Sunday afternoon, which I think must have been the hottest
day of the year, my daughter decided we should have a lemonade stand. Now, for those of you who have never been by
to see us, you drive past the middle of nowhere, turn right, travel another 5.2
miles and there we are. The good news
is, we don’t have any competitors nearby but the customers are sparse as
We decided to make the most of the time between sales by
reading books she had checked out for school. Gracie pretended she was the school
librarian and read me a book entitled, “Little Bear Brushes His Teeth,” by
Jutta Langreuter. It is a cute story
about a little bear (guess you probably caught that from the title, huh?) who
doesn’t want to brush his teeth. He
loves to pretend he is a soldier so his mother wisely tells him that there is a
battle going on inside his mouth. She
explains that if he doesn’t fight back the bacteria waging war against his
teeth with his toothbrush sword, the bacteria will win, causing him to have
cavities. Brilliant parenting!
Well God is a brilliant parent too and He knows I learn best
from crazy little comparisons that help His Word hit home in my heart. I hope you are the same way or you may never
be able to stick with me and my crazy blog posts. Anyway, as I drove home that same night, sick
with guilt over something I’d just said about a fellow soldier in Christ, this
precious story came flooding back to me.
See, I have a battle going on over my mouth as well and that night I had
let down my guard and let the enemy claim victory over my tongue. I apologized but nothing could reclaim my
There truly is a battle going on for our mouths, but
thankfully God’s Word is “sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)” and
it can help us win! But just like
brushing your teeth is something needed daily in order to keep the cavities at
bay, we need time with our Commander in Chief every day so we can be prepared
for the front-lines. Matthew 6:45 tells
us, ““for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” To keep our mouths in check, we’ve got to
keep our hearts in check and God’s Word is the perfect heart monitor:
said flippantly without a thought of their repercussions – “The
heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked
pours out evil things.” Proverbs
- Gossip disguised as a prayer request – “Let no corrupting talk come out of
your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the
occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
- Snide comments about someone who has
wronged us – “There is one
whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings
healing.” Proverbs 12:18
- Or information that
just isn’t ours to share – “If anyone thinks he is religious and does
not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is
worthless.” James 1:26
P.S – Gracie made $10 in two hours. Who can say no to a kid with a broken arm?
Our old tabby cat is one of those special pets that show up
out of nowhere and claim you.
Personally, I think those tend to be the best pets of all. It was a rainy day about seven years ago when
she wandered onto our porch hungry, pregnant and with a snaggletooth that makes
her drool from one side of her mouth.
How could you not love her???
Cracker, as she was so lovingly named by our then 4 year old son who has
a knack for naming pets, has been a fixture in our home ever since.
“Fixture” is the perfect word to describe her
because unlike our other cat, Cheerio (told you he had a knack for naming),
Cracker is simply a part our house and nothing more. She has zero interest in having a real
relationship with us. Yes, she relies on
us for basics like food and shelter but anything deeper is outside her comfort
zone. In fact, it would be easy to get
frustrated with her lack of interest in us after all we have done for her, but
every time I look into that snaggletoothed face of hers I see a cat who has
probably been hurt, rejected and abandoned along the way. So, I just keep loving her in hopes she will
one day come around and accept the love we have to share with her.
Well lo and behold, I was sitting on the front porch this
morning enjoying a cup of coffee and my quiet time when along comes Big Mama
Crackalacka (we like nicknames in this
family). Anyway, I knew not to make any
sudden movements so I continued about my business while occasionally watching
her from corner of my eye. Before long,
she was weaving in and out of my legs and swishing me with her tail. I slowly reached down and even though she
jumped a little, she let me pet her.
Soon, she was soaking up the love and purring…actually
purring people!!! As I watched her
finally let down her guard I was a little sad thinking of all the years this
dear thing had gone without the love and affection that was there for her all
along. Then it hit me, or actually a
“still, small voice” whispered to me that I had been Cracker. I have been a Christian most of my life but
for the majority of it, I had kept God at arms length. Like Cracker, I had been hurt, rejected and
disappointed by others. I let the fear
of being let down again keep me from the very One who would never let me
down. What a shame to have missed out on
true intimacy with God, true peace, joy and contentment when it was there for
me all along.
God gave me a place in His kingdom just as we gave Cracker a
place in our home but He has so much more to offer. He knows our fears and is patiently waiting
on the day we finally let down our guard and begin a true relationship with
Him. Please let go. Please trust God for more than your
salvation. I know it sounds scary but
it’s the least risky thing you could ever do and oh so worth it. Don’t rob yourself of Him any longer! He’s waiting.
Our daughter, Gracie is probably the happiest person I
know. She delights in everything and
everyone around her and it’s often through her eyes that God teaches me lessons
I know I’ll never forget.
We are beach people…I’m talking go every chance we get, hate
coming up for lunch beach people. And
like most families, we enjoy collecting shells as we walk along the beach and
talk about our lives back home. I love
tiny pinky-orange shells, buttery yellow ones, large black ones, curly ones and
fan-shaped ones but the ones I never pick up are the broken ones. That’s normal right? I mean, when was the last time you went in
someone’s home and saw a decorative container or glass bowl filled with broken
shells? Well, if you visit our home,
that’s exactly what you will find from now on.
My daughter never got the memo about people not liking
broken shells and for a long time it drove me nuts. Honestly, it’s hard to “walk on the beach”
with someone who loves broken shells because they are EVERYWHERE! But, the smile on her face as she darted up
and down the water line with her yellow bucket in hand triumphantly showing me
each and every piece as if it were a treasured work of art stopped me in my
tracks on our last trip to the gulf.
See, contrary to my belief, Gracie isn’t the only one who
loves broken shells. Thankfully, God
does too. We are all broken, chipped,
worn and simply un-whole but that’s okay because in God’s hands, the broken
become mended, imperfections are used to magnify His glory, worn places become
testimonies and we are made complete.
Throughout God’s Word, it’s the flawed but willing who are used to do
great things and Psalm 34:18 assures us that He is “near to the
brokenhearted.” So, go ahead and lie
broken at His feet. For it’s in those
moments that He will gently pick you up, hold you in the palm of His hand and
treasure you like a priceless work of art, with never a thought of discarding
you for your imperfections, cracks or rough edges.