Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

It's that time again. Five Minute Friday! The prompt is: Rhythm
The rules are:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
OK, are you ready?


Chaotic, clumsy steps

An unorganized beat drives me

borrowed from here

borrowed from there

unity the missing piece

I tire of trying to dance to unnatural rhythm.

Examine the pieces

Reject this

Reject that

I settle into the One rhythm 

Tentative steps into Grace

photo credit: mikebaird via photopin cc

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Letter to a Stranger

The Lord often stirs my heart with link-ups and he speaks deeply to me as I ponder the prompts. Here's a new one that I'd love to see other people join in on. It's co-sponsored by Ruth Povey at Learning {One Day at a Time} and Sabrina Fowles at Just Keep Singing. The link up is called Letters To and today's prompt is: Letter to a Stranger. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll give it a try too!

Letters To

Letter to a Stranger

Your name was Mario. I feel I will never forget you. I was fresh off a mission trip. My faith was large and my desire to stretch myself strong. A group of us stepped out of our comfort zone and into a rescue mission in downtown San Jose. You sat in the rusty metal chairs waiting for food. Or maybe you didn’t even make it in, but waited outside wondering about the group of teens that had descended into your world. You don’t know this but I had one prayer. I wanted to be used by God. I fervently prayed, “Don’t let me leave without sharing your love to someone.” But everything was so organized. It was scripted and we sang our songs, I strummed my guitar, the gospel was shared as we stood apart in the designated area and then we were ushered through the doors. I threw out a final plea, “Lord, let me be used. Let me find someone to touch.” But with vans in sight, disappointment was in full stride and ready to launch itself upon my heart. Then you approached.

“Excuse me, could you do something for me?” A tap on my shoulder stirred me from my thoughts. I turned. There you were; a Hispanic man, short and worn too early by hardships and hunger that food could never satisfy. I knew better than to answer a point blank, “Yes,” so I told you that I would if I could. Your desire was simple. “Could you pray for me?” And you let your story spill out in simple phrases. I drank them in and my heart was stirred with compassion. It wasn’t much of a request. You were imprisoned by your addiction. The streets were your home. You lost touch with your daughter. Your heart was broken with the shame. It was more of a confession. But I knew what you really longed for: a touch. As I shared with you, Jesus stepped forward through me. I found myself filled with such love and compassion.  I experienced much more power than I could contain in that moment. I felt crowded aside by all that Jesus in me. He was so eager to get to you and place his hands on your shoulder. I felt squeezed out and looking on from the side while Jesus ministered to you and his words of compassion flowed to you. I felt like the woman in the crowd who touched Jesus’ hem and power flowed out. No one realized it. No one would have even taken notice if Jesus wouldn’t have said something. And the power flowed out to you as you also reached out to touch the Lord, Mario. With tears in your eyes, you stepped away a different man. And I stepped away a different woman. Everyone seemed to have gone on. They didn’t see what you and I saw. They didn’t see Jesus step in with a very real presence to seek out that one lost soul. But, thanks to you, a stranger to my heart, I stood in the presence of the One I love more than all things. It’s been over 20 years since that encounter but I think of you often. And when I do, I say a prayer for you. I say a prayer for Mario.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Listen

Five Minute Friday We are at it again, all 200+ of us. Writing our little hearts out for a brief moment on our Friday. We do only a tidbit of editing, then we're linking up at Lisa-Jo Baker's site (You gotta check it out even if you don't write. She has so many beautiful things to say). It's fun and crazy and deep and all that. What do you expect? We're women and it's Friday! So enjoy. Give it a try. And check out all the wonderful things people come up with. The prompt: Listen.

A world of sights, of pictures, of vision, of light and color… it’s my brain’s way of pressing meaning out of the doing that goes on around me and they have a name for it now.

I’m a visual learner, so they say.

So, I see my daughter’s face when she’s given over to anger and I see red and I see what’s right in front of me and my explosion happens because I couldn’t hear. I am deaf to her heart, I am deaf to my cruel words.

But scarred hands of love have stretched out and touched my ears somehow and now I find I am learning a new skill and it is making a slow difference as I catch on one day, one emotion at a time.

I am working hard at listening for her voice, her cry, her longing that hides behind all that commotion, all that bluster. And as I fine tune the dial on my heart I hear more clearly. She’s scared. She’s disappointed. She’s ashamed. She’s feeling like no one respects her voice.

And my heart softens and my soul opens. Comfort comes where it has been lacking so long.

We still flare up from time to time and the red anger and black rage still pour down over my eyes in the more difficult moments, but my ears are awakening and the sounds I listen for speak a whole new story. Our lives are being transformed by the listening.

Anger at my kids has been a real struggle for me. The Lord has been leading me through healing but it is a slow process getting there. I read a great blog on that yesterday by Lisa-Jo here When Your Temper Scares You and one of her resources was at this site The Orange Rhino which I found incredibly helpful because it had amazing down to earth things to say about getting that yelling under control. I instantly bonded with the Orange Rhino and will soon consider starting my own challenge.

Five Minute Friday

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's in the HOW

This post is a reflection on what I read this morning at my sweet sister’s blog Inking the Heart. Rachael has been sowing God’s truth into my heart over the last 9 weeks through her series called “Who God Says You Are.” I hope you take time to see how God uses her words to speak a bold truth.

 Quiet. The house is quiet for once. Music plays, but it’s my music with no one to change it at the best part of the song. There are no competing voices to erupt into an argument that seems so unsacred in that sacred moment that had been building in my heart. For a 3 day moment, the house is mine… mine alone and I am soaking in peace. And the Lord is whispering into my moment. And I have time to listen hard and listen long and listen on repeat if I want. Over and over. And this is what he said:

You know that I love you, but it’s more than that. For you, in this time, I want you to know that it is about HOW I love you.

As I clean house, I hear simply, “It’s how I love you.” As I vacuum a floor twice because once just isn’t good enough with 5 kids and a dog sharing life with it, I hear “It’s how I love you.” I step outside and relish thunderclouds that offer a fresh 80 degree breeze compared to the stagnant 108 of 2 days ago and I hear, “It’s how I love you.”

“I love you, child, with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

“But God demonstrates his love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Thoughts flood my mind. His love is extravagant. His love surrounds. It pursues me into a trap, into the tight grip of itself. His love is hot on my heels and yet stands before me with arms open wide. I throw myself into the safety of its embrace. The love that was in pursuit pounces on me and smothers me in holy kisses of tender affection. Oh how he loves us so.

The Lord took his sweet time to speak of formative experiences and wove this new, fresh truth into what had once been harsh and unforgiving. Hosea 2:14-15 became living and active as he cut through my fears and anxious thoughts.

I remembered that growing up in the competitive culture of AAU swimming, DQ was the one thing I never wanted written across my time card. Disqualified. The race was for nothing.  Didn’t count. All those points just earned, gone. Year after year that shaped me because even to this day, one of my greatest fears as a Christian is being disqualified in this race. Paul describes it. I fear it. But, into that fear my Lord spoke, “It’s how I love.”

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards…” (Hosea 2:14-15)

He takes me away, alone, in a quiet place, and he gives back my standing. He gives back my favor. When I am disqualified, he offers all that was lost back to me.

Going deeper yet, I was reminded of how a swimmer could have a weakness in her stroke, one that was a huge issue: a flutter kick, a scissor kick, a careless touch on the wall. Some faults could be forgiven. Some weaknesses could not. Some kids got DQ’d. A lot. They agonized before certain races. Will they do it again? Thankfully, I never struggled with that in swimming. At least in the pool my faults rarely got me in trouble. But in my walk they do. My tongue disqualifies me often. My meandering mind and my wandering heart both cross that line more times than I can remember. Certain situations stir anxiety in my heart, because I know, I know what I am capable of. So the Lord says, “It’s HOW I love you.”

“…and [I] will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” (Hosea 2: 15)

The Valley of Achor was Israel’s stumbling block. It’s where they DQ’d. It represents that very point, that very weakness that removes us from the running time and time again. And that is the very place that our Savior built for us a door. It is at that point where we consistently fail, that he arrives with tools and wood in hand and begins building… and out of his sacrifice, we gain access to his love. We are given a door of hope. “It’s HOW I love you.”

Oh, how he loves us.

And these thoughts ebbed and flowed through my heart all day. I cleaned, I rested, I took myself out to dinner. I sat in counsel with sisters of like mind and spirit. The sun set red, and thunderclouds tried to decide their temperament as my wheels traced their lines down Freeway 99 back home.

Now sitting again in the silence, I hear a familiar whisper, “It’s HOW I love you.” He’s not done speaking to me. Joy fills my heart. I sing a familiar song, and think of unforeseen kisses. Oh, how he loves us so. Oh how he loves us. How he loves us so!

“There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” (Hosea 2:15)

I've linked up with:

Hello My Name Is

Friday, June 7, 2013


The prompt is Fall. The link is Five Minute Friday. Hundreds of people write for 5 minutes about the prompt and then link up at Lisa-Jo Baker's site (see button below). Let's get started.

My biggest falls were never planned. They were not foreseen. They just happened and I wondered later how I could have ended up on my back instantly like that. It’s an art I think. A skill. Or just something I do well. I’ve found nothing speeds that trip up more than wheels underneath me. Like the time I decided to try out my children’s new Ripstick on Christmas at the skate park with the kids in the “pool”. Did I mention the lack of a helmet? Or the three consecutive trips to the chiropractor. Or the trip to the doctor for pain meds? That was one of those falls. I’ve had those kind of falls into sin too. My undealt with disappointments, my discouragements, those ugly tendencies that reach deep into my childhood and fight stubbornly for control of my heart… all those things speed up my fall so that I usually don’t know what hit me until I’ve sat dazed in a puddle of crud for a minute and wondered how I got there. I made a vow that Christmas. Don’t put ripstick wheels under me. I’m too valuable to my family to be laid up with a sore back or worse, since it could have been so much worse. And I made a vow to my Lord as well. I’m not going to put the wheels of disappointment, past hurts and bitterness under me and try to take a trip around the block. I’m too valuable to my family, my church friends, my God to be laid up or taken out, and I enjoy walking in freedom enough to know it’s a good choice.

Five Minute Friday