The God Who Sees Me…

“You are the God who sees me…” __ Hagar

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I’ve always felt a kinship with Hagar.  Hagar was the maidservant of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

This is her story:

Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was barren.  None-the-less, God had promised  that through their children would come the nation of Israel.  Abraham and Sarah had tried to have children for many years, but now they were old, and Sarah finally gives up hope.  One day, she tells her husband…  “The Lord has kept me from having children.  Go sleep with my maidservant (Hagar); perhaps I can build a family through her.”

[SCRRRREEEEEECH…]

[Pardon the interruption…it’s just my wheels coming to a halt!  Okay, if I had been the writer of this Genesis’ story, I would have written it, more to this effect,

“…go sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her,” said, no woman ever! 

Call it a hunch, but, I have a sneaky suspicion this idea was more Abraham’s than Sarah’s.]

[…now…back to the story]

So, Abraham, “obeyed” his wife, and slept with Hagar, and Hagar, became pregnant.  Of course, tension mounts between the two women, until one day, all hell breaks loose within the camp.  Sarah, in a jealous rage, mistreats Hagar.  Scripture gives no detail as to how, but it was bad enough for Hagar to run away, and hide, from her mistress, in the dessert.  Scared and alone, Hagar finally finds a spring of water and pauses  to drink.   God sees her at the spring, and begins a conversation with her.  It goes something like this: 

God:  Hagar, what has happened and where are you going?”

Hagar:  “I’m running away…”

God: “Go back… face the problem, and I will be with you.”

Hagar: “You are the God who sees me…”

And so, Hagar returns.  The problem doesn’t go away, but God is true to his word, and helps her every step of the way.  Eventually, she is blessed with a son, she names Ishmael, and through Ismael’s descendants the Arab nation is born. 

 

In my life, I have endured many “Hagar moments,” and I bet you have too.

How often I’ve felt…

  • …alone
  • …misunderstood
  • …unloved
  • …without hope
  • …a victim of circumstances, beyond my control
  • …an outcast
  • …ready to give up

 

When I read God’s words to Hagar, I read them as if they were written just for me.  He tells me, “Go back, my child, and I will be with you.  Don’t give up, I have a good plan for you.”

I’m so thankful, He is the God who sees me.

***

Daily Prompt: Measure

Everything we need is give through His good measure.

 

 

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The Day I Floated

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Today’s word, float, reminded me of when I truly put my trust in Jesus.

I was sitting in a revival service, and the evangelist was teaching from the text of, II Kings 6:5-7.  I listened as scripture was read and this is what I heard that night:

 But it happened that as one was cutting down a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” The man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron [axe head] float. He said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out with his hand and took it.

In the story, the man of God, Elisha, asked the one who had lost the axe head, “Where did it fall?”  The individual, extremely upset because the axe was not his own but borrowed, pointed to where it had fallen.  Elisha then, threw a stick into the water, and the iron axe floated.

Somehow, sitting in that service, I identified with the axe head that had fallen into the water.  I felt lost, heavy laden, and unable to save myself.  I recognized my helpless plight and called out to Jesus.  Jesus, by his Grace, lifted me from the water, my sins fell away, and I was safe in his embrace.

Jesus lovingly tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto  you, he that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

My prayer:   Lord, thank you for speaking to my heart that night.  Thank you for lifting me up, so that I could pass from death unto life.  I was lost, but now I’m found, and it’s all because of your love and grace.  May I fall more in love with you, as each day, of my earthly life, passes.  Amen 

(In participation of today’s daily prompt: Float)

 

 

Confident and Full of Hope

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Photo from: http://www.supernaturalmothering.com/is-your-future-full-of-hope/

Good day, dear friends!  Here we are at close of another year.  We’ve run, walked, and sometimes crawled these past 365 days.  Now we find ourselves tying the bow, on the box we call 2016, but before we put the box upon the shelf,  may we take a moment to ask the question:  What has 2016 taught us?

Well, I can’t speak for you, but here are just some of the lessons I’ve learned from 2016:

  • Strict New Year’s Resolutions never last.  Most New Year Resolutions have something to do with diet and exercise. I begin the new year with strict rules as to what I’ll eat and what I’ll not eat.  I plan a strict regime of running with at least three days of strength training per week.  I start out with the best intentions but as the weeks pass so does my determination, and I eventually find myself paying $20 a month to house a treadmill I rarely use.  So this year, my resolutions are not as strict.  Instead of limiting myself to a 1000 calories a day, I’ll pay more attention to eating healthier…you know, more vegetables and less junk food, and most of my exercises will consist of doing those things I love like playing with my dogs and taking long walks in the park.
  • True friends/family still love you, even when you’re ugly.  I’ve never been as ugly as I was on election night 2016.  That night I sat in front of my TV, and as I watched state after state vote for Trump, I entered into a downward spiral, one that wouldn’t stop until I drowned myself in gin and vomitted obscenities all over Facebook.   Friends, it was ugly…very ugly.  I was ugly.  If you’d like to read the sordid details visit my post Vomiting All Over Facebook  After that night, I was unfriended by many, however my true friends, understood I was in pain, and that the pain must have been great, for me to do something so out of character.  My true friends didn’t judge me, but rather offered a shoulder for my tears.  Most importantly, they gave me the space to hurt, while lingering close enough to feel their love.
  • Depression fades with passion.  I’ve battled depression for as long as I can remember.  I use to think, if I awoke in the morning with a feeling of depression, that I was doomed to spend the rest of that day feeling sad.  This past year I’ve learned, that my depression fades and sometimes, even disappears, when I’m doing the things I love, like painting, writing, reading, cooking, gardening and taking long walks.  The hard part is making myself begin, as the depression I battle begs for solitude and darkness.  The key, for me, in 2017 is to have the initial will power to set my passions in to play.
  • Making a difference in the world, happens one person at a time.  After Trump’s victory I fell into hopeless despair.  The very next day, I hid within my home, crying and thinking America was lost.  I worried for my fellow-man.  I worried immigrant families would be torn apart.  I worried suicide would increase  within the LGBTQ communities.  I worried, my rights as a gay American would be stripped away.  I worried young girls would lose self-esteem in a world that judged them by their  appearance. I worried for my Muslim friends…would they be sent to internment camps?  I worried for all out-casts…myself included.  I worried so much, I became debilitated with fear.  The third day after the election I forced myself to go outside.  As I drove, I noticed a homeless person standing on the side of the road, holding a cardboard sign with the words, “homeless and hungry,” scribbled across the front.  With tears running down my face I handed the gentlemen a twenty-dollar bill, our eyes met, and as we stared at each other, I felt the fear inside deminish. I smiled and he smiled and I felt hope.  I realized in that moment that, yes… “we are stronger together.”  Regardless of who our president happens to be, we still have the power to change the world…one person at a time.

Everyday I try to read something encouraging and then spend time in prayer.  The last day of 2016 I read a portion from “My Utmost For His Highest,” a devotional book written by Oswald Chambers.  His words gave me hope for the coming year.  When I sat down to write this blog, my intentions were to simply share this hope with you, but one word led to another, and so after 725 words, I still haven’t shared Mr. Chambers words.

His words reminded me, that our future is not contingent upon our past.  We are not bound by the mistakes of 2016, but rather we can be transformed by them.   By God’s Grace we have been given a new slate to write upon in 2017.

May his words bless you with hope for the coming year…

“…Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders.  But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future…As we go forth into the coming year…let us go out with the patient power of knowing that God will go before us.  Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us.  It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future.  Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.  Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”  ___  Oswald Chambers

Friends, let us go into 2017, confident and full of hope!

(May hope fill the interior, and radiate outward.)

In the Garden

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A Conversation with God in the Garden 8/01/16

 

God:  Why the troubled look, my child?

Me:  This world scares me.  I feel as if I’m waiting for the next bad thing to happen.

God:  Come away from the world for a few moments and listen to my word.

Me:  Okay, Lord.

God:  Walk with me in our garden …our secret garden, meant only for you and me.  None of the happenings of this world can enter unless you open the gate.

Me:  Open the gate?  How, Lord?

God:  By your thoughts, my child.  Be careful what you let your mind dwell upon, for sure enough, when you are unaware, the seeds of those thoughts will enter our garden.  Our garden is so rich and fertile the seeds will take root and grow wherever they fall. Then the weeds of the world will, slowly but surely, overtake our garden of peace.

Me:  No, my Lord…I don’t think I could live without spending time alone with you in our garden.

God:  It’s up to you my child, for you are the caretaker of our garden.  So be diligent to recognize the fear, pull it from our garden and  give it to me.

Me:  Lord, sometimes there is so much fear, I’m overwhelmed, and don’t know where to begin.

God:  That’s  exactly the way fear wants you to feel.  Keeping you overwhelmed is its strategy.  Fear knows if it can keep you busy with worry, you’ll least likely pull it from its roots.  Fear left to itself will grow until you think I’m no longer here or even worse that I no longer love you.

Me:  Yes, Lord…fear has done that to me.   I remember many times when fear surrounded me, hemming me in…so much so, all I could see was fear itself.

God:  Vision and where you place it is the key.  Without  the right kind of vision you will perish.  Rest your eyes upon Me and My perfect love because love casts out fear.

Me:  Thank you Lord for loving me.

God:  It is my delight to love you.  Be filled with My love and spread it everywhere, even unto the ends of the earth.  Keep spreading My love until it overtakes and devours hate. Know this, my child, love always trumps hate, so receive my love…give my love…and repeat.

God:  And Lisa…

Me:  Yes Lord?

God:  I’m always in the garden…come walk with me often.

***

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear… I John 4:18

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you…(Psalm 63:1)

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… (Genesis 3:8)

 

 

 

 

Unstoppable Love

A Conversation with God 7/28/16

Me:  God, I’m so tired.

God:  Come to me and rest.

Me:  It’s just this world is getting me down. I’m so tired of hateful, mean-spirited judgement.  So tired of the poor being downtrodden so the rich and arrogant can gain.  I’m tired of people being mistreated because of the color of their skin, their religion, their gender and who they love.  I’m so tired and confused about this election…so many lies…so much division and way too many walls.

God:  Come away, and rest a while.  I will be your refuge.  Lay hold of the hope I give and let it be an anchor for your soul; for I am sure and steadfast.  Find your strength in Me and know how much you are loved.  Nothing will ever separate you from me because my love is unstoppable.  You are a gift to me and a gift to this world.

Me:  Thank you Lord.  I will lay myself down and rest in your loving presence.

God:  And…Lisa…

Me:  Yes, Lord?

God:  It’s going to be okay.  I got this…

***

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  I am persuaded, that neither, death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

Come…and rest a while.  Mark 6:31

Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matt 11:28

We…have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  [This] hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast… Hebrews 6:18-19

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Clouds in the sky on a warm summer’s day. Photo taken from my backdoor step.

 

 

Treasure Chest

Writing 101 Day 3:  Treasure Chest

“Hope should be treasured, loved and kissed.”  ____  Lisa Hardy

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Treasure Chest

I opened the chest to look inside,

And there she lay.  Had she died?

 Dirty, cold and all alone…

There in the chest she called home.

Hope, beaten by guilt and shame,

Lay there dying, crippled and lame.

Wiping at tears I squinted to see…

If she would look and recognize me.

Too weak to raise her weary head,

Hope whispered faintly to me and said;

“I’m still here…don’t let me die…”

And with that my Hope began to cry.

I lifted her up… cradled her close

Wiped the tears from the tip of her nose.

Kissed her lips and laid her to rest

Within my heart, her treasure chest.

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