Monday, January 31, 2011


Well, here we are in the MidWest waiting for the next storm. Ice has already hit our area twice today.

I spread chemicals on the driveway only to go inside and see a deluge of rain sweep it all away and in a few minutes a glaze of ice cover our entrance to our home.

Trying to buy the SALT was an eye opener this morning. Talk about putting folks in a panic! I drove to Lowells, Home Depot, and Sams looking for rock salt.

All out.

I heard story after story of people stealing salt out of each other's carts. One man had hit SAMS at 7 this morning to buy 100 bags of salt only to face angry customers trying to get it from him.

Then I experienced my own sad situation. While in Home Depot, I spied generators. I always wanted one thinking often of how handy it would be in storms like this one and the one experienced in 2006. (Yes, I can be a gloom and doom gal pretty easily, too, as you've noticed.)

So I asked for a generator and got the LAST ONE! Yippee! Then I headed to space heaters since I have none.

All gone.

...And as I perused the empty shelves of space heaters, I turned around and found my platform cart with wood and the LAST generator was gone! Someone had stolen it quickly and was in line to check out.

Wow! I had just listened to Adrian Rogers on Bott Radio about what is truly inside of us comes out when we are angry. I stopped and checked myself as I was close to the kind of anger he described as sin.

I let it go.

Just as well.

My husband reminded me that for that price, we could stay in a hotel, assuming there are rooms available of course and assuming we could GET to a hotel.

So I loaded up yet another cart with firewood, schlepped to yet another store for SALT, bought 5 large bags, and inched home.

My neighbor and I greeted one another as we spread salt like chicken feed on the icy driveways.

As soon as we both went into the house, I heard it. Rain, rain, cold, cold rain.
I looked out in dismay as my precious salt washed away.

Why do I share this? This has truly been a day of checking my faith as I listen to reports of doom and gloom, as I experience theft and greed in the stores, and as I see my efforts achieve little to nothing against a series of storms.

God tells me, "Do not worry or be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication make your request known to God, and the peace of Christ that passes all understanding will guard your hears and minds (Phillipians)."

So it is back to the drawing board for me. What am I GENERATING (Pun intended) for God today as I watch the ice form once again on the driveway and as I wait for the foot of snow to begin on top of it? Do I generate peace for my daughter who watches my reactions? Do I generate joy and trust in God?

I pray I do a better job with the rest of this day, don't you?

For His Glory...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not What It Appears To Be?

I admit I haven't been there in quite a while.
I am relieved I usually ordered chicken when I did visit.

How disappointing to see the news today reporting that this fast-food place had not met the minimum standards for selling "beef" in its food items.

My husband shared the news report with me tonight as he told me the high percentage of "filler" that had been added to the "beef" items.

Filler? Oh, my! My mind did not want to go there.

Then I thought, now I have a new metaphor for my spiritual walk with God. While somewhat humorous, it can ring (pun intended) true in my life. How often have I had spirtual fillers as I go through my day?

Some examples of spiritual fillers in my life incude praying the same words every morning as I drive my daughter to school so that my original prayer sounds more like a memorized-lay-me-down-to-sleep rote prayer from my childhood days.


How about when I am reading my Bible in the morning, and I find myself adding to my things-to-do-list next to the Bible as I let my mind wander to daily chores? When I think on what I read in the Word five minutes ago, I can not recall. Then I wonder why God did not speak to me that morning?


When someone asks for prayer or shares a concern, and I quickly reply, "I'll pray for you," only to find a day or week has gone by when I did not do so.

The list could go on unfortunately.

I don't think I am alone though in easily losing my genuineness with God or my vulnerability with Him.

What spirtual fillers can you add to your list?

Join me, won't you in avoiding the Taco Bell Christian walk today? (And, yes, I hope that made you smile a little)

For His Glory,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Well But Healed!

I almost didn't upload the image of Beth Moore's workbook, "Breaking Free." A couple of my friends just don't enjoy her studies. I admit, it is a complete mystery to me as to why not, but I honor their choices.

Yet it is this very Bible study, and I do emphasize BIBLE because that is the source of all of her points she makes, that is helping me understand so much about my own bondage and problems and fears that I feel compelled to share it with you, Dear Reader.

Beth is a Bible teacher from Texas who speaks all over the world. She has written many studies for women (she claims her ministry and heart is for women). I have attended three of her studies. She even came to St. Louis for the first time, and my friends and I were so pleased to be able to hear her in person. She is truly a blessing as she asks sincerely for God to use her life.

So bear with me, no matter how you feel about the teacher here, will you?

I admit I have struggled and continue to struggle with seeing so much suffering and pain in this world. Reading Mary Beth Chapman's tragic loss of her little 5-yr. old and reading how Mary Beth's teenage son accidentally ran over the child with his own car as he hurried into the driveway, has torn me up for days (and nights).

Being with my mother at the hospital as the neurologist diagnosed her finger tremor as the first stage of Parkinson's, watching her fight that battle for almost thirty years, and being with both her and my dad as they took their last breaths, created in me a great fear, fear of loss, loneliness, aging. The world became so scary to me.

I am a What If person. My husband is not. When he leaves at 6 in the morning, I lie there thinking all the horrible "what ifs" and even can envision him in an accident. If my daughter has a sleep over I go through the same thing.

It is ridiculous, isn't it? So much energy wasted on fear. But, please, try to understand this even if you are like my husband and never have such fears cross your mind. My parents were my center of my life. My mother became my best friend when I was in my twenties. I loved being around her. My dad also became so dear to me. Their faith was a rock on which I often relied daily. I had never witnessed such amazing deep faith as theirs.

Seeing them suffer so terribly, seeing their struggles over such a long time span, just ate away at my own trust in God. Dad would say over and over to me, "God is so good." I would nod in agreement, but in my heart, I questioned.

Before you stop reading this pathetic confession, listen to what I heard today in Breaking Free. Beth shared how she was abused as a toddler until about 6th grade. She shared how God set her Monster of Denial and Emotions free over a period of time. Her husband also dealt with tragedy as his 3-yr. old brother burned to death in a freak accident in their garage. He was only 2 at the time. In addition their family lost another child years later.

Beth's husband wondered how his personality would be different and so much better if only...if only he had not had those tragedies in his life. The Holy Spirit revealed to Beth this reply, "You are so much more for God, not because you are well, but because you are HEALED."


Like me, she does not understand such sadness or loss, and like her, I am starting to see as my dad said, "God is good. His plans are for good, not evil." God does not discipline us without healing. We can bring so much more glory to Him in this fallen world if we allow Him to heal us of our fears, doubts, anger, sadness....

What Satan means for evil, God will turn into good, IF we allow Him to do so.

My mother was not well until she died, but she was HEALED daily as she chose to give God glory. More people came to know Christ and drew closer to Him as a result of witnessing her battle and faith than if she had been well for those thirty years.

What about you? Are you well? Then praise God. More importantly though, ARE YOU HEALED? Are you walking with Jesus today? If not, talk to Him about your fears, your doubts, your anger, your worries, your troubles....and join me, won't you, as I trust, "God is good."

For His glory...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Black ICE!

The other day I waxed poetic about the beautiful six inches of snow we were experiencing in Missouri. So pretty, so amazing....sooooooo


This morning, anticipating 40 degree weather, and seeing glimpses of sun, most of us in the St. Louis area casually drove onto the still frigid roads happy that the plows had cleared the snow for work and school.

Little did I know that right in front of my own driveway was a long stretch of black ice. I discovered this as I watched car after car put on its brakes for the stop sign near by and slide on through. Then on the way to my dentist appointment, I found the highway had been shut down because of so many accidents. (I wasn't too upset at having to reschedule my appointment though.)

Listening to Bott Radio while waiting in traffic, I was reminded of areas of black ice in my own life. You know what they are. I am sure you have some, too.

Those areas we haven't quite fully surrendered to God yet become our black ice. Just when I think I have given it all to God, when I think I am not going to try to control things, something happens called LIFE.

How easily I slip (pun intended) back to the old habits, the old ways of impatience, of trying to fix things myself, of taking back what I think is control.

It is a slippery slope when I depend on myself instead of God.

It looks so safe, so nice. It feels comfortable until I am in the middle of it.

Thank you, Jesus, for your patience and grace in picking me up when I fall, of putting me back on the right path, of loving me.

Join me, won't you, in giving Jesus our areas of black ice today.

For His glory,

Saturday, January 22, 2011


This morning as I went out on my back deck, I was hit by the beauty of the snow. The sun made the crusty top hiding the powdery fluff underneath sparkle like no earthly diamonds could. I noticed in the pristine backyard the tracks of rabbits and squirrels and creatures otherwise hidden from me at night (a possum or racoon, I assume). In the neighborhood, instead of the usual traffic noise, I heard the crunching of cars as drivers manuevered out of their driveways.

As I looked at the imprints of animals in our yard, I thought what once was hidden is now revealed in such an amazing picture. I breathed in deeply the crisp, cold air and watched, like a child, my breath hang in the air. The scene reminded me of one of my favorite childhood poems by Whittier, "Snowbound."

After searching through my books, I finally gave up and googled the poem. (Don't you love the internet?) Printing out sixteen pages, I wanted to share some of the images he so cleverly captured. (Don't worry; I won't share that many pages, not even a stanza.) As I type his words for you, I wonder if you, like I, feel we have lost something precious with our advanced technology? Snow days provide time for sledding still; that is true, yet the days also include nintendo games, Wii, television, texting, and yes, computer blogging. I covet, though, Whittier's time he expresses with family as they are snowed in by winter's blast. I encourage you to read the wonders of the children as they listen to stories from their family members and relish time spent together.

In our busy, busy lives, lives filled with running like taxis our children from one event to another, lives spent on facebook and I-phones, how much time is spent actually sitting together as a family just playing and sharing and talking?

It is a precious In Between Time not to be wasted, I feel.

So tonight, our television and computer will be off. My little family will devote this Saturday night to playing games, talking, and sharing. Hopefully, hopefully, it will provide great memories some day for each of us.

"Shut in from all the world without, We sat the clean-winged hearth about, Content to let the norh-wind roar In baffled rage at pane and door, While the red logs before us beat The frost-line back with tropic heat;...The house-dog on his paws outspread Laid to the fire his drowsy head, The cat's dark silhouette on the wall A chouchant tiger's seemed to fall;...We sped the time with storied old, Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told, or stammered from our school-book lore...."

Whether you are enjoying a winter's mild day or its snowy storms, I hope you join me in making time for personal contact with those you love and with the One who loves us even more.

For His glory...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

There is a Balm...

Yesterday, feeling very low after reading the highly recommended Mary Beth Chapman book about her 5-year old's death, I went to the piano to play hymns. Not as proficient as my mother at the keyboard, I search for hymns with easy chords and very few flats or sharps.

After playing several, I found a familiar song my father used to sing for church specials. I can still hear his clear baritone voice slide over the notes of "There is a Balm in Gilead," a traditional Spiritual.

As a child, I always thought Dad was singing, "There is a bomb in Gilead." I wondered how a bomb could make the wounded whole or heal the sin-sick soul?

Now as I played the tune, I noticed how much more significant those words are to me today. "Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work's in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again. If you can't preach like Peter, If you can't pray like Paul, Just tell the love of Jesus, and say He died for all. There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul."

Just tell the love of Jesus; the Spirit takes care of the rest. That was the focus of Mary Chapman's book, that even in the darkest of any mother's storms, Jesus still stands with us, loving us, understanding us, waiting for us.

In a way, Jesus was a bomb for humanity. He exploded man's ideas of salvation, love, and of God. He took apart man's ideas and transformed him through servitude. At the same time, Jesus offers love and help and guidance and most importantly, relationship after tearing apart our preconceived notions of what God is or should be.

To those women who recommend the book, thanks. It was very difficult and emotional, but I understand why you thought I should read it. I am glad we recognize that in this tough life, Jesus is our heart's balm. The author repeats that even through her pain, doubts, suffering. Some days are good; some moments are good, and some are just awful. It is raw honesty, yet she clings to God's love, God's balm. May we do the same as we encounter life's hardships on this side of heaven.

For His Glory...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

God's Love Declared Offensive?

I have always shared what God puts on my heart in these little devotional blogs on my facebook profile. So many things seem to go on facebook, that I thought my space would be used to share His glory.

Tonight, when I hit my usual "sharing" button, facebook blocked the posting declaring it inappropriate.

Don't you find that ironic? People can post pictures of drinking parties and egocentristic escapades, but not God's love?

Our world is certainly changing. One Sister-in-Christ recently asked for prayer because her husband was declaring her an unfit mother since she recently became a Christian. She has been labeled by him as loving God too much and making it too hard for him to reconcile. What he doesn't realize is that she can now love her husband more in spite of his terrible deeds because she loves Jesus.

The court actually appointed a guardian to decide what to do for the children since she is a new believer in Jesus.

What are we to do in the face of such anger toward God's love and Word? I don't know about you, but I will keep on writing and praising God and sharing His love.

Join me in prayer for those who find followers of God "offensive," won't you?

They, above all others need to know Jesus's grace.
For His Glory...

The Gift of Popcorn!

Today was my day to be a radiator of love for someone God put on my heart. This was a request from a sister in Christ who is going through daily radiation treatments for cancer. She asked people to sign up to be radiators of God's love on one day during the next 3 weeks.

Honestly, I am ashamed to admit, I wasn't in the mood. I was at the grocery store when I was reminded today was the day to do this. I asked God to impress upon me someone to help or do something nice for before I left the store. The rest of my day would be spent at home painting walls; so this was it.

Frantically, I kept looking and did not see anyone who seemed in need. Almost to the electronic doors with my cart, I passed a small popcorn stand. Tins of flavored popcorn enticed me; I looked longingly at the chocolate covered caramel corn. In the corner of my eye I saw a woman, a little older than I, sitting near the popcorn stand. She looked so sad as she sat waiting.

"Get her a gift certificate so she can pick out her own treat and take it to her."

That was the prompting I received. I requested the gift certificate all the time watching her to see if she would leave. If she left, I would not have to worry about how to approach her, I thought, somewhat hopefully. She stayed, sitting, looking sad.

Hesitantly, I walked up to her and introduced myself telling her of my friend's request. "This is to honor her battle against cancer and her faith in God. I hope it cheers your day and you enjoy it."

Her tired blue eyes filled quickly filled with tears. She then told me her mother had died of cancer after a long struggle.

At that moment, I felt like I was standing in place of her mother giving her one last little treat to show her she was still loved. She smiled at me with tears running down her cheeks and said a simple thank you.

I do not write this to brag on myself, but to encourage you to be a radiator over the next few weeks. Just take one day, ten minutes and do some random kind act God puts on your heart.

You will be surprised at what He does.

For His glory...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Tooth Fairy

"MOMMMMMMMMMMMM! Come quick! It's bleeding!"

Nothing stops a mother's heart like those words, right? After racing to my 9-year old's side, I was relieved to find her holding up a tooth she had just pulled herself. Applying a cold washcloth and discussing the money from the tooth fairy that night erased all her worries about the gaping hole she now sported in her smile.

It reminded me of when she lost her first tooth. I didn't get to see it happen.
I didn't even get to see the tooth.

My daughter had begged for a play date with her best friend for weeks. Finally I capitulated with all the worries a mother usually has for a 6-year old. Knowing the friends' parents were doctors helped calm my worries about this first play date.

Of course, the little friend was eager to mimic her parents and perform surgery on anyone willing to be the patient. With delight she discovered the wiggly tooth my daughter had been working on for days.

You guessed it. My daughter's friend "operated" on the tooth as blood went all over the bathroom. In addition to the surgery, or as a result of it, the first grader tried washing up the mess herself. My daughter screamed as her first tooth, her first chance at gaining money from the tooth fairy slipped out of their fingers and down the drain.

Later that night, my little girl wrote a short letter trying to explain to the tooth fairy what had happened. Not confident,she also crafted a fake tooth from paper, wrapped in tissue, and placed strategically under her pillow.

I was surprised at the lengths my innocent little girl had gone to in order to fool the tooth fairy and claim her prize of money. The tooth looked very real.

I wonder sometimes however how much like this little one I am. Outside I may appear confident and fine, yet inwardly I may go to great lengths to escape God's will or craft my own plan for my life.

For example, I am wanting God to use me. For two years, I have been retired caring for my parents who moved to live near me. Now, after their going home to heaven, I want to return to the work force or at least be used of God.

I have been waiting a year. So far nothing is on the horizon. The economy is bad; I am too old to return to the work force; God can't use me now. These are thoughts I have at least once a day as I impatiently seek His will.

I want to craft a resume; in fact I did. I want to kick open doors and apply for any job out there. In fact, I came close to doing so last week.

Really, though, God is telling me still to wait. Wait for His work. I even had to address my fear, "What if this is it? What if God just wants me to stay at home doing the dreaded, humdrum chores I face daily?" I then had to surrender that to God as well. If that is what He wants, then help me submit.

So, like my daughter, I often lapse into trying to take matters into my own hands, trying to take control. I thank God for His patience with me when I do, and I pray for His reminder that His plans are far better for my eternal life than my own in this temporary one.

Can you relate to any times you have tried to take control of situations rather than release and submit them to God? If so, you and I aren't the only ones, I'm sure. Praise God for His forgiveness and everlasting grace.

For His Glory...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Adoption Story

Recently we received what I consider "Miracle Pictures." When I asked my daughter last night what she thought a miracle meant she replied, "When something you think couldn't happen, happens."

That pretty much sums up why I think getting these pictures is a miracle. One of the pictures is shared in this blog for you.

That is a picture of my daughter, Scout, BEFORE I even knew I was adopting her from China. She is standing in an orphanage seven years ago.

We have no pictures of Scout's earlier years other than one picture of her as a baby for her original passport. When school projects come up asking for photos of her past, we always struggle and try to make the best of piecing together memories for her and stories of when we first met her. You see, she was almost four years old at the time of her adoption.

So having any pictures of her prior to the year we adopted her is a huge deal for her and us. It is like a sonogram for those of you who were able to have children.

It is quite unusual how this all happened. My husband was wondering what happened to the orphanage in China where Scout lived for so long. Going on the internet he chanced upon a website of parents in the country who had adopted from this same orphanage over the years.

One parent from Virginia, for some unknown reason, saw his inquiry and contacted him. He asked if my husband knew whatever happened to this little girl who was older when they visited and quite precious. This parent and several of his friends kept taking pictures of her during their visit for adopting their babies. They said they had even talked recently about this little unknown girl, hoping she had been adopted.

They sent the pictures of her, and it was our very own SCOUT! Yes, she was adopted, and yes, she is dearly loved!

You can not imagine the feelings I had seeing the pictures they sent. I thanked God for keeping her safe, for giving her love and protection as He prepared our hearts and home for her.

I also was reminded of our first day together with Scout in China. Because she was older, we were warned she would not bond with us immediately and to be patient. How hard after waiting two years for her, not to hold her and kiss her. She was frightened and confused when she met us. We had studied a little Mandarin to prepare to communicate with her only to learn she spoke Cantonese and understood nothing of what we said.

Those first eight hours broke my heart many times over as she cried and screamed to return to the orphange, the place she knew and the people she understood. Patiently, we repeated, "Mama, Baba" over and over to her to help her understand we were her new parents. As the government officials tried to take our passport pictures, she kicked and screamed as I have never heard a child do, and I've seen plenty of crying children in my lifetime.

Finally, after we settled into our hotel room, exhausted, after trying every toy I had brought, every soothing tone and smile, I thought, this is just so painful. Please, God, open her heart to understand our love. I pulled out a "Hello Kitty" flashlight to show her as the sun set on our first day. She squealed with laughter as the magic light went on and off. Then, I took out our finger puppets and we played all night long, laughing and giggling together. I knew she would be mine as we shared those hours together.

The next morning, she awoke calling us "Mama! Baba!" Everyone, including the officials, were shocked. No child had bonded that quickly with their adopted parents ever before in their history. Parents on the bus watched in fascination as Scout loved saying our new names over and over.

What does this have to do with our devotional today? As I read Phillipians this morning, I saw how Paul wrote about learning to be content no matter what his circumstance. I thought how like Scout I have been in this season of life. I have been kicking and screaming about not having direction, feeling like I have no purpose, feeling useless. I have been complaining about aging and the loss of my parents.

Phillipians continues by telling me to forget the past and move forward toward the goal of pleasing God, of His call.

Perhaps these pictures are a miracle so Scout will have some pictures of before she came to America and into our hearts, but perhaps these pictures are a miracle reminder of how much like Scout we often are. We resist something that is wonderful because we do not yet understand how much love God has for us and His plan is better than ours. We resist the unknown, change, and long to stay where we are or go back to what we knew even though the past is not the best thing for us.


It is what He has on my heart to day. I am going to try, like Scout, to move forward into the unknown with God today and thank Him for His gift of a new season of life, even though it is uncomfortable.

Thanks for listening to my adoption story. God has offered Jesus so we may each be adopted into His great love, His plan for our lives.

So....what is YOUR adoption story? Have you been like my daughter's first day, fighting something great because it is unknown? Trust Him. He loves you far more than anyone on this earth ever will.

For His glory,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Radiators Unite!

My first teaching job in Illinois was in a run-down building in a small classroom that housed 40 or more middle schoolers. Every 48 minutes, teens would cram into the crumbling room.

When I say "run-down," I do not exaggerate. One time while teaching, much to the teens' delight, a large slab of plaster in the ceiling crashed unexpectedly next to me on my desk. Throughout the winter months we sweated or froze together in the classroom because we depended on a single radiator for our heat.

I remember competing with that radiator as the steam would build up in the morning hours and make bongo-drum-sounds. I had to learn to make my speech pattern jive with the popping sounds from the radiator or else it would drown out my lectures.

Often, I had to figure creative seating patterns so my students would not end up being scalded by sitting too close to the radiator.

When the radiator worked, its heat was intense and affected everyone nearby.

Today, when I turned on my messages, I found a call to be a radiator.

Be a radiator? My sister-in-Christ, who is battling breast cancer, returns after months of chemo and surgery, for intense radiation therapy. Daily she will have the radiation until February. It will last 10 minutes each time.

She asks everyone who can to do her a favor: Become Radiators of God's warmth, love, kindness over the next several weeks as she battles this disease. Pick one day during January and February and do something unexpectedly special for 10 minutes for someone else God puts on your heart.

She will wear a red cape with tales of acts of kindness on it at the hospital each week to show to all who are helping her or going through the same process. These acts will radiate encouragement, God's love, and how we can impact others through our faithfulness.

I hope you will join me in doing this for Jodi. You don't need to know her. You just need to know Jesus and intentionally let Him use you.

If you do, would you share with me, please, what you did or the impact, so I may pass that on to her? Your act will end up as a story on her red cape shared with others at the hospital in St. Louis.

Oh, and as you radiate God's love to others this month, say a prayer for healing for our sisters battling this disease. I'll be joining you.

In His warmth,


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Removing Wallpaper!

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to remove the wallpaper in my dining room. (No that is not a picture of the wallpaper in my dining room; so don't worry, haha!)

I have done this before, and I know what is in store. I am not looking foward to it.

We already tried our hoped-for attempt of peeling it off dry. No such luck.

So here we go with scrolling, steaming, and hours of peeling.

It reminds me of many years ago when my husband and I bought our first little home in Illinois. We needed to remove the wallpaper from the kitchen area that had been damaged by water.

As we soaked and began the peeling process, I was amazed to find another layer of wallpaper underneath. The previous owners had wallpapered over wallpaper!

After scraping off the top layer, my husband and I started working on the second layer.

Yes, you may have guessed it. There was yet ANOTHER layer of wallpaper under that one!

This last layer though was gorgeous! It fit our decor exactly, and as struggling newlyweds on a teacher salary, it was an answer to our financial worries as to what to do with this kitchen.

Oh, but the work it took! Some days I spent hours it seems just get a foot of that second layer of wallpaper off of the original layer.

I wonder if that is what God is doing with me as I keep waiting rather impatiently for His direction on how to use me? I have had to have several layers it seems peeled quite painfully off of me to see His love and glory in my life.

Loss of a career, death of my parents, and waiting now, wondering if I will ever be useful for Him again...

Lots of blessings have happend as well during the peeling process though: Adoption of my sweet daughter, losing my fear of death as I cared for my parents, emotional healing, spiritual priorities established, love of His Word....

I think the last layer will be so much more beautiful than what He started with, don't you?

How about you? How is God peeling off the damaged layers of sin in your life today? It isn't easy. It certainly isn't fun.

--But some day you will see just how beautiful you have become.

Now, back to my dining room mess.... :-)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Holy Ground

Today, I was humbled.

Today, I knew I was on holy ground.

I know what Moses must have felt when God said in Exodus, "Remove your sandals, for the ground you are standing on is holy."

I wanted to take off my shoes, kneel, and cover my face.

This did not happen in a place with a special vista. It was just a little room in our school

This did not happen with great fanfare. It was a regular time of prayer set aside for mothers to pray for their children at the school. We meet every Wednesday morning after dropping off our children.

As usual we went over the list of prayer requests submitted by family members. We lifted each one to God. We prayed for the children as they walked by our little room to chapel.

Then, just when I thought we were closing one mother began to pour out her heart to God.

The words were pure, sincere, sweet. I thought I should not be here listening to this. It was such an intimate moment between her and her Lord. As she continued to share her heart with God, His spirit filled our hearts, the room; I felt it could not be contained. It almost became painful.

The Bible tells us that where two or three are gathered in His name, He would be there. He was there this morning.

I wish I could describe the moment. All I can say is that it felt like I was on holy ground. I did not feel like rejoicing or shouting. I felt small, humbled, and definitely in awe.

I felt like the clay in the presence of the Potter.

When is the last time you felt you were on Holy Ground? Do you understand what I am trying to describe?

Spending time in prayer, more than the 5 minutes in the car, more than the 1 minute saying good-night, will lead you to Holy Ground.

Join me there, won't you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

You are Mine!

Yep, I saw them, too!

Valentine's Day cards at the check-out counter at my local book store!

But I'm o.k. with that.

I like moving to another holiday instead of focusing on the bleak January winter days.

I also like chocolate.

I like thinking about love.

Today, God seem to have me focus on His love as I read His Word this morning.

See if you agree.

I read the passages in Isaiah 40-45. Over and over God points how great is His power, how there just is NO OTHER GOD out there, how He created everything, how amazing He is in knowledge, and how...

...very much He wants us to know He loves us. "Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you" (Isaiah 45:4).

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22).

"...he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name;
YOU ARE MINE" (Isaiah 43:1).

Those are just three of so very many verses about how the Creator of the universe who with His own hands stretched out the heavens, loves us and wants us in relationship with Him.

I really like the YOU ARE MINE passage, don't you? I remember dreading Valentine's Day as a child. In our school we had contests for making the most unique or most beautiful Valentine box. In the afternoon we stuffed each other's mailboxes with Valentines. In those days there was no rule that a child HAD to bring Valentines for everyone. Also, some of the Valentines (always from boys) could be quiet cruel as they contained jokes at the reader's expense.

I did receive Valentines but nothing special from anyone special. I related to Charlie Brown who waited or longed for THE Valentine from THE Person.

Today, though, I got it. I realized how lonely God must have felt after creating so many amazing things. How much He wanted someone with whom to share it all. Someone to talk to and laugh with and love.

"YOU ARE MINE," He says to me, to you. It is like those candy hearts that taste so chalky but you can't stop eating. They have those messages stamped on them, "BE MINE" "CUTIE PIE."

I feel today like I got a big candy heart from God, "YOU ARE MINE."

I like that.

No, today I don't mind seeing the Valentines by the cash registers at my local stores because they remind me of an ultimate love, one that knows no season.

I hope you know that love today. If not, let me know. We'll pray together, text, talk, blog. God's love is not limited to just me, even though He makes me feel special, knows my name, and makes me feel like He loves me best. I know He loves you best, too. Enjoy His love today.

And look at a Valentine Card while you wait at the check out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tornado the Last Day of 2010!

Who would have thought the last day of 2010 would end in such a way?

Not many.

I even bragged to my family in Colorado how we were going to have 70 degree weather on December 31st not thinking of the weather implications beyond that fact.

On top of it, my sister called from Illinois with the news that their little dog had been killed.

I know. Many reading this are not really impacted by either piece of news. We really don't understand bad news until it hits us personally.

We say things like, "I'm so sorry." "How sad for you." Then we go out to eat or to our New Year's Eve party thanking God in our hearts that such things did not happen to us.

I know I did. I sat at P.F. Changs looking at the overcrowded restaurant. (One group of people near us actually tried to cram 11 people in for dinner. The booth only held 6. It didn't work.) The noise. The cheery faces. All of this I saw and realized how just a few miles away from us a much different scene was playing out.

No lights. Gas turned off. No electricity. Homes torn apart. People in hospitals and shelters.

Yet, I heard over and over on the news how grateful people were to be alive. I heard people claim how they knelt and prayed to God as the tornado swept over their homes and businesses.

After dinner, my little family and I went home to play games, watch a movie, and light sparklers. We yelled, "Happy New Year!" to the neighborhood and crashed in bed at 12:30.

As I began to drowse off, a thought hit me. "There is no time in heaven."

Do you understand the impact of that?

It means a lot to me.

We do not mark time in heaven.

I like that.

I don't like the feeling of "I wonder what next year will bring?"

I don't like the anniversary of Mom's death or Dad's death or the year the storm hit our area.

In Heaven there will be no more sickness, disease,no more tornado storms, and no more more TIME.

It won't be boring either. Jesus wasn't a boring person when here on earth, and He has plans for us in heaven....plans to prosper....plans for hope....plans that have no deadlines!

In the meantime, I am in a world that marks time and its passing. Next year, I am sure the news will mark the anniversary of Dec. 31, 2010's tornado. We will look back at that awful and strange last day of the year. Those of us not hit, will talk about how sad it was. Those impacted will have a different tone and perspective.

I do not know what this new year will hold for me and mine. I pray it is good. I pray for healing in the family and continued health and safety. In reality though, I just have to put it every day in God's hands. -Because if I think about the way the year ended for many people in my area, I can become anxious. God tells me, "Have no anxiety about anything, but by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God, and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Phillipians). we mark time, may we continue to give God our worries, our fears, and our praise. Happy New Year, Dear Reader! May your time be blessed in the presence of God.