The Frame is Forming!!!

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Recently I was enjoying some extended time alone with the Lord at Glen Eyrie, praying my way through Psalm 16, when I realized I really needed more time!  As I went to text Jim to ask if he’d come later to pick me up I noticed my friend Sue Tell had just posted a new blog.  Now since her blogs really minister to my heart I decided to check it out…. and I was totally blown away at how it tied in with my time with the Lord!

note:  If you’d like to read the blog that inspired this art journal entry you’ll find it here (it was so good I put the whole thing in my art journal!)

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or here:  http://suesgracechoes.blogspot.com/2012/08/chicken-or-egg-picture-or-frame.html

When I read Sue’s words…. how with a puzzle you put the outside together first and when you build a house the frame is the first thing that goes up, so the Lord laid on her heart, he’s putting the frame in place first, the picture of what’s next for her life will follow…

I realized pieces of my frame truly have started coming together – and that so encouraged my heart!  I still have no clue what the final picture will be, but my eyes were opened to see He truly is at work!

And I about flipped when I saw she posted at the end Psalm 16:6.  Do you think it was a coincidence I’d just been camping out in that Psalm?!!!

Gardening Gifts

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We have been blessed with a home that has an amazing yard!  The previous owner was a landscaper and did an incredible job designing this yard.  It really is a work of art!  But we’re talking about living art here.  Living art grows and needs to be tended or it stops looking artistic and just resembles a mess.

One tree in particular had shoots and branches growing out from the base and all over.  It looked more like a huge bush than any tree.

Now I’m no gardener, but I do love being active outside (especially as I get to meet so many neighbors when I’m working in the front yard!).  I also have a major pet peeve when things start growing over the sidewalk so people have trouble walking or biking on it.

So I prayed and asked the Lord to help me and guide my hands since I had no idea what I was doing and started tackling trimming this tree.  I only wish I’d thought to take a picture before I started!

As I’m clipping away at all the stray branches the Lord gently whispers, “This resembles your life, Deb.  There are so many things you like to do and are doing… you are all over the place.  But just as you are radically pruning that tree, this is what I’m seeking to do during your sabbatical, prodigiously cutting everything away that’s not essential so you can see what the trunk is – the main thing I’ve created you to do and want you focusing on.  That theme has been running through your life since the beginning, but it’s so crowded with other interests and activities, you’ll have a hard time seeing it until the ephemera is stripped away.”

Towards the end of tackling the tree my next door neighbor came over and said, “You are doing an excellent job!”  When I told him, I had no clue what I was doing so I asked the Lord to guide me, he replied, “Well, he certainly is doing that!”

I smiled as I thought, “He sure is!  And not only with this tree…”

My Job Description

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The third stage of our sabbatical is where we spend time seeking what the Lord wants us to do next.  It’s not here yet, but it certainly has been weighing on my mind.  Jim already has his next assignment, but I’m pretty clueless.

Don’t get me wrong – there are a ton of things I could do, and many I’ve already been asked to consider, but what the Lord wants me doing I really can’t say yet.

But as I continued reading through Ken Gire’s book The Reflective Life I realized I already know the most important part of my next job description!!!  It’s loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength!

No matter what my next job ends up being it is so vital this remains the main thing!!!

Ken writes, “What difference would it make if all the meetings and activities that make up the curriculum of our lives were driven by that one grand mission to passionately love God and allow that brimming love to slosh from our lives and drench everyone around us?”

1 Corinthians 13 makes the answer clear ~ all the difference in the world!

Receiving and Believing

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The Lord gave us a tremendous gift when He blessed Andrew with a summer internship in building construction out here in Colorado Springs!  Not only was Andrew able to help us move, but he also shared our first three months living in this new location.  Once again, our home was his home.

But as August rolled around was I ever starting to dread his heading back to Florida.  I kind of like that guy!

The week before he was scheduled to leave a new friend invited me over for tea.  As we shared ideas about how we journal, the Lord laid it on my heart to ask if she’d like to share a quiet time together.  She was so excited and suggested we camp out in 1 Corinthians 13 in The Message.

As we read through this chapter, verse 4 jumped off the page at me, so this is what I wrote:

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LOOK:    “(love) does not want what it doesn’t have.”  1 Corinthians 13:4b

LISTEN:  “Oh Poppa, I’ve never thought of this as envy. I’ve thought of envy as wishing for something someone else has but really this is at the core – I’m wishing for something I don’t have.  And that’s not love.

Every good and perfect give comes from you and no good thing will you withhold.  Too sad to think whenever I’m wanting what I don’t have, I’m not loving you!

Like wanting Andrew to still be here living with us.  That’s wanting what I won’t have after Saturday instead of being thankful for the gift of him being here now.  Oh Father, please forgive my ungratefulness!  Of course if it was a good thing for him to still be living with us or at least here in Colorado it would be.  And it has been this summer.  But now it’s time for him to return to Florida and you are allowing this because it’s good ~ for him as well as for us.

LIVE IT OUT:  I need to start now praying, asking the Lord to help me have a thankful heart as Andrew leaves on Saturday.  From now till then, keep asking you to teach me the secret of contentment through this.  I can mourn that I’ll miss him, while still rejoicing that this is your best for all of us and being thankful!  Please help me Lord, to love you through my response and wholeheartedly, by not wanting what I don’t have!

Thank you Poppa for the gift of the time we’ve had this summer and all I’ve learned from it – about not taking things personally and keeping my heart open.  And thank you for the precious times we shared at Palmer Park together.  Thank you that is is good for him to be in Florida and us to be out here and that we can trust you with this.  Thank you for how you’re growing both of us through this.  You really are amazing Lord!  Thank you for how you keep meeting me in my quiet times preparing me so I can fully embrace where you have us and all the ramifications.

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From that moment on, there was such a peace in my heart.  Granted, I did cry a couple times!  But as we said goodbye – well, the Lord sure poured on the grace answering my prayers!  It really helped knowing this is truly what’s good for him as well as for us.

Got to love it when the Lord meets us right where we are through His Word and blesses us with just what we need!

(um… obviously, I still haven’t got down the fact that in ink printing things come up backwards!  Yes, that is supposed to be Florida!!! lol!)

Where’s My Focus?

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Recently I discovered a new treasure – it’s so good Jim and I are both reading it! – called Anatomy of the Soul by Dr. Curt Thompson.  It is so fascinating and encouraging to learn how research on the brain supports what we’ve been doing in discipling and helping people!

This quote in particular stopped me in my tracks the other day:

“What we pay attention to affects our lives.

That may seem obvious, but what is often less apparent is exactly what we’re focusing on – after all, so much of it occurs automatically or unconsciously.  Furthermore, we often direct our attention primarily on what exists outside ourselves.  Neuroscience has much to tell us about why it is so critical for each of us to pay attention to our own feelings, physical sensations, and thoughts.”

During this sabbatical especially, I wonder….

Where’s my focus?  And what impact is it having on my life?