Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of All the Places in All the World

Christmastime is here.

Homes are decorated, city governments even have trees and decorations throughout, Linus and

Charlie Brown are on TV,  churches are filled with  music and candles-there is no denying it

we are in the throws of the season that means everything to many of us.


Each year I like to ponder and mull over a particular part of the Nativity story.

God poured so much detail into every aspect of that Holy Night, if we're not careful we'll miss it. . .

after all this is a story most of us have heard since childhood and could recite backward

and forward.


This year I've been thinking quite a bit about the Place where it all happened.

Bethlehem.

A town, full of sheep and shepherds and a harried inn keeper.

Bethlehem, 30 miles from Jerusalem -but it might have just as well been 3,000.

That little seemingly insignificant dot on the map of Israel, but where God chose to

give us Hope wrapped in clothes and laying a feeding trough.


As I've been pondering Bethlehem  I think the thing that has struck me the most is it's

seemingly insignificance to those around it.

Although, it did have a claim to fame in being the hometown of Israel's greatest king and poet, David,

those years had come and gone.

The word that keeps circulating though my mind when I think of how those who lived and worked in

Bethlehem during that time is --insignificant.

Insignificant place full of insignificant people-at least to those who didn't know better.



And as a person who has been able to recite Luke 2 since I was 5 years old this thought has struck

me in a fresh and powerful way this Christmas time.

Maybe because I found myself in what to the outside world looks like some pretty insignificant

places.

Home with babies, folding laundry and cleaning bathrooms.  Trying to stretch a dollar farther

and farther at the grocery store.  Wonder how all of 'this' could matter to the kingdom.

Perhaps you work in what my Sweet Momma has termed a 'cube farm' and you wonder how

what you do and who you are could possible matter to anything in the light of eternity.

Single, Widowed, Divorced, New Mom who hasn't figured out how to a get a shower in every day.

Sure others are doing big things for God, but you? You find yourself in the most insignificant place

you can think of.

Oh! How I love that about God! How He bends down to the most insignificant places and changes

everything.



On that night, so very long ago when the world changed forever, God sent his son, Jesus 'The Bread

of Life', to  be born in the little insignificant town of Bethlehem 'The House of Bread'.

Thirty miles away from royalty -both of kings and religion.  But, God chose that places to cradle

and care for his one and only son.

Maybe no one else-not even can you-can understand how the place you're in now can be one  of

any significance for the kingdom.  It doesn't matter.

God is writing his story.  His story that includes you.  And He knows.  He's always known.

Just like he knew Bethlehem would be the birthplace of his son--

Micah 5:2a The Lord says, “Bethlehem, you might not be an important town in the nation of Judah. But out of you will come a ruler over Israel for me. 



He knows where you are, He sees you.  There is not one place that is insignificant to Him.

Be on the lookout-just like that night so long ago-He might just be ready to change everything.

Now, to the those rulers in Jerusalem  or the farmers near by, nothing physical about Bethlehem 

might have changed, but those who saw and believed -they knew-OH how they knew-everything

had changed.

God might never pick us up and physically move us. Our outside position may never change, others 

might always see where we are what we do as insignificant, but we know Who has come and the 

work He  is doing.

So, change those diapers, cook those meals, file those forms, do what you do and know that

no where is insignificant if Jesus is there.


Peace,
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Deep Waters

My oldest son  and I have adopted this song as our theme for the current school year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw

If you spend anytime at listening to Christian radio I'm sure you've heard it as it's become an anthem

for many of us.

But, as I was listening the other day the line that struck me as a fresh word was

  " Your grace abounds in deepest water". . .


I've been thinking about that deep ocean water.

Deep ocean water is uncomfortable and can be scary.  Often times it can even hide the beauty of the

ocean because you become so  focused on survival -especially if you're not a strong swimmer.

The shore, ankle deep that's comfy.  That's doable for just about everyone.

I'm not keeping my eye out for the lifeguard when I'm ankle deep.


I might be able to swim or tread the deep water for awhile, but after a time it will be become

to difficult to handle alone.

There has been some deep deep water in my life: some I've drifted into, sometimes waves have

swept me into them, other times I've jumped in with both feet. . .but I'm not sure I've prayed to swim

in those deep waters.

As I thought these past two weeks about that specific phrase,  it has been proven true in my life over

and over again. The deeper the water, the bigger the grace appears.

Don't get me wrong, there's grace along the shore line too.  There's grace ankle deep or even shoulder

deep, I just tend to not notice it as much, because I can handle most of the swimming there myself.

Am I alone in this?

But Oh! How I need that grace in the deep murky waters.  The waters that terrify me the most. The

waters full of unknown things.

Yet in the middle of all those scary, unknown things-- Grace surrounds me, and when I clearly focus

on the Grace Giver  and not those deep waters, instead of swimming in them I find myself walking on

the waves that once threatened to pull me under.



Choosing not to be scared of the ocean is a daily battle for this momma, because of course I'm not

swimming alone, I've got three little ones (well they're not so little anymore but they'll always be my

babies) swimming out behind me.  And as much as I'd like to keep them on the shore their whole

lives, deep waters come whether we want them to or not.   How I would much rather have them

see the beauty and grace in them than be terrified of those deep waters.

How about you?  Have you found yourself in the deep water recently? Are you currently trying to

tread water or are you swimming beautifully through the grace that abounds there, or have you even

found the courage to stand and walk on them toward the Grace Giver?

If you find yourself in any of those three categories know that I'm right there swimming along side

you-one moment  treading -sometimes even feeling like I might be sinking, other times swimming

like I'm Michael Phelps-even daring to try and stand and walk.   But, no matter what phase each of us

is in there is comfort in knowing the Holy Lifeguard-the Keeper of the Waters is making sure the

waves that threaten to overtake us never do.

Yes, I believe it. . .His grace does abound in the deepest waters.


Swimming in the deep with you,


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thank You Note

Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come to him with songs of joy.
I want you to realize that the Lord is God.
    He made us, and we belong to him.
We are his people.
    We are the sheep belonging to his flock.
Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple.
    Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
    It will last for all time to come.
Psalm 100





We are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder.
 Hebrews 12:28




Happy Thanksgiving Dear Friends!

In this world of turmoil and chaos sometimes it is easy to forget how truly blessed we are.

So while I'm counting my blessings today I want you to know that I count  YOU among my blessings.

Thank you for each time you read, each comment you leave (the life blood of a blogger) each kind word on Facebook and each time you share a post.

I write to encourage -yet I am always the one who is the most encouraged.

We serve a great God.  I pray you feel Him near you during this holiday season.  
Remember, He is always at work around us-even in the aisle of the grocery store.


Blessing  upon Blessing to each of you,




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scars

I have had three babies.

Two of them were C-Sections which has left me with a lovely scar across my body.


Typically, it doesn't bother me but there are times when it pulls at my skin or itches and basically

becomes annoying.

Now don't get me wrong, my ugly scar is there for two beautiful reasons.  And when it's annoying

the heck out of me, I think of these two . . .and well it reminds what beauty came from that ugly scar.




But, as beautiful and full of every good gift I could ever imagine-the fact remains that

a scar was left in their wake.



I have some soul scars as well.  And they don't bother me all the time either, but every once in awhile

something will trigger them and they will begin pulling and tugging, and places that I thought were

long healed over begin to ache once more.  It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but it does still 

happen.

Some of those soul scars were put there by others, some of them I willingly inflicted upon myself.

But, no matter why or how they got there, they still tug and cause me pain.


Perhaps I am the only one, but the more time I spend on this  spinning rock, the more I'm convinced 

I'm not.

And really how could deep cuts that left us wounded and spilled out, limping along for months-

perhaps years at a time, how could they be easily forgotten?

But, heres what I do know.  There is  Hope that lets me know the deep, mortal wounding  pain doesn't 

last forever.

If I have a scar-that means my wound has healed.


The days after my c-sections left me in pain,  giant metal staples imbedded in my flesh, required high   

 dosed of medication, both for pain and to prevent infections and brought about a recovery time that 

left me needing help for the most basic of things.

But, those trying difficult moments have long passed, now when my scar bothers me it just reminds 

me of those two beauties. . .and something else it does is remind me of the outpouring of love  and  

grace during those trying days.

My  physical scar-the thing that has brought me the most physical pain in my life- shows me I've 

healed and reminds me of beauty, love and grace.



My soul scars can do the same things.

You and I both know that soul scars can cut deeper and hurt longer than even the worst physical 

scars--

But, if we let the same God who healed the scars remind us of the healing --OH! what a beautiful 

thing that can be.

The problem comes when we realize we haven't let him heal those wounds.  We're walking around

wounded-either from others or ourselves -and those wounds somehow become more sacred to us

than the healing.

We have got to stop wearing our bloody bandages  and showing them to anyone who will take a

look.

It's time to take them to the only one who can heal them, the only true Healer and Great Physician 

let him bind them up and yes over time those wounds will become scars.

Sacred Scars. 

 Scars that show where you've come from and how you've been healed.

Scars that give you the opportunity to tell everyone about your Healer.

It would be nice to make it through this life without any scars-physcial or soul, but that just

isn't going to happen.  So, we have a choice to make when we look at our scars, do we tear them

up and reopen them or do we remember where are healing come from and the beauty that come from

those scars.


Healing with you,





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dusty Heart- A Veteran's Day Story From Long Ago

This was originally published on Veteran's Day of 2010. 
I wanted to share this again today in honor of my Hero Dad and all the other hero's we honor today.


I found it in a cardboard box long long ago on some childhood exploration.
A small black box, very unadorned.

I opened it up and looked inside.
And there settled in white silk was a ribbon and a heart.
Shiny and purple there it gleamed with the face of a man looking out at me.


I gasped in delight and was so excited.
To my little girl eyes it looked just like jewelry.
So off to Momma I ran.
Can I wear this?, I eagerly inquired?

Oh no she said with a look in her eyes I did not recognize.
For that belongs to Daddy

Where did it come from I wanted to know.

Go and ask she replied,
So he can tell you his story.

To his lap I ran
Tell me Daddy, Where did your pretty heart come from?

Silence followed for quite awhile and then he said
Now listen honey, I fought in a jungle far away so you could always be free.
I got hurt and so they gave this to me.

Oh Daddy you're so brave, my little girl heart swelled.

Daddy, I asked, Can we take your pretty heart out and put on display for all to see?

Little One, he said, Let's keep it tucked away
There were others who gave their lives in that jungle, they gave so much more than me and promise me you'll never forget all that was sacrificed for you.

You're my hero I said.
I'm no hero, I was just a boy doing what I was asked to do.

But, my little girl heart somehow knew My daddy was a hero even if he let his purple heart grow dusty.


Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Boys In Blue

My blog is taking a turn today.

Please forgive this hometown girl.

Game seven of the World Series is being played minutes  from my front door tonight.

As you can imagine Kansas City (for those of you that don't live here, please understand that when

we say "Kansas City" we are talking about the actual city and all it's surrounding suburbs) is

ALL a buzz.  You can feel the excitement in the air!  Some have been true believers all along,

some are new to the party. . .either way all are welcome to cheer on our favorite Boys in Blue!


I would say I fall into the middle of that spectrum.

I grew up in the era of George Brett, Frank White, Bret Saberhagen and Willie Wilson.  The

stadium was about 20 minutes from our house and I passed it everyday to and from school.

I spent many summer night sitting in GA with my friends and youth group and in fact my first

real date was to a Royals game.  I went to church with a couple of players and their families and my

Dear Daddy and I had a standing date every year for my birthday to go to a game.

I can even claim to have sung the National Anthem twice for a Royals game.

But, after the strike in 1994 I became somewhat disillusioned with the game.

And then we had our kiddos and let's face it, for a family of five, a game isn't exactly friendly

to the wallet.  We've gone a few times over the years but mostly just kept an ear on what was

happening with the team.

Something happened along the way. . .I forgot how fun a great game of baseball can be.

And while watching all these innings of baseball the past month, it has been so delightful to

remember.

So, thank you Kansas City Royals for being a team we can be proud of-whether you win or lose

tonight.  Thank you for bringing back my love of the game.  Thank you for appreciating your fans

and loving our city just like we do.  Thank you for giving us a reason to collectively cheer about.

Twenty Nine years later and you reminded me and the world watching what a great place KC is

to live and raise a family.

What a delight it's been to watch games where no one is threatening to 'kill, smash, break' the

opponent. (Don't get me wrong I LOVE football, but it's been so lovely to be reminded that

sometimes you can play a game to see who wins against people you don't have to hate. Although

don't get me started on Joe Buck.)

In a world where the news cycle can pretty much make you want to hide under your bed, what a

great reminder its been that sometimes it's ok just to have a little fun and play ball.

We're rooting for the home team tonight.

We totally and absolutely believe --

Now

Go TAKE THE CROWN!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I've Seen Sunshine and I've Seen Rain

A week  ago we had some days and days of rain.

Not just the "Oh what a lovely rain we're having" rain, but the flood the basement, torrential

downpour of rain, are we really in a Tornado Watch in October kind of rain.

For. Days.

When it wasn't raining it was dark. Dark and Gloomy.

These are not my favorite kind of days.



We live in an older neighborhood and  there are some HUGE trees that line both sides of the street.

As I was driving our oldest to school, in my mind I was lamenting another gloomy day.

No rain, but no sunshine either. Just dark and dreary.

Then we turned the corner where the trees aren't nearly as close together.

I could hardly believe my eyes as the glare of the sun penetrated  through the windshield.

The bright golden sun  and a beautiful blue sky-

There they were in all their  splendor providing a gorgeous fall day.

_______________________________

I've been thinking about those trees and that beautiful ball of sun a lot these past few days.

What has been rattling around in my head the most is how the sun wasn't suddenly shining and sky

bright blue.


Nope they had been there all along.


What had changed was my perspective of them.


Yes, for awhile, the giant Oak trees had formed a canopy and blocked my view of what was really

happening all around me. Causing me all sorts of lamenting that just didn't need to be.


What need changed was my perspective.


Maybe that's the way it always is in life.

When all we can see is the trouble and the gloom around us-

especially if it has been incredibly dark and stormy for along time, we can forget that even when we

can't see it the SON is still there shining.  Doing exactly what the Son does, exactly where He does it.

Others can talk about the what is happening all around them, and I just can't see-I wonder if

we are on different streets.

Perhaps we are, or perhaps my perspective just needs changing.

I've got to take my eyes off those 'trees' in my life, even though they are there.

But, what I know to be true is that always somewhere the sun is shining. Even when I can't see it.

Some times circumstances quickly change to get me to the place where I can see the sun again, other

times it's a long hard journey.

But no matter how long it takes, or how winding the road may be or how many giant trees block the

light, I know the SON is always in His place shinning down on me.

Oh how I hope you know that too.  Hold on to that promise.



Blessings along the journey,