A Timely Delay

earringsI don’t have any sisters, but I have an older cousin named Norma, who is as dear as a sister to me. I thought about her one day as I was putting on a favorite pair of earrings I hadn’t worn in a while. When my grandmother was dying, I wore those earrings when I went to the hospital. My cousin Norma arrived from Illinois wearing earrings just like mine. I guess that means we have similar taste, good genes, or something like that.

I kept thinking about Norma, throughout the day. I’d not heard from her in a while, and she’s not on the computer, so I found a card with an appropriate message and wrote her a note.

“Do you remember when Grandma was in the hospital and we arrived wearing the same earrings? Well, they’re back in style, and I’m wearing them today. I’ll always think of you when I see them.” I finished with some news about the family and sealed the card.

The next day, I had the card with me at work, planning to mail it, but I’d forgotten to write the address on the front, and I didn’t have her information with me. She didn’t have a “land line” so her address wasn’t in the online phone book. I put the card back in my bag so I could mail it the next day. A few days later, I was looking through the bag and came across the card I’d forgotten all about. So I took it out, found the address, and put it back in the bag.

I finally remembered to mail the thing several days after I had written it. A few days later, I received Norma’s answer.

Aunt Jen

“You are such a blessing,” she wrote. “Your sweet card arrived on Mama’s birthday.” Her mother, my favorite aunt, had died a little over a year before. Norma was feeling sad when she went to the mailbox and found my card.

I smiled at the memory of my forgetfulness, but after re-reading Norma’s note, I wondered. My delay in sending the card meant it arrived on Aunt Jen’s birthday (which I’d forgotten about). Coincidence? I don’t think so. I prefer to believe in a loving heavenly Father who cares about our every need. His plans for us sometimes include precious surprises that brighten our day and help us through difficult times.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3 NIV

Originally posted on Facebook, September 15, 2011

"Me" Is Out of Here in 2015

IMG_9611Happy New Year!
Resolutions. Do you make them at New Year’s? I have in the past, but this year—no. Why? I’m being honest with myself. I can make a dozen really great resolutions and that’s as far as it goes. They are soon forgotten. 
Or I remember them with guilt because I’m not following through. So this New Year, I’m planning a bypass. 
I prefer the Back Door Method. You know, when someone is watching the front door, you sneak around to the back and go in that way. Never happens to you? Er … okay. It’s also called a sneak attack, and it’s a method I often use to get around those things “Me” doesn’t want to do. 
You probably don’t have this problem, but the “Me” over here … has become a big stumbling block. Being my own boss in a home-based business, no one really tells me what to do, except my long-time best friend and confidante (we’ve been married forty years). But even with him, I can get by. I’ve weaseled out of a few situations in the past forty years. 
But “Me” can be rather insistent. Downright rude, at times. So, I’ve decided to give “Me” the official boot. Fired. Out of here. Bye-bye!
So what exactly is a resolution? A decision we make to change our lives. A firm decision. Resolve: firmness of purpose, a focused decision to better one’s life. Make a fresh start.
With that in mind, read this passage from 2 Corinthians (The Message):
14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

So … back to that ole “Me” who’s causing all the problems—

The old life is gone—“Me” is out of here—so now, as the New Year dawns, I can move on and create and do the things that I am specifically called to do. I’m not totally naïve. I know I will have to resist “Me” from time to time. Someone as difficult as “Me” will not give up without a fight. But I know I am not alone in the struggle.
One of those things I am called to do is to encourage you. My daily work involves writing and some of that writing is given as a praise offering to God. My hope being: out of that praise offering, you will be encouraged to follow God’s plan for your life, as laid out in the passage of scripture above. And in 2015, move away from following what “Me” wants and follow what “He” wants for you. Because it is vastly more beautiful than anything you can imagine on your own. “You” are “His”—and when you learn to oust the “Me” in your life, nothing can stand in your way anymore. 
He has this.Make a firm decision today to give “Him” first place in your life. Listen for His voice and don’t be afraid to follow, wherever He leads you. No matter how many times you may have failed in the past. Today is a new day—a new year—a new beginning for “You.”

My prayer for you today is this: May your New Year come alive with possibilities as you realize the plans He has for you.

Photo of squirrel from MorgueFile