IMG_1131

Remember The Wildflowers

A precious, little Cuban wildflower.

Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? ~Luke 12:27-28 (The Message)

Growing in grace teaches us that it is not the color of one’s skin, but the content of their soul that makes our world beautiful. Under all the facades, past all the tips and tricks to hide what we deem unsightly, God crafted a heart purposed to reflect the love of The Almighty.

Aging is a beautiful thing when we look beyond the ordinary markers to behold the extraordinary meanings.

Wrinkles are the troughs eroded by tears and settled by smiles. They map out our life right there in plain sight, telling the world of a life song threefold. Once a man, twice a child so the circle goes. And in the process of completion wisdom waltzes in and shares her instruction.

Bruises, and scars are signs of a life lived, loved and lost. They are medals of honor that portray the stories that sometimes made us laugh, and other times made us cry. Each one, a monument of rising to the mountaintop or descending into the valley. But we know life is both hard and holy.

Every year, a new number. A new season. A new calling. We all want to behold burning bush moments, but God. Sometimes He places us right in the midst of life’s mundane messes and asks us, live here. Make a difference here with all your scars and scrapes, not in the middle of momentous miracles and before millions of eyes, but among measureless mercies and man’s desperate cries.

Wherever you are friend, remember the wildflowers. You may be one dancing in the wind on a beautiful hillside for all the world to see, or maybe you are tucked into a safe corner disguised by many. Both coordinates are needed and necessary. Be about the business of Kingdom building. The harvest is plentiful in the majestic and the mundane. You were picked and planted to thrive right where you are by the Hands that molded the world. Thrive wildflower. Be alive.

IMG_1131

Prayer

It is prayer through things, not out of them that moves mountains. Sometimes my prayers are not answered the way I desire. When they are bound to my expectations, not my evolution the disappointment can lead to despair.

It is right and natural to pray for circumstances, especially difficult ones, to change. Jesus demonstrated that for us when He asked, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.” But we cannot miss what He says next, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Jesus was facing the most unimaginable circumstances, and He did ask for a different way, but ultimately His heart’s desire was the will of His Father not the way of His flesh.

It was not until I came to understand and trust the character of God and the location of my final destination that I could afford to pray with a boldness that says, Lord, here is my earnest plea, but it does not trump my longing for your eternal plan. My prayers shifted from being less about relief to more about refinement. If this cannot change, God, change me.

When I desire self-modification more than circumstantial transformation, my communion with The Father is lighter, and I am free to risk more because it is not about a particular outcome but a positive income. Praise seeps in when personal comfort steps out, and God is glorified. That is the objective of prayer. God’s glory. Not mine.

When we pray through the valley of suffering ourselves or with a friend, and we see God’s faithfulness and ever-present provisions in pain, it affords us patient perseverance because we know that He is good and His ways are sometimes hard, but always holy.

How can I pray for you today, friend?

IMG_1131

The Best Thing

If you are a loved one are waiting in a hallway of uncertainty, bearing the weight of the unknown, I have a word for you that I pray brings encouragement.

I have been standing on shifting sand the last couple weeks stumbling in ambiguity and anxiety. It has been an all-out fight for me to remain the manager of my mind and keep my spirit in check with the peace of The Lord.

Health circumstances have forced me day after day to examine the authenticity of my theology. What set of beliefs am I operating out of not in fruitful times but fearful ones? I have been like a pendulum swinging back and forth as waves of victory and defeat have washed over me.

Last night in the midst of dark silence, God gave me the sweetest love note that has hushed my hastened heart.

D’Anna, what is the worst thing that can happen? Then, He so gently reminded me that the worst thing, should it be, is the best thing.

I often forget that. Heaven is our Home, and it is second to none.

Friend, if you or someone you treasure as dear are walking a dark road, please do not lose sight and fight to remember that as adopted children, what the world sighs at as dreadful, we can hold with maybe hurting, but absolutely hopeful hands. You are loved.

IMG_1131

Maybe

Maybe it is the pervasiveness of pain and suffering.

Maybe it is the outflow of a heart overwhelmed by the burdens before me.

Or maybe it is the fresh awakening of the sacred charge branded in the depths where the Holy hides His instructions.

Whatever the explanation, I feel an urgency today for wandering hearts that are beating in the shadows of uncertainty.

If that is you, friend, I would love the privilege to pray for you. We are all on a journey heading somewhere.

I want you to be certain of your destination.

Feel free to private message me anytime.

You are loved.❤️

IMG_1131

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.☺️

IMG_1131

Show Us Your Glory, Lord

As I was walking to the beach in hopes of catching a beautiful sunrise about an hour ago, I was singing these words from a song, show us, show us your glory, Lord. God showed off for me as He often does! This photograph, (totally raw and unedited), is evidence that every new ending and every new beginning, although sometimes painful, beholds great beauty. Be encouraged, dear friend. If you are confronting a difficult transition from old to new, there are better days ahead. Forgetting is often impossible, but choosing where to focus our attention and perspective is not. Tim Keller says everything given was necessary and everything withheld was not. The former things, realized and unrealized, have fashioned a wide portion of the person you are. Purpose is a predecessor of praise. Pursue the purpose in every ending and beginning knowing that grief and gratitude co-mingle in this life and peace, joy and hope within you will reside. Lord, help us remember your work never needs editing, even when we think it does! You are loved, friend! ❤️

IMG_1131

The Little Life of Fear

Fear causes me to live a small, sheltered life.  She tells me lies like, you are in control by suffocating your existence into the fangs of an illusion.  I don’t desire to look back on a little life that reads, she was shackled and scared.  Fear will guarantee that outcome.  Faith assures me I can do adventurous, big things because my first breath and my last are already determined by a Father who loves me and desires me to live free not frightened.  I live proportional to my level of belief.  When I forget my destination I am incarcerated.  Not all prisoners live behind visible bars.  It is only when I remember where home is that I live the life that was ransomed for me. Today was about leaning into fear, and saying, not today pesky, friend!

 

img_0624

The Battle of Hope

I have been struggling with the battle found in the word hope.  Hope is a beautiful and bright assurance that allows us to persevere through even our darkest realities and scenarios because we know the best is yet to come. However, while we wait, the burden of seeing the actualization of our dreams and desires can leave us battered, and sometimes beaten up.  The first position of hope is of things to be realized once we are Home and have entered eternal life. The second is the concern we carry that the things we long for may not be complete in this fleeting life.   In my reading this morning, Romans 8:24-25 ministered to me to patiently persist as I have been arduously enduring through this fight of faith with a matter near and dear to my heart. ~For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.   For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  What are you desperately hoping will be achieved; a cure, a child to come home, a reconciled relationship, a successful pregnancy, financial stability, a life partner, victory over addiction, fill in your blank.  Fight to keep holding on with free hands and a faithful heart that is courageous enough to say, Even If, (Daniel 3:18), not here Lord, when I see your face.  Thy will be done.  Amen.

img_1222

The Best Is Yet To Come

Last week I had the great honor to speak at my grandmother’s funeral service. I wanted to share a short piece of that with you. As I was preparing yesterday, God led me to 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. After reading that verse I felt prompted to read the message version. This is a portion from my message today. I hope you find encouragement here.

2 Corinthians 5:5-1: The message version says~ For we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.

Family, friends, I know some of your tents are worn and weary. Life has been hard, but if you are a follower of Christ, we have this great hope that is not an earthly aspiration born of this world but an eternal assurance brokered by The Savior of the world.

Be encouraged today that the best is yet to come. Because of this great inheritance we have been given, we can leave here today knowing that we are not saying goodbye, but see you soon in paradise.

Whatever you are facing tonight friend, God is in the midst. He is going before you and working in ways you cannot begin to imagine. You never walk dirt roads alone. Ask Him, seek Him and find Him. He is waiting to give you rest. You are loved.

IMG_1131

I’m Going Home

841c3f8dbb8f39d763856dec69b4da0a

I’m going home.  Recently I visited my grandmother in Texas where she lives in a home and receives full-time care.  At ninety-six her body is strong, but her mind has slipped. Most days she cannot put intelligible words together.  Occasionally, however, she is very clear when uttering a few words.  On the first day after “visiting” with her, I told her I would be back to see her tomorrow, and she very discernibly responded, “I won’t be here.” I asked her where she would be, and again she stated with great clarity, “I’m going home.” At that moment those words broke my heart and brokered tears.  As I have been pondering her words and that twinkle in time, I have realized that those are the most beautiful three words anyone can say with the confidence Pete did that day.  Despite her deficits, she knows her desired destination-Home.  Those three words still make me cry, because I now perceive them as a beautiful declaration of her destiny rather than a brutal depiction of her desperation.  I’m going home.  That is the hope of all our hearts.  I’m going home.  It is the mantra that rings in the background of all our messes.  When we know our eternal home is Heaven, are there any more beautiful words? 2

Corinthians 5:6-9 ~So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.