Salt

saltRecently a friend was going through a difficult time in her family life. As we spoke she made the statement, “I need the community of believers right now. I need to worship with others. I have prayed, read and listened on line to worship, but I just need to experience Jesus with skin on.”

A few days later I learned that some women from her prayer group had kidnapped her and taken her out to dinner. They laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for her and simply loved her. When we spoke again she sounded very different. She had been with believers, not in a church service, but in a restaurant where they laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for each other and my friend was restored in her spirit. Her situation had not changed, but her total outlook had been refreshed and she had the courage and strength to go on.

I was reminded that years ago I made bread. I had put in the yeast, the flour, honey and oil. I had kneaded it and it rose and became five beautiful loaves of bread. The aroma filled the house and I sliced a piece right away. I watched as the butter melted and mixed with the honey on this delicious looking, amazing fresh hot bread, straight from the oven.

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WELL YUK!!! What was wrong with this bread?!

I had forgotten to add the salt. I had baked five beautiful loaves of bread. And I threw away five beautiful loaves of bread.

No salt.

Jesus told us we were to be the salt of the earth. My friend had all the ingredients to walk through this pain. She had the Word. She had the Spirit. She had Prayer. But sometimes we all just need a little salt to complete the recipe. We need the salt to make the bread of adversity  palatable. We need the salt to help us share the load so we can grasp hold of the hand of the Lord and just keep walking forward.

We all need a little salt sometimes. And at other times, we need to BE the salt. The Lord told us to bear each others burdens. The Book of Proverbs tells us that when one falls the other can lift him up.  Building community with other believers in so important in our lives. God created community in the garden. Jesus walked in community with his disciples. We were created for community. We need each other.

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So go and be salt to your world!

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A Little Texas Boot

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“It’s just a little Texas boot Christmas ornament.” Tom said as he placed it in my hands at the Fort Worth Cattle Stockyard.

img_1392-1We were visiting our friends in Arlington, Texas, and they wanted us to see ‘the real Texas’ just like in the olden days. A cattle drive at the FW Stockyard.

The smells, the sounds took me back to a time in my childhood and I remembered my daddy’s beautiful red cows with snowy white faces. It was a big day in the tiny village of Walthall when he moved the cows from one pasture to another. Anyone who could ride a horse joined in the fun.

But the best day of all was the Cattle Sale. Daddy would round up the calves to take them to theimg_1411 sale, and many times my older sister, Chalie, got to go with Daddy. She came back talking about the auctioneer and how he rattled off words so fast it sounded like a he was yodeling. She ate hot dogs and drank Coca-Colas for lunch. Oh, My! It sounded like a grand day. I was assured that one day I’d be old enough to go to the sale too.

That day finally arrived. All week, Daddy had said I could go with him. My excitement soared as I tried to decide how many hot dogs I could eat, and for sure at least two Coca-Colas.

Early that morning I could hear the heifers lowing as Daddy loaded the calves into the trailer. My day had arrived. I ran out to be sure he didn’t forget me, but Mama stopped me at the door. She told me that one of Daddy’s friends showed up and wanted to load a couple of his own calves with Daddy’s and there would not be enough room for me in the truck. I must stay home this time.

Crushed. Disappointed. Shattered. Those words hardly scratch the surface of my wounded heart. I ran to my room, crawled under a table and cried and cried and cried. Mama was so sweet to me that day, knowing how disappointed I was. When Daddy came home he brought me a present, but somehow it just didn’t make a difference any more. I had missed the big event. And life moved on.

I don’t remember dwelling on it, but for years I noticed a huge fear of disappointment. It seemed that the pain of disappointment for me was a little out of proportion. At a restaurant, if my order was incorrect I would be so upset I could hardly eat. Or if someone didn’t fulfill a promise, I was deeply wounded. Rationally I knew this was ridiculous and I was always asking myself, “What is wrong with me?”

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And then Tom Schleuter placed a little Texas boot in my hand. Suddenly tears came to my eyes and I could hardly talk as I felt the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. This little boot was a gift from my Heavenly Father.

I heard that gentle voice speaking tenderly to my heart. “Your Daddy didn’t realize how disappointed you were that day. He had a job to do, herding cows to the sale, and he did it. But I saw every tear under that table. I saw and I grieved for you.”

“I am a good Father, Ruthie.” He continued. “I have brought you to the most famous sale of all: The Fort Worth, Texas Cattle Stockyard! It doesn’t get much better than this one. Spend this delightful day with me watching the people have a good time; listen to the music of guitars; see the sidewalk bronze stars like Wild Bill Hickok; breathe in the smell of the cows and horses. This is our day together at the Sale. Enjoy this day to the max! Release the pain of that little girl crying under the table. I’ve waited a long time to bring you to the best cattle sale of all.”

After that trip to Texas, I took a morning alone time with my Father. Oh what a delightful  time remembering every step of that day at the Stockyard. I laughed, I cried, I praised and I worshiped as I held that little boot. I realized once again how specific our heavenly Father is and how extravagantly he loves us. There is never one tear wasted, nor hurt so small that he does not notice. I had actually forgotten that day under the table, but my Father had not. When Tom placed that little boot in my hand it all came rushing back, every detail so vivid, but no disappointment. What joy to see how my Father remembered all the details and met every expectation of my heart.

Since that time I realize that when I am disappointed, it just doesn’t hurt quite so deeply.

After all, my Dad took me to the Cattle Sale at the Fort Worth Texas Stockyard and healed my heart.

And I have the boot to prove it!

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Thanks, Tom.

 

Broken Cups, Broken Dreams, Broken Hearts

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During Christmas I enjoy drinking out of my Christmas cups, a different one each day. I try to post it on Face book along with a thought for the day. Some days just a happy thought, other days a prayer. This has been a fun practice for the past two years. When I read the comments I feel like I’m having coffee with a friend.

This year we are in the middle of a major home renovation so there is no Christmas tree or decorations amid the sheetrock, tile and flooring waiting to be installed. But I do have my cups out, sharing coffee each morning with my FB friends.

As I was unpacking my cups placing them in my new, freshly painted cabinets I dropped one. Gazing at the broken pieces, this thought came to my heart: “Broken cups, broken dreams, broken hearts.”IMG_0170

I can glue a Christmas cup back together. In Hallmark movies Santa fixes broken dreams. But in reality there is only one who can mend a broken heart, give us a new dream and if so inclined even glue a cup back together. His name is Jesus. In fact, the real purpose of Christmas is to mend the greatest heartbreak and greatest dream of all. The heart that was broken in a garden long ago when Adam and Eve made a wrong choice and the dream that was dashed for a hope and a future with Him. God’s heart, God’s dream was broken.

His dream was for us to live eternally with Him in intimate relationship just like what he had with Adam in the very beginning.

But as he looked down on us and saw the brokenness, He had already made a way to mend hearts and renew His dream for us. Jesus Christ, His Son, slain from the foundation of the world. And so the plan for the first Christmas was set in motion. The choice was made. His Son would make a way for God and man to dare to dream again.

In incremental, well-planned steps God began to blow gently on the dreams of the world with words and pictures.

The covering in the garden.

The ram in the bush.

The Lamb’s blood on the door.

The Lamb, without spot or blemish, sacrificed at Yom Kippur to take away the sin of the world.

Ruth and Boaz: Restoration through the Kinsman Redeemer

Isaiah: “A virgin shall conceive….”

Jeremiah: “He will give you a hope and a future!”

The Angels to the Shepherds, “The Lamb has been born. Your Kinsman Redeemer is here!”

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And in the stillness of night in a stable, cold and dark, God’s most excellent dream was birthed into the Earth. The Lamb, without spot or blemish, was born and wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inn.

Thirty years later Jesus Himself announced, “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.” He heals broken hearts so that you can dare to dream again.

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It’s time to dream again

So dream big this Christmas! Your heart healer and dream maker has come!

Merry Christmas!