Fear Is A Liar

They have a new pool.  They asked me to join them after a long, hot and humid day.  So I did.  But I’m no swimmer.  I can’t float to save my life.  Oh.  I took a few swim lessons, but they ended badly.  Oh.  I got in the pool.  Well.  I sat on the second step.  And watched.  And splashed a little.

The others were more adventurous.  Some were swimmers.  Those who weren’t used noodles.  They clung tightly to the noodles, but they ventured out into the deep.  Not me.  No noodles for me.  No deep water for me.  As they swam and splashed, the water around me would move.  This unsettled me.  It felt as if I could slip out into the deep water and plunge to the bottom.  My water is moving.  I would say.  Don’t make my water move.

Oh.  Yes.  I was fearful of moving into the deep.  Of having no control of my surroundings.  You see.  Water is fluid.  Ever moving.  Only when it’s frozen does it stop moving.

Oh.  I could see myself enjoying the water if I spent enough time in it.  The thing is.  I don’t have those opportunities.  So I played it safe.  I sat on the step.  Waist deep in the water.  Safe.   Until my water moved.


The Lord will fight for you.  You have only to be silent.  Exodus 14:14


Fear of the unknown can stop a person in their tracks.  Fear of the known can be very unsettling.  Fear of any kind can paralyze and overwhelm.  Fear will cloud reasoning and judgment.  Fear will keep the one sitting in waist deep water from experiencing the joy and freedom of what the deep has to offer.

God calls us to move out into the deep.  To go where we can rely only on his strength.  He calls us to move out into the unknown. To trust him and him alone.  Oh.  It’s easier said than done.  But the joy that obedience and submission to God brings is incomparable.

I wonder what I missed out on by refusing to grab onto a noodle.  By not being willing to get out of my comfort zone and float in the water.  There were those around to help if I struggled.  But no.  I held onto my fear and didn’t even want my water to move.

I wonder how many blessings I miss out on by allowing fear of the unknown to hold me back.  I wonder where God would lead me if I went out into the moving waters of faith knowing that his guiding hand was always holding mine.  I wonder why I so easily trust the lies the enemy puts into my mind, but quickly dismiss God’s truths in my heart.

Fear strangles life and enjoyment.  Fear will stop you cold.  Fear will tell you that you’re not good enough.  Fear will whisper that you can’t do the job.  But know this.  Fear is a liar.

Decide fear will not be your obstacle, as you do the hard thing, and see all the             beautiful things you would’ve missed if you’d lived afraid.                           ~~Rachel Macy Stafford

 Fear is A Liar

When I Am Weak

I thought my heart would shatter into a million pieces when I heard the words. Today is your last day.  I felt a huge silent sigh escape my lips.  It was not a sigh of relief.  I felt I could no longer breathe.  My mind went blank.  My mind whirled with a thousand thoughts.  Why is this happening to me?  Again?  I wondered.  Oh.  I had been laid off before.  Twice before.  But years went by between each layoff.  And birthdays occurred.  I was older each time.  And this time, I wondered if my career was over.  It happens.  Older workers have a harder time than younger workers finding jobs.  It’s a fact.  Oh.  They won’t say you’re too old.  They can’t.  But they can hedge.  They can find other reasons not to hire someone “past their prime”.

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives us. That’s what the song says.  That’s what the Bible says.  Why did I suddenly feel powerless? Why did it feel as if my power had just been taken away?   Where is my identity anyway?  Is it in a job?  A title?  A paycheck?  I don’t like to think so.  But when those things are suddenly gone, what’s left?  Power is one thing.  But so is security.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. Sounds like an oxymoron. Feels like an impossible stretch.  But the apostle Paul knew how that felt.  Oh.  He begged God three times to remove his thorn in the flesh.  But God never removed it.  So Paul learned to rely on God’s power.  He learned that he must depend on God in those moments of weakness.  Not on himself.  He was strengthened by God through his weakness.  But what does that mean?  What does that look like?  Is that even real?  Or possible?  Can I do this?


I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Corinthians 12:9


I remember when I took swimming lessons.  It was a 6-week course.  The first thing we needed to master was floating face down.  I’d never been in a pool.  Being in a body of water where I couldn’t touch the bottom was unnerving.  Floating face down was frightening.  Very frightening.  I was taught to relax.  It’s easier said than done.  Because this thing could kill me.  Literally.  So I learned calmness and relaxation.  I let myself go and float face down.  The master teacher was always nearby.  Ready to catch me if I needed help.

One lesson in particular I remember.  We floated down the pool and around the bend.  The lesson that day was to learn to get myself in an upright position after floating face down.  I was having trouble.  I couldn’t master the act of bringing myself to an upright position.  I was struggling.  Oh.  I knew the steps it took to move into the position, but I wasn’t strong enough.  I tried over and over.  At one point, it felt as if I was going under and never coming back up.  Where was my instructor?  I thought.  It felt as if I was drowning.  It was a feeling of total helplessness.  Will she let me drown?  I wondered.  By some miracle, I was finally able to get myself in an upright position.  Coughing.  Sputtering.  Deep breaths.  I now knew the feeling of drowning.  It wasn’t good.

She never came to rescue me.  Oh.  She was watching.  She was close by.  But she allowed me to struggle until I had the strength to endure and survive.  I had to dig deep and find the will to conquer my fear and trust myself and the water.  It was a hard lesson.

I never went back to swimming lessons.  Oh.  I had my reasons.  Petty excuses.  I never learned to swim.  I still remember that helpless feeling of sinking in the water.  The water that could cause my demise.  Oh.  I would still love to learn to swim.  But now I know the cost.  The price I must pay in order to feel comfortable in a situation beyond my control.  Where the monster.  The beast.  Is bigger than me.   It’s bigger than life. It’s ever moving and flowing all around me.  Where it engulfs and consumes me. Where the current can take me out to sea.  I don’t like that feeling.  I like to be in control of my situation.  So I gave up.

I now find myself in a situation that’s out of my control.  Oh.  I have good days.  I have not so good days.  I’m learning to float face down in God’s love.  I’m learning to let go and face my fears. I’m learning to breathe underwater.  It doesn’t feel good.  It’s not my comfort zone.  Sometimes I wonder if the struggle will ever end.  But I keep doing the work I need to do to get to the other side of this battle.

I know my God is watching.  He’s close by.  Oh.  I know he could rescue me in an instant if he chose.  But he’s allowing me to struggle.  I don’t know how long this will continue, so I have to be prepared for the long haul.  I have to dig deep in God’s love and learn to relax and not fight what I can’t control.  It isn’t easy.  I have to trust that God’s power is working through me.  It’s in the struggle that strength is born.

A New Way to Walk

I’ve been told I walk wrong.  When I take a step, I step off on the ball of my foot instead of with my heel.  Apparently, that isn’t the way walking should be done.  So I now have foot problems.  Bunions.  Morton toe.  And they hurt.  They can disfigure a foot.  And they cause problems with wearing shoes.  If I wear shoes that I think look stylish, my feet are screaming by the end of the day.  Oh.  There are remedies.  Surgery.  Toe separators.  Exercises.  Orthopedics.

I stretch my toes with Yoga Toes.  I use Yamuna balls for a foot workout.  I get foot massages.  These things help my feet.  I can feel the difference afterwards.  But I’m looking for long-term relief.  I want relief from the pain I feel from wearing certain shoe styles.

I’m told there is a correct way to walk and an incorrect way to walk.  I try walking the correct way.  It takes deliberate concentration to walk just right.  With each step, I have to think about how I’m stepping.  Some days I do my best to walk correctly.  Heel first.  Roll to the outside edge of the foot.  Then roll from the pinkie toe to the big toe.  That’s what I’m told.  It is less pain.  My feet feel better when I walk like that.  But it takes concentration.  And there are days that I don’t feel like concentrating on how I walk.

I find it’s easy to slip into the habit of walking in the old way.  The incorrect way.  It shows, too.  After I’ve walked incorrectly for awhile, my feet don’t feel good.  The ball of my foot hurts.  The muscles feel tight.  The bunion aches.

I saw a new massage therapist.  As he worked on my feet, he noticed the problem immediately.  He could sense the tightness and soreness.  He applied pressure in tight areas.  He worked to ease the discomfort.  The momentary pressure brought great relief that will last longer than any discomfort I had been feeling.  Oh.  How good it felt to be able to stretch my feet without the tightness.

I’ve probably been walking this way since I learned to walk.  It’s a natural walk for me.  After all these years, it’s hard to re-learn to walk.  After all, I didn’t know I was walking incorrectly.  So when I try to walk the correct way, I have to think through each step of the process.  That certainly slows down the walking.  But I’ve noticed that the discomfort and pain are lessened if I walk the right way.  Maybe there is something to this new way of walking, after all.


But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son, purifies us from all sin.  1 John 1:7


I think of the one who has recently made the decision to walk with Christ.  They asked God to forgive them of their sins.  They’re starting over.  They’re walking in Christ’s footsteps now.  They need to learn a new way of walking in this world.

Oh.  There will missteps.  There will be pitfalls.  There will be tests.  There will be trials.  and there will be temptations.  Temptations to walk in the old way.  The way not of Christ.  Old habits die hard.  Tempers flare.  Words are said.  Attitudes are set.  Behaviors once thought conquered may reappear.

The new walk may sometimes be painful.  Learning to walk in the footsteps of Christ can be invigorating.  humbling.  empowering.  peaceful.  forgiving.  This walk is not impossible.  But it won’t be a perfect step.  This new walk is a walk of obedience.

The thing is.  This new walk is not meant to be a walk of solitude.  It’s meant to be a walk in step with others.  It’s a walk with those who have walked those first baby steps of faith.  It’s a walk of companionship.  Camaraderie.  Fellowship.  A walk with fellow believers.  A walk with someone who can  disciple and mentor a new believer along the path of faith.  This walk can’t be walked alone.

Reason for Hope

I am by nature a pessimist.  Oh.  The glass is half empty.  Always.  There’s no pretty way around it.  I see the half of the glass that’s already been drunk.  It’s empty.  Gone.  That cold drink of water that I had craved.  Oh.  How it satisfied.  My thirst was quenched.  For a moment.  But it’s now gone.  Never to return.  It’s only a memory.  The rest of the water in the glass is inconsequential.  Doesn’t matter.  What mattered is what I no longer have.

Is that how it feels to live without hope?  Thinking the best of life is over.  Thinking that there are no more mountains to climb.  No more foes to conquer.  Thinking that you are the foe to be conquered.  Oh.  You may be standing now.  But not for long.  If there is no hope.

I don’t know what it’s like to live without hope.  That may sound strange for a pessimist.  But I’ve always had the thought that my best life was still to come.  Oh.  I know the day will come when that will no longer be the case.  But for today.  A girl can dream.  And I still dream.

So you may ask.  What is my hope?

Hope is the dream of something new

An old friendship renewed

Morning sun peeping through the windows

The win of a ballgame

A new love or a stronger love

The first glance at crooked teeth made straight

The first step once thought impossible

Fresh picked corn on the cob

A sight for sore eyes

Strength to pick up loose ends

The breath of forgiveness

A kiss on the lips

A warm chocolate chip cookie

A drop of rain on parched soil

The scent of wild honeysuckle on an evening drive through the country

The sighting of a rainbow in the clouds

Freedom to wave the American flag


If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

1 Peter 3:15


But there is more.

My hope is in a Creator who knew me before I was born.

My hope is in the baby born to a virgin and laid in a manger.

My hope is in a boy of twelve wise beyond his years.

My hope is in the Light of the World  who leads me out of darkness.

My hope is in a Provider who meets all my needs.

My hope is in a Redeemer who died on the cross for me.

My hope is in a Savior who forgave my sins.

My hope is in Jesus Christ who will return to this earth someday to usher all believers into heaven.

My hope is in a Heavenly Father who is preparing an eternal home for me in heaven.

If I lose everything, I still have my God.

So yes.  I do have hope.

 

Interview of a Lifetime

Interviews are painful.  I get nervous. Sweaty palms. Dry throat.  Beating heart.  I wear my best clothes. Wanting to impress. Hoping I’m not overdressed or underdressed.

I prepare for each interview.  I study the company’s website, trying to familiarize myself with their business.  I review my resume so I can respond to their questions about my work history.  I read and re-read the job description, so I can be prepared to discuss how my experience and qualifications would match the position they’re looking to fill.  I even study interview questions and prepare my answers ahead of time.  I think of questions to ask a potential employer.  Oh.  I want to be prepared.

Days before the interview, I’ll drive by the office.  I don’t want to be surprised to learn on the interview day about unexpected construction delays or street closures.  I want to be prepared.  I want to be familiar with my surroundings.

Multiple interviews in one day. Multiple people in the interview.  Taking turns asking questions.  Feeling me out.  Would I be a good fit?  Do I pass the test?  Am I the right person for the job?

They see my qualifications. They read my resume. Would I fit in their organization?

It seems that I get tripped up by at least one question in every interview.  I walk away feeling like a failure.  Wanting to kick myself.  Thinking that’s the only question the interviewer will focus on.  Because it’s for sure the only one I can remember.

Sometimes I get called for a second or third interview.  I’ve even had to complete fake assignments while at the interview.  They’re testing me.  Can I really perform the job?  Am I telling the truth?  Do my actions match my words?


I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.  Philippians 3:14


I’m in training right now for the interview of a lifetime.  Oh.  It’s not really an interview.  It’s a judgment.  One day I’ll stand in front of God my Maker.  My Heavenly Father.  My Creator.  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Every day is a test.  Really.  It’s moment by moment.  I’ve made the decision to be a follower of Christ.  So the question is this.  Do I live like a follower of Christ?  Do my actions, my words, my thoughts reflect the attitude of Christ?

When my heart beats for the last time and I stand before God, will I pass the final test?  What will my judgment be?  Oh.  I’m not good enough.  But I try.  I do my best.  I mean well.  I study the Bible.  I pray.  I try to be kind.  and patient.  I try to show God’s love to others.  I tithe.  I give offerings to needy causes.  But am I doing all that God requires of me?

Some days, all I can think of is that one sin.  Why did I say those words to her?  Why did I have such a bad attitude?  Why did I eat like a glutton?  Why can’t I just be perfect?

There is one I will stand in front of one day.  He has seen all I have done. He has heard every word I’ve spoken.  He’s known my unspoken thoughts.  He reads my intentions.  He won’t have to ask any questions about my performance.  He will already know.  He will be my judge.

Will he offer eternal life or cast me to the depths of hell?

Have I repented of my sins?  Have I prepared for the big day?  Oh.  I know I need to be prepared.  The results are for eternity.

A Picture of Broken

We may think we aren’t broken.   We may say we aren’t broken.  We may even try to hide our brokenness.  But who hasn’t been shoved?  Or bullied?  Who hasn’t had the wind knocked out of them by a verbal sucker punch?  Who hasn’t been lied to?  Who doesn’t know a little bit about dysfunction?

Sometimes our pretty covers our brokenness. For a time.  And then it’s out in the open.  Never to be hidden.  Oh.  Others will talk.  The gossip will be ferocious.  The truth may never be uncovered.

Kate Spade.  When it seems you’ve got it made, there’s something hiding in the background.  Secrets don’t stay secret forever.  What was it that was haunting you?  What had happened?  What was it that caused you to decide that life wasn’t worth living?  Were you prepared for eternity?  Did you know what was awaiting you on the other side of your darkness?  Was it worth it?  If you could go back now and undo that scarf, would you?  Knowing what you know now?  I’m not judging you, Kate.  You’ve stood before your Maker and Judge.  He was fair and right and just.  May you rest in peace.

I don’t know the true reasons for your actions, Kate.  I don’t need to know.  Different stories and scenarios are circulating.  Some say bipolar disorder.  Others say a divorce was on the horizon.  The thing is.  The reason should be private.  Only those close to you need to know the answers.  If answers can be found.  It’s a sad day.  A very sad day for your family.  For your teenage daughter.  For those who loved you.

Kate.  You had the world at your fingertips.  You designed a lifestyle that others envied.  You sold your empire for more money than most will ever have.  People pay a lot of money to buy your designs.  Oh.  If only that was enough.  If only happiness could be bought.  And bottled.  And prettied up.

Anthony Bourdain.  A colorful life lived on the edge.  You cooked well.  You ate well.  You traveled well.  You were a show of your own.  But still.  That wasn’t enough.  Whatever the reason for ending your life, your life wasn’t in vain.  You were outrageous.  You  made people happy.  You challenged strangers to try new foods.  As you traveled the world eating exotic foods, your life was one to be envied.  But still.  That wasn’t enough.

What was the turning point for you, Anthony?  You, too, had a young daughter.  You seemed to have the world at your disposal.  Your mother said you had everything.  But yet, everything can feel like nothing when you’re going through a dark time.  What was unraveling in your life?  What secrets may now be exposed for the world to know?  If you knew now what you knew before you reached for your bathrobe, would you change your mind?  Would you seek help from others?  Would you turn to your Maker for comfort and encouragement?  Oh.  You’ve now stood in front of your Maker and Judge.  He was fair and right and just.  May you rest in peace.


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  Psalm 34:18


Life is not without problems.  You can lack nothing and still not have it all.

I’ll never be a billionaire.  I’ve never bought a Kate Spade bag.  I’ve never traveled the world.  I’ve never eaten exotic foods.  But I’ve known my fair share of pain.  Hurt.  Rejection.  Oh.  I’ve hit a rough patch lately.  I’m facing uncertainty in my life right now.  I’m not sure what lies ahead for me.  I’m not perfect.  I’m not without flaws and needs.  It’s a fact that those who seem to have life all sorted out, really don’t.  You can fool some of the people all the time.  You can fool all of the people some of the time.  But you can’t fool all the people all the time.

No.  I haven’t considered ending my life.  The thought hasn’t even crossed my mind.  I feel hopeful that my best days are still ahead.  Oh.  There are days when I’m discouraged.  There are moments when I’m fearful.  But I’m learning to trust my Maker and my Judge more and more.  I have to.  He’s my source of strength and comfort.

Oh.  I have friends and family I turn to.  I have ones who pray for me and send words of encouragement.  I’m not perfect and I’m not judging others who make the decision to end their life.  Life gets tough.  Hope gets lost.  Courage gets muddied.

There is one I turn to when I feel down and out.  One I’m close to and who always hears me when I turn to Him.  He knows my needs.  He knows my fears.  My insecurities.  He knows my value.  I can always count on Him to comfort me and provide for me.  Oh.  His timing isn’t always my timing.  But he is always available.

I have my God.  My Maker.  My Judge.  My Provider.  My Shepherd.  My Comforter.  My Hope.  My Healer.  I have it all.

 

Waiting Room

He was having surgery.  I was sitting in the waiting room.  Alone.  When you have no children, you don’t have instant companions when you need them most.  With no parents around, I sat alone in the waiting room.  Waiting for the news of the surgery.

Oh.  It wasn’t life-threatening surgery.  It was a repair.  But surgery is surgery, and anything can go wrong when someone’s body is cut open and they’re unconscious.

At different times during the surgery, a friend would stop by to sit with me.  Or check in.  Or chat.  It made the waiting bearable.  After all, I wasn’t familiar with surgery or waiting rooms or hospitals.  I had never spent time in those surroundings.

The phone in the waiting room would ring from time to time.  That was the signal that a family would soon be face to face with the surgeon who had worked on their loved one.  That was the sign they would soon learn their loved one’s fate.  Was the surgery successful?  Are they out of the woods?  What are the next steps?  Will they pull through?  What did you find?  Will it be bad news?

At times, the room was quiet.  People coming and going.  Families getting calls from the surgeon.  Updates and diagnoses.  Sometimes the atmosphere was loud.  Children crying.  The bustling of crowds moving through the hallways.  One family, after hearing the news, knelt down in the public space and prayed.  They prayed out loud for their loved one.  The one who was in a fight for their life.  Perhaps it was a discovery of an incurable disease.  Or a brain that was no longer functioning.  Or a repair that couldn’t be made.  Nevertheless, they knelt right there and prayed.  Prayed to a God who could hear and answer their prayers.  If He chose.  But they had faith.  They placed the outcome of their loved one’s surgery in God’s hands and trusted Him.

When the room was noisy, I was afraid I wouldn’t hear my name called.  I was afraid the loud conversations would cover the sound I was listening for.  I didn’t want to miss the call from my husband’s surgeon.  I wanted to hear the words.  He is fine.  We were able to make the repairs.  He is being moved to recovery.


I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  Isaiah 43:1-2


Lately, I find myself sitting in another waiting room.  A waiting season.  Waiting for news.  Will I get an interview?  How many interviews do I have to endure?  Will I get a job offer?  How long must I wait to start a new job?

The waiting seems long.  It seems never ending.  I like to hope the end is near.  There are signs that it’s possible.  But one never knows.  One can only hope.  So I wait.  I hope.  I pray.

Sometimes the noise level in this waiting room is quiet.  I didn’t get calls.  No interest.  Would I wait forever?  At times the noise in my head and heart were so loud, that it was just that.  Noise.  Noise from Satan.  Your work life is over.  You’re retired.   You’ll never see another good paycheck.

At times, the noise has a different sound.  Multiple interview requests.  Interview preparations.  Nervousness.  Anxiousness.  A new waiting begins.

Just when I think the wait is almost over, the news comes crashing down.  You weren’t selected.  And the wait continues.

Waiting is difficult.  Doubt creeps in and fills the space where peace had once been.  Confidence becomes clouded with discouragement.  Trust is eroded by waves of fear.  I have to listen for the voice of the One who holds me in his hands.  He hasn’t let go.  He is near.  I must remind myself that He hasn’t forgotten me.  He knows my situation.  He knows I’m waiting.

Oh.  I have visitors in this waiting room.  I have friends who call to check on me.  I have a friend who will send me a text of encouraging scripture every so often.  I know others are praying for me.  I’ve heard their prayers.  I’ve felt their prayers.  Others will email me.  I’m not forgotten.  I’m not alone.  I am simply waiting.  If waiting is simple.

There have been times when I’ve been down on my knees.  Begging God to pull me through this tough time.  To provide what I need.  To show me favor.  To continue working for me in ways that I can’t see.

But in this waiting room, I must sit quietly so I can hear the voice that is calling my name.  The voice of the One who knows my name.  He speaks to me.  Come closer.  I will provide.  You are loved.  I am working for you.  Be not afraid.

So I sit.  And I wait.  I want to hear the voice when my name is called.

 

Unconditional Love

It’s a warm sunny afternoon with a slight breeze.  But when a dog spends an hour chasing other dogs at full speed at the dog park, she ends up winded and worn out.

Once my dog has scraped herself up off the cool garage floor, I encourage her to come to the basement with me.  She doesn’t realize that the cold concrete floor in the laundry room would be a soothing balm to her fast beating heart and worn out body.  I try to tell her, but she doesn’t listen.  She just wants to be where I am.  Wherever that is.

Since I’m with her all day every day lately, she has grown very attached to me.  Everywhere I go in the house, she is glued to my leg.  She leans on me for no reason.  She wants me to play with her in the evening.  When she thinks it’s time to go to the dog park, she looks at me with that excited look.  Waiting for me to say the word.  Dog park!

She enjoys her treats and rewards.  Sometimes she gets more than she deserves.  Other times, she begs for a treat for no apparent reason.  She sure knows how to wrap herself around my little finger.

She loves getting hugs and attention.  Sitting on the floor with her head in my lap as I pet her is heaven for her.  But there are times when I want to hold her close and love on her, and she sticks out her leg to keep me away.  She won’t allow me to pull her close.  She holds me at arms length.   She will push away from me, so I can’t hug her.  Oh.  She wants me to keep petting her, but she doesn’t want any hugs.

There are times I want her to experience new sights and smells.  She loves that.  I enjoy rewarding her.  I even asked someone to train her to be a better dog.  I wanted her to learn from the best how to be a great dog.


See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!  1 John 3:1


I think of my Master.  He loves me unconditionally.  In fact, it doesn’t matter what I do.  He’ll still love me.  Oh.  There are times he’ll discipline me.  He’ll chastise me.  But I know he loves me still.

I find the more time I spend with my Master, the more time I want to spend with Him.  I lean on him for guidance.  I cozy up to him when I need comfort.  I ask for his peace when I face uncertain times.  Oh.  There are times when we don’t see eye to eye.  I ask for favors when I don’t deserve them.  I ask God to answer prayers that may be selfish or foolish.  I still have a lot to learn in my relationship with God.

There are times he wants to hold me close.  Wrapped in his arms of safety and security.  But I push him away.  Oh.  I want him nearby, but I don’t want his hugs.  I want to be close enough I can call if I need him, but not so close that I am engulfed in his presence.  Why is that?  Why do I seek independence?  Why do I hold him at arm’s length?  Why don’t I surrender fully to him?

The thing is.  He knew me before I was even born.  He knows the number of hairs on my head.  He knows my thoughts even if I don’t speak.  He sees everything I do.  He hears every word I say.  He knows my intentions.  He knows the number of days I will live.  He has the best plans laid out for me.  I am his.

 

 

Royal Wedding

We have a new princess.  She and her prince born husband have new royal titles.  Their wedding was spectacular.  They have the world at their disposal.  It’s the wedding of the year.

The wedding was paid for by the royal family.  No expense was spared.  Beautiful flowers.  2 designer gowns.  A borrowed tiara.  Military uniform.  Molded gold rings.  Wedding feast.  Rolls Royce chauffeur.  A blue Jaguar.  Celebrity guest list.

Oh.  There were complications.  Paparazzi.  Stories of half-siblings wanting more attention than they deserved.  Uncertainty swirling around the father of the bride.  American actress.  Biracial marriage.  Previous divorce.

She gave up her career.  She left her home country.  She took his name.  She accepted his ring.  Diamonds from his mother’s collection.  She became his.  And he is hers.  She moved from a common life to become royalty.  All because of love.

Stand by me.  This little light of mine.  Ave Maria.  Beautiful music that covered different backgrounds and beliefs.  The sermon spoke of committed lifelong love.

Oh.  I have been a bride.  Dressed in white.  On the arm of my father.  Bouquet in hand.  Veil covered face.  I walked down the aisle to my beloved.  I said the vows.  I wore the ring.  I shared the kiss.

I pledged my love.  My faithfulness.  My life.  To him.  For better.  For worse.  For richer.  For poorer.  In sickness.  In health.  For as long as we both shall live.  Till death us do part.

He stood there waiting for me.  Waiting to take the hand of the woman who said yes to his request to be his wife.  I gladly accepted the proposal.  I happily placed my hand in his.  I am his and he is mine.


I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.  Song of Solomon  6:3


I think of another wedding.  Oh.  It will be royal.  One of epic proportion.  I will again be the bride.  My bridegroom is waiting for me.  I know he loves me.  He’s given life to me.  He’s sacrificed for me.

He is the lover of my soul.  Oh.  He has wooed me.  He works for me.  But he paid the price for my sins.  He gave his life for me.  So I could be his bride.  That was his purpose.  He chose me.  He wants me as his own.

I’ve accepted his proposal.  We are betrothed.  I want to share his name.  I choose to be his bride.  For eternity.  Oh.  I’ve let him down.  I’ve failed him.  I don’t always live up to his standards.  But he still chooses me.  He keeps calling me to come closer.

My bridegroom has a name.  He is Jesus Christ. We will have a magnificent wedding feast.  He will sit at the right hand of his father.  He will welcome me home.

Oh.  I won’t be the only bride at this wedding.  There will be many brides.  Anyone who has accepted his proposal will be called bride.  You see.  At this wedding, the focus will be on the bridegroom.  Not on the bride.  The bridegroom asks for the hand of each of us.  We must accept or be left out.  He wants us as his very own.  He’s chosen us.  We’re handpicked for royalty.

We Really Do Need Each Other

We get home from the dog park and pile out of the car.  As soon as her feet touch the cool concrete of the garage, she lies down for a breather.  Panting hard and enjoying the cool floor, she lies still for what seems like forever.  Not wanting to move.   She’s worn out from the hour spent with other breeds of her own kind.

A liver spotted Dalmatian.  3 Huskies, 2 of them pups.  A friendly Pit Bull.  A Golden Retriever.  Some half breeds.  Some pure bred.  Others are a bundle of mix and all mutt.  But all dogs.  Playful.  Fun loving.  Energetic.  Dogs that love to run and chase balls.  Rough house with each other.  Establishing dominance and order.  Finding a friend for the moment.  It’s a dog’s life, after all.

Once their owners get out of the way, the dogs will navigate amongst themselves and discover the leader of the pack.  The leader is always sure to stand out.  Some dogs hit it off immediately.  Others warm up to each other slowly.    Some dogs are aggressive.  Others so passive, they roll over and submit without a fight.  And then there are the loners.

These dogs need to be with their own kind so they’ll know how to be dogs.  They learn from each other.  Social behaviors.  Pack rules.  Being a lone wolf isn’t all it’s cut out to be.  Dogs need their pack and each dog plays a role.


As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.  Proverbs 27:17


I saw the text immediately.  Pray for me.  She said.  I don’t know who else to turn to.

I stopped everything and prayed for her right then and there.  My friend was in need and I could help by praying.  You see.  I’ve been in similar situations.  I’ve had moments when I needed to reach out to others.  Asking for them to pray for me when I couldn’t.  When I was hurting and confused.  When my world had fallen apart.

We need Christian friends who can hold us up in our time of need.  The Christian walk isn’t for the faint.  And it isn’t to be done alone. We need each other.

I have friends.  Christian friends.  They’re all different.  Some are my age.  Others are  younger.  Some are moms.  Some are grandmothers.  Some work.  Others don’t.  Some are single.  Others are married.  I call them friend.  Friends I count on to encourage me in my Christian walk.

I have a friend who will unexpectedly text me a thoughtful note or an encouraging Scripture right when I need it.  Others have sent texts saying they were praying for me.  Still others ask how I’m doing.  Some ask specifically how they can pray.  I need them.  I need each of these friends. Each one of them has a role in my Christian walk.  They hold me accountable.  They listen to me.  They give godly advice.  They quote Scripture to me.  They pray for me.  I need that.  I need them.  I can’t do this Christian walk alone.

We need fellowship and friendship with each other.  We need fellow Christians to walk alongside us during our heartaches and trials.  When we can’t walk alone.  We need friends who will be Jesus to us right then and there.  That’s how God made us.  That’s what he wants for us.  Oh. We can deny it.  At times, we choose to ignore it and try to be a lone wolf.  Have you heard a lone wolf’s cry?

Reuben Welch said that in the midst of all our likenesses and similarities, there can be fragmentation, division, insecurity and loneliness.  Mostly loneliness.   Oh.  He said that in the late 70’s.  He even wrote a book about it.  But it still holds true today.  Reuben Welch was right.  We really do need each other.