Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rough Seas

This week Michael and I went on a boat trip from Tampa to Marco Island. On the trip down, we had 5 hours of relatively calm seas (for a 26+ ft boat on the Gulf) and then over an hour of really awful 3-5 ft seas just past Sanibel Island as we cut over the last little bit to Marco. During that last bit as we were tossed up and down, pounding from wave to wave, I was in the passenger seat, inwardly praying for God to reach down and calm the seas.

As we were pounded, I observed Michael who struggled to keep control as the waves crashed over the front of the boat into our faces. He was able to hold on to the steering wheel which, coupled with using his legs as shock absorbers, gave him a little stability.

Watching him reminded me of people who know about God and who pray but only during hard times. Oh God, if only you will get me out of this I will never again......

While Michael was tossed about, it was not with the devastating impact that was hitting me. I had absolutely nothing to hold onto to steady the course. All I could do was hope that Regal did a good job in stress testing the hull of the boat when they built it and made a mental note to send them a note about adding a strap to the side of the passenger seat so you can hold on in rough seas.

I thought how awful it would be to not believe in a God who would get us safely to our destination. It would be just like not having anything to hold on to when the real storms of life confront us and toss us about.

Off in the distance I saw a passenger sightseeting boat, a small cruise ship. The people on board, while likely experiencing some rolling back and forth were steady in their sailing, as they were grounded in a much heavier boat that plodded on [rapidly compared to us, as it often felt like we were moving backward].

That grounding is like being firm in the arms of God, knowing that He will get you to your destination and not being tossed about, even though the same seas were confronting the bigger boat.

Psalm 36 talks about the refuge that we can find in the shadow of His wings:

5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

7 How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.

I thank God for his faithfulness - on our boat trip this week, for getting us to our destination safely and for showing me how important it is not only to have something to hold onto, but to ground myself in him in such a way that I am not tossed about by the things that come against me.

Thank you for your unconditional love and for your abundance Lord.

I give today to you and sit in the shadow of your wings, eagerly awaiting what you have for me today. I am yours and I'm pressing into you Lord. Protect me from the high seas.

Breathe on me breath of God

When I was young, we attended the Presbyterian Church. There was a hymn that we sang with these words.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, 
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until with thee I will one will,
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
till I am wholly thine,
till all this earthly part of me
glows with thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with thee the perfect life
of thine eternity.
If you can look past the "dosts and wouldsts", the message is clear. I need your breath in me to make me more like you. To make me want what you want and to do what you would do. That breath is the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

The part about purity talks about endurance and I realize that the tests that I face now in my life are all a part of that process of achieving purity and that without running the entire race to the finish, I won't build up the endurance that is needed. It is a bit like a doctor putting a heart patient through a stress test to see the baseline of where the heart is for building it up and making it strong. [OK Lord, have you seen enough of the baseline? I'm weary of the stress!!!]

I like the part about glowing with His fire and that when people look at me they would see His reflection. That is my heart's desire.

Yesterday at our Tres Dias meeting for those of us serving on the upcoming weekend, I was talking with my prayer partner and she was talking about a challenging time in her life where she felt she hadn't been able to "exhale". I related to that and realized that those words perfectly described where I was as well. After the prayer time, the very next song was Michael W. Smith's "The Air that I Breathe":

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I I'm desperate for you
And I I'm I'm lost without you

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
your very word spoken to me

And I'm, I'm desperate for you
And I'm, I'm lost without you

And I'm desperate for you
And I'm, I'm lost without you.

I'm lost without you.

I'm lost without you.

I'm desperate for you.

I'm desperate for you..

I'm lost, I'm lost, I'm lost without you..
I'm lost without you

I'm desperate for you

Oh, this song showed me that as long as God is the air that I breathe, it is ok not to exhale! But if what I am breathing all day long is toxic, then not exhaling is a very bad thing.

The last few months I have been desperate for God, for His love, for His peace, but most of all for His direction.

As you read this blog today, if you have been unable to exhale due to stress or just plain being too busy to enjoy life, make sure that the air you breathe is the daily bread kind and not the toxic kind. He can and will get you through and while being desperate for God sounds like a place of weakness, I can assure you that I've never felt stronger in my faith than in this place of desperation.

Breathe on me breath of God......

Chicke Fitzgerald

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Awesome God

Our vision is so limited by our experiences. Sometimes the things we are up against in our lives seem like mountains and in the face of them we feel small and even powerless.

In contrast, God's vision is unlimited. We only have to view His creation to understand how awesome He really is. He not only creates the mountains, but His Word tells us that He can also move them.

I stand in awe of the mountains that He is moving in my life. As David wrote Psalm 8, I believe he was experiencing something similar. My favorite verse is verse 4 of this Psalm.

Psalm 8

1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings [c]
and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Today I thank God for praise and the ability to raise up above the mountains in our lives by acknowledging who He is. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we aren't here by accident. We are part of a grander plan. Show me the steps for today in that plan Lord. Create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right spirit.

Chicke Fitzgerald

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Have you ever felt like everything you do is just an exercise in futility? Like all the hard work is for nothing?

Well, I am well acquainted with that feeling and so was the author of Ecclesiastes.

Here is the way he articulated it in Ecclesiastes Chapter 2:

17So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

18Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.

19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.

20Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

21When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.

Unlike the man on the top of the mountain in the cartoon, I know that everything does have a reason and that my laboring won't be in vain, although some days it feels that way.

My name is written in the Lamb's book of Life and every single day is ordered, if I will just listen to His voice. I can live in the center of His will for me and not be subject to the futility of life. His joy is my strength.

But as the writer of Ecclesiastes goes on to say, there is a time for everything. We remember it as a popular song of the 60s, but it actually comes from Ecclesiastes 3:

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

God's promise is not that we can avoid all of the hardship of life, but that through it all, He will be there - watching our back, covering us under fire, nurturing us and healing our wounds.

Lord, may today be a time of love, one of dancing and one of harvest of my labors. Bless those that have been supporting Michael and I through these challenging times.

Chicke Fitzgerald

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Romans 8:24 Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Sometimes we have been in the dark clouds for so long that we fail to remember that the sun is and always has been behind them. We hope for the brightness, even though we cannot see it, because we know it is there. We can wait with patience because we know that the darkness and dreariness can't last forever.

Today I know the sun is there. I wait to feel its warmth and to see the reflection of its brilliance on everything it touches. After weeks of stress and turmoil in my business, even though it is a new day and I can now move forward unincumbered, I feel week and need strength and wisdom.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Today I know this. I love God. I believe His word that says that all things work together for good, even though I can't see it or understand it.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Lord, your Word is my hope. Today I need your restoration, your strength and your wisdom. Fill me, teach me. Let love be my guide and my agenda.

Chicke Fitzgerald

Monday, March 05, 2007

LOVE as an agenda

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love Never Fails

Over the course of the past few weeks, I've been going through a particularly challenging set of negotiations in my company and my husband and I have been seeking God's direction in what often felt like a desperate way.

As we asked for support and prayer from various people around us, one of them who is particularly insightful told me last week that the word that kept coming to her was LOVE and that through everything that my husband and I were going through, the words from 1st Corinthians 13, verse 8 kept going through her mind "Love Never Fails".

While I knew that the premise was totally correct, I had no idea how it could play into a business negotiation.

I kept seeking God's face and I kept asking in my prayers to be in the center of God's will. The Lord kept impressing on me that to be in the center of his will was safe, but it isn't always comfortable. So I was prepared that if the negotiations broke down, which could mean bankruptcy for our new company, that somehow God would use that for His own glory. I didn't know what that really meant or looked like, and certainly didn't want that to be the outcome, but my husband kept reminding me that the "How is God's department" and that we had to just trust that He was in control.

On Saturday at a meeting to prepare for serving on the next Tres Dias weekend in April, I felt led to share one of my favorite scriptures with two of the women on my team. It is from Psalm 139.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

The circumstances behind why I shared it with them had to do with something totally different than God was about to use it for in my life.

On Sunday morning, our pastor Dan Dunn shared, you guessed it, from Psalm 139 and talked about this passage in particular and explained that this scripture talks about the fact that before we were even born, God's personal plan for our lives was written, day by day. As Christians, we refer to this as "God's Will" for our lives.

Yesterday I shared with my kids, before the final negotiation call was scheduled with my partner, what being in God's will is all about. I told them about God's book of life for me, their mommy, that had a page for March 4, 2007 and how His ideal outcome for my day was written there. We talked about how much happier their lives are when they do what mommy and daddy ask of them and how we have an ideal way that we'd like to see each of their days unfold. I asked them to get on their knees at 1pm, precisely when I'd be on the phone with my partner and pray that mommy would see what was on today's page for me.

When I got to the office to prepare for the call, I cleaned off my desk and grabbed a couple of packets of sticky notes. I'm famous for using them to lay out various plans and things to be done in my office. One packet was lime green, a color that God reminded me is the shade that a plant takes on when there is new growth. The other was purple, the color of royalty. I was reminded that I am a child of the King of heaven and earth and that I have the right to come before His throne and ask for His wisdom.

On the green notes, I wrote the ideal outcome of the negotiations, knowing that the HOW was still God's department. Then I wrote down on the purple notes, the key words from the chapter of 1st Corinthians that Pastor Dan reminded us that he would be preaching from next week, the chapter on LOVE. I started to see how God would use LOVE as the agenda for my call. I highlight the words that I wrote on each of the purple sticky notes.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails.

The outcome of the call was better than I could have asked for or expected. I was able to share my heart's desire for restoration of the relationship and the place we got to in the business negotiation was a place where I did not feel taken advantage of. In fact, after the call, in the final agreement documents, I found myself putting in elements that my partner hadn't even asked for in the settlement. I was led by a power much much higher than myself.

In fact, the earlier part of 1st Corinthians 13 reminds us that without love, we are nothing.

God's agenda is a good one, a practical one. God's ideal for our lives involves peace and safety and if we ask Him for wisdom about what He wants us to do today, He will show us, a step at a time.

I am still desperate, but it is not being desperate wondering what is going to happen next, instead I am desperate to know Him more deeply and to be totally in tune with what is in the page for March 5, 2007 as his perfect, ideal outcome for today. Let me be in your will, wanting your outcome, not mine.

I pray that if you are facing difficult decisions in your life, that you will seek God's agenda and remember that LOVE NEVER FAILS.

Chicke Fitzgerald