Saturday, June 6, 2009

He Gives Us What We Need Just When We Need It

How many times have you heard someone say that to you ~ God gives us what we need in His timing ~ just when we need it? And it's true you know ~ our Father admonishes us to wait upon Him. That is so hard some times ~ especially if you are needing him to move NOW! But does He ever let us down? No. Every time He pulls through in His own timing and in His own way. And that is what I want to share with you today ~ how my Heavenly Father once again moved so profoundly and definitely that there was no doubt that I knew His will.

Less than one week ago my house sold ~ and it had only been on the market 1 day when we received word that an offer was coming. Within 4 days an acceptable offer was on the table and I have begun the process of saying farewell to the old home place ~ something I had no intentions of doing ~ because I had figured that I would finish out my life here. And that's what I get for "figuring." God doesn't like us "comfortable" and that is exactly what I had become. Very comfortable. It is a home that my husband and I had designed and built together. We had raised our children here. I had home schooled several years here. Many many memories are stored up within these walls. It is the largest home I have ever lived in and yet I do recall many a time thinking that it required entirely too much work to take care of ~ it knocked me out of a church activity or visitation many a time. And while I'm not saying that it is impossible to have a large home and still have time for the Lord ~ I am saying that with the autoimmune disease that I battle it was certainly the case for me. It takes a lot of time and energy to clean a home this size.

Extenuating circumstances have brought me to this place I now find myself in. So while it has been difficult to even think about leaving my home I have also been very nervous about where I would move to. At this time it is needful to consider short-term rental property ~ and those two terms (short-term and rental) don't usually describe too many properties to rent. Folk want at least a one year lease.

So two days ago I set out to check on the rental property in my hometown. The problem is that it is a very small town - and most folk don't rent. I knew that it was not going to be an easy task. At about 4:00 p.m. I decided to hang it up. There was little to choose from and what there was to consider was expensive, required us to live above and beside other families (something I was not used to after living in the country for 13+ years), did not allow pets, and didn't even have a yard to play catch in. The prospects were sobering. And then..... God moved.

My sister had driven a different path than usual to go to town that day and had passed a home that appeared to be empty ~ she said she wasn't even sure why she took that path ~ but we now know it was part of God's plan. This is no ordinary house - it actually sits on the property of the Mill Springs Battlefield Association beside the Brown Lanier Home (which is the home you see pictured above). It's one of those historical Civil War sites that has been preserved. This house sits on its property near by and they rent it out to generate revenue for the association. My sister wasn't even sure if it was empty but I told her I had nothing to lose by looking. Not only was it empty (and it had just become empty less than a week before) ~ no one had rented it yet ~ it was surrounded by countryside where our cats could roam ~ the rent was cheap ~ a garden plot in the back has already been tilled (I surely love to garden and can the vegetables) ~ a location that puts me very close to where my daughter will attend Christian school this fall ~ and there is more than enough yard for my daughter to get out and play her sports. It was and continues to be simply amazing. God gave me what I needed ~ just when I needed it ~ and above and beyond what I expected.
Why do we doubt Him? When we know that He owns the cattle on a thousand hill ~ why do we doubt Him? Thank you Lord for giving me what I needed just when I needed it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Foggy Days

As I progress through Patsy Clairmont's Dancing Bones I am reminded that God will not give us more than we can handle at any given time. She uses the analogy of fog and and its heavy barrier ~ how it prevents us from seeing beyond a certain point ~ and how life is like that. We cannot see beyond a certain point. Were we able to do so, I believe it would be more than our very brains could handle. Patsy says, We can rest in the confidence that no matter what fog bank we end up in, God will care for us, in time liberate us from it, and use our tragedies for higher purposes than we could ever imagine - that is a greater plan. A plan of provision, of liberation, of redemption."

I had to laugh within myself when she talked about why we ask "why" about things that happen to us. She reminded her readers that we think if we knew "why" something had happened that it would help to end the struggle. And yet we know that this is not the case. And even if we did know the "why" of something we would still object vehemently. She believes our "whys" are ways of ranting because life isn't the way we want it to be. God does have a divine plan ~ He does hold His own in the palm of His hand. It is called trusting.

I know, for me, that the "fog of fear" can often walk with hardships and trials. Clairmont comments on this and says, "I wonder, if the disciple Peter hadn't peered through the fog of fear, would he have walked around on the water with Jesus, enjoying the waves instead of sinking in his insecurities? Perhaps if Peter's vision had been clear of fear after Christ was arrested, he would have defended Christ instead of denying him. What do you think? What fogs your vision? Insecurities? Fears? List them. Use the list to create a new prayer emphasis in your life." She encourages her readers to look up the word "fear" in a concordance and follow that "ribbon of thought" through the Bible. And then memorize the verses that "dance off the page." Let the Word of God be the greatest comfort to you.

More times than not we are in valleys. Clairmont encourages her readers to look at our lives and appreciate what is good ~ trust God to see us through the bad ~ and be thankful for the foggy distance and that we can't quite see what lies ahead. That is God's mercy and love and kindness at work. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Valley of Bones

In Ezekiel 37, the account is given how God supernaturally transported Ezekiel to a valley which lay covered in dry bones. I can only imagine what was running through his mind when that happened. Patsy Clairmont writes in her book, Dancing Bones, "The sight before him made it clear this was no picnic." God then asked him (verse 3) if the bones could live and Ezekiel’s response was priceless when he said "O Lord God, thou knowest." Clairmont says "I wish I could grab hold of the truth in that answer for my life so that when trials come, I don’t immediately assume all is gloom and doom. Instead I could be rest assured that God knows what he is doing, even if it looks like a hopeless, lifeless situation to me." Amen Mrs.Clairmont.

How often do we take our eyes off of God and dwell upon the circumstances. I know I'm guilty.

God then says Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye drybones, hear the word of the Lord. Clairmont says, "What I’ve found most helpful in keeping the rhythm of life oozing within me is the same thing Ezekiel used in his valley of bones to rouse such a great army ~ O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!" If you have lost your enthusiasm for life, if you are thirsty within thevalley you walk, if your faith is waivering are you reading God's Word. Clairmont encourages us to"delve into the life-giving, bone-lubricating truths of scripture." Well said Patsy Clairmont ~ well said.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More On Clairmont's Dancing Bones

‘Life ain’t no picnic!’ How many times have you heard that? Or what about‘no pain no gain?’ And then there is ‘if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ Patsy Clairmont opens her second chapter of "Dancing Bones"with these old sayings. She says "We’ve all been told that the ‘school of hard knocks’ is part of life, but if you’re like me, crushing blows still catch you off guard, leave you speechless, and at times rob you of your very breath." Clairmont isn’t too fond of any of those sayings. Why? Because they don’t make us feel any better.

She shares that in the valley’s of life "where bees nest and poison ivy spreads" ~ that as long as you brace yourself for those upcoming painful experiences that you can better "safeguard your heart from disillusionment." She also points out that though there are hard times ~ good can be found even among the bees and poison ivy. An analogy she makes is that of fruit. Fruit does not grow in high elevations on mountain peaks but rather it grows in the lower elevations ~ the valleys of life. And she encourages us to remember that we can partake of this luscious, juicy fruit even in the hard times. Hardships don’t have to always be about lemons, or pain, or hard knocks.

Scripture repeatedly tells us to prepare for hardships ~ it is a given that they will be a part of our lives. So don’t miss the view while you are there. Clairmont says to "spread a gingham cloth in a valley of clover and picnic on the Lord’s kind mercies in the midst of heartbreak and disappointment. For in the shade of his presence, we experience Christ’s tender care for our bruised emotions." The view from the valley doesn’t have to be a bad one.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Patsy Clairmont's Dancing Bones

Have you ever read the book Dancing Bones by Patsy Clairmont? Goodness sakes ~ it is one of her greatest works. She bases her writing on Ezekiel 37: 1-10. (If you move the cursor over the reference, the verses will pop up for you to read). She uses the term "dance" throughout the book to symbolize a happier walk through life despite diversity ~ despite the valleys that we often find ourselves in.

She says "Have you ever read Ezekiel 37? It talks about a whole valley full of folks who’d lost their rhythm. It seems these people had the "dance" knocked out of them until they crumbled into a heap of bones on the valley floor. That’s why I think it’s worth spending a little time looking at the valley in Ezekiel ~ and our own valleys."

At this point Patsy welcomes her readers to ‘valley experience’ ~ the place where we meet Reality ~ the place where we look up to the mountain top where we can hopefully escape all the hardships of the valley. And yet we know it really isn’t like that. Most of our life is spent in a valley of some sort. And so Patsy puts it this way ~ "I’m excited about the valley living and let me tell you why. From the mountain top I can see an eagle soar, but I’ve learned that in the valley I can hear a sparrow sing. On the mountain I see trees like canopies, but in the valley I can sit in their shade and eat of their fruit. On the mountain I see lakes like small mirrors, but in the valley I can touch the reflections and ladle the water to my parched lips. On the summit I see people like walking sticks, but in the valley I can trace a child’s face and dab away tears."

She encourages her readers that we won’t always hear the music in the valley but even during those dark times we can have the "dance" of faith ~ for valleys can be be very rich with life. Stay tuned for chapter two!