Why?

“The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” ~ Matthew 23:11-12, NLT

As humans, I think this is often the question we struggle with most. Why was that beautiful little girl murdered?  Why did my best friend lose her job? Why does God let these awful things happen? They’re valid questions, but are they humble? Sometimes.  I definitely think that when asked in a place of complete brokenness, humility is without question.  When asked in a place of extreme anger? I think that’s a different story.

Throughout the Bible God makes it clear that He knows us, not only our thoughts, but the motives of our heart.  If you are operating with flawed motives, that should frighten you – humility is coming. Questioning God when lost in a dark place is turning to a Father for guidance, but challenging that Father because you don’t like His decision is rebellion. If you have children, you know how frustrating and ridiculous it is when they think they know more than you. You also know how it moves your heart when life humbles them.

We ask God “Why do you let bad things happen?” “Why don’t you help that person?” I think if you look at verse 11 there is a good possibility that someday God will ask those some questions of you.  His answer?  His help? He created you. He created me.  We are part of His solution for the evil in this world.

Advertisement

Spritual Lessons from FB #1

Tagging Jesus in your story, doesn’t make Him the focus. Have you noticed how many people now tag someone who isn’t in the photo just because they want them to look at it?  It doesn’t mean the photo is of them, or even about them – it’s our selfish way of saying “check me out”.  When we tag Jesus and say “Let me tell you what Jesus did…” and the rest of the story is “I went” and “I found” and “I won”, our little Jesus Tag at the beginning doesn’t mean much.

If you really want a FB friend to get recognition for something, what do you do?  You post on THEIR wall.  Then everyone who is friends with them (even friends of friends) see what they have done. Let’s face it, God’s got a whole lot more friends than we do, so when we post on His wall – our name isn’t even of consequence.

I guess what it really comes down to, in my mind, is this – do we use His name to make ourselves look better or do we leave our name out of it, so He does?

What Not to Wear…

” Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” ~ Ephesians 6:11, NLT

Whether you’re the person who is always immaculately dressed or the one who grabs something from the nearest pile on the floor in the morning, as long as you are putting on your spiritual armor, it doesn’t matter, right?

Wrong.  It occurred to me that many of us our putting our armor on every day…it’s a habit oftentimes, but how regularly do you inspect it first?  Sometimes our armor isn’t fit to wear.  If you are wearing it, but not maintaining it, you may have rust forming.  This will weaken the metal and not provide you the protection needed when your battle comes.  Sometimes, we outgrow our armor.  If you’re growing spiritually in your walk with God, you may need to exchange a piece or two for a bigger size.  Or, as in my case, when you’ve been in battle, especially a hard one, there is damage.  I know.

Damaged armor is tricky.  You can’t stop to repair it while the battle is raging around you and when the victory is finally yours, you’re so weary you may not even notice the holes, chinks and gashes.  There’s hope though – it’s called the body of Christ.  We are not lone soldiers when we fight.  God has provided us with other believers to stand with us.

In ancient times, being left-handed was at best a weakness. Especially in the right-hand dominant military.  This atrocious birth defect (my how times have changed) left your right side completely exposed. However, if you had a fellow warrior who would stand with you, you had protection for your weak side.

Just recently, at a women’s retreat, I discovered the hole in my helmet.  The damage had happened during a fierce three-year battle and I was so relieved when the fight ended, well, I just didn’t notice it.  It was a bit of a blind-side when the enemy started attacking that weakness and I felt vulnerable and helpless.  I didn’t want to remove my helmet further exposing myself to attack.  I used my sword, I prayed, and out of nowhere two fellow princess warriors were beside me – protecting my weak side while God repaired my helmet.

I’ve heard many Christians claim, they don’t need church, or fellow believers. So let me ask you this: who covers your weak side?

Spiritual Temper Tantrums

” ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.’ ” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT

I remember when my daughter was four years old; she realized that she had the ability to say “no” and let me tell you, she utilized her vocab! You learn early on with a strong-willed child that consistency is the only way to survive. After I’d make her macaroni and cheese for lunch, she’d decide it was no longer her desire to eat it. At that point, I would give her two options: you can have mac and cheese or you can have nothing.

“I don’t want macawoni.”

“You can have macaroni or you can have nothing, you get to choose.”

“I want peessa.”

“No, pizza isn’t one of your choices. You can have macaroni or nothing, which one do you want.”

“I don’t want macawoni. I want peessa.”

“Okay, then you’re choosing nothing.  If you change your mind, the macaroni is at the table.”

Hunger would win out and she’d eat the macaroni, but sometimes it took a while before she surrendered to my plan. I remember thinking of this verse often during those years and praying “Lord, when we will she learn that my ways are higher than hers? How long does it take before children understand that we, as parents, want only the best for them?”  Such an innocent prayer.  My daughter is now a teenager and my prayer hasn’t changed much.

So, as parents, you’d think we’d get it, right?  Not so much. I remember years ago praying that God would bring healing and wholeness to my marriage.  I was reading a wonderful book at the time and the author had given a woman an assignment that he was convinced would bring about a change in their relationship.  For six months she was not to complain or be critical at all, about anything. I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit and knew this was what God was asking of me.  Of course, I was pregnant, we had just moved and there was a lot going on in my life, and I explained to Him how impossible the assignment was for me right now.  Basically, I told Him, “no.”

About a week later, at church, I once again began praying for my marriage.  Well, let me just show you how that conversation went…

“Hold it right there.”

“What?”

“I’ve already given you the next step and if you don’t want to take it, then don’t ask me for help.”

“I don’t want to do that, but I want my marriage healed.”

“Sorry, that’s not one of your options.  You can obey what I’ve told you to do, or you can wallow in your unhappiness.”

It was then that I saw how God viewed me. I was a stubborn four-year old wanting things my way and He was holding me firmly in His arms, telling me I didn’t get to have things my way.  He had given me two options, and my way was not one of them. I realized in that moment that He would sit there and hold me forever until I willingly surrendered to His authority.

I wish I could say that I did right then, but I knew a lot back then, and I didn’t.  It took me another four days before I climbed off His lap and went to eat my macawoni.  Thank God that I did.  It’s thirteen years later and I am so blessed to love my husband and experience his love in return.

The next time you think you know what’s best for your life, think about your kids, and remember that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

Memory Lost

I stand at the edge of the water

with a handful of stones

clenched in my palm.

The leaves spill their water

like blood

onto the sand.

Not knowing what else to do,

I wade in,

knee-deep.

My hold loosens

and the pebbles slip softly

into the dark water.

I have no purpose.

The chilly night air envelops me

in its coolness.

In the distance,

fog rises

from dew-soaked pastures.

The fields

with beckoning arms

reach out.

I openly walk into them,

straw twisting around me

its grasp tightening.

I feel the toothed moon’s

hollow grin

following me.

© Michaela Carson and gaelichusky.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michaela Carson and gaelichusky.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

True Love

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. ~ Romans 12:9, NLT

What does that mean?  If you ask most people if their relationships consist of real love or if they’re faking, they’ll give you one of two answers.  “Yes, I really love them,” or “No, I don’t even like them.” I’m not sure we’re truly looking at God’s idea of love when we answer that question.  The next verse goes on and gives us some clarity. “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

Have you ever known a fellow believer that drove you nuts?  What about a sister in Christ who seems to embrace drama with a bear hug?  It’s a little harder to really love them, don’t you think?  How do we get past our personality issues to have a genuine love for the rest of our Christian family? Pray. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, we don’t usually ask God for the right thing.  We shouldn’t ask Him for patience or grace. Those are short-term solutions that are gone the minute the situation passes. We need to ask Him to borrow, for a moment, His contact lenses.  We must look at others from His perspective and get beyond ourselves.  When we start to see them, really see them, it changes us.  You heard me right, they don’t have to change – you do.

When you realize the reason she is always gossiping and backstabbing others is because she is so insecure in her own skin, it saddens you.  While you used to feel the need to “vent” about her (usually to someone else), you will begin to feel the urge to pray for her because your heart is broken, just like His.  Imagine if you prayed and, because of your intercession, the door opens for God to heal her self-esteem. An opportunity for her to truly know what made in His image really means.

What about the woman who sits by herself and never speaks to anyone.  Instead of labeling her, look at her.  Do you see the loneliness and fear in her eyes?  God knows she’s shy and her husband just left her, do you?  Have you opened the door for her to share with you? Ask her name… sit with her one Sunday… invite her for coffee. Show her honor by inviting her into your life.

David wrote “Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10, NLT) If your heart is unclean when it comes to genuinely loving others, ask Him to renew a loyal spirit in you.  Loyal to Him. Loyal to His commands.  Loyal to those He loves.

Summer Bubble

Disconnected.

A tenuous bubble separated first from the bottle

then from the wand.

Changed.

A substantial liquid reconstructed into a fragile vapor

left on my own.

Drifted.

An aimless traveler journeying through sweetened air

completely alone.

Deserted.

A temporary façade held together with an absence of wind

but only for now.

Pressured.

A painless transference

Liquid

to Vapor.

Vapor

to Nothing.

All from the breath of another.

 

© Michaela Carson and gaelichusky.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michaela Carson and gaelichusky.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night…

“Start small,” echoed in her mind. “It’s easier than writing a novel.” Ha, she thought to herself, easy for you to say Madame English Professor.  She moved the mouse to deactivate the screen saver set to turn on after twenty minutes of inactivity.  The glaring white empty screen stared back at her like a hospital room wall.  Always over the top, small was not something in which she excelled.   Wanting to believe in the alleged “writer’s block” she figured it would be as good of an excuse as any for yet another late assignment.  Of course, the stuffy old professor didn’t take any excuses, so she doubted something so commonplace would qualify as a valid justification.

Sure, she’d read short stories – for assignments, but really, who wanted to read a short story?  They aren’t exactly overtaking the NY Times Bestseller list.  She didn’t even know where to start.  Her ideas were too vast, too ostentatious, too… incomplete.  Never finishing a novel, that was the life of the masses, but name one writer who couldn’t finish a damn short story.

The more she pondered her difficulty, the more she realized she shouldn’t even have to take basic college English classes.  Why is there a math placement exam, but not one for English?  She had received perfect scores on every standardized writing test, A’s in every English and Writing course she took in high school.  She won multiple poetry awards in state and regional competitions, so why in the name of all that was holy was she stuck in Composition I with Professor Those Who Can’t Teach.

The professor hated her.  When she received her first essay back and there was a hideous red “C”, much larger than necessary, scrawled at the top she nearly flew into a fit of rage.  She ranted and stormed at everyone in her dorm about how ridiculous this professor was – at her age, to still be teaching, she obviously knew nothing about contemporary writing.  The exact same paper had earned her an “A+” when she submitted it as her final term paper the year before.  Her high school teacher was much more modern and appreciative of talent though.

Everyone knows that you are supposed to write about what you know.  For Sasha, this was like diving into an Olympic size swimming pool.  She’d done a lot of living in her seventeen years, but it could be difficult knowing where to start.  Her parents modeled a blissful marriage, but not what she was looking for on this project.  Or course, she had the extensive journeys traveled, but she’d grown tired of writing about the Grand Canyon and her cruise to the Bahamas.  Broken hearts where always a good theme, but reliving the heartache of saying goodbye to the only man she knew she’d ever love, well, it was just too painful.

Staring out the window at the cotton candy clouds, inspiration struck.  She’d show that old witch a thing or two.  No one could stifle her and come out on top.

“It was a dark and stormy night…” she typed with a triumphant smile as she began to write one cliché after another for her first short story…

© Michaela Carson and gaelichusky.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michaela Carson and gaelichusky.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.