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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Smile, though your heart is aching….

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
- Psalm 30:11-12

A repost, because life has been challenging. I am remembering the lesson of Sankofa, that being, “Taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge.”I am again reminded that there is always a reason for joy. And so, this lesson from the past…

One of my favorite people commended me today for my ability to laugh at the things most people anguish over.  It’s just a survival mechanism; I wish I could take credit for it; it’s just the way I’m wired.  

I made my husband laugh this morning.  As we listened to today’s gloomy forecast, rain, wind, you know, soup and nap weather, I began to sing the Lena Horne classic, “Stormy Weather,” well, sort of.  My version went a little like this,

         Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky, Stormy Weather
         Since my poor career ain’t together, it’s raining all the time. 
My resume’s bare, gloom and misery everywhere,
Stormy Weather, blah, blah, blah

My ditty won’t win a Grammy.  It was never intended to.  In fact, if my husband hadn’t suggested blogging about it, I never would’ve told anybody, including my buddy, who also got a kick out of it after I sang her my “It’s Friday!” song.  It’s another one of my originals, and this one was so spontaneous that I don’t even remember it now. Hey, she was having a particularly HORRIBLE week, and I simply wanted to remind her that no matter what she might encounter in the office today, the weekend was merely hours away.  Sometimes you need someone to remind you, that no matter how challenged you feel in the midst of it all, you can, you WILL weather the storm.  She was laughing when we said goodbye.  It worked.

Oddly enough, funnily enough, (masochistically enough??), I am thankful for storms.  They remind me to appreciate sunshine.  When the winds and rain go away, figuratively and literally, I take deliberate pleasure in clear skies.  I look up.  I breathe deeply.   I give Thanks.  That hopefulness, that expectation gets me out of bed when it rains.  It helps me hold my head up when I remember my last job was more than a little while ago.  I find reasons to smile, reasons to stay engaged, reasons to keep going until the storm is over.  

The 30th psalm is a portion of the traditional Jewish service of morning prayers. It lists a myriad of reasons to be thankful, including, being lifted out of the depths (I can relate), healing (I can relate), the longevity of His favor (I can surely relate), and the reminder that no matter how sincerely current reality bites, He will turn your mourning into dancing and your joy will have no end.  

He wired me to smile, even with an aching heart.  Joy is coming, just beyond the gloom.  Suddenly, it ain’t so bad, and with that, my perspective is restored.  I’m recognizing balance, even if it hovers just beyond my reach.  I will get there.  And with that, I pick myself up, square my shoulders, and grab the umbrella.  I’m going in (or out).  Because, even in the midst of it all, I am abundantly blessed, if with nothing more than my strength.  And that strength is further evidence, if ever I needed more, that God is good.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. 
Isaiah 26:3
A warning in advance-in as polite and Godly a manner possible, having prayed mightily, this post calls out the BS of The Body of Christ as they choose silence over action, as they choose to shun their own when we get controversial or inconvenient (notice I did not mention truthful), to ghost them, and to try silencing their voices because the “noise” they hear is CONVICTION. If you feel hurt by what you read, I advise you to do as I do daily. Make peace with your unease. Enlightenment hurts.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Simple Pleasures-#GoodJobGod

I am republishing this piece from 2012...I cannot believe it's been 5 years. You're gone, friend, but always with me. I think of you often, always with a smile. Your lingering gift to me is an appreciation for everyday miracles, and that anything can be a celebration and an act of worship.
Halfway through the process, I realized I was channeling you in baking a patriotic dessert. You always brought something red, white, blue, and homemade to the cookout.
You are always with me. And everytime something goes particularly well, I quote your simple prayer, "Good job, God." I see you among the rainbows and the fireflies. No matter what the season, somehow it's always April. And the lesson is, "all the joy of my really good day is available to me every day."
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:9-10(NKJV)


Wednesday night I got it right. We ended a good day with a great night. After a day abounding with simple pleasures; a community parade with friends and family, ice cream in the park, a backyard barbeque with no burden to entertain (my BFF came, but she is family), quiet time, and then fireworks in an evening display launched by a breathtaking sunset. As I pointed it out to my friend, she made the comment that captured my day, “Good job, God.” Now that’s a praise.  That’s a simple pleasure.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

with salt, please?

Good morning, beautiful. You are beautiful because you are uniquely made in the precise image of God. If you remember nothing else from this morning’s restoration meditation, remember this...”hello, beautiful.”
I am a fan of confirmation. Each week, as part of my preparation to write a column for a community of women in prayer, I spend quiet moments with God to hear what He lays on my heart to share...and I thought I had it right. 
However, this image https://www.instagram.com/p/BV4t6Db... seasoning with salt resonated and was confirmation-not only is my OneWord for 2017 Salt (you might have noticed), but I’ve been writing about the Beatitudes, which I believe are lessons in balance. My intended message will keep for another day.
That is the purpose salt serves. In so many ways, our words, our lives, should be seasoned with salt. Salt gives flavor (perspective?), preserves, removes stains, soothes, eliminates odor. Can you imagine the power of language salted in that way?
Salt must be used in moderation (soberly?). Too much causes damage-it is an irritant. Seasoned speech expresses tolerance, Grace, and kindness.
In closing, something to meditate upon, in our continual pursuit of holy restoration. This thought...salt and fruit (forbearance is a fruit of the spirit). Sweet and salt. Balance.
Are you good at making allowances for people? ... Our lives should say, “I make allowances for people,” for this is the language of love. Forbearance is a divine quality. Romans 2:4 talks of the kindness, tolerance, and patience of God. His followers should do no less.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The purpose of chaos

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. ~Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

“Perfect Peace. The only peace that keeps us sane in the midst of the chaos. How do we obtain this Perfect Peace? By keeping our minds steadfast, focused on God, on His Word. By trusting in our Father, His Plans and His Purposes.”

It’s been a tough 8 weeks. When I think back, I’ve been fighting this weariness and this bug all week at work, resting only enough on the weekends to be able to get back to the office on Monday mornings. 

My job is a blessing for which I prayed, and I will not complain. The joy of full-time employment, being paid to write and create stories is a gift I never imagined. So many careers shattered by a broken economy and yet I was given a chance at a second career. God is Good and His Mercy endures forever. And yet, there was chaos.

And what is chaos? We are taught in Genesis that “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep" (Gen. 1:-2, ESV). In the beginning God brought order, but before order, there was chaos. There is a Divine Purpose for chaos.  We cannot do anything about chaos, but we serve The One Who Does.

I forgot to seek my peace. I forgot about rest. I neglected by obligation to my temple, and in my hubris, I have suffered greatly.

Yesterday was the first day I felt like myself. This time last week I’d even forgotten it was Thursday. I apologize. As I say so often, we’ve got to do better. We have a holy obligation to yield. To seek Him, mindful that we drag ourselves through chaos when we forget the Maker of our Peace. 
Perfect Peace. 
That surpasses all understanding. That achieved only by remaining steadfastly in Him. Trusting His Purposes and His Plan, and acknowledging that even chaos serves Divine Purpose. That we yield. That we surrender. That we mindfully, gratefully, obediently submit to rest. To worship. To quiet. So that, even in times of great chaos, we may be brought into order, by Him Who Created chaos, Who Created us.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Meditations on Restoration-God made you On Purpose

Are there ever times when you feel like your story doesn't matter? It's time to talk Restoration.

Meditations on Restoration-God made you On Purpose

“You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. “ ~John 15:16 (NLT)

Whether you are an out loud participant, or whether you live a life quietly in the background, hear me clearly. God knew precisely what He intended when he created you, placed you in your current circumstances, and gave you that voice.

So often, we feel overwhelmed. Like we do not matter. Like no one is listening. Lately, the words of this old hymn, redone by artist Yolanda Adams keeps ringing in my head. The lyrics?

Lord I hear of showers of blessings
Thou art scattering full and free
Showers the thirsty souls refreshing
Let some drops now fall on me
Pass me not oh gentle Saviour
Sinful though my heart may be
I am longing for your favor
Whilst thou art blessing
Oh Lord
Come on and bless me..
Even me.

Yup, even you. Today, I want us all to meditate on being chosen by God. Perhaps you’ve never felt unworthy-maybe you are currently feeling nothing but. 

Pause, place your hand over your heart and feel that insistent rhythm-you are here. God has a purpose and a plan, and He chose you. You, beautiful one. 

Remember, there is no sin that separates us from Grace. You matter. You are forgiven. You are redeemed, and most of all, you are beautiful.

Walk into the day with your head held high. Be the blessing He created you to be.

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

C'mon. Follow along. Please?