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!

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.

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. 

“And Then I Knew He Was Mine”

The heat and humidity of the Georgia July summer welcomed the fourth daughter into a family of what would eventually consist of eight children.  I followed and imitated a God that was preached in my church and home. Life was life and I never questioned it.  My little heart dreamed a dream of my own life and my own plans that I longed for day by day.

My fairy godmother waved her wand and I was Cinderella at the ball dancing with my prince.  James looked into my eyes and I was loved like I never thought possible for a maid covered in cinders.  But then I heard the clock strike midnight and I ran.  I ran from a God that gave me cancer.  I ran from a God that did not promise health to my miracle baby.  I ran from a God that could take everything from me with the stroke of the clock and no one would ever know who I was.

But in the reality of my sickness, in the reality of my sin, in the reality of my weakness, my God took me by the hand and beckoned me to a world far beyond my wildest dreams.  AND THEN I KNEW HE WAS MINE.  He was my God.  He did not belong to the church.  He does not belong to a debate or a book.  He is not yet to be proved or determined.  He is mine.

This miracle baby lives in my home.  Her heart should not beat and her mind should not wonder and question.  But she is bigger than life.  She is bigger than the laws and rules that govern this world, she is a miracle.  She cries over the death of her pet caterpillars, she memorizes the poetry of Robert Lewis Stevenson, invites friends to church, carries stuffies to school, and loves to learn.  My girl is a writer, her mind is thrilled with creations.  She finds me writing and in the midst of a story.  “I know how it will end,” she smiles.  My eyes wait for the response.  She spreads her hands in dramatization, “AND THEN I KNEW HE WAS MINE.”

My God tugs at Madison’s heart.  “My daughter, oh you just wait and see.  There is a big world I have created for you.  Sing, explore, learn, play, and serve.  But wait, oh you just wait, I am getting a big surprise ready for you.  My baby, my love, I AM YOURS.”

The LORD Accepts My Prayer

LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.

She had given him that very blue shirt for Christmas. Her mind followed that shirt as it was carried to the laundry room, it twisted and turned in the sudsy wash cycle, and she could feel the warm steam from the iron as she carefully pressed each sleeve.  And now she watched that very blue shirt, carrying a suitcase, walking out the door.

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me Lord, for my bones are in agony.  My soul is in deep anguish.  How long, LORD, how long? Turn LORD and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 

When he spoke, things were accomplished. His approval was a million dollar merger, businessmen approached him with the upmost of respect, and the media applauded his success. But he lay in the solitude, just him and his little girl, squeezed together in a hospital bed, his arms wrapped around her sleeping body. His large hands stroked down the sides of her tiny bruised cheeks. Leukemia was a merger he could not close, her health was a foe that paid him no respect, and the helplessness that he felt in his bones was so overwhelming he gasped for relief. 

Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?  I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my head with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all of my foes.

Scratching and digging in the dusty, dry earth, he sprinkled the bits on her small frame, trying to bestow some dignity to her death. He was a frantic dog scratching upon the hard core that would not give way. He had raised his sister from birth, he had loved her as his own child.  They had run from the army together, they had slept wrapped together during the stormy nights, and he had sacrificed his own meager meals to nourish her starving body. Without giving it a thought, the man in uniform had turned and shot her small heart, as if he were swatting a fly. 

Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.  The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.  All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame. 

I drifted from this earth like a baby falling to sleep. Before me spread a city, the streets were gold, a sparkling river ran through the city. Green grass and fruit trees covered the ground. I looked to see my body, my own soul, covered in perfection. I had no fear, no worries, no pain, no tears to be shed. Those I had lost circled me in excitement, glowing with anticipation of life, life to the fullest. My God, the one who made me, made all things right. He gathered me in his arms and I could see that he was everything, my song in the morning, my wealth, my delight, he was the never ending fulfillment of my heart’s desire. He was the answer to my prayer. 

If You Do Not Suffer Today, You Will Tomorrow.

Suffering defines this world.  Suffering is the always there panic that we are enduring suffering or that it is yet to befall us.  No one escapes.  Olympian bodies will grow old, the dripping wealthy can not pay the price of immortality, and hiding in safe places can not barricade suffering.

It is the norm that people die and the world does not blink.  Right now a child dies of starvation, a woman is raped, a man loses his job, and a lion captures its prey.  And upon those words, we each put up the defense of “not me.”  However, a certainty of life is that death awaits us.

Your child dies, her husband leaves her, I have cancer, and the world goes on with its day.  Hide from it, deny it, tell yourself that you are healthy, wealthy, good, and safe, but pain and suffering are a part of your life, or they wait for you.

“The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation…some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.  The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”  says Richard Dawkins.

The Western culture listened to Dawkins and bought in hook, line, and sinker.  We preach it in our schools, purchase materials for the here and now, and live up life because that is all we’ve got.

There is no meaning.  Do what feels good.  There is no right and there is no wrong.  Run from suffering at all costs because it is just your unlucky fate.  Conclude that life is here and now.  The handicap, those doomed to genocide, the poor, and the sick, crawl on top of them and claim your life.  Live for yourself.  There is no meaning.  Die.

But the human spirit cries out, we must press on.  There is good and there is evil.  There is a purpose for humanity.  Why and where does this voice arise from?

It comes from Creation, it comes from our core, it comes from our purpose.  We were made in the image of God.  And God says HOPE.  He says that there is only one other option.  And that is HOPE.  Hope that all the wrongs will be undone.  All of evil and pain and suffering will be crushed and we can live eternity in perfection.

Chose this day who you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.