Through much prayer and counsel, my husband and I knew we couldn’t afford to stay there any longer. We had to move. The Lord quickly provided renters who were able to move in and take over the payments, and we were miraculously approved to buy another house that had been in foreclosure for over a year. With only a few cosmetic repairs, we were able to make our “new” home move-in ready for our family of seven.Read More
Pondering what it means to “pay attention,” I am suddenly more aware of the Holy Spirit speaking to me, particularly as it relates to my children. For their sake, I am learning to be silent, to wait, and most importantly to pray. I must allow time for the Holy Spirit to speak, direct, nudge, or convict them--whatever the need may be at that specific moment. The open doors that God gives me to respond are precious, like rare gems, such as a word of affirmation or a prayer offered up in the secret place of my closet, sometimes on my knees pleading for Him to intervene. Only the Holy Spirit really knows how to intercede or to speak to their hearts in a way that is effective and life-changing.Read More
What are the Seasonings of Christmas?
You know those certain aromas you crave to set the mood and the tone of your home for Christmas. Which scents are your favorites? Is it the cinnamon or pumpkin spice? How about pine and myrhh? Maybe it's the aromas of cooking and baking which set up the memories of Christmas. The scent of celery for the stuffing simmering over heat. Maybe the hints of vanilla?
There’s a spray of salt water, a cool breeze, as my feet kick up sand and the sun just casts its beams over a glossy sea. Dad and I run together — run on a beach bare of people. We run and talk about the Word of God and the mighty ocean and all matters of the heart — our feet gathering miles like my nine year-old cousin and I gathering shells the day before.
I remember the laughter of Vivian and Judson as we dug deep in the sand with shovels until the water crashed around our ankles. We made castles and volcanoes and tunnels that caved in a little until the kids decided tumbling down the sides was so much more fun.
I got down there with them, patted the sopping sand, and carved out the tunnels with my hand. We ran along the sea’s edge as we squealed about manta-rays as though the gentle beasts were racing us right there in the clear shallow water, just waving their pointed wings as if they were birds and so were we.
Father God, do you love those moments of child-likeness? Delightedness? Deep belly laughter filled contentedness? I think of what C.S. Lewis said about satisfaction. “We are far too easily pleased.” The real beauty isn’t just the emerald and blue bellied ocean or the sun as it throws its colors across the sky before sinking deep into the blue horizon. It’s seeing your face in it all. It’s hearing the joy of a child running barefooted and shouting “look!” and knowing you say the same when you see your children being all who you made them to be. You’ve set us free, so we can live fully as that. I don’t have the capacity to contain all the glorious revelation creation is pregnant with.. today is pregnant with. Enlarge me. Expand me like the ocean’s floor. Because what I deeply desire is you… and you are always longing to give us more.
Thank you, Sara, for allowing me the privilege of re-posting your beautiful words of rejoicing.
~ Meet Sara Bachtel ~
My name is Sara without-the-h — four letters representing me and the great-grandmother for whom I am a namesake. I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember and felt drawn recently to move beyond the pages of my private journals (even though I still write plenty in those.. I’m a fan, and expect I always will be, of the old fashioned pen and paper). Growing up in a musical family, I struggled to know where I fit (my musical skills don’t fall close to my siblings). You could say writing became my music. So, here are some humble words arranged in a composition I hope reflects the soul not just in me, but you.
Read more with Sara at her blog space: Incandescence https://sararbach.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/sand-castles/
What a winding adventurous path I've traveled this year. At times, the terrain has been rough, but my Good Shepherd is in the lead so I have no reason to fear. He's continually holding out His hand and giving assuring nods. Good Shepherd, He gently coaxes me, "Come, follow Me. You can trust Me."Read More
Twenty-eight years ago, I heard a profound statement that has stayed with me to this day. “Thankfulness is a mighty weapon in the hands of God’s people.” As I have been pondering what it means to “rejoice,” it dawned on me: In order for one to rejoice, one must also be thankful. The two go hand in hand. Joy is an overflow of a grateful heart.
Read more…Read More
This is where I stop too many times. I read of God’s wondrous works, His miracles and His intimate interactions with real flesh and blood people like me and I want it. I want it all! The idea of my Maker, Father, but more the Creator of all things would stoop so low as to look into my face astounds me to the core of my being. Yet I want it.Read More
Many years ago the teacher of our Young Marrieds Sunday School Class would regularly remind us to practice the presence of God. His admonition became a goal for me. I have remembered it often over the years and more often in the past few years. Psalm 105:4 says, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually.” I can’t say that I am aware of his presence continually, but I am confident He is there whether I am aware of it or not.Read More
Hmm. I wonder if we should all stop here and ask Jesus what He really wants us to know about the way He sees Mary, Martha, you and me? Is it true that He frowns on the "doing"? Does Jesus really prefer Mary over Martha? Is it even true that Jesus plays favorites?Read More
Seventeen years ago, it was a Tuesday just like this Tuesday, September 11th. The day started out bright and sunny with just the peaceful hint of Fall scenting the air and dabbing leaves with color. I had arrived at Jackson Elementary School to be an encouraging ‘roadie’ for my friend, Jessica Dudley. Mrs. D, as she is otherwise known to students and teachers alike, was all set with her cool outfit, spiked hair and guitar to sing encouragement right into the little hearts of a hundred plus kindergarden children when all plans were put on hold.Read More
When I think of the word legitimate, the first thing that comes to mind is the “real deal.” There simply is nothing else like it, which leads me to the brochure I found in my daughter’s bedroom. The message was specifically pointing out the difference between Christianity and Islam, but it was the heart behind the message that truly defined the word legitimate for me.Read More
You know...When it comes to food it's like a forever battle. I'm always in a battle, others are fighting for just today! Times get tough and everything caves in on us. We get tired and weary. I know! It feels like there is no space to breathe in. It's just too hard.
Don't give up!
The Lord in His kindness has given us a prophetic picture of hope for our anchor. You may have guessed it by now, the picture we see is of a sailboat adrift on the glassy sea. Randy and I both are present on this boat. I am seated in the back on a bench while my dear sun-tanned feet man, Randy, is at the front with a man. Who is this man on our boat? He appears to be a friend.Read More
Loyal to One. I wonder if you are able to guess to which one my heart belongs. To whom are my affections cast and my love devoted. Who could it be ~ my husband, the son, a friend, a confidant or even my father?Read More
For far too long I’ve worn my trauma like an ill-fitting and badly stained undergarment. Outwardly, I’ve been able to go on with life and even use my trauma stories to help others. Telling other women fleeing abuse that they could pull through, all the while succumbing to the pulling of me back and with every sharing of my story, I conjured up an invisible hand clenched tightly on my shoulder, still controlling me, still hovering, still keeping me in submission. Like the woman who suffered for twelve years yet found the courage to carry on despite damaged condition, finally I believe, it is possible to be forever healed.Read More
Have you ever been in a place of obedience, but you didn't know why you were supposed to be there? And because you really didn't know what was happening in your life you really didn't know how to answer all the questions?
Every time someone asks me about my jobless status, I freeze. People ask, "Did you retire?" Awkward me, "Well, no, I'm too young to retire." Not satisfied they probe, "So, what are you going to do?" Me feeling cornered, "I'm learning to be still... to be quiet. I'm doing what I think God has called me to do... be still."
That answer usually doesn't satisfy either. So, usually, I wind up telling curious observers that I really don't have any solid answers at the moment and I will keep them posted. I smile and move on feeling quite exposed.
It's awkward living in this middle ground. Referencing back to the Israelites of Exodus, I'm no longer a slave in Egypt, but I've not made it to the promised land either. I imagine this place in my life might feel a bit like what the Israelites felt as they walked through the middle of the Jordan River on dry land. It's just plain weird!
How does one explain this place?
Being still (for me) takes some effort. At first, it has felt a bit like I remember time-out in my room, alone as a child. Yes, it has initially felt like punishment. No, I know my Father, God, is not punishing me. In fact, Father has been reminding me as He's met with me during these days of August of the times I required my two sons to take a quiet time during the day.
One son welcomed the extra sleep during the day. The other refused to nap during the day (from birth) and initially argued with me all the way to his room. I think he felt punished, but eventually realized he could spend that time creating according to his extensive imagination without interruption. Many times when I opened his door at the end of quiet time he was so involved in creating he never even noticed he was free to go.
Like this one son, I've decided to stop arguing with God and have seen the possibilities for growth, for creating, and a welcome space for the uninterrupted imagination of new things to come. He's captivated my heart during these most recent days. He's got my full attention!
The quiet and the empty spaces on my calendar have created space to just be. To be still. To read. To be aware of my Shepherd's constant presence. To listen to Holy Spirit. To hear Truth for myself rather than having a word for the next person with whom I am meeting. To rest. To receive nourishment. To allow for pruning. And to grow up in the Lord. To remember why I serve Him. To remember it's all about Him... making His name great.
As I settle and cooperate with the quiet and the rest, I realize my attention span for listening is improving. My capacity for receiving information has increased. The hurry is gone. My eyes are able to focus on the beauty right in front of me. The constant distractions have subsided. The sea is calm. The breeze light. The sun bright. And soon, when it is time there will be a proverbial destination to which we will set sail.
Probably my Father will come to open the door to set me free to do the next thing and I won't even notice because I've so learned to enjoy the carved out space with Him. I'm hoping it will be like that. I'm hoping He'll have to call my name and invite me out - back into the open spaces to do the new thing He has planned for us to do together.
What about you, friend? Is it difficult to be still? Is it a challenge to embrace the middle? Are there no easy answers to all the questions?
I want to be an encouragement to you in the awkward space. Please let me know to pray. You don't have to answer any questions. God already knows the answers.
Together let's fix our eyes on Jesus, throw off any entanglements which hold us back, and be ready when Father opens the door after quiet time is over to run the next part of our race with all we've got...
~ Meet Lisa Brittain ~
Hi! I'm Lisa, and I am the founder of this website, and the Eyes on Jesus and Shine ministry. My husband and I live in Lilburn, GA with our three spunky rescue pups. We've been learning lots of new normals over the last ten years, but the root of them all is learning to TRUST IN GOD ALONE.
I'm so glad you stopped by my little corner of the world. I pray you have been blessed to persevere with God and that you have been encouraged to turn your eyes toward Jesus. He makes you SHINE!
Please come back again... anytime!
Herein lies the struggle. The methods. The voices. The proven strategies. The trending marketing techniques. Do this to be seen. You've got to make your voice heard. Define your target audience. If you want to be successful in getting your message out, you've got to promote yourself. Sell, sell, sell... Advertise, advertise.... promote, promote... knock on every door, call everyone you know, build your email list and push for new subscribers.Read More
Read Part 1 of I'm thinking about a renovation by clicking here.
The world around me has become suddenly quiet. For those who are involved in school systems and live on the school year calendar, that time of year is upon us locally. Many of my friends have shifted back, but I am staying behind this year. I'm home. And in the quiet of staying back, I'm listening for God's whisper of truth and direction.
I want to live obediently. It is my heart's desire to get it right, live on the correct path, and to be actively and obediently pursuing the mission the Lord has given me to fulfill in my lifetime. I fight against the feelings of urgency which cause me to sometimes jump impulsively toward the things of man's design rather than waiting for Father's ideas and plans. Yet, I am grateful for the urgent push from within, which energizes me to keep sharing God's message and do His will.
Since the beginning of 2018, I've taken purposeful steps of obedience as I've sought the Lord's good pleasure. The first step of the year was to self-publish the book the Lord so graciously gifted me. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, the Lord wrote and downloaded this book so that it could be written by me through the filter of my life experiences. Getting to steward this beautiful gift has been one of the highlights of my life.
Funny thing though, I was the one who asked Father to give me a tool to offer fellow sojourners. Now that He's faithfully delivered this book into my hands, I'm not really sure how to use it. I'm continually asking and seeking my Father's face for His intent. His answers are always surprising and much more fun than any idea I've tried to concoct!
While I was trying to plan and organize a number of small group book studies by way of contacts within several local churches, Holy Spirit was inspiring many of my friends and family members to gift my book forward. Often I've received a picture text or an email detailing the various locations to which my book is traveling by plane, bus, car or train. My heart is stirred to prayer and hopeful anticipation as I await news from returning travelers as to God's choice for receiving the book along with the surrounding circumstances.
Though my travel this year has been much more local, I try to have several books with me any time I leave home. It feels like a majestic treasure hunt in which the book recipient is the treasure for which I am searching. God's gift is her prize, and for what purpose, only God truly knows. However, getting to be His representative is an honor I truly enjoy.
Just as it was originally gifted to me, so shall it be done for others. Holy Spirit's reminder that it is not possible for me to out-give God has been a principle I've held close and tried to live as a sacred tenant.
So, let me stop the struggle bus right here for a moment, and take a rest stop in Scripture.
Suddenly, because of my own inward struggle, I am intrigued by a beautiful passage of scripture found in 1 Chronicles 17, in which King David expresses to the prophet Nathan an amazing idea for a seemingly good and genuinely heartfelt gift of gratitude to the Lord. You see, David was just settling back in at home in his palace after presiding over the great ceremony and celebration of the return of the Ark of the Covenant of God to Jerusalem. It was a grand moment for King David and all the people of Israel. The return of the Ark of God had been long hoped for and was rightly celebrated by the king, the Levites and priests and all the inhabitants of Israel as a promise fulfilled.
I imagine David pondering the events of the previous few days and then making this statement out loud to the prophet Nathan.
“Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.” 1 Chronicles 17:1
Can't you picture it? The King enjoying his luxurious palace suddenly had a lightbulb moment; the dwelling place of Almighty God was in need of a renovation. It sounds right to me. Apparently, Nathan was tracking with the king on where he was going with his thought process. Nathan responded with this,
“Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.” 1 Chronicles 17:2 NIV
But, of course, God was listening in, and wait, no one asked Him what He thought of this renovation project. So, during the night God spoke a lengthy word to Nathan, which was promptly reported to King David in its entirety.
I hope you will go and read the entire passage for yourself and not just take my word for it. However, in summary, God's response to David's idea was this:
- David would not be the one to build a house for God to dwell in
- God had chosen His own dwelling place as a tent from the time He brought the Israelites out of Egypt
- God had never asked any of His leaders to build Him a house of cedar
- Furthermore, God is the One who chose David out of the shepherd's field to become a ruler over the people of Israel
- God is the One who had been with him wherever David stepped foot
- And God was the One who cut off every one of David's enemies
- Finally, the word of the Lord to David was a declaration that God Himself would build a house for David, establish His Kingdom through the lineage of David, and secure God's Throne and Kingdom forever.
There's so much here to chew on in these days of quiet, and I intend to ponder these thoughts of renovation until God Himself completes His transforming work in me. I have a feeling the struggle bus will be moving forward to meet you down the road with Part 3 of I'm thinking about a renovation.
Until then, I give thanks to You God for You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever for Your children. I thank You too that Your word is living and active and meets me and all who are with me in Your word right where we're living. Transform my mind and renovate my stinkin' thinkin' by the Truth of Your word and the power of Your Holy Spirit. I choose to rest under Your Wing and pray many sisters will hide under Your Wing with me. Speak Lord, for Your servants are listening and wanting to obey, in Jesus' Name.
~ Meet Lisa Brittain ~
Hi. I'm so glad you stopped by. My name is Lisa and I am the founder of this website. My ministry is called Eyes on Jesus and Shine which comes from Psalm 34:5
My desire is to help others run toward Jesus and not away. I want to walk with you and introduce you to Him. I'll leave you two alone so you can find out for yourself; Who He is and who you are as you become adopted into God's family.
I love to walk through life with friends who help me keep my eyes on Jesus, and then I get to help them too when they forget. My hope is to live the overflow of my walk with Jesus so that His love shines bright through me and becomes a contagious joy for everyone I meet for the rest of my days on earth.
I was looking for someone to hold my hand and teach me what I didn't know. Somehow I felt that as a woman I should know how to do these things. And truly, if I had been willing, my mom would have taught me about fabric, how to cut patterns, and sew. I wasn't willing then, but I am now. As I've gotten older and received more healing from perfectionism and fear of failure, I actually enjoy the learning process. And so, I was intrigued. Again, I inquired of the Lord, and felt He was saying, "Yes, ask her to teach you."Read More
I love to watch people, seeing them interacting, having a good time together. However, in my observations, I have also noticed that sometimes little children will look to their parents and their parents don’t notice them. The parent is involved in something else, and the child does not get the eye contact for which he or she is searching. The moment of connection the child is looking for is lost.Read More