HOME = family for me. Growing up in the Air Force and moving around as an adult, home is wherever God has us living and being heart connected. It's not about place, but people! #Gratitude30 #Day1 30 Day Gratitude Photo Challenge
Tonight's the perfect time to send you a love letter, because I know you can see it shining brightly on my front porch with your new view from heaven...
My heart aches that you're gone, but I'm so happy for you! You are healed and free and laughing with Jesus, Auntie Chris, Grandma and countless people you met along your journey here on earth.
Thank you for the humbling privilege and honor of tending to your needs, spending countless hours together talking, singing, laughing and loving each other these past weeks, especially this week. Oh, how I miss you Dad. Oh, how I miss you....
Your flame on earth burned out, but your flame for eternity is burning ever so bright and will never go out! heart emoticon
I love you so much Dad ~ Joanie
Errol "Dean" Steiner, August 15, 1941 - October 30, 2015
*Posted on Halloween, but wanted to share here too.
"Finally, dear brothers, as I come to the end of this letter, I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and triumph wherever it goes, winning converts everywhere as it did when it came to you. Pray, too, that we will be saved out of the clutches of evil men, for not everyone loves the Lord. But the Lord is faithful; He will make you strong and guard you from satanic attacks of every kind. And we trust the Lord that you are putting into practice the things we taught you, and that you always will.May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and of the patience that comes from Christ." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (The Living Bible)
In God's amazing loving kindness, He compassionately reached out to me over the past few weeks - and, especially this past week - to gently share with me that while I've been doing "good" for many months, was that good GOD or just earthly good? Whoa.
So now, I've begun letting go of things outside of home and I'm spending more time in prayer. This morning, I awoke at the end of a vivid dream and felt I should record it, for it was so powerful. Upon finding an empty journal in the office (digging it out of a box of my things that have been packed away since we moved from our Burien house and catching the large spider in the box and releasing her outside), I was lead to the scripture above. This passage contains so much content, wisdom and guidance. God's Word is so amazingly living and active! Rejoicing and giving thanks that God has spoken specifically to me. I will continue to spend focused time with God in the coming days, weeks and months that He may fully reveal His wisdom, His path and His will for my life.
Autumn has arrived and as this year's garden season winds down, I am overwhelmed with excitement to receive this incredible invitation from our precious Lord to come and sit with Him, grab a cup of hot tea, curl up on the couch, and BE with Him in the season ahead as He and I converse together, search His Word and sometimes just sit quietly with each other. He's got exciting, amazing, wonderful, adventurous, life-giving lessons to teach me. And, I praise Him afresh for I am eager to learn...
Here I am, Lord, teach me. I need Your Truth, Love and Grace anew. I have much to learn still on this journey here on earth. I need to be equipped for this season and all the seasons ahead. I need to be equipped to do the work that You have for me to do, Lord. I need to be ready to love those You want me to love. To be ready to share my life with those You want me to share with. To be ready to receive what you will have others give to me. To be sensitive to Your leading. To bloom wherever You plant me... In Jesus' precious Name ~ Amen
And, as I am embarking on this journey with our amazing Lord, I'd like to invite you, dear reader, to ask God if He is extending a similar invitation to you this season. Or perhaps He already has. You will be so blessed in accepting and joining Him for the adventure that awaits you!
May the Lord bless you and keep you and provide for your every need!
Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.
I Corinthians 3:5-9 (The Message)
Personal reflections: Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19 tell us to GO into the world... God has work for us to do. This will look different for all of us. Maybe you will be the next generation of a family doing what the family has always done (ie. farming) or maybe you will get married and raise your children in the same community you grew up in and your children will attend the same elementary, junior high and high school as their parents or maybe you will be one of our brave and honorable military men and women (with the possibility of sacrificing your life for our continued freedom), maybe you'll become a pastor or a priest and will devote your whole life to serving God or maybe you'll become a missionary and take God's Word to those who haven't heard it or maybe, like me, God will ask you to live a nomadic life; going to the place He shows you to go.... We all have places in the world God wants us to GO to. He has given each of us specific gifts and talents and if we allow Him, He will work in and through our lives blessing and loving people as we journey on this earth, for God first loved us - enabling us to love others around us. For me, it's easy to fall into old patterns - I'm the one doing the work, the one who wants to belong to a community of people and the one who wants to be "rooted" to a piece of land for the rest of my life - Me! There is the problem. BUT today, I am one who is awaking from what feels like a long slumber.....and seeing God as my focus, once again. God has shown me through this Lenten photographic journey for 2015, He is fanning the embers back into a flame within my spirit and He has work for me to do. Instead of focusing on what I want, He is showing me, again, that He desires to work through me to reach others - with Truth and Love; to be a vessel for His blessings to flow through. I know there will be days when I get tripped up again (and again and likely again), but my hope and prayer is that my eyes, my heart, and my soul will be fully tuned into what God desires. May He be my daily priority. I am giving thanks, anew, today for the blessing of this place that we currently live in, for this community of beautiful people, for the opportunity to have a garden and to learn and grow continually.... May I serve You well here, Lord, and be blessed to bless others. God is so very good and I am blessed more than I could ask or imagine. Joy overflowing! Thank you, Lord, for loving me, healing me and blessing me to be Your servant. Thank you for new eyes to see you more clearly. I am indeed blessed to be Your child and honored to do Your work.
He is Risen. He is Risen indeed. Easter blessings today and in all your days ahead!
He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings, you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 (NIV)
Personal reflections: When looking around in nature; observing, I see God's Word come alive more and more through His Creation. Examples abound for us all to see. There is something so endearing, so loving and comforting; a story told through this picture that makes me desire the same type of experience.....and this verse expresses God's invitation/promise for those who make Him their dwelling place; His love for us.
Psalm 91 is a psalm that Blaine and I pray; a psalm of protection in this world. I can imagine massive angel-like wings that our Heavenly Father opens for His children to run under where we are safe and secure in His refuge. And yet, those "wings" can wrap around just me in a way that I know and feel God's love, specifically for me, and I am safe in His loving arms. Such great comfort in knowing this about my Heavenly Father! Oh, how I love Him. And I know, He loves me...
I encourage to read Psalm 91 for yourself and hear what the Lord tells us all.
The photo below is artwork created for Psalm 91 and is available from an artist through etsy.com. The picture is a link to that particular etsy shop - you can click on it. (I don't know the artist, but thought this was an interesting display of most of this psalm - and it can be personalized for a specific person too).
Praying we all live the reality of who God is. Blessings to you and yours. May you allow God to work through your life to bless others, even today.
Then the Lord Your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as He delighted in your fathers, if you obey the Lord your God and keep His commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 30:9-10
Personal reflections: Powerful words.... A powerful promise! When you read the words above, it's pretty simple. Really, it is. If it's simple, why is it so difficult for me to live these words out when I know what blessing God will bring to my life in doing so? All I've got to do is..........
"Turn to the Lord Your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul."
Why can't I just do this? Why do I struggle and fall short of doing what the Lord asks of me? How do I live on the earth daily, but commit ALL of my heart and my soul to the Lord? Plenty of people appear to be able to do this, but............ The good news is the Lord knows my struggles. He knows my weaknesses. He knows my heart. He knows every fiber of my being and He loves me. Oh, how He loves me. And, in the course of this messy life I live, He does bless the work of my hands and all the rest in the verses above - but there is still heartache, loss, disappointment at times; even when it seems these things are stronger than joy, victory and prosperity. Lately though, God is revealing to me that what may need adjustment in my life is my VISION; how I'm looking at my life, my journey and the world around me. Perhaps I'm seeing a blurrier view of my life and journey and it's clear to God. Maybe I'm focusing on certain things (negatives) instead of the others that are there too (positives). So thankful a blog friend of mine stopped by to visit my blog today and left good words to chew on in my BREATH post. Cleaning my glasses and removing the veil in front of my eyes may be just what I needed, as I continue to turn to the Lord my God with ALL my heart and with ALL my soul. I am likely to see something very different indeed! Blessings to you, dear reader... May you know the joy of the Lord, who is your strength.
Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father sent me, I Am sending you." And with that He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
John 20:21-22 (NIV)
Personal reflections: This morning, our wonderful and gracious Lord opened my eyes to see that He comes right in the midst of our chaos; the messiness of our lives... He doesn't wait until we have everything in order; the kitchen cleaned, floors mopped, bed made, laundry done, never missing reading our Bible on a daily basis, always remembering to spend time in prayer, praying for our neighbors (that we may like or not), praying for our nation, blessing others, spending time with a friend or loved one, helping someone with their need (even when we have our own), driving a distance just to say hello to a friend or family member, remembering to send a birthday greeting that arrives on time, making a special treat for someone (because you can).... I know you get the picture. How I fail at every one of these things and more ~ regularly! If Jesus waited to bless me with peace and the Holy Spirit in my life until I was "totally prepared and had it all together," it would never happen in my lifetime. On a personal note, I have been really struggling lately! Really struggling! I am so very thankful that God has blessed us with our current rental home and its location. It is truly a blessing to both Blaine and I. The one thing missing is being able to "build" Joy Bell Farm; our dream. Yes, we can grow fruits and vegetables, etc at our rental location - but not as we envision it (biodynamic, value-added products) as it's not our place to do so here (but perhaps God will show us how to). Yes, we are working on clearing space for a garden. As of now, it doesn't appear that it will be as large as we envisioned for this year. Clearing is happening at a very slow pace. The soil here is very dense and mineral rich (a blessing and a challenge - and oh, so many rocks), but as soon as rain hits it, it's like sticky goo and one can't work in it...., but God already knew that, didn't He? And, I had hoped to have chickens this spring - but it's not going to happen. Why not? We're still living out the challenges/consequences of our past. While we've worked through alot of the relationship issues, challenges and wounds from the past 6 years, we have one big weight that holds us down.....finances. We have debt, which really began in 1999/2000 when I became ill (we've had lots of out-of-pocket expenses since that time), we chose to assist Benjamin with his undergrad education (and took on part of his school debt), and we are still dealing with paying off our foreclosure settlement (repaying our retirement fund). And, we'll need to save for a down payment to purchase our own farm - if that opportunity should come to us. Most days I wonder..... will Joy Bell Farm ever be a possibility in our lifetime or will it always be a "dream" we hope for? Will it always remain out-of-reach? Our focus is paying off our financial debt and until that time, while we'd love for a farm agreement/arrangement to come into our lives, our hands are tied. Our only hope is God's provision. Is it His plan for our lives? If yes, He will make it happen. Now, I am not seeking pity from anyone. We ALL have stories. We ALL have challenges in our lives. Thus far, there is not one person I've met who doesn't have a story that affects them. And, even as I wrestle with our story - God's Word comes to encourage and reassure that He is right there in the midst of our story and our daily life! When I took the photograph for today and then found the scripture and words began pouring into my thoughts of what my heart is feeling, I thought to myself, "I really don't want to share what is on my heart this morning, but it is real. It's my raw feelings. It's my personal experience where our life is right now. It's what I wrestle with daily in my faith journey." Moments later, I cried out aloud, overwhelmed, when today's God Calling devotional came onto my computer screen. After reading the devotional (see below), a few words from an old song fill my head (and I search and find it ~ and I remember God's anointing on this particular album.....and tears come.....). The Lord's presence washes over me, my heart rejoices as I know my Lord is near to me and hears my cry and a peace settles over me ~ for I know I am His child and He loves me and is with me in this crazy wonderful, painful, joyous adventure called life. And I end this morning sharing with you by singing a powerful praise song... Like a mighty rushing wind, move me. Like a river of joy, flow through me. Like a hot burning fire, consume us, Lord. Touch us and make us like You. May our amazing and loving Lord make Himself known to you today with a fresh revelation of who He is; His love and grace abounding to you. And in His words, "Peace be with you!" From God Calling Devotional: April 2 - The Priceless Blessing
I am here. Here is truly as I was with My Disciples of old. Here to help and bless you. Here to company with you. Do you know, even yet, My children, that this is the priceless blessing of your lives? I forgive you, as you have prayed Me to, for all neglects of My commands, but start anew from today.
Study My words and carry them out unflinchingly, unflinching. As you do this, you will find that you are miracle-workers, workers together with Me -- for Me. Remember this, not what you do, but what you are -- that is the miracle-working power.
Changed by My Spirit, shedding one garment of Spirit for a better; in time throwing that aside for a yet finer one, and so on from character to character, gradually transformed into My likeness.
Joy, Joy, Joy.
This morning, I lift my hands, praise God and declare I love Him - once more!