What Do You See?


Presently I’m in Cambodia & this morning I was meandering around one of the neighborhoods where we provide nightcare with Saving Moses. This is always a tough neighborhood for me because of the immensity of the needs I see & feel. But it’s also a warm place for me because of the people I recognize every time, their kindness & warm acceptance. So this morning I was in this neighborhood and kind of taking in everything again. As I looked down one of the alleyways, I saw a small women & waved at her. She smiled quietly back at me. I felt drawn to her, so I walked closer & greeted her in my limited Khmer language. She was warm but respectful so I kept walking closer until I was standing just outside the opening of the space of her home. She was friendly but not overly welcoming. I peaked my head around the corner & observed a woman trying to get herself into sitting position. I could immediately tell that there was a significant physical ailment by the degree of struggle this women undertook to sit up. No joke, it took her between 2-3min to get herself upright. I kept watching to figure out what was going on with her. Her belly was really distended, so initially I thought she was pregnant, but dismissed this immediately because this was something different. She opened her shirt at her belly, revealing a swollen stomach like I’ve never seen, ever. I forced myself to not pull back from shock & tried to process what was wrong. Because I was by myself there was no help for me with any conversation, so I just stood there for what seemed a long time, unsure what to do. As I got my bearings, I felt in my heart that I was to pray for her and that was extremely helpful because I wasn’t just a helpless spectator to her pain & struggle. I stepped into the room and asked if I could pray (by that time, my translator friend came to help me). I began praying for her & also listening in my heart on how / what to pray. Of course I wanted to see some immediate evidence of healing & she did express that the pain she was experiencing was diminishing. I’ll go back tomorrow & check on her.

Seeing things that are atrocious can shock is into freeze mode or we can look to the Holy Spirit to help us be vessels for healing & divine love. Let’s chose love rather than be repelled by sickness & disease!

Can’t See Well

I’m learning in the concussion recovery process that sometimes I don’t see well. Indeed, on Monday I visited an eye dr who specializes in vision help for people with brain injuries. My appointment showed me some interesting problems with my vision that I wasn’t aware of – my peripheral vision is messed up, my depth perception is off & sometimes my visions gets blurry because my brain is tired. All of these difficulties have come from hitting my head really hard. 
Sometimes I think there’s a parallel truth that happens in our lives. If we go through a traumatic event, let’s be really careful that our perspective doesn’t get changed in negative & debilitating ways. Let’s be sure to keep our eyes on Jesus & our hearts tenderly in love with Him, being fully confident that He is working out everything to be a blessing & not a curse to us – Rom 8:28 🙂

Feel free to pass this along to any friends who might be in s difficult season!

crowds

Yesterday, I mentioned a few thoughts about being alone so I thought it fitting to look at the other side today – crowded. Some people love crowds & revel in the energy, noise & pulsation of people collections – concerts, mosh pits, congregations, World Series & symphonies come to mind. 
If you struggle with crowds, here are some ideas from Jesus’ skin time:

  • Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw a crowd
  • Jesus saw & crowd & their need for leadership (sheep without a shepherd)
  • Jesus knew that a crowd was the conduit for His necessary crucifixion & ultimate resurrection. 

Let’s see crowds & more importantly people, from God’s perspective: individuals available for redemption & reconciliation 🙂

Power View

I had a friend who wrestled with anorexia & bulimia. It was an entirely awful thing to watch her in this struggle & I couldn’t grasp how she could think she was overweight when the scale said 72lbs & she was like 5’7″. Despite numerous indicators that she was not fat or overweight, she still kept this mindset & it ripped me up. As she struggled with this challenge, I did my level best to be a supportive friend but there was nothing I could do to change her perspective. 
The vision she had of herself was defective & didn’t match truth, so this vision was inherently destructive. If we aren’t careful, our perspective & vision can be smoked with deception & distortion by the devil. This is why it’s absolutely critical that we live in Romans 12:1-2. Don’t be conformed to the world but be transformed by renewing your mind. Let’s choose power vision rather defective vision 🙂

Forget About It

“You’re not bitter about that are you?” My husband can be very poignant when he senses an area where I might be a little shady. So his question last night, in the middle of our discussion about some of my high school experiences, was a “nice” depth charge, sort of. In my guts, I know he’s right & I appreciate his help because I know he loves me, even though I don’t always relish these chats. 
Paul tells us in Philippians 3 that he forgets the past so he can press on toward the future. While I know that we can’t ignore or deny the past, there’s still heaps of wisdom & value in letting the past fade to grey & focus forward to God’s plans & purposes for our lives 🙂

Sometimes you just gotta forget about it & move on!

a million little pieces

Ever had a day when your mind is more easily distracted than usual?  Today, I find myself flitting from one thing to another, getting distracted, remembering to go do a quick task, then getting sidetracked with just little distractions and . . . . .   So I have a million little things I need to finish & all of which are only partially complete, hence the title to this blog, a million little pieces.  Unfortunately, I don’t have unlimited time to accommodate this kind of craziness, so I need to crank down on my focus and stick to one task & finish it before I move to something else – like finishing this blog before I try to figure out why the music isn’t playing on my phone, or checking emails, FB, etc.

All of this helps me appreciate all the more when Jesus applauded Mary for the Main Thing, the main thing in Luke 10:42 🙂

Focus grasshopper, there’s lots to get done!

Watch out!

I recently read in Genesis how Jacob did some creative things with sticks being stripped & spotted around the goats, sheep & livestock for which he was responsible. Jacob put these decorated sticks in the feeding troughs for the animals that were particularly robust but removed the sticks when the sickly animals came to feed. The result was that he acquired boatloads of speckled, spotted & striped livestock who were really sturdy 🙂
While, we now have scientific evidence about genetics with dominant & recessive traits passed along family lines, I still think it’s important to consider our focus. 

I find that the longer I focus on something, the more absorbed I become in that focus. The more I’m absorbed, the more influenced I become & eventually, my behaviors & attitudes get shaped by that focus. 

So let’s be mindful about where we focus 🙂

Getting Good Out of Pain

I don’t like pain & I don’t know anyone who does. When I think about pain, it brings to mind various times in my life:
*when my basketball team lost our final game when I was a Sr in high school

*friendships gone sour

*when I was learning to snowboard & got a concussion through my helmet

*hurtful words ripping into tender heart spots

*watching one of my kids getting hurt
So how can we get some good out of pain? Here are a few ideas:

*pain is good because it tells us that something is wrong – consider how much more injury happens when you can’t feel something

*growing pains – sometimes it hurts to learn but it’s far more painful to remain ignorant

*sometimes pain develops strength, perseverance & character: these are benefits that yield more dividends than the investments 

*pain is destructive when we quagmire, ruminate & stagnant in it; 

*look up, look ahead & keep going if you want to get some good stuff out of pain!

Hot Topic: I have a dream!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day!  In the US, today is a national holiday to honor Dr Martin Luther King Jr, a great leader in the Civil Rights Movement who was tragically assasinated in the prime of his life.  He’s famous for lots of things, but one of the things I love most about what we know of Dr King today is his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Despite facing atrocious, violent & barbaric opposition, Dr King persevered and overcame racial hatred, not with escalated violence, barbaric behavior & atrocious activism, but rather through exposing hatred, acrimony and injustice by contrasting behaviors and examples.  I think in each of us, God has placed a dream for something far greater and more powerful than our current living.  The dream that God has put in each of us is the beginning of something thoroughly divine, powerful and revolutionary.  If you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible – full stop.

internal conversations

It’s important to consider / take an inventory of the thoughts that we allow to run around in our minds.  Such thoughts can have a significant impact on our decisions & behaviors.  For example, there have been many occassions where I’ve been in situations that were way beyond my skill set & I was in way over my head (sometimes in various leadership roles, sometimes in athletic competitions & often in my role as a mom).  There have also been situations where I’ve felt entirely confident, secure & proficient, to the point of being over-confident, cocky & even arrogant.

What we think in our minds is extremely important & I was reminded of this lesson from reading about the woman with the issue of blood in Matthew 9:21. In this verse it says, “. . . . ‘she said in herself, if I can touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed.'”  The outcome of the story is that she was healed, but her mindset was an important ingredient for her healing.  Some take aways from her internal conversation:

  • keep your eyes on Jesus more than fear, inabilty or even talent
  • nothing is impossible with Jesus
  • don’t quit / give up 🙂

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

look up

I was recently in Ethiopia & on a drive into the countryside, we took a pause to get out & stretch our legs.  As I was enjoying the nice weather, beautiful surroundings, listening to new bird sounds and taking in some nice fresh air, I quickly became alert that I needed to watch where I was stepping because of some conveniently deposited refuse from nearby wildlife (translation:  cow pies).  Nimble is a word that comes to mind as I write this 🙂

Sometimes we can get really focused in on our daily living and endeavoring the various “cow pies” that can unexpectedly jump onto our path.  Of course we must be careful where & how we walk (making wise & spiritual choices), but let’s also lift up our eyes & look up.  It’s really tempting to go through life looking for ways to avoid cow pies, but that’s never as rewarding as going through life with our eyes on Jesus, our Good Shepherd 🙂

X-ray Vision

I’ve always thought it was cool how superman could see through stuff like walls, metal chests & more. He could see through things that had substance.
In a similar way, I’d like to see through the immediate to the ultimate. Sometimes I get fixated on the temporal: budgets, pressure, bad grades, trying to get in shape & more. I’ve found it immensely helpful to look beyond the immediate struggles & keep my eyes on Jesus my ultimate passion. Yes, there are deadlines, struggles, pressures, disappointments & more. But if we ask God to help us see through the immediate to the ultimate, then the immediate can receive the proper perspective adjustment & become less overwhelming 🙂

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staying power

Holy Cow!  That was Jeroboam’s solution to help him stay in power as the king of Israel, even though God had obviously put him in this position.  I was reading this morning (1 Kings 7) about how God spoke to Jeroboam through a prophet & told him that he was going to be the king of Israel.  When Jeroboam became the king, he got really jittery about keeping his power & decided that his kingdom needed it’s own set of gods, festival days, worship routines, etc that would exclude anything from the Temple in Jerusalem or the worship of the true God, as outlined by Moses.

Jeroboam was put in the position of king by God’s power but he didn’t stay long because he decided to trust in his own methods & efforts rather than trusting in God.  In my thinking, there’s no staying power of any lasting value that doesn’t include trusting in our Triune God 🙂

optical illusions

escher

 

One of my favorite guys who did amazing illusion work was Escher.  Whenever I look at his work, it always takes me some time to pause and think about what I’m seeing or not seeing.  This idea about considering what we are looking at is really important, particularly when we look at people.  Jesus was really good at seeing people beyond any optical illusions – He sees directly into our hearts and knows us for who we really are & continues to love us deeply & wholly.  Let’s endeavor to see people beyond any optical illusions, filters, false pretensions or misconceptions.  Let’s see people through the lense of genuine love 🙂

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone

I took my son to the eye doctor today to see what corrections he may need & guess what?!  His eyes have changed – ALOT!  Basically, his long distance vision is blurry at best & more often non-existent.  Thankfully, the eye doctor is extremely good & very patient, as my son can be kind of engergetic.  He’ll get some glasses in the next week or so and will probably be really amazed at the significant improvement that he’ll see.

I think that sometimes our walk with God can be a little bit like our natural vision: we can be near-sighted or sometimes far-sighted.  But no matter where we focus best, we can be totally certain that God is always with us regardless of what we see or where we focus 🙂