Relishing in a Father’s pride….

 

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Beautiful  Maggie on the very left upper back.  The choir director’s father , who is a professional conductor, directed one of the songs –  at the end during the standing ovation he raised his hands to say “This is all Him!”  Triumph, yes!

I was thinking about this after Maggie’s last spring concert with the Carolina Youth Chorale.   Before Maggie’s choir sang, there were other choirs who performed – and one choir was made up of 30 or so nervous, unsure 5 and 6 year old children.  Of course there were forgotten lines, singing off key, even crying when a solo line was forgotten.  As  soon as their performance was over, they had to patiently wait while parents clambered down the middle aisle to take photos. Finally the moment came: “Children, please leave the risers carefully and find your parents.”  Of course all their parents were already up at the front with faces shining and arms wide opened.  I exulted once again at the wonder of a child loved for who they are, not how they performed.  I rejoiced and sang inside as I watched children who thought they had failed, run to safety where they would be told over and over how perfect they did.  Maybe because our children are older now, but I find that I long for those little arms about my neck and that assurance that my child finds safety within my arms, that then is when all is right with the world.

Well, you know what I thought of.  He does, after all, call us His little children.  

O foolish child that I am, when I fear that because I missed the right notes (not keeping the laws of that song, which when followed perfectly, produce such beauty), because I got distracted and was singing lustily verse 2 when we were on verse 3…foolish that I was so taken with shame and self-reproach that I hung my head while parents  snapped photos – and now would I be even more foolish to get off the rafters and run away from my Parent, who has arms outstretched, and instead go hide in a corner, mumuring “I can’t get it right – I am so stupid!  Why can’t I sing the ode to mothering song like the rest?  the “onward Christian soldiers” and march at the same time?”.

Foolish child!  It’s the running TO His arms that takes away the errors – even more so now you need to run, run, run to Him and have  Him tell you over and over, “you did perfect!  I am so proud of you!”

Jesus kept the law for me!  He sang every note perfectly and beautifully, never missing one single movement of breath and voice.  And that is what our Father hears!  Each moment it  really is just a matter of this:  you must choose:  depend on your singing,  or depend on His.  His arms are open.  He really does love to hear your singing the songs He gives you in each season – of course  you will get much of it wrong!  Of course you will sing off key, and at times even sing the wrong song!  Why do you think He gave  us Jesus?

pharoah with a little “p”

Exodus 8:28  “Only ye shall not go very far away.

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how we could choose to respond to pharoah …  (m. and l. in C.R. playing at home in  Costa Rica…2010? 2009?)

Pharoah thought he was sovereign.  Telling Moses exactly how far he could go, for exactly how long.

But really, Lord, he couldn’t, could he?

O, he could if one used sight and looked only at how things appeared.  For in truth it appeared as if pharoah had complete power and his people were simply puppets; the Hebrews not only pharoah’s puppets, but their strings tied to any Egyptian in sight.

So  pharoah could say “only ye shall not go very far away.”

And  it seemed he won – for the people could not cross his boundaries any more than a wave can cross its limit.

How long did the plagues  take?  For however long that was, it seemed pharoah ruled absolutely.   And not only that, in the beginning pharoah proved his power over Your people by adding More slavery to them – no straw used for bricks anymore.  When things could get worse, they…well, they got worse.  Things went south for the Hebrews pretty quickly when Moses showed up at pharoah’s court…

So – when I feel  powerless in a circumstance – like with the menieres – when it says to me, with all the power and authority of a pharoah, mocking me, completely assured that what it says is reality – when disease says to a friend, “only ye shall not go very far away” – and then it seems to prove it by giving me a vertigo spell just when I had forgotten about the disease – by giving the cancer survivor an out of remission diagnosis, by giving the aged a new ache and pain –  well, it seems like  the authority IS theirs – and we are just their pawn.

O Lord, this is big, isn’t it?  For just as You could have made pharoah into dust with a single glance – just as You could have instantly freed Your people –  You and You alone knew the right time, and Your timing is perfect.  You and You alone can say to us, “your times are in My hand.”  Pharoah could boast and even believe and be under the illusion that his word became reality – but when You decided, it became clear who and who wasn’t acting as Ruler.

Ahh,  Lord!   The tomb said, “ye shall not go away“.  All of Hebrews 11 is about this very thing, isn’t it?  For the first half, You intervened, closing lions’  mouths, opening wombs, children’s tombs…And in the second half, freedom came later – and  when the “and others” of Hebrews lost their eyes in this life, they opened them in a  whole new chapter of a whole new book that was about Laughter forever , and truly,  how little life was before.   Now  they began to live with a capital “L”, and no “little p” pharoah in sight.

Either way, it becomes  obvious that the pharoahs in our lives are  not the authors of our stories – as much as they want us to think they are.  And that really, yes really , whether it is while we are running through the seas as it closes behind onto pharoah’s armies, whether we are watching our prodigals running away from us, or whether we are tied to the stake with flames mocking at our feet, we truly can say, “I am here NOT because you, little pharoah, ordered it so, but because He says so, and no matter what you think, and no matter how it looks like you are the pharoah with a big p, you aren’t.  And although you say, “ye shall not go far away”, I shall, and will , go far away!  When He says, I shall!  I will!

O pharoah with a little p

you have no pow’r over me.

I  know you think you really do

at times I think that of you too.

But God does ALWAYS have His way

You absolutely have no say.

John 11

Lord. Thinking still about John 11.  Mary thought You weren’t there when she called to You to come.  But You weren’t far off.  Maybe You were in body but not in Spirit.  John says that you loved her…and waited two more days?  And waited?  Really,  Lord?

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Costa Rica sky above our home 2009

What did You do when she didn’t come out with Martha to meet you – You told Martha to ask her to come to You!  You asked for her!  and then You cried with her!

 

I am Mary, calling.

Lazarus dying.

I know that You will come.

 

I am Mary, hoping.

Knowing your love for me…for him…

You won’t ignore my plea

You will come and make things right.

 

I am Mary, fighting fears.

hours pass.  brother dies.

And absolutely. no word.  from you.

 

I am Mary, sick.

Remembering you  who never,

NEVER ignores cries for help?

 

I am  Mary, wondering

How could I be so wrong?

What do you really think of me?

 

I am  Mary, bereft

Of brother, of hope, of you

Why did I think you would come?

O, why did you not?

 

I am Mary, confused

Guarded in my trust in You

Even when you come

I stay back.

determined not to risk.

 

I am Mary,  staying back

When  Martha runs to meet you

No more will I throw myself at you.

 

I am Mary, crying.

No longer able to distance self

Why? Why? Why didn’t You answer?

 

I am Mary, wondering

As You join me in my tears

Grief flowing freely.

 

I am Mary, watching.

Sorrow and Strength combine

“Lazarus, come forth!”

 

I am Mary, pondering.

Who You really are

You, who walk by no man’s times

Loving me yet giving me no answers.

 

I am Mary, perplexed.

You speak with such sorrowful words

I wash Your feet.

 

I am Mary, dying.

They put you in the grave.

Pain, unbearable.

 

I am Mary, going.

to my only Home

Laying in the tomb.

It’s too much, Lord.

Too up and down.

No, it’s not too much.

 

I am Mary, hearing.

Grief tearing, of course I  would think You were the Gardener.

You are.

O how you speak my name.

 

I am Mary, clinging.

I will never let You go.

You leave me – again?

Again loving  me – yet denying me?

 

I am Mary, hoping

Knowing  Your love for me

You will not ignore  my plea.

You will come back and make things right.

 

I am Mary, learning.

how to wait.

It can be just this easy…

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Lydia holding baby bunny – we had many many of these and what joy – two or three years ago? Costa Rica.

Really, I think it could – I can’t IMAGINE it being that way, but I think it really could – but it would have to become a habit, which I hear takes about 70 days to make a new habit –  am I willing?  Will I even make the time to just simply READ this each day?  How hard can it be?  O, Lord, keep this in sight, keep this in sight!  Let me see and taste and long for this kind of freedom to live!

Debbie, Your job is just this.  just this.

“Order my footsteps by Thy Word

And make my heart sincere; (I like secure as well)

Let sin have no dominion, Lord,

But keep my conscience clear”

Spurgeon

Debbie.  listen to Me.  YOUR part is to:

1.  To LISTEN, ABSORB, PAY ATTENTION TO MY WORD (NOT NOT NOT your FEARS!!!)

2.  TRUST ME to order ALL your footsteps (and the footsteps of those you love – (Do you really want to be the boss?)

3.  “In Repentance and Rest you shall be saved, in  QUIETNESS and TRUST is your strength.” (Isaiah).  Believe it.

And look how this fits : Hebrews: “Hold fast your confidence (AMP. “your original Repentance and Trust in Jesus Christ”)

He did it ALL

He DOES it all

He MUST do it all

4.  If, after these things: continually in prayer, trusting in  HIM and HIM ALONE and NOT in your puny self, your conscience is clear in a matter, go ahead and say and do what you think is right.  Quit serving fear!.. Good grief, let go!  This is absolutely ridiculous! (But now don’t make this a law – you can’t even keep this – that’s o.k., He keeps it and that’s what matters…)

Cumbered or communion…you must choose

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(I took this two Christmases ago, in Costa Rica.  Don’t pass over it!  It has such meaning!  Notice the car?   It was such a picture of my life – wanting to have the house decorated so beautifully and meaningfully for Christmas – and here’s the kids’ car!!  Not quite the theme I wanted!  BUT  WAIT…WAIT…choose, Debbie, choose!  Which are you going to choose?  To be in the car, whizzing by, or the stable?  I can think of lots of other meanings – but that one fits for  now...) (Wait – I have to say this as well, but it has nothing to do with what I wrote – I didn’t like the car there at the time – but now?  O, my heart ACHES as I see it – Oh, what I would give for those days!  Think NOW, Debbie, Think NOW – take pictures of your days now, especially those things you don’t  like about your life right now – some day you will look back and treasure them.  Don’t miss the gifts I have for you that come packaged in frustration or disappointment!  I am the One who makes treasures out of darkness!)

Only one thing is necessary.”  That’s what You said to  Martha, Lord, and “she has chosen the better part.”  Forget about home improvement projects.  I have “Others-Improvement projects: namely, my kids, my husband, and myself.  Lord, I give up to You all my projects for the summer.  All the ways I plot and plan to grow the kids in character, industriousness, fret fret fret, imagine the worst, imagine the worst, imagine the worst.  Tell me it will be the way I want it to turn out, tell me it will be the way I want it to turn out, Lord You aren’t helping me!!!

“To draw a part from outward activity into the solitary place, and sit with  Him, is THE ONLY MEANS by which we can keep up the freshness of our own spirits, and be fit for His service.  Mary was being trained for Martha’s work when she sat at Christ’s feet,

       BUT MARTHA COULD  NOT DO  HERS

                without being troubled and careful,

BECAUSE she was MORE  ACCUSTOMED  TO THE  WORK than to communion THAT WOULD HAVE MADE IT LIGHT. (I think it would have made her work a delight.)   – Alexander MacLaren

Come Away With Me into the Garden…

 

 

“The garden causeth the seeds that are sown in it to grow” Alexander  MacLaren

 

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This makes so much sense, Lord.  Of course the place to sow seeds would be in the garden.  And buds and beauty comes from purposeful tending by the Gardener.  And your garden is so restful.  Why O why do I use it as a shortcut to get to daily life instead of letting You tend me there?  Why do I think I can be the Gardener in other’s  lives?

  I am wondering…  If I would actually stay in the garden long enough to listen to You and let You tend and nourish me, in the garden a bit longer, You might say something like this

Child  of Mine, what is that in your pocket?”

O  those, Lord?  They’re really horrid seeds.  I thought I’d hang onto them until I am out of the garden – I sure don’t want them to grow in here!

You smile.   “Child, drop them at your feet.  They can’t grow here.   The soil is too well tended.  

Lots of fear seeds.  Some worldly cares.  False treasure seeds.  See those there? They devour hope.  And there are some what-if seeds – they are joy in the present robbers.

You’ve got quite a collection.   You must have been saving them for some time.”

Um no, Lord – those are just from this morning.

You laugh, long and hearty.

I  have a song for you to learn, little one.  Remember the others I taught you, long ago?  This  is the same melody – just like “Jesus loves me.”:

Seeds, more seeds, you won’t grow!

When He says no, you can’t grow!

Scatter them into His land

And  joy will grow just as He planned.”

 

we sing together.  I forget the cares, the fears, the clock… they really seem so little in here.

“Are your pockets empty now, Child? Let me make sure none are clinging to you. turn round.

Oh that’s o .k., Lord.  They’ll fall off when I leave the garden –  they can join the other weeds!

That’s a garden also, little one.  That’s your garden.”

Mine? Ha!  I never planted those seeds.  No thank You!  Remember the song You just taught me? those seeds can’t grow!

“They’re worthless in My garden, little one.  But out there they are quick to do quite a bit of damage, as you can see.  The soil out there is perfect for those weeds to grow. And they hinder you, child, they choke and keep  good seeds from growing.”

But I don’t WANT that to be my garden, Lord!   

“Then stay in here, little one.”

I can’t.

“Why not?”