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Location: College Station, Texas, United States
Interests: Reading, Cooking, Getting to know people, Gardening, Habitat for Humanity, Exploring thrift stores, Church Activites, Pilates/Yoga, Hiking, Traveling, Skating, Children's and Women's Ministries, Nature, Admiring the Lord's beautiful sky, Living out Colossians 1:10
Expertise: Public Health
Occupation: RN - Telemetry
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There are times in life that just seem so much more difficult than others - times when we wonder what is the Lord doing? And why aren’t things working out according to plans? Where is the Lord taking me? I’d love to obey Him, but I don’t know what He’s telling me to do!!!
Not long ago, I was walking my roommate’s gorgeous, fun-loving dog, Shiloh. We were walking happily along the same path he walked on almost every single morning. He knows the path well. He was happy, I was happy – no worries, no struggles, no straining. Until…
About half way through our journey, Shiloh decided he wanted to walk faster and go different places regardless of what I was doing. Ah, the problem being – I was holding the leash! He began straining, breathing harder, pulling against me and generally making the journey more of a chore than a delight. I found his behavior so interesting and not unlike my own.
I didn’t change the pace we were walking at, I didn’t change the direction, I didn’t change anything that I was doing. However, Shiloh decided he wanted more. He wanted to move in a different way. He determined in his doggy wisdom that I was moving too slow and the wrong way.
I realized, in that moment, there are times when my walk with the Lord looks much like Shiloh’s walk with me. There are times when I find myself straining to move faster, striving to make things work out, and trying to force my chosen direction to work. It is then that I wonder… Lord, what are You doing, where are You going, why aren’t You moving???
There are times when Satan throws obstacles in our way and times when the Lord allows hardship to grow us. However, there are also times when I decide in my own human wisdom that the Lord’s direction, pace, journey, etc. isn’t the one I should be on. The Lord doesn’t change. I, unintentionally, start moving in my own direction against the Lord’s work in my life. Just like Shiloh, I can become distracted by the things around me. It is then that I begin struggling and pulling against the Lord – most often without even meaning to. I began to wonder, how many times have I started pulling against the leash (i.e. the Lord) and have made my journey a struggle instead of a delight?
I was so convicted by two verses today that brought this walk with Shiloh back to my mind.
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from Heaven is above all. John 3:31
John the Baptist is reminding his disciples in this passage that there is one greater than himself who is from Heaven. How easy it is to forget, at times when we are struggling, that we see with human eyes and earthly wisdom. We have to seek our Lord who knows all and has a perfect plan. We need to cease straining against Him and place ourselves and our lives wholly under His authority, in His capable hands.
How is it that we manage to start straining against the Lord’s hand without even knowing it? How do we get off track? And, how can we see beyond our human eyes and capability? At times, I can let Scripture become a “mandatory” part of my day going through it in an obligatory way. I read, but I don’t hear; I don’t listen. Or, sometimes, I can even get so busy that I can forget to read! How is it that I can forget to acknowledge and access the most powerful, important thing in life? How is it that I can read the most incredible thing every written and treat as mundane and ordinary?!?!?
I was so convicted in reading a devotional yesterday that started with this verse.
Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. Jeremiah 2:32
The Lord has given us the most precious of gifts and we forget Him! We can even “forget” Him, as we read through Scripture and don’t hear, don’t truly acknowledge who He is in a way that changes us, don’t allow our hearts to be moved by His power, His love, His provision… by Him.
My heart is moved to pray for a renewed vision of my Lord, for the eyes to see Him for who He really is, for a heart that seeks wholly after Him, for a life that is devoted to fulfilling His will and not my own.
Oh, my Lord, guide me in this day and in the days to come to follow You. Let me not strain against Your hand, but follow Your sovereign guidance where ever You lead. Make Your Word as fresh to me as the spring rains and Your truth more precious to me than any other thing. Let me read Your Scripture with new eyes each day and help to see wonder, majesty and awe in the work of Your hands. Thank you, my Lord, it is in Your Son’s name that I ask these things, Amen.
The Lord reminded me recently in such a poignant, powerful, heart wrenching way that we must keep our eyes focused on Him, our hope set on Him and give our future to Him – completely give it to Him. It is so very easy to hold back some part of ourself from the Lord be it a desire, a want, a dream, a vision for our future, a part of our present or a piece of our past. It can be so very difficult to unwrap the tentacles of our heart from those things that are so precious and dear to us; it is so very difficult. However, if we want to live a life completely actualized in all that the Lord has prepared for us – we MUST!
My heart ached so deeply as I saw the answer to a pray unravel – an answer that I did not want. A prayer prayed for month after month, a hope held onto, dissolved in the blink of an eye. Wow! And, ouch! No, super ouch!
What a blessing in disguise this heart ache would be! As I examined my own heart, the Lord brought to me sin in my life, in the quiet pockets of my heart tucked away, sin I wanted to hold onto – a desire I was focusing on and holding onto, wanting – all more than my Lord. Why had I turned away from my first love?
In a quiet moment, sitting before the Lord, lamenting over reality, He brought a story of long ago before my heart.
My child, do you remember the little girl with her pearls? Do you remember her seeking after and working for what seemed to be a beautiful strand of pearls? My child, they weren’t real, they weren’t precious, they weren’t her father’s best – but still she clung to them. Do you remember what her father asked for?
Yes, I do remember, Lord –it was her “pearls.” The thing she valued and had her heart set on. The thing for which she had worked and saved.
But do you remember why my dear one?
I do - He had something so much better for her – he had real pearls. Not a cheap imitation purchased through the sweat of her brow. No. He had a gorgeous strand of real pearls for her – one bought with love; a strand that she did not deserve or earn. It was such a precious gift he had for her.
My child, it is such a precious gift that I have for you, but you can’t cling to a strand of fake pearls and have room in your hands (heart) for the real ones. Which will you take? Which will you choose? You have been chasing after and had your heart set on something beautiful – but something of your own design… something that is so much less than what I have for you. Like this little girl, will you cling to the fake pearls and grasp them tightly? Or will you give Me willingly what I ask?
Dear one, I am the pearl of great price. Will you seek after Me with your whole heart? Will you live with hands open toward Heaven and wait for only me to fill them? Will you love me enough to give even the dearest desires of your heart to Me? Will you give me ALL that you have so that I may bless you with what I have for you? Will you allow Me to live through you or will you choose to keep living with parts of yourself guarded and kept away from Me? Will you cling to something else more than Me?
This world tempts us to seek after degrees, status, physical blessing, security, knowledge, respect, relationships, admiration, etc. These aren’t bad things, but they should be artifacts of a life lived seeking after the One true thing… the pearl of greatest price… our Lord, our Savior, the keeper of our heart and soul… Christ.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold ALL he had and bought the field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found the one of great value, he went away and sold EVERYTHING he had and bought it. Matthew 13: 44-46
Lord, help us to give You our all, to sell out completely everything that this world and this life holds for us… our hopes, our dreams, our desires, our future and our past. Give us; create in us a heart that seeks only after You - a heart that longs for you in the early morning and does not lose sight of You through the day. Help us to live with hearts emptied only to be filled by You. May our lives be completely full as they are lived fully for You. In the precious name of Christ we pray, Lord, let it be.
Yesterday while sharing dinner with a friend the Lord showed me a remarkable truth behind the prayers we sometimes pray… and why He doesn’t answer them the way we sometimes want.
On this particular evening, I was SO HUNGRY and was craving a Caesar salad. It is with delight that I anticipated the yummiest of lettuce covered with delicious Caesar dressing and topped with grilled chicken, parmesan cheese, croutons, pepper, etc. You know, there are times when we get ideas in our head of how wonderful something will be and it’s all we want.
I was perplexed when the wait staff kept bringing me an empty salad bowl?!?!?!? I explained that I did not order salad from the salad bar but a Caesar salad. And, I kept sending the empty salad bowl back. At one point, I was tempted to just give in and have a house salad from the salad bar. Salad is salad, right? But, I had paid more for the Caesar salad and I really, really wanted it!!!!! So, alas I continued my pursuits to obtain it.
After a comical series of events, I obtained the much desired Caesar salad. Finally! A battle hard fought, a battle won, a fresh salad to enjoy – VICTORY!! Or, so I thought, until I took that very first bite!
Oh my! The dressing tasted just like a big, ol’ wet, floppy fish! Ick!!! I took another bite just to confirm that it indeed was disgusting… and, it was indeed! In that moment, I just wanted to laugh. Forest Gump says life is like a box of chocolates. Well, I assure you, Caesar salad can be too!
It occurred to me just how much like our prayer life this silly salad can be! The wait staff tried multiple times to serve me the house salad -a salad that I could create from the salad bar. One that I could put on it whatever toppings and dressings I wanted – I even had my choice of lettuce! But, nnnoooo. I wanted the Caesar salad! Time and time again, I turned away the salad that was offered to me because I “knew” what I wanted! And, the house salad wasn’t it!
Isn’t this sometimes just like our walk with the Lord and like our prayer life? We “know” what we want! The Lord may bring us one blessing after another, but we send them back. One after another, we refuse waiting instead for the Lord to bring us the very thing that we have our eyes and heart set upon.
Wow! I’m really glad the Lord doesn’t always give me what my eyes and heart are set upon! The very thing that I so desired (the Caesar salad) was icky, unpleasant and undesirable. Yet, I wanted it so much and fought for it! Multiple times I was offered a salad that was pleasing, appetizing and had choice toppings. Why did I refuse it!?!?!
Sometimes, we can’t see the biggest, most amazing blessings that the Lord brings before us because our eyes are elsewhere! And, the very thing that the Lord is trying to protect us against (floppy fish salad), we pursue and dive head first into – only to find out it’s not really what we wanted at all!!!
Wow! My floppy fish salad really impressed on my heart the need to take my eyes off of the "wants" on my prayer list... and put them back on my lovingly Lord... the giver of good gifts!!! And, choice salads!
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
Oh, Heavenly Father, I see him, but how can I help him? I see him lying in a hospital bed fighting for every breath, struggling to hold on to life. His body is so tired; his body is dying. Looking at him, I see a man who has likely walked down a very hard road. What has happened to him? Why is his family not here? What heart ache has he known? What has happened to him that brought him to this day? His body is full of disease; a life of bad choices that are now requiring he pay the price for each one. Lord, how You have had mercy on me, in my life, how you have forgiven and redeemed my own bad choices; how you have loved me so. I know You love him.
Father, I look upon him, knowing his time in this life is so short… My Lord, does he know You? Does his soul belong to you? Oh, Heavenly Father, have mercy on him… help in a way that I can’t. Show me how to minister to his soul trapped in an unresponsive body. Lord, I so much want to make the wrongs in his life right. I want to show him You, but Lord it’s too late…. Is it too late? Oh please Lord, don’t let it be too late for him… bring him to yourself.
We walk so cavalierly through each day, thinking we will always greet another sunrise tomorrow. Lord, our time in this life is so short, help us to see, help us to remember, help us to count each day as special… Lord, let us not waste time in sharing Your Gospel with others; let us all not quietly walk by people who are so desperately in need of You.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12
Give us a heart that loves the lost and a boldness that will speak truth to our fellow man who needs You so desperately. Father, let us not wait until it’s too late. Give us wisdom, show us what to do and what to say; walk ahead of us and prepare the harvest.
Often in the healthcare world, we care for people that we never really know. I find this, at times, to be such a strange phenomenon. Years ago, I cared for a family member who was dying. What tremendous privilege it is to share this time in life with another person... a time when they face their mortality, look back at their life, come to terms with all the wrongs and celebrate all the rights. It's a time where we start dropping all of the pretentiousness, the masks, the "should be's" and "could have beens"... a time where we really start to live truly as ourselves... and a time when we start getting honest.
In caring for my aunt, I grew to know her better than I ever had and learned there was so much in that heart of hers that I just never knew about... there was so much lying below the surface of that woman that I had known all of my life... a lifetime of shared experiences hadn't shown me who this person really was... but in sharing this one last experience, I learned much about what was at the depths of her heart...
It saddens me that this happens at the end of life when our time left with loved ones is so very short... it's amazing that we allow so many superficial things to prevent us from being our true selves with those we love most... it's heartbreaking that in many relationships people do not feel (and may not be) safe in sharing their true selves...
I don't understand why, as a culture, we don't value time spent with the elderly, with the sick… why we allow others, paid caretakers, to have these most precious moments… why do we so freely give to them the time with our loved ones… time that we can’t get back!
A few weeks ago, as I was caring for a precious lady, all of these thoughts came circling around in my head/heart as they had years before. This woman lie in bed, unable to talk, unable to move, a phrase "mmm" and a slight nod of the head was all she could do to let us know what she needed. As I helped bath her, my mind wondered... Who is this person? What is she like? Is she a happy person? An angry person? Has her life been one filled with wonderful things? Or been a trail of tears? What does she enjoy doing? What are her favorite things? Who was her family? Does she know the Lord? Is Christ her Savior?
As I cared for her, silently my heart wished I could know her.
One of the most precious things I've come across in this life is how our Heavenly Father so boldly yet delicately loves us... how He knows the quiet desires of our heart and though they are often insignificant, often unspoken - He chooses to answer them... how He loves us so...
The next day when I passed by this dear woman's room I heard the most beautiful sounds! Laughter and busy chatter! I walked in and saw this woman alert, talking and joking with an old friend, laughing and enjoying the afternoon. As I worked with her that evening, I got to talk with her... learn what she liked, what she cared about... where she grew up... who she was... I was just so elated! What a sweet, wonderful woman!! For two days, I was able to get to know her and took great pleasure in working with her... the fourth day, she had slipped back into her previous state... words, laughter, joking, conversation had again been replaced by head nods and "mmm." It was so sad to see, but such a joyous experience to know the person behind that nod. A day later, she died.
In our busy, rushing world sometimes we pass over the most precious, priceless of gifts from our Heavenly Father. I have seen so many times He offers us mercy, so many times He tenderly cares for us, so many times He answers those quiet desires of our heart... How very loving his is!!
As I read her obituary in the paper, I again realized just how important it is to value every single minute we have with a person... the wonderful moments and the frustrating ones...
Aside from our relationship with the Lord, our relationships with others are the best thing in life... they make life so good…
It's so easy to forget that the simple things in life are the most important… and that the most significant of moments are often disguised as ordinary…
blink – and you miss them…
forget to pay attention – and they’ll slip right out of your hands…
allow the busyness of life to distract you – and life will pass you by…