Monday, March 28, 2011

21 days

And so it begins.  21 days of sacrifice.

Taking inventory.  Sorting and separating into piles.  Emotional baggage here, questions there.  A few stray relational issues never resolved, still hanging around.  Some scraps of unforgiveness, leftover anger.  Messy.

Cleaning out the junk to make space for more of Him.

Yearning, begging, beseeching...reaching, stretching, climbing...seeking, wondering, pondering...becoming vulnerable, uncomfortable scrutiny, exposing the raw...

Be near to me, O God. Search my heart. See if there be any wicked way in me.

I shall ascend...

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Psalm 34:17-18

17 - The righteous cry, 
and the LORD heareth, 
and delivereth them 
out of all their troubles.

18 - The LORD is nigh unto them 
that are of a broken heart; 
and saveth such 
as be of a contrite spirit.

lyrics by laura story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family
Protection while we sleep

We pray for healing
For prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand
To ease our suffering

And all the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know you're near
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness
We doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
Lord, that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know you're near
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not
This is not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know you're near
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can't satisfy?
And what if trials of this life
The rain
The storms
The hardest nights
are your mercies in disguise. . .

Thursday, March 24, 2011

thy word have i hid...or maybe not

I am not endorsing John Piper.  I don't know enough about him to endorse him or not endorse him. 

But the above clip has convicted me beyond measure.  We are in a fierce battle largely unprotected.  God help us.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

is there a new song?

Am I the only one who feels as if I have been immersed in a beautiful movie with part of the soundtrack missing?

I love what God is doing in our lives, I love how He is walking so near to us each day.  I love the fresh vision, the fresh words, the fresh burdens that seem to have unified those in my world in the past several months.

I even love the wonderful praise and worship songs which our teams do so well.  Beautiful songs--many of them straight from the Psalms--expressions of heartfelt praise and love and adoration. They usher me into a place of worship that I love.  I love how those choruses are vertical...they leave the "me" out of it and focus on the "Him". Upbeat expressions of worship, slower melodies to hear His heartbeat...I really do love all of that.

But there is still an element missing that I long to have restored in my life.

What would be the right word for it? The "testimony" song? The "story" song? The "experience" song? The "hope" song? The song that conjures up pictures of where I've been and what I've done and His response to that?

One with a beat, a flow, a melody line that causes your soul to soar...

My soul was so refreshed several years ago when the praise and worship choruses finally understood that worship was all about Him and we learned that to enter His presence, we must take the focus off of us and put it on Him.

But in the process, I am afraid we threw out Ephesians 5:19 which says, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."

That's what I miss.  I miss the "speaking to ourselves" songs.  The ones that are testimonies of where we have been, what He has brought us through, and where we are going.

Not the corny songs about Mama, either.  Nor the twangy ones that take their cue from bumper stickers.

Please don't stop doing the praise and worship stuff.

But is there a new song out there that can fill this hole in my soul?

I think I'm going to create a new label for posts in this blog and label it "Controversial."

This will be the first post that goes in it.

(I'm editing the post with this addendum:  I'm not talking about bringing back the "old" stuff, either.  I love to hear music that takes me back to another time, but that's not the new song I'm talking about.  I'm talking about a new song for now...for 2011...  I don't really know what I'm searching for, I just know that I will know when I find it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

smile without the paint!

Wonder what he looks like without all the paint?  When he's eating alone in the middle of the crowd and in the dark under all the bright lights?

Funny for a moment.  He made us all laugh.  Hahaha, life is grand.

But I wonder if he smiles without the paint?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mark of my heart

Mark and Bradyn

He's growing.  He's getting taller, and wiser, and more confident.

He's learning to handle trials and temptations God's way.

Mark's teacher and his classroom
He's learning and excelling in school.  His sweet smile offers hope to so many along the way.

His first convert.
Nellie, his guardian, is behind him.

He wants to be a pastor.  He has already started giving short messages in his church.  One of his school friends was converted and baptized as a result of that on Feb. 20, 2011.

We both hate goodbyes...
He is a miracle of God.

He reminds me of the power of one.

I love him dearly.

(For Mark's full story, follow the blog posts under the label "Mark".)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Island of the Blue Dolphins

So, I think I have mentioned before that I am returning from a long, dead period of my life where I did absolutely no reading.  An avid reader all of my life, I went through about a decade of nothing.  Wasteland.  No books, no desire for books, no growth.  That is a story within itself that is beside the point, but in January, 2010, I declared 2010 to be the "Year of the Book."  And it was! I probably shouldn't have said "year" though...I feel my soul returning and my insatiable appetite for the written word has once again taken over.

In the process, I am catching up on some old books that I missed during my desert sojourn.  So, even though you have probably read many of the ones I am just now discovering, thanks for bearing with me as I delight in uncovering even the older treasures...

Today's book is "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell.  Based on a true story, it captivated me.  It is an easy read--one that is recommended reading in middle school.  But the tale it tells is one as old as time and should be required reading regardless of age.

It is one of survival and amazing discoveries of the true capacities for survival that lie within each of us.  Set on a deserted island in the 1800's, it details a story of resourcefulness, discovery, and hope in the face of what most of us think would destroy us.

Get it.  You can finish it in about 3 hours. It's worth it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Merry Christmas, 2010!

So, about 150 Christmas cards are still stacked by my chair, waiting to be addressed and mailed...   Sad.

Merry Christmas from The Homeplace!

(consider yourself officially greeted!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Time is not the enemy

Not that I would be so presumptuous as to think anyone has missed me, but I am the one who has suffered from my absence.  The need to write and process and progress verbally through the wonderful and challenging roads which I am being privileged to travel requires that I write. To those of you who claw your way through the process with me...well, thanks! Let's move on down the road a bit...

Having already been involved in several major events in this short year (including 15 days in the Philippines) my mind keeps returning to a sign that hangs on the door in a humble home of one of our Filipino pastors:


More than any other temptation in my life, the temptation to control my time is the greatest one I fight.

He knows the number of my days and the plans he has for me.

My prayer is that I may not thwart them by careening full speed ahead with what seems good to me and not asking Him if that is His plan for me.

My prayer is that I give God all the seconds of this day. He knows how to multiply them.