Saturday, November 29, 2014

Keep Telling Them

Relationships are so tricky when they get tangled. Emotions get involved and feelings get hurt.  Things can feel so awkward inside of close friendships or family relationships where grievances have occurred.

The thing about being close to someone is that you can’t always be their “friend.” You can’t always say the nice thing they want to hear. Sometimes, you have to gently say the tough thing. The thing they don’t want to hear. The thing they don’t like you for saying. The thing that puts a wedge between you, where otherwise there was none.

But that is true love.

It is painful to know that someone you cherish is angry or hurt because of words or actions you chose to take. Whether or not you had their best interest in mind; they are wounded.

What you CAN do, is continue to love them. Continue to cherish them. Continue to stand your ground and enfold them in your heart. Be kind. Be honest. Be loving. Regardless of how they respond.

Sometimes it takes time for wounds to heal. Especially for those closest to you. Sometimes those very wounds are open doors to change the relationship for the better. Take it to new ground. Higher ground.

But whatever happens, don’t give up. Keep telling them you love them. Keep telling them you care for them. Keep praying for them. And someday when the hurt is a little bit less and the sting has faded; hindsight may just show them how great your love was for them in doing or saying what needed to be done or said.

And they will thank you. And they will love you more for it.

And it will be worth it all.

So, keep telling them. Those words.

That’s the job of love.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Publishing In His Name

Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t something “more” I can do to share God’s love with others. Writing is a passion of mine, but it doesn’t always feel “important.” Not when you just blog and write articles, as I do. I don’t have the desire (currently) to write a book and I don’t write Bible Studies. Yet, writing seems to be a gift that God has developed in me.

Then one day, my mom sent me this Bible Verse…

“Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.”  1Chronicles 16:24

And I suddenly felt validated. All those blog posts and articles where I simply share what God is doing in my life – and I was doing exactly what He wanted me to do!

God wants us to share the amazing things He does for us. No matter how small or little we think they are – if He cares about the details of our lives; shouldn’t we share that with others so that they know He cares about the details of their lives as well? Shouldn’t we use our gifts of writing, publishing, editing, and proofreading for God’s glory and credit?

I answer with a resounding YES!

God wants us to share Him with anyone and everyone who will listen. He wants us to publish those newsletters, write those blogs, columns, and articles, and send out those magazines in His name. He wants us to take pictures of His glorious creation or awe-inspiring God-moments and share them with the world. Tell of His glorious deeds and the amazing things He does.

Every gift He has given us is important. Even if you write for your church newsletter or a community newspaper – use it as an opportunity to share the Lord with those in your circle. God will take it and flourish it. He will reach the hearts that need reaching and He will work through you. All you have to do is share.

*First published at Devotional

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sometimes I Forget To Play the "Glad Game"

One of my favorite ‘old’ Disney movies is “Pollyanna.” Something about that little girl and her sweet desire to be positive despite her circumstances, has always resonated with me.

I try to be positive in life, although I would never call myself a ‘Pollyanna.’ I do, however, try to look at the good in life. The blessings that God has given me. For I am so thankful for those gifts.

However, sometimes I get wrapped up in my own little world and the circumstances in it that cause me to be frustrated, upset, discouraged, or mad. And I can forget to be ‘glad’ about something in spite of them.

For instance, we are going strong into week six of not having any internet in our new house. It’s a long story – but suffice it to say, that one company didn’t know they were building on our street at all and didn’t lay any internet cable at all. The other company started late and has yet to give us the ‘all clear’ – so we are just waiting… and waiting… and waiting some more for them to tell us we are now eligible for internet.

It’s been painful for me. As an online writer and someone active on social media – I’ve been enduring major withdrawals. I’ve had to go down to my church on occasion just to schedule a few tweets or blog entries.  My girls have to pay to print things out at school. I can’t shop online for Christmas gifts. Google maps? Forget about it. Can’t use it right now. Creating Christmas cards? Nope! Online bill paying? Finding a new doctor? You get the idea. It’s amazing how much we use the internet these days for so many things!  But instead of finding something to be ‘glad’ about – I’ve wallowed in my sorrow and disgust at how ridiculous it has been to sit here for six weeks without internet.

That six weeks probably could have been a lot more fun had I had a more positive attitude. I could have been glad that I had the extra time to unpack and set up our new home. I could be glad that I HAVE a church with a café and internet that I can occasionally stop in at! I could be glad for the realization that I am SO appreciative to normally be able to get on the internet every day from my home!

Seems silly, but it changes my perspective on everything. It changes my attitude, my focus, and my heart. And most of all, it makes me kinder. I get grumpy when I’m not happy. And that’s not fun for anyone.

So how about you try the ‘Glad Game?” Whatever situation you’re going through right now – the one that is not fun, discouraging, frustrating, or a challenge – try to find something to be glad about in spite of it all. Try to make it a habit and allow it to soften your heart to the unfair things in this world. I promise, you’ll be glad you did. And so will others around you!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

There's A Step Two

Becoming a Christian is the most important decision you will ever make in your life. That’s how I feel, anyways.  When that decision is made, there is usually lots of celebration. Rightly so, since it’s meaning and repercussions are lasting throughout this life and beyond.

It’s step one.

But I think there is a step two that a lot of people neglect. I often wonder about all of those people who become saved through mission trips, crusades, telethons, youth group, etc. What happens to them afterwards? What happens when the team putting on the event leaves? Is there anyone to follow up on their lives? Is their anyone to help walk them through the day-to-day growth of living a life as a Christian?

Yes, that is step two. Discipling.

Just as we train our children while we are raising them, so does a Christian need to be trained. Simply asking Jesus into their heart doesn’t give them the tools they need to live a vibrant life for Him. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t seem to “take” for so many.

I think we need to always be learning, always growing. It’s like school. You keep graduating and going on to the next grade. A Christian needs to keep graduating and moving on to the next lesson of growth and maturity.

You see, being a Christian is about more than simply salvation. It’s about LIVING for Him. Every day. Every moment.  We cannot simply “do the deed” and then stay in the same place, doing the same thing for the rest of our lives. God asks us and calls us to keep rising above the place where we were before. We cannot simply live in mediocrity.

So many people feel as if God is so far away. That He’s not present in their lives. But to truly feel God, you need to seek Him.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God wants us to seek Him with everything we are! He wants us to be teachable so that we can learn more about Him. So that we can access all that He is and all that He wants to give us. He wants to mold us into who He sees. But we need to try. We need to seek.

To me, being a Christian means that I am constantly trying to be a better person. I’m always learning something and I’m discovering new things to be excited about. If I don’t try to grow, if I don’t feed my mind – it is too easy to get apathetic, cold, distant, and lukewarm about my faith.

Revelations 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

I don’t want God to spit me out of His mouth. I want to be vigilant and stand strongly for what I believe in.

It is so fabulous when someone accepts Jesus into his or her heart. It is worth every celebration and praise uttered on their behalf. But let’s not forget the “step two” of it all. For them and for us. Everyone needs to be discipled. To have a teacher and to be a student. We need to help one another learn, grow, and mature. If we don’t, the world will far too easily come in and sweep us off our feet for we won’t have grown the strong roots we need to keep holding us firm.

Let’s rise above mediocrity. Let’s keep pushing for that next level in faith. Together.

*First published at 

Friday, November 21, 2014

So You Don't Lose Yourself

It’s so good to be able to hear my own thoughts. So many times they seem crowded by the noise and voices going on all around me.

That’s why sometimes I crave alone time. Time for ME. Time to hear my own thoughts and feelings. Time to FEEL what I’m feeling!

I love people. I love to people watch. I love to talk to people. They fascinate me. I love adventures. I love road trips and making memories with my family.  But with all of that, I still need time where there is no audience; no one else but me and my God.

I need time to sort through all the things I’ve been filing away day after day. And, sometimes, I just don’t want to think at all. Heaven knows, I do a lot of it – painstakingly analyzing whether I’m making right decisions, and looking at them from every angle. Sometimes I just need to be with myself to remind myself of who I am.

Do you know who you are?

I remember in the movie, “Runaway Bride,” Julia Robert’s character always ordered eggs the way her fiancé ordered them. She has a moment in the movie where she has to try her eggs in all sorts of manners and ways, before she realizes and figures out what way SHE likes them! She had taken on the likes of those she loved – without even realizing it.

That can be the way with us, sometimes. We go with the flow and the tide of life so much, that we forget what and how WE really think and feel about things. We almost buy into the fact that we think and feel like everyone else, because we don’t take the time to get to know ourselves. We get lost.

Most of us can’t take a week off from our families, our jobs, or our commitments. But we can take an hour. We can sneak away for a quiet lunch, or sit on the back patio for a bit. It may seem strange at first and hard to not fill up that time with reading, checking email, etc. But it will grow on you. And it will grow IN you.

Which is just what is needed.

Take that time for YOU. Clear your head and heart. Embrace the silence.

Embrace yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Serving With The Right Intentions

I heard someone say once that we can be very earnest about something – and yet be very earnestly wrong. It was a very profound statement.

So often I see this demonstrated in our society. I see people give all they have to causes that they are very passionate about. I see people pursue beliefs in life that may not be harmless, but may not be fruitful in the long-run either. It reminds me of the verse in Proverbs 16:2 that says, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

We can pursue causes or give generously to them – but they can all be for nothing. If I’m giving to charities and serving others simply to “look good” to others – my works are meaningless in the long-run for the Lord knows and sees where my heart stands. He knows that I simply did things for “show.”   And if I give all my time and money to something I really DO believe in but that cause goes against the Word of God in some way or form – again – my invested time and money are worthless.

My heart and soul and what reside there are very important to the Lord. The intent, love, purity and motivation that live inside of each one of us weigh heavily with God.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in doing what everyone else is doing, doing things for the fun of it, or doing things because it looks good….we forget that the only true way to do things is with love.

Romans 16:18 “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.”

It is important for us to evaluate our own intent and actions every once in awhile to make sure that we have the right motivation and not that we are doing things simply to fulfill our own fleshly emotions and desires. It’s also important for us to be wary of who is in our lives and what kind of endeavors they bring into our homes and into our lives. Many people seem to have good causes but in actuality, they are stemmed from selfish ambition.

God does want us to serve. But He wants us to serve humbly. He does want us to pursue our passions. But with prayer. And He does want us to give. But with the right heart. If we keep these things in mind as our compass….we’ll never stray from serving Him with the pure goodness that He can use and flourish for so many.

*First published on

Monday, November 17, 2014

We Are Always An Example To Someone

Some days I feel invisible. Like a statistic or number walking around this earth. I am just one – of – many.

But then there are days where I am reminded how the little things I do; the things I sometimes think are insignificant …. Well, they are noticed by someone else.

It’s usually something small. Something I didn’t intentionally or deliberately do to be a good example. Sometimes it’s something that has become a personal habit for me out of a need to create boundaries in my life for my own well-being and safe-keeping of standards.

I’m not sure why I’m always caught by surprise. After all, someone is always watching. If you’re a mother, your children are watching you. If you’re a grandparent, your grandchildren are watching you. If you’re an employee, your boss is watching you. A teacher – your students. A friend – your friends. Someone, somewhere is looking at you and watching.

How do we handle life?  By our actions, do we draw others to the God we claim to serve? Are we warm, inviting, forgiving, accepting? Or are we bitter, negative, unapproachable, and judgmental?

Generation to generation, we rub off on each other by our actions, our standards, and how we live life. Positive or negative, we are always teaching someone else.  Traits are “caught” from us whether we want them to be caught or not. And they aren’t always the good things. Our bad habits are caught and passed on to others as well.

We may be okay with how we act until we notice someone else wearing those same actions. Watching always brings clarity and focus.

I want to be a good example. If I’m going to pass on anything, I would hope it’s good, loving, joyful, generous, and joyful. If part of me is going to live on once I’m gone, I want it to be a good part. I want to know that something good is being added to this society, to these people, to this life.

Don’t you?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It Says a Lot About Us

How do other people feel when they are in your presence? Do they feel relaxed, welcomed, and loved? Do they feel uncomfortable? Do they feel like they need to better or improve themselves in some way?

How we make other people feel – isn’t just about them. It’s about us. It’s about who we are as people.

And it says a lot about us.

If someone can’t relax around me, that says something about the kind of image I’m projecting. The same goes if they feel “less than.”

I want to be kind. Loving. Patient. Forgiving. Wise. But more than that, I want others to learn to be kind, loving, patient, forgiving, and wise. I hope that when people are around me, some of what I strive to grow in my own heart and life – will rub off on them.

It doesn’t do me any good to limit character and morals to my own life. I need to pass them on. Spread them around. Teach others by example. So that when I’m gone, there are more people out there to spread good.

I want others to feel better when they leave my presence. I want them to be inspired, motivated, and joyful. I want them to feel loved and accepted right where they are at.

And I hope I can get better and better at that goal.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I love perspective. I love how it teaches you, brings you peace, focus, and clarity.

The older I get the more I realize how inadequate and flawed I am as a woman. As a person. And yet the older I get, the more okay I am with that. I see how futile and wasteful it is to strive for perfection. There is beauty in my uniqueness.

I recently heard that people who are over 50 are found to be happier and less stressed than those under 50. I think it might be because they have discovered the same thing that I am slowly learning. I think that through their maturity in life, they have learned it is more restful, more joyful, and more peaceful to love yourself as you were created – than it is to strive to be someone whom you were never meant to be.

I’ve always felt that the more perfect I became, the less I would need to lean on God. Yet I strove for it anyways. For myself. For this inner image I had of what it would mean to be the perfect mental image of “me.” What I failed to see was that if I just allowed God to work in my life, submitted to Him, tilted my face upwards and let Him mold me in His own time, that I would become perfectly as He intended me to be. Maybe I would reside perfectly in a state of heartache for a while to learn a perfect lesson for my life that was needed. Maybe I would be perfectly “antsy” and “uncomfortable” as He shifted priorities in my heart. Maybe I would feel perfectly “alone” in a season of life so that He could perfect my reliance on Him, my courage, and my self esteem!



Maybe what the world deems inadequate, God deems workable.

All I know is that God created me with a purpose; a vision. And I want to fulfill it. In order to do that, I have to be who He intended me to be – whether or not I feel I am ready or perfect.

There is beauty in that knowledge. And peace knowing He finds me lovely right where I am. Because He sees the bigger picture.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's Not Up To Us To Make Our Kids Happy

One day, I was trying to talk to one of our children.  They weren’t real excited about what I wanted them to do, or where I wanted them to go.  As I was sitting there trying to get them excited about the venture, a realization hit me.  I was trying to make them happy!  Let me explain.

As a mother, it is instinctual for us to be protective.  It is natural to want to see our precious ones laugh, enjoy and love life.  But that’s not always the case.  We find that at times, our children pout, resist and don’t enjoy things.  It can be hard to see them wasting time in a bad attitude, instead of relishing the joy they could be experiencing if they only changed that attitude!

But moms – it’s not up to us to make our kids happy.  Let me say it again – it’s not up to us to make our kids happy.  It is up to us to love them, support and protect them, teach them, and guide them.  The emotions of the heart; that is their choice.

A lot of times, we blame ourselves for what our children feel!  If they didn’t want to go to a family get-together and we made them – we feel bad when they don’t enjoy themselves!  All of us, including myself need to stop doing that.  We need to raise our children up to the best of our abilities – then let them go.  Be there for them, never stop loving them or being an encourager, but stop feeling guilty for the choices of your child’s heart.  That is too much guilt for any person to take on.  And, chances are your children will turn around and change their attitude.

We hope and pray our kids will be happy in life.  But it’s not up to us to make that choice for them.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Arguments In Marriage

If you’re married, then you have argued with your spouse. Guaranteed. Nobody agrees on everything, even if it’s little things like where to eat out for dinner! In some ways that’s the beauty of our diversity and uniqueness. 

So, say you’re having a “spat” with your husband. How do you handle it? Do you whine, yell, throw things, and stomp your feet until he gives in to your side of the argument? Even if that’s the case and that’s what happens, I’ve found that no one is a winner if that is the end result. Instead, I’ve come up with a few ways to argue with your spouse… ways that hopefully end up with a productive result instead of one that leaves bitter feelings and resentment thus damaging (or denting) your marriage relationship.

  1. Try to speak calmly.
This is hard to do when you’re passionate about a subject. But you can still elevate your voice somewhat without yelling. And, if you can control your voice enough to speak as evenly as possible then sometimes that helps you collect your thoughts and not speak without thinking. Speaking without thinking is always harmful!

  1. Don’t bring up past issues if they’ve already been discussed.
Baggage. Face it. We all have it. We’ve all screwed up and made colossal mistakes. We don’t need to be reminded of it again and again. Now, I don’t think bringing up past things is wrong if the subject matter is along the same lines of whatever the argument is about AND if it hasn’t already been discussed. If you’ve already brought it up and both of you have clearly shared your feelings about the subject, bringing it up again to simply make a point or add weight to your case is unkind. Ultimately the goal should be that you and your husband grow closer not further apart. Hidden motives will never accomplish that goal.

  1. Don’t demean your man.
I hate this. I’ve seen women demean their husbands in public and I can only imagine if someone is willing to make a statement that belittles their spouse in public – just what do they say behind closed doors? No – don’t demean your husband no matter how mad you are at him. Find some way to show him some decency and respect and have a little class when you argue your case with him.

  1. Take time (if possible) before or during your argument.
Let’s face it – some arguments are planned. We know we’re picking a fight. You will do yourself a huge service if you can allow time to go by so you can collect your thoughts and gather your words before you enter into a heated discussion with your mate. If the argument rose up quickly, sometimes a breather or break is needed. Ask your husband for a little time to collect yourself so you don’t say something you will regret then come back together after a ½ hr or even 2 or 3 hours if they are so needed. The break may be just the thing you needed.

  1. Stay on topic.
I’ve had trouble with this. You bring up everything under the sun and other issues that don’t even really matter or relate to what it is you are arguing about! They may have credence but now is not the time to bring them up. Stay focused on the subject on hand and on solving that issue first. You’ll find your time will be much more productive that way.

  1. Try to “re-connect” as quickly as possible.
I hate it when my husband and I aren’t “in-sync.” We don’t communicate well, we feel far away from one another and in general our household and marriage just don’t seem to run smoothly.  So especially after an argument, try to find ways to get on the same page together again as soon as possible. Even if you agree to disagree you can still reassure one another of your love, devotion, and commitment to the marriage.

I think the healthiest thing to remember when having heated disagreements or arguments in marriage, is that the goal is to move forward together. If you can do that, then you both win and you’ll be stronger and learn from whatever it was that caused dissension in the first place. Be intentional and sometimes, if necessary, swallow your pride.  After all, marriage IS about two people – not just you!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Get To Know Me a Little

I did this once a few years ago, and thought it was time for an update. I always enjoy reading about others – hope you enjoy learning about me a little bit!

1) If I were a doll, the accessories packaged with me would be: a laptop, curling iron, and camera.

2) I have an irrational fear of... snakes. And of something horrible happening to my children.

3.) What type of food do you eat at your grandparent’s house? Oh – it’s been so long! But I have such dear and fond memories of Thanksgiving days spent there.

4.) What weight were you when you were born? Without looking it up, I believe I was 7lbs something

5.) What would you do if you were stranded on an island with the person you hate most? Somehow learn to work together to survive. And probably learn to understand them more in the process.

6.) When is your next vacation planned? I don’t have one and that’s okay with me! I’ve been blessed with so many travels already. Never know when another one will pop up!

7.) Do you stalk anyone on Facebook? – It depends. If something serious is going on with someone, yes, I check their page often.

8.) I find the thought of childbirth……Beautiful. It immediately takes me to my own two births and what magical days those were for me. I’d love to be present for the birth of one of my grandchildren someday…. Crossing fingers!

9.) My feet are…. Well, I have my toes always painted.

10.) My preferred food is…. Depends on the day and my mood! Love homemade chicken noodle soup or a good bowl of potato soup. But I also adore a great salad, pepperoni pizza, or tacos. And then there’s dark chocolate….

11.) Why is your 1 your 1? My husband? Because he showed me I was worth fighting for...

12.) Know how to cook? I cook fairly basic things - I'm certainly not a gourmet cook.

13.) I am annoyed with: laziness and people who don’t keep their word.

14.) What is the worst way you were dumped? Hmm - I don't think I was every really dumped. Probably because I was too scared to date much!

15.) What child-related smell do you not like? Throw-up, or nasty diapers.
16.) What sea creature scares you? Sharks!

17.) What kind of car do you have? Chevy Tahoe which has been a good car for us but is currently in fall-apart mode

18.) What object have you broken most recently? Well, I didn’t break it personally, but the way I allowed a picture to be placed in a car when we were moving, caused the glass to break. And it was my husband’s.

19.) Name one of the Spice Girls: Posh Spice?

20.) What is the last thing that made you cry? Can’t remember. I guess that’s a good thing!

21.) What are the stems on wine glasses for? Never thought about it - but they are very elegant and pretty! Maybe they are to hold onto so you can swish and swirl the wine before you drink it?

22.) My favorite shoes are: Boots! Which I need more of.

23.) Can you use chopsticks? No, but it would be fun to try

24.) Do you prefer beaches or forests? Hmm - well forests make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside because my dad used to be in the timber industry and so I grew up going into the forest here and there. But a warm, sunny beach? Beautiful. So it's a toss up for me.

25.) What serial killer do you find most disturbing? All of them!

26.) Who knows a secret or two about you? My husband, without a doubt. Then, my girls.

27.) Have you ever burned yourself? Too many times! I burned my eye with the curling iron (Yes, it was painful!), I've burned myself cooking too.

28.) Who is probably talking bad about you right now? Oh gosh. I sure hope no one!

29.) Where is your brother right now? Don’t have a brother.

30.) Do you believe in things that last forever? Only eternal things

31.) What are you listening to right now? People chattering away while eating lunch at our church café.

32.) What do you smell like? You'd have to ask my hubby and children...

33.) Are you married? Oh yes. I got me a warrior!

34.) Does anyone regularly tell you they love you? Yes. My family.

35.) Do you have any bad habits? I am always forgetting to stand up straight and I hate that. I also can interrupt when I get excited to say something – totally unintentional.

36.) Have you ever wanted to be a teacher? Not seriously.

37.) What is one thing you've learned about life? That no one is perfect and everyone has hurt.

38.) What is your favorite color? I don't have just one. Love all shades of blues, black is classy, and pinks.

39.) Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? No.

40.) How many of the people in your friends list on Facebook do you actually know in real life? Most of them. There is no one on my list that I don’t know where or how I connected with them.

41.) Has anyone told you that they like you as more than a friend? My husband

42.) What are you looking forward to? The day when we get internet! It’s been 3 weeks without, and we are just waiting for the ‘internet people’ to finish hooking it up in our new neighborhood. I miss it so much!

43.) How are you today? I am doing good. Life is busy and lots is going on. But God is good and He is faithful. I am so blessed to be where I am.

Got a question? Feel free to ask!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When Life Throws You a Curveball

Have you ever noticed how it seems like just when you think you’ll get to relax, take a few days off, or get a break from the busyness in life…that something happens to spin your world? Why is it that those life-changing, tragic, or big events always seems to happen at the very time when you were going to be able to catch a break for yourself?

I used to get frustrated. I would think…”I’ll never get to sleep again.” Or “It figures.” Just when you think you can take care of yourself a little bit, Satan goes and ruins it – stressing you out further.

That was the old me.

The new me, has decided that God plans it this way.

I’ve decided that it is God who clears my calendar and schedule. He frees me up knowing in advance that I’m going to be needed, or that I will need those free days to take care of whatever “event” will unfold.  It has totally changed my perspective on things. Instead of feeling more frazzled and burned out because I’ve got just one more thing (and usually an emotionally draining ‘thing’) to add; I feel readier to swing into motion to take care of whatever needs taken care of at that moment in time. If it’s a friend or family member who needs me – they have all of me because my schedule is free for that time period. If it’s something that happens in my own life – then I have the time to deal with it.

Yes – I’ve decided that God clears our schedule ahead of time sometimes. He is so perfect in that way. He perfectly crafts it so that all of our attention can be focused on that one “issue.” 

And I love Him for it.

Sometimes life throws us those curve balls. We weren’t planning on spending our vacation helping a needy friend. We didn’t intend on using our day off going to get estimates on a car that was wrecked.  We can feel tired and spent. And yet how wonderful is our God to perfectly time things on occasion where we have the free hours to devote to what has come up?

His plans are always better than mine.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Celebrating the Joy of Answered Prayer

What did you do the last time God answered a prayer of yours?

My family had a specific prayer request years ago. It was something that weighed heavily on our hearts and a request that we brought to the Lord repeatedly.

As is with our God, He brought about an answer in His timing and in His way. It was unexpected; but delightful. The hope and peace that it brought to our hearts was like fresh air.

We were so excited. All of us.

So what did we do? We had a little party.

We cracked open the sparkling cider and I made a toast. It was simple. We raised our glasses in the air and I said, “Thank you, Lord, for answering our prayers.” It was more than a “thank you” for me. I wanted my kids to understand that this wasn’t just a “good” thing that happened – it was a “GOD” thing that happened! I wanted them to “get it.”

Then, we all danced around the kitchen. It felt kind of like a celebratory Indian dance. Some of us whooped, others yee-hawed. We twirled and had fun getting a little groovy as we laughed together. It happened in about all of 3-4 minutes. It was fun. It was meaningful and it was memorable.

It was special.

To someone else, our “to do” may have seemed a little fussy or overdone. But to us… we each knew the price paid within that year of requesting for God to intervene. We each knew how it could have turned out so differently. And we were beyond thankful. We were overjoyed.

Sometimes we forget to celebrate our joy. We move on far too quickly to the next thing that bothers us or needs us to bend on knee before the Lord. What if we each took the time to dance, sing, and celebrate the victories that God brings us in life?

I don’t think I will ever forget our little celebration and I praise God for choosing to act on our behalf. He deserved every little bit of our attention that night…. And more than we even chose to give Him.

How great is our God!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Be Careful What You Pray For

You’ve probably heard that expression – “Be careful what you wish for.” Well, I think there is wisdom in that statement when it comes to our heartfelt prayers.

We mean well. We may even have the right intentions. But we don’t always gage the when-where-how-and-why of the response God may choose to give us. 

We ask to be more patient. We seek to love our enemies. We ask God to help us forgive. And we want to grow our faith. All very noble prayers.  Yet we often make these requests when we are feeling stronger, more at peace with our situations and surroundings. We fail to think that God could choose to test those very requests or to simply honor them in a time and place that will test us – greatly.

When that challenging situation arises that we beg God to take out of our lives – maybe we should pause first, and try to see that He’s simply answering our prayer to grow our faith and trust in Him. When we are hurt deeply and the tears stain our heart and faces and we tilt our head upward questioning God – “Why?” – maybe we should remember how we wanted to be people who could easily forgive.  And when we are forced to endure a circumstance or situation for what seems like the “nth” time….maybe we need to recall the time we asked God to give us more patience as we waited on Him.

I think some of the very things we ask God to take out of our lives may be there because He’s put them there to answer our own prayer requests. They are there for our good. It doesn’t feel that way when we are uncomfortable or hurting, but it’s true. And often when we are on the other side of “it” we can see just how much we gained through the experience.

I really don’t like dealing with my fears and insecurities. But I know that I’ve told God that I want to trust Him. I want to grow my faith and I’m tired of being afraid. I’ve asked Him to give me strength and courage and to help me become a warrior so that Satan will flee from me. How better to do that than to put me in the battle? How can my strength or courage grow if it’s not tested?

I’d rather go through tough stuff and become a stronger, better person than not go through anything at all. It’s hard to say that during the moment of pressure when it’s upon me, but that’s truly how I feel when I come out the other side of those times. I just hope that instead of lashing out at God and asking Him, “Why?” that I will remember that He may simply just be placing something in my life because of my own earlier request.