Monthly Archives: October 2014

A SPATULA KIND OF FAITH

While in the kitchen with some friends, we had a discussion about spatulas; flippers; egg turners. We picked up different shapes and sizes of what we were talking about and each of us called these kitchen utensils something different. What do you call it?

spatula Whatever you call it, you use if for what you need to use it for. The name you call it doesn’t change its usefulness or its purpose in YOUR kitchen. It may be used for something else (and called something else) in someone else’s kitchen but that won’t change the fact that it is what it is! My son uses a spatula as a spoon, a “picker-upper”, a knife because he doesn’t want to look for anything else. When he has it in his hand, he uses it and makes it be anything he needs for it to be.

FAITH is like that. What is faith, exactly? The “Bible word” for it is pistis which means conviction of the truth of anything; the character of the One who can be relied on; persuasion – the moral conviction, reliance upon Christ for salvation; assurance.

FAITH is just that. Some have faith in their faith only and when it wavers, those believing in their ability to believe and have faith are knocked off their feet. FAITH in Jesus & God (that They are who They say They are, will do what They say They will) is much more reliable! Even though what goes on around us isn’t pretty or fun, THEY remain rock solidly the same.

You can call it whatever you want to. Some may name your faith – radical, charismatic, crazy…if you act like you believe. We’re all different and FAITH looks different on each one of us. Acting on FAITH antagonizes common sense. It irritates some because frankly it just makes no sense. Your FAITH may be active in your life in different ways for different things. FAITH works best for us when we exercise it in every area of life, not just some things. Here’s the thing. FAITH is just like a spatula in my son’s hands; you can use it any time you like for anything you need.

Whatever the need – health, financial, fear, depression, etc, FAITH in Jesus Christ is as accessible as a spatula in your kitchen. One thing’s for sure – if you never USE it you’ll never know how FAITH can help. If you never use the spatula for anything other than what you have always used it for, you won’t believe the other uses for it you’re told about. You can talk about it all you want, call it what you want but when the trials come unless you know Him and what He has to offer it may not mean much. When no other resources can be found to see you through, will your FAITH in God be enough?

Sometimes my son grabs a spatula because he just doesn’t want to look for anything else. He knows he can do what he needs with it so in his mind there’s no reason for search for anything else. That’s a great concept related to FAITH. The ONLY thing we NEED is Him – if we “grab” Him first He will help us get our hands on whatever else we need!

Be Careful With YOU.

Who can you trust? You do realize, don’t you that anyone you open your arms to hug is given access to your heart.

People hurt people. Hurt people hurt people and we’re all wounded in some respect or another. Sometimes even the ones closest to us, the ones we’re supposed to be ultimately safe with hurt us the most. Sometimes those same people show who they really are and what they really care about when a tragedy occurs. It’s like you never knew them.

Be careful who you get close to. When someone entrusts you with themselves, honor that trust because when it’s gone it’s hard to get it back, if not impossible.

God knows. Ask Him who you’re safe with. When you hear that still small voice of warning, listen to it. Regret is hard to overcome. Don’t dwell on the hurt because it will breed something in you that looks like what you found in them. Forgive in spite of. All you can do is see to YOU. Don’t say you love people to use them for your benefit. Be real. Be who you are. Be discerning about who you open up to. Be forthright and not misleading. Be careful with you so you’ll be careful with them!

The Other Side of Beautiful.

I live in a cabin that’s almost 240 years old. Oh if the walls could talk. Andrew Jackson has stood in my living room in front of this fireplace; it’s been said Daniel Boone walked across the front yard. There is all kinds of history on this property.

The cabin has (what I call) character and is a story within itself. Some look at it and see its faults and everything that needs to be fixed but I see the beautiful. It does need work and on the side where nobody can see the beginnings of renovation is taking place. From the visible side, it looks much better.

The side you can’t see shows what it’s been through. If you choose to see that side, you have to walk around to where you can. Nobody sees it unless they make the effort to see it.

We’re much like this historical cabin. We all have a side we don’t show (or try not to) to the world. We choose to let others see our beautiful, our socially acceptable, try-to-fit-in-and-be-good self; the everything-is-fine-and-I-love-life self. The majority only care about that side of us; few ever venture “around the house” to see the other less exposed side, the self we work so hard to hide.

If you’ve lived a few years, you’ve weathered some storms and if others look close enough, they can see it. You’ve been hurt, wounded, made some mistakes and have the scars and marks to prove it. Everyone has another side of beautiful. Everyone. Everyone has a side they don’t really want others to see. Some, though, can’t help but show it. They’re the ones we see on the streets with no place to call home, no resources and no people supporting them. We try not to look because we want to see beautiful; we want someone else to help them. Those closest to you – just like you – have a side that is less than beautiful. We all have a side we would just as soon not show.

Look at them the next time you can. LOOK at the people with you in the checkout line at the store. LOOK at them and pray for them. Ask God for opportunities to smile at them and look them in the eye and ways to help. They’re beautiful too! Others you’re exposed to have deep places and fears they don’t share with anyone. They may need a positive, encouraging word or smile to let them know they’re not alone and they are loved, ugly and all.

God loves us despite of and IN spite of our ugly. He KNOWS our other side of beautiful and has chosen to love us anyway! He wants to touch our ugly and heal us. He wants to do a major renovation in us and He will if we let him. He will even use our other side to encourage someone else if we’ll let Him.

The next time you’re seeing beautiful in others and places think about what you don’t see. Be thankful for the beautiful and pray God is allowed to touch the other side and make it beautiful too.

I CHOOSE TO LOVE HIM *HERE*!

Finally after a long, long life journey, I find myself in the physical place where I most want to be. This is where I belong but I must say since I moved back, all kinds of things have happened I’ve never been through before. I started to doubt whether I have made the right decision and began to wonder if God wasn’t punishing me for moving. For a moment, I believed – I mean REALLY believed I had messed up and was out of the will of God. I was basing my truth on my circumstances and I got totally consumed by my feelings of failure, believing if I was truly “in God’s will” the ride would be smooth – I mean I had to have really messed up otherwise things wouldn’t be so testy. Right? Isn’t that the way it goes? You control your own universe; if things are good it’s because of what YOU do; things are bad because of what YOU do or don’t do. I’m laughing out loud right now. YES I have always believed that no one else but me is responsible for the bad decisions I’ve made and the consequences that followed. But controlling the universe and controlling my destiny sorry. I just don’t believe that.

For a moment though I got lost in all of this and frankly I was ready to just stop and let the chips fall where they may and basically just surrender. I could go into all the stuff that’s happened but I won’t. It has been just crazy. Suffice it to say, I’ve had it. Where’s that white flag. I’m ready to give in and either go back or not move. BUT…

While at church last night a familiar verse was spoke by our Pastor: “…the joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10). All of a sudden, the Light came on. I had forgotten where my strength comes from. I had gotten wrapped up in my fears and frustrations and the fatigue that accompanies them. I got stuck in me and it was getting ugly. From those words until the end of the Bible study, everything said was relevant to our lives. It was one of the moments you live for.

I came home, got in the Word and got on my face. He showed me some things I thought I had learned but I was forced to confess I hadn’t put to use in quite a while. I didn’t realize how caught up I had gotten in trying to live through all this stuff until last night. Lord, forgive me.

The whole process has shown me AGAIN (how many times must I have to relearn this lesson!?!?!) how intense the battle is and how good the enemy is at deception. I KNOW what I believe; I KNOW what God said to me personally and yet, I was in a mess. If you’ve not been led back into fear and anxiety in a while, good for you! BUT don’t think it can’t happen to you. There are all kinds of battles and snares within the battles for all of us. The way you fall to the enemy may be different from how I fall…but we all are capable of falling.

During those times when things are a mess and very frightening there’s a decision to be made. Will you believe? Will you trust? Will you be thankful and love God there in the midst of the mess? I chose last night to love Him and believe Him right here. The scary hasn’t changed yet. The provision has not come – yet. BUT I believe it IS coming. I believe He will see me through this trial. I remember my joy, my faith, my willingness, my ability, my comfort and reassurance are found in Jesus alone. He’s the stability and the strength I so long for in all this uncertainty. I have Him and I believe Him. I choose to love Him here.

The Corner of “Can” and “Will”.

I was walking our dog this morning and I kept looking back to see the sunrise. That’s one of my favorite things, to watch the sun rise. I was walking away from it but that didn’t change the fact that I knew it was coming. Even though I didn’t have to look at it to believe the sun was coming up, I wanted to see it. I knew it was happening because everything was becoming brighter and lighter. So at the moment of “peak” I stopped on the corner to watch it in hopes of capturing a perfect picture. I had a choice: I could keep walking and miss it or I could stop for a minute and catch it. Either way, the sun was DEFINITELY coming up. My decision either way wouldn’t stop it but my decision would determine whether I got to enjoy the blessing of seeing what I believed would happen, happen. 20141001_073148 I am SO glad I stopped.

That’s the way FAITH is with our lives. We find ourselves often in situations we can do absolutely nothing about. Things are definitely NOT easy. I mean at this age, did you plan for your life to be like it is? I sure didn’t! So we find ourselves at a crossroads…a “corner”, if you will. We can become depressed, despondent and disappointed and step into that dark place of believing we’ve been let down, forgotten, life isn’t fair…and survive it thinking it will never get better. That attitude may be justified but it grows anger, bitterness, resentfulness and distance from God. If He’s good and controls everything, and loves us, why does He allow such pain and despair? Here’s a real theological answer for you:  I DON’T know. I DO know this world is not heaven, He IS in control and He affords the opportunity through WHATEVER the circumstance to show us Himself.

So here we are. We know He CAN do whatever we need Him to do…but do we believe He WILL? Do you turn the corner in your heart to go closer to Him or in your time of great heartache choose to walk the other way?

This I do know: He wastes nothing, not even the horrible. Even then, I have found Him to be the One source of comfort, caring, mercy and love. I choose NO MATTER WHAT to turn to Him because of His track record! I look back sometimes to see what He has seen me through, and choose not to dwell on the bad things, the unfair things, but I choose to dwell on HIS faithfulness. He could have left me in the mud and mayhem but He didn’t. After calling to Him and depending on Him more times than I can count, He could have said “sorry little girl, you’ve exceeded the amount of grace I am willing to give” because believe me…I have needed a LOT. Not only that, I choose to believe what He says daily and believe His word applies to me personally!

If you find yourself standing on that corner of decision, I pray you’ll choose stepping in the CAN on your way to HE WILL. No matter what you see or feel choose to believe. That opens the door and allows Him the freedom to come in and show you what you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Only believe.