What did their note say?

During all of this time with Andrew suffering I have come to understand the Word so deeply. Recently, I have come across a story that is near and dear to my heart lately, it is the story of Isaac, which played a part in my love for that name… but anyways… here it goes.

Genesis 12:1-7, tells us about God’s call and promise to Abraham. At that time, his name was Abram, and his wife’s name was Sarai. God promised Abram that He would make of him a great nation and that He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. How cool of a promise is that? Seriously, I love that the One who created the Heaven’s and the Earth will bless those who blessed this man and curse those who cursed him.

After hearing the promise, Abram and Sarai, along with Abram’s nephew Lot, pulled up stakes and traveled south until they arrived in Canaan, the promised land. One remarkable thing about God and His promises to Abraham is that He told Abram the same thing several times (See 13:14-15, 15:5), but Abram and Sarai weren’t quite sure how God was going to fulfill His promise. This is exactly where I am right now. I have been hearing the same thing for a while now, but am not sure exactly how He will do what ever He has planned and I am not even sure what His plan is… I tell ya, I have been tempted to pack up and move to Canaan as well, a new location, might mean a new message right?  

You see, these two couldn’t have children (11:30), and it seemed obvious that this problem was a major obstacle in the way of the promise that they would become a great nation. At one point, Abram seems to think he’ll never have any children and that a servant will be his heir (15:2), and then Sarai comes up with the idea that maybe God wants Abram to have children through Sarai’s servant, Hagar (16:1). So, between having severe doubts and trying to solve the problem themselves, Abram and Sarai ended up going through a lot of turmoil as they waited to see God’s promise come into being.

I can relate to these two. Now, I have been blessed with a son, Isaac, but their story is near and dear to me. You see, I have asked for another “sticky note” from my Sweet Jesus and this one, well, it did not have any of the information I wanted. It simply said “WAIT”… yep…

Wait

It comes up everywhere, it seems like I cannot escape this one. I was praying over my man last night, and there it was, posted to my alarm in the morning. I was praying over our situation as I enjoyed a caffeinated beverage this morning, and there is was on stuck to my computer at work. Those 4 little words are following me everywhere. And just like Abraham and Sarai, I don’t want to wait. I for some reason am having a hard time waiting for much longer. After all, it has been almost 3 years… Now, Abraham and Sarai waited for much longer than that, but I don’t think we can make it that long.

When I kept digging into their story, it seemed like God was delaying, and in the mean time, trouble would come their way. A famine came into the land (12:10ff), and they went to Egypt, but because Abram was afraid, he and Sarai agreed to deceive the Egyptians and conceal their marriage, claiming that they were only brother and sister. The same sort of thing happened again later when they deceived another king about their marriage (see chapter 20). Because of this deception, Sarai was taken into the household of other men, first of Paraoh and then of Abimelech. Imagine how you would feel if you were Abram–imagine how you would feel if you were Sarai! They were waiting and yet, nothing, or at least it appeared like nothing.

Finally, however, Sarah (her name and Abraham’s were changed in 17:5 and 15) became pregnant long after she was of child-bearing age, and she gave birth to Isaac. A squabble broke out between Sarah and Hagar, because Hagar thought she was better than Sarah–she had been able to bear a son for Abraham and had named him Ishmael. Sarah got tired of Hagar acting superior and of Ishmael making fun of Isaac, so she demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away (chapter 21). Abraham didn’t feel very good about that–after all Ishmael was his son–but God told him to listen to Sarah. You would think that finally God would be satisfied that they had waited in faith and that He had now fulfilled his promise of giving them an heir.

However, in chater 22, we read about one last test. This one gets me every time. God tells Abraham to take his only true heir, Isaac, to a mountain and to sacrifice him to God. Seriously, after all they had been thru, after all the waiting and tests that came their way, they are suppose to give up the every thing they waited for, for so long?

I admire the man for even walking out of the tent, because I am not sure I would have even gotten that far. It turns out that just as Abraham was ready to plunge the knife into Isaac’s chest on the altar, God stopped him, satisfied that Abraham really believed that God could overcome even the death of Isaac and still fulfill His promise. God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead.

I cling to their story. I cling to Abrahams faith in God and Sarah’s devotion to her man. I admire the faith it must have taken to tie his son to that alter and look into his eyes as he is about to sacrifice his one and only son. I at times, feel like Andrew and I are right there with them. Trying to wait in faith and trust with everything we’ve got that something bigger and better is in store. But the faith at times, starts to run out, conversations with Jesus happen with great passion and frustration at the center. We are tired, we are spent and yet, we are still being tested. At this very moment I know I do not have the strength to tie my son to an alter, I am not sure I would have the strength to do that once this “adventure” was over. I am not even sure I have the strength to continue to very basic and necessary tasks life requires, you know, laundry, dishes, work, etc.

In the New Testament passages, we find out that Abraham is held up as a man who believed God’s promises despite the apparent impossibility of them being fulfilled. He is also shown to be one who put feet to his faith by obeying God when God told him to do something. I want to be that kind of servant. I want to have that faith, I want to have that strength. I want my man to have that as well.

Sarah is held up as a model for women, showing them how to be influential with their husbands. We know, having read Genesis, that Abraham and Sarah were not always confident in their faith and that there were several times when their marriage went through difficult periods. But in the New Testament, we learn that they triumphed.

It’s good to know that God doesn’t demand perfection, because right now, I cannot give Him that. I don’t think I could ever give Him that. But He does want us to hold tight to our faith and to the ones we love as we travel the path He has prepared for us.

It is because of their story that I am okay with the sleepless nights, the reoccurring night mares, the repeating of scripture over and over again just because it is truth and that is all we cling to. I am okay with where we are, because they made it. God delivered them, He fulfilled His promises and those promises I will cling to. I guess I just want a different sticky note… may one that will give me more information, like a time line or a deadline of some sort. Anyone else, just want a little stick note every now and then?

Sweet Jesus, I praise you for the night of restful sleep for Andrew. I praise you for a night free from nightmares and one of rest. Thank you for that simple but much needed gift. Give us strength to hang in there and wait. Our goal is to be obedient to you, to serve you, to go where you lead and complete the challenges you have set before us with integrity. Just watch over us. Never leave us, reassure us of your promises and love for us. Come into our home and make your presence known. Heal my man Sweet Jesus, bring healing. I love you. Amen

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Spring Cleaning…

Today would have been the day that I received this sticky note from Jesus…

 sticky-note-cleaning

 

This sticky note would probably be found clipped to the soap or shampoo in the shower. It leads me to this passage from Hebrew 9:22: In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

The first thought that comes to mind is simple: If I were to clean my bathroom with blood it would create more of a mess, am I right? Just picture it, it’s towards the end of the week, Isaac is in bed and Andrew is playing the Wii. It is in these moment that I take time for myself. I love to clean, it kind of relaxes me in a strange way.

So I head up to the bathroom and under the sink is my carefully organized cleaning caddy. Complete with everything I should need to clean the bathroom in one fowl swoop. There are sparkling white rags, paper towels, Windex, Soft Scrub, Scrubbing Bubbles, my beloved Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet wand, Swiffer Dusters, Dusting Spray, Dusting clothes and finally, a toothbrush, just in case something needs more attention than normal.

I always start with the sinks. Because my husband is in love with the electric razor and I am a woman, we tend to have little bits of hair on the counters and if you ever just get right to it with a little water and a rag, you will notice that all you do is smear the hair all over the place, so a quick dust with the Swiffer Duster and we are in business. Then we move onto a little Soft Scrub, a nice bright white cleaning rag and some warm water and we are off, ready to rock and roll. In no time at all, the sinks are done, the counter top is sparkling and we are ready to move onto the bathtub, then the toilet and finally we finish the grand project with a little Windex on the mirrors, a mop and a bucket of soap and water for the floor and it is like a brand new bathroom. I can do it all in an hour tops.

It makes me happy just thinking about it, it makes me want to run home, right now in the middle of the day and give it some quick love. Now, I love anything that is freshly clean, soft tenderly warm right out of the dryer clean bed sheets, soft fluffy clean towels or even a clean pair of socks, it just feels right. As long as I have clean socks and underwear, I swear I could go for a few days in the wild…  Clean means something to me, it speaks to me, it makes my heart at peace. It sparks something so deep within my soul that I want to obtain that feeling over and over again, hence me getting a little stressed when too much time has gone by between house cleaning weekends.

But if the law requires everything to be cleansed with blood, the results would be different. It would be a messier process, it would take longer to get the white tub white again, my fluffy towels or beloved bath robe would get a stain or two and the process would not be a meticulously planned and executed routine as outline above with great attention to detail  If you don’t know by now, some might say I am a little OCD.

The “cleaning by blood process” would be hard work. Lots of frustration, lots of washing and re-washing. Lots of sparkling white cleaning rags would be ruined and I would at some point, want to stop washing and re-washing and just kick the wall out, exposing the bathroom to the world, bring in the hose and turn the water on. I would watch the blood stained water run down the side of the house and down the street. But then I would be left with a huge hole in the side of our home, which I am sure would not be the intended result. As I was thinking about this “cleaning by blood process” I came across another passage, this one from Exekiel 36:32-34. “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’  This passage can be summed up by one little but BIG word: WORK. The resettling of a town, the rebuilding of ruins, cultivating desolate land, all of which sounds like a lot of work. But we must not over look the promise at the end. “I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.” It could not be more simply put.

Now comes the part where I need to apply the scripture to me and the love note I received…

It is time to clean house, be washed in the blood, hang it all out there for Him to see, rebuild ones brokenness, cultivate desolate dreams and resettle the inner soul. But yet, cling to the promise the work will be done, the rebuilding and restoring will happen and it will be a success. Never the less, it still sounds like a lot of work, am I right? Sometimes I believe the sticky notes the Abba leaves me are not always warm, fuzzy, romantic ones. There are some that require work, and some that speak the truth I don’t want to hear, however, all of them bring me to Him, my Abba. They all have the same author penning them, they all are personally written for me and only me at the very time I need them. They are hand picked messages from the King to his Daughter. And I would want nothing more.

So, exactly what areas need cleaning?  Everything. Just like every part of the bathroom needs attention and requires different cleaning supplies, every part of me requires extensive attention to detail and often times, several different “supplies”.  The supplies can be people He has brought into my life to help dig out my dirt, or passages of scripture He has placed on my heart to help in the restoration process or dare I say it a conversation with my husband that challenges my wisdom and knowledge of His good word.  All of the supplies have one thing in common, they are centered around Him, can be support by Scripture and are sometimes hard to hear. The personal process takes longer than the bathroom process, but the result is the same. Once deeply cleaned, the bathroom is like new, rebuilt with organized towels stacked neatly in the linen closet,  cultivated, alive, restored with by the fresh aroma of lemon Soft Scrub and clean air, the items on the counter top are resettled, put back in place and life is good. Well, the same goes for me; my heart is rebuilt, my mind is cultivated with a renewed wisdom and my focus is resettled. But the journey; well it was hard, it took a lot of washing and re-washing, at one point I drug  Him right in and watched the blood run right over me, covering me from head to two, it was bloody, I am blood stained, yet I walk away completely clean.

Praises Be Unto you Sweet Abba. I love you, you leave me breathless. Wash me clean, stretch me daily, challenge me, renew me and refine me. May all the glory be yours. Amen

Cheap Shoes but an Authentic Heart

You know the feeling of when the alarm goes off and you are pretty much woken up out of a dead man’s sleep? Well, that was not my experience this morning. This morning the alarm went off and I felt like I had already been awake for a few hours. Blessings be upon my husband, every morning before he leaves for work, he turns on the light next to my side of the bed. He does this at my request mind you because it helps me get up and out of bed, well, that alone did not work this morning. I hit snooze several times until my Beloved attempted woke me up with a little reminder “We are suppose to talk this morning”…. Opps, and as sad as it may be I hit snooze one more time and rolled over. I eventually woke up 40 minutes past my first alarm and about an hour past when the light went on. Needless to say, I was richly blessed this morning. You see, my Beloved made time stand still. Oh it was a miracle. I woke up at twenty till seven. I have time to spend quality time with Him, we talked, I listened and then we embraced with a praise song. I had time to do my hair, make up, get dressed, and I even got Isaac out of bed, dressed and in the car. Did I mention I also had time to let the dog out so she could do her thing? Seriously – He made time stand still. I was early to Nana’s, we had time to talk and then it was off to work… Praises Be – He is good to me. Far better than I deserve.

So, while I lay at His feet this morning. We talked about Luke 12: 1-34. Something struck me. You see, today I decided to wear cheap paten leather shoes with a silver buckle on the toe. They have the appearance of being something expensive, they are sassy, yet reserved, they are comfortable and cute, but most of all, they have a meaning behind them. Yep, my shoes have a theological meaning behind them. So when we started our conversation in Luke today, we started talking about hypocrisy, and it was then that I knew exactly which pair of shoes I wanted to wear this morning.

According to Wikipedia, hypocrisy means acting in a manner contradictory to one’s professed beliefs and feelings, or conversely, expressing false beliefs and opinions to conceal one’s real feelings or motives. The term hypocrisy is often used in a religious context to refer to someone who gives a false appearance of virtue or religion, or does not “practice what he or she preaches“. 

My shoes today, are a perfect example of this very definition. They appear to be something other than they really are… which is why I chose to wear them. I want the constant reminder to walk with me through the day. I want to remember who I am and who matters the most, I do not want to reflect something that is anything other than the real thing, I want to be proud of my Beloved. 

 In the beginning of our conversation, Jesus is with his disciples. He wants to teach them something. He wants them to know that they must trust God and realize that they are accountable to Him. The essence of discipleship is fearing God and putting Him first. To share God’s priorities is the disciples’ call. To learn from God means to follow Him. You can sum it up in 5 simple words: Fear God and Confess Jesus.

 While I read the words of Luke, I was amazed that in the midst of growing crowds and official opposition Jesus issues a warning. The setting of his words is not insignificant. Even though people are practically crawling over one another to get to Jesus, the disciples should not be fooled by current popularity and should recall the level of opposition Jesus has faced. Popularity can breed a desire to remain popular and thus to soften the hard truth of our sinfulness before God.

And then, the truth came… Hypocrisy will not work, because everything is revealed before God. The secrets of people’s hearts will be revealed (Rom 2:15; 1 Cor 4:5). God’s omniscience means that there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. This includes words said in the dark or whispered in private rooms. In the time of Luke, a private room (tameion) was the innermost apartment in a house. So even things said deep within one’s home and mind are known to God. Even these things will be proclaimed from the housetops one day. What is done in the basement will be revealed on mountaintops. The walls we build up, the clothes we buy, the cheap yet expensive looking shoes we purchase, all are to protect our psyche and rationalize our behavior, but none can be kept form the eyes of God. And the most amazing thing about it all, He loves me regardless of what He sees. He makes time stand still for His daughter who just needed forty more minutes of pillow time. He blesses me with His peace even when I stress over the silly things. He died for me, knowing I would screw up His plan from time to time. Nothing is better than that, not even comfortable, expensive looking yet cheap, cute, black, sassy paten leather shoes with a cute silver buckle on the toe.

 Jesus – you know my shoes are cheap. You know my heart is madly in love with you. You know my deepest desire is to make you proud. Please Jesus, come today and give me the strength I need to stand proudly in my cheap shoes while I attempt to reflect You well.  Bless me with the courage to stand tall for you, to love you and reflect you in a manner that would bring you all the glory and praise. Thank you for loving me despite my flaws and failures. Thank you for your sacrifice for plan old me. I love you. Amen.

Plain Sticky Notes and Black Bow Tie Pumps

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by simply looking at two things in their life. One, the kind of sticky notes they use. Two, the kind of shoes they wear. Yep, you heard me right, I believe you can tell a lot about a person by their selection of office supplies and how they dress their feet. You see, at work I have only the plain yellow sticky notes, but if I had my choice, I would always have something different, daisies one day, pastel pinks and purples the next and on the days that I am not really “feeling it” I would have brown sticky notes. But, if my Abba picked out the sticky notes for the day, I assure you, we would never receive just the plain yellow ones they have in stock. I firmly believe if we were to get little sticky notes from our Abba, He would hand pick special sticky notes for each of His children. He would carefully select His stationary. He would not pick the same sticky note for me and my hubby, nor would He choose to place His love notes in the same location for us both.  

Just picture it for a moment, the Heavenly Father, the One who created the Heaven’s and the Earth, picking out sticky notes for His beloved. Now, if the saying “everything you love will be in Heaven” is correct, for me, there will be a very large Office Supply room, along with a very large room full of all kinds of shoes, cutes ones, sassy ones, sexy ones, practical ones, all comfortable of course and all would fit perfectly.  My Abba would open the door to the Heaven’s Office Depot, walk down isle 5, which is where all the sticky notes would be, and think “which one would speak to my beloved today”.   

Today, He would have picked out a brightly colored daisy, and written something like “I have great plans for you.” But the note would not stop there; He would give a little hint as to what those great plans are. I know, you know what I am talking about. You too have wanted just a little peek into what He has in store for you, am I right?  

Because I am not like anyone else, the sticky note He would pick out for me would not be the same as the one He would pick for my hubby, nor would hubs sticky note be the same as the one He picked out for my son. He would hand pick His stationary with careful thought. He would place it in a place that would jump out at me. You know, for the hubs, his might be on the underside of the toilet lid, first thing in the morning, he enters the bathroom to do his thing and BANG, there it is, clear as day… or it might be taped to the remote control, what man would miss that note.  

But for me, the love note left for me this morning would have been taped to the toothbrush. Because I am sure, it would have also included a little something about holding me tongue while He molds me into the woman He sees fit for His big plans…  But just imagine, when self doubt creeps in and we women start to wonder if we are beautiful, we open the make up for the morning and taped to the mascara is our love note. A few simple words “You are created in my image”, “You are wonderfully and fearfully made”, “You are my beloved”. Would that not change your day?  

Well today, His note changed my day. His word rested on my weary heart and provided such relief, the kind of relief a warm hug gives the lonely, or a delicious meal gives the hungry. Relief that will last for hours to come, it will sustain me.  If you walk around my house you will see verses taped all over the place. Some are taped to the mirrors, some above the kitchen sink, others on the refrigerator door, the pantry door, the door to the garage, They are all over. Some are neatly typed and laminated (my OCD in full swing here), some are handwritten and others are scribbled. But the point is, they are there, His word surrounds our house. Relief, peace, love and shelter consume the place we call home.  

Just as a simple note from my Abba provides relief during stressful times, self confidence during times of inner ugliness, assurance during unknown times and comfort during intense anxiety. For me, shoes also seem to be a visual path of connection to my Abba. You see, no matter where you are, you will need your shoes. My shoes are different than yours, my choice of shoes often depend on my choice of clothes or my mood rather than their level of comfort or what the weather man says the day will be like. I have been known to wear peep toe shoes in the snow and knee high boots in the summer. It just depends on what my path for the day looks like. You see, on Monday’s I will most always wear the cutest pair of shoes I can seem to find in the morning. Something to get me going and excited for the day. Today they are black pumps with a little bow on the top. I just need a little bit of beauty this morning. I needed something to remind me that no matter where I walk, my Abba has created a beautiful plan for me. One that is filled with the unknown, yet peaceful. One that might bring moments of discomfort, mostly because the shoes for today are cute, not comfortable. But that is also true with life, with my walk with my Abba has some days that are good days, those come with cute moments yet also with moments of discomfort… And then the days that are just “tennis shoe days”. You know the type. The days that seem to need pure comfort, no style is required, no make is applied, no attention given to the hair, just comfort. Plain comfort is all that will get us through the day. Those are the days that I get home from work, take my work clothes off, not even hanging them back up to prevent re-washing and ironing and crawl into my most comfortable, ugly and holy comfort clothes. My favorites, and at that moment, a breath of fresh air consumes me and I am at peace.  

For now… I will walk with Him in my pretty black pumps adorned with tiny bows and remember that the plain yellow sticky notes I have at work do not truly reflect who I am nor do they reflect the plans my Abba has in store for me. I will walk in His comfort and peace even amidst my uncomfortable and stressful moments. I will be reminded of my unique and beautiful path, my Abba has set in motion, during the day, simply by looking at plain yellow sticky notes and pretty black pumps adorned with tiny bows. Have a great day my friends.

 

Abba – I love you. I praise you, All the glory be Yours. Enough said. Amen.