My Heart's Home

June 11, 2011

Do Small Things With Great Love

Filed under: Encouragement,Faith,Freedom,Healing — My Heart's Home @ 7:23 pm

“What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”  ~ Mother Teresa 

Sometimes I feel miniscule. I am swallowed up by this big ol’ world, rejected and spit from its mouth like a worthless watermelon seed. No matter how hard I try, some individuals always pronounce me guilty. I feel like a puzzle piece trying to squeeze myself perfectly into that empty spot, but I’m constantly rejected. My edges are bruised, frayed and torn as a result. I never fit. I’m the wrong piece, wrong color, wrong shape.

I’m tired of trying to fit in.

Besides, it’s not my job to fill someone’s empty places. I can’t fix what is broken. I can’t mend what’s frayed. Only God can. It’s His job, not mine. 

When others cut deep with their words because I choose to stop playing God, I remind myself: I don’t belong to this world. This is not my home. I am only a tourist, passing through. The Judge (Jesus) , The Ringleader (Holy Spirit/Comforter) and Master Gardener (G0d) are my guides. It is these Three whom I serve and pledge my allegiance. I cannot place anyone above God in my life and I cannot try to be anyone’s God. That’s a burden too heavy to carry, so I must walk away and leave my stethoscope, defibrillator and bandages behind. The rejection comes and stabs its blades deep into my heart. I bleed, but the Master Healer is nearby, so I will learn to breathe again. I may feel battered, broken, and bruised, but as long as I continue to kneel at the foot of the cross, I will always find my way and never get lost. This heart will heal and I trust it in His hands. In this dark, cold and foreign land, The Judge, Ringleader and Master Gardener are my lamp, my shelter and my compass. I am never alone, abandoned or forgotten as long as these Three abide in me. My orphaned heart has found its home.

The Judge lowers His gavel: innocent of all charges.

The Ringleader shouts I belong under His Big Top.

My seeds always bear fruit in the Master Gardener’s hands.

I don’t need to prove my worthiness; He already did. I am worthy because He says I am. I am His child. His precious daughter. I am adopted into His family. I have been given a new name, Hephzibah: “My delight is in her.” I am spotless, forgiven, cleansed, pure, holy and accepted.

Just as I am.

Always.

I don’t need the world to confirm it.

That’s FREEDOM!

I am only one, but I can make a difference…because of The One within me.

Dear children, you belong to God. So you have won the victory over these people, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

Out of His abundant love my spirit overflows:

to do small things with great love.

Like bringing flowers to a stranger who tragically lost her husband.

Like buying a brand-spanking-new bike for a neglected 10-year-old boy who’s never had one.

Like making this painting for my elderly and childless Catholic neighbor who loves on my son.

The closer I grow to God the more I begin to:

…pray for my enemies.

…refuse to let seeds of bitterness take root.

…choose to extend grace.

I want to view the world through His eyes, reach out to others with His hands and touch others with His heart. Not because I need their approval and acceptance, but because I already am approved and accepted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I want the recipient to feel His redemption and grace, as well. I want them to feel better about the One who sent me. I want others to see Jesus in me. I want to be His eyes, His hands, His feet.

Because only I can do what God has called me to do.

And His is the only voice I will heed. All others are mute.

In His eyes I’m the perfect piece, perfect color, perfect shape.

For His perfect plan.

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9

“He told them: The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” – Luke 10:2

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ… The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 & 21-23



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June 4, 2011

Let Them Be Little

Filed under: Humor,Parenting — My Heart's Home @ 2:16 am

Today my son reached a milestone. Not the first and won’t be the last. But it was exciting nonetheless.

He graduated kindergarten (sniff sniff.)

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t one of those blubbering moms, frantic for my tissue, passing it covertly to other weepers wearing high heels, painted toenails and mascara streaks. No, not me! Never. I’m not one of those moms.

At least I wasn’t until they played that darn video. And that darn song. The kind my mind heeds a warning as soon as that heart-tugging music starts: don’t-listen-to-the-lyrics-or-waterworks-will-spurt! But it was too late. The words tempted and seduced the wordsmith in me and before I knew it she was sucked into the lyrics like dust through a vacuum. The song was Let Them Be Little and it didn’t waste any time plucking my heartstrings.

What made matters worse was that darn video was chockfull of candid Kodak moments. Kindergartners: smiling toothless grins; hanging upside down from monkey bars; sitting cross-legged on chalk-covered concrete; waving blue painted handprints; eating icing-all-over-chin cupcakes; holding newborn chicks, Easter baskets, slimy toads and each others’ hands (sniff, sniff)–a year’s worth of documented memories of my little boy’s kindergarten experience–as that darn song played!

Let Them Be Little.

I was ambushed, I tell you!

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute
How it amazes me, you’re changing with every blink
Faster than a flower blooms, they grow up all too soon

So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

I’ve never felt so much in one little tender touch
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes
Now that you’re teaching me things only a child can see
Every night while we’re on our knees all I ask is please

Let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around
It’s time to let them go

So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

Let them be little.

Ok, so I’m one of those moms. But you better not tell anybody.

I’ll just deny it.

(I don’t have the actual video, but here’s one from YouTube that plays the song. Grab the Kleenex:)

Here’s my little boy when he was three:

May 27, 2011

Never Give Up

Filed under: Encouragement,Faith,Healing — My Heart's Home @ 8:55 pm

                                                                                                                   “Never, never, never, never give up!” – Winston Churchill

Years ago I gave up. I stopped believing. Not in God, but in myself. My dream. All because I allowed someone to bulldoze my confidence. Subsequently, I lost faith in myself…my talent…my gift…my calling.

To write.

Now that dream is alive and well, despite setbacks, roadblocks, detours and a few flat tires along the way. My career careened off course all because I believed a voice that told me, “I couldn’t…I wouldn’t…I shouldn’t…”

I wish I could erase the lies I believed from someone who didn’t believe in me. Someone who had an agenda, ulterior motive, vengeful spirit. Someone who used feathers from my clipped wings to help them fly. Someone who would rather watch others trip over their own two feet instead of hailing them victor when the race is won.

Through this experience I learned to regret. I regret giving someone permission to distort my dream, weigh my worthiness, pummel my passion. It wasn’t the first time someone looked at me through a distorted lens and blurred my vision. Why did I let them drown my confidence like a rose petal in battery acid? Because I believed they knew better? Because my well of doubt already ran deep? Because they were older and wiser?

Older maybe, but not wiser.

Wisdom doesn’t automatically grow with age, only wrinkles and gray hairs do.

Why didn’t the encouraging voices drown out the ones that were drowning me? Why didn’t their sweet melody out weigh that discouraging dissonance? Why did I accept the lies all tied up with their ugly bow and discard the truth like a soiled diaper? I don’t know. Maybe it was just easier to believe and wrap my mind and heart around lies because they were all too familiar. When you live without the light of day for so long, your vision learns to adjust to the dark.

Sometimes I’m tempted to regret, but I have confidence God works all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

          So I can’t. I won’t. I shan’t.

REGRET THE PAST.

Because the plant of bitterness is watered with regret. With “should haves, would haves, could haves.” Instead, I will choose today to start anew. To believe the truth. Leave lies behind like paper dolls I’ve outgrown and don’t play with anymore.

Never, never, never, never again will I give up…

MY dream, which is God’s ultimate will and plan for my life.

This ‘dream’ might not come in the wrapping paper I choose, but it is always the perfect gift in the end. I will never exchange it for another. I will never demand a refund.

God’s word says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4) This doesn’t mean we come to Him with our shopping list of requests like He’s ol’ Kris Kringle. But when we align our heart with His and surrender totally to His will, our dreams take a shape only His hands can mold. “Yet You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the Potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 His perfect plan mysteriously unfolds in us as we allow the Master Potter to shape our lives. But first we must let go of everything that is holding us back.

 No holds barred. 

I believe today: for every naysayer who says you can’t, there will always be someone in your corner who says you can. And He has so many blessings He’s just waiting to pour out to those who seek Him with their whole heart.

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

He wants nothing more than to see you cross that finish line victorious! It’s your choice whose voice you will listen to, believe and trust. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

He has a plan for our lives. Along this road called life, we all experience setbacks, detours, roadblocks and flat tires. Fortunately, God allows U-Turns and it’s never too late to get back on the right path and let Him steer us in the right direction.

“I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress. Abiding love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. So rejoice in Him, all those who are His, and shout for joy, all those who try to obey Him.” Psalms 32:8, 10-11)

With God there is no expiration date on our dreams.

“God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn; He will never go back on His promises.” Romans 11:29

So today I choose to believe:

I CAN, I WILL, I SHALL…

Overcome. The. Past.

For God’s TRUTH tells me:

“If God is for me who can be against me?” (Romans 8:31)

“But He was pierced of my rebellion, crushed for my sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. By His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

 “For God hath not given me the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“In all my ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct my paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)

“Delight myself in the Lord and He will give me the desires of my heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Now I am learning to accept His truth like a precious gift and discard the lies like garbage. I KNOW I will cross that sweet finish line of victory, because I will never doubt again: Someone believes in me.

And I promise to help those limping along the sidelines cross their finish lines, too, by being encouraging, supportive and a believer of dreams.

For dreams can only come true if one truly believes…in the One who never gives up believing in us.

I believe.

Do YOU?

CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO WATCH AN INSPIRING VIDEO CLIP:

Never Give Up

Click this link to read an inspiring story about a best-selling novelist: Kathryn Stockett’s ‘The Help’ Turned Down 60 Times Before Becoming a Best Seller

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Mark 9:23

“In the same way, the last will be first, and the first will be last, because many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 20:16

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1





May 21, 2011

Bitter Pills

Filed under: Freedom,Grace,Healing,Parenting — My Heart's Home @ 1:18 pm

I recognize her gray hair and cringe. We share the neighborhood. She walks shoulders hunched clasping toddler’s hand. They cross pavement. She is silent, but her voice is familiar. Her rages penetrate walls and echo down quiet streets. Too often.

School buses arrive to transport students home. I park as the two draw closer. I pray for courage to approach, if led, but hope I’m not. I close car door as they walk in front. I am brave. “Do you remember me?” I smile and rub the toddler’s shiny ebony bangs. She grins and nods. I tell her, “You’re so sweet.”

The grandma mutters, “No she’s not.”

Her words hit me like a rubber band. Did I hear correctly? “What?” I ask, staring at the lady’s wrinkled face. “No she’s not,” she snaps matter of fact, confirming my hearing’s intact. Gobsmacked, I keep smiling and rub the toddler’s bangs again, “Oh, yes you are. You’re sweet, aren’t you?” Grandma speaks as if sharing a secret, her pupils shift to the right corner sockets, “Looks can be deceiving.” I want to cover the girl’s ears.

No child’s heart deserves poisonous darts.

I focus on the one who has no voice, “You’ve always been nice to me, haven’t you?” She nods then her head hangs low like her bangs. I hope she clings to my affirmative words like a buoy when that tight grasp is released. The grandma retorts, “You don’t have to live with her.” I look straight in her squinted eyes and say as lovingly as possible, “That’s MEAN!” She continues without blinking, “She can be SPITEFUL.” (Without pointing fingers I know who the spiteful one is.)

Her lips stiffen. My skin crawls.

This bitter pill is hard to swallow.

“But she eats stuff like that up whenever anyone says it.” I sense the urge to inquire about Susie Sunshine’s childhood, but refrain. Her actions speak louder than words.

I extend grace. “Must be a handful taking care of all these kids, huh?” There are four others under her ominous cloud whose wings are being clipped. “Yes, and then they want their mommy who’s at work all day.” She continues avoiding eye contact. “You love your grandma, huh?” The child nods and smiles. Grandma watches, then scowls. “No, she doesn’t. Her brothers don’t either, but that’s OK.”

 I focus again on the one who’s never heard, who’s been silent for too long. 

I see my reflection.

I enter the school and wait for my son’s kindergarten class to be excused. He runs toward me, “Mommy, look what I did today?” He hands me a crayoned picture I can’t wait to hang on fridge. I smile and give him the biggest hug. We spend the afternoon playing games, giggling and eating ice cream.

As sun descends, I swoop up my son and his favorite froggy. I place them gently on our bed. “You can sleep with us tonight.” He grins and shouts ‘Wahoo!’ Bouncing to his feet, he throws arms around mommy’s neck and kisses cheek hard.

We rest on shared pillow as moonlight cascades.

I cherish these moments. Before I know it the sun will rise and he’ll sprout wings leaving mama bird’s nest…

To soar beyond. 

With my unconditional love always within reach.

I pray all children learn to soar, despite life’s bitter pills.

The view is so much better from above.

“No other success in life—not being President, or being wealthy, or going to college, or writing a book, or anything else—comes up to the success of the man or woman who can feel that they have done their duty and that their children and grandchildren rise up and call them blessed.” President Theodore Roosevelt.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24

“Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18

“These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.” Matthew 18:6

“Provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

May 13, 2011

Colour My World

Filed under: Healing,joy,Thankfulness — My Heart's Home @ 2:37 pm

Today’s the anticipated day. It’s taken 21 and the kids in my son’s class are so excited. After folders stack and backpacks hang, the eager beavers make a beeline for the incubator. Thirty-six peeps are piping.

I love Spring—the season of renewal and rebirth. If you live in a four-seasoned state, it’s time to rejuvenate and refresh your spirit from a long, weary winter.  Time to put your best foot forward and show off those French manicured tootsies, twinkling toe rings and flower-frosted flip-flops that’s aw-dun hibernatin’. Spring is in the air! Abysmal grays, browns and whites turn to Technicolor. Pansies, petunias and peonies spring up from soil softened by seasonal showers. Walking my son to school takes twice as long. The crocus, tulips and lilies–all designed to distract–demand my undivided attention. The lilacs catch me off guard. I do an about face and stick my nose where it belongs. Their scent sends my spirit soaring faster than nose-diving spinsters during a bridal bouquet toss.

Soon sunscreen will replace schoolbooks, popsicles replace pencils and happy dances replace homework. My son will beckon my undivided attention like a gardenia-garnished garden. Fortunately, I’m prepared. I’ve stocked up on puzzles, craft supplies and chapter books to entertain when we’re not at the pool, park or panting in the humidity. He’ll also attend summer camp twice a week, so I can catch up on my artwork and writing jobs while he enjoys bus-toting excursions with his peers.

As a list maker and goal setter I’ve also written my summer To-Do’s. However, they aren’t your usual tasks like pull weeds, organize garage or paint deck. Yes, those need to be scratched off. But what tops my summertime list is to add more color to my life:

Plant marigolds, daisies and daffodils.

Paint my toenails key lime.

Poke a pinwheel in my yard.

Buy a sunflower to display in vase.

Pour red hummingbird juice into feeders.

Wear lemon, tangerine and watermelon-toned tank tops.

Make strawberry bread and homemade ice cream.

Blow Crayola colored bubbles with my son.

photo

Create artwork full of vibrant violet, brilliant blue and calming crimson.

I want a rainbow-filled summer this year.

Winter has passed; it’s been gray for far too long.


———————————————————————————–

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” psalm 126:5-6

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” – Nehemiah 8:10

May 6, 2011

Mother of Pearls

Filed under: Encouragement,Grace,Parenting — My Heart's Home @ 1:44 pm

Nacre pronounced /ˈneɪkər/[1] or “NAY-kər”, also known as mother of pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer; it is also what makes up pearls. It is very strong, resilient, and iridescent.
Let’s be honest, mothering is a thankless job. There are no promotions, no holiday bonuses, no end-of-the-week paychecks, no raises, no Going the Extra Mile awards, no sick days, no vacations and no leave of absences. There is no thunderous applause at the end of the day for a performance well done. We wipe noses, tears and butts day after day, month after month, year after year. We comfort, cook, clean, cater, chaperone, chauffeur, calm, chase, cleanse, challenge, cajole, compliment, congratulate and once a year get a card on that mother of all days.

If our kids don’t forget.

Hyperbole, perhaps, but similar to Bad Hair days motherhood can dish up some harried bad days! We’ve all been there: Leggos lodged between toes, Cheerios scattered on floors and chocolate pudding smeared on doors. Tempers, tongues and tears can’t be tamed. We ride the ups and downs of child rearing (and potty training) like a never-ending seesaw. Sometimes we need a Time Out. But overall motherhood is the best job in the world and we wouldn’t switch titles with anyone! The hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the laughter, the joy our children bring to our lives is priceless. We wouldn’t trade these bountiful benefits for all the world’s accolades and applause! (Do I hear an amen?)

I’ve only been a mommy for six years, but I’ll never forget the day that title was bestowed on me: April 2, 2005. As I held my newborn in my arms I promised to take good care of him, protect and unconditionally love him for the rest of his life.

And I meant every word.

That doesn’t mean he never irritates the heck out of me. Sometimes he does.

That doesn’t mean I don’t lose my patience with him. Sometimes I do.

That doesn’t mean he’s perfect. He’s not.

Neither am I.

Show me a perfect parent and I’ll show you the Holy Grail. Not happening. Like mothers everywhere, I will make mistakes, fail and wish I had a gazillion do over make-up days accrued on my timecard. But I don’t. That’s why grace and forgiveness are so vital to our relationship. I must be an example of God’s unfailing love and be willing to ask his forgiveness when I fall short.
I must treat him with respect and dignity, as I would want to be treated. I must be willing to let him grow into the individual God created him and not try to stuff him into some preconceived mold. I mustn’t clip his wings, so he’s fearful to fly. I must become his greatest fan, cheerleader and advocate, so when life’s blows try to knock the wind out of him, he’ll know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—someone stands in his corner, offers him a refreshing drink and won’t let him fall. A little voice inside will whisper silencing all others, “Stand steadfast with your slingshot, son, and slay Goliath!”

If I want my precious boy to sprout wings soaring confidently into the unknown one day, I cannot do this alone. I must seek wisdom, discernment and guidance from my Heavenly Father daily. I need God’s strength, grace and mercy. Some mornings I can barely open my eyes, let alone my Bible, so I’m grateful God covers me with His merciful blanket and doesn’t expect perfectionism. I just do the best I can leaning on His strength. Parenting is a huge responsibility. My most important job on earth will be:

To point my son to the One who will forever wrap him in His loving arms, long after he’s outgrown mine.

And I don’t want to be caught sleeping on the job.

My child is bound to get under my skin and irritate the heck out of me like a nasty splinter. And sometimes I’ll crawl beneath his flesh and poke and prod like nobody’s business. Living within close proximity year after year it’s inevitable we’ll grate on each other’s nerves.

As his mother I must remember my character is being shaped, molded and refined just as I am trying to shape, mold and refine his character. I need to model Christ at all times, so he will grow to reflect and mirror Christ to his family one day. This can only be accomplished on my knees in humility and reverence before my Maker and by reading and obeying His Word.

Otherwise, as an imperfect person living in a fallen world, I am bound to make a mess out of motherhood.

So next time your little one (or big one) gets under your skin (or you get under theirs), remember you are both pearls in the making:

Unlike gems that are mined from the earth, pearls are formed from living organisms.
And no pearl is ever formed without a little irritant.

May we all display shimmering iridescence, luster and a soft inner glow so we become unlike any other gem on earth.

And our children have the freedom to grow likewise.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18


April 29, 2011

Someone’s Bugging Me

Filed under: Easter,Faith,Prayer — My Heart's Home @ 6:21 pm

Call the exterminator.

I believe my home is being bugged.

The pastor shared something personal about me last Sunday. Gasp, it’s true. And I’m peeved. He almost used the exact words I cried to God the day before: ‘How can I learn to trust You, God, when I can’t even see you? It’s hard enough trusting people I CAN see.’ Ahem. Like my pastor who’s spilling the beans.

The more he spoke, the more I squirmed.

I looked around, and lo and behold, everyone was staring at me, including my pastor! The jig is up. I melted under the pew. Then I shook my head, rubbed my eyes and blinked to discover…

no one staring at me. 

Am I paranoid? Psychotic? Losing my marbles? How could he know my business? I would agree if this was a one-time occurrence, but it happens all the time. How does the pastor know what I’m thinking, feeling and going through? Every Sunday. There’s only one logical solution:

My home must be bugged.

As soon as I slid into slippers, I searched every plant, lampshade, nook and cranny in my home. I even lifted my son’s shirt hunting for that wire.

Yes, I’m kidding, but it makes me wonder: How does Pastor Tom know me so well? We’ve never exchanged more than pleasantries. No deep conversations. No tears shed at the altar. No passionate pleas. Ever. How does he know my heart’s cries? It’s perplexing. It’s confusing. It’s got me scratching my head…

searching for a bug!

Ever happen to you? The pastor’s sermon becomes a special meal handpicked off today’s menu, complete with sweet tea and homemade apple pie for dessert?  It’s uncanny. It’s mind-boggling. It’s supernatural.

It’s God.

The One who knows us intimately because He created us. He knit us together in our mother’s womb. He formed us in His image. His eyes search our heart peering into every nook and cranny, every crevice and dark place to heal, transform and renew. Like Paul Mitchell He wants to remove shades of gray, heal our split ends and get to the root of the problem.

He may be invisible, but His love is always tangible.

He uses the hands, tongues and hearts of His earthly servants to remind us we are never alone, beyond reach or without hope.

Now that’s the kind of bugs I want in my home.

“How blessed are those who have never seen me and yet have believed!” John 20:29

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15


April 23, 2011

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Filed under: Easter,Faith,Freedom,Healing — My Heart's Home @ 1:48 pm
Tags:

I realized something today; it’s taken me almost 50 years.

I’ve been carrying a heavy load.

Call me hunchback. I’ve dragged a sackcloth bag of bricks that didn’t belong to me. Fear and insecurity have been my lamplight. I’ve let someone else’s distorted vision of me taint my own. It’s even blurred my view of God. I’ve believed lies disguised as the truth. For decades. I’ve held onto shame others inflicted on me as if it were my own cross to bear.

I was enmeshed. 

Caught in a web. 

Tangled. 

I’ve cried tears I was never meant to shed for another whose eyes remained dry. I’ve been climbing a mountain that wasn’t mine to climb. I’ve been running a marathon, that wasn’t mine to race. I’ve been passing out water to spectators along the way, yet no one has offered me a refreshing beverage. My shoes are muddy, my laces ragged and my socks torn. My feet are blistered and bruised like my heart. I’ve been waiting for a new pair of shoes, but the cobbler is AWOL.

I’ve been standing in a frozen trench like a soldier in a grave, cold and forgotten, while taking the bullet for someone else. I am not bullet proof. I have no vest to guard my heart. I’ve been wounded and yet no stretchers await. I am lying on blades of glass and the shards cut deep. All is dark and silent. I’m just waiting for that last layer of dirt to bury me alive like quicksand.

But it won’t. You know why? Because I realized something today:

I am a child of God.

I can empty this backpack. I can quench my thirst. I can clasp another’s hand.

By His stripes I can be healed.

He offers me a 21-gun salute. An honorable discharge. A purple heart.

 He offers me freedom.

“It for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Easter reminds me that I am not alone. Someone has gone before who carried a cross of shame that wasn’t His to carry… He climbed a steep and rugged mountain that wasn’t His to climb… He ran a grueling marathon, giving all He had to cross that finish line and claim victory for me.

 I must never forget:

The stone’s been rolled away.

He is my infantry.

It is He who stands in the trenches for me. It is He who lifts me out of the miry pit. It is He who sets my feet on solid ground. It is He who sends His winged troops to ward off the enemy. It is He who offers me life-giving water, so I will never thirst again. It is He who removes this heavy-laden backpack, squares my shoulders and says ‘stand tall’.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

It is He who fought the greatest battle of all and won.

It is He, my Lord and Savior, who holds in His hands a new pair of shoes.

 Just my size.

Click here for song: 

He’s Alive

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.” Leviticus 26:13

“Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:29

“For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ.” 2 Cor. 1:5

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:18-20

“Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.” Isaiah 52:2

“In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.” Isaiah 54:14-15

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah 61:1

April 16, 2011

Pink Azaleas

Filed under: Easter,Encouragement,Faith — My Heart's Home @ 2:41 pm

Across from the only gas station in town it stands.

Barely.

Worn, weathered and weary. It’s an eyesore to passerby. Old, abandoned, dilapidated. Trellis broken. Pillars stained. Windows cracked. Everything about this tumbledown home is unappealing except…

On one side of the structure—amidst all the weeds, briars, vines, limbs, bushes and debris—is a patch of azaleas. The most beautiful pink blooms you have ever seen. A juxtaposition of beauty amidst squalor.

It’s a reminder to those who view the property with disgust that it wasn’t always a demolitionist’s dream. Once upon a time it was a place of love, beauty and care. Someone painstakingly planted those azaleas on bended knee. They tended them, admired them and cherished them. Gentle hands no longer prune, pluck or primp. The owners have since passed like the seasons. Cobwebs fill halls and rooms ransacked and picked over by strangers like the cotton fields nearby. The only residents are mice. Everything about the place screams ‘forsaken’, yet flowers bloom despite all.

Spring has come and with it breathes new life weeds cannot choke silent.

Hope’s reborn.

I know this place well. I strolled porch steps in Mary Janes and high heels. I swayed in that rusty swing. I roasted pecans culled from backyard limbs. It was my paternal grandparents’ home. It’s where I gulped the sweetest tea, gnawed the saltiest ham and satiated hunger pangs with boiled peanuts. It’s where my grandma quilted, sewed and knitted. Where her fingertips tap danced across piano keys and wrapped around my heart. It’s where my grandpa, who died before I was born, practiced his sermons. It’s where I played Scrabble and tried couscous for the first time. It’s where my biological father lived at 69, surrounded by wall-to-wall books, his only prized possessions. It’s where we once shared a 12-hour phone conversation. It’s where I slept. It’s where I stepped into a porcelain bath.  It’s where I walked creaky floors. It’s where my grandpa and his bookworm son took their last breaths.

It’s where my grandma tended garden.

This home may be forsaken, but never forgotten.

Those beautiful pink azaleas are like my grandmother’s voice whispering hope to me: Never give up. Persevere. Despite life’s ugliness…beauty and love transcend all.

Before we know it life can fall apart at the seams. Heartache can strip away our joy like peeling paint. Sin and sorrow can engulf our heart and mind like twisting weeds and vines, depriving our spirit of nourishment and life. Will we plow through trials, tragedies and turmoil to triumph against the odds? Will we sink in muck and mire or boldly stand our ground, flourish and thrive despite our surroundings? Will we be overtaken or overcome? Will we uproot evil with good?

Easter is a reminder that God’s love is boundless…It even trumped the grave.

Let beautiful azaleas also remind us love and beauty are more powerful than all the depravation of the world. Amidst the sin, darkness and evil lurking to pull us under and do us in…love, hope and joy must always persevere and overcome.

Let Christ restore, transform and resurrect the broken, forsaken and lifeless. Spring has arrived. He is Spring. He redeems the dead.

Let the flowers bloom.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13


April 8, 2011

Just Say No

Filed under: Prayer — My Heart's Home @ 7:01 pm

Just Say No DecalEver received a chain letter? I have, several times. I’ve copied them, transferred names, mailed the dishcloth, recipe and whatnot on numerous occasions. Once, something actually came out of all my work. I received a cute dishcloth back. Just one. Not several, which was the whole idea initially. So now I don’t do chain letters anymore. Too much effort for far too little results. I choose to use my time more effectively these days.

But I always let the person who sent me the chain letter know I was opting out.

Usually at the bottom of such letters is a statement like: “if you are unable, unwilling or uninterested in participating in this please let me know, so we can remove your name from the list and the process will not be interrupted. Trust me, my feelings will not be hurt.” I recall including this statement in a chain letter I sent several years ago to at least six friends. Only one of them ended up participating and replying. It made me curious: why did the others not reply? Did they feel they’d hurt my feelings in the long run? I don’t understand sometimes why friends are hesitant to be open about their feelings with one another.

A chain letter may be a trivial thing, but it made me wonder if we are not comfortable in being forthright with one another in the little, seemingly insignificant things like a chain letter, what about the larger, more important issues in life? Will we be timid there also? Like speaking up against a brutalizing bully? Like sharing our view on celibacy amidst our non-Christian single peers? Like taking a firm stand against social issues that God in His Word clearly opposes?  JUST SAY NO!!!

We can’t sit silent, passive and afraid to offend if we want to be effective in God’s kingdom.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”  Psalm 56: 3-4

So many churches nowadays water down the gospel and avoid controversial subjects because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, possibly face empty pews or fewer checks in the offering plate. Hogwash! If that’s the case, that’s not the kind of church I would want to be a member of! Did Jesus avoid stirring waters? Did He not make people question things? Did He shy away from the Pharisees, kings, rulers of His day? No, Jesus was definitely not a passivist!

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3

Too many times we don’t let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ or our ‘no’ be ‘no’ and we end up in avoidance traps by our tip toeing, tap dancing and hemming and hawing our way around things. That’s how Christians become wishy-washy compromisers and nobody has a clue where we stand, including ourselves.

Ever heard the saying: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I believe it.

We need to know what we believe and have the courage and confidence to live it out. Maybe women are fearful of being bold because they confuse it with being aggressive. I grew up being very passive, so I know how hard it can be to speak up and voice an opinion, but I was a child then. Now I am an adult woman who belongs to Christ, so it’s time to be bold and courageous about my faith and convictions.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” 1 Cor. 13:11

Let us boldly speak truth in love, just as we want truth spoken to us.

“Devote yourselves to prayer…praying…that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of  Christ…making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned , as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:2-6

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

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