Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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

     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 to "run 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 sit 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.

Monday, September 9, 2013

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 had 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. 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!