Friday, March 17, 2017

Mountains

Matthew 6:25-34

       “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Life dealt me another crushing blow last week. But this time I'm beginning the journey by trusting God. (Well, first I had a meltdown. Then I handed it over to God.)

Life is hard. Life with children is filled with unrelenting stress. As I enter my 40th consecutive year of parenting, I've reached the point where I realize I can either spend my few remaining years continuing to worry about my children or let God move mountains for me.

My track record isn't that great. God's, on the other hand, is perfect. Even if He tells me to climb those mountains, I know I can trust Him.

My life has been filled with enormous difficulties, and I've nearly let them destroy me at times. But just as I want my children to believe I have their best interests at heart when I try to guide them to places they don't want to go, I have to believe God wants what is best for me even when it's extraordinarily hard to do what He asks.

After all, He promises that even when He won't move those mountains, He'll be there with me as I make the climb.






Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Warmth on a Cold Sunday Morning

This past Sunday I went to church as usual. I woke up that morning tired and depressed, and wanted to stay in bed and sleep all day, but I learned a long time ago that the days you most want to hide from the world are the days you most need to spend time in God's house. So I went.

We were singing our second song of the morning, and I just wasn't feeling it. I was angry about events that had transpired the day before. With a husband and two teenagers to raise (yes, I meant that exactly as it sounds), I often find myself angry for extended periods of time. But on that morning, I knew I really needed the Holy Spirit to invade my heart in a big way. As we paused to pray before singing the next song, I asked God to replace my anger with love and forgiveness. While my thoughts were on my desperate need for the Holy Spirit, I felt a desire to hear a song we seldom sing as a congregation, Holy Spirit, by Francesca Battistelli.

When the worship leader said, "Amen", I turned my attention to the screen overhead, ready to sing the next song. Did I really see the title Holy Spirit??? Could there be a different song by that name? But no, it was the song I so longed to hear, the very song I felt might comfort my aching soul.

I'm a skeptic. Not that I don't believe God can do anything He wants, any time. But I'm a human being, accustomed to thinking in terms of this world, and I often fail to remember just how big and powerful and in control our God is. I know He hears our prayers and the longing of our hearts. I just forget sometimes that even when the world drowns out my desperate cries, God is able to hear my whispers.

The moment we began to sing that song, I felt the warmth of God's love wash over me, accompanied by a feeling not unlike a child who received the Christmas gift they most wanted but least expected.. It was never more clear to me that God hears our prayers. Even those of a selfish sinner like me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Awaken

If, like me, you're feeling a bit overwhelmed today, here's a beautiful reminder that God loves us. We don't always have control over our circumstances, but God is always there to help us through.





Monday, July 18, 2016

Fruits of Our Labor


This is what the Lord says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the Lord.  - Jeremiah 31:16


Sometimes, just when you think it's all for nothing, God shows you the value of the sacrifices you've made.

To say my relationship with my oldest grand/daughter has been rocky over the past few years would fail to describe the reality of what we've been through. We've both had more than our fair share of challenges to deal with, and we haven't always dealt well. But we've survived (so far) and life is better (for now). As she prepares to leave for college, I'm struggling with mixed emotions swirling around inside my head like an F-5 tornado.

I never planned to raise children into my sixties. Frankly, I was supposed to be finished by my mid-forties, and I was looking forward to quiet days and nights with my husband...and only him.

But God had a job for us to do, and when God calls on you, it's wise to accept the challenge. So here we are... tired, old and broke, without a moment for ourselves, and never sure if giving all we had was enough.

Last week we received a card in the mail. I was quite surprised by the return address on the envelope. It was my address and it was from my oldest grand/daughter. And inside was a thank you card, one of many I had made for her to send to those who had given her graduation gifts. The note she had written us was super sweet, thanking us for our graduations gifts and the party we had thrown her, and simply showing sincere gratitude. She went on to say she hoped to make us proud.

She already has.


Back in the day











Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lights from Backstage



In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.   --   Matthew 5:16  


I struggle with finding a way to let my light shine.

My husband and I are raising our two granddaughters. On my other blog I've been brutally honest about the toll this has taken...on me, on my husband, on our marriage, and ultimately, on the girls themselves. But I'm trying my best, and since that will never be good enough, I'm learning to rely on God more and more.

I've always thought that to serve God meant to do something in a big way. I should find a worthy cause and volunteer a large chunk of my time.  I should give huge amounts of money to help others. In general, my life should be about making enormous sacrifices for the greater good.

None of that happened. At least not in the big way I thought was necessary. But in the midst of my learning to depend more on the Holy Spirit for guidance, I received the message that would change my outlook completely. In a quiet moment of worship and prayer I heard Him say, "Just keep doing the tasks you were given, and do them joyfully."

So I'm trying to shine my light, however dimly, to let others know that sometimes our service isn't big and noticeable. Some of us are asked to do our work behind the scenes. But the glory of God will still shine somewhere because we were willing to answer the call. And it doesn't matter if anybody ever knows where the illumination began, only that it reflects the love and goodness of God.




Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fathers

Any time I start to doubt just how much my Heavenly Father loves me, I think about the gift He gave me over 33 years ago...my wonderful husband and father of my children.

The story of how we met and married isn't a "love at first sight" story. We were friends first, although I won't deny that I hoped for something more pretty early on. But when I think of how unlikely our pairing was, it's clear God was in complete control.

As we celebrate Father's Day, I can't help but feel immense gratitude that God sent me the man I so needed, and that this man was willing to go where God led him. My children are blessed, also, that they have such a loving, giving Christian father to guide them through the challenges of this life.

Happy Father's Day to the love of my life and father/grandfather of the luckiest children on earth.





Monday, May 23, 2016

Joy in the Morning

I've been embracing misery for quite some time now. To say I can throw a pity party is an understatement--I'm the ultimate event planner.

I've had a few challenges throughout life (haven't we all?) My best-laid plans never came to fruition and I've been extremely frustrated by that. But the blessings I've received are so wonderful and plentiful and undeserved that I want to let them obliterate any negativity, and that starts with a change of attitude. So I decided to start a new blog that focuses on the beauty that can be found even in the midst of disappointment.

My prayer is that God will remove all pride from me and replace it with self-worth. Nothing more. Just a sense of the value He placed in me so that I can become who He intended me to be all along.

There will be setbacks, probably before the sun goes down today. I am, after all, raising two teenage girls. And after three decades of marriage, my husband and I have perfected the art of annoying each other. Then there's the whole rest of the world with its problems. So yeah, there will be setbacks.

But I want each morning to be filled with a renewal of spirit and a sense of purpose for the new day ahead. I want to take the inner joy I feel and make it visible on the outside, too. And that starts with a thankful heart before my feet hit the floor.