All posts by BeLOVED

The Gift of Eternal Life

Taken from a blog written in 2019

Photo by Unsplash

I was so excited this Christmas about the gift I selected for my husband! It was something he needed, unexpected, actually something he never considered.

His home office chair was made up of bits and pieces from his previous chair and parts found at a thrift store. It worked and he was excited about his creation.

Yet I noticed that as he spent time in the chair, he slowly lowered. The hydraulics no longer worked. And at 6’2”, you need a chair’s hydraulics to work. Otherwise, you look like a giant sitting in a child’s chair – his knees creeping close to his ears.

So, his present was a leather desk chair. Of course, it came unassembled in a box – a very large heavy box! And when you are trying to surprise a person, a large heavy box is an obstacle. The store clerk loaded it into my car, it was unloaded at a friend’s house to wrap, reloaded by the same friends, and then I made my way home. Once there, I had this large wrapped present and no way to get in the house.

Standing at the tailgate of my car contemplating my challenge, my husband stepped out of the house. He asked, “Do you need help?” I reluctantly responded “yes,” but added, “don’t shake it” – as if he could really shake this thing.

We got it through the doorway, rested it on the floor near the Christmas tree and stood back to take in the enormity of the box. My husband turned to me and with his boyish smile asked,

What is it?

Is it for me?

I responded, “You’ll have to wait for Christmas day and yes, it is for you.”

For the next few days, he made statements about his present, speculated about its contents, and commented about the size and weight. I would catch him standing and staring at the box and then…

Christmas morning arrived.

He opened the big box last, still no clue about what was inside. His anticipation and excitement broke as he ripped open the wrapping paper to reveal his new office chair.

He was surprised. It was a practical gift; something needed, and quickly became his “best” Christmas gift. 

God, in His goodness, gave us some amazing gifts.

He created us in His image, in His likeness – the gift of life. And even when we disobeyed Him, wandered aimlessly through a desert wilderness, He was sovereign. He sent His Son that Christmas morning making a way to reconcile us with God – the gift of new life.

You must understand that from the day God created us, He knew we would reject Him. He was never taken by surprise, never stunned by our actions. He has always known our disobedience would lead to the ultimate sacrifice, the life of His Son.

Hundreds of years before Jesus crucifixion, Isaiah prophesied,

(5) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

(6) We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(7) He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

(8) By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.

(9) He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53: 5-12 New International Version (NIV)

Take a minute to allow that to sink in. God never had a Plan-B, He has always known – Christmas would lead to crucifixion. A sacrifice that led to the best gift, the gift of eternal life.

Roman’s 5:6-8 says,

(6) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (7) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us… (21) so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

NIV

The greatest gift, our sins forgiven and eternal life with our Father.

As we close 2020, I encourage you to remember God’s great love for you. From the creation of the world and throughout history,

He remains close.

He loves you.

You are His BeLOVED!

Blessings,

The Gift of New Life

Taken from a blog written in 2019

Photo by Unsplash

Christmas is 3-days away and I am so excited about sharing time with my husband.

We’ve celebrated with family and friends and now we get a chance to slow down, light a fire in the fireplace, cuddle together on the couch, and reflect on all the blessings, the gifts, God has given us this year.

You see it’s been one of those years that cause you to take notice. It forced us to take a deep breath. It tested our faith and it drove us to abandon our pride and self-reliance. 

This year, God gave us an amazing gift, the gift of new life. Wrapped in the hands of a skilled surgeon, a new artery replacing the one that had blocked my heart.

I am grateful.

We are thankful.

I am forever changed.

Some 2000 years ago, a new life was born in a humble stable. Wrapped in cloth and placed in a manger, a baby – the Savior of the world.

His parents hovered close; they had encountered the angels and listened intently when told about His purpose. What a life-altering gift that first Christmas.

I doubt anyone witnessing this infant fully grasped the enormity of the event. Jesus, God’s son, taking on human form to offer a broken world new life.

(4) But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (6) Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (7) So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Galatians 4:4-7 New International Version (NIV)

Through Jesus’ birth that Christmas morning, we are heirs, sons, daughters, and a child of God. Our gift is a life transformed, becoming more and more like our Father. No longer enslaved by sin, controlled by our fears, confined to the world’s definitions, or imprisoned by unattainable expectations. Our faith and trust in Jesus bring newness.

This Christmas, I hope you take a few minutes to step away from the demands of the holiday and reflect on the gift God has given you.

You are loved.

You are a daughter of The King.

You are His BeLOVED.

Blessings – Merry Christmas!

The Gift of Life

Taken from a blog written in 2019

Photo from Unsplash

If we are honest, Christmas is hard!

The shopping, cooking, parties, cards, expectations, unmet expectations, and inevitable disappointments. All are condensed into 4 weeks. There is just not enough time to make it all fit and sometimes not sufficient emotional capital to address all the needs.

Christmas can be challenging! 

I think one of my challenges is finding the perfect gift. One that tells the person I have thought about you. I care about you. You are special to me.

Particularly hard is shopping for the young adults in my life and those that already have enough and have asked for “no more.”

This year, I tried to maneuver around the shopping trials and made most of the presents for family and close friends. And because family and chosen family live in other states, I placed my treasures in cute gift bags, packed them in boxes, drove them to the shipping store, and prayed they arrive before Christmas day.

During this season, I am drawn to the manger scene. Baby Jesus, shepherds, and that bright shining star. But long before the Wise Men offered their precious presents, before an untimely trip to Bethlehem, before Mary and Joseph, God gave us His first gift. The gift of life.

(26) Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and overall the creatures that move along the ground.”

(27) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

(28) God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:26 – 28

God gave each of us an amazing gift – the gift of life. He chose us to occupy space and time with Him. He offered us intimacy, a relationship, a garden filled with His created beauty, communion with our Creator. And then He offered us purpose – multiply, fill the earth, and rule over it.

Genesis 2:7 shares,                                                                                                                                  

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Can you imagine the scene? God kneeling on the ground. He scoops dirt from the earth and forms a man. He then bends close and breathes life into his lungs. A creation of love – the first human. The origin of our lives.

And then,

(21) …God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. (22) Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Genesis 2:21-22

God fashioned you and me (women) out of the man he formed, a single rib – our life.

This Christmas season let us not forget that we are God’s creation, shaped in His image, bearing His likeness. He gave us life that creation day and He continues to give us life today, directing our paths, providing for our futures. 

Please don’t lose sight, with the busyness of the Christmas season, the gift-giving, the parties, the expectations, and inevitable disappointments – 1000s of years ago, God gave us the most amazing gift – the gift of life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Blessings,

More Je-Sus

Taken from a blog series written in 2019

Photo by unknown

Samantha couldn’t have been much older than 3, tugging at her mom’s hand and pointing in the direction of Santa’s workshop. Mom was trying to finish her conversation with the sales clerk but Samantha would not be ignored.

They finally made their way to the end of the line and settled behind a snake of excited squiggling toddlers. Each made their way to Santa’s lap, a coaxed whisper in his ear, and a candy cane to complete their visit. Stepping off the stage, each running with excitement to the waiting arms of family.

Samantha walked up the steps, mounted Santa’s knee, and announced to the crowd what she wanted for Christmas. No whisper, no coaxed conversation – she shouted clearly for all to hear.

To the surprise of her mother, the list included a baby brother – his name will be James just like her Grandpa, a fairy doll set, and a new goldfish. Goldie, her previous goldfish, was found floating upside down in his bowl and was sent to heaven by way of a flush. The crowd chuckled and then froze at Samantha’s next statement,

I need more JE-SUS!

Santa looked a little puzzled. What do you say to a child that wants more Jesus?

Samantha smiled and scooted off Santa’s lap, collected her candy cane, and made her way back to mom. Mom bent down and gave her a hug, then stood and clarified,

Cheez-Its, she loves them; we’ve run out!

The crowd let out a collective giggle, Samantha walked away, candy cane in hand.

Samantha was unaware of the truth she had shared with her sweet mispronunciation. But such a profound reality innocently communicated.

I don’t know about you but this Christmas, I need more Jesus!

Replacing the uncertainty of the world, with the comfort that He is enough. Substituting the hustle with the beauty of time spent in His presence, available to hear a Word, gain a glimpse of eternity. I need to move my attention off my expectations and wants, refocusing the minutes of my days on all He has done, His provision, His future promises.

What a perfect Christmas gift, more Jesus.

In Galatians 4:3-7 we get a glimpse at the gift of Jesus,

(3) And that is the way it was with us before Christ came. We were slaves to Jewish laws and rituals, for we thought they could save us. (4) But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, (5) to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own sons. (6) And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father. (7) Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned.

Living Bible (TLB)

That first Christmas God gave us the ultimate gift, His Son. And every Christmas since that day, His precious gift remains available to us.

For some, the gift remains unopened. If the truth were told, they don’t even see the humble package. They scan the stack of gifts, drawn to the shiny boxes, the fancy packaging, those that sparkle of gold and silver.

Some open His gift, trying it on to see if it fits, and later decide to re-gift it. They recognize it will require sacrifice. They can’t appreciate the value, the great price paid.

A few unwrap the gift and immediately recognize the treasure inside. They are overwhelmed by its beauty and value, moved to tears for being offered such a cherished treasure.

As you navigate this Christmas season, I encourage you to reflect on why you celebrate. Evaluate if you need more Jesus this year and consider slowing down a little to enjoy the extravagant gift you’ve been given.

My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you have received the precious gift of Jesus, recognize the treasure you’ve been given, and share your gift with those around you.

Blessings,


Over the next three weeks, we will look at three gifts God has given us. We will take time to unwrap each precious package and discover the depth of God’s love and care for each of us.

As we focus on these extravagant gifts, I invite you to shift your focus from Christmas as it has been to Christmas as it can be. A Christmas filled with more of Jesus.

I am excited to unpack the gift of Jesus with you.

What My Dog Taught Me About Satisfaction

Photo by C. Lutke

Our dog, Titus, has a few favorite humans in his world. My husband and I, and two of my close girlfriends. This weekend, we were scheduled to take our morning walk with one of them.

We headed out the garage door and made our way across the open field. As we neared the sidewalk, I mistakenly told Titus that Karen, one of those FAVORITE humans, would be joining us. From the moment he heard “Karen,” the pull was on!

For the next mile, he tugged and lunged, eyes searching the roadside to find his friend. Until we rounded the corner and he caught a glimpse of her crossing the street. He could not contain himself – the moans and grunts erupted and the pulling would not stop until he was at Karen’s feet.

Doggy kisses and paw hugs ensued and if tails could talk, Titus’ would scream – “I MISSED you SO much!”

As we walked, Titus investigated every scent left by animal and man. Occasionally he looked back in our direction just to confirm we were following, keeping pace. He moved from one side of the path to the other until eventually, we made our way to the end of the trail. We stopped where path meets road to say our goodbyes.

Titus danced excitedly at Karen’s feet and as we parted, he kept looking back until we turned the corner and she disappeared from his view. He looked up at me, his brown eyes fixed and steady, and if dogs could talk, I am certain he would say, “I’m satisfied.” I encouraged him, “Let’s go home,” he turned, made a left at the top of the hill, and took us home.

I have been thinking about Titus’ interaction with Karen. From the moment I mentioned her name, he made every possible effort to get to her, he was focused. Once he saw her, his efforts intensified. He was determined. And once he made it to her feet and walked with her along the path, he was satisfied.

Focused.

Determined.

 Satisfied.

I think I do focused and determined pretty well. The start of a new project, a new job, a new adventure – I’m focused. Making certain no detail is missed, organizing, coordinating, and checking each item off the list. If I run into challenges or roadblocks, I find ways to push through – I guess you can say I’m determined, but satisfied…

Satisfied is complicated.

Focused and determined are both things I can influence. Things I have the power to improve.

However, satisfaction is something received – the contentment that comes after the need has been met. And the assumption is that when you’ve obtained satisfaction, you don’t need anything more.

I seem to achieve satisfaction only to lose it again. My insecurities, perceived inadequacies, my wants, and desires all build and I become anxious, start striving, tugging, pulling – a frustrating cycle that moves me from satisfied to wanting more.

So perhaps being truly satisfied, is not about what I do (being in control) and more about what I don’t do.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 11, the author writes,

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

New Living Translation (NLT)

I think this verse is telling me to bring all that striving, my need to be more and do more, my insecurities, and inadequacies to Jesus and He will give me rest – satisfaction. Perhaps, as I think about it, He is the only true source of contentment.

Each time Titus hears the name of one of his favorite humans, or sees a car that looks like theirs, or hears their voices, that focused determined behavior repeats.

Until…

He sees them, touches them, and then he can rest.

I want that same focused determination to drive me to my heavenly Father in anticipation of the rest He will provide. And once there, I want to let go. Let go of my striving. Let go of my need for more, and instead rest.

I pray dear BeLOVED, that you do the same. That you find lasting satisfaction in the only One that can provide it – Jesus.

Be Blessed,

Be Thankful – Grateful

Photo by P. du Preez

I was so proud of myself. My Thanksgiving blog was written, edited, and scheduled to post – two weeks early! It was a sweet piece about all the things I love most about the holiday.

Then, last week, life happened.

All that I wrote seemed trite, out of place in contrast to the week’s circumstances.

Our dear friends lost their son, unexpectedly, so needlessly.

A friend’s daughter was diagnosed with COVID, the family, extended family, friends all exposed.

A 16-year-old killed on the expressway.

A father of four heading home from work, gone, instantly.

So no, my original blog post no longer worked. It didn’t address the burden my heart felt. It doesn’t answer the hard question,

How can I be thankful (how can you be thankful), even grateful, in the midst of the pain that fills our world, our lives, the lives of those we love?

I wonder if you have ever experienced those moments when being grateful is out of reach. Times when you want to trust but trusting feels awkward and if you’re honest disingenuous. Thankful and grateful are great aspirations but today, today you just want to wake up and have the pain gone.

I’m not going to try to provide a formula for transforming your aching into gratefulness or offer a series of clichés to encourage you to be strong. Instead, I want you to imagine that I’m sitting across the table from you, cups of warm tea sit between us, your hands rest in mine. I lean forward and as clearly as I can express I remind you,

Life on earth is hard, often unfair, even unkind. But our lives are not confined to this earthly realm. I am confident that pain, suffering, brokenness will be replaced. Replaced with unimaginable joy, a peace beyond understanding, an awareness that you are loved beyond reason. Today we live in the hard. Yet this is exactly where we find God. It is in our brokenness, a contrite humble place, that He molds, shapes, transforms us into His image.

And as I sit back in my chair, I recognize that this reminder may not be enough to comfort you. But it is the only thing that has ever provided reassurance for my pain.

Tim Keller, in his book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, offers this insight,

One of the main ways we move from abstract knowledge about God to a personal encounter with him as a living reality is through the furnace of affliction.

Every event in my life that dragged me through life’s furnace, lead me to greater intimacy with God.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reminds us,

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. 17 These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! 18 So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.

Living Bible (TLB)

My prayer for you this Thanksgiving is that you come to understand that this world’s hard can realign your perspective and lead you to the feet of Jesus. And as you look into His eyes, my hope is that you realize you are cherished and loved. You have so much to be thankful for, so much to be grateful for.

Be Blessed His BeLOVED,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take a few minutes to enjoy Thank You by Maverick City

Do I Have Anything To Be Thankful For?

Photo by G. de Germain

Some say 2020 has been the worst year ever! If I am completely honest, I’ve had moments when I share that sentiment. It’s been challenging on so many levels, and the funny thing is, we don’t know if 2021 will be any better.

And now, Thanksgiving is 11 days away. The day we set aside to remember, to give thanks, to appreciate those special people in our lives. But what will the holiday look like when we are again quarantined, isolated, and that little anxious twitch is knocking at the door. I don’t know about you but I’m searching for the thankful – do I have anything to be thankful, grateful for?

Take a few minutes and watch this short video.

What a beautiful reminder, regardless of how hard the year has been or how uncertain the future may be, we are blessed beyond our temporal understanding. We can walk through our lives missing all the blessings or we can choose to open our hearts, turn our gaze away from ourselves, and look up. When we take time to refocus, we will find,  

God loves us,

We are His children,

We have eternity to look forward to.

Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us,

God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.” The Message (MSG)

Be thankful, grateful His BeLOVED,

I want to challenge you, take a few minutes this week and list all the things you are thankful for. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Seasons of Change

Photo by C. Fonte

I spent a few hours this week cleaning the garden shed, a neat little space in the stairwell under our deck, and putting the raised garden beds to rest for the winter.

I always have mixed emotions about ending the gardening season but the first snow has already fallen, the ground is freezing – it’s time to let the earth rest. Time to shift activities inside where paints and yarn, good books and pen and ink are waiting.

It’s always interesting to me how every season has an end. A season of doubt succumbs to the truth. A time of pain and suffering gives way to healing. Broken dreams die only to be renewed by future promises. Abundance is replaced by want and need, life’s cycles ebb and flow allowing space for us to grow our faith, mature our character, and learn to lean more fully on God’s steadfastness.

As a country, we are entering a season of change. For some anger and fear are consuming emotions. For others, there is hope and excitement for the future. Regardless of where you stand on the continuum of feelings, we all must remember that God remains in control.

He causes the sun to rise and set, allows the waters to flow toward their shores, causes the rain and snow to grace the ground, and guides the wind’s current. It is with this same power that he guides our lives and directs the affairs of this nation.

We may not understand what He is doing. If we’re honest, we may not even agree with His decisions. Why would He make changes, why didn’t He respond sooner/later, why didn’t He … But I suggest we have a very limited, earth-bound perspective that doesn’t allow us to fully understand or appreciate His actions.

Until

We see them in hindsight.

Looking back, remembering, and reflecting all help us see God’s work and appreciate how closely He orchestrates circumstance.

Theologian and Pastor John Piper shared,

We look at life from the backside of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God’s light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence.

We can’t stop God’s inevitable changes. We can’t demand, manipulate, or fret to influence God’s plan but we can find the faith to trust Him, muster the courage to patiently pray, and anticipate seeing Him weave beauty from what we perceive is brokenness and failure.

Romans 8:26-28, encourages us that God is with us regardless of the circumstances.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

The Message (MSG)

Sisters, please know that it’s okay not to understand the “whys” of life – it’s human to doubt and question. But please know that God is working, orchestrating, coordinating, each aspect of your life working them collectively into something good.

Be Blessed,

Small Things

Photo by A. McCormick

It’s the little things in life that touch me the most -a smile from a precocious 2-year old, the purple and orange of a newly rising sun, that gentle sigh my husband makes at the end of the day. Small things, reminding me that our lives are precious, a daily blessing.

This week my husband, Mac, and I were met with one of those small amazing unexpectedthings, a reminder of human kindness.

We’ve been shopping at our local grocery store since it opened, 13-years ago. The store is filled with a group of amazing people, all more than willing to engage in conversation, share a favorite recipe, or help a newbie navigate the aisles.

This week we gathered our shopping cart and entered the store just as we’ve done for 13-years. As we made our way to the vegetable aisle, we were met with a team of store personnel, the store manager, team leader, and cashiers. They encircled our cart and once all were gathered, the manager announced they had a surprise for us. He graced our shopping cart with a custom-made sign, “This cart is reserved for VIP Mac and Allison.” He went on to say, “We appreciate you being consistent customers and we love seeing you each week.”

To say we were shocked would be a complete understatement! I fought back the tears and Mac was speechless, not an easy thing for this extremely extroverted man. We took pictures, offered socially distant hugs, and then tried to finish our shopping.

The shopping part proved to be harder than anticipated. As we navigated the aisles, people read our little sign and smiled. They stopped to ask for an explanation and wanted to know how they could obtain a reserved cart. Was it a raffle? Had we won a store contest? What would we do with the sign?

We tried to navigate the stares and comments, questions, and repeated questions but feeling all the while a little self-conscious –undeserving of all the attention.

We finally turned the corner and headed toward the checkout stand when the manager and team leader approached. They lifted the sign from the cart and explained that it would be hangingnear the front door waiting for our return.

We thanked the team repeatedly as we walked out the doors. Turning to the manager, we let him know how much we appreciated the gesture. He said it was nothing, really “Just a small thing.” As we turned to exit the store, he reminded us to place the sign on our cart each time we shopped. He added, “We hope it reminds you just how specialyou are.

How “special” we are, such an undeserved gift.

Our world has become so complicated.

Racial division.

Political divisiveness.

A pandemic that rages on, interrupting the flow of everyday life. Carrying in its wake human, economic, and emotional devastation.

Yet, this grocery store team took the time to do the small thing. A sweet gesture that profoundly affected our lives.

I wonder what would happen if each of us would commit to doing one small thing this week for a loved one, co-worker, or stranger.

I wonder if that act of unexpected kindness would help the person remember they are special, they are loved, they are seen.

I wonder if it would say to them, you are valuable!

Sisters, I encourage you to take time to see the little things, the small events in your lives that tell you,

You are precious,

You are loved,

You BeLOVED are valuable.

And then, I challenge you to tell those you love, in some small way, how much they are valued, that they are special, they are loved.

1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:1-4 New International version (NIV)

Be blessed,

Inattentional blindness…

Photo by M. Helin

The sun was casting a shadow through the canopy of leaves. Slivers of light falling onto the path in front of my feet. The leaves were brilliant -red, orange, and a hint of yellow that shouted, “look at me!”

 I‘ve walked this path many times over the years. But this year, this year the leaves – I don’t remember them being this beautiful. I don’t remember them feeling this warm and comforting.

Had I missed it in prior years? Perhaps I had moved too quickly along the trail. Or maybe, this year was different. Maybe this year I was different

Priscilla Shirer, in her Bible study, Breathe – Making Room for Sabbath, discusses a condition called inattentional blindness, sometimes called perceptual blindness. She shares,

Inattentional blindness is the trick our own brains play on us – keeping us preoccupied with one thing while rendering us unaware and oblivious to another. So while we are concentrating somewhere else, another more critical action could be occurring within view, but without our conscious knowledge. Then, shocked and bewildered, we realize we missed something-or someone- who really deserved our full attention.

That was me.

I suffered from blindness that kept my mind focused on things that seemed important, that occupied my time, kept me driven and distracted. But all the while, I failed to look up and see the beauty, the spectacular beauty that lined the trail – that enveloped my life. 

I think we can experience this same blindness, this same lack of attention when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. We keep Him at the fringe of our visual field, just close enough to check the box – faithful Christian. Yet, far enough out of sight to maintain our control.

In the book of John, Jesus heals a man that had been blind from birth. You may remember the story; Jesus spits on the ground, makes mud, and wipes it across the man’s eyes. He then instructs the man to go wash and the man returns – his vision restored. When questioned about his healing, the man said,

(24) So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.” (25) “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

John 9:24-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

This man was physically blind; we suffer from spiritual blindness.

But Jesus offers healing for both.

Inattentional blindness, taking our eyes off the most important, keeps us tripping, bumping into God’s will and our wants. It keeps us from fully enjoying the beauty of our journey and appreciate the richness of true intimacy with God.

Priscilla again reminds us,

… bring to the center stage of our minds and hearts the Person (Jesus) who we have placed at the periphery for too long.

Breathe– Making Room for Sabbath

Jesus brings healing. He restores our sight, allowing us to experience the full beauty of His love, His grace, His creation.

Dear Sisters, don’t allow your attention to be diverted from the One who brings clarity of sight. The One who heals our blindness, aligns our priorities, and restores our purpose.

I once was blind but now –

I am forgiven,

I am healed,

I am free.

Blessing BeLOVED,