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Monday, April 23, 2012

Standing Up After Being Knocked Down

I'm overdue to write my monthly blog ... for good reason. I just didn't feel like writing. Recently, like many others in my circle of influence, I feel like the "hits" just keep coming. My friend called to tell me she has cancer. It "knocked me down" for a few days. Then, I had to pick myself up and be her encourager ... even when very selfishly I didn't feel like it ... I was having trouble getting past my own sadness. Sometimes, it just "backs up" on you.

My husband's Dad had a stroke awhile ago and is still suffering the effects of it. When Paul visited his Dad a few weeks ago, he found his family still mad at God and wondering "why." Several of us tried to provide "answers" to assist him with family discussions. "Unfortunately, it's the human condition. God didn't MAKE this happen. He did ALLOW it to happen and He will use it for His glory, because He loves us. And, thankfully, because of His mercy, He offers us far better than what we deserve."

Another friend has a neurological disorder with no cure. She used to sing like a bird and play the guitar. Recently, I sat beside her in church and I noticed she wasn't singing or she couldn't. My heart broke knowing that music is her "gift." And, it was an amazing gift. She just leaned over and hugged me and said ... "I love listening to you sing. You're voice has matured so much. I'll just listen to you sing." She sat with her arm around me with her eyes closed, a peace-filled smile on her face, reveling in God's music and the gift of song ... in a new way. So, I sang my heart out for her and the Lord. She still finds joy and rejoicing in music. God is still at work in her.

So, remembering her strength and courage and knowing that God will use this as an opportunity, I look at the long road ahead for my friend with cancer. I can't lose sight of God and His will along the way. I pray daily that I will do the right things for her, say the right things to her and be the witness He called me to be ... making certain that others see His glory through this situation. His "road map" for this particular journey is found in the book of Romans ...

Romans 12:11-12
... be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation and devoted to prayer. '

I would be grateful if you would please keep these people in your prayers.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

While You've Been Away ...

Last week, I had coffee with a dear friend whom I had not seen or talked to for quite some time. We picked right up where we left off. We didn't "skip a beat." I miss her ... we need to get together more often. We caught up on each other's lives and offered advice on this and that. This morning, I had an email from her that said ... no, it screamed ..."I LOVE YOU! Thanks for sharing this wonderful life journey with me." That's what friends do ... time and distance can't keep us from loving each other.

It's the same with God. No matter how long it's been since you've "talked (prayed)," He's all ears and you can pick right up where YOU left off ... He's waiting for you to show up and lay it all on His altar. If you really listen, you'll hear Him ... "I LOVE YOU!"

Last night, I was listening to Paul and Sam who were upstairs having quite a conversation. Sam told his Dad, "I love you to as far away as the Star Wars world, and as far back as the dinosaur world."

That, my friends, is a whole lot o' lovin.' But, God loves us beyond measure or description. It's not a cliche ... God loves YOU. If you are not "feelin' it," you are not earnestly seeking Him ... He's there ... just waiting for YOU to "show up."

John 3:16
For God so loved you, that He gave His one and only Son. If you believe in Him, you will not perish, but receive everlasting life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Life of Appreciation and Contentment

Some of you who read this may know that we have some friends who just left for the mission field. As I read their emails, tears well up in my eyes and my heart aches for them. They write about the struggle over learning a new language and try to deal without the basics of living -- food, water, supplies. They wait for rain that never comes to fill barrels for drinking. And, they haven't gotten to the most difficult part of their training yet.

Last year, a missionary spoke at an event I attended. She raised her family on the mission field in the Philippines. She spoke of what a blessing it was to raise her children overseas, in the jungle, without all of the luxuries that American children think they need. I've been struggling with this particular issue regarding our own children and those around me in our communities.

The "entitlement" attitude and always wanting more saddens me and to be perfectly honest, frustrates me to no end. People today never seem to appreciate all that they "have."  Because of a little thing called a "custody agreement," it isn't likely we will be heading off to the mission field with the kids. I am pretty sure God wouldn't call us to a life in missions just to "teach our kids this lesson" ... so, we pray. We pray that God will work in our children to help them appreciate God's blessings and those around them. We set boundaries and try to set an example.

My parents have always set this example for us. We always had just enough and when we had more than enough, they lived their lives the same way ... "the Lord has given us just enough." They are content with whatever the Lord provides.

We continue to pray that we be appreciative of His blessings, that we would be content with what God has given us, because He tells us in scripture that whatever He provides IS enough.

The woman who spoke about raising her family on the mission field, lost her husband in "the rescue." Two weeks ago, a husband and wife mission team in Mexico were killed for their faith. So, if you have time today, please pray for those on the mission field ... for water ... for strength and rest ... and also for their safety.

And pray for those around you ... for contentment in circumstances and learning that whatever God gives us is what we are entitled to have and we should never want for more ... easier said than done in our "human-ness."

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. - Philippians 4:11

Monday, January 9, 2012

Living "At Home" Forever

5-year olds are just funny, aren't they?  They have such a different perspective on how life should go.

We inform Sam that we are keeping a list of all of things we are going to do at his house when he is old enough to own his own home (i.e. drop cereal on the floor, leave his little Darth Vader underwear on the coffee table, much on BBQ potato chips and let orange crumbs fall to the floor for someone else to clean up, smear sticky syrup on the sofa, etc). 

He comments that he just won't tell us where his house is ... to which we respond that we won't be able to bring him Christmas presents. Hmm ... He thinks about it and says, "Well, what about heaven ... you can't bring a list to heaven." I tell him, "Oh, My Love, but I AM bringing the list to heaven." He just looks at me ... no comeback for that one. He does a lot of thinking about these things.

At the dinner table, he often informs us that he is "never moving out! I will just live with Dad and Jen forever!"  Really? While that strikes terror into the hearts of any parent, especially the parents of teenagers, we know they would jump at the chance to be on their own after a certain age.

Sam's comment makes me think about the prospect of living with my Father forever. Not my earthly father (that wouldn't go over very well), but my Heavenly Father. At this very moment, He is preparing a place for us.

John 14:2   In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

I made an important decision in my life at the age of 9. I am thankful that someone led me to the Lord at an early age.  I am also confident in where I am going at the end of this life and that Christ is preparing a place for me.

In the meantime, we'll keep making the list for Sam, and no, I won't be bringing his list to heaven. Thank goodness I am forgiven and the Lord won't be bringing mine!