Friday, November 26, 2010

On the Journey...

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. Our annual celebration of our blessings. I am rejoicing to be with my parents, aunt, uncle & grandmother. We do not often get the chance to all be together. I am so Thankful that my girls have the opportunity to know my grandmother. Great - grandmother is 94 and growing shorter with each passing month. She enjoys watching the girls play and hearing about our lives. Bright One did a short vocal concert for everyone after lunch. It was a blessing.

One of the things I am most thankful for is my daughters. They amaze me. The things they learn and connect are sometimes unexpected. They argue and bicker which makes me crazy. Then occassionally they surprise me with wonderful caring for each other. On the journey to my folks we had a wonderful moment that showed me just what big girls they are becoming. We were approximately halfway into our journey when we stopped for dinner at an O'Charley's restaurant. Dinner was very yummy. We had just finished our meal when Bright One decided that she should try the restroom before resuming our journey. Love Bug said "I'll take her!"  So off they went to use the restroom. The Admiral and I finished up our meals and paid the bill. When a small amount of time passed, I realized I should probably go and assist Bright One with reaching the rather high counter to wash her hands. Upon entering the rest room the sight that met my eyes left me speechless with delight. First I heard them singing rousingly "5 little Monkeys, Jumping on the bed!" Then I saw them. Bright One precariously balanced on her elbows washing her hands. Her feet tucked under her sister's arms and straight out behind her. Love Bug held Bright One's feet up wheelbarrow race style. They had solved the problem and were enthusiastically singing with all the joy that goes with a trip to grandma's and dinner out. I quickly left, laughing outright once I was out of range.

I was so delighted with their ingenuity and joy. I am thankful for these precious girls.

Lord God give me your eyes to see my daughters as you see them. Give me wisdom as I work with their father to raise them to know and trust you. Remind me often of their wonderful uniqueness!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Be Aware...

I sit watching, listening to the voices gurgling all about  me like a stream burbling over rocks. Opinions being thrown out almost at random. People with purpose striding in and out quickly. Others sitting and debating the meaning of life. People discussing the ability of one to achieve happiness. I am saddened by the cynical conversation so void of hope. Another conversation drifts by celebrating the joy of an impending birth. My heart lifts as the babble of two small boys asking a million curious questions washes over my table. One man discusses playing golf in the bitter November wind.

As I work on my meal calendar and grocery list, all these conversations surge around me. Papa God loves these people. The agnostic in the corner who wants everyone to know that in his opinion faith is futile. God loves him. The student studying in the cushy chair, concentrating fiercely. The barista who knows what I will order even before I have decided. He prides himself on knowing and delighting the regulars. I am filled with a sense of the Lord's passion for these people.

When was the last time I really listened to another person. I tend to live my insulated life. Doing my own thing. Worrying and working on my myriad of projects. Paying no attention to the people God brings into and out of my life on a daily basis. Keeping to myself and not reaching out to give of my gifts. I want to be more obedient to reaching out to the people around as the Holy Spirit prompts me. Not to shove my beliefs at them but just to care for them. Being obedient to give of self is frightening. But the Lord promises He will guide and protect us.

So this week reach out. Give of self. Choose one person to love on, care about, pray over, and quietly bless. This does not need to be showy or overt, only obedient. Seek the Father for direction and then act. Maybe you will reach out to a complete stranger by paying for the car behind you at the drive through. Maybe you will smile at someone who is feeling lonely. Whatever it is do it.

There is a song  out right now by Brandon Heath that convicts me. The chorus says:
"Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the brokenhearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see"

Lord today show me your heart and lead me to reach out as you guide me!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Thankfulness

holy experience 
Happy Monday Friends!

Continuing to share my blessings!
Thank You Father for:

#12 leaves to rake
#13 little faces covered with chocolate bits and powdered sugar
#14 silly voices that create uncontrolled giggles
#15 warm blankets
#16 four varieties of cookies cooling on the counter
#17 crossed off  to do lists
#18 unexpected mild weather
#19 rain
#20 de-cluttered dining room table
#21 time for prayer
#22 orange cinnamon tea
#23 my gentle man
#24 hilarious worship team rehearsals
#25 reverent worship
#26 silly friends
#27 belly kisses on a little girl belly
#28 precious sleeping faces
#29 animated discussion
#30 clean sheets
#31 clean socks
#32 extra hugs that make me late

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Links for today!

This is a friends blog. His story today is wonderful! Please check it out!

Identity Promises #2 .... What guilt?

My life is full of blame. Me blaming the kids, the kids blaming each other, the world casting blame on me, etc. We live in a "who done it?" world. Who is to blame? Who is guilty? We all are. Scripture quotes the prophets in Romans 3 verse 10-11 " as it is written: 'There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God.'" The passage goes to say "all have turned aside...No one shows kindness...not even one." In all it is a pretty damning passage. Makes me feel about this big. It does ring with truth. We as a people and myself in specific are not primarily concerned with others. I am mostly concerned with me first. How will this benefit me? Will I get recognition for this action? I guilt myself about this attitude that I don't automatically, angelically put others ahead of me. I feel guilt frequently over taking time for myself. Beyond basic selfishness is the sin. If you hold scripture to be inerrant and truthful ( I do.) Then you must face up to verse ten - " NO ONE is RIGHTEOUS, not even ONE." We all sin. I sin. Daily, in fact several times daily I find myself caught in sin. I picture it slimy, covering me, dragging me down in an ooze of evilness. Is there no HOPE? There is hope. We do not have to live in guilt, blame and ooze. Read on ahead to our identity promise for today - Romans 3:24.

Romans 3:21 -26
21 But now, irrespective of the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction,  23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by His blood, effective through faith. He did this to show His righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that He himself is righteous and that He justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
The key being verse 24 " they are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus " What does justified mean? In this usage it means made blameless. I am made blameless. Why? By His grace through Christ. Because He loves me. This is big. God justifies, holds blameless, me, who is guilty, because of Christ. What does this promise say about my identity?  It says I do not have to be identified for my failure. I do not have to be known as one who failed to live without sin. I am blameless before a Holy God.

Identity Promise: I am declared not guilty by His grace through the redemption I have in Jesus Christ

Jesus redeems me and cleanses the sin ooze away as if it was never there and I am declared not guilty. Friends, This is the freedom that comes by choosing accept the Gift of Christ's redemptive work on the cross. Do not let Satan steal this truth from you! It is a promise. It is  fact. The evil one will try to tell you that you are unworthy ( you are - but God loves you regardless. ) Satan will try to convince you that the ooze has stained you so badly that you  will never be clean. God can cleanse you completely.

Lord Jesus, Savior, cleanse me and justify me that I would not live in a cloud of guilt. Bring this promise to fruition in my life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

just be

In 7 days we will pilgrimage to the east. We will travel late, arrive late and rise early to watch the traditional Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Sleepily piling into my parents TV room to take in the balloons and preforming marching bands from across the country. We will partake in a multitude of traditions and indulgences (can I just say - Ice Box Cake)  Thanksgiving is a time to just be. Counting our blessings and enjoying the gathering of family. I love the traditions and the relaxed atmosphere of the holiday. I am counting down to the ridiculously silly card games, amazing food that I cannot replicate - only mom can make it taste right, little girls and crazy puppy-dogs. I am so thankful for the coming holiday, an island of peace in the midst of life.

As you make your own pilgrimage or prepare to receive pilgrims to your own home be mindful of the opportunity to just be. The chance to love on each other, enjoying games and silliness, comes so rarely. Set aside disagreement, agendas, and cherish being family!

Lord help me to relax about the details and take this holiday as it comes, enjoying the process and loving on my family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Community

holy experience

I have decided to join the Gratitude Community and blog here on Mondays about my gifts. Here is a link:

God has been so very good and when times feel thin taking stock of His gifts helps me to trust Him for the future. Worry frequently tries to take over my mind and soul. Intentional thankfulness protects me against the attack of worry. So here is my Monday list today.

#1 Friends
#2 A Barista who goes the extra mile
#3 Baby faces that show when the little girl is sleeping
#4 Sandwich meat in the refrigerator for a fallback
#5 Ephesians
#6 The beat up ancient afghan that is so warm when I want to curl up in a ball.
#7 Admiral hugs
#8 unexpected gift cards
#9 holiday plans
#10 Hidden gift boxes, filled throughout the year
#11 ridiculous giggles from the back seat.

More next Monday

Join the Gratitude Community


Identity Promises.... #1 What is My Value?

 "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God-- 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what He has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."
Ephesians 2: 8-10

It has been asked for millennia -"What is my purpose? Why am I here? What is my Value?" People intrinsically want to know their value, their reason for being. I do anyway. I find I compare myself to others. What makes them valuable? Why are they valuable? Can I use the measure of them to determine my value? As humans I think we often use the "success" we have, the value of our job or career, the importance we perceive that we have to others to determine our worth. We assign value to ourselves based on our accomplishments. Scripture says differently. 

 Ephesians 2:10  tells us that we are created by the Master for a purpose. A purpose that He prepared for us. The Master created me for a reason. When I think of the great masters, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Picasso and their peers, I think of amazing artwork, inventions, and incredible discoveries. Then I realize that their talents, their amazingness is all due to the Master Creator and He created them for a purpose. My mind reels.

So I am God's masterpiece. Whoa. What does it mean to be a masterpiece? A masterpiece is a unique work, designed and executed with the utmost skill. In reference to me - I am God's masterpiece designed with skill, for goodness and purpose. I am not an assembly line product. I am unique. I have no business belittling God's masterpiece. He's God. He determines my value. Not me. I can claim this. His promise that I am His masterpiece, created with His design already in place for my life.

My Identity Promise: I am God's masterpiece created in Jesus Christ for goodness.

Lord, Thank you for setting me apart unique and with a purpose in your kingdom. I am a masterpiece. My value is beyond what I can imagine. Lord help me to claim this and lives as your treasure.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A few of my favorite things

giggles in the morning
silliness at breakfast
sunrises over the city
tall grins
new shoes
joyful songs sung at random from the backseat
messes left from surprise craft projects
small socks
colorful blobs of uncertain design giving with 'I love you, mom!'
soft smiles
second hugs
dinner in crockpot
perseverance through handwriting trials
Christmas carols hesitantly played
laughter in the coffee shop
tangles of cords 
empty spaces on horizontal surfaces
pencil drawings that tell extensive stories explained by a 7 yr old
creative overflow
new shirts
giant floppy dogs
blue - all colors of blue
new pillows
lovely little ticklish toes
baby otters
talks with Mom

Monday, November 8, 2010

Identity Promises....

A promise by definition is:

Definition of PROMISE

1  a : a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified
    b : a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act 
2: reason to expect something promise of relief>; especially : ground for expectation of success, improvement, or excellence promise>

Based on the above definition this would mean that a promise is something you can count upon with utmost certainty. When a promise is delivered by a person whom you trust its certainty is ironclad. There are a great many promises in our world. In the coming weeks I want to share with you some promises the Lord has given us.  Part of my life's journey has included a season of coping with depression. The process included digging into whom I am in Christ. My value is not dependent on me. According to the Scriptures my value is mine because of Christ and His work on the cross. 

 There are thirty- two verses in the New Testament that speak to "My Promised Identity in Christ."  Because these promises come from Christ they are certain. We can claim them daily and apply them to our lives, our thoughts, and our attitudes. Over the coming weeks I will be mining the word for these promises and posting my thoughts and research regarding each. This is not a daily series. My goal will be to post at least two promises each week. Please keep me in your prayers as I enter into this season.


What matters?

Over the past few days my thoughts have turned repeatedly to priorities. What truly matters in life? Stuff, accomplishments, degrees, cars? I contend that people, relationships, are far and away what truly matters.  Nothing else lasts or has impact beyond our immediate world. The relationships we choose to build and nurture are lasting.

It is said that everyone comes into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime ( I am sure this is a quote from someone famous but I think I read it on a Hallmark card).  I believe that each of these types of relationship have infinite value.

A reason: How often does someone come into your life for a short time and then is gone? This person is touching your life and you theirs for a reason. Perhaps they need your encouragement. Maybe you need their challenge. God has lessons for us in every encounter. This week Tonya* entered my life for 20 minutes. In that time I learned that she has no children but is ok with it. She wouldn't want children at this late age anyway ( she wasn't at all old). I learned that Tonya has a passion for soothing women when they are nervous. I learned that Tonya is efficient, calm, and caring. Tonya likes her job. When my mammogram was complete she smiled and said "You have been a blessing to me today." I was floored. I blessed her? She went on " You are the first person today who asked about me and then listened to my answer. Thank You for making me feel important." I said "You're welcome." God put her & I in that place because I needed a calm person and because she needed someone to listen to her. I may never see Tonya again. That is all right. Because there was a reason.

A season: Some relationships build and then wane for no apparent reason. These we can learn from and cherish the memories of. We can pray over the person when the Lord brings them to mind even though the active relationship has passed. Whatever the season, 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years, God can use the relationship to enrich your life and theirs. This friendship may wane because of a move across country. Perhaps you have children and they do not and you are in different life places now. Do not mourn long. Rejoice that you had their friendship for a season. Pray that their life is watched over by the Lord. Perhaps someday He will bring them back into your life.

A lifetime: There are a few relationships that whenever you come together even after a long hiatus, it is as if you were never apart.  There are some that you feel as if you couldn't breathe without them. How blessed are we that God puts in us the heart for relationship. The desire to be in connection with others. My most important lifetime relationship is with the Admiral. I desire to just be near his heart. God gave me the most amazing gift when he gave me this man. Another lifetime relationship I cherish is my amazing mother. Her perseverance and desire to know God is a constant example to me. I have others who aren't related by blood. Who will forever be lifetime relationships. There is no going back.

Relationships are the stuff of ages, not degrees, trophies, or accolades. Reach out my friends, reach out to the people in your life. Be thankful for them. Cherish all that God would teach you through others. Be sure to care for your relationships and give them priority in your life. Because the relationships are the legacy that you leave.

Lord touch my day. Help me to align my priorities with yours. Allow me the privilege Lord to love on on others and show them you.

* not her real name.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bear with me....


Thanks for continuing to check back. I am not on a hiatus per se. I am writing and seeking the Lord. Finishing posts has been a challenge this last 2 weeks. I have been easily distracted lately. My hubby might say this is a normal state of mind, however I am feeling more scattered than usual. So I am continuing to write. It may just take me a little longer to get to posts up on the blog. Please pray I am able to gather some focus soon.