My heart was heavy and a quietness was upon me. Still, I had made a commitment and it was important to keep my word no matter what I was feeling within myself. After I sat down I could feel the tears start running down my face and I didn’t want to take off my sunglasses, even in the dimmed room. All I could think was, “please not now!”
My precious sister was gracious and started interceding in prayer for me. She didn’t question me about my heart, she just respected and loved me as I was. When I could finally speak again, we talked for a short while. I had shared with her how difficult it was to be a “mess” in front of anyone. She spoke aloud to me a beautiful verse….
2 Cor 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I found comfort in these words and dabbed at my eyes with my Kleenex, welcoming my own weakness…..
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
As much as we’d all like to be in that category of “loved by all”, let’s face it, we aren’t! Whether it’s family, friends or acquaintances, somewhere in that mix will be the special someone or even multiple persons who just don’t agree with your persona. I don’t often feel this myself but when I do, it’s very palpable. So much in fact it’s hard not to want to get as far away from it as possible. Of course, as life would have it, I can’t always do that.
Time for discernment; what is the difference between someone not liking you and an outright enemy? Is there a difference? I try not to find offense that perhaps I am not loved or even liked but it’s a slippery slope when you feel as though malice is at work. Time and again I have had to bite my tongue and take myself to task not to return in full what I am being given. I’ll be honest, it can hurt to lay myself down this much. Still, I am asked to bless in return. And so the growth continues, one day I hope to have the heart I am meant to have.
Napa Valley is such a kick to explore when I can find the time. Director Francis Ford Coppola bought the Inglenook winery years ago, renaming it Niebaum-Coppola and then Rubicon. Before it became a private fee entrance to even step foot on the estate, I had spent some time wandering the grounds.
Francis had brought some of his movie memorabilia to the place and made the second floor kind of cozy to explore. I am interested in history and this man has some intriguing movies which depict historical moments in our culture.
On one of the stone walls was a flag with the caption, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Vlad the Impaler Banner, flown during battle in 1462 as the Romanians fought the Turks”.
Friendships are intriguing things to ponder. I can say I have many friends but personal relationships which go into the deeper things, I have few. When I wonder about my heart, I look to the word and find what it is I am needing to examine closely.
Jonathan’s friendship with David fascinates me. Jonathan was clearly to be king and in an oath to David, Jonathan relinquished his throne to David who would become king instead. Jonathan died on the battlefield with his father and king, Saul.
Even in death, this friendship never lost it’s oath to each other. David served as king but he also sought out Jonathan’s crippled son and invited him to spend the remainder of his days at the king’s table, part of his family.
Their relationship has me looking deep within myself. How far am I willing to go for a friend? How much do I love them? Would I give them everything I had in promise and material? Would I give them my life?
John 15:13 (Message) This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.” Proverbs 8:17
In conversations I have been asked if I’m alright because I enjoy being alone more then most. I understand it’s simply concern for my wellbeing, but my heart longs so much for them to understand the absolute treasure I have found in this “alone” time. You see, none of us are ever really alone, but not many will seek the Lord’s presence while being alone.
With diligence I have sought my heavenly Father and in doing so He has made Himself known to me in wonderful ways. Ways my heart, my eyes and my ears recognize. So much in fact, I will purpose myself to be alone with Him, enjoying His love as it washes over me.
In my darkest hours He is comfort, in my anxiety He is calm, in my restlessness He is peace, in my desperation He is hope, in my wounds He is healing, in my struggles He is help, in my hurt He is love.
I have sought Him and I have found Him, just as His word speaks…..He is truth.
Sitting with a friend, we could see over the trees, looking at the freeway in the far distance. I hadn’t expected company, but she was up for coming along and kept pace with me as I pushed forward to find this spot. I loved the peacefulness. I didn’t have too much to say so I prayed instead; the breeze carried my words once more into the heavens.
We talked a little bit as I got to know her. My greatest surprise was to hear her say she wants to see pink trees in our heavenly earth. “How wonderful” I thought….my sister dreams in colorful ways….this hadn’t yet occurred to my own thoughts, but it was lovely to have my mind opened to new possibilities.
In a world of messages we have to wonder if we’re really getting them? Voicemails, emails and texting have taken over where once letters were the norm. We have even developed a shorthand version of our words so we don’t have to type as much. I often wonder if this stunts our conversations? Can I really get to know someone with a sentence here and there in an email? Will a text show me their real heart?
My husband has a business trip taking him to another state so it’s me and the pets. Now mind you I am in love with pets mentally but actually dealing with their day to day needs is not really my forte. A lesson I learned early on in our home life. I had a romantic notion of the faithful dog and purring cat. The reality is they shed, pant and well…want attention!
Since I am a self sustaining person I just expect them to be the same. If they are hungry, they should get something to eat, if they are thirsty then get a drink. Better still, if they start to smell funky then get in a bath and deal with it. Now that’s a dream I could live with…..sigh, that being said, it’s time I go out to the garage and start dishing out the evening meals…..
I looked through the sights at the clay pigeons nailed to a distant oak tree wondering if I could keep the barrel steady enough to hit any. Within a couple shots I saw one explode. Yep, this was exactly what the doctor ordered for some relaxation. My friends had been kind enough to indulge me in this endeavor and I enjoyed taking out a few more targets for a short time.
We walked to the river and once more I sat among some favorite rocks to quietly enjoy watching the dragonflies. Someone had given me one of these insects earlier in the afternoon and I was fascinated by their transparent wings. Watching them fly about I was amazed by their maneuverability and swiftness.
Getting up to leave I had my eyes filled by an incredible sunset. I was disappointed I hadn’t dragged the camera gear with me, but it was enough I could recognize such beauty. Standing in awe of God’s glory there along the river bank, I knew I wanted so many more of these live paintings.
The summer’s evening air was quite warm. I asked my husband to take me into San Francisco to take some photographs. The moon had been so bright the past couple nights I thought it’d be an opportunity to capture it off of the Golden Gate bridge. As we drew near the city, clouds had covered the bay and crossing the bridges, a fine mist began. It wasn’t going to be possible to take pictures in this weather. We just enjoyed the drive.
At the Palace of Fine Arts, we decided to get out and chance a photo of the soft lighting against the clouds. I crossed the street to the park while my husband set up a tripod. That was when I saw them. A figure huddled on a bench in this chilly mist. I didn’t know if it was a man or woman because they were sitting upright with a blanket to cover themselves.
Sitting down next to them I struck up a conversation. A woman emerged from the blanket with a ruddy face and suspicious eyes. We made small talk about the view of the Palace before us. She shared with me how skaters had been there earlier and put on quite a show. I didn’t know any way to offer her help except to be blunt. Getting out the bills I had in my pocket I offered to share with her what I had. Lorraine gruffly told me she had money. Sensing her pride I gently spoke, “Okay, but maybe you could use a little more so you can have what is extra.” I kept enough for a toll and handed her the rest. As she took it I made sure to look away again, making more small talk.
My husband called to me to say he was done and it was time to go. Turning to Lorraine I asked her if it would be okay if I prayed for her. She didn’t get excited about it, but still she agreed. I put my hand on this woman’s shoulder and spoke of love. Wishing her a wonderful evening, I walked away to a warm truck. This woman did not belong on a bench in the chilly mist and I knew it. Whatever circumstances had brought her to this place, I prayed she would find her way back to where she truly belonged.