Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Dream Team

My dream team will arrive about 11:00 today. Let the festivities begin. My Darlin' husband will read the Christmas story. Then we'll exchange a gift or two. Laughter. Games. Homemade lasagna for lunch. Salad. And desert. Then more desert. Definately something chocolate. (We'll feast on the traditional turkey and dressing tomorrow.) Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve. And a Merry Christmas! Sweet dreams, Deb

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Gift to Die For

Designer handbags and jewelry. An iPod Nano with built-in camera. The Stress Eraser. And super, soft pajama pants with adjustable length and drawstring, elastic waist. What do these items have in common? Well, they made it to the top of the 2009 Women's Christmas Wish List! Gifts to die for. According to some sources. Did any of these things make your list? For me, not really. Except the pj's. With the drawstring waist. Because based on the way I've been eating during this Christmas season, I'm going to need something special around my waist in January. And I'm thinking that it won't be my jeans. But anyway, getting back to the Wish List. What I so want for Christmas is a new blog design. Yeah, like with a cute little button. And the "E-mail me" thing. And a Subscribe by E-mail thingy. And of course, a cool header and background page. Something kinda curly, swirly. And blue. My favorite color. Oh, I can see it now. A fabulous gift. To die for, right? Actually, none of these gifts merits that kind of response. But there is a gift worth dying for. And someone has already died in order to make this great gift available to us. The gift is salvation. The One who died is Jesus. I know. This sounds incredible. Unbelievable. But friend, it's true. Our Creator God loves us so much He offers us the most wonderful gift ever given. Salvation through His precious Son. The baby born in a manger. The Promised Messiah. Jesus Christ. No other way has been given for salvation. Only Jesus--Emanuel--God with us--can save us. Now, I know that current culture teaches that you're ok and I'm ok. All on our own. But that teaching just isn't true. The Bible, God's word to us, states clearly that we're sinners. And our sin separates us from the true, living, holy God. And only Jesus can connect us to God again. Without Jesus Christ and the salvation that He has provided, we will die in our sins and be condemned to hell to spend eternity without our loving God. Yes, these are tough words. Uncomfortable. So, let's go ahead and celebrate Christmas. Forget sin. Forget dying. Forget hell. We can't do that. If we do, then we're denying the true meaning of Christmas. We are sinners. We aren't ok by ourselves. We need a Savior. We need salvation. The gift that Jesus died to give. It is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). Salvation. We can't work for it. Can't earn it. We don't deserve it. It's a gift. From the Father to us. I hope that you get everything that's on your Wish List. Most of all, I hope that you receive the greatest gift ever given. The gift that Jesus died for. Salvation. Sweet dreams, Deb

Monday, December 14, 2009

Miracle of the Christmas Scar

Christmas, a time to celebrate. And remember. Angels. Wisemen. Stars. Sounds familiar, right? But a scar? What's the connection with miracles? Or with the baby boy born in Bethlehem. Well, you see, the baby was born with this scar in His heart. And as He grew so did the scar. Actually, though, the scar existed before God sent His sweet Son into the world. It happened kind of like this: God loved us. So much. Yet we sinned against Him. We didn't want to sin. Not really. Just sort of we did. But Satan. Now that's a different story. No doubt at all that he wanted us to sin over and over and over. Yeah, the battle between good and evil continued. Because in spite of our tendency to sin, God kept on loving us. So much. That He was willing to fight for us. That's how the scar started. In His heart first. His loving heart. Since the beginning of time, God knew about the on-going battle. And about the scar. He saw that the scar could be a life-line. So He sent His only Son. To Bethlehem first. Later to Jerusalem. So that everyone would know about the Father's great love. But from the Son's birth, we all rejected Him. From King Herod--who in an attempt to kill Jesus--ordered the murder of all baby boys two-years-old and under in Bethlehen and in the surrounding districts. To the religious leaders of the day who questioned Christ's teaching and preaching. His authority. His power. His miracles. That He was their promised Messiah. To His own family who misunderstood Him. Once, some family members went out searching for Him to take charge of Him because they thought that He had lost His mind. To Nazareth. Christ's homeboys. They didn't want Him. Not many miracles happened there. To His disciples. You know their sad saga. Remember the garden. Too sleepy to pray. And the trial. How scared they were. To the world. They didn't need God. Thought that they were good enough already. To us. And our many mistakes. Do we have to go there? With each stab of rejection, humiliation, and being misunderstood that our Savior endured, the scar took on the shape of a cross. Like the one that He carried. For all of them. And for me. And you. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53: 5). The Christmas scar. Runs deep. Sacred. Saving. Loving. Healing. A miracle! Abba, thank you for the miracle of salvation. For taking our punishment. For giving us Your peace. Will you take our scars--emotional and physical? And give us peace and healing. In Jesus' name. Amen. Sweet dreams, Deb

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Different Kind of Christmas

A football player. A beauty queen. A riveting romance that led to marriage. And two children. And thirty-something years of celebrating birthdays and holidays together. But this year, Christmas will be so different for all of them. You see, when their kids were young, she began to have serious health problems. Local doctors referred her to specialists. Her husband drove her to Atlanta. To Emory University Hospital. He would have taken her to the ends of the earth if he thought that would help. So, the doctors diagnosed. Medicated. Operated. Gave hope. She would live, but she wouldn't be quite the same. Almost overnight, the slim, lanky good-looking girl with long, blonde hair. Class valedictorian. Math whiz. Scholarship winner. Warm. Articulate. Dazzling. Outgoing woman. Changed. She gained weight. Lost her hair. Had some difficulties in communicating. She struggled sometimes trying to care of her children. Her house. Her husband. Herself. Over the years, she experienced a few setbacks physically. Probably, spiritually, too. Yeah, she changed. But two things never changed. Never wavered. God's love for her. And her husband's love for her. And she knew that. Her husband could have walked away. Could have looked for love elsewhere. But he didn't. He stayed right beside her. Loving her. Taking care of her. No matter what. It seemed to me that he lived. Ate. And breathed Ephesians 5: 25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. This man loved his wife. His woman. His bride. He gave to her all that he had to give. And then some. And, today, in a soft, but steady rain, he buried her. So, yes, December 25th, 2009 will mark a different kind of Christmas for this precious, grieving family. She will celebrate her Savior's birth in a new way. His death. Her death. His resurrection. Her resurrection. His salvation. Her salvation. Face-to-face with Him. Sounds like a party over there. And I believe that her children will gather around their daddy. They will share memories of their mother. They will mourn their great loss. Not quite as much a party here maybe. And although it will be so soon after saying goodbye to her. And still a steady rain in their heart. I pray that they will find the peace and comfort and joy that they need to make it through this season. Will Christmas be different for you this year? Because of illness. The loss of a loved one. The loss of a job. If so, then please know that I have prayed for you. That you will experience the Savior's amazing love and hope during this time. Because it can be tough to celebrate when it's a different kind of Christmas. Sweet dreams, Deb

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Girl Who Says Yes

She says yes. And risks losing everything. Her reputation. Comfort. Security. The man of her dreams. The family that she hopes to have with him one day. She's willing to give all of it up. Even her life. Who is this girl? What was she thinking? Why does she say yes? Would I? Would you? Well, let me tell you what went down. The girl who says yes receives a message from this strange dude. Not sure about his name, but it could be Gabe or something like that. Anyway, the dude says something like this: "Girl, you gonna have a baby." She says, "Say what!" "Yeah, for real. You gonna have the baby that everybody's been talking about. The promised baby. The one from God. You know, His Son." "You are so totally freaking me out! How can this happen? I mean, I've got a boyfriend. We're engaged. But like, we're not together like that." So, the dude--guy--angel--whatever says, "Not a problem for God. His Spirit is gonna make this Baby. Nothing is too hard for Him. So, what do you want me to tell God? Are you in? And the girl says, "Yes. Uhh...well, I was scared at first. Way overwhelmed. But you can tell God that I'm like cool with it now. Cause I love Him. And trust Him. With everything." And that's kinda, but not exactly how things happened for Mary when the angel told her that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah. You may want to check out Luke 1: 26-38 to get a few more facts. I especially like verse 38: "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. I wonder if we were in Mary's place, how we would answer God. Maybe you're thinking, Well, that's Mary. Not me. And that was a long time ago. The truth is that God still has plans for His children. He has a plan for me. And for you. Will we be the girl who says yes? Sweet dreams, Deb

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Silver Shield?

A four-lane highway. A busy intersection. A green light. Mine. I see the other car. But too late. Suddenly, the driver of that car makes a left-hand turn. I scream,"What's he doing?" I grip the steering wheel with both hands. And brace myself for what's about to happen. No time to change direction. No way to avoid the collision that's coming. No time to pray. That sound. Metal against metal. Like an explosion. Then squealing. Screeching. Unwillingly, I surrender control of my Chevy. Skid fifty yards from the point of impact. On three tires. I learn later. The airbag deploys. Its powder sears my hands and arms. Left shoulder and neck hurt. Nasty seatbelt burn. Scared. Shaken. Sore. But alive. And so thankful. At first, I can't recall the answers to some of the questions that emergency personnel quiz me about. Like birthday. Telephone number. Address. But I'm ok, and that kind of information comes back to me. Still, some details about the crash are somewhat illusive. Like what I thought I saw inside my car. Right before the crash occurred. I saw something silver. Like a shield. The top corners of a silver shield. In front of me. Between the on-coming car and me. Ok. I know you're thinking that this little scenario sounds pretty strange. Well, so do I. And I can't prove that I saw anything at all. But I do know one thing for sure: The presence of our loving God was with me and protected me from harm. The following verse from Psalm 28:7a has new meaning for me: The LORD is my strength and my shield. I saw His strength displayed. I felt His shielding presence. Because of His strength and His shield, the other car hit the strongest part of my car--the front tire and axle. Not my door. So, did I really see a silver shield? I don't know. And it's probably not important. I'm just thankful that He takes care of me when I can't take care of myself. Sweet dreams, Deb

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Over the Top

Tea, a new blogger, is writing a novel and is participating in NaNoWriMo. So far, she has written 23,709 words. Way to go, Tea! She received this Over the Top award for her blog and has passed it along to me. Thank you so much, Tea. The rules for accepting this award are to copy and change the answers below to suit you and pass it on. Answers can only be one word! Pass the award to your favorite bloggers and alert them they have been awarded. Here are my answers to these questions: 1. Where is your cell phone? desk 2. Your hair? brown 3. Your mother? wonderful 4. Your father? sad 5. Your favorite food? Mexican 6. Your dream last night? weird 7. Your favorite drink? water 8. Your dream/goal? writing 9. What room are you in? office 10. Your hobby? decorating 11. Your fear? everything 12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home 13. Where were you last night? home 14. Something you aren’t? singer 15. Muffins? sure 16. Wish list item? 17. Where did you grow up? Alabama 18. Last thing you did? ate 19. What are you wearing? shorts 20. Your TV? den 21. Your pets? none 22. Your friends? good 23. Your life? great! 24. Your mood? content 25. Missing someone? hub 26. Vehicle? white 27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes 28. Your favorite store? Target 29. Your favorite color? blue 30. When was the last time you laughed? today 31. Last time you cried? yesterday 32. Your best friend? husband 33. One place that I go over and over? Walmart 34. One person who emails me regularly? sisters 35. Favorite place to eat? Casa Napoli

I think that the following blogs are over the top, and I want to pass this award to them:

Melinda at http://parentingconfessions.blogspot.com/

Mary Leigh at http://bluecottonmemory.wordpress.com/

Prairie Chick at http://prairieprologue.blogspot.com/ Teresa at http://toomanyheartbeats.blogspot.com/ Becky at http://farmgirlpaints.blogspot.com/

Sweet dreams,

Deb

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Big Girl Boots

Black suede. One-inch heels. About two sizes too big for her. Handed down from an older cousin. Doesn't matter to her. She thinks she's something. Cause she's got big girl boots now. For a four-year-old, she puts together a way cool outfit. Black skirt. Pink leggings. A super sparkly, rock star shirt. And of course, her boots. Ready for action. Adventure. Amusement. She goes outside. She knows the rules: Stay in the yard. Don't go near the street. But you know how it is when you're wearing big girl boots. You have the illusion of being in charge. Confident. Competent. Well, the same thing happens to her. She does pretty good for awhile. Sits on the golf cart. Tries to turn the steering wheel. Pretends to drive. Then, she pokes leaves through the fence into the neighbor's yard. Next, she walks down the driveway toward the street. Stops. Sits down. Picks up a handful of pine straw and throws it into the air. Hmm. Probably a good time to call her back to the house. But first, I finish dusting the bookcase. All I need is thirty seconds. Done. I turn. Oh, that girl! She walks up the steps. With the mail in her hand! Which means that she got the mail out of the mailbox. Which means that she walked to the street. By herself! Which means that she broke the rules. Because of those big girl boots. She was so sure that she could do it. So sure that she would be ok. So sure that she wouldn't get caught. But her sense of confidence. Of certainty. Of competence. Were mere illusions. I know what it's like to break a few rules. And to trust in an illusion. To think I'm in control. To be certain that I can push back parameters that God put in place for my protection. And not get hurt. My granddaughter couldn't do it. Neither can we. He has a reason for establishing rules and boundaries. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance (Psalm 16:6). God's boundaries exist to protect us. As we learn to accept His guidelines, we'll find peace and joy that won't disappoint. Unlike illusions and big girl boots. That betray. And leave us with blisters. Bruised. Broken. Maybe one day soon, we'll replace those boots with a new pair of shoes. Sweet dreams, Deb

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Blogger's Heart

The wonderful world of blogging! What I've learned so far. I am not the queen of tech. I wish that I were. And good writers allow you to enter their world. But good bloggers invite you to come into their heart. Like Mary Leigh. A few months ago, she gave me my first blogging award. And now she's given me the Heartfelt Award. And when you read her blog, you'll discover the most important things in her heart. Like love. For her family. Her friends. Her God. And us. I like that kind of heart. Don't you? Thank you, friend, for sharing both your heart and this award. Here are the rules for receiving the Heartfelt Award: “This award is bestowed upon blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award. I'm passing this award along to the following bloggers who touch hearts: Chanda at http://www.ecocheapmom.com/ Beth at http://athisfeetinprayer.blogspot.com/ http://okgranny.blogspot.com/ Cindy at http://lettersfrommidlife.blogspot.com/ Joy at http://ponderinginhispresence.blogspot.com/ Prarie Chick at http://prairieprologue.blogspot.com/ Sarah at http://cultofdeception.blogspot.com/ Sweet dreams, Deb

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thanks

I love November! What a great time to give thanks. And to say thanks. Some special blogger firends have blessed me with awards. So now, I have the privilege of thanking them. And, I get to pass these awards along as well. Thanks, Prairie Chick for giving me this: Here are the rules for accepting this award: 1. Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award. 2. Share "10 Honest Things" about myself. 3. Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have enouraged me. 4. Tell those 7 people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving this award. Here goes! Ten honest things about me: 1. I'd rather eat chocolate than sleep. 2. Hate onions. 3. Am afraid of big crowds and small spaces. 4. Like pedicures. 5. Not a good conversationalist. 6. Get my hair colored. 7. Training for a half marathon. 8. My favorite sleepwear is a tee shirt. 9. I don't like dogs. I'm giving Scrap to these honest writers: Mary Leigh at http://bluecottonmemory.wordpress/ Lidj at http://mla-crownofglory.blogspot/ Jennifer at http://gettingdownwithjesus.blogspot.com/ Julie at http://juliegillies.com/ Elaine at http://www.peaceforthejourney.com/ Teresa at http://toomanyheartbeats.blogspot.com/ Andrea at http://aparsonswife.blogspot.com/ And Teresa passed along the Superior Scribbler's award to me. Thanks, Teresa. Here are the rules for this award: 1. Each Superior Scribbler that I name today must pass the award on to 5 most-deserving bloggy friends. 2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom she has received the award. 3. Each Superior Scribbler must display the award on her blog, and link to this post, which explains the award. 4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor! 5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on her blog.
I want to share this award with these superior bloggers:
Teresa also awarded me with this:
I'd like to share this Sunshine award with all of the above-mentioned bloggers. All of you make my day brighter and blessed.
Sweet dreams,
Deb

Tech Problems

If you're stopping by to pick up an award, I'm so sorry. I posted. And viewed. Went back to edit. Had an HTML problem. Wouldn't let me re-post after making a change. Have never had this happen before. I don't know how to correct this. But will work on it. I so need tech help. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Images

Thank you. Thank you very much, Moses. We appreciate your sharing the second commandment with us, but we think we've got that one under control. We would never make, worship, or grab hold of any graven, golden image. Would we? I mean, men could show a slight susceptibility in this area. They're the ones whose brains have a component that can sometimes record, store, and retrieve images with digital-like accuracy. But we women are ok with this commandment. Right? Uh, well. Maybe, we should take a closer look. Because I'm thinking that I have a few image problems that require attention. Like, self-image, you know? How I want to be viewed in a certain way. A certain light. And what I need to do and to own so that I can create the new me that I think I should be. I think that re-inventing my image would start with buying a new house. One that has kind of an open concept. A smooth flow. Sparkly, shiny stainless steel appliances. And granite countertops. Gleaming. Girl, I might even become a gourmet cook! Yeah, you're right. Don't think that's going to happen. Cooking is so not my thing. ...I know! A newer automobile would improve my image. How about a sport utility vehicle? Red. Or silver. It doesn't matter. But, for sure, I've got to have leather seats. Power everything. And a sunroof. Can you picture how cool it would be to cruise around in a set of wheels like that? And stylish apparel. Couture created just for me to conceal what needs to be hidden. And to accentuate any positive that a designer can contrive. I'll be in vogue and will live by the golden rule of design: Shop till you drop. So, yeah. Sometimes, I attach a lot of importance to image. And to things. To looking successful. To fitting in socially. When I get a little crazy like that, He's so good to re-direct me. He talks to me. He speaks to me through His word. Just this week, I read a verse that helps me to better understand what Moses said about images. All who worship images are put to shame (Psalm 97:7a). God doesn't want us to worship any images. Not even our own. And not the ones that we fantasize about, either. The house that we live in. The car that we drive. The clothes that we wear. Are these things important? Sure, they are. To an extent. They are necessary. They are blessings. They are resources to be used for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. But we are not to think too much of them. Or about them. We don't worship them. We worship Him. Our loving God. Our provider. Our Savior. In whose image we are created. How do you handle image problems? I'd love for you to share what helps you. Sweet dreams, Deb

Thursday, October 22, 2009

His Girl

Lately, I've been thinking that, maybe, I'm not the right girl for the job anymore. Like, maybe, the job requires someone who's smarter. A better writer. Someone who's not so much a material girl. But is more spiritual. Yeah. Definately, more of that. Also, someone who is prettier. Skinnier. And a better cook. OK. OK, then--a girl who actually does cook--would probably get the job done more effectively. To what job am I referring? I'm talking about the job that He's called me to do. The one where He wants me to "hold out the word of life" Philippians 2:16a. Actually, He's called you, too. He wants all of us to share His great message through some venue. For me, it's to hold out His words of life to friends. Family. And others. By writing. That's my dream. Sweet, right? Yeah. But I'm just not sure if I can still be His girl like that. I mean, I sin everyday. I let Him down. Disappoint Him. Just this week, I had a "conference" with a co-worker. I didn't like what she said. Or how she said it. And, yes. You are so right. Shouldn't have gone there, but I did. She said, "Yadeya...Ya...." Then I reacted, "YA...YA...YA...." And that's the condensed version of how our little parley went down. His girl. Failed Him in this situation. And in many others. Should I quit? Is that what He wants? I think about giving up. But He keeps working in my heart. And in my life. I'm learning about repentance. That repenting involves confessing my sins and turning away from them. And that's good. But that's not all. True repentance centers around the love relationship that a holy and just and merciful God wants to have with us His sinful but precious children. True repentance includes the privilege of receiving some things from God. Things like love. Forgiveness. Restoration. Renewal. And an invitation. An invitation to return to the work. The calling. The dream that He put in our heart. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Can separate us from His love. His great love. His mighty love. His strong love. His passionate love. His intimate love. Nothing can separate us. What's your calling? I'd love for you to share your dream with me and how you hold out Jesus for all of the world to see. I'm so glad that I'm still His girl. And so are you! Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What a Ride!

August 1978. Newlyweds. Jacksonville, Florida. Carnival on the beach. A Tilt a' Whirl. How Fun! Right? I wish. Actually, a more appropriate name would be The Torpedo. We were the only ones on the ride. Spinning. Twirling. Turning. Faster and faster. My head. Gravity held it. Pinned against the back of the car. My tummy. Unable to resist the torque. Drifted into space. So, so sick. Please stop. Please. I've got to get off. Crazed man at the control panel. Took us for one more whirl. I told myself: If. I. Ever. Get off of this ride. I'll. Never. Get on another one. And I didn't. Until recently. I feel like my life has become that Tilt a' Whirl ride. Terrible. Tumultuous. Torrential. And I want it to stop. During the past few weeks, we've had major home repairs. Now, I'm not referring to my little decorating projects. I'm talking about my darlin' husband had to tear the ceiling out of the downstairs bathroom. Because of a leak in the upstairs bathroom. Bust the tile out of the upstairs shower floor. Call the plumber. To the tune of $450. Install new ceiling downstairs. Upstairs shower still not repaired. Tile guys don't want to waste time on small-budget projects. This week, darlin' had to rip the floor out of the downstairs bathroom. Call the plumber again. This time only $300. Replace flooring. The endless. Trajectory of repairs continues. I won't bore you with further details. Well, ok. Just one more. All flooring in the downstairs has to be removed and replaced, including the kitchen tile. The chaos. The cost. the confusion. Will somebody please stop this ride so that I can get off? Things are tough. Do I see the mess? Sure. But I see more. I see our loving God. And I'm going to make it through this. I love what Paul writes to a group of New Testament believers: "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3: 20-21). Don't you love this verse? He does more than. All we ask or imagine. How much more? Immeasurably more! How does He? Do immeasurably more than all that we ask or imagine. He does immeasurably more than all that we ask or imagine by His power. And His power is at work within us. Even when life becomes a ride that tilts us out of balance. Whirls us around mercilessly. And grave circumstances pin us against a wall. His power works in us. To strengthen. To sustain. To satisfy. Because He loves us. And He's in charge of the control panel. We don't have to ride alone. Sweet dreams, Deb

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's Your Style?

Soft. Slow. Simple. Southern. That's my style. That's how I like to share my Savior. How He shows His love for me. Shapes me. Soothes me. So, why in the world would I bring up some slightly off-color topics? Like self denial. And carrying crosses. Surely not the segue you may have been anticipating . I'd much rather discuss something else. Anything else. But that's exactly what Jesus talks about in Mark 8:34b: If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. Deny who? Self. Carry what? A cross. Are you thinking that these are in-your-face-inflammatory words? I agree with you completely. Does Jesus still expect people to deny themselves and to carry a cross? That was just for His disciples way back then. Too difficult. And totally unrealistic for today's woman. Right? I mean, this is serious stuff. After all, a cross is an instrument of death. And I'm way more into satisfying self. And self-centeredness. And selfishness. I'm like. Today's my birthday. Well, it's not. I just want everyone to treat me like it is. Is anybody with me? And you know, while "deny" and "carry" are action verbs, they aren't the most significant words in this verse. The operative words are as follows: If. Anyone. Wants. To. Follow. Me. Jesus doesn't force us to follow Him. He gives us a choice. So, this is the question: Do we really want to follow Him? Because if we do, He will help us to deny ourselves. To take up our cross. To follow Him. Following Him is so much easier when we focus on Him. Not on ourselves. He supplies all that we need. Love. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Power. Wisdom. That's His style. What's yours? Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Truth

"Honey, why do you get all stressed out about this house? Whenever we have company, you clean for days. You rearrange. You buy things. Even when we're not expecting company, you're obsessed with everything being perfect. Why can't you be content with what you have? I don't know you any more!" Obsessed! Perfect! Doesn't know me any more! How can he say that? My husband. The one who knows me best. Loves me the best. Has my best interest in his heart. Always. But his words? Harsh. Hurtful. Fighting words. Truthful words that I need to hear. You see, my man does know me. And he loves me enough to tell me the truth even when I get upset with him about it. Because I do tend to obsess a bit. Get a little dizzy in fact. About my house. And painting. And projects. And perfection. I just love to decorate! Organize. Arrange. But some times I get into it. Way too much. Does that ever happen to you? You begin with a sense of balance and then realize you lost some perspective along the way. I'm glad that we have a God who knows us. He understands that we lose focus. That we get caught up in life. In things. And He loves us so much that He tells us the truth although we don't always want to hear what He has to say. God wants us to know the truth. He wants us to know that He doesn't condemn us for making mistakes. "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). The truth is that because we believe in Christ. We believe that He loves us. Died for us. Was resurrected. Is now preparing a room for us in His Father's house. Will come back for us. There is no condemnation. God knows us best. Loves us best. Tells the truth. Always. No condemnation. Sometimes truth hurts. Sometimes not. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, September 12, 2009

She Writes

She writes. Quite articulate. An agnostic. She has come out of the closet actually. And explains why. Got bored with church during her teenage years. She doesn't need religion. Not then. Not now. Not ever. She refers to God as the "G" word. But she loves Christmas. And she breaks my heart. She equates God with religion. With rules. With regulations. How boring is that? Very. And that's so not God. God is in to the relationship thing. With me. You. Her. He's interested in us. Every aspect of our lives. He knows when we stand up. Sit down. Go out. Come back in. He records each time that we cry. Puts our tears in a bottle. There's nothing about us that He considers insignificant. Or inconsequential. He loves us so much that He stoops to make us great. When we pray, He moves heaven and earth to answer. He loves us with a love that we barely begin to comprehend. His love. Captivates. Compels. Convicts. His love. Perfect. Never disappoints. Never disparages. Never diminishes. Even when we don't believe. That He exists. That He is good. That we need Him. Even when we close our minds to Him. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Even when we refuse to acknowledge His good news. He loves us. So much that He sent Jesus Christ. His Son. To die for us. Because we are sinners. And we need a Savior. We need salvation. We need someone to love us. The way that only God can love. Abba. Our loving God. Our living God. Open our minds and hearts to the gospel of Your Son. To His goodness. To His glory. Your Son has overcome the evil one. Protect us by the power that is in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Protect us from the evil one. Separate us by Your truth; Your word is truth. I pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ. The One who died to give us truth. And life. I love you. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Savoir vivre!

Recently, I realized that I need more savoir vivre (sa'vwar ve're). Say what? Yeah, I need more of that stuff. Come on. Say it out loud with me: savoir vivre. Don't you love the way it sounds? So sophisticated. So se_y. So French. And it's.... No. Not lingerie. Not wine. Not cuisine. Savoir vivre is simply: knowing how to live. Like with enjoyment. Meeting every situation with poise. Good manners. And elegance. That's the word's denotative/dictionary meaning. But what shakes me up is the connotative meaning. How a word is actually used/the feelings associated with the word. The connnotation of savoir vivre? To live intentionally. So, are you beginning to see why I need some more savoir vivre? I want to know how to live. How to face all situations. How to live with intent and with purpose. Most of us have that same desire. We want joy. Grace. Elegance. In every situation. But the reality is that we often overextend ourselves. Our schedules. And our strength. In an attempt to live each moment to the max. Is it really possible to live life well? Yes, intentional living lies within our reach. If we make the right choices. Jesus Christ knew exactly what living to the full extent means. And He shows us how: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed" (Mark 1:35). I love this verse. This picture. Of Him. The Son of Man. Son of God. Arising before daylight. Leaving everyone. Everything. Behind. Going to a place. To be alone with God, His Father. To talk. To listen. Wanting to hear His Father's voice before He heard any other. Christ's first choice was to spend time with God in prayer. Before He preached to the lost. Healed the sick. Made the blind to see. The lame to walk. Cast out demons. Forgave sins. Jesus chose His Father. What's our first choice? Do we savor the status quo of our lives too much to change? Or will we go to Him? To a solitary place. And give Him all that we've got. Our busyness. Our brokenness. Our bankrupt hearts. When we go to God, He gives us strength. Joy. Peace. Grace. He forgives us of our sins. He equips us so that we can face all situations. He transforms us through His word. That's how He teaches us to live life well. Our Savior knows the true meaning of savoir vivre! Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Martyr Mode

Mood swings. Menopause. Manic Mama. Have mercy! Add a few hot flashes. And that would be me. Are you scared yet? Well, there's more! For the past two weeks, I've been masquerading around with my martyr's mask on. I want to ditch it, but I keep picking it up again. For example, I just got back home from having a marvelous time at a Beth Moore simulcast. Felt convicted about being so mean. Mainly to my man. Then I heard him and my son downstairs. "Where have y'all been?" I ask. My sweet son answers, "The Mexican restaurant." You went where? Without me. You didn't wait for me. You know that Mexican is my favorite. And I'm starving! And there's nothing in the house to eat. Because no one has gone to the grocery store yet. Yes, this whole scenario sounds so silly. Makes me look shallow. But one little situation like this is all it takes; and once more, I morph into my martyr role. Somebody has done me wrong. I'll do whatever it takes to ensure that he knows it. So that he, too, feels miserable. And the martyr mentality. Justifiable. Right? Wrong. Because our emotions vascillate. They can confuse us and cause us to make costly mistakes. Like with God. When we feel that He's not listening. That He doesn't care. That He isn't doing anything to help us. If we allow them to do so, our moods will rule. And will mask His truth. The truth is that our moods cannot change God. Who He is. What He does. Our moods cannot change who we are in Him. His child. His beloved. His joy. Maybe you're not wearing a martyr's mask. Maybe you're wearing some other kind. The type of mask that we wear isn't important. It's important for us to put them away. If we'll remove our masks, our loving God will transform us. Make us more like Him. "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3: 18). Let's ask Him for mercy. For this promised transformation. For His glory. Let's refuse to rely on malfunctioning feelings. Or on moodiness. Or on martyr mode. Lord, show us your glory. In us. Through us. So that others may know. You. And Your glory. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another Second Chance

Yesterday, he hooked the trailer to the truck. Drove to the building supply store. Came home with a load of 2 x 6's, 2 x 4's, plywood, and concrete blocks. He spent all afternoon digging footers. My darlin' husband has begun construction of his storage shed. Yes, that shed. The one that I didn't really want him to build. At least not right now. Because I have a list. An infernal list that still looms large in my mind. Of the myriad projects that I want him to do for me. First. And building a storage shed is not at the top of my list. In fact, it didn't even make my list. But remember, last time, I wrote that I will not try to control my man. I will not manipulate. Whine. Or pout. Just to get my way. Somebody re-read that post. Did I really say all of that? What was I thinking? Yes, I did say that. And now I have a second chance with my sweetheart. To support and encourage him. He came inside a little earlier this morning from working on his project. Dirty. Sweaty. Bleeding. The nail gun had grazed his finger. Could have been much worse. He asked if I would go to Redland Market to buy a two-liter Sprite. I was in the middle of writing this post. But I clicked Save Now. Grabbed my purse. Got back in less than ten minutes. Took a large, plastic glass of ice-cold Sprite to him. A second chance. I sure needed one, didn't I? What about you? Do wish that you could have a do-over? One more opportunity to get it right? Well, I've got good news! God gives us second chances. And third chances. Even more than that if we need them. He gave second chances to Abraham. Moses. Jonah. Peter. And tons of others. Including me. You, too, if you ask Him. Why is God so generous to give us more opportunities when we've already missed and/or made mistakes with the first one? I love what King David writes in Psalm 103: 13 -14. "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear [reverence] Him: for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust." Our loving God showers us. His children. With compassion. With love. With patience. And I love, love the next part. God knows how we're formed. He knows us completely. Our insecurities. Our idiosyncracies. Our inadequacies. He knows everything about us. He formed us. And He still loves us! That's why He gives us so many second chances. In the minor things. In the major things. He loves us. Do you need another second chance to get things right? I sure do. Let's ask Him. He's listening. He knows us. He's willing. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Out of Control

August 5, 2009. Our thirty-first wedding anniversary. One week later, we had a big, big conversation. Aka argument. And of course it was his fault. Well, no. Actually, it was mine. Everything was going along all anniversary lovey-dovey when my darling husband told me that he was going to build a storage shed. You're probably thinking that this is a great idea and that I should encourage him to go for it. And you are so right. That's what I should have done. That's what I wish that I had done. But, that's not what I did. Instead, I responded to this news flash by providing him with a very specific, verbal list of around-the-house projects that I wanted him to do. For me. First. You know that kind of list. You may have one of your own. Just a few littlebitty things. No big deal. Right? To me, no. To you, no. To him. A real big deal. He said, "Why do you want to control me? Do I do that to you? When you started running and blogging, did I give you a list of things that you needed to do first?" Ouchie. Ouch. Ouch. That word. Control. That's the one that hurts. Because I have a tendency to get out of control when it comes to control. If I begin a new endeavor, he encourages me. He doesn't interrogate me: When are you going to this or that for me? But for some reason, I think that he should live and work according to my definition of how, when, and where. By imposing my agenda on him. My time frame. My perceived needs. I trivialized his proposed plan. I want my way. Even if I must manipulate or maneuver. And the truth is that, occasionally, I'm like that with God. I disregard God's plans for both my family and me. Plans that He ordained before I was ever born. Plans that promise a future and hope. Plans that come straight from His heart. God has wonderful plans like these for you too. And He desires to accomplish them in our lives. But we need to give Him control. "Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you" (Psalm 32: 10). God doesn't force us to let Him take control. He wants us to willingly give Him control. By nature, I like organization and order. That's a good thing. But when I find myself controlling others and trying to orchestrate the outcome of situations based on my finite--and usually inaccurate--knowledge, then I've crossed the line into God's business. I can't do God's job. He's in charge. He's in control. And because He's got everything under control. It's ok for me to be out of control. Sweet dreams, Deb p.s. We made up! We always do. And he's going to build that shed. Whenever. He wants to!

Monday, August 10, 2009

What's the Most Portant Thing?

"Nonnie, what's the most portant thing to you?" "You're the most important," I replied to my granddaughter. She wasn't convinced. She said, "No, what's the most portant thing?" I repeated my answer. With a perplexed look on her face, she asked, "Is it your clock?" Clock? I thought. More valuable than my darling girl. My life. My heart. No way! Then she said, "The clock that I broke. Is that the most portant?" Oh! That clock. Suddenly, I remembered. Several weeks ago, she took the face off of a small clock that was on the coffee table and proudly showed me what she had done. I scolded her. Harshly. Over a cheap clock. I had forgotten the incident. But she. Had not. Obviously, I had to explain. Apologize. Reassure her. With love. And lots and lots of hugs. That nothing. No one. Would ever or could ever be more portant than she. Well, my darling girl wasn't the only one who questioned me about my priorities last week. God had a little chat with me as well. He talked to me so softly. So sweetly. I'd like to share with you the verse that He used to get my attention. It's from Colossians 3:16. "Let the message about Christ in all its richness, fill your lives." Mmm. I began to think about the things that I've been filling my life with lately. Have I filled my life with Christ's message? And the richness of His message. Or, something else? Oops! The answer is something else. I've been filling my life with blogging. Too much blogging. Too much visiting other blogs. Commenting. Trying to build my blog. And way, way too much preoccupation with my blog during my time with Him. When I should have been focusing on Him. And listening to His voice. Reading His word. Instead, all I could hear was my own voice saying things like: Give me something to write about. I can't concentrate on You right now. I need. Want. To go work on my blog. I don't have time to write in my journal. Not a pretty picture, is it? Are you disappointed in me? It's ok if you are. You know, blogging isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's a good thing when we keep the right perspective about it. I just got mixed up about what's really important. But our loving God. So gently. So tenderly. Spoke to my heart. He showed me that I had put something above Him. And putting something. Anything at all above God is sin. I knew that I had sinned. And because He loves me--and you--with an everlasting love, He led me to repent of my sin. To turn away from this sin. And to turn toward His loving arms. He didn't kick me out of the family because I sinned. He just wants to be where He belongs. In my heart. The most portant in my heart. So that He can fill my heart. My life. With the message about His Son. Jesus Christ. The One and Only. Who died for me. And for you. I'm so glad that He loves us like that. Aren't you? Sweet dreams, Deb

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Misdirection

Summer. The show-stopper season. My favorite of all. Officially ended. Because school started today. And my first morning back at work went something like this.... "I'm sorry we don't have a folder for you at this table. Are you a facilitator?" "Yes," I replied. "Well, you're in the wrong place. You need to go over there." Confidently, the lady directed me to a different area. I went to the room that she indicated. A sign over the door said: FACILITATOR. Wow! I thought. The Student Service Facilitators (SSF's) in the county school system get to go to their own private room to pick up their workshop information for opening day. All six of us. And the remaining 1, 494 certified personnel are standing in two tremendously long lines. Waiting. To get theirs. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? I thought so. It took about fifteen minutes for me to figure out that this room had been designated for employees who were going to facilitate at these workshops. Not for the SSF's. I was in the wrong place. Again. So, then, I went to the line on the left. The longest. Slowest-moving line. Only to discover that because I failed to register on-line before school ended last year--what was I thinking?--I was still in the wrong line. And I still didn't know where to go. When I found the right line. The Registration Line. I did what I should have done three months ago. I registered. Then I got what I needed: Where to go. When. And what to do. And directions to get there. Have you ever had a morning like that? Or a day like that? You didn't know where you should go. When to be there. Or what to do. Sometimes, we get confused about the direction that we need to take because we don't accept the responsibility of following through on a project or an endeavor. At times, people who think that they know us and think that they know where we should go send us off in the wrong direction. God doesn't want us to be misdirected. He doesn't want us to feel like we're in the slow lane, going nowhere. He wants us to be like the psalmist and ask for direction. Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths (Psalm 25). When we ask Him to show us His ways. His paths. The plans that He has for us. He does. He's faithful to direct us. Each step that we take. No matter how far away you are from where you really want to be. Is too far away for Him to bring you back. To bring you closer. His ways. His paths. His direction. Always take us to Him. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some Blog Love

A blog award. My first! I want to thank Maryleigh at http://www.bluecottonmemory.blogspot.com/ for sharing some blog love with me. Thank you, Maryleigh. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. Please stop by her place. She's the mother of five. Five! Boys. She has some stories worthy of sharing. In addition to receiving this award, I have the privilege of awarding it to fifteen other bloggers. Cool! But because I've just started blogging, I'm going to award five blogs today. And I'll award the remaining ten in the near future. So, here are the first five blogs to receive the "One Lovely Blog Award": http://www.parentingconfessions.blogspot.com/ - Imperfection. Parenting mistakes. Humor. Melinda tells it all. Like when her son was late for school. Twenty-two times in one year! So, what's funny about that? Well, you'll have to listen to Melinda explain that one. http://www.decormamma.blogspot.com/ -See Jane. See Jane paint. See what Jane can do with a can of black spray paint! You're gonna love it. http://www.adifferentstory.net/ - God. The Bible. Faith. Love. Lyla writes about these topics in ways that we can understand. She makes us want more. Of Him. http://www.snoodlings.com/ - Everybody loves Whimzie. Have you met her yet? If you haven't, visit her soon. Then you'll know why we keep going back. http://www.southernhospitalityblog.com/ - Oh! Rhoda's place. Y'all, I've got to issue a caveat here: If you stop by her place, you aren't going to want to leave. Ever. And if you don't already live in the South. You may begin to think about relocating. And Maryleigh, thank you so much for allowing me to share a little blog love too. Sweet dreams, Deb

Just in Time

I waited for the telephone to ring. Wanted desperately to get that call. To hear the voice on the other line say, "We've considered all of the other candidates, and we've come to the conclusion that you're the best qualified." Well, I waited expectantly for two weeks after the job interview. The telephone did ring of course. But I didn't receive the one call that I desired most. So I lost hope. Disappointment grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go. And discouragement. And despair. You see, after fifteen years of teaching, I was ready to get out of the classroom. Just burnt out. Nothing left to offer my students. Two years prior to this interview, I had begun to apply for other education-related positions within my school system. Nothing materialized. Psalm 25: 15 became my daily prayer: My eyes are ever upon the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare. My job was the snare. I saw no way out. Unless God helped me and released me. I knew that He could. That He possessed the power and the resources. But would He? Apparently, not. The call didn't come. So, I got gut-level honest with God. I told Him, "Lord, You've been so good to me. You've blessed me with an incredible husband. A great family. Good health. Friends. I can't even count all of the ways that You've blessed me. But You're just not getting it. About my job. I really, really need You to get it." God did get it. But I didn't think that He did. He knew what I needed. And when. Because you know God has this thing about time. He likes to wait for just the right time. Sometimes, He seems to wait so long that when He does something for us we say to ourselves, "Well, it's about time!" Anyway, I gave up on getting out. Stopped pouting. And pitying. And began to prepare for the upcoming school year. Back in the classroom. Asked Him to help me make it through one more year. Still in the snare, though. Maybe you've felt that way. Trapped. No way to change the circumstances. No way to get through. Around. Or out. No hope. Maybe it looks like God doesn't care about you. And what you're going through now. God does see us. He knows that we're struggling. And hurting. And waiting. For Him to change something. Us. Or our circumstances. I don't know when or how God plans to help you. I can't predict His timing. But I do know that when we keep our eyes on Him, God will do what only He can. He will give us strength and stamina to stay in the snare for a while longer. Or He will release us from the snare. He always acts on our behalf. Just in time. Sweet dreams, Deb

Monday, July 27, 2009

How Far for a Friend?

How far would you be willing to go for a friend? Would you be willing to loan her your favorite outfit? Jewelry? Your car? Money? How about babysit her kids? Would you stay by her side during tough times? Like separation. Or divorce. Or illness. Sure we would. To the best of our ability and our resources. We want to be a friend who's there during both the good and bad. And the truth is that we need that kind of friend. A good friend. Remember that guy from my last post. The one with the name that no one can pronounce. He made history simply by being a friend. Yeah, him. Hushai. Well, just in case you're not into those old-timers, I won't share the whole story; however, if you like details, you can find them in 2 Samuel 15-18. I do want to give you a few highlights about Hushai though.
  • He was loyal to his friend, King David, when those closest to David betrayed him.
  • He almost single-handedly turned the tide of treason and restored the throne to David.
  • He risked his life for his friend.

What was that about risk his life for a friend? Now wait a minute. Risk my life. That's going too far. Seriously.

But, that's the question though: How far will we go for a friend?

Would we give our life for a friend? Surely, that's going where no man has gone before. No friend would be willing to do that. Right?

Wrong.

I have a friend who did just that. He gave His life so that I could live. Actually, He didn't give His live just for me. Although, He would have.

He gave His life for you, too.

His name? Jesus.

"And being found in appearance as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8)

Incredible! To go that far. To die. On a cross.

For me. For you.

But that's exactly what He did. While we were still His enemy.

Because of our sin.

He died for us.

So that we could become His friend. So that He could give us abundant life now. And hope. Peace. Joy.

So that He could give us eternal life. Forever. With Jesus.

What a Friend!

What love!

Do you think that you might need a friend like that?

If you'd like to know more, feel free to E-mail me at -- debcarroll@ymail.com . I love to talk about my best Friend.

Sweet dreams,

Deb

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Good Friend

Tonight, we say good-bye. With tears. Hugs. Hope. Holding on to our dreams. We don't know when or if we'll see each other again. My friend flies back to Germany tomorrow. But for today, we'll do what we've been doing for the past two weeks. Talk. Laugh. Share. Shop. Run. And eat. Way too much of all the wrong kinds of food. She's a stay-at-home-mom. A military wife. World traveler. Excellent cook. Decorator. House flipper. Writer. Photographer. Dreamer. And most importantly, Friend. We'll make plans for me to visit her. Tentative plans. Very tentative. I've never flown across an ocean. We'll send E-mails often. Still, I'm going to miss her. Good friends are hard to find. King David knew a great deal about the limited supply of good friends. He had a good friend. Actually, he had two. You're probably familiar with the friendship between David and Jonathan, King Saul's son. How Saul tried several times to kill David. How Jonathan intervened on David's behalf. And how when they said their final farewell, Jonathan asked David to promise to show "unfailing kindness" to Jonathan's descendants. David kept that promise when he became king. But did you know that God gave David another good friend? We find this guy's name in a who-was-who-during-David's-reign list found in 1Chronicles 27:33. Ahithophel was the King's counselor. Hushai the Arkite was the King's friend. And that's all we learn about Hushai the Arkite from this verse: He was a friend of the King. Friendship. His one credential. Rather intriguing, don't you think? Our loving God knows that we're made for friendship. To have friends. To be a friend. With others. With Him. Let's take time today for a friend. And for Him. Yes, saying good-bye hurts. But a good friend is so worth it. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, July 18, 2009

They Walk Beside Us

I see dead men and women walking. At home. At family gatherings. At work. At the mall. They work. Play. Love. Laugh. Hug. Cry. Nevertheless, they are still dead. Do you see them? We don't need a sixth sense to know they exist; all we have to do is open our eyes. Our ears. Our hearts. They walk beside us. And they will continue to walk. Dead. In their sins. And hopeless. Until someone shares God's love with them. We who were once one of them have a responsibility to speak the unalterable truth found in Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Bible presents a clear picture of sin, death, and life. All of us sin. Sin leads to death. But God in His amazing, unfailing, everlasting, never-disappointing love offers life. Not death. God gives life. Eternal. Abundant. Through His only Son. The One who died so that we could live. The evil one does not want those who are without Christ to hear that God desires to give them life. That in God's great kindness, He wants to lead them to repentance. Confession. Repentance. Forgiveness. All are paramount in escaping sin's penalty. The world doesn't always accept this message with open arms. Or without opposition. However, Jesus paid the wages--the price--of our sins and we now have new life and the sure promise of spending eternity with our loving God. We have to share the truth so that the dead walking among us. The hurting. The sick. The lonely. Those who are afraid. Who are dead in their sins. May choose to walk the rest of their days alive in Christ Jesus their Savior. Do we see them? Hear them? Love them? Sweet dreams, Deb

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Best Seat in the House

Singer. Songwriter. Musician. Underestimated and humiliated by his brothers. Sometimes overlooked by his own father. A shepherd boy skilled in slaying wild beasts. And giants. Still, to his family's amazement--and his--he was awarded the best seat in the house. The throne of Israel. This man's name? King David, son of Jesse. Now, God's anointed man wasn't perfect. David fell into some serious sin. Once he committed adultery. And attempted to conceal his sinful behavior by having the woman's husband murdered. But when God confronted David about his sordid affair, David confessed, repented, and turned toward God. God forgave him. David accepted His forgiveness. Later, David wanted to build a temple for the Lord. God, however, had a better plan: You will not be the one to build the temple; your son will build it. But I will establish your throne forever. Look at David's response to this revelation from God: Then King David went in and sat before the LORD...(IChronicles16:16a). Can you believe that? He sat down. Shouldn't he have issued some sort of proclamation. I think that I would have done something. Like call all of my friends to tell them the great news. Send everyone I know an E-mail. And, of course, post the message on my blog. David didn't do anything like that. He got with God. Alone. Quiet. Still. He took a seat. Humbled himself. Talked about God's attributes. God's mercy. God's worth. Not his own. Why did David do that? I think that he sat before God because he wanted God more than he wanted what God could give to him or could do for him. Sitting before our loving God. Our Savior. Redeemer. Friend. Is the most important thing that we can ever do. Are we taking the time to sit before Him? We have to take the time. If we don't, it won't happen. Time will get away from us. We'll get distracted. I know that have fallen short when it comes to sitting in His presence. I am learning that if I don't sit down with Him the first thing each morning, it probably won't happen later in the day. Too many distractions. Like blogging, for example. If I become so enthralled with reading comments--checking to see if I have any new followers--how many hits I have--that I neglect Him and His word, then I'm in big trouble. If I try to write without hearing from Him first, then my words will fall from this screen. Flat. Fake. Full of futility. On my own, I have no words of substance or significance. But His word. Quick. Sharp. Powerful. Piercing. Able to transform us. From pridefulness to humility. From sin to salvation. From despair to hope. Now, that's what I desire to share. That's my dream. Think about where you are today and all that you have to accomplish. Taking care of our families. Working. Church involvement. All of these things are important. They have to be done. David had plenty of things that required his attention. I mean, after all he was the head of state. But he put God first. Let's follow David's example. Let's sit down first. Before our Lord's throne. Listening to Him. Learning from Him. And loving on Him. Go ahead. The best seat in the house has been reserved in your name. Sit with Him for a little while. Sweet dreams, Deb

Friday, July 10, 2009

Risky Business

Classified information. My husband knows. So do Big Sis and JP . And a friend. And God. I intended to keep it that way. No reason to get anyone else involved. Risky business. Someone could get hurt. In my mind, I heard God say, "Tell it." I said, "No way. Please. I'll write about anything else. But not this." Maybe you've held similiar conversations with God. You want one thing; God wants something else. Which do we choose? Our way. Or His. Disobedience or obedience. The stakes are high. Take Saul for example. God's anointed. First king of Israel. And the first to have the crown stripped from him. How did that happen? Well, basically, Saul chose his own way. Not God's. Look at what Saul's disobedience cost him. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse (1 Chronicles 13a & 14). Saul lost the kingdom. His sons. His own life. Why such severe consequences? Because Saul didn't "keep the word of the Lord." He failed to obey God's word to him. He failed to respect God's word. He failed to act responsibly toward God's word. I want to "keep the word of the Lord." Obey His word. And respect His word. Accept the responsibility of having received His word. Don't you? Even when our obedience includes risk. The risk of being misunderstood. Rejected. Humiliated. I'd like to end this post here. But I can't. I believe that He wants me to share the rest of His story. I've dreamed of writing for more than ten years. A few months ago, I offered all that I have to Him: My heart. The dream that He put in my heart. The idea to start a blog. A good grasp of grammar. That's all I had. A rather impoverished offering. I asked Him to bless the offering. To break it. To distribute it in any way that pleased Him. You know like when the man offered Elisha twenty loaves of barley bread and one hundred hungry prophets ate and there were leftovers. And like when Jesus accepted the the loaves and the fish, and He fed a multitude--five thousand to be exact. There were leftovers then as well. Jesus accepted my offering. Now here's the wild part. The part that's so difficult to disclose. The risky part. I believe that He wants me to ask Him for five thousand people to be influenced for Him through my writing. Maybe you think that I'm arrogant. Prideful. Presumptuous. To think of praying for such an outrageous thing. Plus, what could He do with a little-known blog and some private journals? Surely, nothing like that. So, I refused to pray according to His leading at first. But then I realized that I had a choice. I could obey and"keep the word of the Lord." Or I could disobey His word. Everything is on the line. Skyhigh stakes. Sweet dreams, Deb

Monday, July 6, 2009

Can Crying Make a Difference?

"Mommy, help me! Mom--," she cries out once before going under. She started in the shallow end of the pool but had walked almost undetected to the drop off point where the water was over her head. No life jacket. No floaties. Only four-years-old, she hasn't yet learned to swim. She bobbles up. "Mom--!" Desperate. Down once more. Her mother dives for her. As she utters that second cry, the person in closest proximity gets to her first. Lifts her out of the water. Scared, but unharmed. Places the darling in her mommy's loving arms. Because this little girl cried for help and someone responded, a potential tragedy was averted. I wonder how my life would be different if I cried out to my Savior more often instead of trying to carry the weight of my problems alone. In Psalm 3:4, we read: To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. According to this verse, God hears us when we cry to Him. He hears the desperation in our voice. Our despondency. Our dependence on Him. The cry of His children moves Him into action. Sometimes, I have a problem in verbalizing this kind of neediness. I try to conceal things from God and from others. I'm unwilling to acknowledge how fragile I really am. How my faith can be fleeting at times. How I'm fearful about what others will think when they see that I don't have everything under control. But what if I admit that I'm standing at the drop off point. The water covers me. I panic. Without divine intervention, I'm going under for good. I cry out. And He lifts me. Offers me the opportunity to catch my breath and to recover. Holding me in His loving arms. Strong arms. Everlasting arms. Until I do. Could I make a difference in my little part of the world? Could you? Sweet dreams, Deb

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stopping Short

Israel. God revealed His word to them. His laws. His decrees. Israel's king, Jehoash, inherited the throne from his father. He got Israel's army also. Or what was left of it. The king of Aram, one of Israel's enemies, had reduced her armed forces to a mere fifty horsemen--ten chariots--ten thousand foot soldiers. Not much of a military. Not much hope of a victory over the enemy. Israel's prophet, Elisha, inherited a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Mighty in power. Moves as God mandates. Jehoash. Sinful. Scared of Aram. Seeks help from Elisha. Elisha informs him that God will give Israel a victory over the Armeans at the up-coming battle of Aphek. Then Elisha instructs Jehoash to strike the ground with some arrows. Jehoash takes the arrows. He struck it [the ground] three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times" (2 Kings 13: 18b-19). Jehoash made a major mistake. He stopped short in asking God for what he wanted. He obeyed, but not with his whole heart. The result? Only three successful battles for Israel and Jehoash when God was prepared to give complete victory. God wanted to give victory in this situation over Israel's enemy. How sad for Jehoash. How sad for me. Because I am like Jehoash. I've shortchanged God by stopping short. In supplication. In submission. In steps of faith. I think that maybe God doesn't really want to give me all that I ask Him or that He doesn't want to do all that I ask. How sad for God. Because He's prepared to give us victory--not just in a few skirmishes with the evil one--but total victory. He desires that we triumph in every situation. No matter how insurmountable it seems to us. He wants us to ask Him for help and for victory. And ask again. And again. Never stopping short. Never thinking that God would withhold any good thing from us. Never thinking that God has anything for us other than complete victory in Christ. Are we willing to go the distance? Sweet dreams, Deb

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Easy Thing

Shut cabinet doors, both upper and lower. Shut all closet doors. Sit the laundry basket anywhere except in the floor. Slide dining room chairs back under the table when you get up. These were the unwritten rules at our house during the time that my niece, Jessie, lived with us. They sound sort of strange. However, they were necessary for her safety. Jessie has a rare, genetic eye disease called retinitus pigmentosis. She can only see what's right in front of her. Nothing out of the corner of her eyes. No field vision. Almost like looking through two empty paper towel rolls. Limited vision. Describes how I see God sometimes. His plan. His purpose. His working in my life. I speculate about how God can do the things that I ask Him to do. Like how can He save the lost? Family members for whom I've been praying. For years. And nothing has happened. As far as I can see. I'm skeptical about how God can change circumstances. In my life. In the lives of my friends and family. How can He provide a job for the one who just got laid off after working with a company for almost twenty years? In this standstill economy. How can He heal those who are sick? Sick unto death with cancer. How can He restore relationships? Husbands and wives who are discussing divorce. I don't see how God is going to handle all of these problems. But God sees. The salvation. The solution. I love what Elisha has to say about God's vision: This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 3:18a). When I see no way, God doesn't sweat it. He sees a way. He sees my lost loved ones. And yours. He hears our prayers for them. Loves them. Is drawing them to Him right now. He sees those who need jobs. Who need healing. Restoration. He loves them. With an everlasting love. Offers them hope. Eternal. Like me, do you suffer from limited vision when it comes to certain situations? Needs? People? Be encouraged. Our loving God sees the end from the beginning. Salvation. Provision. Healing. Restoration. Whatever our need. These things are easy in His eyes. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Underneath the Broom Tree

Elijah. Prophet of God. Man of God. Elijah's exploits: Face-to-face with wicked King Ahab, predicted a three-year drought for Israel. Hid by God and fed by ravens. Prayed and a widow's jug of oil and jar of flour lasted for three years. Prayed for the widow's dead son and God restored him to life. Taunted 450 false prophets and then had them killed after God consumed his sacrifice. Prayed for rain. And it came. Empowered by the power of God, he ran ahead of Ahab's horse-drawn chariot all the way from the top of Mt. Carmel to Jezreel. Not bad work for a Tishbite. From Gilead. Or for any of God's servants. But then Jezebel. Ahab's wife. Queen of Israel. Wicked woman. Wanton. Wayward. Sends a message to Elijah: You killed my prophets. You're head's gonna roll! By this time tomorrow, you'll be a dead man. How did Elijah take the news? Not too well. He ran from Jezebel. Headed straight to the desert. Ended up underneath the limbs of a broom tree. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors" (1 Kings 19: 4b). What happened? How did he change from being one who ran ahead to someone who runs from? From being one willing to go out on a limb for God to being one hiding out under some limbs. Did God change? God didn't change. I think that Elijah--like many of us--became fearful. His focus got distorted. He felt overwhelmed. Felt that he was the only one serving God. Felt that God didn't understand the situation. Does this sound familiar to you? It sure does to me. Fear. Focus. Feelings. I can relate. When God doesn't do what I think that He should do. Like intervene on my behalf. Or for my loved ones. Like why did He let this happen in the first place. Like change my circumstances. Right now, please. I've done what Elijah did. Run away. Run to the desert. To a broom tree. Run from God. I'm so thankful that God heard Elijah us as he sat there. He encouraged Elijah. Told Elijah to go back the way that he had come. Gave him some new assignments. I'm so thankful that God hears us when we've had enough. Just want to give up. Things are way too much for us to handle. God encourages us. Through His word. Affirms that He's still in control. That we're still useful. Most of all, He assures us that we He's right there with us. Underneath the broom tree. But we don't have to stay there. He will help us get out of our desert. Back in union with Him. Sweet dreams, Deb

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Following the Leader

A herd of black cows. Twenty-five or thirty of them parade across the pasture. All following one solitary cow. Some in single file. Some in groups of three or four. Some meander in typical bovine-like fashion. Except the stragglers at the back of the line. Frisky. Energetic. Must have been the young ones. And not the lead cow. She walks with purpose. Like she knows what she's doing. Where she's going. To find shade from the sizzling sun. To find water to drink. She never looks back to see if the others are following. Head bobs forward. Her whole body thurst into arriving at her designation. I don't know if this leader knew what she was doing or not. Frankly, I've never seen a cow move like that. Watching these animals made me wonder about the herd. Did they know who they followed? Their destination? Their purpose? I began to ask myself a few questions: Who or what do I follow? Do I know my leader? Do I follow blindly? Or with purpose? Jesus set up some criteria for following the leader. Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24). In order to follow Him, we have to deny ourselves. Deny myself? Jesus can't be serious about that can He? I mean we live in a culture that encourages us to accumulate things for ourselves. Tons of things. Whether we need them or not. Just spend. Indulge. We're worth it of course. And the more things that we have, the more we're worth. Right? Well, I can't speak for you, but I can tell you that I've paid dearly. On more than one occasion. For believing this lie. The truth is that when we deny ourselves--put Christ first--we find a purpose that we'll never find in our possessions. Jesus also said that we have to take up our cross if we want to follow Him. Carry my cross! What's He talking about? I thought. You know. That He's the One who carried the cross. My cross. Yes, He did carry our cross. Was nailed to it so that we could have an intimate, eternal relationship with Him. Yet there's still a cross for us to carry. With His help. In His strength. As He abides in us. As we abide in Him. The world. Our culture. Cannot understand this concept. Ever. But that's no reason for us to excuse ourselves from obeying this command. In carrying our cross, we truly come to know Christ. His love. His truth. That He will never leave us or forsake us. Only as we deny ourselves and take up our cross, can we follow Him. With purpose. With passion. Jesus Christ. Our Savior. Our Lord. Master. The true leader. Sweet dreams, Deb

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fresh Fruit

From pick-up trucks loaded with sweet corn, not yet shucked. To chocolate mint that prefers morning sun. Don't worry about it melting from the heat. To gizzard plants. The foliage--dark brown. Fuschia-colored stems. Delicate, pink veins that run throughout the leaves. An unexpected combination of beauty. The Farmer's Market in Raleigh has it all. Spices. Herbs. Flowers. Fresh vegetables and fruit. Our mission while there. To find fruit. Red, juicy tomatoes. Not shipped from across the country. Not imported. Not from a greenhouse. We wanted home grown. In the dirt. The kind of tomatoes that if you're not careful when you take a bite, the juice will drip down your chin. We sampled some tomatoes. No fork. No napkin. Just stood in the aisle eating. Juice running from our fingers to our elbows. Wiped our hands on the bottom of our tee-shirts. Mission accomplished: we found the fruit. Biblical writers often discuss fruit. We read about the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We're told that we should produce fruit. In Hebrews, Paul instructs us to offer fruit as a sacrifice. He writes: Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess His name. (13:15) I don't know about you, but two words in this verse scare me. I'm ok with praising God. Offering the fruit of my lips when I feel like it. When it's convenient. When things go well with me. But to praise Him continually and to offer praise as a sacrifice. That's different. Much more difficult. Praise Him always? Even if I don't like my circumstances. Even if He doesn't act according to my agenda. Offer praise as a sacrifice? That's heavy. And hard. I mean give up something just so I can praise God. Like give up my pride. My sense of having been done wrong by Him. Or by others. Even give up my hurting heart. Yes. That's exactly what He wants. From me. And from you. He searches for that special fruit. The kind grown in His field. By His Spirit. The kind that lasts. This sacrifice of praise. Fresh. Fruit from our lips. Sweet dreams, Deb

Friday, June 19, 2009

To My Darling Husband

Ten things that I love about you: 1. Your good looks 2. Your charm 3. Your sense of humor 4. The way you hold my hand 5. The way you hug me...for no reason 6. The way you hold me...like you don't ever want to let me go 7. The way that you protect me 8. How you're the best daddy in the whole world 9. How you're the best husband ever 10. How you're my dream come true Happpy Father's Day! I love you. Sweet dreams, Deb

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Abba

"Abba." The young woman referred to God as Abba when she prayed. Abba means "daddy." I couldn't imagine doing such a thing. So, what was she thinking? How rude. Disrespectful. Arrogant. I mean I knew God. Back when I was a little girl, I gave my heart to Him. Because God is God. Father. Holy. Righteous. But "daddy?" Surely calling the Lord God Almighty "Abba" was over the top. Bordering on the unpardonable. Years later, I realized that I envied that woman and the way she so naturally called my Loving God "Daddy." But God worked with me. Loved me. Showed me mercy. Grace. Compassion. That I didn't deserve. He just kept right on, though. Loving His little girl. I watched as my darling husband loved our children. Unselfishly. Sacrificiously. Unconditionally. Still does. Always will. God showed me that's how a daddy should love. That's how He loves. Finally, I realized the real reason that I couldn't say "Abba." Fear. I was afraid of Him. I guess fear of my earthly daddy carried over to God. In some kind of twisted thinking. I embraced the truth of Psalm 25:15: My eyes are ever on the Lord for only He will release my feet from the snare. God wanted me to look at Him. Not at all of my fears. When I focused on Him, He released me from the snare. From the bondage of the past. Because Jesus took all of my sin and all of my fear to the cross, I can call my God. The Holy One. The Righteous One. I can call Him. "Abba." "Daddy." Sweet dreams, Deb

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Baby Boy

I didn't shed a single tear when Daddy died. So different from when Mama. Then, I thought that I'd never stop crying. I was always scared of Daddy. His belt. The beatings that he could give. Without provocation, it seemed. So, I tried to be good. Did my homework. Did my chores. Stayed out of trouble. Stayed in my room and read. Stayed out of his way. Daddy worked hard. Even when he was a boy. Quit school in seventh grade to help his poppa farm. He took care of us, too. We always had food. And clothes. And shoes. Not many extras, though. Not much affection. Not much attention. One time when I was a little girl, he showed somebody--I don't remember who--something that I had written. He said, "She's got good handwriting." I don't think that I'll ever forget that compliment. Daddy got mad at me right before my Senior year. Didn't come to watch me cheer. Didn't attend my high school graduation. Didn't say a word to me for over a year. Then one spring not too long after that, he left Mama. Just walked out. On all of us. He could have been decent. Asked her for a divorce. She would have. But he didn't. He left. Scandalously. Broke Mama's heart. She forgave him, though. One time, I asked her, "Mama, how could you forgive him? After all of the awful things that he's done. How could you?" She said, "I learned a long time ago that me hating him wasn't hurting him a bit. But if I didn't let go of that hate and forgive him, it was gonna end up killing me." I guess I'm not like Mama. I mean he didn't know my children. He didn't even recognize me when he saw me at my uncle's funeral. I said, "Hello, Daddy." He just looked at me. With this astonished expression on his face. He said, "Well, who are you?" How could he not know me? Not know that the blue eyes looking straight into his were his own. But when he got sick, I tried to help him. Cleaned his house. Took him food. Drove him into Montgomery to the cancer center. That's what Mama wanted me to do. So, I did. During that time, Daddy told me. "I love you." I'd never heard those words from him before. I told him that I loved him. I meant it. I just didn't feel it. Then his other family--I use that word loosely-- came back into the picture. My brothers and sisters and I left him alone. At his request. Daddy spent the last two years of his life in a nursing home. I visited him once. To tell him about Mama. He didn't seem to care much. Made me angry. My cousin preached Daddy's funeral. Talked honestly about Daddy and our family and how things were. Talked about how my daddy while not the youngest child was the youngest of his brothers. And on this day we were sending a baby boy home to heaven. Something about that image of Daddy being a baby boy. Being somebody's baby boy. His mother's. God's. Moved me. But not to tears. Not pretty. Just true. Maybe someday. Sweet dreams, Deb

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Little Praise

Today, I just want to praise Him. Give Him thanks for what He's done for me. For what He continues to do. How He gave me a dream. How He's faithful to His word and to His promises. How He's working on my behalf right now. In reality, I should never have become a dreamer. Too practical. Too hung up on trying to be perfect. Too many problems. Flaws. Fears. Failures. But God, somehow, sees potential and promise. In me. In you. So, He makes some promises to assure us. If we give Him all that we've got, He promises to give us all that He's got. What an exchange! Our flaws. For His Son's righteousness. Our fears. For His strength. Our failures. For His perfect plan. That's why I want to give Him. Praise. Thanks. Worship. Obedience. Sweet dreams, Deb

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Direction

"Turn right. Turn right." My GPS talks to me. But I can't turn right. I'm in the left lane, trying to work my way over. Too much traffic. No one will let me in. Absolutely no one. The GPS tries again. "Turn right, Now." I'd love to turn right now. I can't. "Turn Right! TURN RIGHT NOW!" I know I hear an attitude in her automated voice. I miss the exit. I have a lousy sense of direction. Still, I'm somewhat skeptical about trusting this sassy little device. Much prefer to have someone--my darling husband, for example--to sit beside me and help me to find my way. Or even better, chauffeur me to my destination. Sometimes, I find that it's just as hard for me to trust God and to follow His directions as it is for me to trust the gadget in my car. Is God reliable? Can I trust Him to get me to where He's called me to go? Yes! We can rely on God. His knowledge. His wisdom. His plan. His way. His word. Yes! We can trust God. His love for us. That He knows when we go out and when we come back in. He knows us. When we sit. When we stand. He knows exactly what He's called us to do and where He wants us to go. God doesn't give bad directions. David writes, "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the the Lord is flawless," (2 Samuel 22: 31a). He won't lead us down a road that He can't handle. We learn this truth daily as we read His word. Study His word. Meditate on His word. Our God is perfect. Holy. Righteous. Just. He does not disapoint. When we miss our exit or turn or way, He goes to the ends of the earth to find us. When we trust God's way and God's. word, we will be like the people about whom Isaiah refers. "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "'This is the way; walk in it'" (30:21). He will get us to our destination. Sweet dreams, Deb

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Guard Your Heart

Running along River Birch Circle this morning, I noticed something strange. Emerging from a tiny aperture in the asphalt. A single strand of weeds stretching for sunlight. Only a sliver of space. Without the weeds' testimony, invisible and undetectable. A sliver. All that satan needs to launch a frontal attack. More than enough room for him to land a few fiery darts into our heart. We know the heart's nature. Deceitful. Vascillating. Wandering. And if we're honest, at times stone-cold. Evidence that we're vulnerable. We need protection. But, how? Consider Solomon's instruction, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" Proverbs 4:23. How can we prevent ourselves from being caught off guard? Our precious Lord is the only One who can help us. We must go to the One who searches, examines, and tests our hearts. Gently--a few at a time--like a loving father, He will reveal our weak points. Next, we confess and repent. We don't have to fear God. He wants to forgive and to restore us. He has our best interests in His heart. Then we ask Him to circumcise our heart. To give us a heart like His. To see, hear, and love like He does. Our loving God will not fail us. He can't wait for us to ask Him for His help. His resources. His strength. His promises. His protection. The evil one will probably always probe, searching for silver pinpoints. But he's going to find something strange. Hearts stretching toward the Son. Make a much tougher target! Sweet dreams, Deb

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don't Swim Alone

We saw dolphins swimming. Every morning. Early. From the balcony of Big Sis's condo. They glide through the water. Rising to the surface. Fins showing shiny and slick. Smooth dive under. Back to the top. Sensational swimmers. Spectacular show. Once, we counted eight dolphins. They travel in schools or pods for protection from predators. Their motto: Never swim alone. Sounds like good advice for us as well. Never attempt to walk in faith alone. Whenever we try to go it alone--without God--without Christian friends--we fall prey to the enemy of our souls. That roaring lion. That roaming lion. That liar. The one who says, "You don't need God to help you in this situation. Don't bother God with the little things. You can handle this one by yourself." Yeah, right. Or maybe he says, "Aw, come on now. Don't dump on your friends again. They're busy. They have problems of their own. Don't drag them into your junk. Just be a big girl." Anytime that we hear those lies, let's remember the dolphins. The Creator designed these animals to rely on each other. And on Him. He made us in a similar fashion. We need one another. And we need Him. Galatians 6:2 helps us to understand God's design. "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." What a precious plan. A perfect plan. God helps us. We're to help each other. Like dolphins, we weren't created to make it efficaciously. Our Savior died so that we would never have to do life by ourselves. He sent His Holy Spirit to teach us. Fill us. Encourage us. Our precious Savior also says that it's ok for us to need the support of others. It's ok to ask for help. And to ask without being embarassed. Because He created us to be dependent on Him and to desire the support of other believers. I'm afraid to swim the tide alone. I need Him. And you. Sweet dreams, Deb Why

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sista's at the Beach

Tanning lotion. Toothbrush. Swimsuit. Flip flops. Big Sis has condo at the beach. The sisters are going. All five of us. For the weekend. Sun, sand, surf, and sisters. What more do you need? Will let you know how things go. Sweet dreams, Deb

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Summer Day

She says, "On your march. Get set. Go!" We take off running. Down the sidewalk. Around the big pine tree. Through the azalea beds. When we get to the day lilies, we stop for her to pick a leh-low one. And then we race back to the front steps. She wins. Of course. So far this morning we've run a marathon in the yard. Painted masterpieces with washable Crayola water colors. Built castles out of orange, green, and red plastic blocks. Made up silly stories about scary lizards. The slimy kind. The ones that want to take up residence on our deck and hold us hostage inside the house. She loves the scare factor as long as she has her blankie for security. I cook her favorite for lunch. Noodles. After lunch I let her eat chocolate chip cookie dough. Just a few squares. With milk. But don't tell her mother about the unbaked dough. Ok? That can be our little secret. I mean God made granddaughters so that their nonnies can indulge them. Right? Gotta whisper. Korie's napping. Sweet dreams, Deb

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Doubt

Sometimes, I doubt the dream. I don't want to waver, but I do. I try to walk in faith. So, believing. I write in my journals. Write blog posts. Read. Study. And pray. Things go along ok for awhile. Then one day I wake up, and there's the doubt. Inside me. Drowning all hope. Leaving desperation. Despair. Depression. I don't want to live like this. Is there a way out? I remember what He said to me almost two years ago. I wrote His words in my journal. I am your Strength. I am your Fortress. I am your loving God. Watch me. Let me show you that I am your strength, that I am your fortress, that I am your loving God. Give me control so that I can show you that I am all of these things and more. Give me control. Watch me. Let me make you into the writer that you desire to become--that I desire for you to become. Incredible, isn't it? I'm just an ordinary woman. Who am I that the Lord God--the Creator of the universe--the great I AM--should stoop to address me? Should speak to me personally. But He did. So, why do I still doubt Him? I mean that's who I'm really doubting. Because He's the One who put the dream in my heart. I just do. I believe Him, but I still struggle. Does that make any sense? And for me doubting usually leads to pouting. Then to pity. But when I go to the Word. Cry to Him. Confess. He hears. He comforts. He's been near the whole time. "Be not far from me, O God: come quickly, O my God, to help me" (Psalm 70:12). God is near to you, too. He wants to help you. He has words for you. He has a plan for you. Jesus said that He wants to give us life. Life to the full. No doubt about that. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Main Thing

It can be really hot in Alabama this time of year. But not this morning. Weather forecasters predict rain. That's ok. A little rain won't interfere with my race plan. My strategy for this 8K is to start at a steady pace, then gradually accelerate, and finish strong. I've never run this course before; but I've heard it's tough. Early into the run, I experience just how tough. Way more hills than I expected. Killer hills. I try to let my legs do the work going uphill so that my heart won't have to work so hard. Instead, my heart pounds. The pavement pounds into my legs. And I'm not even half way. Too late, I realize that I've made a big mistake. I neglected the most essential element of training for a race that includes hills. Hill workouts! I complete the race. But not with that strong finish that I envisioned. A little disappointing. I've experienced similiar disappointment in other endeavors because of that same reason. I want to stay strong, but somehow along the way, I miss the main thing. And as a result, I fizzle out at the end. Biblical writers sometimes compare life to running a race. According to scripture, "The race is not to the swift" (Ecclesiastes 9:11a). This means that to God, the race isn't about running fast. Or breaking records. God says that the main thing in life's race is the relationship. Ours with Him. It's in spending time with Him daily that we get to know Him. His love. His forgiveness. His grace. His mercy. His promises. We spend time with Him so that He can reveal Himself to us. That's how He trains us and strengthens us for the race. He wants to be the main thing in our lives. Sweet dreams, Deb

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Prince

Him. I want to dance before. My Prince of Peace. My King. Dance. Like David, wearing a linen ephod, dancing and leaping as the Levites carried the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Risked being misunderstood. Willing to be undignified. To be humiliated if necessary. All because he was compelled to celebrate what the Lord had done for him and for all of Israel. I want to dance like that. Maybe not quite as vigorously as King David, but with the same kind of humility. The same celebration. The same heart. I want to dance. Hands lifted. Soft stance and slow. Swaying. His Word and my words of praise and thanksgiving. Interwoven. Creating the cadence for our waltz. Son of Man. Man of Sorrows. Took my pain, my heartache. Did not know sin. Until He took mine. Gave His life for me. So that He could then give life to me. Eternal. Abundant. With Him--always. I must dance. Love is the reason. His for me. My heart says of Him, "Seek His face. Your face, Lord, I will seek." Lover of my soul. I will not neglect Your word. I will not reject Your word. I hide Your words in my heart. They are life and breath to me. And healing. And forgiveness. I dance. My Bridegroom comes. With a double-edged sword. And bearing a name that He alone knows. Having purchased boys, girls, men, and women from every nation, every tribe, every language. The Faithful Witness. Lamb of God. Lamb who was slain. The One who has overcome. Alpha. Omega. Jesus Christ, God's only Son. For Him, I dance. Sweet Dreams, Deb