Wednesday, November 9, 2011

His Baby Girl




He called me "Baby Girl," today.
I just love it when He does that.
I mean, I don't know why He did it...
If I were Him, and would've heard me whining like I was, I would have probably said something more like, "Woman, Get a Grip!!!"  or "Suck it up, Lady!" or "Girl, Get over yourself!"
But, not my Father...
Like all good daddies would,
He just cradled me up in His arms and with an audible voice as gentle as the beating of a butterfly's wings,
He whispered in my ear, "Wait, Baby Girl, Just wait."
Plain and simple...nothing more spiritual or elaborate.
He just tenderly spoke...
and He called me Baby Girl.  
I just love when He does that.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Barka

The night before we were set to depart for the long-awaited journey to change lives for the Kingdom in Burkina Faso, a dear sister came to me who had before walked in the dry African dust to speak the name of Jesus.  As she wrapped her arms around me, both of us full of emotion, she whispered through her tears, "It will change your life. You will never be the same."

I had no idea the impact of her words would begin in only a few short hours as we circled together hand-in-hand ...a team...a family...a body, united as one.  It was as if our hearts beat in unison with one another and the mission upon us would soon be the very blood that ran through our veins.

The next ten days brought a roller coaster of overwhelming excitement, depression, helplessness, eagerness, joy, suffering, laughter, tears, exhaustion, frustration, hope, and undying eternal love.  Love for a people.  Love for a place. Love for a life of intentional Christ-sharing purpose. Love for a God that is bigger than the details.  Love for a Jesus that offers peace.

As I close my eyes each night, I can still feel the African sun beating on my skin and the dry, red, dust on my feet.  I can still see the glowing smiles of the children as they listened intently to the Gospel, hanging on every word...and the greatness of the baobab tree as it stood with God's majesty on the hill...and the amazing display of color and power in the lightening show as we watched from the top of the mountain praying for His work to continue in us.  I can still hear the African rhythms of the djembe and the voices singing praises as we poured our hearts out in dancing together for Him.  I can still smell the earth, and the food, and the fragrances of  insect repellent mixed with sunscreen and hand sanitizer...and the burning rubber from the tires of the Mighty Warrior Yaho Bus.  And I can still taste the delicious mango and bananas and the thirst-quenching water and the salt from the sweat pouring down my face as the heat and excitement drenched us unknowingly.

But I can still feel the longing to reach out and hold the dry, cracked hands of those precious babies, wanting to take each of them home with me so that I could take care of them, and teach them, and love them as my own.  I can still see the overwhelming poverty...the exhaustion in the eyes of the women as they worked long, tiring hours often sick with illness...the frustration of the men who built a school only to see the rains wash it away before it could even be used once.  I can still hear the voice of the sweet Laticia asking her mother if she could go home with me...and the voice of the man declaring God's word with a power unlike any I've ever heard before, using only his hands to read the braille Bible that he held.  I can still smell the filth that lie in the streets and the chemicals we had to use to wash the fruit because of the water being unclean for use.  I can still taste the rice that I could barely force down knowing that my hunger paled in comparison to the children who would be able to have it if I didn't partake.

Sometimes I wish I would've listened to the voices.  The voices that said to me, "It is too dangerous.  You have too many responsibilities. There is too much at stake.  DON'T GO!"  Then, I could have foregone all of the heartache and the relentless tears I've shed because of the breaking of my heart over the things that I experienced in Africa.  But, I am learning through my tears that sometimes God has to break hearts in order for His love to shine forth through the cracks and before hope can make something new with the pieces.

And if I had not gone, I would not have known as fully as I do now the ever-present awareness of my need for a Savior in a world that is hopeless without Him. I would not have held in my arms a little girl who has become to me like my very own daughter.  I would not have seen the tiny glimpse of Heaven that He gave us through the rejoicing of many tongues and many nations worshiping Him together with nothing to prove, nothing to show, but our grateful praise to a Jesus that unites us all.  I would not have heard the Gospel taught in lands that had never before known the name of Jesus.  I would not have seen that even though He doesn't need me, He chooses to use the smallest, most unworthy of His children...even in all of our brokenness, even in all of our undeserving failures...to share His love and testify of His grace to a world in desperate-dying need.  And I would not understand that in our abundance we lack everything without Christ as the cornerstone of our lives...and even in the poorest of lands, He is still enough to sustain us in this dark, difficult world in which we live.

To a team that grew to be a family; to a family whose tremendous service and sacrifice has inspired my heart; to the forerunners whose excitement, fervor, and faith contagiously reached heights that I never knew existed; to a church that gave of their own lives to financially and prayerfully support my journey so that hearts could be reached; to a God who reached out His mighty finger and engraved His name upon my heart and filled it with a love that has changed my life forever...With tears streaming down my face, overflowing from the depths of my soul...because the words I want to say I cannot find...hear my pleading, grateful heart as I simply say, "Thank you."  "Barka."  "Merci."  You have changed my life and I will never be the same.



In the Grip of His Amazing Grace,

Leslie Allison Carr

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obey

There's one thing I've learned about little boys...they can play for hours with a stick or in a mud hole.  Hours.  But when they are quiet...you can bet that they are up to something.

After the recent hurricane left pools of fun in our driveway, my favorite little four-year old couldn't resist.  He rode his bike through the hole and in a dead stop got his training wheels stuck in the mud.  Still pedaling as fast as he could go, mud was flying everywhere as his tires just spun with laughter.

I quickly came to his recovery and busted his mischievous bubble when I clearly instructed him to stay out of the mud!  I know...I'm a party pooper.  But, we did have somewhere to go and another bath was not in our hurried schedule.  As I went inside to finish getting myself ready, the quiet moments should have been a dead giveaway.  Sure enough, when the cat's away the mice will play...and back into the mud he went...spinning tires and slinging mud all over everything within a mad-man's reach.

In his scorning, I asked him all the "mom" questions.  "Didn't you hear me tell you to stay out of the mud?"  "So why did you disobey?"


His tearful, shameful reply, "Cause, Mama, I just really really wanted to disobey.  I just really wanted to play in the mud."

Well, at least he's honest I guess...but as I reflected, I couldn't help but hear my own reply to my Father in my disobediences to Him.

But, God, "I just really really wanted to..."

And in my words to my own son, I hear His voice, "So what you want means more to you than obeying Me out of your love for Me?"

And I hang my head low...and He lifts my chin and offers His loving grace once again in His gentle correction.


The mud has already been washed away.  

Your God has commanded your strength [your might in His service and impenetrable hardness to temptation]. O God display Your might and strengthen what you have wrought for us!   
Psalm 67:28 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Surrender


It was a normal day, taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, running a few errands.  A quick stop to the bank and she would finally be headed home to her hot bubble bath for a few uninterrupted moments of solitude.  She walked through the doors, made her way to the counter, and in one single instant...was frozen in fear as the cold, metal shaft hit the middle of her tiny back.  She could feel every pulsing of her heart throughout her body as it was shaking in a quake of terror.  The breath of his panting, intensified with his every command and she knew that complete submission was her only hope for escape.  Without hesitation, she threw up her hands, reached for the sky, and opened herself to shear, total obedience to his spoken word.  She knew not what the next minute would bring, but she knew, at all costs, she must be utterly surrendered.

Utterly surrendered...

Surrendered with open arms...leaving her heart susceptible to hurt. Throwing her hands up...saying to him I release all control to you.

Surrendered with open arms...leaving her heart susceptible to hurt.  Reaching her hands up...saying to HIM I release ALL control to you.


God could do that.  He could hold a gun to our backs forcing us to do His will, leaving us no choice but to obey His every command...no choice but to give up all control to Him.  Yet He doesn't...                        

And we don't.



Can I be real?  I struggle with Surrender.  Sometimes I think it would be easier for me if I had a gun at my back...waiting for His every command...with no choice but to obey.  I struggle with reaching for the sky leaving my heart open and vulnerable for the possibility of hurt, suffering, and disappointment.  I struggle with trusting in Him when I can't see what He's doing, when I don't know His timing, or when I can't hear His direction in the very pulse of my being.  I struggle with surrender when I am overcome and completely overwhelmed in the depths of my heart with the desperate hope that my desire is His will...or with the fear that it isn't.  I struggle when surrender means that I may even have to give up control of what I pray because I don't even know the right thing to say and need the Holy Spirit to intercede in my ignorance of His will.

I crave that peace that surpasses all understanding...that peace that comes from total Surrender.


When Christ prayed in the garden, He cried out His desire to the Father...take this cup from Me.  But in total Surrender, with the cross at His back, He held up His arms...leaving His heart open for hurt and suffering...releasing control right til the very last breath...to the will of the Father.

Lord, Jesus, make us more like You.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Though none go with me...

As tears stream uncontrollably down my face, the bones within me are shaking,
My spirit crushed to a lonely place and my heart is all but breaking.
I look inside my fearful soul with tender questions calling
With no more strength to stand alone, to my knees I'm desperately falling
These quiet walls entrap my mind with thoughts of what restrains me
And I cry out "Abba" Father, please, send angels to sustain me
Though things I do not understand have made my soul feel hollow
My covenant song rings loud and clear, Though none go with me, I will follow.
No turning back, No turning back no matter what life brings
The bumblebee flies despite the lack of strength within its wings
In my Father's hands I'll accept His will, I'm confidently surrendered
In the grip of His amazing grace its me that is remembered
He cried my name as He yelled out, Father please forgive them
And all He asks to His return, my heart, my life, to live Him.
So though it sometimes hurts to breathe and though my heart is bleeding
I find in Him the strength to stand and take the devil's beating
Because I know, though He allows my suffering and my sorrow
He is bound by promises of a day that brings a new tomorrow.






Sunday, August 14, 2011

Handmaid from Heaven

In the glimpse of one single moment, merely by His spoken Word, her life was eternally changed...her intended direction, knocked completely off course...steering her to a place that would surely bring fear...not just of rejection...but fear for the very breath of her life. What would she do?  What would she say?  How would she manage?  How would she answer the questions that would surely be thrown upon her as the truth was revealed?  Would she be left to face her destiny...alone?

She didn't ask for this.  She led a simple, quiet, honest life, honoring Him in the best way she knew how.  In her heart she beamed at the honor...but they wouldn't understand.

Yet, in her desperate circumstance, she didn't waiver.  She didn't question.  She didn't argue.  She didn't turn back.


Did she know the dangers she could face?  Abandonment, humiliation, even execution...

And did she know the magnitude of her purpose?  Did she know then the suffering that she would watch Him endure...her baby...her boy...her Son?


And in the midst of the swarming questions in her heart...she answered with a simple, yet powerful, harvested faith..."Let it be done to me according to Your word."



 In the glimpse of one single moment, merely by His spoken Word, His life was eternally changed...His intended direction, completely on course...steering Him to a place that would surely bring fear...not just of rejection...but fear for the very breath of His life. What would He do?  What would He say?  How would He manage?  How would He answer the questions that would surely be thrown upon Him as the truth was revealed?  Would He be left to face His destiny...alone?


He didn't ask for this.  He led a simple, quiet, honest life, honoring His Father in the best way He knew how.  In His heart He beamed at the honor...but they wouldn't understand.

Yet, in His desperate circumstance, He didn't waiver.  He didn't question.  He didn't argue.  He didn't turn back.

He knew the dangers He would face.  Abandonment, humiliation, even execution...


He knew the magnitude of His purpose. He knew then the suffering that He would endure...for His children...His daughters...His sons.


And in the midst of the agony in His heart...He answered with a simple, almighty, all powerful, perfect faith..."Not My will but Yours be done."

I will suffer...for Your glory.  I will hurt...for Your glory.  I give my heart to be broken...for Your glory.  I offer my life, my plans, my desires, even my very breath...for Your glory.

You are my God.  I give You my heart...I give it all to You.  May it be done to me according to Your Word...Not my will, but Yours be done.







Thursday, July 21, 2011

Laticia


The beauty in the children's eyes as they performed their incredible songs of worship radiated in my soul.  Their excitement for us to worship with them overjoyed them nearly to laughter and their smiles could barely be contained.  (Or perhaps that was reaction to our attempts to keep up with their fast-rhythmed dancing!)  Never-the-less, their joy was a gift.

As I watched them dancing and singing to the Lord, I caught the eye of Laticia.  Sweet, angelic, Laticia.  She was tall and thin and her eyes sparkled within her coal dark face and hair and the smile that she tried with difficulty to hide just absolutely shone with delight.  We danced together and as I touched her hand she touched my heart in a place that will never again be the same.

Laticia's father had recently passed away,leaving her mother and three young girls to be shunned from his Muslim family because they professed Jesus Christ as their Savior. Men in the church where we worshiped that day are giving them a portion from their own families' humble wages just so that they can survive.  As I looked at this mother, aged from grief and the scorching African sun, a tear trickled from her heart...she was desperate in every aspect of life...torn apart at the seams...tossed by the storm...Like Naomi, she had every reason in this world to demand a renaming, Mara...Yet in her dark and difficult circumstances, she wasn't bitter...but, praised Him, still.

And her precious little angel, Laticia, smiled as she peered into the depths of my soul and asked aloud with yearning plea, "May I please go home with you?"



Oh, I wept.  I wept for her mother, who heard her daughter's longing heart's cry to escape the desperation in which they lived. I wept for Laticia.  I longed to reply with an emphatic "YES!" and carry her home with me where I could be assured that her starving body and soul would be fed to restoration and the beauty that I know the Lord has in anointing her for His Kingdom.  I wept for her sisters. They sat in wonderment as they looked at me giving them food and drink, their desperate thirst overriding their fearful hesitation of the unknown.  I wept for the baby, showing all signs of malnutrition and dehydration...fearing that her little life would soon be drained from her fragile body if she didn't receive quickly what she lacked.

Laticia, you didn't fit in my suitcase, as we had planned.  But, you did come home with me.  You and all of your sweet family.  You are here with me now.  I love you as if you were my very own daughter and I beg God's blessings to be poured out on you, your mom, and your sisters...I pray that as our eyes met in the midst of His praises ringing out on that long-remembered day, our hearts will soon meet again and we'll rejoice in the Lord's work in your life.  Until then, know that you are ever in my heart and prayed for daily.  I love you, Laticia. You are in His Amazing Grip!

Monday, July 11, 2011

In his darkness, he proclaims the light



We sat as honored guests in the front of a House of Prayer as the women, men, children and youth each shared a special song to welcome us.   To look out at their shining faces, so excited at our presence there.  It was so humbling.  We undeservedly felt like royalty.

There was one beautiful face that shone above the rest...yet she sat still and quiet, barely breathing it seemed.  My heart was breaking just to see her smile and the Lord nudged me to give her what I had.  As I walked toward her, she neither flinched nor acknowledged my coming.  I opened her hand and placed in it a small token of love, a cross that I had kept in my Bible.  She closed her hand tightly, never looking in to see the treasure that she held within it.  I wondered if I had upset her or embarrassed her. Even out of curiosity, she never looked at it...just held it tightly.

As I made my way back to my seat, another young man began to lead the congregation in worship.  His joy exalted to the heavens.  His voice rang out loudly...and though I couldn't understand the native chorus he was singing, I understood the passion that held captive every word.  Then the women began to dance.  Their feet jumped in praises to the Lord.  Together we danced as if in one harmonious movement after another.  Their voices were proclaiming His name in a language I did not know, but our feet were praising Him in a language I knew well.  And together we rejoiced.  I held a piece of heaven at that moment.  All hearts and tongues confessing Jesus as Lord...and everything else was removed...in all of our differences, we became one.

We sat again to hear a reading from God's Word.  The young gentleman who had lead us in song began to declare boldly from the Scriptures...the Scriptures,  he was reading...in Braille.  My heart melted in shame of myself as I saw every finger of his hands being used to worship my King...and the excuses that I have given over and over flooded my mind.  This man had physical barriers beyond any that I have ever known...and he gave no excuse.  He left nothing in vain.  He took all that God had given him and used every ounce of his temple for His glory. Despite that which was taken away, even in his darkness, he proclaimed the Light. 





And my heart met her, again...the beautiful young woman that held my cross.  And I knew at that moment why she hadn't looked at it...She could only behold its beauty in her grip...her eyes saw nothing of my gift.  She too sat in darkness, proclaiming the Light.  And I wept.  Her blindness disappeared  as her heart shone forth all around her.  I learned later that her story didn't stop there. Her parents had dropped her off at the church to be taught and trained by the pastor in Braille...and they never returned.  She was abandoned by her own father...but welcomed by a Heavenly Father whose name she praised.

In my silence of that moment, I know He heard my cries to live as they, without excuse. Lord, Jesus, let nothing hold me back from rejoicing in the truth that no amount of adversity here in this life can take away what You have saved me for and set me apart to do.  Even when my eyes are closed and darkness is all I see, let me shine in the Light of Your glory and not be blinded by the enemy's attempts to hinder my proclamation of Your Holy name.   Let me live without excuse.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Prints of love in Africa

Himdalaye Classroom---Handprints on the wall


They say that a person's handprints can be used to identify them...that no two are exactly the same.  The rainbow of colors that lined the classroom of the Himdalaye School in Ouaga bore the obvious differences between us.  They all wanted to touch me, the white woman, as if I weren't real.  And I wanted to rescue them from conditions that  were seemingly unreal to me, also.  Dirt floors, thatched roof, desks seasoned by years of use, only a handful of threadbare books, if any, were the contents of this school's classrooms.

But the tiny handprints in all colors, shapes, and sizes that lined the walls gave astounding beauty to a room that one would've thought to be a dreary place. As the children came in, so did the light.  And it shone with a gloriousness that only God's love could have ignited.  This school had little of what we wouldn't even begin to do without in a United States classroom...but it was rich in the teachings of a Jesus who filled it so full of abounding joy that there was no room for despair.  And the reality of OUR impoverished nation filled my soul with tears.  In our abundance, there is so much we lack.  In our education, we have stripped our students of the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ...we have stripped them from the joy that abounded with contentment even in this poverty-stricken classroom where I stood...we have stripped them of the only wisdom that truly matters.



I placed my hand to fit almost perfectly on the handprint upon that wall...and the walls came down.  The differences between us crumbled and only a picture perfect unity remained...we were one...in Christ. And in all of the curiosity that I know must have been swarming in their little minds, they only asked one thing of me..."Vous etre mon amie?"   "Will you be my friend?"  The barriers of culture, language, even physical appearance seemed to just diminish in the meeting of our eyes and we understood one another with a compassion that I have never felt before. Our eyes met.  Our hands met.  Our hearts met. And we became Friends.  Forever.  Friends.


"Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."  
 Matt 19:14

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thirsty





From a nation filled with abundance to a land parched with poverty, our cultures are worlds apart...but our need is entirely the same...Jesus.  The void that makes us hunger...The drought that makes us thirst...can only be completely filled...completely satisfied...by Him.   

As I walked along the dry African ground, dust covered my feet...a sign of the desperate need for rain...my heart had a similar longing...a thirst for the quenching waters of my Jesus.   I felt so small.  So insignificant.  So helpless in a place where the need was almost too much to bear.  Poverty hovered in every direction.  

My soul wept for the children.  The children whose clothes, if they had any, were threadbare.  Whose dirt-covered bodies screamed for clean water and nourishment.  Whose tear-filled eyes longed to be seen with tenderness and affection.  We breathed in the same air. Our hearts beat as one.  I yearned to love them and they, to be loved.  Every hand I touched seemed to multiply my heartache, yet fill me with such joy in the same moment.  Their smiles were a shear reflection of their hearts.  Filled. Filled with overflowing reception to a hand offering the love of a Savior...a hand offering true hope. 

I felt somehow disconnected from myself.  Outside of me.  I knew nothing of my fears, nothing of my own confidence, nothing of my own joys even.  All I knew was the desire to know only Him who could control what I knew I could not.  All I knew was a helpless, empty, void that seemed as vacant as the dry wells that filled this land.  And I longed for Him...I longed for Him for these people...I longed for more of Him for myself. I had a very 
real awareness of my own inadequacy.  A realization that without Him, I was parched to nothingness. 

As He did for the Samaritan woman, so He did for me.  He met me where I was.  He revealed to me my need.  And He filled it with Himself.  

The thirst of the land is indicative of the thirst of the people.  The thirst they have for a Savior.  It says in Isaiah 12:3, "With joy you will draw from the wells of salvation."   The joy I received from drawing from His well and offering drink to these thirsty souls is beyond anything I can contain with mere words.  It was a joy that fills my heart to overflowing.  A pouring out that I cannot explain.  A replenishing that equips the empty to fill.  And I am thirsty now only for His calling once again.  

Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:37-38 


Friday, June 10, 2011

Princess Dreams



Every girl dreams of a handsome prince to whisk her off of her feet and into the sunset on a beautiful white stallion.   We dream of castles far away and crowns with jewels so glamorous. Oh, the sweet innocent dreams of childhood.

As I sit rocking on my front porch this morning, I sip my coffee and breathe in the day...reflecting on the dreams come true.  I am so in love.  And he is so in love with me.  And I marinate in that. In Awe.  In Amazement.

My Father handpicked for me a man here on earth to whisk me off of my feet.  His crystal blue eyes put me in a trance and I find myself mesmerized by his love for me.  I melt in his arms and hold still to the passion that burns within his soul...the passion he has for Christ.    He leads me.  He leads our boys.  He leads us to Him...the real Prince of my dreams.


Jesus.

My Hero.

He gave His life to rescue me from the evil enemy.

He prepares for me mansions in the greatest of all Kingdoms.

He will one day ride in on His white horse to whisk me away.

He places on my head a crown of jewels more beautiful than any I can imagine.

And I am so in love. And He is so in love with me. And I marinate in that. In Awe.  In Amazement.

And I throw my crown down at His feet...for my Princess dreams are nothing in comparison to what He has for me, this daughter of the King,  prostrate at His throne.


Are waiting for your Princess dreams to come true?  Your Prince is so in love with you.  Come before His throne, today, and marinate in His love.







Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Play Ball!



I love to watch little ones play baseball.  You have some trying their very hardest to have their game faces on and "look" like the pros...Then you have some that stand in the infield just watching the airplanes drawing pictures in the sky as they pass the time away...And still some that aren't quite sure what to do and watch their coach's every movement, taking every word from his mouth as literal instruction to act upon this game that bleeds red, white, and blue in every American ...

I remember when the twins played their first year of tee-ball.  My man was coaching on first base and one of the young players came running by him, totally missing first base, heading right on to second...smiling so big, he couldn't stand himself.  Nathan shouted to the little boy with excitement (or disbelief, I'm not sure which:), "Come back, you have to touch the base, you have to touch the base!!!"  So the precious little obedient thing turned right around, ran back, bent down, touched the base with his hand, and went about his merry way to second base.

We laughed so hard we cried.  But, what a lesson we learned from him.

In this game called life, we have a tough position to play.  We have to be ready with our game faces on.  We face an enemy that looks to intimidate the truth and steal the basis (bases:)) of all that lies in our eternal existence. We have to stay focused.  Keeping our eyes on the ball at all times...  Standing in left field watching the dandelions grow is sure to leave us sitting the bench the next inning.  And we have to watch our coach so well, that we are listening for every God-breathed word from His mouth and are ready to obey with immediate unwavering reaction to His command.

Which do you struggle with the most: readiness, staying focused, or obedience?

Get in the game!  Play Ball!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Jesus.

Simply marveling. So complex.  Greater than our understanding, even.    Simply beyond comprehension.

Yet so simple.  

Just Jesus. 

How complicated our faith becomes when we feel we must add to it.  

The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth.  All our work adds nothing to it. Proverbs 10:22

We have no prerequisites.  No requirements.  Nothing to fulfill.  

Just Jesus. 

We pray for blessings.  For abilities.  For opportunities.  He answers,

Just Jesus. 

Laying everything aside.  Forgetting everything behind.  Focusing only on what matters.  

Just Jesus. 

We couldn't ask or need anything more.  

Just Jesus. 

What fills your day, your thoughts, your motive, your desires?
Is it Just Jesus or are you making life more complicated?

Monday, May 16, 2011

In the Grip of His Grace


I am a broken vessel…but a vessel still
His love and grace have saved me
Upon Redemption’s Hill
He heals my deepest sorrows
He calms my darkest fears
He has taken all the pieces
Of my many broken years
And formed a new mosaic
With the beauty of His face
Took sinful scars, redeemed them
And sculpted in their place
A new and perfect vessel
His love made me complete
To carry Living Water
To be His hands and feet
And in the grip of His amazing grace
I confidently surrender
To go where e'er He bidst me go
For His glory and all His splendor.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Somewhere in the Night, tonight...



Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she longs to be held by her mother, wondering how far heaven really is.
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she curls up in the corner of her room, trembling in fear, scared to death he may come back to make her hurt again. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she remembers what it was like before she gave away her innocence in exchange for temporary fulfillment of the loneliness that only seems to multiply with every empty, broken relationship. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she reaches out, desperate for a poison that takes her outside of who she knows she really is and who she wants to be. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she walks along wondering where they will sleep tonight when it gets cold. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as the hunger in her soul cries out even louder than the pains in her starving tummy.
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she longs for the arms of protection absent from her as he fights to protect the freedom of many.
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles while she lay awake rocking the baby she long has buried in the grave.
And the floods pour out in the night...and the cries ring out in the darkness.

Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as her heart is breaking for the night and all its cries of pain and suffering...
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles as she sees every tear falling into the nail-scarred hands of a Man whose blood was trickled in the darkest night to offer light and hope. 
Somewhere in the night, tonight, a little girl's tear trickles, wondering how she can show them that heaven truly isn't very far, that Jesus really hears their cries...
We don't have to be scared, we don't have to hurt, we don't have to be lonely, and empty, and cold...
Tonight, and every night, He is there, wiping away our every tear...
Waiting for His little girls to find refuge in His out-stretched open arms.


Taking her by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha Cumi", which is, "Little girl, I say to you, arise."
Mark 5:41 





Oh daughters, hear His cries for you.
He is desperate for your desperate tears...
Desperate to awaken your soul.




Friday, May 13, 2011

Hold on a little longer...


All eyes were upon her, waiting, watching...anticipating her falling to pieces in her Daddy's arms as they rolled the casket out of her reach.  We gasped, holding our breath as we tried to hold back the tears...yet, not a drop fell from her eyes. Instead she looked up at her Daddy, not to fall apart, not to receive comfort, but to give a glance of reassurance to make sure he was okay...And a glimmer of hope shined forth from her precious smile as she looked at him. A tower of strength, she reached out for his hand...for his direction...and he held on a little longer, a little tighter to the love that created the princess that reminded him of the Heavenly Peace that quiets his soul.

And I could hold back no longer, for as the tears poured down like rain, I felt a tiny hand slip into mine as another found his place under my wing.  One took my hand to his lips, offered a kiss of comfort and held on tightly while the other snuggled under my arm and clasped my hand in his...as if they knew that I needed to feel them at that moment to know they were near.

Let me hold on a little longer, my sons.  You grow before my eyes and today, you proved to me how quickly you are becoming young men.  Let me hold you until you become too big, and then let me hold you some more...and when I simply can't bear your weight on my lap, hold me.  Then I can hold you a little longer, still.

You see, tomorrow, most of our days will all carry on. We'll go about our routine, taking for granted that somewhere, someone is giving a loved one a final kiss goodbye...taking for granted that that someone could be us.  So, hold on a little longer today...Squeeze your children a little tighter.  Kiss your husband a little sweeter and let them feel your heart beat with theirs.  And know that they know the truth...so that when time draws nearer to the end here on this earth, it only begins an eternity of sweetness in the Father's arms.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Will I leave them His promises?


With six little girls encircled around her bedside, she praised Him. When the doctors shared the news of the beast that would soon take her life, she praised Him.  As she walked daily, leading children to be strong, teaching students to have faith, knowing inside she would soon be leaving them, she praised Him. And now, as she sits at His feet, humbly bowing at His throne, prostrate in His grace...not a victim, but a victor, she praises Him.

The sweet angelic voice of her ten year old daughter worshiping her Saviour in the last hours of her life must have echoed in her heart as she breathed her last breath of the air of this world and inhaled the sweetness of her promised inheritance.  She has left this world to begin what she was promised...but what she has left in this world is a legacy of His promises.

Hearts are tender.  Wounds are open.  Tears are falling.

And Christ puts His loving arms around her, smiling as she watches them still wanting to teach.  And together they gently speak:

Hebrews 6:11-12 
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy [or give up], but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (emphasis mine) 


We can rejoice in her broken body made whole.  We can remember the promises she taught us by her life.   We can follow her example and endure to the end, with faith beyond measure.  We can know the Christ for whom she lived and that is now holding her today.

As I ponder what I will leave to my children as I dance through the gates of Glory, I wonder, will I leave them His promises?  Will I leave them sitting by my side singing praises to His name?  Will I leave them pursuing with diligence the faith of their inheritance?  Lord, Jesus, I pray.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Christians, we are called to holiness...


September 11, 2001

My heart sank deep into my chest.  Hatred rocked the world of this country and lives were torn apart by darkness.  But God reigned. He sat on the throne, He held the tears, He gave comfort, He offered grace.  He felt the pain of the loss of lives, not only in the disaster of buildings crashing, but in the loss of souls to an enemy far greater than any human leader of terror.  He wasn't rejoicing then...and He isn't rejoicing today.

I have lost loved ones in the "War on Terror"...I have cried weeping sobs in the depths of my soul as my heart was broken to pieces over the need for men and women to die for my freedom.  I have held pictures of a fallen soldier wrapped tightly in my arms as I begged God for His mercy on this world. I pray continuously for family members and friends fighting overseas in this gut-wrenching war. Yet, today, I hurt no less for that dear friend or any that were lost in 9/11 or the families who suffer daily missing their loved ones daily on my behalf. My heart still aches for all of them and I support wholeheartedly the mission to defend our nation.  We have praise to offer that God has delivered our enemy into our hands...But, I cannot support the mockery and boasting that has gone on today.

"LOL, He burns in Hell, He got what He deserved, Justice has been served."?  Christians, listen to yourselves.  I cannot fathom those words enthusiastically coming off of the lips of someone that has accepted the suffering death of Jesus as He paid for us ALL.  If justice had been served, we would ALL die and go to hell.  Instead of thanking God today for a man getting what he deserved, I am thanking God that I don't have to...humbly remembering that Jesus took my punishment...it was He that got what we all deserved.

As I see photos of Bin Laden's body, beaten, broken, lying dead posted all over the internet with banners flying high rejoicing in laughter, my heart again sinks deep into my chest.  Hatred and revenge has again prevailed.  And though an enemy of our country in the flesh has died, the real enemy has gained a victory once again. Another lost soul is won to the pits of hell...and my God isn't rejoicing over that. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is hearing the cheers of Americans and reliving the crowd as they roared enthusiastically for His crucifixion...just as He did when He heard the chants of joy from Bin Laden's people on 9/11. And I believe that Christ is holding the wounds on His hands and feet with grave tears remembering His blood poured out on Redemption's Hill for yet another man who died before accepting His grace. Yes, Osama Bin Laden rejected Christ, but so do we when we celebrate with Satan a soul lost to hell.  


God bless our soldiers, who follow in Christ's footsteps and lay down their lives for the freedom of others.  May the stars and stripes wave strong and true... But, God be with us when we reject the example of His life in fulfillment of our own revenge and find peace and comfort in celebrating bloodshed. 


The true victory in death is the death of our Saviour on Calvary's cross...May it not be in vain.  Our battle is not with the flesh...perhaps we need to get our focus back on the war we are really fighting here.  It isn't over.  Thank God this man can no longer steal the innocent lives of others...Our God will serve justice, yes...but He does not rejoice in sending any soul to hell...He doesn't laugh at the sight of a man bleeding and beaten...and He doesn't chant and cheer because His wrath had to be dealt...no matter what the weight of the man's sin. 


God have mercy on us.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

If only she knew...

Copied with permission from Carol Lee Photography

Little girls look at her with eyes wide hoping one day for the fairy-tale life that she hides behind.  The elegance and beauty that radiate in her smile slowly fade as she waves goodbye to the whisper of innocence she once held as a child.  She walks, confidently trembling, as she peers into the mirror wondering if they'll ever really notice HER...her soul, her heart, her passions, her secrets...not just the beauty queen essence that the world has affixed to her perfect design.

And she compromises...in a vulnerable, desperate-for-attention, moment...she compromises: herself, her future, her faith...eager to be held with adoration, believing the lie that boundaries don't exist in "love".  She becomes the lead role in one of the many princess stories that she has engraved on her heart over the years...filled with passion and a hunger to be swept away by the wind of a dream dancing on the prism light of a rainbow's bend. In his arms, in that moment, she finds her heart beating with his...and in a moment, her white dress is torn.

Lies entrap her spirit.  Shame steals her beauty.  Sin conquers the seal of her covenant.

Yet, for her audience, she smiles...she waves...she dances the dance of grace and truth...knowing all the while the encore of what digs her deeper into the pit, knowing she has given away freely something that she can never ever get back.

Lord, why are Your daughters so willing to be held captive by a temporary fill for the void that You created in us for You?  Only You, Lord. Only You.  My heart is broken for You, as You look upon us reaching out Your eternal arms and we turn, only to fall into the arms of a temporary man.  We seek the attention of lustful eyes, desperate to be noticed...and You look into our hearts, crying for us to realize that we are the very apple, the most tender heart of Your eye, and that You notice every breath we take.  

As the little girls look on, wide-eyed, dreaming to be a fairy-tale princess, we cannot hide any longer.  The elegance and beauty that shines is His alone and in grace and truth we can dance, freely forgiven.  But, we must come from behind the mirror and notice them looking for something to fill their void, their emptiness...and we must lead them to fill it with a passion for Him, not a passionate sin.

As we look in the mirror ourselves, what do we see?  Are we teaching our little girls to expose their innocence for momentary glimpses of desire from another?  Are we dressing ourselves with a passion for Him or a passionate sin?

For the love of a prince we all have dreamed, 
but pre-awakened love is not what it seems
My sweet, sweet princess, His time is set,
Don't live with scars of past regret.
Before you give him your innocence, give him your hand.
Romance is sweet in the Master's plan...

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