Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heart's Cry

I am currently reading Heart's Cry Principles of Prayer, by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Though there have been many statements which have caused me to pause and ponder in this book, today I want to share one with you which I really want to be my heart's cry.

"I asked God to daily give me the ability to live so that anyone who had contact with me would feel better at the end of the conversation than when the contact began. I want my life to certify or prove the authenticity of my relationship with God."

Heart's Cry, page 79

Ah, may this be true of me, too!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

Thanks to a little comment-dialog on Facebook, I've settled on a title for the weekly posts I knew I would end up writing about my experiences at Edgewood Retirement Center. So now I present to you my first installment of Lessons from the Edge.

I'm just finishing my third week as the Activities Director at Edgewood. And I can truly say I love it there. Oh, there is so much to learn job-wise, and I am feeling rather overwhelmed in that regard. But I know God is going to lead me through each step. I am trusting in HIM.

Last week - in an attempt to get to know the residents better - I began sitting at a different table each day during the lunch hour. I have heard funny stories and heart-breaking stories. I have been encouraged as a mother to hang in there through the hard times. And I have been reminded of the value of listening to a person - just letting him talk, letting him say the same thing over and over - because he simply needs someone who will listen. But the thing I want to share today doesn't come from the specific words a person said - rather the relationship I witnessed between a husband and wife.

Right away I was touched by how she took care of his needs. Cutting his meatloaf and pouring his coffee. She wanted everything to be just right for him. Wanted to be sure he was happy. She smiled the whole time she was doting on him.
Then, as our conversation took off, I was a bit surprised when she turned to him and said, "Tell Karen where I worked." And a moment later, when she asked him, "How old is our second daughter?" She turned to me at that point and explained, "My memory isn't very good anymore, so I have to ask him a lot of questions."
And do you know what?
It looked to me as if it delighted him just as much to answer her questions as it delighted her to cut his meatloaf.
They met each other's needs. Where one was weak, the other was strong - and they delighted in completing one another. They're like that every time I see them. What a beautiful picture that couple is to me about the way a husband and wife can be together.
They're an inspiration to me, and I'm going to keep my eyes on them!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Look at Me, Mom!

Remember when your children were small and every time they did something new they called out, "Look at me, Mom!"? Maybe this is still happening.
There were times when my kids did this so often that I honestly got tired of it. I would be in the middle of trying to get a task done, and stopping every thirty-seconds so I could 'look-it' made my task seem like forever to finish.

But then the kids got older, and the requests for me to look at their new trick, or show, or whatever, seemed to vanish.

Until last week.

Joshua just started football practice. This is his first time playing football on a team and he has been receiving lots of instruction. He's been particularly fond of the tackling lessons. And last week he invited me to come early to pick him up from practice - so I could watch him tackling.
Once I got over the shock that my son - who has been pushing me away so much recently - just asked me to come see him, I realized something. After years of silence, my son just said - in his adolescent way - "Look at me, Mom!"
And it was wonderful to hear.

Just to give a fair picture, the day after this incident Joshua invited me to come early to practice again. He waved at me from the field when I got there. I was thinking it was so cool that he was happy to see me.
But when practice ended and I thought he would come over to me, instead I found him walking with a friend a good 20 feet in front of me.
Ahhhh, adolescence. The battle between needing mom and not wanting to be seen with her. The battle between holding on to my baby and letting him grow up.

Thank You, LORD, that You have promised to never leave me. I know I won't be able to make it through this without You!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

HIS Word for me. And you!

The other day I was feeling kinda rotten. It might have had to do with some harsh words which had been spoken to me the day before. It might have been magnified by PMS. I might have been blowing it out of proportion, too. The point is, I was feeling bad and I just needed God to remind me how good He is, and how much He loves me.
So I sat down to pray and read my Bible, and I asked God to speak to me. I knew HE knew what I needed - and I asked Him to say it. Then I opened my Bible and my eyes fell upon Psalm 117.

Praise the LORD all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

Praise the LORD.

Psalm 117
I read it over several times, and it was as if God was saying to me, Praise Me, Karen. Praise Me! In the midst of the pain - even though your heart hurts right now - praise Me.
My love for you is greater than your circumstance and My faithfulness will never end. Whatever your situation, dear one, I will bring you through it. I love you!
You know this is true, don't you, darling? So put a smile on that face of yours, and sing My praises!

I'm still smiling about it!
So that was His Word for me. I pray He'll speak to you through it, as well.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mid-night Visitor

I heard a sudden knocking on my bedroom door and nearly jumped out of bed. As I called out, "Come in," I rolled over to look at the clock. It was 12:22AM.
Then I looked back at the now-opened door, and saw Matthew standing there.
My first thought was, Why is this child still up??? But he was quick to explain.
Matthew said he couldn't get to sleep because he was afraid that he was going to think about scary things, which would cause him to have bad dreams. And since he didn't want to have bad dreams - he didn't want to fall asleep.
So I had my second thought. And you want me to do WHAT about this problem???
(I tend to be low on compassion when I'm woken up in the middle of the night.)

Fortunately, God is never low on compassion and He gave me what I was lacking in the moment.

I stumbled out of bed and took the hand of my teary little boy, leading him out of my room and into the hallway. And I'm telling you, if I ever had a doubt that God could give me enough grace to make it through a difficult moment - HE erased it right there. Because even though everything in me wanted to tell Matthew to toughen up, be brave, and go to bed, I found myself sitting down and talking with him about his fears. Reminding him that God is bigger than everything which scares Matthew, that HE is able to handle every fear Matthew may have, and that God loves Matthew and will always take care of him.
By this time I was sitting on Matthew's bed and he was laying down. I sang 'Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus' to him, we talked some more, and I prayed for my son. He seemed quite peaceful then, and I kissed him and went to bed.
I lay in my bed for quite a while then - praying for Matthew, asking God to protect him and to help Matthew look to Him in the midst of all the trials he will face throughout his life. I prayed that Matthew would recognize God's ability to handle all the fears he faces. I asked God to speak through me as an example of faith to my son. And I thanked Him for that opportunity - even in the middle of the night - to talk about His goodness and faithfulness.

I stayed awake far too long that night. And I was quite tired the next day as a result. But as I reflected back on it all, I realized the interrupted sleep and the weary body were totally worth it! What a blessing to be able to share my faith with my little Mid-night Visitor.


Monday, August 23, 2010

HE Sees and Knows

So, our phone and internet have been restored.

Want to try an interesting experiment? Take away your children's access to the phone and internet for five days and see how they respond.
Elizabeth made a great PowerPoint presentation about boredom. And I think she read three books.
Matthew has been busy with his legos.
Joshua has been roller blading.
And they all discovered how to de-face pictures using the paint program on the computer. Charming. *wink*

At any rate, things are back to normal here and I expect to be posting regularly again. It tickles me to consider the fact that God knew all this was going to happen before any of it occurred. And HE sees all the stuff in your life, too!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unplanned Interruption

OK, so I made it home.
After a delay on the runway in Philidelphia.
Which made me miss my connecting flight in Atlanta.
Which meant a few extra hours in the Atlanta airport.
Which really wasn't so bad. I spent the time working on a talk for an upcoming retreat, enjoying the opportunity to be in God's presence.
And when I got home late Monday night, I found out our phone and internet are out. 'They' say it will be back before the end of the business day Friday. Sheesh! Don't hurry! *wink*

Sooo, I'm using the computer at the library while I've stopped in to pick up books for my little bookworm (Because she can't be without BOTH internet and books!) to let you know, I don't know when I'll be back to regular posting.

But I do know God is good. All the time.

And that's really all that matters!

Love to you,


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why Have I Never Seen This Before?

Last Thursday Ronel posted on Facebook an encouragement to spend time in John 17. To 'Read, Reflect and Respond'.
So I did.
And I was surprised by what I found there.
I saw Jesus' great desire for us - to be with Him and to be loved by Him. I mean, I know He loves us, but His desire for us seemed so much greater in these verses than I have ever seen before. And I wondered how I had missed it!

I'm going to post the verses which grabbed my heart, and I want to invite you to spend several minutes reading and re-reading them. Ask God to speak to your heart.
And now I'm going to be quiet - so HE can speak.

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

John 17:24-26

I am traveling to Pennsylvania with my parents today. We're going to be celebrating my grandmother's 90th birthday this weekend. Sooooo, I'm taking a bit of a blogging break. I'll be back next Wednesday.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Before the Morning

Last week I posted a song which God had used to minister to my heart. In the comments, Jodi suggested I should listen to Before the Morning, by Josh Wilson. And in my search for that song, I found the story behind it - which I am posting today. Because it's that good. You've got to watch it!

There's one line from this video which has been sticking with me:
If we can trust God with our eternity, we've got to trust Him with our now.
Oh, how true it is!
God is big enough, powerful enough, good enough and wise enough to handle our eternity. HE can most certainly handle our now. Amen?

OK, time to watch the video.
But, um, you might want to grab a tissue first.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Spy with My Little Eye...


The evidence of His presence is so convincing, I feel I can truly spy HIM with my little eye.
As I reported for my first day as the Activities Director at Edgewood Retirement Center yesterday, I did so upon the foundation of much prayer. I have been on my knees begging God to lead me, to move in and through me, to make me sensitive to His Spirit - that I may be a minister of grace and hope to the men and women I am there to serve.
And He didn't waste a moment!
After the first activity of the morning, I found myself sitting with one of the residents - her hands in mine - listening to her cares and concerns. I thought that was really all she needed. Just someone to listen to her. But then she started talking about God, wondering if He's 'there', wondering if He sees her, or even cares.
And that's when I had to talk.
I told this lovely woman about how God brought this job to me, how He worked all the details perfectly. I told her that I had been praying and asking God to show me who He wanted to me reach out to Monday. And I asked her if she thought He might have brought the two of us together.
She had tears in her eyes, looked up to heaven, and said, "Thank You!"

So, yesterday I spied God in the Activities Room. And I trust I'll be seeing a lot of Him there.

In the future, I'll be saving these stories for my Friday posts. But I know many of you were wondering how the first day of my new job ministry assignment went, and I wanted to let you know. *grin*


Monday, August 09, 2010

Friday, August 06, 2010

Pharmacy Notes

Ahhh, I was feeling the love Wednesday night - my final time in the pharmacy.
*My co-workers had encouraging words for me as they thanked me for the time we shared together, and wished me well with my new job.
*Someone bought cake (And we aren't supposed to have food in the pharmacy, but my boss allowed it. *grin*) and it was delicious!
*I had several exceptionally nice interactions with customers.
*And two people who came to the counter - whose birthdays I needed to verify - were born on November 11. Twice I had 11/11 staring me in the face. I'm grinning now, even in the memory of it. God's way of reminding me He's in the moment and I can trust Him to lead me.

As I reflect back on my short time in the pharmacy I am so thankful for the ways God has made His presence known, for the lessons He has taught me, and the trials through which He has brought me. I remember the tears I shed at the beginning, the extent to which I felt like a failure who had nothing to contribute to the team, and the doubts I had that I would ever make a difference.
But God has been faithful and I have grown.
And I think that's the greatest Note I'm taking from the Pharmacy: Wherever I am and whatever I am doing - no matter how inadequate and small I feel - God is with me and I can trust Him!

***Even though this is the last 'official' Pharmacy Note, Monday's video is going to be based on a lesson God taught me in the pharmacy. See you then!


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Creation at It's Best

Leah emailed me this link and said it would be well worth the six and a half minutes it takes to watch the video. She was so right! Our God is amazing, and creation proves it.
I couldn't find a way to embed the video here, so please click on the link and enjoy.


At about the 4 minute 15 second mark, there's a crazy looking black and white creature. Anyone know what it is???

See you back here tomorrow for the last 'refill' of Pharmacy Notes!


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Not Hidden

You may recall from previous posts that this year I am memorizing Psalm 139. As part of Leah's Scripture Memory Challenge, on the first and fifteenth of each month I am learning one new verse from Psalm 139. By the end of 2010, I will have the entire psalm committed to memory.
So, Sunday I began memorizing verse 15, and I have been thinking about it every day.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Psalm 139:15

As I've been thinking about this verse, three phrases have stood out to me:
*not hidden
*secret place
*depths of the earth
To me, something in a secret place - especially in the depths of the earth - is something which cannot be seen. It is un-knowable. But this verse says those things are NOT HIDDEN to God.
I thought about the fact that God could SEE me before anyone else could. When I was just a little tiny embryo in my mother's womb - HE saw me. Before I had even made it that far - God knew me. Wow!

Then I started thinking about my life today:
*The uncertainties I have about parenting
*My inability to see the future, to know how my kids are going to 'turn out'
*My complete lack of control over the circumstances in my life
Do you know what I'm talking about???
And I realized - just as my frame was NOT HIDDEN from God when I was made in the secret place - so these present conditions are NOT HIDDEN from Him. Though I cannot see, and I do not know - God can. And He does.

*I am starting a new job on Monday, and - though I am terribly excited about it - there are many unknowns to me. BUT they are not hidden to God. He knows each man and each woman living at Edgewood Retirement Center and I can trust Him to work in me and through me at that place, according to His good pleasure.
*Many are my questions about mothering. I so want to 'get it right' with my children, that I may raise them to be God-fearing, God-honoring followers of Jesus. Yet I've never done this before, and it's really hard sometimes. BUT the answers are not hidden to God. He knows what my children need and I can trust Him to give me the wisdom I need for mothering.
*In a couple of months I'm going to be back on the speaking circuit. I don't know the women who will be listening to me at any particular event. I don't know their hearts, or their life situations. I don't know what they need to hear. BUT their circumstances are not hidden to God. He knows precisely what each of His daughters needs spoken to her heart, and I am trusting Him to speak through me the words of hope, grace, encouragement and love each woman is waiting to hear.

How about you???

May I encourage you today to spend some time thinking about the un-knowns in your life? Then consider the fact that God knows it all. Your circumstances - the answers to your questions - are NOT HIDDEN from God. And you can trust Him!


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Safe *peaceful sigh*

If you've been around here long enough, you probably know two things that really move me:
Prayer and music.
They are both significant ways in which God and I connect.
Well, I have been praying for several friends over the past few days - friends who are facing difficult circumstances. I've been praying about my own trials, too. And sometimes all this praying makes my heart feel heavy. Even though I know God is more than able to manage the issues, sometimes the circumstances just grip me with sadness.
But my Father knows how my heart operates, and He knows how to lift me up. Yesterday as I was driving and praying, and my heart was getting heavy - this song came on the radio, and His Spirit spoke to mine. He lifted me up and has been holding me close.
I am safe.
You are safe.
*peaceful sigh*


Monday, August 02, 2010