New Creation

>> Friday, June 29, 2012

One day while on the beach, there was a whole area of broken shells.  We walked on them and it didn't hurt our feet at all.  They were soft from who knows how many centuries of being in the ocean, smoothed out by the water.

This morning, my second full day at home from one of my most perfect vacations ever, I read this verse:

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18

It had so much more meaning to me after my time at the beach.  Mari found a couple pieces of green sea glass.  We also found lots of small pieces of smooth, broken shells.  Funny thing is, the first couple of days, they really didn't draw our attention.  It was the big, intact conch shells that we ran for, like Mari found in this picture.  Now that was a find!

The first day we picked up everything.  The second day we were more discerning.  After that, we wanted shells that had character, especially if they were worn and cracked.  These shells had a story.

The day before we went home, Laura, Mari, and I went once again down the shore and the big shells weren't there but tiny ones were.  They were almost like sea glass.  Shells worn by the tide.  So very smooth and beautiful.

My eyes were drawn to those tiny beauties.  I could relate to their struggles.  Beaten.  Worn.  But they held on.  Because of their adversities, they came out of their trials glorious!  The three of us bent down and picked them up lovingly, one at a time.  Once in a while, we would show our find to the other two, so proud.

I even thought of God doing that for us.  Bending down and picking us up one at a time.  So many of us yet He cares so much for each and every one.  I can see Him smiling and saying, "Just look at her.  I'm so proud.  She's growing even though..."

I can see Him bending down and plucking one out of an enormous wave that threatens to destroy...just in time.  I can see Him crying because of the fires in Colorado and yet...He smiles because of the few that are turning their hearts to their Creator.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18

Mari and I took quite a few shells home with us.  They didn't get crushed in the process because they've already been through the trials.  They're strong.  We both have plans for ours, to put them together somehow, to create a brand new piece to share with others.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

The old ways are in the past and I don't miss them at all.  I love the new creation that I am and every day I grow and mature and become more smooth and colorful as the storms of life teach me to look up always.  


Will You Meet Me Here?

>> Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday morning I woke up early and went for a walk while everyone else slept.  I donned my tennis shoes and took off to parts slightly known.  I went to the dock and watched the sights for a bit.  It was pretty.  It was okay.  Just okay.

I then took off into the neighborhood but the sea called me.  I was drawn to the beach.  I took off my tennis shoes and sat on the steps and watched a bit but I couldn't stop there.  I had to go down into the sand and then into the water.  I walked down the shore.  I'm not sure how far.  Walks on the beach doesn't seem a chore like it is walking down our barren country road with corn and beans on each side of me.

The waves lapped up onto my bare feet.  I kept hearing God say to me

Will you meet me here?  

Yes, Lord, I'm here.

Just be, Laury.  Just walk.  See?  There's no shells in your way to distract you.  Look at My Majesty.  Enjoy the waves.  The whitecaps.  The sea salt in the air.  Just be.

I held out my arms and felt the wind.  I praised and worshiped Him.  It was wondrous.

I soon discovered it was easy to keep walking with the wind at my back.  When I turned back around, the sea sprayed at me and the rain had started to come down pretty good.

I had my tennis shoes so I stuffed them with my cell phone and camera to keep them dry and I walked the half mile back to the house barefoot.  Even that was refreshing.  It was a good morning.

I'm so glad I listened to God and followed His voice through the mighty ocean roar.  No still small voice today.

Will you meet Him where you are?


Thoughts from the Shore from the Joe Blog

>> Friday, June 22, 2012

I posted on the Jewels of Encouragement blog today from Sunny Florida.  My Thoughts from the Shore.

I'll be sharing more on my own blog.  Lots I'm learning from God's glory and majesty from the ocean.  It's beautiful here!


Bring the Rain!

>> Saturday, June 16, 2012

Here in Central Illinois, we need the rain BAD.  You see the corn in the picture?  The stalks are curling up.  My husband said that it's trying to protect itself from the sun.  There's only so much it can do, though before it gets burnt.  What it needs is a good soaking rain and then some more.

That's what I do too, when I'm in a dry spell in my walk with the Lord.  I close myself up.  I shield myself from getting hurt.

This corn is begging to be watered though.  The stalks are reaching toward heaven.  When I stood beside the field taking these pictures, I could hear the stalks rubbing together making their own music.  "Please bring the rain," they plead in unison.  "Please bring the rain."

I suppose I plead the same thing yet I'm in control.  Duh.  Open the Book.  Pray.  Listen.  Summers are my very hardest times emotionally for some odd reason.  You would think it would be the best because I don't work.  I have all this free time  I'm not disciplined enough to handle it and I spiral down into a free fall.

And then I give in to the physical pain that seeks to bring me down all the school year.  It knocks me flat and flat is where I usually end up staying.  Knowing this is how I am, I was ready this time.  I prayed that God would bring my rain.  And He did.

I'm volunteering at The Lighthouse Thrift Store a couple times a days a each week this summer.  That has brought so much joy into my life, you just can't imagine.  It has also taught me some new skills.  I've never used a cash register before.  Who said you can't teach old dogs new tricks?  So there!  :)  I've needed a woman to pour into my life, and God gave me that woman in Linda Kropp, the owner of the Lighthouse. She's just what I needed in this season of my life and I'm learning so much from her by watching her interact with customers and the volunteers and being part of her prayer circles.  She is a godly woman and I want to be like her when I grow up:)

I'm going off on an adventure next week with a small group of women friends to Florida.  That will be relaxing and fun.  God is so good to allow me to do this.  It was about five years ago now, I think, when Josh Janoski showed Mari and me that we COULD meet even though we were 2,000 miles away.  Since then, we've been doing just that.  The world is a small place to the younger generation  than it is to us, for sure.  Josh had to prove it to us and we learned he was right!  I'll be forever grateful to Josh and all he did for us!  And now he's married and a daddy.  I'm so proud of him!

And at the end of July, God has more travelling in store for me.  It's been a wonderful summer already.  Oh!  And I forgot about Special Touch Camp!  I've also done quite a bit of writing, editing and lots of reading!

God is good.  I'm excited for this summer and I certainly don't want to think about the dreaded 's' word!  Not yet anyway.  I'll be ready to go back when it's time but not yet.  For now, I'm enjoying each day as it comes, whatever God has in store for me.  Each one is unique.  I love that!

Meanwhile, I'm praying that God brings that physical rain.  We do
need it bad.  And I can always use more spiritual rain to fall.  Fall on us all, Holy Spirit.

"You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it."  NIV

P.S.  Thank You God, for bringing the rain only a few hours after I wrote this blog!


Elizabeth Mary Anderson and Her Mama

>> Friday, June 8, 2012

This story got knocked out of the running for the topic, Current Events, this week.  Just a second too late.  Sad, huh?  So I'm sharing it here today.  I happened to catch a news story on Good Morning America yesterday that gave me the idea.  I wasn't even going to write an entry but it got me awake and my mind moving.  Parents and graduates were getting in major trouble for cheering excessively at graduation.  Can you imagination?  They were being fined, jailed, and some given community service.  Just crazy!  

Another idea I was going to write about was this new law about putting your dog in seat belts.  Another stiff fine if it's not done.  In many cases, it's a higher fine than if your children aren't buckled up.  Again, CRAZY!!  

Here's my story that was born from GMA and written two hours before it was due.  

Elizabeth Mary Anderson and Her Mama

My dad, he ain’t been in my life.  Just me and Mama struggled through.  She a good mama too.  There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed for school but Mama made me.  She even pulled the mattress out from under me one time.  I came up cussing and she ran and got the soap.  I ate a bar of Ivory for breakfast that day.  My sophomore year, she caught me running with a gang and I didn’t run nowhere for a month.  That ole gang, they scared of my mama after that.  She called their mama’s too.  There were lots of full pews in church that next Sunday.  I sure did feel holes burning in the backa my head though.

We did it!  Me and my momma.  It was a hard four years but she pulled and pushed me through high school.  Every night she stood over me while I did homework. 

Mama say, “Edu-cation important, Lissibeth.  You gonna make sumpin of youself if it kill both of us.”

Sometimes it did just that.  I felt murdered one hundred times over.  Mama a slave driver.  Weren’t no tv in our house.  No cable.  No computer.  I go to the library and work for hours and when I got home, Mama, she be home from work by then and have a meal ready for me then she make me read books, like To Kill a Mockingbird.  She say they good for me.

Mama don’t read.  She never learned.  Don’t know why.  She smart. When my homework done, I bring out Dr. Seuss and she read The Cat in the Hat.  She embarrassed but she also proud.  Proud I want to teach her.  Proud I’m not ashamed of her.   I would never ever be ashamed of Mama.  She my Rock. 

At night she ‘read’ the Bible to me.  It was years before I found out she wasn’t really reading it. Many parts she had memorized and others, she told the stories.   She sat in her rocking chair and the words spilled out.  I closed my eyes and pretended like I was right there.  Sometimes though, I be so tired, I fell asleep, then I felt Mama’s wrath.  She whacked me on the head and I sat up straight again and she picked up where she left off.  We both worked hard but Mama worked way harder. 

After I went to sleep, she stayed up and cleaned our little apartment.  I heard her working on her words in the book too.  I always left my homework out on our little kitchen table.  She opened it up and looked at it then I heard her pray over it every single night.  And she prayed for me.  My mama, she special.  I sure love my mama. 

So today, you see, is special for both of us.  We’re both up early.  She ironing my graduation gown and my dress I’m wearing underneath.  We searched every thrift store in Chicago looking for the perfect one.  We had so much fun.  I never saw Mama giggle like I did that day.  It like she graduating instead of me.  Wish she could stand up there with me.  I’d let her if she could.  She did it with me. 

“Lissie!  Getting’ late.  Getta move on!”

That my mama.  She just a little bit excited.  I gathered up my things.  It was time to get to the L for our trip to the school.

“Mama,” I had to talk loud above the other excited voices on the train.  “Remember, there’s no loud cheering when I walk across the stage.”

She just looked at me. 

“Said they enforcing it this year.  They mean it.”

Mama grinned.   She’s so excited.  I can’t take this away from her.  This her graduation as much as it is mine.  If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.  I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.  “I love you, Mama.  Thank you for everything.”

She smiled a big white toothy grin.  That’s my mama.

Elizabeth Mary Anderson

And she did it.  Sweet Mama stood and hooted.  She hollered.  She whistled. 

The school…they good on their word.

My sweet mama.  She taken away in handcuffs.  

Her crime:   She too loud. 

Really?  My Mama?

I demanded handcuffs on me too. 

We in jail right now.  She teach me my about civil rights and the greats like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr…    

Mama always say school never ends.

I  love my mama. 


Author’s Note:

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