Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Out of the mouth of Caleb

We haven't been a "Harry Potter" family. I'm not sure why really...except that it had a bunch of controversey about it when it first came out and, since our kids weren't at an age to want to read it, we just never really paid all that much attention to it. So, about 8 months ago, Drew (our 10 year old) asked if he could read them. Being that there was magic involved, I told him that I would read them first and if I thought that they were appropriate then he could read them. He has now read 2 of them and I have read all but the last one.
Fast forward to a couple of nights ago. We were having "family night". This is a very uncomforatble time where all 6 of us pile onto our king sized bed and watch a movie. I'm not exactly sure how family night ended up being a dog pile on our bed, but once everyone gets a spot, the arguing about whose foot is in whose nose stops and the movie begins, it's a great time. So a few nights ago, we were watching "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". In this book/movie there is a mirror that Harry finds and when he looks in it he sees his parents. His friend, Ron, sees himself as a great success. Harry is an orphan and keeps going back to the mirror night after night to see his parents and finally one night the headmaster, Dumbledore, finds him there and tells him that the mirror shows the viewer the deepest desires of his heart. He says, "The truly content man would look in the mirror and see only himself". And up pipes Caleb, " I know what I would see in the mirror". My mommy instinct knows that Caleb can be sarcastic and is EXTREMELY funny so I am prepared for something along those lines and he says, "I'd see Jesus".
Outside of the fact that it made me cry, it also made me think really hard about what I would see and I'm not sure that it WOULD be Jesus. I mean, I would WANT it to be, but WOULD it be? What IS the deepest desire of my heart? I'm not sure and a big part of me wouldn't even want to look into that mirror. I'm not sure that I want to know what that mirror would see. But hearing that statement coming from an 8 year old so perfectly, so naturally, so instantly made me desire to have that desire. I want to desire Him above everything else, but things get in the way. The day to day business of living gets in the way. My selfishness gets in the way. My humaness gets in the way. And yet Caleb answered the question of what his heart's deepest desire was in an instant.
I want the nonsense of living to be eclipsed by my desire for Him. I want to be selfish of my time with Him. I want to be like Caleb.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

If I only had a brain

I could while away the hours,
Conferrin' with the flowers,
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.
I'd unravel every riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts you'll be thinkin'
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain.

If I only had a brain. OK...I have to give credit to the start of this devotion to Tara Hilderbrandt. She posted a portion of this song on Facebook and it didn't seem quite right to me so I ended up singing it in my head for 20 minutes until I got enough of the song to google it and figure out the right words.

But the reason that it hit a chord with me was that as a kid I remember watching "The Wizard of Oz" and I really loved the movie (EXCEPT for the flying monkies...can I get an AMEN?) but I always, ALWAYS felt let down at the end. I always felt that it was just too terrible of the Great and Mighty Oz to turn out to be a human. I expected him to BE the Great and Mighty Oz.

But I can say that I am guilty of this in my own life too. I see something or someone that I think is amazing and suddenly I think THAT is the person or thing that is going to fix whatever it is that I think I'm lacking. It's prevalent in our society, too. If you don't think so look at late night TV. It's full of stuff that is designed to fix anything you might think is wrong with you. Neck exercisers to tone your neck, Derma Pro to get rid of wrinkles, Bump Its to make your hair stand up, Slap and chop to make you better in the kitchen, make up, exercise equipment, diet programs, cleaning tools, gadgets, stuff to whiten your teeth and stuff to tan your skin, stuff to make your laundry cleaner and stuff to grow your yard, stuff to make it easy to be warm and keep your hands free and stuff to keep your car cool, people to tell you how to live your life and people to tell you what to do with your money. It goes on and on and on because we are ALL looking for something.
None of us feels "good enough" in our physical body...our earthly body. See, God planned for there to be a hole in us. He created this hole in us and He made it God shaped...Jesus shaped. Because the only thing...the only Person Who can fill it is Jesus. Filling it up with all that other stuff works for about a minute until it falls right though that hole becaues it doesn't fit. We are all looking to the Great and Mighty Oz and he will always be human. He will always disappoint. But see, Glenda comes and tells Dorothy that she had the ability to go home all the time. It was inside her. If you have Jesus inside you, you have the plug for that hole. It's there inside you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Going Home

I saw that "Jaws" was on TV today. That movie always hits a chord with me. The summer of 1975 I was only 8. "Jaws" was rated R, but left to the somewhat questionable discretion of my Uncle Tom (this was the man who called us in to dinner by shooting us with a bb gun out the back door of the house) "Jaws" became a perfectly OK movie for me, my cousin Mitch (8), his son Brent (also 8) and his daughter Brenda (about 6). Now this was in Montana so sharks are about as real to them as a Jackalope, but I lived in FL and I knew that sharks were REAL. So the natural conclusion would be that after the movie I would be terrified of the beach...scared of the sharks there. WRONG! I had nightmares about being inside that shark cage without any air and dying. OK...a little weird, but that's what scared me. Something that wasn't even a part of the movie. I mean no one got trapped in that thing without air but that was my fear.
Skip ahead to the next summer. Every summer I spent some time at my grandparents' home in Port Charlotte. I was very lucky...I had both grandparents on my mom's side and also both Great-grandmothers. I had a VERY close relationship with Gram E (read grammy) my mom's mom's mom. She lived to be 103 and a half (she told me that under 10 and over 100 you get to count your halves so I always make sure to add that half...LOL!) and she was a wonderful, amazing, funny, caring woman of God and, eventhough neither of my grandparents were beilevers, Gram E always took me to church with her when I was visiting. So one day, on the way home from church, I told her about my dream and how scared I was about dying. I remember it as if it were yesterday. She never skipped a beat.
This is what she she said:
"You like coming to visit us in the summer, don't you"?
"You stay for a couple of weeks or a month and then at the end of summer you go home, right?"
"When your mom comes to get you, are you afraid to leave"?
"Of course not. You're going home. Eventhough you miss us and we miss you, you are not scared when it's time to go home. Do you know why"?
"Because I live there".
"Yes. This is not your home. This is a vacation. It's fun, but it's not your home. It's the same thing when you die. If you are God's child then you don't live here. You're just visiting this life. Your real home is with the Lord. When He comes to get you it's not scary...maybe a little sad, but not scary. He's just taking you home like your mom takes you home after your time with us here every summer".

WOW! What a succinct and visual word picture for a 9 year old that was scared to die in a shark cage. I'd like to say that I never had that nightmare again. I did, but not for years and even then it was actually a really good nightmare because it always reminded me of what she had told me. Now whenever I hear that music...dum dum, dum dum, dumdumdumdumdumdum I can't help but think of her and how she helped ease my fears and how, later, when I accepted the Lord as my Savior, she was the first person that I wanted to tell. When I think about it now I just want to tell her that I can't wait to see her again...but I'll wait until the end of summer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The One Where They're Trapped

Robbie and I found a new show. I love finding new shows that we both like. We watch TV a lot. I know it's probably not good, but I read and he doesn't so we can't share books, but we have what I consider cross-over TV interests. My TV of preference is Nancy Grace and Issuses with Jane Valez-Mitchell and his is The Slug Who Ate Manhattan and Shark-o-gator or some such stuff. But in the middle we enjoy the CSI's, Criminal Minds, Eureka (obscure but VERY funny), Bones, Fringe, Heros and 24. Now we have a new cross-over...Warehouse 13. It's a great premise of an FBI undercover kind of operation where these agents are the caretakers of this warehouse full of "artifacts". These consist of Lewis Carroll's looking glass, Ameila Erhart's plane, inventions by Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison and more that were too far beyond their time to be released. Cool premise.

Anyway, the episode today was about 3 of the main characters getting stuck in a house inside the warehouse. They kept trying to escape but everytime they went out one door they just came back in another. Or they would go out through a hole in the roof and come back in through the fireplace. Not scary at all...pretty funny watching the guy try to take the house by surprise and jump out a window just to come flying back in another one. But it got me thinking...

I think that I live my life like that sometimes. I think that I have something licked and POOF! I come down through the fireplace. I tend to get stuck in stuff. Mostly I get stuck in what I think people expect from me, but also I get stuck in what I expect from myself and what I think that God expects from me. It can be a really hard landing. Especially when I start to think that I'm doing a good job. I'm on top of stuff. I've returned every phone call, attended to my kids' every need, the house is clean (well mostly), my van isn't a disaster and POOF! everything falls apart. I have 20 unanswered phone calls, the kids are beating on each other, the house is a landfill and things are falling out of my van when the kids try to get in it from school. It seems like it happens in the blink of an eye. Then I seem to take a running dive at my life. Take it by surprise. If I just speed up, get organized, work harder, be nicer... I can't. No matter how many times I try to climb out the hole in the roof I still come back down the fireplace.
So am I saying that it is hopeless? That no matter how hard you try that you can never be good enough? That we are on this endless treadmill? NO, NO, NO! What I AM saying is that without the Source I can try and try and try and I'll never get out of whatever I am stuck in. I can't make anything happen. I am simply not able. But I know the One Who IS able. I know the One Who holds the key. And it should be just that simple. But it's not. I don't like to turn over control. Not that I'm IN control...I just don't like to think that I'm not.
So how do I turn over control? There are tons of word pictures that I could give. I'm pretty good at that. But the reality is that word pictures are great for describing emotions and feelings but not concrete actions. Concrete actions need concrete words. So here are the words that I use...
Lord, I don't want to give up control so please help me WANT to. Help me WANT to make the right choices and help me WANT to give everything up to You.
See, I could just pray for Him to take control. I could and He would...until I yanked it back. Asking Him to take control doesn't get to my heart that doesn't WANT to give Him control. So instead I pray that He will help me WANT to give Him control because He will. He has and will change my heart so that I WANT it. I need to WANT to WANT it. It's the same with anything that we do. You can do it because it's the right thing to do or because you WANT to do it.
So the next time that you find yourself trying to beat your way of of something only to find yourself right back where you started, stop and pray. Ask Him to help you WANT to give Him control over the situation.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Grab him

Laryn said to me yesterday, "Why doesn't Uncle David believe in Jesus?" Hmmm...kind of a hard one to answer. We have had this conversation before. David is my best friend and the kids call him uncle. Laryn can't grasp someone not believing in Jesus. She can't grasp how anyone could be anything but madly in love with Jesus so our conversations on the subject of Uncle David never come to a conclusion that she can understand. She loves Jesus. She loves Uncle David. Jesus loves her. Uncle David loves her. Jesus loves Uncle David. Uncle David and the Jesus part are the only hold out. In her thinking...WHAT'S THE HOLD UP HERE?
I love that she is so concerned. It really shows her tender heart, however it is very hard to explain to a 5 year old that someone thinks that he is too smart to believe in Jesus. Yeah...her response is, "Mom! That's so stupid! I don't get it." Well, kid I don't get it either. Well, not totally, but I have had my moments where I have felt led to give my testimony and didn't because I thought, "How stupid would that person think I am if I just stood here and told them how God got face to face with me through my oldest daughter?" See somewhere we have accepted the world's view that smart people don't talk about, need, want God. They are smart enough to handle it ALL ON THEIR OWN. I thought that I wanted to be an in control, I can do it, never fear super mom is here kind of a person. I still get tangled up in that a lot. But I also know that #1 that ain't ME, #2 I'm not happy when I'm not ME, #3 I'm not happy when I'm trying to do God's job and not looking at the job He gave me. It's when I give it back to Him and say, "I can't do it. I'm not smart enough or strong enough or brave enough, or even just organized enough." That's when I'm suddenly Einstein on speed with a sword and shield. My library books might even make it back to the library.
I'm just saying that in the upside down world of this amazing relationship with Christ, we often get tangled up in thinking the way that the world thinks. Even the smartest person in the world won't make it to heaven with his brain...unless that brain engages his heart to fall in love with the Creator of the Universe. But, you know what? I have a 5 year old with only Pre-K education under her belt that knows more than Uncle David about love and about sharing. She also understands how to assault the throne of her Father (well both of them really, but I'm talking heavenly here) for the soul of an uncle that she dearly loves. This child prays for him all the time. She challenges God to show Uncle David how much He loves him and "grab" him. I thinks it's really cute that she uses the term "grab" because what she is referring to is when we play she will run away and say that she doesn't want to hug and kiss us. So we chase her and at that moment that she looks over her shoulder she starts to laugh and we "grab" her and hug her and kiss her and laugh with her. She wants God to "grab" Uncle David. So do I, do I.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Seed

I'm not really going to write a devotion today. I am going to copy and paste an email that I got on Face Book a couple of days ago. I'm not doing this to toot my own horn. It just made me cry and it brought home to me just how important it is to constantly plant the seed even when you don't see any reason to.

Tracy says, "You may not remember me (Tracy Matthews) or probably do remember me as the girl who annoyed you from the back of the bus to high school! Well, I am very sorry for that. Wasn't always the nicest person back then! I remember you though as the girl when we first moved here that befriended me and my sister and invited us over and intoduced us to your friends unconditionally. I soon went on my way (the oppisite way) but I always remebered that you were a Christian and never stopped letting me know about Jesus. I even remember a photo of you guys at the beach with His face in the clouds. You showed it to me even though I was not interested. So along the way in my life I was born again in 2000. There are a handful of people that I would say planted that seed and you are one of them. As you know He does for anyone who receives Him, Jesus changed my life! So even if you dont except my friend invitation, I am just thrilled to be able to tell you that, I still talk about you in my testimony and try to live each day knowing what we do and say reflect our relationship with Christ and it does matter, and sometimes we never know if the seed hit fertile ground. Well yours did!Thank God and you for that! Lovely family you have!

SO SOW!!! I was just a high school student and this was back in 1982 or so. A VERY long time to wait to hear about a seed producing fruit, but OH SO worth it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm a Catholic

I have absolutely NO memory of a time that I wasn't in church. There may have been a time. My parents came from very different religious backgrounds and moved quite a bit with my dad being in the Air Force. That would have caused some issues with coming together on a church, so I guess that I probably had a time in my very early life that I wasn't in church, but I don't remember it. My kids will be the same way. In fact they have had to have it explained to them that not everyone believes in Jesus. They are appalled and can't quite get that, but that is what happens when kids are immersed in a church family from birth.
My own experience was similar to many of yours. Because I was always in church and learned and believed and felt that I had "prayed the prayer" in church, in Sunday School, at revivals, etc. that I was good to go. I know that when I finally actually took the walk to the altar it wasn't a thunder clap or an amazing transformation because it was more like a baptism. I was simply going forward to make it a commitment in front of everyone else. It wasn't a sonic boom. It was more of a marriage. A courtship since I was old enough to learn about Him and a marriage when I was old enough to accept that gift.
Fast forward 25+ years. Two boys move in next door to us. Neither have ever really been to church. My boys invite them and they go. They enjoy it. My kids invite them to Kid's Quest and they go. The older child, Tyler, got in the car on the first day and was bouncing all around the car. I asked him how it was and he said, "It was GREAT! I thought that we were going to just sing and play games and stuff but we did SO much more! And guess what???!!! I became a Catholic!!!!"
Me:"You mean a Christian?"
Him:"Yeah, I did that thing to get Jesus!"
Hmmmm...sonic boom??? I'd say so. He knew nothing, nothing....NOTHing (OK, my private Hogan's Heroes thing) about being "saved", "born again", or any of the other catch phrases that we use. All he knew was that he "did that THING to get Jesus". A 12 year old boy who is now on fire for God...not that he even would understand what that means...but I watched him worship and he's caught on fire. Sometimes I'm sad that I didn't have a sonic boom. But I was put before the King as a baby and He chased me and I knew His face because I was introduced to Him by my parents. So I know the feeling of never being unchased...of always knowing that my Lord was pursuing me. But Tyler has the knowledge all at once that his Lord has been seeking him all of his life. I don't know which one is sweeter...knowing and being in relationship all your life or sonic boom where you just realize that you are so amazing in His eyes that He pursued you even when you didn't even know that He existed.
God is so amazing. Sonic Boom or quiet, loving relationship or anything in between...He knows what reaches our hearts in every area of our lives. We just have to be pliant enough to look at how God is reaching out to us.
Homework...How was your relationship developed with the Lord? Was it a rush where your heart was overtaken? Was it quiet love that wrapped you up and didn't let go? Write your love story with the Lord. How did He woo you? How did you respond? If you want to share you can send them to this email and I'll post them if you want or just read them for myself if you want.
God Bless you all and keep moving toward Him!