Digging deep…

We are becoming gardeners!  Since moving into a house I have wanted to plant a garden. Unfortunately I am a dreamer with very little follow-up action, but thankfully my husband is the one who gets things done!

This summer he picked a spot in the yard and we started clearing out the ground cover. Within a few weeks we had a nice little spot cleared!  I thought we would be ready to plant within the week so the girls and I headed out to buy some seeds, but wait a min my sweet husband is also very detail oriented and meticulous when it comes to projects!  We were not yet ready to plant, we had to clear out all of the roots.  While clearing the roots we came across some very large and deep cement bases from the old fence.  I was willing to work around them, but my love said “No, they must come out.” so we began digging really deep!   Four, fifty pound, cement bases later, our little plot had transformed into what looked like a miniature disaster zone with deep holes, dirt piles and lots of roots.

We are now about 2 months into the project.  Today I was out there filling in the holes, clearing roots, leveling the earth, and thinking.  I was wondering if my soul is being cleared out as I clear out this land?  I was thinking about my own roots that run deep, my own cement blocks that weigh me down and keep me from producing any fruit, I was thinking about the over growth within my life that distracts me from our sweet Jesus, and finally I was thinking of my husband and the beautiful life he lives.

Thank You Jesus for blessing me with my sweet and wonderful husband who understands Your ways and practices them.  I read Your Book, but he listens to You with his heart and acts on it.  He knows the land must be properly prepared in order to be fruitful, he knows that things must be destroyed to be rebuilt and he is patient!

I pray to continue seeing him with Your eyes of love so that I can continue to learn from his wonderful example!

Who is in the way?

I joined a gym recently and a few weeks ago I took a body combat class.  It was a great class, but I didn’t like focusing on an imaginary opponent.

About halfway through the class I decided that my opponents would be some of my own personal vices.  With each punch or kick I focused on pushing out things I don’t like about myself and then tried breathing in virtues I would like to replace them with.

By the end of class it finally hit me…

Imagine standing in a room surrounded by mirrors.  As the mirrors reflect back on each other their reflections go to infinity, but as you look you can only glimpse the edges of infinity because YOU are in the way.

I am my only obstacle.

The only way to truly follow our sweet Jesus is to get out of our own way, deny ourselves.

For every wrong done to us I think we need to recall a wrong that we have done to another and then suffer through that memory rather than stew over what has been done to us.  I don’t think it is easy and I think this is just the first step, but the only way to get anywhere is by taking the first step.

Jesus thank You for waiting so patiently to take this first step and every other step along the way by our sides!

He’s My Son!

I recently heard this song for the first time, He’s My Son by Mark Schultz.  I didn’t listen to all of the words the first few times.  I only paid attention to the words of the refrain, “He’s My Son”.  Each time I heard it I thought how beautiful it was that someone had written a song from God’s point of view leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus.

I finally listened to the words of the whole song and realized that it was written from the point of view of a father with a sick child crying out to God for help.  It is a beautiful song, but each time I hear it I always imagine how God must have cried out to us in the hours leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Can you hear Me?
Can you see Him?
Please don’t leave Him.
He is not just anyone, He is My Son!

Friday I heard this beautiful song again. A strong desire came into my heart to write a version giving us a tiny glimpse of the painful cries our Holy Father made into our deaf ears as He went through the suffering of watching His Son die.

He’s My Son by Mark Schultz
(original lyrics)

The re-written Lyrics are in bold below.  Please see the link above for all of the original lyrics by Mark Schultz.

Looking down from on high tonight,
Dreading the moment He sets things right.
See He is a boy that needs your love.
I’ve done all that I can do from above.
He now knows His fate,
To shoulder your sin and hate
Tonight as He prays,
He asks, how to show you the way.
And He tries
Not to cry
As the tears fill His eyes.

Can You hear Me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can you see Him?
Can you pray for Him this night?
If You can hear Me
Please send Him all your love.
See, He’s not just anyone, He’s My Son.

Every night I watch Him sleep,
Amazed at the man He’s grown to be
I send Him strength and see Him through.
Open your eyes, oh how He loves you!
He will never grow old,
Yet lives life without fear
What would you be
If He’d never come here?
His time grows near,
He prays for you,
Let Him know that you’re there.

Can you hear Me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can you see Him?
Can you pray for Him this night?
If you can hear Me
Please send Him all your love.
See, He’s not just anyone, He’s My Son.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see Him?
Can you pray for Him this night?
If You can hear me
Please send Him all your love.
See, He’s not just anyone.

Can you hear Me?
Can you see Him?
Please don’t leave Him,
He’s My Son.
_________

Thank you Mark Schultz for this beautiful song that has opened my eyes just a little bit more!

Look for the little flowers!

This morning I saw a man stop and offer help to an older woman who was pushing her own wheel chair across a parking lot.  It was a lovely scene, quiet and small and probably not noticed by many.  I love seeing these small and beautiful moments of kindness and goodness in the world.  They remind me that God’s tapestry is full of small and beautiful pictures that we can see even now.  I like to think of these small moments of goodness as the little flowers decorating the trim of His tapestry.

I think His tapestry is also full of large scenes of which we only have the ability to see small portions.  When we focus on the small parts of the large scenes, we might see what we perceive to be evil.  We might notice the drops of blood, a weapon, a betrayal, a death and if we don’t have faith to trust that these things are necessary parts leading up to the overall goodness of God’s scene, His plan, His beautiful tapestry, then we lose hope in the goodness of God and His ability to use any and every action of ours to finalize His beautiful and good plan.

I know it is very cliche to say, but I must repeat what so many others have said before me.

Jesus please help us to focus on the small things, help us to seek out the little nuggets of golden goodness You have sprinkled throughout everyday, and when something bad happens help us to remember that our faith is being tested, and that we must believe in You and have faith in You and Your ability to turn anything all around and upside down.

Turned around and upside down!

Whoever needs less should thank God and not be distressed, but whoever needs more should feel humble because of his weakness, not self important because of the kindness shown to him.

– The Rule of Saint Benedict

Our society builds up those with more making it difficult for those with more to truly feel humble.  This then leads many with less to not thank God, but instead covet more.

I think we need to keep Saint Benedict’s perspective in mind and always in sight, despite being constantly bombarded with the opposite belief by the cultural norms of our society.

Jesus please help us to keep looking at things upside down and turned around so that we won’t be swept away by the world.

Our hearts!

I love any version of the song “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson.

Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

For a moment when listening to this part I had an image of my family… they are my hearts!  I pray that God will take and seal them for His courts above so that I will not wander, I will not waver off of His path, but will instead follow my loves, my hearts straight home to our one true Love and His courts above.

Jesus please help us to keep our hearts always on You!

Grace in disguise?

It was a dark and stormy evening.  A young man who had recently received his license was on his way home from picking someone up.  As he approached a red light, he pumped the brakes, they locked and the car continued right through the light.

There was a collision, people were hurt, a young child in another car was killed.

The young man driving was my grandfather.

I know he thought of this child often.  I know he carried the pain of having caused the death of this child for the rest of his life. As I think back to discussions and time I spent with my grandfather, I can remember the painful expression I would see cross his face if we ever heard about or discussed any type of car accident.  I remember seeing him wince as if he was physically in pain when we discussed a news article about all of the fatal car accidents caused by faulty tires back in 2000.

I think this moment drove him to spend the rest of his life seeking to empathize with those who had recently lost a loved one in death through his work as a funeral director. He sought to feel their pain, he hoped to feel what the family of that young child felt, and he searched for forgiveness by easing the pain of others as they faced the death of a loved one.

I now wonder if God graced my grandfather with an end to his search just before he died?

My young cousin, his granddaughter, was killed in a car accident on a dark and stormy evening about a year before my grandfather died. After his years of searching and empathizing with others, he finally felt what it was like for the family of that young child who had died so many years ago. He finally felt what it was like to look into the face of the mother of that child as he looked into the face of his own daughter as she wept for her child.

My sweet young cousin was the only one who was ready to go home.  Maybe her death was a gift of grace to our grandfather?

God thank you for loving both of them so much!

Miracles!

Do you see miracles everyday?  Do you see miracles in the blossoming of a flower, the beauty of a sunset or the birth of a child?

Or do you believe that the word miracle is too loosely applied to the everyday events and moments of our world?  Do you only see miracles in events such as the parting of the Red Sea, the opening of the eyes of the blind, or the healing of the sick or the lame?

If God parted the Red Sea everyday would this still be a miracle? Would we continue to see this as a miracle?  If Jesus had lived into old age and had continued healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, calming storms and walking on water, would these miracles eventually have been taken for granted and become an expected part of everyday life?

Just because a baby is born every few seconds on earth, this doesn’t change the fact that there was less than 1 chance in 10282(million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) that life would occur anywhere in the universe at the beginning (as discussed by Dr. Hugh Ross in the article The Probability for Life on Earth).

Despite the minimal chances for life to occur anywhere in the universe at the beginning, miraculously we do exist and miraculously we continue to exist through the new children who are born every few seconds.

Maybe our inability to appreciate the everyday miracles that now seem mundane to us is what is preventing us from seeing and experiencing the extraordinary miracles.

If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.  But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.
Luke 16:10

Maybe we need to be a little more honest with ourselves regarding the miraculous events that we experience everyday in order for our eyes to be opened to see not just the everyday miracles, but every miracle.

Jesus please continue to open our blind eyes!  Please help us to gratefully see and accept all of Your amazing works and wonders!

Be Thou Our Vision

Have you seen or heard this quote?

The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being.  It’s not a statement about you.

I saw this about a week ago and it didn’t sit right with me.

Have you ever been mean to someone or snapped at someone?  I know I have done this.  I have done it to strangers on the street as well as the ones I love the most.  I know this isn’t right, and I am not condoning my actions but I am questioning whether these actions should stamp me as a mean or angry human being?

These moments of anger thrown at another are usually tied back to something else that is bothering me, something that is making me unhappy, uncomfortable.  These moments usually mean I have had a rough moment, day, week or month.  When I do this it means I have a lot of other things to work on personally, but I don’t think these moments should label me or anyone else as a certain type human being.

On the flip side, have you ever woken up so joyful and full of thanksgiving and gratitude that you smiled and showed extra kindness to everyone you met that day?  I have had days like this too, and these are great days, but do these actions label me as a wonderful and kind human being?  How could they when I have also had days full of anger and impatience with everyone?

I think these actions, regardless of which side, should label me as a human being having a certain type of moment, not as a certain type of human being.

I think changing a few words in this quote would promote a lot more empathy and compassion.

The way people treat you is a statement about what they are going through.  It’s not a statement about you.

Jesus please help us to remember that it is rarely about us and please help us to see others through Your eyes… Be Thou Our Vision!

Thank You

Almost every time I pray I ask for my family and friends to be blessed and kept safe, but what does keeping them safe really entail?  What does blessing them really entail?

Do I mean for them to be healthy and kept out of accidents?
Do I mean for them to be comfortable and happy?

Will keeping them safe and blessing them bring them closer to God?  I don’t know.

In Jeremiah 14:11-12
The Lord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people.  Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.

Was the Lord asking Jeremiah to refrain from praying for the welfare of these people because He knew that safety, comfort and blessings are not what would bring these people closer to Him?  Is He saying that that they will only cry out to Him, present offerings from their hearts, and truly come closer to Him in times of war, famine and pestilence?

I am not sure, but reading this made me take a step back and wonder.

1.  How often do I cry out to God in true joy and thanksgiving when I am safe, comfortable and blessed?  Do these blessings help bring me closer to Him?

2.  How often do I cry out to God in times of sorrow or conflict?  Do these difficulties and challenges bring me closer to Him?

God wants us to cry out to Him regardless of whether it is in joy or misery.   He wants to be there for us, He wants to be close to us and maybe sometimes we won’t let Him in until the difficult times arise.

God please help us to pray with humility knowing that we don’t know what is best, and help us to have faith that You do know what is best for all of us and will do everything in Your power to help us cry out to You.

Maybe my new prayer should be, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!