Pero tú, oh YHWH, eres escudo alrededor de mí; eres mi gloria y el que levanta mi cabeza. sa

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Night Hike

Last night the kids...Taylor, Evan, Cody and Taylor R went on a "Christmas Night Hike." They were following the creek bank and went out on Berry Wildlife Preserve where they ran into some low areas with standing water and tried to work their way around them. It didn't take long before the kids were turned around with no sense of direction and the temps were dropping. Thank goodness for cellphones...kind of like our direct line to God...they can reach Mom anytime, anywhere! So Keith and I set out to bring our lost kids home. We went over to the Texas Valley side of the reserve armed with a hiking stick, cell phone and a whistle. The plan was for them stay put for the moment and listen for the whistle. They had said they could barely hear when a car would every little while cross the old metal bridge, but not often enough to be able to follow the sound. So our plan was to blow the whistle and beat on the bridge to bring the kids out. We blew that whistle and made sure by cell phone the kids could hear us. First though, we made sure their right shoulders were lined up with the moon...the same as me and Keith (for direction.) Then we kept blowing that whistle and we beat on that bridge...until we could tell the kids were following the sound and making there way to safety. It took a long time...and it took them crossing through some cold, deep and dark, muddy waters...but eventually, they were in our car, half-frozen but safely heading home.

This kind of made me think about the lengths God sometimes has to go thru to guide us back to Him, when we step off His path. Sometimes we don't even realize until it's too late that we are "lost." And then we have to get still so we can hear His voice. I wonder if He ever laughs at the craziness that we, His kids get into? I know I did last night with mine. But I also know I was really relieved when we finally heard the voices of the kids, all-be-it, very distant. I also know that I couldn't wait for them to be back in my sight and safe in my home. I'm betting God feels the same with His children, probably even more so.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I am a C. I am a Ch...I am a CHRISTIAN

Pondering, thinking, examining, changing. I've done a lot of reading online with postings and such and I've done a lot of self examination lately. I've come to the conclusion that even saying the words "I'm a Christian" so often times short-changes God. To even say the word...should bring recognition that thoughts and actions should pattern after Christ. It's not a title and it's not a religion. It's a way of life. To really begin to understand that, I find myself drawn to the four Gospels. Who is this Man? What was He like? How did He conduct Himself? How did He treat others? And what does He want to see in me? The man that I am learning to know is so much different than what I see in myself so many times. Different than what I see in so many who call themselves Christians. This man, this Christ, was gentle. This man was genuine. This man was humble and this man was kind. When He was rejected or faced disbelief... He questioned "Who do you believe I am?" and then He went about His Father's will. He didn't judge, He forgave...John 8:7--"But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Are we guilty of judging? Are we guilty of pointing fingers at someone who doesn't share our faith or respond to us in a way we like? I'm thinking that when I point at someone...anyone...there are three fingers pointing back at me. It's not often that my path crosses that of someone who doesn't believe. I just pray that when it does, I don't squander it away with a haughty attitude or a judgemental look...but that I will react and conduct myself in a way that someone might just see a glimpse of Christ in me. It's a process, painful at times, for God to get me in a position to where I'm on my knees with my mouth shut, silent and listening to the stillness of His voice.

I read something the other day that stuck with me.


I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
by the lights or its decor.
It was the folks in Heaven
who made me sputter and gasp--
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics, the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
who never said anything nice.
Herb, who I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.
And why's everyone so quiet,
so somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child," said He. "They're all in shock...
No one thought they'd see you."

"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mary, did you know?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?

This Child that you delivered
will soon deliver you
-clay aiken

I remember holding my babies for hours, rocking them, singing to them and praying over them. I know the thoughts that I had, the questions whose answers, I would search in their little faces to try to see just a glimpse. Was there a hint of what the future held for them? Would they follow in Christ's footsteps? What would their dreams be? Would things come easy for them? Would they have their share of heartbreak? What would God's plan be for their lives? I think every mother dreams and prays for the best for her child(ren)...In the far corners of time...there was Mary. The mother who delivered my King. Did Mary know? Did she have any idea? Could her mind even begin to comprehend the baby she held in her arms? Could she fathom just what role her Baby would play from that moment until forever-more? The heart of a mother simply can't contain the love, the emotion, the feeling that wells up inside when she holds her baby to her heart. It feels like it will just bust out and overflow. She has pride and knows her baby is precious and a gift from God. Oh what a blessed woman Mary was. To be chosen, above all others, to give birth to and hold the Baby...the ultimate gift from God...Heaven's Perfect Lamb, the Great I Am, the Prince of Peace, Saviour and Redeemer, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord's...I still wonder...Mary? Did you know?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where are the footsteps going...

I was taught from a young give respect where respect is due. That meant to render respect to my parents, my elders, my teachers, my bosses, my pastor, my sister, my husband and now even my children. But the most important area of respect I was taught was to give respect and honor to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I was taught and have taught my children; place nothing on top of the is to be treated with respect and honor. Also that God's name should only be used in a witnessing give honor to...or in prayer. The same goes for the name of Jesus and for the Holy Spirit. It seems society in general has been stripped of that ideology. Not only does disrespect seem to be prevailant in secular areas but I am ashamed to say, it is finding it's way into our churches. And even scarier to me is the realization that the respect for God's name and respect for the gifts of the Holy Spirit are even being put into a comedic arena by some and we simply should know better. If we as adults don't sew the seeds of respect where is this younger generation going to learn it? Kids look to adults for the example that they should follow. There are always eyes watching...and learning. To see someone...any anything that makes fun of God, Jesus or any kind of worship...Well that just makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I know that God is a God of mercy...I don't believe He is sitting there waiting to strike us down for every little mistake...nor do I believe He is without humor. He created me so I know He has that! But I have to believe...that if He thought it important enough to make it one of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS...then He meant business when He said "Thou shalt not take the name, of the Lord thy God in vain." Just a thought...Just thinking about the footsteps of my walk...and where they will lead for other feet to follow in...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Empty Promises

I'm wondering if, by the end of my stint as a mom of teenagers, I will have any hair left on my head? It seems as if every new day introduces, along with its joys, it's share of disappointments too. And so I began to I, as a one of God's children leave Him with the same feeling? Does He ever wonder..."By the time I get her where I want her...Will we be on the other side of eternity?" How many times lately have one of my children used something I want to see them do, as a bargaining chip, for something they want to get out of me? Something like, "But Mom, I will clean the whole basement tomorrow night...If you will just say yes and let me go to my friend's house to spend the night." And when tomorrow night rolls around...the boy, who was so full of promises the night before, walks in the door and collapses on the couch...exhausted from cavorting around with his buddy all over town...and promptly...falls asleep. I'm left holding a handful of empty promises. I know how disappointed I feel when I realize that I gave and got nothing in return. So I outsmart the child and begin to require more of him BEFORE I give the reward...Then, I began to think...How many times have I promised God that I would do better? Or begged Him for an answer to prayer and followed that with "God I will do anything!" And then He answers and over time I forget the promises I made? How many times have I told Him I would prioritize things and put His desires for me above those I have for myself? And how many times, I realize that I am still putting Him on the backburner...and leaving Him standing there with a handful of broken promises...from me? I can only imagine the hurt that I feel, must be minimal compared to the hurt He feels...To even compare a dirty room...or unfinished school work to the magnitude of what God did for me is pretty much incomparable ...God's bargaining chip was so much more...The life of His only Son...Rejected...Ridiculed...and I know the pain He must feel from my disappointments must be magnified to incomprehensible proportions. And yet, His mercies are new every morning. I stumble; He picks me up. I fail Him; He holds me fast...and once again, I will try to remember...not to leave my Father holding a handful of empty promises.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving...Christmas...There will be a constant stream of "Hey mom...can you make us some cookies? Hey mom...can you make some brownies for the movie? Hey mom...Hey mom...Hey mom!!" It seems that my kid's heads dream of sweets and the holidays aren't the holidays unless the house smells constantly like a HOME...The treats, the hot chocolate and the Christmas tree lights mixed together with board games and movies at night...will hold them over until Christmas morning. So here's the thing...My mom passed something on to me last week; my grandmother's stand mixer. Truthfully, I can say...If side by side...I had the choice of the newer KitchenAid or my Grandmother Carter's mixer...I would choose the latter. I can't really explain the feeling it gave me to turn that machine on and use it for the first time. That mixer goes back all the way into my childhood...maybe even before I was a gleam in my daddy's eye... And wouldn't you know? It still looks brand new. In my mind I could almost picture the many times she must have stood in her kitchen and used that mixer for the things her family loved...or used it to make something to take alongside her pastor/husband to a church member in need or who had lost a loved one. I know that she spread a lot of love around using that little machine. This may seem silly to some...but to mom passing that mixer on to me...meant a whole lot. I guess I could sum it up by saying that I can only hope...that like the passing of that mixer down thru the family line...that the heritage and the love that was passed from Grandmother Carter to her children, and from my mom to her children...will continue to be passed from this mom to my children. I look at the two women before me...My Grandmother and my Mom...and I just hope that one day...I will have given to my children what was given to me...Love, Heritage, Faith...How a mixer could invoke feelings so strong...I can't explain...Maybe it was because of the amount of love that has passed through this family, from generation to generation. For that I am thankful...I just hope as time prods along and I continue to grow up (yeah that may never happen)...that I will one day be able to measure up...alongside those two ladies...My Grandmother and my Mom...