31 January, 2011

Hear the Words

I love words. I love to write them, speak them and hear them. I know my “love language” is words. Many of my memories are wrapped around words. Some of the greatest gifts have been the gift of words from my daddy, my mama, from Ray and from my children. I remember when our kids were babies and we marveled at how the babies recognized our voices so early in their lives. Then, we eagerly awaited their first word…how precious that connection. (Then the twos, the threes and the teen years convinced me that words could be overrated!)

We’ve just survived Winter Formal at our house. It is so fun to have a teen-age girl and to play dress-up. We shopped and shopped for the “right” dress. We shopped for the right shoes, the right earrings, bracelets, and hairstyle. We tanned, we plucked, we had alterations, TWICE alterations, and we talked boutonnieres, curfew, money, and picture taking. We survived intact with a beautiful girl (outside too) and lots of pictures and an on-time curfew!

At the picture-taking location, the kids were gathering and us parents got to show up to play photographer. We arrived a bit early and saw a lot of cars but because it was so dark we couldn’t see who was gathered and waiting for the photos to begin. As we got out of our car, suddenly, our girl was walking towards us, looking radiant. She hesitantly said, “Um, hi. We’re just gathering and y’all are the only parents here; would you just wait in the car until the others parents arrive?” My precious, kind and loving husband said, “Sure, honey!” I on the other hand was speechless. (A God blessing!) We got into our car to wait.

This baby girl who recognized my voice upon her birth, who wanted her mama over anyone else, who held my hand until she was in the fourth grade didn’t want us around in that moment. She knew we were there for her but didn’t want to hear our voices in that moment.

I sat there and actually realized how that scene reminded me of my own relationship with Jesus. There are just times when I don’t really want Him around. I don’t want Him to remind me of how to act or how to love. I choose to not hear His voice! I convince myself that I don’t recognize His voice? But in His grace and love, He keeps standing by my side loving me all the same.

I think I’m really good at hearing the sweet, patient, loving voice of God. But there is another voice of God that I tend to ignore. It’s the one that wants to keep changing me, growing me and sending me. I’m more comfortable with the cooing, soft all-loving voice of the baby Jesus. The adult loving, encouraging, pushing, urging, calling Jesus makes me very uncomfortable. So I choose for my ears not to work on those days.

Some of those commands are just too much for wee me. Go, love, give, serve, be last, wash feet, feed poor, love those who are unlovely. Hmmm....hey Lord, could you just wait in the car?

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?....

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' Matthew 25:35-40 selected verses

And He was saying, " He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
 Mark 4:8-10

18 January, 2011

Fix Me

When our children were small they would often spend a few days of the summer with Nannie. Nannie lives about 5 miles outside a small, rural Mississippi town. For years she lived on a gravel road and that road is so dark at night that you literally canNOT see your hand in front of your face….I doubted this fact once but now I believe (but that’s a whole other story!)

One day when Nick and Sarah were staying with Nannie she rounded them up and into her Cadillac and said, “Come on, we’ve got to run to town. I’ve got to go get my hair fixed.” After about a quarter of mile she heard a small voice from the back seat say, “Nannie, what does that mean…get your hair fixed? Is it broken? How do they fix it?” Later, telling us the story, Nannie could hardly tell us without laughing and giggling. We still hold that story special in our family.

My momma is 86 years old and even if she is ill for the entire week, I promise you her supreme effort will emerge to go the Beauty Shop on Friday to get her hair fixed! It’s a tradition that women hold dear. I was at the hair salon last week, too….getting my hair fixed. I looked around and saw older women, women like me – almost older women, college guys, men, even babies were there that day. It was fun to see a young one getting a first haircut! There is constant activity: chattering, laughing, hair dryers going, water running, scissors snipping, sweeping up, coffee drinking… and one other thing…..time spent slowing down. Time spent letting someone else put there hands on you and fix you - a new you, a better you. We leave those salons and think to ourselves, oh, I feel so much better.

My salon experience is therapeutic in many ways. We laugh, we joke, we even get serious and encourage each other. In fact, last week we cried. My precious stylist was not only working on my hair but she was literally wiping my tear-stained cheeks as well. I was in need of more than a fix for my hair that day. And I still am…aren’t you?

We’re broken and in need of a fix. Our hair gets fixed, our addicted friends are looking for a fix. We cry out in many ways: Fix me.

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? John 4:10-11

When Jesus met the woman at the well He knew the depth of her hurt and her need for a fix. She even told Him, “the well is so deep”. My pain, my disappointment, my shame, my hurt, my inadequacy is so deep….there is no fix. But yet, Jesus knew her. He knew all about her and offered Himself to her…just drink of Me.

In this scripture, Jesus says to me: “Let me reach inside of you and fix your broken heart of disappointment and grief. Only I, the King of Kings, has the fix you need and desire. Let me place my hands on you and on your heart. I know you. There is nothing you can tell me or admit to me that I don’t already know AND I love you just the same. I love you as much today as I ever have, will or can. My love for you is total and perfect. Trust me. Drink me in.”

06 January, 2011

January Wonder

Oh my gosh, do you realize how many pine needles fall from a 10 foot Christmas tree? Last week when I was restoring our house to it’s pre-Christmas look I felt like we were growing an indoor putting green. Ridiculous.

I packed boxes, sealed boxes, and carried boxes to storage. And then the lights-Ughhh! Is it a sin to just throw-out the tree with the lights sill on it? Wasteful for sure, but my sanity is important too, isn’t it!

I’ve made comments and I’ve heard comments like, “I’m so glad Christmas is over. Now we can get back to normal”. And I agree as I really like a routine in my daily life and the month of December is anything but routine. The Christmas celebration is so full of expectation, excitement, parties, family gatherings, going and more going. Can we try to fit in one more activity? We all know that the real meaning of Christmas gets lost somehow….or for me it does. It’s hard to fight the December mania. And now, we’re on the other side and so happy it’s over for another year. The boxes are stored, the pine needles swept up, wreaths back in storage. Ah, life is normal again!

Do I really want normal though? Is the birth of Jesus already ‘just normal’ to me? Am I still amazed that He came into this world for me and you? Is Christmas over inside of me? Was it over for Mary and Joseph? Was it over for the shepherds? Surely not, because you and I have heard their stories. If it had been treated as normal news, we would have never heard of Christ’s birth into our world. The shepherds would have continued in the same, old routine.

Did the months after Jesus’ birth bring newness? Did His birth bring renewed life and hope? Does that newness exist in my heart and life today? Or have I continued in the routine? Have I been like the shepherds spreading this amazing story of the Child. Or am I more caught up in boxes and bows? These are questions I’m pondering these days.

The Christmas season has come and gone. Instead of being glad it’s all over, I want Christmas to come and stay inside me. I want today to be Christmas in my mind, in my heart, in my actions, in my love, in my giving, in my service, in my devotion, in my study, in my worship….in my all.

It's just as real today. He is born. Who can I tell? Who hasn't heard?

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:16-18

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