Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 29: My Own Understanding

“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” Proverb 3:5

I have not written for four days; two days were set aside deliberately to honor my family during the Christmas holiday, each day covered with prayer, and full of gratitude, helping hands, and the joy of new family members, and fresh traditions, being honored along side the old. It was the next two days that took me by surprise, with a need for sleep that saw my pillow getting more of my day than any more productive activity, and then in the midst of my exhaustion, a hope was dashed, and I found myself crashing into the wall of my own expectations, wrestling again with my own understanding.

In the fifteen years since the loss of my husband and son, God has taken me on a journey to the Land of Trust. So frequently, I found myself bolting, afraid that the destination required too difficult of a journey. I was not only terrified, but hopping mad that He kept asking me to go there. What would it be like in that far-off place? Would I find peace, and joy, and provision, or would He again ask me to let go of that which I counted most precious? How could I know? If I could only understand, than surely I could trust.

My own understanding is a formidable opponent, and stepping into the ring with her should certainly not be taken lightly. She is underhanded; as I try to look to the truth, she throws the past in my face attempting to blind me so that I can not fight. When I am on the mat for a minute, she is sure to kick me with a fresh reminder of all the ways that I have been let down. When my head is spinning from her last blow, she confuses the situation further to ensure that I can see no way that I can survive another blow. Her goal is to buffet me into the clear understanding that all is lost, and there is no way out. She simply can not be trusted, and yet, here I am again, caught in a wrestling match, trying to pry her hands from my ears so I can hear His sweet voice whisper, “Trust Me.”

I am still afraid. Yes, I still have those days. But I will not run from Him, I will listen, again, and again, even when my own understanding cries out that it is hopeless, until His voice is the only one I hear.

My Lord,

How tempting it is still, to run…but where O, Savior would I go. I am down Lord. I am afraid. But You have promised to never forsake me, and so, in your strength, I will clap my hand over the mouth of My Own Understanding, as I seek to hear your voice. I need you desperately…forgive me of my fearful and obstinate nature. I am yours.

Your Desperate Beloved

To my Dear Readers,

Having completed less than ten percent of this project, the event of missing four consecutive days almost convinced me that I would not be able to complete a total of 365 days of prayer and writing. The crashing of my computer two weeks in has caused great difficulty, and of course, daily life has thrown a few curve balls, as it does for all of us. I am determined to follow through with this discipline, with the hope that it will honor God. If I stumble, I trust that He will pick me up and give me the skill and strength to continue.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 28: A Prayer of Gratitude

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” Psalm 103:2

One of the characteristics of any holiday event is the potential for the joy and merriment of the season, to be pushed aside by the sheer busyness of what must be accomplished in preparation for the festivities. Malls crowded with the chaos of shopping test our patience; freeways crowded with the congestion of travelers heading home for the holidays are suddenly filled with a cacophony of carols played on that most unusual instrument, the car horn. Plumbing gives out and creates a small river under the kitchen sink, as ours did tonight, and rather then remembering the child in the manger, our focus is shifted to the last straw before we burst into anger. For these reasons, on this eve of the birth of the Son of God, Christ Jesus, I want to stop and breathe a prayer of gratitude for the many reasons I have to be filled with joy:

Thank you Lord, You are the giver of every perfect gift.

Thank you for each of my children, wherever they are this holiday season, and for all the many ways they show their love to me, each other, and to our family.

Thank you for my sister and her husband who opened their home so that we could share in a beautiful Christmas Eve.

Thank you for my mom, who once again labored in the kitchen making the traditional taco feast, and sharing the stories of how my red-headed father came to crave tacos, and had the tortillas shipped to a little market in Michigan, where they lived.

Thank you for the mealtime grace led by my sixteen year old nephew, as my family gathered in the kitchen, hands linked.

Thank you for sounds of my daughter’s voices, as they called to wish us all a joyous celebration and for the knowledge that though they are far, our hearts are near.

Thank you for my husband, and his words of love and encouragement, for the warm cup of tea he brings me when I wake up, and when I sit to write, and for cleaning up the flood under the kitchen sink.

Thank you for my new fuzzy bedtime socks…my feet have been so cold this winter.

And most of all, thank you for sending that little baby, so that he might grow and become the greatest gift ever received, the salvation of my soul. I am truly grateful.

My heart rejoices!

Your Beloved

Day 27: Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

It is a couple of hours past midnight on Christmas Eve. Since the first light of dawn is hours from peeking through my windows, I am considering it to yet be, the eve of Christmas Eve. My last present has been wrapped. I have enjoyed the privilege of visiting into the wee hours with one of my grown children, who now sleeps peacefully in the guest room.

My heart is at peace.

It took most of the morning for my mind to come into agreement with the great I Am; to not just hear his gentle reminders to trust Him, but to put them into practice. He is my All Sufficient Provider, my caretaker, the protector of everything and everyone I love: the lover of my soul.

My response to His gracious promptings had to be active. I had to choose to trust, choose to be still and greater still, and choose to know, that He and He alone is God.

And so I choose, and as I do I find the rest of a hopeful heart, confident that in my stillness, He will act.


I rest in You in the quiet and sleepy hours. I trust in You at all times. You are my answered prayer, the hope I long for, my All in All. Bring peace, joy, and the knowledge of your Son to my home this holiday season. In You, I find my stillness, my confidence to stand.

Your Beloved

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 26: Psalm Searching

“To the Lord I cry aloud…” Psalm 3:4

For more than 24 hours now I have felt discouraged and saddened.

“Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 4:1

A recent situation with a loved one has left me disappointed, and has rendered our communication difficult.

“Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing.” Psalm 5:1

My first emotion was anger, and then it was hurt.

“Let all who take refuge in you be glad…” Psalm 5:11

My only choice has been to take my hurt and anger to God.

“The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer” Psalm 6:9

Again and again I have confessed my heart to God, baring my every emotion, my every thought before Him.

“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted.” Psalm 10:17

I know that I must forgive by an act of choice, just as I am so graciously forgiven.

“Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path…” Psalm 27:11

Still, I struggle.

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1

Author and theologian, C.S. Lewis noted, “We must lay before Him what is in us not what ought to be in us.” In truth and authenticity, I bare my heart before Him, trusting that He will align my way with His, and lead me on His perfect path.

“The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.” Psalm 32:10

Your hand is heavy upon me, and you know, I am simply not there yet. Not free, not trusting as I should hurt and wounded. I bring it all to You, all of my sadness, all of my anger, all of my expectations. Lead me on that straight path; help me to release it all to into your capable hands, and not to continue to feel anger upon anger, as I told You last night. I am yours, such as I am. Make me the woman You have called me to be.

I love You, and O, how I need You.

Your Beloved

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 25: Every Remembrance

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you…” Philippians 1:3

A rain washed day, filled with mothers and daughters meeting in an over-crowded café: Our dear friends. Not a table to be found in the restaurant, so we tucked ourselves on couches in a little waiting area by the window, and they brought us our food. Feeling as if we had been transported to a quaint European café, we ate and talked, warming our hearts against the wind and the rain, and thankful for another year, another day. My one friend, a single mom, has been walking the path of cancer; this is the third Christmas she has fought with valor, as her daughter has grown from little girl to almost teen. My other friend awaits her first grandchild, her son in law having just arrived home from Afghanistan. They are beautiful women of God, who inspire me everyday.

We exchanged little gifts, cookies baked by one of the girls, gifts brought home from a recent travel, or little things that just made us think of the other person: Sweet remembrances.

I love to read, and often the gifts I receive, come bound between two covers filled with words that will encourage and inspire me for years to come. Peeking into a little holiday bag, I find a beautiful handmade cross-stitched ornament for my tree, and a small devotional by an author-teacher I deeply respect. The book is hard-bound, with a rich red cover and glistening gold type. It looks like a book to be passed on for generations, one that my great-grandchildren can share, and say this belonged to my great-grandmother.

Opening the cover I find this passage:

I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you,
Always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer,
Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you
Will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…

Philippians 1: 3-6

I am beyond grateful for these two godly women in my life, and in the life of my daughter. They walked with me in the days of my singleness, showered care and love on both myself, and my daughter. They have prayed for me, and I for them, and they have shown me Jesus Christ alive and in the flesh. I thank God for my every remembrance of them!

My Lord,

Thank you for giving me faithful godly friends when I had no time to be a friend. Thank you, for giving my daughter beautiful examples of godly women, who have loved not only in word, but all the more so in deed. We are truly blessed. Carry on your good work in each of us, and in our lovely daughters, until that day, Lord, when we see your face.

Your Grateful Beloved

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 24: A Little Piece of My Whole

“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.”
Proverbs 20: 7

This morning in my devotional reading I learned that the definition of the word integrity comes from the root word “integer,” which simply means a whole number. Integrity in a building might refer to the soundness of its foundation, in a ship it speaks of the capability of the hull to weather storms and stay afloat, and in a scientific experiment it indicates the consistency and verifiability of the testing methods.

A man, or a woman, for that matter, that walks in his or her integrity is likely to be considered to have all of these characteristics; their foundation in Christ is sound causing them to exhibit moral and ethical behavior, their capability to rely on God’s word enables them to weather the trials and storms of life, and the consistency of their character can be tested and verified day after day through their upright behavior.

In order to fulfill a commitment, my children had to be at church this morning an hour earlier than I needed to be there. The thirty-five minute drive to church precluded my returning home, and with Christmas only six days away, I needed every precious second of time to complete my gift shopping. Knowing exactly what I needed to accomplish, in under a half an hour I found myself in the store of my choosing, and standing at the cash register.

“Thirty eight dollars and…

“That can’t be correct,” I interrupted, before he could complete his sentence. “It sounds wonderful, but something didn’t get rung up.”

After carefully reviewing my purchases, and revising my total at a somewhat more beefy number, we both smiled, and I said, “Well it was fun while it lasted!”

A little opportunity to be consistent, when I know the only one watching is my Father. A little piece of my whole.

I went on to church, pulling in just in the nick of time, the shopping incident already forgotten. With all my loved ones serving elsewhere for the day, I sat alone. Bowing my head for communion, suddenly my family was all that I could think of, How greatly I want them to be blessed, how much I long for each of them to know the depth of the love of Jesus Christ.

I have been less than the whole that God has intended me to be, and my children have been the unfortunate witnesses to this failure of character. Still, His mercy endures and His forgiveness rewrites my past, creating in its place a story of a woman made whole.

I believe that is the definition of integrity.


You are rewriting my life into a story of failures traded for a strong foundation, storms weathered, and character made consistent. You are making me whole. I bow my heart and head in humble appreciation. I pray that as you make me a woman of integrity, that your promises will be fulfilled in my children, and that they will know blessings in You that they could not ever have imagined.

Your Beloved

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 23: The Kicker

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock.” Matthew 7:24

And Puts them Into Practice…Weighty words, and easily overlooked. Tucked in at the end of what is considered perhaps the most impactful teaching ever given by Jesus. The closing comments, after He has carefully answered the question, “How then shall we live?” Or as some might say: the kicker.

Here’s the kicker: And puts them into practice.

Prayer is changing me. Daily revealing my heart to my Lord and Savior is changing me. Confessing my every fault and failure is changing me. Sharing my every concern, my hopes and dreams with Him is changing me. Searching His word to know Him better is changing me.

This morning as I prayed I found all of my requests focused in one area. A family I know and love is suffering. They are struggling with issues that threaten to level the very foundations of their lives. I poured out my heart and my tears to God on their behalf. I love them dearly, and want the very best for them. I want so very much for them to have the riches that are available to them in Christ, but I also understand they must choose to put His word into practice. And so I commit to pray to this end.

How many times have I failed even in the simplest endeavor to put His word into practice? I know that it is through His strength that I achieve this, but I also know I must choose it daily. I must show up, and then let Him change me, so that I will not only hear His word, but put it into practice. How can I tell someone to pray, if I have not put it into practice? How can I tell someone to trust, if I have not put it into practice? How can I encourage others that they will find hope, direction, and strength in scripture, if I do not put into practice the diligent seeking of His word?

Christianity, Christ seeking, begins inside of me, and inside of each faithful believer that will live out the call to put His words into practice. Daily.

I Will Put His Word Into Practice.

I’ll start with prayer, and act from there. That's the Kicker.


Make me a woman who puts your word into practice. Half a century, Lord, and I finally understand. How many opportunities did I have to shine for You, when I failed to put your word into practice? As I start again today, in your strength, may I accomplish your plan, and take the hand of others as they seek to do the same.

Use me, Lord, use me.

Your Beloved

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 22: For His Name's Sake

“For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23

It has not been quite two years since I exchanged the title of single parent, for the title of wife. Not longer after, I also traded in my professional identity as manager, trainer, and mentor for that of home organizer, decorator, and home educator.

Although the changes were welcomed answers to prayer, they also brought about some confusion as to my purpose in life and my value as a woman in Christ. After seven years of having my hours filled to overflowing with full-time work, full-time parenting, and a few college classes thrown in just to make sure my cup was never half full, it suddenly seemed as if my cup had sprung a leak, and my purpose and identity had gone through the crack.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.

For so long I had so desperately needed all that Jesus had for me, I seemed to want for much, and the want drove me to my Shepherd. Now, I needed so little in the way of physical concerns, but feeling a sense of loss, longed all the more the direction of my Shepherd.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

In the months after my marriage I developed not one, but two shoulder injuries, which were complicated by an increased frequency of migraine headaches. I cut off my long hair to avoid having to send my husband to blow dryer boot camp, signed up for excruciating physical therapy, and became amazed at how many things you can not do when you have injured shoulders. And so I rested.

He leads me beside quiet waters.

My husband is a great lover of fountains, and beyond the windows of my home, are two. We often sit together and enjoy their music as they bubble gently, soft enough that hummingbirds will take their showers under the calm waterfalls, and quiet enough that the sweet strains of water dancing, will calm my heart. I think I’ll stay a while.

He restores my soul.

Tucked in the beauty of the new life my Shepherd had brought me to, I began to take delight in the rest, and in the quiet; in the abundance of green, and the refreshment of the sweet water. As I did, my heart grew content, and I could hear His voice speaking to desires in me that I had long laid at the gate of “I shall not be in want.” And my soul began to awaken.

He guides me in paths of righteousness…

He had made me to lie down, so I would learn to rest in him. He had led me beside quiet waters, so that I would learn to drink of His refreshment. He is restoring my soul, so that I will know the joy of truly having His desires fulfilled in my life. And now He will be the Shepherd that He has always been, directing and guiding me in His paths of righteousness that I might fulfill the wonderful purposes this little lamb was designed for.

For His name’s sake.


You have never left me on the journey, nor abandoned me when I strayed. How I thank you that you pulled me to yourself, and as a little lamb, rested me on your shoulders, caused me to lie down in the greenest of pastures, and refreshed me with the sweetest of waters. My soul is restored. May I always walk in the path you have planned for me. For your name’s sake.

Your Beloved

Day 21: Continuous Conversation

“Be joyful always; pray continually…” 1Thessalonians 5:16

For the last several weeks, I have been making a point of dedicating my day to God. It is not an idea original to me, but one that I have borrowed from the wise men and women of God who have gone before me. Some days this act of dedication came in the form of me on my knees, early in the morning, asking God to use me for His purposes, to bless my family, and anyone He brought into my life that day, through me. Other days, the realization that I had not only not opened the pages of my prayer journal, but that I had not yet yielded my day to Him, would hit me half way through the day. Usually, this situation would occur in a moment of frustration, and I knew my only response had to be to stop, for a breath, and remind myself through prayer, that my day belongs to Him.

I started this practice as a discipline, and truthfully, it was more for me, than for God. I wanted to daily, have a concrete way of reminding myself that my minutes and hours belonged to Him. Even as I have sought to be disciplined in this effort, I have found that my failure rate is somewhat significant. Even so, it seems that God is only interested in my successes. Whether I give Him my day early in the morning, or I take Him the frazzled bits and pieces of it late in the day, still He receives my offering and makes beautiful use of them.

This morning as I woke, still groggy from a night of holiday performances, and the requisite holiday cookies that accompanied the merriment, I found myself snuggled under my covers with a heart full of greeting to my wonderful Father. “Good morning, Lord,” I whispered with a smile, and a heart genuinely filled with joy. And so again, I gave Him my day.

As I have started this journey of prayer, I have been reminded that prayer is a continuous act; it is quite simply an ongoing conversation with the One I love. It may start in the morning with a greeting, and continue throughout the day with a question, a comment, or a moment of gratitude. It may take the form of non-verbal communication through a smile, or a sigh of frustration, or a stream of tears. If communication has faltered, it can be restored at any time, and even our thoughts and the intents of our heart toward Him, are part of the language of our love for Him.

As I meander my mind through this scripture passage, I think how interesting it is that Paul introduced his encouragement to pray continually, with an exhortation to always be joyful, and it brings me back to my early morning smile. For me, God’s giving nature again shines through, and I know that as I seek to maintain my conversation with the One I love, He will in turn cause me to always, be filled with joy.


You are the Author of my day, and the Redeemer of my minutes. Thank you for the joy and the peace that fills my heart today, and for helping me to learn to always keep the conversation going. Thank you for listening, and for the beautiful ways that You respond. I am honored, and ever so grateful!

Your Beloved

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 20: Fan the Flame

Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…” 2 Timothy 1:6

The day is gloomy outside, and my emotions have been tempted to follow suit. My youngest daughter awoke last night with symptoms of the flu, just as I was laying my head to sleep. This morning my son awakened me to inform me that he would be late to his first period class. The one class he is struggling in. It almost seemed as if the sun refused to shine for me, both beyond the glass of my windows, and inside of my mind.

The day became one of prayerfulness, as I found myself constantly taking my gloomy thoughts, my justified concerns, and my frustrating emotions, back to Jesus. A day spent wrestling with the dark landscape of my mind, trying to creep its way into my very soul.

As I sat down to write, the sky darkened, and my windows framed the grey of an impending storm, and then a thought tugged at the corner of my brain, “Light a fire.”
Matches in hand, I watched as my fireplace filled the room with the warmth and brilliance of the dancing flames.

Light a fire.

As Christians, the Holy Spirit fills our very soul with the peace and passion of a flame kindled inside of each of us. Our emotions, our actions, or our lack of action, can keep us from using the gift that God has placed in us. It is our responsibility to fan the flame inside of us, to act on the gift and the passion that burns within, and watch as it fills our lives with the warmth and brilliance of the Christ himself.

Fan the flame.


Thank you that when I come to you in the midst of my gloom, when my landscape is dark with impending storms, you remind me not only of who You are, but who I am. Train me to be an excellent flame keeper, and to keep the fire burning strong and brilliant, until that day when it is replaced by the astounding glory of Your presence.

I am amazed at the thought.

Your Beloved

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 19: You Did It!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

I have a ceramic message board that sits on the counter top in my kitchen. It is beautifully designed with an oxidized iron stand, and matching scrollwork that crowns the top of the cream ceramic center, upon which I often write messages to my family. I purchased a marker that is specifically designed for writing on ceramic, in the color “Comet Copper.” The lovely copper tone of the pen was chosen to coordinate my written messages, with the coloring of the iron scrollwork that decorates the ceramic.

In recent months, my family has been greeted with messages of celebration, remembering their birthdays, or wishing them well on their journeys. There have been the seasonal greetings, a congratulatory message for my daughter who scored well on her graduate school entrance exams, as well as a simple “I love my family.” It has been used as a menu board for the wedding shower of my son and his lovely bride to be, and even as the bearer of an appropriately phrased note of love for my husband (my pre-teen added her own note to this one: “Awkward.”) Soon, it will bear a greeting to my first grandson, a goodbye to my daughter as she follows her work to the Big Apple and a Shout Out to my son as he graduates high school, and joins his sister in New York City, to begin his college career.

Over the last thirteen weeks, I have been attending a Life Coach training program sponsored by my church. This training will enable me to become involved in helping women move forward in their lives toward being the women God has designed them to be. Ephesians 2:10 explains that each of us are “God’s workmanship,” and that we are created in Jesus, specifically for a purpose; to do that thing that God designed or prepared us to do, something good.

I want to help other women find that magnificent work that they, and they alone are created to do. I want to inspire them, and encourage them, and help them move forward, and then I want to stand on the sideline and cheer them on! I believe that this is part of the good works that God has prepared for me to do. By taking the Life Coach training program, I moved forward in my life, so that I can help other women do the same.

This morning I woke up, and as I often do, headed toward the kitchen. There written on my ceramic board was a message from my husband:

You Did It!
Now Go Help the Woman of Christ!
We Love You.


How wonderful it is that we are not only your wonderful workmanship, but that we are each uniquely designed by You to do good works. How joyful I am when I am doing the things that You have made me to do. Help me to encourage your women, and to share with those who don’t yet know the wonder of their design, that they are the flawless work of the Original Designer.

Your Beloved

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 18: And Yet

“When I look up into the night skies and see the work of your fingers-the moon and the stars you have made-I cannot understand how you can bother with mere puny man, to pay any attention to him! And yet you have made him only a little lower than the angels.”
Psalm 8: 3-5, TLB

And Yet…

I can not help in this moment to be in awe of the And Yet.

To simply thank God, for the “And Yet."

To list in gratefulness all of the amazing ways that He says to each of us,
And Yet:

I sinned,
And Yet He loved me.

I shook my fist at Him,
And Yet He forgave me.

I knew His ways and made excuse for myself,
And Yet He accepted my broken apologies.

I fell short of the plans He had for me,
And Yet He chose to work them for good.

I forgot so many times to thank Him,
And Yet He gave me so many reasons to thank Him.

I behaved as if I was without worth,
And Yet He designed me for a beautiful purpose.

And Yet He confers His love, His honor, and His grace upon me.

And Yet...


Help me never to forget the beautiful words, And Yet. You have loved me in ways undeserved, and I marvel. How I pray that my life will shine with your amazing... And Yet.

How I love You!

Your Beloved

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 17: Sweet Satisfaction

“A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul…” Proverbs 13:19

This day has been good; sweet and satisfying.

I kneel to pray, and find my heart overwhelmed with a simple sense of peace. A feeling of contentment completely fills my soul, such that it spreads through me and appears in the form of a smile, lit across my lips.

As I pray, faith wells inside of me, and I know to the core, that I am praying the very desires of my Creator, and that every word that flows from my lips, comes from his heart.

Only He can long even more than I do for healing, and salvation, and blessing, and relationship to spring up inside of those who I love so very dearly, because He loves them more than I. His love is the very root, the foundation, and the genesis of all that I hope for.

And so I pray, daily, continuously, with each breath, with tears, and with gratitude, and as I pray, I realize that I, this one small fallible woman, can absolutely make a difference, and so I pray even more.

Not just for those I love, but for myself, that He will change me, and make me a woman from whom his love pours, overflowing with abundance, and as I finish I find myself beaming, and humming a little tune.

And then I hear the words of this "melodious sonnet," and so I sing:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise

Let your desire be accomplished in me, everyday Lord. Your ways are sweet to my soul.

My Father, My Loving Father,

Everyday, I get to choose “How” I will live. Teach me to always choose your desires, and let them be accomplished daily in me. Your ways are sweet and satisfying, refreshing to my soul. You are truly my Fountain, overflowing with blessing. Come, Lord, and “tune my heart to sing Thy grace.”

Your Delighted Beloved

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson circa 1757

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 16: His Work of Art

“For we are God’s workmanship…” Ephesians 2:10

It is the holiday season, and I have been making my lists, and checking them twice. There is shopping, wrapping, meal planning and of course, countless conversations about who might like which gift, and how we can pool our pennies together, and perhaps truly bless a family member with a particularly thoughtful present. With a family as large as ours, it is essential that the gift selections be well-considered, and that we stretch our funds in ways that will “keep on giving.”

This year, in an effort to maximize our giving capabilities I decided that I would not buy a single sheet of wrapping paper. Instead, as a nod to the thrifty concept each of our grandparents lived everyday: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, I would use only the left over materials from previous yuletide fests, or whatever could be found around my home. My inspiration had been drawn from the creative genius of a team of volunteers who with elf-like magnitude, had turned our large church sanctuary into an artsy winter-wonderland of recycled printer paper snowflake chandeliers, and trees designed of leftover to go coffee cups, adorned with what appeared to be glistening icicles made entirely of hand cut reclaimed water bottles. As in nature, each snowflake was its own unique design, and each icicle made me want open my mouth for the first chilly drop of wintery water that might land on my tongue.

As I began to consider the supplies available for my endeavor in reclamation, I had images of the leftover Santa bags that have wandered into my wrapping drawer, once filled with gifts of fudge, or the white elephant gifts I later liberated to my local thrift store. Still, I felt determined to eliminate this added cost, and use a creative eye with whatever I came across, and then, there it was, in the form of my local grocer’s brown bag.

Counter spread with bits of ribbon saved from previous gifts, and letters cut from the holiday edition of my grocery bag, glue gun at the ready, I was fortified for the task at hand. There was raffia from last years wrapping, and green wire and twigs saved from flower arrangements, gold stretchy ribbon from a candy box, moss from my gardening supplies, and a small roll of tulle from a wedding. The afternoon sped by, and with each completed gift my excitement mounted, until I found myself dragging my daughter out to ooh and ahh at my creations. So delighted was I in my workmanship, that I dragged my husband through the oohing and aahing, and went on to describe in detail each and every gift to one of my older daughters. I could hardly wait to give these gifts to my loved ones, with the hope that they would delight not only in the gift, but with the care in which they have been wrapped.

And then I understood…albeit in a small way, I understood.

We, I, am His workmanship, quite literally, we are His work of art. If I can receive such sheer enjoyment in the creation of my recycled inanimate works of art, how much joy does He experience in the creation of each one of us?

Can you imagine?


I am awestruck, honored, and filled with joy that seems to radiate from the depth of me to know that I am quite simply, Your work of Art. How can I thank you? How I pray I will delight and please You, always reflecting well on the masterful Artist who created me.

I love You,

Your Beloved

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 15: Time Redeemed

“Redeeming the time…” Ephesians 5:16

I didn’t write yesterday, nor did I discipline myself to truly take time to pray for the many concerns that God has set before me. I failed in my commitment. The day had been full of joys; an abundant brunch shared with the interesting and faithful women with whom I have spent the last few months studying Isaiah, an encouraging gift from a new friend, and the privilege of hearing a woman I love share with this group the amazing ways God is moving in her life. I continued on to an afternoon of studying and an evening of school, while my husband faithfully met the needs of our household.

It was a day of endings and beginnings, marked with the sense of being exactly where I belonged, and the anticipation of moving forward toward the achievement of longed for goals, and yet by the end of it, I had allowed myself to look only at its flaws, and to act accordingly. I was disappointed and irritated by what had went wrong, as opposed to rejoicing in the multitude of that which had been so completely, right.

By the end of the evening, my humanness was in full display, and pouring myself into bed next to my daughter who wasn’t feeling well, I never made it to my own. I never thanked my husband for supporting me in tangible ways, as I return to finish this last leg of school. I never told my teenage son goodnight. And I never stopped to see that I was allowing a day of glowing golden sunshine, to be spoiled by a raindrop or two. All I can say now, is what I used to say when my children were little, “Silly Mommy.” And so I was.

In His Image, we are called to be redeemers. A redeemer buys back something that used to belong to them or for another on their behalf. It can also speak of setting something free. With respect to time it has to do with recovering time that has been or may be wasted, and making something from it that is of value.

In this new day, I was given the opportunity to dwell in my yesterday, and the failures of the day, however miniscule, or to allow my day and the memories of my yesterday, to have value. Sometimes it is moments that must be redeemed, sometimes words, and often, it requires the shifting of our minds back toward His mind-set, and to choose to walk in the image of the Glorious Redeemer, who truly will work all things together for those who love Him and are called according to his purposes. The Ultimate Redemption of our time.

My Redeemer,

I know that You do not require my reminder that I am yours and that I desperately need You to work all things together for your good in my life, but I daily need to be reminded of your words and of your astounding promises. I ask You, Lord, in your image, make me a redeemer of time, so that my minutes, my hours, and my days, will bless others and glorify You. How I thank you that when I falter and fail to see your amazing blessings in my life even this You can turn for good.

Your Beloved

Scripture Reference: Romans 8:28