Hearing God even when I don’t understand

2 Comments

It still amazes me to read some verses in the Bible which don’t seem to have any relevance to my life and then literally, minutes later, my circumstances change and there I am screaming in my soul, “Lord, you are real! You speak to me in my secret heart!” May I never grow tired of these encounters with my ever-present, 100% dependable God!

But I am slow to learn and can be a skeptic when it comes to this invisible yet all-knowing God I worship.

A recent event has brought to mind a time when the Lord showed me how important it is for me to stay in His Word.

Enter my time machine, if you please. (Vaporous, non-toxic smoke appears briefly). Do not be afraid.

Three absolutely adorable olive shoots who got a mama who will bust your behind if you mess with them. Thank you.

Three absolutely adorable olive shoots who got a mama who will bust your behind if you mess with them. Thank you.

About 10 years ago, I decided to read the entire Bible in one year. Each day had about 20 minutes total time reading verses from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I highly recommend doing this if you have never read the Bible from cover to cover for yourself.

Proverbs 7 from one of my most used Bibles.

Proverbs 7 from one of my most used Bibles.

Well, one afternoon I read some Bible verses that didn’t especially resonate with me. My day moved along per usual.

But then hours later, the phone rang.

It was a girl.

Calling not for my husband

but for my oldest olive shoot.

I had been reading Proverbs 7 – Seriously, read it if you are the mama of sons! Click here to read it!

Nate hung the phone up shortly afterward and I learned this girl had called with a few questions.

I was wearing my fluffy white robe and watching Crocodile Hunter at the time. Strange the things you remember when your world is about to get rocked.

She had asked if my son and his friend would go with her and her friend to the movies. And one more thing, could he also not tell his parents about it?

Instantly, the Bible verses I had only briefly considered came leaping into the forefront! Seriously??? The kid was in middle school! A clandestine meeting with a girl ain’t gonna happen on my watch!

Ok, darkness, I see you. Commence to stepping before it's too late.

Ok, darkness, I see you. Commence to stepping before it’s too late.

Not only did Nathan not go but we had him call the girl, decline her offer and then explain that HE wasn’t comfortable with her putting him in that position. He spoke gently to her giving her more respect than she had given herself. The girl never called again and continued to make poor choices.

Here I was thinking God’s Word was somehow not pertinent to me and like a dash of hot pepper sauce, a BAM came down from the heavens!

The same thing happened to me on Friday. I hastily did my daily reading after an eventful day which included taking my husband to the hospital among other things. (They thought he had damaged his spleen! He didn’t!).

I contemplated a chapter from an obscure book of the Bible (which I need to refrain from mentioning). It’s part of the 21 Day YouVersion challenge.

And then the phone rang.

Suddenly,

sadly,

strangely,

the words that didn’t apply –

did…

“Crud muffins,” I mutter to myself.

“Praise you, O God.” I also declare.

Today I wait expectantly for the truths I shall find and probably need sooner than I think.

If someone tells you the Bible is an ancient and irrelevant read,

or that God can’t actually speak to his people,

should they announce that His Word can’t help people in their present situation or their future,

send them my way.

Bless me, Mama

10 Comments
Here are just a few of the people I pray for on the regular.

Here are just a few of the people I pray for on the regular.

My 16-year-old walks into the kitchen and I’m slicing strawberries. He’s got a basketball game in a few hours and is heading out the door.

“Bless me, Mama,” he says.

My thin, ginger wisp stands near my side by the sink.

This is the moment every Christian mom hopes will happen and today’s my day. This is cool. I’m going to write about this I vow to myself.

“Oh, ok, I can do that.” I stop slicing. My strawberry stained fingers lift into the air and words flow from my lips.

But no sooner did I finish the first sentence then Ike interrupts me and says,

“Mom, I didn’t mean it!”

You can’t be serious, Child.

That ginger in the jacket, yeah, that's the kid I just prayed for!

That ginger in the jacket, yeah, that’s the kid I just prayed for!

For a second, I hesitated.

Then what did I do? I prayed for him anyway. #shablam

He had a great game. The team won. I did not cause these things by my prayers but I was obedient to the Lord.

Time and desire to pray have increased since beginning the YouVersion 21 Day Challenge. Other crazy, interesting things are also happening which perhaps I will share one day.

I love and admire this potato head.

I love and admire this potato head.

But the words “Bless me, Mama” resonate within me again.

My oldest olive shoot begins pre-Ranger school tomorrow at 11:45. Gulp. He will sleep on the ground and be pushed to his physical and mental brink. Many fail, it is beyond challenging.

“Bless me, Mama” is my charge as his mother. Nathaniel, my gift, I speak blessings and success into your journey. Oh how I treasure you. Shine brightly.

My ministry-minded middle will soon speak to group of high school students. About the subject of love. Basically it’s his first preaching opportunity. Plus each Friday he goes into the inner city of Chicago to reach high risk young kids with the Gospel. “Bless me, Mama.” I do, Aaron, I do.

Aaron loves this ministry and the kids he meets! Thanks be to God!

Aaron loves this ministry and the kids he meets! Thanks be to God!

May I be fruitful with all you have given me, My Holy One. Allow me to seize every opportunity to pray. Grant me knowledge to embrace ways to boldly proclaim your truth and loving kindness, as a mom, as a woman; every role I play, Father may it be so all the days of my life.

Amen

Sew and blessed

Leave a comment
A new project, I've been sketching and writing and smudging. This is a new way for me to express thanks to the Lord.

A new project, I’ve been sketching and writing and smudging. This is a new way for me to express thanks to the Lord.

A young bride enters my home.

When she said she didn’t know anything about sewing, she wasn’t kidding.

I felt so smart.

I felt so old.

I also felt blessed.

We spent two lovely hours together. There are MANY more qualified women to teach her about sewing, I told her so. But I felt privileged to guide her youthful steps and wrinkle-free hands. It was a brave thing for her to reach out.

Don’t we all have things we all need to learn but are wary to ask? I do. What if I looked incompetent? Shouldn’t I know that (whatever it is) already? Does everybody know that (whatever it is) but me? These are the musings in my head often times.

photo copy 6She put forth some power to the foot pedal of the sewing machine and I witnessed her first stitches into fabric. Tentatively, she picked up speed and confidence. She threaded the needle, learned about feed dogs (not an animal) and imagined possibilities.

Yesterday after she left, I found time to continue the 21-Day YouVersion Bible challenge. No clue what were the verses in the day’s study, I read Scripture verses nearly custom-made for me. This is what I see.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works…Teach what is good – Titus 2:3

In my sanctuary, imperfect but welcoming, a beautiful young woman taught me a few things as I instructed her. Hours later, God reinforced the lesson. I needed that especially after celebrating another birthday.

This is cool, join me in this life-changing journey!

This is cool, join me in this life-changing journey!

This aging process, which I don’t always especially enjoy, grants me a chance to celebrate the things my grey, blonde, brown and pink hair have taught me. Sew and blessed all in one winter’s day. Nice.

YouVersion has a bunch of great Bible reading plans. See for yourself how God’s Word can change your life, seriously.

What is a fruitful life? Learning from a snowflake hunter

Leave a comment
A talented friend took this picture during our recent "ice" event.

A talented friend took this picture during our recent “ice” event.

James Glaisher walked onto the platform of a hot air balloon. With a companion, the two men ascended 29,000 feet into the skies. While recording meteorological events and gathering research, they nearly froze to death before landing back on solid ground. Can you even imagine!

Ask my younger sister what my answer would be if she asked for me to join her on a subnivean adventure in the sky. She was the one I chose to test the waters of the icy creek next to our childhood home. Some days her foot plunged into the depths. Clearly, the creek wasn’t frozen over enough. Being a very perceptive big sister, I ascertained it was unsafe for me to risk life and limb. I helped her get back on dry ground, we went inside, had an argument and then watched cartoons. Other days we skated the bumpy circles on the ice. Then we went inside to warm up, had an argument and watched cartoons.

This picture makes me appreciate snowflakes a lot more than I usually do!

This picture makes me appreciate snowflakes a lot more than I usually do!

Glaisher and his buddy had higher motives than I (which isn’t exactly difficult!). Glaisher was captivated by snowflakes. He wondered about their shapes and design and contemplated great things of God. Glaisher even sketched the delicacies he found and then through the American Tract Society, wrote the aptly titled book “Snowflakes: a chapter from the Book of nature.” Each chapter of his devotional begins with a beautiful rendering of winter. You should check it out. It’s spiritually deep, really interesting. A super cool read, pun intended. And check out this website if you are a letter person. Very fascinating!

Today I find myself continuing in the YouVersion 21-Day Bible Challenge. Pondering the 22 verse in Philippians 1 in the Bible, I stop on the verse about “If I am to live by flesh, this means fruitful labor for me.”

If James Glaisher would have asked me about a travel companion, I would have recommended my sister Lorri!

If James Glaisher would have asked me about a travel companion, I would have recommended my sister Lorri!

I think about Glaisher. Then I think about me.

My prayers consist of asking the Lord that my remaining days be fruitful for Him. That might mean a clean house, ironed clothes, nutritious food and a pleasant homestead.

Some days I feel so productive, other days are sluggish and it seems like nothing gets done. Could my fruitfulness be found in journaling and Bible study? What if the Creator gave me a very specific yet unusual task such as He did with Glaisher? He drew snowflakes!

Would that be enough for me? How do I measure success? Am I as willing to plunge or ascend to icy wonders of His choosing? I don’t know, it scares me.

I want to be open to what God’s version of fruitful is for me. Father, form the remainder of my days.

Oh the memories. Bitter and sweet, truly. Much to consider on this grey winter’s day.

Deciding between Madame Bovary or the Bible

1 Comment
Defining moments in my life - reading these books, answering this question

Defining moments in my life – reading these books, answering a question

What is the best book you have ever read?

I was asked this question 16 years ago while being interviewed for an article in a business publication.

Two answers swirled around my head.

a. The Bible

b. Madame Bovary

Option A – Upside – A great spiritual answer. Downside – I hadn’t read it entirely. Parts of the Bible, yes, but the whole thing circa 1996, uh, that would be a big fat no.

Madame Bovary is a seriously awesome book.

Madame Bovary is a seriously awesome book.

Option B – Upside – I had read Madame Bovary. In French. In France. Even bought it at a French bookstore. I read every word. Downside – not as impressive.

Briefly I wrestled with the correct answer.

“Don’t say the Bible,” God said.

“You’re lying, Cindy and we both know it. You haven’t read the Bible. Pick the other book.” He thundered a reply…

So I did.

Best book ever read as of 1996 – Madame Bovary.

Today my answer would be different. I loved Madame Bovary. Gustave Flaubert is magnificent. But it was just a book.

I want my faith to soak in my every molecule because of the Author of Life. Today, ask me about the best book I’ve ever read, the only book I’ve ever read and continue to read regularly is – the Bible.

Tuesday I read the first chapter Romans (Romains) as part of the 21-Day Challenge in YouVersion. There is much to glean from this weighty text. Part of verse 16 in the book of Romans jumps out at me.

“Car je suis fier de l’Evangile”

The English version states “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” In French, it translates to “I am proud of the Doctrine of Christ.”

I’m proud of reading Madame Bovary. In French. In France. Purchased with my very own francs. 😉 It was a big accomplishment.

My soul rests in The Word.

My soul rests in The Word. This is my Journaling Bible which I love because I can write notes in the margin.

But for me, the life-changing book is Option A. The Bible is no longer an unfinished read on my nightstand. It is my source of wisdom and strength.

My past is decadent and jaded, I was intimidated to open the first few pages of the Bible for fear of great reprisal and judgment. I’m so dumb and was so foolish. But Jesus transformed this woman. I am a different and better person because I delve into Truth. Even in times of instruction, the Lord takes the hand of my heart and leads me to understanding.

The joy and pride I have now reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation surpasses all other words.

If you want to know more about reading God’s Word, check out these resources. Bless you, sweet friends for hearing my life.

Praying like Mary, thinking about Capri Sun

12 Comments
I am proud of this Soldier. I must pray fervently for him.

I am proud of this Soldier. I must pray fervently for him.

After reading Monday’s daily Scripture several times, I drop to my knees to pray for my Soldier. So much is on my heart about this strong olive shoot. I notice a verse in my reading,

“Toi, Seigneur, tu connais le coeur de tous les hommes.” – Actes 1:25

Yes, Father, you know the heart of every man. I trust you listen to my heart’s cries. Incline your ear to me, your servant, My Holy One – this is what I implore.

Nate will soon be in Ranger School. I won’t be able to speak to him on the phone or receive his silly text messages for at least two months. Though I can write him letters, the frequent communication I cherish will be interrupted.

Ranger School is physically and emotionally grueling. There are aspects about the challenge that I can’t learn until he has graduated, is rested and has fattened up a little. Monday’s reading reminded me that I need to follow Mary’s example and pray with others, for our children individually and collectively, join together and seek God’s face.

I ponder what God is saying to me in this first chapter of Acts (Actes), I think about Mary and strangely enough, the new Capri Sun commercial. Admittedly, it’s a weird collage of thoughts.

Have you seen these commercials about a new vegetable-infused version of the juice drink called Super V? Here’s a link to see it yourself. .

“Paula Ebert” wants to buy a healthy juice for her son. She wants to help her son with all of his daily struggles. I chuckle to myself when I see the mom on the dodgeball court valiantly attempting to block all shots coming her boy’s way. “NO! NO! NO!” she yells to the kids trying to pellet her son. Hands flying in the air, frantically doing her best, Paula turns to her very embarrassed boy and reassures him, “Mommy’s here. It’s ok.” Bless her heart. I don’t like Capri Sun but I really like this mama. Part of every mother wishes God permitted only good things to happen to her babies. Since we live in a fallen, broken world that can’t happen but we can intercede on our children’s behalf.

21-Day-Challenge-Badge-300x300Mary prayed. 14 D’un commun accord, ils se retrouvaient souvent pour prier, avec quelques femmes, avec Marie la mère de Jésus, et avec les frères de Jésus. 

Acts (Actes) 1:14

How precious that the mom of the sinless Savior demonstrates the legacy of prayer! As I follow the 21-Day Challenge, I observe how Mary loved the Lord in this manner. In these verses, Mary didn’t pray alone but with others and in one accord for her son. To hear someone pray for my olive shoots grabs me at my very roots. Would you please pray for my son and all the men in Ranger School? If you have ever had someone pray for your child, you know what that means to a mother.

Wonder what God might say to you? Check out all of these Bible reading options, I bet there’s one that will speak to you! Give it a try and never be the same! This is the one I’m currently using, join me and many blessings!