Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Savior is Born

I am reading Grace for the Moment Morning and Evening Journal by Max Lucado, this excerpt from the book is my favorite, it describes it so beautifully... so beautifully.

She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped
Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger.
Luke 2:7, NKJV

Christ grew in Mary until he had to come out. Christ will grow in you until the same occurs. He will come out in your speech, in your actions, in your decisions. Every place you live will be a Bethlehem, and every day you live will be a Christmas. You, like Mary, will deliver Christ into the world.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27 NIV).

Grace for the Moment Morning and Evening Journal By Max Lucado

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2011

payback is a dish best served coaled

Dear Nephew,

I have loved you since you were just a tiny peanut in your mother’s tummy
I loved you when you were lying in an incubator in the hospital weighing in at just a few pounds holding back the tears as I saw so many tubes and wires hooked up to your tiny little body not knowing if I would ever see you grow up. 

But God had you in the palm of His hand and I have been truly blessed to watch you grow into a fine young man, blessed indeed.
I look back on these precious 13 years we have spent together…

The time you feed me a piece of juicy fruit gum laced with chili powder
The endless mac and cheese and chicken nuggets I ate with you, I have never been able to look at those food groups quite the same again

The bouquet of stickiness you got stuck in my hair that had to be CUT OUT
The time you thought it was a good idea to lead me on a bike ride through a construction zone, the marks of that little field trip forever tatooed on my body.

The entire weekends I spent putting back together what you thought was a good idea to take apart
I still can’t get the door on my cabinet to shut properly

Our fifth spin on the tilt-a-whirl at the fair, I am not even gonna go there, but we both know what happened… I told you so
The time you programmed my cell phone… to GERMAN

When you drove my car into a pole, okay so that was my fault I should have waited until you were five to teach you how to drive
But I have to say you truly outdid yourself this last time, you got Auntie good hiding Bailey the Basset Hound’s toy mouse under my end table, and it is with much love that I give you this gift of coal for Christmas this year. I hope you understand it was all I could afford.  I had to spend the money I saved for your Christmas present on my visit to the emergency room after I ran into a wall and thought I broke my nose scrambling from the beady eyes that glared menacingly at me from underneath my table …thinking they were real.

A precious 13 years indeed.
Merry Christmas sweetheart I love you very much,
Love, Auntie Kandi

Ps. Payback is a dish best served coaled

(I did get my nephew a real Christmas gift, but I think I am going to let him sweat it out a bit thinking all he getting from me is a chunk of coal)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

two plans

A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

I had a plan
A good plan

A solid plan

A practical plan
An attainable plan

My plan was normal and it was reasonable, I liked my plan it was safe and made sense to me, God’s plan did not, it defied my normal reasoning power of logic challenged my sensibilities and threatened my comfort zone.
We will see more and more that we are chosen not because of our ability, but because of the Lord’s power, which will be demonstrated in our not being able.  Corrie Ten Boom.

It was planted as a tiny seed many years ago, God’s plan that is, and at one time I thought that was the direction I was headed in, the pieces falling into place and I felt the wondrous excitement like watching the first snow fall of the season, the first tulip born in spring or the first warm summer morning spent on my patio in quiet time, I could see the future  dawning through the new season and God’s plan coming full circle, I nurtured the plan and held it like precious cargo in the palm of my hand.
I never did see that plan come to fruition, real life found me instead and that tiny seed was buried under the first snow fall of the season, washed away with the spring rains and burned off under the heat of the summer sun and it looked like nothing more than a fanciful notion of an overactive imagination, clearly I misunderstood, and I started weaving together my solid.practical.attainable plan, I liked my plan, I nurtured my plan and held it like precious cargo in the palm of my hand, I liked my plan better anyway it was reasonable and made sense to me.

It was an ordinary day looking not much different from the ones that preceded it, when the soil of the little pot where that tiny seed was planted many years ago became unsettled and blooms began to push through the black earth that kept that tiny seed covered and protected.
Oh c’mon!!

I have often mused that I have the amazing ability to get lost in my own driveway, and that is exactly where I was, turned around and lost in my own driveway, I was facing south driving north and ended up somewhere in the east. I started to resemble one part Scooby-Doo running in 5 different directions at the same time and one part Deputy Dog in his deep dopey voice “which way do I go, which way do I go.”
I searched the secret chambers, those chambers we keep hidden away and never speak of what lay beyond their dusty doors because they are not practical or reasonable but rather colored in all shades of ridiculous to the human eye. The chamber where I filed away the plan I clearly misunderstood in the filing cabinet of “dreams I thunk up on my own.”

And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?’ But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:26-27.
So I stop

Stop and listen for His voice
Stop and listen to the scriptures I am reading

Stop and step back and listen to the words He is speaking around me
I am still seeking, still wondering still questioning, still really not knowing if I heard Him right or if I am just grasping at straws.

So it is one step one tiny little step one day at a time as I feel around for His hand on my shoulder guiding me in the way I should go.
We may not understand God’s plan, but He does.  Seek Him first and trust His answer, even when it is mired in every conceivable color of “that doesn’t make sense.”

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
I am linking up with Tracy for Winsome Wednesday.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I don’t want to ever… and an award

Sweet Rewards

The angels stood on alert, looking on intently, quietly, they were warmed up and ready to go and as soon as the Father gave the word they would be earth bound, when a young angel in training with a sweet cherub voice broke the silence.

“We have to do something. Don’t you see where she is headed?” a sense of urgency in his voice for the situation they were witnessing, his feet floating a few inches off the ground ready to take flight before the word was given.
“Not yet” the older and wiser angel replied, stretching one arm across the novice angels chest and the other on his shoulder to bring him back down, “the Father has her well protected, we just have wait our turn.”

The senior angel admired his young charges enthusiasm, he was going to make a good case worker one day but for now he had a lot of learning to do the first being that the humans had to make the choice for themselves and on this day their newest assignment was going to do just that, say yes to God.
I have often mused that God didn’t give me a choice, I was in a pit and no matter hard I tried I couldn't get out I just kept sinking deeper, but I did have a choice the pit or Him, not choices I particularly liked at the time but I did have a choice and I chose Him.

I look at my life sometimes and wonder why God chose this for me, I am not talking about the obvious answer, I know that we are all God’s children chosen by Him and I am certainly not complaining I have been blessed beyond measure, but the deeper question, why ME?  Because it seemed like the neverending storm of Him pursuing me, relentlessly, why? Why me? Why pursue ME the way He did?

I ask that question because before God my life was a series of two steps back but never one step forward trying to get my attention, but I look around this world and there are people who live charmed lives and have absolutely no relationship with God or the one they do have is very limited in perspective, they have no reason to depend on God and they don’t, for their resources are plentiful and the storms are few, so why choose ME? I don't know if this makes sense to anyone, but I still stand in amazement at the lengths He went to get my attention.

I am just a regular person from middle America who works a regular job, drives an 11 year old car, and lives in a 1000 square foot house that was built sometime in the 1940’s. I have been in God’s chop shop on more than a few occasions, my inner workings stripped and rebuilt more than once, He has dried up my finances, fired me from jobs, I have mended a few broken hearts, I went through a season where I attended the funerals of six family members in one year and endured an incredibly lonely stint of isolation.

Before Him I was barely limpin along and a life after Him that is wholly dependent and crazy in love with Him, I wonder why He chose me for the storms I have walked through to lead me to this life that is so insanely blessed. 
I don’t ever want to get to that place where my dependency on God is limited or that I think something will never happen to me based on a false sense of security in my own resources.

I don’t ever want to be in that place where Christianity means one hour on Sunday mornings and a laundry list of prayer requests for myself, but never really having that deep connected relationship with Him.
I don’t ever want to get to comfortable that I forget that I am where I am not by anything I did because I worked hard and made the right choices, I am where I am because of God’s favor, because I certainly don’t deserve the life I have been given.

I don’t want to ever get to that place where the resources are plentiful and the storms are few that I stop seeing the power of God work through impossible circumstances to witness a beautiful ending that makes absolutely no sense in this human world.

And now for the awards, sorry it has taken me a while but here they are:

Tracy at My daily walk in His grace awarded me the Liebster blog award, so now it is my turn to pass it on.

Lisa, at A Moment with God, Lisa is a precious gift from God and her blog encourages me every day, God knew what He was doing when He brought Lisa into my life, I always discover new scripture through her writing that speaks so clearly to me, I am so honored to have a sister in Christ like Lisa.

Eileen at The Scenic Route, I met Eileen through a blog carnival hosted by Rachel Olsen from Proverbs 31 about a year ago, Eileen has been the best friend I never met in real life, her posts always make me laugh with her funny anecdotes.
Kendra aka Pinks at Relying on Him, Kendra found me and she is another gift from God, I started reading her blog when she first started writing and I have been following her ever since, her heart transparent and her words becoming more beautiful each time I read them.

Phil from Inspirations from Phather Phil, oh Phil what I can say about you? Inspiring, uplifting, encouraging.  Phil is the brother I never had, and if I had one I would want him to be Phil, his love for his wife and kids is beautiful, I love reading his e-mails to God every day.

Deane at Who is God, Deane’s teaching is practical and straight forward, I still have so much to learn in my walk with God and I always learn something new I can apply to my life from Deane, the comments she leaves for me are always inspiring and encouraging.

I could only choose five, but I wanted to choose so many more, so I encourage you check out the blogs I love list on my sidebar because I love their blogs as well and I blessed to know each and everyone of them.

The End.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I tried valiantly, but the words were not flowing, and after several attempts of  forceably trying write a post that was clearly out of the will of God (I think I dozed off a few times while I was proof reading it) I am recycling one of the very posts I ever wrote, it will be a new to many of you because back then no one read my blog. 

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

Ok so it is more like Bald Eagles, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Beavers.

“C’mon lets go” my friend yelled standing two feet away in the patio door that leads to my backyard.

“Shhhhh quiet, you are going to scare them away, come take a look at this” I said in little more than a whisper.

Exasperated and growing impatient she steps out onto the patio to take a look. “It is a bird” she says.
“It is not just a bird, look at it, it’s a Cardinal, I think there is a family of them living up there” I said pointing up into the 50 year old maple tree that is still standing tall in my backyard.

“Ok, so it is a Cardinal, I think we learned about those in the first grade, c’mon lets go”.

“If there is any doubt in your mind that God exists, that bird right there is proof that He does”.

“It’s a bird”.

So my friend was completely missing my point, and I am not giving up hope that some day she will see the beauty in what I saw in my backyard that afternoon. Living in Wisconsin we don’t see many Cardinals, our state bird is the Robin, and Cardinals don’t come around for a visit very often, but when they do, it is hard to miss them. I had Cardinals and Blue Jays living in my back yard that summer, looking quite intentional with their color palette of blues and reds so bright that it is unmistakably God who created them, and rather than containing these colors, He created a bird to bestow them upon, to swoop and dart through the air for all the world to see, and they were living in the tree in my backyard, and they stuck around all summer keeping me company.

I saw many miracles that summer, A long neck crane cooling himself in the pond across the street, Cardinals and Blue Jays gliding through the air over head, a beaver slithering its way into the water and a bald eagle perched on a lamp post that had the entire neighborhood out to watch, and when it spread its wings and took flight I don’t see how anyone can deny how great our God is to create such a beautiful and spectacular creature.

Ever wonder where God is in your life? Just look around, He could have created the world to be black and white and we would be none the wiser, but He didn't, instead He chose to bless us with blue skies and rainbows after a storm, green grass and leaves that change color in the fall.  He blessed us with the daisies of the field, and the sweet scent of a rose, He sent His Son, He didn't have to but He did.   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Posting

I am guest posting at Phather Phil today.  you can read that here. 

When someone askes you write a post for their blog, it can be a bit daunting, you hope they like what you wrote, you hope that you have represented them well, funny enough the post I wrote for Phil is about hope.  When I first started writing it I had no idea what I was going to write about but hope just seemed flow out onto the page. With the season of Christmas upon us, we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus, and the hope of what His birth would mean for the world.  

Thank you Phil.


Monday, November 28, 2011

no words

I know that there are people who don’t agree with the way I choose to honor God before others in my everyday life, and I know that there are people who are not going to agree with I have to say in this post, and that is fine, I am ok with that.  In my everyday life I don’t talk about Jesus, I don’t, because I know that someone who is not ready to hear about God is going to shut down the moment His name mentioned.  I accepted Christ four and half years ago, before that, if anyone even mentioned the word God in my presence, I would them to bleep bleep bleep out of my presence, I was at rock bottom back then and I desperately need me some Jesus, but I wanted absolutely nothing to do with Him.  I make no secret that I am a believer, I wear that badge loud and proud, but I don’t talk about it, unless someone asks.

Jesus was a sinless man who loved and obeyed the laws of God, but oh my He loved the sinners, and they loved Him, they flocked to Him, and He never rejected them but treated them with dignity.  Back in the day when Jesus walked this earth as a man in human flesh, if anyone ever needed to find Him all they had to was look in square in the middle of sin and they would find Jesus there, probably having lunch with all the sinners of the town He was in, but even then He never sinned. He never condemned, or judged even the most sinful of people, instead He brought them into His flock, He loved on them, it was in the presence of Jesus where they found peace, and when they found peace in the arms of Jesus, they ultimately began to love God and honor His laws.
In my early days, some of the loudest words ever spoken to me, were no words at all, those who had the greatest impact in my journey with Jesus, are the ones who spoke the least, because when we are filled with whole lotta Jesus the peace flows through us like a river, and unbeliever can’t help but see His light shine through you and they are going to want whatever it is you have.

You don’t have to agree with me, I know some people aren’t going to, I just don’t believe that I need to pull out my  holy slingshot loaded with the gospel and aim square at an unbeliever’s head, I  don’t need to use big words like salvation, redemption, and sanctification, I don’t even know what those words mean, they scare me, so I can imagine what they would do to an unbeliever, we speak loudly when nothing is spoken. 
I was going to post this Sunday night, and I heard the whisper on my heart, wait.  This morning I popped over to a blog that I visit regularly, My Daily Walk in Grace, Tracy talked about random acts of kindness, that is what I am talking about, speaking loudly through no words at all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Train Station - A Thanksgiving Story

She had to admit the snow was beautiful, falling down quietly around her as she stepped out onto the platform of the train station, pulling her red wool scarf tightly around her neck and matching hat down closer around her ears. Emily Grayson held out a mittened hand and let the fresh white powder collect in her palm. Daylight was giving way to darkness, peacefulness falling down around her in white snowflakes from the nighttime sky.

It was only supposed to be a couple hour train ride to her family’s farm in Vermont, but they were forced to stop midway through the trip, with so much snow collecting on the tracks it was impossible to go any further. They were grounded at a tiny train station in the town of No Where, Unincorporated.

She wished that she were enjoying the scenery of the snowfall at her parent’s home tucked under one of the fluffy blankets her mom kept on hand for such a time as this. She wished she had her hands curled around a hot mug of her mother’s cocoa and breathing in the deep aroma of holiday pies baking in the oven, their sweet scent filling the air, not sitting in a train station in No Where, what kind of name was that for a town anyway? She thought to herself.

The large doors leading inside the station boasted an impressive shade of red, the hardwood floors creaked beneath her feet and the wooden benches stained in deep mahogany reminded her of the church she and her family used to attend when she was a child. Her journal clutched to her chest, her words only audible to God, “Really Father? You had to pick today for the first big snowfall of the season, You couldn’t have waited until tomorrow?”

 Going back inside and taking her place on the bench where she had stowed her overnight bag underneath, she felt the eyes on her, she was only able to look into them for a second, they were deep and dark with nothing but deadness behind them that seemed to go on forever, those eyes would forever be burned into her memory.  He was just a boy maybe eleven or twelve, his legs stretched out before him, his arms angrily folded across his chest, Emily wondered what a boy so young was doing sitting in a train station by himself on Thanksgiving during a snow storm.

10 Years Later

 Summer break was over and classes had been underway for a few weeks, Erica was sitting in the front row of the lecture hall during her college English class her focus on Professor Grayson, certain she was the one, it had to be her.  Erica had been praying for years that she would see her again, the girl from the train station, the only person to ever look at her, really look at her.  The girl was a woman now but Erica would never forgot her.

When class was dismissed Erica slowly walked up the large handsome cherry wood table Ms. Grayson often sat on while teaching her class.  Pulling the burgundy leather Bible with the black satin ribbon dangling from the pages from her book bag she held it out in Emily’s direction.  

“Ms. Grayson, I think this belongs to you.”

Emily took the Bible in her hands, not recognizing it at first but it looked strikingly similar to the one she used to have, but lost many years ago. Opening the front cover Emily immediately recognized the scripture written in her mother’s handwriting, looking at the young girl standing in front of her, Emily was silently searching, pleading for answers.

“I took this from your bag 10 years ago at the train station in No Where, during the snow storm.”

Not recognizing the girl standing before her Emily looked into Erica’s eyes, she remembered those eyes, hauntingly dark, sadness so deep it seemed to run on forever, she never forgot those eyes, they were the same eyes she was looking into now, except the deadness, the loneliness, the fear that she saw in them so long ago was gone and replaced with light, bright dancing light.

It was all coming back to her now, “I do remember” Emily’s voice a whisper and pleading confusion, “but it was a boy not a girl that night.”

"Ms. Grayson" saying it more like a question than a statement, “My father passed away before I was born and my mom never got over losing him so she dulled the pain with alcohol. She had just gone into rehab for the fifth time, I was staying with a foster family and I couldn’t live there with them anymore so I tucked my hair under a hat, put on some of my foster brothers clothes and ran away, I was going to jump in front of that train you were on, but it was snowing so hard and I was late getting there…” her voice trailing off.

“When you got up and walked outside onto the platform I went through your bag looking for money, I was just so hungry, but I pulled out this Bible instead and then you came back inside, I didn’t expect you to come back so soon, and I didn’t have time to put it back so I kept it. I didn’t really want anything to do with God or this Bible but I just kept reading the scripture written on the inside cover.  The next couple of years were rough and it took a long time but eventually I gave my life to Christ, and so did my mom, she has been sober for eight years now.”

Emily stood there silently, stunned not knowing how to respond to everything she just heard. Finally placing a hand on the girl’s shoulder, “I think you should keep it Erica, and pass it along to someone who needs it”, pressing the Bible back into the girl’s hands.

“Thank you Ms. Grayson I will make sure it finds a good home, oh and one more thing”, the excitement in her voice rising. “My mom goes to college here too, we are getting our education together, I would love for you to meet her sometime” late for her next class Erica gave Emily a quick wave as she bounced up the stairs two at a time.

Emily waved back a smile spread across her face.

Erica and her mom Natalie spent Thanksgiving at the Grayson farm that year, and every year after that, on their way passing through the same train station where Emily and Erica first met. A few years later the entire Grayson clan was on hand cheering and clapping as Erica and Natalie Montgomery walked across the stage to collect their diplomas.

The Train Station, No Where, Unincorporated - Present Day

The legend of the Bible is a closely guarded secret among those who know about it. No one knows the mystery of where it comes from and no one ever speaks of it outside the walls of the train station, but every year at Thanksgiving for as long as anyone can remember the Bible shows up on the same bench and every year visitors from Thanksgivings past come from all around to give Thanks, some preferring to stay in the shadows, while others come with picnic baskets in tow filled with turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes to share with old friends and new ones alike.

She walked through the door, very thin her eyes sunk deep into her face, gazing about the room as if she didn’t see anyone, Jane Emerson sunk her whole body into the wooden bench as if she were trying to disappear into it. They watched as tears slipped down her face while the snow outside slipped from the darkened night sky. Jane was replaying the events of that horrible day two months before in her head. It had been raining hard and her husband was late getting home from work. Jane was starting to worry when she heard the car pull up outside, running to the front door and swinging it open, it wasn’t her husband’s car, but a police car, with two policemen walking up to the front porch, rain gear protecting their uniforms, the words swirled around her, foggy, muffled, barely hearing them.

An accident

No survivors

Jane’s husband was gone and she spent the next two months crumpled on the floor, and finally unable to take the pain and loneliness anymore, Jane found herself in the train station in No Where, Unincorporated that Thanksgiving night  like so many others had before her, intent to step off the platform and into the path of a whistling locomotive.

She heard the cheerful laughter coming from the tables decorated with brightly colored table clothes and cornucopia’s that were set up throughout the station, what a dumb place to eat Thanksgiving dinner Jane thought to herself hearing the whistle blow alerting everyone that a train was coming.  Placing both hands on either side of her she pushed herself up off the bench and felt something underneath her hand, wrapping her fingers around it she picked it up and craddled the very well-worn burgundy leather cover and a black satin ribbon dangling from the pages in her hands, Jane opened the front cover and read the scripture handwritten on the inside cover, realizing it wasn’t just a book, it was a Bible.

Gus, a tall man somewhere is his thirties who had visited the train station just the year before after loosing his job, got up from his seat at the table and gently placed a blanket around Jane’s shoulders and a hand on her arm, Miss please come sit down we would love it if you would share this Thanksgiving meal with us, sweeping an arm in a wide circle across the table, with that everyone at the rose from their chairs and surrounded Jane, pulling her to the table and filling her a plate full with turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, it was the first time Jane remembers eating in months.

One by one the visitors of Thanksgivings past that had been milling around in the shadows wrapped their heavy coats tightly around themselves, heads nodding to each other in acknowledgment and sly smiles exchanged between them knowing the blessing of the exchange they had just witnessed, and quietly they headed towards the door on their way to spend Thanksgiving with their families, remembering when it was them.

Isaiah 40:29-31
He give strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men will stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings on like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

This will be my last post until after the holiday

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.

Disclaimer:  This is not a true story, at least not to my knowledge, I totally made it up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

happily ever after

It happened, when I wasn’t looking, when my head was turned and my attention distracted chasing my version of happily ever after.

Life happened, unfolding organically written through seemingly ordinary days filled with nothing much that looked remotely extraordinary.
I didn’t get my happily ever according to me, but happily ever after found me nonetheless, not by anything I did, but by everything I didn’t do.

It was through equal parts good and equal parts trial that were shaken and stirred together, that I found everything I wasn’t looking for, none of what I wanted, but everything I needed. 
I found my happily ever after, in Jesus and Jesus alone.  He is my lifeline, the source of my joy, the strength of my peace, my Savior, my everything, my happily ever after.

My days have already been written, the details mapped out, my tomorrow’s in His hands.
This life of mine is not about me making a name for myself, how many people I lead to Christ or how many service hours I log.

What matters is living a life that is pleasing to God and glorifying Him while I walk this earth.  How I love the people he places in my path and honoring Him on the roads I travel because of what He did at the Cross for me.
It is about knowing that there is a life after this one, my eternal life where I will see Jesus face, a place where there will be no more tears and no more pain, no more sickness disease or starvation, it is that place where it won’t matter if I ever sell a best-selling novel,  the size of my home or bank account, my job title, the car I drive or how many stadiums seats were filled with people who clamored to hear me speak,  which by the way I have no intentions of ever doing. 

None of it will matter, if I lose my happily ever after along the way.
Matthew 19:21
Jesus said to him. “if you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.”

Matthew 19:29-30
And everyone who has left house or brothers or sisters or fathers or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Mark 8:36
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?

linking up with Tracy for winsome wednesday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

take it up with God

I grew up in fear, being afraid was my normal.  I was afraid of making my father angry, so I tried, we all tried, to keep him happy, but my father was a broken man with anger raging inside him. He called me ugly, he told me I was stupid, He told me I was fat, so I tried, as much as a little girl could, to not be those things so my father would not be angry anymore, but as valiantly as I tried I always fell short in his eyes, because he always found something that was wrong with me. 

Home was a uncertain, we never knew when my father would come through the doors swinging or ready to give hugs and kisses, rooms  at times were torn to pieces, bruises were covered under heavy makeup and holes were punched in walls during one of my father’s rages.  At times I would sit in the corner of my bedroom trying hard to be really quiet hoping he would forget I existed.
I grew into adulthood trying to please people the same way I tried to please my father as a child, but I still always epically fell short, because no matter what I did they always found something about me that needed to be fixed.

I am enough because I was created by God, crafted by His own hands, I don’t have to change to be the person someone else wants me to be, I am becoming the person God wants me to be.
Because the last I heard the planet’s population reached 7 billion people.

7 billion people created by God, perfectly crafted by His hands.
7 billion people and He knows each one by name, He know everyone hair on their head, every cell in their body every thought in their head.

He knows every trial and moment of triumph, He knows their past, their present and their future, He knows each of His 7 billion children by name and He loves every one of them because He wove them together uniquely and individually to carry out a purpose, no two people are the same, He intended for it to be that way.
And if that is hard to wrap your head around, He also knows every star by name, every mountain, every grain of sand and blade of grass.

He knows every tree, every leaf, every rock, every lake, stream and pond.

He knows every cub born on plains of Africa, and every minnow born in the depths of the ocean.

He knows His creation and what He created, and He knows it intimately.

He holds the universe in His hands

Because He is God, and we are not

I don’t want to live in fear as I did as a child, I want to be free, and it is in Christ that I am free, because I know the person I am and the person I am becoming in Him is more than enough.

And if there is anyone who doesn't like that, who thinks they can do a better job, can take it up with God.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

this one's Mine

I was swimming in circles around a swimming pool that took me nowhere.
I could see the sunlight from beneath the surface where I was frantically kicking my legs, my arms stretched out before me as my fingers clawed and scratched through the liquidy wetness that was suffocating me, I was reaching for the surface that seemed to be right before me, I could see it, just inches away, but I couldn’t quite get there, I kicked harder, frantic to reach to the top.  The sunlight was shining so bright that it was white, it looked so beautiful, so warm, so welcoming, so inviting.  But I was sinking deeper, further beneath the surface, it seemed to never end, I just kept floating down, deeper and deeper.

I finally felt it, the hard surface that was the edge of the pool, running my hand alongside it, it felt round, and colored in a deep shade of blue.  My fingers felt their way up the side, guiding me up to the top, I was getting closer, and I was reaching and feeling around for something to grab onto to pull myself up, and then violently I was pushed back down, back into the water.  I heard the voice but I didn’t know where it was coming, the words searing mercilessly through my head “people like you never get out of this pool”, I felt my head being pushed back into the water and I was sinking again, deeper down towards the bottom.  I gasped at the tiny bubbles floating by that offered little more than just enough air to keep me going, but never quite getting that deep full breath my body was screaming for, aching for.
My head felt light, my vision blurry, my words were barely audible as I gasped for air, this time reaching  up towards the sunlight that seemed to be guiding me to the top “help me, someone please help me.”

His arms were strong as they effortlessly plunged beneath the surface and scooped me up.  He held me close, my head resting against the softness of His robe as tears spilled down my face, I sputtered for air and then finally I was able draw in that long deep breath I was searching for, my eyes trying to focus through the brightness that was lit up around me.  It was Him… all along, the light I was reaching for, it was Him, reaching out His hand for me, waiting for me to reach back, to call out for Him, my words barely audible, “help me”, was all He needed to scoop me up in His arms, brush the sopping hair that was splayed across my face from my eyes, holding me close to His chest and turning and carrying me away safely in the protection of His arms.

This one’s Mine.

linking up with Tracy at Winsome Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

delightful letters

I love fall, I love all the blessings it brings, the deep reds, burnt oranges and bright yellows that light up the landscape this time of year.  I love the smell of the crisp cool air and dried leaves, there is just something about fall that feels clean as I draw a deep breath into my chest and let it fill my lungs. 

The window in my home office sits half open and I can hear the leaves crunching underfoot of the passerby’s, a cup of spiced cocoa sits next to me at my desk, steam rising through whip cream that is sprinkled with some nutmeg and cinnamon sticks resting against the edge of the mug. 
Wrapped in my black and pink checkerboard flannel jammies and fuzzy slippers I take in the sweet fragrance of apple cinnamon, vanilla and evergreen candles that are burning throughout the house. 

I love the feel of soft sweaters and fluffy blankets against my skin. I love the way the cool air kisses my cheeks and leaves them glowing in a rosy shade of pink, I love fall and the blessings of its beauty that dance before my eyes, even when the wind is bearing down and the cold wetness of rain is beating against my face, I still love fall there is just something warm and cozy and joyful and all together delightful about it.
It was a whisper on my heart, "this is how I delight in you and so much more."

“Even when my attitude is more cold wet and rainy than beautifully lit colors?”
Yes, even then.

Tears brimmed my eyes and at that very moment the only thing I could think to do is stand tall on my knees in worship and praise Him.   
The ushers made their way up and down the rows, and Pastor Guy stood on the stage asking everyone to take a dollar from the tubs that were being passed around, at first I thought it was a joke and we were getting monopoly money, nope the money was real, each person that attended church that weekend was given a dollar.  This may not seem like a big deal, I mean really what can you do with a dollar?  The money did not come from the tithes and offerings, it came from the pastor’s personal stash, and while I do not know the exact head count  I think it is safe to reason a guess that there are a few thousand people in and out of that church on any given weekend. 

So what can you do with a dollar?  Well you can buy two stamps  as Pastor Guy suggested and you can write two letters, not type them but get out a pen and piece of paper and handwrite a letter and put in the mailbox.  So that is what was on my to do list this week, write two letters.  Then my journey group leader called me the other night, someone, anonymously wants to give me their dollar and I am now writing four letters. 
Will you write a letter with me?  You don’t have to write four, it doesn’t have to be a three page case for Christ to an unbeliever, it could be anyone maybe you know just one person that is in a really tough spot and needs to hear that Jesus delights in them, you could even get your kids involved and have them write something in colorful crayons or markers or draw a picture, just think of what a hoot it would be to be the recipient of that letter.

Will you write at least one letter to uplift someone, let them know that they are loved and Jesus delights in them?

Linking up with Tracy for Winsome Wednesday

Sunday, October 23, 2011

can I pray for you?

When I first started writing this blog I had a very clear vision as to what direction I wanted it to go in, God had other plans, and this blog ended up chronicling my journey through 14 months of unemployment. The ups and downs, the joys I discovered, the fears that at times consumed me and my anger towards God for putting me in the position I was in.  I would never choose to go through that again, it was a season of difficult circumstances and big changes yet through it all, through my times of lying on the desert floor in pools of my tears, my times of shaking my fists at heavens it was a time of immeasurable blessing. 

Money was tight and bills were paid late, I prayed for deliverance for 14 very long months, and finally a few months ago I got a job and went back to work, and while I have a very strong dislike for Monday mornings it is a job that I enjoy going to, I was feeling satisfied and contented in my life, that was until…

I sat in church this morning feeling stale and restless, wondering what was wrong with me, and in an almost odd way I longed to go back to the season I came from, I can’t explain it.
I think it would be important to add side note right now, Dear Heavenly Father, I am in no way shape or form asking You to send me back there, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The last 14 months felt like I was climbing a mountain and I have finally reached the top and now I am standing here wondering, um…what do I do now?
I am sure there is another mountain for me to climb somewhere in my future, there always is, but as I am standing at the top of this one, I would love to pray for you or someone that you know, I would consider it a joy, a privilege and a blessing to pray for you.

Leave a comment if you wish, you can remain anonymous if you choose, or you can ask God to lay it on my heart, He is the great deliverer, i'll get the message.
My pen and paper are ready, can I pray for you?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the cup

There has always been a part of me that knew my life was not going to follow the yellow brick road this world we live in dictates our lives should be, but that is what I wanted, I wanted the yellow brick road of what everyone else had, what they were getting, so seemingly easy… I wanted normal, I wanted regular, yet normal and regular is anything but what my life has been.

Before I knew Christ I thought my life was about me, it was about getting what I wanted, it was about me being comfortable and me being happy, after I accepted Christ it took the better part of four years to pry my hands from that cup.  My fingers were tightly wrapped around it refusing to give it up, everything I wanted was in that cup, and I held it tight against my chest as Jesus kept His arms stretched out towards me, wanting me to hand it over, “My child, please give it to Me”, my hopes were in that cup, my hopes of a regular life, my hopes of someday being someone’s wife, someone’s mother, my hopes and dreams were in that cup and I refused to let it go.
I don’t know when it happened, but one day my cup was gone, I couldn’t find it, that cup was my safety blanket that I lugged around with me, I held it close never letting it go, never letting it out of my sight, my hope was that one day my cup would be filled and how was my cup going to be filled if I didn’t have it?

It was a ratty tin cup that was dented and bent from its years of travel and it was time for it to go.  I have a new cup now, it is a beautiful cup that He created just for me, I don’t carry that cup with me, it is too precious, I leave it safely in the care of my Jesus.  Each morning He fills it with something new, and every evening He pours out the ugly parts that have interwoven themselves into my life throughout the day, until only His portion is left in my cup.
I have written a few posts about this subject, and really thought I was done with it, that was until…

I could here the urgency in her voice, she is waiting to be married so her life can finally begin, she is only 28, and I felt sad. Our lives do not begin when we get married, our lives begin when we hand over the ratty dented cup that we keep clutched tightly to our chest until it filled to our specifications, and we accept the beautiful cup Jesus has crafted just for us, when we let the contents He has filled it with pour into our lives.  
I know my words aren’t going to pack much of punch, I was once that girl that held firmly to her flimsy tin cup refusing to let it go.  My cup divided my attention, as much as I didn’t think it did, it did, because I could not focus fully on Jesus, I couldn’t fully trust Him while I still had one eye watching my cup hoping and waiting for it be filled. I understand how hard it is to let that cup go, we think if we let it go we let our hopes and dreams go with it, but when we let go we let God.

These days I rarely think about being married, God knows what He is doing and marriage it is not it for me right now, but He has filled my life with beauty nonetheless, a beauty I was missing while I kept myself distracted with my cup, rather than letting it go and taking His. 
Let go and Let God, focus on letting God work THROUGH your life, and let Him take care of what is happening IN your life, I promise there is a beauty to discover you never thought possible.

Dear heavenly Father, I hand You this cup of my life today, it is Yours to do Your will with. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

That is my prayer each morning before I start my day, it reminds me that this life is not mine and that I am not in control, my life belongs to Him, and He gives me beauty everyday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

today i will

Today I will believe that I am significant

The Bible doesn’t tell us his name, how old he is or where he came from, we don’t even know if he had a speaking part, we only know him as the little boy.
He was one of the key players in one of the greatest stories told in the Bible that displayed one of the many miracles of Jesus.

He was the little boy with the sack lunch that Jesus used the feed 5000.
We don’t know what happened to the little boy, we don’t know what kind of man he grew up to be, we never hear about him again, yet thousands of years we are still talking about him.

Today believe that you are significant
Today I will be generous
What if that little boy had refused to give up his lunch?

Too bad so sad buddy, ain’t my fault none of y’all didn’t think to bring something to eat, I am keeping it for myself.

What if that little boy looked at his fish and loaves and thought no way!  This ain’t gonna feed all these people so why bother giving it up, besides then what will I eat?
Today I will believe that I am significant

Today I will be generous
Remember the little boy, whose name we don’t know, but we still talk about him, the little boy with the sack lunch of a fish and a few loaves of bread that fed five thousand.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

for a season for a reason for a time

I watched the fog roll over the fields, its heavy wetness bending the stalks at their tip and wrapping itself around my car, drawing in a deep breath I could feel the warmth of summer  mixed with the cooler air of fall fill my lungs, it was typical weather for this time of year, as summer gives way to autumn, the warm summer air fighting to hang on just a bit longer as the cooler air rolls in, the seasons are changing, as they do four times a year in my part of the country.  Eventually,  autumn will give way to winter, and winter to spring and spring to summer and summer to fall. Seasons change, they always do.

“Why should I take one when I am just going to have to give it back?” That is just stupid I thought to myself about the declaration of the man sitting in the pew behind me, he was nonchalant and unapologetic in what seemed to be a reasonable statement in a narrow perspective kind of way, refusing the small token gift the church was offering, because each person who took one will have to give it back at the end of the month.  From a human perspective I can understand his reasoning behind not taking the gift, yet it seemed like such a worldly cynical point of view. His remark led me to a new level of something that even as I write this I am not sure what that is, but I felt a restless anxiety stir inside of me, I felt sadness.  Sadness for a man who turned down a gift because he knew he wasn’t going be able to keep it so why take it to begin with? 
A few weeks ago I celebrated my 41st birthday, the tenth anniversary of my father’s death and the one year mark since I started writing this blog, it was bitter and sweet all rolled together, I looked back on the journey God has taken my feet not just since I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior but also my journey over the past 41 years, it has been ever changing, ever evolving, but with each new place my feet have tread  God had been writing my story, through the many bad choices and the few good ones I made, through the mending of more than can I remember broken hearts, the despair of depression and the many gifts He has given and then asked me to give back, that has led me here, to this place I stand now.  I have ignored this blog for a good two weeks now, and I have been plucking away at this post for just as long as the fog of this new season envelopes me, clouding my vision as I settle in and make myself at home in this new season, knowing there is a reason, a purpose as to why He me put here, I look for the meaning of it in every step I take, every path that crosses mine, and every face I look into, knowing that this season too will come to end, eventually it be time to move on,  to give the gifts of this season back,  just like all the other seasons I have been through, but a lesson will be learned, blessings will be found and perhaps the opportunity to be a blessings to someone else.

I felt bad for this man that He could not see the potential of how big this small gift could be even it is for only a season, even if he has to give it back.   I can only imagine what this world would look like if we all refused the gifts God wanted to give us because the time may come when we will have to give it back, so why accept it to begin with?  How many blessings and opportunities to be a blessing we would miss out on because we refuse to accept a gift that was only meant to be ours for a season anyway.
 I was given a Cross necklace as a gift when I was baptized in August and I wear it almost every day, that tiny silver cross started a conversation about Jesus in an elevator, that tiny sliver cross that someone tried to give to me more than a year ago but I refused it because I didn’t like it, that gift of a silver cross that I first refused started a conversation in an elevator about Jesus almost a year later.  The day may come when He asks for my Cross back, to give to someone else, perhaps there are plans to use it to start a conversation in another elevator somewhere else, but it never really belonged to me anyway, it was a gift from God given to me through someone else, to use for season, for a reason, for a time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

words of power, words of destruction

I was hurt by the comments that were made, comments that in and of themselves were to a point, true. Comments based on a limited perspective  and not having all the information, an assumption was made, about me, that wasn’t true, and I was hurt, and if that weren’t enough, the comment was made in an e-mail message that included about ten other people. I was embarrassed and humiliated my mind was reeling, why would someone I thought I had a good relationship with, someone I considered a friend say such hurtful things that weren’t entirely true.

Being the Jesus girl I am I was going to speak her about it, privately of course, the conversation would stay between her and I and no one needed to know, when someone else who had read the e-mail talked to me about it, I expressed my confusion and hurt over it, “let it go” she instructed, “don’t say anything to her about and don’t let it bother you”.
Don’t let it bother me?! I felt I needed to defend myself, yes I made a mistake but it is not what you think, there is more to the story, my side of the story, I needed to set the record straight, and of course I was going to do it all Jesus like and all…

But really I wasn’t going to, my feelings were hurt, and when hurt feelings are involved, when they are still raw and sit heavy on your heart words are spoken that were never intended to be spoken, and that is where I was, I was on the verge of speaking words I wouldn’t say otherwise, because I was hurt and I wanted vindication, I needed to defend the person I know I am against the words that were spoken that said otherwise, even though what I planned to say to this person was going to be spoken in private the words would be out there lingering in the air, words that had the potential to change a relationship that I valued.
Our words hold tremendous power, more power than I think we even realize, their effects lingering long after they have parted our lips, long after we have forgotten that we spoke them, they have a ripple effect  that we will probably never see.  As I found out later the person who said those things about me, was spoken harshly to just hours before, unfair assumptions were made, assumptions that were not entirely accurate by a person who had unkind word spoken to them and through their mounting frustration took it out on my friend who in turn took it out on me, it was a chain reaction that left many in a puddle of confusion licking their wounds wondering what the heck happened! And it all started with harsh words by a nameless faceless person who was probably unaware of the flood gate they had opened and the numerous waterlogged bodies that they would leave in their wake.  

As long as we walk this side of heaven we will deal with and be the imperfect human beings God created us to be, at times we will be frustrated and angry, the grace and mercy we know we are called to extend to each other will battle it out with the unkind words that are begging to pass through our lips, and when they do we will feel better for about a minute, but regret will inevitably follow, and that is where I was, I wanted to respond, I wanted my day in court, at that moment I didn’t care how harsh my words would be I wanted her to know that what she did was not ok.
So I sat in a quiet place, my emotions fighting to control me, asking God to heal my hurt heart, and to remove the black soot of hardness that had wrapped itself around me, and He did, and then He released me to speak to my friend,  “How are you doing today?” I asked her, “You seem upset, can I help?”  Not sure of the reaction I would get, but an apology came and I was happy to have my friend again.

Our words are a mirror that reflects the condition of our hearts, and I can’t claim victory while my initial response was to give my offender a piece of my mind and coming this close to doing it, but it was a lesson learned in the power of our words. They can either build someone up or tear them down, they can be used to curse or bless. 
Proverbs 16:23-24 tells us that a wise man’s heart guides his words, and his lips promote instruction.  Pleasant words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Matthew 15:11 tells us that what goes in a man’s a mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.
Matthew 15:18 tells us that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

a common thread

He knows every star by name, every grain of sand, every mountain, every tree and every blade of grass.

And He knows you too, everything about you.  
He knew you before you were even a thought in your parents head, He knew when He was going to create you, He knew every word you would speak, every thought you would have in your head, He knew what your hair color, eye color and skin color were going to be, He knew the life you were going lead, the choices you would make and the consequences you would bear because of them.

He knows every person who would hurt you and every person you would hurt.
He has protected you from much but has also has let your heart be broken.

He knows it all, He knows each of His billions of children intimately by name, the ones that are close to Him, and the one that are far, the ones who have never heard about Him and the ones who have chosen to turn their back on Him.
He knows them and loves them.

He doesn’t love me or you any more than He loves the man sitting in a jail cell for taking someone’s life, or the prostitute on the street or the woman who chose to have an abortion or the alcoholic or the drug addict.
So often this world attaches the sin to the sinner, it defines people by what they have done, but we are not the sum total of our sins, we are connected to each other by a common thread, we are children of God uniquely created in His image.

No two people are exactly alike, there is no else who has your eyes, your nose, your hands, your mouth.
He carefully crafted only one of each of us and He saw something in what He created that was worth sending Jesus to die on Cross for.  So if there nothing else you find about a person to love, love them simply because they are a child of God someone Jesus saw worth dying for.    

Sunday, August 28, 2011

there's a butterfly on my sandwich

My hair circled around my face as the warm air blew through the open windows of my car, it was just another evening as I rocketed down I94 on my way home from work, I had plans for what I was going to do when I got home, take a walk, get some writing done, pack my lunch for the next day, what I wasn't planning on was my rearview mirror riding home with me in my lap and spending the rest of the night trying to figure out how reattach it,  and the thinning and frayed strings that were loosely holding me together snapped. I am so sick of things going wrong, I wailed as I sat on the cement floor of my driveway looking strange and a bit pitiful to the passerby’s, looking as if they were seconds away from calling the padded wagon to come pick me up.  I couldn’t get my mirror reattached and I had to go to work the next day, I didn’t know what I was going to do.  I couldn’t go driving down the interstate with no mirror on my car, when a roll of duct tape caught my eye, and the next morning I rolled out of my garage with almost an entire roll of bright green duct tape keeping my mirror strapped to my windshield.  

The following day was the start of the weekend, and I had two days to figure out how to fix my latest conundrum, and I discovered it was quite an easy fix once I calmed down.  If you ever need to know how to catch a bat or reattach a rearview mirror, come see me, I am your girl. I know these things may seem small but they are only a few in a series of irritants that keep plaguing me, they stop for a while and then pick up again, and I am getting a little tired of it all. Start rolling a bunch of small stuff together and the ball becomes bigger, that is what it felt like, a big ball of small things steam rolling over me before I had time to jump out of the way.  
I know God had been trying to send me little blessings of comfort, the song Strong Enough to Save by Tenth Avenue north seemed to stream from the airwaves every time I turned the radio on, He bathed me in little breaths of peace at unexpected times, but I wasn’t much interested in His comfort I was interested in things not going wrong anymore, or at least not so often, I crossed my arms and stomped my feet and refused to speak to God until all this nonsense stopped, in other words, until I got my way, cause I’m real stubborn like that, at 40 years old I haven’t quite mastered the art of acting my age, my behavior was more like that of a two year old not getting a second ice cream cone, I was mad.

The day was beautiful when I stepped outside the doors intending to eat my lunch on the Riverwalk, days like that are quickly coming to an end and I am trying to soak in as many of them as possible, the sunlight felt warm on my face as my eyes adjusted to the brightly lit rays that were shining down on me,  the park bench that was nestled on the river’s edge sat empty, my favorite park bench because it comes complete with a little tree that provides some shade from the afternoon sun, my steps growing more anxious trying to reach the bench before someone else could claim it.  Letting out a deep breath as I unload myself onto the bench, the weight of what the world was bearing down on me going down with me, I reached inside my bag and unwrapped my sandwich from the cellophane while my stomach churned against the food I was about force into it, I hadn’t been hungry much lately, so tiny nibbles were all I could manage to eat. 
Then it swooped down from its perch on the leaf that hung above my head, flying things are not on my list of likes these days and I swat at anything that comes within 10 feet of me.  Its wings were bright yellow, the brightest yellow I think I had ever seen and it was coming in for the landing, right on the corner of my sandwich, it stayed for just a second or two before it realized where it was and started pumping its wings ready to take off again, and I watched it for a few more seconds as it glided off into the afternoon sky.

As long as we walk this earth we will have problems, some will fall down around us in a light mist while the swelling tide of others will threaten to overtake and crumble our foundation, it is through the storms that I become more aware of the tiny speckles of God’s handiwork, perhaps it is because through the storms or even the tiniest spray of mist that my focus becomes more clearly fixed on God rather than myself, I notice more of those moments of beauty that can only come from Him, those mighty blessings that He wraps me in everyday but have developed a habit of overlooking when my circumstances seem to be in perfect alignment and I am double timing it to the tune of my own agenda. 

Problems serve a multitude of purposes, sometimes they are used as discipline or correction, sometimes they are used to get our attention, sometimes they are used to teach us to learn to trust Him or strengthen our faith and sometimes they are used to realign our perspective, to tune us into always keeping our eyes up not just when the clouds loom overhead but also when the sunshine is burning brightly, because that sunshine has a way of blinding our vision, to look for the beauty of those moments that can only come from Him, when He lets us know that He is near, the beauty of a butterfly landing on our sandwich.