Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
I should say that earlier in the day, at church, the sermon was very heavy. There was a lot of truth that lay heavy on my heart and I was loving the chance to just walk with Cole and process. I was caught up in my head (and loving every minute of it!). Well, we walked by an old brown house with three young adults on the porch. A young man in a wheel chair, a young girl and another young man. They looked as if they were in their twenties and they were joking around. The one guy lifted the girls chair and acted as if he was going to tip her over. They were yelling and joking and swearing. And for a moment I was out of my head and observing them. But just for a moment and then I went right back to my thoughts.
Now, this old brown house, with the three people on the porch was a corner lot and had a fenced in yard. On our normal route I know pretty much where every dog lives and the type of dog it is. And I normally know something about the owner. For example, two houses down from us lives Cleo, a German Shepard. Cleo's owner is a louder middle aged woman that yells at Cleo to stop barking when we walk by. She likes to yell, "Cleeeeooooo, stop barking. Stop jumping on the siding. I am NOT buying new siding because of you." Cleo likes to bark, run and jump with her two paws hitting the side of the house. At the end of another street lives a yellow lab that gets very excited when we walk by and likes to bark and spin in circles. The owner often takes the lab for a car ride in the morning. And my favorite dog lives kiddie corner across from us. He is a little black pug named... Bo-Bo. Bo-Bo has gotten out of his yard several times and each times just wants to come over and say hi. I will scoop him up and return him. Bo-Bo's owners are for the most part friendly and apologize for his escape.
However, I didn't know this yard. I didn't know these three young adults and I certainly didn't know the large, furry black dog that out of nowhere was running along the fence barking at Cole and me with his fur standing up. In fact, I was so in my head that I didn't even see the dog run over to the fence. I heard, "You better watch out" and then I looked and there was this giant, fierce dog. I pulled Cole away from the fence telling him to, "Come on... come on, come on, Cole." We were crossing the street when out of the corner of my eye I saw something. I turned my head a little and saw the one young man run to the fence and LEAP over it. In that moment I couldn't understand why he was running towards me and why he hopped a fence in a way that I've only seen done in the movies. But when he stopped in the middle of the road, crouched down, arms extended, I saw it. I saw why. The fierce black dog had gotten out of the back of the fence and was running at Cole and me. His fur was still standing straight up and his fangs were exposed.
I was frozen. Fight or flight? I chose frozen still, heart racing. And any thoughts I had been lost in before were gone. My mind was blank. The dog dodged the young man and ran to his left. The young man ran toward the dog and about three feet from me did a sliding tackle and literally tackled the dog to the ground. He stood up holding the dog under his front legs. Let me reiterate that. This guy TACKLED the dog. He tackled the dog and held him back. What did I do? I just started to walk away.
I felt in those moments after fear, relief, adrenaline, and a protectiveness that comes from loving another being, in this case, my two year old black lab. So, you see, I didn't almost die, but it was quite the experience. And this is what the Lord spoke to my heart, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." 1Peter 5:8
A near dog attack warranted a lesson on spiritual warfare. Crazy? I don't know. But as I prayed on the walk home this is what I took from that experience. On my walk, I was not alert. I was in my own little world, consumed by my thoughts. And even though I was processing truth from a sermon I was still in my own little world. And out of nowhere comes this "roaring lion". But was it really out of nowhere? No. The dog saw us before I saw him. The dog ran at us before I even saw it. And the dog knew the hole in the fence and saw clearly the path to get to us. I saw none of that. I was not on my guard. Do you know what happens to people who aren't on their guard? They get attacked. But, thankfully, that young man was on his guard. He saw the events unfolding, he was alert and he was well aware of the action he needed to take. That is what living life on guard and alert looks like. Me? I am the example of what not to do.
Do you know the beauty of those events and that truth from God last night? Today, today was a day that was filled with spiritual warfare. As I stepped into work today until the time I left I was faced with the heaviness of the battle going on around me. I am tired. I feel a little weary. I caught glimpses of the battle going on around our shop. I caught a glimpse of the battle going on for this one young man's soul. And in the midst of that heaviness God graciously gave me the opportunity to share the gospel. To speak truth in the midst of darkness and hopelessness and to drive home laying it all before Him.
The battle does not belong to me. But to think I have no part in it is wrong. The battle belongs to the Lord. We are to live self-controlled and alert because we have a very real enemy. But in the midst of the battle we are to stand firm in the faith, knowing full well that God is victorious and the battle belongs to him. I love the verse in Exodus when the Egyptians are pursuing the Israelites. The Israelites cry out to God and say that it would have been better for them to stay in Egypt (captivity) than to be here being pursued by the Egyptian army. Moses says to them, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Moses speaks these words and then the Lord speaks to Moses and says, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on...." Then God delivers the Israelites. I believe in the midst of the battle I need my heart to be still, and to know who the deliverance and the victory belongs to. But also, there is action in war. The Lord told Moses to have the Israelites "move on," and I think that in battle I am to fight with a still heart. How does that work? I'm still wrestling through this, but I think, that maybe, I am to have a "still heart" while every other part of me is fighting as hard as it can. Perhaps it looks like a peace filled heart in the midst of war. It's knowing in the midst of a very real battle that whatever happens, ultimately, the victory belongs to God. He is bigger than the battle. He is bigger than the enemy and he's bigger than my fight or flight response.
I don't know how I did today in the battle. I do know this- the heaviness of the battle did not create a hopelessness in me. The darkness that was present did stop me from seeing the light. And standing firm in the faith today meant speaking words of hope and life to someone that was hurting. To someone whose soul is hopeless. Words like, "why even go on living?" are not from God. They are from the one that seeks to steal, kill and destroy. And my prayer today is that the Holy Spirit would sow seeds and allow hope and truth to penetrate even the deepest parts of this hopeless soul. May the truth and simplicity of the gospel take root in this soul. Join me in fighting this battle and standing firm in the faith. Pray that the truth, light and love of Jesus would be incredibly real to the young adults on the West Side of Buffalo. We need only be still. Lift up our prayers. Seek God and know that He is bigger and the battle is his. To Him be the glory.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
extol him who rides on the clouds a]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a]—
his name is the LORD—
and rejoice before him.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families, b]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[b]
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
A burning holy Flame, with glory and freedom
Our God is, the only righteous judge,
Ruling over us with kindness and wisdom
We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You
A mighty fortress is our God
A sacred refuge is Your Name
Your Kingdom is unshakable
With You forever we will reign
Our God is, jealous for His own
None could comprehend, His love and His mercy
Our God is exalted on His throne
High above the heavens
Forever He's worthy...
We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You
So we can set our hearts on You
Lord we will set our hearts on You!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Arms of love embraced me,
The miniature version of herself
Arms of addiction, black and blue
Her gray blue eyes never reflected light
Her nails were bit down
of hard skin
Where there should have been nails painted pink
She loved pink
light, soft, pure pink
I buried my face into her sweater
Inhaling scents that I didn't know then
would still bring me back there
Stale cigarette smoke- marlboro's
A light spray of Jovan's white musk
Scents that aren't as strong now
Lightly fading away as her lap became numb
The black and blue now just blackness
Monday, May 24, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
This morning I was thinking about some of the things that God has been doing in my life- the ways He has been revealing himself and speaking to my heart and that was the phrase that just ran through my head. God is huge. He is huge.
A few weeks ago on a Wednesday there was an article in the paper about a local artist that built a giant table with matching giant chairs. They were on display at the Albright Knox gallery and when people would walk into the room they instantly felt small. It would be like entering the set of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. I had happened to catch a glimpse of a picture of it in the paper and had a short conversation with a guy I work with about the display. Later that night when I was home and spending some time reading my Bible and praying the Lord reminded me of that art display. I felt as if He was saying to me that being in his presence was much like standing in the midst of that giant table and chairs. And that feeling small was a good thing because it meant that He is Huge. God is bigger. Period. That beautiful picture of my smallness and God's HUGENESS came at a point when I had been praying about direction and guidance regarding a potential ministry opportunity. I had been feeling some anxiety and in my heart I knew that I need not worry- God is bigger. In my journal I scratched a picture of a big table and under it I listed things in my life. I drew a picture of Ryan and me. I put Cole (our dog/the furry love of my life). I wrote the name of the place I work and the name of the potential ministry I could work for. And I drifted off to sleep that night with a peace that blanketed my soul and a heart that was crying out, "God, you are good!"
The next day I got a call at work from my husband. His warehouse would be closing and the five people working there would be laid off. Come sometime in March he would not have a job. There were no details. No last day given. No there will be other job opportunities. Nothing. I sat still at my desk as the room seemed to start whirling around me. This is not uncommon. I've read the news articles, the statistics about unemployment and heard awful stories about people being laid off. But that was something that happened to other people. I walked through the day somewhat numb interspersed with bouts of tears. After work I went to the gym to try and relieve the stress and take my mind of the unknown. When I got home and got in the hot shower, yet another attempt to relieve stress and relax, I stood there for so long I forgot if I had actually shampooed my hair or not. In a whispered voice I managed to simply say, "Lord..." The tears started again as the thoughts of bills, car payments, rent, and lack of health insurance flooded my mind.
But then, as I stood in the shower, completely vulnerable in every way, God whispered back, "I am bigger. Remember the table and chairs." I immediately broke down in tears knowing that God is bigger. I wept because in my vulnerability God's goodness covered me. His love comforted me and the peace of knowing that He is bigger reigned. I wept because just the night before this storm God spoke to me a word that, while I would grasp a small part of it, would not be able to fully grasp all that He meant it to be until I sat in the midst of the storm with the fullness of the winds and the waves crashing. Only God can do that. God is Huge. HHHHUUUUGGGGGEEEE.
Here is the beautiful part of it- unlike Billy Fuccilo and his tagline, the truth that God is huge never, ever gets old. It's always fresh, always new, always true. God is HUGE. And He doesn't use his hugeness to get his people to buy things or do things or win them over from any competition. He is huge. He will always be huge. It's just who He is. And because he is love, and because he is good, we can rest in our smallness and put our trust in a God who fully covers us- every part of our lives.
So, today, a month after all of that began, we know details. We know that his last day is March 25th and that there is a 98% chance he will be rehired with the company at a different warehouse. And we can choose to rest in knowing those things. But they are not forever, nor are they worthy of our trust. It's nice to know. I like to know. But my faith, my trust and my life will rest in the Lord. Because he's the only one who can speak to my heart today what I will need to cling to tomorrow.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
"Finally brothers, stand firm in the Lord and in his mighty power. " Ephesians 6:10
Thursday, February 25, 2010
But the past two weeks have been so busy and stressful that I have not had time. So, I sit here during my lunch break with the urge to break free from real life heavy on my shoulders and I remember that a girl I knew in college has a blog. She is amazingly creative. I so admire her creativity (and secretly envy her giftedness in crafting, self expression, and confidence). So, I thought, why not? Why not blog as a more accessible creative outlet? And, here I am.
I have to admit, it feels good. I am reminding myself that the goal is not necessarily to have people read this blog (but that is probably my lack of confidence whispering in my ear) but rather to create and to express. To be free from the monotony of the daily grind and to have something with in reach to allow me to create.
So, if you find yourself reading this, welcome. And thank you! Till next time...