Remembering ~ Our Rescuer

Teen Hand-Drowning-665x385When I was a young teen we traveled south to the beach. During time there I came to befriend some of the lifeguards. I was asked to pretend I was drowning to test some of the newer lifeguards.

I agreed and being an excellent swimmer took off for deep waters. I was confident I could fool these newbies, put them to the test as asked and be back on shore within a few minutes.

As I swam farther out, the seas became rough and my feet no longer touched the ocean floor. I treaded water for a while and then began to splash around and panic as I was asked. It was then that I truly began to sink. I was tired, my arms and legs begged for a rest. No one was there to hold me up or lean on and I could no longer keep my head above water. I was scared, screaming for help and gulping saltwater, believing I might die.

All of a sudden, a hand came under my chin and lifted my head out of the water. I heard “just rest, I’ve got you.” A lifeguard was pulling me to safety, but I didn’t  know if I was going to make it until I was on shore, had my breath and could stand again.

In the same way that lifeguard rescued me when I was a teen, God rescued me from the hand of my enemies as an adult. I was a prisoner, blinded from the truth and had gotten into such deep waters I was drowning. I was paralyzed in fear and could no longer function. I was desperate for someone to love me, to care about me. I called for help. I called for anyone, someone. It was then, while 10,000 miles from home and in my most broken state that suddenly a Hand lifted me from those deep waters, and delivered me to solid ground! A voice said, “rest in me, I’ve got you.” Our loving Father heard my cry and “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. (2 Samuel 22:17 NLT)

I will never forget where I came from and that it was Him who rescued me. Thank you Lord Jesus that you are our loving God, full of mercy, compassion and grace as you say you are. I love you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and am SO thankful that you opened my heart to your love and drew me to You—the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Broken Leg Love

broken-heart-qoutes-broken-hearts-31855177-240-320We sat in the floor of my small bedroom thumbing through the pages of an old photo album of my past life. Images that showed smiling faces everywhere. Smiles, all smiles. Everything looked like a beautiful life.

As we turned the pages, I pointed out the people he knows, but would not recognize in their earlier ages. He was so interested. And then, it was as if the world stopped for both of us.

It was too late. I had already asked the question, “Who is that beside your mom?” With a slight turn of his head he glanced toward my face with his big blue eyes, “I don’t know Grandmother, who is it?” “Ah…sweetie, that is your daddy.”

Immediately, he crawled off the floor into my lap and curled up like a hurt puppy dog. His buried his face in my breast while taking gulps of air to catch breaths between his cries.

 “Why doesn’t my daddy love me? Why doesn’t he want to spend time with me?”

You can imagine how pained I was for my ten-year old grandson. I held the tears back the best I could and looked up calling on the One greater than me, “Father, give me something for your precious child. He needs something that he can understand now.” The angels arrived and dropped a story into my heart and mind.

“Sweetheart, I know it hurts and I am so sorry. More than anything I want you to know how precious you are. His absence has nothing to do with you.” Still sobbing, he buried his head deeper. “Honey, I love you, mommy loves you, Auntie loves you. We all love you so very much.” It wasn’t enough. He was still sobbing and his body was shaking.

“Love, have you ever seen anyone with a broken leg? When a person or animal has a broken leg, they walk with a limp. Their leg is broken and they can’t walk well. Have you seen that?”

I barely heard him whisper as he shook his head, “Yes.”

 “Your daddy has broken leg love. He has something broken in his heart and he is unable to love well.

I understand how much it hurts and know it doesn’t seem fair. I promise it isn’t the way God designed it. He wants your daddy in your life. That’s how it was designed to be from the beginning. Unfortunately, Your daddy’s heart has a crack in it that needs mending. It has nothing to do with you. Nothing. You are lovable and precious.

We might not understand why. What we do know for certain is that in all we go through Jesus has a purpose in it.” I took his small chin in my hand, kissed the top of his head and hugging him closer said, “Isn’t it wonderful that we already know what that is going to be in your life?”

“What is it grandmother?”

“You’ve seen first hand how it feels for your daddy not to be present in your life. Because you know this feeling of rejection and lack, God can shape you to be a daddy who understands the value of spending time with and lavishing love upon your children. You will be a committed husband and daddy who desires only the best for his wife and children. That best will be what you have—the love of Jesus that lives in your heart.”

As we talked, he slowly lifted his head and slid off my lap and out of my arms. We said a prayer together thanking God for showing us how important it is for Daddy’s to be in relationship and engaged in their children’s lives. We prayed for his daddy’s heart to be healed so he can love the way Jesus does and we thanked God for hearing our prayer.

 If you are a daddy who is not involved in your child’s life, I strongly encourage you to seek a way to be there. Humble yourself and come to your child confessing your broken leg love and ask them to forgive you for your absence. The best thing you can do to show your child genuine love is to be actively present in their lives, do what you say, and provide for their needs. Your child is missing you, but you are missing far more!

Children are a gift. As parents we have been given the opportunity to provide for their emotional, spiritual and physical needs. I pray for all those who have left their children hearts behind when they left. Are you someone with broken leg love? I challenge you to begin steps now to learn how to heal your broken leg love so your child will know you and your love.

The Pink Shirt

The Pink ShirtRecently I took my shy, 10 yr. old grandson shopping for new clothes to wear to my youngest daughter’s engagement party. His mom was recovering from the birth of her third child, so it was great to have special time with him.

We perused the t-shirts, collared shirts and shorts in the boys department. Suddenly, he ran ahead of me and plucked a hot pink shirt from the rack confidently stating, “I want this one Grandmother!” I knew pink was one of his favorite colors and that he didn’t have anything pink in his wardrobe. I quickly grabbed a size 10 pair of khaki shorts and guided us toward the fitting room affirming his choice, “I love it sweetie. Let’s go see it fits you.”

The moment he pulled the shirt over his head and trunk, I knew he was going to be a big hit at the party. This brilliant pink color brought out the splatter of freckles across his cheeks, brightened his blue eyes and set off his strawberry blonde hair. The fit was perfect. We had a winner. It’s always a winner when you both agree!

As we walked through the exit on our way to the shoe store, ear-damaging alarms sounded. I turned on a dime and stepped back inside the store. We headed to the first counter I thought might have the thingamajig that removes those security thingamajiggers that mistakenly get left on purchases.

The sales associate at the counter pulled out the pink shirt, checked our receipt and found the thingamajig. It was the pink shirt that held the secret to what was causing the entire alarm ruckus. The sales associate looked at my grandson and asked, “Dude! Did you pick out this color?” He looked straight at him with a smile, and nodding his head his head replied, “Yes.” “Dude, this is a great color, one of the best! You did a great job!” I thanked him for taking care of us and we went on our way to the shoe store. As we left I watched as my ten-year old grandson walked with a little more bounce, stood taller with more squared shoulders and was looking out in front of him instead of eyes downward.

We arrived at the shoe store and he picked out the shoes he wanted. He showed his pink shirt and shorts to the woman helping him with his fitting. Before he could pull it all the way out of the bag, she exclaimed, “WOW! Did you pick out that shirt? I love that color! You are really good at selecting clothes!” He sat there with a flushed pink face, nearly the color of the pink shirt, and smiling at her said, “Thank you!”

When it came time for the party, he was beating down the door to get a shower. He wanted to put on his new shirt. The shorts and shoes were great compliments to his outfit, but the pink shirt was the tool that created something I have never seen before in my grandson.

There were many guests at the party we did not yet know. I planned ahead of time to be on the lookout for my grandson. I didn’t want his shyness to keep him from enjoying the night. Much to my surprise, he stood by me for all of five minutes. Then, he was on his own, drawn by the food table, visiting with others and making conversation with the older guys.

My grandson engaged in conversation with new people. They asked him questions and listened carefully to his answers. In exchange, he asked questions of them and they listened. He ate, laughed and enjoyed his night.

The pink shirt experience was transformational for my grandson. He became a social butterfly. By being affirmed in his choice, he wore a new attitude beneath the pink shirt. It looked great on him!

The pink shirt experience changed my grandson’s life. When I told this story to his momma, her immediate reply was, “We are going shopping! We are going to buy more pink shirts!” It’s a good thing, because his one pink shirt is already faded out from being washed so much. He wears it nearly everyday!

Sometimes all a shy child needs is someone telling him he’s good at something or affirming a positive choice he’s made.

What is The One Thing?

Recently, I took a poll to find out the one thing that keeps a relationship strong. I put the question out to about 500 people.  Why did I do this? I want to know.

As one who experienced many relationship failures, my heart’s desire is to be an effective, living, breathing part of a real relationship with others. It does take at least two to engage, right?  Below is a list of the top five aspects of healthy, strong and long-lasting relationships (in this case, marriage) people shared in response to my question:

  • Faith
  • Commitment
  • Respect
  • Selflessness
  • Communication

For faith, is it fair to say a common purpose, with God as the center? The definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 is  “faith is the confidence of what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.” Does this mean that even when things are rocky or the boat is sinking, if we engage our faith, we can have increased hope and assurance that things will get better when we draw on the power of our faith?

Since commitment is a top answer I want to know what it takes to have commitment in a relationship. One person expressed that without God as the center relationships aren’t strong. Is that really true? A lot of people will tell you they have terrific marriages, without God. They are persistent, communicate and work through their troubles. They stay together. What about those people who do have God as the center in their lives? So many still say goodbye. Why? Why do we believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence or driveway? And what about those who are berated, emotionally neglected or physically violated? Does commitment apply to them? What is the plumb-line for commitment?

Commitment can be tough for many people, but is a golden thread in the relationship of those who man the storms of life.  There are storms, raging storms. They come everyday. Our perspective of the storms can make all the difference. Are we going to be for or against one another? Love always wants something for the other person, not to take something from them. There are many who have not experienced and learned that by working together through the hard stuff we actually draw closer; one might easily falsely believe the way to escape the storm is to run, or withdraw, or look elsewhere. Life is fragile. People are fragile and hearts are broken everyday due to another’s, or their own lack of commitment. How do we we become a people of commitment?

Does respect of a spouse’s individuality and uniqueness set the stage for him/her to live in freedom of who they are, without feeling less of themselves? When I looked up the word respect, the definition was a deep admiration of someone for their abilities or accomplishments. So, it sounds like it’s something a person gains over time. Is it luck when people marry in their early 20’s and are still together 60 years later? There must be more to it than luck.  If we are safe in saying respect is gained over time, why do people demand it from the get go? And if they demand it of others, why don’t they give it? Could this be part of the reason why SO many marriages are crumbling leaving men, women and children brokenhearted with shattered dreams?  Respect for another. Does it go deeper than just respecting another? What about respect for self?

Selflessness. This is big. How does one come to the place where he no longer thinks only of himself? Aren’t we born wanting to be the center of attention and have our way about everything. We want, want, want and yet…it is never enough. What is enough? Have you ever noticed how the center word of the word selflessness is less. Is thinking of self less something people can do? I wonder how Mother Teresa thought so much more of the poor that she literally left her own self desires behind and met the needs of oppressed, hungry and forgotten little children. Did she have a magic potion or is there something more to this selflessness? Does selflessness mean not standing firm in what is the right thing?

Communication ranked high in my poll. It is said to be THE most important part of a genuine relationship. If we can’t communicate transparently with one another, we aren’t being true to them or ourselves. People can’t read our minds, and we can’t read theirs. The root word of communication is commune. I think of this as two people coming together and spending time listening and sharing thoughts, victories, and heartaches. Isn’t that want a relationship is…trusting one another enough to be transparent in communing?  Communication has several elements. Body language, tone and motivation are three main ways people speak to others. How we pose, the inflection, tone, and choice of words, and the motivation behind them are huge elements of communication. If we knew there were ears listening to every word that comes out of our mouth, would we reconsider what we say? What if every word we spoke came back to us like a boomerang? That could be a lot of dodging.

I have my own thoughts and beliefs about the One thing that is the glue of all relationships. Think about it. The way we do relationships with the people closest to us is the way we will have them in marriage, social and business. That makes me want to have the highest caliber of integrity. Isn’t that what really promotes healthy relationships? It’s almost like we have to see beyond what is in front of us. How can we do that?

I believe integrity is built on our personal understanding that there is Someone much greater than us, who sees, hears and loves us more than life. Through forgiveness and love, we are freed. Through our intentional faith we learn commitment (even in the hardest times), we respect Love more than anything, we become giving and generous with our time, talents and financial resources and through Love, we gain pure motives in what we think, say and do, honoring others—knowing all mankind is created equal. In essence, the one thing to me is who I am. Do you know who you are?

New Year, New Clothes, Happy 2014!

Yesterday is gone, yet we can look back and see where change can be made. Today is here for us to thrive and embrace each moment. Tomorrow comes only through the grace of God and when it does, He has already been there. He goes before us to clear the way so that we will not fall.

When I think of the past year, it reminds me of old clothes I need to shed.  My slacks now sit above my ankles, the cuff of my blouse is frayed, and the collar of my shirt has lost its button. Yes, they are worn out and too small now. It is time for new clothing. Clothing that does not wear out. The kind that grows with me and makes me shine like a lamp on a hill!

It is only fitting that I fall to my knees today and cry out to the only One who can hear me. Today is the last day of the year, the cusp of a new season and the mark of seven years since gaining freedom. Though it might sometimes feel like it, I am never alone. He is with me, and His promise is that not one can stand against me. He the great Overcomer and through Him, I’ll do the same.

Before I rise from my knees, I dry my tears and envelop myself in His clothes. He provides a helmet for my head, a shield over my chest, a belt to wrap around my waist, and shoes for my feet. I have His sword and I place my confidence in Him. He is my security in all things.

This is the eternal flame that rises higher leaving yesterday as a burning ember, today as a flickering flame and tomorrow as a united heavenly host of flames.

I’m ready to put the old behind me and bring in the new. Today is the end of 2013, tomorrow, the beginning of 2014. What will you leave behind? What will you add to your wardrobe that will spark the flame?