Archives

Merry Christmas!

 

Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6: For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us … And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 1:26-35: Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 2:6-7: While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:8-11: In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Matthew 1:22-24: Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

Merry Christmas fellow followers of Christ!  We get the amazing privilege of celebrating the birth of Jesus.  Fortold by the prophet Isaiah about 700 years before his birth, this baby Jesus came to earth.  But this baby was special.  He would be called Immanuel, God with us.  Isaiah also told us that He is Mighty God and Prince of Peace.  He is God with us.  He is Jesus!  May you have a blessed Christmas celebrating the gift of Jesus to the world.

I’m including two messages from Dr. Michael Youssef.  They focus on these titles for Jesus “Mighty God” and “Prince of Peace.”  They are excellent and worth listening to if you have some time (perhaps while folding clothes… that’s a time I often listen to messages!)

http://www.ltw.org/listen/teaching/series/jesus-the-only/part-2

http://www.ltw.org/listen/teaching/series/jesus-the-only/part-4

Merry Christmas!

I was reminded of this song this Christmas. Two people said it was their favorite, and we sang it at church one Sunday.  I’m posting it here for you — the lyrics are ever powerful.  In the close of 2016 may these words bring you comfort.  I pass on the angel’s message of good news: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born, He is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11).

This song, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day, was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1863 (though not necessarily set to music that early).  The beauty is that the same is true today, it feels like there is not peace on earth but that hate is strong.  Dear friends, Christ Jesus is the embodiment of peace and He entered the world on Christmas day.  Now in 2016 we have hope of His second coming, and what a day that will be!  Until then, the celebration of Christmas day is our reminder that “God is not dead nor does He sleep; the wrong shall fail the right prevail.”  One day dear friends, press on in the coming year until that day when Christ returns and brings ultimate peace!

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Subscription Button Not Working

Hello friends!

Just want to acknowledge that several of you have commented to me that my subscribe button is not working.  Some have said it didn’t work at all for them.  Others of you have said that for a while it worked, and then stopped.

Either way, I’m sorry!  We are working on that!  Hope you hang in with me through the hangups and technological problems!

Have a blessed day!

Mary Ann

The Taboo Subject

It is a taboo subject.  We often don’t talk about it, because it causes strife, division, and just all around disagreement.

What subject? It’s politics!

Am I right?  Do you talk politics within your group of family and friends?         untitled

I have a confession. I have never been a fan of politics.  However, my parents have been.  I grew up with parents who not only talked about politics, but got involved in politics.  I think I first understood the major divide when I was in seventh grade.  The Spanish teacher made a comment stating that she was a democrat.  From the back of the room a cute blond peer loudly stated, “You are a democrat!  Christian’s can’t be democrat!”

I think I silently echoed the feeling, as that was the feeling I felt within my house too.  And I’m not saying my parents denounced democrats.  They just tended towards the republican side.  They also stood for life and other key issues often debated within the political realm.  Just yesterday an  older acquaintance commented on her parents being staunch democrats.  She then went on to explain that in their days the democratic party was more conservative! She even noted how utterly shocked they’d be to know that their children switched to the republican side!  (Again, she is a Christian friend!).  Yet another friend noted how most of the people in her church are democrats!  There is great divide!

I have a November birthday, and the first time I got to vote for president happened to be exactly on my birthday.  Of course I voted as I also grew up learning that you need to vote!  But, I’ve also got to admit that I was not well informed, educated, or pro-active in forming my own opinion.  Over the last 14 years I’ve been able to vote, I often asked my dad who he was voting for, and why.  I’d also ask my brother-in-law who followed politics far more closely than I.  Usually I respected both their opinions, and they usually agreed.  It was a win-win … two people that I respected agreed, and gave reasons generally in line with my own beliefs.  So I voted as they did.

Now however, we are in another race for presidential nominees within each party.  I will honestly say that this time I am much more informed, aware, and educated!  My husband likes to follow politics.  I didn’t even know who was running at first.  He told me. He also told me I needed to pick a candidate and have a reason why!  So I took a little quiz to see which candidate I most closely agreed with!   I have watched most of/parts of each debate so far.  And I mean each debate, both democratic and republican debates.  I’ve formed opinions, I’ve asked questions, I’ve been out-right irritated, I’ve compared candidates, I’ve judged, I’ve applauded, and I’ve walked away from the television due to my extreme aversion to fighting and nit-picking.

Politics.  The not taboo subject in my home.  And guess what, I like that!  My husband and I have both shown passion over this subject this year.  We’ve disagreed.  We’ve agreed.  We’ve asked, “what honey?” to the other’s look of disapproval.  And once after a particularly heated republican debate, and our own passions were stirred, we prayed about it at night before bed.

Politics.  Now, I’ll be honest.  The discussions get heated because each of us has our own world-view, beliefs, fears, frustrations, upbringings, personality, and opinions.  And all of this weighs on our own individual choice of  which candidate we prefer.

I believe that the foremost front-runners of each party have strengths and weaknesses.  All the candidates do.  Just today I was shocked to learn who my sister and brother-in-law would likely vote for.  We actually had our own little heated debate!  Politics!  We disagreed!  We both had our reasons.  After the conversation though, I emphatically stated to my husband, “Neither of the candidates seem to be practicing godly behaviors!”

My husband is an avid fan of a certain candidate.  The people I work with avidly oppose this same person!  I waffle back and forth.  I sometimes like him, I sometimes don’t!  I understand some of his reasoning, other times I’m irritated. I respect my husband who has researched his candidate fully, and I respect my dad, who disagrees with my husband!

But, this is what I’m firmly convinced of, and likely you are too if you hold a biblical worldview:  God reigns on his throne.  He is sovereign over everything, including politics.  And, He is working out His world time-table.  Nothing takes Him by surprise!

So, in thinking to the Bible, which provides all we need for life (in the year of 2016) I noted several things which help me with the realm of politics.  One is that no candidate is perfect!  Each is a sinner!  Several claim religious beliefs in God.  I am glad God is the judge of thoughts, motives and actions, because I have been judgmental of these claims, which leads (in my case) to prideful thoughts (sin of my own).  I have said, “he’s not Christian!”  However, I do not know man’s heart.  Praise God that He is the rightful Judge!

But, also look to the Old Testament in the Bible.  Many kings rose to power.  Some “did good in God’s eyes”  and others “did evil.”  Sometimes they even did “more evil than any king before them.”  And Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king, was driven from the throne and acted like an animal until He recognized God’s sovereignty.  Only then was his sanity and throne restored!  Fascinating!  And then there is the prophet Habakkuk who was questioning what God was doing, and God revealed that he was going to use another (evil) nation to work his purposes out.  Habakkuk didn’t understand but he knew God’s sovereignty, and Habakkuk chose to trust.

These give me great comfort.  Evil rulers and good rulers — both are placed by God.  We the people have opinions and votes.  We do matter.  Yet in the over-arching view of God’s sovereignty, all can be entrusted to the One God who sits enthroned above the heavens.  We can bend our knee to His timing, His grace, His judgements, and His plan.  We can pray, “God in your wrath remember mercy!”  We can pray for our world’s leaders.  I confess, that is not my usual practice.  Rather I complain about them.  That is not a godly response!

In the last six months I have said often, “Well the coming presidential election should be interesting!”  It will be!  Even within my own family we are divided, including my husband and me!  We have our own opinions!

But dear sisters, press on!  My pastor closes every Sunday service with these words, “In the week that is to come, whatever happens, God is with you!”  So I echo his words, “Believers of God, in the year that is to come, whatever happens, God is with you!”

Christ at the Center (and a little newsy information)

Hi friends!  Just so you know, my name has now changed to Mary Ann Weld!  Exciting to see all that God has in store for me to learn!  Right now, my email is still the same, and this blog will still be at maryannhowitson.com, but the name at the top will become Mary Ann Weld.

Also, you may have noticed, but I have finally got a “subscribe” button on my site!  It is near the bottom on the right, and my techy and helpful brother added it for me!  Yay!  So, try it out!  It should work that you are able to put in your email address and get an email update when I post something new (about once a month.)

As we enter into the busy Christmas season, may you be reminded afresh of God and His love for you.  As a newlywed, I’m learning afresh how me-focused I am!  I am also learning afresh about God and His faithfulness and timing and goodness.  I’m grateful for Christmas.  We now have a Christmas tree up in our home, and I was at first disappointed by it. It’s not as full or vibrant as what I had originally wanted. (Or expected based off of pictures, and childhood years).  But it’s still a tree.  It has a “homey” feel to it.  We also have a nativity set up.

My husband and I are getting ready for our first Christmas together, we are noticing how different men and women think of this too.  The tree and decorations are all my doing!  Yet the other day, in the midst of my discontent over a tree that disappointed me, I had some thoughts.  One, it IS a tree.  I had wanted a Christmas tree.  I have a husband, who despite not really caring, wants me to be happy so a tree was agreed upon.  I was mopey, yet I had been given what I’d asked for.  I realized that I was not choosing gratefulness and contentment.  And then, as I sat on the couch, I glanced up from the gaps in the tree to the nativity perched next to it.  I focused on the pieces.  Mary and Joseph of course are in the middle, kneeling over Baby Jesus.  Wise men sit to the left, kneeling.  A shepherd kneels and I’ve placed a few sheep in sporadic places.  Jesus is in the center.  TimagesB07BI64Whe Christ-child that we celebrate at Christmas.

Hmm.  I had put Jesus in the wrong place.  My discontent over something of really low significance showed my heart.  I had left Jesus somewhere else.  Jesus is the reason for the season.  His birth brought God into the world as a human.  Jesus – fully God, fully man.  Peace on earth — our Savoir came as a baby!  This child grew and did not consider equality with God something to be grasped – but made himself nothing.  He became obedient to death.  And His death appeased God’s wrath.  By His wounds we all can enter right relationship with God! Praise God for Christmas and the celebration of this baby.  Like me, maybe you’ve put Jesus in the wrong place.  It’s something to think about.  Trees, presents, cookie baking, and shopping.  They are all fun, and have their place.  But Jesus is the reason!  Have a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Extravagant Love

Today a dream came true.  A man got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife.  I said yes.  Extravagant love!  Let me show you the gorgeous flowers he got for me just for today!  4 doz roses, red and one batch of yellow, and 2 bouquets of mixed flowers. He outdid himself, and I’m happy he did.  My brother took a look at them and shook his head.  I smiled broadly and stated, “He loves me!”  He spent time and money to make the day special.  And what a thing there is in my heart that is unexplainable — knowing this love.  I am admittedly a little giddy.  I’m excited.  I’m nervous — it’s a change, it’s a commitment that I can only uphold with God’s help.  But mostly, I’m delighted by God’s great love.  This is a prayer that has been a request for years.  Seeing the man God has given me and how those prayers have been answered is a gift.  Thank you Gracious God!

But as I took the trash out tonight, piled with flower stems and wrappers, I looked into the sky and marveled afresh at how human love is a mirror to God’s love.  God’s love for each of us is outlandish.  It’s extravagant to the highest extreme.  His love poured out blood upon a cross.  His love displays itself in numerous ways — flowers, birds, children, oceans, mountains, hugs, puppy dogs, laughter, relationships, time spent making cookies with Grandma, and so many more.

WIN_20150613_233749 What ways do you see God’s love today?  You might have to look closely.  Sometimes when life is at a tough spot and our focus is on the trials, sorrows, and unfairness of life, we forget God’s love and complain instead.

But Christ died on a cross for you.  While you and I were sinners, Christ died for us… because He loved us.  That is extravagant.  Any thing else is an added blessing.  I’m thankful for my added blessing of this special man, and this special time of engagement. But I want to learn to be a woman of godliness in whatever season God takes me into.  I need to practice grace, forgiveness, love, selflessness – all of which I am quite incapable of on my own strength.

So in finishing this day I whisper a thank-you to this God of love who I call Father.  Who I know is good.  Who I believe demonstrates extravagant love in ways I can not even fathom.  Do you see His goodness today?  Do you feel His love?  Please know if He is not answering your prayers as you had hoped, or if He seems far away, that the truth is that He is near to the brokenhearted and that He has unending love for you.  If you can’t see Him today, may you press in all the closer because He really does care.  He is our God of extravagant love!  Oh, Precious Daughter of God – you are His beloved!

0613151955 1

 

Yes, My Room Is ALWAYS Clean

When I was a little girl, we had a chore day – Saturdays.  My mom had a two-hour rule.  Basically we started cleaning, and after two hours we were done, regardless if the list of chores were all crossed off or not.  Each child had to clean their own rooms.  My sister and I shared a room with a connected bathroom.  She often chose to clean the bathroom.  I hated cleaning the bathrooms!  Usually Mom’s list of chores included dusting and watering the plants, vacuuming, scrubbing the floors, or other common jobs.  None of us kids chose to scrub the kitchen floor, that was her duty!  Cleaning day was not my favorite day, but what kid does enjoy the chores they are asked to do?  However, I was learning to keep a home.

When I got to college I had a dorm room that was my sole responsibility.  It was quite tiny and most of my stuff was still sitting snugly in the basement at my parents house.  One girlfriend commented that my room was always picked up, unless I was stressed or it was the weekend.  Where did those days go?  For when I got my first apartment, I had a much harder time keeping my space cleaned.  I found clutter easily accumulated and dirty dishes in the sink only bothered me when they got to a certain point.

I now share my brother’s house.  I find my room getting messier by the moment!  Piles of clothes here and there, Christmas cards scattered about, books on the dresser, a blanket on the floor.  Oh, for sure I occasionally pick up everything, vacuum, and dust.  But it usually is a bit cluttered, and my bed is not always made.  It doesn’t bother me. (Though, I admit, a made bed looks better and makes me feel better!)  Yet the other day, we had last minute visitors coming.  I was leaving for the day, but I knew my room might be viewed.  I made sure my bed was made.  I picked up the piles and organized them … thus they were still present, but they looked much neater!   I threw my laundry into the basket, hung up all clothes, and made certain the closet door closed firmly.  Leaving my room I glanced back satisfied that it presented a picture of orderliness.

I once shared an apartment with a girl who likes clean kitchens.  She appreciated the dishwasher, not only for its cleaning capabilities, but also for how convenient it was at hiding dirty dishes that messy a counter. I once had a small group unexpectedly need a new location for the evening.  I offered my apartment.  I immediately cleaned the bathroom, but left the dishes on the counter.  My roommate came in, laughed, and observed, “I thought you’d clean the bathroom, I would have done the kitchen!”

We like to present pictures of orderliness.  Though many of us, by nature, are not neat people!  However, as I think of who sees my personal space, and who might care, I find my attitude changes.  It makes me wonder, what does my life look like?  Do I look differently when no one is watching?  Does what I say at church line up with how I live my life?  Does this blog present me as someone whom I’m not?  These are good questions, for God can see all things!  He knows what I’m thinking before I say a word.  He sees what I do in secret.  He knows each motive I have for everything I do.

It’s true, I’m exaggerating to say my room is always clean.  It is also true that if I say I am perfect, I’d be exaggerating.  No one is perfect.  I love this quote by Max Lucado,”God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus. ”

Each of us has an area of our lives that is a little messy.  Perhaps its our language or our tv preferences.  Perhaps it’s our down time.  Perhaps it’s our habits.  Perhaps it’s our disrespect for those in authority.  You get the idea. Beth Moore once noted that the longer and closer we walk with God, the pickier He gets.   Whatever it is, God does not just want us to present a false image of goodness.  He wants to inhabit our beings, changing us.  He wants to deep clean whatever within us does not line up with His truths, His character, or His righteousness.  I’m glad that I don’t have to quickly clean up my life in order for God to come and visit.  Rather, God tells us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

If I want Jesus to come and clean up my life, He will!  He will not just arrange the clutter into neater piles.  He will not throw up the sheets or shut the closet door.  Press on, dear sisters!  It might be that your housekeeping skills are the same as mine. But our lives our not our rooms.  Regardless of where you are at in your walk with Christ, He wants to continue to transform you into His image!  “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).

 

 

Welcome 2014!

This past week I have been pondering another post.  How do I finish my first year of blogging?  I had pondered the past year and thought some form of praise would be fitting.  I am learning to consider the past year and pray over the next year.  It doesn’t always happen, but I think it would be a good habit to develop!

When I woke this morning,  I was still at my parents home; the final morning I had with my family before heading back home, back to work, back to “reality.” I got ready to go, glanced at the thermometer, bundled up, waved good-bye, and headed to the interstate!

Just as I managed to get onto the interstate I pushed the play button on the radio (Great, I’m already searching the radio — I still have 4 hours to go!).  Sometimes I want talk shows — something to occupy my brain, not just something to listen to!  I found that Chip Ingram was just starting his daily program, Living on the Edge!  (Yeah!! I like him, he’ll be interesting to listen to!)  He spoke on worship.  (His talk was great by the way!  You can catch it here: http://livingontheedge.org/broadcasts/listen-online).

So as He talked of worship, it reminded me of praise.  Ingram notes that worship is “God’s primary means of allowing us to ‘see Him’ (significantly, but imperfectly) for who He is—and thus be progressively transformed into His likeness.” (Sounds like a good goal to me!)  He talked about music as one means of worship, and then finished with a song to help the listeners think of God.  I happened to have a beautiful cd of hymns in my car cd player (thanks to my sweet boyfriend who knows I like hymns, and gave me this for my birthday!), so I thought I’d continue the worship with my own little praise time.

The first song that played was, “For the Beauty of the Earth.”  I immediately pushed repeat, so that this song would play again and again.  The landscape on my drive was gorgeous, and the song was perfect! Let me set the scene for you:  The temperature when I left home was -16 (F).  For those of you not used to midwest winters, that is very cold! On days like this, sunny, but cold, there are some beautiful benefits.  One, the sun had sun-dogs around it (little rainbow-like things that ring around the sun). Today they were pale, but present.   Second, the flat horizon melted into the equally flat, snow-covered landscape.  As far as I could see, I saw white.  I passed old red barns, topped with snow, surrounded by huddling cows.  I passed clumps of trees draped in a light coating of hoar frost. I love that look! The flat land blended into small hills.  Ponds dotted with ice houses, and marshy brown reeds also lended to the beauty.  I really do love this drive on sunny days! After five times through of this song, and of intaking the scenery, I finally switched to the next song.  Thoughtfully I told God I was thankful for all five of my senses: sight to view His world, touch to enjoy the hug of a loved one, hearing to enjoy the music I was listening to and the laughter of a child, taste to delight in the fudge my mom had made for Christmas, and smell to smell the woodsmoke of a house I passed.  Yes, all my senses are good gifts!

As my drive continued, and the words of the music flowed around me, I acknowledged again the goodness of God.  Let me repeat for you some of the phrases that wound themselves into my heart. “Lord of all to Thee we raise this our song of grateful praise.”  “I need Thee every hour, in joy or in pain. Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.” “Blessed be the Name, blessed be the Name, blessed be the Name of the Lord!”  “Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee.” And lastly, “It is well with my soul.”

These songs set the mood for a time of praise.   I thought of God’s goodness to me over the past year. For starters, this blog is evidence of His work in me as I would have never thought I’d complete a year of posts. I got to go to a training for leading Bible studies.  I now have a boyfriend, and we’ll see what God does with our lives, but that in itself is a blessing. My family got to be together for a couple of days this summer, enjoying toasted marshmallows, a lazy riverboat ride, and togetherness.  God has been our Rock in times of sorrow over the past year, and I can confidently say “it is well with my soul.”

Yes, my drive time yielded a good time of introspection.  God has been good to me and my family over the past year.  In both joys and sorrows, He’s carried us!  I praise Him for all His goodness!  I look forward to all God is going to do in the coming year!  He is Sovereign, and His plans never fail!  Dear sisters, in the coming year, may you experience afresh the joys of daily living on this earth, and may God be your Rock in all the difficult times!  But I’d encourage you to spend some time in the next week to worship and praise Him for this past year!  It’s a wonderful way to press into God!

Psalm 27:13: I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 13:6: I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.

Psalm 33:1: Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.

 

Wonder of a Child

My parents and I were babysitting my then 14-month old niece.  Her parents were out of town and the three of us got the wonderful privilege of trailing around behind chubby little feet as they tromped across the house, the playground, or wherever we were for the day.  She was a busy little girl!

The first day we all went to a county fair.  The wonder of a child was apparent from the moment we paid for our tickets.  Right inside the gate we could see the height of the bungee jumper as she flipped and twirled high in the air, bouncing quickly to the trampoline, and soaring high again.  My niece watched in awe.  My dad teased that we should strap her in, let her fly, and send the picture to her parents on their vacation.  I laughed as I told him he would lose all further babysitting privileges.  We fed the llamas and goats, and my niece delighted in watching the cows.  You see, the wonder of a child is unique.  Have any of you delighted in a cow lately?

The second day found us at a nature reserve.  We saw a chipmunk and some birds, we touched a few cattails.  I even was brave enough to catch a tree frog and put my hands up so my niece could see.  The poor frog was scared and hopped all around.  Each time he got close to my niece she squealed with joy.  Later in the interpretive center she excitedly clicked her tongue and babbled about a cockroach.  I pointed out the (yucky) snakes, she pointed at them too.  (Do I have to display wonder at talking to my niece about snakes???)  But the best part for her was the obvious delight she found in wearing a raccoon fur “coat”, and in petting the soft fox furs.  I enjoyed the raccoon coat as well, partly for the precious little tail that trailed behind my niece!

Regardless, the days were long and our eyes (and feet… ok, our whole bodies!) were tired.  We had seen a lot of animals, a lot of people, and had a lot of fun!  I watched inquisitive little eyes widen and a toothy smile form when a llama ate a corn husk from my niece’s hand.  She pointed at the birds and a salamander, and giggled over a raccoon fur.  She was enraptured!

I sadly have lost the wonder of a child.  The Bible states that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.  Everything in it.  Ponder that a moment.  The little tree frogs that I’m scared of holding, the snakes that I find ugly and disgusting, the beautiful horses with their tails braided, the llamas with their funny mouths, the baby giraffe that was 6 feet tall and 140 lbs at birth, the reeds swaying by the marsh, the fox with his silky fur, me, you. Intricately designed by and for our Maker.
We all belong to the Lord, the Creator and Giver of life.  His word states that He speaks and the earth shakes.  Hmm, why have I lost the wonder?  Why does it take seeing things through the eyes of a child to recapture the delight in the created things of God?  While we are not to worship anything other than God, I bet that He delights to see us enjoying what He’s made!  Are you enjoying all God is giving you today?

Unlikely Treasures

I get to work with people with developmental disabilities.  For a while I subbed in a group home with four precious ladies. I remember the first day of working with them, watching them color and play the wii. The ladies were quite content, yet I was not.  They each were enjoying the moment, and I found myself lost in boredom, as well as feeling “new” and not knowing the ropes.  However, at one point I looked up to the woman across from me, and it was as if Jesus were reminding me that she’s a child in a grown-up’s body. Each of the ladies were.  Their manuals told me that their ages ranged from 38-50, but the totality of their mental age combined is 12-16 years old.  Combined.  That means that each one of them is more or less a child.  I found that they didn’t mind if I talked to them like a 5 year old.  Their chatter consisted of who hurt whose feelings, the pretty staff that they liked, or the silliness of another staff. Not that it mattered what they thought of me, but I did wonder.  There I was, sitting and watching them, smiling, asking questions. Yet for the most part, I was observing.  I’m a stranger to them.  They didn’t know why I was there.

I sort of wonder why I was there myself.  Maybe it’s not the job or the “need” for money, but rather a divine appointment from a gracious God.  We are told that unless we become like children we can not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3).  It’s admittedly hard for me to think like a child.  Yet there I was surrounded by women with child-like attitudes.  Maybe, just maybe, I was there to learn from them.

They waved out the window and made silly faces at the staff outside.  They giggled and joked with the staff. They spent hours playing and coloring. They welcomed me in (despite not knowing me, no one asked why I was there.)  No one was mean to me, but I heard about how it hurt their feelings when someone was mean to them.

They exuded the art of “being.”  Not only do we find that child-like faith is essential, we are also told to be still and know that God is God.  Hmm.  I have a lot to learn from these ladies.  They might be my teachers this month.  They are treasures that I’ve found in an unlikely place.

Oh, and they certainly knew how to have fun! One evening when I was there we painted toenails purple, and made homemade slime! It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what age a woman is – if she’s 5, 55, or 105, she is still a priceless treasure of the King! May you today know the delight of your heavenly Father as He rejoices over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).  May you and I learn to simply be ourselves before our God, learning that He delights in us as His daughters!  Just as we are — we don’t need to pretend or put on airs.  We just need to be like a little child and come into His presence simply as we are!  Press on dear sisters — you and I are unlikely treasures!