Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I am this woman

I love the picture that is presented in the Song of Songs. If this book of the Bible is truly a glimpse into God's heart for his bride, then I am totally blown away and excited to be engaged!!! :)

This morning I was flipping through and started reading in chapter 3. As always found myself wondering what it would be like to be as beautiful as the woman that this lover is so enthralled by.

Then I flipped back to the first chapter... and head the woman speak
I am weathered, but still elegant, oh dear sisters in Jerusalem. Weather darkened like Kedar desert tents, time softened like Solomon's Temple hangings. Don't look down on me because I am dark, darkened by the suns harsh rays. My brothers ridiculed me and sent me to work in the fields. They made me care for the face of the earth, but I had no time to care for my own face." Song of Songs 1:5-6


I began to see a different picture of this woman. She didn't see herself as beautiful... she saw her flaws. She saw her dark, weathered skin... remembering how her brothers had teased her, and acknowledging how she had been working in the fields, not staying inside pampered as the women of that day were expected to. She seems to almost be apologizing for her appearance here.

How often do I feel the need to do the same? How many times have I wanted to apologize to my own husband for being overweight or put on sunglasses to hide my face when checking the mail without any make up on when I knew the neighbors were outside too? Is it possible that this woman in the song of songs also had trouble with her self image?

But how can this be? The rest of the book is full of her lover's compliments. Full of her lover's loving gaze never once mentioning a negative quality. The rest of the Song of Songs paints a picture of a woman whose beauty stirs the heart of her lover.


With this realization, I began to become fully aware that this book really is a glimpse into God's heart for me... His bride. He doesn't view me through the eyes of criticism and judgment.. He sees me through the eyes of love. He sees me and "feasts" on me.
"He took me home with him for a festive meal, but his eyes feasted on me!" Song of Songs 2:4


I shouldn't (and won't) be jealous of this woman in the Song of Songs... I will instead embrace the poetry of love and accept that at my core.. I am this woman.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Into the Light

This song by Laura Woodley Osman had me streaming in tears the first time I heard it. Everytime I start to feel "not good enough" I can go back to it and get wrapped in the Father's love again.

I hope you enjoy the video I made from it. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Locked

This morning as I sat quietly with the Lord, I became aware of the fact that I still really struggle with being loved. I'm eager to give love to those I pick and choose to love, but receiving it is usually something I quickly respond "I love you too" and then my heart says "let's move on..."

This past summer the Lord has really been showing me that in order to really show and give love (His greatest command)... I must first receive it. How can I give something away that I don't truly have enough of myself???

Proverbs 27:19
Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart


And I saw my heart... locked up behind a gate. My gate wasn't exactly like the one pictured, because I could peak through the lock as people pass by... but this picture captures a very important part of the truth about my heart behind the gate. Jesus was sitting right outside my gate... (the LIGHT)... and he had a keyring full of all the keys I had given Him to use for opening and closing my gate to get to my heart. He showed me that I had a lock that randomly changed which made it take longer for Him to open the gate for me. Here I was thinking I had given Him all the keys so He was in charge of my heart... but the truth is... I had a trick lock installed so that I could still be in charge of my heart.
Sometimes the music key would be successful at reaching me, sometimes the journaling key... sometimes the psychology key... and sometimes the artistic images key would work. But the more I change the lock, the longer it takes for Him to figure out which one will work today.
I pictured Jesus sitting outside of my gate, fumbling with the key ring and saw that he must have just found out that the journaling key was working today... and I came out from behind my gate to be with Him. And then He said,
"Coming out gives you the chance to feel my love and "get your fill". But you still have the opportunity to run back behind the gate and stop feeling. What you don't know is that I can love you even better from the inside.


What would being loved on the INSIDE of the gate be like???
I picture the view inside the gate flooded with His light... There is freedom INSIDE the gate... and the purpose for the gate is not for protecting my heart anymore... Jesus does that... the purpose of the gate is to hang an sign that says
"Look here~ This is love in action! This is God's handiwork- His chosen bride! Most beautiful and precious.. come and see what His creation looks like in the full care of the perfect lover!"


That's what I want.. more than anything...
if Jesus is INSIDE the gates with my heart.... then my face will mirror HIM!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

murky beautiful


murky beautiful
Originally uploaded by denesiachristine
Just look for a moment at this photo... a beautiful reflection of the sky...

what you don't know is that at the time I took this photo... the smell at the waters edge was repulsive... and the water was scummy and gross ~ murky would be a complimentary description...I thought for sure that my trip to the river for sunset photos was a complete waste of time.

But I was wrong.

Thankfully, God is good... and He was able to show His Glory with ease in the midst of what I thought was dirty, gross and ugly.

Isn't He just as capable with us???!!!

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't and doesn't wait for us to get ready. He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready..... God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him. (Romans 5:9-11 The Message Translation)


I'm so grateful that God picked my ugly, dirty, stinky sin filled body and created a reflection of His Glory out of it. He didn't need me to "get cleaned up" for Him... instead He loved and sent His Son to die so that like this photo... I would be beautiful and not repulsive.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gold: worthless or valuable?

This morning I was reading in the book "Drawing Near" by John Bevere (see my resources page!) as part of my homework for a small group at church. I was deeply convicted by something the author mentioned in reference to the church of Laodicea so I went to read that section of Revelation on my own. (Revelation 3: 14-22)

Instead of condemnation as a side dish to the conviction I felt... I received instructions!

"Buy your gold from me" (vs. 18)

so I asked God what is His gold??????

I had a quick flash in my mind about the "gold dust" that sometimes is reported to be found at gatherings of people in the presence of God. (I've often doubted or wondered about stories like this... but during my journalings with the Lord I trust that He is the one who impresses images upon my mind when I question Him about something He brought up in the first place!) Then, just as quickly as that thought came I then saw a flash of "heavenly streets paved with gold".
And then.. a still small voice in my heart said
"What is valuable is worthless, and what is worthless is valuable"


I think that what this means is that buying gold from God (his instruction in Rev 3:18) is like asking him to simply sweep the floors of heaven over me. A simple act that He doesn't hesitate to do when asked.
My time, on the other hand- is spent constantly on worthless things (facebook, TV, etc) and the Father sees MY TIME AND ATTENTION as very valuable and he WANTS them! Why do I hesitate to hand over to Him what I so freely give to worthless things? The Lord sees this as an even trade- buying His gold with my time and attention.
(worthless in heaven=gold.... worthless here according to my actions=time) But in the bigger picture.. they are obviously both valuable to the one that requires it.


I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all of this.. but as I seek Him for something of value I realize that I should also be giving Him what He values.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Metaphor


almost sunflower
Originally uploaded by denesiachristine
For most of my life I have had the blackest thumb. I couldn't keep any plants alive for long.. and I had pretty much given up. But last year, last June to be exact, I returned home from North Carolina and decided to turn my back yard into my very own wildflower oasis. I asked the Lord to really bless my attempts so that I could someday marvel in His works and turn my garden into my "quiet place" for seeking His presence.

This year, He has begun to really answer that prayer. I am so excited about each morning spent in my garden and even more excited about the lessons I am learning from it as I seek His presence there.

The most recent lesson I learned in my garden comes from the phases of a flowers life. Take this sunflower pictured above. For days, almost weeks it was on the verge of blooming. I awoke each morning excited to see if it would open today... and each morning it was beautiful and green, but not fully open.

And I loved my "almost sunflower" at each stage... beauty was never once withheld as a descriptor of this flower.

Then it occurred to me that this flower was a metaphor for me... in God's garden.

I was once just a seed... and he watched over me.. watered me, fed me.. and kept the squirrels and birds away from me. I grew and grew.. taller and taller. Each day he was excited to find me still in his garden... and he marveled at MY BEAUTY every step of the way.

So why do I think I will only be beautiful when I've fully bloomed open?????

I look at this "almost sunflower" and I think it is beautiful right now.

And then, when it begins to open up.. I still think it's beautiful. Just because it changes doesn't take away from its beauty.

here comes the sunflower

And I knew in my heart of hearts that this was me now. Beginning to bloom... more beautiful than I was before... but it hasn't detracted from from my beauty before either. I've yet to fully open up... exposing all of my petals and my heart to the sun... but I'm on the way! God watches me expectantly and excited each day cheering me along and enjoying me IN THE MOMENT.

And he also knows just what I'll be like when I'm fully open, and fully exposed and warmed by HIS SON.

After soaking in this awareness and accepting the feelings of love that washed over me with this metaphor... the enemy tried to sneak in and remind me that flowers don't live forever... eventually they fade and die.

and the Lord said...
Your garden is simply an example, my perfection is revealed in your life, in the love that I pour out- and in the SON no fading or dying will ever come to pass. There will be no more death and dying! My plans for YOUR bloom are for everlasting life!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Hammock

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1

.....and I wondered, does that mean that there is a time to feel close to God and a time to feel far from Him? So often it seems that just when I reach a level of intimacy with God that I long for, then doubt creeps in and pulls me away for a time. I began to question the Lord about this pattern in my life. Was it what he wanted?

there is a time for everything right?

Just like the ebb and flow of the tide... a rhythm in life that He has ordained... was it the same for our relationship?

And I felt my hammock sway in the wind beneath me- bringing with it a new understanding.

As the hammock moves, back and forth, up and down... so do I. The movement of the hammock is not AWAY from me- it is continually WITH me even as it moves. I can on my own accord move the hammock faster- swinging back and forth in an exciting fashion. Or, I can rest and let the naturalness of the hammock's rocking motion relax me. The hammock may even get so still that I barely notice it- but if I close my eyes, I can still feel the gentle sway.

The understanding that became clear from my hammock... was that I could just as easily replace the word "Holy Spirit" everywhere I said hammock in the paragraph above.

As the Holy Spirit moves, back and forth, up and down... so do I. The movement of theHoly Spirit is not AWAY from me- it is continually WITH me even as it moves. I can on my own accord move the Holy Spirit faster- swinging back and forth in an exciting fashion. Or, I can rest and let the naturalness of the Holy Spirit 's rocking motion relax me. The Holy Spirit may even get so still that I barely notice it- but if I close my eyes, I can still feel the gentle sway.


Just as I can kick my feet in a hammock to make it more "noticeable" of a motion.. I can also call on the Holy Spirit to become more noticeable and vibrantly active in my life.

There are also times where it is perfectly fine to just rest and relax.

All I need to do is close my eyes and let my senses become aware of the fact that He is always with me... cradling me... even in the times when I wasn't aware of Him.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

writing on the walls...



Here in my heart, I've needed God to come in and tear down walls that I've put up to keep everyone out. I've needed him to walk thru them and rescue me from my own creations. I've needed him to knock them over, blow them down, disintegrate them with a touch, paint them into something different and sometimes simply provide a door or a window so I can escape them.

Then today I realized that at the same time as he's been knocking down the walls I put up... he's also been building me a new "room" in His house. (John 14:2)That means he's been putting up 4 walls just for me! His walls are totally different from the ones I've been putting up. My walls are covered in dirt, grime, and reminders of trauma or accusations of sins from my past.

But He is busy at work building me a room with walls that will keep me safe and secure, and able to rest fully in his love.The walls he is preparing for me now... aren't there to keep people out. They are there to keep me with him. The walls he is preparing for me now are filled with promises, love and joy.

Just like he "walks thru my walls" here in my heart... he is "writing on the walls" of the heart he has prepared for me.

Some of the things he has written so far are:

“God of the Angel Armies will step in and take care of His flock… He’ll revive their spirits, and make them proud to be on God’s side….I’ll put muscle in the people of Judah… I know their pain and will make them good as new. They’ll get a fresh start, as if nothing had ever happened… their lives brimming with joy… their children will get in on it too~ oh let them feel blessed by God!... I’ve set them free- oh how they’ll flourish!” (from Zechariah 10)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (from 1 Cor. 13)

“… He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (from Is 61)

“He forgives your sins- every one. He heals your disease- every one. He redeems you from hell- saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy- a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness- beauty eternal. He renews your youth- you’re always young in his presence. God makes everything come out right, he puts victims back on their feet….God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” (from Ps 103)

“Comfort, oh comfort for my people, says your God. Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem, but also make it clear that she has served her sentence, that her sin is taken care of- forgiven!” (from Is 40)

“Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing- it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters can’t drown love, torrents of rain can’t put it out…..I am my lovers. I’m all he wants. I’m all the world to him!...You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride. Leave Lebanon behind, and come, Leave your high mountain hideaway, abandon your wilderness seclusion where you keep company with lions and panthers guard your safety. You’ve captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me and I fell in love. One look my way and I was hopelessness in love. (from Song of Songs)

I would encourage you each to spend some time reading the letter God prepared for you... (His Word) and allow your heart to receive special messages that apply to you. He is continually writing on the walls that he is preparing for us... are you willing to see what he is saying to you?




Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Painting with Jesus

A glimpse into the past few days between me and Jesus:


Jesus takes me by the hand and runs me thru the streets of gold- we turn down a golden alley on the left and he opens a door on the left. (It is hard to call this an alley, because it is so full of light and gold shines everywhere, not at all like the alleys on earth!)
We enter a room FULL of jewels of every color. This treasure room has sapphires, rubies, diamonds and all kinds of gems I do not know the names of. There are master paintings all over, and flowers are growing from the jewel pots! (instead of dirt, there’s more jewels!) Jesus begins adorning me with jewels. He places a beautiful belt around my waist that drips in diamonds- it hangs like a chord after it’s tied around my waist.He gives me a small strip of a crown to wear across my head- and adorns my feet with dainty shoes made of a million jewels that blend together into clear like glass. They are not uncomfortable at all, it feels as if I’m wearing soft downy feather pillows on my feet. I see a bracelet on my arm, lavished in diamonds of every color- and I know I am being prepared for my wedding.
I say “Isn’t it going to be too much?” I want HIM to be the focus of attention= I shouldn’t be so “eye-catchingly beautiful”. And I know that even with all of this on- He will still be the one that takes everyone’s breath away. His beauty and light will make all of this pale in comparison.
So, I can go ahead and keep adding jewels to my wardrobe. I wonder, “where did all these come from anyway?”
And I know- each jewel is a praise I’ve lifted up to Him with all my heart and soul… He stored them up to bless me with. And he reminded me- that the diamonds were made from my tears- not just the tears of pain- but also from the tears of joy that I’ve shed when entering His presence.

Another day…
I see Jesus standing by a beautiful painting of a sunset over a lake. The water is full of reflections, like diamonds on each ripple in the water. I am dazzled by the beauty in this painting. He is still painting it, with special heavenly paint. This paint is not just “building up layer on top of layer” ending in a dull muddy mess… this paint is actually changing the painting with each stroke into more dazzling beauty. I begin to get dizzy pressing in to hear Jesus as he paints. He turns to steady me, his hands on my shoulders, as we face the painting together. I ask him what is important about this phrase “steady in the storm” that has been imprinted as the title of this painting in my mind.
I envision a tornado… a deadly chaotic storm… a storm that brings fear and pain. But Jesus is “steady in the storm” as he walks through it. He can look around from inside the storm and see everything blowing around and he will not get hurt.
I begin to get frustrated because I know that he intends to take me inside the storm that is me. Why?? I thought I was done with all this “healing” stuff!!!
His reply… not until I’m in heaven will my journey be done.
Am I okay with that?
Yes… I am aware that some people never get to go on this journey at all. I feel sorry for them. I think of hiking in the mountains and the incredible view that is visible only at the end of the journey. I begin to appreciate this opportunity instead of resenting it.

So.. Jesus and I prepare for a journey into the storm. He hands me some “night vision goggles” and tells me that these will help me to see what he wants me to see along the way. They are perfect for exposing defense mechanisms along the way… and that is what we are really here to do.
Eventually we reach a painful place. As I enter this place with Jesus, I become aware of the fact that my tears and choking voice are fading. A new “tough girl” attitude has taken control of my emotions. At the same time, I also realize that I no longer see or hear Jesus. Numbness has taken over, and I don’t feel the pain anymore. I realize there is a giant wall that has just gone up between me and Jesus. I don’t see him and he doesn’t answer me when I call to him. Tough girl doesn’t really care… but I am sure that I am tired of having walls. I beg him to tear it down or create a door or something… but all I have is this numb, cold wall and a tough girl ready to end the journey.
I close my eyes… and travel back to the room of jewels and paintings, where I know it’s easy to find my Jesus. There he is… right by my side.. I can feel him steady my shoulders once again. Peace and comfort replace the numbness and cold. With a sigh of relief… Jesus and I can then go back to the wall and look at it from the outside.
My wall is like an old castle wall. A fortress… of large gray blocks that reach as high as the sky. No cracks for vines to crawl up, no chance of knocking it down. But Jesus points out that it’s not responsible for holding anything up. It’s just a wall standing alone in the middle of nowhere. It’s okay if we tear it down.
Instead of knocking it over into a pile of rubbish- Jesus begins to paint over it with his special heavenly paint. We paint together and CHANGE the wall into a beautiful wildflower field at the top of a mountain. We aren’t just covering up the wall... we are transforming it and replacing it with something beautiful. The names of the paint colors are love, joy and hope… and I am filled with all three of these as we paint together.
When the wall is gone, I walk into the field with Jesus. I see the ‘tough girl” over in the far right of the field, hiding in the tall grasses. For a moment I picture Jesus sitting next to her, back to back… and I imagine him giving her a flower… but then she is gone…. poof … forever.
My defense mechanism serves no purpose any longer… for I have Jesus, my master painter with me always.
Just Jesus and me… steady in the storm.