Monday, December 19, 2011

He Is Real! ~ Part 2

Continued from last post; my written piece about how the Lord has recently made Himself real to me in unique ways. In reference to my sharing about the rain shower "vision": 

A Growing Intimacy Through Solitude, Silence And Journaling (Continued)

A little later that morning, my devotional had this to say:

I Shall Rejoice In My People

“...They who desire Me, I will surely reward: I will not fail. I will fill every longing heart
and satisfy every craving soul. The next sentence jumped off of the page at me. 
My grace will pour out as a tumbling waterfall  (emphasis mine). I shall be glorified, I shall be magnified, and I will rejoice in My people when they yield themselves fully and freely to Me and cut themselves free from everything else. Then I shall cast My love about them as a cloak, and 
I will whisper My words in their ears.”
(From the classic devotional: Come Away My Beloved)

Ten days later, after my few minutes of silence, I asked the Lord if there
was anything He wanted to communicate to me. I have done this on several
occasions, and although I don’t always “hear” His voice echo in my
heart, sometimes the Lord blesses me with simple, but profound words
that drench me with His Love! As I waited and listened, wondering if the
Lord might respond this time; the sweet message that flooded my soul
was simply this: “You are Mine!”

I share these special moments with the desire to remind all of us that these messages were not meant just for me, but for all who desire to commune with Him and long to hear His whispers in our
hearts. May He be glorified and magnified by our desire to grow in intimacy with Him, as we draw closer. Thank You, Lord, for Your “waterfall of grace” and for helping us to be still long enough to experience Your still, small voice in our noisy world.

Haiku Inspired By Solitude, Silence And Journaling

Come be with me, Lord
I am Your beloved child
Whisper to my heart

I seek Your presence
Waterfalls of blessings come
You are real to me

In silent moments
I asked: “A message for me?”
You said, “You are mine!"

How can it be, Lord?
You are mine and I am Yours
You even said so!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

He Is Real! ~ Part 1

I recently wrote a piece to submit to Inklings, the in-house publication at my church. In it I described some of the subjects we have been sharing in my ladies Bible study. It also includes some personal encounters with the Lord that have taken place in the last few weeks; some precious ways He has made Himself very real to me! Here is what I wrote:

A Growing  Intimacy Through Solitude, Silence And Journaling

In my ladies Bible Study, we have been encouraged to consider making
journaling a part of our spiritual discipline. I thought I had been
doing this for the past several years, but now realize that what I was
doing instead, was just keeping a diary. Keeping a spiritual journal has
helped me to connect with God in a new and fresh way.

We were inspired to seek solitude for these personal meetings with our Savior.
Solitude is already a constant in my life, and being hearing impaired offers many
quiet moments, as I often chose silence over music. It just agrees with my desire
for simplicity and tranquility and I am blessed to be surrounded by its’ addictive sense of
peace and lack of distraction on a regular basis.  

Another practice, we were encouraged to try, was taking a couple minutes of
silence before we begin to journal. Even though I live in a very quiet
environment, I still struggle to quiet my mind, in preparation for
journaling and communicating with God. I wonder why this is so difficult
to maintain. I have found that the only way I can push out the
unwelcome chatter in my mind is to simply repeat over and over: “BE
STILL. BE STILL”. This helps me to focus, and quiet my heart and mind
enough that I can hear God’s voice, if He has something to whisper into
my soul.

Face of beautiful dark haired woman lifted up  with eyes closed and rain drops hitting face.One morning, as I closed my eyes and endeavored to open myself to the Lord, I had a unique experience that I had never encountered before. I had
the vivid, visual sensation (with my eyes still closed) of rainfall
directly in front of my face,  and although I didn’t get wet, I sensed
the water droplets bouncing onto the front of my body...a tiny, gentle,
personal shower, splashing onto me. I was surprised by the momentary
“vision” and asked God what this was all about. I didn’t get my answer
right away, but rather, I just received it as a reminder of the shower
of blessings that cover me each and every day.

To be continued.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finally! Buck's Grave Marker Is In Place!

Buck's long-awaited Memorial is finally in place

When Buck was called home in April, 2009, his body was laid to rest, next to his dad in their family burial plot in West Virginia. Initially, I did not plan to install a grave marker, because I had a very strong conviction about doing so, as I knew the essence of who my husband was, was not present there where his remains were buried. I really struggled with the decision to order a marker because in my mind and heart, my husband was not there. Only his shell still remained at the top of that West Virginia hillside.  I was (and still am) convinced that Buck's soul, personality and everything that was special and unique about him were in heaven enjoying the presence of his Lord.

For many months I agonized about what I should do.  What I really wanted was to invest the funds for the marker, into something of eternal value, such as supporting one of our favorite charities; something that would make a difference in people's lives. As I examined my options, I just couldn't settle on a final decision, and it was an ongoing battle in my mind for month after painful month.  This was terribly disturbing to me. Finally, I came to the conclusion that placing a marker on Buck's grave was something I needed to do for Buck's family. It would be my gift to them. It was at this point  that I finally had peace about my decision.

I wanted Buck's marker to be symbolic of the man he was and I wanted to be certain that anyone, who visited his grave-site either in person or virtually through a photograph, would understand what was most important to him. Buck’s given name was Denvil, after his dad, but he wasn’t a junior. Since no one ever called him by his first name, not even his mom, it was important to me to have his nickname included on his marker.

I choose carnelian granite for the foundation, as I thought it was beautiful, unique, manly looking and the perfect compliment for the rich, dark brown tone of the bronze plaque. Just this week, I was very blessed to learn that carnelian is mentioned in the Bible as the sixth foundation stone of the celestial city. I love the design on the bronze that depicts his love of the outdoors, with the evergreens and the mountains in the background. I chose the wood-grained frame because it reminded me of Buck’s sturdiness and it looked like oak which was a wood that we both loved. It seemed a fitting frame to encase what was most important to the love of my life.

Under his name is an emblem that captures Buck’s favorite verse from Psalm 23: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me. (Psalm 23:4) The other emblem was my choice to depict Buck’s life as a Christ-follower, and also the example he set, as he stayed steady in his faith during his illness. I felt it exemplified how he
remained sweet with all his caretakers during those last four, grueling months, as he fought for his life: I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
Even though I was eagerly watching and waiting for the photo of the finished memorial; it was very painful to see it for the first time on my computer screen. It was another huge step of closure and acceptance of the reality that my best friend is no longer here to share my life. 

I am so thankful that Buck’s grave-marker is finally in place! I think Buck would like it. I hope his family likes it as much as I do! My goal was to bless Buck’s family, but more importantly, I wanted to honor the precious man God gave me to be my husband for eleven and a half wonderful years! All that was required to make his memorial a reality was so worth it in the end!