Monday, December 27, 2010

A Foggy Lens

Last night, sitting in a rented cabin with my children on Christmas vacation, my son began to complain that his eyes were burning. I realized that smoke was pouring in from the fireplace and soon my eyes stung while the thick, dark smoke began to fill the room. We eventually got the flew open wider and a gust of cold winter wind helped clear the room once the window was opened, but for a brief second we couldn't see very well and felt the pain of the smoke in our eyes.

Like the smoke burning our eyes so that we could not see, so it is with our earthly journey while we continue to walk in sin. The song "Amazing Grace" talks of this metaphor of being blind. . . "I once was blind, but now I see. . ." In describing my conversion experience to a friend last summer, I, too, spoke of how my period of falling away from God's grace was like stumbling around in darkness, unsure of myself, my life or purpose, and everything in the world was askewed in my mind because of seeing through a foggy lens. Once Jesus came into my heart, I was guided by the light of the Holy Spirit and it was as though the "foggy lens" was removed from my eyes and I could see what was right, true, and what God's ultimate plan was for me--to love and worship Him unselfishly. While we may fall if trying to walk around in darkness, or be stung by smoke in our eyes, we will utimately perish if we continue in this life without the light of God. Without Him, we are all blind and dead in our transgressions.

Isaiah 42:16, "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These things I will do; I will not forsake them."

Praise to the Lord for He allowed us to 'rise above the smoke. . .or fog, or darkness'. He sent the Light of the World, Jesus His Son to be born amongst us. How AWESOME is that? The Creator of the Universe came to become human, and then suffered and died to take on the sins of mankind! All so we can walk with Him, by His light. So accept this invitation today. Choose to no longer stumble around in darkness and pain without a Savior who can show you the way.

Jesus said in John 12:46, "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should abide in darkness." Let it be so!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Simple Gift

The question was asked this past week at a Women's meeting, what is the best gift you have received? I answered that I received a letter from a school teacher. Enclosed was a paper written by my eldest daughter Kylie, in which she shared how proud she was of me for all the trials and hardships I had overcome. It was then that I knew she had totally forgiven me.

Did I deserve forgiveness from her? After battling substance abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and putting motherhood on the back burner, probably not. But because Jesus died for me, I am able to receive grace and forgiveness from God. The road back to the path He has chosen for me was not always an easy one. Many people came alongside me and there were times when I was scared, sad, and lonely. So while the letter was a great gift, so is the joy I have in knowing I am now blameless in the Lord's eyes.

This past weekend my two eldest children, Kylie and Daylen, visited a nursing home to assist the Salvation Army in handing out a bit of Christmas cheer in the form of socks and mugs. We thought it would be fun if we brought along some song sheets and a guitar and the three of us went room to room with Kylie playing the guitar as we sang carol after carol for the residents. Before too long, a young girl with her two smaller cousins heard us and we invited them to join in the song. The people who lived in that home smiled as every child wished them a Merry Christmas. Most of them were suffering from depression, loneliness, and hadn't had many (if any) visitors in quite some time. They received our prayers, songs, and gifts and openly hugged and shook our hands. What normally would take around an hour and a half, took over three hours in order to complete the distribution. When all was said and done, both of my kids exclaimed how fun it was to be able to give just a little bit of their hearts to the old folks. Yes it took some time and effort, but I know they are headed in the right direction when they asked "when are we caroling at the kettle, mom?".

My beautiful children who I nearly lost to my selfishness and addiction are a precious gift to me. Their tender hearts that willingly share what they have, be it a song, smile, prayer, or socks, is a gift to anyone who receives it. And the joy and peace we have from knowing that God our heavenly Father loves us enough to give us His Son Jesus, that we may receive His light to shine throughout the darkness in the world. . . well words just can't describe HIS awesomeness.

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 - NIV

Thursday, December 16, 2010


When I was younger, I used to think how much fun it would be to ride on the big scary rollercoasters. Now that I am living in California and actually have opportunity to partake in the thrill of feeling yourself tipped upside down and your stomache coming in to your throat, I realize its not as much fun as I imagined it would be as a little girl.

Neither is being an adult. Being now in my thirties, I realize we all have to own the fact that we are responsibile for the choices we make: what we say, what we do, the look on our face, even our body language, can all communicate with the people around us. Our actions, whether verbal or not, reflect the person we are. If we are to call ourselves Christian, than we should act like Jesus does. Sometimes this is easier said than done.

It's so easy to get stressed out over little things. We all have multiple things going on in our lives. Right now, we are in the midst of a busy Christmas season at the corps I am helping the Salvation Army at this month. On top of that, Kylie has 2 parties to go to of friends this week, Daylen had a birthday party last week, his Christmas program yesterday at school, and we were at Kylie's high school choir concert until after 10:30 PM last night. There is laundry and dishes, and of course, with Christmas around the corner, presents to wrap and cards to send out.

My point? I have been in the midst of an emotional rollercoaster. I have so much on my mind, I am not thinking straight, and my attitude and snippity comments have been unbecoming of a Christian woman. Thankfully, God has blessed me with a wonderful husband who so kindly points these things out when I am spinning straight down. . . God works like that sometime. Praise the Lord I have a sincere dedicated devotion time each and every day to come back to the fellowship and be ministered by the presence of Jesus. Sadly, I am feeling a bit ashamed at some of my recent behaviors, but God is so faithful and grants me grace. Because of this, I can be empowered to seek forgiveness from those I've been short with and move past the drama.

Having a solid foundation in Christ is key to when you may be pestered, frustrated, upset, or find yourself in your own personal whirlwind. Maybe you're going up and down and around on a rollercoaster like I've been, or perhaps you feel as though you're on a ship sinking. Casting Crowns has a song called "Praise You in this Storm". No matter the circumstance we find ourself in, we must remember that God is with us, and if we seek HIS peace and strength, we can overcome anything.

Yesterday, I met a family who had nothing. The dad and mom were unemployed. They had no toys for their kids, yet the three children seemed genuinely happy because they were together, had clothing and food, and parents who loved them. They smiled big at me and got excited when I invited them to church. Later that day, I went to pick up some toys from the AAA building and met a lady who had organized the Angel tree drive for 5 years for her company. Despite the fact her transmission had gone out on her car and she had no money for her own three children's presents, she was completley rejoicing in being able to rally the support and toys for the Salvation Army's less fortunate children.

I believe these folks are resting on the promises of God and have real joy and hope because of a firm foundation in Him. Let us all learn a lesson from those who can smile still, despite any tumultous times.

"I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built." Luke 6:47-48 NIV

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In the midst of what?

We are all just passing through in what is really a very short life time on earth. We are in the midst of so many things- physically changing, intellectually gaining information, emotionally maturing, spiritually developing. While we may get so caught up in the latest fashion, movies, sports, or drama at the work place, really ask yourself this question-- Is it going to make any difference to me in 5 or 10 years? How about 1 year from now? Probably not. So it is with all things on earth. So fear not. Don't sweat the small stuff. Remember in the end, all that matters is that we love God and love our neighbor as ourself. Be in the midst of something- but choose to be a part of something that is worthwhile, lasting, and eternal. Be in the midst of creating an atmosphere of peace and harmony- unity and love -respect and trust -faith and hope.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18