A Place for All Women

Posts tagged ‘God’

Life on a Leash

          There are two types of people on the rural road where we live.  There are those who keep their dogs on a tight leash, and those who don’t. I have to admit our two canines are free runners.  It’s one of the reasons we like living outside of the city. While an unleashed life comes with great risk, it also comes with incredible reward.

          Our dogs love to chase squirrels, romp through the woods, go creek walking or doggie paddle across the pool.  They have known and experienced the dangers of getting too close to the cars and have come running back home for help.

          God gives us complete freedom…so much freedom, in fact, we are free to walk away from Him…free to go it alone…free to find what is out there in the world that might bring us more happiness than Him.

          When our three-legged white terrier Zadie is headed up to the neighbor’s house for a little extra loving, or our black and white Border collie, Liberty, is bounding across the road after a squirrel, all our attempts to call them back fall on deaf ears.

          We’re more like them than we might care to comprehend.  How many times does the Spirit of God call us back?  How long does He wait for us to decide, even without a leash, that we would rather return to his presence than ever go it alone?

          Robert Robinson knew what it was like to be alone.  He lost his father when he was only five years old and was later disinherited by his wealthy grandfather.  Robert desperately desired to find his peace in the presence of Almighty God.  But in 1757, at 22-years-old, he penned the words,“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” It’s true, even the mighty men and women of God, down through the ages, have been prone to wander.

           I wandered away for a while, just a couple of weeks ago.  I was distracted by something that held worldly promise.  I tossed up a prayer, but when God didn’t respond on my timetable, I took my eyes off Him, and looked around me.  There’s always another way if you look for one.  And there’s always a way out if you change your mind.  I turned back.  It wasn’t really because I necessarily wanted to; our minds and bodies rarely want to do what is good for us.  I turned back because I had to…I needed to…I would have been crazy not to.

          And just as I open the front and back doors a dozen times every day to let the dogs back in, God was there waiting for me to return to Him.  Sometimes Zadie and Liberty are wet and muddy or covered in cockleburs but I let them back in anyway.  We clean them up and allow them to climb in our laps, on the couch or even on the beds.  We do it because we love them.  We can’t make them love us in return and we wouldn’t want to, but they do.  They love us.  They trust us. They need us.

          God knows we need our freedom.  He knows we are going to go out and get dirty.  He loves us anyway.  He’s not going to force us to love Him in return. What kind of love would that be? But when we do discover that we can’t do life without Him, He is always there waiting when we turn back and head home.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out

so that you can endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13  

       

          My father-in-law spent almost all his life in service to the Lord. He used to tell the story of watching 4-H animal competitions.  He said the kids would bring their prized pigs to the fairgrounds, bathe them to perfection, and adorn them with ribbons.  But if one of the pigs got away, even for a moment, it would head straight to the nearest mud hole and roll in it.  He said they did it because it was their nature…just as it is in our human nature to sin.  But God is a God of forgiveness and He will always take us in and clean us up again.

Are you prone to wander?

What are the things that cause you to take your eyes off God?

How long will you wait on God before you look for your own solution?

Would you rather do life on a leash or have a life of freedom?

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

“Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36

 

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Three White Horses

          My Mamaw never had much money.  In fact, she and my Papaw
lived most of their lives without any modern conveniences.  But she loved to give.  She gave out of what she had, or she sacrificed even further, saving just enough, to make a difference in our lives.

          It’s interesting in a way to look back on all the gifts I’ve received over my lifetime.   I can only name a few of the expensive ones.  I can’t recall any of those given out of obligation.  But the ones I really remember are the ones that took some thought.

          It would have been easy for my Mamaw to explain to the family how she couldn’t afford Christmas gift giving.  We would have all understood.  And many times I’m sure we tried to convince her, in advance, not to get us anything.  We all had plenty.

          But it is the thought that counts.

          She was thinking of us, she loved us; she wanted to give to us.  So many times, “It’s the thought that counts” gets used as an excuse for why someone bought you a gift you didn’t want, didn’t need or couldn’t use.  Sometimes it’s an excuse for not giving a gift at all.  “Hey, sorry I didn’t get you anything, but isn’t it the thought that counts?”  Clearly not much thought goes into how that might make the other person feel.

          But it wasn’t that way for my Mamaw.

          One of the last Christmas gifts she gave me, before she died, was a set of three little white horses wrapped in tissue paper.  She knew me.

          I love horses.

          She also knew someone, somewhere, who was willing to give up the horses because my Mamaw didn’t buy them at an expensive store.  She bought them at a yard sale.  She didn’t have much money and they didn’t cost much.  But as she stood there looking at those three little white horses, she was thinking of me.

          I see them every day… and you know what?

          I always think of her.

  Who are you thinking of this Christmas?

Who will say, “She really knew me”?

 Who will look at a gift you have given and think of you?

 God is always thinking of us and He is the giver of all good things.

 Isaiah 49:16

 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands

 I’m the first to admit I often buy gifts out of obligation. But every now and then, I stop and take the time to really think it through…and every now and then, I get it right and God allows the gift to be a blessing.

May God bless each of you this Christmas.  

Enjoy the snow and I’ll see you next year as KeziahCarrie approaches her 1st birthday

February 2, 2012.

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved


The Measure of a Man

“Safe? Who said anything about safe?

‘Course He isn’t safe.   But He’s good.”   

               -C.S. Lewis 

            Religion and rules have never been a big part of my dad’s daily life.  He’s a good man, but not much of a church-going kind of guy.  He never cusses.  He seldom says anything bad about anyone, even if they deserve it.  And, though people have tried to judge him, he doesn’t reciprocate.

            While I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and learned a little about my chosen profession, my dad took his high school diploma and leaned how to do just about everything.      

            He set the bar really high, and each time I would struggle to get to the top, he would just raise it higher.  It was crazy frustrating and I spent a lot of wasted time trying to figure out why a father would want, need and demand that I always do my best. 

            What I didn’t realize then is that it was good training.  This man, who would rather mow his yard than hear more preaching from the pulpit, was an earthly example of a God who is good.  

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  Colossians 3:23:24

            Now, don’t get me wrong, girls.  It wasn’t always Daddy/Daughter Day.  There were times when he toppled right off of that pedestal I had placed him on; and there was some serious silence between us during my most rebellious years.  He is a believer in free will and firm discipline, and, the more time I spend with my dad, the more I understand my God.  There’s nothing easy about being your best.  It’s hard work.  But God knows that, and must have told my dad.  The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:14

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

            In this fallen world, Father’s Day isn’t always the happiest time if you have an absent dad, an abusive dad or a dad you’ve never known.  We all know making a baby doesn’t make you a dad…but, the God who made you is your Father.  It is never too late to depend on Him, count on Him, and call on Him.

            Is God safe?  No, not really.  He will push you, prune you, discipline and refine you.  He will test your faith and rock your world.  Still, He is always good!

            Just the other night, I was sitting on the front porch swing, distraught over the two mares God has given us.  It seems when I most want to spend time with them, they’re rebellious, withdrawn or simply turn and walk away.  The thought immediately went through my mind that sometimes I act the same way…moody, rebellious, and withdrawn.  When I told my dad about it he laughed and said, “It sounds like God is speaking to you.”  No sweeter words has he ever spoken.  Whether he knows it or not, without rules and religion, he has taught me how to listen.  In my mind, that is the measure of a man!        

Keziahcarrie has a growing list of subscribers; and we all have one thing in common.  We are women on a journey.  Tell us about your dad.  Good, bad and ugly.  Sharing our stories gives us strength.   

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

May you have a Happy Father’s Day with your Heavenly Father!

🙂

Where were you?

            Where were you when Elvis died; or maybe more recently, Michael Jackson?  Do you remember what you were doing as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded?  What was happening in your life the morning terrorists hit our largest city and our nation’s capital?  We probably all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. 

            But where were you and what were you doing when some of your most persistent prayers were answered?  When a problem was finally solved?  When a question swirling around in your mind for days, months, maybe even years was finally answered?  Where were you the last time you just received a totally unexpected blessing?

            I don’t sing in the shower, but I do seem to find some of life’s solutions there.  It’s probably one of the few places where the non-stop noise of daily living is drowned out by the white noise of the water and I can think more clearly, listen more intently.

            A few years ago, faced with what looked like the potential destruction of our family, I cried out to God for His help.  His answer came almost immediately through the car radio.  Nope, didn’t hear His actual voice.  But as I drove across a ten-mile stretch of highway, a song started playing on a station I didn’t remember punching up on the dial.  The words took my mind back to a place we had visited seven years earlier and the people there knew what to do  

            After months of praying, researching and striving to find the right place for our son to attend school the answer came at a spontaneous dinner gathering.  The kids were horsing around; dinner was on the stove and at least three conversations going on simultaneously, when a friend suggested a school we had never considered.  Casual conversation in our friend’s kitchen changed our direction and put us on the right path.

            Just a few weeks ago, 35 years of praying, hoping and waiting came crashing into our lives like a tidal wave of blessings.  We were just running an errand, returning a baby swing to another friend, and the cell phone rang.  A simple conversation was the first piece of a puzzle that slid snugly into place over the next five days and my dreams of owning one horse, became two.   

            In the shower, driving, talking with friends, taking a call…just doing what we do…and God is there…letting us know He has not forgotten us. He still answers prayers, and if we’re not listening for His still small voice, He may have someone call! 🙂

            It’s easy to remember where we were when the big things happened…when the bad things happened…but I also always want to remember where I was when God looked down (like He did in the Beginning) and saw that it was GOOD! 

Where were you the last time something really good happened…something really GREAT?  What were you doing the last time God answered your prayers or gave you the answer you needed? 

Our former pastor used to say, “Good things happen over time.  Great things happen all at once.”  It sure seems that way some days.  My husband accuses me of going from great thing to great thing and I am here to tell you,  I am GUILTY as charged! 🙂 

“The Lord is my strength and my shield;

my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,

and with my song I praise him.”

Psalm 28:7 

As Diane Lane sang in the Disney movie Secretariat, which I have now watched five, six… okay, maybe seven times…

He taught me how to watch and pray and live rejoicing every day

O Happy Day! 

Psalm 118:24

“This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Philippians 4:4 

🙂 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Who Are We?

          Locks of long flowing white hair and a beard the color of freshly picked cotton have become his trademarks, despite the God-given baritone voice that made him famous.  He is, by far, the most recognizable member of the seven-time Grammy Award wining gospel and country quartet, The Oak Ridge Boys.  His “mountain man” appearance makes it easy to assume that maybe it was some sort of strange mid-life style decision.   At least, that’s what I always assumed.  But I was wrong.

            William Lee Golden wanted to see who he would be, what he would look like, if he was exactly who God made him to be.  He explains it this way.  “In 1980, I began to re-evaluate my life.  I began to seek to find the man that God created.  It just evolved.  I don’t have any intentions of cutting my hair or beard.  I am very comfortable with who I am.”

            I can’t speak for the rest of you ladies, but I’m not quite that curious.  

            My hair gets highlighted when I can afford it.  When I can’t, I still buy the cheap drugstore dye in a box, either dark blonde or light brown depending on the mood.  My body receives bi-weekly treatments of Jergens Glow.  And, I know they’re not married, but Merle Norman and Mary Kay make great partners in my make-up bag and on my face.  All lame attempts at cosmetic comedy aside…if we subscribed to William Lee’s theory, who would we be?  If we just surrendered our souls…ourselves…to God’s plan, how would our lives change?  If we just really, truly, thought of Him as the Potter and us as the clay, would we be willing to yield? 

            In 1907, Adelaide Pollard, uncertain what God wanted to do in her life, wrote “Have Thine Own Way.”  It includes the lyrics, “Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”  Who would we be if we allowed that much room for God to work?  If we could get past our control issues, our plans for the future, our preconceived lifetime goals, who would we be?  If we were stamped by God’s trademark and his words came from our mouths, what would we say?  Whose glory would we seek, ours or His?

            Jesus says In Matthew 23:12, Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”  By submitting to the God who created him, William Lee Golden not only has one of the most famous faces in the entire music industry, but a legacy that will live on long past his time here on earth.

            Although I still can’t imagine us ladies going “all nat-ur-Al” it does make me wonder how God would work in our lives if we were solely surrendered and totally submitted.   

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Quiet Time

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;

and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  

            She was a tiny little woman with long black hair showing significant signs of graying at the roots.  A maternal looking lady, with a baby wrapped around her body in one of those sling things, the first time we met.

            She handed out workbooks and told all those gathered together in a semi-circle that homework would require 30 to 45 minutes, maybe even an hour each day for five days.  We would have one day off.  Then we would meet again.

           This mama say, “What?!” 

           Seriously, a ladies Bible study takes that kind of time?

            Someone should have clued me on this before I showed up for the free food and child care.

            But as I started to look around, and listen more closely,  I heard some of the women, clearly Bible study veterans, talking about the importance of even taking time for an occasional afternoon tea.  Okay, well if that’s what works for them, I guess that’s cool.  I get that.  I wish I felt that way.  But at the time, I saw myself as way too busy…more of a grab a coffee and go, kind of girl.   A people pleaser on a manic mission.

            She had certainly expected such reactions.  In her calm, relaxed tone, which I already envied, she expressed a complete understanding of the internal conflict.  As the mother to a house full of boys and an unexpected baby at 40-something, she knew how hard it could be to carve out any time for ourselves.

            But this was different.

            This was time we would spend one-on-one with God.  She assured us that if we would make an effort, God would respond and reward us with more time than we really knew we had.  

          It was easy to contemplate, hard to believe. 

          But she was right.

          It was a little rocky at first, roughing up the family routine so “I” could have a little “me” time.  But it didn’t take long to figure out this is a bit of a faith-based formula that should probably be scientifically tested. 

            It’s been FIVE years since I first got out of bed, headed to the front porch swing and spent time putting God first.  What started as “Okay, Okay, all right, I’ll give it a try” quickly turned to a life-changing, life-altering, gratifying, fulfilling, successful bit of quality time.  My husband wishes he had it, my children help me guard it and some of my friends sort of hate me for it.  But it’s available to everyone. 

            I’m not a tiny little woman like the lady who gave me such great advice.  I don’t have a sling thing with a baby in it.  And my hair is not black, though it does have significant graying at the roots.  But I am full of opinions and often feel the need to offer them without request. So listen up ladies, take some time for yourself…for you and God…just the two of you.  Sit there in the silence, pray, read or study.  It’s easier than you think.  And, God will respond and reward you with more time than you thought you had.  

             I predict, your quiet time will very quickly go from something you’re trying to do, to something you have to do. 

 

“Now you come on and get up out of that bed. You know any time you give to God he will give it back to you”

~Myrtle Alexander

 (My friend Marny’s grandmother who lived 83 years) 

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.”

Titus 2:3 (NIV) 

“God doesn’t tell you to do hard things so He can stand back and laugh and watch you struggle.  He tells you to do things that He knows are gonna work out to your good in the end.”

–Joyce Meyer 

“Try a thing you haven’t done three times.  Once to get over the fear of doing it, twice to learn how to do it, and a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.”

–Joyce Meyer     

 

If you already take quiet time, tell us how it works in your life.  If you haven’t tried putting God first,  try it and let us know if things change for you. 

We would love to hear.   

  🙂   

Our “To-Do” List

          There is just something so sweetly satisfying about checking items off of a “to-do” list.  It feels like tangible accomplishment and visible success.  Sometimes I start my day with a “to-do” list that includes everything from Bible study to washing the breakfast dishes to taking out the trash.  Each check mark says to me “You did it!  You have achieved something today!”  But as I go through the motions, stimulating my own self importance with tiny little check marks, I still know this is not really what it’s all about.  No matter how many times I applaud myself for putting clean sheets on the beds, dusting the den furniture or vacuuming the entire house, it’s all just a meaningless chasing after the wind.  The dust will return, usually before the day is done, the dog hair will once again accumulate in the carpet and the sink will soon fill with dirty dinner dishes.

            So, I try to set my eyes on God’s “to-do” list.  And, while I don’t always get to mark off each milestone on a piece of notebook paper, I do try to take note of how he is using me.  Sometimes, it’s an email to a friend who is having a hard day at work.  Occasionally, a call comes in from another mother who needs me to pick her children up at school.  More often than not, my husband and I will confer on a work project, trying to decide if we believe it is what God wants, or if we’ve put too much ego in it and Edged God Out.

            All throughout our days, God is using us, partnering with us, and calling on us to help accomplish his purposes, his “to-do” list.  It might not always seem like we are doing something significant.  Some of the things we are asked to do may even be irritating and test our ability to spontaneously serve where we are needed.  But if we are yielded to God’s purposes for our lives, he will give us a “to-do” list, and he will equip us to accomplish it.  

          In a world where our lives can change in an instant,  what we do for God is what will last.        

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

to do good works, which God prepared in advance

for us to do.” 

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

 

Can you pin point anything in your life lately that might have been on God’s “to-do” list instead of your own?

Do you find more satisfaction in accomplishing things for him than for yourself?

Sometimes it’s not whether or not God is working in our lives…but whether or not we recognize him.

The Word According to our Dogs

          Eight hours locked in a house without a bathroom break, ten to 12 hours in the big outdoor kennel, an hour waiting in the car, or five minutes out of sight.  Each and every time we are away from our dogs, they go crazy when we return. 

            If you ever feel unloved, just go get a dog.  They will love you with complete abandon.  It doesn’t matter what you have done to them, where you have left them, how you yelled at them or the last time you fed them, each encounter is met with unconditional, anxious, excited love.

            Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all  your mind.”  We are in essence, gods to our dogs.  We are their masters.  They totally exhibit the kind of love I believe Jesus is describing.

            If we really admit to ourselves that all good things come from him, that everything we are and everything we hope to be is from his hand, how could we not just lavish our love on Him?  Sure, he sometimes pulls his presence back a bit, he leads us into the wilderness on occasion, he disciplines us and refines us, but he never fails to provide for us or love us right where we are. 

            Everything he does for us is for our good to draw us closer to him, to seek his hand of favor.  And isn’t that what our dogs want from us…our hand of favor?

            Of course, after a romp in the woods, returning home covered in “stick-tights”… much like us, and our own messes, they are mostly just looking for a little mercy!

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