Holy God, thank you for the blessing of faithful parents. This is such a mixed up mess, I don't know how I could possibly function without their foundation of trust in you.
14 You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see. 15-16 Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.
Last month, Tom and I celebrated out 44th wedding anniversary. How did that happen? (Yes, we were infants when our families carried us to the altar.)
A few weeks before our anniversary, I was reaching the panic stage while preparing for a school event that was important to me. One of my colleagues kept asking if I was alright.
I finally turned around and looked at him incredulously. Didn't he know? (In my sane brain later, I knew he couldn't possibly.)
"When Tom is here, I can do anything! I'll be fine when he comes."
We'll skip the conversation about the difference between empowering and enabling for now, Dear Reader. Maybe this clip from one of my favorite movies will help.
As we were cleaning up a couple of hours later, my colleague told me as soon as Tom walked in the door my face lit up, and I became noticeably peaceful.
Dear Reader, God wants our lights to shine, not just for the ones we love, but even more so for the One we love.
And here's a thought to spark a little joy in our spirits. Don't you think Jesus lights up when we turn to Him with open arms?
I fervently hope and pray, Dear Reader, that your light will shine on those around you, and that you bask in "the lovelight of Jesus's face".
A couple of weeks ago, the weather forecast took a turn toward dangerously cold and hazardous driving conditions. Tom and I agreed doing our monthly grocery shopping after work on Tuesday was a better idea than waiting until Friday.
This OCD couple shops once a month and nearly always with a list. Shopping without one was painful. And then Tom blew me away.
Like most educators, the day school gets out for winter break is like a opening a seemingly endless gift. The days of sleeping in, eating out, and not grading papers roll out like a red carpet.
And then I got home.
In October, Tom and I adopted a petite, but older playmate for Maisie from a friend. Maisie and Prissy got off to a rocky start, probably because Prissy was absolutely the sweetest cat we'd ever had. Maisie is more spoiled than sweet.
Sadly, Prissy began losing weight almost immediately after we adopted her. She was showing the same diabetic symptoms our cat, Magellan, had.
The afternoon school got out, Prissy could barely drag herself to the door to greet me like she usually did. The food the vet had prescribed a few days earlier was too late. The follow up appointment was coming too late.
Sweet, sweet Prissy died in my arms later that evening.
Flashback to last summer: I decided it would be a good idea to get a betta fish for two of my special friends at school to take care of. And so I did. His name is Bob.
Back to winter break. Bob's journey home for winter break started off rocky when his travel carton sprung a leak. So instead I used a coffee mug with a small ziploc over it to take Bob home. Unfortunately, Bob managed to leap out of the mug on the way, but did manage to stay in the box with my other treasures.
We got Bob into his tank in Tom's bathroom. So far, so good. Then it was Christmas and life got hectic. I thought Tom was feeding Bob. Tom didn't tell me that he hadn't seen Bob for several days.
Are you kidding me? Had we managed to lose not one, but two pets in less than a week? Where was Bob?
I may not be a card carrying member of PETA, but I really do care about our pets. Bob couldn't be seen in his tank, or lying prostrate on the vanity. Where was Bob?
Somehow in the craziness of holidays, pet casualties, and being MIA, the Lord spoke a gentle reminder to me.
7 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
I briefly thought about times in my life when I'd felt lost. Times I'd strayed from my Heavenly Father's side. Times of grief for those I loved. Times of shame, and disappointment.
Dear Reader, have you ever felt lost? The Good Shepherd has encouragement, just for you.
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
When I finally made myself clean out Bob's tank, guess what I found? Yep! Bob had gotten himself stuck in the plastic grass he loved so much at the bottom of the tank.
As soon as the artificial turf was removed, Bob alive and swimming. He was a little weak and a lot hungry, but already on his way to a full recovery.
Maybe Bob isn't a talking donkey or a heavenly host, but the Lord used that little fish to remind me of a big lesson: we can never get lost from the Savior's love and grace.
Dear Reader, as we reflect on early events in the life of our Savior, I hope you will indulge me with this excerpt from my work in progress, "...and Jesus laughed." It's based on Matthew 3:13-16. (While I would love for you to share this post, I would ask that you not copy any portion.)
His dusty feet followed the hoarse, harsh voice in the distance. He knew its owner, by reputation and by blood. He smiled, thinking how surprised the baptizer would be.
He praised God for this man who was willing to sacrifice everything in order to be his herald. A shadow dipped and fled across his eyes as he glimpsed the herald’s final sacrifice.
Faces and feet joined his as they all drew closer to the voice. Their hearts were hungry, their hands empty. Inwardly, a glimmer of a smile took seed. Their seeking hearts were fertile soil for the message of the voice, and for the gift only he could give.
For the past few months I've been indulging in getting manicures. My technician, Miss Kim, amazes me. She is so efficient at making my nails look pretty; I love watching her! At the same time, she's answering the phone and cordially greeting customers.
Whether it's in the mall, Quik Trip, or the nail salon, I enjoy watching people. It blew me away to see Jesus at the nail salon just before Christmas.
So, here we are, still doing rehab for the knee replacement a few weeks ago. I gotta tell you, Dear Reader, I'm one blessed woman! And it's definitely undeserved grace.
Mama wanted to be a nurse in the worst way as a young woman. Just because nursing school didn't work out for her, that didn't stop Mama from nursing any and everybody who was sick or injured, including me.
Dear Reader, lately I've been reading more and more about the effect of our words. I know, not a new topic. But one thing has added to my thinking, and it's the effects of our words, good and not so good, on ourselves. Will you join me in digging a little deeper?
Way back in the last century, Mama and my mother-in-law thought Burt Reynolds, then a very popular actor, was pretty cool. Just a good old boy type, with an endearing grin.
I'm not sure which came first, the stage show, or the Burt Reynolds movie, but despite the topic, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,"seemed to have broad appeal.
Whenever I think of saying or hearing the words, "I will always love you," I think of the love song chorus from that particular movie. (And I promise, Tom and I have only seen it once.)
Okay, Dear Reader, if you just fell off your chair, please carefully get back up. And please listen to Dolly Parton's heartfelt lyrics in the chorus.
Now, wasn't that nice, Dear Reader? I pray you hear those words often in your life, from a spouse,a sweetheart, parent, or child. "I will always love you." That's the best, isn't it?
We all know, though, that sometimes "always" is a lot shorter than we expected. Sometimes, we wish we had uttered those treasures sooner, before it was too late. Or maybe we long in the deepest part of ourselves to have heard them, at least once.
Here's the most amazing news ever, Dear Reader: it's NEVER too late to tell or hear God say, "I will always love you." When He says "always", it's forever, everlasting, "to infinity and beyond!"
the Lord appeared to him[a] from far away.[b]
When I read or hear about the power of words, "I will always love you," is my default. And knowing that I know that God speaks those words into my spirit every day of my life brings strength and comfort when other words are not so kind. What a treasure He has given us!
Dear Reader, thank you for joining me on the road to the cross. My heart leaps to share the old, old story that remains new. Please accept my humble accounting of the treacherous path Jesus and His followers took to the cross, and gloriously beyond. (Road to the Cross will continue during Monday visits this Lenten season.)
It's over. I could not bear to look, and now it's over. He tried to tell me the very first time I came to Him. He tried, but I was too stubborn, too afraid to listen.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
He tried to tell me how much He loved me. For crying out loud, I came to Him in the night, sneaking and scared. But it didn't seem to matter to Him, He still said He loved me. He had already forgiven me before I even came.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
And now, look at them. Mary never wavered in her faithfulness. How could she bear to watch her son die such a horrible death? How did the Master draw Himself from the delirium of pain to commission John with taking care of her?
And here am I, still hiding in the shadows? What is left for me to do?
39 Nicode′mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight. 40 They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
What a feeble task for the Master. How clumsy I am in my ignorance of the process. His poor body! Ripped and humiliated, and He said He was going to do it for me. How do I bare this shame?
21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.
Gently, gently ... gently to the tomb. I hate to leave Him, but Joe reminds me of rituals and regulations. Dusk screams at us to go. How can I leave the Master? How can my spirit come out of the shadows? Where is the light He promised?
Hi, my name is Alice. A Way with Words is about sharing faith,
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