Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Child’s Chaos

My sister had had her granddaughter for part of a day before she called.  The joy in her voice was delightful, filled with memories of the day.  After wishing me a happy birthday, she proceeded to tell me of her day with her granddaughter, her PL.  She spoke of the “projects” that she, her husband and PL (3-1/2 years old) had spent much of the day doing together: planting seeds in the newly tilled garden, making a pie, cooking meatballs, and so much more…all squeezed into a few hours.

As she spoke about these “projects,” she also spoke about the “chaos” that enveloped them for those few hours and how wonderful it was to be in the midst of “a child’s chaos.”

I love that thought and I love it that she and her husband find such joy in the midst of “a child’s chaos.”

lovely_butterfly

Merriam-Webster defines chaos as:

  • complete confusion and disorder : a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything
  • the state of the universe before there was any order and before stars and planets were formed

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  Genesis 1:2

As I listened to my sister, I not only heard joy and delight in this child’s busy-ness and desire to be with her grandparents, but I heard that in the midst of what looks to be a mess, things come to completion.  The “chaos” comes to order.  The delight grows with the sense of accomplishment with a special one who is loved very much.  I also heard, through my sister’s words, that love grew even more than it was while in the process of going from chaos to order.

Did not God’s love for His creation grow as He turned the formless void and darkness into something He called “good” and “very good.”

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.  Genesis 1:31a

Father, You have made the little children precious in Your sight.  They come with innocence and openness.  As I have grown older, I (and many others) lose those childlike qualities.  Life experiences can cause that too.  Children can teach me trust and unconditional love.  They show me kindness and tender caring.  They remind me that I have unexpressed creativity within, needing to be freed.  They also remind me that I was a child once and still have some of her in there who would love to come out and play.  Thank You, Lord, for these little ones.  May we know Your love through them as they interact in our lives.  I have been blessed by this child who lives well over a thousand miles away, yet I sense she is right here with me at times through You, through my sister, and my nephew.  Thank You for my sister too, Father.  She (and her husband) are so in love with their little PL.  I am so glad…for I gain from that love too.  I pray in the Name of Your Son.  Amen. 

P.S.  My sister has one living son who married in his late thirties and PL is the first and only grandchild.  Plus the other two of us in this family are the aunts of this one nephew.  We never had children, making PL all the more special for all of us.

beblacksig

graphic:  http://dryicons.com/free-graphics/preview/lovely-butterfly/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Rolling

images.duckduckgo.com

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him, and He will act.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.  Psalm 37:5-6

גָּלַל

galal

to roll

roll away

roll down

roll together

=

commit

rolling down

Playing with a ball brings to mind rolling.  Lying at the top of a grassy knoll brings a delightful roll down the hill on one’s side.  Playing marbles is about rolling.  Using an exercise ball calls for a rolling action of the body upon the ball, whether standing up against it or lying atop of it.  We roll.

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Commit, in the verse above, is about rolling our cares off from ourselves and onto God.  We are to…

commit

trust

remove from ourselves

throw off, give, cast off a burden

 

Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,…   Proverbs 16:3 YLT

“Roll upon Jehovah thy way,”… i.e., commit all my concerns to God.

And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.  Joshua 5:9

Jesus tells us, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Matthew 6:25

…casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

All of our cares, those anxious moments, those tender ones whom we love so…give them all to Him.  Our job is just that.

Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at Mizpah.  Judges 11:11

Jephthah gave all his concerns to the LORD and trusted Him with the outcome for in verse 7, Jephthah asks, “And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?”  He had reason for concern.

Naomi said to Ruth, “Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”  Ruth 3:18

In His time, God will roll away the reproach, bring forth righteousness and honor due to the one who is rolling away his cares onto the LORD.  Just because God takes on our cares does not mean that we should stand far off, be afraid that these cares, concerns will be back in our own hands.

Yes, I do take them back all on my own, but God usually does not give them back.  I tend to roll them over to Him time and time again, because I take them back time and time again.

BUT…I am to stay near to God…

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  James 4:8

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.  James 4:10

Father God, You want me to roll my burdens to You, to “roll upon Jevovah thy ways.”  I want to.  I do.  I forget and take them back.  I am sorry.  I am learning.  I wish that I were a child and still rolling down those green hills with laughter bubbling out of my mouth and heart, never thinking once, let alone twice, about cares and concerns.  I was a kid having fun “without a care in the world.”  I want to roll down those green, lush hills, but I can no longer do that physically.   You know that of me.  But you also know that I can lighten my load by giving it to You.  Teach me Your ways, O LORD.  I want to learn to roll, to commit my burdens to the One Who can do something about them.  I want to quit pretending that I can do things better than You.  I want to lay down my pretenses of strength and allow You to be my Strength.  I want to roll everything onto Your back for You can carry these loads.  I cannot.  Then when I finally let them go, Father, I can heart-fully roll down those green hills once again with the lightness and laughter of long ago when I did not even know “burdens.”  O Father, I can be the child I miss so, sometimes.  I can be Your child and run, walk, roll, and stay close because You love me so.  I am Yours, Father.  I pray these words in the Name of Your Son, my Brother.  Amen. 

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bwdarkgreen sig

 

Rolling Ball Clipart:  http://imgarcade.com/1/rolling-ball-clipart/

Children rolling down hill:  https://beingwoven27.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/290a7-rollingdown.jpg

Photo of little girl in red:  http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/parenting/4254193/Lee-Price-tries-the-50-things-every-kid-should-do-before-they-are-11.html

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Brass Fire Pole

Fire_pole
Have you ever slid down a pole at the playground, pretending to be a fireman?  Or gone to a children’s museum where they had a brass one installed from the second floor to the first, where you put on a jacket, boots, and fireman’s hat before sliding down, landing at the foot of a real fire truck sitting inside the museum?  Or have you been at the top of such a pole and been afraid to take that leap onto the pole?

One year, while teaching in Washington, D.C., I took my K-1 class to the Children’s Museum, a bus ride and short walk away from our inner city school.  (In looking for that museum online before writing this, it looks like that building is gone now. but there is a new National Children’s Museum in Prince George County, only open a year or so now.)   It was fun and delightful for the children and for me as I watched them immerse themselves in pretending, allowing their imaginations to bloom with possibilities and dreams…careers…arts…machinery and equipment…on and on.  All of this gave these young children ways to dream as well as to escape the realities of their harsh worlds of inner city violence, drugs, sex, and other hard things, for all of us, let alone little children.

children fire engineI don’t say that we need to escape our realities for our God knows right where we are.  God is there right beside us.  But, sometimes, just sometimes, we need a break from the hard things in life.  We need the comfort of a mother’s arms, the strength of a father’s stance before and beside us, the love of family and true friends.  I watched and read Kara Tippetts and her family live death on their blog, in books, on videos, in photos.  Hard stuff.  Real life.  Kara and her family had and, now, still have all those arms, the comfort, the strength, the love near them, yet when the night falls and the family is alone, they remember that Kara has gone to be with Jesus.  The children do not have their mother.  Jason’s wife is missing from his side.  Not forever.  One day, they will all be together with the LORD.  One day.  And Kara is whole now.

We are human and fear creeps in and takes over sometimes… afraid to leap forward and grab that pole … afraid to trust God Who works all things together for good to those who love Him … fear that we will not be caught when we lean back against the unknown.  Fear holds us in its grip and we can do nothing.  The brass pole stands before us and we are frozen with fear.

woman going down pole

The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower.  Psalm 18:2

He is right there … ready to catch us …ready to hold us … ready to be All to us and for us.  We are called to trust … TRUST.

The LORD is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7 

The child in each of us needs to slide down that brass pole right into the arms of the LORD, into His Word, into His Truth, into forgiveness, away from sin, away from all that holds us back from the beauty that God wants for each of us.  Slide … slide onto the path that He has just for each one of us … JUST.FOR.US!  Can you sense yourself taking that quick leap onto that sturdy brass pole, wrapping your arms and legs around it and just go…go…go…to God.  I can feel the strength of this pole and the love awaiting me when I reach His arms.  Yes, LORD, I am coming to You.

And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My Name, receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me.  Mark 9:36-37

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest. **

Abba Father, I felt Your call upon this life of mine.  I know that You want me wholly.  Guide me away from all that defines my life as worldly, as sinful, as not-of-You.  Mold my heart to be more and more like Jesus… that I would forgive when I need to and to whom I must.  Abba Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of my many misplaced steps in this life.  I came to You as a prodigal.  You were there with arms open wide and waiting for me to step into them.  Thank You, LORD.  Thank You.  I came sliding in, at first with hesitancy, with fear, because it seems a long way to You.  I slide … I go and I come to You again and again.  Your arms are warm and filled with such love.

Father, I know this for myself.  I pray for those children whom I once taught in Washington, D.C. and ask that Your love guide them into Your arms if they are not there already.  I pray that they will recall the day at the museum and the brass pole.  For those who came down without fear, I pray they come sliding into Your arms, seeking Your face, Your forgiveness, and Your love.  For those who were afraid to go down and walked back down instead, erase any and all fear and trepidation, LORD.  I pray for family and friends who do not know You and ask the same for them whether they have played on a brass pole or not.  Give them one and may Your message be clear so that they will desire You, and only You, and come sliding to You. 

As I am sliding to You, LORD, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus, Your Son.   Amen.  

beblacksig   

Photo: http://www.kansasfirefightersmuseum.com/main/

**Safe in the Arms of Jesus: lyrics by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915), music by William Howard Doane (1832-1915)

Second Photo: by Wendy Pramik   http://www.examiner.com/article/learn-about-fire-safety-slide-down-a-pole-at-the-central-ohio-fire-museum

Fourth photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdkahn/5758603835/

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Cartwheels

Cartwheels

After 31 days of writing for the #write31days challenge, I am ready to do a cartwheel on a nice soft lawn to release the little girl that wants to go out and play!  Laura Boggess wrote a book called Playdates with God which inspires me to play once in awhile, but playing has changed for me.  This 67 year old cannot play the way I once did nor can I play like I want to play.  A number of surgeries and new pieces and parts of a spinal column and hip prevent such sheer fun!  But…I can take my mind and heart out to play and they can do all the cartwheels they want!

Sheer joy!  What would be sheer joy to me today?

…praises to my LORD

…moments with my husband with my hand in his

…seeing doves, woodpeckers, sparrows all on the yard at one time

…having the fox family in the yard eating the Anaqua tree’s berries

…reveling in the beauty of the Word of God

…hearing God’s voice in my heart

…seeing my great niece sitting beside her grandmother watching Canada geese

…sharing a whole week with my youngest sister

…having a sweet time with a once estranged sister

…having the whole family together, especially since Mama is gone from this earth; purposing to get together

…a heart filled with love

…the gift of Redemption

 joy

Shout to the LORD, all the earth; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.  Psalm 98:4

Sheer joy!  There is so much more that I could imagine, but these joys are real.  They are beautiful.  I thank God for each and every one.

For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!  Luke 1:44

John was doing cartwheels at the first meeting of the cousins on earth.

and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes.  Have you never read,
‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’
?”
  Matthew 21:16 (Psalm 8:2)

Praising God is joy itself.

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout in triumph to the God of Jacob.  Psalm 81:1

Let us do cartwheels wherever we are and whenever the opportunity affords it.

Abba Father, You are so beautiful and so real to me.  I thank You for planting joy in my heart.  You give me real or pretend moments of play when I feel like a child.  I am grateful for those times.  I am thankful that You are with me to remind me of all the gifts that are from You.  Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.  James 1:17-18  You have given me Your best, LORD.  With my heart, I turn a cartwheel of joy.  In Christ’s Name, I pray.  Amen.

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

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You may be asking yourself how this relates to the title of this post.  Give me a minute please.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;  for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

 word = rhēma

ῥῆμα

…that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, a word

God’s Word is powerful.  It touches us in our hearts, souls, bodies, and minds, if. we. let. It.  It is alive, uttered by the living voice of God.  God Word opens us to His ways, teaches us obedience and how to abide.  It grows us to be more like Christ.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

To us, the words on the pages, those 1300 plus pages or so, are made up of the letters of the alphabet.  Each letter has a name and a sound.  Some letters stick together and make another sound.  Some letters say more than one sound.  The written language must make some kind of sense to the one learning to read it so that he or she can read it.  Those letters make words when placed together.  Then the words are placed together to become sentences, and then paragraphs, then chapters and books.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”  Revelation 1:10-11

John wrote what he saw and heard.  The disciples, the kings, the prophets, the apostles wrote what they saw, what they were taught, and what they heard.  Alphabet becomes God’s Word and we read it and know that we are reading the Truth.  Not every alphabet letter placed into a word, sentence, paragraph, etc. is the Truth.  We need discernment and that comes from listening to and for the Holy Spirit.

And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.  This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:4-5

As a retired teacher and children’s librarian, and now a private tutor to young primary-aged children, I teach them how to read.  This is the love of my professional life.  These children begin with the alphabet, progressing from there.  Children are delighted with rhymes and songs and stories.  They learn in all sorts of ways but the day that those sounds become words is the day that the reading light bulb goes on and a whole world is opened up to them.

Bear with me here and then follow me to the end, if you will…  : )

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As parents, teachers, and people who care about children, we want them to grow in the ways of the LORD.  We want them to know Jesus intimately.  As adults, it is our task to teach them, not only how to read, but how to love one another, to fellowship with the LORD.

God has called parents to teach children His Word: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  Deuteronomy 6:4-7

LORD, we lift up our praises to You for You are Truth.  Your Word is Truth that we can see and read in these times.  We can know Jesus in our hearts, but we were not one of those in the first century to walk and talk with Him, The Living Word.  So Your written Word is for us today and we are ever grateful.  May we look upon each word and know that it is all from You…to us.  May these words come together with the help of Your Holy Spirit that we would then be able to understand, following in obedience to You.  We pray in the Name of Jesus, The Word.  Amen.

 

 

Photo:  http://www.365promises.com/daily-promises/2014/3/3/promise-62-monday-march-3-2014.html

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. & John Archambault:  http://books.simonandschuster.com/Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom/Bill-Martin-Jr/Chicka-Chicka-Book-A/9781442450707

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSTX-1cd32Q&list=UUzSLCh1aTTlXStchMnpszvg

God's Word · Pondering

Miss Mary Mack

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Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack   Hand motion:  Arms across chest     Pat thighs     Clap hands

All dressed in black, black, black   Clap right palms with partner

With silver buttons, buttons, buttons [butt’ns]   Clap left palms with partner

All down her back, back, back.   Clap both palms with partner

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She asked her mother, mother, mother

for fifty cents, cents, cents

To see the elephants, elephants, elephants (or hippos)

Jump the fence, fence, fence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They jumped so high, high, high

they reached the sky, sky, sky

And didn’t come back, back, back

Till the 4th of July, ly, ly!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I grew up with hand-clapping games as a young girl.  They were fun and delightful, brought camaraderie, and even taught gross motor skills and keeping a steady beat.  I had thought them to be on their way out, if not already out, but they are not.  REALLY!  In certain areas…in inner cities (where I had taught and saw them being used daily along with the fun rhymes for jumping rope), in the country where playing outdoors is part of living in the country, and the kids I am tutoring today use them so they are not endangered nor extinct.  These rhyming games are still used and causing kids to have fun…even some adults join in!

When I was a kid, I loved them for we had to be two or more in order to play.  We learned rhymes.  We had to know or be willing to learn the clapping part.  It took cooperation.  And the better we got at doing these, the faster the game became.  When they were too fast, the game fell apart, we fell on the ground or floor and rolled around laughing like crazy.  Just kids having a lot of fun!

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The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy. 

Psalm 65:12-13

Together… we learn to cooperate, to dance, to share, to give, and to love.  Together.  God shows us the beauty of His natural world and the blessings that flow from their abundance.  He has given us the abundance of His love, His kindness, His shelter, His gentleness, His patience.  And, most of all, He has given us His Son for Whom we rejoice as a body, His church, His children.

LORD, may we remember these gifts and Your many blessings, even in the midst of hard things, tough lessons, sad moments.  May we rejoice in the Name of Jesus and know that You saved us from ourselves.  May we never forget that You formed us and wove us, that You gave us the gift to be joyful and be as children.  And may we remember the love that Jesus had for the little children, for the lessons He taught using a child… And He took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in My Name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”  Mark 9:36-37  But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to M; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.  Mark 10:14-16   May I be as a child, Precious LORD.  I pray in the Name of Your Son, Amen.

 

Photo of two girls clapping/playing game:  http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e2/9f/ec/e29fecdd659a2e1bb210bb405cb0c6e8.jpg

Miss Mary Mack/owl picture:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hand-Clapping-Game-Miss-Mary-Mack-390566

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Through His Eyes and Mine

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A Quiet Game called “Photographic Memory”:
Everyone looks at the same photograph for 30 seconds.
Remove the photo and write down as much as you can remember about it.
The person with the longest list of items that are really in the photo wins!

As we look at God’s world, can we see, really see, what He created?  Or do we look past the beauty, the technicolor, the detail, the variants, the love, the indwelling, the calm, the preciousness in a child’s face, the innocence, the majesty… look past to see the mean, nasty, ugly, vicious, ridicule, gossip, anger, strife?  Oh, how I wish the world were without these things.  I want to be able to see only God’s beauty.  But this world is filled with such hatred and animosity and sin that it truly is hard to see past and even find the lovely some days, some moments.  But we are God’s children and He has created the beauty for us.   Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden and given the privilege to name the animals.  Adam saw all that God created.  God called it all good and very good.

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.  God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.  Genesis 1:29-31

Let us take moments of each day and look beyond the worldliness of the moment and see His world through His eyes using our eyes.  It is beautiful and there is so much that is lovely.  Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts”, invites us to look for those things for which we are grateful…not just a birthday present or a bouquet of flowers, but the love of a mother, the wind in our hair, the bright pink of a rose.  “I want to see beauty.  In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”  — Ann Voskamp from “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are”.  I, too, want to see the beauty.  Can I see it in the vile, in the wicked, in the mean, or in the angry?  Yes, I know they are all around me, but I choose to see God’s best before I see the world’s worst.  Oh, yes.  I do mean this.

I am swept into tears as I type these words for the world is so deep in these terrible things and I just can hardly stand it.  I want love and peace and calm to surround me and everyone else.  I am a big wuss and cannot help that.  I trust and cannot help that.  I love and cannot help that.  I feel empathy and sympathy.  I want to capture the innocence of my childhood and live amidst it for always.  I am just too…no, not too, but I am me, just me, and I am who God created.  I want to be me and see the world as God created it, not as man has made it to be.  This is my Father’s lovely world and I want to see it as He made it through my eyes, even through my tears.  I wish it to be that way for all, but that may not be so in this day and age.  Yet, I can still pray for it to be so.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Colossians 3:12-15

Father, this is Your world as You made it.  The vileness and hatred that dwells here is not You, but You know it is here.  Father, if it cannot go away, disappear, then I ask You to hold my heart that it could stand to live in this world, but in Your arms.  May I see the lovely that is Yours, the angelic that is in that little one’s face, the glory in those flowers, the ruby on the hummingbird’s throat, the black and orange and blue in the butterfly’s wings, the delight in my husband’s heart towards me, the kindness I feel from people who cared for my Mama for five years, the gentleness of the breeze when it blows in from the north.  I want to know You, Abba Father, in Your world of beauty.  Amen.

 


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Pondering

Coloring Inside the Lines

Abba, when I color in the lines, I feel like I have some control.  I feel that the boundaries are there, all around me, and I am safe.  When I color inside the lines, I sense some sort of satisfaction with being neat and tidy.  I like this feeling.  I did as a child when I colored or painted by-the-number for I knew how it might turn out when I was finished.  I just liked that and actually still do.  That safety issue keeps ringing in my ears and heart too.  

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Your own created beauty has lines.  Can I color them?  I know You have colored them already, but will You allow me to color them today?

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YET… it is not about me having control, is it, Abba?  It is about me surrendering and obeying You.  So when I color where You ask me to, or tell me to, it is alright?  Will I be safe?  It is not about safety, is it?  It is about my relationship with You whether I color neatly inside the lines or create life outside those lines, as long as the life, whether colorful, or gray, or black and white, is the life You have called me to.  Why does this feel hard, Father?  I seem to be figuring out what and how to do and be without Mama here.  She is gone and that piece of my life missing.  I can’t color inside those “caregiving” lines anymore.  I have to move on into the next step of life where You call me.  Someone recently blogged about stepping “Forward”.  That is what I need to do and am trying to do.  

But I also want to curl back up inside those lines of safety because I feel like that child again who needs the confines of order: those warm blankets, my Mama’s arms, her sweet peck on the neck or cheek, the security of my Daddy, the sacredness of my marriage with the protection of Christ in the center of two.  Oh, Abba, I have that last part.  My marriage is wrapped in Your arms, in the security of Your love, and within Your Word.  It is built upon the Rock.  Whether I color inside or outside the lines, I have You through my marriage and through my belief in You.  You are all I need.  

I am so very grateful for walking me through this as I type words that I didn’t even know were there.  Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to teach me, to pray for me, to show me the way.

 

You will forget your misery;

you will remember it as waters that have passed away.

And your life will be brighter than the noonday;

its darkness will be like the morning.

And you will feel secure, because there is hope;

you will look around and take your rest in security.  Job 11:16-18 ESV


I think I shall go get my colored pencils and see where You lead me?

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Graphics:

Cross:  http://coloringpagesplus.com/Cbn.html

Butterfly:  http://imagixs.com/monarch-butterfly-coloring-pages/

“Sharpened Pencil Next to Sheet Paper”:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sharpened_pencil_next_to_sheet_paper.jpg

God's Word · Pondering

Are You a Solitary Player or a Group Player?

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This is a painting, “Children’s Games”, done in 1560 by a Flemish painter, Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  The painting is filled with about 200 children playing nearly 80 games or various play activities, all of which are played in the out-of-doors.  If I look closely enough, I can recognize many of these games for I played them or a variation of them well into the twentieth century.

From Ms. Miriam Forman-Brunell’s annotation: “Physically energetic and imaginatively engaged girls and boys are everywhere in Bruegel’s busy painting. Some are using their bodies, others are playing with children and/or with toys (e.g., windmill; hoops). Here are some examples. Three boys mounted on a red fence are pretending to race horses. A few are playing leapfrog and others playing “horsey” and “tug of war.” Another is straddling a hobbyhorse. Two girls are playing a medieval form of jacks (knucklebones) but with a bone instead of a ball. A group of children playing dress-up are staging a wedding. A small group of boys are spinning tops (a popular toy). A girl is playing musical instruments, another with a doll. A few boys are balancing on barrels. Some children are engaged in solitary play (e.g., blowing bubbles; dollmaking). While some are playing gently, there are rough bullies here as well.” *

I was a solitary player.  I liked to read both indoors and out (on the roof when I got old enough and Mom would let me …see my post – https://beingwoven.org/2012/08/22/up-on-the-rooftop/).  I liked to play dolls in the corner of the school playground.  I liked to build a waterfall on the gentle slope besides my Daddy’s garden as he tilled and weeded after work.  I liked to play secretary in the large tree where no one could get to me for the other kids were younger than I.  Two large branches ran somewhat parallel but offset from one another to make a bench and a desk for me.  There I would sit, up in that big ol’ tree, and pretend to peck away on an invisible typewriter.  Maybe this little dream-up game of mine comes from when we went to get Daddy after work when he was Chief of Medicine at a Naval hospital.  We would go into his secretary’s office to wait and Mrs. Pavey maybe was still typing.  Yes, I imagine that was probably it! I walked to the library when I reached the junior high age and sat on Mr. S’s stone fence and read my book before getting home where I had two younger sisters.

I played with others too.  I jumped rope and played dolls with at least a few girls.  I spent the night with some of them too.  I drew wallpaper with another for a Girl Scout badge.  I played in the high school band and went on parade or competition bus trips.

My most memorable play-moments of days gone by were just by myself.  And I still like to read alone at Barnes and Noble or Starbucks.

BUT…I love to sit by a river while camping with Kenneth.  I enjoy a walk in God’s beautiful world, sharing the natural world with this man.  He is my best friend and I love being with him.

So, which am I?  a solitary player or a small group (like 2) player?  It doesn’t matter as I enjoy both.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.   Matthew 14:23

Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and [the] Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and [from] beyond the Jordan.  Matthew 4:25

Jesus needed to be alone.  He also was amongst many.

God made me as I am.  He melded my heart into His shape for me, for my life.  I want to sit at His feet no matter whether I am alone or with others.  I want to play His way, whatever that may be.  I am learning and willing to be shaped so that I am in His will.

And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.  Luke 10:39

“…but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”   Luke 10:42

I want to choose that “good portion” and I have.

Jesus called me to be alone with Him in the garden.  I come to Him in that garden…alone.

In The Garden Hymn

C. Austin Miles (1868 – 1946) written in 1912

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.


I fall at His feet, asking forgiveness.  I know that He is the Son of God.  I know that I am with Him to do and be as He wills for my very life for I have given it to Him, my very life.

…and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—  Colossians 3:10

I am His and His new creation.  I play alone but am never alone.  I play with others and always know that I have One more playmate for He walks with me wherever I go.

Praising You, my LORD.  Thank You for creating me to be able to be alone and to be okay with that.  Or to be amongst others, with others and to be okay with that.  You made me:

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.  Psalm 139:16-18

We are always together, You and me.

“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”  As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.   John 8:29-30

May this be so.  Amen. 


Source of Painting:  Full image of Kinderspiele, “Children’s Games”, date 1560, Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569).  Source Snow, Edward A. (1997). Inside Bruegel. New York: North Point Press. Picture from front cover plate.  From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository   http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Children.jpg;  “Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “Children’s Games” [Painting],” in Children and Youth in History, Item #332, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/332

* Annotation:  Annotated by Miriam Forman-Brunell.  “File:Children.jpg”, Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Children.jpg (accessed October 23, 2009).

God's Word · Pondering

Hopscotching … Scotch-Hoppers

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One of my favorite games as a girl in the nineteen-fifties was hopscotch.  A fun, usually all-girl game with lots of exercise and balance.  In the United Kingdom, the game was called Scotch-Hoppers as ‘scotches’ are the scratches or lines etched into the dirt of fields, roads, walkways.  So one hopped over the scotches.  I like that because I love words and like to learn new words, use new words.

If hopscotch is not a familiar game to you, the first thing we need is a set of lines usually drawn with chalk on the sidewalk or by a stick in the dirt, even paint nowadays!  Here are a few different ways to draw the court:

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Next, let’s learn to play:

Supplies needed: chalk or sidewalk paint, stones/bottlecaps or bean bags. Flat stones are best. They don’t roll!

If you’re the first player you throw your marker on the number one (the closest square), hop over it, moving up to ten, hopping on each square. All hops are done on one foot for each “single” square, unless there are two squares are side by side, in which case you hop down on both feet. Once you get to ten you must turn around and hop back again, carefully bending down to pick up the marker on the way back. You can’t lose your balance and you must always remain on that one foot.

“For your next turn you need to throw your marker so it hits the #2 and so on.

“You lose your turn if your marker doesn’t hit your intended square, if you lose your balance on the hopscotch grid, or if you forget to hop over your square.”
Hop across the scotches without touching them with your feet or hands, pick up your marker and make it through the court over and over again until you have done it ALL!

So what does this have to do with my spiritual journey, you might be asking?

Hopscotch has rules, lines to stay within, lines not to touch, marker to pick up while standing on only one foot, etc., etc.  Life has rules that keep the chaos from overtaking me.  Life has steps to take.  They can be my steps or God’s steps.  ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

God took chaos, made order and His beautiful world before Adam and Eve chose to use their God-given will to step on those lines, changing life as God had planned for man and woman from that moment to this.

I am created in His Image with creativity for He is The Creator.  I am able to draw inside or outside the lines with that creativity, to make beautiful and ugly life-art.

He gave me free will.  I am able to choose which way to go, what to do, who to be, how to be.

He also calls me to obedience.   Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.  Psalm 25:4-5

I am to stay constant and balanced on His path.  I am to walk within the framework He designed for my life, yet not be afraid if I step on a line.  He wants obedience but He also forgives.  I am His child and am always learning.  Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!  Psalm 119:5

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God [did]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and [as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1-4

The “requirement of the Law” … my standard for behavior is reflected in the character of God.  By walking in the Spirit, the law of Christ, the New Covenant, is written on my heart.  I am an epistle, a letter, a reflection of God to those I come in contact with.  You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  2 Corinthians 3:2-3  

The Law was set in place for me to live by until Christ came to die for me, for my sins, setting in place that New Covenant.  (I can play hopscotch and step outside the lines, but I lose a turn, waiting for the other players to step on the lines or lose their balance before I can try again.)  In this life, I mess up, but must seek forgiveness to move forward in this walk with Christ.  I want to stay balanced and in those scotches to the best of my ability.  I can walk the life planned for me in obedience and gladness because I walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  He set me free when I walk His Way.  I have both freedom and order through obedience.   

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, [there] is liberty.  2 Corinthians 3:17
LORD, may I walk in Your Way always.  Hold me near to You, please my Abba Father.  Amen.

Photo: Brynne Shaw, The Plain Dealer @ http://www.cleveland.com/remembers/index.ssf/2011/11/playing_movie_stars_on_the_fro.html

Diagram of Hopscotch courts:  from http://leesvoice.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-do-you-hop.html

Hopscotch Rules:  Andrea Tompkins @ http://www.quietfish.com/notebook/?p=1147