Friday, October 19, 2012

Corrie ten Boom is My Facebook Friend

Corrie ten Boom is my Facebook friend

Well, not exactly.  I actually follow her page – but either way, when I scroll through my ‘friends’ posts, I often see her name come up – just like she’s one of my friends.

The thing with Ms. Ten Boom (I call her Corrie … I don’t think she’d mind), is that she’s been home in heaven for 29 years.  I’ve never met her. I’ve never seen her speak.  I’ve only heard about her, read about her, and watched an actor play her in ‘The Hiding Place’ the movie.

But, the truth is, I’ve also rested my head on her shoulder a time or a hundred.  She’s an inspiration to me; I’d even go as far as saying, a kindred spirit.  Without even her knowing, she’s pointed me to Jesus and reminded me of His love – A LOT.

Born in 1892, she lived in Holland.  During WWII, she and her family hid Jewish loved ones in their home, to help save them from the heinous acts of Hitler and his henchmen.  As a result, she was arrested and thrown in to a concentration camp, where she held tight to the Lord and shared His love with others.  Through a clerical mistake, she was released, and spent the rest of her life traveling the world sharing the love of Jesus, referring to herself as a ‘tramp for the Lord.’ I love that; suitcase in hand and His love in her heart, she went wherever the Lord led her, whenever. She finally went home to her Savior in 1893, after suffering for more than five years, bedridden after a stroke.

What a life well lived.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite quote of hers –

“Forgiveness sets the prisoner free, to only find out the prisoner is me.”

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

God uses these words of hers to remind me of Him and His truths.

I wish I could have met her.  I look forward to meeting her in heaven.  Maybe we’ll have tea and talk.  I sure hope so.

So, warm up the pot, Corrie.  I have a lot of love for you and look forward to praising our Lord together – the One Who Rescues and Redeems no matter how deep the pit or sorrowful the suffering.

Thank you, Lord, for comforting Corrie with Your love and grace, who in turn brought Your comfort to a hurting world and to me (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). 

What about you? Do you have any ‘friends’ whom you’ve never met, yet God uses in your life to encourage you to love the Lord and persevere?  If you could sit down and talk to them, what would you say?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Raking Leaves and Leaving Burdens Behind

Autumn leaves rain down from trees in my yard.

I live in the woods.  We have lots of leaves.

I stepped outside in to the cool, damp day.

The smell of wet leaves – wet everything – soaked the air.

I heard a dull rumble in the distance.  It was the giant leaf sucker. Large and lumbering, this machine travels around with its snuffelufagus hose nose, devouring leaves on the street.

I looked at my yard.  It was full of leaves.

I grabbed a rake and got to work moving leaves to the curb, as I listened to the distant drone of the truck, waiting for its arrival to my house.

Burdens weighed heavy on my heart, too. It was good to have time.  I needed time to work through some worries. 

I raked leaves and raked thoughts, over and over again, to the curb.

I prayed. I pondered.  I (tried to) let go of each trouble, one at a time.

Truth is, I DO hear the Lord in the distance.  I know He’s there. I know He’s coming back someday. I hear His promises. Promises to never abandon me or forsake me.  Promises to be sufficient for every need I have.

Lord, help me to leave these burdens behind, trusting in You. I know you’ll take care of them. I know you’ll take care of me.

This is my prayer today; perhaps it is yours, too.  What is burdening you? Are you taking it to the curb of God’s love and care for you?

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Recipes and Memories

Cards and magazine clippings flutter to the ground from up high on a shelf where they were ‘faux filed’ in a pile between a box of rice and a bag of noodles.

‘It’s about time I organize these recipes,” I mumble to myself.

I pull down the worn, brown, wooden box, my husband made for me.  I recall our first Christmas, when we made gifts; when money was scarce.

The brass hinges are tarnished now. The lock is long gone. The wood is worn and slightly stained. 

Recipes rest inside.

I pull out one at a time, reading handwriting.

Suddenly, I am caught unaware by memories.

I realize that I do not even need to see who wrote the card, I recognize the style of penmanship and faces flash before me.

I find a recipe for my friend Hope’s Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake.  I notice that almost all my yummy desserts are from her.  She was my running partner before kids.  I loved the way she laughed.

On another card, stained with oil and worn on the edges, my grandmother Ella’s handwriting scratches the surface – a recipe for Sausage and Broccoli Pasta.  I sigh, missing her.  I remember her handing it to me. So many good things came from my grandma. She was wonderful.

I continue to pull out more handwritten cards. My mother-in-law's recipe for 'How to Poach Chicken Breasts' (that she gave me when we were first married), my friend Kris’s Parmesan Chicken recipe, my friend Megan’s recipe for Almond Butter Cookies written on a postcard, my friend Jenny’s recipe for Lemon Chocolate Chip Cake, my mother’s recipe for Buttercream Frosting (my all time favorite – click here to read about this irresistible treat!), and my sister-in-law’s recipe for Cut-Out Cookie Dough.

Now days we have the Internet to search for recipes, but I must admit it’s just not the same.  Handwritten recipes have memories attached. Some of these friends and family members I have not seen for years, but in this moment … I remember.

I’m thankful for these memories today.  In a strange and unexpected way, the Lord has given me a sweet gift through the gift of their handwriting on an old recipe card. Thank you, Lord.

What about you?  Do you have recipes that are handwritten?  Do they bring back sweet memories for you of those you love?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lord, Help Me to Listen More

My fingers folded laundry.

Max, the cat, stretched himself out on the warm dryer.

My middle daughter came to hang out with me in the laundry room to talk.

One thing led to another, and then sweet words from her mouth flowed, as she stroked the fluffy fur of our five-year-old cat.

“There’s something about Max that just makes one feel better,” she spoke softly.

“What is that, dear?  What do you mean?”  I probed deeper, thinking to myself that he’s a nice cat, but he’s just that -- a cat.

“Because he doesn’t talk. He just sits and listens, and sometimes when you’re having a hard day, you don’t need people to try and talk to make you feel better … you just need them to listen.”

She’s a wise young lady.

And she’s right.

Sometimes, we just need someone to listen.  We need to listen.

I’ve known a few good listeners over the years.  They’ve willingly entered in to my pains in a silent way that connected deep in to my soul.  Their open ears and hearts were spaces where my words found a safe place to pool.  They did not need to speak, but rather, the Spirit spoke to me as they loved me with their quiet presence.

I’m struck silent by my daughters insight today.  Lord, may it be a reminder to me to love her and others by listening and listening well.

What about you?  How are you at listening?  Who has touched your life by saying little and loving much? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What if What We See is Only a Fraction of What is Real?

A fragment of a flower captured in a photograph.

I only see a bit – a portion of the center, a few flaming petals flash color bright.

It reminds me of what’s been on my mind lately.

“What if what we see is only a fraction of what is real? And what if the unseen is even more real than what is seen?”

I believe it’s true, it’s just that sometimes, I tend to focus on what I see, forgetting that there is so much more to what the Lord is doing, and much of it is not visible.

I’m a big picture kind of girl – or at least I try to be.   I appreciate the details, but I also like to stand back and gaze across the landscape. 

I find comfort in seeing the big picture.

Problem is, most times I don’t see it -- I only see a small section, if even that – and I forget that there is a more -- a whole picture, a perfectly designed picture, a meaningful picture.

Therefore, I repeatedly remind myself, we are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

So much of what we believe and what we do is by faith. 

We run this race by faith.

We serve by faith.

We forgive by faith.

We let go of wanting things our own way by faith.

We allow the Lord to use our story by faith.

We parent by faith.

We love others by faith.

For now, we see what we see (and not even clearly), only a fragment.  God gives us a glimpse of what is real -- and we trust Him for the rest, finding comfort not in what we see, but in Him.

Someday, when we are face to face with the One Who Sees All -- the One Who Planned All -- then we’ll understand. 

I think we'll be sweetly surprised at what we see then – all the missing pieces found, all the broken pieces mended, all the tears dried, all our hearts healed. 

For now, we walk by faith and not by sight – we see in part, but someday we'll see the whole – and what a glorious day it will be.

How about you? Do you find yourself wondering what God is up to?  Do you hold on to hope that there is more to the picture than what you see?  
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