Monthly Archives: February 2012

“All you have to do is stand up…”

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It hit me like lightening in my heart when he said it.

Sweet beginnings...Our first, Daniel, was 1

My hubby and I had just picked up Daniel, our oldest (22).  He was coming home from Georgia Tech for the weekend.  As we drove home, I shared a funny story of how my husband and I communicate (or don’t really communicate!!) :>). The more I talked, the more animated I became and the more we all laughed.  At one point during the laughter, Daniel looked back and me and said, “Mom, all you have to do is stand up.”  Somehow in my spirit I was encouraged immediately, but cognitively I wasn’t sure I understood.  “What do you mean?” I asked.

“Mom,” he answered, “You tell the best stories, and you are so funny when you tell them, all you have to do is stand up!”  “Yeah,” I said, knowing he was right, “that’s what I used to do…retreats, conferences, teaching…that’s what I love to do…I love to tell stories about God and life and laugh all the while doing it. I call it my ‘creation gift.’  I was just made like this!” I paused and he said, “Well, Mom, you’ve got an audience of 7 right there in the house…just stand up.”  I realized, somehow, along the way, I’ve lost the beauty of just enjoying the way I was made.  And from the conversations I have with women every day, I know I’m not the only one.

Satan has stolen from us all…telling us we are less and that we have nothing to offer, causing us to focus on our weaknesses. The truth is we were wonderfully created by a God who thinks about us all the time and sings over us.  He wants us to live a blaringly beautiful life, being all He created us to be.  My son, so much younger and yet so wise, was restoring me, reminding me, urging me to remember who I uniquely am.

Now a man, telling his mom the truth

Eric Liddell, missionary to China and Olympic medalist knew the joy of using his gifts as he lived life for God.  “I believe that God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast.  I feel His pleasure when I run.”

What did God give you that brings you His pleasure?  It may not be something you can spend the majority of your   time doing.  As a matter of fact, most of us probably can’t make a living using our special “creation gift.”  The question is, Are you using your creation gift at all?”  Are you experiencing those moments of God’s pleasure when, as you live unto Him, you just “stand up” or run fast, whether it’s for an audience of 7 or for the 1924 Olympics?  I bet Liddell felt God’s pleasure even when He ran on narrow dirt roads.  You can too, at the kitchen counter, in the carpool line, at your desk, or on a Saturday morning when you have time to paint, dream, plant, laugh, talk, think, read, photograph, love, cook, strum, dance, plan, write, encourage, exercise, listen, climb, play, design, sing….being true to your design, if even only for an audience of One. All you have to do is stand up….

God’s “No”

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Apparent silence from heaven can seem so loud and painful at times.  When the marriage continues to be difficult, finances fail, health lacks, or childlessness continues, we wonder if God even hears our pleas.  Because of the sacrifice of Christ, we know He always hears us and has a plan for us, even when His answer is ‘no’ to our present prayer.  

                       God’s “NO”

He whispers sweetly, “Yes,” when I kneel to pray.                  

Happy and at peace, I go along my way.

 

But when He says, “No, my dear, My answer’s for your best,”

I wonder, ‘Did He really hear?’ and I weep without His rest.

 

A loving God saying, “No” to me sounds cruel and unfair,

Why such a strange dichotomy, He seems truly not to care.

 

Fear, an unpleasant companion, becomes a consuming fire,

My eyes stray from my Champion, my situation grows more dire.

 

Increasingly desperate, emotions tighten their grasp,

My demand has made us “seperate,” His hand I long to clasp.

 

A little comprehension dawns–why His “no” was hard and fast,

The truth speaks from eternity, “It is for treasures that will last.”

 

His “no” is indeed a megaphone:  “This ‘bad’ I won’t make untrue,

Light on it I have shone, it’s out of love for you.”

 

So even though the “thorn” has stayed, He swears His glory to lift,

For a “no” to the very thing I prayed, has been the greatest gift.

 

Google Search: How to Worry…

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Well, I finally found one question to which Google has no answer:  How does one worry?  It’s just not in there….every answer given, all the pithy techniques suggested, all the medications mentioned are to help one STOP worrying.  For some reason an instructional site on “worry” doesn’t exist.  There isn’t a professional making tons of money telling us to repeatedly think unproductive thoughts, imagining the worst outcome possible.

Do you know how to worry?  I do.  My husband and I joke that as soon as the umbilical cord is cut, parents’ begin their life-long job of worrying.  The truth is, I was an expert at worry way before the first baby arrived, before the “I dos,” before the Friday night dates, the first rental, the final exams, and the freshman 15.  I never read it in a book and no one tutored me in worrying.  I just had what seemed to be an “inevitable knack for sustaining wearisome, anxious thoughts about things I may or may not be able to change.”  Let’s say it’s just one of my many talents.  Unfortunately, I often find the “what-if” and “if-only” thoughts sapping me physically, taxing me mentally, and dragging me down emotionally.  How about you?

Here’s the GREAT news…If you know how to worry, you already know the cure!   The Bible says, “Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  (Phil. 4:6-7, The Message)

If we know how to worry, we know how to pray continually.  Worry becomes a habit, just as does anything we repeat over and over.  Instead of  trying to figure out what should happen, how things should go, what the timing should be, why not shape these worries into prayers by replacing them with petitions and praises based on all the promises that are “yes” in Jesus Christ.

Sometimes I’ll remind one of the boys about things he needs to take care of and he inspires my confidence when he responds, “Mom, I got this.”  When I’m trying to remind God what He should be doing through my worrying, I remember on the cross He said, “Jill, I got this.”

Wounds more than Words…

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I told her I had dealt with depression before too.  Or rather, it had dealt with me.  Unfolding crossed arms, she leaned closer and asked about the hands that had carried me through.  I told her they were scarred.  Our God, I shared, is the only God–among all those who claim to be–to point to His scars.

For Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger and see my hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.” (Jn. 20:27)     It was His resurrected body, yet He still had wounds.  Rather than hide them, He revealed them to His doubting friend as proof of who He really was.

“Doubting” friends often approach Jesus as Thomas did. They long to see the wounds in those of us who are resurrected with Christ. Perfect people and places are entertaining, but offer little in the way of new life Frequently, it is the very limp in our walk, the tremor in our voice, the path of pain which leads others to declare, as Thomas did, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn. 20:28)

My friend hasn’t yet made that declaration. Our mutual brokenness has been a bridge for me to begin to show her the Way. When some believe upon hearing the Word, others have to touch our wounds.

Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio