Saturday, August 20, 2011

A coat of many colors...

A friend tagged me in a picture she posted on Facebook. Beneath the picture she said:

Life is like a coat of many colors...

"So many things that seem just so wrong at the time, quite often end up being blessings in disguise, if we manage a right attitude. ‘Unjust’ can eventually unfold life in a whole new direction and give life a whole new meaning. Don't forget God filtered it, allowed it, and can recycle it for His glory and our benefit"~Kay Wharram Jantzi.
Remember the story of Joseph who, despite being enslaved and imprisoned, rose to the tops ranks of power in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. Joseph became the salvation of many, including his own people, and his story is a classic illustration that “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” ~ Romans 8:28. When you “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, He will direct your paths” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6...We can trust our lives to Him because He knows the master plan and weaves every thread of our lives, even the mistakes, into a perfectly finished picture. Release yourself today into the capable hands of a Master designer who imagined the very stars in space and suspended them, one by one, by His words. Like a coat of many colors whose threads carefully hold together each piece of the garment, they are a simple reminder that the light of every day and the sparkling lights of each night are just parts of a carefully designed, complete and beautiful universe, created by a brilliant, but very personal God of your each and moment.
I commented back to her: "Wow, Tillie, powerful! Do you know what spoke to me most? Putting your words with the visual of the picture..... and seeing the different people in the coat with its many colors.... perhaps this is a picture of our Savior with us in His person?? But also, I picture it as a picture of us individually... with all of the people that God puts into our lives (some good, some bad, some ugly ((*smile*))... some easy to live with, some a joy to, some hard, some that push our buttons, some that hurt us).... but each one, each person, God specifically put there... to mold and to make us, to smooth and to shape us..... every person, even the ones we don't want or wouldn't choose, has HIS purpose.... to make us as He wants us.... to conform us to Him!"

Okay... maybe a weird way of thinking(???), but one that hit me profoundly!.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Partying in the Prison!

We had a party in the prison today. (I LOVE those girls!) We were celebrating a course we had just completed and readying ourselves to get started on a new one.

I told them that instead of us bringing food in to celebrate that I wish we could take them out to Red Lobster or somewhere instead... promising, of course, to the warden that, "We'd bring them all right back." Oh, wouldn't that be fun!!! They laughed at the picture. Most agreed with the want-to. And another (one of my favorites) said, "I don't know. It'd be bitter sweet. After we left and we were exposed to such freedom and indulgence... it'd be hard, almost cruel, to have to come back."

The truth of her statement both stunned and saddened me. I saw her point. And I knew she was right.

My youngest daughter came home from shopping the other day with a bird! She'd gone and bought herself a Parakeet. It was totally unthoughtout and unplanned. A non-restrained impulse of some crazy moment. And though she's such a pretty bird, her clipped-wings and caged imprisonment horrifies me! How cruel it seems to take such a thing of beauty and set it up to such cruelty for a dollar, to make a buck. Watching the bird took my mind back to the girls.... who once sold themselves for "a buck" (or something as frivolous), and their wings have been clipped... and satan first, then man, has caged them because of what they'd sold themselves to or to do. I have such a want to open the cage, to push them out, to give them their freedom, and for them to be able to fly again!

And then I thought.... that's what Christ wants! That's why Jesus came! He hates and is grieved and full of sorrow at our imprisonment. He came to set the captives free! He died in their place, so they could be freed to fly again! Soaring like on the wings of an eagle!!!... Now that's the kind of Savior I serve!

"But those that wait upon the LORD SHALL renew their strength; THEY SHALL mount up with wings as eagles..." ~ Isa 40:31.

AMP, "But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] SHALL change and renew their strength and power; THEY SHALL lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles..."

NIV, "But those who hope in the LORD WILL renew their strength. THEY WILL soar on wings like eagles...".... THEY WILL..... THEY WILL!!!... THEY WILL soar on wings like eagles!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I had a dream...

I had a dream last night...

I was at home. I was busy about doing whatever it is that I'm usually busy-about-doing when my doorbell rang. Upon opening the door I saw that it was one of my recently released prison girls that I had picked up and spent some time on the outside with standing outside with a male friend. I quickly realized that they hadn't come for a friendly visit. They roughly began waving the two guns that they'd drawn while pushing me back inside. They had come for whatever it is that they could find inside to take with them when they left.

The weird thing about it was that (in my dream) the guy was going to kill me. I turned to the girl that I'd come to love and done so much for and laughed while saying, "You're kidding, right?" 

At first I was too stunned to grasp the concept of what was actually happening. 

She responded with, "No." They were not kidding at all.

And again I said, "Really?"

To which she nodded and answered, "Really!"

I turned to her then to see her seriousness and while holding a finger up (as in a motion to  say "wait a minute") I said in the sweetest, calmest voice and a heart that had been flooded with peace, "Can I write a quick note first... to leave for my children?"

Stunned by what I'd said, they gave me permission.

Grabbing a sheet of paper and a pen I saw myself write, "My time is done. Now it's your turn. LOVE those girls... and care for them. They need you!"

And I meant it. I knew they'd need them. And in my dream, I knew that my death would be the vehicle that God was planning to use to endear my children to them so that every jailed prisoner there could hear Him.

Believe it or not, I woke with a smile.... for in my dream I knew my calling, and I knew that God knows when I'm finished and my calling's done. My life is in my Father's hand, not in the hands of any human. I'll be finished when I am, and not a second before then. And yeah, I hope my kids pick up the baton and continue what God's given my heart to do...... but only if He's given them to do that calling too.

I must admit that I was a bit surprised that I didn't write on the page how much I loved them. But then again, I know that they already know, for I don't waste a minute, I remind them a zillion times each day. The critical reminder of the moment was that God was in control and I wanted them to allow Him to not let the happening be in vain, but to redeem and use every bit of it. For what man intends for evil, God always intends to use for good! There's not a thing that man can do that God cannot redeem and bring great good out of! Is anything too hard for the Lord? Is His arm ever too short to save? :)

I LOVE the wonder of Him!... and also His plan... even when we don't understand it.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Which side of the "but" are you on?

"Weeping may endure for a night,....... but joy cometh........... in the morning." ~ Ps 30:5.

Weeping may last.... it may lodge.... it may stop over..... it may abide.... it may remain.... it may dwell.... it may tarry...... it may continue

for a night....



As encouraging as that verse can be, the hard part is not knowing how long "night" is....... and our quick want is to be on the right side of the "but"!

We hate the weeping, the bewailing, the tears, the lamenting. We're anxious for morning. We long for joy to hurry in its come! It's agonizing to be left for too long on the left side of the "but"...... We like hard things to hurry on its way. We don't like them. And when they don't, it's quickly discouraging, it's despairing, it's depressing.... it's a hard pit to linger in for too long.

I told God just the other day that, "Sometimes, Lord, the season we're in feels more like a sentence we're serving, rather than a season of time on a Holy Heavenly calendar. We long to be paroled, God, to EOS (End of Sentence), and to be freed and released from its pain-filled prison."

And sometimes too? It seems as if we're ping-ponging back and forth, being smacked from the right side of the "but" to the left in only a matter of unforeseen seconds. We're teeter-tottering between the two, battling for the victory to settle on "but"'s right side.... but it isn't easy, because this world can be mean, the enemy's relentless, and every day life's a fight as it tries to keep you on the mourning side.

Knowing God's scripture, while you weep, you continue to hope in God's promise: "those who sow in tears WILL REAP songs of joy".... You believe it's fulfillment. You sow as hard and as sincerely and humbly as you've ever sown... looking and longing for your tears' harvest... the songs of JOY that's your for sure known and expected end. You hang on to its word, knowing that God is still (always is and always will be) a Giver of GOoD, and always, too, a Worker-Outer-for-GOoD-of-ALL-things for those that love Him. You're extremely thankful for each and every blessing... and your heart's greatest longing is for the Blesser Himself.... for in your circumstances you've never been more aware that it's Him and Him alone that is your greatest desire and greatest gift.

But still.... wow, sorrowful's or hard's season wants to rob you and totally deplete you of joy's strength. Again though, your encouragement lies in the "but"..... even while you still weep!