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Be all I can see

I despise the dark and the stereotypical creatures that birth as sun sets. Arriving to work a few weeks ago, I pulled open the heavy back door.

Did I mention, I rather prefer the sun that beckons me to join it, shimmers of light dancing across rippling water on a summer day to the dark veil spread thick over the close of the day like the last scene in a play?

I was there before others. Hands full of strategically balanced teacher bags, jingling keys, and a sloshing BIG gulp of caffeine that fuels my day, I fumble for the light switch that brings immediate vision. Light.

The Dark. Where roaches and lurking shadowy figures made bigger with my running wild imagination. The Dark. Where spiders and other creepy crawlies make their move.

Light. Sweeping into the dark echoing halls and dust filled edges that seem to be closing in on me.

That day, a few weeks ago, I walked in the dark. I didn't balance things like the star juggling act in a three ring circus that early morning. I walked in the dark.

I've been reading through Psalms over the last month or so. I felt God calling me to do so. I never know why until I begin to let myself sink into His goodness. Not until I move me aside (step aside missy) and let Him have a chance to speak do I let truth and light into my life through His word.

I walked in the dark both literally and figuratively. And I was not/ am not afraid. Halfway down the hall, I came to the odd realization that I am halfway down the hall in the dark! Hello. I was talking to Him as I walked down the endless connection between the place I left and the place I am going. And I am comforted by His presence.

I made it down that dark hall of newly shined flooring with Him.

I am walking, feeling my way through the dark. Only this time, I am not accompanied by creatures with multiple legs and big bulging eyes. He is there in the dark.

I am searching my way through the dark knowing full well that He is here. Realizing that He alone is the fuel for my day (move over caffeine). That my God can clear the dust filled corners and bring crystal clear clarity in His own time. He is the saving switch that will be flipped and the light that will shine in the darkest spaces that were once scary and intimidating, leaving all things Him.

Sometimes He speaks clearest in these times.

"Send forth your light

and your truth,

let them guide me;

let them bring

me to your holy mountain,

to the place where you dwell."

-Psalm 43:3

Reading back through my notes in my journal over the past few months, my cheeks become moist with tears as I see how far He has brought me from where I was. I see just how sweet He is. How faithful. That when we call out to Him, desperate, that He answers. He removes walks along with you, giving you His power so that whatever is crushing the life out of you can be made less suffocating and breathes life into you. Filling you with Him.

I'll continue to seek Him.

Lord, be all I can see in the dark or in the light.

 

***Friends, whether or not we've met, please know that I am praying for you and anything you may be walking through today. I pray that you know His faithfulness and truth. I pray that you know the amazing power He has to equip you with all you need to take on your day.***

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Chevron Patterns aren't found in my closet. God is.

(Christen wrote a post about this book not too long ago--referencing a recent clothing swap.) I love fashion. Surprised? I would be too, if I was my friend or acquaintance. Because my wardrobe doesn't scream fashonista!

I ooo and ah over my stylish friends' clothing while I wear my sale rack finds from Kohl's and Target.

I swipe through recent pins of friends on my iPhone and refuse to repin their selections, though I love them just as much as the spinach, brown rice, and feta pie pin that is baking away at 425 degrees as I type.

 

 

And while my nose smells the pie, my mouth drools at the sight of bold colors, simple lines, and classic pieces with an updated twist.

Love the yellow paired

with the black and white.

 

I've only pinned two "My Style" pieces. Like I said, I refuse! I know that I will only sit and drool over the pinned styles. By the time I rationalize reasons to purchase the eye popping outfits, they are no longer trendy. Hence the reason that these are my only two pins for outfits under "My Style."

 

This one just makes me smile.

 

I've been thinking about style (and my lack of it) a lot recently. See, truth be told, I have a good eye.

I just don't pay the green to be seen in the clothes that show up only in my dreams!

My thoughtful husband got me the Seven book (also something I've been drooling over) just as May was entering the summery scene. June rolls around and I find myself with time to glue my eyes to its pages. Today I sat sun beating on my shoulders, reading chapter two of Seven.

Seven

Jen Hatmaker

 

I just soaked up chapter two (and the sun) today! There are words dotted across pages 45-68 that equal (o.k. so they so aren't equivalent---her words are way more awesome than mine) the thoughts I've had flowing through my head.

Let me share with you some of my favorite points she shared.

"I'm going to bed tonight grateful for warmth, an advantage so expected it barely registers. May my privileges continue to drive me downward to my brothers and sisters without. Greater yet, I'm tired of calling the suffering "brothers and sisters" when I'd never allow my biological siblings to suffer likewise. That's just hypocrisy veiled in altruism. I won't defile my blessing by imagining that I deserve them. Until every human receives the dignity I casually enjoy, I pray my heart aches with tension and my belly rumbles for injustice." -Jen Hatmaker, Seven (emphasis added)

If that doesn't make you want to race out and buy the book, maybe this one will.

"With my genuine needs met but so many dollars yet unspent, shopping has become a stronger marker of freedom than voting, and what we spend in the mall matters more than what we're accomplishing together as the church. I am a part of the problem, a contributing member of inequality. Every time I buy another shirt I don't need or a seventh pair of shoes for my daughter, I redirect my powerful dollar to the pockets of consumerism, fueling my own greed and widening the gap. Why? Because I like it. Because those are cute. Because I want that." -Jen Hatmaker, Seven (emphasis added)

Oh, I could go on and on, but then when you do purchase this freakin' awesome book, you won't even have to read chapter two. I'd hate to take away that wonderful experience, so I'm refraining from typing the whole chapter (ha).

I've had a history with clothing. Probably very similar to you and any other girl with a pair of high heels edging near the side of the shelf ready to be thrown on for a night of dancing at your lifelong best friend's wedding.

 

My college days were filled with closets! Closets full of clothes that I had no reason buying. Clothes that hung with tags, never worn, until I sold them in a garage sale or took it to Goodwill for way less than the chunk of change I paid to purchase it when it was in style.

In more recent years, after my clothes have shown their years of wear through holes and tears, I talked myself into going shopping. Only to exit and ten minutes later return the clothes purchased. I'd told myself how unnecessary my spending was. I still do this. Or better yet, just don't step foot in the store.

(Time for my pie to come out of the oven.)

 

My pie.

I'll have to give you the report on how it tastes later.

No, my pitiful excuse for a wardrobe, that consists of faded solid colors didn't birth from a place of good reasons. It has helped me to view things differently.

Maybe this is a bold statement (just like the colors I so adore). I'll say it anyway. I worry sometimes that things become so focused on the latest trends or what others are wearing that we miss the real moments. I think that we sometimes fail to dig deep and go beyond the superficial when we first see the outer layer. Sometimes we stop there. Good or bad. First impressions. And yes, I am at fault here too. And if we hesitate to crack through the lines, lace, and chevron patterns, we may miss a real connection. Depth.

Don't get me wrong or read into this how I didn't mean to write it. Looking good is good. There is nothing wrong with it unless it steps in to fill the space that needs filling with something else or takes prescendence over things that are more lasting. Balance. A balance.

Read again Jen Hatmaker's stance (I agree): "With my genuine needs met but so many dollars yet unspent, shopping has become a stronger marker of freedom than voting, and what we spend in the mall matters more than what we're accomplishing together as the church."

I was so down on my drab racks of clothes that I throw on again and again for social gatherings. I started to compare my worth with the clothes I slipped on each morning. What a lie! This book came at such a good time for me. And God has been really speaking to me recently. Women, we so need to hear God's truth spoken to us, through The Bible, friends, family.

How comforting and reassuring that we have Jesus that looks not at the things man sees on the outside, but he views the heart? (I think I could have expressed all I wanted to write by just writing that verse.)

Is it strange to you that something that seems so superficial as clothes could be such a spiritual driving force?

Is it bad that one of my longest posts is about fashion? Hmmm...

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Wait, While I Wait

A stream of words, playing through my speakers, that I've heard time and time again. Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on.

And I related it to our sweet baby that waits, as we wait, in birth mother's womb or crib in a baby home. Waiting.

Waiting for a loved one to come home from Japan

Waiting to be accepted into nursing school

Waiting to find out about a new position

Waiting for clarity and comfort

Waiting for your baby to come home from Africa

Waiting for healing

Waiting, in whatever measure of time, can be difficult.  We wait for things to happen.  Some of us wait minutes, months, or years.

It's what we do with that wait that makes a difference in the wait.  Waiting for the things that Earth holds.  Sometimes fleeting and may not be packed and carried with us when we go. Won't take nothing for the journey now.

Waiting for the things to come.

A breathe or a lifetime.

Waiting for the reward of things eternal; everlasting.

I listened to the words of the tune again today.  A smile grew across my sun kissed cheeks.  My focus turned from our child to our Savior.  He reminded me that while we are waiting for our child to come home from Africa, that I need to be aware of the bigger picture.  I need to appreciate more His hand in the forming of our family.  Trust in Him. Turn it over to Him.  He did start this afterall. He will finish it...all in His time.

This wait is precious and there is so much that I want to learn, absorb, and put into practice.

But I don't want to wait, while I wait.  I want to make as much of this period of ticking time that I can.

So, driving and thinking about the wait of our child, He reminds me that He is waiting on me.  He's waiting on me to turn all my focus on Him; invite Him to be an even greater part of our wait.

He leans in and whispers that the wait for eternity is the most precious wait of all.  And that while I wait to meet Him face to face, I spend my time in this temporary home of mine, in a way that will glorify His name.  Getting to know Him on a more intimate level.  Growing. Hand in hand.

In Him we are FREE. In the Bible.  Free of fear, free of the burden of wait, free of worry, and questions.  FREE.

And again His voice echoes, "Turn it over to me."

The wait is slow and we've so far to go.  Keep your eyes on the prize.

Rubbing away the cloudy vision, my eyes are trying to focus on the prize that is eternity with our Heavenly Father; ultimate prize.

distance separating loved ones will disappear as phone calls are swapped for embraces

acceptance into nursing school develops into an on the spot hire for a job that is more than perfect

everything works out in God's timing

soft words spoken during moments of quiet; answers and peace learning and growing during the wait; seeing beauty unfathomable finding healing in difficult times.

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Perfect Love

We have had a lot of firsts in the last four months or so.  Baby coupons arriving by mail, noses pressed into books about raising children and adoption, a full battery of pokes and prods (in one day), loving someone we’ve never seen, heard, know their name, or may not even be born.  

 The journey to bring home our baby has blossomed, in us, a new kind of love.  We are getting the first glimpses of what it is like to love a child, as a mama and daddy love a child.  I have seen such a love in Hubs’ eyes, words, and actions for our baby.  It is truly the sweetest thing ever!  Seeing my husband fall head over heels in love with our baby makes my love for him continue to flourish. 

 

They say a father is a child’s greatest influence.  I completely agree that a daddy’s presence and involvement in the life of a child is crucial. 

An earthly father has such a huge impact on the family as a whole.  It is our prayer, that we can surround our child with the love of earthly parents while we teach him/her about a love that is far greater; our Heavenly Father’s.  His love is the ultimate; far superior. 

I find complete reassurance in the fact that: not if, but when I fail, as a parent, that God will still love me.  That, not only will He completely love me, in my mistakes, but He will forgive me and lead me to love as He loves.  Perfectly, error free. 

 

“The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.”

-Zephaniah 3:17

 

I am thankful that God loves our child more than we do.  I praise Him that He is in control and that He is guiding each step in this process.  I am beyond grateful that He alone can love our baby’s hurt and nurse all wounds when we fall short. 

I pray that Hubs and I are able to live a life that reflects the heart of Christ, so that our child will get a small hint of what it is like to be loved by the greatest Daddy.  And that as our child grows, will find his/her own relationship with Him.

 

Just like our daddy, here on Earths presence is needed, our Heavenly Father’s company is welcomed.  Like a child looks for his/her earthly father, we search for answers from our Heavenly Father.  Just as a baby cries for the arms of their daddy, we cry out for the comfort of His embrace.  I notice the difference in my day when I am walking closely with Him verses those when I am distant.   Same goes for the relationship of a father and child here on Earth.  We crave His presence.  We need it. 

In this month of Love, I become filled with anticipation of a days that brim with candy, heartfelt cards, romance, scrumptious meals, and decadent desserts, I become more aware of a love that surpasses all other loves.  This love, triumphs over the times when our hearts are tempted to fill with ugliness.  It is the model for unconditional love.  This love forgives, is patient, and is blind to faults.  This is the love of our Heavenly Father. 

We may not know the hairs on our child’s head, his/her voice, the shape of his/her face, or the softness of our baby’s skin.  But God does.  I find comfort in His love for us and our child. 

 

 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children;

instead, bring them up in the training

 and instruction of the Lord.”

-Ephesians 6:4

***This post can be found in Christen's beautifully composed Valentine's Day e-book here.  Check it out!

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Hand it Over

I've written about fear here before.  It's something that, dare I say, we all battle.  Hubs and I, along with our wonderful small group, recently lead a discussion on a few verses in Exodus with a focus on Moses. 

Moses was not a strong leader, nor was he confident in his abilities to do as God instructed.  But God loves to take the frail and broken and create something beautiful!  To God be the glory!  Moses was just that; weak.  And God did some of His greatest work through Him. 

"O Lord, I have never been

eloquent, neither in the past

nor since you have spoken to your

servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue."

-Exodus 4:10

Think back to Exodus 4:1-7 where God instructs Moses to throw his staff on the ground.  What did it become?  A serpent!  And can you believe, God asked Moses to grab it by the tail? What was the point of that? 

 

"This," said the Lord,

"is so that they may believe."

-Exodus 4:5

God instructed Moses to let go of what was in his hands.  His rod.  A sheperd's staff is seen as his guide, his aide, his strength, and his protector.

In my mind, God was telling Moses, to place this object of false security on the ground so that God could show His power, His place in our lives.  God is all those things that Moses thought His staff could provide.  God is our protector, our guide, our shield, our provider, and our solid rock from which we gather our strength. 

"I will give you every place where

you set your foot, as I promised Moses...

No one will be able to stand up against you

all the days of your life.  As I was with

Moses, so I will be with you;

I will never leave you nor

forsake you."

-Joshua 1:1-5

What is it in your life that you are holding onto?  Is it a pen, a musical instrument, a ball, a book, your microphone, speaker's notes, camera, and/or your needle and thread?

 

Thanks, Photobucket.com!

 

What are you grasping with that death grip?  What is the thing that you refuse to hand over to God because of fear of loss of control or failure? 

Just like Moses, once he reliquished control over his rod and placed his faith and hope in God, he was able to accomplish much more.  Because of God, Moses was taken from a person that was never thought to be much of a leader, into a man that would later lead the Israelites across the Red Sea.

And with what did he part the depths of the Red Sea and lead people to know and believe in Him?  His staff!

 

sheperd's staff
Thanks, Photobucket.com!

We too can make, create, lead, share, and shine our love for God through what is in our hands!  We just have to surrender what is clenched in our palms to the man that has the future figured out!

What made Moses bargain with God?  Fear, sense of unworthiness...you name it!

"O Lord, please send

someone else to do it."

-Exodus 4:13

How often do we try to rationalize our reasons for not doing what we hear God whisper in our ears?  Do you ever respond to God's urges with one of these?  "Ah, I just can't do that!  I fail at that every time!  Not me.  No way.  No how!" 

It also is apparent to me that we need God's constant reassurance.  Why?  Why do we need God to continue to prove that He is in control, He does work for good, and He is faithful? 

"The Egyptians will know that I am

the Lord when I gain glory through

Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."

-Exodus 14:18

 

"And when the Israelites saw the

great power the Lord

displayed against the

Eygptians, the people feared

the Lord and put their

trust in him and in Moses his servant."

-Exodus 14:31

We have a choice.  To give into the fear or to follow God's call.  The call that says to us that we can do it!

 

"Who gave man his mouth?

Who makes him deaf or mute?

Who gives him sight or makes him

blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?

Now go; I will help you speak and

will teach you what to say."

-Exodus 4:15

When God calls us, He will surely equip us.  God will be there with us during the highs and lows. 

"By day the Lord went

ahead of them in a pillar

of cloud to guide them on their

way and by night in a pillar of fire to

give them light, so that they

could travel by day or night.

Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor

the pillar of fire by night left its place in front

of the people."

-Exodus 13:21-22

And we, as Children of God, need to speak these truths to our souls.  We need to have some verses that are easy to call to mind when we are in need of some truth and encouragement.  What are your verses?  I'd love to hear!  Share away!

I pray that we are bold and intentional.  I pray that we act.  That we do something.  I pray that what we do, say, and think is done to glorify His name.

If we seek Jesus and dig deep into the Bible, we will be able to pull from those scriptures that will reassure us.  Seeking Jesus is seeking truth.

 

"Be strong and courageous.

Be careful to obey all the law

my servant Moses

gave you; do not turn

from it to the right or to the left, that

you may be successful wherever

you go.  Do not let this Book of Law

depart from your mouth; meditate on

it day and night; so that you may be careful

to do everything written in it.

Then you will be prosperous and

successful.  Have I not commanded

you?  Be strong and courageous.

Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,

for the Lord your God

will be with you wherever you go."

-Joshua 1:7-9

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