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Monday, January 16, 2017

Come & Play!

Holy Spirit, come and play! Come and play with me!
                Do you want to get wet today?
Not so sure about that… Won’t I get cold and soggy?
                So you’d rather be dry?
Is there a balance, not too wet, not too dry?
                Do you want to play or not?
Ok, have your way. What do you want to play?
                Open your mouth, and I will fill it!
What? Fill it with what? Will I like it? Won’t I choke in that position?
                Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
OK, here goes.  I’m here and ready, mouth wide open.  Fill me up!
Gushing river coursing down!
Filling my mouth,
Splashing down my cheeks,
Soaking me to the bone,
Clothes and hair dripping with the most exquisite fragrance!
Now what?
                It’s your turn! Go and splash!
                Go and touch, leaving wet handprints of my refreshing goodness on everyone.
                Leave a trail of soggy, glistening footprints for others to find their way to my 
                river of delights.
                And don’t change your clothes. You were made for this.
                You were made to be always wet in my river,
                To leave traces of it everywhere you go,
                To smell like Jesus – the fragrance of spring rain,
                To live in the River,
                To breathe underwater...



Sunday, January 8, 2017

DREAM 12-16-2016: VISIT TO HEAVEN?

In my dream last month I was at a funeral home, working to prepare someone for a funeral.  

I must have worked there, because I was so involved in the preparations and stayed with the body all the time.  My friend, Patti was there, too, and we interacted a lot during the process.  There was a funeral bed, and I kept making sure the sheet corners were nicely tucked in.  And the people working with me for the funeral – I kept checking on them, too, making sure their outfits were correct.  The man who went before the body was in a white robe with a belt with tassels and something hanging from the end of the tassels that had to be just right.  Patti and I were scurrying around last minute to make sure he had what he needed to do the job each day.  It was several days of busyness, and then I guess the funeral was over.  Everyone went home.  Patti stayed a bit, and then she left, too.  But I was still there, still tucking the sheets around the corners, tidying up, waiting.

Then I began to realize that the funeral was for me, that the body I had been attending to with Patti was my own.  The funeral was over.  Everyone had gone home.  Still I was there hanging on to this world, my earthly body.  Patti had stayed there with me night and day, talking with me. Then finally she was silent, and she left, like she knew I wasn’t going to be there anymore.  Patti works with the elderly and has birthed several beloved ones through death, and then she lets go, and goes home, and grieves.  Though I was sad when she left me at the funeral home, I knew God told her to go. 

It was a little sad, losing Patti, being all alone, still smoothing sheets, tidying up.  Then I heard someone quietly telling me, “Let it go.  You can go now”.   Was it the man in the white robes?  I don’t know, but I stood there thinking about it, and suddenly realized, “I can go to the Father now!”
 
By now I was half awake in my bed, realizing I was dreaming, but hanging onto the dream to bring it to the end.  I ran out of the funeral home, straight through the closed door – I figured I could do that since Jesus did it after he was resurrected.  Then I shot straight up – yes I was flying – heading to heaven, to my Daddy.  And I heard heaven laughing, saying, “Yup, she just realized she can fly!”  And I flew right into heaven and there was Jesus, waiting for me on top of a hill, wearing the white robe, and I flew right into him and knocked him down and we laughed, and cried, and rolled around on the ground, and hugged, and I kept saying, “This is what I was made for, this is what I was made for!”

Then I remembered the play I had taken part in, years ago.  I think it was called “Heaven’s Gates/Hell’s Flames”.  The play depicted what happens when people die.  There were people who didn’t know Jesus, and they died and went to hell, and there were people who knew or met Jesus, and died, and they walked up the steps to heaven.  When I was auditioning for my part, I so hoped I would get to be one who went to heaven – I so wanted to be enveloped in Jesus’ arms.  And I got my wish.  I played the part of a woman who knew Jesus, and died in a car accident.  After I “died in the accident”, I approached the steps of heaven and Jesus was there at the top of the stairs.  I practically ran up the stairs and he took me in his arms and I held onto him for probably longer than I should have as I imagined in my heart that it was really Jesus, and really heaven and everything I had gone through, car accident in my case, was nothing anymore, just be in Jesus’ arms. 


And now, here I was, not in a play anymore, but really here in heaven.  Really in his arms.  Then Jesus picked me up, just like I was a little girl, and I didn’t need to ask him where he was taking me.  I knew he was carrying me to the Father.  I was going home.  And I am laying in my bed crying by this time, because everything I had ever wanted had been fulfilled.

THE PROS AND CONS OF A WRAPAROUND SKIRT



THE PROS AND CONS OF A WRAPAROUND SKIRT

Growing up in the 60’s I remember wearing a wraparound skirt.  It was an open piece of fabric with long ties on the top corners.  You put the skirt on by wrapping it around your waist, slipping one tie through a large buttonhole, and then tying the ties around your waist in the front. It was an easy skirt to wear, and an easy skirt to sew.  If you lost a little weight, you just overlapped the edges of skirt a little more.  If you gained a few pounds, the overlapped area was smaller.  But if you gained too much weight, the overlap on the skirt was not so forgiving so that when you sat down, you had to be careful lest your slip – or something worse if you wore no slip! – was peeking through.  Those extra pounds left me more exposed than I wanted to be in my wraparound skirt!

Sometimes life seems too much like wearing my wraparound skirt when it’s not fitting so well. Worry, fear, anxiety creep in.  How am I going to make it?  How is this ever going to work out?

God’s answer?  Ps. 3:3:  “You take me and surround me with yourself.” 
Ps. 7:10: “God, your wrap-around presence is my protection and my defense.” 
Ps. 5:12: “Lord, how wonderfully you bless the righteous. Your favor wraps around each one and covers them…” (Passion Translation)


The Father says, "No worries, I gotcha covered whether you’re on track, or you have slipped up again."  

Need a safe place?  There are no gaps in his presence when I hide myself in him.  He’s the wraparound God who envelops me, and you, in his arms. Come and join me on the Father’s lap.  Come live from his presence.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Loving Life with William
My 6 year old grandson, William is very active, and so busy being busy that he sometimes acts without thinking of the consequences.  Like practicing his artistic skills on the furniture, or trying out his new scissors on someone else’s papers.

In the beginning, when he was confronted with something he had done, he would lie.  “I didn’t do that!”  Even if you caught him in the act, the marker still in his little hand, he would deny vehemently that it was him.

One day William came into my prayer room and found me laying on the floor.  “What are you doing, Grandma?” he asked. 

“I’m talking to Jesus, “I told him. 

“I don’t see Jesus,” he said.

“No, I can’t see him either, but he’s here.”

A few weeks later, my grandson came to me one evening after work and said, “Grandma, let’s go in your room and talk to Jesus!” So we did.  We both laid down on the floor and told Jesus about our day.

Not long afterwards, my grandson came to me and said, “Grandma, I have to show you something.”  He took me into my back room and showed me that he had used my elliptical machine while I was at work, and tangled the cord from the adjacent window blinds so tightly in the wheel that the pedals would no longer turn.  

I was upset!  

“William,” I told him.  “I told you not to go into my room when I’m not home!”

“I’m sorry, Grandma,” he said.

I wrapped my little grandson in my arms and told him I forgave him, and was so proud of him for telling on himself, for telling the truth and not lying, …and please, don’t ever use my elliptical machine again.  I cut the blind cords and removed them from the machine and marveled at God’s grace.

William came to me again yesterday.  “Grandma, I took some of your cookies.”  I had told him I was making cookies for our bake sale at church.  I hugged him again and told him how proud I was that he had come to me, and yes, he can certainly have some more of my cookies, so long as it was ok with Mom.  “Just remember to ask first next time.”


We’re all learners together, young and old, doing life, making mistakes, stepping on toes, forgiving each other because we know what it’s like to be forgiven ourselves when we’ve been someplace we have no business being, or done something that hurt someone.  And we know what it’s like when God reminds us “That’s not who you are” and calls us back to our identity as beloved children.  So we offer the same pardon and callback to identity to the ones we do life with every day.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Through My Eyes

Yesterday, I sat in the conference room where I work to witness and notarize Wills for a couple from India.  Coincidentally, just a few days earlier I had just finished sewing and mailed away a photo memory quilt for an Indian man as a gift from his family on his 80th birthday.  As I sat listening to the distinct Indian accent of this brown-skinned couple I heard the Father speak to me:

“Looking upon him, he loved him.”

I knew the reference was to the scriptural account of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler.  But Jesus was speaking with me about the people in my line of sight – immediately, this Indian couple – and the many other people that pass in and out of my world every day.

When Jesus met the rich young ruler he was not overwhelmed by his fine clothing, or his learned speech, or his high position in society.  He knew this man through and through – the good and the bad.  He knew about his love of wealth, and even that he would choose money over obedience to Jesus.  And yet the Scripture says:

“Jesus looked at him, and loved him.” Mark 10:21

So, how does Jesus look at me?  In scrutiny of my deficiencies and failures?  

Although the rich young ruler was selfish and loved money more than God, Jesus looked upon him and loved him. And he made sure it was recorded that way in Scripture so that 2000 years later he could remind me of his words over an Indian couple signing their Wills on a certain summer day in New Jersey.


Why this day, why this foreign couple who may not even know anything about God? Jesus was saying, “See how I see these people.  See how I saw the rich young ruler. I wasn’t blind to his flaws, but I looked at him through my eyes of love.  And that is how I want you to look at Indian folks, Muslims, atheists, terrorists, or just the everyday people who wait on you at the diner, or check you out at Walmart.  Do what you see the Father doing, like Jesus.  Look upon them, and love them.  Because I do.  Just as I looked at you when you were an angry, frightened thirteen year old without a dad, and I sent a friend of mine, Stanton Brandkamp – you will never forget that name!- to introduce you to Jesus at a Billy Graham movie, to look at you and see what I see, and bring you into the Kingdom of God.  Because I looked at you, and I loved you.  Just as I love you today.”

Saturday, May 21, 2016

No One Ever Spoke the Way This Man Does (John 7:46)

Ruined!

Once you spoke to me,
Said my name,
I was ruined, desperate
To hear you speak again and again.

No one ever spoke the way this man does.
No one ever looked into my eyes,
Gazed into my very soul,
Saw it all and still chose me as his own.

It's All Good!

“I don’t want my goodness to catch you by surprise.”  That was a prophetic word I read on Father’s Heart Ministry this week.

And just why would the goodness of God catch someone by surprise?  It would if they were living by Murphy’s law:  “If there is anything that can go wrong, it will.” It would if they viewed God as the “God of the second shoe”.  I have struggled with that one.  Pinching myself, holding back from rejoicing over blessings as I wait for the second shoe to drop.

Recently I had been spending time with the Lord in the morning and then got up to go about the tasks of the day.  As I turned to leave the room where I hang out with God he spoke to me, “It’s all good.”  I stopped in my tracks and listened.  “It’s all good.  Do you believe it?”  I think I believe it, Daddy. 
A few days later I had sat down early in the morning to finish a quilt order, a photo quilt ordered for a birthday that was 5 days away and needed to get done and in the mail to the Midwest.  We were on vacation, and I had brought along my sewing machine and all the items needed to finish the quilt.  I set up the machine, laid out my supplies and looked for the quilt top, searched the apartment, searched the car twice, looked and looked, backtracked and searched, and the quilt top was nowhere to be found.  Finally I sat down and felt my heart sink to the bottom of my stomach.

What was I going to do?  I could not recreate the quilt and get it where it needed to go by Saturday.  The photo printing would need to be reordered, the fabrics bought again, all on my own dime since I had already spent the monies paid for these items.  The shoe truly had dropped.  The blessing of another quilt order to help in my fundraising effort for the Israel Prayer Journey had fallen through.  As I sat silent in my distress, Jimmy woke up and joined me in my efforts to find the missing quilt top.

After about 20 minutes of distress, we discovered a plastic bag with the missing quilt top right on top of the counter behind my sewing machine!  I cried in relief.

Then Daddy reminded me of what he had told me, “It’s all good.” And it was.

“Do you believe it?  Do you believe me?”

I want to.  I choose to. Not because I will always find the missing quilt, but because Daddy is a good daddy, a good God, and he doesn’t hide things from his kids, and pull the rug out from underneath them.  He’s not the God of the second shoe, waiting to drop it just when they were getting ready to rejoice over their blessings.

What a blessing to find that quilt top.  What a relief it was to get it sewn and in the mail later that week.  But what a blessing it would have been to have believed God on the front end.

I may not understand what’s happening or why it’s happening, but I do know my Daddy.  He told me it’s all good, because he is so good, and I can run to him when I lose my quilt top, get sidetracked in my plans, come to a seemingly dead end with no place to escape… and let him comfort and direct me because he already knows how he will work it out for my good.

“It’s all good.  Do you believe me?”