Counting Gifts

 

Oftentimes, I am prone to wander from the truth.

The truth that this life I live; it is a gift.

A gift I often take for granted.

A gift for which I often feel a sense of entitlement.

Instead of treasuring this gift, I often squander it.

I am oftentimes numb.

Asleep.

In a world of gifts given.

 

Today I am remind that this life is full of gifts.

That this life itself is a gift.

 

Juliet reminds me of that.

She is most thankful for life.

That she is still alive.

 

Counting gifts…

I count the first.

That both I and my dear Juliet will breathe the deep sweet breath given freely from a God who loves us deeply and sweetly.

 

Originally published 2/1/11

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I will not plug my ears, close my eyes, and sing “Jesus Loves Me”.

Sometimes, I go to the movies.  I love movies, and I especially love to make it in time for the previews.  But, every so often, a preview comes along that is completely inappropriate, and, if given the opportunity to invade my brain, will leave me with nightmares for weeks.  So I plug my ears, close my eyes, and sing “Jesus Loves Me”.  Quietly, of course.  My daughter does the exact same thing.  But she’s more liberal with this policy…in fact, she used to do it every time a commercial for LOST would come on.  She is easily scared.  It’s a smart plan, if it’s something that I don’t want to have invade my mind and imprinted on my heart.

 

But lately, I’ve been smacked over the head with some truth.

 

I do this with reality, too.  A bit of news flashes on my TV screen that makes me uncomfortable, I flip the channel.  I skim over news on my phone that is sad.  Because the needs of others in this world seem so overwhelming, I choose sometimes to plug my ears, close my eyes, and sing “Jesus Loves Me”.

 

But wait.  Doesn’t Jesus love them, too?  If we believe what the Bible says is truly true, He loves.  Not just the people we love either. Jesus loves the orphans dying for lack of medical treatment.   Jesus loves the sex trafficked 12 year old.  Jesus loves her pimp.

 

Uh oh.  Did I just go there?  Yes, I did.  It’s painful to hear it.  It’s horrifying, really.  But it’s the reality.  It’s happening right under our noses.  But I’m guessing most of you are like me.  You plug your ears, you close your eyes, and sing about how Jesus loves you.  Because it’s painful.  It’s beyond uncomfortable.  It makes you squirm in your seat with a sickness in your belly.  It’s overwhelming.  It’s not something we want to see.

 

But if we never acknowledge it, it will NEVER stop.   We are HIS hands and feet.  We are the way He chooses to show LOVE to the world.  He came and made MUCH of us, so that we could MAKE MUCH of HIM in this world.  It’s not just about getting into heaven.  It’s about a living, amazing relationship with HIM that spills out on this world.

 

So I’m done.  No more plugging my ears, closing my eyes, and singing about how He loves me.  At the exclusion of the hurting and dying masses.

 

I’m praying fervently that God will continue to break my heart into a million little pieces.  That He will pour out His love and provision for the nations.   And that He’ll use me as His funnel to do that very thing.

 

I’m praying the exact same thing for you, too.

Here am I, Lord.

Originally published 1/28/11

 

Broken Record

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God,
I’m a broken record on repeat. Echoing the same plea today, yesterday, two years, ten years ago. Wondering if I’ll ever quit picking up that old baggage I already laid at your feet a hundred times before. Insecurity could overwhelm my heart, mind, body if I allow it.

What will I do? Will I pick it up? Or will I choose something different? Will I choose to leave my insecurity, my “not good enough”, “not pretty enough”, “not everything enough”…LIES at Your feet?

Will I choose to pick up a NEW thing, a TRUE identity there at YOUR FEET?

Laying down what you’ve believed about yourself for a lifetime is HARD. AND IT SUCKS….

It leaves me feeling vulnerable…not knowing exactly who I am.

Who am I?
Who do YOU say that I am?

I know. Oh how I know. Church for a lifetime gives you all the right answers. But those answers mean nothing if they don’t burrow themselves deep within my “lied to” heart.

Maybe first I need to recognize…remember WHO YOU ARE (Creator) before I can truly know WHO I AM.

Please reveal Yourself to me.

Be near, O God.
Pull me in close.
Hold me. Fill me with identity, security, peace that can only come from You alone.

Breathe on me……………..

What’s really important to you?

This morning…even as I type this…I’m sitting on a beach in Florida. And God is up to something great here. But as is often the case, before we get to the great God has, we first go through the broken, the rock bottom.

I came out here to worship. To sing some songs. Do a little praying. That was MY plan. God had another. He wants more. He wants it ALL. And I haven’t been giving it ALL.

CONFESSION time: I’m sick of being single. I miss sharing life with someone i love (besides my kids). It’s been twelve years. That’s a long time. And even before that I dated barely two men. I’m less experienced than my own daughter. So I joined EHarmony. The world tells us that if we want something we should go after it. Especially at my age (which isn’t that old). We should take matters into our own hands. Put yourself out there on the market. Be proactive. Be aggressive. (I’m sorry but I’m not a new car. I don’t need to be put on the market.)

But is that what God wants? I’m sitting here in the sand hearing HIS whisper. “NO. Trust me. I’ve got you. Trust my plan. Trust and know that it’s much much better than anything you could come up with for yourself. YOU DON’T NEED TO HELP ME. (Yeah, God yelled at me)

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m gonna wait. I’m gonna let HIM do HIS thing. I’m gonna be patient. I’m gonna get OK with the possibility that HE might have something else in store for me. I’m gonna get on board with what HE wants.

Here’s what I’m not going to do. I’m not gonna pursue any man but JESUS. I’m not gonna take matter into my own hands, because, frankly, I suck at doing HIS job.

If…when HE brings someone into my life, it won’t be because I made it happen. It will be ALL GOD. And HE get all the glory for it.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep in loving Him, worshipping Him, serving Him, and living this beautiful life that He’s given me.

Another little note: EHarmony just sent me an email. As I was typing this on my phone. The title: What’s really important to you?

Thanks, EHarmony for just confirming what God is speaking. Deleting that profile now. 🙂

20 by 40

Back in 2011, I create this list of goals that I would like to complete or see happen before my 40th birthday. Some of these make me laugh, but, for the most part, they’re all things that I want to do. So here I am posting it for all 5 of you who actually read this blog to read. You can ask me/hold me accountable on all of them except #8.

DISCLAIMER: Above all, I want to want what God wants for my life. So all of this is subject to change based on what HE wants. Because if I know nothing else, I know that what He has planned for me is infinitely more fantastical than anything I could come up with.

Here it goes:

1. Read the entire Bible. (It’s gonna happen this time.) DONE.

2. Complete a full marathon. (Not 2 half- marathons…a FULL marathon.)

3. Go to Africa at least once. Preferably more than once. DONE.

4. Take the kids to DisneyWorld. (Surely I can make this happen in the next 6 years.) DONE.

5. Publish something. (Not a blog post.)

6. Graduate from college. DONE.

7. See Grace graduate from high school.

8. Marry an amazing Godly man. (Yes, I said it.)

9. Take Grace to LONDON.

10. Maintain a DEBT-free status.

11. Volunteer at Passion. DONE.

12. Hug as many Ugandan children as possible. DONE.

13. Write my life story.

14. Drive across America with my best friend.

15. Get at least FOUR stamps in my passport. (Note to self: Get a passport first.) TWO DOWN, TWO TO GO.

16. Set foot in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and/or Haiti.

17. Complete a triathlon (or at least, a dualthon).

18. Adopt, sponsor, and/or foster children. (Could I be any more general?) DONE KIND OF.

19. Find a job that I am PASSIONATE about and work at it with my whole heart. DONE.

20. ??? I didn’t have a 20th thing? Any suggestions?

For when your heart hurts…

I sit in my chair.

I write.

I hit delete.

 

Indecision.

To post or not to post.

To share or not to share.

 

When the pain is deep and the hurt seems more than I can bear…

Writing’s a balm to my soul. 

 

In the dark of the night

When all’s quiet

Children slumber

I lie awake

Wondering

Pondering

Weeping

Grieving

Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

 

But in the midst

When all’s pain

I AM

Here with me

Here in me

 

Holding

Comforting

Reassuring

Pressing

Tugging

Molding 

Shaping

Pruning

Perfecting

 

Into His image

Into who I really am

 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

A Desperate Prayer

Lord, I love you so much, but I’m horrible at showing it. I want to follow You in everything, but then I allow myself to get distracted from what is truly important. I know that your plan for my life is amazing. I know that once I truly give up control of it all that you will do your thing. I’m trying, Lord. But I’m failing. I can’t seem to bring myself to a place of full surrender. I’m afraid. And I know you’ve not called me to act out of fear. But out of power, love, and a sound mind. Please give me a sound mind. Give me focus. Show me the way to go. I need to learn to trust you completely. I need to learn to love you above all else. More than people’s opinion of me. Lord, I pray that I will not put others on a pedestal. I pray that I will not allow what others think of me to consume my thoughts…my life. I want to be Yours. I want to want what You want for me. Guide me. Mold me. Shape me. Into the thing that will bring You the most glory. I desire You above anything…everything.

You are so good even when I’m not. Give me that peace that goes beyond all understanding. I need your peace right now father.

Give me what you want for me. Less of me and more of you Jesus. That’s what I need. Surprise me with Your best. I will live in expectation of what You are going to do.

Show me the difference between guarding and hardening my heart. Thank You for what You are already teaching me about this. Remove the fear of love from me. Lord, I desire Your best…. not what I think is best.

May I press in to You now more than ever. May I be secure in the fact that I am Yours. That my heart belongs to You and You want full control over it. May I believe that You will take good care of it. That You will guard it from those who might not be right. I trust You. You are so much better at this. You know what I need a million times better than I do. I love You so. I trust You.