Monday, March 16, 2015

This Post Should Have a Title, BUT I Can't Think of One

I just had the most wonderful weekend.

I was at Maranatha Bible & Missionary Conference speaking for a women's retreat. And God was present in a very real way. So thankful for how He showed up in these women's lives.
Sunday morning I gave my final talk, wrapping up our study of Exodus 14. Specifically, we looked at verses 29-31. I introduced this talk by sharing with the women one of my greatest insecurities, and followed it up by telling them how God has changed my viewpoint. And after the whole thing was over, one of the ladies gave me this stone - because it reminded her of what I had said in my introduction. She said, "I hope you won't be offended, but I want to give you this stone."

Can you guess what it is?
Go ahead, be honest. What does it look like to you?

Let me help you out.
Sunday morning I told a few (now) funny stories from my young teen years when I was teased by boys. (The stories were sooooo not funny when I was a young teen. *ahem*) At summer camp a group of boys dedicated the song "Fat Bottomed Girls" to me. Sang the chorus to me frequently throughout the week. That was also the week "Hippo" became my nickname. And the following school year another boy started calling me "Buffalo," because he said I sounded like a heard of buffalo running down the steps behind him after our first hour class.
Needless to say, I became very insecure about my body. Specifically the back-side of it. I hated my shape, and every reference to a "big butt".

Imagine my surprise when God showed me over and over again that His very Word is full of big BUTs.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
Psalm 66:18-19

But you, O God, are my king from of old;
you bring salvation upon the earth.
Psalm 74:12

But you, O LORD, are exalted forever.
Psalm 92:8

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
Romans 8:10

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
Galatians 2:20

And the one we looked at Sunday morning:
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
Exodus 14:29-31
Do you see them? The big BUTs in God's Word.
They're all over the place and they remind me that things are different in God's economy.
The things of this world may go one way, BUT with God - they go another way.
On my own I have no hope, BUT with God my hope never ends.

And that's why I can now say, I love a big BUT. As long as it's God's big BUT.

So, now take a look at that stone again. Do you see it?
Yep, I've got my own little "butt" to carry in my pocket - to remind me of God's big BUTs. And the never ending hope I have in Him because of them!


Friday, February 27, 2015

It is Well

If you read many of my Lessons From the Edge posts, chances are you have read about my dear friend, B, and his wife, U. They are the couple who live across the hall from the Activity Room, so I saw them all the time. B is the man who suffered a stroke which left him unable to use the right side of his body, and unable to communicate effectively with words. (He can speak words, but only a few. And he cannot put his thoughts into words which make sense to anyone.)

But he can still sing.

B used to be the pastor of a church in Lansing, and when I worked at Edgewood one of our favorite things to do was to go on walks (I would push B in his wheelchair.) and sing old hymns. During one of those walks, B and I decided we were going to sing "It is Well with My Soul" in the talent show this year. So, when I turned in my resignation at the beginning of January, I did so with a promise to B that I would come back for the talent show.
Well, the talent show happened this afternoon, and I had the complete joy of sharing the "stage" with B and his wife. (That's U playing the piano.)

I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I did!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

HOPE is a Beautiful Thing

So, for Christmas my wonderful husband got me a new computer. (The kids had been begging me to get a new computer for some time, but I am just too cheap to spend the money. Would rather spend the time waiting for pages to load.)
And, alas, it worked.
I didn't have to spend the money.
Brian did it for me! *wink*
Anyway, last weekend I finally got around to transferring files from my old computer to the new one.

Yes, I realize it took me almost two months to do it. Don't judge.

In the process of going through old files, I found something I about which I had completely forgotten. There was this one file titled "Lyrics" and I was about to delete it, figuring it was simply words to a hymn which I'd typed so I could use it for Bible study at Edgewood. But I opened it just to be sure, and smiled at what I found inside.

Looking in the mirror and what do I see?
The reflection of someone staring back at me.
She’s got my hair, my eyes, my face.
But what’s on her heart? That mark of grace?

What happened to the woman I used to know
Whose heavy heart was her greatest foe?
What happened to the anger and bitterness?
Where’s the despair and hopelessness?

Jesus I know You took them,
I know You’re transforming my heart.
Your Spirit lives in me.
Now hope is within me.
And each day is a brand new start.

I wrote those words some seven years ago. Although I am not a song-writer, apparently there was a song in my heart since I called the file "Lyrics". Not sure I'll ever finish it, and if I do - I don't know that there will ever be a melody written for it. But whatever happens (or doesn't) it made me smile just to remember from where Jesus has brought me.
I am so thankful for the HOPE I have in HIM.

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent. This year I have chosen to fast from Facebook during Lent because I wanted to give up something which is often a distraction. Which would allow me to spend more time with God - allowing Him to work in my heart.
As I thought about it more, I realized that blogging is also often a distraction/time-sucker for me. (The blog is a good thing, and the time I spend writing is worth it. Nonetheless, I want to do everything I can to keep this time for Him.) So, I have also decided to fast from blogging during Lent.
Actually, I will probably check in on Mondays with a video devotion to share the encouragement I am finding in Jesus as I spend this time with Him. But I'll leave the final decision about that option up to Him.
So, until later - May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

This Week with Grandma

I have decided to start a "new" Friday feature here, to share things I'm experiencing with my grandmother and to keep you updated on how she's doing.
Because I know several of you are praying for her. (THANK YOU!!!)

So, here we go with the first This Week with Grandma edition...

I was going to write today about one of the ways God has spoken to me through my grandma about His love for caring for us - and I will likely share that story someday - but the sweetest thing happened Thursday, and I just have to tell you about it.
Grandma was rather sick last weekend and has made slow progress in getting healthy this week. (She is doing much better now.) So, Thursday when I had to leave for a little while, I did what I could to make sure she had everything she needed. And when I got home I saw that she was laying in bed resting.
I wasn't sure if she was sleeping, or not, so I walked into her room to check on her. (And on the way, I stopped into the bathroom to turn off the light.) When I reached her bedside, Grandma looked up and apologized for leaving the light on. Then she went on to explain why.
She had eaten her breakfast and gone into the bathroom to wash up after I left. While she was in the bathroom she began to feel dizzy, and that made her nervous. (Because she has fainted a couple times recently - and didn't want to fall in the bathroom.) So, she said, she "asked Jesus" to help her make it safely to her bedroom. And we smiled at each other, because - obviously! - HE did.
It was delightful to see the sparkle in my grandmother's eyes as she bragged about how Jesus had cared for her. So we talked for a minute about Jesus, and how thankful we are for His faithfulness.

And it occurred to me that I have so much to learn about depending on Him.

Grandma asked Jesus to help her make it from the bathroom, across the hall, to her bedroom.
It isn't that far.
Probably 10-12 feet.
But He knew her need. He cared. And He escorted her safely to her bed.
Made me wonder why I sometimes think I should only ask for His help with the "big" things. Helped me understand there is nothing too "silly" for which we might request help.
Now that I think about it, this story and its lesson goes right along with the first thing I wanted to write this week. God really loves to care for us.
And I am so glad He is allowing me to care for my grandma so I can learn this lesson more clearly.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What a Deal

One of the benefits of being an "at-home" type is that I am free-er to choose when I do my grocery shopping. I love NOT having to go to the store on the weekend. It is so much more peaceful during the week. Ahhhhhh.
But last Friday something went terribly wrong on my shopping trip.
Because it took me nearly two hours to complete the task.
Granted, I saw a friend in the soup aisle and chatted for a minute or two with her - and then I saw her again in produce and chatted some more. But there is NO WAY those conversations were the cause of my extremely long grocery run.
No, I believe my extended stay at the store must be attributed to the length of time it took me to get through the check-out lane.
You see, there were a lot of people at the store Friday morning. Which meant a lot of people had to go through the check-out lanes. And I did a very silly thing when it was my turn to pick a lane. I stood in line for one lane and looked to my left, which allowed me to see a shorter line. So I did what any hungry, impatient person does when they want to be done shopping.

I switched lanes!

What I didn't realize at the time was the lady at the front of my "new" lane was purchasing nearly half the store and it was going to take a very long time for the cashier to ring her up. As in, I think I was in line for at least half an hour. And while I waited, I got to watch the man who "took my place" in my original line check out and leave just as I was finally starting to put my groceries on the belt. *ahem*

I don't suppose it will come as a shock to find out I was grumbling to myself about my long wait. Whining in my heart that "they" should open up another check-out lane, or two. And invite me to be first in line. Because - clearly - I had better things to do than stand in line waiting to pay for groceries.
And, I trust it won't be a surprise to learn that God met me there.
In the check-out lane.
In the midst of my grumbling.
I was looking at one of the several boxes of cereal in my cart and realized I did nothing to get it there, except take it off the shelf. Somebody else grew the wheat, and harvested it, and made it into cereal.
Likewise, I didn't milk the cows, or collect eggs from the chickens, or grind the beef, or grow the broccoli or lettuce or carrots or apples or potatoes or lemons or... Or anything else.
I thought about the hours and hours and hours of work other people put into producing my groceries, getting them to the store, and putting them on the shelves. And I realized my two hours spent at the store to get all that - was quite a bargain.

I just love it when God fixes my focus. How has HE helped you to see things more clearly?


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Teens Need Mom, too. (Sometimes)

OK. All moms of teens out there are going to understand what I mean.
Those of you with babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers are just going to have to trust me.

It is sweet to be needed.

Hold on. Those of you with extreme young'uns, I told you. You need to trust me on this one!
I remember well the days of my children being needy, needy, needy. The picture is still very clear in my head of how exhausted I was by the constant whining and calling of my "name". Mommy! Mommy! Mooooommmmmyyyyyy!
Oh, how many times I wanted to change my name to something, anything else.
But then something happened.
The little kids grew up to be big kids and started needing Mom less.
And at first, that was OK.
Great, even.
I enjoyed NOT having to put kids in car seats every time we went somewhere. I remember thinking it was so cool that they could buckle themselves into the car
Then there were the shoes. I was so proud of my children for learning to put them on without my help. Especially the ones they actually had to TIE. (Truth be told, both of my boys have figured out how to tie their tennis shoes ONCE, such that they can take them off and put them on without ever touching the laces again. *insert eye roll*)
More freedom came when the kids started getting their own breakfast and lunch. They simply didn't need Mom so much anymore. And it was delightful.
Because I didn't feel so overwhelmed by needs, needs, NEEDS.

But something happened which I hadn't expected. I began to feel useless. Like all anyone needed me for anymore was physical sustenance. You know, to get the groceries and make meals. And I found myself looking longingly at the mothers of young 'uns in the store who had to got to bundle up their children to take them outside, and who were asked for pennies so said children could ride the pony at Meijer. I looked at the little boy hugging tightly to his mommy's leg in the check-out lane, and the baby held to her mommy's side in a sling and thought, Isn't that precious?
And I realized I was missing being "needed".

Then Saturday happened.
My son (Who shall remain nameless - but you can probably figure out who he is, since I only have one licensed-driver-son. *wink*) called me in somewhat-of-a-panic.
He was lost, and "late".
(I subsequently learned that he wasn't late for work, rather he was late meeting friends to go fishing. Thus the panic in his voice. *ahem*) So I asked him to look for a street sign and then got on Mapquest to help him figure out where he was. It took a little time, but I was able to help him get turned around and on the right road so he could get where he wanted to go.
As we ended the conversation, I heard a very solemn and gracious, "Thanks, Mom." (Which may, or may not, have been followed by a sniffle. Which coulda' been allergies. I'm not sure.)
And as I hung up my phone, I smiled because I realized my son just needed me. And I got to help him.

It is sweet to be needed.
Because, these days? It doesn't happen that often.