Gawking

Gawking or walking in love, gawking or caring?  Did you know if you are gawking you will trip?  Like stumble or fall tripping?

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not against having or riches here. Not at all.  I am against gawking and wrong heart attitude.

Are you giving  money? Are you actually adopting a child from here? Are you willing to come regularly and often to help out, you know rock babies, change diapers, love the caregivers? Are you here to help and work and love or at least learn more about that? Or are you a gawker?

If so, do not apply. You are not welcome to come as a gawker to the orphanage full of children and babies who desperately need to be loved and as a minimum be cared for. It is a harsh life these children live.

Yes, it had come to that. Gawking.

He put his foot down. My husband. He was the gatekeeper of  who got in. It is not a zoo. These are real life children with real needs and hurts. If you are merely curious, don’t ask.

Now, really. Can you imagine such an attitude?  Yes you can. Because it might be you tripping in. Or instead hopefully you would be one who really is truly caring and compassionate and whose interest is motivated by Christ, one who is walking in love.

But honestly, looking is not the same as being compassionate.

Getting down on the not so clean carpet piece week after week is.  Sharing your money for a great playground piece or a case of formula is.  Did you know bottles for cleft palate babies cost at least 4x what a regular bottle cost.

And I will admit, sometimes the looking, the gawking may turn the heart toward compassion.

I remember my momma was a practical women who believed if you cared you did something, not just talked about it like the women’s group did one day. She told me the story. They were going to help a girl have what she needed for a nice graduation.  In the states at least in the south, graduation is a rite of passage into adulthood. It is important and in those days you just had to have a new dress or suit. It marks a person as accomplished.  “See her? She finished.”  It is no small thing to finish.

Well, they talked and said let’s pray about it.  After a whole lot of nothing but words and no decision or giving, my momma said let’s give her the money.  More talk. Momma wrote a check.  She took her shopping.  She thought all that talk among women who were perfectly able to give the girl several dresses was silly and pretentious.

But honestly, talking is not the same as giving. Looking is not the same as being compassionate. And gawking sure isn’t.

Gawking is rude. Gawking at any person is rude.  Gawking and talking about people without respect toward them is rude.

Idle interest is not the same as caring and compassionate.  Taking action is.  Even praying is action.  And it is not always easy, is it, to walk without tripping?

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children  and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

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Clean

 

Cleaning is on my mind a lot. A lot.  House, laundry, book shelves, paper and notebooks.  Myself.

No, I don’t need a bath.  Last week I could have used some help since I could not get all the paint off my arms.

It took me and my gals 4 interrupted days to paint the kitchen ceiling and beams.  It took me longer to get the paint off.  You know how it ends up in those hard to reach unseen places.  Okay, seen by your daughters who really don’t want to be embarrassed.  They’re tweens.

I love sliding into clean sheets at night after a shower. Fresh and comfortable.  I like clean.

My home gets messy when I don’t pay attention.  It gets dirty. In fact, living in an old farmhouse with drafts and cracks is a challenge to keep clean.  Heck, some weeks I can barely keep it picked up.

Sometimes, the dirt sneaks up on me.  I don’t even see it, feel it or worse yet, deal with it.

Yeah, you know right where I am going.  Usually, I keep up. ‘fessed up as I heard as a child.

It is just easier sometimes to ignore those deep sins, the deep dirt.  Sometimes, it is easier to stroke those pretty sins and keep them around.

Then one day, the sun shines so bright the dust and dirt can not be ignored.  The particles dance in the light.

And the hard work must begin.  Because the dirt in intolerable.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply,  from the heart.  1 Peter 1:2

 

 

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Adoration

Anyone with grandchildren will understand this.  Adoration!

A friend warned me that she was unprepared for this new kind of love to wash over her.

The first time you hold the child of your own child, love that is so different from parental love overwhelms you.  It is almost like a love with no strings.  Your only responsibility really is to love this child.  And be an influencer.

(Yes, I do know not everyone is blessed in this way. And many a grandparent today has daily responsibility to help raise the child because of circumstances.)

When my mom was alive, I loved watching the mutual admiration society she had with each of my kids. Sadly, my niece and my 2 love gals will never know that kind of love the older ones had.

When I first held Sweet Pea, it was not with the wonder and fascination I had with her mom when I first held her.  I am not sure how to describe my feelings.  Great joy; pure love. Upon reflection, I realized it was the purest love I had ever felt. I adored her!

A love for the sake of love. I just loved her and thought nothing of what I should do or would do for her.  Or her for me.

After she learned to walk I will never ever forget the day she ran to me!  Ran with pure joy and delight to just see me!  My heart almost burst in response. I ran to her and knelt down to receive the hug and the joy.

I was amazed. She adores me! I’m not sure I have ever been adored. She still does. Her eyes light up when she comes calling or when we see each other in the church hallways. When I walk in her door she comes running past everybody else right to me.

That will change. I already see the signs. She and Love Bug have pure enjoyment of each other.  They play. My heart threatens to tear a bit but I do love my Love Bug too!

Seeing my kids and granddaughter love each other doesn’t really tear at my heart. It tugs. My heart is full.  I love seeing love.

As I have pondered on my great joy at this adoring love, I heard a small still voice in my own heart; “This is how I want you to come to Me.”

Running, arms up with delight! To Me. The layers…trust Me, rely on Me, run to Me, delight in Me, in My love. Worship Me. Adore Me.

If I feel such joy at her running to me with arms up; adorning me, oh my goodness. How                               much more must He feel when I come to Him; just out of love?                                               It was a glimpse of His heart.

      Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.                                                                                                                                     Psalm 100:2

I am linking to A Holy Experience, Walk With Him Wednesdays


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Laughter

I had to laugh! At myself and with God.  I had prayed for some particular things for one of my kids as we moms often do.  And the answer one one was out of the blue but an  answer!

After a moment of stunned silence when I realized this was the answer, the laughter bubbled up inside of me!  He answered my prayer! In a most unexpected way!

Now I know this verse is totally out of context but this child of joy and four others has brought us so much joy! And my granddaughters!  I am not as old as Sarah but old enough to laugh at myself because I am a grandmother and a mom of a tweenie!  I just chuckle sometimes at how God knows just what I need!  Still laughing!

joy in Love Bug’s “from her toes to her belly” laugh

Love Princess’s care for each one of us

my granddaughter running to me for a hug and pick up!

a husband who asks what can I do to help you make it better?

quietness in the evening

silly looking dogs

And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” Genesis 21:6

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Proclamation

I asked the love gals as they were headed out the door for school. “What are you thankful for?”  No explanation, no prompting, no letting them know we were going to go on the hunt for beauty and thankfulness.  They looked at me blankly.  We often say thank you to each other and to God daily in our prayers.

 It is based on the One Thousand Gifts bookblog and idea.

Finally, Amy said…”School?”  Hum.  Meg said with a grin, “Twins”.  We just had twins in our family; my daughter raised our grandchild count too three very early one morning 6 weeks ago.

Not only did the question give them pause; it did me too. Of course there are days when the beauty of what my eyes behold is endless.  Some days, I’m just not seeing it!  The intentionality of living I so aspire too has failed me here.

Those of us who are older may remember The God Hunt from David and Karen Mains family.  Hunting for God in the ordinary, the extraordinary.  Training us and our children to see Him in all circumstances.  We kept a journal for a while, our now adult kids in their younger days. Remembering His faithfulness grew us; steadied me, steadied us.

My list….love gals are keeping their own…

1. Sunshine and gentle breezes

2. Morning sun through the shutters leaving streaks of light across my pillow

3. Silly looking Boomer with her nose in the air smelling for food

4. Wonderfully talented singers

5. Sweet Pea’s smiling while running to Grandma with arms up

6. and of course twins! our very own twins!

 O God,  from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. Psalm 71:17

 http://www.aholyexperience.com/

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Maturity

I have a woman child.  A tweenie.  She is a child of God. She is maturing outwardly and inwardly.  She is beautiful.

Friday night we went to “First Friday”, a monthly event in our downtown of Lancaster. The rain held off and our family enjoyed ourselves. We went to “Taste of the World” for dinner.  Local women from far away places prepare their home country’s food for dinner. It is a way to earn a bit of money for them and to share their heritage with us local folks. She has a very well developed palate. Not only did she eat food from each woman she liked it all.

Love Princess took their pictures. One was young and exotic.  One was a soft spoken mom of a dark curly haired toddler. The other was older and very traditional in her dress whose husband stood by her side. All wore head coverings. She asked for their names making note of them in the iphone. None of those pictures will be posted, anywhere. They wanted privacy.

                   That night in the quietness of our home she prayed for them; by name.                              For their salvation.

She is maturing.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…Colossians 1:9 

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Stump Removal

The beauty of the day drew me and my camera outside yesterday.  And then I spied it; the stump.  Jim is putting a fence in with help from the big guys. First, before building, there is usually some removing to do.  In this case it was a thorny ugly bush.

Did you know when you pull a stump it leaves a hole?  Sometimes, when I start a project there are some results I should have anticipated because it is so obvious! But I don’t. Like there will be a hole when you pull up a stump.  And is there enough dirt to fill the hole up? Who knew?  And once you fill up the hole, there is a potential mud puddle!  Filling the empty hole with the right stuff is very important. Trust me on this.

I was in a reflective frame of mind.  It had been a rough morning for me of onslaughts and attacks from the enemy.  Going to a place of beauty is often a place I can turn my heart and mind toward Him and toward His peace.  It was the outside…blue sky, fluffy clouds, a big breeze.  And fresh green of the spring that had well watered the earth with rain.  It was perfect.

And there was that ugly brown stump with clumps of dried mud.

What a reminder for me to continue to remove those stumps with growing roots way before they grow and take hold.  Stump removal is hard work, sweaty work and usually takes a long time and different approaches. It mostly just fearless (because with Him there is no fear) diligence to see it through!

Now root removal needs deep digging and if it is too big, you need help.  We had to get help for the stump on the corner. It was big and had deep roots.  Sometimes it is not just big stumps. We had mint in one of our yards years ago. You know those danity sprigs in iced tea or used to flavor jelly, cookies and ice cream.  I hate mint plants. They spread and spread and threaten to take over your backyard.  It was a battle, seemingly impossible to get rid of it.  Those nice smelling plants were pesty. Without deep digging and sifting and new soil to get rid of those pushy plants our rather large yard would have turned into a mint farm!

After a morning of the lies that return in different forms from time to time, the visible was stark.  To not give up and to continue to dig away and pull it out!

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…Hebrews 12:15

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Light

Today is Good Friday.  A day of remembrance of the work done on the cross for us. Before we were born.  Hard to fathom. Yet it is true.

Today we will watch portions of the film “Matthew”.  We will also enjoy our day off from school and work. And I will tell my children He is the light.  In John there are several amazing statement made by Jesus declaring Himself as the “I AM”.

This declaration comes after the telling of His writing in the dirt while talking with the Pharisees and adulteress woman. Maybe He wrote in the dirt because he could not according to law write on paper on the Sabbath if it was that day. Maybe He was drawing attention to Himself, away from the woman. Then He pointedly calls the accusers out by pointing to their own condition…sinners. As they fade away under the charge, He speaks gently to her of forgiveness and a new way of life.  Just as he does to us.

The grace and mercy He treats her with is the same mercy and grace He treats us with. And the same forgiveness. The forgiveness wrapped in mercy and grace is the same for us. I could have been that woman. I have been that woman, not just accused but guilty. I know His forgiveness, mercy and grace. I know it!

He forgave me.  Totally.  He could because He is the “I AM”.

And later, in the next recorded event by John, He boldly declares, I AM the light of the world. Did you get He was in the temple?  He just dispelled darkness in a woman’s life. He just exposed the darkness in the accusers’ hearts.

I am amazed at this.  Follow Him and never walk in darkness and not only that…will have the light of life.  I see His love and care, His promise of peace and joy, absence of anxiety. What a relief!  How often to I have to remind myself of this; how often does the Holy Spirit whisper that to me?  I am the light of the world.

Today we will remember and affirm His work on the cross and our own release from darkness.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  John 8:12


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Steady

I asked the love gals as they were headed out the door for school. “What are you thankful for?”  No explanation, no prompting, no letting them know we were going to go on the hunt for beauty and thankfulness.  They looked at me blankly.  We often say thank you to each other and to God daily in our prayers.  We mention when something strikes as from God with thanks.  But this is a new way.  It is based on the One Thousand Gifts bookblog and idea.

Finally, Amy said…”School?”  Hum.  Meg said with a grin, “Twins”.  We just had twins in our family; my daughter raised ourgrandchild count too three very early one morning last week.

Not only did the question give them pause; it did me too. Of course there are days when the beauty of what my eyes behold is endless.  Some days, I’m just not seeing it!  The intentionality of living I so aspire too has failed me here.

Those of us who are older may remember The God Hunt from David and Karen Mains. We became hunters, hunting for God in the ordinary, the extraordinary. It intentionaly trained and our children to see Him in all circumstances.  We kept a journal.  The Bible reference I used was from an Old Testament prayer of a king facing insurmountable odds from a enemy staging war against Israel and a stack of stones after a river crossing. A book of remembrance of how He has cared for us; loved us.

This looking for gifts is a twist on that.  Looking for Him in the tense, the horrible, the disappointing, the lonely, the tears and the glad and the glory!  Both are good to set down and remember.

As a historian, I valued the personal histories of people, of family and of people in the Bible.  When there are fires as one branch of my family had, much of the history is lost. Though personal histories can inspire me, noting and recognizing my own history in the making through the grid of His care is more than a comfort. It is  steadying force in the regrets, sadness, despair or depression.  In the spiritual crisis. Because though I am in crisis He is not and remembering how He took care of me and mine in the past steadies me and refocuses my heart eyes where they should be… on Him.

 

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,  for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.  They will proclaim his righteousness,declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!  Psalm 22:27-31

 

 

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Sad

I was reminded today about the importance of bedtime routine…by my littlest love gal who is soon to be 11.  She told me she was SAD because I did not sing to her at night any more.  When she cries, she informs me, I just talk and sit there.  Sometimes I do get frustrated and tell her not to cry. The sobs were too much for me to bear.

Where is the song? Honestly, my song has been lacking lately.  We are both grieving. She was even grieving the loss of my song.

I knew she was grieving. The Lord has told me that more than month ago. Today she named it SAD. It took a week away with some very special people including my dear husband and the Love gals for me to realize many of my own unfamiliar actions are because of grieving and sadness. (We have experienced much loss of home and friends and much more because of a move.)

Hum…now I am not in a heap.  I am not unable to function but the tears often hover.  Love Bug’s tears start at night, when the darkness envelopes us in a soft cocoon.  She has no way to handle sadness and grief.  Neither of us do so we will continue to cry the tears of cleansing and soothing.  It is good for us. It is His compassion and lovingkindness that will sustain and soothe us.

For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.  For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men.   Lamentations 3: 32-33

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