Saturday, July 27, 2013

Walking A Big Dog

One of my favorite things to see while walking my dog, who is now bigger than I am, is some big, beefy guy walking a poodle-type of 'dog' (I guess technically they are called that).  It is usually on the other side of the street because they think my dog will eat their dog.  When, in actuality, my dog is just scared of theirs because he knows they are about to bark - and it just might hurt his precious ears!  As we walk by, a grin appears in my heart because I can feel the insecurity increasing all the way across the pavement.  (Yes, I realize guys who walk little dogs are probably like guys who wear pink - very secure in their masculinity.  But go with me here - those guys don't count for this analogy).  I guess it just gives me peace to know that even though I am small, my dog is way cool and massive - so that makes me way cool and massive, too! And, if you think you are a big stud, but walk a puny dog, it kinda knocks you down a notch.

Remember the first time you spoke in public?  If you were nervous, the teacher told you to picture everyone in their underwear.  That way, you'd be laughing at everyone instead of fearing them.  Knowing you were fully clothed, and nothing you said from here on out would be more worthy of laughter than what they looked like underneath their fashionable (or not) attire.

"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."  1 John 4:4 ESV

When we start to feel the least bit small or don't think you have what it takes.  When others are flaunting their stuff around you and it's starting to get to you just a little bit.  When your situation doesn't seem to measure up to someone else's;  just picture this.  You are walking a VERY big dog if you are in Christ.  God wants you to have such joy in Him that your heart grins as the deep peace that He bought for you seeps through your soul and anything coming from the world just looks like a little purse dog in comparison!  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Today I Drank From a Public Pool

And, the kiddie one, at that!

Reminded me of the time when I was a freshman in college and I was the caboose in the skit where everyone goes in to the bathroom individually, brushing their teeth and rinsing in the same cup, then I get to come running in completely dehydrated and drink it all down.  Did wonders for my reputation - I didn't care, I was a freshman.  And, neither did I care when I was reprimanded by my seven-year-old for drinking the pool water.
I bet you would have done it, too.
We took our latest little toddler, who had never seen a pool (per her hysteric response), to go have some good, clean, summer fun.  She was scared to death - clinging to me - didn't even want to put a toe in the stuff for over an hour.  Until she saw a ball.  It took her about ten minutes, but she got into an inch deep of the pool!  She touched it. She put it in her mouth.  Her eyes smiled (she would deny it, but it was there).  Then, for the next thirty minutes, she continued to put her hands in the water and put them in her mouth - she couldn't get enough.  She put them in my mouth, too - what was I gonna do?  Say no?  No way!  I drank, I copied - she thought it was hilarious.  She then proceeded to "wash" herself.  Everywhere - inside her suit, arms, hair, face - my hair, arms, face.  Normally, I can't stand it when my kids touch my face, but at this point, I loved every minute.  She was discovering something new - something that she was so scared of, she realized was actually a blast!  And getting to play a little part in that discovery was amazing.  My face was smile-cramped.

Verses that were running through my head (yep, that's how I think):

"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean."  Mt. 15:11
Re:  Imbibing kiddie pool water.

"Then, Lord, Simon Peter replied, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"  John 13:9
Re:  The overwhelming washing in discovery of water.

"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."  1 Cor 9:22
Re:  Becoming undignified for the sake of others' joy!

But here's what I found when I got home that was way better:

"Never again will they hunger; 

never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
He will lead them to springs of living water.  
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Revelation 7:16-17

That's what I witnessed.  This little girl has been homeless for just about her entire twenty two months of life.  I'm sure there's been a few tears.  As she displayed the overwhelming joy in experiencing kiddie pool water for the first time, that was just a glimpse, a sliver, of what our experience with the living water will be.

The footnotes in my Life Application Study Bible say it perfectly:
"Salvation cannot be earned, but God gives it freely.  We live in a world desperately thirsty for living water and many are dying of thirst.  But it's still not too late.  Let us invite everyone to come and drink!"
God so wants us to get rid of our fears and come and drink - freely, richly, abundantly!  
And, one day, maybe, just maybe, we will be reunited to drink living water and remember the time when we drank from the kiddie pool.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Might As Well Face It, You're Addicted...

Go ahead, sing along.  I'm finding this our mantra and I like it!

When we dropped off our last placement at Lydia Home a week and a half ago, they were ready to pop another one in my car for the ride home like a swinging door.  I told them no - It was recharge time for me and my family - had to get Dr.'s appointments done, go on some bike rides, etc...  Well, that lasted about two days and we were done.  Grouchiness started to surface.  Bickering.  Indulgence.
Got me into a book by Gerald May called Addiction and Grace.  WOW.  I was reading it partly for my own issues and partly for educating myself for the sake of others.  After becoming involved with all these moms who lose their kids from addiction issues, the fire inside me was being stoked, and I figured out where I wanted to focus my upcoming degree.  But, of course, I learned more about myself and what is at the root of my own issues.

Here are some cool things I learned about addiction from this amazing book:

It seems to me that free will is given to us for a purpose:  so that we may choose freely, without coercion or manipulation, to love God in return, and to love one another in a similarly perfect way.

"Nothing", God says, "must be more important to you than I am."

It is addiction that keeps our love for God and neighbor incomplete.

God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.

Addiction can be, and often is, the thing that brings us to our knees.

We can choose whether to relax our hands a little or to keep clenching them ever more tightly... this simple choice may be the greatest kind of struggle any human being can face...

Then we will realize that we are our own worst enemies; we cannot beat ourselves.  At that point, when we have exhausted all the available false repositories for our hope, it is possible that we will turn to God with a true sense of who we are, with an integrity that is both humble and confident, with a dignity that knows itself because it has met its limits.

In a nutshell - choosing to let go of the thing that is drawing us away from God, and choosing, instead to cling to the One who made us in the first place, allows us to know love and to love others!  I would like to propose the opposite is also true.

I was given a time of unexpected free time yesterday.  Camps and playdates all of a sudden coincided.  I was going to read or listen to music, but God told me He just wanted me to sit with Him.  So, I did.  I confessed and then told Him that I loved Him.  I liked how that felt (probably because I was doing what He wanted), so I did it a few more times; "I love you, God."
Two minutes later a text came through with an opportunity to keep a one year old girl for two to three weeks because her mom was homeless, jobless, and needed to find a stable place to be.  I had no reservations.  This was God responding.  Saying, "I love you, too".  I called and she is now in our home.  And we are much happier now.  You see, when we "spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then our lights will rise in the darkness" (Isaiah 58:10).  The light in our hearts turned on.  That's how we were made.  We are addicted to love.  We needed more and more - to give it and to get it.  And in that, there is no room for other addictions, because when our hands are open to God,  and He fills us completely, why grasp for anything else?