Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Two Cents…

October 29, 2017

Last Thursday, I shopped at a Dallas area grocery store that has a kosher market. I posted a picture on social media that included all my incredible finds! I filled each frame of the collage with some of my favorite items from Israel. I had a blast, and couldn’t believe I was in America! But there was one image (more like video) that didn’t make the posted frame, and it’s been reeling in my memory non-stop.

I was in the self check out lane when I realized I didn’t have my rewards card with me (you know, the plastic card that gives you all the discounts, etc). self checkoutSo, I asked the guys who were checking out in front of me if I could use their card. One of them smiled, and came over right away to offer a helping hand. Or so I thought. He was friendly at first, and proceeded to punch in his telephone number so I could get my discount. That’s when things changed. His smile faded and he looked at me with total disgust and said, “You know, it’s really ridiculous that you don’t have a discount card, by the way…” Once I picked my jaw up off the ground, I managed to say, “I rarely ever shop here. There’s not one of these stores near me.” He smirked and made some kind of chuckling sound as he rolled his eyes and walked away.

I bagged up my items, laughed to myself as I walked to my car, and whispered, “God…did that REALLY just happen?!” As I got in my car, I prayed, “Oh, NO…I will NOT pick up an offense from this! But God…I really feel like there’s a lesson for me here. Will you help me see it?” I continued to pray all the way home as the offense kept wanting to rise up in my spirit. That’s when the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “Leigh-Taylor, this isn’t about offense…or even what happened in that moment. It’s about how you and most others want to have the last word. You feel the need to add your two cents.”

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I thought about that for a moment. I reflected back on how this guy could’ve just blessed me with his smile and his rewards card, but instead he had to insert his opinion. And that whole encounter based on the negativity of his “two cents” threatened to steal the joy I had felt moments earlier over my imported Israeli finds. And the raw truth? I, too, offer my opinions more oft than I should. Let the teachable moment begin!

I got home and started putting groceries away, when my mind drifted to the biblical account of the widow and her two mites. Since I had heard the words “two cents” from God, I thought that train of thought seemed logical. So, I went to that passage of scripture in Luke 21. I had been thinking maybe there was something about that story God wanted to drive home…but I kept reading, and that’s where I found the treasure He wanted me to unearth. Luke 21:14-19 says: So make up your minds not to prepare ahead of time to defend yourselves—for I Myself will give you speech and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute….by your endurance, you will gain your souls.” stand firm

In that passage of scripture, the disciples had been asking Yeshua (Jesus) about the end times, the destruction of the temple, and signs they should be anticipating to let them know the time was near. There are so many parallels to the season we’re in and the instruction and wisdom of Jesus to warn us against the need to defend ourselves. In my example above, I felt the need to defend myself against why this guy thought I was being “ridiculous” in not having my own rewards card. In return, I answered out of my own strength, and the need to prove my case and defend myself. Just as I was being critical of the man for giving me his unsolicited opinion, it dawned on me as I read the scripture that I had done the exact same thing…given my two cents…from a place of defense. Words have power. And if we will wait on the Lord and allow Him to defend us and allow Him to give us words at the right time, we don’t have to worry about losing anything. In fact, we stand to GAIN everything!

So, dear ones, rest today. When others give you their two cents, throw it in the bank and collect the interest by keeping your mouth shut. Trust that God will go before you and give you the words you need, and that He’ll let you know the right time in which to release them.

That’s just my two cents… (smile).

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Tasty Tuesday!

January 4, 2017

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I’ve had this idea for a couple weeks now to have a feature on my blog where I highlight a meal (recipe with pics, etc), & call it “Tasty Tuesday” (& run a feature on Friday & call it “Fearless Friday“). The only problem regarding today’s post is I ran late getting home following a meeting I had in Dallas. So, I considered doing a feature at a restaurant instead of cooking tonight. That way, I wouldn’t always have to prepare a “homemade” meal on Tuesday nights, I could mix my attempts with the pros! However, I really didn’t want to eat out tonight since I went grocery shopping yesterday. Ugh… Decisions, decisions.

And then it happened. I was tempted to feel like a failure on freaking JANUARY 3rd of the new year! Wow…the enemy wastes no time in bringing discouragement in the form of doubts & those pesky little things called “feelings”!

Well, I dug in my heels, and said, “No. I’m not going there.” And I decided I’d assess the food situation at home.

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Hot Mess Express!

My sole purpose in wanting to create “Tasty Tuesday” & “Fearless Friday” is to bring encouragement as we all learn to operate out of a place of fun, creativity, and courage. I knew right then I just wanted to drop the facade of perfection I can lean into, & just have FUN with it (while taking care of my hunger pangs….”hangry” really is a thing, y’all)!

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Gettin’ Fancy

Tonight, I made a peanut butter & honey sandwich, sliced up a pear, & added some veggie stick chips. I poured a cold glass of milk, & set my table. But I took it a step further….instead of using a paper plate or ordinary dishes, I used my CHINA! I also cut the sandwich into triangles to make it more “fancy”, and I found myself laughing while plating it all like a Master Chef…haha! The lemon lavender cookies were the perfect sweet ending, too.

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Lemon Lavender Cookies

And not just because Disney made a popular song out of that phrase, but because you’ll gain your life back, or find one you never knew existed…one that YOU were destined to live! And you’ll even have FUN making it fabulous!

Tonight, I’m thankful for the sweetest honey found on Whidbey Island, WA…it truly made my sandwich EXTRAordinary. And I’m also thankful for God’s help in taking the negative thoughts captive…the muscle of self discipline I’m learning to exercise is growing, and that’s both empowering and faith building.

 

Here’s to TASTY TUESDAY, & all the new beginnings & fresh revelations of 2017!

 

Word of the Year for 2017!

January 1, 2017

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I love the NEW YEAR! A fresh start. A clean slate. Promises to take hold of are just within reach. I love soaking in the positivity and peace most people are expressing and pouring out in written and spoken word. It’s lovely while it lasts!

To get to my word of the year, I have to tell you a little bit about my THEME of the year! 2017 is a year that will contain a big milestone birthday for me: 40. Yep, the big “4-0”. I’ve never been one to be bothered by my age, and find it kind of interesting when I hear people talk about birthdays that “bother” them. My Mamaw always said, “Well, what’s the alternative?” But when I started thinking about turning 40 years old, I realized that what bothers me is not the number, but rather the things still left undone. Hopes not yet realized, places not yet visited, and goals not yet reached (or even written down for that matter). The sand in the hourglass seems to be falling more quickly, and it makes my heart race, and my brain send impulses frenetically that seem to be saying, “You need to complete a lifetime’s worth of stuff in 12 months. Got it?!” So rather than succumb to a midlife crisis, and throw all caution to the wind and suddenly move to an island with no job or home, I decided to be intentional in looking at this next year and creating a theme. Forty: Fearless, Fit, and Fabulous! I want to be FEARLESS in every area of my life. The spirit of fearlessfear and unbelief tend to hang out together. They’re buddies. And they’re two “frenemies” that I’ve decided to kick out of my circle. I have no place for them in my life anymore. I want to be FIT in every area of my life…body, soul, and spirit. I need to be intentional about self care. I’ve allowed neglect & abuse to rule the roost and that’s poor stewardship. And it’s absurd that I would choose the things I have when God says, “I want to give you ABUNDANT life, Leigh-Taylor. One that overflows!” So, that’s what I’m choosing….overflowing, abundance that saturates every realm of who I am. And then there’s FABULOUS! I want to do special things this year that make it truly fabulous, and a year that stands out from among the others in my memory. Because travel feeds my soul, I know it will include some fun getaways and trips, but I also want to find the fabulousness in the normal day to day living, too.

So, because of this great theme I’ve been excited about I thought FEARLESS would be my word. It seemed like a natural fit to me. But that’s just it….it’s what “I” thought it should be. I didn’t prayerfully receive it like I did my other words. On Christmas Eve, I was thinking through how I wanted the upcoming year to be different, and I invited God to speak into it. That’s when the word entered my mind in big, block letters: BE. I knew instantly that it was my word for 2017. Then, immediately following that picture i saw in my mind, the cover of our devotional book that we’re using at Gateway Church for our corporate fast popped up on the screen: Created to Be.

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This is the graphic I saw on the screen at Gateway Church!

I came home, and immediately started thinking about verses and two popped into my mind. The first one was Psalm 46:10, “BE still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” I thought, “This is ridiculous, Lord. I’m the one telling everyone I know about what You’ve done in my life through Shabbat, through REST! Don’t I have this whole “being still” thing down?” I paused instantly, and knew down deep in my spirit that I didn’t practice “being still” in ways that had brought about total refinement. My quick, haughty response was my first clue! So, I’ve decided this definitely was one of my verses for the year. I want to BE still and know that He is God….whether I know anything else, I don’t care. For me, that will be enough. Also, I want to see God BE exalted among the nations and BE exalted in the earth! I’ll see that done in new and fresh ways as I focus on BEing still.

joshua-1-9-imageThe other verse is from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? BE strong and courageous! Do not be afraid.; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” So many “be’s” y’all!! While that does in fact make my heart happy, the verse came to mind because of that first BE. I did some studying and found that the Hebrew word chazak is the word used there and means “strength and courage” (& there are 3 repetitions of it in that section of Scripture). The Israelites would shout it while advancing into battle. It was their battle cry, their war hymn…their anthem! I want chazak…and that will come as I BE…and as I declare it to BE!

So there you have it, folks. My word of the year for 2017. As you can see, there’s much to unpack. There will be a lot of unnatural discipline required to just BE. But I am declaring that I’m up for the challenge! Chazak!

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Rerouting

April 16, 2016

Have you ever looked up an address on your GPS, looked at the overview and thought, “Oh, yeah….I know where that is.” But “just in case” you leave the GPS on. You know, “just in case” your memory isn’t what it used to be!

I needed to get my car alignment checked, and corrected. When I got new tires a month or so ago, I was warned the alignment was off, and I needed to get it checked or it would ruin my new tires in the same way it trashed my old ones.

Having the day off, I thought I should take the opportunity to actually take care of this issue since I’ve already put it off, and the noise from the tires was getting louder. So, I put in the name of the recommended automotive repair shop, looked at the GPS directions, and uttered those familiar words: “Oh, yeah…I know where that is.”  And just like that, I took off. After all, I knew where I was going.

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Well, after being warned by GPS to make several U turns, make a left turn here, a right turn there, I started second guessing myself.

Sigh.

Maybe I DON’T know where I’m going after all!

I had this thought, “Maybe I’ll just follow the GPS instructions, and see what happens.”

I STILL thought the crazy thing was wrong until I had this realization: I mixed up the two streets, Lebanon and Eldorado. The truth was I DIDN’T know where I was going, but I would’ve bet everything I had that I was right. And I’d be homeless if I did wager a dime! I was WAY wrong!

Because of my “certainty”, I lost precious time getting…well, LOST. If I just would’ve trusted and listened to my GPS in the first place, I would’ve GAINED a few things like time, patience, & peace instead of LOSING those very things!

It was at that moment, when I realized my mistake, that I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “You do the same thing with me sometimes, Leigh-Taylor.”

Ouch.

More sighs.

“You’re right God.”

The truth is sometimes I’ll receive a directive from God, and take off thinking, “Oh, yeah. I know where I’m going.” I know Proverbs 16:19 says, “Man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

216969d584656bb2918624a74e033389And sometimes like my trip today, I ignore the first time His voice tells me to make a U turn, or take a right, left, etc. I keep going my own way, thinking I know best. But then something stirs. A knowing deep in my spirit that something isn’t right, and that I need to pay attention to the Voice I hear.

Oh, the time wasted, the frustration felt, and the peace lost all in the name of doing thing MY way instead of His!

I’m thankful for teachable moments like these that come from hearing that still small voice from a merciful God that gently corrected me and gave me deep insight into something more than getting my car back into alignment.

It was a spiritual check up that revealed pride and busyness were throwing off my alignment with the Father.

I’m so thankful for a gracious God who ALWAYS knows where He’s taking us, and we can trust His directions!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

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Good Gifts

January 10, 2016

This morning I decided to go to church in my pajamas. But don’t worry! While my flannel pj’s ARE cute, I didn’t show up at a church building in them. No, instead, I stayed in bed and live streamed the service on my lap top. It was such a gift to enjoy the best of both worlds: Sabbath rest AND getting to hear the message about the PERSON of the Holy Spirit.

While I really enjoyed the whole message, and could probably write a blog post about several points made by Pastor Robert Morris, the one thing in particular he mentioned that got my attention was about how he asks God for a birthday gift every year.

I sat up and thought, “NO WAY! I thought I was the only one that did that!”

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Nearly four years ago now, my grandmother moved to heaven. I had a really special bond with my “Mamaw” as I was born on her 50th birthday. My first birthday without her was so painful. I missed her very much. I found myself on the floor beside my bed, that first year without her, crying and asking the Lord how that day could ever be special again. He said, “Leigh-Taylor, this day IS special. In fact, I have a birthday gift for you. Can I give it to you now?”

I choked back my sobs. God had a birthday gift for me??

“Sure, Lord…what is it?!?” I responded.

“Open your Bible,” He said.

And so I did. My Bible opened to Psalm 37 and immediately my eyes went to verses 5 & 6. It reads: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

What I didn’t mention before is that I was in a situation at the time where a major wrong was committed against me. While I had the support of many people around me, I felt like I needed affirmation from the Lord that He was my Defender, and that I could trust Him for true justice. On my birthday, this couldn’t have been a sweeter gift! Shortly after this promise was given to me, the Lord proved my case, and I was able to close that painful chapter in my life.

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Sea of Galilee

 

Well, my birthday this year was extra special. I got to spend it in ISRAEL! I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and couldn’t wait to spend time with God. I was staying in a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee. I laughed and told God, “Hurry up! Make the sun rise!” *smile* It was the second time in my life I heard God laugh…and it was good. I found a quiet spot on a VERY LOW bench along the shore of the Galilee, and watched the sky lighten up over time while I listened quietly to praise and worship music.

At one point, I got up and made my way over to the water. There was a broken down “pier” of sorts. I decided to sit on the end of it. The mock pier was just high enough out of the water to where my pants wouldn’t get soaked from sitting on it, but I was basically sitting on a pallet in the water!

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Birthday Gift #1

I said to God, “Ok, what do You have for me this year? What’s my gift going to be?” I was so eager and expectant. I only waited a couple minutes before I heard, “Look down, and pick up that shell.” So, I looked down, reached my hand between the wooden slats of the pallet, and picked up a shell that had a plain brown outer covering but a beautiful inner lining that was revealed when I turned it over.

At that moment the Lord spoke again, and said, “Leigh-Taylor, today is going to be a day of gifts for you!”

My heart was full of joy, anticipation, and expectancy after hearing those words. I realized after a few minutes that my face hurt from smiling!

And it was true. It really was a day of GIFTS! I got a beautiful shell, was sung to by my traveling group, went to Beit She’an & saw incredible views of various mountain ranges, got baptized in the Jordan River where a rainbow appeared along with five white doves, and went into Jerusalem & saw the city for the first time!

All those things are gifts in and of themselves, but God always multiplies His gifts. There were treasure troves at each of those places, and nuggets of wisdom that He spoke to me along the way.

While I love the connection that Pastor Robert and I have made to asking the Lord for a birthday gift on our earthly birthdays, I know there are people out there who think or feel God may have a gift for them, but He doesn’t have one for me. I want to tell you that’s a lie! He DOES have a gift for you. It starts with Jesus, the ULTIMATE gift, and if you ask Him today for a gift and wait patiently before Him, I believe wholeheartedly there’s a unique special gift from God just for you!

So ask Him today. He’s the ultimate gift giver. And He always gives GOOD GIFTS!

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Word of the Year 2016

January 1, 2016

Every year, I prayerfully receive a word of the year from God. For 2015, it was BEHOLD. That word has come to be so precious to me. At one point, I thought maybe I would keep the same word. I wasn’t ready to let go of it. But that’s when God reminded me to keep holding all things loosely…even my words of the year. I want every area surrendered to the Lord, and for there to be nothing between us.

2015 was filled with many great adventures, but my trip to Israel was by far the greatest. It was there that God laid the foundation for the word He would give me for 2016.

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Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) to be all that life changing for me. I had printed out a prayer that a friend had sent me, and last minute on the outside of the paper I scribbled a prayer that said, “God, release your promises here, and beyond. Amen.” Something like that anyway… I thought I’d go say a quick prayer, shove the piece of paper into the wall, and go on with our tour. We were told we had 20 minutes before we needed to move on.

 

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Prayers in the Wailing Wall

Our group had just been to the Upper Room, and one of our pastors had given his testimony about what God did in his life at the Wailing Wall. He encouraged us to be open to whatever the Holy Spirit had for us there. He anointed us with oil, and off we went. I believe our pastor’s testimony released the Spirit of Prophecy for God to “do it again”….to bring healing and direction. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen.

 

 

I took a few pictures in front in the courtyard, and when I was ready, I approached the wall. I stood there praying for a minute then I leaned in and placed my forehead on the wall. That’s when something happened. I saw a freeze frame of my life memories, and one particularly painful memory was frozen and I could see it clearly. I had never been able to overcome this memory completely even through counseling. In that very instant, God whispered to my heart, “Today, Leigh-Taylor,  you have been made wholehearted.” I doubled over & started sobbing uncontrollably. That had been my prayer for two years! I said to the Lord, “It can’t be that easy, God!” He said, “That’s what happens when you come into my Presence.”

Healing IS that easy…emotional, spiritual, physical…any and every thing comes into alignment in His Presence.

A phrase that the Lord had given me prior to my trip to Israel was: Touch the hem of my garment. I had no idea that it would be a prophetic phrase that would be true for two occasions: my prayer shawl I bought in Tiberias, and my healing at the Wailing Wall.

A couple days after I returned home, I was asking the Lord about my word for the year 2016. Immediately, the word PRESENCE came to mind with a passage of scripture confirming it as well as another passage for my yearly declaration. You can see them below:

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And the Lord said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest [by bringing you and the people into the promised land].” And Moses said to Him, “If Your presence does not go [with me], do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that Your people and I have found favor in Your sight? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we are distinguished, Your people and I, from all the [other] people on the face of the earth?”

The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have found favor (lovingkindness, mercy) in My sight and I have known you [personally] by name.” Then Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory!” And God said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion (lovingkindness) on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me and live!” Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and while My glory is passing by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and protectively cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:14-23

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“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

I know that this year holds many promises, and a heavenly release of those promises here on earth and in my life. I can’t wait to see what 2016 looks like after a year of living intentionally in His PRESENCE!

Amen.

Finding Jesus in a Parking Lot

May 6, 2015

Burdened.

Too much.

Overwhelmed.

How could I be feeling like this? I had just attended a three day women’s event at my church where I listened to the “best of the best” bring incredible insights from the Word of God, and gifted musicians who brought us into the presence of the Lord where we experienced “on earth as it is in heaven.”

But what did I have to show for it besides a bruised heart to go with my slumped shoulders?

Stress had manifested itself physically, and was matching externally what was hemorrhaging internally. I had reached my limit, but didn’t know that’s what the numbness and tingling was from. The electrical pain I was feeling started deep in my soul, and radiated out into my very finger tips.

I was shutting down.

abide2I had missed two weeks of observing the Sabbath. Twenty four hours a week consecrated to God. Holy. I had been absent from abiding with my Father. John 15:5 in the Amplified Bible says, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

I had done just that. I had cut off from vital union with the Vine. Jesus. And I had become a “shriveled up grape” crippled under the pressure of my own weight along with seemingly “noble things for the kingdom” (unending prayer requests from friends, service projects for hurting warriors, and even this three day women’s event).

When I got home and tried to take a nap, adrenaline continued to course through my veins. I couldn’t settle my spirit. I knew I needed Sabbath rest, and I needed to do something that would feed my soul. I decided to get crafty and make a prayer notebook, and get organized! Yes, that’s something that makes me happy. Hobby Lobby and The Container Store each have pieces of my heart. And those pieces can be found in the aisles with Mod Podge, designer scrapbook paper, and well…anything with glitter.

So, I hopped into my car, and prayed the whole two minute trip to Hobby Lobby. I turned off my car, and proceeded to pray out loud, telling God how overwhelmed I was, etc. Then my prayers took a different turn. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me areas in which I needed to repent.parkinglot

That led to me having church in my Mazda! That led to an encounter with the Lord that I had missed during an incredible conference. That led to me being reaffirmed in knowing that NOTHING can fill me like Almighty God, and NO ONE else can touch my heart like He does.

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 9:6 and if often quoted at Christmas time. It says, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Yes, the government shall be upon HIS shoulders. That’s why His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). He is the only One with shoulders big enough to carry the world (and so much more). When we start thinking WE can do the same, we’ve stepped over the line into pride. A righteous burden can become an unrighteous burden if we’re not careful.

I may have gone to church for three days in a row, but it took me parking my car and sitting still to find Jesus.

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Two years…

April 6, 2015

Nearly two years ago, my world was rocked. Shaken. Turned upside down.

I got a call on April 12, 2013 that forever changed my life. My brother called to tell me my mom had died in a house fire. I had to get him to repeat it two or three times because I couldn’t comprehend what was being said.

Mom died???

Traumatic is the only word that fits here.

The whiplash effect of that reality led to delayed grieving. At first, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t “move past it” more quickly. Three months after my mom moved to heaven, I couldn’t understand why it still hurt so badly, why I still couldn’t sleep at night, and why I’d still burst into tears at random moments.

I had never lost anyone that close to me.

Two years later, I’ve learned more than I’ve cared to about grief. However, one of the greatest redeeming aspects has been how the Lord has used me to love on and encourage others who are grieving.

There’s comfort in knowing someone else has “been there”….and in many cases I’ve been the one to listen because, well….I’ve “been there”.

This past week-end, I went to my home town of Tyler, Texas. I hadn’t been back since my mom passed away. I had this urge deep down in my soul to go.

I had a vision in my mind of reading Psalm 23 in the grass where her body was last placed by fire fighters. Since she was cremated, I don’t have a grave site to visit, and for some reason this just made sense to me. On Wednesday before Easter, the Lord also gave me the idea to take communion in there, too.

I was on a mission…and I was going to complete it.

So, I headed out to Tyler on Saturday morning, and met my brother at mom’s town home. I didn’t know what to expect, but upon seeing it I was flooded with peace. It actually made things better to see life all around…to see azaleas in bloom, grass growing in the yard, and trees well past budding their leaves.

momstownhomeYes, the blue sky and all the green “life” around it brought a source of joy and strength. There were some structural changes with the remodel of the town home. It was the only one on the street that didn’t have a covered porch. You could tell on the exterior brick wall that one used to be there. A faint line told a story, but most people wouldn’t notice.

sittingingrassIt was good to see that all the glass blown out by the windows had been either cleaned up or buried in the soil. There were no more clumps of ashes…only newly planted monkey grass and blooming flowers declaring LIFE over the lot. Yes, this was a much more pleasant scene than the last time I was there.

I quickly found “the spot” in the grass that I had been drawn to in my mind. I had this desire, this need really, to sit where my mom’s body had been placed. I guess at one point in my life, we had been joined together with blood and tissue, so the fact I was craving that kind of “nearness” shouldn’t be too surprising.

I felt like I went from being 37 years old to 37 WEEKS in utero in that moment. I just wanted my mom.

After settling down, I was able to read Psalm 23 with my brother, and then we got ready to take communion. I had brought a loaf of bread, a small bottle of grape juice, and in true East Texas fashion, red solo cup shot glasses from which to drink the juice! It’s all I could find at the store, and didn’t want to buy a huge sleeve of little paper Dixie cups!

Just as we were getting ready to take communion, the front door opened. A man and his dog came outside, and the look on the man’s face and tone in his voice confirmed what I knew in my heart: We should have asked for permission first.

I had decided as we were walking up to the town home, that it would be awkward to ask permission beforehand. I told my brother that “we could just do our thing and leave.”  Well, apparently we took a little too long, and “awkward” may have been our better option. Oops.

The man showed us NO MERCY even after my brother explained why we were there. He asked how long we’d be there, then proceeded to walk his dog down the street. About three minutes later, he walked out the front door again and asked why we were still there. I explained we were just about to take communion so we could leave, but he started yelling about how he had told us to get our stuff together and get off his lawn (*let’s just say I left out a few colorful words here*). My brother and I said in unison, “You never said that.” He told us he thought we “should have gotten his nice hint…” Oops again.

His wife came outside and asked if we were drinking on their yard. I had my Welches grape juice bottle and held it up as I explained we were just drinking JUICE and taking communion. Although, I’m sure the little red solo cup shot glasses were a little suspicious. Should’ve gone with the Dixie cups. My bad…yet again!

communion

The guy started yelling again and my brother stood up at that point and yelled, “Do you not have ANY compassion for another human being?!?!” I stood there with my mouth open for a couple of minutes, and then offered my apologies for not getting permission first. I explained, through tears, that it was going to be awkward either way and they agreed.

And then there was a total shift. I think heaven came down and intervened because they both started apologizing to us profusely. Turns out they had just woken up and there had been a shooting behind their house last week. So, I’m sure it was alarming for them to walk out and find strangers having a Kumbaya moment on the front yard (although, my brother and I had to be a little less alarming than some gun wielding crazy person. I’m just thinkin’)! They offered us water, and told us we could come back every year and sit on the yard and remember our mom! Ha! It actually added some comic relief.

The couple told us to take our time, and they wouldn’t bother us again. So, we finished having our “moment”.

feetingrass

Before heading off to lunch, I stood there in the grass one last time, and took a picture of my feet in the place that last held my mom’s body on earth. And just like I can rejoice because “He is RISEN,” I can rejoice in knowing that my mom is in a place of eternal joy with the very One who defeated sin and death. This picture reminds me that sin has lost it’s power, and death has lost it’s sting!

It makes me smile, and long for my home in Heaven.

Hallelujah! What hope we have in Jesus!

 

A Kindred Spirit

February 4, 2015

A 70-something yr old lady changed my life last week.

Some people in my row at church were playing “musical chairs” of sorts & trying to get situated, and that left the seat next to me open. That’s when “Beth” (*name changed*) sat next to me. My soul just seemed to recognize hers. I knew it would be a matter of time before she started talking to me…I just sensed it. Sure enough, we exchanged some pleasantries & then she began telling me her story. What a precious heart…she gives & serves & prays & loves….a true Mary in our day & time…she would pour her fragrant offering on the feet of a King or on “the least of these”. That’s just who she is.

No one said “praise God” louder than she did. No one cried out to God from a more deeply passionate place in her soul than she did. No one sang more off key or worshiped more authentically than she did.

As we took our seats to listen to Crystal Lewis & the choir, her sobs during the songs literally rocked me in my chair. They came in waves. Prayers in liquid form. There were so many times I thought about getting her a tissue from my purse, or putting my hand on hers or on her knee, etc, but the purity of her worship stopped me. Honestly, the Spirit kept me from interfering in what He was doing….from their sweet communion.

I wanted to pray with Beth afterward, but when we closed our eyes for our final prayer I knew in my heart that when I opened my eyes, she’d be gone. And I was right. I never felt her leave, but sure enough she had slipped out. A smile turned the corners of my lips upward, & my heartstrings stirred up hymns of praise.

I’ve never been so moved in a worship service by someone else’s worship. Her worship DEEPENED my own! A corporate anointing, and a holy mentoring took place that day. I’ve thought about her & prayed for her every day this past week. I’ll probably never see her again, but a lady I crossed paths with for less than 2 hrs changed me forever.

With a grateful heart….. Amen.

Word of the Year for 2015

January 1, 2015

Every December, I pray for God to give me a new word for the up coming year.

For 2013, my word was BELIEVE. I had no idea how I would be tested in the area of belief! But I guess you can’t really master a word if there aren’t any trials. Mark 9:14-29 was my “go to” passage as I constantly asked the Lord to “help me overcome my unbelief.

As I sought the Lord for a new word for 2014, I received the word in October of 2013. It came early compared to the previous year. It’s like the Lord was giving my heart some time to prepare….because it was a “big” word. The word was TRUST for this past year. I even felt a little fearful last pray2December because I knew how I had been tested as I focused on BELIEVE! I couldn’t imagine what I’d have to go through in the area of TRUST.  And I was right.  Boy, some of those storms and trials were doozies!!  But guess what?!?  I trust God like I never have before in my life! Hallelujah!

And now for 2015…. Well, I had made up my mind that my word would be honor. Only I had not prayed about it like I had the last couple of years. I remember it like it was yesterday. One December morning, I walked into my bathroom and was thinking about my new word. And then it hit me. I had never asked God about the word HE had for me! It still chokes me up to think about how I had left Him completely out of it. So, I said, “God, I am so sorry! I never even asked You if You had a word for me. I just kinda picked one that ‘sounded good’. Do You have a word for me?”

There was no lingering moment of silence, but rather a thunderous bolt with the word in big, black, block letters…

BEHOLD

I gasped out loud, and stopped in my tracks. And my first response?? I turned my palms up and shrugged my shoulders, furrowed my brows and said, “What kind of word is that???” Immediately, I had an overwhelming pit in my stomach. The one where you know that you just grieved the Holy Spirit. The Almighty God, Creator of the universe, just spoke to me and in a moment of pride, I deemed it not good enough.  I can’t tell you how many times I have cried over my initial response. I don’t stand under condemnation because I know I’m forgiven, but my heart has been so tender toward the Lord over the last few weeks because of that teachable moment.

It’s funny. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the word BEHOLD on cups, shirts, wooden plaques, framed art, in Scripture, on Instagram….you name it. It’s been in my face! Affirmation after affirmation.

The Lord is so good, and I’m thankful His mercies are new each and every day!

A passage of Scripture that goes with my new word is from Isaiah 43:18-19. I’m claiming the promise that He’s doing something new! I love His promises!

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. BEHOLD, I will do something new, now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

behold2

Isn’t that just so good?? It’s because it is so GOD!  It’s HIS word!! I’m so glad I asked Him…and to think I almost didn’t.

Here is a passage that I’m making personal to me and declaring over myself in 2015. It’s from Revelation 3:8.

BEHOLD I have set before you an open door [Leigh-Taylor], which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

Happy New Year, friends! May we take plenty of moments to BEHOLD Him in 2015!

Amen.