47 Things on Thursday: The Steady in my Life.

The laughing clown face enticed me and the colorful fat words spelling F-U-N convinced me to enter in!  Little did I know it was a trick. A lure. My eight year old little mind was taxed and my agility tested as I navigated through the darkened hallways of trickery in the FUN HOUSE at Mountain Park.

The slanted hallways and crooked staircases, the distortion mirrors, and the pre-recorded laughing was all good and somewhat fun.  But all that ended when I stepped onto the moving floor boards that gave way and shifted every which-way. I was tossed to and fro, lurching and mis-stepping and practically falling because there was no sure footing to be found.  Fear overcame my young body and I gripped at the wall banisters til my knuckles were white.  There was just six feet of this terrible section of “FUN” yet it seemed as though I might not live through it.  What relief came when I  found myself on secure flooring again.  Daylight seeped in through the veiled fringes of curtain ahead and I was relieved to know that this ordeal was almost over.

This has been a picture of my life for the past two years.

Struggles, trials, and illness are the moving floor boards in my life.  They toss me to and fro.  One day I am up and full of energy. I go about life full steam ahead.  The next day I may be grumpy and discontent.  And the next may find me sad and in a slump wondering if I will ever be healthy again.  I am anything but steady.  And I desperately grope for the wall banister.

The wall banister is God.

The banister is strong and firm. It is un-moving, secured to the wall. Unlike the changing and shifting floor, the banister remains the same. It is my stronghold.

As I navigate my life and lurch and stumble in my struggles and trials, I find myself grasping onto Jesus just like I groped for the wall banister.   Hebrews 13:8 tells us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”   He is unchanging.  He stays the same. Forever.  He is steady.  His love never fails me – it stays the same. He is my stronghold.

I also grasp onto God’s Word to keep balance. “The Word of the Lord endures forever” 1 Peter 1:25.  God’s Word is unchanging. God’s Word stays the same.  Forever. 

Webster’s dictionary defines steady as a state or condition of a system or process that does not change.  God is unchanging.  He is therefore steady.

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Another definition of steady is someone’s regular boyfriend or girlfriend.  Therefore, with poetic license I will say that He is also my steady.  I find God, my Lord Jesus, and His Word to be the steady in my life.  He is the banister that I grab onto when I find the floor beneath me shaking and He is the secure flooring I am able to step down onto when my six feet of “FUN” is over.  His love shines down upon me like daylight, filling me with relief.  With love He steadies me, upholds me, carries me, and assures me.  I am always amazed and always thankful that I can call God the STEADY in my life. 

Singing is my delight.  I share this song with you (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWT3Hd6WqE0)   – it  was often on my lips as I endured cancer and remains the song on my lips as I continue to struggle with residual effects of treatments. Life in general does its share of tossing us to and fro.  Steady. Amazing.  He is that for me and He can be that for you — just grab onto Him as you would a banister and don’t let go!  He will plant your feet on secure flooring always and will be your daylight filling you with relief.  God loves me and He loves you too.

Hallelujah – He makes me sing!

towdah paintings 057Join me again next Thursday — and I will share another thing I know about God.

47 Things on Thursdays: The Saturation

“Jobette” is the pet-name I gave myself as I endured my trial with Cancer.  Like Job in the scriptures, I was physically tormented with pain and sores in my illness.  I experienced humiliation and loss.  Days were spent writhing and wrestling.  And in my pride, the pride I did not think I owned, I indignantly questioned God.

In patience, my God generously poured out grace upon me.  Undeservingly, I basked in the lavishness.  Despite my ignorance, looking over and beyond my pride, He let loose a steady stream of grace.

Having raised nine toddlers, I have had much opportunity to observe the young pour themselves a cup of refreshment.  Not having mature eye hand coordination, each toddler has naturally overflowed the cup, resulting in a liquid spill onto the counter and the floor, often causing the cup to tip over  before the toddler sized coordination is able to stop the action of pouring.  This is the picture I have when I envision God pouring out His grace upon me.  Overflowing and spilling over by choice.  Not because he is unable to coordinate his eyes and hands, but because he chooses to keep pouring a steady stream until I am totally saturated.

Grace.  After twenty three years of following and studying the Lord, ya think I would know well the concept of grace.  In my head, I knew it well. Defined as a free gift, I knew it. Yet, I confess, that I am just beginning to really know grace now.  One of 47 things I know is that God

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Gentle in His ways, my God works in my heart.  “I had to give way and trust that my Father, my Abba Father, was healing and doing an even greater work in my heart where the soul lives” (*Towdah p. 127).  Submitting to the understanding that I might never be healed of my physical affliction I learned that the healing of my heart was of more importance.

The residue of cancer treatments leaves its mark on my life and keeps me in a weakened state and God continues to work in my heart.  I am finally “getting – it.”  The saturation of grace is now beginning to flow out of me and into my vision and into my actions. I want to pour it out too!

Now, I indignantly question myself.  Why had I not been more generous with grace before?  Why had I not desired to pour it out with toddler ambition? 

Sadly I see and sadly I admit it is because I was too full of pride.  Grace and pride cannot co-exist. Like Job, “surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know” (Job 42:3b).   In my pride, I was unable to access grace in a way that would allow me to receive it fully; I was not able to comprehend the fullness of the gift.

I believe, my Father God has been working in my heart for the last twenty three years.  Twenty three years of gently rubbing against my pride and finally it is being purged!  Now grace is able to be known in my heart – defined by true visceral understanding, allowing me fuller comprehension of the gift my God has been freely and lavishly spilling.  My heart is changing.  And that my friend, is where its at.

The message spoken through the prophet Ezekiel to Israel is pertinent even today, even for me, even for you,  “I will cleanse you from all your impurities…I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (Ezekiel 36:25b,26a)  Only God can change a heart and make it new.  This is the working of grace.  Saturated daily, I am praising my God for what I know about Him: He works in my heart!  

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Come back next Thursday for another offering of what I know about my God!

* Towdah: A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope is available at Amazon.com

47 Things on Thursdays ———– I am not.

I defiantly kept my eyes closed as I slowly rolled over this morning.  Listening to the back door slam five or six times it was clear that my children had risen before me and were well on their way to doing the outdoor animal chores.  Desiring just five more minutes of quiet I slunk down deeper under the covers. Hiding?  Maybe.  I did not want to get up and face the demands and struggles of the day – whatever they might be.

In the quiet, I began to rehearse my woes and about number four, mid-woe, I decided to lift them up as a prayer to my God.  A long prayer ensued as one woeful concern seemed to trigger another.  What began as a few groaning needs for help turned into confessions and more requests.  A half hour later, I peeled back the down comforter and placed my feet on the floor with just one more thought and an audible sigh:

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I am not.

As I battled cancer, I was ever so impressed and awed by the number of people who prayed for me.  I envisioned the voices as lines directed up to God from three countries & seven states and I was overwhelmed with the size of that and thereby concluded that God is Humungous!

God’s Word tells us to, “pray without ceasing” (KJV) – “pray continually” (NIV) – “never stop praying” (NLT) 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  We are exhorted to give it up, speak our minds, and talk to Him without stopping!  I recall the many moments in my day when I am full to the brim with chatter from my children and I often exclaim, “Stop pestering me!” – “Can’t you be quiet for five minutes?” – “If you ask me one more time…I’m gonna explode(!)” – “Stop! I can’t hear three of you all at once!”  Like I said, I am not; I am not humungous.  I am small and limited and not at all as patient as my God.

I dressed and smoothed the comforter over my bed and imagined my prayer this morning being among several thousand others being said all at the same time. Again I concluded my God is Humungous!  He is an awesome Father who is bigger than my words can ever express or my mind could ever begin to picture. I caught myself singing a familiar children’s song – one I had taught my own children and many other children in Sunday School classes.

There is nothing my God cannot do! Paste and copy and check out the song.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q320dTesx1c

This may sound simplistic and maybe a bit childish to proclaim that my God is Humungous. Yet, I am a child; I am the daughter of this strong and mighty King.  As a created being, so are you. Like Paul, I urge you to pray without stopping.  My God can handle it.  He is “so big, there’s nothing my God cannot do.”  Gigantic woes, tiny woes, all your concerns…give ’em up and place them all at the feet of our King.  Not only are we told to pray, we are told, “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessolonians 5:17).  Better yet, we are in God’s will to be talking to Him all the time!

Giving me a spring in my step, I descended the staircase humming and making-a-big-muscle with my bicep.  Yes sir!

towdah paintings 100 and there’s nothing He cannot do.  Perhaps now I can face the demands and struggles of the day.

I invite you to come back next Thursday and read about another of the 47 things I learned about God as I endured my battle with cancer: 2 down, 45 to go!

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47 Things on Thursdays – “Mine. Dat’s MY God!”

This painting hangs above my desk and I often reflect on its origin; 47 things I know about God all included in Offering 25 of my book Towdah.  I painted on the canvas with memory and deep thought.  A dear friend told me, “Stick to what you know…” and that was good advice as I endured treatments for cancer. Almost immediately, I sat and wrote out what I knew about God and they numbered 47 things.  Now, a little over a year later, I am honing in on the one fact I believe is the base for all the others.  towdah paintings 013

He is MY God.  This is where it all begins isn’t it?  It’s the decision. The choice. The claim.

Not unlike my toddling grandson who steps forward and grabs his toy, exclaiming, “Mine.  Dat’s MY truck!” — I decided to grab faith and exclaim, “He is MY God.”  I am in good company, as others have gone before me and made similar bold statements:

Ruth clearly proclaimed, “…your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).  She made the decision.

David sang a song of praise in 2 Samuel 22:3, “My God is my rock in whom I take refuge.”  He made the choice.

Isaiah confidently shared, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God” (Isaiah 61:10).  He made the claim.

Even in his doubting, Thomas enthusiastically cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) as he fully recognized and acknowledged the Savior Jesus as His.

Here I stand too. I made the decision to accept Jesus as my Savior more than twenty years ago. I decided He was MY God then and I continue to choose Him as MY God daily, because I need Him daily.  I claim Him as MY God because I know that He is very alive and has shown me at least 46 other things about Himself that makes my heart rejoice; I have fully recognized God and His working in my life. As my grandson recognizes what is his, so do I.  The Lord Jesus….He is MY God.  towdah paintings 029

I woke up this past Monday with the words of an old chorus on my lips.  Oh God, You are my GodAnd I will ever praise You!”  It has been years since this has been sung in my church, yet, there it was, on my lips as I woke up.  The song continues with a prayerful commitment to seek God, learn of His ways, and follow Him all of the days. This is my personal tag to my resolution this new year of 2013; to have a closer walk with Jesus.  To seek, learn, and follow Him more closely is my prayed plea!

Yes.  As I gaze up at the corner of my painting I can say without doubt and with poetic license: “Mine. Dat’s MY God!”  I know it in my heart. I am His and He is mine.  Won’t you grab onto faith and exclaim the same?

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There are 46 more things I know about God painted on my canvas and I will delight to share them with you over the next 46 weeks…tune into

47 Things on Thursdays

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