Rooting for the Underdog

I’m assuming that my heart for the underdog is why God gave me a quirky kid.

I’m also assuming my fervent desire for any underdog to succeed is rooted in my own underdog underpinnings.

That’s a lot of under.

I like to be out from under, though.

And Frodo Baggins, one of my favorite underdogs in all of book history (next to Zaccheus in the Bible), struggled mightily to come out from under his circumstances.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is quite possibly one of the best stories of all time. Any age can read it (or at least have it read to them). I can’t imagine a life circumstance that isn’t dealt with in the book. And there are any number of “giants” to be overcome.

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And more than all of that, it is the smallest among us, the ones we think will be least effective, both for change and against evil, who end up being most useful and helpful.

It was the character Galadriel who said,

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

Indeed.

Who instilled hope in all of humanity?

A baby.

Who was most instrumental in winning the battle for The Ring?

Hobbits.

The smallest of All.

Oooh, I love me a good underdog story!

Adding to my love for this series? J.R.R. Tolkien was besties with C.S. Lewis. Oh yes they were!

It just doesn’t get better than that.

The movies were fantastic, but these books were rich in detail and painted a picture of good versus evil that I no reader can soon forget.  And it left me rooting for the underdog, once again.

Yes indeedy.

Click the little button to see other books I’m writing about in this Write 31 Days series.

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Restore Unto Me

I’ve been calling out to You, Lord.

And you keep answering.

Thank You.

But, Lord, may I ask of you one more thing?

Restore unto me, the joy of my salvation.

Because, it’s missing.  And I feel like I’m chasing it down like a one woman army, lately.

But life is like that – one moment I’m sure of my place within my days and the next morning I plant my feet on the floor and feel the whole thing shift. I know that You won’t leave me or forsake me in this place where I feel unsure, unsteady. I also know that You will be there to catch me and put me back on my feet.

Every time.

You are the surety to my movements.

But, it’s in the calling out for You that I am most surprised, these days. Just the seeming need to blurt out, “I need You, God! I don’t even know why or what for. Please! Be near!”

I feel much like a toddler who has discovered the word “Dada” and has seen the effect speaking this word has on The Hearer. I keep calling it out, over and over. Because, for reasons I can’t fathom, and am not sure I’m ready to at the moment, I am needing my Father in that way.

So, I will continue to lean on You, Abba, and claim it as gift that You answer when I call.

Every Time.

I choose to trust in the reassurance I find in Psalm 143:8,

In the morning let me hear about your faithful love, because I’ve put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should live, because I trust you with my life.”

And You will. 

Because, You do.

Every time.

Without fail.

I will be restored because I believe you are The God of Restoration. Anytime the world swirls, my head spins, or my legs sway, You are there – sure, steady, and strong.

Ready to restore:

              Joy

                  Peace

                          Love

And I?

I want it all.

I need it all.

Yes indeed.

May I pray that for you, too, Friend?

Silently Correcting Their Grammar

Few things slay my inner grammarian like hearing someone botch a perfectly good word or phrase. Folks do it “alot” (ahem).

And I’m silently correcting their grammar.

Hearing Americans talk and write about the Republican and Democratic “cannidates” could spell disaster for the future of our country. And, I’m talking about the mispronunciation of candidates, not the potential election results.

I’m silently correcting their grammar, and praying for the elections.

Listening to a young lifeguard friend tell about the time she had to swim “acrosst” the bay to make sure someone didn’t “drownd” while goofing around in the surf, makes me cray-cray.

I’m silently correcting her grammar, while thanking God for her bravery.

But, for all intensive purposes, I think it’s best if people stop using that phrase. Because, for all intents and purposes, it’s being used incorrectly.

Providing me another opportunity to silently correct grammar.

And I make jokes with my other grammar abiding friends about this private act of silently correcting others’ grammar.

Never once did I give it another thought.

Until…

jokingly used a phrase with my sweetkids the other day. “Listen up peoples!”

And my children not-so-silently corrected my grammar.

Humility…I am still learning it.

Parenting, it is a mighty teacher.

Oh, yes indeedy.

I am trying to train those children up in the way they should go. But, Lord? Could my training not come back and hit me upside the head so very often?

While my defenses rose and I felt the need to shout-explain, “I know that!”, I felt Humility, Himself, knocking on my heart’s door. With each knock, there was a growing unease in my soul at my many silent corrections.

Proverbs 3:7 harked back to mind,

“Don’t be conceited, sure of your own wisdom.”

But, as usual, grace laps over the edges of my spirit as I submit my desire to know more to His desire for me to love more.

The rest of that “train your children up” verse? It says to do so in the hopes that when they are old, they won’t depart from it [their training].

I’ve departed. Oh, how I’ve departed again and again.

But Grace…

I’d like to stop departing now. Please, and thank you.

In the meantime, I’ll stop silently correcting grammar.

Thankfully, there is no statue of limitations on grace.

I Need To Remember

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I’ve been giving My Story quite a bit of thought lately.  We all have one. Some of us long to share ours. Some hide it deep in the recesses of our hearts, hoping that we never have to.  And still others seem to be able to tell theirs with abandon.

Which one are you?

God seems to be settling the weight of my task more firmly in my heart. Those Petal Soft Whispers are coming more and more frequently.  Through them, He’s been making it abundantly clear that I am to bring my story to Him, first.  I can honestly state that I am well and truly scared.  I need to remember that Perfect Love casts out fear.

Why do I struggle so mightily to step out in faith, in defiance of that fear?

Sifting through memories places me squarely in the sinking sand of emotions.  I find myself getting stuck on a particular period of time, and then on an exact year, and eventually, I feel like I’m sinking in the quicksand of a Specific Memory. I need to remember that God can pull me out.

Who is my solid rock on which I stand?

I’m at the point where I’m weeding through the parts of my story that aren’t mine to tell.  Obviously, my story can only be told from the perspective of the very heart that taps out the words.  But, I’ve started fretting over the wording of certain thoughts for fear of offending.  I need to remember to heed God’s whispers, not those of men.

If God is for me, whom shall I fear?

I’m going into the deepest darkest places.  But here’s the thing – God keeps shining the light of His truth into those places as I continue to learn to trust Him.  He keeps banishing the fear that tries so desperately to cripple me. My trust becomes more fully formed the more He loves me. I need to remember that it’s a matter of eternal perspective.

How do I refocus on the eternal in the midst of the daily?

It would seem, for me anyway, that this is also a maturing process.  The more words I present to my Audience of One to be sifted through, the more I realize that He has lessons for me that I haven’t mastered yet. I continually have to go back to Square One and ask Him to keep maturing me. I must keep asking Him to fill me with more Love to drive out the fear.  I need to remember that He is a Patient and Merciful Teacher.

How do I learn those lessons more quickly, Teacher?

At the end of the day, my only job is to submit what I feel He’s allowed me to see.  Those glimpses of heaven I’ve been given, here, on earth.  Those insights into grace seen on this side of glory.  Each piece of my story that I bring to God, He tenderly shapes and edits to fit His good purposes.  I need to remember that it is His Story, after all.

What about you? Do you long to tell your story?

May I encourage you to start getting it down?  Or to keep putting it down?  Or to bravely step out, with story in hand, knowing that if God’s been laying it on your heart to share it – then He will use it for His glory.

Or, maybe the desire of your heart isn’t quite fully formed in you. Yet.  I’d like to encourage you to keep praying for your desire to line up with God’s will until it becomes clear.

The truth is, that none of us, no – not a one, is fully formed yet.  We are all a work in progress.  Whatever that work may be.

And our job is to trust, but be ready. We must wait, while holding tight to the belief that God will reveal all in His perfect timing.  Not ours.

Oh Lord, form us fully in Your Love and help us to see Your Light in our story.

A Valuable Commodity

This question has grabbed me by the tail and flung me around more than a few times this month:  “Spend some time with me, please?”

My children.

My husband.

My God.

My.

Lord!

In this time of Lent for some and Purim and Passover for others, I find myself forgetting to remember.

Remembering the Good that came from His willingness to spend time. Here. On earth. For us.

It’s all about the time spent.  Remembering the beauty of the relationship. Not the things done.

And, my sweet children are good at this; remembering to spend time. I can easily take a page from their life book.

“Play a game with me, Mama.”  “Read this book to me, Mama.”  “Let’s bake cookies together, Mama.”

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It can sound like an endless string of requests barging into my me-time moments.  If, I forget to remember what a gift this precious time with these loved ones is.

Jesus understood this.

How many times, Lord, will I have to read of how quickly time will go by and how they will grow up and go forth?  Or how All The Time I thought I had with my husband is cut short unexpectedly?  Or how, in the blink of an eye, one can hear news that will hasten their arrival to the Gates of Glory?

And I will be left wondering, “What happened to All The Time?”.

I don’t want to be left wondering.

Because, that me-time isn’t near as fulfilling as time spent ushering in memories, and soaking up His Word, and showing them how much I love them.

With my time.

It’s the most valuable commodity I have right now.

Lord, teach me to use it well.

Just Call Me a Bouncing Donkey

Captain Ahab and The Nana have always called me “Pooh”.  There.  The cat is officially out of the bag.  We shall never speak of this again.

Except for today.

Sweetman, after dating me for a little, and hearing all about this “Pooh” business, determined that I was much more like Tigger – full of way too much energy and enthusiasm for his Eeyeore-ish, don’t wake me before 11 a.m. personality.  Thankfully, he also determined we paired up pretty nicely and that I was a “keeper”.

I have my sunshiney moments.  Doesn’t everyone?  But since becoming a mother, they often seem perfectly juxtaposed with my downward facing dog moments.  And I’m not talking about Yoga here peeps.  I find this frustrating.  I’d like to be all “even steven”, like Sweetman.  But, my nature is a bit more, um…outward. Yeah, let’s go with outward. Throw in a few mid-month hormones, and… SHOO-EE, things get exciting up in here.

Well, things got a little, ahem, “exciting” around here yesterday. You see, there have been three, differently colored, 1 foot by 1 foot paint swatches on the wall of the front foyer for, oh, let’s just say somewhere in the ballpark of 8 months now. I had consulted everyone who walked through my front door numerous friends on the three choices and had arrived at a nice medium rubbed grey. I finally, finally, bit the bullet and got to it yesterday. It should come as no surprise, then, that I went from elation, over having enough time and energy to finally paint the foyer this week, to utter despair upon finding that the paint color is NOT a rubbed grey.  No. It’s not.  And, more unfortunately, I didn’t really “get it” until I’d painted the entire space.  All. Day. Long.

Sweetboy summed it up quite nicely when he walked downstairs this morning. “Mama, I LOVE the new blue foyer.”  Rats!  But, in case his color picker is off, you tell me.  Is this a rubbed gray looking color to you?

Not_Grey

‘Zactly!

So, of course as soon as poor Sweetman walked in the door from work, I gave him a dramatic rendering of the situation to rival any Downton Abby episode.  I assure you.  To that he replied,  “Ohkaaaaaay.”  I was clearly no longer Pooh-ish or Tigger-ish, but solidly in the Eeyore camp.

For some odd reason, this whole exchange tickled his funny bone. “I love you my little bouncing donkey.”, he said. Now, it’s hard to be mad when your husband calls you “little” anything, am I right? But this made me madder than a hornet.

“I just want the walls to be grey!”, I declared with what teeny tiny oomph I had left.

I asked him to go check out the color.   He took one quick look and confirmed that they were indeed blue.

So, this donkey bounced her keester right on up to bed, praying for renewed strength right up until my head hit the pillow. “Please Lord, you can turn water into wine.  Please, turn my blue walls grey!” I pleaded.

I woke up this morning feeling much better. Re-energized and Tiggerish, in fact.

Until I came down the stairs and saw the blue walls. Sigh…

Bouncing donkey, indeed.

Should I repaint them now?  Should I wait until the Spring?  Will I want to bother come Spring? Can Lowes come repaint for me since I am convinced they mixed my paint color wrong? Does a paint color really matter?  Questions, questions…