Sunday, February 14, 2010


It has been one of those crazy weeks. Miranda has come to stay with us for a few weeks and she is a bowl full of energy. It has been great for Olivia because she has not felt well from some horrible cold she picked up somewhere this week and when she seems to be getting better, well, she gets a little worse. This is probably no different than half the households around with all the crazy weather we have been having.  It does make it more challenging around mine though.  It adds breathing treatments, constant supervision on meds and a watchful eye to make sure it does not turn into anything worse. It also means keeping things clean, dis-infected and in order...things which I loath to do.

I like an orderly house, I like that fresh clean smell, but I just hate having to do it. So for me, it is something I have to make myself do. So I break all of it up into chunks and take breaks in between. It is so sad, I would rather work at my job than do the laundry. Actually I think I would rather have my teeth pulled but then I might be exaggerating a tiny bit. Give me the bathroom any day over laundry.

But I digress, back to Miranda. Miranda came to stay with us last year while she was interning over the summer. Though she had her stuff here, her internship and life was a little crazy and really we did not see much of her.  But this time, she has had time to hang with us and it has illuminated my eyes to a few things that I need to work on.  I love having people around that are full of passion and love for the Lord because it gives me a chance to see things through their eyes...and sometimes that is a very good thing.  I do need to stand outside my life and take a hold of what it really looks like and not what I want to see.

One of my favorite songs is "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. No, I don't have her album, I don't know any other song that I am aware of that she sings but this song captured me. It pulled me in with the words

"Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find"

I could see myself sitting at that desk, trying to write, but not by my own hand but what God was trying to speak to my heart. Because writing is where I can express those innermost thoughts I have with the Lord. My dirty window of sin, or looking through glasses darkly....I have to open up my heart to see through either one of those analogies.  Sometimes I like my window dirty. Sometimes I don't want to see or admit they are dirty. If I look away then I won't notice that they need to be cleaned.

I clean my windows twice a year. The amazement is how dirty they are. Looking out of them on a casual basis you don't see all that dirt and grime build up.  But just like those crows in the Windex commercial, once they are cleaned the shine is so much brighter. Once they are cleaned, so much more light comes into the house. I love that feeling of warm beautiful sun. But again, let me just say, I hate the work you have to do to get them cleaned. I even have that nice kind that you can clean both sides inside the house.

So sometimes, I have to sit at my desk and take accessment if I am really letting the light of the Holy Spirit shine through or is it time to get the cleaner out and do some spring cleaning. I will let you in on a secret. If it's time for some spring cleaning, you will find me running away for a few days.  That is not my favorite part of talking with God.  Do I love it when it is over, oh yes, but I hate the process.

Then the song falls right into this chorus...and what a wonderful way to worship!

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else

Wow...wrap your heart around that. To stand before the Lord with no inhibitions, to allow Him to cover me with the Holy Spirit's overflowing water of love. That healing balm that things are just fine between He and I and to feel that all encompassing love, acceptance and freedom to not be right.  To be able to make a mistake and still have a relationship.

There have been many times in my life that I let Him into my heart as much as I thought possible...then I would walk a little further down the road and find that it was really only a small part I allowed God access too.  But when I allowed Him that little bit more, He rushed right in.  And the peace, love, hope and joy of being with Him was and is overwhelming.

So what I am learning this week is to be open and honest with God and people. To live my life in a way that allows people to see the real  me. To not be ashamed if your life is not where you thought it would be. I have someone staying in my house and my life. That person is walking through my life and looking at the pictures. Not the ones on the wall but the ones that are being developed and see inside the walls of security I call my home.They know that the bill collectors are calling, they know if I misstepped in my relationship with Dean, they know if Olivia is coddled or undisciplined.They see it all.  But, if I live my life open, then that allows God to be so much bigger. That allows Him to take the things I get wrong and make it right, the things I get right can have a good impact on someone's life and the walk I have will maybe mean something more than just "Hi, nice to meet you".  Maybe that life can go a little deeper into a walk with God that even I don't understand. 

The ending to the song is this:

Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

The one amazing thing about songs to me is that they capture a moment, a feeling, sometimes my passion about something...but a song that resonates with me captures something in me that pulls me in and makes me think, listen.

Music has an incredible ability to soar past our mind and into our emotion and our heart. It is amazing some of the songs that have inspired a cause, crossed cultural lines and can take us into the throne room of God. But how many of us really pay attention to the words. The lyrics. The actual words that are expressing what the writer is trying to say? I try to listen when someting pricks my heart because that 6 inches from my head to my heart is a very long road that can be really stubborn and a song can put my car in overdrive to make the trip.  Where I want to be!  Where I long to be! Safe in my Dad's arms of love and "only doing what I see the Father do, and Saying what only my Father says" Jesus.

I get that chance everyday to write a new page in my life. The past is written but the future holds so many possiblities, changes, growth and love.  The time we live in now is growing harder and harder for some of our best friends, neighbors, loved ones. The recession, disease, and life is just hard.  But if we do live our life "wide open" God can use just the fact that we do the laundry when we don't want  to, to give love to someone that needs it. We never know what will give someone hope and a future. Only God knows, but if we are willing to reach up and know Him more, that overflow will surely bless someone else.  It isn't always about John 3:16...sometimes it is about Genises through Revelation.  Walking the walk....

In His Grip

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Little Girls

Wide eyed, big smiles and some of the most beautiful dresses twirling around. Laughing, twirling, and squealing with their hair all done and even some tiara's. Then they see their friends  and come to a squealing halt.  All this while they drag their shell shocked Dads (maybe that is a little dramatic) along.  It was our annual Father Daughter dance. All the fun, smiles and excitement a Dad can stand in one night.

It is one thing to be a boy Dad but to be a girl Dad takes them way out of their comfort zone. I remember when Olivia was two, Dean was just talking and he got a little excitement in his voice. Poor Olivia started crying. Dean asked "Why is she crying, I didn't do anything!", my reply, in my gentlest voice "Honey you  raised your voice:" I wish you could have seen the bewilderment on his face. I had to explain that she is a girl. All girl and though she is too little too understand she feels things and a voice raised means something is wrong.  Wow, we have come a long way. A man that has learned to be gentle, that words really do have to be spoken to communicate, and this little tiny girl in his house has him wrapped around her finger.

Oh yes, it is the Father Daughter Dance. Girls from five to fifteen were there all dressed in their best dresses with Dads in tow. My two favorite parts of the night are sitting at the table checking in so I can see all the girls. Dressed in all their finery and Dads that are so proud to be there.  You can see it in their eyes. The way their eyes dance as the girls twirl or take off their coats to show off those beautiful dresses.  The younger Dads that have small little girls are overwhelmed and you can see they are a little bit scared to spend a whole evening with their little one but so mesmerized with them that they are sure they will survive.  The older girls Dads are in the same predicament but they have a young lady.  Their little girl has blossomed into a beautiful more mature young lady and it is shining through because of how proud they are to be there with their Dad.  The look those Dads have is they are blessed that their daughter wants to still spend time with them and yet they know their time is slowly coming to an end to make way for the special man that will eventually have to honor into his family and he is no where near that step. But they will always have these memories that will be cherished for all time.

The second favorite part is when we have the dance instructor. To see all those Dads waltzing with their girls. The happiness on both of their faces and the special love that surrounds both of them. Like he is the best Dad in the world and at least for tonight he is their hero.  I wish the Moms could see that moment.  In that moment Dad is also Moms biggest hero as well.

As a Mom, one thing I love more than anything is how Dean jealously loves Olivia. He wants to make sure she knows what to expect from that special man in her life. He wants her to know how she should be treated when she dates.  What a special moment.

If I reflect back in my life, I never had that. I never had that Dad that was there to teach me what I should expect from Dean. I never had that moment of care that told me I am special, loved, cared about and wanted. I was hurt, used as a pawn and really thrown to fend for myself at a young age.

My Heavenly Father came along and showed me how to see some of those things about myself that was keeping me from being a loving and caring person and knowing what it meant to be loved and cared for. He weaved love throughout so I could stop and take a hard look at my circumstances and see them as half full instead of empty. He took the scars and pain and brought healing salve through forgiveness and people in my life to make me stronger and healthier in my outlook on myself and life.  In my circumstance God was so good to me. He put me in a place that I could find him and his love. The people that I worked with were all christians and at sixteen I met Jesus because they were passionate about God and did not give up on me.  That moment was overwhelming with love...but it was a long, sweet, hard walk to work out all the hurts and pains of my life. The seeds of love that were planted took some time to grow but I am so humbled and blessed that they were there to plant them.

My hunger, thirst and passion for God started at sixteen. I had never felt that over whelming love before and God was so wonderful to pull me from a life of bitterness and selfishness that could have been my life. Instead he showed me grace, forgiveness, hope for the hopeless and a future that would free me from those bondages. I am so thankful for that.

Before, Dean...before Olivia...God had helped me work through so much. What a blessing. What thankfulness. Because it allowed me to be the wife and parent I want to be. I have had the pleasure, the privilege and the partnership with Dean to parent from a Christian perspective. Allowing ourselves to fail, to falter, to not get it all right and to walk through it with God in the middle.  The lessons of life that Olivia learns from us is "seek ye first the kingdom of God" . So when we miss it, or she misses it, we sin, we make the wrong decision, the path will lead us back to the path if we seek Him first. I would love to say we always seek Him first, but really, we don't. I am sure our life would be so much easier if we did. But, all of those things help Olivia to find her way to the heavenly father. I hope and pray it is so much easier for her. Her perception of her self and life is through completely different glasses and really foreign to me. I had to really seek God out. Find Him for myself. There was no one in my immediate life to follow.

Olivia is a first generation Christian. It is amazing to watch. Her perceptions are so different than mine. Because her perception of God is so different from mine. Her thougths of God are simple and real. Mine were complicated and real, LOL. Some things she will always know and understand about God. For me, it took me years to understand that lesson. I had to fight to believe in myself, really love myself, and learn to trust in who I am and who God made me to be.  Olivia is so confident in those things already. That makes me proud. Proud that she will not have to struggle so much with her confidence. When she does it will be with a much  stronger foundation. When she doesn't believe in herself she will know who to call on...and then she will call her Mom and Dad. She will not always trust her decisions but she will learn from them, look to God and have a foundation to know that some of her decisions were right.  She will not look through a glass as dark as mine.

So as I cry and survey the dance floor, I see so many young girls that have so much hope, self confidence and love surrounding them that life may be hard but they have the foundation to be strong and lean into God. I can't help but thank God for all of those Dads that have such influence in those girls life and find it important to be a part of their life as long as they can be. How awesome for those girls. They may not know it now, but later, these are the memories that will be the foundation of their lives. They way they see the Heavenly Father and their earthly Father.

Have a wonderful week
In His Grip