Monday, May 26, 2014


My mother is a hero.

A bona-fide, true-blue, brave-soul hero.

For she did battle with a cockroach…and won.

OK, so I'm staying with her at her house for a few days.  She lives by the beach.  And, for the life of me, I don't know why there are so many cockroaches at the beach!  They are everywhere, all the time.

Mom has traps laid out in every strategic corner of her house, and in the breezeway leading to the entry door.  For the most part, she is successful.

But not the other night.

So, she and I were yakking about this and that, and then we happened to notice the time – it was 1:30 AM!!  Fortunately, she and I have always been night owls, and these late-night (early morning??) talks are nothing new.

But, common sense finally prevailed, and we decided to go to bed.  When I'm visiting, there's a separate bathroom that I use.  So, I go to the bathroom, turn on the light, and see a dark *something* move by the faucet handle.  It took like two seconds for my primal brain stem to recognize what the "shadow" was…

La cucaracha.

I freaked out!

Possibly even screamed a little bit.  Mom came running.

"What's wrong?"

"Look!" I panted.  And with a thin finger of fright, I pointed at the cockroach sitting next to the cold-water handle.  I say the word "cockroach" lightly – for I truly believe this was really a Sherman tank.

Mom:  "My, that's the biggest cockroach I've ever seen."

Yes, a master of understatement.

Mom:  "What are we going to do?"

OK, so I'm now thinking in my head, "I'M not doing a thing."  I am unnaturally terrified of cockroaches.  They're just big and ugly and creepy. And I can't stand how they skittle around, and how they refuse to die.

Hence, a rather lengthy discussion began about various tactics and strategies to dispense with the invading marauder.

Mom had the idea to get a fly swatter.  I looked at her in disbelief.  

"You mean swat it like a fly?"

"Yeah, just smack it."

I nixed this idea.  The thought of big, ugly, creepy cockroach guts was just too disgusting.  Mom then suggested using a Kleenex to squish it.  I was appalled at this idea, even if she was willing to do it.  I just could not imagine having only a two-ply shield of protection(and the ensuing, above-mentioned gut problem).

So, I ran to the kitchen and got a plastic cup.  Thinking perhaps that we (hopefully Mom) could just slam it over Mr. Roach, trapping it until morning when maybe we could figure something out.

But, when I returned, we both stood there and stared at the thing.

Mom: "What if it runs away before we can trap it?"

A very good thought.

So, I ran into the other room and grabbed a piece of cardboard.  See, I wanted to make a wall between the cockroach and my stuff.  Yup, my toothbrush was laying out, my makeup, and my clothes.  (Needless to say, not knowing from which direction this bugger crawled, I was not about to take ANY chances on creepy junk on my toothbrush, or feeling something crawl around in my unmentionables.  Therefore, we needed a "wall"…)

The thing was this.  Neither of us wanted to get close enough to put the wall in place!

I decided that I could manage the wall, and she said she'd be willing to put the cup over the cockroach.  (See, a hero…)

Well, best laid plans.

As soon as I put the wall in place, that stupid bug started to skittle around.  It skittled into the sink.  Good, I'm thinking, it's trapped.

Ohhhh nooo.

Not that easy.  That little armored body skittled out of the sink again.  And kept on skittling.

(SIDENOTE: I am screaming like, well, like a girl at every movement.  Mom is not.)

So, picture the cockroach skittling all over the countertop, me screaming in the corner where I have retreated for safety, when all of a sudden, it happens…

Wonder Woman herself takes the can of root beer in her hand and starts smashing it down on the bug!

She misses the first few times, but keeps at it.  Finally she traps the bug under the can.

I am breathless.  I stare at her with big, wide-open eyes.  She calmly says, "Now what should we do?"

More planning.

We toyed with the thought that we'd try to drown it in the sink.  So, we turned both the handles on high.   I told Mom maybe we should check to see if it was already dead.

She lifted that can, and yup, you guessed it.  More frantic skittling, more screaming, and more smashing.  That woman is unafraid.  And she can wield a soda can like an old-fashioned sledge hammer.

At this point, I am staring at her in awe.

Once again, decisions had to be made.  We finally decided to do one more check-up.  We (she) gently lifted up the can, and yes, the bug looked dead.  Of course, Mom decided to prod it just to make sure.  (See, a hero…)  And of course, it wiggled some more.

But the skittling was done.

Finally, we put the cup over the cockroach (in truth, no "we" about it, all Mom), scooted it across the countertop to the sink, and hooshed it onto the cardboard.  After that, we gave Mr. Roach a traditional Viking send-off in the nearest water source (flush, flush)…ahem.

Then, Mom proceeded to clean up with her Kleenex.  I stood looking at her, still greatly amazed that she was willing to do this dirty work.

She stopped.  I thought I saw some "remnants" – which I thoughtfully pointed out to her.

"Oh, sorry.  I guess I missed some legs."


When it was all said and done, I stared at her, and she stared at me.

Me:  "I can't believe how brave you are."

Mom:  "I can't believe you're so scared of a cockroach.  I had no idea. I'll never forget you standing in the corner and screaming."  And then she chuckled.

Thanks, Mom.

I looked at her and said, "This is gonna make a great blog post."

To which she said, "What are you going to bring out of this?"

And I've thought about it.

And I think the best lesson I can talk about is the concept of bravery.

Sometimes courage comes in unexpected packages.  Like my mom.  I truly was amazed at how she dealt with something that I really felt paralyzed to tackle.  She was scared, too, but she acted!

That's how bravery works.

John Wayne had this awesome quote:

"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."

Yeah, that's what it's all about.

I think of people that I admire for being brave.  Our military men and women, and the people that stay at home waiting for them.  People facing cancer battles.  Parents with prodigal children.  People facing the grief of the death of a loved one.  Unemployed people, recovering addicts, people with disabilities…

These are people who I consider heroes.

But what about the rest of us?

Can we find ways to be heroes, too?

Yes, but not on our own.

We need help.

For you see, even when life doesn't serve up the *big stuff*there's still plenty of "bugs" in everyday life.

Times when we do brave battle in the recesses of our thoughts, or the depths of our hearts.  Times when we face discouragement or despair.  Times when we battle the giants – worry and fear.  Times when we need to speak up, or when we need the courage to stay silent.

As believers, we are called to be courageous.

But, not on our own.

I think of some of my favorite Bible heroes.  And I wonder.  They all seem so brave.  Were they always as brave as they seem on the pages?

Was Noah scared on the ark – did he ever think that the flood might never cease?

Was Joseph frightened when his brothers threw him into the well?

Did Moses fear facing the Pharaoh, or ever have a passing thought – hey, what if one of these plagues doesn’t happen?

Did Joshua ever experience some quiet moments where he felt daunted and overwhelmed at the task of conquering the Promised Land?

Did Daniel have a terrified thought or two when lions stared him in the face?

How about Gideon and his small army?  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and a blazing fire?  Jonah in the belly of a great fish?

I could continue with New Testament heroes, too.  Including Jesus Himself.

Was He ever afraid?

Of course He was.  Our dear Lord sweat like blood, and that came from deep and terrorizing fear.

But something happened in each one of these heroes' lives.  Actually, Someone happened.

They were each touched by the emboldening and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.

They did not fight alone.  Nor did they have to rely on themselves to drum up enough courage to face the task that lay before them.

We don't either.

We also have the Holy Spirit.  And not just in a *coming over us* sort of way.  But rather, in a *living within us* sort of way.

He's there.  Abiding in our innermost spirits.  Power available from within.

The very Spirit of God.

Wow, that really is amazing, isn't it?

My lesson from the cockroach episode?  (Besides the fact that I am in awe of my mother?!)...

That it isn't wrong to be afraid.  What's really important is what you do EVEN THOUGH you're scared – and WHERE you turn to get your strength.

Might I paraphrase Mr. Wayne a bit?

"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up with the Holy Spirit and facing it in His way."

Yes, courage can come in unexpected packages.

Even in something that looks a lot like you!!

Dead or...well, not Alive *

"But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you." (Psalm 56:3, NLT)

"So be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you." (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

"Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today." (Exodus 14:13, NIV)

"Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.  He is coming to save you.'" 
(Isaiah 35:4, NLT)

"For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (Isaiah 41:13, NIV)

"But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid.'" (Matthew 14:27, NIV)

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

When was the last time you were really scared, and how did you deal with it?

(SIDENOTE:  Cockroaches of the world, you have been warned!  My mother still stalks the earth…)

*DISCLAIMER:  That is NOT a photo of the cockroach itself.  Only a photo of a can of roach spray.'s EWWWW!

Linked today with:

Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY                                       Rebekah at WORDS OF LIFE WEDNESDAYS
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD                                    Jennifer at TELL HIS STORY
Kelli at UNFORCED RHYTHMS                                          Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAYS
Kathy at TITUS 2 TUESDAYS                                           Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY                                    Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Jen at UNITE                                                                       Ramona at FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY
Holly at TESTIMONY TUESDAY                                       Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAY                              Julie at FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS                    Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY                              Elizabeth at WHATEVER IS LOVELY
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY                      Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY                                    Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Holley at COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART                             Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Shelly at RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY                     Lisha at GIVE ME GRACE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, May 19, 2014


...everywhere a comment, comment.

Old McSharon had a blog...E, I, E, I, O.

Oh dear.

Yup, today I'm going to do something a little different.

But first, a little introduction.

Every now and then I take some time and ponder the whole cyberworld that is Blog Land.  And I continue to be amazed that I am part of it.

You see, my entry into blogging started rather inauspiciously.  In April of 2010, I attended a writer's conference with a friend of mine.  She encountered another woman from her church in the bathroom (which is a whole blog post in itself!), and this woman joined us for the day, and soon became a fast friend.

So, there were keynote speakers at this conference, but there were also "breakout sessions" on particular subjects.  In the afternoon, there was a session on blogging.  Both of my friends were very eager to attend this one.  I told them that I had absolutely NO interest in blogging, so I was going to take a break.

When I rejoined my friends, they were super-hyped about the idea of blogging.  I, being the social media rebel that I am, had no intention of ever joining the new blogging craze that was rapidly sweeping the nation.

Uh, yeah.

Never say never unless you really enjoy a hearty meal of crow!

I'm not exactly sure how I arrived at my conclusion that I was going to give blogging a try.  I think the Holy Spirit had a little something to do with it!! But, two months later, at the end of June, I became an official blogger.

I did hate the sound of the word *blog* - as it sounded so cliche to me - "Hi, I'm Sharon.  I just love all things computer.  Like, it's so cool to like, talk to people on a screen.  So, like yeah, I have a blog.  So, what's your sign?"

So, that's when I came up with my rather catchy (if I may say so myself) tagline:

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

It's at the bottom of every post, and it also serves to remind me of why I'm out here in Blog Land at all. It's all about God.  Has to be, or it's for naught.

My story, His glory.

Now, I also happen to think that being a member of the Blog Land community comes with a certain set of responsibilities.  

Sure, I'm like all of you - I LOVE COMMENTS!

They make me feel good.  There, I said it.  Comments make me feel like my writing is valid, that my thoughts are making a connection, that I just might have something to say, that the Lord is using my gifts, that I'm not alone.

But, the responsibility is this: I also feel that I am in Blog Land for the sake of others.  Therefore, I take very seriously the importance of reading and commenting on other peoples' blogs.  It's important to encourage others, and I feel strongly that this is a big part of what blogging is all about.

OK, so that was a big introduction.

But, I thought it was important to let you know how I feel about comments.

So, every now and then, something I say in a comment to someone else makes me think about my own words.  I love how the Holy Spirit does that with me - how sometimes words come out before I really think them, and then those very same words get me thinking!

That's why today I am doing something different.  I'm going to list some comments that I've made on other blogs in the last four years.  Hopefully something will strike a heartstring, and we can all ponder some more.

1.  "This is not the end of the story."

Not only is that incredibly comforting, it's also amazingly hopeful.  I heard this Truth in my heart, as if it was echoing down through the millennia from that dark and dismal Friday at Calvary.  Not the end, not by a longshot.  And because of that day, which was truly the beginning of our story, God is writing a new story that will never die.

One day we will be released into the final chapter that never ends – in which we all live happily ever after.  Truly.

2.  I think for me, as one who has always felt "not enough" and "unworthy", I had to finally understand this one thought.  In the whole scheme of redemption, I truly was not and never could be "worthy" of my salvation. Never.  However, God loved me.  And HE deemed me worthwhile - worth the cost of His Son on the cross.  I have found blessed release in letting go of the constant need to be worthy, and learned how to bask in the glow of being worth the Lord's eternal LOVE.

3.  "I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord...who summons you by name."

I love that verse - treasures to be found in darkness, the hidden riches only found in secret places.  I have taken that verse and applied it to my life when I am in a period of discouragement.  I am finding out that when I have nothing left to give, when I am burned out, when I am dry and despairing - that that is when God teaches me something about Himself so personal and intimate that I scarce can take it in.

I am learning who He is in ways I could not unless I was walking in the valley. 

4.  I loved what you had to say about the Real Power Source - the Holy Spirit. How often I forget that I am not called to live the Christian life on my own. On my own, I'm a very faulty, fading flashlight.  But, with the Spirit's power, I can shine as bright as the SON!

5.  Yes, we are called to unity in the Body of Christ.  I am reminded of that phrase, "They will know we are Christians by our love."  As I ponder that, it occurs to me that our unity across cultures, languages, races, and any other earthly thing that might cause division, is a huge testimony of faith.  What else could account for such unity other than the resounding and unifying power of a Savior?!

May I strive to be a wall-breaker - and not waste my time on adding bricks.

6.  I found myself pondering that very weighty question that Jesus asked: "Do you want to get well?"  At first glance, it seems like the answer would be easy. Well, of course!  But, sometimes people get very comfortable in their *sickness* - sin can be quite familiar, and we can easily become complacent. Do we really want to be cured?  For sometimes, the cure can only come through pain.  Sometimes healing requires brokenness.  Sometimes getting well means we have to face our *sickness* straight on.

When we ponder this question, we do well to count the cost of discipleship before we answer.  If we say yes to Him, we will never be the same.

7.  God's plans are often much bigger than my dreams.

8.  After all, the appeal of Jesus is not that He makes us perfect, but that He makes us whole.

9.  I truly believe that our enemy speaks lies to us – he tempts us to be complacent when action is required, but he also makes us resist (or not, and then to feel guilty about it) when we need to rest.  Jesus Himself took time away on a regular basis.  I believe He understood the very human need to rest, restore, and revive. 

10.  Tending to focus on the worries and troubles, I sometimes miss the miracles.

11.  I truly believe that the most insidious lie of the enemy, the one lie that began in the Garden, the one lie that ruined us was this:

"Is God really good?"

I am reminded of this exchange in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – when Lucy asks Mr. Beaver about Aslan, the great and mighty lion of Narnia:

"Is he—quite safe?"

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Who said anything about safe?  'Course he isn't safe.  But he's good."

I am thrilled by a Savior who isn't tame, but whose goodness knows no end.

12.  You know, most of the time when I hear that word [perseverance], I think of trudging along in spite of circumstances - mostly with an exhausted spirit, and a disgruntled attitude.  However, I think you're right.  Perseverance is a process.  And rather than a destructive windstorm that serves only to erode us, it's more like a chisel in the hand of a master sculptor.  God uses our perseverance to work on our character.  And so, the longer we persevere, the more we'll look like Him.  That IS a lifelong process, but worth it for the joy that awaits.

13.  After all, much of God's will is all about making me like His Son. And that can happen anytime and anywhere because it happens in the heart. Even in a heart that is whining...

14.  The enemy doesn't just drop bombs on us, he also likes the incessant attack of darts.

15.  I know that I am not alone in this struggle.  This desire to be known. Part of it stems from God-given desires, a true wish to be used by the Lord for His purposes.  But most of it just gets filtered through self-pride and enemy lies. I know that David must have had MANY battles against his own flesh, and against the enemy of the Lord.  And yet, he continued to pursue God with all of his being, and God called him a man after His own heart.

So, above all the riff-raff that is me, I want God.  First.  Foremost. Forever.

16.  "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope..."

Sometimes, when we're downcast, hope is a conscious choice, a willful re-focusing on the Truth of God's great love and tender mercies, a determination to remember His faithfulness.

17.  It isn't the *outside* things that proclaim what we believe. It is the inner transformation of the Spirit - and that is most reflected in how we love people - even our enemies.  For perhaps it is then, when it is most difficult to love, that we most resemble our Savior.

18.  Sometimes I wonder if the needy can see God more clearly.  I pray for His help in remembering the neediness inside of me.

19.  Hope is what makes our faith soar.

20.  Oh, how deep is that desire to be known completely, understood implicitly, and loved unconditionally.  And how the enemy perverts that God-given desire into a frantic striving to be known by other people - recognized and, perhaps, a bit famous?

I am asking God daily to help me be completely satisfied and content to be known by HIM, and to realize how much The Audience of One cheers for me.

That's all, folks.

I'm speechless...(finally!)

Leave good footprints...
...for we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. 

"Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." 
(Exodus 4:12, NIV)

" not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10:19-20, NIV)

"...for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said." 
(Luke 12:12, NLT)

"For I will give you words and wisdom..." (Luke 21:15, NIV)

"...and I will open your mouth among them. Then they will know that I am the LORD." (Ezekiel 29:21, NIV)

"I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." 
(Philippians  1:3-6, NIV)

"So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith.  It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.  How we thank God for you!  Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence." (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9, NIV)

Which thought struck you today and why?

(SIDENOTE:  I sincerely hope that no one thinks I'm touting myself by listing some of my comments.  Truth be told, I'm dry of ideas this week!!)

(IRONIC SIDENOTE:  And I do realize that I'm asking for comments about comments.  But, I always appreciate your thoughtful and thought-provoking input.  E, I, E, I, O!)

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, May 12, 2014


Yes, "The Hub" and I recently went on a camping trip.

Tent camping.

In which I slept in a sleeping bag, on an air mattress, outdoors.

Can I get a *huzzah* from those of you in the "arthritically-challenged" crowd out there?!

Now don't get me wrong.  I like camping…a lot.

But I am finding it harder to deal with some of the harsher aspects of "roughing it."

Like the weather.

This past trip we were challenged indeed.

About an hour after we arrived and set up our carefully planned-out bivouac, we got hit with gale-force winds.

Again with the wind.

I seem to be attracting the wind lately.  Maybe it's all the hot air that comes out of my mouth.  (No comment).

That blistering wind lasted all that first night, all the next day and night.  It finally disappeared on the second morning.  That was when "The Hub" gently told me upon wakening that it was raining.  

Well, that's what he said at first.  When he opened the tent door, he changed his mind:

"Oh, I take that back.  It's snowing."

Uh huh.

That entire day I watched snowflakes pour down while I froze in my down jacket.

Fortunately the wind died down enough that we were able to have a campfire that night.  Otherwise, it was freeeeezing cold.

What happened the next day?  Hot, sunny weather.  I ended up getting sunburned.

Crazy time.

"The Hub" and I haven't gone camping for almost 3 years.  Buying and selling houses, moving to the mountains, family stuff – well, the last 3 years have gone by fast.  So, I'd forgotten some of the things that I love (and dislike) about tent camping.

I love being away from technology – no phone, no computer.  I love reading and doing crossword puzzles outdoors.  I love the slower pace, and the sounds of the forest.  I love sitting by the campfire at night.  I love curling up next to "The Hub" in a sleeping bag at night, pulling on my warm hat and gloves, and burying my head in a pillow.

I'm not so fond of the aches and pains I get upon waking up!

We had a great time.  But, as all good things must come to an end, the day came for dismantling and repacking all our gear.  Trust me, it's a time-consuming affair.

And, once again, it became a time of reflection for me.

This trip I reflected on how our humble tent had protected us from the elements.  And believe me, we had some elements!  We were sheltered from the wind and snow, shielded from the cold, and shaded from the sun.

A tent is a good place to be.

But then, of course, there comes a time to fold up and return home.

See, that's the part that I reflected on.

The whole idea of a tent being but temporary housing.  Useful for its time, but not really and truly home.

I got to thinking about how the Bible calls these bodies of ours "tents." Temporary housing until it's time to return home.

I got to thinking about dying.

Most of you know that I really struggle with a fear of dying.

O me of little faith.

Yes, I truly know what I believe, and I believe it truly.  But still, dying is scary to me.  Unknown and unknowable.

But for the promises of God, I think I would exist in a permanent state of panic.

However, I've contemplated death a lot more since my dad passed away. About how it seems so final, but how it's not.  About what the true *person* is that exists in the body.

I never mentioned this before, but the last time I saw my dad was kinda weird.  I had been called back to the rehab facility late one night because he was so agitated.  I was able to calm him somewhat until his pain medication kicked in.  And then, he just sorta faded out.  I actually thought for a second that maybe he had died.  (Little did I know how close he was to heaven's gates.)

And that's how it is.

Here one second, and gone the next.

Moved out of our tent, and on our way homeall in the twinkling of an eye.

In this book that I was reading while camping, I came upon this quote:

"Death is but the path to God."

When I read that, I cried.  It just sounded so beautiful.

And I had this awesome picture of Jesus just waiting for me, waiting to hold me in His arms.

I wonder…

Do I make Him sad when I fear coming home to Him?

Does He mourn that it seems I'm not as eager to see Him as He is to see me?

Does it frustrate Him that I am sometimes more attached to this sin-filled world than I should be?

Does He wonder how I can call this Shadowland "life" – when He Himself is The Life?

Does He pray for me to understand more fully what freedom from the sting of death really means?

Does He shake His head sometimes and say to Himself: "Oh, if she only knew…"

I think He does.

As we were packing up our stuff, and especially when we were breaking down our tent, I began to realize yet again that this world is just a temporary place.  And my body is but a tent, waiting to be folded up so I can go home.


I cry as I write that word.  Something deep inside is moved by the thought of it.  And I am filled with joy at the sure and confident knowledge that I do indeed have a heavenly home.

And a loving Savior.

Waiting just for me.

Jesus, Only You.

Home sweet home...
...until it's time to go home. 

"Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood.  For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.  Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying." (Hebrews 2:14-15, NLT)

"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.  We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies...While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies...Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life...So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:1-2, 4, 6, NLT)

"Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it." 
(1 Peter 2:11, MSG)

"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." (Hebrews 13:14, NLT)

"...our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Philippians 3:20, ESV)

"'Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.'" (John 14:1-3, NASB)

What's your perspective on dying, and what do you looking forward to the most about going *home*?

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, May 5, 2014


Remember that old song?

"Blowin' In the Wind" – the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind…

Yeah, well, let me tell you something – there has been no *answer* blowin' in the wind that's hit our mountain like a hurricane.

A more appropriate song might be, "Yo ho, blow the man (woman) down…"

A few days ago, we got hit with some pretty big winds, but they were nothing like this.

We live on the top of the mountain, in a sort of rock amphitheatre and the wind has been howling for over 12 hours  (35 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph).

I have been up almost all night.

The wind unnerves me greatly.

I feel like a little piggy cowering inside while the Big Bad Wolf huffs and puffs (hey, no comment on the piggy remark…)

I'm scared.  Scared that a window might break, or that the roof might blow off, or that stuff (like my car) is going to blow right off the side of the mountain.  And, I myself am not going outside if I can help it.  No sirree…

And then, I'm just sort of scared of the wind itself.  

It's wild, unpredictable, powerful.

I've been thinking about two things in the last 12 hours of wakefulness.

First, I've been reminded of those verses about what kind of foundation you choose to build your *house* on – sand or rock.

And how that choice affects you when life starts to pound against your walls.

We can think things are on solid footing, including our faith – but the proof of the pudding comes when the storms roll in.

There's no shame in being buffeted and tossed and scared in the wild winds of turmoil and suffering.

But…what happens to our *house* is what really counts.

I believe that our physical house is solidly built.

In fact, just yesterday, we randomly met the builder who built it 17 years ago.  He happened to be driving by with a new client, and wanted to show her some of his handiwork.  We just happened to be bringing in groceries.

Let me tell you, it was so much fun and so interesting to hear him talk about the house being designed and built.  We learned many new things about our home's nooks and crannies.

Like how the ceiling wasn't originally a cathedral ceiling.  It was originally built flat, until the owner said to tear it all out and lift it up – he couldn't see the mountain!

And, how you used to have to walk through the closet to get into the bathroom.  (HUH???)  That's what I thought.  The builder said, "Hey, don't know what to tell you!"  (Glad the next owner changed that design!!)

One thing he mentioned really stuck with me.

He said the original owner wanted a house that hugged the ground. He used the word *hunker*.

"Yeah, old Horace wanted a house that hunkered."

Little did I know yesterday that the house would be "tested" that very night.

It's standing firm.

I want my spiritual *house* to be like that, too.

I want to have a rock-solid foundation.  I want to be able to stand firm through whatever befalls me.

To do that, I must build on The Rock, for He is the original Designer.

Yes, He'll allow me to be tested – but in my hunkering down, my leaning into Him, He will enable me to endure.

So, the second thing I'm thinking about is the wind itself.

Like I said, it’s wild, unpredictable, powerful.

It is like God Himself.

Listen to this:

"The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, "holy spirit" also transliterated ruaḥ ha-qodesh) is a term used in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish writings to refer to the Spirit of Yahweh… The noun ruaḥ, much like the English word breath, can mean either wind or some invisible moving force..."  (From Wikipedia)

Yeah, the Holy Spirit – a wild, unpredictable, powerful Wind.

I like that image.

And though it's a bit unsettling, I like the idea of a God that is kinda scary, kinda fearsome, kinda overwhelming.

Otherwise, He wouldn't be God.  He'd be my god – (with a little "g").

A god created in my image.  A god who fits tidily into my definitions and my expectations.

A god who most likely would never, ever have done the unthinkable – enter into humanity Himself.

That was a wildly unpredictable moment in time.

Shocking, audacious, thrilling, authoritative.

Yeah, I kinda like a God who's Almighty.

You know why?

Because I also know He's kind.

I don't ever take that for granted.

I shouldn't be here, shouldn't have been offered the great and mysterious gift of salvation.  I should be destroyed.

But I'm not.

Mercy somehow fulfilled justice…and I live.  Now and forever.


So, it's now 9:00 AM, and it's still howling outside.

But, our mountain home is standing…

…and so am I.

Standing on the solid Rock that gives me the foundation to persevere.  

The Rock who allows me to be tested by the storms, buffeted by the winds, assailed by the thunder and lightning and pouring rain, and tossed by the mighty waves.

The Rock who is wild, unpredictable, and powerful.

The Rock who is not tame.

The Rock who never changes.

The One who is ever good.

My hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.

"He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth.  He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses." (Psalm 135:7, NLT)

"Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind…you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things." (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NLT)

"For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
            Which lifted up the waves of the sea…
He caused the storm to be still,
            So that the waves of the sea were hushed." 
(Psalm 107:25, 29, NASB)

"Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 'Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?...What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?'" (Job 38:1-2, 24, ESV)

"But Jesus spoke to them at once. 'Don't be afraid,' he said. 'Take courage! I am here!'  Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed…" (Mark 6:50-51, NLT)

"He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm." (Luke 8:24, NIV)

"The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit." (John 3:8, NLT)

"On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting…And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:1-3, NLT)

"'Go out and stand before me on the mountain,' the LORD told him.  And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain.  It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper." (1 Kings 19:11-12, NLT)

What storms have been buffeting you lately?  How are you standing firm?

(SIDENOTE:  My great sympathy and sincere prayers go out to all the people who have been touched by the devastation of the recent tornadoes in the Midwest.  May God bring healing and strength and peace.)

(SIDENOTE #2:  To fulfill a long-time promise to "The Hub" - I will be taking this week off from visiting, commenting, and linking up to other blogs. Thanks for coming by, and I'd appreciate your comments.  I'll be back next week!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"