Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life Lessons - Psalm 19:14

Because I spent many years using my words and mouth in an ungodly way, I am super sensitive to what I call "mouth issues". Psalm 19:14 is a daily prayer for me. It's a power verse that I MUST pray each morning. It simply says,

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Part of my past mouth issue had to do with a lack of a filter. It wasn't that I was cursing or speaking inappropriately. I was just being "in your face", often times with scripture to back up what I would say. I could speak the truth, it was the "in love" part I struggled with.

In love. God began to show me that I was wrong. My in your face, outspoken harshness was wrong. It caused hurt feelings and instead of showing people to Him, it repulsed them and pushed them away from God. He gave me a list of names and I had to go apologize for my words. One occurrence had taken place several years before and I wasn't even sure the person would remember who I was. But, I did it. It was the hardest e-mail I have ever typed. (The offense had been in a letter, so God gave me permission to apologize in the same manner.)

Another issue with my mouth was the amount of time it was engaged. :) You can ask my Mom and she will testify to the fact that I love to talk. Non-stop. My poor sister had to endure it while we shared a bedroom. Talk. Talk. Talk. And really, a lot of what I talked about was...nothing. I wasted so much air! :)

But God's word. I began to fall in love with His word like never before and as Psalm 119:130 says it brought light to what needed to change and gave understanding to this simple mind.

I love what verses 130-133 say.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Verse 131 says I open my mouth and pant. If my mouth is open and panting...I can't talk. My mouth, going non-stop (even about good things) kept me from hearing those around me. My mind was so focused on what I was going to say next that I didn't give those around me an opportunity to speak and even kept me from hearing God. Being quiet was a foreign concept and my listening skills were seriously poor.

Then came Ecclesiastes 5. Lord have mercy it just about did me in. I'll just share it from the Message because,'s the translation that stung the most.

Verses 2-5a say,

Don't shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think. Don't be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God's in charge, not you—the less you speak, the better. Overwork makes for restless sleep. Overtalk shows you up as a fool. When you tell God you'll do something, do it—now. God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because last week, I had an opportunity to discuss this very personal lesson with one of my children. Not because of something they had done, but because of something they were dealing with. I could see myself in the offender. It was an opportunity to talk about holy words and using our mouths to bring glory to God. And that was what we did.

And then I blew it. In an attempt to be funny, I tweeted/Facebooked something I should not have. I knew as soon as I had hit "send" on my phone I shouldn't have. But I did not immediately remove it. The longer I sat there,and watched the comments the sicker I became. I could feel the Holy Spirit stirring in me, reminding me of the conversation I had with my child just a few hours before. Conviction.

I removed the post and if I had not been in a public place (in a dress) I would have been flat on my face. In my mind I was. I thanked God that it was his kindness that led me to repentance. And then I came home and looked up the passage that phrase is found in. Once again, here it is in the message.

Romans 2:2-4

Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done.

You didn't think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he's such a nice God, he'd let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Tonight, I am so sad that I grieved the heart of God. Mad that I fell into that old trap. At the same time, I'm overwhelmed at the kindness and forgiveness of my Savior.

If anything good came of last weeks situation, it was the reminder that we are all in process. The minute I think I would "never" slip into an old habit, is the minute I'm probably going to trip. But His kindness...

Always leads us to repentance. Repentance to restoration.

And restoration? That is what I am after.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Processing the Last Week

Life changes so fast sometimes. One week ago today, Dad called to tell me my Mamaw had fallen at the assisted living home. He was on his way to pick up my Grandfather and head to the hospital.

I went on to karate, stamped the student cards and loved on my little girlfriend, Faith. (Her dad and big brother take class and this little baby girl is my buddy during that hour.)

Dad didn't call back so I called him on the way home. He was waiting with her for a room to be ready. She had broken her ankle. At 93 years old, after two broken hips and other minor health issues, she had a broken ankle. Something didn't settle with me.

I've shared in the past that my Mamaw and I share a stronghold of fear. I guess my unsettled feeling was a little fear for her. I know she is scared of being alone and quite frankly, I was concerned for my Dad. All night sleepovers at the hospital just about do him in. I prayed for his strength and endurance and that God would give him a holy nudge to go home. He did and wound up back at the hospital early Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning, he walked into her room early. Before 6:00 early. Her nurse for the evening, who by the way is related to us...AND was not supposed to be working that night, had been assigned to my Mamaw. She told my dad that Mamaw had a good night. Nothing crazy with her vitals, she rested...and WAS PLEASANT. In the words of sweet Nurse J. she had a good night for a 93 year old woman!

That is not like her. I'm not being disrespectful, it's just the truth. Mamaw met Jesus as Savior at the age of 90, and she had spent 90 years fighting this fear on her own. Normally a hospital stay for her meant nights of fighting sleep and whimpering and just plain hard work for my Dad. (I can testify to this as I spent a few nights with her over the last few years...Mamaw and I had a come to Jesus meeting at 2:30 one morning, I'm sure she is laughing about it now! But neither one of us were laughing then!)

I share that with you not to disrespect her, but to try and make you understand she was not herself that night. I believe that God was allowing her to see a glimpse of Heaven. There was about 15 minutes in the ER that she seemed to be somewhere else. With all my heart, I believe she knew what was happening.

When Dad came back that Wednesday morning, she introduced him to the staff coming on and was still quite pleasant. She asked the Nurses and my Dad to help her sit up and was still talking..then she was gone. That quick.

No warning.

No pain.

Just closed her eyes and entered glory. Dad said he he felt like she had just seen the face of Jesus because she was smiling and her countenance was glowing.

No fear.

Hebrews 11:1 says Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

I believe that God had given her a glimpse of the unseen. Her last night on this earth was so peaceful because she was finally free of that fear and confident that death is really the beginning.

As much as I love my Mamaw and miss her...I'm thrilled for her! She is in the presence of Almighty God! She would not trade His presence for anything!!! So, I will do as Hebrews 10:23 says and

hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

God was so faithful to her. He is so faithful to us when we are far from faithful to Him.

I shared this verse at the funeral. It's my life verse and one that I had read over Mamaw during that long night I talked about earlier. :) It's Deut. 33:12

Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long,and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.

So thankful that she is worshipping and literally resting between His shoulders tonight.

My grandparents the Christmas after Mamaw accepted Christ as Savior.