And THIS is love…….

When our hearts are aching….and we feel His presence is distant…..not to mention His Love…..the last thing we need to hear is, “You must have more passion for God!” or, “You have to love God more!”  Most times, we have already tried our best to love God  more only to feel that we have failed miserably as we try to claw our way out of a slippery-sloped pit. 

“So….” you ask, “what is the answer?”  It is simply this……STOP SPINNING YOUR WHEELS TRYING…..and just let HIM love you instead!!!  (And don’t think that I am not saying this to myself as well!) This is one of the hardest things for mankind in general to do.  CEASE our own efforts and just be still.  To draw near to God, and cease trying, cease talking, cease making excuses, cease trying to earn our way to HIM, cease blaming Him even. 

The Bible defines love in this way; “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (merciful payment on our behalf that appeases the wrath of God against sin) for our sins.”  (I John 4:10)  But the real emphasis here is that He loved us BEFORE we ever thought to love Him.  And loved us enough to make the extreme sacrifice of giving Himself as payment for our sins, because He was not willing to live without us!  Again, the Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Romans 5:8)  That’s how much He loves us!  Such love!!!

SERIOUSLY……God loves you with all that He is and with all that He has!  This statement will evoke in you one of two responses:    1.  You KNOW it to be true, because He has revealed His love to you in many ways……and you’re thankful for the reminder.  2. You feel angry, frustrated, hopeless, not very loved.

If what has been evoked in your heart, mind & emotions is the second statement: you feel angry, frustrated, without hope and not very loved…..then please let me speak over you from His Heart of Hearts.  God has seen you trying your best to love Him!  And because He loves you, He wants you to sit down and be still, and LET HIM LOVE YOU INSTEAD!  He wants to love you with all that He is and all that He has.  You don’t have to do a thing, but LET HIM.  Ask Him to run to you, and then just be still in His presence, and allow His love to cover you like a warm blanket on a cold day.  Allow His love to trickle down over you, and into the deepest places of disappointment and pain.  Into the places of your heart where you have lived in a love deficit, making you want to give up.  His love for you is unconditional regardless of who you are or what you have done, because His Love is not dependent on YOU, but on HIM…..and He will NEVER stop loving you!  

Don’t worry about loving Him!  The more of His love you receive, the more you will fall in love with Him!  Go now…..find some place quiet, away from all the chaos, away from all the distractions, away from other things that are fighting  for your attention, and call out the name of JESUS!!!  Tell Him that you need His love to wash over you, and then just wait on Him to come (yes, this means doing nothing but patiently waiting and doing nothing except calling on Jesus….out loud or in your heart), and listen while His Heart of love rises up within you.  Let His Love overwhelm you…..it will change you…..and I promise you, you will run back for MORE!!!

Isaiah 49:15,16 – “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, YET I will not forget you.  See, I have inscribed you on the palm of My Hands; your walls are continually before Me.

A Good Name

My growing up years were not always a bed of roses.  Neither were they for my seven other siblings.  We are all connected by blood, by the thread of a  woman and man who tried to make their love work.  We are all family….but we are also individuals as well.  The memories of one may be tweaked slightly differently….depending on the years you had collected at the point of a particular memory.  We all, have survived countless violent onslaughts to who God intended us to be from the very beginning.  We all have been faced with the kinds of trauma intended to steal, kill and destroy all memory of the love that was truly God’s Heart for each one of us.   We have all been faced with circumstances beyond our control and each of us has walked away from our collective beginnings within the nucleus of our blood family, to our individual stories of starting over in a society not necessarily on our “side”.

Our stories are REAL……our stories are FULL OF PAIN…….our stories are FULL OF LONGING FOR THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE EVERY CHILD DESIRES….EVERY CHILD DESERVES.  There were some bright moments along the way…..like stomping down the tall grass in a field in the hills of Missouri….like drinking Kool-Aid and saltines crackers and thinking what a wonderful treat it was…like climbing a tree and doing all my writing up there….like loading up in the spacious Buick and going to a big park in Detroit….like the simple pleasures you find because your creativity has not successfully been stifled…like  when we think we can’t take one more hit, and then we tap into a hidden reserve that keeps us afloat.   Each of us have found ways to express our hearts in a world that has tried to silence us.  We each had memories that carried us while we ever hoped for more…because the hunger of our hearts could not….would not, be silenced!  We each learned how to be satisfied with little, never knowing how poor we truly were.  That being said, the world never had a clue how rich we really were!

So, in honor of my siblings, and in honor of the parents who gave us life; who have climbed steep mountains in their lives, who have waded through many a raging river and crossed many  a desert, where they (and I) thought surely we would die…..I submit this Memorial to the fighting warriors of the family known as the HANSENS.  WE ARE FAMILY!!!!  WE ARE SURVIVORS AND HAVE NOT BEEN DESTROYED FROM WITHIN OR WITHOUT!

Our Mom, Mary Clara Vandervort…..and our Dad, Harold Bronniche Hansen Sr., gave us a gift that stands the tests of time.  They gave each of us very good names.  The Bible says:  Proverbs 22:1-2…”A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have this in common,The Lord is the maker of them all.”

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving us such rich names…..such names of meaning and purpose….that when any of us questions our worth or our value…..any one of us can draw from that “reservoir” that bore the seeds of our beginnings and of our worth.  Thank you, Mom and Dad for doing the best you could, given your own pain levels in a life that wasn’t always “fair”…..a life that didn’t always give what you needed to be whole and healed and complete.  We love, accept, forgive shortcomings,  and give honor and respect to you both.  You may have failed in some areas…..but so have we.

In the names you have given each of us….lie our heritage and our worth.  May we step up and into those names!  May we forgive, accept and honor our humble beginnings.  And I dare say, that you both (Mom & Dad) wanted way more for us than the hand you were dealt…..and I for one…..accept and step into…..the more!

What I present in writing…..I pray, will not only bring you (my beloved siblings) hope….but will also bring you rest over your weary souls.  In the deepest part of you, my beloved brothers and sisters….may you be healed and restored to the status of the royal sons and daughters of the King that you are, and always have been!!!  Each of our names are inlaid with precious jewels.  Each of our names speak into us, and call us to rise up into a greater blessing than any of us has ever known! And each of our names is written on the palm of the ONE (Isaiah 49:15-18) who first loved us, has loved us at our worst, and who loves us with a love that WILL NOT let go.

Eight children…….Eight blessings!!!

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1.  Candace Lee:  (went by Candy)

Candace: Language origin:  Greek.  Inherent meaning:  Unblemished.   Spiritual meaning:  Shining brightly, glittering.             Isaiah 62:3 – You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Lee:  Language origin:  German.  Inherent meaning:  From the Sheltered Place.  Spiritual meaning:  Gracious                Romans 8:16 – The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

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2.  Harold Bronniche (Junior) – (went by the nickname of Chris)

Harold:  Language origin:  Old English.  Inherent meaning:  Army Leader.  Spiritual meaning:  Born of God                Acts 17:28 – For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, for we are also His offspring.

Bronniche: Surname from Grandmother’s maiden name

Chris (Christopher):  Nickname from early childhood.  (given by Danish grandparents from fathers side)   Language origin:  Greek.  Inherent meaning:  Bearer/Carrier of Christ.  Spiritual meaning: Anointed.                   Galatians 6:17 –  Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

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3.  Don Allen:

Don:  Language origin:  Gaelic.  Inherent meaning:  World Leader.  Spiritual meaning: Faithful.                James 2:22  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

Allen:  Language origin:  Irish.  Inherent meaning:  Harmonious.  Spiritual meaning:  At One With Creation.                  II Corinthians 13:11 – Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

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4.  Victoria Lynn:  (went by Vicky)

Victoria:  Language origin:  Latin.  Inherent meaning:  Conqueror.  Spiritual meaning:  Triumphant Spirit.                   Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Lynn:  Language origin:  English.  Inherent meaning:  Crystal Clear Pool.    Spiritual meaning:  Holy.                   Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

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5.  Tamara Kay:  (went by Tammy)

Tamara:  Language origin:  Hebrew.  Inherent meaning:  Palm Tree.  Spiritual meaning:  Victorious Spirit.                         Micah 5:0 – Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.

Kay:  Language origin:  Latin.  Inherent meaning:  Rejoicer.  Spiritual meaning:  Joyful.                            Proverbs 15:23 – To make an apt answer is a joy to anyone, and a word in season, how good it is!

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6.  Linda Darlene:

Linda:  Language origin:  Spanish.    Inherent meaning:  Beautiful   Spiritual meaning:  Excellent Virtue.                  James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

Darlene:  Language origin:  French.    Inherent meaning:  Darling.  Spiritual meaning:  Magnificent, Loving.                      I Peter 4:8 – Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

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7. James Wesley:  (went by Jimmy…..now goes by Jim)

James:  Language origin:  Hebrew.       Inherent meaning:  Supplanter; takes the place, or moves into the position of another….alternative, replacement, substitute.   Spiritual meaning:  Nurtured.             Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil:  for thou art with me; and thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Wesley:  Language origin:  English.   Inherent meaning:  From the Wheat Field.  Spiritual meaning:  Witness.                    John 4:35 – Look around you!  Vast fields are ripening all around us and are now ready for harvest.

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8.  Carol Sue:

Carol:  Language origin:  French.  Inherent meaning:  Song of Joy.   Spiritual meaning:  Joy of God.                            John 15:11 – These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Sue:  Language of origin:  Hebrew.  Inherent meaning:  Graceful Lily.  Spiritual meaning:  Purity.                      Proverbs 4:18 – But the path of the righteous is like the light of the dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

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I love and am proud of each and every one of my brothers and sisters, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what the enemy has all along intended for evil against us, has been turned around for our GOOD, by the heart of our loving “Heavenly Papa”….who not only has a purpose and plan for each of us, but has also proved His love to each of us….not just in words (which have proven empty and lacking by all of our life experiences), but with action, that we desperately needed to see.  An action that stretched out his arms on a rugged cross, paying a price we could not pay for ourselves!     (Romans 8:28, John 3:16)


[If anyone would like a name looked up for it’s origins and meanings……I would be most happy to provide that information for you.  My sources were the Bible, and The Name Book, by Dorothy Astoria.]

What If?

I write this after an especially hard day.  I am bone weary.  I realize that if I don’t get some of the stress off of me before closing my eyes, the rest I so desperately need will elude me.  And not only will rest elude me, but stress will have an accumulative effect on my body and rob me of health; of balance.

So I quiet myself before One who is greater….and I listen.  As my mind stops spinning it’s wheels….as my tense muscles relax a little…as I resist the “enemy of my soul”….and simply listen, instead of doing all the talking…..I hear from His Heart.  A favorite Psalm (46:10a)  rises up in my spirit….”Be still, and know that I am God…”  My “what if?”, starts to slowly morph into God’s “WHAT IF?”

Then I start to sing this song that has changed my perspective….causing desert mirages to dissipate while something more solid and real takes it’s place….and I gently and freely enter into His Rest.

And so….I wake this morning….RESTED!  I feel invigorated.  I don’t have the driving need to have everything figured out.  I move without being paralyzed.  Thank you, Papa!

A simple yet profound truth lies in the words of this song.  I hope you enjoy it!

Pull Me Closer

 

On this “Thankful Thursday”, as I have reflected on His goodness, His Holiness, His Might, His Sovereign Power, His Tenderness, His Capacity to Love, His Faithfulness, His Promise Keeping….I am humbled before My Maker.

This post is dedicated to the Lover of my soul.  My Papa, My Savior, My Redeemer, My Husband, My Provider, My Comforter, My Convictor, My Sustainer, My Healer, My EVERYTHING!

Please inhabit my praises to YOU, oh LOVER OF MY SOUL!

 

 

 

 

 

The Silent, Supportive Friend

A “desert” experience is not one of the most enjoyable of experiences. It is, in fact, wrought with sweat, tears, aches and pains, low energy level, exhaustion, diminished sight, blisters, burnt skin, dry lips, dragging feet, parched throat, dirt and sand clinging, extreme thirst, hunger, a few scary looking threats to our well being, and lots of mirages that make you second guess what you think you see.

If you have ever had a friend who has gone through a “desert” experience, you quickly realize that “pious platitudes” just won’t cut it.  You learn through trial and error, how even the well meaning advise you lovingly tried to offer, felt empty and heavy, even as it left your lips.  You wish you could snatch it back, because you realized too late, that you just placed a subtle expectation on them to hurry up and get this figured out and “move past this” to something more positive.  To be perfectly honest, there are just some things you can’t explain or figure out, and there seem to be no easy answers, nor does it seem fair. Anything that there are no easy answers for, or can’t be easily explained, makes us feel uncomfortable and we really DON’T know what to say.   Which turns into the thinking that God is not fair or just, how could this be happening to such a good person.

Or maybe you have personally been in the “desert”, or are there now.  If so….then you’ve learned what a “first-timer” has not…..and that is:  it is what it is.  A process.  And in any ‘process’, you can take all the necessary steps that assure you a solid outcome; OR you can try to take shortcuts, going around an obstacle, instead of working through it, only to find yourself having to make the trip again to “get it right” this time.

At any rate, the desert is a place where you find out what you’re made of….who you really are (when no one is looking)….and what you REALLY believe (beyond lip-service).  It is a place where you get REAL with God….where you lay down empty promises….where you pick up responsibility and accountability….where you silence the other voices screaming at you, in order to hear His “Still, Small Whisper”.   And once you are able to truly hear what His Heart is for you, (in the trial you are facing), THEN AND ONLY THEN will this “process” be honest and have a successful outcome.

Having been through enough desert experiences in my 58 years on this earth,  I have learned to stop thrashing around like a drowning woman who has had her air supply cut off.  I now know right where to go to hook up my “I.V.’s”…..these will assure that I will live and not die.  I now know to immediately tie in to my “anchor”…..and although I may drift some, I will not be lost.  The pain still hurts, the tears still fall, sometimes anger or bitterness will surface and have to be dealt with, and doubts (and temptations) just take a number….waiting for their turn.

In the earlier stages of a “desert” experience, what people thought, said, or insinuated used to tear me to shreds, leaving barely recognizable remnants of me.  Some used the Bible to “beat you up”.  Hard to argue with the word, right?  But when it’s NOT from Papa’s Heart of love, it can be a cruel weapon with a judgmental edge, that once cut by it, can impede your progress because His Heart has been misrepresented by a religious interpretation, and it can become your truth. 

Then there are those who (though they may truly care) come at you with what they are calling, “tough love”.  “Swallow your pride!”…..or, “Do whatever it takes!”…..or, “God helps those who help themselves.”  This is based more on their own experience of  “pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps” with a flurry of activity,  than on quieting themselves long enough to hear and recognize what God is saying to them personally.

There are also some who deduce that you are being punished for some gross sin before a Holy God.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Yep…..Job’s friends, right?  But because of what came at me while I was in the “desert”, I learned to truly value those friends who gave me “permission”, to just BE where I was at….for as long as it might take.  They cried with me, prayed with me, held me while I sobbed, and held my arms up when I was weary.  They gave me (and God) the space we needed for Him to accomplish His purpose(s) in me.  They rejoiced with me when I shared what I gleaned as I walked out of each desert different.  Humbled.  Changed.  Clinging to Him.  Loved.  Renewed.  Grateful.  Full of hope.

The following quote says it all:

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find it is those who, instead of giving advise, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, THAT is a friend who cares.                                                                                       Henri J. M. Nouwen

This is the kind of friend I hope I am…..but am definitely striving to be……because this more closely reflects the heart of Jesus in the midst of us. ❤

Worth More Than Gold

In my attempt to find my own identity and worth APART from the standards of this world…..I have had to wade through a mountain of crappy, false paradigms to end up with what is real, what trumpets the TRUTH, what loudly echoes His Heart for me, and for what in the end affirms and confirms His Song over me.

The following video (clickable link in purple below) was made by a brave young woman, LIZZIE [Girl Voted The Ugliest Woman on YouTube],  She made a heartfelt and inspiring video full of compassion and one that silences her accusers at the same time. Lizzie has a disease that only 3 people in the entire world have. She has faced unimaginable cruelty that no one should ever go through. She rises above her circumstances in a truly inspirational way, choosing not to believe the opinions and/or taunts of those around her.

http://www.godvine.com/Girl-Voted-The-Ugliest-Woman-on-YouTube-Makes-a-Heartfelt-Video-1464.html

This next video  is a song called Gold, by Ehija Vega (Britt Nicole, Unplugged).  In the message of this song, the world’s sub-standards are replaced with God’s  ‘Kingdom’ value system.

So……don’t ever let the standard of this world hand you a yard stick to measure your worth with.  Beauty comes from within…..and that is exactly where God looks when assigning worth or value.

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I Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel (when faced with the evaluations of those around him), “Do not look on his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him [the choice of the people].  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”


“These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”~ 1 Peter 1:7

Do You REALLY Know?

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I have always been a “Romantic/Realist”….some would call that an oxy-moron.  I call it balanced by the presence of His Holy Spirit in my life.

See…the little girl in me, wants to believe that there really is a “prince among men” around the corner.  One that God has been preparing….one that knows the same “Papa” as I do…..one that loves Him more than life itself, more than he loves himself, more even than he would love me…and because of that, is then capable of loving me as God originally intended. Not perfect by any means, any more than I am perfect….but one who is accountable to One greater than himself.  Ahhhhhh, my soul-mate!

In trying to come to terms with my more romantic side….I have had to press in as tightly as possible to my Papa’s Heart.  Before pressing in……my romantic side felt silly….discredited even.  The realist side to me always kept me grounded in the TRUTH…..no matter how easy or how hard it was to assimilate.  But it took me much longer to trust the romantic side of me.  Hence, I pressed into Papa’s Heart for His take on who I was at my core.

This is what He showed me.  “It is I, who have put in you the very desires of your heart.  When you are connected to Me, you can trust your romantic side.  I made you to be ALL woman.  In other words, able to be sweet, loving, nurturing, tender, jealous, strong, tough, wise, intelligent, crafty, hard working, long suffering, forgiving AND sexy.  [Sexy is not something you put on display for all men to see, but something that is between you and your beloved alone.] There are as many facets to who you are as there are facets to Who created you. ”

“The romantic side of you, is capable of hoping for all things, believing for all things, fully engaged in fighting for what is worth holding out for, and fully able to enjoy 100% being a woman who is captivating and beautiful in ways that go beyond your outward beauty and adornments.  The realist side of you is able to face disappointments and keep going, as well as capable of being discerning and wise in your choices.  The realist side of you, keeps your head out of the clouds and your wits about you, when you are swimming with sharks.  The realist side of you also enables you to bounce back time and again, because you draw your strength from Me.”

That being said, I have learned to embrace both sides of what makes me, ME!  He has long ago given me permission to be who He created me to be, and now I have given myself permission to be who HE created me to be, with no apologies.  I have become pretty comfortable in my own skin, so to speak.

What follows in the poem I write below is an out-pouring of my more romantic side.  I have totally accepted my more romantic side…..while my realist side keeps my “flights of fancy” in check.  Now mind you, I said “in check”, not obliterated.

The following poem was written to my future soul-mate.  You are out there somewhere, I know.  I have prayed for you, and entrusted you to my Papa who knows me intimately and longs to give me the desires of my Heart, because He put them there.  He also knows you intimately, and is just as excited about giving you the desires of your heart.  I have prayed for you, longed for you, ached for you, cried for you, delighted in you…long before our eyes have beheld and hearts have touched.  You are worth holding out for……

DO YOU REALLY KNOW?

When you look deep into my eyes and see and value what others have missed…do you know how my heart leaps?

When you reach for my hand with full assurance of our tomorrows..do you know the confidence it instills?

When you speak my name as if it were a fine wine caressing your tongue…do you know I get a sense of my worth?

When you gently touch my cheek after speaking sweet words of endearment…do you know it warms me to my core?

When by your actions, you make me aware that my heart has a home in yours…do you know how SAFE that makes me feel?

When you lay your head next to my heart and just settle in…do you feel the swelling of my heart as my love enfolds you?

When I lean toward you and you draw me in with your heart as well as your embrace…do you know how undone I become?

When your lips gently touch mine in a moment of tenderness…do you sense my abandon as I lean into your kiss?

When you gently place your hand on the small of my back…do you know how absolutely protected I feel?

When you softly whisper in my ear, “I love you”…do you know there is no one I’d rather hear it from,  apart from Jesus?

When we together,  pour our hearts out to our Papa, and become transparent before Him…do you know it is His desire to give us what will delight our hearts?

So tell me, my love…..do you REALLY know the power you possess to bring out the woman of your dreams,  in me?

Do you REALLY know???

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Song of Solomon 5:16b, 6:3a, 8:6-7a – This is my beloved, and this is my friend. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.  Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; it’s flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame.  Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.