It’s Mother’s Day, and I am sitting here listening to Christmas music. I know it’s crazy, but in some way it brings me comfort. It reminds me that there’s hope for this world.
It’s been quite a year packed with all sorts of crazy happenings, but also some of the sweetest moments. And you know, the older I get, the more I see that it all goes hand in hand. Life, death, pain and pleasure. Love, fear, failure and triumph. All these things occupy the same space at the same time, and it’s right that they do so. It’s not always fun, but it’s the way it happens in this world.
There has been pressure this year. With tumors, surgeries and unfortunately a lot of pain, but as Mike said the other day, “I don’t think I’ve laughed so much.” It’s pretty weird because we typically laugh a lot!
I think this is the feeling you get when you truly feel loved. I know about the whole “God so loved the world” thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever come as close to understanding it than I do right now. We are loved by the Creator of all, and He is on my side. Our side. Even while we walk through scary times, I know that His love keeps us safe. Things aren’t perfect, but I trust Him, and that gives me peace. Because of that, we look to the future and laugh. ‘Cuz it’s been mind blowing so far, and we still have a ways to go.
And for the record, I am listening to “Jazz Musicians Christmas” on Pandora….. so it’s not really like listening to Christmas music. Right?
One of my favorite parts of the Easter story is of the last supper. I have always loved how John relays how Jesus washed their feet. I can imagine how uncomfortable they would have been, but how relaxed by the end. I mean really….who doesn’t love a foot massage?
I think of the simple task of Jesus washing and drying their feet. These men who walk everywhere, but not with the comfortable shoes of today. No. They are walking many miles with leather sandals of ancient times. Can you imagine? Ouch! So they are sitting there, uncomfortable in the first place with Jesus assuming the role of servant. Then as they are willing him to finish, they start to relax and kind of enjoy the slight massage of their sore and tired feet. Before they know it, their eyes snap open and they realize that they were in total comfort. They lock eyes with Jesus, and I can imagine the slight smile on His face.
I think that is how He is with our lives. We (I) fight him when he asks us (me) to do something. I struggle like Peter with the appropriateness of the idea, and then before I know it, I am in the middle of His will and my life is filled with His peace. I am in total comfort, and I can imagine His eyes on me. And that same slight smile is on His face.
“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time, before the Lord returns.” ! Corinthians 4:6
I’ve said it a bit recently to those around me, “it’s not how you start, but how you finish.” And don’t get me wrong…. It’s easier to finish well when you get out of the blocks cleanly.
We judge a person on today or their past, but we have no idea of their future and where that will lead. The choices, experiences and people that will all come together to make a complete picture in a life.
I know it’s hard, but as I read the verse this morning I wondered if we judge in life, when we should just have discernment? So I got out the old dictionary and looked at the difference between judge and discern.
Basically, discern is to recognize something as opposed to judging where you form a conclusion about it. I mean, I can discern that someone else is doing something that is harmful or full out wrong. I can then take steps to not be harmed by these actions, but I just can’t pronounce judgement. The end isn’t written yet! If I do judge, does that contribute to an environment that pushes them towards a not so good result?
I am not sure….but it makes me think? There have been people in my life that have judged me prematurely, and I think there has been a bit of an impact. I am grateful though for those who have been on the other side. The one’s that have given me the chance to change, grow and mature. Those are the ones that didn’t write me off, but gave me the time, love and encouragement to fulfill the potential they saw and hoped to see bloom.
I was driving through the fog and couldn’t believe all the cars with their headlights off. It was crazy to me, and I thought, “your lights aren’t for you to see better, they are for me to see you!”
I totally knew that was important, but I wasn’t sure why? It was just one of those statements that seemed bigger than the moment for me. Bigger than just lights in the fog. So I’ve been thinking about it off and on again, why is it so important to be seen?
Well in the fog it’s pretty obvious, so I don’t get hit! But what about in life?
Part of it was something I already knew, but I kept skipping over it, because I was looking for other meaning. “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
So in life the light isn’t really for me to be seen, but to show off God. I knew that though, so it really didn’t seem like the whole answer. Well, that was until this morning. Since my hubby’s surgery, I don’t sleep really well. So at 3:30am, my brain went to the WHY people didn’t have their headlights on.
Worst invention ever, automatic headlights! You see now that people have automatic lights, they don’t have to turn them on when they get in the car. At night it works great, but when it’s daytime and foggy, those lights don’t function correctly. People are driving around assuming they’re on. They assume, they can be seen.
That was the perspective I was looking for. So God wants to be seen through the lives of His people, and that happens through how we live. So what if our lights aren’t on? What if like the automatic headlights, we assume we can be seen and in that assumption we believe Jesus can be seen. So that’s the question, are my lights on? And what am I showing the world? Are we hoping going to church on Sunday shows the world we love Jesus? Maybe it’s the verse we post on Facebook, or the fish we have on our car?
Sometimes I think much of the things we hope shows people that we love Jesus, just doesn’t. Just like the headlights, we assume they are on, because they’re supposed to come on. We don’t bother to check our lights before we go.
My friend Kay just went through a bout with breast cancer and came through fighting. A couple of weeks ago she posted something that was cute, but to the point. “Check your coconuts!” She’s an island girl so it’s perfect for her. I want to steal that for myself, but change it up a bit. So today I don’t want to assume my lights are on, and I would encourage you to do the same. So don’t forget, “check your light!”
So it’s so hard to be me sometimes. It must be even harder to be my hubby, having to put up with me! I have a tendency to ponder things. Ok, I tend to ponder EVERYTHING! I think it’s irritating sometimes, but it’s who I am and so I try to embrace it.
I was sitting in church the on Sunday, and we were looking in the book of Revelation. The imagery in the book is always a pretty trippy experience, but of course it got me to thinking? I know…..what doesn’t get me thinking?
In a nutshell, we have John seeing into heaven and he’s upset because this important scroll can’t be opened. What does the scroll contain? Of course there are some very good educated answers, but what made me think was John’s reaction. Why would he be so upset? Did he know what was in the scroll? I am not sure, but what I do know is that, because there was no one worthy he was distraught. He lacked hope.
“We have hope….rebellions are built on hope!” Jyn Erso “Rogue One”
Yep, the geek came out of me at that point and all I could think of was the quote from the movie Rogue One. Oh, and my hubby. You see when he got the phone call from the doctor, his reaction was pretty funny. He was so happy! He was smiling and talking excitedly! I could hardly believe I was looking at a person who’d just been told they have a brain tumor! It was crazy, but I realized that the excitement on his face was what that diagnosis really meant for him. Hope! He was in a bad place, as the pain became progressively worse in the past couple of months. It didn’t help that he was frustrated by not being able to work a full day, his deteriorating eyesight and trying to find a doctor who could help him. It was the holidays, but it was hard to find the “happy” during that time. So with the diagnosis, everything changed.
Hope is such a powerful thing. It can take the gravest of circumstances and give you a different perspective. It gives you the strength to move forward, and face what you never thought you could. Hope is a beautiful thing!
There is of course a caveat to hope…you need to be careful where you put it. Let me be clear, at this point my hope was not in the doctor, not in the diagnosis or whether it was cancer or not. There was only one place where I could truly put my hope, and know that I would never be let down. And that was in the Lord. I knew at that time, no matter what happened, from the best outcome to the worst we would be OK. We would survive! I knew that because of how God had provided for our lives in the past, and from what I knew He had told me about the future. It was actually the first thing I wrote about this year, https://cherylmendoza.com/2019/01/01/new-year-same-playlist/.
We are still not done with the process. My hubby is still recovering and will have radiation later this year, so this chapter of our story is still being written. Even so, before we were out of the hospital we were making plans. New places to visit, a family wedding, concert tickets bought and a much more “happy” holiday season.
We look forward to it all, good and bad, with hope!
“Isn’t it amazing how long it takes to build something, and how quickly it can be torn apart.”
I had a sermon playing on my phone as I was pulling weeds. It’s funny. I’ve listened to it a couple of times before but this was the first time I remember hearing the quote. Maybe it caught my attention because of circumstances. I tried to keep listening, but the quote kept turning in my head, so I turned it off and put on some music.
We’ve had so much rain lately that the weeds have taken over. So it was past time to get out and clean them up. They were easy to pull, as the ground is soft and the weeds were pretty big. Some of it was small and kind of reminded me of ground cover. It was more delicate and harder to pull out. It was such a pain! I had half a mind to let it stay, but I knew no matter what they looked like, they were still weeds. As green as they were, I knew that it would take over and that wouldn’t be good. Plus, it would have gotten me into huge trouble! My son worked one spring to get the area all dug out and the mulch put down, so I want to honor the work he did by keeping it cleaned out and looking good.
I think of how upset he would be if I just let it all go to the weeds. It took him time, sweat and a lot of hard work to get it all completed. Like the quote, he had built something that took effort, and as I looked at the mulch, I saw how easy it could be ruined.
It’s a lot like life. Even things that are developed, worked on and cultivated can be ruined when we leave the habits, activities or even people that shouldn’t be there.
Today is the start of the Lenten season, and in the past couple of years, I’ve come to really love it! I almost missed the beginning, since we have been a little busy around our house. My hubby reminded me yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and its kind of become a tradition to have red beans and rice for dinner. I am glad that we didn’t miss it because we needed a little fun this week, and I needed a little reminder of what Lent means to me.
Not being Catholic, Lent is something that I’ve adopted as an adult. I typically don’t give anything up, cuz that just didn’t seem right for me. What I try to do is write daily and this year is no different. It seems like the perfect time to process all the things that have been going on in my life and in the lives around me. Since December, our world has been knocked off its axis. What with my hubby’s tumor diagnosis and even some upheaval at the church I attend, chaos has entered places where I had felt pretty darn safe. The funny thing is, while I should have felt fear, I have only felt peace. Like I told a friend today, “I am not sure how it works, but all I can do is point to God and say it’s all Him!”
So for the next 40 days I am going to try my best to listen and write. To try and see how we got here, how God is getting us through and look into the future to see where He may lead us next on this crazy journey!
I hate puzzles. Maybe hate is a strong word, but I have never been a big fan of doing them. What I do like about puzzles is the what they show……A complete picture. You have all these pieces that go together but they are in such weird shapes, it is not easy to see how everything fits. But they do.
Life is like a puzzle. All the days and everything that happens to you become pieces that are fitted together to create you. How you think, how you feel and how you live.
Sometimes it is hard to see how some things fit in your life. Death, pain and struggle, but they do. They belong. Without those pieces, it is hard to appreciate the simple things. We have the tendency to take them for granted. But when you place them beside the hard things, sunshine, green grass, laughter, food on the table, or holding hands with your love one, you see them for the wonder they are.
So here is today…..and another piece added to the puzzle!
“One day I’ll stand before You and look back on the life I’ve lived. I can’t wait to enjoy the view and see how all the pieces fit.” Casting Crowns
How do you talk to people? Especially people you don’t agree with? As I was reading, I was struck by two conversations this morning. Two conversations, two different outcomes. Two different questions, with two different intents. And one Jesus.
One question was asked to trick and catch him saying something wrong. The other was asked seeking an honest answer.
One was asked to show how wise they were. The other to gain wisdom.
One was asked, but the answer didn’t really matter to those who asked it. The other was asked, with the answer being of the utmost importance.
Two answers were given that day, but only one truly listened. I was struck by both questions, their intent and the reaction to the answers.
When you talk to people, what is your intention? Is it to prove them wrong? Or is it to understand?
When the one man heard wisdom in the answer, Jesus said “you are not far from the kingdom of God.” Sounds like a mile marker to me. How the man approached the question and reacted to Jesus’ response, showed something about his heart.
I wonder…..what do our questions and responses show about ours?