Looking in their eyes.

It is a fact that we have had to change how we do things since the COVID-19 quarantine. Then with the racial tension that is going on, all people are more hesitant about how to go about doing things. Maneuvering through or day to day life has become complicated. We have to consider how to approach other people, which we usually wouldn’t have to think twice about before.

We are social distancing.

We are wearing gloves.

We are wearing masks.

We are planning birthday or graduation parties differently. Where before you could buy bulk to save money, now buying individual servings: instead of a big bag of potato chips, we are buying individual servings. Necessary or unnecessary, it is how we are doing life. For now, anyhow.

Recently I heard a pastor’s perspective about what has been going on in our world, seeing it from Heaven’s lenses. Understanding the spiritual side of what is going on ‘globally.’ With the COVID virus attacking our ability to ‘breathe’ and George Floyd’s last recorded words being, “I Can’t Breathe.”

I won’t be able to quote the pastor’s message word for word: I am paraphrasing what was highlighted to me is. The enemy is trying to take the breath [or voice] away from the church. Two of the many scriptures that were pulled into his message: Genesis 2:7 and John 20:22. In the book of Genesis, God breathed into man’s nostrils. And in the book of John, Jesus breathed on the disciples to equip them with the Holy Spirit.  

We are designed to make a difference – to speak words that cultivate the kingdom of Heaven here on earth—looking back to the original mandate. But we as a church have sat in our pews and kept to ourselves rather than ‘being’ the church: the church is not a building, it is the believers. We have sugar-coated what it means to cultivate a God-honoring world.  

I do want to note that this pastor was not minimizing the evil injustice that happened in Minneapolis. He can better understand the cry of the hearts of many men and women, due to brutality, being a man of color himself.  

I have shared many times, either in conversations or in writings, that our words have power. The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21. In general, we don’t realize how powerful our words are. To put it simply, if we speak kind words, we create an environment of kindness. We speak words of love; we create an atmosphere of love. And this includes the opposite; bitterness, and hate, as well.  

I didn’t realize how true it is ‘that my words create’  till I heard pastor Claude B from Adrian Michigan say; We are created in God’s image, in his likeness. We don’t know what he ‘looks’ like, but we do know HE created with words. Since then, I have been ‘trying’ to evaluate my words before speaking. Sometimes I am successful; sometimes, I am not.  

Today at church, I realized a new layer of what is going on in the spiritual. As you all know, I am a prayer person, an intercessor. For years I try to purpose my heart to sense what the Lord wants me to pray. I can be watching the news [not too often] and ask Lord, how am I to pray about that? I drive through different neighborhoods and ask Holy Spirit; what do you want me to pray into this area?

With what has been going on in the past two weeks, I have been praying: Lord helps us all see each other’s hearts, not their skin color. Help us look into the eyes of each other.

Then it dawned on me today! That is precisely what God is trying to get us to do! People are wearing masks, and rather than ‘judging’ them for wearing one or avoiding them altogether, how about looking at their eyes!! I mean, everything else about the face is covered, but the eyes.

When I look at someone in the eyes, I sometimes can see emotional pain: Lord what word, or prayer, do you want me to pray for them to ease their pain? Sometimes I can see physical pain: Lord, how do you want to heal that person, what is it that you want to do through me? Sometimes I can see depression: Lord, what is it that has this person so depressed and without hope? How can I serve the people who cross my path?

Often, I  will engage in a conversation with those individuals that have been pushed aside by society, most are homeless, and I am always searching their eyes to ‘see’ them.

So the next time you are face to face with a masked person: See them, see their heart. And ask Father God, what would Jesus do? 

Into the Light

Pulling myself into consciousness, I fumble around to turn off my daily alarm. Routinely I go to the kitchen to start the coffee; my heart asks Papa God this question: “What do you want me to declare today with my words Lord?” With all the fears of COVID-19, I know enough negative words are swirling around. I want to speak heaven’s words.

Quieting my heart and listening to what Holy Spirit is saying, I start interceding for my community/nation. Thinking of the difficult times we are living in today, I ask the Lord, “What is it that you would like to accomplish through your church – in such a time as this?” From this place, I nuzzle under HIS wings and read my scripture.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

“Lord, I want to proclaim your goodness authentically. Either with words or actions, I want to reflect your love for those around me. Papa, would you partner with me?” The warmness I feel in my heart lets me know that the Lord is with me.

Before I know it – it’s time to get around for work. Eager to see opportunities opening before me, I look to see with HIS lenses.

While working, I spontaneously receive a text: “Going to Bristol Mobile Village to hand out fliers for our meal box give-away. Would you like to come?”

“Oh my goodness, there it is – an opportunity!”

Not knowing much about this little community, upon arrival, I realize these people need God’s love. And today, I can be HIS hands and feet!

Knocking at each door, I’d step back from the entrance, respectfully social distancing at 6 feet away. Some residents peeked from behind their blinds to see who was knocking then pretend not to see me. That’s okay, Lord, encounter them with YOUR love; I would pray.

Then I knocked at ‘his’ door. The blanket hanging over the window moved to the side. I knew the person inside the mobile home saw me. Will he answer; or hide like others, asking myself the question. But as I heard each lock on the door unlatch, my heart was overwhelmed with humility. One, two, three locks were on this door. The man behind the door struggled to open it. “Do I help, or let him continue to struggle?” Unsure how to respond, I stood there, hoping my smiling eyes would be noticed since the mandatory mask covered my mouth.

The door opened ever so slightly. A frail-looking man peered at me nervously. I could tell his eyes had not experienced the sunlight for some time, as he squinted at me. I noted that his arms were tiny, and his face looked pale. Lack of nutrients or the lack of being outdoors? I was unsure of the answer. I greeted him and shared that meals will be handed out the following Thursday for children ages 4-18. Almost afraid to talk, he said, “Oh, no children live here.” And he closed the door.

My heart sunk. I wanted to engage with this man a little more. I wanted to let him know that he is loved and valued. I couldn’t help but think about the courage it took to open his door in the first place, let alone engage in an oh so brief conversation with me; suddenly, I was fighting tears.

Papa, it’s painful to see with your lenses. People are hurting and afraid. I want to do so much more for him, I thought to myself.

But then, this dropped in my heart. “My daughter – he came into the light. You carry My light. And for a brief moment, tormenting darkness fled him, and he felt my love. Thank you for doing this today. I knew I could trust you to share me with him.”

That moment, and his face, is forever etched in my heart. And I lift this man in my prayers. Maybe, just maybe him opening the door to me will begin his journey of walking into HIS Light.

His Hands

Have you ever sat back and watch how a toddler explores the world? Have you ever thought, what goes through their little minds when they experience the feeling of grass for the first time or sand between their toes?

When my children were just toddlers, they would occasionally climb up into their daddy’s lap as he sat in his recliner. He worked many hours back in those days, so they didn’t get the chance to do this too often.

Once situated comfortably, they would reach for his hands and hold them in theirs. Not saying too much, they would study his hands, looking down at how big and strong his fingers were compared to theirs. I thought to myself; Do they understand how much work those hands do to provide for them?

Read more… “His Hands”

I was thought of.

I think of myself as an adventurous person even though I am a small-town gal. I don’t have a problem going on road trips to new places by myself [or even with my little brother]. Though I do admit, I don’t like driving after dark in unknown areas.

I look forward to traveling to new parts of the United States this year, as well as another country. The people are the most interesting to me. If I could throw out my watch and not have to keep a schedule, I would talk to every person I meet, asking them to tell me something about themselves. In my heart, I feel everybody is my friend. Even in passing along the sidewalk I will say hello, making eye contact with them.

Read more… “I was thought of.”

Giving myself permission

What is that sound? I thought to myself as I tried to figure out where the head of my bed is. Somehow the position of my body was farther down the mattress than normal. Once I figured out where I had to reach, I grabbed at the floor to find my phone to turn off the alarm clock.

Right away, I start with my morning routine. Let the dogs out, get a glass of water and take my vitamins, start the coffee, and then turn the hall light on so not to shock my husband Bob awake [sometimes he turns the hall light on so I can get a few minutes longer in bed].

Getting lost in my thoughts; I think about the discussions at BSSM class the night before. Wanting to finish my reading assignment, that should have been done, I pick up my book to read a few lines before carrying on with my morning list of things. But I then figured I should get Bob’s lunch I place the book down on the countertop and proceed to get his food around. Read more… “Giving myself permission”