Five Minute Friday: Laundry

Today’s prompt for 5-minute Friday is:

Laundry

washing 

The washing’s on the line and hung out to dry. That’s what I grew up with. Wash day came on the same day every week, rain or shine.  Those lines drooped with sheets, towels, socks, underwear, pajamas, shirts, pants, dresses, skirts and anything else that could be washed. Those days are gone, but the laundry isn’t. In my neighborhood laundry isn’t allowed to be hung on the line any more. 

Pity, it smelled so good after being in the sun all day. You probably wonder how we managed without a dryer. I wonder how we managed without disposable diapers. No- I don’t because I used them-sparingly. Throwaways were too expensive to use every day. Those were for outings and for Sunday Church.  I still have a few “real” diapers hanging round- they’ve been turned into cleaning rags now. Still useful.

Yes, I’m rambling around down memory lane. I wonder how God sees laundry, toilets, floors, dishes, household dust, curtains, bathrooms, and kitchen sinks. I can think of a thousand things before they come to mind. {note: I’m a housekeeping diva- NOT} I hope He sees the cleaning of the home as an act of service; because I’m sure wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love my family. I wonder if that’s how He sees us sometimes- that He sure wouldn’t be cleansing our hearts if He didn’t love us.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
 
Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker.
 

 

Five Minute Friday: Small

How providential that the prompt for today’s FMF is 

SMALL

Eleven years ago today, my life took another turn.  I became a grandmother for the first time. Months of waiting, anticipating culminated in this day. We are so blessed by family now with 7 g’kids and another on the way in a few weeks. They are all precious to me, but it’s when they are so small they can fit on a pillow on your lap that I get all mushy.

You see, I’m a pediatric nurse by profession and tho retired I’m never far from that role. It’s the small ones, the defenseless, helpless, can’t do a thing for themselves babes that I gravitate to- every time. 

I can’t help but wonder if that’s how God sees us- and if it’s not the driving reason, above the sin and straying issue that He sent his own Son as a babe- He loves the defenseless, helpless, can’t do a thing for ourselves state we are in and He hovers over us the same way I’ve hovered over countless babes, especially my own. 

So if you think that you are too small, insignificant, helpless, hopeless for Him to notice. Don’t. He sees you. He loves you. Even if it was just you!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…. 

Insignificance

 Posit: That we all feel insignificant, harbor insecurities, feel we’ve been left out of the game, and are worthless at least once in our lives.

We ALL battle this oppression imposed on us. It comes with the territory- this earth that we are bound to while we are breathing. This world that is dying, doomed, twisted and flawed because of its own sin. This world that is straining against the will of the evil one imposed only because he has been allowed to wander this place.

Whether it is only fleeting or it comes to dwell on our shoulders off and on throughout our lives, there is that sense of insignificance-that we are nothing or less than nothing. That feeling that we get when we look up into the face of the stars on a moonless night, that we are a grain of sand on one of a thousand beaches.

I sense that within us all there can be that part that doubts whether we can completely accept the gift of redemption and forgiveness from the hand of God that we received when we believed that Jesus paid the price of our sin and disbelief. If only because we doubt our worth to Him

“Amazing love, how can it be? That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”- Charles Wesley

 

Who am I that You, my God, would die for me?

 

Shouldn’t I be doing something? Making a mark on this world? Make others see my significance? Wouldn’t that make it more certain? My salvation, that is?

 

Oh, dear friend, we still have to get past the doing and simply be.

 

Be His. His alone.

He loves. He carries. He holds. He comforts. He heals. He is enough.

He is coming. For us.  Me and You. The worthless bag of bones that we were – is no more.  Because we are significant to Him. Because He loves us.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1: 18-20 

“ But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude 17-23

Five Minute Friday: Change

Change is the subject for 5-minute Friday this week. Although I’m a day late and a dollar short I will make my feeble attempt here:

Change

“I hate change” is the comment I hear most often about change. So… does that mean the people who make this declaration hate every minute of their lives?

Change is inevitable. Each moment is different from the last and from the next. We live our lives in flux, change is all around us and affects us constantly, yet we take no notice. Not, that is, until it gets big and in our faces. 

Daily, we change. Our clothes, shoes, and other physical things get changed. Our perspective, our attitude, our hearts, our outlook all change the “me” inside the physical house we live in. 

Monumental change affects all aspects of our lives. A marriage, a birth, a death, an illness, a move, all can bring great joy or sadness and change everything we know. How we react to the changes can determine the kind of person we become and how we will react to the next big change on the horizon. 

We are only given this moment, not the last, not the next. Nothing is promised but the now. How we interact with the now can determine everything else. Right here, right now, in this moment you are faced with a decision and every minute of every day you live you are given an opportunity to change your mind and heart. The decision hinges on the answer to this question: Do you know Jesus? 

If not, you can change that right now, in this moment. Don’t wait til the next…

John 3:16- For God so loved the world (that’s us) that he gave his only son, (that’s Jesus) that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The verse that changes everything.

 

Not What I Expected

The following quote comes from a prayer in a book of puritan prayers and devotions that Chuck Swindoll referenced a few months back. The prayer struck me at the time and I wrote it down, read it and have come back to it from time to time. These last five lines speak for that puritan, and I think, all of us.

“Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.
Convince me that I cannot be my own god, or make myself happy,
nor my own Christ to restore my joy,
nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, and rule me. . . .
Then take me to the cross and leave me there.”

The writer was unknown. But the cry of the heart is familiar. We –I – struggle with the whole “who’s in charge here, really?” on a daily basis. My wants, My needs, My life, My time, My things… I could go on but why bother? Truth is at one time in life, my expectations for what it would be like were scripted out in my mind like a finely tuned screenplay for a movie. MY Life. And, truth is, it hasn’t gone exactly as scripted. Surprise! Not.

We puny humans trod, trudge, march, skip, run, along this road called life, going merrily on our way until we suddenly realize the road has changed. At times it’s for better; at times it’s for worse. When it gets better, we smile, we laugh, we pat ourselves on the back, glad to be alive. When it all goes horribly pear-shaped and unrecognizable as our life, we cry out to God, we wail, we gnash the teeth, we ask “Why?”, “How long?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”, “Why am I being punished?” Finally after railing about for a while we get down to the nitty-gritty with Him and ask “Please take this away, far away?”, and then the promises begin, the bargaining commences and we grovel.

If we truly believe He is God, and He is in control of our entire lives-yes, I know it’s a hard concept to swallow at times knowing we are not in control of what is happening; we fall to our knees and we still ask some of those same questions. Only, we add a few more; “Please forgive me?”, “Tell me what to do?”,  “Help me to understand?”, and then we listen to His reply. The reply which may be long in coming (to our thinking), may change the way we think and perceive our situation, and may change our point of view entirely. He knows what is happening. He knows that even the no good, horrible, entirely rotten, sad mess is there to galvanize our faith; to bind us close to Him and to show us how to be loved by Him. We still weep; we still ask questions; we still hurt. But He is God.

He loves us, He provides everything we need, He gives good gifts, He prunes so we can be more fruitful and be healthier in spirit, He prepares us for the battles ahead, He spares us from evil, He surrounds us with His angels, and they fight for us because that’s their job. Yet, we sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees.

He created us for His good pleasure.  His pleasure. He made us for Him. He sees all of our lives from beginning to end. We can see His work in all things- if we but look.  The wrong, the bad, the ugly messes in this world are committed by us, His Creation. But, His will is always done. Understanding the prayer of the puritan helped me realize that his cry, his plea is also mine. Convince me. Then take me to the Cross and Leave. Me. There.

Teach me, purify me, do whatever it takes to get me to the foot of the Cross. Whenever I get to that point where my desperation for Him and His Presence consumes my every breath, my every thought, my every action, motive, attitude and my gratitude, then I will abide in the shadow of the Cross.

There- in the center of His Will.

Not mine.

I’m not there yet.

My life has not gone as I expected it.

But then, I didn’t write the script of my life. He did. And, I am living out that script; looking forward to arriving at the foot of His Cross and staying there instead of coming and going like a fool who can’t make up his mind what he really wants.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: Job 13:15a

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1Peter 1:3-9 

God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2: 13b-14

 

Five Minute Friday: Race

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker, aka: The Gypsy Mama, today for the 5-minute Friday word prompt!

Todays prompt is: Race

Race

The obvious comes to mind- running a race, race around the block, water racing, etc. But the first thing that came to my  mind was race of a different color. The world I grew up in was full of signs in the deep south- you know the ones. They are always shown in the documentaries on civil rights. But as a child, though I knew what they meant on the surface, that’s just where they lay- on the surface. They had no meaning for me where my heart lived.

My favorite song to sing when i was little was Jesus Loves the Little Children. To me it meant that all of us children were loved by Him. I grew up as an Air Force Brat, so in my world the race lines were not so evident as they were when I went to Tennessee to visit relatives. Race just wasn’t important on any level to me. We were all His children. How different it became as I grew up with the Civil Rights Movement and the integration of schools in the news daily for a while.

As a child our neighbors in San Antonio were Hispanic- they were my across-the-street friends and we played together all the time. In third grade, I learned what birthday celebrations really were meant to be like when I went to a Hispanic classmate’s party. All day, games, music, grilling and eating. Wow! I wanted to be in her family!

When we lived in Germany, my upstairs neighbors were African American- I ate dinner with them a lot since their daughter was my friend.They were the ones I ran to when the grandmother/mother was in the hospital and the grandfather/father was passed out from drinking.

My best friend in 10th grade-back in San Antoni-was an African American young man in my German Class. His name was Reginald. I will never forget him.

When I was a junior in high school moved to Deep East Texas where race suddenly had meaning. There, the schools were still segregated for the most part. There were only 5 african american young people in the high school I went to- and they were students because their parents were employed there as teachers. The schools were not totally de-segregated until after I graduated. It happened the same year girls were first allowed to wear pants to school- not jeans- just pants- nice pants.

That fall, as I was away in college, my family sent me cuttings of the local newspaper showing pictures of the first day of school at the high school- there were the deacons of our church with shotguns standing outside- lining the sidewalk in front of the school- that’s when I realized that race had become a four-letter word.  How sad for all of them. I just didn’t understand what all the comotion was about.

I still sing Jesus loves the Little Children- and I mean every word of it. He loves all of us, as broken and biased we stumble through this world of prejudice, elete-ism, exclusive-ism, and race-ism. Maybe race should be a four-letter word. Then we could ban it.

We are all His children. Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.

Ding.