Thirsty

thirsty Vincent has been in the garage for at least an hour.  He is bent over paper; paint and markers in hand at our new garage craft center.  His glasses slide down his nose so he peers over them like an old man, his hair sticking up in the back, paint smeared on his shirt and pants.  I check on him between loads of laundry and the unloading and loading of the dishwasher, between the refilling of Luisa’s straw cup.  Eventually, the back door slams.  He steps into the kitchen, creation in hand.

“Momma for you!”  He peers at me over his glasses with a big, proud smile.

I am struck speechless for a moment then exclaim, “I LOVE IT!”

I stare at the painting and the lesson hits deep in my heart.  You must grow weary with me, God.  Always having to be so obvious.  Having to send a child to bring home the point You’ve been whispering to my heart over the last few months.

In my son’s artwork I see streams running down from the cross.  Surely Vincent was not thinking of streams of Living Water as he painted his cross creation?

“Vincent, what is this a picture of?” I ask.

“Momma you know that place we go where we dress up?”

“Church?”  I reply.

“Yes.  This is church,” he states matter-of-factly.

I see the dome now and yet I ask him about the blue.

“That’s where we walk up,” he says.

He sees the blue going up, a sidewalk of sorts, and I see the blue flowing down.  I wonder if the brown paint ran out and blue was the next best thing?  Yet I know what God is trying to say to me through Vincent’s sweet creation.  Living Water.  Living Water.  Living Water.

“‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scriptures has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (John 7:37-39)

Grown people.  Tiny humans.  Relationships.  My inability to muster enough self-control and strength to live the holy life I am called to live.  These things make me thirsty.  At times, they make me weary.

Disease.  Sickness.  Current events.  They suck the life out of us, literally and figuratively.  We just might collapse under the weight of it all.

In these times we need to remember to drink of the Living Water found only in Jesus Christ.

As Jennifer Kennedy Dean reminds us on Day 14 of her book Altar’d:

You must decrease and He must increase.  Let your littleness be absorbed by His greatness.  Let your weakness be swept away by His strength.  Let your failure, your fear, your struggles, your bitterness…. let it all be flushed out by the powerful flow of His life in you.  Take your eyes off yourself.  Fix your eyes on Him.  Hide yourself in Him.

In my closet I have a place of prayer.  Pinned to the wall are prayer requests, quotes, scriptures, and one tiny painting.  An orange cross, a blue stream flowing down, a reminder to drink deeply of the Living Water offered me in Jesus Christ.

Sarah, a native Texan, now lives in Birmingham AL with her husband and four children.  A licensed speech therapist, she now manages her home full-time.  With a cup of coffee by her side, Sarah writes about mothering, disability, and God’s good purpose in the lives of His children. You can follow her blog at www.morlandt.blogspot.com

Running the Show…

cactus flowerWhen you come across people and circumstances that engage your flesh, you are at a crucifixion moment. Altar that anger, or offense, or fear, or defensiveness, or possessiveness. Right then, before flesh starts running the show. It’s there, but it’s altar’d. Flesh might show up, but it won’t take over. Altar it again and again until one day it doesn’t show up. The altar has done its crucifixion work and you are free of that particular flesh pattern.
(p. 61, Day 11, Altar’d, Jennifer Kennedy Dean)

My flesh seems the most determined to run the show in my marriage and in my mothering. I always thought of myself as a patient, loving, hold no grudge kind of person. Then I was married. Suddenly I found myself sharing a 550 square foot apartment with my new, highly organized, Type A husband. Being somewhat Type B and definitely not organized, I stubbornly refused to cooperate with systems that would make our tiny living quarters more manageable. Labels for our medicine cabinet? Well, no thank you; one large bucket with all the medications thrown in will do. Band-aids in the band-aid box? Nah, searching for translucent band-aids under a mountain of cold/flu bottles builds perseverance! Looking back now I see the flesh of self-centeredness and pride. At the time, I just wanted to win the battle.

Patience? Long-suffering? Wise and temperate words? They are hardly my go-tos in mothering. Flesh. Flesh wants to make its appearance first.

Then there are times God alters our neatly calculated plans for life, motherhood, children, or work and we find ourselves at a crossroads, an altar before us. Will we lay on the altar our expectations of how we thought our lives would be, trusting that God’s plan is eternally more significant and beautiful than anything we could imagine? During the last eight years of mothering I have altar’d my expectations time and time again. Yet it was not until my husband and I were given the privilege of stewarding a special needs child did my knees truly buckle at the altar before me. Total submission to His plan, whether or not I could see the good (Romans 8:28) was His requirement of me. This mothering of precious children, this coming alongside my husband, this caring for a beautiful but vulnerable daughter – this life journey will surely bring me to the altar day after day. May I take my eyes off what I am laying down and raise them instead to the holy God who makes no mistakes; to the God most worthy, most capable of running the show.

Heavenly Father,
You are Perfect Love, Awesome Provider, Righteous Judge
I ask today for the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Please convict me of those patterns of flesh trying to run the show in my work and in my relationships.
I ask today for the strength to submit to the circumstances You have sovereignly allowed in my life.
I open my hands and lay before you my disappointments, my broken dreams, my will.
Loving Father, fill my empty hands with You so that I might accomplish Your purposes for this day.

Amen

Sarah, a native Texan, now lives in Birmingham AL with her husband and four children. A licensed speech therapist, she now manages her home full-time. With a cup of coffee by her side Sarah writes about mothering, disability, and God’s good purpose in the lives of His children. You can follow her blog at www.morlandt.blogspot.com

Hold it all together

On Monday, I left my house to begin my full scheduled day with what felt like a thousand things running through my mind. I was praying for my grandson who had a high fever, thinking about the direction I would take with my Wednesday morning Bible study, wondering where I was at with my Alzheimer’s mother and trying to solve the puzzle of who in the world I would vote for for president.

I also had my favorite Christian radio station on but, I must admit, I was pretty unaware it until the coverage faltered a little. I clicked the down button on my steering wheel to my next favorite station and the exact same song was playing on that station as well. I clicked back and forth wondering if I had hit the wrong button.

I had not.

“Okay God,” I thought, “I am listening.” And I did.

The bombardment of thoughts and pressure were lifted gently off my shoulders as I listened to Casting Crowns deliver this living word to me from my Abba Father.

“Just Be Held”

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who wont let go

Pretending Not To See

I was teaching at Jacksonville State University in a building with a huge, two story lobby and curved staircases on either side. I had taught my first class of the day and was going downstairs to clear my head. I was within three steps of the ground when something went terribly wrong. I’m still not sure what happened. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor and in a great deal of pain. I found out later that I had broken my leg.

The interesting thing is that I was smack dab in the middle of “young adult world.” I had fallen in a crowded lobby, full of college students at a time when much of their entertainment was derived at the expense of another’s discomfort. They, generally, laughed pretty hard at things like people falling. This time, no one laughed (whew). To cover their own discomfort,  they tried not to let me know that they had seen me. They were embarrassed for me.

Today, I am thinking about a couple of things … how to share Christ with those we come in contact with and our attitude to those who do not yet know Him. As believers, we would never laugh at them or make fun of them.  Sometimes, though, we see them and don’t want them to know we know they don’t share our hope. Maybe we feel really bad for them. Maybe we are embarrassed for them. Whatever the reason, too many times, we pass them with our eyes looking anywhere but directly at them and/or their situation so they won’t feel bad.

When I fell, I was hurt and could not get up until one of my students came to my rescue. SO MANY people in our paths every day that need to be rescued, maybe not from a physical injury, but from the life that holds no hope. Those of us who have already been rescued are the ones that have the eyes to truly see those around us.

Do we really believe they are in danger of dying without Christ or do we just kind of feel bad for them?

Are we willing to be inconvenienced or ridiculed to give them the greatest gift anyone could receive?

What difference could it make if we TRULY acted on what we say we believe?

One man did. Watch this and discover how his obedience made an impression on this self-proclaimed atheist…https://www.youtube.com/embed/6md638smQd8

What about you? Are you willing to see those people that need Jesus clearly?