God Put a Bow in the Sky (For Me)

Rainbows are such a beautiful gift! Specifically, they are a reminder from our ageless, timeless Father in Heaven that he will never destroy the entire earth again with a flood. That is really all they signify, scripturally. I never see one though without remembering what the Lord Jesus Christ said in the Gospel of John. chapter 14, verses 18 through 20.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more;
but ye see me: because I live , ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father,
and ye in me, and I in you.

I am so thankful to the Lord. I pray to be busy doing the will of the Father until The Lord Jesus returns for me. I pray that I won’t be weary, selfish, preoccupied or sidetracked…except for the occasional moment of rainbow gazing with a thankful and expectant heart.

God bless you big!

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If I Could Put it in a Pill

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I am re-posting this just because I enjoyed writing it. Maybe you have read it before but this time you will read it with different eyes.

 

I admire my mom so much! She has bathed her kids and grandkids in a gentle shower of wisdom from the moment we were born. When I made a goal in my late 20’s to learn all the skills that my grandmother and great-grandmother had for health care, homemaking and survival, I didn’t quite realize how much of it my mother had already inserted into my heart and mind. You see, my mom is the world’s best teacher.

Moment by moment she taught me. How many times did she unwrap a bar of soap, bring to my attention the pleasant scent and then proceed to take my hand and walk down the lush paths of her memory? Perhaps she would share about my brother who was allergic to Ivory Soap, and then turn down the lane of soap making, including how to leach a passable lye from wood ashes and even how to prepare a stump or a chunk of wood to drip the lye water out. Here, memories were not just how-to facts, they were unhurried visits with the people who had gone on before us. I could see the crepe-like and calloused hands of my great grandmother scooping the soft gel soap from the gourd soap holder into the tub of hot water. I could see her swishing it counter clockwise to make suds and adding in the dishes, glasses first then the dirtier dishes after to be followed later by the cooking vessels. Did she shift about on arthritic legs? Was she gray already? Who were the children at this time? I could see those hands, smell the hot soapy water and hear the sound of a few fingers full of salt being scrubbed around in the cast iron skillet. This would remove anything stuck on before the skillet was rinsed and dried on the back of the wood fired cook stove. After it was thoroughly dry, a bit of lard would be whisked around with those same gnarled fingers. Perhaps a pot of chicory and coffee mixed would be set to cook on the last heat of the cook stove or a pan of water for washing hands and feet before bed. Then on the vine-sheltered porch of my mother’s memory I would settle into an imaginary straight chair leaned against the wall and listen to the after supper “visiting” until the house cooled enough for sleeping. All of this is tied to the scent of soap.

If only my mom could put it all in a pill! I would buy those pills if it took everything I own and I would give one to everyone I love as well as to every kindly stranger I met. I would give one to all the teachers in the schools and pastors behind the pulpits. I would offer this pill to the politicians and pray they would be wise enough to take one. There might
also be the occasional fool-with-potential whose coffee would get spiked unbeknownst to him.

The reality is that the pill doesn’t exist. All I can do is try to follow those old paths that my family has walked and try to connect them to the world that my children and grandchildren live in. Even when they seem too busy, too sophisticated, too prosperous or prideful, who knows what they will remember when they unwrap a bar of soap?

May I Have a Redo?

 

 

How many times have we each said, “If I could go back knowing what I know now.” ? Of course, that is not possible. In general, I have few regrets and I am tempted to be prideful and say, “If I changed any decisions I wouldn’t be who I am now.” While that is true, and according to Romans 8:28 all of these things work together for my good. There are definitely things I wish I had a redo on.

 

One thing I would have done differently is that I would have honored my father and mother better than I did. Though, I have tried to be very honoring in my adult years, I see the years that I allowed the moths to eat. I regret the times I was sneaky and deceitful and justified it in my mind that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself. I would redo that.

 

I would have been kinder and gentler with my children. Oh! How I would like to retract angry words and actions. I believe all my children are walking in forgiveness toward me, but it is to their credit, not mine. If I could redo this one so that they never had a memory of my unrighteous anger I would be so grateful for that opportunity. I would love it if my children never had a single memory of my angry countenance.

 

I would redo allowing my peer group to replace the group of amazing old people I had the privelege to know in my youth. Not that my peers were less valuable than the elders, both were precious to God, but I have this feeling that I blinked and lost the old folks. I regret the times I drove past and planned to stop on the next trip. There were questions they have taken to their graves that I wish I had asked…and written the answers  down. I would take a redo on this one too.

 

I wish I hadn’t cared about being cool. I wasted a lot of time on cool. Wish I had a redo.

 

I would redo wasting my time in general. I allowed the three p’s of pride, procrastination and perfectionism to keep me stalled so often. What might I have accomplished in my youth, with comparatively more strength and energy if I hadn’t allowed my time to be wasted? I wish I would have risked doing more things poorly instead of waiting until I was certain to be able to succeed before I attempted things.

 

I would redo the way I took care of my body.

 

I would have saved my heart for Mr. Right (known to my friends as Clint). I could have spent my time more wisely than in learning how to survive a bad first marriage. All the lessons I learned in that marriage, I could have learned proactively from reading and heeding God’s word. Definite redo there.

 

I would have said “Thank You!” much more often.

 

I would have kept my 67 Volkswagen…no explanation needed. I would also have bought that navy blue Mustang with the butterscotch leather interior.

 

I would have walked more steadfastly for my Lord. I would have been more honorable. I would have sought first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness. Like Samuel, I would have said as a child, “Speak; for thy servant heareth.” and I would have meant it.

 

 

Make today a great day for someone!

Lawana

This post was first published on LAWANA-COUNTERCULTURE  http://lawana-counterculture.blogspot.com/

Springtime in the Rockies and in My Heart

Spring comes later here in the Northern American Rockies than in most other places. When others in the U.S. are well into the swing of summer weather and activities, we are still getting spotty snows and frequent frosty mornings. Our gardens are mostly growing on sunny window sills or in green houses. We are preparing soil in our flannel shirts and wearing gloves for more than one reason. We are set on the starting line just waiting for the pistol shot of frost free days and the brief race of short season vegetable varieties against a 100 day growing season. We can’t reliably plant anything here on our place before June first, though many years I plant seeds in the garden and in the windowsill at the same time just to see which one survives until after frost.

Like my garden, I have come through a difficult wintery time of the heart. Without assaulting you with details, I have been through a year or so of nearly total broken heartedness. Several people that I love with all my heart have dissappointed me and hurt me by their rejection of our Lord Jesus and his ways. I have fallen into the icy waters of guilt. “What if I had said this.” or “What if I had done more.” Answerless questions that grew like hoarfrost over my heart and mind. I have been less fruitful, with few sprouts penetrating the permafrost of my brokenness.

But then the warmth of my Savior began to penetrate the unproductive soil of my life. A little here and a little there, snowy patches began to melt and my world began to soften. Gradually the plowing of the word of God began to till places and encourage the dormant shoots of my gifts and callings to reappear. The soft showers of Christian fellowship and the love of my brothers and sisters in the Lord began to find fertile ground and coax out the the sprouts and tendrils of what God has called me to do.

Gradually, I have returned to areas of ministry that were neglected while I cried out to God in brokenness. Sweetly, as only my God can do, he has also added new opportunities and provided the energy to begin working on them. It seemed to be a long, cold, winter to me. I sometimes was concerned that it would be permanent and that I wouldn’t be fertile ground again, but God always knew that the frost free days would come. He had built into my life the elements that would bring them about. What a blessed God we have that hovers always near us whether we are in a season of visible growth, a time of harvest or in a season where things appear dormant under the snows of distress. I am so thankful that He has a reason for every season he permits in my life. I am grateful that chooses to bring the spring again.

Psalm 51:17

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Home and Pondering

Pondering...by   http://chasitysherellephotography.blogspot.com/

Pondering…by http://chasitysherellephotography.blogspot.com/

Yesterday began with, “Mom, I feel tippy.” These words came from an uncharacteristically droopy 11 year old son. This young man is autistic and verbal communication is not his strong suit. I was puzzled as to what tippy meant. I knew it wasn’t good! By 9:00 most mornings this guy has gotten up, showered, neatened his room, had his time of personal Bible reading, prayed over a prayer list that convicts his mama every time she sees it and has proceeded to eat breakfast at least twice!

Not so this that morning and before long, “tippy” was defined, a barf bucket and 7-up were assigned and my tippy son was parked on the couch with a blanket. Today we stayed home from church and he has chosen to be in bed. This leaves me 1. home alone 2. missing my church family badly (when you attend a church like ODBC Missoula,http://www.odbcmissoula.com/ you never want to miss a service it is so real and so heart changing, and filled with the people you love most!) and 3. with a moment to myself!

I have been thinking of a few things while I am here by myself. I am so grateful for the fact that I am accepted. First and foremost, I am accepted in the Beloved. Though I was covered in sewer sludge and I stank, he has cleaned me up and brought me to his lap.

Once, long ago, I found a little puppy  who was covered in mange, decay and maggots. I was able to clean him up, make him well and save his life. The whole time I gagged, puked and feared I would catch something, but I got it done. Ultmately that dog did not live forever…that was not within my power to give him.

The condition I was in spiritually when I came to Christ was worse than the one the dog was in. The healer though was more able. Jesus never feared my corruption because he had overcome it once…for all. He could not be contaminated by my sin. He didn’t have to scrub and medicate (and gag and puke), as his death, burial and resurrection had already provided the ability to make me every whit clean the moment I surrendered and asked for his salvation. In addition, I will never die. My spiritual sickness is permanently healed, my soul is saved and sealed that way until the day I meet him in Heaven. Unlike the healing I could bring to the puppy, the salvation the Lord gave me is everlasting. My soul will live with him forever, starting at the moment I was saved and continuing into eternity and forever.

Wow! What a deal! God accepts me. Some of you who know me may question that. The thing is that my flesh has not been saved yet. That will happen when I meet Jesus in the air as he returns for his saints or at the moment of my death. Until then, my flesh wants to behave badly. It is like a depraved, sick and vicious 2 year old. It takes most of all the resources I have at hand to keep it somewhat in line and still, there is the matter of my thoughts. Yuck! When I compare the potential for evil that dwells in the private recesses of my mind to the holiness of Jesus I am so much more grateful for the overreaching, undergirding, all encompassing range of his redemption. He is so good.

I hope you know this Jesus and his life changing, life giving, salvation. If not, please leave a comment and I will show you where to find him!

Oh, Jesus, my savior…you truly are all I need!

God bless you!

Lawana

Mother’s Day 2012

My mom on the front row at Becky and Isaiah McGuffey’s wedding in 2010.

 

When I was growing up we had a tradition. On Mother’s day we wore a flower (from our garden because this time of year in Alabama there are plenty of blooms). Anyway, if your mother was living you wore a red rose and if your mother was not living, you wore a white one. My mom wore a white rose starting when I was 3. She has been without her beloved mother many more years than she was blessed to be with her. Mother’s day was always a little sad around our house. I know my mom was torn between being the wonderful, selfless, mom she was every other day and just needing a little time to grieve her own loss. I am thankful that as in almost every other area of life, my mom was a pinnacle of grace and compassion in her own grief, translating into understandable and gentle terms something that I am sure was agonizing in her heart.

I am so thankful that for 51 years I have been a member of the red rose club! I am certain I have the best mother on the planet.  She parented me well and diligently when I was growing up and has gradually transitioned to the best friend I have ever had other than my sweetheart, Clint.  She has the rare combination of extreme intelligence and godly humility that causes everyone who is blessed to know her to come away encouraged and awed.  I hope some day to develop  the grace and discretion that my mom has.  I have certainly had a good teacher all these years.

I hope that the Lord has put someone like my mom in your life and perhaps He is using you to be that person in someone else’s life. If you are a woman, accept the challenge to be the awesome encourager to someone this year. If you have children, start with them. If you do not have physical children, focus on cultivating spiritual children. Be that Sunday School teacher, aunt, neighbor or grandmother that some child is desperately needing. The world is made a much better place by women who know how to love and nurture properly and there is a scarcity of them in this present day. I hope you will step up to the plate this year. I also hope you have someone in that mothering role toward you.

God bless you!

Lawana

 

Me Offended? (repost)

I spent a lot of my youth being offended about something.  Much of my early married years I walked in a cloud of hurt feelings and resentment. Thanks to a faithful pastor who wasn’t afraid to speak the truth to me, I began to understand the underlying reason why I was so easily offended.

The present day church is plagued by many problems…as many problems as individual people can have. Of all the sin issues that tarnish and hurt the church today, I believe that being easily offended is one of the most dangerous.

Often people have changed churches frequently looking for a soft spot where there will be nothing hurtful or offensive. Sometimes people leave church altogether because someone hurt them with their words or their actions. Churches are split, pastors are discouraged, marriages are dulled, children are spiritually stunted because people like you and me are too easily offended.

It is clear in scripture that one of the purposes of the church and Christian fellowship is to sharpen the believer. Sometimes this sharpening is painful. Always, as in sharpening a physical knife, material has to be removed in order for the sharpening to occur. We all want to attain spiritual sharpness but few of us want to hold still while the sharpening stone does its work.

What I am trying to teach myself to remember is that the Lord sends abrasive situations ino my life. The brothers or sisters who just seem to be difficult and in need of change may be just the right grit to put the edge back on my life where I have allowed it to go dull. Whoever it is that I most want God to change is probably the person that the Lord has sent my way to sharpen me up.

Why is it that we are so easily offended by people and processes that God intends for our good? There is a simple scriptural reason. We do not love God’s law enough.

Psalm 119:165

165Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

God has given us his law, not just the 10 commandments or the old testament, but the entire Word of God. If we love the boundaries the Lord has given us for our thoughts and behaviors as we should, we will be hard to offend when God uses another person in the church, in the pulpit, or in our family to bring correction or exhortation into our lives. People have left churches over carpet color, over what someone said about their child, because the pastor preached about something they were sensitive about or because their church had standards of behavior or dress that they were unwilling to submit to. What if these people loved God’s law enough to seek it out and find a scriptural solution to their hurt feelings or resistance to change? What if I love his Law enough? I hope to find out.

God bless you!

Lawana