Woven Together; Loving and Learning

This morning I found myself asking God why He would still tolerate me after so many times of falling into the same sin and breaking our communion. He reminded me of the time this last year when someone whom I love shared some information with me that they thought would cause a break in our relationship. When it didn’t they were very surprised.

I love how God weaves my story with the story of others as a reminder that His ways are so much higher and better than my ways. My love for this person allowed me to respond in love to them. In a similar (yet so much more perfect) way God loves me so much that He will not let me go. Yes, I break His heart when I choose to go my own way instead of His, yet He made it clear at the cross that He took care of the burden of my sin. Now He welcomes me back when I stray and reminds me that His love, forgiveness and grace to start fresh.Unclutter Heart

This Is My Brain . . .

This is my brain, and this is my brain coming out of overload . . . .

Lately I feel like my brain (along with my calendar and life) have been on overload.  Consequently I have had no margins to dream, think or write.  That’s not good.  Combine that with weather that primarily has been pretty dreary for a few weeks and I was left feeling pretty empty and void.

Thankfully this last week God blessed me three times (truthfully He has blessed me so much more everyday, but these three are of particular note) with:

  1.  Times of reconnection and fellowship with two friends whom I haven’t chatted with in ages.  Such deep sharing refreshed my parched soul.
  2. Being together around the Word of God with others who are the hands and feet of
    KBN
    Photo Credit:  Freeman Miller

    Jesus in the city of Philadelphia.  I never experience time with these brothers and sisters when my passion to know Jesus deeper and serve Him more fully is not fueled.

  3. Opportunities to be outside with days of sunshine and warmth.  Amazing how that readjusts the psyche, especially when the sunshine is enjoyed when taking a walk.

Today Jerry and I attended an event on the field at a minor league baseball park.  Walking along the all dirt infield we saw two places where shoots of grass were bursting from the the ground.

These last few weeks I felt like the infield, dry, flat and totally void.  After this week of blessings I see and feel new life springing forth from the barrenness.  And I am so thankful!

Riches in Secret Places (part 1 of 2)

This was first printed in a book entitled Hope published by Calvary Church Souderton, PA in 2012.  It is edited and reprinted here with permission.

Having worked with people with disabilities for most of my career, and now being married 16 years to Jerry (who was born with cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair) one might think that I have a handle on what it’s like to live with disability in the family.  Some days I do, but surprises pop up in the most unexpected ways.

Early on one of those surprises was the pace of life – it became so much slower!  Things I was able to do in a matter of minutes before could now take closer to an hour; there was no such thing as quick!  Just to load in and out of the van adds 15 minutes to anything we do!  Spontaneity is really not in our vocabulary.   Yet even as the pace of life became slower; the demands on my time and life increased significantly.  Essentially I have more things to do in less time.  Slower and fuller – what a combination!  Disability has been described as a part time job; and sometimes it feels like a job without benefits . . .

But there are benefits, and one of my favorite passages about those benefits is in the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah.   Cyrus is the man God has appointed (though Cyrus hasn’t acknowledged God’s role in his life) to lead the children of Israel out of captivity.

Isaiah 45:2-3    I will go before you and will level the mountains I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. (My note – how’s that for making things accessible!)   I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places.  I think it is safe to say that if someone (especially the God of the Universe) offered treasures and riches to us we’d love to accept if there were no strings attached; but there are some strings attached, so to Metal Doorspeak.  Isaiah tells us those blessings are found in darkness and secret places.  Not usually places we willingly go – especially if the path is not well marked or heavily traveled.

 

I am not saying life affected by disability is all darkness, but there are some tough times; and it’s ok to admit that.  There are things that just don’t make sense, yet because God is there and He is the one making the way before us, we know the adventure is not in vain.  Don’t miss the last part of verse 3 – God says He give us these treasures and riches in darkness and secret so that we may know that He is God and He is personally and intimately involved in our lives (summoning us by name) whether we are ready to acknowledge that or not.

Can I tell you about one of those days in my life?  I had a plan, my plan.  I had gotten Jerry up early (which means I was up even earlier); at 4:00 am to be exact, for a 6:30 am breakfast meeting. Once he was out the door at 6:00 I laid back down for 30 more minutes before getting up to have a quiet time and head to the Y.  It seemed like a good idea to me, and one that would surely honor God because it included taking care of me both physically and spiritually. . .

Check back here tomorrow for the conclusion.

 

Hope Realized

A few weeks ago I shared an anecdote about my missing pink and brown moose sock.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I brought in our mail and saw a small packet from a store that sounded “Alaskan” to me.  How fun to open it up and find these – a new pair of New Moose Socksthe EXACT sock I had lost!  Even more fun was to see who sent them to me, someone with whom I am developing a new friendship.

When I thanked my friend, she shared that she thought it would be a fun way to share a blessing with me. She was right!

No longer do I hope to find the errant moose sock.  My hope has been realized.  But now I have a new hope – about how God will work in our lives as my friend and I get to know one another more and seek God together.

Hope and a Pink Moose Sock

A few years ago Jerry took me on an Alaskan cruise.  I think he hoped it would satisfy my desire to see Alaska and we could move on.  I certainly did enjoy the trip and the amazing beauty we saw. The trip actually whet my appetite to go back inland to see more of this gorgeous creation.

The one animal I really wanted to see was a moose.  I saw a number of
other animals, but no moose.  So instead I bought a pair of pink and moose sockbrown socks that had moose on them.  Yes, a purchase that had absolutely nothing to do with the “real” Alaska, but they were a fun memory for me.

Once I got home I wore them a couple times.  The last time I wore them (in 2013) only one sock came out of the laundry.  I was disappointed, but certain that the errant sock would show up soon attached via static cling to a sheet, towel or one of Jerry’s t shirts.

But it never did.  So I tucked the one sock away in a basket of socks, still believing that one day it’s mate would return.  When our dryer needed to be replaced in 2014 I asked the delivery guy to please check carefully to make sure no socks were stuck in it before he carried it away . . .he did and there weren’t any.

Fast forward to early December 2015 when I had foot surgery.  Finally I was able to wear my one pink moose sock since my other foot was adorned in bandages and a surgical shoe.  Such a fun perk.

Valerie

Over Christmas I shared that story with some of my family.  One of my niece’s (Valerie to be exact, who said if I shared this I had to credit her – so this one’s for you kid!) said, “Wow, that’s hope!”My family snickered, especially when I said I was going to blog about that. But she’s right!

Recently one our pastors spoke about hope and pointed out that Hope is never about the past or the present.  Hope is ALWAYS about the future – I think now I’ll really hang on to that pink moose sock.  It is a great example of hope and a reminder that “Hope is a good thing.  Maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.  So you better get busy living or get busy dying.”  (Credit to Andy D in The Shawshank Redemption)

Time to get back to being busy living –  who knows, maybe when the washer needs replacing I’ll find the other pink moose there!