Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a little girl who felt very misunderstood and actually unsure of who loved her. She longed for a pet, a very specific pet. Alas, pets came & went but none were this pet. Of course she loved each of them and something in her died when she lost each one. Someone else chose each because of whatever reason they had and she accepted each. It seems it was not meant for her to have a four legged friend very long for something always happened to them.

Somewhere in the distance there was this hissing whisper, “you are not worthy of your dreams, you’re not worthy”. She did not know her accuser but what she heard felt true, had she ever had the special pet she wanted, had they lived or remained with her very long? So, deep inside she believed…believed she was second best and what she deserved was too.

A perception was born, a foundation laid. This become woven in the fabric of who she was, unnoticed because of her acceptance. She stopped dreaming, in all areas giving preference to others, enabling their dreams to the extent of her ability.

One day she found her pet…the specific one she had always wanted! Happiness wrapped its arms around her. Oh, how lucky she was! She couldn’t believe it!

They lived together one year and then he died.

Hiss, you’re not worthy, hiss, came the whisper again. She listened. Again, it came. It was familiar, it seemed to ring true.  Ah, but this time she knew who her accuser was and the nature of the lies he spoke. Each hiss brought forth the lies woven in her being. But now instead of validating the recurring lie, it was met with truth! Truth! She was loved by her heavenly Father, chosen by Him!

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  John 15:16

Chosen!! Not discarded. Not forgotten. Loved and selected by the King! The Giver of good gifts!

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

No more lies. They make come but they will not be believed. She knows she is loved and her heart is full of praise and delight in His presence!

Goodbye Snoopy,  my friend.  January 29, 2013

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You Collect What? Part 2

I fell in love with bears…Boyd’s Bears to be exact. I examined each one, admiring the detail, so thrilled! Have you seen these bears? Each tiny line giving me so much delight. And, the added hunt for the paw print hidden on each one! So much fun!! I’d run to the store in anticipation of new releases.

My collection contained many 1st additions! AND, I was a FOB (Friend of Boyd’s)! My membership gave me special releases – not found in stores.

I knew where each was in my house and their names. I could shop without fear of duplication because I knew them so well.

These figurines were treasures to me. The value I put upon them immense.

One day I yelled at my boys because they broke one. One day I looked at them and saw dollar signs and souls that didn’t know their Lord. Tears fell as I fell out of love. My prized collection became things. Things? Wasn’t that what they were to begin with?

I’m not saying collecting is bad. I am saying to my extent was. But, there’s something more….

If I with evil all around me, I with a wicked heart, could take such pleasure in my collection….oh, what joy God takes in us, in you, in me!!! As I was reminiscing about the collection I no longer have, it was this whispering in my heart – ‘I love you little one! I trace every line with my finger, I count the hairs on your head, I know your name and exactly where you are, you are my masterpiece, I delight in you!’

Wow, I like it on the other side of collecting……

“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

You Collect What?

My first response to this might be ‘Dust’ 🙂 Yes, I am a collector and that is about what it amounts to!

Let me start by saying I am a hoarder too. Yuck, did I just make that known? That’s what happens when you collect everything and develop emotional attachments to it. My first collections were things that belonged to family members, mostly those who had died. Some of those things had particular memories attached to it but many were just because they belonged to people I loved. This is a two edge sword honed from insecurity. Those who I knew loved me back on one side and those who I wasn’t sure of on the other. Now, all these people loved me – in the ways they were capable; it’s insecurity that lavished meaning upon these objects. I longed deep inside for relationship – that is how we were made – and somewhere, I guess, that got too scary and things become my filler.

I filled a 3 story house to it’s limit. Don’t have visions of those hoarders on TV! Trash did go out….well, most of it 🙂 It was hard to throw out magazines and newspapers collected until I had time to read them and then they went out. Do you ever look at something and instead of judging (which makes us feel better about ourselves, right?), you find yourself wondering ‘did they begin like me?’ or ‘how long before that would become me?’ Anyway, get piles of trash and climbing over them out of your heads – it wasn’t like that. I’m a display-er. Nice arrangements everywhere! Most people found my home to be ‘cozy’ and ‘comfortable’. I made others feel welcome but I think that is because my home reflected me and they were there because they liked me.

To maintain lots of stuff is work!! When our lives are running smoothly it’s one thing but if anything gets out of kilter, well, then it’s like a landslide! It just doesn’t make for an orderly home…

How I got freed from my belongings is another story and yet one still in progress. That’s not what I want to talk about right now. I had a very special collection…one that I loved! It was an intentional one, not one handed down. It’s this story I want to share. Come back tomorrow.

Unopened Gifts

Do you have any? No? Are you sure?

The time from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s zips by. Activities increase and fellowship goes into turbo drive. How many people did you see during these last 41 days? Shopping? and did you shop? Is it any wonder that many are exhausted, or depressed, or disappointed? If not caught up in this frenzy then something ‘feels’ wrong, missing. Really? that chaos is something worth missing?

Can we feel grateful, really thankful, if we’ve over extended ourselves? For me, it grates on me – physically as well as emotionally. Instead of baked with love it’s more like with pressure and pain. Not cool.

Let the Christmas list begin….who am I buying for, what am I getting them, did I leave anyone out? Parties – let the parties begin. Oh, and the decorating, and the cookie baking (or in my case, candy making). Shopping,and partying, and decorating, oh my! Cleaning, and baking, and working, oh my! Husband, and children, and family, oh my! Oh My!

Out with the old, in with the new! Phew!

Where did I begin? oh, yeah – unopened presents.

Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23

A new gift……….every morning.

 Slow down, open your gift.

“He sees you when…..”

Can you finish the title? At this time of year?!?—- it’s a shoo in!

“He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake”

I couldn’t even count how many times I’ve heard or said “Santa’s watching”. Seriously, I’m supposed to be good? Because Santa’s watching?? Hmm, the promise of presents OR the lack of them…

I don’t remember if it had the desired effect on me, nor do I remember if it did with my children. Without thinking, instilling receiving and not giving of Christmas.

You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from You. Psalm 69:5

We need to know El Roi – The God Who Sees! He sees!

Just knowing that has always brought me so much comfort. I’m not sure it would if I didn’t know Him as Sovereign, as Merciful, as Loving. Otherwise I might just feel condemned, judged, and without hope – because I know how sinful I behave in spite of my good intentions!

Should it encourage us ‘to be good’ when we know we’re being watched? Well, I believe we do act accordingly when we think someone is watching.

 ‘what will he/she think of me?

“he sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake; he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”

If we could just take our worries over what people think or our preoccupation with appearances and grasp the God of heaven does see us, our behaviors & attitudes would change. Conviction would pave the way and our hearts would become kinder, less entitled, and more giving!

God sees you & me when we’re sleeping and He knows when we’re awake!

Ayden Christopher

This sweet baby is my grandson. Why, am I introducing you to him? Well, that’s because I am so thankful for him.  When my daughter was 8 months pregnant with him we discovered he had a heart defect. Special arrangements had to be made because not every hospital can deal with heart defects. Ayden was born August 14, 2010 with Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. This picture is his birthday. He had to be whisked off immediately after birth. This is the prep he had to go thru.

Ayden lived 12 days due to complications. There are surgeries to correct this and many children live.  He didn’t make it to the first one. Our time with him was precious-howbeit painful. We celebrated his 1 week birthday, we have a pic of  him wearing a college ring (his uncle’s). We savored every small thing!

God is Sovereign and sometimes it hurts. When you lose a baby the grief is different but still enormous. It’s every thing Ayden didn’t get to do, we didn’t get to do with him, all our hopes and dreams we grieved. I’m crying as I’m writing BUT I still smile when I look at sweet face. I cannot wait to see him again! I’m thankful I will, I’m thankful for him! Though his life was short he is loved tremendously!

 

Horses, Chariots, & Man – oh My!

Fears become almost living, breathing things. I say almost because fears exist in our minds. What we are afraid of, no doubt, is often tangible….but it is not fear itself.  We can know this because we may or may not share the same fear but the object remains the same. Hmm, already the weight of a fear is diminished when we  consider others are not afraid of it.

Psalm 20:7 saysSome trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

This is the sure fire way to NOT be afraid – remembering the name of our Lord! Why? because He is with us, because He tells us 365 times in the bible not to fear, because He is for us, because His arm is not shortened, because HE’S GOD! So what does it mean to trust in chariots & in horses? Well, those are symbols for things that make sense to us for winning battles, being victorious, and just plain & simple safe. Chariots would be like tanks and horses, like migs. Yeah, I know, there’s a huge difference, but in bible times they would have offered the same comfort. We want something we can t-o-u-c-h and s-e-e. But here’s the problem – if we can touch and see it, it’s limited. God is not.

The Red Sea parted and the Israelites walked on dry land – only to have the Egyptians swallowed with their horses and chariots on the same ground. The walls of Jericho fell after it was encircled for seven days. Gideon and the 300 men with him defeated the Midianites by blowing trumpets and breaking pitchers. Over and over in scripture we see where the battle is the Lord’s!

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

 

Help. Anyone? Please………….

Have you ever needed help? Who do you look to for it?

I have been moved by the interviews with victims of Super Storm Sandy. Their cries were loud. They were demanding. They expected response. And response they are getting. Churches & Crisis Response Teams are there & others are forming. People want to help. During times of distress we come together, we share resources. We care and we wonder what if.

A couple things come to mind here. First, if Jesus is your Savior, we are told to come boldly into the throne room for grace & mercy in our time of need. This is promised to us because of our inheritance in Jesus. We are God’s kids. He desires to care for us, and loves doing so!

Secondly, everyday there are victims of genocide.  Did you know that? Do think about what they must face each day of their lives? I cannot help but think what impact we would have if we rallied on their behalf as we do in other crisis. We’ll not see one of them demanding someone do something. They accept their lot in life, just doing the next thing next. The media has yet to give coverage day after day, hour after hour, to these atrocities. They have no voice but ours.

In no way do I want to diminish the loss and utter destruction from Sandy. What I want us to consider is the difference manpower can make in the lives of those that need us. One such group is the Nubian, who live in rocks to hide from missiles. No way to provide for themselves….only hide. You can learn more about them at http://www.savethenuba.com.

 

Ashes…..now what?

Storms can leave behind rubble. The TV, internet, and twitter has been full of updates and pictures. Those whose reality this is likely cannot view the exposure they’ve been given. They need help and it is in the helping, standing alongside, hugs, kindnesses that healing begins.  How beauty births out of ashes. As followers of Christ, it is a healing – restoration ministry we have been given. This often is when the world accepts the church, rather than trying to limit, control, and even persecute her.

Emotional storms leave rubble behind also. The chances of having that rubble exposed to the world  is a little more narrow; there are exceptions of course, but the vast majority of us escape it. Does it change our loss? Not at all. More than likely we feel isolated though, there aren’t throngs of others experiencing what we are…well, at least not that we are aware of. This is one of the reasons Father said not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25) It is there we find the helping, standing along aside, hugs, kindnesses that nurture healing. Jesus wants to bring beauty from our ashes….but we have to let Him. He eagerly awaits our invitation, to carry us, to bring peace to us, to comfort us. It is He who is the Healer….no matter where our storms come from. You have all His attention-turn to Him.