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Posts Tagged ‘Counting Gifts’

blackboard2cA vintage frame hangs on my office window –it frames a living canvas of purple and yellow pansies, a mighty oak with its green leaves in the summer and sticks in the winter – the occasional squirrel, a light stream of cars shuttling past. One day about 8 squirrels galloped past – I expected to see a T-Rex following after them.

It reminds me to look, to see beauty, to see His gifts, Him with me.

prom_edited-1cAt prom, dates and friends, moms and dads who helped decorate, cook and serve, held the black frame, smiling sweet and funny faces, a living canvas of young men and women about to soar, expectation in their faces – and the frame held good moments, moments filled with smiles.

A long time ago, my mama sat on my bed, coaching me through picking up my room. My 4-year-old  self was steamed. I can’t recall the mean thoughts, but I was thinking mean thoughts about my mama.

On the other side of the door frame, she said, “God knows what you’re thinking.”

I stepped through the closet door frame, into the dark back of the little closet, next to the stove Santa had brought – and mean thoughts simmered up like steam. God couldn’t know what I was thinking hidden in the dark back of a closet.

“He knows what you’re thinking in the closet, too,” she said smoothly.

The mean thoughts stopped. I just stood there in the darkness, something inside growing. I remember thinking, “WOW! He knows what I’m thinking.here. hiding.in.this.closet – WOW!”

The steam and anger evaporated. That interaction between my mother and I, through the closet-door frame that separated light from dark, from hidden to found.

I met God in the back of that closet. I’d sat in church every Sunday, probably in my mother’s arms first – yet, it wasn’t until that moment that I met God face to face.

It wasn’t until that moment that God framed me – it was my choice – to allow Him to frame me. God’s kind of framing is that way – a choice.

It’s not a restricting frame, a limiting frame – God doesn’t work in worldly perimeters.  World perimeters limit. God perimeters are liberating.

Ever since then,I have framed my life in that relationship, sometimes, imperfectly so, the living canvas of my life is framed in Him.

Constantly in motion, constantly holding me together, constantly showing He values me, loves me, to embrace me, to wrap me in the frame that is Him.

I am so glad He revealed the power if Him to me in the frame of the closet when I was a little girl.

So glad He framed me!

“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me” (Isaiah 49:16)

cornholeStill Counting Blessings

Much blessing this week – little and big blessings, little and big moments – it wasn’t a week for words, though words like “I present to you the graduating class of 2013” were important. The little blessings were eloquent

  1. Cardinals racing out in front of my car when stressful moments threatened – saying to me, “He is with you. He goes before you, behind you and beside you” – the stress would ebb – and I would smile, slow down.
  2. Friends in this community praying – really praying – for my requests – The M.O.M. Initiative and other sweet friends – you exemplify how God wants women/moms/wives to support each other – through encouragement and prayer through the tough times. Simply Beautiful and Up-lifting.
  3. I’ve made about 100 cupcakes in the last month – but when I saw 2 Kentucky Silk Pies in the freezer at my Tennessee grocery store – it was like God saying, “Take it easy. Savor the moment.  These pies equal your cupcakes” – and I did – and everyone loved them – and it was like someone did it just for me!
  4. Sweet Tea with Lemonade
  5. Grandbaby girl and my sons on the sidelines at the soccer field on the march to state for my senior’s team. My youngest was just that age when her daddy, my oldest, was playing on that soccer field his Freshman year of high school. The sun setting on this soccer field, on a Spring evening in May, during a good game with family and these moms I’ve sat with for years – it was sweet blessing! (The boys won district, region – but lost graduation night in sectionals – the game that would have put them in state).
  6. My sweet MIL coming to visit for the week, folding laundry, cheering her grandson’s team on, sitting with us on the porch – and being in the kitchen with me – I love that time, that doing together – and she so blessed me.
  7. My mom coming to my son’s graduation, spending time with my son, managing my puppy in the chaos of celebration, sitting on the porch with me in the evenings – I loved that!
  8. My husband finishing up my Mother’s Day Present/Project – when the chalkboard spray just didn’t work, Friday night he rolled the canned paint, so I could do my chalkboard art for graduation
  9. Nanny cutting out, Mom sewing 4-squares to make 8 stars and stripes corn hole bags – and me filling them up with corn – Team Blue Cotton – all for graduation celebration on Saturday
  10. Sunshine on Saturday – on the way to graduation – I spotted a few blue spots in the rain clouds. I said to my husband, “I wish those blue clouds wold take over the sky for the rest of the day (We had an 80% chance of rain forecast) – those blue skies – they did take over -right at the end of graduation – just in time for graduation pictures until the end of the soccer game.
  11. My 4th sons collar-bone healing
  12. A friend reminding me that He inhabits my praise, that He evaporates the unquiet that way – that He fixes the things that tear at our hearts
  13. Coffee made in the morning when my MIL visits – I never manage to do it when it’s just me.
  14. Sweet tea mixed with lemonade
  15. smiles – from each boy at any moment
  16. Puppy Moments that just make you smile
  17. all those bushes we transplanted last year – that looked hopeless and were reminders of “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” – are greening up and blooming riotously this year.
  18. My oldest son saying, “You gave a great graduation party, mom” – and I replied, “A graduation party is only as good as the family and friends you have.”
  • sadialvin

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sunrisebIt would take an unsearching and illiterate  heart to not find and read the messages of God in the everyday of the mountains – from the hard cover front of sunrise to the hard cover back of  moon-down.

I would know. Until last year, I was unsearching and illiterate in finding and reading the love letters of Shaddai.  Then I took Ann Voskamp’s challenge at a Holy Experience to find and read the gifts – these love letters –  a big God gives a little me daily. Too many have I missed throughout the years – because I could not read what I did not know I had.  It changed my life – its attitude, its peace-factor. The content of the love letters in these gifts left me content.

We took off for the mountains this weekend – and I pulled my night-owl self up at 5:40 on a Spring Forward morning to watch the sun rise.

For a long time, I sat with my coffee – lost in the dark expanse. A hope and faith time. I have learned, though, that He meets me when I wait for Him.

Black darkness faded, slowly, so slowly revealing iron-clouds shielding unpolished silver.

sunrisebc

In the slate of sunrise, my hope faltered – “Is this all? No riotous color carnival?”

A cardinal chattered merrily, going about it’s morning business – and I waited, committed to greeting sun-rise – and finding blessing whatever the colors. Shaddai, like a good father brings his children gifts after being away – Shaddai brings gifts – always – a cardinal chattering, an empty water pump, squirrel nests – and they all contain letters, messages from Him to me.

Mountain top edges and a before unseen, unused one-lane road below me in the forests are exposed. I peer hard to make out the road. There is a letter from Him to me in that hitherto unseen road.

The slates of run-rise lightened, the rising light revealed a fierce man swimming in cloud currents, right arm raised to pull the next stroke, left arm pulled through the clouds, stretched to the thigh – swimming his race, from sun up to moon-down – face fierce in its determination – another letter from Him to me in those clouds.

Light pink suffused upward from the mountain tops then deepening to shades of blush and purples.

sunrisebcc

Pink mists rose like Hope and Faith to greet a loving Father

Mountain tops rejoicing in flaming silver and purples.

I met Him there, in the silent, color combustion of morning waking. I waited, despite wavering surety. I hoped despite what I didn’t see. Sometimes I have to wait to find.  This once illiterate heart found His gifts and read them.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8)

After a year of counting the Father’s blessings, the love letters of encouragement He sends me, I think it’s time to teach these boys to men how to find and read the gifts, the blessings He sends us from sun-rise to moon-down.

It is attitude changing.

Relationship building between this God- Father and I. I see Him more everywhere, Him with me, me with Him.

These boys, they need that real relationship, that God-with-me/me-with-God relationship. Not just a morning-and-evening praying relationship – but one that sees Him everywhere all day long – sun rise and moon down long.

In the darkness of the challenges, those gifts, those blessings – contain messages of encouragement and revelation.

It may be one of the most important reading skills to develop.

Dear Father,

I pray that my sons’ hearts look for, find and read the messages in the gifts you have for them throughout the day. I pray their hearts grow in faith, love, trust and relationship with you – that not a gift from you is left un-found, a message unread – whether it is something as simple as a cardinal swooping ahead of them on a road, the smell of sweet grass on a soccer field, cirrus clouds in a robin’s egg blue sky or something more serious. I pray that you will open their hearts and their minds to become not only literate, not only fluent but voracious readers of your messages. I pray these messages change their attitudes to hope and faith attitudes, enabling them to find joy, contentment and peace in the midst of challenges – to give hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Waken them each morning, Father, waken them to listen like one being taught. Open their eyes and unstop their ears to the sound and sight of you. I pray they experience you walking beside them, boy-man to God, that they turn their head and smile broadly at what you two share together. Your word says, “All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace” (Isaiah 54:13) I believe that Father. I trust in that. I thank you that because Jesus died for my sins, I am your daughter and, as such, can petition you directly in regards to my sons. Because I am your daughter, you will teach my sons and great will be their peace.

(Gifts 985-990 listed in the post above)

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