Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An unexpected visit

Studying European history one summer when I was in college, I had the privilege to participate in a seminar group.  One morning, our agenda included a visit to a rather ordinary watch shop, small and ancient with creaky floors and narrow winding stairs.  I had no idea who we were visiting, nor the significance of this old house, brimming with stories.

At one landing, a living room was situated, illuminated by a large bay window on the street side and decorated with well-worn old furniture.  Over by the window sat an old woman, her silver hair braided into ring around the top of her head, like one of my great aunts used to wear.  I stood in the back of the room, and literally, this ancient woman radiated with joy and love.  I was captivated.  And although that was decades ago, I still remember distinctly what she said to this group of college-age students.  I was still a teenager.

"You, all of you are so young.  Don't wait until you are old like me to be used by God," she said in heavily-accented English.

I had just met Corrie Ten Boom.

That summer, I read her own incredible story in The Hiding Place, and thereafter, about every year or so.  It is that good.

This chronicle of faithfulness will take your breath away.  Don't just put it on a list to read when you get around to it.  Put it in your hands, just one chapter a day.

"Childhood scenes rushed back at me out of the night, strangely close and urgent.  Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.  I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do."

--Corrie Ten Boom
The Hiding Place
page 15

God redeems the past into the future.
God transforms the ordinary
                 into the extraordinary.
God equips in incredible ways
      to be used mightily by Him.

As for you,
you meant evil against me,
but God meant it
                 for good,
to bring it about
that many people
    should be kept alive,
as they are today.

                 Genesis 50.20

Friday, May 16, 2014

Not easily forgotten

I'm majoring in the basics this week, caring for my bedridden daughter and her family, helping them to keep their heads above water as they navigate through a tough situation.  As one of our other daughters jests about this season of life, "A successful day is when the children are fed and you even get a shower."

Yesterday, I took fifteen-month old Adrian to his doctor for a checkup and his vaccination shots.  Afterwards, we maneuvered through the grocery store, dangerously without a list.  On the way home, he was a bit cranky from the shots and the lack of a nap.  I began to sing children's songs out loud to soothe him.  As I sang "Jesus loves me" over and over, he calmed down and settled into a deep sleep, comforted and secure.

And the words of that song from my childhood so very long ago spoke to Adrian, but I was impacted as well as I drove and sang even after Adrian fell asleep.  It is not just a children's song, but that which is not easily forgotten.  Jesus loves me too.  That is what the Bible is all about, a scarlet thread that runs from the first page to the last.

And that truth made a significant difference in my day.
That truth has made a significant difference in my life.

Jesus loves me, this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak,
        but He is strong.

To Him who loves us...

               Revelation 1.5

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Through the eyes of a toddler

Adrian is now fifteen months old, curious and exploring.  Anything and everything attracts his attention.  Our daughter says that he plays with everything except his toys.  Indeed, he has carried around a small shoe box for days, stopping every few minutes to put something in it, and a few minutes later, take everything out.

He is learning through everything he examines or plays with.  That is what a toddler does.

He learns in all he does.

May we be aware of the same.

What can I learn in this situation,
        in this work,
    in this relationship today?
What is God teaching me
            to be more like Him?

The LORD is merciful
             and gracious,
slow to anger
and abounding
        in steadfast love.

                Psalm 103.8

Monday, May 12, 2014

Being bold

God calls us to be different,
not in a weird sort of way,
but bold in loving Him
by being bold in loving others,
and kind.
It is not just being responsive
                     to obvious need,
but seeking out opportunities.

How can I love others today?
LORD, give me a heart
                   to know how.
Even now.
Even here.
Even that person.

Love them back.

Let the redeemed of the LORD
                          say so.
                       Psalm 107.2

Let the redeemed of the LORD
                          reveal so.

What does being redeemed look like?

Not just being nice,
     but loving boldly.
Because you can.

A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another;
    even as I have loved you,
that you also love one another.
By this
all men will know
that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.

                     John 13. 34-35

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Unexpected finds on the side of the road

I have learned as I drive through wooded areas to keep my eyes alert to all that is around me.  The trees often form an arch over the roadway, and particularly this time of year, it appears as if I am driving through a cathedral.  And the other day, I saw a mama black bear and her two cubs meandering alongside the road, off in the trees, eating their way through the forest.

The unexpected appeared on my path this week also in another way.  One of our daughters is 24 weeks pregnant, and as of last week, she is confined to bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy.  I am now in Nashville, helping her out, keeping our fourteen-month-old grandson out of trouble.

And so, God places something else on my radar, not what I expected, but in His purposes.  And in this too, He will redeem and fulfill in unexpected ways.

It may have been a change in my plans,
         but not in His.

Eyes open,
    hands ready,
        heart on the alert.

God delights in providing the unexpected
     and redeeming impossible situations.
And sometimes,
             He uses you to do it.

What has God put on YOUR radar,
      who has He put on your path? whatever your hand finds to do,
               for God is with you.

                          1 Samual 10.7

He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land
    into springs of water.

                       Psalm 107.35