Monday, July 20, 2015

Flip on the Lights again ~ Light on Singleness

"Coming home is always wonderful and lonely..."

I just messaged that to a dear friend on Facebook.

Here I sit, mid-morning, feeling droggy (i made up that word) as I look over the next few days.  My house is cool (thank you LORD for a/c!), Sasha is snoozing on the rug at my feet, and it's just a gift of quietness... and alone-ness.

I have just spent the past five days traveling to Florida, visiting family, enjoying time off to go, visit, and connect with those I don't see as often as I would like.  An odd stomach bug attacked while away so I have returned a bit more drained of energy than normal.  Though the lonely-feeling is normal; my house is covering only me, not having a housemate makes it feel very lonely.  So, I am praying for God to fill my yellow room with just the right personality!

Yesterday, on my return drive, I was delighted to catch a sermon.  I think it was John McArthur, which I have not actually ever heard before, though his name sounds familiar.  He was preaching on I Corinthians 7, and he was doing a pretty good job in dissecting and teaching it.

Funny how sometimes a phrase jumps out and grabs you; maybe it is something you have read, heard or even said yourself but a moment in time comes when the Spirit of God plugs in heavenly energy into it and it sparkles and glows with new light.

"Singleness is a gift, and it is good.  Are you handling your singleness as a gift, and running with it as far and as fast as you can?" Later in the message McArthur pointed out marriage is bondage:  now when I hear "bondage" I don't usually think positive; it's really a neutral word!  So, let's look at it that way... when you are married, you are bound to another person.  That can be positive and negative.  I know, this seems very obvious, but these words fell into my ears and down into my soul in a very fresh way.  Singleness does not mean we a void of relationships, but -if walking in the Ways of Christ- void of marital intimacy. 

I like it when God flips on His heavenly lights and gives my mind and heart greater perspective.  I have not even been thinking about this topic lately, well, not deeply anyhow.  I am always aware of being single... and coming home to an empty house seems to highlight what is not there.  Though, I can say I was very thankful I had no "bondage" last night when I crawled out of my car, with an undeterred focus on getting myself as quickly as I could into my bed.  Exhaustion has a way of harvesting that kind of rejoicing over my singleness!!

When the morning light awakes me, the stillness of my house embraces me; it can start feeling not so wonderful of a gift.   So...I move, feed the dog, make breakfast, read my Bible, forgo coffee as I have no cream, but make a lovely mental plan to utilize a gift certificate for a cool coffee joint downtown... and life begins to feel and look much better.

How can I utilize this gift of singleness!  It is a gift... and God wants me to unwrap it and enjoy it every day!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

Man it's been a long while since I have blogged.  I have been in survival mode, fighting through, keep'n my gaze high as I can, sloughing the mud off and out of my eyes, and trusting that there was some reason for this trench.  Things have been shifting in me in the last few weeks....

I am starting to dream again.  I am starting to gaze through the grey and see sunshine and possibilities in the clouds!  Yet, I believe it's more than mere possibilities, I believe its the edges of the reality of who and what I am.

I have learned a lot.  God has given me mooch-o much, that I can't hoard - hoarding kills life.  So, I want to share all HE has given me and proclaim that HE DOES give life abundantly.  He has created us to live... to glorify and honor our Maker.

That is what I intend to do, starting now.

Since you are trekking with me, you have seen my journey, my "a-ha" moments and dismal days.  I have fought many years to "find" my purpose and calling, all the while believing that I (we all) have a significant purpose in being here, now!

So I am following some advice that has come my way, it lies at the core of what I believe in... but I have lacked the guts to follow.

From this day forward, I am moving towards what gives me life and energy and laying down the white flag on all other endeavors which have drained me of joy.

No more defining "life is hard" because hard is letting circumstances define my days; hard says I am weak.  In some respect, yes, I a very weak but I believe through Christ, I am more than a conquerer, I am strong in Him and who He designed me to be.  Now, when I try to be something I am not... well, that is weak, that is hard.

This evening a dear friend shared a website with me, someone who uses her passions to fuel her living - monetarily and significantly.  I read a few things on her site, and this blog post about NOT FIGHTING rings true in me.

I have faced down a lot of fears in me, the lie that states "I am not enough" or "I am not acceptable" - Through the truth of who God says I am:

Today, I am choosing to live in my Maker's Design of me - His Daughter, His beloved child - forgiven, chosen, blessed.

Won't you join me?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"I Shall Not Want" - Audrey Assad

Every now and than a song comes along that weaves words into melody, and carries the words and cries of my heart perfectly.  This masterpiece draws upon Psalm 23, which is a familiar passage to many but one that has grown in depth of meaning to me, as God has drawn me by His Light and Revelation, beneath the words to His Spirit and Life.

"I Shall Not Want" Lyrics:

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
when I taste Your goodness I shall not want
when I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Songs on Saturday

When one works a long full week, Saturday is always a welcome gift.  I pretty much face-planted into the weekend.  It was a long, not-bad, hard week.  I celebrated by watching two episodes of Foyle's War and popping an herbal sleep supplement before finding slumber last night.  

Not sure if it was the effect of the supplement or if I was just that tired, but I slept hard, even with Kitty's 2:30AM food demand.  I came to consciousness around 7:30, knowing I had to be on my way to an appointment by 8:30.  I stumbled out of the house by 8:27 still feeling in a fog and not fully conscious.  I brought Sasha along as I felt some guilt in neglecting her and wanted to go for a jaunt in a local trail on my way home from town.  

All in all, my first two hours of Saturday were spent doing things I normally find delight and joy yet as I stomped through the local woods, I was anything but delighted or joyed.  An all too familiar rant of complain was drizzling down through my brain.  I thankfully have come along in understanding that sometimes when we hear ourselves with a certain tone and volume, it's really because we are just in need of rest.  So, I did not take myself too seriously and drove home in need of coffee and time in His Word.

The first sips of my coffee were good, as I opened my Bible to my scheduled reading.  I saw the passages listed and loudly moaned as I realized my scheduled reading included the first few chapters of Song of Solomon, with the normal Psalms and Proverbs and New Testament portion.  

"Lord,... I really don't want to read Song of Solomon today.  Lord... ugh, I just don't know if I can handle reading about lovers and sex today."  

Sometimes, as a single, it's just a book I would like to skip.  

The Psalm was 101, ascribing God's love and justice, and a question, "oh when will you come to me?"

I read through each passage and then began combing through, focusing on God's character. 

I was still in a funk, and the passage seemed to taunt me.  But then as I looked over it, I realized the question was from God, to me.  

“Oh when will you come to me, Tammie?”

Then I saw Him, covering me with His loving gentle embrace, in the Songs passage.  His love for me is passionate, pursuing, faithful and strong.  He was inviting me to see Him, in His Love, and justice, as always, My Shepherd, and Lover of my soul, guiding me in the right path, always illuminating Himself to me.

Again, and again... grace, upon grace.

My tired soul breathed in the fresh Manna He provided.

My complaints He tenderly washed away in His Presence.

And I rejoiced.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Land of 40 ~ Love Story

I am really in the fourth decade of my life now.  Hitting 40 was indeed a milestone, and now I pass the first marker of this 4th decade.

I can't say that with much hoopla, to be honest.  Lately I am looking a little more carefully in the mirror for lines that were not there yesterday, thinking more about how many days it's been since my last good work out and that it only takes three days of non-aerobic work for your muscles to begin to atrophy.  Ugh... I don't want to look old, but I feel older!  My body is not wanting to move like I did a few years ago.  I even got bi-focals this past year, which at the time made me happy cause I was having a hard time seeing but that is what OLD people have!

41.... oh man.

But, I enjoyed my birthday with many well wishes on Facebook, and many texts, a skype call and a few phone calls.  I feel loved.  I feel thankful.

And, I am noticing that a year is moving along much quicker.  I now see the year ahead as 180 school days until summer comes again. Yes, I loved my summer and a year counted off in school days is much  easier to measure.  Yet that means Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, and Christmas, and Spring and then... we will be finished with another school year.  Oh summer, how I love you.  Then another birthday will pop up... I can wait on that, I don't want it to come that quickly.

I hope, and pray that the days between now and then will be full of life and love.  I hope, and dream of love to come, as I hope every year, that maybe this year a love story will be written.

But this year.... I will realize a greater love story for you see I want to love more.

You see, I am grasping His love for me more and more, and as I do that I realize my purpose more and more, and that is to love!

He has a purpose for me this 41st year: To love more because I am loved.   I believe that may be the secret to living, for when we love and know we are loved, we live!

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ConnectedSoulGrief ~ Robin Williams

My soul is so grieved over the loss of Robin Williams.

It seems so odd that I would feel such grief over someone I did not personally know.  I know many grieve this loss, and deeply so.

So this morning I stopped and asked, why does this affect me so?

He connected with my soul.

There was something in Robin Williams, the characters he brought to life, that connected with something in me.  He made us laugh indeed, but his dramatic performances also made us feel, there was such an authenticity in his characters.   Some of my favorite films were Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, Awakenings.   Some of his roles were not exactly where I stand on my values and convictions, so I can't endorse everything ethically and morally.  Sadly and obviously, the spiritual state and direction of our culture is expressed in the arts.  Yet as an actor, he was able to embody and connect us to the cry of the human soul; he voiced, questioned, made us feel, ask and laugh.  He bridged souls, hearts and emotion.

But maybe it was his deep pain and loneliness that truly connected us all. He laughed and was a delight, as there was a gentle, touchable soul behind his blue eyes.  He seemed to be the kind of person who could be that friend you could enjoy a long walk on the beach with, or sit silently in the backyard to watch the stars.  He was so transparent over the pain behind the humor, we could have been transparent right back.

Many years ago, I saw a clip from a stand-up act he did, within the few minutes of his routine, he made a very crass joke about our human form and design.  He mocked The Creator's design.  In that moment, I saw such agony and anger in him, towards God.  A sad soul, searching, asking, demanding and lost, laughing through the pain.

I saw the anguish of his soul and my heart broke for him.

I don't know if Williams ever really saw or heard his Creator as a Redeemer, Savior, Lord, but he hurt, so he made it funny.  We laughed along, maybe because we identify with the pain.

My heart breaks now as I know he has stepped through the veil of eternity, facing his Creator now.   The One who designed him, wonderfully and uniquely.  His Maker did hear, did see, and does love him.

He Loves You, and sees and hears...

I prayed for Williams over the years.  The day before hearing of his death, I had a random moment in which he came to my mind and I prayed, or I think I prayed, for him.  I wish I would have prayed more.

Now I pray for his family and all of us left who feel such deep grief as I.

And I must rest the unknown in my Makers arms, and trust eternity with God who is compassionate and gracious, full of mercy and truth.  He alone is God, and there is none other than He.

"But You, O LORD, are a God full of compassion and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in mercy and truth." Psalm 86:17

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gifts of Summer

Good Morning!

It's a lovely quiet morning, and I am soaking in every little second of being home, on a Tuesday, with no real demands, agenda, project, job or responsibilities screaming down my neck.  For now, that is... and I love it.

I even slept well last night.  Which is a gift, since REST is from the Lord.  Yes, I must admit anxious nightmares have been flickering through my nights, stirring me to action, as school is about to start up again.  It's my minds way of dealing with fear of "oh no, it's just around the corner" and I will have to face the end of these lovely do-what-I-want-to-do days in a week.

What a gift this summer has been! It has been a full, very productive, eventful, surprising summer!  From summer house projects, family time, reconnecting with old friends, trips all over, meeting and making new friends, to leisure mornings like today: Thank YOU Jesus for refreshing my soul!

"Refreshing" is the word that my soul has repeated when asked how my summer has been, a refreshing gift!

My soul indeed has been replenished with each day.  I desired to spend special time with Him, and I did cut out a few days to go away, seclude myself in a private, other-than-home destination, a place called "Whispering Willows" yet the whole summer was wrapped in His love.  I just wanted to share and rejoice over His goodness to me.

One thing that has been rising like air bubbles from the depths of my soul, is a settled joy over where I am.  So much of my life I have felt as if I was on a daunting search for where I belonged.  I have lacked a true sense of belonging that I just assumed that was embedded in me, and I would not feel at home until Heaven, which is partly true.  Yet, I love that I feel like I belong here, right now.

Sure, there are a few things I would still love to come to fruition: a more formal use of my counseling degree which would utilize the gifts God has given me more fully, meeting the love of my life and marriage, to list a few.  But, God is over all that, and He is drawing me deeper into His arms of love, His sure hold on my life, and He is sovereignly working out all these things.

Funny how He gives us hope for these things, in the oddest of moments.  One morning as I was doing whatever I needed to do around the house, I was in the bathroom, picking up or cleaning or something not-to-personal and His whisper came, "In a moment I can do it."  Of course, my mind was thinking on "when will You bring him into my life..."  I can still see the towel rack, the edge of the shower curtain, the place my feet were planted, as He put this knowledge into my being, like living knowledge.  That kind of whisper that gives you a solid place to stand, and doubt just vanishes.

I love His Whispers...

How else did He refresh me?  Glad you asked! 

This would be my affectionate nephew Colby!
I love this boy!  Next time I see him he will be all grown up!
The Lord brought people my way this summer!  Family, of course, was a blessing.  I spent a week in Florida, limiting my contact with mostly family.  It was definitely a sweet treat to my heart. What a gift to have siblings who share a deep love of Jesus, live for Him and share the spiritual blessings of peace and joy.  I don't take this for granite!
Here I am in Iowa with Seth!
I have never been (except when I was in Africa) in such a rural place.
The Lord also brought some very dear, old friends around and through my summer.  I have a wide sphere of friends, and some are far away, sporadically connecting, but what joy and blessing they are to me!
 new friend, Allison and old friend, Danielle
Something new also developed this summer in the arena of friends; close neighbor friends!  I have a lovely group of friends in the area yet I have longed to have friends within walking distance.  This summer several new friends have popped up within blocks of my house!  I love that I can go for a walk and spend an hour or so with someone just over the hill, and no car is required!
Sailing with my new friend Mia!

I completed a few projects this summer as well.  I am going to create separate posts for those. This post is long enough as it is.  So, stay tuned!

So, I worked on house projects, spend time with family and friends, and loved life this summer, resting my mind from the worries of the school year behind me.

I love His Refreshing Gifts to me this summer.... Free days, Family, Friends, and fun... :-)