Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Radiant Reflection part 1

Ever have one of your kids say something just like you say it?

My kids can be in a different part of our house carrying on, but when I hear my own words or tone coming from their mouths, my ears perk up.    Whether it be how they are conversing with their baby brother, reading one of our favorite books aloud, or repeating rules to one another in a matter-of-fact, Mama-said-so kindof way, my attention is aroused and I am listening intently to hear my voice in their stories.

I couldn't help but giggle one night when one of my twins prayed the prayer,  "Dear God, give me the wisdom and discernment."  ...knowing goodness well, he had no idea what discernment was!  I smiled inside because my words had left an imprint on his heart.  It also made me realize, though, that they are soaking in every word that comes from my mouth...good or bad...them being the intended audience or not.

I both shutter and rejoice at the echo of myself in my children, praying they'll only receive my God-honoring words and attributes...knowing that I am so unworthy of the call to instill in them a reflection of holiness.  How I fail, daily! 

All of my boys have blonde hair and blue eyes and we share other physical similarities as well. Now, I'm no beauty queen, but there is a certain satisfaction and I must admit I do delight when someone says, "They look just like you." 

How God must.  How He must perk up when He hears His Word imprinted on our hearts coming from the mouths of His children.  How He must rejoice at His reflection in us.  How He must delight when someone says we look just like Him. 

When Moses came down from being in the presence of God on Mt. Sinai receiving God's law, we are told in Exodus 34:29,35 that his face glowed with radiance because he was with the Lord.   Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to Him are radiant..." 

Moses reflected the Light of his Father...so can we. 

Is your reflection that of radiant light? 
Is the reflection of God in you influencing others to look to Him and be radiant?

"The only Jesus others may see is the Jesus in you and the Jesus in me?"

You're Beautiful

He bore the sins of all the world
He felt my shame and He held yours
And in His dying breath I know
He looked at me as if to show…

He still thinks I’m beautiful
Though each day I break His heart
He still thinks I’m beautiful
That's why He stretched His hands apart
I know that I’m not worthy
But, today He calls my name
And says, "You're beautiful"
"You're beautiful because you're mine."

Looking at pictures

"You sit...looking at pictures. 
I cry...don't you know how much this hurts. 
Can't you see this pain I feel inside
Don't you know, this sin you're trying to hide
Is tearing us apart, its breaking my heart.

The enemy is lurking in the shadows of the night
With pictures painted on the walls of sensual delight
The grip on our commitment is slowly losing might
And I know that I am slipping from the center of your sight

You kiss me only when you've seen
The passion-filled computer screen
and in my heart, deep down I know
It isn't me, but them you hold.

I shutter at your every touch
and cringe to feel your hands of lust
I've fallen in the pit of hate
and fear I've lost, is it too late?

The sin, oppressed leaves you enraged
Your angry hands have me encaged
I find myself in fear of fate
and search to find an open gate.

How can I run?
How can I stay?
Take this cup from me, I pray."


Pornography is the secret sin that is creeping into the lives of many and destroying marriages one broken heart at a time.  It is a tool that the enemy is using to tear apart what God has brought together.  It is an addiction.  It is adultery.  And it is destructive.  Like a drug, it causes a chemical reaction in the brain that leads to dependence.  Don't fall victim.  And if you already have, take the first step today on the path to recovery.  God offers forgiveness.  God offers hope.  God offers healing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bit by Bit, I'm gettin better. Little by Little, I'm movin right along...

The alarm sounds.  Snooze.  Wake.  Snooze again. I pull the covers over my head in denial of what I know awaits me. Laundry again piled up, dishes in the sink, dust on the furniture, mud on the floor.  "Good mornin to me," I grumble.  I secretly hope for the magic cleaning fairy to come and rescue me from the trenches, as the enemy whispers in my ear, "Why bother?  You can't keep it clean."  Then it just gets better...little footsteps trotting down the stairs this early can only mean one thing...wet bedsheets and a fussy child in need of a bathe to add to the chaos.  Over the intercom comes the screams of number four, demanding breakfast and snuggles to calm his being awakened by number three going number one.  (Sorry for the graphic verbage, that's what you call it when you have little ones:)  So, I wave the white flag, surrender to the day and its demands and force my feet to the floor. 

Tis the season!   A season of little messes making big ones.  A season of overwhelming piles of laundry leaving me feeling overwhelming defeat. A season of fingerprint paintings and "Look Mommy, I'm making paw tracks!" A season of daily attempts to clean up what I'll have to start all over and clean up again tomorrow.  Tears fill my eyes, I just have to cry...not because I am unhappy...I love being a mommy...but because I know I am defeated before I ever begin...and because I have no idea where that beginning will be.

Huff, Puff, Blow.  Must start somewhere.  One kid bathed and back to bed.  One baby snuggled, fed and back to bed.   I pick up the scattered toys to put them into the basket, really wanting to throw them out the door. I find amongst the menagerie...a radio, belonging to my 3 yr old, that begins to play a song very familiar with my season.


"Oh I woke up this mornin with my guitar so rusty, so rusty that I wanted to scream.  But, instead of screamin, I spent my mornin cleanin and now my guitar plays like a dream." "Bit by Bit I'm gettin better.  Little by little I'm movin right along.  Piece by Piece I'm puttin it together, learnin how to sing my song." 


And God says to me, "You are my little one. And I clean up your daily messes, only to clean them up again tomorrow. And together we are doing it, one step at a time. Though, we'll never be finished, we've got to take the first step and bit by bit we'll get better and put the pieces together, and then you'll learn how to sing My song."

I hate when God does that.  Convicted!  Humbled!  Called out!  

I love when God does that. Revealed!  Corrected!  Redeemed!

I laugh at His gentle reminder.  Okay, Daddy.  I hear you, loud and clear.

He reaches out His hand, and offers me the broom and now I sweep to a different tune.   

Little by Little, cause they are only little once.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blowing Bubbles

"Every once in awhile on a not-so-exciting day, I pull out the bottle of bubbles and go outside to play.  Frowns begin transforming into smiles so bright, something so simple, a mother's delight.
A single breath of fresh air gives command
And the soldiers take off, their weapons, their hands
They run, they chase, they catch, they stop
Standing like statues, in hopes it won't pop
Then all of a sudden, a gust of wind blows
And the prism ball bursts and off the smile goes.
The excitement to dwindle
Waiting for me to rekindle
The flame inside with my spark
In my arms I wrap this sad disappointment
and breathe life into a new bubble's heart.


Once in awhile, I stand there myself with excitement in bubbles so fragile
Holding gently in my hand, a stirred-up command to tell all the world being joyful
Like a thief in the wind, the enemy, no friend, comes and steals from my heart its great fire
And in the midst of joy waning, I run to Him raining the tears of my stolen desire
He wraps me in arms so complete and so strong and wipes from my face all the anguish and strife
And into this heart, with His glory and might, the breath of My Lord brings the breath of new life."



The enemy is lurking around me trying to steal the joy of my passion...Somedays its easy to ignore his taunts, but other days he uses the ones we love the most to leave us feeling empty and defeated.  Somedays I have weapons ready to fight and other days my bubble gets busted. 

But everyday, I have a God who promises to go before me in the battle...a God who comforts me when my heart hurts... a God that empowers me to pick up the pieces and continue on...a God that fills me with a joy that cannot be shaken, stolen, or destroyed.

So, Satan, get behind me...God is the air that I breathe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coffee, God and a Rocking Chair

I have spent a great deal of my life in a rocking chair.  As a tiny baby, rocked by my mother's gentle touch and softly whispered lullabies.  As a little girl, with my cowgirl hat and lasso, riding on the arm of the recliner, my "heigh-ho" Silver. As a teen, never too big to curl up in Mama's lap, having "talktime" and sharing secrets.  As a mother, rocking my own babies, my lap never growing too small.  I hope to one day become a grandmother and rock grandbabies, too, but for now, I continue to grow up myself, with a good cup of coffee, God, and my rocking chair.

As I sit today on my front porch, rocking and watching the birds fly in, the trees radiate the colors of fall as the sun rises behind them. God’s artistry is so amazing and “leaves” me awestruck daily!  Recently, it made me ponder the reasons why leaves change colors in the fall.  I am no botanist, but I have read that as the days are getting shorter, the sunlight necessary for plants to appear green and make food is lacking, thus causing the plants to become discolored, dry, brittle, and fall to the ground.  We, too, need the Son’s Light to nourish us daily so that we don’t become dry, brittle, and fall to the ground.

So as I sit with my coffee, God, and my rocking chair, I bask in the Son's Light praying He'll grow me and not let me "Fall" short of the radiant changes He wants to make in me. I pray you, too, will join me and let's rock together, flourishing as He nurtures us with His Word. 

Where are you becoming dry and brittle in your Spiritual Flora?  Let us Fall to the ground and be on our knees drinking in the water from His Light.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Passion Prayer

A habit is something that you do over and over enough to where you don't have to remind yourself to do it. A lifestyle is something that you do simply because of the very breath that is in you.

Lord, make my relationship with You my lifestyle, not a habit.  Breathe in me my very being so that every moment of my day is fueled by the beating of Your heart within me. Let not what I do for You be done out of routine or Christian duty, but because it is alive in me and because I can't live without living for You.  Let others not see mere events in my life that reflect You, but an entirity of life reflecting this undying passion for You that gives me life. And when I stumble, and the fire burns low, don't let them judge You based on my inadequacies but let them see the You that forgives and loves me despite my imperfections, because You see the You that has my heart.  Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why doesn't God want me to be happy?

"I pray but it isn't happening?  I ask God, but He isn't giving it to me?  Why doesn't He want me to be happy? Is He even listening to me?  Is He even there?"

In the Garden, God provided all that Adam and Eve needed to live.  He provided it in abundance.  The best of the best.  Yet, still they desired more.  Their incontentment is what led them to sin.  They wanted what God prohibited.  Why did He keep this from them?  What a mean and tyrant-God to not give them everything they want!  No!  God kept it from them to protect them from what He knew would be the result of them having it. He kept it from them because He knew that what He had planned for them was greater than anything they desired.  But their trust in Him was given away to greed and temptation, to thinking that their way was better than what God had commanded.

Oh, how we fall into temptation when our Trust in the Father is distracted by the enemy.  Like a Snake he waits coiled up ready to strike at that moment when we are most vulnerable.  That moment when we find ourselves incontent and  wanting more.  That moment when we try to tell God our will rather than listening to His. 

But Scripture tells us that He will give us the desires of our heart, that if we seek Him all of these things will be added unto us.  So for a time, we pretend to play with God but it is with a hidden agenda, expecting Him to give us what we are after.  God wants us to be real with Him.  It isn't a playmate He desires in us, it is a relationship.  It is trusting that no matter what we will come before Him in every aspect of our lives and glorify Him.  He wants us to be after HIM and when we are after Him, we find our desires becoming His Will, not our own. 

What is God teaching us through His prohibiting us from our desires?  Why is He keeping us from that which we want the most?  Perhaps it is to protect us from the result He knows is out of His plan for us. Perhaps it is because His plan is greater than the plan we have for ourselves. Will we trust His plan and provision for our joy or will we give in to whatever it takes to get our own way? 

What is it that God has answered "No!" to in your life?  What is it that He is withholding from you? Let's change our prayer today.  Pray not for God to give you happiness but to be your happiness.  Pray for God's will to be done, not that God will do your will.  Pray that you will trust Him enough to say "Whatever, Lord", even if it means Him keeping you from the thing you want the most.  Pray that we will take our focus off the one thing we can't have and on the many blessings He has provided for us. 

Genesis 2:9, 16 The Lord God planted all sorts of beautiful trees in the garden, trees producing the choicest of fruits.  But the Lord God gave them a warning: "You may eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My moment of restoration

I was a young mother of twin boys that were two at the time. I was leaving my husband, a youth minister addicted to teen porn and taking his aggressive tendencies out on me and his babies. In a pit deeper than any I’ve ever been in, I lay with tears hitting the floor in my room at my mother’s house where we were staying. After a phonecall where he accused me of having an affair, I sobbed, wept, and wailed in anguish of the broken pieces my life had become. My mother ran up the stairs with my two precious angels toddling behind her. She wrapped me in her arms and they ran also to love on me. I begged her, “Mama, take them out of here, I don’t want them to see me like this. What is this teaching them?” With a tiny hand on my shoulder, my baby looked at me with the compassion of Christ in his tear-filled eyes and said, “No cry, Mama, Pray!” As I dropped to my knees my sweet babies knelt beside me and in prayer-position waited for me to do what they knew I should. I held up the broken pieces of my life to a God who with my 2 year old children lifted me at that moment out of the pit and restored those pieces and made them whole again. And my mother looked at me, tears running down our faces, and said, “This, dear, is what you are teaching them.” From that moment, my life has been teaching them that God is a sovereign God who offers comfort in the midst of the storm and strength in the faces of giants…or perhaps they have been teaching me:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Broken and Poured Out---Luke 7:36-50

"The most stunningly beautiful people I know have been broken by life and have fallen into the arms of God to emerge stronger."  ~Mark Brown

We all have a story.  A story of circumstances.  A story of difficulties.  A story of triumph.  A story of hurt.  A story of life...

Those who choose to be made better by it call it a testimony.  Those made bitter by it, call it a curse.
But, never-the-less, it becomes their story. 

A woman with a story came to Jesus one day.  Her story, according to the Bible, was that of a "life of sin", presumabley prostitution.  She had a past and a present that made people around her, perhaps even herself, uncomfortable in her presence.  She had searched in fulfillment of her need for love through countless relationships gone wrong...leaving her lonely still. 

The woman came to Jesus at a dinner to which she was not invited and was less than welcomed by the crowd.  They sneered at her, talked about her, and questioned her worth to be before the teacher. Yet, still she came. She came with all of her past, all of her mistakes, all of her disgrace, all of her shame, all of her hurt, all of her pain.  She came to the One she knew could make her whole, not to receive anything from Him, but to give Him all that she had.  

She brought with her a bottle, an alabaster bottle of oil, worth a year's wages.  A gift of this magnitude and sacrifice was typically used as a gift for a bridal dowry, a gift fit for a king, or an anointing for a burial...little did this woman know she was offering all three. For what she was about to do was pledge herself to the Bridegroom, give a gift of her love to the King of Kings, and prepare the Messiah for the burial that would change eternity.

She broke the neck of this sealed alabaster jar, meaning it could not be sealed again, because much like herself, it was broken.  She had to pour out all of the contents from within the jar, else it would be wasted. The sweet aroma filled the room and beyond. As she poured out all of the oil on the feet of her Lord, she also poured out all of herself; her tears enough to wet His feet.  She removed the pin from her hair and let it down...a social act of disgrace in the eyes of those who watched...a humble act of letting go to the One whom she anointed. She wiped and cleaned the tear-stained dirt from His now muddy feet with the hair from her head.  He washed clean the stains on her lost and lonely soul, muddy from a "life of sin".  As she blessed her Master, the scent from the oil was now left also on her hair...the blessings coming back to her on her own head.  And He praised her over all of the others that judged her because while they were throwing stones in their minds, she was throwing herself at His feet. And by her faith she was made whole and her story told as honorable all the days of the earth.
What is your story?  Broken past?  Broken heart?  Broken relationships?  Broken piggybank?  Broken spirit?  Broken reputation?  Are you broken by sickness, loniless, shame?  Hurt, sorrow, pain?

Are you willing to be broken and poured out at the feet of the only One that can make you whole again?  Bring the broken pieces of your life to Him and emerge stronger and let Him take those pieces and make something beautiful so that His story can be yours.

  
 

Friday, November 5, 2010

In The Garden---When the place we are in, doesn't seem like a gift...

"Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, to the east, and placed in the garden the man he had formed. The Lord God planted beautiful trees producing the best fruits...He placed the man in the Garden to tend and care for it."  Genesis 2

How blessed we are to be in the hand of God!  Not only did He create a place just for us, but He picked us up and placed us in the place that He created and provided for us the best of the best to enjoy. 

A garden, by definition, is a "protected and cultivated place."  This is a beautiful description of exactly what Eden was, protected and cultivated by God. God planted the trees for Adam, and placed a river right in the midst of the garden to water it...but "He placed the man in the Garden of Eden as its gardener to tend and care for it." (Gen 2:15) God cultivated it, He got it ready for man to grow, but He still expected Adam to care for it.  Adam didn't get off scott-free.  We often think that if we are in God's hand, we should be handed everything on a silver platter...but this isn't the case.  God places us in His garden to grow...and growing takes work!

Instead of giving my boys their usual bag of candy for Valentine's Day last year, I gave each of them a box of brownie or cake mix.  It is our tradition to hide the Valentine's goodies and create clues to find them...a sort of scavenger hunt.  As the boys found their boxes, they were a little outdone that the clues of my hand had guided them to the right place, but that there wasn't instant gratification when they got there.  They still had to work to get their treat!  Now, I could've made the brownies myself and tied them up in cute little Valentine's bags, ribbons and all.  However, as the boys later learned, it wasn't the delicious treat that was the gift...but the time spent together making them. 

Sometimes our circumstances don't alway seem like a blessing...or that God has placed us there as a gift. We get bitter that our situation isn't the place of paradise that we expected, even as we thought to have followed God's lead.  Trust, though, that God has cultivated this garden and gotten it ready for you!  Yet, the garden He has placed you in may still require you to work. It may still require you to be on your "hands and knees." We will do good to understand that the work required is just another way He is growing us and that when we hold tight to and spend time with Him in this process, that time with our Father will be the true gift.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Messes

As we read from the Goodnight Bible every night before tucking in our little guys, we were sharing with them the story of Creation.  In the end of the story, there are review questions..."Who made the World?" Our little Drew, 2 yrs old at the time, responds with a long, emphatic, "GGGODDD!"  "Who made the trees?"  "GGGODDD!"  "Who made the animals?"  "GGGODDD!"  etc. 

Shortly after this reading, I was sweeping a massive pile of crumbs from under Drew's high chair while he sat finishing his breakfast.  We could feed the homeless with the amount of food I sweep up after 4 boys everyday!  Drew noticed what I was doing and commented, "Mama, look at that big mess."  I asked him, synically, "And who do you think made this mess?"  He quickly responded, with a long, emphatic, "GGGODDD!" 

No, God doesn't make our messes.  But He often cleans them up! 

In the Garden, Adam and Eve made choices that left not only themselves, but the entire human race in a mess.  The worldy consequences that followed were painful, yet necessary, and God didn't like them anymore than Adam and Eve. Like Adam and Eve, we, too, make choices that leave us in a mess of worldy consequences.  But, just like with Adam and Eve, the eternal consequences are even more unbearable...  Eternity spent in separation from our Creator.  So, unthinkable that God Himself couldn't bear the thought of spending eternity without us.  Thus, He provided The Way and cleaned up the mess.  Not with a broom and dustpan, but with the spotless blood of the Lamb. 

What choices have you made that has left you in a mess?  Do you know the true consequence of your choice is eternal separation from God?  I can't imagine spending one second of my life separated from He that gave me life.  I am so truly thankful for God providing a way for my mess to be cleaned.  Yet, so truly sad that He had to take on the burdens of my selfish choices. 

You know, as I swept up the crumbs on the floor that day, Drew realized that he contributed to me having to do more work.  "I'm sorry I made a mess on your floor, Mama,"  is a phrase I hear often from him, now.  Yes, he is three, and is still making messes, but he is growing more and more careful by the day, taking responsibilty for his actions,  and he cares enough for me to ask for forgiveness. He even "helps" clean up when he makes the mess. If only we all would be that mature in the messes we make in our spiritual lives.

Lord, help us to realize the choices that we have made that have gotten us into the mess we live in and the consequences we deserve for them.  Help us to take responsibility for those choices, ask for forgiveness for them, and begin taking action today to make changes that will careful us to not make them in the future.  But most importantly, help us to realize the full capactiy of the sacrifice You have made, and the mess You have cleaned up for us at the cross.  Amen.

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