All in

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You entered my life in a quiet way

like rippling waters

approaching from afar

touching so lightly that

I could barely feel it

a hand – inviting me to share

life

I wasn’t there.

 

But you were.

you were always present, aware

a witness to the violence and abuse,

for the lies and the drama,

the rejection and abandonment.

I think sometimes I heard you cry

when I no longer could, or would.

 

Even now I ask myself, what did I do? Where did I go wrong?

but you’ve always had

your hand upon me

telling me it wasn’t my fault

though I wouldn’t listen.

there were good times – I see that now.

my reflections were poison

you were the branch thrown into the water

that made it clean

for me.

 

In your sight, I was highly esteemed.

I needed love but didn’t trust yours.

you never gave up. Even when

I was a wanderer

into this and that

as rebels can be.

I drifted farther and farther away

like a boat tossed about in a gale.

 

You stayed

storm after storm

you charted my course

from the eye of the hurricane

to a calmed sea.

you raised a standard around me,

hedged me in

and saved me from drowning,

from certain death

eternal.

 

You saved me

just as I was going under.

giving up

hope.

you gave it to me.

you lit a candle in the caverns of my soul

you were a light in the darkness

for me.

 

First a flicker

then a flame

darkness no longer draped itself over me.

I was drawn to you

attracted like the pull of a magnet

into your arms

I clung

redeemed.

 

One of ninety nine

I was –

forgiven. You gave me hope.

became my anchor

in fair or stormy weather

I took hold of you – with my life.

I’m surrendered to you

your love, your will, your desire.

 

I cannot be separated from you.

you claimed me from the start

when others rejected

you drew me into yourself

and held me

with your very life.

 

Joy immeasurable.

Peace-filled

I am.

Love surrounds and abounds.

I live for you. I love for you

because you

loved me first.

I give you

All of me

All in.

The Mount

“I remember those days as if they happened yesterday; they were the most meaningful and remarkable days of my life. It was hot, of course, the desert always is but, the nights were cold and the journey quite long – almost two days.” Her face lit ups as she squinted her eyes with joy, “Wherever I walked following me was a cool breeze at my back, a blessing from above. I would never complain about the walk because there were some who walked three, four and five days, bless their souls. Now children, you must remember that it wasn’t safe for a woman to walk alone in the desert. Nefarious men traveled in groups throughout the desert looking to rob, harass and even kill people, but I felt safe, I felt covered.” The children moved in closer. “My journey was predestined, that I’ve never doubted. I walked to hear this one man speak.”

Natania tugged at the hem of her skirt, “Savta Issy, please, tell us the part when you arrived. The anticipation of telling the rest of the story, the best part, gripped her as much as it did David and Natania. She drew a deep breath and began.

“The sea was as calm as glass. I cooled my tired feet on the shore. I looked to the north and saw hundreds, maybe thousands of people – too many to count – sitting and standing on the mountainside. I tried to get as close as I could. This man was the talk of Israel. They said he was a prophet sent from God himself, wiser than King Solomon; some believed he was the Messiah! I wanted to see his face clearly, trying to make it all the way up the mountain but it was too steep for me to climb right up to the top after such a journey. I finally squeezed myself, in and out, between the men, close enough I supposed. Some looked at me – wondering what kind of a woman – travelling without a husband – would have the gumption to come to the mount. Hah! I didn’t care.”

“Twelve men stood with Him – six on either side. He raised his arms and all the people suddenly became quite and sat. I was captivated by his presence. He began to speak; the sound of his voice was soothing to the spirit. My soul was moved, inspired by his wisdom. His words washed over me like fresh, living water. It was as if he was there for me, only me. His purpose rang out – connecting directly to me, like an arrow hitting its mark.” “What does he mean by this?” some whispered. Others said, “He speaks with such wisdom and authority.”

“I closed my eyes momentarily, fixing on blocking out the chatter until all I could hear was him speaking. Every word he spoke was like honey on the tip of my tongue – resonating in my deepest being. Then, almost as in a fantasy, he slowly moved his eyes from one side to the other and, for the briefest moment, and I know this sounds impossible, but, in that moment we connected.  Time surely stopped, children, because he looked right through me. I felt it. ‘Follow me’ a whisper touched my ears then blew through my hair. My knees weakened, though only for a moment. I felt joined with him – forever.”

“We were there for days. Some left, but I couldn’t have left if I had tried. Why would I have? I tell you this story and yet my own words fail me. He spoke of His father with such passion and reverence – calling him ‘our father’. He said he was come down from heaven – sent by his father! This man Jesus … the son of God!

“He gave us a better law; a new covenant he called it. he taught us how to pray, how to love, and that there was no point in worrying. Children, you know how much your father worries. You must teach him what you have learned. He told us we must forgive all trespassers against us in order for His Father to forgive us. Yes – our sins forgiven. He said we must earnestly seek the kingdom of God. He told us we could live in paradise with him if we believe. ‘ Follow me’ he said. ‘Take the narrow gate, it won’t be easy’ he said with a comforting smile. I felt secure, loved, renewed in my spirit. “

“His friends dismissed us. The crowd began leaving in droves. Of course you understand, many had jobs to return to. The people who came left everything behind to hear his wisdom. After he concluded his discourse, he began making his way down the mountain toward me! I closed my eyes and prayed to the God that his son would stop near me – that I could just look into his eyes – look into the eyes of the Son of God! Suddenly, I felt a warm hand on my shoulder. The warmth travelled from the top of my head to my toes. I was somehow afraid to look up – well perhaps not afraid, but I felt unworthy. Mere seconds felt like minutes. I looked up, into his eyes, and I could not look away. ‘My daughter, my betrothed’ he said, ‘peace be with you. Your sins have been forgiven.’ I knew my past, my transgressions – all of them. I was so unworthy. I felt as if he knew them too and he didn’t care what they were. They were nothing to him any longer because I believed. I left my guilt at the altar of his presence. ‘Follow me if you desire to live forever’ he whispered. And I did. And I do.”

“That, my little children, must be the closing of my story; it is time for sleep.” She walked with them to their beds, kissed their foreheads, and returned to her chair facing the fireplace. “Oh, most holy heart of Jesus – bless your holy name” she began to pray.

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

 

You are my Desire

mountain landscapeYou have called me from the pit and raised me up by your strong and mighty right hand. You placed my feet on solid ground – a lasting foundation of hope.I will not fall, for I lean on you, my Cornerstone.

The morning dawns, I awaken to thoughts of you.

I see you in everything – everywhere I go.

 

I see your face in flowers, in the landscape, in the clouds and by the sea – your beauty is reflected in all creation.

I hear your still small voice and your whisper through the leaves rustling in the trees

I feel your touch as the sun lights on my face and wraps me in your warmth.

I weep at the thought of being alone – of being separated from you. You are all I need and more.

I have desired you with all I am. I seek you with all my heart.

You are with me in soul and spirit.

Your counsel is my comfort; your wisdom is my strength.

You shower me with love and tender mercies every morning.

You have put my past far from me and set my eyes on tomorrow – a future with you – eternity.

Your blessings are countless. I speak of them often to those you set before me, a testimony to your unfailing love.

My love deepens with the knowledge and wisdom you impart to me. Your Word illuminates my life.

I am filled with you. Your promises sustain me.

I am complete in you alone, my true love, my Saviour, my God.

My Beating Heart

love boxBlue skies darken. A stark gray moves in slowly as the clouds engulf the sun. Cold winds pass through me. The day is hardened. A new season begins – trials and tribulation abound.My heart beats for you and I trust.

My enemy stands against me, tormenting me. Fear knocks – I dare not open the door. Announcing a grim destiny – but you offer eternity.

My heart beats for you and I turn.

Hanging on. Counting on – your saving words. I battle from victory. Believing is seeing. He relents. You remain.

My heart beats for you and I rest.

The light of dawn shines forth from the east – a refreshing mist … a rainbow of promise. Your presence follows.

My heart beats for you and I worship.

From existence without life – my past washed away by your love. Forgiven. Restored. Reconciled.

My heart beats for you and I rejoice.

In your arms, your strong right hand – your protection, your healing, your promises and peace. Life reborn.

My heart beats for you and I serve.

A Star is Born; She Should Light up Someone’s Life

StarlightShe lived in a frigid room for nine months. There were no belly strokes, no songs sung, only the negative vibrations filtered down through the lifeline. Unwelcome.

It frightened her – reluctant to stay and equally reluctant  to leave. What if the outside was as uninviting as the inside? She was not chosen. There was nothing between the donors but anger and resentment echoed by the shrill but unspoken words between them. I don’t want to be with you. You make me sick. But the worse words of all meant to curse the womb – I don’t want this baby – your baby. A shock reverberated to the depths – stinging, poison, scarring the one within – a sentence meant to deliver a death blow. Little chance. Little hope.

Deeper than the pain that seared to her core,  a small beating heart began to pound. She began to move, making her way into the cold arms of a stranger.

Before it all – a seed sown that would one day grow. There was hope. She had been chosen by someone. She would light up His life.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

 

The Funk

TreibsandHave you ever felt it? Have you ever been in a dark place where any movement on your part will only bury you alive? Have you ever felt so naked, so stripped down, unveiled, exposed, unmasked, vulnerable, defenseless … have you ever felt raw? There’s hope.

When a person is in that state they are unable to articulate their pain. They become withdrawn and reclusive. Suddenly, they have nothing to say, no opinion to contribute. Nothing is worth the effort of stringing words together to form a thought. Everything they say and do comes from a place of emptiness, an emptiness that just can’t be filled by another human being, no matter how much they love you. You might not want to die, but the thought of continuing in life is exhausting. There’s Hope.

People seem to need a name for this “condition”. Some call it depression. Others call it Seasonal Affective Disorder and some just refer to it as a lack of faith.

Against every bit of judgment, good or bad, I am going to expose myself … there’s a reason this blog is named “Unveiling Hope”. At the risk of worrying my family and friends, let me state for the record that I am not suicidal so don’t rush over or call; don’t worry and don’t feel guilty if we haven’t touched base in some time. This post serves a purpose.

Several times a year I go through what I call a grand funk. It is a state that I seem to slip into ever so slowly that I don’t even recognize what is happening until I am full on engulfed by it. Most often, by then, there is nothing anyone can do to help me for the most part because they don’t know what is going on. I have become quite adept at hiding the ugly little truth.  For certain, there is that part of me that wants people to think I’ve always got it all together and I can handle everything that life throws at me – even though I’m sure no one actually thinks that. No, this “thing” takes hold of me. It wraps itself around me and squeezes until there is almost nothing left of me. My silence gives it power. I become fearful that people might misunderstand if I tell them what is going on. I’m cruel to myself. I yell inside “Don’t cry! Whatever you do, don’t cry!” Those words still resonate … haunting voices of days gone by.

I’ve also become accomplished at changing masks, wearing whatever mask I believe needs to be worn at any particular moment. I’ve been afraid to be the real me so much so that there are times I’m not even sure where I begin and the mask ends. It sounds rather pathetic to say but when I’m in this state, I haven’t the foggiest idea who I am. I believe however that it is the very action of veiling my truth that becomes a generating station of denial that only serves to sink me deeper and deeper into the funk. Who am I trying to impress?

So, you might be wondering, why I am sharing this? Or perhaps you’re thinking you should call 9-1-1. Why am I exposing my pain for all to see? Why am I doing the very thing that I have kept private and hidden from so many, so well, and for so long? It hurts too much to bury it. I feel like I’m being pulled into it deeper. Keeping it in doesn’t seem to be serving me any purpose. The funk must have a function. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Do I actually benefit from the state of raw? Is there any good that can possibly come out of an experience where someone is so exposed that every nerve throbs and the thoughts they think hurt? I think there is.

I have heard some well-meaning people tell me that I should pray more or that I lack faith and that is why this happens to me. But they are wrong. Maybe this doesn’t happen to me but happens for me; maybe it happens to me for others. There is only one certainty when I am in the funk: by God’s grace and mercy, I will prevail. I will be victorious. Some would argue, what kind of God would allow you thrash about in quicksand for an indeterminate period of time? The fact is that only a loving God would allow it because there is something that needs to be learned and shared. Experience tells me that no matter how long the funk lasts He will rescue me and I will always come out better than when I went in. I have learned to ride the wave and hang on to Him for my very life. There are absolutely times that I FEEL I’ll not make it this time, but I KNOW that I will because He has NEVER left me or forsaken me … never. He is the Hope I hang on to.

Each time I go through this, I become a stronger person, but more importantly, I become a more compassionate person. I know what people are going through and I can usually see it coming before they become fully overtaken by it. My journey has taught me (keeps teaching me) that I am able to stand along another and say, “I know Someone who can help.” Faith is believing in what you cannot see because you know it will be, even though it doesn’t feel so.

If you’re in a funk at this moment, I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to know that you’re not crazy. I want you to know that it is not a lack of faith that got you to this point but faith will sustain you whilst you are there and He will lead you out. You will overcome. You will be victorious.

Be the best you that you can be today and don’t measure your goodness and value by someone else’s standards. If you can barely “be” at this moment, hang on to all hope. Hang on for dear life because life is precious.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

My Hope is in Jesus.

Fearless Faith

Problem and difficulty conceptFear sees the enemy as bigger and more powerful than God. The greater we fear, the greater our problems become. Fear attacks us from the inside and works its way from our minds and emotions into the very fibre of our being. Fear kills us slowly. Fear believes God is distant and aloof.  Fear is us handing the enemy power over us by faith that he will move on our behalf. Faith sees God and sovereign and loving. Faith brings comfort in the situation and not only at the end of the situation.

Fear and faith also have a lot in common. Both require a complete trust or confidence in the unknown and unforeseeable future. The biggest difference between them is that faith requires trust in God and fear is basically trust in the enemy. Fear says, I can’t believe that God can, or will, do what He says He can. Fear says, I’m more afraid of what the enemy might have planned for me; he must be more powerful. Fear is a tactic of the enemy and believe me when I say, he knows our weaknesses better than we know ourselves. If the enemy is anything, it’s patient. He likes to whisper lies in our ears and the only reason we have a proclivity to believe them is because he often slips just enough truth in those lies to make them somewhat plausible to someone who has been caught in his snare. Sometimes he just repeats things he may have heard others say to us. There is nothing original about him. Jesus called him “the father of lies.”

God wants us to trust in Him. He wants us to surrender all to Him. He wants us to – when confronted by fear – turn it away by clinging to Him in faith; He wants us to choose Him rather than fear. Fear and faith are attained by choice – a decision has to be made as to  which one we will put our hope in and which one we will banish. It is impossible to have two opposing thoughts simultaneously … wouldn’t it be so much easier to choose faith? Wouldn’t it be more comforting to choose faith?

Faith in God does not guarantee a sweet and easy life, but it does guarantee that there will always be a Comforter with you, someone in your corner, someone who loves you without condition, no matter what you have said, or done. Faith is what allows you to cry but helps dry the tears when you bring to mind all the times that you have banked on faith and been rewarded by it.

When faced with a decision to fear or have faith there is something I often forget … but never for long. I choose to recall that my faith has always come through – maybe not always as I had things envisioned or planned – but things have always, always worked out for the best – faith builds faith. If we never had opportunities to test our faith, it wouldn’t be faith, would it? When I choose to believe in fear, there is no joy in the situation – ever. I am robbed of all peace. My entire spirit is downcast. I look forward to nothing but the end. I am never blessed by it and I find myself inconsolable and isolated. When I think of all the time that I have spent awake, worrying, speculating … is always for not because I have never, ever, ever had a situation turn out worse that I had ever imagined it – and I have quite an imagination.

How many times a day do we put faith in the unknown? Every night when I lay my head down, I have faith that I will wake up the next day. I have faith when I get in my car that I’ll make it to my destination. People save money because we have faith that we’ll make it to retirement. We get an education because we have faith we’ll become employed. We have faith in the intangible, against odds that are not always calculable, but so many of us can’t believe that a loving God would care enough about us to see us through whatever life hands us. No, we make a deliberate choice to give glory to the enemy when we give in to his promptings.

There is only one kind of faith and that is fearless faith. “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 be still.” Exodus 14:13-14.