Friday, September 30, 2011

Lazy Day Nuggets

photo source
First, I have to say...

Thank you.  

If I could hug all of you that left such inspiring precious comments last week, I so would.  Your interest and support blew me away and God used it to impress the importance of the journey that was yesterday.

My day was beyond refreshing and began with a text from my friend that really urged me to do this in the first place.  Her text said this:
Check out this verse for you:  Exodus 14:14..."The LORD will fight for you.  He will give you rest."
It made my heart soar -- God fought for me to have this day and to have it without guilt, without shame, without nagging feelings of what I "should" be doing.

The whole day, I just felt like God was smiling.  He was so present in this gentle way, leaving me gifts of joy, peace, and love throughout my day.

All of your advice, like I said, was helpful.  I particularly want to share that the idea that Sandy left for me.  Her comment really blew me away and gave me a really practical way to practice the Sabbath before it even began.  Sandy writes (to see her whole comment, go here):
I guess one of my biggest problems with taking a day off is all the work that piles up if I don't stay on top of it. It almost feels like punishment, ya know? Like, it's not really worth it to do "nothing" because the NEXT day, I'll have to do twice as much work--and I'm already feeling overwhelmed! It doesn't feel worth it, after the fact.
Maybe on days that I want to do nothing or take a Sabbath or be "lazy" or whatever, I have to prepare for it? I have to make sure my laundry is caught up. I have to plan ahead for meals (even if that means we order pizza and eat left overs.) Maybe we will eat off paper plates that day so I don't have to do dishes. 
I prepared all Wednesday.  I tried to take care of anything that I felt like would be hanging over my head. The things I didn't get done (like my class for next Monday), God just showed me enough to know that I had a good head start and not to worry about it.

So what did I do?

  • I stayed home, in a tank top and yoga pants.
  • I did not make my bed.
  • I watched three episodes of The Unsellables on HGTV.
  • I read about 250 pages in my Nelson DeMille book.
  • I read my Bible.
  • I played Words with Friends.  And Hanging with Friends (a game in which I am decidedly not very good).
  • I read the newspaper.  My favorite part is the funnies.
  • I sat outside.  At one point, I looked up from my book and was staring at the clouds and this bright yellow-breasted bird flew right over my head. It was beautiful and will be the inspiration for the painting Deidra won from the giveaway a few weeks ago.
  • I thought about actually painting. The painting part sounded good, but not the get-everything-out-and-put-everything-away part.  And so, I didn't.
  • I did yoga -- not super intense, but free flowing.  And when I was done, I laid on my mat and listened to one of my favorite songs.  I. just. laid. there.  On. the. floor.  (if this doesn't speak progress, I don't know what does.)
So, this about sums it up, friends.  Except for this little idea:

I think I might do it again next week.  {gasp!}  

It is biblical, you know...

Linking with Michelle for Caffeinated Randomness.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nourishment: On How to Find Quiet

Have you ever just craved nourishment?  How do you get it physically, emotionally, spiritually?  Because I have these questions and I want answers, I've asked a series of people to come in and share how they find nourishment.  Will you come along for the journey?  We will meet here every Thursday until the posts  run out.  Have something to share about nourishment?  Contact me and we will set a date!
Meet Michelle.  Oh, I'm sure you've seen her around the blog world, but if not, you are so in for a treat!  Michelle speaks from her heart, shares her struggles, and lives out her faith in such an authentic way.  Here she is...

I often daydream about indulging in a week-long silent retreat at a monastery. The thought of sitting alone in a tiny cell with a book and a window, or walking through lush, quiet grounds in early morning appeals to me.


I also frequently entertain a “someday” vision that includes an adobe bungalow in New Mexico, surrounded by fragrant lavender and unusual cacti, with a wrought-iron patio table balanced on flagstone, atop of which sits a sweating pitcher of iced tea and a paperback novel.



My husband once asked, “So am I anywhere in this someday vision?”



“Yeah, you’re there. Quietly there,” I answered.



Both visions include a lot of quiet and a lot of doing nothing. And the reason I’m pining for quiet nothingness? Because I don’t have any of that right now.


I’ve done the math. In a typical 16-hour day (rising at 6:00 a.m., going to bed at 10:00 p.m.), I enjoy a half-hour of quiet each day – that is, if I get up early enough to sneak downstairs before the kids awaken. 

This is “do-nothing” quiet – time for either reading the Bible or sitting. Not writing, not working, not socializing, not tweeting, not emailing. Just sitting.

A half-hour in sixteen.

It’s no wonder that I find myself praying more and more for rest these days.

The monastery retreat and the New Mexican adobe house are obviously out of the question right now, so I’m doing the next best thing: I’m spending 12 weeks doing a contemplative study in my own backyard, using L.L. Barkat’s book God in the Yard as my guide. I sit outside for at least 15 minutes every day, usually in the morning, and do nothing but absorb the natural surroundings and drift.

The problem with the study is that it’s making me crave more quiet time. Fifteen minutes isn’t nearly enough, yet I don’t know how to carve out additional pockets of peace in my day. With a part-time job, two children, a husband, a home, errands to run, laundry to fold, rugs to vacuum and a burgeoning writing career to consider, I don’t have a lot of wiggle room.

What I’m learning though, is that those pockets of quiet do exist – I simply need to snatch them up and use them wisely instead of letting them pass by, or worse, filling them with detritus – like extra cell phone calls or texts or tweets or emails. For example, I usually have 10 minutes or so between when I arrive at school and when I walk up the sidewalk to retrieve my kids. Usually I make a phone call, or walk toward the doors early to chat with the other moms. But what if, instead, I sat in the mini-van with the radio off and the cell phone on mute and just stared out the window?

I suspect I have more of these random pockets of time available here and there throughout my day. The trick is, I simply need to look for them, and when I uncover them, embrace the quiet they hold rather than rush to fill it. The monastery retreat or the Mexican adobe may be in my future someday, but for now, I will snatch bits of solace wherever and whenever I can.

What about you? How do you carve out quiet in your hectic day? 

Want to get to know Michelle even better?  Click here to bounce over to her blog, Graceful, and subscribe to and/or follow her posts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When You Stand Accused

photo source
When the accusations fly, a flaming arrow meant for the heart,
when it pierces you
and breaks you
and rips what you have built to shreds,
when the voice of the Accuser magnifies
each burning word,
and fire glows and grows with such 
burning intensity,
that you wonder if you will ever, ever
escape its fiery tentacles.

Over and over
and over again,
when you think you've found peace,
perhaps you've sought forgiveness,
or perhaps none was required,
and you have pledged to drown out,
to squash, to quell,
that red hot furnace,
and then before you turn around,
you see a smolder
and before you know it,
the voice has taken over the new life
that had broken through the ashes.

You are not enough.
You are not giving enough.
You will never be enough.
Why can't you...?
You should have...

The smoke starts to obscure the truth even more
as I acquiesce to these accusations,
as I begin to consider,
to weigh, 
to pick apart,
and then, before I know it,
life has been choked out,
and my spirit is dying...

My hope is that He will rescue me
from this trap,
that He will grab my hand
and that we will race toward
fresh breath,
living water,
freedom and love,
far away from this accuser.
That the magnified voice would be 
His and His alone.

I am running...

Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Abundance for Today & Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria.  This is a place to share your life, your heart, your  mind.  It is a place where vulnerability is accepted, where heart cries are honored, where struggles are heard.  It is a place where we are unconcerned with the quality of your words, but about the state of your heart.  We are a community of women that seek to encourage, support, love each other with our words.  There is laughter.  There are tears.  There is everything in between.  No matter where you are, who you are, where you have been, I want you to know that you are in the fold and that as you leave your link, you are prayed for.  Desire more information?  Please click here for the full scoop.  

This is a growing community (Thank you, Jesus!), so please don't feel that you have to visit every single person that links up.  We are all on a time budget.  That being said, I do invite you to pray and ask God which blogs to visit simply because there may be words for you left in that place or words that God has given you to share to those specific people.  And, while you are there, as you write in the comments of another's blog, would you offer up a prayer for them?  (If you would like to be on the email list for reminders and prayer requests, please let me know in the comments.)
Lately, I've been feeling pressure.  The heaviness that presses on my heart daily comes from this taskmaster that wields an ugly black whip, a long list of things to do, and a standard of perfection for all assignments.

The task-master is me, of course.

As I struggle under this self-inflicted crap, I keep hearing this whisper:

Today.  Look for the abundance given this day.  Put down the tasks.  Receive abundance.

I walk outside, greeted by the lovely Silverado Sage that is in bloom in my backyard.  God tells me to take a picture, for it is at its peak and soon the petals will start falling to the ground.  As I walk up to it, it is covered in hundreds of bees.  Literally, on every small flower, there is a bee, hungrily slurping up the gifts residing in the crevices of the purple petals.  (If I did not have a slight fear of the bee sting, I would have gotten a wee bit closer, but alas, I am not that brave.)

Here the bees are reveling in the abundance of this gift from God.  They are receiving the nourishment that is crucial for them to live into their calling, to live into their purpose, to do what God intended them to do.

I suppose you could say that collecting the nectar is simply part of their job, that they are in fact working, but for this moment, I'm thinking, even so, that is a pretty spectacular part of the tarrying.  And perhaps it takes a bit of work for me to shrug off the taskmaster so that I can fly to the place in which I can drink and drink deeply.  But the act of drinking, of drinking in, of tasting the sweet, and letting it flow through my body, nourishing the core of my being, if this is work -- let me do more.  Let me do more of this and less of that which is born because of the whip.  Let me do more of this and less of that which is born of lifeless obligation.  Let me do more of this and less of that which only esteems me in the eyes of man.

I am praying for you, sweet ones, that in this week, you will be drenched in the sweet work of drinking from the heart of the Father.  I'm praying that you find rest, that the honey would drip off your chin, that the nectar would bring nourishment to your soul.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Monk's View on Judgement

photo source
Today in my Desert Spirituality Sunday school class, we heard what the monks have to say about judgement.  Throughout the entirety of this class, my emotions ranged from conviction to relief.

You know, I've judged.

I've been judged.

And as my delightful Sunday school teachers says, God is good at judging.  We are not.  So, let's not do it.

Well, I think that is pretty wise.  Don't you?

Since I'm a little overwhelmed with planning my class for Monday morning and currently it is late Sunday  night, I'm leaving with you some quotes by the Abbas and the Ammas, or the monks, in other words.

Let me know what you think...

Abba Poeman said that Abba Paphnutius used to say, "During the whole lifetime of the old me, I used to go to see them twice a month, although it was a distance of twelve miles.  I told them my thoughts and they never answered me anything but this, 'Wherever you go, do not judge yourself and you will be at peace.'"

Abba Theodore also said, "If you are temperate, do not judge the fornicator, for you would then transgress the law just as much.  And he who said, 'Do not commit fornication,' also said, 'Do not judge.'"

A brother asked the same old man (Abba Euprepius), "'How does the fear of God dwell in the soul?"  The old man said, 'If a man is possessed of humility and poverty, and if he does not judge others, the fear of God will come to him.'"

Alright -- discuss.

Linking with Michelle at Graceful.

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Be Lazy

photo source
I know...the Bible has something to say about laziness and idol hands.  Overall -- not good for your life.  I also know that rest is not the same thing as laziness, but my friend has challenged me that perhaps I need to go to the extreme of laziness in order to find that middle place of rest.

So, at some point in the coming days, I'm planning to be lazy.  For one full day while the kids are at school, I will do only things that I genuinely want to do.  No "shoulds."  No guilt.  No planned out schedule.

Lazy for a day.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but I'm not sure I can do it.  And yet, this heaviness that hangs over me, this pressure of always living under the self-imposed gun, has got to go.  As I sit back and think about all of this, I wonder if this fear of rest is actually just another trust issue with me.

Do I really trust that if I heed the call to rest that the things that are truly important will still get done?
Do I trust that even if people do look down on me for taking a break, it doesn't really matter?
Do I trust that my self-worth isn't really based on what I do, but who I am?

If you've been reading me for awhile, you might be thinking, "Same ole story, second verse."  I know.  I know.

I've just checked my calendar.  Next Thursday, I'm wide open.  Next Thursday, I'm gonna be lazy.

What are your best "How to be Lazy tips?"  Please leave them for me in the comments.  All advice that I take on Thursday will be featured next Friday morning when I report on my day of laziness.  Ready...go!

Linking with Caffeinated Randomness.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nourishment: Rāpâ

Have you ever just craved nourishment?  How do you get it physically, emotionally, spiritually?  Because I have these questions and I want answers, I've asked a series of people to come in and share how they find nourishment.  Will you come along for the journey?  We will meet here every Thursday until the posts  run out.  Have something to share about nourishment?  Contact me and we will set a date!
Meet Erika.  I met Erika through the blog world (she's a fellow SDG sister) and she knocks my socks off every time I read her blog. She is authentic, she is honest, and oh, I just about thought she was peering into my life when I read this post.  Currently, she is writing a series on her blog about the importance of getting into His Word, so if you hunger for more scripture, her place is such the place to be.
Park
Photo source
Today I feel like an impostor, coming here to write about nourishment when I am in much need of being feed.

And I’ve sought the Lord and I’ve asked of Him: what word would You speak through me, one struggling to learn even this? One who’s tried and failed and tried again, thinking each time that this,
maybe this,
maybe finally I’ve figured out what it means to be fed.

But I only discover my need again: I am hollow and faint and yearning to be filled,
to be fueled,
to be picked up and carried
and nursed back to health,
for this soul is malnourished and these bones feel so weak.

I’ve run in search of it, peeking high and stooping low,
Filling time with effort and moments with toil.
And I’m busy and I’m harried,
Hurried and rushed,
And life keeps me running.

When I finally slow down, when I have nothing to give, I spill out before Him:
Exhausted, empty, a soul quite bare,
And I hear that whisper,
the one I ignored in the commotion,
and shunned in my pride,
His whisper
nudging, lifting, promising Life:

Cease Striving.
Be still.

rāpâ: to hang limp, sink down, be feeble

And I wonder if I’ve ever done that?
I’m always trying, working, seeking to achieve.
But here, I’m commanded to sink down? Be feeble? Hang limp?!

rāpâ: to be lazy, leave alone, withdraw

But how Lord? With so much to do and many goals to achieve?
Be lazy?

And then like an embrace wrapped around my brokenness:

rāpâ: to show oneself slack

And I breathe deep, a sigh of relief:
Let go.
Cease Striving.
Be still.

Stop trying,
stop struggling,
Quit seeking to achieve.

Sometimes the deep nourishment we need comes in the letting go:
letting go of the image,
the lists,
and the goals,
sinking down into Him, that He might raise us up,
that in my weakness, He will be shown strong.

Sometimes we must hang limp, be lazy,
and show ourselves slack.

So take some time to
refocus
reprioritize.

We must rest and trust …

Just rest and know
That He. is. God.

We find nourishment in the rest of faith.

“The Christian life is no longer the vain struggle to live right, but the resting in Christ and finding strength in Him as our life, to fight the fight and gain the victory of faith.” With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray


Friend, do you need permission to be lazy and show yourself some slack? Rest and know that He is God.


To read more of Erika's writings and to subscribe to/follow her blog, More Time with Our Kids, visit her here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

When Rain Falls and Soli Deo Gloria Party






Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria.  This is a place to share what is on your mind.  It is a place where vulnerability is accepted, where heart cries are honored, where struggles are heard.  It is a place where we are unconcerned with the quality of your words, but about the state of your heart.  We are a community of women that seek to encourage, support, love each other with our words.  There is laughter.  There are tears.  There is everything in between.  No matter where you are, who you are, where you have been, I want you to know that you are in the fold and that as you leave your link, you are prayed for.  Desire more information?  Please click here for the full scoop.  

This is a growing community (Thank you, Jesus!), so please don't feel that you have to visit every single person that links up.  We are all on a time budget.  That being said, I do invite you to pray and ask God which blogs to visit simply because there may be words for you left in that place or words that God has given you to share to those specific people.  And, while you are there, as you write in the comments of another's blog, would you offer up a prayer for them?  (If you would like to be on the email list for reminders and prayer requests, please let me know in the comments.)
It didn't come down hard.  It didn't come down for very long.  The rivers didn't quicken their pace.  It didn't fill the lakes and send the sometimes islands back to their depths.


But it came.


The clouds opened and down came rain.  The air smelled of clean.  The sidewalk chalk the has graced the driveway for many months, the same tic-tac-toe boards that have greeted us since June, started to lose their straight lines.  The "X"s bled into the "O"s.  The children danced with glee and praised God for what we received.


And I am grateful.


It wasn't enough to ease our drought, but I'm trusting God that He truly gives us what we need and that when we don't feel that our  needs have been met, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate what we thought we needed in the first place.  Maybe.  I'm still digesting that one in relation to the rain.


"Is God enough?" was my message today in my class.  You see, I asked everyone to write down what most scared them about hearing God's voice.  The resounding answer was that God would ask them to either do something they didn't want to do or that they would be pushed outside their comfort zone.  Which, in other words, begs the question:  Is God enough?  Is God enough to make up my lack?  Is God enough to give me courage, wisdom, love?  Is God enough to fill the empty places in me if I surrendered something I hold dear?  Is God enough for me?


When God calls, we often ask "Why?"  Why me, why this, why now?  When Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink at the well (see John 4), she cannot see the fullness of the man in front of her, she cannot get beyond the confusion of why a Jew would be asking a woman, much less a Samaritan woman, for a drink, and so she asks, "Why are you asking me for a drink?"  Why me?


And Jesus replies to her, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."


When the tasks that He has given us seem daunting,
when they call us out of our comfort zone,
when He asks us to believe something that is seemingly impossible in this world,
when He gives us a job for which we feel ill-equipped,


perhaps it is simply a gift from the most amazing Giver.


A gift of living water, of Godly empowerment, of a love that transcends our limited understanding.  In order to know, really know for ourselves, if He is enough, we have to empty ourselves so we have room for Him to show us that He is enough.


He doesn't expect us to do things on our own.  He desires us to draw near to Him.  You see, He wants us to ask so that He might give.


He is a giver.  And I'm thinking, if we come at this with the right perspective, He always gives enough.


Linking also with Shanda.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This is the Day...

photo source
My Sunday school class is about Desert Spirituality.  I've written about it once before and can I just say the words of these monks who have left society and communed pretty much only with God and the occasional other monk, their words can be life changing?

Life changing.  This might be a cliche that we throw around too often, but I'm starting to believe that anyone who infuses their lives with that much time with God can come away with some pretty profound words by which to live life.

For example:

Abba Joseph the Theban said:
"This work is approved by the Lord:  when a man is ill and temptations fall upon him, if he welcomes them with gratitude."
I've been learning about finding gratitude in the midst of suffering -- looking for the silver linings, being satisfied by what is right instead of griping about what is wrong, looking for the light in the darkness, but this, this welcoming the actual suffering, well, I think that takes it to a whole other level.

When suffering comes, can I look at it head on, and say "Bring it!" because I know that through the suffering God will help me become closer to Him?  When suffering comes, will I welcome it because it is simply more of a process of refining my purpose, my attachments, my heart's reactions and mind's contemplations?  When suffering comes, can I say "thank you" for that which has been given to me -- the pain, the anguish, the sorrow?  When suffering comes, can I choose to revel in the grace given to me this day?

In church, later, while singing a song, this refrain hung in the airspace above me:
"This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us be glad and rejoice in it."
This day, any day, not only the ones full of happiness and hope.  Not only the days where we see only light and triumph and victory.  

Simply this day.  Rejoice.  No matter what the day holds.  Rejoicing when we feel loved.  Rejoicing when we feel pain.  Rejoicing on the mountaintop and in the valley.  Rejoicing in the rest and in the weary.

Rejoicing.  Period.

Rejoicing.

This day.

___________________________________
___________________________________

Would love to see you back here at Finding Heaven Monday night - Wednesday night for Soli Deo Gloria.

Linking with Michelle at Graceful.

Linking with Laura at the Wellspring (because not every playdate is full of fun).



Friday, September 16, 2011

Giveaway Revealed & Other Loves

Can I just say that I had a little too much fun with the random number generator.  Seriously, there was all this anticipation going on in my soul!  It is so, so fun to give things away, friends.

I plugged in the numbers to the magic random number generator, wrote down my list of prizes, and then, before I hit "Generate" I prayed, "Lord, who ever should have ___________, please show me in the generated number that appears."  If you won, I hope you are blessed with your prize, and you winner-of-the-art-piece, if you don't want the art, we'll chat about something else maybe?

So, without further adieu, here are the winners:

Winner of the journal:  Connie @ Raise Your Eyes

Winner of the bracelet:  Big Fat Mama @ Cooking Up Faith

Winner of the custom art piece:  Diedra @ The Middle

If you three would email me your home addresses, I can get these in the mail to you.  Diedra, let's chat about a verse for the art!

Other Loves...

Here are my random Friday thoughts for sharing:

1.  I think that I've finally grasped the fact that the most important part of my daughter's softball experience is that she has fun.  Even if her team doesn't win the game, they certainly take the cake in cheering for each other.  They take pride in building each other up.  What more could a mother ask for, really?  All that kind of pales in comparison to numbers on a scoreboard.  So, I'm in the process of releasing my ultra-competitve spirit and moving on to a place of just enjoying things for what they are truly meant to be.

2.  I've been using some of the skills/ideas that I learned at She Speaks in my class at church.  I just want you to know since so many of you supported me financially and prayerfully, that your investment in me is really paying off, and I feel like I am a better speaker and believer because I went.  You bless me so!

3.  I'm loving this giveaway thing.  I loved giving the door prizes away at my first class and do you know what someone in my class asked me?  Can we donate door prizes so we can do this again?  OH MY GOODNESS!  Is that not a sweet heart, or what?  So, I tell you this to tell you -- if you have a giveaway that you would like to donate to Finding Heaven/Soli Deo Gloria, you can do that!  I would love to give you advertising/shout-out if it is something from your company, your own two hands, whatever.  So, just let me know...

4.  I love my husband.  He has two little girls and let's them do this:
5.  There's a chance of rain in the forecast!!  Will we be able to do this this weekend??  I'm praying so!

Linking with Caffeinated Randomness today!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nourishment: After the Fire

Have you ever just craved nourishment?  How do you get it physically, emotionally, spiritually?  Because I have these questions and I want answers, I've asked a series of people to come in and share how they find nourishment.  Will you come along for the journey?  We will meet here every Thursday until the posts  run out.  Have something to share about nourishment?  Contact me and we will set a date!
Meet Shelly.  I met Shelly at She Speaks this year and she has also been a part of the Soli Deo Gloria sisterhood.  Her passion for knowing God deeply is evident both in her writing and her personality.  May you drink in her nourishment for you today.
Photo source
This morning around 9:30 A.M. our daughter left for a babysitting job. By 11:30, there was news of a fire and mandatory evacuations in the area she was located.  Needless to say, I kicked into mama-mode. I updated my facebook status with a prayer request, called my husband and started praying. As I prayed, I found myself asking why. Why the outbreak of so many fires recently?

Over the last several weeks, Texas has had major fires and loss of land, property and lives. With the current drought and weather conditions favorable for acceleration, even a small spark could mean widespread devastation very quickly.

Please, God, no more fires. And not here.

News of containment brought relief to my anxious mama heart, but I knew God was speaking to me of another fire burning in my own life.

A cleansing fire.

A refining fire.

As I’ve read many blogs over the last few months, some of you seem to be walking where I’m walking.  In the midst of hot flames, intense heat and pressure. Why, God? Why fire? Why now…and why here?
Sometimes when we ask, He is silent, but other times, He speaks.

Did you know these facts about fire?
  • ·       Fire is renewing.
  • ·      It breaks rocks.
  • ·      Kills pathogens and bacteria.
  • ·      Clears litter from the forest floor, exposing a mineral and soil bed which is receptive to seed    implantation and growth.
  • ·      Creates favorable growing conditions.

What about these?
  • ·      The heat and pressure of the fire explodes cones from pines, birch and spruce, releasing seeds that have been waiting to get loose for years.
  • ·      Most forest trees need to be exposed to fire every 50-100 years to invigorate new growth.
  • ·      Some ground requires intense heat.

·          Just as interesting as what happens during the fire is what happens after the fire. If given the proper nourishment, a vast forest of trees is sure to emerge and rise from the ashes. But without it, the ground will not be able to support new growth.

Nourishment is defined as something that nourishes; food, nutriment, or sustenance; a process, system, method, etc., of providing or administering nourishment.

Two (but certainly not the only) factors that could prevent new growth:

DROUGHT
Just as new growth cannot flourish in a drought or dry season, we cannot continue to grow after the refining process if we do not drink of the living water. The Bible tells us that when we delight in and meditate on the law of the Lord day and night, we shall be “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).

INVASIVE WEEDS
In addition to drought, invasive weeds also prevent or limit new growth after a fire. In our own lives, we must be mindful of the things that try to sneak in and stop or choke spiritual growth after we have been renewed in His presence and filled with hope and vision for the future. Distractions, busyness, and sin are weeds that attempt to smother. If we read the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, we can understand the importance of cultivating seeds of righteousness and pulling weeds of sin in our lives.

If you feel like you are walking through the fire, don’t lose heart. God has plans of great purpose for your life. There is a vast forest of trees and fruit ready to thrive. Allow Him to burn away, cleanse, break and refine all things hindering (spiritual) growth. Even now, seeds planted within you long ago are bursting and being released, ready to bring forth more than you could imagine.

Find nourishment in Him. Cultivate seeds of new growth. Soak in His presence. Saturate your heart and mind with His Word. Drink of the living water and watch and see what the Lord will do.

(Additional scriptures: John 4:14; John 7:37-38; Psalm 1:3; Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 43:19)

Facts sources here and here

Want to know Shelly even better?  Click here to follow her blog and/or subscribe to her posts!


P.S.  Giveaway winners will be announced tomorrow morning since I am too tired to stay up until midnight tonight.  Check back on Friday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wedged in the Middle

When the whole picture starts to overwhelm,
when the largeness of tragedy, both communal and personal,
seeks to infiltrate every crevice where hope tries to hide,
when nothing looks right and all feels wrong,
how can I cling to the knowledge and fervent belief that
God is good?
I wedge myself in the middle 
of all the things that are rich,
all the things that are right,
all the things that bring comfort and joy
to a soul that is weary.
I surround myself with beauty
and lift my hands in praise
to a God who is a Creator of a world
that has beauty tucked in so many,
so many corners.

I stop looking at the big picture
and I see individual hearts that long
to seek,
to serve,
to love.
I abandon the fixation with fixing the world's problems
and instead I become mesmerized by a God whose
grace is ever so perfect,
that is ever so enough,
that is ever so freely given.

Wedged in the middle,
surrounded by beauty,
receiving in the surrender, 
a soul that is 
extraordinary refreshed,
with life,
with abundance,
with love
so that I might be able to wedge
someone else in the middle
who is weary and in need
of His lavish refreshment.

Linking with the lovely Emily at Imperfect Prose


Monday, September 12, 2011

Yes, This is Me & Soli Deo Gloria Party


Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria.  This is a place to share what is on your mind.  It is a place where vulnerability is accepted, where heart cries are honored, where struggles are heard.  It is a place where we are unconcerned with the quality of your words, but about the state of your heart.  We are a community of women that seek to encourage, support, love each other with our words.  There is laughter.  There are tears.  There is everything in between.  No matter where you are, who you are, where you have been, I want you to know that you are in the fold and that as you leave your link, you are prayed for.  Desire more information?  Please click here for the full scoop.  

This is a growing community (Thank you, Jesus!), so please don't feel that you have to visit every single person that links up.  We are all on a time budget.  That being said, I do invite you to pray and ask God which blogs to visit simply because there may be words for you left in that place or words that God has given you to share to those specific people.  And, while you are there, as you write in the comments of another's blog, would you offer up a prayer for them?  (If you would like to be on the email list for reminders and prayer requests, please let me know in the comments.)


And here I am -- the next internet sensation -- with my first vlog...(if you are getting this via email, you'll have to come to my blog on the web to see the video) Also, if the sound & video are not matching up, try refreshing the page, or click here to view it on YouTube.
video
So, um, note to self:  Do not turn head to the side that seems currently infiltrated with the pimples that should have gone away in high school.


A quick review if you didn't have time to watch for the pimples the whole vlog...

I would like to give you a gift just because I'm honored that you are here at Finding Heaven and/or a part of the Soli Deo Gloria community.  God loves us lavishly and I am spreading the love...

The prizes (you can see the actual prizes by viewing the pimples vlog):
1.  A bracelet
2.  A journal.
3. A (gulp) piece of my original artwork.  (And if you win this but don't want it, you can TOTALLY tell me and I'll substitute another prize).  If you do win the artwork AND you want it, you can either pick the scripture verse that you want as the inspiration for the piece OR I can pray about it and come up with something with the Holy Spirit.  Either way.

You can win by:
1.  Linking up your blog for Soli Deo Gloria (link open through Wednesday night at 11:59pm, central.
or
2.  Leaving a comment.  But if you mention the pimples, you are automatically disqualified.  Just kidding!  Kind of.

I will pick the random winners on Thursday morning!  By the way, you'll want to be here Thursday anyway because Shelly will be guest posting about her journey to nourishment.


Also, linking with Shanda today.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Questions Pour Vous and Some Randomness...

I'm being random today, frankly because I'm getting a wee bit tired of my bleeding heart.  In other words, I'm just going to ramble...oh, and ask you some questions...
Random picture of the week:  Mexican Free-Tailed Bats heading out from under the Congress St. Bridge

1.  I'm going to a party tonight!  This is exciting for my husband because then he might see me with my hair actually done, makeup on my face, and in clothes other than those meant for running.  Does anyone else get so excited about showering?

2.  My child did her homework with no arguing yesterday and even did two extra rows of math facts this morning.  Could the tide be turning??

3.  My new class starts on Monday!!  I'll be teaching at my church about hearing God's voice.  Here is my question:  If you were coming to my class and you knew there would be door prizes, what kind of prizes would you like to win?

4.  You know what?  Why should my face-to-face peeps get all the fun?  Perhaps we should have a GIVEAWAY at Finding Heaven?  What would you like to win??

5.  Dear readers, please keep in mind that the author of this blog is on a limited budget, so I will have to decline any requests for Ferraris and beach vacation homes.  (Find me a blog where these types of giveaways happen and then maybe we can work together to win over there!)
Ferrari Pictures, Images and Photos
photobucket
6.  Nate is in the Gulf of Mexico, but I'm trusting IN God, not Nate, to bring rain.
photo source
7.  The prayers of children must just melt the Father's heart.

8.  How will you encourage someone today? Has someone been on your heart and you just haven't reached out yet?  Today is the day.
photo source
9.  Sometimes the chores you hate the most end up bringing the most satisfaction.  I washed windows yesterday and every time I look out of a clean one (because I didn't' do them all), I just smile.  Bye-bye grime!

10.  Y'all are SUCH the blessing to me.  Thank you for your incredible friendship!


Wait!  One more thing...My friend Melanie is doing a new series on womanhood.  She has a poll on her blog going right now about what YOU would like to see in the series.  Would you take a moment to go vote?  You can find her by clicking here.  The poll is on the top right under her header.


Linking with Michelle for Caffeinated Randomness!