Monday, October 31, 2011

Get Silly & Giggle

I received an email from a friend of mine the other day. She and her husband have been struggling with the recent diagnosis of his cancer. They have undergone a string of appointments, and are currently awaiting the phone call that will give them his first scheduled time for the upcoming radiation treatments.

Every medical professional they have dealt with has been encouraging and supportive. This has greatly helped them in their journey. This is not a road they had anticipated going down. You see it was only a few short years ago, that my friend’s husband received his kidney transplant. He had been on dialysis, daily, for eight hours each day. It had come to the point where he told his wife, “I can’t take much more of this; something has to happen.” Miraculously, within the next few weeks, the phone rang. It was the best Christmas present he could have ever hoped for; there was a kidney for him. The surgery was scheduled and, to keep it brief, he had the surgery and has healed. Following lengthy and somewhat grueling procedures, he has been able to return to what you and I would consider a normal lifestyle.

Until this.

Only a few short years ago; how long had it been….maybe two years?

Their hearts were heavy with fear; they were devastated with this new diagnosis of his cancer. So much had happened in their lives in such a short period of time. I am certain they must feel as if they have been caught up in a whirlwind, unable to find their way out.

In my friends email to me, she shared with me that she had spent the evening with her sister. She said, and I quote, “I had fun with my sister last night. We always get silly and giggle a lot. Indeed just what I needed.”

Don’t we all need that at times? Our lives are complete with seasons; a time for everything under the sun.

Each day there will be trouble. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus brings us back into reality in Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Although our worry does no good; it is our nature. Naturally, love, fear, and doubt enter.
But no matter what you might be facing today, or tomorrow, remember…. there will always be a time for you to get silly and giggle.

If you know someone today who is struggling and could use a friend; spend some time with them…get silly and giggle. Help the picture of their day be a little more perfect.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Through a Dark Mirror

I was at my ladies Bible study yesterday morning, when one of the ladies shared how she had been fascinated by a full length mirror in her bedroom. She told us of how this mirror was like no other mirror she had ever stood in front of. This mirror, no matter how she was dressed, showed the perfect picture of beauty. She had no flaws; no lumps or bumps; only smoothness and beauty.
Each lady in the room wanted to visit this mirror. We all wanted to experience what our friend was experiencing. Each of us wanted to be picture perfect.
Then, as the story continued, our friend admitted she had a hand in this outcome. She shared how she had the mirror placed against the wall, on just such an angle, positioned perfectly to show the best features. She also laughingly admitted that this mirror could use a dusting; maybe then those images would not be so smooth and beautiful. She told us how she kept the lighting in the room low, so as not to bring any flaws to the foreground.
In the end, we could see how her manipulation of the mirror could easily result in her seeing what it was she desired most to see.

Pondering this, I later asked myself, how often do I do this? How often do I manipulate for an outcome that I desire? What is it about the bare truth that makes me feel uncomfortable?

The Bible tells us in John 8:32 that the truth will set us free. While we may prefer to veil the truth, it will never change what the truth is.

There is, in the core of each of us, a longing for the truth; a longing to be set free from the chains of sin. My Bible study friend knew the truth. She knew that if she moved the mirror a tad, dusted it, and brightened the lights, the picture she would then see in the mirror wouldn't be the same perfect picture she had seen prior.

God's desire is for us to live in the truth. While we may not be perfect, we are his. He loves us and desires that we allow him to shape us, to mold us, to become more like Jesus. As I come to him each morning, I am aware that this is a brand new day; his mercies are new every morning. I have today, a brand new opportunity to serve and grow to become more like him. And I ask myself, isn't this better than masking the truth? Isn't this a better alternative: to be able to begin again; fresh and new each morning?

Today, ask the Lord how he would have you remove your mask. Live in his light;live in truth.
John 8:12, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Amen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It was late summer and some leaves on the trees had begun to turn reddish orange and others, yellow. I delighted in the scenery, thinking how beautifully God had created our planet earth. How intricate and with much thought He created everything around me..
It was in this moment I felt the Lord speak to my heart. He showed me that this entire splendor could change in an instant, and all that was necessary for me to do was to get closer to it. I was puzzled by this insight, so I began to play it out in my head.

I walked into the woods. There I would be in the midst of the beauty; I would be enveloped in this beauty that He had created; I could breathe in the freshness of the forested air. I could touch the leaves; I could listen to the birds sing.
This beauty, the Lord said, is easy to admire from afar. It is in a place where you can not really feel it, cannot honestly sense it, but you can admire it from a distance. 
Essentially, when you put yourself in these woods, what is it you experience? I considered our recent camp trips. After all, how much closer to nature do I get other than when we camp? I love to camp, so this seemed a good place to began my pondering.
The first thought that came to mind was the insects; those nasty insects, especially the ones that bite. The mosquitoes, the black flies, the deer flies, and such, not to mention the frightening appearance of those spiders.  We could do without all of them. Then, as I continued in my reality check, I thought of low hanging branches that I had ducked on many an occasion to keep from being hit in the head while on my bicycle. I quickly remembered the few that had hurt me. Ouch! Then I suddenly remembered the raccoons that came on our campsite time and time again, looking for food. Oh, and there are the bears; the ones I fear will see me as prey as I walk a lonely foot trail in the spring. And again, the lovely plant I once took hold of only to be pricked by the thorns I had not noticed. There were other thoughts I could add to this list, but you get the idea.

From a distance, all is beautiful and perfect; yes, perfect; picture perfect. It is only as one dares to go near that there begins to be cause for concern. Stuff to deal with; things to keep us on our guard; nasty stuff.  
Just as I was meditating on this awareness; the Lord drew me close to Him. He reminded me of how this is no different in relationships. Now he really had my attention. All relationships, He said, appear beautiful from a distance. All relationships seem perfect. Some people have perfect relationships, I mused. But the Lord said this is merely my longing for this perfection in relationship, but the truth is simply this; no relationship is anywhere near perfect. They, just like mine experience thorns, bugs, branches, heat waves and icy chills. There are no perfect relationships on this earth.
As the Lord brought me once again to deal with my fear of intimacy, along with my lack of patience and appreciativeness for others, I started to accept a new outlook on those perfect relationships that I had so often believed in, and to now view them correctly as to see them with their many necessary flaws.

The Lord had helped me to see this beauty as a reflection of life. My life. Your life. Our lives. We are not perfect. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. How then can we expect either to offer or to experience perfect satisfaction in our relationships? We are messy, self centered, offensive beings.
But we have a God who loves us. A God who is perfect. A God who we can trust in to lead us down the right path.

How I long to see more of Him in me. How I long to forgive and not be petty; love and not be condemning.
That day, the Lord spoke a newness into me. I breathed in His love and was grateful for His words to me. I am not alone. It is not only me, but the fallen nature of all mankind. While it is true that I have certain challenges, it is not too late for me. Through Him, I can find what I need to have relationships that will flourish and grow. The first change I must make is in the way I view myself.
Strange, I thought it would be in the way I view others. But the Lord had spoken to my heart and assured me that I must see in me, His creation. He had created me in love; He had created me in His image.
That day was the first day I remember the beginnings of looking at myself and others in a completely different light. That day I started to seriously focus on myself as a wonderful, marvelous, treasured creation of the Almighty God. One cannot focus on themselves in this manner and remain aloof and indifferent. I became conscious that I was special; I mattered. Maybe not to many people in my midst, maybe so. But, ideally I mattered to my creator, God. How on earth could I feel so down on myself when God Almighty valued me so?
 What are your thoughts on this?