27 June, 2010

Daddy

April 18th was my daddy’s birthday. He turned 90; however, he celebrated in heaven. He moved there on June 27, 2008.

I think of him often. I remember his laugh, his white hair (that used to be black!), how soft his hands were, how he laughed and teased. I miss his phone calls and talk of his tomato plants. I miss hearing him call me “baby”. I miss him and I remember…

I carry my daddy’s outward image, his dark hair and his brown eyes. I feel a bond to him as we shared outward characteristics. Those simple traits always made me feel special to my daddy. I felt he would look at me and see himself sometimes.

I wonder if my heavenly Father looks at me and sees Himself sometimes...those traits of love and grace.

Take on an entirely new way of life - a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from
the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his
character in you
. Ephesians 4:22-24 (MSG)


Oh Lord, let my inner self reflect You. Change my inner image to carry only You.

P.S. Love on my daddy today.

14 June, 2010

Nitpickin'

Years ago, our children would go away to camp for two weeks. The camp advertised this time as, “the best two weeks”. As a working mom I fully embraced this slogan as Ray and I had a two-week vacation from our darling children! One year upon his return, our son Nick, brought home a “friend” that spread through our entire household that summer. We were doing some serious, literal nitpicking. Have you had this problem in your household? Wash everyone’s sheets and towels every day. Comb through hair several times a day. Look through every strand of hair several times a day. Ughhhhhhh! Yes, definite nit picking. I was seeing the whole head of hair but looking for those tiny, tiny nits.

So here I sit, years later reminded of this childhood malady and realizing anew I’m living the same nitpicking life. I see the whole Bible but only want the tiny parts that directly affect me. I hang onto these truths:

God loves me

God forgives me

God gave His only son for me

God heals me

God is with me

God is my redeemer

God is my hope

However, as true as these statements are for each Christ-follower, Jesus taught and commanded much more. What about:

Matthew 28:17-20
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Mark 1:17
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.

Acts 1:8
…and you will be
my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

How have I translated, “God so loved the world”, into only meaning, God so loved Kathy? I realize again that I am so self-centered and self-possessed that I nickpic the scripture to those that make me feel good. Those easy ones that heal me, love me, choose me, die for me, live for me, call to me, welcome me home, speak to me. The other I gloss over. I lead myself to believe “the world” is my family and friends. I hide from the fact that God does indeed love the entire world and wants relationship with every person and that I am called and privileged to be a part of His work in the world.

You know, Jesus prayed for us in John 17. Christ Himself as He was about to suffer great torture took time to pray for his disciples and the WORLD they would reach for His glory.

John 17 (Jesus praying)
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.


Recently, we’ve been going through some family struggles and a friend told me, “Kathy, we’re all-in.
Whatever happens, wherever the road takes you – we’re here for you and Ray. We are all-in.

Can that be my prayer today?

Lord, whatever happens, wherever you lead, wherever in the world, I’m all-in. No more nitpicking of the Word….all in.

P.S. For those of you praying for my mom, she is doing really well. Thank you for all your notes of love and prayer.

06 June, 2010

Jesus and the Nail Salon

Do you remember the day you became engaged to be married? Do you remember the day you got the big promotion? Do you remember the day your baby was born? The one thing that all these days have in common is that we were compelled to share the news. We looked for people to tell. Husbands handed out cigars to complete strangers as they were overjoyed with the birth of their children.
The day Ray asked me to marry him was thrilling. Hours later, I remember stopping by the dry cleaners to pick up laundry but before the sweet old man could do his job, I had thrust my new ring into his face, exclaiming, “I just got engaged”. He was bewildered but seemed happy for me, of course, he also wanted my check for the laundry! These events in life are just too grand to keep bottled up inside ourselves.

Of course, we know the Good News of Jesus is such news. We’re instructed to tell the world. The passion in our hearts demands we tell, doesn’t it? Are we overjoyed by this news of salvation? Has HE become that real to us?

Acts 1:8 is very clear :

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Take to news to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Scholars teach us that these cities represent taking the Word to our neighborhood, our city, our country and then into the world. Many of you know and work with Chinese scholars on university campuses and in that case the world has come to us! China has come to Tuscaloosa and to Starkville and to Corpus Christi and to Memphis and to Dallas! So this command to tell the world the Good News has been easy for some of us as the world has come to our back door! In my work with Chinese scholars I had led myself to believe that I was fully responding to Acts 1:8….but then Jesus met me at the nail salon.

I walked into my 11:00 appointment and was asked to sign in and have a seat. It would be a short wait and I forgot my book – not good. So I sat and begin to watch the world around me. Here are how my thoughts went:

Cute haircut…

Bad choice on the outfit…

Oh, what a sweet looking older lady…

It’s busy today…how much longer...

I like the redecoration they’ve done…

Everybody loves a pedicure….me too...

Oh, the hot towel on the legs!!....

I wish the workers would speak English…

I love that she is massaging the older lady’s shoulders, how loving…

All these workers seem kind and giving…

Oh dear, they have a new Buddha…I wonder why they put a bowl of apples and a bowl of garlic cloves in front of Buddha….

The whisper… “they don’t know. This is My world and they haven’t heard the News”. I looked around the shop at all of us nice American women getting pampered and saw not one of us in dialogue with these workers. That day, I spent one hour with a sweet woman holding my hands throughout a manicure and we spoke hardly at all. This one woman I see every two weeks and not one word of the Good News did I share. She doesn’t know the News. She prepares offerings to Buddha in hopes of reaching a god.

I’ve lived as though the Chinese scholars are my only mission field. I can’t see the forest for the trees. I have no eyes to see hurting people around me. Forgive me Lord.

I wondered this afternoon if Jesus had come into the nail salon whose hands and feet He would have pampered. What words of love He would have offered into this mission field?

If I truly believe the gospel is Good News and I truly believe we are called to take the message into the world, then WHY is my mouth shut? As I so eagerly thrust my engaged hand in the face of the man at the laundry then let me eagerly thrust my hands of service into the face of my little world.

Forgive me, Lord.

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