Hello, I’m Lazarus. Who are you?

So, I’ve been going through a tough season lately and allowed myself to slip into a severely depressed state. So, when I could finally get out of bed – I sought the mental, physical, and spiritual help I needed.

For the spiritual help, I sought wise counsel from my home church, Amazing Church, and was instructed to find the person in the Bible that best matched my current state. To be honest, some days it could be a different persons every minute. (If you’re not a middle-aged woman who is naturally quite emotional anyway and is now dealing with wacked-out hormones – you may not understand this).

Anyway, I was having trouble picking one. But today I figured it out. And it wasn’t a deep exegetical examination of Biblical text that brought my revelation.  I finally was able to say “That’s me right now!” when the song, Lazarus, by Trip Lee dropped into my workout mix this morning!


(Click here to listen to the whole song on YouTube).

Here are my favorite lyrics from the track:

He made the blind see and got the lame up

So it’s no surprise he can raise us
Wake them up now
Believers when your life is looking tough now
When you’re at your all time low
Don’t forget that power that he already showed

Instagram of the 1500s

martin

Back in the 1500’s, they had to find creative ways to survive without posting on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Not sure  I would have done well. I might have been alright without some of the modern conveniences like TV and superfast transportation. But to try to survive without social media??  YIKES!!

But, they did have there ways around it. The Christian reformer, Martin Luther, was known for posting a list of 90-something things he thought were wrong with the church in his day on the door of the church. Apparently, for theologians, priests, professors, and seminary students of that time – the big wooden church doors were their version of twitter of blog sites where they posted questions, discussion, and opinion of things.

Came across a blog post about his list of ideas that changed the culture of religion in his day. It may be several centuries later, but some of his thoughts are still so relevant to the state the church finds herself in today. No, we’re not lining the pockets of priests and kings in order to pay for “get out of Hell” passes for loved ones who have died. But are some of us giving to get or trying to buy blessings for ourselves with our offerings or charitable acts? Just a little food for thought. Click here to check out the full article.

On Oct. 31, 1517, an outspoken university lecturer and Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted a list of objections to the dominant Roman Catholic beliefs and practices of his time. Chief among his grievances was the church’s claim that Christians could buy their way out of punishment for sin — and thus shorten their time […]

via 500 years — some rain, some shine

Falling Forward through Seasons

So…. a nature photographer’s dream shot is to capture a bird in flight. I didn’t realize until I looked back through photos from this afternoon that I captured a single beautiful autumn leaf in flight on it’s journey to the ground! Just another beautiful reminder from our good Father that life is so much sweeter when you embrace seasons rather than fighting the newness they bring. 🍁

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭

The Habit of Anticipating Goodness (or, The Gospel According to Gracie-Cat: Chapter One)


God speaks and gives lessons in lots of ways. Cats even.
And it’s a good thing that although He ultimately speaks through His written word, the Bible – He uses a variety of methods to get through to our sometimes stubborn hearts. 

You see, lately, even when I did read the Bible or hear teaching at church, it was filtered through a heart beginning to feel that God really didn’t give a dern about her. (And if you know me – that’s some strong language right there. My Momma taught me that even darn and dern are curse words not to be used by “proper” young ladies).
Anyway, all that to say – I’m recently coming out of a season where I had pretty much closed myself off from hearing God through what most would consider traditional methods (a.k.a. church and stuff). You see, I felt like those methods had failed me.  So even even though I sat in church and listened to all the right words – even parroted back those words out of my own mouth – it was all being filtered through a dark screen of  disappointment.

So my good, kind, and perfect Father (a.k.a. God) spoke to me through something right under my nose. Well, right under my feet actually (I trip over her in all of her large and glorious “fluffiness” sometimes) –  one of our cats, Grace, who we affectionately call, Gracie-cat. (We call her “Grace” because she needed a great deal of it when we first adopted her. We quickly learned why her first adoptive “cat parents” returned her to the rescue when she was just a year old. You see, some “think outside the box”. Gracie did a whole lot of stuff outside the box. I think her motto was “litter is for losers”. I mean, why limit your going to a litter box when there is this whole big house?!…… But that is another blog for another day!).

Anyway…. Gracie-cat and her “BFF”, Mr. Medly, love to sit in the sunbeam that shines through the door to our back porch in the morning.

But what caught my attention and helped communicate something God has been trying to get through to me lately is this/. Even on mornings when it is overcast or the cats’ humans forget to open the blinds, they still sit in the position for the light to hit them. So in their little feline way, they are demonstrating a pure and persistent faith.  Even when the light is not there , they sit there expectantly so as not to miss the healing warmth when it hits. 

May I learn to trust like that, faithfully positioning myself to receive God’s blessing and presence – even when I don’t feel the warmth of it yet.


“I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD.” – Psalm 27:13-14 (AMP – Amplified Translation)

Anticipating God’s best together,

Tracy

The Lesson of the Broken Bottle


So, I had a broken kind of a week.

No new drama or crisis hit. It was one of those weeks where I lost sight of the bigger picture – or, actually, of my good good Father who lovingly crafts the bigger picture.  So I stopped trusting and pulled some “stuff” that has been coming on strong against me for a while out of God’s hands placing it squarely and only on my own shoulders – and it began to crush me.

And I allowed it all to almost push me to the edge…. Quite literally to the edge – actually. I’ve been open with my story and history of depression and thoughts of suicide. Let me just be real transparent and say there are moments in my life I need to stay away from large metro areas with really tall building. No worries. You don’t have to call 911 and put me on a watch or anything. When I crawled out of bed long enough to drive into the city earlier this week, my Good Father made certain that both buildings I had in mind had more secure access to their balconies than I had recalled. And I am well past the crisis point now. But – wow – was I ever a broken human! And trying to not to look broken in front of everyone I’m trying to be strong for shattered me even further. 

But now…. even though I’m past the most broken point of the week – I was still struggling this morning with quite a bit of shame and remorse about how I acted within that moment – even lashing out at those trying to help.

And I felt that my broken moment somehow diminished God’s glory in my life and His ability to use me. But then, as I was walking through the master bathroom this morning, I knocked the beautiful little bottle of fragrant oil you see in the picture off the side of the tub. The neck of the pretty antique bottle broke and it’s “head” rolled to the floor. (Thankfully, I am rather skilled at Super Glue repairs so I think I can fix it).

But even if I can’t repair the bottle – the lesson is priceless. I heard Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “Tracy, does the brokenness of the bottle change the fragrance of what’s inside it?” 

I thought, “No, I actually can smell the fragrance now.” 

“Exactly!”

The brokenness of the vessel doesn’t change or lessen the power of the fragrance inside. The brokenness releases the fragrance to anyone who is near the broken vessel.

This timely little object lesson was a much needed reminder that:

Our brokenness does not diminish God’s ability to use us. Once we release our brokenness to Him, it deepens His ability to use us and further spreads His healing presence to the other broken ones.

It’s really not about us anyway. It’s about WHO we carry.

“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.” -2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:15-16‬a MSG (The Message Paraphrase)

Transparently yours so brokenness can grow us,