Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Locked Up In Fear

I am pretty good at worrying. I've decided it stems in part from my North Dakota heritage. The climate is so ridiculously harsh up there, and I can just imagine my great-great-grandma out on the farmstead wondering...When will it rain? or Will this gully-washer ever stop? or How much hail damage did our crops endure? or Do I have enough food preserved for winter? or Will the cattle survive this blizzard? Questions like that tend to spiral don't they?

I had questions of my own this week. Like...When will they stop this oil spill? How extensive is the environmental damage? I wonder if this will affect our family vacation? What will gas prices be in July? Should we even take a vacation this year? I wonder if my children be able to enjoy vacations with their families? Will there be jobs for them when they graduate?...ENOUGH ALREADY!

All those questions are like quicksand to my soul. I find myself stuck in the muck and mire of fear. And it's suffocating me.

But in the middle of my worrisome wonderings, I read this verse in John 20:19... On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews...They had just endured the crucifixion of their Rabbi and now they were hiding behind locked doors in fear. I imagine they had their own spiraling questions. Like...Who are the Jews going to kill next? How will we die? Will we be kicked out of the synagogue? What if we are ostracized from the community? I love what happens next, it says...Jesus came and stood among them. Don't you love that locked doors and fearful questions are not a barrier to God's presence? Jesus found them in their hiding place and he said these three words: PEACE TO YOU!

And he said it to me: Peace to you, Lynn. Peace to your questions. Peace to your heart. Peace to your mind.

Are questions, fear-filled wonderings, and "what ifs" keeping you locked up?

I pray that Jesus shows up for you like he did for his followers, like he did for me; finds you in your hiding place and says PEACE to you. Then watch what happens....

And when the disciples saw the Lord,
they were filled with joy (delight, exultation, ecstasy, rapture) John 20:20 AMP

Thursday, May 20, 2010

God Breezes

I stepped out the back door, sat down on a patio chair and immediately felt a soft cool breeze on my face. I closed my eyes and soaked it in - God reminding me that just like the wind, He is all around me. All I could think is I have got to get outside more often! How many days do I spend moving from my house to my car, from my car to the office and back again.... completely missing the wind on my face.

In John 20, after his death and resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples and said:

"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.
And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

I wonder what that felt like; Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit on you. Hmmmm....I imagine it felt a little like my lovely cool evening breezes. Refreshing and invigorating. Full of life. Or maybe it was more forceful like the Pentecost wind from Acts 2!

It was easy to see the wind, to hear it rustling the leaves of the massive Cottonwood tree in our old backyard. Here in this former farmland, nearly void of trees. it is so much easier to FEEL.

Get outside and feel the wind on your face this week (quick before it gets too hot!).... then tell me does it feel like God to you too?

Psalm 104:2-3 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm A Soldier Of Love

Love is a battlefield, isn't that right Ms Benatar? War is not a new metaphor for love, but it is a fitting one. My husband and I are reading John & Stasi Eldredge's new book for couples Love & War and as in most of their offerings, you hear there is indeed a battle to fight. At the same time we just purchased the latest project from the beautiful and brilliant Sade entitled Soldier of Love. The title track with it's military vibe is a story of pain, loss, survival and the hope that love will come. I've got war coming at me from all sides! And whether I like it or not I am a soldier in this love-war. So, I've made up my mind, I am taking a stand and drawing a line in the sand. Will you join the ranks?

  • I know that my spouse, my children, my family, my friends are not the enemy in this war. But we do have a very real adversary who is bent on the destruction of all life-giving relationships. I need vision to see through the conflict at hand to the enemy underground.

  • I will let my heart take courage and rise to the risk involved in this war. Relational disappointment can be so disheartening. Giving up seems like a great alternative to doing battle. Great relationships do not come out of resignation.

  • Isolation is not an option. I need a band of brothers...or in my case a squadron of sisters! We are not meant to live life alone, I need people in my life who will encourage me to persevere through the challenges.

  • Survival does not equal victory. I can live as a causality of war. I can live as a survivor or I can press on to find freedom. Relational freedom means I don't have to control others in order to feel safe. God is in control!

  • I will not hope in my ability to get things right, but I will hope! Knowing that nothing is impossible with God. He is the author of relationship. My hope is built on nothing less - not on my goodness, not on my husband's perseverance, not even on our family's legacy of longevity.

  • As crazy at it sounds in this context, I know that surrender is my ONLY option. I raise my white flag to Jesus! And I know that the more I die to self the more victorious I am as a soldier of His Unfailing Love!

Do you hear the battle cry for relationship? Have you gone AWOL? How can you re-engage as a Soldier of Love?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Better Than a Hallelujah

I find myself praying more these days. I'm not exactly sure why. It could be because I have a soon-to-be teenager and sometimes...the look in his's either slap him or pray! Maybe its the struggle we see in lives of those we love. Maybe its the natural disasters that seem to be plaguing our dear planet. Today it occurred to me that I could be having a mid-life crisis. Hey, at least it's boosting my prayer life!

Prayer matters. It lifts me and reminds me that I'm never alone in facing whatever lies ahead. Moses encouraged the children of Israel with these words from Deut 4:7

"What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them
the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?"

Our God responds to prayer. He hears our cry and He is NEAR!

When I first heard a clip of
Amy Grant's new release Better Than a Hallelujah. I thought, hmmm what is she trying to say? What could be better than this ancient, treasured word? Yet, I am swept away by the sweet melody and raw honesty of this song: "We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are. The honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a Hallelujah." I think its true that God delights to hear the cry of our hearts, whatever misery or concern we might find there. And perhaps its even true that he would rather hear our messy heart than an habitual hallelujah.

What do you think of Amy’s new song?

When do you feel God's nearness?