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Does God look at you and see ugliness…or something beautiful?

My Apple News feed sent me the following blog post by Joshua Rogers. I’m so glad it came my way. Not only is this “guest post” a great reminder of how God sees us, but I’m now subscribing to his blogs. He is a believer who inspires and encourages. Read on and let me know what you think.

You may use the link HERE to read the story as published or simply read on as I’ve copied and pasted it exactly as presented.

From Joshua: If you think God looks at you and see ugliness—know this! 

One day when I was in my 20s, I was struggling with a lot of guilt and shame because I felt like the only thing God ever saw about me was my sin and brokenness. God must’ve told my mother.

I came into the dining room where my mom was and she said, “Joshua, look at that angel up there on the shelf,” and then she pointed to a ceramic angel behind me.

“Do you see anything wrong with it?” she asked.

“No,” I said.

Courtesy of Joshua Rogers’ mother, Paula J. Jones.

 

She went over to it and turned it around, and that’s when I saw that one of its wings was broken.

“I like that angel,” she said, “and that’s why I’ve positioned it so that I only see its beauty. I know that the brokenness is there, but I choose not to focus on it.

“Don’t ever forget that for the rest of eternity, God has positioned you in such a way that the only thing He will ever see is your beauty. That’s how powerful the blood of Jesus is.”

I think that deep inside, most of us believe that God looks at us and sees ugliness. Know this: That is not possible for believers in Christ who have received eternal life from Him. Jesus purchased our beauty on the cross and it can never be taken away.

Praise Jesus that “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We can have confidence that “through His blood” we are “accepted in the Beloved” (1 Peter 4:8, Ephesians 1:5-7).

Don’t grieve the fact that you have a broken wing – that wing is reminder, every day, of how much God loves you.

Final Thoughts from Mimi

I hope you found this simple story as powerful as I did. What a wonderful reminder that God sees us as absolutely beautiful.

Mimi

About Joshua

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If a little is good…then a lot is better. Right?

Wonder what you’re seeing in the picture? How about a HUGE miscalculation? A big mis-judgment? A plan gone awry?

They just didn’t look good.

The top washcloth is how my old towels used to look. They went with every paint color and were some of the nicest towels I have owned, as well as some of the prettiest to look at.

But over the years they have gotten dingy to the point that nothing was brightening up the white stripe any longer. They looked just as dirty coming out of the laundry as when they went in.

The initial plan.

Into the garage they went, becoming shop towels. They stayed there for months while I searched and searched for new, replacement towels. Didn’t like much of anything but finally settled on some plain blue ones.

But I wasn’t satisfied. The plain blue just didn’t have the wow factor the other towels had. So back to looking online and in stores. Yet I still couldn’t find anything that compared to the striped ones.

What to do?

I know; I’ll bleach them. People do it all the time. I knew they needed more than five minutes, but how long to let them sit in the bleach solution? Thankfully, online videos helped make the choice…about 25 minutes. Perfect.

Got the towels soaking and started doing some house cleaning. The 25 minutes came and went but I thought “Just a few more minutes would work even better.” Cleaning finished, it was time for some computer work.

An hour later I decided if 90 minutes was good, then certainly I should simply let them soak all afternoon. So, I did.

The Uh Oh Moment

Hours later I practically skipped to the washing machine and pulled the knob out to start the rinsing cycle. I waited with great joy for the wash cycle to complete so I could see my finished masterpiece.

But instead of brilliantly colored towels with nice white stripes, I now had what you see in the photo above…still dingy looking, but now yellowy, brownish towels that were no longer fit to dry any human body. (Glad I had one washcloth that never made it into the bleach so you could really see the difference.)

Lesson Learned

Directions are there for a reason. They often assist us in finding the best way to do something. They frequently save us time. And many times, they save us money, too.

As believers, we, too, have a need for directions: to navigate life, to learn about our Lord, to provide clarity and wisdom. And so much more.

Today, my prayer for myself and you as well, is that we will see our need to seek the Master Designer for His plan for our lives. And that we will completely trust Him, knowing His plans are to “prosper you and not to harm you…to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
I have refused to walk on any even path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
(Psalm 119:97-105)

Love, Mimi

Labor Day: A reminder of my hubby’s continual labor of love for me.

My hubby is a hardworking man. No matter what the task, he puts his all into it.

I laughingly tell others I don’t even know where the off/on switch is for the vacuum. He’s been doing the floors for decades…and the laundry…and the yardwork…and all maintenance both inside and outside, and so on.

Greg shows his love.

Greg likes to keep busy and shows his love by how he cares for me and our stuff.

While I was running errands the other day in my air-conditioned car, running into and out of air-conditioned stores, Greg was hard at work on an outside project in the intense Florida

After finishing up, he left his wet, sweaty clothes on a chair in the garage so they could dry out before he threw them in the laundry basket.

But as I pulled the car into the garage and saw Greg’s sweat-soaked tee shirt draped over a chair, my own heart melted at how much love he shows me every day.

Hopefully, you are able to see why as you look at the picture on Greg’s tee-shirt…the one formed by his own toil, his own sweat…a big heart.

You betcha I took a picture.

Because as soon as I saw it, I also saw the love behind it. The love that had him working in the yard enduring yet another 95-degree day. This love he has for me!

Greg’s demonstration of love is experienced daily. But there’s another love, an even more important revelation of love available to us.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What a powerful, truth-filled statement. Overflowing with amazing love for us, God provided a way to himself through the sacrifice of Christ.

Prayer

My prayer for each of us today is that we will cherish the loving sacrifice that came from the One whose heart of love for each of us is so much bigger than we can even imagine.

Mimi

Being willing to take a detour will often surprise and delight you.

Recently, we enjoyed a two-and-a-half-week road trip to visit friends and family up north.

For the return trip home, we planned on three days and two nights on the road. Partway through the first day of driving, we decided to continue on for another three hours. But soon we would question that decision as those three hours turned into four!

The flashing road sign advised us to tune our radio to a specific station that notified us of an accident that had completely shut down the southbound lanes. At about the same time, Google Maps spoke up to say it was rerouting us to leave the highway the exit before, take a 10-mile detour, and join up south of the accident.

We were good to go.

After reviewing the mounting delay on the Maps app, we decided it was best to take the detour. Since it was only a few miles away, we knew we’d be saving ourselves at least 30 minutes, maybe more.

The new plan continued to make sense until two miles before the exit when the traffic came to a complete stop on the interstate. Turns out, the traffic had back up all the way from the accident site, blocking the new exit completely.

I try, I really do.

I want to be okay with delays. But it’s not always easy. It was nearing the end of the day and we were looking forward to dinner out and an early bedtime at the motel as we planned to be up early the next day for the 10-hour ride ahead of us.

Traffic moved but only every 5-10 minutes, and for only 5-6 car lengths. And it was frustrating watching the timing of the delay continually count higher as restlessness built inside of me. I ate a snack, tried listening to music, and talked non-stop about sitting on a highway with a 70-mph speed limit!

Finally

After about 40 minutes the traffic seemed to be inching ahead a little faster. As the exit was nearly within reach we had a decision to make. Google Maps finally showed the slow-down time going down. What to do? Take a chance and remain on the highway…or exit the road on the proven route that would be much slower but definitely get us to our destination. We chose Option 2. And I’m so glad we did.

As it turns out, staying on the interstate was faster because soon after we left the highway, the accident was cleared and vehicles once again began to move at the speed limit.

But I relished in our decision to take the detour. First of all, I dislike sitting; I dislike doing nothing. So, to travel at any speed, even 15 mph, which we did at times on the side road, was better than sitting in traffic and not moving.

Our detour took us on back roads alongside of several miles of railroad tracks. We encountered S-turns like you wouldn’t believe. Train trestles ran over the road and concrete bridges helped us cross babbling brooks. We saw a country church in the middle of nowhere. And the sweetness of being in a forested area compared to a concrete highway was relaxing and at times blissful.

I loved our detour and by the time we arrived at our motel, we were both relaxed and smiling.

And…

I was reminded that we can’t always avoid trouble. We can’t always travel an easy route. But if we are willing to take a detour, we will often be surprised and delighted along the way.

How about you? Any delightful detours lately in your own lives?

Mimi

A Man and a Fork

Today I’m sharing with you a story sent to me by our friend and neighbor Robert. It illustrates a simple but power message.

Time to Get His Affairs in Order

There was a young man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So, as he was getting his things “in order,” he contacted his priest and had him come to his house to discuss certain aspects of his final wishes.

He told him which songs he wanted sung at the service, what scriptures he would like read, and what outfit he wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the priest was preparing to leave when the young man suddenly remembered something very important to him.

“There’s one more thing,” he said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the priest’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young man continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The priest stood looking at the young man, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young man asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the priest.

The young man explained.

“My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.”

“In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’”

“It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”

“So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’”

“Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.’”

The priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young man good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see him before his death.

But he also knew that the young man had a better grasp of heaven than he did. He had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice his age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.

He KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young man’s casket and they saw the suit he was wearing and the fork placed in his right hand. Over and over, the priest heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young man shortly before he died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to him.

He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right.

So, the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.

And just remember … keep your fork!

The BEST is yet to come!

Medicare? No way; it can’t be!

Me, eligible for Medicare?

I turn 64-1/2 next week and my daily mail is now inundating me with offerings of various Medicare plans to consider. Many of these offers include a seminar and free meal. I figure these meal invitations could really amount to something. And I just might be able to manage a free meal each week right through the open enrollment period later this year.

Twenty short years ago my kids were out of high school by a few years, we were in our mid-40s, and Medicare seemed a long way off…and for old people! That 20 years flew by and now I’m one of those OLD people! Funny thing…(1) I don’t feel old at all and (2) it doesn’t bother me in the least to sign up.

What does being old look like anyway?

Ever wondered what old age was supposed to look like or feel like? I think I always had a fairly good idea of it. I never pictured grey-haired and wrinkled people, bent over and walking with canes. That was a caricature for sure. But I do think I pictured a wise person who had enough life experience behind them to offer sage advice to others. I pictured grandkids flocking around who thought I was great fun to hang with.

I figured an older person now had the time to pursue hobbies, volunteer experiences, and perhaps travel. I thought that person’s days were filled with things to delight and the complete flexibility to enjoy those delights as often as they liked or wherever they presented themselves. I figured for the most part that person would be happy and content knowing they had lived a full life.

What’s the reality?

Reality isn’t very far off. I’m definitely not a bent-over person walking with a cane. My hair is about 50% grey at this point, and wrinkles? Well, let’s just say I have a bunch, but I tell myself each one is a brush stroke in the portrait of my life so why would I want to remove even one.

I do have aches and pains and tend to grunt out loud when getting up after sitting awhile. But I’m fairly healthy and still able to do most things I want to do.

Hmm, the part about doling out sage advice. You’ll have to ask others. I try really hard (really, really hard—not always successfully), to keep my opinions to myself unless asked…especially with my grown children in mind. But sometimes…oh yes, sometimes, I do wish they’d ask. Because I certainly have learned a thing or two I would love to share. Advice that could save heartache. Advice that could make some things easier. Advice that could possibly reassure them that when they feel as if they’ve failed at something, they are not alone. Most of us have felt that way at one time or another and it’s just a feeling, not necessarily the truth of the situation.

My personal reality is that I look in the mirror and still see me but it’s definitely a me who has experienced a little more wear and tear. It’s a me who still has dreams to change the world or to simply make a difference in someone’s life. It’s a me who despite knowing there are way fewer years ahead than behind, still wants to make something of those years.

Some of my thanks…

  • I am crazy in love with my family! And I so enjoy the adult relationships I now share with my kids. I’m blessed beyond measure with my grandchildren and I love being called Mimi. It’s one of my favorite words at the moment. And the fact that my dad is still such an integral part of our lives is beyond amazing. Blessed, blessed, blessed am I.
  • Through the years I’ve always had a group of women in my life about 10-15 years ahead of me. They have lovingly shared themselves with me…their wisdom, their experience, their unconditional love. What a difference that’s made. And I’m so very grateful for them. What they have poured into my life cannot be described with words. They are my friends but more than that…they are my treasures.
  • I am so very grateful that I am at this point healthy. It’s something that can definitely be taken for granted. I can play ball with my grands, walk a few miles at a time, bike for pleasure, clean my house (occasionally), and have enough strength to accomplish most of the things I find important.

Your own experience.

There is so much more to be thankful for, but maybe I’ll leave that for you. Please comment below and let me know what you are thankful for. Or just let me know about your own experience with the aging process…what you thought vs. your reality.

Thanks for sharing part of your Monday with me. I appreciate each one of you.

Mimi

As we gratefully remember…another thought on Memorial Day.

This year, I noticed several people on social media shared a very good thought. One I needed to be reminded of.

At the end of last week’s post, I wished everyone a Happy Memorial Day. It was a sign-off, something written without giving it much thought. And then I began reading several posts that reminded us what the day was really about. It’s not a happy kind of day at all…rather it’s a day to remember and be thankful…very thankful for the sacrifice of so many.

At the same time, I received an email from a friend that was so deeply moving. I asked permission to share it. Turns out it was a compilation of two articles from Fox News. I’m including the links below but am going to reprint what he put together after reading the articles himself.

May it touch your hearts as well…as we gratefully remember.

From Robert O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden:

Don’t wish me a happy Memorial Day. There is nothing happy about the loss of the brave men and women of our armed forces who died in combat defending America. Memorial Day is not a celebration.

Memorial Day is a time for reflection, pause, remembrance and thanksgiving for patriots who gave up their own lives to protect the lives and freedom of us all – including the freedom of generations long gone and generations yet unborn. We owe the fallen a debt so enormous that it can never be repaid.

From former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink (speaking as if he were a fallen soldier):

I am the fallen soldier, sailor, airman, and marine. Remember me.

I am the one that held the line. Sometimes I volunteered. Sometimes I went because I was told to go.  But when the nation called – I answered.

In order to serve, I left behind the family, friends, and freedom that so many take for granted.

The machines of war evolved and changed with the times. But remember that it was always me – the warrior – that had to fight our nation’s enemies.

As technology advanced, I used night vision goggles and global positioning systems and drones and lasers and thermal optics. But it was still me, a human being, that did the work.

It was me that patrolled up the mountains or across the desert or through the streets. It was me that suffered in the merciless heat and the bitter cold. It was me that went out, night after night, to confront our nation’s enemies and confront evil face to face.

It was me.

Remember me. I was a warrior.

That I was not only a warrior. I was not just a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine.

Remember also: that I was a son, a brother, a father. I was a daughter, a sister, a mother.

I was a person – like you – a real person with hopes and dreams for the future.

I wanted to have children. I wanted to watch my children grow up. I wanted to see my son score a touchdown or shoot the winning basket. I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle.

I wanted to kiss my wife again. I wanted to grow old with her – and be there to hold her hand when life grew hard.

When I told her I would be with her until the end – I meant it. When I told my children I would always be there for them – I meant it. But I gave all that away.

All of it.

Or on the unforgiving sea where we fought against the enemy and against the depths of the abyss. There, in those awful places: I held the line. I did not waiver and I did not hesitate. I The Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine.

I stood my ground and sacrificed my life – my future, my hopes, my dreams. I sacrificed everything – for you.

This Memorial Day, remember me: the fallen warrior. And remember me not for my sake – but for yours. Remember what I sacrificed so you can truly appreciate the incredible treasures you have: Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.

You have the joys of life, the joys that I gave up, so that you can relish in them:

A cool wind in the air.

The gentle spring grass on your bare feet.

The warm summer sun on your face.

Family. Friends. And freedom.

Never forget where it all came from. It came from sacrifice: The supreme sacrifice.

Don’t waste it. Don’t waste any of your time on this earth.

Live a life that honors the sacrifice of our fallen heroes.

Remember them always. And make every day… Memorial Day.

Reference: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/05/26/seal-who-shot-bin-laden-dont-wish-me-happy-memorial-day.html

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/05/25/ex-seal-jocko-willink-remember-warriors-who-made-supreme-sacrifice-dont-waste-your-time-on-earth.html

Until next time…Mimi