Monthly Archives: May 2012

3 years ago

Love so pure that you knew it without having to hear her say it.

Wise beyond her education and welcoming to all who broke biscuits dipped in molasses at her table.

I always felt right at home when I was with her.

So many of my childhood days were spent watching and learning at her feet.

I didn’t know it at the time, but she was one of the greatest teachers I would ever learn from.

To this day, three years later, I still think about dialing her number, 965-8259.

I know I can’t call, but I have the conversation in my head anyway.

Maybe she hears me. Maybe, just maybe, she knows how much she was loved.

Because, one thing’s for sure. I know she loved me.

Me and nanny – Christmas 2008

One day when I was 13 or 14, I was sitting with her in the heart of her home, the kitchen. She looked at me with her steel blue eyes and said, “Lizzie, you can be anything you want to be, girl.” She has no idea the impact those words had on my heart. 

And I know she would be humbled and proud, all at the same time.

I have hope eternal. Until we meet again, I have memories like this one that bridge the gap between me and her.

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What did ~we~ decide?

Well, I have a confession to make. Both of my children want another brother or sister.

And, the confession part of this story is that both Anthony and I feel that our little family is complete with the two precious children God gave us through the love He started between us over 16 years ago. Along with the 8 African cichlids, 8 chickens, 2 quail, and 1 beta fish.

However, my little ones are very persistent. And in a follow-up to my Weekly Intention regarding sacrifice this past Sunday, we have been thinking about what we could sacrifice as a family.

We have decided to……………………………………………………………….

 

sponsor a child through Compassion International!

Her name is Ella and she is a 6-year old darling from the Philippines. When Callie read her profile and saw that Ella likes to “sing, tell stories, and do art”, Ella instantly became a part of our family.  

Won’t you consider becoming a Compassion International partner and sponsor a child today? A child you may never meet will be impacted eternally in ways you could never imagine.

Remember, sacrifice doesn’t know how to add. It only knows how to give. 

$38 a month.

Here is the link ~just in case you need it!~ : http://www.compassion.com/default.htm

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Weekly Intentions: Sacrifice

Our amazing symbol of freedom

She got up early every morning. And stayed up late most nights to check on him one last time. She never got uninterrupted sleep. But, she didn’t seem to mind. Her son was more important.

Before he was born, she wore a suit to work, high heels, and was never without make-up.

Life was different now, but so was she. He changed things. Turned her life and heart upside down.

Before he was born, her greatest sacrifice was deciding whether or not to pack her lunch for work or eat out with the girls. She could still eat out, but it was eating out in the parking lot after going through the drive through.

She was still young. 34-years old. And so was he. 4-years old. Truly a miracle. The doctors told her when he was weeks old, that he may be a vegetable for the rest of his and her life. You can’t survive without oxygen and when you are only minutes old and seizing, your brain cells can’t compete.

They also told her that it would be best if he didn’t survive. For both of them.  

Against all odds, he thrived as a baby and toddler under her full-time, round the clock care. There were some scary moments and nightmares that became reality.

At 4-years old, he is more like a 1-year old. He may live for decades. And she will be his primary care giver for all of those decades.

Because he is hers. And, she loves him enough to sacrifice the 6-figure income, high heels, and quick ascent up the corporate ladder. Enough to sacrifice her life. All of her. 

Sacrifice.

Giving up something for something else. Usually something less than what you are sacrificing. But that’s true only if you are adding up the costs. And sacrifice doesn’t know how to add. It only knows how to give.   

The ultimate sacrifice is that of giving one’s life. Like this mother does every single day. And night.

Reminds me of another sacrifice. Jesus.

He became the sacrifice for us. Not only did He sacrifice, He became the sacrifice. He went from being God to being God-man, flesh and bones. And, ultimately, He died and gave all so that we could live. Abundantly full lives. Free from fear and condemnation. Are you free because He paid the price? 

As we celebrate those men and women who are and have sacrificed tomorrow on Memorial Day, I challenge you to do two things:

1) Please thank someone who has served or who is currently serving in the Military. We cannot thank them enough. All gave some and some gave all. AND, thank someone else in your life who has sacrificed something so that you could have something more. Live bigger, deeper, fuller. I know who I am going to thank.

2) Think about what you can sacrifice in your life to make someone else’s life richer, better, fuller. I am praying about this with you and will post later this week with an update.

 Give a little today without counting the costs. The investment of you will mean so much for someone who needs it.

 “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.” 
~ Mitch Albom ~

 

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Without Ceasing

The emails find their way to my inbox and messages fill my voicemail on my cell phone. And I wonder how to pray for them all.

How do I lift all of them up before the throne of mercy and grace? Where healing and peace reside. Gifts for me and for them.

My heart is heavy for so many people. So many have cancer or sick children or family members near death. Broken bodies, spirits, and souls. Relationships in crisis, hearts bleeding, and families fighting.

I whisper a silent admission or maybe it’s a plea for help: “Lord, if I pray for all of these needs, I would never stop praying.”

In that very breath of burdened prayer, I ‘heard’ Him say, “You’ve got it, dear, you’ve got it.” And it hit me, hard.

Without ceasing. Don’t stop. Incessantly.

The greek for pray is: proseuchesthe. For without ceasing the Greek is: adialeiptōs. Put together they mean: to pray to God incessantly without interruption.

Oh my. There it is in black and white. My answer. THE answer.

How do you pray without ceasing, you wonder? Me too. So I asked Him.

When you rise up, when you lie down, when you eat, when you do laundry, when you commute, when you talk with them on the phone, when you workout, when you are getting ready in the morning. When you breathe.

Incessantly. All the time.

Prayer is a mindset. An inner dialogue between us and our Creator that can happen all the time and anywhere. Fellowship at its deepest level.

I think I am starting to get it. Maybe this is a side effect of slowing down.

If so, it is a side effect that I welcome.

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”– Corrie Ten Boom

 

“Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude—an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God.” –Arthur W. Pink

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Weekly Intentions: Story

My mind drifts to Cinderella, Batman, The Lord of the Rings, Terminator, Ironman, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Just a few movies that portray an epic battle between protagonists and antagonists. And, we almost always know who is going to win. That’s why we watch them. To see who wins, right?

 

That’s why everybody likes a good story. One with good guys and bad guys, cops and robbers. One that ends with the good guys beating the bad guys and the cops arresting the robbers.

Did you know that your life is telling a similar story? One with protagonists and antagonists. Full of adventure. Good things and bad things all weaving together the story of your life.

And, of course, we want to win. But, you may not be winning right now. Life may not be all that you desire. You may be in physical or emotional pain. You could be at the end of your rope, not knowing what tomorrow may hold. You could be paralyzed in fear and trembling, tears flowing and heart aching.

But, maybe your story hasn’t made it to the climax. You know the part of the movie where we all exhale because we finally know who wins? Maybe you don’t know what tomorrow holds, today. But there is Someone who does. He knows your tomorrows. And He has written your story.

Yes, your story. The one that hasn’t ended yet. There is more to tell.

This week, my challenge for you is to figure out what that looks like. I really do believe everybody has a phenomenal story. Your story is not my story. And no one can tell your story like you can. You experienced it. Not me.

The inspiration for this Weekly Intention comes from this quote from “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom:

“We must tell people what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”

Corrie’s sister, Betsie, said this shortly before her death in a concentration camp. Did you catch that last part? Gives me chills… Because of their first-hand experience, people would listen to them. And Corrie made Betsie proud because she told a very powerful story for years after her release.

Now, don’t compare your story to the Ten Boom’s. Compare it to your own life. Look in the mirror.

You have a unique and powerful story that only you can tell. What is it?

{picture credits: Wikipedia}

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Letting Go

In my slowing down, I have seen and heard things that I haven’t even blinked at before. It has been refreshing to take more in by taking less on. Like breathing from my diaphragm instead of gasping from my throat.

Slowing down has also been a painful teacher in some ways regarding time. Time that never stands still. However, I can stand still as the tick tock continues. The hands of time that never stop their forward march.

As I continue to practice this discipline of slowing down, God has shown me a lot. More recently He has shown me that there are some things I have to let go of. Things that found their way into my backpack. Some on purpose that I invited in and others that tagged along looking for a host. 

Surrender and release. Give the air room to circulate through the ever-widening hole at the back of my throat and find my diaphragm.

Oh, the freedom of a deep breath. Some of you know, just like I do, the panic that consumes you when you can’t breathe.

But, when it hurts way down deep, we try to hold on with white knuckles. And the throat narrows. The chest tightens.

Hold on to what was or what we want or how we want it.

We hold it and squeeze it tight. Clutched to our chest like our whole life depended on that very thing. Nothing could be more important.

Nothing. Except maybe, letting go.

To whom or what are you holding on to? So tight that your chest aches and you forget to breathe. You know. And He knows. And He wants to take it for you. But, you have to be willing to give it to Him.

Sometimes it’s easier to just let go…give it to Him. Lay it down. Quit trying to make it right. Maybe, just maybe, He is trying to make room for more. And you are settling for less. Could it be?

He has shown me two things thus far. And, I have a choice to make. I can hold on to mediocrity and shallow breathing. Or by letting go, I can breathe in all that He has for me.

Yes, we have a choice to make. What choice will that be?

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Weekly Intentions: Comparing

Look at her hair. Mine never looks that good. 

Man, I wish I had those shoes. She has a different pair for every day of the month.

That dress looks great on her. They probably don’t even make it in my size.

I wish I had a car like that. I can’t afford the clunker I’ve got.

Too bad my husband doesn’t work there. They always have more money than us.

Her kids are always dressed in {insert name brand}. They look so much better than {dare I say mine?}.

Have you said or thought any of these things lately? Or made other comparison statements like these? I am sure we all have. And you know what it does for us? Leaves us with many unwanted guests: jealousy, bitterness, depression, envy, and the rest of the brood.

Comparison is the thief of joy. It steals our joy and contentment faster than you can repeat one of the above lies.

This week, I am challenging you to be more aware of when you are thinking or saying statements like these. When you find one of these thoughts swimming in your head, don’t give the tadpole an opportunity to turn into a frog. Reframe the comparison. Instead of being jealous of the BMW she drives, tell her that you like her car. When you see a cute kid dressed in {insert name brand}, smile and tell them how cute they are. If you like someone else’s hair that much, tell them so and then ask for the name of their hairdresser.

Instead of being envious and allowing a bitter root to grow, look at the deeper issue. What do you want for YOUR life? How do you want YOUR life to be different? You can’t live anyone else’s life but YOURS. Make it the best you can with the resources you have.  

The last thing you need to do is compare yourself to others. Your only competition is you. And you win every time, if you do your best and keep your eyes focused on those things that really matter. The enduring and eternal.

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