“Lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts”

Deserts. Just look at that word for a moment. I don’t know about you but when I look at the word desert, my mind automatically pulls up images of dry, barren landscapes. A person wandering aimlessly for days, maybe even weeks with sand or dust tearing at their eyes. Their last ration of water running low or completely gone. The hot sun bearing down mercilessly on them, causing them to imagine things that aren’t there. Not to mention, this word is plural, meaning more than one. Somebody load up the van with all the water jugs you can find. This is going to be quite the journey.

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Last night, the verse of the day in my Bible app was Psalm 68:19, which says, “Blessed be the Lord! Day after day he bears our burdens; God is our salvation.” As happens quite often, the verse of the day was something I needed to hear so, I opened the Bible portion of the app and searched for Psalm 68 so I could read the whole chapter. The first few verses, David reflects on how God will arise and vanquish his enemies and he extols the people of Israel to sing praises to God. Pretty typical Psalms of David, right? When I got to verse 4, this phrase popped out at me. “Lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts.” Wait, what? Pause. Reread. “Lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts.”

We have been studying the life of Moses in our Sunday School class and right now we are in the section where he was in the wilderness for 40 years. I hadn’t really thought about it until I read the verse about God riding through the deserts, but He uses the image of a wilderness multiple times throughout Scripture. And if you think about it, God never sees the wilderness or desert as a bad thing. In fact, it seems to be sort of a testing ground for His children to see where their faith lies.

Moses had to be led into the wilderness for 40 years so he could learn how to shepherd God’s people. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray before God before He allowed His earthly ministry to begin. The Israelites on the other hand needed to keep being led into the wilderness, and even then had a hard time delving into the goodness of God in the desert. I think for those who have willing hearts, there is a spiritual intimacy born into their souls during the desert seasons of their lives. It may not be the easiest time in their lives. I know for me, my times in the desert are usually the hardest times of my life. I feel abandoned and lost and frustrated and dried up. Moses didn’t willingly go into the wilderness either. God definitely has to be the one to push us out there sometimes, but He does it because He wants us to experience the fullness of His glory and presence. Where else can you get all of that Big God to yourself?

The rest of Psalm 68 talks about God being Father to the fatherless, Protector of widows, settling the solitary in a home, leading out prisoners to prosperity. It shows how He goes out before His people, He marches through the wilderness causing the earth to quake and the heavens to Pour Down Rain. The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them.

If you haven’t realized it, our God is a BIG God. He is everything we ever need. He rides through the deserts and marches through the wilderness. He is protector, father, sustainer, redeemer. He is GOD.

Whatever season you are going through, whether it be an extended stay in the desert, a deluge of problems that are wiping out everything you hold dear, or a calm season where everything is going just right for once in your life, remember, God is with you. He has always been with you and He will continue to be with you. He is the God who rides through the deserts. And He is not about to leave you alone in the middle of one of them. He is going to draw you up out of the desert place and pour out an abundance of blessings in your life if you let Him. Let Him use this time to draw you close and plunge your roots deep into the well of His love and mercy so He can raise you up and let His glory shine beautifully within you. Fill your heart with His Word and let Him revitalize you from the inside out, that you might once again pour into others the everlasting well of life found in the Father. Lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts.

 

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Lost in a Fog

It has been many months since I have written. In fact, I have barely written much of anything since I don’t know when. My mind has been a fog and my body like a main character on the Walking Dead. Life and images swim around me while I try to see my way through the fog. At times I feel lost somewhere deep in the woods. No one can find me and nothing can reach me. It’s like my life has gone so far from the path, it doesn’t even remember what sun or rain or oceans or mountains are like anymore. Do those things still exist? I don’t know. I get glimpses of memories from time to time and find myself among things that seem familiar but are still too distant to distinguish.

Fantasy mixes with reality. The lines and images that once seemed so sure blur and bleed into each other, making it hard to see the real picture. Thoughts sneak in once in a while that remind me I am human. I am breathing. I still have a life to live. But as quickly as they came, they fade away and fall into the memories of the past, or present, or is it the future? I keep thinking of this God that once was so real to me. The light of His love occasionally breaks through but I often confuse it with the sunlight streaming through the trees of my mind.

Cold and distant yet somehow my mind knows He has always been there. He never left you. He has been with you through every step of this journey. You simply have to call out to Him and let Him make Himself known to you. He formed you. He created you. He has a great a awesome plan for your life. And so you do, and the memory of Him disappears into the fog once again. And you’re left feeling lost and alone. Wandering. Searching. Wishing.

No matter how far you wander, your heart keeps telling you to keep on believing. Find that spark of hope. Let your dreams light the way. It keeps fighting to break through the fog and tells you to hold on to the golden cord of truth that keeps the core of your heart in tact. It’s the one solid thing that has remained unshakeable despite all the doubts and fears and attempts to distract you from it’s strength in your life.

But the clouds start to swirl and you wonder if Satan really has a fighting chance this time. He fills you with darkness and tries to wash out the picture of Christ in you. He taunts at your beauty and pulls you away saying, “You’re not really His.” “He’s not really here.” “He will never come to rescue you.”

Your mind plays with your heart and teaches it to give into the world and forget about Your Lord. Decisions you make aren’t really valid and God isn’t really leading you anywhere. Your soul is just forever lost in a shrouded wood. Left to wander and aimlessly try to remember the life you once had, or might have, or–what was the question again?

My mind wearies from trying so hard to find the light and find my way back to the reality I once knew. It makes it difficult to stay awake and keep searching and looking for the right path. I give into the sleep and forget to pray or let the words get jumbled in my brain so I can’t finish complete sentences before my mind drifts off…. to…. another…. thought.

I need to find my drive again. I need to keep pressing to break free of the fog I’ve trapped myself in. Everything is a trick of the mind and is only as powerful as the thoughts that feed it. Dawn can break through again if I let it. I have to keep trying. I can’t give up. I have to keep trusting. Keep going. I have to keep believing. You can do this. I have to keep dreaming. You’ve got something more powerful inside.

Your dreams are going to lead you home.

“Why are you overwhelmed?”

“God, Help me. I feel so overwhelmed.”

“Why are you overwhelmed?” –“I keep trying to find you, God. I seek after You and long for a time of quiet where I can rest in Your presence and be renewed. I can’t seem to find a peaceful moment to wrap my thoughts around You. Why can’t I find you, God?”

“Why are you overwhelmed?”–“So many things are going on in my life. My work is keeping me busy and I am learning so many new things with this new position I have taken on. My friends are asking me to help them out with things and I keep trying to learn more about this business I am trying to start and get information into people’s hands and find people to buy these amazing products You have given me to share with others. My family needs me 24/7 and I can’t seem to find a break from them to find Your joy and Your peace.”

“Why are you overwhelmed?” –“I told You. I have so many things going on in my life right now. I can’t handle them all on my own anymore. I’m pouring into others without being filled. My strength and patience are growing thin. I need Your peace. I need my life to be calmed down. Or at least my heart within me so I can deal with the chaos in my life.”

“Why are you overwhelmed?”

“Why am I overwhelmed? What is so overwhelming in my life that God can’t take care of it? Have I forgotten that He will not faint or grow weary? Have I forgotten that He has promised to lead me beside still waters and let me rest in green pastures? Have I forgotten that He has asked me to lay down my burdens at His feet and let Him carry me when I am weary?”

“Why are you overwhelmed, oh my soul? Why are you downcast within me? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unreachable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might, he increases strength. They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.”

“Why are you overwhelmed? Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you. Come to him, all who are weary and heavy laden, and He will give you rest. He has commanded His angels to watch over you and His Spirit intercedes for you with groanings too deep for words.”

Why are you overwhelmed, oh, my soul? Why are you downcast within me?

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Diamond Warriors

God is raising up a generation of diamond warriors. He is crowning His army with beauty and grace and reminding the world of a beauty that was once perfect and completely unflawed. Just Like Esther who underwent beauty treatments for a year, using numerous oils and perfumes and spices for women, pleased the king and saved her people by being put into the palace as queen “for such a time as this,” God is raising up His daughters and enhancing their beauty with the perfume of His words and the oils of His mouth. 

Don’t fight the world with swords of anger and shields of fear. Rise up, daughter of God and fight with diamonds and with crowns. God has made you beautiful and will use your beauty to overcome the darkness of this world. He has gifted you with words of sweet perfume and robes of kindness. Your crowns of love are His glory and your sashes of mercy are His blankets of honey that bring comfort to the weak, the weary, the lost.

Rise up, daughter of the King and take up your crown. Live beautifully and love deeply, for the glory of God is within you and is longing to reach out to a dying world. 

Rise up and be the diamond warrior you were created to be.

Beauty Restored

Have you ever endured a really long, dark season in your life? I’m guessing all of us have gone through seasons in our lives where it seems the sun is never shining and the nights are long and cold. Times when you are spent and weary from traveling the same dusty road that seems to be leading nowhere and can’t find water to soothe your scratchy soul. The wind is either blowing or the rain is falling. The winter snow has killed everything good and beautiful in your life. If you’ve been there, you know how hard it is to find the beauty in those seasons.

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I definitely came off a beautiful season of spring in my life where everything was blooming and blossoming. I was enjoying life and discovering the beautiful self I was created to be. But, as all seasons must come to an end, that season slowly tapered into a hot summer and dying fall. And eventually, a cold, dark, barren winter season set into my life. If you look back at any of my posts from that time, you will definitely see the cries of anguish and desire to be filled with a beautiful light again. The calls for help for anyone to reach into my life and rescue me from the bitter winter land that had covered up almost every aspect of that time of spring. I felt alone and lost and no matter how much I tried to reach out to God and let Him fill me, I always felt like He was too far away and couldn’t reach into my frozen heart to thaw it and let it bloom again. Granted, I have had many dark or harsh seasons where my love for God was planted deeper in my soul and I felt I was closer to Him in those times than I had ever been before. But sometimes, your heart becomes too distant and cold to feel the warmth of His love, and you slowly drift further and further away into the barren winter land. Forgetting what spring felt like and feeling like you have to make this journey on your own. Trying to find your own way back to that spring land and bring that warmth back into your life.

The changing of winter into spring is a pretty incredible change and it is well worth the wait once you get there. And believe me, even when the season seems like it will never change, it will. Someday you will suddenly discover that the nights aren’t as long as they used to be. The darkness starts losing its power and begins to give way to the sun. The frozen ground begins to thaw and the melting snow begins to trickle slowly into the solid earth. The red-chested robin tweets a few notes of its song reminding you that spring is on its way. And all at once you see the little green sprouts of plants beginning to come to the surface from their wintery graves. And then you realize that the seeds were in the earth the entire winter, they just needed the gentle touch of the sun to bring them back to life again.

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That is how it feels when God slowly begins to tug and pull at your heart and starts to call forth the seeds that weren’t dying, but were merely sleeping for the winter season. He plays a song on the radio or places a verse on your heart that reminds you this winter season is not forever. Even if you can’t see it or feel it at the time, He will slowly begin to thaw the frozen ground of your heart and bring your weary soul back to Him if you let Him. When you lay down your winter barren land before Him, He will draw up the seeds of life that He has planted in you and create in you a new spring. All the things that were dead or sleeping will come back to life and blossom into gardens even more beautiful than before.

He is restoring you in these times of darkness and He is bringing about a rebirthing that will be so beautiful beyond all imagination. There are some who will choose to stay in the winter land and refuse to look toward a renewing, but I would encourage you to look to the spring and believe that He will get you through this. I feel I have been on the cusp of my next spring season these past few months and am well past the solstice of the wintery heart. My days are becoming longer than my nights and I am beginning a beautiful journey to a spring that will be more beautiful and breathtaking than any other spring before. My beauty is being restored and I pray you are being beautifully restored as well.

If you are in a season of darkness right now and you don’t feel like you are going to make it through, please, reach out to me. I’d love to pray for you or encourage you in any way I can. If you are in a season of spring and beauty, praise God and relish every moment as He is blessing you in this time! Let your beauty be restored.

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Through a Healer’s Eyes

The Gospel According to Luke. It doesn’t sound like a very intriguing book title. In fact, from one avid reader to another, it sounds bland and unoriginal. But like many books, this book holds many treasures within its pages.

I’ve had some opportunities the past few months to discover some new books by listening to them while I’m working. Some have been fairy tales, some devotional, but recently, I’ve been burdened to start getting back into the Word of God. Growing up in a Christian home, Christian school, Christian college, I’ve read the books of the Bible many times over. I know many facts about the books and authors and stories themselves, and growing up with that can make a person numb to the depth and the beauty of these precious words. I often feel I already know so much about the Bible and have read it or memorized so many passages or heard so many sermons that I don’t need to read it in my spare time. It becomes second hand and loses its beauty and intrigue for me. Actually, being perfectly honest, I’ve tried to start reading the Bible many times over the past few years. I pick it up and search for a place to start or a passage to help during my time of need, but come up empty. The words seem dry and inapplicable, even though I know deep down God’s Word is a living wellspring of information and instruction as well as comfort and peace.

Well, thanks to my job, I’ve started listening to the Bible. I downloaded the Bible Experience, which is a dramatized version of the Bible, and have been listening to the four Gospels, Psalms, Esther (one of my all time favorite Bible stories!). As wonderful as it is to hear the words of Jesus and to hear His story over and over again in each of the Gospels, I keep getting drawn back to the Gospel of Luke. Maybe it is how the actor portrays Jesus in his voice. Or maybe it is the focus on the healing ministry of Jesus that keeps drawing me back.

For those of you who don’t know, Luke was a doctor, and though he wasn’t a direct part of Jesus’ ministry on earth, he did his research, like doctors often do. He talked to as many people as he could so he could write down the eye witness accounts of what Jesus’ life looked like. His account is similar in many respects to the other three Gospels, but his retelling of the life of Christ portrays a different side of Christ

Perhaps I’m drawn to the way Luke focuses on the healing ministry of Christ. Looking through a healer’s eyes, Luke saw a man who reached out to those who had leprosy and healed them. He saw a man who when he felt power go out of him, stopped to ask who touched him. And when his disciples flippantly said, “It’s just the large crowd,” Jesus saw the woman who believed she could be healed just by touching his cloak and said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” He saw a man who stopped on his way into a city to bring a lonely widow’s only son back to life so she wouldn’t have to endure the wrenching heartache of another loss. He saw a man who heard a blind man cry out to him and asked to be healed. He saw a man whose eyes were full of compassion for a hurting and dying world, and he shared that man with us.

There is no doubt that Jesus healed many, many people in his short time on earth, but do you realize how compassionate he was when he healed them? I’m sure if you’ve been to the doctor, you’ve had good experiences and bad experiences. If you’re like me, you prefer the doctor who takes time to listen to your symptoms and works hard to find the answers you need. Someone who fills out a prescription and slaps a drug on your problems usually doesn’t get kudos for being friendly.

“When he saw them, he had compassion on them.” Jesus didn’t turn people away when they came to him. No matter how tired he became or how much he wanted to be alone after a long day, he never failed to see the people who came to him through the eyes of a compassionate healer. No sickness was too small or too big for him to heal. No question was too low or too high. When he saw people who genuinely wanted to be healed, he had compassion on them and healed them.

He is the healer of all things. He brings hope to the hopeless and rest for the weary. He is not above any sickness or weakness. He heals our wounded hearts and binds up our brokenness. He reaches into the deepest recesses of our souls and touches our deepest scars with his healing hand. Let the Lord of healing bring healing to your life. Let your faith heal you.

“Your faith has healed you. Go in Peace.”

My Young Living Journey and other thoughts

So, a couple things I wanted to share. This week has been interesting to say the least, getting my oils, trying them, trying to acclamate myself to the business side if it and start learning the many oils, and all that jazz. Truth be told the few oils I’ve been trying have been helping with pain and relaxation and it has been exciting to see little glimpses of how these oils can start me down a path to a healthier life. But, I have definitely got caught up in the “gotta get this done and have it work now” mindset. Having an oils class this week I have definitely felt pressured to invite people and fell into the trap of worrying, “what if people don’t come” or “what if no one signs up”, on and on and on. Monday and Tuesday, I was all gun ho about sharing how amazing these oils are and why you need them in your life. Then yesterday, the infamous hump day, I was just emotionally off. I wanted to cry all day, I wanted to sleep, I didn’t want to put an effort into this business because I felt, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this. This is a big step and will take a lot of work, and I don’t know if it will work out like I hoped”

My thoughts were focused on things other than this business too, like how things weren’t happening in my timing or the way I wanted them to and different things are going on in friends lives that has my mind and emotions occupied. I was just off. No song could help. I couldn’t think of verses or books to help. But, God, in the way only He can, kept putting Psalm 42:11 on the radio. Seriously, over and over in the span of 10 minutes driving from work to my chiropractor, I heard that verse at least 3 or 4 times. “Why are you cast down, oh my soul? And why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”

Definitely one of those, “OK, God, I get it,” moments. But it turned my thinking around. I realized, I started this journey for a reason. God slipped this little nugget of young living essential oils into my life for a reason. I signed up because I felt inspired to see these oils work in my life and I wanted to help others find a way to better health and vibrant living. I believe these oils can make a change in my life. I realized, I don’t have to worry about roping people into it and trying to make a sale. God will bring the right people along for me to share these oils with when they need it most, just like he brought me to this place at this time. I can rest in the fact that He will provide. Granted, that doesn’t give me an easy out to sit back and let Him do all the work. Just like bringing people to Christ, we have to make a visible effort to reach out to people and talk to people about it. But we can have peace knowing that God does, and will, bring the right people into our lives at the right time. He can take our situations and work things out in ways beyond what we ever imagined if we trust Him and prepare ourselves to seize the opportunities He brings our way. I pray God will guide and direct in this journey and that He will give me the patience to wait and study when I need to and the push to take action when opportunities come along.

If you want to learn more about essential oils and the amazing impact they can have on your life, or if you want to learn more about the greatest influence in my life, my Lord and Savior, and how He can change your life, I’m always ready and willing to share and answer any questions you have! Blessings on your journey to wellness and a better life!