Saturday, May 5, 2012

Allowing God to Shelter

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD. ~The Bible

Tiny fingers, tiny toes
Checked out with delight.
Dark hair, bright blue eyes
All there, all perfect,
All celebrated.
Uniquely created by God.
Tucked in her heart
A promise of potential,
Of servanthood and joy,
To live for God by loving others...
Here, Lord, she's yours,
Through babyhood and toddler.
Here, Lord, she's yours,
Through primary school and junior high.
Here, Lord, she's yours,
Through the high school years.
Here, Lord, she's yours.
And now, at the university,
Here, Lord, she's still yours.

I've learned something this week. I've learned it was so much easier to dedicate my child to God in the baby stage than it is to keep her dedicated in the university days.  When Rev. Sankey prayed, "I dedicate Emily Diane in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," there was a quick, resounding "yes" in my heart.  "Yes" to doing everything in my power to raise Emily in a godly way.  To model Jesus and to show her the presence of joy in living and working for Jesus. To encourage her through praise and discipline.  The yes was immediate and sure.

You see, in the early years I was in control.  I guided her to the right friends, helped fill her heart with Scripture, and monitored her actions and attitudes.  I partnered with God.

This week, however, I had to ask myself if I could say, Here, Lord, she's still yours.  Saying goodbye was difficult this time.  The last time she went to Haiti we knew some of the team.  This time I don't even know the team leader (although RB does).  This time she's making her decisions.  It was much harder to tell God she's His.

We're in Chicago, Momma.
She's yours, Lord
We're sitting on the runway waiting for the storm to pass.
She's yours, Lord
It's hailing so they have to check the plane before we leave.
She's yours, Lord
There's a tornado watch all through Chicago.
She's yours, Lord.
We made Miami with an hour to spare.
She's yours, Lord
A long day with no contact.
She's yours, Lord

Yesterday did seem like a long day and then, just before bedtime, I found her leader's Facebook page, and there she was, my Emily with joy in her eyes, ready to sail to the island of La Gonave where the team will minister in an orphanage.  Only following Jesus can give her that glow.  She's yours, Lord, came a bit more quickly.

This morning, an email message ended with "His!"  And she is His.  I've spent her lifetime giving her to God time after time.  That doesn't mean I won't miss her throughout the next ten days.  I can assure you those "missies" will be nipping at my heels each step I take.  But I can also say with confidence, whether home or across the sea -- Here, Lord, she's yours.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Shelter of God's Promises

The sacred promises, though in themselves most sure and precious, are of no avail for the comfort and sustenance of the soul unless you grasp them by faith, plead them in prayer, expect them by hope, and receive them with gratitude.  ~Charles Spurgeon

I think ladybugs should have the cutest bug award.  Unfortunately, I still don't want them in my house.  Unless they are the kind Melanie made this week--cookie ladybugs! 

I'm a researchaholic and I'd love to share what all I learned about this little bug (like their wings beat 80 times a second) but you all might not find the facts as fascinating as I did.  For fun I'll share these myths with you:
  • If a ladybug lands on you in Brussels, the spots on that ladybug indicate how many children you will have. 
  • Many farmers around the world have believed that the spots on a ladybug tell the fortune of the next harvest; if there are fewer than seven spots, the harvest will be good. 
  • Some people believe that if a ladybug lands on you, you can count the spots and you will soon receive dollars in the same amount as the spots. 
  • In Sweden, if a ladybug lands on a young girl's hand, it is said to be taking measurements for her wedding gloves.
  • When people in France see a ladybug, they believe good weather is coming in.
Myths are fun, but I'm thankful I don't need to hang my life on the ladybug. What would happen in Brussels if I had three ladybugs land on me?  I love children, but at 50, I do think that would cause me to panic!  

No, I choose to place my confidence in something far greater than folklore or good luck.  I place it on the trusted, tried and true promises of God. I am "fully persuaded that God has power to do what he promised."  I read that there are 3,573 promises in the Bible.  In Herbert Lockyer's "All the Promises of the Bible" he claims there are 8,000.  No wonder Paul wrote, "Because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4).

God-breathed promises, scribbled down by His scribes. God promised Abraham He would make him a great nation. Promise fulfilled. God promised Moses Pharaoh would release the Israelites from slavery.  Promise fulfilled. God promised Joshua He would be with him and give him victory over Jericho. Promise fulfilled. God promised Solomon He would give him great wisdom.  Solomon's wisdom is legendary. Promise fulfilled.

On and on throughout the Bible God promises, and His promises come to fruition.  Is it any wonder that, when I claim His promise to "keep me in perfect peace," I trust in the fulfillment of His promise.  I can take my needs to God, knowing He has promised to supply each one.  

Oh, the promises our Heavenly Father--

     Grace: amazing and redemptive

          Mercy: undeserved and wondrous

               Joy: bubbling and overflowing

                    Love: unconditional and abundant

                         Victory: triumphant and overcoming

The promises of God.  Inexhaustible and trustworthy.  I rest in them, they give me confidence and power.  Charles Spurgeon said,  “As you read God’s promises over, one after the other, you say to yourselves, “This is my checkbook. I can take out the promises as I want them, sign them by faith, present them at the great Bank of Grace, and come away enriched with present help in time of need. That is the way to use God’s promises.”

Jesus came as a promise from our Heavenly Father.  The Holy Spirit came as a promise from God's Son. With the fulfillment of those promises, I can rest--rest with assurance that all God's promises to me will be fulfilled. With Spurgeon, I am grasping them by faith, pleading for them in prayer, expecting them with hope, and receiving them with gratitude.

Standing on the promises of God our King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring.
Glory in the highest I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
* * * * *

Ladybug Blessings

I found this book (shown above) on Amazon ($6.99)and knew it would be a sweet addition to a little girl gift basket.  

This was a group project. Melanie cut the paper confetti lady bugs with her Silhouette.  She, with help from Landon and Morgan, also made the ladybug decorated sugar cookies. All I had to do was make the stuffed felt ladybug, wrap it all with cellophane and tie the bow around it. (Ladybug ribbon from Hobby Lobby.)

I made the felt ladybug from a picture.  I'd love to give credit to the one who originally made it, but I'm unable to locate it. I glued everything except the wings.  The eyes are black pony beads.  The flower is attached with a brad.  

Morgan gave the gift to her cousin, Makenzie. I hope they will always remember that God's promises are true!

Printable ladybug bookmark