Monday, March 25, 2013

Holes n' Souls

My train of thought doesn't make sense. At least not right away. Someone makes a comment that it's cold outside. That comment makes me think of a song. Which makes me think about my piano. Which makes me think about my apartment. Which makes me think about my fridge. Which makes me think about food. So I say to that someone, "I'm hungry". When their original comment had absolutely NOTHING to do with food.... See what I mean.... It's bad.

However, sometimes, my random train of thought has positive and inspirational creative outcomes. A few months back, a friend said to me "I want to be wholly surrendered to God and solely dependent on HIM!" Then this friend said, "You should write a poem about that." Insert Elizabeth's train of thought....

Wholly = Holes --> Solely = Soles --> Shoes = Holes in the Your Soles --> Evangelization

Totally makes sense, right?? I mean, how could I not go there? How could I not go from complete surrender to Jesus to needing to replace your shoes to spreading the Gospel? It is soo obvious....

But, for those of you who are having difficulting connecting the dots, I will digress and explain.

The act of being wholly surrendered to God is one that I strive for on a daily basis. Why I can relate shoes to this idea, is because I want to be wholly surrendered to GO wherever God wants me to go. TALK to whoever He wants. STAY wherever He wants, and BE wherever He wants. All actions that require moving or staying or doing, which in turn requires walking, which requires shoes. See? Completely logical.

So, not only does my heart need to be surrendered, but so do my feet. They are my "transportation" if you will. They get me from point A to point B. And they get me there to complete a purpose. I might not know what that purpose is, but I need to be open and ready when HE shows me. Open and ready to GO.

Now, am I saying that in order to be spirtual and righteous, we need to walk around with our toes poking out of our shoes? No genius, don't be so literal. I am not saying that in order to be surrendered to God, we have to suffer and only use broken and damaged things. Take care of what God has given you. Make sure that your resources are in good repair so that you can use them for Him in their fullest capacity. However, sometimes, we can take the idea of maintenance a little too far.

Perfect shoes without a scratch or tear are not always a sign of good stewardship. Sometimes they signify lack of use. Should you maintain good repair of your "shoes"? Of course. Do not be afraid of a wear and tear to the point that you do not use the resouces He has gifted and entrusted to you. A few holes and scuffs are normal, and they tend to show where your priorities truly are.

"Shoes" is anything God has given you that enables you to share the Gospel (HIM) with other people. "Shoes" could be your car (taking people to church). "Shoes" could be sparkly personality (ability to make friends and influence people). "Shoes" could be a gift for public speaking (preaching, teaching, etc). "Shoes" can be and are different for everyone.

The main thing to remember is this - if you want to be "wholly surrendered and solely dependent", you have to put on your "shoes" and start walking. HE will lead you where HE wants you. And HE will make a way.

Faith in action is passionate about His message, powered by His strength  and produces His life changing results .

Holes and Souls

At the bus stop I did stand, waiting for my ride,
Briefcase in my left hand, young child by my side.

My eyes were quickly glancing at the traffic passing by,
When suddenly I turned and heard my child's heavy sigh.

"What's wrong I asked", with true concern for what might ail his heart.
"It's these old shoes", he moaned and groaned, "They always fall apart."

To the ground, I crouched to look, at his poor tattered “sole.”
The flap was ripped, the edges scuffed and at the toe a “hole.”

I started to assure him, that they could be replaced,
His tattered shoes, no longer, would be to him disgrace.

When from behind we heard it, a voice so soft yet strong,
Stringing words together in a lilting, catchy song.

"The souls of men are sorta like the soles upon our feet,
If we don't tread on them with care, then holes and rips we'll meet"

My son was drawn with fervor, to that quirky little man,
He dropped my hand, with eyes lit up, picked up his feet and ran.

He climbed upon the bench and looked him straight into the eye,
Almost he asked a question, but paused and heaved a sigh.

He sighed again and then a saw a tear crawl down his cheek,
His mouth, it opened once again, this time he did speak.

He asked the man a question, what it was I could not hear,
The old man softly chuckled, then whispered in his ear.

At first, my son looked puzzled, then a little sad,
Because I couldn't hear them, I thought it might be bad.

Then I saw the dear old man, reach down into his sack,
He reached down deeper, deeper still and pulled out something black.

He placed it in my young son's hands, and whispered once again,
The frown it then turned upside down, on his face a grin.

I slowly came beside them, and sat down beside my son,
In his hands, a pair of shoes, I was truly stunned.

Not because he held some shoes, or that they weren't his size,
Because they were all full of holes, much to my surprise.

The old man looked upon my face, then looked down at my boy,
His wrinkled face was smiling, filled with so much joy.

A question burned inside of me, regarding his torn shoes,
How were they supposed to fix my son's case of the blues?

In the distance, we saw the bus, it was nearing fast,
The old man took a long deep breath, his time was almost past.

The shoes upon our feet may wear, the soles all full of holes,
But where they take us, who we meet, those should be our goals.

It's easy to put focus on the soles upon our feet,
And never pay attention to the souls that we might meet.

The holes within our leather soles can easily be sewn,
The holes within their weary souls, only ONE can own.

Our shoes are just an instrument to get us through the day,
But also, they remind us, about our purpose and our way.

Let the tiny rips and tattered heels remind you of the goal,
It's not about the holes or tears, it's all about the souls.

With that he stood, and grabbed his bag, and started on his way,
My son reached out and touched his arm, wanting him to stay.

With tender eyes, he looked into the face of my small boy,
His voice was filled with happiness, his smile filled with joy.

"Keep those shoes, dear little one, hold them safe and fast,
Spread the Word to all lost souls, today might be their last."

With that last word he turned to board and quickly found his seat,
The happy look upon his face was for the people he'd soon meet.

Once again my son did sigh, and turned to look at me,
Instead of sadness in his eyes, it was joy that I did see.

In words that I cannot forget, he said to me that day,
"We really do not need to throw my dear old shoes away"

"They will last a little longer, I can make them last,"
I knew within that moment that his childhood had past.

When we see the souls of men instead of leather soles,
It's then our focus turns and shifts to different kinds of holes.

Not the holes upon our feet, but the hole within our soul,
The one that only HE can fill, sharing that's our goal.

So when we see a worn out shoe, one with a rip or tear,
Remind yourself of another hole and the message we must share.

-Elizabeth Alm
March 20, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

They Come In 3's

I was at work today. And all day I was wishing that I wasn't at work. Why you ask? Um, because it is Friday. Because tomorrow I get to sleep in. Because I have an avocado waiting for me at home. Really, don't ask such ridiculous questions.

My Grandma Betty always used to say that things happened in 3's - both good and bad. In a lot of respects, she was correct in her outlook on life. Because, let's face it, it is either 'third time's the charm' or 'three strike's you're out.' Not with everything, obviously, but it does make some sense that because we have a trinitarian God, groups of threes are not uncommon (repeating number sequences in the Bible are especially fascinating to me, btw).

Back to things happening in threes. Typically, I am so quick to count the first two strikes, and hold my breath for the third. Yet, I very rarely count my blessings with the same anticipation. 

However, today I did. Today I had three blessings. If I were to analyze my day, then I probably had more than three. But three in particular stood out to me. Yes, I am going to tell you about them. And yes, they are awesome! I am not going to dwell long on the first two, not because they are unimportant, but because the third one was so awesome! And I cannot wait to tell you about it!

Blessing #1 - I drank a fabulous green juice today. Do not judge me or think this blessing is stupid, lol. I had money to buy it, a car to go pick it up and the knowledge that it can help me. Therefore it is a blessing! Also, I feel stinking AMAZING after I drank it, so that is also lumped in with the whole "juice blessing"!

Blessing #2 - I won a prize. Today at work we had a benefit'a fair for the employees. I wasn't going to go. I went. I wasn't going to enter the drawing for a prize. I did. I told myself that I never win stuff. Yet I did. Was it by chance that I won? Possibly. But what wasn't by chance was that on the prize table was worship CD I really wanted. That same CD was still sitting there when I got the call that I won a prize. Only Jesus knew I wanted the CD. And that is why is was such a blessing. My Father knows that music is my language, and He was speaking it to me. But He didn't stop with the CD, He kept going!

Blessing #3 - I stopped off in her (one of my residents) room to deliver a card. As I placed the card on her dresser, I noticed a framed piece of sheet music hanging on the wall. It was a song written by her, about Jesus. I walked back to my desk and noticed her watching tv. Man, I wanted to hear that song. I walked over to her, stooped beside her chair and asked her about it. Her face lit up, and she told me that she had written many songs.She started singing one for me. Not the one on the wall, but the one she chose was specifically what I needed. Her soft, warbly, trembling voice sent chills down my back. The words of the song sent even more chills. The line that stood out to me the most was, "Lord, make my life a blessing to bless someone today, Make my life a lighthouse to light somebody's way." She sang it to me twice. (cute!)

Then she started telling me about using her voice for Jesus - singing in nursing homes and praising "her" Jesus. "Hallelujah" flew so freely from her lips in praise and adoration for her Saviour. She said something that I want to hold onto for awhile, "If the Lord gives you even the smallest bit of talent, give it to Him - He will use it!" This hit me, because so often my prayer is "Lord, help me to use my talent for you." I realized that isn't what He wants. He just wants the talent. It is His anyway. Such a good reminder. Such a challenge from a very godly and spiritual woman.

Then she looked at me and said, "I can tell that you know Jesus, because I can see on your face that He lives inside of you." It never fails to get me right in my gut to hear people say that. Not out of pride. Please don't misunderstand me. But sometimes, I wonder if people "see" Him in me. Or if all people see is me.... When she said that she could see Jesus, that made my heart glad.

Then with the love of Jesus beaming through her eyes (remember when I talked about that 'Jesus Shine'), she put her arm around me and said,  "You are precious. You are a lovely woman. Come talk to me anytime, and if I get boring, just leave. You are beautiful. You are precious." Then she hugged me, kissed my cheek, and then kissed my forehead twice. 

These moments are amazing. They cannot be recreated, even if we try. They are completely in the moment - His moment. Don't get so caught up in your life or your tasks or your to do lists, that you miss out on moments like this. And here is the thing - these moments are EVERYWHERE... He wants us to have them. He wants to give them to us. But if we are too busy with our own agendas, we are going to miss out on them completely.

My heart is full. So full right now. She filled my love bank today.... I am humbled and blessed. I sat at the feet of one of the "aged" women and learned. I was taught and I willingly accepted. I was blessed, and in return, so was she. Because, another thing she said when she referred to her musical events at nursing homes, "You know, I went there to be a blessing to them, and yet, The Lord somehow turned it around so that it blessed me too."

And that is how it works folks, that's how it works.