Monthly Archives: February 2012

Bananas and Debit Cards

I worked from home this morning while Sean was at preschool. I left home around 11am so I could stop by the bank to make a deposit before I picked up Sean for a lunch date. 

When I was walking out to my car after making the deposit, I sensed something. Something that said to me: “go to the grocery story”.

I wrestled with this thought a little bit … okay, a lot. It is only Tuesday and I went to the grocery store this weekend. We don’t really need anything from the grocery store. All the while, the message resonated: “go to the grocery store”.

I finally tapped out and listened to this voice and went to Lowe’s Food in Clayton.

Even as I was walking in the grocery story, I again thought, “Why am I here? I don’t need anything.” 

We were out of bananas. And my kids love bananas.

But, I wasn’t there for the bananas.

God had a different plan. I bought my bananas and started walking back to my car. I noticed a shiny silver Wells Fargo debit card on the asphalt beside a car parked in one of the handicap parking spots.

My heart nearly leapt out of my chest. I picked up the card and took it to Samantha in the Customer Service Department at Lowe’s Food. I told her where I found it and she smiled and said, “You have made someone’s day! I will page them over the loudspeaker.”

I didn’t even look at the card to see whose it was. I was so caught up in the supernatural visit to buy bananas that I didn’t even think to look at the name.

I guess we needed something from the grocery store after all. There really is nothing normal about walking with Him. He made my day!

Lord, help me to be aware of your Presence, your Voice, your Spirit. Thank you for this interruption today that helped realign my wandering heart to trust your Voice. And, thank you for the bananas.

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ZeBrA Among the Horses

His eyes blazed brilliant. Steel blue. Frozen with curious wonder.

I watched him. With my own curious wonder. He saw something I didn’t. Not at first.

He was on a mission. Intense.

Completely unaware of his audience, he lunged for the buttons and control switches. Out of his car seat and free to roam. To wander. And wonder.

Transfixed by the newness of it all. He touched all of them. Waiting to see what would happen. 

The ignition was shut off. Sitting still in the parking lot, and he was on an adventure.

Impervious to anyone else in the cab of the truck, he managed to stand up on the console and turn a couple more interesting knobs.

Then he glanced at me. Grinned that silly grin. And said, “mom!”

Caught.

In his giddy exuberance, he was transfixed and it didn’t matter what anyone else was doing. He was completely unaware that we were watching.

He was a zebra among the horses.

Zebras at the National Zoo in DC

What causes you to be overcome with giddy, curious exuberance? 

I have always been intrigued by zebras. Maybe because they feel like family.

What color are your stripes? Mine are multicolored, sort of like the fruit stripe chewing gum that was so popular when I was a kid.

Why settle for being a horse when you can be a zebra?

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The Glad in the Bad

They fall silently. Cascading down the side of her face. Blonde tendrils that frame her sweet kissable cheeks.

Blue gems sparkle as she follows the critters. Always looking for the next animal to befriend.

Always curious. Captivated by beauty. Swept away by the intricate details that her Creator used as He welded His brush and palette.

She is like me in so many ways. So many ways. Many ways that I have put on a shelf. But, that bookcase has been dusted off. Things are coming off the shelf.

Through the eyes of a child. Those blue gems that sparkle like tanzanite in the noonday sun. Curiosity that can never be quenched.

Open arms. Full-faced. Running.

She runs every where she goes. When I ask why, she says, “I’m not running, mom. I’m trying to get there faster.”

Yet, in her getting there faster, she has taught me to slow down. To take note of the Master’s hand. His artistic expression that is my children and the world around us.

From her 4 foot view of the world, everything is alive with wonder. Expectations abound. Nothing is not possible. Dreams are reality and life is good. Truly good.

This is the child that when presented with a school project about “Black History Month” was confused. She asked in her innocence why we have a black history month because “we are all the same mommy”. We have never taught her any different.

Oh, I know that Pollyanna is not the way to live, but it does make me wonder. What is the way to live? Maybe Pollyanna had it right after all. Finding the glad in the bad. Recognizing that it is all good. Even the bad. It is a matter of perspective that my 6-year-old has seemed to master.

Learning from her as she grows. I grow. She is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

Yes, I know that the bank of life will make deposits and withdrawals as she grows. Her innocence and purity will become things of a distant, memorable past. Even though this is inevitable, I pray that she still knows that with God all truly is good and that she can always find the glad in the bad.

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Success

I do believe that more than anything else, the thing that holds us back the most takes up residence between our ears.

The voice that tells you that you could never do that thing. That you will always be this way. No one would want to read anything you write. Don’t even think about signing up for that marathon…you can’t even run a 5k. You don’t deserve any better. Look where you came from. You have the wrong last name. You don’t know the right people. People don’t care about you so why do you care about them.

Any of those sound vaguely familiar? We shoot ourselves in the foot before we ever take the first step. Because we listen. To that voice. The voice that wants us to fail. Miserably.

Maybe that’s why most of us never change. We settle. Change is hard. And we might make a mistake or fail miserably. But, we just might succeed. And that might just be scarier than failing. At least we are used to failing. Succeeding is a whole different story.

What are you most afraid of failing at? What risk would you be willing to take if you knew success was the only outcome?

Taking the first step and facing your fear of failure is success.

Now are you willing to step into your future? Success is your only outcome.

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Death and Life.

The words were harsh. Painful, yet familiar. I had heard them before, but not in a long time. From a stranger this, today. I am sure he had no idea the power of his simple sentence:

“Boy, you are hard to please.”

Something as harmless as a drink order turned into an assault from the other side. His words still sting. I was surprised by the medium, but I shouldn’t have been surprised by the originator. But, it got me today.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” I Peter 4:12  

Our words are powerful live givers or life takers. And trying to contain our tongues is difficult. Something like trying to lasso a tornado.

Sometimes I wish I had a muzzle. Something to harness my tongue. Keep me from throwing darts. Inflicting soul pain. Wounds that take the longest to heal. If they ever do.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21

Death and life.

I can either help life spring forth or cause death’s sting to be felt by way of my tongue.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

As I pondered the exchange that took place this morning, a battle roared on in my head today. I am mentally exhausted after wrestling with the lies today. But, I am choosing to rest in my Father’s love tonight. I may be hard to please by some standards, but by God’s standards I am His chosen and precious child. Made by Him and for Him. And, He’s not hard to please. He only wants me. All of me.

Lord, help us to hear your voice over the voices of this world. May our words be uplifting and life-giving. Help us to not speak if our words would inflict soul pain. May your healing balm cover those wounds of the soul as we desire to give grace and life to others.

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Lightbulbs

We had an appointment to pick up the last of our baby chicks (2 Welsummers and a quail) around lunch time today and I needed another heat lamp for them. Sean and I landed at Lowe’s Home Improvement this morning after dropping Callie off at school. I am not one to waste time looking for things so I stop the first associate I see and we had the following conversation:

Lizzie: “Sir, where are your heat lamps?”

Associate: “Well, let’s go get your lightbulbs first.”

{I was wondering if HE heard me clearly since HE completely ignored my question.}

Lizzie: “I already have lightbulbs, sir…100 watt, 75 watt, 60 watt, and 40 watt. I need a heat lamp. Not lightbulbs.”

Associate: “Well, let’s go get your heat lamp.”

He didn’t have much to say after he led me to the heat lamps. I was still a little puzzled by his desire to help me purchase light bulbs when I never asked for light bulbs.

As with any situation in life, I try to learn from situations that I experience.

Here’s todays life lesson: If you want light bulbs, ask for a heat lamp.

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Promise Framed Tapestry

Last week, I blogged about a new practice that God has been inviting me to start in my life. Here is the summary again:

“I believe that we need a place, a sanctuary that is inviting.

I believe that we need a purpose, to sit still and soak in His illumination.

I believe God’s promises that give me sustenance and are invigorating.

I believe that I will see progress whereby my soul is nourished and I will have internal peace.”

Now that we have the place (or where) established (click here) and the purpose (or what) established (click here) behind the practice, I will focus on the promises that sustain me and invigorate my communion with God.

By way of God’s promises in scripture, we can learn more about His character. And when I know more about His character, it is easier for me to trust Him.

Think about the people you trust…as you think about them, how did you begin to trust them?

I didn’t trust my husband from date number one. I respected him from date number one, I fell in love with him over the course of many dates spanning several months, and I trusted him last…as in years later. I had to learn more about his character first. My respect for his character and belief system grew into a beautiful tapestry of love whereby trust was woven in over time.

By knowing more about God’s promises and character, we can trust Him at His Word. This will sustain us through the low valleys and invigorate us on the mountain tops. For example, God will always love me and you. How do we know this? Because His Word tells us that He is Love. That’s worth repeating. He IS Love (I John 4:8).  He can’t not love us! My former English teachers would kill me for that one, but is it the Truth! And nothing can ever separate us from His love:

Romans 8:38-39 (NASB)

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 I Corinthians 13:4-6 (NASB)

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Another promise that I hold dear is that God is always good. ALWAYS! Not sometimes. This one can be hard to believe, because we equate a good God with good things and sometimes we don’t get good things. We get lemons. But, God’s character is not equivalent to what happens in our lives. God is GOOD even when bad things happen:

Psalm 136:1 (NASB)

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

Psalm 34:8 (NASB)

“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

Next, God is my Protector. This one has been a stubborn idol for me to lay down. I think I can protect myself and those I love. I actually believe in my distorted view that I know how to protect me and my loved ones better than God. Wow…

I have to “practice” laying this down on a daily basis and choose to trust in God’s protection. And when I do this, life is much better and I have so much more energy. I don’t spend my mental energy trying to save the world (or at least the little bit of space under my feet).

II Samuel 22:2-3 (NASB)

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.”

Lastly, God knows everything and is big enough to handle me and anything that happens to me. I can bare my soul to Him and He won’t be surprised or tell me that I am too messy or too much for Him to handle. He wants me…all of me.

So, none of the above comes naturally for me. A similar scene occurs every time I remove a splinter from one of my children’s fingers. They scream, cry, and do the rain dance until I can convince them that their finger will feel much better if they would be still and let me help them. I can only imagine what I look like sometimes when God is wanting to help me and I am doing the rain dance…makes me chuckle.

When you frame your life by the truths of God’s character based on His promises, you can know 4 things with comfortable certainty:

1. God is always GOOD.

2. God will always LOVE you.

3. God is your PROTECTOR.

4. God is BIG enough for you and anything that happens to you.

Then any picture you choose to put in this frame comes into focus. Whatever happens to you on any given day can be embraced because you can know with comfortable certainty that God is always good, He will always love you, He is your protector, and He is big enough for you and anything that happens to you.

Stay tuned as I finish up this series in the next few days with the final part of my practice: I believe that I will see progress whereby my soul is nourished and I will have internal peace.

The Master Weaver is weaving a beautiful tapestry called your life. And He is inviting you to commune with Him. What will you do with His invitation?

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