Saturday, January 16, 2016

What's in a name!

In a conversation with a young woman today, in the space of about 3 minutes, she referred to herself as klutzy, clumsy, a bull in a china closet (her mom's name for her), and a total klutz. My heart broke. 

As we continued to talk, I listened and prayed quietly. I waited and heard her sweet voice talk about this and that and saw that the way she sees herself is not how God sees her. She talked about her fiancĂ© and getting married in October. She talked about growing up in Houston and about the back pain she deals with on a daily basis. My heart grew for her. 

As she was cutting my hair, an old story came to mind. I asked her if I could tell her a story and she said yes. 

Here's the story. 

Years ago, when our daughter was around 4 years old, we had a nickname for her. It was Miss Messy. You see, every time she ate spaghetti, her absolute favorite food of all, she wore it every where...on her face, in her hair, on her clothes, and all around the area where she sat. The shower and the bath was the only way to get her cleaned up. 

One day while praying for her, I really was laying this out to the Lord. Then it came to me...the name we called her is what she became. That night, I served spaghetti on purpose. Before she took her first bite, I praised her for being a big girl who now could eat like mommy and daddy did. As you can guess, most of the food ended up where it was supposed to be. 

I next realized that I had been also calling her "Miss Messy" in regards to her room. I looked around and found the neatest spot in her room...her elephant collection. I called her in to her room and praised her for being so organized. We never called her Miss Messy again. 

I looked at Krysten and she had tears in her eyes. She said, "thank you. I never realized I was giving myself a name I didn't want. Clumsy Krysten is no longer my name. "

I hope some day I can have the opportunity to share Jesus with her and tell her about her other and very amazing name...Beloved Daughter of God! #GodEncounters #JesusIsHisName

Monday, January 4, 2016

Eggs, Candy and The Word

I remember the first time I met Sandy. She walked into the recreation center with two little girls in tow. She was 25, single and was the mom of two of the sweetest little ones.

She volunteered to help with the kids club and assist the smaller children with their art work and crafts. As I told stories from the Bible to the kids, she would sit in the back of the group and soak up every word. She often would hang around after wards and ask me questions about the story - she wanted to retell the story to the girls but wanted to understand it better.

As the weeks went by, Sandy never missed a class. She was usually the first one there and would often help me clean up. She always stayed to the very end and asked me questions about the stories that I told.

Easter was coming up soon and we had planned a special event for the apartment complex. There was going to be an egg hunt and lots of fun and games. There was also going to be a special drawing for a large Easter basket full of goodies and a brand new Bible. The winner's name was going to be pulled from the forms that were filled out by all the participants. Games, food, giggles and lots of fun had parents and children enjoying this special day. Near the end of the event, I gathered everyone around and pulled the name of the family who had won the basket. David's family jumped up and down in excitement when their name was drawn. I looked over at Sandy and saw a disappointed face looking back at me.

As we were cleaning up, I had the chance to ask Sandy what was up. She looked down and simply explained that she had really hoped they would get the basket because she had wanted the Bible. I smiled, asked her to wait a minute, and ran out to my car. I had a box of new Bibles that had been donated. I brought in three, one for each of them.

I handed her the new Bible and she took it very slowly, looked at me in awe and then hugged it to her chest. She grinned from ear to ear and then started crying. She explained that she had never owned a Bible and now she did.

A week later, Sandy accepted Christ as her Savior. We spent the next 6 months meeting one on one and going through book after book of this incredible new journey.

It's been twenty years since I first met Sandy. I pray that the joy she had that day for her new Bible and then a week later when she met Jesus is still fresh and growing today.

2016...A Year of Celebration

Recently I mentioned that 2016 is going to be my "Year of Celebration". In the days and weeks leading up to the end of the year 2015, I had been praying for direction. I really wanted to lay this new year before God and start right. The word "Celebration" kept coming to mind. I can tell you that after repeating it several times, it kinda resonated in me. So I'm keeping it...its mine!

As I declared that 2016 is my Year of Celebration, I realized a couple of things. One, I haven't been really enjoying life these last couple of years. Not anything specific, but a kind of glumness that had settled over me and my moods. Yes, I laughed and participated and showed up...but I really had to make myself do it. This has nothing to do with was a mindset...a stronghold inside me. I wanted to enjoy time with friends and family, but couldn't make the connection.  With that revelation comes the second one, and it's a biggie! I've been grieving. 

Grief is one of those emotions that's pretty easy to deny once the tears are no longer flowing. There have been losses in my life and lots of changes. My dad passed away in 2012. That was tough. Then there are some relationships that have deteriorated into oblivion. Then there's life changes of going from an active Mom to an empty nester...this one is 9 years ago and I have been in full denial. There have been changes in career and moves and other loved ones have gone on to heaven...and there you have it...full blown grief. 

Good Grief! I want it to be over already!

But God! It doesn't matter how many times I say that, there's a relief and a sigh that washes through my very soul. Say it... but God!

But God demonstrates every day how very much He loves me. He loves me enough to say, "it's enough!" Joy does come in the morning. There has been pain and sorrow and lots of tears...but God. How very Amazing, beautiful, sweet and loving is my God! He is all of that and so much more. 

I walked into the new year with anticipation of what God is going to do next. I got to the start line, looked to the left and right, and stepped into what I received as His promise...a Year of Celebration. With a full heart, He then revealed what I just wrote above. In faith, I took hold of His promise. In love, He took my burden. 

He is Amazing! That's my God!