Let us begin

Lately, there are a number of songs that talk about going back in time to tell yourself what you know now. A chance to tell yourself to walk away from a toxic relationship or to take the job you turned down. While this perspective seems appealing, I am not sure I would take it if given the opportunity.

Yes, there are decisions I made in my past that I regret. People I hurt because of my selfishness or insecurity. I made some pretty foolish decisions when I was eighteen, some that continue to impact me thirty years later. It has become part of who I am and who I am not.

I know as a believer, that God has had a plan for my life since before I was born. I know there were times in my life that the very prayers of someone kept me from danger. I also know that there were times when I chose to do something that was not God-honoring, sometimes I chose to do that deliberately. While I cannot go back and fix it, I know that I can learn from it.

Psalm 18:30-32 says, As for God, his way is perfect; The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure (NIV).

Of the regrets that I can name, the ones that cause the most sadness to me are the ones I knew better than to do, but I did it anyway. In a way, I think that is the definition of regret, I knew better that to do it, but I did it anyway. My poor decisions, my failures, even the losses I experienced, were part of the path that led me to Christ.

When I came to see that all these choices I had made were never going to bring me the happiness, the contentment, the grace, mercy, or forgiveness I needed– that is when I cried out to God. And that is when He answered me. Not with fire, thunder, or lightning but with tenderness. With the very grace and love I needed.

Child, I have been waiting for you to call my name. I have wanted to pick you up, dust you off, mend your brokenness, and wipe your tears. But you never called out to me until now.

God is not a belligerent dictator, He is a gentleman. He will not come where He is not invited. But oh, Best Beloved, when God is invited into your life and heart. Wow. I learned that day, that He has the power to take my regrets and turn them into blessings. He did that day, He still does today.

Mother Teresa once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.” That was the lesson I learned from God the day He came into my life. I would not be able to go back and change the life I had lived before that day. I would not be able to tell the future, to know fully what would happen tomorrow. But while it was still called today, I could experience His grace. His mercy and learn the lesson that the past is in the past for a reason.

Now, the enemy is going to try and attack any way and any chance he can, to stop me from growing in Christ, to keep my story from being used to encourage others. It is what he does. He wants to bring up the regrets and the failures and tell me that I cannot possibly be used by God for God’s purposes and glory. But that is a lie.

God is in the business of taking people’s messes and turning them into messages. Scripture is full of story after story that show His redemptive power. Some of my favorite stories include the woman at the well in John 4 and the woman caught in adultery in John 8. Each time Jesus met the woman, their story was anything but a fairytale. But instead of taking them to task and in one case stoning her for her sins, Jesus turned the story on its head. He told the woman at the well that there was a way to get Living Water, to never thirst again. She had made a mess of thirsting for love from men who would never satisfy her thirst for eternal healing,

The woman in John 8 was seeking love in the wrong places and had made a complete mess of things. Jesus, who by all authority had the right to cast the first stone, as the only person there who was without sin, did nothing. He gave the woman another chance. A chance to change her mess into a message of grace. Of mercy and forgiveness.

Best Beloved, let us leave the past where it belongs- behind us. The future is somewhere on the horizon. Today is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:4).

Posted in maturing in Christ, Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Studies

All my life I have studied the world God created.

From the time I was a very small child, my mother taught me to look at things with awe and wonder. Marveling at the way God designed a bird’s wing, the colors in the sky after a storm, or the unique design of a stone.

As I grew older, my sense of wonder continued. I would baby-sit my neighbor’s kids and try to get them excited about the simplest thing. I wanted to teach them that the world was full of things and places to discover and celebrate.

When I became a mother, I continued the tradition of showing my sons the ways God had put His fingerprint on all of creation. I wanted them to know we could discover where He put them.

In the last year I crested the “hill” of life and I will begin my descent, knowing that more of my life is behind me than in front of me. Yet this descent does not prevent me from still marveling at the world.

Living on a few acres, surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland, I marvel at the way the skies change as a storm rolls in. I marvel at the way the plants in my garden grow without anyone there to coach them on how to make a strawberry or a carrot.

I marvel at the way the eggs I collect from my chickens, when put into an environment with the right moisture and warmth, will hatch three weeks later.

I know there are technical words and other jargon that might be used to describe what I see each day. It doesn’t matter.

I am still a student of the world God created and He will alway be my favorite teacher.

Blessings,

xoxoxox

Posted in Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oh for Pete’s sake

One of the last messages I heard at my church before I moved to Nebraska was on the passage in Luke 5:1-11. My pastor focused on the response Peter gave to Jesus when he was told to put down his nets, “Because You say so, I will.”

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
‭‭(Luke‬ ‭5:1-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

It was the step of obedience, the faith in a something Peter couldn’t understand and yet, the same faith that would do far above what he could see or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), it all started right there in that boat.

I have often thought about the times when I did not understand what God was doing, but I took a step that was small in obedience, yet huge in faith.

Seeing the abundance of fish in the net, which happened out of that small step of obedience, I think was the tipping point for Peter.

Peter’s first reaction was to tell Jesus that He should go away for Peter was a sinful man. Peter knew Jesus was more than just a teacher, He was holy.

When Jesus said, Come follow me… Peter somehow knew that being obedient to this next command could only bring more than catching fish ever could.

And it did. It was not instantaneous. It took time, moments of failure.

It even took a sifting from the enemy (Luke 22:31-34). When Peter’s time to be martyred for his faith in Christ came, He was ready. His steps of obedience over the years had grown his faith exponentially within him. He knew Who he followed and why he followed Him.

That same fisherman would become the Rock on which Jesus would build His church and the gates of Hell will not and have not prevailed against it all these centuries later (Matthew 16:18).

THAT, Best Beloved, is the kind of obedience I pray I will have when I am told to put out my “net”. Even and especially, when I do not understand the command.

Blessings,

oxoxox

Posted in Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pea pods and prodigals

Luke 15 is full of stories of items that were lost and then found. Jesus starts out the chapter with the story of the lost sheep. In a land where sheep were part of the every day economy, it was an easy idea to grasp.

The story of the lost coin was also something relatable. Who wouldn’t search for money that was lost?

But then Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son.

He had been building up to this story with the other two, guiding the listeners to see that the lost item had value. So he begins the story, There was a man who had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

The younger son immediately took his half of the inheritance and left for another country. In today’s setting, it would be another city, like New York or L.A. The younger son barely arrived before he started making poor decisions. In short time he was out of money. Then came a famine. What could he do? He needed to eat. So he took a job as a hired hand, feeding the pigs his boss owned.

A pastor once pointed out something obvious to Jesus’ listeners, the younger son had truly hit the bottom. He was a Jewish son feeding unclean pigs (Luke 15:15).

A friend of mine is currently acting like the younger son. Poor choices, seeking happiness in places that will only bring sorrow. I often wonder how far my friend will have to fall before coming home to the Heavenly Father.

As I prayed for this friend yesterday, I was reminded of a poem by Francis Thompson, The Hound of Heaven. The imagery is powerful and the idea of God pursuing us no matter where we go echoes Psalm 139:1-12. We cannot hide from God, He loves us too much to let us remain lost.

Immediately after the Hound of Heaven, I remembered The Collar by George Herbert. A powerful poem describing similar behavior to the Prodigal Son, trying to throw off the “collar” or bonds of his home life for adventure.

It was an entire message within moments for my heart, as I recalled the beginning of John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14; Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for you / As yet but knock; breath, shine, and seek to mend; I heard the words as a lamenting prayer and the cry of the speaker to be saved from the bonds that tied him.

There are times when Prodigals will be gone for days, other times they will be gone for years. It is in the long term that prayers may seem fruitless, but there is a fortifying of your faith as you pray for the prodigal in your life.

My prayer for my friend is simple and difficult at the same time.

Father God, bring him home. Bring him home and restore and redeem him. Heal the brokenness within his heart. Heal the pain and take away the shame. Show him that he is loved, remind him that he is Your child and nothing he does will cause him to be disowned. Oh Jesus, bring him home.

Best Beloved, I don’t know where you are today. You may be pacing the yard watching for your child to come up the road, like the father in Luke 15.

You may be the prodigal son’s big brother, wondering what the fuss is about, after all you’ve been faithful to the family.

Or you may be the prodigal, believing the lie that all you have done can never be forgiven.

Believe me, Dear One, there is nothing you have done that will separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39, Hebrews 13:5). There is no sin that is so bad, so wrong, that will make God throw up His hands in disgust and tell you to go away.

Whichever person you are, I pray you will find the grace you do not deserve and yet is freely offered to you today. God loves you. He truly does, Best Beloved.

He truly does love you.

Posted in maturing in Christ, reflections, Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bullies and the fight

As a child I stood out in a crowd. Not because I was taller than the others, but because I had bright red hair like “Opie Taylor.” While girls had names like Becky, Sue, Melissa, Molly; names that could have cute nicknames, I had an uncommon name.

I was given Gretchen. There is no nickname for this eight letter word. No specialized keychains or license plates for my bike with my name on it. Just eight clunky letters that sounded like a growl when spoken.

On the playground, I would be swinging on the monkey bars, unafraid to get dirty and just enjoying the moment. I was not like the girls who wanted to be Farrah Fawcett or some other starlet. Being a red headed tomboy, with an uncommon name was like walking around with a bullseye on me.

Bullies often find one (or two) insecurities which make a person feel less than confident. The one thing a person wants to keep hidden from the world and the bullies will exploit it.

The enemy does the very same thing.

Marriage is the biggest target for the enemy. It is a place full of vulnerability, insecurities, and opportunities for misunderstanding. With the slightest whisper, a seed of doubt is planted and a tender place in one person’s heart becomes the bullseye.

If the enemy is not defeated immediately and removed from the situation, the marriage begins to erode. Tenderness is replaced by wariness. Trust is replaced by distrust. Communication changes from sharing one’s heart and thoughts to sending single sentence text messages.

Yelling, being passive aggressive, sullen, pouty, are all arrows the enemy wants husbands and wives to use at each other. It’s the whole point, distract and redirect from the real enemy.

My own marriage has had many ups and downs over the past twenty-two years. There have been times when my husband wanted to leave, times I did too. Even though we made it through those times with our marriage stronger for the season, we run the risk of further attacks.

If the root of the pain and distrust is not addressed through counseling, mentoring, and an open heart, the broken place the enemy targeted will continue to be vulnerable. If the spouse does not want to resolve the issue or continues to redirect when the issue is brought up, then no healing can begin.

Best Beloved, marriage is created by God Himself. The two shall become one (Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:8, Ephesians 5:31). God knows that two are better than one for problem solving, parenting, facing difficulties. It’s when the husband or wife decides that the difficulties are too many and cannot be faced that the enemy starts to win ground.

The enemy of God is a bully. He wants us to fall down and not get up. He wants to show God that His creation isn’t obedient. Best Beloved, as one who knows the view from the precipice of divorce, get on your knees and pray for your marriage. No matter how pretty or ugly it is right now. Pray for your kids who will look to your marriage as a template for their own.

Pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray fervently. Repent and ask forgiveness for the places you’ve been hard-hearted. Give mercy to your spouse. Marriage is too sacred to walk away from when things get tough. Seek counseling, an older couple who can mentor you both.

For Christmas I made a wall hanging for my husband with the chorus to PLUMB’s Fight for You . It is how I feel and how I choose to be in my marriage every single day.

Do not give up the fight.

Posted in Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My embassy

I will watch movies over and over again, the same way I read certain books. One movie on replay often is The Saint (1989) with Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue. During a pivotal scene Elisabeth Shue’s character must race her way to the gates of the American Embassy to escape harm. Moments before she enters the gates she begins to call out, Open the gates open the gates, I’m an American! I’m an American!

The gates are opened for her, immediately closed to bar the danger from following, and she collapses into the arms of a soldier who will protect her. As an audience member, the relief of her safety is instantly felt.

After being quarantined and under the “stay at home” directives for the past seven weeks or so, I pulled into the drive of my church today to drop off some things. I could feel the joy David felt in Psalm 122:1 when he said, I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”

There are few cars in the parking lot, fewer people in the building, with the hand sanitizer stations and other marks of social distancing in place. What wasn’t distanced was the warmth of the Holy Spirit and the palpable love shared between brothers and sisters in Christ.

To see faces of friends and know they know me and my story; to know they hold up my family in prayer out of love for us and love for our Father in Heaven is precious to me. I found such refuge there.

Best Beloved, where is your refuge? Your embassy? Who is your Ambassador?

This is my embassy. I am a citizen of this land and I am under the authority of its leader, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah.

Posted in Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What it looks like

For the past few months I have been reflecting on what love looks like in my life. It has been a challenge to see things from other eyes and hearts, in the end, I understand more. I am also broken-hearted with what I have discovered.

We all know the “Love Chapter” from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 and many people have it read at their wedding. What does that look like though, in a marriage?

Precious people in my life were brought up to believe love was a weapon to wield over another person. A conditional gift bestowed on someone who measured up and accomplished the tasks given that day. If the expectations were not met, a helping of shame and ridicule was given instead.

Others were taught that it was more important to have power over the people who were in their lives. Love was something given as a consolation prize, like a pity gift.

“Of course, I will always love you.”

But somehow, it’s like tossing leftover pizza crust to a dog. It’s a taste of something, but it doesn’t satisfy the hunger they feel inside.

Paul’s description of love, of the love God feels for us, however, looks very different.

It’s something that serves others first; it doesn’t pull up past mistakes whenever someone stumbles. It is gentle, not forceful. It doesn’t puff up its chest to say, “Look at me and how wonderful I am for loving this person.”

Love waits. There is courtesy in love. It fights for the person, it fights against the enemies bent on destroying it. It believes in someone even when they can’t believe in themselves.

Love is the one thing that remains when everything else is gone.

This kind of love rolls up its sleeves, gets down in the dirt and digs out the junk and debris. This kind of love prepares a place for growth and places its seeds to benefit from the sun and rain. It keeps the weeds away, allowing the roots to grown down deeply. For the stalks to reach high, thriving in the sunshine.

It’s also the kind of love that when neglected will dig deeper with its roots to find something to help sustain it.

For the precious people I love so very dearly, I pray they will understand the kind of love Paul described. The kind of love from Heaven itself that is offered.

I pray they will see that this kind of love is what I have offered to them and will continue to offer to them.

For this is the most excellent way.

Blessings to you, Best Beloved.

xoxoxo

Posted in maturing in Christ, reflections, Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Splinters

The weather has been fluctuating here in southeastern Nebraska. I’ve worn shorts and been barefoot during a sunny, 70 degree day only to scrap snow and ice off my windshield the following morning. Welcome to March.

Each morning I have gone to the bird coop to met out the ducks and chickens. I feed them, collect eggs, and check the flock for any issues. My wardrobe includes my all important muck boots. Knee high rubber boots that withstand the yuck, mud, and such that can occur in a pen after a winter of snow and rain.

This week I noticed my right arch was tender whenever I put pressure on my right foot. I figured I had bruised my arch from the boots and all the walking I had done recently. I couldn’t find a bruise, but I figured it was just a deep bruise.

Last night, my arch was very tender, so I took off my sock and found I had a small thorn, about a quarter of an inch long in my foot. Within a few minutes I had removed the thorn, disinfected the area and felt relief. My arch is still tender, but now that the cause has been taken out I know it can heal.

Sin works the same way. it works it’s way into our heart and if it’s not removed it will fester. If someone else points out the splinter – touching the skin it is under, the person with the splinter will cry out in pain and often anger. Some may even smack the hand away for causing the pain.

After a while, if left untreated, the infection can take over. The smallest splinter, if left under the skin, can cause the biggest risk to the body. One such danger is sepsis or septicemia, often called blood poisoning. The very system designed to bring life to your body now carries infection and can lead to death.

There is only one way to prevent this from happening. Remove the splinter. Remove the sin. Confess it to a mentor. Confess it to your pastor, your spiritual brother or sister in Christ. Ask for prayer, be honest about it. Whether it is gossip, a food addiction, or pornography. Confess it. As I heard it explained recently, “We are only as sick as our secrets.”

The enemy wants us to feel shame, he wants us to feel that our issue, our sin, is too big for God to forgive.

That is a lie, straight from hell itself.

There is no sin so big, so daunting, so shameful, that God cannot forgive it. No excuse that can be spoken to say your sin is unforgivable.

Best Beloved, Christ’s death on the Cross was “once, for all.” It wasn’t for everyone, but you. It was for everyone, including you.

It’s time to stop polishing your splinter.

It’s time to remove it. If you cannot do it alone, do it with someone who will walk with you as you recover. whether it is a brother or sister in Christ, a recovery group, or a treatment facility.

Get the tweezers, some disinfectant, and remove it. Through the power and blood of the Cross, it’s time for the healing.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9, HCSB).

Posted in maturing in Christ, Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carrots and parsnips

The idea of dangling carrots in front of stubborn horses or donkeys has been around for centuries. It’s a simple idea, take a stick with a piece of string, fishing line, etc. and tie the carrot so that it is always just out of reach of the animal. It hangs where the animal can see it, but can never reach it.

The animal is not intelligent enough to recognize the ruse, so it will continue to go forward, which is the owner’s intent.

Our enemy works the same way.

When our eyes are off our relationship with Christ, when we are tired and weak from battle, the enemy springs his attack. It does not look like a full, frontal attack, something we can see and prepare to fight. The enemy instead, will often place an item we innocently desire in front of us. Soon we become so drawn to that item, that we don’t realize we are being led off the path.

We may “wake up” and see we have been distracted by the carrot, but it’s only after we have walked through the brambles and burrs, or even lost our way. We cry out to God to save us and restore us to Him, which He will do.

So the enemy changes tactics.

Parsnips taste very similar to carrots. It’s different in color, but the goal is still the same. Misleading us to chase something or even someone, we will not attain. Even if it seems we are getting close.

We can even talk ourselves into believing we are not being fooled; “We’d recognize the carrot and not follow it. But has anyone else seen this new thing we are following after?”

It’s is the way a simple friendship develops into an affair.

It’s the way someone who may drink a glass or two at night to help unwind, becomes an alcoholic.

It’s the way a suggestive image that triggers a rush can develop into a porn addiction.

It’s the way the enemy can distract us ultimately to death itself.

This image above was used as anti-war propaganda during WWI, however, it is a valid depiction of what the enemy wants to do to all of us. Distract us with our carrots or parsnips until our hearts deaden to the whispers of the Holy Spirit calling us back to God.

The whole experience can seem hopeless.

But it is never hopeless when we have Christ. Scripture is clear that we do have a way out.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7, NIV).

When Jesus was in the wilderness (Matthew 4) and the enemy tried to tempt him with food, fame, and power, Jesus did not try to debate with him. Jesus turned to Scripture, knowing there is power in the word of God. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

The enemy then tried to use Scripture to validate his point, quoting Psalm 91:11, 12. Jesus responded with Deuteronomy 6:16. Again, knowing our New Testament, we know what Paul said is true.

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil (Ephesians 6:10-11, HCSB).

We are not strong enough to cut the string that holds our carrots. Only Christ and His power can do that. Don’t lose hope, Best Beloved, it can be done.

Just ask the person going through counseling.

The person going through a 12-step program.

The husband and wife who choose restoration over divorce.

Make no mistake, it is some of the hardest work for us to do – with Christ. Yet, it can be done, (see Philippians 4:13, 19).

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV).

This is the first step, Best Beloved. We seek Christ. He has the power and dominion over everything, given to Him by God. It is by Him and through Him, that we can be restored.

It’s time to cut the strings.

Posted in maturing in Christ, Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The bad stuff

If you’ve ever seen Pretty Woman*, then you probably remember the scene where Richard Gere (Edward) and Julia Roberts (Vivian) are discussing her past.

After listening to her story, he gently says, “But you could be so much more.”

Her response, “Yeah, but the bad stuff is easier to believe.”

Why is it the negative, the salacious, the cruel and cutting statements about another person are the ones we want to believe? Is it that we want to feel superior? Do we want someone to be “taken down a peg or two”?

As a new believer, this part of my “old life” was the most difficult from which to break free. It is also the easiest in which to be tangled again. The lies are like a vine entangling my feet and hands until I fall in despair to the floor. Wondering if I will ever get up again.

The whispers of the enemy can come over us all, like a tsunami. Powerful, overwhelming, and devastating. They tell us we are wrong, we cannot accomplish the changes we are given through Christ. They tell us there is no point to try getting back up on our feet. It’s useless, we are useless.

It is only possible to cut through the lies with a sharp blade, The sharpest blade in fact, The Sword of the Spirit. It has the power, the Truth to cut everything else away.

When Pretty Woman came out, I sat in the darkened theater and sobbed. I understood where “Vivian” was coming from, The person she felt she could never become. She doubted the kindness of “Edward,” she understood the cruelty of “Stuckey.” She couldn’t receive “Edward’s” gentleness and when it was offered, she drew back and ran away.

The Woman at the Well, Mary Magdalene, the Woman Caught in Adultery, they were all the same way. They knew how to handle cruelty, shaming, and brutality. How to steel themselves from the words, the sneers, the looks.

But the kindness and gentleness of Christ? What was the catch?

Reading in the Gospel of John, it becomes evident that Jesus is changing things. The way religion is viewed, how the Sabbath is to be honored, how Grace not justice, is the way to reach sinners. Jesus had come to teach, show, love, forgive, encourage, bless, and challenge the people He met.

He came to show us that the Bad Stuff might be easier to believe, but if we believed in Him and the One who sent Him instead, we could understand and experience what is truly Good.

Best Beloved, once we open our hearts to Jesus, we can begin to hand Him all the bad stuff and He will throw it away, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103). He will instead, begin to open our eyes to see what He sees. Someone worth dying for, someone worth leaving Heaven for, someone who is loved beyond all comprehension. The very apple of God’s eye.

Let’s encourage one another to remember Who we are in Christ and Whose we are, children of the Living God.

Amen? Amen!

*Pretty Woman, (1990), Touchstone Pictures, Garry Marshall, Dir., Richard Gere, Julia Roberts

Posted in Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pockets

My paternal grandfather was quick witted, savvy in business, one of the first to be there to help– with a hammer, a hand, or the shirt off his back. He was a hero to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but most of all to his wife.

If you saw Gramps working on the farm, he was often wearing his work clothes; a green, long sleeved shirt with a pair of matching green pants, work-shoes/boots, and of course a baseball cap that was slightly askew on his head.

More than ten years after he passed away, I found a pair of those green pants along with a couple shirts, right where he had placed them after working on one of the family farms. I laughed hard when I put my hand in the pockets only to pull out some baler twine, a large washer, a couple nails, and some straw. Gramps was obviously keeping those items handy as he worked on a project.

Lately, I have been thinking about the conversations he and I had. I remembered the time I sent a letter to him and Gram, asking questions about their childhood, where they were at certain times in history, etc.

One of the last questions I asked him, was what did he want as his legacy. His answer surprised me. He said he wanted to be remembered for the history he knew and the things he would leave behind in the community. He had been a founding member of his town’s historical society and over the years he had been involved in many different parts of town, including his church.

It was the little things he left behind, that have had a lasting impact, like the items in his pocket. Drawing people together, like the baler twine held together the straw or hay.

He liked to make sure things were secure, like the washer would help hold a bolt firmly against the metal pieces it was joining. The nails would leave a lasting mark wherever they were hammered, even if removed, the mark would remain. Straw, which would make a place comfortable and safe for resting.

The legacies we will leave some day are not what we may expect.

Gramps’ name is in the historical society. Say his name in certain places and watch faces light up and stories start pouring out. Bring some of my family around and in less than an hour someone is telling a story about Gramps. He drew us together. He reminded us that when it came down to it, we were who were connected to, by name, by blood, by love, and by history.

Best Beloved, what do you want to leave as your legacy? Have you checked your pockets lately? Maybe it’s time to put your hand inside and see what little things you are carrying. It may be the very thing that makes a lasting mark.

Posted in Walking by Faith and not by sight | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment