Whole or Grounded?

Who would have ever thought I would hear from the Lord in something as simple as my morning cup of coffee?  My family will tell you, it’s not really coffee, but rather a lot of sweetener and hazelnut creamer with a little coffee on the side.   No matter how you flavor your coffee, if you don’t start your preparation right, you’ll be very disappointed with that first sip . . . trust me . . . I know this first hand.

It was a simple mistake.  Rushing to get groceries I grabbed a bag of coffee that was whole coffee beans instead of grabbing the grounded type.  Had I kept that coffee grinder instead of adding it to the garage sale pile, I wouldn’t have been so upset.  But of course, it sold and now I’m left looking at a bunch of beans and licking my lips in anticipation of my morning brew.

My Momas favorite phrase was, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”  Calm down, my mother never really harmed a cat.  She was an animal lover through and through.  This is just a southern way of saying there is more than one way to get the job done. My mother and her creative ideas would put the Discovery Channel to shame today.  This ability to see things with multiple solutions is one of her strongest traits that I posses . . . thank the Lord!

And so the process begins.  Blender . . . not too good, still some beans that aren’t grounded. Food processor . . . not a whole lot better.  The thought of pulling out my hammer crossed my mind, but then I opted for a tag-team approach.  I tried the food processor, then put that mixture into the blender.  My counters are now covered with a black mist and the smell has me going crazy for a cup of coffee.  As I examined the half grounded chunks of my coffee, I did what any red blooded coffee lover would do.  I attempted to make coffee with this crunchy blender of beans.

I know that all the coffee connoisseurs are cringing right now and I apologize.  Who would have ever dreamed the coffee bean was so complex?  As I waited for the coffee to finish brewing, I noticed it just didn’t look right.  The smell wasn’t as strong as usual either.  And then, it happened.  I poured this weak brew into my favorite mug, took a sip, and was devastated!  It’s good that no one was home because my shriek of, “Noooooo” would have scared my family.  I poured out the horrible imposter that called itself coffee and as I looked at the crunchies in my coffee filter it happened . . . my burning bush moment occurred.

Grumbling under my breath i said, “Why can’t you be what I need without being grounded?”  The Lord spoke to me and reminded me that just like this coffee bean, sometimes we  need to be grounded, or crushed to get the most fragrant aroma out of our lives.  Many times the very things we think are crushing us are really the things God is using to bring out our best.  I paused and considered my life and the many crushing blows its had.  As difficult and painful as they were, they created in me strength, stamina and gave my life an aroma that glorifies the Lord.

When you think about your Christian walk in comparison to the coffee bean, consider it all joy when tried and tested.  For its in these crushing moments that God is loving you enough to help you become the best you can be.  After all who wants to be a weak imitation when you can be the real thing?

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The Choice is Yours to Make

I knew this day would come.  I just never dreamed it would happen in a Chuck E Cheese pizza parlor or that she would only be 2 when it occurred.  My granddaughter, the most perfect little girl, (o.k. so I’m a tad prejudice) was faced with her God given gift of free will.  The heart wrenching part of all of this, was that it involved ME . . . Nana.

One of the greatest blessings God has given me is the privilege and honor of being a mother.  My user name of Mom2amjebo is short for Moma to (2) Amanda, Jessica and Bobby.  Just when I thought motherhood was amazing, God stepped up to the plate and fulfilled Ephesians 3:20 in my life and gave me something that was exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ask or think of, and Amanda and Carl named her Carlie.

On this day, Amanda and I are celebrating Carlie’s 2nd birthday.  Just us girls.  I think in the back of our minds we were prepping Carlie for future days of spas, manicures and malls.   If you’re not familiar with this restaurant chain, it’s basically a casino for kids.  This chain also adds the excitement of a stage, complete with a 6 foot huge mouse named Chuck E.  Every 20-30 minutes a small show is presented for the kids.  Some giggle with excitement, some cry, some are spellbound.  On this day, Carlie was . . . lets just say . . . intrigued.

The individual inside this costume has a special place in heaven.  Not only do they perform in this show, but at the end, they open up the flood gates of disaster and ask the kids to join them on stage.  And this was where it happened.  I felt as if we were in one of those movies where time in our little “bubble” stood still while all around us was going crazy.  Carlie looked at Chuck E . . . look at me . . . looked at Chuck E again . . . looked at me.  As Chuck E continued to wave his huge furry hand for her to join him, she stepped toward him, but held her hand out to me, resting it on my arm.  She was torn.  And so are we.  Many times we find ourselves right where Carlie was this day.  We have the love and assurance of our Savior, but those flashing lights draw us to them.  It comes in many different forms, but never the less, it draws us in and if it’s drawing us from our Savior, its never good.   Now I’m not saying this character is evil, so don’t call the pizza police on me.  I’m just saying I saw Carlie encounter at the young age of 2 her gift of free will, and yes, I had a  “burning bush” moment. She wrestled with trying to choose between the person who has offered her unconditional love with a temporary fleeting pleasure.

On this day the choice had to be made and it could only be made by Carlie. It’s not my fault Chuck E wouldn’t let me on the stage with her.   After all, I just crammed myself into the little car with her because she was afraid to ride alone.  Amanda claimed she was too tall.  I think it was just an attempt to shove her short moma into a plastic torture chamber covered in more DNA than the CDC will see in a year.  Carlie had to choose, and quick.  As I sat there watching that soft little hand reaching back to touch me AND touch Chuck E,  I understood Luke 9:62.  Jesus had entered a city with his disciples.  After asking 2 men to follow him and hearing excuses, he commanded a third to, “follow me.”  Once again, an excuse was given and Jesus told him, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  As Christians we are called to be totally committed.   Too often we try to live our Christian life, with our hands outstretched and holding onto the security of our Savior, while having our shoes in sin.  Just as it wasn’t feasible for Carlie to have me and Chuck E, as Christians, we will never experience the joy of our salvation until we are willing to fully commit our lives to Christ.

On this particular day, the winner was . . . Nana!!  Carlie crawled up in my lap and wrapping her arms around my neck spoke from the depths of her 2 year old being the words that melt every parent/grandparents  heart . . . I wuv you.  As I held her tight and reciprocated my love to her, I couldn’t help but wonder how Jesus feels when we choose Him and I whispered to heaven . . . I love you Lord!

 

Gods Timing

Yesterday I shared about a pivotal and incredibly spiritual time in my life.  I like to refer to those times as “Burning Bush” moments.  It’s in these moments that we get to see a glimpse of God firsthand and feel like we are the center of His attention.  But aren’t we always the center of His attention?  Our head tells us yes, but our heart battles this.  Sometimes life has a way of dragging us to a place that we feel, let’s just say . . . forgotten.  Abandoned.  Lonely.  We can go from a pinnacle of success to the pits of despair if we’re not careful.  Living in a fallen world places us at the mercy of our emotions and sometimes God has to take us back to a time where we felt “special” in order to remind us that we are just that . . . SPECIAL.  

Fast forward ahead many years.  Add to the equation, addiction, unfaithfulness and divorce and the sum equals;  no longer living on Cliffside Drive.  Actions that were out of my control forced me to take actions of my own that I never wanted to take and never dreamed I would have to.  That journey will also end up in words I’m sure.  But during the journey the Lord blessed me with an amazing book by a wonderful lady.  Believing God by Beth Moore.  As I read her God inspired words my pen and highlighter couldn’t work fast enough on the pages.  I found myself with a copy of Believing God that looked like a box of crayons had exploded inside the covers.  I couldn’t soak it in fast enough, and loved every truth revealed in the 14 chapters I had read, highlighted and noted.  Only problem is, this book had 17 chapters.  I still can’t tell you why I quit reading this book and placed it on the shelf with my other collections.  Maybe one day God will allow me to see how He moved me to “wait” on the rest of the story. 

Paul Harvey Aurandt was a radio announcer that held his audience with that simple phrase, “The Rest of the Story.”  He had a series that has been described as a blend of history as well as mystery.  His first line would always be shocking and something to bait the listener in, followed by; “in a minute you’re going to hear . . . the rest of the story.”   Many have questioned over the years if the stories were true or simply good publicity.  Either way, we are drawn to them because we all like having the answers revealed.  I may not remember “how” God moved me to quit reading, but I was blessed to be shown “why” when I pulled Beth’s book back off my shelf after many years.  As I stated, I was no longer living on Cliffside Drive.  The Lord had blessed me with a beautiful new home, but in the move, I had to resign from a job I loved.  As I was seeking the Lords will in a new job and growing discouraged by His silence, I was moved to pull Beth’s book back off the shelf.  Bookmark perfectly positioned at chapter 15 – check.  Highlighter ready – check.  Pen ready – check.  And there it was . . . chapter 15, page 230 of Believing God, I had a “Burning Bush” moment.  A moment that would have caused me to remove my shoes had I been wearing any, for on that page Beth ask me, the reader; “Do you remember the time God caused “all [His] goodness to pass in front of” Moses and hid him nearby in the cleft of a rock while He passed by Him with His glory?  Did I remember?  DID I REMEMBER?  How about . . . YES!!  Yes, I not only remembered it, I lived it, saw it and was given it.  And the very God that loved me enough to show Himself in 1994 was doing it again.  If that wasn’t enough, God did it in a way that He knew would speak to ME.   Little ole me . . . you know the one that wasn’t feeling special.  The one feeling forgotten and abandoned.  As Christians we’re quick to say, “God’s timing is perfect.”   Sometimes God’s timing reveals, The REST of the Story.  A story that reminds us that we are HIS and we are SPECIAL!

 

 

2 Corinthians 1:4

Long before the phrase “pay it forward” was around, I was being encouraged to “comfort them, which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”  This Godly upbringing by a wonderful Mother and these words of Paul are the basis and reasoning behind this blog.  A blog that was encouraged by an amazing author, Beth Moore.   My prayer is that the words I share with anyone willing to read them will be anointed and used in a way that will change lives and bring glory to God.

Living in the Cleft of the Rock.  What exactly does that mean and why have I chosen to capitalize Cleft and Rock?  Let me take you back to 1994.  Yeah, I’m that old, so humor me and come along for the ride.  I was a young mother of 3 children living in a single wide mobile home that was busting as the seam with “family”.   My desire to find God’s will for our housing had me praying in every house to see God and to know if this was in fact, His perfect will for our family.  My prayers started simple, kinda like our christian walk usually does.  Something along the lines of, “Lord let me see a cross in the backyard”  or “Lord let me see your hand in all of this” or “Lord, please just let me see your face!”  That very prayer was quickly altered when the Max Luccado book I was reading referenced Exodus 33:20-23.  Luccado has always been an inspiration to me and this time was no different.  He reminded me that if the Lord told Moses in vs 20, “Thou canst not see my face;  for there shall no man see me and live.” then who was I to ask such a thing.  And so desiring to pray God’s word over my housing, my new prayer was simple.  “Lord, put me on the side of the cliff!”  Pretty simple request if you ask me.  Straightforward and to the point.  If I can’t see your face Lord, put me on the side of the cliff, let your glory pass by and reveal yourself to me.  Every house I viewed, researched and prayed over I offered the request to God to “put me on the side of the cliff.”  God did some amazing things through many different houses, realtors and potential buyers that will probably end up in another blog, but for today, I will jump forward to the “brown house” that I was drawn to.  Walking around the house I once again offered my simple request to be placed on the side of the cliff.  Not seeing or feeling anything worthy of what I would place in the “Burning Bush” category, I packed up the kids and left.  The next morning I woke with such a burning desire, no pun intended to go back to the “brown house” that I had the kids fed, dressed, packed up and in the car in record time.  As I turned into the subdivision and approached the stop sign, the Lord impressed on me to actually follow the commands of the sign and STOP.  As I sat there at what was soon to be my new street, I lifted my head to pray one last time.  No, I didn’t see God’s face, but I knew I was on holy ground.  Before me stood a street sign that read . . . CLIFFSIDE DRIVE!!  As I sat there in the presence of God, I got a little glimpse of how Moses must have felt and decided my Moma was right.  We do serve a personal savior and He desires that we know His will for our lives.  We just have to be willing to step out on the Cleft of the Rock to find Him.