The Myth of Invisibility Debunked – God sees, God Knows, God Cares.

the invisible man

I read the 1950’s novel a couple of years ago.

Pretty disturbing stuff.

Jack Griffin is a chemist. who experiments with a mysterious drug called “monocane”. That’s how he discovered how to be invisible.

Surprise, surprise. Jack tries it out on himself.

One problem. Jack didn’t know how to reverse it.

Sometimes I feel like Jack. Invisible.

Like

  1. no one really sees me.
  2. who I am or what I do does not matter.

Fact is, these feelings are lies from the pit of Hell.

They hide something that the

  • the devil hopes
  • people like you and me
  • never grasp.

That’s why Jesus came to earth. To tell the truth. Destroy the lies.

That’s why Jesus talked about sparrows. Dingy little birds that were sold two for a copper coin.

Plentiful and cheap. Nothing unusual or exotic. Hardly noticeable.

Yet, Jesus said that God cared about what happened to each and every one of those tiny little birds.

Why would He not care about each one of us?

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered,” Jesus pointed out, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

You. Me. We all matter to God.

He has created each one of us

  1. for His purpose.
  2. To do His will.
  3. To show His glory.

You don’t have to feel it. No one else may understand it.

The truth is unchangeable. Irresistible. Glorious.

Displays of honest emotion–it’s not just a dog’s life.

I am a fairly reserved person when it comes to emotional demonstration.

Not my dog, Molly.

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Last night,  I came home after being gone for seven days.

I staggered in to the kitchen covered in

  • Mexico’s humidity
  • airport grime.

Molly didn’t care.

Her tail wagged furiously. She sprang up like a pogo stick on steroids. Over and over again. 

I commanded her to sit. It was like telling Niagara falls to get her foamy little butt back up the cliff.

Way too much force behind the flow.

Molly’s shooting straight up in the air is a little unnerving. But, I definitely felt missed. 

Unbridled displays of emotion are recorded all through the Bible.

  1. David dancing before the Lord.
  2. Jesus weeping for lost Israel.
  3. Jacob ripping his garments in grief when he saw his son Joseph’s coat covered in blood.

Experiencing sorrow and joy is part of living. Revealing our feelings to other people is a way of showing who we really are. What we really think. How we really care.

What do Wild Vines, Strange Critters and Soggy Swimsuits Say? God is alive and well on planet Earth

 

Ah, the jungles of Mexico…

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They surround our vacation resort.  Clusters in thick patches in between buildings. It presses against the roadways between the towering lobbies of Akumal, Coba and Tulum.

I’m not talking just about coconut trees and thick green foliage with leaves the size of surfboards. There’s the wildlife to consider, strange creatures wondering in and out.

I’m not just talking about the sunburned critters with head phones carting plates of French fries and guacamole to their rooms.

There’s iguanas and lizards taking in the sun.

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After the rain, bands of coatis head for the “leftovers” buffet.

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The bravest coatis grab bits of hot dog bun right out of the trash cans.

If tourists with soggy swimsuits were not swarming around it wouldn’t take long for the jungle to reclaim this land. The pool would turn stagnant and become a swamp. The tennis courts would crack. The restaurants would become terrariums. Retaining walls would crumble. The beach would go back to its rugged spread of rocks and debris from the deep.

Give it a year and I don’t think that much would be left.

Makes me think of home.

If everyone in Surrey, B.C.  took holidays at the same time, there would be nothing but one big blackberry patch when we got back. Sometimes I swear I can see its thorny tentacles grow right in before my eyes.

Ever doubt the existence of God?

Take a look around you. The complexity of creation should be enough to ease your mind.

Observe the wonders He’s set in motion.

No need to fine tune the flow of the currents, rearrange the seasons or redesign the configuration of underbrush. God’s creation just grows and climbs and surges and expands.

Dirty Feet, Lounge Chairs and the Son of God–How to lead with eternal perspective.

dirty feet

Feet.

Big ones. Skinny ones. Sunburned and tan.

They are every where on the beach. Some belong to tourists like me.  Others belong to the servers who

  • wind their way
  • in and out of the rows of lounge chairs
  • bringing drinks to the tourists
  • and then taking the empty glasses away.

No doubt.

There is a definite distinction between the feet of servants and those being served.

It’s the order of things. It’s how the system works. Not just here, but all over the world. Everyone has his or her place.

In some cultures the woman serves the man. His wish is her command.

In other cultures there are

  1. fortune five hundred companies
  2. with CEOs who live like kings
  3. while the nine to five crew just hope to keep their job
  4. long enough to pay their rent.

It’s the way we humans are. Constantly sorting out each other in most every way.

  • Who’s the tallest.
  • Who’s the most talented.
  • Who’s the strongest.
  • Who’s in charge.

Everywhere humans congregate, it happens.

Even in churches.

Yes, even in the kingdom of God “not made with hands”.

Not all, but many gatherings of God’s kingdom are tainted by human reasoning.

The hierarchy is easily recognizable. There is a wide gulf between the leaders and the ordinary parishioner.  In many cases the head guy holds a tight rein on most workings of the church. He is just as wary of being over thrown by his minions as

  1. kings of third world countries
  2. Generals of rebel armies
  3. Conglomerate presidents.

They follow a tried and true rule of thumb.

  • Maintain eye contact and watch your back at the same time.
  • Never let anyone in your personal space.
  • Demand total allegiance.

Last one’s more than a little scary. I have to ask –

  • total allegiance to whom?
  • Another human or God?

Clarify please, because it makes a difference whether we put our lives in the hands in a fallible person or in the everlasting arms of the Almighty God.

Jesus founded the church. He represented ultimate authority during his time on earth.

He was, and still is, the

1. great shepherd,

2. King of Kings

3. Lord of Lords.

And, yet, He turned the sorting rituals of man upside down. Picked grimy fishermen to follow him. Men with

  • serious personal issues.
  • No money
  • No education
  • No commanding presence or refinement.

How did he whip those guys into shape?

  1. Power lunches?
  2. Promise of bigger and better positions?
  3. Threats of ostracizing anyone who stepped out of line?

Not a chance.

In His ministry on earth, Jesus chose to serve rather than be served.

Just before Jesus arrested and killed, he removed his outer garments. IN an act of humility, He knelt before his disciples. He knew which ones would

  • betray Him.
  • deny Him.
  • eventually give their own lives for His name’s sake.

Jesus, wrapped a towel around His waist and poured water in a bowl. Then, He washed his disciple’s feet.

Lies Part Three– A tale of one lousy beach towel, self pity and revelation

 

IMG_0090(Pic of Towel Left Behind on Balcony by RWHixson)

I confess. Not all lies appear to be nasty little critters. Some of them are my friends.

Honestly, I love self-pity. Makes me feel special. Noble. Loved.

Unfortunately, she’s nothing but a lie.

A lie that fooled me again today.

It started with a work out at the gym.

“No towel. No entrance,” I was told at the door after a long sweltering walk through the resort.

By this time

  • the burning desert of sunburn across my sunburned shoulders ached.
  • sweat ran in not so itty bitty waterfalls down my back.

“Totally unfair,” I wanted to yell in Spanish. Since, I was only fluent in two words –

  1. loco
  2. cucaracha

That didn’t happen. The translation “crazy cockroach” just wouldn’t would get my point across.

So, I turned around and headed back. On the way, I grumbled about towels and what’s the big deal and why would anyone want to make a human being suffer this way?

As I approached my stucco building, I noticed

  • a maid buzzing in and out of rooms as she changed sheets and cleaned toilets.
  • a man in white spraying down the wide, stone walkway in front of me.
  • a grounds keeper trimming the grass.
  • another employee carrying drinks to all the various suite’s fridges.

Suddenly, my why’s seemed more than a little

  1. petty
  2. selfish
  3. entitled
  4. self-absorbed.

A few days ago I flew in from a country where clean water is taken for granted. Indoor plumbing, public transportation and emergency services are considered an inalienable right of each citizen.

Until severe illness or tragedy strikes. folks like me don’t often come to terms with real suffering.

Suffering has a way of revealing lies.

And the truth.

Here’s one -Possessions have little value without relationship.

As for my towel situation,

  1. I grabbed my beach towel from the room.
  2. Told self pity to take a hike.
  3. Caught the trolley to the fitness center.
  4. Worked out.
  5. Walked through the heat to the room and made sure our maid got a big tip.
  6. Took a moment to stop and pray.

I asked God to take a good look into my heart. To check for more selfishness. Anger. Arrogance. Who knows what else He’ll find?

Then, I thought of the Psalm 139, a psalm that expresses what I cannot express on my own,

“Search me, God,”songwriter penned in ancient script, “ and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”

My life. Nothing spectacular. Living and learning. That’s what it’s all about.

Surf, Sand and Runaway Thoughts–part two on examining lies in our lives.

photo lobby acumel

Your attention please!

This is NOT a  picture of my husband doing interpretive dance in the middle of an ice cream cone. He is is certainly talented and handsome. He’s just not that tall.

Folks, it’s a statue. In Mexico. In the middle of the Grand Bahia Principe Resort lobby. Not far from our little hacienda suite.

I like the statue. But, I’m not really curious about it.

  • Where it came from.
  • What it represents.
  • How much it would cost to take the guy home.

I’ve got more important things on my mind.

If you’ve read yesterday’s blog. you know I’m more interested in

  1. examining the crazy thoughts
  2. that rise like ancient relics
  3. way down inside myself.

Questions is – where do these lies come from?

Some lies come from past experiences.

Maybe we were

  • bullied,
  • abused
  • rejected by someone we loved.

The pain of one experience can denote an explosion that

  1. destroys our innocence,
  2. damages our perspective,
  3. distorts our understanding of God’s love,

From that moment on, everything that happens is viewed through the pain of the past. Even if the experience is inherently good, we can’t see  it for what it is. We are blinded by the reflection of what has gone on before.

I know.

That’s why I often

  • judge people too  quickly.
  • avoid developing friendships.
  • back away from challenges.

Even if my brain says “Hey, great opportunity”,  my heart responds with “No, way. Keep safe.”  So, I stick with the familiar.

No wonder the old pain never dies.

I watch it

  1. grow in proportion and importance
  2. each time I fail to turn away
  3. from the memories that keep me in a perpetual state of mourning.

No way will I take risks with relationships.

  1. I was horribly teased in sixth grade. (Other people don’t really like people like me.)
  2. I was dumped by my fiancé when I was nineteen. (How could any one commit to me?)
  3. I lost my Dad suddenly when I was twenty-six. ( I can’t even trust the only ones who truly care about me to stay around.)

I faced other disappointment in the years that followed. Other lies formed that further changed my perspective.

Not good. Perspective is everything.

How you see life is how you live life. That is why I check my thoughts. Challenge my motives. Examine God’s Word.

I need truth. As a mom. A wife. A tutor. A human being.

Lies hold us down. Truth sets us free.

Sometimes we need to reach out to others to get out of our pain. Therapy. Counseling. The support of our church, our family and friends.

What ever we must do, we must do so that we can live in truth.

Right now I’m a woman on vacation. I don’t want to be held back by insecurities. I want to be free.

  • To love,
  • to learn,
  • to swim. (I’m on vacation, remember?)

So lies, watch out, I’m tired of hauling you around. Especially to the beach.

Truth is, I have issues. We all do. I’m a mess. We all are.

But, God loves each and every one of us. Mess and all.

So, excuse me, while I take this mess-of-me and run across the white sands of the Mayan Rivera.  Plunge into the Caribbean. Watch the fish swim under my feet.

I’ve got a sunburn to catch.

See ya tomorrow!

Lies in my luggage–the nasty little critters that followed me to Mexico

window view of beach

I’m vacationing with my sweetheart.

On the plane to Mexico,  we were only allowed 40 pounds each. I packed the usual stuff.

  • Shorts,
  • t-shirts,
  • even tennis shoes -incase I decided to suddenly get fit.

Seriously, when the spirit of “get fit” comes over me I don’t want to be in flip flops!

But, hey, that’s not what this blog is about.

It’s about luggage. Invisible luggage. The kind I

  1. cram between my two ears
  2. stuff in my heart
  3. hoard deep down in my soul

every single day.

That’s what I took to Mexico.

Didn’t noticed I packed it until after a relaxing visit to the buffet. I went to use the internet. Because the Wi Fi was down, I couldn’t use my own laptop. So,  I waited my turn to go into a room with computers.

A bathing suit clad vacationer occupied each terminal.  So, I waited.

After the 30 minute limit, no one left. Finally, the manager of the reception area stepped in and asked people to wrap up their computer time.

Nothing.

Eventually, I took matters into my own not-so-assertive hands.

“Any one about finished?” I asked after I walked back in the room.

“We’ll be another ten minutes,”  a woman replied as she eyed the two children beside her.  They were facebooking so fast I think half the population flashed across the screen while I stood there.

“I’ve been waiting a while,”  I said, anxious to check in on someone back home, “Can someone please let me on?"

It was almost ten p.m. -the cut off time for computers.

The woman shook her scrawny little neck which shook her extremely frizzy hair. (Ok, when I’m angry I’m not exactly complementary. Her hair was just a little out of control.  Her neck? Skinny as a pencil.)

“She would have gotten off the computer for someone else, “ I thought all the way back to air-conditioned paradise #6724.

Frankly, I felt like crap. Like something was wrong with me or someone would have let me have a turn.

Shades of grade school, I know. I was sweaty hot. Tired. Did I say hot? Steaming hot in the jungles of Mexico? The weather was practically crawling across my skin.

Then, I teared up. Like I was some kind of emotional side-show.

It scared me. This reaction.

After 10 minutes I walked back. No one was at the computers. When I sat down at one console I looked at the time display.

8:30.

Not 9:45 or 9:50. I had gotten the time wrong.

As I typed, I wondered if I had something else wrong. Like my perception of myself compared to everyone else.  Like my judgment call on the lady that I had spoken with before.

That’s when I noticed the baggage clutched in my hands. A suitcase full lies. 

A few minutes ago, I sat in the reception cabana. A brisk breeze off the ocean played across my still sweating skin.

Not so bad today. A little cooler.

The Wi Fi was finally working. I checked an email. It was a letter from a prisoner.

Not surprised. I knew the guy. His name is Paul.

Trust me, if he were still alive I’d would have written him a letter back. His words slapped the unwanted baggage right out of my hands, my mind and soul.

Sure, the letter is ancient. Originally meant for a church in Ephesus. But, the same truth works for me.

“And I pray that you,” he penned, “ being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Rooted.

Established in God’s love.

That ‘s what I want to be. Digging down deep into the truth of redemption and forgiveness.

I’m not a quick study but I’m learning.

One day at a time.

The lies have got to go.

Who stops the bad guys? Understanding God in a crazy world.

 

police lights

Have you ever wondered about the bad guys? How come they don’t get stopped?

God can. Sometimes He does.

But, not always. Not this time.

In Aurora, Colorado, folks headed to the Century Aurora 16 multiplex. All they wanted to do was watch “The Dark Knight Rises”.

Sounds innocent enough.

Then, how come 12 never came home?

Fact is, they never will.

Fifty nine others are wounded. Many in critical condition.

It doesn’t seem

  • fair,
  • just,
  • equitable

for the ones who died. For the ones left behind.

I don’t understand God.

I never did. Never will.

How can I? He sees everything from the vantage of eternity. He acts on absolutes that will outlast all the philosophies of time.

And, He cares.

It’s hard to believe it when we live in a civilization gone mad, when a lone gunman can turn the world upside down.

What’s left to do? Hide our families? Start packing guns ourselves?

On days like today I feel like I’m huddled in a straw hut with the characters in the The Little Pigs. I feel like I’m just waiting for the big, bad wolf who will surely come and blow my house down.

Maybe. Maybe not.

But, I can’t hide. Close my eyes until the darkness goes away. I believe in God. In His righteousness. In His love.

There is only one thing I can do.

Care.

About the people around me.

  1. The hurting.
  2. The confused.
  3. The troubled.

Look them in the eye. Listen. Let them know that they matter to me and to God. .

It may not seem much in the light of today’s tragedy. But, it’s something.

Something good. Something kind. Something whole in a broken world.

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells…It’s Christmas in July.

 

christmas-in-july

Christmas in July.

I’ve had mine already. My son and daughter-in-law traveled clear across the United States. Just to spend two weeks with us.

We packed so many minutes of togetherness in one visit, I thought the fabric of our days would split wide open.

It didn’t.

Mind you, everyone’s waistbands were stretched. It’s my husband’s fault. One of his love languages is cooking

  • Sourdough bread
  • Prime rib
  • Curry chicken
  • Egg rolls
  • Pad Thai
  • Mile High Raspberry pie

All fresh ingredients. Every day. Until the two weeks were up.

Now, they’re gone. Headed back to Oklahoma. Not the food. My kids.

I miss them already.

I hope you understand. Sometimes people tell me that they could never let their kids

  • move across the country
  • travel the seven seas
  • join the military
  • take the gospel to the middle of the jungle.

Fact is, we retire from the “letting” business when our kids are grow up. Then, it’s time to watch them follow God on their own terms.

Of course, I cherish every

  • email,
  • Facebook message
  • Skype session
  • phone call

that comes my way.

Proverbs 25:25 says that “good news from a distant land” is “like cold water to a thirsty soul.”

Makes sense to me. I do get thirsty for good news. I’m parched right now to hear from a son in Spain. He’s waiting for a vessel to get fixed so he can  sail to France.

Of course, I miss him. I pray for him. I pray for all my kids.

When any of them come home, it’s a celebration.

Christmas in July.

Beyond Co-dependency: How to find happiness within your own soul.

 

sunshine

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,”  Bill Withers wrote, “It’s not warm when she’s away.”

The cadence and melody really rocks but the message is not so great.

Come on. Face the truth.

It might be flattering to be someone’s sunshine for a little while, but after a while it gets old.

· Carrying around someone else’s happiness like a sack of potatoes.

· Or slinging your own bag of sorrows into the arms of your loved ones and expect them to make you smile.

“I finally realized”, one of my kids told me after he had been away from home for a while, “that its nobody else’s job to make me happy. It’s something I have to choose every day.”

We can’t squeeze it out of family members or take by force from our friends.

Bottom line – Our happiness is not dictated by our circumstances as much as it is by our perspective. We can choose to enjoy what we have. Or, we can decide to focus of what we don’t have.

It’s up to each one of us. To be happy. To be content even when who or what we think we need is not around.