Dear God, I Am…

Waiting And Anticipating


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It’s finally here! The time of year most, if not all, of us have waited for  –  spring! That is, according to the calendar. It’s been a long, cold winter, too, hasn’t it? Even the folks who are not accustomed to the bitting effects of old man winter donned a heavier coat and scarf this year. It’s definitely been one for the record books, regardless of where you live. But it’s over! It’s over! It’s over! We can rejoice and be glad as we wait with anticipation for the sun’s rays to pink our cheeks and tan our toes.

But, how good are we really when it comes to waiting?

Having to wait for something we want is nothing new for us; in fact, it’s something that we’ve wrestled with since biblical times.

Remember how the Israelites complained and grew impatient when they began their pilgrimage to the Promise Land? (Exodus 16)

And what about Abraham and Sarah? They are old, and Sarah is past child bearing years. She laughs when she over hears that she will have a child, and yet God promises and delivers to them the greatest of blessings! (Genesis 18)

Today while we wait and anticipate warmer weather, we must also wait and anticipate the arrival of Easter.

As Christians, Easter is our joy, our victory over death. Because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we are the recipients of eternal life!

I don’t know about you, but I believe that if we can have an eternal life with Jesus, it will be worth the wait. For now, though, I am content to anticipate such a life with the Son of God!

How about you?

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Dear God:

I am waiting and anticipating.

I am a sinner, unworthy of your sacrifice, and humble, too, because you chose life for me.

I have no words.

I am, and always will be, forever grateful.

Amen

Sensing Loss


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(Photo Credit: Permission granted by Cynthia Angeles)

(“Grief” oil painting by Cynthia Angeles. http://paintingsbycynthia.com)

The past few weeks I have seen things that I have not seen in years, and I mean years. For instance, Mom and I opened the cedar chest last week. She wanted to see if there was anything in it that I wanted to keep. The chest holds memories from my childhood, which contains everything from diaper pins, who remembers using these instead of Pampers, to my dad’s honorable discharge from the United States Navy. I held the yellowed-paper in my hand the whole time we plundered through every piece of precious memorabilia. Somehow scouring through the past evoked a sense of loss for me. Maybe it’s God’s way of speaking to me and saying that it’s okay to let go. That we all must let go, sooner or later.

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Dear God:

It’s done. The papers are signed, and the rent is paid. I, on the other hand, am trying to keep the faith that what is happening is a good thing, the right thing. Mom seems ready, and she talks about her new home with childlike excitement.

God, while this is wonderful, I can’t help but feel distressed?

I can’t, for the life of me, understand why I go to bed thinking about her move and wake up thinking about it.

Why am I wearing myself out over something that, I truly believe, will make her happy?

But . . . I can’t help thinking . . .

What if Mom, after the new wears off, hates her new home?

What then?

What will I do to make it better?

What if – what if – what if?

At times, I simply do not know what to do next. Downsizing a home with over thirty years of stuff is no easy task, especially when Mom looks to me as her go-to person whenever she has questions.

Most days I’m running on pure adrenaline. I’m anxious all the time, but I think I hide it well. And at the the end of the day, I’m too exhausted to sleep, which makes the next day harder to get through. Today I feel overwhelmed. I’ve been weepy all day, too. Ask me, “why,” and I’ll say, “I don’t know. I simply don’t know.” I can’t help it, or stop it, either. I feel foolish.

Today I gave my Dad’s beloved little Boston Terriers to a friend. Mom cannot take them where she is going. Daddy adored them, he loved all animals. He spent, according to Mom, “a fortune” feeding the birds and squirrels. It was bitter-sweet watching my friend and her husband carry them in their arms and place them in their truck. I gave them the doghouse, new bedding and a large bag of food. Somehow I thought that would ease my conscious, but the guilt of not being able to bring them home myself overwhelmed me. My tears flowed like blood from an open wound. Mom tried to comfort me. She couldn’t, because she cried, too. The “girls,” as my dad called them, are next to the last connection that I have to my dad. After his and Mom’s house is sold, the material connection will be lost.

 My dad will always live in my heart, but to let go of the things that he loved crushes my spirit.

Today, God, I need you.

Today I need to feel you moving in me and through me.

Today I need strength to move forward.

Today I am sensing loss – the loss of my dad, his “girls,” and his guidance.

Help me to be a better person, a stronger person.

Help me to help Mom with her life-changing transition.

For it is because of your love and your sacrifice and the relationship that I have with you that I feel confidant in asking these things.

Amen

Embracing The Light


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 (Photo Credit: Terry Ogden)

There’s just something euphoric about the dawning of a new day – everything awakens  – the darkness fades into the light, and the old becomes new.

I could never, nor would I want to, live in a world where darkness prevails. The darkness can overwhelm, can’t it? And it is during this time of year that I find myself, and maybe you do, too, succumbing to feelings of depression and slothful-like behavior. It’s no fun being in a dark place. It’s lonely and scary, and it’s a place where hope is often lost.

When I was a little girl I was afraid of the dark. I fought bedtime, because I knew that I would be completely enveloped in darkness and it terrified me. To say that I went “kicking and screaming” is an understatement! When my mother learned of my fear, she placed a night light in my room. The faint flicker of light comforted me, made me feel safe and secure. Never again would I fear the darkness. If I woke in the middle of the night, my light shined brightly. If the power went out, my light shined brightly (thanks to battery back-up!) And if, by chance, my light broke, my mother replaced it with a new one.

I would never be afraid of the dark, again!

 When we invite Jesus into our dark world, he becomes our night light. His light will never be extinguished, it will never burn out, and it will never have to be replaced.

C. S. Lewis said:

 “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Dear God:

Because of your love, and for the sacrifice of your son Jesus,

I will never have to be afraid of the darkness.

And

I will never worry about being alone in a dark world.

Should I find myself in a dark valley, and I know that I will,

I will reach for Jesus, the light of the world.

Today, oh God, I am praising and embracing the light!

Amen

Transitioning


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(Photo Credit: The Giant’s Causeway, Ireland)

If we live long enough we will face the task of transitioning.

This past week, after weeks of going back and forth discussing new housing options, Mom and I began our search for her new home.

Mom has come to the place in her life where she is considered “independent.” That is, according to Senior citizen terminology.

What does this mean?

Basically, that she does not require any assistance with her day-to-day living. Mom has been blessed with good health, with the exception of arthritis. And now she feels that she needs an environment where there are no steps, no yard maintenance, and cheaper monthly bills. While this sounds like an easy transition – pick your new home and move in –  there are obstacles.

I don’t mean the obstacles that involve cleaning out years of memorabilia or of selling a home, but the actual transition process. Talking about it is one thing, but doing it, well, that’s a horse of a different color, so to speak.

This past week I began looking through her eyes as well as through my own lens of mortality.

I put myself in her shoes.

While I see this transition as a positive experience for both of us, I feel that her reneging is her way of holding on to her and my dad’s past, even though he is no longer with us. I empathize with her hesitation. I don’t want to let go, either. I don’t want to let go of the familiarity that I feel every time I walk through the front door. I don’t want to forget the smell of her cooking that invades my senses the moment I step out of my car. I don’t want to go through a security door, or wait for her to “ring me in” before I can see her face-to-face. But, I do want her safe. I do want her in an environment where she will be surrounded by her peers. Folks who understand where she is coming from, because they were once in her situation, too. Folks who will welcome her into their way of life, show her the ropes, and make her glad that she chooses to be with them. I just want her to be happy. I want the very best for her, whatever that might entail.

Mom’s transition from here to there is irrelevant. But what is relevant is her mindset. She is the one who ultimately needs to be ready. She is the one who must accept the change that awaits her. And she is the one who, once she finds what she is looking for, will be glad and rejoice in her new home and her new lifestyle. I’m trying to be her encourager and help her to see that this transition is a good thing. That this transition can make all the difference in the world when it comes to how and where she chooses to spend the rest of her life.

 I believe that our decision to follow Christ is similar to the transition that my mother is facing. Mom knows and acknowledges that there is something better out there for her. Something that will give her the peace of mind she is looking for. Something that will help her to feel safe. Something that she will love and cherish more than what she has now. She just needs to take that first step of faith – that transitional step that will take her from where she is now and place her to where she needs to be.

I know this, and I truly believe that Mom does as well.

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Dear God,

Complacency is easy, too easy.

As your children we often settle for the low road where we constantly face obstacles that infringe on our happiness, instead of transitioning to the high road, which offers an over abundance, a life everlasting.

Today, I pray for my mother’s transition into a new home and a new life.

And,

 I pray, oh God, for those folks who long to transition away from a life of complacency. I pray that they find a new life with you.

Thank you, God, for allowing us to choose our transitional path.

 A life that has already been promised, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Amen

 

In Awe


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This is my 8 month old kitten Woody, and this is his first snow.

Woody, in case you can’t tell, is in awe.

He’s cautious and curious, simultaneously. See how his hind quarters are low to the ground and his ears are erect? Woody is definitely tuned in to all of his surroundings. Even his eyes are wide with wonder.

When Woody ventures out of his warm comfort zone, he immediately knows that his world is different. He sniffs the cold air in an effort to try and distinguish what has changed.

He knows that as long as he stays on familiar turf, he is safe. But he can’t. Woody is awed by something he has never seen, never touched. The unknown becomes more than he can bear, and it prompts him to step out into the unfamiliar.

And he likes what he finds – a whole other world, waiting to be explored!

Is this how we first discovered Christ?

Were our eyes wide with wonder?

Were we so awed with the unknown that we had to check it out, regardless of what we might find?

When I first discovered God I was very young and curious.

I watched others.

I saw how God affected them and how his love moved through the church I attended . . .

and

I was in awe.

I saw a plethora of emotions, too.

I saw men and women, husbands and wives, and families and children pray and cry with each other . . .

and

I was in awe.

It has been many, many years since I answered God’s invitation to follow him, and I am still in awe when he works in my life, especially when I face, what seems like, impossible odds, or when I find myself struggling through, what feels like, a long dark valley.

And,

I am in awe each and every time God holds me up when I think I may falter, encourages me when I think I am not worthy, comforts me when I feel alone, and loves me when I feel unloved.

But mostly, I am in awe because

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16 NIV)

Dear God:

I am in awe.

I always have been, and I always will be, forever and ever. 

Amen

 

Reflecting


f6a1959d69cb327431d3308f06268725(Photo Credit: Mother and Child By Francesco Strino (1979, Italian)

I watched a mother hold the hand of her son today.

She smiled down on him and he smiled up at her.

They walked in unison across the street.

They are not blood, but does that matter with an image such as this?

As I watched them interact-his trust, her protection-I reflected on the words from a friend of long ago:

 “Not all women are meant to be mothers, and not all mothers are meant to have children.”

Many times I have heard my own mother say that before she would give up one of her children, she would live under a rock with them.

While Mom loves my brother and me to the moon and back, as they say, and she means what she says, is her mentality fair?

I mean, just because you love a child more than life, your own child at that, is “living under a rock” what’s best for the child?

Recently I was drawn to NBC’s Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s story about her unexpected, unwanted journey into motherhood.

As I watched and listened to her story, goosebumps overtook me.

Dr. Snyderman’s story, as powerful and as heartwarming as it was, made me truly, and for the first time, understand the words of my friend.

While it was painful for Dr. Snyderman’s daughter’s birth mother to give her up, I applaud her and the thousands of mothers who see a better life for their child with another mother.

And this is what I saw today.

Dear God:

I am reflecting on the meaning of motherhood.

I understand how one mother’s sacrifice impacts not only the child, but the woman whom he will call “Mother.”

And,

I am reflecting on Moses’s mother, and the sacrifice she made to save her child from death. How her sacrifice not only saved her son, but also a whole nation!

Today I thank you, O God, for mothers who place their children in the arms of another.

Today I pray for all women, those who are mothers and those who are not.

Today I am reflecting on what my own life would have been like if I could have been a mother, period.

Amen

Seeking Purity (Psalm 51:10 NIV)


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(Photo Credit: 16/365 In motion by *December Sun via Flicker)

There’s something almost sacred about a fresh blanket of snow, isn’t there?

I mean, who isn’t in awe watching it snow?

I love to walk in snow, too, and even though I cannot retrace the footsteps of my life, quite frankly,

I’m not sure I want to.

I do, however, look forward to the blank canvas of endless possibilities that lie in wait, those that are yet to be colored with love and laughter and song and blessing!

I want to dream about a future that I may never have,

and

I want to set goals that I may never reach.

But mostly,

I want to have a pure heart, a heart worthy enough to be cleansed as white as snow.

Dear God:

I am seeking purity.

As long as I am in this frail human form, I will continue to ask for your forgiveness.

Forgive me, Lord, when I make choices that do not please you.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Remind me daily to seek your will, so that I will not be tempted to look back to where I have been, but ahead to where you lead.

Amen

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