Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Perspective

I sit today in a newly remodeled office surrounded by windows on three sides and a wall of books behind me. My view is of my back yard (and that of four of my neighbors) richly shaded in hues of green and a scant of purple from wild violets growing in my lawn. I'm saturated in bright sunlight and a cool spring breeze blows in through one opened window giving me a bit of a chill.

It's an inspiring place to sit and think, to read and finally to write. It's my space. A place where I can shut the whole world out and talk quietly to my Creator or simply share a thought or two with you.

It was a long, long winter filled with stormy, snowy days. The ice backed up into this office after the first thaw in January and did immeasurable damage to the walls and floor. This space of mine was in such disarray I thought I'd never have it to myself again. I searched all winter for the right spot to think and be inspired. My books, my writings, marketing materials and the contents of my desk were in various places all over the house for three months. My mind and my heart don't do well in chaos. I did manage to jot out a few thoughts in my journal and on this blog site. Marketing for "Auntie's House" has gone well and on time despite the boxed-up supplies all over the house.

But, today marks the first day my heart, my head and my desk are all together in the same spot! I literally have a new perspective from where I sit and my heart is full of joy! The ideas for writing more books that have been locked between the pages of my journal or in a folder in a box can now be more creatively unleashed and organized into comprehensible works of art. I look forward to many a day in my space.

It's like this sometimes with our spiritual lives isn't it? We get caught up in the disarray of life. We look for God but can't quite find him in the midst of our mess. We manage to squeak out a few good days with him when everything feels right but it's not the same as when life was normal. In fact the messiness of our situation can begin to feel more normal than when it was neat and tidy. Finally, when the messes get cleaned up and life returns to a low hum instead of a screaming locomotive we find a new perspective; better than the one we had previous to the mess.

So, if you're life is in disarray right now take heart. Escape into God's presence for a few minutes and let Him know He's got your attention. Admit you don't understand what's going on but you're willing to be taught. When life returns to "normal" again, look for the new perspective, breathe in the cool air and enjoy!

Here's to a new perspective!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


In the busyness of everyday life we tend to lose sight of things. Things like our car keys, our wallet, our cell phone, our shoes. These are important things that without them all of life stops. At those times, everyone in the house comes to a halt, puts down what they're doing and the hunt begins.

I can remember one bedtime when my daughter was about five years old. The routine was going smoothly. Her bath was done, jammies were on, bedtime snack was over and she even helped herself to a drink from the frig. I went ahead upstairs to her room, turned down her covers and got ready for story time. She proudly marched up after me and put her drink next to the bed and climbed under the covers. We snuggled a bit while I tried hard to stay awake reading a chapter from "Little House on the Prairie." Finally, it was time for her kiss goodnight and lights out. As I leaned over a look of panic and heartbreak rolled over her little face. "What's wrong?" I asked.

"My bunny! Bunny is gone!" she cried with big tears rolling down her little pink cheeks.

"Oh dear" I thought. "Where did you put her?"

"I don't know. She's just gone!" she sobbed. And so, the frantic search began.

We looked everywhere: the bathroom, under the bed, in her closet, in her dresser drawers, in the laundry room, the living room, behind the couch, under the couch, in the garbage...I mean EVERYWHERE! I think the search lasted for more than a half hour and still no bunny emerged. Finally, I asked her "Can you remember the last place you had Bunny?" She thought a minute, wiping her tears and retracing all her steps before bed through the heartbreaking sniffs and hiccuping sobs. All the while I'm praying, "Oh dear God please help us find Bunny! Please!"

"I had Bunny all night long except when I came to bed" she finally said.

"Did you have Bunny when you got a drink out of the frig all by yourself?" I asked.

She thought and shook her head "yes."

"Ah Ha!" It's a long shot...but stranger things have happened I thought. "I'll be right back" I reassured her and skipped downstairs to the kitchen. I optimistically opened the refrigerator door and there next to the pitcher of juice was a cool bunny! I imagined Bunny saying something like, "Thhhhaaaannnkkkssss fffor fffffiinddding mmmmmeeee! Ittt wwwwaassss ggggeettting a bbbbit nnnnippy in thhhhere!" Quickly, I snatched her off the chilly shelf and ran back upstairs to my anxious daughter. "Here she is!" I pronounced. "Do you know where I found her?!" I asked. "In the frig, the silly little bunny! You must have set her down on the shelf when you got your drink!" She grabbed her beloved bunny gave her a great big hug and kiss and was well on her way to slumber when I slipped out of her room.

This is one of my fondest memories as a mother for two reasons. First, God showed me that nothing is too small a concern. If it's important to us it's important to him. I can remember being so desperate in our search for Bunny that night that I really did pray for God to show us where she was. It meant security and comfort for my daughter and she would not have been able to sleep without her. I knew this bunny was valuable to her and we couldn't find it without help. I thought it ridiculous at first to bother God with such a silly or foolish prayer but it was a desperate moment. We were talking about Bunny, here!

Secondly, I found God present and living in our lives that night. Although we may have lost sight of something important, God didn't. He was living with us, present and attentive to the details.

Like so many other situations in our lives we can even lose sight of God, himself. But, he's there even if our attention isn't on him. He's concerned about what's important to us. He's active in our lives, paying attention to the details and ready to assist when we call on his name.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Trust Is Risky Business

God trusts us more than we trust him! He entrusts us with His kingdom but we struggle to even trust Him for our daily needs.

This is a paraphrase of the ending thought to a sermon I heard yesterday. This idea that God trusts us more than we trust Him, even with our daily needs struck a chord in me. I'd never given a thought to the fact that God trusted me with anything. When I really thought about it, who am I that God should trust me with anything let alone with helping Him to usher in His kingdom!?!

It's risky business to trust someone~man to man~but for trust to occur between God and man... that's risky business! God risked everything to trust us. He trusted man because he created us in his own image with purpose. First, the purpose of relationship with him. Secondly for managing/ruling over the earth. He not only gave man a purpose but he also gave him the gift of free will. This way God did not demand our love and trust but offered it freely. We had to choose to accept him or reject him. If man chose to accept him he lived within his favor and opened himself to relationship with him. However, man chose to reject him and separated himself from relationship with him. Paradise was lost.

Throughout the history of Scriptures, God continued to restore relationship with man until finally he risked it all through the ultimate sacrifice of his son, Jesus. Why would God do this? To restore Paradise lost. Jesus said "I make all things new." He came to restore God's kingdom to the way it was meant to be. Furthermore, Jesus entrusted us to continue his work of restoration by making disciples until he returns. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20.

If God trusts us to help him usher in his kingdom and if he gives us the authority to continue Christ's work on earth, then why is it so difficult to trust Him even with our daily needs? We risk NOTHING to trust God compared to what He risks to trust us.

Oh Lord that you might restore our sight that we might see what you are doing. Open our ears that we might hear where you are calling. Open our minds to your understanding so that we may truly continue Christ's work in your kingdom. Oh that we might trust you as much as you trust us!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I love children! They are such a source of truth and inspiration. Life comes into focus when I watch them busily accomplishing the simplest of tasks. I so understand Christ's love for them and telling us to be like them.

My husband's niece keeps the family updated with her creative blogging and photography of her two boys. She's quite creative in her writing and captures great moments in word and on "film." Today, wanting to just catch up on their lives, I opened her blog and watched her youngest proudly displaying his walking skills. From the initial viewing and by the title of the blog you would think that's all he was doing...walking. But, as the video progressed you realized he wasn't just showing off his walking skills. He was walking with a purpose.

The video opened with him shuffling his little feet from the dining room through the hallway down to his bedroom all the while holding a crumpled piece of paper and saying "cheese...cheese...cheese" 'cause he knew he was "on camera!" If that wasn't cute enough, he stopped in front of an empty box, pulled back the lid and dropped the crumpled paper inside. He then shuffled his way back to the dining room, picked up another random piece of paper and repeat his journey two more times! He wasn't just walking. He was walking with the purpose of throwing away the random pieces of paper.

It was a little task. Nothing profound to us but to a little 15 month old boy, it was a great accomplishment! He had a purpose! It actually brought tears to my eyes because I felt compelled, inspired to write. My purpose.

We all have a purpose. We all have little things and big things to accomplish but some days (like my yesterday) we may feel that all we do in life is meaningless. At times like that we need to go back to the One who gives us meaning and a purpose. We need to open the dialogue with Christ again and allow His truth and purpose to be spoken back into our lives.

Circumstances may either paralyze us or catapult us onto the next step of our journey God has laid before us. Don't spend too much time being paralyzed. Seek for the Truth. Listen for his directions and go forth according to His plans. Walk with a purpose!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Bread. It has a sustaining power to satisfy our hunger. It gives life. It quiets the pains and grumblings of our emptiness ~ for a little while. When bread is baking it has a sweet, sensational aroma that causes our mouths to water. It's irresistible! We crave it! We can't stand to wait for it. When it's cooled enough to eat we even fight over who gets the first piece. Oh what a treat to bite into a warm, freshly baked piece of bread with soft butter slathered all over it! We just can't get enough!

At the end of Matthew 6, the disciples are asking Jesus how to pray and there we find what we have titled "The Lord's Prayer." In the middle of the prayer Jesus says we should ask for our daily bread (v. 11) "Give us this day our daily bread." Is this talking about our physical needs for the basics of food & shelter? I think it's more. I think Jesus is alluding to himself as our daily bread.

If you look in John 6, Jesus pronounces himself as the bread of life. The bread that sustains us throughout our lives and to eternity. He is the bread that fills us so that we should never hunger for anything more. How much more should we react to Jesus the way we do to a silly loaf of bread? Bread is baked, broken, eaten and gone. Then we demand more, make more, bake more, eat more. Bread only satisfies for a short time. He says in John 6:27 "Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. (v.33) For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (v.38) For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (v. 40) For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (v47) I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE."

Oh, that we would take the time to smell the sweet aroma of the presence of Christ that fills the whole house when we invite him in. "Give us this day our daily bread." Then sup with him on the bread of heaven, his Word (spoken and written). Then, we are truly satisfied.

Monday, April 6, 2009

We Are Pagans

I was drawn to a conversation Friday between two young mothers whom I thought were oddly drawn together. On one hand there was a commonality. Both were immigrants to America. Both were mothers of toddlers. On the other hand the oddity was their topic of conversation. One mother was most apparently a Middle Eastern Muslim and the other an Ecuadorian Catholic. I don't use these descriptions rudely or with prejudice but only repeat how they described themselves in appearance and conversation. For the most part I politely ignored their small talk, not wanting to intrude or appear rude. But my heart was quickened as the Ecuadorian mother spoke of Holy Week.

"What is this Easter Bunny that 'they' (Americans) talk about? I don't understand. We don't have that in Ecuador. We are all catholic and our Holy Week is religious. Do you celebrate a Holy Week in your country?" Not waiting for an answer from her Muslim friend she continues. "I asked my husband, 'Do you know what this Easter Bunny is all about?' He says it's just commercialism. All commercialism. Holy week, in my country is holy, not commercial!"

The Muslim shook her head in agreement with the comment on commercialism but made no comment on Holy Week. And then the conversation was interrupted by the hustle and bustle of children and mothers getting out of class.

My head was swirling. It was an "Ah ha!" moment for me. It awoke in me an awareness of how numb my heart had become to all the commercialism surrounding Holy Week. As Americans we are irreverent to what is holy! My heart sank. This immigrant woman was right! We have watered down the most sacred, holy week of our Christian faith-the death and resurrection of Christ-our source of salvation and eternal life with God-and made it about the pagan celebration of fertility all wrapped up in the cute, fuzzy bunny! What self-indulgent greed! No wonder the world looks at Americans with disgust! We hold NOTHING sacred, especially God!

I've always allowed some of the fun of the "pagan" commercialism but balanced it with the truth of the holiday. My parents always taught the difference between pretending and truth. I've done the same with my children. But, what of those who don't teach with balance? It must be so confusing, insignificant hinging on the ridiculous!

For a country that was founded on Christian principles, freedom to worship God as we chose and to place God in his rightful place above all else, we have veered so far off the road. For the first time I could understand why foreign countries hate Americans. We represent nothing sacred, holy or reverent. We are laughable! We stand for nothing because we have tolerated everything!

Are we truly infringing on someones religious freedom when we begin to water down our own faith for the sake of tolerance for those with no faith or a different faith? We are. We are infringing on our own religious freedom. The freedom to speak the truth from God's Word and to celebrate the sacred, Judeao-Christian holidays freely without apologies! Shall I dare say we are pagans to those from around the world who do hold their faith and God in sacred reverence?