Monday, December 17, 2012

Leading the Blind

When I walked my two dogs, Foster and Guinness, Foster would pull ahead while Guinness lagged behind.  Guinness was about 4 years older than Foster, plus, Foster was bossy.

Now Foster lags behind while Tilly pulls ahead.  Foster is about 7 years older than Tilly, and he's completely blind.
When we are young (both in age and new to faith), our tendency is to race ahead, ready to conquer the world, forgetting that maybe we should have read the instruction manual first.  If it weren't for the leash, our connection to God, darting into traffic, chasing rabid wild life, and getting lost would be our day's dangers. 

As we mature, the leash is no longer a hindrance to fun.  It is a necessity, a kindness, to be led safely along our journey.

Trusting is difficult.  Yet once we understand that the One who wishes to direct our path is loving, we no longer have to worry about the unknown or be subject to our own impulsive actions.

God is kind indeed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Don't be Grumpy

It's no secret that cat videos and the internet go together like bread and butter, peas and carrots, Donny and Marie....okay, I'll stop.

Have you heard of Grumpy Cat?
That pretty much says it all.  In case  you need video proof,  here you go:

It's easy to fall into grumpiness.  Waaaaay tooooo eeeassssy.....

Every day, we make a choice if we want to be grumpy, or focus on what is good and positive in our lives and in our world.  Being thankful is infinitely better for us than spinning into the muck of bitterness.
Sometimes we can find happiness or even just peace in simple things.  When we our down, the best thing to do is look up and ask the Lord for his intervention in our moods. 

If the grumpy cat video didn't make you smile, I'm not sure what will.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sent Away to a New Home

Saturday, I drove Twist to Toledo to go to his new home.  He'd been in the house for about a week and was getting too comfortable here.  We were bonding.  He loved to touch my face with his soft paws.
For the long drive, I put Twist in a small carrier.  He stood at the door and stared at me.  He seemed in disbelief that I would put a barrier between us.  After I filled my car with gas, I took him out and held him in one arm.  He snuggled up against my shoulder and looked out the window, noting the overhead passes and cars passing.  He shifted into my other arm (thankfully for my blood flow) and rolled over and took a nap. 

My heart in my throat, I told him, "Even though I'm taking you to a new home, I still love you."  Then I thought how this was sort of like Christmas.  God sent his son Jesus away from their happy safe home to a different world, even though they loved each other.

Twist, now Ollie, was welcomed into his new home.  There, he will be loved and in return love, because he can't help but love.

Jesus' reception into our world was anything but a warm welcome.  It began in a manger, was quickly sent into exhile, and it never really got better.  Hostility chased Jesus his entire life.  Along the way, he managed to love amazingly, because it is his nature to love.  Every day we decide how to respond to the offer of love Jesus holds out to us.  It is a life of peace that passes all understanding.  It is a story of trust and redemption.  But most of all Jesus loves you.  How long will you resist?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Caring for Orphans Part Two

After the Wednesday post, I thought I should confess something.  I find it difficult to care for orphans.  Sometimes caring wears me out emotionally.  It takes manual overdrive to persist in having compassion rather than putting up a wall of emotions.

Unfortunately, that's not the worst part of my confession.  That would be that I'm terribly, horribly shallow.  I don't wish to be, but it's something I noticed and I am not proud of it.  There's a child I sponsor through an organization.  They send me pictures and updates as to how the child is faring.

The first child I sponsored didn't look like a little girl with unmatching clothes.  She looked like a very serious child with a bad haircut and really unfortunate unmatching clothes.  I remember feeling disappointed that my child wasn't cute.  And I felt terrible that I had that feeling.

I've added another child to sponsor and at the time that I got her, the woman on the phone who was setting it up said, "I think this is the cutest little girl I've ever seen."  My heart soared.  Again, I was ashamed.  Then, last week, I got an update.  She's a year older and not as attractive. 

That's what I thought!  I couldn't believe that I have these shallow feelings that involuntarily spring up in me.  How dare I be so vain.  Do you hate me for thinking that?  I sort of hate me for thinking that.  Ugh.

It humbles me.  It reminds me that these are not the important things to the heart of God.  It forces me to pray, to confess, to ask for compassion, less vanity, and to see these children as God sees them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Taking Care of Orphans

Orphaned kittens, abandoned puppies, and children with no parent.  In my mind, they are not equal.  The plight of a child in need supersedes animals, yet they all break our heart.
When this kitten was dumped off at my property, I was listening to a radio drama of Oliver Twist.  What an orphaned child went through in the mid-1800 England was shockingly cruel.  Few had any concern for children who ended up running wild in the street.  The only people who kept an eye out for a child in need was often a criminal, looking to exploit the child.

Fortunately, a wave of compassion changed society, one of whom was William Wilberforce, who not only worked tirelessly for twenty years for abolition of slavery, but also to promote care of the poor.  He also was a founder of the British ASPCA.

Some prayers I believe God always answers.  One is "show me where I need to do better."  God seems eager to reveal this.  It is very annoying and always accurate, darn it.  The other is "Lord, give me the heart to care about what you care about."  Be prepared for your heart to be broken, over and over.

We can choose to harden our hearts to pain.  Look how most people run from pain.  I understand that, but buying a new bauble at Wal-Mart or Macy's is hardly going to change the world. 

If we choose to care, to open ourselves up to hurt, we can make a difference.  One life, one donation, one kind comment, can make the difference in a person's life.

Some of us fancy ourselves risk takers in life, yet we won't do anything that shakes up our comfort.

Go out and be afflicted today.  Dare to care about what others overlook.  Get your heartbroken.  You'll feel alive and in tune with what the God of the universe deems vital.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Helen Keller-ing Your Way Through Life

Foster, who is completely blind and progressively growing more deaf, manages to get from the house to the kennel and back with few problems.  However, maneuvering around a few objects causes him some trouble.  Fortunately, Foster has a good vocabulary and even in his current health state learns new words. 

When he approaches the house and nears the hedge, I tell him to "wait" or "stop" and he seems to know he's about to crash into something.  He backs up and tries another way.  If that path is clear, I tell him over and over "okay" and "good" and when he gets near the porch stairs, I shout, "Step!" and he walks up the steps.

It reminds me of how I get through my days, trying to make decisions, both big and small.  So many times, I bash right into an obstacle.  Sometimes, though not as often as I'd like, I sense God giving me a little correction, a small adjustment in direction, to get me on a safer path.

God leads us, but he also lets us find our way.  He doesn't divinely micromanage our life.  As long as we strive to abide with him, our decisions flow from the desire to serve and be more like Jesus.  We aren't out there on our own, abandoned.  We have a loving God leading us, even if we wind around a bit along our journey.