Let God Speak Through You

“You are confronted again and again with the choice of letting God speak or letting your wounded self cry out. Although there has to be a place where you can allow your wounded part to get the attention it needs, your vocation is to speak from the place in you where God dwells.

When you let your wounded self express itself in the form of apologies, arguments, or complaints–through which it cannot be truly heard–you will only grow frustrated and increasingly feel rejected. Claim the God, in you, and let God speak words of forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation, words calling to obedience, radical commitment and service.

People will constantly try to hook your wounded self. They will point out your needs, your character defects, your limitations and sins. That is how they attempt to dismiss what God, through you, is saying to them. Your temptation, arising from your great insecurity and doubt, is to begin believing their definition of you. But God has called you to speak the Word to the world and to speak it fearlessly. While acknowledging your woundedness, do not let go of the truth that lives in you and demands to be spoken.

It will take a great deal of time and patience to distinguish between the voice of your wounded self and the voice of God, but as you grow more and more faithful to your vocation, this will become easier. Do not despair; you are being prepared for a mission that will be hard but fruitful.”

~Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

Bloom where you are planted. For even if you are seen as a weed of little value, with the proper perspective, you increase the beauty of creation when you let the light of the Lord shine forth to be a contrast to those around you.

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50:39 I’ve Lost It!

50:39 Something you lost

Sigh…..

So lonely, but guilty about it.

For I am so blessed, truly.

I am not unsheltered, unclothed, unfed, unloved, unsaved.

The Lord is holding my hand through the darkest of nights.

I often now can sleep in peace.

But I am lonely, and thus unsettled, even when I have every thing to be thankful for.

Not that I am not thankful, I am every moment of every day.

Almost to the point of pain do I see the glory of God in all.

Despair no long rules my life.

Everything has a purpose and a good if one looks hard enough beyond the suffering.

I know that God is good. It is His nature. I Trust.

However, to be honest, all of this knowing does not keep out the sharp arrows of doubt, which have me waiting for the balloon to burst on my overflowing abundance.

At least though I can say at this juncture in my life, I recognize the waiting for the fall of doom as the lie that it is.

And I question whether I am purposefully letting it loose? Am I sabotaging my new found happiness because without suffering it is harder to hold as tightly to the Lord, as I do when I am in abject need and fear?

I think this is why I am lonely. I am happy.

And I am craving another to share my Lord and Savior with.

Someone to talk with about what the Lord shared with me today.

Someone to keep the focus with, to share the joy with in the good times and the bad.

Someone face to face.

A Soul Mate.

Sigh…..

Why am I discontent?

Because God created us for relationship, and I like everyone else am feeling the lack of closure in this plague of restriction.

So, instead I will look for the good. Before covid I felt put upon when I had to go somewhere. Now I crave the return to church, the return to people, the return to hugs.

I am like a new creation when it comes to a desire for social interaction.

Perhaps because covid brought to the surface my uncontrolled anxiety and fear of death and people. I had no choice but to surrender all to God and make peace with dying and people.

When this whole thing first began I thought easy-peasy, I don’t like people so this is like a dream come true.

But then I became quite ill in March, with onset of that illness and the simultaneous arrival of covid, I turned into a monster of fear to my family because I am one of “those people” one of the immune compromised.

But the kicker is when I almost let myself die in September from a raging and painful infection rather than go to the hospital. I was beyond hope of self rescue in my pool of fear.

But then God…..

I had never really believed that one could give their problems to God and He would take them unto Himself and one could be healed.

What can I say, it is so stupid when I am so blessed, but I feel at loose ends, half gone, because my life long constant companions and tormentors, Anxiety and Fear, are banished.

Losing my them is a treasure beyond measure, and I haven’t wanted to name it for silly faithless superstitious reasons.

But that is just so demeaning to the Lord of Glory. Let it go, let it go, in the name of Jesus, let it go.

I feel so different, not myself, but then again, more myself than ever.

Is this why I am lonely?

If so praise the Lord and let me stay this way. I do not want those twin demons back.

O Lord, please heal Your creation.

Thank You for Your common grace to keep evil in check.

Please give us the tools necessary to banish the virus without turning our backs on individuals and the knowledge that every life is precious and made in Your image. May we love those who hate us and care for those in need. May we walk by the fruit of Your Spirit and share love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against these things there is no restraint or social distance.

I also thank you Lord for the gift of Your Spirit, the most lovely soul mate a person could ask for. Please Lord do not let me forget Your mercy and lovingkindness in the prosperity of spirit You have provided me today.

Blessings,

Belinda

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50:35 Behold the Wonders

50:35 A Perfect Day?

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Of course this could be a list, that is what I started to compile in my mind when I came to this question. However I came to the realization that the list was entirely to long after just a few minutes. Much would have to be eliminated to fit within a twenty four hour time span.

So that doesn’t work because perfect is complete, without a flaw of any kind.

Well, God is perfect, and this made me think of what would be my perfect day.

Be still and behold the wonders of God.

You know those moments that jump out at you unexpectedly. The ones where you’re just tootling along and bam! something in God’s creation stops you in your tracks, and you are overwhelmed by the wonder of it all; pure bliss spills from every pore of your body, and if asked to explain you cry tears of uncontrollable joy and love.

Well I think those moments are a glimpse of the very essence of God, a gift from Him to us as He cracks the fabric of the universe to give us a taste of His glory.

I don’t know about you, but when I am in one of those gifted moments, I stop everything, let His glory wash over me, and wish for it to never end.

And on a perfect day, it wouldn’t.

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50:34 What you see is what you get?

34. Are you viewed by others as you really are?

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Hummm…..most likely not. Seeing as how I often view myself in one extreme or the other, between a delusional Pollyanna or a grumpy old doubter. And if I have trouble finding my real self, how can I expect others to look behind the curtain.

Realistically there must be observant people who do see beyond our public presentations. But I am willing to admit that I am too absorbed in my own life to want to be attuned to the nuances of anyone but those near and dear to me, and I cannot even be sure I know them truly, because of the bias and history I bring into the relationship.

So I am sure there will be some of you out there getting a clear picture of who I am, because of your impartial view, but the very fact of your distance, which provides your impartiality, puts you in a position of relatively minor influence.

But is this true? Words do have power.

For even though we are mostly silently peeking into the lives of each other here on WordPress, this is not necessarily a bad thing on the whole. For I know it provides to me the much needed service of seeing life through eyes of someone else. More often than not, someone in an environment completely foreign to me. Thus giving opportunity for expansion to my limited worldview. Perhaps the initial drip which begins the ripple of a tide of change.

Anyway, I suppose when I think about being the person that others think I am, I run up against the fact that I am not a static person with set in stone opinions. I like to think I am growing and changing constantly. That the seeking out of fresh and different perspectives is a necessity to prevent stagnation, or the wallowing in the despair of regret.

For my life experience has been narrow for the most part. Yes, there have been far too many painfully bad experiences which have left an enormous amount of baggage I am still working through, and will most likely never fully unpack.

And if I didn’t have the ability to see how others dealt with their life events, I would have only my own limited view to make sense of it all, and frequently your own view is too fresh to seek answers within.

Sigh, I am rambling. I wanted to answer simply that because I am a person of fluid opinions, what you think you know of me today, or yesterday, might not be the same tomorrow. It is not that I change my mind too easily or capriciously, but I like to think I am open to new ideas, and I am not afraid to admit to myself and others that I was wrong.

Maybe this is why I spend so much time alone and don’t seem to fit in anywhere. People tend to group together with like minded individuals, and someone who constantly questions and pushes against the status quo can be an uncomfortable addition to the herd.

Besides, I am claustrophobic with trouble coloring inside the lines. So I don’t do well when it comes to herd mentality anyway. That sounds bitter, but that’s not my intention. Just my acceptance of my limitations.

I blame, without rancor, my parents who instilled into their children from a very young age to always question everything, including authority and the socially accepted norms, even theirs. I have made my peace with it, and can now say I am glad they did, but it can be a very lonely

I often think that because I don’t like to be pinned down to one viewpoint, I must come across as wishy washy and unstable. Drifting along with the wind, lost in an endless sea of change. In my past life this would have been true, because it must have been that way. Well that is until I slammed up against the rock to which now I cling.

My Lord, Jesus Christ. His Word is my anchor.

Gosh golly, I it turns out I was wrong when I started writing this and assumed that what you see in me today will not be what you get tomorrow; this is not truth.

For I am in Christ and it is His light that is constant and unchanging within me. A light which cannot be hidden. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He promised. He is faithful. He is forever. Unlike me who can change her view after just 800 words or so.

Ever thankful will I be for the Lord’s steadfastness, for it allows me the freedom to flounder and learn something new without fear, because He is my lifeline back to truth if I get to far off course. He will never let me go. Thus a part of His flock I will forever and endlessly happily be.

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“You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14

And are is a state of being.

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50:33 Changes

50:33 bad habits

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Goodness gracious, this could become a very lengthy list.

But I guess making lists could also be put on the list, at least when I use them as an avoidance tool.

For I find it is possible with a list to bury the really bad ones in among an overwhelming number of trivial ones, thus manage to temper their obvious rudeness.

So how about a picture from the garden today while I tell you how much I am looking forward to the artichokes, rather than speaking of my bad habit of not listening.

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For if I were pressed, the thing I would most like to work on in my life is listening. How even more delicious than a fresh picked artichoke, would be a life filled with listening to others, really listening, not just, sometimes patiently, waiting for my turn to speak.

I also think it would be incredible to daily, hourly, constantly, keep my senses attuned to the whispers of God, and how this simple act of listening would be such a comfort and a joy. But instead I get busy and forget. I say, this simple act of listening, but of course it is not simple at all. It needs constant vigilance and intentionality.

I am getting better, I at least I hope I am, but it is so easy to fool yourself. I am as distractable as they come.

Today my daughter and I went outside and worked in the yard. There were knee high weeds in the parkways, well actually everywhere, that we eliminated. Still, all in all things are coming along nicely. God is good and is taking care of His creation just fine without much input needed by me this spring.

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For instance last summer I prepared this parkway to be planted. I was thinking yarrow, because I wanted to basically ignore it, and with an abundance throughout the yard there is plenty to transplant. Well life has not gone as planned this winter and spring and I couldn’t be more pleased to come out of hibernation and find this glorious bloom of nasturtiums, poppies and alyssum instead of weeds.

Which leads me to the very bad habit of anxiety. My lack of trust or faith that all will work out in the end, and my stressing about it and trying to plan. To always need a fallback position is often a pointless exercise that produces no lasting benefit.

The Lord has shown me again and again that He always has my best built into His plans, and He doesn’t need a fall back position, because His plans are always perfect from the get go. So remembering this would be a good habit I would like to develop.

So maybe one of the problems I have had while thinking about this question is that is not in my nature to focus on what is bad about my life. I prefer to focus on what I can do to improve myself, for my own sake and for the sake of those I love, and most importantly how can I best glorify God with my actions, so if I turn this around to being a positive venture, and ask what good habits would I like to develop, I can see the point in the exercise.

I would like to learn how to really listen. I would love to become someone others seek out to talk to because I listen. In the same way I want to be constant with my seeking out of God, because He is the best listener that was, and is, and will ever be, and His guidance in return will always be selfless and rich in lovingkindness, if I quiet myself to listen.

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The aloe is blooming, and hummingbirds love it. I am not out here enjoying them as I have been in the past because I am working.

Too much actually, but disappearing into solving accounting puzzles is a good thing to keep my mind off of the virus crisis.

It is a difficult thing to come to terms with the notion that as so many are struggling financially, the financial situation of my household is improving. We have been through a long difficult year and the timing of finding a job was not to be expected. I am overflowing with praise and thanksgiving that we do not have to worry about homelessness at this time.

Still my entire outlook regarding security has changed. I will never be the same, or go back to complacency regarding either my health insurance or continued employment. Each and every day I have either one is to be looked upon as a gift of God. 

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So even if paths are temporarily blocked by circumstance, they are still there, like the one under these poppies, eventually a way forward will clear. So I am trying to keep myself open and positive about what the future will look like. I might need to create new habits, and be willing to let go of expectations of what should or might have been.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

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So hold on to an unchanging God while the world, for better or worse, shifts, quivers, and quakes. For Jesus is dependable.

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Do Not Tempt God

My Pastor sent out this snippet along with the message that we will be having virtual service on Sundays.  I do imagine that having 50 people chatting online during fellowship time will be more chaotic then it is in person, but this is the responsible thing do to.

And if the online connection can be maintained after we begin meeting again, it will be an awesome opportunity for those you cannot make it on a given Sunday to still participate.

It makes me wonder if this crisis, by forcing the need to look for alternatives to the status quo, will not open up the church to many who might not otherwise attend.

The message below from the past was perfect for me in the present, for I do not reside now in a spirit of fear, but rather I rest in my position in Christ Jesus and the glory that awaits me, and people still need each other’s help. I cannot shelter in place and just ignore a suffering world. Still, I should not be reckless and put the Lord my God to the test, or put others at risk by reckless behavior.

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When the the bubonic plague returned to the German city of Wittenberg, the students and faculty of Wittenberg were told to leave the city.  Martin Luther and his wife stayed behind.  He wrote a letter entitled “Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague.”  In the letter he not only advocates for staying in the city to help the sick and care for one’s neighbor, he also provides some good counsel:  
“Use medicine.  Take whatever maybe helpful to you.  Fumigate your house, yard, and street.  Avoid persons and places where you are not needed or where your neighbor has recovered.  Act as one who would like to help out a general fire.  What is the pestilence, after all, but a fire which consumes body and life instead of wood and straw.  Meanwhile think thus: ‘With God’s permission the enemy has sent poison and deadly dung among us, and so I will pray to God that he may be gracious and preserve us.  Then I will fumigate to purify the air, give and take medicine, and avoid places and persons where I am not needed in order that I may not abuse myself and that through me others may not be infected and inflamed with the result that I become the cause of their death through my negligence.  If God wishes to take me, he will be able to find me.  At least I have what he gave me to do and am responsible neither for my own death nor for the death of others.  But if my neighbor needs me, I shall avoid neither person nor place but feel free to visit and help him,’ as has already been said.  Behold, this is true and God-fearing faith which is neither foolhardy nor rash and does not tempt God.”
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Day by Day

Also known as trust in the steadfast love of God.

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Around one year ago the life I had so painstakingly crafted came crashing down, and with hindsight it is transparently obvious that it had been built upon the sand, devoid of any reliance upon God.

So, to say it has been a difficult year emotionally and financially would be putting it mildly, however spiritually it has been the best year of my life, thus if given the choice of a do over, I like to think I would still choose the Lord’s path of demolition over the stagnant pool of hope I had been bobbing along in for too many years.

For the Lord and I are on a journey, a journey of discovery, discovery of the death of self.

It all began with my complete confidence that the Lord had my back, that I was centered in His will and exactly where I was supposed to be, this was and is a lovely uplifting feeling, so I wasn’t worried, but jubilant about the new opportunities I was facing. For if I was where God wanted me than I assumed He had a use and plan for me that would unfold and lead me into a land of milk and honey; to not necessarily a large life, just a knowable secure one. I was confident that everything would be fine.

Wow what hubris. It was still all about me. What was God’s will for MY life rather than simply, what is God’s will, and then me humbling myself to rest within it.

The thing is as the year has unfolded every real need which has arisen has been met in unforeseen ways. For my reality has been that no matter how much I tried to map out a plan for the future, it was impossible to get beyond a month or two without my household falling off the cliff into financial ruin, but we never have. Our needs have been met in ways which can only be attributed to being a God thing.

I continue to apply for jobs, but they have not been forthcoming. I am also incredible thankful  God has begun closing doors quickly which He would not have me go through, so I am not being strung out hoping for the hopeless.

I am though being offered short term opportunities which patch holes here and there and keep the envelope pushed out to the two month window we have been dealing with for a while. And the thing is the Lord prepared me for this, because having managed the cash flow for a failing company for way too many years, I know those two months are a gift and a manageable time to work within.

Anyway, I was working on one of my Bible studies the other day which talked about direction and destination, and how when going somewhere new alone you want to have the complete map in front of you as you travel, letting you know what each twist and turn is going to be. As opposed to going with a fellow traveler who has been to your destination before. How you really don’t need to know beyond the next turn as long as they are with you.

Well, that is what I have with the Lord. As long as He is with me I only need to be concerned about today, to stay centered in His will today, because He knows where my tomorrow will lead. I just need to trust Him and He will get me to His destination in His own predestined time.

The plus side of staying centered in God’s will one day at a time, is that after a life time of centered days, I will have been exactly where I needed to be. Which is something that would be impossible for me if I had to try to encompass into my thoughts a lifetime of centered days, nope, not possible. Whereas one day maybe is just doable with His help.

Well, after this quite comforting time of communion with the Lord, He doubled down on His goodness and reaffirmed to me that I had not misunderstood what I thought He was telling me. For a servant of the Lord at my daughter’s church gave us a thousand dollars which doubled our window of doom to hover at a four month window rather than two. Such excess, such bounty!

I am over the roof with joy, not only for the necessary and much much appreciated funds, but to have such confirmation in the goodness and faithfulness of God so immediately upon His suggestion that I stop trying to fix the world myself, but rather to trust, and let Him do it for me.

Day by day, hour by hour, breath by breath, He leads, I follow.

So I was correct in believing that everything will be fine, maybe not in what I expected or even wanted, but exceedingly much more than fine nonetheless.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

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50:31 Hither and Yon

50:31 Random thoughts of today.

Well let’s see, this could be a list right? I love lists!

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So if I let my mind wander one of the easiest things that I trip upon is that Little Miss Happiness is now a year old. It seems like a life time ago that I was up North helping my daughter with the birth of her first child. There were also many firsts for me that Christmas: falling snow, bone chilling cold, and colorless winter landscape. Very unlike this photo I took few days ago while I was on my daily walk here in California.

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I never appreciated the temperate weather here in Southern California until I spent a Winter month in Montana. It wasn’t so much the snow that was problematic, but the ice. I am so used to being able to go out for a walk whenever I want, and the icy sidewalks in Montana were a deterrent to wandering and adventure.

For I like nothing better than to go out for a long walk and weave stories in my mind about all I see. Not only did I miss the mental stimulation of imagination, but the miles I try to walk each day, help to stave off my depression, so unfortunately by the end of my visit my mind was in a very bad way. But all things have a silver lining and mine would be the appreciation of what I have, for there is no place like home.

Which leads me to another thought for the day, limitations. I might have reached the point of little return for effort expended in regards to my Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not that I am giving up, or not going to try and beat this thing back into submission, but the thing has flipped on me.

Instead of having short periods of illness followed by extensive periods of almost wellness, I am now dealing with very short periods of almost wellness, which are being surrounded by, and almost swallowed by, painful and limiting periods of illness. Even walking has become a trial. This is going to take some getting used to, and I am very much in need of medical advice, but without income, or insurance, this is not going to happen any time soon.

Well I can see that these random thoughts are not going to be a list, because lists should have a theme, an overarching purpose, and my thoughts definitely do not. They sometimes will go hither and yon before circling back into a sort of connectedness, but I don’t think this is going to be one of those times.

Anyway, this morning while wandering through the many means I use to hold my prone to wander focus on the knowledge of the Lord, I came across some written words which were contemplating trials and the proper response to them. The advice given was that one shouldn’t pray to be delivered from the trial, but rather only for the endurance to bear them, thus one would suffer like Christ and then be more Christlike.

Hum….Uh, no, I don’t think so.

Yes, we live in a fallen world, full of sorrow, heartache, and pain. I am not denying this, and I do pray constantly for endurance, strength, peace, joy, and that I will reach the other end of whatever the days, the weeks, the years, trial with my faith intact. But I also pray fervently with deep moaning and gut wrenching pleading, that if it is possible, please, please please remove the thorns from my live. Please!!!!!!!

Lord willing. But pray for removal of trials I do and should. If I didn’t, would I not be limiting God, not trusting in His goodness and promise to do what is best?

Sometimes His best is through suffering, but I also believe that sometimes His best is through deliverance and restoration. So I will continue to pray for restoration and deliverance, but if He doesn’t, I will love Him no less.

If this was a list? Maybe:

  • Celebrate life, look for the smiles.
  • Be thankful for what you have, the grass is not always greener.
  • Make the best of a bad situation, some one thing can always be improved upon.
  • Push back against limitations.
  • Trust God, and ask ask ask without ceasing!
  • Jesus is our finisher, we cannot fail.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

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“A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Proverbs 12:27

Wait a minute! What? Oh, okay, I see, thank you Lord.

This is how many of my mornings go while communing with the Lord, but thankfully He explains if I just shut up my mind and listen to what He has to say.

I am hungry for knowledge of the Lord and how He wants me to live. How He wants me to grow. How He wants me to love my neighbor. How to worship Him fully.

Therefore if my bitter experiences produce a greater dependency and love of God, if they deepen and broaden my love for my neighbor, if they bring me to my knees, of course I am hungry for them. Enjoy them no, but in my hunger will I eat them with relish, yes.

So in the bitterness of hardship can lie joy, and in the plushness of abundance can lie complacency. Not that I don’t want and need times of plenty and peace, rather I must remember to give thanks always in everything, and to put my confidence in the Lord regardless of myself, and sometimes this is can be more satisfying, or perhaps I should say more obvious when my need is greatest. My thanksgiving stronger. My Praise louder, deeper, sweeter.

This does not mean the next time I read this proverb it won’t speak to me differently, that is the joy of the living word. I can never exhaust it or know it completely for it meets me where I am in moment and provides me guidance, or simply peace for that day.

I know there are Bible scholars who will have decided exactly what every dot and tittle means exactly without compromise and I am not going to say they are unnecessary, for I do use study Bibles and multiple interpretations to widen and illuminate God’s word during my morning devotionals, and I also will agree that the loose interpretation can cause a world of grief and harm.

However God is bigger than my limited understanding within my infinitesimal bit of borrowed universe. Why would I want to try and contain Him within it? That would be foolish indeed.

So instead I fling open all my windows and secret passageways, wait for Him, listen, and believe; His words are alive for me today, and give me joy and life abundantly. What a feast He provides, and how thankful I am to Him for the hunger He gives me to enjoy it even while He keeps me full. Oh the wonderful sweet mystery of it all. My cup overflows.

To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen!

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The Light

 

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Regardless of the calendar, for me it is officially winter in Southern California. I know this because of the lights. You see, I like to think of the lights, which are so prolific in my hometown, as our visible replacement of the changing seasons. It is our snow; our own kind of frosting.

Contrarily, the lights make the outside darker, the air seem colder, the shadows deeper. There is also a hush about the air, a calm stillness from the lack of air conditioners running, making the nights a silent time of reflection.

So while gazing out my kitchen window to admire my neighbors snow, I can not help but marvel at the faithfulness of the God of all creation, who meets us wherever we are, and uses whatever is available, to remind busy people like me, that this is the season to celebrate, the Light of the world, peace on earth, and good will towards men.

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