Monday, June 30, 2008

Lady in Waiting

I’m not in much of a writing mood today. I want rest. I want answers. I want a diagnosis. I want to run screaming until this “thing” leaves my body. Except that I can’t run. Have you ever seen anyone run with a cane? Didn’t think so! :)

I have an appointment tomorrow with a new neurologist.

This is like some weird “dating game”. “Bachelor, er, Neurologist #3, if you were an ice cream flavor…” Hey, I don’t want some kind of nutty one, you know!

So tomorrow, I’ll just have to rehash twenty-some-odd years of on-again-off-again neurological symptoms and explain my life-on-hold-since-February whale of a time. He’ll prick the bottoms of my feet and make me touch my finger to my nose. He’ll look over old blood work and MRIs. And maybe, just maybe, Lord-willing-and-the-creek-don’t-rise, he’ll have something different to say. He’ll see something that he wants to investigate. Maybe he’ll have just come back from a conference and has just learned about something new. Hey, that happened to me just last week! I just gotta wait until tomorrow. (cue song from Annie…)

I have this fascinating job. It’s called Lady in Waiting.

According to Wikipedia, Ladies in Waiting were ladies “of a royal court appointed to serve or attend a Queen, Princess, or high ranking noblewoman. A Lady in Waiting was not quite a servant. Ladies in Waiting were considered 'noble companions' who, by their status and nobility, could better advise a woman of high station.” OK, so I need to write a new job description.

Lady in Waiting: A servant of the royal court, anointed for the King's service and appointed by the King to encourage other women.

It goes with the dream I had Saturday night: a man resembling a cross between Ed Begley, Jr. and my Uncle Larry was leading our Sunday School class and told me I was being commissioned to teach other women about who they are in Christ. OK. So then I got to Sunday School for real the next day and the lesson was about finding one’s life purpose. I opened my Bible to find a paper I’d stuck there months ago. It was about who we are in Christ. The teacher (not our usual teacher) wrote several words on the board. Among them: Consecrated. That’s what my name means. I looked at the teacher and suddenly recognized him as the man in my dream.

God’s pretty cool, huh?

I’ve gotta go. It’s time for the Lady to take her nap. I’ll let you know what the new neurologist says. Until then, sweet dreams! May God speak to you in yours!

Friday, June 27, 2008

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Always

Just a little daisy bouquet for anyone stopping by today. This is the beauty I see when I look out my kitchen window: daisies and window boxes and herbs!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


It’s a word I saw today on our desktop fliptop devotional. It’s not an everyday kind of word, so I looked it up.

Magnanimous: generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness; proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind or character.

Another source described it as “a heart big enough to hold no grudges”.

That got me to thinking. A heart like that must have a lot of room. It must get cleaned out on a regular basis.

Grudges are a lot like clutter. You just get used to having them around. You don’t even realize they take up so much room. Maybe they seem comforting somehow. And what if someone suggests you get rid of clutter? “Why, I’ve had that forever!” or “I might need that someday!” “Aunt Martha gave that to me!” Hmmm.

The Bible speaks of a root of bitterness. That’s a grudge. Hebrews 12:15 specifically tells us to get rid of it: “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” It’s toxic. It strangles the heart.

Didn't we just discuss forgiveness yesterday? God must want us to explore!

How does one begin to unclutter the heart, to uproot bitterness? One must get past the paralysis of “I don’t know where to start!” Sister, let me help you.

Picture Jesus. Yes, close your eyes and imagine Him. He’s marvelous and strong. He’s glowing with love. He even appears real, not just a flat image. See Him in color and brightness. He takes up the whole view! How peaceful! You might even be aware of fragrance and sweetness. Rest here a few minutes and soak Him in.

Now, you’re going to want to rebel against this next part. Think of a person who really gets under your skin. When you close your eyes, do you see them in black and white, boxed in a stagnant little snapshot, maybe down in just a corner of your vision?

Bring them to Jesus. Imagine moving that little photo into the image you saw of Jesus. Make it color. Make it living. I know, you are wanting to rebel even now, to stop the exercise. Don't. It can't hurt.

Move that person into the center of your vision, and let Jesus give them a big hug. See them relax. See that angry, bitter, mean, cold, unholy, vile, senseless, insensitive person give in to Jesus' warmth. See them break into an actual smile, or cry. Feel your own heart soften. Allow it! Stay here a little while, too. Cry if you need to. And the next time you think of that person, remember that you gave them to Jesus. See it again.

When the writer of Hebrews said that no one should miss God’s grace, He was talking about YOU, too! Forgiveness multiplies grace. Don’t miss it! And don’t strangle it with a bitter root! See to it that no one misses that grace- including the object of your grudge.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:10) Lord, help me to be magnanimous.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I just looked up the meaning of the word “anointed”.

The word was on a card I picked up at the She Speaks conference. We had all written our “doubts” on another card and had taken them to the foot of a cross that was set up at the front of the room. There, we symbolically laid them, giving them to God. In exchange for our doubts, we picked up a card with scripture and a special word. I thought everyone got the same one, but found out later that there were many different cards.

Mine said “anointed”.

Something that is anointed has been set apart or consecrated for God’s service. Amazingly, my name actually means “Consecrated to God”. How’s that for confirmation?

The scripture passage on my card was Luke 4:18-19. This is the scene in which Jesus, in His hometown, read from Isaiah and then announced that He was fulfilling the prophecy written there. At first, the people marveled. Then He said a word of truth that they didn’t want to hear, and the people promptly drove Him away.

People don’t always respond well to the truth, do they?

It’s a little scary to think about. God has given us His word to proclaim and yet we’re not always going to be received well. The “special emphasis” God has given me, for which He has set me apart, for which I am anointed, is especially rejected. It’s called forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a precious gift: everybody wants to receive it. Ask them to give it away, and they act as if they cannot afford to do so.

Why do we act that way? We hold on to hate. We point fingers. We keep our wounds open and bloody, as if doing so punishes the one who inflicted them. All it really does is keep us from healing.

What do you do when you cut your finger? You allow it to bleed just a little to cleanse it from the inside. Then you wash it under water. Next you apply ointment to keep it from getting infected. You bandage it to protect it from filth. And it heals.

When we accepted Christ, His blood cleansed us. We were baptized with water. We were anointed with the Holy Spirit. God covered us. So we should be healing.

Are we? That blood represented forgiveness and came at great cost for Jesus. He gave it freely. We accepted it. Now we need to pass it on. Freely. For our own healing and for the healing of others. They won’t believe it truly exists until they see it in us.

The wounded are waiting.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Doing Good!

Every now and then, someone will ask me, “Lisa, how are you doing?” My reply is “I’m doing good!”

Yes, I know that the grammatically correct response is “I’m doing well”- if you are talking about health. But that’s not what I’m talking about, though it may appear so. I say it that way because I want to secretly remind myself that I am supposed to “do good”, to not do harm. I am supposed to be God’s ambassador.

Good deeds, however, are not the complete picture.

Have you ever heard of King Josiah?

He was the boy who became King of Judah at the age of eight, after his father was assassinated. He did enormous good. Josiah wiped out all signs of idol worship. When the Book of the Law was found in the temple, he ordered that it be followed. He reinstituted Passover. He did marvelous things for God. He was sincere. He was ruthless in obedience to the Law. He found rules and he followed them.

Except that he forgot to talk to God about it. He was so busy doing that he neglected the One for whom he was doing. He ended up missing the point. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Busy, busy, busy and scrupulously clean on the outside, but hollow.

Like you. Like me.

Isn’t that what we tend to do? We busy ourselves with Christian work, doing good for our King. We’re sincere! We write our hearts out for Jesus. We spend time reading each other’s blogs. But did we pray first? Did we have our quiet time first? Did God really get put first this morning? Not just the talking about Him, but the sitting with Him.

Faith without deeds is dead, yes. But I think deeds can be empty, too.

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to be a “human doing” instead of a “human being”. And right now, I’m getting pretty convicted. I’m going to post this and go sit, go be at my King’s feet for awhile and make sure I’ve consulted Him. His battle plan is the one I need to be following.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Here's One for George

Man, oh man, what a weekend!

How does one describe the She Speaks conference? It was like finding God around every corner. He showed up in the phenomenal details. He showed up in the women who were seeking hard after Him. He showed up in the speakers and even in the servers at dinner. It was like standing under a waterfall of blessings. I’m still trying to soak it all in, but it’s going to take months.

And that was just from Friday and Saturday. I couldn’t go on Sunday. My mysterious malady (not yet been diagnosed, but appears to be related to multiple sclerosis) reared its despicable head on Sunday morning, leaving me so off-balance that I had to get out my cane again. Practical application: I couldn’t drive. So, to all my She Speaks sisters, I apologize. I did not intend to leave without saying goodbye!

Wow, wow, wow! I now know “Without A Shadow of a Doubt” (thank you, Renee, for Saturday night’s message) that I am supposed to carry forward this dream of being a writer and a speaker. And speaking of dreams, I had one last night that still has me reeling a bit. God tends to speak to me when I am asleep because He can get me when I’m still. (I need to work on being still when I am awake, too. Those are my fish belly experiences- see previous two posts.)

Last night’s dream found me visiting a place I used to work. There among the ladies (who for some reason were all wearing blue scrubs) was George Carlin. No, I have never worked with George Carlin. From what I know of him, we probably would not see eye-to-eye! (Any of you who have stumbled across his material, except for a brief stint as Mr. Conductor for Thomas the Tank Engine, know what I’m talking about.) But this was a kinder, gentler George. And he told me that I needed to be up there on the stage because people needed to hear my message. Then he disappeared into the back room. OK, George.

So I get up this morning to find out that George Carlin died last night.

What am I supposed to do with that? God has spoken to me before through Boy George songs, but through an urgent George Carlin? Maybe I need to look up the meaning of the name “George”.

George, I hope you met Jesus. I really, really hope you know Him.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fish Belly Again

First, God prompts writing on a certain topic.
Then, He gives an experience to keep it fresh.
He is just the Master of timing!

So, after Monday’s post about Jonah, here I sit in the belly of the fish.

What’s up, God? Can we get this lesson over so I can move on?

God’s mental note: Add another day in the fish belly to teach patience.

Tuesday started out pretty well. I was just a little tired. I went down for my daily nap and woke two hours later with the inability to focus my eyes and an unsettling perception that horizontal surfaces are actually vertical and vice-versa. I recognize these as symptoms of my as-of-yet undiagnosed condition, so I am not terribly alarmed. I just pretend I’m Spiderwoman climbing the walls when I’m actually crawling on the floor.

Oh, except that after a few minutes, I get tired and then I’m just mad.

OK, so I have to call my boss and tell him I’m not coming in. Great. Love that, especially the blubbery part where I break down into tears on the phone. Super.

And did I mention that there’s a man in my backyard, digging a new septic field? It means I cannot flush the toilet for the next several hours. Lovely. Oh, and he just hit the cable line, which means my TV is useless and my internet down. Until the cable guy can come and repair it, scheduled between 10am and noon- TOMORROW!

I can still type, right? But my coordination is so off that I accidentally invent new words. Nto os muhc frun.

Happy times, y’all!

A few hours later, my husband (who took the day off to supervise the septic event) is dozing. I must have talked his ears into the buzzing range. I realize that my vision has improved when the six paintings over the fireplace have returned to their usual three. Great! Now I can at least read! What do I have to read? There’s the latest issue of my Martha Stewart magazine on the end table.

Then God draws my eye to the Bible sitting on the coffee table in the sunroom. Oh.

I am drawn into a world of Old Testament kings and warriors and the servant girls who point them to God for healing. My heart relaxes, my eyes behave and I read until bedtime.

In the middle of the night, God whispers for me to get up and write. I protest, and then realize that He has given me a topic for an article that I need to write. The fat-finger syndrome is gone and typing is normal. Praise God! And how amazing to find that He put a computer in the fish belly. He thinks of everything, doesn’t He?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Kiss My Grits!

I’m a nature lover. Put me in a garden and I’m happy. I love plants, I love animals, I love all of God’s creatures. Well, most of them.

There are a few for whom my wrath does rise, namely cockroaches and flying, stinging insects. And now, ants as well.

I think anyone can understand my disgust for cockroaches. Even the movie, “Enchanted” couldn’t make me change my mind with all its choreographed cleaning (cleaning! What???) bugs. The stinging insects are another no-brainer. I like them fine if they’re pollinating my squash, but don’t let one fly near me. They are like little loaded guns- a sting sends me to the ER, if I make it that far.

Friday, I found out that ants are also members of the send-Lisa-to-the-ER club. I was watering the hydrangea when I stepped on an ant hill. I didn’t mean to. I wasn’t paying attention to my feet, until I felt a burn on my ankle. I smashed the offender, brushed off his buddies and went back to watering. My hand started to tingle and I realized that it was from the venom I’d encountered from crushing the ant. I knew then that I might be in trouble. I rushed into the house, took an antihistamine and my husband drove me immediately to the ER. My heart pounded, my lungs closed.

An IV and several drugs later, ants had joined my list of enemies. They were to be annihilated! I formulated my plan.

Did I tell you that I am an organic gardener? No chemicals for me. But I do have a powerful, good-old Southern weapon: grits. Yes, grits.

Saturday morning found me feeding the ants, sprinkling the dry uncooked grits onto the ant hills. “Kiss my grits!” I whispered, lest the neighbors hear me. The ants came out, picked up the tasty flakes and took them back in the hill. I felt a little guilty at their joy over “manna” raining from heaven; I knew that once they had eaten, they’d be drinking some water and the grits would swell up in their little bellies. Then they would expand beyond capacity: exploding ants! Take that, you vermin!

By Saturday afternoon, the ant population in my yard had significantly declined. (And here I thought my husband didn’t eat grits because he was born outside of grits territory!)

I’m sure somewhere in all of this, God has a spiritual lesson for me. I keep hearing one of those songs we sang in VBS: “Oh, be careful little feet where you walk…” It was an admonition to keep ourselves on the path, to not stray, to stay out of trouble. It is a reminder to me today to do a heart check, to check where my spiritual feet are planted and to remember that every breath comes from God.

Friday, June 6, 2008

God and the Mac

My daughter, Sarah, recently referred to her MacIntosh laptop by the name she gave it: Jehovah Jireh.

The reference brought a smile to my heart and to my face.

Last August, Sarah was preparing to go away to college to study photography. She needed a Mac. She had to wait until her financial aid was finalized before she could place the order, so by the time she’d done so, it was getting ominously close to the day she would be leaving. And the package couldn’t be delivered to her college P.O. Box.

We were dismayed to find out that the scheduled delivery date was on Monday- AFTER her Saturday move. It was coming all the way from China. There was nothing we could do to speed up its arrival- or was there? We decided to pray. It seemed a silly thing at the time to pray that a computer would miraculously arrive days before scheduled (who ever heard of a package coming EARLY?), but we decided God was big enough. The question was: would He really be that concerned, that involved in day-to-day details in the life of an everyday 18-year-old girl, even if she was a new Christian? (That salvation story is a miracle story for another post! Whew- wait till you read THAT one!)

Sarah checked the web every day, sometimes more that once, to track her package. It seemed to be stuck in China forever. Finally, on the night before she was to leave, it arrived in the Midwest. The delivery date stubbornly stared back at her, refusing to budge from its Monday slot. Sarah went to bed heartbroken.

The next morning, we packed the car. I was closing up the house when I noticed that the plants in the sunroom were wilted in the heat. I decided to water them immediately. Sarah took the opportunity to look online “just one more time”. What she saw shocked us both: the Mac was on the truck, scheduled for delivery before noon- THAT MORNING!

Unfortunately, we could not wait around the house any longer due to the length of the drive and her scheduled check-in time. But it was SO CLOSE! What could be done? Perhaps we could intercept the truck somewhere on our way out of town. God was big enough, right? I quickly called the delivery service to find out where the truck was.

Moments later, I was on the phone with customer service when I happened to look out our dining room window. There was the FedEx truck, parked in our driveway!

Sarah and I ran out to meet the driver. He was unprepared for such a joyous reception! We told him of our prayer. We announced that he was witnessing a miracle and that God had used him to pull it off. He smiled. (I hope it encouraged him and built his faith!)

We climbed into the over-packed car and set off, amazed at God’s timing and provision, of His love and care for such a small detail in the great scheme of things.

And thus came the name: Jehovah Jireh, “God Will Provide”. The Mac is proof! How often do you get tangible evidence like that? And here’s a funny little God-bonus: “MacIntosh” is Scottish for “son of Thane”- and Thane means "Lord"! Tell me God isn’t involved in details! Can I get an “Amen!”?