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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

All Grown Up

Yesterday, my five year old came rushing in the kitchen with a big smile on her face. "Mommy, I feel all grown up now!"


She waved me into the front hallway and stood by the mirrored closet. "Because I look in the mirror before I go out~ just like you." She proceeded to turn around and inspect the appearance of her backside.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Laugh because she was so proud to be like me. Or cry because she’s already picked up on the subtle (or not so subtle) clues that I don’t like the mirror’s reflection.

After three babies my body looks more like cottage cheese with a droopy cover than the exercise gurus I mistakenly think I can look like if I just try hard enough. Some days I have a little breakthrough and realize I look okay. Those are usually times when I stay home and avoid the mirror. Other days, when I go out and see flat-tummied mommies with three or more kiddos, my mirror and I don’t get along. At all.

Why is that? Why is it most women are trying to either lose weight or “tone up” what looks just fine? My best friend says the same about me. I disagree. I see where I can stand to lose thirty pounds. Wish it were as easy as simply working out, and ta-da… I lose weight.

It isn’t.

I’ve tried.

More than half my life.

I truly want to be comfortable in my own skin. I just don’t like there being so much extra of it. There are days I believe God is thwarting my weight loss just so I’ll chose by faith to believe what He says about me.

“The King is enthralled with your beauty” (Psalm 45:11)

“He rejoices over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17)

There are days I do go there. But far too many more I look around the Mall or the magazines at the checkout counter and wish I could look like what I see. Then I start to think, “If all I ate was a salad for dinner, I could look like that.”

Every time I’ve tried, I was so cross my daughters plied me with compliments and said, “Mommy, you don’t have to lose weight at all. We like you just like you are!”

Wish I did.

Maybe the sheer fact that I’m fighting the world’s view (even if I’m losing the mental battle most days) shows a tiny step of maturity on my part. That and canning those workouts from the dark side where I feel a trip to the ER is in order after I’m done.

But I think there’s more to this longing to be beautiful than a size 2 dress or six-pack abs. What if outer "perfection" is just the bill of goods the enemy has sold us as the only way to find validation? To know we matter, that we make a difference, that we’re worth something we have to be a “perfect ten.”

So we rank each other at parties or on Sunday mornings. If we look better than most, we’re okay. If not, we’re depressed. Or we let male attention be our measuring rod.

I’ve lived long enough to know neither standard works. So what’s the answer? How do we get comfortable in our own skin? How do we accept in our hearts, and not just our words, that our beauty doesn’t come from the outside, but it’s our “inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”? (1 Peter 3:2-4)

I think the answer is simple, but not easy.

It starts with asking God what lies we’ve bought into and why we’re letting them determine what we see in the mirror. For me it’s a painful journey back to fifth grade where I ballooned out when my classmates shot up. I remember vividly my mother and grandmother’s terse comments about how I needed to exercise more. I knew I wasn’t acceptable the way I looked and felt totally helpless to change.

And I’ve spent fifteen years trying to perfect that fat faced fifth grader. But it hasn’t worked. My fifth grade pictures remain unchanged.

Maybe being “all grown up” has more to do with looking into God’s final word on our worth than working hard to achieve a “perfect” reflection in the mirror.

My mom and grandma didn’t and don’t have the authority to say I’m not acceptable. Truth be told, they never said those words. But I felt them. Maybe my ten-year-old reasoning was off target. It could be that they saw my chubby cheeks as an indictment on their worth and a painful reminder that someone said they didn’t measure up either. Maybe it really wasn’t about me at all.

Could it be that TV, magazines, and Hollywood don’t have that authority either? That the only One who can speak truth about my beauty is God? And His Word has already spoken… He’s enthralled with my beauty. Your beauty. The beauty He gave us. Beauty that shines from our eyes and our smiles and invites people to relax, to know they’re beautiful too. Of great worth in God’s sight.

That’s what true beauty does. It invites. It welcomes others into the presence of God. To rest in the fact that they are beautiful, they are loved—not for outside perfection, which is fleeting—but for who they are.

Daddy, help us to see with Your eyes. Help us to grow up unto Christ and believe the truth. You have made us. You rejoice over us. The breathtaking beauty of a dazzling sunset doesn’t hold a candle to Your light and life shining through the unique people You created us to be. Please help us see our beauty, and in so doing reveal Yours.

Maybe one day soon my five year old will announce she feels all grown up and run over to the dining room table instead of the mirror. “Look, Mommy! I’m all grown up~ just like you!”

Then she’ll pull out our family Bible and smile.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Go and make disciples

Tonight was the last meeting of my youth discipleship group. My eyes are filled with tears even as my heart smiles. What started last year as a nudge from God became His hands and feet... and hug. God has drawn me to Himself through six young ladies and filled my heart with treasure.

Each treasure has a name~ April, Ari, Christin, Hannah, Kristen, Tiffany.

At our first meeting my daughters gave each of the youth a gift~ a beautiful card with words they prayed would show six girls they’d never met how much God loves them. My daughters drew each of the girls as princesses with a crown too. The pictures were beautiful. The girls even more so. (Remember: “The King is enthralled with your beauty!")

My daughters also gave them a gift bag with a small, framed print. Inside were these words:

April, Ari, Christin, Hannah, Kristen, Tiffany,

"You are my Beloved Princess. I love you~ Jesus"

After they opened their gifts, I asked them one question. "Why are you doing this Bible study?" I cautioned them to go beyond “Sunday school answers” and really think about what they hoped to get out of our time together.

As we talked that first night, one of the girls shared some deep details of her story to help one of the others. Her openness and vulnerability had all of us in tears. Her sacrificial act of loving kindness set the course for our whole time together. Her honesty invited each of us to do the same.

And we did.

We were real. We gave each other the gift of ourselves, with all the bumps, bruises, and warts. ;-) We shared our joys, our tears, and our stories. We talked about boys and beauty, hurts and healing, lies and love. We met God and experienced Him. Together.

I bugged them weekly with tough questions that challenged them to go deeper. They did. And heaven applauds.

Many nights I cried as I prayed for them and listened to their stories. Most evenings we were all in tears and no one wanted to leave. They trusted me with their hearts. And I will be forever grateful for that gift.

I am forever changed too.

During one of the most difficult times of my life, God sent me six precious princesses to show that He is good and He has good in store.

Through these girls I’ve seen what the Body of Christ was created to be. It’s beautiful.

My heart’s desire when I started teaching was to draw these girls to God. To make disciples.

What I see today is that they’ve done this for me.

My heart is full.

To my precious girls: THANK YOU! I love you dearly. You are a treasure.

Christin~ keep seeking. You are God’s moon, reflecting His incredible love and grace. God is pursuing you and He will continue to do so every day of your life. He is your Great Physician and I can see His beautiful work shining in your eyes, through your tears, in your prayers. I see Jesus’ beauty when I look at you.

Ari~ keep writing. In your journal, keep writing about what God is doing in your life. In your life, keep being God’s pen to write about His love in every life you touch.

Kristen~ keep searching. God is the One who meets every need, every longing of your heart. In His time. In Himself.

Tiffany~ keep going deep. Your heavenly Daddy’s hand is always extended in your direction. “Come.” You are beautiful. You are loved. Philippians 1:6

Happy Birthday Monday too! ;-) I’m praying for you.

April~ keep shining your life. You are a beautiful example of a heart surrendered to God. Listen to the voice of Jesus. He sings over you.

Hannah~ keep speaking the truth in love. You are His heart and His voice. A truth teller with deep compassion. You may not see that yet, but I do. Even more importantly, God does. He looks at you and smiles.

There is so much more I want to say…

April, Ari, Christin, Hannah, Kristen, Tiffany~ God’s eyes light up at the thought of you. You are His beautiful princesses. You are loved.

Go ye therefore and make disciples. Share your life. Teach the Truth.

In so doing, you will see…

God’s twinkling smile.

His amazing grace.

His passionate love.

Come to Him. And then go... make disciples... and be made even more like Him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Questions and Answers

Today I celebrate my middle princess~ it’s her fifth birthday!!! She is a light in our home and joy to my heart. My musical laughter. Early in her life I recognized the amazing gift God had given me in this precious bundle of energy—this little one who continues to teach me to laugh and hear the music of God’s heart through her. Her name means “God’s gracious poetic blessing.” And she is. She is. You should hear her laugh; it’s heavenly music to my soul.

Today I also celebrate something else. I celebrate freedom. All three of my girls have taught me how vital freedom is and how it’s worth the fight to experience it. Their hearts are worth fighting for my freedom from the enemy’s lies so that I can show them the path of life, the joy of walking intimately with the Lord. God has been doing an amazing work in my heart, bringing together much I’ve learned in the past to a huge crescendo of freedom. Of healing.

Where to start? I suppose a good place to begin is with a book God is using to revive my heart. The title is Captivating and it’s written by John and Stasi Eldredge.

The book and their ministry, called Ransomed Heart, are both worth checking into. Here’s a quote from their web site introduction:

“Life is a Story. This is true for every soul.

It is a love story, we assure you. But it is set in the midst of a life and death battle. That is why it seems so hard.

The story of your life is the story of the journey of your heart through a dangerous and beautiful world. It is the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the enemy who knows who you could be and fears you. But it is also the story of the long and mysterious pursuit of your heart by the God who knows you truly and loves you deeply.

As we live through the pages of this story many questions arise. Who am I…really? Where will I find life…really? And, What is it God wants from me? We know those questions well, for we have lived them ourselves. And we offer here something of the beautiful answers we have found.”

Please take some time to check out their site. It’s so worth the read.

I second their comment about knowing those questions well. Who am I? Why am I here? Do I make a difference? And as a woman, am I beautiful? Do you see me? Do I matter?

I, like Job, don’t get the whys of pain and suffering and I cry out to God for answers. I’ve also read the last few chapters of Job. Sometimes I wonder if putting my hand over my mouth is a better choice than demanding answers. ;-) God is God. He measured the depth of the sea and He knows the number of hairs on my head. Maybe I should just let Him run the universe and learn to trust He knows what’s best.

But the questions won’t go away, won’t be silenced. As I’m still on my desert journey, having all I’ve depended on stripped away, I’m starting to see how much I’ve taken those questions to the wrong people. And the mess I’ve made of things by doing that. I’ve looked to my parents and then to my husband to answer my deepest questions: Do you see me? Am I beautiful? Do I matter?

In their wounding, their grasping for someone to answer their questions, they’ve each answered my questions with a painful, “No.”

In Captivating, Stasi Eldredge addresses the issue that this validation, the answer to our questions, the “yes” that we long for, is the driving force of our lives. All too often we go to the wrong places for our answers, demanding human beings to answer the questions only God is qualified to answer.

Through this book, God has again extended His hand to me amid the crashing waves of my life and invited me to, “Come.”

Ask my questions.

Listen to His answer.

His hand is extended to you too. Look up, away from the waves.


Here’s a taste of what I’m learning, what God has brought together for me today. It’s a simple truth that packs so much power. Here goes…

The path to healing has three interwoven parts: body, soul, and spirit. All three need to be addressed if we’re to experience the abundant life God has set us free to experience.

The aspect of body can be addressed in many ways. In simple terms, it means taking care of yourself. I talk about this in depth in the post The Place of Grace.

Eldredge adds another point to taking care of our bodies in the process of healing. That of medication. I know a lot of people shut down and get defensive about this topic. I’m not going to step into that battle here. But I do ask that as you keep reading, pray. If medication is not a way God is using to help you, be aware it is a way He is helping many. Yes, it can be abused. But it can also be used responsibly. For example, I’m diabetic. If I don’t take insulin, I die. No one questions my use of medicine to help my body do something it stopped doing on its own. I think we can give the same grace to people whose bodies don’t produce or balance certain chemicals well.

But this isn’t the only aspect to the path of healing. All three are necessary.

The next aspect is our soul. The focus here is our heart, getting with God and addressing the wounds and lies we’ve allowed to define us. It can include a godly counselor, as in my husband’s case. He is seeing a godly man who’s trained in sexual addiction who can help him walk through all that his healing entails. For our marriage this aspect was so lovingly spoken to through the Marriage Intensive we attended in March. There we learned some amazing tools to help us walk further down the path of healing: how to recognize our fears and how to take responsibility for dealing with our hearts by talking to God and asking Him what the truth is. My blog posts titled The Fear Factor and Borrowed Hope go in depth on these and more of things we learned.

This aspect of healing is also where we learn to take our questions to God. Ask Him what He says about you. According to His word, He has answered your deepest questions with a resounding, “YES!” He is the God who sees you (Genesis 16:13), listens to you, knows you best, and loves you most. He has called you by name (Isaiah 43:1), created you with specific gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7), and called you His beloved child. You do matter, you are beautiful, and you were created for a good purpose.

Spend some time here. God has so much good to say to you and about you.

The third aspect is our spirit. This is where spiritual warfare is addressed. There are some wonderful books that have helped me understand the what, why, and how of the fight of faith we are called to in Scripture. They are: Waking the Dead by John Eldredge, Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore, and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

Here are some specific Scriptures worth studying as you look into this dimension of healing:

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Ephesians 4:27 “and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Luke 10:18-19 are Jesus’ words concerning the disciples he sent out, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

“That whole Ephesians passage about putting on the armor of God… He meant it. We would need it.” Stasi Eldredge.

We do. More than we sometimes realize.

In Waking the Dead, Eldredge speaks of how the stories of our lives are part of a much larger Story, an epic battle, an adventure of mythic proportions. Some days I believe that and experience the thrill of discovery by walking with God and seeing His amazing work in my life. On other days I let laundry, bills, and family problems weigh me down so that the only adventure I face is how soon can I crawl into bed and be done with the day.

There are three eternal truths Eldredge outlines that, when I consider them, help me remember the adventure I was created for and cause my heart to beat with hope. They answer a lot of life’s whys.

Eternal Truth Number One: Things are not what they seem.

I wonder if Job ever knew the battle in the heavenly realm that just looked like pain and random destruction to him on earth. In the same way, I often wonder if I’ll ever grasp that God can and does work all things together for good. I struggle with that when the road is rough and I see no way out of the pain today holds. It helps to remember that what I can’t see is more real than what I see with earthly eyes.

Eternal Truth Number Two: This is a world at war.

Not only do physical wars rage on all over this globe, but there is also a daily battle in the unseen realm that affects every believer, every day. Like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings said, “Open war is upon you whether you’d risk it or not.” The choice is not whether we will engage in this war, but if we will fight the right battle.

Eternal Truth Number Three: You have a crucial role to play.

God created you with a unique blend of personality, gifts, talents, and experiences. What He can do through you is specific to you. (Ephesians 2:10)You are an important person in God’s great Story.

Ephesians six adds some important information on how we play out our crucial role: in the armor God supplies, with His strength, because the battle has already been won. We must stand firm and apply it.

Where Waking the Dead compelled my heart to see beyond the reality of my five senses, Praying God’s Word gave me the tools to fight this unseen battle. Beth Moore takes an honest and enlightening look at our two offensive weapons: The Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, and prayer. She teaches how to wield them effectively in the destruction of strongholds. In each chapter she covers a specific stronghold, from pride and the insecurity of feeling unloved, to food-related strongholds and depression. This is a book I use over and over because the scripture prayers in each section are the Word of God laid out in a way I can use them to stand firm in the truth.

There are numerous books that speak to this issue of spiritual warfare and offer prayer examples. Neil Anderson’s books The Bondage Breaker and A Way of Escape, as well as Stormie Omartian’s Praying Parent are some that have been very helpful to me.

The last book I mentioned in the list of wonderful books God has used to teach me about spiritual warfare was Captivating. This book has helped me go deeper in my understanding of how I enter this battle as a woman.

I’d like to offer a few quotes from Captivating that have inspired me today as I shared them with my girls and as I’ve seen God work through them in my own walk with Him.

In regards to standing against the enemy and commanding an evil spirit to leave: “This can feel a little weird at first, talking to the air and saying stuff like, ‘I bring the cross of Christ against you. In Jesus’ name I command you to leave.’ Sometimes you have to be firm and pray several times. As Peter said, ‘firm in the faith.’ But leave it does.”

“Often the hardest person to fight for is… yourself. But you must. Your heart is needed. You must be present and engaged in order to love well and fight on behalf of others. It is time to take a stand and to stand firm. We are at war. You are needed.”

“We need to grow in our understanding and practice of spiritual warfare not only because we are being attacked but because it is one of the primary ways that we grow in Christ.” I would add, that we not only grow in our faith, but also in our understanding of how big and powerful our God really is.

“Women warriors are strong, yes, and they are also tender. In fact, offering a tender vulnerability can only be done by an incredibly strong woman, a woman rooted in Christ Jesus who knows whose she is and therefore knows who she is. Offering our hearts wisely, living in the freedom of God’s love, inviting other to rest, alluring those in our lives to the heart of God, and responding to the heart of God in worship are some of the most powerful ways that a woman wars for her world. But she also puts on the full armor of God daily and takes her immovable stand against the powers of darkness.”

“Your life is a Love Story set in the midst of a life-and-death battle. The beauty, the adventure, the intimacy—they are what are most real. But it is a battle to gain them and a battle to keep them. A battle for your own heart and a battle for the hearts around you. ‘The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name’ (Ex 15:3). Jesus fights on your behalf and on behalf of those you love. He asks you to join him.”

In seeing spiritual warfare as a dimension of healing, I’ve seen the Lord take me even further on this journey to healing. It’s amazing. I’m enjoying a taste of freedom today. I believe God has created me for a good purpose. He loves me. And He says I am His and I am beautiful. I fight as His dearly beloved child the battle He has won, called me into, and fights for and with me.

This is abundant life.

A life worth celebrating.

Even more than I celebrate five wonderful years with a child who is a joy to my heart, God celebrates you.


Ask Him your questions. Let Him lead you in the path of healing. And listen to His answers.

It’s worth the fight.

Remember… In Christ you’ve already won.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Stones of Remembrance

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of our nation. It's one of my favorite holidays as I'm an Army brat and fiercely patriotic. Mostly because words stir my soul and the words of our Founding Fathers never fail to bring tears to my eyes. Also because I've seen those words in action, seen the lives of men and women committed to God and to our country. Men and women willing to give everything to serve.

We spent time yesterday morning singing patriotic songs, reading poems, praying for our nation and our military, and reading the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

Words like that remind me of the sacrifices I've seen as a third generation military dependent. My grandfather gave his life for this country. My father served in Desert Storm. I've seen what our military fights for~ freedom. And I’ve seen what we fight against. Tyranny. The control of a people by one not concerned with meeting the basic needs of those people. I’ve seen the result of freedom's absence in the hollow, longing eyes of an old woman begging for a taste of bread, knowing she could die for simply asking us for help. That look is something I will never forget.

I’ve had that look. The emptiness of bondage. The hopelessness that life as I know it is nothing but pain. But I’ve also tasted Freedom. And that I can’t forget either.

Last Saturday was a special day of Independence for me, a day where I experienced anew the glorious Freedom that is mine. A Freedom I too often forget.

I spent the weekend at a friend’s camp in North Carolina. Early Saturday morning I hiked up an overgrown trail that led to an eighty-foot waterfall. But God had me stop by a smaller waterfall and spend the rest of my hiking time with Him. That was one of the best choices I have ever made.

The sky was a sapphire blue, the sunlight danced on the rushing stream at my feet. Surrounding me were brilliant greens and beneath me hundreds of stones. I listened to the roaring water and felt my soul relax.

Psalm 42:7 says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls.” Though I didn’t make it to the eighty-foot one, I didn’t need to. My little waterfall filled my ears and my heart. As I pondered this verse, I realized why being near the water is so important to me. It’s where I most hear the Lord. Where the roar of the water reminds me of His greatness, and its gentle refreshing reminds me of His love. It’s where I hear Him call, “Come deeper.”

And so I did.

When I first sat down at the stream I felt so alone. No one to share the surrounding beauty with, no one to talk to. God didn’t get offended. But He did ask me what I’d do if someone were there with me. I said I’d skip stones. So He invited me to do that… with Him.

I skipped stones until I laughed. I plunked most of them in the bottom of the stream. But when I skipped a few the number I wanted to achieve, I cheered. And God cheered with me. It was a neat time of just hanging out with God.

Then I listened to the water and looked around at the stones. I remembered David’s battle with Goliath. He chose five smooth stones and defeated his gigantic foe. I felt led to choose five stones too. And so I picked up five little ones, too small to do much, if any, damage. Especially since my gigantic foe is a battle with my husband’s addiction and the battle for my family.

But then I found amid all the brown rocks, a bright red one, and a tiny white shard of a stone. Immediately I thought of the blood of Christ that washes me white as snow. I knew then that the Lord had much to show me of Himself. With two little rocks He took my focus off my battle and put it where it belongs… On Him.

I pulled out my Bible and looked up the word stones. There were six verses. As I went through each of them God added a very powerful one that reiterated what my stones Bible study verses said. Second Chronicles 20:12, 15, 17 spoke directly to the battle I faced and how I was to face it. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” “Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.”

I read those verses and looked at my stones. I wouldn’t need them to fight. But I would need them to remember.

My wonderful home school president’s last Bible study of the year was on Joshua 4 and how Joshua was commanded to choose twelve men and have them each retrieve a stone from the middle of the Jordan river. “When your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them…these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” They were to help His people remember the deliverance of the Lord.

So I asked the Lord what should I remember when I looked at these stones. He reminded me of my favorite name for Him. I AM. This name is in the center of my all-time favorite Bible story in Matthew 14. The story where Peter walks on the water. Jesus addressed the terrified disciples and told them, “Take courage! I AM. Do not be afraid.”

So my stones remind me that God is my “I AM.” He is everything I need in this and every other circumstance I will face. He is my Daddy, my Best Friend, my Heart Healer, and my Defender. He will fight for me. And He promises that He will work in all things for my good.

I love the line from CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia where one of the children asks if Aslan is safe. Another child answers, “Safe? No, Aslan isn’t safe. But he is good.”

That's my God. He’s not safe. He calls me to frightening, painful places and allows more hurt than I think I can bear. But He is good. In the frightening places, He holds me and guides me through. He teaches me He is worthy of my trust and that He is where I can run to find everything I need. He provides the relationships He created me for, first with Himself, and then with others He provides. But He alone is where I’m to run. He’s the Truth. He knows me best and loves me most.

By mid-morning I was excited about all God was showing me. I had my stones, knew what they meant, and knew this battle I faced was in His hands. But I was starting to feel restless again. Ready to run back home and get started.

God had another plan.

He brought to mind my mentor’s words about “unforced rhythms of grace.” There I was trying to force my heart to hurry up and grasp all my mind had received from the Lord. I wasn’t ready to go anywhere, certainly not home yet. So I watched the water and listened. God asked me to sing. So I did in my normal worship style, eyes closed. I got a little bolder and did what I do when I let myself go and just praise… I signed. As I sang quietly and signed with my eyes closed, I started to cry. Really cry. Especially during one line of the only song that came to mind. It says, “Oh my soul rejoice.” I thought, how in the world could I rejoice right now. Life hurts.

God said, “Open your eyes.” I did. And I sang again. I was uncomfortable at first, and then let myself just look and really see. With His beauty all around me and His Word still fresh in my mind, I could sing. I could offer the sacrifice of praise and say, “It is well with my soul. My soul can and will rejoice.”

I went back to the Word and read my last stones Bible verse. First Peter 2:3-4, “…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to Him, the living Stone~ rejected by men,” I stopped there and thought, “me too.” I’ve been rejected by men. Then I continued to read, “but chosen by God and precious to Him…” God said, “You too.” I smiled. Yes, me too.

He gave me another verse in Isaiah 32:2. “…like streams of water in the desert.” I thought about my desert walk and this stream I sat beside. God showed me that even though I walk through this painful desert time, He is my stream, my Living Water.

At this point I’d completed my stones Bible study and felt it penetrate my heart. I was full. Rested. Hopeful about what God had in store even as I knew the testing by fire would continue.

So I danced.

I programmed song number five of Nichole Nordeman’s CD, Woven and Spun. It’s title is “I AM.” I stood at the edge of the stream and slow danced with my heavenly Lover. His words flooded my heart.

“You saw my mistakes
And watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I’d never love again
And when I was weak, unable to speak
Still I could call You by name
And I said, Heartache Healer, Secret Keeper
Be my best friend
And You said, I Am.

You saw me wear white by pale candlelight
I said forever to what lies ahead
Two kids and a dream, with kids that can scream
Too much it might seem when it is 2am
And when I am weak, unable to speak
Still I will call You by name
Shepherd, Savior, Pasture Maker
Hold onto my hand
You say, I Am.

When life had begun, I was woven and spun
You let the angles dance around the throne
And who can say when, but they’ll dance again
When I am free and finally headed home
I will be weak, unable to speak
Still I will call You by name
Creator, Maker, Life Sustainer
Comforter, Healer, my Redeemer
Lord and King, Beginning and the End.

I Am
Yes, I Am.”

By the end of the song I was crying so hard I shook. I had touched and been touched by God.

And my feet were in the stream. I looked down and for a second it looked like I was walking on water.

Like Peter.

I’d reached up and been rescued by the hand of God.

And I’d danced.

With a full heart and a pocket full of stones, I left that special place. I returned home the next day and shared my stones with my girls. They thought my story was neat and my stones cool. They weren’t compelled to dance though.

But I am. Because I was there. And God’s invitation to come and dance is still open.

So I will pull out my stones and remember.

And dance.
Designed by: MasterDesignsArt by: JaggedSmile