Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Red to White, Lord.

The richness of unjust rampage
viewed from a platform
constructed of self-righteous stones
appears crimson.

Take heart!
Within the muddled spectrum
Light abides
and ever changes the hue from certain death
to life.

Red to White.

Hearts are changed in this way.

Hate becomes love.

And the view changes.
____

I am struggling, Lord, to find any compassion in my heart for people who are unknown to me.  I feel they have opened fire upon what is mine.  What is Yours.  Stealing.  Maiming. Plundering and killing.  Lord, I feel every strike made at their hands elevates them to a platform from which they feel invincible.  And I find myself wrapped up in wanting the worst outcome for them.  Lord, I know I am not created for this mischief.  I know You did not design me to hold grudges.  I know You are unhappy when I judge.  Please help me.  Please help our community.  Please remind us, Lord, of Your supernatural ability to heal across all of our differences and allow tenderness to not be crusted over with the scars of evil events.  Help me, Father, as I desire to think, behave, and reach out in a way that is glorifying of You.  Father God, help me rise above this miry pit of pain and ugly feelings.  Lift us all up so that we may continue in this spiritual fight, knowing that Victory is already claimed – that YOU have overcome this world.  Give us strength.  Give me the ability to see through glasses that are tinted by Your light, and not my desires for justice.  You and You alone, Father, are able to take stuff like this and suit it up to bring a testimony that is Kingdom Building.  Ever remind me of Saul, Lord, and the testimony you gave him.  Let me remember this every time I want to write off the hands that pull the triggers, Lord.  Thank you for what You have promised and for Your truth.  Thank You for the hope we have in Jesus.  Crimson dotted with light, Lord!  Turn this place into your blinding spectrum of life!!

In Jesus’s name,

Amen

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…At Peace

MEMORY CHALLENGE:

AT PEACE
free from anxiety or distress / a state of friendliness / unruffled / undisturbed / harmonious / serene

Recall a time when you felt the most at peace, and invite Jesus to reflect with you. What do you remember? How did you feel then, as compared to how you feel now, re-visiting that time?

…Alone

MEMORY CHALLENGE:

ALONE
isolated / separated from others / exclusive of anyone and anything else / incomparable / unique

Recall a time when you felt the most alone, and invite Jesus to reflect with you. What do you remember? How did you feel then, as compared to how you feel now, re-visiting that time?

“When I felt most…”

During this season of Thanksgiving, join me for a time of reflection – “where we’ve been”.  As we explore our most personal memories, my prayer for you, and for me, is that The Lord will apply His balm, His humor (Yes!  I absolutely believe laughter is a good, good gift from Him.), and His view of all the times that come to mind as we ponder the most vivid emotions we have emblazoned in our hearts.  May God also reveal His presence with you during these reflections, and may you find thanksgiving in them.  What a celebration we will have together…We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

The first challenge will be posted tomorrow!
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Love You, Mom

Recently, I found something that belonged to my mama. It was something I thought had been lost even before her death 20 months ago.  It was something very special to her, and because of that – especially because of that – it’s special to me.

This lead me to my Mama’s Box Of Stuff so I could place the item  where it belonged. When I opened the box to put the found item in, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. It was a bright yellow Dollar General bag.  How did I miss this little bag about a year and a half ago when I was sorting mama’s things, ever so carefully and in great detail, searching for and extracting memories from each picture, doodled on scrap of paper, address book and to-do list I could find?  I opened the small bag to find a signed, un-delivered birthday card…..from mama to me.  From my mama, to me!

I guess I don’t have to tell you there was a dramatic pause. Time.Stood.Still as I read every word in the card and felt the separation between the here and there caressed ever so tenderly.

LOVE doesn’t die. LOVE lasts. LOVE transcends. LOVE lives. On. and On. and On.

Mama didn’t know when she bought and signed that card when exactly it would be delivered to me…but God’s timing is always perfect, and better than anything we could ever orchestrate.  As I celebrate birthday 48, I am most thankful for the gift of eternal life…Hope in Jesus Christ….and know that a Heavenly celebration is yet to come!

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And thank you, Lord, for the gift of my mama’s love.

Mom’s Tank Top

My mom has cancer.
Pancreatic.
It’s a ferocious intruder.

Our days, 50 since her confirmed diagnosis, have been mechanical.
We’ve tended to things.
Like setting up her bedroom.
Our home.
Getting a wheelchair. And walker.  And shower chair.
We’ve taken care of paper work.
Opened our home to visitors and guests.
Family and friends.
Hospice.
Picked up too many prescriptions.
And bags of ice from Sonic.
And worn out her craving for orange slushies.
We’ve dotted I’s and crossed T’s.
Days have come, and days have gone.
Numbered.
But task-filled.

Then there was today.

       Today was hard.

Momma, still very mechanical and checking off boxes,
Showed me the pajamas she wants to be buried in.
They are beautiful.
Colorful.
Flowery.
Momma asked me to buy a tank top to go with the pajama shirt.
That I can put on her, underneath the pajama shirt.
When it is time.
For her to be buried.

So I went to Belk.
With mom’s burial pajamas in tow.
I found two tank tops right away that matched nicely.
One green, the other, blue.
Then I spent the next hour and a half, just walking around the store.
Counting down the minutes.
Until it closed.
Letting my thoughts wander, and wonder, and prepare
For checking off this final box.
A final task.

This whole thing seems surreal.
I mean, my momma’s sick.
She’s not getting better.
And even though I know this, it still feels like
When I wake up one morning,
She’s going to be healed.
In the flesh.
And having a great day.
I know this is not likely to happen.
But I still feel like none of this is really happening.
Just 3 months ago, momma was dancing at her grandson’s wedding.
Just a week ago, she was shelling a bushel of butterbeans.
And today?
Well.
Today, I bought her a tank top.
I finished her ensemble.
And a final task box is now checked off.

       I cried the whole way home from the store.
       Crying out loud for one more good day.
       One more Sonic run, with momma riding shotgun.
       One more afternoon of her sitting at the kitchen table
       Watching me unload the grocery bags
       Like a parent watching their child open Christmas packages.
       Why can’t she have one more good day?
       So at 1:15pm, I can call from work and interrupt Days of our Lives.
       Or she can sit with me outside
       And marvel at the birds, flowers, heat.
       Just one more day!
       One more day of no pain.
       And no worry.
       And no cares.

She told me which shoes to pair with her burial pajamas.
She calls them her wedding shoes
Since she wore them to her oldest grandson’s wedding this spring.
And I thought
it very appropriate
For His bride to be wearing wedding shoes
As she enters the Kingdom
of her Groom.

A tanktop.
A surrender
To what is to come.

She chose the green one.
And just like that, the box was marked with a  check.

Fighting the Need to Feed

Today marks 1 week of being on a modified Daniel Plan type of new eating life-style.

And I want a frozen Totino’s pizza.

I’m not hungry!  I just had a full lunch of homemade chicken soup with gluten-free noodles and a gigantic plate of salad.  H-U-G-E.  Piled with fresh chopped veggies.
But it’s raining outside, which physically looks like the inside of me right now.
Cloudy.  Dreary.  Melancholy.
Really a bit sad.
And wanting comfort.

Normally, I would fix that with a steamy cup of coffee  (who doesn’t love to curl up on the couch with a book and a good cup of joe when it’s raining cats and dogs outside?), but I can’t have anything sugary or really cream-er-y, so I’m not gonna.  Not a fan of black coffee yet.  My next go-to quick fix, would be something like chips.  Or a Totino’s frozen pepperoni pizza.

Have you ever had those things?  A Totino’s.

Don’t be all posh and say “Ewww….no!”.  Those little processed discs of wheat and preservatives are quite delicious.  Especially if you bake them an extra minute or two so that the crust is extra crispy.  They have a good amount of tomato sauce on them, which is like a sweet, warm filling in a crispy, salty shell, covered with mozzarella cheese substitute.  That’s what the label calls it.  Substitute.

One of the things I’ve learned from the Daniel Plan book is a rule so simple, yet, so easy to follow when planning for meals and snacks that are healthier.  Look at the ingredient labels on products.  If the list has more than 5 ingredients, you probably shouldn’t eat it.  And all of the ingredients listed should be words you can pronounce.  For instance, when I buy canned tomatoes, a good ingredient label has tomatoes, water, salt.  That’s it!  There should be no added sugar, or sugar substitutes, and no preservatives.  Easy, right?

Here’s the label for a Totino’s frozen pizza:

totinos-pizza-ingredients-2

1.  too many ingredients

2.  added sugar

3.  wheat (gluten-filled) AND added gluten

4.  look at all those chemistry words!  (sufates, aluminum…)

As you can see, Totino’s doesn’t have a placecard at my Daniel Plan table.  Is it okay to mourn this broken relationship?

And here is the heart of the Daniel Plan.  Remember I said I feel like I need comfort food?  Why do I feel like that today?  I can excuse it away and say it’s because of the dreary weather outside, but come on — I promised transparency, right?

It’s been a very high-gear 2 and a half weeks in our home.  High activity.  High stress.  Things have been out of the normal, schedule-wise.  Yet today is the last day of Christmas vacation, and our house is quiet.  Settling.  We’re all a little bit tired in our house, and a little bit down about having to go to bed early so we can get up early for school / work / life.  We have house guests whom we miss.  We are having to tie up our carefree, frayed lose ends, tucking them in nice and neat for the new year’s first full week.  We’re sad we have to set our alarm clocks for 6am.

It has also been a few weeks of sickness and death.  Flu and pneumonia and bronchitis are running rampid between friends and families.  Several loved ones who’ve bravely battled terminal diseases – some for years, some for only weeks – have been healed and welcomed into their eternal home.  That’s hard.  Real hard.  What an emotional conflict that is.  Happy for those welcomed into Jesus’ arms – but here, mourning, remembering, longing, waiting…wanting to console hearts that grieve.

It is also a time marked with change.  Change is inevitable, you know.  Whoever said “the more things change, the more they stay the same” must have been running on excessive amounts of high fructose corn syrup.  The way I see it, when things change, they change.  That’s that.  It is what it is.  The very deffinition of change is that it is different, not the same.  I have a beautiful friend who is facing uncertainties soon.  The unknown.  Change will definately occur.  This doesn’t mean bad will happen.  Nor does it mean good.  Just change.  And for the week ahead, my heart is heavy for her.

Heavy.

Now, it makes no sense that any particular type nor amount of food would bring true comfort to any of the things that are weighing on my mind this evening.  Right?  I mean, that Totino’s would be tasty, but the euphoria of engulfing a whole pie folded in half (I always called those calzones – ha!) would not really bring any comfort.  But do you know what can?

Prayer.  Interaction with the Heavenly Father!  Jesus, my friend!  Is not He where true comfort comes from?

Friends out there on the other side of the computer screen – I thank you for your encouragement – and I want you to know that the primary focus of learning how to live healthier through the Daniel Plan is by incorporating prayer into this whole thing.  Prayer!  Jesus supplies everything we need.  Every.Single.Thing.

Need comfort?  Stop with the junkfood.  The comfort food.  Turn to Jesus.

Don’t you know He is not just on standby for the big things?  He wants to be a part of every thing.  Every. Single. Little. Thing.

So as I’m craving a Totino’s Pizza, it’s okay for me to cry out to Jesus, and tell him like it is!

“Jesus – this is hard!  Life it hard.  Father, please help me right now to fight the urge to indulge in food that is not good for me.  Help me to remember quickly that my body is a temple belonging to YOU.  Father, take away my cravings and everything in me that associates down feelings, or negative feelings, with needing the high of calorie-packed, nutrient-depleted foods.  Father, I need you.  I can’t do this on my own.  Lord, you know the things that weigh heavy on my heart right now, and I ask you to take away any worry and any sadness over things that are out of my control.  Father, YOU are the one in control, and I want to trust you and allow you to work through all of this for me.  Thank you for loving me and wanting what is best for me.  Father, I yield to you.  Thank you loving me no matter what.”

Totino’s Pizza need?

Gone.

Thank you, Jesus!