~ LIGHT & LOVE ~
I miss the northwest woods something fierce, especially hikes through the mountains.
The forest wraps you in such peaceful quiet the noise of life cannot help but yield.
A walk in the woods is medicine for the soul... during the day that is.
At night, in the absence of light, the forest takes on a different form. It becomes a wilder, less assuring place ---a place of stumbling. A place to get lost.
This week I was reading John's letters to us.
You remember John ---the one who referred to himself simply as "the disciple whom Jesus loved", and author of some of the most memorable verses on God's love.
In his first letter, John teaches us a powerful truth ----to KNOW God is to LOVE one another.
He goes so far as to say that a Christ follower who fails to love her sister or brother is out of sync with Jesus' heart.
🍃This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.🍃1 John 3:16
To John it's this simple: a child of the Light is so full of gratitude, that loving the Father's other children is second nature.
Strong words. Convicting truth.
I taught my kids growing up that the hardest people they would ever be called upon to love were living under the same roof.
Ironically, I don't think I fully appreciated my own words.
If you've been in the Family more than a minute, I know you've been disappointed, disillusioned or wounded at the hands of a fellow Christian. We've dished it too, if we're being honest.
Imperfect and oh-so-broken Believers, living out faith under the same "roof" is complicated.
🍃If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.🍃1 John 1:7
Love and grace are not optional if we desire to make Him known.
LIGHT & LOVE are inseparable.
We cannot be light to those lost in the "woods" while stumbling over darkness in our own hearts.
PRAYER ~ Lord, tune our hearts to yours. Enable us, by your Holy Spirit, to love our Family well so that the world will see Your Light in and through us.
Be the Loved, Tabitha 🍃💕
~ No Greater Love ~
I still remember taping crinkly pink and white tissue paper to my shoe-box, and the leftover glue on my fingers from the not-so-perfect cut-out hearts that decorated it.
Tucked safely under my arm at the end of the day, that box was a treasure chest of valentines and candy hearts poetically expressing love— at least as my little-girl self understood it.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. It's nearly midnight and I’m sitting in my living room. The only light is the glow from my screen.
I glance down at my keyboard and see my grandmother’s hands where that little girl’s hands used to be.
I’ve lived plenty long enough to have learned a thing or two about love. Yet tonight I feel I am only beginning to grasp its mystery and power.
The one thing I know with absolute certainty, is the simple, beautiful truth that captured that little girl's heart so long ago ---- Jesus loves me.
The greatest Valentine ever written lies open on my lap. In a lifetime of reading, I will never tire of the story of how He left His throne in heaven to rescue me and take me as His Bride.
💕For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
God's love for us was not expressed in mere sentiments. He sent love to us in human flesh—extravagant love poured out on the Cross of Calvary.
💕No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
As Christ followers, our high calling is to know the One who gave His life for us, and become a reflection of the greatest Love the world will ever know.
💕So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
What does it mean to walk out faith in the One who IS the very definition of LOVE?
💕Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. 1 John 3:18
How about on this ‘day of love’ we put feet to our valentines, walk in Jesus' footsteps and pour out costly love.
Pic: Rebekah D
#christianlife #choosejoy #amwriting #sistersinchrist #Godisgood #simplefaith #iammybeloveds
~ GRACE is my Story ~
From the cross came the cosmic battle cry, “It is finished!” --- a proclamation that reverberated in a cosmic wave of Love and GRACE through the whole of eternity.
Like an unstoppable tsunami, GRACE roared through eternity past: washing over the darkness that settled over the earth in Eden.
GRACE flooded the expanse of eternity future: casting every sin, for all of time, into the abyss for those who call upon the name of Jesus.
🍃Grace is the peace that releases me when I fall short—the same Grace that redeemed me continues to cleanse me from sin.
🍃Grace is the embrace that holds me when darkness shrouds the light.
🍃Grace is the mighty arm that gently draws me back when I want desperately to run.
🍃Grace melts the ice-crystals that form on my heart when it cannot endure another break.
🍃Grace sings over me through the blue-bird's song, and whispers peace in every blossom of the morning-glory out my backdoor.
Grace met me at the Cross with open arms; and Grace will be waiting at the gate when I am finally Home.
Though thousands of words may conspire to tell my story—one will suffice.
🍃But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,🍃 Ephesians 2:4-8
My beautiful friend, I pray you walk in His grace today.
In His Love ~ Tabitha 💕.
#christfollower #faithblogger #christianlife #sharejoy #sistersinchrist #truthandgrace #faithinspired #joyfullife #hopewriters #choosejoy #speaklife #everydaygrace #iamredeemed #heismystory #amwriting #trustinthelord #savedbygrace #amazinggrace #graceupongrace #jesusalone #ephesians #glorytoglory #allthingsnew #newlifeinchrist #freeindeed #thegospel #writeyourheartout #shespeakstruth #sharejesus #hisgraceissufficient
~ Power in SURRENDER ~
As I was saying… all the talk of resolutions and ‘words’ translated into pressure to come up with something brilliant.
Did you notice the word ‘quest’ in my last post? I hope so because it's important to the story.
The more I ruminated over choosing the perfect word the closer the whole thing came to a quest, and further from what it should be.
My brain was a tumbling kaleidoscope of words. And then. There it was.
It's been here all along really: softly but unceasingly rapping at the door of my heart.
It's come 'round time and again; stirring my soul and resonating deeply within my spirit.
The very nature of my struggle to find my word-for-the-year was pointing right to it.
It has headlined in two of my blog posts, IG posts, a published article and a recent submission.
This is the word He has been quietly tracing in the soft places of my heart, and graciously weaving into my thoughts.
SURRENDER. It’s an empowering word.
It is not giving up, but intentionally relinquishing the illusion of control.
Surrender is choosing to navigate the river, rather than fighting the current---allowing the Lord to teach me to embrace the still waters and dig in when white-water rages around me.
It is tying fear to a big rock and letting it sink so that faith and hope can buoy to the surface.
Surrender is to simply acknowledge what is already true and rest in His powerful presence; trusting that He is in control.
🍃Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours...🍃 1 Chronicles 29:11
The unexpected will come. The river bends. It meanders through meadows and cascades through rocky gorges. The waters plunge out of sight and we can't see what lies ahead.
It’s all part of His plan.
🍃I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground...🍃 Isaiah 42:16
We can spend a lot of time praying for direction. Perhaps the answer is in a whisper just waiting to be heard.
In His Love, Tabitha 🍃💕
~ Word Quest ~
2020 is well underway and I am struggling to orchestrate a graceful re-entry after a long absence from this space.
January held her hands open in anticipation of my WORD for the year---a word that has yet to fully coalesce in my anxious spirit.
I do realized this is, when it comes right down to it, a non-essential --- yet somehow it feels significant.
After all, 2020 is the year we’ve been talking about for decades.The near-mythical year that will somehow bring culmination to important things. A turning point. Maybe epic.
Here I am. February is half over and my "word" remains stalled on my side of the screen.
2018 was the year I found the BRAVE to respond to the call He had been whispering to my heart for years.
I hit “publish” on my website, uploaded a back-log of blog posts, and launched my IG account: believing He would multiply my loaves and fishes.
2019 dawned with the realization that I dove deeper into ministry pursuits than I could sustain "in the Spirit".
By grace He led me over the New Year line and straight into a Sabbath season to REST/REFRESH/RENEW.
The first half of the year unfolded more or less as I had hoped.
I was blessed to have a few articles published, attended 2 writing seminars, designed a Bible study, sketched out a rough book proposal and welcomed grandbaby number 5 to planet Earth.
The second half came ‘round like a boomerang that sent me careening off course.
My husband’s excavation company nearly tanked. Motivated by fear of losing my teaching credential (just in case) I enrolled in grad work
toward an MS degree I no longer aspire to.
My writing (ministry) was relegated to the back burner---which feels like a big step backward.
🍃The silver lining was some teaching in a tribal school with the most beautiful-spirited children I have perhaps ever worked with.
🍃The year also brought time with my missionary daughter, 3 flights to my home state of Michigan and 2 trips to my "home" of Idaho---never mind the dental issues behind it--- time with grandkids and my precious mama.
It was a BIG year; just not what I envisioned.
And that brings me to my WORD for 2020.
To be continued... 🍃💕
~ 4th of My 5 Arrows ~
This beauty is 29 today.
She made her debut in the wee hours of a wintry morning whilst two brothers and a sister anxiously waited to greet her. She was born a 'stargazer'... and still is.
I've always said she arrived with a planner in the back pocket of her birthday suit --- and she's pretty much been one step ahead of herself since.
As is true for all of my children, my life education would be incomplete without her. Among the lessons she has taught me: .
💕Adventure begins with a fearless heart
💕The will can be made of iron and still be maleable
💕Baking truly can be next to godliness
💕There is always a reason to giggle
She opened her heart wide to Jesus very young and never turned back. Her faith journey is already a portrait of the rare fusion of strength and grace.
She has lived the better part of her first 'adult' decade on the mission field, serving the 'least of these' where the name of Jesus is largely unknown. She helps women safely bring life into this world in hopes of introducing them to new life in Christ.
She has chosen a front-row seat to the brokenness of the human condition, become intimately familiar with lonelines, and walked through many a trial both spiritually and physically.
Still the deepest desire of her heart, the yearning of her soul, remains to run headlong into the darkness so that "they may know" the One who gave His life to set them free.
Her pursuit of Jesus and reckless abandon to His calling leave me breathless.
Happy Birthday baby girl! .
If you have room on your prayer card, please add Lizzie. 🍃💕🍃 .
~ Our Fearsome Abba ~ .
The danger of opening our hearts to the "whole counsel of God" is that we inevitably come face-to-face with scripture that challenges us to reconcile more trendy views of God with biblical truth.
REFLECTION ~ The Book of Ezekiel is predominantly an oracle of judgement. Chapter upon chapter speak of God’s wrath and the ways He will exact justice toward both wayward Israel and their enemies.
Passages like these make for some chewy reading; the kind that causes us to squirm in our seats a bit.
Yet, this is our God—supreme, holy and sovereign.
These pieces of His story remind us that our beloved Abba is also the Warrior King of kings and Righteous Judge of the universe.
As this truth is woven into the picture we come closer to truly knowing the 'fullness of God'. Seeing Him in this light, we are even more astonished at His extravagant love and merciful gift of grace, “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.
In pondering these scriptures I was reminded of the importance of fearing the Lord.
Yes, I know it sounds a bit ‘old fashioned’, and perhaps even offensive to our sensibilities as followers of Jesus. Yet, far from tossing out the fear of the Lord, New Testament scripture complements Old Testament teaching on the subject.
🍃Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, FEAR God, honor the emperor.🍃1 Peter 2:17
The fear of the Lord was taught to early believers as essential to their new life as Christ followers; cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Walking out the "be holy as I am Holy" is impossible without it. If we choose to dismiss the fear of God, we create a backdoor for sin.
For His children, fear of the Lord compels us to run to Him rather than away from Him. In His mighty arms we find refuge. In His presence we are secure.
PRAYER ~ Father, I acknowledge that you are fearsome and holy. Thank you for your unfathomable mercy and grace that allows me to approach your throne as a beloved DAUGHTER of the Warrior King!
🍃And thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.🍃(Heb 12:29)
READ ON ~ Love, Tabitha💕
~ A Sacred Invitation ~
Gaze with me at this scene for just a moment.
Capture it in your mind. Close your eyes, take a cleansing breath and journey with me to this place.
Step softly into the stillness. Can you feel the peace? The perfect tranquility?
No world beyond. No ‘must’ or ‘should’. No agendas. No hurry.
There is no stirring. All has ceased. The only movement is the quiet that softly cradles this realm in sweet slumber. Even time, it seems, has ceded to serene interlude.
The world is hushed. The only smell is the crisp of virgin snow that blankets the scene in silk and lace. Even color is swallowed up in silence.
Surrender. Drift gently into the "holy' of this place.
All is rest. All is sacred.The only sound is the beating of two hearts—one of flesh, one of Spirit.
This is sanctuary.
This is Sabbath.
🍃I also gave them my Sabbaths to serve as a sign between me and them, so that they would know that I am the Lord who consecrates them.🍃 Ezekiel 20:12
Being a Christ follower in this beautiful 'age of grace' we are tempted to relegate Sabbath to a relic of the Mosaic Law —an observance no longer required. No longer relevant to our faith.
Indeed, through the blood of Jesus, the regulatory burden of the Law was fulfilled. By grace, we were carried into a forever Sabbath; eternally emancipated from the labor of religion and free to rest in the peace and joy of our salvation.
However, the Sabbath rest was established long before the Law was given—by about 2,500 years—at creation to be exact.
Sabbath was intended as a gift, not an obligation. It is a sacred invitation from the Creator who knows that we are more than flesh—we are creatures of the soul.
Our spirits long for the intimacy we were meant to share with the One who gave us life: intimacy made possible through the sacrificial death of His Son.
Embrace the gift that our Beloved is extending to you. Carve out some space for Sabbath today.
🍃Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.🍃 James 4:8
BE the LOVED ~ Tabitha🍃💕🍃
Photo: Matthias Groenevelda, Pixabay
~ Adieu, Dear Ordinary ~
If you were hoping to live the same life after Christ as before you met Him, I have news for you. The One who redeemed you has other plans.
We are talking, after all, about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— the very same God who parted the Red Sea, transformed a walking-stick into a snake, changed a desert rock into a fountain, and rained down biscotti to feed His people.
In the presence of the Almighty, ordinary doesn’t stand a chance.
Consider the beauty bestowed on a single snowflake by His design—a crystalized drop of water that will last for only a moment. How much more extraordinary is His design for me, the one He calls His "beloved"?
My value does not lie within me, but in the extravagant love He poured out on the cross. The cost of my redemption makes me priceless.
🍃Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God.
“Then I washed you in water... and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth... You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty.
Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God.🍃Ezekiel 19:8b-14
The Spirit of the living God that dwells within us is in the business of transformation. The moment He enters our life, ordinary must yield to our new identity as a child of the Most High God.
❄ An ordinary kitchen sink becomes a portal to the throne room
❄The daily commute becomes a mobile sanctuary
❄A bedtime story becomes a legacy moment
❄A paintbrush becomes a weapon of war, the pen an oracle of grace
So my dear friend, what’ll it be? Shall we chase after dreams of our own imaging? Or embrace the extraordinary He has planned for us?