Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Then Is Love?

"For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health," this familiar phrase has been repeated by multitudes of men and women at the covenant altar of marriage throughout the years. In the spring of 1987, my faithful husband, Strongman, proved to me that commitment to a life-mate depends not upon chronological age, but relies upon love...the “real-life” definition of love.

Nursing school raced with activities…difficult classes, physically challenging clinical rotations, it was no wonder my head hurt, really hurt! However, a major seizure caused me to rethink my idea of stress-related headaches.

After testing, the doctors found an arteriovenous malformation (similar to an aneurysm) in the left front portion of my brain. The severe headaches I had been experiencing were due to the pressure it was placing on the surrounding brain tissue, and it had started to leak, which caused the seizure.

Grim predictions were given...If I chose not to have surgery, “don’t lift more than five pounds, don’t get constipated, don’t sneeze or cough,” the neurosurgeon advised. In addition, the unthinkable, “You will not be able to have children, and even with these precautions, the AVM could possibly rupture anyway causing coma or death. If you choose to have the surgery, there will be six months, at least, of slurred speech, a very high possibility of short-term memory loss, possibly long-term memory loss, right-sided weakness, and if it went sour... coma or death,” the surgeon reported.

Not having a clue what to do, I was extremely upset!! (None of these predictions occurred due God’s awesome power, but I will save that story for another post).

At age twenty-three, Strongman stood strong through this nightmare. He never allowed me to see his fear as he continually encouraged me to go ahead with the surgery, all the while assuring me that he would always be by my side. As he promised on our covenant day three years earlier, he did stand by me.

After the surgery, he would take my temperature and pulse to ensure no infection was brewing; he helped me to the bathroom in the middle of the night (my equilibrium was affected by anti-seizure medication) and even shaved my legs, because I could not bend over to do it for myself.

Because of the damage done to brain tissue and a medication sensitivity, the seizures continued like clockwork every three months for two years. Driving was restricted, and I did not want to think about finishing my final year of nursing school. Yet, Strongman was there encouraging me not to give up.

"For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health!" We have known all of these in varying degrees during our years together, but...what then is love? Is it gushy emotions, kisses and hugs…yes, however, these things wax and wane with the passage of time. True love, eternal love, is steadfast and faithful, perseverant and full of care…True love then is my husband, Strongman.

Poetry Place, "It's Time to Live By Faith"

It’s Time to Live by Faith
Beautiful Grace

From Habakkuk

Your glory covers the heavens
The earth is full of Your praise
Bright like the sunlight
Streaming from Your hand, splendid rays

The earth will be filled with the knowledge
Of the glory of our God.
Write the vision, engrave the tablet
For the appointed time, the time is now

Its time, its time to live by faith,
Oh righteous ones rejoice in the Lord
He is our strength; He makes us to walk and never faint

The hiding place of Your power
In the palm of Your hand
You come for the salvation of Your people,
For deliverance and victory, throughout the land

The earth will be filled with the knowledge
Of the glory of our God.
Write the vision, engrave the tablet
For the appointed time, the time is now

Its time, its time to live by faith,
Oh righteous ones rejoice in the Lord
He is our strength; He makes us to walk and never faint

Monday, May 28, 2007

Poetry Place, "My Heart Beats For You"

When I turned thirty-five, I started thinking, "Oh, my, I'll soon be forty." As irrational as it might sound, it bothered me to think about turning forty. Why did forty seem so final?

Part of the reason may have been that forty reminded me of a finishing line for the season of pregnancy. My husband and I were not planning to have any more children, but deep in my mother-heart, I still longed to feel life swell in my body, sooth my crying child, cuddle and kiss and play just once more.

I believe most woman "feel" this sense of finality, but in my case it was becoming somewhat distracting and the remedy...prayer. As long as I had my friend, Jesus, what did it matter if I never had another physical baby?

Approximately Six months before my birthday, I awoke to the Lord instructing me to study every forty in the Bible. I became amazed at the number of instances and the significance of those instances. Forty days and forty nights of rain then the rainbow, signifying the covenant promise of God (Genesis 7:12); forty days of spying resulting in forty years of wilderness (Numbers 14) then the promised land; King David reigned over Israel for forty years, (1 Chronicles 29:27) etc.

By the time my fortieth birthday came, I was actually looking forward to it; I anticipated what God would do in my life.

I was privileged to be volunteering as a Bible school nurse on my long awaited birthday. While stationed in the first aid tent, I had the free time to read, pray, and worship with singing. The Lord's Presence became so intense that I just had to begin writing the words, which flooded my soul. "My Heart Beats For You" is the gift that I received from Jesus on my fortieth birthday.

My Heart Beats For You
My heart beats for You, my Jesus!
You have poured out Your love into the depths of my soul!
Fractured into thousands of pieces was how You found it.
Pain held there by the shattering consequences of sin.
Its story told to You.

Each piece crying, longing for comfort, healing and wholeness.
Heaviness, heaviness, heaviness blanketing soul's shattering.
Bowing down a head, looking to earth's ground in shame.
Yet, You lovingly handled each piece, fractured.
Your touch smoothed and soothed rough edges.

As a Master Craftsman,
You fitted and formed each one together.
Repairing and restoring them into
A beautiful piece of fine china,
You left nothing similar to the vessel found before.

Each piece shining,
No seams, no scars to mar the beauty of
The Potter's workmanship.
The completed work still to be unfolded for all to see,
Yet, the glory of the Master Potter
Shining brightly in the forming,
Each day brighter, reflecting His glory,
A testimony to His miraculous repair.

Oh, soul's Lover, You my Master shine!
The fire bursting forth from those beautiful eyes,
Burns away each impurity embedded in the porcelain white.
Each day purer, whiter, cleaner,
The piece cleansed by the Master's lifeblood.

Shining, shining, shining with His glory.
Oh, how I love You, My soul's Delight.
You have healed me
And caused me to be filled with the joy of Your love.

How I adore You, my Master, my Lover!
Praise, praise, praise You all of my life.
All will hear praises from my lips,
My voice singing into the heavenlies.

All creation hears my praise...

Freedom has been purchased.
Freedom has been given.
Freedom birthed.

Dancing, dancing, dancing for You, my Jesus!
Your pleasure empowers me.
All of my being will praise You.
You deserve nothing less than All I have!

I give You- me, the china piece forming brighter every day.
Head lifted to You, eyes gazing heavenward,
Seeking for the One I love.

My heart beats for You, my Jesus!
You have poured out Your love into the depths of my soul!

Beautiful Grace 7/1/2004
Fortieth Birthday

Fast and Pray 40 Days for 40 Years

"What would happen in America and the nations if tens of thousands of fathers and mothers, the Elijahs of today, fasted for 40 days intensely repenting and cleansing themselves of inward toleration of sexual immorality, addiction to entertainment and spiritual apathy? What if these parents prayed for their children for 40 days to break off rebellion and release revelation of the Lord into their hearts? What if a young generation of Elishas fasted for 40 days to be cleansed from lust, TV addictions, pornography, spiritual mediocrity, and rebellion toward their parents believing that a double portion of the Holy Spirit will rest on their lives? What if two generations stood together with prayer and fasting?"
Lou Engle

Let me encourage you to join me in this adventure of repentence and a renewing of our covenant with God. Starting this evening, begin a fast which will culminate on 7/7/07. Use this next 40 days to passionately seek the Lord in prayer and worship. Allow the Holy Spirit to root out any type of compromise in your heart, for it is in the heart were sin begins.

We will be a Bride without spot or wrinkle! (Ephesians 5:27) We will not be whitewashed tombs!! (Matthew 23:27) The Fire of the Holy Spirit will burn in our hearts and we will do greater works than Jesus!!! (John 14:12)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My Blessings

God's blessings manifest themselves in many ways...seeing a beautiful sunset, smelling a delicate rose, receiving a heartfelt hug. Two of my hugest blessings continue to be my sons, Consecrated and Fire.

When they were "little guys", I thought that when they grew into "big guys" they would stop loving me and go their own way. A piece of advice moms, love your children with all of your heart...tell them, show them, encourage them, pray over them (out loud and silently) and when they grow up they will continue to love you, the love just manifests itself differently.