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Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's in your hand?


I have to say, there have been many times in my life where I have asked myself ‘What do I have to offer’?  ‘What’s so special about me’?  It’s not like I was created for anything  special.  Like in a moving-mountains-walk-on-water kind of way.  Or was I??

Do you think Moses ever thought he would change the world? 

When he was 17, was he running around getting into all sorts of trouble?  Did he have a crush on a girl that he didn’t think liked him back?  When he was 35, did he still ask himself ‘What am I going to do with my life’?  He was probably pretty ‘ordinary’.  Just a guy.  Trying to survive in the world.  Not thinking he was ‘special’.

He walked with his staff to help him navigate the rough terrain.  And what began as ordinary ended up changing a nation.  What he held in his hand that he thought was nothing more than a stick was used for God’s kingdom.  I bet he was surprised!  And if you know the story, he was even scared at one point.

God has created all of us to help fulfill His purpose.  Some of us may be unaware that the common & simple in our lives, those things that we think are ordinary, may be the thing that sets us apart.  It may be that you know what it is but fear has made us run from it.  Moses ran too.  But he knew God has a plan.  So he picked up the staff again.

What has God placed in your hand?

It may be something as simple as loving your kids with your entire heart.
It may be as ordinary as writing or cooking or gardening or listening or administration.  It could be leadership or marketing.  Teaching or singing.  It could be missions.  It could be abundant finances or an abundant heart.

What is in your hand?
What has God set you apart to do for His purpose?
If we know our gift & seek Him first, He will take your simple & make it extraordinary.  He will take what appears to be insignificant to us & transform it for His divine power.

The Bible tells us that ordinary men will do miracles in the last days.  Maybe I really was meant to move mountains.  Moses never thought he could get water from a rock.  And I’m sure he was shocked when the Red Sea parted when he raised that walking stick! 

We all have something miraculous in the palm of our hand!
What has God put in yours?


  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Undeserving


I was in the 7th grade.

We had just moved to Southern California.  It had already been our 4th move since I had started school. 
I hated moving!

 I hated the first couple of weeks of school.
I can still remember feeling that huge pit in my stomach before I even got out of bed. 
Wondering if anyone would want to be friends. 
Trying to make friends with the ‘right’ people.  Worrying about what I would wear so I fit in.  I wanted to be liked.  Who doesn’t? 

And, I made some great friends. 
But….Not a single one of them had my same lunch period!  Not one.  So I dreaded that space.  The space in between being comfortable & feeling completely lost.  That void where sadness & awkwardness collided.  That 45-minutes of wanting to crawl into a hole and stay there until the bell rang.

So I did what I had to do. 
I made other 'friends'. 
They had lunch when I had lunch. 
And, they ate it…..behind the school. 
Because they didn't fit in either. 
A few were extremely overweight.  A few had bad acne.  None of them wore the right clothes or knew the right people AND…..None of them had friends outside of this little group that ate their spaghetti & meatballs together every Monday thru Friday.

I didn't talk to them outside of that time & place.  We didn't go to the beach on the weekends.  We didn't have sleepovers.  That was left for my REAL friends.  The ones that I really wanted as my friends.  Because they were pretty & rich & popular. 

I don't even like telling this story because it makes me feel horrible.  For many reasons.  I pray that my children or for that matter, ANY children ever have to feel the way I felt.  That they never have to experience that awkward space.  It makes me sad that we live in a world where the emphasis is still placed on who’s who & who is wearing what.  Who is friends with who & who’s parents make more money. 

But it’s up to us to teach our children different values.  To teach them to be kind & respectful no matter who they interact with.  Whether at the popular table or in the back of the school sitting with their backs against the wall with the ‘other’ kids.  

I couldn’t even tell you who those kids were.  But I wish I could go back & do things differently.  They were so accepting of me & I was so undeserving of it. 

I guess the lesson in it is to realize that God is that accepting
He knows our hearts & our hurts.  He knows we are not perfect & far from it.  He is just as accepting & we are so undeserving of it.  He knows we will come & sit with Him for a while when no one is looking & then run off when the bell rings & we are on to something more intriguing.   We will brush Him off at times when there are more ‘acceptable’ things to do but love Him how we should.  But He is still there when we return.  He is waiting for us.  Always accepting.  Never judging.  So happy to have us and  always willing to love us…..even when we feel we are unlovable.




Monday, July 26, 2010

Miss Independent


She doesn’t need me as much anymore.

She can brush her teeth & pick out her own clothes.
She can clean up her own room.
She can entertain herself at times.
She will head out on the back porch & water the flowers just because she wants to.
She is growing up faster than I want her too.
Her body fills up most of her bed now.
Her legs are longer.
The blanket that once tucked around her whole body now barely covers her torso.

She will stand at the front door & want to play outside with the other kids.
And without a care in the world, she will play with her friends & pretend she doesn’t see me when it’s time to leave.

She is getting too heavy to carry but I will do it as long as I can.
And the times when she cuddles up in my lap so I can rock her are becoming more few & far between….but when that request comes in, I will drop everything for that moment.

But as moments pass that will not come again, there are new things that stir in my heart.

I get to play more games with her.
Watch her learn & explore.
I get to walk beside her & hold her hand as we just enjoy a summer evening.
I get to talk with her & explain things.
Why we thank God for the moon.
Why mommy kangaroos have pouches.
Why we are kind to people even when they aren’t that way to us sometimes.
I get to teach her things now that I couldn’t before.

I get to dance with her at night to her favorite songs.
I get the joy of watching her help me put her brothers to sleep because they want a hug & a kiss from their big sister.
I get the prayer time, double hug, one kiss & an Eskimo because I’m at the right place at the right time….and you bet that will be a habit that will be hard to break at some point too!!
She wipes my kisses off so I give her more.  And she will wipe them off again.  And I give her more.  And she giggles.  And then I blow kisses in the sky so they fall on her as she sleeps.  She says she sees them  & that they all fell but she will never really know that they will always be there…..ALWAYS!!

I don’t want to look back on a time that I wished away too quickly. 
I want to take all of it in so that there is never a regret that I missed something.  I want to appreciate the daily blessings & not let them pass by without acknowledgment.  Life is too short to get through it in such a hurry that we lose track of the really important things. 

I can always run off and get another corporate job & make lots of money & drive a better car but if it takes away from my Eskimo kisses & sitting on the porch with her watching the birds fly overhead then I’ve missed the whole point of why God places me here.




Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going in circles


Last weekend our leadership team for MOPS went to the mountains for a retreat.  In the process of team building, one of the exercises was a maze.  We were lead to the maze, eyes closed & told to keep our eyes closed for the entire exercise. 

It was silent. 
Each of us trying to find our way out. 
To the exit. 
Moving through the maze with only the help of a rope, which we held on to. 
The only questions we were allowed to ask were ‘Is this the exit’?....and ‘May I have help’?

Time passed & I realized that I wasn’t getting anywhere with my own leading.  Against my will, I finally asked for help.  As soon as the words were uttered, our instructor told me to open my eyes. 

I wasn’t getting anywhere because I was walking in circles.  The ‘maze’ was a circle.  Ropes anchored to trees.  Testing our will & perseverance.  There was no exit.  No way out.  Until….we asked for help.

It wasn’t a team building exercise but more of an illustration of what we do with our own lives when we think we can manage on our own.  When we think we are in control.  Left to our own devices, we walk in circles.  Eyes closed to what we really need to focus on. 

It made me realize that I need to live with my eyes & heart wide open to Him.  To allow Him to take over & lead me where He will have me.  I’ve walked in circles a lot in my life.  Pride has hindered my voice.  Prior failures & disappointment have stifled my ‘need’ for help. 

Had I asked at the beginning of the journey, for help, my eyes would have been open & path made clear.  We can’t change our lives, until we change how we think.  If I think I can get through this life on my own, I will be walking in circles forever.  If I rely on Jesus to lead me, I will have a much more pleasant road. 

It’s not to say that there won’t be rocks in my way, holes that I have to step over or even fall in to but my heart will be in a much more peaceful place. 

Every one of us found it easier to ask where the exit was BEFORE we asked for help.  Another illustration of what we do in this life.  Isn’t it easier to ask God for an exit?  To remove us from what we’ve gotten ourselves into?  To plead for mercy from the mistakes we’ve made by thinking we could do things ourselves?

I’m tired from walking in circles. 
And I’ve come to realize that it’s much harder to walk around with my eyes closed.
So I’m going to open them to Him.
I will seek His help for ALL that I need.
Before I stand on my own two feet in the morning, I will stand on His promise. 
I will ask Him for help so I don’t need to ask Him for an exit later.
And instead of my eyes only seeing darkness, they will see Holy….because they will be focused on Him.




Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I can do all things


I was running the other day.
Finally approaching the END of my training for my next half marathon.
And I’m just tired.
Tired of running.
My back hurts. 
There are pains in places I didn’t know even existed.
Welcome to ‘ALMOST 40!’

As I was running, and dreading the next few miles, I just kept repeating to myself & probably sometimes even out loud….’I can do ALL things….’

Even in my running, He is there with me.  He can pull me through those last few grueling miles.  Because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!!  ALL things.

To some people it may sound silly to talk to Him while I’m running.  Sometimes….it’s the ONLY time I get to talk to Him. 

With Him, I can do anything.  I can put one foot in front of the other….and get to where I am going.  Whether it be running a half marathon or walking through life.  I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!