Just Call Me Lucy…


Lucy got me good the other day.
You would think after 9 years of feeding, playing, petting, and spoiling that she would trust me implicitly.
After all, there has never been a day in all her feline life that I have not taken care of her.
It hasn’t always been to her liking – she would eat tuna every single day of her life if I would let her.
But overall, her little kitty life has been pretty spectacular.

But she doesn’t see it that way.
There have been times in the past where I have had to be very mean to her for her own good.
Like the time that I was painting the basement kitchen a bright, cheery yellow.
And I didn’t realize she had come downstairs.
And that she was behind me.
So when my foot hit the plastic on the floor and made a noise, she jumped backwards.
Into the tray of paint.
And then took off like a shot, through the carpeted apartment, up the wood stairs, across the new wood floors and under my massive bed.
Where she would have happily licked her entire belly and paws clean of yellow paint.
But, of course, I could not let that happen.
Before I could clean any of the flooring, I needed to clean her.
Which she thoroughly disliked.
Especially when it involved the help of a dear friend, some shears and thick leather gloves to get some of it off her tummy.
In her mind, this whole adventure was cruel and unusual punishment. Instigated by me. The paint, the plastic attacking her, being chased, being dragged out from under the bed, the washing and the shears – all completely my fault.
And, therefore, I am not to be trusted.

Even though I have fed her daily for 9 years.
Provided fresh water.
A clean cat box.
Lots of toys.
Play time.
Her sister as a companion.
And petting whenever she allows it.

In her mind, I am not to be trusted.
So last week, when I picked her up to pet her, that was just fine.
She was even okay when I carried her out of the kitchen, heading for the couch to sit down with her.
But when I moved my arm in a funny way in an attempt to turn off the kitchen light without putting her down, she lost her feline mind.
Claws out, legs rigid, twisting to get away from me.
And I ended up with scratches on my neck, across my palm and a hole in my t-shirt.
All because she does not trust me.

Sure. She trusts me when what I am doing makes sense to her.
Take out the can opener?
She is my best friend.
Open the package of treats?
I can’t move without tripping over her as she weaves between my legs.
Pick up her favorite toy? (The one I have to special-order replacements for on Amazon…)
She is there like a shot, meowing, purring, and raring to go.
But do something mysterious, like move my arm in a funny way?
Then I must be after her.
Her worst enemy.
Against her completely.
And she must get as far from me as she can.

Because I have done terrible things to her.
Rescuing her from tight spots.
Giving her medicine.
Shaving the paint off.
Allowing the vet to exam her.

Therefore, I am not to be trusted.
In her mind, the equation is simple:

Lack of understanding = complete lack of trust = panic because, “She must be after me!”

Do you get where I am going?
God said about Himself in Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways.”
And even though I can recount thousands of ways that He has cared for me through the years, I still panic when He does something I don’t like or don’t understand.
Even though He has proved His character over and over again.
Even though I have all of His promises in His Word.
And even though I have seen Him come through in my history, in the lives of others through the ages, and in the stories in His Word, still I panic.
I kick and claw and run away.
Because what He is doing – or what He has allowed – does not feel good to me.
And I cannot see the higher purpose.
So I lose my trust in Him in a heartbeat.
Even though the evidence is securely stacked in His favor.

Just call me Lucy.

I will never be able to explain to her why I have done all these “horrible” things to her.
But one day I will see Jesus face to face.
And one day I will understand.
Because I will see the big picture.
And I will fall at His feet and worship Him because I will see how He, indeed, worked “all things together” for my good and His glory – because I am His.

A hymn writer put it this way:
“Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus,
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!”

That is my prayer for both of us today.
That we would be able to walk by faith instead of sight.
That we would be able to truly trust in the Lord with all our hearts, leaning not on how we understand the circumstances but instead fully leaning on Him.
Demonstrating that trust by doing things His way, even when it is hard.
And fully believing that He will direct every step – even the most difficult ones.(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Confessions of a Pronator

Image result for pronating feet

Confession time:
I pronate.
Always have.
And probably always will.
At least until I get my new feet in heaven one day.
Then everything will be properly aligned.

Now, if you are not a runner or a physical therapist, you may not know what it means to pronate.
Basically, it means that my feet are out of alignment with the rest of my body.
I don’t rest my weight on my feet correctly; I allow them to roll inward instead of squaring my heels to the floor.
And because I do that, I have problems with my arches, knees, hips and back. All because I am out of alignment.

It’s incredibly common.
My podiatrist says it is the “most common birth defect”.
According to him, most of us pronate because our feet are rolled inward in the womb and when we are born they are supposed to straighten out. But many don’t completely straighten as they should and thus the epidemic of pronation.
According to my podiatrist.
And because my feet are out of alignment, everything else is, too.

I spiritually pronate.
Always have.
Always will (no “probably” about it!)
At least until I get my new me in heaven one day.
Then I know I will always be properly aligned.

Because I was born with the most common, completely-inescapable birth defect: sin.
According to The Great Physician, it is the one birth defect we can all claim.
“For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

And because I was born with this defect, I am out of alignment.
I roll inwards instead of outwards.
I love myself more than I love anyone else.
I am selfish.

I am out of alignment in my thinking and in my ways.
And I cannot trust myself to ever be in alignment by my own devices.
God said through the prophet Jeremiah that the human heart – MY heart – is “…the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”
Cannot follow my heart.
It will most certainly lead me astray.
There are moments where I can muster up something resembling goodness by my own devices.
But those moments are always full of mixed motives at best.
The prophet Isaiah said that my own good deeds are like filthy rags compared to the righteousness that God desires. (Isaiah 64)

I am out of alignment.
And it causes pain throughout the Body.
When I do not align my feet properly, I feel in it my arches, knees, hips and back.

And when I do not align my life with God’s Word, I feel it all over.

When I pick and choose what the Bible says – or rather, what I want it to say – by taking verses out of context, I am out of alignment.
When I know what the Bible plainly says – like “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3) – but choose to live like I am the only one who actually matters, I am out of alignment.
When I don’t really read or study my Bible for myself but instead live on the words of humans without checking them against the Truth of scripture, I am out of alignment.
When I make exceptions about what God says – when I say, “Well, I know He says to forgive them but He just doesn’t understand how I feel” – then I am out of alignment.
And being out of alignment causes pain.
Lack of joy.
Lack of hope.
Lack of love for others.
Disharmony instead of harmony.
Division instead of unity.

The great news for my feet is that I have tools that help me to get aligned. Great shoes and custom orthodics both put everything in place and take away the pain. Being aware of the problem and choosing to stand properly help as well.

And the great news for my heart is that I have the tools to help me get aligned. As a Christ-follower, I have the Holy Spirit inside of me, prompting and dissuading me as needed. I have the written Word of God to read, meditate on and study. And I am aware of the problem that my heart is not to be trusted so that I must choose to look at things God’s way, even if I do not like it.

One day my feet will not pronate.
And neither will my heart.
But until then, I will choose proper alignment.
Even though it takes work.
Because being properly aligned is worth it every time.

On getting lost…

Image result for baltimoreI got lost in Baltimore yesterday.
It actually happens almost every time I go to the city.
I know how to get in just fine.
But when I go to leave, the street I think I can take is one-way – and it is not going the one-way I need it to go.

I tried to use my GPS.
And to a point, it worked well.
But only to a point.
The point where I had enough time to figure out what lane I needed to be in to make the next direction happen.
Do two lanes turn left at this light? Or just one?
Are there cars parked in the next block so I need to scoot over?
Or is this the lane I need?
After these two lanes turn left, how soon will I need to be in a different lane?
And which lane would that be?

Needless to say, I eventually made it out of the city.
Relatively unscathed.

This morning I realized a huge part of my problem yesterday.
I had turned off the voice on my GPS.
So I had the map.
And it had arrows showing lanes, turns and other directions.
But I didn’t have the voice that prepped me for them.
Because I had turned it off.

How many times do I do the same thing in my spiritual life???
I have the road map.
God’s Word.
And it is correct.
It will tell me how to go every time.
But it works best in conjunction with the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
And when I turn off that voice, I have a much harder time navigating life!

On Monday I got lost in Baltimore because I did NOT listen to the voice of the GPS.
But on Sunday, I had direction for life because I listened to the Voice of the Spirit.

I am a creature of habit. And on Sunday mornings, I usually do a whole bunch of things before I ever make it back to our check-in computers in the children’s hallway.
But this past Sunday, I felt a strong urge to shake up my routine and to do things out of order. I went back and turned on the computers first, before I did anything else.

And you know what? Two of the three had a major update to install. One of those where the screens actually said, “This may take a while. Your computer will restart several times.”

Oh, thank You, thank You, Lord, that I listened to that prompting to turn the computers on early! If I had done my normal routine they probably would not have finished in time for the first folks to check in. And, even if they had, my stress levels would have been much, much higher as I waited for them to finish.

So, how do I know that was the Lord prompting me?
In hindsight, it is easy to tell.
I can clearly see why I had that urge to change my routine.

But in the moment, I knew these things:
The “voice” in my head – really, the urging I felt – did not contradict anything in Scripture.
It was not sinful behavior.
And it did not break the law of Love in any way.
So I shrugged my shoulders and said, “OK. Why not?”
Because, you see, I have learned to listen for that Voice.
And I have learned how to “test the spirits” as it says in I John 4.
I have learned to pause and say, “Is that you, Daddy?”
And I know His Word well enough to spot a counterfeit impulse.
There have been times where I have had these promptings and then realized they were not of God.
And sometimes, I have had them and not obeyed, only to pay for it later on in some way large or small.

But here is what I love:
I know that God loves me.
I am His beloved daughter.
And He delights in showing me the path I should take – if and when I let Him.

So my job is to incline the ear of my heart to Him.
To take the time to read His Word so I recognize His Voice.
To spend time in prayer so that I know what His presence and His peace are like.
To hold up my thoughts, urgings or promptings against the background of those things to “test the spirits”.
And then to wait on Him for clarity of thought, for that “peace that passes understanding” before I act.

He is a good, good Father.
And the Good Shepherd, the one whose sheep know His Voice. (John 10)
Trust Him to lead you today.
He is far more reliable than any GPS.