Late Night Talkin’

Digging through my files I find “Late Night Talkin'”, written in the summer of 2009.

As I read through the lyrics it isn’t hard to remember what event inspired me to write.

When your kids are small, and they scrape their knees, you get the colorful cartoon band-aids out and then follow it up with a barrage of tender kisses.  All is forgotten and healed in a matter of seconds.

When they’re not so small, and their first love rejects them, no amount of mama’s kisses will do.  So I spent a lot of late nights talking to Jesus.

“Late Night Talkin'”

Use to be I spent a lot of time dreaming, who would I fall in love with?

What would his name be and how many children, would God choose to give?

Well the wedding was sweet and my lover so fine,

and our children are better than best,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was good, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’ asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

Now we always tell them to never stop dreaming, nothing is too far to reach.

Trust in the Father, and honor your parents, and be the best you can be.

Well the journey starts sweet but the world isn’t kind

and we all end up put to the test,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was could, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’, asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

Believe and Go Deeper

Life is short and full of mystery.  Unfortunately it is also full of pain, and distraction.

All I can think of lately is how I want to go deeper.  How do we make the most of the time we have?  There’s so many unanswered questions.  They don’t make me distrust my heavenly Father.  Instead they bring me to the never-ending crossroads of life, where we can either accept what is around us or change it.

Even having noble desires like changing the world can get in the way.  And so for this morning, I am going to focus on asking the Holy Spirit to change me.  Take me deeper!  Settling for that which keeps my spirit eyes horizontal is not my goal.

So how do I go deeper, or higher?  How do I rise above my circumstances, what ever they may be and see a spirit’s eye view? How do I live in the moment with the power of Christ surging through my veins, in order that each moment that follows will reveal more of His glory?

I believe.

I believe in God and that He sent His one and only Son to die for me, and I will fight every distraction not to forget it. I will embrace every joy and sorrow because He asks me to.

I believe.

The Bible is truth and records history in order to help us not repeat it. God’s Word can take us deeper, and higher and keep our eyes fixed on Him.

It’s very simple, but because He asks us to come to Him, that He may give us rest – we run away all the more and try everything else, just in case we might miss out on something…sound familiar?

Do you want to understand the mystery of life?  Lift your eyes towards heaven and dig deep into His truth.  Get to know Jesus more.  Believe, and put on your boxing gloves.  Believing is not for cowards.  Then the fight really starts.  Every distraction you could possibly think of will try to pull you away – but don’t give in.

Believe and go deeper.

 

 

Christmas Hope

Everyone needs some.  It is invisible almost all year round, but at Christmas time, if you look carefully you can see where it came from.

I heard about it year after year but never really got it until tragedy struck.  You don’t have to be broken to receive it, but it helps.  Because when we are broken, we realize we need it  more than anything else in the world.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, in fact once you find it, you still need to be reminded it is there.  Life is hard.  I’m not talking about the job you may not like, or the child who is acting up.  I’m talking about the spouse who left, or the child who died.  Maybe you have healed up pretty good and are trying to move on.

I have to grab on and hang on to it really tight, not just every Christmas but every day, and I am never disappointed.

Have a listen and grab onto some Christmas Hope.

 

While Waiting in Line at the Store

I didn’t have much time before I had to be back at work, but that didn’t seem to be as pressing as I thought, because I saw a man’s face in the crowd, and uncontrollably blurted out “hello”, followed by his name.  I hadn’t seen him in years, and yet I somehow knew his name.

He looked straight at me and spoke my name too, which was equally as strange.  I had a hat on my head to hide by messy hair. The brim was pulled down quite low.  I had hoped I was unrecognizable, but then why would I be saying hello?  What was God up to?

The fellow left the line up at the till and walked over.  We went to High School together, he was in my sister’s grade.  Our conversation was as if we knew each other well.  It only took seconds to discover the reason for our familiarity.

“I’ve been a Christian for about six years now” he confessed.  I smiled, “how wonderful” I replied.  He knew I was a believer too.  Ah hah!  We were one in the spirit, brothers and sisters in the family of God.  We shared a powerful bond.

He spoke about his Dad, who had just died recently, and I shared of how my husband and I had just said goodbye to our Mom. I warmly offered my sympathies and raved about how God can help us through even the darkest of times.

He shared about his recent separation, counseling, and the Bible studies he was attending.  I gently reminded him we are all on a journey, and we all make mistakes.  But it is the humble and courageous who recognize their need for help, and their need of God – in order to change.

He told me he had a home church he was attending regularly.  I commended him for not trying to “go it alone.”

I invited him to a monthly community dinner we have for single parents, widowers, the divorced.  “It’s just nice not to have to cook.  By dining together we learn more about that journey we are on, and how we need each other, most importantly how God can help.

We went our separate ways back to our work, but it was evident God had planned another one of His moments.  Life had just gotten a little less lonely.  The world in all it’s frenzy, and indifference had just gotten a little warmer, and made more sense.

I worked that afternoon under a special glow.  We might have a thousand things to do, but none more important than making personal contact.  When we dare to make time for one another, we get to see Jesus in a brand new light.  We get to live on purpose.

 

 

…the bread crumbs

It never ceases to amaze me, the way He supplies our every need, and clears a path for us to grow.

This past week I felt like Gretel, following the bread crumbs.  Only, I found myself at the door of something much better than one built of candy.

I have been attempting to follow in my Savior’s footsteps for years, but only really left the boat just recently, became the fisherman, jumped on the sand with both feet. But the leaving continues, the shedding of my skin, the slippery scales of our society sliding off my eyes that I might see – the soul.  Not just my own, but others.

The woman who sat across the table and shared her heart, as well as humor.  The other who sat nearer so I could read every wrinkle and crinkle of her smile, the lines of suffering, and the glow of triumph.

Then another, on a different day, at yet another table.  My ears applauded her thick raspy tone of voice.  My eyes celebrated the meticulous waves, and curls of her salt and pepper hair, as I looked into her beautiful eyes.

And then the question on the exercise sheet; “What do you think of when you see the word “soul”?”

She left it blank.  She said she wasn’t spiritual, but I beg to differ.

Then the question; “What comes to mind when you think of heaven?”

She hoped there was a heaven, but wasn’t sure.

All the handouts, the paperwork, then a book my husband brought home.  What was God trying to tell me?  Where will all these breadcrumbs lead?  One paper said “self-care”, the book screamed “abandonment”.

“Jesus, sort it out for me, and keep helping me see what you want me to see”.

Help me to live with “…an uncompromising vision for the world as God sees it,….having the attitude of Jesus.” – Phil M. Wagler (from his book Kingdom Culture, Growing the Missional Church)

Philippians 2:5-11

I feel a Crack Coming On….

Human emotions are complicated.  You never really know what is lying just below the surface to make someone decide one thing or another.

I’ve noticed that quite often, I decide I know – when the reality is – how can any of us really know what is going on in someone else’s head?

I have a theory.  It comes from observing and listening and bungling things up for a very long time.  If you see someone who is acting rude – chances are that person is very insecure, or afraid.  If you see someone act like a snob, and down right unapproachable, chances are that person is acutely shy.  If you see someone acting stubborn, putting a wall up, and shutting down – chances are they are broken-hearted.  No, really, this isn’t just my eternal optimism talking.

You don’t have to be broken-hearted about lost love, there are plenty other things to be broken-hearted over, and I mean plenty.

The problem is, if we all shut down because of our broken hearts, there isn’t going to be any moving forward, there isn’t going to be life.  We might expect the other person to do what ever needs to be done, but what if that person is shutting down?  What if that person needs support?

I recognize how I am made, my personality type.  I took one of those tests from a book called; “Discovering your Strengths”.  Only problem is, my highest scoring trait isn’t very helpful when push comes to shove.  My greatest strength according to the book is “responsibility”.  This means I want to do the right thing at every turn.  What does that equate to?

This means, I am bound to be alone a lot.  If I am not careful, my “responsibility” could turn around and become – resentment.

This is why it is important for me to hang on very tight to Jesus.  If I can’t be sure what the other person is going through, and I don’t want to assume, and step on toes, I can always ask Jesus for help.  Quite simply, “Jesus, how am I suppose to proceed?”

Here is where it gets really painful.  Don’t get me wrong, having a faithful friend in your corner is the best thing you could ever have, but He is always going to ask you to do the hard stuff.  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself” (Philippians 2:3 KJ21).

 So, yesterday, now, and forevermore, I need to move through life with my heart in His hands.  There’s that little word “trust”.  It is only five letters, but it packs a punch, because trusting often means suffering in silence, oh yes and holding the bag.

The bag that has the smiles in it, and the tender voice, and the soft response, and the understanding song, and the hand pats, and the open arms, and the prayers, and the tears….

Sometimes being a Mom, and the oldest sibling isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.  Wait a minute, maybe it is – I feel a crack coming on right now.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

Connecting to Combat Apathy

In 2005 I was in South Africa listening to a very well-educated young woman speak to me about the future demise of their next generation.  Most of the adults had already died from AIDS, leaving the children to fend for themselves.  I ask you, how does our society differ?

We have a North American disease that is picking off both adults and young adults, and leaving our children to fend for themselves.  It is called APATHY.  This disease is rampant, both in our community, and our churches.  This disease does not put us six feet under immediately, at least physically, but spiritually – absolutely!  We don’t need pills to combat this disease, but there is a high cost.  A cost that is going to obliterate our nation’s future and suffocate any signs of hope for THE family.

We religiously sponsor children in other countries, to save their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a generous thing to do and we should do it.  I suggest, if you are sponsoring a child right now, look around your neighborhood and get involved with a family right here, in your own home town, over and above your sponsorship.

Many choose sponsorship because relationship is not required.  Now this isn’t true for all of the sponsor organizations or sponsors involved, but if we are to be brutally honest with ourselves, and how we buy into our culture, it is – money first, relationships later, if at all – unless there is something in it for us.  This is who we really are.

We have programs that run over the school year, and camp programs throughout the summer, many designed to emphasize mentor-ship.  But all too often, once the program ends, so does the relationship.

Oh, I can hear you – “what’s wrong with the kid’s parents?”.  Take a good look in the mirror and ask that question again?  None of us are perfect and we should all be so blessed to have someone interested in walking along side us and our children, whether we’re parenting or teaching, coaching a sports team, or listening to the birds sing.

So what’s the cure for our disease?  How can we change so that our children will grow into strong caring individuals, full of purpose and joy?

One on one relationships.  Getting to know Jesus is the best one on one relationship there is.  If you catch a glimpse of His commitment to you, you will want to commit to him.  He’s going to ask you to love people.  Watch for his lead, listen for his voice.  Guaranteed – he’s not going to give you an impossible task, and He isn’t going to wait for you to become perfect.  He’s going to ask you to get involved as you are, and love others as they are, and together we will learn who He is.

Sarah Young tells us in “Jesus Calling” that a “mind preoccupied with planning pays homage to the idol of control”.  Connect instead!

No matter where you work, no matter where you play, or what program you’re involved in, find someone to mentor,  and commit.  This isn’t a trial drug, this is a cure we’re talking about.  You must be willing to commit for life.  Think about it, we commit to a whole lot of stuff, except for people?

The big picture is too overwhelming, so remember – one on one connections is the best place to begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fairy Tale – or The Real Deal?

People are looking for love…we turn on the television and we see some semblance of it – but that’s not love at all

People are looking for meaning, we right away think “money”, we see the suits and the office towers – but that’s not meaning

We feel driven to see and experience all we can even if it means missing the truth in front of us, because deep down inside our whole being is not engaged in the truth, we’re not sure we really believe all of it?  Do we really want to look like freaks?

And we miss the profound, the children, the moon, the sun, life, breathing…..need I go on?  We miss it!

I found myself thinking of the crowd on Palm Sunday.  They missed it!  Are we any different from they were?  We rally around our heroes, and for what?  For ourselves, as long as there is something in it for us. So sure we know, but we mostly live on the surface of life, not deep down inside.  There’s plenty of spirituality to go around, but no one really wants to know about Jesus.

They thought they were getting an earthly King, the kind that would put an end to Roman rule and really put their nation on the map!  They sang their hosannahs but their tune quickly changed from adoration to accusation.  Doesn’t that sound like us?

I wrote a song this morning, may it bring us all to a new revelation of how not to miss the King, not today, not tomorrow.  Let us be present, with our eyes open to the spiritual truth, the layer just above the one that hypnotizes us to sleep.  Let us shake off these earthly distractions and look into the eyes of our eternal Savior and King.  Then we can sing Hosannah.

“Hosannah” by Cindy Palin ©March 6, 2014

Everybody wants the Ferris Wheel,

it’s all about the thrill,

Nothing much has changed since we sang – Hosannah

We wanted a King, a vindication

A conqueror strong to rule our nation

So ready to spill our enemies blood

We couldn’t see the Son of God

Everybody craves the fairy tale,

the power and the crown.

The roar of the parade, the charade – Hosannah

He gave us a King, a soul salvation

Heaven came down with invitation

and we took his life, we spilled his blood

we still cannot see the Son of God

Unless we bow, unless we woe

Then we can sing – Ho ….sannah

Hosannah

Hosannah

Amen

Busy Neighborhood

One of the most profound truths I have come to learn is how “doing” in our own strength, and “doing” without asking God what He wants first, can lead to nothing but disillusionment.  Disillusionment lives right next door to Discontentment, and right next door to Discontentment, lives Pride.

We can have all the good intention we can possibly muster and still end up running on empty, and all because we didn’t ask God what He wanted.  It is important to note that we may have to ask God what He wants, several times a day, and read from his direction book often.  This is called seeking.  There is plenty of Discontentment’s cousins around, and one of them is Distraction.  Distraction lives on the same block as well, the neighbor who’s constantly jumping up and down trying to get your attention, hoping that you’ll stop from gazing and STARE instead.

God makes things pretty simple.  The more we lay down our own desires, the more purpose and meaning we enjoy.  The more we stop to be still and stand in awe of God, the more He moves, and the more content we are to just be whoever it is He is shaping us to be.  Just to know He loves us is enough.  By “being” in his presence with an attitude of gratitude we see who we are and how much He has blessed us and how He wants to bless us more.  But blessings don’t all look the same and sometimes we misread blessings as stuff, position or power.

The minute we begin to think that He has forgotten us, or He didn’t make our dreams come true, is the moment we’ve lost sight of Him.  We have placed ourselves at the center, blocking our Beloved from view. If we find ourselves thinking thoughts like; the world has abandoned us, nobody loves us, nobody cares, then we’ve moved further away from His light.  When we entertain those pitiful types of thoughts, we have welcomed Discontentment in for tea.

Discontentment is cunning and clever.  He reveals himself in subtle ways, and tugs at our heart-strings and dresses up in all kinds of disguises.  He has a way of turning our head to everything on the other side of the fence, so that in time we can’t see what we already have, who God was shaping us to be, what God had already given and the path we were meant to take.  We forget that we’ve been called by name, that we have been chosen for a very special assignment – to glorify God.

Discontentment spreads his arms like a television game show host and promises glorious fulfillment if you just start this, or if you just go there, or if you just get, blah, blah, blah.  Discontentment fogs your brain and fades out the promises you’ve already made, and convinces you to live bigger, better, and make new promises.  Discontentment clouds out the ‘once upon a time’ you invited Christ over, and made a covenant with Him, a promise that you would follow him no matter what, that you would do what He wanted.  After-all, He paid the price, He purchased you with His very life.  He rescued you from Meaningless, who lives at the end of everybody’s Disobedient Street.

None of us can be faithful without God’s help.  We might as well not even get up in the morning if we think we can be Christlike without His help.  Discontentment argues with this truth, and goes so far as to convince you that you don’t need help, that you are the only one who can make your life into what you want, that no one else is going to do it for you.  Discontentment is a close friend to Pride.  And as soon as Discontentment has moved in, Pride starts whining to be your  room-mate as well.  Pride never asks anyone for help and his job is to convince you that you don’t need to either.  Pride’s middle name is Doubt, and soon you start doubting that you can trust God with anything. Soon Jesus becomes a stranger, and Meaningless becomes your soul sucker.

Soon you are nothing but busy in a very busy, busy neighborhood.