Morning Star (Tribute to a soldier)

He heard the call upon his heart

To stand and serve, for justice fight

Fueled by something deep within

Passion, honor, might

With raised right hand he pledged an oath

To support, defend, obey

Unknown future opens wide

Commitment come what may

Blur of training, blood and sweat

Days rush into years

Once young and fresh, the face of a boy

Now stained with loss and tears

Flash of mission, loss of brothers

Fueled forward by the pain

Mission minded heart returns

Recall your victories gained

Glance in mirror, see the boy

Brave man stands firm and tall

Remember those you’re fighting for

Frontlines for one and all

 A soldier then, a strong man now

Your love knows who you are

Broken pieces mended when

You follow the Morning Star.

(Dedicated to my husband.)

(Revelation 22:16 Jesus said I am… the Bright Morning Star)

Your Cup Today

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Morning comes and we awaken

Wipe away the dust of stars

Open eyes to reality, shaken

Breathe in a day’s new life…

Decision time is here and now

Today we cannot hide

Let go of where you thought you’d be

Your faith is now your guide.

Cast your vision higher up

It’s time to venture on

Take the step in front of you

Uncertain as a fawn

Like a creature born today

Everything is new

The Lord is calling out to say

You’re mine, I created you

And in this childlike confidence

You have the world at bay

Dive into to depths never tasted

He will fill your cup today.

Thoughts on Ruth 1

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So many things here. At first I stopped short at how Naomi urged her daughters in law to go back to their land and former gods. I shook my head thinking, if she believed in the one true God then why would she do that? Why wouldn’t she do everything she could to convince them to follow her? And then God took me deeper in. Naomi lost her husband and her two sons. How heavy was her grief? Very. I carry a loss that hurts, but because there is life and breath in the one I have lost, there is hope for redemption and reunion. For Naomi, in her new now, she must journey without her lover and two sons. Yet she makes a sacrifice, to urge the only family she has left to leave her. She was acting out of a sacrificial heart. She believed these younger women whom she loved would find life and rest if they would return to their homeland and find security in husbands she felt certain would be easier to attain there. She wanted what she believed was best for them.

And then there is Ruth. She vowed to stay. And here is the depth of understanding God has shown me, but I am not sure I can adequately express it in words. Ruth was with Naomi as her daughter in law for ten years. She watched Naomi lose everything. Naomi did not pretend all was well. She wanted to change her name to bitterness. And yet, Naomi’s love and faith for God was bigger than anything in her circumstances. Ruth was watching. Ruth wanted to know this God her mother in law followed. She saw faith in action. Not in a life of ease and comfort, we know there was no happily ever after that she could see in this life. And yet, God moved within her. Ruth saw Naomi’s obedience to the God of Israel and this was striking.

I am struck. This is what we are called to do. This is the level of faith we are to attain. This is what God is refining us for. To draw in so closely to the heart of God that we sense the eternal hope He gives. Even in the suffering we hope. We know we are loved so deeply that a Father gave His Son’s life for us. And through our unwavering faith and being fiercely devoted, we shine the light of God into the world around us. They are watching. Who will decide to turn their back on their homeland to follow our God into the unknown? Who sees us and wants what we possess? Who does the world think we are? And who do they see us following?

(Your Cup Today)

Morning comes and we awaken
Wipe away the dust of stars
Open eyes to reality, shaken
Breathe in a day’s new life…

Decision time is here and now
Today we cannot hide
Let go of where you thought you’d be
Your faith is now your guide.
Cast your vision higher up
It’s time to venture on
Take the step in front of you
Uncertain as a fawn
Like a creature born today
Everything is new
The Lord is calling out to say
You’re mine, I created you
And in this childlike confidence
You have the world at bay
Dive in to depths never tasted
He will fill your cup today.

For Such a Time

(For Such a Time)

Inspired by Rebekah and Esther 4:14

When the waters are choppy
and the way seems unclear
Let my heart be at peace
Step out with no fear
When others around me
Seem worried and frail
May my walk show confidence
That my God will not fail
Shall I shrink back in shadows
When I hear His voice call?
And avoid the abundance
Jesus came to give all?
My spirit cries “no!”
I will not be afraid
I will rest in the safety
His promises made
This journey prepared me
Lessons not to be missed
My life given purpose
For such a time as this.

I pray for each one of us that no matter our situation, we will trust in the hands that formed us, in Jesus who saved us, and God will not fail us. May our hearts be filled with strength enough for our moments and overflow with goodness to those around us. May we accept the invitation from God with peace in our hearts to follow where He leads. May we say like Rebekah “I will go.” Amen

http://www.ifequip.com

 

Thoughts on Nehemiah 11:25-12:26

Names. Each of these names in the story are tiny glimpses of bigger stories. Here these names are listed in God’s story of rebuilding a city. I dig in a bit deeper and imagine walking through the new Jerusalem, seeing the faces of these named people, and I wonder. What would they be doing? What would they be saying? I can almost hear the buzz of conversations, the planning of how to make this new life work. The meeting of new neighbors. The uncertainty. The excitement.  And this is our life too. Each of us stepping into the world each day, living in our stories. Our own names are written into God’s story. Where does my name appear in the story? What is my impact in this life? My current prayer is that God would reveal His path of life to me. For so many years I barreled along, seeming to progress and move into a future I had imagined. Somewhere along the way, my dreams got left behind. My heart was broken when I smashed into reality. My story had been hijacked, and although my story contains pain and life felt stolen, I realized the hijacker was Jesus. I found that my path of life was not following God’s story line. I chose the wrong adventure. Waking into my new story has brought me hope. My role has been repurposed, rebuilt, redeemed, and renewed. The memories of the paths that brought me here are part of my current story, character building memories filled with lessons and also love. I have never walked alone. I have never walked without love. Its just that I lost my focus, and I made some wrong turns. God has used each of the places I have been to build in humility, compassion, and understanding all woven together with grace and love. And I am ready for today. I am trusting God for tomorrow and each new day He gives as I follow His story.

(Life That Lasts)

Sweetness lies in memories,

Trigger feelings, jolting life awake-

Bright spark, heart responds.

Looking back into life,

In moments, recently passed,

Or further back in time, you see.

Reflecting, thinking, smiling in jest.

Don’t dwell in weakness, chase joy.

Focus on goodness, and dim the rest.

Gather your treasures, and keep them close.

Treasures of light, and sometimes in darkness-

Glistening jewels need shadows, to gleam.

Beaming rays shine brightly, at night.

If you look, you will find your love.

It’s not too late to make new memories.

It’s not too late to dance, or sing out loud.

It’s not too late for love to blossom.

God will take your pieces, scattered along-

Strewn like chaos, like feathers in the wind.

And He will weave them, into beautiful

Living fabric, life giving life that lasts.

http://www.ifequip.com/3159

Victory in the Middle

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I am struck by the truth of how easily our strength fades in the middle. We all have those moments of clarity, inspired by God’s word, spoken deep within us, and we know what we are to do! We step out in faith, we begin the work of rebuilding, or loving in action, or we forgive what seems unforgiveable. And then the sun rises one morning, the once beautiful rays of light have been darkened by clouds. Thunder rolls in the distance and you wonder. Discouragement sets in, doubts fog up our minds. How easy it would be to just give up, give in, go out, and live like your neighbor who seems to be doing just fine. But, we are the women who know our God. We have studied and we have prayed. Our hearts have been guarded well, and so the attacks of our enemies, the Enemy, cannot breach our souls. God will fight for us. He who wants to destroy us cannot have a victory in us. It is time to get back to work. It is time to get back to Love. Take up the weapons, put on the full armor, and this time do not lay them down until the work is complete. Beginnings are full of fresh ambition, building seems worthy, but just as a lavish dinner with friends is wonderful, the time of enjoyment must turn to cleaning up. This is part of the process. Memories planted in our hearts are not erased by taking out the garbage. Part of the building includes removing the rubbish. Making room for the firm foundations to be set, an integral piece of the larger goal. Remember why you started. Remember your people, remember the love, and remember what Jesus did for you. For us. So much love through pain. The victory is not always found at the end, but right in the middle where you did not give up.

(We Are The Women)

Smack dab in the messy

We show our selves real

We take what we’re given

The cards in the deal

We are given one life

One great story line

That one is yours

And this one is mine

We are the women

Who live from the heart

Brave and courageous

For every new start

When life tosses toughness

We catch it with strength

Turn it and mold it

Stretch love with new length

I’m not saying easy

Not giving a shrug

Just one step, then two

With a God given hug

We treasure our friendships

Hold close to a few

Makes mornings more lovely

Like freshly formed dew

And so retreat daily

Into God’s loving hands

Fill empty places for

New mornings, new lands.

(Nehemiah 4:10-23)

Shake Open Hands

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Let go, loosen grip, and untighten the hold

Fists clenched in clinging, turns inward, heart cold

Cinched in, and cramped reeling, aching for peace

If only, hold tighter, squeeze life, no release

Step back, breathe in, forced air into lungs

Envision your hands, letting go of the rungs

This ladder you climb, is taking you where?

Are you headed toward freedom, or hell unaware?

Heavy load burdens, drags closely behind

Collected and carried, for life hoped to find

Fall to your knees, hands and face slam in dust

Tripped by your pride, presumption you must

And yet as you finally, force in the still

Stay in place for a moment, pause quiet until

Hazy view, clearing slowly, glimpse blurry at first

Sudden eyes have new vision, cease thinking the worst

Light gleams before you, hands reach from above

A Savior reminds you, of unfailing Love

Stand and release, tight grip holding your heart

Let His grace revive you, heavy load, ripped apart.

Shake open hands, stretch fingers out wide

Walk into new freedom, where God will provide

Peace will cover, like new fallen snow

Renewing soul weary, new strength as you go.

You’re Not Alone

Another step, another day

Hope in thoughts you’ve learned to pray

Walk in freedom, selfless love

Impulsive smiles come from above

At times you think your effort is wasted

Only to find sweet passions tasted.

Keep your eyes fixed on the truth

Love your way to unfounded proof

Break the glass of image shown

Reveal the truth to those unknown

Painful honesty passes fear

When life’s true hold catches you here

Extend your heart in selfless grace

Friendship grows within the space.

Wounded places find a home

In souls to rest, you’re not alone.

words by JLS

Photo by Cross My Heart Photography