Hand-Me-Down Shoes

>> Thursday, January 30, 2014

I grew up wearing hand-me-down shoes. Whether they fit or not was never the issue. Did they cover my feet when it snowed? Did they prevent me from stepping on a sharp object? If so, they were doing their job.
Therefore, I’ve lived with corns and bunions.
Add to that information the fact that I have a very high arch, which only increases the problems with my feet. Buying shoes has never been fun. But slowly, over years of purchasing the correct size shoe, the corns have disappeared. The bunion is a permanent fixture, but does ache less.
The other day I splurged.
Instead of buying just any tennis shoe, I went to the experts (I think). The first thing they did was have me take off my shoes and stand on a piece of equipment that reminded me of the scale I weigh myself on at home. Immediately an image appeared on a screen…showing the pressure points of my feet with nothing showing between my heels and ball of my foot.  Did I mention I have a high arch? There…in living color…was the proof. I was told this is the foot type that needs the most assistance with shock absorption, since the rigid structure doesn’t dispel impact forces very well. Nice.
I left the store wearing my new shoes…designed explicitly for me.
That illustration relates precisely to my religious/Christian experience. I grew up wearing my mother’s religion. Did I attend church every time the doors were open? Did I keep myself separate from the evil in the world…activities and people? Then my religion was doing its job.
I developed all sorts of illnesses and mental hang-ups. No matter. They were badges of honor for doing the right thing. But slowly, over the years, I began to see that maybe…just maybe…religion didn’t fit me.

I discovered an Expert who gently guided me into a relationship with a Person. I threw my mother’s religion away and now a delightful Presence resides within me…designed explicitly for me…and you. 



“I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His Presence…” Proverbs 8:30 (NIV)



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A Pleasing Fragrance

>> Thursday, January 23, 2014

As I opened the mailbox, a lovely fragrance wafted out. And then I spied the package. Without a doubt, I knew what it contained…bath salts…a gift from my daughter. When those salts are dissolved in the bath water, the whole bathroom is filled with a pleasing aroma. And I get to choose…lavender…warming balsam fir…tranquil chamomile.
 
Not all odors are wonderful.

My husband and I used to own a business located in the basement of a dental office. At lunchtime, my husband would heat some brussel sprouts in the microwave. He discontinued that practice when the assistant from upstairs complained that it smelled like someone farted in their waiting room.

What kind of scent do you exude?

I’m not talking about body odor…although that can sometimes be an issue. I’m referring to the fragrance of your life. Does the essence of your being radiate a pleasant ambiance? Or do people avoid you?

“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God…” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (MSG)



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Now He's Free

>> Tuesday, January 21, 2014

There it was…in black and white…a name I knew. I stared at the newspaper page. So many years…26. And now he was free. My mind flew back 25 years and I could see that little boy, crawling among our legs as the church choir practiced.

Then the tragedy. He was found floating in the pool.

Drastic measures were taken. Machines had been used. Prayer groups met around the clock. Tears were shed. Such a darling little boy. I visited the hospital. His grandma and I became friends as we worked his little arms and legs to prevent stiffening.

Weaned from the machines, he was discharged to go home. But everything was different now. He couldn’t play with his toys…couldn’t make messes…would never ride a bike or attend school.

He lay in his bed.

Teams of people signed up to help the family. Some brought meals. Others took their turn at moving his little limbs…keeping them limber. My heart broke each time it was my turn…eventually causing me to volunteer in a different way. I could do their ironing. Their home was a scene of constant people in and out.

He still lay there.

Now he’s free…running and laughing. My emotions are mixed…sad and glad.

As he lay there, he taught me so many lessons. Limited as his life was, it served a purpose. And for those of us who arise each morning with our faculties intact, much more is expected.


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The Joy of Giving

>> Thursday, January 9, 2014

I love to give. As I walk the aisles of a store, I’m always on the lookout for something that just exactly suits a family member or friend. My pattern has been to make the purchase and send it on its way…not waiting for a birthday or Christmas. I want them to enjoy it now.

Sometimes I’ve been disappointed by the receiver. They haven’t even bothered to say thanks. But more than that, the gift has not been taken care of. Within a matter of days it is lost or broken.

That takes the joy out of giving.
 
The Bible tells me that God has many gifts for me…and you. Do we take the time to say thanks? Or do we just take His gifts for granted? When we receive one, do we take care of it? Or within days or weeks or months do we cast it aside and then expect more from Him?

I don’t want to disappoint Him.

“Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it.” I Peter 4:10 (MSG)



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