Monday, February 14, 2011

Road to Love

My road to love started here.

Before South Africa, I never wanted to love. To me love was not real. It was more like a charade. A boobie trap so to speak that would land me in a cage where I would be tortured for the rest of my life. So being open to seriously love another person was not an option for me.

Recently, my road to love came to a dead end. DEAD was the word FLASHING in my mind when I faced for the last time what God had used to woo me to love. As I reflect on the road I’ve traveled for years I am overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s gentle guidance through it all. He controlled all circumstances to create in me a heart of complete surrender and passionate desire for Him alone. The resistance and rejection that often overpowered any hope I had forced me to dig deeper and deeper in the word to seek help and fortunately kept me at His feet. I believe part of God's intentions in leading me this way had everything to do with learning to cling to Him (especially since my previous record shows a tendency to leap off any path of rejection and flail into the nearest whiskey river).

I wrote this on September 7, 2010. Three years and one month after the beginning of my journey to love.

I've built an ark so to speak...just as the Lord has commanded me to
down to specific details. Although people around me call me crazy and
claim the exact opposite, I've submitted to thy rod and thy staff over
and over again....embracing humility, fires of refinement and deep deep
sorrow because my desire is to honor Him by building the best ark I
could....and yet there is no rain in sight.

It seems that a joke has been played on me and the rain has been
silenced...clinging to the furthest point in the highest skies and
refusing to fall even though it is made for falling to bring glory and
honor to Him....and because of it's absence....I sit in my ark full of blood, sweat and tears pondering the clouds of unbelief that block the rain...


This was before I had any idea my road to love would indeed be a dead end. Don't get me wrong, there was definitely disappointment and fear of the unknown in my future. But I must say, the good thing about being dead is that you don't feel anything anymore. I was numb and all I had to say was "it's over." I had no explanation for what I knew to be true inside of me.

The good news is that every valley of the shadow of death ends in resurrection. It’s just like the good Lord to bring me to the dead end and in a blink of an eye He parts the waters and gives me a glimpse of the other side. This dead end is really no end at all as far as God's plans are concerned. It's only the beginning of sweet rewards and fruit of years I've given Him my attention.

Now, I can see a future I never imagined could happen and it’s better than anything I could DREAM. Seriously, one minute I don’t have a clue as to what this really means for my life when GOD SHOWS UP. He floods me entirely and my heart swells and throbs with joy at the unexpected gift. He gave me a new hope and a new beginning.

The Year of New Beginnings truly is what it is. What a loving God we have….through impossible circumstances He took a heart that denied the thought of love and made it into a heart that exists only to love. I don’t regret one minute of the way I have come. The glory of this dead end road recreated me to be a lover and a helper. He diligently purified my heart, soul and mind for a much greater story.

Every blissfully painful step of the way will be redeemed once that heavenly glimpse spreads itself out into full view.

4 words we have to remember: GOD KEEPS HIS WORD.

If you are walking in something that seems impossible. He will show up. He will redeem you. He will rock your world. He may decide to shock the heck out of you in HOW He delivers His word but He will do it! I promise!

Psalm 145:9 (Amplified Bible)
9The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created].




Amos Lee’s Mission Bell album is stuck in my player these days. This song is perfect for my road to love…boy, did I learn a lot.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bad Day

When I woke yesterday morning I knew I should call it a day and stay in bed. My throat was screaming from irritation and my nose was running. My head felt so tight that I would have dismantled it if that were possible to do and still live. I sucked it up and went on to work anyway because I had baked a peanut butter chocolate cake for a friend at work. It was important that we celebrate.

When I walked out the door for work I had what I needed for the day. My daily apple, purse, gloves, scarf and one delicious cake. I did not have my coat. I forgot it because I wore a bulky sweater. This as if the inclination to not go to work upon waking didn’t foreshadow the end of my day was a great sign that things would not go my way.

I drank hot tea all day in hopes to ward off the feelings of sickness. We enjoyed the cake at our staff meeting and the jokes of a ‘blizzard’ were tossed around as usual when they are forecasting snow and ice and talking of closing school AGAIN. The snow started.

My overall demeanor started fading fast as the snow piled up on the driveway. A few managers left and the rest of the staff stuck around waiting out the gridlock traffic downtown to disperse. When they decided to spend their time waiting in a neighboring business known for amazing cheeseburgers I declined which was a clear sign I was not okay. I waited for an hour and decided to make a move.

Upon leaving work in 22 degree weather, the heat in my car decided it wouldn’t join me for the ride home. This was not good. My feet were already cold. I didn’t have a coat. And traffic was at a stand still on Church St. I was in my car for 45 minutes FREEZING and slowly moving along the road towards my end of town when I remembered that I had a bag of new fleece throws in my back seat to distribute to the homeless that I unrolled and wrapped around my legs and upper body. OH, did I mention my gas was on E. So, let’s recap…no coat. No heat. No gas. 45 minutes on road and still miles from home which would normally be a 6 minute drive.

This is where I started freaking out. I decided that it would be better to save my feet from frost bite, park and go into a business until all the traffic disappeared and either call a ride or drive the rest of the way home on a prayer.

I made it to a sushi joint. The place was packed. I guess I wasn’t the only one with this idea. They set me at the end of the sushi bar by the front door because I was alone. Every time the front door would open the coldest slap of air moved in and whipped around my body keeping me from making any progress in increasing overall body temp I needed to have hope of living through this frigid experience. Immediately I took my boots off and folded my feet into my lap in the chair for warmth. I ordered some soup in hopes of warming up on the inside. By this time my throat and head were really hurting. As I waited on my soup (that never showed up) I thought I would text my friends that kept checking in on me and worried about my trip home. I started to use my phone when it went black. Dead.

Dead phone. Frozen feet. Cold body. Forgotten soup. Sick. Flushed. Sandpaper throat. Throbbing head. Icy roads. Stand still traffic. No gas. No heat. No coat.

I grabbed my feet in my lap and squeezed my knees into my chest feeling the momentum of an avalanche of tears building deep inside waiting to break free. And just when i couldn't stand under the weight of it any longer, I hear Daniel Powter break into the chorus of Bad Day.




WHO hears THIS song in a restaurant anymore! Right then in that moment...the perfect timing of an ol' one hit wonder put a whole new spin on my situation. How could it be timed more perfectly? when I am just about to throw a big ol pity party in my frozen state. God orchestrated the playing of one cheesy song about having a bad day that put me in a state of amusement instead of pity.

I busted out laughing instead of crying.

PS I made it home 2.5 hours after leaving work. My roommate was just about to alert the authorities (which would not been the first time police have been given a description of me as a missing person...ha. no really, true story but that one I need to save for my book).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Unattainable



Unattainable by Little Joy is a favorite.

The part I love the most is:

If only songs were sung
to guide the doubtful ones
beyond the rough
where not as much is good enough
Oh, if you find yourself
amongst the lonely ones
I'll be waiting here with open arms


Most my life I recall having a song in background of my mind as I experience well, life. It's been more than one song but there is always music that is pushing me through my day whether it's from an outside source or not, I'm moving to it. I remember as a little girl when all hell was breaking loose inside I would find my way outside to our swing set to watch the sunset and sing.

I lived on what the locals called "Thrill Hill". It was a road known for teens driving really fast over the top of it and since it was so steep for seconds there was a feeling of being suspended in air as though the car had left the earth. This was the 'thrill' people from 3 counties away would drive to my hometown for. It was really cool for those that didn't have to stop half way down it to turn into the driveway of their home.

The swing set overlooked a large pasture with horses and cows. The steep slope of the hill and position of the swing would allow me to imagine myself floating above the scenery. I remember very vividly the power lines looked like threads of gold outlining the green fields and there I would let the song out. These are probably the only magical moments I remember as a child. There really wasn't a specific song I would perform but more just the melody of my heart...I was hurting so much but something about hearing my own voice and the golden haze on everything in sight would comfort me.

This is what I am reminded of when I hear her sing about songs to guide the doubtful ones. I believe somehow, someway, God composed a song in my heart that pulled me out of the rough. Things really could have turned out so different. But He wouldn't allow it. It is truly unbelievable to think about. I honestly don't know how or why I am still here....and after all that has happened...I still sing.

Friday, February 4, 2011

LOVE Is a Burning Flame

Let me just say, there is a lot of LOVE going on around me. I LOVE it! My heart’s biggest desire is that all the people in my life will receive the love they deserve. Or rather not so much what they deserve but being overwhelmed with a big big love without doing one thing to deserve it. I’ve had privilege after privilege to walk, pray, cry, sing, dance and skip with several of my friends as they begin their life-long love stories. It is so fun!

This morning I was shocked to see scripture in an entertainment-industry related email. It caught my eye immediately because it is a verse that I pray quite a bit. Evidently, so did June.

See link for the article I read and ignited today’s blog post. JUNE

Everyone loves the story of Johnny and June, don’t they? What a hoot it was to hear the story of Johnny saying to June backstage at the Opry ‘some day I’m gonna marry you’. I remember when I started my current job and learned more about them. I was amazed at how God worked all things together for good in their lives. Before I knew the deeper truth I figured it was the same ol’ celebrity romance.

Now I believe God was the pursuer in this unique love story. I’ve seen this happen in others too. I believe it is possible to meet your soulmate and know it is so even though that person is in a place that is far far from being ready for your love. Now, I’m not saying this happens all the time but I believe it is possible to know in your heart that God has drawn you to someone without ever seeing proof in their actions towards you. It is possible. I believe that waiting on living proof of God’s pursuit can last longer than you think. After those years pass, you can look back and begin to understand why God has continued to work out details in your own heart, purifying and preparing it for a larger story. That knowledge can be a huge gift that further explains what the call to love is before ever given a chance to love them.

I also believe that the person you are drawn to through your faith walk with God has the choice to walk away from what they see and know to be His blessing on their life. This is the catch. You can walk with God and believe in His pursuit and faithfulness but we all have a choice. God is sooooooo good to His children in how He loves, pursues and blesses us but I’ve seen how some of us can take one long deep look into that blessings’ eyes, pivot and walk away…in fact, run.

The story won’t end there. I believe God will redeem the one He taught to love so well even if the other person walks away. I believe great is thy faithfulness to the one that obeys Him even if obedience has led to rejection here on earth.

June chose to walk away from Johnny…more than once. One fine day she made the choice to stop and fix her gaze on the man with the soul God planted deep fiery unconditional June passion in. She chose the man that fought for her for years. The man that loved her more the day she died than the day he met her. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thanks God that June finally chose to love Johnny.

I believe in love and the unthinkable happening. It’s truly a miracle from God that I have come to this place especially since I’ve never truly seen or experienced it first hand. In fact, there was a day when I never wanted to love at all. I guess you can say I don’t have to see it to believe it. I know love is real and it happens. Love is so powerful within me and the day that man decides to choose me the flood of love that rushes through the door of my heart will be like the force of a thousand rivers rushing over him.

Love! It’s such a great gift from God. I’ll never stop being thankful that God decided to pursue me to love without limits. He certainly didn’t have to give me this gift of love. And maybe…just maybe if the Lord sees it fit for me there will come a day when my own ‘Johnny’ will be pacing and waiting for these baby blues to pop open and share that early morning pot of coffee.

"We're soulmates, friends and lovers and everything else that makes a happy marriage. Our hearts are attuned to each other, and we're very close. I'll get up every morning at five o'clock and make the coffee, then start pacing the floor, wanting her to get up. But I'll let her sleep for a couple of more hours. If she smells the coffee, she's up."
Johnny Cash about June Carter

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jesus



I received the album Mission Bell by Amos Lee this week. I have this song on repeat.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Whiskey & Scripture

or is it Scripture & Whiskey? Anyway…here are my thoughts.

So, this morning I read Ps 107. Part of this passage reached out and GRABBED me.

Rather it was like the verses 17-22 came off the page as a hand held mirror and all I could see was my own reflection staring back at me.

Psalm 107:17-22 (New International Version, ©2010)
17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.


Funny part is…as I read these words over and over I was reminded of my anthem during those days…let’s call them my whiskey days.

A cd of truckin music was given to me. I loved it…well, I still do. But there is a song on this cd that I ALWAYS played on my way to rebellious ways. It fired me up! I remember thinking “yeah, I’m gonna be somebody no matter what’s his face does”.

This morning the song immediately started playing in my head as I read this scripture. All I could remember while reading was “I gotta drink up and be somebody”. I laughed to myself and thought wow, that’s what I thought of myself, huh. So, just for fun on my way to work I pulled that cd out. In fact, it was very easily accessible. Below you will find the lyrics. As I listened I realized how deceived I was in the whiskey days. I was trucking right along and having a GREAT TIME with my friends and doing this and that…whatever I wanted…living the life! I mean I had F. U. N. wherever I went. Everyone I met was a friend. People always enjoyed seeing me and being with me. But this was my anthem? My way of preparing for an evening with friends that I loved?

Drink Up and Be Somebody by Merle Haggard

Well I gotta keep my reputation I gotta keep my pride
Can't let you know you've hurt me I can't let you know I've cried
I gotta make you think I'm happy everywhere I go
I gotta keep my hurt inside me I can't let it show
I gotta drink up and be somebody I have another round
I can't let my troubles find me I gotta keep your mem'ry down
Can't let you drive me crazy can't let you win I gotta drink up and be somebody again

Well I can't spend my whole life grieving I gotta find myself
I gotta put me back together I gotta find me someone else
I don't make you think I'm happy everywhere I go
I gotta keep my hurt inside me I can't let it show
I gotta drink up and be somebody...


I have to tell you something…I had no idea how hurt I was. NONE. I was just doing exactly what Merle Haggard (and I) sang and living in denial of the true pain that consumed me. And my anthem almost killed me.

Now, Psalm 107:17-22 is my reflection. Wow.

Now, that’s a reason to sing many many songs of JOY and DANCE around the room!

PS just for the icing on the cake, (as if there is need for more in this post) I have been asking God to remove all pride from my heart this week. The first line of my old anthem says the opposite of my prayer. Zzzzzzing. Jesus gets me every time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Outta my skin

Have you ever had that moment where all of your skin, bones and body parts are walking towards something?

Something that you KNOW you are supposed to walk in to be more fully who God made you to be.

Something that is so good and is said to bless the heck out of you, BUT that very something is the darkest, gnarliest, scariest thing in the world to you.

That something makes you want to run out of your skin. And you envision using the fastest moves you’ve got to get as far away from that something as possible...all because somehow your mind is convinced that brilliant, so-called amazing something will shred you to tee-tiny little itty-bitty bits inflicting horrific pain that will never stop.

Yeah, today...I want to run outta my skin.

This song helps me stay in it.