Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heart Blocker

Well, hello again. I know it's been a while but I recently had a friend tell me I needed to get off my duff and start writing again. So here I am, once again, with a renewed commitment to embrace the writing I love so much. I'll start with my favorite story of late involving my youngest son.

My Christopher and I pray together a lot. So on this one day not so long ago, we found ourselves in my car heading to the store and guess what, we were praying again. And I asked him who he wanted to pray for and his response was that he wanted to pray for his friends...even the ones who are mean to him. Now my first thought was, if they're mean to you why do you call them friends, but I didn't voice that thought because I was just so proud he had managed to master a concept I had not mastered. My next thought came out in the form of a question, why do you want to pray for them? (still very curious as to how he has managed to get this concept). His answer to me was so profound it is still ringing in my ears so listen carefully. "Because I love them, their hearts are just blocked".

Wow! My son just blew me out of the water with that one. How, at his age, did he get that? For those of you who don't know, my son was recently diagnosed with Aspberger's which is part of the autism spectrum. With all of these labels that he's just been given I am chosing to focus on what I know to be true about my son. He is creative, he is caring, he is loving and he loves life and God. He has such an innocent and pure love for God that it amazes me and there are so many times that God grants him incredible wisdom that just shocks me. So when he gave that answer I had to ponder it. Why, because God says for us to come to him as little children and that made me think of Christopher. He is that little child. Not the already jaded elementary age kids we see too often today but the innocent child that still believes that at the very heart people are still good, that God's plans truly are better than our own, that God truly can do the impossible and prays until something miraculous happens knowing that no matter how long it takes-something miraculous will happen, that he is treasured and loved by all around him and by a God that thinks he's priceless, and a child who doesn't hesitate to run and jump into the arms of his Abba Father.

This same child who knows that even though his friends may be mean to him, their hearts are just blocked. Unlike us, because we immediately seek to judge these people don't we? We judge them instead of considering their back story. Maybe their having a really bad day or lost their job or lost a loved one. Maybe they've had a bad life and have hurts and trauma that has hardened their heart. Whatever their story, we don't think about it, we just judge them and write them off. I once had walls around my heart (truth be known, there are still some standing but they're smaller now and have some holes, their crumbling slowly) but I used to have so many walls, no one could see around them and scaling them was near impossible and for years, no one even tried. Until some people came along and cared about my back story. They cared about why I had walls and they made the effort to be the visible expression of Jesus in my life. They loved me in spite of my walls, they cared for me, they prayed for me, they considered me a friend and they kept working at tearing down my walls until one day like the Berlin wall they crashed and they forever changed the trajectory of my life.

You can have that impact on someone's life. When you make the commitment to come to the Lord as a little child, that's one of the things you're commiting to. Not judging others, simply loving them and being the expression of Jesus in their life. You are saying you will choose to believe the best about them even when it doesn't seem as if they deserved it. If you think back, someone came into your life and did that for you, even though you didn't deserve it. When you do that, you can forever change the trajectory of their life. Who in your life do you know that you've judged unfairly, not knowing or caring about their back story? Stop blocking your heart and seek to help them stop blocking theirs. I'm so glad someone did that for me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

He left

You may be familiar with an old story about how Jesus is our shepherd. And a good shepherd, when one sheep is lost, will leave the other 99 and go in pursuit to find the lost sheep. As I read yesterday, a thought struck me. I have been that one.

There was a time in my life and probably a time in yours when I felt certain that God has left me. My life was a mess, I couldn't feel His presence, I was alone. As I read the story about the one sheep that He went in search of I realized, He hadn't left me, I had left Him. Now, before you think further, I already knew I was the one that had walked away. That part wasn't new to me. But the thoughts that followed were. I had turned away from God. I had put my earbuds in my ears and cranked up the volume on the ipod. I couldn't hear Him because I wasn't listening. I couldn't feel Him because I was dead inside.

And as I look back, I can see His pursuit. He was pursuing me. I couldn't hear or see or feel Him and didn't want to and yet, He pursued me. I was the one lost sheep and He would do anything to bring me back. There were people that He put in my life that He used as His hands. I didn't recognize them as Jesus at the time, but that's who they were. Someone who, seeing I had a crying baby and a cart full of groceries, let me go in front of them in line. Someone who offered to buy me a cup of coffee and offered a shoulder to lean on. Someone who spoke words of comfort, encouragement and strength and yet didn't preach at me. Someone who called just to say "I've missed seeing you". These people were all Jesus. They showed me His love, His kindness, His forgiveness, His comfort. He pursued me.

Today, I am far from where I was back then, but I'm sure you know there are always those days. I am starting to feel a little worn down and getting a little sick and it began to distract me. I started thinking things like, "really, I'm getting sick again!". I started to feel discouraged. And I tried to pull up my boot straps and get back on track. When suddenly, there was a knock at the door. When I answered I saw a bouquet of flowers sitting on my porch with a thank you card unsigned. The love of Jesus went straight to my soul. I don't know who they were from, or what I had done to deserve a thank you card, let alone flowers, but they came at a time when I needed some encouragement. He pursued me.

Each week Pastor Chris tells us to go out and "Be the life of Jesus to our world". We are to do that because God is in pursuit of someone who has wandered away from the flock. Maybe they've wandered far, maybe they just got a little distracted, but He wants to use us to pursue them.
Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do You Remember?

Deut. 1: 29-32 "Then I said to you, "Do not be terrified or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you, He will fight for you according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place. yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God..."

I was reading that passage today and though about all the times the Lord has asked me to do something and I said no, I don't want to, or doubted that I was capable and that God would provide a way for it to happen. Have you ever been there? Have you ever let your fear and doubt stop you? I remember when I was first asked to speak at one of our women's meetings. I had known that God was sending me in that direction. And yet, when the time came, I was scared. All of these doubts flooded my mind. What right do I have to teach women about God? Have I prepared enough? Do I really have a word from God to share with these women or am I fooling myself? Has God really prepared me? I have to think that's what the Israelites went through. They knew God was moving them in the direction of the promised land, but when they got there and God told them to take the land, they got scared.

They didn't look at God's track record and trust Him. They just let their fear stop them from doing what God had called them to do. And that angered God. It made Him so angry that He no longer allowed them to take the land as a consequence to their rebellion and disobedience. The next generation took the land.

When you are facing something that is scary, do you look at God's track record? Trust me, He has an amazing track record. In spite of the bad that has happened in my life I can look back and and see how God was working in that situation. He never left me. He has always been there, He has saved, He has prepared me, and He has been faithful.

So the next time you are afraid and consider letting your fear keep you from doing what God wants you to do; Look back at what He has done in your life. Then move forward and go into the promised land that He has prepared for you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This is the stuff

I was driving down the road on Sunday and heard these familiar lyrics "I lost my keys in the great unknown and call me please, 'cuz I can't find my phone" These lyrics rang oh so true to my heart that day. I am routinely losing my keys or my phone or something else I put down for just a moment that seemed to have grown legs and ran off just to tease me. But today, they all happened in the same day and this song touched me at my very core. Saturday night the family went out, my husband drove and so I put my keys in the dash rather than putting them in my purse like I should have. So Sunday morning when I'm leaving for church and my husband has long since gone to the race track, I reach for my keys and get that familiar sickness in my stomach. My keys are in my car. In my dash to be exact. My car is locked. My husband has the only spare. Inside for just a moment I feel the need to scream "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" but I maintained my composure and thought for a moment. My nearly 20 year old son (how is that even possible, that I have a child who is 20, surely I'm not that old), has gone to California so he can't help me. Oh yeah! He rode with someone and I do have a spare to his car, I'll take his car to church. Great! When I got to church, I shared about my minor problem with a friend because I was so thankful that God had already orchestrated the solution to the problem. This friend immediately told me anytime that happened, give them a call, they'd be glad to give me a ride. And I couldn't help but think how wonderful that God always has a back up plan for me. I came home and walked up to the door to find that I had locked the front door. Of course I locked the door. Why wouldn't I lock the door? Unfortunately, my keys are in my locked car still. So I stop and think, ok God, what's your backup plan. Oh yeah, I have a keypad for the garage, i'll just punch in the code and enter through that way. Which I did and it worked wonderfully. I went to the store and saw someone who's battery had died and thought, hey I have jumper cables in the trunk. So I stopped to see if I could help. In no time they were back on the road. I sat realizing, I was just God's backup plan for someone else. And that's when I heard the song. Things like these happen for a reason. These are the little things that drive us absolutely crazy. They aren't major issues in life, they're more like little irritating things that at times can seem to make life unbearable. But these really are the things God uses. These are things God uses to break us of our impatience, our tendancy to get frustrated over the little things, our self centeredness perhaps. These are things God uses to grow us and mold us and also to show us that He always has a solution. He is always there. He is faithful in the little things and He is faithful in the big things. And if we can really get that and understand it, when the big things come, we can rest easy knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has our best interest at heart and is there with us. He already has a plan in place and He is in complete control. It may not seem like it when we look at it with out human eyes, it may not be what we would chose, but He really does have everything under control. So if you are trusting Him in the little things today, thank God for His faithful presence. And if you are trusting Him in the big things, thank God for his faithful presence. He is there with you and He will see you through and on the other side, you will be a better person, more like His image. And know, this is the stuff he uses. "in the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed, this is the stuff that gets under my skin, and I've gotta trust, you know exactly what you're doing, it may not be what I would chose but this is the stuff you use!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I was reading in Exodus today and one of my devotions was talking about all the miracles Jesus performed while He was here and earth. And I just began to think about it. In today's society we spend so much time on worry. We worry about the mortgage payment, the car payment, health insurance, who to vote for, our children, our spouses. We spend so much time doubting whether or not God will take care of us.
And you may think, well sure it was easy to believe in the days of the Bible. Jesus was performing miracles all the time. In Exodus, God did miraculous things. He spoke, He burned bushes, He delivered the Israelites. He was present in all those circumstances, but not now.

Well I would submit to you, that He is every bit as present today as He was then. We may not be able to see His face and touch His scars, but Jesus walks among us every day. We still see miracles every day. I was talking with a friend about how we ask God to provide for us and how we always think we know what that will look like. The car dies and he provides the money for the repair. Well, sometimes he provides an inexpensive repair and that is every bit as much of a miracle as miraculously getting a check in the mail that was unexpected.

We see miracles every day, but sometimes, we don't recognize them for what they are. My son has a brain injury from birth. It affects him still today but not severely. As I was doing research on it I realized just how badly it could have gone for him. There was basically a perfect storm happening when I gave birth to him and he could have been born severely brain damaged or even died. So the fact that he is alive and has minimal damage is nothing short of a miracle.

I look around my life and see these subtle miracles every single day. If you were to stop and examine your life, what miracles would you find? I encourage you to do that today. And then thank God for those miracles. He loves you so much that He is mindful of you every moment. He is alive and He is present and with God, all things truly possible.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank You Daniel

Our church is doing a 21 day Daniel Fast. Now, I'm a girl who likes meat. Steak is your friend, chicken, free range or not, is just plain yummy, seafood has it's place on my table as well. But truly, as much as I enjoy food, I could almost live on a Daniel Fast were it not for the lack of yeast in the diet. My 10 year old even said tonight after dinner, "thanks mom, we should have more of that. It was delicious!" Those are beautiful words to a mother's ears, especially when he's talking about food that good for him!

But, what I am finding difficult is the fast from Facebook once a week. I know right! You would think that a one day away from Facebook shouldn't be difficult. Now, I wouldn't say I'm addicted to Facebook, but I would say, it has definitely become a habit. The kids say something funny, I tweet it. Fun and exciting news, OH! status update! I wonder what everyone is up to today? Let's check the News Feed.

I have found it rather disturbing how many times today I have gone to my computer to update my status, send someone a message or just "check in". I'm not in withdraw not being able to do it, but it truly has become a way of life. So my question to you is this? What is in your life that has become a habit or a "way of life", that you do even without thinking? And then, is it necessary? I think I will turn this Facebook Fast into a way of life. I may schedule some time each week to unplug and show my flesh that my spirit is in charge. So guess what I did tonight? Instead of getting on Facebook or tweeting, I played and read with my son. Got some reading done and had a nice relaxing evening.
Thank you Daniel