Last weekend, my parents spent the night. My dad is a morning bird...I guess this apple didn't fall far from that tree. When the rain (of all things in December in Minnesota) woke me up and I heard rustling downstairs at 5am, I decided, well, I can always sleep, but I can't always visit with dad. So, with the coffee brewed, just the two of us cozied in next to the fireplace for an early morning chat.
After they had left and our home returned to normal, I began to reflect on the experience of that early morning chat. I love listening to my dad, hearing her perpective, thoughts, his heart. I can't hardly explain it, but I just love being in his presence. A day later, sitting in my spot gazing out the window, conversing with my heavenly, perfect Dad, I realize that I was given a gift. A gift to see a glimpse of what my heavenly Father is like. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:12, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully..." Enjoying a relationship with my earthly father, is a glimpse of how I will enjoy my heavenly Father's presence when I finally get home. Not only does it give me a faint image of my Heavenly Father, it fills my heart with joy because I've been blessed with a good relationship and godly earthly dad. I can't begin to fathom how awesome heaven will be.

Here & then gone

I've learned a bit about gratitude this past year. And I'd like to think that I see things to be grateful for which a year ago may have escaped me. Unfortunately, it is easy for me to be stuck in a rut and ungrateful, pessimistic. A grouch really.
This past week, waking as usually, to what the boisterous one has coined my "own time" and setting a pot of coffee, I see the thin, sliver of a crescent moon gorgeously illuminated and nestled into passing clouds. I saw this beauty as a gift, "Thanks God for this gorgeous sight! It is beautiful! You are so crafty!" I continued with setting the coffee to drip and snuggled into my chair with a blanket, continuing conversation with my Maker. Glancing out the window, I see that it's gone. The gorgeous sliver of a crescent moon is now diffused light behind puffy clouds. What struck me was that I realized it was a gift when I could see it. Imagine my obliviousness and loss had I not purposely stopped to thank God for that gift.
Contemplating more, I'm sure there are many gifts that He gives that I don't see: little feet kicking me at night, stinky golden head breath in the morning, golden heads fighting and arguing again, opportunities to snuggle, teach or impart wisdom. Oh, I am so foolish! James said in 4:14, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." Just like I didn't know that three minutes after I saw the crescent moon, it would be out of my sight, I don't know which of the gifts He's given to me will be gone tomorrow, or in a minute for that matter.
My thoughts and prayers weep for my dear sister. I know she saw her precious Micah as a gift. A gift on loan from God. And now her gift is out of sight. My heart aches even though we don't mourn like those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Pressing on, I will strive to "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances, give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.


Just finished a book called, The Uncommon Woman by Susie Larson. I really enjoyed my time with her book and Scripture in hand (highlighter and pencil too.) One of many truths, that was revealed to me vividly as I studied was really stopping to look at Matthew 5:8:
Blessed be the pure in heart for they will see God.
Parked in the middle of the beatitudes, I'm not sure I've ever really given this one thought. The point Susie made is that when we have pure hearts, we can see work in others.
One of my many struggles is judging others. I feel horrible confessing that. (Remembering the truth of Proverbs 28:13, "Whoever covers his sins will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.") So I do confess this and forsake this attitude and action of mine. What I have come to realize it that when I judge others, I am simply not sure of my own standing with God. I am loved my God beyond measure, He thinks of my constantly, He never lets go of my hand. When I see myself this way (solid and grounded in Christ), I am able to see others as Christ sees them and Christ in them. I am able to Christ at work in their lives. I am able to love them because I can begin to grasp just how much I am loved.
The more I think about this truth, the more it makes sense to me when I read other scripture. I John 2:10 says,
Whoever loves his brother abides in the light and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
I am pure in heart when I love others and am standing in His Light. So when I'm in this state (abiding with Him, loving others, in the Light), I can see God and I abide in His presence, His Light, so there is little chance for me to stumble into sin because I'm not groping around around in the dark.
Even in Luke 6:28, "bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you," I see that if my immediate response to personal attacks is to fall on my face in prayer for those who use and abuse me, then I will be purifying my heart and I will see God at work in their lives and mine.
As a mom, my golden heads driving me batty, whether being disobedient or just annoying, I find myself asking God to purify my heart so I can see Him at work in them.
I hope this challenges others in some way, so that they too will think about how having a pure heart will allow them to see God.

Makes me

I've wrestled with this post for a while. I often find myself thinking I am so inadequate to write anything that might be beneficial to the reader. However, I will press on knowing that God called me to write.
In Psalm 23, a commonly quoted and often memorized psalm, a question came to me that I've never had before. In past perusing of this psalm, I've always pictured God leading me through green pastures, but recently in verse 2, I notice the phrase, "He makes me to lie down," and I wonder, what did David mean? Does he mean that God will make me by force to lie down in green pastures or does it mean that God made me by design with the need to lie down in green pastures? So, I study.
I don't actually have much experience in studying Hebrew. It seems complex to me, a trite bit intimidating. But I'll attempt to relay what I've come to understand. First off, the Hebrew for to make lay down is rabats and is repeated twice consecutively in Psalm 23:2. Here's what I found online in regards to repeated words in scripture that I found interesting.
In the Jewish understanding of Scripture, there is no such thing as repetition for its own sake.  That is, if a word or phrase is repeated, there is something new being conveyed; it is not simply the same thing said over again for emphasis (which can be eliminated without losing anything). Therefore, Jewish scholars search repeating elements more closely to discover what is different between the two (or more) cases, and what God was saying in each occurrence.

Because I'm not a Hebrew scholar, I couldn't see a difference in the two cases, a bit frustrating to me, but maybe God will show me an answer to that later. I did find that rabats is an active verb and causative verb, meaning that God actively causes me to lie down. I am given a cross reference of Ezekiel 34:14-15:
I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord God.
 I also found Zephaniah 3:13 as a cross reference that was enlightening to me:
The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths, for they will feed and lie down with no one to make them tremble.
I am so thankful that God is the Good Shepherd choosing to cause me lie to down not in dark, terrifying valleys but in green pastures (think abundant life to the full) where I can rest with no one to make me tremble. How fitting the David says in verse one, "I shall not want." Neither will I.