Monday, July 30, 2012


Yes, I am.

And I am quite skilled in the art of turtling.


Let me define this word using Sharon's English-to-Sharon Dictionary:

Turtling:  withdrawing into oneself; hiding in one's shell; refusing to poke one's head out and see how the rest of the world is doing

So, that would be me – turtling.

I am midway through my fourth week up here in the mountains (though I'm counting it as the third week – because the second week I was back in familiar territory with my family and friends)…

And no, I'm not having a spiritual tantrum anymore.

But I still haven't quite *mounted up on wings like an eagle* yet…

I've been feeling very isolated and lonely the last few days.  The wrestling Jacob and running Jonah have been replaced with the weeping Jeremiah.

Our house is beautiful – but remote and secluded.

And the last few days I've felt a bit like I'm living on a very small island. Not only am I feeling like a castaway – I'm feeling cast away.

Yes, another shade of self-pity from me.

I have wondered why God has chosen to remove me from all things familiar. I have wondered why He seems to have taken so many of the things that I was involved in down the mountain, and ground them to a screeching halt.

I wonder why my writing voice has dried up.

I wonder why He seems so far away.

Yes, it's true – I do have people that I could talk to about these feelings.  But when I choose to "turtle" – I usually disappear off the map.  

I hate to bother people when I feel like this – but I also don't bother people because I'm too busy getting all hot and bothered about the fact that no one seems to be bothering about me.

(What is it about this move that has turned me into a two-year-old???)

But God still speaks to toddlers…

Last week "The Hub" and I decided to forge ahead with some of the things we need to do to complete (start) the kitchen remodel up here.  Of course, we had to drive more than an hour to get to the towns that have the showrooms we wanted to visit - (unnecessary whine).

On that drive, we happened to pass a churchone of those little churches that has a marquee out front.  This is what it said:

"God loves you when no one cares!"


(Why does God take the time to speak just to me?  ☺)

It got me thinking.

I know that God wants me up here.  So, what is He trying to tell me up here in these beginning weeks of emotional turmoil?

Three things.

One, He seems to be repeating the same thing He's been saying to me for well over a year…

"Sharon, is it really just Me?"

He is whittling me, pruning me, lopping off all those things in my life that make me feel secure.  He's honing my focus.  He is testing my heart to see how much I really put Him first in my life.

God wants me to learn something in this solitude and stillness.  He wants me to concentrate on HIS voice.

Evidently, I'm not a very good listener.

Second, He wants me to know how much HE loves me.  

Not how much my friends love me, how much my family loves me, how much my husband loves me.  He wants me to delve deeper into HIS heart, and see what HIS perfect love feels like.

"Sharon, is My love enough?"

And third, He wants me to ask myself this very important question:

"Sharon, do you love Me more than My purpose for you?"

It's a big question – I'm gonna have to ponder that one for a while.  My immediate answer is yes.  My desired answer is yes.  My truthful answer is…yes, but do I truly act as if that's true?

Because if I did, I think I would realize that His purpose right now is for me to love Him, just Him, and to listen for Him in the stillness and solitude of this mountain.

Case in point – this was our dialogue this morning as I did my daily Bible reading:

Lord, I'm questioning – why have You brought me here?

"Does a clay pot argue with its maker?  Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, 'Stop, you're doing it wrong!'…This is what the LORD says…your Creator: 'Do you question what I do for my children?  Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?'" (Isaiah 45:9, 11)

But Lord, I feel like no one cares.

He continues:

"Listen to me…I have cared for you since before you were born.  Yes, I carried you before you were born.  I will be your God throughout your lifetime…I made you, and I will care for you.  I will carry you along and save you."  (Isaiah 46:3-4)

Yes, but I'm afraid that I've lost my purpose.

He speaks:

"Do not tremble; do not be afraid.  Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?...Pay attention…for you are my servant…I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget you…I would not have told [you] to seek me if I could not be found."  
(Isaiah 44:6-8/Isaiah 44:21/Isaiah 45:19)

OK, Lord – so why the big old PAUSE in my life right now?

He answers:

"I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches.  I will do this so YOU MAY KNOW that I am the LORD…the one who calls you by name."  (Isaiah 45:3)

I am silenced.

For I am deeply loved – and not forgotten – by the King Himself.

The King who desires to reveal Himself to me.

If you recall, a turtle once beat a hare in a race – 

(Of course, I'm thinking he had to take his head out of the shell to see where he was going…)

Slow and steady – that's the secret.

Slow and steady is what the Lord is calling me to experience – and I can only find the secret to that sort of race in a still and quiet heart.

Lord, help me find You as I seek…

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…There is a time to be quiet…"  (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7)

"Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength."  (Isaiah 30:15)

What do you think God might want to say to you in a quiet moment alone?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 27, 2012


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: inferior

What does the word inferior mean to you?

What is the difference between feeling inferior and being humble?

How does/can God change our perspective on being inferior?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 20, 2012

"FAN THE FLAME" FRIDAY - Deliverance

Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: deliverance

What is deliverance?

Do you think deliverance is different from rescue?  If yes, how so?

What is the biggest deliverance God has made happen in your life?

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 16, 2012


I'll bet you're wondering where this one's going…

Well, I thought I would post one more "true confession" before I head back up the hill to do battle with the internet(by the way, I've missed you all soooo much – I'm going to tackle my connection problems head on this week).

OK, true confession.

Last week, my first week living in the mountains, I behaved like a faith toddler – I had a very nice spiritual tantrum, a pity party to rival any party pooper out there.

I basically spent the entire week on the couch.


"The Hub" was busy moving boxes and furniture (which I can't do) – and until the furniture is in place, there isn't a lot of unpacking that I can do (especially when you're being a big baby…)

So, I sat on the couch – single-mindedly and intentionally doing nothing but reading and doing crosswords – (oh, and complaining).

In my defense, beyond the obvious emotional challenges, I had some other interesting stuff to deal with…

The house needs some *work*, and so it's a bit torn up right now.  I don't have a kitchen.  So, I have to wash my one cup, my one spoon, my one fork, my one knife in the powder room sink.  

Some of the toilets and showerheads aren't working.  One shower dribbles, and the other one possesses the water pressure of a cheap motel.  

The bathroom and kitchen floors are nothing but the wood sub-floor right now.  (I have to wear shoes everywhere because of that.  I forgot one day and pierced my foot with a carpet tack strip.  Tetanus shot or not?  See what I mean??) 

The satellite guy moved our dish to a "better place" which turned out to be right in front of a picture window with a great view.  We had to wait two days for them to come back and fix it.

I couldn't find our bills.

I have packed away (and who knows where) all but one pair of tennis shoes, one pair of hiking boots, and a pair of flip-flops.  Oh, and a pair of cowboy bootswhich I had to wear to church last Sunday.  Yee haw.

Also this week I have had these mountain adventures:

1.  Met a mouse in the garage (where the fridge is right now) - he wasn't cute.

2.  Had to chase a chipmunk out of my bedroom - he was cute, but still.

3.  "The Hub" caught a rattlesnake in our driveway, put it in a garbage can - and then informed me the next morning that it had escaped.

4.  "The Hub" caught a mountain king snake and brought it in to show me - fortunately, I am not terrified by snakes, but still.

To which a dear friend had this comment – "I'm afraid of every one but the chipmunk, and I still do not want ALVIN in the bedroom." (Thank you for the much-needed chuckle!)

You might think that some of these things would challenge you, too.  Maybe. But the thing is this – I had a certain determination to have this bad mood, and to not let go of it.

That's the tantrum part.

Remember the old "Donny and Marie" show?  Remember how they used to sing "I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock and roll"?  Well, I was a little bit Jacob, a little bit Jonah.

When I wasn't wrestling with God, I was running away from Him.

It took a lot of effort to avoid Him.

You see, out of almost every single one of the many windows I have in my house, there is a beautiful postcard view.  

I had to catch myself – I would find myself stealing a glance at the beautiful valley, or the majestic granite mountain peaks, or the many green trees, or the sparkling blue skies.  I'd start to think, "Oh…what a wonderful sight…"

And then I'd stop myself, and with a little (big) pouty attitude say, under my breath, "But I don't want to be here."

And then I'd storm back to the couch.

Immaturity, thy name is Sharon.

How pity-full.  How small.

How me.

I've spent a few days back in town with my sons.  It's been really fun.  And, it's afforded me the time to take a step back and gain some perspective.

Oh man.

I have had quite a tantrum.

I am dismayed at how easily the enemy can use my selfishness and twist me all up into petty knots.

How easily he can turn the call of God into something that feels like a curse.

How easily he can direct my focus away, away from God and fully (foolishly) on myself.

I am dismayed at how easily I can lose controljust because I've lost control over a very big change in my life.

This past week, I took a very good look at myself – and God took a very good look at me.

I hope He loved me more than I did.

Thank goodness, I'm pretty sure that He does!

And what I am learning is that God has much work to do in me – there are things He seeks to teach me up here on the mountain.  Things He needs to prune and refine.  Things that continue to hamper the Holy Spirit's work.

Oh, Lord – in the stillness and solitude of this very beautiful place, teach me how to be still.  Teach me how to praise You for the beauty of Your creation.  Teach me how to yield my will to Your perfect plan.  Teach me to long for character more than comfort.  

Teach me to grow up.

To get a grip.

To let go of myopic self-focus, and to fix my eyes on You.

The tantrum is over.

God brings His peace.

"God does not willingly bring affliction or grief to us.  He does not delight in causing us to experience pain or heartache.  He always has a purpose for the grief He brings or allows to come into our lives...God never wastes pain.  He always uses it to accomplish His purpose.  And His purpose is for His glory and our good.  Therefore, we can trust Him when our hearts are aching..."  (Jerry Bridges, "Trusting God")

What's gotten you into a spiritual *tizzy* lately?

Linked today with Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, July 13, 2012


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: still

What does it mean to be still?

Why do you think it's so difficult to be still?

What are some of the benefits of being still before God?

What does this verse mean to you?  "Be still and know that I am God."

Let me know what you think!!

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


It wouldn't be a journey complete if I didn't share with you my feelings this past week.

A week ago Friday, I closed the door at my old address, and made the final trek up the mountain to my new home.  

I have one word for the experience – surreal.

Well, actually several words - disruptive, unsettling, fearful, uncomfortable, just plain weird...

Ahead of time, I couldn't anticipate the magnitude of what I would feel. Truthfully, most of what I felt wasn't good.  It was an unsettling mixture of fear and sadness and...well, paralyzing fear and crippling sadness.

Once the house was completely empty, I had "The Hub" take pictures of me in every room.  I touched the walls – remembered the good memories, and even the bad ones.  Then I sat in the entryway and cried.

"The Hub" asked, "What's wrong?"

To his credit, this hasn't been his home for 28 years.  My sons are not his sons.  My memories are not his.  He was never attached to this house – for his heart longed for wide open spaces.

So, to his credit, I gave him some slack for asking a dumb question.

I looked at him with tears in my eyes and said, "I can't go."

Then, in logical *man-think* he informed me that there wasn't a choice – that the house was sold – there was no turning back, etc.  Grab the keys and let's go…

I did – with the heaviest heart I have had in my entire life.

Since we were bringing two cars up the mountain, I had to drive alone. Yes, I called everyone I could think of.  Their voices were consoling…and yet, all I could think about was how far I was traveling away from them.

And then, I arrived.

No internet, no TV, spotty cell phone coverage – nothing to distract me from the panic I felt in my heart.

No turning back – that's the chant that I heard over and over in my heart.

I could feel my pulse accelerate, I could feel my breathing become faster and shallower, I could feel my head start to throb…

No turning back.

In desperation, I forced myself to go to church up here last Sunday – and though it was way much smaller than my "mega" church back home, it was God-fearing.  I felt consoled to be in the presence of other believers. But, alas, they were still strangers.  I sat alone.

Lord, I have never felt more alone in my life.

I'd love to tell you that things have gotten better – that I am calming down and feeling more at home.  That I have a positive outlook, and that my faith is soaring.  That my body is no longer feeling weird physical symptoms because of the altitude.  That I am strong…

I'd love to tell you that – because I'd love to be feeling that way.

I'm not.

This is a psalm of lament, my friends.  I'm sorry for that – but you know that I always strive to be honest.

But even the psalms of lament end with some sort of hope.

And that is why I must tell you this.

I do know that I am not alone.  God is with me.  He lives within me, and I have not moved to somewhere that He isn't.

"You go before me and follow me…I can never escape from your Spirit!  I can never get away from your presence!"  (Psalm 139:5, 7)

These words from a recent devotional comfort me:

"[David] knew that God's being and God's seeing are the same – that the seeing Presence had been with him even before he was born…If God is present at every point in space, if we cannot go where He is not, cannot even conceive of a place where He is not, why then has not that Presence become the one universally celebrated fact of the world?"  (A. W. Tozer, "The Pursuit of God")

Yes, God is here – and I celebrate that fact.

How do I know?

Well, for one thing, check out this verse from my one-year Bible reading plan for Friday, June 29th – my first night permanently here in my new home:

"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD…There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths."  (Isaiah 2:3)

Yes, the same verse God gave me in a devotional when I first looked at this house.

Though so far away from friends and family, He is here.

Though so lonely, I am not alone.

Though afraid, so very afraid, He is with me.


How has God shown you that He is with you in your loneliest moments?

(NOTE: No, I haven't yet solved the internet problem.  I've been visiting my folks and sons for a couple of days - and thus, cable internet has been my friend.  I will work on solving this problem when I return home.  I miss you all TERRIBLY!!)

Linked today with Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
and Joan at the GRACE CAFE

Comments are OPEN!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, July 2, 2012


Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary:

M y
I nternet is
A bsent

If you are reading this, I am currently struggling to figure out the Internet situation up here in the mountains!  

This little *homesteader* has gone just far enough away to be remote(less)!

Hope to be back soon...

Miss you guys - I won't be gone long!

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Genesis 28:15)

(Comments are OPEN!!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - God "Unsettles" Me

A re-post.

Timely in its message for me - My first Sunday in my new home, in my new life.

“Will you pray for me?” my friend asked me the other day.

Fearing something terrible, I answered, “Of course I will, what’s wrong?

She went on to explain. There wasn’t any earth-shattering horror in her life. No deadly disease, no financial mishap, no terrible loss. There wasn’t any BIG thing in her life. It was just…well, her life.

She went on to explain how unsettled she was feeling, unsteady and unsure.

How previous goals seemed unclear, and earlier dreams felt unmet. How a straight and narrow path now felt crooked and directionless. How the clarity of purpose she had as a younger person, now felt blurry and indistinct. How she just didn’t know what she was feeling, what she was supposed to be doing, where she should be headed – how she felt unnerved, unsure, uncertain...

“Oh,” I said. “You mean you’re feeling life queasy.”

“What?” she replied. “Life queasy?”

“You know, that feeling you get on a boat out at sea. The pitching and rolling just has you off-kilter. A little uneasy and uncomfortable. You can’t quite get your bearings. Except you feel this way about your life. Life queasy.

She smiled. “Yeah, that’s exactly it.”

Do you ever feel this way?

Like a towel in a washing machine? All mixed up and disoriented?

It’s not a great feeling for anyone to feel, but especially for a Christian, I think. After all, we know the God of Wisdom and Purpose. We should have clear direction in our lives, we say to ourselves. We should have peace.

But we don’t – we feel distressed. We feel…shaken.

Today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” comes from the book of Amos, a prophet who knew a thing or two about being shaken up!

Surely Amos was a faithful man, a person whose life was devoted to God. But he was a simple shepherd and fig grower. He wasn’t the son of a prophet – not the son of a priest.

However, God had a purpose for Amos – a purpose that probably made him feel life queasy.

God took Amos from his homeland in the southern kingdom of Judah, and sent him to denounce the social and religious corruption of the northern kingdom of Israel. Amos obeyed God.

And though his message brought pronouncements of God’s judgment on Israel, it also brought the promise of restoration. Today’s verses bring a word of tremendous reassurance:

“For I will give the command and will shake Israel along with the other nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, yet not one true kernel will be lost.” (Amos 9:9)

Though these words were directed toward the nation of Israel, I think we can apply them to our lives. Sometimes God needs to do some shaking up. Sometimes He needs to “unsettle” us.

But always remember – God wants to redeem, not punish. He wants to purify, not destroy.

He wants to make us holy.

So God will always care more about our character than our comfort.

What can we hold on to when we’re being shaken?

The promise: The faithful will not be forgotten. True believers will not be lost.

God shakes those He loves.

"You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver."
(Psalm 66:10)

"I will bring [them] through the fire and make them pure.  I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold."
(Zechariah 13:9)

Where does God need to *shake you up* at this point in your life?

(NOTE: Comments are OPEN - I cherish your responses)

And I'd appreciate some prayers as I seek to solve my Internet *connection* dilemma next week!  If I go MIA for a bit, please know that I will find a way to return to Blog Land sooner than later!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"