When you need to remember the bigger story

You will enjoy this post from HearingtheHeartbeat as you experience Handel’s Messiah like never before. 🙂

Hearing The Heartbeat

There are those moments when the fog lifts and light peeks through and I see again the Grand Story in which we all live.

One of those moments happened for me ten days ago as I sat watching a small choir and orchestra play Handel’s Messiah. I’ve seen it performed live at least ten or fifteen times. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times, singing along with it as I wash dishes. It always points me back to the Grand Story, to the place where light breaks into the darkness. But this night was different. More.

For one thing, it was being performed in a small theatre—the same size as the room in which it was first performed in 1742. The orchestra was smaller than I’m used to—only four first violins. The instruments were different too: the eighteenth-century trumpet was double the length of a modern trumpet, and have you…

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The Throne Room

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There I was, sitting still, minding my own business, not expecting anything life-changing whatsoever. That’s when it happened….

In a matter of minutes, I experienced a transformation.  You see, my Father began to reveal things to my heart.  The very same heart that I thought was whole and healed. Many times that’s my problem – I think – I assume and presume that I know my own heart.  It’s in these very times of knowing that I’ve been so wrong…

Somewhere along the way, I had allowed lies to creep in.  Lies like, I’m not good enough, I’m ugly, I’m worthless, I’m unlovable…Where the lies came from, I’m not exactly sure.  From the enemy? Maybe.  Someone in my past? Possibly.  I think a more probable source might be my very own mind.  A mind that is an amazing gift from God, but as it seems, has not yet been completely perfected.

The source of the lies isn’t my point here.  My point is that my Father had His own thoughts about those lies, and He had a plan to share them with me that day.

As my tears began to fall, I began to really feel the lies.  I started to feel extremely worthless and ugly and unlovable.  Then I closed my eyes, and my surroundings completely changed.

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I was suddenly in Heaven, in the throne room, to be exact.  I was quite a ways from the throne of God, but I could see it.  I immediately fell on my face, in my state of utter shame.  I thought, God – in all of His holiness – would not possibly allow someone like me to enter into His throne room, unless it was to sentence them to death.

And yet, there was the tiniest flicker of hope… Maybe, just maybe, He might allow me to approach Him and beg for mercy…

I very hesitantly began to lift my gaze to the throne, and I humbly dared to ask if I could come just a bit closer…

To my complete and utter astonishment, God Himself opened His arms to me, and told me to not only approach the throne, but He actually called me Child, and He wanted me to come sit on His lap – on His throne – with HIM!!!

I ran to Him, and in an instant, perfect Love had melted all my fears away, and He introduced me to the Truth…

As He scooped me up into His arms, He held me close, and He began to hug and laugh and talk with me!

He told me that I had nothing to fear, and that He had adopted me as His very own daughter, and that He was now my Dad! He told me that I was welcome to sit on His lap anytime!  He told me that just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), He had been waiting for me to turn to Him, for me to run into His waiting arms.  He told me that all of this was possible because of His Son, Jesus.

“You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, ‘Abba! Father!’ as we would address a loving daddy.” ~ Romans 8:15, The Voice

“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” ~ Hebrews 4:14-16, The Message

This all happened about 6 months ago…but I believe the time has come for me to begin sharing my experience with others. I want to share with you that I’m on this amazing journey of discovering Who God is and who I am in Him.  He is giving me glimpses of Heaven and an awareness of Heaven around me, and changing the way that I think which changes who I am.  At this point, I do not know the fullness of what is available to me, but I do know that I will know more tomorrow than I do today, and more the day after that. It’s all because of what Jesus did for me on the cross!

Jesus died so that we could be fully restored to right relationship with (God) Himself, and receive the presence of His Holy Spirit – a gift received by faith (John 3:16; Col. 1:19-20; Tit. 3:5; Eph. 2:8; Col. 2:13-15).

You see, the same God that has done all these things for me wants to the same for you, and MORE!  God is so good and He’s NOT angry with you.  He fiercely loves you and wants to restore you – body, soul and spirit!  He offers you FREEDOM and a brand new start!  The choice is yours, and yours alone.

Have you ever made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life?  Would you like to? Then simply pray this prayer and start a new life in Christ:

“Dear God, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. I admit that I am not right with You, and I want to be right with You. I ask You to forgive me of all my sins. The Bible says if I confess with my mouth that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved (Rom. 10:9). I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of my life. Thank You for saving me!

In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

If you prayed that prayer for the first time and meant it from your heart, then CONGRATULATIONS!  You are now a brand NEW creation in Christ!!!

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Friend, if you’re still not quite ready to take that step, just know that He is waiting patiently for you to come home…But don’t wait too long!!!  Our time on this earth, as you well know, is short…

“…While the [lost child] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt… [compassion] for his [child]. So the father ran to him [an undignified act for a family patriarch; evidence of his unrestrained love] and hugged and kissed him.” ~ Luke 15:20, Expanded Bible

 

Come to Jesus…He wants to see you free!

 

The truth that can bring joy to every moment

As I’ve been taking a bit of a break, not from writing, but just from writing on the blog, I’ve been taking everything in, and savoring ALL of the MOMENTS… I quite enjoyed this post from HearingtheHeartbeat, and I hope you do too! 🙂

Hearing The Heartbeat

I step out the back door. I can’t see him, but a robin is singing somewhere under the clouded sky. This moment is a gift from the One who loves me.

The wind pushes and presses against me as I run face-first into it. This moment is a gift from the One who loves me.

The reminder has been echoing through my days, inviting me to slow and savor the reality beneath the surface. This moment is a gift from the One who loves me.

As I drift off to sleep, this moment is a gift, a good gift from the One who delights to refresh me.

As I lie awake in the wee hours, this moment is a gift, a good gift from the One who is inviting me to snuggle closer, to know myself held, to share with him and let him lift whatever is weighing on…

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Where God just might come nearest

I really, really like this post by Hearing the Heartbeat. “for me the early morning moments suspended between sleep and rising are a thin time when my heart often understands something that my mind hasn’t yet been able to grasp.”

Hearing The Heartbeat

Is there a place you’ve experienced as a “thin place,” a place where heaven seems especially close to earth, and God, though everywhere present, somehow seems nearer? Most often I’ve heard the term used for bits of land where pilgrims have walked and worshipped and sought God for centuries. Iona, for instance. But the chair where I regularly curl up to spend time alone with God, a particular painting, a beach, a bench—I’ve known each of these as a thin place.

People can be thin places too. As Ann Voskamp observes, “Every child’s a thin place.”

I’ve been wondering: what if we experience children most easily as thin places simply because they haven’t yet learned to hide their hearts?

What if beneath all the masks every human being is a thin place, or contains thin places?

And what if . . . what if the wounds and cracks and…

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Loved in our frailty

This is really speaking to me today…

Hearing The Heartbeat

I’ve just returned from ten days in the Rockies—ten days of feeling small. Majestic mountains towered over the towns where we stayed and lined both sides of the highway. A road was closed because of an avalanche.

I loved the mountains, loved running up the mountain trails in the early morning and discovering the vista at the top. But as much as I’ve thought and written about smallness, there were moments on this trip when the exterior landscape imaging my interior one left me unsettled by my smallness.

The trip took place just after graduation. I’ve been slowly working away at my Master’s for eight years—the last few of those spent writing a book. I’ve learned many things, chief among which is my smallness, and my lovedness in my smallness. And now? This is where that learning gets tested, here where I step out of studies and into the real world…

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Callin’ All Wanna Be Dreamers

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Remember when you were a little kid,

When the air was sweet and your dreams were big?

You’d run through the fields and look to the sky,

You used to imagine that you could fly.

How you would find the tallest of trees,

And see how close you could get to the top!

You’d splash your feet in the creek;

And be amazed at the way toads hopped.

You’d catch grasshoppers and let them go;

You’d make snow-angels in the snow.

When, My Child, did you begin

Losing sight of the dream that you’re in?

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Somewhere along the way

Hurtful things began to weigh

Upon your heart, so full of dreams,

You began to think, “What does this all mean?

Is God still good? Is this His plan for me?

This hurts so bad, I can hardly breathe.”

Oh, My Child, I know your pain,

I walk with you in the sun or rain.

When the sky seems dark, I’m by your side.

Do not fear – I AM The Light.

Remember those dreams that you used to dream.

You looked to the sky and hoped to fly.

Those weren’t just illusions of a wide-eyed child.

Those dreams were meant to spark something wild.

It was I Who placed those dreams in you,

And I promise to make all things new!

You are My beloved child;

I delight in you and who you are.

You make My heart sing for joy,

Sweet child of the bright Morning Star!

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When I conceived you, Child,

I knew this day would come.

I saw before you all of your days,

Every. Single. One.

Don’t lose heart, I’m giving you strength

To face whatever comes.

Know that you are never alone –

You’re empowered by My Son!

You were born to be a mighty warrior,

And mighty you’ve become.

Fighting battles in My Name,

You’ll sound the great war drum.

Tearing down strongholds – obtaining victory –

You are a part of The Grandest Story.

You belong to the King of kings,

You’re fighting in His Name.

What you thought was once a dream

Is your reality – they’re the same.

It’s time to let the dreamers dream,

For My vision has come to redeem.

I will restore what you thought had been lost

Don’t even think twice, I’ve covered the cost.

Keep looking to Me, I’ll show you how

To exercise those dreams – starting right now!

The dream I began I will complete,

All you need to do is rest in Me.

Dare to believe what you perceive,

And let the dreamers dream.

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The too-good-to-miss news of where Jesus was born

“Jesus is no stranger to mess. He is not afraid of my brokenness, not ashamed of my sin. He has breathed it in, carried it inside himself all the way to death, then come out the other side having left sin and its consequences gasping their final death-rattling breaths in the grave.”

Thank You, Lord, for making Your home inside of THIS filthy stable, and washing it as white as snow…

Hearing The Heartbeat

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It was two nights before Christmas and I’d slipped into my common refrain of wishing I had a better self to offer Jesus—less fearful, less selfish, better able to trust. I didn’t sing that refrain long, though, because I let the thoughts become a conversation with Jesus, and he has a way of speaking into these conversations exactly what I need to hear.

So I told Jesus that I wished I had a better self to offer him, but I didn’t have a better self, and I couldn’t seem to make the self I do have better, so I was offering him again the only thing I have to offer (which just happens to be the thing he really wants)—my real self. I told him that even though I sometimes hold back in fear or selfishness or pride, the deeper part of me longs for him to be at home in me and…

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Ode to the Cinnamon Roll (Baby-Making Hips)

In honor of my husband’s birthday, I decided to give you a tiny glimpse into my wonderful life with Jonathan Menefee. 11850604_10153518805242390_639201927969520887_o

Here is a recent letter that I wrote to him:

Jonathan, I say, “I love you,” and you ask me, “Why?”

It’s hard for me to put it into words…

I see you in the kitchen, early on a Saturday morning, making cinnamon rolls for our children.  I hear you making up a song on the spot, singing to our children, Hobbit-style*, about being thankful, because there are children in this world who are starving, digging through a dump to find food to eat.

Then I hear you singing of “baby-making hips,” in which I then realize that your song’s suddenly changed to now be about me.  You sing of how you need those “baby-making hips,” and how you need more babies so that you have more help in the woods to gather wood for the fire to keep us warm in the winter.

Your song ends, but I hear a new song begin. This song is a very familiar tune of “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice.  I step into the kitchen to see three of our four children sitting at the table, mesmerized by their Daddy.  Even the littlest one can’t take his smiling eyes off of you as he begins to dance.  While “Ice Ice Baby” is permeating the walls of our kitchen, I see packets of cream cheese frosting spiraling through the air as you proceed to juggle with them and toss them around like a hacky sack, teaching our children the ‘proper way’ to warm up the chilled frosting.  Our youngest daughter cannot stop giggling, and neither can her mother.

As I watch you simply being you, I try to hold back by sipping my coffee, but behind my cup is a smile that betrays my true feelings of absolute, and utter delight and disbelief that I could’ve somehow been SO BLESSED to have ended up married to you.

And today, Jonathan, that is why I love you.

Merry Christmas, Everyone, and please remember to feed the starving children of the world! ❤

* I realize that these are, in fact, Dwarves, singing about a Hobbit. 🙂

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Parable of the Bamboo Tree

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The Kingdom of Heaven is like the Asian farmer, who went out into a field to plant many seeds.  He planted one seed after another into the fertile soil.

Day after day, he would tend to his seeds, making sure that they had adequate food, water, and sunlight.

Day after day, he would carefully inspect the soil where he had planted and pull out any weeds.

He did this everyday for a year, and everyday he could see no visual growth of his crop.

He continued to care for his plants even though he could see no changes on the surface.  He continued to feed and water them.  He continued to pull out the weeds.

He continued this for another year, and still no visible growth.

People began to wonder about him.  Still he continued tending his crop yet another year.

His friends began to doubt him. Still he continued to care for his plants.

Another year went by.

And then another year.

Soon he began to doubt himself. For five years he had cared for his crop. He wondered if the tiny seeds that he had planted would ever show any growth.

Still he weeded.  Still he fed.  Still he watered.
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Then one day, it happened.  The farmer went to care for his plants as he always did, and he had to rub his eyes at first, because he thought he was seeing things.  There, coming from the ground, he could see little shoots coming up!  His seeds were growing after all!

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During the five years that the farmer had cared for his plants, while it looked as though they would never develop, they were busy growing, but underground.  No, they weren’t lying dormant.  They were working hard, putting out a thick and long-ranging root system, building themselves a firm foundation that would sustain their outward growth.

But what happened next was what was truly miraculous….

Over the course of the following six weeks, the seeds that turned to tiny plants became baby trees.  Then, the baby trees turned into giant trees.

In just six weeks, the trees grew 90 feet!

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They who have ears, let them hear and understand.

The farmer represents the Christ-follower. One who is hungry for God.  One who thirsts for God.  One who, day after day, seeks to meet with the Lord in prayer.  One who allows the seed of God’s Word to go down deep into the soil of their heart so that it may take root inside of them.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:7 NLT

Maybe, Friend, you are in a dry season.  Maybe you are growing tired of all the watering.  Maybe you are becoming weary of the weeds.

Are you wondering if the seed that’s been planted is working?  Are you still waiting and watching for your seed to bear fruit?

Maybe your circumstances are hindering your hope.  Maybe there are those that would discourage you.

Please, don’t give up.  Keep pressing in.  Hold on to your faith.

Better yet: Keep holding on to The Author of your faith.

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up and is later gathered to be tossed into the fire to burn. If you abide in Me and My voice abides in you, anything you ask will come to pass for you. Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father.”  John 15:5-8 The Voice

When you stay connected to The Vine, He will produce in you an abundant harvest, and it’s in this way that you bring Him glory!

Dear one, get ready to dance, because your miracle is coming!

It’s only a matter of time…

Let Them Laugh Out Loud

Your unborn baby is destined to be a world-changer! Please give your baby a chance!!! ❤

Embrace Grace Blog

shutterstock_130778210The small child lay on a stained mattress on the floor of the clinic struggling to breathe. His disease wracked body fighting like a mighty warrior to survive the ravages of war. War should never be the territory of one so small and yet he is one of a countless multitude of an ongoing war.

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe in. Breathe out. Sweat pouring down his tiny brow and the relentless flies, ever-present, covering his beautiful face.

Sitting by his side is Momma Kate (as the locals call her) wiping his shattered body with a damp cloth. Her tears speak of a deep pain for the child. Her sweet heart is breaking for the injustice of it all. She speaks with a mother’s voice, “We need to do something! We can’t just sit here and watch the child die.”

Another voice speaks, “We can take him to a better clinic but…

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