That time I made him get rid of his change…

It’s #FiveMinuteFriday! Write for the love of the written word. No extreme editing, backtracking or worrying. Join with others who are doing the same and share at Kate Motaung’s blog. Today’s word prompt is CHANGE.

Go!

For years, The Sweetheart carried change in his right pocket. Not just a couple of quarters for a Coke. Not a dime or two to dash into the telephone booth. (Yes, we can remember those!) He carried a large handful of change every day.

I was frustrated that after 35 years of marriage my beloved was still carrying a pocket full of change. I could hear him coming a mile away and recognize him in a room even if I was blindfolded. He jingled when he walked and it was distinct. It always sounded the same; on the downbeat, a jingle, on the upbeat it was more like a breath before the next clanging of copper and silver. (Do they still even use copper in our pennies?)

As time and methods have evolved down through the years, we no longer need so many coins. A bottle of pop, or soda, usually costs more than a couple of quarters, and most all vending machines take paper money now.

If you see a phone booth on the corner it probably belongs to Superman, not AT & T. While living overseas we didn’t even need those gold and silver euros for parking; we paid with our phones!

So one day, after hearing me gripe for years about “getting with the times”, he did it. He emptied his pockets for the very last time and added the last of his coins to his savings basket.

He no longer jingled; he could now sneak up on others if he was so inclined.

I couldn’t hear him coming down a hallway.

Change

What had I done? I had begged for him to change, I had teased and bugged him until he had given in. Now I wanted the jingle back. There were even a few times we NEEDED the change!

I wanted it back because it was a part of him. I insisted HE change to please me but when I finally got what I had asked for I discovered it wasn’t what I wanted at all.

Why do we think we ALWAYS know what is best for someone else? We are constantly trying to change them, to mold them into what WE want them to be.

God didn’t make us all the same and that is a wonderful thing. I have habits and annoyances that drive The Sweetheart up the wall but he loves me for who I am and realizes he cannot change me after all of these years.

Me? I keep trying. Ugh.

How many times have we been guilty of things like this in the spiritual?

We pray, think we have all of the answers, even go so far as to tell God what we want done, how things should be adapted according to our desires.

I think that sometimes God sits back, folds His arms and says, “Okay, have it your way.”

“And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15

Then we are left with the results. There is no jingle or happiness in our lives because we have tried to manipulate the Almighty into doing what WE think is best. Instead, we should be trusting the One who sees down the road.

He is the Master conductor. We can trust Him and His ways. He does all things for our good, looking ahead to make sure every piece of the puzzle will fit. He sees that we are not only taken care of but that we thrive.

What kind of change are you pushing for?

Maybe you are trying to force it, wanting too much, too fast, or trying to bargain with God in order to get your way.

“The LORD Almighty has sworn, ‘Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.’” Isaiah 14:24.

Remember that pocket change. You might get what you ask for but you won’t like the end result.

Let that handful of silver stay in your pocket until God says, “It’s time.”

Kingdom2

Stop.

 

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Tears

Randa is back! @randomchance08 is clearly one of my favorite writers. She is witty, humorous, and yet can get in your heart with a knife but not make it hurt. She lifts up others, encourages and strengthens the Body of Christ through her spoken and written words. Be blessed.

Funny thing about strong people crying.

When you are usually the one to hold back your own unshed tears in order to be there for and strengthen others, it feels foreign and almost shameful to weep.  Almost as if you need permission from someone else to allow the floodgates to open.

This is why faces are hidden and hands cover quivering mouths in front of others. 

This is why the profound crying is usually done in the dark hours and tears are deposited into mute pillows.  When the body and spirit relax enough to become transparent and vulnerable and the longings and disappointments are exposed.  When desperate prayers are finally whispered in secret to the only One who knows and understands and sees all.

Dear warrior, just because tears do not ensue immediately does not mean that you are unfeeling.

It is just that sometimes the weeping comes from a place so deep down inside that it takes a little while for the ground to break and the tears to come forth.

It takes time for the little child to finally climb upward through the thickets of self–imposed maturity, expectations and responsibilities, the layers and layers of armor that surround a throbbing, bruised heart.  It is a struggle to come to the place where he can finally look up and open his arms with undisguised helplessness and say, “Father, this is where I am.  This is where I hurt.  I am imperfect.  I am a wild failure.  Sometimes I don’t even know what I need, or what this longing inside even is, but You do.”

Human tradition dictates that appearing in the presence of royalty entails days and days of preparation, wearing one’s finest garments, scrubbed sparkling clean, and being as near to perfect as possible.  Poise and elegance are the standards.  If the king is to extend his scepter, he must be pleased with what he sees.

Not so in the presence of the King of Kings. 

His heart is moved to see a ragged, tattered soul appear in His throne room, running with abandon toward Him with arms outstretched, screaming, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!  I need you now!”

He loves to see tears snaking down a dirt–spattered face as one of His children dash headlong toward His feet, sometimes tumbling and falling in haste to reach Him.

There is no requirement for perfection in this atmosphere. 

No need to hold up a veneer of smiling face and human strength.

His greatest delight is in knowing the need of the child for his Father, and pouring out His healing love into a wounded spirit who recognizes that no other place and no one else but his Father can fill the void inside.

And so the tears slide down uninhibited.  The echoes of the ancient prophet Zephaniah whisper through the air, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” 

Self is forsaken. 

Spirit communes with spirit as barriers slowly crumble into dust.

An exhausted, hiccuping child is held close and rocked in the arms of a Father as He croons a love song, and an aching heart is quieted.

Tears

randachance-300x300Randa Chance is a writer, speaker and pastor’s wife at the Sanctuary of San Antonio. She lives in San Antonio, TX with her husband, Shane, and their children. Her new book, Of Cabbages and Kings, can be purchased here. It is as delightful as and charming as Randa herself. I adore her.

 

 

 

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Where was Jesus in MY storm?

“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26 NIV.

Every time we fly over the Big Pond, The Sweetheart teases me about my fear of water. When we first started traveling overseas, I would fret if our flight would be at night. I didn’t want to be over water in the dark. But then I would fret if it was in the daylight because I didn’t want to SEE all of that water down below. It was a lose-lose situation.

But being the loving husband that he is, Doogalas would remind me that it didn’t matter whether that plane went down in water or on land…the result would be the same.

He always knows how to cheer up this old gal.

So with my love of water, the ocean, and the sea in the back of my mind, I scheduled a day trip for myself, The Sweetheart, and our precious young friend visiting us from our home church in Indiana, Alyssa. We wanted her to be able to see Helsinki, Finland since we were only an hour and a half across the Baltic Sea.

I have ridden ferries before. I actually liked it! I have taken the larger ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and it was a nice, big boat and a smooth ride.

I have ridden a CAT ferry from Maine to Nova Scotia; loved it. I was amazed at how fast they were and how nice inside, just like an airplane, only it almost feels like you are in first class because you can actually move and feel your legs.

We were no sooner out of sight from the beautiful city of Tallinn, Estonia, when we began to experience rough waters. The boat was rocking back and forth so much I was beginning to get queasy.

Alyssa? She was asleep. It didn’t seem to bother her at all.

Me? I crocheted even faster. I would occupy with anything to keep my mind off of the choppy waters and the swaying of the ship.

We glide into the Helsinki port on time and I was just thankful to be back on dry land. In the back of my mind I was dreading the ride back, but that was still eight hours away.

Let’s go explore Helsinki!

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When our day of exploring comes to an end, we returned to board for the trip back and look out across the sea, noticing the calm. We had rain earlier in the day and I am glad it is not storming.

On the way over the boat rocked from side to side. It was horrible.

On the way back? It would hit waves as if they were brick walls. The boat would slam and then fly up into the air and hit just as hard coming back down.  The crew came on the loudspeaker to tell us to remain in our seats unless we just had to be up for necessities.

This was unnerving, friends. I was joking about it because I was afraid that Alyssa would be afraid. If she was, she sure hid it well and spent the trip encouraging me.

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When the storm began, I was in disbelief. I kept saying that Jesus would come walking across the water at any time to rescue us!

But He didn’t.

I kept praying for Him to calm the waters.

But He didn’t.

I asked Him to make things smooth as He did for the disciples that day.

But He didn’t.

Then the dreaded time came that I just could not ignore the need for the necessities. At our table, even though things were rocky, our drinks never spilled, nothing flew off the table and I assumed I could make it to the back with some assistance.

The Sweetheart, always the protector, says he will accompany me. We got up and started to take a few steps but were thrown against a pole. I tried to grab the next seat for support and am thrown against the other side.

Once into the lobby area, there was nothing to grab! We both were struggling just to stay up but we were laughing so hard that we surely appeared inebriated.

My biggest fear was ending up on someone’s lap unexpectedly.

When we arrive at our Destination of Necessity, we discovered it was almost impossible to accomplish our mission. We were literally thrown against the walls, back and forth, side to side; it was unbelievable how forceful those waters were attacking our little boat.

I prayed, “Lord, You calmed the storms in the Bible, You came walking on the water! Please calm this storm, in Jesus’ Name, so I can tell others how you came to our defense.”

The storm continued, the waters raged outside and we fought against all odds to return to our seats.

Why did Jesus not calm the storm?

Why did He not answer my prayer, my specific prayer?

I knew when I returned to my seat what He was teaching me. I knew without a doubt there was a bigger lesson for me.

Normally, in a situation such as this, I would have brought great drops of blood to The Sweetheart from the death grip I would have on his arm. During extremely turbulent flights, I have squeezed and dug in my nails on his forearm until he would have to pry them off.

But this time? Sure, I was apprehensive, and if you ask Alyssa, she will tell you that I repeatedly said, “Stop this boat, I want off!” But only so the two of them could hear.

Normally? I would have been in a panic. I would have been terrified and close to tears, if not sobbing, at least on the inside.

But this time, even though I was joking about occupying my mind and trying not to notice what was going on around me, I still had peace.

I had real peace.

I wasn’t really afraid the boat would tip over. I wasn’t truly terrified that I would have to try on that life jacket and get to act out what I had seen on the information screen when we started the journey.

No, I knew that same Jesus, the One who showed up for Peter, was with me too. He was there, He was right beside us.

Can I tell you that was bigger to me? Yes, it would have been amazing to say, “Peace, be still!”, and to see the waves calm and the journey to be smooth sailing all the way.

But the greater miracle was that in the MIDDLE of the storm, WE were calm! We had peace, we had assurance that no matter what happened, He was with us.

With anxiety, depression and fear keeping so many in prisons of their mind today, it is overwhelmingly reassuring to know the One who is never ruffled. Outside turmoil cannot take away the peace of God. He is there. He is constant. He is faithful.

He calms the storms that rage within us and give us lasting assurance that all is well.

  • What storm are you pummeling through today?
  • Do you feel defeated because the rains won’t stop?
  • Are your wiper blades worn out from trying to keep up with the winds and never-ending downpour?

Precious friends, let Him calm your inner storm. He is more than able to give that peace that passes all understanding and you can ride out the waves with the comfort of knowing He is beside you.

Where was Jesus in MY storm

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