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Opportunities to Repent

The older I get, the more opportunities I see where I need to repent.  I thought it would be the other way around but not so for me.  I am choosing to think of it as the sharper my “spiritual vision” becomes the clearer I see the junk that is there.  In light of that, I guess it is a positive thing.

Isiah 30:15~In repentance and rest is my salvation.

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Let Us Build One Another Up

My heart has been so encouraged this week by the kindness of friends, both old and new. I love connecting with women. We are all more alike than different, and when we can come together under no pretense, let the walls down and remove the masks, beautiful things bloom.

We discover that we are not alone!

We are encouraged.

We are heard.

We are seen.

We are renewed and strengthened.

The older I get, the smaller my “circle” becomes, but that is not a bad thing. Some friends are curious, and some friends care. I would rather have two who care than fifty who are curious.

To care for one another means not merely being the giver. I believe as women we are more comfortable contributing and doing than we are receiving.

God has been layering a verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans over me. In verse 1:12 Paul explains one of his intentions for visiting Rome is not just to encourage them, but also to be encouraged by them. If the Apostle Paul needed encouragement, surely we do, as well.

I am intentionally practicing a posture of humble gratitude in the presence of the offerings of others.

In the past, I have shunned away from a compliment. I would much rather tell you why I am not (blank) or why I don’t deserve (blank) than merely to practice accepting encouragement with a humble and thankful heart.

These flowers this week have been reminders to me that my role is two-fold, to build others up in the faith, but also to let them support me as well. I don’t want to deny anyone the privilege of being a blessing, but I have done it often when I have not accepted help or have deflected affirmations. I have to practice more things than perfect them as difficult as that is to admit, but such freedom and joy comes in the surrendering of deflection.

Once the Lord is done getting his point across, He ALWAYS gives me the opportunity to apply His lesson, as evidenced by all the flowers. He is so kind to be attentive in that way.

May I encourage you today?

Comment so I will know.  Also, feel free to email me here:  dannalundstrom@yahoo.com if you are not comfortable commenting.

Hebrews 10:24-25~  Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

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Seasons

Sometimes God leads us in a direction for a time only later to shift our coordinates. Change is not a failure on our part, nor a miscalculation in understanding our original assignment. Some seasons are meant to strengthen our faith, affirm our obedience or calm a restlessness within.

No experience is ever wasted.

All things, behold eternal value in the life of a believer.

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A Paisley Kind Of Love

Our little dog, Paisley, is such an example of so many things to me.  She is the essence of unconditional love.  To love like her, how sweet it must be!  She also freely receives love.  Paisley trusts with full abandon that we adore and accept her ALWAYS.  She is in someone’s lap at all times, and she never hesitates to jump into our arms and immediately flip over for a belly rub.  There is never a question in Paisley’s mind that she will not be fully and faithfully received.  Paisley reveres every single one of us, and there is nothing she loves more than being in our embrace.

I have been praying lately to know a kind of love for The Lord like Paisley embodies.  Oh, how I long to bask in the full acceptance, love, and satisfaction of His arms, unhindered by the seeds of condemnation that lurk within me.  I want to know complete contentment in God alone, free of the alluring distractions of the world.  I yearn to live freely from my identity as a well provided for daughter who is insufficient myself, but sufficient because of my inheritance secured by Jesus.

This side of Heaven, I will not fully understand the depths of The Lord’s love for me.  Freedom will continue to be a journey, not a destination until I see my Savior face to face.  There will always be days, hours and moments when I forget that in the words of Jesus, “It is finished.”  Because of that, re-remembering will also be a persistent pilgrimage, not a permanent place.

We are all just walking this life on a journey home, and I am mostly comfortable with all the pit stops, detours, diversions, and potholes along the way.  If I lived life as a straight line, it would perhaps be easy but not enriching.  Living, loving, lamenting and laughing all happen outside the walls of safe and structured.

I have never known how to color any way but outside the lines.  For years that was embarrassing to me.  These days, I am okay being
imperfect, because I know it is my brokenness that renders me eligible to be complete.

Cheers to Paisley who is gaining a little brother tonight.  You may want to remember her, and her brother, in your prayers.  Life gets a little rough when we get knocked off our throne, even for our furry friends.☺️

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Send Me. Use Me.

 

…meanwhile, Puerto Rico is devastated and may not have electricity for 6 plus months.  They along with residents of the Virgin Islands, Texas, Louisiana and Florida have lost everything.  Recovery and rebuilding could take decades in some areas.

Every two minutes somewhere in America someone is sexually assaulted.  Human trafficking is a thriving travesty.  Five to six children die each day as a result of abuse.  America’s numbers of homeless children and adults are in the millions.  Astounding!  Hundreds of school children in my city alone have no food on the weekends.  Every day scores of our people become widowed, terminally ill, addicted, lost, orphaned, homeless, unemployed, hungry and the list goes on.

Anxiety and depression is at an all time high even among our country’s children.  

Pornography is no longer a taboo topic, because it is a common place epidemic ravaging men, women and children.  Yes!  Children.

 Everywhere I turn I am tempted to grab a quick fix, whether it be food, fantasy or Facebook, to numb, deaden or make tolerable the pain all around me. We are a society of self-medicators, myself included.  

I have to look at myself and ask, where am I spending my energy, time and resources?  Am I busy complaining about the problems or contributing to the solutions?  

I reserve the right to protest peacefully, but I also acknowledge that I was ransomed the right to pray personally and that alone can accomplish more than any demonstration.  

I also regard the luxury (yes, it is a privilege afforded to me by many selfless men and women in uniform!) to respectfully disagree, but may I always remember that unless I am putting my concerns into productive action,  I am merely a purposeless reaction void of favorable fruit.

 Here I am Lord.  Send me.  Use me.

 

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Louies, Leggings, Leopard Prints and Lamenting Stints

Lamenting has been the tone of my heart in lately.  I do not know if I recall a time when I have felt enslaved to such oppressive spiritual warfare.  I have been stepping on dark, enemy lines lately with a project I am working on and the closer I get to completition, the more aggressive the attacks become.  I have been crying out to The Lord for relief, but He has appeared silent in the midst of my struggle. I do know this about my Father, though; His seeming silence does not equal stagnation.

I woke up today with that familiar tightness in my chest that has been my frequent companion in recent days.  Anxiety is like a skilled, thief, masterful at surprise attacks.  I never know when he will show up, and he renders me largely powerless to his presence except for the provision of prayer.

Getting ready for Sunday School and Church felt laborious because I was tired before I started. That slightly strangled feeling that is indigenous to anxiety was an unwelcome reminder of the storm swirling in my soul.

On days that I am out of sync, my motto is, if you don’t feel well, at least dress well; so I put on some of my favorite things and headed out the door masking on the outside the incongruence dwelling inside. I long for my inward appearance to parallel my outward one, but some days it is not plausible.

We are studying the Psalms in Sunday School right now. This morning as I listened to the lesson, slightly frazzled because we were late, I was reminded how the Psalms reflect my life. I am a mixture of grief and gratitude, flawed and favored, stitched together by an ever-welcoming Savior.

We all endure seasons of strife, friends. Louis’, leggings, leopard prints, (some of my favorite things), and lamenting stints go hand and hand this side of Heaven.☺️ My desire to be congruent is so real, but rarely realistic, and that is entirely ok.

Thank you, Jesus, for the precedent of your word that reminds me that I am not an anomaly, and neither are you, friend!

You are loved!♥️

Outfit details:

Cardigan:  joseph-a-leopard-print-double-knit-cardigan

Leggings:  3828364

Boots:  4615297

Bag:  www.louisvuitton.com

 

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Sanctification


Sanctification is my constant companion. She moves me to surrender. She both slays and satisfies me. At times sanctification guts me. She greets and meets with me like a passage in the Psalms, crying out in pain and concluding in praise. Nevertheless, because I know her, and Who she comes from, I am at peace saying to her, It is well with me.

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His Promises Endure

I am a tremendously deep feeler in a terribly fallen world. I experience your success and your suffering, your communication, verbal and non-verbal, your actions and your inactions. I endure all your raw edges and finely buffed emotions. I sense your masks because I have worn them as well, but I long to see your soul. I carry your praises and your pain, and that is why I laugh a lot but frequently lament, too. Some people would say I am a mess. Some days I say, I am a mess. That is ok because it is in the sediment of tribulation that I discover significance when I have anchored my eyes, ears, and heart towards the eternal message that I know is always there. Right now the world sits raw and heavy upon my heart. I feel like I am in a tug of war between the desire to surrender to the sadness or continue standing despite its presence. There is only one choice for me; I know that. But, the fight is real! Thank you, Father, for your promises that endure all storms, whether we are standing well or weary.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

 
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Well Watered Roots

Earlier today I was standing at my kitchen windows, and I noticed that the flowers on the patio looked dead. They were shriveled up, dry, drooping and turning brown. I feared they were beyond saving, but I wasn’t ready to give up on my beautiful pots that bring so much color and joy to the back of my house.

We were out of town over the weekend, and the plants did not get watered. That quickly they turned from standing at attention and beaming with vibrancy to a dull, dry, comatose slumber.

The reality is, I had been neglecting my plants a few days before we left, too. Family members were watering them, but they did not know that there is a vital process to watering flowers to keep them alive. Just putting the hose in a pot and letting the water run until it starts spilling over the top is not enough nourishment. Sure, the plants take in some water, but a lot is being lost by spilling over the pots and running off on the concrete.

I went out this afternoon in the shade of the eclipse, it was so cool, and I gave the plants what they desperately needed. Water! I worried it was too late, but I prayed and hoped to salvage them. I let the water run in the pots until I could see it at the top. Just before it would spill over, I removed the hose, let the water absorb fully, and then repeated the process, each time letting the water digest into the plant before adding more.

I was just sitting here thinking how much I am like those plants. I need to be watered to have life. My heart and mind demand, refreshing water. I need God’s Word, or I become like my plants, dry, droopy, slumping, and empty. Like my plants, I cannot just give myself a quick bolus of God’s word and expect a revival. I must have the discipline and patience to take some in and absorb and process it before I add more. If I am hasty and neglect that significant step, I gain very little because, like the plant water, the Word of God is going in my small brain too fast and just running out to be washed away by distractions.

I am thrilled to say, I looked out my window a few minutes ago, and my plants are standing tall and shining again. I am so thankful they were able to be saved. It is not too late for us either, friends. When we are feeling downcast, depressed, and exhausted, we just need to water our roots. It is amazing how spending time in The Word and letting it settle down deep changes our entire inner and outer appearance. It is a necessity for me, or otherwise, I am as lifeless as a dead flower that had no water.