Saturday, October 29, 2011

He Knows

"The Lord is like a father to his children, 
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
 For he knows how weak we are, 
he remembers we are only dust.
Psalm 103:13-14

I have a weakness for pottery. I love the different shapes, the designs, the textures, the curves. I am intrigued by the fact that someone's hands formed the items I treasure; their creativity on display for others to enjoy. The bright colors bring me pleasure! 

Whenever we travel, I usually find some sort of pot or vase to bring home as a reminder of the culture and country we visited. Many in my collection have been gifts from friends around the world, making them even more special to me! 

One of my most prized possessions is probably the least expensive piece of pottery I have. It's value comes from the fact that it was given to me by my sweet Batwa friends in Burundi, Africa. They spent a week mixing the mud themselves, forming the pot, smoothing it with their hands, delicately carving designs around the side, and lovingly setting it in the fire to dry. They diligently worked together with me in mind, making gifts for all the guests who were coming. On the day of our final visit to their village, they thanked us for our friendship, they danced with us, prayed for us, and presented each of us with the gift of their handiwork. I was humbled and honored by their generosity. 

I knew this piece of pottery was extremely fragile, and I desperately wanted it to survive the journey to it's new home in Texas. I carefully wrapped the pot in my clothing, filling the inside and wrapping several t-shirts around to protect it. I put it in my carry-on bag, placing things around it to keep it from bouncing around during the trip. I cushioned it above and below. I carried it with me in the car to the airport. I kept it in my hands all through the airport. It never left my sight, except as it passed through the x-ray machine at the security check point. Even then, I was watching my bag go through the machine and I grabbed it as soon as it passed through. I kept it with me as we waited to board the plane, and I gently set it under the seat in front of me on the airplane. I kept my eye on it during all three flights home, making sure it didn't get bumped or roll around. 

I knew that this pot was delicate. I knew that even an unintentional blow could shatter what was so special to me. And because I knew, I took extreme measures to take extra special care of the pot. Thankfully, the pot made it to Houston and is now proudly on display in my home!

As I was reading Psalm 103:13-14 the other day, God reminded me of the Batwa pot. It's the picture of what God is saying in this verse. He knows how weak I am. He remembers that I am only dust. Just as I took extreme care of the fragile Batwa pot, God is lovingly caring for me. He wraps me up in his love. He fills me, he protects me. He never lets me out of his hands, and he never takes his eyes off me. He knows me, and so he carries me. 

I am grateful for a God who so lovingly "remembers we are only dust."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today I want to acknowledge...

I've been reading through the book of Romans in the New Testament. Just the other day I opened my Bible and picked up where I had been reading and this is what it said,

“Since these people refused even to think about God, he let their useless minds rule over them. That's why they do all sorts of indecent things. They are evil, wicked, and greedy, as well as mean in every possible way. They want what others have, and they murder, argue, cheat, and are hard to get along with. They gossip, say cruel things about others, and hate God. They are proud, conceited, and boastful, always thinking up new ways to do evil. These people don't respect their parents. They are stupid, unreliable, and don't have any love or pity for others.”  Romans 1:28-31
I finished reading those verses and I sat there, deeply convicted that this is the most common lie I believe. I think I don’t need God. And I live my life based on that belief.  I don’t think it consciously, but I operate as if that were the case. 

Another translation of this verse says, “Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God…”

How often have I failed to even acknowledge God? Just started the day out on my own, gone to school or work without thinking about God? Tried to resolve issues on the job, or struggles in my relationships without even acknowledging Him? How many times have I parented my kids on my own, without turning to God first? When I do that, I am basing my life on the lie that I don’t need God, and that’s a scary place to live.

The Bible very clearly tells me what the result of that belief is – if I refuse to acknowledge God in my life, my life will be characterized by these things : evil, wickedness, greed, indecency, gossip, cruelty, pride, etc.

And it’s not complicated. God isn’t asking me for something difficult. He just says acknowledge Me, think about Me. How do I acknowledge someone's presence? It can be as simple as a nod of the head, or a look in the eyes; but it changes how I operate, doesn’t it?  I see you, I know you are here, I am living and moving and working with the knowledge of your presence. If my boss is in the room, I do things differently. I make sure I am carrying out the company policies and procedures, I am operating based on the ideals of the company.

That’s what God is saying. Think about me, acknowledge me in your life on a daily, moment by moment basis and as you do, you will naturally begin to live your life based on God’s ideals and principles.

When I don’t acknowledge my need for God on a regular basis, and I don’t slow down long enough just to connect with God, to spend time with him, to read and meditate on the Scripture, I am saying that I don’t need God. I’ve got this God. No worries. I’m strong enough and smart enough, I have enough experience, and good will to handle it. You go ahead and take care of other things. 

And don’t you know God's heart just breaks! Not again, Laura, I’ve told you what’s going to happen – wickedness, arguing, cheating, gossip, pride, stupidity...

I’ve spent time with people who talk a lot about church, religion, and Christianity – I’m sure you have too. They talk a good game. But I’ve also spent time with people who actually live what they are talking about. There is a big difference between the two.

James 1:26 says, “Anyone who sets himself up as ‘religious’ by talking a good game is self-deceived.”

Christianity is not a religious belief system. It is intended to be a supernatural, personal relationship with the living dynamic God of the universe. That’s what the Bible is talking about here, not just a nice respectful belief system to help give you a peaceful, happy life. God intends for your relationship with him to be life-changing, to be transformational, and to produce authenticity in you.

God, today I choose to acknowledge your presence. Thank you that you never leave me on my own. Thank you that I don't have to handle things by myself. Thank you that you are patient with me, constantly teaching me and waiting for me to get it. I love you for that!

Monday, October 3, 2011


A year and a half post chemotherapy, I think I am doing good. Physically I feel great. Emotionally I seem to have conquered cancer. Spiritually I have learned so much more about my God. But then, out of the blue, it starts again.

Week before last, for two days, I feel tired. My immediate thought: "It's back."  Anxiety takes over.  I feel sick.  I talk myself down.  "You didn't sleep well for two nights. That is why you feel tired.  Relax."

Last week, my stomach hurts. My immediate thought: "It's back." I remind myself,  "You JUST had a colonoscopy; your colon is healthy. Relax."

Today, I wake up with a headache behind my eye.  My immediate thought: "It's back.  It has metastasized to my brain." I laugh at myself!  "Really?? Colon cancer doesn't normally go to the brain. It's just a headache. Relax."

It's tiring having a brain, and an imagination! I obviously need to find something better to do with mine!