Sunday, August 25, 2013

Exceeding Abundantly

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

We pray to the Father asking for help in situations, ask for blessings, answers and more, but when Paul pray he prays conditionally. He prays declaring that God is able to meet us EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY. Then he add the caveat: according to the power working in us.
The Lord spoke to me several months ago saying I was coming into a season of "exceeding abundantly."
If you looked at my life at that time, you would have had to laugh like Sarah when God said she would have a baby in her 90s. However, I knew that condition and knew the reality was I had to turn up my power. That meant more time in the Word, more prayer and trusting at a still deeper level.
 I think we always think we trust God until He begins to barbecue one of our sacred cows. Time and privacy are two of mine. Someone said that they didn't even know I moved.
I replied, I am a very private person."
As I walked away, I heard a still small voice chide, "No, not private. Unloving."
God knows for us to be whole we must be in fellowship. It is just like the enemy to send the false comforter to tell us we are wounded. We need to be alone to heal.

We do need some alone time to relax, but when that alone time becomes a lifestyle, we will wither from malnourishment.
We are a body "fitly joined together" and when a body part goes missing, we are crippled. Reaching out when you are empty and wounded is scary, but "perfect love casts out fear." Ask Daddy to help you. Begin small forays. Show up a few minutes early and smile.
Smile as if you know a secret. You do. "Greater is He that is in you than He that is the world."
He is the power source for EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY. Stay plugged in.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Whose Life Is It?

Too often when I wake up in the morning my "to do" list flashes across my mind. I have to do this. Have to finish this. Although I take time to be with Daddy and love Him and let Him love me, that list is flashing like a neon sign in my mind.
When I remember why I am here and whose I am, there are still things to be done, but the drivenness and performance is gone.  I am free to take a detour when prompted and just love on someone, write a note, make a call.
When the list is more important than the people, the joy of life dissipates.
Drivenness and performance came out of my need to justify my taking up real estate on planet Earth. I spent most of my life feeling like I had to prove I was okay. I focused more on those somebody done somebody wrong songs playing in my head, that I couldn't hear Daddy, calling me. I couldn't feel good enough to receive His love. I felt I had to earn it. Corrie Tem Boom once said, "Hold everything loosely because it hurts when God pries your fingers open."
I know the truth in that. Things that I thought were mine, all mine, turned to dust. When I began to trust Daddy to care for me and love me, I could follow His plan, not mine.
It was not only wiser, but safer and peaceful in a way I had not know before.
I love my life because it really isn't mine at all, simply a space in time, He has given me.
Just this week a friend died, another was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, and a doctor found a tumor in my cousin's pancreas. I can fix none of that. I can pray. I can love and reach out. Then I can give it back to Him, the author and finisher of my faith.
I place none on my "to do" list.
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4:34

I Give Myself Away

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Home is Where the Heart Is

Sometimes your heart is in the wrong place.

Carrin had been working to resolve some deed issues on our home, but frankly as a banker, she said the numbers were wrong and the title not clean.
That home was my Ishmael. It is something I made happen. I did not wait on God. The owner needed to get rid of it and I wanted a home. I tried as hard as I could to make it a house of hospitality, but the truth is, it was a money pit.

Ray’s health began to decline after Carrin’s death. I believe it was in part because this was one problem he couldn’t fix for me. Ray is a Builder Bob. He loves me dearly and if there is a problem, he fixes it. No amount of fixing was going to bring Carrin back.
We sought counsel about the house and two very different advisors said to cut our losses and leave. However, I continued to try to make it work. When Ray who just goes and goes, failed a stress test, the same test I had passed six months earlier, I was stunned. Still I didn’t believe there was anything seriously wrong, because he was the strong one. He had a heart catherization and I figured the worse would be that he needed a stent or two. But stents would not resolve his issues. He needed a quadruple heart bypass.

I really found that hard to believe. I had lost my daughter. Was I going to lose my husband, too?
When faced with death, the house seemed of little consequence. I am called to be Ray’s helpmeet. Continuing to fight to resolve the issues was like trying to whitewash sin. Sin is sin no matter how you color it.

Many stood with us as we walked this out and know that story, but let me tell you the rest of the story. After we moved, it was if a 20 pound weight had lifted. I was so relaxed.
A couple of days later I realized I was drawn to old houses for decades, because I was trying to recreate the happy part of my childhood. It was something familiar to me. Just like the enemy to use the familiar to make us passive and pseudo peaceful.

One day someone stopped me in the hall to thank me for a small book I had given her. She said she had been so overwhelmed with grief and loss that it was like bite-sized pages of encouragement. I still had a copy at home. One night I went through each page and when it referenced a scripture, I looked it up and wrote it in the book. It is called Pearls of Heaven and it tells of our value in Christ Jesus. We are each a pearl of great price that Jesus died to redeem.
For months I had felt that it was time for me to write again in my blog. It is a blog of encouragement directed primarily to women.

As I wrote out the scriptures, I thought of how many don’t know who they are and what fun it would be to show them their value through the blog. I studied the nature of the pearl the science of its creation. It is born out of irritation. Something unnatural invades its space. Isn’t it the supernatural calling of the Father’s love that invades our carnal nature?

Ray’s classes came to a close. He was going to deliver buses for three weeks to pick up the slack. Every route he looked at would net him less than a $100 for a week’s work. It was evident that the Lord wanted him to rest. I heard the Lord remind me that I am his help-meet. The fall season with new colors and products is fast approaching. It was time for me to go back to where I had dropped the axe. (2 Kings 6:6) Except for the retirement village, I had not done any facials since Carrin died.

Then the Lord reminded me that I am in the Pearl Division of Mary Kay. It was too much of a coincidence to be ignored.
While talking to a friend and telling her how when Jesus died, the disciples returned to fishing. They went back to what was familiar. Jesus had disciple them for three years, but that was left for familiarity. I explained that was what I had one here. I was going through some stuff by being at PVC and leaving my family and things were not turning out the way I expected them to go, so I returned to the familiar. I needed an old house as my fix. Then I had an “aha” moment.

When I left to go to college, my mom sold that house that I dearly loved. It was built in 1922. It was three doors from the St. Johns River. Did I mention that I loved that house? It had a lot of idiosyncrasies and yes, it was a money pit. There it was- the door point of trauma of my home being sold and they moved into another house that did not have room for me. As soon as I said it, I said that was FIFTY years ago. I am 68 this year. So THIS is my year of Jubilee.
I believe the next twelve months (who says my year has to begin in January?) are going to be like no other.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Tribute to a Beautiful Woman

This by far has been the roughest year of my life. It began with Carrin’s death last August. (2012)

I took a sabbatical from all I could just to heal. She was a treasure. I can still hear her giggle and when I am hard on myself, I hear her say, “Woman!” She loved me unconditionally and wanted me to learn to love myself as well.

No parent should lose their child.  Nothing in life prepares you for the loss. In Carrin’s case, it was a car wreck. Quick and sudden. No good-byes.

So you replay your life together from the time I was told I was having twins to the day they were born. The twins were named Margie and Carrin. My mom’s maiden name was Margie Carrin (pronounced Karen.) I have a beautiful sister named Karen. So I named one after mom and another after my sister, two important people in my life.

Carrin was a cheerleader in junior high, but the reality is Carrin was a cheerleader all of her life. My mind skipped merrily through her life.

I had struggled with depression while raising children, but Carrin radiated God’s love and a great zest for Life! She did everything with enthusiasm and excellence!  Her infectious smile could light up a room in a heartbeat. She was beautiful inside and out.

When I finally overcame depression, I went to Carrin to repent. She dismissed it with, “That’s in the past and we don’t need to talk about.”  For years I would beat myself up for the lack of nurturing I gave my awesome children. God gave them what I couldn’t. She loved her daughters deeply and oh! their birthday parties! She celebrated life.

When I began to do Mary Kay, I wanted my girls to do it with me. How I got into Mary Kay is another story. My second year, Carrin came alongside me. I was Queen of Sales and she was #3.

However, she was climbing the bank ladder to success. She became bank manager (where she had customers whose surname was Carrin). Because of the demands of that job, she no longer had the time to do Mary Kay. Three weeks before she died, she sent all of her Mary Kay inventory (after sharing with her two daughters) and supplies to me. She said, I know you are going to do something with Mary Kay and this is my way of supporting you. Always the cheerleader.  She did everything with that contagious energy, excitement and love, along with a beautiful spirit.  She knew how to put the spotlight on other people!

 She had a humble servant's heart and indomitable spirit. Few people knew how she struggled with Chron’s disease. She wasn’t a whiner. She believed she could beat it. She never had that opportunity.

Her life touched hundreds in big and small ways. Over 300 came to her viewing, many apologizing that they had to work the day of the funeral. They shared stories of how Carrin loved and cared for them. Some of the tears shed that evening were tears of joy when they shared how Carrin had touched their lives. It was Carrin being Carrin.

I wasn’t prepared for such a large funeral, but I should have known. She gave love unconditionally and made friends quickly. It was a fitting tribute to a special woman of God- a daughter, a wife, a mother and grandmother. She lived only 40 years, but she lived them well.

Today as a tribute to Carrin would you call a family member and a friend just to say, “I love you?”