This Little Light Of Mine

We knew she was a sick cat, but we didn’t know just how sick…or crazy she had gotten. Our sweet Maizy had been our family’s furry kid, a good resident and well-loved member of our family for almost 13 years, but this summer was different. The “welcome home” presents on beds should have been the red flags to clue us in on the fact that the thyroid treatment regimen was not enough. Then the black light and a twitchy tail told the fuller story and we realized she had been trying to tell us something was terribly wrong all along. So we said goodbye to a cat we loved and now have a house full of carpet to replace. Great.

Anytime we finally see something for what it actually is, there is an “aha” moment. A toddler’s mom can tell you that quiet, darkness and a young one are a recipe for disaster all too often revealed when we least expect it. My sister found that to be the case with a stack of blankets in a dark linen closet and a potty-training 2 year-old. (You can fill in the blanks here.) Our favorite naughty kid moment story is of my husband’s brother on Christmas Eve, climbing up to change the clock’s time so Christmas could start earlier the next morning. He was four. A very sleepy Christmas morning was well underway before everyone realized what he had done! No good is happening when the response from a toddler to what they are doing is “Nuffing”. But in the light, the truth is revealed. I tell my kids, it may take me a while, but I always find out! 

That’s funny thing about light. Its power to reveal sometimes gives us needed answers. Now, they may or may not be an easy pill for us to swallow. Urine spots all over my carpet glowing with the black light like highlighter yellow paint had been sloshed honestly took my breath away. And there are times when it’s not “things” at all. 

I cannot be the only one who grew up in a home where the latter part of Numbers 32:23 was easily quoted. “Be sure your sins will find you out” was quickly memorized if you lived in our red brick ranch on B Minor Street.  In our society, the phrase “come to light”  indicates the revelation of something formerly hidden. In a great mystery or crime investigation, it is often a strange twist of events that makes the revelation intriguing. In our own lives, however, and in the light of God’s pure holiness, I wouldn’t say “intrigue” is the best word to describe how it feels. In fact, it is often uncomfortable at best. Lately, God is revealing to me how very unlike His son I am and I’m not going to lie. It does not feel good. But I know it is necessary, because while being corrected, refined, molded isn’t pleasant, I do want His light shining in and through me. My heart truly desires His holiness. Here lies the beautiful part. When I respond with an open heart and allow the Holy Spirit to transform me, I am better able to shine His light outward. I remember learning the children’s song “This Little Light of Mine” in my Aunt Shirley’s Sunday school class and as an adult, I am still learning why that song is such good training. 

The Bible has tons to say about light to help us along the way. 2 Cor 4:6 says “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In Ephesians 5:8, he even calls us light! “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” The purpose is my favorite part. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”. Do you see the connection? It’s all about His glory. 

The song “Create In Me A Clean Heart” is a haunting tune and a beautiful prayer. It is taken from Psalm 51:10. The lyrics are:

Create in me a clean heart, oh God

And renew a right spirit within me

Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord

And take not Thy holy spirit from me

Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation

And renew a right spirit within me

I could pray this every day.  I’ll leave you with Keith Green’s simple and powerful version. Enjoy!

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(Not A) Surprise! 

I walked into the dark restaurant, trading my prescription sunglasses for my regular glasses and saw my friend waving near a large table. I didn’t understand why she was near a big table for our planned small birthday dinner for three until I got closer.  “SURPRISE!” Around the table were the dearest, loveliest gals you could ever meet and they were all there to celebrate me! I had no idea! I never saw it coming! Around that table were the girlfriends I can text, call or show up on their doorstep without notice (and have). They are in many ways my own self-chosen “small group” and the kinds of friends who have become sisters in many ways over the years. It was a carefully crafted plan, evidently, involving my high-school daughter and my husband and the ring leader of gal pals, my dearest Julie. It was executed beautifully! I was floored to be the guest of honor (and so glad I’d changed into my cute new top and sprayed a little fresh perfume)!

Surprises aren’t always wonderful, though. My youngest will enter Kindergarten this fall and I have been dreading his school physical. In my wisdom (haha), I decided it would be best to not mention the possibility, or more correctly, probability of shots. When we got there, I was pleasantly surprised that he was only due for two. He, however, was less than thrilled and just about fell apart, right there in the Star Wars exam room. It wasn’t my finest mommy moment. After promises of stickers and a trip to the toy aisle of our closest big-box store (ugh), he took his school shots like a champ and he walked out fully vaccinated from all that may come his way and sporting Daffy Duck and space band-aids. 

As adults, sometimes we suddenly find ourselves in a place we had never imagined, often with the simple ring of a phone, a quick but heavy financial blunder, news from a doctor, or something far simpler. You may be saying to yourself, “This probably isn’t a big deal to someone else, but to me, it feels huge.” Girlfriends and Mommies, the very God to whom we give praise when it feels like we are standing on a mountain in a shower of blessings is the same when we’re we feel like we are under a giant mammography machine, getting more than our girls squished. During those moments when we turn tear-filled eyes to the sky and say, “Why, Lord?” He is still good. And those moments of complete surprise which seem to turn our world, or at least our hearts upside-down do not catch Him by surprise.  The old saying goes something like “God is good ALL the time and ALL the time l, God is good.” He IS good. There is nothing about Him that could not be good and He loves us so very much. In the same way that parents sometimes must allow our children to go through something painful for their better good, imagine how much more that is so for our Heavenly Father. His love was so great that He gave the ultimate sacrifice in His son so that we could be with Him through eternity. He is not about to leave us hanging when day to day struggles, big or small land with a ker-plunk in our laps.

I kissed a few frogs before I met my prince and believe me when I say I felt every bump along that road. Many nights my mom stayed up until her eyes were crossed talking with me as I mourned the ending of what I hoped would one day be an ever-after. Was it necessary? In hindsight, it probably was. With every hurt and tear that was shed, my heart was becoming more ready for the incredible gift that was eventually my husband. At the time, it seemed senseless, but here we are, celebrating 17 years this week. I am so thankful for those moments of heartbreak, because God, creator of the whole universe met me there, held me in His loving hands and I learned to rely more in the midst of an unseen future on the mercy and grace found only in the hands of my all-knowing Father. 

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” If we love God, this promise is for US! Did your spirit need that reminder today? I know mine did. God is teaching me to bring Him the sacrifice of praise even in times when praise is my last thought. I know that during those low and dark times, He is loving me enough to work things for my greater good and His glory and conforming me more into the image of His son. And He is not caught by surprise.