My Pic

My Pic

Welcome to my little Corner

I am Barbara.

An introvert masquerading as an extrovert, a backyard gardener with a farmer's heart, a nurse by day and a dreamer by night. I am passionate about Jesus, spicy food, puppy dogs, words, compost and the aroma of desert rain. Music is chocolate to my soul but solitude feeds the deepest part of me.

And you need to know:

I have been rescued.

Several times actually. Right out of the mud and mire. My writing began as whispers between me and my God and it will always be rooted in that soil. So the plan is simple: I write. Out of the overflow of my heart, the place He has so generously chosen to dwell.

Though I am all grown up, I feel as if the handsome Prince has finally found me and the glass slipper fits. And a living breathing fairy tale has ensued.

So pull up a chair and "sit a spell", as we would say from my West Virginia roots. I hope you find His Footprints here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sweet Honesty

I confess Mrs V.   I really had been drinking at that high school dance.  When you uncovered it and informed my mother, I remained steadfast in denial.  Perhaps my mother wanted to believe that you were a busybody or wrong about my involvement.  She never really trusted people anyway.  Or maybe she just needed to believe me because of how it reflected upon her.

But the lie has weighed heavily upon me over the years.  Recently, I saw a picture of you on Facebook.   You are elderly but still beautiful with your perfectly coiffured gray hair.  I can just hear that sweet Southern accent.  And I wonder.  Did you know?  Did you realize that my parents were duped?  And could you ever have guessed that I would live with the shame of it?

As an adult, I have had numerous dreams about you.  In every scenario, I am stressing about what you think of me.  Usually my house is a wreck or there is some other glaring deficiency in me.  And I've wondered.  Does my obsession with you relate to the dirty little secret that we share?  Would I feel the burden lift if I spilled the truth after all these years?

Mrs V.- Are you out there?  I am really sorry that I lied.  You see, I was desperate to protect myself. I had not met Him yet.  He is my protector now.  I didn't know that it could be like this.  And you probably didn't either.  I hadn't known of love this unconditional.  But now I do.  I grieve that I may have destroyed your friendship with my Mom.  I only wish that you could know the person I am now - freed up and brand new in Christ.

And Mrs V, if you are listening, I hope you've found Him too - the One who wipes the slate clean and heals little girl's regrets.  Even when she is all grown up.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trees and Testimonies

Sadly, the Oleander must go.  I watch it out my window, the bright red flowers coloring our backyard landscape.  But it grew crooked.  Its base of support shifted with a gusty wind and now it leans to the side, just waiting for the final blow.  It seems sad to pull it up.  But it will never make it to transplant.  The roots will be exposed to the dry desert air and it has grown too large to try to nourish its tender roots again in a new location.

I, too, am crooked and lean to the side.  You see I did not always rest upon Him. And the supports that I chose were not able to hold me.  My hands formed my own idols and they would disappoint. Their tender but lying voices called to me and I bought the lies.  But God in His great mercy did not pull me up and dispose of me.

Slipping away from my spiritual home into the dark did have nasty consequences though.  I was not made to live in that place.  I became hungry, really hungry.  But far in the distance, I could see the Father.  Expectantly waiting.  He knew I would return.  How voraciously He loves wayward prodigals! Sometimes I think he carves out a special place in the curvature of His arm for ones like me.

I watch my husband sever the oleander branches.  Little by little, there is less of it.  Sweat pours off his brow as he tends to the work of the ground.  Finally there is an empty space where it stood. But other plantings once hidden are now visible.  And when I study it, I see a potential for new beauty - His beauty.

Always the Creator, His touch brings new life.

I am evidence of that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Remembering the Cross

When I was a child, my well-intentioned mother attempted to shape my scatterbrained approach to life.  To her dismay, I was not exactly moldable.  If it rained, I left my umbrella at school.  I lost library books and misplaced numerous other items.  Each time, she would express her exasperation by saying how irresponsible I was!  But Mom was wrong.  At the core of this child was one who desperately wanted to remember.

Forgetting umbrellas and other articles may be inconvenient and frustrating but it will not affect my destiny.  Each week, I am charged with "remembering" as I partake of the Lord's Supper.  It can be a mechanical gesture or rich with intention.  It comes down to my desire.  The agony of the Cross and what it accomplished must never fade from my memory because remembering breeds thanksgiving.  And as author Ann Voskamp has noted, "thanksgiving prepares the way that God might show us His fullest Salvation."

John Newton, the Anglican clergy, former slave trader and well known hymn writer told a visitor a few weeks before he died, "My memory is nearly gone but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.  Could it be that we have forgotten this?  Have we moved from the kingdom of death to the Kingdom of Light so casually that we have forgotten the dust at the foot of the Cross?

The prophet Jeremiah says that God "will forgive our wickedness and remember our sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:34)  He forgives much so that we can remember much.  And that may be the secret.  We dare not see our worth based upon anything other than His Grace and sacrifice.  And that is fertile ground for remembrance.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Will of God

Did you ever watch the old game show Lets Make a Deal?  The numbered doors held many possibilities ranging from ridiculous to valuable.  The problem was simply choosing the right one. Many times I think that's how we try to find God's will.  We blindly choose and hope for the best.

I confess at times my default mode is paralysis.  I don't even choose blindly.  Instead, I stand in fear despite the crowd cheering me on.  If only I could have just a clue.

There really ARE clues to be found.  Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  If read with the emphasis upon He, the verse renders its truth.  As He becomes my delight - the One with whom I long to spend time, to think about and talk about - His desires will become my desires because He will plant and nurture them in the soil of my heart.

There's also a huge difference between wanting to know God's will and wanting to do God's will. How often do I really only want His will as one of my options?  Or look to Him for consensus in a decision already made?  And oh how holy it sounds to say I am trying to discover His will!  As if He were deliberately hiding it and it was my burden to uncover it.  Could these just be tactics to avoid obedience?

A.Z. Tozer has said that "He (God) is unable to grant us our hearts desire till our desires have been reduced to one.  As I singularly pursue that Pearl of Great Price, my desires will be shaped by Him. That which is behind the door may still be unknown but I will will intimately know the One who does.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Listening to Love

It's been said that a writer needs an elevator speech and a Christian needs a 3 minute testimony.  I am a failure at both.  I've never been good at brevity.  My words and thoughts tumble over top of each other like earthworms in a jar of dirt.  I get so excited to tell a punch line that I mess up the details of a joke.  I just can't answer a question simply.  I feel like I have to give someone the whole story in one sitting.  And the problem is that I rarely get to my point.

This is why writing is my preferred communication.  I can type away, always knowing that backspacing and spell check can erase my mistakes.  The printed page can take my disorganized thoughts and put them together constructively over time.  I don't have to balance conversation or allow for interruptions while I am in the midst of expressing myself.

I am learning though that what I hear is far more important than what I say.  When I really listen, I gain amazing insight.  I learn that the world is not about me.  That really I know very little about life other than the small window open to me.  Through other's words I audibly "see" into their hearts.  I hear pain, joy, pride, need and worth.  I see people as Jesus sees them, as made in His image.  And this stretches me because my world is about me most of the time.  And that is ugly.  I learn that loving your neighbor as yourself is not an easy thing but Scripture says that the world will know who I am by my love.  And without that love, I am nothing.

Writing the thoughts of my heart is still my passion but communication is only as good as what motivates it.  And I can't spell check or backspace love.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Blogging Business

I keep tripping over the business of blogging.  There is this discomfort I find in luring followers to the things that pour from my heart.  It seems to contradict the message of the contents of my blog - that of living authentically in the Light of the Gospel.  I just can't seem to fit self promotion into that framework.

It's not that I want a Christian airplane.  You know the story...the one where the plane is pieced together out of junk.  Then when it doesn't fly, the builder says, "It must not have been God's will!"  I want this blog to fly, I really do.  And I want quality.  But I don't want to start shaking hands and kissing babies to sell my craft.

Jesus spoke to people in truth, without hook or fanfare.  He just laid it out there.  He had takers and non-takers.  But when he died at 33 years of age, he said "It is finished".  In God's sovereignty, He trusted He had reached the intended hearts.  Should my trust be any less?  And what about God, the Original Blogger?  He is followed in some of the least lovely places: in prisons, in war zones and in hospital beds.  No platforms there.  The recipients come hungry.  And perhaps that's more critical than the presentation.

Ironically, putting my thoughts into words on paper has helped to prioritize a few things for the road ahead:

I will not posture and strategize to make this blog "successful".
I would like to be read but I won't lose my joy or passion if it doesn't happen.
I will pray that the blog bears fruit, not the fruit of a following, but the fruit of spiritual
encouragement in hearts and lives.

I feel better just getting this off my chest.  Even if only One is listening.