Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer's Song

Bright busyness, hot on your face and arms and all over.

Sun smiling early on brown earth as singing birds welcome newness of day.

Children uncurling from rest with morning light, running down stairways, to meet days’ joy.  Breakfasts and giggles filling the mouth, then chores, and outside to taste and see.

Swooshing swings, flying hair, sparkling eyes, sandy feet - summer’s song.

Splashing in wet to cool warm skin.

Running until air comes fast and hard on the lungs. Tagging neighbor girls and running to base, eyes wide with life.

Fireflies teasing their way through the air. Chubby hands cupping blinking light, glowing the face with delighted wonder.

Summer joys, basking in fullness.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Have you ever really seen a picture of someone with leprosy?

I really hadn't until recently I was watching a documentary on Africa and the team traveled to a leper colony there.  Wow.

To see a man's face disfigured with infection, the fingers that have been lost so now he can only feed himself with worn nubs of hands.  To see a woman who can no longer walk because half of her feet are gone and the nose on her face has shriveled to one quarter its size.  The loss of touch, the loss of sight, the loss of community. . . all burdens carried by the leper.

Then I am drawn to Luke's story in the Holy Word:

        "As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. 
         They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master,
         have pity on us!"  When He saw them, He said, "Go show yourselves to
         the priests."  And as they went they were cleansed."

                                                                          Luke 17:12-14

"Master, have pity. . ."
Our precious Lord saw them in their desperate need.  He saw and knew the pain and shame they bore.  He saw the inflammation spreading across their faces, taking over their bodies, leaving them numb and raw.  He saw the withered hands and feet.  He saw the grieving souls of men who had been ostracized by society.  He saw the broken spirits of men who were made to leave their families, their sorrowful wives, their hungry children. 

He saw it all and loved them anyway.

He saw and was moved with compassion.

He saw and healed.

Doesn't he do that for us. . . even daily?

He sees all the sin sickness of my heart that eats away my joy and hope in Him.  He sees the hurting, crying, weak part of me.  He sees the isolation.  He sees it all and loves me anyway.  He sees it all and hurts with me and sees every tear that is spilt.  He sees it all and heals.

The ten lepers were healed through their faith.  They had to take that first step to go and show the priests.  They had to walk in obedience before they could experience the blessing.  So must I.  (Trust and obey.)

Of the ten, one returned to thank his Maker.  One man came running back to where He first saw the Savior and with arms lifted high and breathless voice He praised the Most High.  This Samaritan threw himself at the Lord's feet and thanked Him, for the healing.

I am eternally grateful to my Savior and I am counting the ways. . .

128.  Thank you Lord for healing my sin sick heart. . .
129.  for Your unending compassion
130.  for quiet times
131.  for Your perfect example
132.  for loving me in spite of what You see
133.  for the blessing of tears
134.  for bright, sunny days with children at the splash park
135.  for a robin's nest full of chirping babes
136.  for a full life
137.  for showing us your glory in the small things of life

Sunday, May 29, 2011


How many times have I thanked the Lord for the 'blessings' He has poured on my life.
He has given me so much - a wonderful husband, beautiful children, a comfortable home, an amazing church, a free country, financial security, the list goes on and on. . .

What did Christ know of these during His walk here?
His ministry was marked with trials and discomfort. 
The life I think leads to fulfillment is strangely unlike that of my Lord's.

Jesus' journey did not come with a spouse, children, or even a home.  He was thrown out of countless synagogues that claimed to have God followers, but when God himself spoke in their midst He was cast out.  His country was dominated by Roman rule and harsh leaders.  He found no joy in money or things. 

Yet He is the Prince of Peace.  Peace marked His walk.  Peace without prosperity.  Peace with Promise.

When Christ spoke of those who are blessed He said this,

                 "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
                  Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
                  Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
                  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
                      for they will be filled.
                  Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.
                  Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
                  Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.
                  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteouness
                      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."      
                                                                                                                          Matthew 5:3-10

The mourning ones are blessed. 
The humble, hurting, hungering ones have blessing.
Blessing comes to the pure, peacemaking, persecuted ones.

So, in light of this, what is true blessing?

The blessing comes in the burden.

There is blessing in brokeness.

The blessing is this:  HOPE and JOY in all circumstances.

Only when we come to Jesus at the point of our weakness, knowing there is not one good thing in us, coming with the meekness of a child, coming and giving all of ourselves to lay at the feet of the Savior.
When we come hurting in our poorness of spirit, weeping, and humble He lifts us up and teaches us what it means to forsake the world and hunger for His righteousness, His purity, His holiness.  Then we can reach out to the other hurting hearts in great mercy and compassion, living with pure hearts, seeking peace.  Once the blessing of these has been given, we may even drink the cup of being persecuted for His names' sake. 

The song of blessing can be heard as Paul sings it from the prison, as Peter speaks it at his crucifixtion, as John proclaims it before being boiled in oil, as the saints spoke it before being made into fiery lamps for Nero's gardens.  The blessed ones know the hope and joy that is found in Christ alone. 

In this, Christ says, "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven."     Matt. 5:12

I have much to learn about the true meaning of blessedness.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Valley Walking

Scattered.  My thoughts, actions, words. . . scattered.
Running this race.  Organizing this home.  Caring for these little ones.
I am pulled in so many ways, sometimes it is difficult to focus. 

When my focus is lost the world becomes fuzzy.  Important things are lost in the shuffle of the fleeting.
Relationships put aside, lingering quiet time lost, self becomes bigger.
Then I wake up and realize I am valley walking. 
My own thoughts and words and attitudes have led me to the valley of self pity.
A valley that is easy to become home, where I make a nice bed of indulgence and lie in it.

Valley dwelling is not very becoming of a redeemed daughter of the King.

So, today I am grateful for many things.  For a God who loves and forgives in spite of my pettiness and pride.  I am grateful for a quiet neighbor who shares her own valley journey, so I know the road is shared.  I am grateful for a faithful and ever loving husband who prays for me and gently leads me back on the right path of seeking my Savior. 

So long valley.  This forgiven follower has seen the light and is leaving the darkness behind.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Am I Worshiping?

In our Bible lessons, we are studying with the children, we are going through the book of Exodus.  The wide-eyed child wonder is contagious as we learn and really think about the Israelites wandering through the desert, sustained on heaven sent manna, evening quail, and Elim's deep waters.  But it seems His people are ever complaining, imagining their life in Egypt when they had warm homes, plenty of food, markets full of cloth and spices - convenient living. 

Traveling through miles of dusty wilderness God stops them at Sinai's base to give them His rules for living.  Moses ascends the mountain, as the rocky giant quakes in the presence of the Lord.  Thunder, lightning, and smoke cover the Most High and Moses speaks with God.  The commandments are given and the messenger tells the Israelite nation God's laws.

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything..."  Exodus 20:4

"Do not fear, for God has come to test you. . . so that you may not sin."  Exodus 20:20

His perfect law is sent, so that we may not sin, so that we will know right and wrong, black and white rules spoken by the voice of Almighty God.  Then Moses returns up to the mountain to gaze on Glory and receive more instructions for tabernacle worship.  The leader lingers, the people wait. . .and wait. . . and wait.  Their eyes and hearts and minds wander from the things of God.  Impatience reigns, boredom creeps in, idol thoughts quietly settle into their minds. 

"Come, make us gods that shall go before us," the people cry. Exodus 32:1

"Bring me your gold,"  Aaron replies.  Aaron - who once defied Pharoah, stood beside Moses as he led them across the Red Sea, leader of worship - and now molder of idol.

We all know this story how the chosen ones of God forsake His Word and His will and worship the golden calf.  They pour all that is precious to them into this god symbol, their gold, their sacrifices, their souls. 

I judge quickly, these chosen ones.  "You just saw the hand of God deliver you from slavery, carry you through the sea and wilderness.  You saw as He sustained you with food and water, gave you clothes and shoes that didn't wear out, and spoke from mountaintops with lightning and smoke.  What is wrong with you?  Why would you defy His command to not make any graven image?  Why would you go seeking the world when you have the Maker of the world right above you?"

Then I remember . . . I am the same.

All too often my hours are spent watching man made objects.  The world calls through television or music or the computer.  Calling to come and take pleasure, come rest awhile in comfortable delight.  Come and give your time (your life) to golden gods.

Sometimes my idols come in packages that are good unto themselves, but when they take the place of God, it is worship.  Frequently my children are given that place in my heart that should only be reserved for my King.  When my need to fulfill their desires, to lavish and not instruct them, when I love them more than my God, it is sin. 

Lately, food has been erected in my heart as an object of worship.  Without realizing it, I find myself searching for comfort in what I consume.  Ahhh...chocolate. . . who can resist?  I can and I should.  When I search for comfort in cravings and not my Creator, it has become an idol.

The list goes on and on.  Me, a chosen one, choosing not to find my strength, hope, and comfort in Him.  Idolator.  Ouch!

So here I am, an Israelite of sorts, forgetting the marvelous work of salvation and redemption the Lord has done in my life.  Forgetting how He has walked me through valleys and lavished His blessings upon me.  Forgetting to look up. . . and looking around.  Looking for something I can see or grasp in my hands to give my worship unto. 

Only when Moses returns and casts down the idol, grinds it up into dust, and makes the Israelites drink it does the idolatry end.  What a stomach ache that must have been!  And coming face to face with your own idols is a hard pill to swallow, but it must be done.  My idols must be crushed and never looked upon again with the same adoration.  Nothing is to take the place of God in my heart.  Nothing.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

The American Dream

Society shouts, "Come here, see this big house, with its fireplace and floor plan and fixtures.  You need that.  See the white picket fence around the backyard. . . and the neighborhood - wow!  Oh, and you must have the car(s) to go with it.  What about these clothes, those toys, this cell phone."

The lusts of the world are alluring and I fall. . .

I fall for the delectably delightful life of comfort.  I fall deep in the coveting cavern of cravings.  I fall into the mindset of "I must have."

Then I realize the more I possess the less I am at peace.  The more I own the more of my time is eaten up in maintaining these things.  The more toys to play with, all the more to put away and organize, all the more batteries to replace, all the more dusting around things sitting on my mahogany shelf. 
We all get caught up in storing up these treasures that will always fade or break or lose their appeal, when we should be storing up the real treasure in heaven. 

I choose daily how I will spend my money, my time, my energy.  Am I seeking my self or my Savior?  Will I choose to have lunch out or bring lunch to the crouched homeless man waiting by the traffic light?  Will I choose to use my minutes on the computer or ministering to a hurting friend? 

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."     Matthew 6:33

"We argue in exactly the opposite way - 'But I must live; I must make so much money; I must be clothed; I must be fed.'  The great concern of our lives is not the kingdom of God, but how we are to fit ourselves to life.  Jesus reverses the order:  Get rightly related to God first, maintain that as the great care of your life, and never put the concern of your care on the other things." 
                                                                 - Oswald Chambers

Thankful today for . . .

119.  grinning boy atop new bicycle

120.  cat purring

121.  hope for a better tomorrow

122.  simplicity

123.  last week of schooling

124.  little one pulling hard on my hand, "Swing me mommy!"

125.  steadfast husband

126.  God coming in the quiet of chromatic cumulus

127.  perseverance

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The End of the World

Some say the world is coming to an end this Saturday, May 21st.

I do not believe this to be true by any stretch of the imagination, but I do believe it gives food for thought.

What if this really was my last day to walk this earth?
My last day to parent and hug and kiss and tickle my children.
My last day to breathe sweet spring smells, feel whirling wind,see a sunset. 
My last day to tell my parents how grateful I am for raising me to know Christ.
My last day to serve and love and encourage my husband. 
My last day to live.

There would be regrets.

I am the queen of procrastination, always thinking, "I'll do that later" or "one day I'll get to that."  But today is the day.  Today is the day for finally making it down to the homeless shelter to volunteer my time.  Today is the day to witness to others of Christ's amazing gift of salvation.  Today is the day to give and live and love with all my heart. 

The only moment I am promised is now

So if Saturday really is the last day my breath is given, how will I spend my waking hours?  How will you spend yours?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wake Up Call!

Confession:   Most days I have a bad attitude.

More than I would like to admit, I find myself waking up to the sound of boys jumping out of bunkbeds to go crashing into their sister's room, only to be followed by hollering, hitting, and toy throwing.  And also, more often than I would like to admit, I find myself wanting to cover my head with my pillow and wish for some peace and quiet.

Some days I tire of the potty training, meal making, tantrum throwing, dog jumping, school complaining days.
Some days home is not a happy place to be.

Then I have to wake myself up to the reality that I set the tone for my household.  My environment is shaped by me.  God sends little reminders to help shift my focus from the mayhem to the Master.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing."   Philippians 2:14

Ouch!  Most days, complaining is my mantra.  But, wasn't I just reading about the Israelites who complained about EVERY thing - no food, no water, no shoes. . . and their seeds of discontentment bore the bitter fruit of wandering the wilderness and eventual death in the place they complained so much about.

God is not pleased with a complaining heart.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."  Philippians 2:5

Wow!  My attitude needs help.  I see it reflected in the rolling eyes of my 7 year old.  My children see my unwillingness to serve. . . my selfish heart and it is reflected in their behavior.  They are mirrors of me, and instead of seeing the beautiful humility of Christ, there is pride which leads to strife.  Christ's attitude was one of submissive obedience, He only did the perfect and complete will of the Father.  My attitudes and actions should reflect that of my Savior.

He also sends a little encouragement:

"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."                                                   Philippians 1:6

He has not abandoned me to these sinful plagues upon my heart.  My Lord will not forget the work He called me to for His purpose and His glory.  He will complete it.  This sanctifying process is not easy.  His light exposes the hidden things, but through His might we can overcome the darkness.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Simply Love

By the side door of my home, near my keys and purse and coat, sits a box.  Just a small, simple, unpainted wooden box.  It's there as a reminder - to love. 

Years ago, when I taught Vacation Bible School we learned about Jewish traditions - the Passover meal, the tasseled prayer shawl of the rabbi, and the mezzuzah.  The mezzuzah is a box placed on the doorpost of every Jewish home that holds the words of the Shema, the greatest prayer and commandment of the Old Testament.  Whenever someone comes in or goes out of the doorway they are to touch the box and remember the words contained inside.  Some may even kiss their fingers before they place them on the box. 

How beautiful!  What a simple yet meaningful way to bring to life the words of the Word.

But how often do I miss it?  How often do I reach up for my keys to go and forget to touch, forget my Lord's command?

Today, I open the box and uncurl wrinkled and worn paper to read, to see, to hear. . .

"Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."  Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Be still and hear. 

Our God wants us to do something. . . to love Him.

Is what I'm about to do loving God?  Is where I'm going pleasing to Him?
Have I used my strength for His glory?
Is my soul filled and overflowing with love for my Lord, and am I telling others about Him?

While I'm walking along the road, or sitting in my home, or lying in my bed are my thoughts and words of Him? 

I am to bind these words on my hands and keep them in my mind.  These are words of life.  These are words of truth.  This is the will of God.

This is the path He has for me. . . to walk in His love. 
May I have the fortitude of heart and mind to keep this command before me every moment of every day.


Grateful today for. . .

109.  His holy commands that lead to life

110.  No training wheels!

111.  Moonbeams through soft clouds

112.  Walking us through valleys

113.  Hearing our prayers

114.  Drawing near

115.  Bible study encouragement

116.  9 days of school left

117.  Summer plans

118.  'Beauty for ashes'

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The crown came only after the cross. 
The glory after the pain.

Sometimes I forget that this life is the hard and joyous path I must walk.
Sometimes that path is not easy. 
Sometimes there is heartache.
Sometimes there is pain.
Sometimes there is loss.

Christ never promised an easy road.

He did promise we would never have to walk it alone.
He already walked the hardest path any man ever had to walk.
He already did the hard part. 
He already paid the price.

Now it is my turn to live my devotion to my Lord.
Now comes the hard part - not being a hearer only, but a doer of the Word.
And when it is all said and done we will have our joy. . . being with Him.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother Love

I love the sight of pajama clad children carrying a breakfast tray of cereal and juice to me on Mother's Day morn. 

I love the fingerprinted flowers made just for me.

I love the sweet song, "Happy Mother's Day To You" sung by adoring little faces.

I love the light in their eyes and the love in their hearts for. . . me.

I love celebrating mothers in church while singing in worship to our Savior.

I love handmade Sunday School cards.

I love having a special lunch out and kissing chocolate covered noses.

I love the little one who keeps saying, "Happy Birthday Mommy!"

I love snuggling next to my girl for an afternoon nap.

I love outside play time and dinner on the deck.

I love my husband who made this beautiful day possible.

I love bedtime stories and goodnight kisses. 

I love being a mother!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Knowing Him

                    "If there's a God who would enter humanity to capture the
                     heart of a rebel like me. . . I want to know His name. . .
                           I want to know that man."  -Christa Wells

I want to know this man who left glory to give all.  I want to know this man of sorrows who walked the broken road to reconcile the rebels to the Father.  I want to know this man who loves me. . . a fallen, dark, sin stained mess of a mother who fails daily. . .

I want to know this man who finds worth in the weary ones, who lifts us up and tenderly heals our wounds and tells us we are loved and worth the sacrifice of His life.  To know the Savior, to know Him and to trust Him with our very lives. . . that is an excellent goal.

May we all seek to know the Savior.  Seek Him through His Word and know 'God made flesh,' know the lover of our souls.

Thankful today for. . . 

100.  a way to know Him more

101.  the gift of music

102.  bright, cheerful mornings

103.  coupons (especially for fudge dipped cookies)

104.  free samples in the grocery store right at lunch time

105.  singing sweeties  "Marching to Zion"

106.  bunkbeds for boys

107.  giggles in the night

108.  a good night's sleep