Tune in 24/7

http://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Want To. Need To.

Eat your veggies, apples, beans.  They makes for longer life it seems!

Many of us can say that when we were a kid, we ate our good food because we were told to.  No dessert unless it was finished. 

We consumed out of obligation.  Someone said we should, so we did. 

Today, many of us have a different perspective on it.  We reach for it, not because someone is over our shoulder with a pointed finger at our salad telling us to eat it, but because we want to.  We need to.  

We realize that it's the good stuff that makes our bodies run better.  Makes our minds sharper.  Makes our moods balance and our sugar even. It's what gives us the energy we need to function in our day. 

We consume out of desire and need for proper nourishment.  No one is making us.  We want to.  We need to.


*****

We can feel the same way about spiritual food. 

At first, we might have consumed out of obligation.  Someone said we should, so we did.  It was still beneficial to us.  But, we didn't realize just how desperate we were for it.  How much we actually needed it.

As time goes on though, we can start to realize that the Words of Life are just that.  LIFE.  With them, we are like a tree planted beside a stream, constantly receiving fresh nourishment.  We realize without them, we have less energy, we're less focused, and may even have a lack of Joy and Peace.

We recognize that we can't run on empty.  The tank needs refilling if it's going to run well and go the distance. 

We eat because we want to.  Need to.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Man Behind The Mask

Louis doesn't say much.

His eyes say more than his mouth does most of the time.  He comes across all business.  His face is downcast.  His remarks sarcastic.  His life is in order.  He's controlled.  Ready for anything that would come at him.

But, that is the Louis that everyone sees.  It isn't really Louis.

The real Louis loves to laugh.  He finds humor in the most unusual circumstances.  He's quite the romantic at heart and is a passionate man.  He is a defender of his family.  A provider for his home.  A loyal man.  A loving man.  A leader.  A supporter.  And deep inside... just a little boy that peeks out his window at the big wide world wanting so much to make a difference in it.



But, Louis can't be Louis.  He won't allow it. 
He keeps himself hidden for his own safety.  He knows he comes across strong and intimidating.  But, how else can he be?  Somewhere in life, Louis got hurt.  The pain erased his smiles and chased him behind his protective walls. 

No one understands.
And, really, he prefers it that way.  The less people know, the better.

But, there is Someone He can not pretend with.  His Father.  And, he knows that.  But, it's hard to let down his guard...even with the Father that loves Him.  So, He resists.  He pulls away from His Father's hugs.  The touch of His Father's hands melt his self-protective walls.  And, that is just not something he is willing to let happen. 

But, the Father loves Louis.  He understands Louis.  He is patient with Louis in his struggle to open up.
And, He receives Louis...

right where he is.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Bachelor

When my husband and I were dating, we happened to work in the same office building.  It was the perfect set up.  We were just an elevator ride away from each other. So, even when we were apart, we really weren't.  I loved it.

One of the advantages of being so close was that we were able to do little things for each other to express our puppy love.

  • I'd sneak up to his floor and leave his favorite chocolates on his desk. 
  • He would pretend he needed to ask someone a question in my department and leave little sticky notes with "I Love You" and "Thinking of You" on my desk.
Little things that said a lot.  Unexpected.  Unsolicited.  Spontaneous expression of affection.  We were courting each other.  Wooing each other.  He was romancing me.  And, as a result, we were falling more and more in love.  We were ultimately letting our relationship go to a deeper level.

***********

It might be hard to wrap our heads around it, but God is very much the Romantic.  He is quite in love with us.  That might sound weird, I know.  But, afterall, He created all things... including romance!  His heart is very much drawn to us like a groom to his bride.  He is outrageously passionate for us (not in a warped way, in a pure and wonderful way).

He realizes, though, that we might not know or understand how He truly feels.  And, He realizes that, like any relationship, it's going to take some wooing.

I remember about a year ago, He spoke to my heart.  He basically said, "Valerie, I want more than just a business relationship with you." 

I laughed.   What the heck?  Uhhh...please clarify.

What He was saying was, I'm interested in you Valerie.  Not your talents.  Not your gifts.  Not your service.  YOU. 

In a sense, He was proposing.  Wooing me. 

He was the Bachelor, down on one knee, handing me the rose and saying,

"Will you choose to love me back? 
Will you allow our relationship to go to the next level? 

Will you accept this rose?"






Monday, March 28, 2011

A Rose for Sharon

Sharon was always one of those girls.

Last one picked in dodgeball.  Alone on Valentine's Day.  Dateless at the dance.  She pretended it didn't bother her.  But, at night she'd wonder what was wrong with her as her tears dropped to her pillow.  She may as well be invisible. 

Then, one day, there was a knock at the door. 

"Who could that be," she thought.  "I'm not expecting anyone."

She opened the door but no one was there.  Weird.  As she went to close the door, her eyes glanced down toward the floor. 

"What is this?" she said to herself.

"A rose?"

She looked down the hall.  The delivery man must have dropped it while delivering flowers to someone else in her building.  But, there was no around.  Just the single rose. 

After a few more moments, and no sign of anyone, she decided she may as well keep it for herself.  It surprising matched her apartment beautifully. 

She closed the door and took a closer look. 

"Now, what is this?" she questioned again.

"A note?"

As she read, her eyes began to tear.

Dear Sharon,

This rose was grown especially for you.  I picked it from my own garden.  I have watched over it to make sure it would be the perfect flower to give to my perfect love. 

I must be honest.  I have been admiring you from a distance.  I blush as I tell you that you take my breath away!  I am beside myself when I think about you.  I am sleepless with love for you.  I am passionate for you, Sharon!  Oh my heart is racing!  How can I even put into words how I truly feel!?

I can not.

I can not find the words!  I can hardly catch my breath! 

I will shout it from the rooftops!   I LOVE YOU! 

So, please Sharon. 

Accept             this               rose.








Friday, March 25, 2011

Is there ANYTHING you'd like to say??

Ok, I can be a talker sometimes.  I admit it. 

My husband is a saint to handle the sound-off of life he's gotten from me for the past 10 years.  Many times, in order to think, I talk... which of course can be dangerous because the filter my not be on!  I've dug myself into some deep holes by just trying to figure out what it is I'm really trying to say!

I'm always amazed by the people that quietly take in life around them with very little to say about it.  I think to myself, do they have an opinion?  And, if so, why do they hardly ever talk?  There must be something they have to say.   

They don't seem intimidated or shy to talk.  Their body language is relaxed and they seem engaged in what's happening.  They just don't open their mouth.

But, when they do...
They have something to say.

It's a one-two punch of wisdom coming at me.
It's a timely word of comfort.
It's humor that keeps me laughing for days.

They have plenty to say.  They just take time to choose their words and the timing correctly.  They realize that less is more.  Their comment will soar a greater distance, and make a greater impact, if calculated and casted properly.

******

Sometimes, we think God doesn't have too much to say for Himself.  He seems rather quiet at times we might think He should have much to say!  It can make us question how much He cares about the circumstance.  Or, how much He cares about us.  We may think, 'does He honestly have nothing to say??'

We wait for His comment.  (Which in our hearts, might really mean His intervention.)  And, sometimes, the wait is down-right painful.


But, He is not mute.  And, He is not deaf.  And, He is not blind. 
And, when His words are chosen,
and the timing is correct,
He will speak.

And,
it will be Perfect.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where Are You?

She loved Love.
She loved Love deeply.
She knew Love loved her.
She knew Love loved her deeply.
She knew Love would never leave her. He told her so Himself.

But, when the storm came, she could not see Love. She could not find Love.
Where has Love gone?
Is He gone?
But, why?
Why would Love walk away?
If Love is really Love, He would keep His Promise.
Did He lie? Was He not sincere in His Promise to never forsake her?
Is He only Love on good days? Sunny days?
Is He not Love on the rainy days, too?
No! Love is Love all the time!
So... . WHERE ARE YOU LOVE ? ? ?





And, then Love spoke.


"My love, you're hidden in the folds of my garment. 
You can't see Me because I'm covering you. 
And, though there's darkness you see all around you. 
Here me say....
I'm holding on to you."



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Worry = Wasted Energy

How easy it is to waste electricity. 

If I'm not mindful about it, I'll leave lights on in a room that no one is using.  I'll leave the TV on when no one is watching it.  Or, I'll accidently forget to shut off the outside lights at night.  Good energy being used ...  for nothing.  Dollars come out of my pocket to pay for something I received zero in return for.

Worry = Wasted Energy

Worry is energy being spent on something that you receive zero back for.  It doesn't move you closer to your goals.  It doesn't make you feel better or bring peace to your heart over a situation.  It doesn't add hours to your day or more rest to your night. 

If anything, it robs you.  It takes and takes and takes and offers you nothing in return.  Worry is a thief.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Cry With You

I could never work at a funeral home. 

I'm a vocalist and I've considered seeing if I can sing at funerals.  But, I think I'd regret the decision.  My 'day at work' would turn into 3 hours of sobbing and 2 boxes of tissues.  I'd be a wreck as I watched others weep for their loved ones.  I know.  The people are all strangers to me.  But, it's like yawning.  If I see someone cry, I also immediately tear up.  I can't seem to control it.

I think what it is, is that I feel it with them.  Like a natural instinct.  I may not know the situation personally, but I know the feeling of sorrow and grief.  So, I connect with it.  I join with them in their struggle.  In a sense, it's my way of supporting  them and comforting them... to be able to say with my tears, "I'm so sorry". 

And, most of the time it's exactly the response that is needed.  The people don't need to hear me say empty cliches.  They don't need me to try to 'fix it' and make it all better.  I can't 'make it all better' in those moments of grief.  I can only do one thing...  weep with them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wash Up!

I remember when I was a kid, as soon as I walked in the house from school or from playing with the neighborhood kids, my mother would yell from wherever she was at in the house, "Wash your hands!!" 

She was (and is) a wise woman.  She knew she had to be on the offense with germs, otherwise, she'd be dealing more intensely with them later if they were given a chance to contaminate our home.  She was aggressive and unapologetic to such intruders in our house. 

I became well-trained.  Today, I find myself, as an adult, going straight to the sink to wash up as soon as I enter the house.  It was a good habit to form and I'm healthier for it.

I'm finding that there are other kinds of 'germs' out there, too, that I need to wash away each day.  If I don't take the offense, they are sure to affect me and my home.  Such things as:  Negativity.  Temptation of all kinds.  Unforgiveness and grudges.  Anything that can rob me of Peace.  Wrong thinking that can give birth to wrong actions down the road.  Words spoken to me that left me needing a hug.  Words I spoke that left the other person needing a hug and me needing forgiveness. 

The list can go on and on!  All things that are not part of who I am.  And so, I take them to the 'Sink' and get a good washing.  I hold on to none of it!  For none of it is good for me and my house!

Washing up daily is a great habit to form.  And, I'm so much healthier for it.





Friday, March 18, 2011

Still Baking. Please Wait.

I think one of the keys to great baking is perfecting the art of timing. 

You could have the perfect recipe but, if under-baked, all you get is half-cooked ingredients and a funky texture in your mouth.  What's supposed to be mouth-watering becomes anti-climatic and disappointing.  It wasn't given the time it needed to become all that it could become. 

Good bakers know the importance of timing.  They are willing to wait because they know it's all part of the process of making it great.  In a sense, they're given a promise: if they wait for the oven to do its job, they are sure to have great end results.

Waiting can be hard in life.  But, when waiting is attached to a Promise, it helps remove the questioning in the wait.  Like a baker, we can be sure of a great end result, no matter how long the wait. 

I might say to my child, you can have dessert, but you have to wait.  She trusts my word.  She knows if I say it, I mean it.  And, if I mean it, I'll do it.  She doesn't have to question whether she'll get it.  She simply has to be patient for it. 

And, so we wait on God,

knowing that the One who makes a Promise...will keep it.



Thursday, March 17, 2011

Purpose

"Lazybones, sleepin' in the sun... how you spect to get your day's work done?..."


My mother used to sing that song to me in jest when I was younger.  It was usually followed by a tickle and a couple pulls at my toes to get me out of bed.  How I hated getting up.  And, I made that clear!  I was a real grump.  Nothing seemed more important than looking at the inside of my eyelids.

But, my mother showed me otherwise.  She seemed to have limitless energy as she balanced a job and three kids.  I think to myself now: How did she keep it all going?

She had purpose. 

She knew her role was important and believed in her heart that nothing she did was in vain.  And, that motivated her.  I'm sure she grew weary.  But, never lazy.  Laziness often has to do with a heart that doesn't see the importance of the task at hand.  I'm sure she took moments to rest and recoop (though, I recall very few of those!), but she was determined to love us and launch us -- and that kept selfishness and laziness out of her vocabulary.

When I start to feel lazy (which is different than giving myself a well deserved break), I have to first question why.  Why do I feel lazy?  It could be, in part, that I have forgotten the importance of my purpose.  That what I do today, does make a difference -- even when it doesn't seem to mean anything at all to anyone at all.  When I know my purpose, and the importance of it, my heart connects with my actions and laziness stays out of my vocabulary, too.

Thanks, mom, for being an example of a woman with purpose!




Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Talking

It's interesting how all of us respond differently in given situations. 

For some, when something big, dramatic and painful happens to them, they respond quite verbally.  They have to get it off their chest immediately.  It's part of how they process things. 

But, for others, their first reaction is to pull the 'emergency shut down handle'.  Their defenses go up.  Their hearts go into lock down mode and they say nothing. 

I'd have to say I'm more the second type. 

In some ways, reacting like this is good because I stop myself from saying things I might regret later.  Problem is, though, I might never say anything at all  -- then or later.  And, it's not because there's nothing to say, it's because I'm afraid to open up and begin processing it.  It gets so internalized that it starts to fester like a cyst inside of me.  My heart becomes miserable.

Talking is healthy.  It helps get things out on the table to see it clearly.  Sometimes, I don't even know how I'm feeling until I start talking about it.  And, as I talk, I can hear myself.  I can hear my heart and what's really happening inside of me.  And, it's then that the process of healing begins. 

Do I feel the need to broadcast it to everyone?  No.  I find a friend -- a friend that knows my other Friend. 

And, I open my mouth... and begin.  Knowing that there is no right or wrong thing to say. 

I just start talking.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back To Basics

I had a music student once who had taken lessons for 2 years prior to coming to my studio. 

He loved music, but there was an anxiety in his heart about taking lessons again.  Turned out, his last teacher didn't take enough time to help him understand some very basic and fundamental music concepts.  He was pushed into more intermediate playing very quickly.  He learned to fake it pretty well, but the bottom line was, he still didn't 'get it'.  When I sat down with him for the first time, he had a hard time just being able to tell me some basic things like quarter notes and treble clef lines.  He needed to go back to the basics.

So, there is where I started with him.  I assumed nothing in my approach.  I wanted to make sure that he really understood every concept.  And 8 lessons later, it paid off.  Because we went back to firm up his foundation, his whole approach to music changed, his confidence grew, and he was eager to learn more.  What used to be a mountain of confusion became easy and understandable.  And, as a result, he was able to confidently move forward into the next step.  Everything he learned about the basics, he would apply to everything that was ahead.
---------

I could benefit from going back to the basics, too.  Where it all began when I met Him. 

It's summed up in one word:    LOVE

 He is Love.
He loves me.
He loves through me.

It's just that simple.  But, oh how I seem to complicate the matter!  So much so that it becomes a mountain of confusion in my mind and heart.

I remember praying a prayer once that went something like this:  "God, how do I do life with you?  What is this all about?  It feels complicated."

And, before I even finished my prayer, I heard my daughter's voice downstairs.  She spontaneously started to sing as she played with her toys...

"Jesus loves me, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so..."

That said it all.




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Holes & Buckets


There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it...
It's the famous song of a man who has a problem -- a hole in his bucket.  He asks his wife what he should do.  But, all her answers only present new dilemmas.  She first suggests using a a straw to fix the bucket.  But, the straw is too long.  So, she tells him to cut it, but his axe is too dull.  She advises him to sharpen the axe with a stone, but the stone is too dry.  In order to get the stone wet he needs a bucket to carry his water in... which of course leads back to the original problem that he has a hole in his bucket!

I have felt this frustration -- wanting to fix something, but being unable to.  I search for solutions to fix my bucket, only to find that I simply can't.  I can't fix it. 

It takes me getting to the end of my rope (and, like in the case of Henry, others' suggestions) to realize that I can't fix my own bucket.  I need Someone who can fix it for me. 

And, how happy He is when I come to Him to fix the hole in my bucket.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Set For Life

I remember, not too long ago, there were advertisements for a new lotto game.  Set For Life.  If you won, you'd receive money every month for the rest of your life.  What security!  Imagine having a steady flow of what you needed all year long for the rest of your life?  Who wouldn't want that?  I certainly would.  And, I can't say I'm hugely materialistic.  I don't need all the newest and hottest items on the market.  For me, winning wouldn't mean finally getting my boat.  It would mean finally being able to relax.  To be able to finally not have to worry about where that dollar is going to come from to pay for this or that. 

But, the chances are slim that I would win.  Which I guess means I have to continue to live in my worry.  Right?

Wrong. 

There is Someone else that offers us a Set For Life opportunity.  But, no lotto ticket is needed and our chances for winning are 100%.  He said this... 

"Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need."

Did you catch that?  He will give you everything you need.  I don't know about you, but that to me sounds like the promise of security.  The answer to my worries.  The rest I've been so looking for as I run anxiously to provide for myself. 

Will I get all my wants?  Not necessarily.  But, my needs are cared for.  Just like He cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, my Father takes care of me.  And, truly, I am even more valuable than birds to Him.

So, I'm set.  Set For Life -- as I run after Him.  In His path all provision is made.



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tell Me Anything

"I know something you don't know...and I'm not gonna tell you..."

Secrets are a big deal when you're younger.  It's exciting to know something that no one in the whole world knows about.  You cherish it like a gem hiding in your pocket.  You have the choice to show it off or leave it for no one to see.  Only you know about it and have the power to expose it or not. 

---------

Adult secrets, though, can get complicated.

They might not be about child-like things anymore.  It might be about things you actually don't want people to find out about.  You may even spend great amounts of energy to desperately hide your secret.  You become a slave to it as you daily try to keep things in the dark.  Maybe it's something you've done wrong.  Maybe it's something that you are continually doing wrong.  Maybe it's something that is not even your fault, but you live with a feeling of guilt and shame about it anyway.  There's a horror in your heart just thinking about the idea of being exposed about it.  So, you work even harder to keep the secret hush-hush. 

I remember seeing interviews of people that were found out in their crime or wrong-doing.  And, what I've heard more than once is that in being exposed they actually felt a sense of relief.  Their secret became their prison.  They got to a point where they wanted to be found out so they could be free from it at last!

It's a rock and a hard place.  It's terrible to live in the dark.  But, bringing it into the Light might be frightening as well. 

But, here's the thing... The Light already knows.  Already sees.  And, unbelievably -- is already ready to forgive and receive us.  Its rays have the power to heal and change.  He's more interested in pulling us away from the darkness, than spanking us for being bad. 

His Kindness calls to us in our dark place saying, "You can tell me anything!  I love love love you!  Come out of your closet of shame.  I will make you whole again and show you that my Love is greater than the power of your secret."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Squeaky Cars

Have you ever had a car that made an annoying sound that you simply grew used to? 

At first, you couldn't focus on anything but the noise.  But, after hours and hours of hearing it in your travels, you strangely become used to it -- even to the point where it takes someone else getting in the car to hear it for the first time to freshly point it out to you.  It never stopped being a problem, it just became a new normal and you tolerated it.

We can get used to life struggles, too. 

Maybe a person hasn't slept well in years.  They may not even know why.  But, because they've struggled so long with it, the deprivation becomes a new normal for them.  They may even stop complaining about it.  They reason that it's 'just their burden to carry in life.  There's just nothing that can be done.'

Or, an adult woman, who was abused as a child, continues to struggle daily with its effects.  She has learned to cope with the pain and echos of rejection.  She masks it well and has mastered the art of smiling through daily life while suffering internally.  She has grown used to the struggle.  Turmoil has become her normal.

Or maybe a much simpler problem like getting used to a constant pain in your body each morning.  You walk it off by 10am so you chock it up to 'it's not a big deal.  No need to go sounding alarms'.  You suffer through the pain because it's 'normal'. 

When this happens, we need to take a step back and look at it again. 

When we have this kind of tolerance and coping, we may stop trying to find answers, solutions, healing or help.  We may especially dismiss the idea of including the Healer into the equation.

We may see it as unchangeable.  He does not.

He never stops hearing our 'sqeaky cars'.  And, His ears never get used to it.  And, if we listen, we can hear Him get in the car and call the problem back to our attention again.  What we may have forgotten is -- He made the car.  And, knows how to get it running -- squeak-free.
   

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rich or Poor

The Teacher answered a question about money troubles...

...by telling a story about a rich man who's land had a fabulous crop.  It produced more crops than he even had space for.  The man thought about his dilemma and decided to tear down his current storage to build bigger ones to fit all this wealth!  His worries were over!  He could now live life easy.  But, God's response was "You fool!  You will die this very night!  Then, who will get everything you worked for?  Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God."

Was the Teacher saying it was wrong to be wealthy?  No.  His point focused in on the man's heart.  He basically was saying that even in your plenty, you still need God.  Trust Him -- not your wealth.

The Teacher addressed the other end of the spectrum, too...  Thousands of people needing to eat and the only available food was a little boy's lunch.  Five loaves and two fish.  The amount didn't seem to bother Him, though, as He began to feed the whole crowd!  Yep.  And, there were even leftovers to munch on later.  He showed us that even in our poverty, He's sufficient.  Look at Him -- not your lack.

So -- rich or poor.  Either way, He tells us to trust Him. 

Life is more than just money and our possessions.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weeeeeeee!

                              Pure Exhilaration!
                                            UPWARD.
                               me
             catapults
Daddy never takes His eyes off me as He sets me in motion.

I squeal with laughter in the rush of the moment.  I'm Flying!

Control is no longer my burden.  No longer mine to own or carry.
 I am safer without it.
  I am secure because of Who launches me.
His Arms are sufficient.  Trustworthy. 

I land in those Arms and are swept in close
I hear His bellows of Laughter! 
He cherishes my trust in Him. 
He has longed for this trust.
He has Sacrificed much to gain this trust.

His arms pull down, balancing me perfectly and then

THRRRRRRUST!


                                                                                        AGAAAAIIIIIIIN!
                                                            UPWARD

                                             ME

               LAUNCHES

He



Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh yeah... Well, Top This!

"Anything you can do I can do better.  I can do anything better than you.  No, you can't.  Yes, I can.  No, you can't.  Yes, I can.  No, you can't.  Yes, I can.  Yes, I can.  Yes, I CAN!"


---------------------

There's a fine line between healthy and unhealthy competitiveness.  I played a few sports as a child.  And, I remember the healthy side of it.  The team spirit.  The 'We can do it!' excitement.  Good healthy stuff.  The kind of competitiveness that when you walk away from the game, life continues normally whether win or lose.  Yeah, I would still be a bit disappointed if I lost.  But, never to the point of letting it destroy me.  I understood it really was just a game.  I had proper perspective.  And, when the game was over, the competition was over.

But, when it's more than just a game --when it's a part of someone's daily agenda to be the front runner of everything and in every scenario, it can become amazing unhealthy.  Someone tells a joke and they feel like they need to say a better one and get the bigger laugh.  A wife makes a creative project and shows it off to her husband, and his first reaction is to look for the flaws and consider how he could have done it better.  Ladies' unspoken pettiness over looks and fashion and the 'oh, I so look better than her' attitude. 

It seems to me that this kind of competitiveness is really in part just the fruit of insecurity.  The person feeds off of 'winning' just to feel good about themselves from one day to the next.  They have to feel on top.  Otherwise, it might prove they are somehow less important.  Insignificant.  Maybe even to the extreme...worthless.  Of course, that's competely a lie.  But, quite a reality in their minds.

A new kind of confidence needs to be found. 

And, guess what?  It has nothing to do with the person's performance, appearance, ability, talent, etc.  And, has everything to do with their security, ironically, in Someone else.  To find that because of where they stand with Him, they, too, are Winners!  And, with that kind of Confidence, it won't matter if they're not the funniest, most creative or prettiest...... because they no longer place their self-worth in it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hugs With Heart

Have you ever watched a child give an adult a hug?  They are so honest in their hugs.  It makes me chuckle.

If the child is genuinely excited about the person and comfortable with them, they'll fling their arms open as wide as they can stretch them and give a squeeze hard enough to knock the breath out of the person.  They give themselves with reckless abandonment.  Not out of compulsion.  Not feeling forced.  And, without a second thought.  It's joyful and precious to both hugger and recipient.

Then, you have the old classic, "Go ahead Bobby.  Give your uncle (who you haven't seen since you were a baby and is as much a stranger as a man off the street) a nice big hug!"  It's not very authentic or heart-felt.  And, done out of obligation.

Some feel like the second boy toward their Father.  Their relationship is mechanical because their heart isn't connected with their actions.  They're doing their duty, but it's as sentimental as hugging a lamp post. 

But, those that allow their Daddy access into the deeper chambers of their heart, find that their hugs become more and more heartfelt.  Yes, at first it might be awkward.  Maybe they can only cautiously lean in with their arms crossed over their chest.  They may not be ready to fully open up, but their heart is beginning to connect.  And, how thrilled our Father is when His child willingly and with heart leans His way!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Need A Hug?

Our Father longs to hug us.  And, He's good at it. 

Have you ever met someone who just knows how to give good hugsIt's like they've had some kind of professional training in it!  They are the kind of people I actually look forward to seeing throughout my week just because of it.  They make me feel so good.  And, I think part of what makes them such good huggers is their willingness to give them.  They genuinely want to embrace me!  Imagine that.

Well, our Daddy is a professional hugger.  He is reeeealllly good at it.  And, He knows what kind of hugs we need everyday.  Sometimes a fun, playful one.  Sometimes a tender, healing one.  Sometimes a hug of forgiveness and "I love you still". 

He's Master Hugger.  And, hyper-sensitive to our ever-changing needs.