"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Monday, January 30, 2012

Resting Running

I feel rushed here.

I just feel like I need to run, to hurry, to get to the next thing.  ...to do more.

Being on home assignment (or furlough) will do that... the schedule is tight, the opportunities to visit with people are way-beyond time and space...  But.

But, it seems more than that.  I felt as I flew into LAX, I flew into a cloud of fast-paced hurriedness.

Is it me or do Americans rush around like crazy?

Not that my schedule at home isn't full, but I just feel it here.  Like a blanket that seems to surround or descend, I feel pushed, pulled and rushed.

And it isn't really about the schedule, or the busy-ness, ...it is about my heart.  It is about the state of my heart.

Rest in God alone.  Rest in My love.  This, I know, is what my Father calls me to--- this is the Great Invitation.

I can rest in His love, His sovereignty and goodness, and in His timing. ... His timing.  Does God rush?

It reminds me of that lovely scene in Princess Diaries, where the queen is "late" and she is mildly rebuked by a servant, who is attempting to help her queen along, "to not be late."   In this scene, the queen comes calmly and graciously into the room and remarks, "The queen is never late!  Her subjects have just arrived early."  This same queen later encourages her protégée granddaughter to remember that she is a princess.  And, that "Princesses, never rush.  They never run...".  This is what has been echoing into my heart the last few days.

Stephanie, princesses never run.  They never rush.  You are a princess.  I am the King.  And, I am never late!  


I don't know what to attribute the rushed, fast-paced feeling to... is it cultural, circumstantial, or simply a spiritual stronghold?  I don't know.  But, I do know that it is contrary to the rest He is calling me to.

Not that I believe that we are called to "non-busy-ness" exactly... I just believe we are called to a state of rest, in the midst of life and busy stuff.  And I believe that a restful, peaceful heart is never rushed.

I have felt rushed.  Pushed and harried.

I choose to settle down this moment into His love.  I choose to do only that which He puts before me right now, not worrying about tomorrow.  And, I chose to rest in Him.

And, in about 45 minutes, I need to be out the door and off again to the next thing.  But, I don't have to run out the door.  I don't have to rush.  I can calmly, graciously walk.   In my heart, in my soul, I can trust my King.  ...pushing back the pull and pressure to run.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whizzing Thoughts Calming Words

Like a merry-go-round, my mind whizzed and turned.  Around and around went the thoughts.  Like busy, colorful, wood horses trotting, running, chasing....  Circular and connected, but racing and loud.  Do your thoughts ever turn and wind around, running away but in a circle?

As I sat to spend some quiet time, my mind just wouldn't stop.  Thinking and re-thinking.  

I had intended to read the whole Psalm.  But, I just couldn't.

The first line of Psalm 62 jumped off the page and lunged at me, relentlessly insisting on attention.  I simply couldn't move on.  I had to read it again.  And my mind calmed.  My busy thoughts took a seat and stopped at the Words...

My soul finds rest in God alone  


My soul finds rest in God alone, it said.  He said.  And I knew these words were alive.  Active and alive these words brought life.

As I repeated the words over and over in my mind and out loud quietly, I found a stop again in my spirit.  God alone  

God alone.

This was His word for me.  I needed to respond.

My soul finds rest, or more truthfully seeks rest in many things;  but, God was inviting me to more.  He was speaking to my soul and reminding my inner man that truly only in Him could I find rest.  I might seek rest in other things; but, I would never find it anywhere but in Him alone.

I could think more and plan more.  I could analyse and worry.  I could question and regret.  But, these would only send me around and around, never to find rest.

My soul finds rest in God alone.  Stephanie, your soul finds rest in Me alone.    

I told Him that I was deeply sorry that I ran seeking rest in other things, other thoughts, other ways... I told Him how desperately I needed His help to seek Him alone.  I told Him that He deserved all my heart, all my mind and all my soul.

And, I told Him that I would speak to my soul,  "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone!" (Psalm 62:5)

Find rest.

in God alone.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gotta' feed the beast


A beast of burden.

That is how A.W. Tozer suggests that we consider our bodies in his wonderful book, Pursuit of God.  I love it.  I just love it! 

Just as Jesus "had need of" that beast of burden, the donkey, when He rode into Jerusalem, so we too have need of our bodies.  They serve us.  Actually, they serve the Lord through serving us.  Just as that humble, insignificant ass did over 2,000 years ago for Jesus, so my body is a tool for the Lord---for His glory.  

And, just as we wouldn't abuse or neglect our needed beasts of burden, neither should we in any way abuse our bodies.  We should feed them, care for them appropriately and make them always ready for service when they are needed.  In the same way, we shouldn't rely on them too heavily or praise them--- focusing on them in excess.  Certainly the beast that carried Jesus was not receiving any "Hosanna's".  He just carried the One whom they praised.

My "beast of burden" has given me havoc many a times in my life.  Today this beast, my body, cries out for some more care.  Today it was a needed crown on an aging tooth and possibly a root canal.  Yuck.  But, truly, not something that I can ignore.  And, certainly ignoring it any longer would be to neglect the body that God has given me to carry me through this life.  ...so I must deal with it.

To be honest, the thought of a root canal and a crown was not as overwhelming as the thought of the cost of the two procedures.

I felt frustrated that once again this body of mine, this beast...  this hole-ridden- tent, was crying out in a way that was beyond my ability to provide.  I can feed it, yes, but I can't fix it!  ...and actually, in fact, the very food that I feed it comes from God's hand, as well! 

So... sitting in the parking lot of the dentist's office... my Father God and I had a good conversation about this.  I was able to tell Him that I needed Him to care for this body of mine.  I was able to ask Him provide for the beast that He has given me. And, that just as the disciples went at His bidding to get that donkey and bring the beast for the Lord's use... I am asking God to do all things necessary so that I can continue to serve Him---that this beast of a body would be a tool in His hands, for His glory!

This dialogue was had with tears and a fair bit of frustration.  I trust You, Lord.  Help me to trust You more!

So I rode this beast of burden right into the specialist's office.  And, long story short--- I don't need a root canal!  (a crown, yes.)  This news felt like a huge gift from God!  And as a special "wink" from my Father in Heaven, the specialist gave me the consulting visit for free.  Free! 

As I left the appointment, the receptionist said to me in low-quiet-tones, "there is no charge for today's visit".

I said, "I don't understand."

She lifted her voice just a bit and whispered again, "there is no charge for today's visit."

Dumbfounded, I said again, "I am sorry.  I don't understand."

"The doctor would like to bless you," she spoke quietly with a smile, "it's a blessing."

A smile from the receptionist.  A wink and a smile from my Father in Heaven---reminding me that He would indeed care well for this beast of burden---for me, for my body.  He would provide.  I could trust Him.  He does still have "need" of me and my body for His glory, ... so He would take care of it.  He will feed the beast!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In no wise desert you...


photo source
Words spoken in truth and in love.  She spoke to me words with power.

As I opened the book and read, she reminded me.  A beautiful voice from the past, she spoke truth to my heart this morning.

This is why I read.  This is why I write.

In her writing, she speaks tenderly, as one who is well acquainted with grief and pain.  She speaks forcefully, as one who is learning alongside me... to trust, to surrender, to expect Jesus in her life.

Have you ever read a book and wondered if this book was written just for you?  Every time I pick up this book, Rose from Brier by Amy Carmichael, I am certain that it was written for me...  some 80 years ago.  How did she know what I was feeling?  How did she know exactly what I would need to hear today?  (I would recommend it for anyone who walks with long term illness or pain).

Amy Carmichael, my friend whom I have never met, spoke words to my heart this morning.  She spoke, through time past, a blessing over me...  "Jesus Himself draw near and walk with thee".

She reminded me that Jesus told His disciples that He would never fail or forsake them.  She studied those words "fail and forsake" in the Greek for me and reworded that famous verse saying, "I will in no wise desert you or leave you alone in the field of contest or in a position of suffering.  I will in no wise let go my sustaining grip".

We have a family tradition in our home.  Often, sometimes nightly, we whisper into our children's ears, "No matter where you go.  No matter what you do.  No matter who you become, I will always love you."  These are sweet, special words that surround our kids with love.

But, we can't ...we simply can not tell them, "No matter where you go, I will always be with you."  This, alone, God can say.

I will always be with you.  Always.  I will in no wise desert you.  

With these words, my spirit rose up and my heart widened enough to let Him in, inviting Him to reign again. I stood up with a renewed mind and a strength that comes from Him alone.

With all the craziness of packing, and planning, and cleaning, and leaving...  I needed these words today.  Into my sacred spot, ---my quiet chair---...the place I leave for a few months..., He reminded me that it isn't about the "spot".  It doesn't matter where I go, He is always there--- beside me, near me, around me and within me.

And, I recall words I read just last week from A.W. Tozer,
"God is here.  Wherever we are, God is here.  There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not.  Ten million intelligences standing at as many points in space and separated by incomprehensible distances can each one say with equal truth, God is here.  No point is nearer to God than any other point.  It is exactly as near to God from any place as it is from any other place.  No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person is."  (The Pursuit of God)

Stephanie, God's Spirit whispers into my heart, I am always with you.  Draw near.  Come and follow me.  Seek Me first and all other things shall be added.  Watch and wait.  I will never leave you.  I will never fail you.  Wherever you go, I will always be with you. 

My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me".  And my heart responds, Lord I am coming!  Psalm 27:8

My reader, my friend, I speak to you this morning, May Jesus Himself draw near and walk with you!  


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Warmth, new words and a teleporter please

 photo source  
The morning air was crisp and cool.  My 9 year old son and I picked up the pace as we journeyed home from church, longing to get home, get lunch and get warm.  We walked, hand-and-hand, snuggled as closely as our winter jackets would allow.

All of a sudden, he blurted out, “Mom, I don’t feel very well.”  

He had just been playing with friends at church, so I was surprised and asked, “Oh! Are you feeling sick?” 
“No”, he replied, “I am feeling… ....I don’t know.”  

I paused and gave him some time to find his words.  

Holding tight to my hand and just a tilt of his head, he looked up and said,  “You know when you are just about to leave a place… you feel… you feel... I don’t know.” 
Trying to help him, I suggested, “You feel unsettled?” 
“Yeah, I guess so... No, not really unsettled.  More…  more leave-y”.  

In that moment my boy created his own adjective:  leavey
I asked him if it was a good feeling.  He said, "No", It wasn't.  And he pulled in tighter to my arm.   

"Me, too, baby. Me, too."  ...what else do you say?

Living overseas has been a tremendous blessing for our family.  I simply can not count the spiritual, emotional, relational and physical gifts that have been poured out over us because of our calling overseas these past 10+ years.  But,  the truth still remains,  it is hard to be constantly straddling two, or three worlds, isn't it?  

There is no way around it--- it is just hard. Sometimes, it just stinks!  And, although the benefits are immense, there is a cost.  

So, we pack our bags this weekend and get on an airplane and fly "home" to stay for a few months.  ...hating the long flights, my son is still contemplating the ins-and-outs of designing and inventing a "teleporter".  


And, we feel all mixed up inside.  From my daughter we have dancing glee one moment, literally--- and then sobs of grief the next.  We want to go.  We do.  And, we desperately don't want to go.  The emotions are running high in our home.  

...leaving home to go home, and all that that means.  It isn't easy.  

What else do you say?  

"The Lord has been our dwelling place" (Psalm 90:1) and "You will keep in perfect peace, he whose mind is steadfast on you." (Isaiah 26:3) ...come to mind.  
"Anything that makes me long for God is a blessing. Anything that makes me desperate for Him, anything that brings me to the end of my own resources, my own strength, my own power, that's a good thing."  ~Nancy Leigh DeMoss 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

His Light to keep from steppin' in...

So I went on a walk this morning.

It wasn't too early, just dark.  ...So goes the winter-life of anyone who lives this high in the Northern Hemisphere!    But, I figured, "No worries, I know the path.  I know the way."  And, I do.

As I started my walk into the dark, I had this sense that I was in a dream.  I don't know if it was the half-light of the breaking morning, but it felt like a dream state.  Until...

Until, I stepped in poo.

Yes, you read that right.  Poo.



Now, I know this road that I take most mornings fairly well.  So, I could easily surmise that this patch was horse poo.  I have side stepped it other times successfully.  ...it was only a guess, really.

Though my walk was not pitch black, the dawning sun and the street lights helped to light my eyes, my foot path was not lit.  I could see ahead, but I couldn't see my feet very well.  But, I could feel as I stepped, to be sure.  And, I most certainly stepped in poop!  For, stepping in poo feels very different than stepping on cement or asphalt.

I continued on, though, (bravery at its best!)...what is a little poo on a well-worn, mud-covered hiking boot, right?

So, I kept walking and entered the fields near our home.  And, try as I might, I kept stepping on poo.

Over and over!  Was it cow poo--- that one felt like a cow pie underfoot!?  Was it sheep's poop, dog's poop?  They all do feel different, not to be too graphic (smile).  And, they all feel different than the squidgy mud in the field, as well.

But, I just couldn't help myself.   I just couldn't see my foot's way.  I wasn't lost.  Seeing my walking path wasn't too hard in the dim light, just seeing my every step was a bit difficult.  Well, difficult enough to step multiple times in poo.

So, why am I telling you this?

The song that came to mind as I trudged through the muck and the mire of my darkened walk was, "Light of the word, You came down into darkness.  Opened my eyes, let me see.  Beauty that made this heart adore You.  Hope of a life spent with You!"

I trudged and sang into the dawn:  "Light of the word!!"  ...in this dark morning who would hear me but God!  I walked and stepped and trudged and sang.

And, I remembered the lessons of late--- I can do nothing with out Him.  I may think I know the way.  And, certainly I know enough in my Christian walk to not get "lost".  But, if I don't have Him, I can certainly step in some good 'ol yucky poop!!  ...and, I would really rather not.  You?

Jesus, I am desperate for your light.  I am desperate for Your guidance every day... all day!  You light my footpath, You light my every step.  Help me not to walk on without You today.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Talkin' To

We need guidance.  We need someone to show us the way from time to time.  Somtimes we just need a talkin' to.   We need a good 'ol in-your-face talkin' to from those we who love us and those we love. 

We do it as parents, don't we?  I do it.  My husband does it.  He and I give our "talks" very differently, to be sure; but, none-the-less, it is the loving thing to do.  To sit them down (our kids), get face to face and tell them how it really is.  We need to show them where they are going wrong and point them in the right direction. This is simple, beautiful discipline and training. 

God is no different.  And, yesterday, I got a good 'ol talkin' to. 

Gentleness and kindness surrounded the "talk".  His lecture was wrapped in His goodness and His love; but, it is painful even so.  Who likes to get a talkin' to? 

He spoke to me about my pride. 

Ugly and damaging, my pride.  He spoke to me about my "self-life".  And, He did this using a good friend (one I have never met), A.W. Tozer in the Pursuit of God,

"What is the veil that it shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us.  It is the close-woven veil of the self-life... it is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify.  We have but to look in our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress.  It is not a beautiful thing and it is not a thing about which we commonly care to talk, but I am addressing the thristy souls who are determined to follow God...  To be specific, the self-sins are these:  self-righteousness, self-admiration, self-love, [self-pity and selfishness] and a host of others like them."

The interesting thing is that as I read this chapter and thought on God's words to my heart, I instantly found myself trying to "fix it" in me.  Deep within, I was calculating how I could become less prideful, less self-centered, less self-righteous... 

Do you see it?  Do you see that right there in the very moment of conviction I was running back to self.  My plans.  My ways.  My fixes. 

At least my heart caught it this time!  Thank you, Spirit of God!

The dawning of His Spirit brought these words to mind, "I can do nothing...  without the Father".  (John 5:19)

 Then, Thomas a Kempis, has some words for me, as well.  He agrees and joins in with God's discipline: "Rest not upon thyself, but build thy hope in God.  Do only what lieth in your power and God will help thy good intent.  The poor and lowly of heart abide in the multitude of peace.  The man who is not yet wholly dead to self is soon tempted, and is overcome in small and trifiling matters."

And, to top it off, this joint intervention comes back to Tozer, instructing me with, "God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust."

There it is again... that word!!  Trust.  Will I ever learn it, Father? 

Trust breaks down pride and self.  Trust is the rock on which humility is built. 

I have so much to learn.  I am so glad He never gives up on me and keeps talkin' to me! 

Open my eyes to see You and know You as You really are.  Open my ears.  Grow my faith and teach me to trust You.  Enlarge my soul to understand, to know, to perceive.  Strengthen my mind to grasp You.  You alone.  Jesus, work Yourself in me!  You in me.  Me-dead and the real alive in You. 

It is very sweet to know that we are not alone on our road toward and with God.  This post from another friend, (I have never met ---smile), propelled me to write down today's small jot from my journey to know Him more.  I would highly recommending popping over to her site:  You are My Girls. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What makes you want to dance?


With a huge smile on her face, she jumped up and down at the back window as I stood in the kitchen.  She came home visibly shaking and dancing with glee!  My sweet 12 year old daughter...

And, I immediately had a thought--- are you doing what makes you happy?

She had just delivered a hand made gift to an elderly neighbor.  It brought her so much joy to bless.  To give.  Such a simple thing, really.  But, the giving gave her deep joy.  And, she wanted more...  More joy!

Poking her head in the doorway she asked, "Can I bring hot chocolate to the construction workers next door?"  She wanted more giving-joy!

So we heated up water, made the hot chocolate and she carried over coffees and chocolate on a tray to the group of men who have been working hard for months next door.   The smile on their faces were remarkable, to be sure; but, the smile on her face was priceless.  She literally skipped home and into our door.

Am I doing what makes me most happy? 

My girl came out of the womb a gift giver.  While she developed in my body those 9 months, God wove into her personality a desire to give and get gifts.  Frankly, she just loves gifts!  And, gifts give her joy.  They speak something to her soul that I do not innately understand .   When she gives and when she gets, she feels joy and love.

And, it isn't just gifts that make her smile.  She loves to hug.  She loves to worship with song; she loves to sing.  She loves to create beautiful things and take long walks with her friends.  ...all intricate details of her, my sweet daughter.

We are most happy---and by happy, I mean true happiness, pure joy, deep-seated contentment----when we are being who God made us to be and doing that which He made us to do.  What makes me smile and dance inside is different than my girl.  We are all unique.

Chosen before the foundation of the earth and hand-made inside our mothers, we are all unique.  He has given each of us special things to do, ways to relate, contributions to make... an offering of ourselves.  What is yours?  

What brings that huge smile on your face or in your soul?  What makes your heart sing?   What makes you shake and dance inside...  deep inside?  And are you doing it?

I want to do it more.

Father, teach me to do those things that will make me most happy, truly happy!  Lord, may I honor You with all of me.  Thank you for making me and creating me uniquely.  Help me to know how You have gifted me and to know how You would have me give of myself for Your glory and Kingdom.  For I am Your masterpiece.  You have created me in Christ Jesus, so that I can do the good things You have planned long ago!!  Ephesians 2:10

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another book for my Best Friend

photo source 
Her birthday was coming and I couldn't think of what to get her.  I wanted something personal.  I wanted to give her something special, close, connected, ...something tender.  So, I made her a book---my sweet friend.  I made a scrapbook to celebrate her.

It wasn't hard or a chore, it was a delight.  Truly.  I treasure her friendship in my life and so it brought much joy to find pictures and write a bit about her.

And, when it came to describing her, the words came easily.  I could easily have listed 10 more words to describe my friend.  I couldn't have done this five years ago.  I knew her then, yes, but our knowledge of each other has grown past simple knowledge, or the light friendship we had five years ago.

These days, we talk a lot, this friend and me.  And, we are in each other's lives a lot.  I am beginning to learn what she might say, or think or feel in any given circumstances.  Learning, that is---because she is complex and the learning opportunities never end.  But, that said, finding words to describe her is easy.  I know her more and so putting a few words on a page to describe her was a breeze.

This is what I want in my relationship with God.  I know Him.  I believe I know Him well.  Certainly I know Him much more than I did 20 years ago when we first met!  But, there is still so much to know about Him.  And, I long to know Him that much more!

As I set my sails toward "the knowledge of God" this year, I have started a new habit.  I took a chunk from the back pages of my journal and relegated them to the collection of data---data about God.  Words, phrases, ideas.  As I journey through Scripture this year, it is my goal to write down (maybe daily, even) what I find out about Him.  Just one word, or phrase, at a time.

I tried this just once yesterday, reading Isaiah 55 and filled a half of a page of different words to describe who He is.  What fun!

So, just as I did for my friend, I guess I am making another book---of sorts--- for Best Friend.  My God.

To celebrate Him.  And, to know Him better.  My sweet Friend.  My kind Father.  My ever present Counselor.  My savior.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

South West This Year


A phrase or word for the year. I like the idea.
 
It suits my personality to have a goal.  It feels right to live with intentionality.
 
 ...a goal?  Okay, no, not exactly a goal.

Generally, the word or phrase that I have named these past years has had very little that I can "do" to accomplish them.  "Goals" take much more planning and doing and "task lists" to my mind.

Okay, more like an idea.  A theme.  a direction.  ...Just a thought of direction, really.  Like an adventurer deciding to sail...?? where shall we go, where shall we go today?... "west", he decides.  "Yes, due west", he might say.  And, then, sets the sails accordingly.

Last year was the "Year of Presence".  I wanted to venture into knowing, experiencing, growing in my ability to discern God's Presence:  a "now-oriented" practiced awareness of His Presence.

This year is knowledge.  And, by knowledge I definitely don't mean only head or book knowledge.  (although I am sure my head and many books will add to my journey!)  By the word "knowledge" I feel a sense that it has something to do with the classic "Adam knew Eve" or "Abarham knew Sarah"- kind-of knowledge.  Knowing in the marital sense, really.  "Knowing" as in intimacy, closeness, connectedness, and understanding.

When I married and first "knew" my husband, there was a bond and an intimacy that will never be cut-off or severed.  But that was only the beginning.  That "knowing" was significant and a super-glue, to be sure... but it was only the first of many steps to the continuing journey of knowing each other.  Available is a daily, deeper knowledge--- if we indeed seek and search.

Now, being married these 17 years, I feel that I know my man more now than I ever did before we were married. I know him more intimately, more perfectly and with more understanding and value certainly than I did a Year 1 or even at Year 15.  And, I am hopeful that this knowledge of him, my husband, will only increase and continue.

This is what I am going for this year:  knowledge of the Lord.  Close, intimate, deeper knowledge of my Lord.   Deeper still, Stephanie.  That has been the whisper.  Deeper still.

I long to grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord... just as Peter encourages the early church to do in his letters.  I want to know Him more intimately, to study Him, to talk with Him, to hear Him and understand His tone of voice.  I want to understand Him more.

I know that He is unsearchable and the depths of knowing Him are beyond tracing out!  And, yet, He invites me to know Him more today than I did yesterday.  And, guess what!?  I can know Him more tomorrow than I do today!  What a sweet invitation to relationship, to connectedness, to intimacy!

The year of knowledge.

What would your phrase, your word, your theme be? ... In what direction will you set sail this year?

This is what I ask from You, my dear Lord, to know You more.  
"It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for more perfect consciousness of the Divine Presence."  ~A.W.Tozer (Pursuit of God)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Crash Landing into the New Year

I remember I used to call it the "crash" in college.

Working my way to a deadline, or running hard up to the exam---then the day after said exam, my body would just crash.  For all intensive purposes, I would "fall apart" and physically let down, often getting sick with a cold or a winter virus.  It was as if my body was saying, "Enough!  We are done now."

I remember the haze that would descend.

This "crash" seems to come with a smoke or fog that can block out energy and joy:  clouds that confused truth.

Do you ever feel foggy, confused or clouded?

This last week has been a bit of a crash week for me.  ...winter virus and all!

Put behind me were the tender, beautiful lessons learned during the Advent season.  Close behind me were the many sweet moments with family, the good food, and Christmas gifts given and received.  And when Monday morning came, I seemed to shut down.  I can't really explain it... I felt tired, and sick.  I felt distant and out-of-sorts.  I felt irritable and yet emotionally hard inside.

Not that anyone from the outside would even have known.  I still cooked, laundered, and visited with friends.  ...an internal struggle--inside fog.  My mind, my heart and my body had seemed to slip away into a mist and a haze of half-living.

What is this about?  I still can't really get a handle on all that was going on as the beauty faded from Christmas silence and the Presence I sensed during Advent.

...but it was real and felt disheartening.

The heart is fickle, isn't it?

And, I am desperately needy.  In fact, I realize my neediness more and more as I grow in faith and knowledge of the Lord.  I really am quite a mess without Him.  Without His kind, faithful, loving and persistent hand of grace, I am ...  I am a wreck.  A crashed wreck of emotions, insecurities, failures, questions, needs and longings.

Yesterday, I finally opened my mouth and began articulating my internal state to my husband (who by the way had noticed!)  Just talking about it helped.

But this morning a brighter light began to dawn into my tired mind.  Pushing out the clouds and haze, the words of Truth flickered into my soul.  Something of the life of Scripture jumped off the page and caressed my cheek, awakening the real, alive-Stephanie.

It was a simple statement of prophecy regarding my future...  our future.  Your future.  The whole of Isaiah chapter 60 was like cool water for my thirsty soul, but verse 17 sprung with life from the page:

"Peace will be your Governor and righteousness your ruler".

My mind and my body need a good ruler over them, to be sure.  This hazy crash and this arbitrary "okay-ness" needs something keeping it in order, pulling the pieces back together.  ...and Peace is the perfect thing!

Peace.

The rightness, holiness, and perfectness of God's peace will rule over me and keep me together--- make me whole!

This is what He offers me ...in the future, but also in the now.  Today.

He whose mind is on Him will be kept in perfect peace.  So, today,... starting this New Year... I choose, once again, to turn my mind, my body and my heart toward Him!  He breathes in and through me, sending the haze away and awakening my soul to His gifts to me--- Himself, the Peace that governs me!
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