Monday, August 22, 2011

She is Bella

I'm reading Lisa Bevere's book titled, Nurture. In the book, she describes daughters like this: "A daughter is her father's joy and her mother's treasure because she quickens the heart. An heiress, she was hoped for and is their hope for the future. As the potential carrier and bearer of life, she is human wealth. Her creation was God's altogether lovely crown of creation, the one who completes. Daughters are the feminine form, which embodies love, beauty, hope, and tenderness. A daughter is smiles, hugs, and laughter. She is a seeker of truth who asks many questions, longing to know who she is. She is a friend and comfort in your latter years. A daughter is like a priceless pearl."

Wow. Powerful words. If you are a woman, you are a daughter. I thought of how true it is for my own sweet 5-year old daughter. The following are my additions to describe her:

She rides a pink unicorn and wears spiderman sunglasses and a Little Mermaid gown. She talks loudly and excitedly. She throws her head back and laughs heartily, from the belly. Sometimes she sings like a little songbird, like when she sings the song from Tangled, which she quickly memorized. Sometimes she sings forcefully and as loud as possible, like when she sings Jesus Loves Me in the grocery store. She sings Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in July. She keeps frogs for pets, and she rescues turtles on the highway. She picks and eats chives right from the garden. Her favorite thing about kindergarton so far is singing the chicken song and the silly billy song. She runs in the face of the wind with her hair streaming behind her and says, "I don't care." She gives the strongest hugs and the sweetest kisses. She cries only when she is frustrated about something or with someone, or sometimes when I brush her hair. She reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman; she laughs at the days to come. She is engrossed with TV and movies; and sometimes she has to be told to do something more than once. Her world is one of exploration, discovery, and play. She stops to look at insects and to pick flowers. She loves her big brother. She takes her time. She is flexible. She is unafraid. I laugh at her and learn from her daily. I treasure her as she does indeed quicken my heart. I see such hope and promise in her. She fulfills the essence of her namesake--Bella, which means beautiful. Her middle name, Cloe, is shared with my grandmother and mother, taken from a story about a strong and determined woman with the same name. Today I celebrate my daughter in all her beauty and strength. She is Bella.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Life Lessons from Kung Fu Panda 2

written yesterday:

I just left the movie theater with my kids. We went to see Kung Fu Panda 2. It was awesome. I am a Kung Fu Panda fan:) I shed tears of laughter every time I watch the first one. I was pleased to find that the sequel was funny, touching, inspiring, and it relays a great message. Po, the great Dragon Warrior, must face his past to find peace in the present. His search reveals that he was abandoned by his parents (for good reason, but I won't reveal all the details in case you haven't seen it yet.) In his quest for "inner peace" he acknowledges that though the beginning of his life was sad and hard, it is what he is to do with his life now that matters. Po recognizes that he has a destiny to fulfill; and that his past doesn't define him. Wow. This is exactly what God has been trying to teach me lately (see my previous post, Life Lessons From My Garden.)

Lately I was encouraged by someone who is dear to me to read my Psalm, which is my age plus 1, (40). Psalm 40 begins with this: "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord..." Isn't that the message of Kung Fu Panda 2? One of deliverance and redemption.

Thank you Lord for confirming your love and faithfulness to me. Thank you for hearing me and for caring --for lifting me out of the pit of my past to a high and firm place to stand. Thank you for a song of joy. Thank you that "many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.." meaning that you will use my life for Your glory. Thanks for your life lessons. Thanks for Kung Fu Panda:)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life Lessons From My Garden

written a few days ago:

I woke up this morning after a few brief hours of sleep. I was up until 3:00 am writing my life story. Writing and remembering made me feel depressed, dissatisfied, and disappointed; especially in myself and the choices I've made. My friend Kristen sent me a message expressing concern for me--somehow she always knows when I need a lift. I went outside to pick basil from my garden. My husband had just watered it. It was wet and the basil smelled wonderful. Bees were buzzing around and a beautiful butterfly flitted by. I realized how happy my garden makes me. How I love the fresh smells and tastes, especially of the basil. I started talking to God and thanking Him for my garden. I reflected on the previous night and my dissatisfaction with my life, wishing I had made different choices. In my spirit I felt God saying that this is the life He chose for me. I argued, "Chose for me? Isn't this what I chose for myself?" He responded by saying "Yes, you have sinned and made poor choices at times, but this is the life I have chosen for you now. You would do well to embrace it." I walked back inside with my basil.

A couple of nights ago I went to hear my friend Christy speak at a women's ministry event. She spoke about how God uses our circumstances to take us "infinitely beyond" with Him. She talked about how God wants to use our life experiences for good; and how we are to share our story. I asked God how He wants to use my story --all of it. Even the ugly part that's hidden. Maybe its time for me to write my story--all of it. Maybe its time for me to embrace it; even all the imperfections, sinful choices, and foolishness. There is so much of it I want to keep hidden.

I went back out to the garden to pick more basil. I thought about what I had just written, not wanting to post it, worrying about what people would think of me. God seemed to speak to me and say, "Everyone feels this way. No one has had a perfect life. Think of the people who would benefit from your story." Then these sweet words came to me: "I will make you like this basil--I will make you fragrant and useful." Even though I doubt at times, I am going to trust that as I embrace my life, all of it, God will indeed, bring good. As Philippians 1:6 says, he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." The Lord spoke to me one last time in the garden. He said, "I love you." It was a message spoken to me (not audibly), as clear as any message I've ever received. How good the Lord is to let us know He loves us. He will use all our life experiences for His glory and for our good.