Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Just Jesus

I'll just go ahead and say it. I'm a slow learner. Or, perhaps more correctly, a stubborn one.

You would think that after 40++ years of being a Christian, I'd get it. And, of course, I do. Get it I mean. I get what being a Christ follower means. I get what living a life set apart should look like. I get that living for Jesus demands my whole heart. I get it and I want it and I pursue it. Well, most of the time. I mean, let's be perfectly honest... there are days where living for Jesus is not at the front and center of my heart and mind. More correctly, it's living for Robyn taking His place. And so, I need these constant reminders, these daily checkpoints to stop me in my tracks, keep me in line and help me refocus, renew and recommit.

As so often is the case, when God wants to get a message, He does it repeatedly. It happened that way this morning....

In addition to following a bible reading plan, I receive multiple online devotionals via email. This morning as I sipped my coffee and tried vainly to focus my bleary eyes on the email as viewed through my smartphone, I read the scripture accompanying the devotional. 


From Philippians 4.19: And my God will meet all your needs, according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. 

The main thrust of the devotional was about running on empty-- forgetting to spend time daily with Jesus, refueling. It was a timely and gentle reminder for me as I had allowed a few days to slip away where starting my day with The Word had been forsaken in exchange for whatever else was clamoring for my attention. 

I laid my phone down and picked up my bible and journal to jot down some thoughts. Satisfied with my pondering, I returned to my phone to finish my email. As I scrolled down through the content of the next email what jumped out at me? Reference to not worrying about our own needs because God will supply them.... and, yes, Philippians 4.19.

Even as my heart thrilled in my chest I wasn't that surprised. It was so clearly NOT coincidence. God had my attention. 

I don't forget to eat. I need food to fuel my body and my brain and when I skip a meal or go too long between eating, I grow cranky, tired and sometimes a little shaky. So why do I allow my spirit to skip feedings? 

It has to be more than just a habit I lock myself into. It has to be the most important source I turn to, daily, minute by minute. 

Jesus. 
Just Jesus.







Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Cherry On Top!

Life is so good! 
My sweetie has been at the new job for over a week now and is doing just fine. There's a lot to learn and he comes home mentally exhausted but it's all good. We're taking it one day at a time and continuing to trust God. He's never failed us.

Life is so good!
Spring is just around the corner and with that comes a special celebration!



The first day of spring is.... (drum roll please) .... this Friday! We've been blessed with an exceptionally tame winter and spring-like weather has been teasing us for weeks now. There are buds and blossoms breaking out all around us and we've even mowed our lawn once! And just like spring, where new things blossom and grow, so it goes with the story of the love-burkes.  Our first date was on the first day of Spring 21 years ago this year! 

If you have been following this blog for any length of time, or if you know me in real life, you know that I LOVE to celebrate! Birthdays, Anniversaries, milestones-- all worthy of a shout out!  When it comes to me n' my sweetie, it's no exception. I make no apologies for loving this man and letting the world know it. So, if you aren't interested in sharing in this celebration, just skip on over to your next favorite blog. No hard feelings.

To mark this years occasion I decided to put together a slideshow of pictures of us over the year as a surprise for my sweetie. It was hard to decide which pictures to include and which ones to pass on, so I ended up with a pretty lengthy presentation! It was a lot of fun to revisit the box of photos though! I found pictures I'd forgotten about (oh those days before we had digital!)

check out these young things!
the 80's called; they want their dress back!
that shaggy haired worker guy


young babes in love
I'm so glad we were able to work past the fear and trepidation we had about dating and risking our hearts for a new relationship. It was all worth it and the fact that we clicked, fell in love and ended up together has been the cherry on top!


Friday, March 6, 2015

gas fumes and bread crumbs

On Monday next, Bruce begins his new job! (and everybody gave a loud cheer!!) 

for the past 30 days he's been working for our church in an interim position and it's been a blessing in many ways. Starting Monday, the tool belt gets hung up until the weekend. He'll be working in contractor sales-- working on the other side of the desk. It's going to be different. It's going to be a challenge. It's going to be interesting... its going to be great! 

I said awhile back that I was longing for some financial stability in our lives. Self employment is wonderful even as it is stressful, because of the independence it offers but our economy has not been kind to the small business owner in the past several years. You've heard my woes over these past many many months about how hard it's been to scratch out a living. We are so very thankful for the way God has provided for us both in the lean times and the plenty. 



Despite the steady pay checks coming, it's going to take some time for us to climb out of the hole we've slipped into. It only takes a few weeks of no income to send you down into that pit but it often takes 2-3 times longer to climb back out. 

There have been days when life has felt so overwhelmingly difficult. Unpaid bills, creditors calling to demand what is rightfully theirs to demand, getting by on gas fumes and bread crumbs, physical challenges and emotional stress adding to the already fragile morale.... those are the days I need these reminders:
i am not alone. 
God has not forgotten or forsaken me. 
he gives strength to the weary.
he gives hope to the hopeless.
he offers a yoke that is easy, a burden that is light.
he offers a future filled with hope.
he sends me reminders and it gives me the courage and strength i need to face one more day. 


Learning to trust in Him regardless of my circumstances, remembering that trust is a choice, remembering that my source of security and stability is never in a job or a paycheck or any circumstance of life, but in Him and Him alone; that is what allows me to rise up on wings like eagles, to walk and not grow weary, to run and not faint. 




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Life is a Treasure


The sun is shining, there's not a cloud in the sky. The wind that charmed my wind chimes yesterday has died down and the temperature has come up. I've gotten in my walk, swiped some blossoms off a neighbor's tree and put them in a vase on my table. I've got laundry going and have sucked down my 3rd cup of coffee for the morning. I've cleaned out my junk mailbox, caught up on facebook and checked out craigslist.

It's just a day in the life of.

I've got no complaints, I feel content  and I am grateful for all my blessings. I am fully aware of how precious each moment of our lives is, perhaps today more than ever.

You see, today there are 2 memorials taking place. I'm not planning to attend, as I didn't really know either of them. But I do know the people who are grieving their passing so today, in my own way, I will take some time to honor their memory and hold my friends up in prayer.

One of the memorials is for the mother-in-law of a friend of mine. I met her once or twice many years ago. She lived a long vibrant life but the past couple years has been rough on the family as they watched her take that agonizing decline into dementia. And I would surmise that as much as saying good bye hurts, they are also rejoicing over her graduation to heaven.
I'm not there today my sweet friend but know I'm thinking of you and sending you hugs and prayers.

The other memorial is going to be much, much harder I am sure. This friend is saying good bye to her husband who passed away unexpectedly after brain surgery. I did not know her husband at all, except by name. And truthfully my friendship with D. is one of those kept alive only by the powers of facebook. She was a year behind me in school and we didn't hang out together but there was a short period in my life where we shared office space as we worked at our respective jobs. Being women, being wives, we shared more than office space, as over a period of months we revealed our hearts through our conversations. I know her as a sincere and gentle-hearted person  and my heart aches for her and what she is going through.
I'm not there today lovely lady, but you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Thinking about those kinds of losses makes me somber and thoughtful. I lost my dad about 8 years ago and I know the day is coming when Mom will go home too.

I don't even want to think about what life would be like if my husband was gone.


We just celebrated the 19th engage-aversary of when he proposed and every minute we have together is precious and treasured.(Yes, even when you snore and I have to elbow you honey- it's precious)


So, yes the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky. I'm taking some time today to lift up those who have lost a loved one by embracing the moment and being grateful for those special people in my life.


BECAUSE LIFE IS INDEED, SWEET.






Monday, February 23, 2015

this thing called monday



i love mondays.
said no one ever.
except for me.
because i'm a little funny that way.
i don't work outside of the home.
I am an 'old fashioned' wife;
i get up each morning and
make his breakfast, pack his lunch
and send him on his way to work
with a kiss and a smile.
and i love that.
i love that "this" is my job.





i love the weekends.
said everybody.
including me.
because it means time with hubby
and chores and church
and couple stuff.
projects to work on, maybe some playtime.
weekend get aways
even if they happen in the backyard.
gathering with friends, social time.
but...draining my battery,
even as i laugh and love and live.




but come monday
i am happy to have my house back
under my domain.
my time to recharge from the weekend
happens on mondays.
bye-bye honey,
come to me you big beautiful cup of coffee.
let's sit here awhile
there is plenty of time
to start the laundry and
wash the dishes.
i love this solo time.

come monday.




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Restored!

photo property of Robyn Burke


Do you believe God heals? 
I do. I have experienced His healing in my life. It took time, because it's a process, but I've healed. 


google images
You may already know this, but I have had surgery for torn rotator cuffs on both of my shoulders. The pain I felt when I injured them was bad enough but honestly, the recovery after surgery was worse! My right rotator had not only torn but there was an impingement in the shoulder area that needed to be fixed. This required some shaving of the bone and a pin was inserted to hold things in place. I don't even like thinking about what all took place while I was knocked out by the anesthesia! However, once I was home and the numbness wore off -- I was TOTALLY aware of just how much tweaking had gone on inside of me! And the pain pills barely took the edge off. If I so much as raised my shoulder even a fraction of a fraction pain would ripple through me. I roared like a lion, I cried like a baby. It hurt!! 


Then... a few weeks later I began physical therapy. Oh. Oh. Oh. Even while I knew that the therapy was designed to help restore healing and it was a necessary evil, that did not stop my tears from trickling down my cheeks as I laid on the therapy table and allowed the therapist to manipulate my shoulder in directions it fought against.  As the weeks went on however, and more flexibility returned to my shoulder, the pain lessened. Eventually I was able to do the exercises on my own, without need for prescription pain pills or even ibuprofen. Eventually the pain subsided until there was no more. 


When I began my adult life as a single mom, I also began a journey of seeking healing for years of abuse. Part of this was dealt with the aid of a gifted, compassionate counselor. Some was accomplished through my private journaling, some in writing letters to those who had hurt me. But the single most powerful healing took place as one by one, I brought those broken places in my heart and laid them before God. It was painful-- Oh! It was painful! For so many years I had buried the hurts deep inside of me, the only way I knew to cope and survive. Inviting Jesus in to heal those areas meant exposing them. Digging up long buried shame and resentment, excavating pits of despair-- there was nothing pretty or pain-free in any of that! 


But God was with me every step of the way. It started when He spoke to me through His word: He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. (Psalm 23) In that verse I heard Him saying loud and clear, "Come. Come and rest here in this safe and quiet place. Give me the broken pieces- all of them-- and let me begin restoration." 




photo property of Robyn Burke 

Honestly, it was much like surgery and physical therapy! The surgery repaired the broken parts but the therapy brought healing and strength back to the damaged areas. God touched the hurts in my heart, mind and spirit, repairing the damage, and then over the next months and years, worked with me to restore life into those areas I thought were broken beyond repair. 


So much has taken place over the years since I first started that earnest journey into healing and wholeness. Sometimes I look back and shake my head in disbelief that I was once so fragile. God was-- IS-- so faithful. He spoke life back into me. It was a process, just like healing from a broken bone or a shoulder repair, but the torn up places in my spirit have been restored. 


If you have areas in your life that are in need of healing, I encourage you to take the next step to begin the process. Dr. Jesus is waiting. 



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

REWIND??

Back in 1986 I watched a fantasy/comedy movie called "Peggy Sue Got Married"  In the movie, a woman named Peggy Sue attends her 25- year high school reunion. She's recently separated from her (cheating) husband Charlie. She regrets some of the decisions she made in her life-- such as marrying Charlie. When she faints at the reunion and wakes up in 1960-- back in high school, she's suddenly given the chance to live her life again. She sets out to change things... only... some choices are more complicated... her relationship with Charlie being just one of them.

I suppose all of us at one time or another has wondered if we had the chance do our lives over again, if we wouldn't do some things differently. I know I have.  If I woke up to find myself back in high school I want to think I'd make much wiser decisions, knowing then what I know now. However, who I am today is based on the experiences I have had. So, if I had a rewind button on my life, while I might be tempted to push it  I think it would be to revisit the highlights of my life, just for the pleasure of reliving those moments...

family hikes...
camping...
the birth of my children...
the falling in love experience with my sweetie....
vacations that brought much  happiness....
meeting my grandchildren for the first time...

But perhaps the one thing I would truly love to re-experience are the mountain top highs in my relationship with Jesus. 

I've been a Christian since I was 9 years old. I was raised in the faith, having attended church my whole life and except for some teen-age rebellious years, have pretty much tried to walk the talk. It wasn't until I was in my 30's however that I realized that what I'd been calling my "Christian Life" wasn't exactly the full life that God had planned for me. I'd been living life according to Robyn, making decisions based on what I thought was best for me, not on seeking out what was God's best for me. 

The day I came face to face with this truth was the day my relationship with Jesus got real. I realized that a lot of what I had been doing was based on religion: going through the motions of bible reading, attending church, praying and signing up for lots of 'do-good' activities. When I caught a glimpse of just how much Jesus loved me and how much He wanted a real relationship with me, that's when things began to change. For the better.

Since then, it's been a process, a journey, full of ups and downs, twists and turns, but an exciting adventure with laughter, tears, sorrows and joys. And while I wouldn't trade that for anything, there are times I realize I've been coasting, sort of taking my Christian life for granted. I start getting a little lukewarm about things... the passion cools, the mind wanders, and then I find I've drifted into a dry and weary desert... again.

I really don't like when this happens. That's when I wish I  could push a rewind button and go back to the times where I felt the Holy Spirit powerfully at work within me. This last time of desert dryness I finally reached a point of such frustration that I did something either incredible brave or incredible stupid. I asked the Lord to ignite in me a Holy Passion for the things He wants me to go after.

I prayed that prayer and then sat back in fear and trepidation wondering what would happen next. It's been a few weeks since I prayed that prayer-- and I've even repeated it a time or two. It's been a slow, tender unfolding but change is happening. I feel like I am coming out of a long winter's nap and as I stretch and yawn and look around, I feel like a little branch on a tree, it's delicate shoot gently unfurling a little more each day.

God knows me so well and while in someone else's life He might bring change swift and powerfully, He knows me and He knows my circumstances. He knows at what speed I need to travel --when to go fast, when to go slow. But each day I have felt the passion re-igniting. Yes, it's slow but it's enough. And I am aware that the rewind button isn't necessary. It's a brand new movie and while occasionally I might catch a peek of the trailer, it's with my best interest in mind that God reveals things to me in just the right measure, at just the right speed, at just the right time.

Praise  God!