These Good Ol' Days of Freedom

Oh, how the years go by!

I can hear Little One lecturing as I read from the "good ol' days":

"I'm listening to my 3 year old list all the rules... 
  • 'we're not going to bite,
  • or lick anything, 
  • or spill our food on our clothes, 
  • tell a lie, 
  • or get in mom's room, 
  • or touch the computer, 
  • or open the refrigerator, 
  • & we're not going in the road, 
  • & we write only on paper, 
  • not on walls, 
  • not on the floor, 
  • not on furniture,..."
So many rules.  She might deliberately disobey, but she was listening.

" -- the list just ended (I am trying not to laugh since she's standing right here) she said, 

'no, we don't do that, 
we have to be nice. 
we'll just sit real still and listen to the Bible' 
-- well, she's been indoctrinated, I guess.

And as if those weren't burden enough,
she made up her own "commandments" to add to the list.

I think my favorite was 
  • 'we only throw up in the toilet or in a bowl, 
  • not on our clothes, 
  • or on our bed, 
  • or on our shoes, 
  • or on our books, 
  • or on our toys...' 
  • 'we don't touch that, 
  • & we don't touch this,
  • & we don't touch these' 
(touching each item as she lists it)

... 20 minutes of rules"

I had no idea she could think of so many!

Precious little Pharisee, 
she obviously knew the rules
but couldn't keep them.

Today, she doesn't bite
or put things in her mouth
or write on walls. 

Choosing to stay near the house, away from the road and pond, she is allowed go outside without a big brother posted guard.

No longer smuggling crayons or scissors to create scribble-murals on her bedroom walls or trim several inches off one of her pig-tails, she has discovered the joys of art within the boundaries and can help herself to crayons, markers, scissors, construction paper, water colors, and all the supplies in the cupboard.

Aaaah, "The Law of Freedom". I have a new appreciation as I read through the book of James again.

I'm living in the "good ol' days". These are the days of grace and freedom. 

It is so much easier to keep the law when I'm not a slave to selfishness and when I am governed by the Spirit of God rather than a list of rules.

Enjoying freedom in Christ, the law is pretty simple:

Love God.  Love Others.
"All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  Matthew 22:40

As eldest enters the teen years, the rules of the house are changing, but the principles of freedom are the same. 

-- Oh, precious years with my children still in the home! --

Lord, help me to teach and disciple them to know the Law, yet to live in freedom.

 "...if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law."  Galatians 5:18
 "...through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."  Romans 8:2

"LOVE to hear from YOU"

Like the son who finds a tape recording of his long-deceased father,
Or the mother who receives the surprise phone call from her son at war,
Like the daddy who hears his son say, "Da" for the first time,

Someone longs to hear the sweet sound of YOUR voice!

"You're so good at this."

"You really have a gift."

"You say just the right words."

"I wish I could say it 'as good as you'."

"Those are the very things I would have wanted to say if I could put my thoughts into words."

 "I wish I could pray like you."

I hear the compliments.  So sincere.
I am encouraged, but I am a little sad.

Dear One, don't you know that I am nothing special.  I have struggled with words all my life.

I was never a particularly confident reader, and I was a horrible speller (still am).  I was extremely shy as a child and practically mute in public.

I would talk myself into a mile-wide circle trying desperately to express "what I meant to say", only to have my older sister sum it all up in one sentence. -- She could win any argument because her words made sense.  -- I just had a lot of feelings sputtering out with a deep conviction that something was not right with her premise. -- Even as I remember my frustration with words, I sense the sloppy-babbling of this paragraph.

Yes, I'm an avid reader now.  Yes, I love to write.  Yes, I am passionate about words.  But, God does not hear me or tune out because I am eloquent or ramble on.  He's not impressed with verbiage, however flowery or concise.  God loves to hear me pray because I am his child.  I tell Him what is on my heart.  That's it.  That's all.  That's my "secret".

He is my Father.
I am a mother.
And, like Him...
I would rather read the love note on my pillow from my daughter than Shakespeare's 116th sonnet.

I would rather hear my son pour out his heart when he is upset or afraid than listen to the next president deliver his inaugural address, be it crafted by the most gifted speech writer.


Because they are my children.  I love them, and nothing blesses my heart more than when they share their hearts, their thoughts with me.

If my prayers "sound good", it is not because I'm trying to impress.  They may just "sound" natural.

Sometimes I do pray for hours when I can hide away from my family and be alone with the Lord that long, but usually, I just have a running conversation with Him.  It begins with "Good morning!" and ends with my last conscious thought.  It is not awkward to start praying; because I've never really stopped.  I just occasionally open my mouth so that other people can listen in on the conversation.  

He whispers to me, impresses things on my heart while I pray, and when I stop talking, quiet myself and listen, I hear His voice the clearest.  It all comes down to conversation.  Listening and speaking.

Prayer is talking to God... and sometimes you don't even have to use words.

That kind of intimacy with God, I can't explain.  Some of the sweetest times of prayer, I've just cried my heart to Him, knowing He'd understand.

The sweetest prayers to God are the ones that pour out from the sincere hearts of His children.

the prayers of the youngest child...  (loved hearing this bed-time prayer:) "Dear God, it's nice to know you like me as much as I like you. ... Thanks for staying awake all night and watching over us.  It must be nice to not have to go to bed."  

or the prayers of the new believer praying for the first time... "God,... boy, it's weird to know You hear me. I hardly know what to say since You're really God and all, but here goes..."

Right now.

Your Heavenly Father wants to hear your heart.

He just wants to hear 
from YOU.

"Lord, please let every person who reads this post experience this awesome thing that You and I have.  May they have a relationship with You that is unique and DEEP and intimate!"

At the End of a Hard Day

Ever had a day when nothing seemed to go right?
...nothing was easy,
and little can be shown for all the effort?

Ever had two or three of those days in a row?

When I come to the end of a day (or week) like that,
despite how I feel,
I can tuck my children into bed,
turn out the lights,
lay my head on my  pillow,
and "count it" a good day.

Today may have felt like a horrible day;
still, this day "counted".

Though I feel I accomplished little.
It was not wasted.
I learned something.

Regardless of how I feel,
if what I am doing is "as unto the Lord",
my efforts to persevere in doing good
are not in vain. 

I am glad to see this day end, but I have another reason to be joyful.
God told me to...
"Count it all joy 
when you fall into various trials;  
knowing this, 
that the trying of your faith 
works patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, 
that you may be perfect and entire, 
lacking in nothing."  
James 1:2-4

Character is proven under the trial and pressures of the daily grind,
And, even when I blow it,
I have a reason to rejoice:
I will have another chance to try again tomorrow.

"If you look in the mirror
At the end of a hard day

And you know in your heart you have not lied
If you gave love freely
If you earned an honest wage
And if you've got Jesus by your side
You can thank the father
For the things He has done
And thank him for the things He's yet to do
And if you find a love that's tender
If you find someone who's true
Thank the Lord
He's been doubly good to you."  - Rich Mullins

 "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. 
Let nothing move you. 
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, 
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 
1 Cor. 15:58

"Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest 
if we do not give up."  
Gal. 6:9

Thank you, God, for familiar promises and continual reminders that put days like these in perspective.

The Wonder of Flight

It is raining.

I look out the window at the start of the day...
so dark,
do gloomy.

Until I look at the world from a higher view.
From here, I can see the sunrise.
The dark world is filled with light.

But, you know what they say,
"Red sky in the morning...
sailors take warning."

What does a day hold?
I have such a limited view from where I sit.

So much more is going on than I am aware.

So many people,

I can no more control "my world" than I can control the weather.

But, I know the ultimate Traffic Controller...

He even has control over the weather.

At this altitude I can't help but be reminded, "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus."  Eph. 2:6  I am in Christ, and Christ is at the right hand of the Father.  All is brilliance and light in His presence, and He is always with me. 

It is bright and sunny today.

A change of perspective.
The world looks so different from here...
so brilliantly bright,
so cheery.

In a few hours, I will return to a cloudy world, where so many do not know the reality of the Light that is veiled from their view.

Yet, I have this hope.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."  Isaiah 9:2

So, I will not live as those who have no hope; nor will I keep it to myself.

From Psalm 104:
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent...
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind

Lord, I remember You are in control of the weather,
and You are sovereign over all the details of my life.
The perspective You show me when I am in You presence
assures me that everything will be alright.

Yes, today is going to be a beautiful day!

Be Still

...for just a moment.

Be still.

Be silent.

Do you hear it?

Do you see it?

Can you feel it?

Look higher.  Think bigger.

Lay back and look at the details of your life,
your wonderful, beautiful life.

 What makes life beautiful?

It's not creating "perfection";
it's appreciating the perfection that has been created for you...

a whole world of beautiful,
waiting for you to notice.

Look closer...

Those aren't weeds; they're miracles...
tiny prayers, just for fun wishes, packaged in seeds;
potential, waiting for the right wind to blow them to fertile soil.

But, you'll never see these natural wonders in a man-made "perfect lawn".

Burden or blessing?  It's all perspective.  I love my field of yellow poke-a-dots that overnight turns into a pasture of daydreams and wishes.

Life is all around us:

...and we'll will miss it,
if we are distant,
too busy,
with things.

Don't miss it!   Step away from the stuff.
It blocks the view and will blind us from what really matters.

Your eyes are better than the zoom lens on my point and shoot camera.
They instantly focus on whatever you decide to look at...

What are you looking at?
What are you focusing on?

Happiness is simple.

a child-like heart,
a care-free mind,

bare foot,
old jeans,
rolling down hill
through a field of dandelions...

Thankfulness is free,
and all we have to do is slow down long enough to appreciate the little things.

HOLD ON!!! Here we goooooo!

"Sit back and enjoy the ride."

"You're locked in tight.
You can't fall out.
You're safe.

If you allow yourself to be gripped with fear
rather than excitement,
you'll miss out on the fun.

Anticipate the thrill as you climb to new heights.
Feel the rush as the wind blows past.

The path is tracked out.
Others have gone before you and have lived to tell the tale.

"Relax, enjoy the ride!"

I need to take my own advice today, and I tell myself,

"There's an adventure to be had;
it'd be ashamed to go through life with your eyes close,
teeth gritted, fists clenched tight."

Every dip, every bend on the roller coaster of life is a surprise cause you only get one ride.

I hear the clikety-clickety-click of the approaching hill, am forced back in my seat as I face the sky, wondering what is over the top...

a 205 ft plummet to the earth?

or a series of vertical loops
with a dizzying chain of horizontal circular curves?

Why be all up-tight?
This is the best view of the park!

Pr. 31:25 "she can laugh at the days to come"

Why not laugh?  Especially when you know everything turns out all right in the end.

"All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose."  Rm. 8:28

I can almost feel the breaks catching, the quick jerk forward as the car instantly stops in place, and the gentle move forward as the train pulls under the covered roof of the station.  All smiles, deep breathes exhaled, "we made it"

And all of us who are strapped in "in Christ" are certain to arrive safely at our destination... heaven.

Will our first moments in there be that way?
An exchange of comments,
"Boy, that went fast." 
"Oh, that was fun!"
"That wasn't so bad."

Lord, don't allow me to make myself miserable as I go through this life.  I don't want to be the one to say, "I kept my eyes closed tight the whole time." and "I hated every minute of it."   Let me be one who has fun and trusts you all the way.  You've planned the course of my life.  Your hand is on me.  You won't let me fall.

 I trust You, Lord.  I praise You for Your sovereignty, Your goodness, Your love, Your knowledge of me and the future; this is my worship today. With my hands up in the air, I'm enjoying this minute, and I can't wait to see what you have for me around the bend. 


... is a miracle

to change into another form,
to transform,
to transfigure

Metamorfoo (Strong's #3339)

I'm sensing a lingering theme popping up again and again in this blog... CHANGE.

I'm seeking change, but yet I fight it.   

When a caterpillar is full grown, it is time for a change... a major change, and it its good. 
It is obvious.  It is simple.
In order to change, things can not stay the same.


From a distance, I have no objection.  I logically agree.
Until the change means letting go of something dear, precious, treasured...

a friendship,
a child,
a parent,
a church,

a hobby,
an activity,
a sport

even a loved but tired stuffed animal,
or T-shirt 

What is more precious than one's own life? 
Did you know that a caterpillar has to die in order to live?  His old body dies as he digests himself and transforms into something new.

We are forced to move forward; God takes us somewhere new... for a purpose.

As I watch my parents age, back stiffening, bones more fail, I see change.
We grow old, and some past-times are no longer an option... 
(Though in our minds we can still vividly remember how it feels to run the bases, throw the pass, hit the high note, sew the stitch.  But our bodies don't comply.)

I am not "so very" old. -- Just yesterday I was told several times how young I am (how young I look might have been more accurate, but I just said, "thank you" and did not reveal my age). -- But, my children are getting older; so there is no denying, time is passing.  Their increasing height is a constant reminder.

Every season brings changes, and change is beautiful in its time

And it is time.

So I choose... 
to look for the beauty. transformed
by the renewing of your mind...
- Romans 12:2

Something wonderful is at stake, the perfect will of God.

I don't want to fight it;
I want to run out to greet it,
embrace it, and
dance with wonder and delight.

I am becoming.