The Cinderella syndrome is so commonplace in our minds that it is regarded as the norm. A “nothing special” girl is transformed and meets a “super special” boy. They fall in love…get married…have babies…and live happily ever after. The End.
This pretty much spells out the hopes and dreams of every little girl that ever was. We are fooling ourselves if we think we haven’t found ourselves traveling down this path in our minds at some time or another. Every one of us has hoped for our Prince Charming to come sweep us off our feet and change the course of our life forever.
As Ravi Zacharias puts it, “Some of our most important decisions are made before we ever utter a word of commitment to another.” Our decisions are made in our fantasies as we allow them to play out in our minds and tint the world as it really is!
Fairy tales have the illusion of perfect. We come to expect this perfection in ourselves and in those we associate with. Once we have gotten our “perfect” little self together and married our “perfect” guy, we’ll have the “perfect” life and raise “perfect” little babies. Before we know it, reality comes crashing in and our “perfect” little world is shattered and we find ourselves sitting amongst the ruins.
I love how Webster defines illusion…perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature. Don’t you see it? We take love, something we know as objectively existing because God refers to it repeatedly in the Bible, and perceive it in such a way that we sorely misinterpret its actual nature.
I am convinced this happens because we allow so many counterfeit authors to pen our stories. We consciously and subconsciously allow ourselves to be influenced by many in the development of our love stories. We are tricked by…
1) Ourselves ~ We manipulate people and circumstances to fit our own desires and need for a happy ending.
2) Books and Movies ~ The media does more to destroy marriages than just about any other means possible. We feed our insatiable need for romance through both of these and then wonder why our actual life is left wanting.
3) Other married couples ~ We look at what we can see outwardly in other couples without knowing all the intricacies of relationship that go on behind closed doors. All that glitters is not gold…sometimes it is fool’s gold. We are tricked into believing that what we see is the real thing when, in all actuality, it is merely a perfectly placed mask used to disguise the pain of dreams never realized.
Love was God’s idea! Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God…” God was the original Author of our story and anything that deviates from His story line is fantasy and has no basis in reality. Love between a man and a woman was His creation and He defines what it is and how it is to be played out. When we choose to deviate from His plan is when we start walking amid the mine fields, stumbling along a random path while hoping we don’t get blown up in the process!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I have started working into a running routine again lately and have been listening to my Ipod while I do. Tim got me one of those things it fits into and then attaches to your arm and I love it! Music is a great motivator for me.
As I was running the other day, I was listening to Third Day...my favourite! One of the songs (whose name escapes me) said essentially, "Take the road less travelled because it is the one He has paved." I was struck by that line and meditated on it for a while.
The next day I was at the track again and as I was running I noticed a big crack in the track that had a highway of ants running along it, busily going about their business. I immediately remembered the verse admonishing us to consider the ant...so I did!
Here was a 1/4 mile track (sure seems longer when you're running it, though) and all the ants were congregated on this one crack that dissected the track. This crack was their equivalent of a paved path. The track is a very uneven surface (for an ant) and would be very difficult for them to maneuver....kind of what would happen if we went hiking in the woods. It would have been a much more laborious endeavour for them, but here they were getting after it in typical ant fashion. Life is the same for us!
Proverbs 4:14 & Proverbs 4:26 (The Message)
Don't take Wicked Bypass;
don't so much as set foot on that road.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
At the ballpark the other day I was headed to the restroom with the little ones and we had to leave the beaten path and cross a huge pile of rocks. Our steps went from sure and steady to awkward and halting because of the uneven and unpredictable terrain. It was yet another reminder of the caution needed when you leave the marked path and step into hidden dangers!
I have to believe all these encounters were an attempt from the Lord to remind me of the need to follow Him closely and deliberately.
Matthew 7:13 (MsgB)
"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.
The line in following Jesus is one deep, but the road is sure and the destination is unlike any other!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Our family is a homeschooling family. We always have been...13 years and counting. Some days it is crazy and I think I must be insane to actually choose to do this, but most days I love it! We're entering a transitional time, though, and it is stretching me...
My 2 oldest ~ 16 and 14 ~ are heading to the Christian school in out town next year as a senior and a freshman. They are excited and so am I...sort of!
I find that this a bittersweet thought for me. On one hand, I will joyfully surrender the task of counting high school credits and the weight of wondering if I really am preparing my kids well for the life ahead. I know deep down I am, but it is still a bit of pressure.
On the other hand, this is who I am. I am a homeschooling mom of 5 kids. I don't know anything different and neither do they. I teach my kids, I don't hand them off to someone else. Now obviously we feel the school they are heading to is equal to the task or we wouldn't consider it. They both have lots of friends that attend there and we have seen the fruit of this experience in many of their lives. And it's not like I'll get lonely because I'll still have 3 at home that I'll be teaching.
I realize I need to change my thinking, though. Who I am and what I do are 2 different things. My worth is based on who I am in Christ, not in being Barb Cash...ministry wife...homeschool mom...woman who cooks huge meals in a single bound! LOL!
I am His and that is enough!
Thank you, Papa, for stripping me of anything apart from You that could give me a false sense of worth and significance. Thank You for teaching me that teaching them is not who I am. I am Barb Cash, beloved daughter of Abba Father...bought with His blood...sealed with His love...significant...no matter what! You rejoice over me with shouts of joy! Praise You!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I am not one to follow the lives of movie stars much. I guess the fact that we know a number of "famous" people has taught me that we're all just the same. Thay may be why the story of Natasha Richardson has been one I cannot get off of my mind, though.
Natasha is an actress (unlike me) who is a 45yo (same as me) Mama (same as me), seemingly quite passionately in love with her husband (same as me), who was enjoying a day of skiing and is now on life support waiting for her family to muster the courage needed to unplug her! My heart was full of prayers for this family as I toiled about in my yard today.
James 4:14 (MsgB)
You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.
Stories like this only serve to punctuate the fact that life really can change in an instant! None of us is promised tomorrow so we better embrace the heck out of today!
Lord, I pray that You will minister to this family as only You can. I pray You will send people who know You intimately to come alongside this family and point them to the only Source of hope there is in times like this...Jesus Christ! May they sense the wooing of your Spirit as they wade through the abyss of grief!
ETA: She's gone now! :O( Praying even more fervently for her family!
Psalm 96:12 (NASB-U)
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
After a winter full of death and dormant trees, my heart rejoices to see that spring is finally here and with it, new life! Spring is a season of things promised bearing fruit and I pray for the same in our lives!
Would the things He has whispered to you in the dead of winter, things that required you to muster much faith to envision, suddenly be found bursting forth in your life and in your heart as surely as the trees clothed in His finest garments!
Monday, March 16, 2009
“The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Let it rain, Lord, let it rain! May the rain we have today allow your creation to burst forth tomorrow, clothed in nature's finery...garments of radiant colour more beautiful than any man could ever craft!
ETA: And one of my favourite "rain" songs...
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take joy. Tasha Tudor
Seems like lately there are lots of shadows in the world. Daily we are hearing heart-breaking stories of lives lost to cancer and other sickness. One click of the remote brings news of economic doom and gloom without much forseeable hope on the horizon.
Guess that's why I loved this quote so much when I read it! Think about it...shadows can't exist without light from above!! And where does that light come from? HIM, of course!
For those of us who are in Christ, we need not fear what may come. Though things around us may look bleak, we can choose to look past the shadows to the Source of light and be encouraged. That Light has not grown dimmer; quite the contrary! The darker things seem to get in this world, the brighter the Light appears.
I find myself hesitant to watch the news and read much regarding our state of affairs because everyone comes to the table with their own slant and their own agenda. I have come to wonder who really is trustworthy to get my news from. And then I heard that still small Voice and was reminded...
James 1:17 (MsgB)
Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.
HE IS TRUSTWORTHY!!! And He said it would be like this! Anyone who has read much scripture knows it is going to get worse in the end...but He wins! We can take great joy in that!
Papa, please help me not become consumed with what I read and what I hear on the news. Help me stay focused on You and your Word and what You would have me do! The battle may become fierce, but I have read the final chapter and...YOU WIN!!!
Friday, March 13, 2009
I sit here today, eating my oatmeal (definitely an acquired taste for me, but I am making progress) and contemplating the day that stretches out before me. So many things I think I need to do...so many different options and combinations of what this day could look like...and I am reminded that this day is a gift!
We treat each new day as a given when, reality is, none of us is promised tomorrow...or even today as we know it. I have been to enough funerals so far this year to realize that life can change in an instant and my day as I know it can look vastly different than how I envision it at this moment.
Psalm 25:4 (MsgB)
Show me how you work, God;
School me in your ways.
I do know our day is going to include school and I am as much in need of schooling as my 5 young charges...maybe more!
Teach me, Papa, to consider you and your ways. Show me what You would have for me this day and what You desire for me to accomplish before it quickly comes to a close. May I be sensitive to Your leading and Your still, small voice!
ETA: I love how Papa punctuates what He whispers to our hearts in such a gentle yet powerful way. After I posted this this morning, I found a card someone had sent to me last year and the front of it read...
When you opened
your eyes this morning,
God had already seen
your day unfold ~
He covered each corner
of it with His grace...
tucked His love into every moment...
and tenderly wrapped it
with the quiet strength
your heart would need!
My day ended up involving a trip to the doctor that I had not even contemplated to find out Caleb has bronchitis. Given his lung issues she was pretty concerned and I was so thankful my unfolding day was not a surprise to Him!
Thank you, Papa, for unfolding my day just as you would have it! Thank you for allowing me to take KK to the doctor and for giving me lots of time today to snuggle!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study called Knowing God. 3 of us started it with Sandy and she made us promise each of us would finish it, so I am plugging along. I sat down to begin the other day and it was time to look up a page full of scriptures that told about the miracles of Jesus. Many of these were very familiar stories and so Beth cautioned us with this simple admonition...
Do not let familiarity cheat you!
For some reason, that quote stood out in emblazened letters to me and the truth of what it was saying began to seep in.
Whether scripturally speaking or in life in general, we all stand to allow familiarity to cheat us from all He has to share with us. Whether it is skimming over a well known passage and missing a nugget He has for us...whether it is in the incessant talking of our children that we find ourselves tuning out on occasion as a means of maintaining sanity...or whether it is the patterns of marriage we find ourselves following blindly along in until we have nearly lost our way...we let familiarity cheat us at times!
We think we know what to expect so we push auto pilot and do not fully engage in the life that is going on around us. How many times have I cheated myself or cheated someone I love because I allowed familiarity to blind me? Oh that I would see each day and each moment as a fresh opportunity to engage with my family, engage with my friends and engage with the one Who gives me my next breath.
Familiarity can be a gift. It can be a comfort to really know those we interact with and engage with on a daily basis. It can create a sense of peace to be known and know fully in intimate ways, but it can also create opportunities for the nuances of life to become overlooked.
Father, I thank you for this life You have given me and for the people I get to share it with. I am blessed beyone my wildest dreams. I do desire though, Papa, to stay fully engaged...first and foremost with You so that I would not miss anything You would have to show me! I also don't want to cheat myself and cheat those I love by operating on auto-pilot because the terrain is so familiar that it does not require my full attention. Please keep me from allowing familiarity to cheat me from anything You would have for me!