Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Little Girl Within -- A Memory of Mean Girls

Thinking back, as a fifth grader I would have described myself as feeling “yucky” inside. I tried to do my best. I tried to be happy, but there was a part of me that was scared, lonely and confused, like a little lamb.   A pack of mean girls moved in on my life and set up their den around my heart.  
I don’t know what happened initially, other than we had just moved from Virginia to Illinois the previous year and the mocking began when I answered “Yes ma’am and No ma’am,” (in a Southern way) to the teacher’s questions. It just grew from there like mold on bread. I was a relatively naive child.  I wanted to be friends with people, but for some reason outside my understanding, was not going very well.  It was a long year -- make that, two years.
They made fun of me. They poked at me with pencils and compass tips. It hurt, leaving small puncture wounds not only on my body, but on my heart. They took things from me and then lied. It seemed like at every opportunity, they circled around me and loomed over me, breathing down my neck, instilling fear in me around every corner.  I felt vulnerable and violated. The pack was so domineering; I don’t remember having any other friends. Maybe everyone was scared of them, too.
The funny (or really not so funny) thing is that I don’t remember my teachers protecting me, either. Maybe I did not speak up; maybe I was afraid that I would get in trouble or be ridiculed even more. I did not feel safe at school. I hated feeling unprotected and alone.
I felt like something was wrong with me.  Why else would they treat me so cruelly? I did not know what to do. I cried myself to sleep almost every night, under my pink and white gingham comforter, asking God to make tomorrow a better day. Finally, in seventh grade, things began to turn around; a new school helped in making new friends.
Still, once in a while I do still struggle with the memories and the effect that they had on me.  I have to fight off a first response of thinking that there must be something wrong with me when I come up against others who are unkind. I can feel the “yucky” emptiness rise up inside of me, and I know that I have to stop, acknowledge it, and ask the Lord to help me embrace the truth.
 The truth is this -- what others think of me and how they treat me does not determine my value. Their actions do not mean I am the problem. God determines my value, not other people. The truth is that He says I am a treasured possession, dearly loved, and bought with a price, His beloved.  The truth is that I am not alone.
I was just a little girl. I hated that time. It takes no more than a hint of bullying or oppression, a mere brush with a mean girl, and I am right back to those difficult moments, feeling the pain,  the sorrow, and the loneliness, but somehow I can see how God has redeemed the years that the locusts (those mean girls) have eaten (Joel 2:25).
Although I do not understand why God allowed it to happen, I can see  that He is using it to give me a great compassion and love for others, especially for those who feel left out and “less than,” and in addition, I am learning to love myself and honor that little girl within, as well.
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Do you have a story to share about the little girl within you and what God is showing you about yourself and Him? Please click here to read the introductory post to this series. Included at the bottom of the post are guidelines for submission. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Little Girl Within -- A Start to a Series

The Little Girl Within – deep down inside of us, her heart still beats.  She does not speak with audible words, but with the words and emotions of the heart. She is as much a part of us now as the woman we were yesterday is part of our today. 
The Little Girl Within she has stories and she has yearnings, but sometimes those yearnings were not fulfilled. Rather, along the way they were damaged, destroyed, or neglected. 
She had yearnings to be appreciated, to not be forgotten, to dream, to be allowed to try and to be accepted if she failed. She desired to be embraced despite mistakes, to be nurtured, to feel like a priority, to be heard, and to have a voice.  She hoped to be allowed to cry, to be comforted, to be protected and to be safe. She longed to be forgiven, have her apology accepted, her life cherished and to be held. She wanted to be special and to be loved.
The Little Girl Within – do you know her? Perhaps we brush her aside or think she has grown up, avoiding her heart and her stories – our heart and our stories.   Truth is, I’m not always aware of her, but once in awhile, I find myself right back to where she was, remembering what happened to her. I can recall when she was disappointed, when she was afraid, when she was lonely and when she was hurt, and I can see why I sometimes fall quickly in to the same feeling now, and how it impacts who I am today.  But even more, I am beginning to realize how God is using it in my life for me, for others and for His glory.
These stories, sometimes small and momentary, other times huge, tragic and long lasting, contribute to walls that we build and masks that we hide behind. They shape our dreams and mold our insecurities.  They stir up desires in us.  They are part of the story that God is writing in our lives.
These experiences are different for each of us, just as the leaves on an autumn tree differ. They form our character, our personalities, and our lives, and are also a part of the Lord revealing Himself to us, and drawing us closer. I won’t pretend to understand it, but in them we can see the truths about the Lord, learning of Him and His unfailing love for us, as we willingly remember, reflect and ask Him to bring healing and hope to our hearts – healing and hope to others.
Over the next month or two, I will be sharing a few “Little Girl Within” stories of my own and I want to offer you the opportunity to share your stories.  Will you join me in taking a chance and influencing the hearts of others with part of the story God is writing for your life?
If you would like to share your “Little Girl Within” story and how it has impacted your heart today, please follow the below guidelines. I will notify you if your story will be published on my blog.
1.       Use only a story that is yours.  Share in 500 - 700 words part of your story, how it influenced your life today, and what God is teaching you about yourself and Himself through the story.
2.       E-mail your story to me here. Put your story in the body of the e-mail. If you would like, attach a picture of yourself when you were a little girl or now. You are also welcome to include a short bio.
3.      I am also happy to include a link to your website or blog. If you would prefer to be anonymous, I will respect that, and post your story under an alias name IE: “Carolyn,” with your approval.
I am looking forward to sharing this journey together, growing in relationship with one another and with the Lord. Spend time with Him remembering your Little Girl Within.   Ask the Lord to show you how precious you were to Him then and still are today – loved with an everlasting love, made with a purpose, a treasured possession.
One more thing … even if you do not submit a story, please stop by and read the stories of some of my readers.  Please leave them a comment;  I am certain they will be encouraged to see how the Lord uses their willingness to step out and share to make a difference in the lives of others. 
Any questions? Please don't hesitate to ask.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm Stepping Away from the Bucket

Last night I taught from the book of Mark --  Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41).  I love this story. It does not get old to me.  I taught it last winter to our morning women’s Bible study, so this was a redo for me at our evening women’s study, but God gave me fresh insight – insight in to some of my own issues.  I appreciate that about God. He does not tire of showing us more about Himself and about ourselves, again and again.  He is so creative!
In the story, a “furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped”  (vs.37). Sound familiar? I’ve had my fair share of storms, and much like the disciples appear to do, I panic.  I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that they were trying to manage the storm before they woke up Jesus. Perhaps with buckets, they bailed and bailed and bailed. Finally, beyond frustration, they were now fearful. They woke Jesus, saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (vs. 38).
You see, what I realize about myself yesterday (and today and probably tomorrow), is that in the storms of life -- whether momentary and light or torrential, chaotic and long lasting – I tend to grab for my bucket.  I pick it up and I start to bail. I try to get myself out of the situation.  I try to take things in to my own hands and bucket full after bucket full, I frantically try to figure out the storm, manage the storm, and clear out the storm in order to stay afloat.  I hold on to my little bucket, in my little boat, trying to understand what is going on, solve the problems, and fix it. Sometimes, I even accuse Jesus of not caring!
BUT – I’m stepping away from the bucket.
I am going to be more intentional.
I’m not going to panic; I’m going to pray.
I’m not going to fear; I’m going to have faith.
I’m not going to bail; I’m going to believe.
I’m not going to doubt; I’m going to decide to trust the Lord.
I know it’s not going to be easy. Old habits die hard. I will admit, I’m getting a little better at it (God is working with me on this!), but from time to time, I find that I still get weary and worn out from worrying and trying to do it my way.  Bailing is exhausting, and it only leads to more problems, more fear, more panic.
 I am in need of the Lord’s help, that’s for sure, but you know what I’ve noticed?  When I stop bailing and call out to Him, He starts filling – filling me with what He wants me to know about Him – His power, His presence, His promises and His purposes.
I’m going to remember Who is in the boat with me, and trust Him for every detail. I’m going to step away from the bucket and step towards Jesus, grabbing hold of Him and resisting the temptation to grab a hold of my own ways. And when I do – I just know I’ll find that He’s been holding on to me all along, ready to comfort, guide and give me peace.

* How about you? 

Monday, September 20, 2010

We Never Know What God May Be Preparing Us For

I’m in the throes of training for an unusual race; actually, any race is unusual for me.  Although I do work-out for my health and for the sake of my arthritis, I usually do not compete in any races. I was a sprinter in high school, and needless to say, there are not any 200 meter dash events for a forty-six year old woman.  Distances longer than a couple of miles stress my back and I’m convinced that I am not built for endurance.
However, my trainer Dave had another idea, and I now find myself scratching my head and wondering what I got myself in to – a relay team member for  the 2010 Urbanathlon Chicago. 
The race includes both running and traversing obstacles – urban obstacles – like buses, cars and police barriers and the stairs at Soldier Field. There are monkey bars to swing across, tires to shuffle through and nets to crawl under. It is a nine mile race, broken up by six obstacle courses. I’ll be doing one-third of it.   I’m not sure what “leg” of the race I am competing in – but I either way – it is outside of the box for me. Way outside the box.
I’m preparing for the event under Dave’s guidance. He determines the workout, I am trying to follow his direction.  I’m not always crazy about what he asks of me, however, I do trust his expertise and deep down inside I know if I’m going to get stronger and finish the race, I need to prepare for it, and he knows what he is doing.
Training does not come easy for me. I tend to put up a fight. For instance, when I am weight training I always want to know what is next, asking Dave, “How much do I have to lift?  Did you add any more weight?  How many repetitions do I have to do? How far do I have to go?”
Recently, Dave responded to my barrage of repetitive questions, “Does it matter, Andrea? Does it matter whether I added more weight to the bar? Does that mean you’re not going to try?”
I’m sure I rolled my eyes as I stepped up to the bar, ducked under it and brought my shoulders up into the bar, lifting it off the rack.
 “Keep your mind focused on the muscle that is working.  Don’t think about how heavy it is.  If you focus on the weight, it is harder. Focus on what you have to do,” Dave reminded me.
 Wise words for me to focus on in life, too. Sometimes, I think the load in life is too heavy, as well. I weary of too many repetitions.  “Are you sure, Lord, that You know what You are doing?” I’ve asked Him a few thousand times. And yet, deep down inside I know that He does know the burdens that I can handle (with His help) and He knows how many times I need to lift it to get stronger – for in life, we are always preparing for something. God is always preparing us for something.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as I move through my day, making choices and watching for what God may be doing in my life. He takes everything in our day and uses it to prepare us for what He has next. 
We may never know what God may be preparing us for – physically, emotionally or spiritually; perhaps it is even something out side of our comfort zone -- out of our box. He may be preparing us for an opportunity to serve Him, an opportunity to love someone and encourage them or an opportunity to trust Him during a trial. He may be training us for something little or it may be something big. It may be for our good or it may be for the good of others.

Ours is to follow His direction as He prepares us in every aspect of our day, keeping our eyes fixed on Him, the Author and Perfector of our faith, trusting Him in all things. Not always easy to do,  but He is the one with the ultimate expertise and knows just what He is doing. We can count on that.

*  What is God doing in your life today?
*  Are you willing to trust Him that what He is doing is making you stronger and more like Jesus?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Morning Glory's Glory


In response to my previous post Except a Little Bit, a friend of wrote to me a blessed note and attached this picture of her morning glories. She granted me permission to share it.

Dear Andrea:

Here is a picture of two of my morning glories.  New blooms appear every morning - each bloom lasts for less than a day - closing to never open again.  Yet, every morning, there are brand new blooms to enjoy, reminding me of His mercies that are new every day and in every new day His glory is once again quietly, softly opened up within to "bloom" for Him just that day.  The days you serve Him big, like Tuesday, and the days you serve Him small, like today, are not differentiated in our God's economy - He still sees the beautiful blooms within your heart and the glory they bring to Him no matter the size of the day. 

Love, Your Friend.

I love what she says. It is full of wisdom and grace and I am compelled to ask myself:

Do I live each day with an awareness of His beauty in my life?

Do I trust Him enough to share that beauty with others or do I hide His beauty out of fear?
Do I shrivel up out of my insecurities?

Do I live humbled by His abundant mercies that are new every day and live in light of those both within my own heart and as I am in relationship with others?

Do I guard my heart so fiercely (not wisely) because of embarrassment, anger, resentment or bitterness – blocking out His beauty by the darkness?

Do I ignore His beauty reflected in me because I am so busy?

Or do I – will I -- allow God to open His glory in me – through me – despite my circumstances?  My pain?  My fears?  My own agenda? Despite whether I have big things or little things to offer in each day.  Will I believe I am His beloved and that He reveals and reflects beauty in me each day, and act in accordance to this truth?

I desire to be what He has called me to be, but I must pause and ponder – am I willing to be and allow Him to be in me?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Except a Little Bit ...

It’s been one of those days. I feel spent. I taught the educational at the writers group I attend on Monday night and then started teaching a six week series on Tuesday night at our evening women’s bible study.  Add in the usual details of the day with five children, and I feel drained, emotionally and physically. 
I was acutely aware of only having a little bit to offer, every step of oday.  A little bit of time to do my duties. A little bit of energy to play a game with the children.  A little bit of faith to persevere. A little idea to write. A little bit of food in the fridge to make dinner. A little bit of trust. A little bit of drive to fold a load of laundry, make a bed, fold a blanket, fill out paperwork. A little bit of motivation to go down to the basement and do my work out.
That’s where I finally found myself tonite. I tucked the little kids in to bed and reluctantly pulled on my running shoes and stretched on my workout clothes. I heard the cookies and ice cream calling my name from the kitchen, but I tuned them out – just barely.  
I dragged myself to the basement and climbed aboard the stationary bike to start my scheduled “intervals” – 2 minutes fast, 1 minute slow x 4. Not that bad, so why was it so grueling?  Then I transferred over to the treadmill to do a steady mere 20 minutes at a 6.0 pace.  Not that fast. Not that far. Every minute was a milestone. I did a lot of self-talk on that 20 minute run, asking myself, “Can you make it one more minute?” and wincing in response, “Yes, I can do that little bit.”
As I clomped (yes, I’m not kidding – clomped) along on the track of the treadmill, each step seeming to grow louder and louder, I began to remember some stories.
I remembered the five little stones that David had and how God used those little stones.
I remembered the 2 little mites that the widow offered and how God honored her.
I remembered a scarlet thread that Rahab hung out her window, and how God loved her.
I remembered the little bit of oil another widow had, and how God provided for her as she obeyed and did as Elisha said.
I remembered the five little barley loaves and the two smelly fish and how God took a meager meal and fed a multitude.
It’s been said that “little is much when God is in it.” I admit that I feel as if I only have a little, but that little I am determined to offer to the Lord, bit by bit, to do as He pleases, when He pleases, where He pleases, how He pleases.
I stepped off the track at exactly 20:00 minutes, breathing heavily and sweating profusely, but glad that I gave a little, minute by minute.
Except a little oil, except a scarlet thread.
Except five little stones, one thrown at the giants head.
Except two little mites, two fish and five loaves, too.
Except my little seed of faith, this I have to offer You.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Guest Blogger: Mary DeMuth

At the She Speaks conference in July, I had a chance to hear Mary DeMuth speak. I have been taking in her words of wisdom on writing and life for a couple of years, but this was the first time I saw her "live." I was touched by her authenticity and the balance in life that she portrays, as well as her advice on the writing journey.


Today, Mary is my guest blogger. I hope that you enjoy her insight and writing.
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Recently I had the privilege of hearing Charlie Peacock  teach at Mount Hermon. I loved what he had to say about art and the movement of our world, so much so that I picked up his book At The Crossroads , his magnum opus about CCM (Contemporary Christian Music). Fascinating, enlightening book. As a closet singer, and a lover of music, I so appreciate his heart and mind.

And then I read this gem:
"In truth, the idea that any element of God's creation--be it music or a tree--has to do something in order to justify its existence has more to do with capitalism, consumerism, and marketing than with the doctrine of creation" (p. 104).

This turned my world upside down. Why? Because my whole life I've (wrongly) felt that in order to justify my existence on earth, I had to do things. To perform. To be perfect. To do everything right. And if I didn't (which happens every. single. day), I felt I had to reason to be here.

But that's looking at creation (me) as a commodity, not as a created being. It's assigning worth based on my intrinsic value to produce, to fill holes, to do things.

It's not true.

It's not true.

It's not true.

As much as I've entrenched this idea way deep into my DNA, it's not true that I must live up to standards or be super cool to earn my keep here. I simply must be. To revel in being a creation, dearly loved by Jesus, sacrificed for, graced unconditionally.

I am not a product.

I do not need to market me to prove my worth to others.

I am too valuable to be consumed.

I wonder how much my mindset about everything is tainted by a consumeristic mindset. I wonder if I view others as things to be had instead of people to be loved. I wonder why I've lacked in grace for myself when I didn't perform up to standards.

What if I'm just loved? Right now. Right here. For no other reason than I am a creation who breathes, laughs, weeps, rejoices, hollers, loves?

It may take me a while, but I'm liking the sound of these words: I don't have to justify the space I take up on earth any more.


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Mary DeMuth is an author and speaker. Her most recent published boo, Thin Places, is a spiritual memoir where Mary reflects on the "thin places" of her life where she was acutely ware of God's presence.  You can find discover more about Mary and her desire to help others turn their trials to triumph at her web-site Mary Demuth .

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remember 9/11

I sat in my family room, on the edge of the arm of the couch. I returned home from bringing my kindergartner and first grader to school, and found myself staring at the television.  My two year old played on the floor with his little toys; my eight month old daughter slept in her crib for her morning nap.


It was the morning of September 11, 2001, and life would never be the same again -- for many, for most, perhaps for all. 


At 8:46 AM, the north tower of the World Trade Center fell, after being hit by a plane hijacked by terrorists. Soon after, the south tower fell, the Pentagon was hit, and a plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania -- all by the same demise.  Terrorism. 


As Americans, we were shocked and greatly grieved by the events.  Time seemed to stand still and yet it seemed to move in fast forward.  We were flooded by uncertainties.  Bombarded with questions. Washed over by fear. We cried for the families who were involved. We were overwhelmed with the prospect that "it could be my family, too."


Today, we are called to remember.  We remember so that we do not forget, because we are a people prone to forgetting.  And we remember to honor -- because we care.


We remember and honor those who died at the hands of the terrorists -- nearly 3,000. 


We remember and  honor the families who grieve and who bravely walk through each day, not understanding, but persevering.


We remember and honor those who acted bravely -- serving, caring, digging, rescuing -- loving in action.


We remember and honor those who have fought (and are fighting) protecting our country, protecting our freedom, protecting you and me.


Yes, there are many things I will never understand. This is one of them. But today (and every day) I can remember, honor and pray.


*  Where were you when you heard about the travesty on 9/11?
*  How are you remembering today?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pull Yourself Up By Your Boot Straps?

“Pull yourself up by your boot straps” -- I do not like that saying. People try to use it as encouragement, I suppose. If you are down in the dumps, they may say “Come on! Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” I can see what they may be saying, “persevere!”  but, something about it – Errrrr – it gets under my skin.
I checked out the origin of this phrase, and it is not evident where it came from or who said it first. Obviously it gives the imagery of boots and their straps (actually, laces) and the ability for one to lift oneself off the ground by pulling up on the bootstraps.  Needless to say – it’s not possible. If you doubt me – try it. You may get one foot off the ground, but not both.  Only reason you get one off – is, well, because you’re leaning on the other. The phrase is supposed to show that it is not possible to get out of a difficult circumstance by our own attempts.
Take the issue of disappointment, for instance (we've had a minor outbreak of it at our home, lately). I don’t get why some things work out and others don’t. Sometimes it is a mystery, but it is part of reality.  No denying it – we are all affected by it at one time or another.  We have dreams, goals, desires that just do not turn out the way we hoped and we end up disappointed. I cringe at the feeling that disappointment brings. It is like a thick ooze that settles on us, heavy on our shoulders, seeping in to our hearts.   
 Now, if we adopt a “I’m just going to pull myself up by my boot straps” mentality and keep on going, we really are not going anywhere at all.  What we do end up with is an attempt at denying our reality, thereby secluding ourselves from living a full and open life with ourselves, with others and with God. In addition, we deny God the opportunity to work something good out of the situation.
But if we acknowledge the disappointment and ask God to help us deal with it, then we can get somewhere.  In embracing the situation from God’s hand, and allowing the disappointment to work its way through my heart, in His timing, God will use it to make us stronger and more like His Son, even when we do not understand it (Proverbs 3:5). That's movement I'm interested in.
The problem is that sometimes just getting up and moving on is easier – or so we think. We really don't move on, other than maybe hopping, if we are super coordinated, but I don’t know about you, I’m not interested in hopping through life.  Dealing with the disappointment is hard work. Dealing with sorrow, and pain, loneliness and fear is tough, too. Living out of our hearts with open honesty, to ourselves and to others, requires a risk.  It’s hard.  It requires trust – trusting God.
Instead of reaching down and pulling up my boot straps, I’m going to lean on God, trust Him to work the disappointment (and other things that challenge my heart) for my good and His glory. The truth is, we really can’t lift ourselves up when we are down, not even partially, only God can.
·         What do you think?
·         Do you struggle with trying to do it on your own and not trusting the Lord?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What To Do for a Friend in Great Need?

My heart is deeply burdened for a friend today. I cannot shake the vision of her face or the sorrow of her heart.  I feel helpless.  I want to do something, but am not sure what. A gift? A card? What can I do, Lord?
I went to my perfect parent, my Father in Heaven, and asked Him. He knows her heart. He knows her situation.  He knows her every need.
He reminded me of a time not so long ago.  I was the one who was in the deepest depths of fear and sorrow. I sat with another friend. I shook all over, inside and out, and nothing seemed clear to me.  I had no answers. My hope felt hollow. With weak words I said, “I am having a hard time even believing that God will make something good out of this. I can’t even pray.”
She held my hand, grabbed hold of my heart and said, “You don’t need to pray right now, I am doing that for you.  I know that you are weary and that your pain is great.  Just rest.  Let me be the one who prays.” She wrapped her arms around me, and we both cried. ” I will also do the believing for you. I will stand on His promises, holding you up.”
I will never forget the power of my dear friend’s prayers and her willingness to stand strong for me, when I could not stand or speak.  It stirs me to tears, even right now, as  I remember  God’s love flowing through her, knowing that she was determined to pray for me. I was weary and weak, but she was strong. She was strong not because she knew all the answers, or even one of them at that point, but because she knew the One who promised to be present, true, good and loving, all the time.
I am stirred to be that for my other friend today, even when I cannot be close to her physically. I am praying for her, believing the promises for her, holding her heart high knowing that God will care for her and meet her every need.
He did for me. I trust He will for her, too.  As for today, I will drop her a gift and write her a note, but most importantly, I will pray.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Being Still in Stillness


On a whim, we headed out of town this weekend for a short break as a family, marking the end of the summer.  With bikes strapped on top of and behind our car (this is what happens when there are seven people in your family), we drove over to the western side of Wisconsin, spent the night and then spent the day biking along the Great River State Trail.  It was a beautiful day.  We packed a simple lunch and picnicked along the way, enjoying the scenery and enjoying each other.
  
The air was crisp like an apple, and yet dry like a corn stalk. It smelled of withering grass and sunbeams.  The trees rustled in response to the lightly blowing breeze. Leaves scampered across the bike path. And the further I went down the path, the more I could hear the sounds of fall descend around me.  It was lovely.
It was one of those rare times when all was quiet in my heart, in my mind and in my surroundings. 
As I rode along, I thought of the stillness.  I thought of the Lord and the verse, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) floated in to my mind. Strangely, I had not thought of it before in times of solitude or peace. I had recited it a thousand times at least, I am most certain, during dark and difficult days, but not on lovely, serene ones.  Somehow, this was new.
And I realized that even in the quiet times of life (as rare as they seem to be), God calls for me to be still – to be aware – and to know that He is God. He does not desire for me toonly be a “stormy day friend,” but a fair weather friend, in every good sense of the phrase. He desires for me to remember that He is God, not only when life is full of heartaches and tensions that drive me to Him, but when all seems quiet and serene – here too He wants me to be aware of His presence, to desire Him, to spend time with Him.
It can be the challenge for me. I cling to Him for dear life when I know that I have nothing else to cling to, when my face is wet with tears, my heart is breaking, my muscles ache from straining, but do I loosen my grip when all is well and get busy, filling the space with distractions -- diversions from seeking Him?
I hope not, but I fear I do. It was a reminder to me, that in the stillness, God desires for me to be still in Him, knowing Who He is by spending time with Him and enjoying His presence, wherever and whenever that may be.
Yes, it is true, He reveals Himself to us in His pain, in our loneliness, in our sorrow, in our losses, but He also reveals Himself in the still moments of our lives. These quiet times, can be sweet times with Him, where we walk (or ride) with an awareness of Him, feeling the breeze of His breath, hearing the rustle of His voice, smelling the sweet aroma of His love and seeing that He indeed  is good and that He is God – all the time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The King is Enthralled with Your Beauty

It was late in the day and the band began to play.  The air was warm and moist.  The moon light dappled through the clouds, resting on the daughters’ faces. The lead singer encouraged the children (and any others who cared to partake) to sing and dance along with the next song.
My two youngest girls got up from their chairs and began to sway and move to the music. Dressed in summer clothes and with feet bare, they danced on the grassy floor of the field.  They twisted and turned like flowers in a field.  Joy emanated from their faces.  I watched them – enthralled with their beauty – not for what they did (or did not do) or what they looked like, but because of who they were – created by God.
I think as women, we sometimes lose this winsome way of being who we are, secure in who God made us to be. We shirk back, hesitate, blend in. It happens to me. Maybe it happens to you, too.
We forget (or maybe we never really new) that we are actually hand formed and planned by the Lord, beautifully made. We think that we are ordinary, at best; unnoticeable and ugly at worst. We self-guard and hide behind our hurts or insecurities, not imagining that we are truly a lovely treasure to Him.
But, Psalm 45:11 says (and are you ready for this?) “The King is enthralled with your beauty.” Do you know that?  I’m not sure I really do.  I try to cling to the fact that He loves me, but enthralled with me? That’s a pretty big word with a lot of emotion packed in to it.
Most of the time, it is hard for me to believe, but I am trying to live in light of this truth, as it gently rests upon me in each moment of the day. I am humbled by the fact that the Creator of the universe is that crazy about me; that the King of Kings should be that fixed upon me.  The Ruler above all, the One who sits upon the throne in heaven, is wild about me – and He’s wild about you, not because of what we have done (or not done) or what we look like, but because of who we are—His.
It is true. You are dearly loved, sweet sister, and He is wild for you.  You are beautiful to Him, because He made you. He made you special. The King is captivated by you. His eyes are on you, and He is crazy in love with you.
What would it look like to live in a constant awareness of His loving gaze?
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