Making Peace With My Lawnmower

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I like to mow grass.

So sue me.

Back when I was in my thirties and forties I even mowed grass for my neighbors. I was stronger then. Now I just mow for myself. (And my hard-working husband, of course.) I’m not as young as I used to be, but I think mowing grass helps keep me ‘young…-er’.

I look at it like this: I’m not a member of a gym. I don’t lift weights. I don’t treadmill, row, or bike. I need an aerobic workout. Mowing grass gives me that.

I wish I could cut grass all year long, but the mowing season is short-lived in these parts. Some people might think the season is lo-o-o-o-ng, but 4 months out of a 12-month year is only a quarter. Forget mowing in a summer drought. No need to mow fried grass.

I can remember when the thought of cutting grass petrified me. You wouldn’t catch me pushing a lawn mower around. No way. I didn’t even want to be in the same yard with a roaring mower. The only thing about it that bothers me these days is when I see dads mowing their yards while their child pushes a toy mower behind them. I guess they think it’s cute. Or teaching them something. Makes me cringe. I want to stop and yell, “Get your child in the house NOW!! What do you think you’re doing?!? This is dangerous and I’m living proof!”

Seriously, there’s nothing ‘cute’ about the power of a machine with the potential to shoot out rocks and debris like a shotgun. I’ve got 2 broken window panes to prove it. The holes look just like bullet holes.

AND. I’ve got a prosthetic eye to add all the remaining proof you may need.

When people ask me how I lost my eye, I usually tell them, “In a backyard accident as a child,” and that’s enough to satisfy them. Occasionally, someone will press me for more info. I don’t mind talking about it anymore. There’s no pain or discomfort. I’ve made peace with it all. If I hadn’t, these words, “I like to mow grass,” would not even enter my mind. But, yes…

I’ve made peace with my lawnmower.

Funny thing is…that backyard accident wasn’t anyone’s fault. Not my Dad’s. Not my Mom’s. Not mine. It was a FREAK accident. Unusual. Atypical. Irregular. Unexpected. 

Rare.

It was one of those things that doesn’t happen to just anyone. Or in every backyard.

It was one of those things that happened to me. In MY backyard.

I wasn’t following my Dad around with a toy lawn mower as he cut the grass. I wasn’t even running around the yard. My Mom and I were sitting on a bench outside our back porch steps, letting the rays of the summer sun beat down on us. All was calm. All was bright.

All was peaceful.

My Dad was mowing on the other side of the driveway. We had a gravel driveway back then and sometimes the rocks would get lost in the grass.

Funny how life is so freakish sometimes.

When the unusual happens in the ordinary.

When the atypical happens in the common.

When the irregular happens in the constant. 

When the unexpected happens in the assumed. 

When in the middle of calm and bright and peaceful life freaks you out. 

And a lawnmower became a symbol to a little girl of all that’s agitating. All that’s threatening.

All that is disquieting.

But see…here’s the thing, and I’ll make this simple…we all have things that have become ‘symbols’ of what’s wrong in our lives. For me, for so long, it was a lawnmower. And I had to make peace with it.

The only way I could do that was to make peace with God first. And that meant surrender. First of all, of course, was surrender to the gift of grace through Jesus. Then, there was the surrender to His will, His way, His plan, His purpose. For me.

When the freakish things in life rear their ugly heads and rocks in the grass become weapons of destruction I’ve had to learn that surrendering to God first means letting Him in my backyard where, YES!, even the unusual happens. The atypical. The irregular and the unexpected. The places where I’m usually the most comfortable. The most familiar. The most peaceful.

And it means surrendering the symbols that represent what’s wrong in my heart and soul. God wants all of me so He can make what’s wrong right. Like the freakish things of life. He turns them from ‘rare’ to ‘remarkable.’

God entrusted this to me. This rare and unexpected thing. It happened to me because He knew I could handle it. He knew I would surrender it all. My heart. My soul. My mind. My strength. 

He knew I would make peace with a prosthetic eye. And my lawnmower.

And instead of it being a symbol of weakness. It would become a symbol of strength.

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It would become a workout.

Not just to build physical strength. But to build character.

You know, my ocularist-the man who made my eye, said something like this to me at my last visit, “I think it’s hard for people who’ve lost an eye to talk about it because it’s rare. They feel alone. Their personalities have a lot to do with how they handle it. For some, it’s very painful. For others, it doesn’t seem to be too big of a deal, but because they’re all different, how they handle it will be unique to each one individually.”

I’d like to think I’m handling it well these days. Not for me.

For my God.

Because He thinks I can handle a lawnmower just fine. And you know what else?

He knew I would one day actually like to mow grass.

“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God…For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:12, 16

I Don’t Want To Adult Today

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I don’t want to adult today. I’m writing this blog post at 4 a.m., but I’ve been up since 2. I don’t feel well.

And I just don’t want to adult today.

Right before Christmas last year I had a health scare. Hemoptysis. (Coughing up blood.) Believe me when I say, It was kinda scary. It wasn’t a little bit of blood coming up with a little bit of something else. It was pure, red, and a lot of it. After 4 episodes, it stopped.

Under the care of my family physician, whom I trust completely and absolutely, I’ve seen an ear-nose-throat doctor for a laryngoscopy; an internist for an endoscopy; a pulmonary doctor who ‘threatened’ a bronchoscopy; and finally an endocrinologist who ordered an ultrasound of my thyroid. So thankful there was no ‘scope’ for that. I’m kinda tired of people sticking cameras down my inner parts.

Until the endocrinologist I was beginning to believe all my issues were in my head because pinpointing the reasons why I feel so bad seemed to be elusive. I can’t even tell you the relief I felt to discover I have a tumor on my thyroid.

Yes, relieved. I am not crazy. This tumor is big enough to biopsy.

I’ve had many days since Christmas when I don’t want to adult.

I am tired. Sometimes extremely fatigued.

I have  brain fog. Sometimes all. day. long.

I have a scratchy throat. Sometimes I could swear it’s on fire.

I have air hunger. Sometimes I just can’t seem to breathe enough of it in.

I have trouble swallowing. Sometimes I choke on my own saliva. This cannot be normal.

I have hoarseness in my voice. Sometimes I can barely talk. It hurts. This makes me sad because I love to talk. The sound of my voice has changed. I don’t sound like me. (Insert tears.)

My mouth is dry. It feels funny. Like chalk. My taste buds have changed. (Insert more tears.) Some foods leave an awful, bitter taste in my mouth. This disturbs me greatly because there are some foods out there that are very dear to my heart. Like pizza. I can’t eat pizza anymore. I think I’m dying.

My lips are dry. If I don’t keep them moisturized all the time, the corners crack and bleed. They burn. Especially after I eat foods that have too much spice or salt. I keep at least 6 lip balms in my purse at all times. Some are more soothing than others. It took me months to find one I really love, but I’ve only been able to find it in one store. I need to buy stock in this product. Maybe they’ll give me a discount.

And the weirdest issue of all…I cannot maintain a normal body temperature. I feel like I have a fever, but I don’t. The truth is, I don’t have enough of a temperature. It’s gone as low as 94.8. Right now it’s 95.7. Add the scratchy throat and the hoarse voice and the fatigue and I feel pretty much like I’ve got the flu.

No, I don’t want to adult today.

I’ll be the first to tell you, I don’t think all these symptoms are just because I have a tumor on my thyroid. I’ve been through this before. When I was 19 I had half my thyroid removed because of a tumor. Pre-Cancer. In the beginning doctors said it was cancer, but after it was taken out and biopsied I was pleasantly blessed.

I’ve always been hyperthyroid. I think the pendulum has swung the other way in the second of half of my life. I am now hypo. The low body temps are a pretty good indicator.

I know the importance of the thyroid gland to the over-all, well-being of my body. When I was 19 I didn’t have a computer and a world of knowledge at my fingertips. My family pretty much depended upon the doctors to educate us, but the past several months I’ve done so much reading and researching online I could literally scare myself silly.

I’ve decided to lay off the research. I know enough to know that a sick thyroid can make me sick and that’s that. I felt pretty lousy when I was 19, too.

Next week I see a specialist in Raleigh. I know we’ll get to the bottom of this. I’ll have a biopsy done and we’ll go from there. Until then, I’ll have to adult even when I don’t want to.

When my body screams, I can’t get up, my legs are like lead, I will move my feet.

When my brain screams, I can’t concentrate, my brain is fried, I will push through the fog.

When my voice screams, I can’t talk, my throat hurtsI will open my mouth.

When my lungs scream, I can’t breathe, my throat is closing in, will relax and take a deep breath.

When my temperature decelerates and my lips burn and my mouth rebels, I will adult.

I may not like it, but I will.

And I will trust in the love of God to give me strength when days are long and hard, when I am weary and uncertain. Because if nothing else seems for sure, the love of God always is. It’s steadfast, perfect and a truly wonderful thing.

God loves me. It’s true. And this is a truth to which I cling.

Because if I believe that God loves me then I can believe His love is enough to carry me through the storms of life. His arms hold me tight. His hands never lose their grip and it’s in this place of certainty that I rest. Even as I keep moving forward, keep pushing through, keep taking deep breaths.

And it’s in this place of trust that I will adult today.

 

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40: 28-31

Reflections On Psalm 8

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So…I was wondering…do you have a problem sometimes remembering that you are not God?

Can I just say, sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Cause if I’m going to be honest here, I certainly know I’m not God, but there are times when I sure try to play God. Like I gotta fix what I can’t fix and change what I can’t change or like I gotta get in people’s business and get in people’s heads.

It takes a lot of prayer to refrain from “sharing my wisdom” with my completely clever sons and “giving my advice” to my perfectly adept husband or “teaching my knowledge” to my totally savvy friends. (When they don’t ask, of course. If they ask, hey, that’s different.)

Most of the time, I have to remind myself that “listening” is better than “talking.” I tend to talk too much. (I gotta lot to say!!! Doesn’t everybody?!?)

Sometimes, I think God just shakes His head at me and says, “HellooOoo…remember Me?”

It never hurts to remind myself of the character of God.

It never hurts to remind myself I’m a little lower than God…

I’m down here. He’s up there.

Higher. Loftier. Above all things. Over all things. Wiser. Smarter. Excellent.

David reminds us twice in Psalm 8,

“O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

How powerful. How great. How glorious. How mighty. How noble. How worthy.

How magnificent!!

I’m getting all excited just typing out those synonyms. Who doesn’t gain a proper perspective when considering the majesty of God? Who? I ask you.

David…somehow…always managed to bring himself out of a slump, out of depression, out of despair by focusing on God’s character. By giving God the praise that is due His great name.

Circumstances may change, but God never does. He can’t change. He’s incapable of changing.

He will always be great. Always be glorious. Always be mighty. Always be noble.

Always magnificent!

I think of David’s humble beginnings. The youngest son of Jesse. A shepherd. The lowliest of occupations. Yet, David rose to such prominence. He brought worship back to the hearts of God’s people.

Worship: the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. Another way of saying, “giving someone his/her worth”.

For me, for those who love the Lord-the one true God, it’s giving Him praise and honor and glory. It’s adoration, exaltation, devotion. It’s to cherish Him, treasure Him, esteem Him. (And if I don’t stop, I’m gonna start bawling like a baby ’cause there’s just something about all this that stirs my soul.)

David, God bless him, just had a heart of worship, for worship. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if spending  so many nights under the starry sky, while he kept watch over his flock by night, developed an understanding and a knowledge about the greatness of God that few of us will ever truly grasp.

I know how I felt one morning several years ago at the beach. I woke up way too early for the sunrise. It was cold, but I decided to pass the time by lying on my back atop a grassy dune. I stared up into the heavens. The sky still so dark, but the stars still so bright. I stretched my arms out, palms up and I sang. Before I knew it, the stars began to rain down. One shooting star after another.

And the heavens declared the glory of God.

I’ll never forget it. I remind myself of it often.

How big God is. How small I am.

I imagine it’s how David felt, too. Night after night. Gazing into the heavens. He got a taste of God’s majesty.

And he was forever changed. His heart would never be the same. His heart would always want to be near the heart of God. His heart would always want to remember the worth of God. His heart just would not be satisfied if it did not worship.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

What is  man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” verses 4- 5

Alone with God, in the quiet and stillness of the night, David truly saw God. He considered, reflected, pondered, inspected, and He believed. He believed that God was real because He experienced God’s presence for himself.

Romans 1:20 says, For since the creation of the world His (God’s) invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, that they (men) are without excuse.”

Yes. There’s enough evidence in all of Creation to stir our hearts toward God. There is enough proof for us to see. To know. To perceive. To consider.

Sometimes I need to remind myself that although God has given me much and created me to bring Him glory, I am still very small when compared with all of His vastness, His wideness, His deepness. I am still very weak when compared with all of His power, His might, His strength.

Without Him, I am nothing. I can do nothing. But with Him I can do much, according to His work within me. According to how much I give Him control.

And to think…He crowns me with glory and majesty! verse 5

Who am I, O God? Who am I?

Yes, I need Him very, very badly. And, yes, I tell Him so. All the time.

One of the hardest things, sometimes, is to worship God when I don’t feel like it. When I’m in a slump. When I’m feeling depressed. But, honestly, those are the times when I need to consider the character of God the most.

Because His wisdom, His knowledge, His advice is greater. Higher. Loftier. Above all things. Over all things. It never hurts to remind myself of His attributes. His eternal power. His divine nature.

It never hurts to remember the stars raining down on me.

Because in those precious moments with my God, I was so awed I was completely silent. Speechless. I had no words.

Listening was so much better than talking.

Because the heavens were saying it all, HellooOoo….remember Me?

Yep. It never hurts to remind myself…

Reflections On Psalm 4

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Somehow, I imagined I would’ve gotten over the sting of my fears by now. I imagined age and wisdom would make me less fearful. Maybe I’ve outgrown the fears of my youth and I guess I’m more fearless than I used to be, but in all honesty, I still battle fear.

I just have different fears now, is all.

Maybe they don’t come to me in the same way and with the same intensity, but they still come. Sometimes they creep in, like a spider. They start making webs in the corners of my heart. If I don’t keep dusting them with feathers of Truth, I might just end up stuck in the web.

I always thought the longer I walk with God and the more I experience His hand at work in my life, my faith would grow so strong I’d never fear again, but I’ve figured something out in my later years…

Sometimes, fears surface most when I don’t enjoy God enough.

The fears I have now are fears that have come with age…new fears…different fears…like the fear of losing a job…fear of financial decay…fear of a major medical emergency that could bankrupt us…fear of growing old without my husband by my side…

because we recently lost our medical insurance and our new insurance isn’t nearly as nice as before…because as our bodies age we develop new health issues we’ve never had before…because there are new costs of living, including new healthcare costs…

…because it all seems such a mess and I don’t know how in the world anybody anywhere can fix it. It’s like a web that keeps growing and growing and growing.

And sometimes I feel trapped. Stuck. Fearful.

I’m just being honest, but I know I’m not alone. Yes, these are the new fears, the different fears I now lay before the throne of grace. 

There’s such a relief that comes to my soul and spirit when I do all I can to meditate on God and His unchanging character all day long, especially the last thing before I go to bed at night. Cause, hey, who doesn’t need a good night’s sleep? I mean, thinking about God is a whole lot better than thinking about my fears. He has this really crazy way of making me smile. Without realizing it, I’m experiencing the joy-thing.

A gladness, to be exact. This is one of those words I love. It means gaiety, mirth, delight…

Seriously, who couldn’t use some gaiety? Some mirth? Some delight? And who could fear when there’s such joy as this to be found in the Lord?!?

This gladness only comes from living in the light of His presence, by focusing–thinking, meditating–on His goodness

When I focus on what’s vain–things that are worthless, things that are deceitful, things that won’t last–I’ll more often than not focus on fear. No doubt about it. And I do NOT want to be a slave to fear. I don’t want to love what God doesn’t love and fear is the opposite of love. Because fear doesn’t trust.

Instead of getting stuck in the web of deceit–the lie that God cannot keep me safe, cannot deliver me, cannot shower me with lovingkindness–I can focus on His constant nearness, His consistent goodness, His continual gladness.

I can put my head on my pillow at night and rest, safe and secure.

That’s where I long to get stuck. Where I long to dwell. Where I want to rest my head.

That’s my happy place. Not in a web, but a bed.

A bed of stillness, of peace.

I don’t know, but the older I get the more I need my beauty sleep and I kinda like the idea of falling asleep with some mirth in my heart. Who knows? Maybe I even sleep with a smile on my face.

“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. verse 1

How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah. verse 2b

Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. verse 4b

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and trust in the Lord. verse 5 

Many are saying, ‘Who will show us any good?’ Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord! verse 6

You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. verse 7

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.” verse 8, Psalm 4 

Reflections On Psalm 3

IMG_0108Several weeks ago we had an ice storm. Much of the mideast received tons and tons of snow. Or ice. I’d rather have the snow. You can’t shovel ice.

It was pretty perilous just getting in and out of our house. We have 3 dogs and they don’t even like going out in it. My poor little miniature chihuahua had to be carried up and down the steps and then out to a little place we had carved out under a tree where she could “do her business.” Her poor, tiny paws just couldn’t handle the cold. God bless her.

IMG_1592(This is me and my cocker spaniel-poodle mix in last winter’s ice storm.)

But what really broke my heart was the way the ice damaged our trees. Our backyard looked like a war zone. Both river birches took quite a beating.

I love river birches. I love their crazy, curly bark that peels and sheds all over the place. I love the way their branches grow fine and feathery, swaying in the breeze with grace and gentility. I don’t live near the river, but if I did, I’d have a million of them.

Both of our birches lost big branches that grew out from the center trunk. The ice snapped them right off. All of the branches seemed to bend so dangerously low to the ground that I’m surprised they survived. They looked weighed down. Weary. Weak.

I really don’t think river birches are built to handle ice. They live happily beside river beds and thrive on the sounds of rushing streams, but they don’t like it when their water supply is harsh and unforgiving.

Sometimes…I am just like the river birch. I don’t thrive well in harsh and unforgiving seasons. Like this fragile tree-with it’s wispy branches and beautiful bark-that can’t sustain the weight of ice, I find heavy burdens and difficult seasons leave me with a head bowed low and shoulders that slump.

At least, that’s how I feel deep down in my soul. Weighed down. Weary. Weak.

And, yet, just when I think I can’t handle any more weight, the sun comes out. Temperatures rise and the ice melts. My fine, feathery branches lift and spring back to life. I start to sway in the breeze again, thriving on rushing streams of God’s grace because…

He is the Lifter-Of-My-Head. He is a shield about me. He sustains me through the storms of life. He gives me courage, boldness, and confidence to wait out the storm.

When the ice is at it’s thickest, I may not think I’ll survive, but I always do.

When I’m weighed down by heavy burdens, I may think I’ll never stand tall again, but I always do.

When my head bows low and my shoulders slump, I may think I’ll never see blue skies again, but I always do.

I may lose a branch or two in the harshness of life, but I’ll never lose the part of me that’s His…The Lifter-Of-My-Head will always have my heart.

And my spirit finds rest in that.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.

I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.” Psalm 3:3-5 IMG_0106

Reflections On Psalm 2

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I got a traffic ticket. Once. Nearly broke my heart. Felt seriously like a criminal. My pride was crushed. Never could I ever say, “I’ve never had a speeding ticket in my entire life.”

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My younger son got glasses when he was in the second grade. It never occurred to me that he would have trouble keeping up with them, much less keeping them on his face!! Any 7-year old should be able to keep up with glasses, right?

Of course not. What was I thinking? Don’t answer that.

Those first couple of weeks with new eye-ware were an adjustment period for us all. Brandon would take them off and forget where he put them and I would search for them. We made several trips back to the school at the end of the day so he could retrieve them.

One particular day when he got off the bus without them, we really, really needed to be somewhere right after school so upon leaving the school parking lot I pulled out and hit the gas. Within 3 seconds my rearview mirror lit up with bright, flashing lights and my heart flipped out. With a quick glance at the speedometer I let out a groan and pulled over…

45 in a 35 mile per hour zone–a zone complete with subdivisions on either side of the street and a school in the midst. Families, children, pets everywhere. And I wasn’t thinking of any of them.

The policeman who pulled me over was actually very nice. Kind, even. I even think he was a little tenderhearted. I don’t think he really wanted to give me that ticket. He hesitated as if he hoped I’d offer an explanation. He definitely didn’t throw his weight around.

Maybe because I said something like, “I’m so sorry. Just give me the ticket.” I even hung my head. Tears actually fell off my cheeks onto that yellow piece of paper as I signed on the dotted line.

Because I deserved that ticket.

That was over 20 years ago and I’m proud to say I’ve never had another one since.

But maybe I shouldn’t be so proud. Because in all honesty, I don’t always go the speed limit.

You know that 5-miles-per-hour-over-rule? Well, that’s me. Yep, most of the time I give myself 5 miles over. And, guess what? I’m still breaking the law. If I ever get a ticket for going 5-miles over, I’d deserve it. If  a policeman pulled me over with a blue-light-special, I’d still accept the consequences. That’s the law and a policeman wears the badge to show he has the authority to enforce the law.

Psalm 2 is one of those psalms you have to dig deep to find gold. It’s not one of those psalms we turn to over and over again, but I kept focusing on verse 4. It’s the only place in Scripture where we’re actually told that God laughs…and it’s not the fun-loving kind of laugh that makes us feel good.

God laughs because even though the pride of man, especially earthly kings and rulers, makes it look like human power prevails over God’s power at times…haha…it just can’t be done.

In fact, the patience and lovingkindness of God to wait until the appointed time to act shows great restraint and power on His part! Some tend to think that God doesn’t see or God doesn’t care or God can’t perform mighty acts anymore or maybe…heaven, forbid…He just isn’t more powerful than the enemy.

That’s what the scoffers say, anyway. That’s what the mockers think. But, those who know who God really is…those who trust that He is The Omnipotent One…they know better.

Those who believe that God is mighty and powerful and able to save will find rest in His omnipotence.

Psalm 2 is a warning (verse 10). A warning to the kings and rulers of this earth that God has glorified His Son (verses 7 & 8). It should be a great comfort to us that He has, too.

Though Jesus was, and still is, mocked, ridiculed, and blasphemed by men, God will not allow His Son to be stripped of His crown. Though nations rebel and earthly kings rage against Him…though they show Him irreverence and openly defy Him…God has still raised Him up, exalted Him, glorified Him, and set Him upon The Holy Mountain (verse 6). In spite of anything that mere mortal man may do, there will come a day when those rulers will be forever sorry (verse 12).

Forever. Sorry.

The nations may be in an uproar. They may grumble and complain and express themselves with rage against one another and against God. The peoples of the earth may devise vain things. The kings and rulers of this earth may take counsel together against the Lord (verses 1-3), but God is still on the throne and Jesus is still King of kings.

The Father has given His Son the right to be King. The right to rule. The right to conquer. Those who will not willingly bend now under the prodding of His golden scepter will one day be shattered by His iron rod (verse 9).

That’s a fact, Jack.

Oh, my goodness…I’m so glad I trust in the power of Jesus to save.

I know at times my trust has been small, but you know? Trust grows over time. If my trust is real when it’s small then it can surely grow. It’s like a seed that needs to be watered and nourished. When first planted that seed is very real. Without the proper soil and the right amount of water and fertilizer it may never amount to much, but when it’s loved and cared for it will grow into something beautiful.

Yes, I’m so glad I’ve learned the joy of finding refuge in Jesus. I don’t want to ‘misplace’ Him or ‘leave Him behind’ like a pair of glasses I toss here and there. I don’t want to ‘rebel’ against what’s good and right for me, charging full speed ahead into dangerous territory. But when I do, I’m so glad He will pull me over and ‘slow me down’.

I can trust Jesus to be my Ultimate Authority.

I know a lot of people don’t get this, but I want Jesus to rule in my heart. I would rather learn to willingly bend now so that I won’t be shattered later.

I want my trust to grow and flourish and produce fruit. Because even though I deserve the wrath of God (verse 12), in His mercy, He doesn’t treat me as my sins deserve. Instead of me signing my name on a dotted line, Jesus has paid my debt in full. That’s why tears of gratitude fall down my cheeks.

That’s the beauty of my inheritance in The Son (verse 8), an inheritance zoned-out with spiritual riches on every side and Jesus in the midst.

Forever. Blessed.

That’s me.

“…How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 2:12c

Reflections On Psalm 1

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I can remember when I valued exercise as a very vital, necessary part of my daily life. Back in the 1980’s there was this exercise show on TV called, “The Twenty Minute Workout.” I stumbled upon it one morning after I fed my toddler son breakfast and he was happily playing with his toys. In my early days of mamma hood I often left the TV on just for background noise, to keep me company, I guess. At the time, I hadn’t learned the importance of letting God and His Word keep me company!! Those were the days when I was still fickle and inconsistent in my relationship with Him, finding my way back after years of going my own way.

Sad, but true.

The Twenty Minute Workout was hosted by a woman whose name has escaped me. She and 2 other beautiful women with sculpted bodies and cute coordinating leotards, complete with leg warmers and tights, instructed the viewing audience in a highly energized aerobic fitness routine. I sat and watched that first time, completely enthralled.

The next morning, I donned sweatpants and a t-shirt (cute leotards, tights and the leg warmers would come later) and with all the determination and gusto I could muster, I not only watched, I joined them right there in the living room of my apartment. I’m so glad there was no one but my little boy to watch me moving around the room like that, moving my body in ways that made my bones and muscles squeal with delight. Yes, delight. Because I was hooked.

I started on an aerobic fitness journey for the next 10 years that kept me fit and focused and did wonders for my poor self-esteem. After a couple of years, The Twenty Minute Workout was completely embedded in the halls of my memory bank. I no longer needed the TV. I could take my workout with me everywhere I went and, believe me, I did. When Jazzercise came to town during those lean years I soon learned that 20 minutes of aerobics was no longer enough for me. Jazzercize became my new thing! Three to 4 times a week I danced to music with a roomful of other women for hour-long sessions of intense dance routines that left me breathless.

How I wish I could find my exercise-happy these days. I’m so fickle and inconsistent with exercise that sometimes I just want to scream, “Jesus, PLEASE! Help me take care of this old body. Help me find something….ANYthing…that I love as much as The Twenty Minute Workout!” (Doesn’t sound very spiritual, I know, but I really, really loved that workout and I’ve never found any other exercise I love as much.)

See…it’s important we love it or else we won’t want to do it.

We’re already eight days into 2016. And, guess what? I’ve not even gone for one 40 minute walk around town.

Not one.

And I used to enjoy walking.

I’ve been feeling kinda puny lately. Back in December some health issues creeped into my life and I’m not going to lie…they were kinda serious. After an initial trip to the emergency room, I’ve been passed from doctor to doctor, been wheeled around on more than one gurney for more than one test, and I’m still not done. As one doctor stated, “It might take several tries before you get an answer.”

I haven’t felt much like exercising, but I’ve noticed something….in the last couple of months I’ve gone from walking to standing to sitting.

A LOT of sitting.

And I don’t like it at all.

This morning I was thinking of Psalm 1 where the idea of walking…not standing…not sitting…

speaks to a man who is blessed. A man who is happy. A man who finds delight in the law of the Lord. A man who finds his happy-place by meditating on God’s Word and then living it out.

A man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked but walks in the counsel of his God.

A man who doesn’t stand in the path of sinners but walks in the path of righteousness.

A man who doesn’t sit in the seat of mockers but walks to the throne of grace.

This man is so happy he’s like a tree. A flourishing tree. A tree with a healthy life and breath and soul prosperity. A tree with strong branches and leaves and spirit fruit. A tree with a mighty trunk and bark and godly roots. A tree where the heart of it is fed water from fresh streams that never run dry.

Man won’t receive all this goodness lying down day after day, just staring at his Bible. Oh no. He must open it. And read it. And study it. And ponder it. And embed it upon his memory bank so he can take it wherever he goes.

And then…then…he must put it to practice. He must sit up. He must get up. He must walk it out, exercising his faith with assurance that all he has and all he needs is found in Jesus, the Living Word.

I’ve come a long way in my walk with Jesus since those early days of my return. I’m not as fickle as I used to be, but I’m not as consistent as I want to be. Yet, of this I’m sure…

The counsel of God is my plumbline.

The path of righteousness is my guideline.

The throne of grace is my bloodline.

The Word of God is my lifeline.

And I am so incredibly blessed. I’m not just happy, I’m delighted. Loving the Word has become part of my fitness journey of faith. I want to read it, know it, live it.

Because I am hooked.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3