Exodus 33:21-22The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Rock Something hard. Solid material on the earth’s surface. Something hard, solid, strong. Cleft A space or…
“…for he said, ‘I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.’” Genesis 32:30(NLT)
As intense as sharp needles.
As bitter as a two-day old pot of coffee.
Ruthless and often without warning, loneliness will rear its ugly head at any moment.
Loneliness plagues us all.
The scream of loneliness is so loud that it hurts our hearts and ears. Continually chorusing around us in our most vulnerable states, trying to steal our faith and hope.
“No one likes you”
“you have no friends”
“there is no one who understands you”
And the list goes on…
This week for tractor girl seemed to be “the week” to sense the closeness of loneliness. The life of a PW is one of loneliness, sometimes better coped with than others. The decoy is often busyness and of late the excitement of pursuing “The Vision.”
But, humanity grips us all and reminds us that we are just that human, and sometimes battles are fought well—and sometimes they are not. Hence the current flow of events for tractor girl.
HE is able to always squeeze good out of bad. So amazing about HIM is that every encounter, every experience, every challenge is not without working toward the good. HE has the ability to pull good out every situation.
In the midst of the intense battle with loneliness, HE reminds us of how blessed we are.
HE gives us the gift of loneliness to learn more of HIM.
The Gift of Loneliness creates a greater sense of HIS presence.
The Gift of Loneliness allows us to learn even more the importance of our relationship with HIM. “YHWH and me”
The Gift of Loneliness reveals HIM standing right in the midst saying…
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”(Mark 6:31–NLT)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty(Psalm 91:1–NLT)
But if you remain(abide) in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! (John 15:7—NLT).
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. (Psalm 23:2—NLT)
When Jacob was fleeing for his life for fear of his brother Esau, he found himself in a lonely, place wrestling with the angel of God. However, he was eventually able to refer to this lonely place as Peniel, which means “face of God.”
So, I shall embrace loneliness, for there I will see the Face of God.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Those were the words that resonated one morning as I perused the Proverbs31 Ministry devotional.
And the ministering spirit continued…
Good deeds done from an evil heart have very little impact.
In the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13, deeds done without love are futile, empty and of little value.
Above all else, guard your heart.
Take note of it’s conditions. Continuously monitor it’s state.
By loving God with the entire heart, soul and mind. By allowing HIS love to penetrate and saturate the heart.
The amazing thing that happens is the more we love HIM wholly and totally, we actually learn to love ourselves. And when we learn how to love ourselves, we will know how to love others.
Seeing myself through HIS eyes.
“The more I seek HIM—the more I find HIM.”
The more I find HIM, the more I love HIM and the more I love HIM the more I love me.
Not in a self-absorbed, arrogant sort of way, but seeing me as HE sees me.
The Apple of HIS eye.
To appreciate the me that HE made me to be.
To love and respect and celebrate the gifts and talents HE placed within me.
To not be ashamed of the person that HE has made and is making me to be.
Sadly, the perception of self is typically based on “the world’s” view. Ideas and expectations from other sources are imposed upon us and in many cases have very little to do with our God-inspired nature. Tractor Girl is a perfectionist and view herself through the eyes of perfection, thereby viewing others through the same microscopic lenses.
But, by loving HIM, we can learn how to love ourselves.
Through HIS love, we can love and enjoy all that we are, not because of us, but because of HIM and what HE has created us to be.
Oh, to know and understand God’s love towards me and that HIS love is not based on ANYTHING that I have done or will ever do.
HIS love towards me is just because….
And I pray, as Paul, that we would all fully understand and experience the love HE has for us.
“I receive your love~” (Israel Houghton)
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12,13
Oh, the longing for the days of consistently living on the mountaintop. To hurry up and get through this. The joy of when this trial pasts. Great is the effort on getting to the mountaintop. Our prayers bellow up to God in air of anticipation of “getting through this” so that life can begin. Hurrying the process to get to the mountain.
The Mountain. It’s splendor is without words. The manifestation of HIS power. The show of HIS hands. The Transfiguration. The moment when all see HIS glory as it really is. The moment when all see the Hand of God displayed on individuals. At the same time, strange it is to see a house sitting alone on a mountain. Magnificent and yet isolated at the same time.
Age and wisdom have caused tractor girl to view the mountaintop experiences in a different light. To my surprise there seems to be a growing affinity for the valley. The valley is hard. The terrain is usually rough and times when the footing is unsure. It is low and unnoticed and often involves much work to which there is little recognition.
But there is something grandiose in itself in the Valley. For in the valley we gain sure footing. In the valley we develop the abilities to handle the rough terrain. In the valley are face to face conversations with HIM. In the valley HE comforts. In the valley, HE speaks. In the valley, is the peace that surpasses all understanding. In the valley is the joy of our salvation. In the valley weakness becomes strength. In the valley we learn of HIM.
So, while the world entices us to hurry the progress and leap from mountain to mountain, maybe we should lay back and enjoy the journey in the valley. Learn, as Paul did, the secret to real living and contentment which is a relationship with Jesus, The Christ–whether on the mountain or in the valley.
“She watches over the ways of her household…” Proverbs 31:27
One of the hardest things about being a mom, is watching your children grow up. The mother eagle tendency never goes away. The desire to always nurture, hover, and protect the “baby eagles” seem to persist the more as time progresses. There’s nothing like the fury of a mother defending her babies—whether age six or sixty.
The problem comes when the baby eagles are no longer eaglets. So, strange is the picture of one adult eagle fighting to defend another adult eagle.
This Mother’s Day has been one of the strangest. Highs and lows. Good and bad. Certainties and uncertainties. Anticipation of the new and yet a foreboding fear of the unexpected. Expectation of a new addition in October for newlyweds and recent completion of college graduation for baby son has emotions on a roller coaster. Watching the couple work through situations and transitions as they prepare for another dimension in their lives has me wanting to come to the rescue. Watching baby son determine his next move—his purpose in life, makes me want to fly in and give direction.
But that’s not what it’s all about.
That’s not how it’s done.
The eaglet–that’s no longer a baby—must jump out of the nest and learn to soar upon its own wings. The young eagle must learn the joy and the dangers of flying solo.
The “young eagle” will learn and become a wise eagle as he stumbles and falls and begins the process of learning of HIM. And he has to do that upon his own merit. Not at the direction and rescue of Mama Eagle.
I rare back and take solace in the fact that I know HIM. I continue to learn of HIM.
Mama Eagle abides in HIM, rests in HIM, and gets direction from HIM. She loves HIM. In HIM she lives, moves and has her being.
And her young off-spring must learn the same.
So, against everything within her, Mama Eagle steps back and allows Jehovah to become God of the young eagles’ lives. Trusting in prayers that ever prevail.
Trusting that as HE has never failed her, HE will never fail them.
Continuing to watch over the ways of her household, they will never cease being her babies.
Forever Baby Eagles in her eyes.
But now Eagles…nonetheless.
“And He said to them, [As for you] come away by yourself to a deserted place, and rest a while…” Mark 6:30(amp)
Tractor Girl got up early one morning and before 6:00am made breakfast, made some bath salts, and roasted some coffee. After everything was finished, grabbing a cup of coffee, soft music in the background and a jigsaw puzzle—and she sat in HIS presence. And I thought, I never want to leave this place.
Come away to a place by yourself and rest.
And when I do, tractor girl does not want to come back out.
That place of rest.
That place of solitude.
That place of refuge.
That place where HE will hide me against everything that comes my way.
To quote a child hood favorite, “North winds blow. South winds blow. Typhoons. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. SMOOOGGG!!!” (Elmer Fudd)
Is not that what life feels like at times? Everything around is topsy turvy. Nothing makes any sense. Common sense isn’t quite so common. Right becomes left. Up becomes down. A circle becomes a square. Yeah—“square peg, round hole.”
Trying to put our arms around it all, the soul becomes troubled.
We look for peace, solitude—answers.
Come away to a place by yourself and rest.
Viscously and so often without warning, life “comes for us.” Tides, waves, and rip roaring currents approach us and overtake us. Drowning we flop around trying to gain a breath with each buoy above water, before submerging under again. Every rise above sea level seems to take a deeper plunge into the deep. We cry because of the violent weather and look at it in alarm—because it does not appear to be HIM.
But, HE says “come” for it is I.
To a place–to That Place.
That Place at HIS feet.
That Place of Rest and Refuge.
That Place where my cry is heard.
That Place where my overwhelmed heart is comforted.
THAT PLACE WHERE “THE ONE THING” IS.
That Place where HE will hide me against everything that rises against me.
That Place beyond questions, doubts, chores and chaos.
That Place where God’s peace abides.
That Place not bound by anxiety.
Come away to a place by yourself and rest.
Lead me to that place, that is higher than I.
And when I get there, I never want to leave That Place.
And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
I don’t ever profess to hearing God audibly. I’m not sure if my limited being can handle the actual voice of a Limitless God. But, I do sense statements within my spirit that I believe are the prodding of His Spirit. On one said morning, in the continuing struggle of what to do and which way to go I heard:
“I need you to trust what I can do, not what you can do.”
Swarming in the midst of doubt and uncertainty and trying to figure out how to make it all work, this statement brought comfort to the soul.
Like a caterpillar trapped in the cocoon or the eaglet perched on side of the nest, screaming on the inside are dreams and visions. Purposes and gifts vying for their time to take proper position on this side. I anxiously wait for the word of release. The command to come forth. And In the midst of continual silence, the being becomes frustrated and agitated.
“I need you to trust what I can do, not what you can do.”
Words of comfort. Words of liberation. The release of self from trying to make things happen ushers in clarity, and amazingly behind the clouds of confusion was the direction.
“And you shall hear…”
We see before hearing. Lightening strikes and then thunder is heard. Sometimes quickly. Oftentimes delayed. But more times than not, the enlightening occurs way before the sound of direction comes.
We see the vision. We can see the promise.
But, the difficulties come with the hearing. The ordering of the steps to the promise. Hearing the direction for the vision.
“And you shall hear…”
Sometimes the direction is there, just clouded with the unknown and uncertainty. Restlessness, frustration, and anxiety can interfere with HIS voice. Ready to be free, but still held captive. Ready to soar, but still trapped.
We beg for Him to answer.
To provide direction. Solutions.
And HE does.
HE quiets us with HIS love.
And when HIS love quiets us, then we can hear.
“And you shall hear…”
“I need you to trust in what I can do, not what you can do.”
The vision is for an appointed time, but in the end it will speak..it will be heard.
Why do the flowers cease to bloom?
What makes the berries stop bearing?
What causes the breasts to no longer bring forth milk?
What makes the young child go away from home?
Because to everything there is a season.
Nothing on this earth lasts forever. There is a beginning and an end to everything. And only THE CREATOR knows the date stamp for each and every living thing.
So it is appointed for every living thing to end.
A vapor, James says.
It is appointed unto man to die, and then judgment.
Yes, I get it—I think.
No—I don’t. Because sometimes it just seems like the end comes to soon.
On February 1, I journaled the beginning of a new month and the anticipation of what it held.
On February 4, I journaled that one of my good friends had transitioned; and in my finite, limited mind, it happened way too soon.
But, I really get it. Well, at least my mind gets it.
She is better off, wouldn’t trade the sufferings of this world for where she currently is.
To live is Christ, and to die is gain.
The usual cliches that surround death, especially one that seems too soon, swarm around us with well intent.
“God doesn’t make any mistakes.”
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of HIs saints.”
“To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.”
Yes, my mind gets it, but my heart doesn’t.
Because it still seems like it’s too soon.
Trying to swallow the tastiness of common cliches, I wonder in a short-spanned life, what happens to the three score and ten that was promised?
Understanding—really understanding—that life is a vapor and bring to continually—with the continual passing of loved ones—grasp that we are fleeting, one still wonders about life on earth ending too soon.
Dreams still tucked away in sleep.
Goals not met.
Bucket lists still full.
The less time to prepare for the transition of a loved one, seems to strike the chords more loudly of life on earth ending too soon.
Were there goals, dreams and purposes left uncovered, unrevealed.
The voice of silence and procrastination seem to scream loudly when a loved one is not granted the three-score and ten that we assume we should get.
The idea of death is portrayed so bitterly, cruel and harsh. It dangles its shadow over every living thing, almost taunting our physical limitations—reminding us that we all are but dust.
So, what do we do? How do we cope?
We cannot erase time or bring back loved ones who have gone with visions unleashed.
But we can continue to LIVE.
We can make an attempt—a bigger attempt to live. To seize the day. Carpe Diem.
WE can make every attempt to live each moment as if it was our last.
We can purpose to conquer fears, go through the waters, fight the floods. Live.
Enjoy the freedoms.
Embrace the failures.
We give our fullest to live, to grab life by the back of the neck and say “I will get all I can out of you while I can.”
For HE has said that HE did come to give us life—and it more abundantly. So, we live life abundantly. Strip from it all the good that it can afford us. Learn from it all the bad that it gives. And when the abundance of life on this side taps out, HE—through the pathway of death—will usher us into the eternal life, where we will never die.
And will continue to Live!
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31
The day begins. The alarm clock goes off. The dawn approaches. All signs point to a new day, a new beginning, a fresh start, another opportunity.
The mind begins.
What shall I wear? What shall I eat? What things do I have to accomplish today? The tasks on the list. My calendar, let me check it.
A soft voice whispers—“come away to a quiet place for a few minutes.”
The urgency of the day silences the voice. There’s too much to do—must get going, get moving. Many things left over from yesterday to add to today.
Got to go.
YHWH, a God of routine. A God of systems.
Since the creation of time, the new dawn approaches and so begins a new day. And as sure as time, the same day pulls down it’s shade and darkness envelopes the earth and night begins, again, again and again.
Likewise, the crowning of each life begins on earth as the infant descends from the mother’s womb, and just as sure as life begins, life will end as destined by our Creator.
Systems. Cycles. Routines. Most of which have occurred since the creation of the world.
Adding a routine of ingesting twenty ounces of water each morning has been beneficial to my health regiment. Before the intake of anything else, water first. It awakens and jumpstarts my digestive system, helps cleanse any settled toxins and improves my metabolism. The water beckons me each day, ‘start with me,’ providing benefits that are almost immeasurable, but yet noticeable when not performed.
Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.
No flavor. No seltzer. Nothing fancy.
The thing that composes 70% of my body. Water.
The simplicity of it is almost comical in that this simple act provide benefits of exponential effects.
The routine, nonetheless, stresses the importance of a routine with God.
Each day, Emmanuel beckons me to awaken with HIM.
Come away today.
Come away each day to a place, a quite place and rest for a while.
Not just today, but Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Nothing exciting necessary with each meeting. No goose bumps necessary. No frills or flattery words.
Just an awakening and stillness each morning presenting my life to HIm.
Even upon the heels of disobedience due to activity, each day the Savior still calls—come away with Me to a place where I can give you rest.
Tragically, the human psyche becomes bored with routine. Will skip it. Will dazzle it. Will change it to ease our sense of need for something more, something new. Yes, boredom trips us up. The routine nature of God trips us up—the desire for the different. The hiss of the lie of boredom of the same old fruit. “Try the Tree of Good and Evil—it’s something different and nothing will happen to you.”
And maybe because He knows we are but flesh, He allows the desire for something different to be appeased through holidays, vacations, and even shopping trips. But, at the end of the spontaneous event, routine is resumed, necessary for the calming and resetting of the mind and spirit.
Of greater need for the soul is the routine daily intake of HIM—spiritual water, daily bread.
Give me this day, my daily bread.
Drink of this water, and you will never thirst again.
“Awaken me each morning with the water of your love and your word. Allow me to hear your loving kindness each morning—each time I awaken. As I present myself before your, allow your love and your word to refreshen me—to awaken me—to cleanse me.”
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)