Cuddle Time

A father is a girl’s best friend. He is the one she runs to in times of trouble. When she is stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, he is the one she calls for help. Dads make the best playmates too. They always have way cooler ideas than mom.  Every little girl dreams of marrying her daddy. (Livi is convinced she is going to marry Reed when she grows up.) Fathers are our protectors. We know they will always be by our side.  No matter what age you are, you are never too old to crawl up in your daddy’s lap to cry, laugh and just cuddle.

Not everyone has Mr. Wonderful for a father, though.  This world is broken, and so many fathers are broken too.  It’s hard to fathom a God who is always there for us, worthy of love and trust and praise when the only example of a father we’ve ever known has let us down time and time again.  Addy’s heart gets broken into a thousand pieces every day.  As a mom, you grieve for your child’s pain and you grieve for their loss of fullness of life.  It’s hard to imagine a father who is present, engaged and tenderly loving when you’ve never had one before. 

Stop and think for a moment about what the perfect daddy would look like.  Not necessarily the father that you had, or even the one that you wished for, but the perfect daddy filled with love, compassion, understanding, joy, grace and mercy.  Think about his smile and the love that would shine from it.  Think about the sound of his voice saying “come here my sweet, sweet child.”  Imagine his arms, wrapped around you as you lay your head on his shoulder.  Take a deep breath and feel the security and warmth that comes from his arms.  Hug him tightly and snuggle deep into his lap.  Tell him your heart, tell him your fears, tell him your insecurities.  Pour out everything while you look up into his eyes feeling the love that is being poured into you.

That is our relationship with God.  He is our good, good father.  Run to him in your times of trouble.  Run to him in your times of joy.  Run to him in your times of sorrow.  God wants nothing more than for you to crawl up in his lap and cuddle with him every day.  If you ever have trouble praying, just close your eyes and imagine cuddling with God.  Then let your heart lead as you look into your father’s eyes.

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 119:76 – May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

Psalm 9:9 – The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

2 Corinthians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.

Psalm 116:1-2 – I love the Lord, for he heard my voice, he heard my call for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

 

Chocolate Tasting

Imagine a feast of chocolate in front of you. Like copious amounts of chocolate, all different types and variations, just waiting to be sampled. You excitedly pick up the first piece, the best looking piece in the array, and close your eyes as you wait for the first flavors to hit your mouth.

That’s when the bitterness strikes. Your mouth floods with the strong bitter taste of 90% cocoa chocolate. If you’ve ever had bitter chocolate you know how impossible it is to get that flavor out of your mouth.

Life gives us bitter chocolate sometimes. Sometimes the things we are most excited about, things that seem so truly good, leave us with a bitter aftertaste. But does that make them bad experiences?

90% cocoa chocolate isn’t bad, it’s simply not for sitting down and eating straight up. It’s meant to be cooked with instead.

If you’re going through a hard time in life right now, try not to focus on how bad it feels. Instead try to think how good it could feel when used for God’s glory. How could God be glorified in what you are going through? Is there someone who needs to hear about your journey? Is there a way to bless and encourage someone with what you’ve gone through?

Look for ways to cook with your chocolate instead of eating it straight up. You’ll be surprised how sweet it tastes.

Matthew 22:37 – And he said to them “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Hebrews 10:36 – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:4-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16:4 – The Lord works out everything to its proper end – even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Forgotten People

Who are the forgotten people in your world?  Who are the people that you look past each day, the people who you don’t see?  Maybe it’s an elderly relative in the nursing home, or a coworker that you’ve never really talked to.  It could even be your next door neighbor.  We each have forgotten people in our lives.

Life is busy and life is full.  Too full.  Between home maintenance, job, kids (fur babies count!), relationships, church, God, and on and on, the list never ends.  There’s never time for Me much less anything additional.  But in the busyness, sometimes we don’t stop and look around us.  Who are the people surrounding us in our busyness that are lost, hurting, lonely, and needy?

Those people need someone who will take the time to stop and love them.  Stop and fill not only their earthly need, but also their heavenly need.  Maybe that means having your kids do an art project (checking the ‘mom box’) and delivering the artwork to the nursing home one morning.  Or maybe that means baking some cookies and delivering it to your neighbor.  It could look like you inviting your coworker to lunch.  Write down your favorite Bible verse on a scrap of paper and hand it to the homeless man with a five dollar bill.  Stay late after Bible study one night to hear the heart of a woman in your group.

There will always be hurting people in this world.  It’s not our job to fix them or solve their problems.  But it is our job to see them, to love them, and to share Christ’s love with them.  Look around you.  Look at the hurting people that you see.  Pick one, just one, and love on them today.  Then in a few days pick another and love on them.  Keep loving on people as Christ calls you for His will, for His purpose and for His glory in your life.

Hebrews 13:16 – And do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Matthew 5:42 – Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Philippians 2:4 0 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Matthew 5:4-10 says “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels

 

Can You Let God Know?

Do you ever hold back from God?  Like you’re praying one set of words while in the back of your mind thinking another?  Or maybe you don’t pray because you don’t want to have to talk to God about it?  Sometimes being afraid to tell God because you know in your gut if you tell him about it he’s going to do something about it, and that’s totally not what you want?

Recently I was writing an email on my phone.  No clue what it was about but my brain was telling my fingers to type “can you let the client know” however my fingers actually typed “can you let the God know.”  Its funny how a few small words make you stop and think.  Can I, Lindsay, let God know?  Can I honestly stop right here right now and tell God about it?  If we’re going to be honest, maybe the answer is no, sometimes I don’t feel like I can.  I’d love to say “yes, I always turn everything over to God right away” but that’s not the honest truth.  I want to be in control.  I want to know how I feel about it before I let someone else take the situation away from me.  I want to appear to be good and righteous, not broken and sinful.

Those few small words, that small little one word typo, changed my day; changed my week.  That one small action allowed God to break through in my heart and reveal an area that I needed to grow in.  An area that I needed to turn over to Him, to surrender to Him.

Today I want to challenge you, can you let God know?  Do you let him in to those scary, lonely places in your heart?  Look for Him in the small ways and in the small moments today.  Let God in, let Him take the lead.  The love and mercy that you receive will change not only you but those around you.

John 11:13-15 – Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins – even those you do in secret.  Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Psalms 51:1 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Photo by Robert Villalta from Pexels

Waving Flag

Trophy Club is a small town in Texas located between the large cities Dallas and Fort Worth.  Yes, everything really is bigger in Texas.  Women’s hair is bigger, our trucks are bigger, our football fields are massive and anything that we do, we do bigger.  And to answer the big question in your mind, no, you don’t typically see people riding their horses to school, but you can’t completely rule it out either.  My 9 year old was just telling me yesterday about a man who got a traffic ticket for riding his horse down the road because he didn’t know it was against the city ordinance.  But that is neither here nor there.

In keeping with the tradition of “bigger”, our town has a large flag pole displayed prominently at the entrance to the town.  It has a large American flag which waves proudly at all times.  It is most beautiful at night.  I truly enjoy driving home late so I can enjoy it’s beauty.  There’s a large spotlight which shines up the pole lighting the entire flag.  The brightly lit flag against the dark night sky is just awe inspiring.  It is the contrast of light against dark, along with the bold proclamation of what the flag stands for, that humbles you.

Think about your life.  What do you stand for?  What values and core attributes do you have waving in the wind for the world to see?  What bold stance are you making?  Are you being light in a dark and fallen world?  Do you shine brightly in the night sky?

I encourage you today to proudly wave your flag for Christ for all to see.  Wave your flag at the top of the flagpole and rejoice for having the freedom in which you can proclaim the love of Christ openly.  Don’t blend in with the night sky.  Be lit up with the spotlight of love, joy, hope, mercy and grace for the hurting world around you.

If more Christians would hoist their flag, turn on the spotlight and be intentional with spreading God’s love, joy, hope, mercy and grace, imagine how different our world would be.  Be that change.

John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

John 1:5 – The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 1:5-9 – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Luke 8:16-18 – No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.  For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.  Take care then how you listen, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.  

Bent Pages

Recently a chunk of pages in my bible got bent.  It was in my bag, pages side up, and stuff was put on top of it which bent a bunch of pages.  The ugly kind of bent, not the pretty “I use my bible a lot” kind of bent.  Like right down the middle of the pages big ‘ol chunk bent.  I hate ugly bent pages.  Maybe it’s just my neuroticness (is that a word?) but it makes it look less valued, less desirable, less perfect, in my mind.

I’ve tried to make the pages flat again by setting heavy books on top of it for a few days.  Didn’t work, still looks all bent up.  I thought about the clothes steamer (and the iron) but was worried the pages would disintegrate from the water and heat.  My pages will never be the same again.  The chunk in the middle will always have the appearance of folds and bends and messiness.

My life is full of bent pages too.  Bad decisions, permanent consequences.  Lots of messiness.  Failures.  I tried so long to flatten the folds in my life.  Hide them, cover them up, pretend they didn’t exist.  Overcompensate because of my guilt, my shame, my fear.  It was a failure.  I wasn’t a failure, but my cover up, “I don’t want to admit my failures” was a failure.

Today I stand before you free.  Free from the guilt of divorce.  Free from the shame of a child out of wedlock.  Free of fear of what others think of me.  God set me free.  He gave me hope in a new life.  He gave me joy in his everlasting love.  He gave me mercy in salvation through Jesus Christ his son who died on the cross for me.  He gives me grace in His daily blessings in my life.

You can have the same freedom, the same grace, hope, love, joy, mercy.  Turn the pain over to God.  Literally hand it over to him.  Fall down at his feet and surrender all.  Your pages will never be unbent but they will be made perfect in their imperfection.

2 Corinthians 3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

John 3:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Chris has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Acts 13:38-39 – Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.