Dear Little Man

 

littlemanweb

Dear Little Man:

Little Man. 

That is how I see you, not as the sweet babe in this picture.  I see in my mind a young man, grown, tall, lean, with a sparkle in your eye. The baby of the family; at least for now. That position will cease to be yours with the next generation.

You have been born into a privileged estate. You may never know anything different.

What makes me say you are privileged?

You were born into a family- whole and intact. A mom, a dad, and siblings who love each other and that love will surround you daily. And that family will teach you and care for your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. They will introduce you to the Author and Creator of the Universe, the High King of Heaven and His Son who gave up all He had for us.

Your grandparents (all of us) are praying people. That means we rely solely on the Lord God Almighty for our strength. We will pray for you. That is certain. We don’t know whether we will see you as a grown man with our earthly eyes- you are the youngest and only the Father knows the number of our days. But, we will pray while we have breath.

You have a Godly heritage. He is the center of our existence and we will all strive to show you Him every day in every encounter and when we fail utterly we will ask your forgiveness and point you to the One who never disappoints.

You have been born into what some say is the most affluent culture on earth. By accident of birth you have been born in America. Where you can practice your faith freely. Where you can state your opinion whenever and wherever you want.  Where you have the right to defend yourself. Where, if you are charged with breaking the law, you are considered innocent until proven guilty.  Where you can choose what you want to do with your life when you grow up. Where being a citizen is a right by birth and also a privilege and a responsibility. You can vote your choice here with impunity. No one will haul you off to jail if you support the losing party or make you a non-person because of your choice.         Yet.

There is history in your family, too. Of love and loss; of brokenness and healing; of orphans and veterans of wars; of country hicks and big city folk; of children who barely learned to tie their shoes as an adult and those who could solve a high algebraic equation in their heads; of dreamers and realists; of writers and doers; of educators and medical professionals;  of travelers and homebodies; of those who hold a college education and those who never got past the third grade; of step and half siblings; of marriages for life and multiple marriages in one life; of pious little old ladies and swearing sailors; of great cooks and let’s go out to eat grandmas; of Mr. fix-its and Mr. financial-whizzes; of crazy people and those who loved them; of patriots and protesters; of Tennesseans and Texans and Mississippians and Scottish and Irish and German and Scandinavian, too. So you see, what you will be is made up of all of this. I just don’t know how that will look in the little man I now see.

I was asked today how it felt to be a grandma again. I really couldn’t answer in a small sentence. That’s how this post came about.

I think it feels like this: I have been given the greatest opportunity that one can be given.

There are eight little souls who will be impacted by my presence in their lives.

I can be a positive influence or a negative one. I can be a Godly or a worldly representative. The choice is mine to make and this is the most important choice a grandparent could ever make. I choose to handle each soul with care and careful discipline.

I am a boundary maker and one who builds esteem. When you are small I will correct you when you are being willfully disobedient in my house. When you are older I will give you my opinion-it will not be my place to discipline you; and you may take or leave my words with a grain of salt but I will hope that you will value my words. I will see your strengths and weaknesses for what they are and I will encourage you to always do your best, to be honest and live with integrity. I want you respect others regardless of their sex or their standing in life. I will love you to my last breath and beyond regardless of your situation in life. We all make mistakes; no one is perfect. Life is meant to be lived – so live with joy even in the pain; live with hope even when there’s only darkness around you. And finally, in the words I live by:

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

  Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault though you live in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in for nothing. Philippians 2:14-16

And finally:

 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20

Always remember I love you,

Your Nana

What a difference a Year makes

Declare- what a difference a year makes!

When I attended Mamas Write last year, I stumbled upon it via someones comment on FB,  I had no idea what to expect, nor did i know anyone who was there. I must admit I felt a little on the margins- I was one of the very few(count ’em on one hand) older ladies who attended. 
Whew, that took a lot to admit!  I have attended many other conferences for my profession and I’m used to many voices at one time all speaking the same language. But, not then- I was the foreigner in a foreign land. New to blogging, only at it not quite a year.  Not like some of those other “girls” whose voice had been out there for 5, 8, 10 years.  I was the outsider looking in and I was overwhelmed. TMI and a lot of it didn’t apply- not because I knew it all, but because I was in a different season than most of those precious young ones. 
Fast forward a couple of months and I went to Allume- I was called there- and I knew it. But, even though I met in RL many of the sweet girls I had become friends with online through the Better Writer group on FB, there was still something off kilter. TMI  again and so much that it was still flowing out my ears six months later. I did love meeting my girls tho- those ladies are so precious to me, to  have met, hugged, talked with, ate with, sat in sessions with and ate chocolate with; not to mention the incredible photo booth which was an experience in itself (yes, Trina, I mean you).  Still, I must admit that I’ve been off-kilter a lot since then.  A lingering minor illness that sapped my strength the rest of the fall, winter and into the spring made even thinking about blogging a challenge. 
Now, fast forward from spring to now- I declare! What an amazing difference a year makes. I was torn this year between going to every conference I could to not attending any. Financial concerns were looming. I held off until the week of the conference- ok, that was last week y’all! And, just like last year- It was a God thing that I go. 
I could tell you of meeting in RL two of my fellow Better Writer bloggers (like meeting long-separated family). I could tell you of the little jewels that stood out in Mary DeMuth’s talk; but I wrote a page and a half on that! I could tell you of all the sweet ladies that I met at the table at meal times. I could tell you of Kat Lee’s Ninja talk  (another 3 pages of notes). I could tell you of Amy Lynn Andrews’  fast and furious paced answers to those blogging FAQs (but she gave us the link to her cheat sheet). I could tell you of Holly Homer’s introduction to the world of Google + (whew, more notes!!). 
I could tell you of all the wonderful vendors I talked with whose hearts for the truly disenfranchised and for the least of these was evident in every conversation. I could tell you of Jill Monaco’s wonderful roller coaster talk and her absolute trust in God and His timing. I could tell you of David Molnar’s great photography tips and his fun sense of humor (great tips, thanks!). I could tell you of Jeff Goins and his most sincere talk regarding the in-between (not to mention-his impersonation of Ron Weasley). I could tell you of the worship band, Undignified and their wonderful leadership into the heart of worship for us all.  But, what stuck most in my heart was Shaun Groves.
Shaun’s heart is so far out in front of him it’s flashing with neon lights! His music was a joy to my ears, but when he talked about his precious little man, and the fact that if only someone had been compassionate and had sponsored this sweet boy, he would now be home in India in his own home with his own parents, with his own father telling him that he loved him in his native language. There were tears in Shaun’s eyes as he related the story of tucking in this little man and telling him that he loved him and this sweet boy, not understanding the language, asked what love meant. He told us that he used the words the boy did understand: “I big, big, big like you!” And that sweet boy told him: “Daddy, I love you, too.”  (big cry)
Shaun then related to us how much it would mean for this little boy to hear that from his birth parent and how he wished that it was so. That it was not him, the adoptive daddy, but the real daddy telling this little boy about love. It didn’t matter to him that he loved this one with all his heart, he only knew that there are many boys and girls out there who do not hear those words every night. There are so many more who are orphaned and given away or abandoned by parents who have no means to feed, clothe, educate, or anything else. These parents, destitute, fade away. The lucky ones are scooped up by missions and organizations like Compassion. Their bodies are fed, they are clothed and educated and their souls and spirits are fed the food they need to soar and to grow into the Body of Christ.  
That is what I want to tell you. It’s not about blogging. It’s about community. It’s about loving our fellow man, caring for those who are helpless to care for themselves, in whatever way we can. For those who blog- it’s telling our story to anyone who will listen because we all matter.  It’s loving until it hurts and then loving some more; and if we have the means it’s sharing what we have with those who have nothing.
Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the crowds. He will multiply your words to reach the ones who need to be told “I love You”.
Trust Him. He will feed you and give you words so that you can feed others. 
That’s what I gleaned between the lines last weekend at Declare!
I’m linking up with other attendees over on Declare’s site– go out and read what knocked their socks off this weekend? I know they’d appreciate it and any comment you give them will spur them on as they write!

Words Overheard

I was sitting in my local coffee establishment the other day, tucked away in a sunny corner sipping my non-fat latte when I over heard these words from a woman to her male colleague:

“Girls who have sex feel something in their hearts. It’s not just hello, goodbye. This generation, they feel nothing. For them it’s like going to Starbucks and ordering a coffee: “You want to have sex?” “Sure.”

Such sadness I heard in that mother’s voice from deep in her heart. She wanted something more for her daughter. Respect. Relationship. Commitment. Something down deep that she has recognized is missing. She’s heard it when she listened to her daughter talk about her friends. “So and so went home with K last night.” “Are they serious?” mom asked. “No” said the daughter with a laugh in her voice. “People just sleep together, mom. There’s no relationship, no strings.”

Mom is reflecting on what her daughter has said to her. She wonders, ‘is my daughter doing this too?’ She sees no emotional attachment whatever from them. She wants to know ‘What is this generation thinking?’

There was no way I could interject myself into the conversation that day. They moved on to talking about their professional lives after they left the subject when the male colleague commiserated with her saying that he just didn’t understand what they were thinking either. He expressed what it was like for boys when he was growing up. Words like respect, in the locker room and other words came from his mouth. No help there. I could see it in her eyes when she looked up, her reflection in the window.

 What I could do I did.

 I have become a clandestine pray-er. When I’ve heard things or saw things occur I’ve turned to the Lord to ask for provision for that person.  There have been occasions when I’ve been able to insert myself into conversation, but that was not to be that day. My heart was breaking for this mom. Her child is an adult, she can make her own decisions. Yet this mama’s heart recognized that what was happening was not right.

These parents are concerned for their children and their hearts; yet they do not understand what is missing because they themselves are missing Him in their own lives. In the end, because they have no answers, they will throw up their hands and claim they just don’t understand.

But, I’d like to say this to that young woman, to any young woman, be she 16 or 26:

“Hey there, sweet thing, you there, with your whole life ahead of you. There’s vast horizons ahead, full of hope and dreams of success. I see the anticipation in your bright eyes for what’s to come. I also see something else there, in the corner of your eye peaking out; the desire to be loved but not sure where to go or who to go to.  You look up. Across the room, I see it. Your eye catches his.

That one there–him.  Your heart whispers: ‘Would he love me?’ or ‘Would he use my body and walk away?’

Would you even realize that he had taken something from you that you don’t know how to get back? Will you be stolen from, like your friend there? I see it in her eyes, too- it shows behind that all-together look she presents to the world. I also see bewilderment-wondering how she ended up where she is and is this all there is?  She’s whispering to herself: ‘I guess I’ll always feel this way. That’s just how it is in this world.’

Oh dear one, there’s more, so much more for you. I don’t know you. I probably won’t ever even pass you on the street. But I can pray for you, for your friends, for your hearts to be protected by His love and grace. For someone to bring that word you are longing to hear-He Loves You, He Made You, He has a plan for You, He won’t ever leave you. He can take those feelings away and give you new feelings and He can remove that insecurity forever. You are His Child and don’t know it. Yet.”

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6-8

My friends, become a clandestine pray-er with me? You may be the only person who prays for someone today.

 

Just a Word, His Word

It’s here in the silence, after the Christmas celebration; after the food is eaten; after they’ve all gone home; in the spaces, between the dotted “I”s and the crossed “T”s.

He meets me. The overflowing. The meaning of it all.

Love.

His love is real, as tangible as the sound of the snow falling. As warm as the blanket I’m wrapped in. I know He loves me.

The true meaning of the celebration of Christmas some years gets lost in the food, the fun, the surprise of the presents, the hugs, the egg nog. Yet the very reason that we celebrate is the ultimate gift of Love.

His Love come to us.

To the shepherds, the kings, the Simeons, the Annas, the wedding party, the woman who touched Him, to Jairus, to the centurion, to Peter, James and John, to all who followed Him, to Lazarus, to Martha and Mary, to Mary Magdalene, to Paul, to Timothy.

To us. The broken, the dysfunctional, the wounded beyond repair, the sick, the dying, the liars and the cheats, the get along pretty well on our own. We all of us are the object of His Love.

He came to us, for us, because of us, because of our friends, our families, our parents, our siblings, our children, our frenemies, our enemies.

Us.

Why? Because we can’t do this by ourselves. This living and dying. He designed us. We broke us, and only He can fix us. 

Not one of us can do that. Only Love. His Love. LOVE.

Do you hear it? The whisper in the silence, the still small voice passing by reminding us why we just celebrated? 

God so loved the world (you, me, everyone who has lived, is living or ever will live) that He gave His one and only Son (just One for all) that whoever (each one of us) believes in Him (has faith, looks to and hopes in the Son) will not perish (no everlasting death) but have eternal life (complete and whole as we were designed to be).

LOVE

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