TEDDY – The Gift

Before our first child Lee, was born, I was shopping in the baby section, at what I thought, at the time was a fancy store, where I found a soft, adorable brown teddy bear with a red bow around his neck and as a bonus when you wound it up, it played music and its head turned. Because it was on sale I was able to buy it. 

See when Jeff and I were first married, we barely had 10 cents left over at the end of the month once we paid our bills and bought groceries. So any kind of purchase outside the bare necessities was an extravagant purchase. 

Lee loved that bear and toted it around with him everywhere he went! He was about 4 or 5yrs old when we attended a friend’s wedding and we stayed at a hotel. As we were packing up, I told Lee to get all his stuff which included a backpack of fun goodies and things to keep him busy on the road and of course his teddy bear. 

Unfortunately when we got home. Teddy was nowhere to be found and yes it was one of those times that I did not go back into the hotel after we had packed up the car and stripped the sheets off the bed, put them in a pile,  looked under every bed as I if I worked for the CIA and was doing a recon sweep of every part of the room, looking for secret documents. Just to assure my family did not leave anything. Nope! I failed! Lee was devastated and I received the worst mom of the year award. We’ve all been there right? 

But in that season of life. I choose to use it as a teaching lesson for Lee to be more responsible. I did call the hotel and ask if they had found it, but of course no one turned it in.

Fast forward some 20 plus years later, Lee’s wife is pregnant with our first grandson and  Jeff’s name sake and I am trying to think of a really memorable gift to give to them. So I decided to go on a hunt for Teddy! I begin looking at all the stores I thought he could be at. I found the company that made him, but of course they don’t make them any longer. Then someone mentioned ebay. 

So, I did a google search and you guessed it!  There was a lady who had one exactly like Lee’s in perfect condition. So, I contacted her and was able to purchase it for him and let me tell you I think I paid about 10 times the amount I paid for the original one. But I didn’t care, I would have pretty much paid any amount to get it.  

As you can guess, It was a pretty special moment when Lee opened up that package, but what was even more special was some 4 plus years later when Lee’s son came walking into my house carrying teddy. 

Teddy is a little more tattered these days! His ribbon is wearing out . His fur is a little matted from food and who knows what else he has been through. But all those imperfections just show how well loved he is. 

You know there is a parable in the bible that talks about loss. In Matthew 18 it says, 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray and gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost? 13 And if it should be that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. 14 Just so it is not the will of My Father Who is in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost and perish.” (Amplified version of the bible)

This parable is really saying that God will do anything to bring His children into a personal relationship with Him. He sent his son to die on a Christ, so that we might be saved! In verse 11 there of Matthew it also says “For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost” What did he come to save us from? The penalty of eternal death! 

Our sin (handed down from Adam and Eve) has separated us from God and we can only bridge that separation by accepting His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. 

That means we give up our wants, wills and desires and surrender our life and everything in it to Him! Then the heavens rejoice everytime someone surrenders their life to Christ. 

Even more so than we rejoiced when we found Teddy! Oh! It might not be the original teddy but how many of us haven’t followed God’s plan exactly? I want you to know He still rejoices everytime someone comes to Him! 

There is nothing we can do that will separate us from God’s love. But if we truly love Him, Our life should reflect Him. It doesn’t matter how much we have been through, how tattered and matted our life feels. We can know that we are loved and carried in the arms of God if we have surrendered our life to Him. 

Maybe you feel lost, maybe you feel like your life is in tatters, You need to know there is a God out there who loves you and cares about you more than you can know and He was and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring you back into relationship with Him. 

He left his throne in heaven to come to earth as a baby so He could give His life so that we could have eternal life and live with Him forever. 

Will you surrender your heart today? Will you decide that you are going to live for Christ no matter what it takes? If you are saying yes to that today. I want you to do 2 things. First, contact me through the comments on here and tell me that you decided to come to Christ and surrender your life to Him. Then, go ahead and find a bible believing church in your area or I will be happy to find you one. But you need a community to grow in whether it is online now because of Covid or in person. 

But know today , the heavens are rejoicing just like we did when we found teddy (honestly even more so) Because you are loved and that is the greatest gift of all!

Pondering Lee’s Surgery and the Birth of Christ

Pondering Lee’s Surgery and the Birth of Christ

One of my most favorite things in the world is being a momma. It is all I ever wanted to be. I gave up several opportunities to do other things including recording Christian music and college to do so. I never wanted to be famous, or make millions of dollars. I just wanted to be a mom.

I take the job very seriously still to this day, so it shouldn’t surprise you that before my kids were born I have prayed for each of them and in that season of prayer, as I carried them in my womb, I felt that God gave me a scripture for each child. I didn’t ask for this, it just came to me. A strong impression that this is for the particular child I was carrying at the time. I knew each verse would represent my child, this little creature growing inside me. I don’t know how I knew, but I just did.

Over the 35 yrs I have been a mother. It has been amazing to watch each child grow into their own person. I’ve also seen each one begin to represent and have situations come into their life that have helped them play out the scriptures that God gave me for each one before they were even born.

You know there is a famous song written by Mark Lowery and made famous by many people called “ Mary Did You Know?” It asks the question “Mary did you know your baby boy would one day walk on water?” , Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?” Did you know your baby boy had come to save the earth. This little child your holding would soon deliver you” Mary did you know?”

You have to wonder, Did Mary know? I can only speak for myself, but I knew God has given me the scriptures for each of my children. Each one is unique and different just like each of my children. But, I have to say when God gave me the scripture for our oldest son Lee. I never dreamed it would play out like it has. HIs verse was 1 John 3 Beloved I wish above all else that you may prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers”

When I first read this verse, I focused on the prosper part, because after all, Don’t we all want our kids to prosper? I dreamed one day he would be rich and help so many people. I also think I kind of took the “and be in good health” part for granted. After all, no parent ever wants their kid to be sick. But it is something I pondered in my heart and honestly still do to this day. I wondered how the part of him being in good health even as his soul prospers would play out.

I also recall a scripture in the bible that talks about pondering It is in Luke 2. It is at the part of the story of Jesus’ birth where the angels appeared to the shepherds and they have just shown up at the manger, telling what they have heard and saw from the angels then they fall on their face and worship little baby Jesus. But the bible says “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” Luke 2:19 NASV

Imagine how Mary felt, its estimated she was somewhere between 13-16 yrs old. She is alone except for being with her future husband, who forgot to make reservations at the local hotel, and she is giving birth to her first child all on her own. Then these strangers show up,, and not just any strangers but shepherds who were considered just above women in those days, they were some of the lowest of the low in society standards of that day and time. They were dirty and stuck, and my guess is also ill mannered since they spent most of their time around sheep.

And the bible says “She pondered these things in her heart” What does that mean? Well, the Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says:

“She could not as yet understand all that had been said and done, but she received it in faith, and waited till it should be made clear. It was enough for her to know that her Child was, in some sense, the Son of God and the hope of Israel.”

You know I kind of feel that way about the scripture that God gave me for our son Lee, if you aren’t aware he had a massive heart attack in September and is going in for heart surgery soon to try to repair some of the blockages. So the whole health part of the scripture God has given me, some 35 yrs ago, has suddenly captured my attention.

Now, I don’t believe Lee is sick because his soul hasn’t prospered, He is a follower of Christ and loves God with His whole heart and I also realize the part of that commentary talking about knowing the Child was in some sense , the Son of God and the hope of Israel. Doesn’t really pertain to Lee as well, because he is far from being Jesus Christ after all he is human.

But I do relate to the fact that I have received it in faith, and I am waiting till it becomes clear to all of us. I do, though, believe that Lee’s healing will come the closer he draws to God and that He is alive today because of the relationship he had with Christ the day his heart attack happened. God has a plan for Lee.

See, Lee wasn’t even supposed to be born. I was told when he was 3 yrs old that I should have never had him and I certainly wouldn’t have any more children. But the fact is,, I did go on to have 2 more children. Lee was born and so far has lived 35 yrs and I am confident he will go on and live many more years.

Now did having children happen exactly the way I had it planned? No! But it happened in God’s plan His timing. Did I get discouraged along the way, Yes! As I think probably about the time the shepherds showed up at the manger. My guess is Mary might have been a little exasperated. She might have been thinking “What in the world just happened?” She might have been asking “What is going on?” .” Is this even possible?” She might have been second guessing her ability to do this thing God had called her to do. But just at the right time, the shepherds showed up to remind her God was there- He was watching, He had not left her, He was still working His plan and using her in part to fulfill it. Those dirty stinky uneducated shepherds was a reminder that God was working His plan!

What do you feel lost about today? What plans do you have that you feel like are falling apart. I want to remind you. If you feel God has told you something, but nothing seems to be going right? Then just ponder that in your heart. Just at the right time, it will be revealed. Trust Him! Believe what He has told you by faith and wait for it to become clear!

Alesa Lewis Miller is the former Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center in Greensburg KS. Now she and her husband are US Missionary Candidates with the Assemblies of God. To find out more about the Miller’s new adventure go to http://www.millers4usmissions.com or read more stories at http://www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com.