Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Planting my Boots & Hanging my Coat on Jesus

Moss is growing on our walking trail. It's just beautiful. Amidst all the brown dirt and leaves, there is this beautiful green trail, like God rolled out the green carpet just for me.

I ran out to take pictures the other day and ended up sick. Later, I heard that the pollen level was high. I missed hearing Becky Wade, one of my favorite Christian authors, speak in the Dallas area.

But I wondered what makes moss grow? I don't remember it growing here the past years, but it's amazing how much we can forget from year to year. 

Wikipedia wrote, "Mosses are small flowerless plants that typically grow in dense green clumps or mats, often in damp or shady locations." Wikipedia went on to say that it doesn't have seeds. I found that interesting. Something so soft and colorful and so plentiful could be seedless and flowerless. And soon, it will all be gone as though it were never there.

I love walking the mossy trail because my boots don't get so dirty. And I don't have to scrape them off as much when I walk back inside.

And it made me think about what is covering my life's ground. Am I allowing Jesus, my beautiful Savior, to cover my ground? Or am I resorting to damp and shady locations?

I've had a rough week. It sounds silly to say that because I'm healthy and so are the girls. But one needs dental surgery to help her receding gum line, probably from her braces causing her teeth to move too rapidly. The other needs two wisdom teeth removed. Thankfully, she only has two. One daughter's high school graduation is bearing down on me, and my mind wishes she could just stay little. And I've got more issues to add to the list, but I won't do that to you.

I'm afraid my path is being covered with anxiety and feardamp and shady. And I don't want something temporary covering my ground. I certainly don't want anxiety and fear to take up permanent residence either. I don't want damp or shady.

Rolling things over and over in my mind can initially seem colorful and a soft place to step, because it's my secret. Only God knows. But soon it becomes plentiful, and worry crowds out all good and good sense.

So what do I do?

I run to God. I run to Him in prayer. He's my place of rest. And I plant my worn out boots on Him. He's permanent in my life, and I want to reflect that, reflect His calmness, assurance, trust. I want to cover my boots in Him and never scrape Him off.

Because He makes walking this life's path easier, more enjoyable, more peaceful.

Like the palm leaves placed down for Jesus, I want to place down my faith in Him. For Him to see, and for my heart to see. And I want to give Him a solid and dependable place to grow, and a solid place for me to trod. I want to welcome Him to my life, my problems, my heartaches, my joys.

I don't want to hang my coat on things that are seedless and flowerless. I don't want my relationship with Him to be seedless and flowerlessgone in time, poof, as though He were never there.

I want to hang my coat on Him.

The One strong and sturdy. The One standing. The One who will make me stand, when life feels like it's dragging me down. I want Him to take center stage, take my hand, allowing the seedless and flowerless to disappear.

For the rest of my days. Because He meets me in the damp and shady.


Has life been hard for you lately? What action do you take to make God center stage? How do you plant your boots and hang your coat on Jesus?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Looking Up in the Face of Fear

My great-uncle sat there, in his same ol' chair. Precious man. And every now and then, he'd reach over and flick open a section of blinds to quickly peek outside. 

My grandmother, his sister, could never understand. Was he afraid? What was the problem? Why not open the blinds fully ... see fully? The blinds weren't broken. The light would be so good for him. Open that window.

"He needs to get out and walk, get out in the sunshine, soak in that Vitamin D," my grandmother would say.

I don't know. But I think he was broken. He'd had bad health since he was a young man. Somehow he had managed to continue working up through a decent retirement age. He and his wife never had a family. Something was heart-breakingly broken inside, was the feeling I got ... maybe there was an area in his life that God hadn't been quite allowed to heal. And the sweet man could gather tears instantly in his eyes. 

He was a tender soul.

But one thing I learnedfear is contagious. As the years pressed by, as my grandmother's health began to decline and my grandfather had passed on to Glory, she became the one to peek out the blinds. Fearful. With the full light still warming and lighting the earth, come the touching threat of sundown, she began shutting up her home, shutting out fearful things. Imagining fearful things and voicing them.

The face of fear can be terrifying ... hair raising sharp fangs and sharp claws. Or closed doors, closed shutters, four walls. No visible steps upward.

When life is hard on us ... when we fear ... when we don't have the strength to open the shutters or doors ... when we aren't sure we can see God in the midst of it all ...

when we are certain the light is just beyond the enclosure ... when we can even feel its warmth ... but we feel crippled ...

It seems dark. We can't seem to get out from under the sheet that we pulled up over our head and shaking body in fear, and we are suffocating.

What can we do?

Go low ... to our knees, to our faces.

And look heavenward.

For The Light.

For just the glimpse.

The Light who is so good for us, who allows us to see fully.

And we can be mindful to pass that search for the Light on to others. 

Although we might be looking through our lives' dust and dirt and pain, our focus presses through. Our children and their children will understand that though we might not have an ounce of strength, though we might be broken, though we might not can understand our lot in life, we know where to look for internal strength and understanding. 

We know who to make our glorious crutch. Our crutch is not an enclosure ... our crutch is beautiful, peaceful ... our crutch is alive. 


How do you handle fear? Have you ever been crippled by fear or witnessed a family member crippled by fear? What advice can you give?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Found Love at Disney World

After traveling the interstate from Texas to Florida, we approached the waiting line for one of our favorite rides at Disney World. 

My youngest daughter had injured her knee, so we'd rented a wheelchair. Thoroughly excited to help her little sister, my oldest daughter pushed the wheelchair to the wait line. And baby sister hobbled out to wait.


Who is that? What's going on?

Our attention was totally captured.

Off to the left, a lady, cute as a button, sat in a wheelchair, her long brown hair hung down her shoulders, her legs clearly useless. And her husband busied himself around her. Then he gently and purposefully moved in front of her, bent, and proceeded to pick her up in his arms. As she dangled helplessly in his strong arms, he carried her ... he carried her to the ride. 

My heart broke into a thousand pieces. And those thousand pieces melted on the cold, heavily trampled ground. And then those pieces rose and pulled together to form two hands ... and those hands clapped. What love! I thought. My breath caught.


What love.

What a man! Oh, how I loved him instantly ... for his strength, his patience, his endurance, his love, his kindness, his mercy.

As the girls and I proceeded to the line, tears pricked my eyes. 

My oldest daughter touched my back gently. I turned. "Mom, you're crying," she said. 

I smiled. "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

"Mom, I love you."

"He carried her."

"Mom ... I love you."

That precious man's actionssomething he'd probably done a million timestouched my heart. The beauty of it. And his touching of my heart dominoed, touching my daughter's with the gentlest of fingertips. 


Who is that?

Our God. 


What love.

I'm so crippled, y'all. I have so much baggage from childhood, from things dropped on me and then from my own heart-breaking crippling choices. 

The dominoes fall, and fall, and fall. Blackened, spotted ivory piece after ivory piece.

But God loves me. He sticks by my side. He moves in front of me gently and purposefully. He takes me everywhere I need to go ... places I never dreamed I'd go. He takes me where He wants me to go. And as I wait on Him, He bends down, picks me up, and carries me on this amazing ride called Life.

I don't deserve the ride. I deserve to sit on the sidelines, only able to watch. And even that is more than I deserve. I deserve nothing.

But He is merciful, and beautiful, and kind.

And as I live with a reserve of grateful tears, overwhelmed by His love, my girls see. They witness it all. 

And when they say, "Mom, I love you" ... I know they love my whole package. They know my whole package. Me. All my rights, all my wrongs, all my attempts, all me. 

But more importantly, they love and admire He who carries me. They see Him. They see His every move. They see me dangling helplessly in His strong arms. And they believe He's the most attractive thing in the universe.


What love.

And they lift their sweet arms ...

They reach for their dream come true.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. --Psalm 18:16


Have you witnessed something so beautiful? Beautiful humanity. Something that took your breath? That brought instant tears? Would you care to share? What about your own experience? Do you have a sweet story of lifting your arms to Him?