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.