Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lent journey: BREATH

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!


  1. this is so incredibly inspiring and a great reminder today and all days. prayers to you as you continue on your journey. i am working really hard this year to get a garden planted that grows in abundance for both our family and for those in need....i am such a novice and feel like i have no clue but your blog is inspiring me! xoxo

    1. Hi Tara ~

      Thanks for stopping by my blog, reading my post and leaving a comment. What a sweet blessing to hear that what I shared blessed someone else! You are so creative and talented in designing. I love your barn sales. :) We currently live fairly close to you. There is so much to learn about gardening, but start with easier things to grow like greens (lettuce, kale, etc) and strawberries. Actually, the great thing about gardening is to just try things! You have many people in the area with experience to share how to get started. Let me know if you'd like some insights...

    2. My "dream" wasn't Joy Bell was a little cabin on the shore of a quiet lake. I'm pretty sure it will never happen in this life but came to realize a while ago that "He leads me beside the still waters and restores my soul". THAT was the dream in a nutshell and at another level, and He IS fulfilling it daily. Yes, we ALL live with "consequences" but not without HOPE!

      In fact, I posted on my facebook page today THIS quote from Louie Giglio: "A seed may seem harmless, but what you plant today will become the life you harvest in seasons to come. Plant well." (Louie Giglio) My response? Yes! Even at my late age. Sobering and inspiring at the same time.

    3. Rebecca ~ always thankful for your words of honest truth and insights. I am making peace with a similar thought since posting this.... Your words bring real encouragement, as a shift has been occurring in my spirit in the past few days. So thankful HOPE grows and blooms daily!

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing the quote you posted today. How I wish I had heard that in my twenties.... Well, would I have "heard" it then and made different choices? No answer and no need to dwell upon it. Life is what happened. The quote is, indeed, sobering and inspiring - will be more careful about seeds I continue to plant. Blessings!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie