Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Clean Hands

Image courtesy of   : www.unsplash.com/clean hands
 

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place ? He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
 
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
 

Psalm 24 : 3-5 NKJV 


Have you ever been charged with a crime ? Have you ever stood in a courtroom before a judge , awaiting sentence from a  jury ? The silence in the air is palpable . Perhaps it is like the silence just before the dawn of each new day .The air is silent as it awaits the morning stars daily "Hallelujah Chorus " to ring out across the heavens and around the earth . Or perhaps it is like  the silence before a huge , black storm encroaches upon your town and your life , bringing with it much rain and wind and total destruction . Either way , you know your life and it's future sways precariously between a life of freedom or a life of imprisonment . Perhaps you feel the guilt and shame of what you've done and you know you deserve a sentence of guilt and the life of shame behind bars that is to come .Or perhaps you are not guilty of the charges and only you and God know the real truth .And you silently plead to heaven for mercy and grace  from the jury .

Or are you more like me ? Have you borne the guilt and shame of what happened to you when you were far too young to defend yourself .And it was done by people who should have loved you.Cared for you.Cherished you .And this false sense of guilt and shame reaches it's hideous tentacles down into your very soul and spirit .And this false entrapment goes with you well into adulthood .And it takes on an autonomous  life of it's own .It wreaks havoc upon your life and choices and you bear the burden of it all .Until the burden gets too heavy to bear .And you cry out to the God who's been there all along .The God who has loved you all along with an everlasting and unquenchable passionate and holy love that burns with holy fire and righteous indignation . And He weeps for you and with you at what others of His creation have done to you(both family and strangers as well as church leaders ) . And then He goes one step further to show you just how He Himself sees you. He gives you a beautiful dream while you sleep : 

In the dream I am in the back yard of one of two childhood homes that I lived in(and remember) .This is the first one , on Grayson Way , in Rancho Cordova , California . There is much activity going on inside the house as well as where I am on the patio. Suddenly an eruption of terrified screams happens . People inside as well as outside are screaming that there is blood on their hands and it's coming from the water faucets . Both the ones inside as well as the one outdoor one on the patio. I go over to the faucet on the patio and put my hands under it . Nothing but clear , clean water washes over my hands . The dream ends at this point and I awaken.God has shown me that he has declared me "not guilty." I do not need to bear within me the false sense of guilt and shame that has been eroding things much of my life .He has said that the blood is on their hands , not mine ! 

In closing ,let me ask you , "is there blood on your hands ? " If so , come to Jesus . He is the only one Who can cleanse you and set you free  from your guilt and shame of your crime(s) ! Or if you are bearing a false sense of guilt and shame , this same Jesus is waiting for you too ! He wants to enfold you in His love and declare you"not guilty !"

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Surprised by Loss


"...And here am I , budding among the ruins with only sorrow to bite on , as if weeping were a seed and I  the earth's  only furrow . " 

~Pablo Neruda , "Lifeless Suburb "


Life on planet earth can be hard at times . Very , very hard . And if we live long enough we will experience some form of loss . It may be a job loss . Or perhaps the loss of a marriage through divorce . And then there is the worst form of loss that comes through death . Death of a loved beloved pet or family member or friend .And it may be the hardest of all the losses we may endure for it is so final . So permanent . Set in stone so to speak . It is a great equalizer for it comes to us all no matter our"lot"in life . 

We may be rich or we may be poor . Young or old . Tall or short . Death is a part of living . Of life .And when it comes , our natural , God given response is to weep . Or we become numb . Or we simply go through the motions of living all the while feeling like we're dying inside . And depending on how close we were to the deceased , whether pet or person , our depths of feelings of loss will vary from person to person. We will all handle it differently . There is no proper way to grieve for it is as individual as the person or people dealing with the loss .

I share these things from experience for in the last year and a half my husband Steven and I have had several losses in our family . Our cat and his Mom , brother , sister and son and my longtime friend and former roommate have all gone to be with their Savior and creator . And the loss has been palpable . Tangible . As if it were a "thing" we could reach out and grab hold of . But we cannot . For they are gone and we are still here . And we feel the loss so deeply for that is how God made us . He made us human and humans feel things very deeply at times .

And we wonder if we'll ever feel normal again . And we get angry when we have to adjust to this new normal . This normal that is so  full of holes that once were full of the life and love of our now gone loved ones . And if the losses were catastrophic we may even wonder if we're next in line . I know my husband and I dealt with those types of feelings from time to time . It's as if that grim reaper was just counting down the moments until it was our time to depart . 

And yet , in the midst of all this loss something quite surprising has made it's presence known . And it's presence has changed everything . It's name is joy . And when it arrived it was a surprise for it was completely unexpected . But it came , with it's hope and optimism that shouted"This too shall pass. " And it showered us with a desire to live fully while still alive . To passionately and fully cast ourselves and our broken hearts upon our Savior and determine to live for Him fully and completely . And to pursue with our whole hearts that desire which He Himself has placed within us . we have stared death in the face and it's surprising result is to want to live , fully alive , so that God is glorified and we fulfill our destiny that was created by God long before we were ever born .

Blessings ~Sharon

Friday, September 15, 2017

Why I Write



I titled this post "Why I Write." It came to me after my prayer and journaling time with God this morning . I was speaking to God in it about my frustrations with writing as well as my desire to gain a college degree in creative writing . And then I began to share ,with God , what I wanted to accomplish with said degree should I ever obtain it . And a natural progression of thought from there was why do I write ? Why do I put thoughts to paper or musings to a blog post ? And here are just a few reasons why I write :

1.) I write to express the myriad thoughts that crowd my head . Self expression was not encouraged in the home I grew up in . Thus , I never had a place to reveal the inner workings of my heart and mind . My soul and spirit remained silent and overstuffed until I began to write .

2.) I write because it's therapeutic for me . I have endured many traumas in the 55 years I have lived on this earth . Writing these down in the pages of a journal help to get them out of my body and onto the pages of a private place where I can explore their impact in a safe and healthy manner .

3.) I write because God has made me a writer . I was in the first or second grade when a teacher noted on my report card"Sharon has a creative writing style." I was so young and yet an observant teacher noticed this natural "giftedness" and commented on it . Sadly it was not nurtured by the only parent I knew . But that's another story for another day . At 55 I now know that God has placed writing within me regardless of the fact that it was not nurtured and encouraged when I was 6 . 

4.) I write because I truly enjoy it . I love the feeling of putting pen to paper and expressing the inner workings of my heart and soul and mind and spirit . I have a journal , pen and paper addiction that will not be satiated any time soon . I can nearly swoon over a beautiful pen or lovely writing paper or a beautiful journal just waiting to be filled with musings on life, prayers or poems .

5.) And last but definitely not least I write because I believe, with all my heart, that this is what God has created me to do . I want to honor Him by using that gift to encourage people , to make them laugh or make them think or inspire them . I am not a talkative person but,when I write, words just flow on to the page so much easier than they flow from my mouth . I do not want to one day leave this earth with His song , His words , still tucked away inside me .

Blessings ~Sharon 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Behind Closed Doors : This writer's need for solitude and quiet


Image courtesy of www.zazzle.com .

I'm afraid my closely guarded solitude causes some hurt feelings now and then .

But how to explain,  without wounding someone , that you want to be wholly in the

 world you are writing about , that it would take two days to get the visitor's voice out

 of  the house so that you could listen to your own characters again ?  

~Margaret Bourke - White ~


Just over a year ago, my husband  Steve , our 2 cats , Ninja and Smokey, and I made a 
major move . We left a large city's apartment and moved to a smaller town in Central

 Oregon and into a 55 +  building that is nowhere near a major interstate .


It was a really good opportunity and one we knew had come our way from God 

Himself  as big city life had left us weary and craving a slower , quieter pace .

This was our first experience in living in a 55 + building and we had not known what

 to expect from our much smaller building and it's occupants . I just just new that I 

wanted a better life for us and some more space for creative endeavors . And for me 

that main creative endeavor is writing .

I've been writing for quiet awhile now . Mostly poetry , but like many writers of poetry or writers in general ,  I have a

 few items that are not poetry but are songs and stories still awaiting my attention . 

Still awaiting completion . Still waiting to have life breathed into them from my pen .

But the constant cacophony of life next to a major interstate was slowly sucking the 

life out of me , bit by noisy bit .

So we made the move across the state . Away from people we loved . Away to a much

 smaller and quieter town . A place I had hoped to get more writing done . And I have 
gotten some more writing done but not as much as is possible  for various reasons . 

Some of it has been the neighbors fault . They often show up unannounced wanting 

to just visit . I don't have that kind of time most days. After caring for my husband

 and cats and our apartment , there is little precious time for  my writing so I closely

 guard my solitude and quiet time out of necessity . Many do not understand that 

and this saddens me  . 

Recently someone took offense that I was loathe to remove the note from our front 

door that indicated we were napping and wished to not be disturbed . This person 

was merely an acquaintance from another country and they were on my Face Book 

friends list . They said I was rude and selfish for not wanting to remove the note 

from our door immediately upon waking from our nap . This person is no longer on 

my list . They didn't understand the differences in personalities (I am an introvert 

who needs my quiet and solitude to recharge) nor did they know what we've walked 

through personally ;things that have left us exhausted . 

They just got hurt feelings over my closely guarded need for solitude . I think maybe

 that's something most writers have had to deal with from time to time unless they're

 the kind of writer who loves to write in crowded coffee shops . I'v never been that 

kind of writer . I think best when I have a quiet place to think and to write . But to 

many in this decidedly extroverted world , that comes across as rude and selfish . 

And it's really too bad  because I believe many great pieces of literature may have 

been written from behind closed doors , in a quiet sanctuary ,with a sign on the door

 , that may have said "Napping.Do not disturb." Or better yet , "Writer at work. Do 

not disturb. " In closing , let me ask , "What challenges do you face as a writer ?" 

Are you a "coffee shop" writer or a "closed door"writer ?

Until next time ~ Sharon 
















Friday, July 21, 2017

Giving Thanks In All Things


In everything give thanks; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you .
~I Thessalonians 5:18~

I have known this passage of scripture for many years .And for years I completely misunderstood what God was trying to say through the Apostle Paul .

And it's all because of that little 2 letter word "in." Two simple letters can change  everything 

.Notice that it says that we are to be thankful "in"everything . Not "for"everything .To be 

thankful"for"everything would just be weird.But to be thankful"in"everything is vastly different 

.Let me give you just one example from my own life . 

In 2002 , my husband had a mild stroke while undergoing triple bypass surgery . Now , to be 

thankful"for"the stroke would just be strange at the very least . Had I been thankful that he'd had 

stroke would have been completely odd !I am sure I would have ended up in a book on abnormal 

psychology somewhere !But I was thankful "in"it because he was surrounded by medical 

professionals who were able to do what they needed to do immediately to prevent it from 

becoming a major stroke ! 

What this passage of scripture says to me is that it's all about our heart attitude  when we face 

trying times in life .


Can we find the bright spot in the midst of all the darkness that hard times seem to surround us 

with ? Can we find the good midst the bad ? Can we trust God's heart of love for us and be 

thankful for it amidst devastating loss ?  Are we able to give thanks "in"whatever place we find ourselves ? 

I have found that this does not happen instantly . For me , it's been a long process learned through 

many losses in life . I had to learn to be thankful in the midst of life's storms and losses or I could 

have easily become a loss in the lives of the people God has placed in my life . May God bless you 

as you read this and may He grant you the strength and grace to find the good in whatever tries 

your soul at this time .

~Sharon~








Sunday, June 10, 2012

Simply Sunday


Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral,Paris,France

Come,let us bow down in worship.Let us kneel before the Lord,our maker.

Psalm 95:6 (New International Version)

Blessings on your Sunday~Sharon





Saturday, June 09, 2012

Listen


I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

As Steve and I left our local Safeway store a few days ago we both observed a myriad of people both coming and going in the parking lot.Some on foot.Some in cars or on bikes.They all were talking on cell phones.Talk.Talk. Talk.They could not even manage to shop for groceries in silence and peace.

Steve commented to me as we observed this"We sure live in a talky world,don't we?"I had to concur with him.We do live in a very talky world.It's everywhere.As I pondered this sad state of affairs I commented back in reply"People can't learn anything if they're always talking."

And it's true when you really think about it(or even if you don't because you're one of those people who seldom stops to think because you're always  talking :) ). To learn requires a certain measure of listening.And listening carefully as Mr Hemingway's lovely quote states.

But for some it's a difficult thing,this listening. Our personality may be more extroverted so we cannot seem to not talk.But as one is more introverted and quiet, I must confess that I too have trouble listening at times.

Sometimes I struggle to listen when someone is coming to me with the same problem time and again and seems to prefer to dump on me emotionally rather than change the behavior that has caused them to need to once again dump on me emotionally.It gets tiring and frustrating for me.

Which makes me wonder how God feels when I do the same thing?Does He get as frustrated with me as I get with others?I don't think He does but I do not want to presume or assume anything.I too struggle to listen even though I am a more quiet person.

I come to God,in prayer,most often in writing form,for it suits me and my personality.Talking out loud to Him is hard when one lives in a really small space that is also inhabited by one husband and 2 cats. 

So I write to God.And I ask for answers.I ask for clarity.And I should wait for an answer but I often don't.It's most often due to those other voices in my mind talking to me,reminding me of all the other things that need to be done here around our apartment.And those voices win more often than I care to admit to.

And yet,the ability to listen,really stop and listen is such a necessity in this overly noisy world we dwell in.Listening to others is important but to learn to listen to God is far more important.He is the One who matters most.He is the One who can give peace.He is also the One who really and truly loves us like no other.We will see that,feel that,know that if we just listen.If I just listen.

Blessings~Sharon