True Love

Do you remember the moment you realized that God loves you? Or when and how you responded when you understood just what God and Jesus were all about? 

I came to belief at a very young age. My earliest memories of Jesus are of me in nursery school (that’s what pre-school was called) when I was 3 years old. I was sitting in my teacher’s lap and she was teaching me the names of the disciples. From there “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and other songs relayed to me Who Jesus is and What He’s all about.  I grew up, having made my “public profession of faith” when I was seven. Even then satan was using the one person I loved and trusted- my grandmother- to hold me back. When I told her that I was ready to tell the world I believed, she stopped me that Sunday morning saying I was too young to understand. But, the next week, she physically tried to catch my arm when I slipped out of the pew that week. I fairly rushed down to the pastor waiting at the front of the church. 

Had I enough time I could tell you what a tumultuous life I had growing up. But that’s not the point here. 

Every step I’ve taken He’s been with me, watching over me as a child, protecting me; sometimes He was my only companion and I’ve always trusted Him. 

To His Glory – not mine. 

As I grew up, I had those moments when I questioned what I was going through. And, as an adult, there have been times when I’ve been like Job- wanting to know “Why” and “How long?”.  There have been those times when I’ve felt far from God; wanting to know what I was doing wandering around in the wilderness with no end in sight and why He had allowed me to be there. 

In the middle of the wilderness, I had an experience which I am relaying here- the moment when I knew God truly loved ME. Me, the individual, not me, one of many in a world He created. 

I was working as a school nurse and was in a Bible study that met once a week (BSF, if you are curious). The study involves reading a portion of scripture daily and answering questions pertaining to that scripture. One afternoon when I was working on my study, I was sitting on the bed with my bible, questions and my study notebook spread out in front of me. I began having contact lens problems and in the process of trying to extract it, suddenly it popped out (hard lens) and landed I knew not where. I looked for over an hour for it- on the bed, on the floor, in my papers, Bible, my clothes, everywhere to no avail. Those of you who know what that’s like can identify, I’m sure. 

The loss of that contact was traumatic to me at the time. My contacts were expensive to replace and in a time where we were struggling to keep three growing kiddos in ever changing shoe sizes this was an almost insurmountable challenge. I was virtually blind without contacts. So, I was lucky, I still had one contact! It would be at least 3 weeks before I would be able to purchase a replacement. 

I was a desperate woman.

I managed with one contact, drove only when I had to, wore my old glasses at home. Two weeks had gone by,  and again I was studying  my lesson for BSF. I turned the page to get to my questions in my notebook and there before my pitiful eyes was my contact. 

I fell apart.

The God I was studying and trying to discern how to apply His wisdom to my life and the One I was asking those questions of “Why” and “How long?” had answered without a word the unspoken question that was lingering in the back of my heart- “If He loved me, truly loved me what purpose did the things I was going through have for me and when would I have relief?”

In that blink of an eye, that split second, any doubt I have ever had about God was answered- He Loves ME. I don’t have the words to express the emotions that went blazing through my heart and still go through me when I think about this. 

Maybe if I explain what was going on in my life at that time- My elderly mother- in her 80’s – (the grandmother in the earlier part of the story) had decided to finally moved closer to where we lived so I could be of help if she needed anything. Her life could be the subject of a book as could my life with her…. She was what I call functionally insane.  Two of my children were in high school and one was attending school with me every day. My husband was spending three hours a day on the highway getting to and from work. He was exhausted when he came home as was I. We were struggling to just keep the family on an even keel. So the expense of the contact would have been a serious dent- much more than we had available to us.

For God to provide what we could not and in the way He did- the notebook where the contact was lost and subsequently found-had been with me in and out of the car, to church, school, band practices, ball games, virtually everywhere- since I used every available free moment to work on my study. It had been opened and closed countless times in those two weeks.  

He is so faithful, He provided what I needed when I needed it most. Granted, I went half-blind for a couple of weeks; but I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. It galvanized my faith like nothing else could. You see, I had always lived wondering if I was really loved by anyone (sorry, sweetheart, even by you at times). But in this moment I truly understood the the words to the old hymn “Love Lifted Me”- when nothing else could help, Love lifted me! 

and I know what He meant when He told His children in captivity:

Isaiah 3:4-5-

For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 

Path of Gold

The beauty of a sunrise just melts my heart! The colors that can never really be recreated by man. When I was still at work, the one thing that was really worth getting up in the morning was the scene that greeted me in the sky as I drove eastward. Below are my thoughts on those mornings:

 

Mornings crossing the lake bring a vision to mind. The sun rising slowly. It is as slow as I am getting up most days, sending a liquid golden path across the lake. Inviting me to leave the drab, gray, concrete road and take up the path of gold; to move from the real and “concrete” to the imagined and dreamed. 

 

Some days the path of gold shimmers quietly; so still that one could almost skate across it. On others, the path is undulating and one must step carefully to avoid the unseen pitfalls. And on still others, there are marked hills and valleys in the golden path that are so sharp and jagged that they scream “caution!” at you.

It makes me think that life is like that reflection on the lake. We never know what path our lives will take each day as we rise with that sun. Each day we rise is different and there are easy ones: ones that are smooth as glass, some that are bumpy and others that are downright treacherous. On those days, we fall asleep gratefully, knowing that- a particular danger is past, if only for the moments we sleep.

 

Each morning going to work, I cross the lake with my car pointed in an easterly direction. And on each morning, I am given a gift so beautiful and intangible that it can only be a gift wrought by the hand of God. The sunrises are always spectacular and singular in their color, form and beauty. I look at them and know that they were painted by the unseen hand, Who, in Love, has given me this gift to start my day. Even if nothing else goes well during the day, I know I am loved by the picture painted for me in the sky each day.

 

On those days that some call dark and dreary, I rejoice in the deep hues of blue, grey and purple with a hint of green. We all need those dark colors in our lives – they make the pastel pinks, lavenders, oranges, yellows and turquoises that much more spectacular. And, truth be told, if all we had was the bright and beautiful we would become immune to their beauty after a while and cease to appreciate them.

The most special moment is that second, or few seconds, when God stays his hand and holds the sun just below the horizon so that all I see is the reflected glow streaming over the morning sky. The beauty and anticipation in that scene reveal so much to me of His preparation for me: I am on this side waiting to get there and He is here with me giving me a glimpse of what it will be like when I get there. I am hoping that every day in Paradise will begin as the days here do. Perhaps, they will start with even more breathtaking colors. But I can’t help feeling that in this one moment every morning I am being allowed a glimpse of perfection in this imperfect world. A masterpiece from the hand of God. 

 

It’s like I can see the painting as it is being created in the sky; the swirl of colors and layers of reflection in the movements of the clouds. His finger stirring up the paint pots and placing the colors in the exact spots he wants them so that they produce such an incredible sight. All I see is joy all over the heavens.

 

I used to feel sad I lived on the western shore of the lake and wanted a house on the eastern shore instead so that I could sit and watch the sun as it slowly went to sleep each night. Now, I find that I look forward to what I will see each morning and I am glad that I’m on this western shore and that He knows the mornings are tough and that he has provided the one thing that He knows will pull me through and put me in a grateful frame of mind to prepare me for the day. Thank you, Lord.

 

(I am retired now and living on the eastern shore and am beginning to appreciate the sunsets I see as I look out the back; where I can just barely see the lake- more on that when I’ve digested a few more of those sunsets.)

“To Infinity and Beyond”

I was driving my husband’s Mini today, and from the back seat I suddenly heard those words when I hit a bump- nearly jumped out of my skin. Realizing that Clara had left Buzz Lightyear to go along for the ride, I relaxed and laughed every time I hit a bump and sometimes when I hit several in a row, Buzz quipped multiple phrases.

As I was driving along, this phrase in particular began to take hold.

“To infinity and beyond!”… what does this mean? 

According to the dictionary, infinity means:

1. the quality or state of being infinite.
2. something that is infinite.
3. infinite space, time, or quantity.
4. an infinite extent, amount, or number.
5. an indefinitely great amount or number.
6. Mathematics. 

a. the assumed limit of a sequence, series, etc., that increases without bound.
b. infinite distance or an infinitely distant part of space.
7. Photography 

a. a distance between a subject and the camera so great that rays of light reflected from the subject may be regarded as parallel.
b. a distance setting of the camera lens beyond which everything is in focus.

So, is it time, distance, place, quantity?

To most of us, infinity would land us just beyond Jupiter because we can’t imagine being much farther in distance. And, time would land us just after our last breath. Place? Where would that be? Quantity? How much is too much?

To me, being as I’m a believer (no, not the Monkees’ song! stop! stop! stop! don’t go there!), I live every day in infinity of time, distance, place and quantity. I live in infinity!

Personally, I like the definition of infinite, infinitely better- hmm….

 

 1. immeasurably great: an infinite capacity for forgiveness. 

2. indefinitely or exceedingly great: infinite sums of money. 

3. unlimited or unmeasurable in extent of space, duration of time, etc.: the infinite nature of outer space. 

4. unbounded or unlimited; boundless; endless: God’s infinite mercy. (yes, the dictionary actually said this)

 

Limitless, unbounded, unmeasurable, indefinitely, and- wait for it….

 

ENDLESS. 

 

We know that our spirit lives forever, we know that we will get to Heaven and never leave, and we know that we will be by His side forever and that nothing can separate us. That just about covers it, don’t you think?

Psalm 23:6: 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

 

Food for thought: Life in this bone house has a finite moving day. We will move someday to an infinite home with no more moves. A permanent, forever, endless, address. Definitely to infinity and beyond!