For The Beloved

17/09/2010 § Leave a comment

(photo courtesy of hubblesite.org)

Beloved,

Have you ever had one of those months where there are all these things you are facing, thoughts and ideas trampling through your mind taking up bandwidth, emotions tugging at your heart this way and that, the voices of opinions and facts, truth and lies jamming the frequency you usually tune into to hear that sweet and tender sound of the Savior calling? Is it just me? Cause that’s where I am at. Sitting on my chair, trying to quiet the noise and slow down the speed of processing going on in my brain. I’d like a vacation please.

I like things neat and in their place. My lack of discipline often aggravates this part of me. In this case however, I’m sure it’s the Lord, trying to tell me something through all of the loud incessant multi-thought garble. I have had a chance to talk to my husband about some of the things and there was even a wonderfully precious phone conversation with a dear new friend that has helped. Honestly, I think this is just the tip of the ice berg. Even now, as I try to think of just one topic of thought, it all blurs into this puddle and the word ‘TILT’ is displayed on the video screen of my brain and I hear that old, familiar sound of the message you used to get from the operator that was so loud it would startle you, do you remember the one?

*beep, beep, beep* All circuits are busy at this time. If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again.” *beep, beep, beep*

The dogs just perked up their heads and are staring at me because I just laughed out loud at myself. “Oh, it was nothing. I’ll go back to sleep…” is the dialogue the expressions on their faces give me. I can relate to that. Part of me is wanting to do the same thing, just “go back to sleep”, what’s going on is ‘nothing’. And yet, I can’t shake the feeling I’m supposed to be learning something, growing in my convictions and understanding. No, I can’t just go back to sleep. I need to process. To keep processing. What helps me, when I don’t have someone to talk to, is I pray and I read the Word. I should add worship to that and maybe even start a journal…

What about you? What helps you process things? Have you had a time of ‘thought overload’? How did you get through it? What was the result? Conviction? Understanding? Awareness? Can you tell I’m curious? 🙂

In my prayer closet,

Traci

For the Beloved

08/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,

The cursor blinks relentlessly. I stare at it, willing it to inspire me. Something. Anything. Please? Inside I laugh at myself. If people only knew who I am when no one sees. I stop and wonder, “Would they still like me?”. I pause to reflect where this daunting subject could end. As the thoughts swirl, I become increasingly aware that there’s a reason I tend to ‘hide’ behind a screen. Am I ready to ‘go there’? Go beyond the easy and obvious and bare deep, inner parts of me? Nothing too secret, no, nothing too real. What would people think? What if they find out, you know, that I’m…a quirky, awkward human?

Another inner chuckle escapes as I reassure myself of the certainty that that knowledge is already far spread, assumed even. “Is that ok?” I wonder. It must be, I conclude. Others have already let their proverbial ‘cat out of the bag’, bared their depths for all to see and judge. Hmmm…there’s a word. Judge. That can be an icky, tricky one.

No one wants to admit it, yet we all do it and in most cases it is necessary as an assessment to know which direction to proceed. Judging is good, at times, but quickly becomes vile and slanderous when we use it against others for selfish means. It produces fear and wreaks havoc on the innocent. Yet, it’s where we unwisely run when we think we need its counsel.

judge- v. tr. 1. To form an opinion or estimation of after careful consideration. 2. To determine or declare after consideration or deliberation. 3. Informal To have as an opinion or assumption; suppose. 4. Bible To govern; rule. Used of an ancient Israelite leader.

Sure. That seems fair and right. Opinions should be held loosely as they are not something solid rather things that can morph and change as one learns more, observes more, etc. While based on facts, they are only an ‘educated assumption’ that come from evaluating or judging, the observed, outward actions of the subject.

v.intr.
1. To form an opinion or evaluation. 2. To act or decide as a judge.

Great! Glad to know I was on the right track. Wait a minute, number 2 says one can ‘act…as a judge’. It seems as though my ‘proceed with caution’ radar has gone up. It seems to me I’m not the only one they had in mind when forming this definition, therefore, others can apply this intransitive verb if and whenever they so choose. I think we’re getting into dangerous territory now.

judge- n. 1. One who judges, especially: a. One who makes estimates as to worth, quality, or fitness.

Ok, here we go. We’ve arrived. This is exactly what sends me to a quiet hole in my own universe. The skies are pleasant here. Safety radiates all around from the thick, high walls I surround myself with. It’s so peaceful. Silent. Dark…and lonely. People scare me.

A small price to pay for all that I get, the ‘package deal’, right? All the perks and amenities:

Backed by our Worry-Free Guarantee, you’ll find comfort of life and ease of mind with our 24 hour Protection Services. Complete with impenetrable super-duper-thick high walls, you will never be hurt again and with our new, state-of-the-art, darker than darkness window system you can see others without them seeing you. The ultimate in protection from unwanted meaningful contact. Never suffer from being vulnerable to anyone again. All this and more for a low, low cost of giving up the following: your health, your happiness, being understood, understanding others, your daily dose of sunlight, your social life, friendships with humans (pets are permitted), your family and so much more!
Act now and start living a life of anxiety, fear, sadness, depression, loneliness, self-loathing, solitude, selfishness, pride and overall ill health today!

Wow, all that and more huh?

“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.” ~Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV)

Baby stepping toward wholeness in Christ,

Traci



You Are My All In All

19/04/2010 § 2 Comments

Junk Out 2010!

17/04/2010 § 5 Comments

I used to be relentlessly driven by perfectionism. Like a wild woman bent on attaining approval, I would tear through the house like a Midwestern tornado, making sure not one thing was out of place, screaming like the winds as I went. I wouldn’t even sit down to eat unless all the mess I had made while preparing a meal was completely cleaned up, neither could anyone else. My insecurities beat like the slave I was to them. I was mercilessly driven to perfectly please. After all, the God of the Universe is perfect and wasn’t interested in keeping slouches on hand, now was He? Huh? Was He? I didn’t think so.
I had no peace, no joy. I wasn’t exactly brimming over, spilling any peace or joy on those around me either. When your cup is dry, it doesn’t overflow. Over the years the Lord has freed me from a lot of my burdens. The yoke I carry has never been so light. I have found deep peace and abiding joy, I am starting to bring it to others. My cup has been filling up. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!
So, here we are now. The other side of the pendulum. I have more freedom in Christ now than I have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined I could. After the shackles fell I wasn’t hounding and driving myself to make others, or a false tyrannical god, pleased with my performance. The irony of it all? Now, I am lazy. I think I have figured out why too.
Part of it is fear. I know what I used to be and I DON’T want to go back. Wouldn’t a routine bring me right back to that awful place? The other part is somehow, my brain has convinced me that since I was so uptight for all those years, I needed to just ‘relax’ and stop putting so much pressure on myself. Wouldn’t a routine set me up to be constantly going and doing? The result is where I’m at today. Caught in the middle.  
Oddly enough, I am re-learning self-discipline. I’m trying to find the joys in having a routine without it ruling my life. It’s embarrassing. I’m a grown woman. I can’t go back though, only forward. There are messes. I need to earn my keep. But most of all. I need to do everything as unto the Lord and my family needs me to be the person God created me to be for our family dynamic to work. It blesses them when I choose to be a blessing and do the simplest thing like, pick up after myself to start.
Each morning as I become aware the Lord has blessed me with another day, I choose. As the morning unfolds into afternoon and as afternoon falls into evening and the sun starts to set, all the things I have done are things I have chosen. So are the things that haven’t been done. It’s all a choice. Of course, there is the whole reality of running out of time in a day. But I’m talking about choosing not to do something. I do it every single day.
When I finally put my feet up, reflecting on the day, I need to honestly evaluate my decisions and determine if they were ones that were productive and ones that would have pleased the Lord and benefited my family. I wish I could say ‘yes’ for every day. I can’t. So, I try again, asking the Lord to be the strength in my weakness. All day, every day. He is my portion.

~traci

For The Beloved

16/04/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,
This week has flown by. I humbly admit I have not taken the time to be in the Word continually nor have I spent a lot of time in worship. I will plainly divulge where that has left me. My cup is barely moist. It’s lack of spilling over leaves me with nothing to pour out for you. Embarrassment is only the beginning of my feelings, yet, I am compelled toward honesty.

As unique as the Lord has seen fit to fashion me, I can’t help but think (and hope) these human weaknesses I bear and their selfish tendencies are not solely my own. Am I correct?

Have you had times of rushing through the daily grind, your week a blur of vague recollections? Have you experienced the screeching halt of your faith walk upon the realization you have been running on fumes, your spiritual cup dry, right at the time of the need of another and your left standing there with empty hands dangling open and nothing to offer?

That’s how I come to you today. Cup in hand. Dry. Sheepishly eeking forgiveness. My solace is found only in this:

“It is because of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.”  ~Lamentations 3:22-25

Shall we, together, follow the Shepherd that leads up beside the still waters, that we may plunge our cups deep into the rushing waters that restore our souls and make them to runneth over? If you need me, that’s where you’ll find me.


Refilling my cup to overflowing and drinking in deep His bountiful mercies,
Traci

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

11/04/2010 § 1 Comment

When I wrote my last post, “For the Beloved”, I originally had something else written for the closing. As I was praying about how the Lord wanted me to finish, I came across this hymn and felt the Lord wanted me to share the words. I wasn’t even completely convinced it flowed but I knew the Lord had put this on my heart, I needed to obey.

As I researched the song and found recordings of it, I listened and was moved deeply. I received a couple of emails telling me how much sharing the words meant to the readers. I want to be a blessing to God’s people so I have decided to post this hymn again so others can actually hear the song. I pray as you listen the Lord will minister to you in a deep, special way. As you commune with Him, may He meet you where you are, enfold you in His peace and shower His loving kindness upon you.

Here is an excerpt from the book “Then Sings My Soul, Volume 1” by Robert J Morgan (which I highly recommend) about the author of the words to this hymn, Samuel Trevor Francis:
“One day, as he later wrote, “I was on my way home from work and had to cross Hungerford Bridge to the south of the Thames. During the winter’s night of wind and rain and in the loneliness of that walk, I cried to God to have mercy on me. I stayed for a moment to look at the waters flowing under the bridge, and the temptation was whispered to me: ‘Make an end of all this misery.’ I drew back from the evil thought, and suddenly a message was borne into my very soul: ‘You do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?’ I at once answered, ‘I do believe,’ and I put my whole trust in Him as my Savior.”

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   ~Romans 8:38-39
(this is the scripture reference Morgan gives for this entry)


~traci

For The Beloved

09/04/2010 § 1 Comment

 Beloved,
I hope you and your family had an amazing, life-changing time remembering the sufferings of our Lord and celebrating  His glorious Resurrection!

As I look back on barely a week ago my reflections contain joyous fellowship, sweetness of family, filling foods, deep contemplation, great revelation and of course, chocolate.
 
Time will continue to tick by and life is returning to a routine. The seeds we planted are starting to sprout and my strawberry and rhubarb plants are flourishing. School is back in session with Algebra being figured and Biology tests being readied to take. We are looking forward to the weather becoming warmer, the birds singing stronger and the chill in the air subsiding.

I don’t want to forget the memories made with family and friends. I don’t want my life to be the same. I don’t want to forget the cross. I am purposing to remember to cherish these things more and more each day.

Every breath the Lord gives us is a gift. Every day we awake and realize we have another opportunity to give glory to Him should be seen as precious. I can only humbly bow at the feet of Jesus, pour myself out before Him. Here is where I ask for His love to consume me, His grace to cover me and His Spirit to guide me.

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!


O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!


O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
‘Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!”

Remembering My Days,
Traci

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