New Normal

Shedding the scales of the old ways

Believing the new ways will come

Forced to exist in a smaller domain

There is nowhere to run away from

A heavy storm of sickness and fear

Has washed across the earth

Page after page in a never ending chapter

What was our previous life worth?

Missing the chaos, we want to return

To places we knew too well

Somehow we know this is crazy

Yet our heart is too desperate to tell

The longer the pause, the more we settle

A chance to consider the past

Maybe this reset and unwelcome halt

Reveals we were living too fast

Reaching for things we thought would bring joy

Pursuing pleasure and lust and money

We forgot how to feel the pain of too much

And bitterness tasted like honey

A new normal set into the rhythm of life

Hidden things come bursting into view

Some things are dark and some filled with light

Most of which we already knew

The power to choose when the world opens up

Holds a chance for the life we desire

I pray that the chaos cannot recover

And the shadows don’t kill back the fire

There is a smoldering spark of redemption

Patiently waiting to burst with a hopeful flame

All we must do is fill with God’s love and recover

Knowing our stories will not be the same.

She Does

Blades of grass

Soft under her feet

Gift of a journey

A mission to meet

Called from the chaos

A moment of rest

Time slowing down

To gather the best

Her grip is loosened

Uncontrollable things

Falling behind her

Like butterfly wings

A gentle voice guiding

Faith is her strength

Joy is the weapon

She uses at length

Never forgetting

The battle at hand

Obedience leads her

To new spacious land

Aware of the darkness

Existing with light

Following her Father

Persevering with might

For now like Mary

She chooses the good

At the feet of Messiah

She does as she should.

 

“His love broke open the way and he brought me into a beautiful broad place. He rescued me—because his delight is in me!” (Psalm 18:19)

Inspired by Luke 10:42

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

 

Shift

Weightless but grounded

Like a feather in dirt

Softly kept freedom

Rises above the hurt

Wakeful with prayer

Salted with grace

Voice spoken words

A smile on my face

Breathing in deep

Life upon lungs

Another day opens

Where yesterday hung

Light upon shadows

Like waves upon sand

Washing away

Mistakes of my hand

Morning brings promise

An unopened gift

Carefully unwrapping

Joy takes the next shift.

True Treasure

Dusted with joy

My waiting is sweet

What seems like forever

Light quickens defeat

Shadows uncovered

Hidden from view

Trapped voices start singing

Dead life becomes new

Like flowers through concrete

Hope reaching for life

Defiant in darkness

Beauty reigning in strife

It’s not in tomorrow

It’s not yesterday

It’s how we are living

With what’s given today

Taking a moment

Feel my feet on the ground

Imagine earth spinning

Yet stillness is found

Sun and moon rising

With each orbital spin

Daytime gives way

As light comes to an end

Eternally focused

I know light will reign

Dark only for moments

Heart fills with good gain

A small life of waiting

Like seeds in the field

Bursts into a harvest

True treasure revealed.

Life In Spite of the Scars

This Holy Book, where life is found

Rips up the hardness in my heart’s ground

Voiceless pondering, things of old

Solitary mining for treasures and gold

Lonely places in a discarded life

Filling with redemption as the bride of Christ

Hope and mercy, graceful love

Lands on the runway from Heaven above

No need to hurry or scrape for a chance

Your desires are known by a Father’s glance

Abiding in strength, when others see weak

I am learning to listen to a Man who was meek

Yeshua, Jesus, Mighty Counselor, I Am

Light in the darkness, like pearls in a clam

A heart that is open, and eyes that will see

Partake in the goodness meant for you and me

Do you sleep in peacefulness, and wake full of joy?

Life is a gift, like a child’s Christmas toy

Morning by morning, new life and new day

Truth and purpose, on my knees when I pray

No matter your worry, your sins, or your doubt

This Lover of souls will not leave you without

Redemption comes to you right where you are

In the middle of darkness, in spite of the scars

The wounds that burn will find ways to inspire

Your path has been lit by God’s Holy fire

He will use you to bring justice and might

Take up your armor, and prepare to fight

Your orders were written in the ink of blood

Rise and renew what sin has undone

We will never be ready with perfection in view

But sowing with hope, He will make all things new.

Heap of Grain- Thoughts on Psalm 4:6-8

“Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?” (NASB) “ Let the light of Your radiant face break through and shine upon us! The intense pleasure You give me surpasses the gladness of harvest time, even more than when the harvesters gaze upon their ripened grain and when their new wine overflows.” (TPT) “In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.” (AMP) Psalm 4:6-8

Abundance is good, and having plenty can bring happiness. But what happens when what you have is lost? Can there still be peace and and true joy? As I studied these verses I came across a reference to Ruth 3:7. (The treasure I uncovered is such a gift, and 3/7 is my birthday! This is the intense pleasure God gives in seemingly ordinary moments.) In this verse, Boaz was full and his heart was merry after eating and drinking all evening. He laid down to sleep at the end of his heaping harvest of grain. His heart was at peace and he went to sleep. Enter Ruth. She crept in quietly and placed herself at his feet as a sign of her availability to him. Such a courageous act of faith! She knew of the abundance and hoped for favor and blessing. She needed someone to care for her. She was brave, and she came in close. She put herself at the feet of the provider in such humility.

I too am learning to come in closer to God, my Provider. To wait quietly fosters faith, and to humbly place my self at his feet means I expect Him to fill my needs. Fear of being rejected, or not being provided for can sometimes push me into anxious striving. I don’t want to settle for the crumbs my own hands can gather when I can trust God to provide a feast. By letting God provide for my needs, He puts gladness in my heart. Each time I seek Him with my whole heart, He wholeheartedly fills me in ways that are true and lasting. Why do I have joy in the midst of difficulty and unanswered prayers? Because He gives me all I need. He has the heap of grains I so desire. I must trust the Giver.

Father God, You are my provider. You bring the joy that I seek “Let the light of Your radiant face break through and shine upon us!” I lay my worries and needs at Your feet. Fill me with Your abundance. My heart is available to You. Your perfect love casts out fear. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Study notes on James 1:1-4

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve [Hebrew] tribes [scattered abroad among the Gentiles] in the dispersion: Greetings (rejoice)! Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. Jas 1:1-4

James begins in humility, without claiming the fact that he is Jesus’ half-brother, but rather a servant of Him. (I’ve read right past that before.) He watched his brother die a brutal death on the cross and still he displays such confident assertion in remaining faithful to God under the extreme weight of pain and affliction. Faithful endurance refines and perfects. The result brings fullness and peace. The gaping hole is filled. This is the power of the Gospel in a nutshell. Makes no sense, but is no less true.

I had the opportunity to show kindness and love in the midst of a fiery trial last week. I was hit head on with something that broke my heart. I endured in the moments that followed, not running, not yelling, not escaping. I fell into a trial, and I stayed with it, with Jesus. I experienced the perfect result of endurance. God is amazing and trustworthy, and yet I am wise enough to heed the words of Jesus in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]” This was not a one and done victory. I will encounter various trials to come. And each time I must not sink into despair or anger, but because of God’s perfect love I can endure, with kindness. I can count it all joy, rooted not in my circumstances, but in the power of Jesus. His compassionate endurance on the cross is my example of what love looks like.

Lord, Father, Holy Spirit,

Come and let Your perfect work refine me. Help me to count it all joy. Grant me wisdom and strength to be loving and kind to those who need it. No matter what trials may come. Amen.

Thoughts on Genesis 16-21

9.28.15

I am struck by the entire story. One I have read many times before, cringed through the details, wading through the sins of others, evil unspeakable acts, and yet a beautiful story emerges. My heart is left raw and vulnerable. After 13 years of marriage I have no children and my marriage is hard. Difficult truths have emerged, my faith is being tested. After 42 years on this earth, I have sinned and walked in darkness many times, and yet a beautiful story emerges. In the barrenness of my moments I have been brought to my knees. I have gone to my Lord and I have been redeemed. The salvation gift came to me many years ago, but recently I have been freed from many things I did not realize were weighing me down. I have come to know grace deeper, mercy closer, faith stronger, and love greater. I know compassion and humility better, joy and forgiveness quicker, and Jesus is more real to me than ever. The key to this life hinges on prayer, which brings intimacy with God, which brings life. Beautiful, true, bright and shining life. I pray for the hearts seeking, the eyes looking, the ears listening for some glimmer of hope. Hope is here, hope is now… just like the song goes, it is. Jesus paid the price for our restoration and He is our hope. No matter what this life brings, there is an everlasting Happily Ever After.

(The Work of His Hand)

She wanders, heart empty, through libraries, books-

Seeking and searching, taste words found in nooks.

Another day lived, as her soul is struck thin,

Feels her way through, wondering where to begin.

Step back and you watch her, confusion and grin-

Your own life is halted, interruptions within.

Orderly patterns, the American way-

Keeps dreaming in check, plan your life, plan your day.

This creature before you, seems lost and confused,

Poor soul needs some coaching, some wisdom to use.

And you, so helpful, you’re way sets things right-

Strategy and planning mask conviction and might.

Glimpse life without judgment, expecting what’s real.

Leave room for your heart, glimpse wide without shield.

Step forth and approach an open new gate-

Move boldly in, to prepared fertile blessed fate.

Your God who created you, knew you’d be here-

Placed hazel eyed Jennifer where you would be near.

No plan you envisioned nor life had you planned

Could stop this unfolding, the work of His hand.

http://www.ifequip.com

Thoughts on Genesis 4 (Eve)

Our faith journey. The journey. It is impossible to know someone’s full story. More than what we can share with each other is what is shared with God. In the deep and secret places where we sit with our thoughts. Our prayers. Only God can hear the joy of our heart praising. Our words cannot express. Only God knows the depths of pain we feel. Words cannot express. Only God hears our bitterness and doubt when loss rips away our life. Words cannot express. Only God can beckon us into the Light. Words cannot. It is in our spirit where the battle rages. Why me? Why her? Why not me? Why not her? In this life we are faced with too much to bear alone. Joy feels too much, our hearts feel too full sometimes, even when its good. Pain feels too much, our hearts too heavy to carry. And then we have Jesus. I cannot imagine Eve’s faith journey without knowing what we know now. We can rest assured that Jesus will walk us out into the unknown. Joy or pain. Faith or doubt. But Eve, to journey into a stronger faith after losing one son and being given another. A beautiful restoration story. A beautiful reminder.

Healed Heart Gleams

What stirs in heart at depths it seems

The whole of quiet, nature beams

Take a look and longer gaze

At what you pass in hurried days

Find the rest, your soul that thirsts

Remember love, remember firsts

Once wild desire, taken for granted

Trace back and see what seeds you planted

The tree that grows needs time to flare

Slow down, stop running, reaching for air

Hold to that which firmly rooted

Anchors soul, press play, now muted

Let beauty’s music guide your heart

Hope revealed, seen now in part

Gather treasures growing where

Your passion planted life once bare

Remember promise sown with vision

God graced you with a worthy mission

Humble down and let love rise

Cherish treasures, choices wise

Cease in searching empty dreams

Once cold and broken, healed heart gleams.

Words and Photo by Jennifer JLS

1/23/15