Saturday, April 21, 2018

Prom Memories


My senior prom dress was fit for a princess. It was my fairy tale dream come to life. 
The elegant ball gown was painted in pale pink, sunset hues and covered in tulle. From the moment I put it on, I knew it was the one. The lace bodice was embellished with sparkly beads stitched in a floral design. The top was shaped like a sweetheart. Every detail of the dress was perfect and it fit like a glove. Never before had I felt as beautiful as I did while wearing that breathtaking ballgown.
But the circumstances of my prom night were far from a fairy tale. Disappointments and relationship let downs had cast a sad shadow at the end of high school career. I wasn't feeling much like getting dolled up or going to a dance.
But then I recalled the dream dress hanging in the closet. That dress was too gorgeous and too perfect to be left hidden away and unworn. In that moment I had a decision to make. I could choose to stay home and let defeat win the night. Or I could choose to step into that perfect princess dream dress, go to the prom and dance. 
I choose the dress and I've never regretted the decision.

A decade has passed since my senior prom and many of the memories from that night have faded away but the lesson I learned the moment I stepped into my dress has stayed with me to this day. 
Whether I'm wearing a gorgeous ball gown with matching high heels or I'm caught in stretchy pants with memory foam sneakers, I have the Spirit of the Lord residing in my heart. Heaven's most glorious gown that hung on the cross rose again to defeat death and conquer my every grave.
The love of Christ is heaven's gown too gorgeous and too perfect to be hidden away. United with His victorious life, the garment of His love can be mine to wear in all circumstances and on all occasions. 
The Spirit of the living God compels to wear the dress of His perfect love, go forth in His joy and dance. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Standing tall

  

All of the daffodils are covered in snow.
The first of spring's flowers were just beginning to bloom when a ferocious storm rolled in. When I saw the snow I was sure the delicate yellow buds wouldn't survive. Even in the best of conditions daffodils never flower for long but this year the buttercup petals barely had three days in the sunshine before they were smothered in dense, heavy snow.
After being whipped by winds and flattened by weighty precipitation, I was sure the fate of the flowers was sealed. Certainly the fragile buds would have succumbed to the storm. The beauty of their flowery display would've been cut short.
But, miracle of miracles, the daffodils are still standing tall!
The yellow baby buds of the perennial are still affixed to their thick green stems. In spite of the storm, the bulbs have remained firmly planted and the roots have not been shaken. The blooms have been upheld. The flowers have been sustained and the buds have endured.
The daffodils are alive!

Dear friend, if today you feel like a delicate daffodil being toppled by a ferocious storm, do not lose hope. Look to the daffodils and take heart.
Planted in the eternal soil of "the way, the truth, and the life" your future is secure. The Almighty hand of God that gives life to the daffodils can uphold your delicate blooms, too. You need not fear the wind. Do not worry about being crushed beneath the snow. In the strength of the Lord you will be upheld. Because He lives you can stand “strong and courageous" in spite of the season's storm.
Rejoice, precious daffodil, because you have been made truly, eternally alive with the resurrected Christ. Rooted in His risen life, united with His eternal, you can stay strong in hope assured that, when the snow clears, you'll still be standing eternally tall.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Surrender the toast


The bakery bread on the kitchen counter was white but I preferred sprouted - or at least whole wheat. The offerings before me were fluffy with plain refined flour. There wasn't a single nutty, seedy grain in sight. 
For years I passed by this particular bread and reached for my own personal supply instead but on this particular morning I’d run out. I was craving eggs and toast but had yet to restock my whole wheat bread. At first I thought I’d settle for only an omelet but while beating the eggs it became clear that just an omelet would not do. They needed a side dish. As my morning eggs sizzled they begged me to give up my sprouted resistance and surrender the toast.
Once slice of white bread served as my white flag as I surrendered my toast. Under the heat of the electric element it toasted to a perfect golden brown. 
In that moment of freedom my nose was met with the aroma of fresh bakery bread awhile my heart was met with the sweetness of surrender. Feasting in the glory of freedom I enjoyed my piece of simple white toast and didn’t miss sprouted grains one bit. 

Even in the simplest of circumstances surrender is sweet. When the will is submitted and preferences are put aside, the spirit of Christ will always provide a bountiful feast. The most satisfying nourishment is experienced in His presence and savored in His love. 

At His table, God has prepared a place for me and He has set it with surrendered toast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Happy birthday to....me

 

Tomorrow is my birthday and it terrifies me because I have so little to show for my twenty eight years of life. 

The list of my documented accomplishments ends at high school graduation but, please, don't ask me to find the actual diploma. That record went missing long ago. 

Early twenties milestones are also noticeably absent from my timeline. I passed through them without wearing a cap and gown again and I never have received another diploma. Which is no great loss since I probably would have lost the record of it anyways. 

But other milestones have been harder on the heart to miss. 

Missing marriage, never even having the chance to hold onto documentation of that union, left a hole in my story that I had hoped would have long ago been filled. By now I thought I'd have a baby's birth certificate or two in my possession. And, actually, I should but I lost Pippy's and Molly's birth records within months of obtaining them. 

At least I had hoped for a testimony by my twenty eighth birthday. A miraculous healing or miraculous book deal, perhaps? During these ten years of mysterious illness and missed milestones I had hoped God would have erected his own unique stone display upon my empty life. At the very least I had hoped that by this birthday I would have a clear, understandable diagnosis to help define my obscure, unconventional life. 

But tomorrow I turn twenty eight and all I have to show for it can be found in my second grade writing journal. On February 6, 1997 I wrote "One day I was bored. I imagined I opened windows to other worlds and I found a friend.” 

 

In Mrs. School's 2nd grade class I wrote the story of my life. In the faded green paperback "Level One" journal that miraculously survived in my Mother's basement for 21 years, I have the most precious documentation from my past twenty eight year. That one entry tells my entire testimony. My whole life is summed up in those simple words.

All my life I have been bored, unfilled and searching for something to satisfy me. So I have opened up windows into other world and I keep finding my friend, my Savior, my Lord. 

I keep finding Jesus. 

Everywhere I go, I find Jesus. At every missed milestone my Savior is there. At every closed door, I am shown greater glimpses of His glory. At every window I have opened desperately hoping to discover other worlds I have found all I will ever need. I have found my life, my friend, my Salvation. I have found Jesus and in Him my life has been found. 

Tomorrow is my birthday and I have the greatest treasure to celebrate. I have Jesus and twenty eight years of God lovingly, graciously, tenderly carrying me closer to THEE. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Goat Gone Astray

If you ever needed assurance that the lost can be found look no further than these two goats.
The dramatic and rather peculiar saga began when a farmer's goats went missing. Escape goats on a farm are not unusual but it was where this pair escaped to that baffled the farmer.
Suspended 150 feet up in the air on the side of a Pennsylvania turnpike interstate highway bridge, a patrol officer spotted two stranded goats. Their hooves were balancing on an 8 foot wide steel beam while a river rushed below. The daring pair of barnyard animals didn't appear to be all that alarmed by their circumstances. They appeared unaware of the deadly consequences of their highway adventure.
Imagine the farmer's alarm when he received the telephone call from the state police. They had found his lost goats and rescue team was already on the scene to deliver them to safety.
Two hours and one crane later, both little goats were successfully off of the bridge and back on the farm. The rescue made national news headlines. The ending was a happy one. The goats made it back home safe and sound.

Little goats need not fear that they are ever too lost to be found for our Heavenly Father sees every single child who has wandered far from home. Although we all have behaved like goats and gone astray, not one is outside of God's power to reach and rescue. He came to save us all.
God deployed His eternal Rescuer, His Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver every lost goat on His wings of infinite love and grace. Found at His Cross and redeemed with His new life lost goats are rescued and returned home safe and sound.
By the power of His amazing grace and mighty hand of deliverance, God's precious goats are saved everyday. Don't take my word for it, just look at the goats on the road.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Just stay still




"Just stay still."
This should have been easy instruction to follow if it hadn't been for the assaulting banging and pounding of the MRI machine. The technician's voice was gentle and reassuring but I knew the noisy reality that was soon to come. Being still only sounded simple until the machine turned on.
After tucking me in under a blanket and fitting my ears with gigantic headphones, the technician pushed the patient table into the scanner's tube as I mentally prepared myself to "just stay still." I tried to move myself into a comfortable but it was an impossible task. The machine left little room for repositioning and the technician left little time. Before I knew it I could hear his voice speaking in the headphones. "Ready?" he asked. I confirmed that I was as ready as I'd ever be. "Just stay still," he said.
I held my breath as the machine began thumping. The sound was low and steady at first, as if a drum were beating off in the distance, but within moments the thumping turned to banging. First the racket seemed to be coming from the left, then the right. Then the whole machine shook violently before it stopped.
This cycle repeated as hundreds of snapshots were taken of my abdomen and pelvis. With each scan the banging and pounding was startling and remaining motionless was a challenge. I desperately wanted to stay still, knowing that the results of the scan dependend on it, but my body's natural reaction was to flinch at every assaulting sound.
The test was only halfway completed and my ears were already ringing. Staying still was exhuasting and I was getting weary when all of a sudden I heard a faint click in my headphones followed by a familiar voice.  
"Doing alright?" the technician asked. His voice was sweet and serene, a welcomed interruption from the constant banging. "Just stay still," he reminded me one more time.
A moment later the scans resumed. They were as loud and disruptive as ever but something was different about the sound. Inside, I had peace. The assaulting banging no longer troubled me. For the next thirty minutes the pounding continued and I didn't even flinch. It were as if God's voice were all around me saying, "Just stay still."
Consumed with God's presence, every disconcerting sound of the magnetic scanner faded away. God's hand was keeping me steady and being still became effortless and easy. In every pounding I could feel His steadying power. Even while under the seige of the machine, I experienced rest. With His Holy Spirit, every sound echoced harmonies of His serenity and peace.

Forty-five minutes later the test ended and I exited the examination room free from the assaulting sounds of the machine but in my ear I can still hear a gentle voice speaking peace into my heart. From the voice of my beloved Savior I'm still hearing Him say, "Just stay still."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Bubble Saga Part II




If a picture says a thousand words, then here are three thousand to document the "Bubble Saga" in my left eye.

 On December 14, 2017 the mysterious bubble on my left eye was at the height of its distress 
(read: about to burst).


 Four days later on December 18 the bubble "reduced" and entered into a state best described as problematic, puffy and protruding.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018. 
With no medical intervention (and still no clue what that troubling bubble was really ever about) the pictures tells the amazing story. There is no denying, my eye has undergone miraculous healing. 


The unfiltered, never photo-shopped "before" and "afters" give testimony to the wonderful truth that that problematic, painful, puffy protrusion is gone. The bubble that obstructed my vision and bound me to glasses for months has gone away. There is emptiness on my eyelid and it is evidence that a miracle has occurred.  
It really should come as no surprise that God would reveal my healing miracle in the emptiness because that is where God revealed the greatest miracle of all. 
Up from the empty grave, Jesus Christ rose again to heal with the miracle of His new, eternal life .
All the pictures in the world could never tell the story of the great suffering that Jesus endured before His resurrection. Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, was completely spotless and innocent yet He willingly took on the guilt of every sinner. Jesus died to pardon with eternal forgiveness and save with merciful grace.
But Jesus rose again. The empty tomb is the evidence that death is defeated and hell has lost its sting. Jesus is Risen with eternal healing in His wings!
 
For all who seek the healing of His crucifixion and unite with His resurrected life, your miracle of eternal healing has already come. The evidence is in the empty tomb of the risen Lord, the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Subject to Change


It's official.
On March 31st, with a Uhaul truck and returned security deposit, I'm hitting the road again and moving home...again. 
Over the past eight years I have played relocation hop-scotch across the eastern United States. Long-time Pippy Love followers will remember that it all began in Sarasota, Florida on a 1,200 mile adventure to regain my health. At least, that was my plan until every detail of my agenda was turned upside down and changed due to declining health. Before I knew it, I was on the road again and headed back home again. 
Next stop was a move to the village town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio followed by a journey back down to the Sunshine state. Both moves were made with pure intentions but neither one went according to my plan. After each failed relocation I hit the road and headed home...again.
Then, when I was absolutely sure I could not take one more ping-pong move, my plans changed. Before I knew it I was standing in the North Hills of Pittsburgh with a Lyme Disease diagnosis and a Uhaul truck to unpack. That was a year ago now and once again, my plans have changed. I'm on the road again. I'm moving home again.
To be honest, as much as I love my parents and childhood home, living at home in my twenties was not part of my plan. The broadest sketch of my plan included marriage and home ownership, not ailing health and a fixed up "apartment" in my parent's basement. But my plans have been utterly destroyed and dramatically, fundamentally changed by the correcting, perfecting hand of God. 
With every relocation and return home I have learned that every plan I make is subject to God's perfecting change. When I plan and plot with a pure, surrendered heart He is faithful to transfigure and transform my moves by the renewing of His cleansing grace. Because He is merciful and loving, God restores my plans and sets them on the right road again. He brings them back home and back to the heart of His Son, Jesus Christ, again
At every failed move God has furthered loosened my grip on my plans. He has weakened my hold on my will in order that I be free to grasp all the tighter to the Lord, Jesus Christ. In His infinite wisdom, God has used moving here, there and always back home again to soften my rigid heart. He has changed my plans to change my heart and transform it with the fluidity of Christ's amazing forgiveness and grace.
I'm about to hit the road and move back home again...at least, that's my plan.
But as you well know everything is completely subject and surrendered to God's most good and glorious change.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For the love of donuts

The donuts are different. For the first time in my life the Sunday post-sermon donut selection has changed.
For the past twenty four years the church donut selection has always featured the exact same sugary delights. The "random assortment" ordered from the grocery store bakery is never random. It's the same each week. There are always cream-filled, jelly-filled and coconut-topped donuts. There are always plenty of glazed and a few apple fritters. For the children, and those young at heart, there are always doughy treats featuring sprinkles and chocolate frosting, too .
But today the decorations on the donuts were different. On one particular donut pretzels adorned the chocolate-frosting while gigantic California walnuts were atop another. A few of the chocolate eclairs were drizzled with pink frosting.
Since I haven't tasted a donut in years and haven't had a single craving, you might wonder why I care so much about the church's donut selection. Although it's true that my appetite no longer desires donuts my heart still craves them because donuts have played a very special role in my life.
You see, church, donuts and I go way back, all the way back to my very first church memory. It was 1994 and I was a toddler, still small and short enough to hide behind my Mom's flowing skirt, which is precisely what I did until the end of each service. After the sermon, pastor would give a word in benediction then dismiss the congregation into the fellowship room for a time of conversation, coffee and, of course, donuts.
And so it began, my love for donuts.
As a young child I reached for puffy glazed donuts and cinnamon twists. As a teen my taste buds were tantalized by the dense cake donuts that were covered in sweet maple frosting.
Over the years my choice of donut has changed countless times and now I don't eat donuts at all. But  the unconditional love and grace serviced at during the post-service fellowship hour hasn't changed a bit. The compassion and care of my church family is as sweet as ever and as plentiful, too.
Although the decorations on the donuts are different the beautiful offering of the Savior's love served and shared in that blessed fellowship room is still the same.



....For Joanie

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Greater Still...


The memory flashed before my eyes as clearly as if it were happening in the present day. While stopped at the very same stop sign where I once witnessed a bird being rescued from beneath an idling car the nearly forgotten remembrance flashed before my face.
When the incident first took place years ago I had to squint to make sense of the scene. The car in front of me was on but stopped and a woman was bent down, reaching beneath the back wheel. Without a moment's hesitation, she lifted something delicate - and feathered - up from the pavement. For a moment I thought my eyes must have been deceiving me but the woman's smile was confirmation that the rescue I had witnessed was real...and it was a success.
Years later, I still can't quite figure out how the vehicle arrived on top of that baby bird without crushing its delicate feathers. The tiny beings very survival has always been a marvel but greater still was the rescue.
Like a hero swooping down from on high the woman leapt from her car and into action. It was a miraculous rescue that occurred in the blink of an eye. One second the bird was trapped. The next he was free from danger, saved from sure death. In the protective palms of the anonymous rescuer, the little bird was lifted up in victory and placed in a seat of safety. 

The image of the bird rescue remains as powerful a memory as the day it occurred. That little bird is a stunningly perfect picture of every hopeless, trapped sinner in desperate need of eternal salvation.
In every lost soul there is a precious, fragile birdie trapped beneath a car. The weight of sin and rebellion is so great it is a wonder anyone even survives. But greater still is the rescue.
Greater still is Jesus.
The mighty Rescuer, Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, stepped down from on high as the one and only life saving, eternal aid. Jesus left the glory and perfection of heaven in order to save His precious children, his beloved birdies. With His death on the cross, Jesus became the Rescuer for the lost. With His resurrection from the grave, He became the Redeemer and hope for every little birdie in the world. In Christ's Risen life God lifted every trapped sinner from beneath the wheels of sin and placed them in the safety of His eternal, heavenly seat.
God is faithfully traversing the roads of this world seeking the lost and in danger. With His Almighty hand He is reaching out to lift the lonely, free the captive and bring hope to the hopeless. With the Lord Jesus Christ, the Rescuer and Redeemer, God is saving with He who is greater still.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Jesus walked in


Today the world is walking out in demonstration. They are sending a message by stepping away.
But Jesus stepped in to demonstrate His love and grace....Jesus walked in to save.

Today our schools, cities and country desperately need Jesus. Not politics. Not demonstrations. Not agendas. Our world needs Jesus. Simply the saving grace of Jesus.
We need Jesus, the one and only Jesus Christ, who left the perfection of Heaven to live on earth and suffer in this utter brokenness. Jesus, the Son of God, who walked into the world and up to the cross with outstretched arms of love and forgiveness. Jesus, the Savior of the world who walked in to save.
And He is still walking in today.
Today Jesus Christ is walking into our schools. He is walking into our city streets and neighborhoods. Into our government buildings, churches and coffee shops, Jesus is entering in. To our country and this broken, fallen world, Jesus is stepping in to save.
Today (and everyday) lets join together to demonstrate praise to God and proclaim the good news that Jesus Christ is not done walking in. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Mr. Woodpecker



Every morning there is a woodpecker outside my window that wakes me at the very crack of dawn. He is as dependable as a rooster, my neighbor, Mr. Woodpecker. He is steadfast and faithful to his wood pecking routine. He strikes his beak into the tree's bark at a rapid pace for at least hour each and every day. The rat-tat-tat-ing beats like a drum to awaken the night.
Mr. Woodpecker's daily ordeal is completely disruptive to early morning sleep, which I would happily enjoy if he were not my neighbor. I wouldn't mind residing so close to Mr. Woodpecker if he didn't conduct his commotion so early in the morning. But for his noise, I would happily reside near my feathered friend and enjoy the stunning sight of his brightly colored red head peaking through the tree's branches. If only Mr. Woodpecker would push back his pecking by an hour or two, then we could live in peaceful harmony.
But Mr. Woodpecker will not relent. I've kindly asked him to beat a bit more quietly but he has yet to tone down the tapping. He hasn't rearranged his schedule either. There is simply nothing I can do or say to change his routine.
For Mr. Woodpecker, pecking wood in the early morning hours is the duty he was born to perform. It is his calling and obligation to beat against the bark. In this act he finds food, makes his nest and even drums messages of communication to other fowl of the air.  Mr. Woodpecker and his feathered dependents are sustained by the act of his daily wood pecking.  
To have the beautiful sight of Mr. Woodpecker's bright red feathers there must be the sound of his incessant striking. The two cannot be separated from one another. Where there is the bird, there is the drum. Where there is the presence of his life, there is the inescapable noise of him.
And so it is while residing with God. He is intent on striking in the early morning hours. He awakens the night with His cleansing drum. The repeated pecking of the Lord's purification beats with vigor and breaks through the silence.
To be in the midst of God's striking sound is to be in His holy presence. To be united with the Son is to be full of His joy even when the noise comes in the early morning hours. To be one with the Spirit is to at peace during every holy, purifying, pecking disruption. 
Where there is the presence of God, there is the inescapable, Holy noise of Him. He taps into the places that need more grace and pecks away the hard, hurt crevasses in the heart. It is His unrelenting work to strike at sin with the beacon of Christ's purifying life. It is his glorious duty to cleanse the heart with His steadfast pecking.
With God as my Holy Father (and Mr. Woodpecker as my neighbor) I am assured that my days will be blessed with many holy disruptions as God goes about His heavenly work of pecking me into the shape of His perfect Son, the Savior, Jesus Christ. 



Monday, March 5, 2018

Miracles


A year ago my dear pastor lent me one of his favorite books to read. Miracles by Eric Metaxas. I gladly borrowed the book with every intention of reading it then promptly returning it. But once I brought the book home I sat it on my shelf without ever cracking open its hardback cover.
The truth is, I couldn’t get past the title. “Miracles.” Oh, how desperately I have wanted a miracle. I have begged God for a miracle. Countless prayers have proceeded from these lips to God’s ears pleading for Him to perform a healing wonder in my body. Just the other night I laid on my bedroom floor, crying out to God for His hand to deliver an instantaneous miracle.
But I didn’t get my miracle. Despite all of my prayers, God has never reached down and touched me with His healing hand like he did for the paralyzed man stranded by the pool. Jesus has yet to touch my body like he did for the women who reached out to touch his cloak. That sick woman had bleeding stopped on the spot. But that hasn’t been my story and with each day that passes in sickness a happy healing ending seems less and less likely.
So for a year I have kept Miracles on my shelf, unopened and unread. While glancing at the title imprinted on its spine I have experienced every emotion from crushing depression to exhilarating hope. At my lowest moments the big, bold blue word has taunted me…“Miracle? Where is your miracle?” On other days it has encouraged me… “Miracle! Yes, I believe and trust in God’s miraculous healing!”
It was never my intention to keep Miracles in my possession and on the shelf for so long. I always planned on reading it, I was just waiting to receive my miraculous, transforming healing story first.
Finally, after a year of waiting, I returned pastor’s book. I never did read past t
he cover. But I did receive my miracle.
My life - that is my miracle. My very existence is a marvelous work of God. I am a walking, living, breathing wonder. Every instant that there is air in my lungs and a beat in my heart, God is accomplishing an extraordinary, logic-defying miracle.
The fact that my body has endured the past seven years is a wonder reasoning fails to explain. According to blood pressure readings I should be comatose. By the pounds on the scale, I should be hospitalized and on an IV drip. Yet, here I am. I am alive. It’s a miracle.
For over a year I have been begging God to do something miraculous in my body. How foolish I was not to see that the fact that I can pray is miracle. The very within me is a miracle. The marvelous salvation of my soul is the most extraordinary, fully executed miracle.
I have received the greatest miracle. I have received the miraculous, transformative, wondrous new life of Jesus Christ. What more of a miracle could I ever want? Jesus Christ is the greatest miracle I could ever need and the miracle that is mine for eternity. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

On the scales again...



Scales are scary. They reveal troubling numerical truth which is why for the past year I have refused to step on one. Even if I can't keep my shockingly low weight out of mind at least by staying away from the scale I can keep the numbers out of sight.
April 2017, during my first office visit with a new doctor, was the last time I faced the weight-gathering, truth-teller and the number that appeared before my eyes was shocking.
Sixty eight pounds.
I remember seeing the red dial swing up and hover just below the seventy pound mark. I held my breath, trying to keep in every last ounce of weight but my attempts were futile. I couldn't make the number budge. At twenty six years old I couldn't make the scale reach a measly, pathetic seventy pounds. The scale read me a troubling truth: I was back to my twelve year old weight.
At that moment I began a scale boycott that has remained in effect for ten months. But that all changes today because today is the day of healing that the Lord has made and I am going to step on the scale believing in that!
When Jesus Christ rose from the grave and conquered the empty tomb He guaranteed that no scale on earth will ever have the final say. God alone controls the numbers and the pounds. Sickness and illness are powerless to trump his authority or thwart His plans.
If it be God's will that the numbers rise and pounds be added, even a broken scale won't be able to deny the healing. If it be God's will to keep the scale's number stable it will by the Almighty Hand of God that supports and sustains every little pound. 
Today I am going to step on the scale without fear or worry. There is nothing to fret because God is the one working the dial. With the assurance of Heaven I can place my scale on a solid surface trusting God regardless of the reading. United with the Savior and His cross, I can face the scale with the grave-defeating confidence of His victorious resurrection.
God alone holds the scales of my life so I can step atop any earthly scale knowing that my healing day has already come in the risen Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

TOMS


I must confess I have a TOMS footwear fetish. I love everything about their classically designed, cute, comfortable shoes. I'm especially drawn to the pairs featuring fun colors, plaids and unique prints. They sell designs for every season - my closet is proof. I have parrot print TOMS for summer and a second warm weather pair featuring lemons. In the winter I opt for fleece lined TOMS and at Christmas I always wear my pair adorned with reindeer.
But TOMS are about more than cute patterns and a comfortable foot-bed. They are about personality. They symbolize who I am. My TOMS tell the world, "This girl has a sense of humor!" I can practically hear the parrots on my classic Alpargatas say, "She's fun and upbeat!" 
With a little self-psychoanalysis, it isn't hard to see why I am so taken with TOMS shoes. They are an aspect of my appearance that I can control. Over the past seven years I have lost control of my weight, my size and what kind of clothing I can wear. Jeans fall right off and finding clothes to fit in the woman's department is like hunting for gold. And the loss of control hasn't stopped there. I have been unable to halt the change in my face's appearance as I've lost such a dramatic amount of weight. Since my body has wasted, I have lost control of my hair and can no longer wear my contacts.
There is so much about my appearance that is out of my hands but I can still choose my footwear. I can still choose the shoes I walk in. Most importantly, I can still choose the Spirit in which I walk in. Regardless of my circumstances, I can choose to be filled with the zest and joy of Christ's Heavenly life because He already walked my road and cleared the way before me. While He walked to the cross enduring the most brutal pain and persecution He wore perfect peace and grace. Because He was walking in the very Spirit of God He took every step full of hope and joy. Even while suffering in the most unthinkable agony, tortured till He could no longer walk, His Spirit was all-together loving and holy till the bitter end.
Because Jesus walked to His grave with the assurance of Heaven and rose again in victory, I am free to walk in the glory of everlasting life. Because Christ is risen I can wear the peace of His salvation and be clothed in His amazing grace. Because the Lord God reigns today and forevermore, I can walk in all circumstances and in every pair of shoes, filled with the everlasting hope and overcoming joy of His Holy Spirit.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Journal


Sometimes I wish I would have kept a diligent, detailed health journal during the past seven years. Trust me, I've tried to make the exercise a regular habit but I've never been able to get into the routine of it.
Each time I embark on keeping a journal with the best of intentions. I make lists of supplements and treatments complete with dosages, frequency and the times taken. On day one I detail symptoms and general well being. But by day two my details always get fuzzy and by day three they are as precise as "yada, yada" and "blah, blah, blah."
In all of my years of attempted health journaling I've never made it to day four. Even cute notebooks and colorful pens have been unable to inspire lasting commitment. Now I am seven years in and I have not a single streak of consistent records to chronicle my sickness saga.
But I do have Pippy Love.
My "journaling" on Pippy Love began seven years ago, right about the same time my un-journaled sickness began. Writing here has been far from daily and it offers no recommendations on how to be restored to physical health but it is the most detailed record I have of the past seven years. It is the only faithful journal I've kept, and the most important one too, because this record details the journey I've taken with God to greater spiritual health.
This journal is a testimony to what I've found in seven years of searching and it isn't a way that leads to earthly healing. I have no answers to the questions that plague the physical body but I do have answer to the great question of the soul. I have discovered the one true way to spiritual healing: To simply be still in the presence of God.
Come what may of my fragile body, let the record of my journal show that the one and only way to everlasting healing is by the way, the truth and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fixtures & Finishes


In 1992 my family moved from the Northern Virginia, Washington DC suburbs to Mom's home town in Northern Pennsylvania but they couldn't find a new house to buy. Anxious to make the move, they decided to rent a little white cape cod on a treed neighborhood street. The small house was quite plain, besides the black shutters and cement stoop. The landscaping was just as sparse. Suffice it to say, the home's curb appeal left much to be desired and inside wasn't much better. Orange shag carpet covered the floor. The kitchen featured mustard yellow counters and dark brown cabinets. The house was in need of some tender, love and care. Not to mention new windows, paint and an array of upgrade.
But this was just a temporary house. It was a rental. In a year or two (tops) our family would move to a home of our own with newer carpet and more space.  Or, so we thought.
It didn't take long to realize that the location of that little, plain white cape cod was perfect for our family. Every convenience was within a few miles. Both elementary and high school were just blocks away. There was so much to love about that plain little cape cod that by the end of the year's lease the decision was an easy one to make. No more renting. No more moving. My parents decided to buy the small, dated house and transform it into their forever home.

Twenty five years have passed now and my parents and I still live in that little white cape cod, although, without pictures to prove it, you'd barely recognize it. The house at it stands today hardly resembles the box it was in 1992. Under new ownership, the cookie-cutter home has been transformed.
If it weren't for the images, it would easy to forget how plain and uninviting the home used to look. The old cement stoop is such a distant memory since it has been removed and replaced by an inviting front porch. Without pictures it is hard to recall the intensity of the carpet's burnt orange color or the exact shade of the kitchen's mustard yellow. All of those memories have been washed away with white cabinets and wood floors. What the hopelessly plain, worn home used to be has been replaced by the beauty of what it has become. 

So it makes me wonder, which details and features of my life does God have planned to transform? What garish features of my life are going to be removed and which fixtures will be upgraded? What details of my life are going to be so completely changed that I won't even recognize them in the future?
God's transformative hand is already at work on my life. The moment He took ownership of my heart and infiltrated my life with the Holy Spirit, His marvelous demolition began. His stripped me of my most hideous features of sin and disobedience. He whipped me clean of every stain and flaw. Slowly but surely, God has been updating and upgrading every area of my life with Christ's finest of finishes and Heaven's most glorying features.
And the marvelous remodel isn't finished yet.
So grab your camera and snap a picture because some day soon, you're going to need it to remember what this old house once looked like.  

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Full Tank


Last night my Mom borrowed my car. That wouldn't be a statement worth sharing if it weren't for what she did with my vehicle while it was in her possession. Don't worry, Mom made it home safe and sound, right after she made a special stop at the Country Fair Gas Station to fill my car's empty tank.
When she asked to use my car I hadn't mentioned my car's need for gas. I had completely forgotten that my dashboard's refuel warning light was burning bright. It wasn't until I saw my new, fully restored, filled-to-the-brim gas gauge reading that I remembered my depleated tank. Without being asked, my loving Mother graciously filled my empty tank. She braved the cold and the blustery winds to pump my gas for my car. Despite only having driven a few miles, she fueled the tank to its maximum capacity and even paid the bill. She returned the car without a single mention of gas or stations or the sacrifice of frostbitten fingertips.
It wasn't until this morning that I discovered my mother's gift of a filled tank.
And so it is with my All-Mighty Father God.
He comes to me in my need and fills the tank of my heart with the eternal fuel of faith and hope. Although I am always to blame for letting the fuel run dry, God graciously, faithfully fills me back up again. From the very beginning, before I was even aware of my need for the renewing life of the Savior, God prepared the perfect fuel to fill my emptiness. God sent His spotless Son to the station of His Cross to bring my tank to eternal fullness and pay the ultimate price. He rescued me from my spiritually dry, empty state and satisfied me with Christ's overflowing, abundant life.The Heavenly Father has given me the greatest, most undeserved, most perfect gift in His Son, Jesus Christ.
God never ceases to surprise me with unexpected fill ups. When I'm not looking, He infuses me with fresh joy in the presence of His Son, my Savior. Even when my prayers are weak and forgetful, He sees my every need.
Without the ongoing indwelling of Jesus Christ I am doomed to a life on fumes but, thanks be to God, He never loses track of my tank. He knows when I am empty and He knows just how to fill me up. By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the power of Jesus' risen life, I am satisfied, and forever full with Heaven's Almighty fuel.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Feats of His Strength

 
God is always performing remarkable feats of His great strength in the circus tent that is this very earth, His creation. In one show of winged glory, the Lord dazzles with a pair of cardinals flitting across the sky in flawlessly choreographed formation. In a separate display of gravitational wonder, He sends a squirrel sailing up the trunk of a tree. Once there, the bushy tailed acrobat does a high wire walk along delicate twigs and tiny branches.
Orchestrating it all from His heavenly throne is the All-Mighty Master, the Lord God. Everything is under His control and direction. Even the wind and waves rise and fall at the sound of His voice.
He points and stars shoot. He tames wild beasts and entertains the crowd with plenty of clowns. From the sea to sky, creation lives surrendered to God's creative control. His strength and power knows no bounds.
From the comfort of my spectator's seat, I've enjoyed watching this glorious show of God's majesty. I've especially enjoyed the squirrel's performances. They are an absolute marvel - not to mention a comical delight. And when the annual spring show is revealed I'm always on the edge of my seat, excited to see Him accomplish leaf-restoring and bird-revealing feats. I've even applauded the clowns.
But I certainly never wanted to actually be a clown - or any other circus performer for that matter. I wanted to stay in my comfortable seat and watch God perform great feats from afar. I harbored no dreams of walking the hire wire and I certainly didn't want to be that girl in a box who gets sawed in two!
But God had different plans. God had plans for me to get out of my seat and enter His glory.
God offered me a special spot in His company. God offered me a new life under His perfect, blessed control. He offered me eternal life in His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. His was an offer I couldn't refuse so I left my spectator's seat at the foot of His cross. I surrendered and told God, "I'm ready. Let your show begin.
As quickly as a squirrel can scurry up a tree, God's next miraculous feat was under way.
"And for my next feat I will prove my strength in this tiny woman's weakness." 
Under God's creative control, I shrunk. I went down thirty pounds. I blinked and I was all skin and bones. Yet somehow I was sustained. Defying reason and even death, I was upheld.

And God's show didn't stop there.
God has taken this show on the road. I'm still watching His feats and they become more spectacular at every curtain call. God takes my body lower and let me waste further but every time His strength is proven greater still. He allows me to get weaker and at every performance He arrives to deliver me.
With every death-defying drop the All-Mighty hand of the Master has sustained my skeletal frame all the while showcasing His faithfulness in my very breath and life.
Human logic cannot explain the marvel that is this body. How it continues to function in such a dangerous, precarious physical condition defies the rationale of scales and even blood pressure readings. Only the power of God can claim the glory for He alone has accomplished the great feat that is my survival. The same God who makes the cardinals fly and sends the squirrel sailing up and down the tallest of trees is the God who sustains these fragile bones and conquers this broken body. At every performance God has defeated my weakness with the force of His death-defying strength. And for His next feat, He will do it again.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lithium-Hearted

 
The speedometer results are in.
My foot has lost all of its lead. I could blame it on my health and write it off as just a natural progression of my body's wasting. Or I could give credit to a coming of age. Either way, I'd grown quite accustomed to the will and ways of lead foot and driving sure feels different with out.
I was born with the lead in my foot but the heaviness went undiagnosed until age sixteen. Then one day my foot came in contact with the gas pedal of a Mitsubishi Montero. At that moment lead was discovered in my foot and the need for speed in my racing heart.
Throughout my teens and early twenties I found joy in having a lead foot. I embraced its density and weight. With pedal to the metal I took pleasure in beating ETAs and yellow lights.
Maneuvering winding roads with my heavy foot was a thrill. I took twists and turns with the confidence of a Nascar Driver, imagining myself behind the wheel of a fiery red turbo engine convertible.
Laying hard into my lead foot, I drove with power and zip. I drove fast.
By a miracle, and way too much grace from God, I never did receive a single speeding ticket in all of my lead footed driving days. The consequences for my law breaking actions behind the wheel could have easily resulted in countless moving violations... or worse. By speeding and indulging my lead foot my ride could have ended in fiery destruction.
Thankfully, God's grace and protection was upon me and now my lead-footed days are behind me.
But my lead trouble doesn't end at my extremities. It didn't start there, either. Long before age sixteen I was diagnosed with a crushing load of lead within my heart. This burden of sin I carried from birth weighed me down, tempting me at every twist to travel fast and exceed the limits of the law.
When I embraced the heaviness of my lead heart, I pushed every pedal to the metal. I raced through life with reckless abandon. I accelerated when every sign from God said to slow down. At curves I didn't let up and at yellow lights I sped up.
I was a lead hearted, law breaking sinner on the fast track for a fiery crash and a destiny of destruction and I deserved hell's eternal ticket.
But God, in the most unimaginable, undeserved, unmerited act of grace, spared me the eternal ticket I deserved. The ticket with my name on it - my sin on it - was paid for by God's one and only perfect Son. Not once did He ever push the limits of God's law and yet He gave His life blood to pay the eternal cost of my damning crimes. On the glorious Cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ, the blameless, spotless Lamb of God, willingly took upon Himself my guilty verdict and my eternal punishment.
But His work did not finish there because Jesus Christ rose again. At the empty tomb of His Son God claimed the final victory over my lead heart. He spared me sin's penalty and saved me from its very power. He removed my dark, black, rebellious, sinful heart of lead and renewed me with His heart of eternal, redeeming love.

Physical weakness cleansed my foot of its lead but only the sanctifying blood of Christ could cleanse it from my heart. Only the perfect Lamb of God could carry my heart of lead to the grave and raise it to new life with eternal lightness of His love and life. Only the Son of God could save me from myself with Himself. 

These days my driving style is more "lithium-footed" than it is lead-footed.
And, by the inexhaustible, life-saving, punishment-paying, never-ending, perfect grace of God, my heart is too.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A teddy bear tale

It is one of my first childhood memories...
I was about three or four, and my most precious, treasured, teddy bear was lost. I'm sure at the time this teddy bear had a name although that detail escapes me now. What I do remember vividly is the garden green ribbon around the soft, fluffy white neck of my bear. His eyes were a little droopy and his nose was made of thread. I loved that bear and carried him with me everywhere.
Then, one fateful morning just a week before Valentine's day, my beloved bear went missing. I was devastated. At that young age, the loss of my cherished bear was the greatest I had ever known. I searched for him in the house but he was no where to be found. I retraced my steps back to the grocery store where I last remembered seeing him but a call to customer service resulted in more bad news. There had been no bear sighting. Teddy was gone.
With a distraught daughter at home, I remember my Dad did something unusual that chilly February night. He went shopping.
After hearing that teddy was last spotted at the grocery store Dad returned to conduct his own search. When he came up empty handed he refused to be defeated. Determined to bring home a bear he made a stop in the store's gift isle. With just a week to go before Valentine's Day the shelves were well stocked with red and pink packages. It was the perfect place to find a new perfect bear for a little girl. 
When he arrived home that evening, Dad walked through the door wearing a big smile, holding a big, eighteen inch tall balloon. The balloon was clear and decorated with a festive cupid scene complete with hearts and swirls. But inside the balloon was the true treasure. Sitting atop a bed of glittery red and white confetti was a soft, white fluffy bear with gentle eyes and a heart on each paw. Inside the balloon was my new teddy. 
In my four short years of life that was my first encounter with a stuffed animal inside of a balloon. To this day, I have yet to encounter a second. It was and always has been an incredible gift.
With my new bear to hug and hold onto the thoughts of my lost teddy faded away and into the distance. Captivated by the wonder of the gift I'd been given, what I lost became a memory.

My dear Valentine, this is just a glimmer of the beautiful love displayed by our Heavenly Father.
In our loss He comes to our side and satisfies us with His Son. Before the throne of God's grace He bestows the greatest treasure of His Son's Holy Spirit.
When a child cries out and calls on the name of Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Father does not delay. Swifter than a balloon floating down from heaven, He will come and lend His mighty aid. He will enter from on high and lift the burden of His precious child's frantic search. He ends the hunt at the foot of the Cross. In the gift of Christ He replaces sadness with His everlasting, eternal gladness.
Surrounded by the overwhelming glory of the Savior, captivated by His goodness and grace, every thought of loss fades away and even the most precious of teddies becomes a distant memory. Just simply being in the presence of Jesus Christ, that is truly the only "teddy" any of us will ever need.



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Sights


I blinked and fog covered my cornea. I closed my right eye, blinked a few times in the left and checked again. Still just clouds and fog. There was a misty haze in my left eye while the view from my right eye remained clear and bright.

The change in my eye sight shouldn't have surprised me. Just weeks ago I had a painful bubble appear on my eyelid. What good did I expect to proceed such a troubling ailment?  I suppose somewhere inside I held out hope that the strange bubble would burst and a miracle would occur. I would be restored to 20/20 vision, better than before. But, alas, my hopes were not fulfilled, at least not time.
Now I have a cloudy eye that is getting hazier, and harder to open, by the day.
I will admit that this is deterioration number two in the past month that has put the fear in me. Serious concerns overwhelm me when I consider losing the vision in an eye. Being blind, even in just one eye, scares me. Blind just sounds hard. When I hear that some is blind I immediately feel a heaviness for them. How difficult must it be to function in a world that depends so much on sight?
Now, blinking with a misty, hazy eye, I might soon be able to answer that question.

I know to some I might appear crazy allowing my body to deteriorate at such a rapid clip while continuing down the same road of treatments. To some this might appear to be plain foolishness. Or stupidity. Take your pick. I can certainly understand such reasoning. I understand the concern because I've had serious concerns, too. I've worried about the next deterioration and questioned if I'm on the right path. I've cried and been angry and experienced every emotion in between.
And then I blink; look up; and God is there. Without fail, as often as I turn to Him with my fears and concerns, He is there. He is always there and He is always offering me comfort and peace.

This is exactly what happened when I discovered the disrupted vision in my left eye. First I feared, then I blinked and there He was. God was in my presence and all around me. I didn't need sight to perceive His glory. His Holy Spirit overwhelmed me.

In that moment I stopped fearing the further loss of my sight. Why should I fear? What use have I for my eyes, anyhow? God doesn't require that I be my own vision. There will be no use for my eyes come heaven and God doesn't require them now. He can show me His way, His Son, and my Savior regardless of my eyes ability to see.
Fixated on the sight of Jesus Christ and captivated by His glory, I do not need to fear the lose of my left eye's sight. I do not even need to fear going entirely blind because God has supplied me the spiritual to see His perfect vision, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is the only sight I will ever need. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

It was perfect




Today was magical.
Today was a wonderful day that began at the Word and ended at the Cross. It was an ordinary day turned extraordinary by the sprinkling of God's marvelous presence. God dusted my life with His glory and dazzled me visions of His beauty. He spoke to me without words and comforted me with the sweetest of Heaven’s touch. 
From the very beginning of the day, God was there amazing me.
In an early morning text He stirred me with His faithfulness. With an old childhood journal entry He showed me the splendor of His precious Son, Jesus.
From the scriptures of old I received the Lord's encouragement to keep fighting the good fight of faith. From an old photograph I felt God's loving embrace. 
From the gift of an old rugged cross, I was wrapped in the peace of salvation and overwhelmed with Christ's amazing grace.   

Today, at every turn, God’s Holy Spirit was there to greet me and captivate me. His glory had me on the edge of my seat anticipating the next splendor to be revealed, praying that today would play on endless repeat.
Today was just right. In God's presence it was just as it should be. With God in control, today was a wonderful treasure and a magical delight. 
In the hands of God, today was perfect and, held in the grips of His grace, tomorrow will be too. 


Oh Lord, I pray that this beautiful reality of your presence be my every day magic from now and forever more. Bring on the dusting of your presence. Reach out your hand and make your glory shine! Oh Lord, thank you for your Spirit and for shedding it richly upon my life. 
Thank you for your presence. Thank you for today.

Friday, February 2, 2018

A closer walk with Thee

Since when has Phil been seeing his shadow at 7:00 AM? I always thought he made his winter predication at 8. I was sure of it. At 7:58 I prepared the proper channel so I wouldn't miss a single second of Punxsutawney news coverage. As the commercial break before 8:00 AM came to a close, I took my seat to watch Phil but the scene opened and Phil didn't appear. The local news began anew at 8:00 and no one mentioned a groundhog.
At the bottom of the screen, snippets of today's featured stories flashed across the blotter. "He sees his shadow! 6 more weeks of winter!" I had missed it. Punxsutawney Phil had already seen his shadow. His prediction was already old news.
In the great scheme of things, missing the very moment Phil made his Groundhog Day appearance isn't any great loss. The news stations will play clips of the celebration for the rest of the day. I will get my fill of Phil.
The truth is missing things is a familiar feeling for me now. In the past eight years I've missed a lot of things - celebrations, get-togethers, experiences. I've missed family vacations and birthday parties. I've missed more church services than I can count. I've missed opportunities and milestones.
Yet, at every miss, God has stepped in to fill the gap. In the presence of His glory everything I've missed becomes as meaningless as a Punxsutawney Phil winter weather prediction. 
At every miss God has stepped in and supplied me with the greatest gain: just a closer walk with Thee. 
In the presence of Christ there is nothing I miss. The sufficiency of His amazing grace supplies my every need. The bounty of His love is more than enough to satisfy me.
Consumed by the glory of His Holy Spirit, I have missed nothing and gained everything walking closer with THEE.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Blind but now I see


I opened my eyes to see but a fog covered my left cornea. I closed my right eye, blinked in the left and then checked again. Still clouds and fog. Out of my left eye I was looking at the world in a misty haze while out of right eye I could see clear and bright.
The sudden vision loss shouldn't have surprise me yet every time I experience physical deterioration it catches me unawares. I should have seen this one coming in the aggravated bubble that appeared on my eye lid. When the bubble grew and then burst did I expect the result to be 20/20 vision? I suppose somewhere in me I held out hope that when it healed my eye would better than before but my hopes were not fulfilled, at least not time.
Now I have a cloudy eye that is getting hazier, and harder to open, by the day. I will admit that this is deterioration number two in the past month that has put the fear in me. Serious concerns form in my mind when I consider losing the vision in an eye. Blind, even in one eye, scares me. Blind just sounds hard. Blind sounds like a heavy burden to bear.
How difficult would it be to function in a world that depends so much on sight? How would I manage without the use of eyes? The thought of soon knowing all too personally the answer to those questions has put the fear in me.
To some it must sound crazy to continue down this road of treatment when my body is seemingly deteriorating right before my very eyes. I understand why some might call my health decisions foolish and my approach irresponsible. I understand having concerns because I've had concerns, too.
With nearly every physical lose I've had fears and worries. I've had questions and been utterly afraid. But then I stop, blink and can see that God is there.
That is just what happened when I discovered the deterioration of vision in my left eye. First I feared then I blinked and there He was. God was in my presence and all around me. I didn't need the sight of my eyes to perceive the glory of the King. His Holy Spirit overwhelmed me. His indwelling was undeniable and in that moment I stopped fearing the lose of my eye sight.
God doesn't need my vision. He will be my vision. He doesn't require I have my own eyes to behold His glory. He will gladly show me His Son, my Savior, regardless of my ability to see.
What need have I for eyes when surrounded by eternal glory? What use is vision when God comes to visit? Fixated on the sight of His glory, I do not need to fear the lose of my eye's sight. I do not even need to fear going entirely blind. God has given me eyes to see His perfect vision, the Lord Jesus Christ and He is the only sight I need.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Wigs.com

For as long as I can remember my Dad has been bald or has been in some various stage of balding. My Mom assures me this has not always been the case. He used to have a full of head of hair but one night in his forties in up and left. It hasn't been seen since.
In the absence of his own natural hair my Dad invested in a very fine "toupee." In other words, a man wig. And actually there were two of them. They were mousy brown and slightly resembled squirrels when laying limply on the bathroom counter. These toupees were a fixture in our home worn atop Dad's bald head. He was never seen without his fake hair. He used to say that he couldn't change the fact that he was bald but he could do something about it.
For many years his toupees were his "something to do about it" until one fateful evening when not even man wigs could save him from a hairless reality.
Dad was out of town, traveling on the road for work. Atop his head he wore only his trademark navy blue hat. Both of his toupees happened to be packed in his luggage that was resting in his truck's backseat. In the evening he stopped at a Ruby Tuesdays and ate dinner unaware of the robbery underway in the parking lot.
When Dad returned to his truck the windows were shattered and the backseat was empty. The restaurant bandits had made off with his luggage containing all of his necessities, a Bible and both of his very fine, very beloved toupees.
By a miracle of God, and the strength of a wife's will, my Dad never replaced those toupees. He finally looked in the mirror and faced the facts: he is bald. He has been bald for a long time and, this side of heaven, he will forever be bald. And finally, that became okay with Dad.

Now I'm going bald, too, and I'll confess, I've visited wigs.com. I've perused some very fine wigs and previewed various colors and styles. Like Dad used to say, I can't change the fact that I'm balding but I could do something about it. If I go bald, I could buy a wig.
Or if I go bald, I could accept my hairless reality and claim it with confidence. I could choose to embrace "bald" with joy. I could cast off wigs and every concern about losing my last vestige of femininity. I could decide to step bow before the cross of Christ and be untied with the bounty of His eternal beauty and grace.
Since the woman God is concerned about is the woman within, I'll pass on buying the wig.

Friday, January 19, 2018

I will not fear - even if my hair falls out.


My hair is falling out and I have to admit, I'm scared. Thinning hair I could handle but falling out? This is just too much.
When my not-so-golden locks became noticeably finer, I embraced that part of my "healing journey" with a pixie cut. A short hair style I could pull off, but not bald. That's a hairdo I simply cannot do.
To be fair, I don't have fully developed bald spots just yet but what I do have is a dramatically receding hairline. My hair line's retreat occurred so quickly I didn't even get to say goodbye. One night the thin strands of my bangs packed their bags and fled the scene of of my head. I hoped they were just going on vacation but that was weeks ago and they haven't returned. In fact, my departed hairline has done just the opposite of reappear. It has enticed more hair follicles to follow.
Like strands of hair to the slaughter, the hair on the tippy-top of my head has fallen right in line with my hairline and frizzled right out. It is as if my hair were being scorched, beginning at the very end of each strand. Without any heat, the strands sizzle and sear until they are so fragile they snap off entirely, leaving behind charred hair debris and a much more exposed scalp.
The severe frizzling and falling out of my hair scares me. It petrifies me. I can't imagine my head without hair. Already on my journey for health I've experienced looking like a teenage boy thanks to my curve-less frame and super short cut. What's next? To look like a balding old man?
The thought of a hairless fate for my head taunts me. I have disturbing visions of a vanishing hairline, patches of exposed skin and a tender, vulnerable scalp. I've tried to run and hide from my receding hairline by wearing hats and avoiding the mirror but it has been futile. I have been unable to escape my fear. 
While I've been looking at the receding hairline on my head with fear and concern, God has been looking at the receding trust in my heart. He knows how truly frightened I am of the future. He sees how scared I am by each scorched strand.
But I need not be fearful of what will become of my hair because God already has it planned. I don't need to know how many strands I'll have in the future because God already has them counted. As I've looked in the mirror I have tried to face my fear by imagining what I might look like bald but even with my most vivid imagination cap securely fastened I can't picture it. And the good news is I don't need to.
God has already plotted out every step of my life's journey according to His will and graciously lifted from me the burden of knowing the future. Whether or not my hair continues to retreat or if it miraculously returns with increased thickness and volume, I can rest assured that God is in control. If my health continues to sizzle or if I gain strength and vitality, I trust and know that God is always in control.
Today, with this head of receding hair, is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it, no matter what lies ahead for my locks. Because I trust and believe in the perfect will of God, I can cast off worry and live free of fear. Today, in this balding moment, I can concentrate solely on the goodness and glory of Christ and leave the future of my hair, my health and my heart in the All Mighty hands of God. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Winterforce Love


I've fallen in love. It just happened last week but already I'm completely smitten. I simply cannot contain my excitement or conceal my affection. I want to shout my good news in the city square and proclaim it from a mountain top, "I have found the one who my soul loves, a my new set of four Firestone Winterforce Snow Tires, size p235/55r17!"
(And you thought I actually had met a man and gone on a date. Silly Reader, dates are for kids.)
My beloved tires and I were introduced on a blind date arranged by my local mechanic and car's specifications. From the very first moment my eyes beheld the thick, three-dimensional tread of the Winterforce's high density rubber tire I knew we were a match made in traction heaven.
When we set out on our first date, I mean ride, the roads were clear and there wasn't a snow flake in sight but even in the mild conditions I began to fall for my dear Firestone tires. The ride they provided was so quiet and comfortable that even on rutty side roads I couldn't feel a single bump underneath my wheels.
By our second date/ride the road conditions had changed drastically. A winter storm covered the earth in a sheet of ice and a dense layer of heavy snow. Driving looked to be treacherous and I contemplated calling off the date but the mighty tread of my Firestone tires convinced me to take a chance on love and go for a ride.
By the time I had reversed out of the driveway on that second ride, I was officially in love. When my foot hit the gas and my vehicle plowed effortlessly over a mound of snow I knew this was a blessed union. Winterforce's power in the snow exceeded my expectations. Traveling on the un-plowed streets of my neighborhood proved to be no trouble for my mighty tires. Even on slick roads, they never once slipped a bit.
It has now been a week since the Firestone Winterforce tires and I first met and with each ride I fall further in love. At every patch of ice and pile of snow my tires prove their faithfulness and display their unwavering strength by overcoming every obstacle. On the rims of the Winterforce, I can drive with confidence, knowing that I am safe and secure in the grips of their powerful tread and traction.
As you can tell, my tires and I are enjoying a blissful, beautiful union but I know that our love affair is bound to come to an end. Even though the roads are covered in snow today, I know that spring will come and my beloved Firestone tires will take up residence in storage until the snow flies again.
But don't worry about my life being left loveless. Even without my Firestone Winterforce Snow Tires, size p235/55r17 I know I will not be lonely because when my tires are removed from my vehicle's rims, I will still have glorious tread and all-powerful traction to fill my life with everlasting love.
It is Jesus Christ's risen body and redemptive blood that provides the tread and traction I need to travel safely in every season and on every street. No matter what the conditions of my life or the future forecast, I am held in the grips of the All-Mighty. It is His perfect love that sustains me. Held in His outstretched arms I travel safely, without skidding or slipping even when the roads are treacherous and the paths have yet to be plowed. The Lord softens the bumps and ruts in the road, making my journey one of comfort, peace and rest.
As I ride on the powerful wheels of Jesus' victorious life, I do so with the confident assurance that I will conquer every obstacle and survive every storm because I am held in the grips of His perfect love and overcoming life.
It's true, I have fallen in love. In fact, I fell in love years ago and still to this day, I am completely smitten. I cannot contain my excitement nor would I ever want to conceal my affection. No, I am so in love that I want to shout it from the city square and proclaim it from every mountaintop. "I have found the one who my soul loves, the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ."