Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I am strong--or at least I think I am. Sometimes in my decorating, I function more like a mover than a decorator. (I could give Two Men and a Truck a run for their money and become One Decorator on a Mission.) I so want the results now that I have figured out how to move grand pianos, wall units, and bookcases--sometimes by myself--if no one is there to help! Sofas, chairs and tables are cake. It actually gets funny if men happen to be around and I walk by carrying a big upholstered chair or a four foot mirror. They always say, "Here, let me help you", or "I'll get that"--which I appreciate but am so used to doing it myself, I don't think twice about asking for help even when it is right there. I load the van/car with things until there is not one ounce of room for as little as a Hershey's kiss! Then unload it and do it again. People actually stop and ask questions as they go by--"Tell me you're a decorator!" "How do you carry all that stuff?" I have gotten quite good at packing a vehicle to capacity. I lack an "Anthony" to do all the carrying in my "designing women" moments.

I am not as strong in the gym as I would like to be, nor do I go often enough to make progress. Those once/twice a month workouts do not seem to do a thing! Nonetheless, I am surprisingly strong.

So why and how can I be so weak to carry certain things? Things as simple as nick-knacks or as simple as a stack of sheets and a bedspread set? What about something as tiny as a box of old necklaces? This week, I have been moving my mom out of her 3-room apartment. She has been happily living in what I call a college dorm for retired women. They are so funny. However, unloading it and closing it up has not been easy or fun.

I remember carrying all those things in with enthusiasm and excitement, unloading bags from my shopping trips (even if it was at flea markets and garage sales) to bring her goodies to make her place prettier. It was so fun to bring them in, put it all together and see her enjoy it. I never noticed those bags being nearly as heavy coming in, but I really notice their weight going out! The same bedding going out is so heavy that it makes me cry. The same shoes on the journey up the elevators were not nearly as heavy as putting them two steps out into the hall. Necklaces carrying years of memories put into boxes for someone to construct new necklaces from seem heavier than grand pianos. Strange isn't it?

I have felt so weak these last few days. I have hated it! I’m almost too weak to even begin. I have questioned myself, "Am I getting sick? Do you suppose I am just getting old? Wonder what the early symptoms of cancer are, I am so tired; hope I do not have the beginnings of some disease. I think I will sleep a little longer. 6:45 sounds a lot better than 4:30". Between meetings, decorating, and grandbabies I found every reason not to get started, but finally the time had come that I had no choice...

Clearing out her apartment was upon me. You have never heard such moaning! My mom? No, me! It was like looking at a cow grazing and knowing you had to make it into steak. Where do I begin? Where do I put it? How do I get started? I think it was more like a pet cow--I felt way too attached. So miserable. I didn't let mom come to see it--I could not have dealt with two of us--I had my hands full with just me! Why? What was such a big deal? I don't know exactly, I am still processing it. I didn't do this moaning so much aloud as I did inside. I think that was half the battle--to do what you do not want to do-- and still be nice about it. Such effort! I was on the very edge or precipice of falling off into an ocean of tears and it was as if only a thin rope held me, and it was a rope of anger. It was digging in and squeezing too tight. I kept trying to adjust it, loosen it, undo it, or take it off. I did not want it. I don't know exactly what it was, but I was trying my best to be nice about it and know that God is only good and that somehow this will make sense in time to come. I needed faith for what could not be seen, but in Whom I have seen time and again in the past.

My heart found strength just in time when I read Isaiah 46:1 "...the things that you carry are burdensome". I had to blink my eyes and reread it "...the things you carry are burdensome, a load for the weary beast." God had my full attention; it was as if He had seen where I had been! He had been watching. Yes, this is too heavy! How could it weigh so much and be so small? How does it exhaust me when I can literally work for hours and hours until someone has to stop me because I could go all day and still keep going? How can 9 hours seem like 90 days and three rooms feel like three floors?

"...The things that you carry are burdensome, a load for the weary beast... listen to me... you who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same, and even in your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you." Isaiah 46: 1, 3-4

Whew! What a game changer, brain changer! He has been carrying me and will continue to carry me--but the things that I carry were never meant for me to carry! They are too heavy and He knows it! He is there! He is watching me carry this upholstered chair and is saying, "Hey, do you want some help?" I walk on by with tears in my eyes wishing someone else were there to carry it. I am unaware of His offer, of His mighty arms of rescue, and of Who is carrying whom. As I carry the little knick-knacks and realize this is the end of life--knick-knacks out in the hall for someone else to take--I realize why it is so sad. Is this what it all comes down to? Do your kids have to go through your stuff and find someone who wants it or will haul it off? There are so many things now out dated, wrong colors, worn out, or a difference in style. That scenario would be sad. That is what it can be for some.

As I read further, I noticed this chapter is actually talking about carrying idols. Verse 1: "Bel has bowed down, Nebo stooped over; their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome - a load for the weary beast. They are stooped over, they have bowed down together; they could not rescue the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity. Listen to Me, ... you have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you. To whom would you liken Me, and compare Me, that I would be alike?" These idols cannot do a thing! They can't carry you--they cannot even carry themselves! They are bent over and have to be carried.

We become like what we worship. (Psalms 115:4-8 Check it out!) If we are living for things - just pretty houses for pretty house sake, collecting things or jewelry - - kids, mates or jobs can all become idols--even church or school all can become idols. They will stoop and fall; they cannot rescue you when you need it, cannot hear you when you call, will not deliver you. Are you carrying things that God never meant for you to carry? Are you seeing the idols stoop and fail? Good! Then you are ready to be carried and know God for who He really is. I am feeling His strength today; His arms are strong. What a good place to be! I am much closer to His heart and I hear His voice much louder. Come on up--there is room for you too!

And Bonnie, thanks for the help!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Can Blind Men Make Mirrors?

What would a mirror made by a blind man look like? How clear would it be? How accurate or distorted would it be? Oh, the framework could be gorgeous and the smoothness of the mirror glasslike, but would it reflect the right image? It would seem to me that a blind man could not make a perfect mirror, by nature of the fact that he is unable to see the reflection accurately. This is certainly not to diminish the abilities of the blind or to find the exception, but just as a general true thought. It doesn't seem like it warrants a lot of debate, but more of a shrug of the shoulders and a nod of the head with a half smile, "Yeah, I guess not".

So what's the point? I think we have been using mirrors made by blind men! We have used them and looked at them for so long that we cannot recognize how distorted they are, but our soul tells us differently. There is an ache inside that hears and knows a hint of something else--something different than what we see in the mirror.

All of us have seen these lies, have heard these lies, and have felt the sting of hurt caused by these lies, but rarely do we question just how reliable the mirror we are looking at. The question occasionally comes up when a child or young woman kills themselves because of what they have seen in the mirror. We realize then that these mirrors made by Hollywood, magazines, television and books are not true. But, within no time, we are back in front of them--primping and bemoaning the wrinkles and stretch marks that we see.

These mirrors continue to be used daily to dress ourselves, to gain an "accurate" picture of who we are, and then to draw conclusions about ourselves and those around us! The Bible calls them lost, blind, and those in darkness, but they are our mirror makers! They are our image builders! They are even our rulers of measurement! Does that make sense to you? Doesn't that seem as senseless as putting on make up in the dark? Who could convince you, that although they were blind, they were makeup artists? You’d have your doubts, I hope. No matter how good a designer was, could they design clothes, choose fabrics and fit people if they could not see? Or could they put together a lovely room that is beyond function --all the way to beautiful? Yet, I think I swallow the lies and fall for the standards put on me by “blind men”.

Long ago, you may have figured this out and wonder what planet I’m from that I’m just now getting this. I have long known the principle but have just discovered the ridiculousness that blind men are the mirror makers for all of us. This is not to be down on the blind, they often and oddly enough don't use the mirrors themselves. A while back I spoke to a young man that had lost his eyesight from an explosion in Iraq, just months before. I sat across the table as we ate and asked him what his biggest discovery was in the event of going blind. His answer was staggering..."I’ve discovered that I see people better now. I used to be attracted to or find myself drawn to only beautiful people, but now I hear their hearts and am attracted to them for what they say instead of how they look." Whoa, now that’s a lesson! Because of our desire to be politically correct, I think we can even wonder if it is okay to ask a question that would limit the abilities of the blind. But, I think it is legitimate to say a few things would be limiting. I am on a plane right now, and would be quite disturbed to find that the pilots were blind. Although I have been a passenger in cars with some I called into question their ability to see, I would not willingly get into a car with a blind driver at all-- let alone in rush hour, over steep mountain passes, etc. I am seeing the folly of my own placement of trust in where and how I perceive my value and image.

What do the distorted mirrors tell us about ourselves? We are ugly or beautiful, too fat or too thin, too short or too tall, too young or too old, our nose is too big or our ears stick out too much, our teeth are not perfectly straight nor are they white enough, our skin is too pale, or too dark, too wrinkled or too plain, our hair is the wrong color, it is not a cute haircut--try again next month and if by chance somehow you like it one month it never gets cut the same way twice. Oh, what a mess! Has anyone been there with me? (I know you that are approaching fifty have had to have at least a glimpse) Have you ever stood at the mirror pulling your skin up, sucking your tummy in--wishing that magazine face and body was your reality? Chances are it’s not even their reality--you know--you have been using the mirror of the blind man, too. The Bible calls itself a mirror. It is the mirror of divine accuracy. We are made in His image, uniquely designed. Our hairs are numbered, we are his workmanship--His master piece. We are His one of a kind design. We are His dwelling place and we are in His thoughts constantly. We have a future and a hope for we are His beloved, accepted in the beloved. We are complete in Him for we are His delight. We are precious to Him and loved by Him.

Have you been around little children lately? The age that doesn't know they are not measuring up to whatever mirror the world has made and they just enjoy looking at themselves and talking to themselves? They are so beautiful wrapping themselves in clothes too big and shoes clunking as they struggle to walk themselves to the mirror. When they see themselves, they tilt their little heads and smile and speak to their own loveliness to their self? They see beauty and pleasure that is breath taking. I wish we could all still see that in ourselves for that’s what I think God sees in us. His divine design, his pleasure and delight.

Which mirror do you want to believe? Which mirror are you believing? Are they the mirrors of blind men or the Creator himself?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Unforgettable Grace

Although I grew up in Wisconsin, I am not a farm girl. I grew up on a lake and lived in a resort setting. I realized this all the more as I traveled to the southern part of Chile a few years back. We were met at a small airport by a man in a Jeep. He was going to take us to meet with the indigenous people of that area that he had been working with for years.

In just a matter of minutes I went from the hi-tech world of flying to jeeping in the unmarked fields of the Chilean outback. We turned off a paved road and literally bounced along a tree lined field until the trees eventually led us to a river bank. Baffled by what we would do to cross a rather wide river in a Jeep, I was surprised to see us pull up on some logs that were strung tightly together. We got out and pulled on a rope that was attached to other side of the river to another tree. Some sort of pulley system pulled our logs with the Jeep on it to the other side. We got back in, as if that were an everyday occurrence, and continued our bouncing along a rutty path up the side of the Andes Mountains.

We came to an old gate, swung it around, and followed an even smaller path to a house-like sort of hovel. The wood and mud held itself together somehow in an non-engineered sort of way. There was a dirt floor, some crude furniture, a window and a fire inside. An open door allowed the animals to freely roam. We sat at the table - thrilled to be guests in their home, but also just a bit in a cultural twilight zone. It was like opening a National Geographic and stepping into a photo. The smell of dirt, fire, and animals made it pungently real. There was a pile of dirty dishes across the room that a cat was licking that bore every indication they would be used as our dishes next. Our hosts were not even five feet tall, and they wore clothes that were obviously their only ones and had been worn for a lengthy period of time. They were extremely kind and smiley. I hurt for them as their smiles revealed their desperate need for dentistry.

The woman was tending the fire and preparing unidentifiable food. There was a chicken under the table that was pecking at my red toenail polish. I about turned the table over in surprise at the first peck. I tried to resume my position graciously as they laughed over my awkwardness. Continuing my gaze around the room, I was amused to see Coke bottles and a small TV that was hooked by wires to a car battery. My eyes wanted to check every detail of the room, but my brain kept telling me to refrain, as the more I saw, the more I recoiled.

My dilemma to continue my investigation was interrupted as the woman who carried the hen out from under the table urged me to follow her. I stepped out of the “house” and rounded the corner just in time to see her take this chicken by the neck and whip it around and around up over head. What on earth was this? She then lowered the hen and cut off its head and turned it upside down before I could even process the scene in order to look away. The strong mountain wind whipped the blood all over her legs and skirt and down onto her socks and into shoes. Somehow my appetite left me and I followed her back into the house where she plucked it and put it in the pot with the other things I couldn’t quite make out. The cat jumped down and made a feast of the new pile of entrails she had just made on the floor next to her. It was my first experience with freshly prepared chicken. The greenish white frothiness that gathered on the top of the pot was ladled off and thrown into a dirty dishwater barrel in which just minutes later, she washed the dishes and set them before us on the table. It was an unforgettable meal.

Now, as I read through Leviticus, I can’t help but think how thankful I am that we no longer offer sacrifices for our atonement with God. It seems as though it would be a bit raw. It’s so ugly, bloody, smelly and offensive. The result---forgiveness, must have far outweighed the process.

There would be a lot of questions around such belief as well. Depending on who you were and what you had done, you had to figure out what kind of sacrifice you were to bring: goat, bull, lamb, turtle dove, pigeons, sheep or rams; male or female. The questions of what to cut, what to remove, what to burn, where to put the blood, where to sprinkle, or when to pour it, all had significance and meaning. Then there’s the question of what if you had no animal and you had to bring a measure of fine flour, how much flour, oil or no oil, to pour the oil on it, or mix the oil in it, with or without incense, fat or no fat? How about the lobe of the liver and kidneys, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, is it offered up in smoke on the altar as food or by fire for a soothing aroma? Does this sound a bit confusing? For sure, it sounds disgusting and gory.

And how often was this, daily for some things and yearly for others? And this just covered their sins but could not remove their sins. It had to be brought to just the right person who was dressed in just the right clothes, offered on just the right altar, built of just the right materials, at just the right place, at just the right time. How does that sit with your busy schedule? Sound convenient and welcoming? Every part of it sounds appalling.

And how about the aspect of it being in public? Everyone saw what you were bringing and knew what sin that covered, (oooh, did you see what so and so did today?). They saw how often you brought it, (No way. That sin again?). And everyone would see what you could or couldn’t afford, (I think they have more than what they admit). Talk about humiliating. Perhaps for some that would be good for us, but because of Jesus we have atonement without all of this cost, confusion, or carnage.

Just like we hate the thought of the blood, the death, the gore of a sacrifice and find it so offensive, so God also is appalled at our sin and finds it offensive. It is needful to remember that just because there is none of this cost, confusion, or carnage to us that there was all of that to Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, that is the beauty of it! He became sin for us who knew no sin. The cost was of the ultimate price as He laid down His life for us. The confusion as we read, as to who to bring it to, what to bring and how to bring it, or even where to bring it or when, is settled in and at the cross. He is our sacrifice. We bring our brokenness and sin to Him and exchange it for His healing and His righteousness. We bring it just as we are - no special clothes or place or time - just to the foot of the cross we come. The carnage was no longer the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood that He makes peace with God on our behalf. It’s not the daily slaughter of animals but His one time death requires our one time trust in Him to not only cover but to remove all our sins—past, present and future.
We have the privilege and convenience to go boldly to the throne of God. He says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I am so thankful we live in the times since the cross. We can come privately without anyone seeing how often we need to go to God, what our sin was, or the ghastly procedure of mutilating an animal. It’s quite amazing that He laid down His life for me so that I can receive eternal life. It was an unforgettable grace.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dialogue With The Devil Or Dialogue With Deity?

Some days, I talk to so many people, I could not begin to tell you or remember myself. I am sure you are the same way on any given day. Some conversations are just a few words; others are paragraphs, and others maybe hours long. It just depends on our time, the circumstances, and the choices we make; those dialogues whether short or long can impact us greatly. A few words “fitly spoken” (as the Bible puts it) can be like apples of gold; they can set us on track for a day that is terrific or tumultuous. Conversations can build and encourage or wreck and destroy.

Many times, I have shared the conversations of my childhood and how tormenting they have been in my head and heart. Those foul lies carved canyons of pain through the bedrock of my soul. It was not the people that meant to cause the hurt; it was the devil and his desire to permanently alter who God had intended me to be. Satan’s desire was for me to live in shadowed gullies of guilt and ravines of refuse. I had believed those lies far too long; I lived without inner joy.

As we were studying Genesis 3 in a recent Bible study, my friend, Donna, taught about Eve “dialoguing with Satan”. Eve’s doubts grew larger and larger until what she believed caused her to act out the lie she was caught up in. From that study, the Holy Spirit took those thoughts and expounded upon them until I was overflowing with truth. I had only known in word, but not in the “love that surpasses knowledge” part that grips your innermost being and rocks your world permanently. It happens when Buddy teaches or at times when I’m listening to my iPod—the Holy Spirit catapults me beyond what is said to what God wants me to know.

I am sure it is the way I was created—I have to tell the wonderful things I find, see, or am blessed with. I can’t help it! So here it goes, I must share it with you…it’s been brewing in my heart for weeks. I pray this is the time to share it, and that the Holy Spirit would have it resonate deeply within your core, that it will ring forth with truth, and that it will shake your world and clang the truth so loudly from the tower of influence you have been placed that everyone you know will know it too. It has been hidden far too long; we have been deceived for too many decades.

In the story of Genesis 3, Satan comes to Eve and speaks in such a way that causes Eve to doubt God’s goodness. Satan “acts” like he cares more for her than God did. Eve hears Satan say that she can be like God, which is a great desire, but how she goes about it shows what she really believes: she has to get it on her own—she has to figure out how to get what she wants—God won’t give it to her; she has to solve her own problems. That was a lie. The truth is, God had already made her in His image; she just wasn’t living in the truth of her own identity. So she jumped ahead to her own solutions—never even asking God what He said or what He wanted her to know! She ate the fruit. She thought she had successfully dealt with her problem, but the real problem wasn’t eating the fruit, it was doubting God and not talking it over with Him but “solving” it on her own. The mess was catastrophic. Sound like anything you do? Yeah, me too.

Sometimes, when I see or feel a problem, I then listen to Satan whisper doubts about God’s caring, providing, protecting, or loving me. I subconsciously talk it over with Satan – unaware that it’s his voice of fake care that I hear. Then I, like Eve, jump to my own solutions and make a bigger mess of it. It affects me, those around me, and for that matter all those who will come after me. It’s much easier to see the lies in Eve’s situation than in my own. I hear her wrong dialogue, yet sometimes I don’t hear my own. I get caught up in it all never realizing I shouldn’t even talk to him in the first place! He is a master at this—Jesus referred to him as the Father of lies. So what do you do?

What did Jesus do? Lets look to where He deals with Satan himself. Matthew 3 ends with this: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” (The Message) This is what God spoke it was His true identity. Next chapter is Matthew 4, the next thing that happens, Jesus is taken to the wilderness to face the temptation of Satan. Does Jesus doubt God or dialogue with Satan?
No, look what He does. Satan says three times “if you are the son of God, then…” His first attempt is to get Jesus to doubt His own identity. If he gets Him snagged there, then there’s no need for any further discussion. He would win. But Jesus is not snookered, He does not dialogue with the devil— instead Jesus chooses to dialogue with Deity and said what God said—He quoted God. Satan continues trying to get Jesus to doubt; he questions God’s provision—then offers his own solution, “Turn these rocks into bread.” He tries to get Jesus to question God’s protection; he tries to make Jesus doubt if God really will protect Him, Satan’s solution— “Jump off here and the angels will protect you.” Satan twists the truth casting shadows on the character of God. Jesus still doesn’t waver. So, once more Satan comes at Him to question God’s position “fall down and worship me and I will give you…” These lies are woven together so tightly they blend to fabricate lies so close to truth it is hard to separate. Jesus has no trouble, unlike Eve, He always and only did the will of the Father—He never jumped to any solutions of His own or came to the wrong conclusions of His Father’s character.

We, on the other hand, can be clueless and wonder why we are in such a mess. We dialogue away with the devil, digging ourselves deeper and deeper into the pit where Satan has lured us. He gets us on his turf of slime, and we are stuck in the quagmire. We have such problems with our identity that we usually are sidelined and out of the game right there.

If we somehow pull ourselves together enough to remember there is a game again, the devil causes us to doubt God’s provision. So we run ahead and try to provide for ourselves, which only results in trouble and plenty of it. Weaving along in with provision there is another thread of doubt: it’s the doubt of believing God’s protection and all that goes with that—fear, worry, stress, anxiety the whole range of emotions —we try to solve it with all sorts of distorted ways out.

The next thread he tried there in the wilderness was position. Whom do we bow before, whom or what are we worshipping? We bow ourselves to what others think of us and not see it is only God to Whom we answer; it only His opinion that ultimately matters. It is why the Lord said not to have any gods before Him –He knew it would only ruin us. When we please Him, and do His will, He gives us grace and strength to face giants, or He makes even our enemies to be at peace with us. We do not have to exalt ourselves or worry if we are heard or noticed, if we are recognized or valued and all the lies stuck to that way of thinking.

What if of all the conversations we had with people we became most aware of the conversations that were really with the culprit of lies, our dialogue with the devil. And what if we became committed to not talking with him? That every time his breath came our way we could smell the pollution, and our solution was what God meant for us to do—not talk to the devil but dialogue with Deity! When doubts of provision, protection, or position drifted our way, we would ask, “God what do You want us to know?” Imagine the difference it would have made for Eve. Imagine the difference it would make with us. Chatter matters—what you believe affects how you behave.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


As I saw the children giving Sunday, I could not help but remember a little girl I once knew...

There once was a little girl that had long brown pony tailed hair and bangs so short it was humiliating to even a four year olds self image. Her freckles smattered across her nose, and filled her face like stars do in the night. She wore hand-me-down dresses and old shoes passed down from older friends. This little girl had a birthday coming, and she knew what she wanted weeks in advance. She wanted her very own new doll. Not the plastic face, plastic molded hair dolls like the other dolls in her room; this was a special doll. She had a name-- Chatty Cathy. She had long brown hair that you could pull into a
ponytail, and she had freckles on her face and a beautiful dress with matching shoes but that wasn’t all-- she talked. She said things such as,”Please be my friend", and "Let's have a party", and “I love you", and "Please take me with you".
This little doll was the sort of doll she wanted to look like and have for a friend. The little girl was lonely; her brother and sister were much older and did not want to play with her.

It was soon to be the little girl’s birthday, but her mother and father were poor. Her father had an injury at work so he had to have surgery leaving them with no money. It was not the sort of thing that four year old little girls understand fully. She hoped and prayed for the doll to be hers for her birthday. But as the birthday neared, the mother feared that she would not have the resources for the doll. In addition, the little girl’s birthday was at the beginning of December - just twenty days before Christmas. The mother gently tried to help her understand the disappointment that may lie ahead.
"The very special doll is very expensive, and she may be your only present for both occasions. It would be only one present. Are you sure you want her?"
"Oh, that's okay, I know she will be very special and worth it", said the little girl, reassuring her mother eagerly.
The days came closer, and the anticipation rose higher each day.

On the Sunday before her birthday, she went with her mother to church as usual. She loved to sit with her mother; she felt comfort snuggled by her mother as if she had wings that nestled her close. She listened to the pastor. This week he was talking about needing money for the new pews. He said if everyone would give $20.00 for each person in their family, they could get new pews. The others were worn, torn, and falling down. The room bustled as fathers took out their wallets and mothers pulled out their check books from their big purses. But the little girl’s mother sat still.
"Mama," whispered the little girl, "aren't we going to give?"
"No," said the mother disappointingly, we don't have any money to give”.
"Oh," said the girl and settled back down.
Her heart was not settled though; she churned the problem over in her head as the pastor spoke.
After a long while she whispered excitedly, "Mama, we could give my money for Chatty Cathy. She's exactly $20.00!"

She was so pleased to have come up with a solution to the dilemma that had swirled in her little head. Her mother’s eyes filled with tears as the little girl spoke to her in her quiet voice. The mother’s eyes and heart were filled as she remembered the little girl’s delight as she spoke of the doll and the burst of glee when the commercials would come on the television. "That’s Chatty Cathy! Look! That’s my doll. Oh, can I have her, Mama?”
“How could she give up that doll?" the mother wondered and wisely suggested that they talk after the service was over.
"That would be a big decision," she said to the eager child. “That
would mean no birthday present and no Christmas present--no doll”.
The little girl knew her mother would not understand her choice, but she was sure that she wanted to give to God whatever it was that He needed.

Soon the services ended and they talked as the mother had suggested. "Do you understand that if you give this, there will be no doll?" After much discussion and hugs the mother let the little girl give the pastor the twenty dollars. She understood it was not for him--it was for God. The day came for her birthday and sure enough, there was no present. The little girl was satisfied with her decision and did not lose any joy in her birthday. The days ticked closer to Christmas, the commercials increased in frequency of the sweet little doll that she had desired. But no regrets were ever spoken: the decision stood firm. Christmas came with no expectations.

But word must have traveled through the tiny church or community, because somehow there was a present under that tree for the little girl--not just any present - but the doll she had wanted. She hugged the doll over and over whispering, "I got you, and I got you! You are the very one I wanted”.

Now she saw beyond the long dark hair, the freckled face and the prettiest pink striped dress with matching shoes to the greater gift, a gift from God. She knew it was a gift given up but given back by Him. It was a lesson she never forgot. The satisfaction and joy of giving all you have and shear delight of a God that gives it all back.

God didn't forget either...

He has blessed my life abundantly over the years. It is fifty years later, and I remember it like it was just this past December 5th. The joy of giving has never left me in regrets. May we never rob the joy of giving and the precious lessons that come along with it and the memories that last fifty years later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have been thinking about time lately–I suppose it’s because I always run short on it no matter what I do! Not only am I short on time, but what little I do have I want to spend three ways - at the same time! I want to be in more than one place at a time; I want to be with more than one person at a time – fully attentive to them, and at the same time, I want to be doing other things. I want to multi-layer time. And the more help I have - the more time I think I have to spend. Yet I still come up short by the end of the day, and I fail to get everything finished. About the time I think I have it all in and done–time is out and then I have to start all over again the next day!

As I think about the scope of this problem, the only solution seems to be heaven. There are so many things that make heaven sound so heavenly, but lately this time thing has me just aching to be there with the Lord. Then it dawns on me–perhaps we were not made for time but for eternity–thus the difficulty with it. Some have more difficulty than others. I’m severely challenged by time and find myself almost incapacitated by it on a regular basis. I don’t understand why–I just don’t function well within its confines. I know there are those that “get it’ and “do it” well, but I am remarkably disabled by it.

I wish there were self-help programs for time-challenged individuals who see their need for reform. We could have weekly meetings, synchronize our watches, and encourage each other with our motto of “Time is like money. Spend it wisely”! Seriously though, I believe we were made to operate on “Garden” time. Do you think God put clocks in the Garden of Eden? Nope, no mention of them! I think some sadistic person with legalistic tendencies must have invented time keeping pieces. What easier way to hold fellow humans to such an inhumane standard. So, I think maybe instead of feeling badly about this condition I have, I need to feel more in tune with heaven and maybe even allow myself and others to be on garden time–especially at times when it probably doesn’t matter quite so much. I think the devil himself pushes that clock hand around faster and faster everyday, leading us to fear that we are more and more behind and ineffective until we throw our hands up in despair being totally disabled and defeated.

However, if I look at the situation through my new “Garden time” glasses, I believe the important thing is to take time to walk with God, hear His voice, and enjoy what He has made. Perhaps that is where I find I am whole and discover the peace He gives that makes operating in a fallen world a little more doable; maybe that’s why we started in a Garden. Maybe along with the sinful Adam part, we have just enough of Adam left in us that aches for the Garden, and there is a hint of memory left in us that knows we need that walk and talk of Garden days. And perhaps instead of thinking that it’s Satan pushing the clock–it’s really God hurrying it along. The sooner we are with Him, the sooner things and people will be what they were meant to be! Maybe it’s His love and desire for us that is rushing this time along so swiftly. Maybe as we ache to be in the Garden–He is aching for us, as well. Do you feel it, too? Or is it this new “age of old” that is cranking the time by at breakneck speed and I have not adjusted yet? One day I will hear “…and time shall be no more” and I will have all the time I need–I will finally be in sync with what I was made to be and where I was made to live. In the mean time, I am working on it and looking for the book Time for Dummies - has anyone seen it? Let me know……

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Death and The Kingdom

Once again, we came face to face with death. It seems to stare at us all too often; sometimes it feels like death has won. We have all been here at one time or another, whether by personal experience or as in this week, through the devastating effects from the earthquake in Haiti. It is never pleasant nor is it ever pretty. It is a place God never intended us to be and an experience that He never equipped us for. Remember, He made us for eternity and put us in a Garden where we were meant to live–never to taste death. So here we are, centuries later, at the ugly doorstep of a Garden turned into a graveyard, and it reeks of death. No wonder we don’t like it. Our parents die, our spouses die, our neighbors die - it is awful. But it is something that pierces our heart a little deeper when a child dies.

Our heart is reminded and echoes of that longing for Garden days; the days before death - a place we do not know but where we need to go spend some time to put life back into perspective. Sit with me, if you will, and ponder this place. Walk in its beauty of complete perfection. Smell the fragrance of wholeness; taste of the abundance God provided all around us. Perhaps even see a tree with His initials and ours carved in a heart. It is here where we feel alive. A passion stirs as if we were meant to live here–it is exactly where we were meant to be! It is here, where we feel at home, loved, protected and surrounded by the very art of God hung, flung, and planted all around us. If you take the time, your heart will meet me there–it knows the way like geese find north and south; our soul can migrate there in just focusing without a flap of a wing. Home. Can you breathe deeper, feel closer, and know you are loved? Home. Hurts cease; pains flee; deaths–unknown? Home. But open your eyes, and it is all gone…except that hunger in your soul to be there again. That hunger is put there by God. God did not want us to think this is it, that this is where we were put by Him. This was our doing, our wrong choices, our believing a lie. Death is a billboard in life that we can’t miss, shouting out, “This is not where I put you!”, “This is not all there is!”

He takes us back to the tree where he carved our name and His, and reminds us of how things were meant to be. He beckons our hearts to remember. For that tree became the cross where Jesus died. Our initials were carved in His hands. It is through His death and His blood shed that our blood is no longer required, and our death certificate torn into pieces so that we no longer face an eternity without God. I understand that, and no doubt so do you.

But what do we tell our children? How do we help them understand this graveyard, this enemy of death? One, they understand more than we think. Two, give them a word picture according to their world of understanding. If they are in school, perhaps something like this… “Do you remember when I checked you out of school early?” (Their faces usually light up, even if they love school). “You know how all the other kids had to stay the rest of the day? Don’t you love being the one going rather than the one staying? I think that may be how it is with dying. Some people get an early checkout, while some of us have to stay all day”.

Or perhaps about dying… “Is the cereal box what we eat?” No, that would be silly. It’s the cereal that is the real thing we want. Well, our bodies are like the cereal box; it is the inside that is really us. The box may go, but what was inside is the part that mattered. The box may get buried, but the inside was the part that we wanted. Our bodies may get buried or burned, but our inside goes to heaven, and we get new bodies that never get messed up again.

Or perhaps if they are readers… “You know that favorite book? You know how worn and torn the cover has gotten? Is the story still there? Sure that the best part. A cover doesn’t make a book, it’s the story! Well, the body is merely the cover or jacket of the book; the book is the story that’s inside. Book covers get torn or ripped, damaged or removed, but the story lies in the pages inside. Our bodies may get diseased, broken or separated from our spirit but it’s our inside pages and story that tell who we really are”.

Or if they have experienced traveling a long distance, dropping someone off, and having to keep traveling… “Do you remember when we took Grandma home, and we had to get back in the car and come all the way home? Remember what it is like to want to get out of the car? Well, some people get to get out of the car earlier and others have to continue the trip”.
We experience many good-byes along the way, leaving our babies with a sitter the first time, sending them off to their first day of school, packing them into a camp bus and waving good bye through tears you hope they can’t see. Cheering at graduation when their name is called, but hurting inside that it means they are leaving home, or thrilling at the preparation for marriage until they walk down the aisle and you know that she/he is not coming home that night or any others to be in their room. All of these are temporary; all of these help us identify the hurt experienced by good-byes and the ultimate separation - death. We all hurt together as parents on these occasions. We all long for the Garden - and way things were meant to be…and will be again.

So give them hope. Give them the Good News. Hold up your hand and announce the Kingdom to them… “The war is over, and we have won!” Give that good news–we all get checked out of school! That good news–our box is gone, but we get the new and improved! The good news–this cover is a mess, but the Artist gives us a new cover and the story goes on and gets better… we DO live happily ever after! The good news– it is a long ride, but we will soon all be out of the car never to ride again! May we not only long for it, but also may we teach our children to long for it too. Then we will all say in our hearts of one accord “…Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done…”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Glad Reunion

Aren’t those scenes where people run to reunite embracing, tears filling their eyes, voices quivering trying to get words out, and hugs that wrap from head to toe just precious? Perhaps where you saw the scene was at the airport. Perhaps it was in a hospital corridor or the final scene of a great movie. Or even the foyer at the church around the holidays when college kids come home and friends see one another after months of being apart; there is often a squeal of glee involved as well. They are soul-stirring sights. Strangely our heart feels it deeply, even if it is only watching from a distance. Somehow you know inside the feeling that they are feeling, or you imagine how good it would feel for someone to express their love for you in such a way or be so thrilled to see you again.

I was in Keswick, England a few years back where I watched lifetime friends reunite after years of being apart. They were ministry friends that had scattered all over the world. It was a big “family” event that they all made whatever arrangements necessary from wherever places around the globe to come celebrate. I saw them run into each other’s arms holding tight and laughing with delight. It was beautiful to see. Although I knew none of them, tears would fill my eyes just watching them!

Last night I dreamed I was walking in such a place again. People were finding one another like they had been separated for long periods of time. It was beautiful. I was observing the reunions. I thrilled from viewing the panorama of joy around me. It was mothers reuniting with daughters and grandchildren; they were holding one another and the mothers were brushing back the hair from the children’s faces looking at them with intense love and deep delight. I could only hear a few lines in the background of “Oh, I’ve missed you so much” sort of conversations. It was so beautiful I awoke teary eyed. I was feeling the joy of having been apart and the overwhelming sensation of being loved in reunion back into someone’s arms.

I remember I had told someone a story the day before of such a scene that as I told her, I fought back tears to finish the story. Buddy told of the account in a sermon, but it is so beautiful I think of it often. I may have shared it before, but it is like a favorite song that you sing over and over—I tell myself this story again and again because I enjoy it so much. The story is familiar, but has a tear jerking twist. Briefly it went like this…

Back in California in the late 1800’s, when there were only telegraph systems for communication and railroads for transportation, there was a young man that had taken his inheritance and traveled far from home, squandered his fortune, and feeling the peril of his ways, he had decided to return home. Wondering if this father would accept him back, the son had written a telegram: I was wrong. Would like to come home. Tie a yellow ribbon at train station if I can come home. Unsure of the father’s forgiveness, the young man grew anxious with each passing mile wondering what his father’s response would be. Would the father hang the ribbon? Could he come home? His anxiety mounted as he began to recognize the terrain of his homeland. As he neared his hometown, he saw from the window of the train not one ribbon—but hundreds of yellow ribbons hung from trees and poles for miles out, along the train tracks to the station. The father’s forgiveness was evident and abundant! His welcome was overwhelming and sure—the young man was loved and forgiven.

As soon as I woke up, I read in scripture the story of the children of Israel not following after God. They sought idols and God’s anger was provoked. Yet He invited them to “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments”, but they did not. He said they were stiff necked and feared other gods and followed the statutes of the other nations and secretly did against the Lord their God things that were not right. It is a long story in 2 Kings 17. I ached with God to see the poor choices of Israel, how He longed to be near them but they chose disobedience. Sin had separated them from God. God shows us what happened in the past for us to learn so that we can chose to avoid those same pitfalls. Much like we tell our children stories so that they will learn from others’ mistakes and failures so that they can avoid the pain or loss as they chose their future direction. So? Sin can separate us from God.

Do I have a stiff neck, seek my own ways, or make plans according to the statutes of the nation around me? Have I secretly not believed God? Perhaps that longing for the reunion scene that is so beautiful is put in us by the Father who longs to be reunited with us, to show his delight and brush back the cares from our faces and kiss them in delight like mothers/grandmothers (Ya Ya’s ) do their children/grandchildren. I love nothing more than when the grandchildren run to me, jump up into my arms and wrap their arms around me calling my name. We twirl and hug and laugh with delight. Is it so I can understand the love of Abba for me? Do we understand that’s what He feels for us?

I think that instead of ribbons hung to welcome us home that assure us we are loved and all is well between us; oddly enough, I see the trees in our Georgia landscape to be the ribbons. What if every tree was a reminder of the cross, an “I love you” ribbon from God? An “all is forgiven” lining the homeward tracks of life for miles on end? Do you feel His arms encompass you? Can you jump into His arms, twirling in glad reunion? Can you feel His delight and know all is well between you? Maybe that is why we love those sorts of scenes so well! It is created within us to impose all of those emotions into seeing Him one day.

I know it was just a dream, but one day there will be a reuniting beyond any scene imaginable. We will really truly meet our loved ones again; we will meet Him! We will run, jump, hug and twirl in His arms; won’t that be grand? May you be blessed and overwhelmed by the anticipation of that scene, that glad reunion.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Free or Frozen - You Choose!

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but it is not until something goes wrong that we even realize how wonderfully it all works. Such has been the case in the past few weeks; well, make that the last month, maybe even plural—months. You may have heard that last March I broke my ribs. It was a really, really painful experience since there is no way to sit, stand, or lie down to relieve the pain. It seems that all movement is connected to your ribs because any motion causes pain. Some activities hurt more than others, and I learned not to do those things or move in a way that caused pain so that I could keep going (a problem I have: going, going and going; I have a sort of mental aversion to resting).

I quickly learned that the more I used my left arm the more it hurt my left broken ribs. So I did not stretch, twist, reach, or make sudden movements for the 3 months that my ribs were healing because my body would make quick haste to tell me –stop! But after 3 months of healing, and despite my efforts to be careful, I was now suffering from more intense shoulder pain. Hmmm? That’s weird, I thought. I suddenly remembered that I had fallen down eight steps while carrying a box downstairs and hit the wall with my shoulder about 10 minutes before falling and breaking my ribs on the garden tub. Hmmmmm, I guess I had hurt myself worse than I had thought. This is kind of interesting because at the time, I remember thinking how glad I was that I didn’t hurt myself! It had gotten to the point where my arm activities were really being limited, and my range of motion was restricted because of intense pain. While I was healing in one area, I was weakening in another….

I realize that I am running the risk of sounding like a complainer to talk about all these ache and pains, but stay with me. None of this is really about the hurt—it is what I learned through the hurt. I am getting there, but it takes a minute. So please stay with me.

As weeks passed, I finally succumbed to going to the doctor. After cortisone shots, an MRI, and x-rays, I found out that I had something called a “frozen shoulder”. Nothing was broken or torn. Scar tissue from the fall and muscles had frozen together locking the joint. Thankfully, they hoped no surgery - just rehab to see if it could get loosened up and get back into the full range of motion. It sounded dreadful considering the fact that I could not move my shoulder without pain. I could only imagine the torture ahead—moving my arm up and down. But anything is better than surgery. I made the appointment to begin the therapy needed.

Just as I suspected-------YEEEOW! Talk about pain! To the best of my understanding the therapist explained to me, that the muscles around my ribs had gone into such spasms that it made other muscles draw up tighter, which in turn, pulled other muscles until it actually pulled my bone so tight into the joint that it rubbed bone to bone in the socket. Ouch. No wonder the pain was so excruciating! Sometimes the pain would make my knees buckle. In certain positions I wanted to drop over. But the bad news was this: the less I used it, the worse it got! But it hurt so much that I could not use it! So there I was, stuck in this awful cycle.

I went to a wonderful therapist named Eric who began working out the spasms. As he worked on me, I was surprised to find that I had incredible pain in areas that I didn’t even know were injured. It took all I could do to keep breathing. The pain made me hold my breath and tighten up—a reaction that defeats the whole therapy. Tears ran down my face from the pain in my ribs, and by the time he got to my shoulder, it took all I had to stay still. I wanted to jump up and run. I started laughing. Eric asked me how I could laugh in the midst of crying with pain. I realized that for the first time since I had been a kid that I wanted to start hitting someone. THEN IT DAWNED ON ME… the need for the healing of my physical body was no different than the need that I have for the healing of emotional pain and bad memories in my life.

Not only are there memories in my head that I need to let go of, get healing from, and forgive the hurts of the past (like we were learning in Chillville this summer from Donna’s teaching). Sometimes we are unaware of why things hurt or why we feel restricted, and we get into a crazy cycle of being less and less useful because of the past hurts that it involves. We might not know or remember what caused the original fall. But when we do, we don’t think it affected us as much as it did. Sure, I had fallen and hit a wall that same day, but I really thought I was fine. That’s when I realized that maybe those muscles that began to spasm had masked me from further pain at the time. Then, as time went on, the other pain came out and got me out of whack to the point where I shut down all use of my limb. I froze myself. I think God was teaching me this: I had hidden shoulder pain that couldn’t have been revealed until my ribs had begun to heal. How often do I handle my emotional pain and inside feelings in the same way that I did my shoulder – freezing up and/or shutting down in an attempt to avoid the pain? Does that make sense to you?

Perhaps, in this life, there are genuine breaks, tears, and hurts that have healed over time. But as we continually experience life, we are constantly faced with “spasms” that surface from the past. We realize that we have drawn up and tightened ourselves. And maybe God is using this new situation to unmask these hidden areas of pain that we might not have known existed. Just like my “frozen” shoulder. I’m talking about areas that send shooting pain into your heart and mind, or cause you to hold your breath and tighten up. Perhaps “freezing” has been your defense mechanism, but little do you realize it’s a vicious cycle that can’t get fixed until you get help from someone who has the knowledge, the expertise, and the gentle hand that can truly heal you. When we tighten up and shut down, all we do is hold on tighter to those hurts. We resist. Avoid. Tense-up. Instead, we should let God work out the kinks; because if we don’t, then it isn’t long at all before we are in a mess of pain.

God is the Master Therapist. He has the hands of experience and can put His finger right into the painful area—not to make it hurt, but to RELIEVE the hurt in the long run. He loosens those knotted areas. And He loves us back to health in order to make us move freely again! But we must ask Him, “What do you want me to know here? What is this really connected to?” Then breathe in the Holy Spirit in those times and not hold on to the old mess and hurt. Breathe it out. Tell God what you are feeling. Expel it. Let God use the situation to help you be more like Him. Avoid the temptation to get up and run or fight back! Don’t let it spasm further. He wants you healed. And not just you, He wants you help others heal too. He wants us to touch hurts in the lives of others and He wants to use us to help free them.

I am now looking forward to my sessions, not because they are pain free (they’re not); but because I can see the results of healthier living! I can hardly wait for my therapist to find another place that is in need of being released from those spasms that keep me bound. I am so surprised at how I can move more and more—and with less and less pain! My shoulder has almost full range of motion. I can reach and stretch and almost extend my arm straight up—what progress! And no surgery! I decided that it was better to relax and let Eric get to those painful spots rather than tighten up and hold on to the pain longer. How stupid would that be? Don’t get me wrong it was hard not to yell STOP! UNCLE! (I realized I would not do well being tortured. I’m afraid I’d spill it all—the CIA doesn’t want to recruit me!) Even after my sessions, I found that I was tender to the touch, and I had to take anti-inflammatory medication to make it through. But it has been well worth it! It is still not easy to go through my sessions without resisting my therapist. It still hurts. But I want to be well (and healed) more than I want to escape the pain or loose the use of my arm. Have you come to that point?

Are there areas in your life that hurt? Do you face situations that you have withdrawn from because of the pain? God wants to set you free, heal you, restore you fully—let go! Let go! It is only hurting you, holding you back, restricting your usefulness, and taking the passion out of your purpose. Once you are set free you won’t be able to hold back! You will swing your arm just because you can! You’ll be able to stretch and be stretched. Truth will set you free and you will be free indeed! You will live in health; doesn’t that sound inviting?

In 2 Corinthians Paul puts it this way, “Blessed be the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Our frozen times (or painful joints) are so that we can tell others that they too can be set free. That just like there is an Eric—there is a Master Therapist that knows just how to set you free. And He can and will have you ready to move freely and be pain free again; He knows just the places that are in need of His touch. Will you let Him? Will you chose to be still when He is working? Will you take time to meet with Him? Will you let go of past pain and release what is holding you back? When we do this (and let God do this in us), then we can help those that are hurting around us by using our arms to stretch and reach out to a community that is in desperate need… giving them a deeper hope and a better understanding of the King and His Kingdom. Satan’s plan is to bind you in pain, live constricted, and in spasms so tight that you can’t think straight. Which sounds better to you?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

For the King and His Kingdom

The more titles after your name, the more places Satan tries to lie to you. Like wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, southerner/northerner, teacher, manager, or whatever may follow your name—it all gives more room for lies to be heard.

“You are so bad at being his wife.”

“Someone else would be so much better at mothering these kids.”

“Look at the way you just behaved, and you think you should teach someone?”

It is also gives more places to get hurt. “They didn’t…” “They said...” “I felt…” “I can’t…” I can get so sidetracked and feeling worthless in the mix—seems like out of nowhere! Bingo! Right where the Liar wants me to be---useless--- on the sidelines licking my wounds. Stung and swollen, distorted by the bites from the one who has the sting of death. I am so glad to start realizing these are lies. To learn to hear God’s truth is life changing. It puts things back into shape and removes the stinger. And all its effects are declared null and void.

Buddy and some of the guys that live with us downstairs are talking in the living room—it’s been hours now, and it is presently 1:30 a.m. I am enjoying hearing them talk. I hear the truth of God fill the air; it is beautiful. To hear their eagerness, their zeal, their experiences abounding in service and sharing with others the life changing truth of the Word. Watching it spring up new life in them as well, it’s truly breathtaking. As they spoke, Drew, the college pastor, said in agreement to something Buddy had just said, “Yeah, when Jesus heard the Father say, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” that is when His ministry broke open.” He went on to say that until we hear that from the Father and begin believing we are beloved, accepted, and the Father finds us valuable and pleasing, our ministry to others cannot really take off. (Or perhaps it takes off and lands and repeats until people bail from the insecurity of the flight.) I really loved the thought and will meditate on it more.

But sometimes, in the moments as life is happening, it is hard to figure out how to neutralize the pain right then and there. To believe you are loved and treasured by a King… Situations erupt, things are said unknowingly; the person talking is often unaware that what it being said is being heard all twisted. I think if we could actually see words, we could see them being misshapen and warped as they go through the air into our ears, while the prince of the power of the air laughs in delight that he has once again scored; he has once again disfigured and mutilated relationships—sometimes beyond recognition.

There are no magic words or incantational prayers that I am recommending, but I have found a phrase that seems to work like an after bite stick. You know the kind I mean? After a bee sting, you can carry a stick like a pen in your purse that you open and rub on the sting and it neutralizes the poison and keeps the aftermath to a minimum if not unaffected at all. Well, what if we carried a “truth stick” that was standard gear in our medical bag? Kind of like the old scenes of the family doctor coming to make house calls with his big black bag that fixed everything? This is so much more compact and unencumbering; it’s never in the other purse or out in the car when you needed it—or out of batteries. What if, as soon as we heard a lie, we learned to apply truth right then and there before its toxins began to seep in and take their toll?

This “truth stick” I am referring to is a phrase that Buddy had us repeat back to him as he taught a few weeks back; he would pause and we would say “For the King and the Kingdom”. It has stuck in my head. It seems when the gnats, mosquitoes, or bees of the day take their toll on my overly sensitive heart, I am learning to say, “For the King and His Kingdom” to my bitten heart, and it dissipates the poison of the lies that hurt me, and swells ‘til I cant think straight. It is for the King and His Kingdom! That truth washes over me like a balm that totally soothes the sting and I, “Ahhhhhhhh” in relief. All else seems to fade in light of that truth. Was I not asked to come? Not asked to be a part? My opinion not valued or sought? Not invited? Disregarded? Unnoticed or unwanted? If I understand that the Father is my King, and He has said, “This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased” what does all of that other matter? If it is for the King and His Kingdom—then I can be good with it. It takes pre-judging and competition, recognition and pride away. They are like four fangs that tear apart people and relationships. The King is in control; He has kingdom plans I do not fathom or understand. Isaiah knew it, he declared: “His ways are higher than my ways; His thoughts higher than my thoughts. Even as the heavens are above the earth, so are His thoughts from my thoughts and His ways from my ways…” (Isaiah 55:9 paraphrased) Abraham believed it, ‘Will not the God (King of the kingdom) of all creation do right?’ (Genesis 18:25b) And Moses realized God saw the children of Israel in their captivity He heard their cries He cared and He came to rescue them (Exodus 3:7-8)—He is that seeing, hearing, caring, and coming kind of King that knows his daughter and loves me dearly. He always does right and always has it all under control.

How much more attractive is that? Are wounds and bumps, sores and scabs attractive to the world around us that bears the marks of the same nibbler gnawing wherever he can, baring his fangs in the night ripping our hearts, dividing us from the very ones that love us? They would not want to hurt us in the slightest. Our families or friends don’t mean to hurt or even know they did! Sometimes it is mere words that are used to puncture and tear into the deepest tender places of a heart. You may have seen a picture of a straw driven through a telephone pole during a tornado? It is with that sort of force a word can pierce even a tough heart. Holding hurts can have corrosive effects like acid if we hold on to it; how much better to release it as soon as you feel the bite occur?

My husband and kids can walk outside and get bitten within seconds, I, on the other hand can go all summer and perhaps only get a single bite. Spring gets whatever the latest idea advertised to rid them of their stings or prevent them from attacking. Sprays ointments, gels and this summer—a wearable fan that dispenses protection around you but doesn’t stink you up! It’s been great. I can’t really relate. I do see the whelps afterward, though, if they do not wear some sort of protection. It looks awful and seems so irritating and painful as they scratch and itch. Some people are more prone to being bitten for whatever reason—the theories abound in speculation as to why or why not a person is bitten; they can get pretty hilarious.

I think it may be true spiritually too. Or perhaps it has something to do with personalities. No doubt there’s a psychology test that helps decipher it all, but my observation is that some people are more prone to being bitten than others by the poison of the Liar. Or some seem more prone to hear or believe the venomous lies that insidiously destroy them slowly from within. You may not relate to these lie bites, but you may see them hurt and swell in others, whelping, itching and aching them from deep within. But I believe that it is treatable and we can even overcome the gnatty, pesty, buzzing that distracts the snot out of us. We can breathe this in if the bite has already come or breathe it out so the bites won’t even come your way. Say it with me; see if it does for you what it has done for me…FOR THE KING AND HIS KINGDOM! Ahhhhhhhhhh.