For the love of God

Nothing thrills me more than to write a misleading title that draws people into my blog and then I get to shower them with humor and love and just a general, gotcha! I’m so easily entertained.

OK, so picture a bride and groom standing at the front of the church… stars in their eyes, hearts full of love, they cannot imagine life without each other. Hopes are high; emotions are at a fever pitch. Each person puts their whole faith and trust in the notion that the other will make them happy.

And then life happens.

Children are born and grow, bills come every month, family causes distraction, careers take their toll… life has a way of shooting super-strength blades of grass up through the toughest concrete. Nobody can stand up through it all.

That sparkling bride and groom are the concrete and the blades of grass have begun to break through. Our sidewalks are full of cracks and broken places and we need help and healing. Where can we look? We can look to the love of God.

We can’t expect someone in our life to fulfill all our needs. It’s not humanly possible. It may seem to be everything we need at one point in time, and that bubble may last years, but there comes a time when our broken places can only be filled up with the love of our Father God.

Seek after God and His perfect love, and then our cracks can begin to mend, our potholes can begin to be filled up again. Instead of focusing on our hurts, focus on His promise to heal them.

He is the answer-giver, He is the way-maker, and He knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8).

The love of God is there for the taking, I encourage you to go wrap up in it tonight.

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Please receive the following e-hug

People have asked me why on earth I started a blog. I tell them, it’s not to blow my horn, but to show people that my horn sometimes blows.

We’re in this thing together, you know? We are all we’ve got! By writing about things on my heart and posting it out there for the world to find, I hope I can bring a few more souls into my little circle and make them feel like they’re not alone in their follies and foibles.

God said it is not good for man to be alone. Well, I’m in agreement. And when I see that a hundred people have read my words, my heart swells knowing that you are here with me.

Not everyone can relate to all my musings, but I hope all of you who stop by can relate to something I say, and receive the digital hug I’m sending out.

God bless you all; thanks for reading. Have a great week!

My interview with the Queen

My grandma is 89 years old, the two of us are exactly 50 years apart. She will be 90 in March, and I told her if she died before her birthday, I would pray God raise her from the dead so I could slap her for leaving me. We have a slightly off relationship. But if you know me at all, you understand.

I think she looks like Queen Elizabeth so I’ve been calling her The Queen for the last few years, especially since Grandpa passed away and she doesn’t have anyone at home worshipping her.

Grandma spent some time in Tulsa over the Holidays. She’s the one I blame for all the fruitcake eating. But we had a wonderful time visiting, and pondering, and problem-solving, and talking about family members and their ailments.

She paid me a compliment that has been ringing in my ears for weeks. I’m not sure it actually was a compliment, but I’m going to take it as one. She told me I was aging beautifully.

Hmmm, not sure how I feel about that. Aging beautifully? Uh, thanks?

But the truth of it is, she has aged beautifully. She’s served God her entire life, she’s raised children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She’s been a leader in her church as long as I can remember, probably since before I was born. She is a precious and Godly woman; and she’s feisty to boot.

Great combination.

Steady, trustworthy, loyal, and overflowing with love for God and family… if that’s what aging beautifully means, then I’ll take it.

Guilty dog syndrome

How did my dog not have enough energy to jump in the car without help after his session at doggy daycare, but he did have enough to tip over the trash can and spread it all over my kitchen? That’s the last time I give him an Advil wrapped in a piece of turkey… the little turkey. And it was the last piece of turkey, no less, which is why the tastylicious container was in the trash, beckoning him.

I love my dog so much; it’s a little scary. And it’s impossible for me to discipline him. He already knows what he’s done anyway. This morning when I came into the kitchen, he was sulking, head-down on his bed, guilt in his eyes. Normally he would be all happy and waggy and snuffling my legs while I turn on the blessed Keurig coffee contraption and stand there like a crack addict waiting for a fix.

There is  no need to scold him, he has already chastised himself. And don’t we do that very same thing when we screw up?

We know when we’re wrong, we know when we’re not glorifying God in our actions. We know when our attitude stinks. God doesn’t have to point it out to us. But we tend to beat ourselves up anyway, which many times leads to further trouble.

God doesn’t want to beat us up, why should we?

Today is a new day, and even if you knocked over the trash can last night, you get a fresh start. God is in the business of love and forgiveness, not punishment and grudges. It’s right there in black and white. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NIV).

Whew! That’s all I can say!

Consider (not sniffing) the lilies

Lilies are beautiful. Their fragrance is delightful. Their fragrance is heavy. Their fragrance gives me a headache. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

I had this amazing candle once; its scent was blood orange and bergamot. I’m sure you’re thinking right now, what in the heck does that smell like? Let me tell you, it was incredible, a really unique and pleasant scent… to me.

However, Lynn came home that evening and began coughing a little, then he told me his throat felt constricted, then his face got red and started to swell up. My pretty candle had created an anaphylactic situation for him. Not pretty.

What may be heaven-on-earth to me, might be hell-on-earth to you.

We are all unique and different, and God made us. God made us! In His infinite wisdom, which I will never quite understand this side of Heaven, He made us the way we are. He made me like blood orange and bergamot, he made Lynn like something else.

But neither of us is wrong.

Psalm 139:14 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and God didn’t make mistakes when He created us. God didn’t make mistakes anywhere, but we sure do. And we make messes in our lives that may seem unfixable, insurmountable, but they are not. God is able… more than able to fix our messes, to pick us up, dust us off, and send us on our way, if we will only ask.

No matter what situation might be going on in our lives, God is able to make it right, God is able to work it out. And He can work it out in a way we never expected. And He wants to… because He loves us. His love is so much bigger than we can imagine. If He can make the scent of an earthly flower powerful enough to smell up an entire house, can you imagine what He is capable of doing for you and me?

He clothed the lilies in beauty and gave them the richest fragrance, and they are mere vegetation! We are made in His own image, we are His beloved children.

God can soothe our wounds and clothe us in beauty, and He wants to, but we have to reach out to Him. God is a gentleman, He will not intrude upon a situation where He is not invited, so invite Him into your garden. Ask your Father for help.

God, you are welcome in all my secret rooms.

Turn off the voices

Have you seen The Help? Was it not hilarious and yet gut-wrenching? I’m not the only one who just hung on the line, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”

That got me thinking… what are we saying about ourselves? What are other people saying about us? What does God say about us?

Which one do you line up with?

I’ve told you many times that one of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (NIV)

We usually apply this when we’re trying not to kill someone, right? Well, I have a whole new use for it… I can apply it toward thinking about myself!

Why should I think about all the things that are wrong with me? Why is it so easy to dwell on those things? I don’t lay in bed at night and think about all the great things I got accomplished, I think about what didn’t get done! How crazy is that?

Yes, I don’t still fit into my high school jeans, yes, my house is messy, yes, my son is critically lacking in his math enrichment points, but you know what? It’s OK. I have other qualities that overshadow my shortcomings and I can choose to dwell on those. Jaxon has areas that I fuss at him about and am constantly working on, but you know what? He has areas in which he outshines the brightest star. Why don’t I dwell on those areas?

When I’m having a bad day, my child wraps his precious arms around me and says, “I love you Mom; you don’t even know how much.” And my heart just melts. Compare that to a chart of math points and it’s laughable. Which would YOU rather have?

Do you see my point?

Sometimes you need to turn off the voices that tell you you’re not good enough, or not smart enough, or not spiritual enough, or not ANYTHING enough.

I’m here to tell you, you most certainly are enough. The Bible says you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loved you, you are the head and not the tail, you are above and not beneath, you are a winner and not a loser and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

Chin up! You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are the apple of God’s eye.

Turn off the voices that say anything else.

Smile and move forward

The jeans are unyielding, their smidgen of lycra stretched to capacity. A little fruitcake here, a little chicken divan there, and poof! I’m growing an extra chin.

I declare war!

My husband bought me some great new tennis shoes that make me feel like a fashionista as I circle the neighborhood. I have an iPhone now so that little miracle of technology can track my mileage, count each step, calculate my calories burned, and probably jump down, turn around, and pick a bale of cotton, too.

I will prevail!

I have no excuses!

No new taxes!

Oh wait, I’m not running for office.

But I am running for my life. I need to be well and fit for my family, I need to be healthy and strong to do what God has for me to do this year, whatever that might be. And I really need the endorphins. Nobody told me about how it feels to be 39 (for a few more weeks!) The body starts creaking a little, and I’m feeling the overwhelming urge to eat dinner at 4 and go to bed at 8. Nobody told me about the involuntary moving of the page away from my face as far as my arms will reach in order to read it. That one I find particularly humiliating.

Nobody told me a lot of things, but you know what? So what? I’m over it. I’m just gonna smile and move forward! I encourage you to do the same!

A beefy New Year

Forget black-eyed peas, what I really want today is beef with broccoli. I honestly believe that beef with broccoli is the perfect food. Protein and vegetables. Skip the rice, skip the fortune cookies, just meat and vegetables. Perfection.

We have a little Chinese restaurant not far from us called Happy House, and it really does make me happy. I’m starting a letter campaign to convince them to deliver. Come on now, can you imagine how much more money they would make if they delivered? Living in New York City as a teenager really screwed me up. Chinese food can be delivered to your apartment any time, 24/7. And they’ll deliver it absolutely anywhere in the city, and speedily. We once ordered Chinese food for a homeless guy, figured he could use a good meal. And the dude was very grateful. Although I don’t think moo shu pork was the best choice for him, kind of complicated to eat. And that brings me back to beef with broccoli, it’s just dang good.

Using lean beef and very little oil, it can be on your New Year’s diet too; at least that is what I’m going to tell myself.

Happy New Year, my friends. Thanks for hanging in here with me in 2011, and I wish you all a fantastically blessed and prosperous 2012!