Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pocket Full of Kisses, Heart Full of Your Word

I read an adorable book to my daughter this afternoon -- Take a Kiss to School by Mary McAllister. When young Digby, the mole, gets scared about being at school and not having his mommy with him, his mom blows kisses into her cupped hands and fills up the pocket of his jacket with them. Then throughout the day he can grab one and press it to his cheek to feel more confident and secure. When Digby's pocket gets torn he loses his kisses and has to find his strength without them.

As I read the book I was struck by God's timing. This week in our Bible study we were introduced to the Kisses from the King concept. God was using a children's book to drive home a message -- to kiss me.

I have hidden your word in my heart...
Psalm 119:11

When we memorize Scripture and hide God's word in our hearts we are investing in future kisses. In those times of trouble or when we need a shot of confidence or just need to be kissed by our Creator, God brings forth something we've tucked away.

With Heavenly warmth He touches His lips to your cheek and reminds you of the love letter He wrote to you. Reminds you that you are not alone...He is there.

And our hearts won't rip and let all the kisses fall out. We don't ever have to figure out where our strength comes from now that we've run out of kisses for our Father.

I'm in the midst of a trying week, and I have just loved how God has chosen to remind me that I am His and He is walking with me. I hate that so often I am mired in my own bog of selfishness and I miss the banners God is flying all around me.

Today, I am trying to see them.

Today, I am reminding myself to listen.

Today, I feel the kisses.

Three small girls singing "Mighty to Save" on the front porch today - touches on the devotional I read this morning that spoke of childlike faith and innocence.

A randomly chosen story book from the library -- reminds me I can carry kisses in my heart.

Standing in my garden, watering my cucumbers wondering what it was like for Adam & Eve to walk in the garden with God and realizing that while I couldn't see His face I was walking with Him just the same.

I love the awesomeness of our God! That the same power that calmed the seas and moved mountains is directed at my tiny heart with the sole intention of making me feel loved.

How am I worth that power? That love?

I'll never know.

But, I can promise that the next time I feel that Heavenly warmth on my cheek I'll smile...for I've been kissed by my King.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What did He give you a heart for?

I love to people watch. Always have. There is something intriguing about watching people go about their normal day, especially when they pay not attention to you. Perhaps that is why reality became such a big hit -- I'm not the only one that likes to people watch.

For the last few years, however, my people watching has taken on a new shape or at least a new thought process.

I watch... she loads her grocery cart cooing at the infant wriggling in the seat. she shuffles her feet along the sidewalk keeping up with her aging husband. she sits in traffic rubbing her temples and singing along with the radio. she sits alone in church not making eye contact with anyone.

I wonder...
Who is she?
Is she happy? Sad?
Lonely? Overcommited?
Skilled? Passionate?
Does she know Him?

At our former church I stumbled into Women's Ministry (don't you just love when you finally bumble your way into exactly where God wants you?). Anyway, I had access to a house in the mountains and thought, hmmm, women's retreat? We planned a little retreat (18 ladies or so) and with that a ministry was born and a passion was unearthed.

Oh lovely it is to see how God knits women's hearts together to share friendship and faith. How touching the lives of one woman as ripple affect through her family, her friends, her neighborhood and community. I was hooked.

Giving women a chance and space to be just daughters of the King, to share their burdens and their laughter and strengthen their faith. I love how God used everything we did to open doors and relationships -- one woman came to a Christmas party which lead to her coming to church and eventually her husband was saved (um, anyone see a God light on that path??). God was always, always doing something and letting the women minister to each other.

And then, we left that church. I left "my" ministry. And when we finally landed at a new church I didn't see any open windows or doors and thought perhaps God had other plans and that was okay.

And then I started people watching again, and...

...well... know...

God gave me a heart for women.

We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:8
That's what it is all about, right there. Women are relational. We learn to adore and love one another, and God uses that to share Himself.
The last few weeks I have been asking for prayer for direction and wisdom about ministry. Let me tell you, I'm still clueless as to the how but I know the what! I just see opportunities everywhere -- I get ideas from standing in line at the grocery store for goodness sake!
Like the bat signal in the skies of Gotham God's fixin' to cast a light on path in my life. And, wow, do I love it when I finally bumble (again) into something God wants me to be doing.
Where and when do your passions ignite? Don't know? Ask Him to show you. He is always faithful.
He'll cast the light...will you walk the path?
What has God give you a heart for?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kisses from the King

What a privilege I had today. I got to attend a new Bible study. What lovely women graced the room. It was so easy to see the beauty God weaves into the tapestry of our lives as I looked around the room -- the ages, experiences, the love for our Savior. We're barely out of the gate and I'm already praising God for this group!

When I came home today I went back and read the beginning of the workbook. (Oh! We are doing the study Falling in Love With Jesus) And I came across something that made my heart soar and my eyes well up with tears.

Here's an excerpt:

"We pray that your quiet time with the Lord will become a time you will begin to anticipate eagerly because you are receiving kisses from the King. (A kiss from the King, according to rabbinical tradition, is a living word from Scripture. When a verse leaps out at you and you have the sense that God has spoken personally to you, you have been kissed by the King."

Kisses from the King.

Kisses from my King.

Can you imagine?

So, it gets better. Have you had those times when God continually puts something in front of you? Lately He has been doing that with me. One verse. And it was in the first lesson of the study that we did today.

A kiss. I got a kiss!!

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Rejoice over me with singing? Over me?

We were discussing what that would like -- God's rejoicing over us. And while I couldn't draw that picture but I did draw a parallel. When Isabel was a few days old I was in her room rocking her in the glider. As I held my baby girl (one that God had blessed me with the opportunity to parent) and looked around her nursery I was overcome with love and joy. And I began to sing to her. There with my baby clutched to my chest I filled that room with my joy in song.

Now, let's paint with broader strokes. At this very moment, the God of the universe is holding you and singing over you! Your heart and love makes His heart smile! WOW!

So, how cool was it that this Kiss from the King was about all the ways He loves me -- He spends time with me, saves me, delights in me, comforts me and, yes, He sings over me!

I can't imagine what the pages of this study will hold for me, but I do know that if this where it starts out God has some awesome things planned!

I can't wait to get up tomorrow and do the next lesson. As the alarm goes off in the morning I will hear these words in my heart...

My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me."

May I go with You everywhere, Jesus. Everywhere!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Okay, so this week it has rained and been steamy hot and sunny off and on. And you know what really likes that kind of weather?


I have had to do very little gardening this year and when I went out to check the need for watering this evening I was shocked to see the jungle that is sprouting around my little garden plot in the backyard. Oh man! Guess I know what I am doing tomorrow, huh?

If you've been with me for the last few weeks and sporadic posts you know that God has been doing some awesome works in me. I'm growing, too. Perhaps not quite as fast as the weeds outback, but there is growth nonetheless. I'm working on being a better wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, chief bottle washer and all the other jobs/titles I hold here in the home.

Plant gardens and eat what they produce. Jeremiah 29:5

But perhaps my favorite part of the growth this year is my garden. I love it. I love to water, weed, clip, cut, pinch back flowers, pray over the gardens, and I know I will love to harvest. There is something about planting, tending to, pruning and caring for plants. Maybe it is just playing in the dirt, I don't know. From the day I started tilling the ground for the little plot out back (we also have several containers) I have asked God to be with me in the garden -- help me care of it, harvest it and contribute to the nutrition of our family. Help me be that woman, Lord.

Every day I tend my garden, so that the plants are healthy and bear fruit. And as I was pulling up the mushrooms that seem to really like to grow in my Basil bed a verse came to mind...

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1-2
Oh, how I want to be fruitful. To be the branch that produces for my Gardener. I seem to be in a season of life that brings much pruning, but the assurance in this verse that it is for my growth makes me want to rewind the tape of my life and take back all the complaints!!
In these coming days of weeding (both literally and figuratively) in my life I look forward to growing more in Christ and taking another step toward becoming that woman.