Thursday, May 22, 2014 Posted by Debbie Legg
It wasn’t fear I was feeling. It wasn’t doubt. It was restlessness, unsettledness.
The limited window of time to finish my project was quickly closing. The thought of having to wait nine months before I would have time to really work on it again made me almost nauseous.
Then I read, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Hear Me saying, Peace, be still to your restless heart.”*
“Peace, be still? That’s familiar.” I found the reference in Mark, Chapter 4.
They awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (38-40 NKJV)
That was it. That was what I was feeling. “Jesus, do You not care that my dream is dying?”
For a long while I wrestled with the wind and waves, the fear and lack of faith I finally admitted.
And I gave in. “I’m trying to hear You saying ‘Peace, be still’ to my restless heart, but all I want to do is sob. Please, heal my restless heart and bring peace.”
Then I felt, “There. Was that so hard?”
I was surprised. “No. But it still feels restless.”
“But it’s not.”
The faith came first. The peace came later.
But come it did.
*(Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, April 20)
Even In AustraliaThursday, July 03, 2014 Posted by Debbie Legg
My oldest son is half-way through an incredible 20 day trip to Australia. Though I miss him terribly I am confident he is having the life-changing experience God designed for him.
I say I’m confident because even in this day of Skype, instant messages, picture texts and Facebook, he has no intention of contacting us until he arrives home.
I think the reason is partly because A) he’s male, 2) he’s not a verbally-communicative personality, and IV) this trip wasn’t his idea and he is subconsciously punishing me for making him go (Okay, maybe not so much A).
Alright, yes, I pretty much MADE him go on this trip. But in my defense, how could I not? It’s a dream-of-a-lifetime trip (I read the itinerary). It’s safe, well-planned and executed (again, I read up). God brought this to us, so HELLO, right? I figured the more he knew about it the more excited he would get.
Apparently I. Was. Wrong.
And God is LAUGHING at me.
You see, He knows where my son’s "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad" attitude comes from.
God has some pretty amazing roads mapped out for me. Unfortunately, they aren’t ones I want to travel. Or, I do want to travel them, but not on His schedule.
What do I do? I stomp my little foot and tell Him I’m not going. I pout (real grown up, huh). Eventually I surrender and remind myself that He has NEVER let me down, and that His roads are ALWAYS FAR better, beyond ANYTHING I can ask or think.
I know all of this, but I’m still learning it, too.
I choose to pray and believe that my son is learning it too.
Even in Australia.
Thursday, April 25, 2013 Posted by Debbie Legg
The Lord’s Prayer fascinates me. There are so many rich and meaningful layers in only sixty-some words. I love how Jesus expertly leads our focus throughout the prayer—first from Our Father (intimate but heavenly, holy, ruler, sovereign) to us (needy, sinful, weak, unable to save ourselves). What starts as praise and worship ends in confession and humility. We are first reminded of who He Is, then of who we are. Oh, how we need this! Join me in this meditation on Matthew 6:9-13:
Our Father, (Creator of the Universe, God of Angel Armies, Love Defined, and yet our Abba, our Daddy)
in heaven (Your created dwelling, a place of perfection and unimaginable beauty, where we will one day join You)
hallowed be Your name (Holy, Perfect, Sanctified. I Am. Alpha and Omega. Love and Power exemplified in label, in word)
Your kingdom come (It’s not heaven on earth yet, but oh, it will be, in Your time and in Your way. It is coming, and we help bring it)
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Your will is not always done on earth, but You walk with us through life, making all things work for our good, until heaven)
Give us today our daily bread (Our most basic provisions come as a gift from Your hand. We cannot make it happen)
And forgive us our debts (We sin. We can’t earn forgiveness. You give it when we ask)
as we also have forgiven our debtors (We choose to forgive, because You forgive us. Nothing they can do to us can compare with all You’ve done for us)
And lead us not into temptation (James 1:13-14, James 4:7, 1 Corinthians 10:13. You do not tempt us, but allow temptation to test and strengthen us. How can we truly choose holiness if we don’t have the opportunity to choose sin? Help us always choose You.)
but deliver us from the evil one (We cannot deliver ourselves from the enemy, nor from the world nor our own sinful desires. Only You can save us. Please, Abba, save us).
Thursday, June 27, 2013 Posted by Debbie Legg
I’m showing my age by admitting that I saw “Star Wars, Episode 4: A New Hope” in the theater. Yes, I wanted to be Princess Leia, had crushes on both Luke and Han, and hated Darth Vader.
I believe George Lucas was very wise in producing Episodes 4, 5, and 6 first. This way we are well aware of which characters are the good guys, which are the bad, and what our appropriate reactions should be.
If Lucas had made the movies in chronological order, going into Episode 4 we would have an entirely different sentiment toward Darth Vader. Instead of ominous fear we would be experiencing sympathy--not exactly what you want your audience feeling toward the bad guy at this point in the series. Knowing Anakin Skywalker’s story makes it difficult to hate Darth Vader.
Hatred is easy when we keep our enemy as a two-dimensional character. Learning someone’s story, their wounds, the coping mechanisms that shape their personality, wipes out much of the power of fear and hatred.
This is one reason God can love even the most heinous of human beings. He is always with our enemies, the same way He is always with us. He witnessed the disappointments, the betrayals, the horrors they experienced. He knows their wounds and the lies they’ve believed about them. He desires to bring healing and wholeness, but they’ve got to choose Him. Many don’t. It quite literally breaks God’s heart.
It broke Luke Skywalker’s. Luke learned the ways of the Force and then willingly, lovingly, confronted his father. “There is good in him. I can feel it,” he said. It is Luke’s love, and his unwillingness to compromise this undeserved love, that turns Vader’s heart to choose redemption.
What could be unleashed throughout the world, throughout the universe, if we purposed to lovingly seek out the good in our enemies?
It would be beyond a force in a galaxy far, far away.
It would be the power of God. It would be the power of Love.
Thursday, January 10, 2013 Posted by Debbie Legg
I don’t know what it is about this one. Since I wrote it I really haven’t been able to get it out of my head and heart. Maybe it has something to do with comments I heard on it, or maybe… I don’t know. This post inhabits my soul like no other I’ve written. Here is my Flashback from August 16, 2011.
Recently I had the privilege of reading some marvelous writing by my friend Steve. Included in his piece was the word Ikebana. Being stumped, as usual, I pulled up the online dictionary.
Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging…if you can call it that. Instead of focusing on blooms and colors,Ikebana relies more on the leaves and stems, the minimal use of materials, drawing the emphasis from simply color to include line, form and shape. The focus is as much on the space between the materials as the materials themselves.
I love that. The space is as important as the matter. What is not seen as important as what is seen.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
What is seen is loneliness. What is unseen are the stems of strength and courage in waiting for God’s timing. What is seen is grief. What is unseen is the seed of compassion that will grow and one day comfort another in sorrow. What is seen is uncertainty. What is unseen is The Rock beneath the shifting sand that holds the entire arrangement firmly in place.
What is SEEN is TEMPORARY. What is UNSEEN is ETERNAL.
Look for life, look for God, in the seemingly lifeless spaces.
Thursday, January 17, 2013 Posted by Debbie Legg
For the past few early-Januarys I have asked God to give me a word or phrase to lend context to the upcoming year, something simple and easy to remember, that I can go back to as sort of a North Star.
My word for 2012 was HOPE. God provided opportunities to increase hope, seek hope, cling to hope, encourage hope, and draw close to The Hope We Profess.
This year my word is STEADY. My first thought about it was that 2013 is going to be a roller coaster ride! I looked for a verse and the one I was drawn to was Isaiah 35:3, Strengthen the feeble hands, STEADY the knees that give way. I get the feeling that this will not be an insignificant year.
Then there is the word for the Daily Audio Bible community, of which I am a part. That word is RHYTHM. As a drummer and dancer, I definitely identify, and a STEADY RHYTHM makes my heart soar.
A few more came along when, inspired by my friend Corky, I choose three words as my goals (NOT resolutions) for this new year. After prayer and contemplation, those words are FINISH (my screenplay), PUBLISH (a bit of my writing) and PURGE (my house, maybe even following Flylady guidelines of working 15 minutes a day).
Using those goals and themes, maybe if I STEADilY seek and work, with God’s Grace and Blessing, I will find my RHYTHM.
And I do know that, whether this year is a roller coaster ride or a smooth drum roll, God is with me, in me, next to me, ahead of me and behind me. I will rely on His strength for my feeble hands and His love to steady my steps.
Thursday, January 24, 2013 Posted by Debbie Legg
Ah, yes. Fairy tales. I wrote about them a while back. Please forgive me if I borrow a bit from myself.
Have you ever wondered why fairy tales remain popular, why we never seem to outgrow them?
I still remember my mother taking me to my first movie, Disney's Cinderella. The beauty in rags, treated cruelly yet her heart remained open. The handsome prince who fell in love with her at first sight, choosing her above all others. Her kind mouse friends and providential fairy godmother bringing guidance and hope. The wicked stepmother vowing to take her down, no matter the cost. And finally [sigh] the cinder-sweeper is herself swept away by the prince, who let nothing stand in the way of his pursuit of her, to become the princess we knew she was from the beginning, living Happily Ever After…
This is the story of my life. It’s the story of your life. Our lives ARE fairy tales. Fairy tales are powerful because they are TRUE.
We are the beauty in rags (Song of Solomon 1:5-6), treated cruelly by those who refuse to see our beautiful hearts (Psalm 59). The villain, our Enemy the Devil, seeks any and every way to kill, steal, and destroy us (John 10:10). Our own mice and godmothers are our friends and loved ones (Ecclesiastes 4:12). And of course, Prince Jesus, our Hero (Zephaniah 3:17), who gives His life out of His love for us (John 3:16), whose name is Faithful and True, riding on His white horse to our rescue (Revelation 19:11).
Happily Ever After DOES EXIST, only we know it as HEAven.
What? Your life of laundry and carpool and bills is about as far from a fairy tale as you can imagine? My dear Cinderella, my prayer is that The Author, Father God Himself, will open the eyes of your heart to see past the sentences of your story to its Spirit.
They will see His face… There will be no more night… And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:4,5)
Thursday, February 07, 2013 Posted by Debbie Legg
I have carried my sanctuary with me my whole life. It’s a place I call Debbieland. There, everyone loves me. Everyone gets along. I always say and do the right things. I don’t clean or cook yet have a beautiful house and delicious food, which I eat with glorious abandon and never gain weight.
Debbieland has been my escape, my relief, for as long as I can remember.
The problem with escape, though, is that it works for a little while, gives a little relief, but it doesn’t last. When I come back to reality all of my problems are still here and I’ve done nothing to improve the situation. I’ve neglected what (or who) I should focus on.
Idolatry isn’t something we talk about much these days. We have more PC names for it, like Substitute Jesus, even Addiction. But the truth is, whatever I turn to when I’m sad, or angry, or lonely, or overwhelmed—wherever I go to find relief that is not Jesus—is an idol.
God has been exposing idols in my life, slowly, gently. He is showing me that escape anesthetizes for a while, but it does not heal. Only He can do that.
When I feel the urge to escape I need to run into the arms of Jesus. When overwhelm strikes I need to invite Jesus into the circumstances, into the reality. I need to seek His Presence in the present. I need to ask Him Who Gives Extravagantly for the comfort, strength, wisdom, peace I’ve been looking for in other places.
My friends, please hear my heart. I’m not saying that all daydreams are idols. I still picture myself accepting the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. But when I escape to daydreams instead of to Jesus I’m setting myself up for more pain, for further failure. For sin.
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge… deliver me in your righteousness… be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me… Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. (Psalm 31)
Thursday, March 07, 2013 Posted by Debbie Legg
I’m having trouble narrowing it all down to one story.
I could tell you of a sweet little boy who wanted a sand dollar to take home from his seaside vacation. After walking the beach a long time without finding any, he asked God to send just one, if it was okay. Around the very next bend the beach was littered with them. God used hundreds of sand dollars to love on one little boy. His extravagant generosity and goodness still speak to me decades later.
Or I could tell of paying property taxes our first year of farming. Naturally, the taxes are due right before harvest when farmers have no money. Taxes were due Friday. It was Thursday. I told God I was writing the check for the taxes but as He was the one wanting us to farm then it was up to Him to supply the tax money. I wrote the check, then went to get the mail. Lo and behold, there in the mailbox was a check from some program Clinton had signed up for who knows when, that covered the entire bill. Our good God taught me the truth of "always on time, rarely early."
Or I could tell of God bringing friends into my life so we could walk through our similarly-difficult seasons together. I could speak of my miracle sons and my incredible husband, of loving family and invaluable friends. I could regale you with tales of my recently-discovered passions of drumming and kayaking. I could relate countless times where I had exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.
I could…but I’m sure you have your own stories. We would love for you to share them.
Thursday, September 20, 2012 Posted by Debbie Legg
The plaque you see here came from our church. In a recent remodel we lost several stained-glass windows, one of which had originally been donated by Hannah’s children, thus the plaque in her honor.
Hannah Jane Lappin was my husband’s great-great-great-grandmother. This wife of Joseph, blind from early adulthood, moved with her husband and five children from Southern Illinois to Missouri in a covered wagon. While in Missouri, Joseph Lappin became ill and the family decided to move back to Illinois. Joseph never made it. He died on the way, and was buried along the roadside in Missouri.
Hannah and the children did make it back to Illinois. George, the oldest son, moved to Colorado to work for the railroad and sent money home. That left blind Hannah with John, Sam, Will and Ida, in a log cabin with cracks so large that snow would accumulate on the children’s beds.
I’m not sure I would have much in common with Hannah. A conversation might be challenging to maintain. But, I do have many questions for her.
How on earth did her three youngest sons grow up to become ministers who preached tent revivals, wrote books, and one becoming a dean at a Bible College? How was she able to encourage Ida to become a schoolteacher, with a schoolteacher husband and family of her own? How was it that people remembered her to be always happy, never discouraged? How did she instill her love of Jesus so deeply into her poverty-stricken, fatherless children that six generations later, her descendents are still believers?
Unfortunately, I would really like to know those answers now, while my own sons are still at home.
Fortunately, the Jesus she loved so well is the Jesus I love as well.
Fortunately, I think we both know that He is the answer.