Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Archive for May, 2013

Frustration & Restoration

My heart aches, and admittedly responds with indignation, as the daily headlines bring more news of God’s righteous standards being ignored, compromised, mocked, and blatantly violated.  God Himself is being dismissed as a tolerant grandfather-figure who would never judge anyone for anything, rendering Him quite ineffective and irrelevant.

So I was comforted this morning as I read God’s encouragement to those who choose to truly follow Him. 

“Listen to me, you who know right from wrong
you who cherish my law in your hearts.
Do not be afraid of people’s scorn,
nor fear their insults.
For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing.
The worm will eat at them as it eats wool.
But my righteousness will last forever.
My salvation will continue from generation to generation.”  Isaiah 51:7-8

Lord, give us the courage to endure the frowns of society out of our loyalty to You!  We look forward to the day when You put everything to rights.

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What am I doing in the world?

“What have you done?!?!”  We chuckle fondly at how our non-native English speaking friend expressed her amazement (which might otherwise be taken as a rebuke) at how my husband had been able to open a door she’d been struggling with. (We would have said it this way: “How did you do that?”)

“What are you doing in the world?” was my own inquiry as a child when I wondered what my mom was doing.  Again, a naïve twist on a simple question can prompt one to think more deeply about important issues.

What have I done?  What am I doing?  Why has God put me where I am now?  I may have some plans for today, but I want to remain flexible and see where He takes me.  My goal in life is not to find myself but to seek and follow Him and fulfill the higher purposes He has made me for.  Why settle for anything less?

Just yesterday we were delighted at how He brought us together with a couple of “strangers” in a public transportation van who actually turned out to be our brother and sister in God’s family.  What a delightful time we had, getting acquainted and sharing our God stories.  One even turned out to be a good friend of my first-grade teacher and mother of my sister’s high school classmate!

What surprises and opportunities does today hold?  Lord, keep my eyes open, teach me, lead me, delight me, and make me a blessing!  Fulfill Your purposes in and through me today!

Bittersweet Days

I woke up this morning with joy, thanking God for 39 years of marriage to the most wonderful man in the world–my prince, my soul-mate, my best friend and lover and much, much more. 

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Then we got sobering news about our granddaughter who is terminally ill, and the tears came.  The past few days have been rough as the tumor ravages her body.  When we get back there after 2 1/2 weeks away, we’ll really notice the difference.  Yet as our hearts grieve, we also rejoice in the confidence that God is good and loving, He is powerful and in control, He is wise and is working out all things in amazing ways we can only catch a glimpse of presently.  But here’s one of those glimpses, written by her mother:

Last night she was coughing a lot. Firstly, she can’t make her self cough hard so she wasn’t able to clear her airways well, and then I felt like what she did cough up she couldn’t effectively clear from her mouth. So today, I called about getting a suction machine. Tonight she got chills all over, then she started throwing up mouthfuls when she coughed.  It was 8:00 pm when I was thinking of taking her into the ER just to suction her, chest x-ray if needed, etc. when a man showed up at the door with the suction machine. What a relief. I couldn’t believe they got it here so quickly and even after “business hours”. What a gift from God.

And here’s another:
Last night a friend called and said she would like to bring a meal to us tonight. She ended up bringing the very thing Emmeline has asked to have for her birthday next week, tortellini soup and homemade rolls. My friend had no idea. So even though the eating was tough for Emmeline, she was very happy and it was a reminder to me of God’s personalized blessings for each of us.

In these bittersweet days, God’s love, power, and wisdom are our comfort.  He is there for you, too!

 

 

Friends Forever

The other evening, we attended a get-together of current and former colleagues.  At first, I didn’t recognize the lady just ahead of me in line, but when she turned to face me, her name popped into my mind and I remembered a time many years ago when she had blessed me.

By the time I get home from a few months away, two of my very good friends will have moved away.  I live in a situation where people come and go fairly frequently.  By the time I have finally overcome my introvert tendencies and forged a true friendship, often someone’s moving away.  But others have stayed around for a few decades.

And then I visit friends I haven’t seen for years and we just take up where we left off.  Isn’t God’s family wonderful?  I can attest to the truth of this promise of Jesus:

Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.  Matthew 19:29

As a citizen of heaven, I know that these precious friendships extend beyond this earth.  In eternity, we’ll have infinite time to sit down and catch up.

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Passing the Buck or the Baton?

I love words—puns, idioms, etc.  A couple of apparently similar idioms come to mind as I reflect on what’s going on in the world, my nation, and my organization.  But the difference in these two expressions is vast.

Passing the buck* is shifting responsibility to another person instead of accepting it, whether or not the other is willing to take it.  It can involve blaming another for one’s own failures, or shifting a job/responsibility that should be one’s own to someone else.

Passing the baton, on the other hand, (or passing the torch, or handing over the reins—aren’t idioms fun?) is handing over responsibility to another after one has already done his/her best to fulfill it for some time.  It implies that the other person is willing and has been prepared to do the job. 

In situations of passing along responsibility to others—e.g. parenting, training on the job—I need to stop and think whether I’m passing the buck or passing the baton.  One is the epitome of irresponsibility; the other is wise management and involves good mentoring.  One is abusing people; the other is enabling them.

*Etymology:  The expression is said to have originated from poker, in which a marker or counter (e.g., a knife with a buckhorn handle during the American Frontier era) was used to indicate the person whose turn it was to deal. If the player did not wish to deal he could pass the responsibility by passing the “buck“, as the counter came to be called, to the next player.  (Source:  Wikipedia)

Divine Clothing

“I like your jacket.”  My husband didn’t hear the compliment from the flight attendant as he boarded the plane, so he repeated, “I like your jacket!  It’s retro…in a good way.  Members Only label!  You could get a good price for it on eBay.” 

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We hadn’t realized we had such a treasure.  My husband had assumed it was rather old-fashioned since he’s had it for maybe 15 years and probably got it second-hand even then.  To us, its value is in its practical use, but it’s nice to know that it’s not dowdy after all Smile.

I’m amazed at how God provides for us.  Often when hanging up the laundry, I give thanks for this or that garment, or all of them which suit us so well and have been provided in amazing ways. 

Why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
…These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  (from Matthew 6:28-33)

Speaking of “lilies of the field”—I am delighting in the glorious wildflower displays here in Texas. God’s creative genius and beauty on display!  Here are some I saw yesterday.

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Facing the Morning

Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:1)

Beginning and ending the day with God—hemming it all around in prayer so it won’t unravel, but will unfold according to the Divine Plan.  Whether it’s washing endless dishes, wiping runny noses, slicing vegetables, driving kids to school, answering mail, or what—I want to do it as service to the Lord, delighting in Him, basking in the warmth of His smile, and expecting good from Him in response to the requests I have made.

Good morning, Lord!    Would you share this cup of coffee with me as we start our day?  Coffee cup

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