Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When life is...

When life is beautiful...
     ....revel in the beauty.

When life is bright...
     ....shade your eyes and smile.

When life is exciting... excited!

When life is an adventure... it head on.

When life smiles... right back.

When life is ugly... in the rain.

When life is dark...
     ....use a flashlight and smile.

When life is boring... excited anyway!

When life is normal...
     ....relax. It could be worse.

When life frowns...or cries... if it's through tears.

No matter what life throws in your way...
No matter how many trials you face each day...
No matter if clouds obscure your path...
No matter if darkness surrounds your every step...
No matter how alone, lost, forsaken you may be...
No matter what's happened...

Smile through the pain, dance through the rain: sing at the thunder, and laugh at the wind.

Your Father is the One who guides your every step, and has placed you where you are.
Never be afraid... The God of the universes is watching over you.

When life is.... When it IS...

Trust His hand... His heart... His love...

No matter what.

Monday, March 19, 2012

WalMart--through the Father's eyes

How many of you like going to WalMart? Honestly, I love it: I know about every WalMart store front to back, even if I've never been in a particular one before. However, there's nothing special about WalMart. It's where I shop on a regular basis. My mom has spent hours in them, I have wandered aimlessly through them... It's just WalMart.

The point I'm trying to make is that WalMart is just an ordinary place... You don't find miracles at WalMart.

Or do you?

Last night, I walked into a WalMart with four friends. It was late--8:15 or something like that--and we had had a long day. Deciding on meeting back at the front in about 15 minutes, we split, Kezzia and I headed for the housewares section.

My feet hurt as I walked down the aisles. I was tired. I didn't need anything in WalMart. I should've sat in the car. On the other hand, it was dark, and everyone else needed something in this store.

"So what are you looking for?" Kezzia asked me.

"A way to keep from sitting in the car alone by myself in the dark," I countered.

That really was the only reason I was in there: to keep from being in the dark. Or so I thought.

We were almost to the back of the store when I decided making a trip to the restroom before we made our two-hour trip home wouldn't be a bad idea. I left Kezzia, telling her I'd be right back, and headed for the restroom at the back of the store.

Funny thing is, I never use the restrooms at the back of WalMart anymore: any WalMart. I don't know why; I just don't. But today, I did.

I pushed the door open ahead of me and breezed in, and to my surprise found three ladies standing by the sink: two in nice slacks and blouses, the other in a sweatshirt and jeans. The shortest of them, the one wearing the white sweatshirt and a baseball cap, was crying. Sobbing out answers to the gentle questions the other two were asking her. I listened in and discovered that she was having terrible family problems, and church problems... and friend problems. Then to top it off, her husband was going to be leaving the next morning at 4 AM. And she had kids. It was a heartbreaking story, made even more so by the sobs through which it was told.

I remember sighing. Lord, there's so much suffering in this world.

There is. And I've brought you here tonight to relieve a little of it.

That startled me. What? Me? Relieve what?

That's right. God's voice, although inaudible, seemed right next to my ear and louder than my silence. I brought you here tonight for a purpose. 

Lord, what possible purpose could I have? I'm in WalMart, of all places, and there's a stranger crying in the bathroom. That has nothing to do with me.

Ignoring my arguments, God then dropped the clincher. I want you to hug her. 

I was thoroughly startled. Was that my own thought? couldn'tve been. No way.

Lord, are You kidding me? I can't hug that lady! I don't know her, nor does she know me. And besides, she doesn't look like the people I'm used to being around. 

My child, when I came to earth, the world did not know Me. Nor did those I reached out to in love look like those I was used to being around. 

Point taken. It really was true. But how could I just walk up to a stranger, and a crying one at that, and offer a hug? To my friends, my family, sure; but a stranger?

I washed my hands behind the three ladies, listening to their conversation. One of the nicely dressed ladies, both of which had just come from a church function, asked the sobbing lady about counseling.

"No, no, we can't go to counseling," she replied heartbrokenly, around a sob. "You just don't understand."

I dried my hands off, using the air dryer (and I hate those things!) to stall for time. I knew that if I walked out of that restroom, my conscience would torment me. But what else could I do?

Turning around, I stared at all three, listening shamefully. It was a little embarrassing standing there, openly eavesdropping, but something held me rooted to the spot. I couldn't do anything more than stand and listen.

Lord, there's no opportunity for me to say anything. They keep talking, and I don't want to interrupt. 

Are you willing? God seemed to want to be sure I really was willing.

Yes, Lord; I'm willing, but I'm scared to death.


So I did.

Moments ticked past, and I stood there in silence. One of the two listeners looked at me through the mirror and smiled sadly. I was pretty sure she wanted to know why I was just standing there, but I reasoned she'd find out.

Then the moment came. The talking ceased, and the crying lady moved towards me to throw a tear-soaked paper towel in the trash can. Almost instantly, I felt a "push" from behind and an inaudible whisper caused me to step. Now. 

I held my arms out just a little, and asked "Would it be alright if I gave you a hug?"

The little lady stopped, eyes on the floor; frozen to the spot in disbelief. She was trying to comprehend what I had just asked, and I could tell it shook her up. Face contorting to control the tears, she finally whispered a feeble yes, and I hugged her.

The sobbing that that hug produced exceeded anything I have ever seen in anyone in my life, excepting myself. I have never had anyone sob in my arms like that lady did that night. She sobbed long and loud, and I couldn't say anything, but felt a warm glow creeping all over me. Lord, this must be Your love; it certainly isn't mine.

This is why you're here, My child...So you can begin learning what My love is all about.

Finally, I told her I'd be praying for her. She sobbed a thank you. Then, under inspiration I believe, I said, "Trust Jesus; He has it all under control."

One of the ladies watching must've nodded, and replied, "She's absolutely right. He does."

I didn't hold her very much longer after that, but when I left it was amid broken and sobbed thank you's, repeated over and over. The bathroom door closed behind me... And that is likely the last time I will ever see that lady on this earth.

As I walked down the aisle to find Kezzia, tears threatened to fill my eyes. My throat tightened. Lord, did I really just do that?

No, daughter... I did. You were willing, and now you've felt a taste of what My love really is like. My love includes strangers, and even the unlovable. 

I see that, Lord. I've so rarely felt that warmth of true love as I just did back there. 

You will live to feel it again, My child------if you're willing.

I'm willing Lord... I'm willing. 

Don't ever tell me that miracles can't happen at WalMart. Or anywhere else for that matter.

God wants to use you... Are you willing? 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Darkness wrapped around me and my little cruiser as I headed for home. I'd been on the road for a good long while, and my sleep-resistance was wearing out. Rain spattered on the windshield, Wintley Phipps sang on the stereo, and I stared vacantly at the never-ending road passing beneath my car.

The time was 11:20.

It had been a long day, and I was anxious to get home, which was probably the reason for my higher speeds. The roads hadn't been plowed, and I'd never driven in 5 inches of snow before, but I'm invincible right? Nothing's going to happen...

I passed a familiar driveway with a vindiction of "You'd better be asleep" on those who lived on it, and sped my way up the road. I was on home turf, I was okay.....

I came around that corner a little too fast maybe. I could've slowed down. But I didn't. And I hit that patch of extra deep snow alot faster than I should've.

The back of my car fishtailed slightly, and I over-corrected... Soon I was swinging all over the road and I had absolutely no control over my little car. I turned the wheel and pressed the brake, which sent me sliding across the road toward a drop off. I knew it was there... and I knew what would happen if I went over. A 20 foot roll to the bottom...and who knew if I'd ever make it out.

A gasp from my heart through my mouth... "God help me!" And the car suddenly, for no explanation, stopped... Just shy of the drop off. I sat in my car, unable to move. The realization of what had just happened seemed to seep into my entire being.... I was still alive for a reason.

I walked into work this morning with the distinct feeling that I was a walking miracle. There was no reason for me to be alive, excepting that God had saved me for a purpose. I still have something left to do in this world, no matter what it be...

You too, are a walking miracle. We all are. Is God saving you for something special?

Go forth on the rest of your day with your head held high, like I will....

And bask in the realization of the miracle that is YOU.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I can't think of anyone who's partial to that word. It's a painful word--and yet, it's also precious.

Painful, and precious? I think so. 

Saying goodbye means you're leaving someone; parting from them. And if you're close to someone, that can be heart-rending. However, saying goodbye also means that there's then the possibility of being able to say hello again--something that generally thrills us all. 

Personally, I've been fighting writing about this word for the last week. I've not had the courage to for some reason, and yet, somehow, I think I need to. "Goodbye" has been a regular part of my vocabulary for the last few years, and it's seemed to haunt me more incessantly lately. And, well, maybe there's a reason...then again, maybe not. 

How many things have you said goodbye to in your life? Friends, family, things, places? I know, for me, it would be summed up by two words: too many. We've all experienced a goodbye that's torn our hearts out...and possibly, we've experienced some that have elated us to regions beyond cloud nine. Whatever the case, goodbye is something we all know well.

Within the last two years, I have stood on life's pier and watched countless souls I loved sail away to lands afar--lands I couldn't travel to. Some to the lands of escape, some to lands of solitary wastelands, some to lands of romance, and still others to eternity itself. I've watched that ship carry away so many that honestly, I'm afraid whenever I see it coming into harbor. That fear rises up in me and threatens to engulf me with waves of icy dread. Then, it passes on without having done damage and I can breathe again...but sometimes, it stays, and I soon find myself waving again, tears streaming down my cheeks and seeming to freeze there as I turn to collect my broken heart from the pier and stumble away. Goodbye is hard.

Have you ever waved goodbye? Ever whispered goodbye? Ever called it? Has goodbye ever visited your heart and left you in shreds? ...don't worry. You aren't alone. 

Goodbye is probably so painful because we're afraid of being left alone. In a cruel, heartless and frigid world, we're terrified of being left alone. Alone, with nothing to cling to, no one to run to for comfort, no loving arms to shield us from the pain associated with life. We're afraid of being alone. 

That in itself proves to me this strange reality that I've only recently discovered. Inside each one of us, is a little child. Whoever you are, reading this right now, there is a little child in you--a small child crying for attention and love and the knowledge that you are wanted. Even if you already think you feel that way...the odds are that most of the people who will read this can identify with what I've just said. We're really only little kids inside...children lost in the dark, looking for a hand to hold, and trying to cling to anything, anything, to keep from being groundless and forsaken and abandoned in the blackness of night.

After I finally came to terms with the fact that really, inside, I am just a little child, I began to discover many things about myself. I began to understand why "goodbye" hurts me so much...why I've been an impenetrable fortress for so many years... I learned alot about myself just by admitting that I really am no fortress at all: I'm a prison, encasing inside a little girl who's afraid of venturing into the world for fear of being seen as weak and fragile. Inside, I'm afraid of not being able to take care of myself...and when so many have said goodbye and moved on, at times it's seemed like I would be left to fend entirely for myself. And that's a scary thought, even though it never has completely been my lot. 

How about you?

Is goodbye a terrible word for you? Are you afraid of being left alone? There's a hand in the darkness, if you'll reach out and take it. There's someone waiting to hear your voice call out His name, no matter how broken and trembling the call.... There's Someone wanting to be your everything... and He's just waiting for you to stumble His way, even if you can't see where you're going.... If you'll let Him, He'll come to you... He'll hold you close to His heart... And there is one place where you'll always be safe... and you'll never be alone.... 

He is the one Friend to whom you will never....never...have to say goodbye to....