Thursday, February 28, 2019

My Offering

OK, so I've been going through this thing with the LORD.
With regards to this blog.
I mean, at times I wonder if I should keep on posting.
That is, I love writing about the things of life, the ways God is speaking, and the lessons He's teaching me. So many times He speaks to me as I write - clarifying thoughts in my head and convictions in my heart, as I seek to put them into words which someone else might understand. And I delight in the thought that what He is working in me might be something He would also use to bless another human soul.
But, here's the rub.
Sometimes I let low numbers discourge me. Oh, only 12 people opened that post?
Sometimes I let page hits define my worth. Ooooo! This one is getting attention! I guess I did something right.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm making a difference at all. Should I put in the effort to prepare a post for tomorrow? Will anybody read it???
So one day recently I sat in front of my computer, and I didn't type a single word.
Instead, I prayed.
I just prayed, and I asked God what HE wanted me to do.
And the converstaion which ensued between the two of us (Between HIS heart and mine.) has lasted for a couple of weeks.
It began with Him reminding me (again!) that my worth - and His pleasure in me - is not measured in numbers. Particularly, not the number of people who read what I've written, and not the number of comments or "likes" left here or on Facebook.
And then?
Then the Master and Creator of my heart got down to the business of speaking to my heart in a way that was at once difficult, but ultimately freeing. That is to say, as His Spirit spoke to my heart and dug through the reasons I was giving for wondering if I should keep writing, HE revealed my pride.
The "need" I thought I had for validation - you know, wanting to know someone had been touched by something I shared.
Even though I was telling myself it was honorable (Wanting to make a difference for the kingdom. Putting forth my best effort, praying for God's leading, and asking Him to speak through my words to the hearts of everyone (anyone?) who might read.) the Holy Spirit let me see it for what it really was: My ego wanting to be uplifted by knowing I had done something wonderful. Though I tried to justify it as being about Him, HE let me see it was really all about me. Writing those words feels ugly. But if I try to phrase them in a way that puts my self in a better light, well, pride wins again. And I am so done with losing that battle!!!

Yeah. So that was the difficult part.

Then the LORD asked my heart a very pointed question.
HE took me down a road I had not expected to go.
Karen, am I enough???
If I were the only One who saw what you wrote, if I were the only One who had the chance to look into your heart, if nobody but Me was ever going to see what you posted, would you still care to do your best? Would you still pray, would you still seek My heart, would you still be faithful - if it was only for Me?

I sat with those words for a while, not having realized my pride would have caused my God to feel second in my heart. Oh, it was never my intention to be held captive by the praises of men. Yet, there I was: Sensing that my Lord wondered if I would be willing to write if HE was my only audience.
As His words pierced my heart, I humbly apologized for losing sight of what matters. Then, with joyful conviction and a sense of being restored, I surrendered to Him one more time and said, "Yes, LORD. Yes. I will do this all for You. I will do this for only You. You are more than Enough!!!"

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men...
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Second Saddest Verse

13“ ‘Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.
14“ ‘I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign Lord.’ ”

Ezekiel 24:13-14
Last week I wrote about my feeling that Ezekiel 22:30 has got to be the saddest verse in the Bible.

Today I am convinced that Ezekeil 24:13 is a close second.
Go ahead and re-read it. Then let's reason through it together.

The context of the verse is Jerusalem's blatant unfaithfulness to God, by way of acting as a harlot with the idols of the nations around her. That isn't new information.
What struck me in this verse - and what makes me feel it is so sad - is the tone with which the LORD is speaking to His people. Can you hear it?
I tried to cleanse you
In other words, HE sent prophets to His people to point out their sin and call them to repentance.
HE re-sent those prophets when His people didn't listen.
HE gave warnings.
HE tried to reason with them even though they were rebellious.
HE told them what was going to happen if they didn't turn from their sin and return to the LORD.
HE bared His heart to them, telling them He has no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies - practically begging His people to Repent and live.(Ezekiel 18:32)
Indeed, HE did everything good and reasonable and even beyond-what-was-rational to cleanse His people. **Read that: The LORD told His people what He expected of them, i.e. faithfulness, before they entered the Promised Land. And He'd been repeating Himself solidly for over 800 years.
And their response?
but you would not be cleansed from your impurity
The LORD did everything HE could do.
Several times He relented of His wrath (which had been completely deserved).
He tried to cleanse His people, but they just weren't having it.
And so...
So He declared that He was going to let His wrath be the vehicle by which His people would finally be cleansed. They would go through the fire (quite literally).

How sad!

Yet one day - they would know that HE is the LORD.
And once again, we see the wrath of God coming for the purposes of reconciliation.
But, what if?
What if God's people had listened to Him and allowed Him to cleanse them the first time around?
Obviously, allowing God to do His work would have been the better option for the people of Jerusalem. That's easy for us to see.
But here's where we need to make application. See, I don't believe God gave us His Word simply so we could contemplate what would have been the better choice for them. I am sensing His Spirit speaking directly to mine. And I'm asking Him, "Is there some impurity in my life You're trying to cleanse?"
Oh, I don't want to miss His work.
I want to participate with Him in my transformation - not work against Him.
I don't want to bring His chastisement upon myself because I was too stubborn to listen.
Because, how sad would it be if God gave us His Word, and we studied it and we learned what happened to the people of old, and we even grieved for the choices they made and the pain it brought to God's heart, but we never let the Word affect our lives today?
That would be so, so sad!

So I must ask, is God speaking to your heart through this Word today?


Monday, February 25, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Who Will Stand in the Gap?

If you've been reading here with any regularity over the past month, you likely know I am studying the book of Ezekiel with my Precept class.
You've probably also noticed this book is affecting me in significant ways.
And, wow, it just keeps going.(!)
That is to say, I have just finished the lesson over chapter 22 and I think I have now read the saddest verse in all of scripture.
Check this out:

"I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one."

~Ezekiel 22:30
OK, so I have had a cursory awareness of the phrase "stand in the gap".
I vaugely remember it being the theme of Promise Keepers 22 years ago. (Thanks, Google, for that piece of information.)
What I mean to say is, I've heard the phrase used in the context of Christians praying.
But seeing the phrase in the biblical context - from which it has been taken all the other times I've heard it used - absolutely wrecked my heart!
Let me set the scene for you.
The first 29 verses of Ezekiel 22 call for Ezekiel to pronounce judgment on Jerusalem because of all her abominations. That is, the first two verses make that declaration. The following 27 give detail to the lewdness which had defiled the city. The abominations are all laid out which were done by the rulers of Israel, the slanderous men, the prophets, the priests, the princes, and the people of the land.
It's a long list!
And then comes verse 30. I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

What is God saying there???

If HE had found somebody who was praying for Jerusalem, who was agonizing over her wickedness and begging Him for mercy, would He have really spared the land?
(See Exodus 32:11-14 and Psalm 106:19-23.)
As it is, He found no one.
And then we get to verse 31.
"Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads," declares the Lord GOD.

The sadness of this circumstance consumes me.
The LORD was looking for someone who would stand in the gap before Him. Someone who would agonize over the sin of the land and beg Him for mercy, so He would not destroy it. HE was looking for someone who cared!!!
And He found no one.
Oh! Does that fact break your heart like it breaks mine?
And does it stir your heart for the United States like it stirs mine?
If we were to record the ways our rulers have despised the things of God, the lewd acts done by our slanderous men, the lives destroyed by present-day false prophets, the violence done to God's law by our "men of the cloth", and the dishonest gain amassed by our fine young men *ahem* - I fear the list would be very, very long.
But if - per chance - God still has an ounce of mercy in His heart for us, if He hasn't come to the end of His longsuffering patience toward us, if He will still forgive and is searching the land for someone who will build up the wall and stand in the gap?
Oh, LORD, here I am!!!
Please hear my cries for this nation.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Seeking HIS Heart

Have you ever really considered how broken you are?
Even when you know you're a sinner, saved by grace - able and willing to admit it - seeking to be re-made by the One who can restore you, but then finding yourself with a certain level of pride in knowing you're broken-but-being-made-new?
I mean, that's some serious messiness right there.
And it's on my mind as I continue studying Ezekiel, and particularly verse 27 of chapter 21.

"A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I will make it. This also will be no more until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him."
I came across an incredibly insightful and thought-provoking treatise on this verse, and God is using it to stir my heart and mind. The "article" is really long (and I haven't finished reading yet) but I highly recommend it to you.

The more I consider the layers of sinfulness in me - the aspects of brokenness which don't show up until the first and second and third layers are peeled away - the more I become convinced I need this verse in Ezekiel to manifest in my life. I need to be made a ruin, three times over (and more!), until I am fully given to Jesus and transformed completely into His image.
The thing is, there are times when I recognize my desperation for Him and I surrender anew to His refining work in me - and it all seems good. But then sin crouches behind me and whispers lies which I believe, and I fall right back to where I was before. Or near to it, anyway. Not the same place. Sin always manages to find a new level of brokenness for me.
And I must be ruined once again.

So that's where I am today.
Seeking God's heart and His hand.
Needing His grace to carry me.
Asking His Spirit to lead me.
Trusting His goodness in all things.


Monday, February 18, 2019

On My Heart


Friday, February 15, 2019

When There is HOPE

OK, this study of Ezekiel has been filling me.
Sometimes with urges to warn.
And concern for the state of the nation's heart.
Sometimes with solemn recognition of my own propensity to fall.
And now? Now it fills me with a beautiful glimmer of HOPE.
That is, I just finished studying chapter 20. And although it begins with a bit of a harsh tone as the LORD denies the request of an inquiry by Israel's elders - and as He goes on to detail their history of rebellion, and His wrath and judgement - it finishes with a marvelous hope.

Through Ezekiel, God relays the account of Israel's rebellion. HE recounts His own display of wrath, poured out for His Name's sake - that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations. Then HE speaks to those who have come to inquire of Him and tells them that HE will be king over them. God tells them about His plan to bring the people back from the lands where they are scatterd, into the wilderness where He will enter into judgment with them (as He did with their fathers), and -ultimately - how He will restore them so they will know He is the LORD.
Then HE says this:
(please read these words prayerfully and slowly)

39 “As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord God, “Go, serve everyone his idols; but later you will surely listen to Me, and My holy name you will profane no longer with your gifts and with your idols. 40 For on My holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel,” declares the Lord God, “there the whole house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land; there I will accept them and there I will seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your holy things. 41 As a soothing aroma I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations. 42 And you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I swore to give to your forefathers. 43 There you will remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil things that you have done. 44 Then you will know that I am the Lord when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your evil ways or according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord God.’”

Ezekiel 20:39-44
Do you see what I saw???
The LORD essentially says to the house of Israel, Fine. Go serve your idols. Do your evil thing. But the day is coming when you're going to listen to Me once and for all. When you will stop profaning My name with your wicked ways... I will draw you to Myself, and you will hate the evil you have done. Then you will know I am the LORD, because I had such great mercy on you.
God's judgment and wrath had been plentiful in Israel's history.
They are abundant in the prophecies leading up to this point in Ezekiel.
But I am reminded, God's judgment and wrath are always justfied.
Always deserved.
Always right.
Always with the intent to bring about reconciliation.
And that's what I'm seeing play out here in Ezekiel.
In spite of everything Israel had done, in spite of the wrath God had to pour out to protect His Name, His plan was to draw His people back to Himself in holiness.
So I cling to this hope for our world today.

May the LORD have mercy upon us. May HE draw us to Himself and reveal our sin. May HE open our eyes and give us a thorough disgust for the wicked ways we have been living. May HE make us a people holy unto Himself, ready and willing to walk in His ways and follow His lead. May it be so, LORD. Amen!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Have I Really Arrived???

So, I saw an old friend in the grocery store Monday.
We used to work on projects together when our kids were in early elementary school.
Yeah. Like 13+ years ago!
I can hardly believe that much time has gone by!!!
Needless to say, we had quite a bit of catching up to do. And, of course, it centered mostly around our children and what they're doing now.

The funny thing about it was that Josh had just stopped by the house Sunday night - so I had a fresh story to tell my friend.
That is, he came over to get something shortly after the dinner hour (Intentional? Maybe!) and was happy to find left-overs in the refirgerator. (To which he even happily-er helped himself!) As Josh ate the dinner, he gushed about my cooking. Openly appreciated the food I lovingly prepared. Said that "frozen food" (the choice of bachelors!) was OK, but he missed my fresh meals.
And I just sat there soaking in the love. *wink*
After he finished eating, Josh had questions for me about grocery shopping. Like, What's the difference between different kinds of 'ground beef'? And, What do you usually buy? Cuz what I bought didn't taste the same.
And I sat there answering his questions, offering suggestions, and enjoying the fact that my son wanted to listen to what I had to say.
So, I was sharing these stories with my friend - and we chuckled at how life changes when our children grow older. As if we noticed it at the same time, we simultaneously commented that those 13+ years ago "older" women would tell us that someday would come. The "someday" when our children would appreciate the things we do for them, the labors of love involved in mothering, the often tireless days of doing-our-best when we just want to lay-down-and-rest.
And I gasped as I wondered, Is someday here? Have I really arrived???
Cause I'm telling you, 13+ years ago I didn't think "someday" would ever, ever materialize.

For the record, Josh stopped by again Monday - late afternoon. Seemed happy when I invited him to stay for dinner. *smile*


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

When Sadness Becomes a Prayer

Ohhh, this study of Ezekiel is doing things to my heart.
My Precept class began Ezekiel - Part 1 in January, and we'll be going into May to complete Part 2. The lessons cover two or three chapters each week, and I honestly wasn't prepared for what God was going to be doing in me when we set out to do this study.
That is to say, I have read Ezekiel several times - whenever I have done a read-through-the-Bible-in-a year program. But in that case I was going through two or three chapters a day. And I was just reading. Those experiences are a far cry from the inductive study you find in a program like Precept.
(Please don't get me wrong. I think there is great value in reading through the Bible. But there is greater value in studying. We ought not rest in one and pass on the other.)

That said, chapter 16 of Ezekiel nearly wrecked me.
This chapter starts out with God describing His grace and care for Jerusalem, through the image of a baby who was left to die.
But God spoke life to this infant.
God made her grow.
He entered into a covenant with her.
He bathed her, washed off her blood, anointed her with oil, clothed her with embroidered cloth, wrapped her in fine linen and covered her with silk. He adorned her with ornaments, bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and a crown. So she was adorned with gold and silver, dressed in fine linen, eating fine foods, exceeding in beauty, and advancing to royalty.

"Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you," declares the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 16:14
Can't you just hear His tenderness, His love, His grace in those words??? It is such a beautiful picture of God's compassion, and as I underlined and marked His merciful actions toward His beloved I felt exceeding gratitude for God's care for me.
For fourteen verses I had been reading about God's loving care for Jerusalem - contemplating His goodness to me, too - and I was truly feeling all the feels.

How good is our God!

But then I came to verse 15, and my heart sank. "But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing."
The next six verses detail how Jerusalem took the beautiful gifts which God had bestowed upon her in verses 10-13 and used them for wickedness and sin.
And verse 22 sums it up, "Besides all your abominations and harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood." (i.e. When you were left to die, and nobody cared for you - except the LORD, when He passed by.)

How this picture breaks my heart!
And simultaneously forces me to my knees in introspection, confession, and repentence.
Because I am not so naive that I am unaware of how easy it would be to start trusting in myself. Of the temptation to see all the good things God has bestowed on my life - and begin to think it's all about me. Oh, how quickly I could forget from whence I came.
And so I pray.
LORD, please keep me faithful to YOU. Please keep me from ever trusting in my beauty, or playing the harlot with anything.
I just want to honor YOU. I want to be faithful.
You have saved and rescued me. You have grown me, and adorned me with Jesus.
I want to remain righteous before You with the righteousnesss You gave me in Him.
Please keep me, LORD. Please keep me!

What is your response to this message from Ezekiel?


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Highlights from the Cruise :)

Ahhhhh, the KT and Friends Cruise Brian and I went on was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!
I put together a video of the highlights so you could get a taste of it, too.


Monday, February 11, 2019

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Delighting His Heart

OK, as I write this post I still haven't left for my cruise.
But I've been thinking about getting home. And my tendency to want to do too much, too soon. And my need to slow down - lest I become a stressed mess.
Which is why I have made an executive decision regarding the operational happenings here at Surviving Motherhood. That is, even though my vacation is over and I'm back home and have acccess to my computer and the internet, I am taking one more day to share a post from the archives. Because I know myself well enough now to know it would be better for my spirit (and everyone around me!) to not rush back into blogging while I'm trying to get my house back in order. (and laundry done, and menu made, and groceries purchased...)
Having said that, I have chosen a post from the "Slowing Down" category which I originally wrote on November 20, 2015. May you also be inspired to slow down today.
P.S. A second part of that executive decision is that I won't be posting anything tomorrow. Planning to be back to "normal" with a video Monday. I'll see you back here then!

So, Tuesday morning when I was sitting at the table pouring my heart into Wednesday's post, I had no idea God was going to speak to me through my own words.
I was typing as quickly as my fingers and mind would move. Not really editing my words, just letting my thoughts flow. And I wrote, "I want to delight His heart." If you read that post, you know my mind was thinking about doing. And the immediate motivation behind my statement was that I wanted to be doing things which would be a delight to my Father's heart.
But as I typed those words, and re-read them on the screen in front of me, God took me back some seven years to a couple of missed flights, an unplanned hotel-stay in Tampa, and a day of lay-overs in the Atlanta airport. You see, God used that messed-up, inconvenient, perfectly-orchestrated, totally-not-the-way-I-planned-it circumstance to show me that we can delight His heart by simply being with Him. That we don't have to be saving the world, finding a cure for cancer, establishing world peace, or really doing anything in order to delight Him. He just loves to be with us.
In fact, He used that crazy incident to inspire a new retreat topic which I called, Delighting His Heart.
Yes, I have taught women all about this beautiful Truth, which I somehow managed to forget in recent weeks. Oh, for the goodness and patience of God!

So for the past couple of mornings I have found myself cozied up on my couch with my new prayer journal. (Got it for free when I pre-ordered a War Room DVD on Monday. *smile*) I haven't been discovering the answers to our current world crisis (Though I've prayed about it.), nor have I created a solution to personal concerns surrounding me. But what I have done is this: I've contemplated God's amazing grace. That He would choose me - a broken, stubborn woman who didn't even know she needed Him - and would save my desperate soul. I have wondered at His love for a lost world, and marveled at His power to bring forth justice and peace in His perfect time. I have given God praise and the glory due His Name, and surrendered again to trusting Him.
Oh, I haven't done much of anything. But I have been enjoying His presence. And it has been wonderfully, absolutely, completely delightful.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019


So, we're supposed to dock at 7:00 this morning, then make our way to the airport to fly home.
Though I am writing this entry before I have even left for this trip, I have a feeling this morning I am a mix of inspired, encouraged, filled-with-faith, and just a bit exhausted from 10 days on the sea. I am confident that in the midst of all the fun we've been having we have also been soaking in the presence and faithfulness of God - remembering together that HE is good. All the time.
And because I am certain that God uses all things for good - for the purpose of making us more like Jesus - here is one more post from yester-year which I want to share to inspire your faith.
This one is from December 7, 2017.

Faith is definitely being shaken right now.
That's the message a dear friend of mine sent earlier this week, in response to some very hard things which are happening in her life.
And I get it. Oh, I do.
Because I have also had very hard things in my life.
Sometimes those things feel like they have knocked the wind right out of you, and all you want to do is quit. Throw in the towel. Give up on it all and hide away in some safe place where you don't think you'll experience any more struggle or disappointment.

Have you been there?

So I was praying for my friend who felt like her faith was being shaken, asking God to strengthen her faith. And it's like He said to my heart, That's exactly what I'm doing, dear one.
I paused, and I thought about it. And I smiled because I recognized - that's what HE does.
I've read about it in the Bible.
I've seen it in the lives of people I know.
And I have experienced it in my own.
God allows hard times to come into our lives for various reasons - all in His perfect wisdom. And one of the ways HE uses them is to grow our faith. We go through a trial, a struggle, a storm of great proportions in which we feel lost and hopelessly out of control. We wonder, God, where are You? Why are you allowing this pain? I was sure You are good, but now I'm feeling like my faith is being shaken. God? Are You there???

Have you been there, too???

Then God shows His faithfulness.
He delivers us from the struggle.
He demonstrates His power and we find ourselves face-to-the-ground in awe of the One who can do all things. The One who is in control, who sees everything, and who knows what He's doing. We worship Him for who He is, and for what He has done. And when we catch our breath we discover that the faith we thought was being shaken has actually grown more than we could have imagined.
Thus, as I tried to encourage my friend this week, so I now exhort you: When you feel like the world is caving in, and you don't know what to do - Look to the One who can do all things, and trust Him to make your faith strong in the midst of the storm.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

The Stone Was Rolled Away

Today is scheduled to be our last day at sea. (Unless the captain decides to turn around and give us another trip???)
Anyway the cruise is almost over, and I want to share this devotion from November 21, 2012.
It so encourages me to consider that my BIG things are NOT BIG things to God. HE can handle it!
May your heart be lifted by this Truth.

Have you ever been concerned about something?

Worried, even?

About something really BIG?

The other day I read about a few women who had such a concern. Here's their story:
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

~Mark 16:1-3
It was customary for the living to care for the dead by anointing their body with spices. And because Jesus meant so much to these women, they were especially eager to take care of Him. But what about the stone? Who would move it?
I've read that the stone in front of Jesus' tomb was likely between 5 and 6 feet tall, and up to a foot thick. Certainly too big for three women to move!
What ever would they do???

My suggestion would be to keep reading.
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

~Mark 16:4
God had already taken care of the stone!
In fact, He'd done a lot more than roll away the stone. He'd made a way for all of mankind to be reconciled to Himself. Jesus was not there. He is risen! The tomb was empty. What a sight for those dear women.

Besides my relief in making it to the resurrection, this passage in Mark encourages me because it reminds me that nothing in my life - no concern or worry or struggle or hardship - is too big for my GOD to handle. I am trusting there will be a day when I will look up and see that the stone - which is very large - has been rolled away. And though I don't particularly like waiting, I have learned God's timing and His purposes are perfect. I can trust Him.

And so can you.

Is there a very large stone in your way today? I pray God will use these words to encourage you, too. May you know with confidence that your Father in heaven sees you, knows what you need, and is able to roll your stone away.


Monday, February 04, 2019

Warning: Objects in Conversation...

Another "Sea Day" scheduled today, making our way back to Florida and then home to Michigan.
While the oceans over which I'll be sailing are deep, this post? Not so much.
I hope you enjoy a laugh!

...are more shallow than they appear.

The other night I was in the kitchen making dinner, and Elizabeth was in the dining room working on a school project. She paused for a moment and asked me, "Mom? Have you ever had a friend you needed, and they knew you needed them, so they could be mean to you because they knew you would never leave them?"
It took me a minute to process Elizabeth's question and I was wondering why she was asking - perhaps looking for some advice, or maybe just needing to unload?
As I thought it over, I recalled an unhealthy relationship I'd had in junior high. Yeah, it was a "friend" I "needed" and she knew it. Only it wasn't really a friendship, rather she was popular and I wanted to be accepted by her so I did what she wanted and she treated me like, well, *ahem* like that, and I just took it.
Because I wanted to feel accepted.
And if she was paying attention to me - even if it wasn't nice - I felt accepted.
In a pathetic sort of way.

I shared my little story with Elizabeth in hopes my vulnerability might open some doors to good conversation. Perhaps help her through whatever she was facing.
When I had finished speaking she smiled and said, "Yeah. That's like me and hot glue."
Elizabeth was using hot glue for her project and was frustrated because she kept burning herself. This "friend" she needed was being mean to her, but she couldn't leave it because of her need.

Uh, yeah. Not quite the deep conversation I was anticipating. *wink*


Friday, February 01, 2019

HE Sees

Today is another scheduled "Sea Day" as we make our way to the Panama Canal tomorrow. So, as I am finding fun to do on the ship I pray you will find encouragement in this post from November 13, 2013.
Hey! I'll probably get to my workout today. Wonder if there's a plank onboard. I could do my planks on a plank!

She had nothing to say about it. No choice in the matter. She simply had to do as she was told.
Pushed into a man's arms and bed, she wound up pregnant and mistreated.
And she ran.
She ran into the dessert where she could be alone. No matter. No one would notice, anyway, would they? She was an insignificant slave girl. Unloved and unseen. Who would care if she left her miserable existence?

Do you recognize this story? It is the circumstance in which Hagar found herself in Genesis 16. But the story doesn't end with the same despair with which it began.
On the contrary, Hagar had an encounter with the angel of the LORD and found a hope she'd never before imagined. The angel told her to go back to her mistress and promised he would increase her descendants. Then he told Hagar that she was pregnant (Although she already knew...) and gave her details about her son's life.
Imagine with me what that must have been like for Hagar. This girl who had been treated like a piece of property - who probably felt unnoticed and forgotten - had just been spoken to by the angel of the LORD. He told her things no one else could possibly know about her. How could he know these things?
Unless, unless...
He actually saw her!
Genesis 16:13 says,
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
And that's where the hope entered her life. Suddenly she was NOT unnoticed. She was seen.
The God who created the world saw her!

I am so encouraged by Hagar's story, and the implication for my life. God sees me, too. Every moment of every day. Even when I am feeling alone and unnoticed, HE sees.
Are you in need of this encouragement today, my friend? Do you feel like nobody sees you, or understands the things through which you're going?
May you find hope in El Roi.
The God who sees!