Tag Archives: Christ

Make a REAL Difference on International Women’s Day! 

It’s International Women’s Day; a day of celebrating, respecting, acknowledging and loving women! How wonderful to be noticed for who we are and what we do! But let’s not forget: Our God loves BOTH women and men! Loving women does not mean to stop appreciating, respecting, or loving men. For we are all making sacrifices and trying to make our way through a sin-filled world. 

Jesus came to save both women and men from their sins, and give us eternal life! We have been hurt by men, and we have been hurt by women. We will be treated well by men, and we will be treated well by women. There are bad men, and there are bad women. There are good men, and there are good women. No matter how we have been treated, the silver lining is that God loves us all!

To stop shopping, working, doing, or being a woman just for a day is not an answer. Being a woman who has a relationship with Jesus Christ, and pursues him in her imperfections, striving to do what’s good, honorable, noble and right, fighting to live when she no longer feels she can… is being a real woman. For no woman, and no man for that matter, is anything at all without salvation, power, and authority given in Jesus Christ. 

Don’t stop “being” a woman today; you’re much too valuable! Be who you are and go to your job, mother your children, go to school, do errands, or even take it easy if you want to. But be a woman in action, because it’s what you do and who you are; because you’re proud to be who God created you to be! Tell someone about Jesus… Another woman needs him today! ” ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’ ” (Prov. 31:29 New International Version).

Women, you’re important, you matter, and you’re loved. All souls matter, whether male or female, black or white, old or young. For we are all made in the image of God. Let the Bible tell you who you are! It’s much better than what the world says! “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).

Now, go out and be a real woman, and make a difference for the Kingdom of God! 
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9).

Pursue The Shepherd to Escape the Wolves!

Everyone is free to believe as they wish, but no one should fool themselves into believing he or she will ever understand the truth about anything in life without pursuing God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. If God says there are wolves among us, pretending to be Christians, He means it. It’s true. We need to pay attention to God’s warning, as we walk with Jesus and begin to view the world with godly, spiritual eyes. As our eyes and ears become open to the truth, we come to a place where we are no longer willing to be blinded and deceived by fake Christians, pretenders, or wolves in sheep’s clothing. We can rely on Jesus, refusing to get reeled in by the lies of self-centered, narcissistic people who are only interested in themselves. Many people also proudly rely on self, instead of looking towards God for guidance. Sadly, they will remain unable to escape the sharp hook of deception, and will lose out on the freedom of exploring the vast ocean of joy God has waiting for them. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:33 New International Version).

To find truth, we must give our lives to Christ, and continuously pursue him. Christians follow Jesus in spite of their mistakes and imperfections. Christians are people who change, because they grow over time. Sometimes the changes come quickly, and others can take much more time. But the changes will be good changes, reflecting the character of Christ. If there are no positive changes and spiritual growth, one should ask God if He’s pleased with the spiritual journey He’s watching from up above. When a child of God is stuck in a rut, it’s likely that repentance, forgiveness, and prayer are all necessary to bring back a wandering heart. God is always waiting with open arms to receive His lost children!

True Christians are followers of Christ. They don’t just talk; they walk with Jesus. They humbly accept that they are not perfect, but seek to do unto others as Jesus would do. Christians forgive each other, and forgive in the name of Jesus when it’s too hard to do it on their own. Christians don’t demand forgiveness. Christians humbly seek forgiveness with a repentant heart. They want to know how they’ve offended a brother or sister in Christ, so they can fix what’s broken. The Bible tells us not to judge or condemn others. These sinful attitudes get in the way of forgiveness. Other strongholds which keep people seeing God clearly are: stubbornness, anger, bitterness, denial, and even rejection. As The Holy Spirit reveals these, it is our place to ask God to remove them in the name of Jesus. Healing, freedom, and joy take place. Forgiveness then comes easier, and more naturally, just as it does with Jesus.

Some people only pretend to give their lives to Christ. Others actually do receive their salvation, yet go on living the same lives they led before; lives that don’t include God. This isn’t God’s will for His children. God is our Creator. He wants a relationship with us. God is omniscient; He knows whether we’ve really given our lives to Him. He looks at our hearts: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ ” (1 Sam. 16:7 ). God also sees us bearing fruit, and planting seeds which lead to others growing in Christ.

When you are with a Christian, you should see and hear and feel Jesus reflected in the heart of that person. You should be able to see light in that person’s eyes, rather than darkness. You should hear words that uplift and encourage you, rather than words that leave you angry, bitter, and confused. You should feel hopeful, peaceful, and comforted after spending time with a Christian, rather than feeling anxious and depressed. Real Christians grow fruit; they leave the world a better place by leading others to Jesus. Their lives show evidence of joy, grace, and the mercy of God’s love.

We all have times of conflict with brothers and sisters in Christ, but these should not override the goodness seen within them; the goodness that comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Many people daily refer to themselves as Christians just because they go to church or do good deeds, but they have not truly given their lives to Christ. Instead they choose to live life without any regard to God’s commandments and callings. Their walk does not reflect the character of Christ, so it causes others to have a warped, false, and negative view of the pure goodness of Christianity.

The bible tells us evil will masquerade as light. We need to pursue Jesus, asking for wisdom to discern fake Christians (wolves) from genuine Christians (sheep). Wolves are jealous and vengeful. They gossip, lie, and stir up strife on a regular basis. Because of their vicious nature, they can get in the way of the amazing plans God has for you! Therefore, be diligent, and heed God’s warning: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matt.7:15). Ask God to help you identify deceit. Ask God to show you who the wolves are, and to remove them from your life, in Jesus’ name. God is your refuge and shelter; He is your greatest source of protection.

No matter what it looks like, what lies are being told, who has turned against you; look for the silver lining: NOTHING is more powerful than the power and authority of JESUS CHRIST in your life! God knows your worth; His Truth is all that matters! If you have a relationship with Jesus, then GOD HIMSELF has your back! Trust Him each and every day! Pursue Jesus, and the scales will fall from your eyes, as the real world of truth appears before you in ways you’ve never imagined! You will be amazed at what you can see through your brand new spiritual eyes! It’s about love and forgiveness. It really is…all about…pursuing JESUS!

” ‘I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. ‘So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock–his church, purchased with his own blood–over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you–my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. ‘And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.’ ”
( Acts 20:26-32 New Living Translation)

You can read more about how to identify wolves in sheep’s clothing in my article: Sheepish Character? False Christians cause Division (Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing).

My mission is to help others find hope leading to healing, joy, and freedom in the truth of Jesus Christ. On The Silver Lining homepage, you can click on specific topics related to this blog post, such as: narcissism, judging, deception, freedom, and more. You can also search your own keywords; examples are: “self-centeredness” “wolves” “jealousy” “character” “fruit” “light” and many others. Join The Silver Lining Facebook page, and share the silver lining experiences God has given to you, by submitting them to be shared with other readers! God bless you, in Jesus name! 

Soldier On!

It’s an emotional and crucial time in America. I hope you will join me for my upcoming blog post, “God is Sovereign…He’s in Control.” God was already leading me to write about His Sovereignty, even before the election took place. It is my prayer that God will continue to use me as an instrument, to bring you: hope, encouragement, and comfort through Jesus Christ. I pray God will give us a desire to unite with our brothers and sisters in Christ, by providing us with reminders of His biblically proclaimed promises: God promises to watch over His children and protect them at all times. He does not abandon His people. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you’ ” (Deut. 31:6  New International Version).

I am sharing a link to last year’s Veterans Day post, Thank a Vet…Pray on Veterans Day. I’m so grateful to each and every veteran who has served our great country of America. I believe that writing about how God chooses a king, and about how God is sovereign, is the best way for me to show gratitude and honor to our veterans on Veterans Day. Our soldiers and forefathers have fought hard, and sacrificed much, in order for us to live in a country founded on God’s laws. America is a country worth fighting for! It still remains a Republic which “stands one Nation, under God!

As Christians we must continue to do battle in Christ Jesus, knowing we are soldiers in God’s Army. We should fight without sinning, recruit with honestly, and our battle cry should be love. Our mission should be one, and the same; to introduce Jesus to people who don’t know him; and to share God’s love with a hurting nation of broken people who need hope and healing in Christ. As Christian soldiers, we must believe in God, and trust that He can make good out of anything and everything we do in His name! 

Soldier on in your search for The Truth, pursue Jesus, and “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 

1 Peter 4:8 New International Version

 “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. 2: 3 

“Onward Christian Soldiers”
19th Century Hymn

Onward Christian soldiers

Marching as to war 

With the cross of Jesus

Going on before

Christ the royal master 

Leads against the foe

Forward into battle

See His banners go

Refrain:

Onward Christian soldiers

Marching off to war

With the cross of Jesus

Going on before.   Amen.

-Written by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1865
-Music by Arthur Sullivan, 1871

    
  
Thank a Vet…Pray on Veterans Day 

Stand Tall…Speak Truth!

MY GOD needs no defending, but I consider it PURE JOY when people: mock me, lie about me, make fun of me, and turn their backs against me; their reason being that I am proud to SPEAK TRUTH aligning with the scripture breathed by MY MAKER! My strength lies in JESUS! Yes, my confidence is in CHRIST! 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

 James 1: 2-4 New International Version

 

12 Steps to Forgiveness with Boundaries

Have you forgiven someone, only to be accused of harboring unforgiveness, because you’ve had to establish necessary boundaries for healing and protection? If you’re feeling guilty about having less contact because of an unhealthy or abusive relationship, the guilt is not from God. God does not want His children to be doormats. How can we forgive others, while keeping boundaries in place? How can we do both, while continuing to please God, as we daily walk with Christ?

We can recognize that God set boundaries and expected them to remain in place: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors” (Prov. 22:28 New International Version). We can take comfort in knowing that Jesus, himself, set boundaries: “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58). We can take godly steps towards forgiving others, by seeking Jesus, as we put boundaries in place:

1. Set aside time to step away from your offender. Even Jesus retreated, and stepped away from the crowds of people in order to spend time with God, and pray. If the offender lives with you, step outside to clear your head, or go visit a friend. Walk away, and give yourself some space. If you need a quiet spot to talk to God, and can’t get away, find ten minutes to pray in the bathroom or your closet. Sit in your car, and read a Psalm. Retreat. Jesus is an example.

2. Pray this simple prayer: “I forgive (name of offender) in the name of Jesus.” We can’t do it alone. That’s why Jesus died for us. He died to forgive us of our sins, and to forgive others. Through Jesus, we can forgive others, grow our relationship with him, and show others the way to salvation. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:14). Jesus is forgiveness.

3. Ask God to remove your pain, and fill you with His Holy Spirit. It hurts when people sin against us, whether directly, or indirectly. Ask God to remove your pain. Then ask Him to go to the empty spot where pain once resided, and fill it with His love for you, until it’s overflowing! Jesus is a healer.

4. Ask God for wisdom in establishing healthy boundaries. God gives wisdom freely to those who ask. Wisdom will help you to discern what kind of boundary you will need to allow for healing: some contact, little contact, or no contact. You can do any of these, while still continuing to walk with Christ. Jesus is a teacher.

5. Ask God to give you strength and courage to keep the boundary. The devil will do everything possible in order to try and make you remove the boundary. He will find people to spread lies, gossip, strife, fear, and chaos. His intent is to plague you with anxiety, so that you will not change. He wants you to settle for staying in your old, familiar rut. If he can keep you ignorant of truth, you won’t go forward and learn about how Jesus can heal you and change your life. Jesus is strength.

6. Ask God to provide you with support. The devil has the goal of isolating you. He will use rejection, depression, doubt, and any other fiery darts he can throw at you, to try and convince you to remove your boundary. He knows the boundary is there for your protection, healing, and growth. He hates that God is going to heal, change, and use you to win others to Christ. God will put people in your life to replace those you’ve lost when you established the boundary. Your support will be comprised of Christians who know your heart, pray for you, and encourage you in your walk with God. They will fill in the missing gaps. Jesus is a friend.

7. Ask God to reveal truth in the hearts of those who come against you. The devil will deceive well-meaning people into believing that they are helping, when they come to you, trying to convince you to break down your boundary. They may not have knowledge about the whole truth of your situation, so they don’t understand. They may accuse you of being unforgiving, cruel, fake, or even anti-Christian. God knows your heart, and that is all that matters. However, God knows our need for love and fellowship, and He will provide everything we need. Don’t be afraid! God knows what He is doing! Jesus is truth.

8. Know that when you’re most tempted to break down your boundary, God is about to give you a big break-through! Keep your boundary. Continue to forgive others who hurt you, disrespect you, or shun you. God has a plan. The enemy wants to destroy you, but God means to use it all for good! Live your life, honoring God, knowing that the boundary is there for good reason. If it needs to come down, GOD will show you, and He will make it obvious. Be ready when God says it’s time. You will have a heart that has already forgiven, and your past pain will be behind you. Jesus is courage.

9. Read or listen to scripture, and pray. Scriptures keep us wrapped in truth. When we are struggling, God’s word lets us know that we are doing the right thing. Knowledge of the bible keeps us ready for the battles that will come our way, when we are doing something against the grain of what everyone else thinks we should be doing. God’s word is living and healing. It helps us to see others through the eyes of God. The bible helps us to see that Jesus loves everyone, even people who hurt us. The bible changes our thoughts. We can begin to develop love and understanding for our enemies, even if we don’t approve of, or accept their behavior. Jesus is comfort.

10. Pray for salvation for those who have hurt you. God says to pray for our enemies. The goal is for others, no matter how much they’ve hurt us, to gain salvation through Jesus Christ. Our prayers, and yes, even our boundaries, can help another person to receive eternal life. Jesus died for everyone. Pray that those who have hurt you will come to know Jesus. If those people are already saved, pray for their walk with The Lord. Realize that many people who profess to be Christians, are not really saved, and do not have a relationship with Jesus. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’ ” (Matt. 7:22-23)! Jesus is salvation.

11. Seek your own relationship with God, while the boundary is in place. During a time of separation from someone who has wronged you, allow God do His healing work in you. You will begin to see the damage in the people who hurt you, and realize they are broken just like you. This doesn’t excuse what they’ve done. It does give us insight into what Jesus did for us. Our sins put Jesus on the cross, and he died for us, even though we didn’t deserve it. It’s love beyond measure. “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23). Jesus is love.

12. TRUST GOD. Understand that your boundary may allow time for the offender to draw closer to God. Recognize that the person who hurt you, is also deeply loved by God, and needs a relationship with Him. He or she may need time to dig deep down, and repent of his or her own sins. The boundary may create a void of loneliness and desperation, which only Jesus can fulfill. Your boundary may bring someone to true repentance, and draw that person towards a relationship with Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, your offender can heal, receive forgiveness for sins, and receive eternal life. This allows him or her a chance to live a godly life on earth. Only then, can true reconciliation occur. Jesus is protection.

There is a silver lining…God is in Control! Though your offender may continue to try and hurt you emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually, God is your protector. His Son, Jesus, heals our pain. Recognize that people may be struggle with jealousy, anger, or fear, when you place boundaries between them and yourself. Some people lash out in frustration, when they lose access to their ability to manipulate and control you. The devil thrives on ruined relationships, but God is All Powerful! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God is the one who is ultimately in control. With God as our protector, strength, and shield, we have already won every battle.

Though reconciliation is the ultimate goal, it’s not always possible. You do not have to allow an abusive person back into your life, to prove your forgiveness toward that person. This could even delay all the work God is doing in your life, and in the life of the abuser. Pray against guilt in the name of Jesus. We need godly relationships in our lives. Often, we need to step out, and let God step in and do His work. Sometimes we need to let others catch up, before we can be in a relationship with them.

It’s difficult to create a boundary, and even more difficult to keep it in place. But God’s silver lining is found in the amazing things He has planned for you during the storm. God will use your experience to make you stronger, healthier, and joyful. He will use your experience to bring glory to His name! God knows your heart. Forgive, leave your boundaries in place, pray, and continue to follow God. God will let you know when, and if, the boundary should be removed. Trust Him! He knows what He is doing! Jesus is Savior!

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Ps. 16:6

d12c2-img_4473_2

Oh Christmas Tree… Let YOUR Lights Shine!

The pre-lit Christmas tree promises “lights that stay lit, even if one goes out.” It doesn’t tell the truth. We’re all familiar with stressful holiday preparations. Everyone knows that a dose of irritation is included, for free, in every box of Christmas tree lights!

A few years ago, our family purchased a pre-lit, artificial tree with tightly wound lights. No longer would we have to face the hassle and anguish of stringing up lights. This tree would offer quick, instant set-up, and instant sparkle. But nothing man-made lasts forever. When Christmas came, we were disappointed to find multiple lights burned out on multiple strings.

IMG_7672

We spent several days dealing with our problem. We talked about replacing the lights, but it was impossible to find out which ones were attached to others. Our family looked for a new tree, but didn’t like the ones we found. They were either too tall, or too skinny. Almost all of them came… pre-lit. We finally found one for a great price, without lights. Yet, it didn’t seem to make sense to buy such a similar tree, when the money could be used to buy one for somebody else.

We went back home without a tree. My husband now had a migraine. This meant my teen boys and I needed to figure out what to do. Otherwise, December would be gone. One of them suggested we just cut the lights off of the tree, and put up new ones. I resisted. Couldn’t we just replace individual strings? No. It wasn’t possible. The strings were tangled, and lights were everywhere. After we unplugged the lights from the outlet, my son began cutting the crazy maze. I was wound as tightly as the light strings. We hadn’t we started this a week ago?

FullSizeRender

Twin teenagers were doubly helpful. It took two days to remove all the light strings! Finally, we were ready to add new lights. As I began to string the bottom of the tree, I realized we didn’t have enough lights to finish! The next day, my husband was still recovering from his migraine. Yet, he headed to the store with one of the boys to get more lights, and do some important errands. During this time, I had developed severe bronchitis, and didn’t feel like doing much of anything. This was truly a holiday headache!

Discouragement breathed heavy lies into my ear. New boxes were brought home. “Surprise!” The lights inside were twinkling lights. The boxes had looked similar. How could I judge my husband, when I’d purchased garland lights only a few days prior, which didn’t match either! Ornaments were strewn everywhere. They were also disappearing… because ornaments and toys look the same to a six-year old.

IMG_7673

Every year, I expect the rush, and try to plan early. Each year, I fail. But new trials had been difficult, and God doesn’t see me as a failure! I began to look at the big picture. In spite of holiday stress and annoyances, my family was together. We irritated each other and argued, but we were together. My family pitched in on that last night, and decorated the tree… together. Tree decorating isn’t my family’s favorite tradition, because it’s a lot of work. But we do love the beauty, memories, and excitement of Christmas. It wasn’t about the tree. My family had cooperated, and brought me happiness, simply because of their love for me.

Our family knows to pull together, even in the small things, because God has pulled us through the bigger trials. He answers our prayers, providing us with everything we need. He draws us closer to Him, sharing wisdom about the world around us. It’s comforting to know God can make good out of everything, bringing healing and bringing us freedom in the process. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 New International Version).

IMG_7675

Old lights, which have burned out, are useless for brightening a room. To be able to see clearly, we need new lights. When we leave our old selves behind, we become born again, brand new in Jesus. We can choose to take a step of faith, believing Jesus was born to die for our sins, and that God miraculously resurrected his body from the dead. Pray to God, and ask Jesus to come into your heart. Admit you are a sinner, and ask God to forgive your sins in the name of Jesus. Go in peace, knowing you will spend eternal life in Heaven with Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The light of Jesus shines through those of us who belong to him. When we let our lights shine, we become hope for those living in darkness. We all have light to offer, if Jesus lives within us. We can encourage others to shine, by seeking God, and sharing what Jesus has done for us in our own lives. As brothers and sisters in Christ, our lights will shine even brighter as we come together. Others will be drawn to the light, because God is light.

IMG_7677

A string of lights, with a burned out bulb, needs a replacement. A lost person, living in darkness, needs brand new life, and light, in Jesus. If a light has grown dim, we need to minister to that brother or sister in Christ. We must endeavor to encourage the brokenhearted and hurting, and help those who have lost their way because of pain.  An uncooperative light string needs tending. So do stubborn people. They need love, wise counsel, and healing in Christ. Those who receive salvation will always remain plugged in to Jesus, our eternal light source.

God is an everlasting light. His light never goes out, because He is light! “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. ” (1 Jn. 1:5-10).

IMG_7676

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ ” (John 8:12).

 

The Greatest Artist…God Knows You…God Loves You

Last week, I had the opportunity to witness one of the most beautiful skies I have ever seen God create with his paintbrush. It went from one extreme to the other, in the span of two hours. My daughter is always the first to notice the beautiful sky, because she loves it as much as I do. She always finds me and says, “Come and take a look!”

I was driving her to gymnastics class, with my eyes on the road. The beautiful skyline wasn’t directly in my field of vision. Suddenly, my daughter shouted from the passenger seat, “Mommy! Look at the SKY!” It was incredible! Dark, indigo clouds were layered one over the other. Lighting up, all across the top, was a bright and beautiful silver lining! I explained to my daughter what it means to look for the silver lining. I told her that’s what Mommy’s blog is about: helping people to remember to look for the good things that come out of the bad things. She understood, saying it’s like when something is sad, and God comes and makes it all better.

image-9

When I made my right turn, the view was in front of us, and we oohed and aahed over the beautiful sight. We both agreed it was worth it to be a little late to gymnastics, to stop and take a picture. I ended up stopping three times! I couldn’t believe the amazing sky that expanded above us. How can anyone believe there is no God? We were a tiny bit late to her class;  the silver lining was truly the silver lining itself!

image-9 copy

My daughter joined her gymnastics class, which takes place in a large school gym. There are two long skinny windows, which run along the top. As I sat with the other moms, my daughter did a flip, and said excitedly, “Mommy, look at the SKY! Go take a picture!” She was smiling, with her finger pointing towards the windows at the top of the gym. Unbelievable! It looked like the sky was on fire! There were puffy, bright orange clouds filling up the windows. As I exited the gym, the bright, pink and orange, cotton clouds were spreading out, filling the sky! I followed them around the corner of the gym, because the clouds she had seen through the windows, were on the other side.

image-10 copy

My mouth dropped open in amazement! The sky was ablaze, and it had changed from indigo to orange, in just an hour. What artist can claim such a masterpiece? No one, other than our Creator! I took several pictures, and walked back into the building. My sky girl…my little one who points out every sky, and loves the moon, had wanted me to have the joy of seeing the beautiful clouds, while she continued doing cartwheels in her class. How could I go back inside, knowing she hadn’t seen it yet?

She ran over for a drink of water. “Abby,” I said, “Do you want to go out and see that beautiful sky?” Her eyes sparkled, and she nodded yes. “Hurry! Put on your flip-flops! We’ll go see it, and then I’ll bring you back to class!” She grabbed her footwear, and we walked outside into the chilly, fall air.

image-9 copy 2

“WOW!” Her face lit up, delighted, a reflection of the splash of colors dancing above us. We walked around the building and pointed at the clouds. She remarked, “It looks like the sky is on FIRE!” I told her I thought the same thing. We took some pictures, and walked back around the gym to finish her class. We were holding hands, and I told her that I just couldn’t go see the sky, and not come get her to see it, when she loves the sky so much.

“I didn’t want you to miss it,” I said.

“Mommy,” she said, smiling. “You KNOW me!” The impact of her words filled my heart with the same burning beautiful fire that lit the sky. My heart was on fire with love for her! To know someone is to love them. My daughter knows my love for her. She knows she is loved. She knows that I am someone who loves her. And I know, that she loves me.

image-10 copy 2

After class, my daughter wanted to visit the school playground. She’d seen it when we’d gone out to look at the sky. She’d never played on the equipment there before. It would be getting dark soon, and she didn’t have the right shoes. But I know my daughter. She was very excited about the playground, so I helped her remove her shoes for some of the activities. She listened to me, and obeyed the rules. I was so happy I had said yes to the playground; as the sun went down, her face lit up, and she shouted, “I feel so ALIVE!” She was in her element: climbing, moving, and exploring in one of her favorite places…the playground.

She knew I would let her try everything. She’s athletic, but I knew she would need me as the sun went down. She knew my hands would be there, guiding her feet on the rock wall, which was more challenging in the dark! She trusts me. A car’s headlights, flashing across the playground equipment, gave her a little scare. When I reassured her she was safe, she giggled with relief. I reminded her that she was safe with me, because we are both safe with God watching over us. I reminded her that God can see her and find her, even in the dark.

IMG_8676

My daughter has known Jesus since she was three years old. It’s been a joy to watch The Holy Spirit fill her with wisdom at such a young age. We talked about how we can’t even hide from God, and her explanation was that night is like daytime to God. We were now discussing Psalm 139, as she played in the dark! She knows God is our Protector. I’ve taught her to call on the name JESUS, whenever she feels afraid. After she tried every piece of playground equipment, it was time to go. I knew she’d ask to do some last minute things again. Usually I let her pick a couple more activities, but it was too dark. She knew I was right; it was time to head for home. I knew she’d understand. We know each other.

Our Father in Heaven KNOWS us. He is our Creator. He knows everything about us. He knows each and every move that we make. He knows the number of hairs on every head. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7 New International Version). He knows every thought. He knows the motive of every heart. He knows us, because he loves us. He knows every sky that He plans to paint above us, how many sunsets we will live to see, and every single breath we will take under the big, deep, blue sky. We can know God, and His unimaginable love for us, by reading His word:

IMG_1851

“For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depth, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you’ the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
(Psalm 139:1-14 NIV)

image-11