It Was All In A Pause

Sometimes, I lose it in the pauses. This is important because some of the better things in life happen in pauses. I remember the pause right before my husband kissed me for the first time on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Pauses in music are good.  They allow us to catch our breath for the next line. When I run, I like pauses.  In fact, I prefer them to running on the less fantastic days. There is nothing like the first pause in a crazy week.  The one where you sit in a chair or on the side of the bed and think, “Oh, just give me this moment…”, as you you breathe out slowly. We pause life when we sit with the Lord. Pauses are the temporary hold of the present in anticipation of a relentless future.  They are brief.  They are intentional. When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” – Matthew 8:1 & 2, NRSV Lord if you choose, you can make me clean. Pause. I hear this pause.  This man aches from his disease, and his hands and feet are weak.  His skin is inflamed.  He is alone, but he wouldn’t be able to feel the soft touches of his family anyway.  His eyesight is failing him, and he is in danger of losing his fingers and toes. And he says, Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean…and then he waits.  This pause seems to...

Put The “Polite You” Aside, and Get What You Want

When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”…Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. – Mark 10:47&48, 51&52, NRSV These verses stop me every time I read them. I have sat and thought of myself as the one by the road, instead of Bartimaeus. I have played it over and over in my head. The truth is that Bartimaeus happens to be blind.  He happens to be a mendicant, a beggar, needy.   I happen to be a sinner, broken.  We all happen to be something. As soon as he realizes Who stands before him, Bartimaeus asks–no, that is too polite–Bartimaeus screams for mercy. At this demonstration, voices dismiss him. Jesus wouldn’t be interested in someone like you, someone who would shout his spiritual requirements into the street. You are less than. You are forgettable. Contrary to their purpose, his pleadings became louder. The impolite dismissal of the faithful would not silence him today. At a certain point, need overtakes self-discipline and begging becomes the whisper of the heart.   Please Lord, look over here.  See me.  Listen, even though I am offensive: the social dissident. Jesus sees my heart. He...

God Shares Some Thoughts

The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” – Genesis 18:17-20, NRSV When I was in college, I interned at a radio station.  This was also the summer that I learned what minimum wage really meant, that being a secretary was hard, and getting your belly button pierced took a long time to heal.   I was, also, working with someone I considered iconic.   This man had been and done everything in radio.  He was now at the top of his field and the award case was getting a little crowded.  When he spoke, everyone listened.  We were his team, and he was our revered leader. I seem to recall my nineteen-year-old self nodding when he was present.  I did not want to seem completely daft, so I would agree whole heartedly with big head nods and follow his conversations intensely with small head nods.  Either way, I looked like a bobble head for three months of the year, two years in a row. Then came the day when he asked me to his office.  One-on-one head nodding seems to make a poor showing, so I was ready to bring my A game.  I am now sorry...

Walking Away From 2012

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14, NRSV You can learn a lot about someone while they are walking away. When I was circling thirty, I returned to school for a degree in Psychology.  This was still in the age of paper textbooks, heavy in content and weight.  It was the job of the student to pour over these books in the middle of the night and carry them throughout campus in the middle of the day.   When you travel behind a student carrying their books, the facts fall behind them, thanks to the backpack and an unnoticed perspective.  Patches and pins, even tattoos and doodles lay out a map of likes and dislikes from politics to band preferences.  As long as they keep walking away, you can keep studying their billboards of personality. I have learned a lot about some of my friends as they walked away.  A friend of mine from college walked away because she felt that I was better liked among our friends.  Another walked away because I chose to spend time with a boy over her.  Both taught me lessons about this type of travel. I learned that I could not change the insecurities of my first friend.  I had to let our relationship go after every effort to edify her had failed.  Alternatively, my insecurity was the toxic root to my second friend.  The man, of course, I do not even remember.  I am still grateful for my friend’s grace, that she walked back to me when I...

Just Let God Protect You

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. – Psalm 16:1, NRSV My son and I recently took a road trip to see my family.  We traveled ten hours to the ranch, which left an inevitable ten hour trek home.  It was on the return voyage that I was giving a travel update to my dad. Dad:   If you are already in El Paso, you are really making good time. Me:     I think so, too.  We are going to stop in another few hours.              Uh oh.  (Sirens blaring)            I think that I am in the middle of a car chase. That’s right.  A car chase. When people ask me what is new in my life, I pause.  I have to think whether to share the new recipe with which I plan to wow my husband, or the great new Christmas wrapping that I have to try.  I could always share the newest article on discipline or toddler activities.  My life, although very full, is not full of new but bursting with variations of the same. I am, essentially, a grateful wife and stay-at-home mom…in the middle of a high speed car chase. There is such a cool ring to that, but I assure you that I did not think so when police cars were flying up behind us.  I was praying that same prayer from the Psalms, “Protect me and my son, God.”   I watched the whole thing, imagining the arial video that would be shown on the news later that night as I...

If This Was Heaven, They Would Not Have Keyed My Car

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. – Matthew 13:44, NRSV She is a dutiful gal, always willing to give a lift wherever I, and my little one, need to be.  I never have to ask her twice for the temperature or time of day.  Intuitively, she knows all things at all times.   Mountain Sage is her official color, which I think fits this season of my life as a new mom.  This lovely shade of green is complimented only by the soft off-white seats that my heart wanted and my head cautioned against, because of the small careless feet that climb through her backseat on any whim.  But, she never complains about the scuff marks.  She never even complains when her perfectly, large back seat is used for diaper changes or wet bathing suits.   She is my SUV, Melva Lynn. She came to me brand new.  My big, green beauty has belonged only to me.  We have rolled through this busy planet together, she and I.  I hold affection for her reliability and her tolerance for my singing.  I have her back. Well, I HAD her back. Every week my son and I go to the zoo.  The trick to summer zoo-going where I live is to leave before it hits 105, usually about 9:30 am.  Every mom knows this.  Grumpy, sweaty, hungry kids are a rookie mistake.  Go early and leave early is the code among us. It was on...

Spending A Little Less Time With Pain

“Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together,  for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 40:5, NRSV I have given birth to a giant. My husband and I thought of ourselves as normal sized humans, even though I am considered quite tall at 5’ 10”.  My husband is the same height which is a point of convenience as I can see all of his facial expressions without even a head tilt.  I assure you, he has many. I now see that my genes had every intention of super sizing themselves through my offspring.  My son measured 33.5 inches at his 15 month checkup.  Feeling that I was falling behind on my formal records, I found the cutest giraffe growth chart ever seen. I know that some day this will be a point of interest to my son.  He will see how his body progressed through the years, trying to outdo the last measurement by a point zero something.  Some day I will roll it up and tuck it away, pulling it out for nostalgia and lament that he outgrew the comfort my lap once provided. My son’s growth record reminded me of a life timeline that I was challenged to draw several years ago.  Significant events were marked with a tick along its belly.  Of course, my timeline was color coded and double checked for accuracy.  As I hunted dust bunnies the other day, I began to consider the impact of the last six years on my tidy timeline. These years do me no artistic favors.  My tidy...

You Were Re-Created To Have A Different Day Today

Giveaway WINNERS for ICDevos Summertime Week 6  Seeds of Praise CD: Mindy Share Prayer APP for iPhone : Karen, Renee, Vanessa, Jodie, Theresa Splashing in Puddles ebook: Denise Faithlife Women’s Conference Tickets: Theresa, Lora, Lexi, Renee & Jodie If you see your name on the list, simply email lori@internetcafedevotions with your address or email so we can your prizes out to you right away! Don’t forget to check back in THIS FRIDAY for our 7th SUMMER GIVEAWAY! * Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. – 1 Peter 5:8 & 9, NRSV The other day I followed my general routine of toddler up, toddler fed, toddler plays outside, toddler naps.  When the later happens, mommy gets on the treadmill.  I will be honest and say that I love it about thirty percent of the time.  I like it about forty percent of the time and I hate it the rest.  Nonetheless, it is a necessary part of caring for this loyal shell of mine. A “like it” day turned into a “love it” day, when a blast from the past shuffled over my iPod.  When you have had an iPod since their inception, you have a lot of forgotten tunes.  This particular song is the kind that makes you feel formidable.  The treadmill becomes a crowd of naysayers trying to keep you from the finish line.  Little do they know, it only pushes your...

One Week Closer to Friendship, the Real Kind

But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God…” – Ruth 1:14, NRSV My person left today. My person is my longest standing friend, who I met the day we moved into freshman dorms.  Freedom and fear mixed together for an exhilarating cocktail as we waved goodbye to our parents and borrowed each others clothes.  Two sheltered girls became two cautious young women, and when she moved back to her city I followed after a few years. In fact, until I got married, we lived together in her big city.  Laughing, cooking, petting dogs, watching romantic comedies, eating, shopping, and eating some more. She knows my secrets.  She stood within arms reach of me while I made the worst decisions ever conceived and let me live out their course, all the while knowing that she would have a human puzzle to reassemble.  And, reassemble she did. Not just once. There was the best, though, which sustained us through all seasons.  She stood just as close, holding my bouquet, when I spoke vows to my husband.  Later, she held my son while I told her about spending another day in my pajamas. We know no more lyrics to “Here Comes the Hotstepper” than we did in 1994, and we still know that a little chocolate is not just a band-aid, but medicinal. This is my person, and today she leaves her home, three minutes from my doorstep, and moves...

God Is Good. Believe It.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. – Psalm 84:11, NRSV When my son was born, everyone told me that he looked like my husband.  How wonderful to have a son resemble his father!  I can say this to you now, but it became a bit of a competition between my husband and me.  I argued that since I had done the work, I deserved to have our baby look a little like me. But then it happened. He started to change! His eyes were turning lighter, and not my husband’s brand of lighter.  They were turning blue like mine, and then they changed more and were not like mine at all.  They were my sister’s eyes, simply beautiful. Our son’s eyes have become my picture of God’s goodness.   My sister, Jonean, has walked with the Lord her entire life.  Those eyes have seen utter despair and indescribable joy, more than the average person.  Her life has seen the dreams of a young woman change to an unanticipated, yet hopeful, future.  Most people simply admire Jonean’s relentless forward movement. Perhaps, this is because of her effortful movement.  Her wheelchair moves at the speed of light, but her Cerebral Palsy slows her tasks considerably.  Jonean has help bathing and eating.  She is rarely alone because she requires an assistant at her disposal. It seems ironic that her place in the world is so lonely in its uniqueness. Jonean never married or had children, although these dreams have held a place...