Sunday, October 30, 2011

Adopted into the family of God

October 22nd was a beautiful fall Sunday, five years ago.  It was a day of much celebration in our family since that was Dylan’s first birthday, his infant baptism and his official welcoming into our family as our son.  Our dear friends and family showered us with love and presents as we enjoyed the blessing and stepped into the challenging world of becoming an adoptive family.  Everyone welcomed Dylan with a joyful heart as the newest Dieter in town, not much unlike the celebration and rejoicing that takes place in heaven when a new son or daughter becomes adopted into the family of God, and his/her name gets written in the book of life.

Adoption is profoundly blessed by our Lord.  For once, it defines our relationship with Him, 4 for He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.  Ephesians 1: 4-5.  Adoption is also specially blessed in the fact that Jesus chose to place Himself, His whole divine self into the loving hands of an adoptive father.  He chose to come to earth as the adoptive son of a humble carpenter.  It is, also, through the divine gift of adoption that God breaks us free from bondage and makes us His children so we can cry “Abba Father.”  Romans 8:14-15. 

Our identity is in Christ, our citizenship is in heaven, and the way to this blessed eternity is through the gateway of adoption.  We declare Him Lord, and He adopts us into His holy family, with the full rights of rightful heirs.  

Dylan is our son, the heir to our name and fortune (a fortune that amounts to not much than two beat-up cars, a bunch of books and some old shoes : ) just the same as Grant is our son.  The fact that one is biological and the other one is adopted matters not.  They are both our sons, with the same rights, privileges and responsibilities of sonship, just as we, who declare Jesus as Lord and fulfill His commands are sons and daughters of our Father in heaven, by the power of adoption, since before the world began.

There is a joyful welcoming party in heaven, every time a new child is brought into the family of God.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A celebration far away

October 19th was always one of my favorite days of the year when I was growing up in Panama.  This is the day my hometown celebrates its founding.  It’s a day of “fiesta” in the streets.  In the humid heat of the tropics, the people of Chitré, dress in their casual best, head to Downtown and stroll around the blocked off roads, greeting friends and acquaintances who share the same love and pride for the town known as the “City that Grows on Its Own.” 

Pedestrians walk about the multitude of vendors who offer an eclectic variety of trinkets.  You can find anything from funny hats, key chains, noise makers and plastic toys to candy, glow-in-the-dark sticks, fans and batteries.  There is also food of all kinds, including but not limited to classic dishes of Hispanic cuisine like “arroz con pollo,” “empanaditas,” “carne en palito,” “ensalada de papa,” and other delicacies like “ceviche” y “churros,” which you can wash down with any kind of beverage imaginable. 

The main event is, however, a grand parade filled with floats depicting typical scenes of every day life in small-town Panama.  Many of these floats reflect the well-known good humor of the people born and raised in Chitré.   Many others proudly serve as royal carriages for different beauty queens and their courts.  And yet, others are put together by the businesses that are the engine that keeps the town moving ahead.  Intertwined among the floats, gorgeous horses of the finest breeds show off their elegant walking gaits and ambling graces while ridden by their stoic owners showcasing their fancy saddles and other adornments.    I wish I had pictures.  I realize today, that I have not one photograph of these events.  What an oversight!  Perhaps it was due to the fact that I never thought I would spend 17 years and counting without participating in the festivities of Chitré’s founding day. 

I sure never imagined back then, while immersed in the celebration and captivated by the parades, that years from then, I would be sitting at a computer reminiscing and just plain-ole-missing all that goes on at founding day in Chitré.  But the Lord had other plans for my life.  He took me out of my country of origin, away from my people and my father’s household and brought me into this land that He showed me.  He brought me into the land of the free, where the brave lives.  He made me the adoptive daughter of this great nation where I’ve learned to endure, to have resolve, to never surrender my values and principles, to strive and to always side with the truth. 

With the call, also came a promise that He would bless me, and so He has.  He blesses me day in and day out with His presence and with the light of Jesus in my heart.  Thanks to the call I received the Light.  Otherwise I would still be walking in darkness, unaware of the truth and off the path that leads to righteousness. 

Of course I will always miss my past.  Of course I would want my sons to know their heritage.  Of course I get back to my hometown every chance I get.  But I have no regrets.  He called me to this place.  He blesses me every day.  He revealed and continues do reveal Himself to me here, and for that, I will have an eternity to thank Him.  I gladly pay the price of not enjoying festivities and street celebrations in my hometown, if I gain a lifetime by the hand of my Savior, and an eternity in His presence.  God has given me a love for this land that I never knew possible, and for that I praise Him.  This is my home.  Though adopted, I love this country as my own and I love all it represents. 

It’s October 19th and I don’t get to take part of the celebrations of my hometown, but I get to witness one of the miracles of nature, which was not known to me back in Panama.  I get to experience fall.  I get to experience fall in one of the best places around to enjoy such display of God’s handiwork.  I know for some the tradeoff seems lacking; but for me, it is simply marvelous.  Praise the Lord for I know, “… that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Artist works while I wait

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Psalm 19:1

The heavens and the earth do indeed proclaim the glory of our Lord and the perfect work of His hands.  It is impossible not to see it all around us.  I have but to look out my window into my backyard to admire the perfection of His handiwork.  Golden leaves shine brightly in the autumn sun against a cloudless blue sky.  He did not have to make the world so beautiful.  But He did, for our enjoyment, He did.  Nature is his canvas and the seasons are exhibits of His artworks.  

I step outside to take it all in, and I am overwhelmed.  Even the crunch of the dry leaves under my feet sounds like the melody of a divine symphony that plays in its annual concert to reveal His glory.  Walking around in this majestic autumn afternoon, however, stirs in my mind a confusing mix of emotions that is hard to keep straight.  I thoroughly appreciate the beauty and enjoy the gift of the sunshine and warmth that the Lord has given to us (especially today, after a rather gloomy, Western PA weekend).  This is the day that the Lord has made, and I do rejoice and am glad in it.  But at the same time, I can’t help but feel an old sting in my heart.  The sting is bittersweet and it echoes a sense a loss.

It is bittersweet because it is so full of reluctant goodbyes.  For once, I do not like to say goodbye to summer.  It was a sad day when I saw our dear neighbors close down their backyard pool for the year.  Now, I look at it from the distance and my heart sinks as I reminisce of the carefree summer afternoons I spent in there with my boys.  Afternoons long gone now, living only in our memories. 

It is bittersweet because fall means that a new school year has started, which reminds me that my kids are growing up way too fast.  It is bittersweet because it is usually in early fall that I go through their closets and pull out all their outgrown clothes to be passed down somewhere else, another reminder of nature taking its course without me being able to stop it.  I know it is such a blessing and a privilege to have them grow up safe, sound and healthy.  So many mothers don’t have such a gift.  I do praise the Lord for allowing my boys to grow up; and at the same time I pray that He will give me the wisdom to enjoy it, in spite of the pain of saying goodbye to their childhood.
Fall also echoes a sense of loss in my soul.  The loss of the leaves foreshadows the loss in my heart.  The loss of my mother, whose birthday was in the fall becomes anew year after year at this time.  The loss of my only brother and nephew, who are now estranged and whose birthdays are also in the fall stabs me straight to the heart when this time comes around.  The loss of what was once familiar and now lays miles away comes back to mark the season with painful goodbyes. 

But like Job, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth to right all the wrongs.  Therefore, as I move through the seasons, I wait on my Redeemer to deliver me.  I not only wait, however, for waiting could become such a passive state.  I move along as I wait.  I pray that I can live in His will, and do what He has commanded me to do as I wait.  Like the song “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller says:

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
Listen to the song here - it is worth it!

More lyrics:
All about John Waller:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Please give us eyes so we can really see!

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,
   who have eyes but do not see,
   who have ears but do not hear:
Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD.
   “Should you not tremble in my presence? 
Jeremiah 5:21-22a

“Dylan, can you sound out this word right here?”  The word I was pointing at on the worksheet read pink, and for homework, I was supposed to help him recognize as many “color words” as possible to practice his pre-reading skills.  Dylan looked at the word and with hesitation he sounded it out, making all the right sounds for each letter: “ppp, i, nnn, k.”  “Great!  Now, what color is it?”  I asked filled with joy and anticipation.  “Brown…” Dylan said.  Excitement could be so short lived…

“OK, sound it out again.”  “Ppp, iii, nnn, k.”  “What color is it?”  “Bbbrown?” He said again.  “Do you see any “b” in that word?”  “No.”  He said after examining the word on the paper.  “Then, could it possibly say brown in there without any “bs”?  “No…”  “Then, why did you say brown?”  “I don’t know?”  “Let’s try this again.”  And the next try turned into 15 other tries of more of the same until I gave up in fury and walked away screaming, “why can’t you see it?” 

Steam was coming out of my ears and nose.  Anger was seeping out of every pore.   I walked away and asked Grant to help him before I rupture a vein in my head.  Why can’t he see it?  It is so clear!  Doesn’t he realize that he is saying it?  How come he can’t put the whole picture together?  A great sense of helplessness came over me as I let myself sink in defeat. 

As I lay face down on the bottom of my ocean of failure I realized that as Christians, sometimes we do just the same.  The reality of Christ is right there in front of us, in plain sight, and we still cannot see it.  We sort of see parts of it, but we fail to see the whole picture.  We can sense it, but we can’t understand it.  We just can’t grasp the truth in what we speak, or read, or see.  And no matter how hard we try, we won’t be able to really see God’s truth and His reality in us, until He dwells in us.  We need the Light so we can see.  Darkness has overcome this world and has blinded too many.  Only Light defeats darkness.  Only the light of Jesus can make darkness flee, so we can finally and clearly see Him standing right in front of us, as our Guide, our Defender, our Redeemer, The Almighty.

Eventually, Dylan will learn how to read, guided by his loving teacher at his school (not by his short-tempered Mother at home), and we’ll all have a good laugh as we remember how out of her mind Mama used to get while trying to help him figure out words.  Eventually, guided by the power of the Holy Spirit and the light of Jesus, we’ll be able to discern the truth of Christ in our lives; and we’ll all tremble at His presence, and wonder how could we have been so foolish that we couldn’t see what was right in front of us.
"...the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:5

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Blessings

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  1 Corinthians 12:4-6

About a week ago, my dear, dear friend Judy heard me babbling about how much I like pumpkin pie, and what did she do?  Yes, she made pumpkin pie and shared it with me.  It was absolutely delicious.  I had to wrestle my boys, who equally love it too, for the last piece.  I’m sad to report, that they won.  Each bite was such a delight.  I am sure thankful for Judy and her thoughtfulness.  She has a precious gift for hospitality and for welcoming.  She thinks in details.  You have only to see the greeting cards that she makes herself from scratch.  They are so intricately wonderful and so full of carefully crafted designs, you can actually see the love in them.  Even when she sends you a store-bought card, she adds touches to them which make them unique.  My sons love getting things in the mail from her because they know, as soon as they see her label on them that it is going to be something special.

In a world where cookie-cutter-style is the norm, she goes out of her way to make one feel unique and special.  I praise the Lord for her friendship and for her gift which she so generously shares with those around her.  At a season of the year where my soul tends to drift toward melancholy, God provides me with details of love to cheer me up.  Simple things, like home-made pumpkin pie made by the loving hands of a friend represent one of the multitudes of things Divine Providence offers to us to meet our needs.  But it also takes the willing collaboration of His beloved. 

Our Father is the Provider of all things, and He provides each of His children with different abilities and skills.  If His gifted children were to decide to keep their gifts to themselves, the gifts would be wasted.  It doesn’t mean that His Divine Providence would not find its way to us; but O the waste.  Those with the gift would so miss out on their part in the Divine plan. 

 The Word says that:  to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)  Therefore, we are not to think of our gifts as private possessions.  They belong to the Giver, and are given to us to fulfill His purpose and reach out to His beloved. 

I bet Judy didn’t even realize that baking that pumpkin pie was going to mean so much to me.  Not many people consider a pie something worth pondering.  But Our God is the God of the details.  He knows His children.  He knows me.  He knew that a slice of pumpkin pie would bring joy to my spirit at an otherwise somber season, and He provided it.  And for that, I give thanks.

Monday, October 10, 2011

15 “If you love me, keep my commands… John 14:15

“Lord PLEASE, get me out of here.  Take me out of this job and put me somewhere where I can REALLY serve you each and every day.  Put me somewhere where I don’t have to hide my faith.  Put me somewhere, where I can speak freely of your love and use your Word openly.”  That was my plea a few days ago as I pulled out of the parking lot at Slippery Rock University.  I prayed about it all the way home that late Wednesday afternoon.  The meeting I had with a student just minutes before had left me spiritually drained, hopeless and wishing for the Rapture to come that very moment.  As I drove back home on the beautiful country roads and looked at the trees beginning to dress up in their fall bests, I couldn’t get that young student out of my mind.  Ephesians 6:12 kept coming back to me:  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Our battle sure isn’t against the seen world.  We are beyond that now.  We are at war in the spiritual realm.  Warfare is waging, whether we believe it or not, in the world unseen; and it is against our soul and the souls of those whom we love.  The world is only the visible part of the battle field of the powers of darkness.  We can’t see what goes on in the heavenly realms.  But we can get a clue by seeing what is going on right here on earth, around us. 

I walked in the house and Dan was there.  I spilled my guts out to him, not knowing if what I wanted from him was anything more than a listening ear.  As the insightful being he is, he offered some words which touched straight to the heart of matters.  Needless to say, I wasn’t very pleased by it.  In a nutshell, he told me that it was OK for me to quit my job if I felt that was what needed to happen; however, I needed to consider that it is not a good practice to quit when the going gets tough.  He reminded me that wherever I go I will encounter difficulties and hardship.  People are hurting everywhere and kids make wrong choices at every university.  For the final blow, he said how I needed to ponder if, perhaps maybe, God might’ve put me at SRU for a reason. 

That’s when I got really upset!  I sure didn’t want to hear that.  It was an argument I’ve used plenty of times and I sure didn’t want to be hit back on my face with it.  Not today.  Not this afternoon, when all I wanted to do was to run away and hide in a safe and comfortable place where I could feel secured and not stretched to my limits. 

I knew that then; but it has taken me many days to admit it.  I know God gave me this job at SRU for a reason.  The purpose of my stay has not yet been fulfilled, or else He had taken me away by now.  It is clear.  He gave me this job.  I remember 4 years ago when I started back, I didn’t even have to look for it.  It was there, waiting for me.  I had to make no effort.  The job was mine for the taking.  God had prepared it for me, and I took it.  Now, I have to be faithful and obedient to Him until He has accomplished His purpose.  I don’t want to stay.  I much rather be working at a place surrounded by Christian people, where we can resolve issues by going to the Word openly, without “tactics” or “strategies,” but that is not where God seems to want me to be right now. 

He wants me in a place where I can be the light.  He wants me to be a bright light, for the light shines brighter when in the midst of darkness.  He will give me what I need in order for me to be obedient.  There is love in obedience, Jesus said it Himself!  He practiced it Himself.  He became flesh, walked on this earth clothed in humanity and allowed Himself to be crucified all out of obedience to the divine plan that He Himself, as part of the Triune God had designed before the creation of the world.  How then can I not be obedient to Him and put up with a bit of discomfort for the sake of fulfilling my small part in His divine plan?

Like Francis Chan said in his book Crazy Love, we “must learn to listen to and obey God, especially in a society where it’s easy and expected to do what is most comfortable.”  I want to do what is most comfortable, no doubt about it.  I don’t want to expose myself as a believer in an environment that is hostile to Christians.  I don’t want to show my students that I do find my answers to life’s dilemmas in the Bible.  I don’t want to confront people who try to impose their worldly values and points of views on me by telling them that I live my life by other principles.  I don’t want to openly declare that I am a Bible believing evangelical Christian to a group that has nothing but disdain for such a kind.  I want to be comfortable and safe. 

God seems to have other plans, however.  I’m not sure what His exact plan is, but I think it might include me staying put for a little while longer.  I don’t know how He is going to make things work out.  I am nothing but a grasshopper.  But I do know that it is all on Him.  I do not have what it takes.  All I have is Him.  But I also know that by having Him, I have all I need.  His grace is sufficient.  He will sustain me.  He will give me what I need.  He will show me the way as I walk on the path of obedience.  He will do the work through me. 

It might not look like anything impressive to the eyes of the world.  It might just mean that I will quietly survive unharmed.  It might mean that He will give me brothers and sisters in Christ at my work place to strengthen me through them.  It might mean that I will be courageous and not fear openly using Scripture when confronted with difficult situations.  It might mean that I will understand that what I see as a hostile environment is nothing but a bunch of people hurting because they don’t know God.  It might mean that I will realize that all the obstacles to being open about my faith at work come from within myself and the limitations I have imposed on God’s all-powerful agenda.   I do not know what it might mean.  All I know is that He is my Lord and my God.  He is with me and He will never leave me nor forsake me. 

The Spirit of Truth is with us who received Christ as Lord and Savior.  Even though the world doesn’t see it as truth, and denies Him who is Truth, He will not abandon us.  Jesus Himself promised it to us when He said:

…16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  John 14:16-18

Thank you Holy Spirit.  It is all Yours!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

God Make Us Courageous Part II

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”   Deuteronomy 31:6

As courageous women of today, our role is to be brave enough to let the men of God lead.  We are scared because we don’t trust them.  They have not shown to us that they are capable to even finding their way and their place in the Christian faith, let alone lead the charge against the devil.  So we doubt.  We hesitate.  Sometimes, we’d rather do it ourselves.  However, it was to men that the mandate was given.  He is to be the leader, as Christ is the leader of the church.  It is men who are commanded to love us with the same sacrificial love that Christ loves the church.  As women, we are not commanded to love.  We do that naturally.  We are commanded to respect.  Yet, not many men we know seem to be worth our respect. 

The cycle has been broken.  Men don’t know how to love sacrificially and with full commitment.  Women don’t know how to respect and submit.  The balance instituted by The Creator has been replaced by chaos and confusion reigns.  Restoration is in order.  Men and women must come back to God.  We must love God first if we ever want to have a hope of knowing how to love others.  After all, that is the command given to those who belong to Him.  That is why He came, so we could learn how to love by loving the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind, to then be able to love our neighbors with a measure of love that reflects the love for our Lord.

Without Him, the giver and sustainer of our faith, we have nothing.  Without Him we stand on sinking sand.  Without Him we don’t know our roles.  Without Him the divinely designed cycle is broken.  Without Him, women fear trusting men enough to respect them and let them lead because of the abuse that comes with authority placed in the hands of ungodly men.  Without Him, men don’t know how to lead because they don’t have the example of Jesus, their role model.   They don’t feel respected, thus a sense of inadequacy overcomes them to the point of paralysis. 

“The only way we’ll ever stand is on our knees with lifted hands.”  We must turn our eyes upon Jesus, get down on our knees, and pray for courage to do what is right.  The men of God need to arise and become warriors again.  They need to reclaim their role as warriors and as protectors to break the chain and lead this generation back to the path of Truth.  The women of God need to arise and be the helpers that we were meant to be.  We need to have the courage to help, support and encourage the men of God to be what they were meant to be.  Our role as women is crucial.  Men can’t do it without us.  It is the battle for the souls of our children, not just our own, but the children of God.  Let’s not take our hands off the wheel.  The devil is just waiting to see us do that, so he can come in, running out of his hiding place, to grab our car and drive it away with our beloved ones in it. 

The world wants our children, we must not let it have them.  Even if we have to be dragged on the pavement, we must hang on to that wheel and take it back.  But we do that knowing full well that it is by God’s power that we are empowered.  It will never be by our own hand.  It will only be possible and effective when we let ourselves be used by God as His instruments.  That’s the only way we will ever be able to do what we are supposed to do.  God make us courageous!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

God Make Us Courageous Part I

6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.  Joshua 1:6

Watching the movie Courageous has stirred many emotions in my soul.  Some women might watch it and think that there is nothing in it for us.  I would have to say two things regarding that thought.  First, it isn’t always about us.  Everything is ultimately about Him.  Whatever brings us closer to Him is worth the time, even if it doesn’t speak directly to us individually or as a group.  Second, there are crucial truths for women in that movie, which directly apply to our roles as mothers, wives and daughters.  It is true, however, that such truths are not explicitly presented in the film.  They are to be deducted and discovered as we take in the immensity of the challenge ahead.  

In my own experience, I can say that the movie did speak very clearly and personally to me.  It spoke to me regarding a deep concern that I have had for a while.  I have, for years now, functioned under the premise that when men don’t lead, the world is left in need…In need of what?  You name it.  Men have a God appointed role to lead.  They are the spiritual leaders of their families, and as such, of whole societies and nations.  However, for many decades now, men in our society have neglected their God given assignment.  Like the theme song of the movie mentions, men “were meant to be courageous, and lead the way.  They were meant to be warriors on the front lines, now they are mere watchers on the sidelines.”  In the meantime, their families, their society, and their nation slip away.

I’m not playing the blame game.  Women are to blame just as much.  But at this moment, it is not my intention to present a thesis of how we got to this point.  Right now all I want is to figure out if there is anything left to do. 

As a woman, I too am called to be courageous.  One look at the Bible will show us plenty of examples of women used by God to change the fate of the world.  These were women who, though afraid, said ‘yes’ to the call and stepped up to fulfill their destiny.  Courageously, they confronted kings, rulers, authorities and societies.  Like Queen Esther, who saved the Jews from annihilation; for she “was brought to the kingdom for such a time as this.”  (Esther 4:14)  Young women like Mary, who, knowing full well the dire consequences of her decision, said ‘yes’ to God and delivered the Savior.  Older women, like Abigail, who faced King David’s army to plea for the lives of others without regard for her own.  Countless others endured judgment and discrimination, nearly missing the stones, serving others, giving their all.

Though we might not have to fear stones, persecution or complete destitution, here in our land today we do face real danger.  Though subtle, the danger we face is every bit as scary as those experienced by our Biblical heroines.  As a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, as an aunt, as a cousin, as a friend in this generation, I face the constant threat of the enemy who wants to snatch away my own.  He is the prince of darkness who runs loose in our world, seeking to devour those who belong to God.  He deceives, manipulates, lies, twists, and concocts perverse schemes with the purpose of taking a foothold of our beloved ones, driving them away to be consumed by the flames of this world. 

We were meant to be consumed by the One who is the All Consuming Fire, not by the enemy.  But if we don’t stand strong against the devil, we will see him drive away the ones we love. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall is here

The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  Genesis 12:1

Early fall makes me think of leaving.  As soon as the leaves begin to turn, melancholy sets in my heart.  With each red, orange, yellow or brown speck that starts appearing on the leaves I am reminded of airports, tearful goodbyes, new horizons and a new life.  Like the leaves, which sometimes fall near their original tree and some other times fly away in the wind to land in unexpected places; I too was detached from my original tree to fly away in the wind and then land on a new and unfamiliar place. 

Like the leaves, which God calls to break away from the trees each autumn, I too was called to break away from my country of birth many falls ago.  Like Abram, God sent me away, to leave behind my father’s household and my people.  Like Abram, God showed me the land where I would go, and it was a great nation, indeed.  He blessed me with a new life in this land of wonders and miracles, a land where I was reborn in Him. 

In this new land, like the garden of the Lord, well watered by rivers and populated by hills, mountains, forests and beauty, the Lord showed His face to me.  It was a hard journey here.  It was very sad to leave.  I still feel the sting of separation in my soul; but He brought me here to reveal Himself to me, and for that I rejoice.  He took me by the hand and said:  “Do not be afraid…I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1

There aren’t any regrets.  He has carved a cleft in the rock for me to find refuge.  I am not afraid.  He is my Strong Tower.  He sees me.  He is my Reward. 

The melancholy that I feel in my heart as I look out the window and see the leaves turned golden in the sun that bathes them dissolves when I remember the reason I am here.  I am here because this is where He wants me to be.  I am here because this is where I have to give fruits for Him.  I am here to serve Him and to know Him more.  For as long as He walks in front of me; I will follow.  After all, as He knows the very move of each leave in the fall He knows me too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Laundry Tales

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.  Colossians 3:23

Does this “whatever” include laundry?  Silly question, of course it does; but I tell you, sometimes, that laundry business becomes a good representation of what Peter was referring to when he wrote about the devil being like a beast seeking to devour.  I just have two sons and one husband, but boy, laundry is indeed the biggest and scariest beast in this house, and it sure seems like it wants to devour us.  Actually, it wants to devour me, since neither of the men in the house seems to notice it.  While I fret about the growing piles of dirty clothes lying on the basement floor, my “boys” go about their days unfazed by it.  They walk and play by it, and don’t even see it.  The only time they become aware of the impending need to do the wash is when they happen to pull out the last piece of clean “unmentionables.”  [I was going to say that sometimes, for certain members of my household, that isn’t even a trigger…but I changed my mind…] 

Anyway, days ago I dumped all the dirty clothes down the basement, for I believe in the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind,” but it happens that as the piles have grown bigger, they have began to creep back upstairs.  As I sit here at the computer, I can see (and smell) the assortment of today’s socks, pants and shirts that my sons, so diligently threw down the stairs.  They mockingly peek back at me from the steps where they landed.  I can almost hear them laughing at me in the dark of night, for they know they are winning this latest battle. 

I seriously have no clue how bigger households manage laundry.  It is such a formidable enemy.  I have not the strength.  I solemnly take my hat off and salute all the women and men (excluding those living in my very own household) who courageously attack the laundry beast and win.  I don’t know how you do it.  I could not imagine having to do laundry for a family of more than 4 people.  I praise God for you, since you are a source of inspiration for me.  I admire you.  I know you don’t think that the way you do your laundry business is anything worth of admiration.  Trust me, it is!  Those of us who only have two kids see you as mighty titans!  So, next time you finish folding a load of laundry, take a deep breath, inhale all that fresh scent that only laundry detergent, softener and dryer sheets can produce (hopefully there’s not much lint floating around in the air, so you don’t have to inhale that too) and say to yourself, well done, good and faithful servant!