Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Angel Named Heaven

Have you ever seen "Fiddler on the Roof?"  The opening song is all about tradition.  And this time of year is filled with traditions in our home.  From decorating the Christmas tree, to making Christmas cookies, to reading What God Wants for Christmas... it's a month filled with creating memories together as a family.  One tradition, however, is bittersweet for me.  Each year, we adopt an angel from the Salvation Army Angel tree... in memory of the child we lost through a miscarriage.  It can be quite emotional as I choose a child for us to adopt each year.  And Monday was the day to select our angel.

As I approached the Angel Tree booth, I got the typical knot in my stomach.  I casually glanced over the 6 year old girls on the table, but no one jumped out at me.  I looked at the 5 year old girls and found Ariel (my favorite Disney princess), but wanted to stick to our tradition - choosing a child that is the same age our own child would be.  I was about to leave when one of the volunteers approached me to ask if she could help. 

I felt kinda silly about hesitating to choose an angel.  So I tried to explain.  "I'm definitely adopting an angel, but no one is jumping out at me."

"What are you looking for?" she asked, "We have boxes of angels that we can look through for you."  It was too much... she actually wanted to help me find an angel that matched what my heart wanted?  Tears filled my eyes as I requested a 6 year old girl with a name that begins with H.  (Yep, my name is Heather and I'm partial to the letter H).  After a few minutes of searching, without a single six year old girl to be found, she encouraged me to finish my shopping while she continued to look through the boxes. 

With my shopping completed, I headed back to the Angel Tree booth.  The lady's face lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw me.  "We found one!  There was only one six year old girl with an H name.  And her name is Heaven!"  The tears flowed freely at this point.  She handed me the angel and I looked at her, astonished.  She was tearing up too.  "You won't believe this," I explained.  "The angel we adopted last year was a five year old girl named Heaven.  I'm convinced that this is the same angel." 

"It was meant to be," the volunteer said.  Yes, it was meant to be.  Because only my Father God could orchestrate this.  Only God, the All-Knowing, All-Powerful Creator could save this precious angel for our family.  There are more than 7,000 angels in the Kentuckiana area.  There are multiple locations that have Angel Tree booths.  Yet this 6 year old angel named Heaven was hidden in a box at the mall... for my family.  It just blows my mind!  It was a holy moment.  It was a jaw-dropping moment.  It was a moment where I felt God's intimate love for me in such an incredible way.  What words do I have to thank Him for this moment?  There are no words.  He truly is the God who loves... so personally... so intentionally... so completely.  Psalm 103 resonates with my emotions tied to this angel named Heaven:

Psalm 103:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
Have you experienced God's love in a tangible way?  How do you respond?  Do you journal your experience, so you can go back and remember His awesome love for you?  Do you whisper a prayer of thanks?  Do you break out into song?  My favorite worship song, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman, is all about blessing the Lord for Who He is. 
What can you bless the Lord for today?  Take a moment and bless Him right now... you can even leave a comment on this blog post.  Pausing to give thanks helps us remember the good things the Lord does for us (Psalm 103:2 NLT).  Let's make it a habit to praise His holy name each day.


Monday, November 25, 2013

The Megaphone

When was the last time you used a megaphone?  Don't know?  Me neither. I've seen them used by cheerleaders at ball games, but it's not something that I use often, although sometimes I think I need one in order to get my boys to obey... Can anyone else relate to that?

While I haven't used a megaphone lately, God has used a megaphone with me. Yep, you read it right. He wanted to make sure I got His instructions loud and clear.  And His choice of megaphone actually made me laugh out loud. Let me explain.

With two boys, I get to serve as their chauffeur throughout the day to get them to and from school. We often have the radio on and jam to Christian radio stations. Nothing quite warms this momma's heart like hearing my boys sing a duet to TobyMac's Speak Life... And yet I digress.  On this particular day, every time I got in the car, the same song played at some point while I was driving.  I'd say I heard this song at least three or four times.   (Maybe more because I kinda lost track and just giggled each time it came on after a while). Wanna know the song?  Drum roll please...  Love Take Me Over by Stephen Curtis  Chapman. Check it out:

Catchy song, right?  The line that continues to jump out to me is this:

This is what I'm sure of, I can only show love when I really know how loved I am. Then it overtakes me, then it animates me, flowing from my heart into my hands.

Pretty profound, huh?  Knowing how much God loves us... REALLY knowing His love for us... enables us to love others better.  I'm just now beginning to understand His intentional, intimate love for me. And do you know that He loves you intentionally and intimately too?  It's all over the Bible.  Here's just a few verses that demonstrate His unconditional love for us:

Romans 5:8 (NLT)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

John 3:16 (NLT)

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.[a]
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Do you believe that you are loved like these verses describe?  Do you know that Jesus died for you while you were still a sinner?  Did you know that God rejoices over you with singing (like the Love Take Me Over song references)?   God's love for you can be hard to grasp.  Maybe you think you don't deserve this kind of love... and you're right.  None of us deserve this kind of love.  And that's the beauty of it.  We are loved and chosen by our Heavenly Father EVEN THOUGH we don't deserve it!  It's incredible! 
If you have a hard time believing in this radical love, read more about it in the Bible.  Ephesians 1 is a great place to start:  And ask God to help you understand.  James 1:5 NLT reminds us of this:  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  You can pray a simple prayer by saying, "Father God, I know that Your Word says how much you love me, but I don't understand it.  Please give me Your wisdom.  Help me understand Your love for me.  Thank you for hearing my prayer.  In Jesus' Name, Amen."
You are loved by Your Heavenly Father.  It's true.  And it changes your life when your belief in His love moves from your head to your heart.  Do you hear His megaphone of love inviting you to REALLY believe how loved you are?  Let His love take you over... you won't be the same when it does!