Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:26, 27
Hear the birds chirping? See them fluttering from the trees? Can you Sense their happiness and peace of mind?
Birds don’t worry about stuff like coronavirus or running out of toilet paper. They don’t fret over empty shelves at Walmart or starving to death. And they certainly don’t get their feathers ruffled over clutter on the back porch.
Jesus knows what a bunch of worrywarts we humans are. That’s why He tells us to look at the birds of the air and observe how lighthearted and carefree they are. They don’t work for anything. They don’t store up anything. Yet, God takes care of them. (Matthew 6:26)
God reminded me of that again this morning as I sat fretting amongst the clutter on my back porch and wondering what the heck I’m going to do with it. How quickly I forget that God is in control of every little detail of my pitiful life. Nothing happens to me that He doesn’t know and care about. I don’t have to pace the floor biting my nails to the quick. I don’t have to beg and plead. I just have to trust Him.
Yep! That’s what a little birdie told me this beautiful sunny morning while sitting on my cluttered back porch.
I captured a few pictures while sitting with hubby and our two girls on the back porch. Pepper doesn’t mind posing for a snapshot. Bella, on the other hand, refuses to cooperate!
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Facebook periodically changes its formatting which I discovered when my previous Facebook covers didn’t fit like they did when I created them. So, according to its new formatting requirements, I created a few new ones for you to use and enjoy.
But, we’re still good. We have one roll left in the guest bathroom and two rolls left in the master bath plus two skimpy partial rolls.
Like you and everyone else, I don’t want to run out of toilet paper!
But, what if we do??
We’ll all be glad when this is over and can get back to our normal lives. This sudden smack in the face has shown me what little control I have over things like covid-19 and empty shelves at Walmart and people getting sick and dying.
As a believer, I know that God is bigger than covid-19 and that He is willing and able to take care of me and my family. I know that when I’m afraid I can talk to Him and find peace. I’m thankful that God is bigger than the universe and has everything under control and that I don’t have to worry about silly things like running out of toilet paper because He promises to supply all my needs.
And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (even toilet paper). Philippians 4:19
Easter Sunday was almost as exciting to my brothers and me as Christmas morning. As poor as we were, mom always made Easter special by cramming our baskets full of candy. We couldn’t wait to jump out of bed Easter morning and hunt for the baskets mom had hidden the night before. I will never forget those golden moments of joy and happiness.
Some of my Easter creations are soft and whimsical, reminding me of the joy and excitement of the Easter Bunny and baskets filled with goodies. But the last few of my creations are dark and grungy, reminding of the suffering Jesus bore on the cross for my sins. Like Christmas, Jesus is the reason for the season!
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So, I’m paralyzed. Been this way since the car accident. I can’t walk. I can’t feed myself, bathe myself, even brush my own teeth. And this Man comes to me and asks, “Do you want to get well?”
And with a big, pearly white-toothed smile I say, “No. I’m good. I like people waiting on me hand and foot. I like using my handicap as a crutch. I like not having to do anything, prove anything, take responsibility for anything. I like people coddling me, making excuses for me, doing everything under the sun for me.
Of course, this ridiculous scenario is just fiction. I’m physically healthy. I can clean my own house, pull weeds from my flowerbeds, even walk around the block a few times.
But the man Jesus approached at the healing pool had been an invalid for thirty-eight years and Jesus had the audacity to ask him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
Why would Jesus ask such a no-brainer question? Why would He even think that the man wouldn’t want to be healed? He was at the healing pool, wasn’t he?
As a snotty-nosed kid, and seeing the world through my over-sized rose-tinted glasses I often wondered about that scripture. Then, when I grew up and those glasses got punched off my face, I saw the world and the people in it differently. I even saw myself differently.
Reality stinks. It rattles our brain and makes us see things about ourselves and others that we’d rather not. Don’t open my eyes and I won’t have to see how people use their long-time physical and emotional handicaps to bully and control others. Stick in a pair of earplugs and I won’t have to hear their never-ending moans and groans.
It’s funny how you can sit in a room with strangers or even people you know and friendly conversations often become a contest of who had the most surgeries or take the most pills or has the worst ailments or suffers the most pain.
Why do people do that?
As kids growing up, my brother and I had rheumatic fever, but Kenny’s was more severe than mine. He was sickly all the time, in and out of the hospital and pumped full of penicillin at the least sign of a cold. He cried a lot. Was coddled and babied a lot. And I felt ignored a lot.
Then, when I was in the third grade, I got deathly sick every day after lunch and laid my head on my desk trying not to throw up all over the floor. Finally, mom and daddy took me to the doctor to discover I had walking pneumonia.
Finally! I was one up on my brother and rubbed it in his face boasting that I was the sickest, now and it’s my turn to get all the attention!
But, Kenny wasn’t having it and argued that he was still the sickest. After dragging mom into it, she finally ended the contest by calling it a tie. We were both equally sick.
For many years I expected people to treat me with kid gloves because of my out-of-whack emotional disorders. I relied on others to do things for me that I was afraid of doing myself. I relied on my loved ones to protect and defend me, to be there for me, to boost my confidence, to validate and make excuses for me. And the more I relied on others the more dependant I became.
Then hearing my desperate cries at the healing pool one day, Jesus knelt beside me and whispered, “Do you want to get well?”
When the prison doors swung open, I just stood there gazing wide-eyed into the vastness of freedom. It was scary out there without my crutches —- those emotional handicaps I so desperately clung to for so long. The smell of freedom was alluring and sweet, but stepping into it was like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.
I still rely on the love and support of my family, but I don’t expect them to sit and hold my hand twenty-four hours a day, not that I ever did. I don’t expect them to make up for everything I lost throughout my life. I don’t expect them to coddle me and pamper me and agree with every single thing I do or say.
Just as God has set me free I set others free. I know what it’s like to be bullied by someone else’s handicaps and I’d rather cry alone in the coldest, darkest cave than to ever do that to the ones I love.
Freedom always comes at a cost, especially if you’ve been enslaved for a long, long time. In order to gain one thing you have to let go of another and another and another, whatever tattered rag you’re clinging to because it feels reliable and safe.
And as crazy as it seems, many people would rather lay around sucking on their emotional pacifiers than get off their pity pot and walk.
I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to get well. I want to be what I was created to be. I want to take up my mat and walk like a boss!
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6
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Sugar and spice and everything nice
That’s what Eve was made of
And placed in the Garden of beauty and charm
To bask in the warmth of God’s love
Then along came a serpent so charming and sweet
With a hellish mission in mind
To crush and destroy the apple of God’s eye
And to rob her trusting soul blind
How foolish was she that fateful day
When she ate from the forbidden tree
And lost the cloak of God’s righteousness
For all eternity
But even before He formed the clay
God had a plan for man-kind
To redeem and restore our broken souls
And give us life sublime
He sent to earth His only Son
To die on a rugged tree
To wash away sin’s ugly stain
And to set our spirits free
I was taught to share, so I thought nothing about sharing my grapes with the cutest boy in the neighborhood. The problem was, I went way beyond sharing. I gave him the entire cluster leaving me with a lonely few in my small hand.
One day, while in an extremely generous mood, I nearly gave all my pretty dresses away to my best friend who had spent the night. I wish you could have seen the look on moms face when she came in my room and saw all the dresses she painstakingly made just for me sprawled all over the bed. I had to hang them all back up except for the three she said my friend could have.
When I went to beauty school, I gave everybody free haircuts; family, friends, even people I didn’t know. I’m surprised I didn’t stand on the street corner holding a sign saying: Free Haircuts! Come one come all!
Yep, you guessed it. I’m a full-blooded people pleaser.
Crooks and leaches love people pleasers. They latch on to their kindness and generosity like a tick on a dog and will suck them dry. When they’re done with them, they move on to the next nice person, and the next. They don’t love them. They don’t even like them. They just want what they can get out of them.
How do I know this? I’m a recovering, people pleaser addict. I’ve worn out many pairs of shoes trudging the suicidal path losing pieces of myself along the way. Before I realized it, my life became a ticking time bomb of fear, anger and rage, anxiety and depression. No matter how hard I tried to win the favor of those I tried hardest to please, I always failed.
One day I snapped. My mother had been in the grave for five years and I was still beating myself up because I failed to make her happy. I failed to fix her. I failed to be the daughter she wanted me to be. Suddenly, in the midst of my turmoil and grief God pried my eyes open with a simple, yet profound question, “Are you God?”
That was a eureka moment for me. With those three little words, God reached down His mighty hands and lifted the world off my shoulders. With those three little words He told me that contrary to what I was taught and believed He did not put me on this earth to save it. I am a human being. That’s what He created me to be and that’s all He expects me to be. Once I finally wrapped my pea brain around the truth of my twisted thinking the demons descended back into hell from whence they came.
To an extent, I’ll always be a people pleaser. But I’ve developed a keen eye over the years and no longer allow people to take advantage of me. It’s amazing how easily “no” pops of my mouth and how much I love the wide-eyed looks when it does. I realize that most people aren’t going to like me no matter how nice I am, so I don’t waste my time trying to earn their approval, nor does God expect me to. Do you know how freeing that is? To have God’s permission to let it go and let Him handle it? Every single little thing? It frees me to be the best I can be without having to prove myself to the world.
We all want to feel loved and accepted. We all want the people in our world to be happy. But we must guard against trying to orchestrate that happiness at any cost to ourselves. We can help. We can guide and direct. But the rest is between them and God.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28).
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