Silence and Quietness Are Not The Same

My word for this year has been ‘Quiet’. What a beautiful year of discovery I’ve had this year with a word that I tried to ‘give back’ and exchange for a different one because…well, me….quiet??!!  What was He thinking?!

One day, I found myself considering the differences between silence and quietness.

Silence feels cold, disconnected, self-reflective (which isn’t all bad), empty, deafening, anxious and, at times, hope-less.

Quietness feels warm, like I’m leaning in, expectant, waiting, anticipating something ‘more’, like a home for peace or where peace dwells, hope-full.

While silence and quietness may sound the same to the untrained ear, the soul recognizes the difference within the environment our spirit finds itself. In silence, it chooses to give in to anxiety and worry that chokes out hope.

When we choose to wait in quietness we find ourselves actually leaning in to hear our Father’s voice. Our soul can hear and respond to Deep calling deep. It’s in that environment of quietness that peace and hope are fostered. We can find rest for our soul, even when things are chaotic and especially when life is hard. Our soul longs for quietness where we wait, expectant and anticipating His voice.

In the quietness, it’s where we can finally breathe. And it’s where we find a little taste of home.

Coffee Dates & Losing Weight

A couple of weeks ago a beautiful couple stopped by the radio station to say hello, get a tour of the facility and meet the staff. From the moment I met Mike & Jamie I felt a connection. I mentioned to Jamie that I’d love to have coffee with her one day and get to know her better. Before the sun had set that day we had a coffee date on the calendar!

We met yesterday. I’m thankful Starbucks doesn’t charge by the hour! But I’m convinced some of the best conversations happen over the rims of mugs! And so that is one of my favorite places to chat with friends. Just as I suspected, Jamie is a beautiful person with an amazing story of grace. We talked about our families, about life and things that we may have carried around in the past that weighed us down, and what we are passionate about seeing God do through us.

As I was driving home I thought about a verse in Hebrews 10:24-25 that reads “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  There’s a principle in that instruction that brings great benefits. Encouraging someone else encourages us! Think about how we can stir each other up to love more and do more. And spend time together! I like to think if coffee shops were a hangout back in Hebrew times….that verse might’ve even said…’not neglecting to meet together at (insert favorite coffee shop here!)‘!

Feeling a little down? Heavy things weighing on your heart? Call up a friend, or make a new friend!, and grab a cup of coffee or hot tea with them. Encourage someone and you may find that it encourages you too.  I drove away feeling lighter. Chances are good – you will too!

 

I Can’t Wait For You To Read This

When my beautiful granddaughter, Macey Leigh, was born I bought a Bible that I wanted to study through with the specific intention to write margin notes especially for her.  Messages from my heart. Truths I want to her to know. Passages I picked especially for her to read. Promises I want her to know that I have prayed specifically for her.

This week during a Bible study as we landed in Hebrews 7 my eyes fell on a note I’d written in the margin. The verses 24 and 25 were underlined and read, “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

As I turned my Bible to read the note I’d written months ago in the margin, I saw these words, ‘Macey ~ Jesus is ALWAYS praying over you! Forever.’ A smile broke out on my face and a delightful warmth came over me just imagining the moment she turns the pages of this precious book and sees my personal note to her. And I said, “I can’t wait for you to read this!”

I thought about this book. The Bible. God’s Word. It was physically written by men under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit. It is not just a historical recollection of stories, genealogies and sermons. The Bible is God’s heart…written for us to find direction, be encouraged, get wisdom, and know His heart for us. It IS personal. Its the one book in all the world, in all of history, where the Author is in love with the reader. I think when His written word was completed, He joyfully smiled, thinking about the moments we would discover His heart of love for us in these pages. I can almost hear His whisper. “I can’t wait for you to read this!”

 

There Is A Cost

She danced as though no one was watching. But we were. We couldn’t look away.

No one else was dancing. Yet she danced in complete abandon. Face lifted toward the ceiling with a look on her face of peace and joy. Like real joy. She seemed so out of place because in this large group of people, no one else danced. We were singing, raising a hand occasionally to worship, but that was the farthest any of us were willing to go in our worship.

Later I learned that she had experienced such tragedy as her son was killed in a fiery car crash and she saw it happen. Unable to do anything to rescue her beloved son she was forced to surrender him to death in this life.

As a new mom I could not even begin to imagine the depth of agony she had endured and in some ways must still endure. Now that my children are grown and nearly grown I still think of her and my heart still breaks over her pain knowing that no matter how young or old our children may be – parents were never meant to outlive their own.

But every time I remember her and that dance of absolute abandon I am reminded that while many of us hadn’t discovered it yet, there was a cost for her kind of praise. She had experienced the depth of agony that many of us never will. And yet, in all of her pain, she found a way to let go. To turn her mourning and heartbreak into dancing before her King. To speak no words but, in every sway, twirl and bow, say to her Father that she surrendered all that she knew in this world for the promise of His forever. Where there are no more tears, or loss, or pain or suffering.

There was a woman who loved her Master so much she entered a house during a dinner party, uninvited and unwelcomed. Falling at His feet, she broke open a beautiful box made of Alabaster containing a very expensive bottle of perfume, poured it over His feet and with a stream of tears, washed His feet and dried them with her hair. While the men watched and ridiculed her for wasting such a treasure, her Master’s heart was moved at the depth and cost of her worship, and His love for her was so evident to everyone in the room, especially to her.

I believe that when she left His physical presence that evening, the smell of that perfume in her hair stayed with her for a very long time. A reminder that the cost of her praise brought her to a place of abandon. Not abandoned, but a safe place where she could abandon her sorrow, shame, grief, pain and loneliness for joy, feeling valued, cherished, fulfilled and the knowledge that she was truly loved and never really alone. The fragrance of her worship reminded her that she had been in the presence of her King and she was adored. No doubt, that beautiful fragrance was evident to those around her as well.

No one else can truly know the depth of our pain, our loss, our shame, our grief but Jesus. Likewise, no one will truly understand the cost of our praise, when we do the unthinkable, perhaps the unacceptable in the eyes of others. When we choose not to grow bitter and angry, but determine to abandon it all to worship, with all that we are, the One who looks at us with a love we’ve never experienced before. The kind of praise that brings us into the presence of the One who whispers to our soul, “I know the cost of your praise and your worship is beautiful and precious to Me. In this world, trouble WILL find you, but know this, I will NEVER leave you.”

Radical worship will look different on every one of us. But I know now that its only radical to the onlookers who don’t know the cost of our praise. To the King, who truly knows, it is absolutely beautiful.

Rose-colored Perspective

Perspective can change how we look at everything, can’t it? My daughter, Abby, is getting ready to begin her senior year in high school and we’ve been in the process of senior portraits, classes and plans for the school year. When an email popped up in my inbox from a popular electronics company with the subject line: “Tech help for seniors”,  I opened it expecting to see something school related…to quickly realize…it was tech help — for senior citizens!! 

Perspective. Looking at a situation through our own eyes will only reveal the part of the story we see and know. So often its also colored by our past experiences and relationships. When we make decisions based solely on our finite knowledge and understanding we are missing the ‘whole picture’ point of view. And that only comes from God.

Asking God to show us all that we need to know to make informed decisions, to see beyond what we can see on our own, can make all the difference in how we respond and how we live. If we truly want the God kind of results in our lives we must be willing to trust His point of view and trade in our rose-colored perspective for His grace-colored one.

 

 

Broken Crayons

At the beginning of every school year my mom bought me a fresh box of crayons. You may have gotten a box too. Remember? The wrappers were brand new. Perfectly fresh points to help color inside the lines. Eventually, the points wear down. The wrappers peel away. And that would make it easy to spot our favorite colors, right? They were the crayons that were most worn in the box.

We are kind of like those crayons. The more life we live, the more worn we can become. The labels we wear may get a little torn. Or we may even find ourselves feeling exposed like we are left with no covering at all.

I saw a facebook post recently that read ‘broken crayons still color’. And, oh yes, they absolutely do! If you are feeling broken today, worn out, exposed, God is making all things new! And your beautiful color still has great value. So don’t give up! Keep coloring. You are part of a gorgeous tapestry that God has designed.

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing.                                 ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

All Things New

There’s something about turning a calendar page to a new month. Or opening a new journal for the new year and bending the pages back to hear that binding crack a bit. Reminding you its new…never been opened before. Blank pages or calendar spaces wide open with room for lots of possibilities.  We like new, don’t we? It shouts potential! What will we fill it with?

I’m so attracted to journals. My daughter jokingly says almost every time we go shopping together “if I lose you I know I’ll find you in the journal section of the store”. I WANT to journal. I have a shelf full of good intentions! Sticking to it…thats where the real value is found. Investing time to preserve a record of whats happening in our lives at the time. It can be therapeutic. It will remind us of how far we’ve come and what we worked through to get there. It can be a gift later in life when memories may be a little fuzzy or we want to pass our journey down through the generations.

For us, we have to set aside the old calendar or journal and pick up a new one. But not with God. He doesn’t have to start over with us. He sees our potential from the beginning and He’s been shaping our journey in this life all along the way. Every moment is a fresh start with God. He’s not making all new things. God is making ALL THINGS NEW! Today, this moment, is a fresh start for you and I. He’s given us a new page to fill in. What shall we do with it?!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!                                                        ~       2 Corinthians 5:17

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.     ~   Psalms 90:12