Monday, October 29, 2007

The phone call

Saturday night SEC football in the Tennessee mountains! There was a tremendous crowd of devoted Gamecock and Volunteer fans. The excitement was palpable with both sides anticipating a win. This was going to be some night! Swarms of people from both sides were donned in their school's colors, myself included. The wind was crisp and it felt like fall had finally arrived. You could not have asked for a better evening! Great weather, great friends, great football!

My husband picked up his cell phone and started talking. I could only hear his side of the conversation. It went something like this "Yes, this is Chad's father. What happened?" An enormously long pause as he listened to the person on the other side of the phone line. "Yes, you have my permission to treat him." A second agonizing break while he listened. "Yes, you have my permission to stitch him up." All the while, my heart is racing and I am clamoring for the phone. I wanted to speak with someone and find out what had happened. My husband handed the phone to me as he tried to reassure me that it was OK. The phone lines faltered, the crowd was loud, and I heard only bits of the doctor's explanation. All I know is that Chad is going to be stitched up and I'm not there.

I wanted to hear Chad's voice.
I wanted him to hear mine.
I wanted to be with him. Instead I'm stuck five hours away in the middle of a crowd of 105,000 people who I no longer found interesting or fun. I just wanted to be with my boy. I wanted to hold his hand while he was getting stitches. I wanted to tell him he was going to be alright.
I wanted to comfort him, encourage him, give him my strength. But I couldn't even talk to him because we lost our cell phone connection.
I prayed.

A few hours later, a call came through from the doctor who stitched up Chad's arm . A backyard football injury, certainly not life threatening. He was ok. My boy was OK.

As we have been studying prayer this week, I couldn't help but be reminded of our Heavenly Father's desire to have an intimate relationship with us.
He wants to hear our voice.
He wants us to hear Him.
He wants to be with us.
He wants to comfort and encourage us and give us His strength.

Prayer so often is THE ANSWER, not just the way we seek or receive the answer. It is this gracious and amazing gift from a loving Father who wants to be in relationship with me, with you, with all of us.

Deuteronomy 4:7 "What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? "

Thank you my Father. O Lord, my God, thank you for drawing near to me. Thank you for wanting to.

Praise Him!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Demolition Crew

I love home improvement television. Weekend Warriors, Room by Room, Curb Appeal, you name it, I love it. There is one particular show on Sunday evenings that I especially enjoy. It introduces us, the viewers, to a deserving family chosen to receive a total extreme home makeover. The family is usually surprised to a loud "HELLO ......FAMILY" and then whisked off to a dream vacation while the construction of a new home takes place. There is always a point in their vacation that the family gathers around a small computer screen to watch as the host zooms his camera in on the demolition of their old home. The scene is characterized by the crushing swing of a wrecking ball, tumbling walls, dust clouds hovering in the air, and a host scurrying from the debris. The response of the family varies but often includes a gasp and even a little weeping as they watch their old home crumble to the ground. I sometimes think "seriously, you are about to get the home of your dreams and you are crying as you watch that dilapidated old thing fall?"

But then I remember. I remember having similar responses to my own personal stronghold demolition. Not all strongholds but, though it may sound strange, some strongholds are often like an old rickety home for us. Why would we want to hold onto anything that keeps us from freedom, keeps us from the full life that God has planned for us? It may be a battered, broken-down, decaying half-life. Yet sometimes, it is all we know, and we grieve its loss. And so it goes, our own clinging to the stronghold allows it to stay another day. And again I think to myself "seriously? ".

But here is the good news, this very demolition, if we will allow it to take place, leads to the rebuilding of something so much better! And the weapons used to demolish the strongholds? They are no ordinary "weapons of the world". These weapons have "divine power"!

So when I am bemoaning the annihilation of some old familiar stronghold, I will remember. I will remember that Christ "loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). I will remember to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles," so that I can "run with perseverance the race marked out for"me (Hebrews 12:1). I will remember that"the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rom 8:21). And I will remember that glorious freedom begins when I stop clinging. I will remember to let the demolition begin!
Praise Him!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The recipe

The first time I celebrated my dear husband's birthday as his wife, I wanted to make a cake for him. I knew that he had two favorite cakes, German chocolate and Carrot cake. I decided to attempt to bake the German chocolate. I went to the store, bought all the ingredients, went home, baked the cake successfully and served it lovingly(and somewhat proudly) to my hubby. He LOVED it! He gobbled down piece after piece until there was not one crumb on the plate nor one drop of milk left in the carton. Within a couple of days the entire cake was GONE. You can just imagine how great this newlywed wife felt.

That weekend we went to his parents hometown . This is the type of small, southern hometown that people dream of. You know, the town reminiscent of Andy Griffith's Mayberry complete with the front porch and creaky screened door. He was so excited to tell his grandmother, Mammie, about the birthday cake I baked him and how delicious it was. She was delighted to know that I actually cooked for him. Of course, the town's cake baker that she was, she asked me for my recipe. Recipe? I sought to remember. Did I hear her ask "what was in it" ? I struggled to visualize the ingredients on the side of the Duncan Hines box. Flour, yes that was in it...chocolate, butter..yes, those too. She was gracious enough not to prod further. I'm sure she recognized the ineptness of my answers. I was quickly deflated. I realized that though it may have looked good, a box cake was not really all that special in a home where HOURS were spent on perfecting each recipe. I felt I had made only a replica, a sort of cheap imitation of the real thing.

Lord, don't let my life ever be a cheap imitation. Let me be real. Let me be authentic. Your word says in 2 Corinthians 3: 18 "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." Lord, take whatever ingredients you deem necessary to transform this gal into one who reflects your glory! I thank you that you include in your recipe a big, heaping helping of grace and forgiveness.
Praise Him!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I've got a lot to learn!

So, I am about two weeks into this blogging thing, still begging my friends(yes, you) and family(and you too) to join in by posting comments. I have learned a lot...mostly that there is a lot to learn. I have learned that in creating a blog site, using a template is the simplest way to get things arranged. I have learned how to add pictures to the posting, but haven't quite figured out how to put them on the sidebar. I have learned how to add a poll to the blog, but not how to make it last longer than six days. I have learned to re-arrange my template, but not how to stretch the header(title) across the entire top of the site. I have even received a "warning triangle" when I try to add something that the program won't accept. Yup, I still have a lot to learn.

It reminds me of our walk to health with the Lord. So, this week maybe you learned how to write down all your food choices, but not how to count that pesky casserole. You have learned that exercise is important, but not quite how to add it into everyday life. You have learned that having a quiet time with the Lord each day is precious, but not quite how to get the "quiet" part in with little ones at your feet. Maybe you have even gotten your own little "warning triangle" in the form of a scripture to remind you not to add(eat)something that you don't need. Yup, we all have learned quite a bit in the last few weeks, and you know what? We still have a lot to learn.

I am so thankful for a Master, Teacher who allows us to continue learning each day. I am thankful for His patience and gentleness even as he may teach us time after time before we finally "get it". I thank Him for allowing us to sit at His feet, to relish in His Word, to allow us to go on... with a lot to learn. Praise Him!

2nd Timothy 14-17: 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Between

We have all seen them, the before and after pictures that accompany every ad trying to sell the newest weight loss program, or amazing cleaning product, or home makeover addition. I realized today that somewhere from the before to the after of our weight loss, or home makeover, or you fill in the blank, there is a great big "between".

This morning, as I decided to plant some beautiful fall mums and pansies, I discovered I would first have to do a lot of work raking, pulling, and digging. That is hard labor! "Why I'm not sure I'm up to that this morning", I thought to myself. I mean I want my yard to look like some in my favorite home know clean, tidy, well-manicured, and teeming with fall colors spilling onto the garden walk. But raking? Weeding? Surely there is another way. You see, the great "between" was scaring me off.

That seems to be a running theme with me: a deep desire for the after without much thought of the great "between". Like this desire to live a healthy life at a healthy weight, the "between" often looks daunting and too demanding. But there is no "between" that I can think of that must have been more difficult than the "between" my Christ suffered through.

Heaping piles of guilt, sin, and blame all put on one guiltless, sinless, blameless Jesus. My guilt and yours. My sin and yours. My blame and yours. What was that "between" like for Him? What was that separation of a perfect man/God from His heavenly Father like? How great was the agony for this sinless Jesus to carry sin? And yet he did. He bore my sin and suffered the "between". This "between" was the most significant of all betweens. It had an after like no other.
Next time the "between" looks tough, I will remember....

One God's before and between, for the after of us all. Talk about makeover possibilities!

Matthew 28:6:"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. "
Praise HIM!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lost pup

As I drove home from Walmart tonight, I came to a four way stop sign and saw the red glint of an animal's eyes heading toward my car. As I stopped, an old wolf-looking dog ambled up to my car door. Nose up toward my window, I couldn't help but notice he looked scared and lost. I stopped the car, got out to pet him, and checked for identification. He had on only a red bark collar and another collar. His old gray face perked up a bit as I stood and petted him. I tried coaxing him into my car in the hopes of driving around to find his home... or something. I felt helpless. Nothing I tried persuaded him to get into my car. He finally walked away, leaving me crying in the dark and wondering if he would find his way home.
I drove quickly back to my house to get a few biscuits and my dog- loving 13 year old son. We drove back to where I had last seen my gentle friend... but he was gone. I guess sometimes you only get one chance with the lost.

I am so very humbled and so very thankful that we have a God who seeks the lost. If not, this is one gal who may still be wandering in the dark, looking for home.

Ezekiel 34:16 "I will search for the lost and bring back the strays"

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Keep on , keep on, keep on

Remember the Brady Bunch song? That song has been swirling through my head all day. It could be that it was a tougher weekend than normal as far as keeping my commitments, or maybe I'm still hoping to turn out looking like Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. OK, so I am a closet Nick at Night fan!

On days when every corner seems to offer me the chance to ditch any or all of the commitments, I need to remember 2 Corinthians 10:5: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Have you heard some arguments against this journey toward health and total wellness? I have. I have argued with myself throughout the weekend . The mountain just looked too big. As I rode in the car to pick up my son from an afternoon movie with Sunday school friends, I just whispered to the Lord "I don't have the strength to fight the arguments today Lord". He reminded me that His word says that I can not only fight but I can "demolish" those arguments. We demolish them with His word..our sword. But today even that reminder fell short in strengthening me completely. The sword just looked too heavy to even lift, much less wield. It was as if my spirit heard Him say, "just ask, I'll lift it for you". You better believe I asked, and asked immediately! You know what? He did. He did lift the sword! I pray for all of us that when we are too tired to fight anymore, that we allow the strength and mighty power of our Father to fight for us! He is not only the giver of the sword, but often is the Knight who can strike with it. Praise HIM!

I am so encouraged to read your posts and email. They help me "keep on, keep on, keep on". How about you? What encourages you?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Weighty what?

Weighty thoughts, an odd name? The idea is to "weigh in" on how the Lord meets us in our weight loss adventure and our everyday life. I am excited to see how the Lord uses this time and this format to grow us closer to Him.

For all of my fellow FP'ers, welcome ! Thank you for any insights you have.

In each post I will spend a little time sharing about what the Lord is showing me in His word or in my life and I would love to hear your thoughts. I am no theologian, just someone who loves the Word and the Word Giver..Our Father and Lord!

We will stay away from complaining but we will look for answers on how to work through some of the things that may hold us back from the "abundant" life that He promises! That is why He came, to give us life and give it more abundantly!

Blogging novice that I am, forgive me for any mistakes or blog etiquette faux pas. So here goes:

Sometimes we may run into Jesus when we least expect to see him.
Today I had one of those "big smile" kind of moments, you know the ones that make you grin from ear to ear and from inside to out! For you to fully understand, let me begin with a minute from yesterday afternoon. I met a new friend Ella, the precious six year old daughter of a co-worker. We spent a short but wonderful time discussing how much we both enjoyed American Girl dolls and catalogs. She told me she had a doll of her very own that she "named on December 25th". She was so proud to tell me all about this doll and how she wanted 100 more dolls soon. Ella was bright,cheery, and vivaciously verbal. Fast forward to today. As I walked to meet a visiting college rep at the main office of the high school where I work, I spotted a group of young elementary school aged children in single file heading to an event at the auditorium on our campus. I looked over and there was Ella, pointing out to her friend the door to the main office. I could see her saying, as she read the sign on the door, "that is my mommy's work, see...M A I N(spelled it and said it to her friend), that's the MAIN office". You could see that she was excited to show her friend where her mommy works. Then she spotted me and her small hand went up in the air forming the beginnings of a great big wave! She was quickly swinging her arm wildly to say hello and there I was smiling and BIG waving back! Wow! That excitement made my day! See, she recognized me. I was someone she knew and I saw her quickly lean toward her friend and tell her that she knew me. I don't know what words she used but I did think to myself later that this adorable conversationalist would probably explain how we met, that I knew her mommy, where my office was, and that I had two daughters who still occasionally play with their own American dolls. You know... everything she knew about me! I am only guessing of course, just based on all I learned in ten minutes about her doll, her friends, and her school in our own visit yesterday.
Don't you know that that is what testimony is all about. Delighted excitement to share about our "Friend" and Savior. I pray that we will always be excited to share about our Jesus, who He is to us and how He is taking us on this life journey. And I hope the next time we see Him, whether through his word or through something that happens during the day, that we too will lift up our hand and give him a great big wave! Now that will be a big smile moment!

"Weighting" on the Lord

Let this be a place of encouragement for you in your own walk!