Friday, November 29, 2013

A Story Worth Reading

My home is familiar to Johnathan. He runs through the house from favorite spot to favorite spot almost every day. He is contented and secure here.

Favorite rocks, toys and gourds were scattered around the toddler as he played in front of the cozy fire. I was reading a book when he left his play, crawled into my lap and snuggled sleepily with his Pooh Bear.

Having already had his milk, evening snack and changed into pajamas, I said, "Time to go home. It's night-night for my happy boy."

Johnathan nodded and repeated, "Hap Boy. Nigh-Nigh."

As soon as I set him down on the threshold of his house next door, Johnathan ran toward the kitchen. "Mommy! Mommy!"

There was no welcoming smile on the dearest face he could see, no reassuring hug. Mommy was with the rest of the family attending a volley ball game. He ran back to me and, though a little bit disoriented and disappointed, there were no tears.

I cuddled him close, prayed over him and sang to him, our usual routine before I put him in the crib. He nestled happily under his quilt and was singing softly as I left his room.

I'm familiar and loved, but I am not Mommy, the center of his universe. My house is familiar and Johnathan loves it here, but it's not home.

I listened to Johnathan singing in his crib for several minutes. Even though he still mostly speaks baby talk and I couldn't understand the words, there was a sweetness in his singing, a peaceful security.

Almost daily I sit in front of a cozy fire and snuggle under a quilt with a cup of coffee in my familiar chair. I read my Bible, write in my journal, sing worship songs and pray.

It is my favorite spot in all the world, not because it's home, but because I'm with Jesus, the center of my universe.

This world is familiar, but it's not home. It is His welcoming smile I seek, the dearest face I could ever see.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Soldier-Princess Gratitude

For every lost dream that crushed my heart because You dreamed bigger for me, thank You.

For every broken road that brought confusion, anger, doubt and fear, thank You.

For every night I lay prostrate before the throne pleading and You silently waited, thank You.

For swinging a wrecking ball into my heart for noble purpose, thank You.

For allowing what You hate to accomplish what You love in my life, thank You.

For watching me choose a pit over shady green pastures and never leaving my side, thank You.

For hearing my mocking voice among the scoffers and enduring the cross anyway, thank You.

"This is who asks us to trust him when he calls on us to suffer." -Joni Eareckson Tada, When God Weeps"

Consider it all joy.  Consider it all grace. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Maisy and the Ragamuffin

Luna, Maisy's doll, has bright blue eyes in a clean, polished face. She is sturdy and easy to hold, ready to travel through life with Maisy.

"Can I play with Rockitty Ann?" asks two year old Maisy.

Raggedy Ann has been with me since childhood. The decades have crippled her, left her with stains and scars. She is neither pretty to look at nor easy to hold. Printed over her heart are the words "I Love You" and to a little girl, this gives her great value.

Maisy is cautious and gentle when she plays with Raggedy Ann. A special name is given and Maisy sings over her with love and kisses the limp doll's boo-boos.

We are created by a loving, versatile God. He gives each of us a knapsack of gifts, prints "I Love You" on our hearts and sends us on our life journey.

Nobody but me can see the rough moments my ragamuffin doll has survived. I am the one who first saw her heart. I am the one who walked alongside her through the years. She was a gift in my knapsack and that gives her value.

Who are the ragamuffins in your life?

Raggedy Ann children with annoying habits. Raggedy Ann teenagers with rebellious attitudes. Raggedy Ann workers with boasts and complaints. Raggedy Ann elderly with urine smells and boring words.

You are poor if you do not spend time with ragamuffins. Find one and give her a special name. Sing over her with love and kiss away her boo-boos.

You may be the first one to read "I Love You" on her heart. God put it there for you to discover.

Seek and you will find.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Enough Time

Tears of frustration pooled in Mattie's eyes. Lifting her small hands off the piano keys to cover her face, she said in a muffled voice, "I can't do it, Teacher. It's too hard."

"But you love this song and you want to learn it," I reminded her. "You will definitely be able to play this song when you are 80 years old."

She moved her hands to smile at me. "I'm only eight."

"Then we have enough time to learn it little bit by little bit, don't we?"

God says, "Be holy as I am holy" and "Forgive one another as I have forgiven you" and "Love one another as I have loved you". If we don't hear the mercy of a Savior and the patience of a Father in His voice, we can be frustrated to tears.

"I can't do it, God. It's too hard."

Nothing happens as fast as we think it will so we need not be disheartened. To God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. The Author of our faith sees all the way to the end result.

Mattie first learns to love the song. The rules of technique and skill are learned little bit by little bit through practice, but her motivation is loving the song.

Our motivation for spiritual growth comes with peace, hope and delight when we read the Bible to know and love the heart of God. We can trust Him because He has a plan and a vision for teaching us.

Reading the Bible as a set of rules to follow will bring heartbreak and discouragement. The skills and techniques of a mature Christian are learned through practice, little bit by little bit.

My days are numbered by Him. My times are in His hands. The Author and Finisher of my faith is not pressured for time.