Life & Breath & Everything Else

FTI graphic Acts 17:25When I was young, I fell off of some contraption I was playing on and lost my ability to breathe. “I got the wind knocked out of me,” as they say. It probably only lasted for a few seconds but I remember it was a scary few seconds.

Getting told you have cancer is sort of like that, only scarier. And it lasts longer.

Our lives are filled with moments like this that seem to come out of nowhere and take us by surprise.

Like the day I learned my sister-in law had lymphoma.

And when I heard of our nephew and niece’s newborn who is currently in the hospital battling a heart condition.

Or when I found out last week that one of our good friends had been diagnosed with leukemia.

In these seconds that feel like hours, everything slows. The heart sinks and the air leaves our lungs as we struggle to make sense of it all.

Then, there are other moments. The ones that remind us of our loving Creator. Soul-transcending times when we are startled by grace. Caught off guard by something so wonderful that we have no choice but to pause and give thanks to the One who made us.

Like the day the Lord mercifully reached down, rescuing my heart and saving me.

And the moment me and my love shared our “I do’s”, becoming husband and wife.

Or all the times during my recent struggles that I’ve encountered the compassion of family, friends and even strangers and realized how truly blessed I am.

I’m reminded of that quote that says, Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Those breath-stealing moments, they can happen in good times or bad. Either way, they get our attention, opening our eyes to what’s truly important, making us aware that we are alive.

And we are alive because God breathed His very breath into us. So it’s fitting that we should pour out our praise to Him.

That’s what I’m doing now. Thanking God for life and breath and everything else He’s so graciously given. Want to join me?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

The Story of Our Lives

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin

I watch the white stuff swirling outside my window while the gray matter inside my head does the same sort of dance.

There’s more time to think on long, quiet winter days, so I do. And all the thinking boils down to a single question, sending an unexpected chill through my core.

How do I want to be remembered?

I guess now would be a good time to confess that I have spent way more hair-pulling hours on this post than I’d like to admit. I’ve written and re-written and written again.

My delete button is starting to look as worn out as this crazy perfectionist chick that keeps pecking at it every two minutes.

So, enough already.

How do I want to be remembered?

Well, I know it will never be for my perfection. Not for my looks or my brains or my wit. And certainly not for any noteworthy accomplishments on my resume, of which there are none.

My life has been marked by undeniable failure but also by God’s unfathomable grace, and every breath I’ve been given is owed to the unmerited mercy of the One who made me.

So, if I’m remembered at all, I hope it will simply be for remembering Him. For surrendering my pen to the great Author who wrote me into existence. Because, if nothing else, I have understood one thing.

Only He can write the story the way it was meant to be written.

And if you think your memoir is being scribbled in obscurity, think again. God sees you. He sees each one of us.

He rejoices to watch the delicate parchment of our hearts opening to Him because He knows that all our stories, like all these snowflakes swirling are intricately designed, uniquely beautiful and completely unforgettable.

“all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

Would you like to join me in making this happy song your prayer today?

How to Be Static-Free

This is me in winter…

Does anyone else get this way?

It’s the one thing about this time of year that really annoys me.

That’s because it hurts, and I don’t like pain!

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about yet, I have two words for you.

STATIC ELECTRICITY

It gets so bad that, basically, I approach touching just about anything with trepidation because I know the effect could very well be a hair-raising experience.

Thank God for Static Guard!

I realize the little guy in the photo doesn’t have this issue; it’s part of his natural charm. But seeing it made me smile and it also got me thinking about spiritual static.

Sometimes life can give us a jolt. Unforeseen circumstances can be a shock to the system. If we’re not careful, fear can attach itself to us and become our pavlovian response to everything.

But we can’t live in a protective bubble forever.
(Trust me, I’ve tried.)

The only solution when we get zapped by life is to zap back! To remember that we have the power of God on our side, and that the way to keep fear from sticking to us is by clinging to His promises.

Here are a few to meditate on from the Psalms:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11

“The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.”
Psalm 121:7-8

There’s peace of mind knowing that, no matter what we encounter today, God is “our ever-present help.”

With Him by our side, we can be static-free!

The Bible – What’s In It For Me?

Have you ever had a day (or a month) when the cares of life weighed heavy around your neck? Yes? I’ve been there too. And I’m sure most of you would agree with me that you found comfort and strength in the Word of God during those times.

And you’d also agree there are many other benefits to the Bible. As a matter of fact, it’s the greatest source of inspiration we could ever find.

But did you know?

The American Bible Society in their 2013 State of the Bible Report says that,

“While 66% of those surveyed agreed that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, 58% say they don’t personally want wisdom and advice from the Bible and about the same amount (57%) read it fewer than five times per year.” (AmericanBible.org)

Makes sense, huh? We think the Bible is good for us, we just don’t want to take advice from it.

FindingTheInspiring.com

FindingTheInspiring.com

Maybe folks have just forgotten how good life could be if we lived by Good Book.

Maybe the Me Generation is wondering, “What’s in it for me?”

So I thought I’d make a short list to answer that question.

5 Things We Get by Getting Into the Word and Letting the Word Get Into Us

1. Hope and Encouragement:

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

2. Tools for Living:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3. Direction:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

4. True Success:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

5. Peace

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 119:165

And the list goes on. All the things we yearn for – knowledge, wisdom, purpose, joy and fulfillment, just to name a few more – can be found in the Holy Pages.

But the ultimate benefit?

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name. John 20: 30-31

May we all be inspired to open the Bible and open our hearts to what we find there. Because, what’s in it for me and for you and for all who believe?

Life!

Abundant Life!

Eternal Life!

Now who wouldn’t want that?

Question: Do you think more people would make time for the Bible if they knew what was in it for them?

 

A Graduation Meditation

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
Joshua 1:8

It’s graduation season. People everywhere are picking up diplomas and moving into a new phase of their lives.

My husband and I attended the graduation ceremony of our nephew in Norman, Oklahoma this weekend. We were just a few miles from where that massive tornado struck last week. Not far from where terrified people sought refuge in underground cellars, bathrooms and closets. Where children clung helplessly to the shaking walls of a school hallway.

And I couldn’t help but look at all those hundreds of soon-to-be former high school students and wonder if they are prepared for the storms to come. Because life is full of them, both literally and figuratively.

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.”
Proverbs 4: 20-22

Graduation

And it’s one thing to have head knowledge, but what about heart wisdom? The thing that will steady you when the wind starts whipping and the earth gets ripped up right under your feet?

If I could, I would tell them this. There is only one safe haven. One true shelter. And that is Almighty God. Keep close to Him and make His Word a priority because it is your life source. Everything you want – Success, Peace, Purpose, Love, Fulfillment – It all begins here.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
Psalm 1:1-3

Feel free to share this with the graduate in your life. Or with someone who could just use a reminder that the forces of nature are no match for the power of God.

Indeed, to know (and obey) His Word is to know a force more powerful than any storm we could ever face.