Worthy

The health care debate  is causing me to consider heart care. No, I’m not talking about cardiac care. I’m talking about  how we view others.  How do we measure another’s worth? Are we concerned with what a person can “give back” to society before we will invest in their health? Does that make a person worthy? If their treatment is too much of a burden on an insurance company, is their life deemed unworthy?  When they are no longer “cost effective”? If a person will not be able to have a high paying job because of limited intellectual ability, to help pay taxes one day, are they still worthy? What if a person looks “different” or struggles to have intelligent speech, or has legs that won’t work properly?  What if they are older? Frail? What then? Are they worthy? What makes a person valuable? What makes a person real?  Is a person intrinsically valuable because of WHO they are, or only WHAT they are able to contribute?

Jesus had plenty to say about the value of each person, each life…..regardless of what society says, or what might be coming down the road with healthcare. God, Himself, gives a person value. We are all created in the image of the Almighty. It is He that declares a person’s worth. If we choose to look at others the way The Great Physician does, we will understand that investing in others is always good heart care.

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Precious In His Sight

I am a first born. A thinker.A doer. I tend to be a perfectionist. I’m extremely observant about most things. I’m detailed and live by my day planner…well the planner along with my daily lists. Sometimes my lists are written out, sometimes I just check things off mentally. Make no mistake though, I always have a list.

Unfortunately, I also have qualities like stubbornness (No way!), pride (I KNEW I was right all along!), and irritability (Why can’t you do it the RIGHT way?)  when people don’t meet my “standards”.  The truth is I’m a lot harder on myself than I am on others….but, still. It’s something I’m working on. Believe me when I say, “I have a lot to work on.”

So many times in my desire for security in my life and the need to feel in control of what is going on around me…I mess up. Oh, how I mess up. I won’t share all the gory details with you except to say that I realize I’m not perfect. Period.

As I get older I find myself, more and more often, considering how God made me. How I interact with others in my world. Sometimes the lessons that I have to learn are annoying to me. (See! It’s that irritability coming out in me!) Sometimes the lessons are painful. Sometimes they perplex me and I just don’t “get it”.

Sigh.

At other times I’m blessed to be witness to some of this life’s miracles and am privileged to see the hand of God in my circumstances. I am definitely a work in progress. We all are. We really are. Whether we see it or not.  I’m not being trite when I say that.

I often times find myself in situations, sometimes by my own choices–both good and bad, and sometimes because things just happen. We all live in an imperfect world where things happen. I’ll be the first to say, there are times when I am ticked. Perturbed. Annoyed. I wonder why life can’t be easier. I am not above having a kicking, screaming, toddler fit…IN MY HEAD over some stuff. People…I said, IN MY HEAD. I am way to mature and dignified to have a fit in front of anyone. Puh-leeze. But then God says to me…I SEE YOU. Uh oh.

God is holy and just. All knowing. Ever present. A wonderful counselor. And just between you and me (and well…God), I think He certainly must have a sense of humor. No one could put up with me, if they didn’t. After all scripture does tell us He is long-suffering (which is a fancy word for patient). I’m so grateful for that, let me tell you.

Now, I have to be honest. After the kind of difficult times my family and I have been through, especially over the past couple of years…I was feeling sort of like Job in the Bible. He really isn’t my favorite character. He is the guy that loses everything. Yet, he never blames God. I wanted to be that way…..but, instead I griped at God. Sadly, I’m too good at it. WHY ME? WHAT IS GOING ON? I DON’T GET IT. DO I DESERVE ALL THIS?  Then I’d cry and fall limp at His feet. Instead of yelling at me, God gently picked me up.

He does to me, what He did for Job all those many years ago. Job, in his own words said, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  Gold. Valuable. Beautiful. Precious. BUT only after being tested. In order for gold, as we know it, to be usable it has to go through the fire. Yes, the fire. The junk has to rise to the surface before the Master can really get to the beauty that lies underneath. And for those of us that are His children, when the Master looks at us….He should see a reflection of Himself. That is when we will really shine.

Heaven On Earth

Sometimes we all just need to go to our “happy place”.  Don’t you have one? The place we go to when we are stressed out and we need a break from the hectic day. That place is different for all of us.  If we just close our eyes….we can see it….and it makes us smile. Every time. We breathe deeply and we remember.

For me it is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. At the base of the Teton Mountains. My family and I went on vacation there.  It was late Spring in the year 2001. I had lost my husband the year before, I was getting used to being a single mom, it was months before 9/11 happened and thus changing travel forever. Life for me was different then.  That place spoke to my soul. The “wild west” beauty of the valley framed against the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen. I didn’t just see that area as a tourist…but, as a place that I tucked away in my heart. Maybe, it was because of where I was in life at that time, the struggles I had endured, but I felt like this was one of the closest visions I’d ever have of heaven here on earth.

When I’m having a rough day I think about this place. I can see it in my mind’s eye. I can feel it in my heart.

Take a look at my heart. Scroll all the way down to see some of the pictures.

What is your place? Where are you the happiest? What place “speaks” to you?

Sorry, You’re Not Allowed

News has gotten around that Rev. Franklin Graham has been “let go” from being able to say a prayer at the Pentagon during the National Day of prayer on May 6th. This is because he called Islam an “evil, wicked religion” at one point.  Now he is not allowed to say a CHRISTIAN prayer, at the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? What is wrong with this picture? What has happened to this country?

Is our country becoming so “water downed”, so politically correct, so ANTI Christian that we now “cave in” to just about anything so as not to offend?  When does this stop? WILL it stop?  I found an interesting article by a man who did some interesting research on this very topic. I think you will find his article extremely eye opening. Check it out.

A Life Story

I’ve mentioned before that I love to write. For me there is something in writing…something soothing about putting words on the page. Putting my thoughts in black and white for others to read. Other times it is scary putting myself into my blog.  I wonder what others will  think of me? Yet, I have discovered for the most part, that my readers can relate to the things that I say. We are not all that different.

I read a “faith filled” blog this morning, written by a new friend named Bonnie. She has an interesting story. The child of a teenage, mail order bride from Hong Kong. Daughter to a busboy in Chinatown. A life full of demands and expectations. She closed the door on that life and opened another…..If you have a minute go check her out  at  http://www.faithbarista.com/ .

After reading her eloquent words, I was left to mull over my own  life story. All the details of each day that make up my life. The little things, as well as the big things, that make me who I am. If you are anything like me you have wondered to yourself, especially when you are smack dab in the middle of something, “What is going on? What is the point of this? Am I supposed to be learning something? What if I don’t feel like it? Can I turn back? And then in near panic….. I WANT MY MONEY BACK. LET ME OFF THIS RIDE!”

I have had ups and downs in my life. Great joy and incredible pain…and sometimes those emotions are within the same day! Haven’t we all been there? I used to think it would be great to be able to say to God, “Look God. You’ve got me mixed up with someone else. This wasn’t meant for me. I can’t handle this situation. This was meant for someone much stronger than I am. Can’t You just take this away?” But, over time I’ve realized that so many of the hard things I’ve been through, are the very things that caused me to strengthen my faith and grow into the person that God created me to be. Who He knows I am. Life is not easy for most of us. Sure, it would be great to be strikingly beautiful, incredibly smart, have the perfect marriage, obedient children, wonderful relationships with all family members, a custom fit career, an orderly, color coordinated home, and money in the bank. Oh yes, and no problems. Not ever. Doesn’t that sound great? Too bad. That’s not real life. That is not most people’s journey.

One of my former pastors once said, “You can be sure that you are either just getting through a trial, are currently in the middle of a trial, or getting ready to be in a trial.”  That is how life is. If one accepts that, life is easier to understand. We should chant the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared! I wish I could say that I’ve always been prepared for everything life throws at me, but that would be a lie. Most of the time I’m in the middle of something before I realize it. I’m caught off guard.  AGAIN. I might occasionally throw a “melt down” in there for good measure. (not a good solution I realize, but still….) I don’t know about you but many times I just hang on tight and close my eyes and wait for the ride to be over. And hope I don’t get sick in the process. Through it all, I’ve come to realize that many times the “scars” from life’s battles are the very things that I treasure because they show that I am a survivor. I went through the battle and came out on the other side. Maybe a bit worse for the wear…but, still standing.

I know that I could not survive the fights of my life if I did not have my faith in the Lord. It is He that gives me the strength for this journey, called life. It is ultimately in Him that I am able to overcome the obstacles and have victory!

Psalm 28:7- The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.

Psalm 60:12-With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.

Phil 4:13-I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

1 John 5:4-5 -For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Courage

A friend printed this quote on Facebook:

From Braveheart: William Wallace: “Now tell me, what does that mean to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.”

For whatever reason this resonated with me. Courage.
I’ve been thinking about courage a lot lately. Sometimes in life we all are called to be courageous, even when our knees are knocking, and our tongue is tied.
Sometimes we have to step up and speak out. Do the right thing, even if it runs against the grain. Even when you know what you’re saying is right, it can be scary.
Scary to be the voice.

To quote a famous and much loved cowboy, John Wayne, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
Enough said.

Mom-ism’s

I have a book full of mom-ism’s. It always gives me a good laugh. I thought I’d share some today to give everyone a good chuckle. If you are a mom you will totally understand. If you are a son or daughter you will also “get it”.  I have chosen to add my own take on each of these  timeless nuggets of wisdom. Enjoy!

–I don’t know is not an answer! (and if I don’t know the answer either, I will fake it. I’m a mom, it’s my job.)

–I just want what’s best for you. (and what’s best for you is for you to do what I say.)

–If all the other kids jump off the bridge (or cliff) are you going to, too? ( Son, don’t answer that!….especially, if you have a child who would seriously try to be Evil Kneivel. Next thing you know you’re sitting in the emergency clinic.)

–If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it. (I already know your opinion and I’m choosing to ignore it.)

–I’m not running a taxi service. (I’m finding out the going rate for taxis…I will be deducting it from your allowance.)

–Isn’t it past your bedtime? ( I don’t care if you are eighteen. Go to sleep already!)

–Life isn’t fair. (This is an understatement. Go with it.)

–Look at me when I’m talking to you. ( I will stare at you with laser beam eyes drilling through your head, until you look at me.)

–Now, say you’re sorry and act like you mean it. ( I said act like you mean it! Don’t stick out your tongue. Don’t roll your eyes. That’s it! I’m coming over there!)

–Some day you will thank me for this. (Yes, you will! You might be 92 when you come to this realization…but, I don’t care.)

–Some day when you have kids you’ll understand. ( Oh boy! I can’t wait. Grandchildren. Spoil them and send them home for YOU to deal with. Yea!  Revenge is sweet.)

–Were you born in a barn? ( Don’t think I haven’t thought about that. You and the horse could be room mates.)

–What part of NO don’t you understand? ( Am I speaking English…um…yes, yes I am. And the answer is still NO!)

–When I was a little girl… ( I never gave my parents one bit of grief. I was an angel straight from heaven. NO you may not call grandma to verify this fact. What, are you calling me a liar? Go to your room!)