Maybe, Just Maybe

Four years. 

At first I thought that my actions insured the consequence of my having to rely solely on myself to survive. I believed that getting a divorce meant God could (or would) not bless me, support me, or assist me, but then he caused things to fall into place (behind the scenes) when I would run into obstacles, enabling me to overcome and move forward.
Because of these occurrences, I adjusted my thinking to accept that God allowed the rain to fall on the just and the unjust – But there was something else. 

He was carrying me. 
I was blinded by pain and I knew it. 

I couldn’t see where I was going. I was stumbling on the path, yet He was there for those blind years, leading, guiding, showing me which way to turn when I came up against a wall. 
Little by little, God has continued to draw me closer, and I have learned that He still wants relationship with this broken woman, which blows me away. I’m still smudged with soot on the inside of me, like a fireplace chimney.

When I first found the Lord, my life changed dramatically. I wanted to do great things for Him, big big things, but I didn’t do great things at all, in fact, my life was something I was often ashamed of.

What if…

What if I, like Sarah, tried to make things happen in my own strength due to my own natural reasoning, instead of simply living and obeying God while allowing Him to do what He has always done,

Bring it to pass –
In His way

In His Time

By His Spirit.

Do I understand God’s grace spilling onto my life?

No, nor do I advise going through a divorce to learn about His unconditional love, and faithfulness,

But I marvel as He continues to call me even still.

It causes flickers of hope to ignite within my depths that maybe, just maybe, God’s original plan for my life will be realized just yet.

– leah

My Pastor Said, “Timing”.

No matter how Broken You Are,
No matter how low you feel,
No matter how blind you are,
I promise
The God of Heaven sees you.

On the way home I was thinking about when the disciples asked Jesus why a certain man was blind.
It was on my mind because of a conversation I had with my pastor a few weeks ago.

I asked for five minutes.
He gave me five times three.
How many of you know that in the land of the busy, five minutes times three is a very long time?⌚:)

Back to the story,
While driving home I thought of the section where this blind man was healed.
Jesus didn’t leave him like he found him. ♥

Blindness.
The inability to see.

It isn’t just the eyes that can be blind, is it?
We can be blind to our own behavior,
our self-sabotaging ways,
and our flaws.

We can even be blind to a solution when we seek one.
And I was blind to a solution
For a long time.

I didn’t want to be blind,
and looked for a way to receive sight. I needed a mystery to be solved.
I wanted to fix what was broken because I was so tired of the cloud around me,
Like the cloud of dust that Pig Pen kicks up wherever he goes.

The untraceable scent that it produced – It was stubborn – and I couldn’t wash it off.
I couldn’t rinse it down the drain, like I do my make-up.
It was in my pores, and it emanated from me, the way the smell of smoke sticks to a person after they’ve been camping.

But –
God didn’t leave things that way.
He gave me sight.

The pastor was preaching, on a regular Sunday morning, and I was taking notes, when all of a sudden,
“click. click. click.”
Just like that,
Every missing piece slid into place.

I had the answer.
Mystery revealed.
Blind eyes opened.
Solution in my hands,
mixed with ink that was flowing from my pen,
taking solid form as words were spread across the page.

I wrote
quickly, furiously, hurriedly,
Capturing and preserving every word that detailed the answer to a problem that had plagued me
all
my
living
life.

And I wanted to tell the pastor what had happened in his church.

When I did, haltingly and choppily, because I cannot speak as well as I write, I detailed how long I’d searched.
He told me, “It was God’s timing.”.

He didn’t say, “Yeah, I’m anointed like that.”
He didn’t say, “I get that a lot, Alma. Wherever I go, Breakthroughs a-plenty.”
No.
He said, “Timing.”

And I stared at him, (which is what I do when several reactions occur at once).
I stare because when so many things ::can:: be said, I have to select very carefully what I choose to say,
To communicate.

I opened my mouth and said, “Oh.”.
Yeah, I am all about the brilliance.
I said,
“Oh. I thought it was because of this place.”.
And then I asked, “Why would I not find the solution to this issue for more than 40 years? Wasn’t it the anointing, here?”.

I don’t remember his exact response, so I am not going to write anything, I just know he was patient, and that, as I left, the word “Timing” continued to resonate inside of me.

Which brings me back to the original topic.

Jesus healed a blind man and “his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”.

Jesus basically told them that he was born blind for that day of his healing – because the greatness of the work of God would be shown to all through that situation.

And as I drove, I wept.
I wept and considered a child, an adolescent, a teen, a young adult, learning to live with an impediment in that era.

The son, the mother, the father, friends, family, etc…
All whose lives were touched, affected,
who supported,
who adapted to the situation,
Who gave grace.

I thought about the culture then, in which someone who was blind lived, and I wondered how they supported themselves.
Did he have a girlfriend?
Was there someone he wanted to marry?
Did they try to go to doctors to correct the blindness,
the way I went to counselors looking for my solution?

And were they just as frustrated and discouraged as I when they couldn’t find it?

And then,
What did he think when he found out he was especially chosen by God for that day, that time, at that hour?
So that God could show everybody in the world that he was real…
And Cared.

What was it like for him to know that he was chosen,
Not because God was cruel,
Heavens no.
But because God ::made him:: to be able to withstand that temporary suffering – knowing that he was going to bless him with deliverance later.
What was it like to be chosen?

The Lord is weaving a magnificent tapestry and everyone is a thread.
When it’s finished, we are going to marvel at its beauty and be glad we were involved.

Each one of us has a purpose,
A plan that God designed when he formed us in our mother’s womb.

Each one of us has a struggle that we deal with and some of those things are temporary,
but others cannot be removed unless God supernaturally intervenes.

When he does…
For he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him,
he will do it in such a way that no human will be able to lift their hand and say that they were the one who made it happen.

When God sets a person free,
He does it in such a way but there is no doubt about who was at work in that situation.

And he does those things to show his love for all of Humanity on this planet.

No matter how Broken You Are,
No matter how low you feel,
No matter how blind you are,
I promise
The God of Heaven sees you
And He knows with what you are dealing.

There will come a day when he will remove the thing that makes you less than what you could be.

When he does –
You won’t be blind anymore.

It will be your responsibility
Not to walk forward,
But to run.

To run forward
Looking ahead,
With your two
Good
Blessed
And beautiful
Miracle-seeing eyes.

– leah ♡

Root Them Out

Today’s thoughts. 

I face painted a twin boy, once, whose twin had died.
He was four or five.
His mother told me in whispers that the brother died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
His father in prison.
He hit the child too hard in anger.

It is difficult to convey the turmoil and struggle for control as I painted the boy whose brother was killed,
trying to smile and be light-hearted while mom whispered a nightmarish story into my ear.

What they asked me to paint was the brother’s name on his arm. 
I did my job,
Compartmentalizing the horror, jamming my reaction into a box and shoving it down to contemplate later while I smiled and talked to the child whose arm was cradled in my hand.
The child condemned to a life without his twin by one angry man who blew it.

Ask Yourself, about the people in your charge…
– What type of person removes the blossom of a flower from its stem to crush the petals?
– What person cultivates a garden only to destroy it in a fit of temper?
Mommies?
Daddies?
When you are angry, how do you behave?
Husbands?
Wives?
How do you cultivate your garden?

God gave Adam a garden and he told him to care for it.
God has given one to you, too.
It is full of roses in bloom, dogwood trees with flowering branches, tulips and snapdragons and hardy mums…
How do you treat your loved ones when you’re angry?

Do you assault them?
With hands?
With words?
With shouting?

Consider the hard things today.
Look at yourself today.
Do not hide from You.

And remove the weeds you uncover.
Ruthlessly pull them out of the soil that is yours to care for. 
The health of your garden depends on it.

Seek the Master Gardener for assistance. 
Then rise up and walk.

Only a fool would turn to the most precious items in their life and destroy them in a fit of temper.

Let’s not be that fool.

The hard things.
The ugly things.
Face them.
Acknowledge them.
And Root. Them. Out.

– Leah

You Have Not Lived….

Until you’ve heard the words,
“Mommmmm! Josiah put hair removal creme all over his hair!”.

Yes.
You read that correctly.
My ten year old son rubbed, not one, but two applications of hair removal creme into his beautiful sandy brown hair.

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Terror in a tube.

When his sister got married, she and her bridesmaids were primping and beautifying every inch of skin, and this tiny tube is the only trace of evidence that my home was “Spa for a Day”, last July.

But I’m not thinking of that happy morning right now.
Right now, I am running toward the bathroom and yelling,
“What?!? What did you just say?!?”
That was my calm, cool, and collected response to the 16 year old, also known as,  “The Informer”, thank goodness.

I rush in, trying to remain calm, picturing clumps of hair falling out of my son’s scalp until he looks like a like a flea-infested mangey stray, while I try to calm down.
But I feel it.
I feel panic rise within me, not for his hair…that stuff grows back, but for his eyes.

I call him into the bathroom.
“Do you know what you’ve done?
Do you understand the gravity of this situation?”
I feel the screamer inside of me begging to be let out of the dungeon I’ve banished her to.
I feel tension in my voice.
I am at war with the old me I left behind so long ago.

Fear and incredulity have joined hands and they are racing through my mind like it’s their amusement park.

Hurry,  Alma, hurry!”, I silently urge.

“Just strip. Strip out of everything.”, I tell my son.

Reach for a washcloth so he can cover his developing body – preserve his dignity,
Turn on the water – get it warm but not hot,
Reach for a towel to cover his eyes…

“Step in. Turn around. Sit. Scootch forward. I have to rinse right away. Lie back. Cover your body. Do. not. open. your. eyes.”
I am in a hurry but I am not yelling and this is a good thing.
I am relaying the danger into which he placed himself.
I am wondering what type of discipline this will merit.
He is ten, after all.
He knew what he was doing.

I rinse and apply shampoo – then repeat,
watching for strands of hair to break free.
None break free.
Silent prayers sent heavenward, “Thank God.”.

We finish and he steps out.
I wrap his body in a towel and tell him he was fortunate. Very.
I make small talk. “You know, when you wash your hair you need to focus right here…” to calm the situation.
All is well.
Healthy eyes.
Healthy hair.
Healthy hearts.

No one lost their temper.
No one was belittled or humiliated.
Every one is okay.

I remember in the Bible when Adam and Eve blew it.
When Cain killed Abel.
I think of God and his reactions.
Calm questions.
“Adam, where are you?”
“Cain, where is your brother?”

The perfect Father did not rant and rave and scream, even when very bad things happened.
I can almost hear the quiet sighs of resignation  and disappointment, though.
And he disciplined.
But he didn’t withhold himself from his creation.

I try to model my parenting after the Lord’s.
Children know when they’ve done wrong.

No lecture necessary, the learning happens in their hearts when the actions have come to light.

My son is okay.
He’s in trouble, but he’s okay.
We’ve lived through another adventure.
And no one is worse for the wear.

Except, perhaps, for my hair.
I may have a few more grays.

Peace to you.

~ leah

Helen and I.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Helen Keller.

A bright child; she had learned to talk a bit before she grew ill with a ruthless fever that plunged her into darkness, isolating her from parents that loved and adored her.
There was no way to reach her or alleviate her suffering.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like to adjust to »nothing«  upon her recovery.

A toddler.
A baby…
Suddenly sightless where there was so much to see before.
Unable to hear, when before, the sound of her mother and father’s voice was security, consolation, music…
Communication.
She was alone.

I read about what happened in her psyche in her own words, when the word “water“, signed into her hand,  slipped into the correct slot within  her comprehension.

She wrote about her joy;
Her reunion, as it were, with understanding and meaning, and finally … That »rest« within her when the world – which was hidden – was no longer withheld from her.

I am experiencing a similar thing tonight;
A similar “awakening”.
I am basking in my new awareness here, sitting on a warm sidewalk, in the dark, the moon above my head looks like a spotlight, it is so bright.
I am outside of a campus where I worshipped during a huge church service, after a long absence from such a corporate gathering.

I don’t know what it was that caused darkness to overshadow my understanding years ago.

I tried to be faithful while I endured it;
Faithful to write what I knew to be true, though my eye could not see, and I was deaf to my Father’s voice.

It had been a long silence.
I walked by faith, a spiritual road map imprinted in my memory, an innate sense within my spirit guiding me while my natural eyes could see nothing.

And something slipped into the correct slot of my comprehension tonight…

Like Helen who recognized water;  that cold liquid coursing over her skin from a hand pump, I recognized the Spirit of God – his peace, his grace coursing over – inside of – me.

Helen’s first word was “water”.
She knew the word as a baby … and she finally understood the word for what it was as a girl, when she felt it, then had it repetitively, and physically impressed into her hand  by her teacher; W A T E R.
Faint recognition from years past stirred in her memory and the connection was made in a life-changing, world changing moment.

BREAKTHROUGH.

I sat tonight, during the quiet hush that can only be experienced after a powerful time of worship, my head down as I quietly savored what I was feeling.  My torso gently shook, tears were pouring down my cheeks as I experienced stirrings within my belly and  in the recesses of my mind, a memory stirred… as currents, ebbs, and flows from rivers of peace swirled through me, over me, around me.

Like Helen strained for recollection while she stood at that pump getting wet, I could feel something in my intellect, like the breath of a whisper, as God re-familiarized me with that supernatural flow of living water.
He was in charge of the pump and generous with the “water” that gushed freely over the skin of my inner man, saturating me with the things that I love most;
His Grace.
 His Presence.
His peace.

I did not suffer like Helen, though I »was« blind.
I did not live in anguish like Helen, though I think I understand a fraction of her pain, as she touched and felt her father’s body, knowing that he was there while being yet unable to communicate with him.

He was there,
but He was NOT There!

“I know you are here, Daddy, but I cannot hear you!”, must have been her heart’s cry until it became as much a part of her existence as breathing.

But…
In one instant the barrier was broken;
Her inner turmoil and her Father’s daily anguish at her suffering – finally over.
She collapses in his arms, both of them ecstatic that she will now “hear” Him.
He rejoices at the fact that he will never have to see that particular expression of frustration and loneliness on her face again while being unable to alleviate it because he was shut out of her world.

And I am talking about both myself and Helen, now;

For we were both consumed with our own plight and blinded – unaware – of the depth of our Father’s love for us, or his hurting heart, while He exhausted attempt after attempt to break through, no doubt weeping bitterly at his daughter’s blind eyes and deaf ears and inner struggle.

I am not Helen.

I will never know the depth of her sorrow, which means I will never truly experience the power of her elation,
But we were both separated from our Fathers, (her earthly, my heavenly) by a barrier.
A barrier that kept us from him, though we »knew« he was there all the while.

God be praised…
It was nothing lasting.

A paper wall, only.
A paper wall, rent in two.
Rent in two and removed forever.
Disintegrated by refreshing streams of Living Water.

~Leah

Leadership

There were times, I am sure, when Fletcher Christian regretted his decision.
Captain Bligh must have made things so miserable, that Christian felt he had no other recourse.
He is remembered and quoted as saying, “I am in hell. I am in hell.”  on that mutinous night.

The diverse outcomes were ruinous for many.

It reminds me of one of the ropes you would find on a great ship like the Bounty.
A gigantic thing made of many cords tightly wound together.
Braided into eachother…
Bonded.

Let them begin to fray.
Allow outside forces to break them down.
Do not care for the crucial tool properly, and as it begins to come apart from itself – As strands are loosed from one another – you will be left with a useless tangled mess.

Good leaders know how to keep each crucial piece connected to its brother.

Other leaders….
They may seem equipped for the job, but if you listen closely, you may hear one or more who serve beneath them crying in the night,
“I am in hell. I am in hell.”

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Unity. Many pieces wound together to create an item of substantial utility.

Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy

Tonight.
It is tonight!
This is the day I meet the Man and Woman who started the school in Uganda, beneath a tree.

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My heart is already tender.
I already know I will cry.

I will meet, and hug, and touch people who have used their American “plenty” to benefit others far, far away.  The Bible speaks of people like this when it says, “Those of whom the world was not worthy…”

I’ve a soft spot in my heart for missionaries.
If you read my bio, on Facebook, you will see that I attended a school, thinking, one day…

This evening’s affair brings a memory out of my depths…
I will tell you about it!

My modern day heroine is named Lillian Trasher. She is a woman who never meant to start an orphanage, in Egypt, but did, because people kept giving their babies and toddlers to her.

She didn’t »want« to.
She had no real resources.
In fact, she turned a child away once, an infant, because she had no milk for the poor little thing.

The adults who brought the infant told her if she did, they would just leave it in the street and let the carrion-eating birds have it.

She didn’t believe them.
But that is exactly what they did.
The cries, and worse, that she heard in the middle of the night fueled her resolve to never turn a child away again, and her orphanage was the first to be birthed on Egyptian sands.

Well, one day, just about, oh… five years ago, I was at a wedding.
A pastor I knew of, whose wife I had heard at a public speaking engagement before, was there.
She and He work in Dearborn, Michigan with Muslims who convert to Christianity.

They have death threats being made against them all the time –  it is a way of life for them, but they continue.

Well, our place cards put us together.
We were at a round table, and we were seated boy-girl, so his wife sat to my left, but her husband, the Pastor sat to my immediate left.

We shook hands.
I don’t know when it started, but I began shaking hands with both my hands when I meet people – clasping my new acquaintance’s hand warmly. It’s not a hug, but it is not so formal, either. I like looking into people’s eyes and connecting.

We made small talk as the evening began.
We talked about their heart for, and their vision for Islamic citizens here, and their labor as they reach out to them with the truth of the Christian Faith.

During our conversation, I learned he was from Egypt.

“Oh! You’re from Egypt!”, I said.
One of the women I admire most in the world lived there. She’s my heroine.”
“Really,” he answered.
“And who is that?”

“She had an orphanage there. Her name is Lillian Trasher. Have you heard of her?”

“I have.”, he said.
“She raised me.”



My eyes looked at his forearm and hand on the table. The hand I just held in both my own, moments ago. It was too overwhelming.


I held in my hands the hand of the man that touched Lillian’s hand every day.

I began to cry.

Tears flooded out of my eyes as emotion flooded my heart at the sight of this grown man who lived daily to benefit others, just as the woman who raised him also lived daily to benefit others.

I saw the hand of a child in Lillian’s hand.
I saw a little boy, on Lillian’s lap.
I saw a helpless boy, once an orphan, now grown into a good strong person, A Pastor!
A pastor who was burdened with the plight of Muslim women living oppressed – in a land known for offering others the  greatest freedom the world has ever known.
Here he was, reaching out to them.
Living for God.
Helping them, helping their children.
In the face of death threats against his family.

Here sat before me the fruit of a woman’s labor from thousands of miles away.
Not just ANY woman.

One of whom the world was not worthy.

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Lillian Trasher

She’s passed away, now.
Gone.
I could never meet her.
But here was one of her sons, sitting right next to me.
And he let me hold his hand.

I kept apologizing for my tears.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so overwhelmed that a woman I’ve read about, admired, and aspired to be like, raised you and you’re sitting right here…
Right here!
You knew her intimately.  You touched her every day!  I’m staring at the fruit of her life. It’s not a small thing.”

He told me stories of their singing Bible songs as children, and of their relationship.
And of her love for him.
That was my favorite part.

Do you think your love has no impact?
Never think that.

Looking back, recalling what he shared, I realize, I know…
Those things were treasure.

When a person dips into their soul and gives you bits and pieces of it, they are gemstones of the finest quality, and I hope you treat them as such, my friends.
Regard those things as pearls, for they are not easily found, nor are they easily given.

That entire experience was a gift from God.
A gift.
A kiss from my Heavenly Father intended  just for me.

One of those occasions when He whispers sweetly in one’s ear, “I see you. I know the most intimate parts of you.” and you aren’t ashamed, because here He is blessing you, which means He adores you.
Like a good Father who adores and embraces the little girl that climbs into his lap.

He orders our steps, Beloved.
God orders our steps.
Let no one tell you He does not.

That’s kind of what happened with this school in Uganda.
And tonight, I meet them.
I will meet the Berrigans, who saw a need  and did not turn away from it.

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Who knows what lovely experiences will unfold, when I get to meet two more of those who grace this earth with their presence doing good, even while it spins in the chaotic mess caused by evil men.

My tummy is a-flutter.
My heart is the tenderest of things.
Who knows what wondrous things may come of this?

I will write about it and share if something magical happens…

Something magical already has…

Leah

Emptying Our Own Baggage

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The first time I saw this picture, a while ago, I thought of a committed boyfriend/girlfriend  who “loved you enough”, and “Oh, how sweet…”,
But not so anymore.
Now I think two things.

One.
Sometimes you do need help unpacking, because the item you think is normal and belongs in that psyche of yours, is not normal, and a person, (friend) who is healthier than you can point it out gently.
In love.
…Because they want to see you thrive.
God himself will show you, as you seek His face, read His word, and pray – even journal.

Two.
This is an immediate and harsh reaction.

“Sit down in front of your baggage and clean it up yourself.
Don’t saddle some poor schmuck with that mess.”

Friendly thoughts….aren’t they?
Harsh, but necessary, for some who are habitually dependent on others to bail them out.

Growing up, maturing, in an imperfect world, has us at a disadvantage.
We are fallen humans who blow it, raised by fallen humans who blew it, and we end up with broken items in our suitcases/baggage.

But the answer is not in finding another person who “loves you enough…”.
That removes the whole premise of loving.

We cleave to those whom we love because we need them, yes, but they need us too, and our first thought should be,
“How may I bless you, today?”
Not,
“How can you help me, today?”

The majority of the time, we really Don’t need someone to help us unpack.

Yes, there are seasons of life when one needs a counselor, but for the most part, it is up to each individual to sit down in front of the luggage that is chock-full of dysfunction, and begin the arduous task of pulling things out on their own, so that one may then, rise up in strength to be a blessing to others whom they draw into relationship with themselves.

I am a firm believer in the fact that we should cultivate our own soul.
»Nourish it.
»Tend it well.
»Prepare it to bear fruit.
»Improve upon our character daily, so that we would be capable of relationship with those who desire a healthy one.
Friendships.
Familial.
Romance too…

What can we contribute to another’s life?
How can we meet their needs?

That should be our goal.

“Find someone that loves you enough to help you unpack”?
No, my friends…
Leave that to God. He is faithful to send those who are strong enough to contribute health to your life.

Rather,
Set yourself to unpacking your mess right now, instead of latching onto someone and relying on them to help you do it.

When you find someone you love, you want to have a very light suitcase to fill with memories made by two who took the time to prepare themselves for one another before they ever met.

Something to consider…

Leah

– Solitude and The Least of These –

I chose solitude today, for Thanksgiving.

My daughter, is in Florida at school.
She spent the day working in a soup kitchen with her peers, so I am not worried for her, knowing that ministering to others has not only distracted her from missing us here at home, but has also enriched her character.

My sons are with their father.
I knew the security in keeping the tradition of “going to grandma’s” was what they needed.

I chose solitude on purpose,

But what about those who do not have the choice?

I saw quite a few people on the near-deserted streets of Detroit today, while walking to my car, and I had an innate sense that many of these people
had solitude thrust upon them.

Several, in particular, stand out in my memory.
One woman stood in a brown, scratchy-looking, full length coat – her back to me.
She was pressed up against a tall chain-link fence, her hands at shoulder level, fingers clutching…
She was the image of a soul forlorn.

I wanted to take her picture to preserve that image, but I could not exploit her emotional state.

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And there were others…

As I continued walking, my mind then  wandered to friends of mine who are celebrating this holiday without their husband or wife, mother or father,  brother or sister, or child…
and my heart was moved for them.

Then, I thought of those sitting at a crowded table. Those who sit among many while feeling completely alone, and again my heart was moved with compassion.

What of those who did not choose to be alone?
They are out there.
Pray for them.

Jesus told us plainly, that a day would come, when he would reject some who thought they were his servants, because  He “never knew” them.
“Lord, when did we see you hungry, or in prison…?”
He says, ” If you did not do it to the least of these, you did not do it for me.”
We must reach out to “the least of these”.

The lowest.
The non-famous
The unimportant.
The forgotten.
Those who did not choose solitude for the day that every one in America makes plans that hinge on the word “together”.

We are blessed.
We are blessed with one another.
With companionship.
Laughter.
Friendships.
Family.

But some are not.

Today, I swung into a restaurant that was open on the way home, and as I was paying my bill, a woman walked in that I recognized from another local establishment where I work. She is elderly. She is hunched over with severe arthritis that causes her to work hard to lift her head to look forward. She walks very slowly with a cane.

When I see her, at the other restaurant where I work painting faces, I always get the door for her coming in and going out and we exchange pleasantries. Today, when I saw her, I knew this was the day I would sit with her and visit.

She is ninety-one years old.
Alone on Thanksgiving Day.
She has nieces and nephews – but she never married and has no children.
She told me stories about where she came from, and I told her some of mine.She shared with me some of her adventures and wanted to know if I was Catholic. I told her how I found my way to God.
We learned each other’s names and enjoyed one another.
It was rich.

Then another sweet elderly woman with a very bent spine came over and began to speak with us. She was a spitfire, let me tell you, her blue eyes flashing with light and life. When I told her about my passion for this nation, I said, “I bet we’d have some lively conversations!” She asked me, “Are you a fan of Obama?”
I answered with a smile, and a resounding “No, I am not.”.
She instantly replied, “Then, we sure would, because I am.” And we laughed.
She was so much fun.

She was meeting a gentleman friend for dinner, so when he arrived, she left and my new friend and I were alone again.

When things quieted down, I paid for her dinner, which she did not care for, understandably, but I asked her to please let me do it, and then I walked her to her car.

I know I will see her again. She knows where I work. I am looking forward to more stories. You can’t talk to someone who is ninety-one years old and not ask for stories!

I’m glad God caused our paths to cross.

Tonight, when you have a quiet moment, close your eyes and whisper a prayer of thanks to your Heavenly Father for that modern day Eden he has placed you in.
Do you think your family happened by accident?
No, beloved one.
He has surrounded you with the ones you have near you. He has given you good gifts.

Close your eyes and send your heart to heaven in a kiss. And while you have your Father’s attention, speak to His heart, and ask him to provide, for those who are lonely, a sense of His manifest presence, so that they would know He is with them. And ask Him to send them a friend.

They had good gifts too, at one time.
They just lost them somehow.
It’s not for us to know how, or why, just to love them.

Jesus said if we have done it to the least “of these, my brethren”, then we’ve done it unto Him.
My brethren…
He sees them as his brothers.
His family.
We can take some time to pray for his family, can’t we?

We are blessed.
We are blessed with one another.
With companionship.
Laughter.
Friendships.
Family.

But some are not.

Take some time today to pray for them.
And then rise up, go to your loved ones, and

let time stop for just a moment

while you absorb the atmosphere of that paradise that the Lord has placed you in.

He gives good gifts to his children for a reason.
Enjoy them.
To thoroughly enjoy a gift is the best expression of heartfelt gratitude that exists.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Leah

Whom are you loving today?

There was a time in my life when I was at a crossroads, and a friend taught me by her example, how to love someone.

It was a most unhappy time when a choice begged to be made – things could not continue as they were – changes needed to happen. I was at a loss for what to do.  I was in pain – struggling to find logic and reason – all while in the midst of a storm.  The wind was whipping about, no clear direction lay before me.  I was at the point of despair, for both decisions would cause fall-out in the lives around me.

Like Ripples on a Pond, the effects would be far reaching...

I knew there would be ramifications that would extend far beyond my vision – like ripples on a pond or a lake.  We have all tossed a pebble in, or skipped stones and watched the circles radiate along the water from the point of contact to some point beyond, depending on the strength of the impact.  Well, I was about to climb to the top of a hill and roll a boulder into the water.  After the devastating splash, the ripples were going to go further than I could imagine.

 

 

I was at the point of desperation.  I could not endure the heartbreak any longer, so I decided to confide in one friend … everything.
Oh, sure, women talk. We tell each other about what we are going through all the time, but we are careful with the big stuff. We keep that to ourselves, because we need to be accepted by “the pack”.
No one wants to lose their place in their circle of friends.

At the risk of rejection and judgment I shared my dilemma.

I told my friend

Every.

Single.

Thing.

It was frightening.  I was taking a risk, for I loved her dearly.  She was the one person Ihad chosen, out of all of my friends and confidants, after all.  To lose her esteem was almost more than I could bear, but I chose to risk it to receive her wisdom. I needed it.

I needed her.

I shared the good path and the bad. I hid nothing from her, and then I waited – almost wincing my eyes – for the reaction. 
Do you know what she said to me?

No matter what you choose, I will be your friend. 
I will be there for you, and I will support you. 
I
am your friend.

And tears of shame and relief poured out of me.

Sometimes a person comes along in your life and leaves imprints on your soul. Fingerprints on your heart. No. Not mere fingerprints. Indentations.

I learned something that day that I will never forget.

I learned that there is a place in your soul so deep that even you may not know it exists.

– A location tucked so far from view, that you have no idea it is there.

 Until…

Until a very special someone reaches that depth with

One.

Loving.

Act.

They take a stone of their own – Love – and they drop it into that well within you, that seemingly bottomless pit that you didn’t even know was there, and when it lands on the bottom, you are suddenly aware of its existence.  I was loved so purely at that moment.  My soul was nourished like never before.  She freely gave unconditional love whose richness and depth I had always sensed, but had never truly known.  

Do you know what is beautiful?

When she exposed its existence, this depth of need within me, she simultaneously fortified me to the extent that nothing on the planet could shake the foundation of my security.
From that moment on, my footing was sure, for she had seen me at my worst and I was not rejected. 

She also gave me my choice.

Free will. 

No matter what I decided – I knew she would be there.
Do you know who this reminds me of?

God, of course.

Jesus.

What is True Christianity?
Who among us are truly Christlike?
Was it not the Lord who gave us free will?
Was it not the Lord who sent His Son, “while we were yet sinners.”?

What did Jesus say? He who bore our sins and not his own…

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he (an injured traveler) was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”

Jesus continues – addressing a man who asked Him who is “neighbor” was, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

 
Perhaps you are thinking, “Well that was a person who was wounded innocently. He was not in willful sin, and many are in trouble today because of their own foolish choices.”

Allow me to bring to your remembrance another situation that Jesus put himself in;  curiously, involving a person from Samaria again; A place and a people not respected by those to whom Jesus was speaking.

Jesus, offering a woman unconditional love and living water.

You will find this story in the Book of John, chapter four. Jesus sits at a well, and asks a woman, who comes to draw water, for a drink. She is stunned that he would even speak to her.  There is racism even then, and she expects it from Him, not knowing who He is.
He eventually shares with her that He knows she’s been married multiple times and that the man with whom she currently lives isn’t her husband at all.  He then offers her living water.  No lecture. No condemnation. No words of scolding. No self-help literature, and no counseling session to determine why she finds herself in so many short-term relationships. Just Living Water. Eternal Life.
Unconditional Love and Acceptance to a person who has apparently never had either.

While He made it clear that He knew what she was doing,  He did not condemn her or point out all of the spiritual laws she was breaking. If anyone had the right to, it would have been Him.  Instead He offered her a choice.
Do you know why?

She already knew she was wrong.
Just like your friends know whether they are right or wrong.
They don’t need you to tell them.

Your friends don’t need lectures, and they don’t need your criticism.
What they need, dear heart, is You.

A good Samaritan.  
A neighbor.
A friend.

Take care, dear ones, when someone puts their trust in you.

The human heart is fragile.
It is a tiny bird that trembles; delicate bones beneath feathers – so easily broken.

You will make a difference to someone.
My question to you is, “What type of difference will you make?”

Whom are you loving today?

Songbird, by Eva Cassidy.

As you listen to this, remember, there is ONE who loves you
more than you could possibly imagine,
and He offers you living water ♥.
Today.

 

Leah