mrs-lusko

  1. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    God Knows that Date

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    I’ve been noticing the year 2012 in so many different and random places and times lately.  From the year a favorite coffee and donut shop was established, to the year my pilates video was made, to the year of Arizona’s bicentennial (I told you it was random!), and an album I just discovered released in 2012.  It was also a significant year in a magazine I just read, as well as a lot of the dates on my expired spices (I’m trying to clean out those hidden spaces!!).  And that’s just to name a few.

    2012 was a significant year for my family and me, and life continues to move forward.  Our children are growing up, our lives are continuing to move on and progress toward eternity, but God knows the ache that still shakes my heart.  He knows the joy and pain that came with the year 2012.  He knows the birth of our fourth child and the death of our second child; how the year began with birth and joy and celebration in January, and how it ended in death and mourning and weeping in December.

    God still knows the ache that still shakes my heart.

    For me, the 20th of the month is tender; for you, there may be one date (or more) very clearly etched in your soul.  And if not now, there will come a day when there will be.  It may not be a date you want people to know about, or it may be one that has been tattooed on your body, or placed as a sticker on your car.  As time goes by, people may remember and people may forget, but it’s still your reality.  Whether others remember or not, I want to remind you that God knows it. He sees everything, and He has not forgotten.  You are not forgotten, and the pain that tends to arise at random moments is not unseen by our great and kind God.  He is aware, and He is near.

    “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

    Not only is He near, but He’s the only One who can heal, and He will if we let Him.

    “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

    My husband recently preached a message of Jesus on the cross saying, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  And he powerfully preached how we must hold on to God with both hands when we don’t understand or when He feels so far.  Hold on to Him!  He’s got you, and more importantly He loves you.

    “Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:7

    Keep walking, keep holding on, keep planting your roots deep in the House of the Lord where you can surround yourself with people who will spur you on to go further in Jesus. As you hold on and trust Him, He will give you the strength you need for another day, another month, and He will give you the peace so you can turn your pain into praise.

    “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” Psalm 28:7

    And God not only knows your date of pain, but He also knows the date when Jesus will come back for us.  Let’s remember that we seek a homeland when the dates and times of this world can overwhelm our hearts and get us to feel like giving up.

    “No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows.” Matthew 24:36

    Our Father knows. And He loves you.

    And I pray that you would rest in His love and in His strength in the midst of whatever kind of date that surrounds you.

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  2. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    gardening in my heart

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    In my dreams I am an amazing gardner – growing apple trees, pear trees, lemons and limes, parsley, mint, spinach, kale, cucumbers, berries, etc along with some fun flowers for the girls to pick.

    In reality? Neither of my thumbs are green, I tend to accidentally kill everything I’ve tried to grow, and with our traveling schedule I think I had just given up in my heart to even try.

    I have quite a few friends who have flourishing gardens and I admire their ability so much, but sometimes feel like maybe I’m just not that person…yet.  Maybe my time to garden will come later in life when my kids are grown.

    Recently, of friend of mine, Kelli, out of the blue invited me to go to a local  garden shop with her and make a “garden in a pallet.”  I was a little hesitant due to my afore mentioned lack of gardening skills, but I went because I was willing to try (again).

    Here’s my problem: In my mind, in order to be a gardner, I need to have it all together right away.  And I’m so like this in life.  I’m often scared to do something new because I feel like I need to have it all together and figured out before I do.  And this has been something God has been teaching me this year.

    “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8

    This is part of living by faith. Taking steps and then seeing how God leads, seeing how He moves, and letting Him do so.  My husband recently preached in a short series of messages called “Sometimes Always Never” where he talked about this very concept, and to illustrate it, he preached while riding a bike. He said that the will of God is like riding a bike, God will steer us, but we have to starting pedaling.  Once we start pedaling, then we’re giving God the room to steer.  SO good!

    All this to say, Kelli’s encouragement reminded me that I’m not going to be an incredible gardner over night.  I need to just start with baby steps and grow in it.  It seems silly even bringing this up, but it’s true. One step at a time. One plant at a time.

    We’ll see what happens…

    {and thank you for these shots Kelli}

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  3. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    Eyes up, Eyes out.

    Sadly, a very large part of my life is spent thinking about myself and how situations affect me. I’m not a big #selfie fan (taking pictures of myself), but that doesn’t at all mean that I don’t take selfies in my heart and mind. Thinking things like, “wow! look what I did, that was really cool of me.” or “how in the world did I do that again?! I’m so stupid, and I’ll never learn.” or “if only they knew how much that hurt me and caused me to dwell on this for days and months.”  These kinds of thoughts that aren’t from or towards God, they’re from and towards and about…..me.

    When these selfie thoughts arise in my heart and mind, I think of a song that my husband and daughter Lenya made up:

    “Ewey, yucky, sicky, grossy!”

    When I come to my senses and realize my mind has been on me, I get so disgusted.

    And then I think of how God sees me. He loves me. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8 ESV)

    So, I remember how God thinks of me and how He loves me so endlessly, and I’m humbled and remember my thoughts need to always be upward and toward Heaven.

    Here are some great verses that help me, and hopefully they’ll help you too as you seek to keep your eyes up and out.

    “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from where comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

     

    “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2

     

    “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” Psalm 119:37

  4. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    cuing the right eagle

    Is it just me, or are crows getting bigger and scarier lately?

    Just yesterday, I passed by a very large bird on the side of the road, and I thought for sure it was a bald eagle, and its head was just down, so I couldn’t see its white head. I get really excited when I see a bald eagle, for many reasons, one being because I took a bird study class as a Senior in high school because I was failing Econ (I know, I know, not the brightest crayon in the box, but that’s another story….), and I love eagles and big amazing birds.  But the obvious reason is because in our family and in our church, we have learned what it means to Cue the Eagle in our lives. So every time we see a bald eagle, we shout to each other (whoever is in the car) “cue the eagle!”

    So in this moment of excitement, I was about to shout to Daisy and Clover, but then in my dismay, as I got closer, I realized it was a really big, oversized black crow. As I shuddered, I found myself saying out loud, “be sure to cue the right eagle.”

    And it got me thinking about how it can be so easy to strengthen ourselves in other ways besides allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us and strengthen us in our weakness.  It’s easy to believe what the world says to “follow your heart” and to look to ourselves or other people or other books to find the strength within to help us.  What we need, as my husband has so eloquently preached, is from Isaiah 40:

    “Even the youths shall faint and be weary and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

    In our weakness, God’s strength is the Only One that’s made perfect.  The only eagle we can cue is the Holy Spirit, any other source or person or thing is just a big, yucky black crow in comparison.

    Our deepest need and satisfaction can only be met by the God who made us. Our souls deeply thirst for Him, and He is the only remedy for our weary, parched souls as we continue to run this race, to run with horses.

    So when our strength fails, when we get really tired and are running out of steam, what do we do?  We wait on the Lord.  We cry out to Him. We seek Him first. We dive into His Word. We pause in our weariness and let Him refresh our souls.

    “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

  5. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    messy worship

    We bring the mess and God makes it beautiful.

    The Old Testament is full of times where sacrifices were made to the Lord. Because of sin, there had to be a sacrifice, a substitute. And as I’ve read these passages, I’ve realized how messy and bloody that would actually have been. My husband always says that when we read the Bible we’ve got to smell it, to put ourselves right there experiencing it, and this would have been terrifying.

    When I was seventeen, I went on a month-long mission trip to Nicaragua.  On our first day in the country, the pastor brought us outside and introduced us to this tan-colored, super lean cow.  He said, “this cow will be feeding your team for your time here.” And he and a few other guys proceeded to cut the cow’s jugular and skin it right in front of us.  Needless to say, I will never forget that image, and I will never forget how bloody it was.

    I recently read 1 Chronicles 29 where it says, “they offered sacrifices to the Lord, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the Lord, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel.  And they ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great gladness.”

    Three thousand animals killed!  This worship service would have been a wild mess (I get really overwhelmed with big messes to clean up, and I can’t imagine this kind).  Priests must have been drenched in blood, like a butcher shop.

    Gross, I know, but it occurred to me that this is what our lives are like.  Now, in the New Testament, our lives are meant to be worship to the Lord:

    “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV)

    Our lives are messy. We’re imperfect people struggling with sin and dealing with our flesh every day.  We are also imperfect people living with, working with, dealing with other imperfect people, so that can be hard and messy too.  But I’m thankful that whenever I sin and fall short, I don’t need to kill a lamb or a bull or a ram.  All of that sacrificing in the Old Testament was just a foretelling of the Savior who would come to be the sacrifice once and for all to die for the sins of the world and rise from the dead, defeating death (the result of sin) and the grave. And as my husband has preached, this same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the One we have access to. Same dynamite power. So while our lives as living sacrifices are messy and imperfect, God is still able to use us and powerfully work through us.  And yes, it’s messy, but yes, it’s beautiful, and it’s how God loves to work.

    “Under the old covenant, God accepted the sacrifices of dead animals.  But because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, the OT sacrifices are no longer of any effect.  For those in Christ, the only acceptable worship is to offer themselves completely to the Lord.” – John MacArthur

    “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, and an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2

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