Secret Places

11.20.2014 004Day Three:

Isaiah 45: 3  I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by name, Am the God of Israel. 

 

When I was a young girl, I was extremely shy, insecure and introverted, but I had a very colorful inner life.  I was a voracious reader and one of my all time favorite books was The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett . I have always been intrigued by the idea of a secret place, a private, safe place, impervious to the outside world. In fact, we are currently planning a downsize in our property ownership. My dream would be to have a smaller, fenced in yard which I could fashion like a secret garden.

Psalm 91 has long been a life word for me, and I have loved the idea of dwelling in the secret place of God. But when I discovered Isaiah 45:3, I was undone. Wow. God is a lover of secret places too! He calls me by name into His secret place, there to give me the treasures of knowing Him, experiencing Him, discovering Him.

Many years ago, we had family friends who moved from Spokane to Colorado. I was young and was very fond of the son and daughter of those friends. It was hard for me to say goodbye to them. Before they left, on the last time we would see each other, they gave me a secret gift, pictures they had drawn on delicate onion skin paper. I don’t even remember what the pictures were, but I remember how special they made me feel. In fact, I can still hear the crinkle of the paper, and feel its delicate texture. I hid those pictures in a secret place and treasured them. A few years later, our house caught fire and we lost everything. Of all we lost, those pictures were my greatest sorrow. Why? Because they represented the private intimacy of a special friendship. All these years later, the memory of that loss can still evoke tears. In fact, until now, I have never shared that story with anyone, it has remained a secret in my heart of hearts.

Our Heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe, offers that kind of intimacy to us. The unique to each of us secret place of His presence. Listen, do you hear Him? Listen more closely, He is whispering your name, inviting you into a wondrous, place of His presence. Oh the joy, the delight, the absolute glory that awaits you there! Will you answer? Will you step into your secret garden with the One who knows you best and loves you most?

I, the Lord who calls you by name,  will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places…

Like October Fog…

Hen Fest Pics 002

I love Autumn. I love the changing colors, the light sweater days, the smell of damp fallen leaves…and October fog.

October fog isn’t like January fog that freezes to the roads and chills me to the bone. October fog whispers of the changing season. It gently folds itself around the valleys like my mother’s old flannel blanket. I love to watch as it slowly lifts, revealing outlines and shapes, then clarity of landscape.

When driving in fog, which I try to avoid, one must keep one’s lights on low beam. High beam lights will simply reflect back into your eyes making it even more difficult to see.

I am learning that to seek the Lord on a particular subject is often like driving in fog. When I try too hard, I become blinded by my own perceptions and opinions. Striving, or becoming anxious and stressful, will only hinder my ability to see or hear from Him.

I am also learning to enjoy the process. Oh how rich the process! I don’t want to miss a single tidbit of what God has planned for me, because I am striving for an answer.

Isaiah 30:15 says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

In quietness and confidence shall be my strength. I am absolutely confident that if God doesn’t answer immediately, He will always answer eventually. And in between the asking and the answer, I get to discover the riches of His love for me.

So I will sit back and rest in the secret place of His embrace. I will watch as He reveals outlines and shapes, then clarity of landscape. And I will enjoy the process, while He gently folds Himself around me and whispers in my ear…

…like October fog.

 

© Sharon E. Coleman 2014

 

The Eyes of the Beholder

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Have you ever read a particular scripture that speaks to you over and over again? By that I mean, you glean numerous and different truths from the same passage? An inheritance word is a passage of scripture that leaps off the page and grabs your spirit, speaking to your own personal journey. That is a word God has chosen for you to hang your hat on, a promise you can take to the bank. And if you will truly begin to mine it, you will hear God speaking to you not just once, but over and over and over. And He will not say the same thing every time! Like looking at a finely cut diamond, you will see different facets of God’s plans for you as you look at your inheritance word from different perspectives.

Recently my daughter took a random picture with her cell phone. When she posted it on Facebook, it took my breath away. It had the effect on my spirit that an inheritance word has. As I began to ask the Lord what He was saying to me through this picture, He gave me three different and distinct interpretations.

Legacy: This interpretation was for my father. My dad is an eighty four year old cowboy. He has mentioned to me on numerous occasions that when he is gone, the things he has cherished, his love of horses, etc., will be forgotten and nobody will care. But as I looked at this picture, the Lord told me to give it to my dad as a symbol of the legacy he leaves behind. The young girl in the picture is my youngest granddaughter, his great-granddaughter. Here is what the Lord told me to write and include with the picture:

The best of me upon this sod is not through toil, but hand of God

So when He calls and I am gone, the best of me will linger on…

Brilliant. God so gets and loves my dad!

Inheritance: I am a member of a group called The Warrior Class. We are learning to be warriors in God’s army. It is an incredible journey and many of its members operate in the prophetic. One of them saw this picture, and sent me this word for my granddaughter, she writes, “This is incredibly beautiful and it made me think of Zechariah 10:3b. I felt this was a prophetic sign for what she will become.”

“For the Lord of hosts has visited His flock, and the house of Judah. And will make them like His majestic horse in battle.”

Savannah Rose Brown, Warrior Princess? Awesome.

Ebb: One of the things I am learning as a warrior, is the importance of rest.  It is undoubtedly one of the most important principles we learn. One of my own inheritance words is Psalm 91: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…”

Along with the principle of always remaining and abiding in His place of rest, it is imperative that we learn to take specific, set aside times to simply step away from the fray and soak in His majesty and rest. We call those times, ebb. As a group, we take periodic worship ebbs. For a set amount of time, we step away from the flow of learning, studying, and processing what it means to be a Warrior in God’s army. Those times are incredible As I take the time to simply be in His breathtaking presence, and soak in the tenderness and passion of God’s love for me, I find my own worship and love for Him rising to new levels. It allows me to return to our assignments with renewed vigor and fresh perspective. Hosea 2:14-15 says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope…”

The Word tells us that Jesus Himself often withdrew to pray and be with His Father, Luke 5:15-16 says, “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more, and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

For me personally, this picture speaks of ebb. It represents that time between the battles when I simply get to bask in the awesomeness and peace of His presence.

Breathtaking

At the very least, the picture is an anointed capturing of a special moment. Does it speak to you? What does it say? What do you do when a passage of scripture or something you see causes your spirit to stir within you? If you don’t already do so, I encourage you to stop, ask the Lord what He is telling you, write it down. You will be amazed at the things He wants to show you, tell you and share with you. He is indeed an incredibly awesome, brilliant, fun (sometimes funny), surprising and ever so faithful God. Enjoy your journey!

 

© Sharon E. Coleman 2014

To learn more about The Warrior Class, go to http://twclass.org/

 

In His Shadow

Feb 19, 2014 006 In His Shadow 3 
 
Recently I watched a cute video on Facebook. The video showed several toddlers in the process of discovering their shadows. Some of the toddlers were fascinated, some were intimidated. But they all went through the motions of trying to detach themselves from their shadows.
 
Visible in one of the clips was the shadow of the parent who was taping his child. The parent reassured his child, “I’m right here,” he coaxed. “See, Daddy’s shadow is right here too.” 
 
Watching the video, I was reminded of Psalm 91 where we are told, “He who dwells in the secret place (shelter) of the Most High, will abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
 
In the context of Psalm 91,  it occurs to me that if I am under God’s shadow, it means He is right there! God’s shadow cannot detach itself from the presence of God, so if His shadow is there, so is He.  Just like that toddler’s father said, “I’m right here. See, Daddy’s shadow is here too.” So my loving Heavenly Father says to me, “I’m right here, see my shadow?”
 
I love the way my Heavenly Father talks to me. I love the way He reveals Himself to me through daily day events that suddenly become more. They become a conversation between us, causing me to know and appreciate Him in a new way. I have come to expect  those encounters as a normal part of my walk with Him. So can you.
 
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him. (II Peter 1:2-4)
 
Be still and know Him…
 
©Sharon E. Coleman  2014

Christmas For Two

Dec. 18,2013 004

 Christmas for two after all of these years
Years filled with laughter, seasoned with tears
Traces of Christmases past tease my mind
With shadows that flicker and leave me behind
The house always bursting with laughter and cheer
Of family and friends from both far and near
 
But this year hints of a quieter note
As winter tries on her white Christmas coat
The children are gone with homes of their own
Yesterday they were babes, today they are grown
Family and friends, much loved though they be
This year won’t be able to sit ‘round our tree
 
So, together we tend to the holiday things
Adorning the house, checking lights on their strings
We shop for the children, and grandchildren too
Then take everything to the post office zoo
There’s caroling, parties, and even a play
Then the dawn of a sleepy, brand new Christmas Day
No patter of impatient feet in the hall
No “hurry! It’s Christmas!  Come on!” wake up call
Just a brunch made for two in the fire’s amber glow
As Christmas lights dance on the new fallen  snow
A call from the children full of holiday cheer
Make us wish they were home; well, maybe next year
An old Christmas movie, football and good food
Restore to our hearts the ‘holiday mood’
 
As darkness takes over its seasonal quest
The twinkling lights seem to say, “be our guest”
Our holiday haven, a respite so sweet
Hot tub and spiced cider now make it complete
 
Who knows what awaits holidays yet to come
If the Good Lord is willing, our kids will come home
But what ere future Christmases bring me and you
I’ll remember and cherish our Christmas for two

 

© Sharon E. Coleman 2013

When the Happy Holidays Aren’t

The holidays are times for celebrating with family and friends. They are times of remembering, rejoicing, feasting, and for stopping our routine for a time to enjoy the company of  those we love.

For many, my family included,  the holidays can be a time of  sorrow, as we are reminded of a loved one who no longer sits at our table. The holidays can magnify those feelings of loss. Perhaps for some, the holidays bring back bad memories from times past. If we are separated from loved ones by distance, the loneliness can be magnified during the holidays until it becomes a physical ache of longing for the embrace of that loved one far away.

At times like these we often ask ourselves the why questions. Why my loved one? Why me? You know the questions we ask when we are hurting, and even angry with God. Many of those questions will go unanswered until we see Him face to face. But I do know this: I know He loves you and He loves me with an everlasting love. That means His love has no strings and He even loves us when we are angry with Him. I know His Word tells me that He has borne my sorrows. In other words, He takes my pain, sorrow and heartache upon Himself, He shoulders my pain. The Word of God tells us that His ways are not our ways. To put it simply, we cannot expect to have God’s perspective any more than we can expect a three year old child to understand everything her parents do. Have you ever tried to reason with a three year old while she crosses her arms and stomps her little foot in anger and disapproval? How did that work for you? Futile is the word that comes to mind, because the child and the parents have different perspectives. A child’s ways are not the ways of a parent. Just like God’s ways are not our ways.

We are never promised a life without sorrow on this earth. However, we are promised that He will never leave us alone. He will walk with us through anything this world throws at us. He will never leave us. Never. I am reminded of a passage in John chapter 6. In this passage, we are told that many of His followers were turning away from Him because of unbelief. Jesus turned to His disciples and asked them, “Do you also want to go away?” Peter answered Him by saying, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life…You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Where would we go indeed! Think about it! Look what has happened to our world in the hands of man. I simply cannot imagine the futility of traversing this life without Him. So, bottom line: whether I understand or don’t understand, I will choose Him. When the path is smooth I will walk with Him. And when the path is strewn with heartache and sorrow, I will take His hand and lean on Him, knowing that He is the way to eternal life. And I will choose this Holiday Season to rejoice in the celebration of His gift to us, The gift of Himself.

 

May this Blessed Season find us looking for His face

May we always be reminded of His mercy and His grace

May the telling of His birth, sent from the Father up above

Ignite again the wonder of His never failing love

 

God’s Blessings to you and your loved ones this season of thanksgiving and wonder.

 

© Sharon Coleman 2013

Hands

Do you remember the Ivory Liquid commercials from years ago? They promised if you used Ivory Liquid, your hands would look young no matter what your age. Those promises may have sold dish soap, but in reality I have found hands to be revealingly honest.

I may be able cheat the calendar a little by using creams and lotions on my face. But when I look at my hands, I see the hands of a woman who has lived the spring and summer of her life. These hands tell of an unsheltered life. A life spent training horses, hauling hay, pulling weeds, washing dishes and diapers and scrubbing floors. They are my mother’s hands, and her mother’s before her.

With bittersweet fondness I remember my Grandfather Hendricks’s hands. They were wonderfully large, bent, work-gnarled hands. How I loved those hands! And although he has been with Jesus for over thirty years, I can still see them; still feel them as they swallowed my own in their loving grasp.

Years ago my aunt turned on the evening news in the middle of a story about shoeing horses. The television didn’t show the face of the man doing the demonstration, only his hands holding the horse’s hoof on his knees. “That’s my little brother!” she exclaimed. “I’d know those hands anywhere.” And sure enough, it was my dad.

Oh yes, hands tell a story, don’t they? Are they soft and smooth, or are they hard and calloused? Are they tender or are they harsh? In the book of the Revelation we read that Jesus laid his hand on John and said, “Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last…I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore…”

“Do not be afraid.”

King David said it this way, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Those precious hands of my Savior bear the scars he earned while purchasing my salvation. Someday I’ll touch them. Today I’ll rest in them, trusting they will never let me go or let me down.

 

And He took them up in His arms, laid His Hands on them, and blessed them.  Mark 10:16

 

© Sharon Coleman 2013

 

 

What Does Parenthood Have in Common With the Commander in Chief?

Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven

cropped blog 1When my children were teenagers I was often told, “You don’t look old enough to have teenagers.” I confess I liked hearing it. But one day I got to thinking about the whole thing. I started looking at my friends and peers and realized that most people don’t look  old enough to have teenagers, going into the deal (unless they started late). It’s being the parent of teenagers that brings about the metamorphosis, transforming us until, yep, we have teenagers, and we look it.

It’s kind of like the president of the United States. Have you ever noticed how young most of them look before they’re elected? Half way through one term, however,  they suddenly sprout gray hair. And by the time they exit the office, they have aged approximately twice the number of years they actually served.

And another thing, most commanders in chief hit their stride about two years after they leave office. No matter their popularity (or lack thereof) while in office, once they have been a former president for a couple of years, they are almost always revered and held in high esteem.

Likewise, by the time we hit our stride as parents of teenagers, viola! They are no longer teenagers. By then we are usually sporting the telltale signs of having been the parents of… awe yes, teenagers, bless their little hearts.

cropped blog 2But wait! There is reward around the corner. Like the former president who becomes revered and respected, the former parent of a teenager becomes…ta da! A grandparent! Your grandchildren will love you, and you them, on a whole new and wonderful level. They think you’re the greatest thing since peanut butter. And your children? They will look at you, shake their heads, and wonder what in the world happened to that tyrant who didn’t know anything about…well, about anything.

Oh, but the rewards just keep coming! Before you know it, your children become parents of teenagers. They’re pleased when people say to them, “You don’t look old enough to have teenagers!”

That’s when you nod, sit back, and smile. Just like every commander in chief does, the day after he leaves office.

Proverbs 17:6  Children’s Children are the crown of old men, (and old women)

If you enjoyed these thoughts, won’t you share them with your friends?  I would love them join us at My Kitchen Table, where there’s always room for another friend.

© Sharon E. Coleman 2013

More on parenthood, see Surrender or Tomorrows Memories

 

 

 

 

What If

What If

…when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”

…And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”  (Mark 4: 35-41)

*****

First, Jesus and His disciples got into the boat, and Jesus said, “Let’s go to the other side.” Then He curled up and took a nap.

When the storm began to rage, they said to Jesus, “Lord save us! Don’t you care that we are about to perish!”

Jesus responded to them, “Where is your faith?”

It appears that He is questioning the fact that they were terrified by the storm. But what if there was more to it? What if He was addressing more than their fear of the storm?

At this point they had been walking with Him for some time. They had seen Him heal the sick, they had listened to His parables and heard Him explain what they meant. He had even called them His family, while His own mother and brothers waited outside to see Him. They had spent intimate time with Him walking, talking, laughing and sharing.

What if the question He was really asking them was, “Do you still not know who I Am? Do you still not trust that when I say we are going to the other side, WE ARE GOING TO THE OTHER SIDE!”  In fact, their next comment was, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

What if what He really wanted them to get, was who He was and what that meant?

Yes, the winds may blow, and the rain may pour down, the boat may sink to the bottom of the sea. But if Jesus said they were going to the other side, nothing would stop them, because ‘I AM’ said they were going to the other side!

Have you ever been terrified? I have. And I can’t say I handled it any better than the disciples.

What if I am doing the same thing the disciples did? What if I am allowing the storms of this moment to obscure His promises?

What if He is waiting for me to realize that when He tells me we are going to the other side, we are indeed going to the other side! What if He is waiting for me to realize what it means to be in Him and have Him in me? What if he wants me to begin to see myself as heaven sees me, not as the world may see me? What if He wants me to learn to live above my circumstances instead of beneath them? What if He is waiting to give me a faith upgrade in my circumstance, if I will only look for it?

What if?

Ask Him!

© Sharon E. Coleman 2013

 

 

The Magic of the Dance

07.17.2013 012 When you dance...

I love the waltz. Years ago my husband and I took a ballroom dancing class at a local lodge. The teachers, Bob and Marian Murray, were long time family friends.

Because of his job, my husband could only attend every other week. So in his absence, Bob arranged to have one of the gentlemen in the advanced class act as my partner. When my substitute partners asked Bob how much I knew, Bob always replied, “Just go for it, and she’ll follow you.” Dancing with experienced partners kept me on my toes, as I tried to avoid stepping on theirs.

On the last night of class, Marian was ill and for some reason nobody showed up for class. Consequently, I spent the entire hour following Bob through advanced dance steps. I learned that when your partner knows how to lead well, following is easy, and really fun.

Bob has been with the Lord for many years now. But I have always remembered that night with fondness.  He could have just canceled the class, but he took the time to dance with his best friend’s daughter, and he did so with respect and genuine interest.

**********

Lately I have been asking the Holy Spirit to teach me how to rest in the Lord. I know it is essential to my walk with Him that I learn to “be still and know that He is God.” However, I sometimes have a difficult time quieting my mind and calming my spirit.

In my quest for rest in Him, I am learning to hear His voice in a new way. His presence is sweet, and I am finding that He has quite a sense of humor. Mostly I am coming to appreciate how very much He loves me. I am His beloved, (and so are you). He truly wants to reveal Himself to us more vividly than we can imagine.

Last night I received a troubling phone call, and as the familiar ache began to build in my chest, I tried to give it to the Lord. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I woke several times in the night and tried again to lay the situation at His feet.

This morning during my coffee time with Him, I asked once more for His help in getting the conviction of His all sufficiency from my head to my spirit. I don’t want to worry and stress, but couldn’t seem to figure out how to reset the default.

As I sat in quiet supplication, I sensed the Holy Spirit dance into the room. Yes, he waltzed right into the room, and held out His hand to me. He bowed low and said, “Will you dance with me?”

Then with a mischievous smile He added, “Remember, when you dance with me, I lead. You follow.

With wondrous joy I realized He was giving me the ‘how’ for which I had been looking. The heaviness in my chest evaporated as I lost myself in the dance.

Now I’m learning the magic of the dance. The dance is therapeutic, the dance is melodious, and the dance is relaxing. While we are dancing, I cannot run ahead, nor lag behind. I must simply follow His lead. If I try to anticipate His next step, I will miss what He’s doing now.

I can’t help but think back to that evening so many years ago when I danced with my dad’s best friend. Yes indeed, when your partner is a good leader, following is easy and fun.

© Sharon E. Coleman 2013

 

When you dance with the Lord, He always leads.  click to tweet