Washing Feet

My mother -in-law is very ill. A recent return of gall bladder cancer has found its way to her liver. Armed with a combination of powerful drugs for weekly chemotherapy treatments, she is fighting the battle of her life while those of us who love her stand by, do what we can do, and watch the combination of the treatment, her age, and chemo take her to the point where she cannot stand without our assistance, let alone take care of herself. She requires our help to stand, to bathe, to take her medication. She cannot cook for herself, dress herself, or walk six feet alone to grab the remote for the television. Movements we take for granted and perform in an instant now require time, thought, the assistance of a family member, and more energy than she often has to offer.

As I was sitting on the floor next to her last night and placing her feet into a basin of water to bathe them, I thought of the story in John 13 in which Jesus bathes the feet of his disciples.

“After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter, and Peter saith unto him, Lord dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” (John 13; 5-7)

How right he was. I’m sure Simon Peter was appalled to have the King of Kings washing his feet, a job reserved for servents. Likewise, my mother-in-law has shared with me how embarrassing it is for her to require the asssistance that she needs from me to perform her daily tasks. Yet, what a gift she gives me.

Through all the sleepless hours, through the extra work it takes to help her, through the strain on my own muscles it takes to lift her from her bed, I have received such blessing. I am learning that there is nothing more nurturing to our own souls than to wash the feet of another. The closeness that comes from intimately caring for someone so ill is beyond words and beyond measure. Even in my most bone- tired hours, I often look at her and feel blessed that she trusts me to care for her. I know now that in that one small act, Jesus taught an enormous lesson. Washing feet. There is no greater gift.

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Storm Coming

It’s 3 A.M. I can’t sleep. I’ve been standing in my kitchen staring out the window and listening to the windchimes sing on my deck. The sound is a soft dong… dong… dong, but the chimes are singing “Storm’s coming.” Small flakes of snow quietly dance in the air outside of the window as the weather man on the television promises that within a few hours we may be in for the storm of the season. The radar screen shows the dark grey of a winter assult slowly making its way toward our sleeping city. Storm’s coming.

I can’t help but think that weather is a parody of life. A person can be riding along in the sunshine, all being normal and right with the world one minute and find themselves battling the wind and the elements the next.

The storm found its way to our house a few days ago and its been blowing all week, hitting us with small gusts of wind followed by bursts that felt like tornadoes. The transmission went out on the truck. The new kitchen faucet suddenly coughed and then refused to give hot water. Our Great Dane had an “accident” that made its way to my new drapes and my newly finished floors. Our son had a minor heart attack. My mother-in-law’s cancer has returned and within two days of her first round of chemo we’ve moved her in with us because she hasn’t the strength to get out of a chair, let alone bathe or fix herself something to eat.

As I battle first one thing then the other, the story of the disciples in the boat with Jesus comes to mind. Out at sea, Jesus is sleeping in the boat as a raging storm threatens to tear the boat to shreds. The disciples are beside themselves in fear. They don’t know what to do. Panicked, they wake Jesus. Jesus stands and simply says to the storm, “Peace. Be still.” With those words, the winds calm. Then come the words for all of us in Mark 4:40:

“Why is it that you are so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

What comfort. The storm will pass. It always does. For now, I’m staying in the boat with Jesus. I don’t know how people who have no relationship God survive.

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“For Such A Time As This”

“You have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” The words were said to Esther in the bible, but they got me to thinking that those words were were meant for all of us. God is intentional. There are no accidents or random actions on His part. He has a plan for each of our lives, so in order to answer the question of, “Why am I here?” we would need to remember the words “…for such a time as this.” 

What would happen if every Christian rose from bed in the morning thinking about the fact that their mission is for right here… right now…. today. “For such a time as this.” It may just change the urgency with which we go about the tasks at hand. It may just nudge us into movement rather than putting off those things we know God asks of us. It may just change the way we go about our day knowing and understanding that God has a mission for us right here… right now. What if we started every day asking, “God, what is it you want me to do for you today?”

Today is “for such a time as this.” You’ve been chosen. Get up, get showered, and have that cup of coffee. We’ve got work to do.

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I woke up this morning with the word “intent” on my mind. If I truly wish to walk closer to God and live as a vessel through which He can work, I will need to pay closer attention to this word. The difference between doing something and doing something with intent can mean a huge difference in the strength of our actions.

“I’ll be nicer to people today” carries more weight and is more likely to happen when we actually open our eyes and look for opportunities to be nice to others. “I’ll help others” gains power when we ask “Who can I help today?” Saying to ourselves, “I’ll follow the word of God today” will only become an action on our parts if we intentionally seek what that word is and then intentionally make choices to do what God tells us as situations arise in our lives.

Doing with intent turns verbage to verb. It stirs us to action, causing us to look for opportunities to walk out the will of God for our lives. Lord, help me to follow you with intent today.

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There it was again. That word. Radical. Day two of my committment to blog about my relationship with God and the word was there for me first thing this morning. Radical.

I turned on my television, grabbed my coffee and sat down to have my morning watch of Joyce Meyer. Her guest this morning was a gentleman by the name of Erwin McManus. I had not heard of him before, but funny how God puts people in front of you at chosen times… how He does direct our path.

Erwin and Joyce were having conversation surrounding radical Christian living and the choices we make for our lives. He began to tell the story of his son asking him to pray for him to be safe. His reply?

“I’m not going to pray for you to be safe. I’m going to pray for you to be so dangerous that the demons would flee from the room when you enter.”  I first thought, “What an odd thing to say to your child.” Yet, as I thought, I realized what a blessing this man was to his child.

If life were always safe, how would we grow? Anyone with a few years under their belt can tell you that in retrospect, it is the times in the valleys that create our growth. It is there that we see what we are made of. It is there that we see the glory of the Master’s hand.

What can God show me if I choose to follow him with a radical passion? Where would He take me? How much deeper… and richer… and worthwhile would my life become? Lord help me be dangerous enough to find out.

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A Global Calling

A quiet Sunday morning in a warm house surrounded by a deep blanket of new-fallen snow calls a person to relax, grab a book and a hot cup of coffee, cover up and just enjoy the peace. Peace is not what I found today.

When my son had asked this past December what I wanted for Christmas, I requested the book “Radical” by David Platt. I had heard a bit about the book and decided I wanted to give it a read. Knowing that my faith walk has been anything but radical of late, I thought it might be just the ticket to get me back on track.

I read the first three chapters in the early days following Christmas. They were painful to get through. I felt nothing. I abandoned the book until this morning when I picked it back up and read Chapter 4, “The Great Why of God.” This one hit me like a brick. This time I felt everything… shame… guilt… blessed… loved….confused…driven…

In the pages of the book, Platt reminds us that God created us for His glory and His purpose. He tells us that the blessings we are given by the Father each day are not for our comfort (although He loves to reap blessing upon us) but rather for us to take the message to all the world. In a manner that is both direct and bold, Platt reprimands us for our excuses as to why a global thinking to our mission here on earth is often left to the “other guy” who is called to go to all the nations.

I have friends who are the “other guy.” Friends who have completed mission trips to India and Mexico. My friend Tammy Flowers is readying herself for a trip to Africa to take books to a school there. Beautiful, petite and full of life, her eyes dance as she talks of her work there. But to go myself to all the nations? In all honesty this morning I was dreading getting out in 8 inches of snow to go for milk!

Yet the book led me to think, “What can I do right now?” How can I share my faith walk with others thousands of miles away as well as right around the corner? The answer, for me, comes in this blog.

Through blogging, we can connect globally. Some may choose to join the conversation. Some may choose just to read. Some may choose to turn away. I can, however, offer up the journey and share the experience of God with anyone who chooses to walk with me.

And so I take up the challenge. Today I challenge myself to an hour per day of study and writing. To put into cyberspace my stumbles, my blessings, and my uderstanding of the nature of God. I plan to write the day to day blessings I experience, the awe and wonder I often feel when I truly open my eyes and see how He is always there. I offer up my fingers to the keys and pray that God guides them on the journey. Anyone want to come along?

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Stepping Out

I’m very new to the world of blogging. In fact, very new to the world of cyberspace at any level of depth. In the professional development our district is giving our principal’s this year, we are learning that the use of “cyberspace” enhances the opportunity to bring information into ourselves. I’m finding it a great tool, however, to discover the me that is within.

My first blog post (at http//debbiesisco.edublogs.org) contains the reflections I’m posting this year regarding my jump into cyber-space. I do not feel, however, that it is an appropriate site for me to explore my foremost area in need of growth… that of my relationship with God.

So, here I go… jumping off…. putting my thoughts about this subject into cyberspace for all the world to see. Feel free to comment. I would appreciate you walking with me. If you choose to click the button and move away from my road never to return, then best of luck and God bless. Should you decide to walk with me, we may just both become better for it. I ask for God’s blessing and guidance as I write… and that He speak to me in return.

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