Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Mother's Moxie

Mom and I have enjoyed a few laughs and some great conversations recently.

I learned some great kitchen shortcuts this week while visiting with her. She showed me how to peel the perfect boiled egg and a fast, easy way to "chop" an egg. Did you know all you do is place a cooling rack above your bowl and push the egg through the metal squares? Genius, I tell you!

She thinks about her kids and grandkids a lot. She remembers things like teaching Abbie new crochet stitches and early morning phone calls from Dodie.

She smiles when hearing about the great grands--would love to cuddle Dolly and kiss the back of Micah's neck. Loves hearing Lilley and Sky shout "I love you, Granny!"

It seems the people she loves--Mike, her children and their spouses, grandkids, great grandkids, Trish, her sisters--they are all on her mind. Even as she appears to be sleeping, she is thinking of the people in her life.

I asked her if she is afraid to die. She is not. Because Jesus lives in her heart, she is secure in knowing when the time comes she'll close her eyes to this world and open them to see Jesus.

Her only concern is for the people she loves. She wants us to be okay. I reminded her, if God is powerful enough to save our souls, He is powerful enough to take care of each one of us until we are together again.

She added something to our talk the other day that is ringing in my heart. She said, "I just want to know I made a difference in this world."

Oh, yes, Mom, you have and continue to make a difference. From telling strangers in the Dollar Tree that God is faithful to crochet stitches that turn into gifts of love to kitchen shortcuts.

With a twinkle in her eyes, she listened as I reminded her of her moxie that lives on in her kids and their kids ... moxie that doesn't quit. Moxie that stands up and moves forward under difficult circumstances. Moxie that looks for a better way. Moxie that makes a difference.

I suppose she verbalized what we all really want in this life ... to make a difference.

While we have today, let's just do it. Be kind to strangers. Forgive those who hurt you. Leave a big tip.

Tell the people around you that God is faithful. Be bold and tell them He is powerful enough to redeem each soul that humbly bows and believes.

I'm so thankful for my mom. I'm thankful for great memories and wonderful talks. I treasure quiet moments.

And moxie. Yeah, I'm super happy about my mother's moxie.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

These Things Were Allowed So ...

It's the biblical truth no one talks about.

Jesus gives us the answer to the why's of life in John chapter 9. But it's the answer we don't want to hear.

His disciples asked Jesus--Who sinned? This man who was born blind or his parents? Whose fault is it, Lord? Someone must be to blame.

And Jesus' answer? Neither. His blindness was allowed so that God's works might be displayed in him.

It was allowed--God didn't cause it.

The reason? So God's works might be displayed in him.

We want God to stop all the madness in the world. We pray for Him to intercede and make people do the right thing. Stop addictions, stand between people who fight with each other, say the word and remove what causes great pain.

We beg Him to keep the cells in our bodies from betraying us, turning into cancer that kills.

We pour our hearts out and even try to make deals, if He would just heal the ones we love.

We cry out to Him to help us understand.

What motivates us is right ... or is it? We just want peace and joy and happiness.

Do we want God to be glorified? Do we want His works to be displayed in us no matter the cost?

We don't want to hear that these things are allowed so God's works might be displayed in us.

I wrestle with this just like you do. I want God to display His works my way.

When your heart is broken, when you are lost in yourself, when you wish you could somehow run away from pain ... let it drive you to Jesus.

When you are sick and tired of sick and tired, when confusion has tied you up in knots, when your anger consumes you ... take it to Jesus.

We don't have to try to force the display of God's works in us. We don't have to figure out what that looks like or how it's done. No, that's all God.

All we have to do is turn to Him and not our own way of dealing with these things that cut the deepest.

But, how? It's a conversation. It's prayer. It's an open Bible and more prayer.

And it's praise. Praise? Who feels like praise when wounds are open and emotions are raw? Praise Him for what?

It can begin small--praise Him for the air you breathe, the sun, the trees, the moon and stars. Praise Him for the shoes on your feet, the milk in your fridge, the neighbors dog that wakes you up every morning.

Praise Him for the people in your life, your job, your home, and your favorite chair.

Praise Him because He keeps His promise to work in all things to bring good for those who love Him.

Praise Him and see how His works are displayed in you.

And never try to find the right words to say to those who hurt when there are no right words. Offer tears, prayers, hugs, and just be present.

One day, it will all be okay. This life that is a blip on the radar will move over for eternity. I believe in His saving grace. I believe everything the Bible says about heaven. I believe in His promises.

Oh, that God's works might be displayed in my life and yours.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

My Prayer List Grows

This morning I sit and look at graduation pictures of my 4 amazing children.

A lifetime has passed, it seems, since high school days. 

And my prayer list grows.

I look at their pictures and I imagine the faces of the people they love, the people they have added to our family, and I often feel overwhelmed with gratitude for each one ... and my prayer list grows.

I learned from Tommy's parents how to love without lines. There is no defining line between my kids and the loves they have added to this family. We now have 4 sons and 4 daughters. And my prayer list grows.

I see more faces. I see the faces of 4 beautiful grandchildren. And my prayer list grows.

Sometimes, fear tries to creep into my prayers. The anxiety producing what ifs. Yes, even as I pray, worry tries to steal the joy brought into my life by these faces.

They are adults now. I don't know them as I once did. I used to know if they ate their vegetables, got enough sleep, said their prayers, and felt good about their day.

This morning, as I prayed for my children, those what if's tried once again to squelch my words.

And Psalm 139 sent peace and calm as I reminded myself of something you might need to be reminded of as well. 

God knows my children (and yours) from the smallest cell in their bodies to the number of hairs on their heads to the thoughts they share with no one.

He knows their fears, hopes, dreams.

He knows their faults, failures and shortcomings.

He knows what makes them laugh and what makes them cry.

He knows.

He knows.

He knows and He loves them. God's love for the people I love is greater and more complete and more powerful than I can even imagine.

What a wonderfully safe place for me to rest my heart! For even as my prayer list grows, He has already gone before me. 

While my knowledge is limited, for Him there is no what if.

I will praise Him for a long prayer list, for the precious faces of my 8 children and 4 grandchildren. I will praise Him for His grand love for each one. 

I will continue to pray for each one and trust the One who knows them best and loves them most.

And I will thank Him for a prayer list that grows.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

This One Thing I Know

Running is the fountain of youth.

Running will kill you.

Eat peanut butter.

Never eat peanut butter.

Probiotics are good for you.

Probiotics are will harm you.

You need 8 hours of sleep each night.

5-6 hours of sleep is enough.

The earth is round.

The earth is ... well, okay, it's round.

I know I'm not alone in my frustration as I search for truth. Seems no matter what the latest study shows, tomorrow there will be a study to refute it. I mean seriously, did you know there's a "doctor" out there saying we should NEVER eat yogurt?

Sometimes I want to toss my computer into the front yard and run away screaming "This world has gone crazy!"

It's no secret we live in a super upside down place. It's no surprise we fight over which politician is telling the truth (which is becoming increasingly ridiculous every day). And God didn't glance over at us and wonder how we got where we are today.

When my children were little, I could watch them and know what toy they would reach for. James loved his books and his golf clubs by 2nd grade. Hannah was a Barbi fanatic and would play for hours. John chose his tractors and farm animals. Abigail had twin baby dolls she named Katie and Katie. These memories make me smile.

I knew what they would choose. I didn't cause them to choose it.

It's my feeble illustration of God's ability to know all things. He didn't make me get up this morning and pour my 3rd cup of coffee but He certainly knew I would.

Even as I make light of peanut butter and probiotics, my heart is so heavy with the greater things I don't understand. Why do young mothers leave this earth early? Why do children get hurt in car accidents? Why can't I learn I can't fix people? Why can't I learn I cannot fix myself?

When I am overwhelmed with what I do not know, I settle myself with what I do know. I know I can trust Jesus in moments of peace and joy and I can trust Him in the center of madness. When my chest is heavy and I cannot sleep--I can go to the One who created me and knows me. Time and time again He has met my deepest need and shown Himself faithful.

I love you, Jesus. And today, moment by moment, I trust You.

I trust You.

I trust You.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"My Father is still working, and I am working also." John 5:17

His eyes were on the waters.

He waited. For 38 years. With his eyes on the waters.

He wasn't alone. Many people--sick, blind, lame, paralyzed--all watching the waters.

They waited and watched for the waters to stir. The one who had help and made it into the water first was healed.

He had no one. Even so, he waited. And he kept his eyes on the waters.

This pool of water was in Bethesda. The Bible describes it as having 5 colonnades. It must have been beautiful in its day.

The man's eyes were on the waters. But Jesus' eyes were on the man.

"Do you want to get well?"

The Messiah is speaking. And the man is looking at the waters.

"I have no help. No one will take me to the waters."

"Get up! Pick up your bedroll and walk."

By the end of the day, this man had healing. Both physical and, vastly more important, spiritual.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all illness and forms or torment could be healed and no longer present on earth? Well, it would be ... heavenly.

A few verses later, we read how angry the religious leaders were. Jesus healed the man at the pools on the Sabbath.

His response was simple. "My Father is still working, and I am working also."

His eyes were on the waters and he waited. Until the day he looked at Jesus instead of the waters.

The pools at Bethesda are no longer there. We still have our eyes on something other than Jesus.




A person.

A dream.

A goal.

Our healing--healing of the heart, healing of the mind, healing of our pain--comes when we keep our eyes on Jesus.

The removal of cancer, addictions, sorrows, and loss on earth isn't going to happen. I look forward to heaven. I look forward to these things gone from memory.

Until then, I will believe with all my heart "My Father is still working, and I am working also."

I love you, Jesus.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My Peace I Leave with You

Most people in the world long for peace.

Peace between nations.

Peace between family members.

Peace within their hearts.

My husband and a few friends recently spent time together in Israel. What a beautiful, confusing, deep, amazing land.

There's so much I long to understand about the past and the present of this complicated. special place.

Jesus walked that ground 2,000 years ago teaching, healing, and showing the world His Father. In fact, what got the people most angry with Him were the words "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father."

Even then, people wanted peace.

Peace in their nation.

Peace in their hearts.

No different from today, they looked and listened but they could not see nor hear.

We want peace, but only on our own terms. Peace without cost. Peace without effort.

Hours before Jesus was arrested, He spoke to those closest to Him. He spoke from the heart. He spoke from the Father.

John chapter 14. We call it the Comfort Chapter. It has been a personal favorite chapter for many years.

"Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place I will come again and receive you unto myself so where I am, you will be also ... Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives ..."

Peace comes with a price.

The price is surrender. The price is laying down self-sufficiency and picking up Jesus. The price is not just admitting we need Him, the price is in acting on our need minute by minute of every broken and difficult day.

Our hearts are restless because we want to understand everything. We want answers to the why's of heartache and disappointment. We want relief. We think peace comes with having all our prayers answered.

Complete peace, like true joy, comes from giving up and giving in. It's the cry, that guttural cry, that admits I cannot continue to do this life this way. I cannot continue to use my own limited strength.

Jesus! I give in. I hand over to You my need to do it on my own, my desire to fix. My want to understand and my felt control.

I want Your peace. I accept Your peace in place of my pride.

I hope you'll read John chapter 14 today.

I will pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

I will pray for peace among people.

But more so, I pray for people to know the gift of salvation and the peace of total surrender.

Minute by minute of every broken and difficult day.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Flowers for My Momma

As far back as I can remember, my momma has had the greenest thumb ever. She can take a dried and lifeless plant and bring it back to blooming.

I've been super-blessed to visit Israel multiple times and am super super-blessed to go again.

Tommy has picked on me because I take pictures, endless pictures, of flowers everywhere we go.

I called my momma before embarking and let her know, when she sees a posted picture of a beautiful bloom, she can know it's for her. Her response? "And you can know I am well."

As many of my friends know, she is battling cancer.

Here's the thing--she is giving God glory for every single day. Privately in her heart and publicly to strangers in a store. She knows her strength comes from God alone.  And even on those long days and nights, those spans of time that only those who battle this evil can comprehend, she knows the joy of the LORD is her strength.

I am asking a favor of all who read this blog and all who follow and will see the breathtaking flowers I will soon post--pray for my momma. And pray for all those who fight the battle against this dread. And as you pray, believe in your heart that God is sovereign. Every minute of every day.

Momma, I am so proud of you. And so thankful for everything you have taught and continue to teach me. Watch for the flowers and know they are for you.

And yes, I will know you are well.