healthy!  It’s fun! And it’s natural!  Besides, I can make life boring and suffocating when I spend too much time looking at areas I think I need to work on.  I’m not talking about things God is pointing His finger at. (Yeah, preposition at the end of a sentence–big no, no.  Does He really care about that? NO!)

     For those who get what I’m saying, this blog’s for you.  If you don’t get it, you may be playing a little too much and may need to do some reflecting about that!  Now back to my point–I had a blast this past week–after I told my husband we needed to get away from the house once a week and do something different.  He’s such a great guy.  He never asked me why.  Instead, he simply listened as I said I wanted to head north on 85 to Tangers Outlet.  After eating breakfast at Waffle House, we hit the road.  It felt like we were going on a special trip, although our destination was 45 minutes away.  It didn’t matter.  We broke our routine and it was great! 

     When we got there, we saw a store that was the answer to prayer for Willie:  A “Gold Toe Socks” store!  No kidding!  He was in paradise!  Such a practical guy!  And me?  “Silver Treasures.”  What else?  I’m a woman!  The truth of the matter was it didn’t matter what we got.  What mattered was that we took the time to refresh ourselves by breaking our routine. 

  I’ve already figured out our next outing this week.  It’s back to the shopping center to exchange my purchase.   I can’t wait to visit that “Jones New York” store I saw there.  Oh yeah,”Kirkland’s” is waiting,too.

    I know what you’re thinking.  When will Willie get to choose a destination?  I’ve got to think about that!  In the meantime, I’m having a ball playing while exercising.  Have you tried “Curves/Zumba?”  Got to find a cute little outfit.  After all, the moves are way too sexy for sweats!  Sisters, let’s have some fun!

You’ll Never Guess What I Found!

Hang gliding @ Pule

Image by purplemattfish via Flickr

      This morning I crawled up into my Father’s arms.  Daddy was waiting for me.  I didn’t particularly feel like meeting with my Father, but He wanted to meet with me.  You see, I needed to feel His embrace.  I needed to lay aside everything I thought was important and just be me.  He knew that.  He has been calling me to a new place of intimacy.  I’ve called this season lonely; He’s called it longing.  I’ve called this season barren; He’s called it fertile.  I’ve called it frustrating; He’s called it pruning. 

     Last Saturday I tried my best to find someone to hang out with and my plans did not work out.  I took a risk and called a friend right after my workout at Curves.  Willie had gone to pick up his mentee for an outing.   I thought, “I know it’s the last minute, but I’ll call anyway.  Just maybe she’s home and will pick up the phone.  I hope I haven’t missed her.”  Well, she did not answer.  The thought came to call her cell number, but I didn’t want to interrupt her if she already had something going on.  “Darn it, I missed her.  Well, I’ll just find that place called “Queen of Hearts” in Buford.  I hear it’s right next door to “Hobby Lobby.”  I can go there and venture out a little.  I might just find a treasure.  I need to do something with that powder room downstairs.  Besides, I refuse to stay home today.”

     When I arrived at the shopping center, I was amazed to find an antiques mall with aisles of precious treasures.  I smiled and began my search for that certain thing.   You know, that item catches your eye and warms your heart.  After going down the first aisle, I heard my treasure!  That’s right–I HEARD my treasure.  The usual shopping songs had played since I entered the store; you know those catchy jingles creating the right mood to make you buy.   But this was a song that made me stop in my tracks.  A beautiful voice began melodically singing, “Come away with me.  Follow me to that special place where it’s just you and me.”     Those were the only words I remember, but I knew God was singing to me.  I knew He heard the longing in my heart.  And He wanted me to understand that longing was for Him.  He was singing to me right in an antiques mall.  My heart began to warm and I imagined myself dancing with Him, waltzing in a garden.  It nearly took my breath away.  At that moment, I was His and He was mine. 

     Later when I arrived home, I was excited about the material things I had found for my powder room, but more than that, I knew God had touched me in the most unlikely place.  And so I am on a quest–one to find that secret place of intimacy.  I’m not talking about my “prayer closet.”  I’m talking about a place of unparalleled desire and obsession.  Won’t you go with me into that place?  There’s room for us all, a place where nothing else matters but loving my Father.  There’s more!  How do I know?  Because my heart tells me. 

     My heart cries, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth–For Your love is better than wine.  Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you.   Draw me away!  We will run after You (Song of Solomon 1:3 – 4)”.

     “I will rise now,” I said, “And go about the city; In the streets and in the squares I will seek the one I love (Song of Solomon 3:2)”.   Come, go with me.

What’s up with This Frustration?

View from hotel room of Gaithersburg, Maryland

Image via Wikipedia

     Did you notice how foggy it was this morning?  In fact, when I called my daughter in Maryland and told her how foggy it was down here in Georgia, she said rather surprisedly, “Mom, it’s foggy here too!”  I don’t like fog!  Especially the kind of fog that lasts all day…just like today. 

    “Ugh, I wish the sun would come out,” I thought.  “Then maybe I could have a better day.  I could get outside and get some fresh air, maybe drive to the mall and meet a couple of friends for lunch.  But with this fog, I don’t feel like doing anything.  In fact, I haven’t even talked to my friends since last week.  I’m sure they have no intention of going outside today anyway.  They probably hate the fog just as much as I do.”

     Do you hear my self-talk?  I’d like to pretend these are not MY thoughts, but …. Yeah, I’m guilty of creating a dark cloud over my head, one just as real as the grey mist I’ve complained about all day.  I may not have said anything to anyone else about my attitude, but God heard me.  In fact, I’m sure I exhausted Him when I stopped at the Kroger service station to fill up my tank today.  I had just come from the hair salon (I know…not the best day to get your hair done.).  I had a quarter tank of gas and decided I needed to stop to get a fill-up, so I wouldn’t run out on my next drive. 

  “Oh, my gosh,” I thought.  “What a big mistake I made.  Why did I stop in this mist?  I’m sure by now my hair is starting to frizz.  I should have waited until tomorrow.”

     Okay, God, what are you saying to me?  I know you see my lesson today.  All right. I get it, too.  I determined my atmosphere by my self-talk.  The weather did not make my day.  My attitude did.  I already had it in my mind that it was not going to be a good day because the sun was not shining.  

     It’s taken me all day to realize I’ve been ignoring my Father.  In fact, my heart has been filled with complaints instead of gratitude.  My husband leaves the house and I tune into “Access Hollywood.”   Some kind of drama there.  Boy, these stories are really depressing!   Can’t stay here today!

     And so, I stop everything I’m doing, turn off the TV, lay my head back, raise my hands, and listen as I hear the song, “As the deer panteth for the waters, so my soul longeth after Thee.  You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship Thee.  You alone are my strength, my shield.  To you alone may my spirit yield.  You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship Thee.  Oh yes, I long to worship Thee. 

     And then the cloud lifts.  He has refreshed me.  He has renewed me.  He has embraced me.  And now I can refresh my sister. 

     Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  May I add words from a familiar line of verse?  “Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait!”

     Sometimes it just takes a few minutes or seconds.  The benefits of waiting are immeasurable!