Friends – New and Old

Everyone left today.  The pictures are no longer filled with their beautiful presence. But don’t think this is about loss or I’m being melancholy, this is simply the quiet interlude before the next adventure. . . .

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It’s funny how bittersweet the leaving can be. While we all knew this weekend would come to a close, that we’d all have get back to our own individual lives, it’s kind of a shock when it actually arrives. Not a bad thing really, just a re-adjust.

I had two precious friends who came from North Carolina and spent the weekend at my house. I also had another friend that lives here who came also.  Kimberly Ann is one who came from North Carolina and she and I had met on Facebook but had never met face to face before. When she arrived, I didn’t have any idea what to expect but I found out right away that she is a riot and even more fun than I  could have guessed in my wildest dreams; she is definitely fun-sized indeed. She’s big folks! I can’t wait to see how our relationship will grow and what paths it will take. Thank you so much for coming Kim. The trust you placed in us to keep you save, to love you unconditionally and to accept you as the beautiful woman of God that you are, is almost overwhelming; almost. Thank you for that. You are beautiful.

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KK, also hailing from North Carolina, is someone I met back in 2009 on Facebook and became an instant friend. We began talking on the phone and on Facebook, getting to know one another better. In 2012 she and another Facebook friend came and spent a week with me, (us). It was the first time we met face to face and I have to tell you; having KK back in my house blessed me so much! She is so kind, wise and such a joy to be around. I guess that’s why she signs everything, Kindly Karen. (Smile). She and I have shared so many trials and victories over the years. She knows what being a sister is all about. If you ever need an intercessor with clear vision and an ever expanding heart, KK is your girl.  I love her so…..

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Mary who lives here and is part of our home group is a very special friend. I was so happy that she was able to come and spend 2 days with us. She had gotten to meet KK back in 2012 and was looking forward to meeting up with her again too. It was a great reunion for them.  One thing I can tell you about Mary is that she is one of the most compassionate people I know. She has such love in her touch, her voice and even the words she chooses. Don’t get me wrong; she’s a pistol and it’s one of my favorite things about her, it’s the side she most often shows. That is what is so wonderful about her; when that love and compassion comes out it is so breathtaking and beautiful, and yes sometimes almost unexpected. I’ve learned so much from just being around her. She is a deep deep well and is certainly one of my most favorite people on the planet.

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Mary left after 10 pm last night and we were pretty sad to have to see her go. KK and Kimberly and I ended up staying awake and talking until well after 1 am. Argh….the 5:30 alarm was not going to be a welcome noise in the morning. The North Carolina girls had a long journey ahead of them and were planning on leaving early.

Leave taking was put off by sitting and drinking coffee for a couple more hours before saying our final goodbyes; for this adventure anyway.

And then they were gone. What remained were memories and a deeper bond of love that cannot be stolen. The house seems quieter now; girls can be so loud in their merriment and love.

And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing about this weekend, except I would stop time if I could. What a joy all three of these women are! What passion and strength they exude! If you don’t know them…..you should make it a point to change that.

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Miracles happen all the time and today, I experienced one.

Potted flowers

I was carrying out some plants to the front porch to their summer home earlier today and then decided to take them to the bottom of the steps since it was raining and a good soaking would do them good. I had carried three down the steps and was carrying the forth one when my left foot slipped on the slippery step and slid down four of them. Sadly, my right foot stayed behind me and when I fell, it was to slide down 4 concrete steps with my right leg bent behind me and my shin taking the brunt of the impact. (I’m so thankful I had put jeans on instead of the shorts I started to. It would have really been a bloody mess.)

It happened so fast; one minute I was carrying the potted plant and the next it was shattered on the steps and me, I was sprawled halfway down, stuck even. It took a moment for me to get my leg untwisted so I could get up and access the damage.  The flower pot didn’t make it sadly but I had no broken bones at least. What I did have was a nasty abrasion on my shin and shooting pain down my leg that began at the hip socket on the outside of my right thigh.  Ouch! Poor Paul, he was not feeling well himself so was resting in the room just above the steps. He was awakened by the crashing sound of the flower pot and had no clue what it was. When he looked out the window, it was to see me trying to pull myself back up from my sprawl.

I came in the house to changed clothes so I could assess the damage.  I saw that my shin was totally purple where the abrasion was and my joints:  knee, hip, and ankle were shooting pain. I had a nine inch abrasion on my shin, a small one by my knee and a bruise on my big toe and foot. (so much for the flip flops). After taking inventory, I had the thought I wouldn’t be able to work later this week because I was expecting my leg to just get more stiff and sore as time passed since it hurt so much and looked terrible.

Paul prayed, and apparently so did many others and to be honest, I just wanted to go lie down! I was in the middle of baking cookies and when that last batch came out, I limped into my office to get my bottle of water and my tablet so I could then go rest. As I was walking to my office I felt a shift in the spirit, then in my leg. The joint and muscle pain ceased by at least 50 percent and much of the purple bruising had disappeared. That was so cool. But I was still determined to go and rest a while: I took an ibuprofen and went to lie down for about 30 minutes.

When I got up, the abrasion was diminished even more! The pain in my hip and leg was completely gone and I wasn’t walking with a limp. The pain had been so severe than I couldn’t walk without a limping.  Now there wasn’t any swelling, tingling or shooting pain whatsoever!

I have since gone out and ran some errands and still all is well. If anything, the abrasion is getting even better. It’s amazing!

Paul told Jesus, Thank you! And Jesus told him, “It’s what I do.”

And I say: Thank you Jesus!

And thank you everyone else for praying. He’s a miracle working God! I am healed when I thought I was going to be stiff and sore for days! He is so good.

The first picture is kind of dark. I couldn’t lift my leg very well so I had to make do with the lighting.  Notice all the bruising  and purple areas.

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The second picture is lighter in exposure but you can see the huge difference……20150414_154852

Become Love and Plug In

Plug in

Sometimes we’re looking for something we can gain from people when it’s only something we can gain from God. We often go from place to place looking for love when we are made to become love and plug in, and then give what God created us to be back to the Body.

We’re not supposed to go from church to church or even group to group (in social media) to find out if they love us. If we do, what we’re doing is traveling from place to place, finding fault, finding what’s wrong here, and finding what’s wrong there. If we have a problem with this person, that person or even those people – the problem is us!  (Paraphrase ~ Todd White)

To make this personal, if I have a problem with 10 to 20 people, it’s not them….it’s me.

Instead of looking FOR love, I need to BECOME love and plug that love back into the Body of Christ and pour it all over everyone else I encounter too. I need to invest love.

And if, like many of us here, we find our church in a social media setting, this going from church to church issue still applies; it simply manifests differently. It’s easier than a physical church really, we simply unfriend or block the difficult person and before you know it, we have only easy to love people all around us. And it seemingly costs us nothing.

Truth be told, these things cost us more than we realize. Opportunities pass and they do not return.

Sticking around and doing life with a group of people is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying things there is. Here are people to love us when we are feeling low and people to pray for us when we are in need and even people to simply to hang out with that we feel comfortable with.  But then, sometimes there are others in this group that are wounded and hurt and it shows up in their actions and reactions to other people in the group.  Right here is where the rubber hits the road really. Do we stick around and increase relationships with everyone, even those who offend us or do we take our love and leave?

If we want a community, a real community where they’re people we want to be around and do life with, we will have to be willing to pay a price. Most of the time, that price is us. At some point, it will cost us everything. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, NO, what I’m saying is it’s worth everything we are or ever will be. It’s worth dying for.

If we are guilty of this and I have been if I’m honest with myself, (especially in the early years) we will confess that the problem is us and work toward changing that.

I sometimes think we assume that if we are in God’s will and are walking with the people He wants us to then everything will be easy and smooth, but that can’t be further from the truth. Jesus never said that. What He did say was that My yoke (burden) was light and that means bearable, not easy. Just like I need mercy and grace extended toward me, sometimes daily, those I am in community with also need it. What we’ve been given needs to be poured out, not held back.

I’ve been pondering on these things lately and I’ve decided that I cannot afford to only have relationship with those who are exactly like me, who think like me, who believe like me or who talks like me. Where is the grace in that? LOVE develops in hardship. Love is what we become as we do life together with people who are gathered in unity and yet, are as different from one another as night is from day. Love is developed when we stand with each other, despite not necessarily agreeing with everything they do or think.  Love is developed when we remain with people who aren’t always easy to love, but we love them anyway, right in the middle of their mess.

In the upper room while waiting for Holy Spirit to come, the disciples and the others were in unity. The scriptures don’t say anything about them being in total agreement with one another. No, it says they were in unity. Unity and agreement are not the same. The disciples were all different and often disagreed about how to approach ministry and many other things. And yet they were one when Holy Spirit descended upon them.

Are we any different? No, we are not.

God has what we need. We find it by sticking around and not leaving when things get tough. We find it by bearing all things with one another because He lives in us and that Fruit is there because we need it. Let’s give love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control a chance to flourish in our lives.

Become love and plug in. Stick around and see what will happen! Amazing things are on the horizon.

Conversations with God

You know, God used to be so sneaky, but lately He’s gotten downright bold. It used to be that He and I would have conversations, sometimes just chatting, sometimes really pressing into some meaty stuff. After our conversations I would pretty much go on with my day, sometimes contemplating on what He said and sometimes not. (Busyness can rob you of much revelation sometimes). Days would go by and I wouldn’t have given much thought to something specific He said. It was like I had placed it on a shelf to be considered later or something. Then suddenly I would see something or hear something that would be so exactly what our conversation was about that I would be stunned. I would be reminded of the conversation He and I shared. He has been stunning me for several years now. He confirms and backs up everything He says, even if I’m not looking for it.

Lately though, He’s escalated things in that our conversations get confirmed and highlighted within hours of the initial words. Over and over again He brings these things back up through ‘seemingly’ random teachings, through music or even overheard conversations that weren’t even for me or about Him.

He and I have been talking about dreams and vision lately and everywhere I turn, someone is speaking the same thing. Even if I play “Russian Roulette” on my IPod, where I will take literally years worth of teachings and do a random shuffle, saying, ‘You choose God,’ and the choice is always on the same subject or revelation of our current conversation.

I love His boldness. I love how He encourages me.

Keep speaking Lord, Your daughter hears.

conversations with God