Posts Tagged With: God’s love

He Really Sees Us

A few weeks ago I took my first ever Big Girl Trip. I flew by myself (major accomplishment for me) to meet my friends in Ohio. In order to get there, Delta gave me a “free” four hour stay in Atlanta, GA! Can you believe they do that? I only needed to go to Ohio, but they gifted me a trip to Georgia as well. (insert sarcasm) I didn’t get to see much of the state, but I did visit this city called, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The city is totally indoors and has all kinds of shops and restaurants…and it even has a TRAIN!

While I was there, I spent a lot of time people watching. Have you ever done that? It is one of my favorite things to do. I love to study people. When a group walks by, I try to see if they resemble each other…are they family? Do they share the same eyes? Do they walk alike, talk alike, and have the same mannerisms?

Style (or lack thereof) watching is also a good time. I had some pretty interesting conversations in my head. “Wow. That is a beautiful older woman. She looks so classy.” “No. Just no. Those jeans were made for ladies not the boys.” (shakes head) “Leopard print and zebra stripes?” “How does she walk in those shoes? Not very well. Nope.”

Sometimes I focused on individuals more closely—really look at their faces.

There is the young mom rocking her crying baby. Her hair is falling out of her ponytail and her eyes are tired.

Over there is a man jogging down the hall with this bag rolling behind him. His eyes look anxious, or perhaps panicked, as he obviously tries to catch his next flight before it leaves him behind.

Standing at the counter of the coffee shop is a girl who is trying to keep her composure as a customer yells at her over coffee that, “tastes too weak”.

I was in a sea of people from all around the world. At first it looked a bit chaotic. People everywhere, going every direction. But, as I focused on groups of people and then individual people, it all became more personal.

I could see them, one by one, each person had a story.

In Mark chapter 10, we are told the story of a rich young man that came to Jesus. Jesus had been spending much of his time teaching masses of people. He and His disciples were setting out on a journey and this young man came to Him and knelt before Him. The young man wanted to know how to inherit eternal life. He told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments since his youth.

In other words, he was a good person.

I have heard this story told over and over since I was a little girl. But this week, as I read it again, verse 21 struck me. Mark 10:21 ESV “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” Look how the Word takes the time to say that Jesus looked at him. He saw him and He loved him. And, then with compassion, Jesus told him what he needed to do to inherit eternity…he had to give up the one thing he held dearest, wealth.

Planet earth is filled with millions of people. If we were in Heaven looking down, we would probably just see something that resembled ants on an ant hill, busily going back and forth. But, our Lord sees us, each one, individually. He really sees us, knows us–loves us.

How absolutely amazing is that?

Do you ever feel lost and alone? Do you feel that no one knows you, no one understands you? Jesus SEES you. He knows your good, your bad and your ugly. And, He still loves you. Will He ever correct you? Yes, but with love and compassion. You can trust Him.

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him. (Mark 10:21)

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Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Father’s Day!

What my dad taught me about my Heavenly Father.

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Friday Ramblings

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I don’t really have anything in particular on my mind today. But, yet, I have a lot on my mind. You know? Serious stuff, weird stuff, goofy stuff. My brain is a strange place (just ask my husband).

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My best friend’s little boy had a life threatening stroke last week due to complications from chemo treatment for his Leukemia. I don’t know that I have ever witnessed a stronger woman in my life. She is amazing. It was difficult to be there with her, but not be able to help in anyway. But, you know, we have the same Father, she and I. And, He stepped in and took control of the situation. A week later, her little boy is literally a walking miracle. ❤

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My puppy has now eaten three pairs of my favorite sandals. He leaves the guys shoes alone…but acts like my sandals are some kind of delicacy. I try to keep an eye on them, but somehow he manages to sneak them away and chow down on them under my bed. I was discouraged over this until I realized that the ruined shoes will have to be replaced. And to do that, I have to go shopping. It’s rough, but you know, a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Speaking of dogs, we have only been a dog owner since October. That is when Echo wandered into our lives (literally). One thing I have noticed is that dog owners and mothers are very much a like! We talk about the three P’s (pee, poo, and puke) a lot. Really. It’s a frequent conversation. Oh, I can’t forget the topic of what the dog ate last. Generally, for me, it’s a piece of our furniture. This week, though, it was a baby rabbit. I don’t know that I will ever look at my puppy the same again. (sniffs)

(I won’t insert a picture for this thought, you are welcome)

The other day I was at Walmart (I seriously think I need therapy after Walmart visits), and this kid walks in  front of me. The waist of his jeans was all the way below his behind. His shirt was pulled up above his waistline so that his entire pair of boxer shorts were showing. First. This made his legs look two feet long. Secondly, HOW do you walk with the crotch of your pants at your knees? Any woman who was forced to wear tights as a little girl knows how insane a drooping crotch can make a person. Finally, why not just wear shorts? I just shook my head and got in line behind the woman in her pajama pants and night shirt.

cake blog

I love coffee and cake. (That’s all I have to say about that)

TiredToday is Friday. I am super excited about that because it means I get to stay up later! I might make it to 10:00 tonight! Whoo Hoo! Maybe I’ll be able to stay awake for more than one page of the book I’m reading. It’s not that I’m old. I’m just tired. TIRED. People. I’m. Tired.

Cared for me

My final thought for you is, Jesus loves you. And, I don’t mean like on bumper sticker, “Hey, Smile God Loves You.” He really truly does. He healed my friend’s son. He has done amazing things in my life. He can heal relationships, heartaches, and illness. He is in the business of touching depression, anxiety, and worry. He. Loves. You.

Make it a great week-end!

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Puddle of Overflowing Ick

Any moms out there?

I just want to take a second to speak to you. Sometimes life is overwhelming. And, there are times when you are already at full capacity and one more thing is added to your “now I have to deal with this too?” list. You wonder how you are going to find the energy to deal with this new revelation about your child, your spouse, your family (whatever it may be).

Been there?

I have. Unfortunately, more than once!

You know what? God was not surprised! He wasn’t! So. As I step into the puddle of overflowing ick (again), I’m looking to my Father and saying, “Will You hold my hand through this? I need Your help. I’m not sure what to say or what to do. But, I know You will help me every step of the way.”

Be encouraged. 

Isaiah 41:13 (VOICE)

After all, it is I, the Eternal One your God, who has hold of your right hand, Who whispers in your ear, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.”

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Thorns–Guest Blog by Cara Cross

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We went for a walk on our land tonight and talked about getting rid of all the thorn trees near where we want to plant fruit trees. On the way back to the truck, Sean stopped at one tree and said, “Man look at the size of those thorns.”

When I looked at them, all I could think was, “Jesus wore a crown of thorns on His head for me and you.”

I wish I had a picture. These thorns are easily two inches long, maybe more, and they look so painful. We think it hurts to be poked by a small tiny thorn, but Jesus endured thorns three times that size for us.

That’s pretty amazing!

So some of those thorn trees on our land, with their giant ugly thorns, will serve as a reminder of how much Jesus loves us.

~~Cara Cross

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Three Squeezes and Snooks

Daddy and Me photo

I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a while. But, the words seem all jumbled up in my head. The thoughts are there, but they are foggy—or distant—I can’t quite see how to put it all together. So, I decided to just start writing and see where I end up. Hopefully I will put down something with some meaning or purpose.

I am a preacher’s kid. I was born that way. God thought I needed a pastor for a dad, or he thought my dad needed me. Not sure which. Maybe both. I had a very happy childhood. Honestly, I have nothing but happy memories from my little girl days. One of these days, I’ll write about my mom. But, today, I want to talk about my daddy.

There are lots of pictures of me as a toddler and a preschooler with my dad. Of course, I’m too young to remember those moments, but each picture tells a story. My dad is looking at me and I can tell that he is busting buttons over me—his blonde haired, green eyed daughter. His eyes are all crinkled and sparkly. His smile is ear to ear. Yah. He loved me. A lot. No question. Hands down.

My first real memory of time with my dad comes from our days living on a college campus when I was about four. Specifically, I remember a dark summer night, walking hand in hand with my dad staring up at the stars twinkling down on us. It was utter delight. I was safe. I was happy. I was content.

When I was a little older, and he was pastoring a church, we were able to spend quite a bit of time together. You know. It was the little things that made me feel special. For instance, one summer I had gone away to stay with my cousins. When I returned, my parents had remodeled my bedroom. I can still remember my dad saying he picked out yellow carpeting because it reminded him of the sunshine, just like I did. Awwwwww. RIGHT?

Back in the day, churches ran off their own bulletins on the mimeograph (I think that’s what it was). I loved it when I could go to the church and help my dad assemble the bulletins. We would lay stacks of each page out on the altars and then put them together, assembly line style. I would go around and around in circles putting them together while dad worked in the sanctuary preparing for Sunday. He would walk around whistling. Oh. His whistle. It isn’t just a whistle. It whirls and twirls and hangs in the air. It’s a beautiful sound that can’t really be explained. And—it comforted me.

We also made trips to the bank together. And, a trip to the bank usually included a sucker and maybe even lunch with my daddy.

My dad didn’t care for pets. Yet, one day he showed up at our house with a bundle of gray fur—a kitten—just for me. Because he loved me more than he hated pets. ❤

Daddy has a nickname for me. He still uses it today. I have no idea where it came from. But, it’s mine. Snooks. And, when he calls me Snooks, well, I feel extra special…even now.

Oh. And. There is the Three Squeezes. My dad gave me three squeezes when I was a little girl. Every time he held my hand he would squeeze three times. Each squeeze represented a word. I. Love. You. He could tell me he loved me no matter where we were or who was around without speaking a word. It’s something I have passed on to my husband and to my children. But, first it belonged to my daddy and me.

I’m not going to lie. We certainly went through our rough times…those terrible teen years. We survived, however, and for today, we are not going to visit that time.

Did I ever get into trouble as a little girl? Yes. I got spankings (although I really only remember one) and I was scolded. But, I remember the happy times. I remember the safety and security he gave me. He loved me unconditionally. No matter what. I think it’s because of my father’s love that I never had a hard time grasping God’s love for me. I never questioned if God loved me or how God could love me. I never saw God as a mean being sitting in Heaven waiting to punish me. Not as a little girl. Because of the example my father gave me, I was able to see a loving Heavenly Father.

But, that isn’t true of everyone, is it? Some of you may have never known your dad. Or maybe your dad was abusive. Maybe your dad was around, but ignored you and didn’t seem to care about you. Perhaps you felt you could never please your dad. Or, maybe you saw your dad one way only to have him disappoint you later in life, leaving you questioning everything you thought you knew.

All of these things can cloud a person’s perception of who God is. It’s hard to imagine Him as a loving doting daddy if you have no concept of what that is. And, yet, that is who God says he is.  I wonder what the world would be like if we could all grasp that God wants us to be like little children—in love with their Father. Trusting Him completely and totally–see His total and unconditional love for us. We don’t have to prove anything to Him, because He already loves us.


Romans 8:15 (MSG) This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance!

Deuteronomy 32:10b The Voice  He put His arms around him and took care of him; He protected him as the apple of His eye.

Psalm 68:5a (TLB) He is a father to the fatherless;

Matthew 6:26 (TLB) Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.

Romans 8:15 (AMP) For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!

1 John 3:1 (VOICE) Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children.

Categories: Encouragement, God's Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crazy Ungraceful Fall Down the Stairs and His Blood

Stairs and I have a special relationship.

I mean really special.

I know they are necessary to get me from one floor to the next. However, really, my life would be easier and less painful without them (both physically and regarding my pride). I’m sure my company security officers have gotten a few chuckles (or maybe even hysterics) watching my acrobatics as I fall down (and sometimes up) the steps.

One day I was leaving work, going down a flight of stairs. As I did, I thought, “I should be careful. I might fall in these shoes.” Just as the thought went through my mind, my knees gave out, my feet stayed in place, and I slid (or rather grated) down the steps knees first, feet tucked under my behind. As soon as I stopped, I pulled my feet out from under me and quickly stood up. I glanced around making sure no one besides the guys behind the cameras saw me and continued out the door. Trying not to cry, and avoiding looking down to see how much blood was rushing out of my body, I gingerly walked to my car. Once inside my car, I assessed the damage and let the tears flow.

Two years later I’m sitting here looking at the scar, a constant reminder of my poor judgement and clumsiness.

It’s a little like my life. I have a few scars from mistakes I’ve made in the past. Some of them still show up every now and then. But, the wound is gone, cleansed and healed by Jesus. We might still see the scars, but all He sees is His child, made perfect through His blood.

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit..” Titus 3:5

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s a New Day!

Isaiah 60:1 AMP Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

Wow! I love this translation! It doesn’t just say, “arise”. It says to Arise (to begin to occur or to exist) from the DEPRESSION and the PROSTRATION (complete physical or mental exhaustion) in which your CIRCUMSTANCES have kept you.

How many of you are beat down today by your circumstances? Do you feel mentally and physically “done”?

God does not want us int that place! He wants us to begin existing (to have life or animation) again! He wants us to be renewed, shining with His glory. He is our Light.

Make it a great day in His Light and His Glory!

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Misery? No Thanks.

2 Timothy 1:7 AMP “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

Quit being hesitant. Stop being timid.  Bring an end to the trembling in fear. This is not of God! God didn’t give you that spirit! The enemy, Satan, breathes fear and trembling into our minds. You need the breath of your Father on your life.

Let His presence flow over you now. Take a mental step back. Breathe in. Now breathe out, letting go of all of the lies Satan has placed on you. Let go of the fear. You don’t have to hold on to fear. Letting go of the fear will not cause something bad to happen. The enemy tries to tell you that if you don’t have fear, then the very thing you fear will come to pass. That’s a lie! It will free you to accept what God has for you!

What has God given to us? Power. Don’t you want to be powerful? Don’t you get tired of feeling weak and helpless?

Calm. Isn’t it time to rid yourself of the constant turning in your stomach, the racing beat of your heart, the lump in your throat? God wants to give you calmness.

Well-balanced mind. Yes! Give Him your thoughts so He can balance them out. Your mind doesn’t have to be a race track through the mountains. It can be a slow peaceful drive along the calming waters of God’s presence.

Finally, discipline and self-control. That feeling of your life being not your own, belonging to your circumstances, is not from the Lord. God gives us discipline and self-control. He will help us to learn to control our reactions to our problems rather than allowing our situations to control us.

Choose to enjoy God’s gifts. It’s your choice. He isn’t going to make you live a life of freedom. He gave us free will. It’s up to you. Will you choose to be miserable in your current place, or will you choose to accept what God has for you and find the release He desires for your life?

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Soul Thirsts

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This is from the devotion I wrote for my book club yesterday. I felt I should share it with you:

I’d like to share some bits and pieces of Psalm 42 with you. While I was working in the kitchen I began to hum. I’ve never really been a hummer before. But, this year I’ve begun humming…not on purpose. It just happened. I’m not sure if it’s old age or joy or both…but, nevertheless, I hum. Tonight I found myself humming this verse. I decided perhaps God wanted me to share it. So, I hope this speaks to someone. (Be thankful you don’t have to hear the humming. 🙂 )

Psalm 42:1-2 ESV
1As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God…

…3 My tears have been my food
day and night…

…5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation 6 and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you…

…8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life…

…11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

 

(If you are interested in Amish or Plain books, foods, lifestyles, etc Check out the Whoopie Pie Book Club on Facebook)

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