Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Are We Done Yet?

So yesterday I was downstairs sorting laundry and, as I turned the corner to take the first load into the laundry room that contains the washer and dryer, I nearly stepped into a puddle Mindy left behind.
(Not sure if she's getting more stealthy or just broadeneing her range. Usually when she pees on the carpet she does it in plain sight and I notice it as soon as I enter the basement. This one came as a surprise.
*And when I say surprise, I don't mean a happy surprise. Grr.*)
I groaned and went to get my cleaning supplies - to take care of her mess before I continued with my original chore.
And, yes, I glared at the dog each time I passed her. I mentioned how annoyed I get with her messes. And I might have even engaged in a bit of a stare-down with her at one point, hoping to drive home the message that I really wish she would stop peeing in the basement.
I admit. I may be giving her too much credit, acting as if she understands English and can interpret non-verbal communication.
Annnnd, in a short while everything was done and I thought that was the end of it.

Silly me.

I should have remembered God never wastes an opportunity to speak to my heart.
Because as I sat at the breakfast table - with Mindy in view - I was sort of still grumbling to myself when I had the sense that I just felt God nudge me.
So, you get tired of taking care of Mindy's accidents, do you? You think she ought to know better by now, do you? You're ready to be done with forgiving her, are you?
Gulp.
Suddenly I knew where He was going with the line of questioning. I realized God is sooooooo much more patient with me than I need to be with Mindy. I became aware once again of His grace which covers me even though I know better. And I could not deny the fact that He forgives me more times that I can count. So I smiled at His methods of teaching me, and I bowed my head and humbly thanked my Father for His grace and mercy toward me.

Then I had a thought. OK, God. Have I learned my lesson? Have I done a good job? Huh? Have I? Because if I've learned what You wanted me to learn, maybe You could get Mindy to stop peeing on the carpet???
I'm not sure, but as soon as I finished that thought, I might have noticed a slight rumble in the heavens as God shook His head and sighed, Oh, Karen. You're missing the point.

*blush*
I'm thankful He's so patient with me.

Karen

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Touched by an Angel

Awwww, she's gone and done it again.

My sweet Angel has absolutley blessed my heart!

That is, yesterday I attended her Home-going celebration and I learned so much more about this precious woman of God than I could possibly have known from our Tuesday afternoons together.
I heard about a lifetime of faithfulness which started when she accepted Jesus as a young girl, and continued as she followed Him all the days of her life.
I heard about Angel calling out "Preach it!" during sermons, getting so excited about the reading of the Word of God that her whole body shook, and dancing in and out of her seat at church.
Her grandchildren told stories of driving hours and hours to visit her, the unconditional love she poured out on them - and the prayers she prayed over them before they left. (Including, Lord, don't let this boy drive too fast while he's going home.)
There was a man who looked to be in his 70s who told about Angel taking in his family and caring for them when he was making bad life decisions. He told how God used her and - loved through her - to change their lives.
There was the woman who told about never being able to leave Angel's house with a negative attitude. Because no matter what this woman was feeling, no matter what she said - Angel was always able to find the positive side of the situation and inspired her to grab onto it.
But I think my favorite testimony of all came from a young boy about the age of 10. One of Angel's great-grandsons. He wept as he told of the days when he would visit his grandma after school, when he would come there sad - but she would cheer him up. Sometimes, he said, when he was 5, or 6, or 7 - his grandpa would tell him not to go into Angel's bedroom and disturb her. But when Grandpa turned his back, Great-grandson would sneak into Angel's room, and she would talk to him. She would love him. And she always sais it was OK for him to "disturb" her. I sat in the church listening to this boy - on the verge of tears, myself - saying, "Oh, baby. Sweet baby," wanting to wrap him in my own arms and love him some more for Angel.
But more than any other feelings, I sat in that church full of thanksgiving to God for the work He has done - and the legacy which continues - through Angel.
And I decided, when I grow up? I want to be just like her!!!

Karen

Monday, April 16, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

HIS Ways, Not Mine

Many are the plans in a (wo)man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21
Ahhh, sometimes I have to laugh at myself and the plans I make.
And sometimes I just laugh at myself - regardless of my plans. *wink*

See, Tuesday I spoke for a group of moms, and as I was wrapping up I invited them to visit my blog - as a way of keeping in touch and keeping encouraged. I *might* have said something like, "I try to post something every day Monday through Friday, to encourage and lift up."
And that really is my goal.
But obviously, it doesn't always happen.
Like this week, when Tuesday's and Wednesday's activities didn't allow me time to write. And I sit here laughing at the irony of telling a group of women, "I usually post daily on my blog" - the day before I'm going to be unable to post for two days in a row.
Yes. I do believe God enjoys a sense of humor.
(His own, that is. I am not sure He's so impressed with mine. Haha.)

So, there's that.
I make plans sometimes, and God has a different idea - and we go with His. Because I am not about to argue with Him. And His plans are always better, anyway.

Yeah. There's that. And there's also this.
The other side of the HIS ways, not mine equation.
A long time ago God called me to a speaking ministry, and I love it. Love, LOVE it!
In fact, there is nothing I love more than talking about Jesus. (I mean, I love God more than talking about Him, and I love worshipping Him more than talking about Him. But, you get my point, right? My spirit soars when I get to talk to women about my Jesus!)
OK. But there is one part of this speaking thing about which I don't get particularly excited. That is, the "marketing". The need to find women's ministries and introduce myself to them and let them know about what I do, blah, blah, blah. But it's necessary. I get that. And so I do it.
A few times a year I spend days searching for churches, reading their websites to learn about their women's ministry, placing calls or sending emails to make contact with them, and praying, "OK, Lord. It's up to You. I've done what I can. Now I'm waiting on You. If You want me to minister to the women at this church somehow, I trust You to make the next move."
And, honestly?
It gets discouraging sometimes when months go by and not a single word comes from anyone.
But then moments like this week happen, when I get an email from someone at a church with whom I have not been in contact for nearly a year. In the email she says one of the women's ministry leaders asked her to contact me and the next thing I know I am scheduled to speak for their Christmas Tea in December. And I could swear I hear God speaking to my heart something like, Dear one, remember? We're going with MY ways, not yours. You said you would wait for Me. You said you would trust Me to move. (Yes, I know you didn't want to wait so long. But, remember, My timing is perfect.) I'm moving now. And I will continue to move. All you need to do, dear one, is be faithful and wait patiently.
Just be faithful and wait patiently, He says.
That's all.
OK, Lord, but I'm gonna need Your help!

Are you waiting for God to show you His ways? How's that going???

Karen

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sometimes, You Just Get Silent

I've said it before, and I still believe it's true.

I think the hardest phase of parenting is...
...the one you're in right now.
Because you've made it through the phases you've been through. And they didn't kill you.
You're pretty sure it's going to get better. Somehow. So you have hope for the future.
But the phase you're in right now? It's so hard!!!
Because it's the present.
And you're living it.
Right.now.

And, wow. Some of these present days are really tough.

Last week Brian and I had a good, albeit difficult, conversation with our 20-year-old son. (Actually, I didn't do much of the conversing. I was mostly biting my tongue and praying.) And I guess the "success" of that discourse threw me off, because I thought it meant we had reached a point of being able to talk things out rationally.
I figured we could now get past emotion and rely on reason to guide our interactions.
Apparently, I was mistaken.
Because yesterday that same son was really upset about something. He'd gone fishing all day Sunday and was uploading footage onto my computer yesterday to edit into an awesome video for his Youtube channel. In the process, he discovered that none of the video included audio. Something happened - and he didn't know what - which resulted in "my whole day being wasted!" So, Josh said. He was mad.
And pretty sad, too. I heard it in the tears that almost dripped from his voice.
So I went into problem-solving-mother-mode and I tried to suggest things which might make his outlook a little brighter. Cuz it really stunk seeing and hearing my boy so disappointed. I made my best effort at being both sensitive to his pain and realistically optomistic. The ideas I offered were - I thought - good ones. It's stuff I would have tried if I were in the same position. And it all seemed reasonable to me. If Josh could get past his emotion, I thought he would benefit from my opinions.
But, no.
My son was able to come up with a rejection for each proposal I made. Even when I tried to explain myself more clearly. He wasn't having any of it. And it seemed like we were about to start raising our voices with each other. Over a situation in which I was just trying to help!
So I got silent.
Because I didn't want to get into a shouting match while trying to help my son.
And as I sat in the silence I prayed for him, asking God to lift his heart. I thought of 101 encouraging words I'd like to say, scriptures I'd like to share, and pieces of advice I'd like to give. But I stayed silent. Because God wasn't nudging me to speak.
Only to pray.

For an instant, I longed for the days when I could simply pick Josh up and give him a kiss - and see all his troubles fade away. Because I wanted so much to ease his burden. But then I remembered those were also the days of car seats, and poopy diapers, and temper tantrums, and a bunch of other things I don't miss - and I decided to be thankful for today.
Yeah. Even though I've been doing this mom-thing for nearly 22 years (Tomorrow. Elizabeth turns 22 tomorrow!) it's still hard. Every day is a new situation and I'm learning as I go.
How thankful I am that when I don't know what to do I can just get silent - and pray!

Karen

Monday, April 09, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Touched by an Angel

Ah, some visits are kinda sad.
Angel is dealing with some kind of chest congestion, and was in bed and hooked up to oxygen when I visited her this week. I could tell her body was tired, and her spirit seemed worn out, too. She agreed to have me read the Bible to her, but not with the gusto she usually has.
So I opened up to Mark 1 and began reading at verse 29. I read about a Savior who healed people who came to the door of the house where He was staying. I read about a Savior who touched and healed a leper. And I continued through chapter 2, verse 12 - reading about a Savior who healed a paralyzed man in the midst of a sermon.
By this time, Angel was clearly asleep so I stopped reading. And I started singing.
Amazing Grace.
Jesus, Your Name is Power.
Soon and Very Soon.
It Is Well.
How Great Thou Art.
I held her hand and sang softly, tapping the rhythm with my thumb on hers. I thought of the Savior who healed so many. Who still does. Who will heal Angel one day - here or in heaven. And I realized, even in the midst of sadness there is joy.
Because of Jesus.

Yes, even in the midst of the sadness of today - Good Friday - there is joy.
It's Friday, but Sunday is coming!
*****************************************************************************************
Just a note, I am going to be "off" next week for Spring Break. The plan is to be back on April 9.
Happy Easter, friends. HE is risen!

Karen