Month: April 2016

Precious Things

Blog_FlowersinHand

Nothing this side of heaven is permanent. It’s in vain that we cling to that which is destined to fade away. What’s most precious to us gains far greater value when given away.

Source: Hold on Loosely

Photo Credit: Flower and open hands | Flickr – Photo Sharing! by einstraus

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Hold on Loosely

Blog_HandsLettingGoI keep thinking about that lost little boy I crossed paths with last week. My heart feels heavy to think he was lost to begin with, but also grateful God orchestrated everything so perfectly for him to be found before anything horrible could happen. And at peace, now, to know he’s safe with his family.

The most powerful memory of that day is of his mother embracing him with all her might, tears running down her cheeks in relief. The other is of my kids, following him to the door, their favorite toys in hand, insisting the little boy take them home. My son held a racecar track about as big as him in his chubby little hands and held it out to the boy, “Here! You need this at your house.”

On witnessing this gesture, my first thought was, “No, that’s your favorite toy! You can’t give it away.” But the beauty of it all quickly erased that idea. In their desire to comfort the boy, my children were offering their very best, and without hesitation. Isn’t that how giving should be?

My son was holding so loosely to his toy that it nearly broke apart in his hands. And that’s how we should hold to everything we own…loosely. Nothing this side of heaven is permanent. It’s in vain that we cling to that which is destined to fade away. What’s most precious to us gains far greater value when given away.

Children somehow grasp these truths more readily than those of us who’ve been around for a while, though we should know better. We’ve been around long enough to see just how temporary things are. So why do we hold on tightly to things that don’t last?

Maybe we’ve come to believe that these things give us significance, instead of knowing these things only become significant when we let go of them.

When my children willingly sacrificed their best toys to comfort their new friend, they created a memory more precious than anything we own. I’ll never forget the purity and innocence of their generosity. It inspires me to hold everything with an open hand, knowing it was never mine to keep.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)

Photo Credit: Hands | Flickr – Photo Sharing! Hands | by Moyan_Brenn

Our Help

Blog_HelpWe have a God who sympathizes with our every weakness and gives us power to change.

If we need help, all we have to do is ask.

Source: Where to Go When You Just Can’t Stop

A Time to Grieve

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True love grieves, knowing that life and love could be so much more than what they’ve become in human hands. True love hurts, torn by the sharp-edged pieces as we join in the struggle to mend our broken world. There’s a time for joy, yes. But there’s also a time to grieve. And I never want to forget the pain that reminds me what true love is.

Source: Love Grieves

Photo Credit: Park, Bench – Free images on Pixabay

Waiting to be Found

Blog_LostLast Sunday I went out to walk the dog and found a little boy wandering around the parking lot with no shoes on, no parents in sight. I asked him if he lived in our apartment building, and if I could help him find his parents, but he couldn’t speak clearly. It was early in the day and he looked so disoriented I decided to call 911. While he petted my dog and my kids entertained him with toys, we waited for the police to show up.

It turns out he’d been missing since 6am…almost four hours. His mother came to the door frantic, crying, overwhelmed. All I could do was hug her and let her know I understood. Losing a child for even a minute is every loving parent’s worst nightmare.

I can’t stop thinking of that morning, and how that child was wandering right where I was walking, just waiting to be found. Most days, I walk the dog much earlier, but I believe God’s sovereign hand led me to the right place at the right time for the sake of that lost child. I’m thankful that morning I asked God to open my eyes and order my steps.

Too often I rush through my agenda, too busy to notice those in need. Maybe, without God’s help, I would have hurried through the door, glanced at the little runny-nosed child, and returned to my comfortable routine, presuming his parent was nearby though unseen. But God intervened.

How many people do we encounter each day who are lost? Not in the physical sense, but in every way adrift. Spiritually, emotionally—searching. Waiting to be found.

Every day we pass them by, not looking beyond their smiles and into their eyes. They’re in pain, hurting, waiting for someone to intervene. But we’re too busy to notice.

Father God, slow us down! Open our eyes to see those who are waiting to be found. Order our steps, and let us be your hands, helping you to find them.

Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Fog, Mist, Road, Lost, Girl, Eerie – Free Image …

The Safest Place

Blog_LighthouseInStormWhen my husband and I lived in the inner city, friends and relatives rarely came to visit because they were afraid of getting shot. I would think, “What are you afraid of? We’ve lived here fourteen years and only been shot at five times.” Encountering random gunfire in the city is not a daily occurrence as most would presume, though I can understand that for most people one close-encounter is one too many.

Let me say upfront that the majority of those we met while living in the inner city were average people wanting to live peaceful, productive lives. As a matter of fact, most of them were beyond average people wanting to make a difference in their communities and in the world at large. But yes, I will admit that while living in one of the most dangerous communities on the west side of Chicago, we did have our share of close encounters.

There was the time we were at our neighbor’s house, standing up to leave, when someone drove by and shot through the living room window, level with our heads. One of us should have been hit. Yet “somehow” the bullet lodged in the high corner of the wall, far above our heads. And there was the time we were driving home from a fourth of July picnic and someone shot off a random bullet, which lodged in the roof of our car just above my husband’s head. I can recount other stories with similar outcomes that were by no means merely coincidental.

What I learned through it all is this: there’s no safer place in the world than in the center of God’s will. We were in that neighborhood because God called us there to tell people of His power to free them from addiction and gang violence. So when we encountered that violence ourselves, God placed a shield of protection around us.

I once read of a missionary called to share God’s love with a cannibalistic tribe in a remote jungle of Papua New Guinea. Countless times he was nearly killed by spears, poisonous darts, arrows…but God kept him safe for as long as he needed breath to do what he was called to do.

In this crazy, violent age, the safest place to be is in God. It doesn’t ensure we will never experience physical harm, but that He will preserve us until our calling in life is complete. My prayer has always been: “Lord, preserve my life to fulfill every good work you have for me, until the day when my death will give you the greatest glory and honor.” And knowing He’s always been faithful, I walk in confidence and will not fear evil or death in these evil days.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

Photo Credit: File:Split Rock Lighthouse – November 10, 2009 (4094837910).jpg …

Love and Freedom

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True love involves self-sacrifice, not self-gratification. It’s when we lay down our lives for the love of another that we find life that is truly life, and love that is truly love. After all these years of fruitless searching, the most complete definition of love is found in ancient words: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:4-8) #50ShadesOfTrueLove