Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Open Hands

I know Valentine’s Day was last month, but I’ve been thinking a lot about love and the things we value and treasure. Also, how do we know we are loved and treasured? How do we communicate to others that they are loved and treasured? Do we believe it?

Both hearing and saying recently, “I love you. Love that! Love ya,” has brought forth questions in my heart. What does love really mean?

Kind of interesting, that a friend on Facebook reminded me today, that it is ‘Happy 3-16 Day’ by posting John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…”

I wonder if we get ourselves wrapped up in what we think love is…only to find out it really isn’t love at all. Do you think we can get confused about love and thus settle for less than love in our lives?

How do I know how to love? Did I ever take that class and did I pass?

Must we receive love in order to give love? I think so…

Last week I enjoyed a bike ride with my middle son. We were enjoying the warm Spring weather through our neighborhood; an when we got to a curvy part of the trail, my son asked if he could jump ahead for a little while. He disappeared from my eyes for a bit and when he reappeared I noticed he was no longer riding, but was walking his bike. I began to think of reasons why he was now choosing to walk his bike. For someone who so desired to get out and ride his bike, it made no sense. (Do we take the time to try and understand the weird/odd/different actions of others, or just presume they are strange? Hmmm…maybe a thought for another blog.)

Still from afar I was checking out his tires, his bike chains, his body language to see if there was any sign of bicycle mishap. No flat, no chains dangling and a perk in his step told me he was just fine—but still knowing there had to be a reason that he chose to walk rather than ride his bike.
When I caught up to him, I asked inquisitively, “What happened? Why are you walking your bike instead of riding it?”

He replied, “I didn’t want to lose my treasures, and I don’t have a pocket for them.” He pried his hand open to reveal his treasures…

Four small acorn shells rested in his small hands. I offered to put them in my pocket so he could ride. As he pedalled off again, I realized how quickly he "treasured" these acorns…just holding them for a matter of minutes and also how willing he was to give me his treasures because he trusted me. He knew that I would not just discard them but rather care for them and keep them safe. As I put his treasures in my pocket the word sacrifice seemed to come roaring up from my toes and then resonated in my mind for the rest of the ride.
Pure love is sacrifice and I don’t think we can fully embrace or understand it on our own. We need help…specifically God’s help to grasp this kind of pure love.
For our God who created us knows all about the ultimate sacrifice given fully in the name of love.
When left to ourselves, we get love all twisted up.

How can we unravel the mess and live with this healthy pure love?

Gonna ponder this some more, but I am thinking it has something to do with keeping my hands open.
What about you?
How do you receive and give love that is healthy and pure to those around you?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Woosh! I was startled by a noise outside my baby’s window and realized that the wind is blowing all kinds of stuff around outside made me think about our lives and how often things may seem to be tossed around to and fro.

When I glanced through the window I noticed that the only things not moving around in the yard were the rocks.

Hmmmmm…to hold onto something unshakeable like a rock seems so comforting for my heart right now.
What’s unshakeable in your life? Do you have something solid to hold onto?

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
(Deut 32:4)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. (Psalm 18:2)

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
(Psalm 62:6)

But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
(Psalm 94:22)

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD is the Rock eternal.
(Isaiah 26:4)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Three Ice Cubes

Sad, but I finally tossed it in the trash. The tag said my gorgeous orchid plant required just three ice cubes a week…seems simple enough. Yet, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that the last petal of the gorgeous amethyst colored flower dried up and fell off last week. I think it had something to do with the busyness in my home with a new baby and the storm of winter illnesses that rushed through our home these previous weeks. No big deal, right? I recognized this still as failure and I felt the thought begin to creep, “I am no good at this!”
I am snickering to myself, it is just a plant I know…yet I am so very inclined to think of life, which is much more complicated than remembering three ice cubes a week. I know I have struggled with these words in the recesses of my mind when I have felt inadequate, incapable, incompetent...just feeling,“No good at this!”
I am wondering how many other girlfriends out there have had similar thoughts…”I am no good at this!”

The thought seems to come from nowhere, yet I know this lie has roots much deeper than my orchid plant. Rather than focus on where the lies derived at this point, (there is a time and place for that and may we all take time to reflect on the past so that we can truly move on), I am thinking right now about how to replace that thought and others like it that bring such a death blow to our hearts and suck the life right out of us.

Who do we allow to speak into our lives…our minds…our hearts? We seem to create our own thoughts from others we have picked up along the way. I heard Patty Wyatt on Girlfriendit Radio yesterday say that we have “Balcony friends and basement friends.” She explained that there are friends we have in our lives that raise us up and encourage us and there are those people in our lives that tend to bring us down.

Don’t go calling out any names, but can you think of a few balcony friends and a few basement friends in your life.

What kind of girlfriend are you? Do you reside in a balcony or a basement?
We all need cheerleaders in the balcony to help us conjure up positive thoughts in our head. Thoughts like, “I am good at this,” need to squash and replace the negative thoughts that creep in the walls of our minds.
God intends for us to live with confidence and encourage one another.
As a Christian woman we are beckoned to pay attention and dismiss such negative talk, yet we are often timid to say out loud, “I am good at this!” We don’t want to come across as pious or conceited, do we? Where is the balance in this?

The Bible tells us that confidence is ours through Christ and that we are not competent to claim anything for ourselves or toot our own horn, but our competence comes from God. (2 Cor 3:4-5)
It helps to know that we are wired by God, worthy of great things, created to do something and be useful in this world.
We need to live like our lives matter. “Needing to matter does not mean you are self-centered and vain. It means that you are human. What you and I do with the need can become extremely vain and self-centered, the need itself is sacred.” (Beth Moore, “Beloved Disciple,” page 185).
So how do we live out a life that matters with such God-fidence?
Such a great question I think, and I have pondered it for a few weeks now and I do not proclaim to have the answers...but I am confident that God has shed some light in my heart to share.

As I look at my flower garden that is currently inhabiting some live and some dead flowers I see you and me. Some of us are flourishing and thriving—could be because of various reasons, (maybe someone remembered your three ice cubes…haha!)

And some are needing some tending to, maybe more water, a different soil, shade or more sun…there is a season for everything and maybe it is just not that flower’s season.
Flowers are only around for a short time, yet they do not need us to smell them every day in order to keep blooming competently.
Flowers just bloom because God made them to bloom.
Like the flowers, we don’t need someone sniffin’ us everyday to be competent with what God has wired us to do. Some people may think we stink and others may fall in love with our aroma, but we ought to just bloom regardless.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to spend more time with those that like my scent, and I may just say out loud, “I can do this well because God made me this way!”
How about you? Are you going to keep blooming even if others don’t like your fragrance? Plant yourself alongside some friendly helpful soil and thrive girlfriend!
And for those of us flowers that are thriving, why not water that flower next to you…maybe they need just three ice cubes a week.