Sunday, April 3, 2022

Learning to Love

A Sanctuary Wherever, as a blog, was started in 2012 on a cross-country journey as we moved from Washington to Virginia.  It's been 2 years since I've written anything here, and I pick up again, in hopes of some consistency, to relate a different kind of journey on which I have embarked...a journey to learn to love.  To love radically, to love sacrificially, to love as Jesus loved.  To love even and especially the unlovable and difficult to love because I've been asked to by the One whom I love the most, and He is worthy of every sacrifice and gift of love.  








  I've had two distinct impressions of love this week.  The first was through the death of our dear, sweet Maegan Kramb, my front desk receptionist at the clinic.  She was taken so suddenly a week ago, so tragically, and we all are wrestling with the sovereignty of God.  Hearing the witnesses of how well she loved and seeing the love, strength and grace of her parents and family at the funeral service was a testament to the Love of God.  She loved well and encouraged others in the same.  The love of Jesus that radiated through her smile will be greatly missed by so many.



The second was through listening to "Something Beautiful for God" about Mother Theresa and a prayer that was written out there. "Dearest Lord, may I see You today and every day in the person of Your sick [or my family, coworkers, friends, etc], and, whilst nursing them, minister unto You.  Though You hide Yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize You, and say: 'Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve You.' Lord, give me this seeing faith, then my work will never be monotonous.  I will ever find joy in humouring the fancies and gratifying the wishes of all poor sufferers. O beloved sick, how doubly dear you are to me, when you personify Christ; and what a privelege is mine to be allowed to tend you.  Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities.  Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience [especially with those closest to me, with my family].  And O God, while you are Jesus, my patient[/husband/children/friend, etc], deign also to be to me a patient Jesus, bearing with my faults, looking only to my intention, which is to love and serve You in the person of each...Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work, now and for evermore. Amen.

 


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Consistency

I'm just going to put it out there.  In full disclosure, I struggle with consistency, and that is my word for the year.  There, I said it, and now you can help hold me accountable to it!  I need more consistency which goes hand and hand with faithfulness.  And, as I think about the word faithfulness - I wonder how much of consistency has to do with really having faith that those efforts will produce fruit, will be worth it, will accomplish their mission. I've not been super consistent with blogging, but with all the adventures God has called me to this year, I'd like to be consistent in sharing my journey with you.




    I need moment by moment consistency in training and discipling my children.  I posted on Facebook a little bit about my efforts in this direction - we're going through the book on a mom's journey to end entitlement in her children and train them in consistency in things like making beds, cleaning rooms, etc.  So, we started with made beds and clean rooms.  We've had varying results.  Judah does a good job with making his bed every morning first thing and a generally good job about keeping his stuff cleaned up - then Jonathan wrecks their room and causes a meltdown.  Lol.  Jonathan, well, he's learning to consistently make his bed and his brother or I are still helping teach him how to do that well.  We're working on cleaning up after playing with a  certain genre of toys.  Legos are the bane of my existence!  I have a love-hate relationship with them.  I think they're great toys but not all over the room, beds, here and there throughout the house, stepping on them in the middle of the night, etc!  I've even confiscated bins of legos at times because I just can't do the disaster and Jonathan likes to dump out full bins to find the pieces he's missing!  Eve started strong and has had a few days of less than clean in her room lately, but overall, the dollar a day has been motivating to this teen girl to keep her room tidy, and she's generally been good at making her bed daily.  Emma?? Well, she doesn't seem to have much concept of this reward system.  She's never had much of a financial savvy.  Don't get me wrong, she likes to have money - to spend on candy... but she's had her dollars taken away most days.  Part of the idea behind this has been ownership and self-governance, so after the first few days, I told them I wouldn't remind them every day of their responsibilities in this, but this girl has got to come up with a system to keep her room clean and bed made!  Not that I mind taking my dollar back each day - saves me money, but it kinda defeats the process of this motivation - I really do want her to learn to keep her room presentable and not throw clothes/shoes, etc on the middle of her floor... or my bathroom....or the back stairs....or the hallway... Well, you get the point.  It's still a work in progress, but hopefully progress will continue to be made until we all have consistency in this!  Next month starts the meal prep - each child has a day of the week in which they are responsible to make dinner, shop for their supplies (learning to navigate the grocery store and prices of ingredients) and clean up well in the kitchen!  We also implimented a consequence jar system which has been good but...could use more consistency. :)
   Consistency in getting up early to spend time with God, get work done and work out before my day gets going has been my next goal.  Since before Thanksgiving, I had felt the Lord nudging me to start getting up at 4am in order to have consistency in these areas, but sleep is something my body really likes/needs.  I wish I was a 5-6 hour/night sleeper, but I'm not.  My body and attitude do better on about 8 hours of sleep.  How could I get up at 4am??!!  But, I knew if He was calling me to it, He could sustain me in it.  So, at the start of the new year, I made that commitment.  I've not been batting 100, but I've been doing pretty well.  Some really late nights, I'll push it back into the 5 o'clock hour, but I really have found that 4am is a good time to get up.  My biggest struggle has been wrapping up my Bible time so that I can get some work done and my work out in!  In my quiet time in the mornings, I've been reading a devotional out of  The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn, reading exerpts from They Found the Secret ( a great read about people who pressed in and came to walk in the fullness of the Spirit on a daily basis), I journal and then I read my Bible - my mother-in-law gave me a journaling Bible, which has been great - it has full empty pages by each page of the Bible to take notes and journal in!  Then, I spend time in prayer and worship too.  The time goes so fast!  It is so much my heart cry to deepen my love for Him and to be filled with the Holy Spirit - to have a Pentacost encounter that changes everything, that in everything I might live and move and have my being in and through Him.  I am so convinced that this is to be the "normal" Christian experience, and I'm determined to press in till I lay hold of constant communion with Him - more on this later.
   This morning time is also to help build consistency in my business.  To be faithful to follow up/show up for the people God has brought into my life, to share consistently about this gift of health and knowledge of nutrition that He's put in my lap, and to give my customers/friends, the best service possible - whether it's related to whole food nutrition, or find other ways to show up in their lives and bless them.  The greatest gift besides the health and healing power of whole food nutrition that Juice Plus has given me, is the intentionality to connect with and love on/build relationships with the people He's placed in my life.  I love that I get to focus on building relationships and get to grow a sustainable business to create financial and time freedom for me and my family is an added bonus.  So, I'm seeking to be daily consistent in spending a "power hour" for work.
   I need to be consistent in logging every single commitment or appointment in my phone, right when it happens!  I'm too frequently hoping that I haven't left someone hanging or failed to show up for something I committed to. Yikes!  Keeping my calendar in line and up to date is key to my life- consistency!  I've also built consistency into writing down my dreams and setting goals/actions steps to pursue them.  I'd encourage you to listen to Rachel Hollis' podcost episode 72 and start dreaming and acheiving your goals!
   Well, that's a start.  What's your word/focus for 2020?  Are you as excited as I am about the doors that will be opening, the connections that will be made, the winding and wonderous paths that will unfold before you? I hope so, because God is good and His ways are full of beauty, truth and goodness.

 



Friday, November 1, 2019

I AM...

I AM...two of the most powerful words in the universe.  What you say or put after those two words shapes and defines your life and even the world around you and how you see your world.  The " I Am" of the Creator spoke the worlds into existence and was that most holiest of names not even to be verbalized or fully written by the Jews - the name He gave them as He called out their identity as a nation and people. 
    Not long ago I was talking to my mom about affirmations, what I've been learning about speaking truth over my life and obeying the Scriptures to speak even that which is not as though it is. To declare the person I desire to be and those attributes I desire to walk in but am not fully because our words have power and when we speak these out loud, and repeat them over and often, we begin to believe, be intentional about being and walking in those very things.  This isn't just the power of positive thinking but that where we put our thoughts and then our spoken word, we put effort and intention toward and rise up into those things that God has foreseen and called out within us to be.  
   In fact, before Jesus started His ministry, He spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness, solidifying His identity and the purposes and pursuits of His Father.  And the passage says that at the end of 40 days, He was hungry, but ready, and the Enemy came to Him, questioning from the very first, His Identity,  saying that if He was who He said He was, He could turn the stones into bread and feed Himself.  Jesus reply? Something like this: "Bread isn't life, I AM  LIFE because I Am the Word that proceeded from the Father.  You have to be connected in to the Father to have life, and I Am."  Again Satan questioned his true identity, and again Jesus affirms His true identity: "I Am the Lord your GOD - you shouldn't tempt me."  Finally, Satan, not able to shake His identity, offered to let Him abdicate it for temporary wealth and power. Jesus declared, "Away from me, I Am alone the worthy object of worship and servitude. What is seen here is temporary.  I Am One with the Father forever worshipped and served."  No, these aren't the exact words He used, but they are the concepts by which He defeated Satan.   And it is His truth and identity and the identity we have through Him that allows us to vanquist the Enemy of our souls and our enemy within.  If we lay claim to the statements that He speaks over us, we align ourselves with who He says He is and who we are, it could just changed the world!  It did for the disciples and many others through history.  It lifts our heads and our eyes, aligns us with a high and holy and beautiful and good calling.  
   Some of my own affirmations:  
1. I am a child of the Living God
2. I am brave and courageous
3. I am motivated
4. I am a woman of peace
5. I am a giver of love
6. I am joyful
7. I am wise beyond my years
8. I am the manager of my time 
9. I am fully accepted and favored by God
10. I am a powerhouse of action and multitasking
11. I am engaged in loving people hard and deep
12. I am available to whatever/whomever God puts in my day
13. I am confident and knowledgeable
14. I am given all things through Christ
15. I am forgiving and generous
16. I am healthy
17. I am relaxed
18. I am secure
19. I am worthy because He has given me worth
20. I am blessed
21.  I am abounding in gratitude
22. I am excited about today!
23. I am compassionate and thoughtful and loyal
24. I m an encourager and kind
25. I am a friend to the friendless and everyone God brings in my path
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Image result for biblical affirmations for women

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Image result for biblical affirmations to decree over your life
Image result for biblical affirmations to decree over your life
Image result for biblical affirmations to decree over your life


Friday, September 27, 2019

He speaks to me...

    He speaks to me.  I needed it.  I heard.  Not only that, I listened.  His rebuke both pointed and gentle, instructive and compassionate.  It had been one of those days, but wait, let me back up.
    Friday night, we had a group over for folk dancing.  One of them, a single mom of two tow-headed little girls, was talking to me about child training, raising.  She was struggling and overwhelmed.  I've been there!  In fact, as we spoke, I too was convicted.  It's so easy as a parent to let things slide, abdicate authority out of fatigue, frustration, weariness of the battle.  We lose our consistency and focus.  As we spoke, I related it to an army training for battle. 

Image result for female christian warrior imagesWe as parents are the drill sargeants, preparing our children for what lies ahead, the battles they will face in life.  Our goal: to raise up wise, confident warriors who won't be taken out by their enemies, the lies and brokenness around them, or their own brokenness and insecurity.  So, what does a good drill sargeant do?  Works his soldiers, many times hard, always consistent, bent on soldiers who obey instantly their commands, are strong for the fight, trained in scenarios/tactics of the enemy that could cause them harm, aware of their surroundings and the dangers around them - not to fear them but to withstand them in the day of trouble.  If the sargeant allows for insubordination, everyone doing their own thing and figuring out how to be trained for battle on their own, exercising as much as they want or when they want, or who trains some days and moments and is unmotivated to at others, how strong/prepared will his army be in the day of battle?  All the while as I spoke, my own heart was stirred to hit the reset button in my own home.  Take my job as a warrior/teacher seriously, lovingly because I have goals for my children to be prepared that when they are no longer under my roof, they are still under the protection of my training. 
    Armed with new fervor and conviction, I spoke to my children Monday morning about my renewed intentions to work with them and for them, to bring greater order and peace to our home.  You know, the enemy wasn't too keen on that.  It seemed like it was one thing after another with bad attitudes, direct or indirect disobedience and squawbling.  Half way through the morning, I wanted to hang my head and cry.  I was feeling overwhelmed and worn.  I had to be out of the house with dinner made for three families by early afternoon, the kitchen was a mess, and I hadn't completed our school agenda for the day.  I felt a stress headache coming on as we rushed out of the house.  Day one and I felt defeated. 

    Later that afternoon as I was driving my daughter and a couple other girls to a Bible study small group, it came.  He began quietly speaking. "How can you train your children for the day of battle when you are taken out in the first few skirmishes.  This is not who I made you to be.  You have great intentions and resolutions, but you weren't prepared for the fight.  You were surprised when it came.  In order for you to be effective, you can't let the enemy take you out in the first round.  You're speaking over yourself the wrong things. You believe yourself to be weak, almost helpless.  Prepare for the battle, arm yourself for war, fight for your kids and for peace with confidence and joy, and you will certainly win."
   Image result for female christian warrior images

   So, I changed what I was speaking over myself.  I made an "I am" statement, to arm myself with truth.  I am a strong, confident, joyful warrior, armed and prepared for the day of battle. 


   This life is not for the faint of heart, motherhood is not for the faint of heart.  The battle is real but the victory belongs to those who persist and grow in the confidence of walking in what is right, armed with Truth.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Two Fears, Two Roots

Image result for fear and the fear of the Lord   I was considering moving on, moving on to a new paradox.  Have I said everything about the Fear of the Lord verses fear? Certainly not. I imagine this could be as deep and wide as God Himself, but my thoughts had run dry.  So, I asked the Lord if He had any more thoughts for me on this topic.  I was feeling restless to write but empty of ideas.  Then, in the quiet way that He comes, that He speaks, I see plain as day the roots of these fears.  The underlying reason why these fears are antitheses.  Why we are implored to give all to lay hold of one, and urged in gentleness to let go of the other. 
  It's all a matter of perspective, of gaze.  What consumes the thoughts when fear is present?  Where is the focus?  Is it not self-consumed?  We fear harm to ourselves or loved ones, financial, social, psychological, physical, relational distress or destruction.  Our gaze focused sometimes on what we see, often what we fear we might see or experience.  Our gaze is self-consumed.  Fear is rooted in self preservation, an attempt in our psyche to control our surroundings or what happens to us.  It is often irrational and gives us a false sense of control, as if by fearing we could prevent bad things, we could shift circumstances in our favor or change the outcome.  I don't say this, pointing the finger at those who fear, as one who stands in judgement - condemning the fears and one experiencing fear - for I myself am in an ongoing battle with fear.  And there is a created, instinctive, life-saving, self-preserving fear that keeps you from being captured, eaten by a lion, crushed by a falling object, etc.  That is not bad.  But I am coming to believe that one of our life-long wrestles for deliverance is tied to a freedom from fear correlated to a freedom from self-preservation, having fallen into radical trust in a Sovereign God.
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“When we fear what other people think about us, we are frequently more focused on 'being interesting' and less focused on 'taking an interest.' That's why many people talk a great deal when they are anxious and why many people never feel heard. If both people and conversation are trying to be interesting, there is no one left to genuinely listen.” 
― John Yokoyama, When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market





Image result for no fear in love   The verse that keeps circulating in my mind is 1 Jn 4:18.  "There is no fear in love (because love is in essence others focused, removes focus from self-preservation to blessing, benefiting and seeking the good of others), but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment (fear gazes inward- what will happen to me).  The one who fears has not been made perfect in love or has not fully experienced His perfect love." (Because to know what is the height and length and breadth and depth of His love is to lose sight of all fear in the wonder and knowledge and security of both His kindness, tenderness, favor, love and His power.
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   Which brings me to the Fear of the Lord, a gaze at the Most High and Holy, a centering on all that is True and Right and Good and Beautiful.  It is perspective. It is an acknowledgement of WHO can change all things, preserve all things, direct all things and a recognition that He is worthy of all things, above all things, in all things (even can be found in the heart wrenching, broken things).  At its core, is not the Fear of the Lord a life laid down, a letting go of control, of your own agenda or self-preservation and laying all of those things to rest in Him? His ways really are higher, better, of purer motive and intention with a perspective of countless ages rather than minutes, hours, days and years.  Eyes lifted up as a maidservant to her Master, knowing that His is the source of all good and giving - that is the Fear of the Lord.  When one is consumed with Him, all else fades away - fears are laid to rest, wounds are soothed and comforted, all things become reconciled in God. 
Image result for fear and the fear of the Lord   Image result for fear and the fear of the LordImage result for fear and the fear of the Lord

  Are all things then just puppies and rainbows?  It's easy.  No sweat!  Aw, if it were only so.  But how often our flesh wars against truth, our spirits wrestling with right rather than resting in it in the midst of hard and even terrible things.  This shift in gaze, shift from self focus to God focus can be an all out battle of the mind and will.  Often is a willful intention to tear ones-self out of the grip of fear and muster all the help of Heaven to lay hold of rest in the Everlasting Arms.  But it's a fight worth having, worth taking on, worth expending all energy toward because the value of rooting one deeply in GOD and seeing Him rightly is a treasure of inestimable worth- far beyond what all the world could offer, and is indeed the satisfaction of our souls, because it is what we were made for.  Image result for " He delivers me from all my fears"