Time

Time is a ripple

Ever moving away

Ever changing

 

How is it

That the same storm

That brought you blessed rain

Also spawned the tornado

That leveled my home?

 

How is it

That your life goes on

When mine

Will never be the same

Ever again? 

 

Why does the sun dare

To shine 

on the shambles 

That is now

My broken life?

  

The only thought

That gives me the strength 

To breathe

To move

Is this:

 

Time is a ripple

Ever moving away

Ever changing

And tomorrow will be different 

From today. 

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The Name of God

Since I have been posting pictures of my journaling Bible online, various people have asked me about my use of the name Yahweh instead of God or The Lord. I’m going to answer a compilation of those questions here. 

Where does the name Yahweh come from?

Exodus 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 

Yahweh is the Hebrew word for I Am

Why use this name?

I visited a church once that used the name Yahweh for God. I thought this was strange and imagined they thought that they had better access to God by using a different name for Him. Maybe they even thought they were holier than me. I didn’t see anything wrong with God or The Lord

Then I started working in home health care. One of the rules was that I was not ever allowed to mention the name of my client to my family, due to privacy laws. So I started saying “that lady” or SHE or HER or “that lady I work for.” It put a distance between her and I, and although I’ve been with her for over six months now, my habit of not being able to mention her name has rubbed off on the time I’m at work with her, and I think I’ve only called her by name once or twice. Even though I spend three hours a day at her house, not being able to use her name creates a formality in our relationship. 

What does that have to do with using the name of God? If you look into it, God and The Lord aren’t names. They are titles. A god is something that is worshipped. And lord is a title used in the nobility even today. Using titles and never using names puts a distance in your relationship with Yahweh that you might not have even realized was there. I wouldn’t want my best friend to never call me anything but Ma’am

Isn’t the name of God too holy to use?

I’ve heard this question a lot. In fact, it’s the reason our Bibles are translated the way they are, with Yahweh replaced by God or The Lord

I wondered the same thing, until I read a little farther on in Exodus. 

Exodus 3:15 – God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.

So is the true name of God too holy to use? Maybe. But He didn’t tell us this was His actual name. He said it was what we should call Him. 

My kids went through a phase where they wanted to call me by my first name. Everyone else got to call me Lisa, why shouldn’t they? I still remember what I told them. “You guys are special to me. You are my kids. Of all the people in the world, there’s only two that get to call me Mommy. That’s the two of you.”

So when Yahweh gave us a name to call Him from generation to generation, it implies a relationship. Just as the names Mom, Grandma, Dad, Uncle, Son imply relationships, Yahweh has given us this name to call Him because he has a special relationship with us. I don’t believe it is His real and only name, but we are special because we get to call Him that. 

Do you use a special Bible?

No, I don’t. I usually use the ESV Bible. But wherever the name GOD or LORD is written like that, all in capital letters, that signifies that the original Hebrew text reads Yahweh. Many other versions of the Bible use the same replacement words and the same capitalization to show where the substitution occurs. 

What benefits come from paying attention to God’s name?

Besides the significance of a relationship, and the closeness that comes from using a name instead of a title, reading the Bible while paying attention to the name of God leads to new insights. I’ve loved reading the stories that I’ve known since childhood like this and discovering new things. 

One example: the story of Ahab and Naboth’s Vineyard. 

1 Kings 21:1-14

Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And after this Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” But Naboth said to Ahab, “Yahweh forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.

But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?” And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, You have cursed god and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” And the men of his city, the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed god and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”

When I read this story before, I always thought it was mean of Jezebel to have false accusations brought against Naboth. However, after reading this story keeping the name of Yahweh in mind, I saw a different facet to the story. Naboth refused to sell his land because Yahweh had commanded them not to sell their inheritance. However, Jezebel was not a follower of Yahweh. Her god was Baal. So her accusations that Naboth, a follower of Yahweh, cursed a god, may well have referenced Baal. And Naboth might have done this very thing since he was loyal to Yahweh. This now becomes a story of martyrdom instead of false accusations. 

I’ve reread many other well-known stories and discovered similar nuggets. Do I think it’s necessary to do this? No, but it is fascinating. 

Have you turned into one of those weirdos that will frown on me if I say God in front of you?

Definitely not. In fact, when conversing with most other Christians I still say God. It’s more familiar to them to say that. And I truly don’t think your salvation depends on what you decide to call God – or Yahweh – or your Heavenly Father – or Jehovah – or The Lord God. But it’s added a new dimension to my spiritual life that I like. 

My Life Is Not a Pinterest Page

This is something that has been on my mind for a while, so I thought I’d say something about it. My life isn’t a Pinterest page. Neither is yours. And that’s ok. 

I scroll through my Facebook feed. Someone’s made brownies. Someone else’s kid won a trophy. Someone got promoted. I’m happy for these people, but wonder how their life can possibly be so much better than mine. 

I scroll down farther. Someone’s kid is sick for the fourth time this month. Someone went to the ER because they had a headache. Someone else feels overwhelmed because they don’t know how they will make ends meet. I’m frustrated with these people, because I feel like they are using Facebook to complain or garner attention. 

But at the end of the day, I know it does no good to fuss about social media, because none of us actually live the life we portray to the world. I put cute pictures of my kids on Facebook, and random thoughts and activities, but no one there sees the realities of my life. 

***DISCLAIMER*** Because I am using these examples, please do not think they all apply to my life right now. They don’t. But either I or someone I know has been there at some point. 

I don’t post a picture of my son’s black eye, because someone might think I beat him. He actually ran into a tree while playing tag. 

I can’t say how many times my water got shut off because we couldn’t pay the bill, because I feel like it will be construed as a request for my rich friends to give me money. Seriously, I’m friends with you because I like you, not because I want your money. 

I don’t feel like I have the right to complain about being sick, when I’ve got a friend that’s been in the hospital fighting cancer for months. 

And I can’t just post on Facebook asking for prayers, because in a few hours the whole city will have assumed several different horrible things about me which will then get passed around as facts. 

So I can’t talk about my problems. But I don’t feel right talking about a lot of the highs of my life either. 

I can’t share what a blessing it was to get unexpected help with our bills, because that would necessitate admitting that we couldn’t pay them in the first place. 

I can’t tell you about how we got this blessing after sharing with someone else in need, because then I’ll have people telling me everything from “You should have saved your money and taken care of your own” to “Don’t be boasting about what good you do.”

I can’t tell you about the miracle that let us heat our house for two months for $25, because someone I don’t even know will take it upon themselves to text my extended family saying we must not have had any heat before. 

I can’t talk about how my husband is always there for me through everything because either someone just had a bad breakup and obviously I’m just saying that to make them mad, or someone else will assume that we are on the brink of divorce and I’m just saying that to make things look good. 

I can’t even post a picture of my son’s new bike, because someone will complain about the mess in the background. 

So I’ll keep posting my shiny Pinterest life online, and put my “normal” life on when I go out in public. But I’m not really like that. And neither are you. 

Thankfully I’m blessed with about three friends that I can be totally honest with. I don’t have to show them my front. I pray you also have friends like this. Live. Laugh. Love. And keep it real. 

Meanwhile…continue to watch my Facebook page for cute pictures and random quotes. 

Traveling…with Prayer

Have you ever had someone tell you, “I’ll pray for you while you travel”? I have, and I’ve said the same to others. 

“I’ll be sure and pray for you to have a safe trip.” I might pray for them right then, but two weeks later, I’d welcome them back at church, never having thought of them after that. 

This year at Christmas time, my husband and I traveled from Texas to North Carolina to visit his parents. I have a good friend that I often refer to as my big sister. She was always checking in with me to see if I was OK, and how far I had gotten. As a convenience for both of us, I started sharing my location with her on my iPhone. 

This is how I discovered “praying by location.” She would look at the map and see where I was, and then was able to pray for me in that particular situation. If I was driving on the freeway, she prayed for safety. If I was at the motel, she prayed for rest. Of course we also texted each other occasionally, but on that long drive, I felt much safer knowing I was being prayed for wherever I was. 

As soon as I returned home, big sister had to fly out of state for an unexpected death. It was a powerful thing to be able to pray for her on the plane, at the motel, at the funeral home, and just on the road. 

I know this will not be for everyone, but if your big (or little) brother, sister, or prayer partner is traveling, you may want to try it. On the iPhone you can share location with another iPhone user through the Find My Friends app. iPhone/Android or Android/Android can accomplish the same thing through the Life360 app. 

At the pharmacy

I went to buy some Sudafed. Have to get it from behind the counter. They ask for my license. 

Cashier: You’re not in our system. 

Me: Yes, I am. You have my name wrong. It’s under ******. 

Cashier: Oh, there you are. Your license doesn’t match our system. The number is the same, though. 

Me: I know. 

Cashier: That’s kind of dangerous, you know. You really need to go get your license changed. 

Me: Did you SERIOUSLY just tell me I need to get my driver’s license changed because it doesn’t match your system?

Cashier: Yes, well, you can change it. We can’t change your name in our system.

Where Are You, God?

I’m going to set this post to publish a long time from now, so we will be removed from the situation by then, but this is too awesome not to share. 

It began with a pay cut. It wasn’t really a pay cut, it was more of a slap in the face. My husband decided to change his work schedule so he could attend church with the family. His boss promised to give him full-time status if he would leave his schedule alone. He’d been working full time for the company for over two years, just under a “part-time” label. He refused. They said they would cut him back to three to four days a week if he didn’t comply. He wouldn’t – his hours were cut. So technically it amounted to a significant pay cut as far as we were concerned. 

It didn’t take long to go through what little savings we had. We were scraping by but some unexpected bills came along. 

One day the situation really began to get to me. By this time we had spent most of a week eating mainly lentils, potatoes, and rice. Sometimes I’d give all the food to my family and just not eat. My birthday was a week away and my six-year old son asked for a couple dollars so he could buy me a present. I had to tell him no. 

That night after my husband went to work, I sat down and did some figuring. With the money we were expecting in pay for the two weeks left in the month, we would have exactly $5 left over after all the bills were paid. That $5 would have to stretch to cover gas, food, and anything else that might come up for two weeks. 

I began to cry. I cried and cried and then I started crying out to God. 

“Where are you, God?” I wept. “My husband stands up for you at work and this happens to us. Don’t you care?”

“Remember My servant Job,” said God. 

I knew right away what He meant. We’d just finished a study on the book of Job at Community Bible Study. God used Job as an example for Satan. Yet Job was not perfect. He complained that God was treating him unjustly. Yet by the end of the book, Job apologized to God. He came to realize that the ways of God are often beyond our comprehension. 

I apologized. “Yes, Lord, I know that you are God and I am not. Help me to wait patiently for your plan.”

After a while I had peace and was able to sleep. 

The next morning I got up and walked the six blocks to Community Bible Study, because one of our cars had expired tags and the other had hardly any gas.

Once I arrived, everything began to go wrong. The Internet was not working, so I couldn’t download the pictures I needed for our guest’s talk. The audio out wire for my computer was missing from the sound system. I went to lead the song and it was to a totally different tune than I was used to singing with those words. 

“Where are you, God?” I cried. 

But the pieces began to fit together. I was able to sight read the music and sing the song, even though I’m not usually that good at sight reading. While I was up leading the music, the Internet came back on just long enough that my email program loaded the pictures. The sound guy came from his office with the missing cable and put it back. 

I started to breathe.

I went home and had an uneventful afternoon doing schoolwork with the kids. Then I left for choir practice and work, using up the last of our gas. 

While I was at work, my husband texted me, telling me that a family member would be able to send us some money for gas and food. I felt better. Things would still be tight but not as bad as before. Then a friend texted me, asking if she could stop by my house later and drop something off.

When I got home from work, I waited for her to stop by. Since my birthday was only three days away, I figured maybe she had gotten me a little something. 

She pulled up in her SUV. “I got a message from God,” she said. She opened up the back. It was full of groceries, and even a toy each for the kids. 

“I don’t know why,” she said, “but God told me to get you this. And when He tells me to do something, I listen.”

We carried all the groceries into the house. The kids danced around and hugged their toys. Finally it was just my friend and I out in the cold. We hugged. “You don’t know what an answer to prayer this is,” I said. 

She got in her SUV and drove out. I went back into the house and pulled the door closed. My phone dinged. 

It was a text from another of my friends. “Would you accept some money from me and my husband as a gift to get your tags?” it read. 

I couldn’t say anything. I stood there with one hand on the doorknob as the tears ran down my face. My heart was full. I knew where God was. He was in my family. He was in my friends. But most of all, He was here, with me. 

The Music of Heaven

i love Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Most likely it is the most beautiful piece of music ever written. If you don’t know what piece of music that is, go here and listen to it now. You’ll probably recognize it. 

Trip saw me crying once while listening to the Canon in D. 

Trip: Mommy, what’s wrong?

Me: Nothing. The music is so beautiful, it must be what the music in heaven will sound like. 

So now Trip and Arya love it too, and every so often they ask for the “Music of Heaven.” Tonight on the way home from church was one of those times. 

As we were listening to an arrangement by Michael Silcerman featuring an oboe with the orchestra, there was silence for a while.

Then Trip said, “Mommy, this almost sounds like a song I already know.”

I was stunned by that statement, although probably not the way he originally meant it. 

I pray I can live my life here in such a way that the song of heaven is one I already know.