Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thank You

“Oh, Father, help me.”

“Jesus, take me home.”

These words flow freely out of the woman’s mouth who has prayed for me possibly more than anyone else has.  Helpless cries for herself.  Begging for mercy.  Relief from the confusion.  Begging to go home. 

And then, the words, “Thank you, Father”. 

At 97, my grandmother’s mind has been ravaged by dementia. She doesn’t remember much about anything, and talks mostly of her childhood.  She doesn’t know my name, or most days even recognize my face.  She doesn’t know what year it is or what town she lives in.  

“Make me true to You” 

These words etch themselves onto my heart. 

One thing she does remember. Who to call on in her despair.

She understands the mystery.

God welcomes our pleas, He yearns to hear us pour out our heart to him.  He longs to fill up our empty places.

Gratitude and surrender are the keys that unlock the healing that we beg for. 

Perspective is found in submitting to His wisdom.  His timing.  His answers. 

Even when God says, “Wait.”,  “Not yet.”,  or “No.”.  I can trust Him even then. 

When I leave to go, my grandma has fallen asleep, and is resting until He takes her home.  

Until he takes me home, I will yet praise Him.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Have you ever cut in line or been in a line so long and moving so slow that you were tempted to push your way to the front? Maybe you have been in the emergency room and knew your case was much more urgent than those around you? I’m sure we can all relate to this feeling of urgency and desperation.

They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.  Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'” Mark 2:4
I am amazed by the friendship of the people who took the time and spent the effort necessary to carry their dear friend to the foot of Jesus.  They carried him, who knows how far.  Arriving to where Jesus was, they found such a large crowd that they couldn’t get in to see him. Some would give up here, but they pressed on.  These men climbed the house that Jesus was in and hoisted their friend up to the roof.  Then, they cut a hole big enough to lower him through.  After all of this, they lowered him down to Jesus.  They essentially cut in line because of the desperation they felt on behalf of their friend. Their friend was sick, and hurting.  Not only physically; but also emotionally. A person with this great of a disability not only feels the physical frustration, but is emotionally spent and drained and depressed. They saw his great need. They felt for him. Unable to do anything to physically fix his body, they did the only thing they could do.  They carried him to the foot of the Healer.  Anyway they could.  It was all up to Him.    

My heart relates to the friends in this story.

I have seen friends hurt; and I hurt for them. 

I have seen loved ones ill and have been unable to do anything for  them.  

I have known the desperation of having a large gap between where the front of the

line is, and felt like I am at the end of the line.

Why is it that we think to pray after everything else has been tried or we have no other

Why does praying feels like such an idle thing to do to help someone? 

I think of the hymn which states, “ what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer”.  It is here I am reminded that this is the best thing I can do for a friend.  God is able. When ability and distance separate me from being able to do something tangible, prayer is the most active thing I can do for my friend in need. It is essentially climbing up to the rooftop, cutting a hole and lowering them to the feet of the Healer.   
THAT is a privilege. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Can I Get Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T ?

I posed the question recently on my FB page asking if people thought respect was to be earned or demanded.  As I’m sure you can guess I got varying answers.

How is respect defined? defines respect as “high or special regard; esteem” 
Esteem is defined as “worth, value”
Respectable is defined as “worthy of respect”

So many times I hear complaints about our troubled youth and their blatant lack of respect.  Although I agree with this statement, I don’t feel it adequately explains the problem.  It raises too many questions in my mind to leave it at that.  For instance, should parents expect to be respected even when they are not respectable? What if that parent is verbally or physically abusive?  We are told to respect our elders.  Does that only mean old people, or anyone that is older than you? What if that “older” person is a murderer? Do children deserve respect as well as adults?   We are to respect our leaders.  Does that mean Hitler deserves respect?  Wives are told to respect their husbands.  What if a man abuses his wife in a drunken stupor every weekend?   All of these questions leave me thinking that respect is not something that you can demand from another person, ”because I said so”.

A person can find numerous verses in the bible to back up a belief that respect is expected, but I can find way more verses where God commands us to be a person WORTHY of respect. 

“Husbands are to be respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land” Prov 31:23. “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” Col 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Eph 5:25.  Reversely, husbands are also to “respect their wives” 1 Pet 3:7 and “wives are to be worthy of respect” 1Tim 3:11  “Her husband has full confidence in her” Prov 31:11 Clearly, this is a two-way respect relationship and it doesn’t all fall on the wifey J

Parents are to discipline in a way that cause their children to respect them-Heb 12:9 and “manage their family in a manner worthy of respect” 1 Tim 3:4 “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Col 3:21

Elders- “older men are to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”  Titus 2:2 and are not to “look down you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Tim 4:12

Leaders –“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Heb 13:7 church leaders are to be worthy of respect 1 Tim 3:8

Christians are to “win the respect of outsiders” 1 Thess 4:12 and share Christ with “gentleness and respect” Heb 12:9

This is not to say that I think we are off the hook as far as treating a person in a respectable way and honoring the value that God has placed on each life if they don’t treat us the way we like.  We should respect our parents, children, leaders, elders, and spouses regardless of their sin.  I think too often though we point the finger in the wrong direction when we should be asking ourselves, “am I acting in a way that is respectable?”.   

We’ve all heard it said that “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”.  Let’s all work a little harder on being a good example and less on blaming someone else for our problems.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

            “All” is a strong word.  It includes everything.  It excludes nothing.
            Everything that God allows to filter into my life is for good.  He will use ALL of it for His good, my good, and the good of others’.  “All” includes my broken heart, my fears, my insecurities and pain.  It includes the good and the bad; the new and the old, the easy and the difficult, the beautiful and the ugly, the joy and the hardship.  Not a bit of it will be wasted or in vain.  All of it has a purpose.
            These are the things that will bring me to dependence on Him.  Through my human weakness, his strength is evident.  He is making my faith in him stronger, teaching me to cherish the good.  To say I love you more and get angry less.
            In those circumstance where I don’t understand, and I feel my heart broken in a million pieces and my closest companion becomes a dull ache, I must place my trust in Him; in his wisdom, his timing, his plan.  Though I mourn my dreams and plans, I must release them to him with open hands and heart.  When I try to cling on to mine, I grow bitter and I build walls around my heart.  I miss out on the goodness he is working to accomplish.  

            Lord, give my heart the ability to trust in your good plan.  There is a disconnect from what my head knows and my heart feels.  Comfort my broken heart and heal it. Put the pieces back together in the way only you know how. Restore to me the joy that you have given me. I trust in your plans and release mine to you.  Have your way.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wear Me Down

So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor.” Exodus 1:11

I read this verse recently and these words struck me in such a profound way. Isn’t it strange when something you have read a handful of times and tend to skim over, will at another time jump off the page? God’s word truly is “living and active, sharper than any double-edge sword” Heb 4:12

Anyway, the part that was so relevant to me was realizing what a powerful tactic it is to wear someone down. Any parent can relate to finally giving in to something after being begged and pleaded with about 20 times because it’s just not worth the fight. Even more convicting, I wondered how many times I wear my husband down to get something I want. Ouch.

Just as our children study us from the time they are born and learn how to push our buttons, we have an enemy who has studied us our whole lives and knows all of your weak points. He knows how to wear you down to the point that you give up fighting. He knows when we have our defenses down and when we are too distracted by other cares to put up the fight.

It is scary to realize how well Satan knows us. He knows what makes us tick. Thankfully, we have Someone who knows us even better than we know ourselves, for he created us, his name is Jesus. When we are weak, he is strong; when we are tempted, he makes a way out. When we are overwhelmed, he knows and is offering to save us before we even know we need to be saved.

It is my prayer that God wears me down much more that this world or it's powers do.

Set Apart as Boring

Once again I had a trying time today reading my bible. It does not come easy most days. I have to force myself to stop and take the time to open up the good book. Especially right now though, I have an even harder time. I am in the book of Exodus, towards the end, and I am dreading the looongest book of the bible (Leviticus). At least it seems that way. It’s all about rules and regulations and it gets so monotonous that I have to stop myself from skimming and try to soak in the words. For I know that “all scripture is God-breathed” and “useful for teaching…” but some of it is absolutely boring. Anyway, I am in Exodus chapter 28 and God is giving all the instructions for building the tabernacle. I don’t comprehend yards, much less cubits so this is really hard for me. Next he goes into the description of the priest’s clothing. I guess God really does care about what we wear in his presence.

He starts by making sure Moses knows that the clothing they are to make for Aaron, who is God’s designated priest, must show his separation to God. It is to consist of fine cloth, pure gold, and beautiful embroidery, made by skilled workers. The details that I found so odd, interesting, mysterious, and wonderful all at the same time, was when he instructed them to engraves stones with the 12 tribes of Israel to be worn to remind the LORD of his people continually and later in verse 30 he is told to insert certain stones to be worn over the priest’s heart when entering the tabernacle and says, “If he wears it he will not die”. Next he is told to make a medallion of pure gold and engrave the words “Set Apart As Holy” and this is to be worn on a turban on the priest’s forehead to bear the guilt of the people.

Ok, at this point my head is spinning trying to understand all the symbolism attached to these very specific instructions. While a person could research the internet all day and find some very off the wall reasoning, I am going to stick to what I got out of this. First of all (v38), Jesus is now our Priest. He is the one who intercedes for us and bears the guilt in our place, he paid the price of our sin fully on the cross. Second (v36), obviously Jesus is the only one who is truly “set apart as holy”, but in the book of Revelation, God’s people have the LORD’s name written on their foreheads. That means that Christ’s followers have been engraved with “set apart as holy” by God because of Jesus. We should act accordingly. Third (v30), I found it truly interesting that the priest was instructed to wear certain stones over his heart when in the LORD’s presence, for it is Jesus that knows my true heart and makes it clean and presentable before God. Lastly (v15-29), the representation of the tribes of Israel, reminding the LORD of his people, Jesus is in God’s presence continually reminding him of me, and you. Representing and reminding God to hold back his wrath on this world, wanting all to be saved.

So, I guess bible reading isn’t always boring. At times it can almost seem like something out of a fiction book. Thankfully, this is not fiction. This is as real as the air you and I breathe. Someday it will all be laid out for us to understand fully, and I am positive that day won’t be boring!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ashamed No More

If you have ever experienced anxiety you will understand what I am talking about, if you haven’t, you’ll think I am crazy. I have dealt with anxiety for relatively most of my life. Even as a young child I had irrational worries that would control me. Then, I didn’t have a name for it, I just knew I was different. Thankfully, we live in a generation where anxiety and depression is talked about and treated, yet sadly, many still attach a stigma to someone who deals with these issues. We know now, and science has proved, that it’s not just all in your head. It isn’t just something you can snap out of, because it has to do with a depletion of chemicals in your brain. Just as when you eat chocolate or drink alcohol, you relax, that is a chemical reaction in your brain.

For me, anxiety feels like a cement wall that I can’t climb, dig under, or go around. It comes unexpectedly, unreasonably, and often suddenly, though sometimes it is gradual over several days before it becomes acute. It takes the color and purpose out of life. Even on a sunny day, everything feels gloomy. Along with the mental effects, the physical body is affected too. I have a rapid heart rate, sweating, difficulty breathing, I often become nauseated and/or have stomach pain and diarrhea. I become very thirsty, lose my appetite, and feel like I am shaking though am usually not visibly. I can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, and can’t stop my mind from racing. It is such a frustrating feeling to know in your heart that nothing is worth get so worked up over, but not being able to stop your mind and body from reacting. It truly is out of your own grasp to control.

For many years I have been on and off anti-depressants. All the time I have been ashamed and embarrassed that I need them to function normally. I have felt weak and worthless. I have felt like if I was a better Christian, I would be able to handle this. If I just prayed more, read my bible more, etc. I have tried alternative medicines such as herbs and supplements, tried to balance my horomones, all with temporary results, eventually I have to go back to the prescriptions, and feel like a failure once again for having to be on them.

God has been talking to me about this, and what He has said has been a salve to my hurting heart. He reminds me that it is in my weakness that his strength is visible (2 Cor 12:10). My stubbornness while trying to do it on my own and ‘handle it’ is pride. I have to look at the blessing that I have to be living in a generation where there is medicine available. How silly of me to think that He would make this available to me and then slap my hand for accepting it. That’s not how God operates.

God does not wait for us to clean up our act before accepting us. It is His job to make us holy, not our own. Only He is able. Only he is able to calm the storm in my mind, and if he uses medicine to do that, why be ashamed? I am convinced that Satan uses shame to keep us quiet. It’s in the quietness of our struggles that we experience loneliness. If no one knows, no one can help. If we don’t tell, no one knows they aren’t alone. So, here I am, telling. I hope someone understands and finds comfort in the fact that I know and understand.