Sunday, November 8, 2015

Kids are Not Mirrors

The delivery room nurse carefully hands over a wrapped bundle and leaves a tired and happy
Mom looking into a tiny face. Mom begins a deliberate search through the blanket looking for
toes and fingers. She sees little dimples and exclaims that they belong to Grandma, and those
long delicate fingers are just like Grandpas'. That mop of red hair comes from Mommy, the
bright blue eyes from Daddy. Every similarity to family members confirms that the child she
holds in her arms belongs to her. Each visitor who takes that tiny one into their arms looks for
something that bears a resemblance to themselves or others on the family tree. They all
belong to one another.

Every change as the child grows is watched carefully for family resemblances. Parents are
surprised when traits spring up, but most are welcomed as a badge of honor from ancestors
remembered. It is amazing to see those connections in our children. These associations
help to strengthen the bonds we share. It is very normal for us to search out in our child those
things with which we can relate. Common bonds provide paths of communication and
understanding. But when we look into those beautiful faces, we should not expect to see a
perfect reflection of ourselves. The combination of puzzle pieces from generations and the
unique measure of personhood from the Creator create a new and singular person.

Children are not mirrors in which we can look and see our past. It is not possible to go back in
time through our children and make right the mistakes we made, or replicate our successes.
Parents who try to see a mirrored reflection of themselves may set a trap for their child to fail in their God-given purpose. When we emphasize only the similarities between us, the child begins to believe that he or she must live up to that image. It is more important to give the child a sense of being who they were created to be, and that is ultimately decided between
them and God.

Children are windows. Looking past physical attributes into their thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams parents can perceive a world of possibilities. If we look close enough we may even see the fingerprint of God. It is pure pleasure to watch a child unfold like a blossom that comes from a mysterious seed. We cannot know the final outcome. We can only watch with wonder
as the petals unfold and reveal their beauty. Of course, our job as parents is not to just watch through the window. We are given the task of providing the sunshine of spiritual truth, a steady flow of water for quenching the thirst of curiosity, and lots of fertilizer to feed the body as it grows.

It takes practice and prayer to see a child or any person with the eyes of God. It takes work to discover what makes a person light up. If we can discover the passions others hold we can bring them encouragement. Parenting to find the child's, "way in which he should go," demands becoming a student as well as a teacher for your child.

How do we become a student of our son or daughter? We do our homework. We ask questions, spend quality time with them, and watch and listen. Body language, as well as tone of voice, are just as important as the words they use. Ask them why they chose a certain way of doing something. Try not to make them change because of your preferences before you discover why they behave as they do. Be open to listen to them without interruption. Read their story every day and a pattern will emerge. You will discover those unique pieces of the puzzle that make them who they are.

Father, You are the perfect parent. You do see your image in us, but You also recognize that we, ourselves must find out who You made us to be. Forgive us for living our lives for ourselves and not for You. Thank You for showing us how to parent our children. Let us always run to You for wisdom and gidance for those tough parenting times. We trust You.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

God is Able

For the past two months I have heard, seen and read that, “Nothing is impossible with God,” “God can do what He says He can do,” “Believe God!” I am hanging on to every one of those messages and I believe they are directly from Him to my faith so that it will grow.

You see, my younger brother is dying of esophageal and stomach cancer. He has very little time left. He has said for years that he no longer believes there is a God. The family has prayed and prayed but DJ, my stubborn brother, has not listened to our prayers and has not believed. But God has.

When he was told early this summer that there was no hope, everyone began to pray harder. He refused to talk or listen to our encouragement to turn to God, to let Jesus save his soul. It seemed hopeless. Our hearts were broken, but God’s love was poured out through His broken heart.

God’s love for my brother enlarged my heart! His love and the miracle of keeping him alive for more than 8 weeks without food, with very little water and without pain until the past few days has made my faith grow. Hospice expected his death 4 weeks ago. Who alone, but God could keep DJ going? God was giving him time. I believe God can do anything to draw men to Himself. I believe that God means it when He says He desires that none should perish.

I also believe that Jesus is the Victor over the enemy. Satan has become very angry at DJ in my opinion. He has made his pain worse and has also removed family from his bedside who care and love him toward Jesus. But, again, nothing is impossible with God! Jesus has gained the victory over sin and death! God does not want any to perish. And most importantly, the Holy Spirit remains at DJs side through it all.

Why do I reveal this all now? Because I know. I know that God is trustworthy, faithful, loving, victorious and nothing will stop His salvation coming to those He knows will receive! God loves EVERYONE even the atheist and those who revile Him. He loves with an overpowering love! I, too, am beginning to love like He does.

You might ask, “What if DJ is not in heaven when you get there?” Well, I will tell you with certainty, that if he is not there it will not be God who failed. It will not be our prayers that were not answered. I know that I will understand fully and be at peace. If there are tears they will be wiped away, and I will rejoice in the ultimate goodness and justice of my God.
This story is played out in many lives. We pray. We do not know the outcome. We worry and fret. BUT God is able! He can and will take care of every scenario. This walk of faith does not depend on God answering prayer as we desire. Faith is believing that all He does is good, and His plans are always good for us. I believe. Do you?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Still in School

I loved school, but not because it was school. I really just liked the opportunity it provided for me to learn. There were books to read, people to observe, assignments to explore.

Because I was an underachiever, I was labeled a Daydreamer by my teachers. Today they may have labeled me ADD. Lessons would begin with me focused on what the teacher was presenting, but it wasn’t long before my mind had drifted down another road. Sometimes I would be distracted by the artwork on the walls or nature outside the window. Other times I would just wonder about things and I would let my imagination fly free.

You might ask, how could she love to learn if she didn’t pay attention to the teacher. I don’t have a certain answer. I only know that for me daydreaming is exploring, exploring is a way to discover, and discovery is learning.

When I graduated from high school and then college, the word commencement was frequently used. A commencement is simply a beginning. It seems funny to put the name of commencement on a time when we consider our learning finished and our life beginning. However, maybe life is learning. In fact I know it is. How do I know? Because I am still in school!
I learn every day. My mind and my heart is open to wander about the classroom of my life. In this every day, now vacation or weekend classroom, I am taught from books, people, and experiences.

It is in this most marvelous, living classroom that I not only learn about the world and people, but mostly about God, my Loving Creator. I could have gone on and on with the names by which I know Him, the names I have learned He is called and fits very well.

I will never stop being a student or should I say, disciple, of God the Father, Jesus the Christ or the Holy Spirit. They are my instructors. My learning will go on throughout eternity and I will never tire of learning more about Him. I do love learning!

There are many books I can read about the amazing person of God. Those written my men (and women) who speak only from their own experience may come close to the truth of who He is, but there are also many who far from the truth. The only book worthy of using as a study guide to God is the bible. You may argue that it was written by men, but the bible, alone stands as a true testament that it is God-spoken.

People can also be inspiring as well as disappointing in their example of being God-like. I include myself, because at times I can be either. Still, there are glimpses into the face of the holy Supreme Being through the unselfish powerful love acts that we witness. We are touched deeply and are called to change.

Experiencing God’s presence in the everyday events or the extraordinary events in my life is a huge teaching opportunity. Like the old saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher.” These lessons require God-focused glasses. God’s presence surrounds me, and I must alert to His revelation of Himself. It is a surprise and a delight to discover something new every day!

I have now been learning for 23333 days. I expect to keep learning for an eternity! I am a student, disciple, learner, apprentice, scholar, and follower. I am not an expert, but by now I am no longer a baby. I am loving this life school to which I belong. I love to learn!

Inexhaustible God and Father, You are awesome and amazing! I search for you in all my days. You teach me marvelous things and take my hand as I explore Your beautiful creation. I am so sorry for the time I fail to thank you for your presence in my life. Forgive me! I thank you now for being my teacher and guide. Thank You for making our world so deep, so wide and so high that I can never come to its end! Teach me more, Lord! And please bless all the teachers I know who strive to be like You. Amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Saying No to Myself

I say "Yes" to myself many times during the day. It is easy to do because it comes naturally. In fact, I usually don't hear myself ask and then knowingly respond in the affirmative, I just do what I feel like doing at the time.

For example, if I have a craving for chocolate I will go seek out chocolate and enjoy the "Yes" I give myself. If I want to play a computer game, again, I will simply start the game and delight myself in the mindlessness of pushing candies together in sets of three or more. There are many other examples I could give, but I do think you get the idea.

The hard thing for me to do is to say "No" to my cravings, or addictions. Stopping the forward motion toward the chocolate, computer game or whatever takes a deliberate action; a decisive "No."

This past year I have had some success with this little two letter word. In fact I am thrilled when I say it and find power in doing so. It becomes even more recognizable when I backslide and fail to use the strength this often unused word gives me. Realizing that I failed to say "no" to myself makes me feel powerless. I regret that I did not use the two lettered dagger that would give me victory.

Mathew 5:37 says "Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil." (ESV) The truth I see in this scripture is first, I should mean what I say. "Yes" should not be my default answer to every choice. I should make choices with full knowledge of the consequences and benefits. Secondly, I need to remember that not choosing wisely is sin. If I need to justify my choices I step over a spiritual line that God does not commend.

I have written this blog entry with a craving for a soda wandering through my thoughts. In writing this I have decided that the sugar and caffeine are not what my body needs tonight, and so I say "No" with the power of choice. The greater choice I have made today is to say "Yes" to The Holy Spirit prompting me to become humble and let go of a previous choice.

2 Corinthians 1:20 "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory." (ESV) Yes and no can both be difficult choices, but choosing Jesus is always the right choice.

Father, You are the God who has said "Yes" when I ask for mercy and grace. You say "Yes" when I need a Savior, healing, guidance, and hope. Forgive me for every time I think of You as a God of "No." Thank You for giving me choices. Thank You for giving me Your Son so I can choose His redemption. Thank You for not turning away from me when I sin. Thank You for Your forever open arms. Give me wisdom for my daily decisions. Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Waiting to Live

My brother is dying. Cancer is slowly depleting his strength and stealing his body's ability to sustain life. It has been a long sad time.

Early in the summer we heard the news that the cancer we thought was gone had returned. The prognosis was very poor. He would not survive this, but chemo could help curb the symptoms. He decided that he would not let the doctors intervene and so the waiting began.

The family waits and prays in faith that God will heal him with a miracle. The weaker he becomes the more we pray a litany of requests for him: healing, no pain, getting to see everyone he wants to see, completing his project, more days. God has answered our requests, except for healing.

DJ is a young man by modern standards. Fifty eight years is much too young to face death. I have thought that asking for more days would be enough but why not ask for years? Cancer is a thief. The years have been stolen. We can only hold on to the treasure of each day.

God has been so good to me during this time of waiting. He has given me peace and hope that is so real that I feel it as a presence surrounding me. Songs and scriptures hold a new meaning for me as I hear them amid the realities I face. My prayers have become thought-filled. I question my thinking and avow my convictions with passion. I ask with living faith. And so it was this past Sunday as I spoke to God saying, "I don't want to wait for DJ to die!" My Father in Heaven responded quickly saying, "Wait for him to live!" His words have changed me. I now wait for my brother DJ to live. I wait for him to live eternally. That is my hope and my peace. God the Almighty Sovereign and Good Father is drawing DJ to himself. Every day gives my brother time to choose life, life eternal. It is in God's faithfulness that I trust and wait.

Father God, You are my security. You have given me all I need to face this sad time. I am so glad that You have turned my waiting for death into waiting for life! I know I can trust You. Thank You for every blessing and every lesson I am learning from this time. Thank You for being strong when I am weak. I ask only that I remember these days and not forget the things You have done. I love You, Lord.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Finish Line

Have you ever had to run the hurdles? Hurdlers are a special breed that can run fast and kick their legs high over 27-42 inch obstacles, take two steps and do it all again!

I had to try those beastly obstructions in my freshman P.E. class in high school. It was a disaster. I stand only 61.5" tall and the hurdles were chest high on me if I remember correctly. After trying multiple times to get my leg high enough to get over the hurdle without success and being bruised and scraped up from falling all over those mini mountains, I decided not to try any more. I simply stopped in front of them and trotted around. Coach finally decided that I could just run the lap without going over the hurdle. The experience makes me stand in admiration for hurdlers now when I watch track and field on tv.

Life has hurdles. Every day we come against obstacles, big and small. Each goal we set for ourselves comes with its set of circumstances that can trip us up with bruises and scrapes or offer opportunities to soar. There are choices to make when we come up against those pesky bumps in the road. We can get around some, but others need to be dealt with more aggressively. When we fly over them we feel powerful and in control. Some that tower over us may make us consider giving up. Any hardship can intimidates us into backing down and question if our goal to reach the finish line is worth it.

I know there have been many finish lines that I have failed to cross because of the stumbling blocks in my way. At those times I have felt weak. My goal has not been met. I got stuck. I failed. It is sad to know that I may never have an opportunity to win because the moment has passed. Realizing this makes me consider carefully the goals I set and the importance of committing myself fully to the task.

One of my favorite sayings is "I chase not race." The chase, unlike a race, gives me time to face my mountainous hurdles and break them down so I can proceed further toward the finish line. I do not need to race against others. I just need to keep chasing the goal I have set for myself.

The most important thing I need to remember is that God is always there to help me get past the obstacles. He is just a prayer away. Isaiah 41:13 says, "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." NIV We can trust His strength, His faithfulness and His love for us to get us through.

My Most Powerful God and Father, You know the trials I face today. They seem to want to trip me up and make me fail in my quest to do Your will. I want to reach the goal of pleasing You, but so often i fail to push through when it gets difficult. Forgive me Lord. Thank You for Your grace and mercy when I fall. Thank You for lifting me up in Your Fatherly hands. Give me wisdom in dealing with the hurdles I need to overcome. Give me Your Spirit to empower me to make it to the end. I want to hear the words "Well Done!"

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine Rebellion?

Valentine's Day. People either love it or hate it. The dividing line seems to be having a significant other or not having one. The other dividing line might also be male versus female. Whatever side you find yourself joining this year, you can be sure that the majority of us will be disappointed.

The history of Valentine's Day has not always been one of cards, chocolates and roses. you can read about the holiday and its uncertain past on line. I have another agenda to propose with this blog.

I am married and have been in love with my husband for 43 years. I like little gifts and sweet confections from him. I also like to receive loving messages from him from time to time.I am not rebelling against letting your Valentine know you love them and are blessed to have them in your life. I am rebelling of the bombardment of the media that pushes the populace into buying rich gifts to show love. Again, I am not opposed to gifts. I just don't think they always represent true love.

True love is a choice we make that we want the very best for another person. Real love may at times offer special presents, but it is being present in that persons life that really matters. It does not please the other in order to get something in return. True love can be directed to a family member, spouse, friend, or even a stranger. It is a choice we make to put the other person ahead of ourselves.

People have shown me real love in many different ways. Here are a few:
* sitting by my side in a hospital room.
* talking things over even though the topic is difficult.
* letting me go first, or going first so I can follow.
* writing me a letter when it is hard for them to do.
* calling me on the phone just to see if I am well.
* praying for me.
* being there when things go wrong. Not blaming me when it is my fault things went wrong.
* knowing my faults and staying by my side anyway.

I could go on but I think you get my point. Everyone needs love. Everyone needs a Valentine every day. This is a tough world! We need each other.

Valentine's Day is a day to love others, not just those with which we have paired ourselves. So now we come to the rebellion. This year I choose to rebell against having just one Valentine. I choose to love those I meet along my way. I choose to send a note of love to everyone that I remember on this day. I will not limit the love. Instead I will let God's love flow through me for all, because "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.

I welcome you to join me!

God You are Love. You are the greatest Love! Forgive us for not loving each other as You have loved us. Thank You that You sent Your only Son to show us how to love. Fill us today with the Love that fills You!

Monday, January 26, 2015

God is My Father

God is my Father!

Last week I let Abi use my camera to take some pictures. It is a simple camera, and she enjoys the activity. In other words, it keeps her busy while I get some chore done. When I was finished with my chore, I asked her where the camera was. She said on the work desk, but it was not there. I asked again, and she couldn't remember where she put it. The hunt was on. We looked and looked but never found it. Her dad picked her up later that day, and I continued to look and ponder where she might have had it.

When Patrick came home I asked him to look in the computer room to see if he would see it where I was overlooking it. He could not find it.

The next morning I told Abi that we had to find it and that we were going on a hunt so I could have my camera back. She began to tell stories about what she did with it and where it could be. Of course, they were all stories told in great detail and with much expression. I finally told her I did not want any stories, just my camera. I told her she was the last one to have it in her hands so I needed her help to find it. She insisted it was hidden in a safe place in my computer room. Did she remember and just teased me that she didn't know where it was? I didn't know. It was so frustrating!

I finally gave up, telling God that He would have to tell me and direct me to where she had hidden it. I went back to my normal routine. Soon I heard God suggest that I should get down on her level and look around. So, I did. I looked under the desk, and work desk where she often plays and looked around at shelves. I saw from a different perspective but no camera, even when I moved the chair to get under the desk.

About an hour later Abi came it and asked again about the camera. She emphatically told me that she could not find it even though she was trying. I got up from my chair, as we talked and soon Abi was excited, shouting "Grommers, your camera! Your camera!" There it was hanging under the chair on the adjustment lever! I was sitting on top of it all along.

God must have been chuckling like a teasing parent watching me go right past it in my search under the desk.I did not see it even though it was only about 6 inches away! Hahaha!

God was directing me in the general direction but wanted me to look carefully to find my answer. Maybe He does that in big things too. He may lead me to a person who could be a friend, but I have to look carefully to really see the possibility of friendship in someone close by. He may lead me to a church, group, or job but He wants me to keep my eyes open for the good gifts he has for me there. They may be found in the most unlikely place.

Whatever we are looking for, God knows what we need and where to find it. He is the Father we can always talk to about everything.

Father God, You are great and mighty! You make me smile, and I know I sometimes make You laugh. You know all things, and I know very little. I am so foolish to think I can fix my own problems. I Should run to You for wisdom, but so often I think I am wise. Please forgive me. Thank You for always hearing my cry for help. Thank You for the answers You provide, even when You ask me to do more. Thank You for letting me be Your daughter. Father, teach me to be child-like in my faith. Help me to see the gifts that You give when I become like a little child and trust You as my Father. I know You love me with all of Your heart because You gave Jesus to reconcile me to You. Thank You!