He makes all things new!

Since I first thought, prayed and wrote about Our Best Life, I have changed, I am different… I think I am becoming new.  I have told friends that I don’t know why this change has come about, but I am starting to realize that I  do know why… it is because of Him, and only Him.

When I first starting praying for Our Best Life, someone very close to me was going through two very difficult and life changing events.  Her suffering and pain finally opened my eyes to my own selfishness and allowed me to step outside of myself for a moment and begin thinking of and praying for others by praying for Our Best Life.

This changed my direction, but He in His infinite humility still didn’t step in until I invited Him in through a prayer to be the seed that has been sown on good soil.

He heard my prayer and came running to help me.  Regardless of how much work there is to do in me, He pushed up His sleeves and began working to make me new!  Anything kind, loving, patient, thoughtful, considerate, generous that I do is because of Him… it is NOT me!  There is still so much to be done, but He is here and my thoughts run to Him as I talk with my husband and my children, work on homework and play with my children, read, listen to music, wash dishes, fold and iron clothes, clean our home, make our dinner and even while kneeling on the floor a few weeks ago to clean up my daughters throw-up.

Thank You My Love for being here with me… I do not just need You, I desire You from the depths of my heart.

Answered Prayer!

I was looking back through some previous blogs I have written (I think I am my biggest fan… ha ha ha), and I came across a blog I wrote in July 2012 titled Betrayer and Beloved?.

At the end of this blog I asked our sweet Jesus, “Please help me to love Judas Iscariot as you love him.”

Guess what I just realized… I have fallen in love with him.  I fell in love with him during Lent 2013, and I have been thinking of him, crying for him, praying for him and loving him ever since.

I think our sweet Jesus answered my prayer and has shown me how much he loves him by opening my heart to Judas Iscariot and helping me to fall in love with him too.

Knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7)… ask Jesus to show you how much he loves someone you don’t understand, someone you fear, someone you dislike or might even hate and just maybe your eyes and your heart will be opened to how much Jesus loves this person and you too will begin to rise above your fear and hatred and will begin to fall in love this person too.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7), my sweet friends!

Cleansing

Sometimes when I am working out I like to pray to be a straw that is full of holes so that anything good poured into me from above will not be held within me, but instead will flow through all of my holes surrounding everyone I encounter or see with His Grace.

As you know I have been going to the gym pretty regularly for the last 5 months trying to get back in shape. Over the last few weeks I have started really focusing on trying to improve  my diet and have started reading about body cleansing. I read an interesting article a few weeks ago that discussed the benefits of sitting in a sauna after a workout and how this can help cleanse many toxins from your body. After reading this I started sitting in the sauna of my gym for a few min at least once a week.

Today while I was sitting in the sauna following my workout, it hit me! As I watched the sweat drip down my arms, I realized I am already full of holes… my body is covered in tiny pores.  I am a straw full of holes… we all are!

I think now I need to focus on cleaning out my own physical and spiritual gunk so that someday the clogs will be cleared and everything that pours forth will be clean and full of His Glory.

I am cleaning out my friends… please pray for me!

The Lord is God

My husband and I went to Ethiopia about 10 years ago with Habitat for Humanity.  We were there for three weeks and we helped begin 8 houses in Jimma.  By the end of our stay the foundations had been dug and laid, and the walls of each home were about waist high.

We went because we wanted to help, but was the primary objective really for us to come and help carry bricks or did I miss a deeper lesson?

Looking back I am a little sad to see how much I failed to really see during our visit, but I am thankful for my memory which isn’t always the best, but usually holds onto the things that don’t seem important at the time, but later prove to be quite relevant and important.

The other day one of our Ethiopian Habitat leaders came to mind, Elias.  I haven’t thought about him in a long time, but I was so happy to remember him. Thinking of him made me smile!

He was with us throughout our entire stay in Ethiopia.  He met our group in Addis Ababa, traveled with us to Jimma, worked along side our group everyday and then saw us all the way back to the international airport in Addis Ababa at the end of our visit.

He was a quiet and thoughtful man.  He was born and raised in Ethiopia and had the opportunity to study engineering abroad.  After his studies he returned home.  I remember he told us how he loved Harrison Ford movies and I remember him eating traditional Ethiopian food at every meal, even at breakfast.  I am not sure why this surprised me at the time considering that we were in Ethiopia, but for some reason it did and every morning I was shocked once again to see him eating injera with wat for breakfast.

Most of all though, I remember watching him bow his head and pray before every meal.  I noticed it and I registered it enough to remember, but the beauty of his gratitude didn’t truly touch me at the time.  I can’t even recall if I had the consideration to bow my head and give him a moment of silence at each meal… I hope that I did, but I can’t say for cetain.

The name Elias means The Lord is God.  I think my friend’s name was well chosen and for the short time I spent with him, he truly lived it’s meaning every day.

I pray for a heart full of gratitude like my friend Elias, and I am so thankful that 10 years later, his message of thanksgiving and love for our Lord, God, is finally getting through to me.

Who would you remember?

Imagine that you work for the post office manually sorting the mail.  I am sure that you would see thousands of letters come through every day.  Do you think that you would remember anyone specific?

I have been thinking about it and I think there are probably three types of people that would stand out among the rest of the mail.

1.  The first person I would remember would be the sick child in town who receives hundreds of letters each week.  After seeing so many letters go through my post office for this child I would probably want to meet him or her to find out how someone so young had already touched so many lives.

2.  The second person I would remember would be the person in town who sends hundreds of letters each week to their fellow townspeople, their neighbors.  After seeing so many letters go through my post office from this person I would probably want to meet them as well and find out where he or she finds the time to touch so many lives.

3.  Finally the third I would remember would be the person who sends hundreds of letters to themselves.  It might cross my mind that this person needs help, and doesn’t really understand the purpose of the postal system.  I don’t think meeting this person to explain in more depth the purpose of the postal system would be useful, because clearly they understand the logistics of sending mail, but seem to be missing the depth behind the technicalities.

I think instead I might to try and arrange for #3 to accidentally meet #2 who is sending so many letters to others.  If they met by chance due to incorrect delivery of some of  #2’s hundreds of letters being delivered to #3, then maybe #2 could indirectly help #3 better understand the depth behind the logistics of the postal system.

I know there probably aren’t very many people, if any, like #3 when actually sending mail, but when praying is this the case?

If prayer is somewhat like this scenario, I hope that I will try harder to be more like our friend #2.   I want God to know me as His child who sends love out to all of my brothers and sisters, not as His child who can think of no else but myself when speaking with Him.

I know I still have a lot of work to do, but at least I think I now have the compass pointed in the right direction.

How will we know Him?

If you were alive during Jesus’ time on earth, would you have known who He was? Would you have felt something stir in the depths of your soul when you first saw Him?   Would you have stopped to listen to Him?  Would you have followed Him?

I don’t know if I would have known, I don’t know if I would have truly seen Him, and I don’t know if I would have followed Him.

Wondering about this makes me so sad as I picture the possibility that I might have walked right by our Lord and Savior, our sweet Jesus, without a second glance.

I don’t want to walk by Him. I want to stop and kneel as He passes by me, I want to crawl behind Him and touch the earth that He has just graced with bottom of His beautiful foot and I want to yearn for Him to turn towards me and smile.

For now I want to prepare to truly see Him and know Him when He returns by looking for Him in everyone I see.  If I can find Him hidden in everyone I see, then maybe I will be blessed with the opportunity to see Him and know Him in His full and glorious form someday.

Jesus, please help me to look for You and see You in everyone I meet.

Let the celebration continue…

Jesus is here, Jesus is born, Jesus is with us and yet what are we doing?

We are quickly taking down our decorations and we are preparing ourselves for the grind, for the coldest part of our winter and the coldest time in some of our hearts.  Our heads are down and the parties are over.

Was it the same back then in Bethlehem?

The angels were not still singing their praises for us to see and the shepherds had to move on with their flocks.  A few still sought Him in this quiet and peaceful time, but the majority of people returned to the routine of their lives.

Yet in Matthew 9:15
Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

This is not the time to return to our normal and every day lives.  He is here, He is born, He is with us!  I pray to continue seeking and celebrating because He is here!

Glory to God in the highest and on earth may we all seek Your peace!

Pray for our leaders!

I am reading The Book of my Life by Saint Teresa of Avila translated by Mirabai Starr.

I just read the following passage by Saint Teresa of Avila, only a short 30 min after I readily joined in a conversation complaining about the politicians, leaders and the media in our country.

If some of our leaders have gone bad, the good people shine even more brightly.  May it please God to hold such souls in His hand and help them to help us. Amen.

If only we could all remember this each time we are faced with an opportunity to complain about our leaders.

Jesus please help me remember this the next time this choice presents itself.

Seeking the sacred within the secular…

I am reading a book of the complete works of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Clare of Assisi, Francis and Clare:  The Complete Works.

In one the letters that Saint Francis wrote to the clergy, he quotes Corinthians 2:14, The person who does not have the spirit does not perceive the things of God.

I loved reading this today because I have been thinking about the sacred within our secular world versus the secular within His sacred world.  Is there a difference?  Can a strict line define sacred versus secular or are we the ones who have imposed this distinction?

I have been trying to be a little more attentive to every song, every book, every discussion, every thought with the hope to perceive His message everywhere.  I think it is everywhere and I want to be still and listen.

Jesus, please fill us with Your spirit so that we can perceive the things of God and realize that we are surrounded by Them… They are everywhere.

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!