Stink, Sink or Float?

DISCLAIMER:   If you are a cautious Believer, deeply “religious” or
easily offended by frankness, you might want to reconsider the decision
to read this post!  Please don’t say I didn’t warn you. . .  😀

It’s inspiring to sing about oceans deep; but what about when He takes
you at your word and leads you out away from shore, piers, and without “floaties” or a
life-jacket?  What “floaties” are you wearing? 

What is keeping you above the waters?

     Last night I was cataloging the events of the past weeks making a sort of Life Catalog…

Most of us have things that we hope for, pray for, believe for, and trust the Lord to affect.  We ( my husband and I) do!

It can be a struggle to continue to encourage yourself in the Lord- you know, to order your words so that they are not contradictory to the very things you say you believe? 

The Holy Spirit once gave me a very firm command of “Govern yourself”; to this day I recall it when tempted to give in to the enemy’s taunts.

The  curmudgeon of  disappointment and discouragement who squats upon our doorstep, wanting to share his ill will with us does NOT get invited inside our home!

 
 

We have learned to not give him the time of day, nor let him steal our sight. Once he enters, everything takes on a film of despair.

And then it is difficult to rid oneself of his filthy, sulphuric rotten stench!  UGH!

Not even Febreeze is up to that challenge, lol!

    Were  I designing this “life catalog”, if you will, the pages would be much
different! Flourishes of great announcements of miracles,  a photo
collage of our many trips to the nations we hold in our hearts along
with flashy testimonies of breakthroughs, mountain moving faith and
dozens of new schools and Ministry training centers would tantalize the reader.

Those are
the things the Lord has spoken about to us. We have been prepared for these things.

And they are only part of what we carry, waiting to birth!

We are not new to this kind of lifestyle- we are former missionaries/pastors/educators/active military /risk takers.

We believe these things will  come to pass.

But in HIS TIME.

 Riptides come to every life, especially to Believers who are devoted to walking out the Lord’s plan for their lives. These contrary currents come and attempt to sink us.

They pull on us, they threaten us, it seems.

Our first instinct is to fight, to thrash, to direct our energy toward escape. That is THE LAST thing to do if we want to remain afloat and safely arrive to our destiny!

Living in Myrtle Beach for 9+ years, we were taught to swim with the riptide, parallel to the shore.  This is a great analogy of trust in the Lord. Once you dive in  to the commitment to obey and follow Him, you cannot swim back to your comfort zone. He promises to bring you to the other side of the situation…

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and you won’t start now…”

Suddenly, an epiphany:

The lyrics to Christ be All Around Me– lit up like a lamp inside of me:
only when we are out in the deep, or walking through the dark blindly do
we know “***ABOVE   and  BELOW   me***: this means deep waters!
before and behind me, Christ be all
around me.”

Swimming out
in the deep teaches us absolute trust and dependence upon Him;  

stripping us of any subtleties of pride in our abilities to “stabilize”
ourselves.

“My soul will rest in Your embrace; I am Yours and You are mine”

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders  Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger  In the presence of my Savior…”

It is humbling; but you don’t get His vastness, His sovereignty,
unless you are acutely, sincerely aware of your desperate need of it!

 “So I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

I will call upon Your Name

Keep my eyes above the waves…”

We  will continue to prepare, listen, believe, move with His strategies,
and wear this mantle for as long as He desires; while exploring the
depths of His love and following the light of I AM. ♥

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Deep Presence: Where Feet Fail and Faith Floats

This post is raw. This post is real. This is where I am right now.

Deep Waters  & Deep Presence

The past few weeks have been very different for Dan and me. So much is seemingly suspended in mid air!

I feel like a bar graph.

Yes, I said a bar graph!

A very FULL bar graph! Waiting, waiting, sensing the acceleration of His plan like massive jet engines, yet still  gathering speed. Kinda like a kid in a candy shop window- seeing all the goodies but the store owner  just “aint” turned the key yet!

There are so many areas of our lives right now that are in process, you know, unfinished. Not unstable;  just not completed. Never in our life together have my husband and I been on the verge of so many major life moves. Add to them family concerns like wishing, wanting and trying to figure out how to spend more time with those not living nearby. Add to that several major life decisions that we are  still discerning the best choices and God’s leading. If I try to “manage” them, it is a daunting and discouraging task. We are definitely out in deeper waters and the dog-paddling of years past is NOT working!  We are learning to float. To lean. To let our feet fail.

Each time one of those issues pops into my mind, I have to take a few minutes to “be still” for it to get in alignment. Then another pops up–> “Breathe, thank the Lord, breathe deeply, Be Still.”

Just about the time they all are at the same level of stillness, one rebels! LOL! It tries to sneak up- to get the upper hand on my heart’s graph and rise to the top! My hand is not big enough, not strong  enough to balance each of these at the same time!

Practicing the Presence is a discipline. It is NOT easy. But after a while, it becomes more natural. Oh how I wish it would become automatic, but the Lord did not design us to be that way. He created a void, a need, a desire for time with Him; to be “mind-full” of Him, His willingness, His ability, His love for us. He has hands big enough to handle all of our graphs!

This week I have renewed awe of Him; of His meticulous, magnificent and practical wisdom!  I have also become more aware that He is moving me, us (as a couple) out into the deepest places in Him that we have ever been, and I will be honest, it is VERY unfamiliar and unnerving territory!

I remember my family vacations to Myrtle Beach as a child. I loved the view. 😉 I could sit and sketch the landscape, the people all day! But… my Mom is a bonafide -freakin’ fish!!!  She LOVES the waves!  She taught us girls how to use a boogie board. She body surfed those crashers and laughed about it!  (Still was doing that in her early 70’s!)  I did ok. I felt so triumphant when I actually caught a wave and rode all the way to shore! But she would urge me to go out deeper.

She knew that the bigger waves, the greater victories come from being out in the deep, and knowing the perfect timing to ride the crest of each wave. 

Oh how I wanted to be just like her in that! But like the main character in Hind’s Feet on High Places, I was VeryMuchAfraid.   [: /

So I stayed where my feet could still touch bottom most of the time and caught  fewer waves and had less celebrations. I didn’t like losing control to a wave and being tumbled under the water. I complained about the taste of salt water, the sand in my pants. I made excuses not to go out deeper.

My Dad is a “landlubber” you know, steak and potatoes kinda guy. He likes his feet on the ground. He maps his course, scales out the distances, calculates the process and plots a path. He stands firm in what he knows to be truth. He is our family’s rock. And he doesn’t like ocean waves either! Ha ha!

Now I know that time is short and life is unpredictable. Life must be lived!  In my 50 years of  humanness, I have enough regrets, wishes for “do-overs”. I have a list of things to DO-to  BE.  Instead of putting them in a bucket, I am casting them out onto the water- out into the deep. This is gonna cost me. It is going to scare me. It will challenge the foundation of who I think I am. It will definitely sort out the precious from the worthless. I lay the list bare here, because you can’t ride the waves wearing a  bunch of layers!

* I want to overcome my trauma from a mountain’s edge car accident. I want to travel through high places again without fear.

*I want to go out to the places where others won’t go- to the uttermost parts of the earth.

*I want to live with abandon pursuing my King.

*I want my kids to know that it is OK to make mistakes and take a tumble now and then.

*I want to fulfill every last detail of God’s plan for my life with a pure heart.

*I want to paint what is on the Father’s heart in a much more profound way than in years past

*I want torun with the horses with Dan at 70 and govern like Kings at 80.

*I want a deep relationship with my daughter-in-law and grandson.

*I want to see more layers removed so less of me is seen and God’s glory is revealed.

*I want my feet to fail.

This song has been playing in my soul for the past few weeks:

It is o.k. that I am cautious like my Dad. I am adventurous like Mom too. But finding the balance of the two is my quest for the next 40 years.

I want to take those strengths and follow the Father and ride the waves of His Spirit!

I want every victory He has in store for me, no matter the cost. I have weighed the cost and find that it is too expensive to stay in shallow waters. So I am paddling out into the deep. Learning to float- to rest in Him as He navigates the course.

* * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * *

I created this poem back in  2003. I finally have decided to fully live it now.

Chapter One River Dance by Amanda Kuykendall

            

 This post is different.
My husband is the storyteller in our family.
We found out three years ago that he
probably was created for that, and were we living in a Cherokee village
he would be fulfilling that destiny given through his birth family.
Nevertheless, I am here writing today. And I have a story to tell. It
will probably be more like chapters, as there is much to share.Here is   “Chapter One” of River Dance…
A young couple who met at Bible College in the Appalachian
mountains stepped out into the stream of marriage and shortly thereafter
followed a call into ministry. Ordination followed and soon they sat in
the living room of their mentor minister’s home. Internship was
exciting and difficult. Growling stomachs and saving pennies for gas to
travel each weekend were part of the preparation. They saw first hand the
poverty and despair that comes from living in a land without The River.
Two “churches” situated opposite each other who were once one congregation;
the placement of the coal pile being the  reason for the split.
  Children sexually abused and neglected,
swarming with lice and fear in a dry and weary land were a weekly experience.
Being young in years and full of zeal, the call to a full time
pastorate in the Allegheny mountains was welcomed. Lush and breathtaking
views greeted the couple every morning in this historic, artistic
quaint mountain town. A few warm-hearted people contrasted the chilly
winters and bone cold growth level of the congregation.  They were
frozen in The River, damming its flow altogether.
After leading the group of people as far as they cared to go ( which
wasn’t far- the Church’s Historian’s records showed no change in 10
years in attendance, missions nor financial incrementation) the two –
who – were- now-three packed up
and entered into The City of the Fountain.
There they received an education of both sides of the spectrum; the
glorious possibility of the presence of God and darkness’  eerie
attempts to prevail.
A previous minister had a son who fancied having a
coffin in the garage and an ouija board in his bedroom. He eventually
killed his own child.  Many times a strange presence was felt in the
parsonage. Discord seemed to come instantly between The Two.  The Jewel
placed a book in the woman’s hands that was entitled This Present
Darkness. Eyes began to open and deeper understanding
poured out upon  The Two.
   A teaching regarding the Holy Spirit made them angry at first.
Determined to prove
the error, months were spent scouring The Book of the River in efforts
to document the findings.
Document them they did, and also found the truth.
This truth led The Two to challenge The Lord of The River.

 “If this is true, and if this is real, and I somehow have missed it all
this time, please show me. Baptize me, Fill me with Your Holy Spirit for
I do not want any other.”

The challenge did not go unnoticed nor unanswered. Light burst forth
and understanding fell upon them both, individually, separately and
alone. No man nor flesh did this. God and God alone.  The Two had been
introduced to The River. They needed a trail guide.
The Lord of The  River promptly provided that guide.
She was a Jewel amongst the congregation, shining brightly
amongst diamonds in the rough who led them to others
who knew of The River.
  One of the first things The River does is to cleanse.
Questions that had plagued them for
a long time were suddenly answered and a fresh softening of their
hearts began to restore any damage caused by the resident evil.
Another testing of the teaching took place.
Despite not knowing of The
Gifts found in The Book of The River, The Two still sensed something not
right in the house.
After hearing about a person who had resolved a
similar issue, they decided to apply  it to the house. Praying through
each room, and anointing each door and window with oil, the house became
electrified. An overpowering odor emanated from the upstairs.
A bedroom door opened on its own.
The door to the upper level also opened on its
own accord, with the sounds of footsteps heard following it. Upon
praying through a room and anointing it, a peace was felt until the next
room was entered. The peace was restored through the prayer, praise and
anointing. Between the chimney for the fireplace downstairs and the
wall they found the source of the smell. Praying through they removed
the ouija board that had been tucked into the space. Taking it outside
and burning it, a deep, thick black smoke rose into the sky.  The house
cleansed, The Two were now free to live there in peace and the journey on The River resumed.

Once you have tasted of this water, you are never satisfied with the
beverage of religion.

There is too much life, joy, peace that splashes
over your thirsty soul to turn back.  The Two found themselves searching
after the river, hiking trails, looking for signs that would lead them
to its banks. It’s melodious, rhythmic rapids called out to them and
stirred something deep within that they did not recognize.

The Landlubbers were none to happy to see the young minister and his
wife tasting a different brew. Their palates were too accustomed to the
fermented flavor of old wine; their skins had grown hard and resisted
expansion of any sort. It wasn’t long before their left feet began to
get restless. The River was calling and several others heard the sound.
They too wanted more. After several months of banter back and forth
about The River, the right hands of the leaders pulled away from The Two
and the  elected leadership inserted their left feet where the sun
doesn’t shine, sending The Two hurtling out to the curb. It was a
painful time of great shock, disillusionment and  a test of the call.

As they wandered and wondered why the Lord of The River seemed to
have abandoned them, they did not know they had actually embarked upon
the path that would lead them straight into the rushing current itself.

The Jewel had invited them to  a service nearby.  Reluctantly they
agreed to go.  For the woman, the thought of entering one of “those”
churches was intimidating. The many stories of bizarre activities caused
her to tremble as they walked in the door. But no pews were rocking, no
one was jumping around and each of the 3 chandeliers seemed to be just
fine in their proper places, hanging still. They were definitely not
prepared for what they heard and saw next!