Category Archives: Gifts

Expecting Glory…

Today is Friday.  We write free and bold and with out self-editing.  For five whole minutes.

Today’s word: Expectation

Ready?

Set…

Go!

Expectation.  Is it bad? Is it good? I don’t know.  Expectations often lead to disappointment and embarrassment.  Expectations often lead to sadness and despair.  We want what we want.  We expect good things to happen, then they don’t.  We expect God to take care of us…and He does.  Expectations of God are a tricky thing.  He never promised us a rosy life, but He did promise that He would always be there.  He did promise that he would always walk through “it” with us.  He did promise that He would carry us when we needed Him (whether we knew it or not).  He did promise that give us just the right amount of strength and grace to get through the storms in life.  Those are expectations we can take to the bank.  We can cash in those promises.  We can expect to survive this life as we walk with expectation into the next.  We can expect that God will show up in our deepest, darkest moments.  We can expect that he will do what He says He will do.  Because He is Who He is.  He is the Creator of the Universe after all.  He is what least expect Him to be and more.  He is mother and father to us all.  He is gentle friend and firm counselor.  We can expect the best from Him.  We can expect to shine out His glory in our life.

Color me eclectic

That’s a fun word to say. Ec-lec-tic.  There’s a little kind of punch from the vocal cords when I say it (probably from all of those hard c’s).  For those who would like a definition, eclectic means: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.  That’s me all over.

I don’t have any particular style.  I don’t have any particular way of doing anything.  I am a mishmash (another fun word to say out loud) of experiences that color me eclectic.  I have always shunned the idea that I must conform to the standards of my society in how I conduct my life.  “How I conduct my life”, now there’s an interesting turn of phrase.  An orchestra is made up of an eclectic assortment of instruments following the conductors commands to slow down, go faster, be quieter.  Each instrument offering up their own unique sounds to make a well conducted song.  And how sweet that song can be.

Sorry. I saw something shiny.

Being the slightly crazy, out-of-sync-with-the-rest-of-the-world sort, I have collected together an otherwise unconnected assortment of philosophies and styles.  Bits and pieces from this, that, and the other thing.  Stuff that, within their collective of sameness are, in my opinion, somewhat boring.  By gathering together these tidbits in my eclectic basket of being, I am giving these tidbits new life, meaning, and purpose.  Put them all together like some crazy mosaic, and you have me.

I think God likes to do the same.  Only on a grander scale.  He seems to like to gather together people and churches that are individually unique with their own sound and style.  I think it is important to note here that I believe that God has presented Christians with core set of values to follow that should be the conducted same way by each person (1 Corinthians 13 anyone?).  Conformity to a certain way of behaving towards God and other people is very important to a fruitful faith (Mark 12:28).  But, how boring would it be if we all were the same in our expression of our faith?

Think about it for a minute.  What if the only music you ever heard was made up of one instrument?  Boredom would set fairly quickly.  How about if a mosaic was all one color and one kind of material?  Boring.

The unique collection of you  fits together nicely with the unique collections that are other people when the Holy Spirit is conducting the orchestra.  We have to stop trying to coloring other people’s pink blue, or stop trying to force another person’s instrument to sound like our own.  Sorry folks, no matter how hard you try, a trumpet will never, ever sound like a flute.  Instead we need to celebrate each person’s  contribution to the whole.  Let the Holy Spirit reign in your heart.  Let him conduct the orchestra the way it is meant to be conducted.

Then, we will be beautiful to behold.

Slightly burnt toast

I am enamored with the phrase “slightly burnt toast”. Although, I am not entirely sure why. There’s a parallel somewhere in there between my life experiences and the phenomenon of slightly burnt toast. I’m gonna see if I can suss it out.

I love toast. Golden, crispy, all melty with butter (and sometimesb jelly). There’s something about well-made toast that just makes me happy and all melty inside. I’m a little fussy about how my toast is cooked. I don’t like it undercooked. I don’t like it overcooked (Sam I am must be around here somewhere). I like it to be the perfect shade of golden brown.

I don’t own a toaster due to the fact that I have about 1 foot square of counter space to do all of my cooking and dirty dish stacking. So, we cook our toast in the oven under the broiler. This can be a little precarious if one gets distracted easily(ahem) and forgets they are cooking toast in the oven. Sometimes my toast gets all crispy and black. Yuck.

I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment if I burn my toast to the point of carbonization.

But I’m not talking about toast bricks here. I’m talking about toast that is slightly burnt. Not quite black, beyond golden brown, but still somewhat edible (Especially if I slather it with cream cheese and jelly). Slightly burnt toast is not quite perfect in my mind. It is slightly left of my ideal. Not burnt enough to hate, but too burnt to fully love.

I realized the last time I made slightly burnt toast (which involved a little bit of whining to myself), that sometimes I feel the same about myself as I feel about slightly burnt toast. Not bad enough to hate, but not good enough to fully love. Tainted, slightly to the left of center, just a little off, a little too sinful, a little too burnt.

Sometimes I don’t feel good enough to be loved. By God, or by other people (mostly other people). I’m not perfect enough, pretty enough, popular enough, witty enough to be loved. I’m slightly tainted with my sins, idiosyncrasies, weirdness, genetic makeup, acquired habits, weight problem, opinionated mouth. The list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that I am not perfect because only one Man on this Earth was ever capable of being perfect. I also realize that I am a mostly okay person. But that slightly burnt feeling keeps me back from fully being who I was created to be. It keeps me back from fully expressing myself. Mostly because I crave to be loved by people. I am pretty sure God loves me the way I am, although sometimes I wonder. But that’s another story for another day

Sometimes I wonder why so-and-so doesn’t talk to me. Or why such-and-such (I have changed the names of people to protect the innocent) won’t even look my way. I imagine that it’s because I am slightly to the left of what I need to be to be their friend. But my Friend won’t let me settle there with my tent and campfire, burning my toast and cursing myself for it.

I get the feeling best place to be is right where God has me right now. Not looking for approval from those that aren’t meant to be my friends. Not comparing myself to my imagined “ideal” person. Instead, He pushes my thoughts towards the friends who approve of me. The ones who like and love me despite my deficiencies. The people who pick me up when I am down. The ones who make me tea and imperfect toast when I am sad. The ones who celebrate my successes with parties. The friends who take my delicate dreams carefully into their hands to encourage me. The ones to whom I can pour out my appreciation love and reciprocate with tea and toast. The people that God has put in my path. These folks help me to feel perfect, even when I’m not.

So, friends, don’t look for friends in the wrong places. Don’t compare yourself to your imagined ideal friend of those who don’t notice you. Rather, celebrate the friends you have. Make them tea and toast. Wipe their tears (or cry with them). Shout with joy at their successes in life. Tell them about your successes. This is what makes life golden and perfect.

More vivid than usual…

*Dust, dust*

*Scrape, scrape*

*Wash, wash*

Ah, that’s better.  It’s been a while.  Sorry little blog.  I didn’t mean to let you gather so much dust.  I am much less distracted now and wish to renew our friendship.  Will you forgive me?  You will? Oh, thanks!

What better way to celebrate my reentry to the blogdom than to do a Five Minute Friday?

Let’s write bold and free for five non-stop minutes shall we?  Excuse me while I get out my timer…

Vivid

God makes everything brighter and more vivid.  Everything shines to my eyes when God is involved in the details.  Sometimes I stand like a child, awed by the sun, blinking back tears at the sheer joy of it all.  How could I not?  God’s love can be so overwhelming at times, flowing into every nook and cranny of my soul, making everything cleaner, brighter, more vivid.  When God makes something more vivid, I can see minute details I never noticed before.  A bead of dew here, a friends smile wrinkles there, a word well-spoken right in front of me.  How can I not notice the glorious and grand details of His design when my vision is clearer, when life is more vivid than usual? My heart is beats in tune with the details of His plan when they are known to me and I see the brightness of His glory shining for my unfettered eyes.

Thanks for being here!

You too little blog!

5mf- Look Beyond What You Know

5 minutes of unedited writing…No worries, no backtracking, no fussing. Just write…

Beyond

For some reason I am drawing a blank here. Beyond fits in my life somehow. I look beyond the stars of my own sky, I look beyond my own sin, I look beyond my own feelings, to find Him. Jesus wanted us to look beyond the law and find Him. Paul wanted us to look beyond our own mistakes and find Him. God wants us to look beyond our own realities and find Him. By looking beyond what we can see, we find hope. We find peace, we find purpose. When we choose too look beyond, we choose to rise above that which Satan would have us believe about ourselves and our reality- that we are stuck, useless, and purposeless. God says that we are unstuck, useful, and purposeful. After all, He created us in His image. After all, we were created with a purpose on this earth. We have a job to do. Look beyond what you know and find the meaning of your life.

I guess I wasn’t so blank after all.

5mf and other things

First things first.  I did not write in my blog on Wednesday or Thursday.  I feel guilt about this.  Part of me just wants to give up on this whole endeavor.  It’s too hard, I have no audience (that I am aware of), I feel adrift and alone on an ocean of words.  The past couple of days I have been lying in bed in the morning asking the Lord to show me what to do about this whole writing thing, because I am reluctant.  I doubt my skills and my purpose here.  I am trying to be okay with not having an audience and with writing whatever is in my heart, even if other people don’t like it or respond to it.  This is hard.  It is hard to do just because God said so.  I am struggling to be faithful.  I have been asking the Lord for a system that I can count on that would facilitate writing in this blog day after day.  So here is my schedule for the week:

Monday: Monday Morning Meditations (1-word prompts)

Tuesday: Telling My Story

Wednesday: Weekly Bible Study (currently hosted by MK at Beauty for Ashes)

Thursday: Anything goes

Friday: Five minute Fridays (Thank you for this Gypsy Mama!)

Also, I have been holding on just a little longer because something big is coming this Saturday.  A BIG healing.  So the past few days have been just about remembering to breath.  So, if you tune in Tuesday I will explain what did or did not happen Saturday.

Hopefully this will work for me and I will write every day.  Pray for me.

So, this weeks prompt from Gypsy Mama is Ordinary

Sometimes I think I would like to have an ordinary life.  But, really?  My life is anything but ordinary.  Ordinary can be boring.  Sometimes when I talk to people with ordinary lives they say, “Nothing much as changed”.  I feel sad for them.  But, maybe they are okay with ordinary.  Maybe ordinary is their “happy place”.  I guess I find ordinary boring.  Gave me the gift of being a visionary, an adventurer, and a pioneer.  I am constantly building, seeking, pushing forward, and trying something new.  Not out of a need for my life to be less boring, just because I find these things exciting.  I know not everybody is like me.  Some people thrive on maintaining things like a gardener maintains his flowers and vegetables.  Loving, consistent, gentle care come from these people.  I am explosive, hyper, pushy, demanding (in a good way) visionary.  I like to start things and move on to the next thing.  I need the maintainers as much as the maintainers need visionaries.  One without the other would be meaningless.  God made the hand dependent of the foot and vice versa.  With the foot the hand would never get anywhere, with out the hand, the foot would have nothing to do.

Here’s to the visionaries and the maintainers!

Jesus-colored glasses

Well Just Write! is over.  But, I had the urge to sit down and write something.  So like Mary Kathryn says looks like our experiment worked for me!”  Hear, hear!

In life, so much of how we behave is based on perception.  In psychology (of which I am an undergrad student), learning and behavior typically go hand-in-hand.  Psychologists have been trying to figure just how learning works.  It is basically understood that our brain is a plastic mechanism that takes in information, processes it according our experiences and our genetic make-up and spits back out a reaction, or behavior.  When we are conceived, God chooses our eye color, hair color, personality traits and characteristics, and etc.  We are born with a basic construct.  For those of us who believe that we inherit spiritual factors at conception, we are born with both the good and the bad from our family lines.

As soon as we are born, we start learning.  We learn the smell of our parents, which voice belongs to which face, how to get what we need (i.e. crying for just about everything), and etc.  From birth on, our basic personality structure and learning experiences color how we react to our environment.  For example, my own basic personality has stubbornness/persistence woven into it’s structure because I inherited the physical genes that make me this way from my mother and my father.  I used to be just plain stubborn, now I am persistent.  I used to be stiff-necked and unyielding, now I (mostly) use this trait to help me keep pushing forward into a better place in life.

How I perceive this trait in myself depends on my perception of myself.  How other’s view this trait depends on how other’s perceive me based on their own experiences.  We sometimes call this a filter.  We receive information about our environment, our brain filters the information according to our understanding of things and says “Okay, this input is like this experience, and this is what you usually do”.  We are more likely to react a certain way in any given situation because of our experiences.  Sometimes we are aware of this, and sometimes we are not aware of this.  If I perceive myself as stubborn, I will more than likely behave in a stubborn fashion.  If perceive myself as persistent, I will more than likely behave in a persistent fashion.

How we react all depends on how we see the situation.  This is where Jesus comes in to the picture.  As a Christian, I have a choice; I can either choose to see life and myself wrongly, or I can choose to see life and myself through rightly or according to the truth.  As a Christian I understand that Satan wishes to convince me to chain myself to lies so that I am useless to God and behave wrongly.  Satan wants me to see life through Satan-colored glasses.  Satan will strive to convince us that we need to keep believing his perception.  Believing in lies never gets us very far with God.  Instead, I need to learn the truth because Jesus wants me to view life from his perception (i.e. THE TRUTH), or through Jesus-colored glasses.  It’s our choice everyday in every moment whether we believe the lies or we believe the truth.

If we take off the lies from our eyes and look at things from God’s perspective we understand what is happening from a different point of view (i.e. THE TRUTH).  Life, ourselves, and others begin to look different to us.  We begin to see that person that used to irritate us the way Jesus sees that person.  We begin to understand that persons difficulties.  With God’s help we begin to feel compassion for that person and react to them with grace.  If we allow the truth to permeate our being, we react differently to our circumstances.  We start to behave in way that brings life and light to our life and other’s life.  God’s truth starts to shine through for others to see.  When we allow ourselves to life from a God perspective the kingdom of darkness loses another soul and THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT WINS.  Satan no longer has control.

Isn’t that worth putting on Jesus-colored glasses?

Day 11 of Just Write!- Wedding

If  you have been following this at all, you know the drill about what I am doing.  If not, click here.

Wedding

I was lying in bed thinking about my wedding day.  I had asked the Lord for a perfect day, and I got one.  My husband-to-be insisted that our ceremony take place outdoors in a place special to him.  Questions about the weather came up “What if it rains?” was the biggest one of all.  I fussed about this for awhile.  Then I prayed and asked the Lord for a perfect day.  He told me it would be perfect. This was several months before our April wedding, so I had to take this on faith.  My groom also took this on faith.  People would ask me about wedding plans, I would tell them and the inevitable question would come “What if it rains?”.  I would say, “I already know the weather report, it’s gonna be sunny, 70 and a little bit breezy.”  There were many times over the months till our wedding day that I wondered if I had heard wrong, and what would I do if it did rain?  Yet, something inside of stubbornly clung to the weather report for that day.  The eve of my wedding was fraught with anxiety about all sorts of things, but not the weather.  It might have crossed  my mind a couple of times, but I fretted more about a good night’s sleep and who was coming to the wedding than I did about the weather.  The morning of the wedding the sky was clear and bright blue.  As the sun rose in the sky, the temperature rose to about 70 degrees and there was a little breeze gusting gently around the waiting guests.  It was a perfect day.

Day 8 and Day 9 of Just Write!

Yesterday was kind of a fog of recovering from the weekend + Monday, and some kind of little stomach bug.  So I never got around to doing the post.  I actually miss not writing, so this experiment must be working!  So I am going to write yesterday’s and today’s in this post.

One

One day I will see you again

One day I will be forever yours

One day I will look on your face and feel bliss

One day I will no longer be worried, or frustrated, or angry, or sad, or in pain

One day LOVE will wrap me up in warmth, and comfort, and peace

One day earthly concerns will no longer matter

One day my prayers will be answered

One day I will understand it all

One day it will be you and me and everyone else

One day the mysteries of the universe will unfold themselves to me

One day Jesus will be my bride(groom)

One day the Holy Spirit will no longer be invisible to my naked eye

One day EVIL will be vanquished forever and ever

One day (and already know) I will be in eternity where there is no beginning and no end

One day I will receive the crowns that are mine

One day I will touch the center of the universe

One day I will be filled with joy unending

One day the struggle will cease

One day I will have a job in heaven that is perfectly suited to me

One day I will be with you, and you will be with me.

Peace

Peace that passes all understanding seems so far away from me.  I struggle, I fight, I yearn, and I bleed.  Yet, God promises these things to me.  They are mine for the taking, if only I would reach out my hand and take them.  I understand this with my head, but not necessarily with my heart.  Some days it seems that I like the struggle and bleeding more than I like the peace.  Perhaps the fighting gives me a sense of power.  Perhaps bleeding shows I am alive.  I don’t know, but most of the time I would like to be at peace.  With people like me, sometimes being at peace means being dead, because peace eludes us so easily.  However, I have work to do on this earth before I die, so dying must wait a while.  I’ll go when it is  my time, and not before.  Oh Lord, show me how to reach out and grab peace like a climber grabs a rope to get back up the mountain after a scary plunge from the sheer cliff.  Help me not to squander your gift for me.  Help me to surrender to your ways and your peace in this lifetime.  Help me to know when to pick up my sword, and when to lay it down and rest.  Help me to know true peace that passes all understanding. Help me to know this before death takes me to you.

Eyes- Day 7 of the Just Write! campaign

If  you have been following this at all, you know the drill about what I am doing.  If not, click here.

I  skipped day 6 last Thursday because I was in the hospital with a kidney stone.  I actually missed not writing Thursday (despite the tremendous physical pain) and not writing the 5mf on Friday.  I am taking that as a good sign.

So today’s word is Eyes.

Eyes

Your eyes see me and all that I am.

You are not satisfied to let me stay where I am.

Your eyes look at your creation and say “It is good”.

But, you are not satisfied to leave things tarnished and undone.

Your eyes see my hidden and dark places despite my efforts to hide and shelter my pain.

You are not satisfied to let the darkness rule  my being.

Your eyes see the potential I have despite the sin in my life.

And you are not satisfied to let me leave  my gifts on the floor untouched.

Your eyes see my beginning and my end.

Your are satisfied to water, nurture, and give sunlight to the time in the middle.

You are satisfied to make me a priority and to help me flourish.

You are satisfied to help me be more like Jesus more and more everyday.

Because your eyes see me and all that I am.