I’ve been waiting so long that I forgot I was even waiting.

Tonight I was laying in bed thinking about all the things God could do in my life or teach me in the future as I grow up. I was thinking about the relationships he could restore with my siblings and me, the qualities of Christ and sanctification I could go through. Those are tough processes, I’m sure; and I’m glad they don’t happen all at once.

I was driving back from my part time internship today with the warm sunshine beaming into my skin and just rejoicing at how I feel at ease lately. Not too trial filled right now. It’s kind of nice… A little weird… Not very normal, but nice. Later as I was mentioning that to someone else, after I mentioned my lack of trials I remembered… Actually I am going through a trial right now… I lost my full time job a month and a half ago and I’m still not sure exactly when it’s going to pick back up and I’m commuting to a part time job that sucks up $45 on gas each week.

The thing is, God has blessed me so much through this time with opportunities to work (my boss is paying me to pet sit, mow his lawn, paint his house, weed and garden ect.), serve, and God has provided financially with some extra graduation monetary gifts and also having my job not realize my contract was up for 40 days(!!) after it was supposed to be over and allowing me to make a dent on my student loans and establish an emergency account to pay for this layoff (and my car breaking down… $320 later >.<) not only that but we sold a bunch of sheep to Canada (my mom and I have a sheep farm back in WI).

God has provided me an internship too that has turned out to be a great fit.

God's provided so much that I forgot that I was even in this trial. I've been waiting for so long to start working again (I'm waiting yet for more paperwork to get processed) that I really haven't seen it as waiting at all because I know in all of my heart and soul that God is in control and, as my perfect Heavenly Father, provides for all my needs. He is faithful and I'm thankful that he's been opening my eyes to see that. 2 months ago that was my prayer: "Lord, help me to see you provide." I was going through a rough time then understanding God as my Heavenly Father comparing him to my blood dad. So that was my prayer and God answered and is answering still. His preparation and timing of all of this is amazing!

Reminds me of Matthew 6:31-33
Jesus says, after remarking on the great care of the lilies God gives to them and how we certainly are of greater value then they, "So do not worry saying "What shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what shall we wear? For the pagans run after these things and your Heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."

Carry on in faith and love,
Teresa

The view of my ceiling when this post was conceived:

IMG_0930-1.JPG

The Glory of Zion

IMG_1595

We have walked these crooked roads
and we have known no paths of peace.
Justice is a distant thought
and righteousness we cannot keep.

Darkness has come upon us, all around
though a brightness we hope to seek.
But fearfully we grope as blind,
stumbling we cannot see.

We are crawling, growling bears
moaning mournfully like doves.
Waiting for a day of justice,
waiting for when our salvation comes.

But it seems too far away.

We acknowledge our iniquities
our rebellion and our treacheries.
Our many sins that block out truth and honesty.
Uttering lies our hearts conceive.

Who will intervene?

Arise, shine, for your light has come.
His own he will redeem.
His glory, the Lord, rises upon you,
and darkness will not be seen.

Lift up your eyes and look about you.
Come near, even if you’re now afar.
Look and see your radiance beaming;
darkness covered by the blood of God.

Arise, shine, for your light has come.
Jesus, with power, has redeemed.
With joy your heart will swell and throb,
proclaiming His glory, the Risen King!

A great Hope.

I hit a rocky place a few months ago. Despair enclosed in on just about every side and I started to forget why all this life was happening in the first place. So discouraged I remember praying “God, I don’t even know what hope is anymore.”

Out of hope and out in the mountains I spent some time in Colossians and came across the verse that says our hope has been secured, stored, sealed in heaven. (1:5) I started to do more in depth searches which basically meant I did a lot of dictionary searching and translational stuff. Hope is the expectation of good. And that goodness comes from having redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. (1:13)

Getting my right perspective back on track, I began reading through Isaiah again. (Most of the time I read Isaiah and I’m frustratingly like “Lord, I don’t understand any of this.” Amen?)
I wanted to share this though:

Joy of the Redeemed (Isaiah 35:1-10 NIV):
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will greatly rejoice and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of The Lord, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf un stopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongues shout for joy. Water will gush forth in wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not he found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of The Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

What a great hope of joy for those of us who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus!

Carry on in faith, love, & hope!

You are wanted.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace,  which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…” Ephesians 1:3-8a (NIV)

 

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt wanted before or have ever wanted to have felt wanted. Maybe by a lover, a friend, brother, mother, company, team… something. To know that you were special, longed for, loved. Desired. I know I’ve wanted those things in just about all of those capacities and circumstances. 

My parents love me, they do. Even if they fail to show it or maybe don’t know how, I’m sure yours do too. Even if they do they love you maybe its because you’re theirs, but they didn’t choose you. They just kind of ended up with us, right? 

It’s not like one day my parents flipped through a baby catalog and were like “Wow, I’d really like to bring Teresa into the world. I’d really like to give her life. I’d like to put her in my womb.”

"Hmmm, should we pick Stewy or Raphael?"

“Hmmm, should we pick Stewy or Raphael?”

My parents didn’t even plan on having me. My mom once confided in me that she was planning on leaving my dad until she found out she was pregnant with me and then the pregnancy was really difficult too. They thought I miscarried 3 or 4 times and my dad swore I would be the last. They love me and were excited to have me, but they didn’t choose me. 

God did though. Psalm 139 says God knit us together in our mother’s womb. God caused all of my DNA to line up to form me and he breathed his spirit in me to give me life, my soul, my spirit, my personality. In the deepest places he formed me, hemming me over and behind to make me and you. God said “I’d really like to bring Teresa into the world so I’m going to put her in this womb at this time, in this place.” God chose and wanted me and you to exist in this time. (Acts 17)

Not only did he choose to bring this individual to life in this world, he also chose to reveal His spirit and truth of Jesus’s death on the cross for my sins so that I would have eternal life. God not only wanted to create me, but He wants to spend all of eternity with me as well. As Ephesians says He chose us before the creation of the world and predestined us, those who believe in Jesus Messiah to be adopted as his children because it was God’s desire and pleasure to do so. 

So you are wanted. And if you don’t know Jesus yet as your personal savior and friend, Jesus says that if you ask you will receive- and an eternal relationship with the one who created you and wants you at that! (Matthew 7:7-8)

Carry on in faith and love and knowing you are wanted. 
-Teresa

Could this be love?

Your embrace felt like roses; your touch as warm rain
Your smile like sunshine
and if friendship could sing.

Like dew drops collecting, as when laughing begins
is this care that I’m carrying for you,
my dear.

Between sunsets and memories, there begins something to stir.
Between poets and melodies, a new life has emerged.

Like sweetness, aromas; like heartbeats and cheers
A heart of forgiveness now brings me,
so near.

I dare, can I taste it? Can I hear it begin?
Can I feel its sweet delicacy? Can I see it take wing?
Not, I could mock, to a lover I sing.

But one mother will do.

My mother, my heart.
I think I too love, though you’ve loved from my start.

Why I like cats and how I’ve realized affirmation is really important to me.

Growing up, I was a cat lady. Good thing I got it out in my younger years. I didn’t spend much time with others (though I loved having the occasional sleep over) and by others I mean my brothers. They were mean and didn’t play very well (it wasn’t all bad). I don’t remember my mom and dad being around all that often either (I’m pretty sure they both worked places and farmed so they were busy). All this led to me playing by myself A LOT. Or actually, I was in quite good company since I usually had somewhere between 30 and 50 feline friends that followed me everywhere.
Raised many an orphan kitten, and also witnessed many a best friend die. We even had a cat graveyard next to the house. Life on the farm. It’s sad, but you learn to grieve quickly I guess.

One thing I realized is that, having a relationship with a cat is relatively easy when it comes to communication.
When you pet them (usually a pleasurable experience for yourself since they’re so soft and cute!) they are equally gratified and you can tell by the roaring motorboat inside their throat. You feel good about petting them, because they like to be petted and there’s a good experience from being able to tell plus the equal physical gratification because like I said, they’re so cute and soft.

When it comes to people though… they just don’t purr the same way. Sometimes people like to pretend their happy when they’re mad or they’re sarcastic when they mean well.

It’s confusing!

If a cat’s mad, they like scratch you and stuff. If you want to pet them and they don’t want you to, it’s really clear. “Thanks cat, got the memo! And a new scar.”

Not that I’m recommending people start scratching each other. Besides Proverbs 12:16 says a fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

I however, maybe from just how I developed my communication skills (from cats) really appreciate clear communication when it comes to serving others. Do you appreciate what I’m doing? Am I doing it right? Should I do something different? Was this at all helpful? Should I come back again? Should I never come back again?

Affirmation is defined as a noun meaning (secondly) having emotional support or encouragement. It also says under that “the lack of one or both parents’ affirmation leaves some children emotionally crippled”. That’s interesting for me too. Sometimes I think we develop our “relational needs” from noticing we were missing something. I guess if it’s always being met, you probably don’t notice it’s missing too much.

Our church and our church’s movement has been talking about 10 relational needs:
Acceptance- feeling like you belong
Affection- need to be shown love, words or touch
Appreciation- need to hear gratitude
Approval- “I’m ok with you, I like you, I’m good with you”
Attention- maybe obvious, someone to give us the time of day
Comfort- feeling close, someone cares, “someone shares in the hurt with me”
Encouragement- someone’s there when we are discouraged
Respect- honored and valued
Security- having a commitment
Support- someone to be along side of you to help

Here’s a good message by one of my pastors on the topic!

I think affirmation probably covers quite a few of them. For me I think it encompasses: respect, acceptance, approval, encouragement, support, appreciation… I suppose maybe the others.

For me this comes into play the most when I’m serving people. I was doing someone’s dishes the other day and internally I have an incredible insecurity because I’m just not sure if what I’m doing is actually helpful. Or I was giving someone a back massage and I just wish they would tell me whether or not I’m wasting both of our times or if it’s actually beneficial. It’s very interesting.

Through reflecting on those experiences and petting a cat today I’ve concluded cats are really good at giving affirmation. Luckily, I’ve developed healthy relationships with more people and less cats. However, meeting one another’s relational needs is a lot harder to do… probably because we’re made in the image of God and all that… but here’s to fighting the good fight- and loving one another and building one another up in love!

Carry on in faith and love!

-Teresa

Song of Deliverance

As goodness seeps into the air, like dew and morning fog
A deeper longing starts to grow and settle on my heart.
A whisper from a distant dream, no- memories; they’ve all been mine.
Not the yet unachieved, but past is this constant dream
Speaking to me of deliverance.

In tiny fears, no instead tiny hands where fears first started to grow
as trials mended, spoiled, and tempted, where desperation I started to know.

In my mind and soul, as the world taught me to see, trust was given to nobody
it was You who helped me breathe.
Every last, though I resisted and painted a different kind of dream
one that schemed of endless bleeding brought forth from suffering.

Thankfully, you had a sweeter dream.

Even yet before that time, your dream was coming fully alive.
Though penitence may have been mine, it was your drawing and love:
I became Thine. You had still, greater deliverance in mind.

Within that suffering when I despaired, regretting every sense of hope
Abandoning truth, power, and strength… I stretched forth to find my own.
Yet your hand still beside me though I refused to pay any kind of attention to your love.
I thought I’d be better off.
My eyes wide shut.

Though a calloused stone, once called my heart, occupied this cavity
with time and distance you gently melted me
in time to remember why I’d left so long ago
only to be met by a God with might, His love that he loves to show.
Any reason can you guess to make this sinner whole?

And then from there, if there’s a yet to go, freedom began to fill this soul!
From mountains and valleys, building bridges again.
You’ve taken me back to the world I was first delivered in.
With bitterness, malice flowing away. Instead in its place- fountains of grace!

Oh and you see this isn’t even the end. The greatest deliverance has yet to begin!
From this old world to the eternal next, from Jesus’s blood- the first, the last.
I did taste and see, in my heart when I believed.
And then when mighty waters rise, I will not be reached.
You are my hiding place, my protection, my peace.
He surrounded me with songs
Of deliverance!

 

Tangible Peace.

I was just thinking of that verse… why be anxious, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus… you know, that one that requires you to actually go and do something before God to find his peace.  

Often times, my heart is dissatisfied by this “intangibleness” of God which is clouded in doubt, like that’s where my doubts stem from. I’ve been learning lately, that there’s something very real and unique that God puts in our hearts (something that is clearly felt) when we lean on him and depend on him and that’s peace

I was finding myself in an anxious place just earlier. Coming before God and hearing his truth about walking in love that doesn’t insist on its own way; I was asking God to reveal my heart and he did. After coming to him with conviction from what I was lacking (love and trust) I was led to remembering his grace through forgiveness by Christ (he knows my weakness and loves me still; he will work with me to grow). Then I just have this peace. A changed heart: from anxious anger to peace. What a tangible proof of God’s love. “Thank you for peace, Lord, it’s such a tangible proof to me,” is what I said to him. It’s been such a blessing and a reward I don’t deserve especially since my anxiousness usually stems from sin… and instead he gives me peace. What a great God we have! 

May we all come to him with our anxious hearts and find his glorious peace!

 

-Teresa 

Heart of Stone.

After 21 years of breathing, I’d have figured what it means to love. But even at your touch mama, your touch it makes me writhe, from all this painful and broken loneliness that still lingers here inside. 

Oh I’ve been trying hard, in vain,
to keep it from seeping into the outside, like some lie.
But I think we both know that when this heart of stone melts, it’s the only part left to show, and it’s been pouring out on this drought. 

And so I’m sorry what you’ve seen is this angry part of me that’s gripping on to the past: just hoping for redemption, though my soul already knows:
I’m forgiven. You’re forgiven.
Now it’s time to let it all go. 

Honestly, here’s this part of me that really just wants you to know,
intimately, my utter agony.
Yet I’m sure you’ve got enough of your own.

Oh my soul, just let it all go. 
Please my soul, just let it all go.

After 21 years of breathing, I’d ought to have figured out what it means to love.
Maybe by that perfect example shown to me by a greater blood. A price paid with pain, so what would I gain mama, making you feel the same way?

Vengeance was never mine to pay, yet taken upon One by the same greater blood, by a same greater love.

And even now I have this shame.
Oh how I’ve been nothing but a fool. Spirit help me live in grace.

“The greatest gift you can give a man, is to give him grace to live again” green river ordinance, better love.

The Resistance.

If you haven’t heard of Josh Garrels or have checked his pretty rad lyricist skills. You should. Here’s an easy link to his sampler album.

And here’s a song I’m digging lately: The Resistance.

“I was born into a system constructed for failure
It’s a sinking ship manned by drunken sailors
An escape artist behind the bars of a jailor
An asthmatic attack when we forgot the inhaler
If the shoe doesn’t fit what good is a tailor
In the midst of a crisis please cancel the gala
Without a symphony there’s no need for a prelude
To foreshadow what’s to come. 

See the secret committees, commence with their meetings
To make red tape in response to simple questions
Questions threaten the perception of the beneficial systems
A pyramid scheme with it’s cogs and it’s pistons
Mechanization of men, making more and more
Live in a miserable exhistance
How can so few, claim so many victims
And this begs the question

My rest is a weapon against the oppression
Of mans obsession to control things
Look at the long line of make believe kings
The lord of the flies want’s you to kiss his ring
Follow new rules with invisible strings
And become a puppet in the diabolical scheme
How do good men become part of the regime?
They don’t believe in resistance.

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

Lesson number one, overcome
Every fear of regret and confusion
It’s all illusion, delusion
Sent to disconnect the holy fusion
Of spirit and the flesh
Every mortal breath, is meant to bring forth fire
But only when the fear of death, gets consumed
On the funeral pier
So let the flames rise higher
Let every man be considered a liar
If he doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God
Itching ears will compulsively nod in approval
When unbelief is taught in all our temples and schools
But God can restrain the madness of a fool
He can bring His truth through the mouth of a mule
You can move an mountain without any tools
It just takes the faith of a little seed
to make a way through what might seem to be
Impossibility,
And the ability will match the occasion
The outcome will defy explanation
The liberation will not be televised
When it arrives like lightning in the skies

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
For your love, we will rise and overcome
Through the fire

Hold fast my people and sing
Through peace and through suffering
All for the joy that it brings, to be free
It’s gonna cost us everything
To follow one Lord and King
True love endures everything
To be free

Hold fast, like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

 

Carry on in faith and love

-Teresa