April 12, 2010

A Full Bookshelf

I love to read.  If you come to my house you’ll find books everywhere; in the living room, in our bedrooms, the den, the hall…the bathroom :) One of the biggest blessings in my life has been to see all 3 of my kids catch the reading bug – I love to see them get lost in a story. It is so wonderful to hear them beg “just one more chapter, Mom!”  We’ve got bookshelves full of everything from science fiction to Calvin Hobbes (best comic strip – ever!) to historical fiction to politics to…Well, you get the idea.  Books to me are informative, eye opening, life changing, magical, an escape…and so much more.  Once or twice a year I vow to clean out and purge those bookshelves but then struggle to part with even one of those precious books.

As much as I love to read, one of my dreams is to someday write my own book.  A long, long time ago I was taking writing classes and had even begun writing a children’s story but life got busy, I stopped my classes and never finished the book.  A couple years later, my oldest son asked me if I was going to finish the story.  When I asked him ‘Why?’, he answered, “Because I want you to.” Well,...

That was several years ago.  I’ve had a lot of ups and downs as far as writing has been concerned – in fact, I would probably say, mostly downs. I started this blog at the beginning 2009 with good intentions and high hopes but didn’t get very far and then let discouragement grab a hold of me.  But some things lately have reminded me that it is never too late and I am never too old.  If Grandma Moses could wait until the ripe old age of 83 to paint her first painting, then 40 certainly isn’t too old to write a story or a book or at least a blog post now and then.

So I am going to pick up my pen again (or this case, laptop) and give it another shot.  I am not sure what I am going to write about – it may just be a goofy thought now and then or sometimes it may be serious.  Sometimes I might just brag about my kids.  Other times, I may ask you to put your two cents in.

I am not even entirely sure WHY I am doing this.  It may just be for me.  Or maybe FINALLY, through this process, I am going to finish that story for my son ‘because he wants me to’.  Then I’ll be able to look that not so little boy in the eyes and tell him “Thanks” for believing in me – even when I didn’t believe in myself.  I also hope at times, what I write will encourage someone else, make a difference, change a life.  I know that is asking a lot but we’ll just see what happens with that I guess.

One last thought – or rather word - and actually its the word that started this whole topic churning around in my head today.  It comes from John 21:25…

“Jesus did many other things as well.  If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

Jesus has been good to me.  Unfortunately, there are too many times that I cannot see it.  I am too busy complaining about injustices like my messy house or having to wait in the drive thru for my Iced Coffee at McDonalds. Yeah, pitiful, I know.  But John 1:16 says “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”    It reminds me of the hymn “The Love of God” …
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
  And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
  And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
  Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
  Though stretched from sky to sky.
I love the visual picture of writing my thanksgiving and praise on the sky for all to see!  Can you imagine what it would look like if we all did that!  Beyond cool!!

I may not be able to write on the sky but I can fill a journal or two… or write a bog post …or even update my Facebook status once in awhile with something that testifies to the goodness of God (rather than the latest shenanigans of my favorite 3rd born son.) If I took the time to really look around and notice all that God has done for me, I know that I would run out of paper and ink way before I would ever run out of blessings.

And then slowly, I could begin filling my bookshelves with volumes rejoicing in God’s goodness and faithfulness.  How long would it take to fill a book or a shelf or a even a whole bookcase?  Hmmm…good question. I don’t know the answer to that but I guess that way before I fill up that bookshelf I’ll have something even better…a full heart!

April 7, 2010

Who Do You Belong To?

Our youngest two boys, much to Mom’s delight, got Toy Story 1 & 2 in their Easter Baskets this year. I love these movies – they are just fun to watch and they teach great lessons about true friendship, commitment and perseverance. As we sat to watch them Sunday evening, our youngest had to bring out his own Buzz Lightyear and Woody to relive the action as it happened on the big screen (well, all 32” of it.)


At one point in Toy Story 1, Buzz has a crisis in what he believes about who is and where he belongs. Feeling completely lost and hopeless, Buzz shuts down and gives up. But Woody, seeing a means of escape for both of them, reminds Buzz that he is valuable and loved and irreplaceable. He reminds him that that not only does he ‘belong’ but Woody reminds Buzz to whom he belongs. Cut to the scene where Buzz lifts his plastic space boot and looks at the name written there…’ANDY’. He belongs to Andy…and the light bulb comes on for Buzz…and for me.

Funny, I have watched this movie 30 times and that scene never struck me like it did when I saw it Sunday night. I don’t know what it was but when Buzz revealed the truth written on the bottom of his boot, something in my heart said, “Who do YOU belong to?”

Well, some would say I belong to my parents or to my husband or to my kids. Yes, they are a big part of me and vice versa but I do not ‘belong’ to them. I can honestly say that I don’t belong to my job or to debt (thank goodness!) So who do I belong to? I may not have someone’s name written on the bottom of my foot (this would be an impossible feat anyways, as I am unbelievably ticklish) but I do have something written on my heart:

I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. (Jer 31:33)

God has written his name and his promises on my heart. It is irrevocable and unchangeable – it is in a safe spot where it will never wash off (unlike the bottom of my ticklish feet!) I belong to HIM and he belongs to me! Woo-hoo!! That something that I can count on always. He is my eternal friend (John 15:15 ) and has called me by my name…

I have called you by your name; you are MINE. (Isaiah 43:1)

I know that no matter where I am or where I am going, whether I am walking in his will or wandering off the path He has not lost track of me. Instead, He watches over me – calling me by my name and leading me out of trouble - when I listen :) (John 10:3)

So I am His and He is mine. We belong to one another and I am truly never alone. I may not be labeled with marker but my heart is eternally sealed. That is how I know that I am God’s. But how do I know that God is mine? He is marked, too.

Behold, I have indelibly imprinted [tattooed a picture of] you on the palm of each of My hands… (Isaiah 49:16)

Indelibly; permanent, impossible to remove or blot out.

So what does it look like for God to have your name tattooed on the palm of his hand?

I am guessing it looks something like this:


There is no greater friend 

than one who would lay down his life for another…

Who do you belong to?

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead,
And you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said,
Boy, you've got a friend in me
Yeah, you've got a friend in me

PS. In doing a little research for this, I came across a blog post written by a mom describing a Good Friday tradition. On the morning of Good Friday, she stamps the center of her childrens palms with red. Then she writes their names on their palms next to the red mark as a reminder of who Jesus died for. He died for them …he died for YOU – never forget it! Wishing I had read that post last week but I am hoping to remember it for next year. 
(The Celebrated Family)