Run!

Quite often, I have the pleasure of holding a loveable toddler during worship songs while her dad plays on the music team on Sunday mornings. This past Sunday she was tired and doing everything in her power to stay awake, including spying her sippy cup and adamantly pointing to said cup.

A few gulps later, the water was gone. She shook the cup, gave me quite a scowl and thrust it toward me. Toddler sign language for “do something about this travesty!!”

Once outside the sanctuary doors, I placed her little, cute-shoed feet on the floor. Coming toward us was a woman I knew. I’m not sure if the little one thought she was someone else or perhaps looked like her mom but little one gasped, running full speed, arms lifted high, toward the woman. Toddler sign language for “hold me!”

The woman smiled and lifted her high giving her a hug.

Walking toward the two, my imagination took over. Imagine running toward God this way. Do I get excited and run full-speed, lifting my arms high begging to be held?

What I witnessed gave me a glimpse of perhaps what God wants from us. This toddler had her eyes fixed on the “prize” and ran with abandon until she was in the arms of someone safe.

“Come to Me, come to Me,” He gently invites with his arms wide open waiting for me.

May we run toward Him every day.

man wearing blue crew neck t shirt holding girl near mountains
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We All Get Lost

“Do you need help?” I asked a lovely, white-haired woman in a wheelchair.

“I’m lost,” and told me where she was trying to go.

I assured her I knew how to get there, asking if I could push her wheelchair to the final destination. She gladly allowed me to do the work since she was tired and, as she called it, mixed up and lost.

I replied, “It’s okay. We all get lost sometimes.”

In my attempt to comfort her, God spoke to me. We all get lost sometimes. Instead of beating myself up for not extending grace right away, or allowing my anger to cloud my view in the heat of the moment, I need to remember I’m not perfect. I’m human and sometimes I lose my way when choosing my response.

adult elder elderly enjoyment
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When I wheeled the lovely woman a few yards and I turned her toward the building she exclaimed, “There it is!” And, just like that, she was home and worry-free.

Sometimes it takes a friend who points me in the right direction when I feel lost. Often it is the Holy Spirit’s turning me around through his gentle nudges until I exclaim, “There it is!”

 

 

Masking The Sun

Sometimes a week seems longer than it should be allowed, yet, flies by so quickly a person wonders where it went. This has been that type of week.

Feelings and thoughts run from one end of the scale to the other. Tiredness becomes a frenemy.

Masks are worn and switched out daily – brave, strong, decisive -, yet when a trusted friend asks a question or hugs you without saying a word, the masks drop one-by-one turning you into a blubbering, sobbing (hot) mess.

Masks seem to suit but aren’t the truth of who I am. Who we are. Masks may work for a little while but not for the long haul.

I walked past a window tonight seeing the sun slip toward the horizon. By the time I grabbed my camera, the same picture I saw from the window was not the view I encountered as I stepped outside. It wasn’t vibrant. It wasn’t the same. Yet, I still plodded toward the corner of our property hoping the sunset would come back to a beautiful life. sunset orig

The sunset was dull, yet I snapped pictures. I edited a picture to try to add beauty to the average. To make it look impressive. I played with the curves, brightness, contrast, warmth, highlights and a few more editing miracles. Careful not to go over the top but just subtle enough to make it believable.

Flipping from the finished product to the original and back, I realized the sunset now wore a mask. I wasn’t satisfied with what it was when I took the picture. I wanted to make it something it was not. sunset edited

It is hard work wearing a mask. It is scary letting others see what is really going on in my life. Funny thing is, I don’t think I’m alone.

Are we brave enough to rip off all of the masks we wear and allow others to see us just as we are?

He Is The One

People say I look like him. Some tell me he is the one from which I inherited my humor. “Delmer? He’s sure a great guy,” others say.

To me, he is Dad.dad d and d

He is the one, to my mom’s disgust and perhaps a bit of jealousy, I wanted to hang out with in the yard. I wanted to be the one to hand him the flat-headed screwdriver. Or was it the pointy-head screwdriver? No? Those aren’t the correct names? He was the first man in my life to give up calling them the proper name and began calling them by my proper terms.

He is the one who sat still, watching T.V., while I brushed, and brushed, and brushed his hair. I may or may not have (okay fine, I did) gotten creative by adding a few of my hairclips to his thick, black-at-the-time, hair.

He is the one who taught me how a man lathers up shaving soap in a shaving mug with the brush, slathering it on his face all the while making strange faces as I watched. The one who tied his necktie on Sunday mornings while I became mesmerized by the twisting and looping until a knot magically appeared.

His is the lap on which I sat on during the church service as we played silent hand games of covering one hand over another. And let’s not forget the old classic game of trying to capture my thumb with his as we both twirled and twiddled our thumbs together. His was the suit pocket that contained toothpicks in a semi-clear plastic container which entertained me with the faint noise of packed toothpicks jiggling against the plastic. He is the one I witnessed reading the Bible and answering my questions of religion.

dad and momHe was the one who let mom be the disciplinarian, making it a shock when he raised his voice and swatted my leg. Somehow, that hurt worse than anything mom used as a form of discipline.

The one who helped family financially and through service. He is the one who took his family to visit “Ma and Pa” quite often in the white, four-door family car. And the one who allowed me to dip my cookie in his coffee at Grandpa and Grandma’s house.

He is the one who taught me to work in the chicken coops getting ready for the chicks; allowing me to roll the huge roll of paper across the wire floor so the chicks wouldn’t fall through, folding boxes to put the chicks inside until they were able to crawl over the side, how to fill the water jars, screw on the caps, hold on to said caps and quickly flip them over without spilling the whole jar. Scooping the feed and leveling it out just right while walking on the wood slats, not the wire, of the floor without spilling the feed was his goal for me, yet, didn’t yell too much when some of the feed dropped to the cement floor below.

dad smileHe is quick to laugh, and quick to smile. He is the one who gives nurses and wait staff a “hard time”. Somehow those on the receiving end become the ones smiling and giving the sass right back. He is the one who was scolded by my mom with the power of one word, “Delmer.” His body would shake with silent laughter or simply smile as he looked away after the scolding.

He is the one who was strong, at least in front of my brother and I, as the three of us came to the conclusion to let mom go when a decision had to be made after the day she lay dying in the hospital after surgery the day before. He was the one who I saw cry for perhaps the first time in my life as we looked at mom’s face for the final time before the casket was closed, squared his shoulders and walked out of the room as we followed.

He is the white-hair ninety-one-year-old still full of spunk man. He is a ninety-one-year-old with good days and bad days who told me on a particularly long stretch of illness, “Don’t get old.” To which I replied, “Why didn’t you tell me when I was twenty?”

Is this man I call dad perfect? Pfft, far from it just like every human on the planet. He is stubborn, impatient, grumpy when waiting in a doctor’s waiting room. Yet, he is kind and generous, and supportive to those near and afar.

He is my dad, the first man to love me and the first man I loved. Happy Father’s Day.

A Light in the Noise

brown beige and black owl
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“Hooo-hooo, hoo, hoo, hooo-hooo,” the peaceful hoot of a nearby owl became the first sound I heard this morning.

I smiled as I heard it’s gentle call thinking of Jesus’ words in Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And, who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am. Send me!”

As soon as the verse hit my mind, a very noisy, squawky bird voiced its opinion about the early morning hour. The peaceful hoot of the owl, overshadowed by the boisterous squawk of an unknown bird, was gone.

How many mornings have I prayed, “Lord help me to be a light in the noisy world.” And, how many times has the noise of an issue or annoyance drown out my prayer and I become part of the noise? The noise overshadowing the peace which only comes from God.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

The Rush

I took a confident step onto the bridge only to realize, quite quickly, it was a suspension bridge. Well, that was fun. I grabbed the handrail and slowed down. Suspension bridges will do that to a person — slow a person down.

As I acclimated myself to the slight bounce of the bridge, I began taking in the beauty around us. I heard the rushing water, felt the wind, watched the sun fighting its way through the trees and reflecting on the water, and breathed the scents in freely.

Yet, person after person rushed by. Some stopped a bit to see what was on the other side and continued on their fast pace. We took our time watching the watcher tumble over rocks on one side of the bouncy bridge. Then, we’d peer over the other side of the bridge to witness the water’s flow calm down as the river ended and Lake Superior began.P1040121

Didn’t they notice the small river gave it’s water to the large lake? Have they seen this so many times it isn’t a big deal to them? Bounce, bounce, bounce people walked by — determined to get to the other side.

Eventually, we continued on the trail, walking upstream toward the sound of the waterfall stopping every now and then to take in the sights. Two more people strode by, taking the steps up toward the falls two at a time. (we may or may not have been jealous of their young legs taking them up the stairs so fast)

What have I missed in my rush to the next ‘thing’, I wondered as we strolled along. Sure, we were on vacation taking our time. Maybe the people who seemed to be rushing were natives to the state park and had seen the view many times. Whatever the case, I began to wonder…

What am I rushing through so quickly that I am missing the beauty right in front of me?

Tomorrow we go back to the real world. The fast-paced reality of our jobs. The common every day stresses of life. Will I get caught up in the rush or try to slow down and enjoy the beauty around me?

What are your tips for not getting caught up in the rush? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Is It Worth It?

Hubs and I went on vacation to celebrate our anniversary. We aren’t ones who vacation every year. So while I had visions of flying to a state on the west coast, we settled on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There is a trail of waterfalls here that have been popping up in all forms of social media so we decided to see what all the hub-bub is about.

Some of the waterfalls are a short distance from the parking lot with nicely paved trails. A few are along the road where a quick pull off the road will do. Others are quite the hike making you question whether this was a good decision.

It’s during those ‘quite the hike’ walks as we passed others coming back from the falls, I found myself asking them, “Is it worth it?” To which they’d smile and always say, “Yes.”

There were even times when those passing by told us, “It’s worth it,” even before we could say a word. 20180604_104722_resized20180604_134357_resized

Those long walks to the falls came with twists and turns. Up inclines and down. And for the best views? There were steps. Lots and lots of steps. And you know when you go down you always need to come back up.

Along the way, if I really took time to enjoy the view instead of focus on the end goal, beauty abound. Sun beams breaking through trees hitting the forest floor just right. Flowers and greenery blooming bright with colors no camera could ever capture.

As we walked along the long paths, I began to compare the walk with it’s challenges to our Christian walk. Sometimes when the hard comes our way, I can get overwhelmed and discouraged. I begin to wonder when the hard will end…will it ever end.20180604_103944_resized

When Hubs and I finally heard the falls, we knew the beauty was just around the corner. Each outlook gave us a better and more beautiful view. We stared at the water falling fierce yet beautiful with water rushing down stream until at some point the water is free to relax and flow gently.

At times I feel like I’m the one falling over the waterfall crashing into the rocks below. I try so hard to be a person in which people could possibly see a glimpse of Christ. But, in my imperfectness I fail. A lot. So, I fall and crash hard and feel terrible about it while I get bruised hitting the hard rock floor. Eventually, I get to a point of rest as I can finally let go of beating myself up over the situation.

The rest is so grand I wonder why it took me so long to finally rest in Him — letting go of me and opening myself up to Him and His joy and peace.

Following Christ IS worth it. The path may be long with twists and turns, ups and downs, but there IS beauty when walking with Him and resting in Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30