Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Heart You!

What shape is your face?  When I was a teen it was very important to know what shape your face was.  Or so the magazines said.  
Was your face oval?  
Was your face round?  
Was your face square?  
Was your face rectangle?  and the best one.. 
Was your face heart-shaped?  

I pondered this for hours.  I studied my face in the mirror, pondering square?  round?  rectangle?  I couldn't tell.  But I knew what I wanted.  


That's what I wanted.  It sounded so sweet, so romantic.  I would be loved by all!  I would fit in!  I would be liked!  If only.  If only.  I would be beautiful if my face was declared heart-shaped!  I sort of believed like that.  Never considering that my face was the shape it already was.  Declaring it any shape didn't change anything.  I wanted perfection.  I knew there was one shape that was THE best shape.   I thought it was the heart-shape.  I didn't know a heart-shaped face has a pointed chin.  Not perfect.  I didn't know that all shapes had good things and bad things.  And that all were beautiful.  

If I could go back and talk to that young Donna I would get her started on memorizing Psalms 139.  Especially verses 13 and 14. 

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

My soul didn't know anything than.  I didn't know I was beautiful.  I didn't know I was loved so much by my Father God.  I didn't know that we are all beautiful to God.   I didn't know that real beauty is from the inside out and that God's love flowing out of us brings a glow.

Do you know you are beautiful?  Do ugly words jump up to argue with that as you read it?  God loves you and as you let that soak in and you begin to comprehend that, you can begin to know who you are in Him.  And when you know who you are in Him  the beauty that is in you can start to shine out.  Even if your face isn't  heart shaped.   

I Saw a Coyote, Yesterday

I saw a coyote, yesterday.  In town.  Yes, in town.  I was on my way to take back the little itty bitty rental car.  I had just went up the last little hill and was on Willow just in town.  I noticed everyone was slowing down.  The cars in front of me and the cars coming at me were going slowly, and ahead I could see people pulled over and standing outside their cars.  I thought "there's been a wreck".   But I noticed a couple of dogs on my right.  One was trying to "talk" to the other but the other one was growling at him.  Then I did a double take.  What a scroungy looking dog.  He looked like a stray.  What messy hair. Ugly! All this passed through my thoughts in mere seconds.  All of a sudden it dawned on me.  A coyote!  In town!  Wow!  I took a second look.  I slowed down and looked back as I passed.  How strange, right in town.  Poor thing looked so out of it's element.  It looked like it wanted to be anywhere but there in the proverbial spotlight.  People staring.

Isn't that just like life?  When you make a mistake and find yourself in the wrong place or find yourself doing something dumb, everyone is looking.  Or so we think.  We try so hard to be strong and be right.  We try to not care what others think.  But when we do dumb things or make mistakes, we feel the criticism.

I propose the loudest voice we hear is our own.  We beat ourselves up long after God has forgiven us of things.  We have asked for his forgiveness.  He has given it to us.  He has blotted out our transgressions.  Yet we remember them, over and over.  No wonder we feel wounded and ugly and dumb or whatever ugly word you apply to your soul.  Inside we look like that poor coyote.  Scroungy, lost, like a stray.  We are none of those if we have accepted the savior.  But we believe we are.

Last week I was in a home where two Scottie dogs lived.  They were beautiful.  Well groomed.  Scottie haircuts.  Shiny. Happy.  Loved.  When you compare the picture of them with the picture of the wild coyote.  You have a picture of an animal unloved and two animals loved.   The coyote didn't belong.  the Scotties belonged.  The coyote was lost.  The Scotties had a home.
If you have accepted the Lord, you are loved.  You belong.  You are clean through Him.  You have someone to turn to, someone who loves you so much.  I have found as I press into the Lord and I think on his love.  I no longer feel like the coyote but like the Scotties.  Loved. Joyful, Shiny. On my way to my heavenly home. As I press in and talk to him I am able to forget too and forgive myself and be kind to myself.   I wish that for everyone.

I saw a coyote, yesterday......

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh the Places I have Seen

I went to a ladies night at church the other night.  They were playing a game to get to know more about each other and I won a journal.  Which if you know me is normal.  I'm very blessed I win things all the time.  My friend Sheri is amazed by it.  I always tell people the secret is to actually enter contests and give aways and such.  If you don't enter you can't win.  Also you have to start believing you could win.  Someone has to win.  Why not you?  I'll write another time about all the fun things we have won.  

Anyway, I digress.  I was telling about the other night.  I won but I was blushing  because I won for living in the most cities.  We have moved so often that it is kind of embarrassing.  A lot of people still live in the same town or city they were born in.  They look at you weirdly if you tell them you have moved a lot.    

On the fun side.  I have lived in a high rise, a few duplexes, an  apartment complex in the beauty of Tennessee, an apartment above a gym (the wall of living room was the other side of the basketball hoop, a house with 4 bedrooms when I had one baby daughter,  an apartment  with 2 bedrooms with 3 daughters, behind a house built to have a store in the front, a flat-upstairs and than downstairs, 3 trailers before they were called mobile homes, other apartment complexes in Michigan, range style houses, a house in the city with a rose arbor, a house in the suburbs etc.  It's been quite the adventure.  Since I like to write I have a wealth of places to draw from.   I have lived in North Dakota, Tennessee, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.  I've lived in cities like Hamtramck, MI.  Which is the polish part of Detroit.   Grand Rapids, Michigan, which has lots of book publishers with lots of sales.  And we love books.    The suburbs of Detroit, which each had it's own personality.  Minot ND., where the line: Why not?  Minot? Freezin is the Reason. Could be heard.   So very, very cold there  Indianapolis or Indy as those who live there say it.   Just 5 minutes from the then Brand new state of the art zoo.    Kokomo, IN which I like the sound of 
K O K O M O.  It rolls off the tongue.  Walton, IN which was like the tiniest place ever.  In the country, in the city, in the metro cities,  in a tiny tiny town, in college towns, in suburbs.   I like to say variety is the spice of life.  But I've had enough variety and I have now lived in the country on the land my family has owned since the 50's.  I'm full circle back where I belong and I've lived here since my birthday in June of '93.  I never want to move again unless I win the HGTV dream house.  Because remember I'm very blessed and win stuff all the time.  It may happen!  I just have to believe it's possible. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


First I must explain.  I live in the country on acres of land.  When you live in the country with lots of acres, people think you have room for animals. They think you want more animals.  So not true!  People drop their unwanted animals here.  I hope they all get a rash the doctor can't cure.  Well no...well maybe.  I have found homes for untold numbers of cats and dogs.  I've had around 12 of them fixed and because of them getting hit by cars we have buried a lot of them in the over 18 years we have lived here.

I know you are saying weird subject but hang in there.  I said all this to tell about the cats.  When a cat gets hit by a car and Paul or I have to bury it. (Our than son in law must get credit for burying more than his share also.)  Once one has died, we find a place and start digging.  As you dig the hole all the other cats come around the hole and watch. Some sit close by, some stand or sit a little further back and some stand even further back.   Paul said he talks to them as he digs and warns them about the dangers of going in the road.  They look at him and listen like they understand.  I never thought to do that.  But anyway,  they all gather and stay with you till you stomp down the last bit of dirt on the grave.

I'm not a "Martha" person by nature.  So I may or may not bring you food when you lose a loved one.  Depends what is going on with me.  But I will stand with you.  I may be able to come to the funeral home I may be able to come to the funeral.  It all depends.   If I can, I will, if I can't I won't.  But I can promise you what I know I will do.  I will stand with you like the cats.  I will wake up in the middle of the night and pray for you.  I will pray for you as I go through my day.  I will remind the Lord that He said He won't let you have more than you can handle.  I will pray that He will comfort you and strengthen you.  I will pray that you can keep your mind on Him so He can keep you in perfect peace. I will ask the Lord to carry you.  If your child dies I will pray for you for years.  I will respect your loss.  I will acknowledge your pain. Like my cats do, I will stand with you even if you don't know I'm praying.
I think we change things by standing with our friends and loved ones using the gifts that we possess.  Some bring the food.  Some help clean the house or make arrangements. Some visit at the hospital or while hospice is there. Some collect money if needed to help with the cost.  Some send flowers or cards.  Some know just what words to say to comfort.  Some bring hugs or hold hands or listen.  Some pray.

Some stand close by.
Others a little further back.
And still others stand far away.

But we all stand with the bereaved in the way we can.  Using the gifts God has given us.  And if we all do that than the person is taken care of and helped to get through the dark time of loss.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Make me Content

Here it is a Saturday morning in January. My friends in the north tell on Facebook of the snow and show blowing and shoveling. I gaze out my window at the Tennessee landscape. No snow. The drive looks damp. But no snow. That's okay with me. I'm good without it for a while. It's winter. I'm sure we will have some but for today. I'm good.

It makes me think of that verse the Apostle Paul wrote. ...I have learned in whatever state I am in, to be content. Phil 4:11... the amplified version puts it like this: for I have learned how to be [f] content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.

I am content without snow. But am I content while waiting for prayers to be answered? Am I undisturbed as I wait for healing to take place, for relationships to be restored? Am I disquieted as life plays out in ways I don't understand or like? Am I able to rest in God? Am I able to trust Him to work it all out for good?

I often think of Corrie Ten Boon. A prisoner of war in a concentration camp. She was a believer. She loved God. She railed against her circumstance. She was disquieted at first. Her sister Betsy had grace and carried herself with a quiet peace. I remember reading how she thanked God in everything. Much to Corrie's dismay Betsy told her. "we must thank God for the lice our room is infested with. Because it keeps the guards out so we can freely share the gospel with the other prisoners. We can sing without being told to stop." (My paraphrase) Corrie came to understand and embrace the peace Betsy possessed. When Betsy died. God kept Corrie and she lived to tell us about courage in a fiery trial and love that reaches to the lowest despair a person can imagine.

I often think of Corrie and Betsy and think, "Could I have been content there? I don't know. Can I be content now?"

Whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whatever trial we are going through. Whatever season of life we are in. Lord please help us to be peaceful, quiet and content in you. Trusting you to bring your good will to our lives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just a Closer Walk

Just a Closer Walk with Thee, Grant it Jesus is my Plea. Daily walking close to thee. Let it be, Dear Lord is my plea.....
Did you ever sing this song? Years ago we would sing this in church. And I would long for a closer walk with the Lord. I would sing it with sincerity. My heart longed to be closer, have a more intimate relationship with my savior. I didn't know it would be years before I learned how to come into His presense. And I never had a clue how sweet, how precious, how healing it would be. Awe if I had known. If I only had had an inkling of what a closer walk would be like.
Let me go back to spring of 2010. I shared this in another post but it is worth repeating. We had a man come preach at our church. Bob Rodgers. He challenged us to pray an hour a day. Now I don't mean to be boastful just sharing a wonderful thing that has happened to me. But a lot of us took him up on the challenge and I started an adventure my soul had been longing for since I was a mere girl. We had committed to pray for an hour a day for a month. I have been doing it ever since. Only missed a day here and there. But it has been so sweet spending time with my savior, with Father God. I thought I would pray and God would change so many people, family, friends, co-workers, situations, the world.
Side note here: I had a magnet in my first car I owned at 17, James Cagney was my car's name. He was a little black volkswagon with a red interior. The magnet that stayed on the dash said "Prayer Changes Things" It has been a deep and long held belief of mine.)
Okay back to what I was saying. I headed into this adventure to change others by prayer. Imagine my surprise when I was the one who changed! And I was the one who realized, I have a lot to work on here! As I prayed and studied and listen to teaching and preaching I learned more of God, more of his great love for me. I learned that he is crazy about us. When we show up to talk with him. He shows up. The one who started everything takes the time to listen to our prayers. He guides us and shows us what he wants for us. He shows us what a beautiful life he has planned for us if we will just follow him. Just walk with him. Just talk with him. he also shows us hidden attitudes. Unforgiveness we are harboring. Sins we didn't realize we were doing and sins we justified. He shows us these so we can deal with them through repenting, through finding scriptures to stand on as we turn a new way. He shows us lies of the enemy that we believe. We receive these lies like they are truth. We have heard the lies for so many years that we accept them. But as I spent more time with the Lord I saw the lies for what they were and I am overcoming them with truth. Truth really does set us free. Jesus is truth so as we daily walk close to Him the lies will be revealed and He will help us replace them with His truth about them. As I learn to walk close to Him I am learning to be more peaceful, I'm learning about his grace. I'm learning about his amazing mercy. It is the most wonderful adventure. God is good! Just make a decision today to press into Jesus to Walk Closer to Him today than you did yesterday. If you mess up and fall down get up, wipe yourself off and press in again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A mother Arose

Judges 5:7 b

Until I, Deborah, arose,
Arose a mother in Israel.

This is the verse the Lord brought to me this morning. It resounded in my heart. A mother of Israel arose. Where are the mothers arising today? Am I rising up? Am I standing up and shouting No to the enemy? Deborah was a warrior. She went into battle. Most of us, though we are sure we can't even achieve it prefer the Proverbs 31 Woman. We can at least be safe at home. Or maybe the Titus 2 woman. Teaching seems so gentile and pleasant.

But here is Deborah. A Warrior! For crying out loud! A Warrior? Me? Lord you must be talking to someone else. No? You are talking to me.

Deborah was a judge, a prophetess, a mother and a leader. Things were going terribly wrong and she talked to Barak asked him, Didn't God tell you to go deploy troops? to fight the battle? She was in essence saying to him. Hey Buddy aren't you supposed to be obeying God and fighting the battle and winning? He answered her and said If you will go with me I will go but if you won't I won't. She pointed out that if she went than the glory would go to a woman. Being a smart man he didn't care. So up she went with him. And long story short: they won the battle. And have you even heard his name? I have but had forgotten it. But anyone that knows much about the Bible has heard Deborah's name. She got the glory. And in their song of victory she sings the verse above. She was a Mother in the land where she lived. A woman in the area she occupied. She had a job... or two. She was a very busy woman. But she saw that there was danger and she pointed out to someone what THEY should be doing. But when he wouldn't do it alone She arose and fought the battle along with the others. And they won.

I don't know about you but I lift my eyes and all around me are battles. Good and evil. Pain, suffering, sorrow assails many. Prodigals, people that are blinded and have never seen the truth of God. Fruitless Christians, struggling and ineffective, defeated. And this message, this statement, this strong song that Deborah sings out UNTIL I, DEBORAH, AROSE, AROSE A MOTHER IN ISRAEL. This calls out to me. There was
trouble and a mother arose. I hear the clear challenge. The ringing question. Will I arise? Will you arise? Will a mother in the body of Christ Arise? Sisters, will we arise and do what the Lord is calling us to do? Will you be a warrior? Will you pray? Will you teach? Will you serve? Will you role model? Will you arise and do whatever the Lord is asking you to do? There is a Keith Green song below are part of the lyrics:

Who you gonna throw in the lake of fire,
Oh God our Lord?
Who you gonna throw when the flames get higher,
Oh God our Lord?
The Devil and the man with the dark desire,
Oh God our Lord.
The Devil and the man with the dark desire,
Oh God our Lord.

Oh God our Lord, Oh God our Lord.
Who you gonna throw in the lake of fire,
Oh God our Lord, Oh God our Lord.

Will my name be there when the books are opened,
Oh God our Lord.
Will my name be there when the books are opened,
Oh God our Lord.

You better know now, don't just be hoping,
Oh God our Lord.
You better know now, don't just be hoping,
Oh God our Lord.
Oh God our Lord, Oh God our Lord.
Will my name be there when the books are opened,
Oh God our Lord, Oh God our Lord.

Who's outside of the Holy City,
Oh God our Lord.
Tell me, who's left out of the Holy City,
Oh God our Lord.
The liar and the thief and the ones half ready,
Oh God our Lord.
The liar and the thief and the ones half ready,
Oh God our Lord.

Oh God our Lord, Oh God our Lord.
Tell me who's left out of the Holy City,
Oh God our Lord, Oh God our Lord.

This song haunts me. Who will be fooled? Who will be half ready? Who won't know God when they die? We have to tell them. We hold the truth in our hands. We know the truth in our hearts. We have to be Women of God, Mighty Warriors. So some day we can say with Deborah: I AROSE, A MOTHER AROSE! Don't be mistaken. We are in a war. In a war for people's souls.