Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Saturday, December 11, 2010

True beauty is all around us especially this time of year. It might be your home. I was in a beautiful home just a day or so ago and mesmerized by the beauty and warmth that was flowing through every room and every touch of d├ęcor she had in her home.

It might be in a supermodel. I recently met Cindy Crawford (yes, the Cindy Crawford) and the woman is just a natural beauty. No wonder men can't stop looking at her. She is so strikingly beautiful but also very lovely on the inside. I could see myself hanging out with her at Starbuck's just talking about real life. That is when I got over the "WoW" you look like that and well, I look like this, LOL.

It might be in a moment when an old memory dances across your mind and reminds you of something that brings back that smile. Maybe when you met your husband for the first time or maybe an old family memory.

It might be that new outfit you bought that makes you look and feel like a million bucks. You waited and waited for it to go on sale or you splurged for the first time in years just to get it.

It might even be that lady friend that is your mentor that just shines and oozes Jesus every time you talk with her. She reminds you of the things that are most important in your life and the priorities because she has gone ahead of you and knows the wisdom of a life well lived.

It might be your circle of friends that you laugh, cry and pray together through this road called life. That you hold them up in prayer before the Father with a little extra blessing because of who they are.

For me this Christmas I see all of that beauty but I also see something I have not seen before. The true "Eye of the Beholder" of beauty is the ability to see the handiwork of God through those eyes. The most precious place I see that handiwork of God in Olivia. I guess it has just caught me by surprise. She has been sick for so long that the personality of really who she is and what she thinks has been hidden. Now she is getting a little better everyday and she is talking. We are talking like we used to, or she is talking non-stop it feels like, but the conversations are so different. I am amazed at her heart and how she handles different situations. The love, mercy and grace in her heart is liking watching a rose unfold. Each day it opens a little more and the full beauty of the petals and the smell of the rose rise. After all she has been through, she could have made so many different choices about the person she wants to be. She could have been bitter, angry, frustrated and closed off. She could have been shy, scared, and ashamed because of all the different scars she has endured. But, instead of all those things, she has embraced beauty, mercy, grace and friendship as the character traits she wants to be a part of her life. She has chosen to allow God to heal her inside and out from all the things she has walked through. What a miracle. What a blessing. What a beautiful heart.

So, as Christmas is unfolding for you. See the beauty around you. Take a moment a let God shed some light through his eyes in what is happening with those around you, those in your home, and all the special things we love about Christmas. We celebrate the life of Jesus this time of year and I know his heart and eyes saw the true beauty in each of us.

Merry Christmas and thank you for continuing to journey with me through this life. It is a blessing that touches my heart in so many ways and I feel truly humbled and blessed by it.

Oh, and PS. I am starting my book in 2011…so look for it :)

In His Grip


Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Real Heroes of the Faith

The Real Heroes of the Faith

Be Still and know that I am God ! I have been sitting in my house just listening and enjoying the sounds surrounding the moments. I listen to the quiet, stillness of the morning. I listen to the dog barking her warning as the birds fly by the window. I hear the rain outside as it is coming down and I rejoice. My heart is soaking in the peaceful existence of being still and knowing He is God.

Sometimes when we describe our life it seems to form a picture of a book. From beginning to end is the book and we close chapters as we walk through these adventures of life. This chapter in my book is hopefully and prayerfully done. It is written. Yes, there will new chapters to write but today, after a long ten year battle this weary warrior has been allowed to come home to rest. Rest in the peace and quiet of restoration knowing He is God.

We all have our chapters don't we? The battles that are so intense that we literally have to gird ourselves in the full armor of God to take on the day. To even be able to put our feet on the floor to start the next day from the pain, bruising and continual onslaught of whatever road we are walking down should be written down as a monumental moment. The story, as it unfolds in this chapter of your life, seems to be the part where gloom seems to hover just at a distance. The cloud a constant reminder of the weight of the battle that is raging. We pull every fiber of our being to the Word of God and stand. We weary as the battle rages on. At times we think we cannot take another hit and survive it. But yet we do. We press on. We hold on to the truth.

The truth that He is God and He is our Father and has our very existence in the palm of His Hand. One of my favorite verses to hang on will surprise you but to me it shows me that God is a Father foremost. The scripture says the "what Father would give their child rocks instead of bread". So through the battle I hold on to the knowledge that God loves me more than I can imagine and His purposes will be for my benefit and not rocks of nothing.

For some of us the battle sends us into to places we never would have thought we could go. I never thought I could weather that first transplant and a second one unfathomable. It has been the hardest walk I have ever been in and yet I know so many that have harder walks. But it just never felt that the end was within my grasp. The pain and suffering that I have watched Olivia endure is insurmountable. Your mind cannot even wrap around it anymore. I cannot even begin to understand all that she has come through. I think a Mom any day of the week would rather it be her life in the balance all the time instead of her child. And the battle raged on.

It raged on with Olivia, it raged on in our lives as we saw my Mom pass away from cancer. A year later we sat numb as we attended the funeral of Dean's Mom, Stepdad and sister that were killed in a single car accident.

The devastation of moving to Atlanta. The financial burdens. The last two years when Olivia had been really so very sick it was scary. I knew way to many parents that did not make it to the hospital in time or get a liver in time. The battle just raged and there seemed no relief.

If I lived within those circumstances I think I would have gone insane. If I did not have a Savior and faithful Father in my life that gave me more than I could ever imagine I would not be able to even write this down. But in my peace filled moments right now I am learning more than I could have ever realized through the battle. My Father provided for me more than I can ever imagine and girded me with strength that surpasses all understanding. All by His Grace. But those things came with a big lesson. One that I will always remember and keep tucked in my heart.

I have learned the power of a praying people. I have seen the arms of so many linked together in prayer to the heavens that I know millions of angels were put to flight. The cloud of the mighty warriors were not from me but from heroes and some I may never know. I have learned that the real heroes in my life are not the superstars on television or the dynamic pastors with the great messages or books.(Though those pastors and books can speak into your life) I have learned that it is those around me that have laid down their lives, sometimes daily, to pray for me and my family. It is also the children God reminds every night to pray for Olivia. It has been those that have put hands and feet to the gospel in my life by holding up my arms, letting me be "real" at times, letting me be hard headed at times and also those that have been a friend and told me to get back up, brush off my clothes, check for any damage to vital organs and get back in the battle. Those to me are the Heroes of my Faith.

In your battle there will always be someone standing at your side, filling in the gap between the altar to hold your arms up in battle. To see things in a different perspective because they are not called to be in the battle with you as much as they are called to walk beside you. Giving you a drink when you are thirsty, giving you scripture when your spirit needs the balm of Gilead, giving you room to stand back up on your own when you need to, giving tough love, giving sweet merciful love and lots and lots of grace. Those people, those friends, those prayer warriors, that sweet family in Christ, those are the real Heroes of your Faith. They are the ones that have learned what it means to lay down their life for a brother and they know the value of the prayer of a righteous man. Because the prayer of a righteous man avails much. I am a walking testimony of those prayer warriors' and I am so thankful for each and everyone.