Monthly Archives: May 2012

Conversations with the GPS

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Conversations with the GPS

This weekend, me and mine took a little road trip West to Thomasville, NC to visit some friends at their new church building. Over the last 3 years I’ve had the privilege of watching (from a distance) how God has moved, grown and fulfilled His promises in their lives. So I was excited to see them (and the new building) in the flesh.

And then Betty got in the way.

Betty is the christened name of our PT Cruiser and GPS. She can be downright bossy. And I don’t do bossy well.

Now, I know how to get to Thomasville: 540 to 40 to 85, and 2 hours later, bam! you’re in T-ville. But I entered in the church address because it was the last end part of the trip (you know, the exact location) I was unsure about.

Betty, however decides to take me to Thomasville via the crazy train of 540 to 70 to TW Alexander to 147…

What the hell, Betty?

Finally, I said, “Betty, I don’t know where you think you’re going but we are taking a detour.”

Recalculating…

“You keep ‘recalculating’, Betty, because we’re heading to 40 my way.”

After 5 Recalculatings, Betty got on the Stephanie train and we had no further issues and found the church easily. It’s on the left, past the Big Chair. You can’t miss it.

And it was good to see God’s promises fulfilled in that place.

My Way

Later that evening I was reviewing the day with Jesus (you know because that’s how I roll) and He showed me that I often have difficulty trusting a way I am unfamiliar with. I wish He wanted to talk about the Big Chair, but apparently not.

I’m sure Betty’s way would have gotten me there—but I like comfortable, familiar things. I want to go my way (insert whine here).

My spiritual life is like this, too. While I aim to be like Him, to err on the side of Love always, to be a living sacrifice for Him, to be known as His, I know all too well that I often choose the “old ways” to get where I want to be.

I don’t trust my spiritual GPS. I have often said, “I don’t know where You think You’re going but we are taking a detour.” And He is so faithful to gently say, Recalculating and get me back on track when I need Him.

Today, I am asking Him to do some recalculating in my life and to give me the courage to trust His direction instead of my own. What about you? Do you trust His guidance?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Shape-Ups, Shari and Other Universal Truths

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It’s a Free For All Friday. That means that I will blog about whatever you want and this, kids, is what you chose:

The Truth about Shape-Ups

Deanna (one of my dear ones) is irritated that people are suing the makers of Shape-Ups—to the tune of $40 million dollars—for “not working” like they promised they would. To quote Deanna, “I think you should blog about how we, the general population, need to stop believing EVERYTHING we see on TV!”

True dat, as the kids say.

We are so drawn to the “easy fix” aren’t we? While I’d love to blame the TV, truth is, we’ve wanted to get things without actually working at it since the garden. And I say this as someone who worked in the Ad world for almost 10 years: we know how to pull the flesh strings. We have 17 year old girls selling you bras and wrinkle cream and clothes. We show you 55 year old men who need Viagra dating a hottie 20 years their junior after they take the little blue pill. We show you size-1 supermodels eating a Hardees’ burger on a muscle car. We show your kids that life is so much more fun with the latest fill-in-the-blank toy or candy or snack.

The truth is our flesh desperately wants Shape-Ups to make us thin and beautiful, for Viagra to give us meaningful, fulfilling relationships and candy to bring us joy. And ironically, our flesh resists the one “quick fix” that can actually work in our lives: Jesus.

Don’t you roll your eyes at me.

You tell me one other offer you have ever gotten that gives you everything it promised and costs you nothing?

Jesus is the Shape-Up of the Soul.

The Truth about Shari

Oh, friends, if you only knew the awesomeness that is Sharideth Smith. She is one of my oldest friends, fiercely loves her Jesus, husband, kids, and a whole lot of crazy musicians who wander in and out of her family’s life. I would have never come into a true relationship with Christ if it weren’t for her.

And you know how this Christian powerhouse did it? Evangelism? Reciting the Roman Road?  Telling me how my long list of sins was going to send me to Hell if I didn’t hop on the Jesus train?

Nope.

She simply loved me after my high school boyfriend broke up with me and my 19 year old world crumbled around me. She let me be her constant companion and took me to church and college group and let me talk over and over and over about He Should Not Be Named. She loved me. ME, the broken, pathetic me and it was there in that love and friendship that I was finally still long enough to hear the wooing words of my Savior.

I am a jewel in Shari’s crown. And I love her more than my luggage.

You can learn more about her awesomeness here: A Woman’s Guide to Women: A Blog For Men.

Other Universal Truths

  • Jesus loves you, so stop playing so hard to get.
  • It’s not the pants that make your butt look big, it’s your butt. (You can thank my son for that one.)
  • Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback. Ever.
  • Ranch dressing makes everything taste better.
  • Oh, and “the kids” are NOT saying, “Tru dat” anymore.

Mother’s Day and Being a Parent

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Mother’s Day and Being a Parent

In case you missed it, Sunday was Mother’s Day. And I got to spend it with my Margot and a cherished friend doing my favorite things: going to church, eating sushi and going to the movies. While there was nothing spectacularly unique about this—Margot and I spend a LOT of time together anyway—there was something about the day that was precious.

As we walked out the door to go to church (M & I don’t go to the same church usually), she presented me with her present: earrings and an owl necklace. I immediately took my jewelry off and replaced it with what she gave me. “You don’t have to do that, Mom.” Uh, yeah, I do. I also needed to put my arm around her at church, tend to her at lunch (her chicken was awful) and make sure she had the snacks she wanted at the movie.  I also showed off my jewelry treasures to anyone caught looking my way.

I love having her with me. I love having her attention. And I love being her mom. Read that again, not just a mom, her mom.

She is spectacular in every way. I have known her since she was inside me and she still captivates me.

She’s also a serious pain in the ass sometimes but she comes by it honestly. Even in her PIA moments, I still rejoice that she is mine. I see her in the sense of a lifetime, not just the immediate moment, if that makes sense. When she catches the eye of a baby at the next table, it makes me smile in the now but also because I know someday she will have her own babies. Or when we’re filling out a job application at a salon she wants to work at, I don’t just love the idea that she wants my help in the process, I love the idea of her life being filled with a career she will love.

As I was contemplating this, I was gently reminded that God is exactly the same way. I may over stress this in my blogs, but I think it’s a deep truth: if we as broken people can love our children like we do, how much more God?! As part of being made in His image, I think our experiences as parents (as well as friends, spouses, children) can give us a deeper understanding of His heart if we actually take the time to see it.

So as I contemplate the fabulousness of my beautiful daughter, I am reminded that there is One who finds me just as fabulous—even in my PIA moments. And I am thankful for Him.

The Power of Gifts: Lessons from Mother’s Day

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The Power of Gifts: Lessons from Mother’s Day

Yesterday, I received my Mother’s Day present from my son who is out of state going to college. I miss him terribly and would pretty much do anything to have him closer but that is not going to happen. He is a sweet boy (of 19, that’s not a “boy” is it?) who has a good heart and who loves his mom—all wonderful traits as far as I’m concerned. He is also a great gift giver.

He is the only man in my life who knows and always buys me my favorite chocolates; he knows the things I like and he listens to what I need (my birthday gift last year was a GPS, a gift that everyone who knows me KNOWS that was divine intervention because I can get lost in my own neighborhood). He has always gotten me flowers, whether dandelions when he was 5 or daisies from FTD. And I don’t know where he learned to do this but I am so thankful he did!

His gifts also make me laugh. Take a look:

“Happy Mother’s day! Here are 4 things I thought you’d enjoy:

  • An owl themed toothbrush case for your extravagant travels
  • A screenplay version of the greatest movie ever, maybe to get you writing once more
  • A magnet to make you laugh, though none of the adjectives apply to you (except maybe OLD 🙂 )
  • And of box of good smelling goop. ‘Cause everybody needs that.

Lots of Love,

Lucas”

Gift giving is a big deal to me (again, probably some sort of Love Language for me). It’s not the stuff I love, it’s being known. It’s the fact someone thought about me and chose to get me something. Thoughtful gift giving takes time and effort—and I appreciate that deeply.

I think (I know) God is the same way. He appreciates the heart behind the gift and sacrifice. He has no need for the things we give to Him but I know it delights His heart.

Tokens of Affection

So what are the things He loves to get from His kids? Like any parent, He wants:

Love

Then one of the teachers of the Law heard them arguing. He thought Jesus had spoken well. He asked Him, “Which Law is the greatest of all?” Jesus said to him, “The greatest Law is this, ‘Listen, Jewish people, The Lord our God is one Lord! You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ This is the first Law.

“The second Law is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other Law is greater than these.”

Then the teacher of the Law said, “Teacher, You have told the truth. There is one God. There is no other God but Him. 33 A man should love Him with all his heart and with all his understanding. He should love Him with all his soul and with all his strength and love his neighbor as himself. This is more important than to bring animals to be burned on the altar or to give God other gifts on the altar in worship.”

Mark 12:28-33

Obedience

Samuel said, “Is the Lord pleased as much with burnt gifts as He is when He is obeyed? See, it is better to obey than to give gifts. It is better to listen than to give the fat of rams.

1 Samuel 15:23

And (like any parent) he detests being lied to or placated:

The Lord said, “These people show respect to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Their worship of Me is worth nothing.

Isaiah 29:13

So, what should you do today? Take it from Micah:

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6: 6-8

What tokens are you offering today?