THE WAY SHE SHOULD GO

By Lisa Huddleston

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

My dear husband and I are the parents of three young adult children—and the house parents of a fourth.  Our front door has become a revolving one with people coming and going at all times of the day and night.  Often now, we simply go to our room and close the doors to find some sanctuary and refuge for discussion.  But think that stops them?  Oh no.  Last night, as Chuck and I were deep in discussion and lying in bed in our pajamas, we were accosted by two of our kids.  One busting in to reveal her new acquisition of the day—a tiny stud in the side of her cute little upturned nose.  The other to tell us the stress of his final weeks of school among other interesting (and equally stressful) items.  Gotta love ‘em, but sometimes we think, “Did you even see that the door was closed?”  Still, I can’t help delighting in their enthusiasm to share their lives with us—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And what was last night’s news?  Good, bad, or ugly?  Well, I guess it depends upon whom you ask, but I found myself smiling over all of it.  As my lovely girl leaned close to my sleepy eyes to reveal the tiny nose ring—which by the way she says was an engagement ring in the Old Testament discovery of Isaac’s bride—she smiled with such happiness.  She popped up from the side of my bed and said, “This just feels like me!” and almost skipped out of the room.  Ha!  Good words to hear, despite her poor daddy’s distress.  She is happy to be herself.  Artsy, creative, unique, and utterly delightful.  I am certain that God was also smiling at his precious girl.  My heart is still charmed by her joy.

Oh to be that free.  To take delight in whom God made me to be and to see him smile as I skip with joy in that freedom.  And it is for freedom that Christ has made me free.  No, not everyone will see this cosmetic addition as I do, but it fills me with pleasure.  We have trained her in the way she should go.  And she is happy with who she is.  Well done!  Oh yes, well done!

As I kicked Chuck under the sheets, his sweet daddy’s heart tried his very best to see it in her eyes.  And I know that he will.  He loves her for herself.  I am so thankful that she does as well.

SPURRED ON

By Lisa Huddleston

“And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25).

I know it is Monday morning—not my typical day for writing and definitely not the specified day for church attendance, but I just left a sweet gathering of two or more who were assembled together to spur each other on in his name.  Definitely a congregation of souls doing what he calls us to do as a church.  Probably more specifically my friends were there to spur me on, but I can hope that it was a mutually encouraging event.  Or at least that I can be there for them on another day.

And, boy, did I feel spurred on.  These girls can walk!  I tried my best to keep up with them, but I was sweating and breathing hard to do so.  It reminded me of the time my daughter was accidentally placed in a heat at a swim meet that was much faster than she normally swam.  However, she made her best time ever spurred on by those other girls and her own pride.  Yep, I felt just the same as she must have.  But, hey, I am the oldest of the group.  I do turn fifty this week.  And they do walk and exercise quite a bit.  All excuses aside though, they really got me moving. 

And isn’t that what we are supposed to do for one another?  Challenge.  Encourage.  Spur on—ouch!  Walk alongside another who may be struggling.  We know it is.  But how often do we actually do it?  I just wanted to take a minute this morning to say thank you to the two sweet souls who surrounded me and encouraged me through an hour of stretching and growing.

I smiled as I got in my car, and they continued on another mile (or who knows how many more).  I am blessed by Christ in them.  And I feel encouraged.

RENEWAL

Pink and White Dogwood Trees Lexington Kentucky

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Today is a bad day

Actually the day itself is beautiful

The sun is shining and the spring green of the grass is almost painful to behold

Purple, pink redbuds are fading away and the white popcorn dogwoods are taking their place

It is a beautiful day

 

But today is a bad day

I can’t feel the joy of the color or the melodies of the songbirds

I am wrapped in a gray cloud that muffles my senses and separates me from the joy

With fat sausage fingers in my ears and a musty stained pillow over my eyes

I cannot receive the message of spring

Green, yellow, and purple notes sing, “New life, new life!”

But I am stuck with the old

Old failures, old mistakes, just plain getting old and graying and wrinkling away

 

I hear my deep, deep sigh and laugh at my self-pity

The ridiculousness of my condition

I am surrounded by blessings

By family, by friends, by beauty, by love

And I stay wrapped in the smelly gray blanket of despair

 

My choice, my fault, my sin—it must be so

 

Oh, Lord, unwrap me as you would a gift

Tear from me the layers that cover the truth of who you made me to be

Like Eve in the garden, stand me bare before you and show me that I, too, am very good

Even I

And then clothe me in your love

HELP!

By Lisa Huddleston 

“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears” (Psalm 18:6).

You probably know some people like this. When they are sick, they say, “Oh no, I don’t need anything. Thanks anyway.” Sometimes even offers of prayer or kind words are turned away as though they somehow make the person weak or beholden to the giver. These people have a “do it myself” attitude. How do I know so much about these folks? I know, because I am one. Even when I had surgery several years ago and had three small children at home, I wouldn’t ask for help. I could handle it on my own even though the pain was unbearable.

But lately, I haven’t been able to handle everything on my own. Call it stress or anxiety or whatever the latest terminology for “freaking out” is, whatever it is, I’ve been its grip. Yes, I have allowed myself to become pretty busy lately. I’m coaching, writing, teaching, and going to school. But what’s the big deal? I can handle it. Well, I can almost handle it. Well, some days I can. However, on the days I can’t, things haven’t been so great.

And, because of my stress and my “advancing years,” my dear doctor husband has been nagging me to go to my internist for a physical. So last week was it. Two doctor’s visits, bloodwork, screenings of various uncomfortable kinds. Oh yeah, it was a fun week. By Friday, I had had just about enough of the whole mess. Feeling more stressed than ever, I did something that was entirely out of character for me. I called a friend to go to the doctor with me. No, it wasn’t a big deal, and all she did was sit with me in the waiting room, but it made all the difference in the world. And, most of all, it knocked some much needed sense into my hard, hard head. I NEED HELP! There, I said it. There really are times when I can’t do it all on my own.

Since that request and my friend’s gracious willingness to hold my hand, God has been pouring blessings all around me. Friends have shared encouraging words seemingly out of the blue. I’ve been hugged several times and even received a sweet kiss on the cheek last night after Bible study. Guess he was just waiting for me to ask. I hope it doesn’t take me so long next time.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,

my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,

and I am saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-3)