Archive for June, 2013

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Photos by Liz Gray

When you look at the world
What is it that you see?
People find all kinds of things
That bring them to their knees

U2 – When I Look at the World

      What is it you see and experience that lets you know without a doubt there is God and He is is good and He has given you a beautiful world to experience and enjoy?

       It’s not the big things for me.  It’s so much smaller than that.

       Last week we had an opportunity (third time this summer in fact) to rescue a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest, with some enhanced assistance from my cat that has expert hunting skills.

       Thankfully this bird was not yet bitten, so it had a fighting chance.  I held this baby bird near my heart most of the night, but pretty much anticipated a dead bird by morning.  I alternated holding it and keeping it on a towel wrapped around a hot water bottle.  Around 5 am, I awoke because apparently the bird could now fly.

          Since my phone takes better small pictures, I began clicking as this little fellow (or lassie perhaps)  flew from floor to window ledge to my arms.   After a dozen phone pics, I guess the bird decided to hop on the phone to see what all my fuss was about.  QUICK!  That’s when I ever so carefully walked backwards out of the bathroom, into my bedroom and grabbed my DSLR to get pictures of the bird looking at his own reflection.

       As I did so, I became very aware I was witnessing an amazing moment:

       God puts LIFE everywhere around us; BEAUTY to behold, SOULS to nourish and cherish, and MOMENTS to be aware of and to feel a divine love.

       The rescue business–it’s that thing that tugs at your soul and you beg God:  Please let it be someone else; don’t let it be me. 

     It never works like that.  If you have a heart that loves, you will be called to give, share, pray, serve, sacrifice–because all these things are an extension of love.  Someone or something less fortunate than you is going to be put in your path and you’ll have no choice.  Don’t just see; respond!

       Love until it hurts.

       Love until someone is healed.

       I am a flawed person, but not so much, that I can’t get my hands dirty or wear my heart on my sleeve on occasion.

       And that is the world as seen through my eyes.  You too are loved.

Post script:  This bird was one of the lucky ones we tried to save.   He lived.   He sang his morning song from a branch, until he simply flew away.

paw2013

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 Be Yourself

I’ve been struggling with something lately.  It’s made me feel insecure and small and insignificant.

I’ve been seeking validation and confirmation in all the wrong faces and places.  I’ve been allowing what others say or do or don’t say or don’t do to define me.  It’s a hang-up, a bad habit I have.  And it always yields the same result:

An engraved invitation to a party:

THE PITY PARTY

      Have you ever been to one?  Oh they’re fabulous; let me tell you!  No limousines or glamorous gowns or flowing champagne and people to tell you how amazing, how stunningly beautiful, how incredibly talented,  how divinely gifted you are.  No!  You arrive, and you wonder where in the world are all the guests?

   You can almost feel the smirk on an unseen enemy’s faceThis is it.  You realize.  This is your party.  A party with the table all set for one: You!    It’s a lonely party.  There are no gifts or accolades or recognition.

Linda Rondstandt’s Poor Poor Pitiful Me blares in the background.   You begin to doubt everything you’ve ever done or hope to do in the future.  Past accomplishments are but a distant memory.  Hope for the future is a concept belonging to others rather than an assured belief. 

How is it that we can be so hopeful one day and feel in utter despair the next?

I’ll tell you.  We forget who we are.

    The moment we forget that we are created by a loving God who has plans so magnificent, our mind hasn’t even begun to conceive what they are, we fall prey to the schemes of an unseen enemy.  The devil, Satan, self-absorption, bad karma, narcissism; they’re one in the same in my book. When we are the ruler of our own kingdom, we become quickly disillusioned when our “subjects” (those people and circumstances we can’t seem to get control of) disobey or at least, disappoint.

I so know this intellectually.  It’s just my heart that trips me up.  Repeatedly.   See there’s these three things I just keep wanting over and over:

Validation

Admiration

Results to go the way I plan

        We do have to make plans in life.  It’s true, there is no such thing as a plan to fail, only a failure to plan.  But sometimes even the best laid plans are laid to waste if a higher law at work deems it so.

I’m talking about God here.  Yes, sometimes God allows us to fail, to hurt, to be disappointed, to not understand.  Why?  So that we can fall.  Fall on our faces and fall on our knees.  He doesn’t want us to fall prey; He wants us to FALL,  PRAY. 

       Do you ever feel restless  in your faith; anxious in your soul?  Do you have an itch you just can’t scratch?  Do sermons and scripture verses and encouragement from others  just sound like words:  blah, blah, blah, blah?  Do you ever feel misunderstood, abandoned, invisible, and disappointed?

     Not to worry.  It happens.  We are human.  This is the cycle of life.  We get restless and start to feel like there is something more over there!   We get restless and feel like if we only had……………

You fill in the blank.  You know what I’m talking about.  That thing.  That thing that if you could just possess or experience or be than everything would be perfect.  Except that it wouldn’t.

We were born to struggle and to wrestle.  To struggle and wrestle within ourselves, our beliefs, with those in the world, and yes, even with God.  We’re challenged to prove it’s true in that which we think we know.

We don’t have all the answers.  But God does.   I know that in all things a good and loving God is in control.   In His time, and in His Way, he is working out not just my Salvation (in Christ) but also my issues, problems, deepest longings, and dreams. 

How do we get back to true?  How do we turn around?  How do we get better?  How do we heal?

It’s simple, but hard:  We let go and let God.  We struggle to get set free as we realize by letting go, we already are.

You already know this.  I do too.  We just need to be reminded sometimes.

     When you know that you know that you know that you are loved by the Creator of the Universe and He has it all under control , despite your feelings today, He will bring you home, to Him, to the love that He has for you, and He has planted inside you, waiting to be poured out, spilling over the brim, in order to bless others.

     You too are loved.  Believe it.  Now live it. 

 

You rise up early, and go to bed late, and work hard for your food, all for nothing. For the Lord gives to His loved ones even while they sleep. Psalm 127:2 (New Living Version)

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NIV)

In my dream I was drowning the sorrows
But my sorrows, they learned to swim
Surrounding me, going down on me
Spilling over the brim
Waves of regret and waves of joy
I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
You…you said you’d wait
’til the end of the world…..

“Until the End of the World” – U2