About Barbara

I'm just a simple sojourner listening for the whispers of a God who encompasses my life with His glory as I stumble upon these moments of holy. Covered by grace and called His beloved, I am forever grateful.

When Your Tribe Finds You

Find Your Tribe — These words were the invitation I accepted last year as I stumbled upon http://oneword365.com/find-your-tribe/ —  “a global tribe committed to journeying together and living intentionally.”

Since I had already been living the premise of this challenge to follow the course of one particular word each year long before the founding of this online group of life embracers, throwing my word into the mix of similar-minded folks seemed like a natural thing to do. It would be interesting to connect with others who were pursuing the same goal in life. So, I logged in and typed the word that had been resonating within my heart.

Gather.

Seems like a pretty inclusive word, doesn’t it? Or so I thought. But apparently, no one else in this online group of nearly two thousand had this same word branded upon their hearts. From January through December of 2017, I remained the lone member of my “tribe.”

Sometimes living out a purpose is a solitary commitment.

Sometimes we have to continue on even when our  “tribe” is a tribe of one and there is no support group of fellow sojourners.

Despite my failed efforts to connect to a tribe via online invitation, my 2017 was in no way without people. After all, with the word I was given, how could I possibly end up in solitude?

When I first allowed my mind to mull over the word “gather,” I had my own idea of how things might progress. I envisioned a group of ladies casually seated around my table for meals and conversation. Lunch dates to connect with friends, new and old alike. I was even willing to concede that this gathering might be more spiritual than physical as I “gathered” people in my prayers who were not close in proximity. And while each of those scenarios did happen, it was not the brunt of the path God had in mind.

Folks have, indeed, been gathered into my home and have filled the chairs around my table, but it has not been a group of ladies whose presence has been made known. Instead, my heart has been enlarged to embrace a band of brothers (yes, literal brothers). Three blonde-haired adventurers have joined the ranks of those nearest and dearest to me, young men who have befriended my own kids and have wormed their way into this mama’s heart in the process. For the majority of the past five months, they have lived in our home, sleeping in beds or sprawled across couches and floors. They have worked alongside us and eaten at our table and “crashed” our family vacation and sat around fires with us and sang and laughed and hugged and danced their way completely into our lives.

What a gathering it has been!

This past year has shown me that:

Sometimes God starts us on a journey.

Sometimes He calls us to “find our tribe.”

Sometimes that tribe may seem to be a tribe of one.

Sometimes God turns the tide and brings you a whole new tribe.

In surprising ways.

If you are feeling on the outskirts of community, I invite you to “find your tribe.”  You may discover those folks over at http://oneword365.com/find-your-tribe/  or you might walk the whole of 2018 with no online match of fellow travelers. But that doesn’t mean they are not out there.

It may just require you to first venture forth on your own.

It might mean walking a solitary path of obedience for a season.

And it may look very different than your initial expectations.

But in the end, you will find yourself surrounded by a band of brothers or sisters who will inspire and encourage you.

In ways beyond imagining.

Be willing to take the journey and find out.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” – Isaiah 55:8, NLT

© 2018 MereWhispers.wordpress.com

 

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Keeper of Universes and of Souls

There is One who numbers the stars and calls them each by name.
Who counts the grains of sand sprinkled across vast deserts and tucked in ocean depths
Who creates a myriad of snowflakes, each unique in frosty garb
Who refreshes the earth with droplets of summer showers poured from heavenly reserves
Who tallies the hairs upon my head
And knows my every thought before even one of them is formed.

The One who adorns meadows with spectacular array of wildflowers and bends rainbows to soothe the force of mighty thunderstorms is the One
who calls me His child.

Crafter of galaxies and of universes
Maker of the Milky Way
Painter of planets
Sustainer of solar systems
Designer of DNA
Caretaker of every living being that creeps and swoops and runs and flies.

This is Abba.

My Father.

The One who holds new mercies in store each day, inviting me to grasp them as my own.

Keeper of beggar hearts,
Come and show me once again what it means to live with
Christ in me.

Let us explore these wonders You’ve created.
And let’s begin with the ones waiting to be unearthed within my soul.

© 2018 MereWhispers.wordpress.com 

Slow of Heart

When it comes to movement, I am generally not a slow person. Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I intentionally must alter my steps to decelerate when walking with a group of people. I frequently must pause for automatic doors to open. And apparently, I appear to be in a hurry even when simply moving at my normal stride, a fact attested to by the Walmart greeter who has dubbed me “Speedy.”

But when it comes to the things of God, such is not the case.  In truth, I can be a bit of a spiritual dawdler.

When I bumped up against the following admonishment of Jesus spoken to the two men on their way to Emmaus in Luke 24:25, I knew I could claim this statement as my own: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken . . . ” (emphasis mine)

How similar I am to these two bewildered disciples.

Slow to believe, yet still wanting Jesus to linger long.

Puzzled by His true identity, yet knowing there is something about His presence that makes my heart burn within me and long to hear more of what He has to say.

Not fully comprehending His teachings or His ways, but desiring He remains with me nonetheless.

I am thankful my Savior knows who He is even when I don’t recognize Him.

Even when I struggle to believe and am slow in coming to terms with His unconventional ways.

I am grateful Jesus is content to walk alongside me in my foolishness.

That He is not put off by my ignorance and unbelief.

That He chooses to abide with me.

Patiently sharing His presence.

Gently teaching me.

Instructing me in things of His nature so I can make it more fully my own.

Opening my eyes, blink by blink, to the riches of His kingdom.

Extending His purposes for me to pick up and claim.

Showing tidbits of Himself, glimpse after glimpse, until I grasp His truth with wonder and thankfulness.

Yes, I am slow of heart to believe.

I am also wholly loved by a patient Teacher who knows the worst of me yet is still determined to embrace the best.

Here in my smallness,

I am found.

I am called.

I am loved.

By a Savior who is alive and well.

Immanuel.

God incarnate come to earth.

Willing to linger with the likes of me.

Slow of heart though I may be.

© 2017 MereWhispers.wordpress.com

Banished by Grace

To have the knowledge of good and evil without the perfect judgment of a wise and all-knowing God is a dangerous thing.

To attempt to understand the truth of sin and of righteousness without the flawless mind of the Creator can lead to irrational and insufficient declarations of good and bad.

It’s no wonder God banished Adam and Eve from the garden once they had sampled the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. To live in this muddled state of confusion forever would have been a disastrous story, indeed.

This is why a Savior was necessary — to repeal and to revoke the license of evil and to free us from an eternity of its presence hovering near.

Only a perfect God can sort through this delicate balance of good and evil perfectly.

Only a perfect Savior can ransom the souls of imperfect men perfectly.

This is why I now view Adam and Eve’s banishment from Eden as an act of grace instead of an angry response from a frustrated Creator.

As I ponder the mercy extended alongside this exile, I can’t help but wonder how many other acts of grace have been granted me in this life. Acts of grace which I have mistakenly viewed as Father’s disappointment, or as disapproval, or as let downs seen as unanswered prayers.

Like Adam and Eve, my understanding is skewed from Father’s complete wisdom. That is why His grace poured out sometimes appears as neglect toward my desires when, in truth, that is never the case.

No matter how often I am tempted to believe otherwise, I am not left on my own. My Father notices every detail of the whole of creation, including each nuance of my seemingly insignificant life.

Not one breath is taken without His awareness.

Not one thought skips across my mind without capturing His attention.

And whether I believe it or not, not one prayer goes unanswered.

It’s just that sometimes the answer is simply grace.

A grace all too often misinterpreted by my faltering faith grasping for miracles of a different form.

While I still may wonder at the perfectness of a paradise with so many opportunities for human error, today I choose to see banishment as a blessing.

Some of my dreams banished . . .  for a better way.

Some longings displaced . . . for a higher purpose.

Some prayers left hanging . . .

Because grace has come.

Sometimes in disguise, but always present.

And always, always framed with Father’s perfect love.

Simply for the Joy of It

The other evening, I was playing with my two-year-old grandson. What began as a simple “twirl” in my arms in his front yard, soon found us “flying circles” around the house together. I lost count of the number of times I extended my arms and “flew” across the grass, following energetic, little boy legs amidst full-out giggles and silly remarks. We swooped and scurried, circling trees and fire pits along the way, only to come back to the front of the house where Reuben would look at me before breathlessly saying, “Let’s do that again!” And with the resolve of a completely smitten grandma, I’d join him for yet another “flight.”

This game continued for what must have been at least fifty trips around the house, but I seriously would have gone fifty more with that little fellla if time permitted. Although assured by his mother and others that I could stop at any moment, that I needn’t feel obligated to continue the game any longer than I desired, the fact is I desired to continue it as long as my grandson did. I would even sometimes purposefully stop at the front of the house, simply for the joy of having Reuben pause to look back at me and say, “Grandma, let’s do that again!” Although others may have thought our game exhausting, at that moment there was nothing bringing me greater joy than knowing I was bringing joy to my grandson simply by sharing in his adventures.

This whole scenario got me pondering how easily I can be deceived into thinking my antics exhaust my heavenly Father. From an outsider’s point of view, God most certainly must grow weary by the simpleness of my life. I mean seriously, He who created the ends of the universe and everything in between lowers Himself to become a faithful Companion in my everyday life? How simplistic I must be in comparison to Him! At my most complex and highest-functioning moments, I remain akin to a unicellular fungus in comparison to the Most High, and even that is likely rewarding me more credit than I deserve. Shouldn’t God be above consorting with the likes of me?

It’s easy for me to be tricked into believing He is merely “tolerating” my presence if I forget one simple truth: My Father God delights in me.

Oh, He may not always approve of my actions, but His love for me never decreases even when I’m in the full-fledged throes of a childish tantrum.

He may want more and better for me than my selfish choices afford, but God never once falters in loving me.

Unconditionally.

Without limits.

And with great delight.

When I look at the much smaller scale of my love for my grandson, I can only surmise it to be a pittance when compared to God’s perfect love for me. Though others may have wearied in following a little boy in circles time and again, I wanted nothing more than to continue the play as long as his heart desired. In truth, I would have remained on the journey with Reuben for as long as his little legs allowed, and then I would have carried him in circles if He had asked. Simply for the joy it brought him . . . and me.

When I’m struggling to believe God is tireless in His care and love toward me, I need only read the following words from Matthew 7:11: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

My grandson Reuben has my heart, and he didn’t do one thing to earn it. He has my heart simply because He is my grandson. And if I, being a sinful and selfish person, know how to give good things to him . . . well, then why is it so hard for me to believe my heavenly Father wouldn’t do more than the same for me?

Although I am fully aware I can be exhausting to some folks, fortunately God is not on that list. My Father not only loves me, He delights in me and enjoys spending time with me . . .  even when it’s as simplistic as running loop after loop in the same pattern, over and over and over.

And you know what? I’ll bet God even pauses at times, just so He can capture my attention and hear me speak the words, “Hey Dad, let’s do that again!”

© 2017 MereWhispers.wordpress.com

Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat!

Following You isn’t that strenuous, as long as You don’t ask me to step out of the boat.
But You do.
(from A Heart Exposed by Steven James)

It’s true.

You are a God who sets my feet in broad places, then continues to extend the boundaries as You push me beyond human logic, tempting me to trust You with my mustard seed-sized faith.

Your conduct is baffling. Nonsensical even, as You make mud pies from saliva and serve up a slice of sight to blind eyes.

Your forthright approach taunts folks with tales of “sleeping” daughters You raise from the dead.

You instruct people to leave Your presence, daring them to believe for a healing to come “along the way.”

You command tombs to be opened and call forth dead men, reuniting family and friends.

You drive demons into pigs, setting crazed men free and whole.

Blind men wash in pools of water and receive their sight.

Proud lepers dunk in dirty rivers to have their skin made clean and soft.

You clear a temple with a whip, overturning tables and religious expectations as You invite children to sing the wonders of Your praises.

Former prostitutes and pagans support Your ministry.

Simple fishermen and scorned tax collectors are gathered to become the leaders of Your Church.

What is the point of these strange tactics?

Why must faith give birth alongside the stench of stable’s manure and mix with blood running down Calvary’s crossbeams?

Why are places like this the places where miracles are found?

Why can’t You take a safer route, a more practical approach to Christian living?

Why can’t You be content to let Your children simply enjoy the boat ride?

And why, oh why, do I struggle so against the wonders of Your ways?

With pharisaical heart, I ponder Your offer, then turn again toward the known and familiar, clinging futilely to religion without power.

And all the while, Your voice keeps calling me to step out of the boat . . .

But I prefer to let the waves rock me to sleep as I close my eyes and dream of miracles.

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com

 

 

Make This Rescued Life a Song

Sovereign Savior,
You pursue me with relentless love,
determined to make something beautiful from this ash heap.
I bow in humble gratefulness,
thankful You can make sense of me when my thoughts are swirling
and my words tongue-tied.
When I don’t understand the twistings of my soul,
You are there untangling me.
Steadying my heart with reminders of grace given,
renewing my hope for today with memories from past deliverance.
Your goodness is present through it all.

Faith in You provides a continual knowing,
meeting each nuance of my being
without surprise or regret.
You are familiar with all my ways,
reaching to the deepest recesses of my soul,
grasping the very essence of me wrapped securely in You.
Your hand of blessing rests upon my head,
calming me and calling me
to look to You and live according to my namesake.

I spill out the brokenness of my life before You,
and watch in awe as the jumbled puzzle
is mysteriously and masterfully arranged by Your hand.
Piece by piece,
You insist on making all things new.
Redeeming the worst of me.
Reclaiming this wreckage of wayward heart.
Repurposing the very struggles Satan meant for my destruction.
Bringing forth victory in the wastelands of my faltering.
Carrying me through the severest of storms.

You are my Champion.
Savior Extraordinaire of my past.
Friend and faithful Companion for today.
Keeper of my future and my forever.
May this rescued life pour forth love songs to You,
singing the sweet melody of redemption from beginning to end.

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com