iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Seasons”

Late Night Visitor – Grief is Like…


See the first grief post here.

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The One About Friendship


I remember Mrs. James, my grade school music teacher.  She was instrumentally and vocally talented and it was her job to raise our interest in music and possibly find some talent percolating within.  I am pretty sure I was graded on simply showing up because I have not been blessed with a singing voice.

The old wooden upright piano was tucked in the corner and a few of the stronger boys were called upon to assist her in pushing it to the front of the room.  Mrs. James loved to jam out on that piano by teaching us African American Spirituals which always got us up dancing next to our desks.  She calmed us down by gradually slowing the tempo of the songs we were singing and when she got us to finally sit back down, she taught us a new song.  She started with the melody and then she taught us the words.   The song was simple:

“Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver, the other gold.”

When I was younger, I used to make friends as quickly as the beat of the African American Spirituals we sang. Not many of my friendships from that era have lasted simply because we changed as we grew, which is absolutely normal. Since then, I learned that common interests break the ice a lot more quickly than small talk ever will. As an introvert, I like meeting extroverts because they draw me out of my shell.

I treasure my friends. I am talking about the ones that no matter the span of time since we last talked, we are excited to see each other and we pick up where we left off, feeling like we never skipped a beat.

Spending the time it takes to get to know another person is never wasted time, in my opinion. Even if the friend was in my life for a short season, I know it was meant to be and I am thankful for the time we had together.

Truth be told, at times I feel blessed with many friends and at other times, I feel like I have no friends at all.

“Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver, the other gold.”

I have a “golden” friend that ranks higher than any other; His name is Jesus.  Although I knew of Him all my life, I didn’t really get to know Him until I was without a human friend I could easily reach out to during a dark period in my life. Jesus met me at my lowest point and did not judge me.  He walked me out of the darkness and showed me His light.

In an effort to get to know Jesus better, I joined Bible Studies and started listening to Christian music and Christian preachers on the radio.

Jesus is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the Great I Am.  Although He is seated at the right hand of God, is all-powerful and all-knowing, He became man to be an example in how to live.

He knows all about me and loves me anyway.  He is the coolest friend to have because he doesn’t care if my hair is messy or my pajamas don’t match.  He doesn’t care what kind of car I drive, but likes to help me get to my destinations safely.  Such greatness and He wants a relationship with me and He enjoys my company.  He listens, He loves, He died for me.  He loves to spend time with me and is available day or night and loves our talks.  Wherever, whenever; Jesus is the most available friend to me.  He doesn’t get jealous when I spend time with other friends of the earth, as oftentimes, He is the topic of conversation. There is nothing I do that will embarrass Him, and He doesn’t do anything to embarrass me.  Jesus must be an extrovert because he draws me out of my shell.

Jesus isn’t a “one-and-done friend.” In fact, He wants so badly to be friends with you too. If you don’t know who Jesus is, I would love to introduce you to Him.

In grade school, Mrs. James taught me about friendship in one simple song.  As I go through life, I continue to make new friends while cherishing my old friends.  I do not know who first said, “You become who you hang out with”, but I noticed the change in me the day I started really hanging out with Jesus.

One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.

Proverbs 22:11

Your Wish is My Command


Daily Prompt: Writing Room
A genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?

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Prodigal Seeking God’s Forgiveness


Dear God:

When I am in your Word, I feel you close to me.  When I sit silently, I hear your sweet voice.

Please forgive me for taking a vacation from you this summer.  Rattling off excuses will be of no use.  The bottom line, I was selfish with my time.  Apple got it right when they named their products iPhone and iPad as they are hand-held me-focused toys with a few business uses.  I spent my time intertwined on the web commenting to friends on facebook and reading email after email in Yahoo all while my Bible sat on the end table in the front window getting a sunburn.

Please forgive me for taking you for granted.  I feel like I wasted this beautiful season without you near.  Recent days have not been good for me.  My smile flipped into a frown.  My aches turned into pains and when loneliness crept in, I realized I had not spoken with you in quite a while. 

I am sincerely sorry for neglecting you.  Thank you that you meet me where I am.  You are the Father running to meet His prodigal child.  I am going to end this blog to spend time with you. 

In Jesus’s Name I Am Forever Yours,

Kristine

I God

Acts 13:38 (NIV)

 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

Silence is the Retreat


My drive from Michigan to Ohio was absolutely beautiful.  Michigan had experienced an ice-storm and every branch of the crystalized trees glittered for miles, superior to any display of Christmas lights I have ever seen, as the sunshine brought them to life.  My simple little camera would not have captured the beauty that was before me; therefore, the photo album is etched in my memory. 

To silence oneself for a few days is not as hard as imagined; I accomplished this during the last weekend in March in a most serene setting in Ohio at a silent directed retreat.  About 25 others attended this quiet-time to contemplate and discern God in our lives.  We were blessed with trained Spiritual Directors to guide us in this journey.   

The first evening, we were able to speak with others while sharing a meal.  I was one of three participants from Michigan, and I met some awesome Ohioans.  We may have talked for 45 minutes or so, but much was shared within those precious minutes.  After the meal, we met in a room together to share what was on our hearts this weekend.  When it was my turn to speak, I explained that about a month ago, I had a very vivid dream of someone telling me to “minister to the church”.  My personal task then was to spend time with God to see just what that meant.

We were assigned one of four Spiritual Directors and we broke into smaller groups to meet with them for further instruction about the weekend and to set up our personal meeting times.  After this short meeting, we were excused to begin our journey into silence.

Back in my room, I had a hard time settling in.  Earlier that morning, my mother was rushed to emergency and diagnosed with a treatable form of congestive heart failure.  It was on my mother’s urging that I go ahead and make my journey to Ohio as I had planned for months.  I silently kept in contact with my siblings by receiving updates about my mother’s condition via text messaging. 

One awesome cook made all of our meals.  Eating in silence was an experience I had never encountered.  We acknowledged each other with smiles, but then focused on our food before us and the beauty of the landscape that surrounded us through all the windows in the dining area.  We took turns cleaning up the kitchen after each meal.  I signed up for clean up duty after breakfast on Saturday morning.  I broke the silence in the dining area when I accidently dropped a drinking glass onto the ceramic tiled floor.

Spring was not in the air; however, God gave us sunshine every day.  I bundled up and took a walk along the paths in the woods and I walked around the pond and next to a stream.  I spotted beautiful birds that I never see in Michigan, I heard the jack-hammer pounding of the Woodpeckers high up in the trees, and two sets of geese were making their homes near the pond.  It was so beautiful.

Sitting in silence and letting the Holy Spirit speak to my heart was quite an amazing experience.  Spending time in prayer, God’s word, in His creation, and simply resting in Him, made me realize that He is not quiet at all. 

During our closing session, we went around the room, as we had at the beginning, and shared what the Holy Spirit spoke to us in our silent journey.  This is what I said:

On Thursday, I announced that I wanted to know what my dream meant to “minister to the church”.  I found out that answer this weekend.

To minister means to care for others.  The church are people everywhere.

The Holy Spirit allowed me to search deep inside of me to remind myself that I love to help people.  I have sewing skills, listening skills, writing skills and support skills that I can creatively use to serve God’s people.  Although I have ideas on how to utilize my passions and skills, it will be the Holy Spirit that will lead me.  I will spend more time in prayer and in God’s word as they will strengthen me.

Philippians 4:13 is my take-away verse:

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

I did not want to leave the serenity of the weekend.  My Spiritual Director explained that this is an experience.  I can take this experience with me, lean on it, remember it and be thankful for it.  I can create new experiences to spend quality, quiet-time with the Holy Spirit.  When she said this to me, it didn’t make sense.  Only after being immersed into the world once again, do I understand.  It is important for all of us to sneak away, quiet ourselves and let the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts as it is true nourishment for the soul.  Now I understand why Jesus took time alone to pray to his Father.  He was being strengthened for His journey to the cross.

A special Thank You to Sister Virginia, my Spiritual Director.  May God continue to use you for His good works.   

Lost Creativity


neutral crayons
dehydrated markers
ragged paper

wadded fabric
rusted scissors
unraveled spools of thread

inkless pen
pointless pencil
inoperative computer

                                 Sit
                     and
      stare

while my brain sleeps

Ezekiel 37: 5 (NIV)

This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.

 

Beautiful Storm


Stepping outside this morning, I noticed it was a beautiful fall day; the air crisp and the sun warm.

As I was driving after church to run an errand, I continued my contemplation of the blessing of such a beautiful day. A perfect, cloudless blue sky encapsulated the city; however, clouds could be seen in the distance to the west and the north. Seeing the clouds in the distance reminded me of life; sometimes peaceful and beautiful yet the storms will be in our future.

As I crested a hill on the highway, I came upon a police car and a fire truck, both with their lights on. People were standing around discussing with the police officer the details they remembered of the accident that recently happened. Storm clouds moved in on their beautiful fall day in which the air remained crisp and the sun warm.

On my way home, I saw more flashing lights in the distance. An ambulance and a fire truck parked in front of a house on this beautiful fall day. A stretcher was being wheeled into the front yard and paramedics were entering the front door to offer their trained services and to help calm the storm within.

Praise be to God for the beautiful fall day; the air crisp and the sun warm. Praise be to God for the stormy times in our lives as well. God is in the center of each situation. Can you see Him?

Psalm 68:4 (NIV)
Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds—his name is the LORD—and rejoice before him.

I Sit Listening: An Autumnal Equinox Experience for Women 9-22-2010


I attended this session with about 28 other women. We put our busy lives on hold to take in, through our senses, all the beauty of the changing seasons that we may otherwise overlook.

Sitting outside on blankets and mats, we were led into meditation by Jan Lundy. Our senses were awakened to the environment around us. After a short reading by Jan, we were encouraged to take 30 minutes to discover what the seasonal change means to us. We were allowed to do this in any way we wanted. Women wrote in journals, walked, explored the pond, or took a nature walk in the nearby wooded area.

I sat for a little while and enjoyed listening to a bird call to other birds as it sat high up in a tree. The leaves danced in the breeze as I gravitated to the pond. The scent of the pond made me reminiscent of childhood days spent at my family’s waterfront cottage playing in the shallow part of the lake and exploring a nearby swamp. As I looked more closely into the water, I saw minnows racing in unison to the top to snack on the unsuspecting bugs that landed on the water. I stood silently hoping to see a frog before it jumped in the water to hide from me. I stepped away to walk the nature trail, but found the muddy ground unappealing and I made my way back to the edge of the pond. Standing where I had been moments earlier, I was surprised to notice some very pretty yellow flowers at the water’s edge. I started walking around the pond and I saw more fish and more bugs. Then I spotted the two inch fish that stopped me in my tracks. This little fish was dead and lying on its side, washed up to the shore. I said a little prayer for the fish in case it was all by itself when it passed away and it had its own change of season.

Seasons change inside and outside of us. Embrace every change and give God the glory for the good changes and even the bad changes as he is in the center of each of them, holding us up.

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

Take the time to meditate on the seasons of your life and look for God in each of them. He has been, is, and will be there with you.

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