Found Treasure

This post was saved in my drafts for almost a year now. I’m glad it was available for me to find again.

Last week I was going through a box we had in our storage closet. It was a box of nice, normal stuff: books, nick-knacks, and random papers. You know, the kind of things you haven’t seen in years, and therefore decide half of it can go to a new home.

Once I freed the books of their unneeded box-mates I began looking at the papers and found a forgotten treasure. I found the notes Jim wrote as he was preparing to speak at my dad’s funeral. Time stopped as I read…and cried.

And I realized again the depth of insight that is in my husband.

The dictionary defines insight as the power or act of seeing into a situation and the act or result of apprehending the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively. 

Insight sees beyond the surface of a person or circumstance. Insight sees not just the whole thing, but the bit and pieces that make up the whole – positive or negative, good or bad, necessary or unnecessary.

While the words that Jim wrote about my dad were true, the character of the man who wrote them came out as he chose how to use the insight given to him. He chose to see a lasting treasure. He chose to see my dad as God saw my dad.

How many times are we frustrated by those who only choose to see what they want to see? How many times are we the ones who only choose to see the surface?

We let hurts, insecurities, or pride keep us behind the safety net of an almost translucent curtain. Some parts are clearly seen, but the full image is not completely known to us. We can delude ourselves into thinking that’s okay when it actually keeps us from experiencing the best that God has for us. It keeps us from experiencing the fullness of His heart for us and for others. It keeps us from seeing what the Lord treasures most about us.

But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. – 1st Samuel 16:7 AMP

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The Cake We Actually Get To Eat

One morning I started thinking about the phrase to have one’s cake and eat it too, and how God makes this possible.

It might be different than we expect it to be.

The cake we get to eat might be MORE than we expect it to be.

After this thoughtful moment I went on with my morning until Jim starts sharing this article he is reading about a cookie lady on the Appalachian Trail. For over 30 years, this beloved lady offered rest to the weary which encouraged them to continue their journey. She gave them cookies. She offered them shelter. Instead of traveling as she desired, Jane Curry met people from every state in the U.S., and about that many countries.

The cake she  wanted was to travel. The cake she got to eat involved meeting thousands of people from around the world. She impacted the globe from where she lived.

I can’t help but relate this story to God’s heart for us. He takes what we want, and He gives us more. From the heart of our desire He brings forth something that is infinitely more precious.

Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Dress is another fantastic, thought provoking read from Rachel Hauck. Within the pages of this novel are issues that we can all relate to in life, and leaves you with hope for your own miracle to happen while enjoying the mystery of the wedding dress. As Charlotte is researching the history of this dress she is also reconciling the past (her own and those of the brides) with the present. She has to deal with decisions made in generations before her that she has to live with today as well as make decisions she know will affect her future. Who can’t relate to that?

Normally, I am not of fan of time shifts in novels, but this is done almost seamlessly. I also usually don’t comment on the characters actions or thoughts as I’m reading, but I might have done so a time or two…or more. Some of those annoying characters were really annoying!  A few of my own life decisions were reflected in this novel. I have thought those thoughts, and have had God redeem what needed to be redeemed. I highly recommend this book to others…especially to women and brides who are wondering about the decisions they are making.

Please note that I have received this book for free from the publisher through Booksneeze.com, and the review is my own opinion.  I am making this statement in accordance to FTC guidelines.

Book Review: A Year With God by R.P. Nettelhorst

A Year with God by R.P. Nettelhorst is a 365 day paper back devotional book. Each day contains an excerpt from the Old Testament along with a few paragraphs intended for deeper understanding.  While this book contains a moderate consistency in its visual form that is acceptable to my eye, I am left with feeling some things are missing in the content. I have not found anything to be in error, and I understand the point of the devotional is God’s Word in the OT, but the absence of the New Testament makes the devotions feel incomplete.

The summaries, though helpful to get the point of the text, lack a depth of personal application to help tie in the information that had just been read, and seem to end abruptly. I am not new to seeking a deeper understanding of the Bible, and I love to gain more knowledge of Scripture, but I personally walked away feeling detached from what I just read. Suggestions that come to mind: Questions to make one think about applying the devotion to ones own life, or a suggested reading of additional scripture(s) in the NT that would tie in with that particular days reading.

Letting Go

Picture this: A stretchable rope is tied around your waist, and the other end is anchored tight to something behind you. As you walk forward you think you are walking in complete freedom, unhindered. Then the rope starts to gain some tension, but since you can still move you decide to continue on. Frustration builds as the ropes stretches out more and more until you can no longer move forward.

You try a different direction. Same thing. So you stop to assess the situation. Why can’t you move forward? A memory crosses your mind of the family dog chasing a squirrel, and it’s sudden comical stop as it reaches the end of its chain. You remember you laughed at the dog when he did that. A lot. Now you start to sympathize with the dog, and you are very glad the rope is around your waist instead of your neck.

Ok. What do you do now? Do you retrace your steps to try to untie the rope at the other end? If you do that the rope is still tied around your waist, and you would have to carry around the whole thing.

Do you try to untie the rope that’s around your waist? If you choose this method the rope is still anchored to something at the other end, but since it’s not tied to you anymore you just might be okay with that. You figure out how to untie the rope, let it fall to the ground, and move on.

Wait a minute. Is there a small chance you might get near this rope again? Do you want to risk getting tied up again? Or does this situation call for you to untie both ends, and throw away the rope altogether? Hmm…this just might be the better solution.

Now to figure out how to untie that unseen, emotionally restricting rope.

Suffering Met Grace

I was contemplating a nap on Sunday afternoon while listening to some music when the words “where grace and suffering meet” captured my attention, and the following picture went through my mind.

Shrouded in the ever present, heavy darkness she moved forward, no longer able to recall a day she didn’t feel the pain and anguish. She went for her daily walk hoping for a distraction yet again the questions and what ifs came…with no answer…with no peace.

It felt like a hand was squeezing her heart as she stopped to take a deep breath. Around her the shining sun reflected off of the fresh spring leaves which danced happily in the breeze under a clear blue sky. Joyous chatter filled the air from the nearby park as families gathered to enjoy the day. A brief longing to enjoy the day as well came to her, and just as quickly flitted away. The wall of despair and heartache surrounding her was inescapable. It was a part of her..waking…sleeping…a constant companion.

Head down she continued her walk, plodding along, no longer caring to escape the pain-filled darkness. There were no more tears to shed…no alternatives to turn to.

Turning a corner she lifted her eyes and then hesitated, her steps faltering. Something was different. Warily she looked around, but nothing stood out to her. This was the same street she walked everyday. Her circuit never changed yet a stillness was present that had not been there before.

Shaking her head she moved forward cautiously.

“Hello.” A voice pierced her surrounding darkness.

Stopping again she began to shake as the pain became oppressive. Struggling, she lifted her eyes to behold the man before her. Unable to look away, a light brighter than the sun shone forth from his eyes, blinding her. The pressure built inside, constricting all movement…all thought.

Tenderly he reached up and brushed the hair away from her forehead and spoke a word she thought she would never feel again, “Peace.”

Instantly the pain and darkness fled. Tears streaming down her face she breathed deeply, no longer constricted.

“Jesus,” she whispered.”I thought you were forever gone from me.”

“No, Beloved. I am always here.” Compassion radiated from his entire being. “I have a gift for you if you will receive it. It’s the gift of Grace.” A tender smile touched his face, and his eyes of love gleamed even brighter. “But to receive it fully you need to do something for me.”

“What is it?” she asked desperate to not have the darkness return.

He reached out his nail pierced hands to grasp hers.

“Give me your burden. Give me your pain. Put it where it belongs at the foot of the cross. I’ve already suffered for it, Beloved.” Cupping her face with both hands he continued, “Let it now be redeemed.”

A joy that she had never experienced before began to fill her. Reaching for his hands, she freely laughed as she gave away all that imprisoned her.

 

To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:3 AMP

Jim

I just read a blog post from a lady who, while listening to her husband in conversation, had a moment of some memories that reminded her she has a great husband.

I love those times when I too am reminded of the treasure I have in Jim. So now whoever reads this gets to put up with some of them. 🙂

  • The initial “he likes me!” look that has turned into an “I love you” look.
  • Going on walks all the time and talking for hours.
  • His hugs.
  • His voice when he prays for us.
  • The times I was so sick he needed to take off from work to care for me.
  • Seeing the depth of love Jim had for my dad when he died.
  • Seeing and hearing him interact with our son.
  • Hearing his voice everyday when he calls during lunch.
  • Remembering when he said his love for me was not based upon the bed being made everyday.
  • Seeing him be a brother to our friends when they need support.
  • Seeing his love and care for our family.
  • He takes out the garbage all the time and unasked.
  • Frequently does a load of laundry or something else around our home.
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    Hmmm…the list can go on and on…the Lord has blessed me in deed.