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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Divine Disruption

Interruptions.  We all have them.  The scenarios vary but essentially life is going as planned.  Then suddenly, our perceived control of life comes to a screeching halt.  Life throws us a curve, resulting in everything from minor annoyance to a major crisis.  Why can't we shut the door to these intruders?.

A closer look at Scripture reveals that God has set the stage for interruption. That’s His modus operandi.  He interrupted Mary’s life with a virgin birth, the apostle Paul’s with blindness and Christ's with a cross.  In fact, every person in Scripture who was used by God was intruded upon for the furtherance of His Glory. So why do we, as actors on the stage of life, feel we should escape the way of the Great Playwright? 

Karine Matter of Groveland, CA knows about interruption.  She will be moving her family and essential belongings for a third time this week due to wildfire.  I watched as the CNN commentator struggled to respond to her position of faith in the midst of this tragic encounter.  God used this moment to proclaim Himself over national TV.  Karine has learned that all of life is mission, even catastrophic interruption.

We too must embrace intrusion because life often happens in the middle of routine.  The Good Samaritan’s problem is also ours.  There are wounded people left along our path, often disguised as interruptions.  They are inconvenient, messy and costly.  But as God’s image bearers, this is our call.

Of course the greatest interruption of all comes in the form of God’s Grace.  It cares not for the darkness it enters.  It invades broken dreams, adulterous affairs and plastic religion.  It scoops up dead men and breathes new life into dry bones.  Though often unwanted and uninvited, it bursts upon the scene.  But oh the life that is changed!

So instead, let's view interruption as divine disruption.  For it might well be a “springboard moment” that has the power to change a destiny.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Keeping in Step

Have you noticed? There is quite a disparity between the Western World Jesus and the Biblical Jesus.

Author Mike Erre has said, “It seems in many ways we are like Jesus’ parents on the road to Jerusalem: we think He is with us, but we've moved on without Him.” 

It’s true.  I’m afraid we've left the Jesus of Scripture behind. We've replaced Him with a newer version. This one is simply a God of love who blesses and is always on call in emergencies. He's the politically correct one who never leaves the church building and grades sin on a curve.  To many, His desire is for us to be healthy, wealthy and wise.  He never offends, never interrupts and never pushes us out of our comfort zone.  He is the genie who can make all of our wishes come true.  

Tragically, we've reversed the creation order, having made Him in our image.  We've reduced him to a cliff notes version:  pocket–size and easy to "use".  He’s now a pale gray figure that camps out in the back of our minds until we have need of Him.

Western culture has cheapened Christianity because we've cheapened Him whose name it bears.

It’s time to go back and find the real Jesus.  He’s not the purveyor of the American dream.  He warns that suffering will be a part of this world and that the joy we seek will only be found in living forever in His Kingdom.  He says hard things and asks difficult questions.  And while He loves to answer prayer, it’s always centered in His Divine will.  Yes, love and forgiveness are offered but they come at a great cost - His life.   That sacrifice demands more than lukewarm faith as He longs to fill us with His Spirit so we can walk a life worthy of Him.

And that means we walk with Him, not ahead or behind.  Because when we walk out of step with the real Jesus, we lose our way Home.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Truth Tales

He appeared so small in that chair, raging against the Lord of the Universe, as if he could make an impact.  “I don’t believe in fairy tales”, he blurted out with brow scowled and head shaking defiantly.  “It’s all superstition.”

I had not initiated this conversation about faith with my atheist patient.  His vulnerability set it in motion.  The fear brimmed over with profanity, laced with the name of the One he raged against.  He wore his anger like a neon jacket - loud and attention drawing. But by his own adamant proclamation, he acknowledged the very existence of the One he denied.   Terror shone in his eyes.

And I saw the arrogance of a drowning man who insisted he could save himself in the midst of an undertow. 

I wonder when the hardening was born.  What wound failed to heal and began spreading its toxins throughout his soul.  At what point did he relinquish all hope? His words were loud but an inner cry of emptiness, fear and sadness were the main characters in this drama.  I so desperately wanted him to know the Good News.  That there IS a fairy tale and I am living it.  And the hero in this story is Jesus, the One whose name he called out so carelessly.  And no, it doesn’t make any sense from our earthly perspective but it is magnificently true and real and wonderful.  Though our minds cannot wrap themselves around God’s ways, no protest will silence His Kingdom.

But my words provided no comfort as the chains that bound him held fast.  Ironically, while he flailed himself to assuage his own pain and attempted to thwart God’s reputation, the One he railed against still loved him. 
For even a crown of thorns and nail pierced hands did not weaken His resolve to save the world.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

One Pilgrim's Progress

Spiritually speaking, I run a marathon.  There are no flashy running shoes and I am really out of shape.   Perspiration streams down the curvature of my back, my calves cramp and I advance at tortoise-like speed. Onlookers try to cheer me on but the going gets tougher. 

And then I remember my backpack.  It's weighted down with far more than I can safely carry. I really thought I needed it for success but I was wrong.  Despite its promise of fulfillment, it seems that lightening my load might make more sense.

I am on a pilgrimage to free myself from "stuff" but I assure you my toes are barely wet.  And I don’t want to over-spiritualize because there are a thousand good things that come from a clean-out.  For awhile it’s kind of fun.  It gives me a sense of control and freedom.  But then He taps that tender spot – the one I hold tightly in clenched fists... the “surely not this one, Lord! “  Yet there is His finger.  Do I truly want to “throw off everything that hinders” so I can run this race?  This is a question I must answer..

Jen Hatmaker says in her book The 7 Experiment:
"Until God asks for everything and we answer, “It’s Yours”, we don’t yet have ears to hear or eyes to see.  We’re still deaf to the truth, blind to freedom and deceived by the treasures of the world, imagining them to be the key when they are actually the lock."

There are a few caveats though to this shedding manifesto. The worm of pride inches its way into my heart oh so subtly as I congratulate myself for the sacrifice.  My heart must be cleaned out like the other areas in which I reside. And nature abhors a vacuum, so emptying eventually tempts me to refill.  Consumerism is an insidious disease.

So how do I stay on course, unencumbered with eyes on the prize when my resolve fades so quickly?  My pastor said recently: “Each day we awaken to our default mode so daily we must upload the Gospel update.”  Mind renewal for the journey.

Because the finish line is just ahead.