Actively Waiting

We set our alarms for the dark, predawn hour. I slept, but he may not have slept much. Anticipation. A bit of nerves. The tummy rumbles because there’s been no food since dinner.

I had the honor of being the driver. Feeling a bit guilty, I drank my coffee anyway. My boiled eggs were eaten before the pick up. Trying to be considerate, I let the windows down, though the air was frosty; trying to remove the smell of breakfast from the car.

We finally arrived after navigating morning commuter traffic. Bags in tow we found our waiting base camp location. We had snacks and chargers, books and journals, pens and just lots of stuff. Our active waiting would be filled with productivity. Maybe.

We sat with him while he waited to go back. He was wearing the lovely paper cap and heat infused gown, all wonderfully coordinated with the hospital socks. We laughed. Waited. Offered to take his picture. He was not in favor.

And then the time came to kiss, hug and wave a “see ya after” while they wheeled him behind the doors. Nurses assured. The surgeon greeted. He smiled. He placed an assuring hand on her shoulder and promised to take good care of him.

He would wait asleep for good news upon waking.

The time had come. The wait was really on. A once empty room was now quite full. The air nippy outside was warmed by sunlight through windows. Like plants in a green house, we sat with faces turned toward the light and soaked in the sun.

Chairs were rearranged throughout the day to form huddles of loved ones waiting together. Whispering voices created a white noise symphony of various tones. The mood was positive with chuckles filling the air now and again.

Some slept. Snored. Worked puzzles. Many stared at screens. Some read books. All were actively waiting in some capacity.

Waiting. Have you ever noticed that waiting is an activity?

Psalm 37 has an overarching theme of waiting. Wait for the Lord. But in the meanwhile, do these things. Through a particularly long season of waiting, I’ve found great comfort and tons of wisdom for life just in the first 11 verses. Here’s a sample.

  • Do not fret or be envious
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Do good
  • Dwell in safe pasture
  • Delight in the Lord
  • Commit your way to the Lord
  • Trust Him
  • Be still before the Lord
  • Wait patiently for the Lord
  • Do not fret
  • Refrain from anger
  • Turn from wrath
  • Do not fret
  • Hope in the Lord
  • Patience for a little while longer
  • Be meek

Did anyone else notice that the admonition “do not fret” was included three times? Go check it for yourself. It’s in there – three times.

Fretting might be the easiest “go to” activity in a waiting room. However, God says don’t fret – don’t worry. Then He offers all of these other activities to take the place of worrying about circumstances we can’t control anyway.

In this current waiting season, I’m choosing to pursue these activities prescribed by God in Psalm 37. I sometimes forget and default to fretting. And you will too. However, the practice of actively seeking God in the waiting creates faith muscle memory. The more I practice, the more I’m likely to seek His face, to trust and wait patiently for the Lord.

Everyone around me was waiting for news. Hoping for good news. Waiting for the updates. Surgery has begun. The patient is doing well. We’re almost finished. Recovery room. All is well. We’ll come and get you when you are able to visit.

Relief began to fill faces as the waiting time was over… one by one.

I don’t know the hearts of all the people in the waiting room yesterday. There may have been some fretting. It may have been hard to be patient or to trust God. That was true for most of us, I’m sure.

Watching though, I witnessed a whole bunch of kindness, doing good, caring, and concern for other human beings. My heart was filled with hope. Love is still active in our world.

That’s how I see it. What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,

~Lisa

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Today I am joining the Five Minute Friday team in a five minute writing challenge on the one word {active}. I wrote for more than five minutes. That’s fairly obvious. However, I appreciate the five minute timer because it gets me focused and sets me on a course for writing.

Thanks, Kate, for encouraging us to keep writing.

FMF: Why would I ask for that?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Upon relating a particularly challenging few miles on the path of my faith journey a fellow sojourner has asked, “Did you ask for patience?”  I’ve been scolded or at least summarily warned many times by Christian brothers and sisters about the dangers of asking God for patience.  On several occasions I’ve been reprimanded, “Why would you ask for that?”

My answer quite frankly is this: why would I not ask for patience?  Patience is a fruit of Holy Spirit.  Any sign of patience witnessed in my daily life is evidence of my adoption into the family of God.  Patience, of any amount, signifies Holy Spirit has made His dwelling place in me and is maturing me into the beautiful image of Christ.Galatians 5.22

Doesn’t it make sense I would ask for the fruit of love, joy, and peace to be evident in my life?  Surely no one would question me asking for a bumper crop of kindness, goodness, faithfulness or gentleness?  And don’t we all ask for a bushel more self-control in our lives?

So, why would I ask for patience?  Why would I not?  Why would I not want the fullness of all God desires for me?  Why are we afraid to ask for patience anyway?  Isn’t it because we’re afraid that asking for patience is going to make our lives hard?  Don’t we fear being tested?

And really doesn’t our wariness fall into the category of doubting God’s goodness?  It’s that same old tactic by which the serpent swayed Eve in the beautifully perfect garden of Eden.  God’s goodness was called into question and Eve bit along with Adam.

I don’t want to fall for the slimy tactics of God’s enemy and miss out on the fullness of all the abundant fruit my Father is offering me by the power of His Holy Spirit.  I want it all, and that’s why I will continue to ask for that!

Ponders:

How about you, my friend?  Do you want all the fruits of the Spirit?  Will you ask for love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and patience?

Will you ask Father to reveal any lies of the enemy which causes you to miss out on the fullness of Father’s bounty?  What does Holy Spirit want you to know about patience and every other fruit of the Spirit?

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

~Lisa

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More-FMF-Square- whyToday I am joining (better late than never) Kate and her wonderful community of faith writers for some Five Minute Friday writing fun.  The word prompt for this week is {privilege}  If you’re in the least bit intrigued, come join us for the Five Minute Friday link up

All you have to do is ponder the word prompt, set your timer for 5:00, and start typing. When time’s up, publish and link up.  Oh so simple!

Is it really that simple?

fmf logoWisdom from Kate Motaung regarding the intent of Five Minute Friday:  It’s really not about the quality — it’s about showing up. It’s about sitting down, setting the timer, and doing the work. It’s about the discipline and the practice of letting the words flow. It’s about releasing fears and embracing imperfection. And we do it together.

So, now that you know how simple this is and that it’s not about perfection – join us!  Set your timer with me. 5:00 and GO!

Simplicity: It’s really not that complicated.  Faith.  Of course, I’m really just talking to myself here.  I’m the one who keeps trying to add variables.  Somehow I want to make the Christian life a formula rather than simply following Jesus.

I know better.  After thirty-five years of full-fledged commitment to journey through life as a Jesus follower.  I know this truth.  Experientially, I have fully tested this truth.  And yet in various seasons and on some forgetful days, I go back to adding something of my own fashioning to the simplicity of genuine faith.  I think that’s called idolatry.  Ouch, when I call it what it really is, the truth is painful.  I don’t want to be an idolater.More-FMF-Square-Images-24

Perhaps the name of my blogsite – Eyes on Jesus and Shine – is really more of a daily reminder to myself.  This is my purpose.  I am to get up each morning and focus my eyes on Jesus, my Savior.  He is the author and the perfector of my faith.  Continually Jesus tells me in His Word that it really is so simple.  He’s going to take the burden – carry the heavy load.  Jesus is my Defender.  Healer.  Strongtower.  Firm Foundation.

Oh Jesus, it is simply You.  You plus nothing else.  You are my all in all.  You are the beginning and the end.  Alpha and Omega.  The Name above all names.  There is no one like You.  And when I stop to ponder the truth I already know.  His true nature and character tried and true, it’s simple!

I want to live here in simple faith.  It’s obedience to God.  It really is that simple!

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

~Lisa

 

FMF: time creates the {familiar}

FMF-Square-familiarGratefully, Kate didn’t forget Five Minute Friday comes right after Thanksgiving Thursday.  When I saw her word prompt pop up on Facebook last night, it was a {familiar} reminder – it’s time to write and link up!  Thanks, Kate, for hostessing this beautiful community of faith writers.

So, here I go with thoughts on how time creates the {familiar}…

I’m thinking of a baby newly born in its mother’s arms looking into her eyes as she can now put a face to the familiar voice.  She knows momma’s voice.  She’s been listening to and has been comforted by the sound, the cadence, the rhythm of her voice for months.

And then I think of family sitting around a table in conversation – finishing each other’s sentences with memorized lines from the all too {familiar} movies.  Yesterday my mom mentioned she, my brother and I had all taken a train from Witchita, Kansas when he and I were just babies.time creates familiarity

The family story was lost when husband and son looked across the table with knowing eyes and said at the same time… “Train don’t run out of Wichita… unlessin’ you’re a hog or a cattle. People train runs out of Stubbville.” (a line from Planes, Trains and Automobiles – a family Thanksgiving classic)

I’m also reminded of the {familiar} well-worn path from my home to my elementary school.  I can retrace my steps in my mind nearly 50 years later.  My dad took time to teach me the way by creating {familiar} landmarks in my memory, and then I walked the path twice a day for several years.  Time created the {familiar}.  (5 minutes)

Ponders:

And it’s the same for my relationship with God.  The more time I spend reading the Bible, the more {familiar} I become with Who He is… and who I am as His created daughter.  As I commit time in the dark, quiet of our secret place I talk with Jesus about everything in my heart and in my life.  The {familiar} promises of His Word come back to me and I am comforted just like the newborn baby.  It is His voice which speaks peace into the storms of my life on this earth.familiar trails

  • Time creates the {familiar}… and I want to rightly dedicate the limited amount of time I have been given.  How about you, friend?
    • How does time create the familiar in your life?  in your relationship with God?  with people?  with the mission God has given you?
    • Are there places in your life which need to be renovated by concentrating time into that space?  relationships?  mission?  work?  creativity?
  • Holy Spirit of God, what do You want us to know about time, familiarity, our lives, and Your purposes?  We’re still and we’re listening for Your familiar voice…

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

 

 

Day 27: Who is it that {overcome}s the world?

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he (and she) who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:5 niv

{overcome} it’s a promise for the one who perseveres through, over and around – for the one who puts their eyes on Jesus and never stops following the sound of His voice.

Looking this morning at the question in 1 John 5:5 my first response would be the automatic Sunday School answer – “JESUS!” However, as I finish reading the scripture, the answer is plain as day…

It’s me! Hopefully, it is you!
Only those of us who believe Jesus is the Son of God. We are the ones who are given the privilege, the opportunity and the guaranteethe promise of overcoming the world.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve not really set out to overcome the world. I just want to overcome the obstacles which seem to be impeding my current progress. The slammed shut and locked doors… the tightly shuttered windows… the physical resources which seem to be leaking out without enough flowing back in.

I doubt Naomi set out to overcome the world. Nor Ruth. Probably not even Boaz. Though certainly, the book of Ruth is an overcomer’s true story. There’s much for me to glean from this small book of Ruth as pertains to my own life and circumstances I face. These obstacles aren’t any more impossible for me than they were for Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz.

Clearly, we see a familiar pattern in Ruth – as we see all throughout the Bible. It’s an easily recognizable pattern in my own life as well:

  • there’s a problem – an obstacle to {overcome}
  • what can I do to gut it out, fix it, endure it, resolve it
  • I can’t do it… it’s too hard… I need help
  • Cry out to God for help, mercy, rescue
  • Turn back toward home, head down, overwhelmed with shame – disillusioned and hopeless.

31 days gleaning into the night

Before we get all the way home, He’s there – open arms, welcoming, glad to see us. Father is ready to provide everything we need and Jesus is ready to hold our hand and persevere with us every step while Holy Spirit teaches us to listen and follow Shepherd’s voice. The next thing we know – we’ve {overcome}… because Jesus came to overcome the world!

Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 niv

Ponders:

I feel absolutely sure we each have something in our lives to {overcome}. Perhaps the real questions are deeper than what appears on the surface. Jesus usually wants to take us deeper, right?

  • I wonder if you will ask Holy Spirit for His perspective on what it is He has for you to overcome? I’m asking too.
    • Perhaps it looks like famine, but is it really fear of lack – feelings of abandonment? Perhaps the obstacle looks like your spouse or your children or career or…, but maybe it’s really fear or doubt or pride or….?
  • Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
    • What do these words mean for you? Will you ask Jesus – honestly – pouring out the well of emotion, which is undoubtedly tied to this thing that looks impossible to our human eyes?
    • Will you turn towards Jesus, sit at His feet and allow Him to cup your chin and turn your eyes toward Him? Will I?
    • Will we place our hands in His, trusting and persevering because He has overcome the world?

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Persevere friend all the way through. There’s no guarantee your story will end the way you always thought it would. It is a promise, if you yield to God writing His story in your life, the end result will yield a harvest beyond your wildest imagination. Mark 4:20 in The Message

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

31 days fmf overcome

It’s Friday and the surprise word Kate Motaung has for us today is {overcome}. Thanks, Kate, for listening to Holy Spirit for word prompts and sharing them with the rest of us.

So come along and join in the fun. Set your timer for 5. Pray, ask Holy Spirit for His words, type and publish.

{Overcome} the temptation to sit this one out, {overcome} the lie that you have nothing to contribute to the body. We need to edify one another…. {overcome} for the edification of the body of Christ and for God’s glory! Click here to read and or join in the link up for today’s Five Minute Friday

Self, what do you love to collect?

FMF Collect

This has been a word to ponder for several days before writing anything.  Normally I would have joined the link up, but not this week.  This has been a personal exercise, and the prize has been in the pondering such an amazing concept and asking myself an inspirational question.

 Self, what do you love to collect?

So ready or not – set the timer for five and here I go…

{Collect}

Self, what do you collect?

I collect seashells at the beach… and sand dollars.  I collect pictures of people and pets I love… and the special events in life.

 

However, a house is only so big and there are only so many places to collect shells and pictures and things that mostly collect dust…. not something I am fond of collecting!

On our latest trip to the beach, my dear suntanned feet man counseled, “Remember we don’t have room for buckets of seashells in our suitcase since we are flying home.”  Yes, the restrictions of suitcases and flying versus packing the car to the top with more shells to carry home.

Well, that set me to thinking of a new way to collect.  Collect them in my hands…the various shapes and sizes and colors and then put them back for someone else to collect later on.

Stop… the five-minute buzzer.

Carrying the pondering on beyond the five minutes…

Self, what DO you love to collect?

Self, what do you collect shells

Truth check –  I did honestly sneak home a few shells of various shapes and sizes and colors, which fit neatly in my make up bag.  And as I pulled them out and turned them over and over in my hand, they reminded me of all the people we met while we were at the beach.  They reminded me of the variety of nationalities and life experience and shapes and colors and stories shared along the shoreline of the clear green spa-warmth of the southern Gulf of Mexico.

bird at Gulf

One reminds me of the family enjoying a reunion.  We were able to take their group photos for them.  Another reminds me of the family from New Jersey who had never seen a live sand dollar or starfish.  I got to be a part of their discovery of God’s amazing creation along the ocean floor.

Others remind me of the white-headed children from Germany splashing in the waves. We spoke the same smile language!  Lastly, there are the two shells reminding me of the couple on holiday from England.  She validated the correctness of the spelling of our last name according to our English roots.

Lovely – this beautiful collection of memories and stories.

 

Self, there’s your answer!  What do you love to collect?  You love to collect memories of people you meet along life’s journey and their stories.

Indeed… oh, indeed, I do!

Ponders:

  1. What do you love to collect?
  2. As you walk with Jesus further down the road, have you found that you desire to collect less of the tangible and more of the intangible?
  3. What does Holy Spirit want you to know about your collections?  Will you ask Him for wisdom?  (I am asking for His wisdom on what to keep and what to let go.

Thank you for stopping by to share this moment in time.  I bless you, friend, to #feastonjoy on your journey with Jesus.

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This post is written in conjunction with the Five Minute Friday community led by Kate Motaung.  Each week Kate discloses a word prompt and all who want to participate set a timer for five minutes and write.  To stay true to the original intent of the five-minute free write, I use great self-control to stop typing at the five-minute buzzer and resist the temptation to go back and edit.  This is a fantastic writing exercise, which challenges me greatly – a recovering perfectionist!

 

 

Saturday Share: Ruth Snell – Seeking to Live in Abundance

So, who is Ruth Snell?

Ruth Snell is an adventurous follower of Jesus, mother of three beautiful seeds and Nana to three more beautiful seeds.  She’s a daughter and sister from Illinois as well.  Ruth has been wife to John for forty abundant and mostly joyful years.  Life long tennis partners still, they’ve navigated some rough terrain together, especially the part when they said, “See you in heaven” to two of their three children on two different days and years.

Ruth and family

I didn’t know Ruth then, but I know the variety of experiences in her life story have all been combined by our loving and living God to sculpt Ruth into the “going for it” woman she is today.  Her testimony is wonderful, joy-filled and enough to bring tears, so I hope you’ll get to read it here sometime in the near future.

Better yet, maybe Ruth will dust off her blog and write her own e-book one day only because so many of us face these “valley of the shadow of death” stops on our journey, and wonder if anyone else has ever crossed this way before.  She has, and she has a word for those of you who are in the valley or on your way.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13 esv

Now that I’m a knitted heart friend of seven or so years, I can testify Ruth has gained exceedingly abundant life through her surrender to God.  She’s suffered loss and has learned through the travail how to sing praises to God through tremendous pain in the dark; and yet, Ruth desires more from her journey with Jesus.  She is asking, seeking, knocking on her Father’s door for more love for others, more joy, more Holy Spirit power in her prayers, more of God’s creative gifts, and more encounters with empty people into whom she will be able to pour the more.

Ruth kisses

I am continually amazed by Ruth’s desire to learn something new.  In one of our first conversations, Ruth expressed a deep heart desire for God to grow her up.  I remember thinking (and maybe I said it out loud), “Now that’s a prayer Father’s going to delight in answering!”  And He most certainly has grown His daughter up with abundance.

In these few short years, Ruth has written several songs and is learning to paint in watercolor.  She’s bought a bicycle for prayer riding exercise in her neighborhood.  Through our abundanceshared Community Bible Study leadership experience, she’s become an inspirational truth-soaked speaker and has shepherded many women with love, compassion, and grace. Additionally, Ruth eagerly pursues opportunities to share Jesus with strangers on airplanes, which she calls, “flying by faith”.

Most recently, Ruth decided to try on her writing hat.  She’s heard me talk about Five Minute Friday free writing, and the faith based community of writers who weekly participate.

In case you’ve never heard of a five-minute free write here are “the rules” for playing.

Read the word prompt.  Think.  Pray.  Perhaps sleep on the word prompt.  Ask for revelation.  Finally, set a timer for 5 minutes.  And write about the word prompt.  In the original intent of a free write, there are no edits, no spelling or grammar corrections. Just post.

In her growing pioneer spirit, Ruth set a timer today and wrote for 5 minutes.  I’m so honored she emailed me with the beautiful result of her “do it scared” first try.  You really have no idea how difficult it is to post without editing unless you’ve done it.  I’m so proud of you, Ruthie!

And so without further ado…

Ruth SnellI am absolutely thrilled to welcome my sister of another mother, Ruth Snell, to the sharing place with her debut Five Minute Friday writing on the word prompt {collect}.

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Many people collect things –salt shakers, seashells, accomplishments, awards. I’m not a collector of things but I am a collector of encounters in the middle of life circumstances with Jesus.

Several years ago I was playing, The Question Game, with family. The question that left me wondering, others answered quickly.  What accomplishment are you most proud?  They both had accomplishments that honestly they were proud to acknowledge.  But in a moment of sensing lack of accomplishments the Holy Spirit highlighted this for me, my greatest accomplishment was experiencing the Lord in the middle of life. FMF Collect

I realized in this word, “collect” that I do collect encounters with the living God.

In the Passion Translation Ephesians 4:23  says “Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you.”

I collect encounters with the living God when He meets me in the middle.

Stop.

 

A Joy to Know You Tried to Play

This post is written in participation with the Five Minute Friday community.  It is my delight and honor to get to participate with Kate Motaung each Friday in this five-minute free write challenge.  Our leader, Kate, sends out the prompt each Thursday evening at 10 PM.  This week the word is {play}

fmf logo

The rules are gentle and simple:  Know the one word prompt.  Set a timer for 5 minutes. And then write.  A challenge for the recovering perfectionists (including myself) – no editing, corrections and improvements.  Offer yourself plenty of grace and everyone in the community will too.

Come on, you’re invited… jump in and PLAY

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“Mom, I want to play the piano.”  Well, we didn’t have a piano, but my friend next door had one.  I loved to sit with her on the bench and watch her fingers move over the keys creating a beautiful melody to fill the air.  I wanted to be able to play too.

If you were a child and/or you are a parent, you can guess at the gist of the conversation. Long story short with much pleading and promises to practice my parents purchased a beautiful brand new upright piano.

And I did take lessons.  I did practice.  I did learn to play some beautiful music.  I enjoyed the challenge and the results (though I am sure I complained about practicing).

I enjoyed it until I became the piano student of a teacher who insisted all her students would perform in a recital once a year.  I was not one to get up in front of an audience and perform solo.  I was shy.  I was terrified at the prospect.  And I was angry at the demand.  To take lessons with Mrs. Blackmon meant I would play in a recital.

Apparently my desire to play was greater than my angst toward the recital.  Most likely a huge piece of my motivation to continue onward was my desire not to disappoint my parents and to keep my promise to play the piano purchased according to my wishes.

Regardless as I look back all these forty years later I am delighted I tried to play.  I did play in two piano recitals.  I don’t remember how well I played or the number of errors made.  I simply remember an accomplishment of overcoming my deep fear of sitting solo in front of an audience to play.

I tried.  I did it scared.

You too?

Yes.  Try.

It’s a joy to know you tried to play…