Tag Archives: storm

Sonic Footprint

If anyone questions whether there is a God, He is always fully present.  If anyone asks if He hears our prayers, glance at who He places in your presence.  If anyone wonders if He answers those prayers, look to the present to see how gloriously he responds.  If anyone inquires about His expectations of us, teach them how His love demonstrates His present responsibility.

Faithful living brings a heart full of hope and a life of love and joy.  Each day, we draw the picture of faithful living by the sonic footprint (the pattern and mark our words are leaving on others) we place on those around us.

Below is an excerpt from an earlier post.  At the time, I was trying to keep a positive sonic footprint while I was in the middle of a storm.  You see, I believe that economic independence is obtained through education.  Two years ago, my dream of my offspring having that seemed to be going up in smoke.  The anguish I experienced was soothed only in the comforting arms of prayer and through the encouraging words of others.  God sent a prophet to me to let me know everything would be okay and charted a course my daughter could take to get where she needs to be.  She is now on that course.  She has pulled herself together and will soon enter community college.  Enjoy!

While I was working at guest services today, a man on the security team named Aaron Hope approached me and began talking to me.  His opening words included a comment on the emblem on my shirt. The emblem was my daughter’s high school and mascot.  He told me he graduated from there just a few years ago.  He talked about his positive experiences there as well as his challenges and struggles.  His story included examples of his involvement in many activities, his laziness as a student, the encouragement of his parents, and his eventual and close-call path to graduation.  I explained to him the grip fear has on me as I see my daughter in the exact same place while running out of time to correct her course.  He laughed at the similarities between the two of them.  He gave me some tips on clever ways to encourage her and let me know that his educational path ended with a college degree.

He was honest with me about the three university rejection letters that were the results of his less than perfect grades.  He talked about having to apply to the local community college and finally getting accepted.  It was a challenging experience for him because he knew he was a smart kid who had failed to apply himself.  His decisions led to a less than desirable result.  He was left behind as he watched his friends go away to four-year universities while he stayed at home to attend junior college.  Through the experience, he found motivation to succeed.  He regularly attended community college classes, paid attention, and made good grades.   During his first year at the school, he visited a high school friend who got into a state university just two hours away.  After visiting the campus just once, he committed to doing what it took to get admitted.  The next year, he transferred there.  He suggested that I take my daughter on a campus visit to the university and informed me that it has an undergraduate program and a follow on professional school program in my daughter’s area of interest.  He ended the conversation with reminding me to be prayerful and patient because everything was going to work out.  He then smiled and went on his way.

I believe this experience was God’s plan.  God knew about the emotional meltdown my daughter had the day before when she realized the deep whole she was in because of low grades.  He heard her cry out in my arms that she was slipping into a spiral and did not know how to stop it; that she is one of the smartest people in her group of friends but has the lowest grades because she hasn’t been studying like she should; and that she performed poorly in her sporting event the night before because she was tired as she can’t sleep because she is worried about passing her classes for the quarter.  God’s spirit moved me to stay at home Saturday night to be with her instead of coming to church.  He knew I was feeling fearful about her future, alone, and helpless.  He also knew I needed a constructive example of an encouraging person who would make me feel good, to help me through the moment as well as to assist me with improving my sonic footprint.

Sooooo…to bring me into the fold, I was struck with an issue of importance to me, my daughter.  God worked it out that I would be standing alone in His house the next day.  He sent a handsome and physically fit young man who is half my age because He knew that would catch my attention.  He sent a messenger named Aaron Hope – a brother and keeper from a high place bearing a strong and confident prospect.  (Aaron is Hebrew for teacher, lofty, exalted; also Moses’ older brother and keeper by God’s command.  Hope means to cherish a desire with anticipation.)  Because I was vulnerable, I was able to hear God’s voice and was encouraged while receiving a lesson on how to advance His kingdom.  Through the 10 minute interlude with Aaron, I was left with this:

  1. With Great intentionality, God sent his exalted teacher to remind me to stay optimistic and faithful as events of the future occur by His will and in His time.
  2. 5 “Before I started to put you together in your mother, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart as holy.  I chose you to speak to the nations for Me.” Jeremiah 1:5
  3. As I wait, I must be an Aaron Hope by being positive with my words, leaving others feeling good and God led.

1 Peter 1 (MSG) tells us:

3-5 What a God we have!  And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!  God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.  The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. 

6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.  Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.  When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 

8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him.  You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing.  Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. 

10-12 The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing. The Messiah’s Spirit let them in on some of it—that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory.  They clamored to know who and when.  All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves—through the Holy Spirit—the Message of those prophecies fulfilled.  Do you realize how fortunate you are?  Angels would have given anything to be in on this!

13-16 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives.  Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing.  You didn’t know any better then; you do now.  As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.  God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

17 You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way.  But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

The Potter’s Dozen

“My entire mission in life is to help women take over the world. Not by force…but with compassion, perseverance, and love.”  Kevyn Aucoin

Slowing down last week allowed me to connect with other women, which caused me to slow down even more and attract still others. The Spirit is teaching me that motion must cease before a bond can be created and only in stillness will two things adhere to one another.  The strongest bonds are not formed with C5H5NO2, an acrylic resin called cyanoacrylate (also known as Krazy Glue).  Instead, the strongest bonds are formed with an emotional compound called love.

A year ago, the church group I was in ended.  Soon thereafter, I started a new one with about ten women in it.  Many of the 50 or so women whom I had grown accustomed to meeting with regularly, crossed over to other groups, began leading their own groups, or were otherwise plugged into another spiritual development ministry.  But about twelve women fell through the cracks.  I had received my calling, taken the training, formed a group, and pulled out of port to execute mission.  I called “all aboard”, conducted a head count and roll call for the current group, and never looked back.  Unfortunately, I am not sure that anyone else did either.  By slowing down, I realized that one of His precious dozen had been left behind.  Many of them were still standing stuck in the same cyclone, sensing the violence and destruction that can come from life’s storms.  Casting Crowns summarizes how abandoned and afraid many of them may feel:  Here I am Lord and I’m drowning in Your sea of forgetfulness. The chains of yesterday surround me.  I yearn for peace and rest.  I don’t want to end up where You found me.  And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight.  I know You’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west.  And I stand before You now as though I’ve never sinned.  But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way.  Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west?  ‘Cause I can’t bear to see the [wo]man I’ve been rising up in me again.  In the arms of Your mercy I find rest.  You know just how far the east is from the west, from one scarred hand to the other. – East To West

The Lord put it on my heart to reach out to them. I learned that a few have moved away.  Most are adrift and disconnected from the body, feeling cut off and uncertain of their worth in His kingdom.  Without support, they entered the spiritual poverty queue and without connection, they will remain there.  To find relief from the nooses of perpetual spiritual crisis, they will have to join forces with members of the body and make drastic changes in their lives.  Those members who are in secure vessels must turn around immediately, travel back, and offer what we can.  The willing and committed will welcome an invitation to be brought back into the fold, into the security that comes with connection to His people.  As Casting Crowns continues with, “I start the day, the war begins; endless reminding of my sin. And time and time again your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in.  Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way.  Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west?  ‘Cause I don’t want to see the [wo]man I’ve been come rising up in me again.  In the arms of Your mercy I find rest, ’cause You know just how far the east is from the west, from one scarred hand to the other.”

Reaching out to these women took my focus off of the trivial issues in my own life. What I have learned so far is that in many ways, they are just like me – clay the Potter is molding.  Without Him, we tend to make choices that make bad situations worse.  Without the guidance of His spirit, we chase the immediacy of now which can move us from financial hardship or spiritual distress into abject poverty or moral bankruptcy.  Backsliding even further once we recognize that we are in crisis, we jump out of His arms and begin looking inward for the answers.  We then seek a soother and allow our orifices take the lead role in our decision-making process.  For some, it is food or drink.  For others, it is an unevenly yoked relationship or an empty wallet full of plastic that won’t close.  For all of us, it is a boastful self-reliance that has an infinitesimal fraction of the capacity of our Maker.  We seek to cope in our space when He wants us to thrive in His arms.  “How often we expect big things from God without preparing for big things from him” – Beth Moore.  Matthew 6:33 says, 33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.”  (TLB)

What I am also seeing is that those who are seeking release, are eager to get reconnected. They look forward to the calls of encouragement and commit themselves to prayer.  The spirit is moving in them and is impacting their decisions.  The change of the internal landscape is, by default, altering their external backdrop.  Over time, they will learn their precious worth and embrace being the women God called them to be.  Through perseverance, they will learn there are so many gifts they have been given and the specific role they play in his kingdom.  They will learn to seek wise counsel and make faith-filled choices, enter into a deep relationship with God, get educated in His word, grow in their walk in community with others, and teach their children in His ways.  By showing them compassion, not judgment, we can encourage them back into His network.  But, it all begins with showing them love.

Through love, He heals the hurts that keep us anchored in the four corners of our lives. In His word, our minds are occupied and our hearts feel His grace.  When our spirits are alive we experience the success of true joy.  His love gives us the energy to begin to make faith-filled selections in other areas of our lives.  Whether it is getting a roommate or a second job, there is relief from dependence on that broke-down relationship.  By living in His word, we no longer feel the need to eat, drink, or shop through our feelings.  Through community with others, we are exposed to resources that help ensure our children are not hungry.  Leaning heavily into Him, with the support of His servants, allows us to thrive rather than just survive.  We can move from spiritual crisis to a place of stability through the trifecta of love, perseverance, and compassion.  “Whatever God is urging you to clear away cannot begin to be compared to what He ultimately wants to bring you” – Beth Moore.  We know “You’ve washed me white, turned my darkness into light. I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night.  I can’t live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals.  And I’m not holding onto You but You’re holding onto me… In the arms of Your mercy I find rest, ’cause You know just how far the east is from the west…”

Praying for and reaching out to the Potter’s Dozen has me here:

  1. Just because there is a loud clap of thunder or a large streak of lightning does not mean that the storm will last long or that it will be destructive.
  2. In the aftermath of violent storms, there may be a mess but it doesn’t have to be lifelong chaos.
  3. Crisis is designed to be a temporary state of extreme difficulty, not a way of life.
  4. “I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike” – Maya Angelou

Now fellow fisherman, we are being called to be fishers of women. This is no proclamation that we have it all together.  It is also not a declaration to set out on long distance mission trips to postilatize our sisters in other countries.  It is a request to reach out to our neighbors in the cities and towns around us and share the good news and some of our abundance.  27 Don’t spend your life chasing food that spoils and rots.  Instead, seek the food that lasts into all the ages and comes from the Son of Man, the One on whom God the Father has placed His seal.  John 6:27