Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giftedness ©

Gifts and talents are amazing.  We all have heroes we admire and respect.  We admire their courage and strength, their knowledge and intellect, their creativity and inventiveness.  We admire their talent.  It seems kingdoms and countries have been led by men and women such as these.  Sometimes we observe such talent and think, ‘Oh, if I just had a tiny fraction of that person’s talent.’ 
The fact is that we all have our very own set of gifts and talents.  We may not be the best speaker or leader, we may not have political savvy or be the best guitar player or worship leader.  But we might be awesome at childcare.  We might be an awesome cook or an excellent gardener.  Perhaps we excel at writing poems, throwing a football, knitting or training puppies.  The point is, it doesn’t matter what we are good at only that we recognize that we are good at something.  And that something, no matter how big or how small, is the exact talent or gift that we are meant to have.  More importantly, that gift or talent is meant to be shared with others; it is ours given to us to by the creator to be used for all. 
The truth is if we were all great leaders there would be no one to lead.  If we were all top notch guitar players the band would sound horrible without the rest of the instruments.  Large and small, gifts and talents cannot be measured in value based on popularity because they are all necessary; let us all give thanks for our own special gifts.   

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts on Women of Faith © 2011

Women of Faith. What does that mean? How do we come to fall into that category? Hmm, fall into a category, that’s an interesting concept, but it doesn’t apply here. Being a woman is part of who we are, part of our assignment from God. Faith is a choice and not something we fall in to.

In this case, ‘Women of Faith is a Christian women’s organization that has been holding non-denominational conferences at various locations around North America since 1996’ at least that is how it is defined according to Wikipedia. But in my experience it is so much more. Attending a Women of Faith (WOF) conference cannot be narrowed down to a simple definition. It is an experience. It is true that part of WOF is the whole ‘getting there’ dilemma. Can we take the time? Will the family survive? What about the expense? Should we stay in a hotel? Who we will go with and on and on. It is no small task to actually get a woman to step out and attend a conference designed solely for her, for 2 entire days. But, when everything falls into place and the WOF experience begins, you will never forget it.

I attend the WOF conference in Hartford, CT. This is significant for two reasons: 1) it is close to my home and 2) it is the closing conference for the season and that makes it really special. This year’s WOF conference had something for everyone. Comedy, drama, psychology, science, music, and of course worship and testimonies. From Shelia Walsh’s poignant bible study and testimony to Ken Davis’ outrageous comedy I cried and laughed until I was near dehydration. As a scientist by education I truly appreciated Dr. Henry Cloud’s presentation of the Law of Happiness and how the science behind happy people so closely follows the reality of Christian teaching. One could say that God’s law is the key to happiness. But we all knew that didn’t we?

One of the favorite things I enjoy about WOF is not only the opportunity to connect with nearly 9,000 women in worship which brings glory to my heavenly Father, but also the obvious connection between the WOF team. As these women share their hearts, their brokenness and their encouragement with the audience, we can observe not only how their stories affect those in the seats around us, but also how they affect their co-team members sitting on the ‘front porch’. I watched as they cheered each other on, were humbled by each other’s talent and wept over their heartbreaks. From April to November these women and men leave their families on the weekend and minister to thousands of women across the country. The production of the conference is timed and goes on without a hitch as the same material is covered weekend after weekend. Yet I see these women weep for each other over material previously presented and I see them bent over in hysterics as Ken Davis kills us with his comedic view on life. I see Henry Cloud choke up as he speaks of the importance of connection. This is the essence of what the Women of Faith experience is - the connectedness. This is where women are touched and encouraged by women who have faith that accepting the love of our Savior is what will get us all through.  I am so grateful to all those who make the Women of Faith experience possible and I am better for having experienced it. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review - The Fight of Our Lives

The Fight of Our Lives by Bennett and Leibsohn is an eye-opening read that will either have you up in arms and wanting to fight for liberty and justice for all ‘Americans’ making you jaded against Muslims in general or cause you to wonder why we just can’t all just get along. Are we in a fight for religion, fight for freedom, or just a fight for survival?

I recommend this book because I think we all need to be more self-educated on what the real fight against terrorism is. We need to look at all the facts and not just those presented to us on syndicated networks. Bennett and Leibsohn refreshingly present facts that are outside of what the mainstream considers ‘politically correct’. The facts are not pretty. Are we so busy protecting people’s feelings that we’re missing protecting the public at large? Read The Fight of Our Lives and determine for yourself. The publisher of The Fight of Our Lives has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend this read.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Review - The Final Summit

Andy Andrews returns with David Ponder in The Final Summit bringing us a welcome reunion with a favorite hero. Taking place years after David Ponder was given The Traveler’s Gift, we learn how his life has turned out.

The Final Summit reads like a fine mystery uniquely padded with some of Andrew’s favorite characters from history. Ponder is not only reunited with those he has met in his previous adventure but he is honored with the presence of historical greats as he struggles to find the answer to the continuation of life.

The reader is swept up as he yearns to help David Ponder in his quest. This read is highly recommended to those seeking a good page turning read that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The publisher of The Final Summit has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend this read.

Book Review - Max on Life

Max on Life by Max Lucado

Max has taken over 170 common life-affecting questions posed from his readers and answered them as only Max can in his easy reading style while also offering scriptural guidance. From financial worries to relationship and family issues Max brings light to what’s bugging us. To the lost struggling for answers to life’s most difficult questions Max is compassionate and convicting. Struggling with debt? Max speaks the obvious – “stop spending”! With his laid back deliverance Max leads the reader to hope and healing, guidance and comfort. The scriptural references are refreshing as we see the answers to our questions have been answered before we thought of them! With a separate index of listed subjects and scriptural references Max On Life promises to be a valuable reference book for the shelf of any family or individual.  The publisher of Max On Life has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®. I enjoyed this book as I do all of Max Lucado's books and highly recommend this read.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life in a Fog (C)

Driving to work this morning my progress was slowed, hindered, and made more dangerous by fog. Fog is literally a cloud sitting on the ground; its density reducing the visibility of those caught in its midst. Within the fog are hidden dangers. We cannot avoid what we cannot see; likewise we cannot run to that good thing that is hidden from our view.

While driving through this physical fog I was reminded of the spiritual or mental fog we can sometimes get caught in. Our minds can become foggy; we can’t think or ‘see’ things clearly. The busyness of life can fog our minds; distractedness steals our vision. While the fog of our mind is present we are exposed to hidden dangers. We act without thinking clearly or sometimes thinking at all and we make wrong choices. Other times good things pass us by as our vision is clouded. We aren’t even aware of what we’ve missed as we go about life ‘in a fog’.

As my 2 hour trip approached its completion the bright and morning star made an appearance and the fog cleared. We have our own bright and Morning Star that is always available to help us see things clearly revealing the truth of what is ahead. When we focus on our Savior, the Son shines brightly in our lives casting out darkness and fog. With Him “there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” Luke 12:2. If we rely on Jesus He will put his hands on our eyes and like the man in Mark 8:25 we can have eyes opened, sight restored, and see everything clearly. Today let our fog be lifted and let us receive that good thing He is waiting to bestow on us.

By Liz Hall

Psalm 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Monday, September 12, 2011

See Saw(C)

By Liz Hall
My work office has once again been moved.  For those of us that work in corporate America we know that there is no such thing as permanence anymore.  Gone are the days when you work for a company straight out of college and retire from the same company 30 to 40 years later.  These days it seems that even the very office space that you occupy is subject to repeated relocations depending on company re-structuring, leasing of new office space and on and on.  And so, my office has been moved.  It is now deep inside a building once occupied by ESPN, far down a narrow hallway and further still from any kind of discernible cell phone service.  This later issue troubles me a bit.  I often have missed calls from people I need to talk to.  I was attempting to make a call recently and meandered to the end the building near an emergency exit door just to get a couple of bars on my cell.  Waiting for a connection, I decided to sit on a stray conference table left in the hall.  Here is where the situation becomes interesting.  Apparently, I sat at the very end of this long table but did not realize that the legs were closer to the middle of the table rather than the end.  As the connection came and the phone started to ring I was suddenly in motion.  I was going down as the opposite end of the table went up!  Plop!  My would-be table seat became a singularly occupied See Saw and I hit the floor.  For a moment, life seemed turned upside down.
Have you ever had your life turned upside down?  That’s a loaded question I know and many will say ‘Oh sure, I know exactly what you’re talking about, I’ve been there’.  In today’s economy and high unemployment rate many have had life as they know it completely altered.  In 2003 I lost my job of 16 years and was out of work for 2 ½ years.  As a single, working Mom things for us changed to say the least.  In hindsight I consider myself lucky.  That was before unemployment was the crisis that it is today and eventually I rejoined the work force.  Natural disasters have recently paid an unpleasant visit to the Northeast.  Tornados in Massachusetts, earthquakes felt from Ohio to Canada, hurricane Irene battering the Carolinas to Vermont and flooding in the weeks to follow due to additional tropical weather.  Sometimes these things are forecasted and we heed the warnings and prepare.  Sometimes there is no warning.  From unemployment to loss of electrical power our comfort zones are removed and it feels as though life has been turned upside down.  And yet, when we finally get that job or when the power is eventually restored, the recovery process continues.  The cost can take years to overcome.
This business of having life turned upside down is not new.  Those who followed Christ and were witness to his life, death and resurrection were accused of this very thing!  Turning the world upside down!  In the 17th chapter of Acts when Paul was in Thessalonica preaching that Jesus was the Christ, unconvinced Jews caused a riot and claimed “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.  Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus”  Acts 17:6.  The Jewish people seemed surprised, yet the coming of Christ was foretold. 
And so I suggest that sometimes having our world turned upside down is a good thing.  It is often in retrospect that we realize the gift of what having gone through an unsettling time is.  I lost my job, but I gained perspective and learned not to lean on my own understanding.  I was encouraged and supported by family, friends and a community of believers.  I was humbled at a community food bank and that’s a good thing.  My faith was strengthened as I comforted others who worried about my ability to raise my family and pay my bills.  My son was 13 at the time and he finally got to go to a skate camp that had previously not fit into my work schedule.    I worried less about the whys and focused more on being thankful.  I can look back and say that what I gained during that time far outweighed what I lost.  The benefit outweighed the cost.  I can’t say I look forward to the next bump in the road, the next time life is turned upside down, but I don’t fear it either.  After all, I have been warned…tribulations will come, but I believe in the One who has overcome the world and He is always with me reminding me to be encouraged and of good cheer.   

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Locked Out©

Cars. Don’t we just love to hate them sometimes? If you’re anything like I am, you have a vehicle with high miles that you’re trying to have carry you through another 100,000 or so. Maybe that’s a bit too hopeful but in these economic times we try and make a dollar go further and further. Along the way we may have to give up some luxuries. In the case of my car, it seems I’ve given up the luxury of working windows, a quiet ride and a working remote door lock/entry system which is attached to my keys. This later issue has led to the somewhat embarrassing situation of locking myself out of my car, sadly to say, on more than one occasion. It’s likely we’ve all been there at one time or another; peering through the window of our locked vehicle staring at the car keys in the ignition, on the seat, in the purse on the seat etc. We don’t know whether to laugh or cry, sometimes we do both.
I’ve also managed to lock myself out of my house several times. I remember once, just as we were leaving for vacation, I locked all of the windows, secured even the garage door which does not have an automatic door opener, packed the car and the kids only to realize the keys were in the house! How these things happen, I don’t know. I was forced to shove my daughter through a small octagonal window in our dining room that time to recover the keys. Such fond memories! I had to chuckle recently when a friend told me of her embarrassing dilemma when she put in a load of laundry to wash including the clothes she was wearing only to discover her bedroom door had locked behind her. Being a self-reliant person she removed the doorknob to no avail, looked for hinges which were on the inside and exhausted all means of unlocking thesituation. Her washer was in her apartment, so luckily a coat closet and her long raincoat were available to partially ‘cover’ her embarrassment. Still, she had to call the maintenance man and have him come to fix the problem. And so I chuckled, not at her situation, but at the fact that I had yet to find found myself in that predicament.

There are many places we can be locked out of. Cars, buildings, rooms, computers, events, clubs, and even hearts are ‘places’ from which we can be locked out of. Some of these situations are at least partly in our control, others are not. If we don’t bring the right credentials we can be locked out of certain venues or events. If we don’t have a membership we may be locked out of a particular club. If we’ve hurt someone and they aren’t forgiving we may be locked out of their heart and it may not be in our control to change that.

Sometimes being locked out can be a life or death situation. Critically ill or injured people behind locked doors can lose precious time when help from the outside world is locked out. But there is another life or death situation that involves being locked out that I’m most concerned with. There is a very special Kingdom that has a very specific requirement for entry and without it the doors are locked, impenetrable. In this case it isn’t who someone is or even what they’ve done or haven’t done that keeps them from having the proper credentials for entry. It is their belief or lack thereof as the case may be. Luke tells us of Jesus’ warning when He said “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from'”. Luke 13: 24-25, NLT. The life I speak about is eternal life and it is a gift for all who believe in Jesus and are willing to take the time to know him and accept him as their savior. In this case, we can’t afford to wait until we’ve put a few more miles on these bodies before we decide to believe or not. No one is promised tomorrow. This isn’t some luxury item we can do without for a time. This is a matter of life and death. Membership to this Kingdom is in our control, the decision is ours, yet it is the submission of giving control to Jesus that will unlock the door to an everlasting life with the Savior. That is one place that I don’t want to be locked out of.
by Liz Hall


Reflection. It’s a pretty simple word really. Have you ever stopped to think of the significance of reflection? As I sit here and try to think of what I shall write about, I glance over my blog and think of the reason I started writing it and what I was trying to reveal with it. The blog’s title, Analysis of a Season, contains the key word Analysis. Wikipedia© says Analysis is ‘the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it’. When I think of reflection, or the act of reflecting back on something, I think of trying to better understand it. This type of reflection is called introspection. In my blog I began to look back at some of the things that have occurred in my past and I reflected on how I felt and thought while I was going through them. The reflection lead to understanding, lessons learned, truths discovered and lies unveiled. It is good to reflect, to accept ourselves and our history and understand that these things are part of what makes us who we are. I am a scientist; therefore analysis is part of who I am. It only stands to reason that self-analysis or reflection is also part of who I am.

There are other types of reflection. The sun or a bright light can reflect off of glass or a mirror and be blinding. Reflection of headlights in a rear-view mirror can be distracting and make seeing what is in front of us difficult. This line of thinking leads me to believe certain types of reflection can be dangerous. Is it possible reflecting on the past can be dangerous as well? This is a new revelation to me. How can a reflection on what is behind us become a distraction from what is in front of us? I suppose the answer is in how much time we spend in reflection and take care not to let it become an obsession.
Some reflections are absolutely beautiful. The reflection of a mountainous scene off of a clear lake revealing a mirror image can be breathtaking. Many of us don’t like our own reflection. We prefer not to spend much time in front of the mirror. We might think it vain or just don’t like what is starting back at us. But, perhaps we should spend some time there anyway. Consider that when we look upon our reflection we are looking into the face of someone’s child. Perhaps we are gazing upon someone’s mother, someone’s wife, sister; best friend. As Christians we are called upon to love one another. And we do, we try to. We are often successfulat encouraging someone, making someone laugh, giving a word of wisdom, brightening a day with our smile. The next time we look closely into our own reflection, shouldn’t we see what they see? Shouldn’t we see the friendly smile, encouraging glance, ready laugh? Shouldn’t we see the love that we have for others? And then, if we look deeper still, we should see our Savior. He is our shining example and we are called to be like Him. It is through Him that we can love. As we strive to be more like Him we become the reflection of his goodness, his mercy, his kindness, and his compassion.

I avoid mirrors, but I think the next time I pass one by, I just might stop and gaze for a minute and look into His image and then walk just a little bit taller and shine a little bit brighter.
By Liz Hall ©

Alaskan Pipedream

I had a pipedream for a long time. I wanted to go on a cruise. I loved the water, swam all my life, worked as a lifeguard in high school and college and always took those corny boat trips anytime I was on vacation. I planted the seed in my head and I wanted to go on a cruise. In reality however, I was a single working mom. I had the sole responsibility of raising my kids and keeping a roof over all of our heads. Recovering from a divorce and unemployment took its toll and the dream remained just that, a dream.

Eventually my children matured and seemed less dependent on me and as an empty nest rapidly approached, thoughts of my dream vacation re-emerged. Justification for the extravagant expense seemed plausible as my 50th birthday loomed in the near future. I had visions of inviting friends and family on a short cruise and celebrating my big day with them. Life happened. I had a falling out with my daughter and things didn’t seem so rosy. As time ticked away decisiveness failed me and the half centennial cruise did not occur. I switched gears, literally and bought a car instead, but it did not satisfy my dream of cruising on the open sea amid bountiful spreads of gourmet food and endless activities. Come to think about it, a lot of what occurred the last half of that year did not satisfy me. In fact, it became a pretty dark year. My best friend filed for divorce which became a very contentious issue in our church. My place of solace became a place of judgment and condemnation. Additionally, I was struggling with relationship issues, low self-esteem and a lack of purpose. As I became caught up emotionally, there was backsliding and my relationship with the Lord suffered. I was not at peace. Eventually, being uncomfortable in my skin and with what I had become, I began to attend a monthly women’s bible study. I fought with myself and my worldliness and as the Fall season approached I turned away from what was keeping me in the distance. I repented, I sought accountability partners and I sought the Lord.

As a New Year approached I thought about setting goals and the same itching desire to do what I’d dreamt about for many years came back. There was a difference though, my focus was now on finding a Christian Cruise and thoughts of Alaska were awakened. At the same time there was a new struggle. Excessive legalism in my church had been an issue for me for some time. Women had long been restricted from leadership and teaching positions and my friends’ divorce was causing dissension. Meanwhile, I found the perfect cruise and in February of 2010 I booked a stateroom on the Michael W. Smith and Friends Alaskan Cruise. I was elated, I was in shock, I was nervous but I had done it, I was committed. In July I would board a Holland America Cruise liner and head for Alaska. The future looked bright. My hunger for the Lord continued and my faith was strengthened as I drew nearer to Him. And in the midst, the bottom dropped out once again. My friends’ struggle with the Elders finally came to a climax on Palm Sunday when they publicly removed her membership from the church on grounds of her divorce and plans to re-marry. It was a blow. I left and never returned. My church family of 9 years was now gone and it seemed wrong that just as I was working hardest on my relationship with the Lord my community was swept away. I now look upon that difficult time as one of the greatest gifts the Lord has ever given to me. My thirst for Him was not quenched - it was renewed. Those of us that left that church fellowshipped, celebrated the Lord’s supper and talked about planting churches. I ‘church-shopped’ and I prepared for my cruise. I would travel solo. I knew I wouldn’t find anyone to cruise with me but I didn’t let it hinder my plans. This was, in and of itself, a huge step. Just a couple of years earlier I would not dine in a restaurant alone, felt judged, and thought being alone was not okay. In telling people about my upcoming trip they would ask “Wow, who are you going with?” and my answer would be “2000 family members, members of the body of Christ”. The entire cruise ship had been booked through Inspiration Cruises and it was essentially a private cruise of Christians bound for Alaska ready to take in the beauty of His creation.

And so I stepped out in faith and prayed fervently for God to show me what He wanted me to see and to teach me what He wanted me to learn and on July 11, 2010, I boarded the U.S.S. Oosterdam in Seattle, Washington.

From the onset it was different. Going through the lines having documentation checked was painless. People waiting to board were kind, patient and ready to share a story. I met a couple while boarding and later upon disembarkment they were the last people I hugged before heading home. Once on board we were directed to a bountiful lunch and the journey began. The ship was divided into two groups that dined and attended nightly concerts together. When meeting people we became quick to ask “are you in the red or blue group?” Describing the week in this short writing could never do it justice. The concerts were outstanding and moving as the Spirit of God touched us through song and worship. Listening to Max Lucado time and again during the week was inspiring. Hearing his wife and Michael W. Smith’s wife share their stories was uplifting. Meeting those God sent my way with similar struggles was affirming and yet gave me an opportunity to lift others up. The most profound effect on me was the daily 7 am devotionals presented by John and Beverly Sheasby on his book entitled The Birthright. Throughout the week we learned that we as heirs to God’s Kingdom are loved unconditionally by our Father who sent us His son to reveal his character to us. Through the teachings of Jesus we were shown that God is our loving Father who simply wants to be in a loving relationship with us. He longs for us to tug gently on his nightshirt and ask for all that we need; this will be freely given to us as His children. I became broken on that cruise as I thought of my Father in Heaven watching, as I who had been given all, spent years beating myself up and allowing myself to be marginalized because of feelings of unworthiness and the of pain and damage of years of not feeling validated.

So how, some might ask, is this a story of a positive event in my life? The answer of course, is because there is Victory in the truth! Somewhere between viewing Glaciers and flying over fjords it was revealed to me that I am fully worthy and a legitimate heir to God’s Kingdom. I had been all along. There was nothing that I needed to measure up to, no assurance that I needed to have from a person, a man, or a relationship which would validate me more than I already was. I realized that I could lose the earthly things that I was given but what the Father had given I could never loose. It was mine, my inheritance, my birthright that had been freely given through grace and mercy. I learned my worth is immeasurable because I am an heir to the greatest Kingdom of all. No one can devalue me, but if I devalue myself I am not walking in faith. I may not be perfect but I am perfectly made and all the riches of my Father are mine. I was so humbled and yet so free. I began a cruise as someone wondering who they were and ended it knowing that I was a princess with a Father who has a Kingdom waiting for me. Events just don’t get more positive than that.
by Liz Hall(C)

Friday, March 18, 2011

What Came First the Woman or the Mother?

So we’re all familiar with the old adage ‘what came first the chicken or the egg?’ I don’t think I’ve ever thought of this question in human terms. Perhaps the analogies have always been implied but suffice it to say if it had, I missed it.

So, I believe women are by nature: caregivers, helpful, intuitive, decisive, organized, and detail-oriented and of course above all else - loving. God in His infinite wisdom has created us this way. It is who we are before we are anything else. Little girls can be seen ‘caring’ for their dolls, stuffed animals, even friends. Young girls focus on the details of growing up, become aware of boys and focus on becoming women. Teenage girls have agendas and ‘stuff’ they must organize, friendships they must navigate and maturing boys who take notice. From the time we are little girls to the time we are young adult women we think about the future, marriage, children, someone to love. It is engrained in our very being. Yet, we are all those qualities of a woman before we become mothers. Some never become mothers yet they have maternal instincts that are revealed in their friendships and relationships. The caregiver in all of us, the desire to emulate what we have been taught from our own mothers or significant women in our lives comes out regardless of childbirth.

But, the question is…when we shine in our ability to organize, decide, lead a situation, help someone, intuitively ‘do’ for someone, love…are we being maternal or just women?

A man’s first experiences with women are with their mothers and so all subsequent experience with women is gauged on that. Some men want to be ‘mothered’; some are opposed to being ‘mothered’. My point is this; I don’t think women want to ‘mother’ men. I think some women want to control their men and need to come to an understanding that trying to control anyone other than ourselves is futile.

What men need to understand is that when we exhibit the behaviors of a woman we shouldn’t be accused of trying to be their mother…we should be thanked for being a woman.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Looking for Love

I am single, divorced, alone. I have been 'looking for love' for sometime. I have friends that tell me "don't go looking for love, it will come to you". But in my quiet time, a still small voice comes to me and says:
'how can you be looking for what you already possess?'

Beth Moore (my new favorite Christian author) tells us that we love because He loved us first and she profoundly points out that instead of saying "I love you God" - we should say "I love you too!" because when we feel the need to express our love to the Father it is because He's already 'been lovin' on us'. How awesome is that?

I have some incredible friends and friendships! Some long established and some brand new, but in every case if I'm spending time with them, it's because I love them...and I feel their love in return. My children, my family...they are sources for and recipents of my love. So, my friend is right, I should not go looking for love. But not because it will come to me, but rather because I already possess it. What satisfies me most, is loving people in the way that they most need it. A meal, a hug, a note, a smile, helping someone move...it doesn't matter. As I pour out to others what my Savior has given to me, it is truly multiplied and that is how it comes back to me.
I am so blessed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The path I walk

The path I walk, or attempt to walk, is a narrow one. When I focus on the path that has been set before me it is well lit and straight, it is less traveled. When my eyes are averted and my attention wavers the path becomes rocky, slippery, sometimes tangled with weeds and other obstacles, it is broader and sometimes becomes crowded.

I know the path that has been set for me...it fills me with joy and eternal pleasures, and promises of rest. When I am tired and unsure or at a crossroads I need only to ask for my Father which is the way of the good path and He will lead me, make known to me the way.

Today, I am in awe and thankful for those that my Father has allowed to cross my path. As I stay in His presence and ask to be used for His glory, to be a vessel that pours out to others - He brings me people of encouragement, people in need, people who are hurting and people who are lost. He brings me people from my past, those that I thought I'd lost to remind me of who I am. He brings me strangers who I can relate and empathize with who become part of my furture - and I am filled when I see all of them the way God wants me to see them and love them as He does. How is it that when we ask to be used and to give, our Father in turn fills us? His love endures forever and no good thing will He keep from us.

And so because His promises are abundant, because He is always right, because in Him there is unending hope and everlasting love I will continue to say "Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths" (Psalm 25:4)...and I welcome all to come with me, for in Him there is no darkness.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I was driving to work through the resevoir again today...it is my usual quiet drive. I choose it over the busier highway for its serenity and closeness to nature. As I drove over the little causeway with water on both sides I came to the center where the road is uneven, and a great puddle had formed for it was a very rainey, grey day. I slowed and saw another vehicle approaching from the opposite direction but really thought little of it. As we both hit our respective puddles a great wall of water from the other vehicle's progress through the puddle hit my windshield, essentially blinding me!

I was shocked, did not expect that! Temporary blindness while driving a car...unsettling to say the least. I thanked my Father for not sending me careening into the resevoir, gathered my wits and continued on.

How many times have we been unexpectedly blinded...but in hindsight realize we could have 'seen' it coming? In retrospect, it isn't the first time I was blinded by a wall of water. Another time I was driving on the Jersey Turnpike in a horrible storm and a wall of water came from across the Jersey barrier propelled by an 18 wheeler. I saw it coming and still, the temporary blindness seemed unexpected at the time. So my question is this...if we are to have eyes to see and ears to hear...why don't we? We, at times, play on the edge of darkness, throw caution to the wind, go about our own willful way and we are surprized when life jumps up and thows us a curve ball all the way exclaiming, "I didn't know, didn't realize, didn't 'see' that coming". Perhaps, or perhaps we looked upon the huge puddle, observed the approaching car and chose not to put 2 and 2 together. Blinded or just running with blinders on? In our own little world of our own choosing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More of where I've been...

I had been a lukewarm, bench sitting, ‘pewsitter’ for a number of years…stuck in a tiny, quiet, legalistic church where the spirit rarely visited and was seldom spoke of. Earlier this year, due to circumstances out of my control regarding a close friend and sister in Christ, I and a few others left that church. Some saw it as a church split and so suddenly my church community of 9 years was ripped from my walk. And so, rather than spitting me out of His mouth, God saw to it that I was removed from my comfort zone, and it was painful and disconcerting, yet I drew near to Him. I continued to study and fellowship with those few who had left and prayed for something bigger, praying earnestly for the Holy Spirit to provide me a place to rest and grow. Since then God has continued to bring me situations, people, and places that have given me a clearer understanding of who He is and the direction He wants me to go. He has brought me to places I could never have imagined…as I sought His church…His people. And He continued to show me things that I needed to see…because my biggest problem wasn’t being stuck in a legalistic church, my biggest problem was me.

With His guidance and through those He has sent I have come to realize that I am fully acceptable and fully worthy. But to know that wasn’t enough…I’ve had to continue to be shown it through His love to get to a place within myself where I could accept it for myself.

Eventually God brought me here, to Victory Christian Church, where He continues to work on me. Here I have come not only to see the spirit moving but to expect it, embrace it and truly feel it within me. God continues to work on my imperfections and to reveal and remove those strongholds that have kept me from an abundant life in Him. I have not only come to understand, but I have come to BELIEVE that there is no affirmation from people, no missing validation from my past, no relationship that is going to satisfy me. I AM fully worthy and I BELIEVE I am acceptable… He is the bread of life but He is also the peanut butter and jelly for in Him I am fully satisfied.

It Surrounds Me

I drove through the reservoir on my way to work today, a bright sunny sub-zero of a temperature day.

As I crossed the tiny causeway that intersects the reservoir I observed the tiny bushes and small trees that lined the road. There was a fine, pure white frost thick on the branches making them look like something in a fairytale land and as I drove by, pure crystals of ice reflected the sun and sparkled like the brightest LED light you can imagine, and I thought....

....this, this might begin to approach how my Father's house will be. But my Father's house will be so much more than I or anyone can imagine. It's glory and beauty will be more than the most proclaimed artists can render, more than the brightest visionaries can foresee and more than the best technology can mock-up. I looked upon the beauty that God shared with me today and I slowed, and I smiled, and I said thank you.

I can not wait to put on the finest garment that He will clothe me in and bask in the beauty knowing that in His eyes I am part of what makes it beautiful!! A reflection of the Son, I will sparkle because I AM beautiful. ;-)