Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Mirror of Our Soul

I once did my "cake talk" at a retreat.  Today, God has asked me to share it on my blog.  I pray that it doesn't lose something in translation since I cannot bake cakes for all of you to have a visual and taste enhancing experience.

Picture three cakes: an Angel Food, a Chocolate Cake, and a Plain Vanilla Cake with carmel like vanilla icing.  The later is a cake my grandmother, Minnie (Toad) Robeson always baked.  I will refer to it as Grandma's cake.  Think about this: "If you were a cake, which cake would you be?"

First let's talk about the Angel Food Cake--the one with the whipped cream icing and cherries on top.  It's such a pretty cake.  White poofy icing, bright red cherries to contrast.  But when you cut into the middle of the cake, you find lots of holes and a pretty rough texture.  It's a lot like some of us:  beautiful on the outside.  We seem to have it all together as far as the world can see, but our lives are full of holes.  Maybe the holes need to be filled by God.  Maybe we don't really even know Him, or maybe our relationship with His has taken a back burner.  Maybe we need love from our family, friends, or chruch that we are not getting.  Maybe we need to fix a broken relationship, or maybe we just need to feel good about ourselves.  Whatever hole this kind of person has, God knows and can fill it.

Then there's the Chocolate Cake. What can we say?  Beautiful outside, wonderful inside!  The Chocolate Cake person needs to be careful that we don't become so self sufficient that we don't see a need for God.  The danger here is allowing  our own strength to become our idol.   We become so sure of our abilities that we shut God out.  We may not do it consciously, but we can handle so much on our own that we forget to ask God what He wants.  Then we're really in trouble.

And last but not least, Grandma's cake.  Plain vanilla, falls in the middle, caramel icing that just lays there.  It's not the most beautiful cake in the world.  But that icing penetrates that cake and, on the inside that cake is so wonderfully sweet.  It is a good, solid, everday cake that you can count on to fill your craving for sweets.  The Vanilla Cake Person, though they may have a few lumps and bumps and sink holes on the outside, or may appear plain vanilla, is a wonderful person on the inside.  You can depend on her to fill the needs of family and friends, and oftentimes to be the workers at the church.

We need to be careful not to think ourselves less because we don't feel beautiful when we look in the mirror.  We need to not compare "cakes."  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and God sees all.  Whatever kind of "cake person" we are, God knows us inside and out.  He can fill our holes.  He can use our strengths and our weaknesses. He looks into the mirror of our souls, not the mirror on the wall.  We need to figure out which kind of "cake" we are, and ask God to work with and through the gifts He has given us.  We need to ask him to bring us to the point that, when we look into the mirror on the wall, all we see is the image of Him.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


We have been doing some remodeling.  We had carpet removed in our downstairs bedrooms and went down to wood floors.  The house looks good and feels so clean.  We were able to get into all the far corners; all the dark recesses. 

That is what we need to do in our lives and in our spirits.  Reach back into the far corners; into all the dark recesses where no one can tread but us and God.  What is in there that makes us who we are?  What is it that causes us to "snap" at times over things not worth worrying about; little things.  Little things often times seem so monumental to us because of things that happened in our past.  They lurk there in the dark recesses until something or someone triggers them, and then they come bursting forth with a force that takes us (not to mention the person to whom our outburst is aimed) completely by surprise.   Most of the time we don't even realize what's bothering us. We attribute the problem to the person who triggered our undoing.

My favorite prayer is Psalm 139:23-24:  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my ways; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.  We need to search our hearts, our souls, and our minds along with God. We need to see what's in those dark corners of our minds where we don't like to tread.  Do a little house cleaning.  Pray a prayer of sanctification over our past discrepencies.  More than likely, we have already asked God to forgive them.  He probably has forgiven them, but we have a tendency to not forgive ourselves.

We need to pay attention when God brings those things to mind.  So many times, we simply dismiss them.  God gently nudges and we shove them back in the corner to be brought out again at an inopportune time. 

I would like to get down to the bare floors; to get all the corners cleaned out; to start with raw material; to come clean.  Maybe someday...

Friday, September 30, 2011

"Humming" Along

I love humming birds!  I do. We keep a feeder outside our window where we have coffee every morning.  This year we had not refilled it until we read that the little hummers needed extra nourishment to be able to migrate.  We were glad to get to watch them a little longer, so we filled the feeder. 

We have begun to watch one bird in particular.  He lives in our pyracantha bush.  He goes from the bush to the feeder and from the feeder to the front porch where there are colorful flowers and then back to the bush.  Other birds have come and gone, but this particular little hummer has never migrated.  He probably thinks, "Why go south when I am comfortable here.  I have shelter; life is easy and there is plenty of food."  We will probably have to pull the feeder.

How many of us react like that when we know God is telling us that we need to move on?  Change is so hard. We get comfortable in our "rut."  What we know oftentimes seems so much more appealing than what we cannot see.  We would have to "put ourselves out there" if we; for example, changed jobs, changed locations, or changed our habits, whether physical or spiritual. 

What we have to remember though, is that winter is coming.  Whatever our "winter" is, it is coming.  And just like the little humming bird, if we don't heed the signs that God gives us and we ignore the warnings, we will not flourish. It could even mean death, whether figuratively or physically. 

So I will remove the feeder.  The hummingbird will fly south.  And maybe, I will have learned something about moving on.  Maybe I will heed God's warnings when He says winter is coming. And maybe, I too will move on.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Intimacy With God

I'm reading a book by John Eldredge called "Walking With God."  Tisha loaned it to me, and it is a wonderful book.  He quoted Psalm 139: 1-18: O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. ...You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid you hand upon me....Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ...When I awake, I am still with you. 

I pondered this scripture for a moment, and then God put a thought into my mind.  My daughter, Tisha, is so sweet to make me feel a part of her life and her kid's lives.  She sends me text such as, "Hayden is tired of going to school already (after 2 days in school). He says he's ready to go back to the beach!"  I love those! I know what's going on with them. I feel as if I'm part of their lives even when I'm not present.  If I don't get texts for a few days, I feel sad.  She was really busy for a while and the text slowed. I mourned!  I felt as if I was on the outside looking in, but the blinds were pulled.  God nudged me and said, "That is how I feel when you do not listen to me. That is how I feel when you do not share all the intimate details of your life with me."

Can you imagine being responsible for creating beings for the purpose of an intimate relationship with them, only to have them pull the blinds and only raise them when they cannot handle the "big" problems in their lives?  For them to think that you only want to be a part of certain aspects of their lives? 

Those little quick texts mean so much to me!  I want to be intimate with my family, and I want to be intimate with God.  I want to share every moment with Him; every little detail.  And I want to hear from him every day; all through the day!  I want to walk with Him and talk to Him at every opportunity, and they are endless!

Eldredge said, "...to know him...not just "know about" like you know about the ozone layer or Ulysses S Grant." (pg. 12)
That is how I want to know my God!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Giving Help Is Easy, Accepting It is The Hard Part

A close friend of mine had major surgery recently.  She's doing well now, a week and a half  later.  I had the priveledge of assisting her during the days that followed her surgery; cooking, cleaning a little, lifting what she couldn't.  It brought to mind the birth of my last child. Probably because she and another friend did the same things for me.

 I developed toxemia in the last trimester of my pregnancy and was put to bed.  At the time, I was the mother of two wonderful little girls, ages ten and eight.   I was also the secretary, office manager, and gofer for our business, as well as volunteer children's director for our church.

Some of the office work I could do from bed, but my husband had to pick up a lot slack there.  My friends drove me to doctors appointments, had wheel chair races with me in Wal Mart, cooked for me, cleaned for me, set up the babies room, and even refinished furniture.  I love those ladies!

You may be thinking, "That sounds wonderful!  Wish someone would do that for me!"  But truthfully, it was hard to allow someone to do those things for me.  It was a very humbling experience.  I am always eager to help someone else, but accepting help is a different story.  

I John 4:11 says, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (KJV)  Galatians 5:13 says, "... by love, serve one another." (KJV)  Therefore, if we love one another, we will serve one another, and we will allow ourselves to be served when we are in need.  We should not deny our  brothers and sisters the blessings of helping us.  We are, after all, one body in Christ, and a body is made up of many parts working together.

 I am thankful that I could serve in this manner. And I am blessed to have a friend who allowed me to receive these blessings.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Impossible Used to Seem Possible

        I have two of the most wonderful grandsons in the world. Each has his own personality, his own style of talking, his own walk, and his own quirky little things that I love.  But they both have my hair!  The older more so than the younger. I gave it to their mother, who in turn gave it to them.  I don't think they want it any more than I do!

       Their mother sent me a picture of their first haircut of the school year by a professional hairstylist.  She said that when the lady asked Hunter (the six year old) what kind of "cut" he wanted, he said, "Straight!"

       I thought about his answer this morning over my last cup of coffee, and I wondered, "When did we begin to believe  that the impossible was not possible?  Was it one particular circumstance or many happenstances in our lives that caused us to doubt that anything is possible?" 

      When we were children, we were sure that someone could fix any problem; Mom, Dad, our grandparents.  I have glued noses on wooden pull toys, performed surgery on dolls, bandaged booboos, and altered clothes, but I cannot "cut" hair and make it straight.

      I think, for me, the answer is, "many happenstances."  I cannot think of one defining moment when doubt crept in.  I can , however, think of many situations in my life when I realized that there were things I could not accomplish, or at least, not without making sacrifices I was not willing to make.  It was during those times that God showed me that there were things in this world better left undone; things that were not in His divine plan for my life. 

      It was not in His divine plan for Hunter to have straight hair.  Though, if I could "cut" it for him, I would.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Good Friends

I just spent the last 24 hours with two of my best friends. These ladies know almost everything there is to know about me. That could be a scary thing for some; to have people around who know almost everything about them.  But because of who these people are, I feel very secure in that knowledge.  Not because they are successful, or because they are upstanding citizens of their communities, or because they are good people.   I have this security because of their spiritual maturity.  I can tell them my inmost feelings and insecurities and know that they will not judge me.  They might tell me to get over myself, or that I need to examine the situation a little further, or that I am not applying biblical principals; but they will not judge me.  I can be away from these ladies for weeks at a time, sometimes even months, but when we get together, it is as if no time has passed.

It is my hope that all of you have friends such as these. I cannot imagine going through life without them. In Deuteronomy 13:6, God speaks of a friend as "one who is as your own soul."  These are my friends. Those who are as my own soul.  Through thick and thin.  When my life makes sense and when it doesn't.

In Exodus 33:11 the Lord talked with Moses, "...face to face, as a man speaks to a friend."  There are times during my prayers when I know without a doubt that I am "face to face" with God.  And yet, there are times when I know that I have "hidden" myself from Him. I know that I have refused to share the most intimate details of my life with the very best friend that I have.  The one who breathed my soul into this lifeless shell of a body.  Why is it so hard to tell God of my shortcomings and so easy to share with my other friends?  As I reflected on this I thought that perhaps it was because, being a parent,  I understand how much my shortcomings must hurt Him.  Not that I fail, but that I do not come to Him; that I do not always trust Him to forgive and understand.  Perhaps because, sometimes in my pain and frustration, I forget that He is a loving God.  I forget the fact that, when I cannot stand alone He holds me up, and when I cannot go on,  He carries me. God is not "as my soul," He "is my soul."

I pray that you not only have friends such as these, but that God is number one in your life. I pray that you come face to face with God on a regular basis. That you allow Him to carry you and hold you up when you cannot go on alone.

Thank you my friends, for listening.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

America's "High"

      "I am overfull, and I feel so good!"  That is what I thought as I took the last bite of Cracker Jacks.  Then it dawned on me what my weight problem had been all along, or at least partially.  I get "high" on feeling full.  I had eaten enough; even more than enough according to my calorie intake for the day.  However, I was not "full."  I didn't have that "aah, I'm miserable" feeling.  Anyone out there know what I mean?   I realized that when I get to a certain point of fullness, my body must feel so good that it releases endorphines;  which make me happy, or at least make me seem happy.  As a result, I am constantly searching for my "high."  I am addicted to food!

      Knowledge is power.  Now that I have this knowledge, I should be able to battle the need for this feeling.

     It dawned on me later that Americans are like that.  We are so used to that "high."  Most of us have a lot more than we need to survive, but we still long for more.  We are such a spoiled people.  We want what we want and we want it now!  God has blessed this nation so much, and yet we demand more.  We have lived on that euphoric feeling for so long that we cannot imagine giving it up.  When will we battle this feeling,;this addiction?  It is my opinion that soon we will not have a choice, in Texas, at least.  Already it is hard to get "same day" delivery on things.  Prices will soon skyrocket.  Cotton and all that is made from it will be scarce.  Fresh vegetables will have to be shipped in.  Beef prices will soar because ranchers had to sell so many of their cattle.  It is time to stop overfilling.  Quit spending government money so that we will be given the same amount next year.  Quit building fancy offices and overhiring.  Quit cowtowing to lobbyists.  In other words, quit paying $200.00 for hammers!

     Maybe  we should overfill on "The Fruit"  instead of the fruit. We could stand a little love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness,  and faithfulness in this world today. (Gal. 5:22)  And Fruit is healthy!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Front Porch Sittin'

We were discussing cell phone use today in Sunday School.  Ninety eight percent of our class is over 50 years of age. Some do not even text, much less Facebook, and have no desire to do either.  We were discussing how we thought that cell phones had taken the place of visiting in person and how we had lost that "personal touch."

As I reflected on this for a while it came to me that the younger generation does not even remember "front porch sittin'."   Women used to quilt together. (Not in my time. haha)  They used to have play dates for their children and sit over a glass of tea or a cup of coffee while the children played.  Today, most women under the age of fifty have a full time jobs.  For a time, between the eras of quiltings and women having careers; there was very little visitation.  Cell phones, therefore, have replaced the "front porch."  Because of them, people are able to keep in touch in a way they never could before.  We really can't even argue that they cannot see each other. With programs such as Skype, even that is possible.  My daughter  "Skypes" a friend of hers in Africa all the time.  My son had a "Skype" date with his girlfriend, who is doing an internship in California. 

What we have to remember is that just because something is different, that doesn't mean it is bad. It is just different. In this case, it is progress.  Granted we could use a lot more cell phone etiquette. There should be some hard and fast rules about when and how to use this wonderful little device, but that is another blog!

Personally,  I love both texting and Facebook.  I have gotten in touch with old friends whom I would never have had contact with had it not have been for Facebook.  And I can text my son and tell him to call me when he doesn't answer his phone.  Texting can be done when the conversation needs to stay private, or when an actual conversation is not possible. So come on 50+er's, get in the groove!  I can make up words like 50+er's, because I'm a "texter!"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Red Sky @ Morning

Coming home from Colorado City last night I looked, as I always do, at the sunset.  It was a beautiful red-orange sun descending in a sea of red sky.  It was awesome!  My mothers "saying" came to mind.
My mother had so many sayings; one for every occassion. Many of them she "took" from the Bible. Mostly "took" out of context to suite her needs. "Spare the rod and spoil the child," she took to mean "Spare the rod, but use the switch."  "Honor your father and mother," needs no explanation and was used often.
 But there were some sayings whose origins were never found. Such as: "If there's a ring around the moon it will rain within three days."
 One of my favorites was, "Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in morning, sailor take warning," which she said meant that if the sky was red at night the wind would not blow and storms would come, but if the sky was red in the morning a sailor knew to stay off the seas because it would be windy or there would be storms. When asked where this saying came from she said, "From the Bible." 
A few weeks ago I  researched that scripture, because I figured it was just one of those she pulled out of the air.  I was wrong. It can be found in Matthew 16:1-4.  And from my interpretation, the saying is correct. Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees and He tells them, (NKJ Version) ..."Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times."
Even though He was talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees, He could say the same things to us today.  We know so much and yet so little. 
What I do know is, without a doubt, we have some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world right here in West Texas!  Thank you Lord for being such an awesome artist and sharing such beauty with us!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sue's Thoughts: First Blog

Sue's Thoughts: First Blog

First Blog

This is my first blog. I had to see if I could actually set one up. I'm so excited!
I have been contemplating a lot of things this morning as I watered the yard, listened to the birds, and sat on the porch with a cup of coffee. 
I was shopping  yesterday and it seemed as if everyone I came across was frustrated. My husband always says that I am the only person he knows who goes in to get a loaf  bread and comes out with a new best friend! I do tend to talk a lot, but you didn't hear that from me. From the government healthcare mess, to the lightbulb fiasco (I hate flourescent bulbs!), to fires, to our parched, dry land, to lack of morals, and to our horrible economy; everyone is frustrated.  Then I read my daughters post:tishablaylock@blogspot.com.  And my thought was, "If we would all concentrate more on God, our problems would be solved."  Our country has strayed so far from the christian, moral country we started as.  It is no wonder God has chastised us. Like my husband, I don't know which will come first: rain or rapture, but I'm ready for either!
Yesterday, I watched a little bird that was either too weak or too small to fly. In a few minutes another bird lit on the bird bath and got a drink of water and then dipped his bill again and went over to the other bird. They tipped their heads and the second bird gave the first a drink.  Maybe that is what our country needs more of: a willingness to help each other. Not through the government, but personally. We have lost so much of that personal touch in our modern world.  We need to reach out to each other; maybe sit on the porch together. We need to give our neighbors someone to share their troubles with so there will be less suicide and fewer people on tranquilizers. 
I believe God expects more from us than we are giving, and I for one, am going to do my best to give more. Join me, won't you?