Friday, February 2, 2018

Symptoms of a Good Listener

In my listening, my "looking into your eyes", do you see acceptance or surprise?  Do you have a sense of me holding onto every word? That I've got your back, as I should?  Do I respond with appropriate questions?

On the other hand, have I failed to mention..Do you brush off every gentle reprimand, bringing the conversation to a halting, screeching, end?  You see, it goes both ways. Encouragement and tough love.  A gentle push, a shove, in the right direction. Might cause some friction, but meant with all sincerity, while being full of uncertainty.  Will you still embrace me?

Now that I've been a sounding board, however imperfect, whether or not my advice was a sure fit...Can we turn the tables..are you also able?  In this day and age, we both need to spew out what's bottled inside, we both know the dangers of trying to hide.  Every negative feeling, emotion, and thought, can erode, can explode...And yes, no matter our particular life journey, whether joy or negativity...we all need someone who can listen, or is is really. just. me.??

Don't let it be true, that a symptom of a good listener is, well, no one listens to her.

That's it.  Found this unfinished piece in my draft folder.  It is raw.  But it's how us responsible, shy, introverted types feel on occasion.  Like we are good at listening but don't always have that person in our lives, a mentor as sorts, who will pour into us, be the first one to reach out on occasion, challenge, inspire, and encourage us.  I recognize that more people probably feel this way than we know.  In that regard, how can I be a better friend to you?

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Problem With Love

(My first real attempt at spoken word.  A call for all Christians to remember to truly love like Jesus at all times, even when defending your faith and Biblical beliefs.  Don't forget the people, they are all precious to God and deserving of His unmerited favor and love.)

The Problem With Love

The problem with love, these days:  It's fake. It's faded. It's artificially created. It's genetically modified, self-justified, only love you if you can see MY side.  I couldn't love you, I TRIED! So now, I'll just hide...hide behind my rock-solid beliefs, while giving everybody, who even remotely disagrees, grief. Of sinners, I am chief.  But, do I ever show weakness?  Do I ever display meekness? Do I get off my high horse to serve?  Does our Heavenly Father give me what I deserve?  No.  A thousand times no.  Of this, I am certain. When Christ died, the curtain...Need I say more...the curtain: it no longer exists.  It was torn in two.  I was made new.  His love for me is vast.  My sin...our sin, was cast...into the depth of the sea.  So let's learn to love like HE: The Great I Am, who became but a man.  Who's love can't be measured. Love, a precious treasure. 

Love like Jesus.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Collector

As a child and into my teen years, I was an avid collector of...mostly junk.  I went through different phases where I collected coins, stamps, Berenstain Bear Books, Lisa Frank stationery sets, playing cards, and oddest of all...state souvenir spoons.  You know, those awkwardly small spoons with the scroll designs engraved into them and an icon to represent one of the states.  You can bet I wasn't eating my morning cereal with these babies. Nope, they mostly stayed in the box and collected dust.   You can stop laughing now, years ago state spoons were coveted souvenirs...within the senior citizen community anyway.  Okay, I guess you have permission to laugh.

Want to know which items in my collection were the ones that I enjoyed the most?  You guessed it, the items that I actually took out of the box and USED!

Within the last few months, I got back together with an old "acquaintance" of mine that I've had a love-hate relationship with off and on for years, jogging. Jogging and I haven't always gotten along.  I hated the personal assessment running tests I had to do in high school,  but gave it a go again in my adult years.  I came to both love and hate it, but I could feel every cell in my being wanting to love it; Except my right knee.  My right knee and jogging were mortal enemies.  Thankfully at this point in my life they have learned to be in the same room without trying to kill each other.

One buffer between my knee and running came in the form of expensive running shoes.  If you know me well, then you know me to be fairly cheap, so I cringe to tell you how much they cost...$100.00 on sale!  Maybe to you that's no big deal, but it was hard for me to fork over the cash for something that needs to be replaced every 400-500 miles. Being the cheapskate that I am, I googled how to care for running shoes.  I knew if I wasn't careful that I could become obsessive.  In the beginning, I refused to leave them in my car - and honestly I still try not to (The internet guru told me that cold and hot can ruin the shoe's adhesives).  I purchased the shoes on a Thursday, and a group run was scheduled for the following, rainy, Saturday morning. Since I hadn't rejoined a gym by that point, I wasn't able to test the shoes out on a safe, dry surface as much as I wanted to.  I almost skipped the group run that day because I was afraid of ruining my new shoes.  Can you imagine, running shoes that I was afraid of running in?!?  I nearly turned my running shoes into a collection that didn't get any use.

Do we "collect" things in our spiritual lives?  I know I'm guilty of this.  I have a multitude of Bibles: a study Bible, a new journaling Bible, and the Bible app on my phone; but how often do I really read and absorb the scriptures?  2 Timothy 3:16 says "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (ESV)"  Sometimes I think we tend to believe a distorted version of 2 Timothy 3:16 that goes something like this: "All scripture must be printed on beautiful paper, leather bound, engraved in gold, sitting on a shelf artfully arranged next to a vase of flowers following the guidelines of Feng Shui"

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful:
When does a collection become less about collecting, and more like clutter?  I often come across the quote (pictured on the left) by Willam Morris on Pinterest.  I find it to be a simple concept that still manages to inspire and challenge me not to let my living areas get too cluttered. 

The same can apply in our spiritual lives.  We may may be collecting beautiful, life-giving things, that aren't getting used.  Or, we may be holding onto "clutter" that slowly can overwhelm and eventually cripple us from joyful living.  (I'm picturing every episode of Hoarders I have ever seen right about now).  What are you holding onto?  Bitterness?  The need to control? Fear? Fear is usually a big one for me, that and the constant need to compare myself with others.  I clutter my life with fear, comparison, etc., leave my Bible looking pretty on the shelf, and expect to have room to collect and manifest beauty in my life?

We tend to discard the useful, and hold onto the trash with an iron fist.  Whether you are collecting  something good that's not getting put to good use, or piling up clutter in your life, the good news is that God is always good!  He never turns us away because we haven't come to Him as often as we should. He is waiting with open arms to accept His call to be our Papa, our Abba Father, all over again; or maybe for the first time. Jesus will take our ashes, and give us beauty instead. Accept His beauty in your life.  Embrace it.  Wear it like a treasured piece of jewelry.  Your story isn't over, it's just beginning. And your life is a beautiful masterpiece to the Father.

God's story never end...More at

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hanging On By a Thread

A very small poem I wrote some time ago for someone I know who struggles with a chronic illness. Whatever you are going through. Hold on!

Holding On By a Thread

Hanging on by a thread
She's battered and bruised yet
Far from dead
Being fed lies but
Trusts Father instead

Hanging on, for she understands,
that up ahead is
 the Promised Land

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Maintenance Mission

Ever feel like you are just "maintaining" in life?

My least favorite room of the house to clean is the kitchen.  I'm convinced that kitchen's were designed to be always dirty.  How many times do you clean the kitchen, only to cook a big meal and dirty it again?  I don't often get that particular room completely clean .  Often, the dishwasher doesn't get unloaded until there is another dirty load waiting on the counter.  Between being busy (but never lazy, of course!), cooking and doing dishes take long enough that I don't often get to the other areas of cleaning.  Forget sweeping and mopping.  Cleaning the oven; people really do that?!? Shining the sink? Only for super women.

My method of cleaning sometimes consists of maintaining a certain standard, instead of taking it up a notch.  How often to we simply "maintain" in our spiritual lives as well?  Instead of spending quality time with God everyday, we may settle for a quick bedtime prayer.  Instead of reading the Bible, we surf the internet...but it's okay because we posted a scripture to Facebook or Twitter.  Get the idea? I can be guilty of this.

You may be thinking, "Okay, I get what your saying, but that's better than nothing, right?"  Well sure, but what might you be missing in life by not digging deeper?  In the kitchen, a few crumbs on the floor could make it uncomfortable to walk barefoot.  In life, any number of small things can simply cause you to miss out on experiencing all of God.  He is always there with open arms, ready and willing to spend time with you! (Believe me when I tell you that I'm preaching to the choir here as well.)

Ready for the irony?  Get out of that kitchen, let it be dirty for awhile...and enjoy spending time with your Father.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From Birth to Beard

From Birth to Beard

From birth to beard
This Man now grown
Savior of mankind
Though to many unknown

His helpless cries
Became undaunted resolution
To free us of
Sin's pollution

From birth to beard
A child no longer
His life and death
Can make you stronger

He came to recover
Abundant life kidnapped
His life today's gift
ready and unwrapped

Will you accept??


Thursday, July 18, 2013

To Be Wanted

"In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really 
needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and 
creates the most lasting bond."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

If you're like me, they you may at times feel almost guilty for wanting to be noticed, loved, cherished, or considered important.  Society teaches us to be strong and independent.  You may have been taught (or learned the hard way) not to depend on others, because they will just let you down.

Do you every feel guilty for needing to be needed, and does that mean this desire isn't from God?  Not at all.

I believe God has put that desire for companionship/love in us, consider these 2 brief points...
  • God made Eve for Adam so Adam wouldn't be alone. (Genesis 2:18)
  • There are many scriptures in the Bible about friendship.
So it seems that God has put an innate desire in us to want to be loved, accepted, and important to others.  Still, the desire for others should never surpass our desire for being wanted and loved by God.

Well guess what?  God wants to be noticed, cherished, and important in your life too!

The other day during worship, I started thinking about this desire of ours to be wanted.  Different scenarios played out in my head of times I had felt wanted and how special it felt.  God brought to mind the many hugs and exclamations of, "Ms. Sarah!" I get in the mornings from my preschoolers.  I recalled one of my girls, who will soon be leaving us to attend Kindergarten, often telling me that I am still her favorite teacher. 

I hope you know that God wants YOU, yes you!  He longs for you to spend time with Him.  He aches for you in the same way that a single person may desire to get married.  He hungers for you more than one may hunger for their favorite meal after not eating all day.  He longs for you more than an addict needs his next fix.  His desire is for YOU. You are wanted.

God needs to be wanted, by YOU!

When you ignore that time with Him...God actually becomes jealous! (Deuteronomy 4:24)  Interesting, because jealousy is usually considered to be a negative trait, and is most of the time.  Did you know that Oprah was turned off to Christianity, because she heard a preacher say that God is jealous God?  I don't know about you, but to me that brings amazement.  God wants to spend time with little insignificant me?  Yep.  Not just the preachers, not just the missionary workers, but you and me!

So don't keep God jealous any longer of all the time you spend on facebook, TV, texting, etc....Spend some time with Him. 

Know what it's like to be wanted and fulfilled!