Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Of Grace, Mercy, and Mini Fridges

He hurt me. Not physically, but there were still scars.

My friends know most of the story. Many blog followers have read the resulting journey over the past few years.

But recently, there was a twist to my story that I never saw coming. Something changed and I know it's nothing but God.

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I received a call from my ex-husband. Once cocky, antagonistic, and proud, he has been beaten down by life.

I am not happy about this. I am not gloating over his misfortune. I don't believe karma has come calling. 

What I think God may be doing is priming his heart to hear His truth. 

During the call, I learned he's pretty much lost everything. A four year dating relationship ended. Unable to find a management position for several years, he's delivering pizzas for a "living"...if you can call making under $250 for 40 hours worth of work, a living. He now resides in someone's basement and often when he stores his food in their kitchen, they help themselves to it.

He kept saying "what am I missing?  I feel like this is the end for me. It will never get better. My life is over. There's no way out. What am I not doing right?"

I let him go on in this manner for half an hour before speaking.

"You're missing what you've always been missing. God. You need Him in your life. You need to get on your knees, confess your sins, and ask Jesus into your heart."

That may sound like a harsh response, but the Truth is the truth and it needed to be said. My tone was not critical, but concerned. For all our difficulties, I have no desire to see him spend eternity in hell.

We talked for a few more minutes and said goodbye. I was shocked to discover compassion welling up inside me. The desperation in his voice moved me to action.

I went on Facebook to a local online yard sale page and said I was in search of a mini fridge. Within minutes someone sent me pictures and I agreed to purchase it.

I texted my ex and told him where to meet me the following day in order to pick up the fridge. He said he didn't have enough gas to get there but he'd figure something out.

We met at the woman's address and loaded the refrigerator into his friend's jeep. I also handed him two bags of groceries from the food pantry I run as well as some gift cards for gas. I could tell he was overwhelmed and uncomfortable receiving the help. He teared up as he thanked me over and over. It was strange seeing him like this.

I asked if he'd eaten that day. "Half a peanut butter sandwich" was the reply. I treated him to pizza and handed him the change from the $20. He told me it was the first time he'd felt like a human being in months.

A few days later he contacted me again saying someone had found the resume he'd posted on line eons ago and he had an interview.

"Can you believe that?"

Once again, I had an opportunity to point him toward God.

"Yes, I can. That's how God works. A few days ago you said you couldn't see a way out. That things would never get better. But God shows Himself in impossible situations. He comes out of left field, and provides in a way that our limited imagination could never conceive. He does it so that He gets the glory. There's no explanation other than God."

I don't know what the results of that interview will be, but I know that a man who was desperate...who confessed to being depressed to the point of being suicidal...has renewed hope. I don't know what the results of my words will be either, but I pray they will ultimately lead to a renewed life.

I could have kicked my ex-husband when he was down, pointing to any number of hardships his actions have caused me. I could have done nothing, considering his circumstances payback for what he's put me through. Many would say either response was justifiable. But God responds to hurts with grace and mercy.

Grace came in the form of the miracle God did in my heart.

He gave me the gift of supernatural forgiveness. A desire to help when it would have been easy to turn a blind eye. Compassion to see the need. A heart to share His eternal truth.

And God's mercy?

It takes on many forms, but this time it looked remarkably like a mini-fridge in the back of a borrowed jeep.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Fifteen weeks ago, I learned my daughter and her husband were expecting my first grandchild.

To realize my "little girl" is becoming a mother herself is a surreal experience.

And to say it was an exciting moment, would not do the depth of my joy justice.

As I ponder this miracle, the words of the psalmist take on new meaning...

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Yes, we can now see the development of this tiny babe who is just 5 months old. We see hands and feet, eyelids and nose, even, through the miracle of 3D ultrasound, the chambers of her heart and her bones!

But God saw her when she was unformed. 

Before my daughter had any inkling that life had been created inside her, He saw the cells dividing and forming.

Before anything appeared on a doctor's monitor, He knew her sex, her eventual height and weight, the timbre of her voice.

Before we meet her face to face and watch her grow from infant to toddler, child to teen, young woman to adult, He knows her eye and hair color, her skills and gifts, her temperament.

He knits her together, bone and muscle and brain, and He knows all that will happen in her life.

She is fearfully and wonderfully made.

His works are wonderful. But do I know that full well?

I ask the question because I've also pondered other things lately...about myself.

Things that seem not quite so miraculous and wondrous. I ask the question:

As I grow older and things begin to wrinkle a bit here, sag a bit there.

As I reach for the box of color a little more often to cover my "stubborn gray".

As it takes a little longer to recover from the aches and pains of exercising at the gym.

As I begin to look in the mirror and some days, struggle to believe there is beauty and potential in the face looking back at me.

But I too am fearfully and wonderfully made.

He does not create and walk away. His works are wondrous at every age.

He knew the timing of that first gray hair. His word tells me "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life." (Proverbs 16:31)

He knew that my body would slow down a bit, but He says "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."

He knew despite the wrinkles and sags, I am still full of potential and He can and will use me. "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree...They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green..." (Psalm 92: 12-14)

Yes, my unborn granddaughter, me, you...all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made.

And I know that full well.