Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tears and "snot!"

Tears and snot?  That sounds so crude, but real.  My youngest daughter has been through her share of trials; she is really the one who has coined this expression.  When she is deeply troubled about something and comes over to share it with me, I hold her as she cries.  Then we laugh together as we dry our tears and see the remaining evidence of tears and mucous on my shoulder with her burden seeming much lighter.

As I was reading this story in Genesis this morning, it amazed me how many times it mentioned Joseph weeping.  It doesn't say he wept when he was made fun of by his family for sharing his dreams.  It doesn't say he cried when his brothers were jealous of his father's attention or of the new coat his father gave him.  It doesn't say he cried when they threw him in the pit or when they sold him into slavery.

While working as an RN, I had a social worker friend who taught me about the value and the unpredicatability of tears.  She said that even when we are hurting and don't cry outwardly, it's as if we have this bucket inside of us that collects teardrops.  When the bucket will overflow is unpredictable.   One small act or kindling of a memory can tip that bucket over, and the tears begin a flood!

It was the reuniting with his younger brother that documents the first "tipping of the bucket" for Joseph.  Genesis 43:30 says, "Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep.  He went into his private room and wept there."

Before revealing his identity to the brothers who had treated him so wrongly, the Bible says that Joseph wept so loudly that the Egyptians and Pharaoh's household heard about it  (Genesis 45:2).  Then what stands out to me is that communication with his brothers was restored after he wept over them (Genesis 45:14-15).  I imagine a few kleenex tissues could have been used here! 

Tears were shed again when Joseph's father was brought to Egypt.  The Bible says that "...he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time."  Mmmmm.  Weepy eyes and red noses.  That must have been a picture to behold.  Father reunited with his son after thinking for so long that he was dead.  Son able to soak up the embrace of his father.  Their tears must have released and helped erase the many years of pain, separation and frustration for both of them.

After the death of their father, again it was Joseph's tears that brought healing.  The tears were evidence of the forgiveness he had given to his brothers; tears that caused his brothers to trust that he would do them good and not retaliate for their past mistakes  (Genesis 50:15-21).

I guess we really shouldn't be embarrassed by our tears and runny noses when God is just using them to wash away unnecessary debris in our lives and to bring healing.   I can definitely think of a time in my life when God used someone else's tears to bring healing to me...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Farmville Fans - How's my crop doing?

Some of you have great Farmville Crops!  This morning I read this verse from the Bible that made me think of you:  "The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the Word and understands it.  He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."  (Matthew 13:23)

Even in Farmville, you have to work hard to get good crops.  If that moment goes by that you haven't tended your crop, it leads to crop failure and you have to "plant" all over again.

Well, thinking about Farmville and the work it takes to keep up with made me think about my own life - made me wonder about my life and how productive it is, how "my crops" are growing and producing. 

My granddaughter just got up; she's spending the weekend with me.  I guess that's my place to plant seed today!  So, until next blog...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Okay, today is confession time for me.  I was already feeling guilty, but then this morning I read this verse and so now I'm confessing!  The verse is from Proverbs 3:27 "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow' -- when you have it with you."

Well, Sunday I was taking what I felt was a well deserved afternoon nap on the love seat.  The TV was going but it wasn't interfering with my z's.  Already in a deep state of relaxation and sleep, I was startled by someone at the front door.

"Mr. Hunter said I could have your little gas tank from your grill, but it has the wrong fitting," he said.
"Okay," I acknowledged sleepily. "Thanks for letting me know."

So, I closed the door and was hoping to enter back into that pleasant slumber from which I had been awakened.  I looked out the front window before lying back down, and my fuzzy sleepy brain got more awake when I saw he wasn't leaving.  He was just sitting there in his vehicle in my driveway, and it made me uneasy. It made me even more uneasy when I realized he had been on my back deck without me even knowing he had been there.

I called Gary on the phone and asked him if he knew what was going on. "Yes," he said, "write him a  check so he can buy some LP gas.  His family is out of heat."

So, my confession is this.  I wrote the check, but I had a bad attitude.  I didn't feel like he deserved it. He had been given opportunities to work and had turned them down or failed to show up.  But it was "in my power to act", so I did.    He may not have deserved it, but his children needed to be warm.  I don't deserve God's grace either, but He gives it to me again and again.  If God does that for me, I guess I need to do it more willingly for others - even if it's a bit inconvenient!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fear or "No Fear"

In my Bible reading early this morning the word "fear" was mentioned quite a few times.  I've always been intrigued by the name "The Fear of Isaac" as a name for God in Genesis 31:42 & 53.  I guess this name must have come about when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar.  As Isaac lay there on the altar and saw his own father raise the knife above his head and he waited for the blow of death, what terrible fears must have been racing through his head.  Then, awhhh, the moment of deliverance just in the nick of time, as God saw that Abraham was willing to do whatever He asked.

Isaac had to have been a willing participant in this test, because he was probably a strong young man and well able to out wrestle his aged father if he wanted to.  Although the words "Do not be afraid" are mentioned many times in the Bible, it doesn't appear that God spoke those words to Isaac before this event.  Isaac did have the words of his father, though, telling him that God would provide the lamb for the sacrifice.  He must have wondered, "Am I the lamb?!!" and "What kind of God would allow me to go through this?!!" as he allowed himself to be tied and put on the altar.

Well, it's time to get my grandson out of bed and make him some breakfast before he goes to school, but this has given me something to think about.  "Jehovah Jireh - God will provide" is the name that Abraham gave God that day, but the name that stuck for his son was "The Fear of Isaac."  Whatever fear I might face today, I want to remember "Jehovah Jireh - God will provide!"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leah's Sermon!

I never thought that the names I gave my children could be a sermon.   But this morning, I couldn't help but notice how every time anyone called out the names of Leah's children, they were hearing her sermon.

Do you remember who Leah was?  She was the unloved wife of Jacob. She knew rejection.  Her younger sister was the wife who was loved, the wife who was beautiful in Jacob's eyes. Leah was in a situation arranged by her father, not a destiny or marriage of her own choosing.

So, how did she preach through her children's names?  She named her first child Reuben, which meant "the LORD has seen my misery".    The second child she named Simeon, "the LORD hears".  The third child she named Levi, "attached" - whether she meant attached to the LORD, or was hoping to stir Jacob's feelings of attachment, I'm not sure.  To me it sounds like she learned to be attached to the LORD, because only He saw and heard and knew her deepest feelings.  Her fourth child she named Judah, which means "praise".  Through her sorrow and rejection, she had come to a place where she could praise the LORD.

Talk about a great four point sermon!  It was preached everytime her children's names were called out.   Reminds me of a song - sorry, I don't know who wrote it - but it says:  "The chains that seem to bind you drop powerless behind you when You praise Him."

Well, Leah - I heard your sermon loud and clear today.  Thank you for the reminder that God sees whatever is going on in my life.   He hears when I cry out to Him.   He wants me to attach myself to Him.  And when I praise Him, my problems lose their intensity and melt in His presence.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A verse, a prayer, a laugh...

When my two older children were young, I used to read them a bedtime story, a Bible story and pray with them every night. On evaluating the effectiveness of their Bible knowledge, I felt that I had done a good job of getting Bible stories into their heads, but felt I had failed at getting Bible verses implanted in their minds.

After the birth of our last child, to address this inadequacy, we invented the “A verse, a prayer, a laugh” ritual. We used this mainly in the car on our way to school activities, waiting in drop-off lines, etc. It seemed to be fun and effective, so that’s what I’m going to post on today’s blog.

   The Verse:

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry,  defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth may terrify no more.”       Psalm 10:17&18 (NIV)

   The Prayer:

Thank You, Lord, that You see all the things that weigh upon my heart.
Thank You that You hear me, and You desire to encourage me today.
Thank You that You are my Defender,
and You do not wish for me to be terrified of anything that faces me.

A few Laughs:

From real “Headlines” quoted from September 2010 Reader’s Digest:

      One more laugh from Jean Tate out of 09/09 Reader’s Digest:
“My sister and I decided to reframe a favorite photograph of our mother and father from when they were dating, some 60 years ago. After removing the picture from the frame, I turned it over, hoping to find a date. I didn’t. Instead, my mother had written, ‘128 lbs.’” ….I guess I identify with this - starting back to 1st Place 4 Health tonight.                             

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Helping God answer my prayers!???

"Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful."  Genesis 24:21

Whoa!   "Without saying a word" -  Hmmm.

And "watched her closely" to see if God had answered his prayer.  Double Hmmmmmm!

Am I guilty of saying too much, trying to help God answer my prayers?

Guess I need to shut my mouth, and just watch and see how God answers.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What was I thinking?!!!

My life was  seeming a little too busy, so a few days ago, I prayed for some snow.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  In my mind I pictured this beautiful blanket of snow which would slow down everything and just give us a break from the stresses of life. 

It snowed last night - not much, but enough to call off school.  And guess what?  It didn't slow down my life at all.  More people in the house.  More meals to fix.   More activity instead of less.   I guess I needed the reminder that dealing with stress is an internal thing.  The snow can slow down the world around me, but only I can stop the storm inside my head.

So, how can I tame the storm inside of me?   Well, an attitude adjustment is where I need to start to put things in perspective, and to remind myself that "all stuff is small stuff".  A physical therapist gave me that good advice when I was hospitalized due to stress related problems when my husband was in the Arkansas State Senate. 

Most importantly, I need to remind myself of where inner peace comes from.  I get that from reviewing, believing, and applying God's promises. Some of my favorite verses that I rely on are:
   Isaiah 26:3  "You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are on You!"
   Philippians 4:6&7  "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God's peace which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." 

It always amazes me how God restores peace to my mind when I take my mind off my perceived problems and place my thoughts on Him.  I feel better now - hope you do, too!