Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Prayer crayon scribbles

If you’re a Mom, there are some at your house no matter how old or young your children are. Crayon scribblings. On walls, or paper, or furniture, and most of all in your memories. They are meaningless, worthless to anyone else but you know which child drew them, and when, and even the details of that time together. Why do we keep theses scribbles? Tonight I was thinking about my prayers - self-centered, broken, childish, scribbled-with-no-skill prayers. And I was overwhelmed to realize they are more precious to God than my children’s drawings. Not because I ask (draw) rightly or perfectly. Not because I am a master pray-er (artist), know the right words (colors), stay in the lines, or even make sense with my pleas and cries. But because HE loves me.  HE, the God of all, is more in love with this child than I am with my crayon coloring bundles of joy. No words can describe, no art can convey, no planet contain His love. And that love turns my scribbled mess of a prayer into something beloved.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

LaoLao’s Concert

Today for several hours I listened to the most beautiful music this side of heaven. No love song by Dion and Bocelli, no piano concert by Horowitz, no guitar solo by Jimi Hendrix, no folk balad by Emmylou Harris, no country crooning by Carrie Underwood, no pop hit by Michael Jackson could ever compare to the beauty of this afternoon’s concert. The fast rhythm was a soft drumming of pattering feet across my living room floor.  The crescendo exploded at the end of each stanza with giggles.  Soft, loud, occasional and frequent bursts of “LaoLao” “I Loves You”, “Hugs”,”Up” and “Ai-ne (Chinese for I love you)  created this heavenly music that left this LaoLao (Grandma) in tears of gratitude for the music of grandchildren. Heavenly music for sure.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother’s Day Letter to My Children

You shower me with love and gifts of all kinds.
Not just today.
But every day.
So I have to explain, point out, reiterarate, shout out something to you, my children.
Please forgive me.
You deserve more love than I could ever give.
You deserve a better life than I could ever make for you.
You deserve more patience, more care, less judgement,
More empathy and understanding,
More good and less evil
Than I can ever make happen.
So forgive me.
I could lie and say I did my best
But there is always room to do better.
I could gloss over the times you
“Got on my last nerve”
And I acted or spoke out of frustration.
I could pretend that I never lost my temper,
Never set my expectations too high for you,
And never spoke too sharply.
But I did.
Probably times you remember that I don’t.
Probably doing things that hurt you that maybe neither of us even realize.
So please forgive me.
Not because I deserve it but because you deserve it.
The weight of  unforgiveness is a burden I want you to escape.
So forgive me.
My love for you has been, and will always be, imperfect.
But it is never ending.
It is constant.
It is deep and indescribable.
And it grows with each day we both have breath.
You are my child and my heart.
You are loved.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

That stubborn sticker

You know the kind. You pull at at, scrape it with your fingernail, wet and rub it, peel at it and it just refuses to come off. Stubborn sticky sticker. So you just ignore it and finally forget it's there. Until suddenly one day the slightest corner reaches up and adheres to your new dress. Or your newly painted nails.  Or your freshly pressed tablecloth to impress the new neighbors. And you realize you never really, genuinely spent the time and energy to deal with it when you first inherited that stupid sticker along with the item you desired and bought. Grief. Like a stupid sticker gets picked at and half-heartedly rubbed, but it just keeps sticking back up and reminding you of its scar, it's ugly presence, at the worst times in life.
Grief. I thought I knew it. The ache in my heart was as big as Hoover Dam, holding back the floodgates of tears and emotions buried deep beneath my pride and hurt and fear. But it just keeps sticking back up, collecting grime around it, irritating and dirtying everything it touches.
And then one day a friend shares her "secret" with you. Oil.  The beautiful, fragrant oil of shared grief  healed by the Holy Spirit that so easily removes that stubborn sticker.  And as the unwanted slips away, you see the glorious shine of everlasting love left behind. Sweet fragrance of memories clinging to beautiful glossy hope.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Hospital

Once upon a time a few days ago
In a village far, far away just next door,
There was an epidemic of lost and dying people who called themselves healthy.
A great and wonderful man had paid for and built an amazing healing hospital
Where everyone was invited to go to receive perfect healing for free.

But the other patients put themselves in charge,
And blocked the entrance by standing in the doorways
Arguing about who could or could not come in,
What those who entered had to look like, or do, or say,
And which of them was the best person to be in charge.

These patients had forgotten that it was not their hospital
They had forgotten the One to whom it belonged.
They had forgotten that they had once been hopeless, and despairing and sick.

Who will remember?  Who will admit his or her selfishness and
humble themselves to move aside,
to take hold of the crippled,
to hold open the door,
to welcome the blind,
to feed the sick,
to act more like the Hospital owner?
Help me today, O Lord, to remember.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

100Years from now

There was a story I read a long time ago about a man bragging to his friend about all of the land and possessions he owned. “See what I own?” he bragged. His friend looked over the fields, meadows, and even a lake with a beautiful home beside it, and replied, ”Do you really own it?  For whose will it be in 100 years?”  That story has always stuck with me, maybe because it is such a hard struggle for me to completely open everything in my heart and hands and hold it out for God to use as He alone sees fit, rather than holding it tightly in my fists for “my plans”. But lately I’ve been thinking of this fact not just regarding material possessions, but my whole life - time, energy, effort, thoughts, ides, dreams.....  for what will any of those matter in 100 years either?  And it is really amazing, sort of “upside down thinking” if I honestly apply it to my whole life. It will not be the “stuff” that matters in one, two, three generations. It will not be my dreams, hopes, or ideas. It won’t be my work, effort, or “accomplishments”. It will only be my love, my character, the “little” things like faithfulness, persistence, compassion, faith in God and His Word lived out Day to Day, that will be passed from one generation to the next to the next...  Even then those values will be changed, dropped, added, revised...  but I think we have lost a sense of the true inheritance given to us, and squandered it like pigs stomping on pearls.  Our forefathers shaped us much more than just genetically or culturally or through family ties. And each of us can choose to add beauty, compassion, forgiveness, love, and a multitude of valuable assets into the “bank” or we can squander our inheritance and bankrupt the next generation. Debt, literal and figurative debt, is a chain of slavery from which I want my children to be free.

Help us, O Lord of the harvest, Lord of our hearts and minds, Lord of all creation and Lord of time, to pass along the things that truly matter and let go of all of the rest, leaving a pure and beautifully rich inheritance for the next generations. Amen.

Monday, September 4, 2017

You say it offends you.....

You say it offends you......
But how can a drowning man
fail to sing the praises
Of the lifeguard that rescued him?
How can the mother whose
baby was snatched out of a fire
Not shout the name of the rescuer?
How can the prisoner not tell
Of the wonderful Counselor
Who led him to true freedom?
How can the dying patient
Be silent about the Healer
Of heartbreak and deep terminal wounds?
How could she whose home was
Shattered by her own foolishness
Not proclaim the wonders
Of Him who repaired and restored
and paid for it all Himself?
So I cannot keep silent.
I must declare the name of the One
who does more than all
Of these put together
Not to offend you
But to share His love with you
And to glorify His name.