Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to Baca

Today I was in store for a very special surprise. Not the kind where you jump up and down with excitement and elation. But the surprise of finding where your heart is and the urgent call to visit the valley of weeping once again on behalf of another.

Last year I had two miscarriages which happened about 3 months apart. It was the most painful time of my life. To me it was as if I had lost one of my living children. Eight months have gone by and not a day goes passes that I do not think of those two little angels who are thriving in Heaven. Time is healing the pain but some days the grief comes as an unexpected visitor.

However, today the Lord had something in mind that would open my heart to another's pain. Believe me, I felt the sting for another as I have never before experienced. Maybe the Lord gave me a little glimpse or "prick" in my heart of how He truly aches for us and the deeper reality that He not only understands our sorrows, but he feels them as if they were His own. He claims every pain. He weeps in the deep recesses of His heart for his beloved.

My phone rang this afternoon and I found myself talking with the sweetest young lady who had lost her baby a month ago. The little boy was 19 weeks gestation because the mother's cervix was incompetent. They named the baby Caleb and he lived for an hour and a half after he was born. My heart stung with sorrow as this precious woman poured her distress out. We agreed to meet next week and I want to give her God's love. I am so happy that I can give her something...I can give her comfort, encouragement, gifts, and most of all love. I have cried all afternoon for this precious woman. God loves us so much. We so often underestimate the depth of His feelings for us. He truly captures every tear and treasures them as priceless gems.

Thank you again Lord for sorrows. God, I cannot love in sincerity unless I have tasted the sting of death, loss and disappointment. Love means more to you than anything Lord. It is so obvious. Oh the valleys formed within our being through tremendous aches that only form a space to drink in Your love. The beauty of Your ways God...overwhelm me with awe and wonder. Incredible Lover and Hero of My soul.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mystical Beauty

We arrived home from our housing visit in Phoenix Sunday. I am still in a strange daze as my mind keeps wandering back to those strange mountains. Never have I experienced anything like this unique area of the United States.

As we were flying over Arizona toward the city, the thickness of the mountain terrain seemed eternal. Then suddenly we were upon a flat, dusty and widespread landscape: the city of Phoenix. It was like nothing I have ever seen. The last time I flew was 16 years ago when we lived in California for 3 months. Therefore, my face was pressed against the plane window like an excited little girl. I felt the smile and delight of God.

As we were getting ready to land in the "Valley of the Sun", I felt the Lord whisper, "This is your new land. This land is your land." Immediately I fell in love with this mystical city.

Every street traveled there holds wondrous views of mountains. These hills are nothing like the mountains in the east. They are all rocky and jagged. Every afternoon, white fluffy clouds settle over the mountains. It is as if God Himself is taking a seat on the peaks to watch over the city. I felt His presence so intensely there. I thought continually of Moses and God on the mountain of Sinai.

The land there is dirt, dirt, dirt! However there exists an unusual beauty. One cannot help but fall in love with the uniqueness of the land. The tallest trees are palm trees. There is tumbleweed and cactus. The blooms are breathtaking. Everywhere you look are flowers and blooms. The sky is of the bluest hue I have ever seen and the palm trees look majestic against the aqua sky.

The people there are of such diversity...much like here in Atlanta. The woman who checked us to to our hotel was from the Republic of Georgia. She was beautiful. She liked me!! HA HA!!! I believe people will listen to me in Phoenix when I share about Jesus! They loved my accent and I loved theirs.

The city is indeed mystical. I am looking forward to digging in and discovering the mysteries of this unusual land. I felt such a peace there. Yet the Lord showed us that there are many poor in spirit in this city. I will be writing more about this new adventure. We are truly leaping with the Lord and know there are many more exciting excursions ahead.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Valley of the Sun

You never know what tomorrow holds. However, we serve and follow an adventurous God. I never imagined five years ago that I would be living in Atlanta, Georgia. Five years later we find ourselves preparing to move 1600 miles across the United States to Phoenix,Arizona. Talk about suddenly! Three weeks ago we were wondering if God had forgotten us. Now we feel we are being swept up in a strong yet tender wind; swept away to a land we have never seen. I am excited about the adventure ahead. Oh to be carried by God while He is running! It is so fun. My energy level is better than ever. I find myself excited and laughing a lot...rolling on the floor and playing with my kids. I feel like a kid again. Something has changed and I am changing. Praise the Lord!

We will travel to Phoenix in our 15 passenger van. It will be three day trip and will drive across several states we have never set foot in. Hopefully we will stop along the way and enjoy some sights. We will pack fun snacks and games to have in the van. However, I will miss my oldest. He has a job here and has decided to stay. He has been with me just about every day for 18 years. It is time to let go of him. I have released him to God and peace fills my soul.

Here are some neat things I have learned about Phoenix.

-Half of the population of the entire state of Arizona is in Phoenix. In fifty years, the city has grown from 100,000 persons to 3 million.

-The cost of living in Phoenix is cheaper than the national average.

-More than 4 out of 10 persons who live in Phoenix say their personal quality of life has improved over the past year.

-Three out of ten people say there are too many people and one out of seven say it is too hot. People have been saying that since 1880.

-Phoenix is only 4 hours from San Diego. Many Phoenicians go to the beaches there for vacation.

-The summers are hot! Usually topping out at 120 degrees. But the humidity is low. In the winter the coolest day is usually around 68 to 70 degrees.

-Phoenix averages about 211 days of sunshine a year. An additional 85 days are only partly cloudy. That leaves only about 69 days of clouds or rain.

-Phoenix does not observe day light savings time.

-Some people leave soft, cushioned furniture outside. It stays nice and does not get moldy because there is not much humidity.

-Citrus trees are very popular. You can grow grass and beautiful flowers there. Foliage thrives there and it is like this all year around.

These are just a few tidbits I have learned about Phoenix. We will be visiting there this weekend. I will tell you more when we come back. Off we go to the "Valley of the Sun"!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Evening Thought

When you find your purpose and your passion, you will have to go through some pain. You know the phrase, "No Pain, No gain" This is so true in life. However, if you want to do God's work in serving Him and others, He will allow you to suffer. You will go through situations where you will question your own faith. You will go through circumstances where it feels like He has left you alone. You will experience gut wrenching heart ache because the people you thought you could trust and count on are judging you and ignoring you. Accusations will be poured upon you. They cannot see your heart.There will be at least one cross road in every believer's life where you will be tempted to turn away from God. I have been tempted lately..but for some reason I find myself more obsessed with my God. I love Him so....simple as that.

Sorry folks..I hate to sound cynical. But this is the honest truth. You know Jesus says that if you want to be His disciple you should count the cost, pick up your cross and follow Him. That is the only way.

But you know what? I would not trade the pain and the tests for anything. Do you know why? Because my pride is being broken...we all have it whether we want to admit it or not. And I can really and truly feel the pain of others. This is the crown of life and God is giving it to me. Not because I am so great and do everything right. But because I have hurt and felt alone and I can still love others with real depth. That can only be Him in me. The wounds of life are allowed by our Maker so that we may drink in His love. When the wounds are filled with that love, I am prepared to pour out to others. No this is not a working of my own, but a craft of the Maker of my heart.

One day I will have so much more to give others. But I will keep giving my love to the Lover of my soul. I will press on to give to others even in my lack. I will give in my pain. There is always someone hurting more than me and I will find them, whether in my house or across the street. Thank you Lord for setting me up for greater things. Thank you for moving me as You move. I feel so swaddled in your presence. I could not ask for more at this moment. The greatest blessings are mine. Thank you God for teaching me to feel deeply and for teaching me to let go of what I think I need in order that I may share with others. I am looking forward to the blessings ahead...I will have much and I will continue to love without reserve. And best of all...all the credit goes to YOU GOD!!! HALLELUJAH!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Embrace of Grace

Twenty four years ago today I was a 19 year old girl in love with a sweet 20 year old guy. Twenty four years later I am a 43 year old woman in love with the same special but now 45 year old man. Today is our twenty fourth wedding anniversary. In looking back and remembering, I do not know how we made it through some of the tough and rough spots. However, the embrace of grace has held us. The embrace of grace has sustained us, humbled us, softened us, and blessed us. I would not trade the man I married for anyone else. I love you John. Happy Anniversary! Ange