Friday, August 26, 2016

The Wisdom of Tenderness #2

Still slowly going through the book.  Devouring precious nuggets of wisdom. I love a good book!
This entry won't be near as long as the last.  Partly because I don't want to share everything with you...I want you to get the book and read it!  Same as before, I'm going to highlight sentences from the book and put my thoughts in parenthesis.

-Living in tenderness leads us out of the house of fear. The wisdom to see the tenderness of God at work in tribulation and consolation delivers the ragamuffin (that is me and you) from the house of fear, sets her free from the worries, tensions, and pressure of our torn and tearing world, and makes the words of Jesus her cry of liberation: "There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32.  (I don't know about you but sometimes fear can be paralyzing. In my humanness, my thoughts can easily turn negative, dark and doubtful and fear can flood in. I appreciate his insight, for pages, on fear and resting in the Lord.

- (all my writing here) Along with the fear he writes about being present.  Which we hear a lot of these days from meditation guides.  "Be present, be all here"...blah blah blah. Manning's drive is to get you to be aware of your life and enjoy the moment as a means to an end.  To love our whole story. Which I love...think about it....do you embrace all those dark, trying periods of your life?  Do you see the beauty HE has made from ashes when you look in the mirror?

-If Paul hadn't gone through the humble but enlightening experience of divine tenderness, he might well have become pathological.  (Can you imagine scripture without Paul!  Can you accept that Jesus loves you just as much as he loved Paul?  He is on to you, He is out for your soul, just like he was Paul).

-Self-hatred for real or imagined failures begets crippling guilt and is spawned by the father of lies. (Back up to point one, here we have it again....paralyzing, crippling fear....only comes from one place my friend and its NOT our heavenly Father.)

-Manning talks a lot about the benefits of living in tenderness.  Pick up the book and soak it all in.  Here are a few...
     -lets us live in trust, transparency and compassion.
     -bringing awareness of the loving gaze of Jesus.
     -makes us present without an agenda, stress and distress.
     -unspoken assurance that Jesus will provide the grace for the next step.

-A quote from the book "The one thing we owe absolutely to God is never to be afraid of anything."  (So easy to say, So hard to live out.)

-God's grace always precedes his call.  (In a pastor's office I once read the words..."God does not call the equipped, he equips those he calls."  This could be a whole blog entry by itself!  With God as your guide anything is possible.  I have to remind myself that daily as I tackle homeschooling and motherhood....when I'm feeling so not capable!

-Tenderness involves a continuing and deepening dependence on God.  (So does falling in love with Jesus and trusting Him with your life!)

-Tenderness if the impeccable sense of feeling safe: it comes from knowing that I'm totally liked and thoroughly loved.  

-The sense of safety that the acceptance of tenderness engenders is accompanied by a growing loss of control.  (and there we have it, the dreaded word every type A person across the globe hates...control.) As we become more comfortable w/ God's tenderness, we feel the reins on our life loosening and the stranglehold on our autonomous self slipping.  We no longer roar, clamoring for demands of perfection to be satisfied. There's less need to broadcast our established verities or to impose them on others as absolutes.  These are signs that self-acceptance is slowly maturing in the wisdom of accepted tenderness.  (I don't know about you, but I want that.  I want to relax, let go and allow God to move and mold me into His image.)

To live in the wisdom of accepted tenderness is to accept myself and everything that happens to me as a gift that's good; its to understand that my very existence is an expression of praise and thanks to God.  (I so want to get there!  I want to get to that place where is ALL about Him. Every breath, every thought, every action.)

-An additional effect of understanding God as the heart of tenderness is reconciliation.  Seen from a biblical perspective, reconciliation isn't primarily making up with another person; its making peace within ourselves in that dimension of our lives where we've preciously been unable to find peace.  Reconciliation is the inner healing of our hearts by the tenderness of Jesus.  Its a gentle growing into a oneness not of our own making. 

-He gives a story about a woman who had a horrific childhood and how she came to him one day and shared her struggle of survival for the majority of her life...having lived daily w/ the pain of abuse. And her encourages her to meditate (its OK, she is meditating on Jesus!) "Abba, I belong to you."  And she comes back and shares how it changed her.  I'm not going to tell you, you have to read the book! In Luke 18 we are encouraged to pray and not lose heart!

-It's in the crucible of pain and suffering that we become tender.  (how true!  We have no idea, until we have walked it. A friend just recently shared w/ me that she is able to "accept" and heal her miscarriage knowing that one day God may use her to help another Momma through the same sad situation.  Wow...how mature!  Accepting the hardship as a pathway to peace!)

Post one and two were my highlights from chapter one of "The Wisdom of Tenderness" by Brennan Manning, with some of my thoughts.  I want to encourage you to read the book.  Its loaded with great knowledge. Have a Blessed Day!



Monday, August 22, 2016

The Wisdom of Tenderness by Brennan Manning

I'm reading "The Wisdom of Tenderness" by Brennan Manning...and to say its a good book, would be an understatement. I'll share some of the things that found worth repeating. My thoughts are in the parantheseis, most emphasis is mine.
-If we accept the revelation of Jesus that God is Father, that there's "one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all" (Eph 4:6) then we're making a statement, not just about God but about ourselves. Its to say we are his children, to acknowledge that other people are brothers and sisters in the human family. THIS understanding affects our lifestyle b/c it implies acceptance of others and responsibility for others; we do our best to give family members whatever they need. This familial relationship is to be taken literally, for its a thing of flesh and blood in the bond of the Holy Spirit. (I have lots of thoughts about this, but my question today is, Are we as Christians really living like this?)
-When we're steeped in selfishness, indifferent to the poor, tormented by lust, wallowing in self-pity and flattened by depression...God's love continues to carry us. God can't NOT love us. (I read this week of a momma who committed suicide to postpartum depression, I know more people than I count who are depressed, addicted, tired. He loves you, he loves me. Our Hope should lay in him and him alone. If he is for us, (and friend he IS) who can be against us? Romans 8:31. I love the lyrics to "Fierce" by Jesus Culture...."YOU CHASE ME DOWN, YOU SEEK ME OUT, HOW CAN I BE LOST, WHEN YOU HAVE CALLED ME FOUND." Something to think about)
-Do you accept yourself as one utterly loved by God? And truly liked? Do you wholeheartedly trust that God likes you? If you can answer yes to these questions, there comes a relaxedness and serenity, a compassionate attitude toward yourself in your brokenness, that elucidates the meaning of tenderness.
-On page 22 the question is posed "But what of God's justice?" (You will need to read it for yourself, its a lot to grasp, but these two things stood out) "I hope as much from the justice of God as from his mercy. It is b/c he is just that he is compassionate and full of tenderness....for he knows our weakness." -Therese of Lisieux. (that struck me as deep and profound. I don't know about you but for me I sometimes tend to lean towards the just side of God, forgetting the compassionate side. The God that is seeking me)
-What joy to think that God is just, that he takes account of our weaknesses, that he knows perfectly the fragility of our nature. (same thoughts from the section above, but yes add joy to the equation)
-LIVE IN THE WISDOM OF ACCEPTED TENDERNESS.
(you will have to read the book to grasp the concept)
-Every change in the quality of a Christian's life must grow out of a change in his / her vision of reality. (definitely not by someone else's rules, boundaries, and lack of tenderness which I see and hear so much of today, even in the Christian circles)
-The gentle spirit dwelling within us is the deepest expression of tenderness-indeed, the Spirit-filled Christian is one whose heart is OVERFLOWING with tenderness-and it represents the full healing of our pain through his coming to us. (still pondering this. I lack this experience from Christians. And its made me take a closer look at my own walk.)
-Biblically, tenderness is what follows when someone reveals to you your own inner beauty, when you discover your belovedness, when you experience that you are deeply and sincerely LIKED by someone. If you communicate to me that you really like me, not just love me as a brother in Christ, that you take delight me, then you open up to me the possibility of liking myself (and I will add from Brene Brown...the ability to be my true self and be vulnerable...from her book Daring Greatly) Brennan continues...The look of amiable regard in your eyes banishes my fears, and my defense mechanisms disappear into the nothingness. Your warmth withers my self-disdain and allows the possibility of self-esteem. The mask drops...becoming more open, sincere, VULNERABLE and affectionate w/ you than I would ever dream of being if I thought you didn't like me. (Its so cool that I am reading both of these books and they are touching on this very issue that I am so enthralled by. To me THIS is what I want to be and what I look for in relationships. It should be evident in Christian circles...its so beautiful!)
This is ONLY Chapter one. I'm excited to see what else he has to reveal! I really enjoy reading Brennan Manning. I think he GETS what many Christians don't, and he has a way of revealing it to the reader. And if you haven't watched "The Raggamuffin"....the life of Rich Mullins. Go watch it! And read "The Raggamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here

My husband wonders why I blog because I don't do it regulary. Life is crazy with five kids & two grandkids...so I do it when I can and more importantly when I feel inspired to share something worth sharing! I journal regularly in a paper journal, but sometimes God prompts my heart to share something with you (whoever you are!).  And goodness gracious...I want to be obedient!

Then I get right HERE.  God has given me so many thoughts...what exactly should I share?  So, I'm just gonna go with the two things he has given me lately.

Prayer. How is your prayer life?  Do you go through seasons where you are spot on with the Holy Spirit, listening and yearning for more? I sure do! I love when the Holy Spirit is at work and just clear cuts who to pray for and why. And then there at times its much more subtle...both equally important. I was driving up to Champaign the other day to visit precious perfect Owen (my grandson), listening to my favorite worship leaders...Jesus Culture, Kari Jobe & Hillsong (yes all of them, it was an hour drive) and the Spirit just washed over me. Giving me several people to knock on Heavens gates on their behalf. It was so powerful. I couldn't help but be moved to tears that Holy Spirit prompted my heart to pray for these people. There is nothing special about me and my prayer life that he would prompt me more than any other person. Except maybe at that moment I was listening and ready.  I want to encourage you to get to a place where you are still, quiet and ready for the Spirit to approach you. Jesus is always ready, willing and eager to spend time with us. We are the ones much to busy to listen and respond. But wow, what an amazing exchange of holiness when we are connected with the Spirit!

Secondly...God has given me several different verses over the last month with "wall" references. I know how important walls were back in the day.  They provided protection for a city. Without walls a city would not stand a chance against an invasion, they would be conquered, they would be extremely vulnerable. Guards would stand on walls all hours of the day and night, keeping an eye out. Take sometime and search scriptures with "wall" references and dig a little deeper. Are you standing on a wall in this season of your life? Are you protecting yourself from invasion by keeping yourself in fellowship and in the Word? God is always waiting and as a friend reminded me once...He always says...come....come as you are.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I honestly don't know how people manage social media between blogging, fb, twitter, instagram, pinterest, and periscope its really a bit too much!  I gave up on twitter and myspace a long time ago. I love to blog, facebook, pinterest and I'm new to instagram.  Just those few...is still too much for me! Anyways, all that to say...I want to focus in on what I love in 2016, and that is what my post is about tonight. I'm not 100% sure what next year is going to look like. I don't want to put God in a box and clarify what I AM going to do next year.  I want to be open to what HE wants to do with me next year. I do have a few things He has given me already...

If it doesn't bring you JOY, get rid of it! That will be my motto to help me decide what stays and what goes. I have too much stuff. Most people do. Do you? I have stuff that doesn't fill me up. Its clutter. It adds to my overwhelming feeling of excess. A friend once said, "if you have too much of anything, you have stolen from the poor." Too many coats? Shoes? Coffee mugs? You get the idea. Some purge in the Spring, I'm going to purge all year long. If it doesn't fill me up and bring me joy...it will find a new home!

While studying Romans 14 this past week I heard loud and clear ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE. I want to focus on things of value in light of eternity. I don't want to nit pick about the clothes people wear, the food we eat, music enjoyed, the way we pray etc. I'm convinced Jesus calls us to something so much more profound and geniune than all that "stuff" (that in light of eternity is of little value).

I'm convicted along with the eternal significance process to invest more into my children. Yes, I homeschool, but even with that its so easy to get focused on academics, that the heart is neglected. Ouch! I know! I don't want to make that mistake. I want to be intentional with the little souls God has entrusted to me and my husband. I hope to spend more time with them one on one. More time talking about worldview vs kingdom view (google Tony Evan's Kingdom Kids...its a great resource). I want to hear more of their own thoughts, opinions, and ideas. They are growing up so fast!

Several people I follow on fb this past year have battled cancer. Ugly, heart wrenching, life changing cancer. It put things into perspective. I want to be intentional about making good memories with my family. This past May Brett and I spent our 10 year anniversary in Jamaica. It was wonderful! Beautiful! We sooooooo needed it.  And for Christmas this year, we went to Pa. Spent time with grandparents, great grandparents (another eye opener). Both of Brett's grandmothers are in their 90's living in an assisted living home. Wow. It was precious to be able to see them with our kids. They matter. We took our kids to Hershey Park for their Christmas Candy Lane...watching my children's faces light up was priceless. It was the highlight of my Christmas vacation. Lord willing 2016 will have many more fantastic memories...a grandbaby is expected in July! So exciting!!!! Maybe a trip to Hawaii...Brett?

I will continue a woman's Bible study I started with my friend Kris. Its beautiful to meet with other woman and explore God's Word together. We will begin Passion Pursuit in January. In April I will attend Hearts at Home in Peoria IL with a few of the women from this group, as well as some others. That is always a highlight of my year! I highly recommend it to all women.

I'm a retired scrapbooker. Seriously with my kiddos and homeschooling I had to give it up. There was no more time. I sold almost everything. And then...low and behold, just recently fell IN LOVE with Bible journaling and art journaling. Journaling, journaling, journaling...it feeds my soul. I hope to learn more and create more through this avenue.  Plus my kids enjoy doing it with me.

I'm excited about 2016. How about you? What are your hopes and dreams? What will you spend time enjoying? Who will you invest in / serve? What feeds your soul? How will you give God glory?

Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Carried to the Table

Well, here we are.  I average a post a month (pathetic I know). Maybe when I go on my facebook fast I'll write more here!
Brett and I are listening to Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll.  Its soooo good.  Go out and buy it now, you won't regret it. We are on disc 5/15 and he's discussing what GRACE looked like during King David's time. In 2 Samuel 9...we have King David asking if anyone is left from Saul's lineage. The maid responds that Jonathan has a crippled son Mephibosheth. King David sends for him and promises to restore all of Saul's land to him.  And he makes good on his promise.

Its a beautiful story. I say to Brett, "wow its so touching, it sounds a bit like that song CARRIED TO THE TABLE we have been enjoying this week." A quick google and boom..."When asked about the story behind "Carried to the Table", said, "One of the evangelists [my family] traveled with for two years had a message that spoke about that story of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel. His message moved me so much that I fell in love with that story and couldn’t get it out of my head. He related [the story] in the message to how God carries us to the table. Things I can’t get out of my head, I make songs out of them. I sat in my room and prayed to God about it. I worked on [the song] two days and finally finished it.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy these sporadic moments when God connects. I'm still in awe and blessed by this story and this song. Study the Word of God and watch for the Lord to connect with you.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

A lifetime of learning

I'm stubborn and hard headed.  Sometimes it takes me a few (ok, maybe more than a few) lessons before I "get it."  I'm just being honest.  Brett and I have so much on our plates right now.  We only have two nights a week that are not commited to something. But I must say, adding my Monday night Women's Bible study has been a blessing. I have been going for a few months now and I appreciate how much I learn from it. Pouring over scripture that I have already read many times before, but seeing it in a different light! Brett and I also have been more diligent about our mornings together before he leaves for work.  God has been using that time to draw us closer to him and each other. I want to share somethings from these blessed times.  Please feel free to comment, add your thoughts. dig deeper and see if God is exposing something to you too.

~To be justified does NOT mean "just as if I'd never sinned."  This weakens the full impact of justification.  It really means; even though I still sin periodically and have found myself unable to stop sinning on a perament basis - God declared me righteous when I believed.  And because I will continue to sin from time to time, I find all the more reason to be grateful for grace. As a sinner I DESERVE vengeance. As a sinner I'm afraid of justice.  As a sinner my only hope for survival is grace.  In its purest form, it makes no earthly sense! -Charles Swindoll The Grace Awakening Devotional

Wow...I just love it.  I love all of it. I can embrace my brokeness, I know that I am a sinner. I have a much harder time wrapping my head around my sovereign gracious father's love for me...unconditionally, without abandonment.  Not matter how bad I screw it up. Its so much better than I deserve. My heart's desire is to walk in His light, not in darkness. I appreciate that the author spends time addressing those who abuse grace, and use it as a means to continue sinning. This is a great read...pick it up!

Here are a couple thoughts from "Creative Counterpart" by Linda Dillow

~Do you give 100%?  Or do you give 50?  What's your 100%?  To trust and obey.
Learning to trust and obey takes repetition and discipline.

Can I get an AMEN? Right here...this is where I trip up. The repetition and discipline part.  I can hope someday I get it right! I'm so tired of laying something down at the feet of Jesus, just to have picked it back up less than 10 minutes later.  Seriously! The author goes into detail on page 37 of this process...its reassuring that she makes mention this process takes a LIFETIME!







Friday, September 25, 2015

I love Fall.  The cool crisp mornings, the falling leaves, harvest time in Illinois...brrr. This morning I'm wrapped up in a shawl I made for my Great Grandmother.  She passed away and the shawl came back to me.  I love it, as did she.  Its warm. It reminds me of her. I can still see the smile on her face when she unwrapped it.  I miss her so much. She was wise in her years.  A beautiful strong Christian woman.

I'm embarrassed. I remember being a wild child, a rebellious and disrespectful teenager. I mocked her wisdom and direction when she tried to speak into my life. And now I would give anything for her insight, her encouragement, her wisdom.

I'm almost 40 years old now and I'm eager to learn the ways of the Lord. I crave that wisdom my great grandmother had. The word wisdom appears in the Bible more than 200 times. 200!

This morning while I'm snuggled up in my grandmother's shawl I'm going to continue to dig deeper into God's Word where wisdom can be found, faith can be restored, and real relationship with my Father happens. I want to be wise like my grandma when I'm 80 and pray my kids (and great grandkids, gulp) will not be like I once was.



James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.