Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's in the Details

“Surrendering the story and it’s ending to Jesus takes me to a place where I don’t have to contend with whether the script is going according to my timeline or to what I want to see happening by now, or the faulty ways I’d have orchestrated the storyline and it’s outcome. My way wouldn’t allow room for all the equipping necessary for the victorious ending we’re in for.”
That was a reassuring thought I pondered the other morning.
There’s a reason I’m not God, no doubt, many reasons.
Clearly I’m nowhere near as patient as I’d need to be, I want to see things done right now. I get frustrating with all the “prep-work” that goes into becoming who God designed us to be. I get grouchy over muddling through the stages necessary to become strong and equipped. My heart breaks over the pain and agony that sometimes unfolds along the way.
And that’s just when I’m looking outward, at the stories unfolding around me. It’s harder to see the story unfolding in my own life.
We all have loved ones who appear to have hit “rock bottom” in their lives, sometimes more than once. It makes us cry, but it makes them stronger. I know a few people who don’t recognize the bottom even when they’re sitting there, seemingly by themselves.
Every “aha moment” we experience is ours alone.
I can’t give you an “aha moment” – though God may use my words or actions to bring you to that place. Nor can you do the same for me.
This journey of life takes a myriad of twists and turns through joyful mountaintops and grueling valleys. Some moments are meant only for transactions between us and the God that created us; they can’t truly be shared with anyone else, though we may wear ourselves out trying to express them, even trying to force them on each other.
There’s a guy on TV that’s famous for drawing you into his conversation, only to pause and say, “…wait for it…” before he presents you with his trophy point to be made. Life is packed full of “…wait for it…” moments. Too often, we refuse to wait. Our loss.
What’s at the end of the journey and all along the way? Joy.
We can’t create it or reproduce it, it comes from God. We can create happy memories, happy events and even moments of ecstasy. But God gets the credit for joy.
Whether you’re wrestling with the way your story is unfolding, or praying over someone else’s storyline, wait for it; God is at work in His own wise ways, weaving His joy-filled masterpiece.
Even when our mortals eyes can’t see it.
“…but joy cometh in the morning.”  Psalm (30:5 KJV)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

Sing it; Jesus loves me this I know….
In the oddest of places, I discovered a wonderful gift shop in car wash. While they detailed my car, I perused the shop, delighted by so many beautiful things. There were unique greeting cards and candies, framed artwork and various other gift ideas. But what caught my eye, captured my heart, a wooden carving that simply read: Jesus knows me, this I love…
Jesus knows me – and He loves me. Knowing me better than I know myself, He sees my flaws, my secrets, my shortcomings, my sin… and yet He loves me. He sees Himself in me.
Nothing I do will cause His love for me to cease or grow cold.
Nothing I do will cause His love for me to increase or grow greater.
His love never changes. He changes not. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
I change, daily. Yet God knows my end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10) He not only knows every ugly detail about my past, He’s already seen the mistakes I’ll make in the future, too. And yes, He loves me still.
Jesus knows me, this I LOVE.
This afternoon I was talking to my granddaughter about why she kept waking up last night. She said several times, "I had to." You know me, I probed deeper, she said she had a dream. I don't even know if two year olds know what a dream is. I asked her if she dreamt about Jesus. Her eyes lit up, she said, "Yes!" I asked her, "What did He say to you?" She answered so sweetly. She smiled and said, "I love you." Of course, my delight was genuine, "He said He loves you?!" She nodded and her eyes got all shiny. When her mom got back, I told her about our exchange. She said, "You know where she got that? From her Peek-A-Boo Jesus book. In the story He tells her 'I love you.' It’s her favorite book.”
She knows Jesus loves her! I was 24 years old before I believed that!
Jesus loves me, this I know!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Love Letter to You

Dear Precious One ~
I think that when God was busy creating you - that is the exact word He worked to fulfill - precious! As He fashioned you before He placed you in your mom’s belly, I know He held you closely to His heart - to His cheek and kissed your beautiful face. He whispered His perfect love poems to you and watched with delight as your smile danced across your face. He not only counts your tears, but He saves them. Even your tears are precious to Him. Your laughter brings fantastic joy to His heart. Your prayers bring you into His presence where He shines to reveal Himself to you. He waits with phenomenal anticipation to hear you call His Name. You are on His mind constantly, day and night. Your name is on the tip of His tongue - always.

How many rainbows has He created just for you? How many flower blossoms has He put in your path - hoping you’ll notice how He decorates your world. How far does He go to get your attention? You’re worth every ounce of effort He puts into drawing you to His side. He loves you. His love for you is greater than any other kind of love in the world.

1 John 3:1 ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called His daughters and sons.’

Sunday, March 10, 2013


As I look out my dining room window over the gray and brown city that sprawls out before my eyes, the stillness and silence captures my attention almost as quickly as the drab, muted colors. It looks lifeless out there. I find myself discontent, ungrateful and wanting springtime hues to splatter themselves on the picture before me, a picture to bland to even place within this blog post.


But what lies in wait out there? Seasons occur for a reason. Plants go dormant, temperatures drop, leaves disappear, clouds block out the warmth of the sunshine, all to create a season of preparation. Why can’t the whole world enjoy seasons the way Florida does? Their temperatures dip – but not to the point of freezing temperatures that chill us to the bone. Yet I’m glad the whole world doesn’t have to watch the seasons pass like those closer to the North Pole.


Diversity. God must really dig it.


I’ve learned that diversity is not without reason and purpose. Just as you and I are different, intentionally, God enjoys it all. He created us for His good pleasure. He gave us this world to live in and take care of, as it takes care of us. He’s provided everything we need and placed us in the middle of it. There’s so much to learn, if we’ll just pay attention to the illustrations He surrounds us with.


I wonder how many of us die in the wintertime, simply because we don’t have the courage to hold out for spring. Sometimes the dismal view outside our window sucks us into it and we feel gray and cold and somehow that translates to feeling alone and misunderstood.


This aloneness is merely another season to explore…we are not alone. Who better to explore it with than your constant companion and the lover of your soul?


“So the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god [no loneliness, no fear, no emptiness, no sorrow, no purposelessness, no poverty, no grief, no despair] with him.” ~ Deuteronomy 32:12 (NKJV)


Indeed the hour [season] is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” ~ John 16:32 (NKJV)


Expounding in the brackets is mine.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Not More Chores.....

Let’s change the definition of the word ‘chores’.


Do I sigh because I have a bed to make?

Or do I rejoice that my bed is a big king-sized bed with soft linens where I sleep with the love of my life?


Do I pout at the dirty dishes?

Or do I rejoice that I have tasty foods in my house that nourish and satisfy me?


Do I kick my foot at the vacuum?

Or do I rejoice over the traffic that sees my family room, children and grandchildren that fulfill my life?


Do I scowl at the laundry basket?

Or do I rejoice in the privilege of covering my body with stylish clothing that keeps me warm in the winter months and the funds I have to purchase them?


Do I scoff at the dust on my furniture?

Or do I rejoice in having a furnished house?


Do I scream at the toilet bowl brush?

Or do I rejoice that I don’t have to go outside and squat somewhere or use an old wooden outhouse?


Do I roll my eyes at the sink that needs to be washed out again?

Or do I rejoice that I don’t have to haul water from a well in the yard?


What else can we add to the list? What other ‘chores’ are reasons to rejoice?


“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Patterns in our Lives?

Why is it that often when we’re younger, things seem to fall into our laps? Life is going along fine until there’s one little delay or mishap, or even, tragically, a moment of horror or a catastrophe, and then suddenly our whole world changes.


I’m not going to suggest, as some have, that we brought on that delay or that tragedy, because for some of us, the mishap or catastrophe came upon us when we were far too young to have invited it into our lives.


But what do we do with that mishap or moment of horror? I’m going to use a mild illustration to make my point.


Throughout my husband’s military career we traveled a lot. When we drove, we totally expected to get lost. That became the “fun” part of road travel. We’ve joked about it and laughed heartily over it. Although at the time, it brought frustration and delay. We invited those “adventures” whether we were aware of what we were doing or not, because we fully expected them.


But traveling by air, now that was living. We never got lost! We were always on time, we never lost our luggage, we experienced respect and pleasantness that public services should always provide.


Then there was that fateful trip where everything went wrong. We were late getting to the airport (because we drove to Denver to catch our flight, we got lost). We were denied access to our flight, not because we missed it, but because we hadn’t arrived at the airport in sufficient time to make security feel comfortable. (We were five minutes into the “two hours ahead of time” we had to make, I kid you not.) So they pushed us back to the following flight, which caused us to miss our connecting flight, though we dashed through the airport with [grand]children in tow. Of course, this meant lost luggage because the luggage was on that original flight.


The fiasco continued through most of our trip. I’ll spare you the details, but the mounting frustrations were unimaginable.


From that point forward in my life, it seems that almost every flight I’ve been on has endured mishaps, sometimes multiple mishaps. Thank God, nothing tragic.


Now, in part, I might blame the security measures put in place after 9/11. In part, I might blame the aging planes out there on the tarmac. In part, I might blame the lack of customer service by a lot of customer servants. The fact that the customer is the one to butter their bread matters little these days.


But, in fact, somehow I’d sown seeds of dismay, discord, disarray, disappointment, delay, disillusionment, distance and confusion into my life.


How, you might ask. Or why would I do that?


I don’t believe it’s intentional, at least, not on a conscious level.


But instead of bragging about how our luggage is never lost, or how our flights always arrive on time, or how we were blessed with some special courtesy – now I find myself contending with other passengers about who’s had the worst experience while traveling.


MY WORDS!  ((shocked gasp))


I’m not guarding my words! I’ll be the first to point out how powerful our words are, but until last night’s dream, I didn’t realize what I’ve let slip through my lips. How could I be so careless? Especially about something I’ve been so passionate about?


No time to beat myself up; today, I will guard my mouth. Today I will be watchful. Today I will not invite disaster.


One mishap doesn’t have to become a pattern. There’s enough bad in the world, we can’t be inviting it our way.


Whether it’s travel plans, a failing business or rocky relationships, our words matter. Choose them carefully. In fact, invite God to help you choose them!


Proverbs 21:23

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. (NIV)

Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (KJV)

Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. (MSG)