Where are my glasses, I need to take a bath!

Top-10-Images-of-Animals-Wearing-Glasses-10“A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field.” Isaiah 40:6

I have learned that my glasses cannot be too far from me when I take a shower. At any given time, I have washed my hair in body lotion and my face with conditioner. You should have seen the frantic rinse the day I realized I had conditioned my hair with a popular ladies hair remover! And, of course, my husband had to be standing next to me the day we were getting ready for church when I sprayed hair spray under my arm and put deodorant on my hair! The look on his face was priceless as he shook his head and went to start the car.

My adventures with “aging eyes” is nothing compared to an experience our pastor told us about, though. He and his family were out to eat at a local restaurant and, being the friendly fellow that he is, he returned a wave from someone across the room. When his wife asked who he was waving to he replied, “Well, I don’t know, but they waved first!” The family turned to see who it was, but then slowly turned back around to see Dad with his hand still waving. They looked at each other and one brave child had to say it, “Dad, that’s not a person waving to you. It’s a cactus.”

Aging eyesight. If you haven’t faced it yet, get ready. I don’t know why the manufacturers use the same marketing techniques to get sales and make all the bottles the same shape and color, don’t they know we usually don’t wear glasses when we shower or bathe? If they could only put a bright red dot on the conditioner and the deodorant, maybe I could remember the difference without looking. Or maybe not.

I guess I was in my mid to late 40’s when my near vision started becoming problematic. I ignored it for as long as I could, but when I had to ask Jim to hold the menu so I could order, I knew I needed reading glasses. Over the years, my eyes have succumbed to aging and now I have to wear the dreaded glasses all the time. If I didn’t, not only would I need help with the menu, but my whole plate would disappear into a fog of nothingness.

So, wear glasses I do. However, I make adjustments. While I was still working I made sure that I had black rimmed, professional glasses that everyone thought were fake. They thought that I wore them to get intelligence points, and I just let them think it. I would show up at regional meetings and while the Director was filling us in on the most recent project, I would take my glasses off, stick just a little bit of the ear piece between my lips and sit there and nod intelligently. “Yes, yes, I am super – smart and I am hanging on every word.” Little did they know that I couldn’t even SEE the Director let alone the chart I am assuming he was pointing to!

Isn’t it amazing the lengths we will go to for vanity? When I was fifty, and people said I looked thirty – five, I would smile smugly and say, “Oh, I’m fifty years old and proud of every year.” Well, now I’m starting to look my real age, time has a way of doing that, and I crave to hear people tell me that I look so much younger. I caught a glimpse of myself in a candid side-shot photo that I took of my hubby and me when we were working on  one of his odd-jobs and I almost cried. It had been raining so my curly, gray hair had frizzed around my temples and I had that stern “Grandma face” because I was concentrating on holding up the screen door we were installing. I had to look twice because I couldn’t believe it was me with the frizzy gray hair and sallow complexion. And when did I get that extra chin? I went into a slight depression and pouted most of the rest of the day.

That evening my hubby looked at me as we sat on the porch and said, “You know, I don’t know how you do it, but you are more beautiful than the day we married.” I couldn’t help but think of the saying I had heard somewhere to “marry a man your own age; that way as your beauty fades, so does his eyesight!” But then, I realized that he had his glasses on and was looking at the same side-shot view of me as the photo taken earlier in the day. But he didn’t see what I saw. What he saw was his bride; the love of his life, and I thanked God.

I know that in the world’s eyes, my beauty is fading. But I smile, because in my husband’s eyes, I am beautiful. In God’s eyes, I am his princess. And in my own eyes, I am blessed to have lived as long as I have.  These are days that God has made just for me, and I will not waste them by counting the spring rolls around my waist.

God has given each of us a certain number of days to live on earth. I feel that as I mature in chronological years, I also mature in spiritual years. The lessons I learn by looking into a mirror can be summed up in this statement from 1 Corinthians 13:12, “ For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  My Friends, the years that God has given to each of us, are written line by line. They may be lines of worry or lines of peace; lines of sorrow or lines of peace; lines of anger or lines of peace. God gives each of us the ability to partake of His bountiful peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3. And there is nothing wrong with having a few wrinkles on our faces, they show that we have laughed, cried, frowned, and lived all in one lifetime. We can trust in God and He will soften the lines.

Aging gracefully is not an easy task. Just like accepting that I needed to wear glasses, I fought it tooth and nail! But, at that time, I was looking in the mirror dimly. I was placing value on what I look like on the outside, not what God saw on the inside. Face to face. With God. Cleared my vision. God knows me, and I am starting to know me, too. I have opened my eyes to the fact that vision is so much more than what I see in this world. I have asked God to increase the vision that He wants me to have in these latter years of my life. I want to see opportunity in what I would previously have seen as rejection. I want to take each failed plan as God showing me that He has something much more planned than I could ever have seen without Him. I want to see reason behind a friendship that has gone cold. I want to see positive where there is negative. And if I do all of this, then I can’t help but be satisfied with the image that I see in my mirror. I will no longer use my age as an excuse to be sullen and sad, but will glorify God in living the fullness of every day that He has given me.

Before I look in the mirror, I will put on my “grace glasses”. I will not see frizzy gray hair, but I will see wisdom highlights. I will remember that the secret to aging gracefully is to enjoy it.

 

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Praying for All People

prayer_an-invitation-to-prayer“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”                                                                                                                           1 Timothy 2: 1-6

Have you ever heard of selective praying? Oh, come on now, I know that you have had prayer requests come to you that you think, “Oh, why should I pray for them? They don’t even like me.” Or, “They are surrounded by prayer already, I’ll just go on to the next person.” Or my favorite excuse is, “Why should I pray for them, they won’t listen to God when he speaks, anyway.” I am not alone in this so don’t try to hide behind righteous reasoning.

The Bible is very plain that we are to pray for all people. Timothy is just one section of many mandating this. My first thought is our president. President Trump has raised many eyebrows in the population of the world and many Christians are not praying for him just because he is not a Democrat, hasn’t built the wall yet, doesn’t talk the way we talk, parts his hair on the wrong side, and on and on. I saw the Christian community come together in praying for the right person to be put in office, and now we are letting down on our dedication to lifting him up to God. President Trump, Vice President Pence, all of the Congress and Senate, Representatives and leaders of our states and communities need our prayers. We are to present supplications: asking God to see to their every need. We are to pray: thanking God for his divine apointment and for his grace. We are to intercede: taking hold of God’s will for these people and not letting go until his will is done. And we are to be thankful: thanking God always for the salvation of the people in our leadership, for their following and praying for God’s direction.

There are people in my life who I choose not to spend a great deal of time with. And it is often hard to pray for them. But I have seen miracles happen when I get over myself and lift them up to God. Frozen hearts are unthawed. Sinful lives turned over to God. Financial needs met in ways that could only be by God’s hand. I was not always directly involved, in fact, almost never, but I know that part of the resolution came to be through my, and others, prayers. God never places anyone on your heart unless He is calling you to pray for them.

God wants us to have a peaceful life, but unless we are praying for all people, who have the power to fulfill that peace, we risk losing the grace that brought them to us in the first place. Self has no place in a peaceful world. We must sacrifice self in order to pray for others. Especially those we don’t feel like praying for. In the end, they probably need it more than anyone else; and that is why God called you to pray for them at such a time as this. Peace comes from praying for others.

 

 

A prayer of thanksgiving

Praying Woman“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Colossians 3:16

Father God, to me every day is a day for giving thanks. You have blessed me beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

But, America sets aside one day each year as a conscious reminder of how we are blessed to live in America. You brought us to this country so that we could worship You freely and without condemnation.

So many others around the world do not have this freedom and I want to lift each person up to You for guidance, safety, and fulfillment of your promises in their life. Some will be martyred today, before the sun sets on them, for their belief in the One true God. Others will continue to live in fear as they gather in secret to worship and learn more about You as they study the Bible and pray.

God, I pray that someday, around the world. that each country will have a designated thanksgiving day. A day when they were given the freedom to worship You and share their faith with others.

And Father God, let every American start this Thanksgiving Day on their knees, truly thanking God that we live in America. Let their focus be on all that You have freely given to us and let the Holy Spirit speak to each Christian on how we can give back to You this coming year. Ask us how to live life in a way that is not taking our freedom for granted, but using it as a means to live a life reflecting your Son, Jesus Christ, who provided that freedom. Let us come together as one Christian body. Bring a revival to America, Lord, and let it begin in me.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen