Category Archives: Bible

A New Heart — A Right Spirit

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“I’m learning the insidious ways of denial.
For myself, I’ve needed to believe I was ‘good’ and did not recognize my ability to fall.
To see my depravity, up close and personal…ugh.”

~Me…from an old comment thread

Maybe it’s a need we all have, to believe we’re better than we are.
To hide from the disappointment and shame of living on this side of Genesis 3.

Our ability to self-deceive is frightening.
Most of the time we don’t even know we’re doing it.
We blame others for the sin in our own lives.
Or, we hide behind coverings of our own making.

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
~Jeremiah 17:9

To begin to see the motivations of the heart is to take a frightening journey into the inner workings of the soul.

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
~Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)

The springs of our lives flow from the heart.
If the heart is deceived and desperately sick, how can the source of our lives be clean?
A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? ~James 3:11

Above all else, guard your heart,
For it affects everything you do.
~Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

The world tells us to follow our hearts.
“If it feels good, do it.”
But our hearts are the problem!

We want what we want when we want it,
and we’ll stop at nothing to get it.

I speak from experience…
Unfortunately.

No one wants to feel pain day-in-and-day-out. We search for something to satisfy. Food. Alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Relationships. Success. Video games. Clothes. Busyness. Anything to make the pain go away for awhile…

We tell ourselves it’s nothing. It won’t hurt to indulge…just a bit.  And before we know it, we’re: obese, alcoholics, addicted to pornography, promiscuous, in an affair, climbing the corporate ladder, walking over anyone to get to the top, spending hours in front of a screen in a fantasy world, buying more and more things to look better, staying busy with anything to stave off the pain…instead of looking for Real Life.

This is the state of our being since the Fall.
We all live on the other side of Genesis 3.
Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Have you ever seen what happens to a leaf when it dries out? That shriveled-up crunchy thing can’t cover nothin’! So what do we do? We gather more and more leaves and sew together our “covering” every day —  maybe many times a day — so people can’t see how very naked we are.

Our “coverings” won’t work.
They are only shriveled-up leaves.

Then…they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

We are cowering behind leaves as we hide from…
What is it we are hiding from?

Our self…each other. The memories…the shame.
And…The Only One who can help us.

They heard the sound of the LORD God …
and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God …

Are you hiding?

Are you ashamed when thoughts come to mind?

Is your covering not really covering anything?

Our hearts are deceptively wicked.
We need new hearts.
We need a perfect covering.

“If you only knew the gift God has for you
and who I am,
you would ask Me, and I would give you living water.”
~Jesus
(John 4:10)

Do you want a new heart…one that has clean water pouring forth?
Do you desire The Living Water of God?
Do you want Jesus?

Here’s a prayer of repentance you can pray.
He is faithful and just and will forgive you of all your sins.

He will give you a new heart.

Have mercy on me, O God, because of Your loyal love!
Because of Your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts!
Wash away my wrongdoing!
Cleanse me of my sin!
For I am aware of my rebellious acts;
I am forever conscious of my sin.
Against You – You above all – I have sinned;
I have done what is evil in Your sight.
So You are just when You confront me;
You are right when You condemn me.
Look, I was guilty of sin from birth,
a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.
Look, You desire integrity in the inner man;
You want me to possess wisdom.
Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure;
wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven!
May the bones You crushed rejoice!
Hide Your face from my sins!
Wipe away all my guilt!
Create for me a pure heart, O God!
Renew a right spirit within me!
~Psalm 51:1-10

Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I will give him will become in him
a well of water springing up to eternal life.
~Jesus
(John 4:14)

Mysteries Revealed

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God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
So that no one might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus,
Who became for us wisdom from God,
And righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
In order that, as it is written,
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
~from 1 Corinthians 1

Know this first of all,
That in the last days mockers will come with their mocking,
Following after their own lusts, and saying,
“Where is the promise of His coming?
For ever since the fathers fell asleep,
All continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice
That by the word of God the heavens existed long ago
And the earth was formed out of water and by water,
Through which the world at that time was destroyed,
Being flooded with water.

But by His word
The present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire,
Kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved,
That with the Lord one day is like a thousand years,
And a thousand years like one day.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness,
But is patient toward you,
Not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
~from 2 Peter 3

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men:
“See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
To execute judgment upon all,
And to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds
Which they have done in an ungodly way,
And of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts;
They speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand
By the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ
That they were saying to you,
“In the last time there will be mockers,
Following after their own ungodly lusts.”
These are the ones who cause divisions,
Worldly-minded,
Devoid of the Spirit.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith,
Praying in the Holy Spirit,
Keep yourselves in the love of God,
Waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
~From Jude

Bands of Love

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Some of the scriptures He has led me to recently:

I took them up in My arms; but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love.
I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks.
I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea 11:3

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

I know, O LORD, that the way of human beings is not in their control,
that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way; I will guide them down paths they have never traveled. 
I will turn the darkness in front of them into light, and level out the rough ground. 
This is what I will do for them. I will not abandon them.
Isaiah 42:16 (NET)

But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going.
I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country.
I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.
These are the things I’ll be doing for them–sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.
Isaiah 42:16 (MSG)

He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
Lamentations 3:9 (all of chapter 3…wow!)

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
nor the fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
and the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
and there be no herd in the stalls –
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord is my strength;
He will make my feet like hind’s feet,
And He will make me to walk upon my high places.
~Habakkuk 3:17-19

I’m letting these words sink in.
His bands of love will bind this broken heart.
I will recognize His healing thus far, and ask for courage to continue on the path.

“Follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus. Anywhere He leads me, I will follow.”

Please, continue praying for me.

Staying On Course

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The healing path is not a jaunt in the park. It is a life-rattling, heart-revealing journey that takes us through danger, harm, heartache … The healing path is glorious, but the only way we will stay on course and resist the temptation to flee to safer ground is by comprehending more deeply the assaults and losses we will face on our journey … ~Dan Allender

Resisting the temptation to flee to safer ground…

That’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s the point at which we decide if we really want to be healed.

Does the pain run too deep? Are the ramifications too wide-spread?
Is it possible to truly see the heartache you’ve caused without losing your mind?

To take responsibility for all you’ve caused, through selfish ambition, or loneliness…
Whatever the reason you chose your way, it caused heartache.
For you. For those you love. Maybe, even, for generations to come.
We can’t know how our loved ones will work through their pain.

We each have choices to make when we’ve been hurt. Will you choose to protect yourself? What form of defense mechanism works best to ward off shame? A drink here… an accusation there… a little bit of sugar… a wholelotta control… The choices for repression are about as numerous as the ramifications from your sin.

Denial, blame, control.
Phariseeism, alcoholism, workaholism.
Acting out, drug addiction, isolation.

The list goes on and on …
And the cycle continues …

Will you flee the path of healing, or will you stay on course?
The former might be arrogance or fear; the latter takes humility.

Will you puff up, or bow low?

I’ve been reading Lamentations and James. Both give a picture of grief and repentance that leads to godliness. I’ve had enough of the world’s wisdom. I am tired of lighting my own path and drinking from broken cisterns. I truly want to remain on the path of healing, no matter the cost.

I must face the shame…

“God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.”
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and He will flee from you.

Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.
Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done.
Let there be sorrow and deep grief.
Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on Him,
He will lift you up and give you honor.

James 4:4-10

It seems a bit harsh in today’s world of “easy believism” and “seeker friendly” teaching to talk of sin, adulterers, and hypocrites. Most people run away from such words, feeling it’s condemnation. I don’t see it that way. As difficult as it is to admit, that is what we must deal with every day of our time on earth. Do we love this place more than we love God’s way?

When I see I have chosen to love the world more than God, by choosing a safer path than the one which leads to healing, I need to repent.

And then, times of refreshing may come…

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away,
in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
~Acts 3:19

Rescue Us All

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Do not love the world or the things in the world… the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.

You want to take a headlong dive into destruction?

Sow seeds of destruction and reap the devastation.

I sure wish I didn’t know what that looks like.  I sure wish I had continued to walk the path of righteousness, even when the lust of the flesh appeared better than my temporary circumstances.  I sure wish I had seen the devastation before I went sowing lustful seeds.

The real problem: I did see.

I had read The Word.

I knew what it said about the rewards of sowing to the wind.  You will reap the whirlwind.  You WILL.

And now… on this side of the whirlwind…?  Not much remains of my former life.

Only by His grace do I still live.  I’ve contemplated suicide quite a lot over the past five years.  And, again, this past weekend.

You see, I have known my spiritual gifts are teaching and prophecy.  And I spent much of my life teaching, speaking forth The Truth of God’s Word.  Then, the hard tests of faith became so. much. harder.  I closed the Book.  I told myself I knew enough of what it said… the pit of depression had become so dark, I wouldn’t see the light right beside me… on the nightstand.

Either I forgot the warnings, or didn’t think they’d truly happen to me.

And now, another stands on the precipice… and he’s closing his eyes!

The questions haunt me once again:

What did I do?

Where did it start?

Why can’t he hear?

Who is this precious baby?

Where did he go?

Why God?

WHY?

My heart cries out to a deaf ear…

No.

No.

NO!

HE is NOT deaf.  He hears.  He has spoken.

Will he listen?

Oh, God, please don’t let him close The Book.  Don’t let him forget what he’s learned.  Speak boldly to his heart and mind.  Don’t let him turn away!!  Hold him fast.  Let him stand on the Rock.  Don’t let him sink into the muck of sin, the mire of filth.

Please, God,

Rescue my son!

Rescue us ALL.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life,
is not from the Father, but is from the world.
The world is passing away, and also its lusts;
but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

~I John 2:15-17

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me!!!

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I keep reading about finding myself — knowing who I am and what I want in life. Many of us are in search for answers to life’s hardest questions. We don’t understand what to think in a world of philosophies ready to be grasped. It’s really quite easy…we just need to keep looking among the myriad philosophies of man to find the one that best suits our desires because…really…it’s all about what we desire….right?

I’m feeling nauseous thinking about all the not-so-subtle illusions of creating our own gods.

So many are doing it.
Why can’t I?

Sure. Yes. Go right ahead.
Create your own sacred space.
Commune with the moon…
Be your own voice of wisdom.
Find your own unique path to god because that’s what he told us to do.

Can you see it?
That’s what he told us to do.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God really say, …?”

“You won’t die!” the serpent hissed.
For God knows that in the day you eat it your eyes will be opened,
You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Eat that sweet morsel of forbidden fruit.
Go ahead.
It won’t kill you!

And so we partake. We reach out and look at the beauty of the philosophy we so desperately want to believe is Truth.
But, it’s not. It’s a lie. The oldest of lies.

We are not our own god.
We are not goddesses in need of enlightenment.
We do not need to develop our own sacred space to find peace in this world.

The Sacred is in us.
His Holy Spirit resides in us.

The mystery in a nutshell is just this:

Christ is in you,
therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory.
It’s that simple.
That is the substance of our Message.

So why do we look further?
Why do we try to create beyond The Creator?
Are we still listening to the crafty god?

“My god wouldn’t…
My god says to me…
My god wants me…

That’s not my god, the god I serve wouldn’t say  fill in the blank…”

Go ahead,
Choose the god you desire,
but know this:

The God of the Universe is not bound by us.
We do not get to create Him in our image.
He created us, not the other way around.

Get to know Him.
He revealed Himself from Genesis to Revelation.
He has sent His Word for us to see The Truth.

So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.

At the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue will confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is our Sacred Space.

In Him all the fullness of God dwelled in bodily form.

Through His Spirit we have become partakers of the Divine Nature.

In no other god will you find Life.

The Grace of Catastrophe

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After seeing my favorite opera on the Big Screen yesterday,  “Les Miserables,” I have been singing Fantine’s song and thinking of Jean Valjean’s choices in life.  I read Les Miserables while taking a Humanities course in college.  I fell in love with Jean Valjean, if it’s possible to love a fictitious character.  He is a type of Christ, being willing to step into our mess and carry us through to life (think sewer scene here).  So many fantastic metaphors in that story!  No wonder, outside of the Bible, we’re told Les Miserables is the next favorite story of God’s redemptive power. 

It brought to mind this article I’d bookmarked months ago.  What happens when life becomes messy?  Does grace cover catastrophe?  Oh, yes!  Read on, if you need some insight. THIS is what we can learn, if willing, through the messiness of life:

Life in the Midst of Mess

Jan Winebrenner

What We Really Believe

A. W. Tozer wrote, “The difference between a great Christian life and any other kind lies in the quality of our religious concepts . . . i.e., what we think of God, what we believe about Him.”

Nothing so challenges us to examine what we believe about God like catastrophe.

That our idea of God corresponds as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. . . . Often only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.

We face difficulty, and we have to ask:
Do we really believe God is strong and faithful?
We face pain and illness, and we wonder:
Is He as good as I’ve always been told to believe?

Death comes, and weeping, and we ask: Is heaven a reality? Is prayer effective? Does God really hear? The struggles and disasters of our lives prompt us to ask these questions, and dozens more. Every tragedy, every crisis, offers us this:

It can be a means of grace—an instrument used by God by which we can cease floating passively on all manner of external attractions. It is by the grace of catastrophe that people sometimes come to themselves and see what is before them as if for the first time. Catastrophe can, like a mighty wind, blow away the abstracting veils of theory and ideology and enable our own sovereign seeing.  ~Eugene Peterson

It is the testimony of the ancients, as well as contemporary saints, that the greatest lessons of faith have been learned against the backdrop of suffering. The theology we say we believe takes root in soil watered by tears and bears fruit in lives characterized by peace and righteousness, lives that delight in the person of God Himself.

The “grace of catastrophe” comes through in places where our theology is tested, our faith forged, our knowledge of God made personal and practical, and our love for Him impassioned.

On the Brink

John Piper wrote, “Every moment in every circumstance we stand on the brink between the lure of idolatry and the delight of seeing and knowing God.”

Our stance is never more precarious than when we are in pain
—any kind of pain.
The voice of God whispers in our souls, “Love Me, worship Me, trust Me.”

But His soft words are hard to hear over the raucous voices in our culture and in our own hearts—voices that shout at us to berate God, to ignore Him and move on in search of other comforts, if there be any—any that don’t wear off after a few minutes or hours.

Still, Jesus calls us to come close, to cuddle in His love and rest in the certainty of His goodness and His sovereign power. He invites us to take comfort in all that He has promised to be to us—savior, friend, healer, lover.

This is the challenge we face with each day as we step out into life.

Will we seek God and take our refuge in Him
when our path is littered with broken dreams?
Or will we turn elsewhere?

We have only these two options when catastrophe strikes. If we choose God, then catastrophe becomes for us a special grace-gift, ushering us into the place where we can experience God in ways we never before imagined. We find ourselves poised on the brink of life’s greatest discovery:

that God is the ultimate presence in the universe, and that knowing Him, interacting with Him, by faith, is more satisfying, more exhilarating than anything the human heart ever hoped for or imagined.

(Go here to read more…)

You Found Me…HOW?!?

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Recent search term:

having freckles means you can speak with God

Seriously?!?
Seriously?
(in your best Meredith Grey voice)

Yeah, seriously.
It’s good for a giggle,
I suppose.

Except,
I went to church this past Sunday and heard a fantastic sermon on favoritism in the Body.
Jesus is against it,
in case you didn’t know…

In Christ’s family there can be no division into
Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.
Among us you are all equal.
~Galatians 3:28

Within the Body, NO DIVISIONS!!!

NO racism:

no division into Jew or non-Jew.

NO social or class standing:

 no division into slave or free.

NO chauvenism or feminism:

no division into male or female.

NO favoritism because — get this, it’s really good — we are ALL His favorite.

ALL
Every last one of us.
With or withOUT freckles!
(I’m letting that one sink in… )

It’s truth.
He loves me with my freckles.
He loves you without freckles.

You get to speak to Him NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE…

In Christ’s family we are all equal.
It’s an awesome thing to know we are all sons of God according to His promise.
Each of us stands equally as we are clothed in His righteousness.

No matter how you look…

No matter how much money you make…

And no matter your gender…

IN Christ, He listens to you.
In Christ, you’ve got God’s ear.

Speak to Him.
He loves you THE MOST!

You’re His favorite.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ
Have clothed yourselves with Christ.


There is neither Jew nor Greek,
There is neither slave nor free man,
There is neither male nor female;
For you are all one in Christ Jesus.


And if you belong to Christ,
Then you are Abraham’s descendants,
Heirs according to promise.

~Galatians 3:26-29

To hear the complete sermon:
No Favoritism Here

Grace and the Holidays

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Be open and honest about your failures. Let God’s grace wash over you. It  completely transforms you. It lights you on fire and sends you blazing. That’s  where the power comes from. It’s not from you and your ability, it’s from grace.  God’s children need to see it. The people need to see that there is hope for them, too.
Nobody goes through life without knowing they’ve been saved from something  that had every right to destroy them. Don’t set yourself up as someone who is so  far away from that, that it steals the hope of grace from everyone else. Use the  moment of someone’s failure to rejoice about the vibrant display of mercy,  grace, and restoration that God is about to show. That’s when you can really see  Him. It’s the rainbow after the storm. It’s in the eyes of someone who believes  with everything in them that God has a plan for this, too.
~The Follower, Serena Woods, Grace is for Sinners

The holidays are just around the corner.  I haven’t yet decided how to spend any of them.

Our family is broken, due to much sin.
I suppose all families are to a certain extent, it’s just that this is raw for me…
I haven’t made any sense of it in a way that can be told.

I know what I did.
I know what he did.
I know what the consequences have done to us all.
I just don’t have it all compartmentalized… it’s not neatly packaged… yet.

(Will it ever be?)

And I’m afraid of family being judgmental.
I don’t think I can handle anymore judgment.

It’s good to know the One who matters is full of grace and mercy.
It’s just those pesky people He’s created us to live with that are the problem!!  😛
(Tongue in cheek… I know I’m one of the pesky ones, too!)

Why do we do this to one another?
We’ve ALL sinned. Every one of us.
None of us is good, no not one.

I suppose it’s because not all of us believe we’ve sinned “like that!” So we label and categorize and separate one from another. We whisper behind each other’s backs and decide what one must’ve done in the dark… although we have no idea, because we weren’t there and we weren’t told. And we’re shocked! “How could she?!?”

Unfortunately, it was way too easy.
Maybe that’s the issue… ?
Maybe others know how easily they could fall and don’t want the reminder (me) too close to home.
Or maybe… I’m the judgmental one… ???  😯

Whatever may be the problem for the lack of acceptance —
Sin, gossip, fear, judgmentalism, factions, anger, unforgiveness, grudges —
Whatever we may call it, remember, we are to fulfill the law of Christ:  Grace for all.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody. Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
~The Apostle, Paul, Galatians 6:1-5

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.
~The Disciple, Peter, 1 Peter 4:7-10

Freckles and God

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Why don’t people love God?
What’s not to love?!?!?

He created you to be you.
He knit you together in your mother’s womb.
He knew you in the deep, dark recesses of your emergence.
He created your thoughts and your feelings.

And, He freckled you!
He mixed together all the variations of color to make you, YOU!

My frame was not unseen by you when I was made secretly, and strangely formed in the lowest parts of the earth. ~Psalm 139:15 (BBE)

Oh, the first time I heard that He is responsible for all these freckles that COVER my body, I was amazed and finally thankful to understand it was His plan all along!!!?!!!

He was the one to blame for all those years of incessant teasing.
He was the one who decided I needed to be the laughing stock of my classmates.
He was the one who determined I would be explaining my freckles to my students and strangers, my children and their friends, nieces and nephews, and someday, hopefully, grandchildren!! Children notice differences…and the little freckled-faced-red-headed-kid can become the brunt of much teasing, and sometimes, bullying.

My nephew asked the other day if I had freckles everywhere. In response I sang the little ditty,

“She’s got freckles on her but(t) she’s pretty.”

He grinned with embarrassment, knowing the common verse in our family. Thankfully, my mom and dad sang it often to bring a smile to my face after another day of relentless teasing at school. I did realize, to some, my freckles were beautiful.

The first time my son noticed the different colors of people, we were standing in line to get some ice cream. The lady behind us was of African descent and he was impressed with her skin color. He exclaimed,

“Look, Mommy! She’s covered in chocolate.”

His being two years of age and not having any clue of the racial tension such a comment could create, I smiled big and gave her a wink while explaining to my guy,

“Yes, and you’re vanilla. I guess I must be chocolate-chip!”

After years of hating my looks, how did I come to a place of acceptance? I mean, come on people! Haven’t you stared at someone with huge dark freckles — not the little pinprick adorable ones, but the big-splotchy-you-can’t-figure-out-what’s-all-over-her kind — and wondered what you would do if you had to deal with that? I know you have, because I’ve seen the wide-eyed stares all my life and I still get the questions.  Although, thankfully, they’ve faded considerably since my youth.

Once, when I went for a ManiPedi, I noticed the manicurist staring at my arms in confusion. I asked if she had ever seen anyone with so many freckles. Her response:

No. But, I’m not scared.

Wha?!? In that moment, I realized some people may think it’s a disease. (Sigh.) I quickly let her know that I’m not contagious and they wouldn’t rub off, that God had chosen to freckle me in this way. He has a sense of humor and, in His mind, I must be beautiful for He declares through His servant, King David:

I am skillfully and wonderfully made!

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. (NLT)

In the ancient Hebrew it could say:

I was freckled in the dark of the womb.

Wow.
Just wow.
He wrote that verse for me!

I was twenty-eight when I first saw the truth. The Bible teacher had no idea of the amazing affirmation that verse spoke to me. Me!?! One who had questioned His love because of the years of torment I endured. How could I be loved by the God of the Universe when I was so ugly and freakish to those I met day-to-day? Boys, following me home after school, would yell taunts and further humiliate my fragile esteem. Until high school I felt I was the ‘goon’ [Popeye reference] of my class. It had been a word used in reference to me and some words are very hard to erase from the memory.

But, the truth sets you free!

I finally understood what the Creator, our Elohim, had done.  He skillfully wrought me in the depths of my mother’s womb to be the person I am today.  It was an act of creation formed in love.  He knew the purposes and plans He had for me.  He knew what all I would endure over such a silly thing as freckles.  And yet, He moved forward in decorating me just as you see me today.

Still freckled.
Still with a fragile esteem.
Yet, thankful.

I am thankful for the love of the Potter in strangely forming this simple piece of pottery.
It is up to the Potter to determine if a vessel is to be used for honor or shame. 
And, whichever He chooses — knowing the moments of our lives have made us into the people we are today —

It is for His glory.

What’s not to love?!?