Mountain Path

Meandering off into the distance, the mountain path looks inviting.

Relaxed and lazy; where does it lead? Who has walked here before?

How many stories this lonely path must hold; what are its mysteries?

Warm sun complements the cool mountain breeze; perfect weather to explore!

Curiosity piqued; I set out with rocks and leaves crunching underfoot.

The silence is alive with nature doing its thing.

Birds call out with their beautifully intricate songs; joyful and bright, full of energy.

Wildflowers dip and nod in the breeze; dancing to their own tune along the low, gentle hills.

Vibrant colors are splashed about in hues of blue, yellow, deep red-orange; a divine paintbrush at work.

Busy insects hover and flit; carrying out the business of nature.

Mountain silence is full of life, purpose and order; energizing, yet calming.

Walking along, I hear forest creatures rustling in bushes; peeking and darting to and fro.

Small animals busy, yet wary; alert, yet free in their mountain homes.

I wonder how many eyes are watching my progress along the path.

The air smells of warm earth and the faint perfume of wildflowers and sunshine.

Ascending at an easy pace, the flat land dotted with trees; the forest grows thicker.

A subtle change of light with deepening shades of green; a peaceful energy.

Dappled sunlight filters through tree tops; birds soar from branch to branch still calling.

The path feels springy underfoot with a bed of needles and leaves covering the hard dirt.

Cooler air carries scents of pine and a not unpleasant older smell; moldy, ancient, circle of life.

Patches of wildflowers stubbornly crowd into pockets of sun that reach the forest floor.

Shots of bright beauty in the more subdued light; tenacious and bold!

In the distance, a loud crash through the underbrush; a deer, squirrels, a dead branch fallen?

Deeper in the woods, wind in the tree tops sounds like the susurrating sigh of the sea; branches waving and swaying; stirring the calm air in a dance as old as time.

Walking deeper in, the trees are very close; sunlight is tightly filtered and shadows play over the towering trunks as the path soldiers on.

Remote peace settles over the path, interrupted only by chattering squirrels and the noisy jay, demanding attention.

The air is quite cool. It smells crisp and deep, so clean and pure. Deep breaths to capture that scent memory forever.

Sun is dipping lower; a little farther, then time to turn back. Shadows deepen; day is ending.  The scents, sights, sounds are etched into memory. Captured.

Never making it to the very end of this mountain path, the mystery of it calls out to me. Keep going! Solve the mystery…

Maybe it was never meant to be fully known.

What do you want?

Recently I was watching a video for a Bible study I’m doing on the book of Hosea, by Jennifer Rothschild. In the video, she told us that what we long for most, is what we already have in Christ. I have been mulling this over and swirling it about in my brain for a few weeks now because it is such an eye opening, revolutionary statement. What I long for most I already have in Christ. I already have it. Stop and read those words again. Already have it.  It actually blows my mind. I have been asking myself some thought provoking questions over the last several weeks, such as “what is it that I deeply long for and what is it that I think I don’t have?” I believe the answers go far deeper than the physical wanting of food, water and clothing. This question is begging and pleading with us to go to a soul deep level. You know that place; where putting words to the emotion, the need, the longing is almost impossible; yet it is there, always there, and it is desperate to be heard. I believe this feeling was purposely put there by God to draw us to Him, to keep us continually seeking Him and calling out to Him because we know, on that soul deep, beyond words level, that we need Him desperately. We want beyond anything else to be known.  We may not be able to put words to it, but our souls know Him. Our souls long for Him and everything He provides.

What is it that you long for most and feel like you don’t have? Is it security? Do you feel safe? Is it to be heard and known and seen? Do you feel anonymous in a big, wide world? Do you want to know that you are loved unconditionally and looked upon with eyes that adore every single fiber of your being? Do you want to know that you have a purpose; that you are NOT an accident? Do you crave acceptance? Do you need to know that you have value and worth beyond your wildest imagination, in the eyes of your Daddy? Do you crave order and chaos in a world that is wildly out of order?

You have all of these things in Christ Jesus! You are safe and secure. He commands His angels to protect you wherever you go. Nothing touches you, His masterpiece, without it first being filtered through His scarred hands; hands that were scarred to seal you to Him, to make eternal life with Him possible! He sees you, hears you and knows your every thought, fear, joy, failure and victory. Zephaniah 3:17 tells you that “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” He rejoices over you! You are unconditionally loved, valued and accepted with a specific and unique purpose on your life that only you were created to fulfill. What time, tender care and attention God took, as you were created and the breath of life was breathed into your lungs. It is His breath in your lungs. You have a purpose. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jesus is the Prince of Peace and can bring order, calm and peace to every situation. In the midst of the greatest pain and confusion life throws at you, He is there in the midst of it, offering you His love, His peace and safety. His wisdom is available as is His peace, if you just ask Him. Talk to Him. He is your Daddy and best friend. The true lover of your soul. Think deep about what it is you think you don’t have, what it is you long for most, and then look to Jesus. Ask Him to show you that you have it. You have all that you need because He is more than enough. Peace and blessings, friends.

Revealing Truths in Exodus

I’m reading through the Bible in a year. I’ve done it before and each time have found fascinating nuggets of truth, revelation and delight that I never noticed in my previous readings. I am in Exodus now. I know this part like the back of my hand, or so I thought. Today, the Lord opened my eyes to some beautiful, yet hard hitting truths about myself, about Him and maybe about you, too.

Beginning in Exodus 13:3, Moses tells the Israelites to remember this day that they left Egypt forever; the place of their cruel and unbearable slavery. Moses reminds them that this is the day the Lord brought them out of their bondage with His mighty hand. His. Not their mighty hands and strength in numbers, but His. There is no place for self-reliance and self-congratulation here. The Lord heard their cries, their groaning and weeping and He rescued them because He is all mighty, a Warrior and because He loved them and He chose them as His own. Their bondage and the cruelty inflicted upon them by their earthly masters reached the heart of Almighty God and He responded with amazing power, might and compassion for the Israelites. He answered their cries.

In Exodus 13:17, God does not lead His people toward the Promised Land by the easy, straightforward route taking them through Philistine territory, because He knew them. He knew they would be terrified, turn around and head back to Egypt, because it was familiar there. Despite the horrible oppression they suffered, they knew what to do there. This applies to us, too. He knows our fears and weaknesses. Sometimes, when He seems to leads us in odd, circuitous routes to get to our Promised Land, have we ever stopped to think that because He knows us so well and loves us so much that He leads us around a mountain that might just be too big and cause too much pain? That we are not ready for yet? That touched me and explains some paths that I’ve had to take that seemed to make no sense.  I love how He speaks through His Word. It never returns void.

Verses 21 and 22 say “The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.”  What a lovely reminder that we are never alone. He is our constant companion. He knows where we are going. That feels peaceful to me. Safe.

The people panicked when they saw the Egyptians had followed them. They cried. They were terrified. They had already forgotten the way the Lord had brought them out of Egypt. They forgot that He guided them and lead them with pillars of cloud and fire. I love how Moses tells them in Exodus 14:13, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” This verse means a lot to me, because there was a time when a trial, a wound, seemed too deep and too hard to overcome. It was blindsiding and overwhelming. I remember asking God to show me something, to please tell me what to do. I found this verse immediately. I did what it said. I stood still and I watched Him rescue me from something that I didn’t understand. He fought for me, because He loves me. What are you facing that seems impossible? Do you trust God to fight for you? Can you wrap your mind about what that really means? God, the Almighty, the Prince of Peace, Creator, the King of ALL Kings wants to fight for you! He is telling you to just stay calm and watch Him. The Lord is our rear guard. He goes before us and leads us, but in times of battle, He is behind us, just like Exodus 14:19-20 shows us. “Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. The cloud settled between the Egyptians and Israelite camps.” He leads us out of harm’s way, and then moves behind us to hem us in and guard us from what He just delivered us from. Protection. Safety.

The first half of Exodus 15 is a beautiful song of praise, acknowledgement and love to the Lord for His protection, guidance and compassion; recognizing that He is an unmatched and mighty Warrior who stops at nothing to defend and redeem His chosen ones. I am His chosen one. You are His chosen one. Do we dance, sing and worship out loud when He delivers and rescues us, sharing with others when our prayers and cries are heard? Are we like Miriam and the women of Israel who danced and sang this song to Him; “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; He has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.” (v. 20, 21). This hit home. Am I raw and open and lavish with my praise and honor to Him for all He has done and is doing in my life? Do I give Him praise and thank Him for all the “horses and riders” in my life that He has hurled into the sea and battles He has won for me? Do you? Will you?

There is one last part from this first half of Exodus that causes me to examine myself. Exodus 16:4 “The Lord said to Moses, Look, I’m going to rain down food from Heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.” I read this over a few times and it blessed my heart. I believe He still does this for us today. God rains down food from Heaven, for us, every day. He gives enough for each day. Just enough. It might come in the form of physical provisions; such as food, shelter, water and clothing. It might come in the form of health and relationships. Maybe He gives me enough skill, ability and talent to get through whatever the day will bring me, because He already knows what that will be. He knows what I’m going to need and provides just enough. That spoke to me in a big way. Am I grateful, daily for what He is doing? Do I actively look to see what He is providing and how I need to use it? Do I spend time with Him saying thank you? Do I remember what He has done and what He has provided with a grateful heart or am I selfish and greedy like a giant gobbling mouth, demanding more, more, more and complaining relentlessly that what my Father has rained down from Heaven, for me, is not good enough? What do you do with the daily, loving provision your Father has given you? Food for thought….

Hurt and Healer

I have been feeling a bit nostalgic lately. I’m dealing with some health issues that are coming to a head soon with some tests and procedures in the works. Maybe that is triggering memories of my cancer days with surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy and biotherapy, when I really didn’t know what the outcome was going to be and if I would be healed.

Music has always had a tremendous impact on me. When nothing else can reach that deep place or describe my feelings, music has always done that for me. It is a gift that I am so grateful for and that I hold very dear to my heart. To me it is God’s mouthpiece to my soul.

During the most intense times of my cancer treatments there were many songs that spoke to those places in my heart that were weary, afraid and overwhelmed; songs that spoke peace, hope and safety to my soul.

This song, The Hurt and the Healer, by Mercy Me is one of those that I clung to tenaciously and listened to over and over again, multiple times a day sometimes; declaring to myself that even in the midst of my deepest fear, pain and hurt, Jesus is there; the Healer colliding with my hurting body and heart, whispering to my soul that one day this will all be understood and made clear. I know that one day I will hear Jesus say, “It’s over now.” That brought me such hope! I know that whatever I face and whatever scars I’m left with, He will use for good and His glory; to bring hope to someone who has run out of steam and needs to know it will be ok. If this is you today, soak in these words and promises from a God that sees all, hears all and watches your every move, cherishing you and catching every single tear, bringing you healing in unexpected and beautiful ways. His arms are open wide.

The Hurt & the Healer”

Why? The question that is never far away

The healing doesn’t come from the explained; Jesus please don’t let this go in vain

You’re all I have, All that remains

So here I am, what’s left of me, where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive

Even though a part of me has died; You take my heart and breathe it back to life

I fall into Your arms open wide, when the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do;  pain so deep that I can hardly move

Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You

Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am, what’s left of me, where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive

Even though a part of me has died; You take my heart and breathe it back to life

I fall into your arms open wide, when the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity, is overcome by Majesty

When grace is ushered in for good and all our scars are understood

When mercy takes its rightful place and all these questions fade away

When out of weakness we must bow, and hear You say “It’s over now”

I’m alive

Even though a part of me has died; You take this heart and breathe it back to life

I fall into your arms open wide, when The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear, wake my heart and take my tears

Find Your glory even here, when the hurt and the healer collide.

-Mercy Me

You can find the video to this song on youtube.