Five Minute Friday: She

I think of her in a different way this Mother’s Day weekend.
She, the one who carried me in her womb
and her heart
and with her prayers.
I wonder if she thought of the one who was stillborn,
as the time of my birth came close.

First she carried me in her womb
and then continued to carry me with her prayers.
And, if the words of a pastor-author are true
that our prayers out live us,
I am still being carried by her prayers,
even as I carry her now
in my genes,
in my heart,
in my memory.

I am joining (on a Saturday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “She.”

broken

When I think of broken, I think of bread,
homemade and store bought,
and the One who made us and was broken for us.
The One who declared and in the same breath issued an invitation,
“This is My Body that was broken for you. Take, eat of it.”

When I think of broken, I think also of glass,
and hearts, and lives, and spirits.
Of friendships and relationships, and dreams.
And the song which speaks healing truth,
“The Potter wants to put you back together again.”

The Potter, who is also the Bread who was broken.
The One who allowed Himself to be broken.
He is the One who repairs, makes new,
makes whole what was broken.

O how good it is to know there is no restriction on what He can make whole,
because the breaking is sometimes due to my own carelessness,
my devaluing of the sacred and the precious.

O how good it is to know that repair does not require wealth,
nor fame, status or the like,
only brokenness and the willingness to be made whole.

Thank You, Potter. Thank You, Living Bread.

N.B.: Versions of this post were published on July 27, 2013 & May 21, 2014.

midweek boost: permission

Permission: the right or ability to do something that is given by someone who has the power to decide if it will be allowed or permitted

Whose permission do you need to be your best self?
To be bold instead of fearful or anxious?
Self-compassionate instead of self-critical?
Humble instead of puffed-up?

To forgive  yourself and others,
instead of being imprisoned by unforgiveness?
To go of the past instead of torturing yourself
with guilt,
regret,
and shame?

Christ has set you free.
Walk free.
Live free.
You have been called to liberty.

Give yourself permission to be your best self.
You already have God’s permission
and His enabling.
You do not need permission from anyone else.

N.B. A version of this post was published in 2017.

“… and Peter.” (And me.)

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A drowning person’s life flashes before his or her eyes.
Or so I have been told.
And if there is truth in this statement,
I wonder if Peter’s life with Jesus flashed before his eyes
as he drowned in an ocean of shame, horror, pain, and disbelief
after doing what he had sworn he never would,
that is, abandon Jesus, the One he had left all to follow.

I wonder if he saw the moment when Jesus called to him and his brother Andrew
as they were casting a net into the Sea of Galilee, and said,
“Come follow me and I will send you to fish for people”?
And when He touched the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law as she was lying in bed with a fever, and the fever left her?

I wonder if Peter remembered vividly the moment his feet touched the water after he asked, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water,” and Jesus responded, “Come”?
And when he responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” with the revelation given to him by the Father, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter.

I wonder if he saw the thousands being fed with a little boy’s lunch, and Lazarus coming out of the tomb after he had been dead four days, and Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount?

I do not know but the One Who knew Peter would deny Him, not once but thrice in a short space of time, and loved him still, He made sure that Peter knew that there was forgiveness, and redemption, and restoration for Peter.

First, He sent the message of His resurrection through the angel, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
“… tell his disciples and Peter.”
“ … and Peter.”

Later, He would pose a question to him three times, “Do you love Me?”
And by the end of the conversation had commissioned him and, as He had done in their first encounter by the Sea of Galilee, called him to follow Him.

Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him,
Sometimes with my words.
At other times with my silence, behavior and choices.
Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him.
Perhaps you are too.
Thanks be to God, we can all be certain that,
no matter what we have done,
the same forgiveness,
redemption,
and restoration that Peter was given,
is also available to us.

NB: This post was first published on this blog on 4/17/17 and reposted on 4/11/18. It is one of my favorite posts and for that reason as well as the fact that the content still is true of me, I wanted to share it again.

Every Step

From the moment of His birth, every step Jesus took brought Him closer to Golgotha and the Cross, where He would willingly pay the incomprehensible cost to redeem you, me, the world. Every step.

The trip to Jerusalem at age 12, where, after searching for Him for three days, Mary and Joseph “found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions,” astonishing all who heard Him (Luke 2:41-47, NKJV). To the Jordan River to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17). Into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan after fasting for 40 days and forty nights (Matthew 4:1-11).

Every step. By the Sea of Galilee on numerous occasions such as when He called the first disciples (Matthew 4:18-22). Up on a mountain where He taught his disciples many things, including what we know as “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12). In Capernaum, where He spoke the word that healed the centurion’s servant and drove the fever from the body of Peter’s mother-in-law with a touch (Matthew 8:5-15).

Every step. To the country of the Gergesenes, where He set two demon-possessed men free (Matthew 8:28-34). To the house of Jairus where He raised his daughter from the dead (Luke 8:41-56).

Every step. Through Samaria and to the Samaritan woman who came to draw water and met the Messiah, the Living Water (John 4). To the tomb of Lazarus where He demonstrated that He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-44). Every step.

And every step you and I take moves us closer to the purpose for which God created us, or away from it. Every step. Every choice, every decision matters. May we heed more than ever the instruction in Hebrews 12:1-2 (AMP):

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”

And with the assurance that He directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9) may we pray like David, the psalmist and king, “Establish my footsteps in [the way of] Your word; Do not let any human weakness have power over me [causing me to be separated from You]” (Psalm 119:133, AMP).

As we continue walking through this Holy Week, may we see with fresh eyes, hear with open ears and hearts, and worship.

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NB: A version of this blog post was first published on 4/3/17.

P.S.
I want to invite you to join me and thousands of others across the nation and in other countries to use your feet to make a difference, by participating in World Vision’s Global 6K for clean water, on May 22, 2021. Please watch the video below and click here for additional information. Thank you.

infused ordinary

Ordinary… A day with only the typical activities scheduled.
But is it possible that hidden in the ordinary are secrets of the extraordinary that are revealed with keys such as gratitude, obedience, praise, attention?

Ordinary … A person who is seen as average. Having no talents that the rich and famous, those with status, seem to possess. But that ordinary person can make a life changing difference in the life of another human. By an act of kindness, by the recognition of Imago Dei in another, with love, an ordinary person could change the world in which God placed them – a job, a neighborhood, a family. 

Ordinary does not mean insignificant, or worthless, or unimportant.

Yahweh has a way of infusing ordinary moments, days, people, with His presence, His matchless power, making each His own, and transforming them all.

*A version of this post was originally published on 10/11/2013.

Possible

What is possible to me? Philippians 4:13 (AMP) states, “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” The answer is whatever God has called me to do by His strength and His power. He strengthens and empowers me to fulfill His purpose.

But one ingredient is necessary, namely my willingness. I am not always willing to do what God has called me to do for various reasons – fear, the desire to stay in my comfort zone, risk aversion, to name a few. But in the face of my unwillingness, God does not throw up His hands and leave me to my own devices. He continues to work in me. As  Philippians 2:13 (AMP) states, “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.” What a gracious, merciful God.

I am joining (on a Sunday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Possible.”

Enable

“Enable” – defined as to make someone able to do something, or make something possible.

Anything worthwhile that we have accomplished, we were enabled by God to do.

Through the Apostle Paul, God clearly informs us, “We don’t have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do.” (2 Corinthians 3:5, CEV).

Let us repeat this truth to ourselves and for our friends close and far away,
“We don’t have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do.”

Anything worthwhile that we have accomplished, we were enabled by God to do.

Who, then, deserves the glory, all of it?

God does.

Humbling, is it not?

Perspective altering, is it not?

So when no one seems to notice our efforts, we can be at peace.

We are instruments who are privileged to be enabled by God to do what He has called us to do. 

May His be the only approval that we seek.

I am joining (on a Monday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Enable.” The definition of “enable is from the Cambridge Dictionary.

What lies ahead?

“What lies ahead?”
When it comes to human experiences, no one knows for sure.
Engagements can be broken and weddings cancelled.
Marriages that began with hope, love, and passion
can end before the first wedding anniversary or after the 30th.


Jobs that seemed to have so much possibility
could end in unexpected termination.
A patient could come through a complicated surgery successfully
and die during recovery because of an unrelated infection.
A day that began with a brilliant sunrise could end in a fierce storm.


A few words spoke thoughtlessly could inflict a deep wound
that takes months or even years to heal.
A conversation with a stranger
could lead to a life-long friendship.
One idea could become a multi-million business.
One blog post could provide encouragement to a discouraged soul.

What lies ahead?
When it comes to human experiences,
no human knows for sure.
But the omnipotent, omnipresent,
omniscient God and Father knows.
And has promised sufficient grace,
and added strength,
and comfort,
and above all,
His abiding presence,
and an eternal home.

This post was originally published on November 8, 2020, as “Ahead.” Rereading it was helpful to me and I am reposting it with the hope that it could be helpful to you … whether you are reading it again or for the first time. Blessings.

Prepare

What are you preparing for this Christmas season
as others deck their halls,
and light up their trees?
As they shop for presents
and look forward to time with loved ones?

What are you preparing for this Christmas season,
as the Salvation Army bell ringers say cheerful “Merry Christmas”
and offer opportunities to share, to give to the needy?
As gifts are wrapped and cards are addressed and mailed?

What are you preparing for this Christmas season?
The familiar ache of loneliness?
The pain of the anniversary of the death of a loved one,
a marriage,
a dream?

Whatever hard thing you are preparing yourself for the best you know how,
know this –
The God of all comfort has also made preparation for you.
There is a Balm in Gilead.
He is near to the broken hearted and heals those who are crushed in spirit.
He keeps your tears.
He has numbered the hairs on your head.
He knows you are hurting more than you can describe or even believe you can bear.
He is ever present and calls you to the shelter of His arms,
the healing virtue of His presence.
He is with you always and will walk you through this season as He has every other one.

*This post is from the Archives of this blog. It was originally posted as part of Five Minute Friday in December 2014 and reposted in December 2015. Given the overwhelming grief, pain, loss, etc. of 2020, the truth of God’s abiding presence and comfort bears repeating, as does the truth that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.