Don’t Fear Who You Were, Know Who You Are

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.   Isaiah 25:8

The red rocking chairs slowly appear out from under the shadow of night. I sip my coffee, feet tucked under the pile of pillows on the coach, as sunlight peeks into the window and crawls across the floor towards me. The hum of the fan for “white noise” is now just noise as it’s sound drowns out the melodies of the birds singing, “Good morning!”

366 days ago Eric and I were going to say,”We do!” did and now we are here. Oh, what a journey! Had we both known what we know now, we might have done things a little differently, but maybe not.

What we are learning is when we opened OUR fairytale, instead of crisp new pages on which to write, two very different rough drafts were wasting pages. We had to cross out and/or erase the expectations of our individual story lines. This endeavor takes energy, time and ultimately, healing. Thankfully, we have agreed to both release our pens, giving them to the Author of time past, present and yet to be. We figure His story has a far better chance at making our novel a Best Seller than either of our pathetic story lines.

One hot topic affecting our subject matter is who we WERE. “I do” doesn’t mean “I never did…” and we are finding that there are memories and fears that past mistakes are hidden somewhere in future pages. We live in anticipation of beginning a new chapter and the flaw of a previous poor choice will be staring at us once again: Different book, same content.

This is not who Heavenly Dad says we are. He said

Micah 17:19 “You (God) will have ·mercy [compassion] on us again; you will conquer our sins. You will ·throw away [hurl; cast] all our sins into the ·deepest part [depths] of the sea.”

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

If He doesn’t remember what we did wrong than who are we in His eyes?

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Have Eric and I fully embraced that we are not who we once were? Have we acknowledged His power to put to death (like it cannot be resurrected because it’s dead-dead) our old selves and the freedom to live without fear of slipping backwards? Absolutely…not, but the more time we spend with Him, often begging Him to take these burdens/fears from us, He teaches us. We cannot expect Him to pry these issues out of our hands. He wants us to willingly release and give them to Him, knowing that we walk in the freedom that He already died for. The power was and is in His blood.

We need to stop fearing who we were and recognize who we now are: His children that He loved enough to die for so we could be changed and free. Will we accept His gift of forgiveness and freedom?

Will you?

Here’s an afterthought: if He can and does forgive and forget our mistakes… Why is it so hard to forgive and forget ourselves?

Until next time: Blessings!

Clisthby Goes on Strike

Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,we will serve the Lord.”

“The light is on but only a trickle is coming out.” “Do you think it needs more vinegar?”
“My eyes are burning, and it took forever for that vinegar to go through…what are your thoughts?”
“Why do you think the red light is still on, ‘clean’?”

The night I wrote that last blog, “Clisthby and the Buffet Versus Carry-in,” Clisthby we went on strike. We had noticed a new red light that we’ve never seen before. We ignored it for about two days, and then I read it to say “clean.” I thought, “No problem, I’ll do it on the weekend.” Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Every other coffee maker I’ve had, I’d just run vinegar through to eat away the calcium buildup that accumulates in the tubes. Clisthby’s situation, however, was more along the lines of a true butler, with a heart condition. The vinegar angioplasty results were unsuccessful. A second opinion (other than a little red light) with a more aggressive approach was needed.

Eric and I dug in. First things first: we removed every loose part aka pot and removable filter holder. Pulling Clisthby out, we opened his back, fully exposing his innards. It was then we noticed a thin line of coffee grounds running along the line of the watermark above the storage tank. WHAT!?!?

At that moment I had an “Ah, ha!” moment. Clisthby has a stopping mechanism which allows me to pull the pot out from under the filter before he’s actually done brewing. That is a dream come true for those of us who bleed coffee, are a pint low and need a transfusion ASAP. A tiny spring and stopper is one of the most ingenious inventions EVER in the book of coffee connoisseurs.

A few weeks back coffee grounds made their way over the top of the paper insert and wedged the stopper closed. When I didn’t hear the dribbling of magic juice ten minutes after Clisthby set to work, I went investigating. The coffee was trapped in the filter compartment with no where to go. Finally, it overflowed the filter and poured, with grounds, into the storage tank. I stopped it immediately and ran him over to the sink for a cleansing session, complete with scrub brush. I thought I had gotten it all. Obviously I was wrong.

Eric and I hosed Clisthby out again, to no avail. The red light remained on and the water dripped, almost painfully, from the nozzle. We were frustrated. Light Bulb! Eric has a bright idea. We scavenged for the longest straw in the house. Pouring more water into the reservoir, Eric blew air, along with grounds, from the tank to the filter.

Yay! Another thorough rinse aaaaand…drip, drip, drip—Whaaaat?!? Now MY heart hurt! Poor Clisthby! It took nearly 50 years to find him and coffee pot CPR was not working. Sweet and sad memories of morning sleep in’s were running though my mind as I was loosing our virtual butler.

Eric, determined to revive Clisthby, began sucking and spitting the poisonous coffee grounds from Clisthby’s veins (ok, so that might be a tad dramatic). I was bouncing up and down sporting an “ewwww” face but thanking him profusely through clenched teeth of revulsion.

Another thorough cleaning aaaaand dribbled, dribble, STREAM! Eric had resuscitated Clisthby! Hip, hip hooooray!

I was laughing when I told Eric that Clisthby’s timing was perfect since I just mentioned a raise. It was when I mentioned Clisthby’s strike when Heavenly Dad struck my heart.

Clisthby had been working in his own power, like any other coffee maker, doing what he was supposed to do, when he was supposed to do it. Tiny grounds, that he had dealt with for years,
built up over time. The reduction of flow was so inconsequential we didn’t even notice until it was too late and stopped his progress all together.

I thought of my own walk with Heavenly Dad. How many times do I let little sins go, little “white” lies to help someone “in the long run,” or texting/Facebooking/anything phone related when I’m supposed to be spending time or doing something else? How long am I going to let those flow through me, building up a wall between me and Heavenly Dad? One day I wake up and complain,”He’s so far away! It’s like my prayers bounce off the ceiling! Where is He? Where did he go?”

Could it be that those little sins stopped up the flow of the Holy Spirit flowing through me? They cut off the nudging of what the next right thing to do is. Whatever I was doing WITH and THROUGH God’s power (like the water tank) became full of me and not Him. The blessing stopped along with my energy and strength from run on “me power” verses “God power.”

I remembered that the “me” is the one with the tiny white sins, the ones that backed up and poisoned the tank: anything I used to do in God’s power.

I was convicted. Like the second opinion, last resort to resurrect Clisthby, there was only way to get the “go” back in the “flow.” I need to get rid of all the loose ends and expose the issues, whatever they are. In the light (the Bible) I can see what is the core/heart issue. It may take a lot of work, be very uncomfortable (even an eeeewy face or two-or more) but the end result will be the Holy Spirit flowing freely once again. With Him comes clarity, peace, energy, wisdom, and power.

Maybe Clisthby was supposed to be teaching me a lesson this week. Wait, could that mean that Clisthby is actually on God’s payroll and not mine? Hmmmm

Until next time: blessings!

Clisthby and the Buffet Verses Carry-in

Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,we will serve the Lord.”

The shadow of Mother’s Day 2020 lingers as the alarm sounds at 2:30 am this Monday morning. Eric pops up much quicker than I and quiets the unnamed voice resounding from his phone alarm. The smell of the fresh brew tickles my nose, enticing me to make the bed quickly and stumble my way to the kitchen for a cup of Clisthby’s brew. Did I tell you of our “butler?”

I don’t know if you remember but years ago I told you how Arch and I would wake up and jokingly call “Clisthby” to make coffee because neither one of us wanted to get up. One of us would then get it started and then drag ourselves back to bed until it was finished brewing. Eventually, when the our theme,”Do for the other before they can do for you,” went into effect, one of us would awake a bit early. When the other was stirred by the heavenly scent and asked,”Did you make coffee?” The answer was: Clisthby.

Eric brought the real Clisthby into my life, a coffee pot with a timer, ahhhhhhhh. Now neither of us has to get up earlier than the other as long as we don’t accidentally give Clisthby the day off by not setting him (always a sad day) we have fresh coffee within moments of opening our eyes. Again: ahhhhhhhh, mornings may not always be good but they sure are a heck of a lot better!

Clisthby was playing at the top of his game this morning as he was set for 2:20 am. He had the coffee ready as I drug myself to the kitchen without speaking to Eric, just a quick touch on the way to say a nonverbal “good morning.” Words come after coffee.

Are you wondering why a 2:30 am wake up call when Eric’s time to leave for work is 6:00 am? Great question. Tricky answer.

Eric and my one year Anniversary is coming up—hard to believe. We have struggled to find balance. When we don’t do something physical nearly every day our almost 50 year old bodies get stiff and ache. Keeping moving has to be somewhat of a priority to serve the King.

Speaking of the King, aka, Jesus King of kings, Lord of lords, the great I Am, the Word, the Beginning and the End, He is the “bestest” part of my day (spending time with Eric and Willow are close second and thirds), brings me to the early mornings.

Can you imagine not having a stomach? You would just eat, eat and eat and never be full. That’s kind of the way I feel about scripture. I read and journal as I’m reading. If I allow myself enough time, I can pause, and really dwell on a particular passage or verse. I think about it, pray about it, and let it marinate for a while. I can then write down my thoughts and how it applies to my life, or at least a situation that I’m currently finding myself. LISTENING to Heavenly Dad and discerning what He is saying specifically to me, THAT takes time.

I don’t like to be rushed. I don’t like to have the pressure of a daily schedule. I don’t like to have a dual focus. When I’m in the word I want to be “in The Word.“ After I’m feeling as full as I can, for the moment, I’d like to spend time to pray. I don’t want that to be rushed either. Sometimes it’s just a prayer of thanks and praise. Other times something that Eric is going through is burdening me, so the entire time is spent praying through a situation for him. Nearly every day our kids are bathed in prayer, Willow too, of course. Often my heart goes out for the people with whom I have come in contact. Most days I have family members that come to mind. Again, this takes time.

Eric and I have been working on a schedule for nearly a year, struggling to find one that works. In January we took a training on time management. It was a Dani Johnson training and she said to put God first and everything else will fall in place. She said He will expand our time.

Since January we have been trying to give our Heavenly Father the first of our days. What that looks like is getting up very, very early. Let’s hit the pause button: I can’t express the healing that has begun to take place.

Sunday church: every Sunday I used to go to church to get “God meat” to last the week. Some Sundays it was a buffet and I would pick a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole bunch of one particular thing. Throughout the week I would chew on it, pray a bit on it, go to sleep and wake up to do the same the next day. By Saturday I was anxiously awaiting Sunday for my next hearty meal. Things are different now.

Eric and I are attending a new church, one we’ve chosen together. This church is quite different as it is no longer a Buffet. It expects everyone to be in the Word and bring whatever you have been learning or what has been challenging you to the table for all to partake. It’s no longer a buffet, it’s a carry-in. If you’re not cooking at home, many go hungry/are not challenged. They take the verse:

“Proverbs 28:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.“ very seriously. We are all on a journey, so there’s no judgment at their table. The cool thing is someone at this church just might have a seasoning of clarity I had missed or forgotten in the dish I had prepared (a thought or nugget I had gleaned in my time with Heavenly Dad).

They are challenging us to take the book knowledge to home. If all that we’re learning in The Book isn’t reflected in our actions toward each other and those around us, it’s hitting the brain but missing the heart.

Getting up seriously early isn’t easy. It’s made us both look at what is truly important. TV shows that were entertainment have gone by the wayside. We have learned that card games can be played in a pretty short period of time when it’s just two people and are much more interactive. Almost every moment now has a purpose. That also makes weekends extra sweet.

We savor watching a movie together and choose each one carefully. We often make fun food to make it even better and complete the experience. But there’s more!

Our everyday conversations are more about things we are learning verses our comparing differences in belief. We are getting better about embracing our Individual journeys instead of judging the other’s path. We have a ways to go but the difference from before to where we are now has both of us checking on Clisthby’s schedule.

I guess to sum it up, Eric and I are finally taking our pledge to God and each other, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Out of just the words stage and made it a reality.

Maybe Clisthby needs a raise.

Until next time: Blessings!

Gearing Up—Thank You, Grace

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
I’m putting my miner’s hat on and headed on in to mine for gems. I’ll savor any nuggets of TRUTH I find today! I’m clicking on the light in my helmet of salvation, gonna buckle up with truth around my waist, putting on my body armor of righteousness, and have my boots of readiness on, also carrying my shield in case there is falling rocks or flaming arrows in the workplace, and toting the sword of the spirit so I’m protected. Dare not work naked today! (Ephesians 6:10-20) Grab your garb today, too!

This, my dear friends, was a text to me from Grace. After reading that don’t you feel like donning your armor, grabbing your spelunking gear and rushing out the door? Do you feel equipped to face everything and ANYTHING the world hurls at you? Are you ready to harvest mountains of diamonds, rubies and gold nuggets of wisdom? I did and DO each time I read that text.

I would say that’s who I want to be like when I grow up, but we aren’t far apart in age. Like Grace, I want my everyday words to encourage, challenge and uplift each person to whom I hit, “send.” Each text I desire to be as if Jesus’ crazy awesome love was spilling through their inbox like an electronic current. Sparks of energy and light I want to send to the receiver to illuminate whatever darkness in which they find themselves.

More than being an encouragement, I don’t want to pass along the fears of this world. I refuse to infect others with useless anxiety by reflecting any negative words or texts, even if from “reliable sources.”

Philippians 4:8, NIV: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

This is who I want to be. I’m not there yet, but each moment I have the opportunity take a step closer to my “ideal me.” I have to either consider quickly or dwell on what this world serves up in and on the radio, internet, or TV. I then have seconds before that information affects and/or changes my mind, mood, or outlook—seconds! I have to choose what and to whom I listen to carefully because Proverbs 23:7a says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” What I allow in is what comes out—and that’s not always pretty. I’d best get quicker on the “considering” and even faster to “think about such things:” anything that is excellent or praiseworthy.

What’s on your mind(and maybe lingering) that you should be letting go to get closer to your ideal YOU?

Until next time: Blessings!