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



For The Beloved

27/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Refrain
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Refrain

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

Refrain

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Refrain


“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.” ~Psalm 5:11

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” ~Psalm 9:10

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.” ~Psalm 36:7

“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” ~Proverbs 30:5


Still learning to put my trust in my Defender and Shield,
Traci

For The Beloved

20/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,
 
Psalm 62
To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

 Truly my soul silently waits for God;
         From Him comes my salvation.
 He only is my rock and my salvation;
         He is my defense;
         I shall not be greatly moved.
         
 How long will you attack a man?
         You shall be slain, all of you,
         Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.
 They only consult to cast him down from his high position;
         They delight in lies;
         They bless with their mouth,
         But they curse inwardly.  Selah  
         
 My soul, wait silently for God alone,
         For my expectation is from Him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation;
         He is my defense;
         I shall not be moved.
 In God is my salvation and my glory;
         The rock of my strength,
         And my refuge, is in God.
         
 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
         Pour out your heart before Him;
         God is a refuge for us.  Selah  
         
 Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
         Men of high degree are a lie;
         If they are weighed on the scales,
         They are altogether lighter than vapor.
 Do not trust in oppression,
         Nor vainly hope in robbery;
         If riches increase,
         Do not set your heart on them.
         
 God has spoken once,
         Twice I have heard this:
         That power belongs to God.
 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
         For You render to each one according to his work.


Learning to trust in the God of my salvation,
Traci

For The Beloved

13/08/2010 § 3 Comments

Beloved,

*Heal Me Again
You are the fountain I seek in this desert land,
Oh Lord, I thirst for You again.
You are the One Who takes away my pain,
Oh Lord, come, and heal me again.
Father in Heaven, come heal this barren land,
Send Your rain to wash clean these hands.
I can no longer stand the guilt and shame;
These tears I cry, they seem to fall in vain.
You can take it away with the touch of Your hand,
Oh Father, when will You come to cleanse me again?
I can feel my life slip through the pages of time,
Come to me now, oh Healer of mine.
Come to Your broken vessel covered in scars;
Make me a priceless treasure, more glorious than the stars!
You are the Creator, the Beginning and the End,
You hold Your children in the palm of Your hand.
One thing I’ve learned is to trust God over man,
Heal me through Your love, I know that You can!
Come in Your glory and in Your splendor,
Then to You alone will I render,
All that I am and all that is mine,
Lord would You tarry to heal one more time?
Jesus come, take my hand,
Take me home to You again.
Lead me through the narrow way,
That I may tell of You another day!


   “I cry out to the LORD with my voice; With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul.
I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.” 
  ~Psalm 142

   “Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.” 
  ~Psalm 73:21-28



Hoping you know you are not alone,
prayerfully yours,
Traci

*From my book, “Finding the Way Home: A Poetic Journey”. Copyright 2003, Don Luebeck Publications. Second Edition, April 2009.

For The Beloved

06/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,
Today you will find me in the kitchen, bedecked with my red and white gingham apron, ruffle trimmed. The harvest is coming in and we are buzzing around making sure nothing goes to waste. If you listen carefully you will most likely hear the unmistakable sound of my camera’s shutter, snapping photos to preserve moments in time, memories that will be reminisced about for years to come.

Beside me is my shadow, I’m beaming as I call her daughter. The fine art of passing on life skills to my precious inheritance is a never ending joy. We bump into each other, a “Whoa!” is exclaimed, nearly spilling, catching it all and giggling at the ‘close call’. These are the moments that make my mother’s heart swell. A small quiver of lip and a deep held breath holds back the wanting to blubber bittersweet tears. I audibly thank the Lord for His merciful hand and abundant blessings, she hears and I hope the example penetrates deep.

Corn, blueberries, apricots thus far.
Peaches, tomatoes and more on par.
 
Is this really my life? Could this really be true?
Will someone please pinch me, I’m sure once will do.
 
The life of my dreams is now to be had,
I’m really alive, which leaves no room for sad.
 
The Lord has seen fit to bless me with gifts.
May I always be grateful and never throw fits.
 
His hand upon me, I humbly confess,
Is more than I’ve ever dreamt I’d be blessed.

My Savior, my Jesus, my Lord and my King,
Help me to cherish and not squander these things.

PSALM 146 (NKJV)


“Praise the LORD!
         Praise the LORD, O my soul!
 While I live I will praise the LORD;
         I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
         
 Do not put your trust in princes,
         Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
         In that very day his plans perish.
         
 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
         Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
 Who made heaven and earth,
         The sea, and all that is in them;
         Who keeps truth forever,
 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
         Who gives food to the hungry.
         The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
         
 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
         The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
         The LORD loves the righteous.
 The LORD watches over the strangers;
         He relieves the fatherless and widow;
         But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
         
 The LORD shall reign forever-
         Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
         Praise the LORD!”


Preserving the Blessings of the Lord,

Traci

For The Beloved

30/07/2010 § 2 Comments

Beloved,

There are so many things that are running around in my brain I want to share about. I am having a hard time picking one thing that I can share in a deep but condensed way.

Usually when that happens I turn to worship. I quiet my heart and mind and start singing to the Lord. I offer up to Him all that is going on in my life. I lay it all at His feet and ask Him to take my simple offering of myself and all I am and have and want and hope to be.

I admit, this is not as common as I’d like it to be. Distractions do come and try to pull me away and I have allowed them to steal this precious time.

Worship is a lifestyle and a dramatic departure from ‘the norm’ as far as how everyone else lives their lives-in and out of the church. It is a practiced behavior and attitude that only gets easier with, well, practice.

 
I find that in moments like these, in the presence of my sweet Savior, I come to a place where all I really and truly want is more of Him. All the things of this world, all the desires of my heart, all the cares and deadlines and noise, sometimes so loud, melts away and as I let it go, my arms are laid bare and empty.

Then, and only then, am I able to fully embrace Jesus, all He has for me, all He is to me and all I need from Him. When my arms are full of all of that other stuff, there’s little to no room at all for the One thing, the One person who should be occupying that space.

I think that is what breaks His heart. When we have full arms and full schedules and full agendas, full heads and full bellies and there’s no more room left for a mere morsel of His love, His grace, His mercy, His sovereignty, His truth and His bread. 

I want to come to a place in my life where my main goal is to make sure my Love’s heart isn’t broken because of me. You can’t truly love someone without dying to yourself and giving them all you are. Didn’t Jesus do that for us?

Before you think of me in a pious way, know that I am no where near that goal, but I at least have figured out what my goal is and I am trying to run toward it as best I can. I start out hand-in-hand with my Lord but the end of the days journey doesn’t always find my hand in His. Nevertheless, I find it, I grasp it and I try all over again. Too much is at stake if I give up. Besides, where would I go? Only He has the words of eternal life, no one else.

 “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”   ~Philippians 3
   

Still Pressing on in Him,
Traci

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