Cradling Christ.

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped
in cloths and lying in a manger.”
~Luke 2:12

Young MaryEverything in my life was rushing past me so fast that I couldn’t make sense of it. I felt only chaos and confusion. I knew what I had to do—what I often do when I feel like everything is spinning out of control. I went out into my garden and sat down. I took  a few  slow deep breaths and closed my eyes.

I imagined myself out in a field with shepherds. Silence cut through the night, save for the bleating of the sheep. The stars waved above us, lighting the way. We walked for awhile.

We finally arrived at a stable. The barn animals sat quietly as the shepherds and I entered. Inside was a young mother and father, their newborn lying in a manger. Without a word, the young mother picked up her baby and placed Him in my arms. I felt the warmth of His small body. I breathed in His sweet innocence. I felt an incredible love flow through me when I looked into His eyes. He was so precious! I cradled Him, rocking Him in my embrace. When He fell asleep, I kissed His forehead and handed Him back to His mother.

When I opened my eyes, everything that had been rushing so fast had come to a stop. What had felt confusing and chaotic now felt calm and coherent. When I imagine that I am cradling Christ, all of my worries and woes vanish. All that remains is peace. Sweet, sweet, peace.

The Familiar Smile Of A Stranger

“The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you…”
~Nmbers 6:25

The sun waved farewell to the day and dipped below the horizon. I buttoned my coat and walked to Main Street as the last of the day’s light faded into the cold dark. The corner restaurant was roasting chickens over an oak wood fire. The aroma made my mouth water. Down the street, people sat outside the cafe, huddled under the orange glow of electric heaters; steam rising from their coffee cups. The sound of laughter and happy voices filled the night. Farther down the street, storefronts twinkled with Christmas lights.

As I walked past the ice cream parlor, the clerk waved at me from behind the counter. The store was empty, too cold for a cone on a night like this. As I stood at the corner, deciding which way to turn, a man shoved his wheelchair into the crosswalk. Car lights illuminated his disability; his legs amputated below his knees. When he got to my side of the street, he looked up at me and smiled so brightly that I couldn’t help but smile back. His eyes danced with a sweet sparkle. “Wonderful evening,” he said as he tipped his hat at me.

I stood and watched him propel himself down the sidewalk until he was out of sight. I’m not sure why, but I turned back and retraced my steps. The bell on the door of the ice cream parlor jingled as I pushed open the door. The clerk’s face lit up, happy to see a customer.

I enjoyed my ice cream as I walked home, all the while pondering the man’s smile. It felt oddly familiar. Did I know him? I wondered. Of course not. I had never seen him before. When I arrived home I turned the key in the door. I stepped into the dark and snapped on the light. The brightness chased away my confusion. Suddenly I knew why the man’s smile was so familiar! God had smiled at me through him! I pressed the memory of his smile to my heart, all the while marveling at God’s goodness. It is a wonderful night! I thought. coffee on table in the night city

 

 

Are You Forgetting Something?

“God is love.”
~1 John 4:8

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” God asked me as I lifted a pillow from the couch and peered underneath.

“I forgot where I put my car keys. Want to help me find them?” I asked.

“I didn’t mean your car keys,” God answered.

I dropped to my knees and looked under the couch. There they were! I picked them up and dashed out the door. I spent the entire day running errands. When I got home I curled up on the couch, exhausted.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” God asked me.

“You asked me that this morning. Sorry. I’ve been busy. What am I forgetting?”

“How much I love you,” God said with so much tenderness in His voice that my heart melted.

“Awwwwww. Thank you!”

“You get so busy that you forget the most important thing of all,” God said. “Love is the only real thing in life. Everything else is just an illusion, a distraction.” I thought about my hurried day.

“I love you beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your comprehension. I’m always with you,” God said. “Will you remind the others, in case they have forgotten?”

“Yes, I’ll tell them,” I said.

“Tell them that I sing over them as they sleep at night. I watch over them by day. I celebrate every good thing in their lives. I mourn their every sorrow. I love them to the heights and depths of my creation, and beyond. My heart leaps every time they call my name, every time they remember me,” God said gently.

My eyes pooled with tears at the thought of how happy God is when we remember Him, and how often we forget Him. “Yes, I’ll tell them, God,” I promised. And so I have, with this Soul Reminder.

Happy Young Child Running to Greet Dad Silhouette

I Want What You Have

“If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
~Revelations 3:20

The phone rang early this morning. It was my friend Peggy. She said, “I want what you have.”

“A bad cold?” I sniffled.

“No, I want the relationship you have with God,” she explained.

“Ah, that.” I blew my nose into a crumpled up Kleenex.

“What do I have to do to be as close to God as you seem to be?”

“Talk to Him like you would a dear friend—someone you trust—someone who knows you intimately,” I said.

“You mean like a real conversation?” She sounded skeptical.

“Absolutely! Tell Him about your day. Ask Him about His. Listen. Listen a lot,” I suggested.

“How do you know what God says to you?” Peggy wanted to know.

“I get a knowing in my gut—my heart—like God has placed knowledge inside of me. I also hear His words in my head, especially when I am writing my Soul Reminders. Sometimes I  feel that the Holy Spirit moves my fingers on the keyboard. I’m often surprised at what I’ve written!” I said.

I pulled the receiver away from my face and sneezed. “Ahhh-chooooooo!”

“Bless you!” Peggy said.

I laughed. “Thank you! God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams! He wants to give you the same blessings. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. He won’t let you down, I promise.”

God won’t let you down either. If you long for a closer relationship with Him, reach out. Talk. Listen. Listen a lot! And above all else, keep your heart open. That’s how God gets in!

open your heart

God’s So Gangsta!

“…the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
~Joshua 1:9

“Look, I really need you to hear me out on this one, okay? I’m praying with my whole heart.” I clasped my hands together for emphasis— just in case God needed a visual clue.

“Sparrow,” He said, (I love His nickname for me) “I hear you.”

“You’re sure about that? Sometimes it feels like my prayers don’t reach you—like letters that fall behind a piece of machinery at the post office and collect dust.

“Every prayer is received,” God said. “Every word. Every emotion. I just don’t always answer your prayer the way you’d like me to,” God said.

“So, you’re saying that all prayers are heard and answered, one way or another?”

“Exactly,” God said. “If you pray about it, I’m on it. I’m not busy with anything else. I’m only focused on my creation,” God replied, “and watching Game Of Thrones.”

“What!!!???

God laughed. “Just kidding. Pray your prayer, Sparrow. I’m listening. Then trust that I will answer it perfectly because, hey, that’s how I roll, baby.”

“You’re so gangsta!” I giggled and ducked, just in case He wanted to thump me on the head for that remark.

I closed my eyes and prayed to the God who always listens, always answers, always loves— and apparently has a sense of humor. I’m crazy about Him. Aren’t you?

The text I LOVE MY FATHERappearing behind torn brown paper.

 

 

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