Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not Always As They Appear

The entry to our small subdivision was at one time neat, tidy and welcoming. As of late, it has fallen into disrepair. Since it is the first impression of our neighborhood we asked the owner if we could make some changes. After permission to do so, we set about out tearing out and cleaning up.

Sweet neighbor Tiffani stopped by to visit while I was working. I invited her to help. I am generous that way. I warned her to be careful of snakes as this was a perfect hiding place for them. After loading the bed of our little pick up with weeds and such from the gateway, Tiffani began picking up litter along the sides of the street.

As if we didn’t look enough like rednecks, we realized one of the things picked up and tossed into the truck bed was a discarded beer case. She laughed and commented our husbands might think rather than working we had kicked back with a few.

As I was burning the debris today, I stoked the fire with a rake. As I lifted the rake from the fire to my horror discovered a snake curled around the prongs. I screamed as I shook the rake violently to dislodge it back into the fire.

There was not a soul around to witness by antics. At least, there was not one that would acknowledge knowing me. Why would anyone approach a screaming lunatic shaking a snake on a stick? From a distance it must have actually looked like a roasting flaming foot long hot dog? Clearly things are not always as they appear.

Why was I so frightened? I for sure had the upper hand. It was the snake that was burning to a crisp at a safe distance from me on the end of a long stick! It was I that held its life in my hands; not mine in its.

Dan and I have been fretting a bit lately over clarity in life situations. We always tend to want to know the entire plan God has for us. Even though we know God is making these changes for our good, we still have some fear. Who? What? When? How? Why? Can we be sure it is of God? Again, like the burning snake on a stick, we have the upper hand. God is protecting us regardless. There is nothing to fear except that which we create in our minds.

The Bible addresses fear over 365 times. No doubt He felt we needed to be reminded every day!

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Lost As a Goose"



Our daughter in law hopes to write a book of collections of phrases and their meanings. I observed one in action this week: “Lost as a goose.”

From my kitchen window I caught a glimpse of something odd. I called Dan to have a look as well. There it was – a goose (guinea) in the back yard. It was running frantically back and forth along the back fence. The poor thing, obviously panic driven, clucked wildly stopping only briefly to peck at the fence trying to force a way out.

Neither of us had ever seen this type of creature around the neighborhood. We guessed it had followed the creek and entered through the gates we had opened earlier in the day. I re-opened both gates and attempted to guide it out. This just seemed to panic it further.

I decided to let it be. I left the gates open and went back inside. A short while later, the yard was quiet again. There was no more sign of the lost goose. We hope we are correctly assuming it found its way safely home.

Actually it is a Southern phrase, “Lost as a goose in a snow storm.” Obviously a white goose in a white bank of snow would virtually be invisible. This creature was anything but. It was not lost but in its panic driven mania had only lost all sense of direction or common sense.

Often I too find myself lost as a goose--desperately trying but failing miserably under my own power. Whatever the situation instead of trusting God I panic and lose sight of His direction. When I finally come to the end of myself, I realize the way out was always clear and unobstructed.

The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place." In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. Deuteronomy 1:30-33

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pretty Girl!

When I was  a small girl, I dreamed of having my own home. I always imagined a cozy kitchen with an open window and a breeze gently blowing the curtains. To me that was comfort and love. Those few days weather and allergies permits, my kitchen window is open. This morning I am particularly enjoying the cool spring breeze and the sounds of birds singing.

As I was preparing my morning coffee fix I thought I heard an unusual echo. I had a good chuckle when I realized the outside birds were singing in response to my inside birds! While visiting my California family, my sister Doris gifted me with an Audubon clock. When the clock chimes with singing birds, I think of her.

This morning was a double treat. I had a flashback; a happy one. I remembered my sister Patsy comforting me when I was small. She told me if I was very quite and still I could understand the birds speaking to me. She would say, “Do you hear it? They are saying “Pretty Girl, Pretty Girl.” Well played sis! I will of course blame you when folks accuse me of hearing voices again.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? Job 12:6-9

No Wonder They Call It Good Friday!

Shame whispers lies that seduce you to believe that you are alone, rejected and too stained for grace. SO NOT TRUE!  Chuck Gschwend, Fellowship Bible Church, Joneboro

We had a wonderful Good Friday worship service last night. Our little church is filled with sweet kind folks. Our pastor asked that we leave the sanctuary in silence after taking our communion so not to disturb those having their special individual time of reflection. Of course there was the usual family gathering and visiting outside. There is always at least one who knows when a big hug is in order!

This worship event, No Wonder They Call it Good Friday, was of course revering the loving sacrifice of our Lord. Pastor did a great job speaking to the shame we wrongly carry that prevents us from being the whole person we were ordained to be. He spoke of the ultimate shame Christ bore for us on His cross. His words were timely and very personal to me-as usual.

Chad and Jenn with Hannah, Landon, Hudson, Zoe & Haddon
The best huggers ever!

Afterwards we visited the home of a family very precious to us. The guys, with the “help” of little ones grilled pizza. Great job! We loved this entire family the first time we met them. Neither of us have blood family in our town. We do have a close community of another blood line; a great family of believers.

As much as He despised the shame, not just for himself but for His Father’s sake, He bore it just for me. Forgive me Lord for ever feeling ashamed.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2