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I Miss Your Smile

150 150 Debi Moses

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Okay, I’m just going to shout it from the rooftops, “I miss the laughs and giggles of my grandkids and kids.  I miss my back pew at church.  I miss my life-long friends, and since it’s true confession time, I miss my favorite coffee shop and my sugar-free vanilla latte, yet most of all, oh yes most of all, I miss your smile.”

Those simple upturned lips that signal a moment of recognition, excitement, and perhaps a fleeting memory. Your name may be a mystery to me, but you’re still part of my world.  We have passed in the aisles at the grocery store, the cleaners and perhaps even the pharmacy, but you’re no longer there.  As hard as it is to believe, I only don my lovely mask and gloves and join the world every two weeks. We might have missed each other along the way. It’s as if the world has been turned upside down, and it has. 

Yet here I am, with my life basically unchanged, sitting on the dock with my puppies gazing at the glorious sunset with a breaking heart. A breaking heart for lives that have been changed in ways I can never imagine.  Breaking for families who now have empty chairs around their table.  Breaking for the precious children of God who are living in homeless shelters or the street, hungry and falling farther and farther behind in school. Breaking for moms and dads who can no longer provide for their family because of lost jobs. Breaking for those of you who can only see your aging family members through a window. 

But in the heartbreak, there’s a time of thankfulness. Thankful for the brave men and women on the front lines, keeping us healthy, fed and safe, our world clean, and our hearts and soul healed. As I sit in awe of the gift of the sunset, my heart is joining with those of you who are kneeling in prayer, thankful you have survived another day wrapped in the Holy’s arms.

This is a time when the similarities of one’s path vary more than ever. Some of your lives may be like mine and my western loving cowboy, whose only bump on the road is rationing toilet paper, or watching the same TV shows over and over, despite having a choice of more than 300 channels. (All I have to say about that is someone in my house is a fan of the western channel.)

But through these days of confusion and emptiness, your compassion for one another is seen through the lessons we’re teaching our children as they write words of thanks to visitors who make deliveries to our homes in chalk on their walkways, or signs posted on apartment windows. Families are gathering on social media celebrating special time that might have been missed because of those trite words, “We were just too busy.” Cards and letters are being sent snail mail to forgotten ones in our lives while many are pitching in financially to share their blessings. Through all of this despair my heart is reaching out to each of you, and I feel your never-ending grace. Grace we’ve learned to grant one another through our twinkling eyes as we honor one another by wearing a simple mask or standing 6 feet apart. 

We all have our dark days, whether it’s the ones we are living now, the days that lurk in memories past, or in the times on the other side of a sunset that are yet to come. But the Lord is blessing us, His face is shining on us each day. His face is turned toward us each night, warming us with His glorious love. This is the serenity you feel when you gaze at a sunset, or perhaps as you close your eyes at the evening’s end and say, “Thank you for loving me Father.” I have peace knowing He will take care of you.  And one day I’ll see your smile again, and man oh man, my heart will sing.

Ponder with Me:

1. Do you miss anything?

2. Have you had dark days? Close your eyes and sit with the Holy.  Let His everlasting love wash over you.

3.  Do you truly believe God will take care of you? 

Let us pray together:

I love you Lord. My heart sings when I hear your name, your promises, and feel your grace.

I will never miss your smile, because it never fades away. You warm me with your spirit in the sunrises and sunsets. I am blessed to be your child.

Gazing  at your love.

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 I hope you’ll be my walking partner as I navigate my way through a life of whimsy, grace, and a lot of love for our Savior. You can read about my adventures on this blog, Wandering the Path, or if you’d rather, join me on my podcast Wandering the Path with Debi. 
 
And remember, as my Auntie used to say, “No matter how bumpy the journey, your path has already been cleared.”

$1.08

150 150 Debi Moses

Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4

The bargain of the week is supposedly a large iced tea at McDonalds for $1.08.  Being a “penny-wise” person, and in a rush on my way to church, I hurried to take advantage of saving a few pennies, anticipating a great reward when I took my first sip. Upon arrival at the Golden Arches, the drive-through line was so long I decided it would be faster to park and go inside.  When the busy cashier mistakenly handed me a large coffee instead of the unsweetened iced tea that I ordered, frustration and irritation rose up inside me.  Keeping my composure, I politely reminded her that I wanted an unsweetened iced tea.  After she made the exchange, I hustled out the door, muttering under my breath about how their inefficiency had wasted my valuable time, and I piously charged off to church.

It wasn’t until half-way through my Life Group that I even had a chance to drink the long-anticipated, delectable, unsweetened iced tea that I practically “stole” for $1.08!  I picked up the mostly melted, dripping cup and placed my straw through the lid.  I ravenously took a big slurp, and YUK — it was SWEET tea!  Words from an old TV commercial flashed through my mind, “I should’ve had a V-8!” As I was leaving church with a list of errands a mile long, I pondered whether it was really worth a trip back to McDonalds to either exchange the tea or demand a refund of my $1.08.  I decided, “It’s just not worth the effort.”  So with disgust and aggravation I tossed the vile brew and $1.08 into an overflowing trashcan.

While walking to my car I began one of my chats with God with this question: “At what point in my life did $1.08 become not worth the effort?”  I reflected upon those newlywed days when $1.08 would have fed us our favorite dinner of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.  Now $1.08 won’t even buy my weekly skinny latte. That’s when God stepped in and opened my eyes.  I remembered the look of confusion and exhaustion on the face of the woman who had helped me that morning.  The image of defeat that might appear on her face as she saw me standing at the counter, holding a cup with a condemning look on my face, made me shudder in remorse.  Then there was the chance that her employer might overhear our conversation.  A $1.08 glass of tea wasn’t worth her humiliation or the loss of her job. Thankfully, God’s mystery of grace has become more a part of me than I consciously realize.  It’s the mystery that calls me to have a visit with Him instead of my friends when I am confused.  It’s the mystery that enables me to value everyone’s purpose in life and the needs of the world around me.

It’s the mystery that has led me on a quest to see what can be bought for $1.08. I discovered many ways to obtain valuable treasure for $1.08.  Here is a partial list:  Through “Feeding America” you can feed 8 kids for $1.00 a day.  Through “World Vision” you can feed and care for a child for $1.00 a day.   At “Kid’s Meals Houston” they can feed a child for less than $1.75 per day. So here we are.  $1.08 is definitely worth the effort.  It’s worth the effort to use it to feed a child, and $1.08 is treasure beyond measure if it helps us to humble ourselves before Him and remember that everyone is worthy. God’s mystery of grace is shown to us each day as we watch and wait for Him to reveal His plan for us and impart His grace into our inner self.  God’s grace is a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth and has unfading beauty.  I can wait – after all He has waited on me for 60 years to learn the value of $1.08.  How long has He waited on you?  While we are waiting, let’s sit down together for a glass of sweet tea and find a child who needs our help.  Who knows, in the meantime I may start to like sweet tea!

Points to Ponder: 1. What do you consider a bargain?

2. When was the last time you saw  God’s mystery and grace? Did you recognize it immediately?

3. How often do you chat with God? Is He your friend?

Pray with me: Dear Father of Grace, Thank you for opening my eyes to so many needs around me. Guide me as I reach out to those  whose lives can be changed with  $1.08.

A blessed servant

Barefoot Girl

150 150 Debi Moses

Holy Ground

“Take your sandals off your feet, for the place you stand is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5

I love to go barefoot. Shoes and I just do not get along and we are not the best of friends. Even though I have a fond affection for stylish shoes, once I walk through the door of home sweet home, with a deep sigh of relief those jewels come off. Each day while making my barefoot trek to the mailbox, anxious to see what surprises await in the treasure chest at the end of my driveway, and enevitably I  step on a rock, a branch, an acorn or some mystery object that solicits a little “ouch”  from me. Through the aggravating pain, I just shake my head in disbelief and wonder, “When will I ever learn?”

God instructed Moses to take off his sandals, because the ground he was standing on, unlike my driveway, was “holy”, a special place, a Godly place. God was preparing Moses to lead His people through the most unimaginable places and conditions by letting Moses feel every rock and grain of sand between his toes before asking these unassuming people to follow him. It makes me wonder if along the way Moses didn’t ask the question I ask, “When will I ever learn?” to trust, to listen, and follow without questioning.

I never know where God is sending me or what His magnificent  plans for me might be. It is usually a spiritual surprise, but as I listen to my Father’s calling I tend to discover the most unusual locations that end up being “holy ground”. A pasture on my grandparent’s farm, Travis Park Methodist in San Antonio, Texas,  The Old Mission Santa Barbara, or the Bridge Homeless Shelter in Dallas are all holy ground for me. These are places where I can see the face of God and feel His loving presence. God is always at work in His Kingdom, allowing people like you and me to take our shoes off and walk on His holy ground. Our precious Father is constantly preparing us to do His work on this earth, wherever He might lead us.

I have many special places in my life that bring back great memories of laughter and fun with family and friends. However, the holy places, the ones that bring tears to my eyes, are not as numerous. I am glad and deeply humbled each time God leads me to His holy ground. I know that He has chosen my path and prepared my bare feet for any rocks on which I might step.

It’s springtime, friends! Time to walk in the sun, go barefoot and pray we’ll step on a pebble. Perhaps the pain we feel will lead us to alleviate the pain in another’s life. Who knows? We may be standing on holy ground right now!

Points to Ponder:

1. Have you stepped on any pebbles lately? Did they open your heart?

2. Can you separate special places in your life from holy ones? What helps you discern the difference?

3. Are you ready to go on a springtime walk?

Pray with me:

O Holy One, giver of the spring, winter and fall,

Help me to listen to You as Moses did, and remove my sandals and feel your earth between my toes so I may recognize the hurting in my world and reach out to serve You.

Your barefoot girl