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footprints

image courtesy daccentkueh

After reading the introduction and first chapter of Jeremiah, I feel a brotherly affection for the “weeping prophet”. I too, weep for family and close friends who don’t want to come to bible study because they are too busy, or feel its “not for me”. Those of us who feel that we are good enough or better than the next guy.  I don’t want to feel that I am better than anyone. Ever. An [inflated] EGO is just the acronym for Easing God Out.

I encourage my friends and family to gain a deeper understanding of Christ from time to time. I truly believe that learning more about Christ, in turn, allows us to learn more about ourselves and how we relate to the rest of their world.  However, with my toughest compadres, I am often met with contempt and even anger.  In these times, I return close to home to protect myself and my family from any negative reactions. It has happened so many times.

In the end, though, I can only look at my own heart.

And with each passing day, after another scriptural lesson, I know that I am called to do God’s work.  After starting a morning in bible study, prayer, worship and contemplation, God brings people into my life who are seeking Him.  I find it fascinating that what I just studied that particular morning or week is exactly the lesson or scriptural reference that someone needs to hear. And I am so honored and humbled that I can be the person God calls to do His work.

As I was contemplating His words through prayer in the early morning hours of our vacation, I heard my golden retriever walking around on the first floor.  This moment actually struck me out of my prayerful state as this is a rare occasion.  All week my sweet canine has had quite a bit of trouble getting to his 12 year old feet on the slippery laminate floor.  My husband or I have had to pick up all 86 lbs. of our fluffy canine to get him to his food bowl or to the back door for relief at least 4 times each day.

As I make my way down the stairs, he is staring at me with his head tilted and those big brown eyes tinged with age.  His tail gives a knowing wag as if to ask, “Ready for our morning walk? I have something to show you.”

We open the door to the salty sea air enveloped in darkness.  Lit only by the occasional front porch or streetlight, the quiet streets lead us toward the sound of the ocean.  I removed my shoes and our feet touched the cool, soft sand as we made our way up and over the dunes.  The pitch black ocean seeped into my bones and fear stopped me from going any further.  I took a seat on a wooden bench at the edge of the beach and faced the pounding waves. With the street and house lights casting a weak shadow past my place on the bench towards the dark ocean, I looked into the loud, vast blackness.  I trembled as I looked away and was comforted by a million stars twinkling overhead in the moonless night sky.  I was in awe of the beauty overhead.  I returned my gaze into the ocean and once again felt fear seep in.  But I somehow gained the strength to look directly into the darkness.   As the waves pounded the surf, I saw a faint light from a barge out at sea miles away from where I sat.  I looked to the left of the deep to search for more light, but only then did I find I was beginning to appreciate the darkness. With each crashing wave, I found the simplistic beauty in its raw nature. I was no longer afraid. The waves are just doing their job.  And then I was struck with how my life in Christ resembles this exact moment.

God used my sweet canine to remind me what life looks like in Him.

My life in Christ is this beach.

In the early morning hours of late July.

Behind me I have the man-made light casting a week shadow into my life.  This represents the good and evils in the world.  The shadow created by the man-made world points directly toward the ocean. The tumultuous surf and dark ocean is the ultimate destruction one will face after leading a life without Christ.  The harsh death and eternal darkness of not obeying God.  But the sand is cool and soft beneath my feet.  If I walk along the beach, I know that the narrow stretch of sand runs along the coast for miles. With the ways of the world to my left, and the dark ocean to my right, I will be guided by the stars, aka Christ, until the sun (Son) returns.

The beach is the long stretch that separates land and sea, and this path is well planned. It was created thousands of years ago.  The path that everyone knows to be real. To. Be. True.  This beautiful path has now been laid out before me.  And the sand remains refreshing and soft with each step I take.

And the stars will give me strength in the darkness.  As the waves pound the beach under the cover of complete darkness, I find that I no longer fear its deafening crash and blackest black ocean. The beach is now in front of me.  And even in this moonless night, I can see that it is beautiful. Of course there will be dark days.  But I will not fear what is at my right.  Or my left.  Because I can just look to the stars to lead me home.

[In loving honor of our golden boy, Boomer, who left us to be with our Heavenly Father in December 2015. May he rest in peace, until we meet again.]

 

 

xoxo

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I just find it so amazing that God keeps pursuing those who turn away from Him.  He is never ceasing, and always loving.  It is when I’m becoming completely overwhelmed, ready to ‘throw in the towel’, bone-tired of all that is in this world, I remember how God just keeps on loving.  This knowledge alone gives me renewed strength.

Take, for instance, the discovery of Nineveh.  In the 19th century, near Mosul, Iraq, Sir Austen Layard unearthed the site of one of the greatest cities in ancient times(cited: Wikipedia).  Back then, Nineveh was a powerfully wealthy city full of wayward citizens.  The people built their palaces on the backs of the poor; lied, cheated and stole to become wealthy.  Jonah, the prophet, was told by God to go to Nineveh with warnings.  Remember that story?

Well, the people of Nineveh repented, but then they became complacent and eventually began lying, stealing and cheating once again.  Enter the prophet, Zephaniah, who told them to get it right with God, again.  Did they listen?  No they did not.  So God not only destroyed Nineveh, but He said the ruins of the city would be reduced to a place where shepherds would graze their sheep.

When Sir Austen Layard finally discovered the ruins of Neneveh hidden underneath hundreds of years of dirt and clay, he found clay tablets recording details of Nineveh’s fall to the Medes and Babylonians in August 612 BC-just as prophesied.  But what I found most interesting, was that the mound of ruins used as a place to pasture flocks (Zephaniah 2:13-15) is highlighted by its modern name, Tell Kuyunjik, or mound of many sheep.  This was named by a predominately Muslim country who care nothing about Christian history.

So here is scientific proof that a biblical city existed and then destroyed while prophets are proven correct.  Why was it recovered?  Why bother?  Because God is pursuing even the toughest of toughs.  The thinkers, the scientists, the “I need proof”ers.

Before I became baptized, I was one of the “I need proof”ers.  And God, our awesome and powerful God, gently showed me some proof.

Shortly thereafter, I jumped into the water to pursue Him.

After I became baptized, I began to see and hear of many miracles done by Him.

The story of the Muslim woman from Iran who came to America under political asylum.  She became a Christian against her families’ wishes after Jesus came to her and restored her “dead” womb.  Her son is thriving here and she is proud to serve God through Jesus here in the US.

The story of the blind African woman immediately becoming healed after a member of our church prayed with her on a mission trip to her tribe.

And these are just two of the stories of the extraordinary works of God – in my lifetime.  In this country.  Why does He personally move me when I hear about these modern day miracles?  Because He is preparing me for the bigger miracles still to come.  Its as if He is saying “Now that I’ve got your attention, stay tuned.”

I am so excited for what the future holds.

I hope you can add a miracle or two to your life.  Let Him provide one for you.  He is just waiting to hear from you.

 

 

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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

I am a renaissance woman.  I am a supportive wife, loving mother, forgiving daughter, humble horse trainer, thankful friend, budding artist, fierce warrior, passionate witness, thoughtful writer and humbled child of God.

I never would have said I were any of these things less than 10 years ago.  I was my own worst critic.  The inner voice told me I was lazy, stupid, selfish and hard-hearted. But through this long journey, God has a gentle way of showing me who I am in Him.  He has allowed me to see that I am wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).  Because everything good comes from God (James 1:17).  And I am good.

A modern day poet sings it like this:

“This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine

From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold”

So you can choose to see yourself the way others see you.  But let me tell you, my friend, the world is a very cruel place.  There are so many skeptics and doubters and some will only see you in a negative light.  Why?  Because they either do not have the Holy Spirit at all, or they struggle with how much time the Holy Spirit resides in them.

Ask God to show you how He sees you.  Jesus was able to see the good in every one and recover the good from everything.

Only the full glory of Jesus allowed the adulterous woman to walk freely away toward a new beginning when everyone else wanted to stone her (John 8-11).  How she lived her life from that day on, only God knows, but she had the opportunity to begin again. In addition, only Jesus had the authority to forgive the crippled man He then asked to get up when the teachers of the law were skeptical (Mark 2:6-10).  What became of the man? No one knows, but he was able to go on living a full live with the ability to share his miraculous story.

Only Jesus could heal the boy of his seizures after his disciples failed to heal him (Matthew 17:16).  What became of the boy? I will bet money he followed Christ.

And finally, only Jesus saw the greatness beyond the darkest moments in his own brutal murder (Matthew 16:21).

So don’t let “the people” stone you.  Even some of the greatest disciples fail to heal.

Remember this: you ARE awesome.  Let God show you just how awesome you truly are.

With love, always, ~D

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We have moved.

The historic farmhouse that sheltered us, consumed our thoughts, weekends and wallets, is now in the loving care of another family.  My boys occasionally ask to go back to the “yellow house”. And there are times I find myself taking the long way home to drive past the place we called home for the last 8 years.

But its still too painful to share why we left Sunnyside Farm. I promise to tell the story with you as soon as I am able.

For now, I want to focus on our new house.  Its fabulous.  We settled  in the fall.  The little suburban home set on a little over an acre is nestled in a quiet neighborhood across the street from the middle and high school.  Within walking distance from the schools and a short bike ride to the elementary school, we have lowered our carbon footprint.  It’s good for the earth.  And therefore, it’s good for my soul.

As we cleared the counters for this year’s Christmas cookie baking extravaganza in our new home, I realized there is one corner of my kitchen that doesn’t get cleaned as much as it should. And it keeps attracting random stuff.  Days later I may find a clean dish that was never put away, a random plastic bag or a piece of celery masked by dark counters and no lighting.  Since I am the master of this domain, I am the only one who sees this dark space behind the juicer.  So I could let it go, but that doesn’t sit well with me for too long.  After a couple of days, I start to obsess about clean counters.  And the dark corner gets a good scrubbing.

Cleaning this area reminds me how much I loved my farm house kitchen.  There were no hidden corners.  Every counter in that kitchen was out in the open for all to see.  Lights shined down into all the nooks and crannies.  I like my kitchen corners that way.  It’s also how I like my life to be lived.  Let the light shine into every corner.

So until I can tackle my next kitchen renovation, this hidden corner will haunt me.  Each time I move the juicer to reveal what was left behind, I will be reminded to keep the hidden corners of my soul clean.   The dark corners no one else sees.  At the end of the day, not only will my kitchen be clutter free, but He can shine His light all the way through to the deepest recesses within me.

Is anyone accumulating needless clutter in the darkened corners of your “kitchen”?

I know I do.

xoxo

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