Long, Lovely Lashes

Why do we girls glue on fake fingernails, put on high heels, or wear anything sounding so weird and awful as "Spanx"? Why do we bleach or highlight our hair, or wear those widget-gadget bras, or, for crying out loud, bleach our upper lip?

Okay. I'll give us the last one. Any gal who needs to bleach her upper lip probably should do so, before the sun gets too high in the sky. But all the other stuff we do makes me wonder mightily at what ails us. At the risk of being the pot that calls all the kettles black, I will confess to one thing: my real hair color is Paula Deen silver. No lie. My first gray hair popped out when I was fifteen years old, and now, at a young forty-two, I am silver-white. I've worn it silver, and I've worn it brunette. I like it both ways, actually.

Beyond that, though, I've pretty much sworn off of being a mute, helpless slave to false, air-brushed magazine images. I don't even fall for the picture of the girl on the front of the hair color box anymore. It is all a clever lie, far as I'm concerned. My hair never looks like the girl's on the box.

I have had my own acquaintance with deep bondage. I've had those moments when something just came over me - when I leave the house, and come home looking shocking, with either a very sudden tan, or unnaturally perfect fingernails. I remember that time, more than ten years ago, when I stepped into my bathroom, and an hour later, stepped out with Miss Piggy Eyelashes...

I got glue in my eyes, and actually glued the first few lashes on upside down. (I will nev-er get the hang of doing anything whilst looking in a mirror!) The whole process of pulling the upside down eyelashes back off was quite painful, causing those little tears that spring to one's eyes when something smarts horribly. Hence, the super glue became somewhat liquefied, and seeped into my eyes.

In a daze, I steadied my hand on the sink, where a few of Tim's whiskers lay, unbeknownst to me. When I retrieved that hand to firmly (and I do mean firmly) press a lash down, I ended up with Tim's whiskers and one three inch long hair of my very own, super glued to my eyelid.

Folks, you can't make this stuff up.

Finally, one exhausting hour later, I was done, or so I thought. I casually walked through my house...and my children stopped one by one to gape and stare. It was then I thought that the lashes might be a teensy weensy bit too long. So back into the bathroom I went, to cut them down with my tiny hair cutting scissors. Not an easy task, especially when looking into a mirror.

Tim came home, and I proudly batted my eyes all evening long. I would get close to his face and look deeply into his brown eyes, just to see if he would notice anything unusual. Well, he didn't notice the eyelashes ("Yipee! They must look real!") but he did think, quite understandably, but mistakenly, that I was urgently burning with love for him.

In truth, I was exhausted from the physical and emotional eyelash battle of the day, so I fell asleep early, while trying to read a book in bed. My head was buried face first, deep in my pillow, where Tim found me. He rolled me over, kissing my face tenderly. I tried to respond...

...but couldn't get one eye open. I am not even lying to you.

I casually turned my face away, and manually ripped my eye back open, then turned back to deliver my kisses. He stopped cold, stock still. He peered. He drew very close, and, as though reaching for a loathsome spider, took his thumb and forefinger and plucked this hairy foreign object from my cheek. He looked it over intently, wondering what it could possibly be. Slowly, a horrified expression covered his face, when he found many such hairy things all over my pillow.

"Confess ye your faults one to another..." I had to confess, I had no choice. Then came a long lecture about how he hates anything false on me. Other women can wear the wonderbras, the corsets, the padded bottoms on the underwear, but not his wife, he declared. Other women can surgically enhance themselves, but not me, he proclaimed. I am allowed to primp and pouf, adorn and make-up myself, hair-spray and dress myself to a wildly reasonable degree, but no more of this silly fake stuff.

Meekly, I repented from my moment of craziness. What else could a girl with gooey, strange looking eyes do? And when I am in a more reasonable frame of mind, I can see that Tim's right about me. God made me exactly as I am, and He knew what He was doing. Insecurity tends to make a woman wildly UNattractive, anyway.

As I said in the beginning, I think I am more or less permanently released from utter bondage. A little super glue in the eyes would teach any fool. Please remind me of this fact the next time I'm in the drug store looking at the cellulite creams, the body bronzers, the clip-on hair pieces, the...

Spiritual Construction

There are several Biblical references to my ability to build things I cannot see, using tools that are spiritual, not natural. I can "build Him a throne", in a manner of speaking, with my praises. I also am building some sort of spiritual edifice - a certain quality of spiritual endeavor made manifest - and it is being built right now, while I am alive and able. This thing I'm constructing is the ultimate creative outlet, and will be unveiled and tested in both time and eternity. This life is my one chance to love Him with my decisions and my days, this is my time to choose to depend on the grace of God. This is when it counts! In Heaven, it will all be a foregone conclusion. Everyone there will love Him, the food will be great, and the devil cast down. It is now that I am building with either gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay and stubble. Every person's work will be made manifest, of what sort it is. (And the "work" is to believe Him!)

But my real point today, is that I have just discovered an unbelievable fact - one I've never read anywhere, in any book. The fear of the Lord creates a spiritual storehouse. My fear of the Lord, choice by choice, day by day, is building for me a storehouse, with my name over it, for my future use in any time of need.

Isaiah 33:6 says, "And He will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge..."

No matter how much you give away, it is a fact that such gracious abundance calls for storage! We need "room enough to receive", if only to be able to then give it away. In fact, when God is pouring out upon us, there often doesn't seem to BE room to receive. Things held in storage, whether it be grain in time of famine, or cash in times of recession, what is stored up can make for a certain stability in uncertain times. Isaiah 33: 6 tells me that the Lord will be the stability of my times, He will be to me an abundance of knowledge and wisdom and salvation.

All this abundance must be received and contained somehow. It has a spiritual "container". Let me, if you'll indulge me, tell you exactly what the container is. The rest of the verse in Isaiah 33: 6 reveals it:

"...and the fear of the Lord is Zion's treasure."

"Treasure" here, means a literal treasury, a bank account, a savings of all good things, a magazine of weapons, an armoury of ammunition, garners of supplies of every sort. The Bible says the fear of the Lord itself IS the laying-up place...it IS the treasury. When I choose the fear of the Lord, it "builds" the container into which certain things are laid up for me, lovingly set back, happily stored away in anticipation of future need. My fear of the Lord, which can be manifested in my life in a thousand different ways, creates and constructs and contains the very storehouse of resources that will give steady supply and stability to my times when all other supplies begin to run out.

O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.

Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for those that fear thee; which you have wrought for them that trust in you before the sons of men!

All the grace God could lavish upon me would mean but little, if I didn't have a way to receive it. All the provision I could be given might go to waste if I didn't have a way to contain and organize it and make it useful. God wants to be the stability of my times, and my times are very unstable right now, were it not for God's abundance to me. I would quickly become emotionally and financially and spiritually bankrupt without a means of receiving and containing the answers to my many needs.

There is no overflow without there first being a container. Without a "cup" to pour into, without a treasury to lay supplies into, all provision becomes so much more stuff in the street.

This is precisely why the Lord says, in Psalms 34:11 ~

Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

This fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, indeed! FIRST, the Bible says, build your barns, and sow your fields, and THEN build your house. The fear of the Lord is the barn, into which you'll store your grain, seeds of all sorts, your plows and rakes and fertilizer - all that pertains to your harvest must have a place to be kept safely until the moment of its use. The fear of the Lord is the storage-place of believers.

Do I Amaze the Lord?

Today's blog will, of necessity, be stupendously short, but enormously thought provoking.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (Luke 7, v. 9).

Only twice in the gospels was Jesus said to be amazed: In Luke 7, because of the centurion's belief. In Nazareth, because of unbelief (Mark 6:6).

How do I amaze the Lord? Do I amaze Him?


I am a terrible multi-tasker. The real tragedy is that I still try. Every day. Many times a day, and with dubious results at best, or death-defying results, at worst. (For me to talk on a cell phone and try to drive is the definition of tempting God...)

Take today, for instance. I have a candle-drawer, in my foyer. I was given a beautiful, antique oak dresser some years back, and I use it in my entry-way. I have drawers for the family's cell phone accoutrement's, a drawer for gloves or hats, and a drawer full of various candles and essential oils - these for ambiance in lighting and scenting our home.

Having just sprinkled a few drops of "balsam" oil around our fireplace this morning, I was on my way to put the tiny bottle back in the candle-drawer, when I spied a "poodle present". Need I elaborate? Our oldest poodle does not have the best control of his urges these days, and he sometimes leaves a "present" on the rug. So I took a detour, to get a tissue and disinfectant spray. I gathered said present (very dry, thankfully) in a tissue, and sprayed the area. Then, I tucked the spray under my arm, and left the room with poodle-poop wrapped in tissue in one hand, essential oil in the other, and disinfectant under my arm.

Alarms should sound, every time I try.

I was "multi-tasking" again, and someone should stop me, or a siren ought to blast, yanking my attention to the task(s) at hand.

It wasn't until I reached my final destination, the cleaning-closet, to return the spray, that I began to question the order of events. With some degree of consternation, I realized that, yet again, my memory was quite fuzzy. Did I? Nnnnnnno. I couldn't have. But...what if? Sure enough, upon investigation, I found tissue-wrapped poop in the candle-drawer, and a little bottle of essential oil in the trash can.

Reminds me of the night I set my toes aflame.

It is my habit to unwind, each night. I am a prisoner of my routines, have been for years. Tim was deep in study, in another room, and I was more or less alone. My children were all small, and fast asleep. I decided to light a candle on my dressing-table, before crawling in bed with a book. I picked up the long-nosed lighter that is always close at hand (candle-aficionado that I am) and only then noticed that the red polish on my toes was chipped in one place.

"Can't have that" my brain thought to itself. Church was next morning, and I was going to wear some cute sandals.

So I detoured (oh, those detours!) to my bathroom, raised and planted my left foot on the back of the toilet, where all my nail-polishes sat in a tiny tray...

...and promptly lit my big toe. Yup. The lighter was still in my right hand. I was trying to multi-task, and as I've already told you, that is a big, big mistake. As the flame barely touched the toenail, I yelped in utter disbelief and surprise.

I don't do these things because I'm stupid. Really! Actually, it is because I have a bit of a high IQ. (Really!) I'm always too busy contemplating soteriology or sovereignty or pneumatology or how I next want to have my hair cut, to pay a whole lot of attention to what I'm physically doing. My life is lived all in my head, and it is getting crowded up there. Lotsa big thoughts, all elbowing for room.

So please - if ever you come to visit me, and you find poop in unexpected places...do extend me the benefit of the doubt. I won't have done it on purpose.

If You Love Me...

John 14:15 ~ If ye love me, keep my commandments.

What a gorgeous piece of Holy Reasoning! If you love Jesus, you will keep His commandments. His commandments are that you love Him, and love your neighbor as yourself. In simple terms: "If you love Him, you will love Him. If you love Him, you will love others."

Romans 13:8 ~ for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Galatians 5:14 ~ For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

To love him, and to love others fulfills the law. Please hear me, saints! Law fulfilled, not broken. Law completed, not destroyed. No righteousness of my own - it is God's love for me, and my love for God and others that constitutes compliance and fulfillment.

Synonyms for 'fulfilled' : accomplish, achieve, answer, be just the ticket, carry out, comply with, conclude, conform, discharge, do, effect, effectuate, execute, fill, fill the bill, finish, hit the bull’s-eye, implement, keep, make it, make the grade, meet, obey, observe, perfect, perform, please, realize, render, satisfy, score*, suffice, suit

Christ's love for me fulfilled (executed, finished, met, satisfied) the requirements of the law on my behalf. I stand complete in Him! Then, as my own act of love, I keep His commandments - which are simply to love. My sincere love for God and for others fulfills (answers, discharges, concludes) the requirements of the law.

If I love Him, I will live differently. That isn't legalism, it is love. If I love you, I won't lie to you. I won't cheat you. If I love Him, I do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Love is the driving force, and I love Him because He first loved me.

And now, according to I Cor. 13, there abides three core motivators of the human spirit: faith, hope, and love, "these three".

I accept my righteousness as a gift of grace through faith. Faith.

So many believers stop there. The grace-through-faith message is, for them, the end. But wait! There is also hope! Oh, dear one, Christ in me, the hope of glory! Hope. Romans 8:24 says, "For we are saved by hope..."

But saints. Thus saith the Lord: "The greatest of these is love."

Let us not stop at the doctrine of grace-through-faith, with no hope for real-time, this-lifetime deliverance and freedom. Give me hope! However...let us not stop at faith and hope, as stunning as it is for a believer to be able to believe and to have hope! Let us get past the limiting perspective of mere "legalism or not legalism." Let us fulfill our destiny, grow up, and bear much fruit in our relationship with the Father, and with each other. Let's be moved by the greatest motivator of all time and eternity: LOVE.

Some call it 'abstinence'. I say that love doesn't behave itself unseemly. Some call it 'sanctification'. I say that love doesn't rejoice in iniquity, it rejoices in the truth. Some call it 'the tithe'. I say that love does not seek its own. Some call it 'commitment to the local church'. I say that love suffers long, and is kind.

Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."

Impaired or Repaired Judgment?

Beloved, unless you are deaf, dumb, and blind, you are living - right now, this very moment - under the influence of something.

Do your fears influence you?

Is it a person?

A past failure? A past success?

Does the news influence your emotions? Rush Limbaugh? Hannity?

Do your own opinions and thoughts influence you?

Does God's word influence you?

You are being influenced (changed, altered, guided and affected) today. Who or what is the power behind what is already happening to you? Identify it, because every influence you allow is either further impairing your judgment, or it is repairing your judgement. I say this, because we are fallen human beings, born with impaired judgment. We are ever in need of repair in this area, and we are ever either seeing more and more damage done, or we are taking steps to repair our thought processes. There is no neutral ground, where our minds are neither impaired nor repaired.

If you have been "driving" with impaired judgment, stop. Just stop. Turn around, and begin to repair your sense of direction and discernment with the Word of God.

Something is influencing you today, dear one. What influences you, will change, alter, guide and affect you. In short, your influences control your life and your day and your destiny. Identifying who or what is controlling your mind is more than half the battle.

No Trumpets, No Scrolls...

Some days are silently life changing. I'm having another one of those silent, yet life-altering, fork-in-the-road sort of days. Never, does a scroll drop from heaven, written in flourishing, heavenly script, "Heads up! Things will never be the same again! This is a Very Important Moment!" Never do trumpets play...not even in your head.

You simply have to become wise enough to "number your days, so that you can apply your heart to wisdom", as the Psalm says. You must discern the moment.

Today, ever so quietly, our balding and cheerful postman delivered a large box.

Hannah's first choice of wedding gown. This one will be the first one she will ever try on. We hope it is "the one"; we'll see. It lies there, on her bed, waiting to change her whole life...and mine.

Today, ever so quietly, I have taken down the Christmas decorations. For the very first time ever, Hannah's go into a separate box, a simple box, nothing fancy, lovingly tied up by yours truly with plaid Christmas ribbon. Those trinkets will hang on her tree, next Christmas, in her first apartment, with her new husband. This was accomplished silently, no words from me, alone in my livingroom, with soft jazz music playing in the background, while I drank a Slimfast milkshake - I'm not dieting, but rather just needed quick nourishment that I didn't have to prepare first. Quiet activity. Life changing, nonetheless.

Today, ever so quietly, I walked into my bedroom, carrying a load of laundry, and caught my son making copies of his transcripts, SAT scores, and immunization records. I had no idea. With no prodding, no hinting, no cajoling, he is preparing for his future.  He is seizing the day, having prayed for the mind of God.  Quietly, with no input from his parents, no manipulation from mom; with no gabbing or fanfare or an ounce of insecurity on his part....confidently and almost noiselessly, he took yet another step towards becoming a man. I wasn't expecting it. Life changing stuff, it is.

There was a time, in my young motherhood, when I would have grabbed up a telephone and spoiled the silence. I would have vented these emotions. I would have been far too overwhelmed, even wonderfully and positively overwhelmed, with so many milestones in a day. Now, in the twilight of my mothering years, I have learned to value the quiet, transforming moment, and to meet that moment, and honor it with a quiet heart of my own.

And tomorrow is another day. No telling what it will hold.

"In quietness and confidence shall be my strength...."