Blog

getting a little older, healthy lifestyle, Inner Sparkle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), sparkle inspiration

Number One Beauty Secret

This Sparkle blog is subtitled “inner and outer sparkle that never has to fade.”  So the next couple of blogs will focus on outer sparkle, but as you well know, inner and outer sparkle and beauty are very much connected!

I’ll begin by telling you that I recently heard a woman in her 50’s speak about her depression, part of which was the reality that she was beginning to show her age. She barely could muster up a smile. Her husband took her to dinner, and as they were seated, she noticed that an old classmate of hers was seated in a nearby booth. She pointed the classmate out to her husband, and asked, “Do you think she is attractive?” Her husband then gave a most profound answer, “Yes, because she is happy.”

If we only knew how people who see us do not count our wrinkles, or notice the flaws that we are so acutely aware of. They look at our countenance and if they see genuine joy there, they think we are beautiful. I promise you, it is true.

1528983010600I saw this picture in the news the other day. Both Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and the Queen Elizabeth look fabulous, but isn’t it remarkable that the queen at age 92 can look so beautiful? Her secret? Just exactly what the discerning husband said in the account above, “She is beautiful because she is happy.”

And so the number one beauty secret of all time is to seek, above all else, to have a joyful heart. I personally am asking God to help me recognize the good things that He gives me each day, which might otherwise be drowned out by the hassles of life. This will do more for my beauty than any cream or makeup!

268ad8e0d126d5b3f990887d5b9fa904

 

healthy lifestyle, Inner Sparkle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

Things I Have Learned Being “Laid Up” With Injury

Today is four weeks since I have been laid up after smooshing a nerve in my back between my backpack and the surgical rod that has been in my back for 30 years. Youch! The first week, I was in bed or in the recliner 95% of the time, the second week, 75%, the third week, 50%, and now, 25% of the time. And guess what? When I get to 10% I want to stay there, hopefully not because I still have an injury, but because I have learned so much from resting and reading and thinking in this recliner in the past month, I don’t want to zoom back into my super-busy life speed. (My husband and I both think it might be a year before this pinched nerve really heals back to normal, so I may not have a choice on that.)

IMG_2175Let me share some things I have learned this past month, besides the fact that cats are so selfish they are elated to have their owners laid up so they can sit around and purr all day! By the way, notice that in this picture the fire is going and I am wearing my furry UGG slippers. That was a month ago in April, now it is May and in Colorado, that means an instant change from snowy winter weather to balmy summer. Spring just kind of doesn’t happen here.  I rather feel like Rip Van Winkle in that I went down in winter and got up in a completely different season.

Here are the most important things God has taught me when it was just me and Him and quiet.

  1.  I asked the Lord to show me what my purpose in life is now that I am not raising kids or writing books. I inquired of Him in the wee hours of the morning, and He very distinctly brought this verse to my mind:

    But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. Micah 6:8 The Message

    Another version of the Bible puts it more concisely “to do justice, to love kindness, to walk humbly with your God.”

    There it is! My God-given purpose in life, and I have been trying to live it out ever since that night and with God’s help, will continue.

  2. This past month, because of my convalescence, my thoughts went to healing and health a lot of the time.I think that because of the evangelical phonies who parade themselves as miracle-workers and healers and prosperity-givers, we as Christians have reacted with a polar response and shunned the thought of God being a healer of His people. It’s just not true. And as a result, we run to the medical profession first and foremost, and don’t even think in a serious way of asking God, the Great Physician to heal us.
    And so the other thing I have been reminded of this past month is that although it is fine to go to a doctor, it is not fine to depend on the doctor. There is one Healer and one alone. And sometimes, God says no, or wait, to our prayers, but in recent times, it seems, many Christians don’t even give Him a chance by going to Him first in complete dependence as it relates to their illness.

    John Piper shares an article entitled Asa’s Folly from 2 Chronicles 16. Here is an excerpt:

    Look at verse 12: “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe; yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.” Something tragic had happened in Asa’s life. In the 35 years of God’s blessing on his reign he had gradually (it seems) become a secular humanist 2,800 years before the term was invented.

    When there is military threat, you don’t think of God, you think of money in the treasury and political alliances and armed forces. When there is a threat to your health, you don’t think of God, you think of doctors and medicine.

    God doesn’t generally “zap” us into health or prosperity, rather He asks us to participate. With health, He invites us to partake of the incredible healing foods He has made, the fresh air and sunshine He has given to exercise in, and even the healing leaves of things like essential oils. With prosperity, He blesses good, hard, old-fashioned work that is done unto Him. That’s why Moses prayed in Psalm 90:17, “Let the kindness of the Lord our God be with us. Make us successful in everything we do. Yes, make us successful in everything we do.”

     

    I hope I don’t ever forget what God has taught me on this couch. I know my purpose in life from Micah 6:8…to love the people who are right in front of my face and not be looking for any great “ministry” “out there.” And to seek humility before God continually. Also I know that not just in medical issues, but in all areas of life, God wants me to seek Him FIRST and to depend on Him ONLY, even if He may use other people or means to accomplish His blessing to me.

    IMG_2222By the way, here is a picture taken yesterday on my very first little hike in a month. It was only about 20 minutes long and I had some aches and pains, but the bright sunshine and fragrance of the vegetation felt like a giant natural de-tox, so wonderful!

 

healthy lifestyle, Inner Sparkle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

The Ultimate Sparkle, Christ Within

There is a reality for a Christian that is both amazingly wonderful and frightfully full of responsibility. That reality is that one who has invited Christ into his or her life is now, quite literally, the temple of God’s Spirit, and further, our bodies are “members” of Christ, literally.

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[a] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[b]1 Corinthians 6:15-17 New International Version (NIV)

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 New International Version (NIV)

9dd2d9d71ccca765fe23c8ca88d023a2This is not a blog about sexual immorality, but I share these verses of scripture to illustrate just how very much everything we do as Christians is something that Jesus Himself is part of, because He is so very united with us, and we with Him.

When Jesus was about to leave this earth, He prayed the following prayer in the hearing of his disciples so that they would understand how incredibly close He wanted them, and us, to be with Him:

22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:22-23 New International Version (NIV)

The responsibility, the privilege, of such a union should both sober us and thrill us daily. It should affect how we relate to people, how we work, what we entertain ourselves with, what we eat. Our bodies should be seen as a Holy Temple, a chosen dwelling place of the Most High God.

Talk about “sparkle”!!! We can shine with the life of Christ, because He has for some amazing reason, desired and chosen to dwell right inside of us.

 

emotional and spiritual struggles, sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

God Wants You Well…

God wants you well, and I can prove it from Scripture…except, of course, when he wants you unwell.

Consider Amy Carmichael, a woman who rescued children in India from bleak temple slavery. She was bedridden her last 20 years of life. Consider Joni Eareckson Tada, who has spent over 40 years paralyzed in a wheelchair. Consider the apostle Paul, who had “a thorn in the flesh” that “tormented” him. Consider my and Mike’s two children who were born with a severe muscle disorder and who never knew what it was like to run and play.

These are all people who knew (in Joni’s case “know”) and loved God. Why, why did God allow them to not be well?

Here’s what I believe with all my heart. God does indeed want His people, His children, well. But there are certain times and certain individuals that God ordains to glorify Him in being unwell. Amy Carmichael wrote at least 16 books, many of which are still treasured today, during her convalescence. Joni Eareckson Tada could never have dreamed of having such a huge impact on people of the entire world without her accident. Paul realized that God had allowed His affliction to make him stronger (2 Corinthians 12:9-11.) And as for my kids, I only wish you could have been at Bradley’s memorial service and realized the impact he had on those around him, not in spite of his disability, but because of it (and little Kristie’s life was equally influential although she only had three years to live it out.)

In each case mentioned above, God made known to His precious ones that their unwellness was something special that He had allowed for a very intentional purpose.

But for the most part, God does want His people to enjoy good health: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

PsalmsAs I type this I am going on my third week of being laid up with a pinched nerve in my back that I procured trying to get my 93 year-old mom out of the halls of her nursing home for a while and into an afternoon of sunshine.

71IlBiCbvBL._SX355_I’m reading psalm 103 each day lately, and one of the verses, speaking of God toward His believing children says, “(He) pardons all your iniquities; (He) heals all your diseases. 

I’ve also been reading Psalm 91 every day. The first verse says,

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty 

psalm911-300x300And then it goes on to describe His protection against all dangers, including “deadly pestilence” which includes, according to John MacArthur, “dreaded diseases.”

John MacArthur’s study notes says this about psalm 91:

“This psalm describes God’s ongoing sovereign  protection of His people from the ever-present dangers and terrors which surround humanity…Most of the terrors mentioned in this psalm are left undefined, no doubt intentionally, so that no kind of danger is omitted from application. Believers in every age can read this psalm to learn that nothing can harm a child of God unless the Lord permits it.”

And so, although I am laid up for a time and it seems that I may never get well at this slow pace, I expect God to heal me.  If He does not, I expect Him to directly “speak” to me about the purpose He has for my affliction.

And it has little to do with the degree of my faith whether or not I am healed. My husband likes to point out Hebrews chapter 11, the faith chapter. Some people’s faith, it says, made them mighty in war, caused them to receive back their dead in resurrection, shut the mouths of lions! But others with equal faith, it says, were stoned, sawn in two (!), were ill-treated, and put to death with the sword.

I would like my faith to result in those really cool things like being mighty in war…and being healed. And I hope that will be the case. I also plan to do my part to bring about health.  But as always, I must say, “Your will, Your way, Your timing.”

fd6d09759360fcdc630522e81fffb7f2--jehovah-rapha-healing-scriptures

sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

Singing With the Angels

Kristie with Grandma Linder 001My daughter Kristie was born May, 25 1986. My friend Janice also had a baby girl right around that time, Rachel.  Kristie was born with a muscle problem and went to be with Jesus when she was three years old. But during her short life, although the doctors told us when she was born that she would never speak, not only did she speak, she sang at the top of her lungs with great joy, much of her days. Pictured here is her singing with one of her grandmas when she wasn’t even two years old.

So Janice just sent me this little two-minute clip of Rachel, who is now a lovely young woman, singing with what seems the voice of an angel, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” The beauty of it made me cry. And it also made me cry that Kristie is also singing, turning her eyes often upon her Savior and joining with the angels in song.

Please listen to this short song, and turn the eyes of your heart upon Jesus. There is no sparkle that compares to joining the angels in song, and looking to the one who loves you so deeply, Jesus.

Inner Sparkle, sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

The Lent Fast That Will Make You Sparkle

I used to be Catholic. When I was a little girl, I would fast on candy and when I got older, all sweets, during the time of lent. Later, I went to a faith that did not involve lent or fasting, at least not at any certain time.

But recently I was looking into the Anglican faith, and I ran across this wonderful poem, a lent fast, the kind of fast that would certainly please God and most definitely cause a sparkle in the soul!

Here it is. Enjoy, and feast on the wonderful outcome of fasting on the things that would destroy us:

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ within them.
Fast from emphasis on difference; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.

Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from worry; feast on trust in God’s Care.
Fast from unrelenting pressure; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.

Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.”

-William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994)

Easter-tomb-he-is-risen_15745_Vga

And don’t forget to have a joyful Easter. Jesus lives so that we might live!

emotional and spiritual struggles, sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

Root of Bitterness…the Sparkle Quencher

Bitterness, resentfulness, sullenness, stand-offish-ness, walking around with, as my dad used to say, “a chip on your shoulder,” these are all sparkle quenchers. But it goes even deeper than that, this “root of bitterness,” as the Bible describes it in the book of Hebrews is a life-destroyer…not only of our own lives, but of the lives around us.

downloadIt’s not always that we destroy our lives and other lives actively or aggressively with our sour spirit, but it’s that we forfeit the opportunity to use our snowflake-like, one-of-a-kind gifts that God has given us to glorify Himself and to bless the world, in a way that literally no one else can do.

No one can touch lives and express the life of God in exactly the way you can, no one!

But bitterness changes all that.

Bitterness makes us inward. Our minds go round and round like a hamster wheel, rehearsing offenses, justifying our sullen spirit…and meanwhile, with each ticking moment, life is escaping us. Wasted. Those moments of bitterness turn into days, and months and years. And we can get to the end of our lives and realize that we had a dreaded companion and enemy, Bitterness, who stole away our opportunities and robbed God of His glory, and us of the joy of our lives being used by Him in a positive and wonderful way.

48112c027a01b8a67a889920f3019275For me, there’s only one thing that really motivates me to forgive those who have deeply offended me, and that is to really think about what Jesus did so that God the Father would forgive me. That one fact leaves me defenseless in my accusations of others and of any justification of resentment toward them. God is not resentful toward me because of what Jesus did for me. It’s that simple, and that is the only real escape from this enemy, Bitterness, who would destroy us and rob us of the opportunity to be a bright sparkle in the world, rather than just another gloomy, pessimistic face.

This idea of sparkling is real and important. Have you ever been feeling down, and a perfect stranger smiled at you, looked you in the eyes as if you mattered, said some kind words, and in so doing, lifted your spirit?  Even a stranger in a grocery store can do that. Think of the impact of touching lives each day with just a little kindness and a sincere smile. We can’t let Bitterness take that kindness out of our heart and that smile off of our face!