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.

Swaddled in God’s Love

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Wrapped up in gentle feelings of His love, we are quiet. The warmth and strength of his embrace gives us the security and comfort we crave.

It’s like how Aryn sleeps peacefully while swaddled.

But take that swaddling away and she becomes very restless.

Eyes closed, she uses her arms to seek out the embrace she is missing. If only she would open her eyes, she would see that she was still being watched, guarded from danger, and loved.

Yet…

It’s not the swaddling that keeps her safe and secure. It’s the one who wrapped her in it.

It’s not the feeling of God’s embrace that keeps us safe and secure. It’s the One who embraces us, whether we feel Him or not.

Rachel’s Story, part 3: BP Roller Coaster

With her new baby doing well in the Level Two nursery, Rachel should have been able to relax and concentrate on recovery from her c-section. However, her blood pressure just IMG_20180625_101321910would not be controlled. Time after time, nurses would come in to check it. Rachel would feel relieved and hopeful when it was lower, but then get frustrated when it climbed back up. No one ever knew from reading to reading what it would be. Rachel grew to dread the readings, which only made it worse.

“It’ll come down,” the nurses would tell her. “Just give it time.”

After several days, Rachel wasn’t surprised to find her blood pressure medication was being changed yet again. Because she was attempting to breast feed, she couldn’t be on her pre-pregnancy medication which had worked well for her. And the doctors and nurses here at the hospital hadn’t found the right medication at the right dosage to bring about the same results. Her blood pressure continued to range from really low to dangerously high, with most being on the high side.

“Don’t worry,” they all told her. “We’ll get this worked out.” But how could she not worry? She knew the risks associated with high blood pressure. She began to practice zoning out each time they placed the cuff on her. She focused on nothing, breathing deep and slow, until the machine beeped. Then she’d look over at it, at first hopeful, but later with pessimism as her own attempt to help lower it failed.

She tried to keep her thoughts on other things. She didn’t like watching TV but she had her cell phone and lap top and lots of friends on-line. Her husband and parents stayed with her as long as they could. Her mom even slept in the room with her, providing someone to talk to and a distraction when needed. She tried pumping every three hours although her milk had not come in yet which gave her something else she could focus on. That one or two clear drops the machine managed to get from her were taken directly to the nurses each time by whoever was in the room because Rachel limited the number of times she got out of bed. She worried that moving around would raise her blood pressure even more, so she kept herself as still as she could.

“You need to walk,” her mom would tell her. “Walking might help lower your blood pressure.”

“You need to walk,” her dad would tell her. “Walking can’t hurt you and it might even help you.”

“You might want to walk,” her nurses told her. “If you’re up to it, you could walk a lap around the nurses work station. It will help you.”

But Rachel was never up to it. She wanted her blood pressure to come down first. She didn’t want a heart attack. However, she did give in eventually and started walking very short distances before asking for the wheelchair.

A couple more days went by. Nurses continued taking frequent blood pressure readings, Rachel continued to practice zoning out each time, her doctor sought the help of another doctor who had more experience with resistant high blood pressure, and many people were praying for her. The maternity ward just happened to be pretty empty so the nurses were able to spend a lot of time giving her personal care – reassuring and encouraging her throughout those long days and nights.

Yet nothing seemed to be working. As the numbers neared 200, her thoughts began to drift towards what might happen if they couldn’t get it down. She could have a stroke. She could die. And the words to a popular song that kept coming back to her didn’t help. “Help me want the Healer.more than the healing..”

Finally, in the middle of the fifth night, she could no longer hold it in and she began to cry. “I know God has a plan. But what if His plan is for me to die?”

“Don’t worry about that,” her mom tried to comfort her. “God will take care of you.”

“It’s not me I’m worried about,” she cried harder. “It’s Aaron and the baby. What will it do to them?” She went into the bathroom and closed the door.

Her mom, at a loss for words, decided to turn on some worship music. Maybe filling the room with the presence of God through the music would help. She pulled up one of her favorite Christian radio stations on her lap top and set the volume to provide soft background music. Then she prayed. She knew the struggle her daughter was going through. Did her daughter’s deep faith and trust in God with everyday concerns extend towards trusting Him with her life, even if that meant leaving her husband and baby alone? Did she truly believe the words she said and sang so often?

Rachel emerged from the bathroom and got back into her bed. “I just had a thing with God and told Him my life was in His hands,” she told her mom. They talked a few more minutes, then got quiet as they focused on the music. Eventually both fell asleep.

The next day, the hospital specialist came to see her. She was put on a high dose of a second medication later that day, which began to have positive results. By the following day, her blood pressure was at an acceptable level and was no longer roller coasting up and down. She was not checked as often, and was soon taken off all monitors. And then came the best news of all – she was being discharged from the hospital!

While waiting for the discharge papers, Rachel and her mom talked about that night when Rachel broke.

“I think you passed that test,” her mom said.

“That was intense,” Rachel answered.

“I went through an intense test last week when I didn’t get to be here for the baby’s birth, but I’ve got to say, your test went to a much deeper level.”

“I hope I never get tested again,”

“I wish I could assure you that this was the final test, but I’m afraid there will be others.”

They both sighed, knowing it was true. As their faith continued to deepen and grow, there would be more tests, each time revealing their hearts and strengthening their relationship with God. But it was worth it. God was worth it.IMG_20180619_140537869

By lunchtime, Rachel had signed the discharge papers and she was free. At the beginning of her pregnancy, her doctor had asked her what her goal was. “To walk out of the hospital” she had said. That afternoon, as she walked through the exit door, her goal was met.

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But now she had a second goal. She might be free, but her baby was still in baby jail. Time to break her baby out!

To be continued one more time.

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 3

Here is my third and final quote:

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I can’t see the future. I can’t see how my decisions today are going to impact my future. I can’t figure out everything I need to do today to make my future a good one. I can’t see how all the details in my life – both good and bad – are going to work together for the future God promises me. But I know the One who can. And I can trust that He knows what I need to know and experience today that will get me to that future. All I really need to do is listen, obey, and enjoy the ride.

And that includes becoming the person He made me to be.

And a bonus quote I just ran into…

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just because it made me laugh.

I laughed again at Dorci Harris’ response: “Oh yes, they can swim. They can float, dive and hold their breath. For years. But only God can walk on water.”  Let’s hope more of our enemies are like the Eygptians who got swallowed by the Red Sea than the ones Dorci it talking about!

 

Thank you again Sue Love at Run With It for nominating me for this Three Day Quote Challenge.

Now I would like to nominate  Faith on the Farm for the 3 Day Quote Challenge because she reminds me of my brother and his family who live on a plot of land with all kinds of animals also. Faith on the Farm is an awesome name and just right for this lovely Christian girl sharing her faith!

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Comfort Zone

She liked her space. It might be little but it was comfortable. And as long as she stayed within the borders, she was safe.img_20180604_222230603-e1528169750779.jpg

“You can stay there if you want,” God said to her. “But if you do, you will miss so many amazing experiences with Me.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, confused. “You’re here with me. What else do I need?”

“Yes,” He reassured her. “I am there with you. Always. But I am not just there. There is so much more to life in Me than what you find in your little space. If you are brave enough to step outside the border, you will experience Me in ways you can’t even imagine. You will see me do things that no one else can do, some of them even through you. You will walk with me in places you never thought possible. Your life will be full of excitement, possibilities, victories, and satisfactions that is not possible in your comfortable spa.

“But isn’t there danger out there? Can’t I get lost or hurt or scared out there?”

“Yes, there is always a risk. But I will be with you so you need not fear. All you need to do is decide if a deeper life with Me is worth the risk.”

She thought about that. Sure, she’d be fine in her small comfortable safe place. And God even said it was OK for her to stay there. But what would she be missing out on? Did she love Him enough – trust Him enough – to dare going beyond her self-imposed boundary?

 

Do you?