Monthly Archives: February 2014

Porch Reflections

last night's sunset
last night’s sunset

Hello again. I haven’t posted to Pink Reflections in a while…

It’s not that I’ve grown weary with writing, frustrated with my lack of understanding in navigating the blogger’s world, or fallen back into the fear of sharing my creative efforts that seem to pale in comparison to all I read (though all of those are temptations). I just haven’t finished any of the eleven blog drafts I am working on!

Nor  have I felt an insistent nudge to write NOW  about THIS — like I did a few days before Christmas when I stopped my shopping and scurrying to sit down and pour my (new) thoughts on paper in a one or two hour sitting. All my posts aren’t like that. Others start as a ‘series’ in my mind, are tumbled about and typed and edited over  a day or two, weeks or even months.

My remaining unpublished reflections from the 2003-2006 period of life I ominously call, “the divorce,” have not drawn me in to add my 2014 perspective. Sometimes I just don’t want to go there. I want to write about wonderful, joyful, encouraging things. The truth is that God’s work in my divorce is ALL those things. To revisit that time and to share is to be generous with what God has given me.  I will soon return to writing about “the divorce,” because it is in the posts reflecting on all God taught me through that pain — your comments reveal — God touched the most women. Thank you for your comments, here and on facebook. They are a tremendous source of encouragement and blessings for me!IMG_3030

This post is different. I am sitting sipping my coffee in a fuzzy cow’s hide rocking chair on my porch at Alligator Point. It is a beautiful morning, and oh so peaceful. Through many years, this sanctuary has been where God has best communicated His love for me, His desires for me,  His delight in Me, His gifts to me, and His awe-inspiring majesty and character. God and I love to be together here. I feel His pleasure, His love, and gratitude overflows.

Of course there is nothing magical about this porch. God is available and longing to be with me always! It is my heart that is changed when I am here. Alligator Point is a beautifully slow place — where the urgent is forgotten and all that’s important rises to the surface. God’s presence rolls in as persistently as the waves. I cannot lose Him in the curious play of the dolphin. the soaring dives of the pelicans, the unique hilarity of the flying fish, the warmth of the sand, the exhilaration of the wind, the timidity of the sea turtle, the energy of dogs on the beach, the amazement and  joy of little children in the sand and surf, the sunrises and sunsets…. even that list could fill 100 blogs! But if you’ve ever been to the beach (or your special place), you get it.

this morning's sunrise and the promise and joy of a new day!
this morning’s sunrise and the promise and joy of a new day!

As I was reading through Paul’s Epistles in The Message (all references in this post will be from The Message), I felt a nudge…  “just write and share some of what you are learning, believing and thinking as we’re together.” So with no form or forethought, here are a few things the Holy Spirit has placed in my heart… I am writing them in ‘His voice’ as they come to me in my time with HIm. I have prayed this way for years — inspired by the little devotional, “God Calling” (which also inspired  the wonderful and popular Jesus Calling). These are my words, my prayers, as I feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me today. I invite you into our conversation, and pray you will be blessed and only that which Jesus desires you to see or hear will come to you.IMG_3026

Be yourself. Fully alive as I created you. Share all that you are. Do not be afraid. I am always with you. I adore in you. I will always love you.

Stop striving and trying so hard to be good. To do things for me.  Why do you return to that life? You know I simply want our hearts joined in love and friendship. That is all you must do. Open yourself to me in daily surrender. The rest is up to me. Don’t feel you need to start a new work. Open your heart to the filling of my love and let it pour through you as you open your heart to others.

When you feel tears as you did last night, notice. your heart, where my Holy Spirit dwells, I am speaking to you. Draw near to Me. Spend time listening to me —  to know my will for you in this. Let me heal you and guide you in touching others.

Gratitude! See me and acknowledge me in all things throughout your days. Let praise and thanksgiving be spontaneous outpourings. Nothing exists without My hand. All is attributable to me. In ALL things, give thanks. Worship me with your whole life!IMG_3007

Prayer is crucial. Prayer is time spent with me. Sharing your heart. Listening. Agreeing with Me. Adoration. Notice how with your husband gone, you want to text Him a greeting in the morning, share little thoughts throughout the day, and go to bed with ‘goodnight’ and ‘I love you’ whispered from your lips.  How much more I long to be with you all day long! I have given you this wonderful earthly relationship as a reflection of my love. As wonderful as it is, I AM loves you infinitely and perfectly. I am perfect love.  Enjoy your husband in gratitude to me, but also let your marriage point you to Me! I am your top priority, your sufficiency, your first love. “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these other things shall be given to you.”

What I did while on earth, continues on… I live through you and all my children! Please don’t squander a moment. I created you. You bear my image. Do not censor or hide who you are, who I am — or the world will be deprived of the uniqueness in you that speaks of me. You are nothing without me, but you reflect the very LIFE of Christ through my Holy Spirit in you! Live as if you believe in your heart all that you know in your mind is true! Let me cover your doubts and insecurities with My love and assurance. I cannot tell you how excited I am for you to live this wide open life! Smallness, scarcity, and fears come from within. Open your life fully to Me and others.  Live openly and expansively! “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”    2 Corinthians  12

“The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.” Galatians 3    It really does begin and end with ME! Let go of the old life. The old ways. The world’s ways. Look for ways to draw near to Me. To join Me. And I will draw near to you and make your path known. “When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace.” Galatians 5 IMG_3029

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the works you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6    Remembering that it is I who equips you. You are perfectly suited for the work I prepared for you in advance. To the world it sounds harsh and limiting to say, ‘it is all about God, not you.’ But you know, in this there is great freedom! It’s not up to you! Respond to Me and let Me work through you. You will be blessed beyond measure.

“It is in Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for.” Ephesians 1    I AM is your answer. Put down your books for a while — possibly the 40 days of lent? This is not meant to be a rule to follow, but your joy. Put down you other good and worthy books, blogs and devotionals, and devote that time to Me — to prayer and My living Word. Let’s get close and intimate for a while to be sure you are clear on who you are in Me. Then, I will send you out in confidence to LIVE IT! To live out your inheritance. To join Me in the work I am doing! I have been preparing you for this time. Do not rely on your natural abilities; I am equipping you. Trust me. Cling to Me. I love you. Soon we will run on the road I am calling you to travel!

Watch what I do and do it! I love you! Love others as I have loved you. I am generous and extravagant with My love! Since all you offer flows from me, you draw from the same storehouses… Love as I have loved you. And fill the very air you breathe with thanksgiving and praise as you go. Celebrate Me everyday in every moment. Make it clear to all you meet that it is your joy to love and encourage them. Think about that. Everyone. Remember you are called to love even your enemies, and pray for them. Generosity knows no boundaries!

Be bold in sharing Me. When people hear of Who I am and all I have done, they cannot help but respond to My greatness! “The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you.” Colossians 1   Share yourself with others and reveal me. Trust me to water the seed and grow the faith. All is done in and through Me. “Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple.” Colossians 1   “Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. … No, you’re already in … through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin .. God brought you alive right along with Christ!  Colossians 2     Join me in all I am doing! Be alert and aware of Me through daily, intimate relationship. Pray that you will see the doors I open for you, and let me guide you to make the most of every opportunity. All things are possible with Me.

IMG_2840Prayer: Lord Jesus, Abba… I am so humbled before you. Thank you for loving me so well and giving to me so generously. Thank you for this little piece of heaven where we meet so intimately. I lift to You my prayers for anyone who reads these words that nothing will enter their minds and hearts that is not good and pleasing to You. I pray that you will bless them and grow their personal relationships with you, wherever they are today. I pray that all the readers of my blog will seek Your Word, the Bible, to know You and Your truths for themselves. I pray that they will know your salvation. And with it, Your love, peace and joy.  In your precious name, Jesus, I pray. Amen



Raw thoughts on a down day

IMG_2089I’m not living the way I want to live. In fact, I feel fairly certain that I’m not doing whatever God put me here to do. I’m conflicted and ambivalent about my purpose and how it fits in with what I have to do. Surely, I must be slow to learn, or I missed His cue, or I am just stubborn and disobedient. Even when I focus my best efforts, it doesn’t feel like it’s good enough, and I can’t sustain the “good” long enough to accomplish something meaningful. Do you ever feel these things?

I dream of a different life. Maybe I am not intended to write, or speak, or paint, or create or give in a way that moves others. Maybe I’ll never have the authenticity and openness of a child, or the contagious love and joy of Jesus flowing uncontainably from my heart. Maybe He never intended to use me in the ways I have dreamed.

IMG_1875But if not, where did my deepest desires and dreams come from? Could it be true that those things that bring me to tears, those activities that swallow me up and make time stand still, those people with whom I engage and depart feeling so alive and full — are those moments the ones that matter? Are those moments reflections of the most true parts of me? Are they representative of my God-given desires, dreams and purposes — even if they feel small?

This winter day my thoughts quickly turned to harsh judgement of myself. I’m not all I had hoped. I am no closer to living with the qualities of little chidren that God says are important to inherit His kingdom. I see the lives of so many others, and they seem to make a difference, to matter. I read the words of others and they seem to know Christ and share Him so well. I hear others speak, and feel my inadequacies.

Can you relate? Am I the only one who sometimes feels like I have gotten my one shot at life all wrong?

There are a few key things I notice about my “down”  thoughts.

  1. My down thoughts are really all about “me.” Not so much a focus on Jesus.
  2. My “feelings” are dominating. Not a lot about what I know to be true.
  3. I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else — by far.
  4. I feel a need to accomplish. To add to what Jesus has done in some profound way.
  5. If I am quiet and still, the Holy Spirit will speak God’s truth in the darkness.

IMG_0741The first one is easy to recognize. It’s my flesh rearing it’s ugly head. I remind myself I am entitled to nothing. Owed nothing. Not a life of significance. Not success. Not love. Not attractiveness or friends. Not even to do anything worthwhile for Jesus.

Yet I have everything! I have experienced the sufficiency of Jesus! I know experientially that He is all I need. I know His love and salvation are all grace. I know I can add nothing to what Jesus did for me on the cross. He doesn’t love me even a little bit  more when I am at my best, nor does he love me an ounce less when I am the most selfish. He is perfect, and He loves me. Seeking Him, falling in love with Him more and more deeply would help cure what ails me.

Number two: Feelings are fickle and sometimes deceptive. Are they also valuable? Yes, but they can be easy to manipulate and deceive. God’s promises and God’s truths never change. God never changes. The Bible contains 66 love letters of His Truth. I need to spend some time renewing my mind in the truths of His Word, in addition to seeking His face. There’s a difference. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

IMG_5925Number three:  “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)   I offer grace and forgiveness to others. I don’t expect perfection from my family or friends. I tell others that the “little things” are often most important. My grandmother never travelled far from her home, spent most of her time in her gardens and kitchen, yet I call her my role model. Why, at times, am I so hard on myself? The answers are found in all the other points above.

Moving on to number four, which is a major contributor to my self-condemnation: Sometimes I feel I am supposed to do something ‘BIG’ for Jesus. What am I thinking? That I can repay Him for all He has done for me? That I can help Him with His work? Maybe that I can make Him feel a little better about me? Or that others will appreciate me? Respect me? Am I possibly being a glory hog?

IMG_1842The truth is Jesus doesn’t need me. Nothing any of us  could ever do is “big” on the God standard. It is His world, His work. He moves others. He uses us when and how He chooses,  if we are willing. He can even use our missteps for our good (Romans 8:28).   Does this all lead me to despair?

No — It means it’s not up to me! Of course, I want to surrender daily. To invite God to use me for His purposes. To put His will ahead of my own desires.  But what He wants is my LOVE. To keep Him number one in my life. This means the pressure to perform is off! I can’t add anything to what God is accomplishing. End results are up to Him. And if He uses me in HIs work, in a any way,  I want to praise Him for the privilege and give Him all the glory, because anything “I might do” is really Him working through me.

IMG_1363Which brings me to number five: God gave me His Holy Spirit. He is always with me, and will guide me when I ask. Even as I was down and out with my eyes on myself, He broke into my thoughts with truth.

When the need to strive and perform, self-condemnation, or comparisons creep into my life, I am under attack. But Satan is already defeated. I need only to turn to God and His Word to be renewed and restored. On down days, fabulous days, and all those in between, I need Him. He is my sufficiency.  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)


Apart from God, I quickly become enmeshed in the world’s ways of thinking — achieve! perform! do more! The truth of my life is all about GOD! God loves me. God is transforming me. God “made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)   God has a plan for my life. “Plans to prosper me and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11). God says I am “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)

My role is to love God and His kingdom.  My job is not to constantly search for my purpose and measure my accomplishments. Obeying HIm is to do what I already know He is asking of me.  I don’t have all the answers I would like, but these reminders help. I feel lighter and more free. Renewal, restoration and transformation are His daily work. Mine is to love and trust HIm.

It never fails when I am at a loss, God sends answers. Todays’s relevant devotional is below. When I am most attacked, perhaps I am also most present in His will and on His path.

February 3, 2014

Stand Firm

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

From the outside looking in, things look bleak for believers today. We live in an era of unprecedented economic challenges, legislated immorality, and confused political leadership. Many who claim to know Christ do not actually believe He is the only way to salvation, and still others are proclaiming a watered-down version of the Truth that is not Truth at all. However, Jesus prepared us for this age by encouraging us to remain steadfast:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:12-14).

Although darkness seems to prevail, these times are ripe for God to break through. Christ promised that, in the midst of this chaos and deception, the gospel will ultimately reign. How will the gospel reign? Resolute believers will proclaim it throughout the world. We can take heart, because the testimony of Jesus is alive today and forever.

In between now and eternity, Satan will do everything he can to distract us from God’s mission. Right when our passion for Christ is renewed, the enemy comes to thwart us with fear, discouragement, and confusion. We might experience a surge of energy to pray again or share a testimony, but then apathy comes. Do not be afraid of the enemy’s schemes. In these moments, call out to God for strength—He is stronger than our enemy.

Are you standing for Truth, no matter the cost, or have you felt yourself wavering? Have you been tempted to abandon your work for the Lord because of discouragement or spiritual lethargy? Wait on the Lord today. Ask Him to search your heart and reveal where you stand. If there is fear, discouragement, or a lack of focus in your life, allow Him to come and fill you with hope, boldness, and new vision today.

Prayer: Lord, show me where I stand in the work You have called me to do. Where I have lost sight of the task at hand, renew my strength and remind me of Your vision. Thank You for loving me and leading me.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).