Planted By God to Display His Glory -Isaiah 61:3

Posts tagged ‘Inspiration’

Re-written in Red Ink: Jesus is the Game Changer

Sharing a devotion at Internet Cafe co-written with my daughter:

Much of my life over the last three years has been written in black ink…a dark script of pain, sorrow, loss and loneliness.

And yet, every day and every word of darkness God has edited, rewritten, crossed out, and written over in red ink.

Because…

Red-inked words of life rewritten over the black-inked script of our lives.

A truth so beautifully captured in a story my daughter wrote when she was just sixteen:


Checkers

Imagine an intense checkers game.

You’re the red pieces…and your opponent smiles menacingly as he sets up his black pieces. You start out feeling very confident, thinking that this game will be a breeze. But as the game goes on, red pieces start disappearing and black kings seem to be everywhere you try to go. Eventually the board is totally void of red pieces…except for one.

One tiny, pathetic little piece is cornered by all the black kings. Sweat pours down your face and you think that there is no way you could ever beat your opponent. On the other hand, he’s sitting across from you with glinting eyes and a devilish smile, showing confidence that makes you feel like he could jump up and smash you into the ground.

But then a shadow falls across the board. You both look up, and see a man standing there with a smile on his face. A patch on his shirt says “All-Time Checkers Champion, 33AD.” You look over at your opponent, only to see that his face has gone white. The man gently places his hand on your shoulder and says, “Well, how’s the game going?”  

“Not so well…” You reply. “I’m going to lose.”

The man quickly scans over the board and then looks back at you. “Doesn’t look too bad to me. Anyway, this isn’t your game…”

To read the rest of the devotion at Internet Cafe click here.

©Linda Crawford 2012, all rights reserved

Adventures in Writing: Memories of Fall

I’m heading out on a new writing adventure. I want to try to take a picture in words…and capture a fleeting memory, moment, or imagination…in 300 words or less.
<click> here’s my first pic:

The acrid smoke burns my nostrils.

I sniff in again. The prickly sensation travels down the back of my throat, and I am satisfied.

I have smelled Fall.

Our rakes lay abandoned in a haphazard array in the bare grass as we gather around the piles of growing flame. Horse chestnuts, shed with the crisp browned leaves, explode from their hidden shells inside the fire…and we cheer.

The joy tingles us to our toes and we forget our aching shoulders. The chorus of mournful tunes that echoed in the cool clear air just moments before have fallen like the leaves, and now fertilize the flames and the fun.

This burning ritual has no gender bias—I am an equal here with my brothers, covered in crumbled leaf dust, infiltrated with smoke, as we tend the fires with imagined military precision.

We don’t know the smoke is making our eyes sting and our lungs choke until there are only ashes of leaves left.

The rakes are forgotten for the leaves of tomorrow to fall upon them. The boys tease each other and run away down the lane.

No one sees my smile.

I have smelled Fall, and the joy of it I will remember forever.

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After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now.  Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 MSG

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Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. – Joseph Addison

Praying for you to find delight in the nows of your today and your yesterdays. May you live, love, and hope with joy!

©Linda Crawford 2012, all rights reserved

Pondering the number 3

It’s been three months since I’ve written a blog post.

A lot can happen in three months…

I have three months of wonderful memories shared with family and friends.

I’m three months older (which, at my age, is not something I celebrate)…

Wait…I’m older, but am I also three months wiser?

Oh yes, I believe I am.

I’m wiser and I’m transformed. Older, but renewed.

All because of three miraculous days in June, and the three months of healing that have followed.

So I ponder the number 3 today…

It was three days before Jesus rose from the dead.

Three is a number of RESURRECTION.

Thank you Jesus for the resurrection life you poured into me during those three days and have continued to pour out these last three months.

Three is the number of DIVINE PERFECTION—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–the fullness of God.

You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. Colossians 2:9-10 MSG

Thank you God, for calling me to empty myself of the things that filled my life that were not of you—pain, fear and sins of unbelief–and filling me with the fullness of your life.

3, you have been good to me.

Soon I’ll write a testimony of your goodness, your mercy, and your healing power Lord. But for today, I’ll ponder your Divine perfection and the power of your resurrection life at work in me…

The number three “signifies and represents the Holy Spirit as taking the things of Christ and making them real and solid in our experience.” –biblestudy.org

You are making them real to me.

Thank you Lord, for 

©Linda Crawford 2012, all rights reserved

How I Impressed the Grocery Bagging Guy

I’m sharing a fun story at Internet Cafe Devotions today!

I’m like most women I see at the grocery store—I shop alone.

I plan our family meals, take stock of the bare cupboards, and venture solo to the mega store where, list in hand, I methodically hunt down and gather our food each week. It’s exhausting work doing it alone. Reaching, bending, lifting, carrying, and loading all those groceries into and out of that cart (and later into and out of the car and finally into the cupboards) is a workout!

I’m convinced the reason many women wear sweatpants to the grocery store is because they know how much they are going to sweat!

A few years ago I hurt my shoulder and had to go solo to the store with my left arm in a sling. I soon realized I could never pass the straight-line-cart-driving-sobriety test steering with only one hand, and the more items I put in, the worse it got. Weaving around the store, I became more and more frustrated and less and less in control of my cart. Then it dawned on me that I was going to have to load and unload everything with one hand too. I quickly pared down my list to the necessities and carefully maneuvered my way to the checkout.

I had unloaded about a third of my cart onto the revolving belt before the pleasant young man behind the bagging station offered to help. They usually don’t offer to help me, so I knew one of three things must be true—either I looked like I needed help because of the sling, he saw me drunk-driving my cart, or, more than likely, my slow, one at a time unloading was holding up the sighing impatient line of customers behind me. Usually fiercely independent on grocery shopping treks, this time I was embarrassed and grateful for the help…

Click here to read the rest of the story at Internet Cafe Devotions to discover how an arm injury, a Homecoming dance and a grocery clerk helped me get an important message from God!

Linda CrawfordHave a sunny-side up day!

~Linda

© 2012, Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up, all rights reserved.

Rewind 1 Year: Bad Days Happen

Bad Days Happen

(This was originally posted on February 8, 2011, and it’s an amazing thing that God led me back to it tonight, February 8, 2012. Tomorrow I am going in for knee surgery, another step toward my healing from the injury that has sidetracked my life for 2 1/2 years now. I needed to read this tonight. I need to keep my perspective on the right things–the things of God. May it bless you today, whether it’s your first or second time reading it. Tomorrow’s going to be a good day, I just know it!)

I had a good day last week. Followed by a bad day. Followed by a moderately bad day, which was followed by a moderately good day. None of which were caused by my choice to quit caffeine last week.

This is just how I rate my life these days. Good, bad, and the moderate ones in-between. It’s become a habit, and another one (like the caffeine) that I’d like to break. But it’s tough, because I’ve been at it for over a year now, ever since that one very bad day happened.

Have you experienced one of those? I bet you have, and whatever your story is, I pray for you…because I know the pain. Literally. For me it’s been coping with unrelenting physical pain, but I know for others it can be unrelenting emotional pain. And so we rate our days: good, bad, and in-between…

On the good days I will call you and chat and maybe even go to the movies. On the bad days you won’t see or hear from me. Only my family sees, but I even try to hide the pain from them. So they won’t start rating their days good or bad based upon mine.

What really got me thinking about how I rate my days was an article I read last week by my favorite writer called 8 ½ Steps to Make it Through the Moderately-Worst Day of Your Life. It made me laugh but also gave me a good dose of God’s grace and hope:

“Even on days when absolutely nothing is going your way, and you watched your toast walk off the plate and jump to the ground butter-side-down, there is something you can control. You. Your outlook, your attitude and your level of optimism.” 

Yup, I can control me. I can control what I choose to focus on and what I choose to believe. And when I make the right choices my best days are the ones when God gets the attention instead of the pain:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

“Give my attention to what God is doing right now”…right now. Today, this moment, and every moment, pain or no pain, God is working in me. Working good things. Things that can only be formed in the heat of the furnace of my pain. And I’m a better person because of that.

So I won’t give up. And neither should you:

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)

Not a day goes by… I’m going to endeavor to stop rating my days good or bad based on my pain, and instead rate them all good based on God’s unending grace and love, and His promise for the blessings of my future. Besides, as my favorite author says:

“Bad days happen, but after they are over–that’s just it. They are over. Don’t give a bad day more recognition than it deserves, because it doesn’t deserve any. Stupid bad days.”

Stupid bad days indeed.

Have a good day!   🙂

                   -Linda

By the way, in case you were wondering, my favorite author happens to be Sarah Elizabeth Crawford. Who, in addition to ministering to her Mom, speaks to teen girls through her articles in SUSIE magazine. And you betcha I think she is great!

Copyright Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled) 2012. All rights reserved.

Ready for New Adventures

I wish I were as young (and pretty) as the girl in this picture is. But today, in my 50-something heart, I am this girl, only better.

When I was her age this picture would be of me getting ready to run away from everything I knew. At the time I resented familiar. Small town life bored me. Being known as the “good girl” in my family constrained me. Something inside wanted out. It wasn’t just a rebellious streak, it was a rebellious identity crisis. There was a risk-taking, little bit crazy, fun-loving, courageous and intensely curious person who wanted a chance at life.

Too bad it would take that girl years to figure out where she really wanted to go and who she really was.

But that’s the beauty and the adventure of a journey isn’t it? We never really know what’s going to happen or how it will change us. As Robert Frost said in his famous poem, The Road Not Taken: “I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.”

I ran away from familiar, and it was precisely because of that choice that I eventually ran smack into God. Without Him on the journey with me these last twenty-some years, I would still be out there desperately looking for the real me.

It’s a road that’s been full of potholes, yet it’s led me to sweeping scenic vistas. I’ve littered it with tears, laughter and some words I wish I could have back. I’ve put my red shoes on and danced for joy. Then headed off in directions I wished I had not. At times I’ve wanted to turn back, and at times I’ve stopped, paralyzed by fear.

“Do it afraid,” God whispered in my ear.

“I will,” I answered back.

My suitcase is packed and ready to head out with God on new adventures for 2012. I don’t have a clue where I’m going, but I know I’m not running away this time. Familiar doesn’t trap me and life is not boring. Yet there is still something inside that wants out–the full expression of the real me. The risk-taking, little bit crazy, fun-loving, courageous, intensely curious, I-want-to-live-and-breathe-and-have-my-being-in-Jesus me!

I’m ready to be real, live real and love real.

I’m standing in front of familiar, I’ve got my favorite dress and red shoes on, my old suitcase in hand and I’m ready for the road less traveled Lord!

Time to step out on new adventures!

Won’t you join me?

~ Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2012

Thanks so much to Elisabeth at Elisabeth Anna Photography for allowing me to use her amazing photo! What an amazing talent you have girl!

And a shout out to the Girls Like Me at the Sanctuary Church in Santa Clarita, California! Stepping out with you and into all that God has for us this year!

LOVE is…

LOVE  is…

A Christmas present worth unwrapping every day of the year!

In honor of all that LOVE has done for me recently I’ve put together a video collage of  the images and messages I’ve been blessed to receive from God this year.

LOVE is…

The beautiful sound track is from Hidden in My Heart Scripture Lullabies–the music that healed my soul this year as God healed my body.

Yes friends, I am finally walking (and dancing) into my miraculous physical healing!

What can I say, except that God’s LOVE is amazing!

Praying for God’s LOVE to embrace you and fill your heart with strength and joy today and every day!

~ Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011

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