A Girl Worth Fighting For?

What kind of expectations do we place on ourselves? How about what we expect of others? Are they true and real ones, or are they more often based in fantasy or unreality?

I’ve been exploring this topic for myself lately, and I’d like to share a few thoughts about it. While sick with a horrible cold, I decided to take a couple of hours over a few days and watch the charming Disney movies Mulan and Mulan II. There is a song in Mulan that reprises in Mulan II, and it became the subject of my thoughts, and thus this post. Here’s a video link to the song in the first movie: A Girl Worth Fighting For

The song is charming, expressing the longings of men heading into a dangerous situation, who only want to know what they are about to face is worth it for someone back home. They express their hopes and dreams of what each believe is their ideal female, and how much they want the presence of these ladies in their lives when they go home. In the second movie, the song is taken further, by heroes come home who still don’t have the women of their dreams by their sides.

At first, I listened to the music and just enjoyed it. It speaks of what Wild At Heart by John Eldredge details. It says how all men really want is a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue and to be a hero. As a woman, I find these concepts somewhat foreign, but I’ve studied enough on the differences between men and women to understand these compelling needs. After all, as a woman, I find myself often yearning to be the beauty to be rescued, to nurture my hero and guard and care for the helpless, particularly those closest to me.

The problem came as I thought more about the song. Because as I did, I started to change the lyrics. I started to make them personal. Instead of a man wanting a girl worth fighting for, I wanted to be that girl worth fighting for.  I started to think of whether or not I was worth fighting for, if I wasn’t slender enough, pretty enough, smart enough or just enough of whatever. I started to wonder if I was too much of whatever. I started to think the expectations of the lyrics to be a girl worth fighting for were on me.

It was then I realized I was giving in (yet again!) to our culture’s domineering critical nature against women, and my own self-doubts and fears I battle daily. I next realized as a daughter of God, a born-again Blood of Christ covered repentant sinner, I am enough! I am enough in the sight of God, and if HE says I am enough, it ends the matter.

The problem next happened that I started to put it on my poor long-suffering spouse. Now, instead of thinking why I couldn’t be a girl worth fighting for if there wasn’t a problem with him seeing me as a girl worth fighting for. So I started ladling unrealistic expectations on him, instead. I wanted him to be instantly something he is not, instead of who he wonderfully is and allowing him the same process he allows me daily to change and grow.

How often we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others, instead of simply realizing we’re all a work in progress and being patient with everyone’s process, including our own!! It’s so subtle and sneaky, too! I thought I had it beaten, but then this darn song went and proved me oh, so wrong, giving me yet another opportunity to repent, change and grow. As I realize what happened and what I did to both of us, I feel so absurd. But then, that’s what unrealistic expectations are, really. They’re absurd, and the sooner we recognize them for what they are, the happier we’ll all be.

Now, I need to go watch another movie and find a new song, so I can get this dratted one out of my head!!

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Impossible!

What seems impossible to you? What idea or plan or dream seems so unlikely as to be almost impossible right now?

In the 1965 version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother (played by Celeste Holm) told Cinderella (played by Lesley Ann Warren) it wasn’t impossible for her to go where she most wanted, to the prince’s ball. In my favorite song from the show, the Fairy Godmother sings “Impossible.” Here are some of the words:

Impossible! For a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage! Impossible! For a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage! And four white mice could never be four white horses! Such folderoll and fildeedeees, of courses! Impossible!

 

But the world is full of zanies and fools who don’t believe in sensible rules! And won’t believe what sensible people say! And because these daft and dewy eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes . . . Impossible! Things are happening every day!!

In the musical, because Cinderella believes what the Fairy Godmother says, she goes to the ball. Because she goes to the ball, the prince sees her and falls in love with her, and she falls in love with him. They go through trials (what good story doesn’t?), and eventually celebrate their love by getting married.

Wouldn’t it be great if all our impossible dreams worked out so well (and so quickly!) as Cinderella’s? However, the story tellers had only a scant hour or two (including commercials) to tell a tale. Real life usually takes quite a bit longer, unfortunately.

According to the Fairy Godmother, what was the key to Cinderella dropping her dirty appearance and socially unacceptable status, and walking into the ball like she belonged there? It was in Cinderella’s own beliefs the world could be, and should be, a better and kinder place to her. Cinderella was a princess in her heart and soul before she was one on the outside. The Fairy Godmother just supplied the magical window dressings.

We can apply the same principles of belief Cinderella used for ourselves, if we learn how and properly use them! Now, mind you, I’m not advocating some hokey “Name It and Claim It Because You Tell God (or the Universe) You Should Have It” kind of mumbo-jumbo. I am talking about real belief, real faith and real trust that you can and should have what you earn and deserve in life.

It’s a mind-set, really. So many of us get ourselves convinced for whatever lousy reasons we don’t deserve good things in life, so we self-sabotage ourselves into not getting them. We want them, we yearn for them with all our hearts. But until we convince ourselves we’re worthwhile and worthy of them, until we believe they are possible in our lives, they won’t happen. Because until we do, all our work will be in vain, as we continually self-sabotage all our efforts.

I have been an expert at this. I see good things in life and I want to work to get them. But my underlying image of myself always told me I didn’t deserve them, so I would self-sabotage any efforts of working toward them. It hasn’t been until I’ve begun to deal with my self-image that my efforts are finally starting to bear fruit.

So, if we get our self-sabotage under control, how do we believe? Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how to believe. I only know it’s necessary, and it’s a decision.

It’s like the boy who is the main character in The Polar Express. The boy is on the train because he’s a skeptic about Santa Clause. He’d like to see before he believes. When he gets to the North Pole, he sees all the evidence around him, but cannot see Santa for the crowds of elves. He cannot hear the sleigh bells, either. Finally, he just decides to believe, saying,

Okay! Okay! Okay! I believe! I believe! I believe!

It is in that magic moment of his decision to believe that he hears the sleigh bells, and sees Santa Clause, too. His belief opens the door to a personal encounter with Santa, and a life long joy.

During the closing credits of the movie, a song sung by Josh Groban plays called Believe. Here’s the words of the chorus, in hopes you can believe, too:

Believe in what your heart is saying

Hear the melody that’s playing

There’s no time to waste

There’s so much to celebrate!

 

Believe in what you feel inside

And give your dreams the wings to fly!

You have everything you need

If you just believe!

As I write this, it’s 3 days before Christmas 2014. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

May your 2015 be filled with impossibilities, because you believe . . . 

Repost – Historical Leaders — When “Well Enough” Isn’t Good Enough

The following is a repost from October 31, 2011. I have updated a few dates and timelines. Happy Reformation Day!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In my studies on Leadership, I have discovered a few traits leaders share.  One of these traits is a refusal to abide by the status quo.  Leaders want to change things, and just can’t leave alone anything they see as being in opposition to their vision of the future.  “Well enough” isn’t good enough for leaders when better is possible.  Here is the biography of one such leader.

He was born in 1484, in what is now known as Germany. His parents were trades people, with upwardly mobile aspirations for their son. Thus, he received the best schooling his father’s money could buy.

His father’s ambitions were that he become a lawyer, but the leader in him found law unsatisfying. So he dropped it almost immediately, and tried philosophy. That, however, proved unsatisfactory, as he found it questioned his religious faith too much. He later wrote “philosophy is good for the questioning of man, but man could only learn of God through divine revelation and the Scriptures.”

Shortly into his college career, he had an experience that led him to believe he should be a monk. This was very much against his father’s wishes, who felt he was abandoning his education and family. His friends were skeptical of his suitability to it, also. Individualist that he was, he continued the course once he decided it.

He tried very hard to be a monk, and later wrote if trying had been all it took, he would have been the best. But his superiors knew he was cut of different cloth (perhaps they knew a budding rascal leader when they saw one!), and sent him off to university to study theology, Biblical studies and the priesthood. He became a priest and earned a Doctorate in Theology, becoming a professor in it at Wittenberg University in Germany, a post he held for the rest of his career.

It was here he finally flowered and attained his now famous greatness. A representative from Rome came to his beloved Wittenberg, and began to sell tokens, called indulgences. These indulgences were meant for people to have the souls of their loved ones released from Purgatory upon the purchase of them. The church’s purpose in selling them was to raise money for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church at the time taught faith alone cannot justify people, and that acts of charity, not faith, were also necessary to be saved.

By now I am sure you have guessed the identity of our historic rascal leader, so I will use his name from now on. Martin Luther was incensed at the selling of these indulgences to the people of the church over which he was pastor. He initially wrote to the Pope by way of his Archbishop in protest, with the first draft of his 95 Thesis, saying the wealthy Pope and church should pay for the building projects of Rome, and not the humble peasants they were supposed to be serving. He claimed he wrote it as a scholarly dissertation and objection, not a direct challenge to Papal authority and power. His 95 Thesis were also printed and posted on the door of the cathedral of Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, now known widely as Reformation Day, in accordance with the Wittenberg customs of scholarly debate.  Today marks 437 years since that act.

The 95 Thesis were quickly reprinted from Latin to German and spread throughout the land, one of the first known historical controversies so spread. The word, spread thusly, went like a wildfire.

In direct contrast to the church’s teachings, Luther spent the succeeding years preaching and teaching (and writing) on justification by faith. Eventually, the catch-phrase, “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone” became the hallmark of his growing group of followers.

However, the Catholic church did not take Luther’s perceived challenges lightly. They launched investigations, set up heresy hearings that devolved into shouting matches, attempted to arrest Luther (the German King protected him) and threatened him with excommunication. Eventually, he was officially excommunicated. But it just didn’t seem to matter. No one would silence this rascal leader, and nothing would deter his beliefs.

Finally, the secular authorities had at him at the now infamous Diet of Worms at Wartburg Castle in January to May of 1521. Emperor Charles V presided, and the Elector of Saxony (and Luther’s patron) provided safe conduct through hostile territory for him to attend.

The Emperor and an Archbishop finally demanded in exasperation he recant. Luther replied,

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand and can do no other. May God help me. Amen.

The Emperor and Archbishop, of course, voted against him, declaring his life forfeit. The Elector of Saxony helped him escape to safety on the return trip. He found chaos on his return, started by disciples who had taken Reformation too far. He cleaned up the mess, preached and wrote against the excesses and generally worked to lead people back to where he envisioned the Bible was telling them to go. Much to his dismay and distress, the radicals did have their way in larger Germany, igniting what is now known as the Peasants War, against which he preached and taught.

Luther rescued a group of nuns who no longer wished to serve as such and were being held against their will after he returned from Worms. Among them was Katharina von Bora, whom he eventually married, and with whom he had 6 surviving children. He had long advocated a married priesthood within the Catholic church, and now that he was out of it, enjoyed the benefits of it as a married pastor.

Opposing the Roman church’s central system, Luther organized the church that today bears his name in a decentralized system of synods, loosely aligned in common purpose. He declined to be leader of distant synods set up in his model, and preferred to merely advise them. He successfully laid out theology and catechisms (Large for pastors and teachers and Small for everyone to memorize and learn) for the church’s doctrine and its teaching for all ages. He rewrote the Mass to be a simpler service, a celebration for all ages that allowed for freedom of ceremony within synods and churches. Pastoral care and Christian education were both addressed as well, as he had seen problems with both of these areas in his prior service.

While in Worms, one of the things Luther did to pass his time was to translate the New Testament into German. This was the first time the Scriptures of any kind had been in the language of the people of the land since the fall of Rome to the barbarians. Later, he also worked with Bible scholars to translate the Old Testament, also. His version influenced William Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English, and the translators of the King James Bible, the first authorized English version.

Rascal leaders not being content with the status quo in anything, Luther also wrote hymns for his church. “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is, one might argue, his most famous.

In 1529 to 1531, Luther participated in a series of debates hosted and convoked by Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, involving doctrinal unity among the emerging Protestant regions. It is out of these debates the Augsburg Confessions arose.

In a war with the Turks, Luther had to deal with the differences between Holy War and secular war. He urged the German people to defend their country on a secular basis. However, he told them it was not a Holy War, and believed the Turks could be left alone in their Islamic faith. He continued in his beliefs until he read a translated copy of the Qur’an.

No leader is perfect, and Martin Luther certainly wasn’t. His writings on the Jews introduced into German thought and culture an anti-Semitic thread that just wasn’t there prior to him. He held them in disdain, and his views on the subject were repudiated by the Lutheran church in the 1980’s.

Luther’s final acts were on behalf of his extended family’s financial interests. The count who ruled over the city of his birth had in mind to take over their means of livelihood, which was the same as their father’s, and Luther stepped in to negotiate. The successful negotiations were barely concluded when he suffered what appears in retrospect to be a series of heart attacks, followed by a major stroke and then shortly after by his death. Just before the stroke, he was asked by his assembled followers and protégées,

“Reverend father, are you ready to die trusting in your Lord Jesus Christ and to confess the doctrine which you have taught in his name?” A distinct “Yes” was Luther’s reply.

The rascal leader Martin Luther died at the age of 62 in the town of his birth. He was buried under the altar of his beloved Wittenberg Cathedral. Later, when the soldiers of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V invaded Saxony, the Emperor strictly instructed his troops not to disturb his grave. He is celebrated in the Calendars of Saints of the Episcopal, Church of England and, of course, Lutheran churches. The final Sunday of October is Reformation Sunday in the Lutheran church, celebrating this leader’s revolutionary 95 Thesis, now from 437 years ago today.

(My thanks to my Lutheran teachings and books, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther for some of the specific details herein!)

Easter In Song

For Easter, I am giving you a few videos of some of my favorite Resurrection Day music. I hope you like it as much as I do.

The first is by one of the early bands of the Contemporary Christian Music genre, 2nd Chapter of Acts. It’s called Easter Song.

The next is by Dallas Holm, another pioneer in Christian Contemporary Music, called Rise Again.

The next is by Don Francisco, known for his story-telling through music, Too Small A Price. (Warning: Graphic images inappropriate for small children. But don’t let the images scare you away. The ending is positively amazing!)

The last one is another by Don Francisco. It is my absolute favorite, the joy-filled He’s Alive.

Photo: After Eden: The Difference

 

A Little Bit Of Heaven

What is Heaven like? I remember asking that question as a child. I suspect if we were raised in any kind of religious home, or had any experience with the death of a loved one at a young age, most of us asked it at one point or another when we were children. For the most part, unfortunately, I think it went largely unanswered, or insufficiently answered. I know it did for me.

Somehow, the picture that springs to mind, largely fueled by the media, of cherubs fluttering around with harps and lounging on clouds, is at best unsatisfying. At worst, it seems patronizing and trite.

Wenceslas Hollar - Concert of cherubs in the c...

So, what is Heaven like? It’s a subject preachers don’t often mention, because they don’t have a lot to go on, save for the words of Jesus and the visions of prophets like John in Revelation, Ezekiel and Isaiah. Jesus gave us analogies, mostly picturing what He wanted His Church to be like. Jesus’ word pictures were largely centered in people’s relationships to one another and to His Father. John, Ezekiel and Isaiah spoke of when the world finally ends, and what will happen. Though if you ask Bible scholars of differing theologies, you will get at least 4 or 5 different interpretations of what they said. This ends up being confusing at best.

Preachers don’t often mention it in sermons also because most Westerners don’t want to face the inevitability we will all eventually die. We are often perpetually self-deluded individuals, who act as if we will live forever, when we know at heart we will not. We find the topic of death uncomfortable, and put off discussions about it. This can also lead to eternal damnation for those who do not face it and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in the here and now.

So, what is Heaven like? I heard someone speak once about music and worship, and what he believed it would be like in Heaven for those who believe in Jesus as Savior. He said everyone who wrote music to praise God would sing it before Him, with everyone else listening. All the different music styles, languages and cultures throughout the ages would give their music in a huge concert of praise to God.

He also said all the different cultures through the ages would bring before God what made them special, what God put in them to be unique. Tribal dances, animals, costumes and patterns, music and traditions would create a gigantic parade of splendor. Folks from Africa might come with lions, zebras and gazelles, dancing and singing. Folks from China might come with pandas and silks. Folks from India would bring elephants and tigers. All the wealth of every nation and diverse cultures would be on display, all for the glory of God.

I think about it, and am reminded of the scene from the movie “The Ten Commandments,” when the wealth of Egypt’s subject peoples were brought in tribute to Pharaoh. It would be like that, only on a far grander, vastly more epic scale than our human minds can comprehend. Talk about your concerts of praise!

English: Chris Tomlin performing a concert in ...

Chris Tomlin

I was reminded of all this when I saw a video on FaceBook this week. It is Christian singer/songwriter Chris Tomlin, singing his popular worship song, “How Great Is Our God.” In the video, he is joined by church worship leaders from around the world, singing in Spanish, Chinese, Swahili and other languages. They were all singing the same song in their own languages, sometimes at the same time. The joyful rendition reminds me of that picture of Heaven I was taught, which is the best description of it I’ve heard so far.

Here’s the link. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-ZtKzw-ipo

And, if you are not someone who has acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your own life, I invite you to do it now. Heaven eventually awaits those who follow Him, and He gives a full and complete life to them in the here and now as well. If you do, please let me know in the Comments section. I will keep it private, and I will do what I can to link you to a local church in your area, where you can grow in your new faith.

Pledge Of Allegience

In time for the US Independence Day, I offer the following link. It’s my absolutely favorite Red Skelton video. I love it so much, I bought an entire set of his videos just to get my own

Red Skelton

Red Skelton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

copy . . .

Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/eMR6d_9GsCQ

Independence Day

What To Do About Aurora??

As I’ve followed the tragic killings in Aurora, CO, I wondered about what would drive a person to do such a heinous act.  How did he go from a brilliant doctoral student to a mass murderer?  What could anyone have done to stop him?  What can we do to prevent it from happening again?

The Colorado theatre shootings were a massive tragedy.  And such questions as these may never be answered.

In light of the Aurora murders, the debate over gun control has surged to the forefront of the American consciousness.  Some say if guns had been outlawed, the shooter would not have had access to them.  Others contend if guns are outlawed, only outlaws, who disobey laws, are the ones who would have them.  What are we to conclude in such divisive debate?

Finally, I decided to do some research.  Here’s what I found in a simple internet search on the history of gun control and its ramifications:

In 1911, Turkey established gun control.  From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, deprived of the means to defend themselves, were rounded up and killed.

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control.  From 1929 to 1935, about 20 million dissidents were captured and killed.  Millions more were sent to gulags over the next 50 and more years of Soviet rule.

In 1938, Germany established gun control.  From 1939 to 1945, over 13 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill, union leaders, Catholics and others, deprived of the means to defend themselves, were rounded up and killed in prisons and concentration camps.  Adolph Hitler said the establishment of gun control in his regime in Nazi Germany was the single largest cause in the consolidation of his totalitarian control.

In 1935, China established gun control.  From 1948 to 1952, about 20 million dissidents were murdered.  Dissidents in China are still persecuted, forced from their homes and employment and often imprisoned.

In 1956, Cambodia established gun control.  From 1975 to 1977, over 1 million “educated people” were rounded up and killed.

In 1956, Guatemala established gun control.  From 1964 to 1981, over 100,000 native Mayans, deprived of the means to defend themselves, were slaughtered.

In 1970, Uganda established gun control.  From 1970 to 1979, 300,000 Christians were murdered after horrific persecution.

The cost of nations establishing gun control has been approximately 55,900,000 million people in about 30 years, or 186,334 people per year.  On the other hand, Switzerland has never had gun control, and has consistently had the lowest murder/suicide rates in the entire Western world.

Edmund Burke said, “Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”  My simple internet research leads me to wonder if those who wish to control guns are, in their zeal to right a wrong, seeking to condemn our country to repeat the same fate as these ill-fated peoples, in a knee-jerk emotional reaction to this senseless tragedy.

So, what to do?  I read of people who refuse to attend the movie, or any movie, because of it.  I don’t believe this is an appropriate reaction, either.

It’s not the movie’s fault, or the fault of movies in general.  The writers, director, cast and crew certainly didn’t make it with the intent of movie-goers being killed in their theatre seats. To refuse to see it is to deny them the right of us as moviegoers honoring and appreciating their hard work.  The movie’s star Christian Bale has been photographed in Aurora, showing sympathy for the victims and their families.   Not going it or to the movies at all seems like a cat who, after being burned on a hot stove, refuses to get on any stoves, even cold ones, for fear of burning.  It’s like the reactions of people who refused to fly after September 11.  By not flying, their fear let terrorism win.

I cannot say I am any kind of expert on these complicated questions.  But what I have learned tells me when we have knee-jerk reactions into extremism of any kind to senseless, human-caused tragedy, the bad guys win Tragedies are times to stop, grieve and let the grief process take its time with us.  Decisions made in the heat of a tragedy’s emotional aftermath are all too often later regretted, and even more often far too difficult to undo.

How To Give A Wonderful Birthday

I had a great birthday this year!  I know, it seems like bragging.  I wanted to let you, my several faithful readers, know what my incredible family did.  Maybe what they did, the plans they pulled off, will inspire you to give a great day to someone special you love.

My celebration started the night before, on Saturday.  The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary

English: Exterior of the Saratoga Performing A...

Tour was coming to Saratoga Performing Arts Center.  Bob got lawn tickets for us, and found a buy one/get one deal.  We had an early supper, got sodas for the cooler, grabbed lawn chairs and a blanket and headed north about 40 miles from home.

The concert was amazing!  The Beach Boys have lost none of what made them so

Español: The Beach Boys en concierto en el 2008.

fantastic.  Our spot on the lawn was high on the hill, where we could see the stage, though the performers looked like ants.  Bob got us shirts, fries and a frozen drink in a cool collectible cup.  Everyone around us was friendly and nice, and all 20,000 of us got up to dance and sing a lot, especially when they did classic favorites toward the end.  It was a while getting out of the arena area and then back to the highway, but no one seemed to mind, and everyone was nice about it.

Sunday (my birthday) we struggled to get up after our late night and went to church.  Son David got there ahead of us, and told everyone, so I got a lot of birthday wishes during the time of peace.  After church, Bob brought daughter Beth, son-in-law Tom and our grandchildren over for lunch and a swim.  The kids were funny and entertaining, and I got some cute photos.

After Tom, Beth and the kids left, Bob, David and I went to the mall.  David and I have a tradition from when he was small of going to the latest Disney movie together for my birthday.  I used to take him but since he got his first job, he’s taken me every year, and then out for whatever dinner his budget could afford.  Bob tagged along and we went to see “Brave.”  David also got us popcorn, soda and candy.  After the movie, we went to a restaurant where they had a 3 course special.  My leftovers became lunch at work Monday.

My Facebook wall was filled Saturday night and all day Sunday with messages from friends and family.  It was so touching and fun to read all the kind words from everyone!

Monday, I found my work cubicle decorated with streamers at the door, a banner across the middle that said “Happy Birthday” in pink with princessy stuff, balloons taped all over the place, a hat on my keyboard, and a picture of a cupcake with a candle in it on one of my monitors!  I had a place mat that said “Happy Birthday, ” with notes on it from my coworkers.  On it was a gift card from a local coffee shop chain.  I returned from a break and found someone had left a dark chocolate candy bar on my keyboard!  I found out at lunchtime a coworker’s birthday was Sunday and no one knew, so I shared the pink banner and 1/2 my balloons with her.  It was fun, to share the joy.

I’ve had birthdays that weren’t great in the past.  This one was fabulous!  From Saturday evening to Monday morning, it was almost non-stop continuous fun and excitement.  This wasn’t even a ‘big’ birthday.  It was an ordinary one.  What made it special was the kindnesses, the thoughtfulness, the unexpected pleasures and the sheer delights of surprises the people who care about me took the time to consider and execute. 

That’s my whole point of sharing this.  It doesn’t matter what you do for your someone special.  It doesn’t matter how much it costs.  What matters is that they know you were thinking of them and taking the time and trouble to consider what they would like, what would bring them pleasure and joy.  Because that’s what the people around me did for me this year that made this birthday so special, so memorable, so wonderful.  They took that time out for me . . .

Happy Birthday

On Intimacy With Immensity, Parts 1 and 2

These poems reflect the place I was in my relationship with God at the time I wrote them.  The first was 10 years ago.  The second was 2010.  The difference was taking a class focused around Ed Piorek’s DVD series The Father Loves You .  It changed my perspective of Father God, my relationship with Him, and is based on Galatians 4:6,

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

It is my prayer you find joy in the Father’s love!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

             On Intimacy With Immensity 

 You are so big . . .

          Your power created the universe;

                   All the things I see, all I cannot.

          Your wisdom smoothly runs it

                   Without raising a sweat on Your brow.

          Your majesty is seen in it

                   But only as a dim reflection of Your glory.

And You want to be intimate

With small and insignificant me.

 *

 

You are so loving . . .

          You forgive the worst sinners

                    When they come to You in repentance.

          You came to give Yourself for us

                   While we were yet sinners all.

          You would have done it if all the world were perfect

                   Except for one poor, sinful soul.

And You want to pour out this love

On someone as undeserving as me.

 *

 

You are so powerful . . .

          All You have to do is think

                   And amazing things happen.

          You decided all the laws of the universe,

                   And go outside them as You choose.

          There is nothing that happens anywhere

                   That You don’t know of it before it occurs.

And You want to share Your power

Pouring it into a life as powerless as mine.

*

I can’t think of this too often,

          You know.

You are so immense.

          And I am so small.

You are so loving.

          And I am so insignificant.

You are so powerful.

          And I am so weak.

But for all our many differences,

          You demand intimacy between us.

And of all the things I’ve ever thought of,

          This is the most amazing one:

To have intimacy with Your immensity

           Is a thing my mind can never comprehend.
 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Abba’s Lap

(On Intimacy With Immensity, Part II) 

 

Abba,

          The world is cold, and lonely, and hard.

                   It is unforgiving of my struggles, and faults, and failings.

Abba,

          Can I climb into Your lap for a while?

 

*

 

Abba,

          The world is big, and I am but small.

                   The world is frightening, and I am scared.

Abba,

          You are bigger than the big, scary world.

                   Can I climb into Your lap and be safe?

 

*

 

Abba,

          My heart is broken and hurting.

                   The world has cast it aside like a discarded  and unwanted

                    toy.

Abba,

          When I bring my heart to You, will You fix it for me?

 

*

 

Abba,

The world takes such joy, such delight in shredding my life, my

hopes,

my dreams like a small child would paper.

Abba,

          When I bring You the shattered pieces, can You, will You, fix

          them

                   and fix me?

*

 

Abba . . .

          Abba . . .

                   Abba . . .

*

Child.  Beloved Child.  Come here, Beloved Child.  Come up.