How My Monday Became Sunday

Oh the eternal glow of Sunday, until Monday comes and slaps me square in the face.  Chaos ensues before I can grab my coffee and say, “Thank you, Jesus, for a new day.”  My head split in two from an incredible headache, Dog mistook my feet for grass, and the skies are stormy.  Can’t I just rewind to the peace of Sunday where the day is sunshine and roses, everyone speaks sweetly, and the tops of my feet are not urine soaked?

How on earth do I swim in Sunday’s peace every other day of the week?

It’s here I remember that I am still on this planet trapped in a fallen world trying to live with a Heavenly mindset.  There is a wee bit of chaos in trying to go against the grain but go against the grain I must.  My happily-ever-after of eternity is riding on me consistently swimming up the stream until the day I die.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Am I alone in this?  Church is all powerful, and the Holy Spirit breaks open the heavenlies on Sunday.  Fast forward twenty-four hours, and hell has waged an all out war in my home.  Monday I fall flat on my face.  The coop doors were left open Tuesday and gentleness, kindness, humility, and self-control flew far far away.  Patience bailed stealing joy and love on the way out the door Wednesday.  On Thursday, I’m left holding the bag of “what just happened here?  Where did my Sunday go?”

Turning Monday into Sunday

First and foremost, this is not my home!  I don’t belong here.

Romans 12-2The scene plays out via the movie projector in my mind.  The shipwrecks, the plane crashes, and I’m stuck on a foreign planet.  Dying to get back home, I set up camp for survival, but it is temporary.  While stranded on the desert island of an alien world, I fight to keep my identity.  I definitely must not change who I am to become like the natives even though their ways are easy.  I am still me and refuse to conform by fighting their soothing ways on a daily basis.  It is critical to my survival that I keep my “home” mindset.  If I adapt to this alien planet, I’ll lose my chance ever to return home; forever doomed.

I am called to be set apart. Click To Tweet

I must keep my mindset of Heaven while living in my makeshift camp on earth to make everyday Sunday special.

Secondly, swimming upstream is imperative.

He found me while I was still a sinner, He saved me from hell, literally, and gave me a fresh start when I truly wasn’t worth the finding.

I call that grace.

It’s the remembrance of that grace that stirs the desire to be a follower of He who saved me, every day of the week.  Grace calls me to adopt His mindset, adapt to His ways, and just be like Jesus.

Out of gratitude for my soul’s salvation, I want to be like Sunday, not Monday. Click To Tweet

I hear my Father’s reminder, “Just obey already!  Do not conform to the evil desires you had before salvation (you remember them don’t you?)  You’ve been raised with Me kiddo, set your heart on things above where I am, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.  Remember?  You died, and your life is now hidden in Me.  Run away from the evil desires of youth and chase after righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on Me out of a pure heart.  Don’t love this world.  Don’t love anything in this world.  Just be like Me!”  (1 Peter 1:14, Colossians 3:1-3, 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 John 2:15, and Ephesians 5:1 in my words)

And that is how my Monday became Sunday.

I must guard my heart, set my mind on things above, and try to be like Jesus even when1 Peter 1-14 the dog pees on my feet.

The stuff of life will happen, guaranteed.  Where your mind is focused determines if the sunshine and roses of Sunday take over your week or if you get the urine soaked headaches of Monday.

Set your mind on things above this week just to see what happens!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:22-25

May I swim against the grain all my days.  Until I breathe my last breath, let me fight to be set apart.  Keep my passion for different in this day and age alive as you draw me deeper and deeper into the center of you.  Be at the center of my mind with every reaction to every event within my day.  May the fruits of your Spirit be my desire.

There are some parties happening and you’re invited!

#MomentsofHope Link-Up with Lori Schumaker

Testimony Tuesday with Holly Barrett

#SittingAmongFriends with Jamie Wiebel

Grace and Truth Link up with Starla Jimenez

#FreshMarketFriday with Crystal Twaddell

 

Grace and Gratitude

It’s November, and I need to mow the lawn.  For this, I am thankful.  For several reasons, I would like to express appreciation.  

  • The temperature for late fall accentuates a climate for growth.  
  • The longer I’m warm, the better I feel!  
  • Sunshine makes my soul happy!

On day three of challenging myself to find gratitude, I broke out the thesaurus.  Gratitude is a noun meaning appreciation.  Accompanying appreciation is acknowledgment, gratefulness, honor, indebtedness, obligation, praise, recognition, requital, response, thanksgiving, and grace.  

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Stop the press.  Grace?  Grace as a synonym for gratitude?  I feel the contractions in my brain as my mind tries to wrap this up in a nice neat explainable package for me.  A small movie played in my head.  

She wallowed in the mud, stuck, unable to get up as if chains from beneath the surface held her captive in the muck.  This captivity was a mud pit of her choosing.  Why on earth would she choose slime and filth over glory?  I have no clue.  Nonetheless, she was there, a captive.  The savior of the world, King of the Universe, sat near, watching.  “Excuse me, Child?  Why are you wallowing in the pit?  Do you not realize my thankfulness has set you free?”

“Um, King of the Universe, did you just say your thankfulness set me free?  Isn’t that word supposed to be grace?”

“Did I stutter?  I said my thankfulness had set you free, now get up and let my gratitude wash you clean.”

“Sure.”  She walked out of the muck, free to go, and slightly puzzled.  “I thought the word was grace.  Your grace set me free; your grace cleaned me up?”

“I created you, I breathed life into you, and I gave you a kingdom ever after.  I am thankful you are my child.  Because of my thankfulness for you, I chose to give you another chance.  I recognize that you are my child and I love you.  Yes, grace.  A pardon of thanksgiving…”

So maybe the movie in my mind is a little out there.  I never professed to be normal in the least.  Rest assured that this grace equals thanksgiving thing will be spinning in the corridors of my mind for days to come.  I believe it is God’s grace that stirs within me a thankful heart.  Spontaneous fits of gratitude as I carefully examine my rescue.  

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:6-10

Tehehe, I’m God’s handiwork!  That made me giggle.  What excites me, though, my heart overflows with thanksgiving, is grace.  I did not, I do not deserve life.  I did not, I do not deserve the Kingdom of Heaven.  Out of thankfulness for the little bitty soul He created, He loved me enough to extend His hand of grace.  

Romans 1:21 tells me “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  

I’ve been Romans 1:21, lived it personally.  That was me more than once.  I’ve exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator (verse 25).  And the wages of that is death (6:23).  I can see where I forgot to praise daily the one who made me and the darkness that overtook my heart.  But, but, but the gift of God, His gift of grace, eternal life when we accept His gift.  His gift, a baby born in the manger, who came as my ransom.  A gift I did not deserve (read Romans 1 again).  Grace = thanksgiving.  

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I’m not sure how this corresponds with mowing the lawn.  I do know that in everything, I will give thanks.  Grace forever linked to gratitude is the reason for my thankful heart.  Grace is gratitude.

Stuff of Earth and a Three Day Challenge

The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the giver of all good things–Rich Mullins

A challenge issued…to post three quotes for three days, presented by Faye, the Chicken Grandma (visit the farm, if you will.  She is near and dear to my heart).  Naturally, I accepted this challenge and was immediately challenged!  Where I would find quotes?  I searched my heart and found King David longing for Heaven on earth too!  I got this!

First, the rules.  In turn, I need to nominate three other blogs to take part.

  1. elihuscorner
  2. truthinpalmyra
  3. mygodmymusicmylife

The rules for this challenge are as follows:

  • Post one quote each day for 3 days.
  • A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  • Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…
  • Don’t forget to let your nominees know on their blog…

Why?  The whys of the quote are not part of the rules, but did you honestly think I would let an opportunity loose in the pasture to wander free?  Of course not!

What significance has this earth?  I’m a sojourner, not a camper, this is not my home.  I’m only passing thru storing up my treasure in Heaven, mindfully thinking of home!

It fuels me.

It inspires me.

It’s my purpose.

It’s my passion.

David said it best…

I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.

Psalm 27:4‭-‬5 MSG

The stuff of this earth wants my attention so desperately.  So much chaos.  So much confusion.  So draining, so empty.  This earth will pass, I simply refuse to pass with it.  My attention belongs to the God who knelt on this earth and gave life to dirt, to the God who is the very air I breathe.


So if I stand let me stand on the promise 
That you will pull me through 
And if I can’t, let me fall on the grace 
That first brought me to You 
And if I sing let me sing for the joy 
That has born in me these songs 
And if I weep let it be as a man 
Who is longing for his home  — Rich Mullins 

Credit Where Credit is Due

I have a host of writing I need to accomplish today; I am so behind.  I give myself deadlines for my hobby, but allow myself grace when I fail.  The world is tough.  I am gentle with myself.   However, before I can accomplish my mission of painting word pictures, I must stop to smell the roses, look at the ants, watch the birds take flight, and give credit where credit is due.

I am waiting patiently on two simple sandwiches while drinking my morning java.  Behind me they are putting in a new tile floor.  I was hoping the Wyoming air would lend its aid–today’s muse.  Wyoming is not a silent state.  Today, a song of thanksgiving sings on the wind.

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Being a writer is a solitary endeavor.  I wander alone in the corridors of the mind searching for open doors that contain the right words to put into practice.  It’s quiet.  Some days words cascade to paint picturesque monologues, others all that flows is the leftover sludge from the previous night’s storm.  The search for encouragement is as lost as the wind blowing aimlessly across the river valley.

Yet, God works in mysterious ways.  He tells the very same wind I see as lost to blow here and blow there.  He is orchestrating chaos into sweet melody.  Sometimes all I hear is clatter.  I fail to catch the vision.  In my limited scope of perception I think God is out of tune.  I am guilty of telling God His song makes no sense.  “Play a different one please, I fail to see the point, this makes no sense.  I can’t even hear a melody”

God replies “It’s my song.  I am perfection.  Therefore it is a perfect song.  Please tune your ears.”

Ouch!  The director of all music just put me in my place.  This is not a first.  I only know of one way to tune my ears.  Sing praise and exhale thanksgiving.  It is impossible to grumble while praising the almighty musician.  So, I lift my voice and my proverbial pen to give credit where credit is due.  The world thinks I am a nut because I truly sing out loud, off-key, and in public…

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Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever…sing praise, sing praise. 

When the darkness closes in Lord still I will say, blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your holy name! 

Holy holy holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come!

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds your hands have made…then sings my soul, my savior God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art.

Ho Ho Ho hosanna, Ha ha ha hallelujah, he he he he saved me and I got the joy of the Lord.  I got the joy, I got the joy, I got the joy of the Lord!  (That was one of my mom’s favorites.  She sang it over and over and over)

The playlist is endless and I sing on.  Does my world magically make sense?

No.

Do I see the point in God’s tune?

No.

But it feels amazing to lift my voice to the one who birthed within me song!

As long as I have breath let me praise!!

Truly it is He, the author of all good things, the creator of my heart’s desires, that I have to thank.  As well, to all the encouragers, the cheerleaders of the faith, Paul said it best…

That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
Ephesians 1:15‭-‬19 MSG
http://bible.com/97/eph.1.15-19.MSG

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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
Doxology by Thomas Ken 1674

Stay!

In the past several days I have traveled across the entire state of New York, through Massachusetts into Boston for a good night’s sleep along the highway (sarcasm), delivered some beef in (almost) downtown, made a mad dash up to New Hampshire for another night’s rest, drove across Vermont (all the way near Montreal) to pick up some Cabot white cheddar for Kraft Mac-n-Cheese, and now back to the starting point in New York just outside Buffalo.  Whew, what a rat race, but that’s the industry.

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I do not want to leave the North East.  Yes, I know I said that about Utah, I’m fully aware.  Utah was warm and I was comfortably complacent.  The next trip was to Minnesota and I was pouty and afraid of the cold.

It snowed today.  I laughed!

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No biggie, if you remember I hail from Colorado.  However, in Colorado I am usually prepared for Colorado weather.  Today, not ready.  Last trip home I left my winter clothes; so sure of the seasons.  That’s all well and good.  I’m fine until I need to get out of this bus.

The wind rages as the pine trees bow their heads in silent prayer for all the pretty little spring blossoms that blew away.

I do not want to even wager a guess at the windchill.  However, despite all that, I fell in love!  It’s spring, I guess love is in the air!

Many thoughts came to mind today (I think it was a “weathering the storm theme” today, so many like-minded thoughts…I love the body of Christ, even in blog form!)

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Thoughts…
This too shall pass!
Momentary struggle!
The sun’ll come out tomorrow!
I’m in love (those are my words, I didn’t read any mushy love blogs today…eeew!)

You can surely see my frontal boundary with this cold snap.  Storms–they blow in, they blow out.  Life–troubles come and go, God is stationary and He is love.

Yes, troubles do come.  They do go.  Now, here’s the challenging part–can I keep my wits about me and screw my courage to the sticking place in the middle of a blizzard hurricane?

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It’s so very simple to write roses and unicorns in the middle of sunny unicorn rose land.  Can I be Paul and Silas singing songs in a jail cell?  Can I look ahead to glory with my face shoved in the muck of the past?  Can I be honest with myself for a moment?   Yes, one fleeting moment of real and then I’ll go back to being twitterpated (with Vermont).

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I have drown in the storms of adversity, He gave me floaties.  Many a time I froze to death in the blizzard, God thawed me then gave me a survival blanket and a dog.  I have run like a coward more than once and God picked me up, kicking and screaming, and put me right back in my place.  He breathed His life back into my lungs when I quit.  I tried to escape, God said “stand in the midst and cry out to me.  Trust only in me.  Let me hear you say ‘The Lord is my strong tower, I seek refuge only in Him’ I have a plan for you, a purpose for your life.  Stop wasting energy and stay

“Stay” was the exact word God used to change my heart, again.  Even now I struggle.  I’m sure Paul and Silas didn’t want to sit in prison.  I can guess it wasn’t their first choice.  When the perfect opportunity to run came, God said stay.

It’s easy peasy to praise him in the sunshine!  When I’m content…unicorns and roses!  It takes all my energy to praise him when I’m gray and rainy.  When the wind howls, I must praise Him from my knees because it takes energy to stand.  I lift my hands and cry out “daddy help!”  Just like the good Father He is, He wraps me tight in His arms while the rain-wrapped tornado forges ahead.  Then He gives me a gift–the gift of Vermont!  “Can you believe I created this?  Isn’t it spectacular?  Focus on MY beauty, let the negativity fade away.  When you focus on the storm, there will always be a storm.  Listen to my truth, see it laid out?  Do not believe you what you hear!  Stand and I will be your strength!”

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Then I’m reminded, it’s only a moment compared to eternity.  A mere pine needle in the forest of evergreens.

Growing up Southern Baptist, we sang a lot of old hymns…their words echo in my head some forty years later…

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I shall not fall,
List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call.
Resting in my Savior as my All in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

As an added bonus, free of charge, my Vermont song!

Grace and Peace!

My Audience…of One

Day four of BloggingU asks that I take a deep look into my audience.  “My audience?” one eyebrow raised, puzzled, as I look around me.

“Yeah, your audience.  For whom are you writing?  What type of readers do you hope to attract?”

“Ones that can read…” some days I am a bit smart with myself.  Only I find this clever.

“Seriously now, this is serious stuff here.  Who do you want reading your blog?”

“Sinners,”  I answer myself emphatically, “sinners!!!  The people who made a mockery out of their lives. The folks that blatantly turned their backs on the very same God that made them.  The ones that have fallen flat, that have failed miserably, given up and quit, the losers that lay face down on the carpet and sobbed for days wishing for death because they hurt so bad.  I’m writing for those saved by grace, and those desperately wanting salvation by grace wanting joy in life…oh wait, that’s me!  I’m writing for me.”

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Ephesians 2:7‭-‬10 MSG
http://bible.com/97/eph.2.7-10.MSG

My intended audience is my God.  Although he already knows, I think he likes it when I shape my thoughts into words, put them on paper, and give them up.  He beggs me to let go so He can heal those hurts.  A blog just gave me direction and a platform to begin.

**Sidenote–I do have writing goals and am working towards them.  I don’t share those yet out of fear, I’m met with some opposition.  One day I will triumphantly say “I told you so!”  But that is a different story for a different day.

I struggled for years wanting to belong, to be accepted by this world.  As a child it led to many tear-filled nights and a journal with soggy then dried-out, numerous, heart-wrenching pages.  Even as a (wishful) wiser adult, I still struggle.

When God said to me “This is where I want you” I knew in order to fully follow Him and see what he could do for me, I had to get over trying to fit in; always striving to be the best in a culture I know nothing about.  God in His infinite wisdom just wants me to be me, who He made me to be with the personality He gave me.  I’m sure He did it for a very good reason, odd as I may be.

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I’m not the competitive blogger seeking fame and a million likes.  I’d like my heavenly father to say “nice job there kiddo!” (I like it when God talks to me like I’m his little girl–nothing like a daddy’s love).

I’d like to release some hurt from my heart and I’d like to give Jesus Christ credit for saving grace.  I was once lost, but He found me, cleaned me up, and gave me the dynamite to destroy the brick wall surrounding my heart.  Granted, I’m using a toothpick to chip at it.  God is patient and I would like to showcase His heart.

I have an audience of one.  Plain and simple.

Oh Jesus…you gave me life before my momma even knew who I was. 
You called to me before I even knew you.  You have given me a voice, let me speak fearlessly. 
You gave me personality, let me use that for you. 
Give me strength to be me, and never get lost when this world tries to tell me that being me is not good enough. 
May I always hear that still small voice above all other noise and believe that I am worth fighting for. 
God you are the lover of my heart, use this broken vessel for your glory and yours alone!

Stuck on grace…this song amazingly speaks for itself.