My Most Prized Possession-Writing 101

I thought about this a long time. There are so many things I could choose: a hand-carved wooden plate from Germany, my mother’s platter with the rose in the middle, my Little Golden Book printed in 1952 called “Prayers For Children,” photos of long-deceased relatives that were dear to me and my family, paintings done by my deceased father-in-law. So many things to choose from.

But what is most precious to me, what I value more than any thing is something that can never be lost, stolen, or re-possessed. My most prize possession can’t be held, smelled, touched or tasted. It is my relationship with my heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is a little of why this is my most prized possession. I know there are critics who think God is just a fantasy for foolish people who are unenlightened, or people who think people like me have been brainwashed or deluded. But that person doesn’t understand how important this relationship is.

Until I was around twenty-three years old I was 100% convinced that I was the ugliest, dumbest thing on the planet. I had no purpose and no right to be alive. I was taking up someone elses’ air space. My sole purpose was to be the entertainment for cruel kids and sharp-tongued parents. It seemed my peers agreed with me. No one ever thought I could be good at anything. No one believed anyone would ever want to marry me. Why should they? I was awkward, uncoordinated, and not good at one single sport. I couldn’t even dribble a basketball. I had really bad allergies and was always blowing my nose or sneezing. My desk at school was always piled high with tissues.

I’m thankful to say that all of my detractors were wrong. And hindsight being what it is, I realize that not EVERYONE felt that way about me, only a few, but that was enough to color my attitude and I lost some of my friends because I didn’t know how to be one. I only knew how to soak up whatever was given to me. In other words, it made me self-centered and negative.

I did get married and had two children, but I really didn’t know how to be a good mom or wife either–until. . .

My sister-in-law is a Christian; she was when I met her. While my husband was waiting to be able to out-process from the U.S. Coast Guard, his sister took me to a Billy Graham movie: Time To Run. I saw myself in that movie and it made me want to change. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing the kind of person I was. I was seeing myself through God’s eyes. He loved me. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on a cruel cross, after being tormented, not for anything He had done, but for my sins. He took my place. I should have been crucified. I deserve to go to hell. But He loved me so much that He took my punishment and offered me a new life. He showed me how to be the kind of person that can love and have compassion on others. Through His word, the Bible (KJV) He taught me how to be a good wife and mother. I haven’t been perfect, and I won’t be in this life; but He has given me a joy, peace, and contentment beyond anything I ever could have imagined. I let Him down on a daily basis, but He still loves me, forgives me, and encourages me to keep trying. He’s my heavenly Father, my Savior and my best friend. I have a home waiting for me in heaven because I accepted His free gift of salvation.

This gift is free, and offered to every person on the planet. Anyone who ends up in hell goes of their own volition because they reject the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. People want there to be many ways to get to heaven. But if Someone sacrificed His life to be the ticket, the door to go through, doesn’t He have the right to decide that He’s the only way? If there could be another way, then sacrificing Himself was the dumbest act of all eternity, since He didn’t have to do it. It is our selfish pride, refusing to bow to the God of the universe, that makes us want to earn salvation, to make our own way to heaven. If we could earn it, it wouldn’t be free. It wasn’t free for Jesus. “He was wounded for our transgressions (sins); he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

God does not expect us to be perfect. We can’t change ourselves, or clean ourselves up before we come to Him. He takes us just as we are. Then He cleans us up and makes us new. Jesus told one of the religious leaders, Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” This is referring to a spiritual re-birth that can only occur by asking Jesus to take away the junk and make us new. As we attend church, sit under preachers that really preach His word, and not this feel-good nonsense that doesn’t help anybody become a better person, God uses His word to teach us how to live the life He has planned for us. The Bible is the manual for our journey on earth. It sure changed me because the Holy Spirit came to live in my heart when I asked Jesus for that new life. The Holy Spirit helps me understand God’s word when I read it. He teaches me how to apply it to my life. I am a new creature. Old things are passed away. The old negative, critical, angry me is dead. I am alive in Christ. Praise the Lord!

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Serial Killer II–Writing 101

I lost my mother in 1994. She had had a massive heart attack and three subsequent strokes. Telling her it was okay to let go if that was what was best for her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My husband and I had planned to re-decorate our son’s old room and make it nice for my mom. I would take care of her. That was the plan after the first stroke. But God had other plans.

My mother and I had not been close for years. Her temper and my lack of understanding kept us off balance with each other. But after my dad died in 1991, my mom began to mellow out. She wasn’t stressed anymore with the care of my dad and trying to keep a job too. She was more relaxed. She missed him, and often cried herself to sleep at night. My family would go to Mom’s house every Friday evening for root beer floats and old movies on TV. I found peace with my mother at last.

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Heaven’s Jubilee

I am continually amazed at God’s grace and mercy. I am so thankful I’m not getting what I deserve because all I deserve is hell. That knowledge keeps me from getting upset if someone belittles me or puts me down, because when that happens I remind myself that at least I’m not getting what I deserve–hell. Jesus was perfect and he was tortured–because of me. There’s a song that says When He Was On The Cross I Was On His Mind. So true. Because Jesus, who is part of the triune Godhead, saw me from the foundation of the world and decided to take my penalty for sin so I wouldn’t have to. He did the same for you and everyone on the planet–past, present, and future. It’s up to us to decide whether or not to accept such an extravagant gift.

Luke 15:7, 10 tells us that when a person gets saved (that means asking God for forgiveness, and for God to adopt that person into His family) all of heaven rejoices. Every time a person gets saved it’s party time in heaven. I don’t know what parties in heaven are like but I’m sure they’re thousands of times better than anything down here. There’s no drunkenness, no debauchery, no hangovers, no guilt, just supreme joy–jubilation, ecstatic excitement, overwhelming joy bubbling over into gales of laughter and singing. I imagine it as that exuberance you feel when you first meet that special someone and fall in love with him or her. It’s like standing on the mountain top, looking out over range after range, feeling as if you could hold the whole world in your heart and see beyond the farthest reaches. I know that’s how I felt when I got saved. 

There is no greater sense of freedom than knowing your sins are washed away and God is going to make you a new person, shedding off (over time; it’s a process) the old attitudes, the hang-ups, the worries and fears. I gave Him my temper and asked Him to replace it with His peace. He did. I asked Him to make me the wife my husband needed me to be so our marriage would be saved. He did. I asked Him to teach me to be kind and to think more of others and less of myself. He did and He isn’t finished yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done. God never sleeps and He never gives up on His children. I like the song that says He’s Still Working On Me. 

I’m not perfect; just forgiven. I fall down and He picks me up. I stumble and cry and He wipes away my tears and gives me the strength to keep trying. Two of my favorite phrases: I am too blessed to be stressed; too anointed to be disappointed and KNOW PEACE–KNOW GOD; NO PEACE–NO GOD. Oh, let me add one more. There’s a phrase in the Bible repeated throughout that says, “And it came to pass.” I love that because it means “It didn’t come to stay.” Whatever problem we face, whatever trial or heartache we’re going through, when we put our trust and hope in Jesus, He will work it all out for our good (Romans 8:28–my life’s verse). We will not be stuck with the situation–not even this plague of sugar ants we’ve had for months. But this world is not my home. My real home is in heaven. For now I’m just a sojourner.