A Waterfall of Grace

The past two days contained rough waters

Demanding navigation

From a girl without a paddle 

From a woman with no oars.

An authority upset with me – half for the wrong reason, and half with good reason, (a weak area in performance).  

There were demands, “Amend this.”. One can fix the second, but not the first.

There was a time-table that seemed impossible,

And there I was 

in rough river flow, 

with no idea how to navigate the unfamiliar wisely.

Yet today, 

The Lord came through in the area of the first,

Blowing me away,

Again.

I’m imperfect.

My heart in need of cleansing

Often,

But his grace….

It confuses me.

It’s continual nonjudgmental flow

Is like a waterfall onto undeserving humans

Waiting at the bottom

Standing knee-deep in their mire

Face up, 

Needy while simultaneously sated.

And here it is again on this sinner,

Soaking me through to the bone.



He lives.

Jesus Lives.

Our Father sees,

And He Gives Grace abundant to his children.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

– leah

The Best Kind of Father

Today is an emotional day.

Yesterday was too, and I did my best to throttle every fanciful thought that cropped up in my mind uninvited, the way we try to stop weeds from overtaking our garden.

But today –

Today is the day that humility clothes me like a garment.

I am reviewing things from last year,  expenses, unexpected ones, scary big ones that could have sabotaged my day-to-day and rendered me quite helpless,

But God.

The One who created this earth and then deposited life upon it – 

the One who doesn’t make things and then abandon them –

The Best Father In The World – 

who provides opportunities to work – 

He looks ahead on the timeline of a life and He prepares a path.

If we would only be obedient to his quiet gentle voice.

Every nightmarish situation that threatened was met by his hand.

And he did it in such a way that I was able to build dignity – work very hard – and see fruits of labor.

He is so amazing, how he sets us up in the most delightful of ways.

“I am going to give you the ability to do this thing, and as you complete your task, you will have more skills than when you began, you will have learned difficult lessons, you will be stretched and challenged, and you will grow.”

How can one resist a Father like that?

He is the best, most loving… 

(no words).

I remember when I was angry at him.

I remember when I didn’t trust him.

I remember when I was terrified of him.

And I remember when he showed me his good nature…
I was holding Josiah – he was just a baby.

I was filled with a powerful maternal love for my little boy, like the rushing waters of Niagra.

The pregnancy was high risk, and I paid an emotional and physical price for him to be here.

I knew that my other three may not have a new little brother if things didn’t go well, maybe even lose their mother.

But God was faithful and he kept us safe.
As I sat there holding my little baby, adoring him and enjoying his soft cuddly body in my arms, a very strong impression came over me – a “knowing”.

The kind of feeling you would have if a warm breeze blew not only over you, but through you – it was like that.

And I knew – Just as my little boy who could not – at that moment – comprehend with his little mind, the depth of love and sacrifice his mother had surging inside of her for him – so was our mind incapable of truly understanding the love of our Heavenly Father toward us.

He too, sacrificed for us –

He too, caused us to come into existence – 

And He too, adores us beyond measure.
Ever since that day – I have been secure in the love of God as my Father.

Which brings me back to today – going over things from last year, I see that he is “raising” me still, like the best kind of father does for his children, no matter how old they are.

Humility clothes me.

I am emotional.

I am tender toward all the best things.

I am humbled and am attempting to walk on the earth in a quiet way before the One who made it,

Who made me…

Who made You. 
We have – The Best Kind of Father.
– leah

Modern Day Dowry

It is funny, how we can allow our vessels, the clay pots we inhabit,to get so filmy inside.

Maybe things we read, or see, or allow ourselves to see…

Things we listen to, allow to enter into us…
I have been thinking about something since March.

A lot.
In English Lit, the children had to read a story about a woman who was denied her rightful dowry – money and possessions – by her guardian/brother. 

She was married, and then he refused to honor the tradition and kept her things.
It wasn’t that the man she married needed her things, He was wealthy.

But it was a matter of pride to her – a woman likes to bring something to the table, too, in a life-changing event of such importance.
The story and movie have to do with more than a woman’s honor, it has to do with a man’s (her husband’s) commitment to be true to himself as well.

I purchased the movie and the children watched it – John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Great movie.

“The Quiet Man.”
Long story short – I have been contemplating the time-honored and time-dissolved tradition of a woman’s dowry.

It no longer exists in much of our culture, but I think that women still want to bring something valuable to a relationship,

Add something to the pot, so to speak.
And I thought of character,

Integrity. Faithfulness. Honesty. Peacefulness. SelfLESSness. Kindness. Gentleness. Generosity,

The things that I believe true wealth consists of.

I examine my heart as I journal like a person checks their bank account to see what is in there,

and I think women and men would both do well to amass such loving character traits in great quantity – and distribute to those who are close to them.
We can get spiritually slimy inside.

If water is going to issue forth from us, the people around us should be able to drink it without feeling sick.

It is crucial.

Add to this,

Healthy blood flowing through our nervous system,

Healthy marrow in our bones,

Healthy muscle tissue making up our form…
It all takes daily maintenance – like the long term care of an inherited property.

How wealthy is your dowry, today?

How healthy is your “property”?
– Just thoughts

All you need do is Ask.

Chains.

Shackles.

Bound around one’s ankles so close to the skin that one fears they will go to the grave with them attached.

No one knows how to safely remove them without injuring themselves.

If they did – they wouldn’t be wearing them.

Habits.

Compulsions.

Addictions wound around the heart like seaweed wrapped around the legs of the dock, or roots of weeds strangling life out of a garden’s treasure.

So hard to remove.
But not impossible.  

For God.
What troubles you this day?

What ensnares your heart?

Take it to the King.
He has purchased your freedom.

All you need do is ask.

He will give you the key.
– leah 

Surrender

I can’t sleep. 

Thinking about what God is doing lately.
Sharing some of it with you.
You know – when I am working with a little child in a therapy session, sometimes I have to run a “my turn” trial.

It is when I hold my hand out – palm up – for the item that they are holding or playing with, and I say, “My Turn”.
A child that does not know how to share, or does not want to share, grips their toy more tightly.
I’ll move my hand closer. “My turn”, I say.  And I wait for the object.

Sometimes I have to gently take the toy from the child – sometimes just waiting quietly is enough.

Once it is in my hands,  I will hold it for a few seconds and give it back right away – praising them for sharing – each time.

The trial is meant to teach – so the time that I hold the toy gets longer over weeks, until I can hold a toy for one or two minutes and the child is not hitting or crying or running away with the item. 😊
Trust is established.

Patience is learned.

Going without for a while is also learned.

We adults go through these trials with the Lord.  Sometimes we have to give something or someone up for a little while.

Sometimes forever.
Sometimes we can’t let go and God gently removes the thing.

And we cry.
God gently removed a thing from me once.  At least, God’s hand was in it.

Just because a thing is out of your hands,  it doesn’t mean it is out of your heart.
I knew I was supposed to surrender – and I went through the motions and prayed the prayers many times, but my heart simply was not in the yielding,

At least, not completely.

In my brain I knew it wasn’t mine.
In my SPIRIT I knew it was ultimately God’s, 

But in my heart…   

In my heart I was gripping tightly.

I had not yet relinquished.

And that is what God wanted from me. 

He wanted the heart of a daughter that freely surrendered what he required.

He kept saying, “Surrender”.

“What do you mean, ‘Surrender’? You have it, don’t you? Isn’t that enough?”

– “No, Alma. I can see you.  I am holding the item but you still possess it in your heart. Let It Go.“.
It seems silly to imagine my saying to one of the children in therapy, “Let it go.”, if I am holding the item – unless you look at the child’s face and observe that – even though the object is in the grown up’s hand – it really hasn’t been surrendered, and the child is devising a way to get it back as soon as they are able.
While I wasn’t actually devising,  I was waiting for it to be given back, the way the children wait for me to give their toys back to them.
Recently, God again brought me to a place of surrender with this situation.
I’m not sure what made it possible this time.

Maybe I had reached a new level of trust with the Lord.

Maybe I just wanted what HE wanted more than what I wanted…  in this category, at least?

I only know that once again, during prayer, the Lord said, “Let’s take a walk.”, and He led me to that familiar altar of sacrifice and patiently requested that the core of my heart be laid upon it by my own hand.

I surprised myself!, Even as I stood there, because for once I was able to say, “Yes Lord. I only want that thing to come to pass if that is what You think is best.”.

And I meant it.
It feels so odd,  Liberating in a way.

Painful – but not nearly as painful as I imagined.

And this new sense of freedom eases the pain.

But that is not all.
There is a new intimacy with the Lord.

A deeper sense of knowing and a stronger sense of loving.
The only way I know to describe it is to once again compare it to the children with whom I work.  If a stranger tries to talk to them or teach them, they run to and clutch me tightly, or they hide behind my legs.

I have become their safe place in the face of uncertainty and unfamiliar surroundings, the one to cling to, to Trust in,  And God has become that safe place for me.

Trust, Love, and Intimacy;  They all lie in wait on the other side of the altar of surrender, and if you want those things bad enough, the item you are clutching tightly to your chest will become less valuable to you, even though it may be the most precious thing in all the world.
It will still be precious – just not as precious as a deeper walk with Christ.

-leah

Sacrifice for a Pearl

Maybe you falter in your heart when you think of the sacrifices necessary to serve the Lord, doubting your own abilities, feeling a pulling to fall back.

Consider that to serve the Lord is to KNOW him, To gain a companion who will walk with you all the days of your life – through thick and thin,  who will never leave you alone.

You may live by yourself.

If you have God, you do not live by yourself.

Maybe you feel like an outsider among your co-workers, but with God, you have a companion that sticks closer than a brother.

Even in a prison cell you are not alone – 

not if you’ve bowed your knee to Christ and invited him into your heart.

Relationship. 

Intimacy.

You have seen (and may have even behaved like) a person who would give ANYTHING to gain a romantic relationship with the person upon whom they have set their affections.

Sacrifice under those circumstances seems like NOTHING.

Money, time, whatever resources you cherish can be given away as easily as desperate men fling baggage and supplies out of a plane to gain mileage and speed in order to make their destination,

Because in that situation – Sacrifice means LIFE.
Things become refuse if surrendering them will secure your life – or the promise that the object of your desire will step into your arms.


You will come to a place where you will desire intimacy with your Heavenly Father so much that all things will fade to pastel in light of his vibrance.


He said, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Do not look to your own frailty.

Look to your hunger.  

Don’t let fear of sacrifice keep you from searching for the Pearl of Great Price.

For if you seek him,

He will be found of you.




– leah


The Price

Ever since we were talking about our Heavenly Father and an intimate connection with him in women’s Bible study – I have been thinking about the many reasons why people do not truly connect with him, as well as talking to him about it.
Yes, there are people that are afraid – and yes there are people who look to man because it is easier than searching in the spirit realm – but I think that another reason is because people simply do not want to pay the price necessary to gain access to that secret place.

Intimacy with our Heavenly Father comes with a price.

If a valuable earthly relationship costs something in the way of self-sacrifice – then why would we think anything else in regards to a relationship with the Lord?
It may be because salvation is free.

And it is – 

but an intimate walk with our Heavenly Father comes with a price;  A price worth paying.
We talk about Jesus a lot – and we should – but sometimes we forget that before he came, there was one whose heart’s desire was to bridge the gap, so he sent him to us.

Behind the Prince opening the gate to grant us entry,   There stands a king who gave him the key. ❤️

leah

A Wild Vine

​Since my divorce I am not what I was.

In some ways I am better.


I didn’t know I could do some of the things I now do.

That was a nice discovery,

Even though it was reminiscent of being thrown into a lake and being told to swim,

Before learning to swim.


I argue less.

That is a good thing.

Sometimes it is because I don’t have the strength.

Other times, it is because I love a person too much to argue over something that doesn’t really matter when one looks at the big picture.


We have a mouth. 

It can bless or curse.

Why choose the ugly thing? ♡


I don’t date.

I tried, but it was like giving someone a puzzle with half of the pieces missing.

That wasn’t fair to them.

I’ll try again, when it is time.


And I felt like Hagar among my Christian friends.  

Outsider. 

Foreign. 

“Not like us.”


Sometimes I got a vibe from some that communicated, “Hey, we’re putting up with our imperfect situations. What gives you the right to be a quitter?”

Sometimes I didn’t get any vibe at all because I had lost contact completely.


Other times, friends with the attitude of the Good Samaritan took the time to pour in the oil and the wine.

For them, for the grace, I am thankful.


I struggled with my walk with God.

That was the worst.

He had Saved me, Changed me, Rescued me.

And I felt like I disappointed him, so.


I didn’t stop talking to him, it just felt like a long-distance phone call instead of the more familiar, “here right now”. 

But the distance has been removed. 


Like the prodigal son, who no doubt needed a bath, who saw his father waiting,

God gave me a glimpse of his own open arms….  And heart.


I told my minister that I felt like a wild vine.  And that God made it clear that I was still his.

Vine? Yes.

Wild? A little.

But in His Garden, even so.


Nothing like the other plants,

But His.

Chosen. 

For a purpose.

To bear fruit. 


Each of us has been called.

Who will say “yes” to the patient husbandman,

And yield? 


That is a big question. 

Only you know the answer.

There was…a man.

There was a man in my life
With whom I fell in love.

He was the moon, and mist and stars to me,
All luminous, and sparkling, glowing and bright.
Alas, I was not sky to him.
I was heaviness, weight, and
Salty water,
Ocean tears,
An anchor.
Healing, mending, recovering.
Not ready.

The picture of health,
He was vitality,
And I was “girl in wheelchair”.
Oh, sure,
I would walk again,
In the future,
But his energy would spur him forward
To places I’d not go.
Not because I did not like those places,
I did!
I wanted to go!
But…
Wheelchairs don’t fit everywhere,
And I was wheelchair bound.

He ran in place for a long time.
He jogged around me,
And ran short distances,
Turning ’round, and coming back.
He wanted things to work.
But he needed more
Than I could give.

I was not a suitable companion
With my weakened legs
And point of view
And broken heart,
Ruined by the one that was before,
Ruined by my self,
because I allowed it.

I loved night sky,
And he loved me too.
But he was called to something big,
A race he hoped to run,
But I,
Despite my earnest desire
to be the partner
In the three-legged race of life,
Could not yet run.

So I said, “You go ahead. I’ll support you from here.”
And he took off
To do the thing he’d trained for
All his life.

To be what God created him
To Be.

There was a man in my life
With whom I fell in love.
And he is running
His race
So well,
That I beam with pride to see it,
Even though it costs me
Happiness
And the dream
Of being his.

He is running his race,
And I
I wait for the course
To bring him my way
Again.

And while I wait,
I try to walk
Again.

~ ~ ~

Still Here.

You’re still here.

In my thoughts.
In my days.
In my nights.
In my heart.

This morning
As I brushed my teeth
Taking care not to miss that spot in the back
That’s hard to reach
I thought of you.

“Is he lonely?
Is he tired?
Does he have a lover?
I know he has a friend,
But does he sleep alone,
Or is there someone to warm his bed with natural warmth,
And his body
with their embrace,
Is he lonely…?
I do not want him to be lonely.”

I spoke to you
Composing a letter in my imagination
Telling you about the things I’m learning
My new passions and pursuits,
Avoiding the topics of discomfort
My mistakes.
The bruises on my knees from when I stumbled,
And the fact that I left the back door of trust open
And someone broke in and stole from me,
My peace, my quality of life,
Leaving trust shattered in their wake…
I didn’t want you to see the weak spot
So I avoided that subject.

And then…
I remembered that you told me to move on.
So I stopped composing the letter.
And brushed my hair.
And gave two dollars to my son
So he could stop for a bagel on his way to church with his father,
And then watched him
From the top of the stairs
As he picked up his key to the house
And stepped out onto the porch.

I felt a type of deja vu
As looked up at me
To say
One last goodbye
Before he closed the door.

And I walked into my room.
With not one,
But two goodbyes
echoing in my mind.

~ leah