The Thorns In Our Sides

The Thorns In Our Sides

 I pleaded three times with God to take it away from me.
~2 Corinthians 12

The night was dark and the wind, a fierce presence, blew in from the North. I leaned into the merciless gusts as I walked home. I had a lot on my mind. For years I’d prayed a particular prayer, hoping for a particular outcome of healing. But it was clear that God’s answer all these years had been “No.”

“Why won’t you give me what I pray for? I’ve asked in faith. I’ve asked in Christ’s name. I can’t think of anything more to do, really,” I said. The moon, a pale lantern of light, hung above me on the horizon. It should have been a comfort, but it was not  “I’m frustrated with you, God,” I said through clenched teeth.

”I know you are,” God said over the roar of the wind.

”Well, what are you going to do about it?” I asked.

”Nothing. You’ll eventually realize that my answer is for your growth and ultimate protection.”

”Protection from what?”

”Yourself, Dear child,” God said gently.

“Myself?”

“Your ego. It keeps you from being fully reliant on Me,” God explained.

“So, you won’t answer my prayer?” I asked.

”I am answering your prayer,” God said. “I’m answering it in a way the pulls you deeper and deeper into the mystery of me. Deeper and deeper into my protection.”

The moon’s glow cast long shadows across my path. I thought about my prayer for healing and I realized God had been healing me. He had reached down and brought my soul nearer to Him. What more could I possibly ask for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whose In Charge Of The Colony?

Whose In Charge Of The Colony?

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
~Psalm 139:14

“You’re in charge,” God whispered as I opened the refrigerator door to look for something to satisfy my hunger.

“In charge of what?” I asked as I opened the crisper and reached for a shiny red apple.

“You’re in charge of the colony.”

“Colony of what? I’m not a Pilgrim,” I playfully pointed out. I took a bite out of the apple, its crisp flesh giving way as I sunk my teeth into it. I wiped the drops of juice from my mouth with the back of my hand.

“You’re in charge of your body,” God explained. “It’s a colony. You must lead it carefully so that it serves you well. Eat well. Rest. Don’t stress. And don’t let it boss you around.”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.

“Don’t let it convince you to be a couch potato, or to feed it junk food, or to ignore good hygiene. It can try to convince you to do things that aren’t in its best interest.”

I held up what was left of the apple. “I’m doing my best to make good choices,” I said. “See?”

“Yes. I see. Now, go for a walk and get some fresh air and some exercise,” God said.

“But I have a lot of work to do on the computer,” I answered.

“You’re in charge,” God whispered.

I pondered His words. Every day I make choices that are either for my body or against it. I really am in charge of the colony and I need to do a better job as a leader. So I tugged on my tennis shoes, tied the laces, and pushed open the front door and went for a long walk. My work could wait. My body is more important.

 

 

One Step At A Time

One Step At A Time

“…line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”
Isaiah 28:10

“God, I’ve been praying for healing for a very long time,” I reminded Him this morning when I went out walking.

“I know. I’ve heard you,” God answered.

“Are you sure? Because you haven’t really healed me,” I said.

“You’ve seen improvements, haven’t you?” God asked.

“Yes. a few things are better. But I want real healing,” I insisted.

“What do you think your improvements are?”

“I don’t know. But they don’t feel like they mean I’ll improve more,” I said.

“Each improvement is a step towards greater healing,” God said gently. “Appreciate each step in the process for what it is. Enjoy what healing you have to date, and expect more to come.”

“I’ll do my best to be grateful for the steps that have been made thus far,” I replied. “And I’ll expect more healing in the future when the time is right.”

“There you go, Sparrow. Step by step,” God said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hearty Bowl Of Soup

To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.
~ Laurie Colwin

A winter’s wind howled at the windows, rattling my little house down to its bones. My dog Shakespeare stiffened with every knock of wind at the panes. “It’s okay,” I reassured him. “It’s just blustery outside. I’ll make us soup. That will make us feel cozy.” I padded into the kitchen and rummaged through the crisper. I found parsnips, turnips, carrots, onions, and celery. “A fine soup this will be, my furry friend!” I said to him, even though I knew he didn’t much care for vegetables. “I’ll add grass-fed beef, too.” His velvet-soft ears perked up as if he understood.

The soup simmered on the stove as the wind continued to shake the house. I curled up on the couch and pulled a throw blanket over me. Shakespeare curled up at my feet. There was nothing more to do with the day than to enjoy the aroma wafting from the kitchen. In a few hours, I’d nourish my body with God’s wholesome foods. I am grateful that I’ve learned how important it is to feed our bodies well, for they have such an important job to do— they house our souls. I thought of the farmer’s weathered hands that lovingly grew the vegetables now cooking on my stove. I thought of the cow that gave its life for me. “Thank you,” I said out loud. Shakespeare raised his head as if to ask if I was speaking to him. I laughed. “I’m thankful for you, too!” I said. He put his head back down, satisfied. Good food and good friends. What an amazing combination for a good life, I thought. What an amazing combination indeed.

I Don’t Think Jesus Is Shopping At Walmart Today

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…”
~John 3:16

Manger at nightIt’s interesting that the Christmas season begins with a tradition that seems so far removed from Christ: Black Friday. We stand in store lines in the early hours of the morning and stampede the doors once they’ve been opened. We argue and fight with others, grabbing products out of each other’s hands. I can’t imagine Jesus rushing the doors of Walmart to fight His way to the big screen TVs, pushing and shoving other shoppers out of His way, can you?

The best gift you can give someone doesn’t come from a store wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow. The best gift you can give someone is your time and attention; your love.

As we begin this holiday season, let’s be mindful of what Christmas is really all about; God so loved the world that He gave us His son who taught us that we are to love one another. Let’s make this year the year that we put aside our resentments, our differences, our judgments and be with one another the way Jesus commanded us to be; the way He was. He listened. He loved. He healed. He shared His Father’s love with everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living A Lie? Here’s How To Fix It.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am…”
~1 Corinthians 15:10

“This isn’t who I created you to be,” God admonished me. “You are living a lie.”
I hung my head because I knew the words He spoke were true. “I’m sorry,” I said. “What can I do to get back to my authentic self?” I asked.
“Two questions,” He replied.
“What’s that? Two questions?” I asked incredulously. I thought it would be a harder task than just answering two questions.
“That’s right, just two questions,” God assured me. “Ready to hear them?”
I nodded.
“The first is, ‘What’s true for me?” and the second is ‘What do I really want?”
“Really? Those seem rather…” I paused, searching for the right word, “simple.”
God laughed. “Simple they are indeed, but not always easy to answer or to live.”
“I’ll ponder them later today,” I said, “When I am out in my garden.”
“It’s a good idea to ponder them every day to make sure that you are being true to yourself,” God suggested.
And so I went out into the garden and I wrote down what was true for me. Some of the things on my list surprised me. Then I wrote down the things that I really, really, wanted. Again, some of my entries surprised me. I saw how far off the mark I had gotten by being so busy and in a hurry. I saw how far off center my life had been pulled.
“Thank you, God,” I whispered. I felt God’s gentle hand on my shoulder as a breeze lifted my hair. “No more living a lie. I’ll do my best to be who you created me to be.”
I could feel God’s smile as I sat in the mid-day sun, among His beautiful flowers. I felt whole again. Happy. Contented. Totally at peace. 
journaling

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