Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Mother’s Day Tide Table

The winds are shifting.
The current is trying to decide,
“Should I come in, or should I go out?”
Though the sun is shining,
eve promises to cut short it’s brightness.
Waves lap, without tiring, in a rhythmic  march.
Rolling.
Rolling.
Rolling.

Change is a given in this world.

Tomorrow, the winds will be blowing differently.
The current will still be questioning.
The sun will come up, and the sun will go down.
And the waves, they will continue to move things into position.

But today.
Today, I find comfort in the constant that is change,
knowing that by His great design and promises,
every single thing in this life…
– HEAR ME ON THIS –
every.single.thing.in.this.life.
WORKS TOGETHER
for the good of those who love God;
those who are called according to His purpose.

Knowing this fact makes

watching the winds shift,
and seeing the current struggle,
and finding the sun falling and the darkness rising,
and feeling the onward, unwavering march of the waves

a beautiful, comfortable thing.

This mother’s day, I am thankful for understanding the depths of His love a little bit better.
The forecast is exactly as He would have it.
And I am trusting Him completely.

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He Gave Me Her Name

For the entire month of April, the Lord gave me her name.
I mean, He literally spelled it out loud enough for me to hear!
Several times.  Not just once.
I questioned at first,

What?!!!  Lord, why are you giving me her name?

Then as He remained consistent, day after day, I responded,

Okay, Lord.  You know what you’re doing, even though I don’t.  I’m not sure why You’re giving her name to me, but I trust You do.

Then I wrote her name on a sticky note and dated it: April 14, 2014 at 11:45am.
I put it on my prayer board.

Lord, You know what this person needs right now, and I’m asking for Your Presence and Your Peace to surround her, and comfort her, and offer whatever it is that she needs right now.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

She is someone I don’t know, really, but we have a shared history.
See, she’s my ex-husband’s wife.
Yep.
The one.
The one whom I assigned fault to years ago.
The one whom I placed above myself, in terms of beauty, appeal…
He chose her over me. 
So many years of hurt and feeling inadequate were encapsulated by those tiny three little words.
He. Chose. Her.
Needless-to-say, she is also the one whom I avoided.
At all costs.
Like the plague.
But as time passed, my heart was softened, and after almost ten years, I reached out to her in an effort of obedience.  I was overcome with the need to forgive this woman, and more than that, ask for her forgiveness for all the terrible things I had said, done, and thought over the years.

But now – NOW – here it is about 5 years or so since even then!
Why was the Lord giving me her name?
Hadn’t we said what we needed to?
Wasn’t it water under the bridge?

The Lord became more specific with me, giving me ideas that I thought were just absurd.  Like one afternoon, while waiting for a traffic light to turn green, I thought,

I wonder if she would ever call me?  I wish maybe she would.  Is this crazy?  What could we possibly have to say to each other?
Oh, Lord, I lift her up to You, for whatever it is she is in need of right now.

And then the light turned green, and I drove on to the next traffic light without a second thought of her.

Every time her name was given to me, I prayed for her.  I didn’t know why, but it was being asked of me, so I did.

On the last Friday in April, when I got in my car to leave work, my cell phone was buzzing, letting me know I had a new voice mail.

It’s probably the school lunch room calling to remind me that there is a lunch account balance of negative three dollars.

As I turned onto the main highway, my voice mail announced:  You have one new message.  And then…

Then…

Then…

I was in tears.

She had called.

The tears kept flowing, not because of what she was saying or because she was reaching out – but because I knew instantly that the Lord had been preparing my heart for this moment.  I knew that the Holy Spirit had me praying for this woman, and I was overwhelmed with the thick evidence of His promptings.  I knew that because of Jesus Christ, what was in the past was just that – In. The. Past.  Whatever was between us long ago was done.  Finished.  I knew that now, in this moment, God’s hand on both of our lives was very real, very present, and very powerful.

I could hardly wait to call her back and just let her know that for the entire month, the Lord had been bringing her to thought and that I had been praying for her!

And what did she say?  Don’t you want to know?

The Lord had been giving her my name – He had been urging her to reach out to me!  She had sent  an email on March 20th, about two weeks before the Lord first brought her name to me, asking if I’d be willing to meet with her.  I never saw the email.  It was sent through FaceBook, but because we are not FB friends, her email was delivered without notification, to a folder that I didn’t know about.  She could tell I hadn’t read it yet.  Because I had not responded, she was calling out of obedience. She said the Lord kept asking her to contact me.  On that particular day, the Lord had told her to just call me, and stop waiting for me to see her email.

Nothing but God! That is NOTHING but God! To be the recipients of His very direct orchestration — to see the raw, real hand of God at work to bring us together —

Yes, tears. Absolute perfectly cleansing, wonderful tears!

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love.  Thank you for your guidance.  And thank you for your timing.  Your patience.  And for never letting up when I just don’t get things the first, second or third time in a row.  Father, please continue to use me and to minister in and through my life.  I want so desperately to be obedient to Your will for my life.  Thank you so much, Lord, for a new friendship that I have and for blessing us along this sometimes bumpy life journey.  And more than anything, Lord, I thank you for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who was nailed to the cross and paid for my sins.  Because of that, she and I have no history.  We have no past.  And we can go forward with a new friendship as sisters in Christ.  Praise your name, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

If you are on FaceBook, go to your messages page.  At the top left you will see the word “INBOX”.  These are the FB messages you receive notification for.  Right beside that word, in light gray, you’ll see the word “OTHER”.  This is the folder that FB sends messages to that are potentially junk mail or from people who are not in your FB friends list.  I think it depends on your personal settings.  In my case, I have FB set to only notify me of messages recieved from my friends list.  Anything else gets quietly dropped into the “other” folder.  I might never have seen her email, had she not reached out to me by calling.  However, in this case, it was just more evidence of God’s gentle urging to both of us, wihtout knowledge of His doing so in each other’s hearts.  God is so, so good.  All the time.

 

I Own A Paula Deen Frying Pan

Just one.
That’s all I need.
It’s pan-enough to handle all of my stove-top cooking needs.

My husband bought it, actually.
I’ve never fancied myself a Paula Deen fan.
Not really any kind of fan, for that matter.

I am Not A Fan.
             [Sorry, couldn’t resist.]
[But it’s true, I am not.]

This Paula Deen pan I have,
it’s blue and sort of speckled.
Not hard to miss in the sea of orange and silver pans in my cabinet.
It’s one of a kind.

Love my Paula D Pan!

Love my Paula D Pan!

I have always enjoyed cooking in that pan.
It’s sturdy.
It’s reliable.
Things cook up well in it.
The clear, glass lid fits nicely, too.
It’s easy to see what’s going on inside it.
It’s also unmistakable.
I could pick that pan out based on the sheer weight and solidness it has.
It does not waiver when it comes to even heat distribution either.

Sure, it’s over cooked some meals.
It’s even burnt one or two.
Okay, 12 or 18.
But what pan doesn’t make mistakes?

In light of recent current events and headlines,
I’m finding myself more and more fond of my Paula Deen pan.

Whenever I cook in it, or wash it, or even think about cooking in it and washing it, I am now constantly reminded of how much My Savior loves me.

How cool is that?

I mean, how wasteful and frivolous would it be if I every time I scorched a little food, or over salted it, I threw the pan away that the food was cooked in?

Thank you, Jesus, you haven’t and won’t discard me based on my mistakes and slip ups.  Thank you, Jesus, for your daily forgiveness of my sins!  I know, because of You, that I am to forgive as You forgive.  I am to love as You love.  I am to understand second chances (and third and fourth…), because You have given me so many.  Because of You, Jesus, I also know that I am not to judge others, lest I be judged by You in the same way.  I’m not to judge people who cook in Paula Deen pans, nor those who choose not to cook in Paula Deen pans.  Thank you, Jesus.

Yep, the Paula Deen pan has a permanent residence in my kitchen.
I’m going to keep it.

Do You Know Me?

This is one of the most chilling, poignant passages in the Bible to me:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Matthew 7: 21-23

I want The Father to know me, don’t you?  I want Him to know me by my name, not as an evildoer!  His word tells us that though there are many who think they are doing the will of God, they are not and they will not be known to Him by any other descriptor.

The Lord sees above all else the condition of the heart, and I believe this is where our name tags are worn.

What does your name tag say?

Father, I desire to live your will for my life, unashamedly and boldly.  I want you to know who I am, Lord.  Please help me live a life that is in accordance to your desires.  I love you, Father.  All that I am is yours.  Please empty me of self so that I may be filled with a heart easily recognized as Yours.  Amen.

Blessing at CiCi’s Pizza

Today in prayer, I asked for my Heavenly Father to cleanse me of my sinful nature, to forgive me, to take away my quick judgement of others, to help me specifically in listening to and obeying His will for my life.  I prayed for Him to empty my house and fill me up so that I could share His love the way He desires.

After church service, I asked my 9 year old where he would like to eat for lunch.  Since it was just going to be the two of us, I thought it would be a nice treat to let him decide.  Understand, I was prepared for my least favorite dining establishments to surface as his die-hard top choice.  Any of you out there with children or grandchildren, or even younger siblings, know where I’m going with this.  My idea of a yummy Sunday dinner does not include places where you can fill up your truck with diesel, buy that roll of paper towels you’ve been needing at home for 3 days and sit down to a dinner of chicken fried steak before picking up your dessert candy bar on the way to the check out register.  It also doesn’t include places with sticky tables, 74 flavors of pancake syrups and a row of “drop your quarter here to win” machines.  So when he said, ‘CiCi’s Pizza!”, I quickly agreed.  It might not be a restaurant in my top ten list, but it was in his, and a far better choice than some of the other places that share a position in that same list.  The fact that I only had $13 dollars in cash in my purse also made it easy to say “yes” to CiCi’s.

You might think that’s the blessing I’m getting to.  But it’s not.  I was, however, very thankful.

11:15am – we arrived.  I must say, if you’re going to CiCi’s on a Sunday after church, it’s good to get there early if you can.  We were the first patrons there, and it was a very different, wonderfully pleasant, experience than what I’ve had there before.  The floors and tables were all shiny and clean.  The food, all fresh and hot.  As a matter of fact, upon entrance, we were asked if we wanted any particular types of pizzas, because they would be happy to prepare them for us.  Customer service at it’s best!  We ate like royalty, selecting from a number of pizzas that seemed to be cooked “just for us”.  It was quiet.  It was peaceful.  Words I’ve never before used to describe this restaurant.  It had been years since I had last been there to eat, but I must confess now, I look forward to going back with the whole family one Sunday after church.

As we were finishing up, a homeless man walked in.  Well, I assumed he was homeless.  It didn’t take me a split second to judge him based on his clothing and the items he carried with him.  There I was judging – something I specifically prayed about an hour earlier.  I need to quit that. He wore a long-sleeved green shirt (it was 78 degrees outside!), a ragged straw hat, and carried a sleeping bag, several jackets, and a guitar with him.  I watched closely as he placed his things at a table diagonally across from us.  He seemed tired.  I looked at his face, searching for some sign of something opposite from what I was assuming him to be.  I didn’t see anything.  No smile.  His eyes were covered by the brim of his hat.  When he walked past me to get a plate of food, I was encouraged:

          Go talk to him.

What?  I know you don’t want me to talk to this man!

          Go talk to him. 

Father!  How can I go talk to him?  You know that’s not something I’m comfortable doing.

I continued to sit at my table, as my son voraciously plowed through his dessert rolls and brownies.  He was clueless as to the battle I was having.  I wondered, “Could that be the Holy Spirit nudging me?”.

          Go talk to him.

What would I say?  Father, how could I be a blessing to this man?  Look at him.  He’s wearing
his shirt inside out.  How do I know if he even speaks english?  What if he’s not a Christian?
How can I just go talk to him?

Another 5 minutes went by, with me trying to convince myself that I should not go talk to this man who clearly the Holy Spirit wanted me to engage with.

          Go talk to him.

Look, he doesn’t want any company.  See how he keeps his hat on, pulled down over his
forehead?  How do I know he’s not a serial killer?  I’m here with my young son, why should I
put us in potential jeopardy by talking to this stranger?  He is strange, Lord.  I mean, look
at him!  He’s not even taking his hat off at the table.  That’s so disrespectful.

At that very moment, the man removed his hat, and held it down in front of his face as he blessed the meal before him.

It was undeniable now – I was definitely being told to go to this man, and it was not an option for me not to do just that.  My Heavenly Father gave me a directive, and shot down my excuses when he allowed me to witness this.  LOUD AND CLEAR, I was given the command again.

          Go talk to him.

Okay, Father, I will.  But help me here.  What in the world can I do to be a blessing to this
man?  He’s already paid for his meal, because you do that when you come in, so I can’t buy his
food.  You know, Father, that I don’t have any cash to give him.  I just spent that last 13 dollars
in cash I have, plus the 5 cents I dug out of the bottom of my purse.  What am I supposed to do?

As I waited for directions, I watched as the man very carefully cut into his salad.  Was he as solemn as he appeared now, or was he lonely?  What was his story?  Why was he homeless?

You haven’t answered me, Father.  Oh, I got a pack of flower seeds today at church, and was
told to share them with someone and invite them to church.  You know, planting seeds.  Do
you want me to invite him to church?  Father, that seems silly.  Why would I give a homeless
man a pack of flower seeds?

No answer came.  No directives.  No clear instructions were offered on what I was to do or say to this man.  Nothing.  My son was enjoying far too much root beer.  We were beyond finished with our dinner.  It was time for me to obey, or time for us to leave.

Okay, Lord, I’m going.  I’m going.  I don’t know how I can bless this man, but I’m trusting you
to help me.

I told my son to stay at the table and that I would be right back.

Me:  Sir, do you mind if I join you for a minute?

The man:  No, no, just move my things over there and have a seat.

As the man looked up at me, I instantly saw his cleanliness.  His eyes, sparkly and blue, conveyed a warmth that I hadn’t seen beneath the brim of his hat earlier.  This man whom I had thought of as unkempt and dirty, now looked refreshed, well-groomed, and so kind.

Me:  I saw you when you came in, and I just wanted to tell you what a blessing seeing you has
been to me.  You are an apparent traveler, and you have a guitar.  I have a son who is a
traveler, and he carries his guitar, too.

The man:  (as he touched my hand) Praise the Lord!

As it turns out, Joe is indeed a traveler, but he is not homeless.  He left his home back in California in January of this year.  Joe is on a journey.  One he says has taken him years to begin.  Joe is 68 years old, and in obedience, is walking from “sea to shining sea”.  Yep!  He’s walking from California to our side of the country, and up the coast.  In doing so, he’s relying on God to direct his paths to people he can share the love of Christ with.

Joe and I only talked for a few minutes, but during that time, we shared as brother and sister, we prayed a prayer of thanksgiving, and encouraged each other to continue in our walks for Christ, no matter how difficult it may be at times.  And we delighted in the joy that comes from obedience.  My youngest son didn’t do as I had asked, and after seeing me engaging in conversation with Joe, came over to introduce himself.  It was a real gift to be able to share this experience with my son.

I prayed this morning for my Heavenly Father to cleanse me, to forgive me, to help where I am weak and to lead me in how to be obedient to His will for my life.

Praise God, My Father heard me, and he answered me!

All this time I didn’t understand how I could bless this “homeless man”…and as it turned out, Joe was to be a blessing for me.  I’m so happy I was obedient today, because when we are obedient, we don’t miss the blessings God has planned for us.  And, oh boy, does He have blessings lined up for us all!

2 Thessalonians 2:13

Star Wars and An Answered Prayer

Last Monday morning, after the kids had been dropped off at school, I turned the radio off and enjoyed a quiet “conversation” with my Savior.  We do that a lot – “talk” in the car.  After praises and prayers, I turned the radio back on and cranked it up loud, enjoying “The Voice of Truth”, by Casting Crowns.  During an instrumental part, a thought came to me as quick as lightening.

I’m going to start keeping a prayer journal.

As quickly as I thought that, I was interrupted by a negative.

That’s dumb, I can’t possibly write down everything I need to pray about – there’s so much I pray about throughout a day!  I might forget to write down something important!

If there’s one big thing that I have to work on, it’s definitely the self-doubt.  I doubt everything, at some point, and I do not like that.  Not. One. Bit.

The welcomed distraction of the lyrics came flowing back to focus and I didn’t think about the journal idea again…until…

At home that evening, as I was working in the kitchen and our youngest son was at the table studying for his spelling test, he said to me out of the blue, “Mom, you know that new Moleskine dad gave me this week?  I made it into a prayer journal.”

———— Wait for it.

——————-Wait for it.

————————–Wait for it.

Did you get that? !  Did you catch how our Heavenly Father smiled at me through the face of my precious little boy at that very minute?!

In an instant, I knew that my Savior was confirming His presence with me earlier that morning and showing me that I don’t have to think twice about that silly self-doubt.  He liked my idea!

So I did the same thing – I told my son what a neat idea that was and how happy I know God is over his choosing to use his new Star Wars Moleskine that way.

His Word Is Alive!

A few months back when I started this blog, my first post was the story behind the name, The Toenail.  I didn’t have scripture to back up what I was experiencing and longing for “in real life”, but I heard God’s message loud and clear:   We are all important to the Body of Christ.

Yesterday, several months after creating this blog, I came upon scripture that revealed this very same message.  How cool is that?  How I came across it is even “cooler”.  The devotion that I read (most every day) from our church referenced 1 Co 3:13.  Immediately desiring to see what the word had in store for me, I turned to Colossians 3:13.  This scripture reads:

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  Then it continues in verse 14: “And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Hmmmm.  This is great scripture – and the subject of forgiveness is always a dear one for me – but it had absolutely nothing, from what I could tell, to do with the devotion I had just read.  Then I noticed that in my devotion book, the scripture had a “one” before the initials Co.  I didn’t have a first Colossians in my Bible.  I wondered why the devotion book had placed the “one” before the initials.  Not even thinking that I could be wrong, I asked my son about it.  I’m so glad he doesn’t judge me for not knowing the abbreviations for the books!  Apparently Co stands for Corinthians, of which there is a “one” and “two”, instead of for Colossians.  So next, I turned to the correct referenced scripture.  It reads:

“…his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.”

Okay, this makes more sense with the devotion, which was about “doing what you’re supposed to do”.  Still, the conversation with my son continued, as we shared about different parts of 1 Corinthians that we have studied.  That’s when I came across the scripture – THE scripture! – the message God had so clearly revealed to me months earlier when I was doubting my significance in the Body of Christ.  1 Corinthians 12 verses 12 through 31 are so exciting to me!  It’s beautiful scripture.  Look it up!  I’m so thankful for God’s perfect timing in revealing things to us.  Had I been shown that scripture months ago, I may not have started this blog.  But because of my experience and wondering how God can use “little ole me”, He has shown me personally, allowing for the creation of this blog, and has now validated His message to me in scripture.  That is so cool!  His word is certainly alive!