Laughing in the Rain.

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Driving down the highway is always an experience.

Halfway to my destination today, I saw a convertible Beetle similar to my own. The difference though was my convertible top was closed but the other was down and open to the elements.

…it was raining.

The occupants were laughing hysterically while getting drenched and I reveled in their joie de vivre. They were ecstatic.

All days are not sunny and sometimes the rain pours down upon my head. But, it is up to me to choose to laugh in the rain knowing it will pass or wallow in misery.

God doesn’t promise perfect days, perfect people, or a perfect life. But what He does promise is to cover me with His grace and love.

That is something to hold onto on less than ideal days because I want to laugh in the rain. I really do.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100

Magic Number

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Yesterday was my annual mammogram. This day takes on an added importance when you have lost a mother to breast cancer.

The smells of the hospital, sounds of gurneys moving about and the whir of machinery take me back in time. Even eight years after losing my Mother, my five senses pick up and transport me back to uncomfortable memories. I’m a daughter hoping for a few more days with my beloved Mom.

Jean Parvin was a warrior and fought cancer to the end. The hospice staff considered sending her home because Mom had become the longest patient at the center. In my Mother’s world, every day mattered, even at the end when it was time to go. She just couldn’t give up. I admired that about her while still wishing her a peaceful journey.

One time Mom looked at me and said, “I always wanted to live to be 80.” It was the first time she uttered those words aloud. Soon thereafter she added, “But, I know I have drawn the short end of the straw.” She was 77.

From the beginning of her 15-year battle with this vile disease, we had agreed to talk openly with one another. So, we talked together and admonished the oncologist to always be honest with us both. It was a good decision.

I’m not a quitter and Mom wasn’t either. She just ran out of time and ran short of her 80-year age goal.

Yesterday, I sat in the waiting room saying the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t want special favors; I just wanted to feel Mom’s loving spirit again…just a magic moment with her. That moment arrived when they told me I was clear for another year and I swear I could feel her presence in the room with me.

Thank you Lord Jesus for my Mother who taught me how to live and taught me how to die. I am deeply blessed.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Five Secrets

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Someone asked me today to share five secrets about myself that most people wouldn’t know.

My first thought was, they are secrets, why would I share them?

My second thought was…I have a LOT of secrets.

Accordingly, I picked five safe secrets to spew out as a friendly encouragement, which I considered ordinary and not very scandalous.

Secrets are a strange and funny thing; they stay deeply buried and only surface at inopportune times.

To be honest, I don’t like secrets. The mere word denotes some form of covert behavior we only behold in the dark.

Before I received confirmation in the Anglican Church, I was required to attend confession. As I prepared to meet with my Priest, my worry over uttering aloud my “dark secrets” resulted in a physical reaction. I could not stop my knees from shaking. Nausea threatened to overwhelm me. (Side note: I’m not a murderer or anything truly heinous).

That was the only time I have told everything to someone that I deemed shockingly secret and I think I may have surprised my priest although he maintained his “game” face.

I’m glad God knows all secrets. It is burdensome to carry alone. Secrets turned over to Jesus result in transformed lives that move from darkness to light. In so doing, we are freed.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

Psalm 32:5

God is just a Heartbeat Away.

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There are days when I am full of wonder and there are days that I am not.

When I think of God, I think too often with my head and intellect. I try to discern the meaning of scripture, instead; I should be seeking God with my heart.

It is easy for me to believe in God, it is easy to follow man-made rules, it is easy to listen to leaders and prophets but it is not so easy to listen with the heart. To listen with a pure heart is to be open to God without reservation.

To open your heart risks hurt. To seek God with your whole heart requires giving your very soul and essence to the Lord.

I want to say that I have done a good job of this but I am a work in progress. I love the Lord with all my heart and all my soul, but my heart is heavy and burdensome. I worry. I fret. I want to know the future and what it holds for those I love. I want control.

I feel my heart beating in my chest. I feel the heaviness of a heart that hurts so much for this world. I want to give it all away to Him who loves me more than I can imagine.

It is my loving Father who made my heart beat and it is that same beating heart that longs for a deeper relationship with Him.

In the words of a famous hymn, “Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne.” Oh, that is may be so.

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Isaiah 29:13

The Power of Prayer

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My precious granddaughter has been struggling lately. It’s hard to be perfect when you are only in first grade.

As a new school year starts, it becomes a challenge for her to earn a daily star for being on her best behavior. School rules are tough for a child who is precocious, charming, lively, and very active. She reminds me of her mother. She reminds me of me.

My daughter suggested we start praying with her every morning and ask Jesus to help her behave in order to obtain a star. The results were superior. We were drowning in stars and accolades.

Yesterday, they forgot to pray before school but my grand-girl came home with a star anyway. At this juncture, she declared that praying was no longer needed since Jesus wasn’t essential to her success. This became an opportunity to explain how much she needs Jesus all the time. There are days when prayers are answered and days when life sends us in another direction. Either way, stopping prayer is not an option.

I learned a valuable lesson from my 6-year old granddaughter. At the core, I am regrettably like-minded on the prayer issue. I am guilty of self-centered thoughts.

I seek God for the trials and tests of this life but give up prayerful communication when all is right with my world. If I need something important, I pray heartily. If I don’t need something, I should remember that someone else does. If I don’t need something, then I should praise God. Regardless of life’s circumstances, prayer is mandatory. Prayer is the glue that holds my life together.

At dinner last night, I asked Lily about her day and she told me about the great report. I applauded her and added that I hoped it would be so because I had prayed for her that morning. I asked Jesus to help Lily have a good day.

And he listened.

He always does.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Prayer – What does it look like?

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There seems to be an on-going debate about what constitutes prayer.

Can prayer be defined by speaking out loud to God, bowing our heads, talking to Jesus while driving a car, or being silent on our hands and knees?

Prayer doesn’t come with a clear form of protocol and no one should tell you so. Prayer is prayer.

It is an active and voluntary communication with God. You can plead, beg, thank, or just be still, but prayer is an individual endeavor with guaranteed results.

A favorite author, Anne Lamott once said, “Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.” If this is all you can squeak out…it is enough.

The only thing that is asked of you is to pray.

Lord, hear our prayers.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6