Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Sunday, April 19, 2015
I have a confession to make. To those who know me well, this will not be a big shocker, nor will it be a huge revelation to pretty much anyone who has encountered me on any given day
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
If you know me, or maybe if you have been reading my posts, you undoubtedly know that I have had several medical problems this year. [I tend to whine and overshare sometimes]
Monday, April 6, 2015
Many times I bog myself down with current worries, or with the baggage of the past- so much so that I forget what lies ahead because I can't see it. My brain gets caught up in the concrete of what I, as a human can see.
Thank you, God, that there is more to life than what I Spy with My Little Eye...
Ahead there is newness. A day, yet to be encountered, always holds hope. No matter what I am feeling now, or what has passed, there is hope in front of me. There is light, even when I don't believe it.
Such simple, yet beautiful promise the future has yet to unveil. The future's potential is wrapped up in one four letter word.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles surround me—
too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Sadly for us, the world lost one great man last Saturday. I've been thinking every day since I found out about his death that I would sit down and write a few words about him. Yet the words eluded me. Mostly, they elude me still, but my heart knows what my mouth cannot say.
When I think of Joe, I recall the last conversation I had with him. We were in the hallway of our church, and I stopped to ask how he was doing.
Although he was quite ill at that time, he was not only there for worship that Sunday morning, but he was also a servant in the Sunday School hour, walking, with the aid of his cane, from classroom to classroom passing out, and then collecting attendance sheets.
When I asked after his health, he looked at me and smiled and said - Oh, great, just great! Anyone could see that physically he wasn't great, just great, but that was Joe. His big smile cutting across the ubiquitous beard covering the bottom half of his face, never one to complain, only to encourage others with his optimism. What a gift he had in that.
I could go on and on about all the ways in which Joe touched the lives of countless people who walked into his orbit, but I won't because something tells me he would balk at the praise. I believe he would shrug it off and change the subject. That's the kind of man he was.
I think through all the years I knew him, and I cannot picture a moment when he didn't give God the glory for whatever circumstances happened along. I believe no matter what, his heart chose to say, as the song says - Blessed be the name of the Lord... You give and take away, you give and take away... my heart will choose to say blessed be Your name.
I look forward to the day when once we'll meet again. I have no doubt he'll be singing God's praises in heaven just as he did here on earth. What a precious gem he was. I thank God for the privilege of knowing him.
~Philippians 1:3New International Version (NIV)
I thank my God every time I remember you.
Friday, March 27, 2015
Recently, a good friend of mine, who happens to be a non-Christian, brought up some recent political news topics (Google it yourself, I'm not here to debate or discuss recent legislation or comments surrounding it) centering around things that were said by professing Christians, and she pointed out how out of whack the comments where with who Jesus was [is],
This brought to my mind and heart a subject that I believe to be of paramount importance: Accountability for me as a Christian.
I never want my belief in Jesus to be questioned because of the way I treat others. I want to live a life like Jesus. He reached out to others. He loved everyone. He admonished those who set themselves above standard... In three small, but meaningful words - Jesus was love.
I know I will never be able to completely live up to Jesus' standard, but I have to try. What good would it do me to call myself a disciple, and yet not strive to live up to Jesus' legacy?
James 2:6-18 says that belief in Jesus [faith] by itself is useless. It says we must show faith in our lives or that faith is dead. No one will benefit from a faith that is dead. We have to breathe life into our faith by reaching outward, and living a life of love, compassion, mercy and grace, just as Jesus did.
Anything less is a farce.
~John 13:34-35New Living Translation (NLT)
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
There are days, maybe weeks and months at a time where I am so caught up in my own [stuff] that I move through life as if I am the center of the universe (complete self-absorption). I do things for others; I love others; I pray for others, but I don't think about my impact on others as I should.
Sometimes people need to HEAR that they are the easiest person for me to talk to. Or that they make me smile ever time I think about them. Or that they did a great job. Or perhaps they just need to hear that they are special, in whatever way, just because.
We are all special unique, wondrous, fantastic individuals and we need to tell each other that, often.
In my younger years it was really hard for me to compliment someone. It felt like I was giving the other person a piece of my soul. Sounds hyperbolic, I suppose, but that is how it felt - like it was taking something away from me if I acknowledged a talent, trait, characteristic, or achievement I admired in someone else.
Chalk it up to immaturity, or low self esteem on my part, but being an encourager was something I had to grow into. Something I had to force myself to do until it became comfortable.
I tell you what, the more I acknowledged or encouraged someone else, the easier it was. Then I realized that giving accolades away, in no way took away from my own [self], but more so confirmed that we all need each other in this world. We need to be needed and we need to acknowledge the gifts of those around us.
In the end, we are all in this thing called life together. We are interdependent. All part of a thing greater than ourselves. When we recognize that fact, it comforts our souls in a way that eludes words. It invokes in us a feeling of oneness - among humanity, all around the world, regardless of race, religion, sex, etc. We were made to harmonize one to another as a gift to our fellow life-travelers.
~1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 New Life Version (NLV)
He died for us so that, dead or alive, we will be with Him. So comfort each other and make each other strong as you are already doing.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I have no shame in admitting my fear. I'm afraid of constant pain. I'm afraid of the unknown. I'm afraid I will never be physically whole again.
It was that fear which kept me from any doctors' offices for quite a long time. Fear that there was something really wrong with me. Fear that there was nothing wrong, and my symptoms were all in my head. How's that for dichotomy?
I feel just like Peter in Matthew 14:26-31. I see Jesus out there walking calmly on the water, and I come to him, only I am distracted by the wind [my fears] so I take my eyes off my Jesus.
He's not willing to allow me to go under, however. Guess what? He loves me too much! He saves me from myself by reaching out, grabbing hold of me and guiding me into his calm presence.
What a gift of mercy which I can never repay. Though I am still in the midst of some disconcerting circumstances. I realize I've never been abandoned, for that, in the same way I am unashamed of my fear, I am unashamed to say I am well and truly blessed.
Isaiah 41:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Friday, March 20, 2015
So many burdens, both small and large... I am delighted to know Jesus, who has promised to carry my misfortune, worry, sorrow and illness for me, so that I may rest. Ah, the divine grace of it takes my breath away.
With all that I am, I endeavor to bring honor and dignity to your sacrifice. A simple thank you seems hollow.
~Matthew 11:28-30 New Living Translation (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Friday, March 13, 2015
Turns out Mama was right - there'll be days like this. And they ain't fun.
I had a bad day yesterday. A combination of unresolved health problems, my (warning: digression -very much needed [no matter what the New York Times has to say about over-medication of women for "normal" emotions, there are those of us who cannot live a quality life without them] psych medications) not being quite as effective as they could be, due to the aforementioned health issues - long story! coupled with a [figurative] gut punch from one of my teenagers left me bereft.
It left me bereft, crying, balled up in a fetal position wondering what in the WORLD I was going to do to turn things around. It seemed pretty hopeless after hours of self-recrimination and hopelessness.
While talking to a trusted friend who told it was going to be okay, she told me that no matter how off the rails it seemed now, that I was doing a good job, and that I was tired, and in need of someone to take care of me for a minute, this (older than me!) chorus to this song popped into my head - Mama said there'd be days like this, Mama said.
Those words brought to me not only a sense of the impermanence of the situation, but also opened up a new dialogue in my head about my own teen and young adult years and the heartache I must have caused my own mother. I didn't mean to. I was only trying to find my own way in life - to make my own decisions, but certainly I gut-punched her on more than one occasion.
And guess what? She's still standing! She stayed steadfast in her love for me, and no doubt prayed a thousand prayers and shed as many tears for me, though I didn't deserve it, she did it anyway, knowing that there would be days like this and then, at some point there would be days like that.
I am quite content not knowing how long this day will last, as I look forward to days like that. Days like that being days of victory because I spent some time in the days that weren't as victorious and learned [whatever] I was supposed to, and came out better for the experience.
Lamentations 3:21-23New Living Translation (NLT)
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.