Thursday, June 23, 2016

His Presence

I can remember the feeling of the wind wafting through the warm air.
The sun was delicately falling in the sky as the night colors began to take over.
I was present in that moment on the beach with Tony. 
I can remember the smell, the sight, the feel, the sounds...

But it's not enough to remember.
I long to be present in that moment again.
I am so looking forward to August and spending time at the beach.. 
The anticipation is rising!

In today's Bible reading, I was taken to Exodus 33:15
If your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. (NKJV)

God asked Moses to leave Sinai. He said He would send His angel and drive out the enemy that would be in the way. The land He was sending them to was fabulous! Milk and honey! But, God said He wasn't going there with them. He called the Israelites "stiff necked people".  

Was God concerned about putting Israel in a permanent time out?

Moses went out of the tent city to have some quiet time with God.  The cloud of God's Presence fell and stood at the door of the Tabernacle as God & Moses talked.

Moses pleaded with God... God showed His amazing grace, yet again...

Moses chose God's presence over the blessing and provision of God. 
Milk & honey...the enemy's destruction... 

God's presence had been guiding them for so long... 
how could they survive without His presence?
God's presence wasn't enough for Moses in a memory.
God's presence is alive and real.

I am reminded today that I can be blessed by God but be away from 
the Creator of the universe. 
I can walk in His favor but be out of sync with the Savior.

I may recall a moment of being in His presence. 

This isn't enough. I need to be present tense in His presence.  

Always choose His presence.

It's more than obedience. 

God is God. Nothing I do will change this fact.

Inviting His presence into my life
Walking in His presence makes all the difference
His presence = value, strength, purpose, correction, direction

He is always faithful.

I choose His presence.

Moment by by day...until there is an unending moment 
of His presence for all of eternity...

Friday, October 2, 2015

surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses

a special reminder of my friend, Michele
I've become very aware of how much time it takes to keep up with relationships-the people in my life. I am so grateful for the amazing people who have been in my life...some I don't connect to all that often and then, there are those who schedule time with me regularly.

So many things have changed in my life in the last 5 months. Not seeing people at church events has opened my eyes to how much of my socialization took place there.  It has been a big shift in my friendship action plan.

Do you have a friendship action plan? You decide to be proactive and schedule time with your friends. It's natural to do this. See, I don't live in a neighborhood where my kids are friends with my friend's kids and then moms will sit and drink coffee during play dates. I don't have kids. I have to make my own play dates, I guess play dates are my friendship action plan.

I got to hang with three different ladies this week. I scheduled time with each of them about a month ago. Leslie and I spent one morning working on art. Beth made me homemade coffee cake when I dropped by one morning.  Michele spent a couple hours coaching me through some life vision plan. Next week I have a lunch scheduled with Sharon and I'm sure we will laugh a ton because we can.

I have spent so much intentional time with my friends these months; I'm so grateful to all of you fabulous friends. I'm looking forward to spending time with others I haven't been able to schedule time with yet.

Spending time with people isn't always easy...but it is worth it!!

Hebrews 12:1-Therefore, since we are encompassed with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Chapter 11 is referred as the Hall of Faith-God sightings for all the Old Testament characters.  This is the reference to the witnesses...but I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses friends. We tell of the amazing life God has allowed us to live and encourage each other through our friendships.

Make sure you have your calendar handy the next time you leave the house so you can schedule your friendship action plan. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

a visit to the Butler museum of American art

today i had the chance to visit one of the treasures of Youngstown, The Butler Museum of American Art. i love art...all kinds....contemporary, expressionism, impressionism, sculpture, cartooning, conceptualism, digital, fantasy, carving, avant garde, glass work, metal work, landscapes, photographs, coloring book pages, macaroni, graffiti,drawings, folk art, pointillism, postmodern, portraits, street art, textiles, velvet Elvis, wire art...... I'm at  loss for all of the genres from art history class all of those years ago.

i was reminded of one of my favorite periods was that of the impressionists. the idea that you can leave the interpretation of the work up to the viewer.. impressions are powerful. when i was in music school, i would bring my lunch to the impressionism room and lose myself for a while.
(morning n the seine, claude monet)

i have been thinking so much lately of how others may view me without really knowing what is going on. there have been many stories said of me.

some think impressionism is ugly because there's a blur in the view. some think it to be fabulous due the blurred lines. some imagine entire stories from the lack of detail in the work.

i am so reminded that we should never ever let impressions guide our view of people. don't take a view of blurred lines to create a story in the life of those around you.

be true to who you are.
     be honest about your hurts.
          when conflict arises, engage with healthy boundaries.
               when waves come in to blur the footprints in the sand, stand strong.

defend those who are having their stories blurred by others....

 speak the truth in love

Friday, May 8, 2015

He is faithful.

I entrust my spirit into Your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for You are faithful. Psalm 31:5

I am leading our kids ministry in the "Experiencing God" study for 8 weeks. I led kids in this teaching many years ago and felt this group of kids would grow from it. The main concept of the study is that God is working all around us and wants us to join Him in what He is doing.  In each of the series I bring to the kids, I try to ask God to show up in my life with practical experiences I can draw from to show the kids how He works.

Yep. I did just that....

I prayed for God to move in a particular way about 4 weeks ago. I've been struggling with a piece of my life that needed correction and I couldn't fix it on my own.   I knew that He was going to do it, too.  I figured He was going to use me in that move, but I had no idea how that would look.  He is faithful through it all.

Oh my! The way God was moving became particularly difficult on my part. What was happening hurt so much. It was so hard to understand and follow. I continued to ask God to move and I got a bit of vision regarding what He was doing. I felt His peace, that He had the entire situation in His plan.

But the next time I was to face this situation, I think the Earth stopped rotating for a moment and  my rotation accelerated about 10 times. Boy, I hit the ground and wall over and over again. I was devastated by what was happening to me. I called out to the Lord, "I've been faithful. I've done all that You have asked of me. I can't believe how You are making this turn out, Lord. I asked You to move...." and then it hit me. God can do whatever He wants to to make it work out for His good.

After the Earth's and my rotation got in sync a few hours later, I had a visit with counselor. This meeting had been scheduled 2 weeks prior to the day of devastation. I sat in the waiting room and a Bible verse came across the monitor: "I pray that God, the source of all hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him-Romans 15:13." Just so happens that one of my favorites. I said it to myself and tried to embrace this truth Paul prayed 2 thousand years ago.

Then the counselor came out to meet me. The counselor talked to me about how this was a God-scheduled moment. From the scheduling of the appointment, to the timing of her life schedule, to the similarity of my experience to an experience she had...the whole thing was set up by my Papa. Oh, how He loves me! She talked to me practically and helped me to see the reality in front of me.  I left the office with red eyes, but a heart that would make it to the next beat and the next beat....

The following day my heart was still in immense pain and I would have loved to live under the covers for the next portion of my life. Alas, I had an early morning appointment for a nerve test at the hospital. Up and at 'em!

There weren't many cars in the parking deck this early in the day. As I got out of my car to walk toward the hospital, a woman got out of her car and said, "Could you help me?" I looked around to see if she was really talking to me. Then, I looked around to make sure I wasn't about to be accosted (I usually have no fear, but I was not walking in my full strength.) She asked me to help her hook the back of her shirt by her neck. The hook had turned around.  I helped her out and she talked to me as we walked toward the hospital in safety. :)

She told me she was a hospital chaplain and began to ask me some personal questions. I felt my heart hurt as I tried to stay out of this conversation. All I wanted to do was get back in the car and drive home. She noticed I was a bit shaken up and changed the direction of the conversation. She shared the church she belongs to and my mind drifted back to the conversation. I replied that this was the church where I gave my life to Jesus and got the call to ministry. And then I broke a little more. She stopped and pulled me in so tight. She prayed a simple, powerful prayer over me that caused the Heavens to open up and I had a new peace flow over me. My heart still felt broken but I knew that God was working in me.

We parted ways and I headed up to my test. Oh....the test was horribly painful. I got home and took action to deal with physical pain. It was a good thing this test happened the day it did because it caused me to forget all about my heart ache as I felt the physical pain from the test.

The next day was better. I had a bit of clarity over the situation. My physical pain was a little less. I asked God to show up in all of this-to help to turn what Satan wanted to use for evil and destruction and make God's faithfulness shine so bright. I was able to spend a previously scheduled day with my mom.

I didn't share with her what was happening, but a mom knows when her kid is hurting. I shared about life not looking like I thought it would. Discouragement had shown up but I was going to practically try to walk through it.  Then, we picked out new carpeting for her house and I got her a beautiful begonia for Mother's Day.

I got home and was exhausted after my long day with her. I laid on the bed for a few minutes before I had to face this situation again.  Just then, I know the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and gave me clarity and new vocabulary to define the situation.  This made all the difference! This gave hope to my situation. It brought blessing instead of death. It gave me a way to see a different end to this story.

When I shared the new vocabulary with all who were involved, a light went on.  A peace entered the room and the strife disappeared. God is faithful. He can illuminate a hope during the trial and bring healing to the hopeless.

From the counseling appointment and counselor to the hospital chaplain to the pain of the nerve test to my previously scheduled day with mom, God had it all in His hands. He was comforting me through it all even though the pain was all around. He is faithful.

The situation isn't completely resolved at this time. It is a process for all involved. I know that God is working in this situation. He is faithful.

I am not interested in sharing all the details with you because the details don't matter What matters is that God is always working around us and wants us to join Him in what He is doing.  He hears our prayers. We need to be looking all around to see where to join Him. He wants to work it through us. He chooses us to be part of His great big plan.  He is faithful!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015



Not inferred.

Empty to be filled.

Cleansed of the residue of hurt, failure, lies, deceit and death.

Empty to be filled with new foliage to flourish, bringing beauty and becoming strong. 

Weathering the storm. Withstanding the wind. 

To be molded and potted as the Potter chooses. 

May the blooms of this season bring about a nectar so sweet it is incomparable to any ever before.

May His presence make a sweet fragrance unlike any ever experienced.


Sunday, October 12, 2014


sharing my thoughts in the past months has been too overwhelming. I think I've got it under control. my revelation as of late is that every season seems to be a season of transition. there are very few moments of staying still....

one of my favorite things to watch is the current of water...streams, rivers, ocean...give me water and I feel at home,

there is life in the current...there is constant life in the movement in the water,,,life fails to flourish in the lack of the current.

the thought of losing life because of the lack of current is of absolutely no interest to me, help me, o Lord, to continue to tread in the current & not to be swept away. help me to always long for the season You have for me. help me to have no fear. help me to have the courage to tread, swim & be immersed in Your water.

the Spirit and the Bride say "come." let anyone who hears this say "come." let anyone who is thirsty come. let anyone who desires drink freely of the water of life.-Revelation 22:17

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

love by decision, not reaction

This morning, as I read Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, the focus verse was Hosea 3:1.  "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagan."

The take away for me is I am to love by decision, not reacting to emotions I am encountering in the moment.  God said, "Hosea, love Gomer. Don't take revenge on her betrayal."

Ouch!!!! I felt that 2x4 to my backside.  Fact:  I've been feeling betrayed as of late. Feeling:  I know that I've been letting my actions show less than love. 

Then, my niece shared a thought from her devotion this morning and it captured the rest of my heart.  1 John 2:5-6  "But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love Him. That is how we know we are living in Him. Those who say they live in God should live as Jesus did."

Wham!!! That one was a humdinger! Guess it's time to get over myself and move forward. I still feel angry. The justice side of me wants to make my list with bullet points to take to the mediator. The Holy Spirit is saying He will take care of this because only He can change the situation. Only I can change my attitude.

Help me, Lord, to move past the feelings of betrayal. No one is perfect, me especially. I know there is perfect peace in Your plan. Help me to surrender my need for justice. Help me to see past the "raisin cake" and see You working in the midst of the commotion.  I need to factor in the truth of obeying You is the result you seek. I need to live as You lived, Jesus. Help me to walk in Your love, not emotion."