Awkward Sunday Morning Syndrome

Ahhhhk-ward! I can so relate to this! Well said my friend! ❤

bringingback

“Oh, wait, you find greeting time during the church service awkward too?! I thought I was alone in that!” And so began a close friendship of a band of sisters who had known each other on a surface-level for years as church members but had never really known each other. We each struggled with seeing familiar faces every Sunday but not really, deep-down knowing them. Why? Because we avoided. We retreated within ourselves when it was time to connect with others. But when we connected, we began to realize that we are all very much the same, struggling with fears, expectations, and sins while seeking to love and be loved.

Awkward Greeting Time” (the title we jokingly gave this part of the church service which is dedicated to introducing ourselves to others), is for some, well, awkward. Yet it is one of many opportunities to connect on any given…

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God Shoes

Allow me to introduce you to Isaiah.
If you spend any length of time with our boy Isaiah (yes–even a second!) you’ll find a little boy with passion for life so big that even his body just can’t contain it! Joy flaps from his fingertips as he studies his American Flags (this is a daily thing around our house) wiggling in the wind. He runs to the patio window every morning just in time to see the first sliver of sun peeking over the trees, and each night with nose pressed on the living room window (yes…we have smudge city on my windows!) and no matter how many sunsets he sees, shouts, “WOW isn’t it beautiful?!?” He loves with remarkable abandon and is a cheerleader for many.
Isaiah hasn’t had the picture perfect life. He received an autism spectrum diagnosis as a tiny tot (which in itself is an entirely consuming life challenge for him), is legally blind in one eye, has delayed speech…and probably the biggest blow he has has to overcome is the loss of his momma when he was just three. While he may not have fully understood at the time what was happening in his world, he still knew how to have great joy in the midst of trials. He has since had to adjust to having a lot of new things…a new step-momma (who by the way is absolutely wildly in love with him and his daddy!), starting 5 new schools, 2 major moves, new church, new doctors, new extended family, new routines…for a kid who loves structure and predictability, he is quite a walking miracle!
In the past couple of years, we noticed that Isaiah’s tippy toe walking wasn’t flattening out as some thought it would. He walked and ran on the tips of his toes for years (quite a common trait for children with autism) and it seemed as though walking or standing with heels to the ground was very painful for him. We learned some stretches to help loosen the muscles in his legs and calves, but nothing seemed to really be working. We had been researching several methods for treatment, but they were far to costly, too invasive or too risky. We would often pray for guidance on what to do, but nothing ever seemed to surface. At Isaiah’s 7 year old check up, I shared my concern (as I often did) with the physician and in my heart was expecting the same response from various medical and mental health practitioners that I often did, “Just tell him to walk on his flat feet and reward him when he does” “Get high top sneakers” “he will grow out of it”…but this time, the doctor took a moment and she said, “I’ll write you a referral for a hospital that pays for everything. I believe they may be able to help.”
Fast forward. Isaiah was evaluated by the medical team at Shriner’s Hospital and prescribed a non-surgical treatment called, “Serial casting.” 4 casts on both feet to the knee, and every 2 weeks his feet would be adjusted slightly and re-casted until he could be casted with his feet at a 90 degree angle. He went through the treatment just recently and it worked! We were overwhelmed with joy watching for the first time as Isaiah walked “heel-toe-doe-si-doe” (a little phrase we used to encourage him to walk flat footed) through the hallways of Shriner’s hospital!

While he was walking on his flat feet, we noticed that Isaiah was crouching his knees as he walked and we shared our concern with the doctor at Shriner’s. She prescribed him some leg braces, but we didn’t realize at the time that he would have to get some new shoes, new boots…etc to be able to walk in his braces. We could have searched the thrift stores or asked around, but the day came that he was getting the new braces and still didn’t have the shoes! I decided to pray that very morning. “Father, Isaiah really needs some shoes. This isn’t a surprise to you, and we ask that you would show us the right pair of shoes. You are our provider and I trust you will give Isaiah what he needs.” We went to the fitting appointment for the braces and when we tried to fit his regular shoes around the braces, they didn’t fit. My heart sunk as I knew this was a legit need we just couldn’t afford that week. The gal who made the braces saw the struggle we had trying to fit the shoes over the braces and asked Isaiah’s shoe size. She said, I’ll go trim those braces down a bit more–that should help. But when she returned with his braces, she also brought a pair of size 1 extra wide brand new SHOES! “We don’t ever give shoes away, but we just so happened to have this pair in his size that was donated!”

God cares so much about our needs and even our desires. He is the giver of all good things and makes certain we have all that we need. He knows we could’ve easily scoured second hand shops (any thrifters out there?!? Oh yea!!!!) to find something that could work, or ask around to borrow from someone else. And sometimes He reminds us that He loves it when we trust Him and ask Him for what we need so that He can put brand new size 1 extra wide shoes on the feet of an amazing little warrior.

God shoes. I’m so thankful for Isaiah’s God shoes.

As surely as the new day dawns
We can see Your hand provide
Faithful One is who You are
You have never left our side
You enter into the darkness of night
You bring new mercies,
our daily light.

Peace & Giggles ,
Ginger

What stinks?!

For years I wore a luxurious bubble-gum pink robe most winter mornings. It felt like what I imagined being blanketed in fluffy a cloud felt like, wrapped up in a warm hug. This robe was so decadent to my senses and I never noticed any unpleasant scent when wearing this robe. It had been washed on occasion, but didn’t really need to be washed often since I just wore it over my clothes like a blanket for added snuggly warmth. My husband, however, would often turn his head in agony at the putrid aroma that hit his nose. “Honey your robe smells awful!!!” Recently, he even went to the store and purchased me a brand new robe for our anniversary (even nicer than the one I had worn and loved for years) to replace my “stinky” one. In fact our son had gone shopping with Steve and when they came home he said, “mommy, we got you a new robe!” Little did he know it was supposed to be a secret 🙂 Anyway, I never could smell anything wrong with the robe…even with my nostrils pressed deep into the silky fibers…didn’t smell anything remotely bad…just pure bliss! But ask Steve & he couldn’t handle one whiff! After I took the tags off the new one, he marched the old one out to the trash to be carried away by the garbage truck!

I got to thinking about the “stinky” robe…how it relates to the things in our life that “stink.” Some of those things that stink could be gossip, addictions, bad attitudes, bitterness, complaining…you know…all those things that we get so comfortable with and become part of our daily life. Unfortunately, these habits and attitudes may actually cause us to be completely repulsive to others, or even worse…we drag others into that mess with us and like Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch, we find ourselves living in TRASH!

Awhile back I had a job where I would go into people’s homes to do paperwork. One home in particular smelled so awful to me upon the first inhale that I began to gag uncontrollably!!! The owner of was talking to me and carrying on as though she couldn’t smell a thing, but I had toxic tears streaming down my cheeks because I could barely breathe without gagging! About an hour had passed and the rottten smell continued to consume me! I tried to suck it up and hide the fact that her house smelled like a vat of rotten sewage with a side of a herd of dead mice, but the heaves continued to consume by body. She didn’t even seem to notice because it was her COMFORT ZONE!

We may not even realize we stink or think we do, but when a close friend or loved one starts to gag in our presence, it could be a tell-tale sign that something has gotta go in our lives.  All too often we LOVE the comfort of our stinky sin, don’t we? When we wrap ourselves in the “comfort” of sin…perhaps because the pain of change is worse than the pain of staying in our stinky sin! It may be those seemingly less “stinky” sins that we don’t recognize readily that keep us in the sludge…talking about the neighbors behind their backs, continuing to watch the TV shows or movies that send our conviction-o-meters soaring, holding on to unforgiveness…the list could go on and on. But how do we know if our heart stinks? What if we don’t find anything wrong with what we are doing? The best way to determine our freshness is not through our own sniff test, but through the inspection of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s take a look at a man who did just that…one of my favorite players in history is King David. Anointed as king as a young boy, God saw that he was fit for the job because he had a heart after God.  But as time went on, the lure of sin drew his heart far from God. King David allowed the sin in his life to take the place of his love and reverence for God. It wasn’t long, and his heart was filled with murder and adulterous lusts that was keeping him from the path that God had for him. Nathan the prophet came to King David in 2 Samuel 12:1-4 and in a nutshell, dumped out the trash of King David’s downward spiral direction. If you’ve read this story before, maybe you remember how he responded when he realized what he had done? He said in vs. 13, “I have sinned against the Lord.” When we choose to live in a comfort zone of ish, we can either stay there, or we can ask for God to forgive us, cleanse us and move along into greater victories! Way to Go King David!

Take a look at how King David chose to respond as the reality of the trash in his heart came to a head. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

King David asked for God’s searchlight to shine on his heart and see if there was anything putrid or offensive in his heart towards his King, God the Father! King David went directly to the ONE who could not just Febreeze the fabric of his heart to cover the smell, but to truly give him a clean and new heart.

God wants to do that for all of us today! Each and every day start by asking God to search your heart and let you know if there is anything that smells rotten to Him. When He shows you what needs to go, confess it as sin, and be ready to receive forgiveness from Him! When that sin is confessed and we turn away from it, get ready to be robed in His fuzzy pink righteousness (ok, that’s a stretch…, I know…) and walk in a greater and sweeter relationship!

Would you pray with me?

Heavenly Father, I want my heart to be a pleasing aroma to you…a heart that you love to dwell in. Please search my heart now, and show me if there is anything there that needs to be taken out to the trash. (Take a moment and just listen….what is God nudging you to get rid of?) Please create in me a clean heart, O God! Renew me and help me to stand strong for you in this dark world with a heart that burns with love for you. Thank you for cleansing me, and giving me a new heart today! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Peace and Giggles to you! ❤

Ginger