Friday, July 30, 2010

On the Heavens AND Underneath

Deuteronomy 33: 26-27 "There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms...."

There is no one like our God. Riding on the heavens...and on the clouds. I love those high times, those mountain top experiences. Watching the light dance on blue sapphire waters. Knowing that God is at the center of all the beauty in our world. That he created so much for us to enjoy. He must delight in watching our jaws drop in awe at his design.

But....aren't you grateful for that word "underneath"?
This summer as we sailed across the Gulf of Mexico we watched the cruise channel that reported the winds, our speed and the depth of the water. At one point it read over 12,000 feet deep. 12,000...that's not a typo! And God is there in the depths underneath the surface of the water, underneath the surface of our lives. Down the end of our rope...when life bottoms out....when things get dark....underneath are the everlasting arms. I need those strong arms upholding me today. I am resting in everlasting arms.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Good Heritage

My beautiful grandmother passed away early this morning, just 6 days shy of her 90th birthday. She was ready to go be with Jesus, but still, it's hard to say good bye. This morning I was thinking about her 9 children - my Daddy, my aunts and uncles. I remember how, as a new mom feeling overwhelmed with my colicky son, the thought of my grandmother raising those 9 babies on the farm empowered me. If she could do that, I certainly had what it takes to do this. It is my heritage. I also remembered this morning that she had lost a child at birth and back in those days they didn't allow moms to hold or even see those babies. So, I imagine my Grandma today in heaven, wrapping her arms around the daughter that she never held on earth. Precious.

My most treasured memories are the summer days we spent on the farm - sleeping on my favorite feather pillow, waking up to the smell of sausage, helping Grandma milk the cows, gather eggs and slop the pigs. I remember making lunch for the "men" in the fields, which oddly included my little brother, and playing in the barn, with the wild barn cats hissing and attacking our feet. Grandpa and Grandma always had a terrifying dog named Jack, all of whom undoubtedly suffered from chained-aggression. The dogs came and went but somehow the name stuck. I remember climbing up hay bales with my cousins and begging my aunt to saddle a horse for me to ride. The farm was kid-heaven and Grandma was the center of it all.

I will remember Grandma whenever I smell sausage frying in the morning and in my endless search for an apricot kolache that tastes half as good as hers.

I few months ago I dusted of my scrapbooking skills to share a few thoughts with her:

David and I were reflecting recently on the many blessings of our lives. We have so much to be grateful for, and we know that much of it is good beyond our doing. We know that we have a heritage passed down to us by our parents and our grandparents and we just wanted to take the time to express our grateful hearts to you.

Thank you for honoring the covenant of marriage, for making a pledge that lasts a life time. We know that every marriage has its difficult seasons. For better AND for worse. Thank you for remembering the better, and moving forward through the worse. Your example inspires us in our challenges. Thank you for a legacy of Commitment.

We treasure the times we’ve been able to spend with you and the pictures we have of you holding our sons, pictures of four generations overlapping. We wonder if we will live to see our children’s children’s children as you have. We hope so and we know we are fortunate to have a legacy of Longevity.

Some of my most cherished gifts are the ones made by hand. Our wedding afghan still keeps us warm when we sit on the sofa! I’ve learned the value of creating gifts that speak of relationship, gifts that will be passed down for generations. Thank you for a legacy of Giving.

We will never forget our last visit to Great-grandma and how the boys went on and on about your yummy ham, as if my parents had not fed them the previous week. There was always food to share at your table. I remember sausage for breakfast, your delicious duck and always your trademark kolaches. We enjoy the times we spend around a table with our family and friends. Thank you for a legacy of Shared Meals.

I can remember visiting you on the farm and even though there was always so much to do, we never missed church on Sunday. There was always a prayer of blessing over our meals. These are things that have stayed with us, that we hope to instill in our children. The faith of a farmer who knows when you plant a seed rain will fall, something will grow, and God will provide. Thank you for a legacy of Faith.

Psalm 16:6
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
yes, I have a good heritage.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Voice of Truth

In those moments when panic overtakes you and your world seems scattered what voice do you hear?

An interesting thing happened last Spring at Inks Lake. We were enjoying a canoe ride, peacefully gliding across the clear, cool water. Our calm was interrupted when we heard some kids around the bend. We had seen them earlier that day with their bathtub shaped paddle boats. Now, both were overturned. There were shoes and bags scattered all over the surface. The four kids were panicked, shivering in the water and calling out for help. We rowed our canoe over, rescued a floating bag, asked the kids if they were OK and were trying to decide how to best help them when a voice thundered from the shore.

It was somebody's mom.

We came with compassion and concern but this mom, well, she knew her kid and there was very little compassion in her tone. She yelled "What are you doing? Get your butt over here! Swim for goodness sake!" It was quite comical. Exasperated she shouted "You're on the swim team for crying out loud!" I'll never forget the look on one boy's face when she said that, it was like truth broke through the panic and he turned and began to swim for the shore.

I honestly believe that he had forgotten about his skills as a swimmer, all he could see was the mess, the overturned boat and the floating debris. He was overwelmed - until he heard the voice of truth. So just in case you are bobbing up and down in the sea of life, bewildered and confused hear these truths today:
  • You are loved by God and His compassions never fail.

  • He is FOR you and promised to always be WITH you!

  • You are never alone.

  • God is faithful and forgiving.

  • He is slow to anger and rich in mercy.

  • He is the Good Shepherd who cares about each individual lamb, which means YOU.

  • You are never an interruption to Him.

  • No mess is too much for God.

  • He is Healer, Restorer, Savior and Redeemer.

  • His peace will calm your anxious heart and mind

  • There is always HOPE in Jesus Christ!
What truths have broken through in your times of crisis? I'd love to hear them!