Be Selfish – Forgive

18 08 2015

Okay, this probably isn’t the sort of ‘selfish’ that comes to mind, but it’s truth.

What do I mean?

Forgiving others is something we do primarily  for ourselves.

Most likely, the offending party moved on with life – hasn’t given us a second’s thought since the event.

Meanwhile, we carry the stinking carcass of ‘what they did/said’ around like it’s a prize buck.

Did you catch the word stinking? It sure does. And folks around us gets a whiff of that mess whenever we’re near.

What’s worse is that we pick up the arrow they shot us with – and continue to stab ourselves with it. This happens every time we rehearse the scene.

They injured us once, we re-injure ourselves over and over and over.

Sometimes for decades.

What’s worse is the corpse draws flies…

…which lay eggs that become maggots…

In no time the thing is a writhing mass!

You get the picture!

Yech! 😛

Do I know that this is easier said than done.

Yes indeed, I do.

But this is something I do for me.

I want to be free.

All those flies and maggots? Those are unrelated events that *feel* like the original injury and so attach themselves.

Ever had an over-reaction to something minor?

Yep.

Out popped another maggot.

We do not want to go through life with unresolved issues that cause others to shrink back from the stench.

Ever been around a bitter, resentful person? Not fun.

This is, without a doubt, a nauseating mental image. You’re welcome.

Now you understand why we’re commanded to forgive!

That disgusting illustration describes much of my life…and perhaps why I haven’t had many friends over the years.

This year I decided to do something selfish. Something that’s just for me.

I began to make lists of my offenders and forgive them.

In some cases, a single event required the 70 x 7 times of forgiveness of which Jesus spoke. Nevertheless, I had to let it go – and then let it go – and then let it go…

Sometimes I didn’t fully mean it – so I didn’t lie. Instead, I asked Father to help me be willing to forgive them…

…or even willing to be willing to forgive.

In these instances, I forgave as an act of obedience. That was as far as I could go at the moment.

Next, I asked Abba to forgive them, and to lead them into a vibrant relationship with Himself. After all, He loves them, too. (That can be a tough one to swallow!)

I may select a passage from Scripture to pray over them – like Colossians 1:9-13.

In addition, I pray for myself:

Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me.Give me Your love for them.

(Which doesn’t mean I have to trust them or put myself into their line of fire again. Please note that.)

Those two bases covered, I next ask the Lord to examine my heart and show me where I’ve been tripped up by what happened.

While I may have had no fault in the event, what my heart did with the offense is my responsibility. They didn’t ‘make me’ do or feel anything. That bit was on me.

At the very least, I usually have to confess to hanging onto the hurt. In every instance the reason has been a lack of trust in God to handle the other person.

Sometimes I’m angry that He didn’t blast them off the planet. That’s exactly what I wanted my ‘loving Father’ to do!

I prefer grace for me – judgment for everyone else.

{Yes, that was my ‘outside voice.’}

Which leads me to the next step in forgiveness.

(Don’t freak out on me here)

I need to forgive God.

Did He do anything wrong?

No. His ways are always perfect.

Was I offended by His response to the situation?

You betcha’!

Here’s the thing. I can put on my ‘nice Christian’ face and be incensed that someone would have the audacity to suggest such a thing…

…and let my resentment and distrust toward God continue to grow in the dark recesses of my mind until I walk away from Him altogether.

Or

I can speak what’s in my heart to the Lord; and forgive what I ‘perceived’ to be His disinterest or abandonment, etc.

He already knows how I really feel, and what I believe to be true about Him.

Very often, when I feel distant from God it’s because I’m holding something against Him. The error is entirely with me, but I’m offended nonetheless.

*This is a golden moment. Don’t skip this bit.*

It’s at this point that I ask Him to teach me truth about Himself, or to show me the event from His perspective.

There is something here for me to learn, if I will but have the ears to hear.

Finally, I come to the part that I forget most often:

I must forgive myself.

Not in every instance. There may be nothing here.

{Often, however, at the very least I forgive myself for misunderstanding God and ascribing to Him some horrible characteristics that simply were not true. If this is the case, I circle back around and ask God to forgive me for believing such lies about Him as well. See, this isn’t arrogance. It’s truth. And He desires that we know truth in the inmost parts.}

Right at this point we have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of ‘all things work together for good.’ If this event brought to light a lie I believed about God, that is a good thing indeed.

No, He didn’t bring this injury upon us. We live in a fallen world where hurt people hurt people. But, He’s going to bring benefit to us from the thing if we will let Him.

What others meant for evil, God meant for good.

The goal is to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This means identifying lies and replacing them with truth.

Back to forgiving myself.

It may be that I accepted responsibility for someone else’ s words or actions. I may have believed myself the one to be blamed, that I somehow deserved what they said/did.

Perhaps I’ve come into agreement with lies about myself: ‘I’m so stupid.’ Or ‘How could I have fallen for that?’

To forgive myself is another useful tool for locating faulty beliefs so they can be dismissed. Dig up the root, and everything that attached to it dies.

We’re not so ‘stinky’ to be around; things begin to change – in us – and we walk in greater freedom, light, and love.

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

It’s the healthiest ‘selfishness’ in which we’ll ever indulge.

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Our Good Father

17 08 2015

I didn’t have kids just so I could make them follow my rules. I wanted someone with which to share life and love.

In the absence of father-love, as it was during my childhood, all that remained were the rules. I had to keep them “or else.” Oh, I had a ‘dad’ – but never a dad’s heart.

God’s life-long (mine, not His) transformation goal for me has been to unwind this mindset from my thought processes. It’s very hard to let go of my early training.

For instance, it’s hard to trust His invitation to come boldly. Boldness got my face slapped when I was young.

It’s hard to believe in His genuine love and good plans for me. “Love” was phony and manipulative – and usually cost me plenty.

It’s hard to believe that God really wants me. I was unwelcome in my home and spent most of my years in my room where it was safe.

It’s hard to trust that I can come to Him with my struggles, or to ask Him for help. I was taught that I had to figure things out on my own. Requests for counsel were usually met with contempt for my stupidity and inability to handle my own problems.

My function, as far as ‘dad’ was concerned, was to serve him, keep him happy, and stay out from in front of the TV. The thought of being welcomed into relationship with him was given up as a lost cause.

The end result was that I became a self-reliant, people-pleasing loner.

{Not everyone had this kind of experience, thus your relationship with God is healthy and thriving. I am genuinely happy for you, and so thankful that you’ve not had to struggle to believe that He really loves you. Perhaps you’re reading this help you better understand those of us for whom this is a challenge.}

It is for these reasons, and many more, that God has been hard at work releasing me from the belief that His love is also performance-based.

One important lesson I’ve learned is that He created me – then later adopted me – because He wants to share life and love with me.

Perception is everything.

What some call ‘rules’, others see as boundaries. These are invisible fences put in place for my protection. My good Father knows what will bring pain, guilt, shame, and a host of other undesirable emotions. He would like to spare me the turmoil, and so He says, “Thou shalt not…”

He also knows that He is much wiser than I will ever be. He sees the end from the beginning and thus can rightly judge a thing as good or evil.

To the extent that we do not trust God, we do not ask Him to define the issue at hand.

Father, please talk to me about this. What’s Your perspective? What do I need to know or learn here? Where are You in this?

From Scripture we discover that our natural definitions of good and evil must be set aside, and we must learn to discern what is truly good and truly evil.

These were treasures waiting to be unearthed for me. I’m onto something, and so excited:

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil… 1 Kings 3:9

In other words, not lean on our own understanding.

This is vitally important, for:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12

From my own life, I could give countless examples of times when I did what I thought was the *right* thing to do – only to have it end in the death of something – most often the end of relationships, dreams, and my integrity.

No, I don’t believe that my Father created me so I could follow rules. He’s not an egomaniac on another control kick. His rules are for my protection, for He knows best what works well for me.

I’m fairly certain that I’ll be happier if I don’t murder someone, steal their stuff, or break up their marriage.

God is the best Father ever. He loves us with the same love He has for Jesus. His desire is for us to know Him – not just know His rules and how to ‘stay off His radar.’

I leave you with this:

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

That’s a lot of ‘doing.’ These weren’t bench warmers in the synagogue; they were active members.

But listen to the Lord’s response:

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23

Relationship – not religion. This will make all the difference in the end.

Our good Father wants children, not hirelings.





Polka-Dot Love

15 08 2015

As a parent, I came to appreciate the uniqueness of each of my seven children. Their little personalities were varied, their needs different from child to child.

I could not offer a one-size-fits-all kind of love or attention to them. Each one responded to different styles or interactions..the Five Love Languages, and all that. Part of my role as their mother was to figure out what each one needed, then supply that need.

As adults each of us have ways by which we best feel love. We have a heavenly Father who knows how to best meet that need, and He does so. His ways of communicating with us are as varied as the number of people in existence.

He’s a good Father.

When children are adopted, they come with ‘baggage’ from their family of origin. The challenge for the adoptive parents is to overcome what the child ‘knows’ about a father and/or a mother, for his or her concept is often skewed. When the new parents are patient, gentle, and persistent, the child comes to accept that they are loved, and slowly replace what they thought they knew about what a mom or dad is, with the new reality.

This can be a lengthy process, one that tears at the hearts of their new parents until breakthroughs begin to occur.

Right after my second birthday, I was adopted by my new step-dad. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested in winning my heart – only in winning the imagined competition against my father. Sadly, he didn’t want the ‘trophy’ (me), that came with ‘victory’.

Kids aren’t equipped with the mental ability to understand that a parent is broken, and unable to love…so they call what they receive “love” and believe their experience to be the true definition. The rest of their life most will continue to define love by what they learned from their father.

As most are wont to do, I superimposed the treatment I received from my ‘dads’ over what I expected from God. I wrote about my experiences her: Unlock Your Shackles

When God adopted me, He ‘had His work cut out for Him’, as they say. It’s been a lengthy, slow process, but His love never fails and His patience is enduring.

At first I trusted Him not at all. He persisted, though, and has used methods that are unique to me in order to win my heart. This blog is filled with such stories: pink shoes, heart-shaped rocks, a gold lambskin jacket, provision when we had no food (for six months!), heart-shaped potatoes, and so forth.

While this looks like He panders to my materialism, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

My love language is not shopping!

Being Spirit in nature, He cannot wrap me in His arms, stroke my hair, or hold my hand. (However He did dance with me one day! See: Shall We Dance?) Consequently, He’s been creative in the ways He communicates His love to me. Each of the things listed came with a special lesson for me to learn about what a good Father is like.

Severely put off by what I believed about fathers, this unlearn/re-learn process has taken decades. Because He loves me and wants me to be secure in Him, He’s gone out of His way to demonstrate His goodness.

When others’ experiences with Father differ from ours, we must guard against undoing His work. What offends our senses may be merely because the experience was not meant for us. Unless their ‘take-away’ twists God into a heinous creature, we do well to rejoice with them in their breakthrough.

God knows how to best reach every one of us. He relentlessly pursues us and teaches us just how good He is.

As a kid, I was fond of polka-dots.

As an adult, I am fond of His polka-dot love for me…specially and deliberately designed to melt my heart.

He’s a good Father!

*Oh, the three verses I promised to share will be in my next post. 😉





Replacing Jesus

14 08 2015

Many paradigm shifts have taken place this season. Necessary ones. This one concerns Jesus.

How does Jesus relate to my current activities? To housework, homework, to life in general? Does He merely make me a good steward of time and money? Does He make me honest and a good rule-keeper?

Is this why He came and died…to make me honest??

I sense a shift any minute – one so monumental that it will change everything for me. I don’t want to miss this. it has weight (glory!) attached to it.

I read The Great Dance by C. Baxter Kruger. It was eye-opening, although I had to struggle with the concepts at first. My mind could only barely grasp them in the beginning.

The church (at least in America) teaches a “good-cop, bad-cop” God. It’s like having a touchy, militaristic father and a placating, intervening mother who steps in and places herself in the line of fire and takes the brunt of the father’s anger.

Sometimes her attempts fail, though; and that’s when ‘all hell breaks loose in our lives,’ or so we think. Calamity, hardship, ill health.

Mom couldn’t quite assuage father’s fury, and we ‘got it.’

{No wonder the Spirit seems more like a doting aunt who pops in and out long enough to drop off one trinket or another. 🙂 }

The relationship (trinity) of God has been replaced by the holiness (law and order, crime and punishment, blind and cold justice – as we define it) of God. Holiness has been defined as ‘legal perfection’ and ‘moral rectitude.’

This begs the question: “Do I enter into relationship with people for the primary purpose of getting them to ‘shape up’?”

“True holiness is the joy and fullness and love of the Father, Son, and Spirit, their mutual delight and passion, the sheer togetherness of their relationship, it’s harmony and wholeness. Rolled into one word: holiness.” (The Great Dance, p. 25)

I want to tattoo this on my arm:

“Every time God forgives us, He is saying that His own rules do not matter as much as the relationship God wants to create with us.” (Falling Upward, Rohr, p. 57)

Isn’t that Good News?? The best ever, and a far cry from “I came that they might behave better” stuff we hear from spiritual leaders on a regular basis…a ‘re-translation’ of John 10:10. (“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”)

Galatians tells us that the law was never meant to be kept, but to be a tutor that shows us that we can’t ‘behave better’ on our own. It was meant to drive us to God…not to cause us to shrink back as utter failures.

So we teach Christianity thus:

1. God is holy (in a legal sense)

2. Humanity fell into sin and is liable to punishment

3. Jesus Christ came to satisfy the holiness and justice of God

4. On the cross, Jesus bears the guilt of the world, and God punishes Him instead of us

5. God’s justice is satisfied and we are forgiven – morally clean

In this model, Jesus came to rescue us from God.

The cross replaces Jesus as the point of eternal significance; thus, after the crucifixion was complete, He ceased to be of any real and practical value.

No longer needed, He bows out and lets God and the Holy Spirit get on with their business.

At best, He remains important as a shining religious example for us to follow – and to remind God of His sacrifice.

Justification replaces adoption as the heart of the Christian message.

Forgiveness is necessary, but it’s not the sole point of the grand story…it’s not even the main point!*

The focus and goal is inclusion into the existing relationship of the Trinity.

This is the purpose of adoption!

One who has been adopted has been welcomed into a family – given their name, protection, provision, and inheritance along with the other members of the family.

No longer on the outside looking in, they receive all the benefits, love, and treatment of the original family. No ‘Cinderellas’ here! Unless an outsider was told, they would not be able to tell the difference between ‘natural’ children and an ‘adopted’ one.

Further (unless they’re warped!), a couple chooses to adopt because they want someone else to love…more people to love, not someone new, to the exclusion of the old.

In a word, they want:

Relationship!

With all the focus on Jesus as mediator between us and an angry God, we’ve lost the beauty of the Gospel message:

Our adoption as sons and daughters.

Jesus doesn’t exist to protect us from wrath by reminding God that He took our punishment so now God ‘has to’ love us.

He is the connector between us and the Trinity; He mediates the triune life of God – to us!

According to western teaching, once Jesus has the ‘sin thing’ fixed, He returns to heaven and observes us from a distance. This leaves us seeing ourselves as ‘merely human.’

There is no inclusion into the Trinity, no divine life, no divine dance. Life is merely secular…ordinary. Except, of course, on Sundays.

We have no idea who we are!

The western world is crying out for spiritual meaning and the Church has none to give it. We only know how to encourage others to behave better.

Our Jesus is too small.

*YES! The Gospel of Atonement is vital to our right standing with God. Why is it necessary? Because we are born spiritually separated from God. THIS is the problem Jesus came to solve…Adam and Eve ‘unplugged’ from the tree of Life (God as our source for life), and ‘plugged’ into their own knowledge. They made themselves the source for life.

Apart from His death, burial, and resurrection – at which time He entered the Holy of holies once for all and placed His blood on the Mercy Seat – we were without hope.

Thanks to Jesus, we are now welcome to come boldly into the Holy of holies; to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

You won’t find a ‘bouncer’ at the entrance, replacing Jesus.

*****

(In my next post I want to share three verses that took me by surprise!)

This post is far above my ‘pay grade’. I’m still processing much of what I’ve learned – and cannot yet articulate as clearly as I’d like. Thanks for your patience while I work this out!





Get Your Bold On

13 08 2015

When I think of the word “boldly” from Hebrews 4:16, the last thing that comes to mind is the scene in Luther where Martin is crawling up the stairs on bloody knees in order approach God ‘properly.’

The ESV translates the word as “with confidence.” Well, that’s better, but still not entirely accurate.

Let’s get the definition from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. It reads as follows:

Parrhesia: all outspokenness, frankness, bluntness, publicity; by implication assurance.

That’s a far cry from groveling, hat-in-hand humbleness, or scraping and bowing, isn’t it?

Why am I picking on this word today, you ask? Because sometimes life blows up and we’re in no condition to scrape and bow as we sort things out. There are times when we can’t calm down enough to remember we’re wearing a hat – much less that we ‘must’ remove it.

King David had lots of episodes like this. No doubt he had confusion and frustration…not to mention fear for his life. And all this came about after he’d been anointed as king. There are many such Psalms recorded. Let’s look at just one:

Psalm 13

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

David’s been through it. His idyllic life as a shepherd is a dim memory. Saul’s relentless pursuit in order to kill this young man wore him down to his last nerve, and Saul was using it like a trampoline.

It is for this reason that I can’t envision David standing humbly, hat in hand, speaking this in soft, reverent tones. That might be the way we sing it, but I doubt that’s how David expressed it!

Look at his wording: how long? Will You forget me forever?? Consider and hear me! Enlighten my eyes!

I’m gonna die here!! Don’t look now, but the enemy is winning!

Tap…tap..tap…is this thing on??

We cannot insist that people grovel before ‘Awwmighty Gawd’ – when their life gets trashed through no fault of their own. If they can’t be honest with God, then to whom shall they turn?

It has been my {gulp} abundant experience that I can come boldly, speak frankly and even bluntly to my God without being shunned for doing so. In fact, the exact opposite has been the case.

Once I shed the ‘nice Christian lady’ stuff and got real with Him, He revealed areas in my heart that needed attention…not always fun, but necessary; and then He began to work in my circumstances.

This short ‘journal entry’ by David is most likely because he carried on and got it all out of his system. This is as much of it as he remembered later! Can’t prove it, but I’ve done the same thing. Once all the emotion is released, most of it dissipates. I can only remember bits of what I said.

Because I can speak bluntly – “Hey! I don’t get this!! I need some help! I need some insight!” – all the stuff swirling in my head is dumped out. My thinking clears up, and I begin to see things from His perspective.

It is only then that I can say with David:

“But I trust in Your unfailing love. You have been good, You will be good to me.”

Read David’s closure to his rant:

But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

It’s not until we feel safe enough with God to be real with Him

that we feel safe enough to trust in Him.

Please note, this is not our usual interaction with God. In fact, after I unload and get to a better place emotionally, I end up apologizing for what I said and how I said it. He is, after all, God!

More than that, He is my Father who loves me dearly. I didn’t mean to be rude or disrespectful. However, He understands the why behind the way I spoke. Every time, He’s responded in gentle tones.

Every time.

Not one, “How dare you? Don’t you know with Whom you are speaking? Get out of My face and come back when you can show some respect.”

Never happened.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16





But Now I See

10 06 2015

(This is a continuation of yesterday’s post, Born Blind).

We already looked at the story, so let’s see what we can glean from it.

Standing before the Pharisees stood a man who was once one way (blind, in this case), but had an obvious change (could now see).

Because the healing did not take place inside their ‘box’ of who may heal, when they may heal, how they may heal, and whom is ‘worthy’ to be healed, they refused to see Jesus in action and glorify God.

Instead, they wanted the man to admit that he had been healed by a demoniac…and give glory to God.

Does that even make sense?

It’s a good thing that only took place in Jesus’ day – not now.

And I would never be so foolish as to attribute God’s work to Satan…right??

Right?

When my back was healed at the age of 19, it was through a member of a church we’d been taught was ‘suspect.’ Demonization was supposedly rampant there.

What was I to think about that?

I flip-flopped between glorifying God for healing me – and repenting for attending ‘their’ Bible study for many years; a couple of decades, in fact.

(Oh, and there was a second time I was healed through the prayer of pastors from this same church. See Freakin’ Miracles. Do you suppose God was trying to teach me something??)

Even today, animosity toward this particular congregation is intense. “Demons are at work there,” I often hear.

~ Like demons steer clear of every other church in town – and only ‘attend’ that church!

It occurs to me that demons are more evident there…

…because Jesus is there.

Didn’t demons manifest whenever Jesus arrived on the scene?? (What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time? Matthew 8:29). They didn’t come with Him. They couldn’t remain hidden because He was there!

{This is a new thought for me, by the way. Yes, I still struggle to ‘see’.}

Miracles happen there.

All the time.

We Pharisees stand back and demand proof: reports that certify what was true about the person (i.e. blind), and what is now true (20/20 vision).

I say ‘we Pharisees,’ for I have been guilty of this myself. I want proof of the healing from a ‘reliable’ source, for I cannot ‘see’ it myself!

After all, what ‘proof’ is there in a life that has been transformed? Doesn’t that evidence seem a bit flimsy? 😉

I gather my robes tighter to my body, lest I be ‘tainted’ with their delusion

…and actually see Jesus at work before my very eyes.

This is a strong indictment, Lord. One I needed to hear. Thank You for revelation – which changes my identity (from Pharisee to one-who-sees), and not just information – which changes a few thoughts in my head.

Whoa – that last paragraph was very helpful. I’ve pulled back from Bible study out of fear that I was merely adding to my ‘database of knowledge’ so I could more accurately decide for myself what is good and what is evil.

Now, who would want me to believe that lie? 🙂

I see that very often through study I receive revelation that alters my identity in, and what I believe about, Christ, bringing me into greater alignment with Him.

Very cool.

Thanks, Abba!





The Playfulness of Abba

27 05 2015

When I prayed in March of 2014, I had no idea what God would do with my request! It was during Jim Bailey’s Legacy class. The prayer was something like this:

“Father, you came to heal us, to give us sight, deliver us, and set us free. Would you look under every rock, and overturn every stone in our hearts? Leave no place untouched by Your Spirit.”

Okay, we asked God to search our hearts. No big deal, right?

The next month, life was leveled by a series of events that left me in a broken heap, with little faith left in God. I didn’t talk to Him, and certainly didn’t want to hear anything He had to say.

During Legacy, I met Cheryl Stasinowsky, a very gifted counselor. We’d gone to coffee once during the summer. When life fell apart, I realized that our meeting was orchestrated by God. He’d opened a door before I knew I had a need. I had enough sense to step through it.

In September I began to meet with her every week. It’s been a difficult, although fascinating journey.

At the same time, kidney stones made themselves known. Gall stones as well. If you’ve ever had either, you know that they are not fun.

Week after week, Cheryl and I would address another stronghold within me…and I would pass a kidney stone, or two, or three! Not in the usual, painful way, though. I could feel them at the base of my kidney, then feel them drop down the tube into the ‘holding tank’. That was weird!

For the gall stones, I found a homeopathic remedy online – and it really worked!

Each time, after the Lord took down a stronghold, stones were ejected!

Abba was, indeed, looking under every rock and overturning every stone.

However, during this period, I also developed a massive kidney infection. It annoys me to have to go to a doctor to tell me what I already know – just so I can get an antibiotic!!

She did her fancy tests, and confirmed: Kidney infection. I took the written prescription and headed for the pharmacy, then went home to wait until it was ready to be picked up.

By the time I returned for the pills, the infection was gone.

Completely gone!

It seemed silly to take pills for something I no longer had, so I stuck them in my drawer, knowing that I’d probably need them at a later date.

Fast-forward to last weekend.

By Thursday night, the packing was done and ready to be loaded into the car for our long weekend at the coast.

Friday morning I woke up with strep throat and bronchitis.

Great, I thought, I’m going to sleep away our vacation.

I’ve had to go to the doctor while we were out of town (kidney infection!), and it cost almost $600. I didn’t want to do that again.

Our doctor was on vacation, so a quick stop for a prescription was out of the question.

“Oh, Lord. What am I to do?”

The unused medicine came to mind. Where had I put the pills? That was several months ago.

After I found them, I looked up the medication online and discovered that it was also used for respiratory infections and strep throat.

Woohoo! By Saturday I was feeling much better.

On Sunday afternoon, we sat on the gravel beach at Dry Lagoon (just north of Trinidad). The waves were slowly advancing, for high tide was on its way.

Our quest: agates.

I’ve been reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge who said that you can tell a great deal about an artist by his work.

Since I was holding a handful of stones, I began to really look at each one. I realized that in my hand were more than 20 different types of rock!

I began to share what I’d been reading with my husband, and said, “This beach is evidence of the extravagance of God. You know, God could have given us one type of rock, one type of grass, of bush, of tree, and even soil. He didn’t have to give us a variety.

“After all, He didn’t spend millennium in the lab trying to figure out an ecosystem that worked. HE decided how it would all work together. He is the originator of the ecosystem…and, therefore, is not limited by it.

“Yet, He chose to give us such a diverse and interesting planet on which to live. By His work, we can see how amazing He really is!”

“WAVE!” my husband yelled, grabbing for his backpack.

I grabbed my flip-flops and scrambled for higher ground. The ‘sneaker’ wave rolled over my pants before I could get clear.

Finally on my feet, I walked up the incline.

“Hey! We were talking about You…and nicely, too,” I said to the Lord with a grin. “You owe us an agate! Oh, all right. I know. You don’t owe us anything.”

Moving to a new spot, I looked down. At my feet was…

…a beautiful smoky agate…

…in the shape of a heart.

AbbaLovesMe

I love the playfulness of my Father!