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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

FAITH LIKE A CHILD – Matthew 18:3




Visiting my grandson Jonah is always a high energy experience -   lots of joy and exuberance for life going on there.  As my daughter, Genevieve was preparing dinner for the family; Jonah and I were working on pretend play dough cookies.  I was rolling and he was cutting and decorating.  He had picked out the cookie cutters that he wanted and placed them on the table.  As our cookie total was growing, I was noticing that we were getting quite low on the dough. 

As is my nature, I felt I needed to warn him that we were running out of dough and would not be able to complete all of the cookies he had anticipated.  “Jonah”, I said, “We are running out of dough and we will probably not be able to make those three last shapes.  Some of those cookie cutters are big and I only have this little piece of play dough left.”

Without batting an eye or even looking at me, he calmly said, “Yes, we will.”

Yes we will, I pondered.  Immediately, my mind went to what the Lord had been teaching me.  Part of the answer to our requests is always in the believing.  I thought I was quite good at this, but the Lord had begun to show me that my past disappointments had led me to put a wall of protection up.  I had become cautious.  Even my warning to Jonah was evidence of that.  I did not want him to be disappointed. 

“Lord?” I asked.  “Are you going to speak to me through this play dough and Jonah?  If this is so, I am ready.  Let me see what the faith of a little child can do.”  Normally, I wouldn’t even consider asking this, for I was sure to be disappointed because there was absolutely no evidence that this could be accomplished. 

I looked at the tiny piece of dough in my hands and decided I could roll it thin.  Maybe we could get 2 more cookies.  After all, there is a star shape left and we already made a star, so we don’t have to count that.  This gave me hope. 

But God didn’t need my help.  As I began to roll the dough thin for the 2 shapes, I began to feel God encouraging me not to settle for less.  Jonah had believed we could finish the last three cookie shapes and to my surprise . . . . not his, we did. 

Should I be surprised that God would speak to me through my grandson and play dough?  No, God says, unless you become like a little child.  To me, that means not letting past experiences cloud your vision.  Jonah has not had enough experiences to let this happen. 

According to your faith, be it unto you.  Matthew 19:29
All things are possible for those who believe.  Mark 9:23



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rejoice In Expectation - Romans 12:12

On the evening of September 17th, I sold a blue dress that I had made from a vintage sheet and vintage pattern.  This event would prove to be a notable event in my walk with God for several reasons.  It would be an opportunity to rejoice and expect  - something God had been teaching me to do for a long time.
Now that might not sound super exciting to you, but for me, it was a huge struggle that would have the potential to help me understand a concept about God that is still hard for me to grasp.
Let's take a step back to my "Leave It To Beaver" childhood".  I want to first state that I grew up in a very loving and safe home.  My father was an excellent provider.  He was also very frugal, practical, responsible and in no way . . .  extravagant.  I have always valued those noble qualities in him.  In fact, I have strived to attain them in my own life. 
Somewhere along the way, I let that shape my view of God and myself.  In myself, I allowed it to produce feelings that left me feeling irresponsible, especially when we faced financial difficulties.  As for my father God, I could not see him as the extravagant God that He is.  In fact, as I type those words, I still struggle to believe it.  Compounded with my empathic personality, it produced an ongoing battle in my prayer life. 
  • If my prayer request was too big, I would surmise that it was too extravagant to request.  Why should God grant that request when other people are suffering?  I do not deserve it.
  • If my prayer request was too small, I would surmise that it was too trivial for God to care about and it shouldn't even matter to me.
Now, what does all of that have to do with selling a dress on Etsy?  A lot!
This was a chance to rejoice and expect.  When I sold the dress, I immediately remembered that my daughter, Lydia, wanted to use the dress in her wedding.  That was fine, because I had another sheet that was identical. But as soon as I had that thought, a fear came over me because I had not seen that sheet for a very long time.  The following day, I made a frantic search for the missing sheet. As I had suspected, it was gone.  No trace of it.
When I nervously shared this with God,  He directed me to rejoice for selling the dress and expect the return of the missing sheet.  I thought, okay, I can do this.  As the days went on, I was still frantically searching for the lost sheet and the reality was becoming all too clear.  IT WAS NOT IN MY HOUSE, therefore, it was gone.  I cried to God. I was striving with all my might to expect and rejoice, but I couldn't muster it up.  Again, I heard, rejoice.  I fearfully thanked God for allowing me to sell the dress and I sent it on its merry way in faith.  That was all I could do.
After 20 days of striving to expect, I was at a low.  As my husband and I drove home from a beautiful fall hike, he had no idea that I was having an angry discourse with God in my head.  It went something like this - "God, do your sheep really hear your voice?  Did you tell me to expect the sheet or did I make that up?  If I can't really hear your voice, then what is the point?  This is making a mockery of you and me.   If you told me this, it will be a testimony to you.  Do what you said you would do!"  Then I apologized and asked for forgiveness. 
After church the following day, I brought up the subject again with my daughter "Are you sure you don't have the sheet?"  We both remembered her giving it back after borrowing it for her dorm room.  Then she had a memory of some of her hall mates having borrowed some sheets.  She looked through some Instagram pictures and there it was - a picture of  my blue sheet hanging as a curtain in a friend's dorm room . . . hope.  I excitedly yelled, "Lydia, text her now."  Lydia did not share my enthusiasm and chuckled "Mom, I remember her giving me back a large stack of sheets."  This sapped some of my hope, but at least we were investigating.  Lydia calmly texted her friend who responded with a picture of my blue sheet sitting on the back seat of her car.  What rejoicing! 
And then, this came to my mind:  Suppose one of you has a hundred sheets and loses one of them. Doesn’t she leave the ninety-nine in the sewing room and go after the lost sheet until she finds it? And when she finds it, she joyfully puts it in her arms and goes home. Then she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, "REJOICE with me; I have found my lost sheet."
This was not just about a lost blue sheet; this was about my relationship with my Father God.
God is extravagant.  My request is not too small.  It is not too trivial for God to care.  It matters.
(If you would like to read my experience with "big requests", check out "My Testimony - Losing It All" )

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Is Love Winning




This was a sad couple of days for me.  The world is joining together to stop the “haters”.  Unfortunately, hatred is being disguised in the name of love - doublespeak.  

The landmark Supreme Court decision has now made gay marriage legal.  Unknowingly, I happened to be on FB shortly after the decision.  I read a comment that a friend had posted and I couldn’t agree more.  The comment was something to the effect that America was going down the tubes.  I thought to myself, “I could agree with that.  There are so many problems - from financial collapse to GMO’s to sexual abuse, and a failing medical system.”

Unfortunately, I was not prepared to read the hateful comments that followed that post.  My heart was immediately saddened.  What followed that post was an ugly discourse all related to the Supreme Court decision.  (The comment was removed, I am assuming, because the backlash to that statement was so severe). 

As I continued on FB, the hashtag #lovewins was flooding the feed.  Along with this came some very disturbing comments directed towards Christians.  One that caught my eye was: “Can't decide if I am happier that gay marriage is legal or that conservative Christians are angry? win/win”, followed by this comment: “I'm a rotten person. I'm tickled over the outrage.”

I commented on the post, not about homosexuality, but rather about love winning through our speech. My friend graciously apologized in a loving manner and we moved on, although others were not so gracious.  I never stated any opinions on my stance on gay marriage, but only that we should be able to love one another despite our differences.  The responses I got were angry, “No, you're haters. The idea that anybody would have to live their lives by your belief system in a "free" country astounds me. I'm elated that the conservatives are freaking out. The lesson here as it always has been is, mind your own business.”

I thought of the scripture: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)  I was really hoping that this would be the case.  What ensued was comments about me that were untrue and I realized that to some, I will always be a label.  No amount of discourse will break through.  The soft answer turned away my wrath, my anger, but not Kevin’s (the man I was conversing with).   As I looked at Kevin’s FB page, my heart opened up to make room for him.  Only God could do this.  Later, my friend told me that he had been the victim of hate crimes.  In church the following day, my emotions led me to tears.

We have a hard job ahead of us.  One of those things will be repairing the damage that the church has done to those who are suffering greatly.  Many in the church have not felt the pain of those, who are truly suffering. We have offered little or no hope or understanding for them - only a standard that they can’t reach.  My heart is grieving.  I have to be ready for the anger and hatred.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Friends Stick Together

July 12, 2012, I wrote in my journal - Today was a good day - holding hands and jumping in the waves with my grand-daughter Klara.  As she held my hands tightly, she said, "friends stick close together."  I thought - You're so right, Klara, you're so right.

Shortly before that entry, I had a dream that I was sharing a message to young adults.  I had no plan and I was anxious.  As I looked around the room, I saw people laughing, joking and having fun.  This scripture came to my mind. Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
I never saw Jesus as this type of friend, but this dream spoke to me that He was.  He is relational, enjoyable, and approachable. 

Another important lesson came to me one Sunday through Times Square Church.  Mary and Martha – Martha was concerned with details, Mary was concerned with relationship.  She spared no expense, sharing with not only Jesus, but his disciples as well.  She paid close attention to Him, listening to every word. 
Luke 10:38-42 “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Details are good, but relation comes first.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


 After watching the movie "Into the Wild", I had been thinking about how I needed to enjoy nature more. I took a leisurely walk down Stackhouse Park to spend time with God. I started my usual ritual of thinking who needed prayer and started praying. It was frustrating and dry. It was exhausting me and I felt God say be quiet - listen, look. I had to really put an effort forth to quiet my mind, but as I did, I began to notice cream colored leaves standing out on some of the trees. It was early spring and everything was dead and gray. I thought it was interesting that these leaves were still hanging on and that they looked pretty to me in the dead gray forest.
As I pondered this, I realized something . . . that was me. I had been through a very long, hard, brutally cold winter, but I was still connected to the branch. Maybe a little dry and wrinkled, but still beautiful and hanging on, shedding some light in the dark forest. I thought . . . Soon this tree will bloom again. As I neared the end of my walk, several pine trees showed themselves strong and green, even after an unbearable winter.  I said to myself, I want to be like them someday.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reflections on Menopause

(Written 08/06/2014)

Today, I finally got it.  It used to bother me when some of my herbalist sisters would talk about the changes in women as something beautiful, the moon cycle and celebrating your first menstruation, really?  (those wacko earthy people)
After a hard week of emotional instability, something began to sink in to me.  You can choose to embrace or reject.  Rejecting emotions is a common thing.  They can be misleading.  Today my friend made a statement that stuck with me.  I was talking about some of my recent heightened emotions and she simply said, “but those emotions were still there” meaning whether they were heightened or not. 
This caused me to further examine my state of being, coming to the conclusion that “I finally get it”.  My emotions are there, heightened or buried or controlled.  The middle ground is usually preferred and considered the healthiest; however heightened emotions can cause us to learn more about ourselves.  When we ask ourselves why – why am I fearful, why am I sad, angry, irritated or joyful?
Is it good, is it bad?  How can I deal more effectively with these emotions?  What I discover can help my physical, spiritual and emotional body.  I can allow more of the things that cause joy and peace.  (In my case, resting and pampering after busy times.)  I can restrict the things that cause pain and irritation.  (Too many commitments.)  Our bodies are telling us something and we can listen.
I can work through this and yes, I can celebrate menopause.