Monthly Archives: November 2013

Eucharisteo

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Eucharisteo. Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy.

1. Warm showers after long days.
2. People playing with my hair.
3. My beautiful and healthy nephew.
4. Snow dusting tall trees.
5. Sweet mixed with coffee and good conversation.
6. One stoplight towns where everyone knows each other.
7. Hallmark Christmas movies.
8. Minty freshness after teeth are brushed.
9. Hard laughing in the High Point teacher’s lounge.
10. Birthdays.
11. Listener friends.
12. Soap smells on clean hands.
13. Feeling surprised when people laugh and I wasn’t trying to be funny.
14. Softness of new sweatshirts or sweatpants.
15. Peppermint mochas any time of year.
16. Two strong legs and arms to carry my groceries.
17. Nighttime when it snows and the world looks light because of all the whiteness.
18. Going to bed without setting an alarm.
19. Waking up and feeling rested.
20. Friends smiling because they’re truly happy.
21. Two eyes to take in life.
22. Being invited to dinner.
23. Warm boots that keep my feet dry in the cold and wet.
24. Waking up to sunshine.
25. The smell of fresh coffee.
26. Hearing someone call my car cool.
27. Heavy blankets.
28. Happy siblings.
29. Workouts getting easier.
30. Feeling beautiful.
31. Read aloud time at school where students hang on your every word.
32. Newness of clothes.
33. Being brave.
34. Empty email boxes.
33. Finished to do lists.
34. Solved math problems.
35. The feeling when giving things away; especially knowing someone will be excited and blessed by them.
36. When God plays for a song on the radio cause I prayed for it.
37. Perfectly blue skies with puffs of white clouds.
38. Getting lost because I’m singing so loud I don’t hear my gps.

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Umbrella Prayers

The year is 2009. I wake up and trudge my way across campus in the freezing cold rain…typical for Bowling Green. I clutch my umbrella for dear life as the wind whips around me, afraid I may have an experience like last time when the wind ripped my umbrella completely inside out. I laugh remembering little me trying to reverse the effects by pulling on the corners, but not having a long enough stretch to do any good as people walked past me probably thinking….”what is this girl doing??”

I make it through my class feeling as sleepy as the world outside projects. After sitting through a dreary class, all my classmates leave and bustle over to the local preschool which was our home for this semester; paired up with a precious little one to play with and study for 4 months. I slip into my coat and prepare myself mentally for my feisty little guy, when I suddenly notice an umbrella that was left in our classroom. I grab it, thinking one of my classmates will be missing it when they are soaked from head to toe, and make my way through the downpour, to the preschool.

To my surprise none of my classmates are soaked and I can find no home for this extra umbrella. The preschool teachers don’t want it saying they have so many extras already. So I’m left with an abundance of umbrellas. One person, two umbrellas. And I offer up a quick, but specific prayer.

Dear Jesus, please let me give this umbrella to someone who needs it today.

And I begin to open my eyes like a panther on the prowl. Searching for the person on campus predestined to receive this gift from the Lord. Excited to see who will be the lucky recipient, I walk from preschool, to meetings, to lunch, and all the while looking around for anyone in need of some relief from the rain. To my surprise, I see no one in need. How many times have I walked by thousands of students on campus caught in the rain with no umbrella because the weather forecast did not predict it? But today, everyone seems thoroughly prepared.

God, why today? Why is it no one is in need of this small blessing today?

The rain lightens up and eventually stops; my hope fading. I prepare for my last trip of the day. I meet my friend and we walk to the Bowling Green Public Library for our evening job of rangling kids to focus during our tutoring session. While reading stories and crunching numbers with kiddos, I look out the window and sigh…God, what good intentions I had today. I thought You had given me a gift to love someone with. I know You can do whatever You want, but why did you choose not to answer this prayer of mine?

My friend and I say goodbye and good work to the last of the little ones, and we talk about the rest of our evenings as we pick up pencils from the floor and push in chairs. I let her know she will be walking home solo today as another friend is picking me up to take me to my mentor’s house for the rest of the evening. We hear the pitter patter of rain begin on the roof again. She looks out the window and says “Awwwww man. I have to walk home in the rain, and I don’t have an umbrella.”

Enter the Hallelujah Chorus in my head.

“You need an umbrella???!!!!” I say. “I have an extra umbrella!! Please take it!” I say with a little more excitement than a normal human being would have. But I wasn’t a normal human being at that moment. I was experiencing God’s perfect timing in my life. His perfect answer to my simple prayer.

How easily I give up on my God to answer my prayers. I question Him and give up waiting. I so easily just assume He’s not going to answer this one. Or at least I think He has missed His opportunity to answer it…in the way I was thinking. But all the while He’s saying “Just wait a minute Linds….I’ve got this all worked out.”

He’s got it all worked out.

I have now named all my little and sometimes seemingly silly but specific prayers umbrella prayers. I believe God loves to answer even the small quiet prayers of my heart.

Jesus, help me to believe You desire to answer every prayer that escapes my lips. Help me to rest more deeply in the truth that You’ve got it all worked out.

How can my losses be my gain?

I hate change. Always have, probably always will. I know I’m not alone in this. Unfortunately for people like me, life is full of change. Even small things like last year when my parents changed my room from the “little girls’ haven” it had been for 25 years to a sophisticated “adult looking room,” I had a hard time. My heart did some aching through that transition. Last year being a long term maternity substitute and having to say goodbye every 6-12 weeks to yet another group of students and start over again was exhausting. But I’m realizing why even small changes can be challenging and take time to move through. Change always involves loss, and loss always involves a death of some kind.

I can’t imagine having to go through loss without Jesus. I honestly don’t know how people do it. Because the beautiful thing about knowing Jesus is that any time I go through a season of pain and grief, there is purpose. I’ve walked with Him a long time and I can honestly say that I have never experienced Him quite like I have over the past few months. When I experienced the death of something and hurt so badly I didn’t know how to keep going, that’s when I truly found myself for the first time on my face at the feet of Jesus. Where else could I go? And yet, God uses our shattered heart experiences to grow us in ways we never would have experienced without it. We don’t experience God like that until we truly need a miracle done in our lives. I wish we could experience this without the deep pain that jump starts the process, but I can honestly say in my life, it wouldn’t have come any other way. It had to happen.

So where does the beauty come in? Well….I can’t say I have fully experienced it yet…oh how it can be a long process….however, I can say God has begun to show me through His precious Word what He desires to do with this death I experienced. In the story of Lazarus in John 11 Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” you see what I’ve learned is that my death is an opportunity for Jesus to raise me from the dead. My death = Jesus’ resurrection in me. I could try to explain this, but no one will say it better than my friend Beth Moore in her Breaking Free study.

“When our hearts have been shattered by loss, we have the opportunity to welcome a supernatural power to our lives. It doesn’t come any other way. That is the power to live again when we’d really rather die. It is the power that displays the life of Christ in us like no other because it defies all odds. God becomes the only explanation for our emotional survival and revival. Perhaps the most profound miracle of all is living through something we thought would kill us. And not just living, but living abundantly and effectively–raised from living death to new life. A life indeed absent of something or someone dear but filled with the presence of the resurrection and the life.”

I’ve never before been able to understand Paul when he says “Indeed I count everything as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that come from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and may share in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…” ~Philippians 3

But I am now starting to experience it. I am gaining so many things through this season. I am experiencing Jesus more deeply than ever, I am gaining much more compassion for people–there are soooooo many hurting people in this world…who am I to be untouched by pain as well? I am gaining wisdom. My life is more productive and effective in bringing glory to my Savior. God is producing endurance, character, hope, and faith.

I end with a song that has been so dear to my heart throughout this season. As I continue to walk through this process, I pray that God will fully raise me from the dead to the glory of His marvelous name! I fully believe He will.

Wisdom from a four year old

With about twenty different colored hair clips and bobby pins in my hair, I look at my four year old stylist in exhaustion and ask “How do I look?” To which she gives a deep sigh and says…..”Beautiful.”

I don’t know why the Lord allowed me to experience this special little girl for a summer, but I can truly say it was a gift at a time I needed it.

I found myself in a situation where I needed a summer job this year and grudgingly took a nanny job that felt “quite underneath my college teaching degree.” To my pleasant surprise it allowed me to meet and spend time with two sweet girls and may I humbly add, helped me to process through some deeper things.

The younger of the two was four at the time and is 150% girl. She loves all things pink and sparkly. We spent many hours in the pool that summer where we often played dolphins or went to dances where we twirled to our heart’s content. I spent many hours at her hair salon where she ever so carefully brushed and styled my hair. We sang countless Disney songs in my car, at the park, at home and were constantly going on some sort of adventure.

But there was one common thread through it all….princess. She adored being a princess and unselfishly wanted everyone else to be a princess too. I can’t tell you how sweet it was to watch her twirl and believe she truly was a princess and how amazing it felt to be crowned with beautiful tiaras (pool rings), and sprinkled with magical fairy dust myself. God reminded me this summer of what every little girl (and may I be so bold as to say every adult girl) wants to be….a princess. It doesn’t have to be exactly how she pictured it with rainbows and sparkles, but the heart of every woman I believe is to be a princess.

We constantly ask the question (although not audibly) “am I lovely?” We want to be worth something, we want to have an identity that means something. And we want to be a princess. The beautiful thing about my four year old friend is that she believed she was….and as a result, acted it out in her life. Her innocence was so sweet to see and I found myself coveting her freedom and unwavering belief. I wished I was four years old again where the only worry I had was is my sister mad at me or am I going to have to choke down lima beans for dinner?

Here’s a challenging thought…could I, even with all my experiences and knowledge of how hard and painful life can be, still have the same heart as my four year old friend? Could I truly believe that because of my identity in Jesus Christ, I am a princess who can be free from the worries of this life? Perhaps not free of the pain it sometimes brings, but truly rest in being able to walk through life as a princess? And if I could do that…..what would it look like?

I am still in process, but asking God to give me a heart like my four year old friend. To trust Him and truly believe I am His princess. I suppose I’m not too educated to learn from a four year old. : )

…there is freedom

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“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ~2 Corinthians 3:17

…a song I have so enjoyed over the years, and a scripture I’m just now beginning to experience.

Starting to follow Jesus as a little girl has some beautiful parts to it, but there are also some pitfalls in which I was more prone to fall. Things like knowing the Word of God in my head, but feeling like I couldn’t believe it in my heart. Feeling like I knew how I was “supposed to act” and becoming a girl who tried to earn her salvation and love, trying to live up to an incredibly high standard I had put on muself, all the while knowing in my head it wasn’t the truth. I’ve struggled with perfectionism, and control of the way people saw me. But it only led to a life if bondage. As a young adult my eyes began to see these areas of bondage, but I felt powerless to do anything about them.

Then comes that season that no one ever asks for, and no one ever wants to walk through. Where you feel like everything you wanted has been stripped away, everything you had been trying to control was gone and you begin to realize how little control you ever really had anyways. You are so broken you don’t even know how to get up in the morning. You feel you’ve been left with next to nothing. You have more emotions and thoughts than you know what to do with. You’re not sure how to even keep walking through life. Have you been there?

So many questions. So many honest conversations with God. Then I began to experience the truths that I had known in my head for years….but not experientially believed.

I began to hear from Jesus in ways I never have before. God met me in my pain. He is big enough and strong enough to handle my tough questions…and boy was I asking Him some. But the sweet thing was…He always said something surprising and freeing. He never said what I thought I would hear….and what He said was always good.

I began to hear God speaking truth over me…and I began to let go. I began to walk in freedom. There is nothing more freeing than spending time with the God of the universe and hearing His sweet voice. Nothing.

Why must it take these extremely painful experiences to bring us to this place with God? A wise friend of mine told me that these painful circumstances are actually God pursuing our hearts. She said the most painful times in her life were times she would never choose to go back to…or replace. Wow. Such wisdom.

She’s so right. I’ve learned and experienced more of God in this season than I may have in any other season of my life. Would it be what I would have chosen? No.

But I’m learning (still in the process) to use the season where God has me to experience more of Him. And on the other side I will be living in more freedom than I ever have before.

Thank you Jesus for Your beautiful freedom.