Friday, May 1, 2015

Sticky Rice Days

I call days like today, "sticky rice days".  Days that are filled with thinking about Asian faces and places.  Faces and places that have found such a home in my heart that they will never depart. God in His beautiful goodness still lets me eat sticky rice and put my feet on Asian soil several times a year. My heart is not discontent, just longing....  This longing keeps my face towards the ground and prayers going upward.  In these days of walking Oklahoma soil I often feel torn, my physical feet walking among people I love and know, with opportunity for gospel and discipleship, and the feet of my heart walking through prayer among the masses of people in urban cities and rural villages of Asia.

On this "sticky rice day", God surprised me with such a gift.  I went to the trail to walk much later than usual.  There were no other walkers or runners.  I put my headphones in and had Matt Papa singing about the nations and it's all for His glory loudly rang in my ears.  I began to talk to Father about the nations, the lostness, and the need for the gospel.  My words went to Thailand, China, Japan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam....but most of the time we talked about India and much about Nepal. As I was looking down the trail, I saw what looked like a woman in an amber colored sari walking towards me.  My heart began to beat fast, secretly I thought perhaps I was seeing a vision.  Sari wearing women don't walk down the streets or the walking trails in Enid, Oklahoma!  As we got closer, it was indeed an elderly Indian woman in a beautiful amber sari.  I took my earphones out, after all why listen to songs about the nations or talk about them when you can engage them?! (something most of us should think about) I put my hands together and timidly said, "namasta" (which is the only Hindi word I know, and I'm sure I didn't say it correctly in my Okie accent)  She smiled and greeted me in return.  With my no Hindi ability and her limited English we struggled, but the struggle is always worth it when we engage the nations. We shared our names, she told me where she was staying, I told her where I lived, and she told me the state she was from in India.  There was one point when all language barriers dissolved and we spoke on a level that was heart, woman to woman, mother to mother.  She said her daughter lived here and it was so far from her.  I replied that my daughter lives there, in India,  and it is so far from me.  No words needed to be spoken, we connected as her eyes met mine and understanding flooded the space between us.

God in His bigness once again reminded me that He is able!  Able to reconcile physical feet and heart feet.  Able to bridge miles and prayers.  Able to take me to the nations or bring the nations to me.  Our responsibility is to be His gospel bearers to all nations.  Mission is the state of our heart, not something we do.

Please pray for the nations and  Go to the nations.  Never forget that millions have still never heard the name Jesus, let alone that He has come to give them salvation! A thought that is hard for many in the West to conceive, but true.  "How will they call upon Him who they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him who they have not heard? And how will they hear without someone telling them? And how will they tell them unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of the those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15

My feet and my heart will be walking soon on Asian soil, but until then, He is able!

Still learning,

Of course my new friend and I took a selfie!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Melting Soul

After days of bitter cold, ice, snow, and darkness, this morning the sun has peeked out from behind the clouds and what do I hear? Birds!  They have been non-existent for days, hiding somewhere. Yet with one glimmer of the sun's warmth, they begin to sing their song.  It seems to me even louder than a few days ago.  How often my soul is in that place of winter's hold; where it seems to me that my very being has frozen and is held in a place of winter stillness. These moments are usually because of my own selfishness, sin, and or the barrage of hardness that lies around me.  And yet, in Father's economy He uses even my cold condition to remind me of warmer days.  I begin to long for those moments of sunshine.  He brings to my remembrance sweet moments in His presence; with melting soul and sweet song, because of being with Him.  His remembrance is not only in things behind but serves as a prompter to engage me in what lies ahead, and urges me to leave the frozen soul tundra.

Where are you friend?  Sometimes we need people to ask us, where we are! Is your soul like frozen ground?  Are the days that you are walking in difficult and causing your soul to grow cold?  He whispers to us... COME.  That's all, just come.  Come into His presence.  Come to a place of melting.  That is always His invitation to us.  There are no other conditions and no expiration date on His invitation.  It could be five minutes or five hours.  The stilling of one's self, tipping your head toward heaven, and saying; "You asked me to come, here I am, and I know I need You."

His presence, like the sun, will breakthrough.  And, like the birds, the warmth will cause you and me to sing. Oh maybe just inside of you at first, then you might begin to hum.  But with enough exposure to His light and warmth you will begin to sing.  That will look different on all of us, but your soul's response to His touch is to praise Him.

The snow and ice lie all around me, but it's me that has been changed.  Just like tomorrow will not borrow sunshine from today.  We must not live on borrowed Son-shine, always learning to sit long and often.  The mark of a mature woman of God is not that she gets it or that she has arrived at a place revelation.  No, a mature woman sees her need more quickly and runs more swiftly to her source, the One who says, "COME".  This is a lifetime pursuit.

There is much in my life that lies around me as snow and ice; those situations that seem to be held frozen and unyielding.  Those that have not been warmed by the Redeemer's...Healer's...or The Truth's touch.  I'm learning to recognize faster when those cold winds begin to blow against my soul and run to the invitation of; "COME".  Like a cozy fire, or a heavy quilt, or a hot cup of something delicious, the invitation is like an outstretch hand that is so inviting it compels me to draw near.  And, I begin to know my soul is melting and loosening itself from the grips of things that pale in comparison to the warmth that is found in Him.

His invitation to come; Matthew 11:25-30, Isaiah 55:1-2, Psalm 73:28
Still learning,

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love is not Grey

It's everywhere!  This 50 Shades of Grey...

Commercials, talk shows, blogs, and facebook.  I really don't want to add to the barrage but there are a few things that have been burning in my heart regarding this phenom book and movie that I would like to talk about.

The most disturbing comments that I have read are the ones that say, "it's just fantasy" or the one that completely blew my mind, "it is a fictional book and a movie, it's not real, why is everyone getting so upset."  While at face value those statements are true, they are not reality.

I have sat in a brothel sharing the gospel with the women who prostitute themselves for their lively hood. I have seen the "fantasy rooms".  Trust me when I say, the sixteen year old that had to lead a man back to that room, it was not a fantasy to her.   I have stood outside a construction site and viewed two small shacks that were about the size of a 8X8 square, watching as man after man came and left.  These shacks were where the "kept" women lived.  The women that stay in them are slaves. They were sold to the man who runs the construction site for the sole purpose to keep the men happy. The women are used, abused, and usually killed.  Then they are discarded like trash, only for another to take her place.

Please forgive me for being so brash.  My southern girl inside of me is screaming that the words I have already typed are so harsh... graphic.... that I need to soften it or just be quiet.

But, the tears rolling down my face say, I can not.

What might seem like fantasy to you is very much a reality around the world.  Women being kept and used for sexual pleasure is not a harmless, fictional book or movie, it is a fact.  So that is why there are so many questions in my mind regarding  50 Shades of Grey. Questions that I think any responsible woman must ask herself;

Do I/you have to actually see the act of sex for it to be pornographic?
Can a movie/song/ or anything, lead me/ you to a place in our minds that can cause us can finish the story?
Why would any woman endorse another woman being tracked, kept, and hurt for sexual pleasure, no matter the setting?

Fact: 50 Shades of Grey contains a man tracking a woman because she is his possession,  bondage, dominance, forced sexual and emotional submission, sadism and masochism.

I have also read the comments by Christian women that have said that they are free in Christ to watch anything they want and that there should be no judgment or condemnation for their choice.

 My concern with statements like that is that they are really a scapegoat for us to further feed our flesh.  But those types of statements are wrapped so neatly in passionate and spiritual lingo, who can disagree. Everyone of us have desires and appetites in us that we want to feed, but does that mean we do? And then say, no one better judge me for it because I'm "free" to do whatever I want?
We are ask us to come out and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17) and to not use our freedom as an opportunity for our flesh. (Galatians 5:13)

Fact: I have no power to pass ultimate judgement on anyone and God help anyone who thinks they can condemn another.

As a woman who is always talking to other women, I'm concerned with the damage that is done to women and their souls by this world we live in. I really want to ask you to ask yourself the questions above.  And then I want you to guard your heart and soul, my dear Christian sister.  We talk so little in the church about personal holiness, it's fact it's way past time. God forgive us!  Let's start talking about being women who are marked by a relationship with Jesus.  Women who think from a gospel-centered perspective.  Not women who are marked by what we do or don't do!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Falling Down

It's a brand new year!  I've read so many blog entries about "to be or not to be" a resolution maker. So this entry will not be about resolutions, but about what I pray takes place MORE in my life in the year 2015.

 As I was reading through the Christmas story this year something caught my attention and caused me to ponder and look further.  I was reading from all the gospels the story of how God wrapped Himself in human flesh to dwell among us and came to the part about the wise men.  They traveled far, following a star, believing it was directing them to the King of the Jews.  When they found Him, in the place that the star directed, they came into the house and saw the Child.  This Child, the one that they had been seeking, was with His mommy because He was only a toddling two year old or younger.  Scripture says when they saw Him, they fell down and worshiped.  Fell down!  When one bows, falls down, places themselves lower, it is because there is recognition of one who is greater, one who is in authority, one who deserves more attention and respect than self.

The wise men didn't just fall down and worship, they left something on the floor that day.  They left their treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Falling down requires leaving something on the floor.  On the floor and at the feet of Jesus.

Over and over in scripture Jesus encountered those who were broken, sin ridden, and self saturated.  When they saw Him and recognized Him, they fell down, they left something on the floor, and they were changed.  Recognition is the key isn't it?  So many saw and heard but only a few recognized.

The wise men fell down and left their earthly treasures on the floor, their wealth, and their prized possessions. A leper came to Jesus, fell down, and left his disease and the loneliness that the disease inflicted on the floor.  A demoniac came to Jesus, fell down and left his demons and bondage on the floor.  Jarius, a synagogue official, came and fell down and left religious trappings on the floor. A woman with an issue of blood came and fell down and left her affliction and exhaustion on the floor.  Mary of Bethany came and fell down three times and left on the floor what other's thought, her own expectations, cultural norms, and what the world says is of worth.  The woman at the well fell down when she submitted and served a drink of water to Jesus, she left her hiding, relational idols, and her identity on the floor.

They recognized Him as King, Healer, and Sovereign.  They saw Him as the One who fills.  They saw Him as the One who is worth leaving worldly possessions, other's opinions and acceptance, and religious and cultural norms for.  Because they recognized Him it compelled them to come and then to fall down.  Do I? Do you?

Asking for eyes to see and recognize more of Him, for more falling down, and for much more to be left on the floor in this coming year.

Happy 2015!  I pray your year is filled with More of Him!

Still learning,

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Living life day by day

The house is decorated, complete with the red JOY sign on the front porch.  It reminds me that joy is not based upon the situations of life, but upon the inner joy that only Jesus can give.  It was good that I hung the sign first before I hung the stockings. The stockings are so cheery, dressed in their red and white complete with tags and the names of those I love written.  Only half of the stockings are hung this year and yet...there is joy.  The tree is up, filled with the hand-painted ornaments of Asia, as we hung each one I thought of the Asian faces that I hold so dear; those of India, China, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Burma, and Indonesia.  Many facing hardship...and yet there is joy.

The decorating and the baking bring out a very sentimental part of me...ok sappy part of me.  And, those who know me well would probably say, that side is out on most days!  I always save the cards, pictures, and letters that were sent from the year before and I read them while I'm decorating.  I think about the family and friends both near and far and whisper a prayer.  I remember Christmases of the past as a child and Christmases when my own children were little.  I remember last Christmas with all my chicks around one table, possibly not to happen again for three years to come...and there is joy. This time of year causes me to pause and to count the blessings that have been graciously granted.  I'm constantly asking to be taught to focus on what has been given instead of what I think I'm lacking.  A lesson learn much at this time of year...and there is joy.

This will be our third Christmas in Oklahoma.  When we stepped out to make the move we had only a restlessness in our hearts that He had something different for us and His word in our hand.  Ezekiel 3:22 to be exact; "And the hand of the Lord was on me there, and He said to me, "Get up, go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you." A verse that was not looked for, but given on the day Jim was going to share what we believed the Lord was telling us, to people we love and served alongside. If you know anything about Oklahoma, especially the part we live in, it IS the plains.  In fact, the high school mascot is called the Plainsmen, representing the American Indians that occupied this land. The Lord has been faithful to speak here on the plains, just as He said He would.  He has spoke to us about Kingdom life, church, ministry, mission, community, family, and marriage. He has allowed us to be apart of a community of believers that has been a true gift.  Jim is a "tent-maker" pastor, much like in our early days of ministry and is a part of a plurality of pastors serving Sojourn of Enid.  I spend my days taking care of Jim and home, and teaching and spending time with women. Graciously, Father allowed us 3 months on foreign soil this year. Only He could have orchestrated this season....and there is joy.

This year has been filled with some glorious highs and some dark lows.  As I believe every year and every life is.  But it has been filled with another constant; the faithfulness of our God.  He has been faithful to speak, guide, teach, provide, catch tears, and be near to the brokenhearted.  As we celebrate this Christmas season we are celebrating that God showed, in visible form, His faithfulness towards us by coming near.  He came near to us by wrapping Himself in flesh as a baby to ultimately show His faithful love through providing redemption.  And....there is JOY.

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him!

Wishing you His JOY this holiday season from our family to yours.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Soup and Bread

What is it about a bowl of soup and homemade bread?

 I pulled three loaves of sourdough out of the oven while a pot of chicken and wild rice soup was simmering on the stove, and a warm glow seemed to come over me.  The smell was intoxicating and I wanted to stop time for a while.  Of course this is all while Doris Day was singing in the living room and  my favorite red apron with the embroidered birds was tied securely around my waist.

Comfort...that it's it, isn't it?  There is something so comforting to me about the scene that just took place in my kitchen.

To find ultimate comfort in things or others, rather than in Christ is idolatry.  But, I believe God gives us moments like smelling hot bread in an oven to recognize and experience the desire of comfort.  The smell of bread draws us doesn't it?  My family is reaching for the knives and butter before it even comes out of the oven.  Cool...what does that mean?  We don't let it cool!  We slice it and butter it and let the butter drip all over our fingers and chin just for the first taste, straight out of the oven! Bread is the sustainer of life.  Bread fills us and nourishes us.  So much of this is in the imagery  of Jesus telling us He is the Bread of life.(John 6:32-35)  He wants us to desire Him, to fill up on Him, to find our nourishment in Him.  Do we run to Him, like running for the knives and butter, with totally anticipation of the goodness we will experience in Him?

I have invited people to come and sit around my table to enjoy this soup and bread.  The invitation to come, sit, breath, and enjoy.  That's part of it too, isn't it?  The comfort part is the actual partaking and enjoyment.  Jesus invites us to come to Him, to find our rest in Him. (Matthew 11:28) But, we too often overlook that He wants us to find enjoyment in Him. We list off all of the things we think He wants from us; read, study, memorize....   There is a joy in sitting long and often at the table with our Lord and letting Him fill us, sustain us with His word, and His very presence.  Sometimes worship and enjoyment looks like sitting down at the table with a bowl of soup and bread dripping with butter.

Simple words....
Simple imagery on this sky blue, crisp, fall day.

Learning to enjoy and delight in the table again.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Cover and boil 5 chicken breast
I let these simmer for about  1 hour

While chicken breast are cooking I melt 1 stick of butter and add 
1 chopped onion
3 stalks of  chopped celery
4 carrots chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
Let these really cook and get some color on them. De-glaze the pan with a little chicken broth to get all the yummy browness on the pan.

Shred chicken breast.  Clean broth that was made when you boiled the breast.  Remove any fat or that chicken skummy stuff that floats around! 

Add Chicken back to broth and add the veggies
Also add 3 cups of chicken broth

Taste and add salt and pepper as you like it.

Bring to a boil and add two boxes of wild rice mix. Or 1 1/2 cups of wild rice.  Cook until rice is done. Many make a creamy version of this.  But there is something about the simplicity of this soup that causes me to breath deep.  I have delivered it to many who are sick, one man and woman said that they thought it healed them!!  I think that it just brought them comfort and they rested. Breath, Rest, Worship, and Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Being a Prodigal and Loving a Prodigal

It was 3 am, I think I was awake.  You know that place that is kind of in between dreaming and being fully awake?  The story of the prodigal son playing out like a movie in my head. (Luke 15).  I  could see all the players.  The prodigal, the older brother, and the father....

A prodigal like the son in the story,  is one who has chosen to walk away.  Walk or run away from God, relationships, and ultimately truth.  Most prodigals justify their walking away with statements like; "it's my choice", "it's my life", or "it's my path".  What prodigals are trying to say is I'm looking for my own brand of truth.  Some even stamp God's name on it, in an effort to justify and make it palatable from themselves and others they know are watching.  The problem is with the word, "my".  Prodigals believe a lie that life can be all about them.  They can say they belong to the family and yet have no signs of belonging in their lives.  We have perpetuated this thinking because we are such a self-serving people. And then self becomes our god. When God said, "you shall not have any other gods before you."  I'm pretty sure He wasn't just talking about statues made of gold.  Because He could see Kim Day's heart even then.  I have spent the last three years cleaning out idols in my life and will spend the rest of my life doing so.  As I clear away a bunch of little ones there usually seems to be one big one taking center stage, SELF!  And, I find myself in the position of a prodigal.  Saying to God, " I will be god for awhile and I will choose."  I will choose whether to engage in relationship.  I will choose how to spend my time.  I will choose where I go.  Dislodging this idol is hard and painful.  It will require a lifetime of awareness and desire to live under the protective authority of our loving Father.  We are all prodigals.  Learning to recognize being a prodigal in our hearts, minds,and behavior more quickly and running home to our Father, our source, more swiftly are the marks of maturity in this life of following.

The words on all of our prodigal lips should be;
 O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Often when I don't recognize my own prodigal heart I take on the persona of the older brother in the house.  Looking at other prodigals and thinking, how they need to get it together or pointing out all the things in their lives that I see that are wrong.  A clear indicator to me that I probably have a log sticking out of my eye! (Matthew 7:3)

Recognizing a prodigal is not wrong though.  I think that's where some want to take it.  As if to say if you recognize a prodigal that you are judging.  The fact is I can recognize prodigals because I am one.  In the words of John Bradford; "but for the grace of God, there go I."  As long as we don't take on the role of judge over someone else's life.(Only God is big enough for that!)  Fragile line to be sure with our idol serving selfies. It's so much easier to say, "they are getting what they deserve", or "they have made their bed now let them sleep in it." with an air of self righteousness.  Or what about the non ability to rejoice or be happy when something good happens? Can anyone say, big brother syndrome!  I wish it was a syndrome. Unfortunately, it is not a syndrome it is sin and my heart knows it all too well.

Loving a prodigal is hard, the father in the story constantly going out to the road so that he could see the son from afar is an action that many of us need to learn.  The action of being willing to go and look with anticipation of their return.  I think about how many days the father went to the end of the road, only to be disappointed, his hope dashed once again. You see it is still up to a prodigal to recognize their need and return to relationship.  I've been there countless times.  I say; just be done, just stop going to the end of the road.  It's hard work, it cost me, it doesn't seem fair, I can't bear being disappointed one more time, protect yourself and just don't go....all words that have played over and over in my head.  But in my heart, the place that I'm asking to be constantly aligned with my Father's heart and for Him to then bring my thoughts in line with His, it's there that He speaks to me and says; "go to the end of the road."  I'm prompted again to put myself out there.  I also recognize the truth that my heart seeks rightness instead of restoration, and I am humbled once again by my own heart's darkness and self-righteousness.  I remember how many times Father has been waiting for my return at the end of the road because of my own wandering feet/heart.  The motivating factor to road watching must be restoration, It's my Father's purpose every time. (Nehemiah 9:17)

Putting on my tennis shoes and going to the end of the road....

Still learning,