Am I Looking at Me?

IMG_4640Two years ago, I wrote about the murder of my Japanese maple.

Murder sounds melodramatic, but that’s how I felt when someone chopped down my tree. “Too close to the house; gets in the way of the footpath.”

Foul words spewed from my lips. I stomped away from the scene of the crime. No one dared follow me. Friends assured me, “I don’t blame you. I’d be mad too.”

Self-justification didn’t make me feel better. I was broken afterwards, knowing if someone pushes the right button—I’ll turn into Gollum.

I only bring this up because I’m resting in the cool shade of my yard while two squirrels cavort among the trees. Birds swoop down to drink from the bird bath. All’s well with my world and my soul.

BUT, push the right button with a critical thought, a fearful what if, a broken sprinkler head, a chopped down Japanese maple—and my happy world evaporates like a desert mirage.

Circumstances pushed my buttons last week. I was stretched like taffy beyond my comfort zone. God’s grace enabled me to control my behavior, but I was mentally having a nuclear meltdown.

And yet, I want to reflect an inward peace that doesn’t vacillate with my circumstances.

So if God’s Word tells me to trust Him even in this—then I need to believe Him. For my life experience has proven over and over and over again, that God is faithful. There is no circumstance where He is not present.

As a believer in Christ, His Spirit dwells within me. When I seek God’s face, He is kind enough to show me the reality of His manifested presence.

Only, too often I’m preoccupied—thinking about me and my circumstance instead of Him.

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!” (Isaiah 26:3 TLB)

Do I believe it? If so, I’ll trust the Lord and think of Him often. That’s the key to perfect peace, resting in the cool shade of God’s protective hand when life heats up. Or buttons are pushed.

I mentioned my murdered Japanese maple that led to a broken spirit. Would you believe that same tree has been resurrected? It’s sprouting from the small stump that was left in the ground.

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I laughed, and praised the Lord. He doesn’t hold my mistakes and meltdowns over my head. He uses them to teach me and change me.

Unlike Jack’s magical beanstalk, there is no hallelujah pill that will make me grow godly overnight. The only Miracle Grow is the Holy Spirit working within me, to mold me into the likeness of God’s Son. 

If removing a Japanese maple helps me grow, then chop away, Lord!

What circumstance in your life, is God using to make you grow?

Do I Only Have Eyes for You?

IMG_6091Holding hands, my daughter and her fiancé stood on the church altar, gazing into each other’s eyes. Their radiant smiles and misty eyes were contagious. As the mother of the bride, I counted the poinsettias that alternated with the tea lights to keep from sobbing with joy.

Clinging to my husband’s hand, I listened as they exchanged wedding vows and made a covenant before God “to have and to hold from this day forth, in sickness and in health…”

I watched as they each took a candle, the same ones the groom’s mother and I had lit earlier, and allowed the two flames to become one on their own candle to signify the unity of their lives.

When the pastor pronounced them “husband and wife” not only were they legally married, they entered into a new relationship that redefined them.

Suddenly, I also had new relationships, a new identity. The groom was now my son-in-law which made me a~~mother-in-love! And two separate genealogies were grafted into one family tree.

Since the wedding, my daughter legally, eagerly, changed her last name to be the same as her Beloved. As the two of them resolve to become one, and identify with each other’s needs, there has been a merging of bank accounts, power of attorney, and dreams. There’s no demand for entitlement, no fear, only love as they travel the same path, together, into tomorrow.

That love and commitment exists between my husband of 33 years and me. Can I say the same for my relationship with God?

Andrew Murray wrote, “The three Persons in the Godhead are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—each one is different from the others. God desires to reveal Himself as a person…and we are called to enter into fellowship with Him.

 God greatly desires this relationship with us, but sin has come between us and our God. Even in Christians who know God, there is often great ignorance and even indifference to this personal relationship of love to God.

People believe that at conversion their sins are forgiven, that God accepts them so that they may go to heaven. They do not realize that, even as a father and his child on earth enjoy being together, so they must have this intimate fellowship with God each day.”    

No demands, no fear.

Enjoying His presence, and resting on His deep, tender love to us even in this moment.