Things I learned from Pretty Woman

Slippery little suckersThe way I reference movies in this blog, you’d think I was a major movie buff like my friend Bo or my cousin Marcia. I’m really not, but I tend to think of examples from movies to make my point. Who knows why.

So, you know that scene in Pretty Woman where he tells her that she’s a very bright, very special woman, and she responds, “the bad stuff is easier to believe”?

Why is this?

This morning I read a scripture that I’ve seen a thousand times, but in a new light. (Amazing how that happens if you stick with it.) John 16:33 AMP says, I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

It’s a really good promise, right? And it’s easy for us to believe the first part of this verse, but the second part? Not so much.

I know very well that in this world I will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but am I equally confident in the promise that He has overcome the world, and deprived it of its power to harm me?

That’s harder.

Through His work on the cross, Jesus Christ overcame the world, for me. But to live my life inside the protective benefits of His accomplishment, I have to believe it and act on it, by faith… taking steps, even leaps, without seeing the floor. His Word and His promises will sit there with no power unless I believe them and act on them.

So this morning, I thanked God that through Him, I am an overcomer. I thanked God that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I reminded the devil that he is defeated through the all-powerful and all-encompassing Blood of the Lamb which covers me and my family. And I forged ahead.

And when I slip and fall, which I tend to do, God will catch me and perhaps exclaim, “Slippery little sucker.”

A year has gone by

A year has gone by in a blink, and yet much has changed. The ground around her grave marker is level and the grass has filled in. Her grandchildren are taller and more amazing, if that’s even possible.

Her laughter is softer in my mind, but the lessons I learned from her are as sharp as ever. The warmth of her hugs has faded but her legacy burns brightly.

Life has moved forward and things have changed, but our faithful Father God has not. Jackie is missed here on Earth, but she’s rejoicing in Heaven with many loved ones. And God’s loving arms have encircled those of us left behind without ceasing. He is so good.

There is joy here, there is love here. There is family here.

My heart aches and soars at the same time.

Love you, Jackie.

Shifting shadows

Shifting shadowsThere is change on the wind. I pulled out a sweatshirt this morning and huddled under a throw blanket while sipping my morning brew. I have embraced the reality of truly needing reading glasses in order to see my phone, especially first thing in the morning. These are new things. Summer is coming to a close and fall is inching closer. Sure, we’ll still reach 100 degrees another time or two before it’s gone for good, but we’re almost there. And you know what? I like it. Actually, I love it.

I love change, I totally embrace it. It’s invigorating. It does not rock me because no matter what changes all around me, I know that my God doesn’t.

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17 NLT)

He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

What exactly is a shifting shadow? I had to really think about that. What I came up with is a picture in my mind of a tree. The sun is shining from one side of the sky, creating a shadow on the ground. Now fast forward several hours and the sun is in a different place in the sky, and now, so is the shadow. That’s a shifting shadow. It moves with the passing of time. The tree looks different in the changing light. The ground underneath looks different in the changing light. The shadow will move all around throughout the earth’s rotation, and things will look different at different times of the day. Things will be different. That’s life, but not God.

God doesn’t rotate. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

You have a new job? Same God.

New home? Same God.

How about this one… a new normal? Same God!

Isn’t that a comfort?

New environment, same God.

Whatever new challenge you’re facing, whatever life-change you’re dealing with, God is the same God that has always been there for you, with you, and in you. He does not change, and He will not leave. He is not a man that He can lie. He is trustworthy and steady and faithful. You can trust Him.

Dig in

Dig inWhen I was a little girl, I was a bit of a tomboy and spent a lot of time outside. On nice days you could find me up a tree or walking through woods or wading through a creek. I also loved to dig holes. I really cannot imagine why and probably need therapy, but I dug holes. I remember digging down through the sandy soil, down to the hard clay level, and it would be cool. No matter how hot the topsoil was, that clay level was cool.

The things of God are like that. It takes time and dedication to get down to the cool level. The Bible says that the Word of God is life to those who find it, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:22). That says to me that we have to find it. Finding something means you had it look for it, you had to pursue it.

Life is hard and the sandy topsoil level can be really bleak, but if we’ll dig into God’s Word and pursue His precious promises that are there for us, we’ll find relief.

Evil little tattoos

Jaxon had to learn the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. The kid has an amazing capacity to memorize, it’s really astounding. He can rap too, which cracks me up, because that is about as likely for me as growing a second head.

In his learning, I also learned quite a bit… of course I already knew the whole thing, being a preacher’s kid and all… NOT!

But here’s the part that was the kicker for me:

(Love) It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV).

Hold the phone. Love keeps no record of wrongs? Are you kidding me?

How do we keep the things that hurt us from being burned into our minds like evil little tattoos?

Here’s what I know: Go to the Rock. Not the rap… The Rock. A head-full of painful memories profits us nothing. A head-full of the promises of God keeps our hearts soft, and our ability to forgive firm. God’s promises keep our minds focused on the good in people, not the bad.

God’s promises fill the craters in our souls that the storms of life have left behind. We just have to open The Book, and go to The Rock.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them (Psalm 119:165 KJV).

My peace is only complete when I am resting on God’s precious promises. And His Word never fails me, never. It won’t fail you either.