Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Drop the Camera

I remember the day that we decorated the house...  after we had put up the decorations I got my phone out to snap a quick pic to post on Facebook, but before I could post my perfect Christmas decoration pic I had to crop out all the trash and other junk that was all over the floor, so that everyone would see my beautiful lights and tree and NOT my dirty house.   In our generation we have a plague that is sucking the joy out of our life, it's called "Being Camera Ready". 

A few days ago, sitting at the table across from my cute date, at Wingstop, eating what could possibly be the messiest food on earth, I saw an unexptected sight over his shoulder...  Two woman sitting across the table from each other, taking selfies of themselves at Wingstop.  It took a while for them to get the perfect shot and I just had to laugh.  That's us.  Our generation (and I include myself in this insanity) always taking the perfect pic, of the perfect date, our perfect family, our perfect Christmas decorations...  always cropping out or retaking our pics until they don't reveal the reality of the situation, namely that you are at Wingstop, eating messy wings and this is really not the best time to be worrying about how your hair looks when you are stuffing your face and have original hot sauce all over your mouth.

Expectation of perfection are causing us to be a generation of frustrated, unthankful, joyless fools...  I say fools because perfection is an illusion.  We can not attain perfection, but we try and when we don't succeed we crop. 

Minutes after we arrived at my husband's graduation ceremony I overheard a mom say to her young graduate "I just want your day to be perfect."  I'm sure everyone there had been visualizing this day and all the perfect photos they would upload of their perfect graduation day...  However, it was anything, but perfect.  After we had been standing around in the foyer, that was getting extremely crowded for what seemed like eternity, one of the staff of the college stood up on a chair and said "Well, we are going to have to go with an impromptu plan B... the electricity is out across this part of the city."  Then they began to bring in chairs into the over flowing foyer and seat the people they could fit, as the rest of us stood closer than you would ever want to stand to another human being you don't know.  As the families and friends were finding our places the graduates had to fill out a paper with their names and degrees to hand to the speaker who would then call their name and hand them a diploma...  the problem was the grads would be up on the balcony and we would barely be able to see them.  Only if the whole room remained silent would we be able to hear our grad's name called.  It was not the picture perfect day anyone had dreamed of.  It was a lesson learned that the journey is the important thing, not the photo op.  It was a lesson learned that you have to roll with the punches and enjoy the ride or you will be a sorely disappointed and unhappy human being.

Mary probably had a lot of hopes and dreams of what her life would be like.  She was engaged and soon they would be married and start a family and live happily ever after.  PERFECT!!!  Then the angel of the Lord said to the "unwed, teenager"...  You've been chosen, highly favored...  You will bear a son, the Savior.   Wow, wait...  I'm not married yet... what will he think?  what will my parents think?  this is NOT the way it works Mr. Angel? 

Mary probably had a lot of visions of what her perfect delivery would be like.  Little did she know that she would be travelling the uncomfortable rocky, hills of the Israeli countryside, ready at anytime to give birth.

Mary probably dreamed of the perfect place to bring her baby into this world...  little did she know that she would be turned away countless times, until she was forced to have her son in a place only fit for animals.

I'm sure she would have liked to provide so much more for the Savior of the World, but she couldn't do that and her reality was anything, but perfect.  What can we learn from this young girl that God hand-picked to be the mother of HIS son?  What was her response when her life didn't look the way she thought it would?

"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.  For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for BEHOLD, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For He that is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation." Luke 1:46-51

Thank God, Mary was willing to drop the camera, and let go of her idea of a perfect life to bring forth the Savior of the World.  Thank God, she was willing to let go of her hopes and dreams and plans for her future to allow God to save the whole world.  It wasn't about her.  She wasn't focused on how things were going to look.  She wanted to be a part of God's plan and she was filled with JOY that God would choose her.

When her plan was messed up she said "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; BE IT UNTO ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD."

Mary was willing to let God have his way even when his ways didn't make sense to her.  She was willing to allow God to use her even when it was hard and uncomfortable.  She REJOICED to be a part of God's amazing plan...

What about you this Christmas...  will you exchange your picture perfect Christmas for the one that Christ has planned for you?

Monday, December 21, 2015

In my dreams...

The gifts are wrapped beautifully, in shiny silver and red paper, under the tree, waiting for Christmas morning.  The anticipation is about to kill my oldest daughter.  She has an idea of what she might find under there and she can't wait.  I told her the longer she waits the more she will appreciate what she finds in those boxes, when the time is right to open them.  It's hard to wait.  I know how she feels, but there is something about waiting that makes those gifts so much more special, the longing so much more intense.

I lay in bed this morning with my eyes closed long minutes after I woke up.  She was there in my dreams this morning and I didn't want to let her go.  I wanted her to stay with me.  I miss her.  Christmas time was my Mother's absolute favorite time of year.  She made it special for my brother and I...  if there is anytime of year that we can not ignore that she is gone, it's now.  Every thing from the day after Thanksgiving, when we decorate, until the day after Christmas, reminds me of her.  I'm reminded of the good times when we were little and it was all so fun, and I'm reminded of the last Christmas, when she was sick, and I know she knew it would be her last.   She brought boxes of decorations over for me to go through (she said her house was too small for all that stuff), and I had always begged for her to give some of her abundance to me.  She had 3 generations of Christmas decorations... things I had seen every year for my whole life.  Here they were, all for me.  Now they are sitting all around my house.  My constant reminder of a loving Mother. 

The dream passed and with it the all the details, all that remains is the feeling that she's thinking of me too.  Just a brief moment in my sleep to let me know I will see her again. 

What I used to love about Christmas was the lights, the tree, the gifts, the family gatherings...  but since my mom died the deeper meaning of Christmas has eclipsed all those other things.  Now when I think about that baby in the manger my thoughts go straight to the man on the cross.  I will never be able to just celebrate the birth of a King, who brought news of God's good will toward men,  I will never not be drawn immediately to the image of the KING on the CROSS.  The King who laid down his life for me, who was bruised for my sins, who took my place, so that I could have a place with HIM in heaven. 

Heaven...  my home.   This life is a long journey to that place.  The Bible says "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor can we even imagine the things God has prepared for us."  In God's word we get a little glimpse of what it will be like, but our minds could never even imagine what we will find.  We will be with our God.  There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sickness, no more sin, NO MORE DEATH.  A perfect place, with a perfect God.  

Heaven...  her home.  Heaven will be the place that we see those we love again.  Just like my daughter might have some idea what she might open Christmas morning, I have some idea what I will see that day.  I will see her...  my Mother, but she won't be like she was before.  She won't be sad, she won't be sick, she won't be worried, she won't be in pain.   While I'm waiting to see her that day, my longing for her grows, and with it my anticipation for HOME.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Don't Stop Believing...

 I'm getting the stank eye from my "too cool" preteen daughter.  I can't help it...  I'm jamming to my own inner concert with Journey.  You know the one, sing it out with me wherever you are... "Don't Stop Believing... Hold on to the Feeling."  There you go.  You're feeling it too. 

I know it's easy to stop believing.  It's happened to me.  I had given up on my hopes, dreams, and prayers ever being answered. 

It might be a marriage that's in shambles.  It might be a rebellious teenager.  It might be a sick loved one.  I don't know what it is today, but you've given up believing.  I know you have, because believing is HARD and we don't do hard.  You've resigned yourself to just existing... this is all there is.  You've even gotten used to the numbness in your soul.  The heartsick of hopelessness. 

I know how you feel.  I had given up too.  Since it's been this long it will never happen.  I had even gotten angry at God for ever making me hope in the first place.  Hope-hurts, especially when it's dashed again and again. 

Abram felt that disappointment as well.   Think about how he must have felt.  Twenty-four years had passed since God came to Abe the first time and said "Leave and go and I will bless you."  Abe did his part.  He left and went and for what?  His life has been a little frustrating.  He's 99 and he's living with two unhappy women.  Poor guy.  I feel for him.  I know what it's like to live with a disappointed woman (me)...  she doesn't even have to say anything, she just mopes around all the time, silently letting you know how you have screwed up her life.  

God where are you and what are you doing?  Why?  Why did you make me hope all these things?  Why aren't you doing what you said?  WHY?

Yet here we are again.  God comes to Abe and says "And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you EXCEEDINGLY." 

Abe does the only thing that a person can do in that situation... He falls on his face before God.  Can you imagine the relief that Abraham must have felt to know that all he had believed was being confirmed?!  Sometimes we just need a reminder.  Sometimes we just need confirmation that we have NOT made all this up.  Sometimes we need a little help to believe.  We are not alone.  You can read through the word of God and see it repeated over and over again...  It's hard for us to believe, but thank God he is willing to remind us again and again.

The LORD says I will make my covenant with you.  He is making a promise to Abe that isn't dependent upon Abram.  He is telling Abram "I'm going to do the impossible." 

God is about to bring life from a dead womb.  WHAT IS TOO HARD FOR HIM TO DO FOR YOU??? 

He's not just bringing life from death....  He's going to do it EXCEEDINGLY.

Exceedingly- to an unusual degree; very; extremely.

He's going to do it so big that everybody is going to know that He did it.  You know why?  Because God wants the world to see HIM, to know him, to give him GLORY. 

He wants to do it so big that you are on your face, overwhelmed by thanksgiving because you had given up.  You stopped believing... 

I love the fact that God just keeps on talking to Abe while he's on his face...  He keeps on speaking his promises to him, while Abram is completely overwhelmed by the presence of EL SHADDAI (The ALMIGHTY GOD).  

"And as for me, BEHOLD, MY COVENANT is with you, and you shalt be the Father of Many Nations." vs4

MY COVENANT.  His PLAN.  HIS PURPOSE.  This is not just about you Abe.  This is BIGGER than you.  This is bigger than your hopes and dreams.  BEHOLD I'M DOING SOMETHING. 

We have the short term in view.  Our little bitty lives.  God has eternity in view.  God had chosen Abe, because God had a BIG thing he was doing. 

JESUS, the Messiah, the SAVIOR was coming through the descendants of Abraham.  Abraham was going to be the Father of MANY NATIONS...  He is the Spiritual Father of ALL those who believe in Christ in EVERY NATION.

This isn't dependent on YOU.  This isn't about your vapor on earth.  This is about your descendants.  DON'T STOP BELIEVING, just because it hasn't happened YET...  God has a bigger plan than you do that He is working out in HIS TIME.  It's NOT YOUR TIME. 

It might take longer than you wanted, BUT GOD IS WORKING HIS PLAN OUT IN THIS WORLD and you get to be a part of that...  SO KEEP ON BELIEVING. 

"Now unto HIM, who is ABLE to do EXCEEDINGLY, ABUNDANTLY above ALL that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us." Ephesians 3:20

How can you continue to believe today?  The bible says that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the WORD OF GOD."  If you want to increase your faith.  If you want to keep on believing you have to get in this book and allow God to increase your faith. 

"But without Faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that HE IS, and that HE is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Heb 11:6

My hope has been restored.  My faith has been strengthened.  I believe again because as I read Abe's story, God is whispering "Don't Stop Believing".   

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Can I have a Do-Over?

I just went to bed.  I didn't care what happened outside my bedroom door.  The day had been an epic disaster.  I wanted to blame them (my children) for everything.  I wanted it to be all their fault, but I knew it was me.  I had made a huge mess.   It started with math...  no explanation needed if you have ever tried to teach math...  it ended with an explosion and a threat that they would all be in the school around the corner next year.  When the anger finally gave way to the breakdown and my emotions were all played out I just did the only thing I could do... I climbed in the bed and shut my eyes.  Let them all take care of themselves, I had screwed it all up. 

When I woke up it was dark outside.  I wrestled between the choice to stay in that bed (and let dad order pizza) or get up and make dinner, even though it would be late and little people would be starving.  Finally, I decided 2 wrongs don't make a right...  I needed to put my big girl panties on and do what needed to be done.  I mean really what is the difference between the fit she threw about math saying "I can't do it, it's too hard" and the fit I was throwing about being a wife, mom, and homeschooler?

Attitude is everything isn't it?  The first equation she had done on the whiteboard took her less than a minute... after her attitude change the very next equation took her 2 hours.  She knew how to do it.  We've been working on this for 2 weeks.  Nothing had changed, except her attitude.  As I lay in that bed I realized the same was true with me...  I knew how to do this, but my attitude had changed and now I just wanted to give up and say "this is too hard, I can't do it". 

After you screw things up you have to go back to the basics.  What do you know to be true?  Well, I KNOW that God has called me to homeschool (no matter how I feel).  I know that I can't send them to school, because this is my journey.  This is my sanctification, which is just a big word that means "to make holy"  I'm NOT holy...  I'm so far from holy it's sad, but this side of heaven is all about me becoming more like my Savior Jesus, and this is the way God has decided to clean me up.  This is the way God has decided to work out my sin. 

Sanctify-  to make holy, to purify, TO MAKE PRODUCTIVE OF OR CONDUCIVE TO SPIRITUAL BLESSING.

You see as believers in Christ we have been blessed with ALL spiritual blessings (eph 2), BUT we have to be made productive for those blessings.  It's a work that God is doing in our life, using the hard things to purify us.  To make us Holy.  Sometimes it hurts.

Abram had been blessed with spiritual blessing and promises, BUT Abram had screwed up royally.  Abram needed a do-over.  Twenty-four years had passed since God had first called Abram out of Ur.  Along the way Abram had made some big mistakes.  Along the way Abram had learned about the character of this invisible God.  He had learned about mercy.  He had learned about grace.  He had learned about the power of God. 

After 24 years God comes to Abram again and renews his promise.  I'm sure that Abram knew that if the plan could be messed up, then he had messed it up.  What a relief to Abram to know that God was not through with him yet...  In fact this was the beginning, not the end.  

"And when Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be blameless."

In human terms this was the end.  Abram was 99.  He was old.  He had screwed up.  Surely after Abe is dead God can choose someone a little younger, someone a little less likely to screw up and start over, BUT God is just getting started. 

God comes and appears to Abram.  I could stop right here and that would be enough.  How amazing that GOD came to man.  WHAT???  Then instead of saying "Look Abe you have royally screwed up my plan."  He says "I am the Almighty God."

You see it's not about us.  We are limited to this human flesh and God knows we are weak... It's about HIM.  The name that God chooses to use for himself in Hebrew is 'EL SHADDAI'...  the Almighty God.

EL- the powerful, mighty, eternal God.
SHADDAI- comes from the root word, "shad" which in the Hebrew word for breast.
It literally means the breasted one.

This is a picture of God himself as a nursing mother. 

Think about that... a nursing mother supplies every need of her child.  A baby is completely dependent upon the mother.  A baby can do nothing for himself.  Only the mother can meet his needs.   As this relates to God- He is the God of total provision. 

God revealed himself to Abram through this name because he wanted Abram to know that He was the ALL POWERFUL ONE-  He was about to promise Abram that he at 100 and Sarai at 90 were going to have a son.  He was about to bring life from a dead womb.  He was just getting started.  God wanted to reveal to Abram that HE was the supplier of all of his needs.  God wanted him to know that outside of EL SHADDAI, he would need nothing.

I know God has been trying to show me this for a while...  He is the only one that can satisfy me.  He is the all sufficient One.  If I have Him, I have all I need.  Just like a baby who only needs a mother to thrive and be satisfied.  He is the powerful God who will perform his plan in my life.  I'm just the bystander.  I CAN'T jack this thing up.  

His grace is sufficient for me, His strength made perfect IN MY WEAKNESS.  He didn't choose me to homeschool and to have a house full of kids because He looked down and thought "wow, she'll be so good at this". 

I'm sure it went a little like this... God looked down and said "Wow, that girl is a mess. I choose her, then everyone will know I did this."  The bible says that God takes the weak things of the world to confound the wise.  When my kids grow up and anything amounts from this adventure we have been on, my mind will be blown, and I will glorify the LORD, because I know what happened inside these walls and if we succeed it will be because of the All Mighty God.

IF there is anything that God wants me to know in this season of life it's this...  He is the All powerful, mighty God who supplies ALL my needs.  That is exactly what He wanted Abram to know as well. 

"And we KNOW that ALL things (good or bad) work together for the good of them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."  Rom 8:28

I know you might be feeling overwhelmed.  I know you might be feeling like you don't measure up, but take heart friend, it's not up to you.  God didn't choose you because he thought you could do this thing.  Draw near to the Father as a nursing child would draw near to his mother and allow him to meet your needs are do all things for you. 



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

There's life here.

He sits at my kitchen table, drinking a glass of sweet tea, and rambling on.  There are a million things I need to be doing.  The dishes are piled in the sink, we just finished our school day and all I really want to do is get my house in order again, but he's here again, 3rd time this week.  My first response is FRUSTRATION.   I do not have time for this.  My next thought, not my own, a whisper from my heart...  where the Spirit dwells...  He says "I sent him here."  So, for God's sake and not my own I listen, as he tells me who the Ranger's picked up, about his job, and a million other things his lonely heart wants to tell me.  At one point he asks our plans for Christmas day and I tell him, it will be a busy day, a full house.  With a far away look in his eyes, he gazes at our tree and says "I remember when Christmas was big deal at my house, but it's quiet now."   He came because there is life here.

A few minutes later, he asks the boys if they want to play catch.  He's more comfortable with them than he is with us adults.  He tells jokes and laughs with them.  When I look at my children as a job, he sees a blessing.  He told my husband one day, "I come here, because there's life here".  He's talking about them, my children, they are the life that he's talking about.  What he doesn't know is he's talking about Christ, who came to give us abundant life...  It's because of obedience to God that this house is overflowing with life. 

I remember when Bobby and I moved into our first house...  we prayed and blessed our house, our specific prayer is that it would be a refuge for anyone that God should choose to send.  I didn't know then what I know now...  With blessing comes great responsibility.   I didn't know God would be answering our prayer in ways that didn't always make me happy.  I didn't know that I would even be in opposition to the way God answered my prayers, but I do know that he has used the answer to humble me over and over again.  He has shown me that I don't really have the heart of Christ for the lost and the lonely. 

She sat across from me at the table...  She comes off and on.  She's a favorite with my children and I don't often get a chance to spend time with her when she's here, she doesn't come for me.  She comes because there's life here.  As we sat talking last night, she gazed at the tree and said "yeah we haven't had a tree in years."  I didn't know that...  she is a part of our Christmas decorating every year and I know that she loves it, but I didn't realize, she comes here because there's nothing at her house.

While I'm busy worrying about laundry, dishes, school work and things that really don't matter, God is sending people here to this refuge, because there's life here.  The Bible says "That children are a blessing from the Lord." I confess that I don't feel this way a lot, but it's because my priorities are backwards.   As husband and wife we have said to God "we will accept the blessings that you send"...  I had no idea that the blessings were the answer to bringing the lost and lonely to our house.  There's life here. 

Children are a blessing.  They don't take life so seriously.  My little people laugh a lot and do crazy things that make me roll my eyes all the time.  Children accept people the way they are.  They love unconditionally.  They look past imperfections.  They make time for people.   The people that God sends to my door don't come here to see me...  they come because there is life here and there is life here, because Christ is here. 

Everything I do for Christmas I do for my children.  The candles, the baking, the tree, the decorations, it's all for them.   I want them to have memories of beautiful Christmas celebrations...  it's all for my children and the lonely are drawn here to be reminded of what Christmas used to be for them.  They come because there is life here.

The greatest work of God, the most miraculous thing that God ever did happened 2000 years ago when God sent his son, as a baby in a manger. 

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."  Isa 9:6

In the stable, lying in a manger, one night in Bethlehem, a child was born, a blessing that would bless the whole world.  A child brought life here. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Who is the good guy???

 I heard my 2 year old screaming upstairs for a few minutes and decided that since it hadn't calmed down it must not be a simple fit.  Up the stairs, I go to find out who did what and why?!  When I get there my 7 yr old starts explaining what the 2 yr old had done, and then my oldest son says "that's not the way it went" and starts explaining how each person had done something equally mean and annoying to the other.  So, once again it takes two to tango, but no one ever sees what they have done wrong and blame the other person.  We have seen this since the beginning of time, with the first two humans.

This little episode was a perfect illustration of the story I've been studying...  I recently decided to take a closer look at Sarah, Abraham's wife, the woman that God chose to begin the Hebrew nation and ultimately use to bless the whole world, with the birth of Jesus Christ. 

For the last couple of years my "faith" or religion, whatever you want to call it has been taking a radical shift.  I gave my heart to Christ at the age of 19 and from that point tried to prove my worth to God.  I had a works based faith.  If I could be a good enough person, then I could earn the favor of God.  He had been so good to me and his love so extravagant that I could not wrap my head around His GIFT of salvation.   The problem with that kind of religion is that I begin to think I am "good" and other people are "bad".    All along I was not good though...  as hard as I would try I knew there was no goodness in me.  Oh, sure if you asked other people they might say that I'm a good person, but I know me and God knows me too.

As I have taken a closer look at the people that have a prominent place in scripture I can see a pattern.  God takes regular humans, who act very human and intercedes in their lives in big ways and eventually, these humans don't become good people, they begin to see a GOOD GOD and FAITH in HIM begins to grow and characterize their lives.  These are NOT moral people.  God doesn't choose these people because they are good.  He chooses US, because HE IS GOOD.

Take the story I am reading right now.  Abram and Sarai are promised that they will be fruitful and multiply and that God will bless the world through their family.  Eventually the promised Messiah will come through the seed of Abraham.  The problem is they have been waiting a LONG time.  10 years has gone by since this promise from God and NOTHING. 

Sarah being a woman after my own heart takes matters in her own had and decides to go with the custom of the day and give her servant Hagar to Abram as a wife, hoping she will supply the long awaited heir.  When Hagar becomes pregnant she starts to despise Sarai and isn't afraid to show it.  Sarai blames her husband for all of her unhappiness (which all of us women do), and will not be treated like this in her own tent, so she decides to use her power as Queen Bee and make Hagar's life hell...

At this point Hagar runs away, after a while she gets tired of running and sits down to refresh herself at a spring of water...  Sound familiar.  We get mad and pout and run away, only to wear ourselves out and make matters worse for ourselves.  Do you notice she is trying to refresh herself???  Fill that need that only God can fill?!  ANYBODY HEAR ME???

While she's sitting there the Bible says "And the Angel of the Lord found her there."  God went looking for her.  She didn't look for him. 

"and he said, Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, where have you come from?  And where are you going?"

Isn't that just like God...  first he calls her by name (and Egyptian slave) and shows her how much he  cares for her.  Then he reminds her who she is, Sarai's servant.  Isn't that just like God to remind us who we are.  That pride that caused her to run says 'I do not have to put up with this.' 

Then he asks her an even more loaded question...  "Where are you going?"  She has no where to go.  It's her pride that drives her out into the wilderness and now she has no where to go and GOD FORBID she turn around.  I've been there.  My husband and I were in a fight one day and I left him here with 5 children (one being a nursing baby) and went and got a sonic diet coke and just sat there in that stall at Sonic, thinking now what?  Now you have to kill this pride and walk back in that house with your head down in shame because you know you acted a fool, but I sure didn't want to.  I wanted to head to Mexico, but what was I going  do there?  Where was I going to go?  I belonged at home.

Hagar admitted "I fled from the face (or anger) of my mistress Sarai."  God helps her to see that she was in the wrong as well, which prepared her heart to receive his next statement.

"And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to your mistress, and SUBMIT yourself under her hands."

Look when 2 people are wrong, somebody has to submit.  WHY in the world did the angel of the LORD not go to Sarai?  I have NO IDEA.  I'm always wondering WHY DON'T you talk to that person????  You are always telling me what to do????  Can you tell them something every now and then...  HAHA...  You know you think the same thing. 

God didn't do that.  He followed Hagar, He showed her he cared, He listened to what she said, and then he told her what to do and Hagar did what God said. 

Hagar called the name of the LORD that day "The God who Sees."

Who's the good guy in this situation?  The LORD.  Who is right?  Sarai?  Hagar?  Abram?  Is this story about moral people?  Is there any moral lesson for us to learn?  Does God want us to be moral?

I think God wants us to realize that "there is none good."  There is none who seeks God.  He follows us, he finds us (in our sins), He cares for us, and He builds a faith in HIM, not a religion. 

The verses in this post are found in Genesis 16...  Go read it for yourself and see that God is the HERO of this story, of this Book, of my life and the Savior of this world, through the family of Abraham and Sarah, we have been given Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus the Messiah. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Saved to Slave...

Laundry, diapers,
dishes, trash,
Rinse, Repeat,
Don't let me crash.



Girrrllllll.... I am fighting mad right now.   After spending the afternoon trying to find a good recipe for dinner, cooking said recipe and thinking that I had done pretty well, I did NOT get the reception I wanted.  The fire rose up from the not very buried depths of my soul. 

You know what I did, because you do it too...  I went on a silent rant that went something like this...  "Do you people have any idea how much of my life is consumed by slaving away for you?  Without a thank you or job well done?  Do I get a raise or any help without begging for it??????"  I could go on, in fact I have been going on for hours, silently letting them all know just what I think. 

My whole night was ruined over how ungrateful these people can be.  My attitude soured by a lack of appreciation.  I'm just a MAD WHITE WOMAN right now... and then of course the verses that I have memorized come flooding in right at the moment that I don't want them to.  How dare the Spirit of God interrupt my pity party with the Bible?!?!?

Verses like "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in LOWLINESS of mind let each esteem others (like my family) better than themselves.  Look NOT every (mad white woman) man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.  WHO, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: BUT MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION, and took upon himself the form of a SERVANT, and was made in the likeness of men"  Philippians 2:3-7

As if that one verse is not enough I have to remember Jesus saying "The son of man came not to be served, but to serve." 

Who am I that I would take offense at serving my family with out thanks?  I know I've been bought with a price, called to serve and love just as my Savior served.  Who am I to become sullen and angry?  Who am I to allow my pride to be wounded with Christ as my example of humble service and obedience to his Father's will? 

Before, I get all Madea on people around here, it would do me well to remember that Paul said "And WHATEVER you do, do it heartily, AS UNTO THE LORD, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: FOR YOU SERVE THE LORD CHRIST." Col 3:23-24

My reward comes from the one I serve... So, I better get my own mind right and remember just who I have been saved to serve...  Jesus Christ. 

How can this "Mad White Woman" be mad after I remember what Jesus has done for me?

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed." Is 53:5

Madea, put the gun away!!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Choice.

You are my Idol,
I pledge my devotion to you.
Anything you ask,
That's what I will do.

I have another Lover,
He wants all of me too,
But there is nothing left,
I've given the best of me to You.

He calls me with a whisper,
He says come take my hand,
"I will give you all you need,
I will help you understand,

That all your other Lovers,
can't compare to me,
All they want to do is take,
But I hold the key,

To everything that satisfies,
I'm every thing that's true."
I know He is what I need,
and I will find only heartache with You.

I want him,
But I want you more,
I knows He is good,
but it's You I adore.

You can't quench my thirst,
You can't fill my hunger,
With you I leave empty,
You almost pull me under.

He tells me He's the true vine,
He tells me He's the Way,
I want so much to believe Him,
but I always walk away.

I know when I let go of You,
He will faithfully take my hand,
He will love me like you never could,
But all of me He will demand.

It's up to me
I have to choose,
I can't have you,
and have Him too.

His love is so much more,
than you could ever give.
It fills me up, it is enough,
It's what I need to live.

I'm not sure why I hold on,
When all you do is take,
Maybe it's this sickness,
in my soul that Ijust can't shake.

I run to you everyday,
Looking for my fix.
But, I should know by now,
You're just a cheap bag of tricks.

I have to make a choice,
I can't take this anymore,
You don't love me,
You just looking for a score.

I would like to say,
Please set me free,
But even I know,
It's up to me.

It's hard to resist,
You are so intoxicating.
Everyday I come to you,
You are completely captivating,

But it's all a lie,
It's all confusion,
The things you promise,
Are just delusion.

I'm turning,
I'm leaving,
I'm going,
I'm grieving.

You're not the one for me,
I want to say goodbye.
I can't handle anymore,
You are nothing, but a lie.

It's Him, It's Him,
My soul longs for.
The King of Kings,
Is the ONE I will adore.







Saturday, December 5, 2015

Not my home...

I don't fit in,
I don't belong,
I used to fight it,
But that was wrong.

You came in my life,
and started chipping away,
You took me in your hand,
like a broken piece of clay.

You've molded,
you've shaped,
you've sanded,
and scraped.

You've given,
You've taken,
And although I've cried,
You've never forsaken.

You had a mission,
From the start,
To be the idol,
Of my heart.

You will never take,
less than the best,
even when I fight,
You demand the rest.

There have been times,
When my heart would roam,
When I would forget,
This is not my home.

Like a sheep,
looking for greener pasture,
I strayed away,
only to find disaster.

At times I forget that eye,
Hath not seen,
nor can I imagine,
or even dream,

About the place,
that you have prepared for me
and how incredible,
My future there will be.

Help me while I'm here,
to fix my eyes on home,
and while I'm on my journey,
never let me roam.

It will be a battle,
To fight against my flesh,
to war against the desire,
I have just to mesh.

But, fight is what,
I will continue to do,
I will die to this flesh,
and depend on you.

Sometimes I think you've made a mistake,
leaving me here this long,
When I make a big mess,
And get it all wrong,

But You say "My grace is sufficient,
I'm faithful and true"
You are able to bring me
safe on this journey to you.

So until the day that my Faith
becomes my sight,
When I see you
and I'm done with my fight,

I will walk with You,
I will lift up my hand,
I will try to follow you
and keep your command.

When I'm finally home,
And in your arms I stand,
I will know it was worth it,
to follow your plan.





















Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Come INN.


I had a job meant just for you.
I had a mission only you could do.
I had something,
And it was so important too.

But, it wasn't big enough.
Nobody would have seen.
It wasn't on your terms,
so you completely ignored me.

I was hoping you had the candles lit,
and the music playing soft.
I was hoping you would,
Tell them to come in and sit.

I was hoping your smile,
would be the first thing they would see.
I was hoping he'd find cookies,
and a glass of your sweet iced tea.

I was hoping he would be overwhelmed,
with family, love, and Christmas Cheer.
I was hoping they would find me,
when they came to visit here.

I sent them there to see...
That the baby in the manger,
is the Savior on the tree.
I sent them there to find me.

But, what they found was an angry woman,
yelling at her kids,
They didn't smell the fragrance,
the aroma of the Christ.

Instead they saw only bitterness,
hidden in your eyes,
They found you were to busy,
and overwhelmed with life.

I sent them there to find me...
But, there was no room in the Inn.
I led them there with a star,
But you wouldn't let them in.

You're worried about about being noticed,
You're worried about being seen,
You're worried you're not important,
But YOU are so much more to me.

I need you in your home,
To open wide the door.
I need you to share the love of the season,
with the least, the lost, the poor.

Let them Inn.  Let them see.
Move out of the way...
They came to see me.
Smile and hug, serve and love.

Give them what they want,
Give them laughter, give them love.
Bake the cookies, brew the tea.
Give them what they need.

In the Name of the One,
Who came to save the world. 
Show them who I am,
Open wide the the door.

I had a job meant just for YOU!!!

Let me Love you...

 
 
OH LORD...  Please save me from myself.   I have the Martha disease.  You have asked me 1000 times lately to just let you love me and I can't.   I am consumed with shame and guilt that should have been stripped away long ago.  I think that IF I do enough for you then I will have earned your love, the very same love that was given to me while I was yet your enemy.  The love that I could never earn is freely given to me.  WHY can't I understand that you want to walk with me in the cool of the garden?  WHY can't I let you lavish this love on me?  WHY am I always trying to earn your favor or do something for you?  YOU hedge me in everytime and say "Be still, my love".  You tell me to rest that I am the one in need of seeing you.  I try to blindly go out and make you known in attempt to somehow earn your favor, but you say be still, be quiet.   I  am like a dry wasteland that needs YOU to rain down on me, but when you do I won't let the water to go past the surface.  I am dying and yet trying to save the world.  I try to offer what I will not receive...  LORD, help me.  I cannot accept your love and it's the very thing I need.  I don't need to do another thing.  I NEED to let you love me, BUT I don't know how.  SAVE ME FROM MYSELF... 

This morning I woke up with the driving need to do something for Christmas and I wracked my brain to see what I could do?!?!?!  It was so overpowering, but all the sudden the Holy Spirit calmed my raging sea and spoke to me the same message he has been speaking...  "Let me love you."  I had just read Psalms 42 and those words come back to me...  "My soul thirsts for you." 


The Lover of my soul says "Beloved, let me love you!  My child let me love you!  My daughter, let me love you!"
 
I don't know how, but my prayer is help me soak it in.  Help me be like Mary at your feet.  Help me adore you this season...  You are the reason.