One of the Best Gifts

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I had a rather lovely, lengthy conversation with one of my aunts recently.  I told her that when I was single and had less responsibilities, I would sometimes make impromptu visits to Grandma’s after my night shift of sitting with an elderly woman.  Though Grandma was usually awake, she wasn’t always in her kitchen so she couldn’t hear me knocking on the door.  I walked around the back of her little house and threw small rocks at her bedroom window until I got her attention.  When she peered out she’d say, “Oh! Christi!”  She’d scurry away to unlock the door for me.

“I bet you really appreciated that time with her,” my aunt said.

“I did.”

“You know, Christi, I always say one of the best gifts my grandparents ever gave me was  to live long enough for me to learn to appreciate them.”

What a statement!  Got me to thinking about another closely related statement: What you don’t appreciate leaves.  That is quite a sobering thought.  Tie that to a statement a friend of mine had learned through classes she’s been taking: Everything we do moves us closer to connection or separation.  Think about that.  Really, really think about that.

What are we choosing today?  Are we making that phone call, writing that card, sending that text?  Is our embrace tighter?  Are our words giving life?  Are our actions showing love?

And are we appreciating our loved ones?  Do we realize that what we don’t cherish we risk losing?  And if we’re remiss with those we can see, how are we treating the One that we can’t see?  Ah, that one might have hurt a little.

Jesus said He stands at the doors and knocks.  If we hear His voice and open the door, He will come in and eat with us as a friend.  (Revelation 3:20)

There I was, throwing rocks at Grandma’s window.  When she saw that it was me, a big smile creased her face and she opened her door to me.  We then shared sweet communion at her table.  Those are some of my most treasured memories.

Are we letting Jesus in the way Grandma let me in?  Better yet, are we waiting for Him to knock or are we throwing the door open and calling to Him, “Jesus!  I miss You!  Let’s talk!  Come in and sit Yourself down for a while!”

That’s a greeting.  Imagine your arrival being so anticipated that you don’t even have a chance to knock!

When the girls were younger and I’d hear Bob’s truck, I’d yell, “Girls!  Your daddy’s home from work!”

He grinned while we scrambled and mock fought over who got to hug him first.

We need to do our best to make our loved ones feel that way.  More importantly, we need to realize that this is how God feels about us all of the time.  He’s excited to fellowship with us.  He is.  Adam is proof of that.  He didn’t need to plant a man in His garden, but He did.  Why?  Because He wanted fellowship.  He wanted to stroll around in the cool of the evening and discuss His creation with the crowing jewel of His creation.  Isn’t that something?  Pay attention: He did not sit and talk to the tree.  He did not chat with the monkey.  He was in fellowship with the man.  Do you think His desire is any less toward us now?  No.  As with Adam, He knows we need Him more than we’ll ever realize or confess.

There is a troubling account about the knocking at another door in the Song of Solomon,  Chapter 5.  The Beloved knocks at the Shulamite’s door but she is not inclined to jump out of bed and open the door.  For one, she has taken off her dress and is not presentable.  For two, she has washed her feet and does not want to dirty them by going to him.

Boy, do I relate to this!  I don’t know a married woman who doesn’t.  All snug in my blankets, sweet slumber coming to me or perhaps I am sound asleep when — BAM!  Bob rolls against me.  I don’t need his roaming hands to confirm what I think he wants but he throws them in for good measure.  I confess to grumbling.  I confess to being a resistant participant.  I confess to flat out refusal.  What I rarely confess to is, like the Shulamite, my (sometimes) sorrow at missing that window of opportunity for union with my husband.  It took her too long to go to the door; the Beloved had gone.  Isn’t it the same with us?  How often have we missed spending precious moments with the loved ones we do see and the One that we do not?

Join me today in appreciating our loved ones and making conscientious decisions that move us closer to connection.  Beyond that, let’s not wait for God to knock, but let’s throw open the door and call to Him and invite Him in.

May we fall in love all over again…and may today be that day.

am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine:…  Song of Solomon 6:3  KJV

Thankful for Fleas

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For a better part of the day I had been looking forward to this.  I stepped into the tub and discovered that the water was the perfect temperature.  I eased the rest of my body into the tub, protecting my spine with my inflatable pink sea shell shaped (say that 5 times fast) bath pillow and closed my eyes.

“Ahhh,” escaped my lips.

My muscles, aching from deep house cleaning and packing, repacking, and heaving boxes for 2 days, began to loosen.  The scent of dissolved eucalyptus bath salts and the sounds of Christian radio wafting from our bedroom through the folding door of the master bathroom satisfied my need for relaxation.  In moments like these I’m thankful that Bob gifted me with the deep tub instead of the big stand-up shower that he wanted.  I’m thankful for it when I’m sore or sick.  And I’m thankful for the years I got to spend with Rachel here.  I used to kneel on the floor beside the tub while she splashed inside and we played with mermaid dolls until all the bubbles were gone and the water was cold.

When I am soaking in a hot bath or snuggling under my blankets on clean sheets, I think of Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie.  They hid many Jews, sparing them from the Nazi Holocaust during WWII.  They were caught and arrested and eventually ended up in a concentration camp.  Betsie died there.  I think of the cold, hunger, filth, hard labor and the abuse that they had to endure.  I think of how Corrie longed for tissues when she caught a cold and how Betsie assured her that God would provide–and He did.  I think of how Betsie was forgiving and thankful–even for fleas.  Yes, fleas.  They had an outbreak of them in their barracks which discouraged the guards from entering.  This gave them freedom.  The guards’ avoidance allowed the ten Booms the liberty to share the Gospel with other women.  To think of what they endured and the attitude they had in their suffering sometimes shames me.  I have so very, very much and am sometimes given to complaining.  Yet they found a way to be grateful in the midst of what many would consider to be nothing short of hell on earth.

It’s been years since I read Corrie’s account of her imprisonment, but it smote me so that I remember certain parts of it.  I especially think on these parts when I feel safe, am at ease, are struggling to forgive, or am feeling ungrateful.  Her life has given me much to think about and just as much to aspire to.  Am I any nearer to saying like the apostle Paul and Betsie ten Boom that I have learned to be content no matter the circumstances?  Are you?  Even when life is hard could we at least thank God for not giving us what we deserve?  For we have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  Truly, in our own merit we are entitled to nothing and yet through Jesus Christ we are offered everything.  Wow.  What a thought.

Join me today in praise and thanksgiving.  If Betsie could be thankful for fleas–even fleas– then I believe we can all think of something for which to be grateful.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1  Thessalonians 5:18  KJV

Remember, thanks in everything, not necessarily for everything, knowing that God is with us even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Pot Luck

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We are celebrating our 1st birthday!

Thanks to all of you who follow God’s Word Girl.  It is my sincere prayer that through our year’s journey together you have been blessed, challenged, taught, amused, and increased in the revelation of God’s love and what He has for you.  I know I have.  I especially thank those of you who have written comments of encouragement.  (Email subscribers, if you cannot view your comments and/or my replies and want to, they can be seen on the site.)

In honor of this special occasion, I offer my thanks to you in the form of a bit of creative writing.  The idea came from bracelets that Laura and Beth made with Mum for craft shows.  They strung miscellaneous, leftover beads on multiple strands and then twisted the strands together.  They’re so diverse, colorful and pretty.  (Directions as to how to make them can be googled under the title “soup bracelets” or “bead soup”.)  At my suggestion, Mum tagged their creations, “Pot Luck” and thus came the inspiration for this writing:

Pot Luck

Life can be a lot like pot luck.  We never know for sure who’s going to show or what dish they’re going to bring.

You may see the cousin you haven’t seen for a while, the one who’s much more like a brother.  Could be you’ll see your favorite auntie who spoiled you as kid and still lavishes you with love.  Perhaps you’ll see the uncle with the sense of humor that draws everyone like a bee to pollen.  It may be that we’ll find ourselves lost in conversation with a friend that we deem a sister.  Maybe we’ll find ourselves laughing at the antics of the kids, reveling in the sage wisdom of the aged, or (and we’ve all done it) avoided the annoying. 🙂

There are magical occasions when we meet someone for the very first time and we feel like we’ve known them our whole life long.  We just know that no matter the time or the distance, theirs will be the conversation that can be picked up no matter where let off.

Yes, life is a lot like Pot Luck.  We never know who’s going to show or what dish they’re going to bring.

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Some dishes are tart or bitter, much like the hurting people we know.  There will be the bland, take-it-or-leave-it concoctions that resemble many of the mundane things in life that aren’t enjoyable but must be done.

There are the comfort foods, the ones that satisfy our palate as much as our hunger.  These are the foods we can have heaping servings of and still go back for seconds.  Then there are the sweet and the rich foods that melt in our mouths.  Every spoonful is to be savored.  These dishes are much like our dear ones with whom we create priceless memories.

People and dishes come and go and change over the course of time.  No one and nothing remains the same…except for God, “Who changes not”, the Great Host who invites us to, “Come and dine”.

Is life difficult despite Him?  Yes.  And yet He brings to the table the comfort foods, the sumptuous treats, and “life everlasting”.  Thanks be to Jesus Who came to offset all of the mundane and bitter things in life that would wear us down or crush us. Thanks be to Jesus that He left us Holy Spirit and all of His wonderful fruits!

The Pot Luck of life isn’t all pleasant, for sure, but God did promise to make all things work together for good for those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Praise Him!

I’m so incredibly blessed to have you in this great big Pot Luck called Life.  You are to me a comfort and a sweet.  You are so very precious to me I’m so thankful for what you bring.

  ~Christi Marie

 

Join me today in thanking and singing praise to our benevolent Father for the family, friends, and the righteous leaders and teachers that are part of the Pot Luck of our lives.  God is good.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 136:1  KJV

A Diet Unlike Any Other

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Most people I know don’t usually think about dieting until after the holidays but I thought I’d get ahead of the game by beginning now.  I’m diving in with a couple of relative stories.  Bear with me.  This diet will revolutionize your life if done properly.

We now have a white cat hanging around.  Seems we’re running a half-way house for strays.  I saw it limping in our yard and discretely put out some food for it.  I asked Bob if he saw it and he said, “Yes!” with some disgust.  He had went out to our partially enclosed basement entryway and there was the cat.

“It was out of the box eating.  It hissed at me,” he said.  How well do I know my man?  I had the exact same thought that he spoke out loud to the cat before he even told me.  “I said, ‘Don’t you hiss at me.  You’re sleeping in my cat box, eating my cat food, so don’t you hiss at me!'”

Got me to thinking about the Israelites in the backside of the desert on the way to the Promised Land.  God had been and was in the process of meeting their every need but it wasn’t enough for them.  In the words of the stray, “Hiss-s-s!”  In our language, complain, Complain, COMPLAIN!  Until finally, the LORD’s cup was full of it.  Moses told the whiny lot of them:

“When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. . .’ ”  Deuteronomy 1:34-36  NLT

(By the way, Joshua, son of Nun, was also permitted to enter the Promised Land along with Caleb, but everyone else, nope.)  Just think of it, a whole generation exempted from their land because of their complaining.  Lest we think complaining is of little consequence, let us remember the Israelites’ lesson.  Then again, before we’re too hard on them, let’s take a peek in the New Testament:

But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. . .”  John 6:43  NLT

Whoa, wait.  You mean people were still complaining?!  I wonder if He said that in the same tone I would have said that to my children…?

A couple of months ago, my daughters and I were in a circle of prayer with Mum.  As the Spirit directs, she is sometimes used in words of knowledge.  She looked at Beth and said, “You are to go on a diet.”

Her sisters and I immediately chuckled.  It seemed fitting that the girl we dubbed “the food police”, due to looking for ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and high grams of sugar, was being instructed to go on a diet.  After my initial amusement I was excited. Beth has had periodic bouts with acne that have ripped at her self esteem.  I thought, Wow, the LORD is going to give her a specific diet and she will be healed. 

Beth began to complain.  (Ah, people are still complaining.  Seems a chronic fault of the human race.)  The girls detest when we’re eating certain foods or taking specific herbs to deal with health issues.

“This isn’t a diet like you think,” Mum said, smiling.  “The LORD wants you to go on a diet of praise.  No more complaining.”

I was ready to shout “HALLELUJAH!”  Out of my 3 children, Beth is most likely to complain.  She picked up the nasty habit from her rather lovely mother 😉 .  And it is quite annoying.

Her edict to praise could not have come at a better time.  Soon after, our household was in an emotional uproar.  My heart had been broken, and as women are generally born sympathizers, the girls were feeling my pain.  We were all voicing our pain and our angst.  Except for Beth.

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I could see her huffing while slamming dishes around in the sink.  “Praise the LORD,” Beth grumpily said.  “That’s all I can say because I’m not allowed to complain.  Of all times not to be allowed to complain.”  Then she shut up, continuing to take her anger out on the dishes.

I burst out laughing.  Indeed, “of all times” for the LORD to call my lovely would-be complainer to a diet of praise.  It was the perfect time.  Somehow, laughing out loud righted the world.  The emotional pain I felt eased and I had hope.  It was like the sun broke through in the middle of a long dark night.

Life is hard.  But there is always something to be thankful for.  If you’re reading this, you can see, you have modern technology (for better or worse 🙂 ), and I have a notion you have a heart seeking after God.  And why was Caleb permitted to enter the Promised Land when an entire generation was not?  “…because he has followed the Lord completely…”  He didn’t complain, he trusted the LORD, and was ready to fight for the promise that was given.  We’re on the right path.  Let’s not mess it up by complaining!

Gratitude may not take inches from our physical problem areas, but it will remove great weights from our shoulders.  There’s much to be said for the peace of mind that comes from giving it all to the One who holds it all.

Join me today in looking at our problems through the lens of praise and see them for the opportunities they could be if left in the LORD’s capable hands.  I truly believe that we are surrounded by impossible people and situations that have “Miracle” written all over them…and miracles are what they’ll become if we’ll handle them with trust and praise.  May we continue to walk humbly with our Savior remembering that all things are possible with God.  We were never meant to do this alone and praise is what transports us into His presence so we never need to.  Bless His holy name!

Let the shackles fall off today as we join Go Fish in singing praise to our LORD.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  Philippians 2:14-15  NLT

Light, Glorious Light

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Through the coldest of winter months, our main source of heat is a coal furnace.  Anyone familiar with coal knows that it’s dusty.  You haven’t had dust until you’ve had coal.  Oh, it makes wonderful heat.  It’s so nice to have warm floors.  But the incessant dusting, yuck.

Recently, I enlisted the girls to clean all of the ceiling fan/light fixtures downstairs.  My dad commented on how dirty the kitchen one was in particular, which I took note of because he also has coal heat.  So I figured if he was commenting on how dirty it was it must be really dirty.  The kitchen fixture was a special trial as we had grease mixed with (coal) dust.  Grease-fighting dish detergent and baking soda were the choice cleaners as each fan blade was removed and scrubbed in the kitchen sink.  What a mess!  But then…

LIGHT!  I had no idea how dark our rooms had been until the globes were removed and scrubbed and replaced.  Light, glorious light.

I was sharing this story with a friend of mine and she began to laugh.  She and her family had been to another friend’s apartment in the same living complex as them.  She commented on how bright her friend’s living room was.  Theirs was dark and had to be lighted with lamps.  Her friend seemed amused.

“You have the same lights as me.  Just adjust them to where you want them to shine.”

My friend was in denial.  Even though the lights looked the same, she assumed they were an upgrade before this new friend of theirs moved in.

“I’m telling you,” her friend insisted, “go home and check it out.  They’re the same.”

My friend argued a bit more but decided to investigate when she went home.  “The lights are adjustable!” she exclaimed.  “Not only are the lights adjustable, but the bar they’re on is also adjustable.  I now have light where my computer is, light in the living room, and light over my kitchen sink.  Do you know that we’ve been washing dishes in the dark for over two years because I didn’t know that the lights were adjustable?!”

We laughed together.  How is it that things in life seem so dark sometimes?  Because of:

Grime.  I didn’t realize how dark my house was because it came little by little due to dust/dirt.  If it had happened over night, I would have been alarmed.  But it happened day by day, season by season.  What is it that we are letting into our lives that is causing darkness?  That is slowly eroding us spiritually and perhaps in all other ways?

I had an opportunity recently to go on a paid overnight bus trip out of state.  All I had to do was provide money for meals, and even one of them were paid for.  Part of the deal when we got there was, if it was a person’s first time in the establishment, they got an extra $15 food credit.  I watched as one woman squirmed in front of the man processing her.

“Have you been here before?” he asked.

She didn’t answer him but seemed to fumble with something in her purse.

“Ma’am, have you been here before today?”

She looked to the side at whom I assume were her traveling companions, or perhaps relatives.

“Ma’am, is this your first time here with us?” he repeated.

I was frustrated with her and I wasn’t even processing her.  I said to the relative I was traveling with: “I’m sure they can easily go back in their records and see if a person has been here before or not.  Is lying for a $15 food credit worth losing your soul?”

The thought jarred even me.  How many times have I lied and even for less?  How many times have my eyes lingered too long where they shouldn’t?  How many times has my tongue tripped down avenues of gossip?  How many times has unforgiveness or bitterness penetrated my heart?  How many times have wrong thoughts flooded my mind and I not only did not put them out, I let them set up camp?

“Come on, LORD, I’m trying to be pious here.  I’m talking about that woman squirming in what definitely appears to be a lie!”  I was beginning to squirm myself.

“We’re not talking about her,” He said.  “I’m talking about you.”

Ouch!

Aw, why did I have to hear the LORD so clearly?  Really?  He surely knows how to burst my self-righteous bubble.

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Let’s clean off the grime, people.  If things are a little dim, see if there’s something that needs to be cleaned.  Sin must go.  All of it.  Granted, it may go by degrees.  I find that’s the usual process of things, but let’s at least be willing to let the LORD scrub us. 

Things aren’t always dark due to grime, though.  Sometimes it’s due to:

Ignorance.  My friend had all the light she needed but she didn’t understand how to use it.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  Hosea 4:6  NKJV

My friend’s whole family was “in the dark” because the light wasn’t being properly used.  If we don’t rightly divide the Truth, or apply what God has given to us using His understanding and wisdom, we may not only suffer, but those we love and the people around us may suffer.  Lack of knowledge has serious implications.  Ignorance is not bliss.  It can bring literal destruction.

Let’s ask God if He has given insight to us but we aren’t understanding or using it properly.  We may already have the answer, we just don’t know it.  Turn on the Light.  We have a loving Father.  He loves us even in our dirt and ignorance, but He loves us too much to let us there.  And thank God Almighty that is the case.

Are you brave enough to join me today and ask God to light up our lives with Holy Spirit’s searchlight?  That is the only answer to our dirt and ignorance.  The clean and the revelation that come will certainly be worth the time and effort.

May this song and scripture be our prayer.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.   

Psalm 139:23-24  NKJV

“Rejected”

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Our twins are doing an intensive art history unit study this year.  My youngest complains that she can’t concentrate on her work because she’s fascinated watching her sisters do theirs.  After Laura and Beth do the artist’s study, they move on to their assignment, one of which is an art project.  I have been enjoying seeing their creations immensely and, sometimes like Rachel, catch myself watching them in their progress.

They learned about the Salon, a place in France that hosted art exhibitions beginning in 1667.  I had read that between 1748 and 1890 it was the greatest art event in the Western world.  I was especially intrigued when the girls discovered that the Salon jury could make or break artists.  A rejected piece of art was literally stamped “rejected” on the back.  Imagine the impossible task of trying to sell something stamped “rejected”.  Imagine trying to establish yourself as an artist in France once that judgment was passed.  This tidbit gave me pause to think about rejection of our talents and of ourselves as human beings.

Some time ago, I read an interesting thought about a line in the LORD’s prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil….”.  We  have all been created with a purpose.  I believe this verse pertains most to those who know what their purpose is but are unwilling to give themselves time to mature and cultivate their gift.  This is a prayer that we will not be tempted to “arrive” ahead of time thereby incurring evil.

I’m going to tell you a minister’s story.  Well, at least what I remember of it.  He was praying over people in a prayer line and skipped a man.  The man moved down the line and I can’t remember if the minister intentionally skipped him again or not, but he most definitely skipped him at least that once.  The attendee would not to be ignored.  He insisted the minister pray for him.  The minister didn’t want to, saying,

“You have a call on your life but you’re not ready.”

The man was adamant that he receive prayer.  He was ready NOW.  If I properly recall, the minister prayed.  The young man was launched into ministry, greatly due to his own force.  He burned fast and hot.  And out.  Last the minister heard, the young man wasn’t in ministry anymore and quite possibly wasn’t even serving the LORD anymore.  If we cave to the temptation to get ahead of God, we may fall into evil.  That being said, there may be times when it looks like rejection, in fact, it may be all out rejection, but not in God’s economy.  In His way of thinking, it is protection. 

Being a writer, I’m going to look at this from an author’s perspective.  How many times can a poem, a manuscript, a sentiment for a card, etc., be rejected?  Many!  I’ve got the rejection letters to prove it.  This devotion clarified a lot for me.  What looks like rejection is protectionWhat if the manuscript would go on to film?  What if the sentiment would be one that manufacturers would want to use over and over again?  And what if that notoriety came too soon, before the maturity of me, the author?  I’m not saying we mature and never learn anything ever again.  I’m saying we must reach a place in our lives that our character is such, that we realize our need for Christ to sustain us in times of failure as much as, and perhaps even more so, in times of success.

As long as the rejection comes, we hone our skills and persist.  We continue to battle and we are alert.  But face it, in times of acceptance and accolades, we tend to drop our defenses.  Or worse, become prideful and believe our achievements are due to our own merit.  The LORD warned the Israelites numerous times not to forget Him when they entered the Promised Land, when they ate and were full, when they built fine houses and settled into them.  They were to remember and not believe their wealth was the making of their own power and strength lest destruction come upon them.  Serious, weighty stuff that is still applicable today.

When I was younger, I had the misconception that friends were friends forever.  I then began to see many of my friendships tested when I entered my teenage years…and probably just as many dissolved through those tender years and into early adulthood.  That put really big dents in my forever friends theory.  It used to crush me when people would enter my life and then leave.

Now, as an adult, I see life for what it is concerning most relationships: a revolving door.  Wisdom came with age and people exiting my life hurt less and less as I realized that people are tools in God’s hands.  Myself included.  We are positioned in each others lives for a season(s).  When done properly, relationships can be fertile soil for sweet sharing of ideas, talents, ministry, experiences, etc., even if only for a small amount of time.  We all have something to offer, something to help someone on their way to their purpose and vice versa.  We can even learn from people we wish we’d never met!  (It’s called learning how not to behave 🙂 ).

Whether the pain is due to a perceived fractured relationship or another failed attempt, chin up!  This is not rejection, this is protection.  Our skills and our characters are being tested and sharpened.  Much of how we handle “rejection” today determines our success for tomorrow.  Please believe me, God does truly desire that we succeed and fulfill all that He has planned for us.

Join me today in trusting God with our relationships and our purpose.  It’s hard, I know, but let’s relinquish control to Him.  Give Him Time.  Allow Him to bring the right people into our life at the right time and, if required, let them go when it is time.  And when we succeed, when we come into the land He has called us, remember, it is He who gave us the power and the strength to get there.

I leave you with “Your Time Will Come” (and a scripture verse).  I love the melding of voices, instruments, and the lyrics of this song!  I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.

For He says:

“In an acceptable time I have heard you,

And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 

2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV

Dream Again

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If you blow all the seed off a dandelion in a single breath, your wish will come true, so they say.  I’ve also heard that if you can catch dandelion fuzz mid-air, make a wish, and then release it, your wish will come true.  Blow out all the candles on the birthday cake in one breath, your wish will come true.  Throw a coin in a wishing well/fountain and speak your wish aloud–it will come true.  Then, of course, the infamous:

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

I confess to having done all of these.  The floating dandelion fuzz has taken precedence now that I’m an adult because I find it more challenging.  The greater the challenge, the more successful the wish.  Okay, I’m kidding.  Sort of.  I don’t put much stock in the “wishing games”, but I do still participate.  Sometimes it feels good to me to put an act behind my wish rather than keep it to myself.  I find if fulfilling to catch crazily spinning dandelion fuzz in midair, make my wish, then release it back to the wind, back to God.  Why not?  I’ve done something.  I’ve acted on my belief that God hears and I trust that He will answer, no matter how silly it seems.

One of my dear friends of decades–gosh, that looks like a long tome on paper–just celebrated a birthday.  I usually send her a card exalting friendship and its infinitesimal value, but this year I felt a different message was in order.  This year I’ve been mulling a lot of stuff over.  My ruminations spilled over onto my birthday wishes for her.  The card I chose was shimmery with a dandelion on the outside.  Plain, but pretty.  On the inside, the gist of the message: Just believe.  My personal note to her went something like this:

“Maybe it’s due to age, maybe it’s due to time, but it seems to me dreams sometimes get buried and may even feel like they’re dead.  This year, revisit your hopes, your dreams, and your wishes, and dare to believe that with God they will come true.  May this year be the fulfillment of what you’ve hoped for for so very long.”

Within a couple of days of sending that card, I was reading a letter from a minister and you’ll never guess what his topic was.  Pick up your dream again.  Confirmation.  Ain’t that something how that works?

That leads me to the crux of today’s post:

First: Remember.  Remember what God has said.  The LORD has directed me to return to my journals and collect the words He has spoken to me.  I’ve recently heard of others who have been directed to do the same.

What secret joy has been locked away so long in your heart that you fear it has died?  It isn’t dead, you know.  Think.  Your adulthood may be a nightmare.  In fact, much of your childhood may have been a nightmare.  But there is something there.  There is a memory of something that was spoken to you or something that you did that you return to that makes you smile.

My memory is when I was 5-ish.  I sat on bulky, stone steps and belted out “Jesus Loves Me” for the entire neighborhood and anyone traveling through it to hear.  I also scooped clay out of the little stream behind our rented trailer and shaped it for what felt like hours.  And swinging!  I loved to swing.  I aimed my feet for the sun and tried to touch it.  The heights I achieved freaked an elementary school teacher of mine out pretty good and all right.

Your memory may be like looking through a fog, but it’s there, and every time you consider it, it brings you joy.  Ask the LORD to bring clarity.  He will.  That is the moment, that is the place, when His presence was tangible to you.  In that moment you experienced a bit of Heaven on earth.  He wants to take you there again.  He wants you to live in that place, in His presence, His peace and joy, here on earth.  It is possible, you know.

Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given…  1 Chronicles 16:9-12  NLT

 

Second, and this is going to sound totally contradictory to the first: Forget.

But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.   Isaiah 43:18-19  NLT

 

Forget what?  Forget the words of the father who said you’d never amount to anything.  Forget the words of the mother who said she wished you’d never been born. Forget the words of the former teacher who said you’d never succeed.  Forget the words of the ex who said you weren’t worthy of love.  Forget the words of the doctor who said you’d never be healed much less be whole.  Forget the words of the clergy who said poverty is a virtue.  Forget the life you lived when the words and actions of those around you broke your heart and crushed your spirit.  In Christ, all things can be made new.  In Christ.  Not religion, not some fantasy god, in Christ alone.

Third: Believe.  Believe what Jesus says.

The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  John 6:63  NLT

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.
Mark 9:23  NLT

The very words Jesus spoke are spirit and life.  But we must believe.  And we haven’t a clue what to believe if we aren’t listening to Holy Spirit’s voice and reading God’s Word.  How bad do we want life?  I myself want to be a vessel and a conduit of life.

Join me today in: Remembering.  Forgetting.  Believing.

Let’s pick up those long gone hopes and broken dreams.  God is breaking the shackles of the past from off of us and doing a new thing.  Let’s believe and receive with joy and let Him do His work.

This song is going to seem like it’s over, but it isn’t.  Enjoy as you listen to the end.