Well, poo.I have this great picture of Matthew posing by his new (to him!) car, and for some reason my "server" is rejecting it every time I try to load it into this post. Not very good service if you ask me! *ahem* I mean, I'm sure it isn't operator error. Anyway, Matthew looks
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Friday, January 27, 2017
Whew!I'm a bit dizzy. Feel like I've been on some kind of roller coaster. One minute I'm up. And the next I'm down. All is well. And woe is me! Yesterday it seemed to be going full-throttle. I started off the day in prayer. And I started off the prayer time with praise - going through the alphabet and praising God for His attributes. HE is All-Knowing, BIG, Compassionate, Divine, Excellent, Faithful, Gracious... I delighted in dwelling on God's goodness and power and amazing love. I prayed for the many people and circumstances God has put on my heart, and I thanked Him for knowing what to do in each circumstance. It was a simply glorious time! As the morning went on, I found myself reading articles and opinions of the political sort. Some people expressing relief and others disdain. There was grumbling and arguing. And I began entertaining thoughts and arguments in my own head about what is good and what is bad, what is fair and what is unjust. Part of me wanted to roll out my case for all to see, and another part of me said it would be foolish to do so and would just contribute to the chaos. So I kept silent on the outside, but inside I entertained thoughts of concern for the future of our world.Thankfully, my morning also included the need to work on Precepts homework - which got me back to focusing on God. I studied about His desire to work in us and our role in obeying. I was reminded of God's holiness and perfection, and His Spirit inspired me to seek Him. Annnnnd, eventually I had to go and run some errands. My return home meant a return to chores. As I was folding sheets and towels and putting them away, I noticed my spirit starting to grumble again. When the boys find their towels hung nicely on the rack like this, do they realize I have washed and replaced the towels? Are they thankful? Do they even care??? And what about Brian? Does he notice the clean sheets and towels? Every week? Right on schedule? Without any prompting or requesting? What about dinner.every.night? And all the other things I do around here all the time without being asked? Does anyone really appreciate me??? (I'm not even kidding. I honestly went through this monologue in my head. *blushing*) Then I had to sit down and ask myself what was going on. Why was I all over the place like this? How could I be praising one moment and grumbling the next? What was happening to me???God, in His goodness, wasted no time answering my questions. Because as I thought it through I could see: Every time I was "up" I was looking at HIM. And every time I was "down" I was looking at me. I could sense His Spirit nudging mine and saying, This isn't a new lesson, is it, dear one?And as I cozied up in His embrace my heart answered, No. It isn't. I'm getting off the roller coaster now. Where is your focus today???
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Have you ever had (what you thought was) a really good idea?A plan so inspired, you assumed it must have come directly from heaven? But when you tried to put it into motion - even prayed that God would work out the details - everything.just.stalled? No?Really???Well, aren't you special.Let me tell you what it's like. *wink* A few weeks ago I started a new Bible study with my Precepts class, and as soon as we were underway I was super excited about it. I mean, I can't help myself. I love the Word of God, and every time I start studying it inductively and God starts speaking to my heart and His Spirit starts changing me, well I just get hyped and I want EVERYONE to study it with me! Anyway, as we were getting into Philippians I immediately thought of someone with whom I would like to go through the book one-on-one. Oh, to see this young woman learn about having joy in Jesus in all circumstances! Yes, I thought, this will be wonderful!My initial invitation to do the study was met with, well, uh, joy. But in subsequent days the enthusiasm and intention to follow through seem to have been lost. (And not from my side of the equation.)I have attempted following up with the idea of doing the study together, but when my communication is left without response I tend to interpret the message to be, "I'm not interested anymore." And I don't want to push this young woman away, so I let it go for now. Then, two of my Precepts friends asked me about the situation and as I was filling them in I also told them about recent thoughts which have come to my realization. That is, as we have gotten deeper into the study we have uncovered beautiful Truth - but it is hard stuff, and I am not sure this young woman is at a place in her life where she would be able to receive it as beautiful. God has encouraged me greatly through the gems He has shown. But I am not certain my young friend's heart is in the same place as mine. I fear the difficult lessons which I find to be wonderful would somehow cause her to want to distance herself from Him. In short, I think she might not be ready for this brand of meat yet.And as I was talking with my friends about these thoughts it occurred to me, Gee. Maybe God knows her heart. Perhaps He knows she isn't ready for this study just yet. It might be this really good idea was mine, not HIS. I suppose HE could be the One stalling my plans. Maybe, just maybe, God is perfectly in control of the details after all!Ya think???
Monday, January 23, 2017
Friday, January 20, 2017
Last week I told you about my regret in assuming I would have time to visit with a dear friend. Well, the same day I took our appointment for granted, I also speculated that I'd have time to visit with another dear lady when I went back to Edgewood in February to do church. She wanted to tell me about something that day but I was on my way out the door - and she "didn't want to keep me." I hugged her and said, "Next month I'll come early so we'll have time to talk, OK?"Well, next month when I go back to lead the church service, I will have attended this dear woman's memorial service the day before. Yes. She passed away this week. And it's crazy. Because she seemed perfectly fine when I saw her earlier this month.But, again, I am reminded - We don't own tomorrow.Oh, I know. We all have things to do. Busy schedules pulling us this way and that. But I cannot imagine I didn't have 10 minutes to spare to listen to a story that Sunday. (Which likely would have turned into 15, or 20, or 25 minutes. But, so what???) I am realizing that relationships are so much more important than calendars. Life is uncertain. And the only moment we truly have is the one we're in right NOW. While some things can't be put off, most of them can wait. So let us resolve to take 10 minutes to listen. (Or 15, or 20...) I believe it will be time well spent.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Have you ever been to a grocery store? During any of your visits, have you ever observed a mom shopping with her young children? Ever seen her scrambling to keep them in line? Or frustrated, because she's failing?Maybe you've been that mom?Taking for granted that you answered "yes" to the first four questions, have you ever reached out and tried to give that mom a hand?Monday when I was shopping for our weekly groceries I came across one such mom and her son in the meat department. I'm guessing Little Man had brought along a new toy. It looked kinda like this:
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. ~Psalm 30:11-12Last week, God used someone else's tragedy to open my eyes. This week - as the tragedy became greater - HE is using it to give me hope and remind me of HIS glory. What began as a story about a family of four in an auto accident - with one family member killed and another in the hospital - has become an 11-year-old little girl left in a world without her big sister, her father, AND her mother. So many of us have been praying and asking God for a miracle while watching the heart-wrenching scenario unfold. And now we are left with what would appear to be a tale which cannot possibly have a "happily-ever-after".But GOD.That is, perhaps there would be no possibility of a "happily-ever-after" if God were not in the picture. But, HE IS.As I sat with the news of the mother's death and the knowledge that a sweet little girl had lost her entire family over the course of nine days, I was reminded that our prayers are not wasted. A faithful saint confided that she believes God has a plan for this little girl - that He is going to do a miracle as He writes the story of the rest of her life. And as I bowed my head in prayer for this precious child - asking God to save her, and redeem this situation, and use it for His glory and the expansion of His kingdom - I received a text from a friend who is also praying, which reminded me that God can use this story to inspire many people in years to come.Suddenly I was transported from a place of feeling distressed and forlorn to a position of worship before a God who turns wailing into dancing. Who replaces sackcloth with garments of joy.Ah, this story has not ended with a lonely little girl. She has extended family who all know the Lord, and I believe He will use them as He continues to write her story. As I prayed for her, I envisioned a grown woman with an amazing testimony. In my mind's eye I could see her on a platform sharing the tragedy she endured at the age of 11, and telling of the redemption she experienced at the hand of God. My heart delighted at the thought of how many, many people God will reach through her testimony of suffering and enduring faith. Because that's what God does. It's how He works. The God who gives beauty for ashes, who turns imprisonment into evangelism opportunities, who delivers His faithful servants from giants and lions and fires, who conquers the sin and death of all mankind through the life and death of One - that God will not allow our suffering to be wasted. Maybe today you find yourself in shock because of hardships which have come upon you. Perhaps calamity has struck without warning or mercy, and you're on the edge of despair. Or maybe you are a witness to another person's tragedy, and feelings of hopelessness are surrounding you - even though the struggle belongs to someone else.If we were alone in the adversity, if there were no purpose in our pain, if redemption was not an option, despondency would have to be our response.But GOD.Hold onto HIM!!!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I think most mothers of teenagers will agree with me when I say that "play time" with teens is quite limited.
That is, I am no longer the go-to for entertainment. Mommy, will you read me a story? Watch this movie with me! Mommy, I just want you to hold me. Can we play Candyland? (I specifically remember wanting to run away in some of those moments...) And now I find myself ecstatic when my kids "invite" me to play along with them.Anyway - back to my point. I don't have a lot of play time with my nearly-grown-up kiddos.Which is why I secretly don't really mind that Matthew never gets up with his alarm in the morning. The kid is a heavy sleeper! Because that means I always get to go in and
play with wake him up.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
When I left my place of employment on January 14, 2015, I did so with the promise that I would continue to help a very precious lady as often as I was able. Because of company policy changes, she could no longer be driven to her quarterly eye-doctor appointments and she was very concerned about how she would get to them. I told her, "You call me. I'll drive you to your appointments."She did.And, so did I.I loved the days I took D to her doctor appointments. Her smile, her charm, and the fact that she never failed to tell me how much she loved my grandma always lifted my heart. Besides, I enjoyed getting caught up on how my old friends were doing at Edgewood. D kept me up to date on everyone.The first of January found me visiting Edgewood, again, because I was privileged to bring the message for their afternoon church service. And, of course, I also stopped in to say Hi to my dear friend, D. She was surrounded by her family and smiled as we hugged. I didn't stay long, because I had to get out for church. Besides, we had an appointment coming up and I would catch up with her then.Today was the day for that appointment.But the appointment was cancelled. Because D passed away the day after I popped in to say, Hi.Oh, how precious and fragile our lives really are. Had I known that Sunday was her last...I surely would have lingered. If only I'd been aware...If I'd realized...If...Have you uttered those statements, too?Indeed, tomorrow is not a guarantee. For any of us! And so I resolve to stop taking it for granted. I will ask the LORD to slow me down, to help me savor the present moment, and to lead me leisurely through my days. Because I don't know when my next appointment might get cancelled.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
So, Saturday morning I stood outside my shower for longer than usual.
It always takes a while for the hot water to make it to my bathroom, so waiting is not out of the ordinary. But as time passed I got tired of the delay and just hopped in - knowing it would warm up, eventually.Except, it didn't. Rather, it got colder.As in, I only had the water on to get wet and rinse. No way was I going to STAND under that cold water. BRRRRR!Later that morning as I was
complaining to telling Brian about my shower, I learned that his had only been lukewarm. And Matthew piped up that his was also cold. Hmmmmmm. Problem with the water heater?Brian checked it out and re-lit the pilot light, figuring he would get to replacing the thermocouple Sunday. And for a little while we had warm water again.
Monday, January 09, 2017
Friday, January 06, 2017
Have you ever played Soooooo big with a baby? You know, when you take their hands in yours and say, "How big is 'Baby'?" Then you lift their arms up over their head and sing, "Sooooooo big!" And then you both explode in giggles.I love that game!Well, this week - between I'm Asking, my new verse, my daughter's friend, my church's Facebook prayer group, my Life Together group, my Precept group, and a praying friend who faithfully sends me requests - I have sort of felt like I'm playing Soooooo big with God.That is, Wednesday evening as I was praying with a heart full of burdens I found myself asking, How big is God? How can He possibly keep track of all these needs? How is it that He doesn't forget, never overlooks, and always knows what to do? How big is HE??? Then with a smile in my heart, and all the faith HE has placed in me I proclaimed, God is soooooo BIG!!! Do you know that Truth, my friend? Can you fathom in your mind how incredibly BIG our God is? Honestly, His BIG-ness is too much for me to grasp. I do not understand how He sees and knows and does all things. Perfectly. I can't explain how God can tend to the details in my life and yours, while simultaneously holding the rest of the universe together in perfect balance. I.don't.get.it.But I believe it. Because I have seen Him move and I have experienced His touch. God always does what is right - right on time.So it is with confidence in His BIG-ness and His ability to do all things that I ask. That I lay these many, many needs before Him - and trust Him to act.Because God is soooooo BIG!!!
Thursday, January 05, 2017
There is a young woman - to whom I did not give birth - but who I consider practically a daughter. She has been my daughter's best friend, and virtually part of our family, for many years. And my surrogate mother's heart is aching for her right now, because of her struggle. Thus, I am skipping the time I would normally spend blogging today, so I can pray for her instead.Because that's what LOVE would do.I would love for you to join me in prayer. God knows the details. Thanks!
Wednesday, January 04, 2017
God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble. ~Psalm 46:1Several years ago (I think it was 2010?) a friend and I memorized Psalm 139. We did it by learning one verse on the 1st and 15th of every month, and meditating on that verse during the days in between. And, wow! Was that ever a blessed experience for me. God continues to speak to my heart the encouragement He brought to me seven years ago. It is a beautiful thing.Annnnd, with the beginning of a new year and the desire to be molded and transformed more into image of Jesus - I have decided to do it again. Except, this time I am going to go through Psalm 46. If my math is correct, this adventure will take me through the middle of June. But I trust the blessing will take me through the end of my days. I share this information with you to let you know - I will likely be doing a lot of posting about Psalm 46 over the next five and a half months. And I share this information with you also - to invite you to join me on this journey. God has given us His Word for our benefit and so that we might know Him and love Him more. While I am eager to share with you the ways He speaks to me through Psalm 46, I would love it even more if you were able to experience it for yourself. So we could share in it together. So, what do you say?Are you in???