Laurel Thomas

treasure Archive

Thursday

20

July 2017

0

COMMENTS

A Child’s Voice in the River

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A speech impediment plagued my five-year old self. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t pronounce my name. The letter “l” was impossible, the “r” tricky. My name, Laurel, required mastery of one or the other. The sound that tumbled out of my mouth in an untidy heap was not my name.

Awkward, mumbling “Ohwell” confused anyone who asked, “What’s your name, little girl?”

How could six letters arranged to identify me be so hard to get out of my mouth? It was embarrassing, even for a little kid who shouldn’t have cared much. After all, I was loved by the people who mattered. No big deal.

Except it was a big deal. But for reasons I didn’t understand at the time.

Later, when I experienced God, I realized why. Because me with Him was the point. The whole point. Me living this life, with Him, as only I could.

It took me awhile to figure that out. And to understood I needed to be grateful for all the parts of my life. In my worst moments, I’d made flawed decisions, opted for easy instead of difficult, and stayed passive when a mess required a response.

But those parts could be summed up in a sentence or two. Unlike the incredible joy of seeing my babies for the first time. When my husband and I locked eyes and knew we were part of a miracle – together.

Or the journey of recognizing my mom’s courage. Loving and appreciating with adult eyes how she responded to dashed dreams as a good mom – loving her kids and making the hard choice to protect us.

And accepting the wonder of a dad who chose me. Actually, he chose my mom first. But by choosing her, he embraced me. On purpose. He loved that way when I recognized it and when I didn’t.

I’d had great people who helped me along the way. Most of all, my husband. But, also leaders and bosses who taught me to be wise and work hard. Even the ones who blew it showed me that my decisions for integrity, or not, were me writing my own story. The one I’d be able to share with my kids in the years to come. Or not.

Colossians 1:28 has been talking to me all summer. Talking to me? Well, it’s a big subject. Christ in me, the hope of glory.

Confidence in God showing up as God in me? What does that look like?

I struggled a long time with the largeness of that thought. I’d focus on how many ways I’d missed it. And why. Until I decided to go another direction. It started with a simple prayer.

Lord, help me see You in me. Help me identify and treasure Your uniqueness in me.

Then, help me steward Your expression in me well.

A steward doesn’t just keep order and make sure life colors within the lines. A steward administrates what doesn’t belong to her. The assignment and it’s design are unveiled as I keep moving and trusting.

Finally, help me share it in love. Because love rests over my imperfections and somehow makes my offering lovely.

This summer, in time for my birthday, I’m discovering the one thing that evaded me as a child.

I’m learning to pronounce my name.

Sunday

11

May 2014

0

COMMENTS

Courage in the River

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“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” Mary Ann Radmacher

I’m asking more and more to see the big picture. Distractions obscured my view for years. The eternal paraded nearby, unnoticed by me, while I tended to fires that only veiled the real deal.

I want what matters. Even when it shows up unannounced.

Mary might have been asleep when the angel, Gabriel, came to visit. She didn’t ask for the encounter. Even as love breathed into the air around her, the message confounded her young heart.

“Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will become pregnant and give birth to a Son and you will call His name Yeshua,” he said.

Still, Mary welcomed God. Angelic visitor, supernatural mission and impossible circumstances. Yes, to all of the above.

The sweetness of heaven’s visitor must have lingered. Did it stick around long enough to cushion the clash of incomprehensible meeting human reason?

Heaven defied the natural and inserted His plan on earth in baby form. All in the human package of a young woman called to carry God.

It was a profound, beautiful first fruit of His will for all of us. The mystery of imperfect people carrying a God treasure.

She couldn’t have known how much grace carrying that Treasure would require. It didn’t look like an assault at first. After all, it was her family. It was Joseph. But they didn’t understand.

Rejection has a hook. That hook is based on the fact we carry something that isn’t understood. It isn’t understood because it is God. Rejection must have hovered with its goon, shame, like a black cloud threatening to slime Mary and her treasure.

These babies are God plans that begin with a thought or desire. Sometimes they show up in our dreams. Many are aborted before they are known, denied before their beauty shapes our world in a new way.

Questions assail us like, “Who do you think you are?”

“You’ve tried and failed before, why is this time any different?”

“How important is this anyway? It’s so little and insignificant.”

Mary was a wise woman. She ran to her friend, Elizabeth. Elizabeth knew about supernatural babies. She carried one. She, too, was a forerunner who carried a child of the spirit, not born of the will of man, but of God.

Elizabeth friends are precious. They recognize the gift we carry when others don’t. They aren’t threatened by what they can not understand. They know a baby needs protection. That means caring for the momma.

Elizabeth was old. She was proof age has nothing to do with this birthing process. We can receive a God-baby at any age.

God things aren’t always understood. But in embracing them, we receive the potential to bring heaven to earth in flesh and blood reality. Did Jesus shape the world? Our babies will, too.

They need protection, they need care. But when they come to birth, God arrives on the scene. He may come in baby form, but that expression of heaven in us touches earth in ways we never expected.

Shalom,

Laurel Thomas

 

Saturday

22

March 2014

4

COMMENTS

Visitation in the River

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Visitations from the Lord sometimes slip in without fanfare. Unlike an angelic visit or a rushing wind that blows through my hair and gives me shivers, it wafts in like a gentle spring breeze with a sentence rising from my consciousness.

I like organized thoughts and set-beliefs, cherished and wrapped in pretty bows. But God arrives by His Spirit to mess up my careful enclosures. His message presses on the borders of my understanding of Him, my very large God.

One morning I was brushing my teeth, shrugging off the sleepy stupor of a late night. I heard a simple, direct statement.

“I want you to stop being so hard on yourself.”

It was a command.

There is a wisdom check in James 3:17. It helps me discern what I’m not sure about, detailing eight qualities of God’s perfect wisdom. So my question was this. Is it pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruit, unwavering and without hypocrisy? A long list, but guaranteed to keep me on the right track. The sentence I heard fit on all counts.

I’ve entertained mental gymnastics around an inner accuser for years. Its torment was like a vexing fly buzzing in my ear. It evaded each swat, ending up as a smack on the side of my own head.

This torment flowed like a polluted current under the surface of my thoughts. It came to the top in stillness.

“You didn’t do that right. You didn’t say that right. It wasn’t enough,” translated into “You are not enough.”

These barbs went into the soft spot of my heart and translated into try harder, but don’t expect much. It was shadow-boxing with me as the target.

There was a lady named Rahab in the Bible. Many translations call her harlot. In others she is idolater, in a few, inn-keeper. History has a hard time defining her.

I like that. We all resist definition. That’s because a big God, who created the universe, formed us. There is something of the infinite inside each of us.

Rahab lived in an idolatrous culture. In the Bible that translated into a civilization filled with perversion, violence, and unchecked lawlessness. It violated the weak and helpless. Might made right and lust found its fill in cries of the innocent.

Not that Rahab was helpless. Her name meant insolent and fierce. Sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. Uncovered and unprotected, she learned how to take care of herself. Was there a future where she wouldn’t have to sell her soul to survive?

God visited her one day in the form of two spies from Israel. It was all about alignment in a shifting time. His people were moving forward after an extended stint in the wilderness. Evil couldn’t be ignored. It had to be confronted. But this evil looked impenetrable. 

It was a God job, huge and impossible. These forerunners needed access to a locked down, walled fortress. They needed refuge in a hostile city. They found both in Rahab.

She hid them under flax on her rooftop and diverted their pursuers. Then she described a plan of God they never told her. Their God was the God of heaven and earth. Revolution had come and she was in.

I’ve wondered about this unlikely treasure, Rahab. History’s definition doesn’t reflect what God saw in her, which even now defies our prejudice. Whoever she was on the outside, her heart and actions opened a gateway for God’s people into a new era.

Like Rahab, we are much more than our history predicts. God still needs gateways when evil locks out His plan. The openness of our hearts to Him just might become a refuge and access for others on the way to their promised land.

Life contests His gift in us. The voice of the inner accuser must be silenced. If no one else recognizes the treasure formed for His purposes, He does. His Spirit compels us to know what He knows.

Gateway people don’t often arrive on the scene clean and sanitized. But their hearts are open. They look in His mirror to see what He sees. He welcomes them not just as visitors, but as intimate friends.

So expect that visit. It may be an angel, or one of His people. It may be a sentence on a sleepy morning at the sink. But if we call, He’ll come.The Gate Himself unlocks a gate in us, a refuge beckoning others to the largeness of Him.