Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Choosing Joy

I'm not one to make big, lofty, new years resolutions and goals, only to be slammed back on my behind two weeks in, with the realization, that, 14 blessed days have passed already, and I not only haven't begun a single one of them, but they weren't even on my radar after 10 minutes of solemnly making them. there has been this intense burning question and tug of war going on in my mind the last while that has been creating conversations and arguments between my head and my heart and its legit and real and rather frustrating and anxiety making all at once sometimes. And sometimes, a lot of times I'm ok, and life is normal and mundane and I go about doing my regular every day tasks and responsibilities and taking care of my family and existing. but....then..... there's those moments, hours, days, when the burning question rolls around and around in my head, boiling and bubbling and steaming over to sizzle unanswered at the surface of everything I'm doing, marinating at the back of mind during every conversation and task I find myself moving through. most days I take it and give it more time than it deserves and chew and mull over it, then another duty calls and it's left unattended yet always near by, just hanging, floating in the abyss of my domestic world, and then I crawl into bed at night and before I can blink it's right there, snuggling up beside me trying to curl into my pillow with me, trying to snatch all the prized sleep moments for itself.................

WHAT IS MY PURPOSE HERE? WHAT IS MY PLATFORM TO SHINE JESUS? WHERE DO I BELONG, REALLY? HOW DO I KNOW IF IM WHERE I BELONG OR WHAT IM SUPPOSED TO BE DOING??

I know, I know, your thinking, hello, you have a hubby and kids to see after, so what's to decide, your place is to care for and nurture and serve them, right now your place is in the home and filling your domestic duties. and maybe, that would be right, for some it is, but, some days I just wonder if I'm really using all that God wants of me to my fullest, where He would desire, if there's not more............
one thought that has been coming back front and center in my thoughts so strong and so frequently that I know I need to embrace and engage in, not as a new year resolution, but as a conviction and lifestyle, and I feel I fail miserably at, especially with my family is, TO CHOOSE JOY ALWAYS, EVEN IF, IN SPITE OF,.......... to choose joy, even if it's hard, it hurts, or doesn't feel one bit joyful. to choose joy in spite of not feeling a part of, feeling like I'm on the outside, to choose joy even if I don't understand everything, if I'm asked to be in the background always, to choose joy when I don't always agree with my hubby, my friends, my circumstances. to choose joy even if my life never moves further than these four walls and my family, to choose joy even if it means always being the encourager and cheerleader for everyone else's success and needy moments........because in the end maybe my platform given to me by God is a million little places here and there and not a big stepping out into one single mission or calling, and choosing joy and giving my best of Him in each of those area whether a big, brief moment where we clearly feel Him using us or a single tiny moment we may or may not know here on earth was our chosen place by him for that moment. To choose joy even when we've gone through hard life stuff, and grief and heartache and pain and maybe even for years or never know the why of those situations or the purpose.
I have a dear heart sister, Susan, a bestie, in my life that is absolutely precious to me. we have been through some horrific, life altering situations together, but we have been there to encourage each other and listen to and we always know we have each others and our families backs for each other. we have laughed till we exhausted ourselves and cried enough tears together to rival a rainforest, but we have both watched and aided each other in our faith growing and that to me is priceless. and while at her dear, dear daughter Sara's wedding recently several strangers came up to me and asked if I was the sitter of the bride as a little girl and I said yes, that her and her family is very precious to me. this was so humbling and very startling to me, but each of those people told me that they wanted me to know first that they thought my family was absolutely beautiful and then they said, we had a peace and had a glow around us that they never saw before and it was stunning, they said you shone joy and happiness and peace and whatever it was that we were doing to keep it up cause it's working and the world needs more of it........to be honest it gave me goosebumpies, cause we are so very far from the perfect family, but maybe this is where Jesus says, shine me, show, me, live your life quietly where I call you, no big spot light platform, no foreign mission field, just you, living and shining me in the area I provide at each moment. the whole concept of these people seeing a peace and glow smacked me hard with the truth I've always known but don't always take in to consideration, that, not only may we be the only Bible some people will ever read, or the first encounter with Jesus some will have but also the importance of shining out God's joy and love and bearing the countenance of a true child of God. it also was enlightening to me and proved a lie from the devil that as a child of God there will be days when we scramble to find our joy and the day feels long and impossible, but that doesn't make us a failure or less of His child and it doesn't eradicate the joy He has given us, we may feel like our glow is barely visible, but because we are His and He has our heart even on the dark, hard days others can still see His joy in us as with His help we keep moving forward.
the day after Christmas I went with two of my dear friends, Paula and Sherry to visit Jess who was dying of a cancerous brain tumor. Paula knew the family for years, Sherry recently met the family and they became very dear to her as she knows what it's like to have a daughter in the same or very similar situation and I had only met Jess once before but had been in contact with her via email 8 years ago and with her sister Jenny in the last month, but could also relate to being the mama sitting by the bedside of your dying child, so I wanted to go to show my love and support and to let them know that as heartbreaking as this is I understand and they are not alone in this, I however was not prepared for the out of body experience of standing there watching Jess' parents, mostly her mama, setting there holding her hand, taking care of her so lovingly, with a smile at times through tears, trying to be ok, yet, clearly dying inside herself. I saw myself where Jess' mom, Doris, was. I felt myself begin to lose it, but managed to get it under control, but inside I kept screaming, no God, please not another mama having to go through this!!! and then I was like why, why did I come, I have nothing to say or even to offer, I felt so broken and wanted to just curl in a dark corner and weep for what I once had, but no longer did, for the pain of all I'd lost and all that changed since, I wanted to weep for all I knew they had already faced and still would.....I felt like I was blindsided by it all and sat in silence most of the time there, knowing if I tried to say anything I'd just sob, and having nothing at all to really say, I just felt like a limp awkward rag, then I heard a tiny whisper, this is exactly where I need you, I know it's hard, but I got you and silence is ok, but I need you here, just being, cause my people need the encouragement and strength, the distraction and the love and comfort of those that have been there. that whisper took away the pressure of needing to perform or fill in the sad with chatter. and I wonder, can I choose joy in spite of the heartache of giving back a child, can I choose joy and say maybe that experience was to give me the opportunity to sit by someone else going through what I did and my purpose is for such a time as this even if it's only that one time.
last week was 17 years ago that Maryann, one of my dearest friends ever called so excited to tell me she just gave birth to her first born, a precious little boy, Arlin!! I was over the moon excited for her, this was her first and 2 weeks later I was due with my second and we were gonna hang out some day soon and share babies and compare notes and revel in the togetherness and the joy of squishy tiny new life!! that joy and celebration was cut short when a few brief hours later I received the call that for unknown reasons her precious new firstborn was suddenly and unexpectedly ushered into heaven while his dear mama was in surgery for hemorrhaging. but.....why???? and how does one go on, let alone find joy in that?? one of the most difficult and heartbreaking things to do was attend a funeral of your besties infant when you are massively pregnant and only 10 days away from having your second baby, to stand there and watch her fall apart with empty arms and all you feel is misplaced guilt that here that here you stand carrying new life and it feels like a mockery to her that now has nothing. 10 days later Devin arrived, it was hard to make that call to inform Maryann he'd arrived and all was well, and to say that he arrived horribly purple/black because the cord was around his neck 3 times and yet he survived, and her Arlin arrived in perfect health and yet passed on........how does one dig out of the sad and depression and choose joy in spite of, even if.....when you can barely lift one foot in front of another, when it takes all strength to even think about climbing out of bed and facing a new day???? Devin became special to her, cause although our times together weren't constant because of distance, he was a reference of what stage and size and accomplishment her angel would have been had he lived. neither of us would have ever dreamt that she would have brief hours with her son and I would have brief years with mine, and we've since talked many times which way we would choose had we been given that, is it easier to let go after brief hours or after you have 5 years of memories and watching them suffer, I don't know that it's a conclusion we've ever reached except that we're glad it's not our call and no matter how you look at it letting a child go is earthshattering and your heart is never completely whole again and the little black cloud of sad and tears is always hanging at the edges of everything! we both would agree that it has made us even more heart friends then we were before and that your level of compassion for others and sympathy for those going through tough heart stuff is over flowing and that making the choice to be joyful, genuinely joyful, not just paste a smile over sad eyes and numb face, is a conscious every day choosing and being. we both hear each other and understand the dark days that hit, and the heavy, cant seem to tunnel into the light of day moments that this time of year brings. and this time of year those dark days for us tend to overlap, the anniversary of her Arlin's birth/death day and my Devin's birthday, and sometimes for me the choosing joy in this moment is a feeble yay, thank you Jesus for a pal that truly gets an angel mamas position in life. when you grow a life inside your own body right by ones own heart that life becomes a vital part of your own self and who you are and when that beautiful life gets silenced that tearing away from out of ones body creates heart cracks and shattered pieces and scars to infinity and beyond and no matter the length of life of the mama left behind that ache never goes away. and there have been those that say so casually, yes, but it's been 17 or 11 years, surely your over it by now, surely the grieving is past........this is probably one of the biggest areas I've had to consciously choose joy in, joy that those saying that have never had to know what it's like to be in these loss of my child shoes, joy that they want to fix the sad but thankfully for them just don't get it, joy that I had 5 years when I could have had no years no memories, joy that because I have been there I know now not to go there to someone else going through hard heart losses, joy that I have come to a place over the years where it doesn't anger me anymore at those people with careless remarks but can instead say thank you Jesus that you have spared them from having to know this intense pain!!
a week or so ago my dear friend Paula and I went out for a much needed day together and while eating lunch I got a glimpse of a tiny old lady far out in the parking lot slowly making her way in our direction with her walker. it was a bitter cold and snow flurring day but she kept pressing on through the cars zipping by backing in and out. it went through my mind that I hoped she was ok and that someone of her own wasn't to far away and she'd be ok, but then I went back to eating and conversation and the next time I looked up I didn't see her and thought no more about it, until we went to leave and walked outside to find this dear little lady seated in a cold plastic chair with her walker in front of her and a giant smile on her face and to each person that came and went she would hand them a card with say an encouraging bless you or give a smile today. we got to the car and we both opened our cards and out fell beautiful little magazine pictures cut out and interesting little newspaper clippings, but what grabbed me was the handwritten note inside each one encouraging us to be forgiving and to choose joy and be a friend and give a smile and that we are important and God cares for and loves us. I thought I want to be like that little old angel of a lady when I grow up, I want to embrace my walker and orthopedic sneakys and cataracts and in spite of many muddied waters in my life I want to shuffle ahead and choose joy and I want to still choose to smile and share that with whoever crosses my path in whatever kind of weather!!! I'm sure at her age and not being able o bounce very high anymore she could have easily and maybe even for good reason decided to wallow and pity and bemoan her circumstances and yet she chose to brave the freeze and flurry and smile to strangers and brighten a day in spite of!  
Joy I feel like I fail at it more than not, and the moment I think, ok, I believe I'm finally getting it, you can rest assured I'm gonna bite the dust!! I mean do I really have to find joy in the moment when your besties gonna spend you birthday with you but then you cant cause your cars dead?? or that the one person that calls you every year and says happy birthday just doesn't this year?? or if the one you want to celebrate the most with just ...doesn't?? I know, I'm 43 and should be past birthday celebrations and expectations but, hey, God don't make no junk and he created me and allowed my existence so surely feeding me and telling me I'm beautiful one day outta the year isn't to much to ask is it??  or can I find joy in the fact that my hubby can actually do physical work, and chooses to work yet another Saturday, when 18 years ago after his bike accident the drs said be prepared for paralyzed for life..... or can I choose to find joy in the fact that my son has a job and a darling girlfriend inspite of it all taking him 1000's of miles away.....or that one of my bestest ever heart friends is moving across country.....or that maybe my purpose and value is found I taking care of my little family and cheering on my tribal peeps In what looks like big life moments and valuable callings and positions and jobs with meaning and worth....can I choose joy when my platform in life might not look like much of a platform compared to those next to me???? can I choose joy when I feel like I'm the only one giving and pouring out and building up and giving and giving and giving, or when the relationship are hard and messy and complicated ........or in the never ending laundry and cooking and wiping noses and little behinds and having little precious time for me and my interests and time.......or can I find joy in the busy and bustle around me and the traffic and........can I choose joy in spite of all and any and even if and shine Jesus wherever I go to whomever is next to me at whatever moment......
I don't do new years resolutions.......however, Joy.....the word that I cant get away from, that keeps popping up in devotionals and floating in front of my vision.....JOY, I want that.....I want....To Let The Beauty Of Jesus Be Seen In Me....the song that keeps hanging out under my floating word....

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Request For Ladies Day Opening Notes




This was my opening notes for the Ladies Retreat Day Hosting Sherry Gore. Because of my sister's brain aneurism trauma 3 days before and me not being sure I would be there or emotionally be able to do my job, my friend Beth did the opening honors and used my notes, not positive if she used all or parts of them, but here they are for the number of you that asked to have a copy of them, not sure anymore who wanted, so figured this the simplest way. thank you each one for being a part of my life, blessings on your day!!     

 

Good morning!! my name is Janette Diem and i welcome you to my little corner of God's

beautiful earth. I'm married to a carpenter named Glen, we live around the block from

here maybe 2 miles or so. we have been blessed with 5 precious kiddos, Brandon 19 who is

currently in Montana for a few months working in a butcher shop, Emily almost 15 and my

right hand gal, and Ava almost 5 who bounced into our lives 10 years behind and has been

running to catch up with the rest ever since, bringing with her sunshine and

roses even on the dreariest of days. we have an infant angel babe and an angel son Devin

who is forever 5 and passed due to cancer. i love planning events and parties and get

togethers, i love people, and being with people, escpecially my people, my tribe, i however,

never considered my self a public speaker but it comes with the event territory, God and my

tribe know i can chatter with the chattiest of peeps but somehow publicly when i open my

mouth it also turns on the faucet to my eyes and nothing comes out sounding like i heard it in

my head, i write better and more comfortably than speaking, so i'm gonna put a disclaimer

right here to please bear with my nervous sprinkler system and trembly lips.

I am always amazed at how God speaks to me, and lets me know He's right there, after

messaging a few of my tribe to please pray for me that i would be calm and unweepy it was

like God chuckled and elbowed me as i pulled into the local bent and dent and the Word FM

DJ women on the radio says, are you one those people that gets teary quickly over random

things or nerves and gets frustrated by it? well, take heart, recent studies have shown if your

a weepy individual you are healthier than most cause tears release toxins and flush out

unwanted germs and give clearer vision and shows you have a big heart and a warm caring

soul that lives life..... i just sat there a bit chuckling to myself, and thot, well, there is that!

it was alot of fun planning this event today, a bit harrowing at times as more

details would pop up that needed to be worked out, but i hope i got all my bases covered and

if not, well i trust you could extend a bit of grace and overlook it, im sure we'll still be able to

have a good time in spite anything that hasn't reached perfection. i want to thank my people,

if you dont know me that good, well, you will soon learn i have people, or as i like to refer to

them more often, my tribe!! Sherry and I were giggling over this cause we both are tribal

beings and have referred to that frequently over the last few days leading up to today. My

tribe, these dear girls are a mixture of souls from all over this crazy world, from near and far,

from teenage years to present day, that God has sprinkled into my life through out the years

and its many different seasons, these are those heart soul girls, those that have stuck with

you through the good the bad the ugly, those you share hearts, connect with and say, you get

me, you were given to me by God for such a time as this and to do life with, now your forever

more a part of my tribe. so, to Andrea, Miriam, Beth, Laura, Miranda, Paula, Anna, Shelley,

Maryann, Sara, my sister in law Rosene and my sister Angie, thankyou from the bottom of my

heart for being my sounding board, idea bouncer offers, runner byers, detail workers,

advertisers, dishwashers, bakers, mixers, freezers, storers, setter uppers, babysitter

encouragers, and prayer warriors, for bringing me coffee and chocolate !! none of this

would have come together smoothly without each of you! and Miriam, thankyou for being

married, and roping your man into kitchen duty, you have trained him well, and for having 2

dear girls to be waitresses along with my Emily who always has my back with stuff around the

house and helping out with laundry and her little sister!!

it really is good to see so many ladies here this morning! i thank each of you that has chosen

to come out to make this day possible. i know many of you are mamas and have hubbies and

families that require your attention, so to do a day away also requires an effort and some

sacrifice, and i thankyou for choosing to make that effort and sacrifice, and i pray you each

will be able to relax and soak up the prescense of each other and God and by hearing Sherry

and what He has given her to share with us, you each will leave here this afternoon refreshed

and renewed in spirit, body, and soul. the bible says where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name,

there am i in the midst of them, and i truly believe and feel God here with us today. I am

beyond excited to introduce to you one of my tribe, my dear friend, Sherry Gore.

Sherry is from Sarasota Florida, the sunshine state, i firmly believe Florida came by that

name because of radiant ladies like Sherry that spread a happy glow wherever they go!!

Sherry was first introduced to me online by my friend Beth. She said Janette you need to

follow this lady, she's a pie baker like you and an author like you have pipe dreams of being

and she has a cancer child, i think you 2 would hit it off, so i started following her and i

dreamed of meeting her one day. i wished often that we lived closer when she was on the

cancer journey so i could stop in and hug her or sit with her, there's just something about

some one being there that gets it, that has worn that particular pair of crocs! but we didn't

actually meet in person until the fall of 2015 when my friend Sara and i traveled to NC to

the embracing womanhood conference. there our hearts connected and our friendship

cemented, one of the special memories i have of that time there was being given a moment

in the prayer room with just Cindy Mullet, Sherry and i as we shared memories and pictures

of our cancer kiddos, it was a precious moment, 3 mamas connected at the heart where

only those in this certain type of club can be, it was like wow, we get each other, we have all

worn that particularly nasty pair of crocs. and survived. sherry didn't become a full blooded

tribal member until the following spring at a retreat in Montana where a couple of us ladies

went to this darling little western town for lunch and as my friend Judith was making an

attempt to ask her something she put her fork in the air over her pie and said, ladies, excuse

me a bit, i'm in a relationship, me and my pie are having a moment, and she closed her eyes

and purred over that mouthful of berry filled pastry!! i knew then she had just mastered the

initiation into my tribe, she understood food and the pure comfort, goodness and love of all

things delectable and palette pleasing!!

Ladies, we all have a window in our hearts through which we can see God. Once upon a time

a time when our relationship with Him was new, our window was brilliantly clear, our view of

Him crisp, fresh and transparent. but then as life goes so many times, along came a pebble of

pain, bouncing up out of no where and hits that window causing a crack and our view of him

becomes a bit marred, and after awhile wings of hurt and betrayal fly our way and splatters

our window and our view of God becomes more blurred, then a bit later a grimy hand full of

grief and fear deals a devastating blow to our already cracked and dirty window leaving with

it a massive smudge and we're left standing there desperatley tring to peer thru and we can't

and God seems so far away and all but blotted out, and we search for just a tiny spot of clean

clear glass to catch a glimpse of him, to assure us God is still there, but we still can't, and then

we begin to panic and cry out wondering where He went and how we're gonna go on thru life

if we can't see him clearly anymore. when i heard Sherry for the first time, it was over a time

in my life when i was battling hard to once again gain a clear view of God, i knew he was out

there, but my window to him felt blacked out, and i wondered if he gave up on me and

moved on, but after hearing her brokenness and her share her life in the real, hope and

peace began to shine through the cracks and the smudges, life is hard, it's a choice each day

to keep polishing our window and bettering our view of him, i've found it feels more doable

if i keep in mind that life is not about me, and that God has a specific purpose for each

broken, smudged piece of our life and that through our brokenness God can reflect himself.

and to remind myself of His never failing promise that no matter how far away he seems or

how desperatly i try and see him and feel blinded He is always, always right there next to

me!! one of my favorite thoughts i've ever come across is, when it feels like your alone and

your prayers are hitting the ceiling, it's ok, rest, cause God's right there in the room with you!

sometimes in life, if we were one of the ones blessed to have been raised in a christian

church and grown up being taught the bible and all it's wonderful stories we can tend to

become immune or numb to them, it's kinda like i've heard this a thousand times and our

mind wanders and we tend to tune it out, it's not fresh and new anymore. im a firm believer

that God brings those dear souls like Sherry into our lives to give us a fresh perspective of

him, souls like Sherry become our modern day bible stories an extension of God's word for

our day, for this particular moment or as in the book of Esther the queen, for such a time as

this. so i pray as we listen to what God has given Sherry for us today that we would hear what

he has given her for us in this moment, no back ground noise or rush of life, but only his

voice and that we would see Him clearly, no smudges or cracks or dirt, just a crystal clear view

of who he is and who she is through him.


 

 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

He's In The Everyday

i love to write!! I need to write!! but, the last while I. just. cant. even. I have a headful of stuff needing to come out and a heart full of more stuff needing to come out and its just all in there colliding with each other in one big murky swirling mess. life has felt very huge and overwhelming and there's so much frustration and hurt and feelings of existing and going through the motions and in the middle of that there's all this amazing love and friendships and golden moments of beauty and preciousness and God and yet at the same time God has felt immensely silent and far away and unreachable far to often and relationships hurt and betray and are silent and judgy and life questions loom large and unanswered and understanding of it all seems vague and out of reach and the need to get it all out in writing it is larger than before and at the same second the lies of you have nothing to say and your a hypocrite and people will just judge you if your real and honest and assume and whisper and you fail as a friend and as a mama and as a wife, and and, and.............last week we went to the Outer Banks (one of my most favoritest places on planet earth) with the family, we hadn't been there since 2007 the week of the first anniversary of Devin's death, it felt like coming home!! as we got closer and the salty sea air began to greet us it was like being swaddled by your favorite blankie and as we crossed the Oregon inlet it felt like your favoritest person pulled you blankie and all into the comfort of his warm embrace and reached passed you and shut the door on the rest of the crazy, ever moving, beautiful chaotic world and handed you a free from anything but rest and reboot pass for a whole week!! I entered my bedroom with it's own screened in deck space complete with little metal bistro table and chairs and 2 Adirondack chairs and I peeled back the curtains and opened my patio door and let the salt air and sea sounds wash over me with smell of sand dunes and sea oats and sounds of shore birds and I shut my eyes, breathed deep and smiled and didn't shut the patio door until I packed up to leave. I took my journal and my electronic tablet along with this crazy thought that early in the morning or maybe late at night or somewhere in the in between hours I'd sequester myself away with that favorite blankie and a mug or glass of something amazing by my side on my own little patio facing the ocean and I'd write myself empty, I'd vomit all swirling heart and mind content and dialogue and mentally decompress all while listening to the oceans crash and roar and the sea birds or the night sounds all around, but..... I DIDNT OPEN MY JOURNAL AND PICK UP MY PEN ONCE OR TURN ON MY TABLET TO DOCUMENT.....instead, I walked the beach for miles in the A.M. reveling in the peace and silence, (I know, how can there be peace and silence by the sea, trust me, it was more of a head thing,) I'd pick up shells watch the sea birds scavenge for breakfast and the sun come up, I'd hold long chopped up conversations with God, mixed in with a lot of arguing an ranting and tears and questions. in the evening sometimes id walk a few beach miles again to watch the sun set over the sound then at night we'd take the kiddos an flashlights and hit the beaches again and chase ghost crabs and spy on the deer in the dunes. and in the in between hours id curl up on my bed facing the waves and sleep to the rhythmic roaring of the rising and falling of those powerful waves. and so the whole week went by and not a word came out in writing......I came home a little frustrated and a bit irritated, cause in my dialoging with God airing my frustrations with life I mentioned how life seems at times like one massive speed bump that never quite ends and I was feeling a bit like please throw out a life line already, it's time for a lung full of fresh air, like seriously, and then I was like am I missing something?? do I not know how to listen to you or communicate with you, like what am I not getting?? then I was like, I know, I love the amazingness of your creation and nature so if like you could put something awesome in my path ill know your telling me that ill be ok, that life and relationships and frustrations are gonna be ok that we'll survive this. I thought how about like a starfish or a sand dollar or ....... I came home with a piece of a broken sand dollar and pictures of the starfish my nephew found and I felt jipped and a bit let down and a whole lot like seriously I'm not sure you even care that I'm feeling overwhelmed and jelly legged at life. and.....then.....after the car was unloaded and I sat down on the patio to catch my breath and relax a bit by the fire I saw it, my angel trumpet bush was exploding with blooms, it was magnificent!! all summer it gave a random blossom sporadically but had been a huge disappointment and now it was glorious and hanging full and I immediately thought of my request to God in showing me something of his creation to let me know there is hope and that life might be hard and frustrating but it would be ok and ill survive especially with Him guiding and listening, even it at times it is one of His frustrated girls ranting and brewing and bellyaching, I knew without a doubt He gets that too, but it also was very clear to me again that His view of my life story looks a heap sight different than mine, His look at me and my life doesn't look anything like I think it should and what I demand or think is best for me or what I want isn't always how He sees my life for me or how He plans to orchestrate it for me, and His ways of speaking to me, giving me answers or showing me Himself usually is far from how I want Him to or order Him to, and what He asks me to do is walk this life resting and trusting in His sailing this ship and to rely fully on Him and Him alone for my happiness and contentment, not in friendships or marriage or works or commitments to others and churches and dreams, but in Him alone then we won't need to have expectations or lofty goals that get shattered and hurt and betrayed. I don't always know how to do it, or take His ways of providing the means to do it, but I know that verse, BE STILL, AND KNOW, is in there for a reason, maybe, especially for me, so I take the time to quit my frantic search of Him in some spectacular show, and quietly find Him in the quiet of the here and now, in the everyday, mundane at times, life and space He has called me to in this moment! Maybe it's finding Him in the coming home, the familiar, the laying down and living fully in Him, even in the swirling murky distorted life view.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Needed...Paper Towels...Just Roll With It!!

Ma'am, ma'am, I turned from perusing the dairy case in our local Aldis to realize I was the sole occupant in that particular isle save for the slightly unkempt older gentleman piloting an electric grocery cart and it dawned on me that the gravelly voice came from him and the Ma'am was indeed directed to me. Ye-eeess?? I answered cautiously, slightly irritated that I was being interrupted and held up from my frantic, rush in and grab a few things, and scurry home to do absolutely not more than necessary, all day agenda with the bestie. almost simultaneously, as the irritation hit, the voices in my head and heart joined forces and gave me what for!!! I smiled and said, ummm, yes sir, is there something you needed??? His reply wasn't at all what I was expecting. Ma'am, could you buy me a couple rolls of paper towels? I only have food stamps and I can't get paper towels with food stamps and I'm all out and could really use some. Sure, I replied, I'm about to check out, but if you get what you need I'll take care of it. thank you , thank you so much, I got a couple other things to get yet than I'll be done too and with that he cruised off in his motor cart and I headed towards the cashier thinking, seriously, paper towels? I mean, you could just use towels, but then that would require detergent and appliances and well frankly from the appearance of the gentleman I highly doubted either was in his possession often. I went to the checkout and as the clerk, to whom I'd given a heads up that I was waiting on some paper towels from a gentleman, was finishing ringing up my last items he zoomed up beside me with 3 rolls of paper towels proclaiming, this is all, I got the rest!! ok, I said, as I handed him his bag, here ya go, you have a good day! He looked at me as he took the bags, thank you, thank you ma'am, I really appreciate this. sure!! I said, you have a good day, yet again, to which he replied, you too, as we both went our separate ways. as I loaded up my purchases into my vehicle I had to admire the fact that he didn't take advantage of my willingness to help him, he only had me get the paper towels, he didn't show up in line with paper towels plus a few other things that he suddenly needed, he didn't ask for cash and wonder off using it on something totally unnecessary, I really think he was a genuinely honest soul humbly asking for a helping hand. I wondered what his story was, what hard messy stuff he had to face in his life, what he had to endure, what choices he'd had to make wise or unwise in his life that got him here, how long it took to lay down his manly pride ask for help, how often he was tossed aside, rejected and judged for his situation, for even having to ask, then I felt sad and a bit teary and ashamed to think how briefly I almost chose to be one of those to stick my nose high and turn my back. I felt humbled to think of the many times I've felt like I'm not doing enough of service for my Jesus, thinking surely just housewife and mama ain't enough, and how it seems like almost no ministry at all, and then when reaching out and being hands and feet of Jesus presented itself in my own back yard and I almost trampled it into the mud and flounced on my way, instead of grabbing the opportunity with enthusiasm and brilliantly shining Jesus when I could. 
wasn't long ago we had a Sunday school lesson having to do with angels. after my little meeting with the paper towel man I thought of the verse that speaks of entertaining angels unaware and I wondered how many times an angel has been put in my path and because of my frantic life pace, and tunnel vision or distracted scurrying I've overlooked them and missed out on glorifying my Father and receiving a blessing. I've tried over the last few years to consciously be about my public errands with a genuine smile and joyful greetings to those I pass or encounter and to make positive conversation and often pray about being the light of Jesus before I start out, there are so many out there with such pain and sullenness and hopeless countenance, it's always a blessing to just see a face light up with joy in that someone acknowledged their existence, even if a stranger.
on my way home I couldn't get paper towel guy off my mind and the voices in my heart and head had a chat with Jesus. I apologized for the initial frustrated and begrudging attitude I portrayed in helping one of His sons, then I thanked Him for giving me an answered prayer to being a light of His while I was out and about, for blessing me with means to be able to help out and give to another less fortunate, even if just paper towels!! I need to snatch these opportunities more and just "roll" with it!! :) I then thanked Him for His mercy and grace, and thought how a few short 19 years ago when Glen broke his back and I was told the likelihood of him ever walking again or even having movement from waist down again was slim to none, then with surgery and pins and bone grafting he walked, very stiffly and slowly, but......he walked out of that hospital 5 days later........when I saw paper towel guy....I saw what could have been my husband, what could have been my life, what if I was assigned a handicapped husband, what if I would have been assigned bread/paper towel winner and paraplegic caregiver, what if that chapter of our story wrote different, I/we could have been the ones humbly asking for another stranger soul to purchase our goods........
I'm more convinced then ever, that we all need someone!! everyone in this worn, negative, weary world we dwell in, no matter our status in society, wealth, business etc., we all need each other, whether it's to be a listening ear, a hand holder, an encourager, a top shelf reacher, a nose wiper,  or a paper towel purchaser, we are all needy and needed!! Jesus please help us to hear your voice in our head and hearts the loudest, to tune into voice uninterrupted, to hear you well, and to grab willingly every moment with every child of yours you put into our path, to shine you brightest to the darkest places, to illuminate new paths for weary feet, to be your guiding light in each adventure!!      

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TALK TO THE HAND

                                          
Right now in China, volunteering at an orphanage, are 2 of my bfs, this post was what I shared a week ago at a supper and prayer time with them and for their team, it keeps coming back to me as I think about them and all the experiences they are having and do the work they felt led to do there.
 
As I was trying to decide about whether to initiate a prayer evening, and then as plans came together to move forward with one I kept seeing hands, and as I thought about the team leaving my mind kept coming back to this word, hands, so I sat down and let my pen do the talking a few times and I’d like to share with you, a few things that God put on my heart for you guys, some verses and references, some thoughts and a poem.


Everyone of us, unless we've been through an accident or tragedy of some kind and has had a few of our digits unwillingly removed, or God designed us at birth without any, have fingers at the ends of our hands, and every soul has a print on each of these amazingly powerful and useful digits uniquely his own, no ones print is the twin to an-others!! think about the amount of souls in this world and each having 10 unique prints of their own and try to add up all that, I'm pretty sure that would equal a sum of digits, that, few, if any soul, could read!! (pun intended) everyone of us has the Fingerprint of God on our lives, on the very creation of us as a human being and as His daughters, and each of us are our own unique individual, no 2 alike, therefore we won't all be called by God to travel the same path, do the same work, reach the same people, go through the same battles, struggles, triumphs and joys. Because he has made us each uniquely our own persons each one of us leaves our own fingerprints on many and various people, places and things every single day!! as I was thinking of the China team I thought about all the things you were doing with your hands to just get ready to go, typing out info, signing papers and documents, making phone calls, sending emails, making food for those staying behind, folding clothes to travel, picking up and folding little garments to take to the little orphan kids along with toys and treats, collecting your travel funds, and the list goes on and on, and in all of this you each left your fingerprints on it all. Our fingerprints, like our lives could tell a story, how will ours read, one thing I know every chapter of every soul will be a different adventure. Just like our fingerprints, our story is our own, we won't all get to go and do the same work, same mission, we can't all be the hands and feet of Jesus to the same people group, at the same time, but we can all be His hands and feet where we are at all times. as the China team gears up to leave and embarks on this journey of actively being Jesus hands and feet for 10 days to these precious babies and those living and working and caring for them daily, those of us sending them off, staying behind can step up and be his hands and feet where we are by supporting, encouraging and lifting them daily to our Father in prayer. We may not be able to physically be there to love and hold and rock and cuddle these babies, but because of our love for God and for each of this team we can still have an impact on each of these tiny lives as we carry the team in their work. Each one of this team will leave a trail of fingerprints from here and all along the thousands of miles to their destination in a faraway China orphanage where they will then leave their fingerprints on every one of those precious little’s, and because this team is a part of the tapestry of each of our lives and our fingerprints are on them we can feel a part of this great mission as well. Sometimes the devil likes to get me to believe that because I live the in the boonies and I’m not in the trenches somewhere in a war torn, third world country, or passing out God's word in secret, or digging wells in Africa, that my life isn't worth much, or that I’m not building God's kingdom, and the doubts creep in and threaten to disturb my peace, but the truth is, even if it seems small and insignificant, if we're where God has placed us for the time being we are building His kingdom. So even if we all can't physically go along to China our work here carrying them through prayer is every bit as important, cause while they're in the messiness of the hands on of changing diapers, feeding little mouths, drying tears, coaxing smiles, patting little backs, caressing chubby cheeks, holding tiny hands we can be petitioning our Father to provide and bless them with courage and strength and bravery emotionally and physically.
 (Philippians 1:3-6,9.........Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying with a glad heart. I am so pleased you have continued on in this with us believing and proclaiming God's message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. So this is my prayer; that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much, but well.)
In the middle of all the adrenalin rush of traveling and the excitement of experiencing new sites and new country and new adventures and loving on these precious China dolls I’m sure there will be moments of pure exhaustion and jet lag, alongside panic and joy and happiness and yet fears and doubts and questions, there will be celebratory moments, and what was I thinking moments, and maybe I should throw in the towel moments, and tho some of it may be our emotions or us over thinking or borrowing troubles, it is all understandable, and you are human and it doesn't take away the fact that each and every emotion is very real to each one of you at that moment, but don't let the evil one crowd out the goodness of God's work. When He comes to steal your joy and tries to rewrite the story that God has outlined for you, command him to “TALK TO THE HAND!! this phrase might not be as popular now as it was a few years back, but when it first came out it was used a lot by parents to their kiddos, especially to those whiny, want their own way, persistent kids, or the arm twisting ones, that, After repeatedly saying no, telling them to go talk to their daddies or mamas, or proclaiming we're not discussing this right nows, parents, especially mama's, would put a hand on their hip and raise the other one and exclaim, usually in a stern somewhat raised voice, “TALK TO THE HAND!” in other words this conversation is over!! I’m moving on!! we're done here!! I'm no longer listening or engaging in this verbal battle!! so when the devil tries to get in your face with fears or doubts or worries, give Him the hand!! Stop the evil one in his tracks and command him boldly to TALK TO THE HAND!! the hand of God, the hand that reads your name, engraved right by the scars declaring you are His daughter, His own little girl held in His safe keeping forever and no evil can stand up to Him, no power can come between you and His hand. And at the end of the day when you are exhausted and emotionally spent and feeling pulled in all directions, get on your knees and tell your heart to TALK TO THE HAND!! the same hand that you point the devil to in a bold, we're not going there or I'm so not having this conversation with moments, is the same hand that holds you close in safety and unconditional love and guidance forever, that hand will never leave you on your own!!
 (Hebrews 13:5B-6 Since God assured us, I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you, we can boldly quote, God is here, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me? )
(Isaiah 49:15B-16A I'd never forget you, never. Look, I've written your names on the backs of my hands.)
(Psalm 125:3 Mountains encircle Jerusalem, and God encircles His people- always has, always will.) (Psalm 94:14,17-19 God will never walk away from His people, never desert His precious people. If God hadn't been there for me I never would have made it. The minute I said, I'm slipping, I'm falling, your love, oh God, took hold and held me fast. when I was beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me right up.)  
(Psalm 62:5-8,11 God, the one and only- I'll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for 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. 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. God said this once and for all; how many times have I heard it repeated? strength comes from God.)
( Psalm 55:22 pile your troubles on God's shoulders-he'll help you carry your load, He'll help you out.) 
(Psalm 34:4-8,15,17-19 God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears. look at him, give him your warmest smile. never hide your feelings from him. when I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see- how good God is. Blessed are you  who run to Him. God keeps an eye on his friends, His ears pick up every moan and groan. Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if your kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath. disciples so often get into trouble; still God is there every time.)  


                                               TALK TO THE HAND


                                             TALK TO THE HAND!

                                             I heard Jesus Whisper,

                                            Read between these bloody lines,

                                           See your name engraved forever,

                                          Under the scars that made you mine.



                                         TALK TO THE HAND!

                                        I heard Jesus whisper,

                                      When your called to do my will,

                                      I will always be there leading,

                                      Only trust me, and be still.



                                    TALK TO THE HAND!

                                    I heard Jesus whisper,
 
                                   When you feel forgotten and alone,

                                  You will never find me sleeping

                                  I'm always with you, while on my throne.



                                  TALK TO THE HAND!

                                  I heard Jesus whisper,

                                 When life is crowding, pressing in hard,

                                 I will always be your refuge,

                                Your quiet place, your shield and guard.



                               TALK TO THE HAND!

                               I hear Jesus whisper,

                             When fears arise, and bravery fails,

                             In me there's all your strength and courage,

                            This storm is mine, adjust your sails.



                           TALK TO THE HAND!

                           I hear Jesus whisper,

                          When joyful or sad, afraid or alone,

                          I walk with you always, I'm never out of reach,

                         You are my Child, My Heart, My Own!



                         TALK TO THE HAND!

                         The devil heard me shout,

                        Against Jesus hand you've no power, no say

                        Read between His scars and these bloody lines,

                       You'll see I'm His Child, my name's engraved there, forever and a day!!



Hebrews 13:20-21 May God, who puts all things together, makes all things whole, who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus, the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant, who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd, up and alive from the dead, now put you together, provide you with everything you need to please Him. make  us into what gives Him most pleasure, by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah. All glory to Jesus forever and always!!


* all scripture taken from "THE MESSAGE" version Bible

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hope-Filled Mess

it's been an emotional week. a bittersweet week. a week filled with the heightened excitement of the Christmas festivities fast approaching, yet clouded by the sadness of a loved ones time here on earth cut short. a week of sharing tears with the family and friends left behind to pick up the fragmented pieces of their life and gather up what Christmas spirit is left and wearily plod forward, and a week of rejoicing that the beloved Husband, son, daddy, pawpaw, friend gone on before us was ready to meet our Jesus and is home free and safe and living new life in the majestic Glories of Heaven!! Jerome, heaven is a sweeter, brighter homeland than ever before with your arrival!! we didn't get together often, a random night out for dinner her and there, a sporadic evening of catching up around a campfire, or celebrating a birthday, but, we always looked forward to our traditional New Years Eve party and though it may have been months in between our times of hanging out we could always count on picking up with you and Karen right we left off, and always looked forward to playing games, eating to much and laughing harder than we had in awhile. You will be greatly missed and ever so fondly remembered!! you had an infectious laugh, and drew people in with your friendliness and your contagious joy of life and positive outlook, the day we left your services the sky was beyond amazing, there was clouds and sunrays and the heavens breaking apart to let the glorious light shine through at random places and it appeared as though Heaven couldn't contain it's celebration of another Child of God arriving home and like your laugh and your character it was spreading the love and joy around and oozing out of Heaven to your loved ones still here on earth.


 
 Every year it seems I see the Christmas story, season, celebration in a new way. through all the roller coaster of emotions this past week and then hearing heart friends, pew sisters, families vocalize their happiness, their accomplishments and festivities along with a gamut of pain and frustration, anger and heartbreak over a catalog of hurting, heart wrenching, reasons, in my mind I kept seeing the stable and the pure selfless love of our Jesus and Savior to present us with the most priceless gift ever offered us, in coming to this crazy, sin-dirty, messed up, world as tiny babe. I love the Christmas Story, I love how Mary was just an ordinary gal, no big shot celebrity, well known model or from the high class "right Side" of the tracks. She was just Mary, courting, just Joseph, two humble human souls quietly living their humble lives for their God and when He came to them and spoke what was to be, they listened and embraced the news. I cringe sometimes at the frustration I think surely my Father must feel towards me at times, as much as I wish it otherwise it's a blue moon if I actually succeed briefly at getting my ducks all in a row, more often than not it feels like a drunken sloppy attempt to keep afloat and the feeble attempt at a straight line is an exhausted me panting zig as they all zag, to be honest most days I'm not even certain we're even in the same body of water! this is where when I think of  Mary, she inspires me to be heart wide open always for whatever God wants from me, to listen, ears ever tuned to His voice, His direction and calling and then to embrace full on what He asks, to stop being so quick to question and doubt and him haw around but to "roll" with it, fully committed and trusting. I mean think about us and birthing our kids.....a stable, really?? most of us would have been livid bringing precious cargo that we gave up shapely legs, perfect weight and "trim healthy no-mama" waists for, into a very non sterile, filthy delivery room, unequipped with docs, let alone midwives, or latest emergency technology or a hot tub. and once all that sweat, blood and tears was out of the way and we're floating in new baby euphoria and everything is all little pink toes and goo-goo gah-gah, there would be no besties showing up with little cutsie outfits and hugs and gigantic flower and balloon bouquets. but, Mary, she embraced the stable!! she was about to deliver royalty, she could have demanded a penthouse suite, or at least ocean front at the Hilton!! but....she embraced the stable cause she knew her Father and that His plan for her and their son was God ordained. and so our Jesus, delivered in a stable, you know what's in most stables, barns, animal house types of places, right??!! there's the animals of course, the pigs and their own unique nastiness, then the cows, they chew and slobber green, and swish matted toilet brush tails and with them are flies, then theres the horses and more shaking of hairy dusty manes and long stringy hairy tails and hooves that have all manner of evil stuck up in them, then the sheep, with thick dusty, burr filled wool coats and worms, (only experience we ever had with sheep consisted of many worms), then the chickens, that flit and flap and spin hay and peck and grunt and sqawk and poop everywhere every 6 and a half strutty steps and for all these critters there's mites and allergens from the fur and fuzz and hide and wool and feathers, and in the corners theres spiders and cobwebs and high dark corners theres bats and barn swallows and sparrows and the occasional owl and pigeons and there many droppings and under the hay can be rats and snakes and roaches and beady eyed mice, and along with all that is the dried corn for feed or maybe the slop for the pigs and a forgotten hidden egg here or there gone bad, and you combine that all together to create a nasty rank assortment of messy at a level all it's own with dust and dirt and manure and vermin and just nasty disgusting filthy messiness..............yet this...........is where God chose His son to be birthed..........that.......speaks to me.....it speaks life, and comfort and love and HOPE, HOPE of the highest degree, HOPE of the royalist kind!! to me it says my Jesus was born in the perfect delivery room, because my Jesus gets our messy, He embraced messy from birth!! He gets that I mess up royally, that I get angry at my kiddos, and frustrated at the man I love and made a life vow to, that I get jealous, and grumpy, I sin, He gets when I'm at an all time low in sadness or anxiety, in fear or doubt,or just plain irritable, He gets there are times that I don't know how or can't or just plain won't pray. He gets there are times that I just don't want to go to church or worship, or be happy or choose joy or love that particular "thorn" or read His word or ADULT! But....just because He "gets it" that does not give me an excuse to float along doing and living and acting how i want. because i know Him an His great love for me and the price He paid for me that means i also know that He will be my comfort and Life and Love and Hope and that i can invite Him into my dirty messed up humanness every single time, even when it feels some weeks it's every blessed day, or hour!! I love that He doesn't get irritated at me and walk away in a huff, tossing me aside and just give up on me!! He is always running towards me ready to embrace me fully, His ultimate goal in coming into my dirt and filth is to see me running towards Him every time instead of choosing to blindly ineffectively trying so hard and often to go it myself!! I love that hope arrived with life and full of love that long ago day in Bethlehem in the middle of all the messiness, it keeps me going when I feel unstable and fumbling, it provides me we strength to keep running towards My Jesus, to embrace the life He has for me and gives me courage to share His love in whatever messy is around me, giving me hope that no matter how inadequate I feel at times, or how often I feel I fail, He loves me and my mess unconditionally, and some day our running towards each other will end in each others arms, home forever!
food for thought......... ARE YOU PART OF THE INN CROWD, OR THE STABLE FEW............
 

Friday, October 14, 2016

He Cares

It's the morning after the dreaded 10th year mark of letting go of Devin. And, Praise God, I can honestly say, it was a really good day!! Somehow the anticapation of the day and what to do with it grows huge and overwhelming in my mind as the day approaches. It's one of those dates you can't not remember but the proper protocol for dealing with it is a bit blurred and alot of uncertainty and anxiety precede it. While I was in the middle of blogging the previous post I got a text from my dear friend Miriam, she wondered if she could bring lunch and hang out awhile on Devins 10th year mark. I just love how my Father already was taking care of the details of the dreaded day and sending me who and what I needed to deal with memories and heartpain. He truly answers before we ask at times and knows and cares about every detail of our lives.This dear soul sister friend is one of those besties that has been a rock to me over the years in spite of wading through some serious murky life waters herself. She arrived with pure comfort food, pizza, Pepsi and potato chips!! And a gorgeous bouquet of flowers of many kinds, in shades of greens, pinks, peaches, an almost shabby chic style maybe, whatever,  it's elegantly old fashioned and full of love!  We munched and chatted and remenisced. Back when our kiddos were little we were together alot, we scrapbooked, and yardsaled and had yardsales and shared birthday parties and vacationed and babysat for one another. Her Taylor and my Devin were best of friends and we giggled about the shared kiss between the two of them stolen on her back porch to the shock and horror of their older siblings. They played so well together, he'd dress up in pink hats and push baby carriages he loved hard and was protective of his girls whether his lil sister or his best lil girlfriend.
The day and the shared friendship and memories was great and it was a needed reminder to me to stay out of my own head so much, to dwell on the memories we were blessed with and be thankful for those dear souls we've been gifted in life to help us carry our load, and to remember there are others that have been suckered punched with a few curveballs in life too and to reach out and be therefor them, to listen, really listen to hear their heart as they share memories if that's what is needed, or vent their frustrations, fears, or failures. And the thing is, that dust bunny you thought you had to nail down, that load if laundry that needs folded and put away isn't gonna grow legs and walk away anytime soon and that shelf full of books that are every which way and upside down, will still be there for your ocd fix tomorrow, but our friends, our families,  time with them is eternally precious and ever so short, grab every moment ya can! Open your hearts and arms to them, give them a safe haven, a place to feel heard and loved, don't listen to fix, listen to hear, hear their heart. Jesus didn't push souls away, He said come unto me all that are weary and I'll give you rest. Jesus, is pure love and comfort, and we're plainly told in His word to be as Jesus, to embrace, and live His persona!! I just want to say thankyou from the bottom of my heart to each of you that has been Jesus to me this week, Rhonda your package was such a blessing, full of care and love and so timely, Laura, a bright sparkly box on the day, filled with comfort words and encouragement and your heart shining out of happy lil Sami fishes big twinkle eyes, life is hard at times, but, "we'll just keep swimming "!! :) thankyou to everyone else for the prayers, messages, texts and care, I'm beyond blessed and pray I can be to someone someday what each of you has been to me. Miriam,  Thankyou for being my rock over so many years, thankyou for remembering with me and talking about Devin, you know it heals, we've been blessed with a beautiful friendship and I treasure it, what, all because of a yardsale and car crash?? :) love you girl!
P.S. that couple pic, we really need an update!! ;)