Monthly Archives: October 2021

Come AS a Little Child: To Pray or Not to Pray Chapter 11

Many, probably all, people experience miracles large and small.  Some don’t expect them, so miss their significance and others are hesitant to speak of them.  Humanity has come to either reject what we don’t understand or to only connect miracles with “saints or the delusional.” And we all know deep down that we’re not saints.

After my experience of the love of God expressed in Jesus, I wondered why I was having so many and such a variety of them. Some of the major ones were to major heartbreaking problems, but many were just little boosts over tiny bumps in the road of my daily life.

When I encouraged my children, aged 8, 6, 5 and 4 to ask Jesus to be their Savior and Lord, they had not been going to church or Sunday School. Their responses were unique to each of their personalities, but not based on being taught much about God or Jesus other than His love. In writing about these, it brought alive for me Jesus stressing coming to the Lord as a child.

I have become convinced that the reason I experienced things even the other “born again” Christians did not, was because of having thrown out everything I had been taught in church and by the society around me, I was pretty much coming as a child without preconceived notions. When I read the Bible while I was questioning everything, I realized I had never heard Christians talk about personal miracles, only ones connected to extremely holy people who lived long ago and far away. When I began to devour Scripture like a starving person after my conversion, I went from believing nothing, to believing everything. I came with an open mind and heart like a child.

I have come to see that each generation is to some extent limited by what we are taught when young by authority figures. Even those, who like me question, are still limited by what we have absorbed from the culture of our times.

A lot of my spiritual journey has involved letting go of preconceived ideas. At the age of eighty-four I am still having to do that. It’s scary to realize that no person or group knows all the truth and believes nothing but the truth even with the help of God.  We are simply not equal to God. And not only is God not finished teaching us yet, but God is not finished teaching humanity yet.

An eye opener to me was becoming aware of the pattern of growth in Jesus from when he was a brilliant twelve-year old, but still emotionally immature so needing his mother’s guidance in learning to consider others’ feelings.  The Scriptures say he went home with his parents and GREW in truth and holiness.  Then at thirty he needs a push from his mother to make the leap from his comfort zone into his calling to a whole other level of ministry….miracles.  Jesus then still believes his call is only to God’s chosen, the Jews. But he is challenged not only by an unclean woman and heretics, but by a soldier of the oppressive conquerors to out of the kindness of his heart, include them in his kingdom of the Love of God. He comes to understand that his call is not about political freedom, but spiritual freedom.  He slowly and with natural human reluctance recognizes that he will not be a conquering hero, but a rejected vulnerable scapegoat for even those who kill him. And he tells his disciples who depend on him for faith for miracles, that he must leave, so they will experience the spirit of God within them to also do what he has done and will do. And finally, on the cross he makes the leap from “Why have you forsaken me?” to “Your will, not mine” Growth in truth and holiness takes a life time.  And a lot of it involves letting go of some of the beliefs that make us feel most secure. And ultimately it is the challenge of, “Your will, not mine.”

Nightmares and Miracles To Pray or Not to Pray: Chapter 10

Had an exhausting dream last night. I was a part time art teacher at a school. My class was fifth and sixth graders. I had all sorts of nature items to make a Christmas craft, maybe a wreath, but the kids were going crazy, trying to begin before I could organize it, knocking some items off the table, and mixing the others up. Some kept moving around the room instead of taking their seats and two even left the classroom. No matter what I said or threatened, the rest would just start causing chaos again.

When I woke up, I decided this aptly described my own current mental state. Lately, I seem unable to stay focused on anything productive.

But it also triggered a memory of a small delightful miracle I experienced when actually teaching first and second grade. I had spent a lot of time with my own children making nature crafts for fun or as gifts for their teachers. Four of my kids were older, but even my Tommy at six was actually a lot better than I was at making crafts. So I decided to gather treasures from our woods and field for my class to make Christmas presents for their parents. On Friday, before the Monday that was the last school day before their holidays, I brought lots of flat rocks, glue out the kazoo, weeds, nuts, pods, pinecones, lichen, and some small animal figures to make nature scenes for their parents.

It was total chaos. They all excitedly gathered way more than they needed to cover their flat rocks. And before I could give any instructions or personal help, they crammed everything they had on to the rocks and simply covered them with a mountain of white glue. Everything and everyone in the room was covered in glue and bits and pieces of nature. The bell rang before they could begin to clean even themselves off, never-the-less anything else. After everyone was gone, I walked around looking at the totally unrecognizable messes they had created and felt like an idiot for attempting this. I gingerly picked each up and put them on the wide windowsills hoping the sun would at least dry them so they could carry them home. I made a half hearted attempt to clean off desks, but gave up on the floor, deciding to give the janitor a much larger Christmas tip than I had planned.

That night I shed a few tears of frustration that my beautiful picture of happy children and delighted parents had disappeared into mountains of glue. I decided to pray even though I knew it was mostly selfish, since the kids were happy and I was sure their parents were already well practiced at oohing and aahing over unidentifiable art works. I asked God please could the creations somehow become more appealing and at least identifiable as nature crafts. Frankly, I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in it, even though by this point in my life I had experienced miracles that simply helped me in times of discouragement. I guess I thought that I had walked with the Lord long enough to be a stronger person.

On Monday when I arrived at school, I glumly went to view the remains of the project. I was astonished. The sun had not only dried the glue, but somehow excess glue and enough of the piles of bits and pieces of nature had fallen off to leave lovely small scenes. The children happily took credit and the parents were amazed. One mother of seven older children told me in astonishment that this was the first art work by any of her children that she could happily display in her living room!

The memory that my dream triggered reminded me that our God is an awesome God, a God who can use even our chaotic messes. So maybe I don’t need to try harder. Maybe, I need to just pray and trust.

Left-Brain Fairy Tale

This from a fellow blogger. It’s delightful. Had to share it.

catterel

“Let me tell you a story,” I said to my millennial grandson when he was about nine.

He acquiesced, probably out of politeness to his aged grandmother.

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who lived up on the top of that mountain,” I gestured towards the peak towering above our village.

“Was she a dwarf?” he asked.

“Er – I’m not sure,” I hadn’t developed my story quite to that point.

“She was the daughter of the King of the Mountain …”

“The King of the Mountain was a dwarf,” he stated in an irrefutable tone.

I considered that irrelevant and continued:

“… and she spent most of her time wandering around exploring the …”

“Did she have a snowboard?”

“A snowboard?”

“There’s a lot of snow up there in winter.” He was, of course, right. “Or skis. She might have had a sledge.”

“Well, maybe she…

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