Monday, March 21, 2016

Divinity Invaded My Humanity

(This is a little long and for that I apologize in advance, but every word is necessary to give God His full Glory.)

I was physically aching from preparing all the orders for my CareVan deliveries I need to make.  Every bone in my hands and every muscle in my body was talking to me. I hopped in the shower to let the hot water run over my aching muscles and to wash away my emotional weariness.  Weeping, I started complaining to my Father.  I’m so tired of doing this alone. LORD, You know I never wanted to do CareVan alone. I’m too old to do this alone. This stuff gets heavier by each passing month. LORD, you know I’m weary in my well-doing. I’m sorry that I am.  I know I’m not supposed to let myself get weary…but, I am. I’m sorry, LORD...

My hot, salty tears mixed with the hot water.  Eventually, I climbed out of the shower.  Drying myself, I didn’t feel any release - certainly, I did not feel any less weary.  UGH.  I’m tired.  Do you hear me, LORD?

I got in my jammies and robe and collapsed into my chair in the living room.  A few moments later my cell phone rang interrupting my self-indulgence with the weariness I seemed to have embraced.   

It was my friend’s son, Robert whom I have been friend’s with for over 20 years, calling from the prison he is incarcerated in - in that state of Virginia.

He was so in The Spirit that he didn’t notice my…umm…un-chipper-ness.  He began telling me his reason for calling. “I was sitting in the POD (which is the common area of his building) listening to my worship music through my headphones.  I started singing out loud with my arms raised up in worship.  I couldn’t stop the tears from running down my face as I worshiped The LORD. I am so grateful for all He has done in my life.  Suddenly, I knew I had to call you and share this worship song with you.” 

His player has no speaker so I couldn’t hear the music to the lyrics that so moved this man’s heart. But I sure did hear him singing.  It was a song I had never heard before, but the lyrics felt like they could have come from my own heart.  His singing was mixed with raw emotional vulnerability as he cried through the whole song.  And smack dab in the middle of the prison POD!  

Well, as you can imagine, I began to cry.  And cry.

When the song was over Robert started thanking and worshiping The LORD.  He paused, took a few breaths, and began to sing Bridge Over Troubled Water  - having no idea what my day had been like or that I had a monolog in the shower about being so very weary. (In case you are not aware, Bridge Over Troubled Water is the only Gospel song Paul Simon ever wrote. And it has been a life-changer to me over and over since I was 16 years old.)  

         When you’re weary
         Feeling small
         When tears are in your eyes
         I will dry them all

Weary-cleansing tears were now flowing as I did my best to muffle my sobs. While Robert sang from his heart, I pictured The LORD’s Hand wiping away my tears. 

 Apologetically, Robert told me he had no intention of doing that and he didn’t know why he started to sing that song.  Cleansing tears still flowing, I couldn’t speak. I didn’t want to speak.  It was too holy a moment.  For Divinity had invaded my humanity.  The fire of GOD’s Agape Love came down upon me but didn’t consume me. It was truly one of GOD’s “mysterious ways” of reaching out and touching us when we so desperately need Him.

We were both too emotional to continue chit-chatting for long.  He from his grateful, free-as-a-bird heart and me from having just been touched by The Divine. We quickly said goodbye and later I sent him an email explaining.

Because I had not sat in quietness to hear The LORD’s reply to my complaining, He orchestrated two people’s lives who live in two different states, and had His Spirit move upon His incarcerated Minister of the Gospel to minister Life to me all through a song that has had deep spiritual meaning to me my whole life.  

GOD’s Love, Tenderness, and Compassion are beyond written language. Truly, I have no words…

God is AGAPE Love and AGAPE Love is pure and overshadowing. IT truly heals. IT truly restores. IT truly transcends time, space, and the need for understanding. The Divinity of His AGAPE-NESS truly invaded the humanness of my self-pity and lifted my head to look up into the Face of Love, Himself. Emotional weariness was now all gone.  

I am changed, once again, by the majesty of my LORD’s “burning-bush” kind of Love for me.  And I have a feeling Robert is too.

** Shared my story over at Tell Me A True Story **

Because of Him and Unto Him,

The Circle of Life

Isn't it amazing how Life somehow brings you full circle back around to people, places, or things?

I'm not sure I understand the whys or wherefores of such things. But, this I do know: It is a GOD-thing.

This is happening in my life right now.  And I find myself a little teary (only a little!) that my husband is missing out on this awesome thing that is happening.  I know, at a different time in our lives, he would have loved it as much as I.

There is a part of me that would love to tell him about it - would love for him to know what is happening; would love for him to embrace it as I am.

Oh, what he is missing out on...

But, I realize this awesome, full-circle-happening is just for me.  My husband has chosen his path - separate from his family, separate from his God - separate from all that is good and pure.

This awesome, full-circle-happening is just for me. A gift from Above. Oh, thank You, Father!

Sadly, my husband's full-circle-happenings will be coming his way. Just for him.  I'm just not sure they will be so awesome.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Monday, March 14, 2016

Be MY God?

And I, The LORD, will be their God...

                         And, give them a heart to know Me                  ~ The LORD God Almighty, as recorded in Ezekiel 34:24 & Jeremiah 24:7

GOD will be our personal I AM - Whatever we are in need of.

He will be our personal Owner, Benefactor, Healer of our Diseases

Our personal Deliverer, Rescuer, Forgiver

Our personal Cheerleader, Father, Husband  

Our personal Friend, Encourager, Provider 

Our personal Redeemer, Teacher, Intercessor

Our personal Peace, Joy, Grace

Our personal Champion, Knight-in-shinning-Armor, Transformer

Our personal Judge, Vindicator, Advocate

Our personal Freedom, Sanctifier, Power

Our personal Strength, Mercy, Love

Our personal Wisdom, Banner-over-Us, Leader

Our personal Warrior, All Sufficiency, Holiness

Our personal Righteousness, Truth, Patience

Our personal Kindness, Goodness, Justice

Our personal Beginning and End, Blesser, Empower-er

Our personal Morality, Defense, Bravery

Our personal Coach, Invincible Army, Compassion

Our personal Empathizer, Beauty, Blessedness

Our personal Freedom, Glory, Goodness

Our personal Knowledge, Perfection, Truthfulness

Our personal Spirituality, Consoler, Repairer-of-the-Breach

Our personal Unifier, Knowledge, Wisdom

Our personal Conscience, Light, Way 

Our personal Life, Security, Virtue

Our personal Tolerance, Sensitivity, Self-control

Our personal Resource, Orderliness, Endurance

Our personal Humility, Generosity, Honor

Our personal Gratefulness, Joyfulness, Educator

Our personal Contentment, Defense, Dependability

Our personal Boldness, Justifier, Sound Mind

Our personal Jury, Champion, Decisiveness

Our personal Companion, Teacher, Trainer

Our personal Coach, Lifter-of-our-Heads, Encourager

Our personal Sin-Convictor, Breath in our Lungs, Lie Replacer

Our personal Energizer, Gift-giver, Match-Maker

Our personal Covenant Keeper, Merry-Heart Maker, Healer of     
     Emotional Scars 

Our personal Sound-mind Maker, Abundance, Mercy Bestower

Our personal Anxiety Reliever, Creativity, Talent Bestower

Our personal Provider, Caretaker, Soul-Prosperer, and Lover-of-our- 

Our personal Lover-of-our-Souls, Miracle Worker, Covenant Keeper

...And so on and so on and so on...

Depending on what we choose to believe about our God and if we have a heart to experientially know Him for Who He truly is. 

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Compassion in Action

Four years ago, March 1st, CareVan, my non-profit ministry, launched into action.

CareVan's branding photo
We are a delivery service of non-food essentials to Suffolk County, NY families in need. Countless times over these past four years, I've been admonished to have the clients come and pick up their products. "WHY do you deliver?" comes the question in an almost disdaining way.

It would make sense, you would think, to not deliver, especially now that I don't live within proximity to most of the clients. It's a lot of extra gas and miles for me and for my right-hand, Keima, who does all the shopping and hauls it all to the Provision Center (my garage).

For four years my reply has been basically the same: "Because this is what The LORD told me to do."  And that is true.

However, it's taken me four years to get a revelation as to why The LORD has told me to run CareVan this way.  And my lightbulb moment came as I was driving home from a CareVan's client's baby shower on Sunday.

Jesus Christ was fully engaged with his "clients".  He cared deeply for those whose lives He touched.  The Miracle Worker wasn't interested in the numbers of the masses. His Compassion was for individual sufferings. Nor was He interested in His own comfort. He went out of His way to meet up with the hurting. (John, chapter four: the Samaritan woman at the well.)

The way CareVan is run is a reflection of GOD's Heart and His way of meeting individual's needs.

Fully engaged.
Fully present in their moment in time.
Going out of His way to come Face-to-face with a need.

Compassion in action.

CareVan is not a just a delivery service. It's not just about shampoos, deodorants, and trash bags.

It's a Jesus, The Christ service.  It's "Him" stepping into the lives of those in need.  Those in need of a Saviour.  They may think all they need at the moment is some toilet paper, laundry detergent, or diapers.  But, as always, Jesus looks into hearts.  He knows what their real need is.

Do you see the similarity?
As when He walked this earth, He still sees the hurts and the wounds life has inflicted.  He is still reaching out to the hurting and those caught in the trap of sin. Only, now, He does it through you and me.

We are commanded to go into all the world. GO. GO.  CareVan is a "Go into" ministry; therefore, we deliver.

And, for as long as The LORD provides, CareVan will stay this way.  Fully engaged.  Fully present in client's moments.  Going out of our way to meet a need.

Truly, Because of Him and Unto Him, and hopefully, Like Him,


Monday, March 7, 2016

Grit and Grace

It takes “true grit” to go on living through life’s most challenging seasons of life.  It would be so much easier to “let go” and “go with God” into Eternity, where there is no more pain, no more suffering. You can see that case-in-point through the blogposts of Adam Buzzard, my daughter, Alece’s, friend.  Adam has gone through one of the most harrowing, horrific cancer battles I’ve yet to hear about.

Is it the grit of just our humanness or the Grace of the Divine that gets us through horrific trials and tribulations?

Where does that grit come from to keep putting one step in front of the other on the darkest, loneliest, painfullest, “I want this to be over!” kind of days, weeks, months, and yes, years?

“My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, My Power is shown the more completely.”  ~ God Almighty, as recorded in II Corth. 12:9 
The Grace of our Father infused into the born-again spirit of man. Grace is not something He gives us.  It’s something He is, just like He IS Agape.

Do we really understand our Father’s Grace?  I don’t think so.  “God’s unmerited favor", that’s our immediate definition that we give because we learned it in church.  Yes, BUT…

But, what do we learn experientially

Do we ever really stop and ponder what it really does mean or how God applies it in our life’s circumstances?  We sing about God’s “Amazing Grace” in salvation, but, do we really take the time to think about what life would be like if God’s Grace were not still a living, active force within us?

I do not think we’ve even begun to grasp the meaning of the manifestation of Grace extended to us during our trials and tribulations.  

I think our Abba’s Grace embodies courage and grit, fortitude and strength, favor, as well as the fruits of His Spirit:  Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Tolerance, and Self-control. 

For in the midst of the deepest ocean we can find ourselves in, or the hottest furnace, or while being hammered almost to death on the anvil of life, Grace affords us Christ-likeness.  If we allow Grace to do so. 

Grace allows us to be sweet when circumstances calls for us to respond otherwise.  Grace allows us to love the unloveable; to go the extra mile; to override the ugliest or angriest; to keep putting one foot in front of the other when deep down we would rather quit; to forgive the most horrific act and or betrayal; and to truly see there is truly only one set of Footprints in the sand.

Grit’s fortitude, determination, and guts IS Grace.  Grace personified in our lowly beings by our Father Who is so much bigger and grander than any circumstances or emotions.

God’s Gentle, Divine Grace fused with the human will.  To me, it can no longer be defined just as "unmerited favor".

I would love to hear what your definition of our GOD's Grace is. 

Because of Him and Unto Him,