Category Archives: Relationship

An Eye for an Eyebrow

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev. 21:4) NKJ

It was clear when looking in the mirror not too long ago that it was time to do something about my eyebrows.  I am always disgruntled when this revelation greets me in my reflection because I know that inevitably, it will involve some pain. Not nearly brave enough to conquer my own necessary eyebrow maintenance, I weighed my options-some things after all are better left to professionals.

Headed to the mall that day, I remembered that I had previously noted that in one of the small retail kiosks in the midst of the mall there were vendors who offered the service of “eyebrow threading.”  Apparently this is a skillful art perfected in India, where a professional takes a single thread, twists it around your eyebrow hairs, and yanks them out from the root.  The results are supposedly more favorable to waxing because it offers a “cleaner” look with longer lasting results. As well, the sign which proclaimed “less painful than waxing” caught my eye as I passed by.

Already there, I took a moment to stop and purposefully observe the customer who had chosen to utilize this service at that very moment. I noticed that there was no flinching when the thread bearer quickly yanked, accomplishing the necessary task.  In fact, I didn’t notice any of the pained grimacing or tearing up that I was so familiar with in my own personal eyebrow maintenance routine.  Actually, I was amazed and began to become ecstatic at the thought that this peaceful eyebrow grooming experience could actually be mine! Next thing I know I was cheerfully sliding into the cool black reclining faux leather seat, leaning back, and  preparing to experience a peaceful, painless-perhaps even pleasant experience.

It only took a few moments however, for me to begin to contemplate whether the previous customer had either had sensory receptive issues or had been paid well to lure other potential customers into this seat of torture by looking so tremendously at ease during such a tumultuous experience.  The professional “threader” who initially greeted me with such a warm and welcoming smile was now looking rather irritated and frustrated with me as she inwardly grunted, shook her head “no” and had to repeatedly push my hand back down from covering my right eyebrow in an attempt to have a brief reprieve from the immense pain which she was inflicting upon me.  I experienced only a moment of relief when she held the mirror up for me to see the results of her labor..and then the tears came because I realized that I that I still had to sit and endure getting the other eyebrow done.  I was trapped, it was going to hurt-I KNEW it was going to hurt- and all I could do was sit there and suffer with the audience of anyone who happened to be shopping at the mall that day.  I was feeling helpless, vulnerable, and exposed, and all of my feelings were validated by the look I was getting from my new “friend” as she inched toward me preparing to complete the work that she had begun.

There have been many times when I have felt helpless, vulnerable and exposed as I have faced difficult circumstances and walked through hurt as a Believer.  Being part of the Body of Christ means that when we hurt, we do not hurt alone.  Personally, I have the tendency to want to run and hide.   To isolate, so that no one sees me in my weakness.   Those whom we journey with however, who encourage us during the “good” times are there as well when we struggle, when we mourn, when we our hearts are aching. And the truth is, that is exactly the way that the Father intended it to be.

I think that those who love us best during these times are the precious ones who quietly slip their hand in ours and squeeze, letting us know in their gentle and loving way that they are there- for whatever we need- when we are ready. This is the type of friend that I need when I am hurting and hope to be when someone that I love is hurting.

Abba Father, help me to effectively love those in my life who are hurting.  Help me to have wisdom and discernment to know how to encourage, minister to and stand beside those in my life whose hearts are aching.  Help me Father to be a true reflection of you as I gently and quietly listen, encourage and minister hope and truth to those with whom I run beside in this race of life.

 

 

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Filed under friendship, love, Pain, Relationship, The Body of Christ

Sister Sister

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJ)

Today I had the distinct honor of purchasing a graduation gift for my sister.  I chose it with great care and I pray that she will treasure it for years to come.  It’s difficult to know what will have great significance within the heart of one whom you really do not know well.

My sister was born when I was seventeen years old.  In a different country and by a different father her birth served primarily as a painful reminder of my own abandonment by our mother.   Not only abandoned but now replaced, I resented her existence with a passion and offered to an innocent one the anger and hurt that was the consequence of the actions of another.

I had a sister?

To say our contact was limited over the years would be a liberal assessment.  Every now and then my mother would say “do you want to talk to your sister?”, and before answering I would be greeted by a little girl voice with which I was unfamiliar.  She was smart, she was cute, she was gifted… on the rare occasions that I spoke to my mother, her conversation was focused on the beauty of her second daughter.  My own hurt, un-forgiveness and bitterness prevented me from caring.

When my mother passed away, it was my sister who called to tell me.  In immediate shock I responded to her little girl voice in the cold and distant fashion one would to a stranger in such a situation.  I purposed in my heart at that time to “leave my past behind me” and move forward.  I didn’t have any plans of ever having any contact with my mother’s “other daughter”  ever again.

Several years later as I finally faced and grieved my mother’s death and worked through forgiving her, I came face to face as well with the truth that I still had a sister.  A sister whom the enemy had been able to  keep me from for the entirety of my life as a result of my own unresolved issues with my mother.

I have a sister.

Social networking being what it is, it wasn’t difficult for me to track her down.  We connected and have spent the last year and a half on the journey together of becoming acquainted.  I have come to know her to be a beautiful young woman. She is gifted as an artist and student.  She loves black licorice and sweet tea.  She is quick witted, tender hearted and not afraid of hard work.  She has overcome great obstacles and yet has risen to the top looking forward to the next life step of college.  She already has her plane ticket to come visit this summer when we will spend an entire week together.  We are going to go to the beach because she has never been.

I am thankful that the Lord helped me to see that the anger, bitterness and resentment that ruled in my heart  had allowed me to be stolen from.  I am thankful still that my sister and I have the entirety of our lives to now experience in abundance the relationship the Lord intended for us to have from the beginning.

Is there a place that the enemy has been successful in stealing from your life?  Is the refusal to let go of something preventing you from grabbing hold of the fullness of the abundant life the Father has for you?

Father, help me to recognize and lay at your feet anything that prevents me from experiencing the abundant life that you intend for me to have.  Help me to never help the enemy steal from me again. 

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Filed under Christian Growth, Forgiveness, healing, Mother, Relationship, Testimony

Gambler’s Choice

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim. 1.7)

Having a horse loving little girl means that we have spent our fair share of time seated upon bleachers as spectators at equestrian competitions.  The riders and horses work as a team and the feats performed vary.

Among the competitive events offered is one called “Gamblers Choice.”  In Gamblers Choice there are a multitude of “obstacles” for the horse and rider to maneuver through and around.  In one particular competition we observed obstacles such as a “Tickle Me Elmo” in all of its giggling glory, a caged rooster and a path of colorful swimming pool “noodles” that had to be walked through. These items that would typically draw the close-up interest of even the smallest human child have the ability to instill pure terror in a horse.

Timid by nature, horses have a tendency to be extremely wary of anything new, different or unknown that they happen to encounter.  The “fight or flight” instinct within them is perpetually set to “flight” and when feeling afraid, their favored response is to turn tail and run. Literally.

As horse and rider attempt to overtake each obstacle before them several important elements come to light.  It’s understood that it is impossible to for a rider to force an equine to do anything that it does not want to do.  With no less than an 800 pound advantage, a horse only does ultimately what it decides it is willing to do.  When asked to maneuver around an object that it would rather have nothing to do with,  it is ultimately trust that encourages a horse to “walk on.”

With no confidence in themselves, it is confidence in the one who leads them which spurs a horse to overcome their fear of those things which seem insurmountable.  I continue to be amazed at these  majestic creatures who are obviously clueless of their own strength.  Even one mild kick of their hoof would obliterate any of the obstacles that oftentimes render them paralyzed, balking in fear.

The trust that exists between a horse and its rider is one that has been developed over long rides, long talks and sometimes long battles of the will.  A skilled equestrian is one who has worked with their four legged friend faithfully and patiently enough to assure them that they will never lead them into danger.  A horse was created to feel most comfortable when it is being led.  The one who leads must endure the process of proving themselves confident, consistent and courageous enough for both of them when courage is in question.

As a child of God I can identify with an all around fear of the unknown.  So much more comfortable to me are those things which are familiar, safe and known.  And yet, life continues to be one great big “Gambler’s Choice” event.  One unknown obstacle after another presents itself before me.  Often I balk at that which seems insurmountable, sometimes paralyzed even by fear.  And yet, consistently, it is my reliance upon the one who leads me that helps me overcome each time.  I tend to forget 1 John 4:4 which states “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Whatever obstacle is set before you Child of God, be encouraged…the one who leads you loves you more than you could ever fathom.  He is trustworthy and faithful and as you submit to His leading, you will be strengthened by the Joy which you find in Him.

Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit which leads and guides me into all truth.

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Filed under Analogies, Relationship, Trust

Being Neighborly

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-3(NKJ)

I was late! Grabbing a cup of coffee and a breakfast bar I jumped in the car, backed full speed out of the driveway and was on my way.  Inwardly I groaned when I saw my neighbor from several doors down waving at me.  It wasn’t a casual, friendly wave, but instead a more demanding beckoning kind of wave directing me to pull into his driveway.

I glanced at the dash in irritation that now I was going to be even later and obediently pulled in. Rolling down my window with a forced smile to see what he needed I began our conversation with “Good morning! I’m late so I only have a sec, how are you this morning?”

This elderly gentleman had been one of the first  of our neighbors to greet our family when we moved into the neighborhood several years ago.  Always eager to talk, each time the kids and I would take a walk  he would typically intercept us at the edge of his yard both coming and going.  The weather, gardening, our dogs….the topics of conversation varied but consistent was his desire to engage.  Two individuals on opposite ends of life we only had the “generals” in common.  Obliging when possible my heart hurt for him recognizing that as an elderly widow his social opportunities were limited.  When my younger children would later express frustration at these unintended pauses in our agenda I would try to help them understand.  They became skilled at smiling and waiting patiently while I talked to “the old man.”

Although we probably exchanged names the first time we met, we never used them again; a smile and a “hey” were all that were necessary in our informal neighborly acquaintance.  We made him cookies at Christmas.  He bought chocolate bars from my son to support Boy Scouts.  In the summer we exchanged goodies from our garden.  Over the years we spoke less and less as life became busier for us and the children’s sports teams, lessons and social engagements replaced our leisurely strolls around the neighborhood.  Our “relationship” had become one of simply waving and smiling as we drove down the road.

This made this morning’s events unusual.  “I’m sorry to keep you, I just wanted to let you know that I have cancer….I’m dying.”  I was completely unprepared and sat, staring at his humble frailty in stunned silence.  “I’m so sorry” was all I could muster.  He went on to tell me what the doctors had shared, the medical difficulties he had been having for months, and how long they said he had to live.  I hadn’t even known he was sick.

“I made my peace with the Lord, I heard Him tell me everything was gonna be okay.  My preacher told me to make peace with the other people in my life…so…I just wanted to tell you if I have ever done anything to offend you– I’m sorry.”

Conviction washed over me.  My own heart’s contradiction slapped me in the face as I contemplated the fact that I was so initially irritated by his interruption because I was going to be late….to intercessory prayer.

Having gone on to be with the Lord only a few months later, my neighborly friend left me with a gift.  He served as a tangible reminder of what I would have already said that I knew.  In the Kingdom of God relationship trumps religion every single time.

Father, help me to love my neighbor as I love myself.

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Filed under Christian Growth, friendship, intercession, love, Relationship, Testimony, The Body of Christ

I Am….I Will

I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, And that my soul knows full well.  Psalm 139:14

I am an Over comer– I have been healed, set free, redeemed, restored, and delivered from so very much.  It is a consuming passion within me- to serve Him with my life.  I love Him passionately, deeply, longingly- He satisfies me, quenches me and satiates me.  I am His Beloved-and He is mine.

I am a worshiper– there is no sweeter place for me than worshiping Him wholeheartedly.  This is where I find peace and rest for my soul.  Where I become lost in who He is-in His goodness, kindness and faithfulness.  I worship Him in Spirit and in Truth-the truth of who He is and the truth of who I really am as I lay before Him.

I am a wife–  A wife who has a husband that is God’s gift to her.  A wife who is so thankful for her husband and who has spent most of her marriage trying to become the wife that she needs to be.  A wife who is far from domestic and in so many ways falls short of that Proverbs 31 woman- and yet a wife who is constantly endeavoring to become “better” so that she can have the marriage that God intended for her to have.

I am a Mom–  A mom who loves her kids with everything in her.  A mom who tries so hard to do all the “right” mom things-and to give them what she never had.  A mom who longs and desires to honor my God and my children as I mother them.  A mom who is daily in great need of the wisdom, patience and peace of the Lord.

I am a writer– writing to touch others in a deep way with the truth of God’s Word mixed with my own personal life experiences brings joy to me. I love seeing the spiritual within the ordinary and drawing out of it truth which can be applied to life in a significant way.

I am a speaker–  Speaking from the passionate conviction within me- the uncontainable desire for others to understand the truth of who God is, who He has been for me and who He desires to be for them because He is no respecter of persons.

I am a friend–  One who is in a busy season of life and who does not have enough time to spend with all that she holds dear to her heart.  One who does her best to connect when she can yet always feels that she should be reaching out more.  One who is thankful for the friends she has been given.

I am  student– Determined to finish what I have started.  Working toward the goal of completing my Masters degree.  Staying up late and waking up early to read textbooks, write research papers and attempt to soak up as much knowledge as I can so that one day I will be able to use it to help others well.

I am a teacher– My class brings joy to my heart every single day- they make me laugh with their innocence and lack of heart agenda.    I pray that I honor the Lord as I pour into them- that it will have a lasting positive impact upon their hearts and lives.

I am a woman.  One who is often disorganized and overwhelmed.  One who tries her best and still falls short.  One who is continually amazed that God loves her despite her weaknesses.

As a woman, you too wear many different hats.  As you endeavor to wear each hat well remember to offer yourself the same mercy, grace and patience that you would offer any other woman of God.

Father, help me to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

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