Tuesday, September 27, 2011


 "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not."  
~ Lamentations 3:22


"What did you say, Honey?"  My husband's voice could not have sounded more gentle.  Its soothing kindness humbled me.  His tender, compassionate soul captivated mine, yet, searching my fog-ridden mind for an answer was too tiring.  Response was so distant.  Too far to reach.  Words alive seconds before lay dead.

Yet, these dead words and others in my life are not dead so silent.  Their powerful influence screams with life.

They are an unyielding, haunting, scrambled voice, an unwelcomed echo that takes no notice of my desire that they be raised.

I plead.  I shout.  The dormant bundles do not hear.  They do not listen.

Doctors tell me it is "brain fog," an inability to recall words or details, a fuzzy sort of feeling in the head.  Concentration can be elusive.  And the frustration of it all is hard to reconcile in a body exasperated with pain, exhaustion, and muscle stiffness.

I look for mercy.  I hope for reprieve from the other annoyances of  reflux, dizziness, depression, tinnitus, and hair loss.

Yet, fibromyalgia has chosen to make its presence known in my life.  It must be heard.  It must be felt.

Fibromyalgia is like a choking vine.  It wraps and wraps, trying to mask the person whose life has become its ground and wall.  Its job is to suffocate, to criple, to put down.

As I write these words, my "voice" struggles through a mighty jungle.  I am impassioned.  Like one who longs to find her secret garden behind sticky thorns, sappy branches and clinging vines, I work to cut down and pull out barriers to imagination.

My strength is inefficient.  My work is lacking.  My persistence is waning. 

I gasp for air, as one being buried in woody mire.  The echoes of confinement raise to mock my insufficiency.  These echoes are clear, understood words.  They work to banish hope, to kill desire, to destroy belief.

These words mean war.

I fight for faith, reach for grace, grasp for knowledge of One Who can smother the brutal echoes, Who can with one word crumble walls and cut vines, Who has strength to bear life and lift from mire, Who has hope to restore loss, Who has grace to soothe pain.  One,...

Who waits for my stillness.

When faced with chronic pain, stillness is not the natural way for most, including me.  We want to move.  We want to search and find our own way.  We go to doctors and physical therapy.  We take medication.  We scan the web and look for help.  We go on special diets.  We visit the health food store.  We fight to have our life the way we know it should be.  The way it used to be.

Such has been my fleshly fight.

And, in the midst of this fleshly fight, I have come face to face with a greater enemy.  It is a bigger opponent than pain.

It is a war of  a weary soul.  My soul yearns for rest within.  It cries with the need to be still, the need to find deeper grace, the need to know greater personal reality with God, the need to live Paul's words that tell me to be "content in whatever situation I am in" (Philippians 4:11).

Friends, I seek healing, but I also seek something, Someone, greater than healing.

An understanding of the phrases, "Seek the Giver, not the gift; seek the Healer, not the healing," are my reality.  And,...

it is precious reality. 

Perhaps that sounds foreign to you.  But before you judge me, listen to my heart.

I am living with pain allowed by a God so loving, so compassionate, so tender, so I would seek the beauty of sufficient grace.  Grace that pours like a river into the life of one who is only and always not enough on her own.  Grace that is only found through surrender that calls loudly for more and more of me.

Grace that is not found in the pew of my church.  Grace that is not found in a perfectly well body.  Grace that is not found in pristine appearance.  Grace that is not found in serving.  Grace that is not found in a perfect life.

I seek that grace that is found on the battlefield of my insufficiency and His sufficient place.    

I weep.  I rejoice.  I huddle in pain.  I rise in praise.  I hurl in rebellion.  I crumble in surrender.  

I taste depression, yet dance with joy because He is faithful.  And, He is my God, Who loves me with everlasting love! 

Friends, the Father's grace does not compare with human best.  All the times and seasons of our lives are in His nail-scarred hands.  I cannot weigh God's goodness on human scales.  With every prayer breathed, I ask Him to be my all in all.  I pray to let go of my human need to understand, and to let go of any fleshly idea that I have a right to understand.

I work to surrender.  To flesh-out my faith.  I confess my not enough, and glory in Christ's everything in everything. 

Reality stings and sets free, for awesome victory follows surrender! 

I hope you hear my heart leaping, as my fingers press my keyboard with promise!  I pray you are rejoicing with me as you hear the Vinedresser cutting through a mighty jungle in my life! 

I'm alive, and my soul will ever live to give glory to the One and only God and Jesus Christ, my redeemer.   

As I close, I am thinking now of so many who suffer much, much more than I do.  This day, so many live with devastating words, and so many hearts break and are breaking because of pain that speaks terminal hopelessness.  Please pray for these lives and the lives of their loved ones.  Please cry out to God for those who face cancer and other severe illnesses and traumatic injuries.  Ask God for healing and hope. 

Because of His Grace, Through His Love,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When Mountains Won't Move

Jones Valley, Huntsville, AL

A simple sharing of Psalm 24...

I am surrounded by mountains.  In the winter months, their brownish peaks tell of both dormancy and awaiting life.  In spring, their leaves of verdant hues fill in empty spaces in my horizon, creating beauty and expanding joy.   

Our city is flanked by the foothills of the Appalachians, so their blue-green peaks are ubiquitous.  One of my favorite places to tread is Jones Valley.  Just eleven years ago, when we first moved to Huntsville, it was only pastureland.  Now it is also now a vibrant, growing shopping center.  Most of my buying ambitions are satisfied there.  I love to bargain shop!  When I come out of Target or Marshall's or Ross (my best places), I am always taken back by the mountains in the distance before me.  God's creative force forces praise from my soul.  I walk to my car, humbled and thankful that He is my God and that there is no other!

Mountains are a statement of God's power!

Is that the powerful force David discussed in Psalm 24?  "Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?"  The Psalmist continues to write that purity ushers us into God's presence.  Purity levels the mountains of separation between us flawed humans and our holy God. 

The desperate need of God's presence and power in my life compels me to seek purity.  Every day.  At morning, noon, evening, and in-between.  Each moment, I seek wholeness, so that I will be whole in His presence, so that I will "receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God" my Savior (v.5).

If I seek purity, I meet with majesty.  Yes, God's majesty awaits a sanctified heart. 

Yet, sometimes, I must admit, purity seems so far, so unachievable.  Because it is.

It is unachievable in my own strength.  Without the cross, without grace, I am hopelessly abandoned to self-will and sin. 

So, the seeking of "the mountain of the Lord" and "God's holy place" begins in determined abandonment of my own nature.  I am thinking of Mary whose great solace was taking "a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair (John 12:3).  I am thinking of Ruth, who told Naomi,  "Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16).  I am thinking of Paul who wrote to the Corinthians,  "I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him (2 Corinthians 11:2). 

Inspiring and urging voices lead me to purity.  Father, how I need your purity, so the glory of God will be seen in me.

I see the "holy hill" before me now.  Yes, it is a long walk and is up a hill.  On that hill stands a cross, and below that cross is ground for kneeling....   


Scriptures used are from the NIV Bible.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Light in the Heart of Dimness

From my heart to yours, I thank you for bearing with me as I am draw from the Well of Living Waters and seek his strength.  When I last posted in November, I did not expect to be away from blogging for so long.  I never planned a break.  I just kept clinging to the belief that each day I would feel rested and find strength to post again.  That day has not arrived; yet, I am beginning to see light flicker in dimness.

The flurry of bringing our home back together, increasing chronic pain and fatigue, along with caring for my grandchildren and keeping up with church became a bit overwhelming for me.  It is not easy to admit weakness, but I recognize pride as a dangerous enemy and a barrier that prevails against overcoming faith.  So, I appreciate your prayers, as I seek refreshment that I may again encourage you and give my life more wholly to Jesus.

Isn't God great?  Aren't you so thankful to know him and share in the gospel of Jesus Christ?  God's faithfulness and mercy astound me each day, and despite my feelings, I awake every morning with joy, knowing that He created our days and nothing surpasses his knowledge or love.  Oh, yeah!  Lamentations 3:22-24 is one of my favorite passages, and I can't go one day without it! 

"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'”

Hold that one close to your soul, my friend!  And let the words of Jeremiah filter through your struggles.  He knew his portion.  That portion is God himself, "who was and is and is to come" (Revelation 4:8).  Never count God out!  He always shows up!  Bless his holy name!

I love you, sweet friends!  Hang with me, please!

P. S.  The pic below is from Christmas day.  My husband is always by my side, and I love him for his heart that's so huge it would hold the world and for his awesome love for the Lord.

*Bible quotes are from the NIV.