Holy Moment

O God!  Oh, God!  Praise God.  Oh, praise God!

Sweet shock froze my brain.
Then the emotions came.
     A flood.
Tears of gratitude when words were worthless.

We had been sitting at the table.  Talking about Jesus crying.
Father, You specifically chose this place and time to walk us into a Holy moment.

We had been sharing the things Jesus had taught us by teaching His disciples.  His preparation of the disciples concerning changes that were to come quickly.  (Luke 19, John 16)  His faithfulness to walk in obedience to His Father and letting His disciples know about the days ahead even though they did not comprehend what was really happening.  He was preparing them.  Jesus was loving them.

And we talked about Jesus weeping.  He wept twice. He had a regular cry of sadness and He had another that was a wailing, dirge of the soul.  We understood the difference.  We understand crying.

Then, I shared with my friends that I cried that very morning.  Cried because of the forced change; cried because of emptiness that echoes; cried because of the weight of foreboding circumstances on the horizon; cried for the gentleness of God’s palm where He keeps me, sheltered under His wing as storms build and blow and pass on.  And praise music had played as I swayed, alone, and cried a little more because life is rich and deep, raw and alive as I walk in trust of Him.

And I trust Him.

As I finished sharing, I said, “You guys, I want to be able to dance before my God even if tears are dripping off my chin.  I want to dance with my God!”

Father! 
Were You waiting with a smile on Your face at that very moment?  
     Were You waiting for that. very. cue?  
          Were You waiting for me to put my heart’s desire into words for me to hear myself say?  
     Were You waiting for my friends to hear this desire so they could see Your glory, too?  
You had perfectly planned a surprise party to be unleashed for my soul at an exact moment and You had set the table with Your Word and You had created a very special guest list!

The Holy moment was unleashed as the sound of a text flying into our presence was heard.  I glanced at my phone.  It was from my husband.  I saw the word ‘benign’.

BENIGN!  “O God!  Oh, God!  Praise God.  Oh, praise God!”

The foreboding weight lifted and I covered my face and cried.  It was my second time to cry this day.  Cried till the tears were dripping off my chin and that is when my friends went into action!  One ran for the music and the other grabbed my hand.

I could hardly stand, so I bent over to help the deep cry out . . .
. . . and they danced for me, then they took my hands to lift them in the air to praise God. And we danced with God.  We danced with God!

As we sat down to close out our time, another song came on:
The Great I Am by Phillips, Craig, and Dean
and even as conversation was continuing at the table, silently I was singing in my heart.
Sitting in still-praise of Him!

Driving home, the chorus and first verse kept mixing, kept resounding in my soul:
I want to be close, close to Your side . . .
      Hallelujah, Holy, Holy
So heaven is real and death is a lie . . .
      God Almighty, the great I AM
I wanna hear voices of angels above
      Who is worthy, none beside Thee
Singing as one . . .
     God Almighty, the great I AM

Father, thank You for Holy moments.  Thank You for ‘benign’.  Thank You for Your impeccable timing. Thank You for the gift of friends.  Thank You for music that helps us dance with You.  Thank You for tissues to wipe tears.  Thank You for music that becomes praise-of-my-soul.  

God moments.  Holy moments.
May you enjoy them silently.  And may you enjoy them with friends.
Love always,
Angie

ps  This happened yesterday.  And today, I am still dancing in the echoing-emptiness.  God is good.

Here is a little extra about the song The Great I am:  About the song

Hello after 4 months

Hello.
It has been four months since writing on this blog.  A time of being still before God.  Walking with Him.

I have had a chance to walk quietly back through the past 12 months thanking the Lord for the days He ordained.  And had a time to lay those days at His feet in prayer and in praise.
Here is a glimpse of that walk:
New Years Day 2012 began in my studio.  
God laid certain words on my heart to have on those walls.

January – We knew a storm was coming.  And we walked together into the waves of the storm.  
I thank God for a husband who answers to HIM.

 
February – A cold storm of the soul hit.  Shock.  
I am thankful for seasons that come and go.
March – God took me to Africa where I attended a worship service with words that would become prophetic for Skeet and me in the months ahead.  Three weeks in Africa left wonder on my heart.
A week after taking this picture, I returned home and Skeet resigned from his work of 23 years.  Friends from across the continent would send us Exodus 14:14.  Almost daily for about 3 weeks straight we would receive an email from someone . . . and they would pray Exodus 14:14 over us.  God was faithful and consistent in meeting us during the dark moments of hurt and fear and confusion.  And He gave me this picture to remind me!  God is so good.

April – A wind storm broke my tree. It was the place I would go to be reminded that even though Skeet and I are different in nature, God has entwined us to “dance” in this life together.  And the aspen is a symbol of me, the pine tree a symbol of Skeet.  
I was broken this year (See the broken aspen curled against the pine tree?)  Skeet has been a covering used by God in my life.  What a blessing.

May – All our children came home for Abbie’s graduation.  And the Tingle-ettes have wings!  Both sons are in school at Texas A&M and both daughters are at Colorado Christian University.  They are precious to my heart!  This has been the best work I have ever done . . . To believe in my God, to love my husband, to say yes to motherhood, and to enjoy being a homemaker.  Rich, rich blessings overflow.


June – “Pack your tents.”  That was the word Skeet and I both received separately from the Lord.  So we began.




July – The storms of my soul heated up.  Dark and hot.  And God waited patiently in that furnace with me as He cleaned out old wounds . . . by using new wounds and His healing touch. 

August – Acceptance and peace and healing began to blossom.  Bold among the rocky places God kept taking me.  He kept giving me visuals like this to remember our time together.  Humble Faith 

September – God was glorified during a weekend at Trail West where God said, “Tell them what I have taught you this year.”  And Skeet came to each session, standing the entire time, praying over the words spoken, being my covering.  He stood.  I spoke.  And my heart smiled as lessons (in being empty of normal, broken, giving forgiveness, and seeing His blessings) were taught.  This was an amazing experience with God. 

October – God brought the teachings of Staci Eldridge to me. I chewed on His words for weeks after this time with Him.  We worshipped and praised and learned and rested.
November – My prayer became: “God renew Your joy in me.  Bring Your joy back.  Search me, o God, clean out my heart and my thoughts, see the hurtful things in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.  Lead me to You.”  I struggled with hope, being afraid to wish for anything. 

 Hope.  Such a little word with such a chasm of meaning.  Look at the first picture in this blog . . . on the window is hung the word JOY.  John 15:8-11 are my directions to joy.  

Joy is not found to be of this world nor is hope.  Both are of eternity.
December – We were all home for 2 weeks.  We walked through traditions, walked in the woods, and walked through the past year, sharing where we had experienced God.  It was gracious of the Lord Jesus to prepare a place in our hearts to say good-bye to 2012 in our home of 23 years.  Something new is coming.  
What would your list of 12 pictures look like from this past year?  How did you experience God?
Now we look forward to the new.  “See!  I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”   Isaiah 43:19
And we have spent time in prayer.  Prayer is such a precious gift from our God.  Jesus met with the Father regularly in prayer.  And we follow Jesus.  
May today be filled with thoughts of Him.  (Col 3:2-3)

May the peace of God rule in our hearts. (Col 3:12-15)

May our joy be complete as we walk in obedience to Him.  (John 15:10-11)

May we be refreshed as He is the object of our trust.  (Proverb 3:5-8)

May our sleep be sweet when we lay our heads down.  (Proverb 3:21-24)

And may we be surrendered to our faithful God as Father and Redeemer and Teacher. 
Love Always,
Angie

Fear and Faith

It was the first morning devotional in Juarez.
She said, “I know you live by faith because your fear did not keep you from coming.”

For several years Carmen and Juan would host church people who were coming down to Juarez to build a place to house interns, to have meetings, and to gather local kids in the yard.  Then, the drug lords took over the city.  And people stopped coming to build because they were afraid.
And Carmen says to us, “You live by faith and have come even if you are afraid.”  And she smiles quietly.  Affirmatively, she looks around our table in appreciation.  
All we have done is shown up.  Loving Lord, You have given a blessing through our obedience.  Period.  We haven’t even shared anything or taught anything.  We just came . . . 

And isn’t that what God asks of us?  Just show up.  
Love always,
Angie
Do not fear,
     for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you,
     for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
     surely, I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you 
     with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Dancing in the Dark

On my last night in Juarez, with quiet laughter, we made shadow pictures on the cement block wall of the casa.  The street light was our back light.  And simple child-like joy overflowed into the dark, into the night.  We had brought a blessing to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
That was last week.  
Today, while reading back through my journal, I paused to look at pictures again and to read the words that kept catching my heart.
Choose Justice
(and I wanted to add the rest of that verse: love mercy, walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8)

 Awake, Awake Juarez City!
Chase away the dark + pity.
Take your streets back again!
I declare this is a battle you can win!
“And knowing Him like I do,
I count it done!”

 Through these doors may the atmosphere of heaven 
invade those that enter,
may darkness, hopelessness and unbelief be replaced 
with light, hope + belief.

And we walked through the doors to a work room where 5 ladies came to sew.

Father, may the atmosphere of heaven invade my heart every day!  I claim the words above their door as the prayer of my heart . . . may darkness, hopelessness and unbelief be replaced with light, hope and belief as I walk into each day with You no matter where I wake!

They came to learn new patterns and new tips for sewing so they can market their goods.
I came looking for God shine.

And I found it.

Father, thank You for showing me how to dance in darkness by looking for Your shine.  This past week the Light of Your Word, Your Son, was shining on the faces that came to learn to sew in this room.

And my heart still glows from the warmth of His Shine.
Love always,
Angie

God-worth

We were eating salads on the patio of a restaurant when my husband realized all 3 of his girls were wearing a cross on their necklaces.

He voiced a question to no one in particular, “Why do we wear an object of persecution around our necks?   Wearing something with such connections could be a morbid thought.” 

I reached for my little 1/2″ cross, fingering it gently and thinking.

Father, How should I answer that if a stranger asked me that question?

It represents the cost Jesus Christ paid for my sins. It represents a gift He gave to me and to anyone who believes He is the Son of God.  The gift is forgiveness for sin and eternity with Him.

The cross is the icon representing my story, my worth in the eyes of the God of Life. 
 IT IS MY PRICE TAG!

I touched my little cross, again, and remembered His Words.

For God so loved the world,
that He sent His one and only Son,
that who ever believes in Him 
will not perish,
but will have everlasting life.
John 3:16
I am bought with a price.  I belong to God.  And I am no longer a slave to sin, but live as a free woman. (Galatians 5:1)  And the life I now live abounds in His grace and kindness because He directs my steps.  There is joy that begins to bubble up as I ponder these truths.  (gentle smile)

He gave so much!  As I stand in a time of brokenness and “darkness” as to what will come next, I have prayed for God’s light to shine brightly, as stars in the night sky.  Since praying that prayer, His cross represents the first shine He has brought to my mind.

I have been crucified with Christ; 
and it is no longer I who live, 
but Christ lives in me; 
and the life which I now live in the flesh 
I live by faith in the son of God, 
who loved me 
and gave Himself up for me.  
Galatians 2:20

And I remember that I have God-worth because of Jesus Christ’s LOVING sacrifice on the cross.

GOD-WORTH!

Father, thank You for reminding me of the reason a cross hangs around my neck.  I have worth because Jesus Christ set my price . . . He stretched out His arms and died on a cross in place of me.   “You are worth this much to Me.  Eternity with you is worth this price.”  

Today I am reminded Your Son’s death gives my life worth.  Thank You, Father.

He “shines” in the form of a little cross around my neck!
May you know your God-worth today.
Love always,
Angie

God Shine

In a season of forced change, 
it takes the greatest courage to obey God
when there is no direction given, 
when the way looks dark,
when He can’t be seen.  
And I shared this thought 
with a new friend while on vacation.  
This person challenged me, 
“The sky is filled with stars all day long.  
Do you believe they are shining 
even though you can not see them?”
Yes.
With a look of deep knowledge in his eyes, 
he added, “It is only the night sky 
that contrasts star light the strongest.  
God shines His brightest when circumstances seem dark.”
Father, thank You for letting us see You shine into our lives.
This is our work each day: 
to believe He is . . .
Love always,
Angie

His Vacation for Us

Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest.

So we went.

We met with believers in another state,
     and listened to a teacher of the Word from another country,
          and slept in a room offered by people who opened their home to us.
We enjoyed His rest!

Leaving the heavy-laden load at home for a time,
     God prepared a way for us to see Him freshly,
          to hear Him hourly,
             to play in His creation daily,
                    and then He sent us back with blown kisses from new friends.

Take My yolk upon you
and learn from Me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart;

And in this broken season, I have learned He makes gentle requests that cost me self-satisfying ways.  He asks me to believe Him, be silent, and be still.  He commands me to seek His face, to seek the kingdom of God.  And He reminds me to live in today, for tomorrow has enough problems of its own.

Some days, it is hard to get out of bed and begin again.
     Some days, I feel lost and confused by all that has happened.
           Some days, it seems foolish to not be searching the papers or online job listings.

But this I know:  

Jesus reminds me that my greatest work is to believe in the One whom the Father has sent. The Living Water.  The Bread of Life.  The Good Shepherd.

Jesus refreshes the soul.

And you will find rest for your souls.
For My yolk is easy 
and My load is light.
Jesus

(Matthew 11:28-30)

Love always,
Angie

Humble Faith

He cried the sound of brokenness.  The sound of nothing left.  Empty, again.

I heard him from our bedroom.

The stairs on the side of our home offered a view of firewood neatly stacked for someone else to use this winter.  Someone who buys our home.  There, he sat with his head in his hands.

I joined him.  And the hurt drained our souls.  Hummingbirds dive-bombed each other over our heads, oblivious to the struggle going on below.  Cleo the cat even came to watch this new sound, the heartbeat of brokenness.

As I sat with the man I love, my cries whispered to God.
Father, do You see him?  Do You see us?  Or have You turned away?   

I will never desert you, 
nor will I ever forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

Stillness reigned.  His Word filtered into the cracked places.



I know Your answer in my head . . . You are God and You see.  You are El Roi.  But my request is this: Could You show me that You really do care about this moment, . . . right here, . . . right now?  

I asked, to no one in particular, while staring at the wood pile, “Am I not trusting if I am doubting God will answer our prayers any time soon?”  
My husband slowly turned his head for an honest look at my face and asked back, “Can you really, truly, not trust God?”
I dropped my head, “No.  I cannot not trust in my Lord.” A moment passed.  Then, I looked into my husband’s eyes, “So, this is faith.”  He nodded, a slow grin spreading across his face.
 . . .the assurance of things hoped for, 
the conviction of things not seen.  
(Hebrews 11:1)

That was yesterday.

Today was my turn to cry.  While standing in my closet, among hangers and clothes ready to be worn, waves of gratitude washed my cheeks and dripped on shoes.  It was the humbling thought that God answered my prayer in a mighty way.  He answered in a way I never imagined!

He was telling me, 
“Of course I cared about that very moment 
when you no longer had any resources left.  (John 6:5-6)
I waited for that moment because I wanted you to know: 
My grace is sufficient for you, 
for power is perfected in weakness.  
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Today, God graciously answered the prayers from the stairs.  He used a community of people to deliver His answer.  He let us know we had not been forgotten.  He had not lost sight of us.

Humbly walking by faith.
Love always,
Angie

God Time

While the Lord fights for me, in the middle of this season of life,
      I have come away to be silent, to be still.
            Quietness with Him allows rest for the soul.


Do not be anxious then, . . . for your heavenly Father knows that you need  . . .  
but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness . . .
Jesus, God’s only Son
Matthew 6:31-33
  
God never hurries.  There are no deadlines against which He must work.  
Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.
A. W. Tozer

Silence grants space to think.
     While thinking, God is near.
          And in our silence together, fellowship begins.    

Stillness is the lack of striving.  
      In stillness, the ear tunes to God   
            allowing His Words, His creation, His majesty to come into perception.
And a sweetness of music is heard in the rustling of flowers 
      with bees and butterflies and moths flying through them; 
           wind in the trees keeping rhythm.    
The man who would truly know God must give time to Him.
A. W. Tozer

Beautifully landscaped homes 
      and ones left by fires that burned last week in New Mexico 
            become a visual contrast for the emotions of my heart.
The nurturing and the burnt. 
“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly 
until He has hurt him deeply.”  
A. W. Tozer

When I was little,
I learned that some people can travel the world and never really see, 
others can walk around the block and see the whole world.  

Truly seeing is knowing God for who He is . . .
   Fierce as a burning fire storm
      Delicate as a butterfly tongue
         Deeper than the soul of man.

He has made everything appropriate in its time.  
Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, 
but not so that he can discover what God has done from beginning to end.  

I perceived that there is nothing better for men 
but to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;
 also that everyone should eat, drink, and take pleasure in all his toil 
– this is God’s gift to man.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever;
 nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it.
for God has so worked that men should fear (revere) Him.
King Solomon, the wisest man to ever have lived,
Ecclesiastes  3:11-14

And let us not lose heart in doing good*,
for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ
Galatians 6:9

*’Doing good’ is seeking first His kingdom
and His righteousness,
and abiding with Him.

Love always,
Angie
Peace I leave with you; 
My peace I give to you; 
not as the world gives, do I give to you. 
Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.
Jesus, comforting His disciples
John 14:27

When God Takes Away

The other day I prayed, “Lord, take it all away! . . . the load of vain imaginations, emotions, have-tos, and shoulds. I can’t deal with the weight of them!”

Funny how He answered that prayer!

It was after a wedding, celebrating a new beginning, that the Lord spoke to my heart.

At the reception, there was a photo “booth” where we could pick up little props to make funny pictures.  We laughed and took many pictures with friends.  At home after the festivities were over, I looked at the ones that were given to me.   And the Lord of Life spoke to my heart.

When I asked God to take the chaos of life away, I also asked, “Who am I amidst all this change?!”

God placed a funny mirror in front of me and said, “Look.”

I looked.  
And I could hardly see me!

I felt lost in the chaos.  
Jesus reminds me, 
“I am the way, and I speak the truth, and I give you life; 
you can only come to the Father, your home, through Me and then you will not feel lost.”
John 14:6 (Angie paraphrase)
  
Joy bubbled out as God’s Word sunk in.  But the heat of the day rises.  Hurts surface.  “Doors close.”  Work seems to multiply and the chaos gets to me again.
And God reminds me, 
“Hey girl, I know you love Me,
And I am your Lord. 

I am your strength all day long
I am the Rock that does not change
(go ahead and stand on Me, I am trustworthy and faithful),
the Fortress of protection for you
(hide within Me, not from Me)
I am your deliverer,

I AM GOD,

your Rock,
your Refuge,
your Shield,
your Salvation,
your Stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2 (Angie paraphrase)
And the masks begin falling away.  
Then, God holds up a mirror, again.  He tells me to look more intently.  

And I see masks held by my own hand!  

Father, how do I let go and let you lead? How do I be who You intend me to be?  Sometimes I THINK I’m being who You want me to be.  And I still don’t get it right.  Then, there comes that desire to hide, again! You know all my hiding places.  Shine the joy of following Jesus into them. 

Jesus says I am found when lost in Him.  ( Matthew 16:24-25)  Daily, without my own understanding, following His direction.  (Proverb 3:5-6)  DAILY,  in the midst of “giants,” believing He will protect me.  (Joshua 1:9)  DAILY, being emptied of self, picking up what He brings, and following Jesus.  (Luke 9:23)  
And I walk in the freedom of Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:1), into new beginnings ordained by God, delivered one day at a time.
Love always,
Angie

What comes into our minds when we think about God
is the most important thing about us.
A. W. Tozer