Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day Twelve - Hope Doesn't Disappoint

Prayer in Deep Waters

I’m barely keeping my head above water.
Can’t see over the waves to the other side.
Don’t know if I can keep this up much longer.
I’m sinking, I’m drowning, I’m nearly out of hope.

Salary cuts and now bills are piling up higher every day.
I’m losing my home, collections on the phone.
Need to do more than keep my fingers crossed.
I’ve gotta relax, fall back into YOU,
You’ve promise me, hope doesn’t disappoint.

No way in sight to make ends meet.
Heart’s weighed down, just scraping by.
I've been treading water and I'm beat.
I’ve gotta relax, fall back into You...
You promise me, hope doesn’t disappoint.

Lying in bed, thoughts swimming around in my head;
I'm running out of money, I'm not feeling gutsy
when I’m barely keeping my head above water,
I’ll lay my heart and my life on Your altar
and I’ll weep, I’ll pray and I’ll hope,
'cause You’ll meet me at the end of my rope...

I was barely keeping my head above water
when You walk across the waves and said,
“Why don’t you hop in my boat?
I’ve got hope, it’ll keep you afloat!”

When my head’s barely above water,
can’t see over the waves to the other side.
I have faith now to keep hoping
‘cause You lift me up and under Your wings I'll hide.

Marie Nease


C.S. Lewis Quotes on Hoping For Something More

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise."

“At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch."

We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it."

holy experience

May I recommend you wander over to A Holy Experience?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day Eleven - Hope

Day Ten - Being Single and the Nestea Plunge

I'm propped up, pillows soft, comfy in my bed, ready to write about day ten.
Hmmmm...what to say? Today was better than yesterday. The earth didn't move under my feet and nothing major was accomplished. (The earth not moving under my feet is actually fine with me... heard there have been an increase of earthquakes at the M5 level in the past few days...)

I cold called executive search firms to see if anyone has a need for my sourcing and research experience. I cold called brides to see if they still need to book a photographer for their wedding. ( shameless plug - )

I guess what stands out to me is that today, I worried less. A step in the right direction, right? I told a friend that I've been trying to picture myself doing the Nestea plunge and just falling back into the arms of Jesus.

  I found this photo from Google images, but didn't see anyone to give credit to.

A sense of peace about my singleness seems to be incrementally increasing every day. I celebrate this peace!

Being Single

Being single is an incredible mixture of feelings...
from being a happy free bird
one day,
to a lonely wolf, howling at the moon
the next.

Being single is sleeping under starlit sky
on a mountain top with friends,
oohing and aaahing at shooting stars.
It's the blessing of "Pizza and Prayer" on a Friday night,
experiencing God listening to us as we agree in prayer.
It's the sweetness of worshiping God
around a campfire, warming hands and hearts.

Being single is being the only one to bring home the bacon,
or not bring it home, during times of unemployement...
It's being able to sleep on the left side or the right
of my big king size bed
and not having to be woken by manly snoring,
but missing the pleasure of spooning and more...
Being single means missing being able to wake up
next to your love and share coffee and prayer
to start your day loving, hand-in-hand.

Being single is having the freedom to choose
to devote more of your time in companionship
with Jesus and pursuing passions and dreams.
It's longing to share your passions and dreams
with a like minded soul who just gets you
and who likes being with you, not without you.

Being single is giddy laughter and sometimes abundant tears
and wondering if you'll be alone all you're years.
It's growing special friendships
and sometimes wanting more.
It's going on dates that are distasters
and dates that feel like a dream
you never want to end.

Being single is bravely killing your own spiders
and not allowing fear to creep in at night,
when noises wake you from sound sleep.
It's keeping your chin up, when you'd rather have
your mate look you in the eye, lift your chin up
and kiss you and make your world spin...

It's having boundaries in dating relationships,
even when your flesh cries out for more!
It's learning to walk away,
and wait for God to write your love story...

© Copyright 2011 Marie Nease

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day Nine - Brave

Today I feel as though I fell and slipped down the slippery slope... I'm fighting discouragement today. But, I want to be brave! If I could cause my Father God to smile at me during this challenging time, it would make me smile too. 

In Joshua 1:9 God commands us to "Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." He commands me to be brave. 

Only in You Father can I possibly know how to be brave!
My legs are shaking, I'm weak in the knees.
I'm a beach about to be hit by a tidal wave!
In my weakness I cry out oh Father please
remind me Your grace is perfected when I'm not strong
so I will choose to celebrate, even in my weakness 
then your power can rest upon me, in victorious song
in the midst of looming challenges and stresses
I will picture my brave soul
conquering giants and the enemies fiery arrows
as I rest, knowing you're in control
of my life and even the sparrows.
Copyright © 2011 Marie Nease  All Rights Reserved.
I will hope. I will hope in my future, because Father, you have amazing plans for me and a future You have thoughtfully worked out, just for me...plans to prosper me and not to harm me... if there is someone who happens to be reading this, He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. He has plans for your future, if you will reach out to Jesus and cry out to Him. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 

Amplified Bible (AMP)

9But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [a]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [b]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

Day Eight - Rest


When I took this photo, I r-e-a-l-l-y needed to rest. I had just explored the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park; it was a very hot day in July. At first glance, it was as though the Adirondack chair motioned me over, inviting me to come rest. Did I resist? No. I responded. I rested. 
relaxation from exertion or labor ~ repose; sleep ~ any relief or 

refreshment, as from worry or something troublesome ~ calm;  

tranquility ~  cessation from motion ~ a pause for relaxation 

Dominical Beach ~ Costa Rica 


The Greek word for rest used in the passage in Matthew 11:28 is

anapauw  //  anapauo   //  an-ap-ow'-o

It means: rest, refresh, take rest, give rest, take ease

1) to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor
in order to recover and collect his strength
2) to give rest, refresh, to give one's self rest, take rest
3) to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation

Daily, we are invited by our Creator to rest. Though I can't imagine why since it is difficult for me to imagine God needing to rest, after He created the heavens and the earth, He rested on the seventh day. On the Sabbath, we are told to rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. {29} "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. {30} "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

I like the way the Message Bible says it...
28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." 

Yes! To learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I believe Jesus knew how to walk in unforced rhythms of grace as His sandals left footprints in the dust of earth. Jesus desires the same for us so we are able to rest. 

Psalm 94:12 and 13 talks about how blessed we are when God disciplines us and instructs us out of His Word, that He may give us power to keep ourselves calm in days of adversity. Or the Message Bible says it so beautifully: Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil. 


The image that comes to mind here is the calm in the eye of a hurricane... 


Pause for a moment and just dwell on that thought...imagine flying through the stormy clouds in the outer bands of a hurricane... your plane being blown about, lightening striking all around you, very much in danger in the eerie storm. As you near the eye wall the turbulence is roller-coaster crazy! Then, amazingly, you fly into this incredible clear blue calm, in the midst of the hurricane. Blue sky above and sparkling sea below. Aah...This is a picture of peace, a circle of quiet, that our Father God longs for us to experience in the midst of the clamor of our often stress filled lives of unemployment, short sales and foreclosures, cancer, disease and death. 


We need physical rest, however soul rest or spiritual rest is far more important for our overall health and spiritual well being. May we crave that rest as searchingly as Jesus did when he intentionally wandered away from the crowds and his disciples to seek out a place of rest, to rest and enjoy His Father's company. Jesus longed for fellowship and to hear His Daddy's words of love and direction.

Isaiah 32:18 God says His people will dwell in peaceable habitations, in safe dwellings and in quiet resting places. He desires this for us! We should pursue it with our whole being!

As I've been hanging on for the roller-coaster ride of my life and making an effort to keep my hands up for the ride, I need to and long to press in harder toward Jesus. As the money in the "piggy bank" has gotten lower in the jar, My soul, must find it's rest in God; my hope only comes from Him. I am experiencing more peace now than I was a week ago. Progress is being made. God is perfecting me, as I behold Him.

Give your stress wings and let it fly away.  ~Terri Guillemets

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day Seven - Flowers Whisper God's Praises on the Breeze

Today peace visited my soul in greater measure. I welcome His presence.

My son, Michael and I wandered through Tribble Mill Park and Vine's Botanical Gardens, capturing moments with our cameras. He, discovering his Nikon Coolpix, new for his Costa Rica visit with his brother, Jeremy. Me, with my Nikon D200 with a Macro lens and my 18-200 zoom lens. We, connecting silently the way we do. Savoring simple moments as we hike. Thankful for our similar laid back souls; us, house-mates during these days.

A perfect early autumn day was our gift from our Creator God. He knows how to make a world shaped by His creative hands. He sure knows how to make a day, perfect with clear blue sky, a refreshing breeze and sunshine warm. With the stress of recent months, today was a oasis... fertile and refreshing amidst the chaos. An oasis of living water.  

A breeze caused flowers to sway, dancing to celebrate the day. Light, color, all God's gifts lifting my spirit above the cares of this world...

Father, help me gaze into your eyes,
burning with desire for all I am.
Father, help me run from all you despise 
turning to you, oh spotless Lamb.

Jesus, hold me close to your chest, 
during these days of trials and tribulation.
Jesus, may I fully find my rest,
remembering I've built my home on your firm foundation. 

Spirit, you teach me lessons of life, divine
only learned through pressing through.
Spirit, you reach me, comforting every time;
lonely heart learning to look into

Copyright © 2011 Marie Nease  All Rights Reserved.

"The saints prove their conversion by their perseverance, and that perseverance
comes from a continual supply of divine grace to their souls."  ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

"Don't you know the day dawns after night, showers displace drought, and spring and summer follow winter? Then, have hope! Hope forever for God will not fail you!"
~ Charles H. Spurgeon

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day Six - God Was There

As Nathanael Barbey's contemplative melodies serenade me, I wonder tonight in God's goodness in drawing me out of my funk that made me want to stay home. Something wooed me, I know it was sweet Holy Spirit and so I went with friends to Pizza and Prayer, an ECHO single's event.                                                                         

Honestly, there was nothing special about the evening really, as far as events go...

but God was there amidst us...

He heard our conversations,

heard our prayers breathed,

our aching longings,

struggles and challenges

hovering heavy.

He knows us and longs to be with us in our earthiness,

our times of walking on water

and times of sinking below the surface, drowning...

He pulls us out of deep waters.

Together, we can stand, stronger as we agree in supplication,

leaning in to the holy God, full of adoration

holding hands and hearts in the midst of desperate times,

and holding each others hands up, when they grow weary and tired.

Together we celebrate as prayers are heard and answers arrive in perfect timing that can only be God's. Together we will watch dreams birthed through laborious nights and difficult days, knowing it was worth the struggle, worth the pushing through,

worth the warfare we wage through prayer,

through worship, together.

Our prayers, wrapped around each other are

a spiritual blanket, warm,

allowing us to be real

allowing us to heal

allowing us to receive

more than we can conceive

of God's perfect plan

His desire for man

to know Him


as He knows us.

Before I allow heavy eyelids to close, I must share that I am becoming aware that the desire for a man in my life is subtly changing during these 44 days and 44 nights. The desire is still there, like the desire to experience a beautiful sunrise after a dark stormy night. Like my desire to listen to beautiful music that stirs my soul. Like breathing...

The desire for a mate still rumbles like hunger pangs, yet I sense a change in intensity, as this time with God is molding me more into HIS image, causing His desires to burn within me. May I desire what He desires for me and that only.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day Five - A rainy day and remembering my value

Today was quiet, but that is good, at least I think so. Yet, I realize I'm not wanting to get out and about. I didn't walk with my friend Terri. Thankfully she's being patient with me, at least I hope so. I didn't want to go to an event at my niece's church (and where my older sister goes too.) 

There was a gentleman that I shared sweet coffee moments with several weeks back. We left with "promises" to enjoy more time together. He grew quiet soon after. Not sure why, but I know it's necessary for me to not grasp tightly, but let go and place any possibilities in my Abba's hands. He said he would call to chat last week. Through an email, I gently challenged him on that yesterday, asking him to please not say he'd call, then not follow through. He seemed to receive my words graciously. I don't expect to hear from him, really. However, the reality of seeing him at the single's events I go to, is quite possible. I'm learning to let go in this area of my life too. Only God writes lasting love stories. Not me.

Hours were spent filling out paperwork to fax to my short sale rep at Bank of America. The job I thought I had earlier in the week hasn't panned out. I don't know if it will. The future is uncertain. Will I trust or worry? I seesaw from trust to worry, unbalanced, teetering, yet I sense He watches. He cares. 

For some reason, the quietly falling rain and thunder rumbling brought comfort to my day. When I put those thoughts on FaceBook, my friend Stacy commented. "Yes! I feel that way inside. Going through my basement and years worth of papers and memories of Daddy and Oak Grove and the dance studio and more. The rain is definitely comforting... It is as if the earth knows how I feel and is acknowledging it with me." She quietly suffers too in her own world. Our Abba Father knows every raindrop that falls... He cares about every tear that falls and gently catches them and gingerly places them in His bottle, watching as they roll down the sides... He cries with us, yet He breathes hope.

As I looked through recent photos I've taken, I found a photo of a bird near a barn. I took this at the Clinton Nature Preserve last Sunday. I will be meeting a family of 7 or 8 for a photo session there on October 15th.  

It seems as though there is a constant learning, a constant remembering that we are valuable to our Father God. That is what this photo stirred within me. I am valuable to my Abba Father and He desires to take care of me. My prayer is that I am able to trust in the midst of these days. 

A friend has to be at the hospital in the morning at 8:00 for a blood transfusion. Five hours to lie there and have her life blood drained and some stranger's blood give her new strength. Her challenge is cancer. Lord, help her to trust in the midst of her struggles.

Your blood given and sacrificed for us brings new life, flowing... Your blood infuses us with strength. You are no stranger to her, to me either. Help us trust in You. Help us trust that we are valuable to You. Help us breathe hope, like air.

Day Four -Tattered Wings Can Still Fly...

I felt like I was back in the cocoon today...struggling again to emerge. I stumbled upon a photo of a butterfly I took in Costa Rica. The butterfly didn't land on a beautiful flower to bask and allow me to take it's picture, but for some reason, it landed on the rough sidewalk. After a closer look at the butterfly, I realized it was wounded. It's wing was damaged, yet curiously, it was still able to fly! I needed this photo today to remind me that though the challenges and struggles of this life wound my wings, I can still fly. I need to fly. I must fly. 

Fragile butterfly with tattered wing
Why is it possible that you can still fly?
At the very moment I decided to sing
though wounded, and not to question why.
my wings, though thin and fragile
were designed to be strong yet light
by a Creator who knew I'd need to be agile;
He designed me perfectly for flight.

Copyright © 2011 Marie Nease  All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day Three

Tonight my faith was at an all time low. To be honest, I was anxiously looking at my circumstances, worrying and wondering how God was going to get me through this season of my life. Rather than running into God's arms and talking with Him, I decided to watch a streaming Netflix movie. Aah, spiritual me, right?

After browsing through the movies to find something to take my mind off my troubles, I was drawn to a movie called "The Encounter." I ran right into God while watching this movie. I won't spoil it for you, if you haven't discovered this little gem that will get to your heart, if you'll allow it. 

I will say this: I encountered Jesus. I sensed the Lord using this simple movie to remind me that He uses EVERYTHING to get to us... to get under our skin and into our hearts, to show us He really loves us. Bruce Marchiano, the main character, was Jesus with skin on for me tonight. The water he gave was living water... his words were life... my hope springs anew!

Bruce has a gift from God and there is no doubt he is walking in it. 

Below are two links: one is Bruce's website and the other is for Pure Flix Entertainment, the company behind "The Encounter."

Aah, yes I need a PS: I've decided to extend the 40 days to 44 days. Why you ask? Taking 4 more days to focus on allowing my heart to be content in my singleness and allow Jesus to work makes sense because the 44th day will be an anniversary of sorts for me. My 11th year of being single again. I don't know the outcome of these days of allowing the Lord to work in me in this area, (and take a break from any dating) but HE does and I believe He is up to something... :-)

I'm laying down my expectations, yet being expectant in Him.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day Two of 40 - In the Flow

Well, officially, this is the third day, but my body clock is off so....

Today was busy. Didn't have much quiet time to be still and know that He is God, but you know, God is always at work accomplishing what concerns us. 

My job interview went well. I should have a written job offer and contract to sign on Wednesday of this week! YES GOD! 

I enjoyed some sweet bonding time with a friend and I treasure moments like that. I didn't sense the longing for a mate as strongly today; to me, that means progress. My heart is beginning to let go of MY desires and allow God's desires to grow in me. May my heart be fertile soil.

My photo, "In The Flow" won honorable mention in the Roswell Photographic Society review Monday night! The theme was Water/Liquid.

May I (and you) learn the art, the graceful art of being in the flow of God's Spirit as we learn and grow through these days. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

40 Days and 40 Nights

Yesterday, as I drove toward home, I sensed God's presence, His voice, whispering. I listened long, yet resisted. He won. He always does, through His wooing ways...His winsome gaze into my soul's deepest shadows. He knows me. Yet He loves me. 

Words whispered gently, warm, like light streaming into morning window, His words parted darkness, like curtains, and my heart knew what He desires: 40 days and 40 nights with me, closer...leaning on His chest, John-like. 

He desires 40 days and 40 nights with me sequestered within the "ark" of His protection, from all that floods my world...the longings, the stresses, the enemy's temptations. He desires for me to renew first love, divine and to let go of my desires for a run to Him and away from the world. To run to Him and away from men. 

What can I say but YES to Him who woos my soul? So, Sunday was day one of 40 days and 40 nights within His "Ark."