Lasso the Moon

 

     My cell phone beeps. There’s a text message from my twenty-something son.

“Look at the moon.”

     I hurry outside in my slippers and stand on my front porch, mesmerized. It’s

the kind of moon one sees in children’s picture books. Any second, “the cow will

jump over the moon.”

     On this clear, winter night, the moon appears closer to the earth just as my

son’s phone text shrank the miles between us. Is my grown

daughter, living on the opposite coast, enchanted by the moon tonight?

     I once thought loving my children meant giving them the moon. 

    When they were young, the moon was within my reach. A trip to the zoo brightened a cloudy day. A Happy Meal was like winning the lottery for a five year old.

     It was easy to lasso the moon.

     Now two of my children are adults and giving them the moon is like finding the end of a rainbow. Their trips to paradise are on the horizon beckoning them like a mythological siren. Their toys might as well be the Golden Fleece.  It’s no longer within my power to make their dreams come true.

     And I wonder. Would they be happier if I had shown them how to enjoy Earth rather than shoot for the moon?

     We didn’t live beyond our means, we enjoyed simple pleasures. But did my attempt to fulfill their every heart’s desire breed expectations that give birth to disappointment?  

     In contrast, when we looked beyond our own hedges and rang the Salvation Army bell, or walked for life, we learned the reality behind “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).    

      In pursuing dreams, we must remember the moon is cold and barren.

      We dance by the light of the moon which is a reflection of the sun.  Likewise, true joy comes when Christians reflect  “the LIGHT of the world.” 

     Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”        

           

    

Broken

It is nine days into the New Year and I’m just now packing Christmas decorations. Thirty-two years of Christmas past can’t be shoved thoughtlessly into a closet.  

Round, colored ornaments go into boxes with individual slots that resemble egg cartons. Hand-made ornaments and souvenirs, that look ordinary to any stranger’s eyes, are swaddled in tissue paper and placed in protective plastic bins ….accompanied by family memories I revisit every year.

I also collect nativity sets that require special handling. My favorite one was purchased in 1981 B.C. (before children) when my husband and I first moved to California. The figurines are wide-eyed children, forever young, although there are signs of aging: Joseph’s broken staff, the angel’s missing halo, and the shepherd boy’s glue-filled cracks.

When the Shepherd fell off the mantle, years ago, I glued him back together like Humpty Dumpty with the exception of a hole that remains in the back of his head. Nobody notices. We have to get close to see the scars and know he’s BROKEN.

I’ve been broken more than once. Have you…………..

Ever felt brokenhearted over the death of a loved one, or by the betrayal of someone who “supposedly” loved you?

Ever been like King David who felt alone, “forgotten …like a broken vessel?” (Psalm 31:12)

Has chronic pain, anxiety, or depression given you a “broken spirit that dries the bones?”(Proverbs 17:22)

Nobody notices. We have to get close and personal to see the scars and know someone’s BROKEN.

Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Sounds patronizing, but I know His Word is true. Three miscarriages in a row taught me to rely on the Lord to bind up my wounds from a broken spirit, and show me I could trust Him even in this.  

God restores broken lives, but brokenness is a good thing when it makes us aware of sin and leads us to repentance. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)  

Before I wrap the Shepherd boy like a mummy and place him in a box, I put the tip of my index finger into the hole on his head.

Thoughts trigger. Wasn’t it Thomas who insisted on putting his finger into the holes on Jesus’ nail-scarred hands? The apostle refused to believe in the resurrected Christ unless he also put his hand into the hole on Jesus’ side (John 20:24-28). And when this proof came, Thomas cried out, “My Lord, and My God.”

Tears spill on my cheeks, “Lord, life is hard, forgive me when I doubt your love and goodness. Your ‘body was broken for me’ (1 Cor. 11:24and that is all the reason I need to bring you praise.

      With that happy thought, I wrap tissue paper around the broken Shepherd boy and place him in a box, to rest in the coming year next to Jesus.   

Homecoming

Announcement: Company is coming. Someone we haven’t seen in years is coming to spend the night.

Can’t wait to see him and reconnect our hearts.

Clear the calendar, plan a menu, purchase groceries, vacuum the house, put fresh sheets on the guest bed, and clean towels in the bathroom.

At last the sun sets, but it’s no ordinary day. Someone special is coming. He’ll be here at any moment.

Pumpkin pie bakes in the oven while the New England Pot Roast simmers in the crock pot. My mouth waters as I stir the Luau cocktail wieners bubbling on the stove.

As if there weren’t enough scents lingering in the air, I light the Evergreen scented candles on the mantle; the glow of their flickering flames emotes warmth and an invitation to relax. Husband turns on soft jazz while I turn on the front porch light, and ……

Wait at the kitchen window, searching for headlights to turn into the driveway. Heart flutters when the doorbell rings. He’s here!

Time is fleeting. We wave goodbye to Someone special and enter our home. Rooms feel empty, but hearts are full.

Announcement: I read the red-lettered words of Jesus in John 14:2, Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in MeIn My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

My heart flutters as I look out my window and search a clear blue sky. Someone Special is coming to take me home. I don’t know the hour, but I know HE will come, but first He must prepare a place for me.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself readyBlessed are the those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7,9).

Meanwhile, we get ready and wait………………

 Resting on His promises, clinging to His Word: “I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20)

  

Sun-kissed Day

I kick off my high heels after a day of substitute teaching and head for the couch. Heavy eyelids beg for a catnap, but weary muscles suggest a walk.

Catnap wins. I lean into the cushioned armrest, listening to the wall clock’s advancing second hand. But instead of it lulling me to sleep, I hear conviction: “You should walk before it gets dark, you should walk before it gets dark.”

My stiff joints squeak like the Tin Man in Oz as I push myself up from the couch.

“Sorry,” I respond to defiant limbs. “It’s the New Year. Either we lose weight or we buy a bigger pair of jeans.”  Lose weight wins. I shove my AARP feet into tennis shoes and head outdoors.

The calendar says it’s January, but the sun-kissed day makes it feel like April. My heart leaps knowing the cold ground will soon give birth to Daffodil bulbs. Pine trees and leafless Oaks line the asphalt street cheering me onward as an “acclivity” looms before me.

       FYI: “the definition of acclivity: an ascending slope (as of a hill).” That was one of the vocabulary words in our Literature class today.  I don’t know about the students, but I learned something.

      Heart pounding, chest heaving, I take baby steps until the road flattens ____________

When I’m halfway around our three mile loop, I peel off my scarf and vest. I’d quicken my pace, but it feels as though my legs are dragging an anchor through lake water. Voices in my head drown the music on my IPOD: Out of shape! Use it or lose it!  

My breath catches as a jackrabbit darts across my path and disappears into the wooded landscape……

Dare I behave like Alice in Wonderland and chase that silly rabbit? A smile stretches across my face as my thoughts turn outward, and then upward,

                Where a three-quarter moon, upstaged by the western sun’s golden glow, peeks through a powder blue curtain. My stride increases, matching the rhythm of Casting Crown’s praise album dancing in my ear.

Eyes fixed heavenward, I raise my hand to honor HIM who made the day, “This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24),

and dwell on the ONE who “made the moon for the season; The sun knows the place of its setting.” (Psalm 104:19)

After my walk, I kick off my tennis shoes. And bright-eyed, look out my kitchen window as heaven’s blue canvas melts into a rosy hue.

A Spoonful of Sugar

Do you like swallowing pills?

When my two grown kids were children, they found it difficult to swallow pills regardless of the size. We’d try dissolving the pill in a spoonful of orange juice. We’d wrap the pill in a piece of deli turkey meat to disguise the taste. But more often than not, my child would gag and spit out the pill. Or the pill’s bitter taste would eventually dissolve in their mouth, contorting their faces like some horrific gargoyle.

Some days, life feels like a bitter pill we’re forced to swallow.  Unlike medicine which is intended to heal our bodies and ease our pain, we can’t see anything good resulting from our bitter circumstances.

But is that true?

Perhaps you’ve heard that song from the movie, Mary Poppins: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…in the most delightful way.”

That’s how I feel about life. With Jesus, I can handle life’s bitter pills when I choose to view life from a Biblical perspective and trust in His Word. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” 

If we believe God’s Word, then we can swallow life’s bitter pills because “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Roman 8:28)

And what is our purpose according to Romans 8:29?

“to become conformed to the image of His Son”

That being the case, every circumstance … even the bitter ones in life … is an opportunity to be “conformed to the image of His Son.”

And that’s a pill I gladly will swallow.

Joy in the Journey

Based on last year, I am confident there will be joy in my journey in 2012. Why? Because I’m not in the driver’s seat. God was faithful in the details of 2011, and He amazed me on more than one occasion. Why should this year be any different? I’ve learned gratitude, an eternal perspective, and being aware of God’s presence throughout my day is like a spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down. Life is sweeter with Jesus. Image