iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Change”

The Potter


Do you remember art class in grade school? The teacher placed a ball of clay in front of you and said, “Today we are going to let our imaginations open up to the possibilities of this clay. You are going to mold it into whatever you wish.”

Warming the clay in your hands brought it to life. Kneading and folding, kneading and folding, the clay is more pliable. So you pinched off a piece, rolled it between the palms of your hands and voila! A worm! After having pinched another piece off, a tiny pearl appears along with another and another and another until your strand of pearls turns into a caterpillar. Another hunk is pinched off and you rolled into a ball in the palm of your hands then transfered it to your left hand so your right thumb could press in the center to form a bowl. The ideas just kept flowing.

You looked over to see what your classmate made from their allotment of clay and saw that they created a bigger bowl than yours and they used their rolled worms to adorn their bowl. You looked down at your creations, you began to think of ways to change up the caterpillar and you took a cutting tool and engraved little lines on its back. You pinched off a piece of clay and started to adorn your bowl with little square shapes and triangles. The first worms you rolled out have since been kneaded back into the ball of clay to allow your imagination to take new shape.

The possibilities are endless and all in your control because you are the creator.

This creation process is very much like Creator God. He molded us in our mother’s womb and does not stop shaping us all throughout our lifetime. Pieces come off and stay off and new pieces are added. God knows when we need adjusting and tweaking, whether it is mentally, physically, or spiritually. His fingerprints are on us all. We are his beautiful creation.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.” Jeremiah 18:5-6

Stick It In the Swiss Cheese


I volunteered to help with a funeral at my church last weekend. Although I did not know the man who had passed away, I know the importance of being behind the scenes helping to make a luncheon a pleasant and non-stressful event for the grieving family. As the setup was nearing completion from the small crew of volunteers, I made my way up to the sanctuary where the memorial service was being held to see where they were in service to get a feel for the timing of everything. I was fortunate to listen in on the stories of the life of the deceased from the viewpoint of a granddaughter, daughter, and brother. Although they were the Cliffs Notes of a life well-lived, the stories made me wish I had the opportunity to have known the man.

I am a work in progress as mentioned in yesterday’s blog. I sometimes think my body looks like Swiss cheese from how incomplete I am. To fill the voids, I like to observe people and take a chunk of what I like about them and incorporate it into my own DNA; filling in my Swiss cheese holes.

As the youngest of five, I have had years of opportunity to take what I love about my siblings and integrate those aspects into myself. From my siblings, I have incorporated the following good stuff: compassion for others, the ability to nurture, knowing how to sew, having a sense of humor and quick wit, working hard, being kind, and most of all, my faith.

When I attend funerals, I keep alert for the positive things that are said about the deceased; the special memories of what made them so special. I have always walked away from a funeral with a little bit more good stuff tucked away in my Swiss cheese.

Are you living the sort of life that makes people want to take the good aspects of who you are and integrate them into their DNA either now or after you pass away?

Micah 6:8 New International Version

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Latchkey Kid


I cannot remember where my mom told me to put it, because I do not remember it ever hanging around my neck on a string like I saw on other kids. I carried a backpack, so there could have been a pocket perfect for it. After all those years I am sure there was a place for my latchkey because I was a latchkey kid growing up.

I had to have been about 10-years-old when I got my first house key.  My oldest sister moved out when she was barely 18 and my next older sister was married at 20.  That left my two brothers and me to come home after school to a house void of adult supervision.  We grabbed snacks and probably fought for the best seat in the living room just to watch Bugs Bunny, Gilligan’s Island and the Brady Bunch until my mom came home from work, followed by my dad about an hour later.

Having a house key in my possession was the most important piece of hardware in my pocket.  I was (and still am) conscientious about knowing where my house key is since even in the summer break from school, my parents worked and the three of us had free reign in the neighborhood, but the last one out of the house had to lock up.  Being the youngest one, my brothers were a bit more social than I was and I was known to be around the house more.  Until that one day…

I recall seeing a friend from school ride by my house on her bike with her little siblings.  I ran out the door to talk to her and she invited me to ride bikes with them.  So in my excitement, I locked the door, grabbed my bike and wheeled off with them.  I think the bike ride was a short jaunt around the block and then she had to ride with her family back home.  We parted ways at the corner and I coasted down the hill and turned up my driveway to face angry looking brothers.  They didn’t have their key and didn’t know where I was and they couldn’t get in the house.  I reached for my key in my pocket and to my shock, it was not there.  In my haste and excitement to ride bikes with a school friend I wouldn’t normally see until September when school began, I left my house key on the table.  We tried to break into the bathroom window, but for some reason we couldn’t get in.  As for my big brother, he lit in to me and made me cry.  He commanded me to ride my bike to our sister’s apartment to see if she could let us in the house with her key.

I sobbed the whole way to my sister’s apartment.  She didn’t live far, but for 10-year-old legs peddling down some very busy streets, it was scary.  I had to pass a house with the biggest, meanest Dobermin Pinscher I had ever seen.  Even though it was behind a chain-link fence, it had this deep growl and ferocious bark that made me cry even more.  By the time I got to my sister’s front door to ring the bell, I was into the hard cry to where she could barely understand what I was saying.  My sister let me in her apartment, gave me some lemonade and calmed me down enough to tell her what happened.  She was able to stuff my little Huffy bike into her trunk, strapped my little baby niece in a car seat and drove me home.  I don’t remember if my brothers were still hanging around the house by the time we drove in the driveway, but since that day, I have done my best to never be locked out again.

Since my mother passed away last year, each time I stuck my key into the lock to open the door, I felt like that 10-year-old girl again.  Walking into a house without adult supervision but this time neither mom nor dad would be coming home after a hard days’ work. Being in a house that used to feel like home is like sitting in the skeleton framework of a whale in a museum.  Cold, lonely and surreal.

It is with a heavy heart that I locked the door to the house for the last time. Thursday, I will sign off on the house and give the keys to a new owner.  Afterward, I could drive to my sister’s house and ring her bell in the midst of a hard cry.  She would let me in and understand the jumbled words this time because she understands the pain of selling the family home.  It gives me some peace to know a new owner will breathe life into each room that we worked hard to empty.

Thank you God for the big white house with black shutters and the memories that were made there.  Please bless the new owner and the lives that will make new memories.

Matthew 16:19 (NIV)

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven.”

Day One 2019


Welcome to day one of 2019!  I won’t write in all caps in case some of you have a headache from too much midnight champagne.  I don’t want to increase the pain of your self-inflicted wound.

Let’s celebrate having a clean slate at the start of this new year.  Some people set goals, or intentions, to live better by exercising and eating better.  Those who have had a really rough 2018 because of an illness, a death in the family, a job loss, or relationship troubles, they may feel hopeful with the turn of a calendar page.  Perhaps they will get a reprieve from whatever bad has plagued them.  To be honest, day one of the new year is not the only time for a clean slate to begin again.

Having a relationship with Jesus, the bearer of our sin, gives us a clean slate any day of the year and as many times a day that we need.  We simply come to Him, with repentance in our heart for what we have done wrong.  Because of the blood he shed on the cross in our place, we can celebrate having a clean slate right then and there, after our confession to Him.  All of Heaven celebrates with us when our slate is clean from sin.

If tomorrow comes and you do not meet your goals or intentions to exercise or eat better, know that you can always start again.  If you sin, you can confess it and begin again.  You do not have to be stuck in your current situation.  Jesus is a prayer away in helping you break a bad habit and He can redirect your path when you are tempted to sin.

Today is day one of 2019.  Enjoy your clean slate.

Romans 6:4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  

 

The Perfect Contractor


via Daily Prompt: Interior

I often watch home renovation shows.  They always find houses that are filthy and unkempt with rooms that are too small or not properly inspected or licensed for an addition.  They recognize walls that can be torn down to open up the space and bring in more light.  By the end of the show, the professional room staging team embarks on the space and the houses look inviting and livable once again.

As a child, my heart began as one big open room, but as I grew, I began to build walls based on what the world was teaching me and how I reacted to people and situations in my life.  I was busy building room after room and I became a pro at compartmentalizing my space.  At the base of my heart I tossed in filth and it spread all over.  The times when my heart would break, I tried patching it with false promises but the cracks would never seal.  My heart was so filthy and the rooms were unkempt and too small, it became a place in which I could never invite anyone in to be with me.

I remember the day I said to myself with tears cascading down my face, “I cannot fix my heart alone.  I need help”.  The moment I uttered those words, I had a knock on my heart.  I could only open the door enough to have my tear-filled left eye peer out to see who was there.  It was Jesus.  I let him in and watched as He squeezed effortlessly through the tiny space the open door would allow.  I let him look around and he took his time surveying the space.  He ran his clean hand along the ridges of my filth.  He did not rush, he did not even blush.  It was as if he expected to see such a terrible layout and that He knew exactly how to fix my mess.  He cleared a space at my table and wrote out his quote and handed it to me before he squeezed out effortlessly through the door.

The details of my renovation were as follows:

First Observation:  Your heart is in dire need of repair and rebuild due to the amount of sin it has incurred.  There are too many tiny rooms and compartments contained within and I can knock down walls to let the light in. The cracks along the outer rim can be sealed by my love.  Your heart will not last much longer in the condition it is in.  For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)  Therefore, I propose to get started as soon as possible.

Tools needed:  Have faith in God. (Mark 11:22)  By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. (Hebrews 11:30)  I am the way and the truth and the life. (John:6a)  You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand. (John 13:7)  Unless I wash you, you have not part with me. (John 13:8b)

Total Cost:  “This is what is written:  The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  (Luke 24:46-47)  I did this for you and your bill is paid in full.

My heart has since been renovated.  Walls have been knocked down, light shines everywhere and the Holy Spirit came in and professionally staged the space.  All cracks have disappeared and invitations have gone out.  I have room for you in my heart.  Will you join me?

 

 

 

The Pearl of Great Value


via Daily Prompt: Value

 

Have we met?  Read more…

God’s Not Dead 2


I just spent a snowy April afternoon Read more…

Just Be


I am the type of person that owns magnetic poetry. Read more…

Empty Change


I never dreamed I would write what you are about to read. The Christmas season is hard for me. Read more…

Painfully Celebrating


I divorced my reproductive system 19 years ago today. Read more…

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