My One True Love

Sun_Rise

God’s not dead. His Son is alive!

On this, I can rely.

Upon the solid Rock I stand,

as storms continue by.

 

God’s not dead. His Son is alive!

I want for you to know.

His grace assures me I can stand

before Him, white as snow.

 

God’s not dead. His Son is alive!

He can withstand the questions.

the sneers and jeers and pokes and jabs

only served to highlight Perfection.

 

God’s not dead. His Son is alive!

Of this, I am quite sure.

He woos me back, time and again;

As my Eternal Cure.

 

God’s not dead. His Son is alive!

He rose from darkness to Light.

My One True Love, rose for me.

For your heart, too, He will fight.

 

Surrender it all to Jesus, my Christ.

Rest in His sure protection.

God’s not dead. His Son is alive!

Let’s celebrate His resurrection!

 

 

Always More Grace

Raise your hand if you knew what you wanted to do when you headed into college.

(Admit it.  Some of you started to raise your hand.)

I wasn’t among you lucky ducks that had it all figured out.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to figure it out, at all.  I just knew that there were parties to attend “in college” where there was no curfew, and no one would be waiting for you to get home to make sure you hadn’t broken any rules.

I never did, of course.

Except that one time.

And I never looked at wine coolers the same way again.

Ahab had a way of exacting discipline that involved no hands and no harsh words at all.  Just a lesson.

And you learned it!

Oh, yes you did.

In fact, the wine cooler lesson was a doozy.  At a ripe age, below the legal drinking one, I decided to imbibe.  It was a Friday night and I always followed the rules.  But, not this time! Oh no! I was gonna cut loose and live it up.

Except, I forgot that Ahab and I had planned a special father-daugher reef dive for that following Saturday morning.

And, if you’ve ever read any Ahab stories, you already know that means we were to be up and attem’ at an ungodly early hour.

Also, that you stick to a plan, come hell or high water.  And sometimes, it was only the high water that kept us from keeping it.

So, as I unlocked the door an hour later than curfew, clearly smelling of rule-breaking-behavior, he had only one question.

“Is your alarm set?”

I’m fairly certain that his eyes had a twinkle in them as he asked.

“I’m not sure I’ll be up for getting up at 5:30 tomorrow morning, Dad,” I warned him.

“Oh, you’ll be up,” he promised.

And that’s how it rolled.

As well as my stomach.

Every foot of boat chop that we pounded across that morning, on the way out to our dive spot, my stomach railed at me for the previous night’s activity. And he knew it.

I survived.

Barely.

But I can assure you – the lesson sank in.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart.  I remember hearing that once or a thousand times.

And God parents me much the same way that Ahab did.  He loves me despite.  He disciplines me even when it’s going to hurt him to see me in pain far more than it will hurt me to be disciplined.

And He gives.

Knowing that I can never give back as much. And that sometimes, I won’t even remember to give thanks.

Today, though, I find myself grateful.

Grateful for the grace galore that He heaps on me.

Grateful for another day to get up and breathe deeply and commit my way to Him.

And grateful for the opportunity to love my children the way He loves me.

Knowing, of course, that when I fail – because, I will – there will always be more grace waiting for me.

 Creationswap_Matt_Gruber_Grace_Abounds

The Tie That Binds

One thing I can always count on, in my relationship with The One Who Sees Me, is tethering.  He will not leave me stranded out there in the world.  He does not let me get too far adrift.

And friends?  I can drift pretty far.

Can’t we all?

Finding myself gasping for breaths of air in between huge swells that come crashing down, one after the other, I so often question how I got so far out into The Storm.

But, He is there.  And I know He is present because he tugs at the love knot that He has tied around my heart. Gently, He reminds me that we are tethered together, He and me.  I feel that little tug and know with certainty that I will be okay.

Even if I’m out on an adventure that He never willed for me, the tie that binds us is still there.  He waits patiently, oh-so-patiently, for me to feel that gentle tug and make my way back to Him.

And I am thankful this morning for that love knot.

Yes indeedy.

I’m linking up with the writing community over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday   As Lisa-Jo puts it: “Set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.”  Hop on over there by clicking the button below and you can read all of the thoughts on “See”.

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The Method of the Message

“All the world’s a stage.”

William Shakespeare

Recently, I peeled back some of those silly surface layers I pile on around here to share a little corner of my heart that needed some serious light shined in. And it felt like a too-bright spotlight was being shined on just such a space that desperately needed some cobwebs swept away to make more room for God to pour into. And He did.  Oh, how He did!

Actually, He’s still sweeping.

At the time that I wrote about all the editing, I felt some guilt. I’m not gonna lie. We like to call that conviction, around here. It was never my intention to make my daily life a stage.  I’ve spent more than a little time wondering where the line that determines sharing to be known for the rights reasons (making someone feel less alone) and sharing to be known for the wrong ones (do I matter to others?) lies.

But…

I’m enamored of a God who dispenses grace like candy. And, although He does indeed give me a good swift kick in the shorts sometimes, it’s only because I need it.  Here’s the beautiful thing, though – I can always count on Him to liberally apply The Balm of Grace to this convicted little heart of mine, afterwards.

And he did that this weekend.

Listening to a message about the different parts of the body and how they each have a function and each one is necessary for the entire body to function properly, I felt His merciful grace drenching my sore spirit. He whispered gently of how He lovingly created me.  Exactly as I am. And He reminded me of my function and place within the body of Christ.

We are each gifted with a different way to share the message of God’s love with others.

Gifted_To_Give_Missindeedy

I felt Him clearly telling me that it’s not a bad thing that I share my message with a side of funny.  That is part, I hope, of what appeals to some of you who so graciously subscribe to my nonsense on a regular basis. (I surely do like me some people with a sense of humor. Thank you LORD for my friends here!)

But… I realize that there are times when, to get God’s message of Love and Hope out there, I have to bring it uninvited.   And, I know this to be true from personal experience. There are so many folks on this here World Wide Web, especially in my little corner of it, who don’t want a full on message of Love and Hope.  They’d rather have a quick little morsel of truth wrapped up in Some Funny.  I get that.  I do. Mostly because, not so long ago, that was me. My heart couldn’t handle the truth.  It literally could not.

And, honestly? I still wrestle with The Truth sometimes.

So, I write about the mishaps and the grace that always follow because I want to be reminded that it’s True.

God will always shed grace.

Always.

We can really only share what we have authentically experienced ourselves, right?

It turns out that Shakespeare was pretty stinkin’ smart.  Our entire world really is a stage. Each of us truly is an actor of sorts.  We each have a message inside.  And we are each gifted differently for its delivery.  The method of my message will continue to be delivered in a way exclusive to what God lays upon my heart and the way He has wired me to deliver it.  The same is true for you.

As I vigilantly watch for that swift kick before it connects with my backside,  I will continue on with my message.

The mishaps will continue to be a’plenty – I’ve no doubt.

But there is always grace galore.

Yes indeedy!

Some Things Never Get Old

Sweetboy has taken to reading my texts whenever he hears the ding. I’m gonna have to get that ding to go all silent and stealthy from now on.

He has also taken to noticing, lately, when Sweetman and I are standing too close to each other (or hugging, or GASP, kissing!). He’ll laugh a nervous little laugh and turn away.  It makes us happy that he has gotten to the point where he is able to see how others relate and feel an emotion beyond whatever is going on in his own world.  Huge step for this Sweetboy of ours.  Thank you God!

Anyhoo, back to the huggin’ and the kissin’.  Sweetgirl has also taken notice of our proximity, lately.  In fact, after telling the kids we’d take a family walk around the neighborhood (that’s code for letting that child ride her bike like she’s Evel Knievel while I sweat. it. out!) she got a little impatient waiting for us to come outside.  She poked her head in the garage door and asked if we were done “Standing  Really Close Next To Each Other Now?!?”. I suppose that’s a five-year old’s way of explaining all of the hugging?

We think it’s a hoot how the kids each react to any show of intimacy on the part of us parents, toward each other.

And in fact, we do it more often, now,  whenever we think they may be paying attention. Just to, you know… stir the pot a little.  I do believe that is part of The Parental Contract, yes?

And so, I suspect that had Sweetboy come across this text message conversation that Sweetman and I had on Friday, he’d have been a little wigged out.

burrito_babe_missindeedy

Some things in a marriage just never. get. old.

Indeed!

Captain Ahab, I Love You

Ahab and I have always had a tender and precious father-daughter relationship.  It hasn’t always been roses, of course. Just ask him about the terribly hurtful stage I went through when it didn’t feel “comfortable” to hug and kiss him anymore.  (That lovely age of 13 – it should be banned.) 

I now see the redemptive power hindsight has, though.  Looking back on the behaviors of my parents, through the lens of adulthood, provides a new understanding of All The Rules.

Clarity is an irony.  It’s only in looking backward that I understand more clearly the path I want to forge with my own family, moving forward.

That path, in large part, is because of the one forged by Ahab for his own family.

He may be a Fishing Guru, but what he really excels at is this:

 “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves…”

Romans 12:3 (NLT)

He may have been rough around the edges, but, with Ahab?  What you see is most definitely what you get.  (Nana – stop that sighing. Right now!) I learned to take myself, and the things of this world, a little less seriously from him.  (Unless, of course, we’re talking about the battle plan for the two Sport Lobster Days in the Keys each July. Then?  Then, it’s Get Your Game Face On!)

Ahab taught me how to laugh in the face of danger (“That shark over there? He isn’t interested in you.”), how to go after something you want with determination somethin’ fierce (“Well, get after it! And don’t quit until it’s done!”), how to find the joy in simplicity (“Aw, that’s nothin’ but a thing.”), how loyalty should mean something (“We take care of our own!”),  and how laughter can bring some much needed levity to A Situation (“Hair on your upper lip you say?  Well then, we’ll just call you Harry and the Hendersons from now on.”)

And he taught me love.

“Aw, you’re just sayin’ that cuz it’s true.”  Indeed I am!

I love you Captain Ahab.  Happy Father’s Day!

He always can make me laugh.

He always can make me laugh.

Do you have some fond memories of your father, step-father, uncle, or grandfather?  Please, share! And spread a memory or two.  I love hearing other people’s stories!

 

Have You Called Your Mother?

Mother_Call_Her_Missindeedy

The Nana and I have fought, and hard, for our relationship over these last 40 some-odd years.  It’s been worth it.

Where we are now?  It’s a good place.

There was a period of time, an altogether-too-long period of years, where my mama would be the last person I’d call for advice, comfort, or inspiration to carry on.   Is that a harsh thing for some of you mothers to read?  I’m sorry.  It is a true story.  One that, I hope, makes what I write next, about my mom, all the sweeter.

Ours is a relationship redemption story, if there ever was one.

Walking down that road of pending motherhood, I realized that all of these hopes and dreams that I had for my own sweet children, were tied up tightly with every fiber of my being. And that was a frightening revelation, a scary prospect, and a depressing way to behold the future of my children. Does that make sense to some of you? The thought overpowered me that, “I was only going to be able to do the best that I could with what I had.”

Sadness permeated my heart at that thought, followed by no small amount of resentment.  I didn’t feel like my mother had prepared me for this mighty job that I now had.

And, at that point in our relationship, I didn’t feel that I could or would ask her for her help. Nor did I think, for a moment, that she would have any constructive or encouraging words of wisdom to share.

Redemption sometimes comes unexpectedly. As I lay with my firstborn nursing him in the wee hours one morning, it dawned on me that my mama truly did do the very best that she could with what she had.

That brought a softening to my heart.  And, ultimately, opened the door to some Grand Scale Healing in our relationship.

Is it sunshine and unicorns now?

Nope.

It is progress.  And Love.  It’s a blooming friendship built on the hope of continued trust and a committment to slather on the grace whenever and wherever.  It’s all of these things, and so many more, wrapped up together to strengthen the fibers of my being.

And, hopefully, hers too.

Now?  I do ask her. All the time, it seems, I ask her what she thinks I should do, could I have handled this better, which outfit should I wear to this event. It’s almost like these last 8 years or so, we’ve been making up for lost time, cramming each interaction with as much mother-daughter love as it can possibly hold.

And I am deeply grateful.

My mother, The Nana, my mama?  She is a gift to me; a precious gift that truly does keep on giving, with each new day that we spend knowing that we are mother and her daughter.  This redeemed relationship is a gift from the God who sees; and isn’t afraid to reach right in and continue to draw us closer to one another, and to Him.

Dear Mama,

I love you.  I’m so glad you’re MY mom. 

Now, turn on your phone, you’re about to receive a call.

Love,

Pooh

Teddybear Theology

Growing up, I had a teddy bear that was precious to me.  Preh-shus! I dubbed him, Tedward. I have no idea why.  I suppose my desire to name things anything other than the most popular or common names started young.

When Tedward was snuggled up with me, in my bed, I was able to sleep sweetly.  Tucked under my arm on car rides, I felt secure.  But most importantly, rubbing Tedward’s furry ear against my nose became a source of great comfort.  (Although, The Nana and Captain Ahab were thankful that rubbing his ear to my nose took the place of sucking my thumb. In the 4th grade!  I so wish I were kidding. Sigh… Braces for five years, anyone?)

Eventually, that furry ear became less and less furry.  He lost an eye.  At some point, the threading, that was his nose, seemed to disappear.  And, somewhere along the way, he developed a hole on the inside of one of his legs that led to much Losing Of The Stuffing. (If only it worked that way in real life.)

I didn’t give two hoots about any of that, though.  He was still my bear.  And I loved him so.  I imagine that God feels much the same way about me.  I have lost some of my stuffing (my fervor for him).  Sometimes, my ability to sniff out the truth is dulled.  My eyes zero in on one good thing to the exclusion of all the better things He has for me.  But, he loves me still.  Thank you God!

That bear was so important to me, and had seen me through so much joy and sorrow, that I even packed him in my suitcase for my wedding night.  Ask Sweetman.  He was a bit taken aback when I informed him that this would happen, but he knew that Tedward was important and he loved me.  (It also confirmed in my heart that THIS was the man for me!)

And now, you probably know far more than you ever wanted to about that.

Fast forward almost four years.  The Nana graciously spent the first two weeks of Sweetboy’s birth with Sweetman and I to see us through the crazy roller coaster ride of Brand Spankin’ New Parenthood.

She noticed, the day that we were to bring Sweetboy home from the hospital, that Tedward was on my bed.  And he was looking worn.  She also, in her wisdom, knew that the last thing I’d be thinking about, that first night home from the hospital, would be Tedward.  So, she packed him in her suitcase with the intent of performing a little Stuffed Animal Surgery.

Somewhere around day 4 of being home, sleep-deprived and hormone-infused, I asked her if she’d seen Tedward.  She calmly explained that she noticed he was a bit threadbare and wanted to take him back home with her to repair him.

We both forgot about him.  Sadly, for almost a decade.

Until last week.  Last week, we received a Valentine’s Box in the mail from The Nana.  And, among other treasures, here’s what was inside:

TedWard_Redo

You can read the note for yourself.  I cried.  And then practically hugged the stuffing right out of him.  He was instantly snatched from my hands by my Sweetgirl.  I attempted to chase after her and tell her his long and sweet history with me.  She had other intentions.

Please meet “Rosie Glitter”:

Tedwina

Oh. My. Stars.

Poor bear.

But, he is with me again.  Even if he’s now a she. And even if he’s been claimed by my children.

Much like my relationship with God.

Sometimes, I want to hug the stuffing right out of Him. He’s seen me through highs and lows.  He loves me no matter what and He’s always with me.  And I pray, oh how I pray, to pass my love for Him right on down to my sweet children. Oh, yes indeedy!

 

Who Will Prevail (I Predict Not Me)

Today is Thursday.  Surprise!  It comes every week, yes.  But this Thursday is Valentine’s Day Thursday.  And I had intended to be at Bible Study this morning with My Sweet Bible Study girls.  The ones who get me and know my heart.  They encourage me to hang in there when things are tough and praise the tar out of the Almighty God when things are grand.  I had Valentine’s card-ettes all made out for every one of them with a sweet verse for each.  One of these gals, gifted by God with such baking skills as  you would wish to be the sponge that gets to wash off her baking utensils, was going to be bringing a special treat. Another, leading us with her fresh perspective and gentle encouragement. Yet another, bringing sweet Valentine’s crafted with such love that you could practically feel her heart beating within it as you held it in your hands.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21

But instead?  Instead, I’m sitting on the couch snuggled up next to a snot-nosed, very literally, mini-me.  She uses my sleeve as her human Kleenex.  She keeps moaning that “my nose doesn’t feel good mama.”. And yet, she begs to go to preschool so she can hand out all 14 of her Valentine’s Day cards. Cards that she laboriously, over the course of 4 days, signed her name to. And every so often, she’ll ask for a  slobber-mixed-with-snot, germ-delivering, cold-laden, kiss.

What I want to be doing and what I planned to be doing was not to be.  Sigh…

So, I hop onto Facebook to see what others are up to on this fine Valentine’s Day. And I see this:

Love is

And my half-pint Valentine perks up and says, “Oooh, Mama, the words are so pretty!”

Oh, little one, they are.  They are pretty to look at, they are pretty when they are in action, and they are pretty, especially when strung up as a mantra inside the walls of your heart.

So, I read them out loud to her.  And to myself.  And I return her slobbery kiss with one of my own.

And I am reminded that God’s plans are always best.

Even when they’re laden with germs.

Yes indeedy!