Thursday, June 30, 2011

My daddy moved... and I MISS seeing my father's face!

But woe!.. at the "move" that he made!

I just wish for a moment that I could run for a visit. My mama so very, very, very much misses him too! I'm sure, a zillion times more than I ever do!

We talked about him today. But then again, when lately do we not? He's the subject of our minds. Our pivotal focus. Especially what her mind is fastly fixed upon.

They were married for 56 years! Something to boast about and be proud of in today's world. How thrilled I am that they stayed together. That they stuck it out no matter the mood or the madness of the moment. For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer. In good times and in bad. In joy as well as sorrow. In sickness and in health. To love and to cherish. Til death do us part.

They promised that. And that's exactly what they did.

They had their share of "better" times... and their share, too, of "worse"! They enjoyed a lot of "rich"... and trudged through the stressing seasons of "poor." There was a load of "good times"... and they stuck it out through the "bad." They basked in the "joy".... and sowed tears (sometimes feeling alone and sometimes  t(w)ogether) in their "sorrow" and still made it through. The "healthy" days were greatly cherished..... because there was so much "sick." And through it all... "to love and to cherish" (even when fury tempted and rage bellowed) is just how they lived.


"Til death do us part"...

Death did just that. It parted their "us".

You fail to hear those words and realize them while vowing aloud the words that the minister has you repeating. But hearing them today, thinking of them today, they ring in my ears. "Until death do us PART!" Oh! That there dare ever has to be such "part"ing!

The tearing a-"part" is excruciating. Once you've lived together for that long, you don't have a thought without the other. You're "one"..... and somehow that "one" is torn into "two".... when there's no more a "two" to tear. I know my mom can go on. But still at this point, she wonders how she can do life for the rest of hers without him? Such anguish is torturing. Agony consumes her. Fear trembles her. A vacancy envelopes her. The "hole" left inside her hurts!

I do miss my dad. And sometimes... even though she's here, I so miss my mama too!

She's (we've!) had so much loss this year! And the season for "taking" ("the Lord gives and takes away") seems far from over yet. The taking is still being took. I'm sure she feels a glimpse of Job. She finds herself in some ways, walking Naomi's same road.

And yet with Job and Ruth and Naomi and Joseph.... their lives didn't end in their despair. Though it felt often and long as if it wasn't, there still existed in the distress: hope! Hope in a Savior that saves! Hope in a Redeemer that still lives and lives to redeem... and that is the same today as He will be tomorrow and was in yesterday.

Oh wow, I miss that father of mine! And my mama misses that man that she married! She misses the one she said "I do" to... and she still wants to "do" as much as she ever did! But it's not this life that we're living here for.... for it's here that we're preparing for the move to the next one! OH, at the move that my daddy's made! He's been packing his bags and been readying for that Place for years. He just moved ealier than we had wanted him to. And mostly, I guess, we hate that he made the move without us. Oh, for when we'll see him again! And there in that Home that he lives... with another Father, the Father we long more than ever to feast our eyes upon in a real live face-to-face forever!

What a Day that will be... when I see my real Father's face!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

She was dead when I met her....

She was really cute though... for a dead person.

I didn't understand the lack of concern for her deadness from all of the people all around her. Every single one of them seemed more focused on their "issues"... their irritants... their schedules... and the weather than whether she was alive or not. And sadly, if I admitted it and were completely honest, I'd gotten used to it too... my eyes failed to see "dead" so easily as they should. I'd been around it too much and too long. I'd grown accustomed to it. It was common. It didn't really bother me much.


My failure to care was starting to bother me. It was easier not to care... but that ease didn't make it right to.

She was really cute though... for a dead person. She didn't know that she was dead when I met her... and I wasn't sure how to go about telling her that she was dead. How do you convince a person that doesn't know? Or... maybe something somewhere somehow deep inside was already telling her? Yeah.... thinking about it, I'm sure that it was/is. It's in our make-up to. It's how we're made. We don't know. But then again, something else inside seriously knows that "deadness" isn't right... and it knows that real "life" is missing!

And even then.... the conversation that I did have with the "dead" girl... was about the item she was purchasing, how hot it was outside, and her plans for the upcoming weekend. I liked her! She had loads of personality! But ouch, her language was painful! We're told that "you will know them by their fruit"... let's just say, her "fruit" was showing and you didn't have to play the guessing game and wonder. It was easily "known" from what she said and how she chose to say it.

I finished my purchase, turned and left, then it dawned on me...

Ugh! I blew it! I let an opportunity to give Life pass me by.... pass her by..... because I was busy, I didn't think about it, I was distracted with buying my own item, and in total (horrible) truthfulness, it never even crossed my mind to.

Father, forgive me for my blindness... and forgive me for my heart that's obviously too cold to care for the perishing.

"The fields are ready to harvest, but the workers are few"... perhaps it's because the "workers" are too self-absorbed without even meaning to be?

Oh wow... like I said, she was really cute (even being dead)... but woe, Lord, why didn't I care more than I did?

I love what we read that Andrew did when he found the Savior, "The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah!"" And us? How about us? Me? You? What do we do? How quick or apt are we to run to tell another?

You know, how could we really? We go about our busyness. We get our fast foods. We order our Starbucks. We read our books. We watch our shows. We go out to eat. We go to ballgames. We wonder what we'll wear to that event coming up. We doo our hair. We bleach our teeth. We paint our faces. We have our nails done. And as I said earlier, we dare to TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER!!!..... When all around us people are walking around.... "dead" people.... not even realizing they're dead..... and we go on with our living. We're too consumed in oblivion to care to take much notice. OR, maybe, just maybe, we'll decide to pray for them... when never saying a word to them while given the perfect opportunity!?!

"But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak." - Matthew 12:36.

Was this one of those times that God was talking about when He said such?

Hmmm... it's only after the embalming that it's too late to do anything else but to bury her. BUT... while she's still walking and talking?....... what do you say to the "dead" person when you're given the moment and they're standing right next to ya? Could it be that God specifically placed and put them there for that second in front of you on purpose? So that you'd do something? Say something? Make mention of Him to them? What would Jesus do if He were you and He were there when He saw her? (He's inside you, you know? He still wants to work!)

Do we even see them.. or truly even care that they're dead? Why such true lack of concern from all of us that are living? How subtly the enemy wins keeping God's people so complacently distracted.

Lord, open our eyes to see! Give us super-natural hearts to LOVE them!... because Love doesn't "not do"... Love has to do something!

She was dead. And I didn't even offer her breath, I didn't even attempt to resuscitate her, I didn't share with her the news of the Life that I've been given that breathes and gives Life eternal. It wasn't too late in my moment.... but sadly now, I'll probably never see her again...........

Oh Lord, where I failed You... and her! Oh Lord, send someone else!... Someone that sees! Someone that loves! Someone that cares! Someone that shares!.... And help me next time, to be that "someone else" that I now wish I was.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can you answer the questions He asked?


I LOVE that our Savior was one who asked questions. I love that His purpose was/is to provoke the thoughts within us to search within ourselves so that we can know the answer to which He's asking. Here are a few that we find engraved on the Holy Writ of His Scripture....... OH, how I LOVE His WORD!

 1 - “Where are you?”  (Gen 3:9)

 2 - “Where have you come from? And where are you going?” (Gen 16:8)

 3 - “Who told you that you were naked?” (Gen 3:11)  

 4 - “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Gen 3:11)

 5 - “What is this you have done?” (Gen 3:13)

 6 - “Why are you angry?” And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Gen 4:6)

 7 - “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

  8 - “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?”  (Luke 24:38-39)

 9 - “Why question Me?” (John 18:20-21)

10 - “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15)

11 - “Have I been so long with you,… , and you don’t know Me?” (John 14:9)

12 – “Who touched Me?” (Luke 8:45)

13 - “Why are you crying?” (John 20:13)

14 - “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:9)

15 - “What is it that you want?”  (John 1:37-39)

16 - “Who is it that you are looking for?”  (John 20:15)

17 - “What do you want Me to do for you?”  (Matt 20:32-33)

18 - “Do you want to get well?”  (John 5:6)

19 - “Why do you doubt?”  (Matt 14:31)

20 - “Who made man…?”  (Exo 4:11)

21 - “Is My arm too short to save?”  (Isa 59:1)

22 - “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  (Gen 18:14 / Jer 32:27)

23 - “If God is for us, who can be against?”  (Rom 8:3)

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own?”  (Matt 7:3-4)

 “Why are you bothering this woman?”  (Matt 26:10)

“Where is your brother?”  (Gen 4:9)

 “Why are you persecuting Me?”  (Acts 9:4)

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?   (Matt 5:46-48)

“Lord, what about him?” ---- “What is that to you?”   (John 21:21-23)

 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”  (Luke 12:24-26)

“What are you discussing together as you walk along the road?”  (Luke 24:17)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

She doesn't cry....

It was sad... all that she said in prison last night. It was hard to know what to say back to her. Some times answers aren't easily given. Some times solutions don't want to be heard. Some times people just need to spill, they only need you to listen. I think tonight was one of those.

We were talking about "adult children"....  Adults that never had a childhood due to the dysfuntional family they grew up in. She told us that that's what she was. She had "every trait in the listing. Pick one. Pick all of them. Every one of them has my name on it and defines me."

She said she doesn't cry... and that she hasn't cried for years. She doesn't know how to. And she's afraid to, even if she did. She wasn't allow to cry as a child. It wasn't permissible. And so now, she won't allow herself. Ever. For any reason. For anything.

She was mad when she said it. She was mad. She was mad. She was mad! She was so mad! Bitter that her tears had been stolen. Angered over the feelings that no longer have feeling. She'd gone through so much. And add to a rough childhood, she was military, she'd fought in a couple of wars. She watched friends die. Bunkmates get blown up. Bullets splattering all around her. She didn't cry then either. And, she said, that she doubted that she'd ever cry again.

Oh, at the gift of a tear! Whoever would think to be so thankful for the wetness of water sliding down one's cheek because of the liquidized feeling that sent it? Feelings hurt sometimes, but I'd rather be tendered to tears by a feeling.... than to daily be more hardened and calloused and more embittered by one because it won't produce it. We're told that "laughter is the best medicine." Maybe that's so? But maybe, sometimes, tears are too?

Last night as I lay on my bed, I begged God to send tears and to help Gerri to cry! I asked Him to fallow the ground and send rain to water the hardness that's become so dry in her insides.

"Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you" - Hos 10:12.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh Lord, You're not my servant... I am to be Yours!

How backward we too often have it. And woe, without knowing or realizing that we've even do so! How quickly we become disoriented! Hang with me hear a minute, and let me give you an example.

I was reading in a book yesterday that told of a respected Christian physician in the early 1900s named Walter Wilson. Dr. Wilson had a deep love of Scripture. He diligently studied the Bible, applying himself to doing everything he found in God's Word. And though, doing all of that, despite of all his effort, he felt his life unfruitful. He felt something was missing. He felt he wasn't bearing the spiritual fruit that we're made to.

He continued his work as a physician and a lay preacher frustratingly longing for more. In time he was met by a missionary from France challenging him with a question, "Who is the Holy Spirit to you?" Not being able to answer that to his satisfaction, the question haunted him. Then, on the evening of January 14, 1914, everything changed. Hearing a sermon by Dr. James Gray (a former president of Moody Bible Institute) preached from Romans 12:1, Gray asked, "Have you noticed that this verse does not tell us to whom we should give our bodies? It is not the Lord Jesus... He has His own body. It is not God the Father.. He remains on His throne. Another has come to earth without a body... God gives you the privilege and the indescribable honor of presenting your bodies to the Holy Spirit, to be His dwelling place on earth."

When Wilson was later able to get alone with God he said to Him [And THIS is what got me!], "My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life. I have treated You like a servant. When I wanted You, I called for You. When I was about to engage in something important, I beckoned You to come and help me perform my task. I have sought to use You only as a servant to help me in my self-appointed work. I shall do so no more. Lord, I give You this body of mine; from my head to my feet. I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without. I hand over to You. Live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind my eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet. You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. It is Your body from this moment on. Help Yourself to it...."

Wow! Could we say the same? Are we willing to give to the extent that Dr. Wilson just prayed? Would we allow God to send our body to Africa? Would we willingly let Him lay it on a bed with cancer? Uncomplainingly, let Him blind our eyes? Would we, without questioning Him, allow Him to rack our body with pneumonia?

We treat God as our hired servant. We come to Him when we want something. When we want Him to do something, heal something, give something, help something, bless something. When we want Him to move us, relocate us, position us, put us in the job or the school or the ministry we're wanting. We want Him to keep us free from all sicknesses and diseases. We want Him to prosper us and bless us abundantly. We want Him to do as we've asked Him to do. And when He doesn't... we don't believe in Him, we lose trust in Him, we're disappointed in Him. We feel defeated, rejected, alone, ignored. And because of that, we often take the matter into our own hands and do as we originally wished to.

Thinking of what Dr. Wilson said, and being where I am in my life at the moment, and also in the book that I'm currently studying in Ruth, may I add to that list of his?

Are you willing that He lay your husband down and put you on a journey of suffering? Can He take your children from you and you still trust and be willing to serve Him? We want Him to heal our loved one that lays sick or dying... and when He doesn't we shun Him, holler at Him, refuse to talk to Him, turn our backs to Him. We don't see it as the place and path that He wants us to walk in. And if we do, we quickly think (as a friend of mine once did) that if this is what God wants from us, just to be a tool or instrument for others to be blessed or learn something from, then we don't want to be the instrument He uses! That's not reason enough! 

Is it satisfactory to you if He chooses to take all that you have due to a famine of some sort or due to the destruction of disaster? Will You let Him take you to prison.... not just as a visitor, but one that serves with Him as a prisoner there along with all the other inmates? Will you feel blessed if His desire is to use you as a single, never meeting your mate to marry, but serving as His bride alone? Can He cripple your legs without your whining and writhing and fighting against Him? Can He strip all that you have and leave you homeless and you still praise His name and joyfully serve Him.... knowing that He has you in the exact place and position that He, before the foundation of the world, purposed and planned for you?

I often think of our bodies of His as His vehicles; He just needs a willing vehicle to ride in. He needs someone willing to go where He wills it to. Are we honestly willing to do as He wills... or rather, do we will Him to do only as we do? Is our motto truly "Jesus take the wheel"... or do we say that, but have our hands firmly gripping the wheel and beg Him to bless where we're willing to take Him?

Are we guilty of doing as Dr. Wilson pointed out to us? Are we guilty of treating God as our servant instead of us being His? Do we tell Him what we want to do and ask Him to bless it? Do we not like the vehicle He's specifically and individually chosen for us... whatever it is... because it hurts and it's painful and it's not what we'd like to be dressed as or doing?

When we seriously lay our lives before Him to be used as He's planned and prepared it, we get completely out of the way and allow Him to live through us... wherever and however and in whatever way He chooses.... whether that be through death to self or death through someone else or the worse case scenario that our minds can imagine.... Our true thinking is: Here am I, God, do what You want. May You use me in the manner that truly brings You the greatest glory.

It makes no difference where He places us or in what condition... we're submitted and trust all that He's doing. And knowing that we're submitted, we know that He's "doing,"... instead of believing that He doesn't care and that He is truly doing nothing at all even when we can't see Him.

What if you could hear Him saying to you now: I am seeking someone to serve Me. But I constantly find that I am the One you're expecting to serve. You bow and pray and ask Me to let you do My will... and then you turn right around and ask Me if I will do yours... all the while, fully expecting Me to do it?

Oh Lord, what's the vehicle You've chosen for me that You want to use? The vehicle of poverty, sickness, disease, suffering, sorrow...? It's easy to be excited to be used in all of the glorified things that bring us highs and makes us feel good. May I be willing even in the suffering.... because in all truth, that is mostly when Your light shines the brightest. It's through the hard that You can be seen the easiest and get the most glory.

Who (what?) in your life are you truly serving? Are you living to serve your Savior? Or, are spending your life trying to get Him to serve you in whatever the ways that you want Him to do?