A Mother’s Prayer…

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”
(1 Samuel 1:27)

I personally can attest to the fact that a mother’s love and prayers go way back, sometimes even before our beginning. So today, I’d like to share with you one such prayer, spoken twice, that I didn’t even know I had in me. (“Hmm, I wonder if Hannah had felt the same way.”)

There was a time not all that long ago, when I could not call myself “a mother”.  Some of this was self-inflicted, and sometimes not. (I’d spent a couple of decades crusading that I would never get married or have children. I have learned now to never say never.)

 

The History and the Pain

I had lived through and learned enough in my life to know better, and that I didn’t ever want to revisit “Hell” (divorce, bitterness, fear, isolation, poverty, abuse, addiction- Mom’s, mine, or anyone else’s, etc.); nor go to “war” (the world of abnormal rearing) once again, or lead others through there either. (Sadly at this point in the post, it appears I’ve failed all the way around.)

 

God’s still Bigger!!!

“Thank God!” He tells a different story with a totally different ending for us all, and I can prove it!!!

The Lord has blessed me with two God-sends in the form of a daughter and a son (in that order). And although I could say the same about them, having to walk through Hell (subject to divorce, bitterness, fear, isolation, poverty, etc…), they also, wear it differently with Jesus. They both have far exceeded my expectations, especially when they have grasped His. They may not be perfect, but they are close to Him.

 

The True Giver and Comforter

Let me remind you once again, I didn’t do this. He did! And I’m not talking about their dad here, either. (Although, he’s a good one.) I’m referring to our Father who art in Heaven.

Amazingly, the answered prayers had taken place years before either of them were born, unbeknownst to me; so to hear for the second time that my pregnancy would end in miscarriage- “there’s no heartbeat”, it didn’t crush mine. And although my first miscarriage was by far the most painful and lonely experience I had ever encountered in my life by that point- this second time, it was a beautiful breeze from God in comparison.

 

The Foundation

 I’d been driving down the road leading to Lowville, listening to one of Dr. Charles Stanley’s c.d.’s on Eternal Security- Can you be sure? (I’d miraculously found Dr. Stanley and In Touch Ministries when I was flipping through the TV channels just before my first miscarriage had occurred.) When I seemingly, had drifted into a deep prayer to the Lord. And at that moment, He reminded me of a prior conversation, when I’d finally abandoned my own mission (to never have children), but instead, made heartfelt petitions to be blessed with one. I surrendered at that time, my fear of childbirth, parenthood, and all the mistakes I could make. And for the first time in my adult life, I began to trust in Him for all of it.

The Prayer

So on that road to Lowville (truly a Damascus experience) leading to an ultrasound that would determine the life of my child, I asked the Lord one more time, but this time- with one exception. As much as I wanted to have a baby (to add purpose to my heart, life, and my marriage), I didn’t want one unless it was His baby first.

“Lord, you know my heart, what this means to me, and how much I want this baby to make it.  But- if it is not Yours and always will be, who will join You and me in Heaven someday, please don’t let it happen.”

I knew even then, there was absolutely no way I could do this, raise a child, unless He was with me and them. (It would crush me sometimes even after the children were born, when I’d gaze at them, and plead with the Lord that one short lifetime here with them and Him, was just not enough for me.)

 

The First Blessing…

As I had already given the spoiler in the beginning of this post, the prognosis from the doctor when I’d reached my destination that day, was a second miscarriage. The difference this time, though, was a peace that transcended beyond all my understanding and surrounded me with an unexplainable joy. I’d felt remarkably good about it. And within two months of the miscarriage, although the doctors told me not to try so soon, I was pregnant again. My beautiful daughter, Hannah, had made her debut a few days shy of Christmas. “God is so good!!!”

 

… and the Second!

As for my son, I can tell you an equally blessed experience. I’d had a third miscarriage between my daughter and son (and it was shortly before I’d become pregnant for him- a month this time). And it was also suspected after the fact, that my son was probably a twin (they run in my family on my Dad’s side). The other apparently didn’t survive the rollover accident I had in my vehicle trying to get to work in a blizzard. The same accident that totaled my car and I walked away without a scratch on the outside of me. It was a miracle that anyone found me in the first place. But “thanks” to Nancy Robbins, and the Old McDonald’s Farm farmhands that were driving by in a farm truck with broken windows that made them unable to roll up, I was. (God’s plan totally trumps anything we’ve got!)

On the road again…

Now back on that broken road which leads to Lowville, I was praying my heart out to His once again, that familiar prayer…

“Lord, you know my heart, what this means to me, and how much I want this baby to make it.  But- if it is not Yours and always will be, who will join You and me in Heaven someday, please don’t let it happen.”

And even though I was sure that I’d miscarried a fourth time (as I’d felt like an expert by then), the same doctor looked at me and said… “I can tell by just looking at you that you are still pregnant.” 

Hearing his (and His) heartbeat, proved it!!! (And what a beautiful sound <))) the heart of God, and all who are in it, makes!)

In his due time, my son was born… “Praise the Living God!!!”

The Blessing Continues…

As great as all this sounds, I can speak now of a greater blessing. I can look straight into the eyes and heart of both of my children and say with absolute certainty…

“You would not be here right now
if you were not God’s child, first!”

Sure! They are attacked ferociously by the enemies of the Lord as children of God, suffer periodic doubt as they see the circumstances around them, feeling the pinch from their surroundings, knowing this is not our home— just like the rest of us. But rest assured, they know exactly whose child they are, and that He, their Heavenly Father, is with them always. 

♥ ♥ ♥

You just can’t put a price on the peace, and eternal security, that transcends all understanding.

Please keep in mind that I had nothing (or at least nothing divinely significant) to do with the series of miraculously ordered events that took place. I could not have dreamed any of this up if I’d tried. And also worthy of mention, I am thoroughly blessed that He did not allow me to mess it (them) up, also.

 

The Prayer Continues…

I pray today, the same for you… Whether you are a mother (parent) already, so want to be, or are blessed right now to be carrying His child and yours…

Pour out your heart to the Lord our God, our Creator, the One who loved us first (we were His first)! And when “it’s time”, you can bless them with Jesus and tell them how they are His, too.

 

The Conclusion

I can share with you now something that I, or the doctor, could not at that time.   We were unaware of a probable condition of mine that involved hormone levels, preventing my pregnancies to progress and the fetus to grow. It appears that the failed pregnancies just prior to the live births had a hand in making it possible for my children to make it to term and thrive still today.

Who knew? Only God! And now, I’ve shared with you two of the many reasons I love, praise, and worship the Lord my God with all of my heart.

And as for you and your house, I pray…

May the Lord bless you indeed,
and enlarge your heart, your faith, your life, and your family. That His amazingly gracious hand be upon you,
and that He’d keep you from all evil.
No more unbearable pain!

“God Bless YOU!”

Hannah’s Vow

Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”

12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”

15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 “Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”

17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”

18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

Samuel Is Born and Dedicated

19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”

21 Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.”

23 So Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord establish His word.” Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.

(1 Samuel 1)

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Well, then…

“She’s a not so good Samaritan,
and she’s waiting for him to fulfill her…”

May I offer some advice? “Stop that!”
There is only One that can truly satisfy your thirst and His name is Jesus…

“Well, then!”

nnyPHISHnet's Blog

She’s a not so good Samaritan,
and she’s waiting for him to fulfill her…

@ The Well.

I think I can speak on her behalf.  In as much as there are things that have changed from the past, there are some things, that still have not.

“… be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”  (2 Peter 3:17)

In a present tense, I believe she was trying to get it all right- love, family, friends, the people and the things within her world of influence that truly matter to her.  But, something or someone always seems to stand in her way.  She just can’t seem to get there…

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Live Now!

If you’re right and I’m wrong-
“I can live with that!”

But if I’m right and you’re wrong–
“Can you?”

You think me to be weak, and yet, you have no idea how strong- “I am”.

You think how foolish I must be, and yet, you have no knowledge of Who I know, and just how wise He makes me.

You think “how deceived” I am– “you’re right!”  I most certainly once was.  (And I pray daily- never again.)

You think that I am blind to who I could be and all that I could have, and still, you don’t see The One I desire to be the most– and all that He so graciously gives me.

You think of me “poor thing”, and yet my riches with Him, each and every day… are endless.

You think I am enslaved to a cult of religion, but in truth, I am freer than I’ve ever been…

–“with Jesus!” 

You see, I’m not weak, unwise, deceived, blind, poor, or amiss to anything– especially to the who and what I could have.  I simply find my identity in the God who made me and choose the only One who could truly save me.   And in doing so, I choose Heaven… and not Hell.

And He (Jesus) said… “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 3:43)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To [the one] who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’  (Revelation 2:7)

I wrote this message to whomever it may concern yesterday morning, and wondered  if or when I should post it.  But after listening to David Wilkerson’s “A Call to Anguish” late last night… I decided that “it’s time!”

Because… “I love YOU!”

 

I have concluded, having heard this sermon in its entirety, that if anyone who calls themselves ‘a follower of Christ’, were to do the same (listen until the end) and not feel broken in two and crying out loud… I would seriously consider that they have no eternal pulse to speak of. 😥

And, to know full well that we have loved ones at risk of Hell or in trouble here, and choose to do nothing about it, is…

((Heart-breaking!!!))

It sincerely wrenches my heart to think about friends and family (even, if not especially, for those who believe they’ve got their room deposit slapped down for Heaven by themselves and for what they do), who are choosing to be on a present course set for Hell.  Sometimes, I just want to scream in a language I think they’ll understand- “Do you want to live forever or not?”  But I save my own breath, instead. 😥

I originally felt the prompt to address those who find my love and intentions with Jesus as lame, weak, a crutch, foolish, futile, and only for “the needy”, because I passionately beg to differ.  But instead, I want any or all of you to know… As I fight for Jesus while I’m still here, I’d love to fight for YOU, as well.  If you’ll “allow me?”  

If you’re right and I’m wrong-
“I can definitely live with that!”

But if I’m right and you’re wrong–
“Where does that leave you, exactly?”

Live Now –“with Jesus!”
jam4JESUS

~~~

“Christian”, if you dare…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-CFMN3wDPo

David Wilkerson and “A Call to Anguish”.

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Every day… If we’re honest

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.   They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.    “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Every morning… I hope to see Him again, hear His word again, feel His peace & love again, and start fresh- “Oh to be new again.”

But every morning (even before an hour has passed)- I’ve regressed, again…

“Oh God,😥 ”

No matter what I do, how much I try, and in my heart “I’d so love to”- I plain and simply ‘cannot seem to get Him right.’ I am a big fat cruddy sinner- no matter what!

And this morning, as I pleaded with the Lord to take me over once again and do what He must do, I was impressed with something a little different this time.  I wondered again on what He meant, exactly, when He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  (Matthew 9:12-14)

((And I personally think– Jesus loves ‘the good, the bad, and even the cruddy’ sinner.))

I then began to think of all the sermons and messages I’ve ever heard that made it sound like only once and awhile ‘we as Christians’ fall down, slip up, have an occasional “wrong” thought, or say a bad word (after all, we “are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Romans 8:9); and even when we do- we quickly repent and ‘it is done’.

“Say what?” Does anyone out there have it this easy and are “that good”?  Or is it just me who feels like even my daily missions end in great loss, cause I’m “that (hopelessly) bad”?

I know that the Holy Spirit isn’t going to let even one sin slip by without telling me.  And I am confident that ‘Our Father’ will not slap “good” on any of my siblings (in Christ) bad behavior, anymore than He does mine.  So- Am I the only one ‘in the wrong here’ or do I have company?

 

A sinner, by definition, implies… one who sins.  And if “Christians”, formerly known as “sinners”, are now “right”, does that lead one to believe that they are righteously no longer a sinner?

(Hey, I love the Lord as much as it is possible for me to do- with all my heart, soul, mind, in the strength He gives me– and I’m confused. Imagine what those who don’t know Him yet, are thinking.)

I began to ponder, if a child of God can be perplexed by this, “how much more will everyone watching (whether believing, unbelieving, on the fence, or forever in search mode), be?” And I’m also thinking that a lukewarm (take Him for granted) love affair, self-serving faith, and look what “I” can do mentality– must be among the greatest and most pervasive lies the enemy has ever showed us, and as a result, we (as “righteous Christians?”)– the biggest “posers” this world has ever seen.  No matter what, we are not going to fool all the people (least of all God), or all the time.  None of us are good, no not one!   So what can we say after that?  How can we say we are “alright”?

It is my concern, that the very people who are the most comfortable sitting in ‘their pew’, in ‘that position’, feeling cozy and justified as they’re lulled to self-righteousness (comatose or developing amnesia for “those sins” along with the rest), or straightening up just a little at the very mention of religious fame, are in my opinion– in the most dangerous place of all.  If you already feel that your righteousness precedes you, you have your room deposit slapped down for Heaven, and “I’m good!”, who in the World is going to move you?”

I would prefer to err on the side of “conviction”, be His subject in humbled affliction, and share the reality that I am truly a sinner who Jesus came for, leaned down to, met with, healed, drew a graceful line in the sand with His finger for (written in love with His blood), and then stood up–> selflessly taking my place on a cross.

As for me, every day in fact…
“Oh Lord, I so need a Savior!!!”

 

With my head now pressed up against the wall (spiritually banging it up against it), it all suddenly started to make some sense.

If we’re honest…

We all have enough real life material, dis-orders, and yes- sin, in order to reach others right where they are, where [we] walk out… together.  No one really likes to ‘venture out’ alone- especially in uncharted territories.

Each and every one of us has harbored the pain, endured the break, suffered through an attack, felt wounded beyond repair, strived to nurse back to health… our broken heart. We can tell of shattered dreams and hopeless plans, lost loves or when we never really had them in the first place.

We have talked the talk, but too often it appears- we’ve kept silent about our walk there.

What do we hope to gain by our silence?  Are we worried that they will look down upon us (a position we are most uncomfortable with) or dethrone us from our “holier than thou” status?  Did we ever truly have a place there, anyway?   (“Certainly not!”)

When we’re “finally” on the outside looking in, and reflecting back, should not it be our mission to open the blinds and serve as a compass for those walking beside us (or the late comers who are trailing in the footsteps behind us)… ‘all points lead to Jesus’?  (“I certainly hope so!”)

And if we are truly being honest, isn’t it even hard for us [sometimes] to utter the name of “Jesus” and tell His Story, or find it convenient to omit Him in the first place… time after time? 😥

How will they know if no one sees them, listens to them, identifies with them, tells them, and then- shows them who He is? 

Who will go for them?  Who will find it in their hearts, to be so moved with compassion, that they cannot help but to share Him? 

(“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see…”)

If we are so far out ahead of people, and unrecognizable, how will they reach us?  If they look at us and find us in another class, how can we address or reach them?  If our hearts appear without crack, spot, or blemish (“perfect”)- how will they know that we too, have one- or know what broken looks like in theirs?  And if people can not relate to us, what difference does it make when we preach “Jesus” to them? 

(“I think I’m having a heart attack!”)

But if we’re honest…

 

 

 

Let’s review…

“It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-14)

By the way,
I haven’t been able to shake
or get over

my chest cold, either.
😉

 

I am reminded of Romans 6…

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

I live often with Romans 7…

The Conflict of Two Natures

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

And I am so grateful for Romans 8…

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Our Victory in Christ

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…

And I conclude with…

 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you (and me) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

And-

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful (wicked) way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139)

For all the things I’m not- there’s Jesus. For all the things I am- there’s Jesus.
For all (every day and no matter what)—There is Jesus!!!

And with Him, I need to be honest!

 

Verse of the Day (Bible Gateway)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NASB

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“That Girl”

I wrote this post for another. I don’t know who it is, but I do hope they receive what they need from it.  I sincerely don’t want to come across that I’m falling down on my sword or “Oh woe is me”.  This is truly not my intent.  “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”  (Romans 8:37)

I have lived long enough to know that all the painful things I’ve made it through in this life, the tragic experiences I’ve endured, and the sometimes hopeless circumstances that may still haunt me (and yet “I’m free” with Jesus)… are not only for me- but to share.

With God (and armed with our testimony), we are readied to “go”, lay down and out our lives for our friends (and sometimes our enemies), open the blinds, bend ears to hear, give a hand up to the lame, believe hope for the hopeless, bandage those kicked to the curb, show mercy and “His life” to those left for dead, love ‘em like Jesus, lend a hand out that points to Him, and embrace the love that heals… a broken heart.  All this, that even one, may turn around and be “that witness”, again.

“And they overcame him (the enemy) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11)

Somebody out there is still living in the world’s rags… instead of the Lord’s riches.  (And I’m not referring to money here.)  Get out of “that place”!  ‘Our Father’, definitely, and then His family… are here to help.  “God Bless YOU!”

“Oh God, I so miss those days, that church, and “that girl”!”

I miss… feeling the layers of my filth, and the circumstances of life, fall off me as I walk into His room, engage in His worship, and embrace His presence; that no matter how I start, I feel lighter, refreshed, delightfully exhausted- like “I’m born, again” -by the end; when I realize I can’t help myself– “I surrender”; to ‘know what love is’ and then love people, anyway; to feel a warmth again in my heart and in my spirit, that I just cannot explain; to embrace the moment when I began to see the beauty from the ashes, an oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise over a spirit of heaviness; and finally- return to a time when it really didn’t matter what the people looked like, what they said, or what they, too, came in with… there’s love.

And to Jesus… “please, to love You again- like “that girl”.”

Lord knows… I want to be her again.  The one who– no matter what I walk in with, as soon as I see Him, everything I was carrying, falls away; who can look into the eyes of others and see like He sees… the beauty, without the excess; and- no matter what the circumstance or location, can run straight ahead, in, or through – trusting that the Lord of my life is “right” there, and before me.  Oh, to be child-like again, and cry out without reservation or hesitation, time after time… “Oh my God, I don’t care if it kills me- I need to see You, I need to hear You, I need to feel You here with me.”

As a young child, probably around 8 years old, I would cry out each night with the same prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  Thank You Jesus for everything!  God bless Mommy and Daddy, my sisters, my grandmas and grandpas, my aunts and uncles and my cousins, and… (I probably didn’t say friends – I only had one and His name’s Jesus).  And please dear God, make Mommy stop drinking, I promise I’ll be good (better, perfect).” I don’t think I loved Him more, than I did then. (Please Lord, like that, again.)

Well, if you know me, you know where I stand with the whole good thing.  (And I don’t appear to be getting much better.  As for perfect, it’s never been my strength- no matter how much I’ve tried.)  And just for the record- Mommy didn’t stop drinking, either, until her freedom was taken away (stroke, heart attacks, etc.), that is.

Sadly, this prayer that went on night after night for year after year, having appeared to remain unanswered, served to be the catalyst for my departure. “If You’re not going to listen to me God, I’m not going to listen to You, either.” It was then, I ran away from His home.

I find it “so God” this morning as I write, that the very love, devotion, dependence, and trust I had for Him as a child,
are the very things I desire to return to “this very day”.

After decades of seemingly running around and around in the wrong circles, I’d “finally” made my journey back home (as the longest distance running prodigal I know).  As I think back on my return, so much appears to be “missing” from “that time” until now, and even with “that church”. “Man, I miss my church!”

I miss walking up to the doors of the church and feeling the crud, the sin, my depressing circumstances, and the dead skin in my life, peel off me as soon as I’ve laid my eyes on Jesus, heard His worship start, and His presence is felt. (There’s no better feeling in the World.) It didn’t matter what I came in with, I felt new again, when I left.  And while still inside, being overcome with such a great love, that I couldn’t help but touch You (and you)… and to see the beauty from the ashes, an oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise over a spirit of heaviness.  Isaiah 61 really had life in it. It didn’t matter what the people looked like, what they said, or what they, too, came in with… there was love.  And I’d so love to- find myself looking around the room again and feel the need to share it.

Oh God, I so miss those days, that church, and “that girl”!

But sadly, instead of what I long for, I have been… feeling the pinch of my oppressors, hearing the trumpets of the enemies’ advances, and seeing dark clouds from so many witnesses; And I know (He told me… Revelation 2) that I have left my first love.  (This part breaks my heart the most.)

“Oh God, how did I run so far away from Who and what I love for? May I please get back to that place?! I so want to be Your girl who can love like that… ‘again, please’!”

Isaiah 61 has been on my mind and heart often, lately. I still remember the time I visited The Seed of Abraham Messianic Jewish Congregation in the Albany area nearly five years ago… Where I danced like David danced, worshipped as “one new man”, rejoiced at the sound of His Word, and truly embraced the beauty for ashes, an oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise over a spirit of heaviness (having heard this very Scripture read over me by the Rabbi in prayer). I may have danced but my feet never hit the dance floor. And even after I had left, this feeling didn’t leave me for quite some time… Until the day I looked around, and noticed that it did.

(Ever felt like “Finally my house is clean”,
only to look around a very short time later
to find that someone else has been through it
with a tornado?)

As much as Isaiah 61 has meant to me and I have pondered it over the years, I suddenly saw it recently, as a revelation.  Before… the liberty as captives and the prison doors opened; the mention of the proclamation that Jesus is near (and “the Holy Spirit lives here”), where God will surely have the last Word; a comfort to all of His who mourn; the beauty, the joy, and the praise to our Living God; when we may be called trees of righteousness and be planted for His glory; and even before… the rebuilding, the raising up, the repairs, and restoration of the old ruins, former desolations, ruined cities, and the messes we’ve made… named the priests of the Lord, and called servants of our God… where instead of shame, there’s double honor, and in place of confusion- a rejoicing in one’s portion… when others will see and know just who “God Blesses”… as the bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and a bride adorns herself with her jewels… “So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61:11)

Before all this I noticed– Jesus heals a broken heart. (Isaiah 61:1)

If it were not for all the painful circumstances, the trials, the storms, the sheer brokenness, and the shattered dreams in my life, I never would have found Jesus standing there next to me; or have the heart (and words to say) to reach others in those places, either.

I am so thankful that the good Lord can make beauty from the ashes, an oil of joy for the mourning, a garment of praise (to Him) over a spirit of heaviness, cause all things to work together for good…  And then, show us how to do the same.  God is so good!!!

Today, I am humbly blessed… as “that girl!” “Thank You Lord!”

 

Revelation 2 (NASB)…

‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

 

Isaiah 61 (NKJV)…

The Good News of Salvation

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
And the sons of the foreigner
Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
But you shall be named the priests of the Lord,
They shall call you the servants of our God.
You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,
And in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery for burnt offering;
I will direct their work in truth,
And will make with them an everlasting covenant.
Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles,
And their offspring among the people.
All who see them shall acknowledge them,
That they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.”

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

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Well, then…

She’s a not so good Samaritan,
and she’s waiting for him to fulfill her…

@ The Well.

I think I can speak on her behalf.  In as much as there are things that have changed from the past, there are some things, that still have not.

“… be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”  (2 Peter 3:17)

In a present tense, I believe she was trying to get it all right- love, family, friends, the people and the things within her world of influence that truly matter to her.  But, something or someone always seems to stand in her way.  She just can’t seem to get there on her own, and she wonders  ‘What on Earth am I here for?’   And…

‘Who really notices or cares, if or what “I do”, anyway?  I’m just an old Samaritan woman.’

Although once and awhile, I think she could experience moments of great clarity and possible hope, to acknowledge that maybe one day, others may see her, too.

“Would they?  Could they?”  And if so, what would they see?  Would they see the big picture or only what “lies” beneath it?  Can they, people like me (a Samaritan), see me for who I really am, or rather, only those I never really had in the first place? 

And although they may never have seen more in her (before Him), she was desperately looking for more…

15 The woman *said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” 16 He *said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus *said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”  (John 4:15-18)

Was she out of her mind?  Who did she think she was, talking to Jesus?  Didn’t she know her place?  Had she no idea of the rules?  How bold of her!  And, what if– everybody else found out?

19 The woman *said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus *said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  (John 4:19-26)

How was it possible for her to speak to these things?  Any woman at that time in history, was credited with nothing apart from a man (including education), nor given anything in her own name.

So what changed?

She did, when she met Jesus.  (He’s truly the Best Man.)  A Samaritan woman (“no less”), now a woman with a great testimony and a new reputation.  There she stood- larger than her own life and passionate about proclaiming exactly Who it was that told her all that she needed to know, Who truly quenches her thirst, and how she’s to continue… in spirit and in truth.

Jesus was now- her one and only! 

She’d gone relatively unnoticed for the things that mattered most– until that day.  The day that Jesus had set aside… just for her.

28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and *said to the men, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.

((And I don’t believe she was questioning whether Jesus was the Christ, she knew.  I think she had the presence of mind [made new with Jesus] to know that the men would doubt the truth coming from her, so she phrased it in a way that the men could and would testify of this great revelation for themselves.

Again, I think I can speak on her behalf.  In as much as there are things that have changed from the past, there are some things, that still have not… especially where women [with Jesus] are concerned.))

39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”  (John 4)

I’ve been wondering more and more lately of what she did, where and how far she went, after dropping her waterpot and running to tell everyone she could- (as if to say) ‘the Lord is alive, He told me things no one else knew, He’s here now for you (and me), He is and He has… what we’ve been waiting for.’

And then there’s this, pressing me at the moment- How did she address “the one whom you now have is not your husband”?  How and where did she live?  Who could she tell?  Would they listen to her side of the story, if she did?  Would the others be able to understand, that one could be married, and yet, “not” at the same time?  Were her chains really gone and was she truly set free?

I believe they were.  On that day, this one woman (also a Samaritan – there really were none less) became a notorious evangelist.  She was a woman before her time and for such a time.  This was clearly her best role, with a set- all apart (but now with Jesus).   She led a multitude of men to discover Him (“this is not the Christ, is it?”), and as many women, as a result.  From here on out-  It was Jesus all the way.

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“Would they?  Could they?”  And if so, what would they see?  Would they see the big picture or only what “lies” beneath it?  Can they, the people all around me, see the Him in me, instead of only the he (“the one whom you now have”), that I never really had in the first place?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, God’s word in John 4 (along with so many others) is worthy of holding onto, while waiting patiently at the well -with Jesus.

“Just say the word, Lord, and I will be well, free, and telling everyone I see “I know that Messiah!” (He who is called Christ Jesus.)

“Well then!”

 

 

I may certainly be an old abandoned woman, but I at no point, “live” (and love) alone.  Now…

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Hart Impressions, meet Exodus 31.

I’ve been doing this “sort of business” for a little over a year now.  I must say, I’ve learned and experienced a lot in this short time.  I have been amazed at who and what the Lord has placed and done, right in front of me.  I’ve seen His word, His love, His healing, His provision, His grace, His miracles– I’ve seen Him, working all these things, in my 10 by 10 foot space.  And I am so humble and grateful all at the same time.  It is in seeing these beautiful people’s hearts blessed, healed, and hope-full, that He ‘just so’ blesses mine.

This is how it all started…

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  (James 1:5)

This was it!  My confirmation.  I had been praying fervently for a long time for direction, but never more so, then that night.  I was at the end of me as I laid in bed very late that evening, praying desperately for my next move.  I could not wrap my head around how something as inessential as jewelry could possibly work within the Lord’s plan.  I needed Him to tell me, without any doubt, which way I should go… abandon the jewelry or take the leap with Him.  I gave it all up that night… everything – including the hope of ministry.  (I never asked or wanted a jewelry business in the first place).   I fell asleep desperate for discernment, clarity, direction, Him!!!

I still remember the next morning like it was yesterday.  Before I was even fully awake, I saw an owl in front of me cast in silver or bronze and immediately I thought “wisdom” and “If anyone lacks wisdom, pray to the Lord and it will be given to you.”

My eyes were now wide open and I was definitely awake.  It had been awhile since I’d had one of ‘those kind’ of dreams.  One where I jump out of bed, like I’m on a mission. But there was no mistaken it, on that day.

I grabbed my children’s iPad that was near me and as quickly as I could, proceeded to Bible Gateway’s “search” in order to read the Scripture in its entirety.  (I always like to take my verse or devotional Scripture of the day and read the full passage.)  I had text the key word “wisdom” into the search box and lo and behold, the Scripture I was looking for was top on the list. :)

I was so excited that the Lord was out in front of me- guiding and leading me.  (I love it when He does this and I’m so grateful that He does.) 

As I proceeded to press James 1:5 (or at least I thought I had), what I got… was Exodus 31.  “Wait. What?”  Exodus 31 was nearly halfway down the page, with a couple of other Scriptures in between.  I thought- “How did that happen?  I didn’t do that!”  ~~  “I’m here for some reason.  I guess I better find out why.”

 

Exodus 31

The Skilled Craftsmen

31 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, 10 the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; 11 the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.”

The Sign of the Sabbath

12 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. 16 So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17 It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”

18 When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

 

“Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!”  “I love You! I Love You! I love You!”  “You’re the best!!!” – just doesn’t seem to be enough or begin to cover it.  I cannot describe how blessed I felt at that moment.  It also didn’t matter at the time, just how “we” were going to pull this off- but God did, and that’s all that mattered to me.  I just needed to take the leap.

In my excitement, I couldn’t help but to share this with the first person I ran into.  And in the same way, when showing exactly how I got to Exodus 31, I ended up again, down the page.  This time, at Exodus 35.  “WOW! – God delivers!!!”

Exodus 35

The Sabbath Emphasized

35 Then Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and said to them, “These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do:

“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.”

Moses spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze, and blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and porpoise skins, and acacia wood, and oil for lighting, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece.

Tabernacle Workmen

10 ‘Let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle, its tent and its covering, its hooks and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark and its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain of the screen; 13 the table and its poles, and all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand also for the light and its utensils and its lamps and the oil for the light; 15 and the altar of incense and its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the doorway at the entrance of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin and its stand; 17 the hangings of the court, its pillars and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court and their cords; 19 the woven garments for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”

Gifts Received

20 Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses’ presence. 21 Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. 22 Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the Lord. 23 Every man, who had in his possession blue and purple and scarlet material and fine linen and goats’ hair and rams’ skins dyed red and porpoise skins, brought them. 24 Everyone who could make a contribution of silver and bronze brought the Lord’s contribution; and every man who had in his possession acacia wood for any work of the service brought it. 25 All the skilled women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue and purple and scarlet material and in fine linen. 26 All the women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair. 27 The rulers brought the onyx stones and the stones for setting for the ephod and for the breastpiece; 28 and the spice and the oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the Lord had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the Lord.

30 Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship; 32 to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, 33 and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. 34 He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.

(I could never have imagined, that the answer I’d been seeking would reside in Exodus… until it was.)

Today, I can honestly say that I am still not a jewelry business, and more so “not”, every day.  The more I head in His direction, the better my Hart Impressions are.  My passion is to be in the business of sharing God’s Word and heart to the people He puts in front of me.  Hart Impressions (or “HI” for short) jewelry was, and still is, merely a door ringer (and the door is opened for me).  The jewelry designs are either first inspired by the Holy Scriptures then created or I start them and He finishes.   (It’s almost like they design themselves right into His Word.)  Scripture is always highlighted- from the table and booth displays, business cards, to the jewelry itself.  God’s word is pivotal, and in direct relation, to the success of Hart Impressions.  (And when I say success, I’m not referring to financial profit, although He most certainly can do that if it’s part of the plan.)  I trust Him with all of my heart (and all that goes with it) and have faith in Him- for it all.

I so love Jesus!  And I am completely indebted to Him, incredibly grateful, and amazingly overjoyed… in the way He loves me back.  “Lord, You rock!!!”

Introducing Hart Impressions…

February 2016

Hart Impressions... Banner display
(And it is not by coincidence, that the design and decor of Hart Impressions
is themed in Damask.) 😎

“for God sees not as man sees: for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord beholds the heart.”

[1 Samuel 16:7]

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This post was written late Saturday night, but delivered for today…

You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you.
Exodus 31:14

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.”
Exodus 20:8-10

“God Bless you!!!”

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