He Sees Me as Perfect

“Do you have any questions?”  Dr. Paul smiled genuinely at Madison and then turned his question to me.  

After receiving a perfect bill of health at her two year old checkup, I believe he was surprised with my response, “Yes.  I have two questions.”  

He shifted in his seat, sat up a little straighter, and professionally awaited my questions.

“First, Madison sleeps a lot!  She sleeps at least twelve hours a night, sometimes more, and she still takes a three hour nap in the afternoon. Is this normal?”  

He smiled and assured me her sleep schedule was a great thing. 

So, I moved on to my second question, “She eats green beans allll the time.  Literally, she cries for them.  Is this a sign of Anemia or something?”

With my last question, he relaxed a little, smiled and simply commented, “Other moms would hate you.”

I had a two year old that was practically perfect in every way. And my response is, “Thank you Jesus!”  

Ya see, she shouldn’t be here. I have talked often on this blog about my little miracle baby, about my health, and how everything medical says she should have never been. But God does not care what we think, and he had big plans for a little girl that would sleep enough to let her Mommy keep the house clean, would eat her veggies, and would grow up to love every single animal she came across. 

I know she is human, I know she makes mistakes, but when her name is spoken, a word pops into my head, “PERFECT” and then I will continue to brag about her. 

And then I realize something HUGE!  This is how my Heavenly Father thinks about me, “PERFECT!”  Someone says my name and he starts to brag about me!  

Let me be the first to tell you, I have screwed up!  I mess up daily, hey…I mess up hourly!  But, not only does his love cover my multitude of sins, his love paid the price for my multitude of sins!  It was an agonizing, painful price, but he thinks I’m worth it!  

I mess up and I mess up again but my God picks me up, brushes off my scratched knees and encourages me to try again. I’m still working on it, but it’s ok, I’m growing and with my Father by my side, I can do anything. 

You are not Promised

Quiet, a pause in the deserted city.  The tactical team moves in.  Camo, gear, guns, training, this is the moment.  Footsteps are the only sound, turning, checking, on a mission.  Without even happening, it just is.  A man down.

Thousands, millions, billions of cars line the earth.  Driving the rough terrain, jammed in traffic, moving moving.  A daily occurrence that causes no thought.  Driving to work, carpooling to middle school, departing on date night, late to a meeting, speeding to the hospital, just a Sunday drive with nothing else to do.  Of course you did not know.  You never would have left the house.  And then it is all over.  Life is over.

A bustling Tuesday morning.  Coffee is brewing, a quick granola bar for breakfast, make a school lunch, leave the beds unmade.  The morning is rushed.  Grab a diaper bag and grab the baby.  And then that life is over.  A breathless baby, gone in the night, leaving desperation, panic, anger, and a life unlived.

Everyone always thinks it will be easy to go in old age.  Life is lived and the time has surly come.  They had been together through four babies, seven houses, three wars, forgiveness, choosing each other time and time again, and memories of 72 years.  She didn’t expect for him to go.  They had been together this long, surly it would never end.

Billions have come and gone and somehow we still believe that it will never be me.

I am Kinda a Big Deal

July 27, 2002, my heart swelled with joy and happiness as I held the hand of a man I never thought could be mine as he pledged his life, in every circumstance, to me me forever.  James Hendry is a freakin hot, godly man, that does not take lightly his responsibility to care for his wife. ME!  I am his wife!  I hold his hand and strut through town, “Hey. Look at me!  See me holding this man’s hand?  Yeah, you got that right.  He’s mine!”

A cold February morning, a miracle baby was born. My heart swelled with pride and love as I met my baby girl for the first time. She was the most gorgeous creation that I had ever laid my eyes on, and I could not take my eyes away!  Her beautiful baby blue eyes were an answer to prayers. Her teeny tiny finger wrapped around mine was a miracle living and breathing. Caring for her was a life’s dream come true. I have the privilidge of celebrating Mother’s Day, visiting a little cutie in her classroom, making healthy little lunches, planning birthday parties, and caressing the cheeks of a little beauty that is MINE!  What an honor to watch this little miracle grow into the amazing plans that God has for her!  I am Madison’s Mommy!

The King of King’s knows my name!  He thought of and planned for ME before the creation of time!  When I cry, he comforts me.  When I pray, he answers!  He doesn’t just SAY he would do anything for me, he has proven it!  He chose to endure the most pain than any human life has ever endured TO BE WITH ME!  He is God!  He could have thrown down fire and walked away and returned to heaven at any point, but he thought about ME!  If all the earth, and all I am, and all I long to be fades away, the God that rules it all takes my hand and proclaims, “My love, do you trust me?”  YES!  I trust you with my everything!  And now, right now, he is preparing a mansion for me!  It will have a huge swimming pool in the backyard and a massive kitchen stocked with fruits and veggies that never go bad. My floors will be gold.  (Hey, if the streets are, why not my floors?). And you are invited!  Come see me!  I will have parties allll the time!  Hey, I’m kinda big stuff!  I am the daughter of the King, not just a king, THE king!

Summer Promises

The gray has turned green and yellow.  The sun is so hot, I pulled out the sprinkler to water my newly planted flowers. Madison put on her bathing suit and ran over the grass with the water falling down on her. I love summer nature!

Being outside makes our bellies hungry and we slice open a fresh watermelon. Fire up the grill, pop open a drink, and slice up some summer veggies. My girl and I will hold a contest to see who is the fastest at shucking corn and we will have to shoo away Tucker (our doggie) who would like to participate and snatch an ear of corn. I love summer food!

Two more days of school!  Two more days of waking up at 6:15.  I will set the alarm for an hour later, or maybe a little more. I will roll out of bed and grab a throw and a fresh cup of coffee and sit and write. My sleepyhead will join me just a little later and we will sit and cuddle. When we chat a bit and begin to wake up and plan our day, we will make some pancakes. I will add bananas to mine.  She will take her’s plain.  I love summer mornings!

Pretty soon I will write about late nights watching fireworks, summer weddings and my crazy dance moves, the perfection of a fire pit and a backyard full of cousins, and Madison swimming with dolphins!  The dates are set, family awaits our travel, it’s going to be a celebration to write about!  I love summer promises!

Apprentice God

My self-serving, instant gratification, arrogant, self-righteous humanity demands explanations.  What?  When?  Where?  And Why?  If I don’t understand it and put in my vote, ain’t gonna happen.

I have been well taught by the culture that surrounds me and when there is a God that I can not understand, uhhh….not really my thing.

What do I not understand?  I do not understand that babies die.  I do not understand that someone would devote their life to missionary work, pray over a dying father and God allows them to die.  I do not understand that mothers get cancer, I personally do not understand that.  I do not understand that children see their mothers raped.  I do not understand…A LOT!

And then God asks me to accept?  He asks me to trust?  He asks me to follow?  He asks me to worship him?!  I DO NOT LIKE THAT!

And that is the very answer.  I AM NOT GOD.  I have my plans of how I think the world should look.  I have my plans for my life, and trust me, it did not include cancer!  I have my plans for prayer being answered.  I have my plans for babies being rescued.  But God is not here to serve me.  He does not have to get my approval.  He is not my apprentice.  That is a god that I create.  Hard to swallow, but I am never asked to understand.

I can hear the insults now:  Dumb Christians!  That is a fairytale!

And I hear another response:  I only follow what I can understand.

Really?!  Do you get all the government inside scoop?  No?  Then you should live your life in fear.  Are you a specialist of every disease, do you understand all the parts of the body?  How could you ever trust a doctor?  Did you build your own home?  How can you trust it will not fall on your head while you sleep?

Then how can you understand the meaning of the universe?  How can you impart your morals on all around you?

Can you just accept that you do not, and you never will, know and understand everything?

Elisabeth Elliott, that saw the death of her murdered husband, she dedicated her life to missionary work to see her life’s work washed away in a flood and her only translator die at her hands puts it this way, “Those hands, that keep a million worlds from spinning into oblivion, were nailed motionless to a cross for us.  Can you trust him?

Self Righteous Arrogance

It was pride that led an angel to turn against the God that HE KNEW formed the Universe, that HE KNEW was all powerful, and that HE KNEW deserved all praise.  Satan got so full of himself that he turned from God and LOOK WHAT IT LED TO!

Perhaps that is why the greatest trick up Satan’s sleeve is pride.  Just look at this world!  We are/I am a bunch of self righteous pride.  Oh, Don’t you dare say that ABOUT ME!  Oh, Don’t you dare try to correct me!  Oh no you did not just cut ME off in traffic!  You did not just say that to ME, do you know who I am?!  Why do you expect ME to help?  We/I are so full of ourselves!

Father, take me down a notch!  Ouch!  That prayer hurts!  And I don’t like to hurt!  BUT I WOULD RATHER HELP!  I want to stop focusing on ME!  Lord, open my eyes to other’s around me!

“They will know we are Christians by our love.”  DOES ANYONE KNOW I AM A CHRISTIAN?!

Lord, bring others in need to me and give me no other option but to help them!  Let’s start a revolution!  Let the world say, “Who are these people?!”  Make it obvious that we are different!  We think of other people before ourselves, we wait patiently, speak kindly, are not quick to anger, help those in need, WE ARE CHRISTIANS.

The Patience of Jesus

It is rarely said of me that I am patient.  When I decide I want something, I want it now!

When I look at pop culture, I see I am in good company.  Everyone longs to be thin and fit and yet the number one health problem in America is obesity.  Why?  Because thin and fit takes time and we choose instant gratification of fast food and TV.  We spend money instead of save, yell at our children for petty offenses, curse traffic, check our phones a dozen times in the grocery line, and blow our top on complete strangers.

When 1 Corinthians 13 states that “love is patient,” I bow my head in humility.

When Jesus asks me to be patient, does he even know what he is talking about?!  Does he know how hard that is?!

Oh, he does.  Jesus lived his life knowing the cross was coming.  He was a man of sorrows that suffered every day of his life and HE IS GOD!  He could have, rightfully, thrown in the towel at any point and gone home to heaven.  He stood in the desert just before the point of starvation (that is waaay past hangry) and was patient even with Satan while he was tempted.  He could have blown him to smithereens with just a thought and yet he was patient enough to stand before him and endure the arrogance of Satan himself, patiently awaiting a victory that isn’t really what I would have had in mind – the cross.  Jesus sat at the Passover meal with his disciples explaining to them that he was about to die a torturous death and they quarreled over who would be the greatest among them in the kingdom of heaven.

Yes!  I guess when the Bible commands me to be patient, Jesus knows what that means.  God, I need you!  I love.  I want to love better.  Please give me patient love that comes only from you!

Why do I have Cancer?

There was no fault to be found with Jesus.  He spent his days healing the blind and the sick, he forgave the sins of outcasts of society, welcomed little children, and raised the dead.  Jesus had no home to call his own, he was rejected by his own brothers and his hometown.  Jesus was a man of sorrows.

His death was the great accomplishment of Satan himself.  He filled Judas as he betrayed him to the chief priests and the officers of the temple.  Satan and his legions shrieked with delight.  Jesus was dead!  They knew he was dead!  Their plan had been accomplished!  Satan had defeated Jesus.

But even Satan does not know the future.  And Jesus is alive!  He defeated death and arose from the grave.  How this devastated Satan!  Jesus had won the victory and he knew it!  It was not what he expected!  Jesus did not come to earth as a king and defeat the Romans, he came as a weak baby to a weak family.  He defeated Satan through SUFFERING!

The suffering of Jesus changed our futures forever!  Because of the suffering of Jesus, we can put our trust in him.  He is a God that knows the suffering of mankind.  His death gave us eternal life in perfection.

It is so hard to suffer.  It is so hard to see that anything good could come out of our pain!  But, oh, when Jesus hung on the cross and the demons were claiming the victory, I can think of nothing more hopeless!  But through his suffering, he rescued the souls of man!

In this life, I will have suffering.  It is guaranteed.  But I am not afraid.  I do not ask why do I suffer?  I ask Jesus, why did you suffer FOR ME?

My God! My God! Why Did You Leave Me?!

I see a man upon a cross, my stomach churns in agony.  Who is this man?  What did he do?  Why would God allow him to endure this pain?

I ask among the crowd, I see hate in their faces.  Why do these people hate this man so much?  They yell insults and spit upon his face.  What he did must be awful, he must be a horrible man.

I see a crown of thorns upon his head, I see a sign nailed to the cross.  “King of the Jews.”  I become desperate, my questions turn to pleas.

I see a man upon a cross, he cries out in agony, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)

He had been beaten beyond recognition, nails pierced his hands and feet, he hung fighting for his last torturing breath, and yet all his pain was in the separation.  Why?!  Why would his God forsake him?  What reason could he have?  When at his hour of suffering, why would his God leave him?

And then I knew the answer.  ME!  My God!  Why would you forsake him?  FOR ME!  Why would you let him bear this cross?  FOR ME!  Why would you let this perfect man live the most painful life ever endured?  FOR ME!  Why would you leave him when you have been with him for all of eternity past?  FOR ME!

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?  FOR ME!

Spread the Word

Tonight we march. We whisper from one ear to another. In our churches, we will pray. We gather together and we unite. We call Satan’s bluff. The truth we know can not be unlearned. We are children of the King. We claim our inheritance. We will teach our children. We will read his Word. We are afraid no longer. 

A little spark lights up the dark, it can not be hidden, and we are a fire!  There is no containing us!  We spread like a river, pouring through the land bringing relief and abundance.  

We live our lives with purpose. We suffer without fear. We forgive with no ending, love with abundance, and give graciously. We praise the God of all gods. We are princes and princesses. There is no end to our knowledge, our wealth can not be used up, and our strength is never ending. We are filled!  

We wait no longer. The time has come, the bell rings, and we sing. We sing a song to wake, a song to unite, a song to conquer.  A solo becomes a choir, our whisper turns to a shout. Tonight, we march.