Mish Mash of 2013

I was going to start this blog post with something profound. Something about this being the last day of the year. Something IMG_0181about not looking back, just looking to the future. I think all those things are important…..but, I have an overwhelming urge to just blurt out all the things from 2013. Isn’t that how life really is? We rarely have life happen the way we penned it into our calendars. Things happen that often blindside us. Sometimes good things happen when we least expect them, if we are not attentive we might miss them entirely. Happiness, joy and a full heart. At other times, hard, difficult things happen. Tears and pain can overwhelm us.

I don’t know about you, but I often times am reminded just how small I really am in the scope of time. Small maybe, but not insignificant. My life matters because Christ says it does. My life has purpose in Him and through Him.

Time is something I fight on a daily basis but, the God I serve isn’t chained to calendars and clocks. There is never enough time, or too much and I’m bored. Grasping at moments I never want to forget, and longing to blot out the embarrassments or mishaps of situations gone wrong. All the moments, both good and bad, woven together into the tapestry of my life. Not one second goes by that God does not see. When I struggle with what the future might hold, when worry threatens to tear me apart, and fear of the unknown lurks in the darkness….God reminds me that He is already there. There are no surprises to Him who knows all things. That is so true, you know. Nothing happens to me (or you, either!) that comes as a surprise to The Almighty.

My year in one minute…..let’s see how fast I can type!

Early morning sunrises, breathtaking purples and pinks, quiet stillness and peaceful moments, llamas, dogs, cats, chickens, and a horse, losing my sweet pets Junior and Salem, crying at having to say goodbye, snowflakes and cold wind, crunchy earth, blue skies and standing in the front yard in the midst of green grass and a million yellow dandelions, geese honking, muddy driveway, favorite jeans, and warm sweaters, a trip to Costa Rica, my first time using a passport, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, getting A’s in my grad classes, rekindling my passion for those on the autism spectrum, a visit from our grandson, the zoo, water rides, and the county fair, living on the deck, church family, camps, missionary speakers, car wrecks, safety of family members, Skyping, visiting with family, laughter, and smiles, Fun Kitchen Fridays and baking new things, shopping, finding new stores, vintage, teaching and learning and second chances. Car trips and 20 questions game, laughing and yelling. Music and radio and hearing my son’s voice. A warm house, cozy blankets and a pillow for my weary head. Kids growing up, and me growing closer to my husband. Moments that I’ve learned to see in the midst of the daily. Blessed so blessed.

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Early Morning

Early morning. IMG_0213

Dark and quiet, except for the lonely yips and howls of the coyotes in the field across the road.

Snow flurries visible through the glimmer of the porch light.

The world is just now shaking off the slumber of another night.

I’m in a contemplative mood at this early morning hour.

The year, 2013, is winding down and I am left wondering where the time went.

The older I get, the more quickly the sand seems to fall through the hour glass.

Remembering what is truly important… Making the moments matter…Realizing that the time is now.

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Thankful for:

*quiet mornings

*friendship

*listening to my son on the radio

*new experiences

*a fresh, new calendar

*the lonely yip of the neighboring coyote

*starting a new book

*hot coffee

*a new day

*laughter

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens… Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Illuminating The Dark

The sanctuary filled with people of all socio-economic backgrounds, color, and gender. So different, yet so alike. All 102_3478of us there on this holy night, to worship The KING. Voices melted together, into one sound of praise, to the One who is worthy. Candle light flickered, illuminating an otherwise darkened room. Light that pierced the darkness, symbolic of that night so many years ago, when the Light of the world was born.

I read the back of the church bulletin, a poem entitled Mary’s Song, by Lucy Shaw. The words made me stop. Think. Take it all in. Ponder.

“…Quiet he lies whose vigor hurled a universe. He sleeps whose eyelids have not closed before. His breath (so slight it seems no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps to sprout a world…….”

He could have come with an army of angels. Instead God came to earth as a baby. He could have stopped time with the mere sound of His voice. Instead He came to change all time. He could have said, “no”, and just left us. Instead He came…..for us.

 

Jesus Messiah

 

From one of my blog archives……

Jesus Messiah

The choir members voices rose, filling the sanctuary. I listened to the music, as it surrounded me with the reality of the words. They were singing one of my favorite songs. Every time I hear that song, I don’t know whether to jump out of my seat and raise my hands towards heaven, or fall to my knees in thankfulness.

The song is by Chris Tomlin, and is entitled, Jesus Messiah.

English: Chris Tomlin performing a concert in ...

 

The chorus goes like this:

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names

Blessed Redeemer
Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

I am reminded that Jesus came to this earth as a baby. The Son of God humbled Himself to be Emmanuel, meaning “God with us“. He gave up his place in Heaven for the brokenness of humanity. For you and for me. I love this song because it reminds me that Jesus did not stay a baby. He grew up. He made a way for all of mankind. He is the bridge between God and us…and for that I am so very thankful.

Celebrating The Birth Of The King

I’m sitting at the kitchen table right now. All is quiet in the house, it is just me and the dog. Even he has fallen back asleep on his pillow. I have turned on the Christmas tree lights. Their white sparkle illuminates an otherwise dark living room. I’m quietly listening to Christmas music on the local radio station. I love the early morning, the feeling  of being the only one awake and moving.

For me, the hours and days that lead up to Christmas are the most exciting. The anticipation of it all,  makes me happy. Gifts wrapped and under the tree, Christmas movies on, lots of treats to eat, and the knowledge that over 2000 years ago, a baby entered the world. God in the flesh. The prophesied One. The Messiah in newborn wrinkled skin. Celebrating the birth of the King.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

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I’ve Got Your Back

Today I am participating in the FAITH JAM.102_4787

The questions to ponder are….

Which character in the Christmas Story speaks most deeply with you?

How is God guiding you to take next steps on your journey to give birth to a dream?

I thought this post I wrote a couple of years ago, or was it just last year, answers today’s first question. I relate to Mary. A simple woman, a mother who loved her son. Who prayed that she was doing the right things. She who spent time pondering all these things. Who tried to understand. One who knew great joy and promise and still felt the pain of deep grief and sorrow.

As I continue to grow in my relationship with the Lord…as my grip on my own life loosens…my dreams have changed. I’m not sure what God has ahead for me. Maybe the path to my dream will be smooth and straight, but more likely it will be twisted and steep, rocky and scary at times. Even though I’m in my mid 40’s, I still have moments where I wonder what my dream is? What is it that would change me? Change my community? Change my world? With God no dream is too big, or too small.

The other day I was working in the kitchen when the words came to me, “I’ve got your back”. Just like that. Those words. Just as plain as if they had been whispered in my ear. Then this verse immediately came to my mind:

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8 ESV

Now, I don’t know about you….but, that gave me the chills. Seriously. Goosebumps.

God has my back, and He has yours too.

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I think I mentioned that I am playing Mary (mother of Jesus)tomorrow at church. I’ve been thinking of Mary a lot lately because of this part that I have in the Advent monologues. Having to memorize “Mary’s lines” helps me to remember what is truly important. Allow me to practice my lines with you…..

”How can I even begin to tell you what I saw inJesus? Even before he was born my life was filled with wonder and amazement…..I was visited by an angel. Such power and authority! And yet there was such gentleness as he shared with me the expression of God’s love.

And then there was Joseph. He was incredible throughout all these events. Of course, he had questions and concerns but, he always responded to me with such love. I know that his own visit from an angel had a lot to do with that.

There are so many things that I remember…and I hold those  moments close to my heart. Because to be honest with you, most of Jesus’ life didn’t make sense to me…..until it was finished.

Jesus, he always thought of others before himself….I remember when we went to a wedding feast. Jesus changed the water into wine because he didn’t want the wedding host to be humiliated. Then there was the Samaritan woman at the well. He reached out to her with such love, I can’t even describe it! He even lovedPeter, a man who had denied knowing him, multiple times! And yet, love and forgiveness were his.

Then there was the cross…..the cross. Even on the cross Jesus was so full of love, and thinking of others. He didn’t want me to worry about how I’d be taken care of, so he said, ‘ John, take care of my mother.’ And to me he said, ‘ Mother, treat John as if he is your son.’

As he hung on the cross, with his life slipping away, he still had such love— and was putting others before himself. I heard him say, ‘ Father, forgive them!’……………….. and to the thief on the cross next to him he said, ‘ Today I will see you in paradise.’

And then it made sense. I understood. Love. God’s love. Jesus was a demonstration of God‘s love to this world. He was born, and he lived, and he died, and he rose again as an expression of God’s love to me! And as an expression of God’s love to each of you! God’s love…..that is what Jesus is all about. “

This certainly puts Christmas in perspective. Doesn’t it?

“You’ve Kissed The Face Of God”

I love the song, Mary Did You Know by Mark Lowry. 102_3847

I’m always left with a sense of awe after the words……

And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God.

Being a mother of a son, I often ponder those particular words.

I remember after having my son, how mesmerized I was by his sweet little face. I stared at him for hours, amazed at the gift I had been blessed with. As mothers (and fathers) don’t we all feel that way?

How must Mary have felt?

I’m sure she was amazed at the birth of her child and stared at His sweet face for hours. When her lips lightly brushed His forehead,  or the tip of His little baby nose, she could not have possibly fully understood the implications of this birth, this life….she knew, but not really….it would have been too overwhelming for the heart of a young girl.

God came that night. He came for a world that was in desperate need of Him.

Pure. Innocent. Sinless and Perfect. A Holy Gift, straight from Heaven.

The One that would save us all.

This same world that Christ came to save,  attempts to remove Him from Christmas. Yet, it is impossible, because without Christ there is no Christmas.

The great Emmanuel, God with us.

 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 NIV