Monday, April 26, 2010

Practicing His Presence

I sit at my computer tonight VERY contemplative....

I was recently let to borrow a book called Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence & Frank Laubach. Once again, the Lord proves His faithfulness and the glorious fact that He talks to us in so many wonderful ways. This time - He was speaking to me through the repetition of recent words and ideas.

In the most recent Bible study I completed (In the Dust of the Rabbi - which is incredible by the way), the concept was discussed that in order to whole-heartedly be one of the Lord's disciples - His Talmid - once must truly give themselves completely over to Him in every thought, action, word, moment, etc. The faces in our Bible study class went almost immediately to stunned. We discussed how seemingly impossible that idea seems, especially in today's bustling society. But, the fact remained that it was a concept that was also so beautiful, so thrilling! It became something I thought a lot about throughout the weeks following. I pondered a lot the beautiful effect something like that could have on the spirit but how difficult it would be. I wondered if I even had the capacity to even attempt it - if ANYONE did.

That's when the book was placed in my hands by one of the people I count as being the most instrumental in my faith as I know it - my wonderful aunt/sister, Carolyn. She too had just completed the Rabbi study and was excited to hand me this book that had given her a spiritual nudge as large as the one it would soon give me. In God's perfect form, the book spoke exactly to this concept I had wondered so hard on of late. The book is made up of several diary entries made by 2 men, living in very different time periods, but who both experienced God in every moment of their life. I was intrigued from page one. In the book, you hear of the effect this practice had on the men and of the process of actually living it out. Oh, and a process it most certainly must be. It was something they started out doing for 30 minutes a day and extending over and over again until their days were filled with nothing but thoughts of God - every action, every decision filtered through the Lord. Can you imagine?!They even discuss how they would practice allowing the Lord to guide their hands as they shaved and ate. Such devotion! How beautiful! As I read, I grew more and more intrigued. I was still afraid though. I mean, both of the men were devoutly religious, living in monasteries and practicing their faith seamlessly. Surely, I could not do this - Not me: the one too busy, too tired, to thinly stretched, too unworthy. Then, I came to the most important and powerful portion of the book thus far...

I started to notice that the men would sometimes fail. That they would point out moments in their days when they lost track of God in their thoughts, but they always came right back when first they realized it...and God was always right there. They would mention their "business," their "responsibilities," their "illness and exhaustion." They were just like me, and they succeeded! So, what am I so afraid of?! Why do I always allow myself to forget who He is - who I am in Him? Why do I run away in shame when I miss a quiet time or skip a night of bible study homework? Why do I worry over the world? See, here is the beautiful part - the most brilliant revelation in this book thus far: whenever God is the center of your being, of your every thought, everything else just falls into perfect place. Your decisions are His decisions. Your words are His words. Your actions are His actions. WOW! A concept I've always known with my head but never explored with my heart! Why?

Why indeed, Linsey? WHY do you forget that "there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)? The disciples woke up and fell asleep with, ate with, walked with, talked with, cried with the Lord Jesus each and every day. Jesus was man as we are not only to rescue us from our sins but to show us that we CAN do all things through Him. He was flesh and blood just like we are, and He overcame the world. We claim that the world gets in our way. We claim "busy," "weak willed," "tired," "forgetful." Lord, help our unbelief! Christ spent every moment in God's presence. He met Him in prayer and meditation at every free instance when His work was not being done. Please don't misunderstand - God's work is God's work, and may He bless us every moment that we're doing it. My point is, why can't our every moment be God's work? It already is. We just foolishly live as though it's not - as though we have control. We know better! Oh, how I long for that kind of faith, that kind of obedience, that kind of CLOSENESS! I'm the only thing standing in my way. My daddy is waiting!

I have to remember, we all worry. We all feel guilty, but these men have truly opened my soul to the beautiful notion that if we live every moment in the truth that it is God's and allow Him to guide us in it, then we will have nothing to worry over, nothing to fear, and certainly no failure. Satan devises so many ways to separate us from God. We must draw close to God! NO MORE FOOTHOLDS!!! There may be times that we fail as far as the world is concerned, but in His presence we are always victorious! We just have to keep our eyes, ears, minds, hearts, and souls on Him. We've already learned that His presence brings love. His presence brings protection. His presence brings security. His presence brings grace and mercy. His presence is everything! Oh, how I long to pratice it!

I am stepping out in faith here - I'm going to try and practice that kind of closeness with God. I'm going to take this one day at a time, one moment at a time. I know I'll fail, but I'm going to get back up every time. No more living in defeat. It's time to practice letting the Holy spirit run free in me. I'm going to try and make every moment His. It will be all be about listening and doing. I'm not so prideful that I believe I'm going to be able to do this on my own. It's going to take a lot of accountability on my part, on the part of my trusted friends, and all the strength of Christ that is in me. I pray you will all join me on this journey!

"As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4).

I'm so, so scared, but I just keep hearing Mrs. Claire Brunson saying "No fear - just jump in!"

So, here we go beloveds...


Monday, April 19, 2010


As I sat in church yesterday, I could feel the Lord start turning those wheels in my mind and spirit. I was very contemplative and struck by the sermon. I was awed by God's way, as once again, in perfect form, He put things in place, placed words on my spirit, roused words from my study, words from my life, and words from the pulpit - tying them all together in perfect revelation.

Marty discussed oxymorons and paradoxes in his sermon yesterday. Besides finding this humorous as an English teacher who recently covered these concepts in class, I also found joy once again in a truth I have always believed in. It's the first thing that comes to mind when my students ask that age old question, "Ugh! Ms. McCoun, why do we have to know this?" I believe whole-heartedly that we have literature and use it as a means for discovering the use of figurative language and literary devices as a means for understanding those concepts when they are used in the Word of God. The Lord speaks to us in oxymorons, paradoxes, similes, metaphors, symbols, and images. We must analyze tone and diction, details and syntax. All of it adds such a depth and breadth to the Word of God. It's all His way of expressing to us concepts that are so far beyond our capacity for understanding. He gives us these tools! What a glorious God we have! However, it's also a very dangerous thing in that it is a place where the devil finds many advocates. As with most literature, the use of such devices leaves the work up for much "interpretation." Satan loves to distort the Word of God to a point of unrecognizability and lack of understanding ("When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart." -Matthew 13:19). Praise God for the Holy Spirit and the sword of our Savior that helps guide us in this understanding and battle against the devil's confusion.

Confusion...oxymorons and paradoxes. How interesting and beautiful that it was these devices Marty chose to utilize in his teaching. Two devices used to develop and express a relationship between two things that are seemingly contradictory. Marty revealed to us a paradox that he stated has plagued society as a burning question for decades: If God seeks to bring and be good to the world, why then does He allow evil to exist? Well, beloveds, probably the most glorious portion of the definition of a paradox that cannot be ignored is the word "seemingly" - the tiny word that makes all the difference. Paradoxes are only "seemingly" contradictory! Their beauty and effect lies in the fact that while their is little sense to be made in the initial statement - the contradiction is always reconciled in the end by everything else within the work - sometimes even by a single other line. In keeping with that definition, even the paradox Marty presented has a reconciliation - our Savior.

Why does God allow evil to exist? Let me begin by saying (at the risk of much backlash) that I am actually of the opinion that evil does not exist as something that was "created" - as something we could attribute with a God-breathed existence. I believe that much like darkness is only the absence of light and cold the absence of heat that evil is merely the absence of God. Evil is the nothingness that exists outside of the goodness of the Lord. Satan is described in scripture as the "Evil One." Refer even to my reference above from Matthew. He does evil in removing the word from the hearts of men. Look to Ezekiel at the very description of the Evil One's fall: "Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings" (Ezekiel 28:16-17). God cast him away. Satan is evil, because Satan exists away from the Lord. Satan is the only thing that is the essence of true evil, because he is the only thing that can no longer be in the presence of God. God did not "create" evil. Evil is simply that which God is not. That is why I daily thank God for who He is. I believe wholheartedly that He created us for good, to be close to Him, to love Him, to allow Him to love us. We are all good who are reconciled to Christ, but as we seek to do good, Satan tempts our sinful natures to turn away from Him. Paul presents perfectly an explanation of this in Romans 7:

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

(Romans 7:14-20)

Satan is the "the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:2). Satan steals His words from us, because in the presence of His living word, evil cannot exist. Satan tempts us away from obedience, because in His commandments, evil cannot exist. Satan lies to us, because in His truth, evil cannot exist. Satan blinds us, because to see God is to see that his evil DOES NOT EXIST!

Believe me, we are blind who believe that God does not ALWAYS have our best interest in mind. Even when He has allowed us to be touched by evil, it was always under His control. For, Satan must receive permission from Him to even touch you. Many are turned off and bothered by the idea that God would allow that. Well, I say to you, as you have seen from Paul's words: evil is always right there. In the very essence of free will, there is always the possibility that we turn away and find ourselves "away" from Him, stumbling into evil. As Marty pointed out, though, Ephesians 1:11-12 tells us that we all have a purpose - we were chosen by him, "having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory." He only asks that we obey Him. Keep our eyes fixed on Him. Do not let ourselves turn toward evil. For "when we live under the authority of Him and seek to obey, the enemy may oppose us and even oppress us, but he cannot thwart the fulfillment of God's plans for our lives. Any permission he receives to oppose us will only be issued for the greater victory of God" (Moore). When our will is tied to that of our Father, we remain in Him, sheltered by the shadow of His wings, kept safe from evil. Think of it: when He gives permission, He says to the Evil one, "Bring it on! Do your Worst!" Darlings, find joy!!! For, when we remain in Him, never straying, never absent, always with Him, any evil that comes against us has to go through Him first!!

So, it may be a paradox, a confusing, nonsensical idea that God would despise evil and yet allow us to coexist with it. Ahhhhh, but Praise Him for the blessed reconciliation of that paradox: Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here is how Paul concludes his thoughts from Romans 7: "For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:21-25)." He that knew no sin, became sin. In his death, Christ became separated from God because of our sins. After his burial and three days in the grave he rose from the dead and now is seated at the right hand of the father. Making intercession for us. Reconciling to us all that there is no evil in the world strong enough to separate us from the Love of God.

"For, I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

"For though we live in the world we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

"In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:11-14).

"For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

"Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God" (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Amen and be blessed, beloveds!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Good eve, fair nobles!

In Bible study recently, I was given some very fresh insights on the story of the Last Supper. The text I was studying discussed the true meticulous importance of the preparation of the room for that Supper. Everything in and around that Passover meal is symbolic. The most captivating portion of what I read expressed the fact that it was no mere coincidence (as though coincidence existed) that Jesus charged Peter and John with the task of preparing that feast. They were chosen specifically for that task. As they prepaperd and no doubt sighed their way through the painstaking preparation, they did not realize the true scope of what they were doing. The most important part of their role was the preparing of the sacrificial lamb. No doubt, they soon came face to face with the realization of that symbolism, as very soon after that meal, Christ would lay down His body and pour out His blood for us all - quite literally becoming the 3rd cup in the tradition, the cup of REDEMPTION. Those two men's roles were so important, even though at that time they didn't realize it. They would go on to though - oh, would they ever! This was by far my favorite fact learned on this day of study - Peter and John are the only two of the twelve who are ever recorded as having referred to Jesus as the lamb (1 Peter 1 and Revelation 5). WOW!

It caused me to think: How often do we all step half-heartedly into a charge from our Lord and Savior, not realizing the true glory that our obedience is accomplishing for Him? Ephesians 2:10 is clear: "...we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." He made us with the passions and abilities we have for a reason. We are His Living Stones - chiseled ever away at in preparation to fit into the perfect erecting of His temple. This led me further into a spirit of pondering. As this is true, and as I am walking with the Lord, it must be the case that the things that kindle a fire in me - the things that make me shiver with excitement, bring a smile to my face, and that I am genuinely happy and good at doing must have been placed there by the Lord for some purpose. Now, my whole mission of late is to truly find myself daily walking in obedience and fulfillment of my purpose and destiny. So, I truly had a lot to consider. It made me curious. I started searching myself, identifying my spiritual gifts, my stengths and weaknesses, my passions. I could see the need for so many of them as labor for God's Kingdom, but one kept coming to the forefront of my mind as one that I just could not figure out. I thought of Peter and John. I knew that there MUST be a reason for this love that I harbor. It's a passion I have had for as long as I can remember, a passion that I have actually been somewhat self-convicting over, as there were many times I felt for sure there was no way it served any purpose for God's will. After much prayer and contemplation...I see how wrong that is. I most certainly have this passion for a strong purpose - and that purpose is to define me and serve as a constant reminder of who I am in Christ.

Ok, here goes: Ha ha! I have to laugh at myself. Something you know about me if you know me at all is that I have an absolute passion for all things Medieval. I love the Renaissance era. I love anything remotely associated to that era. I love knights. I love swords. I love castles. I love fantasy. I love wizards. I love dragons. I love Kings. I love squires. I love the langauge - OH, how I LOVE the language! I even can't help but write in the language when I write for pleasure. I am OBSESSED with any and everything that evokes those qualities. Take Lord of the Rings for example. To call my love for LOTR an obsession would be a vast understatement. I watch the trilogy every weekend. LOL! I have read the books multiple times. I collect the toys and paint the models. I am enthralled by Aragorn's role in the story. In fact, I usually skip the scenes with Frodo, Sam, and the Creature Gollum making their way through the dark of Mordor to cast the ring of power into the fires of Mt. Doom. What I love is the "return of the king" aspect of the story. I love the battles and the valiance. My heart jumps in Two Towers when the Rohirrim show up at the battle of Helm's Deep. I love Gandalf and the role he plays. OOOHHH! I'm excited even discussing it!! I also watch "Legend of the Seeker" every Saturday. It's a Fantasy TV series about the True Seeker who, traveling with a wizard, a mord sith, and a confessor, and wielding the Sword of Truth, makes his way through the Midlands battling all who stand in his way of finding the Stone of Tears and defeating the keeper of the underworld. I adore it! Even my house is decorated to accentuate my passion - I have a mini suit of armor in my bedroom if that tells you anything. LOL! This passion has lent me to be considered somewhat of a nerd. My colleagues pick on me about it all the time. I must admit I even pick on myself over it. But let me tell you why God PICKED ME for it:

- I am a conqueror - (Romans 8:29-39)

- I am a rescued damsel in distress - (Psalm 107:13 - "Then they
cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.")

- I am a warrior - (Judges 6:12 - "...The LORD is with you, Mighty Warrior!")

- I am a princess - (Psalm 45:11, 13 - "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord; All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.")

- I am a fool - (1 Corinthians 1:27 - "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.")

- I am a sword bearer - (Ephesians 6:17 - "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.") - The Word is Alive, and it cuts like a sword through the darkness !

- I am clothed in armor - (Ephesians 6:10-17)

- I love Medieval language because I love the language of the Bible. I love reading the original KJV! I teach English because I love to study theme, symbolism, figurative language - all things one must fully understand in order to interpret the Bible in its rich fullness.

- I love fantasy, because it's one of the childlike parts of me that anchors my child-like faith. The things of Heaven are so far beyond the scope of our understanding (just read Revelation of you doubt me on that one). I believe there's a part of Heaven infused in those of us who have great imaginations. =)

- I love "The Return of the King" - Do I really even need to explain that one? =)

- I love battles between good and evil where light always prevails

- I love to watch the rugged fulfill their destinies

I could go on and on! See! Every part of my passion is representative of some part of my role in God's Kingdom. Beloveds, we ARE our passions! No matter how trivial, how nerdy, how silly, how seemingly misunderstood - they are all useful to the Lord! Lord, I pray that your help me cultivate the strength that is in me - help me become a true Knight of Heaven. I am already your Lady. =)

Monday, April 12, 2010


Good evening, beloveds! Well, today was my first day newly placing my feet firmly onto the road of my "mission." God's Grace and Love always awe me, no matter how many times I experience them. I adore how the promises He makes in His word are ALWAYS kept and how true to His personality He so faithfully remains. He is, especially to me, Daddy: the loving Father who each morning sends me off into the world prepared with His guidance, and nightly is there to dazzle me with stories of his greandeur, and kiss my day into forgetfulness as I fall innocently to sleep in His arms. The best things about dads are that their stories never get old no matter how many times they are told, especially the good ones! =) One of my absolute favorites is one of the Bible's most commonly repeated but one that I can safely say I have always found something new in no matter how many times I have read it. It has brought me comfort and inspiration so many times. It is the story of the Prodigal Son.

As I prayed this morning and felt His spirit come upon me, I had to shed a joyful tear of praise, as I was astounded once again at how quickly he welcomes us back to Him. His embrace was palpable, and I could sense the smile that spread across His Heavenly face, as I reached out to Him in all the newness that has been kindled inside of me of late. I immediately thought of the Prodigal Son. Now, although I had not willfully run away from Him this time, I felt Him run to me in welcome just the same. I picture myself as the young child at the beach with her father, floating aimlessly out amidst the waves, waking only to realize that I have drifted down the shore, hundreds of yards from my unsettled parent. I track my way back to Him, treading heat, sand, and the unecessarily rough journey that I set myself on, and He suddenly comes into my view (For, you see, I was never out of he scope of His). Then, there comes the scene of each of us running toward the other, ending in a thankful and loving fatherly embrace, throwing His arms around me and kissing me - all with the reciprication of a relieved and elated young child. I love and savor that image. I could seemingly exceed the reach of His protection, of His touch, but I could never and can never exceed the reach of His love.

When it comes to His children, He always wants us. He yearns for us every minute! Something I find incredible is that of all the anthropomorphisms in the Bible, this scence in the story of the Prodigal Son is the only instance in which He is described as running (Thank you, Beth Moore). WOW! Oh, how He loves us!!! I point that out, because that is exactly how I felt this morning. I woke up asking the Lord to set my feet upon a path today, and much like His sprint to embrace me, He didn't just set them upon the path, He set my feet RUNNING. He is and always will be exactly who He says He is. His forgiveness and love are instantaneous! PRAISE HIM! He truly heard and trusted in my desire to continue on into my destiny, and He reminded me today of all the passions He has set inside of me, of all of the strengths He has blessed me with.

I feel one of the greatest of these is the strong love I have for my dear students. I know my mission involves them. I look at them as He looks at me. I love each and every one of them. I see the purpose that resides within them. I know what they can and should be. I rejoice with their successes and mourn when I feel them slipping away. I am actually getting sad that this school year is drawing to a close, because I don't want to let go of this group. We have so much work yet to do. We have made such strides, and I have grown to love them all so much! I just pray that I have shown them enough of Christ's love that no matter how far away they go, they will never escape the tugging inside of them by that seed He and I spent so much time and effort cultivating within them all this year. May He make use of me in exponential amounts in these last remaining weeks when it comes to them.

I close tonight with that prayer lingering on my lips. I can't wait to see what He does tomorrow. He is so truly amazing! UNFAILING! Praise You, Daddy!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Everything Rides on Hope Now

After the recent and sudden passing of a sweet friend, I have been inspired by the legacy she left. Her name is Heather Hopson Graff, and she was one of the most beautiful Christians I have ever had the honor of knowing. Heather had always had a huge effect on me, even from a distance. Her smile and laugh were contagious. She shone with a Christ Light that was unavoidable, and her sweet spirit was an inspiration in and of itself. I always liked who I was when I was around her, and she taught me a lot about what it truly meant to love God with all of your heart, mind, body, and strength. It has been seen that even in death, she is doing His good work. Over 750 people attended her viewing, and I know there were at least that many at her funeral. She touched so many lives! I attended those celebrations of her life with some initial reservations, as I was not as close to her as so many who were attendnig with me. I felt a tugging at my heart that could not be ignored, though. As I sat contemplatively at these events, I soon discovered I was exactly where I should be..

With every song that was played and every word spoken, I felt His spirit enter that place with ever-increasing glory. I had been recently struggling through a dry spell, a period of complacency and "business." I had been distracted so much from the Lord that even in prayer my mind would wander. I had been seeking from everywhere a way to break through. It seemed that the news of Heather's passing brought a truth crashing down on my spirit that not only broke through the placid stillness of my lake, but stirred its current to rush forth again! I saw first hand a truth I recognized and only foolishly believed I understood - our lives are not our own. I look at the life Heather led, the events leading up to her sudden passing, the way things fell into place, words that she had recently spoken, things God had revealed to her, and especially the people she had touched, and it was obvious: she was meant to live her 26 years, no more, no less. And, my had she led them to completion with fullness! I realized at that moment the true scope of His purpose for our lives. I saw the reality that we only have as much time as He has alotted for us to have, and that it is up to us to fulfill our destiny at "just such a time as this." It seemed that so many different puzzle pieces of so many studies all fell into a sense-making image of truth. I thought immediately, "What have you been doing, girl?!" No - moreso, "What have you THOUGHT you've been doing?" I began to see that my current state of stillness could not continue. I was treading water, neither faithfully stepping onto it, nor fearfully avoiding it- just standing inside the boat staring out out the water, watching my savior pass by me. How God-like that the preacher's next words were on that very portion of Jesus' story. He reminded us that in the storm of our grief, Jesus was 2 places: interceding for us on the mountain, and walking out to us right there in the midst of it. But, where was I?

I listened as he read her own words, as she let all the honesty of her walk, her truth, her beauty, all of her nitty-gritty, soul seething prayers written on the screen of a computer. I was awed. I was inspired. I was awoken once again. I felt my shins start to bleed right then and there, as I foresaw the hours I knew I'd be putting in on them before my God soon after this. I heard the words of some of my absolute favorite praise songs seemingly for the first time: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come." "If everything comes down to love, then just what am I afraid of?" "Always: Our Savior never fails." Heather lived out every word of those songs. We all saw her destiny fulfilled. Now, what was I doing?

The preacher read a portion of one of Heather's blogs in which she herself was re-awakened to her fire for missions and her hunger to serve Him. He challenged us to daily step out into our own mission, to recognize our roles in serving our King, and to honor both Him and the memory of our beloved friend by living to love the Jesus that Heather knew and loved. I immediately vowed to do so, searching my oul for what mission He would set my feet running back toward. I was immediately jostled by the Holy Spirit to remember a word He had revealed to me a few months ago: "Linsey, dear one, we both need to see that you can finish something, bring something to fruition before I can reveal to you what big things I have for you to do, not that I may see in you what I already know to be there but so that you will trust and believe in yourself as I do. " Immediately, every little unfinished peice of Godly business I had came flooding into my mind, and I saw that at every crack in the road of incompletion...there was fear...fear in the form of doubt. I have set standards I fear are unattainable for myself to achieve. I doubt my leadership, my capability, my obedience, my capacty for self control. I wasn't letting him lead me, and I definitely wasn't finishing what we started. Then, those songs reverberated through my ears once again: If everything comes down to love, then just what am I afraid of?" "Always: Our Savior NEVER FAILS." I have nothing to be afraid of. I have everything I need, because I was born equipped to do what He has set out in advance for me to do. I am more than a conquerer!

So, Ms. Heather, I am taking up that challenge! I am choosing to set myself aside and just do what I was sent here to do. I don't know how long I have, how much I'll have to do, or how much I'll have to give, but with every opportunity that is given to me, I will give, I will praise, I will be, I will do. I'm riding now on all the hope and faith that is given to me by His Grace and Mercy. All of this, because I had the privilege of knowing you and the Jesus that you love so much. Heaven is more than blessed to have you home, beloved! Rest in all His Love and Peace!!

I end this first blog with some lyrics that I know Heather found such great inspiration in. I make them my anthem:

"Bring me joy. Bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus, BRING THE RAIN!