Missing Parts

By AbbyA

We pass through life with some missing parts.  Our life stories shed some light on what was missed along the way.  One of His greatest wonders is His care for missing parts.  He digs right inside our hearts and minds to the questions we ask only to ourselves.  He reaches into the hopes you secretly have.  To the dreams you don’t dare to share.  He reaches in, in such a way, that you and He acknowledge silently that there is a missing part.

But it doesn’t end there.  God is a God of delivering missing parts.  He sees them in you – – chips at your heart, dents in your smile, limps, broken arms and, well, missing parts.  And, instead of delivering the missing parts in UPS boxes to your home, He goes through far more trouble.  He spreads out His omniscience to the far ends of the earth.  He calls on His hands and His feet – – through cousins and colleagues, friend and foe, pastors and parents.  He hints at His delivery in many languages to be sure you understand.    He puts in motion innumerable “coincidences” to ensure that you are confident that the true recipient is you.  He takes His time so your heart is ready for receipt.  There is no end to what He will do to show His love to you.

When the missing part is delivered, you first have few words.  Your heart and mind can’t quite comprehend how someone as small as yourself, with so many missing parts, in a world of so many needy people, has been delivered – – in such a personal way.  While you receive with joy your missing parts, there is a present and lasting wonder at the care God took in delivering His love to you.  It is the overwhelming thought that the invisible God  – – who is holding the galaxies in His Hands  – – has set out to deeply communicate His love for you.

Your God spends past, present and future revealing Himself to you.  Like a huge domino display, the momentum of each of domino falls in His orchestrated direction.  Until the last domino falls into your lap.   All in the name of making His love personal to you.  In the name of proving that His love will not only deliver and but deliver missing parts.

Have You Taken God’s Job Lately?

By AbbyA

Flashback to 1999.  I am a twenty-two year old first year law student.  If you know anything about becoming a noteworthy law student, you will be a member of a “law review.”  Yes, you can be smart enough to be invited to be a member or you can go through the painstaking task of writing an exceptional article that just might be good enough to get you “written” into the law review.  The latter is me.  Yes, the latter is me, because “good enough” and “perfect” are my middle names.

Flashback to 1988ish, 1993ish, or 1997ish.  It all looks about the same.  Living under the burden of achievement and perfectionism.  One can be fairly successful at achievement and perfectionism until failure hits you smack dab in the face.  And, then it’s time to look into the mirror.

Failure.  My hard work, dedication and brains failed me brutally that first semester of law school.  I didn’t shine, I wasn’t smart.  I was defeated, broken and tired.  My parents raised us to believe that we could do anything, be anything.  That we were equal to others no matter wealth, race, gender, education or religion.  At that time, I saw no equality; I judged myself of lesser value than my classmates.  And, without His permission, in the depths of these crashing waters, I determined that I must have failed Him as well.  I wasn’t sure where I would stand now that I was less than perfect.

In the late fall of 1998, I looked at myself in the mirror of my mom’s bathroom.  I had about 18 inches of notes, case law and articles in my arms – – ready to be reviewed for my write-on to the public interest law review.  I am not sure exactly how it happened.  The Spirit said something to me without words.  He gave me His permission.  My mom had a pretty big wicker garbage can right below me.  I dropped every last paper into the garbage can in one, single shot.  I walked out on perfectionism.  And, the law review too.

Law school was my defining moment.  Not academically, but spiritually.  God put me under circumstances that I could not bear; under pressure that I could not rise out of without Him.  This thread of perfectionism had grown longer and stronger in me over the years.  And while planning, organizing, working hard and achieving are all good qualities; they are minor and inconsequential in comparison to the good work God does in you.  For one, your greatest achievement is God saving you.  Once that rang clear in me, once I breathed in that my very, greatest work was something He did, I then started the journey in getting lost in Him.  Of sinking into His arms.  Of seeing His intervention in my life to make all things happen according to His plan.

A few months ago, I grabbed a book on sale called “The Relief of Imperfection,” by Joan C. Webb.  In some ways, it has taken me back to the garbage can in my mom’s bathroom.  I have the thrilling feeling of that moment tucked away in my spiritual memory.  And the years following, even until now, I have great love for my Savior who has shown up so faithfully for my good.  I recognize, to this day, that He can do all these things without my help.  I don’t need to be Him, I only need to be me.

This is from my heart.  If you are like me, you have a tendency to take God’s standard of excellence, and ring yourself out dry with perfectionism.  God can’t do much with you when you are a dried out rag.  It is your relationship with God that matters.  God “has no unrealistic expectations of you and me.  He just expects us to be the person He designed us to be.”  Joan C. Webb, The Relief of Imperfection.

I will leave you with my “forget” list.  I hope that you will add your own “forgets” to it and get on with your highly anticipated, highly imperfect life of you running the good race with Him as your partner.

Here is my forget list:

  • Forget the appearance of your imperfect marriage, family or kids.  That also means to accept where God has you.  Don’t drool over another’s life or isolate yourself because you think you are different.  You are part of God’s family.  That is enough.
  • Forget where you live and what that says about you.  That also means forget about your beat up car or your Mercedes-Benz – – whichever it is for you.  You have a home (and a ride) in heaven.  That is more than enough.
  • Forget who you want to be.  “. . . As God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk.” 1 Corinthians 7:2.  “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality.”  Deuteronomy 10:17.  There are no favorites; yet you are His favorite.  That is better than good and far exceeds enough.

Welcome to the Jungle!

By AbbyA

Sex . . . when you are single, all you do is think about the possibility of it.  And, when you are married, all you do is think about when you will have the time, energy and desire to have it!  Ugh.  No wonder Paul said it is better to remain single.  1 Corinthians 7:8.  All of those daydreams of the married life where you were going to wear new lingerie all the time; snuggle in bed all night; have lots of sex, including more than once a day in various places throughout the house.  You were basically, in a very pure way, going to make up for all those years of faithfully treating your body as His temple. 

Well, welcome to the jungle, girls.  Excluding the first year of marriage . . . Okay, I will be generous and extend it to the birth of your first child . . . Excluding your married life without children, you are probably not wearing a whole lot of that sexy stash of lingerie.  Come on, your bootie takes up twice the space it used to and those darn sexy tops have no wire to hold up your breasts that were sucked  dry by your babies.  You are not snuggling all night (or at least I’m not) because your husband gets too hot after the twenty minutes of body touch.  And, more than once a day in various places through the house?  What?  How many nights do you actually get to sleep without any kids finding their way to your room?  Or, better yet, how often can you stay awake once your head hits the darn pillow?  Sex . . . we wanted it so badly while we waited but now that we have a marriage partner we can’t seem to get any, or to even want it at all.

I will admit that Bindu has far more intelligent answers and helpful insight on the whole matter.  So, I am just going to give it to you raw.  Marriage is tough.  And, if you are like me, I carry all of my emotions to the bedroom.  If I am beat up in my marriage relationship, I have no passion for sex.  In fact, at times like these, my Lord hears me praying (or venting really) to Him during sex.  I survive the sex.  And then, honestly, feel really defeated as a wife that I can’t get this area straight.  Really, can’t I just enjoy the physical pleasure regardless of how disappointed I am?  I am not sure that I know any man who needs any more than a glimpse of his wife’s body or even a sexy thought to get his passion fiery.  Just doesn’t work for me.  I need to feel loved, adored, cared for and protected.

So, ladies, here’s where I am at.  My thoughts are two-fold.  On the one hand, pray, pray and pray some more.  It has been the major life-changer in my sexual relationship with my husband.  By no means is it perfect, but God answers my prayers – – granting the desires of my heart; even if He first has to change my heart before blessing me with more passion and peace in my marital relationship.

On the other hand, acknowledge the role that Satan plays in seeking to destroy marriages.  What better way to axe away at a marriage than to take away or diminish the one thing that is exclusive to it?  Acknowledge the devil as a squirmy worm that Jesus has already crushed and pray, pray, pray.  God always shows up for His children who ask for His help.  Just ask; He will show up for you in this area as He shows up for me.

And, as a silly sidenote, don’t worry about the size of your butt or your once perky boobs, (with prayer) test the waters.  Whether it’s a white water rafting adventure God has in mind or a slow canoe ride on the pond, give it a shot.  God never delivers void.  Always victorious, pure, holy and sweet.  Trust Him with your life and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37: 3-6

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Serve the Lord Who Fills the Hole

By AbbyA

Lady in Waiting and In the Waiting . . . For me, I was a young woman, late-teens/early-twenties who had an eraser-on-the-top-of-a-pencil sized hole in my heart. That means that the hole was small, but really needed to be filled. I had a daddy a few states away and a fairly sucky step dad at home . . . I was accustomed to the little hole in my heart. Of course, I didn’t have enough objectivity to see my hole; Satan used it as a playing field and, thankfully, my Lord protected me until I was spiritually ready to receive His healing.

So, late-teens/early-twenties girl ran her life. Working hard, studying hard. I had deep girl-friendships. Had a pretty great boyfriend (who turned out to be my husband). But I had this little hole in my heart. What was the harm of the hole? It transfigured itself into my life as attention. Yes, the hole really liked to be flattered by guys. There are all types of girls running around with a hole in their hearts. Mine didn’t lead me to sleep around or to drugs. Mine didn’t make me jaded or anti-male race. Mine just wanted attention.

What was the harm of the hole? Get it? That’s what Satan made me believe about the attention. What’s the harm of setting out to get attention? Since I hadn’t been really informed of my hole, I just kept on desiring and getting attention. And didn’t really get the harm at all.

I’m not one for reliving the sin. So, I will pass on the unnecessary details and give you one example of the harm of the hole. Trotting around Coconut Grove with best friend. Seeing someone that caught my eye. Setting out to catch his eye. Liking that I caught his eye. Carrying on for a few hours. After all the lead-on, abruptly leaving with a smile. I am way over hiding the truth, so I will add that there are way worse illustrations than abruptly leaving with a smile. The fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, I wasn’t interested in sex at all. It is no fun asking his roommate to drive you home because you really aren’t up for living up to his expectation after all that . . . attention.  Maybe I wanted to see if the guy would try for a kiss. I am not even sure that I wanted a relationship or a friend. I just wanted to be sure that I had the attention of whomever I wanted attention from whenever I wanted it. Man, what a self-serving hole I was serving.

What was the harm of the hole? Killing my boyfriend who really wanted all of my attention. Hurting my best friend who was more deserving of my attention. Hiding from my mom who knew that I was hiding from the hole. Naively hurting my soul by my endeavors to fill it up.

Where does all this fit? Well, it is the month of males. It is the month of admissions, looking back, going forward. So, what did ever happen to that hole in my heart? God showed me it. It took me some time to unravel the consequences of a lifetime of seeking and getting attention. It took me a few years to hear what God was saying to me about why I did what I did. It took sacrifice, crying out to God, a lot of fasting, trusting the one who is trustworthy. Shedding all those years of lack of attention that led to all the years of looking for attention.

I have learned that none of us has perfect lives. We have failures, imperfections, built-in nonsense that we were born with or born into. If you didn’t already notice, this is not heaven. I don’t mean to belittle your pain or mine. But, the fact that this it is not heaven, is the point. This is where we stumble and fall, bruise, bleed and fully embarrass ourselves and our creator on a regular basis. This is also the place where we get to choose. We can choose to blindly serve the hole or intentionally serve the God who can fill the hole. The journey is from empty to full. The adventure is the faith to believe that there is a face to our faith, and then, getting to see His face. I hate the hole, but I love the God who has a plan to fill it.

Be Last: The Power in Letting the World Pass You By

By AbbyA

Not long after I got my first job, I was driving home on the expressway.  This is the expressway where the speed limit is 75 mph, but if you drive 75, you will get blown off the road.  I spent a lot of time commuting – –  two to three hours a day – – in my little black Corolla.  I had a cool pop off radio that my dad bought me so I would have a CD player in the car.  I listened to Tony Evans and Bob Barns.  I bonded with DJs and even learned to recognize stranger’s cars by their bumper stickers.  I didn’t have a cell phone yet.  So I keep listening to CDs and radio shows to escape from adult reality on my long commute.

These were the single days.  I was in a relationship but on my own most of the time working and commuting.  I lived with my grandma and grandpa to be somewhat close to work and drove home to my mom’s on the weekends.  It was a surreal time.  I was spending a huge amount of time reading the word, evangelising at gas stations and just about anywhere that little car would take me.   Fasting, Wednesday church, Sunday church . . . It was a really special time for me and God.

At the same time, my friends were also working at their new jobs.  Everyone is getting a taste of the fast lane through the lives of partners and clients at their law firms.  It is not long before many of us were signing leases at upcoming condos on Brickell and South Beach.  Lunch at Capital Grille.  (Dinner is still too expensive.)  Moving on from used cars to new cars.  Big engagement rings, fancy wedding plans.  The first review, presumably, with the first raise.

I was in a vacuum at the time – – a good vacuum.  In a way, boxed into where I was at, but in a good way.  At the same time, I looked around me at times.  Not wholly sure what was next or fully sure of where I was going.  But God was filling me and I just kept trucking along in the Corolla.  So, let me bring you back to the expressway on which I was constantly commuting.  Remember, if you are driving less than 85/90, you are getting blown off the road.  I hear God nudging me to slow down – – way down – – 45/50 down.  I do this and what I see are cars all around me flashing by.  It is a really beautiful hour – the sun is down, but it is not dark yet.  I have a slow motion moment where I feel like I can see the cars going by really well almost like I am intended to have the view from last place in a race.  While all of this is happening, God says to me – – Sometimes Christians feel like life is passing them by, but I am just giving them perspective.  I love that evening.  I love those words.  I get last place.  I love that God has a purpose and a plan for those who don’t mind being in last place.

Bindu gets it too.  She said yesterday,  So I get it. I know how it feels when you feel like everyone is passing you by…when you have to deal with the sympathetic, curious looks from not-so-tactful relatives who also have the ability to ask downright obnoxious questions. When you, too, are left with wondering where God is and if He cares, and sometimes in those desperate moments, whether He even really exists.

He does exist and He has this overwhelmingly fruitful, joyful, peaceful life for those who love Him.  In His economy, last is first.  Don’t lose sight of the power of life passing you by.  It is your God, your Lord who has your life in the palm of his hands.  He is playing out His great and mighty plan for your life on His time line.  Be last.  The fruit, joy and peace are spoken into you at the very same time the world is passing you by.  Breathe.  Take in what He has for you.  You will find yourself rejoicing for the good work He has done in you.  You will see that whatever has passed you by holds far less worth than power set in you.  Be last.

What a Great God We Serve!

By AbbyA

Colors.  It is the Blue that brings me to my knees.  When I see the expanse of the great sky He has made above our heads.  It’s the Purple that you can still see in the blackness of night that draws me to the mystery of Him.  It’s the Red of His rising son that symbolizes the power of His mercies anew every morning.

Orange, Green and Yellow are the colors of His creation.  His flowers and foliage all around us.  I forget that my Lord created each flower and plant with His creative thoughts.  They are His details, His delight.  The representation of His thoughts and conducting of His hands.  I forget that that He had me and you in mind as He created nature around us.

We forget that our flesh is prone to burn red with anger.  Green with envy.  Despite life and breath, we are prone to the blues.  He promises to be a lamp unto our feet, and we run from the pale yellow light that leads the way.  Psalm 119:105.  We bruise ourselves in purple.  It is no wonder He flooded us on account of our independence.  It is a wonder, however, that He promised with a rainbow never to wipe us out again.  He made this covenant because of us, for us, between us and Him.  Even though everything we think or imagine is bent towards evil, He loves us and chooses to sustain us anyway.  Genesis 8:21.  What a great God we serve.

Colors.  We can burn with anger or rise up in the morning anew because of His mercy.  We can bruise ourselves in purple or sit at His throne.  We can suffer in blue or be free as a bird in His sky.  Colors.  He made them for His glory and for his beloved children.   Shut your eyes and see those colors in your mind.  Rest in His promise of rainbows, of peace and of light.  Rest in the knowledge that He loves you, knows you inside and out and He chooses to sustain you anyway.  What a great God we serve.

A Not So Virtuous You . . .


By AbbyA

Mommies, I have some things to say about our past.  For those of us who were not very virtuous in our younger days.  For those of us who have regrets.  For those of us who, from time to time, remember a late night.  A flashback.  A short film of an earlier you.    A rerun of sleeping with a married man.  A dark memory when you had an out but didn’t take it.  An episode of going home with a random acquaintance when you should have gone home with the friend you came with.  A play back of you toying with lust.  They were momentary connections.  Where you passed out your inner beauty – – for free.  You took a gamble on your purity.  It is a rerun of someone that is not you today.

Mommies, it’s easy to black out the past with sacrificial motherhood.  It’s easy to be who you are now as long as you don’t think too much about her.  It’s easier to work really hard at Proverbs 31 rather than face the past.  It’s easier to strive to redeem yourself rather than to look into your younger face.  Looking back is painful.  In light of who you are now, the replay stings.  It is easier to be busy about your motherhood.  Easier to be busy about pouring yourself into what is worthy.  Easier than the pain.

Mommies, redeeming yourself is futile.  Forgetting the younger, less wise, woman is not humanly possible.    She’ll pierce you in a quiet moment.  She’ll take her spot as a little dark mole on your pink, prospering heart . . . despite all that you are now.   She’ll hold you back from your gifts.  There will be something about you that senses you are still less than the more you have grown to be.  There will be something about your growth, your flowering.  Just when the bloom is about to reach its most beautiful point.  The bloom will be one ray of sunshine short of fullness.  It’s her.  You can’t black her out.

Let God take her  into His Hands.  Repent.  You may have been saved for years.  You may have been saved when you still were behaving like her.  Repent now.  Give her up.  She’s so eighties or nineties, or just plainly, yesterday.   The dark spot on your heart.  God wants to fill it with His life and His love.  He died for that mark on your heart.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.  I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”  And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”  Psalm 32:3-5.

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And my people shall never be put to shame.  Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel; I am the Lord your God  And there is no other.  Joel 2:25-27.

And it shall come to pass afterword That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.  And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.  And I will show wonders in the heavens and the earth.  Joel 2:28-30.

Mommies, can you see what your great God wants to do in your heart?  He wants to walk with you through old places.  He wants to remove your pain.  Fastforward the past so that He can perfect your bloom.  It is the aftermath of your repentance that His great reward awaits.  He died for that very mark on your heart.  There was a price for your redemption.  He paid it while you were still her.  You only have to trade her in for you.  And in His great wisdom, mommies, your new love story will be told.