A New Perspective

I’ll be moving into an apartment in town in a few weeks, and my granddaughters have been less than excited about it. My son and his family are building a new home, and I decided to rent rather than build beside them. We’ve all lived together in a big house for the last two years, and Lilly told me that my new house had to be in walking distance of her new one. She said she liked my house now because she could walk to it inside her house. I like that too, but I’m also looking forward to having my own space.

Lilly will be six in a few months, and I wonder when that little toddler was transformed into a girl who uses words like ‘cool’ and ‘dude!’ I’ll only be a few miles away from their new home, but that seems like a long way to little Mylah. She’s three and said, “Gigi, I already miss you!” They both touch my heart in places no one else ever has or ever will.

Lilly was washing her hands in my bathroom last week and came out grinning from ear to ear. She looked at me and said, “Mommy said I get your room when you move!” She proceeded to do a little happy dance, and I burst out laughing. Suddenly, she was no longer a little lawyer trying to get me to stay. She was a big girl getting her own room! Mylah didn’t look very happy about the new arrangements, but I know she will enjoy the changes once she gets used to them. I know I will too.

Change is never easy, but a shift in perspective helps with the transition. Philippians 3:21 explains the change that comes when I trust God. He has the power to change me, but I must have the courage to let Him.

“He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” (NLT)

God could make me whoever He wants me to be at any given time. He has the power, but He won’t use it until I’m ready. I am ready, and I know little Lilly is too. Mylah will be soon enough 🙂

Lillyann

 

Gravity & Grace

I thought of Lillyann and Mylah this week as God’s lessons led me to see the power of His Holy Spirit to lift my spirit and bring me into a sweet intimacy with Him. Earlier in the week, the girls were pretending to be birds and decided to get on the couch and  fly. Gina and I watched as they showed us how real birds fly. Lillyann, the engineer, had the proper wing formation and proceeded to fly in true bird form. Mylah threw her arms up in delight, squealed, and flew with abandon. Lillyann tried in vain to get Mylah to use proper form, but Mylah was soaring and didn’t heed her directions.

I told Lillyann that humans would fly with their arms outstretched like Mylah’s and used Superman as an example of such flight. Lillyann wasn’t buying it, so I told her that Mylah could pretend fly any way she wanted. That seemed to make sense, so on they flew. I love the abandon of children, and I envy the freedom with which they express their spirits. The lessons this week were all about Spirit, and God used the vivid image of the girls’ flight to bring home a powerful lesson in gravity.

We celebrate Pentecost this week. I’ve read and heard about Pentecost all my life, but I understood Pentecost for the first time today. I was flying like little Mylah with the help of God’s sweet Holy Spirit, and it was the best high I’ve ever experienced. I’ve felt God’s Spirit before, but today was different. It was the most beautiful AHA! moment I’ve ever had as I understood the difference between God’s ways and mine as never before. God dwells in Spirit; I tend to dwell in the body. It was clear to me today that the Spirit has the body beat when it comes to soaring, and I loved the feeling of absolute bliss I felt today. God made it clear that He knows what’s best for me. His timing is always perfect, and I was especially thankful for that today. I got His message just when I needed it, and I love that about Him.

I know I have to die to self, and I know it is a daily death, but I lived the lesson today. That is much better than simply hearing it. I’ve been thinking about Romans 8:14-17 and Acts 2:1-21 this week, and I read commentaries and articles half-heartedly as I prepared the folders last week. In fact, and I’m ashamed to say this, I dismissed Romans and moved on to Galatians because I found it more interesting. I am so very thankful God that is patient, loves me more than I can begin to fathom, and sees me just as I saw Mylah with her  little hands raised in pretend flight. I am also grateful for loving friends who nudge me along the path:)

The lessons this week have all been about allowing God to define me. I am His daughter, and He made that very clear today. The lessons began on Sunday, continued all week, and came together beautifully today. I was His daughter this afternoon, and that made me want to jump and shout and lift my arms like little Mylah. My body reacts to gravity, and that makes it very difficult to stay in flight. Gravity keeps me from experiencing what God has in mind for me, but God’s grace gives me a taste of His freedom that I can’t forget. Bing gives three definitions for gravity:

1)gravitational force: the attraction due to gravitation that the Earth or another astronomical object exerts on an object on or near its surface

2)seriousness: the seriousness of something considered in terms of its unfavorable consequence

3)serious behavior: solemnity and seriousness in somebody’s attitude or behavior

Gravity literally keeps my body from floating up in the air, and I’m very thankful for it; but I must make sure my body does not keep my spirit from being lifted by God’s grace. That pesky sin of seriousness will also keep my spirit from soaring and will ground my soul. Seriousness and gravitational force have their places, but my spirit isn’t one of them. My spirit belongs to God, and I am His beloved daughter. He showed me what He could do when given the space and freedom He needs. What a lesson! What a week! There just aren’t words that describe the way I felt when I was lifted to a place where I escaped gravity and flew into His presence today, but John Gillespie Magee Jr. comes very close his beautiful poem that I’ve always loved.

“High Flight”

 Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
 And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
 Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
 of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
 You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
 High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
 I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
 My eager craft through footless halls of air….

 Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
 And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 – Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

I’m not a pilot, and that was especially true today as God’s Spirit took the controls. My body was forced to be still on the ground and watch as my spirit slipped those surly bonds, and I truly felt like His daughter. Reality set in, and I came back down to earth, but I flew long enough to learn the earth is never the same after flying:)

Taking Flight

Lilly’s Prayer:)

It was late when I finally got the girls settled into bed because they were still filled with all the excitement of mommy’s graduation. They were so adorable as they clapped enthusiastically for everything and looked around in awe. Lillyann clapped when mommy went across the stage and clapped again when she came down the steps to return to her seat. Mylah just clapped the whole time and grinned knowing she was part of something exciting:)

After I got Mylah to sleep, I turned my attention to getting Lillyann ready to go to sleep. Like me, she doesn’t shut down as easily as Mylah:) I was humbled and tickled at the same time as I listened to her pray. God knows that humor and humbling go together perfectly if I’m willing to see the lesson and laugh at myself. I bent my head and sat with my hands folded as Lillyann prayed. She lifted my head and told me to pray while she did. I smiled and began to thank God for loving us and then followed her model of thanking Him for everyone and everything I could think of:) Children’s prayers are filled with thanksgiving, and I needed to remember that.

I was deeply touched when Lillyann prayed, “Thank you for my daughters.” I heard mommy’s prayers in hers and joined in and thanked God for my granddaughters:) Praying together is important, and I was happy to be praying out loud with little Lillyann. I always suspected that she may lean toward pentecostal worship given her energy and need for movement. That’s okay because one of my favorite poems is “When Mahalia Sings.” It’s a wonderful reminder that worship is about an individual relationship with God  and can take many forms.

When Mahalia Sings by Quandra Prettyman.

 We used to gather in the high window of the holiness church and, tip-toe, look in and laugh at the dresses, too small on the ladies, and how wretched they all looked-an old garage for a church, for pews, old wooden chairs.
It seemed a lame excuse for a church. Not solemn or grand, with no real robed choir, but a loose jazz band, or so it sounded to our mocking ears.
So we responded to their hymns with jeers.

Sometimes those holiness people would dance, and this we knew sprang from deep ignorance of how to rightly worship God, who after all was pleased not by such foolish laughter but by the stiffly still hands in our church where we saw no one jump or shout or lurch or weep.
We laughed to hear those holiness rhythms making a church a song fest: we heard this music as the road to sin, down which they traveled toward that end.

I, since then, have heard the gospel singing of one who says I worship with clapping hands and my whole body, God, whom we must thank for all this richness raised from dust.
Seeing her high-thrown head reminded me of those holiness high-spirited, who like angels, like saints, worshiped as whole men with rhythm, with dance, with singing soul.
Since then, I’ve learned of my familiar God-He finds no worship alien or odd.

If you haven’t heard Mahalia sing, then you’ve missed something wonderful. Her love for God is evident, and she doesn’t contain that love but rather lets it flow beautifully from her whole body. I love Quandra Prettyman’s poem, and I love my pentecostal friends. I’m finding that worshiping with my whole body feeds my soul in a powerful way, so I’m raising my hands more and not worrying about what anyone else might think. Loving God and worshiping Him takes on many beautiful forms, and I know He loves each and every expression of love offered up to Him. Whether it’s a moment of silence in a hectic day or a high-spirited voice raised in praise, they all say the same thing. “I love you God!” The most important element of prayer and worship is love, and it can be whispered in solitude or shouted from the rooftop.

God reminded me that all worship blesses Him, and a dear friend reminded me that worship is a gift from God. The heart of God is at the heart of worship, and that’s all that matters. He wants to bless us, and He loves it when our love lifts prayers and praises to Him. Whatever its form, worship is about stopping for a moment, thanking God,  and letting Him know how very much I love Him. Lillyann started and ended her prayer with, “Thank you God,” and I believe that’s a great model to follow. Thank you God indeed!!

Lilly:) 

Oh! Look at This!!

As Lillyann and I visited the shops in town today, she tickled me and those we visited with her enthusiasm. She loved everything and kept saying, “Oh! Look at this!!” A very sweet lady gave her a beautiful little frog as she admired a display in one store. I told Lillyann to pick out a little gift for Mylah, and I would buy it for her. She picked a cute little ladybug because Mylah is crazy about them. The lady said she wanted Lillyann to have it to give to her sister.. Lillyann and I were touched by her love, and she just couldn’t stop talking about it on the way home. Mylah squealed with delight when she saw the sweet little gift.

I could hear God saying, “Oh! Look at this!” as the kind woman went out of her way to share Lillyann’s joy. She extended love and told Lillyann that she was a big sister too. The look on Lillyann’s face when we got into the car was priceless. The little gift was literally priceless, and that was what made it so very special. I saw God in a sweet and powerful way today. I’m glad it was the last shop we visited because the glow of the woman’s lovingkindness followed us home and grew as we told Mere and mommy all about the kind lady in the city. I’m still smiling:)

God’s lessons this week have been simple ones about walking and witnessing in His kingdom. He doesn’t need fancy programs or filled agendas; He just wants us to be willing to give a frog away occasionally:)

Nooooo!

The fog gave way to the snow last night, so I was blessed with a very different view of the world this morning. Watching the girls come in to open my curtains and show me the snow was even better than the beautiful snow globe outdoors. The howling winds calmed, but snow was blowing in all directions. They loved showing it to me! Children have the right perspective when it comes to snow, and their excitement is contagious:)

Fresh snow is a clean slate, and there’s nothing children like better than a blank canvas upon which to create. Anyone with painted walls and children knows that! They have the right idea, and I love the new paint that allows them to create away. The snow invites me to be still and watch as God creates beauty right before my eyes. Snow is a miracle even when I know the science behind it, and it always fills me with awe.

Being with the kids makes snow all the more amazing, and it helps that Tyler is here with a truck that can navigate the slippery slopes if necessary. Fears dissipate when I know I’m not alone. I am reminded that Christ promised to never leave me, and I know that has always been true. He has always been with me, and He always will be. I know families can’t always be together, and I thank God for the beautiful and very unexpected blessing of living with my son and his sweet family. Living and loving together is what God has in mind for His world. In the living and loving, we find Him in one another and in His beautiful world.

The biggest lie in this world is that it doesn’t belong to God. It is my Father’s world, and I love the beautiful hymn that proclaims that powerful truth. It’s easy to give up on the world, but if I do, I take a little piece away from Him and give it to Satan. The world is like all of us. There is good and bad, and neither it, nor we, are perfect. God in all of us and in His world:) It is worth the effort of listening and looking deeply when I find Him in the heart of a friend, the eyes of a stranger, or on a snowy landscape.

Unlike a sunset, snow will not be ignored. I love that about it, and I believe that’s what children love about it:) Whether I like it or not, my plans are going to change. I’m finding it’s best  not wait for a snowstorm to stop, look, and listen to what my sweet Lord has to say or show me each day. This morning, He simply said, “Look at this!” I’m so glad I did, and I love that He had my two sweet little mentors make sure I began the day with the proper perspective. Lillyann immediately wanted to go outside and make a snowman, and little Mylah just kept saying, “NOOOO!” she wasn’t commenting on Lillyann’s question. She was just saying “snow” in Mylah talk, or maybe she heard God’s response to all our plans for the day and was passing along His message:)

Fog and Faith

The fog today was as thick as any I’ve ever seen. I missed seeing the beautiful mountains in the distance, but there is a soft lesson hidden in the white mist that touched my heart. It reminded me that faith is believing without seeing, and that was a lesson I needed today. I like knowing what’s ahead when it comes to finding my way, and that’s exactly what God is trying to get me to change. Not being able to see ahead is unnerving, and uncertainty about where He is leading is even worse. The praying life is about love, but it also requires a level of faith I do not yet have. I suppose that’s the point of the lessons:)

I don’t know if it’s human nature or just me, but I say I trust and then offer a list of questions up to God in an effort to find out what’s coming. Even with all those lessons in love about being present and staying in the moment, I still find myself with one foot in the future. The world says to get a foot in the door, but God says to keep both feet in the present and leave the future to Him. Perhaps one day I’ll learn to do that without having to be reminded.

Lillyann is like me when it comes to wondering and worrying about what’s coming, and I love that about her. If I ever get weary with her worrying, I just remember that I am the same way with God. He is patient and loving, and I ask Him to help me be the same. Lillyann is surrounded by those who love and care for her, and I thank God the love He placed in each of their lives and in mine. Knowing you’re loved is at the heart of faith, and God’s love is the most powerful force on earth and in heaven. How can I not have faith when I know who He is and how He loves.

Fog is part of living in the mountains, and I love watching it settle in the valleys. When it comes too close to home, I don’t like it. Today was a vivid reminder to have faith in Him when I can’t see or don’t understand what’s next on the path. The fog is lifting, and the temperature is dropping. I see the mountains, and I see the beautiful white fluffy snow clouds coming from the west. The girls are excited, and so am I:) The beauty of a spring snow is that you know warmer temperatures are just around the corner. Looking forward to the snow and also the sixties this weekend.

My faith is getting stronger, but I have a long way to go. The girls don’t worry about whether or not mommy and daddy will take care of them. They play happily as all children should. They have reminded me today to do the same when it comes to my Father:)

Moving On:)

With all the moving preparations, I find myself between two homes. Both are bare and crying out for those things which make a house a home. The new house feels like home and is a beautifully blank canvas. I noticed a few sweet, pink strokes in the hallway downstairs yesterday, and they reminded me of my new little housemates. I smiled as I thought of Lillyann and Mylah running and squealing through the house.

The girls love the house and so do I. It’s filled with light, and I wonder each time I’m there which light I’ve left on. The skylights and windows bring in so much natural sunlight that you don’t need anything else on a sunny day.  The girls will take care of the sunshine on cloudy days:) They are, without a doubt, the best part of my new home.

Since I left my husband a decade ago, I’ve lived alone. The solitude provided a safe place and the necessary space for me to grow. I’m ready to live in the sweet community God has so graciously placed in my life. I’m sure there will be challenges for all of us, but I’m also sure that love will add to the glow that God has already provided in the beautiful home.

Being between the two homes is a little unnerving, and I find myself waking with thoughts of how, when, what, and where. I settle back down when I remember that the most important feature that makes this beautiful house a sweet home is who. I know who is going to be there, and that is all that matters.

The girls are coming over today while mommy and daddy move boxes and clean the carpet. I know they are wondering about the changes taking place at their house and at Gigi’s, so I decided to fill the empty spaces in my apartment with their toys. I’m sure they will like the new decor:)

Transitions are part of the transformation God has in mind, and I know He has wonderful plans when it comes to lessons in love. Love is about living together, and I’m ready to move on and love as God desires. We are designed for community, and I’m excited about the company I’ll be keeping because nobody teaches lessons in love more effectively than children. God knows that better than anyone. He knew a baby would satisfy the world’s longing to be loved.