Friday, January 28, 2011

All This for a King

Point Park, where 3 rivers meet, Pittsburgh
O Praise Him.
This morning as I turned to pray I heard Spirit words, a worship song I used to sing by David Crowder Band(To listen, pause the play-list at sidebar and click here.) 

I was reminded how my delight is found in this place of praise and serenade of Son, and how, when I give myself to holy, Spirit helps me sing along with heaven's hosts.

Friends from House of His Presence Pittsburgh (HOHPP) sent an invitation to 24 hours of prayer and praise this weekend.  It echoed the call to purpose:  We were born to praise.  Our lives were given to fellowship with God.

I have learned, when I hush my thoughts, tune to heaven's frequency, wait for God's heartbeat to become my own, my body becomes a living instrument, my breath, Spirit song.

I understand why the enemy works hard to take us out, tempts us to focus on the dark.  When we turn our gaze from Son, we see only shadows of what we're to become. 

We run all scatter, like Peter Pan, following the beat of a different drummer, chasing illusions, empty pleasures that will never be enough, instead of fulfilling our highest calling to become sons of God and co-heirs with Christ.

But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  - 1 John 3:2 (NIV)

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. - Romans 8:17 (NIV)

Oh, we often forget the suffering part.  To be honest, I don't want to go there -- where beauty hides in ugly, and life springs forth from death.  I don't like the pain, the dark.  Though I am dust, I run circles, hide in caves, chase shadows to avoid the dirt.

But I am reminded again today, though just a pot made from clay, cracked and weak, I am one of God's key players.  I was formed to carry light.  I was created to sing life. 

I must go there, face the dark, be willing to plant my feet in earth and claim it for the King.  I must call forth the beauty He sees.  And love, I must love, whatever the cost -- I must pick up my cross and follow.

Yes, today I remember.  All this for a King.

I sing because of love, because there is no other.  I fix my eyes on the Son, and I am blinded with beauty and truth.  I see what He sees--not a city covered in shadow, but one bursting with streams of light.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
I sing over Pittsburgh today, these words, this call to praise.  The King will find a resting place here, where the three rivers meet.  He has declared it from the heavens.  In the earth, His friends agree.   God's word never returns to Him void, but yields a harvest fit for a King.

Yes, all this for our King.

Bride of Christ, join me in singing over our cities today, over our families and neighbors and those caught dogging shadows.  All around, the nations rage -- let's sing heaven sounds over them too.  In everything we do, let it be as praise to the King.

Pittsburgh, hear this song of the Spirit.  Wake up from your slumber, rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!

O Praise Him
by David Crowder Band.
Copyright (C) 2003 Sparrow Records

Turn your ear to heaven and hear
The noise inside
The sound of angels' awe
The sound of angels' songs
And all this for a King
We could join and sing
All to Christ our King

How constant, how divine
This song of ours will rise
Oh, how constant how divine
This love of ours will rise
Will rise

Oh praise Him
Oh praise Him
He is holy
He is holy

Turn your gaze to heaven and raise
A joyous noise, yeah
The sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a King
Angels join to sing
All for Christ our King

Oh praise Him
Oh praise Him
He is holy
He is holy

Oh la, la, la, la, la, la
Oh la, la, la, la, la, la
Oh la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. la

Oh praise Him
Oh praise Him
He is holy
He is holy

How infinite and sweet
This love so rescuing
Oh, how infinitely sweet
This great love that has redeemed
As one we sing

He is holy
He is holy

Oh praise him
Oh praise him
He is holy
He is holy

Oh la, la, la, la, la, la
Oh la, la, la, la, la, la
Oh la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. la

If you would like more information about 24/7 prayer and worship at House of His Presence Pittsburgh, click here. 

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Jennifer Murawski

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Step Away

One Step Away

Be still and know I am God, Child.
Be still and know I Am.
Be still and know, Child. 
I Am.  One step away.
Be still, Child, be still.
Just be.
Because Be comes first, and,
Be gives birth to
Believe.   Behold.   Become, Child.
Be as in Beloved.
Be still and be loved, Child.
Be loved.
Be loved because I am Love, Child.
Be loved and love.
Be loved and love because I Am.
Only one step away.

I was inspired to capture these words after listening to Jason Upton share last night at The Father's House in Rochester, NY.  I am not sure if the evening was taped, but I'm hoping it will be posted eventually on The Father's House video page.
You can listen to Jason's song, "One Step Away," when you visit
I'm spilling these crumbs with Emily and friends today at Imperfect Prose.  Please join us--just one click away!  You will be blessed.  I promise.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Audrey

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Going to the Mattresses, Part 2 - Letting Go

" Six months ago, when you and I first met, I knew everything about myself -- what I would be doing for the rest of my life and even the person I would be doing it with. Now I know nothing."

- Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail

Going to the Mattresses, Part 2
(To read Part 1 of this story, click here.)
Ann's book is a God-send, welcome anchor in wintry storm.  I read Chapter One quiet, let peace-waves wash gentle, smooth the fret, silence fear.  I weep weeks worth of wrestle, feel hot release as stubborn questions ebb wet across my cheeks.  Like Ann, I breathe.  Let go.
Another breath.  His voice:  Be still and know I am God.

I look up Scripture, read familiar words.  Be still.  Rapha.  In Hebrew it means: to be weak, to let go, to surrender, even to the point of dying.  Dying?

That I may know...God.
Isn't this what my famished soul has been crying, dying for?  To know God?  
He comes in ways I didn't expect.  Hiding.  Surrounding Himself with hardship, suffering, loss.   Avoiding my questions, brushing them off.   When the storm winds batter my skin harsh, and waters rush turbulent with unrest, He bathes my soul-ache with silent neglect.
I reel.  I wrestle.  I flail hopeless to survive.  I don't see God, but one who wishes to do me harm.  I fight.  I beat the waves and feel my heart break at His lack of care.  His lack of love? 
In all this roar Spirit whispers soft in relentless question:  Who shall separate from the love of God?
Ann writes, "All God makes is good.  Can it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God?  That which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows.  Above the clouds, the light never stops shining." (p. 88)
I think of Christ on the cross, the ultimate evil -- killing God.
Jesus told his disciples they weren't worthy of Him unless they denied themselves, carried their own cross, followed.  Jesus, The Way, Truth, Life.  Jesus, I am not worthy--my heart leaks ugly.  I am afraid to die.  I hate being weak.  I run from pain.  I can't see to follow.
Ann again, "The ugly can be beautiful.  The dark can give birth to life; suffering can deliver grace." (p. 99)
I chew God-words from Jesus, from Ann, from friends who post prayers and prophecy here, and light bursts.  I have been fighting, not the enemy, but Sovereign-Strong himself.  I have been beating fists, "going to the mattresses," spending all my strength for the right to hold on to me.
But I don't belong to me.  I have been purchased with a price, the cost, treasure beyond what I can imagine.  I am His, the One who gave His life, and the One who ordained these breakers to batter body and soul.
Can it be that God is in the whirlwind heights and depths that swirl sinister around me?  
I let go.  I yield control and my need to know why.  I rest in the shadow.  I come face to face with the saving power of I AM, the all-sufficient, all-glorious, Almighty One.  In the dark, I give thanks and taste joy like sea-spray, salt upon my lips. 
Surprise.  When I admit my weak, offer it up to Sovereign, the One I seek desperate, when I cease flailing in cold waters' rage, I discover I cannot sink.  Watery walls continue to slam and break, but I am no longer mesmerized by oily shimmer.  I face them square, look deep into their depths and see God.  In the dark, I breathe.  Float.  Soak light.
Ann's words draw my gaze to One who stands alone, majestic on rocky beach, all brave and beauty, shining grace on little ships like me, teetering on the brink, feeling lost at sea. 
Maybe there is no making sense of all the world's madness.  Maybe I don't need to understand.  Maybe it's not for me to reason why.  I admit.  I can't. 
But in the madness, I will drink joy.   I will feast at a table full of bread.  I will know God.  My cup runs over.
Like Job, like Ann, like many friends, I find rest in this one truth, the one the serpent dares to twist with doubt and use to lure storm-tossed seekers to their deaths.

Yah is good.  There is no doubt.  Job saw with spirit-eyes and lived, blessed double for yielding and being willing to forgive. 
There are always treasures to be found in dark swirl of ocean depths, in pain, suffering, death.  Our God who blazes beauty, promises to work all things for our good.
And with Beauty in the eye of the beholder, we can't help but find reasons to praise.  When my eye is healthy, my whole body is filled with light.  I can seek and see beauty in the midst of ugly because God is always good.  He is beauty, hidden at times, but always there.
Nothing.  No hardship or trouble or persecution, no famine or nakedness or danger or sword, no power or angel or demon.  Neither life nor death, nor height nor depth, nor anything created can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:31-39)
Our present suffering is not worthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18) We are only worthy in Christ.  He shines from dark places, gives birth to light.
Joy comes in the morning, after we have laid ourselves down for rest, when we have knelt on knees in thanks, and given praise to know His strength made strong by weak surrender.
I get still.  I give thanks.   I praise His holy name.
I will wait.  Because He promises.  Healing comes like the rain.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
~ Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
~ Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”
~ Zecheriah 2:13 (NIV)

I am sharing this post with Bonnie @ Faith Barista in answer to her prompt, "Is joy easy or hard for you?"  Come read what other friends have shared.

Quotes taken from One Thousand Gifts , Copyright 2010 by Ann Morton Voskamp

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Kelsey @ lovefusionphoto

Monday, January 24, 2011

Going to the Mattresses

I have been at a loss for words.  Some have noticed --  Mom, Karen, Abby and Adrienne and Jen, thank you for prayers and encouragement, all treasure, friends.
For weeks I have been doing what Joe advised Kathleen in You've Got Mail (one of the few movies I can watch over and over and still catch my breath in the end when love comes walking up over that hill with Brinkley barking ahead.)  In a war for what's right, Super-book store-owner Joe tells little-shopkeeper Kathleen to "go to the mattresses,"  to be brave and "Fight.  Fight to the death."
In my quiet, I have been fighting a war with God.   
History and Scripture are crammed with stories of normal people like you and me who wrestled with The Almighty, who battled in words and dreams, daring to push beyond the limits of human understanding and rend the veil of Divine Mystery, hoping to catch a glimpse God in His beauty.  Hoping to make some sense of earth's ugly.
These, the brave and bold and hungry, all desperate for The Holy, all coming away limping, broken and marked forever in their weakness, these are my heroes.
I think of Moses and Jacob and Joseph.  Deborah and David and Gideon.  Hannah and Samuel and Joshua.  All the prophets--Isaiah, my favorite.  I have romanticized them, wanting what they gained without counting the cost.

I think of John in the New Testament and Job centuries before.  I read his story.  I weep his pain and devestation.  I ask his questions, agree with his reasoning, the unfairness of it all.  Why would a good God give Satan permission to steal, kill, destroy?
Why does He allow it today?
Why the death, the poverty, the suffering? Why the global unrest and economic collapse? Why the abusing and losing of loved ones, children and parents and friends, to disease and murder and suicide? 
Why did Jesus have to die, naked and despised on a cross?  Why God?  Why?
I struggle with my own cross--the assaults against my living, breathing, needing to taste joy. The battering and bruising of my friends and family, all things good.  I waste away in hunger, longing for God to come near, desperate to see any evidence of His beauty, His love, His salvation.  I cry out for ears to hear a word, for eyes to see His glory, for a heart to catch a spark of understanding, for some sense of knowing my place in this world, some sense of significance as His child. 
I wrestle for peace in the midst of storm.
But Peace eludes me.  Instead, I reel.  I wobble.  I sway and sink beneath dark waters of pain and silence and the worst sense of nothingness I have ever known.  I struggle to hold on, to not lose sight of the hope-glimmer, to keep reaching and believing He will come.  But I am weak.  I am dust.  I am seconds from giving up, from drifting away and disappearing into the depths of a sea of forget.  Am I dying?
God, why won't you save me?
I am like Job.  It makes no sense to me.  Is God not good?  Are serpent whispers true after all?  All the pain.  All the ugly.  God can't be here.  He is beauty.  He is light.  He is life full to brim and spilling all grace.
I reject the dark depths that come to swallow joy and steal my breath.  I fight hard against the drowning.  I am determined.  I WILL survive.  Jesus loves me, this I know.  Jesus, the One who calls me friend, little child, beloved.  He will rescue.  He will save.
I get a package in the mail, the one I have been watching for since before Christmas.   I ordered it months ago, eager to drink from its pages.  Ann's book--I will read it today.  I have plenty of time.  My family is used to coming home and finding me still in my pajamas.  Still hurting.
I hold it reverent, this gift with my name and address printed across the label, unearth it from the corrugated brown and smile at the cover, two blue eggs in a bird's nest, turn it over and read the back, hushed.  I know I am touching holy.  God comes in waves we can't explain.
To be continued...

(To read Part 2, click here.)

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
~ Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
~ Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”
~ Zecheriah 2:13 (NIV)

The photo I used above by Kelsey, You are Good, reminds me of the simple prayer I prayed over meals as a child and with my own children.  God is Good.  We must proclaim it!  If we don't, the rocks will cry out.

Today I join Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in continuing my list of appreciation for God-graces.  (Click on the button below to read other lists of gratitude.)

God is good.  God is great.  Let us thank Him for...

181.  Ann's book--fresh manna
182.  Friends that love and pray
183.  God's healing--spirit, soul and body

184.  God's deliverance--my mom pulled safely from her crumpled Jeep
185.  Husbands who cook breakfast
186.  Beautiful brown farm eggs, sunny-side up
187.  The farmer's wife who shares her heart
188.  Daughters-- flowers blooming
189.  New eyes to see
190.  Sun shining all glitter on snow
191.  Hope sparks like the fire in the hearth
192.  Overripe bananas and the bread they become
193.  A call from one giving thanks
194.  Family
195.  Grace to change yet again
195.  Grace to be me
196.  Forgiveness
197.  Storms that rage
198.  Pain
199.  God's plans
200.  This isn't the end of the story

holy experience

I am sharing this post as part one of two with Bonnie @ Faith Barista in answer to her prompt, "Is joy easy or hard for you?"  Come read what friends have shared.

And with Jen @ Soli Deo Gloria.  You are invited to join us as we spill grace and give God the glory.

I am also linking with  L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share their stories of place at Seedlings in Stone.   Please join us!

On In Around button

 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Kelsey @ lovefusionphoto

Friday, January 7, 2011

Passionate Patience

"  By perseverance the snail reached the Ark."
- Charles H. Spurgeon

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.

And that's not all:
We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There's more to come:
We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.

In alert expectancy such as this,
we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! 

- Romans 5: 1-5, The Message (emphasis mine)

Father, forgive us for hardening our hearts against You.  Thank You for giving Your Spirit.  Give us eyes and ears to see and hear, and hearts to welcome, drink deeply and spill freely Your grace and mercy, that we may enter in to Your peace and rest.  Amen.

Photo Courtesy:  flikr - Brendan DeBrincat

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Choosing Compassion

A few hours into the day I get a phone call that ignites an ugly fire in me.  Anger and frustration leap hungry, licking every drop of peace and joy.   My mother-in-law is "awful sick" again.  Again!  Do I have a car?

I feel myself spiraling out of control and realize prayer is needed.  With adrenaline surging, I call one who I know has a direct line to God's heart.  I complain, angrily.  They are calling the ambulance again.  It's every other week nowAnd for what?  She is so stubborn!  The doctors have told her this is normal for her age.  She's eighty-some years old.  What does she expect? 

A calm one gives advice I don't want to hear.  Compassion.  That's the word she uses.  The same word that has been on my heart since reading Ann's story.  The same one that compelled me to sponsor a child. 
This word, compassion, is lost today.

And I am too angry to look for it.

I think of my husband needing to be called at work, again.  Again!  I think of ruined plans.  Of another day sitting idly in a waiting room.  Of missing my daughter's basketball game later.  Of the blog I am trying to write.

Instead of compassion I think frustrationInconvenience.  Imposition.  Words like stubborn and spoiled and stupid spew ugly from my lips.  (Sadly, I confess.)  In this moment, compassion is the last word I would use to describe what I feel inside.

Sadder the fact, I know God will pour grace if I ask.  He is Compassion.  He knows well what it means to co-suffer. 
But I don't ask because....I don't want to.

My mom prays instead.  She petitions the Lord in my behalf, in behalf of my husband and his parents.  I try to form some agreement in my heart with her words, now weeping.  The Spirit reminds me:
Where two or three gather in my name...
I struggle to press through to wanting His will.  Instead, feelings of justification rear.  Can't this all just go away?  I don't want to be involved.  And besides, the one who needs my support the most hasn't been such a great lover lately.  He's distant.  Preoccupied.  Silent again.
...there I am in the midst.  
Okay.  So I admit it.  I don't want what you offer, Jesus.  I don't want to love in this situation.  I don't want to be inconvenienced.  And I certainly don't want to give of myself to someone who doesn't care about me.  I am so tired of giving...

I want...  I want.

Through the day I feel my heart changing.   Peace eludes me  Joy fades fast.  Darkness creeps through the windows, steals my thoughts.  I have nothing to write.  I no longer hear God's voice. 
Instead, the accuser speaks again, still trying to disguise himself as me.  This time he directs his barrage not against my husband and family, but to my own sense of worth.  You are wasting your time.  You have no value.  You are hopeless.  He doesn't care.  He never did.
I take the bait, and hopelessness pulls at my skin.  I see the pit looming ahead--one I am familiar with.  Fear crouches there on the top step, drooling--my enemy comes to devour. 

Needing a rescue, I send out another prayer request, and visit House of God online, drink an offering from one who feeds the poor and shares stories of hope and faith.  Her words, full to the brim with heaven, seem only to condemn me.  I run.  I lay in bed with no husband beside me.  I ask for mercy and fall asleep trying to drown the sound of accusal:  I am a failure.

Early morning I read about the original 12 step program 900 years old on a friend's blog.  

I stare at the quote on page top and ponder.

“Evil can have no beginning but from pride, and no end but from humility. The truth is this: Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you…for the one is death and the other is life.”  Spirit of Prayer, Edition of Morton, Canterbury (1893)

Just as it was with Eve in the Garden so long ago, so it is with me.  This pride--this inflated sense of self--always, always leads to a fall. 
I share with the friend how ironic it is that as he was writing his post, I was walking it out.  I remember how two days before the Lord was speaking to me--warning me--about the need to remain poor in spirit--humble.  And how I prayed and asked Holy Spirit to purify my heart, to take me to the lowest place.

He answered.  But instead of giving thanks, I turned away.  I didn't recognize His coming.  In writing this post I see a beautiful God, good and lovely and pure, full of mercy and grace.  I see Compassion not avoiding me, but inviting me to enter in.  I rejected Him, the One I so desperately love and long to know.  Why?


Pride thinks first of self.  Pride never bows.  Pride opposes all things good, all things holy.  Pride steals and kills and destroys.  Pride opens the door to the dark and dangerous.

Pride must die in me.  This is my prayer today and every day.
Father, forgive me for dishonoring your children, my husband.  Do your work in me, however painful.  I choose to live humbly before You because You dwell in the low places, and because only in brokenness can I see your face.  I love you, Lord.  Help me love the ones you have given.  Help me see You in their faces.  Help me learn to co-suffer with You, and give as You do, pressed down, shaken together, running out all over.  In Jesus' name I ask for your mercy and grace for all of us.  Amen.

I am linking with Emily today, and sharing my Imperfect Prose.  Please join us. 

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Chad K.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jack and Jill and the Lion

“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.

“I'm dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the Lion.

“May I - could I - would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

“Will you promise not to - do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.

“I make no promise,” said the Lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

“Do you eat girls?” she said.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

"I daren't come and drink," said Jill.

"Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.

"Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then."

"There is no other stream," said the Lion.

- C. S. (Jack) Lewis, The Silver Chair – Chapter 2

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink."  - John 7:37

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. 
- Revelation 22:17 (NIV)

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Peter Harrison

Monday, January 3, 2011

We Soar

We Soar

The white sun gathers brilliant on my panes, stretches warm over skin long bare from lonely.  Winter ache melts fast in the heat of his stare.  Stark thoughts scatter myriad, forgotten beneath blue ocean.

Drowsy depths open easy at first, awash with bright the petals.  Abrupt, Spirit draws curtains wide for burst in hallowed exposition.  Raw need hungers, thirsts.  I turn my face to sun's pavilion.  Beauty blinds in tears, banishes fear and false religion. 
I reach beyond what I know, these burnished stones strewn decussate the shores of simple faith, touch amber glass beneath His feet.  Scorched fingers linger long in the rays.  Release.  Seven torches all blaze watch flying ship sway lost and found in molten Sea.
Yeshua.  He sears me with His gaze.  He is Sun.  He is fire.  I breathe and burn, a living flame.
Joy overshadows and hope rises lofty in the fray.  Healing waters stir, flood ancient gates, crash cracks and crags buoyant.
Righteous wings reach low, gather holy.  I am His. 
And He is mine. 

As one. We soar.

“But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you'll tromp on the wicked. They'll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day." 

God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. 

- Malachi 4:2,3 (The Message)

I am linking up with Jen from Finding Heaven for Soli Deo Gloria. Come join us!

Photo Courtesy: flikr -Kiwi-Wings

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Glory of a Songbird

" My heart is like a singing bird."
- Christine Rossetti

She was 3 years old when her mother, Wendi, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Three years later this little girl stood by as her best friend--the one who gave her birth--bravely crossed the finish line of an incredible journey of faith.  She said good-bye and watched her mom join the beautiful God who gave her a song to sing--this life that brought glory to the King.

Wendi left behind a holy legacy: of love for God and the people around her, an angelic voice and gift for composing and recording acapella, a beloved family--cherished husband and daughter Rhema--who Wendi says was her greatest gift-- named with a Greek word meaning, "word" or "utterance."

Rhema learned to sing with her mother at an early age.  But in this CBN interview, Rhema's father, Teton, shares how he used to tell people his little girl was tone-deaf.  On a road-trip to Nashville to honor Wendi, Teton taught Rhema the words to Amazing Grace (to listen, watch the video below--you may want to pause the play-list at page bottom first,) and something Amazing happened.

He imagines Wendi petitioning God to pass the gift to her child, who now follows in her mother's footsteps and love of music.  Rhema describes in this interview how she sometimes hears her mother singing with her. 

This little songbird sings for the glory of God.   

Rhema Marvanne singing Amazing Grace

To learn more about Wendi's and Rhema's stories, and/or to read/watch the CBN interview, just click the highlighted links throughout this page.   

I hope you are blessed by the Hope that shines bright from this family, from the God-glory birthed in darkness and grief.

There is a sense of righteous justice that rises from their story.  The enemy comes to steal a life that sings, attempts to silence the Song.  But God, in His mercy, passes it on to a child--another manger babe who loves and gives and serves.

Healing happens in ways we can never expect or imagine.  Today, I send the healing light and love of Christ your way.  May we all have open hearts to receive Him, and share His song with those covered in darkness.   Yes, Emmanuel still comes to save us.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
   and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

 See, darkness covers the earth
   and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
   and his glory appears over you.

Nations will come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn."

~ Isaiah 60:1-3 (NIV)

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Pete Birkinshaw

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I pray.  I listen.  I close my eyes and see seven letters finger-painted gold across mind's window:  Believe. 

Believe your dreams.  Believe my words to you.  Believe what you've seen.  Saints strewn on heaven-clouds, giddily expectant like Magi kings and Shepherd flock and Holy Mother ready to give birth, all a-watch-and-wait, and angel armies flaming fire, helping fellow sojourners find their way by faith.  Believe the harvest comes.

Believe I will not be silent, though I can best be heard in sleepy still of early morning when sky stretches wide with fiery red, and songbirds join a Capella to wake the earth, and raindrops soaking wet the green; and in the inky dark of night, when hope dims and fear jabs sharp, and pain and strife threaten to steal your peace of mind, and yet you praise Me, sing love that chases clouds away.

Believe Justice rolls on ancient stones.  River Rock, all drenched in holy, crams Earth's sphere with Word-made-flesh again and again.  Treasures revealed.  Mysteries concealed unlocked and set in motion.  Generations complete.  Kairos and chronos in sync.  All lost now found.  My kingdom comes.

Believe you were chosen for this season.  Rise up on wings like eagles.  Run and don't be weary.  Reach high and grab hold that which can't be seen by common eyes, and pull God-plans into reality. The fig has blossomed.  My dove looks on.  Seven-fold Spirit descends with strength and joy.  I have baptized you with my love.

Believe I am up to something big and wild, extravagant.  My promises made manifest.  My resting place washed luminous.  Sacred Lamb, Exultant King, Firstborn of many brothers, He walks the earth again--One Seed yields many seeds--like Father the sons.  Beauty rises from ashes.  See Glory-shine upon my children.

It is time.  Spirit-Wind and Remnant Bride say Come!

"  It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer. It is better farther on.  Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation."
- Charles H. Spurgeon

I am sharing this word for 2011 with Bonnie @ Faith Barista Jam.  Come share with us?

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Mykl Roventine