Category Archives: Thou Art With Me

The Meaning of LIFE

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“The God who is infinitely high is also intimately nigh.”

 

Recently, one of my children asked me, “What is the meaning of life, mama?”img_6387

 

There it was, that age-old, deep philosophical question everyone eventually asks themselves. The answer came easily and quickly. And it is true. The answer is JESUS.

His love and grace are always the answer to every question, every dilemma, every challenge, every stress, every fight, every longing, or pain. It sounds so simple I know, and my child looked at me like I was crazy.

The next question I got was, “So is that going to be the answer you always give if I ask you again?” and I said, “Yes. Because it’s true. Do you want me to lie to you or tell you the truth?”

Jesus will help you find things. He will lead you where you need to go. 100_0751Remind you why you walked into that room. He will guide you into your future career and all the big things in life.img_5518  He will tell you the things and people to avoid getting close to. He will listen when you cry, He will be with you in every detail,img_3103 and every joy…img_5207Even when you think you are alone, you aren’t . He is there, wanting to hang out with you. He is in everywhere.beach pics (266)

It’s all about HIM. The Old Testament is Jesus concealed. The New Testament is Him revealed.

Everything we do or think or say is a reflection of where He is in our lives. Are we close to Him? Are we far? Do we need to spend more time thinking about what He says and less time focused on TV and games or reading romances or watching You tube tutorials or pinning ideas on our Pinterest boards or painting? Uh hem. Oopsie. 05-img_3518

How much do we reflect Him? Do people around us see Him in us? Or do they see us freaking out on our kids at Wal-Mart instead? Uh hem. Not that I do that. Ever. Uh hem Uh hem. Seriously. Do our kids see His mercy in our eyes or condemnation? How about our tone of voice? Am I consumed by me, me, me?

These are tough questions. I know. I am asking myself. Where is Jesus in my life right now? I can’t ride on the coat tails of my conversion fire. I have to daily go to Him and refill my spiritual tank. He is always there. Twenty four seven. And it’s all free for the taking.img_4934

Toby Mac has a wonderful line in his encouraging song, Move. “I can hold your hand but I can’t turn your eyes to freedom.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzYsrAcuS0s

And it’s true. We all have to turn our own eyes toward freedom in Christ. It is for freedom that Christ set us free. (Romans 5:1) I wish we could unzip people stuff them full of Jesus, and zip them back up. But it doesn’t work that way. So let me encourage you to move closer to Him. You will be refreshed. He Promised. img_4243

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The MARY Choice

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Another Mary I want to share with you is Martha’s sister.

We all understand Martha.

We want to get it right.

Whether the Christmas meal is at our house, or a pot luck at our sister in law’s, we want our squash casserole to rock their world. We want our Oreo pie plate licked clean before we pack up and leave.

But Christmas is about JESUS.IMG_5753

We have to reprogram our brains to remember this fact. Jesus did NOT come to bring us stress in the kitchen, or at Mama’s house, or in line at Wal-Mart. He came to give us peace on Earth, and blessed rest.02-img_4810

Invitations and service opportunities abound this time of year. It’s easy to over book the calendar and forfeit Christmas peace and joy.

I’m pretty sure that crying at the stove because Uncle Tommy’s favorite fudge won’t set up is NOT what God had in mind when He sent His Only Begotten Son.

It has been said, that “The hardest choices are not between good and bad, but between good and best.”

Martha’s Mary made the best choice. When Martha started griping, Jesus said, “ Martha, Martha…. Only one thing is needed…Mary has chosen the good part and it will not be taken away from her.”

That One thing is Jesus.         We all need more JESUSRelated image

I have been making conscious decisions lately to make the Mary choice. I’d rather leave the house a wreck and spend time with the Lord before leaving it.

I’m taking deep breaths and praying out loud when the kids start fussing, instead of biting their heads off.

I am practicing choosing kindness over frustration when someone cuts me off in traffic or butts in front of me out there in the maze of shopping.

Baby steps still get us there. Let’s make the Mary choice. Let’s choose MORE JESUS and Have a very Mary Christmas.

PRAYER: Lord, help us remember that JESUS is Christmas. Help us to choose the best things over the good things. Remind us we can keep our peace.
Let us be like Mary, who chose the One thing that mattered. YOU.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

A MARY Little Christmas

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There are a lot of “Marys” in the New Testament. But since it’s Christmas, I want to focus on Jesus’ mama first.

Likely we are a hodgepodge of denominations here, but I bet we can all agree on this: Mary had to be a special gal to mother the perfect Son of God.

A few years back I discovered a film masterpiece, titled The Nativity Story. If you don’t own this movie, I highly recommend you buy yourself one for Christmas. The Nativity Story (Widescreen)

It is a beautiful glimpse into what it might have been like for Mary and Joseph in their little village and all the drama leading up to the birth of our Messiah.

Now, I’ve heard and read the Christmas story many times. But after seeing this film, I connected with this precious couple in a fresh way.

At the time I was introduced to the film, my husband and I were in a wilderness journey ourselves: misunderstood by extended family, falsely accused, and uprooted in a foreign state.

Film is a powerful medium.

Watching Joseph and Mary’s destiny bond them, even as their familiar world collapsed, deepened my respect for them.Seeing the sacrifices they made for each other and how they trusted God with their mind-boggling purpose, humanized them for me.Image result for the nativity story

It’s easy to think of them as historical icons or decorative figures on my table and in the neighbor’s yard. But they were real, regular folks, like us. And that helps me.

They inspired and encouraged me that my husband and I could maneuver the sharp turns and blind corners of our journey. That we too had an intertwined, ordained purpose to follow God. And we too would come out stronger as a couple. And we did.Image result for the nativity story

During this busy week before Christmas, do yourself a favor.Grab a copy of this spectacular  film (and a bag of something yummy) and give yourself a Mary little Christmas.

IMPERFECT DREAMER

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God is Green

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“Mom, why don’t we recycle anything?” My sweet boy asked me one day.

“Oh golly honey, I don’t need another job.” I said, as I threw away a plastic container.

“I’ll help.” He said, his blue eyes imploring me with the puppy-head-tilt.

“Oh, okay, Bubby. I’ll work on it.” I said, reaching into the trash to rescue the slimy jug.

I jumped off the recycling wagon many years ago. But when my ten year old son turned “green” on me, I decided it was time to start washing out my trash again. In the process, I unexpectedly redefined myself as an artist.

In a home bursting with children, my art world had shriveled to a few shelves in my laundry room. Diapers and home schooling curriculum took precedence over expensive art supplies. Occasionally, I would ferret a few minutes to a create something on top of my dryer. But, frustration often hindered me.

I prayed about it and realized I was not being content. My focus was on lack, instead of gratitude. I decided to be more inventive. The Lord mercifully yanked the blinders off, reminding me of the cliche’— Necessity is the mother of invention.

I began to visualize the artistic potential of vibrant candy foils, broken dishes (we have a lot of those), old jewelry and a myriad of other things I’d overlooked. Rinsed out salsa jars became up-cycled mosaic vases. I painted over tired artwork from thrift stores. I collected junk mail and free magazines for collages and altered books. I home schooled myself in the art of mixed media via YouTube and the library.

I soon recognized that God is “green” too. He doesn’t throw us away just because we’re a mess, or old, or broken. If we’ll let Him, He’ll clean us up and re-purpose us. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). He reinvents our lives, transforming us into works of splendor and meaning. Beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) That is the heart of our awesome God.