Five

Shortly after arriving home today from an outing with the family, I glanced down at my cell phone to see that the time was 5:55. I snapped a quick screen shot, because the same thing happened to me yesterday – March 20 (The First Day of Spring).

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Typically you won’t find me reading deeply into random things or chasing down an interpretation of the billboard signs along the highway. However, I do know when the Holy Spirit is telling me something and I find the best results when I turn my ear to listen.

Like the layers of an onion, often a thing is not as it seems until we begin peeling away. As I peeled away at what the Lord wanted to show me, I saw 3 layers.

First, Five is a number associated with Grace.

Grace by definition is God’s unmerited favor. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary grace is: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.

Second, Galatians 5… pretty much the entire chapter resonated inside me as I began to read it. Often, I’ll read a portion of scripture in the King James Version and then re-read it in The Message translation. I find the wording much more vibrant and captivating. So instead of typing out the entire chapter here… Go, go read it. I’ll wait.

No really… I have a two year old, I can wait.

Alright, How was it? I want to point out a few verses that stood out to me.

vs. 1 “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”

  •  You are FREE!

vs. 4-6 “I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.”

  • You may be religious or anti-religious, but you still don’t have the one-up on LOVE! Faith is expressed in love.

vs. 13-15 “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?”

  • Just because you are free, doesn’t mean you do or say whatever you want. Do not hurt others, for in doing this you strip yourself of the very freedom you flaunted.

vs. 25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”

  • Don’t compare yourself to any one else. You are uniquely you and there can not be another.

Third, Isaiah 55… Luckily for you, I did copy this one in its entirety here because it’s just so juicy! It is a promise, a covenant. And in the last layer of the onion I was peeling today, God said this covenant was for me… and if it’s for me, then it is for you, my dear reader. So as you enter this new Spring Season- hold on to this Word from the Lord.

1-5 “Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway—buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.Buy without money—everything’s free! Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love. I set him up as a witness to the nations, made him a prince and leader of the nations, And now I’m doing it to you: You’ll summon nations you’ve never heard of, and nations who’ve never heard of you will come running to you Because of me, your God, because The Holy of Israel has honored you.” 

6-7 “Seek God while he’s here to be found, pray to him while he’s close at hand. Let the wicked abandon their way of life and the evil their way of thinking. Let them come back to God, who is merciful, come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.

8-11 I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth,so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”

12-13 “So you’ll go out in joy, you’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thorn bushes, but stately pines—Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God.”

The Crazy Brave.

I’d like to think I have read a lot of books…. Pregnancy books, Parenting books, Discipline books, Super-Nanny books, Child Education books… but often it seems I am most well versed in Children’s books. Mainly the kind with cardboard pages, vivid colors and few words. So, in those moments when Sponge Bob is taking over the living room, Elmo the bathroom, and Veggie Tales your prayer closet… I’d like you to take a moment and remember who you really are and that you have the awesome privilege to raise and nurture actual human beings. Though they may be small, they carry greatness in them. So here is my Ode to Motherhood…

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This goes out to the crazy ones…to the dreamers.To the ones who never let a toddler’s “no” stop them. To all the Mamas with “time out” corners in every room. You are the brave ones.

Here’s to you. The midnight hall walkers, the crying baby rockers, the boo-boo kissing, tummy-ache hugging, bubble bath drawing, lullaby singing, boogie-monster scaring Mamas. You are the brave ones.

To the ones that chose life, and then carried it around for the better half of one year. Here’s to you… the nausea, the heartburn, the stretch marks and scars… to wider hips and a body that will never quite be the same. You are the brave ones.

Here’s to the ones who understand that the little things are usually the biggest. And that the bedtime whispered “I love you’s” are a currency from Heaven. You are important, invaluable, incredible and irreplaceable.

So, here’s to all you Mamas, you are the crazy brave ones.

Little Moments

Today, on the way to run errands I glanced down at the clock in my minivan.

11:30.

Lunch time at school for Nehemiah…

Parents are often welcome and encouraged to join students during lunch, but I had already gone on Monday.

I had errands to run. A To-Do List to check off. A few fleeting hours before my tiny tornado of a toddler would wake up from her nap.

Then, in that moment, I had this thought…

He’s only 7 once. He’s only in First Grade this year. There will be a time when he’s 17 and won’t run past all the other kids to jump into my arms. He won’t want to leave his friends at the table to tell jokes and make funny-faced pictures with me…

So instead of driving straight, I turned. I made another right turn into the school parking lot. I grabbed my purse and rushed into the building like I was late for an important job interview. I signed in, slapped my name badge on and made my way to the cafeteria.

There he was. His back facing me. Dressed in a little white polo with jeans, rocking some high-top converse. He turned, jumped from his seat and ran to me. You would have thought he hadn’t seen me for days, that it wasn’t I who dropped him off only 4 hours earlier. He hugged me tight and I knew the errands could wait just another 30 minutes. I knew that fruit roll up would make his day and the silly photos we took could be framed… for when he’s 17 and forgets how cool his Mom really is.

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Happy Friday! Enjoy your little moments that lead to special memories. 🙂

Fourteen Sunsets

Fourteen sunrises.

Fourteen morning cups of coffee.

Fourteen afternoon walks and evening sunsets.

Fourteen days.

Last month, Charlie set off on a fourteen day journey across 2 continents. He left America to travel Europe and South Africa, preaching the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. He ministered several meetings and saw miracles, signs and wonders. 

In Durban, South Africa this happened…

A young woman was in the local hospital with a kidney infection and kidney stones. Charlie was ministering on a Sunday morning and several people in attendance had placed articles of clothing or other items on the altar to receive prayer and take back to loved ones. During this service the young woman’s husband placed her necklace with a beautiful golden cross on the pulpit. He was believing for her miracle.

Acts 19:11-12 (NIV)  says, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”

This loving husband took the necklace, after the meeting, and placed it on her. Suddenly, her body temperature began to rise into a fever and the golden cross on her necklace began to burn her. Immediately they took it off and the symptoms left her body… She was completely healed of her kidney infection and stones.

The following day the hospital ran tests on her and verified that she was well and cleared her with a clean bill of health! 

 

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This is just one story of the fourteen days my husband was gone. One life that was forever touched. Two hearts that were seared with the love and healing power of Christ. She and her husband received a miracle from a living God. 

My living God.

So, for the fourteen morning hugs and the fourteen goodnight kisses… I will gladly share.

I will share my heart, my husband, with others because I know that they will meet the living God. They will be touched by the power of His presence and be introduced to the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

 

 

“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” – Jim Elliot (Missionary to Ecuador)