Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Wonder...

Life goes by so quickly. So much happens in a year’s time.

I wonder – next year at this time, just what I will have gone through?

I wonder what challenges and obstacles I will have faced. Will I be stronger and wiser – or will I feel a little beaten down and need time to heal?

I wonder what new and exciting things that I never would have guessed would happen – did; all because my Lord wanted to bless me and love on me.

I wonder what loved ones I will have had to say goodbye to – whether from illness or accidents?

I wonder what dreams will have been realized in my life. Will I have started to dream new ones? Will I have said goodbye to old ones that are no longer important to me?

I wonder if I will use my time more wisely or still take it for granted?

How many lost opportunities will I regret letting pass me by?

How often will I look at my kids and know my time with them at home is that much shorter?

What will my health be like in a year? Better – or – worse?

Will I be more confident?

I wonder what new friends I will meet and wonder how I ever lived life without them?

What prayers will finally be answered? What new prayer requests will weigh heavily on my heart?

I wonder.

Life is so short. It is but a vapor. We don’t realize that on a day-to-day basis. We forget. We take it for granted. Unless we stop long enough to pause, think, ponder, and wonder….

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Maybe We Weren't Meant To Remember

I heard a quote the other day that caused me to stop and ponder it. It was “Sometimes we weren’t meant to remember.”

I’d never really thought about that before. Being a writer and someone who is very sentimental; I love to remember as much about my life as I can. But maybe – just maybe – sometimes we weren’t meant to remember.

I think that sometimes maybe it’s better if we leave pain and hurt in the past where it belongs. Sometimes it’s better to let a friend, loved one, or relationship go.

We try to hold onto so much. Too much, maybe. Sometimes our lives would be better off without recalling certain things or people. Sometimes, maybe we’d heal quicker and be able to move on without holding onto so much; so tightly.

Our lives are but a vapor. We are here and before we know it, we are gone. The older I get, the more I see how quickly life flies by. It’s okay to forget. It’s okay to let some things go. In fact, maybe we need to let some things go.

Each moment of our lives can teach us something. Maybe one of the biggest lessons we can learn is how to let something sail away in the breeze never to be seen or felt again. Maybe we are better off, if we do.


Oh, how much of our bitter hearts and the darkness that falls over our eyes is only there because we hold on to something with such force and strength? We need to open our hands and let it go. Let it melt away and forget.

For sometimes forgetting is the best thing

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm taking the next two days to focus on my family and spend some time with them. One of my favorite things about this time of year is just being with those I love. Traditions are fun and great - and presents are cool - but it's people who mean the most.

Of course I do try to bring in the real reason we are celebrating and have it be a constant reminder in our home. We plan on watching "The Nativity" tonight to set the tone. 

How about you? How do you slow down to focus on what truly matters this time of year?

May you make special memories this Christmas, have lots of smiles, laughs, and hugs - and more moments filled with lavish love. For that is what HE gave us.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

There Is So Much More

Do we model our faith for our children?

I read something that got me to thinking on this very subject. The author was talking about Christian teens today and how a lot of them believe that they are simply to do good things as a Christian; to be good. And the result? God will be good to them.

Wow. Is that what Christianity has been reduced to? Being good?

When I read the Bible – King David wasn’t always good. But he loved the Lord and desired to serve Him. Peter wasn’t always good either. There were countless men and women in the Bible who weren’t always “good.” And I just wonder how we’d respond if we were sifted as Job was. Would we say God was “good” to us?

I’m worried that our faith won’t translate well to the next generation because, in part, we haven’t lived it well. We haven’t exercised it or stretched it.

Faith is everything to me. Yet I know that a lot of times I talk to God from my heart and exercise my faith privately – from my heart. If I want my kids to see God working in my life (and theirs), I need to be more open about what He is doing and how He is working. I need to show them that I have faith in Him; even in the tough moments in life.

Sometimes answers from God take years. Sometimes things aren’t always “good.” Serving God is much deeper than that though. Much tougher. It takes day to day faith.

I want my kids to see what “living it out” really means. I want them to know that a Christian lives by faith and not by feeling or sight. It’s not a “tradition” but it’s a choice.

I pray I can be that kind of Godly example for them. So that they won’t reduce their faith to simply “being good” and they won’t minimize God to a deity who just helps them feel good and is good to them. For there is so much more.

Monday, December 20, 2010

In the Best Interest of Our Kids

What do you do when life is unfair to your kids?

Be sure to stop over at Kari Smalley Gibson's blog,  "My Crazy Adoption" today as I discuss this exact topic and share my thoughts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Staying True to Who We Are

My first car was a pickup truck. It was a Chevy S-10 pickup. Red and white. The rearview mirror came in the glove box and I had to constantly re-glue it to the window. There was no air – which was fine in Oregon, but when I moved to Las Vegas – that was not something I enjoyed. Still… I loved that truck.

That truck was “me.”

I actually had a little Honda for a few weeks before the Chevy. It was a stick-shift. I wanted an automatic and I wanted a truck. The car was a good deal, so I gave in and got it. It was cute and in great shape. But it was not what I wanted. It was not “me.” So it only lasted a couple of weeks before we re-sold it. Then, my dad found my Chevy. MY Chevy. I was so happy.

That’s the way it is with our lives. Sometimes we give in and do things that are just not “us.” Whether it’s peer pressure or lack of patience, we decide to just go with something. But it’s wrong. It’s not God’s will for us and it’s not who we are. It’s all wrong. Just like my car. The thing itself may not be bad. It may be something that is very worthwhile or attractive. But it wasn’t meant for us.

Only when we wait and stay true to who we are, will we find that we are happy. Only when we stick with the desires and dreams that God has placed in us – only then will we find true satisfaction as we live out the calling that He has placed deep within us.

It doesn’t matter if everyone else likes cute little cars. If God created us to love trucks – only trucks will do. And it doesn’t matter if everyone else loves to run or speak or wear certain kinds of clothes and live certain lifestyles. If God didn’t create us that way, none of those things will work out for us. They won’t satisfy and we won’t flourish in those roles, lives, or positions.

We can be proud to be who we are. I love that I’m not like everyone else. I love how I was made. I don’t want to blend into a crowd, but I want to stand out. For that is how I know He intended it to be….

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lost Ornament

Today, I wanted to share a little video message from my stepson, Garrett.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love Is a Gift

Gifts. Whether they are material gifts or gifts of our time, they are blessings and statements of how we value one another. When I make a meal for someone, whether it’s in my own home or because a new baby has been born or a loved one passed away; I do it out of love, caring, and a sense of empathy for what that individual is going through. I do it out of love.

When I give a little gift on someone’s birthday, Christmas, or just because… I do it out of love. I don’t expect anything in return. And yet sometimes I see that people have a hard time receiving gifts. They feel like they have to do something to reciprocate the gesture that was extended their way. They struggle with simply saying ‘thank you’ and feeling the love that was gifted their way with the gift. I’m not sure if it’s because they feel somehow insecure that they didn’t think to give a gift or if they don’t want to be a burden to the gift giver – but whatever it is, it hinders them from enjoying the true blessing of being loved on by someone else.

Love is a gift. In more ways than one. It is a gift of the heart but it’s also a gift in physical form too. Love pays for someone else’s meal from time to time. Love drops by a baked good “just because” they knew you liked it, or love sends a card in the mail. Love sometimes does simple things like offering to help with a project you’re working on, or helping take care of your kids. Love doesn’t expect a return on its investment. It simply loves because of the joy that it brings to everyone’s heart.

It feels good to love on each other. It feels good to make someone smile by the gifts of our heart or time. It feels good to take the burden off of someone else’s shoulders. After all, isn’t that what God has called us to do? To be there for each other and walk through life together? So why do we have this need to isolate ourselves and act like we don’t need anyone or anything? Why do we feel like if we accept anything from someone else that we will have to repay it? Why can’t we simply feel loved and be thankful for it?

Love is a gift. The next time it’s offered to you; recognize it for what it is. Recognize that someone is giving you the gift of love when they are offering to help out or when they give you a physical memento or even their time in your life. Don’t try to fight it – but be appreciate and thankful for it. Sure – somewhere down the line, you will have the opportunity to love on that someone back. But when that time comes, do it because you want to, not because you feel guilty or indebted in any way.

Love is a gift. A beautiful gift. Sometimes simple, sometimes lavish. But it is a gift just the same. And it never asks or expects anything in return. That’s what makes it so beautiful. Accept it. And feel the love that accompanied it, for everyone deserves to feel loved.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Is Satan Listening?

I have a new thought-process in my life when it comes to fears. I’ve taken a new direction; a new course.

After some observation and personal testing, I’ve decided to try and not ever speak my fears aloud. A very hard thing to do. It’s very easy for me to tell someone what I fear and have them give me words of comfort. It’s easy to seek out other people to squelch the fears that can so easily take over my heart and mind. But in doing so, I feel that I’m also giving Satan ammunition.

Sometimes, I think I’m telling Satan just where to push my buttons. I have no concrete proof of this, of course. But after a few trial runs, I’ve decided that I can give him unfair advantage over me. Satan cannot read my mind. He doesn’t know my hidden fears. But he does watch me very closely. He knows by my actions what haunts me. He also pays attention to what I verbally say aloud.

I know if I choose to pray my fears aloud to God that I’m trusting God with those weights in my life. I probably will still do that from time to time. But just as I believe in the power of saying things out loud and audibly for my Lord to hear, I also have come to believe that that same power can be given to Satan when he hears things from my heart too.

I just want to be careful.

I want to be careful not to give Satan anything more than he’s already found to use against me in my life. I don’t want to unnecessarily show him the door to my weaknesses. I don’t want to give any more power to my fears than they already hold for me.

That’s my new plan.

I don’t know how you feel about speaking out loud concerning your fears, but you might give thought to which way the wind could blow once you share things like that. It might be good to sometimes keep them in a safe spot emotionally and spiritually where only you and the Lord can access them.

Just a thought. One that I am going to try to exercise more often because I’m tired of giving Satan free information into my heart and mind. I’m tired of letting him know just what and where to hurt me the most. He’s going to have to start digging a little deeper and harder to gain access to my fears. Because I’m fighting back.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Post Is For My Daughter

So I hear that when my daughter is done with her assignments at school, that she spends time with her friends looking at the photos I post on my blog. She told me one morning, “Mom – can you post some more pictures?” Then she preceded to complain that all the pictures I had of her on here were weird, dorky, or unflattering. And that they went along with articles about “talking to yourself, being alone” and other such unflattering posts.

Aww – sweetheart – I’m smiling.

First of all, I’m honored that you’d spend your spare time reading my blog! Secondly, anyone who
KNOWS you knows you’ve got the whole package. But just to clarify to those who don’t know my oldest personally – let me tell you – she ROCKS! She is one of my best friends. So vivacious, charming, and she brings such joy to my life. She “gets” it. Ya know? Those things in life that you can’t explain, you just have to feel them? She just “gets it.”

So for today, I want her to know how blessed I am to have her in my life. I’m so thankful for each moment I get to spend with her. I truly like her. And I love her even more. She is a beauty – inside and out. I know God has great plans for her life.

Paprika – here are some moments that I cherish of you. Pictures that show your style, flair, sensitivity, and charm. Always use those gifts for the Lord – for with great power (and beauty) comes great responsibility. Everything else is fleeting and will only satisfy temporarily – but God will satisfy always.

Use your life wisely. For it will go far too quickly.

I love you dearly.


Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Not Looking

I’m not a very elaborate decorator. Anything good that I come up with has usually been seen somewhere else and I duplicate it. I wish I had natural talent – but I have to work hard at it.

Christmas is the time of year that people’s houses can look like catalogues. I see people post pictures online of their elegant mantles, their color-coordinated trees and their spot-perfect cookies.

And I sigh.

I’m lucky if our tree doesn’t have a glob of ornaments smack dab in front where everyone tried to place theirs. And my mantle is usually simple – with stockings that took me 16 years to needlepoint and finish for each one of us.

My cookies and chocolates aren’t magazine perfect – but they are made with love and laughter by my girls and I. Making goodies is one of their favorite traditions of the season.

I don’t have huge battery-operated talking Santas or glowing deer. But I do have handmade knickknacks that my kids lovingly made for me at school.

So I’ve decided. My way brings the happiness I need at this time of year. My way makes me smile and it brings contentment to my heart for it’s not elaborate – but it’s full of love and memories.

This year, I’m not looking. I’m not looking at those photos of grandiose trees and immaculate fireplaces. I bet they are beautiful. And someday, I might have something close. But for today – I have a family and mementos radiating love, life, and laughter.

And I think it’s what I prefer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What Does God Think of Me?

What does God think of me?

I saw that question posted on a blog and it got me to really thinking for I had never really thought about it before. I’ve always heard how much God loves me, He delights in me, takes great pleasure in me and so on and so on. But what does He really think of me?

How does He view me, as a person?

As parents, we often label our children with attributes and style characteristics when we describe them to others. We say things like, “She has a heart of gold,” “ he’s my outdoor child,” “he’s strong willed (or stubborn),” “she’s clingy,” and “she’s a go-getter.” Those are only the beginning of how we describe our children to others!

So how would God describe me? How does He see me? Does He call me His “adventurous one,” His “needy child,” His child who “always tries so hard,” or the “one who always has to learn things the hard way?” Does He know He can give me a lot to handle on His behalf because I will be responsible with it or does He know I’m going to need extra disciplining or coddling and reassurance?

Those thoughts really stop me in my tracks. For I want my Lord to find favor with me. I don’t want Him to have to use extra patience with me (although sometimes I think I need extra patience with myself!) I want Him to see improvement in my life. To look back and see a starting point and find that I’m growing, learning, and improving. I want Him to find me a good listener, a hard worker, and someone who has a loving and obedient heart.

One of my greatest desires is that when I get to heaven, God will look at me and smile – open His arms wide so I can run into them and say “Well done, Dionna. Well done, my good and faithful servant. I am SO proud of you.” It brings tears to my eyes to think about it!

Yet, I feel I have so far to go. So many times I disappoint myself. So many times I stumble and fall. So many missed opportunities.

Still…. There is today. And there is tomorrow. And I can improve. I can change. I can make a difference and be the difference. I can still be that person I desire to be. For myself and for Him. My heavenly Father. Because it matters very much to me what He thinks of me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Test

Have you ever left something out in your house just to see how long it would take someone to pick it up? I have. I call it “the test.” It usually doesn’t work. But I’ve tried on many occasions to leave out those dirty socks on the living room floor, the empty glass on the counter, or the trash on the floor. I’ve been curious to see how long it would take someone to deal with it. But they usually just walk over it or fail to see it in the first place. They hope that if they ignore it long enough, that I’ll take care of it.

I was thinking about my little tests at home and wondered if God has a test that He uses on us. Do you think He does?

I wonder if He “tests” me to see how long it will take me to deal with a situation or if I will take care of something. And if He does, I wonder how often I walk over or around it or fail to see it altogether? I wonder how often I ignore it, hoping that He’ll take care of it for me?

Maybe this explains why we have to learn the same lessons over and over again. Maybe this is why we seem to have certain things happen continually to us in life. We just don’t take care of them the first time!

I hope that I’ll be more aware the next time God might see fit to “test” me. I hope that I’ll see what it is that He’s waiting for me to pay attention to. And I hope that I take care of it in the right way so that He doesn’t have to give me the same test over and over again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hot And Cold

Sometimes it seems I’m eternally meant to live in situations I don’t feel I was hard-wired for.

I hate cold weather yet live in a state that has very cold winters with snow and ice.

I dream of living life at a methodical pace yet it seems to often tag me and drag me along behind it!

I long to have a problem that someone has dealt with before but often my situations are “different” and “unique.”

Do you every feel that way? Like you’re the only one or rather, that you are doomed to be in whatever-state-you’re-in for forever? It seems like when you want hot, God gives you cold. When you want wet, He dishes out dry and when you pine for slow – He gives you fast. Life is so ironic that way.

Something has begun to calm my heart about these types of situations. It’s the fact that I’m not “stuck” in them – but rather – I’m intentionally placed in them.

What if….what if God places each one of us in the opposite place that we’d choose on purpose? What if we hate wind and God places wind in our town all of the time? What if we’d rather live life as a loner or a hermit and He’s constantly putting people in our path?

Why would He do such a thing?

Because He loves us.

I think our God is a God who loves us too much to let us sit in a state of perpetual bliss so much so that we’d never need Him. After all, if we had that perfectly warm weather every day of our lives – at some point, we’d forget to talk to Him about it – forget to praise Him for it. And if we lived that slower life that we dream of, then at some point we’d forget how to get back in the race for Him when He called us to!

I don’t think God intends on frustrating us. Or then, maybe He does. Maybe He wants to frustrate us into action. Maybe He wants to refine us so that we can be thankful in “all” circumstances instead of merely the ones we prefer. Maybe He loves us so much that He wants us to learn to love what we find unlovely – whether that is people or weather. Maybe He puts the same problem in our path over and over again because we’ve yet to discover that there is joy in it. Some of us have a hard time finding joy in those things we hate, don’t we? But there IS joy. There IS joy in the rain – I’ve experienced it. And there IS joy in a storm. There IS joy in the busyness and “aliveness” of life! We just need to be open to finding it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever love cold weather (let alone “like” it.) But I do know that God has me in it for a reason. And I do know that He loves me. So if the only thing the cold weather does for me is cause me to seek and ask of God…then for that I can be thankful.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Legacy of the Kitchen

The kitchen. The smells and memories of a kitchen stay with us for a lifetime. We so often are pulled back to a certain occasion or moment, by the food cooked inside of a kitchen. It evokes special feelings and emotions inside of us…simply by a smell or a taste.

That fascinates me.

I love bottled coke. Not just because it’s fun and cool to drink out of (although that is a huge part), but because it brings fond memories of my childhood. I remember drinking out of a bottle at dinnertime or when I’d visit my dad at his office. It brings a smile to my face and love to my heart.

I yearn for certain foods at certain times. Pizza seems like it’s almost mandatory after a full day of working in the yard just like leftover turkey sandwiches are a must for dinner after a big Thanksgiving lunch. It’s how I was raised.

I recall certain foods that I’ve never seemed to be able to recreate to the same perfection as my mom did. She’d cook chili, fritos, and cheese on a cookie sheet and it was so delicious. Or she’d melt cheese in a corn tortilla and roll it up for us as a before-dinner snack. My grandma made sopapillas. I crave these sometimes.

I just love how our memories are tied up in food. It’s a way of solidifying a moment in time by using our senses. Any time we meet up with a friend, it’s usually over food. Celebrations are over food and oftentimes grieving brings in with it…food.

What kitchen smells do you savor from your childhood? What dish do you crave that you’ve never been able to have again; for it’s lost somewhere in the memory of your past? What traditions do you carry on, not because they are chosen necessarily – but because they are comfortable reminders of a way of growing up?

The next time you’re in your kitchen, think about what legacies you are leaving your children. Embrace the dishes they want you to make for them and enjoy the fact that you are stamping a part of their memory forever…with the smell, taste, and enjoyment…of food.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

He's So Good To Me

My heart was overwhelmed. It was overwhelmed to the point of tears. Happy tears.

God had given me several blessings in the span of a week. One was a long-held prayer request. The other, an unexpected gift of love. Both came at a time when I was starting to feel silence from my beloved Lord.

I told God ‘thank you.’ Many times. I told someone else how I owed the praise and blessing to the Lord. And then in a moment of solitude and quiet – I got down on my face, spread out my arms, and let my emotions speak for me as I tried to convey to the Lord how thankful I was for His grace, His compassion, and His kindness.

I know He answers my requests so many times. Oftentimes, I can utter a “cool” or a “whew!” out loud and move on with my day. But not this time. This time, I wanted to let God know that what He’d done for me was no small thing in my heart. I was feeling it deeply – to the core of my heart and soul.

And it felt good.

Sometimes the reward that seems out of reach for so long tastes that much sweeter when it comes. All the years, the tears, the wondering…they are worth it all when the investment of the heart finally has a pay-off. There is nothing like it. God truly shows His glory and His goodness in those moments. I feel love for Him like no other time and I feel loved BY Him like no other time.

I don’t want to forget to thank my Lord for all He does for me. The big, the little – all of it. I owe Him so much. He is so good to me.

I used to sing this song as a child in Sunday School…

My God is so great,
So strong and so mighty

There’s nothing my God cannot do.

Sometimes God sweeps into my life and shows me His strength. He shows me how mighty He is. Sometimes He simply sweeps me off my feet with His lavish goodness and love for me. But I do know there is NOTHING my God cannot do.

It may take getting down on the floor on your face and acknowledging that fact from time to time. With a heart that is overwhelmed

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Something To Ponder

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart….” Luke 2:19

When I read my Bible or when I sit in church service and hear God speaking personally to my heart…. I’ve noticed something. I’ve noticed how easy it is to leave that moment in time and continue on with my day – my life. It’s like, “Wow, that was good – now it’s time to get on with my agenda!”

But when I take the time to truly let something God is saying to me, soak into my heart and soul – those are the times where I truly grow.

The key is in taking the time to ponder over what has been revealed to us. Whether it’s a Bible verse that is relevant, a Bible Study lesson that strikes a chord, or a sermon that is conveniently aimed at what we are feeling or experiencing; we need to take the time to ponder those lessons and think about why it is that God wants to share them with us.

If I listen, but don’t absorb – I don’t gain much.

If I ponder, absorb, and let God’s messages to me permeate my life – I gain a lot.

It doesn’t matter how many Bible Studies we go to or how often we attend church. It doesn’t matter how many verses we know if they don’t go from our head to our heart and we have the spirit to apply them. Going through actions isn’t enough. We need to ponder and invest our hearts and minds into truly hearing what God wants to tell us.

I have been guilty of going through the motions so many times. Putting in the time, getting the job done and then moving on to what I really want to do without truly absorbing. The times I have pondered on something, are the times that I’ve really seen God work in my heart and life. He’s moved me.

I want God to work in my life. I want Him to use me. Move me. Thrill me. Speak to me. In order for that to happen, I need to take a little extra time for Him. To ponder what He’s telling me so that I won’t miss something really big. His Words really are treasures. Just waiting to shine.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Being Called "Mom"

One of the most beautiful sounds to my ears is hearing my name called. But not my given name – my “parenting” name.

“Mama.” And “Mom.”

My oldest daughter calls me “mama.” Always has. She spells it when writing a note to me as “mamma.” And I love it. My youngest calls me just “mom.”

My ears never grow tired of hearing those words. They are like salve to a wound as soon as I hear them. I know they are not always said in adoration. Sometimes they are uttered in frustration as in ….”Moooooommmmm!” Or more recently, as in “Moth-er!” My oldest decided to use that term with me when she wasn’t happy. HA HA

But I still love them.

There is something so powerful – so magical – so gripping in the words. It’s as if I’m needed. I’m loved. I’m claimed.

Even if spoken in a casual statement, my heart is immediately tendered to my child. They look to me for something. They are seeking me out, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally.

“Mama.” And “mom.”

I love those names.

I think I will be 90 years old and still smile and feel my heart flutter when I am spoken of as a mother. (And maybe at age 90, as a grandmother too!)

I accept the responsibility that comes with being a parent, and I welcome it. I embrace it.

For it has changed me forever.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Does Grumbling Accomplish?

There is so much that we aren’t pleased with in life. Sometimes the issues that bother us are big ones and other times, not so much. It takes some time and focus to sort out which issues need to be prioritized in our lives and how we should handle them.

I have looked back on my own life and seen many times where maybe I could have handled a situation a little bit differently. Maybe something resolved itself on its own in time or maybe the way something went down was in my best interest in the long run even if it wasn’t fun or comfortable during the duration of it. I do know, however, that I hate looking back on the times when I felt like I was simply a “whiner” or a “complainer.”

Those are two words that I don’t like associated with my character.

I’ve learned through some trial and error in my life that grumbling usually doesn’t accomplish much. If I am proactive and set a course of action to remedy something or be part of a solution – that is much better use of my time and my discontent. But if I simply sit at home or with others and utter my grievances about something; that doesn’t do anyone any good. It only creates an atmosphere of division.

I am not going to like everything. I am going to disagree (probably quite often) with how things are handled. I may be frustrated and confused. But there is a difference in how I choose to handle those issues that either help me rise above it, find a purpose in it, or come to peace with it. If I feel something is really wrong or I see injustice being done; I certainly would hope that I didn’t sit back and bite my tongue. But this is where positive action comes into play and can change a situation for the good of a lot of people instead of ranting about it from the sidelines.

I won’t lie to you. It’s hard not to grumble and complain. It’s hard to not vent when something really gets under your skin to ruffle your feathers. But the times that I have chosen to handle it in what I feel is the “right” way – by going to God in prayer or simply discussing the matter with my husband so that I can get it out of my system – then I can pull myself together better. Oftentimes, God will even show me very quickly how my attitude can reveal His greater plan through the issue.

Everyone has choices in life. When it comes to those grievances that we deal with; we can either grumble or choose to find purpose in them.  I know that for me, I long to get better at laying aside my complaining heart and tongue and seek out what it is that God wants from me in the middle of these times and situations. It makes the suffering easier and the trial seem less burdensome when I do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Something Gets Left Behind

Mark 8:34

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

I’m learning more and more what God meant when He said “he must deny himself…and follow me.”

I have a heart that wants to serve the Lord. I want to be used by Him. I want to impact lives for Him and I explicitly feel like I was called by Him into ministry. Yet in that desire and quest to do “great” things for the Lord, I think we sometimes forget that there is a price…a cost.

When God said “he must deny himself;” I’m finding out more and more what that means - if you really want to obey His call when you feel Him speaking and bidding to you in life. You see, sometimes denying ourselves means relationships and friendships must take a backseat. Sometimes it means we will forever be feeling like we need to catch up on housework because we’re always doing that “thing” that God has called us to. Sometimes it means that we will be low on sleep for a long duration of time.

Taking up our cross and truly following God often means that something gets left behind.

People often sound really encouraging if they hear you want to be a missionary or you feel that God is telling you to do this or that. But then when you embark on that road and they see that they are part of the price/the cost – they don’t like it so much.

I wonder if Mother Teresa’s family complained that she gave more to the world than she gave to them? I wonder if they felt left out; neglected? I wonder if she felt guilty or longed for things that she gave up in her quest to love, reach out, and encourage? Did she ever think about quitting?

Denying ourselves is the true test in life. It’s not an easy thing to do. Maybe we can do it for a time but then we grow weary or long for the comforts of life we are used to. It is the rare person who can truly deny Himself always without looking back. Yet, what a treasure they will find and they will BE if they can master that task!

I’m learning to deny myself in certain areas. I’m learning that in order to follow God in certain areas of life, I have to let some things come second. Some things will be left undone. Some areas I will forever feel like I’m trying to bring them “up to speed.” But I’m seeing more and more how this is the price and cost of following God when He calls. And my heart is learning to grow at peace with it – slowly – step by step. Because I want to be His servant and I want to work for Him. Him and Him alone.

Something HAS to get left behind if I’m to listen and obey. If I’m to “go.”

It’s just the cost of the call.