Listen!

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways.” Proverbs 8:32

Years ago I used to  love the times of solitude while riding my chestnut mare, Cindy, through the nearby desert. They were wonderful times to enjoy silence and sunshine, to relax and think.

Most times, the rides were uneventful. But there was one day as I slowed Cindy’s spirited gallop to descend the sandy slope of a dune, that she suddenly stopped.

She stood perfectly still, her ears poised to catch every sound. No amount of coaxing encouraged her to move.

I was impatient with Cindy’s apparent stubbornness.

I didn’t hear the sound she was hearing.

I didn’t sense the rock-hardness of her tensed muscles beneath me.

Leaning forward, I was ready to scold her. But the sight before me took my breath instead. I finally understood.

There before us, coiled and ready to strike, was the reason Cindy was not moving. I finally heard the distinctive, dry warning sounds of a desert rattlesnake.

My ears were opened and my senses set on fire with understanding. Prayers of thankfulness flooded my heart.

I felt God’s protective presence that day as we remained quiet and the danger left its undulating pattern across the sandy dune and out of sight.

I was reminded then as I am today of how vitally important it is to be aware of how God chooses to speak to us.

He speaks to us in countless ways, but sometimes to hear His warnings or guidance we must be still and listen, and we’re wise to listen with patience.

The choices we make, our well-being, and occasionally our safety can depend upon how well we listen.

“A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.’” Luke 9:35 NIV

I am a whisper in time. Down through the corridor of the ages my whisper echoes with feathery sweeps into the age to come.  An excerpt from my journal.

Has there been a time when you’ve listened and avoided danger?

Love,

Sally

Advertisements

Ray the Shape Shifter

I’m young. Crazy in love with horses, especially my Cindy.

This early Saturday morning shimmers in sunshine and light mist as I walk to the stable. I slow and savor the scent of apple blossoms filling the air from the orchard I stride by.

I love this walk and love having the barn so close to where I live in Richland, Washington.

Ray, owner/manager of The Barn, the local riding stable, slouches against the edge of the huge double wooden doors.

He waves and shoots me a grin, a piece of straw between his teeth, grungy straw hat shielding his sun-burnished face, a not-so-white, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and boots. Ray’s soft-spoken, generous and everyone’s friend.

Ray’s taught me most everything I know about horses. He let me and a few other teens work mucking stalls, soaping saddles, lassoing horses for paying customers, and more at The Barn.  I’d work for an hour to earn an hour’s ride until I got my own horse. I’m boarding Cindy there now.

A breeze kicks up a dust-devil between Ray and me as I lessen the distance between us.

I’m wearing my crisp new straw hat. I’ve joined the town’s riding group, The Richland Ramblers. My hat’s part of the Rambler “uniform” I’ll wear when I ride Cindy in the Richland Day parade and rodeo this summer.

Ray wears straw well . . . in his hats and between his teeth.

He cocks his head at me and says “I see ya got you a new hat.”

I nod and proudly touch the brim, as I walk into the warm, dusty barn.

Ray arches an eyebrow and shakes his head. “Gotta shape it. Want me to show you?

Shape it? My crumpled pride and I hold my breath as Ray, the hat-shaping cowboy, lifts my new hat from my head and saunters out to the corral . . . toward the water trough.

I follow, close on his heels, trusting, hoping, praying. that he’s not going to somehow totally destroy my brand new hat.

And what in the world does the trough and my hat have to do with . . .

A lot.

I swallow hard as Ray nudges two horses aside, leans over the trough and plunges, no, drowns, my new hat beneath the water. Makes me think he’s done this before a time or two.

And then I watch Ray skillfully roll, push, pull, smooth and angle the now-soft, pliable straw hat. The crown is magically reshaped, the brim, artfully rolled to just the right degree. He works it over until he’s happy with it and hands it to me . . .

now shaped into a hat fit for a Rambler.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 NKJV),

I’m like my old straw hat. I was stiff and new and unbending once.

When I opened the door and said yes to Jesus, I didn’t want to be conformed to this world anymore. I wanted God to shape me, mold me, and transform me in every way—mind, heart, body, and spirit—that I might be acceptable to Him.

God does that.

He takes us, raw and unfinished, as we are, and shows us His Way. He loves us through every roll, push, pull, and smoothing we experience, anointing us with His presence moment by moment.

Have you asked the Lord to help you do some reshaping?  Has it been easy? difficult? a challenge?

Love,

Sally

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Ongoing Event: June 26 through July 7, 2015. An interview What Floats Sally Chambers’ Boat? And a Book Giveaway  Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Upcoming Event: July 15  An interview with the main character in The Stonekeepers, Lexi Christensen along with a book giveaway. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Upcoming Event: Sunday afternoon, August 16, 2015, book signing. More information coming soon

Visit my Amazon Author Page at https://www.amazon.com/author/sallychambers

Novel – The Stonekeepers

 

Forgive

I’ll Miss You

The school day was over, and the last of the kids were pushing through the double doors, racing into the freedom of the warm afternoon. My arms ached from lugging a heavy cardboard box down the hall from my classroom to the exit. Still holding onto to the box, I leaned against the wall where I was to wait for my mother to pick me up.

In grade school, eight or nine years old, I was horse-crazy and had begged to take my cherished collection of horses to school for “show and tell” that day. Probably against her better judgment, my mother had finally relented. Two of my favorite bronze horses were tucked inside the box, one posed for show, and the one I loved most, posed in full western regalia. That horse was a replica of how I wanted a horse of my own to look someday.

The minutes slid by in that quiet hallway like sand through my fingers. Mom was late and I was getting anxious. There were only the echoes of a few distant adult voices, and believing the horses would be safe for a few minutes, I lowered the weighty box to the floor and ran outside to look for her.

Neither our car nor Mom were anywhere in sight and I couldn’t leave my horses any longer. I tore back into the hallway, breathless.

I stopped, shocked and disbelieving, and stared at the floor where the box had been.

I don’t remember tears or anger—only numb disbelief. I searched everywhere. I’m sure I must have asked a few people still in the building, but I was too shy to do more. Mom tried to help, but my horses were gone . . . forever gone.

The memory of that day had faded until one dark early morning many years later. Grown, married with two children, my husband was working a night shift. It was around 3:30 when I awoke, and vivid images began to unreel through my mind. I watched. I listened. And God spoke to my heart.

Until that morning, I hadn’t thought of my beautiful bronze horses as being stolen, or that there had even been a thief at all. I couldn’t think about what happened; it was too painful. I’d felt nothing except guilt, carelessness, self-blame, and horrible regret that I couldn’t change what happened.

The Lord walked with me back through the hurt and the memories, but then, into a challenge.

God showed me a new pain. The pain of another, the thief who’d stolen my horses.

I needed to forgive. My horses were gone because another stole them, and that “other” needed my forgiveness right now. Would I forgive?

I’d pushed my own pain away so long ago—I’d forgotten—but never forgiven. Could I?

The Lord had forgiven me, how could I not forgive?

And I forgave.

And I let go of my treasured collection.

But that was not the end of things, only a beginning. There was another memory.

I was in my teens. We were moving across the country. There had been no choice. Cindy, my beautiful chestnut mare, and the love of my young life, Stardust—my Dusty, a yearling filly, had to be sold. Again, I can’t remember anger or tears, only a massive, empty sadness, numbness and disbelief. I resigned myself to the unchangeable, and to relieve the pain, I could only turn away and forget.

“You have more to forgive.”

“Whom must I forgive, Lord?” But I knew the answer:

My father and my mother for the changes they chose—no—changes that they had to make.

And I forgave them.

Strange how unforgiveness, when it isn’t even merited, only creates a wound within the one who fails to forgive. Strange how you can go on through life never realizing that there is a deep need to forgive. Wondrous how God, in His love, reveals and heals within dimensions of your soul that you didn’t know existed.

But there was still more.

“Do you love them more than Me?

“My Cindy and Dusty, Lord?”

“Will you trust them to Me?”

This was the hardest of all. I still loved them. Yes, they were gone, but they were part of me. “I will bring them to You.”

And for long moments, I sat propped up against my pillows and let the burning tears come.

And, I let them go, able to miss and love them from the perspective of where I stood, and now stand.

“There is one more thing for you to do.”

I know what it is. He has lifted my bowed head and searched the depths of my soul.

“I . . . forgive . . . me, Lord.”

Held until His peace filled my spirit and infused every fiber of my being, I felt God’s reassuring arms around me.

“None of these things happened outside My will for your life.”

“I love nothing, no one, more than You, Lord.”

“I Forgive You.”

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15).

“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15a).

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Deep healing happened in those moments that early morning.

Have you loved and lost and forgiven and let go?

You are God’s child, and greatly loved.

Please share your story.

Love,

Sally

All scripture is from the New King James Version of the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assigned to Shadow . . .

This day, in awe, I fell on my face before the LORD, and I write what I saw that you will believe and see with me.

I am Lael, of the house of Levi, a descendent Gershonite.

I have attained the age of fourteen and am assigned to shadow and serve the prophet, Elisha, and his servants.

Days ago, meeting privately in his bedroom with his servants, the king of Syria had made clandestine plans for an attack against Israel, deciding where the attack would take place.

The Syrian king was unaware that what he planned in private was spoken by the LORD into the heart and mind of my master, Elisha.

I felt my master’s eyes upon me and turned to him.

“Lael! Come here lad. You must run. I have a message for the king of Israel.”

And I ran—my heart in a race with my feet—to warn the king of Israel. The king heeded my master’s message and was watchful.

But the king of Syria, advised by his servants that the king of Israel appeared to anticipate their every advance, determined to know how he had been betrayed. A servant of the Syrian king had heard a rumor and he told the king “. . . Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

All was calm when I went to sleep that night in the city of Dothan where Elisha and his servants stayed.

I rose early. Points of starlight blinked overhead in an attempt to needle into the darkness that still lay heavy on the city. I drew my robe close against the chill and pulled in a sharp breath, listening.

Creaking leather, the clank of metal against metal, the scent and sound of horses, and muffled male voices came from all around me as I stood, iced to the earth in fear. Stomach clenched in terror, I groped for the wall to steady myself.

In every direction, for as far as I could see, hundreds of horses, chariots, and an army surrounded the city.

A tall, familiar  presence filled the space beside me.

“My Master! What shall we do?”

His eyes caught mine, his gaze calm, intense.

“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Elisha’s hand touched my forearm, and I closed my eyes as he looked up to pray.

“LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”

I could not stand. I dropped to my knees and fell on my face before the LORD as the warmth of an unseen hand crossed my forehead. No longer afraid, I sensed my master was no longer beside me.

The LORD opened my eyes, and I saw.

Hovering above the amassed array of the threatening Syrian army, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire, all around Elisha.

May the LORD be your refuge.

Sealed by the hand of

Lael,

Assigned to shadow and serve . . .

Just because we cannot physically see God’s hand does not mean He is not there for us. We may experience trouble or tragedy and we may turn away from Him, but God is constant and eternally with us.

God will never leave you
“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5b).
Trust
“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:3).
God is for us
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
Pray
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

[Jesus said] “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” (Matthew 10:26).

Have you ever been so afraid that you ended up flat on the ground?

I once was. I remember what frightened me, but to this day, I don’t know how I got on that floor. It happened so fast that it was as if the Lord himself picked me up and deposited me there in safety.☺

Lael is a biblical name. The roots are accurate, but his portrayal here is purely from my imagination. Calling him only “the young man,” the Bible does not give us the servant’s name. This mini-story is based on verses from the New King James Version of the Bible and to read it, you can follow this link 2 Kings 6:8-17

I hope you enjoyed the story and that it blessed you.

Love,

Sally

All Scripture New King James Version