Tuesday, July 26, 2016

From Sorrow to Surprise....

Our world seems to be spinning out of control these days....many people are afraid, lonely, scared and bewildered due to several types of disasters that keep re-appearing in our society:  gun violence, natural disasters such as the raging fires in California, tornadoes, hurricanes, loss of jobs, loss of income, tragic diagnoses with so many types of horrendous cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, lung disease, Parkinson's, etc. etc. etc.

Sorrow seems to invade our world and displace our peace with fear.  Sorrow is the mental suffering or anguish caused by loss, disappointment and grief.  Sadness comes in waves after the loss of a loved one.  Woe threatens to carry us out to sea.  Regret and remorse fill our heart when we can't "fix" a situation for someone close to us.

How can we deal with all this sorrow, all this pain, all this loss, all this worry?
Well, the Scriptures tell us to "Cast all our cares on Him who loves us."  When was the last time you cast your care to the Lord???  And, just how do we do that?
On our knees....a friend of mine calls them "Knee Prints."  I love that!  My grandfather would never get his knees replaced with implants back in the 60's and 70's because he would not be able to knee to pray at night.  Wow.....his dedication to prayer was and is quite an inspiration to me and have been all of my life.

Prayer, supplication and an old word hardly ever used anymore:  Repentance.  Yep, you got it!  Repent means to turn 180 degrees from the way  we have been doing things and "turning it all over to the Lord."  He is the only one who can "fix" it.
It's a tall order.  How do we admit we have turned from all the good, right and holy things God created for us in the beginning?  How do we admit we forgotten The One who gives us all things?  How do we carry on in the face of all these tragedies?  On our knees.  Humbly and with reverence to a God who loves us and wants so desperately for us to know Him.

One of my favorite devotional books is called Jesus Calling.  Many of my prayer warriors read it on a daily basis.  It hits to the core every single day.  Today's reading for July 25 was beautiful!  I am a bird lover!!!  I feed my birds in the backyard and delight in watching them come to the multiple feeders I have acquired over the years.  It is so amazing to watch these little creatures come to fill their tummies.

Listen to what the author Sarah Young says:

"As you listen to the birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-song to you.  I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures.  There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you.  Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come.  When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. (Vibrantly!) You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief.  I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good.
Search for Me and My messages as you go through this day.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being."

Yes, that's with your whole heart!  God has surprises planted along the way for us each and every day if only we are attentive to His calling.  Look up John 10:27 in your Bible.  Even if you haven't read it for 20 years.  Look up Romans 8:28 in the Amplified Bible.  Wow!  It is amazing!  And, don't forget Jeremiah 29:11-13:  "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.  Then, you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord."

We have a loving, living vivacious God who wants nothing more than to comfort that sorrow in your heart and in your life.  Will He "fix" it and make it go away?  No, not most of the time.  He works in mysterious ways and sometimes He works through the sorrow in such a way that we never would have imagined.  He weaves a pattern so incredibly good and beautiful from the deepest pain.  We cry.  We despair.  Our hearts our flooded with anguish.  We want to give up or just go away.  And then, something unexpected happens.  A light shines on  that dark cave we've been hiding in.  We come us for air.  We grow.  We learn.  We feel love flooding that cave where we never thought we could come out of.  We remember our loved ones smile.  Their laughter.  Their habits that we start to do now.  Their way of making our life better. We remember the happiness they brought to our life and want to pass that on to others.

How can He create something good out of something horrendous?  Because He is God.  He loves us so deeply.  He cares for us.  He created us.  He provides a way in the desert for us.  He parts the Red Sea. He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death and takes us to life everlasting.  He sets Eternity in our hearts.

Knee prints.  Ever try them?  If not, try it and pray!  He is listening and has been all along.
Then, watch what happens to your heart and the heart of those you pray for when you truly give it all to Him. The surprises will amaze you.  Sometimes they are in the tiniest things that are almost overlooked.  A smile.  A hug.  A card.  An text or email sent at just the right time.  Laughter with a friend or a sister or brother.  A phone call when you thought you were/are totally forgotten.  A book.  A cup of coffee with someone you haven't seen in a long time.  A neighbor who touches your life and leaves her footprints on your heart.

Knee prints.  From sorrow to surprises.  Every day.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Witnessing young love...

Have you ever been in love?  Has your heart ever felt like it was shooting stars?  Have you ever walked on air or felt like you were dreaming?  Have you ever touched the moonlight and felt like you were holding heaven in your arms?  I have.  And, I just witnessed it this past weekend with my nephew and his new bride in Ohio....

There is a beautiful song that Celine Dion sang back in the 1990's or in early 2000 called:  "Have you ever been in love."  I used to listen to it over and over and over again as I drove down Shawnee Mission Parkway to the Plaza while my hand reached up through my moon roof on my car.  I felt like I was touching the moon and stars....I was in love.  A rare kind of love that only happens once in a lifetime as the fairy tales tell of and yet it was real.  A kind of love that makes your heart sing and you really do feel like you are walking on air!

Way back in the 1950's musical world, Rogers and Hammerstein composed a song from The King and I production called:  "Hello, Young Lovers."  It's all about a person who witnesses a young couple whose parents don't believe they should be in love and yet, their love is unstoppable.  And, reflecting on his/her own experience of love, they knew that kind of love in their life.  Here are a few of the words from that song:
"Hello, young lovers, whoever you are, I hope your troubles are few;
All my good wishes go with you tonight, I've been in love like you.

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star,
Be brave and faithful and true.
Cling very close to each other tonight, I've been in love like you.

I know how it feels to have wings on your heals, and to fly down a street in a trance.
You fly down the street on a chance that you'll meet, and you meet not really by chance.

Don't cry young lovers, whatever you do,
don't cry because I'm alone.

All of my memories are happy tonight, I've had a love of my own,
I've had a love of my own like yours, I've had a love of my own."

Ahhh....yes, the hopeless romantic in me is alive and well!  And, I hope somewhere down deep in your heart and soul that you have experienced this deep, abiding kind of love for someone.  It is truly amazing!!!

My prayers are that Devin and Danielle will continue to deepen their love for one another through the years and grow stronger together every day.  I pray that they will ask the Lord to help them each day to love, honor and cherish one another and to keep the precious love that they just committed to in marriage on June 25, 2016.  I pray that they will rely on the Lord to hold them together for the next 50-60 years so that they will never let the cares of this world or the trials and tribulations they will encounter tear them apart.  Ever.

Weddings are a sacred occasion, a joining together of two lives being witnessed by all who attend.  As this summer rolls along, if you have an opportunity to attend a wedding, I hope you will pray for that couple and their love.  Pray that they will indeed ask the Lord to be the third cord or strand between them that will hold them together forever.  It is a sacred love.  One worth holding on to and fighting for....all the days of your life!!!  Congratulations, Devin and Danielle!!!