Friday, May 28, 2010

Working with Dad-A Little Girl's Delight

As I sat at the head of the rectangular table, in between two of my students, one of them began to openly share about how she liked working with her dad. "What made you think of that?" I inquired.

"Because I like working and doing things with him and we're working now," she responded.

"What kind of work do you do with him?" I continued to probe.

"We pick the apples and get them for people to see and we put them in a big box," she explained while modeling the size of the crate. By this time, another student chimed in, "I like working with my dad, too."

Both of their dads work on farms. Their work is anything, but glamorous, but to these two girls, it didn't matter. They didn't know the difference. It wasn't about the money. It was about being with their dads. They simply delighted in his presence and doing something to help him.

I can't seem to recall many memories, if any, of just my dad and I working along side one another. There were a few times in the kitchen, as my father, Frank, loved to cook, but not much other than that to remember.

Matthew 28:20 reads, "And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."

Today, the glimmer of joy on my students' faces while they shared how great it is to work with their dads, caught my attention. I was inspired to reflect upon my own experiences and wondered, "How conscience am I of my heavenly Father's presence while working? Do I enjoy it? Do I desire more of it? What am I doing to help Him?"

I think little girls never outgrow needing a daddy. Needing his presence, his strength, and knowing she has an important role to play in helping him. My students relish in that now and I can, too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Laughter Brings Healing

My friend, Dee's husband, Bill had just fallen and broken his hip two days ago. I was hoping to visit him yesterday, but didn't make it. Today, Pastor Marlow asked, "What room is he in? How do we find him?"

Dee responds, "Just look for the bed with all the nurses around it." The congregation chuckled in unison. Everyone knows, Bill loves to talk. When he got baptized a few years ago, Pastor Marlow spoke of how there are no strangers in Bill's life, just people he hasn't met yet. He is a wonderful example of Proverbs 18:24 which reads, " A man who has friends must himself be friendly.."

This afternoon, many of those friends popped into visit Bill. About 4:00 p.m. my friend, Rita and I waltzed into his room to see him sitting up in his hospital bed. "Who's there?," he asked while straining to make out our faces. His wire rim glasses were setting on the end table next to him.

"It's Rita and Leighann, Bill. How are you?," I asked. He put his glasses on. "Now I can see everybody," he responded. It wasn't more than ten minutes later, his wife, Dee walked in with more friends. "Surrounded by beautiful women," we teased him. Bill smiled. As our cajoling heightened, one of the nurses came to close the door so others were not disturbed. Dee commented, "These are the church people."

The party continued to grow with an additional four people from church showing up to visit Bill. Bill shared how blessed he felt to have so many friends around that cared. We joked, laughed, and prayed together for him. When the nurse entered to check his IV bag he asked, "Is it OK that I have all these people up here?"

"Of course, that's the best medicine," she responded.

Bill told us how he had little to no pain after his surgery. Today, he looked great! He had color in his face and was looking forward to getting up and around for more activity. It reminded me of the surgery I had four or five years ago. I too, had little to no pain. Every day got better. God's grace along with the love and support of so many, carried me onward and upward to a great recovery. It was so much so that the woman in the bed next to me asked a nurse, "What about her? What is she taking? I want what she's taking."

God is great and the healing He brings through laughter and cheer is better than any drug a hospital will ever give you!

Proverbs 17:22 reads, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

I thank God for the friends, family, and laughter He has brought into my life and given me to share with others. I thank God for people like Bill and Dee, who are an inspiration and reminder of how good He is. He is a God who loves people and hence must be quite friendly and enjoy great laughter Himself, for this is how He often brings healing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And the Winner Is...........

"Holy Cow!," I blurted out. In amazement, I stared at the hand dealt me, which included three two's. Two's are wild in Ulcer Rummy. The first hand, I didn't even have a chance to lay down. The second hand I did, but never went out. This time, I might just have a chance of winning the hand with the new cards I had been dealt.

After a few cycles around the table, I was finally able to lay some cards down. Two sets of three and a run of four. I carefully kept an eye on my friendly competitors. It wasn't long before they had laid down their sets and runs, as well. However, much to my surprise, I did not win this hand. Instead, Tom, the only male at this Saturday's card night, had.

Two rounds later, I had still not won a single hand. However, I was able to lay most of my cards down. I just never went out. Want to know who won the game? After five hands and never winning a single round, yours truly had the lowest number of points, seventy-five.

Tom asked, "How is that possible?"

Following him, Kathleen commented, "So you don't need to go out to win. You just have to be able to lay most of your cards down to get the lowest score."

It reminded me of another game night when many of us did not even get a chance to lay down. During the first two hands, Andy, the second person in the cycle, immediately went out. She won both of those rounds. She didn't win the game though. How the tables turned as the night progressed. As the hours passed, I had been able to lay some cards down, but never go out. By the end of the night though, I had the lowest score again.

Upon waking the next morning, I reflected on my past evening's winnings and thought, "God, that was so wild! I hadn't even gone out and I was still able to win. How did that happen?"

So many times in life, one can feel as if, "What's the use?; Life's not fair!; or Will I ever get that chance? When?" We never know what life will deal us. Sometimes the cards are great, other times not so great, and then there are the times you just want to throw the whole deck out and start again.

We all hope for those big breaks. We hope. We pray. We dream. If we could only have a few of those wild cards passed to us, the golden opportunity, the break through, etc. etc. However, life appears to promise us nothing more than death and taxes. We're told these are the only two things we can be sure of, or are they?

During my morning meditation, I was greatly encouraged. I believe God was saying to me, "Show up. Play the game. Do the best you can with the cards you are dealt and leave the results to me. It's not over, til its over!"

The closest scripture I can think of to support this is in Galatians 6:9 "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

If we stand fast, do our best, and have faith, we'll be amazed at how God multiplies our efforts.

Then we will be able to say as the apostle Paul did in 1 Timothy 4:7-8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day-and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is That You, God?

"Oh, crap!," I blurted out. While driving home from work, I suddenly realized that the text message I received on Tuesday afternoon cancelling my appointment was probably not from Elliot. Earlier that day, I received an email from a friend apologizing for missing our appointment and asking to reschedule. Without thinking, I responded that next Tuesday would be fine. It was only later on the way home, that it hit. She must have been referring to Tuesday, only I did not have it written down that we were meeting. The only meeting I knew I had was with Elliot at the church office to discuss possibilities for an upcoming video. Tuesday's text message read: "I'm at an appointment with my son and will not make it back to the office in time for our appointment. Can I email you to reschedule." Although I did not recognize the number and there was no name at the end of the text, I just assumed it was Elliot. He has a son, works in an office, and we had appointment at 4:15 pm that day. However, days had gone by and no email from Elliot. Then I got an email from my friend earlier this day. Agh!!!!!!! How could I do this? How could I have missed it? After pulling into the parking lot, I rushed upstairs to call Elliot. "Hello, this is Elliot."

"Hi Elliot. It's Leighann. Did you send me a text message Tuesday cancelling our appointment?"

"No, I was there," he responded. My heart sank. I felt so bad! I proceeded to explain the mix up while apologizing. He actually got a chuckle out it. What a weird coincidence to say the least. We rescheduled for the following Tuesday and I had another phone call to make, now cancelling the other appointment with my friend for Tuesday.

As if this wasn't bad enough, it was only the beginnings of mix ups for the week and an important lesson to be learned. On Friday, I rolled over to read 6:57 a.m. on my digital clock. The alarm had never gone off, but I knew I had enough time to get ready. So I thought, that is. After plopping down on my plaid sofa for morning devotions, I glanced up at the living room clock. The wall clock read 7:45 a.m. "That can't be right," I thought to myself. I figured the battery had stopped and began with my morning's reading. Out of habit, I glanced to my right again to discover the clock now read 7:55 a.m. "What's going on?" I blurted out. I jumped up and rushed from room to room checking all my clocks, until I finally grabbed my cell phone. Lit up in white was the time 7:52 a.m. AGHHHHHHHHH!!!! How could I have missed it? What happened???? I threw on some jean capri's, a printed top, washed my face, brushed my hair and quickly grabbed my stuff rushing out the door for work. I ended up being 10 to 15 minutes late. On the way there, I surmised the power had probably gone out the day before from turbulent winds, but instead of flashing, my clock just read the wrong time.

Tuesday it was a matter of not checking the source and this day I was deceived by my digital alarm clock. I had not investigated further upon seeing a discrepancy with the living room wall clock. What a week! What a lesson!

Matthew 10:16 reads, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves."

God spoke volumes to me through these situations about the importance of checking sources and validating facts. Often I struggle with thoughts and question God. Here God was saying to me, "Where are you getting your facts from? What is the source?"

Elliot has a son, works in an office and we did have an appointment that Tuesday afternoon, but it was not him who sent me the text cancelling. It caused me to reflect on the sorts of things I have been attributing to God lately. Yes, He is sovereign. Yes He allows all kinds of crazy things to happen down here and in His sovereignty directs some pretty frustrating circumstances to come about, but He is not the author of evil. In Psalm 5:4 David wrote, "You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked can not dwell."

I have no idea how all of this functions and still find myself frustrated by it from time to time, but I do know it is easy to be duped into believing something that is not true if I'm not careful. "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."(II Corinthians 11:14 NIV)

Yet, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you; God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."(I John 1:5 NIV)