Stalking behind the hope of each New Year can be haunted past hurts, griefs and disappointments from the year behind us. Continue reading “The Sinking Sand Mystery”
I was malled today. Yes malled, not mauled.
I went to the mall to shop. Well, not so much to shop as to walk around. I went early to beat the Christmas crowds, but it didn’t take long for almost everyone from three counties to join me.
I’m not a shopper by nature, so this was my first trip to the mall this season. In fact, it’s been awhile since my last visit. It surprised me to see our mall no longer had a Williams-Sonoma. Many stores I remembered were gone.
My leisurely walk turned into a fight to see which kiosk employee would be first to smear lotion on me, curl my hair, or put a hat on me. One guy grabbed my hand and started to buff my nails before I could say no. He didn’t like the fact I had a nail kit of my own, already stocked with a nail buffer.
I took refuge in one of the luxury stores. You know, the three-level stores at the farthest end of a mall. Don’t ask the name, I didn’t look. I can tell you that at one time it was a Nordstrom.
With no crowd in the store, I could linger over items I would never pay that price for—not even at Christmas.
Live Christmas music flowed from a piano on the lower floor. Not canned music pumped through a sound system, but gentle Christmas carols that encouraged me to hum along.
I hummed my way through the petite department, past the section of over embellished, yet elegant, party dresses. While strolling down the center aisle, I came to a dead stop when I realized the piano was not longer playing a carol, but an old chorus we sang at church years ago.
“Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ His son.”
Surprised to hear the old song, I stepped to the railing and peered down to the first floor. An older African American woman sat at the piano with her eyes closed, playing with such an anointing. All I could do was watch and listen.
She looked up, and in the moment our eyes met, we felt it—the bond of two sisters in Christ. We were family.
We smiled at each other. I nodded and waved my hand in thanks to her for sharing her gift.
As I continued on, she transitioned into another old chorus from years ago.
“Oh how He loves you and me.
Oh how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give?
Oh how He loves you. Oh how He loves me.
Oh how He loves you and me.”
This precious woman will never know I was desperate for that connection, but God knew. Her smile and anointed playing became Jesus to me.
This Christmas I pose a challenge to you. Don’t be cruel, be kind. Reach out and be Jesus to someone.
That person behind you in line for coffee may look fine, but their smile may hide the fact their life has shattered around them. Be Jesus.
You may never know what one small kindness may mean to someone who is hurting. This Christmas, be His hands. Be His feet. Be Jesus to someone.
Sometimes life falls apart. Completely. Falls. Apart.
Real life can come hard and fast. It becomes difficult to keep up with change, stress and loss—the shock as things pile one on top of the other.
Then comes that one thing that makes life stop. Literally stop. It’s earth shattering, heartbreaking. All the things that were important become nothing. Everything becomes nothing.
Raging fire surrounds. We can’t move forward or backward. We’re just plain stuck. What do we do when we’re stranded?
Go back to the basics.
1. Get into God’s Word
It may have been awhile, but dust it off, crack it open and get into that old Bible that’s been up on the shelf.
My pastor calls God’s word “the only change agent on the planet”. Within its pages, God has given us the words we need for healing, for strength, for empowerment. He gives us direction and hope in every situation.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”
~Psalms 119: 50
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
~Psalm 119: 105
2. Let The Music Play
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” ~Victor Hugo
Turn off that television! Yes, I know it helps shut down the mind and keeps depressing thoughts at bay. But instead of mindless drivel, let’s fill our hearts and minds with music—worship music.
Let the Holy Spirit invade with His presence. Worship and God will take us to that place where we can find Him. Where God will touch us and our situation. God will energize us and our thoughts. As His Holy Spirit covers us, here is where we find hope. Here is where our faith will grow. In this place chains are broken.
“And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.”
~1 Samuel 16: 23
3. Find our tribe
Reach out. We must find our people and let them help! God has embedded these people into our lives for a reason. They will hold us up when we can’t hold ourselves.
I’m a loner, so this one was a challenge for me. But I did it, and you know what? My tribe was there, and they WANTED to help me. To love on me and pray for me and with me.
Our people. FIND OUR PEOPLE!
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
~ Galatians 6: 2
I put this last on the list for sheer emphasis. These gut retching, heartbreaking, life-altering things will slap us silly and knock us face down on the floor. These situations drive us to our knees. Perhaps that’s what they’re meant to do.
Like it or not, these are the situations we have no control over. We can’t pick them up like a puppy chewing on the furniture and say, “No! Bad boy!” then give them something else to play with. We can’t change things that easy, this isn’t kid stuff.
Our only remedy is prayer. The old saying is still true to this day, prayer changes things.
When we fall to our knees in prayer over a situation, we enter the arena of battle. We are now on the front line. What we cannot do in the physical, God can and will do in the spiritual. As followers of Christ, we know this is where every battle is won.
We must become prayer warriors. It will be on this battlefield that strongholds are broken and walls fall. So get down into that trench solider and PRAY!
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”
~2 Corinthians 10: 4
Life can break us. Those we love the most can wound us. Get back to the basics. God is there, and He is our way out.