Saturday, March 20, 2010

Forget the ladybug...gimme the dirt!

This morning has been a beautiful time of enjoying the nice weather while sitting on the back screen porch in the wicker chair with the comfy pillows.  Bird watching, eating breakfast and drinking hot tea with my precious 4-year-old son who was sitting in the other big comfy wicker chair doing the same. 

He LOVES ladybugs!  And they seem to love him, too.  Seems there is always one somewhere near him...they even mysteriously find him in the house.  He tries to trap them sometimes so they won't fly away.  Other times he has one crawling on his shirt as he walks around the house.  They are his "buddies".  And he "wuvs" them, as he says.  He has even said that the ladybug is his "best friend".

So, while he was playing with one on the porch this morning, he spotted another even bigger one.  As he was trying to catch that one, it managed to crawl in the tiny space between the planks of the floor of the porch, and then it made its way outside of our screened-in area via its little tiny space.  He was soooo disappointed.  He wanted to catch his ladybug friend, but it had gotten away.  So, now he wanted to go outside and catch it, since he could still see it.  Now, he was still in his cute striped pajamas and socks.  So...I convinced him that he had to change clothes and put on shoes before he could go trampling around outside trying to catch it.  (I know, I know...I'm a bummer of a mom!)  ;)  Anyway, with his new goal in mind, he ran to his room with me and we found him some play clothes and his "favorite, cool blue tennis shoes" (that are really almost too small for him now).  We got him all dressed for the task at hand...all the while I knew what would soon be coming that he had forgotten about, hence why I made him get fully dressed in play clothes.

Then, just as we came back out on the porch and he was making his way down the steps into the back yard to go catch his ladybug (who was now no longer visible...but he was determined!)...I alerted him to what was off in the not-too-far-off distance in the back yard...Pops (my father-in-law) had his truck backed up with a trailer FULL of DIRT being emptied right there in our back yard!!!!  A boy's dream!!! 

What ladybug!?!  The little man went running full force straight to the mountain of dirt!!!  "Pops, this is sooo cool!!!", he was yelling over and over as he ran.  WOW!  And, of course he dove in head first!  Then he proceeded to climb up one side and dive down the other riding on his belly all the way.  Then, he climbed back up to the tip-top and stood with his arms out to his sides, wind blowing his jacket in the air (picture the scene from Titanic) and he yelled over and over, "I'm the King of the Mountain!  Everybody see me!?!" 

What a hey-day!  Fun times!  And to think...if he wouldn't have listened to me, he might have stayed focused on that little ladybug and missed the whole least for that moment.  (And it's supposed to rain a good bit later, so really, this might be his one chance for the day to play in the fresh dirt.)

You see, I knew all of the above was in the plans for the day.  I knew the big picture all along.  Therefore, I guided him carefully in when and how to get dressed as well as what to pay attention to at just the right time.  I let him enjoy his little ladybug for the time he needed to, but when I knew something better was coming soon, I prepared him at just the right time for it.  Then, when it arrived, I made sure to direct him to it so that he could enjoy every minute possible of it.

Though I am in no way comparing myself to God, this scenario is much like what He does for us, His children.  He knows the BIG picture...He is the one who not only knows all of the plans, but has made them.  He knows what we love, what excites us, what refreshes us, what we need, what we want...He created us with all of those desires and emotions.  He also knows what can ultimately hurt us that seems good for the moment, and even what is good and okay for the moment but may cause us to miss out on a much bigger blessing and joy if we don't follow His redirection at just the right time.  We often kick and scream when He tries to redirect us from what we think is best for us, like my son could have done (and often would have done)...but thankfully for him, this time, he didn't...all he had to do was turn his eyes a few inches in a different direction and...OH, MAN!...A MOUNTAIN OF DIRT!!!  Same goes with us...just a few inches of adjustment in our view and...OH, MAN!...blessings beyond our wildest dreams!!!!  Ones He knew and planned all along for us, and even gently, secretly prepared us for all along as well.  But ones we were completely oblivious to until they are right there in front of our eyes! 

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."  (Proverbs 19:21)

"But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations."  (Psalm 33:11)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  (Jeremiah 29:11)

"Let him not deceive himself by trusting in what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return."  (Job 15:31)

"He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."  (Psalm 40:3-5)

"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture."  (Psalm 37:3)

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD." (Proverbs 16:20)

"He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe."  (Proverbs 28:26)

"Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?"  (Isaiah 2:22)

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."  (Isaiah 30:21)

There I go again...getting carried away with His word!  Hope you were encouraged and maybe even convicted by some or all of the above, as I am. 

I know that I was meant to share this, because I have this nasty little computer bug that only rears its head every once in a while...and it did several times while I was trying to copy and paste those verses.  The first time, my heart sunk for a second because I thought I had lost ALL of the stuff above the verses!  And then as I was beginning to try to retype it, I remembered that Blogger has this wonderful "Autosave" that creates a draft for you throughout your typing!  Thank God for Autosave!  I merely had to come back in and edit the last draft that was saved to complete the post.  And...I figured a way around that little bug!  ;)

So...can't wait to hear what He is speaking to each of your hearts through this lesson in ladybugs and dirtpiles!

Guess I better go do some constructive things around the house now...and mentally prepare myself for the inevitable DIRT BATH of the 4 year old!  HaHa!  Maybe Daddy or Pops will take that one on for me!  We'll see...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Requirements or Necessities!?!

Lately I have allowed myself to get caught up in various things going on in my life.  Some are necessities...some are requirements...some are both...some are neither.  Do you get me or did I lose you?

One of the things that I have not spent near enough time doing is reading and meditating on the Word of God.  Now some of you may immediately think I am saying that reading the Bible is something I feel required to do.  You may think I am saying that I have this nagging guilt trip because I have not met up to the expectations that I feel are placed on me by my "religion".  (If you have picked up anything from reading my blog, my faith is much deeper than "religion".)  Though in some ways reading His Word is a requirement in the same way that spending time with your spouse or anyone else that you love is a requirement in order to get to know them better, I no longer view Bible reading as a least not in a burdensome, expectation-placed-on-me aspect.  I used to, and that's when my Christian experience seemed much more like a guilt-ridden, can-never-meet-up-to-everyone's-expectations time of life.  What a freedom comes when you no longer see it that way! 

No, I do not view it that way anymore.  It's more like this...

When I do spend time reading His Word (that He specifically gave to those various inspired writers to pen, and that He has made sure to preserve for centuries so that you and I could continue to hear what He has to say and what He has done for us)...when I read His word, it is refreshing, renewing, inspiring, enlightening, intriguing, mind-blowing, mysterious-yet-very clear and alive, thought-provoking, humbling, comforting, encouraging, convicting, very on-point for the very moment I am reading a specific passage, historically educating and interesting, and, well, indescribeable! 

So...was that enough adjectives for you!?!  You see, if I was trying to fulfill a total-word-count requirement for a paper in school, I would have thrown tons of applicable but unnecessary adjectives in there.  Because, let's face it...there's only so much you can say about "flying buttresses" and then you just have to fill in the rest of the space!  (In case you're wondering, that's what my High School Senior English Term Paper was about!  Why do I still remember that?  How could you forget months of research and note cards on Gothic Architecture and Flying Buttresses...not to mention how difficult it was to try to make that all sound interesting in a High School Term Paper!) 

Anyway, like I said, there are times when you have said all there really is to say and the adjectives are just unnecessary (but required) fillers.  But, in this case, each of those adjectives is very true, very real, very necessary, and even still not enough to describe what reading His Word can be like.  Go back and read them again and let each one sink in.  Then, maybe you will understand why I say that reading His Word and spending time meditating on what He has to say through it is not really so much a requirement to me as it is truly a necessity! 

Like a good drink of cold water on a hot Louisiana day or a piping hot cup of coffee or tea on a much-to-early and cold morning...time with Him, reading His word (even just a couple of verses) is truly a refreshing, comforting necessity of life...for me, at least.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Ok, so I think I may have just gotten a ticket this evening.  Not sure, though.  No, it wasn't a great invisible policeman that pulled me over or anything.  (Too bad it wasn't Steven Seagal!  Man, my husband would be jealous!)  No, nothing like that...But, something about those flash bulbs going off behind me.  I very seriously doubt that any Paparazzi would have any reason to be following ME...much less snapping pictures.  Yep, it was either me or that Speed Demon who was behind me urging me to move faster down a road of which I am unfamiliar with the speed limit.  Just as I figured out the speed limit...and that I was about 5 miles over it...those lovely flash bulbs went off behind me.  Hmmmm.....  Guess I'll find out if I receive a congenial "letter" from the great City of New Orleans.  I have a feeling it won't be one telling me how much they enjoy having me grace their area with my presence.  No...instead I imagine it will be some form of a gentle (yeah, right!) and not-so-subtle insistence upon paying a fine due them for disrespecting their rules.  Of course, I can only hope it was really Speedy Gonzales who made the flash bulbs go off and got his license plate enshrined by the NOPD Paparazzi.  Oh, well.  Time will tell.

Makes me think a I ever stop doing that!    Just like I am admittedly guilty in this case of speeding (sooo much less than I used to speed, by the way!), and Mr. S. Gonzales is most definitely guilty...I may have to pay the price for this and I may not, though I really do deserve to.  (I hope Mr. G. does and not me.)  I deserve it because, as I said, I disrespected the rules and committed the (is this called a crime?) act of civil disobedience.  (Oooh, that was good!)  Additionally, no matter what I think, Mr. S. Demon (those demons....ugh!) may or may not have to pay the price for what I think he did wrong.  Only the NOPD Traffic Camera will be the judge of that.  Even if I do think he was wronger than me.

So, with all of that said, I am reminded so clearly of a much more serious and much more costly fine/debt owed for my innate wrongness, disobedience, and at times blatant lack of respect.  I deserve to pay the ultimate and required price for at times spitting in the face of my God who loves me and made me to love Him.  Sometimes my actions have been truly as harsh as spitting in His face, sometimes they don't seem so harsh as that.  But, ultimately, all of those times I denied Him and what He did for me and avoided His call to my heart...that's exactly what I did...spit in the face of the One who loves me more than any human being can even begin to know how to love.  How humbling and shocking and amazing and precious is it to know that He paid that costly fine...the debt that I owed, not Him...He paid it FOR me AND for YOU by dying on that cross.  Such a gruesome, horrible, humiliating death.  Yet, such a loving, triumphant death, as His blood that poured from His body covered me and all of my sin even then...long before I would do the things He knew I would do.  He sees His blood covering me...not my wrongs and shameful ways.  His AMAZING GRACE that is so incomprehensible has been offered to me and to matter how far gone we think we are.  No matter if we are as guilty as Mr. Speed Demon, or "just a little guilty" like me.  It's FREE for us!!!  AND, the even more awe-inspiring thing is that He not only died that horrible death for us...He victoriously, miraculously, triumphantly rose again...from the dead...spoke to His disciples (like our friend John) so that they would KNOW that He is Who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do and so that they could and would record their experiences with Him in order for us to be able to know Him through those words (His Word)...then, oh yes, it gets even better, He ascended (that means went up) into heaven to prepare a very special place for us to come and spend eternity with Him there.  And I must say...that place sure is gonna be somethin'...He's been working on it for quite some time, and it's still not quite as perfect as He wants it to be for us.  Because when it is...He's coming to get us and take us there to be with Him!

Wonder if He'll have Traffic Cameras on those Streets of Gold!?!  Oh, who cares! 

Oh, and don't forget about Mr. Speedy...remember I said only the Traffic Camera could be the ultimate judge of him in this case.  Well, same goes for all of those people around us that we look down at and compare ourselves to thinking we're not as bad as them...only He will be the judge of them.  We might be quite surprized to see how many of "them" will be with Him in Glory!  No, He doesn't miss the things they (and we) do, like the Traffic Cameras can.  BUT...He chose to send His Son to die so that He could offer that Amazing Gift of Grace (undeserved favor), Forgiveness, Mercy, Love, and Eternal Life to any and all who would receive it by believing in Him.  I am so glad He doesn't listen to others' opinion about me...or better yet, my opinion about myself...He is The Judge...not me nor you. 

You're not too far gone.  You haven't crossed the non-existent "line".  If you feel that tug at your heart...stop fighting it.  Don't deny it any longer.  That's Him gently, tenderly, lovingly calling you to give up the fight and admit that He is Who He says He is.  It's okay.  You don't have to explain to anybody why you had to keep up the struggle against Him and what you know in your heart to be true about Him.  Even if you don't understand how it could be true, and you don't know how you can ever figure Him out much less explain Him to anyone else.  Don't worry about that.  Just trust Him.  Believe in Him.  Right NOW.  Don't put it off.  You never know what tomorrow will bring...or even the next few minutes.  Relax...let go...let Him have all of your worries.  He doesn't intend for you to bear all of that alone.  Let Him BE your Strength and your Hope...most of all...let Him be your Lord and Saviour.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sometimes you just gotta stop steppin'

Not always...but definitely sometimes.

The other day I was riding down the road and noticed on a sign in front of a church "The same God who plans your steps is the God who plans your stops."  WOW!  So true!

The last several days, though life has continued to keep moving and there are certain parts of that which do require me to keep moving, I have definitely been somewhat stopped as well.  (as you can see by the lack of blog posts)  Physically, sometimes the body just says...STOP!  And, well, sometimes you just can't argue with that!  For the past 2 or 3 days I have finally been physically back to 100% (pretty much...if that exists!).  But, I have still been slowly getting back to writing all of the various thoughts and inspirations that are running around in my head.

So, here I am.  Baby steps.  Nothing major for this post except a simple reminder to take the time to STOP...and do whatever you need to do when you stop...smell the roses...have a cup of coffee or hot tea...or warm nothing...whatever.  Most of all, rest.  Let Him handle your worries.  He's got that down pat.