Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Prodigal Christmas

Christmas shopping. 
I love it. It's a feast for my eyes and speaks volumes for my love language. All of the lights, glitter, cozy displays, festive music, scented everything and airy excitement is a bit of an overdose for this eye luster. It's like a drug of sorts. Just as a mess can send me crashing, so Christmas scenes can spike my sugars. Closing my eyes for just a moment or two helps to gain control over the whole blood sugar level thing. The purpose for being out in this delight is to buy presents for the people I love. Another high. Hunting for that perfect something for that imperfect someone is a pleasure and a gift in itself, for me. 
Not just hunting for but, preferably, creating for my loved ones is so meaningful. If I could, I would spend most of my time making things for people...and I do, for much of it...but not everyone can use what I make. See, the practical side of me has to get it's edgewise word in too. I love to serve people and I love to give things to people, therefore, hand made gifts are a double-whammy. So, when people say Christmas is "not about the gifts", something in me slumps. It's my yearly, guilt free, season of love splurging. Loving in my own personal, preferential way...double-dipping in the love department. 

Disclaimer...It really has little to do with money. Commercialism will not be helped by my little addiction. The value of the gift is hardly related to amount of money spent on it. It's the thinking, planning, resourcefulness and creativity that goes into the gift that gives it the value. The way it is custom made, or purchased, for that person's heart. the economy benefits a bit, for sure, but my well below-average Christmas budget is not going to jingle any bells in that arena. I just cannot, and will not, go out and buy just anything for anyone. It's like flattery or shallow motions to me. I won't even bother. They'll know it's not from the heart. Time, paying attention and out-of-box thinking will find the love gift, not a big budget. Learning to separate spending money and giving gifts takes thought and practice. Getting caught up in giving rather than commercialism is a good thing. 
Jesus gave everything He had. His comfy position with the Father, His reputation and due honor. Lived a short, unworldly, unimpressive, uncomfortable life which climaxed in agony and loneliness. His service and gifts were met with ingratitude and misrepresentation. His love was called hate, madness and arrogance. The world did not really know Him and certainly did not love Him. It's desire for sin and comfort blinded it to the Truth and still walks in willful deception. 
Sometimes your gifts will not be received with the joy, tears and elation that you expect them to. Sometimes your gifts will go unnoticed, set aside and re-gifted. Jesus experienced that too. I've done it to Him many times myself. Give anyway. Give till it hurts. Give in and out of season. Give what God tells you to give and not what feels right. Trust the Giver and let true love work it's magic.
Go ahead and spend prodigally...your energy, thinking, searching and making, not your money.
 Learn what love really looks like, give it away and be amazed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sincerely Wrong

I was so confused, watching the election outcome speeches yesterday. Trump, Clinton and Obama all sounded the same, said similar things, 2 even quoted scripture!! How can these two sides (and then sides within sides) both appear so "good", so sincere, and be so opposite?? How can you be a hero and a villain at the same time? Lovely people, crying, hugging cheering and working so hard for "good" and yet, being so wrong in another person's eyes. Good people that I love and respect, seeing a totally different reality than I do. Aren't we watching the same movie??

There must be some kind of deception going on. No one is that great of an actor. Accept maybe Hitler, Mao or some other sort. I mean, the self deceiving kind. The kind where people really believe something that is really untrue...wrong...bad...not good...however you want to put it, but it really seems right and good to you. That is the scariest thing ever. What if you are doing that? What if I am doing that? One of us must be, because it is impossible for opposite things to both be right. Trump either hates women or he doesn't. Hillary broke the law or she didn't. We hear people saying all 4 possibilities are true...impossible. I'm talking about moral things, not preferences. Like, white men are either superior to all other races or they are not. It's beyond an opinion thing, and sometimes, allowing some people to go ahead with their opinion can be devastating to the whole world. Their opinion seems harmless. "As long as it doesn't affect me" we say. We let them into power, teach our children year after year after year and then...it affects us all.

I watched the speeches. I heard the sincere words, felt the sincere feelings of loss and fear, but the disconnect between their words and their beliefs was so apparent to me, I couldn't get past it. It's like watching another world from the outside, seeing something they cannot see and not being able to do anything about it. Not being able to share thoughts and ideas because of feelings and desires that overpower. Someone, either me or them is being deceived. Because I just can't believe that they are insincere, and I know I am not. So then, how do you spot a lie? How do you find the truth? How do we all finally see what is real and what is a facade? Or are you just ok with not knowing? Accepting more than one truth. Living in a maze of differing realities with no foundation, no assurance, no right or wrong and no reality. 

Being an outsider looking in at the US division, the deception is very apparent. I know it is universal. I know that no one is immune. But I also think most people are unaware of the possibility of being deceived. It's always someone else that is. Comments about how stupid the other people are for believing X about Y. A better comment might be to start asking people why they believe such things. We need to backtrack out of the weave of deception we've been led into.

So what is the antidote to deception?? How can I be sure that I am not believing a lie??

 "They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness." 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11

 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Romans 1:18

The truth is suppressed because of unrighteousness.  
If I have some unconfessed, unrepentant sin  in my life, then I am susceptible to deception. 
I am opening myself up to being tricked by lies, born from my own flesh or the Evil One himself. A clear conscience before God will keep me seeing straight.

It's not a new thing...it's ancient...Eve, because of her desire for power and knowledge, opened herself up to being deceived and fell for it. 

May we be ever aware of the possibility of being duped. Sincerely believing something is right and good, when it isn't in God's eyes. Keeping righteousness at the forefront of our defensive strategy. We cannot know righteousness, if we do not know the true and only God of the Bible.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wrath is Cool...It Wears Sunglasses

True Grit
Man on Fire

Totally satisfying and inspiring scenes of strong people, walking away in slow motion, from a big mess of bad guys piled high is blood and justice.

I too, feel the satisfaction. The craving for justice is in all of us. When it happens, we all get that rush of peace, joy and "all is right in the world now". Their wrath has been satisfied...and theaters full of popcorners jump to their feet in applause. Movies make billions on the predictable effect and movie stars become icons or heroes for life. 

We get it. We love it. Satisfying wrath is really not a hard concept to grasp. It's obvious who the bad guy is, who the good guy is, that the sin was bad and the vengeance was justified. In real life though, it's a little less clear. We debate over who the hero really is, what actions are intolerable and what should be done about it...if anything. We vote on who knows best how to answer these questions and puts the judges in power. Always leaving many in disagreement and dissatisfaction. Wrath unsatisfied.

Reading many Old Testament books makes me think of this. God, needing to satisfy His wrath, sin being dealt with and then the readers thinking He is a big bad guy. What? It's ok for Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Hailee Steinfeld and Russel Crow, but not God Almighty? Head shaking confusion. Fallible humans can kill and feed their pleasure, but God...the only One worthy or deserving...isn't allowed. Where was God when...?? How could God allow...?? Questions indicating a discrepancy between who we think should and shouldn't exact justice....and what actions deserve it.

It's pretty clear to me that we think humans are pretty awesome beings. I agree, it's easy to see "goodness" in most people. Youtube clips of the random acts of kindness that bring tears and hope to our eyes. It's encouraging. Funny how we forget, don't notice or become desensitized to the unholiness in ourselves. No Youtube clips of that stuff...actually, there is, we just don't recognize it anymore. It's normal now. People are honored over the Almighty. We suppose good intentions in the heart of man, and bad in the heart of God. How ironic is that? Deceitfully wicked.

I need to remind myself everyday, that Jesus is the perfect lamb of God. The only one who could and did suffer torture, humiliation and death for me. Never a selfish thought or deed. He could don the shirtless war garb, showing His strength, calm vengeance on His face,  totally justified, and put all of us in our place...and He has done it before and will again...but He is so patient.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

When I wish He would just return and take me home, I remember His love. This is why we wait. I am ready, but really, as a bride checks the mirror seconds before her appearance to her groom, I need to continue fixing my face, my dress and my heart. I want to be as pleasing to Him as possible when He returns. Not to be accepted, I am that already, but because His love compels me to...
"walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called" (Eph 4:1) Many others are not ready at all and He holds back his wrath, waiting for their love. This mercy is beautiful...I don't think I would be that loving. His love compels me to wait patiently too. Imagine, any of those screen actors, waiting, loving and longing for the love of the evil doer. I'd like to see a plot like that on the big screen. Would we cheer? 
We get it....we understand a story of vengeance and the pouring out of wrath. We just have our characters a little mixed up. 

He is not slow. He is just very loving. He is also a promise keeper...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

God in the Paderno

Ever wake up in the middle of the night, deeply troubled by all the needs of people you love, burdened by the wait for the Spirit of God to move in some of their lives? 

I do.

I did the night before last. Lost much sleep, but gained hours of prayer. I begged God to reveal himself to me somehow, not in a charismatic way, but in a real, "here I am" way. Just to know He is really there, hearing my prayers and  working to answer all of them. We humans get that way sometimes...we crave communication. I read my Bible looking desperately for Him to jump out at me...and He often does. But I wasn't sure I "heard Him" that tiring morning.
 Later that morning, during our homeschool readings, I came upon this quote...by Teresa of Avila...whoever she is:

"Know that even when you are in the kitchen,
God moves among the pots and pans."
 Well that is kind of weird, but I liked it. I laughed and pondered it's meaning. I get that God is everywhere, even in the kitchen, but what does she mean by "in the pots and pans"? I guess she's just being artistic, I get that too. I thought about it all that day, off and on.

After Prayer Meeting that night, some very special friends (who shall remain nameless...because they are the humble kind) dropped by for a quick visit. They had noticed with their selfless eye, one time we were dining together, that most of my pots and pans no longer had handles on them. After 25 years, they had worn out and left me with steam burned hands for memories of the lovely wedding gift. Pots and pans have not made it to the top of our priority list to replace yet. So, our friends, family really, brought this gift:

Yep. Brand spankin' new Paderno pots and pans. Six pieces of beautiful silver, domestic gems. This is the kind of bling I like to wear. We hugged, I teared up, they laughed, the kids eyes wide with the vision of Jesus' love in the flesh. It's not the pans really, we all know that (although I can't put them in the cupboard yet, they are too beautiful), it's the care and sacrifice of my friends and the ridiculously quiet revelation of Almighty God to this little homemaker, wanting to be near to Him. 

I had read 1 Samuel during the long night before because of Samuel's similar waking and questioning. He said "Speak Lord for your servant is listening." It took three episodes of little Samuel looking for God in the night, then He heard Him. He didn't roll back over and ignore the voice. He responded until He finally got it. It was quiet and ordinary communication...just like mine yesterday. I almost missed it though, because I stopped listening. It wasn't until this morning, while I was waking up, that I was reminded of the Avila quote that puzzled me. He was showing himself to me through His church, my friends, His hands and feet, through pots and pans...and they didn't even know the fullness of their actions toward me. It took all day, but He answered, in a beautiful, generous way. 

I wasn't looking for stuff, I was looking for Him and He gives all good things to those who ask. 
More than we even expect.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" Ephesians 3:20

Look and listen, wait for His obvious moving. Don't try to MAKE something up, wait for Him to SHOW up.

He always does, in His time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


After decades of realizing that I am not an athlete, nor a singer, which seems to be what most of those around me are, I have accepted that God planted a love of beauty deep inside of me. This love leaks out in creating visually beautiful things. At the ripe old age of forty, I painted my first picture. Still loving it, I get to pour my passion onto a canvas and then let my eyes feast on beauty...unless I hate it, then I get to throw more color on it to cover and start again...that's fun too.

Another fun thing I have discovered to create beauty are these necklaces. I've always loved terra cotta...anything earthy like that attracts me...wood, rocks, earth, leaves...all of it. With the essential oil fad in full swing right now, creating these sculpted little artworks with the pleasure of beautiful, euphoric scents has been another joy and release for me this year. They've made beautiful gifts and now, I am able to share them with many others by selling them and popping them in the mail for shipment. Such a fun little venture!

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."
2 Corinthians 2:14-15

After Paul realizes that he "went the wrong way" and corrected his direction, He praises God for always using him, through Jesus victory, to spread the knowledge of God to the world...even when we mess up. I love these verses. When we spread the knowledge of Him, we are a sweet aroma of Christ to the world...a stench to those perishing. I desire nothing more than to please God and to make His true character known to the world. His character is being tarnished, lied about, so much in the church today. A false God is being portrayed and we need to get back to the truth about who He is, what He is like and what He requires of us. What a beautiful scent we are to Him when we do this! 

I have a better understanding now of the significance of the burnt offerings of the old testament, good and bad. The sense of smell is designed by God, for pleasure, for Him. Every time I catch a whiff of the oils I put on my necklace, I remember to spread the true knowledge of God to the world, through my behavior and words, so He can enjoy the sweet aroma, to please Him. 

A little spiritual twist to a simple piece of clay and oil...jewelry. Just me, always thinking about the "big picture". Just can't seem to leave anything on the ground, but have to pick it up and relate it to Jesus...to share it with Him somehow. Otherwise, it feels like I'm just wasting time...redeeming nothing. Oh how I love "for His name's sake" in everything I do!

Be a sweet aroma to the Lord!

The leather cording is adjustable for any length you want.
The charms are easily interchangeable and can be used without the cording to set an your desktop or car dash for close diffusing.

 Bracelets too!

Message me if you are interested in any of these.
$15 for necklaces
$12 for bracelets
$7 for extra charms (good for variety, desktop or car dash)


Thursday, August 11, 2016

First Conversation of the Day

Just me in the early dark, in my hammock, solar lights, Bible, dog, whatever that black critter was racing across the field and my pretty mug of coffee.

Starting this day with new hope and peace. Escaping the monotony of routine, even in my time with the Lord, is so important.Your time with God should be much like your coffee break with your spouse or other best friend. Something to look forward to, something different every time and something you categorize as a "need"...part of that popular "me time" that is all the rage lately.

Go to the Bible like listening in a conversation, rather than hearing a lecture and taking notes. Pause and think about what you just read. What are you saying to me God? Don't let me overlook it because I don't yet understand. Pause and interject your thoughts to Him, as you would with a "real live" person. It is a conversation, isn't it? Meditate on one verse that jumps out at you...all day long. Go back to it mid day and then again in the evening. Wait for it to really sink in. Regard what He has said as non-negotiable truth that you are on a quest to make part of your life. 

Go to prayer like speaking in a conversation, rather than a checklist or chant. Find a private place and pray out-loud...or out-whisper. Say what is on your mind. Talk to Him about what is bothering you lately, who you are concerned about at that moment, praise and thank Him for what just happened yesterday. Laugh with Him about the funny little things only He would understand and you wouldn't want anyone else to know. Tell Him how you love Him and want to trust Him more. Cry if you need to. Be quiet if you need to. Know that He is God and is there with you.

There is no therapist so wise, no friend so faithful, no mate so intimate and no help so powerful.
It's not mystical or sensory.
It's just real and spiritual.

It took many years of trying to find this joy. Many dry, obligatory, token times with God before I finally figured it out. Convinced that the ultimate joy and peace is in these times with Him, I pushed, determined to find it. Definitely a different kind of joy than I thought it would be. It's much more secure and free than other joys. I can always afford it, always get there and no one can ever take it away.

He has time for you too.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Battle of the Brides

After an emotionally draining day, my husband took me to the lake...paddled me around the peaceful waters...stuck a yellow water lily in my hair and  cherished me. He was tired and drained too...and yet he loved me.
Your spouse is supposed to be your other half. They are supposed to be part of you, spiritually united with your soul and body through the marriage covenant. That's pretty close. That's permanently, daily, in spirit and flesh, connected and dependent. Seems like a pretty good reason to take good care of your spouse, for selfish or unselfish reasons. A man's bride is not just his bride on his wedding day,  but all year round, for all of his life. His bride is his pride and joy. Not much else in life should come before her, except for his Savior and Lord. His children even, although a couples' primary job and responsibility, are not the ones he is bound to till death...children are not in union with us, just an extension of us....intended to leave us and cleave to someone else. It's his bride. She is to be the center of his life. The priority.

Christ's bride is the church. 

She is His priority and He commands us to take care of her. To make her our priority. His love and commitment to her is deadly. I mean, so intensely passionate that you had better be careful not to dishonor, disrespect, defile, hurt or neglect her...or else. And just imagine...the Christian is part of her.

I don't think I have had that exact view of the church...and I am a pastor's wife. We tend to see the church as an organization or business, for some of us family, even. Yet still, something a step below our immediate family on the totem pole. It may even be a priority for us, but certainly not on the same level as our own spouse or children...they come first don't they? 

I know, I know, family comes first right? Ya but, who is family? What about Christ's bride? Does she come below a man's own bride? See, I ask these questions, because I am someone's bride. I expect that my Christian husband will sacrifice and die for me, put me first, but what about Christ's bride? Should I come before her? Jesus is pretty clear in Matthew 12 that He viewed his family as those who do the will of the Father are His true family...even over his physical family! That's flies in the face of modern, Christian thinking. It even goes against our natural instincts. Jesus just doesn't think like we do. 

Church is viewed and treated nothing like a precious bride, deserving our devotion and protection. She has a bad name, for "hurting" people, being boring, hypocritical, irrelevant, old fashioned or hard to handle. An organized institution, made by man, that free thinkers and strong people shouldn't need. Even Christians see her that way. I can be that way sometimes... irrelevant, old fashioned and hurtful to my husband. I've never been called boring, but certainly hard to handle. Does that mean my husband has the right to neglect me, cut himself off from me, or make someone else his priority? I certainly hope not. I am his bride. de-prioritizing me only hurts himself in the long run. How much more should I prioritize the bride of Christ than Guy's bride? His bride should come before me.

Keith Green wrote a terrible, truthful song that I like to play once in awhile to remind myself of my position, called "I Pledge My Head to Heaven":

"Well I pledge my wife to heaven, for the gospel,
Though our love each passing day just seems to grow.
As I told her when we wed, Id surely rather be found dead,
Than to love her more than the one who saved my soul."
A young godly woman I know and love had one rule for her new boyfriend..."Don't ever put me before Jesus." Wow. That wasn't what I was thinking when Guy and I first got together. I'm just now coming to terms with this theology. Moms, you don't even want to listen to the second verse of this song. I'll write about that someday too. It's tougher than this concept. I've always struggled with the idea that Peter's wife was crucified...and he had to watch. If that were me, I think I'd be yelling at Guy to "DO SOMETHING! SAVE ME! I"M YOUR WIFE FOR HEAVEN"S SAKE!" I don't even like it when my husband won't pamper me, let alone let me suffer for Christ....or His bride. But, my husband loyalty should be to Christ and His bride before himself and his bride. There it is. I've said it and written it. Christ's bride before Guy's.

Hard concept...especially for pastors' wives...those who are supposed to set the example and from whom more is expected. Really though, should I be afraid? After all, I am part of the bride of Christ. I am her on whom He pours out his love and devotion. Jesus will love and care for me even better than my own husband could ever imagine to.

When I start to feel a little jealous of the devotion my husband gives the church, Christ's bride, I'll stick a yellow flower in my hair and remember whose I am :)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Happy Glance Back

I haven't been writing much lately. Sometimes that happens when your heart is too heavy, you cannot allow any words out. But how could I let an occasion like my first child's wedding go by without writing about it? 

The morning of his wedding was strange for me. For a month or so before the day, I had to drink decaf coffee because my heart literally ached. I wasn't sad about it, just heavy. Sometimes your body feels things that your mind doesn't. I couldn't be more pleased with my son and his new wife, but he is still my little boy. The transfer of his heart from mine to hers, completely, is a joyous pain. It's a desired tearing. One that you wonder if anyone else feels, understands or even notices. I didn't even expect it.

My silence the morning of the wedding got my own attention. Why am I not talking? Why am I so apprehensive? I am excited for everything about this day, and yet I feel so heavy and bit afraid. If I speak anything the tears will flow. I got through the whole, incredibly sacred ceremony and walked back down the isle to the church foyer. The wedding party and Mr and Mrs were hugging one another, breathing sighs of relief and giggling. I glimpsed my baby boy, a husband, and watched him in such joy. He fought tears through the whole ceremony and was still leaking emotion. Holding back my legs to run to him, I stood back and took it all in. Too many memories that none but my husband and I can share. This person. Who is he now? Who am I to him now? What will it be like? So happy and proud, yet a little afraid.

After a few minutes of celebration, the big new husband found me. He wrapped his huge strong arms around me, head on my shoulder and let out all of his joy on me. It was a long teary embrace. No words. My back started to hurt from the weight of his muscle and our emotion. My last task as primary comforter. I needed it just as much as he did, I think. He is too big for me now. He has found a suitable helper and I am so happy about that. She is a small lady to hold his big stature, but God has made her heart huge, soft and full of His strength. She'll love him well. 

All I needed was that silent, heavy hug. The shared emotion from the curious, blonde headed, drum beating, sugar craving, world-by-the-tail little diapered boy...sort of gone...transformed...beautiful. 

I don't mind at all that the wedding is all about the bride and groom...it should be...but how grateful to God I am for that one embrace. That one strange acknowledgement of my relationship with him. What it was...that it was so good. I'm not afraid anymore. It's all about making a man, training a man, giving away a man and continuing to help a man in whatever way is best for him...no, for them. She is part of him now and I will be there for them, always them, never just him. It's true, you gain, not lose.

Oh, a mother's heart toward her child. It is such a powerful thing. It can both create and destroy. I must use it wisely, for God's glory and their benefit.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I've Got That "Car Show" Feeling

I grew up around powerful cars. Project cars always in the garage, car shows innumerable, exciting, shining and displayed and the occasional joy ride with my dad "clearing out the engine" on a secluded straight-away.  The deep rumble of a idle power is embedded deep into my psyche. I still get excited when I hear that sound.

The sad thing about those car shows is that they just have to sit there. They look great, fenced off so my little candied fingers wouldn't ruin the 10 layers of wax applied, lights, open hoods and fancy signage proclaiming the power held inside that engine. Once in a while, an owner would show off that power with a stationary revving. Grown men would giggle and give each other that look. I love men.Unless that car in led out onto a street and allowed to let r'rip, challenged and tried, no one will ever see the power it has. Before that, it is just potential energy, not actual power. Anyone could masquerade a car and get away with it. It could look great, look real but until it unleashes the horsepower, you'll never really know.  

Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 3, that the world is full of people who have "an appearance of godliness, but deny the power". Religion looks something like godliness, but it is just stationary show. It doesn't create anything but deception. It doesn't change broken lives. Lately I have had conversations with leaders of the church who actually do not give authority to the Word of God. They say all the right things, quote scripture and do good deeds. They are kind and helpful, but they admittedly disobey and disregard His teachings for fear of man, uneasiness of life and plain old pride. I get that same car-show feeling after talking with them. Without the power to take me from point A to point B in under 6 seconds, I am not impressed. In fact, I am more than unimpressed, I am very concerned and in mourning. Verse 9 says, "they will not get very far".

Anyone can act loving, but only those with a true, desire changing, total surrendered soul can display the power of God. I mean, the power to resist temptation, to obey by faith, not sight and to sacrifice their whole life for the sake of the gospel. That is power. Believing in the power of God is not enough, we have to live that power...take that hot rod onto the street and demonstrate that power.

Those days between the crucifixion and the resurrection must have been long days. Faithless days. I can't think of one person in the Biblical account that was waiting like a little child waits for Daddy to come home. No one clued in to Jesus' foretelling of His victory. No one sat at the tomb waiting for the power to be unleashed. A dear high school friend of mine, more like a sister, prayed with me the other day a most powerful prayer. Her words were full of belief, anticipation and hope for a dead situation. She had just returned from a mission trip that reminded her of this power available to us. Her demonstrated faith leaked into mine and revived my sputtering heart. I want to have the childlike faith to look toward the cold, lifeless tomb, and expect power unimaginable...no matter how many days pass by, no matter who mocks me or tempts me to give up and no matter how many sit with me.

There is power under that hood and in the tomb. Wait for it....with joy. This is faith.
The same power is in the true believer. Have the courage to take it out onto the street and demonstrate His glory.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,"  Ephesians 3:20

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fake Eyelashes for a Storm

I went to town yesterday to buy groceries, by myself. It was crazy there because snow is coming this weekend and people may be stranded in their homes for a couple of days. They need supplies to make it through, I guess. Upon watching the items people had in their shopping carts and stood in long lineups to acquire, pop, scratch tickets and fake eyelashes are some of the essentials these days. Two young ladies had an intense, stressful conversation over which eyelashes to buy. Finally, they gave up, threw down the complicated pair and just decided to weather the storm without them. 

I indulged in a small Tim's, double cream, before coming home and watched the other orders put together at the speed of light. Very tall cups, whipped cream, chocolate sauce...I wonder if they do this everyday or just today for a celebration? My little cup seemed so small and sugarless. The buyers of the eyelashes and tall sugary drink didn't look any happier than I am. In fact I don't they were even smiling. The unhealthy looking lady with the hand full of scratch tickets at the gas station didn't either. I drove away with my double cream, smiled and said "I am nothing. Thank you God for this cup!" I don't want to make fun of the people, I do it myself in lots of ways. I want to make fun of the idea. Realize how silly it is.

This Christmas afforded me the time to read Andrew Murray's Absolute Surrender. I will read it again. How practically he applies the truth of how undeserving, totally dependent and loved we are by all powerful God. This attitude opens the door to contentment and joy. It rips wide open the stage curtain between reality and the play that is being performed all around us. The potential we have in Christ to live free, helpful, excited and true is astounding. Learning to tap into that power is an honor. The ability to take thoughts captive, see past the commercialism, to refuse participation in the entitlement mentality and live thankful, different...invisible. Invisible to myself.
Murray suggests that we often repeat "I am nothing" throughout the day, in order to gain and keep humility which leads to joy. It's counter-cultural for sure. I didn't see much of  the "I am nothing" attitude on town faces and I had to intentionally make mine upon leaving desired items behind.  "I am nothing" is good. It doesn't bring you down, but it allows something better to lift you up. "I am nothing" opens the van door and sees it half full rather than half empty. It makes me giggle alone in a line up of frustrated scramblers. Honestly, trying to keep myself from turning to the one in front of me and saying something like "If you would just let go of these scratch tickets and trust Jesus, you might be less stressed".

 Really, I think about doing that. I don't usually. Maybe I should. Am I hoarding my joy? I stop myself because I think there is no time to get into a conversation, or because I have trouble just saying just a little bit. I'm not afraid of rejection...I'll never see them again and I'm not afraid of the PC police either. I think it's the disbelief that my few words or smile will do anything for the eyelash ladies. They need a sermon, small group meeting or something. No. Spurgeon was changed through the few words of a time restrained, unprepared preacher who said only, "Look to the Lord".

This free fall thing, I am nothing, let go of the happy scramble and live supernaturally is awesome. A perfect God, who loves perfectly, powerfully and every moment is joy. No scramble, extra large latte with whipped cream and a shot of chocolate, no need. No, all I need is to have the courage to share the secret by one smiling sentence, with the unhealthy looking, half hair dyed lady in the line, clutching her tickets tightly.

A storm is coming. Make sure you have a good supply of eyelashes on hand...just in case.