Tuesday, November 29, 2011

long to see you smile

hey sister,
I haven't seen you in a while

I know times are hard and all, but I guess I'm feeling a bit guilty
Maybe it was something I said, or what I never did say

nevertheless, I miss ya
and I long to see you smile

hey sister,
today's the day which brings new mercies true
i heard it in the Sunday sermon, I read it thinking of you

Lamentations 3: 23 to be exact.
Lamentations.... isn't that where you're at?

Lamenting the past and the hardships of today
Lamenting that you can't make the good times stay

But how ironic! to find...
a glimmer of hope in a book like that

His mercies are new every morning.
I can live with that.

It means that although I sometimes long for it, yesterday has past
and with it, goes the burdens at last

And with it, goes the sorrow
that seems to have you trapped

It means that with tomorrow
you will have found a reason to clap

Yes, clap for joy... and even dance
Rejoice in knowing that today is a new chance

To live the life that no one else might
For in you there is strength... although you may have lost sight

It is in you... He lives in you
And His Spirit is true

He gives you whatever you need
He loves you

hey sister,
it's been a while
and I long to see you smile...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I am way overdue for a pedicure.
Now I am certain.

My daughter took a look at my feet and said, "What is that?" I said, "My skin is dry." She said, "Are you broken?"

I guess she's got at point. My skin is broken. And I am broken.

Aren't we all? Our bodies are so limited. When are we ever in a perfect state? Is it when we are first born? So many are born with illnesses and diseases. Is it when we are fearless teenagers? Car accidents change their lives forever. I'm sure it's not when we are elderly; slowly losing our hearing, our vision, our mobility.

My mother announced the other day that she plans to be around for approximately another five years. Five years!!!!! She's only in her sixties! What is she thinking?!

And yet, I can understand exactly why she would say that. Her body is broken. So is mine. And it won't be until we face our maker face to face that we will be made new and perfect. Just imagine a new body that has no malfunctions.

But we aren't just made up of bodies. We have a spirit as well. And unfortunately, our spirits get broken too. More importantly, a broken spirit is much worse than a broken body. If our spirit is broken, we lose hope.

Yet, once again, eternity will make our spirits new!

Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day. And I know that around the table there will be many who are feeling broken. What's there to be thankful for? Jobs lost, relationships broken, illnesses, fears, etc.
And yet, brokenness, to me means that I am in need. It means that I am limited and that I need a savior. Without my brokenness, I'd be a self-sufficient very proud person. I'd be very lonely too. And I would not realize my need for a savior. I would not recognize my creator. I would be lost without my Lord.

And so I'm thankful for my brokenness because it keeps me in awe of my maker. It reminds me that I am nothing without Him. And it helps me to live depending on Him.

Hope for eternity. A faithful Heavenly Father. Answered prayers. Perseverance in trials. Strength for tomorrow. Infectious joy. Calming Peace. A humble heart. A Savior who was broken, for me. This is why I'm thankful.

Isaiah 53
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

In Christ, we have a savior that was truly broken on our behalf---dying on the cross so that we could spend eternity free of pain, free of suffering, free of brokenness.

That's something to be thankful for!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Everyone Needs a Home

As we walked through the woods of the Pottstown area, looking to see if we'd find the homeless, I couldn't help but think.... everyone needs a home.

In Philadelphia, we found them throughout the subway station. It was at least six years ago on a very cold February Sunday. We had decided to take homemade soup to those living on the streets. We looked and looked for a while, before we finally found that they were inside the train station, trying to stay warm, obviously.

It's such a controversial issue... homelessness. And we wonder why are they out there? What happened? Drug abuse? Criminal activity? Insanity? Loss of jobs? Loss of homes? Loss of hope?

Why would anyone want to live in nothing more than a tent surrounded by trees? No food, no bathroom, no real bed. We found that some tents are pretty run down and dirty, while others do their best at keeping theirs clean and approachable.

And as much as they try to make the best of it, they are still living in unfit conditions. Furthermore, I believe that those who inhabit those encampments, realize that they're not truly home. It's like they are in a temporary state of transition... some transitions longer than others.

I know that everyone needs a home. A place where they belong. Where we are loved and accepted, that is. We all long for it.

And so being homeless means you are without that . It means that you don't belong and that you are unloved and unaccepted. It also means that you have not arrived... home.

And as foreign as this entire topic may seem to us all, we are not that unfamiliar with at all. In fact, as Christians we are much like the homeless. You see, we too are out of place here on this thing called earth. We too, are living in unfit conditions, although many of us do not even realize it. We make the most of it, this place called earth. And some live much more comfortably than others. Yet, we are not home. Not yet.

And this place is but a stepping stone to our true home. Eternal home in heaven. With our heavenly Father and family. With loved ones... forever. No sin. No worries. No pain or suffering. No illness. No sorrow. Just joy in God for always.

Heaven is our true home. And everyone needs that home.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Strength and Honor

So I was feeling mighty low, when I received mail from my mother. I don't know about you, but I know for me, receiving mail has become a special event. And obviously, I don't mean "junk mail". We get that everyday, and it's always so full of ... junk.

And so I was lying on the sofa, when my husband handed me the card. I opened it up and first found an old picture of mom and me and some friends. Tears welled up in my eyes right away. I must have been about 3 years old, when the picture was taken. And there I was standing by mom, leaning on her with one arm--both of us looking like we're posing for some 70's model shoot. "Sooo cute!"

I don't know what possessed my mom to send the photo, but it came at just the right moment to remind me of not just her love, but of God's love for me. You see I was feeling lousy, both physically and emotionally. And with such a small gesture, God embraced me; and a feeling of joy came over me.

Okay, so it doesn't end there. I looked inside the card for what was written, and all that I found were these words. "She is dressed with strength and honor" (Proverbs 31:25a)

That's all she wrote. And the tears rolled down my cheeks. How did she know? How did she know that I'd need to hear that? She didn't....but God did.

You see lately, I've been feeling the pressures of motherhood and womanhood coming down on me real hard. And most of the time, I'm left feeling inadequate and defeated. I'm left with the thoughts... "What makes a good mom?" "How do I respond to their demands in a Godly manner?" "Am I being too pushy?" "Where will our relationship be ten years from now?" "Will my daughter confide in me at her time of need?" "Will my son return home, once he's gone off to college?" "Am I not doing enough to keep my middle child content?" "Am I pushing them away instead of drawing them in?" "And yet, is it about me? or about leading them to God?" "Am I leading them to God?"

and.... Where do I throw in the towel?" "Please be easier on me, please!!!" "I'm only human.".....

She is dressed with strength and honor.... How can I be dressed this way? You see, this represents a the woman I long to be. Yet, if you read the entire chapter in Proverbs, you find that this woman is not free of trouble. She is not unfamiliar to the common demands of womanhood and motherhood. In fact, she is faced with the same types of demands I face. And yet, she thrives on God's approval, and so she is considered the "wife of noble character". If I read this chapter trying to see how I measure up, I lose interest real quick. But if I focus on her source of strength and honor, then I regain my own.

You see, just like I freely admit that I'm no superwoman, this woman of Proverbs 31 does not claim to be one either. Unseemingly, she too, was only human. And just like me, she too, found herself able because of God. You see, if you read on, you find this verse, 30"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

Okay, so I admit that this chapter of Proverbs has never been one of my favorites because of how mighty and perfect this woman sounds.... making me out to be incapable. And yet, the way I've come to peace with it is by focusing on six specific words found in verse 30... a woman who fears the Lord.

That's it! That's where I fit in! That's how I can compare to this so called mighty woman--- I fear the Lord, as well.
And so I'm not alone.... in fact, I am just one of the millions of mothers and wives who lack the confidence, who feel the guilt, who suffer the losses,and so on.
But I am also one of many who fear the LORD, and because of it, I too, am dressed with strength and honor.

Strength and honor....... wear it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When Life Gives you Lemons...

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  It's such a common saying in our culture.  And yet, what if you don't like lemonade?

It's supposed to be an encouraging phrase to redirect your sullen or downcast thoughts to a more positive outlook on life.  It goes along the lines of "look at the bright side" and "the cup is half full". 
But what about those who are stuck in depressive mode?  What do you say to those who are breathing their last breaths?  A very good friend of mine was on her dying bed, when she pulled me up close to her face and asked me, "What do you think Lucy?  Am I gonna make it?"  ...I was speechless.  I mustered the words that only God could have given me to try and provide peace for her anxious heart at that moment..  
And still I know for certain, that using that most popular phrase, "when life gives you lemons..." would not have be reassuring for my friend.

So what is one to do when the lemonade theme is not enough to get us through the day?  What is one to do when everything falls apart?  When there is pain and suffering?  When there is loneliness and death?  You see, life is hard!  No one gets a free and smooth ride.  No one gets to bypass the demands, the turmoil, the stresses, the sorrows.  No one.

And so I say, "when life gives you lemons, look up"!  Turn to God for strength.  That is the only for sure thing I know that will in turn bring true assurance and encouragement.

Psalm 121

 1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
   where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.

It doesn't promise that you will be free of trouble.  In fact, it accentuates that we will need help.   But real and assuring help comes from  the maker of heaven and earth.