Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon (on left in photo with his sweetheart Miss Mercy), turned in to Walk by Faith Ministry from a home in which he was found emaciated, with a skin infection, snotty, with extraordinarily long nails, and surrounded on the floor by an enormous amount of feces, has come a super long way in the past year or so! 

Mr. Simeon (on left) with Miss Mercy (and Mommie!)
He had been hit by a car, rescued by a passerby who thought he was dead, and kept in a home for a year where unfortunately he didn't end up getting the care he needed). Though he can't move more than inches without his wheelchair, he loves his new life in Mommie's bedroom with disabled senior dog Little Miss Miracle and Mommie. 

Mr. Simeon (cuddled on left) with sweet Jake (who just went to heaven...)
Mr. Simeon needs to go to the doggie doctor for an exam & blood work and urinalysis and possible medications 'cause he's drinking up a storm, pee-ing too much (in his belly band, soaking right through sometimes), and his weight even with tons of doggie food is not where it was once he achieved a good-looking weight! 

Thank you for your donations and God bless you!!! 

The Sting of Loss

I huddle up in my old purple sweatshirt in the early morning chill, window wide open to let in the spring air as the birds tweet away, fan humming in its endless circles, never going anywhere but ever blowing the day around, and around, laptop where it belongs, on my lap, and ouch. The sting of loss. Day after day, I sidled up with my laptop, my Bible, my steaming oatmeal in thermal cups beside me, my sweet blessing of a dog on the other side. Jake. Even as he marched on toward heaven as bone cancer ate away at his rear knee, as pain chased after him, as age pursued him, Jake lay by my side. Side by side.

When he could no longer get up on the bed, his favorite place to be, as close to mommy as he could possibly be, I scooted myself down to the floor. I moved my "little office" of laptop, Bible, and oatmeal right beside him. Side by side, we sat on the dog bed together. And I got to tell the world about Jesus through my writing, as Jake made his way toward heaven. And now I sit back on my bed, looking down at where his dog bed was only two days ago. No Jake. No, Jake is with Jesus.

My sweet Jake, with his nose in the Bible,
weeks before he went to heaven to wait for me there.......
And I am, with tears flooding my eyes and pain piercing my heart, still telling the world about Jesus. Because there are only two things I know to do when loss stings. When loss tears away at my heart. I can surrender to the loss, or I can surrender to the Lord. I can give my heart to the loss to consume me, or I can give my heart to the Lord. I can be swallowed up in grief, and I have known much grief in my life, or I can be swallowed up in the love of the Lord. I have lived most of my life in the former. Today, I choose the latter. I choose the Lord.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Broken Heart, My Jake Is In Heaven

This is dedicated to Jenna, 
whose heart is also broken.
My she pour our her heart unto the Lord
and know Him as her hope and comfort,
her light and peace, 
her all, her everything.
May she rest in His everlasting love. 

When I sent my beloved, sweet, 15.5 year old dog Jake to heaven early yesterday morning, I had no idea how broken my heart would be after 12 beautiful years of him in my life since his rescue from a life outdoors, unfixed, with no veterinary care, flea/tic prevention, and heart worm disease, but nor did I know that I would discover I have reached a place of a new kind of broken when it comes to my heart. My grief is undeniable, I hurt beyond measure. The bond between us was phenomenal. He followed me right until he could no longer stand and walk, just like I am called to follow my master, Jesus. But what I did not expect was right in the midst of my deep grief, I would discover the raw, genuine, tender, beauty of a broken heart - the right kind of broken.

I have lived a life of countless losses. My family, relatives, and family friends abandoned me when I spoke out about being an incest survivor. I was abandoned by two husbands. I lost my spiritual mentor at 47 years old, my pastor and father-in-Christ unexpectedly, probably at least 25 dogs, friends, relationships, my dreams, and so much more. I know all about grief, but for decades my grief was only that. Just grief. Pure, painful, gut-wrenching grief. Nothing more, nothing less. At last, I have discovered a new kind of grief, a new kind of broken heart. The right kind. The God kind.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Donations for Dying Dog & More

Sunday. Resurrection Sunday. I stayed home from church because my beloved 15.5 year old dog Jake, rescued years ago from a life outdoors with no veterinary care, no vaccines, and heart worm disease, who has sacrificed years of love and attention as I have attended to the needs of the countless other people and dogs who have come into my care, is dying. Right in front of my eyes. I took him to the vet recently believing it was time for heaven, but the vet diagnosed him with bone cancer and suggested a special procedure to see if it would help give him a few more months of quality life.

Several times in the past 6 months or so, I have come into my bedroom
and found Jake with his paw - or nose - on my Bible.....
a true Walk by Faith Ministry beloved Jake....
thank you God for all the years you've given me with him.....
His bone cancer is such today that he can no longer walk on a rear leg, has collapsed several times, and has been in such excruciating pain that I have him on more medication than imaginable. I am guessing tomorrow may be his time to go to heaven, though the timing is in God's hands. Sweet Jake is so phenomenally bonded to me that even in his current state, if I leave the room, he tries to get up to get back into my presence. Please read my recent inspirational pieces on how much I have learned about pursuing God as I have watched sweet Jake pursue me by scrolling down on the ministry's home page.

I found Jake like this on my bed with his nose resting right above the scripture
"enter into the joy of the Master."
Donations are needed for Jake's recent care, his final visit to the vet whenever that will be, as well as Walk by Faith Ministry as a whole as I continue to seek the Lord's face and pursue my life's mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need. The ministry comprises inspirational writing/publishing, praying, preaching, distributing the Lord's provisions to people in need, and providing sanctuary-style care to 17 mostly special needs & senior rescued dogs, including Jake. The ministry operates on a bare-bones budget, and I live on a personal bare-bones budget as I pursue my life's calling. I would be incredibly grateful for anyone who would like to make a donation for Jake's care, for the ministry as a whole, for any aspect of the ministry including the inspirational writing, or to become a monthly sponsor of any chosen amount.

Thank you & God bless you!!!!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Different Kind of Happy - Do You Know this Happiness?

Tired. Blessed. Happy. A different kind of happy. As I started out in my car this morning on day two of gloomy, rainy weather after wading through inches of rain yesterday that created mini-ponds in my sopping wet yard, I couldn't help but think of how happy I am. Me, happy? Yes, me, happy. Not the world's happy. Because in the world's scheme of things, by the world's standards and measures, I am an utter failure who can't possibly know happiness. But here I am now, peeking out the gigantic window at Barnes and Noble from the coffee shop where I sit parked with my laptop in a plush, delicious comfy chair with my heart full of Jesus and my laptop waiting for the words to pour out of me. Happy. So happy. But how?

Years ago, a well-meaning woman with a bit of a hard edge to her, pulled me aside in a recovery meeting I attended at the time to make her grand announcement, and diagnosis, about my life: "Statistics are against you," she told me, as if I didn't already know. Her meaning? She wanted me to know that because I am an incest survivor, combined with alcoholism, an eating disorder, and the numerous, yucky, typical aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse, that it was hardly likely I would ever have any semblance of a normal, healthy, and happy life. Not that life is ever altogether normal, healthy, and happy at all times for all people. But she wanted to assure me that I shouldn't expect too much out of my life. And though I was bitter, and resentful, for the pronouncement she made over my life, I have to concede years afterward that she was absolutely correct. Statistics are against me, and I am a failure in the eyes of the world to boot. But why? Why am I a failure by the world's standards, and how can I be tired, blessed, and happy on a gloomy morning despite the statistics that stand against me?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rain to End in 83 Minutes - What About Jesus?

This is how far technology has come, or this is far people think it has come anyway. In the midst of a major rainstorm that has already piled up several inches of pond in my back yard, I just learned the forecast is calling for 83 minutes more of rain. That's right. Eighty-three minutes. Do you know what the Bible has to say about weather forecasts?

It's plain, simple, and a hard truth. Jesus rebukes the people because they can look up at the sky and tell the weather forecast (and that's without today's 83-minute kind of technology), but can't tell the signs of the times. So what about us? Is it possible that we have come this far in technology, or at least that we think we have come so incredibly far in technology and forecasting the weather, and yet we can't tell the signs of our times?

Finding Purpose in Desolate Places

Desolate places aren't always fun and pretty, are they? The dictionary defines "desolate" as dismal, gloomy, lonely, "having the feeling of being abandoned by friends or by hope", forlorn, solitary, dreary, dismal, and gloomy, according to The Greek word that translates into "solitary" includes in its definition lonesome, desolate, wilderness, and solitary. None of these definitions describe an exciting, glamorous, joyful, happy, enticing, and inviting place to be, do they? It doesn't exactly make you want to go running to find a desolate place in your life, does it? And it doesn't exactly make you want to stay in a desolate place if you're in one right now, does it?

Isn't it something then that Jesus "departed" from the crowds where He was preaching, teaching, and healing in order to PURPOSELY go into a "desolate" place? Then again, Jesus sought a desolate place PURPOSELY because He had a PURPOSE in going there. He went to a desolate place to pray.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


My electricity was so whacked out today that I figured either a ghost moved into my house or I had a major problem. I don't believe in ghosts, so wasn't too surprised when the electrician told me to call the electric company to come fix the issue. There is nothing quite like getting electricity in some parts of the house, on and off in other parts, dim and partially working in others, just totally off the map. Yet another reminder of how important it is to be plugged into the power, and God seems to give me plenty of life lessons on how vital it is to be continually plugged into His power. But today's lesson courtesy of the Lord and the electric company was actually a different one. Suffice it to say I got a good laugh out of the man in charge of the team of electric company workers that were kind enough to come to my house to fix my issue.

"I'm trying to figure out if you will have to dig up a whole long line of the yard, or just a small part of it," I explained to the man in charge. "Because anytime a company comes here to dig up a big part of the yard to put something down in the ground, the dogs go nuts. For about a year, they will try to dig up that area," I said, hoping for good news. "So will you explain to me how that machine thing works that you spoke of?"


Why is it that people always talk about getting away for a break, going away on vacation, escaping for a weekend, and running away from everything for a retreat and so very seldom speak of drawing away from their day-to-day lives to spend a time away in the presence of the Lord? Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of the world, even He had to get away at times. But He didn't go to the number one vacation spot, or sneak away to a spa for a weekend. He drew away from the crowds to spend time with our Father in heaven.

At the end of the day, when we stand before the Lord, I wonder how interested the Lord will be in hearing us give account of all of the wonderful vacations we took through the course of our lives. Is it possible that our get-away's will amount to very little in the grand scheme of things? Is it conceivable that the best time we can ever spend in drawing away from our daily routines is when we choose to designate a period of time - whether at home or away - in the secret place of the most high? In our prayer closets with our doors shut to the noise, chaos, and distractions of the world? In the presence of our Father, Creator of the world? At the feet of Jesus?

Is it time for a get-away? Instead of calling the travel agent, or packing your suitcase for a trip with your buddies to the beach, why not commit a time of prayer, praise, worship, seeking, listening, and, above all else, loving in the presence of the Lord? Jesus already paid the price for this get-away. He died on the cross and rose again to pay the penalty for our sins so we would repent and place our faith in Him and be able to have intimate fellowship with the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the Lord God almighty. There ain't no vacation that can compare to a get-away with Him.

And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. - Luke 5:16 KJV

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. - Luke 6:12 NASB

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. - Mark 1:35

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wrong Person, Wrong Place, Wrong Thing.......

Not supposed to be there. The words came to me today as I sat in the waiting room of a doctor's office thinking of an evening I spent last year with someone in what seemed like the perfect person, the perfect place, and the perfect thing. But it was all wrong. It made me think. And I had plenty of time to think because waiting rooms aren't called waiting rooms for nothing. This was one very long wait. The perfect time to reflect on how when everything seems perfectly right, it can all be perfectly wrong. It prompted me to consider asking this question. Have you ever stepped onto a stage and entered into a scene only to discover it was all an act and a show and no matter how good it looked and right it seemed and comfortable it seemed that it wasn't where you belonged?

When you got right down to it, and became truly honest about it, did you come to find that sometimes what seems totally normal and typical and usual and commonplace by the world's standards may just not be where God wants you to be? As I recalled stepping smoothly and deliberately and expectantly onto just such a stage and into just such a scene that by the world's standards seemed to be perfectly normal and perfectly wonderful, I saw in retrospect how I had been completely jarred into reality. Anybody watching the stage upon which I played out that scene of my life - written and performed by me, myself, and I - would have been totally convinced it was the right person, the right place, and the right situation.

Dying Dog Used by God to Teach Lesson in Faith

"The Joy of the Master"

When I cried my heart out and took my beloved 15.5 year old dog Jake to the vet last week to "send him to heaven" (my version of euthanization), the Lord answered my prayer to give me wisdom through the veterinarian when the veterinarian diagnosed Jake with bone cancer and emphatically stated he wanted to try a special procedure and see if Jake could have a few more months of life. The procedure was exceedingly painful for Jake, but I was willing to give Jake one last chance. And off we went - home. Just this morning, the Lord blessed me once more through this dog who has already lived 2 to 3 years past the typical lifespan for his breed when I was spending time with the Lord and found Jake's  nose resting on the pages of my Bible. I looked down just for the heck of it to see what Jake was "reading" with his nose, and noticed the purple underlining I had used some time ago to highlight a verse I don't even ever remember reading. I could not think of a more perfect, a more appropriate, and a more heart warming, and heart wrenching, scripture than this one to be what Jake had chosen to "read":

"Enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:23 KJV

15.5 year old Jake approaching heaven,
diagnosed with bone cancer,
resting on the Bible.......
Just as I had written recently, Jake's love for me, and his constant pursuit of me, and his ever focus on me, and his continual desire to follow me around as much as possible, are humbling reminders that this is how I am to look to Jesus. With an unabashedly, unashamedly, continually seeking heart and focus. Literally, I am to follow Jesus, rendering my heart and life to him, day by day, moment by moment. Though I had already written on this, how the Lord showed me through Jake whom God had used me to rescue from challenging circumstances how I am called to follow my own rescuer, Jesus, I had not yet seen the lesson the Lord wanted to teach me today.

Jake's pursuit of me is two-fold. He shows me his love for me, and his thankfulness for me and for what I have done and continue to do for him. And he follows me so he can experience the joy of being in my presence. To Jake, I am master. He experiences the joy of being in his master's presence.

Following Jesus allows me to show the Lord my love, and my thankfulness for all He has done for me and continues to do for me. And following Jesus allows me to experience the joy of being in my master's presence. Today, God showed me through Jake resting his nose on the very scripture I needed to read and remember that there is truly no greater joy than resting my eyes and heart and nose on the Lord and His Word - and to experience the utter joy, and freedom, and peace, and blessedness of being in His very presence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remembering to Rest

If God has told me anything over the past few years, He has told me this. Over and again. And again. Rest, rest, rest. And rest. And as much as I believed He wanted me to get physical rest, I now understand more than anything else He has wanted me to learn to rest in Him. To trust in Him. To cast my cares on Him. To give my worries to Him. To not have anxiety over the future. To not be buried in the past. To not re-play conversations in my head all day long. To not concern myself with how I will make it financially. To not berate myself for not doing "enough" writing. To not be upset over what other people may or may not think of me.

When I came across this photo of paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon resting with three-legged Traveler, it struck me what an easy time most dogs have resting. And it made me think that they can rest like this because they don't worry about being taken care of. They simply believe they will. The more I learn to focus on the Lord, the more I learn about Him, the more I learn to trust Him, the more I remember what I have so often forgotten and failed to do. To rest. Not merely to stop what I'm doing and slow down, which I have truly learned how to do, but to rest in my mind. Knowing that He is sovereign. And that my job is to love and to worship and to serve Him with all of my heart. The rest - yes, the rest - is up to Him. 

Serving God in Everyday Life

Some might call me crazy, and I would have to agree. I am crazy for Christ, and I have a boundless, uninhibited, unrestrained, wildly passionate desire to share the love of Jesus Christ whenever I have the opportunity. I have learned through the years that serving God in my everyday life means keeping my heart and ears ever attuned to opportunities to share the Gospel while ministering the Lord's love to a world in need. Some might say I have the heart of an evangelist, and I would have to agree.

A recent trip to the beach on Hilton Head Island, SC,
with paralyzed dogs Mr. Simeon and Miss Mercy
With no formal training, and no informal training, and nothing at all but my phenomenal passion for the Lord and for proclaiming Him to the world, I have come to see that everyday life provides endless everyday open doors into people's lives. From going grocery shopping to parking my car to walking the beach with Walk by Faith Ministry's very special dogs, I wait for the prompting of the Lord to open my mouth as the love I have for Him pours out into the world around.

There are no limits to possibilities when it comes to sharing Jesus as the Holy Spirit moves through my heart and my life to pour out the Truth of the Gospel and the mercy and grace of the Lord to a world in dire need of salvation. I consider it a privilege, and an honor, and a blessing beyond measure to love - and to serve - the love of my life. The Lord!

"Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:14-16

Monday, April 14, 2014

Are You GRIEVING? Hide Under the Cover

Dedicated to Annie.....

When a friend of mine, inundated and overwhelmed with grieving a monumental loss along with another incredibly trying challenge and all of her usual responsibilities, shared with me that she just wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out, I could so easily understand. I have grieved enormous losses, baby losses, and everything in between, and along with my other life challenges have oftentimes wanted to seek the refuge of hiding under the covers - and sometimes did. But when I realized there is only darkness and pain under the covers of a bedspread stained with tears or a quilt strewn with tissues or a sheet to get all twisted up in for people who toss and turn through troubles like I do, I found no refuge, no safety, no comfort, nothing at all but bare, shallow breaths and moments of what could hardly be considered relief. 

There was simply no light in the tangles of the covers of my bed - or whatever I sought escape in from the relentless, caustic, cutting, jagged, piercing pain. Ultimately, I had to come out from all the covers I had sunk down under in my fruitless, and disappointing, attempts at coming away from the moaning hurt, the fierce, so frequent cries of my breaking, and re-breaking, and so often broken heart.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beauty in Hard Places

There is something about pain that can bring out the worst in us, don't you think? And there is something about walking through hard places that can make us feel ugly, and make the world around us look ugly also, don't you think? There is something about the darkness of our hard places that makes us forget to hang onto the light, don't you think? Do you ever feel like you're drowning in hard places, and like the life and breath are getting sucked out of you? Oh, if you could only come up for air - for breath - for even a single breath of anything beautiful. There is something about hard places, isn't there, that makes us feel like we're going to be stuck in them forever. I've spent so much of my life struggling in hard places, seeing anything and everything but beauty. So stuck. So hard. So everything but beautiful. In the past 24 hours, for the first time ever in my life, I received some incredibly hard news and discovered breathtaking beauty in the midst of it all.

I can only imagine somebody reading this with eager anticipation for me to share what incredibly hard news I received. Let's face it. We live in a world in which even the most virtuous of us have at least a little fascination with hearing other people's news. It gives us a refreshing breather from our own lives, and news, doesn't it? So I hate to disappoint anyone who wants to hear my incredibly hard news, but I'm not writing this piece to share my news. I'm writing it to share my amazing discovery in the midst of my really hard place with the hope that others will find what it has taken me decades to discover when it comes to hard places.

The beauty in the midst of it all are not my circumstances, nor my challenges, not my hurdles, nor my obstacles. The beauty isn't the hope that things will turn out differently. The beauty isn't that somehow the hard news will go away. The beauty isn't that I got what I desperately didn't want, or that I didn't get what I desperately wanted. The beauty isn't that God didn't answer my prayer birthed out of virtually 20 years of relentless challenge. The beauty isn't in the hard place at all. But the beauty is in the midst of the hard place. There is nothing beautiful about the hard place. The beauty is in the Lord.

But how can I find beauty in the Lord in the midst of hard places? By loving Him, trusting Him, beholding Him, staring at Him, looking to Him, seeking Him, coming to Him, running to Him, receiving from Him, giving to Him, being still before Him, resting in Him, dancing with Him, delighting in Him, marveling about Him, being amazed by Him, seeing Him for who He is, witnessing His majesty, remarking on His magnificence, sharing Him, speaking of Him, studying Him, learning of Him, telling people about Him, having faith in Him, thinking of Him, being renewed in Him, refreshed in Him, revived by Him, restored by Him, strengthened by Him and in Him, pouring out my Heart to Him, hearing His heart as He speaks to me, rejoicing in Him, praising Him, worshiping Him even, yes, even, even right in the hard places of my life.

None of this is contingent on my circumstances, is it? None of it is conditional on coming out of my hard places, is it?

How about you? When was the last time you stopped, breathed, rested, and rejoiced as you beheld the beauty of the Lord - even in your hard places?

"One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple " Psalm 27:4

Friday, April 11, 2014

Who Said LOVE Has to Be BIG?

Who said love has to be big? We humans came about that  notion, didn't we? Love has to be extravagant, lush, lavish, enormous, decidedly, abundantly, monumentally BIG enough that people will take notice, right? If we really love, our love should be obvious, big enough for a front page story, or at the very least for somebody to see? For others to recount? For us to feel worthy, big enough, loving enough. Somehow, someway, we humans have come to this idea that our love should be worth making note of. I have yet to come across a place in the Bible where God quantifies love, where God says "this is the size love needs to be." God has so much to say in His Word about love, but when does He ever say how little or big an act of love needs to be? He does say this, however. Love needs to be genuine, sincere, authentic. So I wonder this. If we humans would stop trying to love in a way that love can be measured, but instead would humble ourselves and love with authenticity, even in the smallest of acts, what would love look like then? What would our daily lives look like then? What would even this very moment look like for all of us, for any of us, if we would toss aside the limitations we place on love and let love be all that God intended for it to be? Wouldn't that be something?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All the Pretty Colors

When was the last time you stopped in the busy, rushing, whirring, crazy fast tracks of your life to take a good, thankful look around you to notice all the countless colors God created? As I strolled down the tiny country road I live on with paralyzed Miss Mercy gleefully scurrying forward in her wheelchair, I looked all around me amid this beautiful, hot, sunshine-resplendent spring day and realized the colors God uses merely for tree leaves alone are manifold. When I shifted my eyes from the trees elsewhere, I saw the same. All the pretty colors. So many colors. And shapes. And sizes. And types of trees. Of grass. Oh, and I could go on. Of bugs. Of dirt. Of clouds. God didn't just create the world. He created it magnificently. With creativity that never runs out. And I can't help but think I have spent most of my life not even noticing. Not even seeing. Not even appreciating. Not even acknowledging. Not at all thankful. But this is not all.

For now, in my mid-40's, as parts of me begin their downhill travels (hair color, eyesight, skin, etc.), I see I have not only been utterly blind to, and ungrateful, about so much of the beauty God has created, but I have lacked thanksgiving for how God has equipped me to see His magnificence all around me. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Taste to taste. Nose to smell. Feet that walk. A mind that works. Food to sustain me. Oh, and how I could go on. How often have I stopped not just to thank God for all the beauty around me, and how often have I stopped to simply thank Him that He has enabled me to appreciate it? Not enough. Never enough. Can there ever be enough of thanking Him? Oh, if only I would just remember to even begin in this direction of thanking Him, thanking Him, thanking Him! My maternal grandfather was color blind. My cousin was born with most of her sight missing. I have eyes that see. Ears that hear. The ability to walk down my tiny country road to see how God has brought back the return of spring - and how lovely, and how warm, it is!

But even as I consider all the pretty colors, and how blessed I am for the ability to enjoy all this, I realize that more than anything else I have this. I have eyes that see the Lord. I have ears that hear the Lord. I have a heart that hungers incessantly for the Lord - and that is continually filled with Him. I have feet that help me to walk down the tiny country road of my life with Him. And truly, there are blind and deaf people that see and hear more of the Lord than those with perfect eyesight and perfect hearing. For at the end of the day, the greatest blessing of all is not the endless array of all the pretty colors nor this pretty spring day - nor the eyes to see it all.

The greatest blessing is the ability, the desire, the yearning, the seeking, and the fulfillment of knowing the Lord God almighty, Creator of all the pretty colors, through faith in His precious, only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ. For even as precious as His Creation is, it is nothing whatever when compared with the Creator Himself! Oh, Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Praise His Holy name!

1Praise the LORD!

            Praise God in His sanctuary;

            Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
      2Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
            Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

      3Praise Him with trumpet sound;
            Praise Him with harp and lyre.

      4Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
            Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

      5Praise Him with loud cymbals;
            Praise Him with resounding cymbals.

      6Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
            Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Paralyzed dog Miss Mercy never complains. Not ever. She is always full of joy. She has dragged herself around ever since she got hit by a car and found herself locked inside a rural Georgia shelter where she would almost certainly have been euthanized. Her pain was excruciating, and my five-hour trip to go pick her up out of the shelter was followed by the emphatic verdicts by two reputable veterinarians: EUTHANIZE. They simply could not see past her pain and spinal cord injury. Neither could I. Not with my human eyes anyway. But when I sought the Lord, He convicted me. He called me to walk by faith - not by sight. And, after a short period of super strong pain killers, Miss Mercy received her miracle. Almost two years later now, Miss Mercy is utterly pain free - and 100% joy-filled. She simply LOVES life - most especially going out into the public and greeting people with her ever smile and her eyes so full of light. 

Paralyzed dog Miss Mercy dragged her little sweet self so full of joy to the patch of light....

When she's not in her wheelchair, she scoots around at top speed (her top speed anyway) on her knees. She lives in her own nice-sized bedroom with two-footed Winnie and one-eyed, blind dog Glory - with evening visits from perfectly healthy, totally adoptable Esther (who still hasn't found an adoptive home!). Leave it to Miss Mercy to inspire me and so many others with a reminder that joy is found not in focusing on challenging circumstances, but instead in focusing on the light. For us humans, that's Jesus, light of the world. For Miss Mercy, it's focusing on her blessings - a patch of sunlight streaming through the window like in this photo, the kindness of strangers who love to pet her, her yummy dog food, hanging out with her doggy buddies, getting attention from Mommie, and enjoying her life to the fullest!

Paralyzed dogs Miss Mercy and Mr. Simeon visit 96-year-old friend in rehab


Have you ever stopped to think that God's not a quitter? I hate that word. Quitter. I hate it because it's a word that has stuck with me for decades - ever since it was first spoken over my life by someone very influential in my life. I was criticized. I was judged. I was called a quitter. And for someone as tenacious and committed as I can be, it was a tough word to hear. And still is. It is a word I wish I could say never defines me.

And though I suppose it never actually defines me, there are times when I do exactly that. Quit. Even though I am indescribably tenacious with the most important thing in the universe - the Lord - I am as human as anyone. And there are just things that I most assuredly do quit - whether I should or should not. But as much as I am completely capable of quitting, it is astounding to me that the Creator of the universe just never, ever quits. He has always been God, He is God, and He will always be God. And when He starts something, whether it be everything from creating the world itself to creating a sweet flower in the ground, He brings to completion that which He begins. Even us. And if anything when it comes to quitting versus staying the course amazes me, it is this.

Use Your Story for God's Glory

If you think transparency is just for the sake of bringing our junk into the light so God can heal it, think again. If you want God to use your story for His glory, then you may just come to find that transparency isn't just for you. It's for all those who might be drawn to the Lord through what God has done in your life. So the next time you're tempted to hold back your story because you're too shy, too embarrassed, too ashamed, too private, too averse to thinking about the hard stuff again, too anything at all, consider this.

If you've ever desired for God to use you, realize that He might have much bigger intentions than sending you into the kitchen to fasten your apron strings and to bake dozens of brownies for the church rummage sale. Or he might have much different plans than sending you back to coach youth softball for the special sports league for at-risk inner city kids.

He might just want to use your testimony - yes, even the hard stuff - to show forth His glory and to transform other people's lives as He is doing yours. If the Holy Spirit has been tugging on your heart to share with someone - friend, stranger, or even a whole group of people - about what God has done in your life through your faith in Jesus Christ, don't shut the door on the Holy Spirit. Open it wide, and thank God He is entrusting you with opening your heart, and your story, to bring light to a world in such dire need for the light and hope and LOVE of Jesus Christ. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tired FROM Praying

I was trying to figure out why I was so exhausted as I lay sprawled across my bed at an unusually late hour for a nap and an unusually early hour to go to bed for the night. Was it caring for the 17 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs in my care, a number of whom have health issues and/or medication needs right now? Surprisingly, no. Was it all the driving I did this week, especially some city driving I have grown to really not like? No. Was it the people I ministered to over the phone throughout the week, knowing how I pour my heart into ministry even on the telephone? No. Was it the intense counseling session I had early in the week, given I am at last dealing head-on with the incest perpetrated against me as a child? No, it wasn't even that. Now, it's not as though any of those things - not to mention all of those things combined - would not be enough to cause the average person to be incredibly tired. Then it dawned on me. I was tired FROM praying. I most assuredly am not tired OF praying. I am exhausted FROM praying. But how can prayer be exhausting? For me, it can given the wildly raw, wildly intense, to some perhaps unusual way I have learned to pray.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Big Storm, Little Faith....

Do you know what I love about the story of the disciples who panicked in the middle of the storm and woke up Jesus from His sleep to save them only to be rebuked by Jesus for their little faith and big fear? They may have been low on faith, but they knew to run to Jesus to be saved. And even though Jesus rebuked them for their fear, He still brought calm to the storm. I have days where I am so very low on faith, but the most important thing of all is that I remember who is Lord. Jesus. And no matter how small or big my faith on a given day, my number one need is to seek the Lord. No matter how small or great the storms of my life at any given time, and no matter how small or great my faith, there is truly nothing more important than this. There is no greater love. No greater name. No greater power. No greater authority. No greater grace. No greater mercy. No greater forgiveness. No one greater. Nothing greater. Than this. Jesus is Lord. And as I have sometimes told people who are in such dire straits that they can barely utter a word, let alone function, I have told them to do this. Just say His name. Jesus. If you can do nothing else at all, do this. Say His name. Over and over. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. For He is Lord!

"Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”" Matthew 8:23-27 NIV

Rescued and Relentless

My 15.5 year old dog Jake, nearing his trip to heaven, reminds me of the way I want to be with God. Jake is always in my face. Even now, as I sit in the hot sun,  Jake has gone in and out of the cool of the house countless times - always making his way back to me. He doesn't come with a plan or purpose. He knows I don't have treats. He may or may not get another pat on the head. But no matter how worn out he is by age and health issues, he is persistent in his perseverance to be in my presence as much as possible. This is the way I want to be with God. Persistent in my perseverance to be in God's presence.

Even now, Jake stands at the doorway, panting with all his exertion (no small feat given his severe arthritis and what might be cancer or simply extreme age for his breed) and waits for his next trip to me as I enjoy the strong and hot entrance of spring. Jake is relentless. This is how I want to be with God. Relentless in my seeking Him. Relentless in coming after Him. Relentless in returning to Him every time I have stepped away. Relentless about being in His presence - even if I come to Him tired, weary, panting. Simply relentless.

Jake (in the back) resting with Abigail (front).
Believe it or not, they are NOT related....
Jake does this indoors also. He does not come to receive something from me, though sometimes he does. He comes to me, over and over no matter his obstacles, because he wants to be with me. He desires my company, and my company is enough for him. It is not about getting anything from me; he desires my companionship. This is how I want to be with God, though so much of the time I go running to God in search of something. For God to hear me, for God to help me, for God to answer my prayers. Oh, I long for the day I am so thankful and so surrendered and will so trust in God that my highest priority will be His fellowship. I am slowly moving in that direction. Slowly. Out of breath. Like Jake.

Trials, Trials, Fiery Trials

Everywhere I turn, people hurting. Everywhere I turn, people struggling. Everywhere I turn, people walking through fire. Sick. Weary. Hungry. Poor. Hurting. Broken. Wounded. Abused. Lost. Abandoned. Neglected. Rejected. Raging. Violence. Oh, how I could cry out to the Lord, why Lord? Why Lord? And I have. I have cried out to Him about my own trials. And I have wondered about the trials of others. But at the end of the day, I remember what I told a woman in the midst of her own struggle. Jesus never promised us we would not have our tribulations and trials. But He did promise us this. He has overcome the world. If we would only remember in the midst of our fiery trials that God is sovereign, if we would only take comfort in His presence, if we would only seek His face and allow Him to conform us to the image of Christ as we are refined in the fire of our trials, if we would only run into His arms and rest in Him, then we would discover the blessing greater than any of that which we walk through. Knowing Christ. No matter how much my life has not turned out in any way as I had desired, no matter how many challenges I have been through and continue to go through, I am blessed. For I am not alone in any of my trials as I once was. I am in  Christ.

... "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world
you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ... " John 16:33 NIV

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation." 1 Peter 4:12 NASB

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Longing to Love

Whoever said love has to be complicated? As soon as I jammed my peanut butter fingers into the sterilized dog bones and dropped the now sticky bones to the ground for their proud new owners to scurry after at full disabled-doggy speed, the tears flocked to my eyes (as best they could despite my recent bout of dry eye) in my humble realization through this so seemingly insignificant act of how simple, and small, and seemingly insignificant an act of love can be. But when is love ever insignificant? To paralyzed dog Miss Mercy, and two-footed dog Winnie and one-eyed, blind dog Glory, who share a bedroom, heaven had just opened wide its doors and tossed down their peanut butter delights. So why the near tears over something so seemingly simple and small?

Because I think I win the world's record for the widest gap between my indescribably, exceedingly, endlessly, over-the-top passion to love the Lord and others - AND how extremely far short I fall daily. Oh, how I long to love! The more I seek the Lord, the more I know His love, the more I love Him. The more I love Him, the more I long to love Him and others. And where for so very long I took love for granted and barely gave it a second thought or glance, now I know it's a matter of life or death, isn't it?

One-eyed, blind Glory with paralyzed Miss Mercy....
Not so long ago, I wouldn't have given a passing thought to tossing peanut butter dog bones onto the floor for three disabled dogs, but I am learning not to take God - and love - for granted. And no matter how far short I continue to fall daily in loving God and loving others, I now know how unwise it is to take these precious moments of love, mercy, and grace for granted.

God's Precious Blossoms

I couldn't believe my eyes. In 24 hours, a naked tree that had but one or two blossoms burst forth with so many precious blossoms that I couldn't possibly count them. And, in another 24 hours, even more. At 46 years old, I believe it's the first time in my life I ever noticed such a phenomenon. Only God could have created growth like this. I suppose, in retrospect, I have been too busy surviving one winter season after another in my life to take thankful notice of spring - of what God does when He brings spring on the other side of all life's winters.

Now imagine if the tree had given up near the end of winter, right at the edge of winter and spring, and bowed down to the ground and given up on living. Imagine if it had ended all possibility of the growth to come - the miraculous growth - all because winter was so cold and grey and harsh with no sign of spring to come.  But the tree, refusing to bow down and give up, lifted its branches like arms instead to the heavens with no idea of what would come, or when - but  nevertheless hoping for light and sunshine and warmth and blossoms. How often I have bowed down to the ground, weeping and cursing and yelling and complaining as I felt enveloped and trapped and suffocated by winter seasons in my life when I couldn't even remember what a blossom looked like. But as I have tenaciously chased after the Lord, He has lifted up my head in my many winters, pouring mercy into me and lifting me back into His hold. Each time, when I thought I could bear no more, with the strength of the Lord drenching me with love, I found my hands and heart rising once again to heaven with the promise of spring to come.

And, sure enough, despite days I could only see one blossom on my life, sometimes in only 24 hours too many blossoms to count would come. God reminds me these blossoms might not be answered prayers, but all in all they are blessings that are greater than any other blessings at all. Spiritual blessings. Love. Hope. Mercy. Faith. Forgiveness. And the blossoms, the blessings, are not just His gifts to me. For I find that as God brings me from all the winter seasons into spring, He is growing me up into a daughter who herself is beginning to have these blossoms to offer others. Love for an enemy. Faith for a friend. Encouragement for a weary one. Hope for the discouraged. So many blossoms. And, even as I write, I look to the tree. And if I am not mistaken, there are even more precious pink blossoms on that tree. And, as I look into my heart at where I have experienced so very many long winters, I have again the hope that spring is on its way - with the promise of God's blossoms. Blessings that could only come from above. God's precious blossoms. God's precious blessings. Too many to count.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is It Quitting Time Yet?

Do you ever just so incredibly unbelievably desperately really, really want to quit doing something that you can't figure out whether to tear your hair out, scream at the top of your lungs, burst into five gazillion tears, run and hide under the covers, or eat five gallons of ice cream to try to get rid of all the out-of-control, I-want-to-quit-NOW feelings? Okay, granted, I'm not craving five gallons of ice cream, which shouldn't surprise anyone who knows I've been struggling with the eating disorder monster again. But the rest of it? The pulling out hair, screaming, tears, running and hiding, oh yeah, count me in.

Someone I met years ago who had gone through an incredible trial told me, "Life isn't fair, but it's good." I can't say life is fair, and I can't say it's always so good, not in my estimate anyway, but God is ALWAYS good. And God always knows what He's doing. And when God is yelling in my ear (not that He yells, mind you, but I've been known to exaggerate), "Don't quit!", it's hard to deny Him. How can I possibly quit on God when He never, ever, ever quits on me and has every reason in the world to do just that! But I can, as God can attest to, do a really good job of pulling a two-year-old tantrum (AGAIN!) and yell out to God (or sob, as the case may be), "But WHY, God? WHY?" In other words, why won't God let me just QUIT? Drum roll please. And along comes today's answer.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Greatest Comfort of All

Dedicated to my precious friend who grieves today. She knows who she is. 

Some people need comfort. Some need lots of comfort. Some need tons of comfort. I've needed tons and tons of comfort throughout my life. So many losses. So much tragedy. And I cannot help but think of the greatest comfort of all today as a dear friend of mine in the midst of trial after challenge after trial has had to release her precious dog to the Lord. I am reminded of the journey I have taken when it comes to comfort. For just because I have found the greatest comfort of all does not mean I knew all along. I most assuredly did not.

Long ago, I believed grief was intended for behind closed doors - not to mention in alcohol and all sorts of unhealthy places. When I was in college and learned my mother had euthanized my childhood dog, I got drunk and hid from my friends in my room so nobody would be near me and my grief. When I learned that my grandmother was seriously ill and ultimately died, I found the bottle again - not to mention stayed true to my belief that grief should be done in private. No wonder I went to the bottle. I don't think God ever intended for grief to be done alone.

Need a New Beginning?

One of the zillions of things I love about God is that He is all about new beginnings. When we repent and confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised Him from the dead, we are born again and get our most important new beginning. God erases the debt for our sins because Jesus paid our penalty on the cross, and we get the greatest new beginning of all on earth. We not only are no longer headed for hell because of our sin, and are now promised eternity with God through faith in Jesus Christ, but we get to have a relationship with God on earth. How's that for an amazingly, awesome, breathtakingly phenomenal new beginning - to be restored to fellowship and personal, intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe, the very fellowship that we humans lost with our Creator because of sin.

When we die, if we are followers of Jesus, we get the other greatest new beginning. We begin our journey in eternity with the Lord. In between our salvation and our beginning in eternity, there are countless other new beginnings. Like every time I confess my sin to God and am forgiven for something wrong I have done. And like the amazing new beginning I have had just this morning. In spending time with the Lord, in seeking Him and listening to Him speak into my heart, I realized He has taken me to a new place with a gift He has given me.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Praise Report on Sweet Jake

The Lord blessed sweet Jake, Walk by Faith Ministry, and myself this week with plenty of love, generous donations for Jake's visit to the vet, and the surprisingly good news that what I suspected would be bone cancer turned out to be very severe arthritis. I am well aware that Jake, at 15 years old, may not be with me for an extraordinarily much longer time, but I am thankful for the extra time the Lord has given me. Given my not-so-long-ago loss of my beloved ministry co-founder Red, combined with the loss of several other of my immediate "dog" family members and other losses, this was an unexpected blessing for which I am truly grateful. Many thanks to those who prayed and to those who donated.

A Blind Dog's Lesson - She Can See Love

Sometimes words just pop out of my mouth. Then I see their significance. Surely they are borne in heaven, some of these words. Like these. She can see love. Right in the midst of feeding, medicating, and letting in and out the ministry's 17 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs, I called out to blind, one-eyed Glory. She couldn't see me, of course, but she could hear me. She has trouble locating sound, too, so she does not take a straight path to get to me. But she knows where love is. Blind Glory can see love. And so it is she ran in one direction, stub-of-a-tail wagging, then in another. Then she ran another way, then another. She ran as fast as she could, wagging tail never stopping, until she found me. Her source of love. Blind Glory not only can see love. She persistently, tenaciously, passionately, attentively, dog-on-a-vital-mission goes after it. Until she runs into it. What a precious, doggone lesson in the love of God, isn't it?

Sweet Glory when she still had two eyes......
How often do I run blindly in one direction only to find God isn't there? How often do I run blindly in the other direction only to discover I am off course? How often do I turn in yet another direction to remember I shouldn't have gone that way? And how often do I finally, at last, only because I am tenacious and God is loving, merciful, and patient, crash into the greatest source of love there is, and the only source of true, legitimate, real, genuine, authentic, everlasting love there is? God Himself. And I, like Glory, cannot walk by sight. Because I cannot see God. And often I find myself running after things and people I can see, thinking I will find the answer there. To no avail, of course. Then, like Glory, I run in another direction. I only wish I could say my tail wags as I run in the next direction. But Glory, on her mission, always has a happy, joyful, disposition, utterly convinced she will find her source of love if she doesn't give up. She is not discouraged that she made the mistake of running the wrong way yet again. She is only ever more convinced she must find the right way to get to the right destination. Glory doesn't walk, or run, by sight. She lives by faith.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: RAW FAITH by Kasey Van Norman

Got faith? How about raw faith? Don't know what I'm talking about? Call me a voracious reader. Sometimes I read two to three books a week; often I bounce around from book to book. While countless Christian books I read are hugely informative and often inspiring, strong in teaching and encouraging, too, many of them are written by authors who stay on the surface rather than diving deep below. Every once in a while, however, I run across an exception. Such is the case with Kasey Van Norman's book Raw Faith: When God Picks a Fight, published by Tyndale House Publishers and scheduled for release in April 2014. If you're ready and willing to take a dive down deep - deeper than you may have ever gone before or deeper than you've been in a while - be prepared to go on a raw, gritty, challenging, and, yes, phenomenally inspiring and life-transforming journey with Kasey.

Everything about this book is totally raw - a somewhat rare, and wonderfully refreshing, thought-provoking quality in a book in my experience. Raw, and real. Where so many books are sugar-coated with comfortable, easy, palatable, sweet-sounding, somewhat, if not entirely, surface kind of writing, Raw Faith is not. Not at all. Where the Bible calls us to offer our bodies (or lives) (Romans 12:1) to God as a living sacrifice, it is my belief that Kasey has done just that by extending an invitation to readers to dive down into the depths of her heart, her life, her story as God is glorified through her testimony.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Donations Sought for 15-year-old Sweet JAKE.......

Some of you might remember not too long ago that when I lost my beloved ministry co-founder Red, I felt that I would likely lose my sweet Jake at the same time. The Lord blessed me immeasurably by keeping Jake in my life all these months since. Jake needs to go to the vet to get two x-rays of his leg, as he is in a lot of pain and having difficulty walking. His back pain seems much more manageable with his medications, but his leg is a different story. I would be very grateful to anyone who would like to make a donation toward his care. I am raising $250 for his care. DONATE BUTTON is below......!
I came into my bedroom one day to find
Jake "reading" the Bible........
Fifteen-year-old Sweet Jake, who has been with me for many years after coming into my life via my ex-husband, has graciously shared my love, time, care and attention with countless other rescued dogs through the years. He has sacrificed the life of a regular family doggie so that I could work with all the other dogs that have come in and out of our lives.

Jake had been an outside-only dog with heartworm, no veterinary care, vaccines, or flea/tic prevention, and left for several days at a time with another dog and a massive bowl of dog food. I literally had to DRAG him indoors. Over time, I had to DRAG him outside because he decided AC, heat, and comfort sure beat living outside. Jake currently lives in my bedroom with paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon and disabled dog little Miss Miracle, with periodic visits from Abigail.

On a different day, I came into my bedroom
and found my beloved Red "reading" the Bible....
Despite Jake's pain, he follows me in my room to get as close to me as possible, and walks back and forth to my bed to get right in my face as I read and write. He is so excited to see me when I open the door to let him back inside after his bathroom breaks that he literally does a little "run" despite his pain. His love for me is amazing, and I would love nothing more right now than to give him all the care he needs to bring him comfort as he lives out what time He has left on this earth. The way Jake loves me is such a reminder that I need to follow the Lord in the same way - always keeping my eyes, and heart, and attention on Him. I wish I could say I do this with the Lord even close to how well Jake does this with me!

Thank you for your love, prayers, and donations!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

WANTED: NEW SPONSORS........!!!!!!!!

NEW SPONSORS wanted for WALK BY FAITH MINISTRY. Sponsors donate ANY amount they choose on a monthly basis toward WALK BY FAITH MINISTRY as a whole, toward one of the mostly special needs & senior rescued dogs, or to any other aspect of the ministry. It would be AWESOME to have some sponsors for the INSPIRATIONAL WRITING & BOOKS, too! Unfortunately, the ministry has lost several sponsors this past year & it would be a BIG BLESSING to add some new ones! Please contact me at if you are interested. Thank you & God bless you!!!

Becoming Real

I talked to a friend today whom I have known for a long time, but all of a sudden I find we are becoming real. We have talked thousands of times before, and have woven in and out of each other's lives. But as much as we always came back to one another after periods away, we always knew we had our safe, hiding places to run to.

For as close as we have been, we were never close enough. We held back pieces of ourselves from each other, not because God likely wanted us to, but more than likely because we were afraid - and prideful. As down to earth and simple as we both are in so many ways, right down to the way we dress and speak and act, we kept ourselves pretty carefully made up with each other.

Endless Mercy

You astound me, God. You amaze me. No matter how short I fall, you are there. You wait for me. Your mercy never runs out. You have it new for me every morning. You could so easily turn your back on me and walk away. How often have I done that very thing when I have not had mercy for others. But there you are, not only waiting to shed your mercy on me, but teaching me to do the same with others.

You are a well of mercy that never runs dry. I need only to come to you humble, broken, sorrowful, confessing my sin to you, remorseful over what I have done. And you take my contriteness, my brokenness, and replace it with the cool, refreshing, life-giving, water of your mercy. Your fountain of mercy so strong, it pours into me. And I, bent over, withered, dry, dehydrated with my sin, receive your transfusion, your flow into me of mercy, and become transformed. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Poem for My King - by Lara Love

You draw me to yourself
Even in my iniquity
You do not turn away
But pull me closer to you
And readily I come
To be held by you
To be-hold you
To take hold of you
Wrapped in your arms
Tight in your embrace
Tears falling on your shoulder
You take my heart
You take my hurt
You take my sorrow
And give me hope for tomorrow
Not for anything particular
But the hope I hold in my arms
Is not just the promise
Of forever in heaven with you,
As though that were not enough
But it’s the promise of the way you hold me now
Wrapping me in grace
Enfolding me in mercy
Even as I struggle with sin
Even as I hurt over what was done to me
I have you to cleave to
You to cling to
You to love, oh Lord
And I bask in the peace
Of finally coming to grasp
That even in all my imperfection
I am loved by you
You want me
You accept me
You love me
You, my Lord,
I cry safely in your arms
Tucked gently in the refuge of your forever love.

-     A Poem for My King, by Lara Love

Empty Hands, Empty Heart

Today I am letting go of something beautiful. Oh, it felt so good - for a while. It looked so good. It sounded good. I enjoyed it greatly - for a while. Oh, there were so many wonderful things about it. It was comfortable. It was wonderful to be loved. To be appreciated. I did well with it for a while. I saw God use me. How wonderful that was. So much wonderful about it - except. Except God didn't want me to hold onto it.

And I assumed that the open door that I ran through to fill my hands and heart with this meant God had opened the door - and kept it open. But open doors aren't always opened by God. And even open doors that God has opened aren't always meant to stay open. Sometimes when God opens a door and I run through it, I remain past the time God wants me there. And sometimes I burst through open doors that He hasn't opened at all.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

He Bore It All

I was wandering through the cool, sun-splashed yard, picking up the never-ending supply of dog poop, mind you, the perfect fodder and time for yet another heavenly blessing, when the thought made a crisp, clean, and smooth entry into my mind. Jesus bore it all. Not some things. Not other things. Not this. Not that. Not just that stuff over there. Not what he was in the mood to bear. Not the pretty stuff only. Not the hard stuff alone. Not slim pickings. No, not limited in any way. He bore it ALL. Everything.

So why do I, and why do we, bear anything at all when His shoulders are strong enough, His hands wide enough, His arm powerful enough, His love endless enough, His grace sufficient, His mercy forever, His sacrifice on the cross ALL-encompassing, ALL-embracing, ALL-inclusive?

Why, yes why, do we carry the weight of sorrow, of grief, of hurt, of brokenness, of wounds, of scars, of cuts, of scrapes, of bruises, of our sin, of others' violence and crimes and lashes against us, sickness, loss, emptiness, loneliness, anything at all, why do we sink, and find ourselves crushed and hopeless and discouraged and flattened on the ground, unable to take another step, another breath, another anything at all - why? Why, when He bore it ALL?

This is NOT to say that we won't still hurt, that we won't still suffer, that we won't still experience hurt, and hardship, and challenge, and so much more. In fact, Jesus PROMISES us we will have tribulation. But He also PROMISES us He has overcome the world. So why do I find myself time after time crawling in the dirt, my head down, tears puddling in the dust as I cry out, cry out, cry out, help me, I can't take this burden anymore? It's because I forget. He not only bore it ALL. He bears it still. He bore, and bears, ALL.

And ALL I have to do, and ALL we have to do, is to reach out breathlessly, brokenly, yearning, hungry, thirsty, desperate, desirous, needy, humble, yes, humble, and take the yoke HE offers us. So that He - yes, HE - can take the weight off of us and hand us His own yoke. His own burden. Light, because He bore, and wants to bear, ours. Easy, because it is His. I am tired. I am broken. Again. But this time I remember. And so it is. I give Him the weight. I give Him the burden. And I reach out my hands to take what He hands me. His peace. His forever love. Himself.

Isa 53:1  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 
Isa 53:2  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 
Isa 53:3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 
Isa 53:4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 
Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 
Isa 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 
Isa 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 
Isa 53:9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 
Isa 53:10  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 
Isa 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 
Isa 53:12  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (underlining and bold added for effect)

Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 
Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.