Overcoming Loneliness

Five Minute Friday: Expectation

Got 5 minutes? Come and spend them writing <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:

::

Expectation…

Psalm 62:5

My soul, wait thou only upon God;

for my expectation is from him.

 

I honestly can’t remember what gave me the impression I would be receiving a horse that Christmas, but I did. I choose to overlook the fact we lived in the city with a small backyard, not on a farm. When I raced down the stairs with my brother and sister that Christmas morning, I just knew my horse would be there, waiting for my loving embrace.

I did get a horse that morning, but not the one I was expecting. It was a foot tall, plastic, and had removable tackle. I named it Spike and made a horse blanket for it to wear out of a footie from my PJ’s. The name I chose and the blanket I made provided endless opportunities for teasing and torment at the hand of my siblings.

I have had a few other moments like this growing up. Grand expectations followed by periods of waiting, and then crushing disappointment. People have disappointed me, and I have disappointed myself, but there is one who has never been a disappointment, never given a gift that fell short. My life is a menagerie of His Faithfulness and perfection, His Deity on grand display. Truly no one can give without fail, exactly what we need, when we need it unless He is standing with one foot in the past and the other in the future.

Some gifts, like my husband, came later than I wanted. Others weren’t even close to the “”Big book of toys catalog” images I mentally circled as my wish list for life. Most of His gifts have been followed by ah-ha moments of revelation and the simple word “WOW!” and like David I say my expectation is in Him.

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My Prayer for you today…..Love

 

The world eagerly flaunts its misguided perception of love. Sitcoms feed gullible seekers a steady diet of unrealistic dreams and a list of demands to bring into their relationships. While the world relentlessly presents it’s weak and whimsical definition of love, we tend to miss the most important aspect behind true love. The vitality & power of love is not found so much in what Love does, but rather in what it does not do.

I Corinthians 13:1-8a

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,

I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,

 but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

I found it interesting that this famous section on love begins by listing a host of admirable, even desirable actions, abilities, and gifts followed by a shocking revelation. In the midst of suave, flowery, romantic speech and the ability to say and do all the right things, love can be glaringly absent.

You mean I can take a meal to a neighbor I secretly despise, or put a new roof on for a couple I care nothing about and it means nothing? I can tell my spouse everything is ok and even dish out a kiss or two yet despite all my actions and professions, love can be missing?

Yup, in the midst of all that pomp and clanking, there can remain an emptiness and void where love should dwell but isn’t. Doing doesn’t guarantee loving!

If you think  the idea of love being absent in the midst of noble actions and sacrificial giving, a paradoxical concept, then  read on! Next in the chapter comes a mind-boggling list of how love is powerfully demonstrated during “inaction.”

Love is demonstrated when envy is an exiled and unwelcome guest.

Love is present when a boasting heart is consumed upon the altar of humility and grace.

Love is the absence of arrogance.

Love raises its gracious head when rudeness bows in subjection to the feelings of others.

Love voices it’s true intention when it calls out passionately in constant purposeful yielding to the desires of others.

Love resides unshaken, faithfully pressing onward while riding out the never-ending swells of unpredictable human emotions, weakness, and reasoning.

Love removes itself from the presence of all actions, attitudes, and situations that would make it a bedfellow with the enemies of its soul.

Love has no finish line, no expiration date, and no exception clause.

Love is endless, abounding, and nonnegotiable.

Jesus had compassion on the crowds and preformed many signs and miracle. He healed, fed, taught, and rescued thousands but I think His greatest demonstration of Love came during those sacred moments of silence when he stood unshaken before his accusers and as he hung willingly upon the cross. Truly, only the God of the universe could have kept silent while those He created beat Him!

As a kid I played out how I would have handled the crucifixion. I would have popped off that cross, and showed the crowd who I really was. I would have struck the pharisees down with gruesome and painful diseases. I would have given that unbelieving pompous crowd gawking at my nakedness and shame a momentary glimpse of the Heavenly Host straining at the ready to exact judgment upon them. I would have preformed an amazing lightening show and topped it off by spinning Jupiter on my finger.

This is everything I would have done!

Yet Jesus did something mysteriously more powerful than any action. He demonstrated His love by doing  nothing. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and he never opened him mouth. He endured suffering silently without returning condemning upon His inflictors, when reviled He did not revile in return.

He demonstrated the depth and height of His love by silence and something even more unpredictable, death.

And herein lies the secret of love.

Love is death. It is quiet yielding and sacrifice. It is silence in the face of unjust accusation. It is willing brokenness for the sake of the broken and needy not the deserved. This is such a different image than the one hollywood hawks. Love is often absent in the getting, doing, giving, being, to busy to stop crowd, for any emotionless, selfish, warped, unloving, sick person can do these things.

This is Love

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life for his friends.

1 John 3:16
Hereby perceive we the love of God,

because he laid down his life for us:

and we ought to lay down our lives

 for the brethren.

My prayer for you today my husband is a prayer for us both. My prayer is for love. Jesus love drove Him to the cross to be broken. Those precious, nail scarred hands now break us daily that we might also love. May the Lord fill our hearts with an understanding of His love for us, and may that precious gift flow from our own hearts as an unquenchable stream of love for others. May we lay down our lives together in these battles we fight together hand in hand. Let us be silent together, raising up feeble hands and weary knees yielded to His purpose and plan for our lives. May we die spiritually together each day and as we live to die, may we discover with more intensity and satisfaction than the day before, the joy that comes from sacrifice, the purpose that comes from pain, and the power that is unleashed through our weaknesses. Your path is mine David, your calling is my calling. Ours is a sacred dance, beauty displayed among chaos. I praise the Lord for the gift of you and for your Love. I praise the Lord for calling us to be his and for allowing us to run this race together. Amen

My prayer to you: Safe in His Keeping!

Number 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you

and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you

and give you peace.

My absolute favorite children’s book is the “Bedtime Rhyme” by Walter Wangerin. If you don’t have it, drop everything you are doing and get it ordered for your child, grandchild, niece and nephew! : ) In this book a wise and loving parent attempts to convey the extent they will go to rid their child’s room of everything scary and dangerous. After each foe is cleverly vanquished, the parent then sings a song reminding the child of his greatest asset in the boogyman disposal process, God!

 

My sister put the song to music and we sang it to our children growing up. My kids love this story and they will not let me simply ready the page with the song, it has to be sung with motions.

 

“Faster than I am and higher than stars

Stronger than you are in both of your arms

Here in this room all night while you’re sleeping

Kinder and wiser and best for safe keeping is God.”

Sometimes it is hard to entrust and leave my husband in the capable hands of the Lord, but that is exactly where he needs to be. I can not be his source for Spiritual might and wisdom. I fail miserably anytime I try to play the role of Holy Spirit. I can offer my counsel or opinion, but the advice and direction that will sustain, guide, and protect him comes from above.

I love the man who has become my best friend, playmate, and life partner, but my role in our amazing journey together is both exclusive and specific. “Keeper” is not found on my job description. Together, David and I watch, pray, strive, endure, fight, study, love, and endeavor to walk worthy, but He is the Keeper, the Fulfiller, the Completer, the Rock, the Strength, and the Preserver until the day of Glory! With His mouth (impersonal) He spoke creation into existence, but with His hand (Personal & Intimate) he both formed and now keeps the heart and soul of my husband. In God’s hands is a great place to entrust and leave David.

May the God of Mercy and Truth richly bless you David, my beloved. May the mighty nail scarred hands that overthrew sin and death keep your heart and soul this day and to Eternity. I pray you sense the joy, pleasure, and delight of His face upon your life my husband, as you follow the course He has ordained for you. May His grace, abundantly perfected in your weaknesses, truly be sufficient and all your soul longs for. As He brings you to the end of yourself, that sacred place where you become malleable and usable to Him, may you experience a peace that surpasses all comprehension. Father may your grace, peace, and love for David prevail and be his strength and song in the midst of the stillness and the storms. Amen

My Prayer today…..Let His Joy be translated into our strength!

Joy


“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:11b (ESV)”

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and

let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy that was set before him

endured the cross, despising the shame,

and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:1-3 (ESV)

A Shadows of “Things” to come…

An adulterous and rebellious nation was instructed by Nehemiah, to “Let the Joy of the Lord be their Strength.”  They had returned from captivity and in the presence of all who could still understand their own dialect, Ezra read the law. Most heard the law for the very first time. The horror of their sins against the Lord Jehovah caused them to cry and quake in fear.  Nehemiah told them not to weep or mourn, but to celebrate.

This repentant nation, formerly exiled and in captivity, had newly partaken of the Lord’s forgiveness, grace, and glory. For His glory and pleasure alone, He had restored this adulterous nation. Israel was fickle, prone to sin and rebellion, and they would sin again. They were living proof that  on his own, man can never attain his own righteousness, never become holy, and never live in obedience with God the Righteous Judge. God would remain faithful, but the cycle of sin would continue and Israel would betray His love and faithfulness, justly earning His righteous judgment and punishment…… unless something changed, and changed it would.

The “Thing” that changed “Everything”…

The miraculous redemption story of man from Genesis to Revelation is amazing! Hundreds of years after Ezra and Nehemiah, the Son of God stepped into the lives of the hopelessly lost and the hopeless gazed upon the very face of Hope and Glory.  The Joy Israel had been commanded to draw strength from had come in the flesh. Mercy, Grace, Love, and Hope was poured out upon sinful undeserving mankind, as Jesus Christ, the “Joy of mans desire” hung on the tree. In anguish, yet with great delight, he endured unimaginable torment and the rejection of His Father. This was His Joy, and it is our strength today!

“..Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,

and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,

despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

It was the Joy of the Lord that led Him to sacrifice His Beloved Son, in order to redeem man. It was the Joy of the Son to submit, with humility and obedience, to will of His Father. With Joy the Father sent His Son, and with Joy, the Son sacrificed. The Joy of our Heavenly Father and the Son in whom He delighted, has given us the strength and ability to overcome. The Joy of our Lord was the amazing redemption story. Israel was told not to weep, but they could never have fathomed the day when freedom, life, liberty, and true Joy would replace the sin induced sorrow of man. Like Israel, our weeping has turned to dancing. The terror of our Righteous God does not make us quake in fear. With boldness and joy  we lift our eyes to the heavens where our Help stands and intercedes. We do not weep, we shout glory and honor and praise be to Him who sits on the throne, for we have been redeemed from His righteous judgment and wrath through the sacrifice of His Son!

Because of the Love and Joy of the Father and Son, we have overcome the evil one. We have overcome death, and sin no longer reigns in our bodies. Is the Joy of the Lord your strength?

Today O Lord, Let the source of David’s Joy be found only in you. May your love and delight in my precious husband, your passion to Glorify yourself through your redemption & transformation of him, become David’s sheer joy and utter delight. Let your joy empower the man you chose before the foundations of the world were formed. May you alone be the source of his strength! Let Joy shroud and cover his spirit, soul, and mind. Let him walk in the power, grace, and strength that is rightfully His because he is yours! Give him Joy Father, Give him strength to endure, persevere, to walk worth of your call! Amen

Hallelujah, For the Joy of the Lord is my strength!!

Praying A to Z for My Husband: I is for Inspiration

Inspiration

Today Divinely Inspired wisdom & insight is my prayer for David. As he faces new challenges and  opportunities, the ability to see with a wisdom that is from above is a necessity.

Proverbs 2:10-11

10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

Ah Lord God. Let your wisdom enter into the heart of my husband. May your truth and words be pleasant riches to him. Help him to see every challenge and opportunity with  eagerness and anticipation. May your vision and purpose for his life inspire him to the greatness he is capable of through you. Amen

Praying for my Husband A to Z: H is for Humility

Humility

James 4:6

 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6 Is a terrifying verse. Forget about an employee competing with the guy next to him for a promotion, or foolish kids engaging in a brawl, for bragging rights. According to this verse pride pits you against the Lord of the Universe.

David and I just saw the Avengers and in an abstract sense the words “God resists or opposes the proud” is illustrated perfectly when the egotistical bad man proclaims “don’t you know who I am, I am a god?” What follows is a thorough, bone crunching thrashing  by the Hulk who after smearing the floor with Mr. Proud,  disgustedly wipes his hands proclaiming as he walks away “puny god!”

To  challenge and pit ourselves against God is not only foolhardy, it is plain suicidal, but when pride takes root in our lives, this is exactly what we are doing. Not only will God not share His Glory with man, He will oppose and strive against any man who attempts to take it. Guess who wins this contest every time! This is what makes pride dangerous and why I am praying for humility in the heart and life of my husband.

Lord, my husband faces many challenges throughout the day. He works with many people who have differing opinions, strengths, and weaknesses. Please give him humility and the ability to listen to and respond to the grievances, needs, advice and counsel of others. Help him to respond to criticism and crisis with grace. Give him the power and ability to lead his business, and family with patience and wisdom. Father, renew and transform David’s heart so he is a man who serves you not a man who strives against you. Bless him Lord as he serves you. Amen

Five Minute Friday: See

Join me as we fellowship with The Gypsy Mama and a wonderful community of women for 5 minute Friday.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:

::

See…

How is your vision this morning? I am not talking about the eyeball squinting, eyes blinking to focus kind of seeing. This has been His challenge to me as of late. I do not do so well at this. I can be rash and judgmental, seeing the blaring sins of others instead of the desperate broken soul of the sinner. I can easily spot the difficulties and injustices of my situation but often times miss the blessings that envelop me as I walk through them.

“Seeing the unseen, and the eternal” is a difficult discipline to develop. The power and ability to boldly plant my feet at the water’s edge so He can part the swelling turmoil about me takes faith. There is dry ground to cross, even though all I can see is torrents of rain and flooded rivers. There is a beauty and a wealthy place prepared for me though I sit in ashes and brokenness.

Restoration for the broken & needy is possible. Eternity lies just beyond the swells that threaten to engulf me. I can’t see the “more exceeding weight of glory” that makes these moments of uncertainty, sacrifice, and discipline worth it, but it is there. See, He whispers. Let the scales of unbelief fall from your eyes and drink in the revealed glory of my love and delight in you. See, my daughter, close your physical eyes and let the words of my Spirit open up to you the unseen mysteries of my will. Today I strain for momentary glimpse’s of Eternity. Today I will walk the path He has made for my feet, but my heart will soar in the realms of the unseen.

Praying for my Husband A to Z: G is for Greatness

Greatness

Psalm 18:35
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:

and thy right hand hath holden me up,

and thy gentleness hath made me great.

It is hard to stand on the sideline and watch while someone else gets the promotion, praise, and glory. We were made to worship and honor our Creator, but sin crashed the party turning our focus inward. We are driven by selfishness and pride to seek the spotlight and at times we are so blinded by  sin we are willing to do anything in order to get our “praise of men fix.”  It is not natural for sinful and fallen man to place the importance of another above them himself, but we are no longer simply flesh, bound by the law of sin and death.  We are new creations, risen in newness of life, empowered and led by the Spirit of God. God has something far better in-store for our lives than self-seeking, temporal gratification.

Recently I have sensed the Lord asking me if I am willing to be small in order that others, including my husband, can be great. It can get lonely and tiring being the person behind the scene. Standing on stage is much nicer than cleaning it. Being the person who takes orders isn’t as fun as being the one who gets to give them, but as Solomon discovered, vanity and emptiness follow closely on the heels of one who spends their life striving for glory, honor, power, position, and possessions.

My salvation cost me nothing, and in exchange for eternity all Christ has asked of me is full surrender to His will for my life.  How can I turn my ear from His call to serve, when the request comes from one who sacrificed His very flesh and blood on my behalf?  How can I merit striving for my own glory and earthly praise when He gave up his Glory and Kingly Robes to wear the swaddling rags of man.

As I yield my life to serve wherever and in whatever arenas the Lord asks of me, the challenge to be David’s Help-meet looms large. I am asking the Lord to make David a great man both physically but more important spiritually. I desperately need a heart transformed and yielded, humbly focusing the success and greatness of others. This means the dreaded “P” & “B” words, priorities & balance  : ) It also means living and believing in what I am praying for, David’s greatness. David needs to sense that I believe in him, trust him, and think him capable to greatness. I can’t live a life that physically and spiritually derails what I claim believe and strive for.

Father, you have given me an amazing husband. I am blessed beyond measure by the presence of my soul mate, playmate, partner and friend. Father we are sinners desperate for your grace, power, and transformation. You have loved and forgiven us and you rightfully called me to love David with the same selfless, sacrificial abandonment that you demonstrated towards me at the cross.  May my heart and spirit be open, submissive, and humble before you. May I be willing to serve both you and David, playing the role you have entrusted to me, a sacred help-meet to David. Lord, a Spirit Filled, God Honoring, godly, successful David is your desire. Truly greatness is when a man is covered by your gentle hand, filled with your grace and wisdom. Greatness is David leading his family and growing his business to honor and glorify you. May this be the reality and fruit of David’s life and work. Amen

Praying for My Husband A to Z: Selfish Prayers- Regrouping and Refocusing for the Coming Week

Ten years ago David and I entered into a covenant relationship with each other. In front of hundreds of witnesses, David promised to give to me what no other person now has a right to, his heart, love, body, and life. I am David’s wife, partner, helpmeet, and confidant, the person he chose to make himself vulnerable to.

Though the Bible teaches that in this covenant relationship, I am the weaker vessel, in truth I hold amazing power and control over David. I posses the ability to crush his spirit and I can single-handedly bring calamity, ruin, and shame into the spiritual temple and physical home he is striving to build. Psalms and Proverbs explains that I can be odious, deceptive, and like a dripping faucet. Through my words, actions, and attitudes I can dishonor and tear down, but through the grace and power of God I have a second option. I can be the woman who works behind the scenes to make her husband “ known among the elders of the land.”

As I have focused on becoming an intercessory warrior for David, the Lord has convicted my heart concerning motives that often drive my prayer life. Many times, my prayers for David are born out of personal fear and selfishness. I pray for purity because I don’t want emotional ruin. I pray for wise business decisions because I don’t want my cozy life taken away. I pray for a wise spiritual father for our kids, because I don’t want my heart crushed by rebellious and foolish children. There are times I have even ignore the prompting to pray for something because the ramifications might bring about unwanted and painful disruptions to my easygoing life. I in no way mean to infer that the above prayers are bad, and that it is wrong to pray for areas that affect my life as well as my husbands, but I feel the Lord has exposed some selfishness tendencies that need addressed because they impede the goal of prayer, a life and heart transformed and yielded to the Creator it is crying out to.

I do not want pride and selfishness to create a facade of true love, I want to love truly, painfully, completely, and with abandonment. This love is directed towards my Heavenly Father whose sole purpose for my life and our marriage is to bring glory to himself. By loving Him completely, I can love David selflessly. By desiring God’s best for my life, David’s life, and our marriage, I am empowered and free to pray the “Anything” kind of prayers.

Lord, you created me to be David’s help-meet, willing to be the unseen warrior on the sideline cheering my man onto victory and godliness. Father, I want my prayers and moments of fellowship with you to be pure and free of fear, pride, and selfishness. Father guide my heart, mind, will, emotions, and affections this week as I focus on your will and purpose for my husband, our marriage, and my life. Father create in me a clean heart willing to decrease so that David can increase. Father help me to walk in the spirit, and in newness of life. My life is yours, hid in the life and blood of your son. My husband is yours, hid in the life and blood of your son. We do not belong to another, we belong to you. Our marriage is not for our happiness, but rather your Holiness and glory. Let your will and way be done in our lives. Amen

Praying for my Husband A to Z: D is for Discernment

Discernment:

 Wisdom, Insight, Perception, Perceptiveness, Perceptivity, Sageness

The day I got married, I was given the right to say one of the most liberating sentences on earth, “I need to check with my husband, I will get back with you.” Isn’t it wonderful to be able to place the pressure and burden of a decision on the shoulders of someone else!  I can go to David and ask for counsel and advice but even better than that, I can go to him and ask him to make a decision for me. I can tell him the facts, tell him my desire, and then hand the burden of choice over to him. I can even use him as an excuse, something he has told me he is totally fine with. He is a good boy, willing to protect and go to bat for me any time of the day and for any reason.

There are many things my husband and I have agreed to discuss together before making a decision. We make sure we are in agreement with our budget,  major expenses, and choices that affect the family, but for the most part the burden of many decisions fall squarely upon David’s shoulders. Weather at home or at work, his decisions effect many lives and the burden of that responsibility is a heavy one to bear.

My prayer today has been that the Lord would fill my husband discernment as he leads our family and runs a business.

Father, give my husband boldness and courage as he assumes the role of father, husband, businessman & leader. Help him to filter, with spiritual eyes and godly discernment, as he leads our home.