Two Mirrors

Once upon a time there was a girl. She wasn’t too different than any other girl. Yet she thought she was, and so she acted like she was.

Other girls were pretty. She thought she was ugly. So she tried to hide whenever she could.

Other girls were fun. She thought she was boring. So she quit playing with others.

Other girls were smart. She thought she was stupid. So she quit sharing her thoughts.

She thought being ugly, boring, and stupid made her repulsive to people. And she tried even harder to disappear from everyone around her.

One day, she discovered she was invisible. No one saw her. No one heard her. She was happy, because now no one would have to endure her presence.

But she was also sad. As she watched people, she watched how they enjoyed each other and wanted to be around each other. And how they loved each other. She wanted to be wanted and loved. Yet, how could anyone want or love someone like her?

One day a friendly voice called to her.

“You can see me?”

“Yes. And I like what I see.”

“You can hear me?”

“Yes. And I like what I hear.”

“How can you like me when I’m so ugly, boring, and stupid?”

“Who told you that?”

“It’s what I see when I look in my mirror.”

“Where did you get that mirror?”

“I made it myself.”

“Can I look at it?”

“Yes, but be careful. Don’t hurt it.”

“It’s a lovely mirror. Strong, and well made.”

“Thank you. It took me a long time to make it.”

“I made a mirror, too. Would you like to look at it?”

“Yes, please. I’ll be careful.”

“Here. And you don’t have to be careful. This mirror won’t break.”

“It’s gorgeous. It’s so shiny; it looks like it is glowing! Who is that beautiful girl in it?”

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“That’s you.”

“No, it can’t be. That girl looks nothing like the girl in my mirror.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Then that must not be me. You must be teasing me. Who is that girl, really?”

“That girl is really you.”

“But what about the one in my mirror?”

“Didn’t you say you made your mirror yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Did you get any help?”

“Well, yes.”

“Who helped you?”

“People around me. But mostly I did it myself.”

“Do you think maybe your mirror might be lying to you?”

“Lie to me? How can that happen? It’s a mirror. Mirrors always show what’s there.”

“Unless they are distorted.”

“You think my mirror is distorted? What about your mirror?”

“Oh, I’m sure my mirror is accurate. No one helped me make it, so there was no chance for it to get distorted.”

“Well, maybe my mirror is not distorted either.”

“That’s for you to decide.”

“How can I decide? Which one do I believe?”

“You can believe mine, or you can believe yours. It’s your choice.”

The girl studied her image in each mirror. She was familiar with the girl in her mirror, but longed to be the girl in the other mirror. She tried to focus on that second girl – the beautiful one – but each time, her gaze returned to her own mirror.

“I like your mirror better. But each time I try to focus on it, my eyes go back to my own.”

“You haven’t really decided yet. Wanting is not the same as making a decision.”

“I’m scared to decide. What if I’m wrong?”

“Trust me. I wouldn’t show you anything that wasn’t true.”

The girl studied both images again. In spite of the fear that seemed to consume her, she made her decision.

“I choose your mirror.”

As she held the new shiny mirror in her hands, she found laying aside her mirror was still hard. She knew it would take time to get used to looking in the shiny mirror instead of hers, but she had decided.

Little by little, as she looked at the beautiful girl in the shiny mirror, she began to think differently about herself. Maybe she wasn’t so different from other girls after all.

Other girls were pretty. The mirror showed her that she was pretty, too. So she stopped hiding as much.

Other girls were fun. She thought maybe she was fun, too. So she began playing with a few people.

Other girls were smart. She thought maybe she was smart, too. So she started sharing her thoughts with everyone around her.

She thought being pretty, fun, and smart was more fun than what she had been. She quit trying to disappear from everyone around her.

She found out… the new, shiny mirror was right.

And as she believed the image in that amazing mirror, so did the people around her. She was wanted, enjoyed, and loved.

She had one last thing to say to the one who gave her the mirror:

“Thank you, Jesus!”

 

 

 

Romans 12:3 TLB  Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

Romans 12:3 ERV  You must see yourself just as you are. Decide what you are by the faith God has given each of us.

An Amusement Park?

“Do you want to go for a walk?” Confused, she watched him walk towards the door.

Frequently, when she came to visit, they spent some time together before going somewhere else. But this time, as soon as he saw her, he just headed to the door. He hadn’t said anything, but maybe he had assumed she would just follow him.

So she did.

She expected to see a field when she went through the doorway. That’s where he usually took her. A green grassy field full of colorful flowers, bordered on one side by a flowing river. But that’s not what she saw.

Instead, she saw a large canopy, set up in the middle of nothing. It was colorful, and0225201830 (3) formed a kind of entrance way. Into what she had no idea. He took her hand and pulled her towards it. He still had not said anything, but he was almost dancing as he guided her. Clearly he was excited about bringing her to this place.

Once inside, she was able to glimpse the other side.

“An amusement park?” She shook her head. What was this doing here, in her field of flowers? She liked the field and the river where they usually spent time. Both were peaceful places where she could relax with him. But an amusement park was anything but peaceful. The blaring music of the rides, the constant need to weave through the crowds, the barking of the game attendants, and the smell of greasy foods – of which she could do without.  He wanted to bring her here? Why?

As they exited the canopy, she noticed right away that there was something different about this park. She saw the typical rides found at most amusement parks, such as a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a roller coaster. In the distance she could see a variety of other rides, booths, and pavilions, also found in most amusement parks. So what made this one different?

Then she got it. This one was pretty quiet.  Not too much movement. No people screaming. No loud music. It seemed… almost gentle. Still, an amusement park?

“You want me to go to an amusement park with you?”

“Yes.”

“But, why?”

“Because walking with me should be fun!”

He didn’t say any more, but she knew what he meant. She tended to be way too serious most of the time. She stressed over getting things right. And worked hard to do everything she could for him. That must be why he took her to quiet, peaceful places when she visited his home. She needed the time with him to relax.

But now he was showing her a different way to live.  Life didn’t have to be so serious. She didn’t have to worry about doing everything just right. With him by her side, she could enjoy the thrill of the rides, knowing he would be with her. She could let herself enjoy the wind in her face as she roared around the tracks of a roller coaster, knowing he would keep her from flying out to her death. She could enjoy both the heights and the depths of a giant Ferris wheel, even when she couldn’t see where she was going, because somehow he could. She could enjoy riding around in circles on the merry-go-round, even when she thought she was going nowhere and that it would never end, because it was time spent with him. She could even enjoy playing the rigged games people played, hoping she’d win but knowing she probably wouldn’t, because he was there to replace what she lost.

An amusement park? Could she really have fun? Could she let go enough to actually enjoy the rides with him? She wasn’t very confident in herself. But she had learned to trust him. And the park did appear to have been made specifically for her. So, she turned to him with a tentative smile.

“An amusement park? Sure, let’s go.”

Dear Little Dancer (from Someone Who Loves You series)

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Dear Little Dancer,

You don’t look so sure about this new thing you’re expected to do. Dance? What is that? It seems there’s always something new to learn. But, don’t worry. I can help you learn. With me holding your hand, you’ll soon be able to twirl and jump and even flip! You’re going to have so much fun dancing with me – and I’m going to have even more fun dancing with you! Trust me, take my hand, and let’s dance all night!

Playfully,

Someone Who Loves You

 

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Do you hear God speaking to you in these letters? If so, it’s no coincidence.  As I write to my new granddaughter, I can hear God speaking to me. And my prayer is that you can also hear Him speaking to you for He loves us even more than I love my granddaughter.

 

Get Out of Your Boat

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Come walk with Me.

Um… You’re walking on water.

Yup, and you can, too. Come on out here.

I will sink. Those waves are bigger than I am, never mind the deep water underneath. And who knows what’s down there?

I will keep you above the water. Come on, it’s okay.

I appreciate Your invitation, but I really should stay in my boat. It’s keeping me safe from the storm.

I will keep you safe. Come out of your boat, and take a walk with Me.

Well, that sounds nice and all, but I have to think about my health. If I don’t worry about doing everything right, I might get sick.

Focus on Me, and let Me keep you well. Come on, we’ll exercise together.

If I’m out there with You, who’s going to worry about making sure there’s enough money in the bank to pay my bills. What if something big happens and I don’t have enough money?

I will supply your needs. Leave your boat, and let’s go on an adventure.

That sounds great, but who will take care of my family and dogs? I have to stay here to make sure their needs are met, too.

I will meet their needs. Come on, you can do it. Come to Me.

But I made this boat super strong. It can protect me from the rough waves.

I’m stronger. Come out here, and be with Me. You will see how strong I am.

I know people can’t really walk on water. Besides, You’re more like a ghost. My hand will go right through Your hand, and I’ll drown.

I will hold you up. You will not drown. Come out of your boat, and dance with Me.

But it doesn’t make sense to trust something I can’t understand instead of trusting something I can see and touch.

You’re thinking is backwards. Trusting the boat doesn’t make sense. It’s just boards nailed together. It can break. It can sink. It’s Me you need to trust. I will never break or sink. Trust Me. Come out here, and stay with Me.

I’m scared.

I know. I am trustworthy. Come out here, and find out.

I’m coming.

Here’s My hand. This is going to be amazing!

Dear Caged One (From Someone Who Loves You Series)

 

Ever wonder why there are boundaries in your life? Are they there because someone enjoys seeing you get frustrated? Maybe someone is unhappy and wants you to be unhappy too, keeping you from all the fun things on the other side? Or maybe because they don’t want to bothered by you? Or maybe it’s an unfair challenge they want you to conquer?

Or maybe boundaries are there to keep you safe. Safe from the 15 steep steps going down to the first floor. And from the large white rambunctious dog down there that could accidentally hurt you.

Instead of looking at where you can’t go, turn around and look at where you can go. Like to the things to climb on and the big box of toys to play with and the books to look at. And the person up there with you who is always ready and eager to hold you and love you and play with you.

All you have to do is turn around.

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

 

Psalm 16:5-6 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places., and I have a delightful inheritance.

 

Do you hear God speaking to you in these letters? If so, it’s no coincidence.  As I write to my new granddaughter, I can hear God speaking to me. And my prayer is that you can also hear Him speaking to you for He loves us even more than I love my granddaughter.

Climbing the Mountain like a Turtle

She opened the front door and stepped outside. The bright sun caused her to squint as she closed the door behind her. It was hot – too hot to be outside. Good thing she was heading to her car instead of starting her dreaded daily walk around the neighborhood. She had only taken a step or two when something small caught her eye. A box turtle? What was a box turtle doing on her front patio? And this one appeared to be a baby! She stopped to watch it as she contemplated whether she needed to rescue it or not. Where would be a good place to relocate it? As she watched, it began to move quickly towards a nearby bush.

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The turtle, tired of the hot, rough sidewalk, hurried towards some shade she had glimpsed from across the patio.

I’m like this turtle, she thought. Sometimes my life is as uncomfortable as this hot, rough sidewalk, and all I want to do is cross over it to get to somewhere more comfortable.

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What’s this? She wasn’t expecting such a high barrier of large rocks. They hadn’t looked this big from the other side of the patio. Would she really have to climb these rocks?

Yep, she thought. Always something to block me from what I want. And it’s usually just as daunting as these rocks appear to this turtle.

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If she wanted to reach the shade, yes, she would have to climb these rocks. Resigned, she began climbing.

She thought of the mountains in her life. If she wanted a better marriage, if she wanted a healthier weight, if she wanted a cleaner house, if she wanted a closer relationship with her God, she would have to climb mountains to get to them. Mountains as high and hard and difficult as what the turtle was facing. Did she have the same determination as the turtle to start climbing?

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At first it was kind of easy. “This is not so bad,” she thought. But before long, she felt her balance shifting.

Isn’t that the truth, she thought. Mountains are always so deceiving. They start off easy, but soon, too soon, they have a way of throwing you off balance. Mountains are never that easy.

 

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Oh no! The weight of her shell was pulling her backwards. She was going to fall! In an attempt to stop the backwards momentum, she stretched out all she had, including her neck.

She thought of rock climbers. They never got off balance. Did they? Why not? So what made this turtle get off balance? It was the weight of what it carried on its back. That’s it! It’s the weight of my baggage that makes climbing mountains so hard, she thought excitedly. If I got rid of the baggage – stuff I drag with me from my past, stuff I refuse to let go of because I think I need it – I wouldn’t be losing my balance all the time. And whatever I left behind, God could replace. Right? But… she thought about the turtle shell. The turtle couldn’t just leave its shell behind, could it? The shell was too much a part of it. Just like there were some things she was incapable of leaving behind herself. She watched closely to see how the turtle was going to handle this problem, sensing it would also be an answer for her.

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It worked! She was no longer falling backwards, but she was also not moving forwards. She stretched out her neck even more, giving it everything she had.

Ahh, she thought. The turtle, although it couldn’t take off its shell, did have something with which to counter the balance problem. Its neck! It stuck out its neck! It let itself be vulnerable in order to try to save itself. Isn’t that what Jesus wants us to do – become vulnerable? To open our hearts to Him? To stick out necks, so to speak, in faith, towards others? To love others even when they don’t love us back? To give to those who ask even if it hurts?  But, she wondered, was it going to work?

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Yea! Her shell slowly righted itself and she was back on her feet. Should she go back? This climb was dangerous. She couldn’t have fallen off and landed on her back, not able to move. Besides, all she could see was the rock wall she was climbing. She couldn’t see over the top of those rocks. Was there really shade up there? Or had she just imagined it?

Relief and amazement flooded through her. The turtle was OK. It didn’t fall. It was safe. Or was it? Why wasn’t it moving? Did it change its mind? That’s what she usually did when the way got hard. Insecurities, questions, doubts, and fears all seemed to stop her from getting to the top each time. And each time she was stopped, she returned to the bottom where it was easier. Would the turtle do the same?

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She decided to trust her vision. The possible shade was worth the work and danger of this climb. Deciding to keep her neck out for balance, she began climbing once again.

Nope, the turtle didn’t give up. It knew what it had seen and it wanted it more than it wanted the ease of the sidewalk. That’s what I need to do, she thought. God gives me visions of what’s up there. I need to trust Him and just keep climbing no matter how hard it gets.

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Finally she could see her goal ahead of her. Yes! The shade was real! Excited now, she began to move a little faster.

She was surprised at the envy she felt as the turtle entered the shade. There was shade available in her own life. Promises God had given her. All she had to do was climb the mountain to get there. So why was she envious of a turtle? Maybe because that turtle was more committed than she was?  Maybe because that turtle had more faith than she did? Or maybe because the turtle wanted it more than she did? She knew this turtle had given her a lot to think about.

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She had done it! Here was the promised shade, where she could rest and maybe even catch something to eat. Was the climb worth it? Oh yeah!

Goodbye, little turtle, she thought as she walked away. Thank you for teaching me something I needed to learn today. Maybe someday I’ll make it to the top of one of my mountains just like you did.

Dear Betrayed (from Someone Who Loves You series)

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Three shots in my legs! Three! How could you let her do that to me? I thought you loved me.

Dear Betrayed,

I know you felt betrayed but I never left you. I heard your cries and cried right along with you. I know you’re not able to understand why I allowed this pain into your life, and I’m sorry that it was necessary in this bug filled world. But by allowing this temporary pain, I have given you greater protection from much worse and longer lasting pain in the future. It’s OK for you not to understand. It’s OK for you to cry and get mad. Just know that, since you belong to me, there is always a purpose for any pain I allow in your life. And that all I do, I do out of love for you.

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)   17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)  though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 

 

Do you hear God speaking to you in these letters? If so, it’s no coincidence.  As I write to my new granddaughter, I can hear God speaking to me. And my prayer is that you can also hear Him speaking to you for He loves us even more than I love my granddaughter.

Dear Little Worrywart (from Someone Who Loves You series)

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“Sure, you fed me last time. But will you feed me this time? I’m going to scream just to make sure.” 

Dear Little Worrywart,

Do you not trust me yet to feed you when you get hungry? Since you were born, you’ve been fed around the clock. You never had to miss a feeding. So why do you fret so when you have to wait a few minutes? Relax, dear child, and know your needs will be met in the future as they have been met in the past. It’s my love for you – not your worrying, demanding, fussing, or screaming – that gets you what you need. And I will always love you, now and forever.

Always,

Someone who loves you

Philippians 4:19   And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Do you hear God speaking to you in these letters? If so, it’s no coincidence.  As I write to my new granddaughter, I can hear God speaking to me. And my prayer is that you can also hear Him speaking to you for He loves us even more than I love my granddaughter.

Dear Sleepyhead,

Dear Sleepyhead,

You are so cute I can’t take my eyes from you as you sleep here in my arms. Hours go by as minutes – and still I don’t have my fill of you. I wonder what you are dreaming about, and if you feel the incredible love I have for you. Do you hear me as I whisper to you? Can you feel the strength of my arms keeping you safe as you sleep? Somewhere inside you, I think you do. For when you grow restless in your sleep, all it takes is a few pats to settle you back into the deep, restful sleep you need. And knowing you trust me to watch over you fills my heart to overflowing. I treasure each and every moment I get to spend with you.

Always,

Someone who loves you

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

These letters have double meaning. On the surface they are letters I’m writing to my new granddaughter. But deeper down I hear God telling us the same things.  As you reread them, replace the greeting with your own name, and the closure with God’s name – and get to know the great love God has for you!

Counting On

Chewing on a brownie, she read the title of next short story in her book. It was an odd little book with the oddest stories. But each had a fascination of its own, so she would read one every chance she had, usually during her morning breaks at work. This one was called Counting On. Counting on what, she wondered as she turned the page.

The little girl loved to count. She had to count. She needed to count. But counting on things didn’t always work out for her. Actually, they rarely worked out for her.

Like when she tried counting on her crayons. She would line them up as she counted them. IMG_20180714_101429188One, two, three… until she ran out of crayons. No matter how big the box, she always ran out of crayons. That was bad enough, but the worst part was trying to keep the crayons from rolling around. It seemed most surfaces had some kind of slant to them, no matter how slight, that caused the crayons to roll at the slightest movement. She could sometimes lay them out on the carpet, but then someone usually came along and stepped on them, smashing them down into the ground.

So she tried other things. But nothing seemed to work. Not her beads – they were worse than the crayons. Not her dolls – there weren’t enough of them. Not her cereal – bugs eventually found them.

Finally she thought she had it! Silverware! They didn’t roll and there were plenty of the forks, knives, and spoons in the drawer! So she dumped them all out on the table and began counting them. It worked like a dream… until people began taking them.

“Hey, where did all the spoons go?”

“I need a fork.”

“Excuse me, mind if I take a knife to butter my bread?”

She got frustrated as silverware was taken from her and then returned to the wrong place, if they were returned at all. It got so bad she lost track of what she had counted and what she hadn’t. Didn’t anyone care enough, respect her enough to care where they took and returned the silverware? The hurt and frustration she felt each time finally took its toll and, crying, she gave up.

But her need to count on something remained so she looked for something else to count. Something that didn’t roll or attract bugs. And something that no one would take from her.

Then one day, while out shopping with her mom, she found the perfect thing – a bag of colored glass jewels! Not only did their flat bottoms keep them from rolling, they came in pretty colors. And not being edible, bugs would leave them alone as would everyone else since they were her own property.

For days she happily counted on her jewels, lining them up and enjoying the colors as she counted. She kept them in a velvet bag on top of her dresser when she wasn’t counting them. Whenever she felt the need to count, she would run to her room, grab the bag, dump them out on her bed, and count on them until her need was met.

But one day they weren’t there. She searched frantically as her need grew, until finally she found them behind the dresser. How did they get there? Did someone touch them when she wasn’t around? Relieved that she found them, she didn’t think anymore about their misplacement. That is, until it happened again. And then a third time. After searching, she would end up finding them in odd places. How was that happening? Was someone messing with them – and her? Or was she doing it herself? Was she having memory lapses? In any case, she knew she could no longer trust being able to count on the jewels. She had to find something else.

And then she found IT!

IT was perfect! IT didn’t roll. IT didn’t attract bugs. IT was her own personal property that no one could take, even if they wanted to. And IT was always with her, even when she wasn’t thinking about IT.

IT was her fingers! She could count on them every time she had the need. And when she ran out of fingers, she would just start back on her first finger while counting higher and higher. She found she could count forever with them, if she wanted. She had finally found the perfect thing to count on that would never disappoint!

Closing the book, she thought about what she had just read. Definitely odd, but it reminded her of something. Didn’t everyone have a need to count on something sometimes? Counting on the weather to be nice for a beach day? Counting on a friend to help with a task? Counting on her dog to provide entertainment when she was bored? And didn’t most things turn out to be unreliable at times? Rain instead of sunshine? Friend cancelling at the last minute? Dog too sleepy to play with?

But, she thought, we also have an IT. An amazing IT.  IT’s called Jesus! He’s always with us, no one can take Him from us, and we can count on Him forever!

She set the book down and, wiggling her fingers with a smile, got back to work.