Maybe, Just Maybe

Four years. 

At first I thought that my actions insured the consequence of my having to rely solely on myself to survive. I believed that getting a divorce meant God could (or would) not bless me, support me, or assist me, but then he caused things to fall into place (behind the scenes) when I would run into obstacles, enabling me to overcome and move forward.
Because of these occurrences, I adjusted my thinking to accept that God allowed the rain to fall on the just and the unjust – But there was something else. 

He was carrying me. 
I was blinded by pain and I knew it. 

I couldn’t see where I was going. I was stumbling on the path, yet He was there for those blind years, leading, guiding, showing me which way to turn when I came up against a wall. 
Little by little, God has continued to draw me closer, and I have learned that He still wants relationship with this broken woman, which blows me away. I’m still smudged with soot on the inside of me, like a fireplace chimney.

When I first found the Lord, my life changed dramatically. I wanted to do great things for Him, big big things, but I didn’t do great things at all, in fact, my life was something I was often ashamed of.

What if…

What if I, like Sarah, tried to make things happen in my own strength due to my own natural reasoning, instead of simply living and obeying God while allowing Him to do what He has always done,

Bring it to pass –
In His way

In His Time

By His Spirit.

Do I understand God’s grace spilling onto my life?

No, nor do I advise going through a divorce to learn about His unconditional love, and faithfulness,

But I marvel as He continues to call me even still.

It causes flickers of hope to ignite within my depths that maybe, just maybe, God’s original plan for my life will be realized just yet.

– leah

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Build Your Life

The things that matter take time.

I love instant happy.
Who doesn’t love instant happy?

But lives take time to build.
They aren’t instantly successful.

Friendships take time to build.
The real ones.

And merging lives?
That is like getting up every day and going to work.
You must pour into that project on a daily basis.

Like bricks forming a wall,
we lay one decision upon another upon another.
Uh-oh…a bad decision, now there’s a crack in the wall.
Take some bricks down, fix the problem, lay a new layer of mortar, start over.

Merge many objects into one solid and secure edifice  that becomes the haven wherein souls find shelter, safety, and rest.

Think of a tapestry, blue and white.
One ball of white thread, one ball of blue, both on the floor at the designer’s feet.

The weaver sits, adding white when white is needed, adding blue where it belongs, and after a while, two colors merge to form one beautiful design as they are woven tightly together.

Knots are tied.
Tangles are unraveled.
Clack…clack…the weaver’s frame makes a rythmic sound as two seperate items become one lovely thing.

If they yield themselves to the hands of the weaver, that is.

Time.
Nothing that matters happens quickly.
Set your face like a flint, and put your hands on the plow.
And walk
With your eye
On the prize.

The things that truly matter take time.

-Leah

Helen and I.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Helen Keller.

A bright child; she had learned to talk a bit before she grew ill with a ruthless fever that plunged her into darkness, isolating her from parents that loved and adored her.
There was no way to reach her or alleviate her suffering.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like to adjust to »nothing«  upon her recovery.

A toddler.
A baby…
Suddenly sightless where there was so much to see before.
Unable to hear, when before, the sound of her mother and father’s voice was security, consolation, music…
Communication.
She was alone.

I read about what happened in her psyche in her own words, when the word “water“, signed into her hand,  slipped into the correct slot within  her comprehension.

She wrote about her joy;
Her reunion, as it were, with understanding and meaning, and finally … That »rest« within her when the world – which was hidden – was no longer withheld from her.

I am experiencing a similar thing tonight;
A similar “awakening”.
I am basking in my new awareness here, sitting on a warm sidewalk, in the dark, the moon above my head looks like a spotlight, it is so bright.
I am outside of a campus where I worshipped during a huge church service, after a long absence from such a corporate gathering.

I don’t know what it was that caused darkness to overshadow my understanding years ago.

I tried to be faithful while I endured it;
Faithful to write what I knew to be true, though my eye could not see, and I was deaf to my Father’s voice.

It had been a long silence.
I walked by faith, a spiritual road map imprinted in my memory, an innate sense within my spirit guiding me while my natural eyes could see nothing.

And something slipped into the correct slot of my comprehension tonight…

Like Helen who recognized water;  that cold liquid coursing over her skin from a hand pump, I recognized the Spirit of God – his peace, his grace coursing over – inside of – me.

Helen’s first word was “water”.
She knew the word as a baby … and she finally understood the word for what it was as a girl, when she felt it, then had it repetitively, and physically impressed into her hand  by her teacher; W A T E R.
Faint recognition from years past stirred in her memory and the connection was made in a life-changing, world changing moment.

BREAKTHROUGH.

I sat tonight, during the quiet hush that can only be experienced after a powerful time of worship, my head down as I quietly savored what I was feeling.  My torso gently shook, tears were pouring down my cheeks as I experienced stirrings within my belly and  in the recesses of my mind, a memory stirred… as currents, ebbs, and flows from rivers of peace swirled through me, over me, around me.

Like Helen strained for recollection while she stood at that pump getting wet, I could feel something in my intellect, like the breath of a whisper, as God re-familiarized me with that supernatural flow of living water.
He was in charge of the pump and generous with the “water” that gushed freely over the skin of my inner man, saturating me with the things that I love most;
His Grace.
 His Presence.
His peace.

I did not suffer like Helen, though I »was« blind.
I did not live in anguish like Helen, though I think I understand a fraction of her pain, as she touched and felt her father’s body, knowing that he was there while being yet unable to communicate with him.

He was there,
but He was NOT There!

“I know you are here, Daddy, but I cannot hear you!”, must have been her heart’s cry until it became as much a part of her existence as breathing.

But…
In one instant the barrier was broken;
Her inner turmoil and her Father’s daily anguish at her suffering – finally over.
She collapses in his arms, both of them ecstatic that she will now “hear” Him.
He rejoices at the fact that he will never have to see that particular expression of frustration and loneliness on her face again while being unable to alleviate it because he was shut out of her world.

And I am talking about both myself and Helen, now;

For we were both consumed with our own plight and blinded – unaware – of the depth of our Father’s love for us, or his hurting heart, while He exhausted attempt after attempt to break through, no doubt weeping bitterly at his daughter’s blind eyes and deaf ears and inner struggle.

I am not Helen.

I will never know the depth of her sorrow, which means I will never truly experience the power of her elation,
But we were both separated from our Fathers, (her earthly, my heavenly) by a barrier.
A barrier that kept us from him, though we »knew« he was there all the while.

God be praised…
It was nothing lasting.

A paper wall, only.
A paper wall, rent in two.
Rent in two and removed forever.
Disintegrated by refreshing streams of Living Water.

~Leah

Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy

Tonight.
It is tonight!
This is the day I meet the Man and Woman who started the school in Uganda, beneath a tree.

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My heart is already tender.
I already know I will cry.

I will meet, and hug, and touch people who have used their American “plenty” to benefit others far, far away.  The Bible speaks of people like this when it says, “Those of whom the world was not worthy…”

I’ve a soft spot in my heart for missionaries.
If you read my bio, on Facebook, you will see that I attended a school, thinking, one day…

This evening’s affair brings a memory out of my depths…
I will tell you about it!

My modern day heroine is named Lillian Trasher. She is a woman who never meant to start an orphanage, in Egypt, but did, because people kept giving their babies and toddlers to her.

She didn’t »want« to.
She had no real resources.
In fact, she turned a child away once, an infant, because she had no milk for the poor little thing.

The adults who brought the infant told her if she did, they would just leave it in the street and let the carrion-eating birds have it.

She didn’t believe them.
But that is exactly what they did.
The cries, and worse, that she heard in the middle of the night fueled her resolve to never turn a child away again, and her orphanage was the first to be birthed on Egyptian sands.

Well, one day, just about, oh… five years ago, I was at a wedding.
A pastor I knew of, whose wife I had heard at a public speaking engagement before, was there.
She and He work in Dearborn, Michigan with Muslims who convert to Christianity.

They have death threats being made against them all the time –  it is a way of life for them, but they continue.

Well, our place cards put us together.
We were at a round table, and we were seated boy-girl, so his wife sat to my left, but her husband, the Pastor sat to my immediate left.

We shook hands.
I don’t know when it started, but I began shaking hands with both my hands when I meet people – clasping my new acquaintance’s hand warmly. It’s not a hug, but it is not so formal, either. I like looking into people’s eyes and connecting.

We made small talk as the evening began.
We talked about their heart for, and their vision for Islamic citizens here, and their labor as they reach out to them with the truth of the Christian Faith.

During our conversation, I learned he was from Egypt.

“Oh! You’re from Egypt!”, I said.
One of the women I admire most in the world lived there. She’s my heroine.”
“Really,” he answered.
“And who is that?”

“She had an orphanage there. Her name is Lillian Trasher. Have you heard of her?”

“I have.”, he said.
“She raised me.”



My eyes looked at his forearm and hand on the table. The hand I just held in both my own, moments ago. It was too overwhelming.


I held in my hands the hand of the man that touched Lillian’s hand every day.

I began to cry.

Tears flooded out of my eyes as emotion flooded my heart at the sight of this grown man who lived daily to benefit others, just as the woman who raised him also lived daily to benefit others.

I saw the hand of a child in Lillian’s hand.
I saw a little boy, on Lillian’s lap.
I saw a helpless boy, once an orphan, now grown into a good strong person, A Pastor!
A pastor who was burdened with the plight of Muslim women living oppressed – in a land known for offering others the  greatest freedom the world has ever known.
Here he was, reaching out to them.
Living for God.
Helping them, helping their children.
In the face of death threats against his family.

Here sat before me the fruit of a woman’s labor from thousands of miles away.
Not just ANY woman.

One of whom the world was not worthy.

image
Lillian Trasher

She’s passed away, now.
Gone.
I could never meet her.
But here was one of her sons, sitting right next to me.
And he let me hold his hand.

I kept apologizing for my tears.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so overwhelmed that a woman I’ve read about, admired, and aspired to be like, raised you and you’re sitting right here…
Right here!
You knew her intimately.  You touched her every day!  I’m staring at the fruit of her life. It’s not a small thing.”

He told me stories of their singing Bible songs as children, and of their relationship.
And of her love for him.
That was my favorite part.

Do you think your love has no impact?
Never think that.

Looking back, recalling what he shared, I realize, I know…
Those things were treasure.

When a person dips into their soul and gives you bits and pieces of it, they are gemstones of the finest quality, and I hope you treat them as such, my friends.
Regard those things as pearls, for they are not easily found, nor are they easily given.

That entire experience was a gift from God.
A gift.
A kiss from my Heavenly Father intended  just for me.

One of those occasions when He whispers sweetly in one’s ear, “I see you. I know the most intimate parts of you.” and you aren’t ashamed, because here He is blessing you, which means He adores you.
Like a good Father who adores and embraces the little girl that climbs into his lap.

He orders our steps, Beloved.
God orders our steps.
Let no one tell you He does not.

That’s kind of what happened with this school in Uganda.
And tonight, I meet them.
I will meet the Berrigans, who saw a need  and did not turn away from it.

image

image

Who knows what lovely experiences will unfold, when I get to meet two more of those who grace this earth with their presence doing good, even while it spins in the chaotic mess caused by evil men.

My tummy is a-flutter.
My heart is the tenderest of things.
Who knows what wondrous things may come of this?

I will write about it and share if something magical happens…

Something magical already has…

Leah

Emptying Our Own Baggage

image

The first time I saw this picture, a while ago, I thought of a committed boyfriend/girlfriend  who “loved you enough”, and “Oh, how sweet…”,
But not so anymore.
Now I think two things.

One.
Sometimes you do need help unpacking, because the item you think is normal and belongs in that psyche of yours, is not normal, and a person, (friend) who is healthier than you can point it out gently.
In love.
…Because they want to see you thrive.
God himself will show you, as you seek His face, read His word, and pray – even journal.

Two.
This is an immediate and harsh reaction.

“Sit down in front of your baggage and clean it up yourself.
Don’t saddle some poor schmuck with that mess.”

Friendly thoughts….aren’t they?
Harsh, but necessary, for some who are habitually dependent on others to bail them out.

Growing up, maturing, in an imperfect world, has us at a disadvantage.
We are fallen humans who blow it, raised by fallen humans who blew it, and we end up with broken items in our suitcases/baggage.

But the answer is not in finding another person who “loves you enough…”.
That removes the whole premise of loving.

We cleave to those whom we love because we need them, yes, but they need us too, and our first thought should be,
“How may I bless you, today?”
Not,
“How can you help me, today?”

The majority of the time, we really Don’t need someone to help us unpack.

Yes, there are seasons of life when one needs a counselor, but for the most part, it is up to each individual to sit down in front of the luggage that is chock-full of dysfunction, and begin the arduous task of pulling things out on their own, so that one may then, rise up in strength to be a blessing to others whom they draw into relationship with themselves.

I am a firm believer in the fact that we should cultivate our own soul.
»Nourish it.
»Tend it well.
»Prepare it to bear fruit.
»Improve upon our character daily, so that we would be capable of relationship with those who desire a healthy one.
Friendships.
Familial.
Romance too…

What can we contribute to another’s life?
How can we meet their needs?

That should be our goal.

“Find someone that loves you enough to help you unpack”?
No, my friends…
Leave that to God. He is faithful to send those who are strong enough to contribute health to your life.

Rather,
Set yourself to unpacking your mess right now, instead of latching onto someone and relying on them to help you do it.

When you find someone you love, you want to have a very light suitcase to fill with memories made by two who took the time to prepare themselves for one another before they ever met.

Something to consider…

Leah

Whom are you loving today?

There was a time in my life when I was at a crossroads, and a friend taught me by her example, how to love someone.

It was a most unhappy time when a choice begged to be made – things could not continue as they were – changes needed to happen. I was at a loss for what to do.  I was in pain – struggling to find logic and reason – all while in the midst of a storm.  The wind was whipping about, no clear direction lay before me.  I was at the point of despair, for both decisions would cause fall-out in the lives around me.

Like Ripples on a Pond, the effects would be far reaching...

I knew there would be ramifications that would extend far beyond my vision – like ripples on a pond or a lake.  We have all tossed a pebble in, or skipped stones and watched the circles radiate along the water from the point of contact to some point beyond, depending on the strength of the impact.  Well, I was about to climb to the top of a hill and roll a boulder into the water.  After the devastating splash, the ripples were going to go further than I could imagine.

 

 

I was at the point of desperation.  I could not endure the heartbreak any longer, so I decided to confide in one friend … everything.
Oh, sure, women talk. We tell each other about what we are going through all the time, but we are careful with the big stuff. We keep that to ourselves, because we need to be accepted by “the pack”.
No one wants to lose their place in their circle of friends.

At the risk of rejection and judgment I shared my dilemma.

I told my friend

Every.

Single.

Thing.

It was frightening.  I was taking a risk, for I loved her dearly.  She was the one person Ihad chosen, out of all of my friends and confidants, after all.  To lose her esteem was almost more than I could bear, but I chose to risk it to receive her wisdom. I needed it.

I needed her.

I shared the good path and the bad. I hid nothing from her, and then I waited – almost wincing my eyes – for the reaction. 
Do you know what she said to me?

No matter what you choose, I will be your friend. 
I will be there for you, and I will support you. 
I
am your friend.

And tears of shame and relief poured out of me.

Sometimes a person comes along in your life and leaves imprints on your soul. Fingerprints on your heart. No. Not mere fingerprints. Indentations.

I learned something that day that I will never forget.

I learned that there is a place in your soul so deep that even you may not know it exists.

– A location tucked so far from view, that you have no idea it is there.

 Until…

Until a very special someone reaches that depth with

One.

Loving.

Act.

They take a stone of their own – Love – and they drop it into that well within you, that seemingly bottomless pit that you didn’t even know was there, and when it lands on the bottom, you are suddenly aware of its existence.  I was loved so purely at that moment.  My soul was nourished like never before.  She freely gave unconditional love whose richness and depth I had always sensed, but had never truly known.  

Do you know what is beautiful?

When she exposed its existence, this depth of need within me, she simultaneously fortified me to the extent that nothing on the planet could shake the foundation of my security.
From that moment on, my footing was sure, for she had seen me at my worst and I was not rejected. 

She also gave me my choice.

Free will. 

No matter what I decided – I knew she would be there.
Do you know who this reminds me of?

God, of course.

Jesus.

What is True Christianity?
Who among us are truly Christlike?
Was it not the Lord who gave us free will?
Was it not the Lord who sent His Son, “while we were yet sinners.”?

What did Jesus say? He who bore our sins and not his own…

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he (an injured traveler) was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”

Jesus continues – addressing a man who asked Him who is “neighbor” was, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

 
Perhaps you are thinking, “Well that was a person who was wounded innocently. He was not in willful sin, and many are in trouble today because of their own foolish choices.”

Allow me to bring to your remembrance another situation that Jesus put himself in;  curiously, involving a person from Samaria again; A place and a people not respected by those to whom Jesus was speaking.

Jesus, offering a woman unconditional love and living water.

You will find this story in the Book of John, chapter four. Jesus sits at a well, and asks a woman, who comes to draw water, for a drink. She is stunned that he would even speak to her.  There is racism even then, and she expects it from Him, not knowing who He is.
He eventually shares with her that He knows she’s been married multiple times and that the man with whom she currently lives isn’t her husband at all.  He then offers her living water.  No lecture. No condemnation. No words of scolding. No self-help literature, and no counseling session to determine why she finds herself in so many short-term relationships. Just Living Water. Eternal Life.
Unconditional Love and Acceptance to a person who has apparently never had either.

While He made it clear that He knew what she was doing,  He did not condemn her or point out all of the spiritual laws she was breaking. If anyone had the right to, it would have been Him.  Instead He offered her a choice.
Do you know why?

She already knew she was wrong.
Just like your friends know whether they are right or wrong.
They don’t need you to tell them.

Your friends don’t need lectures, and they don’t need your criticism.
What they need, dear heart, is You.

A good Samaritan.  
A neighbor.
A friend.

Take care, dear ones, when someone puts their trust in you.

The human heart is fragile.
It is a tiny bird that trembles; delicate bones beneath feathers – so easily broken.

You will make a difference to someone.
My question to you is, “What type of difference will you make?”

Whom are you loving today?

Songbird, by Eva Cassidy.

As you listen to this, remember, there is ONE who loves you
more than you could possibly imagine,
and He offers you living water ♥.
Today.

 

Leah

~ When you are in the Wilderness ~

 

We can find beauty in the most barren of surroundings.

Today during a blessed conversation with a person whom I consider to be a true friend, I remembered Jacob from the Bible, and how the Lord visited him in the wilderness even though he had just deceived his father and “stolen” his brother’s birthright.

He bargained for it, we all know, but we also know that Esau would never have given it up.

He went hunting when his dad told him to get ready to receive his blessing, remember?

It occurred to me; We humans screw up so often. We, like Jacob, make so many mistakes when we act on our own “wisdom”, but God is greater.  His ways really aren’t our ways, for He visited a frightened thief in the wilderness when that thief was at his lowest.

I detest being in the wilderness, but I always discover a new facet of God’s personality there.
A new depth to His Grace; 

A more faithful love than the one I knew before.

So I am sharing with you. 
Maybe you really blew it.
Maybe you are definitely in the wrong, and are suffering for it.

Be Encouraged, dear one.
God is able to meet you where you are at.

He is the God of all the earth; Yes, even the wilderness.
And He is the God of those who find themselves wandering therein.


I hope this song ministers to you.
Clint Brown – Mercy and Grace ♫