Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gifts of Words

If we were to measure our life's worth based on words, how wealthy would you be?
Words can have great and lasting influence in our lives. So much so, that people have gone to the extent of taking their own lives because of how someone else's words influenced them.

Do you remember any important words that your parent/s shared with you? Do you consider them empowering words or suppressing words?

Some of the words that I remember most throughout my life came from people whose influence greatly mattered to me.

I was going on eight years old, when my parents were in the process of a separation leading to divorce, and my mother suffered a nervous breakdown. I can vividly remember when on a day when we would go visit my mother at the hospital where she was staying, my father said to my siblings and I that "if my mother did not get any better soon, we'd be left as orphans".

I remember in high school being told by one of my teachers that I would never become a doctor because I was stupid..... Oh wait, that's not what she said. I clearly remember now. I understood her to have said that; but in reality, she laughed when I told her that I wanted to be a pediatrician.
That's what it was!

I remember after about four years of marriage, being told by my husband that he "just didn't love me anymore".

At times we take them for granted, but some words can change our lives.
And words can change us for the better or for the worse. It all depends....
It all depends? On what exactly?
It all depends on God's purpose and plan for our lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Genesis 50:20 says, "...You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

So what did you get for Christmas? I got the gift of words.

My younger son, you know the one with magnificent temper, wrote me a letter telling me how much he loved me and thanking me for all I do for him.
My older son, the one with the more laid back personality, gave me a card in which he expressed how grateful he is for all I do for him and how he is indebted to me.
My daughter, the one who always has a way with words, she simply did what she does best... amuse me with her words.
And lastly, today, while on a car ride, out of no where, my husband came out and told me how beautiful he thinks I am. He even called me an exemplary woman, and added that he's very fortunate to have me.

Words.... It's amazing what they can do!

What's interesting is that Jesus was referred to as the Living Word. God shared His word with us and for us.
... "in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God"
... "and the word became flesh"

Jesus came so that God's word would be complete. And because of it, we can live. Live life to the fullest, and live eternally with Him.

So today I'm grateful for words.
I'm not a doctor, but I've learned to mend my children's little hearts.
After nearly 20 years now, my husband has realized that he does love me more than he thought he could.
And I was not left an orphan. In fact, I will never be fatherless because of these most powerful words: John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son so that whosoever believes, shall not perish but have everlasting life."

If I were to measure my worth by these words, you can consider me very rich indeed.
And there you have it! My gifts of words this Christmas.
What else can a gal ask for?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Greatest Gift

What does the greatest gift look like?

Is it tangible?
Is it something more abstract?

Well, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we can admit that the more abstract can be of more value than the tangible.

The greatest gift is family... and friends. Wouldn't you agree?
It's an endearing thing to be surrounded by the people we love.
Like during holiday dinners. Like Thanksgiving, when we're all sitting around the table and we all share what it is we are most grateful for. My siblings are there and their spouses and kids. After a while the house seems crowded, and it can get kind of noisy. I remember last year's Thanksgiving seemed kind of quiet without my brother and his loud voice. Family is the greatest gift!

The greatest gift is the love of your children. Truly there is nothing like it. From the time they are born, you realize what it is to give of yourself with little to no expectation of what you might get in return.
But when they do give you something in return.... oh, it feels sooo good. My children's bright eyes and the way they connect with mine. Even in a crowded room. I love that feeling!

The greatest gift is that lifelong mate that promises to have and hold you until death do the two of you apart. Waking up next to that person and trusting that he/she will remain, is undeniably an awesome thing. It's an even more awesome wonder, when you find yourselves still connected somehow even after many years together. Laughter and physical touch shared with that one's a wonderful thing.

The greatest gift...
But what if one day you find yourself without these things that you so cherish? What if you found yourself stripped of all that means everything to you? What if if you lose those you most love? What then?
How do you go on without your greatest gifts?
Have you ever given it much thought?
I have.

In fact, there have been times when I have had to evaluate my life and determine what I can do without. I've told myself, "my kids, what would I do without them?" "my husband, I can't live without him." and so on...
Yet, I have come to the wild realization that I could possibly lose those that I cherish, and I could possibly be stripped of my most treasured gifts. And then still I've come to the same conclusion, time and time again.....
that is.....that I would rather lose everything... including those who are closest to my heart, than to lose my relationship with God.

Why is that?
Think about it for a second. I can live without my family and friends, my kids, my husband, my beautiful mother (as painful as that would be) ....but I can not live without my God.
And I would hate to be surrounded by my most treasured gifts and yet not be connected to God.

Okay, so I think I've narrowed it down.
The greatest gift for me is knowing God. Being a relationship with my creator. Grasping and gaining the knowledge of who God is. Knowing that He chose me. Believing that He loves me. Accepting that He saves and forgives me. Understanding that He is the purpose for my living. That He's given me the purpose for living. That without Him, I have nothing. That He made sure to show me through His own son, Jesus.... who came as a baby to earth and left this earth as a man... who died for my wrongs and shame, and who now awaits for me... for the day when I will finally meet Him face to face. What a glorious gift!!! Truly a gift like no other.

It's made clear. Everything I have comes from Him. And lastly, I can do without everything, but I cannot do without Him.
My greatest gift.
The greatest gift.

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:6, "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gve birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger..."
Hebrews 9:28, "so Christ was sacrified once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salavation to those who are waiting for him."
Romans 14:8, "If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In the Standstill and under the Dark Cloud

I'm at a standstill.
Ever been there?

Pulling out your back will automatically get you off your feet and leave you feeling very "still".
For me, it's not the first time it happens. I've pulled out my back more than I want to mention. I hate it. I feel so helpless, as a result.

It reminds me that I've had to "halt"many times in my life. Everything seemed to be moving along, as well as could be expected. And then out of nowhere, there is a stop. Most of the time, it comes unwanted and uninvited, but it is truly much needed. Everyday routines stopped, activities on pause, and I'm left wondering why. Not liking the standstill at all.

Dad walks out.
Loss of loved ones.
Marriage hanging by a thread.
And life feels like there's no moving forward.

Still life does move on, and I realize that I'm the one who's not moving. And as unhappy as I feel, in the back of my mind, I realize that God is in control. He must be.

It's been a tough year for me.
One of the hardest in my life. I can remember the year of my 18th birthday. For a long a time, I felt that had to be the hardest time in my life. And yet after being married, I realized the harder times were still to come.
And so for most of this year, I literally felt like I was walking under one big black cloud. And I could not get away from it, as hard as I tried and wanted to. Of course, I was to blame for the predicament. My fallen desires and selfish ambitions had lead me further and further away from God's perfect will for my life. And I hurt the ones I love most. But my predicament was being unveiled. And so what felt like a standstill road under a dark cloud was truly God's intervention, which in turn was His protection for me from the road of self-absorbed whirlwind that I was creating. Still I'd cry out to God to bring some relief, but the dark road to travel remained. And it seemed impossible to see past it. (Jeremiah 7:24, "But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts." Jeremiah 4:18, "You own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!")

Ironically though, I learned a lot under that "cloud". I learned to ungrip the tight hold I had on my life. I learned that in reality, I am not my own. And I learned that God is faithful, even while I'm under a dark cloud. (1Corinthians 6:19b, "you are now your own")

My children grew and flourished, while under my dark cloud.
Friendships developed and blossomed, while under my cloud.
Forgiveness came under that dark cloud.
God is faithful, regardless of the weather.
(Psalm 138:7a, 8, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.... the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever-- do not abandon the works of your hands.")

And finally, after much long suffering, things began to lighten up. Just like when morning sun rays kind of sneak up on us, I began to see a streak of light in my walk. And the cloud became lighter and the relief began to set in.

Today I'm at a physical standstill. However, I'm feeling thankful. Even as I'm sitting in bed all day, I'm thankful for the times of unexpected halts and stops. I'm even thankful for the dark cloud this year because although it was not pleasant, I'm a better person, as a result.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Will We Do Without Christmas?

The news woke me this morning. It was over the radio. I heard the weather report, and I heard about a convicted child molester. But what I heard next, inspired me to write. Somewhere in downtown Philadelphia, they have taken down the first part of the neon sign that used to read, "Christmas Village". It has been refined to simply read, "Village".

And I thought.... "what will we do without Christmas?"

Now really, think about that for a moment.....
The world without Christmas.
I guess the reactions and responses will depend on what Christmas means to each of us. To some it's the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. To others it's the great opportunity to serve those who are less fortunate. To many it means "family time"! And still I've heard it said that Christmas is the only time when people are nice to each other.

Christmas... what would we do without it?

Okay, so for those who love the shopping; there's always Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, and .... well any day can be a good day for splurging, right?

For those who like to feel good about serving; well, there's always a cause in need. Look around. The postings are everywhere.

For those who cherish the family times; try picking up the phone a bit more and calling a loved one.

And to those who see it as the only time that people are nice; I'm so sorry.

Christmas... what will we do without you?

Wait just a minute... we are still talking about Christmas, right?

It says in the book of Luke 2:6-7, "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Truly, this is what Christmas is ultimately about.
How sad, that we've drawn ourselves so far from it. And we continue to do so every year a bit more.
I find it ironic that the verse ends with "because there was no room for them..."
There is still no room for them today. There is no room for Him.

And yet my heart pleas: There's room here God! Look at me! There's room right here.... way deep inside my heart.
So what will I do about Christmas? I will make room for it in my heart. Enough room that the story will always play a part in me and in my life. So much so, that others will see Jesus in me. And they will know that we will never truly be without Christmas... not while He lives in our hearts.

Ironically as well, after listening to the news and making my way downstairs this morning, I looked to my daily devotional, which read, "My friend, we may not ever see our nation turn to God as an entire people. It may be too late. But let it be said of you and me that we know where the power of the universe resides... in the hands of our all-powerful God".

And to that I say,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

His Time

Dear God,
I've been thinking....
I can't remember the last time you and I had some time alone.
It seems there's always something or someone that gets in the way.
I want to be with you, but..... I don't know.... I just get busy
Love Lucy

It's so easy to get busy. Always doing something. Not much time for much else. Slap a label on it, and there you have it. It's my ministry. It's my job. It's my family time. It's my "me" time. It's "quality" time. Down time. Free time?

All in the name of time. And in the midst, He remains the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end.

And still, foolishly, we wonder, "how much more time, Lord? Do I have more time?" Actually, even this most precious gift... of time... I have managed to distort. With my own agendas and ideas.
I think about those whose time was cut short.
I'm losing sight of your plan.
And yet, you call me to "Be still and know that I am God."
But won't I run out of time? "Time for what?", I can almost hear Him ask.

Okay, Lord. You're right. Time for what?
You're the creator of time. Time is not a number to you. And my soul is eternal in you. There's no time limit with you, although my time here on earth is limited. So how should I spend my time?
Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength...
Love your neighbor as you love yourself...
But mostly, Love God.

The preacher said you'd come down to me. You came down for me. You were born for me. You died for me. And you are with me.

I don't have to try so hard. I don't have to schedule a time for God. God has already made His way to me.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Dear God,
I've been thinking. That it is in those quiet times-- those still times-- you and me times---times like these, that I become more aware of who you are and who I am because of you. And everything falls into place. I find direction and peace of mind. In times like these Lord, even in my busy world, I am most content.
In times like these, Lord, I am most thankful.
love Lucy

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 "What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hide and Go Seek

I think every child at some point learns to play "hide and go seek". It's just a fun game to play!
You get to be out of sight for a little while and when it's safe, you come back out. My favorite part was always when I knew it was safe enough to come out of hiding and be revealed.

And yet, I know it's one thing to play the game for fun; but it's an entirely different and more real thing, when your life feels like the "hide and seek" game. So many people seem to live in hiding. Hiding the things that they don't want others to see. Hiding the ugly in them. The ugly past, the mistakes, bad judgement, fears, temptations, withdrawals, faults, failures. The list can go on and on.
If you are human, you know.
Even if you are just a bit of "alive" today, you know.

I know I've had my share of hiding. In fact, I've been very good at hiding.
Very good, until someone sought me out.
Until He found me.
And ironically enough, when He did find me, I wasn't disappointed or afraid. I was so glad he did!

You see, He called me by name. He assured me it was come out.
He held my hand, as I took the first step.
And He lead me out into the light just so...
My favorite part... when it's safe to come out of hiding... I found that only in Him.

There was once a woman-- You can find her story in the Bible. She was considered a woman of flaws and shame. She was a Samaritan, and the Jews looked down on her. Others looked down on her because she was promiscuous. And so when she came to draw water from the well, where Jesus spotted her, she was also inadvertently coming out of her "hiding". She didn't know it at first, but she had just been found. Jesus sought her out. (John 4:7-26)

And that's what I love about Jesus. He seeks you out. And He finds you exactly where you are at. In your shame. In your hiding place. And yet, He doesn't leave you there. He walks you out into His light.

And truly, there is no better place to be!

Mark 4:22, "For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Put Away your Sword

Matthew 26: 52-53, "Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"

I was reminded by a student of mine that I don't need to take matters into my own hands, when I have God.

I was talking about what it means to be a peacemaker. And I said we should live in peace with everyone around us. The Bible says that 'as long as it is in my power, I should."
And it makes sense, right?
We should be kind, and not start trouble.
However, when my student brought up this verse, I realized that there is more to being a peacemaker than I even wanted to admit.

You see, it's one thing to be nice to people. But it's an entirely different and more challenging thing to stay put when people hurt you or someone you care about.

Like when we were kids and someone did something mean to a friend, I wanted to see justice done.
Or like when the girl, who was supposed to be my best friend, made fun of me after I got stitches.
I can still remember it as if it was yesterday.
Second grade. Recess time. And there I was, running after Jeanette until she could not run anymore, I finally socked her in the stomach.
Or during my teenage years, when my sister was badly hurt, and I wanted her offender to also hurt... badly.

And now.... well, now it's easier to show self-control. I guess it's part of maturing in life. I no longer go around chasing people who cause me pain. Oh... but I guess at times, I have. Though no one has noticed. It's one of those "heart issues" that God deals with.

Staying put.... it's easy to do when things seem calm in your life. But when tension makes its residence a permanent one in your life because of hurts and disagreements, it just doesn't seem easy to stay put, let alone trust that God will take care of it.
Did I just admit that it's hard to trust God at times?
I guess I did.

When things seem to be moving along smoothly, of course, I can trust God! But when I'm hurt and in constant suffering; aaaahhhh, that's when it gets tricky.

Are you following here? Have you been there? Been there done that?
I'm sure you have.

You see I'm constantly hearing about people who are suffering and hurting. People I care about are dealing with physical ailments and illnesses. Friends of mine are suffering becasue of broken relationships. Some have been hurt by the animosity of others. Others are hurt because of their own stupid mistakes.
I've been hurt by friends, acquantainces, and loved ones. And I know for me, when that happens, two things occur. First, I break down and then I lash out.

Did I just admit to another flaw?
Wow, I'm on a roll.
How foolish that disciple must have felt-- many say it was Peter-- when Jesus told him to put away his sword. Reminding him that He was in control.
And yet, I also admit to how foolish I've been.... to think that I could handle my cares best. That I could possibly defend myself with my own strength.
I admit... there is no strength here.
None that I could take true credit for.

Though I've tried, time and time again I've been reminded that putting my trust in God, my true defender, is my actual source of strength.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

People Like Me

If you're like me, you struggle.
If you're like me, you don't always say the right thing.
You may not always do the right thing either.
If you're like me, even your thoughts are a bit off track.

If you're like me, you beat yourself up mentally, wishing you could do better.
If you're like me, you don't always do better.

If you're like me, you appreciate the bit of hope, the glimmer of hope that comes when you realize someone still cares for you, regardless of how messed up you are.

My mom was and still is the one person that I can go to and feel accepted, regardless of anything that I have done wrong. She has always assured me that there's a second chance for me, and it comes more times than I can imagine.

I had been married for a little over a year, when I confessed to my mother that I had been in a sexual relationship before getting married. I felt compelled to tell her because of the guilt I had carried for so long. I felt like I had not only deceived her, but also brought shame to her name. Some may think that I had no need to confess to her. In essence, I was already in a marriage. What difference would it make then? To me, it made a the biggest difference. Not only was I able to confess a hidden sin, but I was able to experience a small magnitude of grace from someone who truly cared about me.
My mother's response felt so freeing to me. She not only embraced me but also assured me that I didn't need to carry any more guilt or shame. She accepted my apology, and mostly she accepted me. can truly bring a sense of validation for who you are.

If you are anything like me, you have screwed up a lot of things in your life because of your own tendencies and struggles.
If you're like me, you've hurt those you love.
You've been ungrateful and selfish.
You've shunned God, when you didn't get your way.
If you're like me, you have some regrets.

Psalm 19: 12-14, "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."

Romans 3:10, "As it is written: there is no righteous, not even one."

Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 8:1, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."

If you're like me, read carefully.... Jesus came for people like me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

God has a Spirit

My daughter informed me yesterday that God has a spirit. And along with that she also informed me that God made Eve out of the rib he took from Adam. She even showed me her ribs to prove she knows what she's talking about. So she told me that God has a spirit and that it lives in us, and she knows why. It's simple.... "So that He can protect our hearts."

And with that, I was quickly reminded of the purpose of the Holy Spirit living in me. I was reminded of the one who co-exists within me, although it often goes unnoticed or unmentioned. I was reminded of His sweet voice. And the soft voice that tugs at my heart every time I'm about to make a dreadful decision. And it's the same voice that encourages me to make the phone call to someone in need or to smile at the person who's looking kind of gloomy. The Holy Spirit living in me. God's spirit. In essence... God.

Not too long ago I was in a McDonald's where I saw a woman and young child eating breakfast. Right away they caught my attention. I guess it was the shabby clothes they wore, and the pale look on their faces. I sensed something was not right. In the meantime, I had purchased a little toy for my own daughter, but was disappointed with the purchase. Something within me began to tug at my heart, and I felt compelled to give the child the toy I had just purchased. I did as the Spirit suggested, and it still brings a smile to face, when I recall the bright look on their faces.
But why does the spirit guide me? Why does it never leave me? Why does it reprimand me and alert me? Why does it counsel me so?
John 14: 16-17 says, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you."

I'm in awe at the response I get. Once again I feel humbled by the grace and love of my Lord. Jesus... not only did he come to bear the weight of my guilty state, but he then assures me that I will not remain alone, when he's gone. He makes sure to provide companionship, guidance and truth..... when He provides His Spirit. Why did He do it? Because He loves us so! Love... revealed in His Spirit... as He's protecting our hearts.
And once again I'm taken back by the grandness of it all. His love... His love for us. For me.
My thoughts are limited. Too limited to fathom such love for me. Therefore, I'm awe of your love for me, and humbled in my human state, Lord.
And I ponder on all that the "world" is living without because they don't know Him. All that they must endure, without the counselor being there to protect their hearts.
And yet, I'm fortunate enough to say that I know Him. He lives with me and is in me.
I heard His loving voice today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Clearing My Head

What do you do to clear your head?

Lord, help me to clear my mind today so that I may be able to relate with you in a meaningful way. You see, when I awoke... I know I wanted to be near to you, but immediately my thoughts invaded and the silence that was there... that came with the morning rise... the one I know you was gone.
And as I tried to focus, the demands of the day began to take their toll on me. And I hoped for some time alone... with myself.. with you. I waited for the opportunity, but it seemed too far to hold. I wanted to be near you, but instead I felt alone.

Lord, give me the self-control that will help me to succeed. I don't want to carry the burden of the downfalls I might cause. I want to be just like you, but is it too far beyond my reach? I want your lead to follow, but sometimes I'm just confused.
Lord, should I be concerned that I'm falling far behind? I know sometimes I stagger, and it seems I'm out of time.
Anxiety creeps in on me. I'm overwhelmed with thoughts. Thoughts that I can't handle, at least not on my own.
Yet, somewhere in the midst of it, I can sense you are calling me. Towards you... to you... offering peace that's not my own.
I hear you say advisingly, or is it more of a warning?
"The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." 1Peter 4:7
I hear you Lord,
Clear my mind of worry... clear my mind of "me".
Help my self-control... better yet, help me to be... under your control.
Lord, this I pray.
Lord, I'm off to face the day now, knowing clearly where I stand. I'm under your control now. I leave all of it in your hands.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feeling a bit Forgetful Today

I've been feeling more and more forgetful lately. I've always heard that as you get older, you tend to become forgetful. Well, I never really believed it could happen to me. Now, I'm not trying to age myself, but I feel like the only things that I remember vividly are those events in my childhood and upbringing. Like I can remember the color of the jacket I had on the day my third grade class was going on a roller skating field trip. I was standing in line with my classmates, when a girl came up to me and starting picking on me. I had on a bright yellow jacket. I was third grade, she was sixth. I can tell you all about that day, but I can hardly remember the details of today.

You know what else I remember in vivid detail? I clearly remember the times when people have wronged me and caused me pain.
The suffering I've had to endure. The hardships in my life. Like there was a time in my life when I was a "single mom". It wasn't for long, but I remember that time in my life very well. I had my firstborn, as a toddler. I lived with my parents, and I was receiving government aid, or as we call it, "welfare". I specifically remember standing in line to get the monthly stipend one very cold winter day. In fact, it was New Year's Eve day. The line rolled around the entire street block to the back of the building. And I remember standing, and waiting for what seemed like an eternity...looking around at the very dull surroundings. Everything seemed so grey, dark, and dull and cold. Except for my little boy's beautiful eyes, there was nothing to inspire. And I waited on that winter day. Along with all of the other "hurting" people who were waiting... maybe waiting for a glimmer of hope, or just something better.

Days like that seem to be so easy to remember. Just like I can easily recall the times that I've messed up badly. My "trial and errors". My temptations. My downfalls. And the inner struggles begin, as I hear "Lucy, you messed up really bad! If only you had...." I try closing my eyes, as if to push it away and "I wish I could just erase it..." Erase it from my memory. Erase it... so that it never did happen. But it has. And I'm remorseful...and then all of a sudden, just like in my little boy's beautiful eyes on that dull dark winter day, I see a glimmer of hope. It's like a little glimmer of light... as I turn my eyes and thoughts to my heavenly Father's word. And as I search within it, the glimmer becomes radiant; so clear and yet too vast for me to comprehend.

And in amazement I read, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19

Truly there is hope in Him who sees us through our good and bad! Not only do we find forgiveness, as He erases our wrongs; but through His grace, he gives more. He gives us a future. (Thank God for future) If all we had was our past, how dim and void our life would be. And actually, if we are living our lives looking back "remembering" our past mistakes and hurts, we will surely lose sight of the grand future that God has already prepared for us.

I have an older brother, who has had a rough past. Yet, if you met him today, you would never know. You see my brother lives his life with his sight set on what God has prepared for him. It's funny because my family and I will try reminding him of some of the crazy things he put us through, and he doesn't recall. He literally can't remember....
I say, "Count that as a blessing!"
To not remember.... to forget.... isn't that what God does? He intentionally forgets our sins. It's not that He's not aware. He simply chooses to erase them so that we can then focus on what He's got in store for us.

With of all that said, I will admit to feeling a bit forgetful today.
You should try it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Proverbs 3: 3-4, "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."

I ordered and purchased a bracelet this year. It has the words love and faithfulness on it. It was an attempt of having a more constant reminder of that which I want to strive for and who it is I want to please.
You see, like so many people, I struggle with wanting to be "approved" of. I mean, doesn't everybody crave for approval?
Maybe not.
But I believe it is a very natural and human thing to desire approval.

Approval... to find favor in... to be pleased with ....

I remember when my peers' approval was the most important thing in my life. I wanted to be "cool". I wanted to be liked. And I did things to gain approval. Nobody even asked me to. No one needed to. I just did. And I loved the response I got in return.
"I was somebody."
This mostly happened in high school. I went into high school with many goals.
Goals that went forgotten, as I quickly got sidetracked by the attention I got from boys.... and from peers in general.
" I belonged."
The approval of others, however, can sometimes trip us up. Sometimes the approval of others bears strong demands. And sometimes we lose our ground. And we find ourselves all alone.
You see, while seeking the approval of others, I learned that it can be a very conditional thing.
I am accepted as long as...
As long as I am doing that which is approved of.
When I fail to do what is expected, however....or when I don't meet the standard... and I fall short, I face the dark side or the flip side of approval... rejection.
And oh, how rejection hurts!

I remember as a little girl wanting so badly, to have my father's approval. I wanted him to be pleased with me. But I seldom experienced that. In my memories, I almost always, see a frown on his face, as he looks at me.

I guess that's why the desire to fulfill that "need for approval" felt so vital for so long.

What's interesting is that after the many "trial and errors" in my life, in my quest for approval, I have found myself time and time again flat on my back looking up... to the one whose favor is most important. And He made no demands.
While seeking someone else's approval, the "let downs" always lead me to Him , who does delight in me. The one who has approved of me. Not because I've done anything high and mighty, but because of His Son's favor.

And so after all of these years, if you ask me who am I trying to please? I will say, "may love and faithfulness never leave me; as I bind them and write them on my heart, so that I may find favor and a good name in the sight of my God and savior".

Monday, September 13, 2010

When was the last time you told God you love Him?
Have you ever done so at all?
I must be honest. I seldom do tell Him. In fact, most of my conversations with God are filled with requests instead.
I do tell Him, however, how grateful I am for what He's granted. But I seldom remember telling Him how much I love Him.

And so today......

Dear God
I love you.

In the most unique of ways.
It's not that I want something from you.
It's not that I'm not satisfied.

I don't want to lavish you with words.
But have I said enough?

I am blemished and forsaken,
and I could never be enough.

So with these words, I say it all.
Waiting to hear your sweet and soft response.

I sit in wonder.
I wait in silence.
And then...just then, I hear you call.

It's in my spirit. Too deep to comprehend and too complex to explain.
And yet, I feel it. I know it. You, my king, love me within.

You love the little girl that professed your name with childlike faith.
You love the teen who lost her way.
You love the woman who still calls you friend.
You love me still.
You love me again.

So dear God,
I love you
and I felt the need to say it today...

Psalm 18:1, "I love you, O Lord, my strength."(David's words to God)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Word for the Wise

As our kids get ready for school this fall, and we anticipate the busyness that comes with it, we feel excited and yet a bit anxious. Change is in the making. Seasons change, routines change, our kids change. And all we can hope for is that the changes that come will be good ones.

It is exciting to see my daughter starting Kindergarten. And my middle child entering Middle School. My oldest has but two more years of High School! Time keeps ticking away, and I only hope that my grip was strong enough to leave a long lasting mark, while I let go a bit more each day. Letting go...

I remember when I couldn't bare to see a bump on my firstborn's knees or arms. I remember how I went out of my way to protect him from the most minor scratch. Actually, I can remember back to the first time I brought him to church with me after he was born. I went into my Sunday School class with him in his baby carrier. He was sleeping. But I remember not wanting to take him to the nursery, even though it was highly recommended. I finally did make my way into the dreaded nursery room.... welcoming ladies, baby still sleeping, tears running down mommy's cheeks, as I walked away. I didn't want to let go. I couldn't trust anyone else with him. It sounds silly now, of course after all of these years. Especially after the many trips to the doctor's office. The allergy issues. The eczema. The immunizations. The stitches. Oh and with Kristian, the trip to the ER for stitches have been more than I want to remember. So much so that I'm looking to write a new version of the "Butterfly Kisses" song. My title will be "Butterfly Stitches", and it will be dedicated to Kristian.
Okay, I realize I'm getting off track. But you know how it is with our kids. We can go on and on sharing the stories... the stories that keep us alive.

It's hard to let go at times. I am learning, though, that whether I realize it or not, I can't always be there. And I can't always be the one to care for them. And I won't always be the one to influence them. In fact, the world and its big "neon signs" do a really nice job at influencing our kids. Wouldn't you agree? I mean everywhere they look, they see the signs. And what exactly do the signs read?.... POPULARITY----SEXUALITY----PROFANITY---SOCIAL---DARING----APPEARANCE----MONEY----BIGGER----BETTER----THINNER----BETTER
And so on and so on. The signs appear from every angle. And it seems these things cut in on what you've been trying to teach them. Sometimes so overtly, that they actually keep them from the things you believe God has for them.
Peers have such great influence on them, as well. It's a natural thing. And acceptance becomes so important. Inner struggles take place and internal questions begin to arise.
And the influences voice their opinions. And our kids are left with tough decisions to make. Which way do I go? What friends do I choose? What do I believe? What do I stand for? Do I even have someting to stand for? Or do I simply go along with the crowd? Were mom and dad's lessons true? Was the Sunday School teacher telling the truth?

Still the word of God says in Galatians 5:7, "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?"

And I want to just tell my kids, "this (your walk with God) is too awesome a thing for you to let anyone or anything trip you up"! I want to protect them. But I have to let go.

I was encouraging my younger son today, after his soccer practice. He was so proud to tell me that he scored 3 goals. And as I patted his back, I said, "That's right, son. Don't hold back. You give it all you got." In other words, "Don't let anyone cut in on you. Stay focused, son."
With tears in my eyes, as I write this now, I think, "if only I could engrain that into his head with everything in life." But I know I can't.

And it's easy to use this verse as a reference of guidance for my kids. I can easily counsel them about not letting anyone or anything get in the way of their walk with God. But the truth of the matter is that I too have been lead astray many times by the influences. In fact, there are times when even our closest friends, brothers and sisters in Christ even, can become a negative influence in our lives. Yes, I said it. Even brothers and sisters in Christ. Indeed, if we are not careful we will allow our walk or race to be interrupted--sidetracked--and/or even destroyed. To the point, that we may find ourselves far away from where we once were with God.

And still God challenges us by saying, "who cut in and kept you from obeying the truth?" ..."who kept you from me?"

As I let go of my kids this fall, and watch them emerge (change), I pray that I may be focused enough in my own race, that I will not allow for any outside influence to hinder my steps. You know why? Because ultimately, I believe my steps will leave imprints for they who follow in my footsteps.

2Cor. 7:1b, "let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

Hebrews 12:1b, "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Hebrews 12:13a, "make level paths for your feet..."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is the grass really greener? How much greener?

Ok so my daughter is full of insights and you know what they say, "kids say the darnest things", right?
Yeah, so as we are getting out of the car for the market, she tells me in a very slow, calm tone, "Mama, I want to go with strangers. I want the strangers to take me. They're not going to harm me. I just want to go with them so I can meet new people."
(you may think it's funny, but I don't see the humor)
I ask myself, "HOW OLD IS THIS GIRL?" And I'm reminded of why I was always fearful about having a girl.

And so I make my best attempt at rationalizing with her and explaining why that would never be a good idea. She can meet other people some other way. In safer ways, like with people she already knows. I know it doesn't make for a strong case, but I tried.

Meet new people....
Hmm... I wonder...
What would life be like?
If only....
Hmm, it sounds so much better.
Somewhere.... over there....

Isn't that what we all do?
Isn't it the truth? If we are honest, we realize that we are prone to wonder.

It's almost like it's a part of our human composure to always want more or something different. In essence, it's a like we are never satisfied. At least, not with what we have.
If only.... if I had, when I get, when, if....
Then I will be satisfied. I will be content. Right? WRONG! In fact, dead wrong.

Remember the time I shared about the big dilemma with decorating my son's room? Well, just this week, my son tells me he would like to have his sister's room instead.
Of course he would say that! We are prone to wonder....

That room looks better.
That house looks bigger.
That car looks newer.
That woman looks nicer.
That man looks stronger.
The neighbor's grass looks greener.

I recently welcomed new neighbors to our neighborhood. Nice couple. Nice looking kids. Nice looking cars. Nice looking grass. Really.... they are very adamant about maintaining their curb appeal. And it looks really nice.

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking and actually fantasizing about being my aunt's daughter. She didn't have any girls. Just a boy, and she spoiled him so. It was understandable for me to wonder, since I was the youngest of three, my parents were divorced, and we were living in a 5th floor apartment in Bronx NY. I'd close my eyes each night to the sight of a very dark bedroom ceiling. How could I not wonder?

Well, the truth is that even today that I'm all grown up living in a beautiful big home in the suburbs--- the grand view of the moon and stars put me to sleep at night, I still wonder.
But thankfully, in the midst of my wondering, I am abruptly reminded that I have all I need to be content. In fact, what I have is golden. I have God. You see I've been given free access to the secret of contentment.
I mean really, does green grass bring contentment? Does a strong man or a nice woman bring contentment? Do healthy children bring contentment? What about obedient ones? The first thought and response could be a quick "yes". These things do give us some kind of contentment or joy, right? But because it's part of our DNA to wonder, it won't be long before we are discontent even with our most prized husband or children or grass.

And so really, the only real truth about contentment and the only source of it, is found in knowing what Paul learned.
Philippians 4: 11b-13, "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Lord, allow our wondering to lead us to you. For it is in you that our wondering stops. Because it is in you that we find everything we could ever want or need. It is in you that we become everything we could only wonder about. And we find true and lasting contentment. Not because of anything we do but because of you who you are in us.

He is With You Always

So I'm driving to the supermarket when out of nowhere my little girl says, "Mama, I wish I had a penny to put into the fountain because I already have a wish to make." I don't pay much attention, but respond with a "hmmm..." And she comes back with, "I wish to be with God. I want to be with Him always."
Needless to say, I wasn't prepared for that one. (I wish she would warn me ahead of time when she's going to say such show-stopping words.)

She wants to be with God always. This is the same girl, who can go from being Ms. Supreme Sweetness Delight to Cruella, in a matter of seconds. (Have you ever witnessed a five year old girl's tantrum?) What's funny is that a few minutes prior to sharing how she wants to wish to be with God always, she had called out from the back seat, "Mama, I know everything about God. I know He loves me. And even when I do bad things, He still loves me."

I can understand why scriptures say.... "for theirs is the kingdom of God".
In essence, she has gotten the basics of salvation in her little mind and heart and can express it with her simple little words.
We should know (or believe) that God loves us and will love us (and forgive us) even when we do bad things. And we should want to be with Him always. (or accept Him as savior so that we may have eternal life with Him)

I have a friend who has been battling cancer for some time now. And recently, she has been very fragile. My first emotional response is to feel sad. However, knowing that the God, who my daughter talks about and claims she knows so well, is the same God my friend has known for quite some time now, gives me some sort of calming peace.
She knew Him when she was up and about living a very busy life like most of us do.
She knew Him, when she felt alone.
She witnessed Him, when others didn't believe.
And she knows Him even now, when it's hard.

And it gives me great joy to know that she knows God. But what's even better than all of that is the fact that He knows her. That He has known her always. That He saw her heart, he sought her out, made her whole, loved her, and has never left her side. What's more, He promises to be with her always.

And so I need to soon make my way to a fountain with my daughter so that she can actually make her wish. And I'll make another... for my friend... that God would remind her that He is with her always.

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believes shall not perish but have eternal life."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Today Was a Good Day

Today has been a good day. At least for me it has been.
I awoke to thoughts of God and His presence in my life. My chiropractor appointment went really well. I had the opportunity to chat for a few minutes with a good friend. And later another. That's always good.
I ate somewhat healthy. I spent time blogging.
All of these things put together bring a smile to my face.
Lastly and mostly, I received the awaited package in the mailbox that carried "my Mr. Bim".
Okay, I'm pretty sure I've lost you by now.
Allow me to explain. I don't usually like to date myself, but Mr. Bim was a childhood doll. A monkey in fact. Growing up I loved monkeys. I cried many tantrums asking my mom for a real life chimpanzee.
Well, I can't remember exactly how old I was, but I have a vague recollection of being fairly young and in an airport with my family waiting for our flight. In hand I had my Mr. Bim, (I only recently learned its rightful name) as another little girl admired my monkey doll. I remember letting her see it and then holding it tightly, when I heard my mom say something to the extent of "oh honey let her have it". And I reluctantly released my monkey to a girl whom I had never met before. (I'm pretty sure that was not a good day.)

Okay, so there is so much to grasp from this little scenario. I think I may have been traumatized by this little childhood event. In the one hand, my mom wanted to grant me the privilege of showing kindness to a complete stranger. And in the other hand, I learned that good things don't always last. (that will be a topic for another blog)
You see Mr. Bim was a comfort doll for me. My special traveling companion. And so as a little girl, I didn't see how giving up my best buddy to a complete stranger, was a good thing. Although my mother tried to make me see it that way.
Well, I guess now as an adult, I can see the moral behind it.
Giving my doll away could have made all of the difference to that little girl that day so many years ago. Maybe her day turned out to be a good one because of it. (I would hope so)

Til this day my mom continues to give away her belongings. If you compliment her on it, she will be most likely to give it to you.
I, on the other hand, hold great sentiment toward certain things. To the point that I can be possessive about things. Not wanting to share.

Just yesterday I heard my youngest complain when I told her to share her toy with her brother, "I don't like to share!"
And I kind of understand.
It's not always easy to give of yourself.
And to give things up for the benefit of someone else? That almost always seems difficult.
And yet God came to earth to give Himself up for us! For our benefit.

Moreover, the word of God reminds us, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:22b
And Ecclesiastes 7: 14 says, "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other."
When I think about it that way, it drives me to a very different perspective. You see God blesses us all. Good and/or bad. And sometimes I'm up, while other times I'm down. What may be a great day for me, could very well be someone else's worst. While I'm gaining, someone else may be losing. And while I am laughing with joy, someone else may be crying with grief. And in the same way, when I give, someone else is receiving.
God has His way of teaching us the important things in life. Have you ever stopped to think... that even something so common to us like daily sunlight--God sheds it on the good as well as on the bad.
In essence, it isn't up to me who should be blessed or who is most deserving. It is completely up to Him. I am still learning that we shouldn't hold our "things" with too strong a grip because we may need to quickly release them for the good of someone else.
And so when I'm having a bad day, I will be reminded that someone else may be having the best day of his/her life. And overall, in the big scheme of things, that is a good thing.

So yes today was a good day. I got "my Mr. Bim" back after all of these years. I had to make a bid on it through eBay. (husband says I better keep the receipt cause mom's gonna have to pay) It has a certain kind of smell that speaks volumes of both its age and mine, but whenever I look at it, it brings a smile to my face.
A good day. I hope yours was. Either way, may the name of the Lord be praised.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Long Must We Wait?

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
We hear the phrase and quickly think of long road trips with impatient kids in the backseat. Mine play the "punch buggie" game to help make the ride enjoyable. Or they may ask for my infamous "Honk the Horn!" signal to truck drivers, as they approach our car. Music, games, bickering.....anything to make the ride seem shorter and more enduring.

And it literally does come down to enduring the ride.
For the younger ones, it seems harder to do. It requires patience that they have not yet developed. But then again, who has mastered patience, really?
That's when I call out, "just close your eyes, it's gonna be a long ride."

Some rides can be fun. Some are not as long. And yet some seem to last forever. You know the ones. Those are the ones when everything seems to be going wrong. (I can almost hear my son calling out, "I really have to go! I can't hold it anymore!") And then you hear either "pedal to the metal" or an abrupt brrrraaaaaake, as the door goes flying open for the kid to jump out and get some relief.

What's ironic is that we go through those kinds of rides in real life. At times we are barely moving through them... to the point that we even get stuck. (stuck in traffic... that's the worst!)
Stuck..... no movement....
(ever been stuck on a Ferris wheel?)

Well, I didn't want to get out of bed today. (let me quickly clarify) Not because I was stuck. Not because I was depressed or anything like that. But it was mostly because after reading through Bible passages I realized "I better be prepared to face life today". You see, who are we fooling?God didn't promise for fun-filled rides. Instead He promised us trouble.... bumpy roads.
But He also promised us Jesus.... (I love the word but) In fact, He gave us Jesus. And as a result, He promises....Joy. (I love the word and)

Okay so I got out of bed.
But it wasn't until I had spent a good two hours waiting on God to "hold my hand and begin to lead me through the day." I admitted, I couldn't do it without Him.
I admit, I'm scared on my own.
In fact, it's a scary world out here. And we grow impatient when we don't "see" Jesus.
(John 11:40, ..."Did I not tell you that if you believed, you wold see the glory of God?")

That is why I really appreciate the following verse, John 10:24, "The Jews gathered around Him, saying, How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

In other words, how long must we wait? Or, are we there yet?
The Jews were feeling impatient and wanted some kind of confirmation from the living God.
You may think they were foolish, since they were looking right at Him! There was no suspense. What more could they want? In essence, their answer was right in front of their eyes. He was with them. However, if we're honest we can admit to being just like the Jews.

Yes we grow impatient when we don't understand His ways. And we wonder, "how long will He keep me in suspense?" How long will God allow for this turmoil in my life? How long will He seem distant? How long must I wait? For some sanity... for some healing... for some comfort.... for ..... (you fill in the blank)
How long? Those are our questions, as He looks right at us. As He stands by us. Stands right in front of us. Takes our hand. And leads us.

You see God is not sitting on His throne watching us "wait". He isn't standing back watching us endure long rides.
He is with us. (just like He was with me this morning helping me out of bed)

Lastly, you remember the story of Lazarus? (John 11) His sisters sent Jesus a message telling Him that Lazarus was sick. Jesus knew they needed Him to come and make Lazarus better. However, Jesus did not go to them right away. But in essence, He was there with them. You see Jesus knew that Lazarus would die and He knew the outcome of the crisis.
He brought Lazarus back to life.

When in trouble, confusion, hesitancy, fear, impatience..... know that you don't need to be "waiting" for Him. He is there.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Second to None

"So glad you're home son. So glad you're home."

You know, there's this stigma about being second. Nobody wants to be second. Second place is not as grand as first place. Second in line. Second to arrive. Second is just not..... first.
And for some reason people get to thinking that first equates to better.
I don't agree. And when it comes to parents and children, I think we can all agree that first, second, third.... they all... equate to better.
Allow me to explain.

I always found it a mystery to be able to love more than one child at a time. I'm still not sure how some people can have multiple numbers of children and still be able to love them all.
I have three kids. Two boys and a girl.
For a long time I was happy with just the two boys.
Actually for a long time, I was happy with just the first one.

Natural birth.
Beautiful baby boy.
For the most part, very content. (as long as the binky was nearby)
Very self-sufficient. (at least he tried to be)
Smart, funny, cute, and spoiled.
I couldn't fathom loving another.

And then came my second child. Another boy.
I was fine with that. (It was the thought of a girl that made me nervous.)
And well, I had five years of experience with my firstborn.
So another boy... how hard could it be?

Beautiful baby boy.
(Rewind..... C-section birth due to baby being breached)
Cried until he'd turn blue in the face gasping for air. (scared me half to death the first few times)
Would not even consider a binky for comfort.
Somewhat needy, and not ashamed to voice it.
Smart, loved to laugh, and absolutely adorable. (not spoiled)

And so there I was, a mother of two boys, completely in awe about how different they each was and how I would love them both intently and fervently in unique ways.

Hence, none of what I learned from the first truly applied to the second.
The corks that worked with the first, totally failed with the second.
And so as I get to know the second more and more, I realize I must love him differently.
Because he is different.

And while my first son taught me what it really means to give my life for someone else, my second son has taught me that there is more depth and width to the love I thought would only go so far.
He has challenged its dependability and longevity. He has stretched it and tested it. He has proven its validity.
I've had to reach deep inside myself in search of deeper love, greater love, true love. More love.

And so while for my firstborn, my love seem to come easily, it has been with my second son that the trueness of my love has really shown.

Consequently, I share all of this not because I want to compare one child from another, but because I feel it is important for each to know that he is loved.
And that neither is better than the other. Rather they each brings out in me an inner strength and passion I never knew I had until I had children.

Lastly, I share because at times the second child can get to thinking that he/she is not as grand as that first one. And I want to remind my own, that in my heart, he is second to none.

Five years after my second was born, I gave birth to a little girl. (Heaven help me now!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Right Where I need to Be

I'm finding that lately, I'm hearing of more and more prayer requests concerning people's health, their well-being, and other needs. We are truly concerned about our loved ones' needs, as well as our own. And we pray that God would take the concerns and needs away.

And it's understandable that when someone is down, we want to help make them feel better. I mean from the time we are just infants, at least for most of us; if we cried, we were comforted and made to feel better. And in the same manner, we grew up having our needs met some way or another. To the point that when our needs were not met instantly, we demanded it!

It makes me reflect a little on those who are living in distant and forsaken areas in our world. I know the needs of infants are the same everywhere, but I can only imagine that those needs are not met as easily in under developed lands.
And even so, we the "grand American fortunate" continually send out help to reach these areas in attempt to be helpful to those in greater needs.

And so when we are in need, people begin praying that things get better. It's only natural, right? We don't want our loved ones to suffer. We don't want our friends to hurt. We don't want our parents to grown needy.
I don't want my child to feel hurt.
I don't want my friend to have cancer.
I don't want my mother to be in pain.
What's more, I don't want to feel hurt. I don't want cancer, and I don't want pain!

I got my first mammogram done the other day. I got a call back from the radiologist that they will need to take more pictures (x rays). My appointment is tomorrow. Apparently, I should not be overly concerned, they just need to more views to make an accurate and precise evaluation. Okay, I can appreciate that. But I don't want another call back, thereafter. I don't want bad news! I don't want pain. I don't want suffering. I don't want hard times.

And while I whine (no I don't want cheese), but I realize I'm being a little selfish, and I can sense my pride. For God is in everything, isn't He? And He works everything out for the good of those who love Him, right? And there is a purpose in Him for everything...

2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 says, "...We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."

"Okay God, I got it. You don't want me to rely on myself.
For what is there within me to rely on? Except for what is in you.
Because only you can bring healing. Only you can mend the hurt. Only you can make me whole...
I also understand that you don't have to meet my every need and demand when I feel you should. I understand that if I had all of my needs met at every moment of my life, I would probably turn my back on you. Because I would not feel the need for you. And so when I'm in need, I am exactly where I need to be."

Therefore, why should I live my life avoiding? Or at least thinking that I can avoid or should avoid the pressures it brings. You see, with pressure comes need; and when I'm in need, I find myself obligated to turn to Him. When I can't find the answers. When I'm totally confused. Consumed. When I'm overwhelmed with life's pressures. I turn to God. And guess what, God is there!
He's never out for a walk. He's never sleeping. He's never busy. He is there. And that's right where I need to be! In His presence. On my knees. At my last wit. In need... of Him. (think about it, it's not such a bad place to be)

Okay, so know that I am still praying for your needs to be met. But also know that if you are still in need, nevertheless, you are right where you need to be.

Your Life's Witness

A quote from the movie Shall We Dance?: "There's a billion people on the planet. I mean what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things. The bad things. The terrible things. The mundane things. All of it. All the time. Every day. You're saying, 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness'."

I was reminded of the movie and these words, as I read a new chapter of Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge.
I was inspired to write on the subject in honor of a very special couple I have had the privilege to know.
I will try to give you some background information as clearly but briefly as possible.
I met Carol and Bill about 8-9 years ago. In my eyes they resemble Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. To me, they are a most classy older couple. Funny, witty, quick, smart, good looking, charming. As a couple, they possess perfect chemistry. She picks up where he leaves off. He teases her to get a quick response. He puts his arm around her and opens up doors for her. She reaches over and touches his hand and softly pushes the hair away from his eyes. (Got to love it!) They are my idols....

Well, some time ago Carol gave me some "teaching" material to be used in my classroom. With this material, items such as daily calendars came along. So I have one that sits on my kitchen counter. It has the spiral binder affect that you can flip the page to a new one each day. It has the month and day (the year is not included, so you can reuse every year), and it also includes "meditations" for the day. I always look forward to flipping the page and reading the next "meditation".
However, lately I have noticed some additional writing on some of the pages. Mostly numbers. Numbers. This went unnoticed until recently when I began looking a little closer to read what these numbers represented. I found on the left side of the page was Carol's name and some numbers. On the right side was Bill's name and numbers. Numbers.
Here's an example:
Top left corner-Carol --- 155/109---P 60-----9 a.m.-----Top left corner-Bill--- 153/111--- P 67
Bottom left corner- 149/87---P 79-----9 p.m.-----Bottom right corner- 159/99--- P 70

Numbers? I finally got it! These numbers represent daily blood pressure readings. Morning and night.
Did I lose anyone?
They are recordings of Carol and Bill's blood pressure readings. Okay.... sounds mundane enough.
NO... not to me. To me, it is right out of a love story. This is what it's all about! Checking each other's blood pressure. Sharing each other's toothpaste. Waiting your turn for the bathroom. Sleeping in the same bed. Sharing a cup of coffee or maybe it's tea. Standing by when the other feels like debilitating. Standing close enough to reassure the other that he/she is not alone. Sitting in the same room, nothing being said. And yet feeling content. Having each other's presence speaks volumes loud and clear.
Someone is there for you. The same "someone" who was there 45 years ago. The someone who reminds you that your life has not gone unnoticed.
It is your life's witness.
This is what it's all about...
Happy Anniversary, friends!
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up..." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a