Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why Do I Love You?

Have you ever wondered why you love? Why you love another?

I loved my grandmother dearly. But why?

She loved me first.
She spent time with me.
I belonged to her, and she claimed me. 
She told me bedtime stories.
She rubbed my feet till I fell asleep.
I always had an open invitation to her home. I knew it. She made sure I knew it.
I'd always be her baby, no matter how big I got. She told me so.
She wanted to know my favorite foods so she could make them for me.
She'd sacrifice for me without grudge (that last piece of cherry cheesecake).
She'd forgive me for anything.

Oh, as kids, my sister and I played to our hearts' content at my grandparents' country place outside of Atlanta, Texas. We played in the sand. There was a huge sand pile by her house. We'd spend hours there. Then, we'd wander barefoot down her sandy driveway and spend a few more hours, in the shade of the hovering pine trees that lined her drive. We'd write in the sand, draw, play games in it, build castles, cover our feet in it, dig our toes through it. It was so cool, even in extreme heat. We'd find broken rocks in the sand that looked like puzzles and we'd admire them, admire how they fit together, and we'd  piece them back together. My grandmother watched us from her kitchen window as she did the dishes and worked.

My girls playing in the sand at my grandmother's home.

My grandmother would let us sit in her wheelbarrow, and she'd push us around the yard, while we giggled ourselves silly.

She kept us in the latest fashions. Luv-It Jeans and Yo-Yo shoes. She sewed for us, too.

She was the first one all the grandkids ran to with news of any kind. If something special happened or something bad happened, she was the first we wanted to tell. Because she cared.

She'd defend her loved ones in a heartbeat. She'd fight for you.

I could go on and on ...

But bottom line, my grandmother, Leola, extended a gift of love ... lid wide open ... one that was continually replenished, continually full, continually new ... and I reached out and took it.


Have you ever wondered why you love God? Why you should?

I can only tell you why I love Him.

He loved me first.
He spends time with me.
I belong to Him, and He claims me. I'm His.
He tells me stories.
He comforts me.
I always have an open invitation.
I'll always be His baby.
He knows me.
He provides for me.
He sacrificed for me.
He's the first one I run to when important things happen.
He cares.
He pieced me together.
He'll forgive me for anything.

But the dearest reason I love Him is because ... He'll defend me in a heartbeat. He'll fight for me.

He wrote in the sand for me.


Bottom line, He extended a gift of love, wrapped in deity gold ... lid wide open ... one that is continually replenished, continually full, continually new ... and I reached out and took it.

Father, I want your qualities. Let me be a person who loves like you and worth loving in return. Amen.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Take the Bad with the Good!

It was the worst sunburn I ever had. I don't have a picture of it, and you can thank me for that. You see, I had on capris. I had my leg crossed over the other, sitting prim and proper on that bleacher for the air show. Uh-huh, Southern belle style. It was April. The weather was neither hot nor cold, and it was a little cloudy. All perfect conditions for a sunburn. And I never once thought my lower leg or foot would need something like sunscreen.

After returning home, my left leg, just above my ankle, was beet red, as well as my foot. It swelled up like a red balloon. There was no way I was going to the doctor for a sunburn. No degree of sunburn on my lower leg could drag me there. I used Aloe Vera on the sunburned area all night long ... because I woke up in a sweat every hour on the hour.

After days of swelling, I remembered I had medication for swelling from my broken tailbone. This was another injury phase of my life, I suppose. I took that medication, and the swelling went down immediately.

But through the pain of that sunburn, my smile never departed. And I'm going to tell you why.

First off, my baby girl is a cancer survivor. That is cause for pause and reason to smile. Glory hallelujah! Not only that ... that baby girl is adopted ... thought I'd never have a #2 baby. So I'm doubly blessed.

Secondly, she had received a Make-A-Wish for being a cancer survivor. It wasn't enough that we spent a whole week at Disney World and Universal Studios, her being treated like the princess that she is ... but ...

These amazing kids raised the funds for Katelyn's Make-A-Wish trip. What a sweet mission!

thirdly, we were invited to an air show with the Thunderbirds. Yes, you read that right. Our very own air show ... just for Make-A-Wish children. What a precious ministry for hurt children!

Now you know why I'm smiling about that sunburn.

As the pilots taxied the runway, they waved at the kids who were sitting on the bleachers.

Do you see him waving here? Precious.

And when they returned, one of the pilots gave our daughter the flag that he took in flight with him. Is that beautiful, or what?

Karalee holding the flag at this point. And Katelyn still had the sweet gap between her front teeth! And I'm taking the picture.
The bad with the good. The sunburn with the air show. The cancer with my beautiful daughter.

It's just part of earthly life, isn't it?

They link shoulder to shoulder, arm and arm, leg and leg. We live and we die. Go on and smile about the things deemed bad, the parts of life that scare us, that cause us to shudder, because it has to remind you of the good.

Were we prepared for cancer? No way. But God was with us in the flight. And with Him, we came through this side of heaven on more than a wing and a prayer.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What Am I Fishing For?

Katelyn was a sleeper, a napper. Place her in the baby bed, and like me, she was out like a light in 60 seconds. And with her being a cancer survivor, she needed that trait more than ever. She needed sleep and rest through the toughest of times.

Karalee wasn't. She stayed up late. Her crib was the best playground in the world, converting into monkey bars, balance beams, rock climbing, when mom stepped out of sight. Well, you get the picture. And naps? Have mercy.

On those nights that she struggled to fall asleep, when she'd advanced to a big girl bed, I'd snuggle beside her in bed and cast out the heavenly lure. For that was my most important job as a mother. I'd share about our Savior till she fell asleep. We'd talk about the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. We'd talk about the Holy Spirit's role in our lives. How God guides and instructs and cautions us through the Spirit, our amazing Counselor.

Well, one afternoon, after she'd grown older and had already accepted Christ as her Savior, I had sent her in to her bedroom to take a nap. The restful nap was more for Katelyn and me than her. In a matter of minutes, it seemed, she was back out the door.

"You didn't take a nap, did you?" I half accusingly asked.
"My Holy Spirit told me I did," she declared, with the nod of her sweet head.

I laughed so hard. What can you say to that?

I'd invested years, much time, baiting her precious heart for Christ that fishing her heart for a lie felt so wrong. After years of teaching her trust and truth, I had to ask myself, "What kind of fish are you aiming to fry?" Something stirred inside my heart. I'd say the Holy Spirit. I didn't fish for more. I didn't keep fishing to catch her in a lie, baiting a tall tale.

I chose to trust.

Radiance emitted from her precious eyes.

When times are tough, waters rough, we need to take it easy on ourselves and others. Choose to believe the best of others, begging God to transform our hearts into a 1 Corinthians 13 vessel of love.

And hang on to trust and love.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."1 Corinthians 13:4-7