Monday, January 31, 2011

A Valentine from God

Tonight as I was sifting through my collection of blank cards and stationary, I came across this beautiful "Valentine from Jesus" that was given to me years ago. Every time I read it I cling closer to the truths and promises of God's extravagant and eternal love for His children. May this Valentine bless your heart, and prep your spirit as the month in which we celebrate love and relationships is right around the corner.

My Beloved (insert your name here)
You are my dearest and most loved posession. My heart is filled to the point of bursting with my affection for you. I've longed for nothing more than to hold you in my arms since the moment I first laid eyes on you, that day I fell in love with you. I can remember seeing your eyes for the first time, as they sparkled brightly. You have grown and changed so much from that first moment. I recall the many times you've spoken to me, telling me your hopes, dreams and desires. I remember the hard times too, my precious. Comforting you and wiping away your tears as my heart broke with your own. Do you remember when you first found me? I do, it was the most wonderful moment I have ever known. Since that day you have only grown in beauty. I am proud to call you my own. Your name is engraved on my hands and I have written it in my book forever. I have claimed you with my very life and I will defend you against any harm that comes your way. How can I begin to describe to you how much I love you, and what you mean to me?
I know every thought that has ever entered your mind dearest. I know what you have been thinking and what has been surrounding you this time of year. Above all, I want you to know how much I love you. I will never, ever let you down. When your best friends don't seem to care, when no one understands you, when your parents aren't there to depend on, I am. My strong arms are here to embrace you when you need to be held. My gentle voice will speak to your heart when you long to be comforted. When you are afraid or uncertain I am yearning to give you guidance. When you need a shoulder to cry on I am always available. Any time, day or night, rain or shine, come storms and trials I will not fail you. Only I can make that promise to you. Only I have made the ultimate sacrifice.
What I did for you was not easy. With each step I took up that hill it became harder to face the realization of the pain and suffering I was to further endure. But my mind was not on the blood dripping down my forehead or the splinters scourging my back, it was on you. You are the reason i was there. The pain was unbearable, but I saw your face and kept going. With each pound of the hammer, piercing nails into my flesh they heard me cry out in anguish, but it was not out of anguish (your name), it was out of my love for you.
I know that often times your heart is longing. I've seen the looks in your eyes and heard the sighs you breathe. But do not forget my sweet one that I know what is best for you. The void in your heart can be filled with no one else but myself. I created that gap so that I could slip right in and make you complete. Your longingings are for me even as mine are for you. I paid for the right to fill things longings with m life and out of a love that will never let you down. So for this Valentine's Day I want to ask you one question:
Will you be mine ____?
My love is written in letters of Crimson,
The Lover of your soul,
Jesus

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In My Father's Keeping


Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved to read. It doesn't matter if someone is reading to me or I'm reading the book myself, I have always viewed reading as an entrance into other worlds where the words on the pages are like keys into the "three I's"; information, inspiration and imagination. In my eyes, the people you meet, the lands you discover, the lessons you learn and the truths that are revealed to your heart are priceless.As an activity director, I have had the privilege of translating this love and passion into a weekly activity for my residents.
Every Thursday morning at 9:00, I have a small group of about 5 ladies who gather together over coffee and a bakery treat as I read a novel out loud, bringing it to life with expression. ( is this any surprise?) They absolutely love it, and so do I.We just finished reading "Anne of Green Gables", which they loved, and are now on the third chapter of "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Tenboom. This book is a true story about a holocaust survivor, and it takes place in Holland during World War II. "Anne of Green Gables" was lighthearted, funny and heart warming, where as this literary challenge is going to be just that: a challenge for the heart. It is so important to read things that put our lives and troubles into perspective, especially when it is about people who have overcome odds and obstacles that we can't even fathom.
Senior citizens are faced with many, many hardships and obstacles of their own; these include but are not limited to loss of eye sight, hearing, walking, dealing with arthritis, medication side effects, bed sores, depression, the death of many loved ones and memory loss. One of my main goals as an activity director is to enhance their quality of life by giving them the encouragement and tools that they need to cope with and accept these hardships. More than anything in the world do I wish I could ban all hearing and vision loss, but truth be told, it is through these hardships that they become stronger individuals with their true beauty shining through the pain. Maybe you can identify with this truth.
I marvel at God's creativity in speaking to His children. Today, it was through a paragraph in a book. My prayer is that in some way it will bless and encourage you.
The following conversation takes place between a young Corrie Tenboom and her father. Corrie just finished asking her father what sex is.
"He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted the traveling case from the rack above our heads, and set it on the floor.
"Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he said. I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning. "It's too heavy," I said.
"Yes," he said." and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask a little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."
And I was satisfied. More then satisfied-wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions- for now I was content to leave them in my father's keeping."
-"The Hiding Place" by Corrie Tenboom

I nearly cried when I read this paragraph, because I knew without a doubt that God was speaking right to my heart. Recently I have been faced with a lot of tough questions. I had been blessed with something very good and wonderful on so many levels, and then before I knew it, it was gone. I wrestled and fought with God, asking Him not only the typical question of "why?!", but dared to tell Him that I didn't deserve it. "Why would you bless me with something so wonderful, and then take it away so quickly?". After my share of fighting, kicking and screaming, my Heavenly Father waited for me to let go and let Him show me His goodness and faithfulness in the midst of my pain and confusion.
I praise God that He has and will continue to carry all of those heavy things in my heart.He holds us close, lays His head on ours, tenderly kisses our cheek and looks deep into our eyes. Just like Corrie, I can rest in the beautiful fact that God holds the answers to all of the hard questions in my life.

Reflective Thoughts of Unpredictable Me

Sitting in my favorite spot in my "happy place" with a hot cup of coffee and a mind over flowing with material to write, I find myself quite at home. I like to picture this blog as if I'm sitting across from a close, intimate friend in a cozy coffee shop. This blog started as a place to vent my incessant emotions and make sense of the crazy concept of life, but through the years has turned into a means of connecting with people from all walks of life. What a privilege.
I can't believe it has been over a month since I last wrote. It seems like the last couple months of my life have come and gone with a whole slew of new changes, lessons and experiences. I find it funny that as we grow older, we need to constantly be "catching up" with ourselves. The rate that we grow, change and develop as atomic individuals baffles me. Once you finally get used to being a certain way or doing things in a certain manner, something about you or something in your world changes. I have always taken comfort in the truth that in a world where everyone and everything constantly changes, Jesus remains constant; unchanging, unmoving and permanent. It hasn't been until recently that I've been able to appreciate this truth in the new light of applying this concept to myself, as opposed to applying it to people and circumstances. I always thought I could depend on the predictability of being me; for after all, what human being should know you better than yourself? Recently I have learned that I am no longer as predictable as I thought I was. Thank goodness for an unpredictable God who constantly reveals to us His unpredictable ways and blesses us with His predictable promises.