Sunday, November 19, 2017

Charming Reality - November 19, 2017

I walk the streets of Nashville one day and LA the other. And I ask myself, where is the fanfare, the sparkle? Nashville is so little - who knew? And Hollywood Boulevard is so dirty. Where are the cameras, the glimmer, the glitz? Why a homeless person lying on a dirty blanket with soiled socks? Why in Nashville are there homeless on the corner with tattered and torn placards? Where is the shine, the ever constant music? Where? Why do these places look so dull? And then I realize, to be disappointed by a famous location is really disappointment with a break from illusion. We hate when the sparkle fizzles, we actually love delusion and crave escape.
Privileged to be able to pray for Alma and her book and for
Mike and his next brave move.
May God prove to be all they need.

Lynne, I want you to see their sorrow - would you mind lifting them up in prayer? In all kindness, I need you to know Lynne that your crave for escape is always at the expense of others. Would you mind staying present with me? Thanks.

What is this man doing outside Starbucks looking into the air with a worn face wearing pants that not only need washing but have never seen a washer and his nails look so in need of a manicure? There has to be cameras somewhere, surely this is an actor. While walking on the streets of LA and Nashville separated by a month I walk across a divide; a divide between reality and illusion. And I realize something very important, a place holds charm because of me, because of you, because of our real interactions, the memories we have made, our connections, the food, the dives, the studios, the favored places and the unique stores. The legends built around these cities remain in a vaporous, hazy zone, not grounded in reality. But you and I are reality and we are the ones who make a place a place.

Lynne, this place holds no charm for this guy. Would you mind lifting him up in prayer? Hey, thanks. 

I am uncomfortable - this delusional dude outside Starbucks looks me straight in the eye through the thick window pane. Buddy, this is Hollywood Boulevard don't do this to me. I am suppose to be gawking. Could you move?

Lynne, he has a story.

It is confirmed, I am a sucker. The screen sucks me into an illusive world of shine, glimmer and glitz. While walking Hollywood Boulevard I am appalled at the soiled blanket, dirty socked homeless scattered along the star studded sidewalk. Why? I have listened to a lie. My head says, this can not be true. The stars studding the sidewalk seem, well, stuck in the sidewalk, trapped and continually trampled on. Even the stars are deceived, fame held something more for them than a cement casing. Instagram what? I am in revolt. Please, my delusion?

Lynne, calling you Lynne. Hey Lynne, can you glance over here and give me a quick listen. I am here in this place and that reality never changes.

LA and or Nashville is just another place and I again am brought back to a constant truth. It is our life, your life and my life, the life we live that is reality, not someone else's. It is you and I who make a lovely place. We are the ones charming the small haunts, the spaces we fill, the local dives. My life and your life is worth living fully. We are in charge of creating the shine. So I throw my illusion to the illusion makers and say, "I'll take His to be mine. I want to remain grounded in truth."

Lynne, follow my lead. True charm is in all places for I am everywhere and I need you to stay grounded. And would you mind lifting up in prayer who and what you see? You can help to change their reality.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Pursuer.... October 30, 2017

I tried to keep you awake by playing your music - it lulled you to sleep. I had to take the wheel Cletis! You are one of a kind. Fame is not your pursuit, making someone shine, making someone further walk into their destiny - this is what keeps you awake. This is what I so appreciate about you. Honoring your family - this is what jacks you up. To pursue that illusive cloud of fame, somewhere along the way you worked that through your heart, mind and soul and your game plan is an all out pursuit of the Glory Receiver. You are captivated by the One and Only, not wanting to go the way of the one who couldn't appreciate but wanted it all, wanted to dominate. You actively reject that pursuit.

My prayer for you is that you will continue to pursue the One and Only and in that pursuit you will find more and more fulfillment in Him. My prayer is that you will continue to help unlock the resources and talents of those around you whether it be in the Body of Christ or out in the waiting rooms. You have helped usher life into weary souls, you have given of your time, your talent and your resources. You will always have an open door in towns and cities all over the world and not because you are somebody but because you know the Somebody of all bodies.

It is with extreme honor that I continue to not only pray for my brother in Christ but my son in the flesh. This is what I consider a double whammy! Keep on keeping on.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Glory Revealed - October 29, 2017

Lynne, do not take any of my glory.
Lynne, DO not take any of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT take any of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT TAKE any of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT TAKE ANY of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT TAKE ANY OF my glory. 


It felt a little much. Had I been? Was I doing it on the sly? I'm liable to do that but I didn't feel like it warranted such an onslaught. And then it would start again...

"Lynne, PLEASE! Do not take any of my glory.
You do not understand, LYNNE.
You can not handle it. Lynne.
I'M SERIOUS! Please! Do not take any of my Glory.

This was going on for days. And then the visuals started coming - His glory likened to a gigantic menacing black smoldering pit of lava.

"Lynne, you put your hand in the pit, and it will never come out. These are the consequences of taking my glory. Your flesh and spirit will not survive."

Ok, that seems a bit much. God. I get it.

But the Spirit was relentless and continually pled. Over and over, again and again and again. Then on our family vacation as I am kayaking back to the dock, having spent two hours on the lake listening to the book of Revelation, I hear him say one phrase. "Lynne, It is all for my glory and it is because I love you." (And just so you know, listening to Revelation on a lake is a bit of a challenge.)

In one split second God surfaces something I have wrestled with for years, something I have always seen as a discrepancy. It is this - He asks us to give Him all the glory yet he tells us to remain humble. It seems as if He is asking us to do what He will not do. Like, do what I say but not what I do. I have been bothered with this for years and at this moment God decides it is time for this girl to get some clarity, a redirection of stale thoughts towards brilliant light.

"Lynne, I want you to come see what I do with my Glory." My interest peaks. Where is He taking me?

The confusion immediately leaves as I stand at the foot of the cross. Everything swirls into extreme perspective. And now, It all makes sense, good extreme loving sense.

"Lynne, I am the only one who can handle all the world's Glory. The. Only. One. I will, I did, and will continue to always handle it with love, humility, servanthood, faithfulness, compassion, grace and mercy. When you give me Glory it spills out in acts of kindness, it spills out in mercy triumphing over judgment, it reaches deep and wide to save the lost. This Lynne, is what I do with your glory. Lynne, it is all for my glory and it is because I love you." The cross covers completely, explains perfectly and dispels what I thought was a  discrepancy forever.

So, In one statement following a series of extreme warnings on taking any of God's Glory, My God and Savior provides me with a lesson, a sermon of sorts, and unpacks and explains a concept that had you asked I would never have been able to articulate or even identify the discrepancy that has niggled me on a subconscious level for all these years. But God knew and He wanted me to think clearly.

I stand corrected and all I want to do is give Him glory.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday's Seminar - We Must Be Informed - Deadly Topic - September 30, 2017

My eyes are opened. My ears hear differently.  My heart hurts.

Twenty-five percent of marriages are abusive.
One in four women report being in an abusive relationship.
Twenty-four percent of women and thirteen percent of men report experiencing severe physical violence from an intimate partner.
Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten.
Fifty percent of men who assault their wives frequently assault their children.
Forced sex or sexual assault occurs in forty to forty-five percent of battering.
Mothers in abusive relationships said that their children witnessed twenty percent of the sexual violence the mother experienced.
Eighteen percent of Intimate Partners of Sexual Violence (IPSV) said their child witnessed their rape at least once. 
(Source-Darby Strickland's Notes) 

I will never let bad-awful, uneducated advice come out of my mouth ever again to any woman who is struggling with abuse. I have learned way too much.

Two weeks ago in Lancaster on a Saturday, with my soul-friend, Pam Hopkins, I attended an Abuse Seminar at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. Here is a smattering of what Darby Strickland had to share.

Smattering of Saturday's Seminar:

Emotional abuse is a heart problem, stemming from an abusive person's un-Christlike drive to attain and maintain dominance.

God designed marriage to be a place of mutual trust, sacrifice, care and honesty.

Your calling is not to submit to and accept rampant destructive behavior. The opposite is true. God cares about safety.

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling, or abusive behavior that is used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, exploit, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound an intimate partner.

It is not that the perpetrator of the violence is 'out of control' it is quite the opposite. They are using violence to maintain control. 

It is not about anger management. When a man is selective about when , where and to whom he is abusive, the problem is not he looses is that he takes control.

The oppressed experience being owned, confused, enslavement, crushed, alone, physically ill, feels responsible, devalued, angry, guilty.

Oftentimes what we see is not what is! This is the kicker for me. This is where I failed so many.

Do you have the freedom to be yourself, make decisions, give your input and to disagree?
Do you ever feel fearful around your partner?
Have you ever been threatened or physically hurt?
Have you ever been an unwilling participant in a sexual act?

Violence only escalates and it always picks up from where it left off.

One Love is an app and it is all about safety planning.

You might know just enough to be dangerous and put a victim at more risk - 1.800.799.SAFE (7933)

The Bible does not say to stay and suffer abuse and violence.

Sex Abuse: Rape - Unnecessary Roughness when you clearly say something hurts and it does not stop - Unwanted actions - Causing damage - Duration and or frequency with insistence and punishment.

Marriage does not equal consent.

Hyper-headship is a satanic distortion of male leadership...

Does he exhibit control-oriented leadership?
Demand submission and unquestioning loyalty or obedience?
How does he utilize Scripture in daily life and in conflict?
How does your spouse pray for you?
Are guilt, fear and intimidation used control and manipulate you?

Is he closely watching what you buy? Hiding assets? Using your social security number to obtain credit without your permission? Running up debt? Refusing to give you money? Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions? The list goes on...

Abuse doesn't start out looking like abuse: whirlwind romance, gifts-obligation, jealousy, show up unexpectedly, check your phone, see you all the time, sexual pressure as can't help myself.

What happens when you give negative feedback? When you have needs? When you have a different preference? When they are disappointed? When there is conflict? When he interacts with his family? When there is physical intimacy?

You, the oppressed, you are not responsible for another's sin. Your oppressor will blame you for their anger and rage. But God clearly says it is never your fault. You do not deserve this. You are being oppressed not because of your part or current sins but because of your oppressors current sins.

The oppressor needs to admit fully to all past patterns, admit behavior was wrong without blame-shifting, understand it was a choice not lack of control, recognize effects and show empathy, identify in detail past entitled and controlling attitudes, develop respectful behaviors, replace his distorted view of spouse, make amends, accept consequences, commit to non repeating, give up past privileges, understand lifelong process...

Signs of not changing - he tells you that you are the one that is abusive, uses counseling sessions or info against you in any way, pressures you to to go therapy for yourself, he is minimizing the abuse, he demands a second chance, he says it is impossible to change without your support, he expects something in return from you for attending counseling, he is pressuring you to make up your mind about the relationship or to move back in together, he is pressuring you to drop criminal charges.

~Bancroft, Lundy. Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men -2003
~Holcomb, Justin and Lindsey Holcome, Is it My Fault?: Hope and healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence - 2014
~Strcikland, Darby Entitlement: When Expectations Go Toxic Journal of Biblical Counseling - Winter 2015, p. 19-33
~Vernick, Leslie. The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, - 2013

Zephanaih 3:19 - Psalms 119:34 - Psalms 11: 5-6 - Proverbs 22:3 - Luke 4:18-19

And to help us distinguish between God's voice and Satan's voice here is an excellent list:

God stills you, 
reassures you, 
leads you, 
enlightens you, 
forgives you, 
calms you, 
encourages you, 
comforts you.

Satan rushes you, 
frightens you, 
pushes you, 
confuses you, 
condemns you, 
stresses you, 
discourages you, 
and worries you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Happy Birthday David O. Burkholder - 90 is Impressive - September 27, 2017

To know David O. Burkholder is my distinct privilege. He is and has been my father in law since August 2, 1986. Today he turns 90 and I am so thankful for the thirty two years I have known him.  If I would have known what I know today about being Lynn Burkholder's wife and all that it means - I would have been entirely too impatient up until the time I met the man Lynn! And to think of missing all that I have enjoyed being married to Lynn - I shudder. I can not even. Just stop!

To have missionary in laws is a gift that continues to give into my life equally pouring over into my children's lives as well. My soul is content. The prayers that Dad and my mother in law have prayed for us - we tangibly see today. The stories between the two of them - GOLD. My mother in law has journeyed on beyond, she has left the planet a little earlier than the rest of us. So today I sit alone with my father in law soaking in his stories, his cherished stories. 

My father in law so loves His heavenly Father. I feel it, I see it and I am thankful for his relationship with Our Father who is in heaven! All of His stories swirl around either God's goodness and mercy or the adventures he has had spreading the gospel.

One Saturday ago, as clouds are piling on top of one another, my father in law and I are unaware of the storm brewing outside the kitchen window. We are processing one of the many adventures in his life- a time when he and his sister, his future brother in law - Johnny and another friend are called to go and share the gospel. And on that Saturday, he sits in a chair, calm, composed, and patient, while I retype the story he wrote many years ago.  He is a such a good story teller - I am freezing, cringing, squirming and hoping I make it out alive. He's good.

David, my father in law, is young, he is brave, and he and his four gospel-driven friends are simply not thinking as they head to a reservation with little to nothing on their backs except one pack-sack between them. I am imagining angels debating amongst themselves whether they should just show up in bodily form and shove them back to safety. The four cross a frozen body of water and had they been familiar with these parts they would have known there is real danger underneath their feet. Typically, this spot does not freeze due to the current. But their guide, familiar with these parts, has left them. No one is there to warn them of the danger. They are on their own.

Today, the man, some seventy years later, relives his story as if it was yesterday. He recalls the exhaustion, his legs bone tired and extremely sore. He has his theories as to why that is. He also has his theories as to why the guide left, all of which he shares with me but desires it not to find its way to print. I try to persuade him otherwise but I know the point at which I must relent. This is his story.

Today he turns 90. He lives supported by His Heavenly Father who has graciously allowed Him to see His hand provide. Dad Burkholder is a man of prayer and you can hear him audibly calling out to God in his home. He completely depends on Him.

He and I have much to accomplish with the book he is writing. I am selfishly asking for continued longevity along with good health so that we can finish this task. The effort is made easy due to all that he has written since the 50's. In essence we are collectors and gatherers of his written material. This is a privilege.

Happy Birthday Dad and thank you for your warm welcome you gave to me many moons ago. To watch you and your wife always put the LORD before earthly possessions or pursuits has been the best sermon a daughter in law could ever ask for.

My birthday wish for you is that while you are still on the planet you can witness a remarkable shift in the atmosphere at Pikangikum. God is a good finisher and He has heard your prayers. I just desire for you to see them answered.  May your faith increase to new levels going beyond what you can even imagine.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Father's Heart Curriculum - September 15, 2017

The Father has tunnel vision for you!

The privilege of writing this year's Children's Church Curriculum along with a woman I just met this summer, is all mine. The woman, Melissa Lake, is a gift to me. I fire hydrant ideas and she puts them into well ordered streams. My ideas do not stop and sometimes that's just painful for the listener. But not her. She tames the wild as we discuss mammoth amounts of topics swirling around the theme - the Father's Heart. We are calling it God, My Good Father.

I change my ideas and she nods her head and guides me gently back to the land of reason. Visually, I lack the knack to make lessons look sensible or orderly. But she knows and makes random look orderly. She condenses me into good sense. Melissa develops curriculum for her vocation and clearly this not only is her skill but also an incredible talent. There is only one other person I know of with enough patience to do this for me, my daughter Robyn.

The time Melissa and I spend working on this is true church. The Holy Spirit downloaded seven, we call, tent pegs that each child will learn this year about the Father's Heart. He has so lovingly guided and directed our time together.

Here is the Tent Peg Chant I created to be chanted to the beat of Uptown Funk:

What does my Father provide? He provides a place for me! Why does He provide a place? Oh because He loves me so!
What does the Father long for? He longs to be with me! Why does He long to be with me? Oh because He cherishes me!
What does the Father desire? He desires for me to love him back! Why does He desire my love? Oh because He delights in me!
Who does the Father protect? Who does He discipline? He protects and disciplines me! Why? Because He cares for me!
What does the Father promise? He promises to rescue me! Why does He promise to rescue me? Oh because He wants me!
Who does the Father save? My Father saves you and me. How does He save us both? He saves us through His only son! And because He first loved us.
Who does the Father call to rest? He calls me to rest! Why does He call me to rest? Oh because He works for me!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gazebo Love - September 12, 2017

Tuesdays are full on Gazebo duty. I am wide awake at 5:30 am - I lie - brewing excellent pots of coffee - I speak truth - turning on Gazebo lights and putting up the OPEN flag. I love it. Meeting you every morning on your way to school, to work, to babysit, to clean, to teach, to bank, to finance, to waiter, to counsel, to submit proposals, to pick up cars, to do your horse thing, to drive an hour out of your way for coffee, is my pleasure and most definitely my privilege. I appreciate you. In fact, I am living my dream - with you.

Some days you come in dragging and let me in on why. Some days you come in brimming over with good news and you share it with me. Some days you come in with your new baby to introduce. You will never know how much that means to us! I am your coffee lady, we are your coffee sustenance, but some of you have crossed over into fields of friendship. You high school students, submitting a mural painting of an oversized Twin Valley Toddy - do you know how much that blesses us??!! We really hope you win!

Our family calls Gazebo time a love fest. Everyone is happy to be swirling around the universal catalyst for conversation. My heart swells with excitement over all the connections I have made and have facilitated in this little piece of property. The networking, the reunions, the introductions, it is more than I ever dreamed or imagined.

Today, you came in with mixed emotions. Your three sons entered the halls of education and of course Mrs. Albright is the perfect kindergarten teacher for these rambunctious little boys. But this is a big deal, a really big deal and it makes sense why this is so bittersweet. You entered a new phase and you definitely needed Toddys. And to be introduced to the newest member of the Frisco family - does it get any better? Welcome Lila, welcome. You might be the pinkest baby I have ever seen.

I love Gazebo time and tomorrow morning I look forward to another fest.