Thursday, August 30, 2012

Among Us

I look into his clear blue-gray eyes, and I see an emptiness.  This one who brings the laughter and stories to us is, today, full of sorrow and weighed down with burden.

Can I please tell a story today? It's kind of long, but I really need to tell you guys what's going on.

And he hangs his head in sadness, leaving us to wonder what has happened.

So, we set aside the lessons on Plato and censorship to meet our brother in his sorrow, ready and waiting with open arms.

What follows breaks our hearts.

A friend, broken and battered, has entered his world and he's heavy now.  Tears are forced back, but it's clear that emotion is strong.  He's hurting and crying out for this tiny community, this family, to comfort and pray.

So we do that thing we always do, the thing that defines our group of 9-- We grab the hands and bow the heads and take it to our Jesus, the all-powerful Healer.

And there are tears and broken voices, and there are those without words because emotion runs too deep, but most of all, there is peace.  For within that circle, we have found solace and rest.  Jesus meets us in this circle every single time, and we always come back for more.

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.. (1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV)

The hem of Your robe is where our healing lies... Our God, you are here, and in your power, you move... Your love is moving among us... -Christy Nockels

Linking up today-
Scribing the Journey
New Life Steward
God Bumps and God Incidences

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Indeed, I Cannot!

I sit here and want to shout it to the world that He is great and holy and mighty and AMAZING, and I feel this burning passion inside of me to proclaim His name.  Yet nothing really satisfies that flame.  I find myself wanting nothing but him and nothing but to praise His name, and I wonder if this is what heaven is like.  We will only want to praise Him and be in His glory.  Nothing else will even come close.  I could speak words all day long that show my knowledge and amazement, yet NONE of them would suffice.  Nothing I am capable of saying will truly give Him the honor and glory He deserves.  But I can't help but try.  Because my soul gives me no other option.  

I crave fellowship with real, genuine Christians.  My soul wants to have like-minded souls to connect with.  Who really get it.  Who really desire Jesus more than anything.  People who read His Word because if they don't, they feel empty.  Oh, the time I've wasted trying to hold together relationships that were all wrong for me, all the while desperately hoping for people who shared my conviction.  Hoping for people who really know what it means to walk the journey with someone and really bear burdens, no matter how dark.  I'm tired of testing friendships with the world's standards and I'm tired of wishing.  If it's going to happen, it's going to have to start with me.  I have to step out and deepen the relationships He's clearly given me.  I have to be willing to abandon all for Him, and part of that is abandoning my fears.  Complete freedom within the body of Christ is the goal.  It's possible if we go after it.  There are no walls holding us back!  There is complete freedom where the Spirit of the Lord is!

When I think about the trials I've endured, I KNOW He's allowed it all to bring me to Him.  To put me flat on my face before him so I would really long for him.  There have been times, at rock bottom, when I've been so alone and the only one I could cry out to was him.  It's those times that made me love Him so deeply.  And now, on the other side, I do know what it means in James 1 to rejoice in trials!  He really is my everything, my foundation, and He permeates my life.  Completely.  I don't even know who I am anymore because He's so completely altered my thinking and my life.  My story needs to be told because it brings such glory to Him.  I want the people I love to know what He's done.

"But if I say, 'I will not mention His word or speak anymore in His name,' His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I CANNOT." 
-Jeremiah 20:9

I sent these thoughts to a couple of friends, and they both told me that I needed to publish them.  While I hesitated because they seem rambly and unorganized to me, maybe they will meet you where you are and bring encouragement today.  Glory to God!

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Are What You Eat!

The sweet smell wafts into my classroom from the kitchen next door.  As I hear the beep-beep-beep and the microwave door opens, I know immediately what's being warmed.  Someone is about to eat a cinnamon roll.

And I'm starving!

My bag of carrots is inedible, so a snack is out of the question.  I've just finished a conversation about Oreos and donuts, and chocolate chip pumpkin bread was brought in by seniors this morning for breakfast.  And I'm famished.  This is not my day...

As she walks by my door, the smell lingers and I can hear my empty stomach growl.  It's two hours until lunch, and I know I can easily go grab one of those cinnamon rolls, satisfying my hunger and my craving.

I know what you're thinking.  JUST EAT THE CINNAMON ROLL ALREADY!  But the thing is that I don't eat sugar.  Any sugar.  AT ALL.  And I know that if I eat just one sugary treat, my body will be very, very unhappy.  Months ago, I cleansed myself of anything that doesn't belong there.

My mind wanders to a conversation I've had earlier today about holiness and being set-apart.  It's the taking out of the unholy, the unnatural, the things that don't belong.  My flesh adamantly wants to fill the hunger with the glittery pleasures of the world.  My nature wants those sticky, gooey cinnamon rolls more than anything!!!

But the worldly pleasures don't belong in me.  They will make my spirit sick.  God demands holiness (1 Peter 1:16).  He desires purity and anything else is sin.

So when she passes with her dessert that calls my name so loudly, I will ignore the temptation and remind myself that refraining from the impure is always right and always worth it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I've Come Back to God

We stand in a circle as we have many days before, and we find laughter, stories, and smiles.  It's been two months of summer since we last saw the walls of this room we made our home, the floor where we sat seeking His face daily, yet nothing has changed.  It's still home, and here we are, seeking again.

We've gathered to pray, to send one out who will soon make his home in a new state.

Yet tonight there is something different afoot. Something more than the laying of hands and goodbyes. Something we aren't aware of yet.

Something amazing. 

One stands smiling and shares.  He speaks those words that leave me speechless.

I've come back to God.

And my mouth drops open as cheers go up wildly around me.  These precious ones have poured their hearts out to their Savior for months, hoping against hope that the answer would come.  That one of the nine, the prodigal, would come back to the fold and believe.  That doubt would fall away and Christ would reign again.

As the words enter my head, time seems to stop as I take it all in.  What a priceless gift they've been given, to see their prayers answered!  Looking at their faces, I realize that this will change them.  It will change them all.  Their faith will soar because they've bowed the knee and cried the tears and Jesus has bent down to earth to redeem!  He's healed. He's restored. He's reminded us that yes, He does hear from heaven when we pray.

And for the rest of the evening, there is excitement in the air as they share the news with others.  I see joy in their eyes as they stand in awe of this God.  I see love in action as they welcome the lost one.  But most of all?  I see the Church right there in my classroom.  And there is nowhere I would rather be.

(The 9th just had surgery, so she wasn't able to make it, 
but she IS in the picture!)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Nothing to Fear [lessons from an old country dog]


The moment it thunders, I hear it.  The pitter-patter of four little paws, hurrying down the hallway to find me.  My been-around-forever good, ole' country dog is terrified of storms.

So as I sit here listening to the rain outside my bedroom window, she sits at my feet, tiny heart racing, snuggled up to me as closely as she can be.

In her fear, she knows the place of safety.  She knows I'm her refuge.  She knows that as long as I am near, no harm will come.

My mind wanders to my all-powerful, completely-in-control God, who is MY refuge and MY safety.  And suddenly, all of the things flying around inside my head, the what-ifs and the maybes, they fade away while I rest in His arms.

I have nothing to fear, for my God is with me.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress,
I will never be shaken.
~Psalm 62:1-2

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Notebook

New notebooks, new pens, new books.
There is just something about the start of a new school year, even as a teacher, that heightens the senses and puts a little extra joy in my step!

Today, I will take a deep breath and walk through those doors, bag filled with the new, ready to begin again.  It's spring in my heart and the winter is long gone.

And as I open my notebook to that first fresh blank page, I will fight the urge not to write on it for fear that it will lose that pristine feeling.  As this year moves on, I know there will be mistakes, trials, and days so tough that I'll come home and not want to move for hours.  But those things won't keep me from moving forward, from writing on that clean page.

For life is meant to be written on, not left blank, and God is the one who pens the words.  It's His hand that writes on my life.  It's His power that makes all things new.  It is He who calls, equips, and strengthens.

So if you are in a dark and dingy place today, rest in the truth that your Savior delights in new beginnings, full of grace and mercy.  Open your heart to Him and see what a wonderful story the Author will create!

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Worst Girl Here

The 8 of us sit on the bleachers that surround the basketball court, words of judging and King David from our lips to their ears.  We're sharing truth, and I can see Him speaking.

And one precious daughter of God, one who struggles with choices, opens her heart to share.  She's apologetic, yet the words flow anyway.  When her confession is finished, 

"I'm probably the worst girl here.  I'm sorry if that's not who you thought I was, but it's the truth."


This young woman, not yet 16, feels the shame of her past sin, the weight of the world, and nobody knows what to say.

To be honest, she's experienced more in her short life than I have in mine, and it would be easy to judge her for her decisions.  

But we are called to love.

"You are judging by appearances.  If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do." (1 Corinthians 10:7 NIV)

And she, my dear sister, speaks softly, breaking the silence....

"All sin is the same.  Sin is sin."

And those words stick to the air like humidity on a hot Alabama afternoon.  More silence, but it's clear that we're all thinking, taking it all in.  We, too, were in need of rescue.  We were dead in our sin and content to be so.

Until the we lifted our weary eyes and looked upon His dying face, allowing His righteousness to cover our shame.

"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32 ESV)

My friend Barbie@My Freshly Brewed Life has so kindly asked me to be her Inspired Blogger for the month of August!  Please hop on over to her blog to read her words about her Savior.

Joanna, my beautiful friend with a servant heart, is heading off to college this week and would like to share her journey.  Check out her blog and send some encouragement her way!

On In Around button

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Why Don't We Ask?

What do you do when it happens?
When the thing you've spent hours and days and years praying desperately for actually happens...
The kind of answer that makes your mouth drop open and your eyes fill with tears.
Yeah, THAT kind.

God is able to do anything and everything BEYOND what we can even imagine!
So why don't we ask?
Why don't we really believe that He will work miracles in our lives?
Why are we so short-sighted that we miss the chance to see just how much He will do in our lives?

Lord, help our unbelief.
Heal our hearts.
Show us Your glory.

WIPWednesdayLife: Unmasked


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