I was given an invitation by a good friend on Sunday morning.

I half did it.

He asked me if I had the courage to look into the mirror and prayerfully ask God if I was who He wanted me to be.  To interview myself with the question–Are you honest?  Are you honest in what you have promised you would be?

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While I was brushing my teeth I glanced at my terrifying reflection.  Those eyes.  Those eyes that know every part of me.  I mumbled the questions under my breath and quickly changed the subject in my mind.

Perhaps you are perceiving this as an admission of guilt.  Although I fall short of the glory of God, there are no skeletons in my closet that I am willingly hiding away.  Imperfections?  Plenty.  But willful rebellion?  I hope not.  Or rather, I hope to not find out.

I believe this question is one the Lord is willing to answer.  I have read it before–  “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.”  I do not believe He would be bashful with kind correction.  He likes me too much.  But am I ready to hear it?  Am I ready to face what I probably already know I need to change.  Or should I just avoid the mirror?

After Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit they too discovered their nakedness.  Fully exposed.  God would know everything–so they sewed fig leaves and hid.  What false assumption about the nature of God would lead them to such a solution?  How did they imagine their next conversation with Him would end?

When the Father returned to the garden, He spoke aloud among the trees, “Adam, where are you?”  Such an interesting moment, isn’t it?  The Creator comes from a yonder throne in the vast universe and asks a question to a son who thinks he is well camouflaged–a question He already knows the answer to.

Why was he hiding?  What long would these costumes last?

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Adam had a choice.  He could either remain in shame in the dark shadows of the brush, or he could come forward and face The Light.

And why wouldn’t he?

In awesome tenderness, the Lord brings Adam in front of a mirror to discover his reality.

While standing there, “the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”

Adam had a choice.  He could either remain in shame or be covered and clothed by garments of grace.

Isn’t it compelling to consider what animal had to be sacrificed so that Adam and Eve could have their nakedness covered?  So that Adam and Eve could stand with confidence before their Maker.

Daughter, son, where are you? Why are you hiding?

Jesus does not condemn, he covers.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Daily Invitation–

Time to face the mirror–unashamed.  Stop hiding from the Lord.  Quit running.  Let Him heal you.  Let Him cover you.  Let Him make you strong.  You have nothing to fear.

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Image of fig leaves found: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/fig-leaves-marion-mccristall.html
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This is Grace.

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If you could spend an afternoon with her you would love her.  Instantly.  You just can’t help it.  She would make you laugh.

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Your soul would feel happy.

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That is her gift.

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She is in tenth grade.  She loves to read.  Play lacrosse.  Eat ice cream.

Yesterday she made an announcement.  “For my birthday I am going to become a cellist.”   She was serious.  Her birthday is in three weeks.

We all died laughing.

We tried to explain to her that you don’t become a cellist overnight.  On your birthday.  It takes a lot of practice.  “That’s ok,” she told us, “I am prepared to practice.”

“You might be too old.”  Her uncle suggested diplomatically.

She scoffed in disgust.  “You are never to old to become a cellist.”

“When will you practice?”  We asked her.  “It’s going to take a lot of time.”

“Oh, I’ve thought about this already…” she replied, “I am going to get a release time period, fourth period, for practicing my instrument.”

“That’s for accomplished musicians,” we tried to explain to her.

“I am going to be accomplished.”

“Wait,” we said, “you are going to be playing Mary Had a Little Lamb.  The other people are playing Mozart.”

“I’m not worried about that,” she replied confidently.  “You have to start somewhere.”

We pictured her in a practice room next to all of the other release time proteges.  Sounds of Mozart and Bach filling the hallway.  And then, from her tiny practice room, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

The thought brought about a fresh round of robust laughter.  She could not be dissuaded.

“Mom,” she said, “This is for real.  I am now a cellist.”

Oh, boy.  I am not kidding you, we laughed so hard.

But last night, in the dark of my room I pulled up the local classifieds.  I searched Cello rentals.

Just in case.

Because her birthday really is in three weeks.

And what if she is meant to be a cellist?

I couldn’t help but wonder why we don’t all have that kind of enthusiasm for learning new things.  For discovering the gifts God has in mind for us.  Think about it…maybe He has something in store for you that you haven’t even considered.

I wonder…what could it be?

One of my favorite scriptures of all time is found in the first chapter of Philippians.  It is counsel from Paul, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it…”  (Philippians 1:3 & 6)

A daily invitation

Take some time today to consider the good work the Lord has in store for you.  Spend some time pondering.  Consider you gifts.  Your passions.  The place where you are.  What could He help you to become?

And remember Grace.  It is never too late.  You have to start somewhere.

daily closer to christ

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That old blue ford truck pulled out around 3:30 this afternoon.

It was packed full of clothes and buckets filled up completely with just what you’d need if you were a sophomore in college.

We’ve had that truck for 15 years.

I vaguely remember him sitting on the passenger side buckled into a booster seat.

Now he’s packed it full of all of his stuff, plus what his brother forgot, and he’s sitting there at the wheel.  Still stubborn about the soft flannel Christmas pillowcases he has to sleep with and the feel of the blanket that will cover the mattress of his college dorm twin bed.  “It doesn’t match,” I explain to him for the upteenth time.  “I don’t care if it matches, Mom, I just care how it feels.”

Before he left we took down the bunk beds and rearranged the furniture …we put the house back to the way things used to be.  I still think it’s crazy how we went from 6 kids down to 1 in 6 weeks.  Four in college.  One in Indiana.  Just Grace now at home.  Somehow life got quiet.

You know, it’s funny how you don’t take first day of school photos when your kids go off to college.

I have nothing to document the change that has taken place over the last few weeks.

No darling outfits, kids smiling next to the brick sign that stands in front of the school, no new backpacks or unscuffed shoes, no waiting for the bus, or packing lunches into brown paper sacks.  Just the taillights of that old blue truck as it paused for just a second before turning left there at the corner and heading off to school.

I can’t help but wonder what this new season will hold…both for him, and for me.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to embrace… a time to keep…a time to love…a time of peace…”  (Eccl 3:1-8)

And this past season?  I told someone yesterday that I think this has been one of my favorite summers of my whole life.

This gathering together.

The late nights, snacks at all hours of the day, settling into the couches to talk.  Card games, and coconut rice krispies, and walking to Lucky’s for a snowcone.  Could you make us crepes, make us tacoes, make us some bananas foster?  Midnight came too soon and the responsibility of morning shortly after.  Yes, we soaked up every single minute.  Every. Single. Minute.

Oh, the memories.

In this new season those fresh memories take the place of first day of school photos.  They are memories I will hang on the walls of my mind for the quiet moments.  So I can look back at them.

I watched that blue truck pull out today, saw him pause there at the corner almost as if he was getting his bearings, and then he was off.  And me?  I turned and walked inside surrounded by the memories…

A Daily Invitation

“Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes. Take counsel of your strength, not your weakness. Think of the good… you have done. Think of the times when you …carried out… a dream or a desire for which you had deeply longed. Hang these pictures on the walls of your mind and look at them as you travel the roadway of life.”

–Whister

daily closer to christ

 

 

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Does your soul ever feel restless?

Do you ver feel a pull that wants to take you away from the ordinary and the mundane places?

And you would go in an instant, but it’s hard to take the first step when you have no idea what direction exactly your soul wants to travel in.

Don’t worry…I’m not talking about packing up and moving on.  I’m talking about growing.  About becoming.  About discovering.  About stretching.

But sometimes the thought of that is just as overwhelming as putting your whole house into brown boxes and relocating all of it to a new address.

Because relocating your heart…redirecting your soul…

that’s hard.

I just read a book written by a dear friend of mine, Jennie Allen.

It’s called Restless.

It has been a catalyst for my soul.  The book invites you to analyze your places, and your suffering, and your passions, and the people that make up your life and write them all out so you can see them.  Jennie says that the combination of those themes can help us determine where our steps should lead.

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This week I have been absorbed in the section on people.  That’s because Jennie asked two questions that have taken up a fair share of my pondering hours…

Who do you need?

Who needs you?

You are supposed to pick five people for each list…and right off the bat it was easy for me to fill in those lines.  But then I started pondering, and I quickly realized something that wasn’t readily apparent in the beginning…

The people I love the very most fit under both categories…they need me, and I couldn’t live without them.

It reminded me of a conversation I had a few months ago on a road trip I had taken with those I love the most.  We had been driving for quite a while, long enough to have settled into the steady rhythm of the car.  It was Ian’s job to keep me awake at the wheel.  He is good for conversation…a deep thinker.  Wise.

We were talking about how he showed up at my door one October night asking for the Coach.  Tears streaming down his face.  His soul crying out for change, his heart desperate to know more of the Lord.  He started attending church with us.  Then he came over for dinner and homework help.  Within a few months he had moved in.

And Garett.  You remember Garett.  The boy Greg picked up off the curb and brought home one afternoon in August.

Ian asked if our life would have been different if they hadn’t both moved in.

Ya.

It would have been different.

Do you know the moment when your mind reviews the past in an instant?  Flashbacks of meeting with teachers, sitting with principals, cheering at football games, talking about the Bible, defining boundaries, patching up heartaches, and watching the transition that happens when Jesus takes a boy’s heart and molds him into a man.  I remembered a letter Garett had given me on Mother’s Day several years before…”I love you so much I am so gratfull to have you in my lif.  I wouldn’t no what to do without or I don’t no where I would be…”

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It was in that moment that Ian interrupted my flashback…”you know,” he said, “me and Garett always thought you were for us, but have you ever wondered if maybe we were for you?”

I am different because of them.  My heart has grown and stretched.  There are things I have discovered that I never would have known.  Their stories have molded me into the person I have become.

Because they needed me.  Because I needed them.

I am reminded of one of my favorite verses in Eccles 4:9-10 “Two are better than one…for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”

Oh, how we need each other.

A Daily Invitation

Today who do you need?

Today who needs you?

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I think I should pray a little harder for the mothers of the world.

One of them called me today and told me some of the struggles inside her walls.  My heart ached for her.

I make it a practice to not know what is amiss in another’s life, but it is surprisingly refreshing sometimes to hear that bliss is not as common as it seems.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t subscribe to pessimism, and I believe a person can carry a burden and wear a smile at the same time, and I find myself in the black on most days, but I generally assume everything is peachy in every one of my neighbors’ lives.  It is generally not very socially acceptable to fly your problems from your front porch, but perhaps living in a glass house neighborhood would be healthy in some ways.

The mother’s daughter suffers from a very common illness.  I am not sure how the books would label the problem, but you are familiar with the symptoms.

Her older brother is the favorite.  Practically perfect in every way.  He has a winning personality, is as good as gold, and has never done wrong.  Everyone likes him.  No one hates him.  Good grades.  Good looks.  A trophy child.  Oh, and did I mention the rainbow that surrounds him as he walks?

And the worst part–she will never measure up.  So why try?  Might as well live at the bottom of the barrel.

The question of the day is: What does she not know about herself that causes her to feel the way she does?

Perhaps the apostle Paul met such a girl in Rome.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38)

Can’t you read her thoughts as her sandals click on the cobblestone.  Her list of her faults trickling down her face.  Never as good as the girl with the red door.  Too short.  Too clumsy.  Too many mistakes.  And she assumes that because the boy in the clay pot shop doesn’t look up that day that no one ever will.

What does she not know about herself that causes her to feel the way she does?

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39).

Nothing in all creation.  Even those ones created in our minds.

Daily Invitation:

It is encouraged and part of our nature to strive for excellence.

It is also in our nature to seek love–and hopefully the love of God first.

Strive for excellence and seek for love.  But uncouple the two.  They are not related.

Stop trying to earn His love.

You are already in.

 

 

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