To Follow or not To Follow

There are days when life overwhelms me.

This journey I am on is not a trip to a far off place.  It’s the journey of being here and staying here, on this path that chose me.  Many days, I fight the desires of the flesh and stay the course when part of my life is not at all what I wish (honesty).  I’m here and cannot change that.

“But, it’s your life,” those who know me well say.

“No,” I reply emphatically to you, “it is not my life.”

I have given my life’s journey over to the one who made the sun, the moon, and the stars.  For better or worse, I vowed I would praise Him until I see Him face to face.  I intend to do just that.  He saved me.  I owe my rescuer my life, my heart, and my sincere gratitude for each breath I draw.  For each new sunrise, I offer Him thanks.

I owe my rescuer my life, my heart, and my sincere gratitude for each breath I draw. Click To Tweet

In John chapter 6, The crowd gathered, and Jesus is talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (verse fifty-four).  As twenty-first century Christians, we understand what he was saying, this is not cannibalism.  The Jews in verse fifty-two, however, had a literal take on this.  “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  They just did not comprehend.  Consequently, we are told, “From this point, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”  (verse sixty-six)

Jesus asked the twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  (verse sixty-seven through sixty-nine)  It was Peter who gave the most profound answer.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe you and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Matthew 4:19

Jesus asked the twelve just as He asks us today.

Where else would I go?

There are days I am tempted to click the “unfollow” button.  Some days I would rather choose to grumble, wallow in my mud pit, and sulk in self-pity because this is not the life I wanted.  Left to my desires, I would take the easy road.

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Frankly, desiring to be like Christ and sticking with it until the end is a tough choice.  Somedays, I want to “unfollow” Jesus.  Just for a bit, though, until the bumpy road levels out and I can see sunny days.  Then I will “follow” again.

Peter put it plainly, “Where else would we go, Lord?”

Where would I go?  Back to the previous path I traveled?  Granted it was fun and I had life at my fingertips, but to gain the world and lose my soul?  Is that worth it?

I don’t want to go back.

Jesus called the disciples, just like He calls me, to leave my old way of thinking, pick up my nets, and follow Him.  He calls me to let go of my easy life expectations and trust (in faith) that His plan for my life is good.

The “unfollow” button is just a click away.  I can give up and give in; take the easy road.

Jesus could have easily given up and given in.  He could have removed himself from the cross when the going was beyond tough.

He didn’t.

He saw His death, burial, and resurrection all the way through to the end.  Jesus knew that His father’s plan was perfect, challenging, but perfect.

He chose me. Where else would I go when my Savior gave all? Click To Tweet

Father, take my foolish pride and my expectations.  Grab my fear, my worry, my doubt.  Take my life and breathe on this heart that is now yours.  I want to follow you with every part of my world.  All my heart’s desires, I lay at your feet.  I trust the one who gave sight to the blind, made the broken whole, and walked out of a tomb.  To whom do I go, Lord?  You are the only Holy One of God.This Journey's yours

Who else do I give my praise when He gave the gift of eternal life? Click To Tweet

You can have it all Lord, this is your journey, and I follow you.

 

Sharing the places I share this post!  An invitation to come and read!

Grace and Truth Link up with Arabah Joy

Counting My Blessings with Deb Wolf

Hear ye, Hear ye

It’s the light that pierces through you, to the darkest hidden place.  It knows your deepest secrets, but never looks away…

In the beginning God knew, before he separated light from dark, He knew…

Before we called Him Emmanuel, God with us, He knew.  Before we laid Him in a manger, God knew…

It’s the breath that’s breathing new life into what we thought was dead.  It’s the favor that takes orphans placing crowns upon their heads…

Before there was death, He knew.  Before there was resurrection, God knew.  Before there was one lost little lamb, God knew because He has every single hair on our heads numbered.  Before He formed us in our mother’s womb, he knew…

On September 21, 2016 my dear sweet friend Ana became my sister in Christ.  She proclaimed that Jesus Christ is her lord and her savior!  All the heavenly hosts rejoiced!

Through all her days, He watched.  He waited in anticipation and guided her every step as He called to her.  Before she drew her first breath, He knew her.  He knew that on this day she would accept His gift.  For such a time as this!

It’s the hope for our tomorrows.  It’s the rock on which we stand.  It’s a strong and mighty fortress that even hell can’t stand against…

Some may call it foolish and impossible.  But for every heart it rescues, it’s a miracle.  It’s nothing less than scandalous that Jesus took our place.  Just call it what it is…call it grace!

For it is by grace that Ana is saved, through faith.  It is a gift from her Father.  She (like me) was lost, but now she is found! It’s not anything she could be super cool and win.  It’s not a reward that she could earn for saying the right words.  It’s simply because her Father loved her so much that He sacrificed His only son to give her this gift!  And that is grace!

Join me in the celebration for she who was lost has now been found!  All the people said…AMEN!

(And a shout out to my sis for inviting Ana into her home to become part of the family while showing her to a new way to do life!  Yay God!)

This is Not My Home

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord,  “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

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Colorado Aspens

Fall is in the air…in Colorado, my forever home, and I am not there.  I am not hiking through the quaking aspens to lofty heights to inhale crisp mountain air.  I’m not sitting on a craggy rock outcropping gazing at the wonders of autumn.  I’m not above where trees dare to grow listening to the song of the elk.  There is not the smell of campfire and sweet pine.  The peaks are not dusted in snow.  I am not wearing a sweater in the wee hours of dawn to find off the early chill.  My air conditioner is not off.  The windows are not open and there is no thought of a fire in the fireplace (if I had one).  I am not there, I am here.  

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I am blessed, so very very blessed, but this is not my home.  It is where I am.

 

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Life elevated, where trees dare not grow

 

Himself and I have moved thirteen times over the last twelve years.  We wander.  We are very nomadic, never permanent.  Most of the moves have not been little moves either.  Colorado to Wyoming to New Mexico to Texas (all around Texas) from Houston to Colorado then to Missouri.  All these moves have one thing in common.  We chose the location and purposed to move.  

Here is different.

Last September, engulfed in prayer when I packed up and said good-bye to my forever home of Colorado, I left it all in the hands of God.  “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,” I prayed. “Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my savior.” (“Oceans” by Hillsong).

Here I sit.

A stranger in a foreign land, feeling a bit Israelite, a bit exiled.  An empty turtle shell for a friend, and trees that have become my home–wondering what in the world God is doing.

Some phases of life are preparation phases.  God spends time getting us ready.  Like the seasons of the earth.  I feel in my spirit that the winds of change are blowing differently than I have ever known.  This is all backwards.  Previously, months before we decide to move, before it is even a thought in our heads, I feel the change coming in my spirit.  The pattern is predictable, highly recognizable.  The change I feel coming is different from a change of address.  I am about to see an uncharted course.

I’m watching God lay down a new foundation.  I’m watching him put the pieces into place, but I cannot tell what he is building because He said He’s doing it this time, not me.

The winds of change are blowing

There are a lot of verses before Jeremiah 29:11; exile, expectations of getting out of Dodge, and seventy years.  “Hey, settle in for a bit.  Build a house, plant a garden, make that house your home.  It’s gonna be a while.  While you are there, in that tiny community you know nothing about, seek peace and prosperity of the city (tiny town) where I have carried you into exile (oh, so I am in exile huh?…hush and listen please).  Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”  (in my own words Jeremiah 29:5-7)

“Really, Jeremiah 29:7?  Are you serious God?  This is not my home.  These are not my people (if I had a people).  What are General Turtle (General Turtle?  Yes, I named the empty turtle shell that is my friend), Dog, and I suppose to do?”

“As long as you have breath, you said, you would pray!  Now you have something to pray about!”

Sweet trust and Jeremiah 29: (pause) 7.  In verse twelve, I found the word “then”.  Usually, when I see “then” that means to trust God first.

“Then you will call on me and come pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity…”

How do an empty turtle shell, a dog, and a girl pray for something none of us know anything about?

From my face buried in the carpet, I’m watching the borders of trust fade.  Beautiful boundaries carefully placed to limit God, crumble.  I am in a sea without an end.  Blackness adorns.  The anticipation of light on the horizon.  Alone, but not alone, in a vast unfamiliar land, silently and boldly, slowly and unsure, I rise.  Confidence creeps near as I step into my appointed place of “chief of prayer security” in this house I’ve been making a home.

The atmosphere is changing now, for the Spirit of the Lord is here.

“I am here”

My heavenly Father smiles, “I’ve just been waiting on you, are you ready?”

“Yes, I am ready”

I’ve been here before, Lord, and I failed.  I do not want the strength to stand on my own two feet.  I want the strength to remain forever embedded in your presence.

Mind Your Business

This past week has been relatively nature-less, boring.  With the ducts insulated, my head is no longer stuck in the rafters.  Thank you, Jesus, for the lower electricity bill that follows.  

I’ve been babying a non-injured, swollen elbow.  I say “non-injured” because I feel no physical pain.  Why is it swollen?  Beats me.  Like most things in life, I ignore it and carry on.

Insulation project complete, I moved my work back outside.  I mowed the lawn, weed-eated my weed eater to death (not to worry, it’s a Craftsman.  I returned it to Sears in exchange for a new one), cleared some incredible boulders from my creek to surround my baby trees, and woke up the next morning with a purple ring finger.  Apparently, the swelling became a little worse and my ring shrunk four sizes.  Himself was adamant about rest.  Three days later, I’ve had all the one-handed stillness I can take.  Tomorrow, I will return to the outdoors.  Maybe I won’t move so many boulders this week.  In the meantime…

My mind runneth over.  No work makes for busy thoughts, late nights, and much conversation.  “Give thanks in advance for the good works I am about to unleash Girl.  Watch me as I move in a new way.  I call you to pray, not question.  I ask you to trust and mind your own business.  The heart of another is for me and me alone.  Your heart is your business.”  God moves in mysterious ways.  This frightens me.  He just refuses to let me become comfortable in this life.

“All very well and good God, thank you.  However, you working in the heart and life of another does directly impact my comfort and tests my sanity.  As well, this disrupts my sleep and my work.”  I whine back at God.

“I know!” He says,  “Mind YOUR heart.”

Oh, crud!  Here we go.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (I have enough of them.)  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139:23-24  

My heart, my life…Grow my character through my discomfort.  Deepen my faith through my anxiety.  Teach me to pray when I cannot sleep.  May my sanity always be found in you and you alone.  God, work your mighty works…faith without borders, where feet may fail.  Standing on the promises of God my savior, I place all my trust in you and you alone.

It wasn’t until I gave up, threw in the towel, and raised the white flag that life began to make a lick of sense.  Still, I believe God is crazy.  My life is a constant tornado of God.  He’s moving pretty fast and furious as of late, and I struggle to keep up.

Isaiah 6:1  “In the year King Uzziah died…”  my thoughts swirl, tumble, and come to rest on a familiar sentence of my own, “in the year my mom died…”  Long, long pause.  Tragedy…all I held as truth removed from my life.  All these things I held self-evident–gone.  Four and a half years later, I don’t know which packs a bigger punch, the pain of then or the revelation of now.

“In the year King Uzziah died…”  Loss of all my spiritual grounding, my rock, and the only constant I had in life.  All I regained took a slightly darker turn.  While thinking all I professed was good, it was empty.  I was empty.  I learned a new empty, I reached a new low.

“In the year King Uzziah died…”  I quit, I gave up, I gave out, threw it away, and moved on.

“In the year King Uzziah died…”  I ran fast and hard.  What is this pain?  The still small voice thundered, “this is not who you are.”

“I know!”  I shout, sprinting faster.

Three years later, “in the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne and the train of his robe filled the temple.”  Wait!  I’m the temple!  He fills me completely!  Angels singing holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, with shaking and smoke.  “Me?  No!  I am not worthy.  I’m a filthy sinner, pretty bad too, big sin.”

“Oh, but your sins are atoned by the blood of the cross and an empty grave!” He reminds me.  And then, then I heard the voice of the Lord saying “Whom shall I send?”  

Next thing I know, I heard my voice saying “Here I am!!  Send me!”  (yes, I put Isaiah 6:1-8 in my own words, it relates to me)  I stopped dead in my tracks, I quit running, waved the white flag, and declared surrender.  “Holy, holy, holy are you Lord God Almighty!  Here I am, send me to where my trust is without borders.  Call me out on the water!”

“Are you sure you’re ready, there’s no going back?” The Almighty asks of me.

“Ummm, no.” I reply, “But let’s give it a go anyhow.”

“Do you trust me to move you to the place where your faith is without borders.  You must stay, no running no matter how hard it gets.  NO MORE RUNNING!!  Grace, mercy, forgiveness?  Do you believe me?  I’m going to test it.  I will not let you fail, I will not let you fall.  I will push you beyond your means, beyond what you think your limits are.  We’ve been here before, and you ran.  You must stand this time.  Is my message worth it to you?  For that one lost soul, is my life’s sacrifice worth suffering?  I will take you where trust is without borders and feet will fail.”

For such a time is this.  Tragedy is never loss when you see God on His throne.  God used my mother’s death to awaken my life.

So, God is on the move and working in the life of another.  He is doing big and mighty works.  The growing pains of another hurt the crud out of me, inconvenience me, and try to push me over the edge.  Consequently, I am finding faith without borders through minding my business.

“I am here, Lord.  Your servant.  Upon this rock I stand, my trust not built on sinking sand.  Your name is Victory, all praise will rise to Christ my King.  Trust without borders, where feet may fail.”

And the year King Uzziah died?  Tragedy, it took the realization of tragedy to stop me dead in my tracks before I could see God on His throne.

 

Playing Catch-up

The rickety red chair bellied up to the equally old wooden table, the sound of my fingers tapping the keys, dog pawing for my attention, thirty-two ounces of sun-brewed iced tea, and David Crowder singing about how God loves us sets the scene for a certain kind of silence that I adore.  Familiar worship hangs in the air once again.  

 

No, the jungle did not swallow me whole.  Nor, have I changed my name to Jane and joined Tarzan swinging from the vines.  I am alive and a year older (numerically speaking).  I feel as if I left life hanging in the balance, filled with worry that I had not  efforted to the fullest extent…

 

In the midst of marking my anti-procrastination list, Himself phoned.  He was two days early.  I was ready.  He arrived at the house after dark and we dashed out the next morning headed to Chicago to pick up his early birthday present (he found a 1980’s pinball machine in wonderful condition which we dropped-off it in St. Louis to be made perfect).  So, needless to say, it was two days before he could marvel at his newly found piece of property.  On our way home from Chicago (it was a quick up and back), the surveyor phoned to say he was doing his bit.  I cleared enough, and it was good enough.  Why do I ever waste a moment of my time worrying?  All the worry in the world did not add a day to my life!  In fact, Himself was beyond words at what I had accomplished.  The survey, on the other hand, left me wanting more.  We do not own what I thought.  The creek I worked so hard to find does not sit inside the property boundaries.  Those “stairs” where I pause to bless my creator are not mine.

 

“Really God?  After all that effort?  It’s not mine?  You gotta be kidding me?  I bled in that valley of thorns.  Can a girl catch a break in this life at all?  Can’t I just own the creek?”  Thankfully God takes my whining better than my mom ever did.

 

“Do you really think you OWN any of this earth.  Last I checked, it’s MY earth and you should count your blessings.  I grace you with all this beauty and you want to OWN it?  Think again, girl!  I bled for your life.”  Yes, I pouted for just a bit (ok, a couple of days) until I realized how right God was in His thinking.  Just because it is not MINE, that creek is still there.  I can still make it pretty and enjoy every trickle while it rains.  And there shall be a post about boundaries forthcoming.

 

Himself showed-off his chainsaw skills while removing the dead, the almost dead, and pure evil (locust) trees.  It was the ultimate “mic-drop” as he tossed the chainsaw into the case and walked up the stairs, into the house without even looking back.  He impressed himself.  Most of the trees are in pieces waiting for me to sort and stack.  Job security!

 

My birthday marked the onset of football season (I’m a sooner born, and a sooner bred, and when I die, I’ll be a sooner dead!  Go OU!).  I was treated to Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City and to the BBQ sauce by which I have measured all BBQ sauces.  In honor of becoming another year older, himself bought me a flame thrower.  I now possess the power of fire backed by propane.  Lethal!  As well, I am now the proud owner of a much-coveted porch swing.  Since the dawn of my time, I wanted a porch swing.  I now have my morning coffee on my porch swing.  I now watch the sunset from my porch swing.  I now ponder life’s deep ponderings from my porch swing.  I consider sleeping on my porch swing.  It’s that awesome!

 

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I have waited since day one for this!  My very own porch swing made in Mazurah from native cedar!

 

We road-tripped, churched, insulated ducts, hiked, chainsawed, burnt stuff, Walmarted, ate cake (for breakfast on my birthday while watching OU lose the season opener) and cobbler, I cooked and did mounds of laundry and dishes; it was a good eight days.  Now I struggle to catch up.  My new to-do list is infinite and that’s ok.  In the grand scheme of life, I am blessed.  

 

I walk out my back door to go to work in my own world, where I am my own boss.  Dog and nature are my co-workers, no one ever calls off leaving me with a mess.  My BFF is an empty turtle shell named General Turtle, we have lunch together almost every day.  I stay up late and wake up late.  I dance in the rain without the worry of getting wet.  I eat deviled eggs for dinner, peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast and drink the entire pot of coffee.  I can write until my heart’s content or until I fall asleep.  I can sing out loud as if no one is listening all day, every day because no one is listening (well, I am teaching Dog to sing, she’s getting pretty durn good, so she listens)!  I can be uniquely me and embrace my oddities that make me uniquely me.  I still have my fair share of problems and life still has it’s “moments” because no human or relationship is perfect.  But, I have been given the gift of time and it is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.  

 

And God reminds me to enjoy HIS beautiful earth, the one HE owns, not me.  Enjoy creation one day at a time.  This season I am in, it’s just that.  It’s a season and in my world, they change quickly, nothing is permanent.  This one, just like all the others, will come to a close much before I am ready and I will waste all my days wanting it back.  Once they are gone, they don’t come back.  I struggle with this.  God says “Breathe it in Child, this season, breathe it in.  Let me be the air in your lungs.  Slow down enough to savor each moment.  Take nothing for granted, be mindful of my presence.  Delight in the good, learn from the bad and then discard it.  Dwell on me, I have your days numbered and know exactly what you need and when you need it.  Rest in my presence and trust in me.  Please, for the love of all that is good on earth Girl, do not burn down the jungle!”

Simply Time

All is well

Work to do

Two weeks gone

Time a mystery

Peace and grace

Light of day

Guarantee of morning

Yet to see

Doubt gives way

Faith abides

Truth revealed

In majesty

Whirlwind life

Marches on

Stops for nothing

Speeds steadily

Resolve I give

Shelter in rain

World slows down

Cling to me

Only one stands

Creator of time

My sanctuary

Will always be

Ancient Stuff

Time is an escape artist; I contemplatively watch her flee.  She moves too swiftly on most occasion. This, I sincerely do not appreciate.  I ask her to linger for tea in the shade, but she just keeps marching on.

Crunch time is upon me.  Otherwise known as “time is running out week” or “un-procrastinate panic mode”.  Himself will be home mid-week.  The surveyor will be here similarly.  Stress and relief wash over me simultaneously.

Once the surveyor arrives, I can focus on our land and not all of Stone/Barry County (the property sits in two counties, last surveyed in 1960).  Sweet relief comes with boundaries.  However, I fret that I have not cleared enough?  The surveyor has a “not to exceed” price.  So, if he misquoted and it takes forever to navigate any uncleared portion of the valley of thorns…I will still feel bad for not working hard enough.  Only time and the surveyor will tell.

Once Himself arrives, I can take a break (kinda).  There are errands to run, a trip to Kansas City, the onset of college football season (Boomer Sooner), and my birthday to celebrate.  Sweet relief comes in companionship.  Yet, I worry.  Have I done enough?  Will he see a difference?  Will he be pleased with my accomplishments?  If only I had access to that darn chainsaw!!   I’ve looked at this land long enough, I no longer see the before and after.  I worry.  I worry a lot.  I need to stop.  God is the only perfectionist, that is not my job.  Himself has expressed his gratitude, in advance, for my toil.  Daily battle, at least, keeps the evils at bay (anything is better than nothing).

Working in the heat of the sun, my imagination knows no bounds.  I step back, look at the lay of the land, and imagine water rushing, cascading, and tumbling, over land and rock carving a path on its way to the lake.  I feel as if I am a part of history.  I am unearthing a story.

 

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The stairs at the base of the creek near the end of the hill that is this land!  Oh, God, you create some awesome stuff!

 

A dry creek cuts a path down the hill from the top to the bottom of the property directly through the valley of thorns.  There are several branches of the creek that weave in and out and come back together at a beautiful shelf of rocks over which water can cascade, in the event it rains enough.  I call this “the stairs”.  Eons of flowing water have channeled deep crevices in many boulders.  This land is ancient.  The more I unearth, the more I learn.  Creation is amazing, I am small, and God is….  

Silently, creation reminds me that everything on the face of this earth changes over time.  Trees grow, they die, and decompose.  Rocks crumble.  Dirt moves from place to place.  The earth is constantly shifting and reshaping itself every day.  In fact, very little on the face of this earth is the same today as it was yesterday.  Neither is tomorrow exempt from change.  Even the stars fade and burn out.  God is the only constant.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  

He has not changed.  He will not change.  

God is permanent and unmovable.  

After earth passes, the elements that make up the periodic table have imploded upon themselves, and our solar system vanishes into some black hole, God remains.

He is the beginning.  

He is the end.

From before to after, He is EXACTLY the same–unwavering, unfaltering, unchanged.  He was.  He is.  He will be.

How can I look at my yard and not see God?  His fingerprints are everywhere.  From the base of my stairs, I lift up my hands in praise.  I am small in my world of before and after and God simply is.

I lift my hands to you, my Forever,

In adoration for you, my Always

For you and you alone are time.

You give the hours of the day

And the seasons of the year

Yet you never pass.

Who else deserves my praise?

From darkness to darkness

You remain the same.

Consistently you love

The same is your grace

Your promises speak truth

Because you do not change.

You are the water that flows

And the air I breathe

From everlasting to everlasting

You are.

Take this breath

My song of worship

With this life I praise.

May the rocks never cry your name,

Let it always be me!

 

Prayer for Today

Mercy dawns

Today is new

Shine on me

Your saving grace

Grant me strength

For each hard task

For yours alone

Is all that lasts

Remove from me

All trust false

And hope that fails

You alone I need

Everything fades

At each day’s dusk

Mighty trees fail to stay

You remain

Be my source

Guide me on

Clean my heart

Of angry thorns

Reveal a beauty

Born of you

Your light, your love

My cornerstone

Clear the jungle

Of my mind

Bless my hands

With a brand new start

 

Good morning day!

The Valley of Thorns

O my soul, bless God.  From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!  O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! –Psalm 103:1-2 MSG

For many, dawn offers hope of new.  This is the cherished part of the day.  The first rays of God’s light usher His peace.  I do love the morning as well.  For me, though, it is a time of preparation.  

Oh, how this battle is not against flesh and blood!  It is a battle of Girl against jungle–dark fights to stay dark and light wants to burst forth.  Upon my eyes seeing the day, I prayerfully strategize the day’s battle plan.  Over coffee, my King and I map out the attack.  We talk of strongholds that must be torn down, weeds that rob the precious soil of nutrients, and a ground in need of cultivation.  Bring forth the light!

Morning is a flurry of activity.  A spinning toy top set into motion; balanced perfectly, spinning steadily.  To fight properly, I need nourishment for my soul and body, for without I am weak.  If my soul and tummy are not fed, I cannot endure and fight the good fight.  Bug spray of faith is a must.  If I lack confidence in the unseen powers, I will surely turn back in fear.  Absolutely imperative are the correct tools.  Strongholds fall not with a mere kitchen knife.  For any foe that stands against me, the sword of truth has promised me victory and I believe every promise written.  I would not serve me to move into the dark of the jungle without any of the above.  What good am I if I am not prepared to fight?

 

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previously, the left jungle was a mess of trees

This is my morning, every morning (save Sunday, God bless Sunday!).  The left jungle fell without a fight.  Hard days and tired nights claimed victory.  For lack of burning and a chainsaw, the land is raw.  Beauty comes with time.  However, the enemy has deep roots in the right jungle, aka “The Valley of Thorns”.

 

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currently, the left jungle is in need of a chainsaw.  I did find the most amazing rocks all along the left side.  Good luck with that fence!

While some victories come swiftly with little effort, there is an evil rooted in this valley and it is fighting back.  It is a fierce fight with no end in sight.  Needless to say, the jungle has a victory under its vine.  I ventured into the fight determined and came back bloody and bruised (yes, I’m serious).  A new plan of attack is in the works while my wounds recover.  I declare, I am victorious.  I am an overcomer!

 

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The Valley of Thorns

 

Yea, though I work in the valley of thorns, I will fear no scratch.  For what on this earth can kill my soul?  Nothing!  I will save the fear for the one who can condemn this soul to hell.  For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He protects me! (–Psalm 23, Matthew 10:28-30 in my own words.)

While I love the preparations of the morning; the planning and the strategy, eager to conquer, it is the evening in which I find my peace.  Ceasefire calls a truce until dawn.  Sunset bade me sit, be still.  Peace washes over me as I reflect on the day’s fight.  Well done good and faithful servant–I gave my all.  Releasing my worry and fear, I let go.  My mind slows (a spinning top wobbles, falls to its side) and His praise flows from my lips.  I reach my empty hands toward Heaven in a blessing for being born again.  Blessing for my strength.  Blessing for my health.  Blessing for my home with a yard.  I am humble and He is God.

The sun hangs a portrait in the sky.  My bats circle eager to see what new meal awaits, I give them new space to hunt.  In this moment, rest and relaxation reward me.  Peace twinkles above.  The fragrant breeze circles and calms my senses while the locust sings day’s end.  I smile.

Day is done, gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,

And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,

‘  Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, ‘neath the sky;

As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,

Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds

Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,

And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

Taps

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, worship His holy name!  All is well once again.  His mercies will soon be new.  

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him, all creatures here below

Praise Him above, ye Heavenly host

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Amen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8p3n5wzFpM