Pulling Off The Mask

She poured her heart out as she told his story. The woman on the screen, giving testimony to the young man’s mask of pain. The ladies in the Bible study listened intently, understanding that all to often, we too, wear the mask. The mask that hides the less than perfect, the heartbroken, the feelings of lacking.

Masked.

Masked. (Photo credit: .Andi.)

Let’s be honest.

But, that is so difficult. It feels wrong to admit.

The mask begins to crack.

The mirror shows the lines that are around the eyes. Every mark on the scale causes anxiety. Too exhausted to exercise. The house needs cleaned and the laundry done. Dishes are in the sink and the family needs a healthy meal. Deadlines need to be met. Bills are due and the cat just puked. I’m up to my knees in mud and the roof has a leak. Kids going here and there and husband just wants some face time. Stress level is high and the report is due. Energy lags and the days can seem so long.

This life will never be in a lay out for Better Homes and Gardens.

Surely, others have it more together than I do.

The ladies in the group, breathe in the confession. They slowly shake their heads. We all suffer from the pinching of the mask, as it covers

who we really are.

Oh, God! Why do we do this to ourselves? Trying to be perfect and have it all together, when the heart feels the struggle?

Help us, Lord to give up the mask. It doesn’t fit anyway.

Love is a better cover.

Love for ones self…and for others.

Because no one is perfect, and it feels good to just breathe.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:31 NIV

Children Of God

Today at Faith Barista we are writing about Jesus.

I can’t think of a better subject.

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This world is hard on people.

Heart Candle

Heart Candle (Photo credit: Bob.Fornal)

Oh, none of us like to talk about it, admit it….but, deep down we know it is true.

Life can be harsh and confusing and many times it… well, it can be irritating.

At the very least it wears us down.

I needed a perspective change…

Last night in Bible study, we ladies were discussing the verses about Jesus being The Word, and dwelling among us.

And, once again I was reminded…

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:9-14 NIV

Jesus understood the pain of not being understood. Can we even imagine?  Being accused. Being abused.

These particular verses amaze me…every single time I read them. They are powerful. Jesus, Creator of the world, and yet people didn’t recognize Him. Many did not believe Him….but, to those who did (and do), HE gave the right to become CHILDREN OF GOD.

Stop.

Think about what I just wrote. Read the verses for yourself. Do it.

It is right there in black and white.

We, as believers, are adopted. Signed and sealed, because……..

Jesus chose to love us.

I don’t know about you, but that changes my perspective about today and tomorrow.

How can it not?

I’m carrying this Word in my heart today, with a smile on my face.

This One Life

I’m really still a kid at heart. And I like snow days…nature_3

The phone rang a little before six this morning. School delayed…an hour later, cancelled.

This teacher is happy, and so is this mom. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have plenty to do around here, it just means I can do it at my own pace.

Today that means, slower.

I hear the television playing in the living room, and the washer filling with water in the laundry room. The hum of the refrigerator is quietly playing in the background, of a house filled with daily noise.

I need to do laundry, feed the animals, work on my blog, start my new online class on autism, prepare for Bible study, read…and make some chocolate chip cookies.

But, I stop and take time to look out the window.

The gray-white sky melts into the snow-white ground. Only sharp and boney limbs of barren trees reach into the wind. Some say winter is harsh, and cold and they wish for warmer weather.

I, on the other hand, choose to see the beauty in this season. The other night the snow shown like silver glitter in the moonlight. It was breathtaking, really. The gray clouds are immense as they scud across the sky. The cold wind is harsh, that is true, but it makes my cheeks rosy and alive.

Winter is a time of waiting. Slowing down.

And don’t we all go through winters in our lives?

Without the cold, how can I appreciate the warm? In not too many weeks the snow will be completely gone, and the spring mud will take its place.

Life will be resurrected in the green of new grass, crops planted in straight lines, bulbs bursting forth through wet ground…stretching towards the sun.

And don’t we all need that? To stretch towards The Son?

To enjoy and appreciate this one life we have been given?

Slow Down

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Some friends and I are participating in a Bible study based on Ann Voskamp’s  book, One Thousand Gifts. She shares how God has given us time, time to do this one life, well. How often to we rush through life as if it is an emergency? Running…always running…but, not really seeing.

Slow down. Savor each moment. See the moment for what it is…a gift.

She says that naming the gifts in the moments, offers the gift of recognition. It helps us see.

God is the giver of all things, and oh how He has blessed me! Yes, some of those gifts didn’t seem like gifts at the time. I struggled. I cried. I yelled in frustration. That is why it is so important to see the gifts given, so when the times are difficult and I feel myself in a dark place….I can be reminded that God is faithful. Always, always faithful.

I’d like to share pictures of just some of my gifts.

I smile as I remember each one…

 

 

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My B-I-B-L-E

It’s cover has faded from a rose pink to more of a faded blush. The once new leather, is now soft to the touch. There is only a faint bit of silver

Cover for a NIV Bible

left on the embossed letters of my name. The binding is broken, and the books of Ephesians through 1 Peter have to continually be tucked back in. There are pages that have tape and creases that can’t be fixed. It’s not really much to look at anymore…….

And yet, it is one of my most prized possessions.

This Bible of mine, is precious to me. It is personal. It is real…. from God to me. It’s a law book, a life manual, a treasure trove of wisdom, an adventure story,  a romance, and an autobiography. The past, the present and the future collide in a heart pounding, mind blowing, life changing book.

I write in my Bible. Some would reprimand me for this. Others would say that they do the same. Regardless, if anyone were to pick up my Bible they would see my life story mingled among the pages of God’s Word,  laid out before their eyes.

Notes scribbled in margins, words from various pastors. Quotes that meant something to me. Questions next to particular verses. The baptism of my son in 2002. The death of my late husband in 2000. Scripture underlined for emphasis. Other words boldly highlighted. The Wednesday night service after 9/11 happened….when I was crying and didn’t understand. Other times I wrote my thoughts when the words deeply resonated with me. I added my wedding date to my second husband. I had written in margins, words that reminded me that, although life might not have gone according to MY plans, life is still good and God continues to be Sovereign. I am blessed. Really, blessed. Far beyond what I deserve.

Above all else, my Bible reminds me that I love a God who did not create me and then leave me forever.

He is coming back for me.

It won’t be over. It will just be beginning.

And I can’t wait to read that next chapter.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 109:105  NIV

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Today I am thankful for:

* bright glowing, fiery sunrise

* morning quiet

* late summer coolness in the air

* purring cats

* a new school year

* being able to teach

* helping others

* a car that runs

* A God who is involved

* Jesus who is preparing a place

* laughter

* birds swooping through the sky

* a clean dining room table

* getting a good deal at the store

* a happy sister

* good kids

* a husband who reminded me that we are “stuck” together for as long as we both shall live

* fresh eggs from my own chickens

* looking forward to family visiting

* life

Quiet, Please!

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

the gypsy mama

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Meet & encourage someone who linked up before you.

OK, are you ready? Give us your best five minutes on: LOUD

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Loud makes me irritable. I don’t really like loud. I prefer quiet, not that I get a chance to enjoy THAT very often.

Three kids who can be (and usually are) loud. A television that blares a lot of the time. (why did my husband and I think “the open” concept would be so great for our house?)  Barking dogs, meowing cats, and now chicks in a cardboard box in the front entrance. The morning news is on right now. I listen to it as I clean up my breakfast dishes. The “loudness” of the news echoes in my head.

Who will be the republican nominee? Why did the terrorist kill the Jewish teacher and children in France? And why do gas prices continue to climb?! The loudness of it all just gets to me.

I WANT QUIET!!! Peace. Isolation from it all?

I wander over to the kitchen window and look out at the sky changing colors, tinged with the morning hues of pinks and purples. Clouds scudding across the open expanse over the fields. I breathe deeply and am reminded of this verse……quiet for the soul.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10  NIV